1 Thursday, 4
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
5 MR. NICE: I've asked for the witness to be
6 kept out just for two minutes. First, just to deal
7 with a tiny matter of administration about an exhibit
8 that was dealt with yesterday, 2360.18. It was, I
9 think, thought that the full version of that document
10 was in the international armed conflict binder on
11 investigation. It may not have been, or was not, in
12 full in that binder, but may yesterday's supplied
13 version now be the version that counts, with all the
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
16 MR. SAYERS: And just to register the
17 Defence's objection, Your Honour, we contest the
18 authenticity of that document. It looks like the two
19 charts that I adverted to yesterday actually have
20 numbers up on the top right-hand corner of them. They
21 appear to be identification numbers from the
22 Prosecution. Those identification numbers do not
23 actually appear on the first two pages of the
24 document. So without an adequate foundation being laid
25 for the authenticity of that document, we contest it.
1 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
2 MR. NICE: And the second point is a general
3 point. I think I ought to register that the flow of
4 information that we are receiving for these witnesses,
5 generally -- I make no complaint about it. I'm just
6 recording the fact -- means that we certainly can't
7 prepare fully for witnesses as they come. It's beyond
8 our resources to do so. We can only do the best that's
9 available in the limited time. We will attempt not to
10 apply for adjournments for cross-examination, but the
11 position is as I described it.
12 So far as the next witness is concerned, the
13 position is particularly --
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Give us an example of that,
15 Mr. Nice, to show how -- in relation to the flow of
17 MR. NICE: Yes. When the witness statement
18 comes, or summary comes, it may provide, for the first
19 time, detailed information that is new that we have to
20 deal with. In any event, we've only had a few days or
21 weeks to know that a large number of witnesses are
22 coming, and we're not in a position to research all
23 that we might be able properly to research about those
24 witnesses. Accordingly, when the witness comes to the
25 witness seat, we're not in a position either to
1 challenge or, alternatively, to accept, all that he
2 says which may be new, nor are we necessarily in a
3 position to help you by asking him all the questions
4 that we would be if we had more time to research
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Generally how far ahead are
7 you getting these statements?
8 MR. NICE: We get the summaries basically the
9 day before, sometimes a couple days before. And even
10 getting them a couple days before doesn't mean that
11 we're going to be in a position to do what we should
12 for you.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think it's the case of the
14 shoe being on other foot, because the Defence made
15 pretty much the same kind of complaint during the
16 presentation of the Prosecution case, and I think we
17 have to make the best of it and have to ask for the
18 cooperation of counsel.
19 MR. NICE: There's not a question of not
20 cooperation, and I think Your Honour is wrong about
21 saying that it's the same as the shoe on the other
22 foot. Defence always know what both their cases are
23 because they, from the beginning, have our case in
24 full; they've had it for years in statements, and they
25 know what their case is. We don't. It comes to us
1 fresh. I'm not complaining. I'm quite prepared to do
2 our best. But what I don't want you to think is that
3 you're going to get the perfect performance that you'd
4 have if, for example, we'd had, as you would in some
5 civil cases, advance sight of witness statements and
6 all the time in the world and the resources to prepare
7 them. We can't do that.
8 Now, that is a limitation on us, and it has
9 one dangerous consequence. It has two dangerous
10 consequences. One is that there may be things that
11 witnesses are going to say that we should simply admit,
12 because if we could research them, we could say,
13 "Fine. That's not in issue," and that could then
14 become an accepted fact.
15 The second problem is the obvious one -- I
16 make no complaint about it. I'm simply making an
17 observation -- that we can't help you, sometimes, with
18 the detailed cross-examination that might be possible
19 if we had more time.
20 With the witnesses coming today, for example,
21 we had no knowledge that he was coming this week. We
22 thought he was coming next week. A fax was apparently
23 sent on the 28th. We've not been able to track it
24 down. I don't say it wasn't sent.
25 JUDGE MAY: I've got a copy of it.
1 MR. NICE: Yes. Well, we haven't managed to
2 find it. So the first I knew about this witness coming
3 was yesterday morning. His summary had been sent the
4 night before, at 6.00. It didn't reach me until
5 yesterday morning, and it wouldn't have made any
6 difference if it had met me the night before, because I
7 was busy with the previous witness. So we will do the
8 best we can in the time available, but subject to the
9 limitations I've explained.
10 JUDGE MAY: Let me, while we're on this
11 topic, cover the more general matter which I raised
12 with you the day before, which is the time available
13 for this case. We now have three other cases to try.
14 This case has occupied a year already. No doubt it
15 inevitably is going to take some time. But there is
16 pressure upon the Trial Chamber, and inevitably on
17 everybody involved in the case, to finish it in order
18 that other trials can take place. There may eventually
19 be more resources available, but there may not.
20 MR. NICE: Yes, I understand that.
21 JUDGE MAY: And that is the real difficulty
22 which we face. And so we have to balance fairness to
23 all sides, of course, but also the need for
24 expedition. I'll be grateful, as I'm sure you do, that
25 you have that in mind, Mr. Nice.
1 MR. NICE: We absolutely have that in mind,
2 and our problem includes this: that if, for example, we
3 see a witness and we think, "Fine. Well, we'll simply
4 take just a couple of points with that witness and sit
5 down and leave the rest for argument," then there's
6 always the problem that the Chamber will be working on
7 exiguous material and too limited material, one way or
8 the other.
9 We have no -- and for example, we had a
10 problem, I think, with the witness two days ago. He
11 raised new issues about Zenica and about Busovaca --
12 new entirely; they hadn't been raised in
13 cross-examination of other witnesses -- about the
14 nature of attacks on those places. Now, it would be
15 the easiest thing in the world for me simply to pursue
16 a policy of trying to find a couple of grounds to
17 attack the credibility of the witness, and then,
18 because he was a Defence witness, and say, "And by the
19 way, what you're saying about this and that is wrong,"
20 without researching the matter, and leaving it like
21 that. That wouldn't be very responsible. I've got to
22 be careful. But we quite understand the difficulties
23 of the Chamber and we will do everything we can to
24 abbreviate cross-examination, making our own judgement
25 of when it's safe to stop.
1 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Let's move on.
2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
3 with your permission, just a couple of minutes on
4 several issues also very important before the witness
5 comes in.
6 Just a comment on what my learned colleague
7 for the Prosecution just said.
8 I have a letter which we sent on the 19th of
9 April regarding the witness which is going to give
10 evidence today, Marko Prskalo, the first one. So from
11 this letter, it's clear that he was going to be called
12 in this period.
13 As far as the summaries are concerned, we
14 turn them over to the Prosecution the moment it has
15 been signed by the witness. It's the earliest moment
16 that we can turn it over. Of course, the Prosecution
17 has heard our opening statements. They know the
18 general direction in which we're going. They know what
19 the line of defence is, so to speak, and they can
20 prepare for the cross-examination at any time. So that
21 is the only comment that I have to make on that.
22 But my real request has to do with the
23 administrative issue. One of the planned witnesses --
24 two of the planned witnesses, Marinko Palavra, Ivica
25 Kristo, have told us they cannot come. Ivica Kristo
1 could not get out of his business obligations, and
2 Marinko Palavra has some personal problems. He's asked
3 for a delay, and now we're not sure when and if he's
4 going to be able to come.
5 Yesterday, we also told the Prosecutor of two
6 problem witnesses. I will not give their names because
7 one of them is asking for protective measures. They
8 are not able to come this week, but rather they are
9 coming next week. So these are sudden changes which
10 were just sprung on us yesterday. We will furnish the
11 new and revised list as soon as we are able, and we
12 hope that we will not have any gaps in providing
14 The next issue I wanted to bring up was that
15 one of the witnesses who is on our list for next week,
16 that is, in the following days, a witness who is on our
17 witness list called up our office and sent a document
18 which he received from Carla Del Ponte in Busovaca, in
19 which he's asked to report to the office of the
20 Tribunal on the 4th, 5th, and 6th regarding a crime
21 which took place in Kacuni in January 1993. This is a
22 witness with whom we had spoken previously and he had
23 agreed to come, but this letter from the Prosecutor has
24 frankly scared him.
25 Pursuant to Article 18(2) and Rule 39(1), the
1 Prosecutor is free to conduct their investigations in a
2 manner that they see fit, but after we had made our
3 list of witnesses public, we believe that it would have
4 been correct that the Prosecutor should first contact
5 us and tell us that they want to talk to our
6 witnesses. It is not only the witness Grubesic at
7 issue here. He is only one of the four witnesses whose
8 names we have submitted to the Tribunal on the 30th of
9 March of this year. Our witnesses are beginning to
10 feel this as pressure on them, and I am asking the
11 Trial Chamber for advice, how to proceed in this
13 We had an obligation to notify the
14 Prosecution on witnesses with whom we potentially
15 wanted to speak, and we did so. I believe that it
16 would be a minimum standard of equality of arms that we
17 be provided the same courtesy.
18 JUDGE MAY: Have you raised this matter with
19 the Prosecution?
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] No, Your
21 Honours. I received this last night.
22 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think the sensible thing,
23 first of all, is to have a word with the Prosecution
24 and see what the position is. If it cannot be
25 resolved, then clearly the simplest course is to raise
1 it with the Trial Chamber. But the first step is to
2 raise it with the Prosecution and see what the position
3 is. See if they can assist in the matter.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Very well,
5 Your Honour. But I just wanted the Trial Chamber to be
6 informed of this.
7 Now, with the Trial Chamber's permission, we
8 would like to call our next witness.
9 JUDGE MAY: One moment.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The legal officer, please.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you'll call the next
14 witness, please.
15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] While we're
16 waiting for the witness, Your Honours, I omitted to say
17 one thing.
18 Today we submitted a motion which is fairly
19 urgent, and we would just like to bring your attention
20 to it. I believe it will be delivered to you during
21 the break this morning.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
1 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
2 and nothing but the truth.
3 WITNESS: MARKO PRSKALO
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Take a seat.
6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
7 Your Honours.
8 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:
9 Q. Good morning, Mr. Prskalo.
10 A. Good morning.
11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
12 our next witness is a retired Major, Marko Prskalo.
13 Q. Mr. Prskalo, I just said your name.
14 Mr. Prskalo, you were born on 19 September 1941 in the
15 village of Voljice?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Your village is located in the municipality
18 of Uskoplje, previously known as Gornji Vakuf?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You are a Bosnian Croat by ethnicity, a Roman
21 Catholic by religion, and a citizen of
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Where did you live before the civil war in
1 A. Before the civil war of Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina, I lived in Bugojno. This is a town in
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 Q. Mr. Prskalo, let me just advise you. You and
5 I speak the same language, but we need to wait for your
6 answers and my questions to be interpreted into the
7 official languages. So please take a moment before you
8 give your answers.
9 Please tell me, where do you live now? You
10 don't live in Bugojno; isn't it true?
11 A. I live in the Republic of Croatia with my
12 family at the moment in the town of Benkovac.
13 Q. Why do you not live in Bugojno?
14 A. Because after the war, I could not go back to
15 my home in Bugojno after the war.
16 Q. Someone else is living in your house now?
17 A. Yes, Muslims live in my house right now, that
18 is, a Muslim family.
19 Q. You are married and you have three children;
20 is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Prskalo, until mid-1997 you were in the
23 HVO, and then you retired with the rank of Major?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You are an economist by profession?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You have had a political career. For a
3 number of years, you were a member of the parliament
4 first of Bosnia-Herzegovina and, after the Dayton
5 Accords, of the parliament of the Federation of
7 A. Yes. I have been involved in politics for a
8 long period of time, just as you said.
9 After the conditions were met for the
10 multi-party system in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the
11 break-up of the Soviet Union, the democratic system was
12 introduced in the former Yugoslavia, in the territory
13 of the former Yugoslavia. But as we know, the
14 democratic system has still not spread throughout the
15 territory of the former Yugoslavia.
16 In 1990, during the first democratic
17 elections, I was elected to the House of
18 Representatives, that is, the Assembly of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And also before these elections, I
20 became involved and I joined the largest Croatian
21 political party, the Croatian Democratic Union,
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was elected the president of the
23 HDZ for Bugojno, and in this position I stayed for
24 about one year; that is, to the middle of 1991.
25 Q. Very well. Let's take this step by step.
1 When you said that you were the president of
2 the Bugojno HDZ, Mr. Vladimir Soljic was also holding
3 high positions in Bugojno?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. When the HZ HB was established on the 18th
6 November 1991, and we showed you a document which is
7 Z27, which is a copy of the decision on the
8 establishment of HZ HB, you saw who had signed this
9 decision on behalf of Bugojno?
10 A. Yes, I saw this document, and I observed that
11 on this -- that there was the signature of Mr. Vladimir
12 Soljic there who had signed this document.
13 Q. You know this gentleman well because you
14 studied together in Zagreb?
15 A. Yes. We were both -- studied economy,
16 economics, in Zagreb at the time. We were close even
17 during those college days, and I recognise his
19 Q. We're moving right along. We're at paragraph
20 11 of the summary. We know that Mr. Mate Boban was the
21 president of the Presidency of the HZ HB. You know
22 this directly, and you know that he was both the
23 president and the supreme commander of the armed
25 A. Yes, I know this. He was both the supreme
1 commander and the president of the HZ HB, and later on
2 the president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,
3 HR HB.
4 Q. Mr. Mate Boban was president of the Croatian
5 Republic of Herceg-Bosna until a meeting which was held
6 in Livno in February 1994, which you also attended as a
7 member of the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. Yes. I was invited to this meeting in Livno
9 as a member of the parliament of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina, and I witnessed Mr. Boban's resignation to
11 his post.
12 Q. Very well, thank you. We are going to move
13 to the topic which we name "Military Service". It's
14 paragraph 12 and on.
15 Following a referendum which was held on 29
16 February and 1 March 1992, the Republic of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina declared independence on 6 March 1992.
18 Mr. Prskalo, you took part in this referendum, didn't
20 A. Yes, I took part in this referendum. And
21 with your permission, I will make a brief comment on
22 these events because --
23 JUDGE MAY: Can I explain the rules here.
24 Witnesses are here, of course, to give evidence, and
25 there are some matters which are relevant to the trial
1 and there are some which are not, and it's for the
2 Court to decide which are and which aren't. So would
3 you concentrate, please, on just answering counsel's
4 questions. Counsel will know what's relevant and what
5 isn't, and of course we ultimately will be the arbiters
6 of what is and what isn't relevant. So I do not mean
7 to be discourteous, of course, in stopping you, but
8 we'll get on more quickly if you would just
9 concentrate, please, on answering the questions.
10 Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: Thank you.
12 Q. [Interpretation] Very well. Just to keep it
13 very brief and not to waste any time, it is a fact
14 which has not been disputed that the Serbian Democratic
15 Party boycotted the elections and a number of citizens
16 did not go to vote. But the referendum succeeded
17 because the Croats and the Muslims did come out and
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. However, despite the fact that the
21 independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina was declared,
22 this country could not continue, because when the
23 Bosnian Serb army attacked Mostar, it became clear to
24 you that the war, which had raged and was waning in
25 Croatia, would also hit Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. Yes. This was clear to us even earlier when
2 the Croatian village of Ravno was attacked in 1991.
3 Q. That was in September 1991?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And immediately after the aggression of the
6 Bosnian Serb army, Sarajevo was occupied and sealed,
7 and the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina reached a
8 decision, declaring the imminent threat of war?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I believe that was on the 6th of April.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And immediately after that, Mr. Mate Boban
13 signed a decision establishing the Croatian Defence
15 A. That is correct too.
16 Q. It was a provisional necessity, because you
17 needed to organise your Defence, since you already knew
18 what had happened before.
19 A. Yes. Had it not been for that organisation,
20 I believe that the Croats, the Croat people in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole, would have fared much
22 worse than it actually did, and we did fare rather bad.
23 Q. I don't know if my previous question was not
24 precise enough. I said nothing. But the decision to
25 set up the Croat Defence Council was adopted on the 8th
1 of April, isn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Mr. Prskalo, you joined the HVO in June 1991,
4 didn't you?
5 A. Yes. I joined the HVO in June 1992, and it
6 was at the time when the seat of the Operative Zone of
7 Central Bosnia was in Uskoplje, which is better known
8 by its earlier name, Gornji Vakuf.
9 Towards the end of June of that same year,
10 Colonel Blaskic was appointed the commander, and I was
11 then tasked to head the office for public relations and
12 promotional activities.
13 Q. So let us make it clear. You came to the
14 practice between Ivan Zubo [phoen], who was leaving,
15 and the period of time when Colonel Blaskic took the
16 office, and you arrived there between those two
18 Paragraph 17 of the summary. Will you please
19 be so kind and tell us: You told us that you were
20 tasked with the office of promotion and public
21 relation, but people in the HVO were not allowed to
22 engage in politics, so were you politically active, I
23 mean in the political parties, or did you do something
25 A. We who were in the HVO did not engage in
1 politics in this sense, because political work was
2 prohibited in the Croat Defence Council. Our duty went
3 in a completely different direction and related mostly
4 to information, then boosting the morale of the
5 soldiers, taking care of the mental health of HVO
6 soldiers. We were not in a situation to engage in
7 politics, because political parties were engaged in
8 politics and they were outside the army.
9 Q. You listed some of the activities. You said
10 education of soldiers made part of your duty.
11 A. Yes, yes. That was also one of the tasks.
12 Q. Mr. Prskalo, tell us: In the Operative
13 Zone -- and I'm talking about what you might be
14 familiar with -- you held special press conferences. I
15 believe it was in Bila. And there you informed both
16 the citizens in your region and the International
17 Community about the events about specific developments
18 related to the troops of the Croat Defence Council, and
19 these press conferences were attended by foreign
20 newspapermen, and so on and so forth?
21 A. Yes. We held press conferences. And there
22 were also special press conferences which were held by
23 politicians, or rather political officials. And the
24 press conferences held by army representatives were a
25 different thing. That is, they were held by the
1 commander of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
2 I can also say that our press conferences
3 were -- used to be attended by politicians, that is,
4 political figures. And I remember, for instance, that
5 in addition to Colonel Blaskic, who attended those
6 press conferences, and he mostly addressed military
7 issues and developments in Central Bosnia, but -- and
8 not always, but Mr. Dario Kordic would come now and
9 then, and he would usually address political
10 developments or he would, for instance, speak about the
11 requests of the International Community or introduce
12 some political conclusions. And others also attended
13 those conferences from time to time, such as, for
14 instance, Mr. Valenta, who would, as a rule, address
15 economic topics, that is, economic subjects and
16 developments in the area.
17 Q. Very well. Thank you. Let us clarify this.
18 There were press conferences which had to do
19 exclusively with the army, and press conferences where
20 political officials and the commander of the Operative
21 Zone -- that is, as a rule, Colonel Blaskic, were
22 another matter; there were different kinds of press
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you also sometimes attended those other
1 press conferences in addition to Colonel Blaskic. I
2 mean, those which were attended not only by politicians
3 but also by government representatives, Mr. Valenta,
4 for instance, whom you mentioned, and who was a member
5 of the government. So you would also be there if it
6 was necessary to read a proclamation or something, or
8 A. Yes. I was present at those conferences from
9 time to time, and it was my task to read a proclamation
10 related to some event or a statement, communication, a
11 press release, having to do with military developments.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you. Let us move on to
13 chapter D, paragraphs 19 and 20.
14 Mr. Prskalo, you are aware that the
15 Prosecution is trying to prove in this case that you,
16 the Bosnian Croats, are responsible for a systematic,
17 planned, methodical policy of persecution, not only of
18 Muslims, but all other people who are not of Croat
20 A. I wish to say that that is not true, because
21 that is not so in real life. Namely, we need to know
22 all the things that were going on in the lands of
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 In particular, I wish to point out that in
25 1992, when the Serbs launched large-scale and brutal
1 offensives throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, precisely by
2 attacking Croat villages and towns, and also Muslim
3 villages and towns, under those circumstances, the
4 Serbs, who had their own policy and their -- and wanted
5 to keep the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina within
6 Yugoslavia, because their policy was -- that is, the
7 policy of the Serb Democratic Party -- was that they,
8 as a people, should all remain in one state, which is
9 simply insane and beyond comprehension, because it was
10 not possible in any sovereign country in this world.
11 Q. I shouldn't really cut in, because we shall
12 be losing the interpretation, but can't we move step by
13 step, please.
14 A. Yes, we can.
15 Q. You have just given us the background. You
16 have just told us against which backdrop these things
17 were happening in Bosnia in late 1992. And if we look
18 at the end of 1992 and then 1993, Croats in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as you were located in different
20 places, you were, to all intents and purposes,
21 surrounded in some enclaves?
22 A. Yes. Bosnian Croats, especially in Central
23 Bosnia, were in small enclaves, compressed in small
24 areas in very narrow space. And I think it is beyond
25 comprehension to accept that the Bosnian Croats tried
1 to expel anyone, regardless of what people one is
2 talking about, because our number was much lower. And,
3 for instance, in Central Bosnia we had an enclave which
4 was in Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, then the enclave
5 in Vares, then an enclave in Kiseljak, and so on and so
6 forth. There were more of them.
7 But if we remember that those enclaves were
8 surrounded in part by Serbs and in part by Croats, then
9 it's simply impossible to understand how the Croats
10 could try or planned to persecute anyone; namely,
11 because such policy did not exist either amongst our
12 politicians, nor did anyone ever advocate such policy
13 of persecution of other peoples. Namely, our principle
14 objective was to preserve Bosnia-Herzegovina. And in
15 my activities, I addressed this topic on various
16 occasions. There are documents which lay particular
17 emphasis on this fact that this was our primary
19 Q. Very well. Thank you. You made a slip of
20 the tongue. You said that the enclave was surrounded
21 in part by Serbs and in part by Croats. You evidently
22 meant Muslims.
23 A. Yes, it must have been my slip of the
24 tongue. It wasn't so.
25 Q. When we're referring to these enclaves, may I
1 just remind Your Honours that in table H in our
2 Pre-Trial brief, we showed, we identified, the enclaves
3 that are mentioned by the witness. So let us finish
4 this topic.
5 Have you ever heard any of your soldiers,
6 commanders, your superiors, your subordinates, or
7 anyone else, mention these inadvertent comments of
8 policy of persecution of Muslims, or some other people?
9 A. I have never heard any one of our commanders,
10 or soldiers, or even politicians, promote such policy;
11 therefore, that is not true.
12 Q. You know that in this case an effort is made
13 to prove that the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina had some
14 command interrelationship with the commander of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, that they had something
16 like political commissars as existed in the Soviet
17 Union. But I think you are a very convenient person to
18 tell us, because you were assistant commander for the
19 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia for this information
20 and educational work. So is this thesis correct?
21 A. I must say that this thesis is not correct.
22 Let me say how I was appointed, and I also know very
23 well how other assistants for promotional and
24 educational activities were appointed. Namely, we were
25 not zampolits. We were not assistants responsible for
1 political -- assistant political commissars who had
2 very broad powers as in the Soviet Union. Our duties
3 were purely military, so that we were not in such a
4 situation and in such a position.
5 Q. So apart from you, who were responsible for
6 this, there was -- there did not exist a representative
7 of the HDZ, or some other political representative, in
8 the HVO at any level?
9 A. Not only was there not anyone from the HDZ,
10 but we did not receive from that -- and that was the
11 leading political party in Bosnia-Herzegovina among the
12 Croats -- we never received any -- they never tried to
13 intercede or to intervene in any way.
14 Q. So, Mr. Prskalo, you are talking about
15 regular chain of command in the Operative Zone. The
16 commander was Colonel Blaskic; in the adjacent zone,
17 Colonel Siljak; and they were subordinated to their
18 commander, that is, the Main Staff of HVO. Is that so?
19 A. Yes. They unquestionably accounted to the
20 Main Staff of the HVO, and that is the regular chain of
21 command, insofar as it was possible to maintain it, to
22 sustain it, given the circumstances.
23 Q. And perhaps my final question about this.
24 Throughout the time you spent at the command of the
25 Operative Zone, did you ever hear, from other sources,
1 or from Colonel Blaskic, or a third person, that a
2 politician, member of a political party, ever tried to
3 impose an order on Colonel Blaskic or issue
4 instructions to him regarding combat operations or
5 things like that?
6 A. While I worked there, I never heard that
7 Colonel Blaskic was ever given an order by a
8 politician. Not only that; I have never heard that
9 care in areas, in regions where the HVO was active,
10 that any commander of the HVO ever received any order
11 or instruction from a politician. That did not exist.
12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
13 Mr. Naumovski. I should like to ask Major Prskalo.
14 Major, do you think that Colonel Blaskic
15 acted completely autonomously, that he had full
16 authority, you, who were a political man there?
17 A. Well, he had such powers which had to do with
18 his area of operation, as the commander of the
19 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, and clearly his
20 immediate superior was the Main Staff.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Judge
22 Bennouna, please.
23 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] And where
24 did Colonel Blaskic receive his instructions, according
25 to you?
1 A. Well, I suppose that he received his
2 instructions from the Main Staff.
3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
5 Your Honours. We can move on.
6 Q. Mr. Prskalo, moving on to Chapter E, fighting
7 in Novi Travnik in October '92, paragraphs 21 to 23, a
8 few questions only.
9 You know that in October '92, BH army forces
10 in Bosnia-Herzegovina stopped a convoy with HVO troops
11 going to reinforce -- to assist the defenders of Jajce?
12 A. Yes, I know that in October '92, that convoy
13 was stopped. The HVO was sending troops to that front
14 in Jajce, because at that time -- precisely at that
15 time, that front was in peril. There was a danger that
16 the Bosnian Serbs might take that area and make a
17 breakthrough towards Travnik. So that column was
19 If I might continue explaining what happened
20 then. Simultaneously with that event, with that
21 incident when the column was stopped, the BH army, Novi
22 Travnik, attacked Bosnian Croats, that is, the
23 positions of the HVO, with a view to taking an
24 important area, and that is the military factory in
25 Novi Travnik which was of strategic relevance, of
1 fundamental importance for military operations. And
2 under those circumstances, under those critical
3 circumstances when Jajce had to be defended, the BH
4 army made such incomprehensible moves.
5 I must say here that those events and the
6 beginning of war in Novi Travnik cost us a great deal.
7 We lost Jajce, and that was a great damage, a great
8 pity for both the Muslims and Croats, because we were
9 allies and we were supposed to fight together against
10 the aggressor, and at that time that was the Serbs.
11 Q. So you have given us the reason why the BH
12 army attacked the HVO in Novi Travnik, and that is the
13 Bratstvo factory. Tell us, did you, the Croats, ever
14 manage to regain control of the factory after October
16 A. After the Bratstvo factory was taken in
17 October 1992, the Croats never succeeded in regaining
18 the control over the Bratstvo factory in Novi Travnik.
19 Q. I think you are familiar with a detail which
20 has to do with who attacked whom in Novi Travnik. You
21 know an HVO commander whose family remained on Kalinska
23 A. Yes, I know that particular case. My
24 colleagues told me that the best proof was that the
25 family of an HVO commander stayed in Kalinska Street,
1 and were it true, what the Muslim side was saying, that
2 the Croats had attacked Muslims there, then the HVO
3 commander wouldn't have been all that stupid to leave
4 his family in Kalinska Street, which came under the
5 Muslim control.
6 Q. Very well, thank you. We can move on.
7 Mr. Prskalo, you were designated a member of
8 a joint commission which was formed by the HVO and ABiH
9 after the fighting in Novi Travnik, and the purpose of
10 the Joint Commission was to endeavour to achieve peace,
11 to resolve problems, exchange prisoners, return
12 material goods and the like; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, it is. I was a member of this
14 commission, and there were two more members on our
15 side; that is, as HVO representatives, Stanislav
16 Nusbaum and Mr. Zvonko Vukovic. And we also had our
17 counterparts from the ABiH side. We wanted to calm the
18 situation down and then exchange the prisoners and, as
19 you said, to recover some of the material resources.
20 And by this, we primarily meant vehicles, because even
21 some of the private vehicles had been seized and the
23 Q. One more question. Who designated you to
24 that Joint Commission by the HVO?
25 A. We received the order from Colonel Blaskic.
1 Q. And the final question related to this: Was
2 Mr. Kordic a member of the Joint Commission?
3 A. No. Mr. Kordic practically had nothing to do
4 with it; nor was there any need for him to have any
5 dealings with the commission.
6 Q. But did anyone mention him or --
7 A. No. He was never mentioned; nor was there
8 any reason to mention Mr. Kordic.
9 Q. We can move on to Chapter F, fighting in
10 Busovaca in January '93, paragraph 24 onward.
11 My first question would be --
12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
13 if I may, I would like to introduce a document. It
14 will be easier to treat this matter in this way. This
15 is a report which was written by Mr. Prskalo, as
16 assistant commander of the Operative Zone, Central
17 Bosnia, for information and public relations. It is a
18 document of the 23rd of January, '93.
19 Could the usher please give a copy to
20 Mr. Prskalo, the version in Croatian.
21 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
23 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Prskalo, the 23rd of January, '93, you
25 being the assistant commander of the Operative Zone,
1 Central Bosnia, for propaganda and information, you
2 sent this to the Main Staff, that is, to the assistant
3 commander there who was responsible for information and
4 public relations. I should like to draw your attention
5 to the third paragraph.
6 Namely, what preceded the fighting in
7 Busovaca in January '93 was numerous incidents. You
8 mentioned one of these incidents in paragraph 3?
9 A. Yes. Yes, that is correct. This is indeed a
10 document which I wrote and signed, and here in the
11 third paragraph it says, if I may -- do you want me to
12 read it?
13 Q. No. There is no need for you to, because the
14 Chamber has the copies. I'm interested only in this
15 attack that you are describing on the secretary-general
16 of the HDZ, Mr. Ignac Kostroman, who was saved by pure
17 chance, as you put it. It was an attempt to abduct him
18 on the 21st -- on the 23rd of January, 1993, in
20 A. Yes, that did happen, and owing to fortunate
21 circumstances, Mr. Ignac Kostroman was rescued because
22 UNPROFOR was passing by at that moment. Had it not
23 been for that vehicle, I am positive that Mr. Ignac
24 Kostroman would not be alive today.
25 Q. Just the date in the transcript, I said that
1 the document was of the 23rd of January, and I asked
2 you if you were referring to the incident which
3 happened on the 20th or the 21st of January. And your
4 answer was that you meant this incident, didn't you?
5 A. I don't really know the date exactly, but it
6 happened before -- a day or two before this moment,
7 that is, before I wrote the report. It was a day or
8 two before I wrote this report.
9 Q. This document is interesting also because of
10 what paragraph 4 says and onward, where you speak about
11 the Sarajevo Television, or Zenica, which were held by
12 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr. Prskalo, did you,
13 on behalf of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, send
14 any information or press releases to Sarajevo and Radio
15 Zenica, which were held by the army of Bosnia and
17 A. Yes, I sent such information on various
18 occasions. Unfortunately, I have to say that these
19 releases were never released for the public, yet they
20 were worded in a manner and with a view to establishing
21 peace, because the Croats and the HVO, of course, did
22 not want a war with Muslims; nor was it in their
23 interest. They did not want a war with the army of BH.
24 Q. So you wanted to use facts to refute the
25 disinformation which was spread around?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I did not hear you. Were any of those
3 releases published?
4 A. I believe I said in my presentation that
5 never -- not any one , press release or my
6 communication, was presented to the public.
7 Q. Thank you. Let us then move on, and that is
8 the end of January 1993, the 25th of January, 1993,
10 You know that this was the real beginning of
11 war, to set aside the previous incidents, but the real
12 beginning of war between the HVO and the ABiH. Who
13 attacked whom on the 25th of January, 1993, in
15 A. When we talk about the war in Busovaca, I
16 must say that the attack was carried out by the ABiH,
17 and unfortunately this was obviously part of their
18 strategy, their objective, to cut off the communication
19 lines between Busovaca and Kiseljak.
20 This attack was carried out from three
21 sides. From one side, it was from the direction of
22 Busovaca towards Kiseljak, and Croatian villages which
23 are alongside Busovaca-Kiseljak road were attacked,
24 Donje Polje, Gusti Grab, Oseliste, and the objective of
25 the Muslim forces at that time was, in practical terms,
1 to take control of the supply road. It was a very
2 important strategic area for the ABiH to take. And the
3 other two directions of attacks went from Zenica, and
4 their objective was to block the road and to take the
5 strategically-important villages of Merdani and
6 Grablje. These are the villages which are located in
7 such a way that the forces who held them practically
8 controlled the road from Kaonik, that is, the
9 intersection on the road between Busovaca and Vitez,
10 and there's a turn-off for a T-junction to go to
11 Zenica. The objective of their attack was the
12 Dusina-Lasva villages. When the Muslim forces took
13 this area, they achieved control over another very
14 important supply route.
15 I must say that during these operations,
16 incomprehensible crimes took place.
17 JUDGE MAY: If you're asked questions, then
18 you can answer them, but you've answered the question
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
21 Your Honours.
22 Q. Mr. Prskalo, I was not -- I did not interrupt
23 you because I let you say things the way you saw them.
24 But I'm just going to ask you one detail which we will
25 come back to later.
1 As a member of the Joint Busovaca Commission,
2 as it was popularly known, you toured these villages in
3 February and March after the attack, that is, Gusti
4 Grab, Oseliste, Nezirovici, Donje Polje, Kacuni, Cep,
5 and so on, and you had an opportunity to see the state
6 that the Croatian houses were in. What did they look
7 like when you visited there?
8 A. Yes. Together with the Monitoring Mission,
9 that was the Joint Commission, in fact, which included
10 the European Monitors and then representatives of the
11 HVO and representatives of the ABiH, we all toured
12 these areas, and specifically the villages that you
13 mentioned from Kacuni towards Bilalovac, and
14 unfortunately it was terrible to see the state that
15 those houses were in. They were very well built, but
16 for the most part now, they had been destroyed, they
17 were burned, and it was an ugly sight.
18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] We can move
19 on. Your Honours, another document. This is another
20 report compiled by Mr. Prskalo on the 26th of January,
22 While the document is being distributed, I
23 would just like to say that the Trial Chamber will have
24 an opportunity to see this, but this document refers to
25 the events in Busovaca which took place on that very
1 same day, the 26th of January, 1993. The English copy
2 may be placed on the ELMO. It's a very short
4 Q. Mr. Prskalo, this was your report?
5 A. Yes, this is the report which I drafted.
6 Q. My apologies. I cannot see in the
7 transcript -- when you mentioned the Croatian house,
8 the transcript does not reflect that they were Croatian
10 A. As far as I can recall, I did mention that
11 they were Croatian houses.
12 Q. Very well. Mr. Prskalo, in paragraph 1, you
13 say that Zvonko Rajic, a platoon commander from Lasva,
14 went there with three soldiers?
15 A. Yes. Unfortunately, the Muslim forces killed
16 Mr. Zvonko Rajic and another 11 members of -- another
17 11 Croats in the Lasva. This was an abhorrent crime
18 which took place there, and it is incomprehensible that
19 such things could have happened. This was one of the
20 first and most serious crimes that took place in
21 Central Bosnia.
22 Q. Mr. Prskalo, when we spoke, you told us that
23 one of the cameramen who were at that time in Dusina,
24 in Zenica, showed you a videotape.
25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
1 I would like to introduce this videotape. I would like
2 to play just a short excerpt from it, a minute or two.
3 It's a part of a much longer videotape.
4 JUDGE MAY: First of all, let us have a
5 number for the documentary exhibit.
6 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
8 JUDGE MAY: Let us next have a number for the
10 THE REGISTRAR: The videotape will be
11 marked --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 JUDGE MAY: D208?
14 THE REGISTRAR: D208/1.
15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Now, this is an
16 excerpt, is it, Mr. Naumovski?
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] A very short
18 one, one or two minutes, and the videotape is much
19 longer. We will provide a copy of the entire tape to
20 the Prosecution.
21 Can we have the videotape, please.
22 [Videotape played]
23 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] We can freeze
24 the frame here, please.
25 Q. Mr. Prskalo, you saw this videotape as early
1 as 1993. Whose body is this? You see that a part of
2 the body is missing, some organs have been removed.
3 A. This is the body of Mr. Rajic.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] We can play
5 it on. I think that there is very little left.
6 [Videotape played]
7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Perhaps this
8 is enough. I think that this may be sufficient for the
9 Trial Chamber.
10 Q. Later on, you went to Dusina. You had
11 information on who committed these crimes in Dusina?
12 A. Yes. I came to Dusina following these events
13 with the Monitoring Mission. We also went to Lasva
14 village. And according to the information which we
15 had, these apparent crimes were committed by members of
16 the 7th Muslim Brigade. I also heard that members of
17 the 305th Jajce Brigade also participated in this
18 crime, and the members of the 17th Krajina Brigade.
19 Q. Thank you. You also know that a number of
20 civilians were taken to a camp?
21 A. Yes. I had information that some 30 Croatian
22 civilians were taken to the camp in Kacuni, a village
23 under Muslim control, following these apparent crimes.
24 Q. This was the so-called Silo in Kacuni?
25 A. Yes, the Silo.
1 Q. When you were in Dusina, did you have an
2 opportunity to see the Croatian houses?
3 A. Yes. Croatian houses were devastated. We
4 had a meeting with a small group of civilians who were
5 frightened, and not knowing who we were, they were
6 reluctant even to talk to us.
7 Q. Mr. Prskalo, during this fighting in Busovaca
8 municipality, in the wider territory of Busovaca
9 municipality, did you hear whether the Bosnian army
10 shelled the town of Busovaca and the surrounding area?
11 A. Yes. The Bosnian Muslim army did attack the
12 town of Busovaca and its surroundings.
13 Q. And the last question on this topic,
14 Mr. Prskalo: Did the HVO ever manage to regain control
15 over these key communication lines that you mentioned?
16 A. After these operations in Busovaca, after
17 this war in Busovaca, the Croats never managed to
18 regain control over these areas until the end of the
20 Q. We can move along. Just a couple of
21 questions on the Busovaca Joint Commission. The Trial
22 Chamber had an opportunity to hear quite a bit about it
23 from other witnesses, but you were a member of it from
24 the end of January, say, 30 January 1993, until the
25 10th of March, 1993; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You were appointed to it by whose decision?
3 A. I was appointed to this joint commission by a
4 decision of Colonel Blaskic. In addition to me,
5 Mr. Franjo Nakic was also appointed to it. He was
6 Chief of Staff of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
7 Q. For a while you worked there together with
8 him in this Joint Commission?
9 A. Yes, we worked together in the Joint
11 Q. One more question: Was Mr. Kordic ever
12 invited to any of the meetings of this Joint
13 Commission, or did he participate in any negotiations
14 or any work in it?
15 A. Mr. Kordic was never invited to such
16 meetings, nor was he involved in any negotiations
17 relating to its work.
18 Q. Very well. Moving on to paragraph 30.
19 Several questions relating to the fighting in Vitez, or
20 the continuation of war in April of 1993.
21 It is not in dispute that on 16 April serious
22 fighting broke out in Vitez?
23 A. Yes, this is indisputable. And I can confirm
24 it, because I was there. But I must say that the 16th
25 of April is not the actual beginning of war in Vitez,
1 because one can say that the fighting started in the
2 night of the 15th, when the Muslim forces attacked a
3 plateau in the direction of Zenica, and that was the
4 actual beginning of the war. We had fierce fighting
5 there. And only the next day, on the 16th April, the
6 fighting spread and intensified.
7 Q. You're talking about a very important
8 feature. This was the feature Kuber, isn't it?
9 A. Yes, this is the feature Kuber.
10 Q. And this feature is above the village of
12 A. Yes. Loncari, Putis, and Jelena.
13 Q. And the HVO lost first that high ground; they
14 had to retreat downhill?
15 A. Yes. The HVO soldiers had to withdraw,
16 because that night the ABiH attack was very fierce.
17 Q. Mr. Prskalo, given the duty that you had, you
18 must have been informed of all the events in those
19 days. Before this outbreak, there were a number of
20 acts of provocation. There were abductions of officers
21 and such?
22 A. Yes, you're right. Before this intense
23 conflict which started on the 16th, there was a series
24 of provocations, especially in the days preceding this
1 And I would like to point out for this Trial
2 Chamber an event which took place in the area of Novi
3 Travnik, where, on the 13th of April, members of ABiH,
4 and specifically 7th Muslim Brigade, carried out an
5 abduction of three HVO officers and their driver.
6 And after that there was another incident
7 which to me again is incomprehensible. That was on the
8 15th April, in the early morning hours, when the
9 commander of the HVO Brigade, Zivko Totic, was suddenly
10 attacked. He was in a vehicle with his military
11 escort, and people were riddled with bullets, and on
12 that occasion -- may I continue? -- on that occasion --
13 JUDGE MAY: Let's just deal with what's
14 relevant. One point is, Mr. Prskalo, we've heard
15 already a great deal of evidence, as you'll appreciate,
16 in this case. So many of these incidents are not new
17 to the Trial Chamber. We're familiar with them. And
18 it would be best if you'd just concentrate on the parts
19 which counsel wants to ask you about specifically.
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
21 Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Prskalo, Mr. Totic will come here and he
23 will be able to give the full account. But this was an
24 introduction to another question that I wanted to ask.
25 You personally were present at an
1 extraordinary press conference which took place on the
2 day when commander Zivko Totic was abducted, and it was
3 because of this abduction that the press conference was
5 A. Yes, I was a participant of this press
6 conference. It was an extraordinary press conference
7 which was called because of the abduction of Commander
8 Totic. And in this press conference, I read a
9 statement which related to this unhappy incident. And
10 also Colonel Blaskic spoke during the conference, and
11 Mr. Kordic was present there. And the entire press
12 conference had for its goal to inform the public on
13 this incident, because we did not want what
14 unfortunately happened subsequently.
15 Q. Mr. Prskalo, you heard all the persons who
16 spoke there, including Mr. Kordic?
17 A. Yes. Yes, I heard Mr. Kordic, and I can say
18 that his speech was very moderate. It was very
19 conciliatory. He did not speak at all badly about the
20 Muslim people, and in general. He simply expressed his
21 outrage against the extremists who had perpetrated a
22 crime and he condemned their act. According to our
23 information, this was done by members of the 7th Muslim
25 Q. Their Honours have the transcript of this
1 press conference. We need not belabour this anymore.
2 The transcript speaks for itself. But let me ask you
3 something else.
4 You know that what took place in that press
5 conference was taped and then was rebroadcast on
6 several occasions during that day?
7 A. Yes. This unfortunate incident was covered
8 on several occasions on the local Busovaca television.
9 It was with the aim to inform both the Croatian
10 population and the Muslims, because the local Vitez
11 television could also be seen in Zenica, for instance.
12 Q. And because of the activity that you were
13 involved in, you followed the local media, including
14 Vitez television. Was any other speech, other than the
15 one from the press conference of Mr. Kordic, shown on
16 Vitez television on that day?
17 A. I have no other information that any other
18 speech of Mr. Kordic's was broadcast on television on
19 that day, except for what transpired in the press
20 conference which we -- at which we were present that
22 Q. And had anything else been shown you, you
23 would have known about it because of the job that you
24 were in at the time?
25 A. Yes. Because of my position, I would have
2 Q. And the last issue regarding this fighting in
3 Vitez. Together with Zoran Pilicic, you took part in
4 the ceasefire negotiations which took place on the 16th
5 and 17th of April, 1993, under the auspices of
6 UNPROFOR, that is, the BritBat contingent. But on 17
7 April 1993, another unfortunate incident took place; is
8 that correct?
9 A. Yes. After the end of the negotiation
10 session, as we were coming back from the BritBat base
11 in Nova Bila, before we entered the headquarters in
12 Hotel Vitez, the British officers did not come right to
13 the hotel, so that they exposed us to the Muslim fire,
14 and I was seriously wounded, and this came from the
15 Muslim side.
16 Q. Who wounded you?
17 A. Members of the Muslim forces from Stari
18 Vitez, because this was open space, and the HVO
19 headquarters was very close to Stari Vitez, where the
20 Muslim forces were deployed.
21 Q. The last question on this, Mr. Prskalo. You
22 recovered in the hospital, and then back home for over
23 three months?
24 A. Yes. It took me about three months to
25 recover, because it was a serious wound.
1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
2 I know that I have two or three minutes. I'm moving on
3 to the last area of questioning. Perhaps this would be
4 a good time to break, because I won't be able to finish
5 in two or three minutes. I believe I have no more than
6 10 minutes left of questioning.
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now.
8 Half an hour.
9 --- Recess taken at 10.57 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 11.33 a.m.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
13 Your Honours.
14 Q. Mr. Prskalo, we have repeatedly mentioned
15 Mr. Dario Kordic. Let us try now to recapitulate what
16 you have already told us and thus bring the examination
17 to a close.
18 You knew Mr. Dario Kordic throughout the war,
19 ever since 1991, because of his political activities,
20 your political activities, and so on and so forth.
21 What was he to you?
22 A. Yes, indeed I knew Mr. Kordic throughout the
23 war. To me, he was a politician, basically. He was
24 also a vice-president of the Croat Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna at the time.
1 Q. From what you remember, did he also have some
2 office in the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
3 A. Likewise, when the Croat Republic of
4 Herceg-Bosna was proclaimed, he was once again the
5 vice-president of the republic. In other words, he was
6 a politician.
7 Q. I didn't quite understand what you said. We
8 first spoke about the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna,
9 but the Croat Republic did not have the office of a
10 vice-president. And you said that he was a
11 vice-president, didn't you, of the Croat Republic of
12 Herceg-Bosna? The Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna had
13 only a president?
14 A. Yes, yes, you're quite right. My mistake. I
16 Q. Your testimony today is basically as to what
17 you knew about the assistant commander for the
18 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia for information and
19 public relations, and that is the angle from which you
20 viewed and interpreted all those things that happened
21 during the war.
22 We've already talked about press conferences,
23 so the press conferences that you, the military, held
24 separately and those which were jointly held by the
25 military and the representatives of the political
1 government of the HVO, primarily Mr. Valenta and people
2 from the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. You viewed
3 them all from the professional angle, that it was your
4 duty to do so, and you must be aware that the
5 Prosecution claims that in late '92 or perhaps --
6 either at one of the press conferences or perhaps on
7 some other occasion, Mr. Kordic allegedly claimed --
8 that is, said or delivered a speech in which he
9 threatened to burn the village of Ahmici to the ground
10 unless the roadblock that the ABiH had put up near the
11 Catholic cemetery in Ahmici in October '92 was
12 removed. Is that correct?
13 A. That assertion is not correct. I simply
14 cannot understand how somebody could say something,
15 because that is crazy.
16 Q. Had you heard anybody else publicly utter
17 such a threat, not Mr. Kordic?
18 A. I have never heard anybody say anything like
19 that, regardless of whether it be Croat politicians or
20 military commanders.
21 Q. Today we are addressing, in particular, the
22 press conference held on the 15th of April, '93, in
23 relation to the abduction of the then Colonel Zivko
24 Totic, and we let you go through the videotapes, Z665
25 and Z665.2. These videotapes are showing that press
1 conference which you attended?
2 A. Yes. I saw those videotapes. These tapes
3 are from that press conference.
4 Q. And you spoke about the contents of what
5 Mr. Kordic and other participants said on that
6 occasion, so there is no need to go back into that. So
7 let us conclude this, and I've already asked you that.
8 But since we are talking about press conferences, let
9 us round off that topic.
10 On that day, on the 15th, to the best of your
11 knowledge and recollection, Vitez Television aired only
12 that press conference held on the 15th of April, '93,
13 in Busovaca; is that so?
14 A. It is.
15 Q. And you say Mr. Kordic was a politician, a
16 political figure, so my question would be: did
17 Mr. Kordic, as a political person, have any powers, any
18 authority, to issue military orders to any HVO unit,
19 including the military police, special-purpose units,
20 or any other?
21 A. I can say that Mr. Kordic did not have such
22 powers, such authority; nor did he do that. As far as
23 I know, he did not issue any orders to that effect. It
24 was done by the military, by the HVO troops.
25 Q. Have you ever heard any other officer in the
1 HVO mention anything like that?
2 A. No, I have not, I have never heard that.
3 Q. Mr. Prskalo, you're aware that Mr. Kordic
4 some addressed as "Sir" and some as "Colonel". You
5 know that he was conferred a rank?
6 A. Yes, I know that some rank was nominally
7 awarded, but it was a matter of formality and it was to
8 serve some purpose, because he was to attend
9 negotiations at the Sarajevo Airport with
10 representatives of the International Community.
11 Q. It was when?
12 A. It was sometime in late '92. I cannot
13 remember the date exactly.
14 Q. Throughout your service with the Operative
15 Zone of Central Bosnia, did you ever hear Mr. Kordic
16 use this honourary or formal rank to issue orders or
17 instructions to units or for any military activity?
18 A. No. I never heard Mr. Kordic use his rank or
19 issue any orders.
20 Q. And to conclude, you communicated with a
21 large number of people. You had your officers, who
22 were responsible for information and public relation
23 activities in brigades, and so on and so forth, and you
24 communicated with all HVO members in the Central Bosnia
25 Operative Zone, either directly or through your
1 associates. And in that multitude of information that
2 you must have been receiving, have you ever received
3 any information to the effect that Mr. Kordic has ever
4 issued any military order?
5 A. Not from any assistant commander for
6 information and public relations in brigades, or from
7 any other officer, have I ever heard that Mr. Kordic
8 had issued any order.
9 Q. Mr. Prskalo, thank you very much for your
11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
12 we have no further questions.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
14 Q. Mr. Prskalo, I have two brief questions for
15 you, but I should like to avail myself of your presence
17 You mentioned during your testimony that you
18 were in Novi Travnik on the Joint Commission after the
19 October conflict in Novi Travnik in 1992, that is,
20 after the fighting broke out between Croats and Muslims
21 in Novi Travnik. So if I may ask you: You were
22 familiar with the situation in Novi Travnik at the
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would it be correct to say that in Novi
1 Travnik, after that conflict in October 1992, until a
2 broader conflict between Croats and Muslims in April
3 1993, that the status quo was maintained in Novi
5 A. After that conflict, and after the situation
6 calmed down, after the agreement, and owing to the
7 activities of this commission, I can affirm that there
8 was no more fighting there, apart from individual
9 incidents taking place over a wider area.
10 Q. Thank you. And just one question more. You
11 told us a great deal about the early days, about the
12 establishment of the HVO and the situation in Bosnia,
13 the activities on the central government and so on and
14 so forth, at the time when you were an active
15 politician and had better information. Would you agree
16 that a rank-and-file man, an average citizen in Central
17 Bosnia in 1992, could realise that the state did not
18 exist de facto. If you look at what makes a state --
19 education, health care, police, army -- that it all did
20 not work as it should have, as it should function in a
21 normal state. What could just an ordinary citizen
23 A. What you said, I could say not only an
24 ordinary man; it was also the perception of other
25 people. It was even my own personal opinion. The
1 state of Bosnia-Herzegovina did not exist anymore. I
2 believe that everybody knows very well that almost
3 every village had a government of its own practically,
4 that every town had something of its own, that to all
5 intents and purposes, not a single institution
7 Q. Thank you. And just one more thing, because
8 I think that the transcript was not quite clear about
9 that. In Vitez, on the 16th of April, when you went to
10 negotiate, you and Mr. Pilicic, you were representing
11 the Operative Zone, weren't you?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And may I ask you just one more thing, which
14 has never been proved, but I've heard the story, and
15 will you please confirm it for me. Later on, after the
16 war, in 1994, the story was spread around that there
17 was an attempt against you and Pilicic when you were
18 coming back from the negotiations, that this was an
19 organised matter, and that the Bosniak negotiators had
20 let their people in Vitez know by radio that you were
21 coming. Have you heard that story?
22 A. Yes, I heard that story. And since you raise
23 this, I can tell you that we, the Croats, were not
24 equipped with anything. We did not have any radio or
25 devices. I didn't have any radio device, unlike Muslim
1 representatives. I can even confirm that as we waited
2 for the warriors, the Muslim representative did
3 communicate with his base. And that story, which
4 subsequently began to be spun, leads me to the
5 conclusion that yes, it might be true that they
6 communicated, that it had all been prepared, because
7 the purpose of that shooting was to kill me and
8 Mr. Pilicic, that is, the Croat negotiators.
9 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you. That is all that I
10 had to ask of this witness
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
12 Q. When were you first ask to think back to all
13 these events, please, Mr. Prskalo, for the purposes of
14 giving evidence?
15 A. You mean when the lawyers asked me to do
17 Q. Yes, the lawyers for Blaskic or lawyers for
18 Kordic. When?
19 A. I was -- well, nobody asked me to do that. I
20 offered it. I said I was willing to testify to the
21 truth and the facts, and all my friends and
22 acquaintances knew about that. An acquaintance of mine
23 let me know from Vitez one day that the lawyers would
24 be coming to Split and that I should go there, that I
25 could then present to them my perception, my
1 interpretation of the situation.
2 Q. Was that this year or last year?
3 A. It was this year, yes.
4 Q. By which time, had you followed and heard the
5 results of any of the associated cases in this
7 A. No. No, I wasn't.
8 Q. You must now know something of the results of
9 the Blaskic case and the Kupreskic case.
10 A. Sorry, but I just don't know what you mean.
11 Q. So you volunteered to go and help, and you
12 are a man with a background in the propaganda
13 department; correct?
14 A. Well, I would not call it propaganda.
15 Q. I'll come to the title of that institution in
16 a minute.
17 When you saw the lawyers, what documents did
18 you have available to you, in your possession, please?
19 A. I did not have any documents. All I had was
20 what persisted in my memory, or what I could remember.
21 Q. You didn't have a diary?
22 A. No.
23 Q. And you didn't have at home, where you now
24 live, or anywhere else, and you didn't have access
25 yourself, to any documents dating back to 1992 and
2 A. No.
3 Q. Were you allowed to look at any documents
4 when the lawyers spoke to you?
5 A. Well, during that interview, I mean, I did
6 not see any documents. We merely talked about the
7 events of the time and things that I could recall.
8 Q. And the two documents that you've produced
9 today, just help us, please: Where do they come from?
10 A. I don't know what documents you mean.
11 Q. Well, you've produced a couple of documents
12 that may not be very important, but they relate to
13 January 1993. Don't you remember producing those two
15 A. What was shown today, what the gentleman from
16 the Defence showed, these are not my documents; they
17 are the documents which the Defence produced.
18 Q. Documents apparently that you signed?
19 A. Yes, sure, I did, but I did not bring them.
20 Q. Do you know where those documents have been
21 since the time when you signed them and the time when
22 they were produced to you by the Defence lawyers?
23 A. No, I don't know that. I don't have any
24 information as to where HVO documents are kept. I'm
25 sure you'll know that I left the service a long time
1 ago, and even when I was with the service, I didn't
2 know that.
3 Q. But even in the course of meeting lawyers,
4 you were shown no other documents? Either at the time
5 when you met them in Split or at the time when you met
6 them here in The Hague, you were shown no other
7 documents apart from these two; is that correct?
8 A. I didn't.
9 Q. Let's go back to the department for which you
10 worked. It was called the Information and Propaganda
11 Department, wasn't it, its formal title?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So why were you reluctant to use the word
14 "propaganda" when I said that that was the business in
15 which you were engaged, please?
16 A. Well, you mentioned that word within the
17 context, if I remember, of a document, and that was not
19 Q. I'm not sure that I did, but I don't want to
20 take time with that.
21 Is there something about the word
22 "propaganda" that you're unhappy with or that you're
23 uncomfortable with the word "propaganda"?
24 A. No.
25 Q. A man called Bozo Rajic, in October of 1992,
1 set out terms of reference on which you would be
2 working, didn't he?
3 A. Well, a programme had been put on paper for
4 the work of the information and propaganda department.
5 That is true. But I don't know if the Court knows that
6 Mr. Rajic was the first IPD, information and propaganda
7 man there.
8 Q. Would you accept that the three criterion
9 that he set out for IPD personnel like yourself were,
10 one, that they must be proven fighters for the idea of
11 the HZ HB [realtime transcript read in error "HDZ"];
12 two, that they must be communicative and gifted when
13 dealing with people; and, three, that they must fit
14 into their working environment or the environment where
15 they are supposed to work? Would you accept that those
16 were the three criteria he set out for people working
17 in the propaganda department?
18 A. I have to say that I do not remember all that
19 it said there, all that was written there. But from
20 what I do remember, there were no political criteria.
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
22 I apologise. We heard, in Croatian, that HZ HB was
23 said, and the transcript says "HDZ", so I don't know
24 who made the slip. The Prosecutor mentioned HDZ, the
25 ideas of the HDZ, or the HZ HB? I'm sorry.
1 MR. NICE: I should have mentioned and I hope
2 I mentioned "HZ HB".
3 Q. Mr. Prskalo, would you accept that you
4 qualify as a proven fighter for the idea of the HZ HB?
5 A. I cannot answer in this way, because I was
6 part of the army, that is, the HVO, with a view to
7 performing the tasks set before the IPD.
8 Q. Do you accept that the IPD was itself divided
9 into three branches; first, the information and
10 propaganda administration; second, the administration
11 for military and preventative psychology; and, third,
12 the administration for history, publishing, culture,
13 sports, and recreation?
14 A. Well, I'm not quite sure if it was organised
15 in that way. Some of it may have.
16 Q. And certainly if it was organised in that
17 way, your role was fairly and squarely in the
18 information and propaganda administration sector of the
20 A. Well, that is the way it should be. But,
21 practically, not only my field of operation but also in
22 other fields, I have to say we were very poorly
23 organised. It was all at the embryonic stage, like the
24 organisation of the army and everything else. The
25 people worked so as to defend their homes.
1 Q. I'm not going to cut you off too willingly,
2 but do try and keep your answers short, if you can,
3 because it saves time.
4 Finally on this topic, at least for the
5 moment, do you accept that in his promulgation of a
6 plan for your department, Bozo Rajic made it clear that
7 all documents and other factual evidence should be
8 called on and taken over by the HZ HB institutions and
9 stored for the administration of history -- sorry,
10 stored by the administration of history -- that there
11 was a policy, Mr. Prskalo, within your department for
12 taking over and storing all records; correct? Nothing
13 wrong with it, just is it correct?
14 A. Well, as for the storing, I remember this was
15 a document with that request. However, I have to say
16 that the wartime events and developments in the area in
17 which I operated, that is, the Operative Zone of
18 Central Bosnia, prevented -- precluded any serious
19 steps in that direction, because the events were
20 succeeding one another so quickly that, at least from
21 what I know, this was never -- this never came about.
22 Besides, both in terms of territory and time, we were
23 more or less isolated, and I already said that in my
24 testimony today.
25 Q. But it doesn't come as a surprise to you to
1 see that two of the documents you signed ten years
2 ago -- sorry, seven years ago -- should now be
3 available from some archive somewhere for you to
5 A. Well, I don't know where these documents come
7 Q. Let's just deal with them very briefly, if we
8 can, because I just want to move on.
9 You were based where in January '93?
10 A. January '93, I was in Vitez.
11 Q. Whereabouts in Vitez?
12 A. In the hotel in the centre of town
14 Q. [Previous interpretation continues]...
16 A. Yes, I had an office in which I also slept,
17 because I had no other accommodation.
18 Q. And did you have a secretary?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Who typed your letters for you?
21 A. I did not have a personal secretary, but we
22 had a young woman who worked for the command.
23 Q. The name?
24 A. As they kept changing, I have to say I cannot
25 recall the names.
1 Q. Were you sharing your office with anyone; for
2 example, Valenta?
3 A. Oh, no. Mr. Valenta was a civilian. He was
4 not a soldier.
5 Q. And the initials "VS", who do they refer to?
6 A. I couldn't tell you.
7 Q. Again just briefly so that we can move on,
8 you were saying something, derived from one of these
9 letters, about something that had happened to
10 Mr. Kostroman. All sorts of dates were put to you and
11 all sorts of summaries were actually put to you, but I
12 would like you to tell us, please, what happened to
13 Mr. Kostroman.
14 A. I have not memorised all the details. A long
15 time has gone by, some seven or eight years have gone
16 by. But as far as I recollect, Mr. Kostroman, and I
17 think this was on his way back from Kiseljak, was
18 stopped by a group of Muslim soldiers, the so-called
19 ABiH. They dragged him out of the car. And thanks to
20 the unexpected arrival of the UNPROFOR vehicles, they
21 saw that there was something going on, and they came
22 over and found him there with the driver.
23 Q. So it's not a question of the man having been
24 taken away and detained anywhere else or anything like
1 A. I cannot tell exactly, with certainty,
2 whether he was taken away from the highway, the
3 Kiseljak-Busovaca road, but in any event he was made to
4 step out of the vehicle.
5 Q. And then he was rescued by the passing
6 international UNPROFOR vehicle; you're sure about that?
7 A. Yes, that is information that I have.
8 Q. And was he simply stopped by a group of
9 Muslim soldiers, Mr. Kostroman?
10 A. Yes. This is what I heard, something like
12 Q. What, they were in a car themselves, were
13 they, or on foot? You help us, please.
14 A. You mean the members of ABiH?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. That, I wouldn't be able to say.
17 Q. But there's no question of Mr. Kostroman or
18 anybody else being disarmed, simply being stopped and
19 their weapons being taken from them or anything like
20 that, is there?
21 A. I don't know exactly, but I believe that
22 Mr. Kostroman did not have any weapons. He was a
23 civilian. He was not a soldier.
24 Q. Who was he travelling with?
25 A. In addition to the driver, I don't know who
1 else was there. My assumption is that no other person
2 was there.
3 Q. You're not aware of there being anything like
4 a couple of cars, because this was just a single car,
5 wasn't it?
6 A. I don't know this.
7 Q. I wonder if you would be good enough now just
8 to take the originals -- we can all look at them -- of
9 these two exhibits that have been handed in. I would
10 just like your help with them in a minute. 206 and
11 207, please.
12 Let's look at 207 first. We can even perhaps
13 put an original version on the ELMO. That's helpful,
14 thank you. No, on this occasion can you put the B/C/S
15 version or a B/C/S version on the ELMO so that the
16 point can be seen.
17 This is your signature, isn't it,
18 Mr. Prskalo?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And you're telling us, as I understand it
21 from the way you've produced this exhibit, that
22 although of course it's a photocopy, this is an
23 original document -- it's a copy of exactly what you
24 prepared in January of 1993 at 9.10 p.m.?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. If we look at the bottom, we can see, five
2 lines up from the bottom, "MP/VS". Well, now, you'll
3 have to confirm this, but does that relate to you and
4 to the person who has typed this document?
5 A. I'm not sure, but maybe.
6 Q. Well, what else would the other initials be
7 but the typist's, please? You remember I asked you if
8 you knew who "VS" was, and you didn't, but then you
9 told us that the typists changed. So maybe it's an
10 itinerant typist. What does the "VS" stand for if it
11 doesn't stand for the typist?
12 A. I don't know. Maybe these were initials of
13 the person who had typed this up.
14 Q. Yes. Well, shall we now look at the next
15 document, please, 206/1. Look at them side by side,
16 please. You see, if you look at the foot of this
17 document, there's just the first little point to
18 notice, in that it's not "VS" but the initials are now
19 "SV", which sometimes happens in your country, doesn't
20 it? Sometimes people put one name first and their
21 family name second, and sometimes they do it the other
22 way around, so there's nothing surprising in that, is
24 A. I don't know. Maybe.
25 Q. It's -- I'm so sorry. But it's likely to be
1 the typist, isn't it?
2 A. I don't know. I'm not sure. It could be.
3 Q. Yes. And it's only three days away from the
4 other document, and it's perfectly obvious, if we look
5 at the two documents side by side, that they've been
6 prepared in a different style in several ways; for
7 example, whether you indent a paragraph, whether you
8 have a line between a paragraph, whether in the date
9 you use the "O" from the alphabet for "01" for the
10 month or whether you use the capital "O". There are
11 various -- numerous stylistic differences.
12 Let's have a look at the English version of
13 this document. You follow it in the original. This is
14 the document where you say you already know about the
15 Muslim attack on the general secretary of HDZ, Ignac
16 Kostroman, who has been saved by pure chance, that of
17 course being a reference to the intervention of
18 UNPROFOR; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Help me with this, please, Mr. Prskalo: An
21 event of the seriousness of the type that you've
22 referred of Mr. Kostroman being waylaid by some
23 Muslims, would that have been recorded in detail
24 somewhere in your office?
25 A. It doesn't mean that it would have been
1 recorded in detail. All information I sent out I
2 practically wrote on the basis of information that I
3 had received from someone. If such information was not
4 detailed, I could not then pass on detailed information
5 on to the next level of communication.
6 Q. When you say that, you already knew about the
7 Muslim attack, it sounds as though there may have been
8 some earlier information, some earlier recording of
9 what had happened to Mr. Kostroman. There must have
10 been records in your office, mustn't there,
11 Mr. Prskalo?
12 A. I don't think so.
13 Q. So this letter is the only document, is it,
14 that exists to show that he was attacked and saved in
15 the way you described?
16 A. This is the document that I drafted, and
17 whether someone else has a different kind of document,
18 I don't know.
19 Q. Just to end this little topic, the signature,
20 I know it's only a photocopy -- of course, no complaint
21 about that -- but that is your signature, is it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Are you saying that this document was
24 prepared in 1993, or is there any chance that that
25 document may have been prepared more recently?
1 A. Who would have done it? This is a document
2 which I drafted at exactly that time. I remember this
4 Q. You remember it?
5 A. I remember that this took place.
6 Q. When you were asked about Mr. Kordic, your
7 own opinion was that he became vice-president of the
8 Republic, until you were corrected as to whether such a
9 role existed. But it was your evidence that he was
10 vice-president of the Republic. Why did you say that?
11 A. I made a mistake, by accident. He was
12 vice-president of the Croatian Community of
14 Q. Or is the position that he was, for all
15 practical purposes, the deputy to the man Boban, and
16 therefore effectively the vice-president?
17 A. So far as I know, Mr. Kordic was never deputy
18 to Mr. Boban.
19 Q. Was there anyone else in your area of the
20 seniority, in political terms, that Mr. Kordic had?
21 A. I don't know. You may have in mind, in the
22 area where I was, there was also Muslim authority.
23 Q. In the HZ HB, in the HVO, however you like to
24 look at it, in the Croatian side of your community at
25 that time, please, was there any politician senior to
1 Mr. Kordic?
2 A. If you have in mind the area of Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone, the rank of Mr. Kordic there was
4 the highest.
5 Q. Was there anybody junior to Mr. Boban, in
6 political terms -- that is, subordinate to Mr. Boban --
7 who was exercising political power in your area, other
8 than Mr. Kordic?
9 A. I don't know that.
10 Q. Mr. Prskalo, you were the gatherer of
11 intelligence and information. You have told us that
12 you were an enthusiastic politician for years. Now,
13 was there any politician who lay between, in levels of
14 authority, Kordic and Boban?
15 A. Let me just tell you that, in practical
16 terms, when I went -- when I joined the HVO, I ceased
17 to be a politician, and please bear this in mind when
18 we talk about this. Because when I joined the HVO, I,
19 in practical terms, assumed military duties. I had no
20 insight, no contacts, in any events, and relations.
21 Q. Two things arising from that. First, it's
22 been said that military men weren't allowed to be
23 engaged in politics. Where do you say that order can
24 be found, just so that we can identify it and satisfy
25 ourselves that such a restriction existed?
1 A. Well, I never had on me any document relating
2 to this, but when the IPD was organised, we pointed
3 this out. You need to know that in all fields, we were
4 in the initial stages of organisation, and that we
5 cannot say, in any field, including the IPD, about a
6 regular establishment.
7 Q. I'm sorry. I don't understand your answer,
8 but I will move on with this question: Are you saying
9 that you simply decided yourself you shouldn't be
10 involved in politics? Is that what you're saying? Or
11 was there some external rule that restricted your
12 involvement in politics?
13 A. Well, that could not have been my own
14 decision. This was valid in all areas of IPD activity.
15 Q. Now, the second point arising from your
16 answer is this: Even if there were any agreement or
17 restriction on active involvement in politics, can you
18 please explain to us how you were shielded for this
19 period of time, long period of time, shielded from any
20 information showing who were the politicians working in
21 your area?
22 A. I did not fully understand your question.
23 Q. You're saying that because in some way you
24 were a soldier, you couldn't help the Judges, to whom
25 this answer is going to be directed, you couldn't help
1 them with whether there was a politician between Kordic
2 and Boban. What is it that kept such information, such
3 reality, from your eyes and ears, Mr. Prskalo?
4 A. I am saying to you that I did not have the
5 information, who it was, whether there was someone.
6 You must know that the wartime events were such, and my
7 preoccupation was with the work with which I was
9 Q. The reality, Mr. Prskalo, is you know
10 perfectly well that Mr. Kordic was the senior
11 politician in the area, senior to everyone except
12 Boban, and you're not prepared to tell the Judges
13 that. Isn't that the truth?
14 A. This is not a secret, and I don't think that
15 it is a secret even to this Trial Chamber, that
16 Mr. Boban was number-one man of the HZ HB.
17 JUDGE MAY: That wasn't the point. The point
18 was: Was there any politician between Mr. Boban and
19 Mr. Kordic? Now, can you help us on that, or not?
20 A. I believe that I was clear that I don't know
21 whether there was anyone.
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. And so you turned up at meetings where there
25 were military and political representations on a
1 regular basis, didn't you?
2 A. Well, I cannot say that I was present at the
3 meetings to which you are referring. But perhaps
4 you're referring to press conferences. Is that what
5 you're referring to?
6 Q. Press conferences. You turned up at press
7 conferences with politicians, with military men, who
8 talked to the public and to the press. On one
9 occasion, as we've seen -- the Judges have already seen
10 the tape -- you starting off the conference with a
11 prepared statement. And you're telling us that you
12 have no idea of where the political power rested in
13 Central Bosnia. Is that really your evidence,
14 Mr. Prskalo?
15 A. I must tell you that the political -- for the
16 political power in Central Bosnia, everybody had some
17 of it. Wherever there were Croats, Croats had the
18 power. Wherever there were Muslims, Muslims had the
19 power. For instance, in Stari Vitez the majority was
20 Muslims, so the power was Muslims, and you know what
21 the distance was there.
22 Q. That's not an answer to my question, but I'm
23 going to move to another question.
24 Propaganda involves sometimes the truth,
25 sometimes presentation of the truth, in particular
1 ways, and sometimes it involves misinformation and
2 lies; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that is the characteristic of
5 Q. Can you give us some examples, please, of
6 lies advanced in the propaganda of the Croats in the
7 time when you were working for the propaganda
9 A. I must tell you that I did not have such
11 Q. I see. So that your propaganda department
12 traded in and used only the truth; is that correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Was this, for example, Mr. Blaskic's policy,
15 that only the truth should be told?
16 A. So far as I know, yes.
17 Q. And you were never aware of his changing that
18 policy, even after the time when you were, very
19 unfortunately, wounded and in hospital?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. So that from your experience of the man and
22 the people working for him, if he threatened, for
23 example, to blow something up, that wouldn't be
24 misinformation or a lie; that would be a truth. He
25 would really seriously intend to blow something up.
2 A. Well, I don't know that he threatened to blow
3 something up.
4 Q. But you know the man, you see, and you know
5 his policy. If he said, "I'm going to blow this bridge
6 up," for example, it wouldn't be an idle threat or
7 anything of that sort; it would be for real, wouldn't
8 it, because he didn't engage in false propaganda?
9 A. As far as I know, he did not engage in
11 Q. Part of propaganda, as you have accepted, is
12 presenting the truth, as you would say, in particular
13 ways. And so for the propagandist, image is
14 important. Would you accept that?
15 A. I don't know what you're trying to say with
17 Q. Generally, a propagandist's work includes
18 presenting information in the way that's going to be
19 most effective, and sometimes the image -- I'll deal
20 with the first point first. The propagandist's work
21 includes presenting information in the way that's going
22 to be most effective; correct?
23 A. If you're referring to the information that
24 we were processing, I believe that I was clear in that
25 our information, for the most part, was based on truth.
1 Q. I may come back to the words "for the most
2 part" in a minute, but I'll progress with what I was
3 starting to deal with.
4 There was no need, was there, in Central
5 Bosnia, to understate Mr. Blaskic's importance?
6 A. I'd say that there was no need either to
7 understate or overstate his importance.
8 Q. Because he, so far as you know, was running
9 the war, subject only to military orders that he may
10 have received from somewhere else. Is that your
11 position, please, Mr. Prskalo?
12 A. I cannot speak about any orders, but if you
13 are referring to the war, the Croats, or rather the HVO
14 in the area in which it operated, was on the defence.
15 Q. But he was running the military side of
16 things, and to that extent he was running the war.
17 That's, as I understand it, what you're telling us.
18 A. Well, I'd say that it will be better to say
19 that the circumstances required it. These were
20 conflicts where people were defending themselves and
21 defending their homesteads.
22 Q. Fine. Then I'd like you to help us with
23 this, please: Why at all the press conferences is
24 Kordic always sitting in the middle?
25 A. I couldn't really say why he used to sit like
1 that. I don't know that anybody made any particular
2 plan posed for sitting, and I'm not really sure. You
3 are saying that. I'm not sure that he always sat in
4 the middle.
5 Q. ... there's no middle, and so you're on the
6 corner, and there's the three of them, with Kordic in
7 the middle. But you were at these press conferences,
8 you see. Tell the Judges: What looks to be -- who
9 looks to be the man in charge, if you have a table with
10 three people and one sits in the middle of it? Who
11 looks to be in charge? The man in the middle, isn't
13 A. Not necessarily. The one in the middle need
14 not be the principal, the central figure.
15 Q. I see. If you think of any other answer
16 you'd like to give to that question as the morning goes
17 on, let me know. I'm going to try and deal very
18 quickly with some chronological matters concerning
20 MR. NICE: And I'm going to cut out, Your
21 Honour, most of the material that I had sketched in as
22 topics I might cover, just so that we can try and deal
23 with things quickly. But it will take me a few moments
24 to read my notes.
25 Q. You were a committed politician, and we know
1 that from an early stage there was a split between
2 Kljujic and the rest. What was your position on
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
5 I object, as I did yesterday. This was not mentioned
6 in direct examination, not in a single word. I never
7 mentioned Mr. Kljujic, nor did I touch upon those
8 matters at all.
9 JUDGE MAY: [Microphone not activated] ...
10 Yes. Whose side are you on? That's the
11 question, Mr. Prskalo. Perhaps you would tell us.
12 A. If that is what you are asking me, to be
13 quite honest, I was on nobody's side.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Did you not appreciate that there was a
16 difference between what might be called the strong, or
17 even the hard-line Croat view, and the view of Kljujic,
18 for a mixed community? Are you telling us you didn't
19 appreciate that?
20 JUDGE MAY: Before we go any further, while
21 the witness is considering it, the transcript has left
22 out my ruling, which was that the question went to
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. Did you not appreciate the nature of the
1 divide between Kljujic and Kordic?
2 A. I have to say that I simply did not know
3 about any divide between Mr. Kljujic and Mr. Kordic.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] I apologise,
5 Your Honours. I must intervene. This was not a proper
6 question. Mr. Kljujic was the one who put Mr. Kordic
7 in the place that he wanted. And the witness Kljujic
8 never spoke about any rift between Mr. Kordic and
9 Mr. Kljujic. So will the Prosecutor please refrain
10 from that. At the time when Mr. Kljujic was the
11 president of the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Kordic
12 was --
13 JUDGE MAY: I seem to remember some memoranda
14 going between the two of them which showed a division.
15 But I don't think we need take up any more time on
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. In March 1992, where were you living? In
20 A. In March 1992 I was living in the town of
21 Bugojno and worked for a company.
22 Q. But you were already an active member of the
24 A. At that time I was indeed a member of the HDZ
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. But I held no office. I was
1 only a deputy, a member of the parliament of
3 Q. Had you not possibly become the president of
4 the local party in September of 1990? I don't want to
5 take long on this, but just think back.
6 A. I said in my statement today, and I can
7 repeat it once again: I was elected the president of
8 the Croat Democratic Union for Bugojno in 1992, and for
9 about a year I was the president of that branch. And
10 in 1991 I stopped to head the HDZ in Bugojno. I
11 already said that.
12 Q. So that the meeting where Kljujic was ousted,
13 held in Bugojno on the 15th of March of 1992, you're
14 not listed as being present, but as a matter of fact
15 were you aware of the meeting? Just "yes" or "no".
16 A. I do not know what you mean by was I aware.
17 You mean did I have any information or was I aware?
18 That is not one and the same thing.
19 Q. Were you aware of the meeting and were you
20 aware that Kljujic was ousted?
21 A. I learned about that from the press.
22 Q. You never publicly or in writing backed, for
23 example, the Kljujic cause, did you?
24 A. I believe I was clear enough today when I
25 said that I was on nobody's side.
1 Q. Let's move on. Just a matter of factual
2 detail. We've heard from a witness describing
3 circumstances in Gornji Vakuf at about the same time,
4 June of 1992, Witness Damon. Would his account be
5 accurate for circumstances in Gornji Vakuf in June 1992
6 when he says that he was arrested by the Territorial
7 Defence, but they were obliged to take him to and he
8 was dealt with by the HVO because they were effectively
9 in control at that stage? Would that be right?
10 A. I don't know about that event, and I don't
11 know why you're asking me that.
12 Q. Well, did you go to Gornji Vakuf regularly
13 enough in 1992?
14 A. Well, in 1992, I didn't go to Gornji Vakuf
15 all that often, even though that is the municipality
16 where I was born, because you must know that the war
17 had already begun, and while I was in Bugojno, sitting
18 in my office, the Serb aggressor, the so-called
19 Yugoslavia People's Army, was dropping bombs over
21 Q. The HVO that you joined in your area, which
22 is not so far from Gornji Vakuf, was it an organisation
23 that as at that time already really superior to, for
24 example, the Territorial Defence? Did it have
25 effective power over the Territorial Defence right from
1 June 1992?
2 A. Well, I wouldn't say that the HVO was more
3 powerful. From what I know about, the authority and
4 the military forces were split up evenly. At the same
5 time, we were talking about an alliance, because it was
6 necessary to conduct all the operations jointly against
7 the Chetniks, that is, the aggressors, because that was
8 our purpose and that was in our interest.
9 Q. You said something about, I think in your
10 statement, about the role of the HVO, and possibly in
11 your evidence. To whom was the HVO accountable in your
12 overall organisations, please?
13 A. I don't quite understand the question.
14 Q. Well, the HVO was, in part, a military
15 organisation; correct?
16 A. Well, I think it was the military
17 organisation, and your question seems to imply that the
18 HVO was a political organisation.
19 Q. Who was in charge of the HVO? To whom did
20 the HVO have to answer up the chain of command?
21 A. As for the chain of command, I don't know in
22 detail how it was organised, because on the ground
23 there were the troops, the armies of the armed people,
24 and one can really comfortably say that it was a
25 self-organisation for the defence of one's home.
1 Q. So were you not aware of that which is
2 contained in the Narodni list for September 1992, that
3 the HVO and the HZ HB and every HVO member were
4 accountable to the Presidency of the HZ HB; weren't you
5 aware of that?
6 A. Well, I did not read that paper.
7 Q. Well, it was supposed to be widely
8 distributed. You see, in paragraph 11 of your summary
9 which you've signed, you said this, and by all means
10 look at the B/C/S version of it -- it's in your
11 pocket -- if you want to. You said you knew that Mate
12 Boban held the position of the president of the
13 Presidency, and he was president of the HZ HB and
14 supreme commander of the armed forces of the HVO. What
15 your statement doesn't say, and I would just like to
16 know why, is that in fact the HVO was accountable to
17 the Presidency. Now, that paragraph of your statement,
18 Mr. Prskalo, was that your own terminology or had
19 somebody helped you write that? Paragraph 11.
20 A. This is my statement, and I know that
21 Mr. Boban was the president of the HZ HB and also that
22 he was the commander of the armed forces. I knew that.
23 Q. Very well. Exhibit 223, please. Now, this
24 is a document that I think shouldn't be totally
25 unfamiliar to you. It's the 22nd of September, minutes
1 of a meeting in Busovaca the 22nd of September, '92.
2 So at that time, you were able to and did travel to
3 Busovaca? You're shown as attending, you see.
4 Yes. Do you remember the meeting?
5 Mr. Prskalo, do you remember the meeting?
6 A. Well, I don't know. I can't recall that
8 Q. Going back, you --
9 A. [Inaudible] record.
10 Q. I'm so sorry. Let's work it out logically.
11 This is a meeting of the Croat Defence Councils in the
12 municipalities of Central Bosnia. There should have
13 been a representative of your municipality; correct?
15 A. Just a moment. I really can't really
16 remember that meeting. I don't know where it was held
17 exactly. But it's possible that the mayor, the
18 municipal mayor, was also there.
19 Q. And your name, you see, with your correct
20 title, deputy commander of the Central Bosnia Defence
21 Forces for Information and Propaganda, is listed. Two
22 or three lines up from the bottom, you see your name
24 A. Yes, yes, I see that.
25 Q. Well --
1 A. But I can't remember what the subject of the
2 meeting was. All sorts of meetings were held at the
3 time, and it is quite possible that one of those
4 meetings were attended by both military and political
5 representatives of the Croat people. I really can't
6 remember the topic of the meeting. What was that?
7 Q. Let me see if I can help your memory. If
8 you'll go on, please, to the heading "Travnik" -- and
9 the Chamber can find it in the English version at the
10 serial number at the bottom 377 and 378 -- but if you
11 would just go on in the document, Mr. Prskalo, until
12 you find the heading "Travnik", please. Probably
13 page 4, I think, for you at the top. Have you found
15 A. No, I didn't find "Travnik". I don't see
16 where that is.
17 Q. It's on page 4 at the top, and it's about
18 halfway down.
19 A. Excuse me. This copy is very bad. I can't
20 find "Travnik".
21 JUDGE MAY: Well, perhaps, Mr. Nice, you
22 would just read out the relevant part.
23 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.
24 Q. You see, before I come to the passage, it's
25 this: Travnik was a Muslim-majority area; correct?
1 A. Well, perhaps at that time.
2 Q. The decision was made at this meeting, and
3 this is at the top of our page 378 in English, that:
4 "The HVO government ..."
5 and I'll read slowly,
6 "... has recently been detaching itself from
7 the joint municipal government. It has been planning
8 the Central Bosnia chief HVO command to move to
9 Travnik. Certain outpost-administered departments for
10 Central Bosnia would be moved from Mostar to Travnik.
11 The following are also moving to Travnik:
12 Vice-president of the HZ HB, Valenta, the
13 vice-president Dario Kordic, and then Kostroman."
14 You appear to have been at the meeting,
15 Mr. Prskalo. What would be the likely effect, do you
16 think, of moving a Croat-based organisation, like the
17 HVO was, lock, stock and barrel to Travnik?
18 A. If that happened, I don't know what the
19 consequences might be. I can't answer.
20 Q. Provocative, wouldn't it be?
21 A. Well, unfortunately I must say that even
22 before this meeting, if that is how it was, there had
23 been provocations even before that, I mean from the
24 Muslim side.
25 Q. That's not an answer to the question.
1 Please. For a Croat-based -- effectively, a mono-Croat
2 organisation to move to Travnik would have been an act
3 of provocation; correct?
4 A. Well, perhaps that is how the Muslim side
5 might see it.
6 Q. You certainly didn't stand out in any way
7 against such a decision, and you were there?
8 A. I didn't even take part in the vote, in the
10 Q. Thank you. The next paragraph, one after
11 Kresevo, we come to -- sorry. The next paragraph at
12 about 3 or 4, we come to Kresevo, and then we come to
13 observations noted in all the municipalities, where it
14 says that:
15 "Muslims are behaving as if they ..."
16 I'm so sorry.
17 "... as if they had an exclusive right to
18 power and as if they are the only fighters for
19 B and H. All permits must be urgently made uniform and
20 instructions used to jurisdiction. There has to be
21 strong HVO propaganda everywhere."
22 Well, you must have registered that and you
23 must have acted in pursuance of it, as the propaganda
24 officer; correct?
25 A. I can say that I did not conduct any
1 propaganda in this regard.
2 Q. We can see, if we just go on one page in our
3 English version -- I'm doing this for speed because the
4 Court has seen this document before, but if we go on to
5 about halfway down this general paragraph, there's this
7 "There is no Bosnian language, and it is an
8 insult to the Croatians when anyone tries to make the
9 Croatian language into some kind of a Bosnian
11 Now, you may want to find that sentence to
12 satisfy yourself. It's in the minutes. Would that be
13 a view with which you agreed, please, Mr. Prskalo?
14 A. I have to say that I think that any member of
15 any people in Europe would feel offended if anybody
16 tried to change the name of his language.
17 Q. And we can see from this document that --
18 look right to the end of the document.
19 "HVO military bodies for Central Bosnia
20 shall prepare defence plans against possible attack by
21 Islamic fundamentalist Mujahedin forces and introduce
22 military discipline and uniform."
23 Those were conclusions that you, amongst
24 others, were happy with, Mr. Prskalo?
25 A. If you want me to say do you think that any
1 side in Bosnia-Herzegovina failed to prepare defence,
2 so we were preparing our defence. We had to defend
4 Q. Reverting back to your answer about changing
5 the name of the language, what offence, if any, would
6 the inhabitants of an area take if somebody changed its
7 name effectively to something like "HZ HB"? What
8 affect would that have on Muslim inhabitants? Would
9 that offend them?
10 A. Well, I don't know, but I suppose in the
11 areas where the Muslims were the majority, quite
13 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I will attempt to
14 reduce what is outstanding to the bare bones this
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We're going to
17 adjourn now.
18 Mr. Prskalo, would you remember, in this
19 adjournment and any others, not to speak to anybody
20 about your evidence and not to let anybody speak to you
21 about it until it's over, and that includes the members
22 of the Defence team. Thank you. If you would be back,
23 please, at half past 2.00.
24 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. NICE: Exhibit 233, please.
4 Q. Mr. Prskalo, we've got a number of documents
5 to look at. All of them, I hope, bar about one, very
6 quickly. This document is coming to you. You'll be
7 able to confirm that, in fact, your position was raised
8 in October 1992, so that you became part of the working
9 presidency; is that correct?
10 A. I did not understand. What working
12 Q. Perhaps you'll explain it to me. This is a
13 document that you can see, dated the 6th of October,
14 from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and
15 Busovaca headquarters, stamped with the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna at Mostar. It's an extract
17 from minutes of the meeting of the leaders of the
18 Croatian Defence Council for Central Bosnia. Your name
19 is listed as present. The meeting was in Busovaca.
20 And the working presidency is said to be Valenta,
21 Kostroman, and yourself. So of what were you a member
22 of the working presidency?
23 A. Excuse me. I still don't see where my name
25 Q. I'm sorry about the quality of the photocopy,
1 but if you look a third of the way down the first page
2 where my finger is, if you look at the document, you
3 can see, to the right of Kostroman, Marko Prskalo?
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] My
5 apologies. I need to get -- we don't know about this
6 number. There is already a document Z233, which is
7 dated 6/10/92, and we have another one which is dated
8 22 September 1992. So can we please have that
9 straightened out.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's go on. The registry
11 can do that.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. Have you found your name, now,
14 Mr. Prskalo? Well, I'm going to make a single point
15 and then I'm going to move on, and counsel for
16 Mr. Kordic can check the document.
17 The meeting was not quorate; there weren't
18 enough of you there to make decisions. But you must
19 have been a party to the recommendations that were
20 made. And one of those recommendations -- the Chamber
21 can see it at 15 -- was a recommendation to resolve the
22 issue of funding HZ HB bodies to be transferred to
23 Travnik, so that you were indeed a party to the general
24 plan to move HZ HB bodies to Travnik, which I think you
25 would accept would be provocative.
1 A. Here, I found my name, but I have to say that
2 I was never a member of any working presidency in any
3 meetings. I was probably invited as a member of the
4 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
5 Q. I'm going to ask you in due course whether in
6 fact your role as a member of the propaganda department
7 didn't place you very close to the general secret
8 service and intelligence functions and whether,
9 overall, you didn't perform some functions, to some
10 degree, in the area, possibly for Kordic.
11 MR. NICE: Can the witness now have the next
12 Exhibit, please, which relates to the meeting on the
13 25th of October, 1992, at Sarajevo. That is an
14 additional document. It's 255.2. We needn't look at
15 the earlier documents, but for the purposes of the
16 record, one of them is 248.
17 JUDGE MAY: I'm told that 233 is, in fact,
18 the same document as has already been admitted.
19 MR. NICE: As the document I've just
20 produced. All right. I'm sorry. 255.2, can it stay
21 with the witness? Can I produce 252 first? My
22 mistake. 252 coming. It's coming from the registry.
23 Q. 252, Mr. Prskalo, is some notes, typed notes,
24 of the meeting at Sarajevo, and it may be indeed that
25 you prepared these notes. Did you prepare notes of the
1 meeting at Sarajevo that you attended?
2 A. I did not prepare these minutes, but I can
3 confirm that I was in Sarajevo in October, when the
4 negotiations were held at the airport, and I think that
5 this was the first meeting of this kind.
6 Q. The second English sheet -- and it is in your
7 version, Mr. Prskalo, I think on the second sheet as
8 well -- it records that Colonel Blaskic stated that the
9 HVO could not accept cessation of military activities
10 unless Refik Lendo was handed over, and that Siber
11 replied, "There has never been a war in which an army
12 has handed over one of its commanders for trial," and
13 said he could replace Lendo. Is the position that by
14 that effort at negotiation, Blaskic showed himself to
15 be unsuited for the tasks at Sarajevo,
16 Mr. Prskalo, and is that the reason he was replaced?
17 A. I cannot confirm that, and besides, I'm not
18 sure whether this is the authentic record and the
19 correct information.
20 Q. The document that you had already was for the
21 25th of October, and we might as well just deal with
22 that while it's there. That's Exhibit 255.2. That
23 shows you being appointed, as representative of the
24 commander of the Central Operative Zone, to a mixed
25 commission which would be based in Novi Travnik. One
1 way or another, you worked on many commissions covering
2 the whole of the area, didn't you? Well, not the whole
3 of the area, but a large part of the area?
4 A. I cannot say that it was a large area. In
5 this case, when I talked today in my presentation, I
6 said, and I can confirm to you this now, that I was a
7 member of this mixed commission, because in this
8 commission, in addition to the Croatian
9 representatives, there were also representatives of the
10 Muslim side. And the goal again was to calm down the
11 situation in Novi Travnik, to re-establish peace, to
12 exchange prisoners, and to work out the details on the
13 materiel and other equipment.
14 Q. Yes. 249, please. You're saying, of course,
15 that Mr. Kordic had no military authority of any kind;
16 is that correct? Is that correct?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. You can't imagine him ever giving a military
19 order, can you?
20 A. I cannot imagine it, and I don't think that
21 Mr. Kordic ever issued any military orders.
22 Q. Bugojno was still your home area, was it?
23 A. I don't understand the question. During
24 which period?
25 Q. This period in which we are now dealing,
1 October '92.
2 A. In October of '92, I was in the Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone.
4 Q. Well, look at the document, please. This is
5 a document over the typed name of Kordic and Blaskic,
6 you see that, with a handwritten note on the side about
7 its receipt on the 24th of October, and it says:
8 "We received reliable information that a unit
9 of the BH army corresponding to two battalions is
10 moving from Bugojno up the Bistrica River in the
11 direction of Ravno, with the intention of joining up
12 with Lendo's Muslim forces."
13 Does that seem about right, in your
14 recollection of events?
15 A. I cannot recall, so I cannot confirm it.
16 From this, I cannot even conclude what this is and
17 whether this document is authentic.
18 Q. "Should these units participate in the
19 fighting, we shall use long-range artillery on
20 Bugojno. Deadline: One hour after receipt of this
22 You would have had an interest, at the very
23 least, with what was happening in Bugojno. You say you
24 had no knowledge of this as a plan and intention of
25 Mr. Kordic and Mr. Blaskic?
1 A. I don't know of such plans, and I don't
2 believe that they existed.
3 MR. NICE: 316.1, please. If you could show
4 it, please, to the witness. This is the 15th of
5 December of 1992, a press conference and a summary of
6 it. The Chamber can see at the second sheet, starting
7 at subparagraph 2, at this press conference Mr. Kordic
8 took over. I'll read slowly. Perhaps the English
9 version could be placed on the ELMO for the
10 interpreters, if they don't have it, and I'll just read
11 it out so far as necessary.
12 "Mr. Kordic took over, focusing on two
13 issues; problems in connection with the BH army and HVO
14 cooperation. Previous suspicions and warnings of 5th
15 Column activity within the ranks of the BH army prove
16 to be right. An incident took place in Kaonik, where a
17 high-ranking BH army commander defected to the Serbian
19 It deals with the arrest of Muslim leaders
20 and the possibility of friction between Croats and
21 Muslims in Novi Travnik, dealing with the occupation of
22 army buildings, and then goes on to deal with a mixed
23 military working group.
24 Would that be a typical press conference of
25 Mr. Kordic's, to deal with such matters?
1 A. I believe that it is not, and I don't know
2 that I was at such a conference.
3 Q. Because he's dealing with military matters,
4 isn't he, and that's what he regularly did?
5 A. That is not correct.
6 Q. Do you say that the matters I've just read
7 out, problems in connection with the army, 5th Column
8 activity, arrests of soldiers, they are not military
9 matters; is that what you're telling the Court?
10 A. In a way, one could say so, but it is not an
12 Q. I'm sorry, it's not an issue. I thought you
13 had said that Mr. Kordic was solely political and had
14 nothing to do with the military, and I would like your
15 help, please, as a person who knows about the press
16 conferences, with how it comes that Mr. Kordic is
17 dealing with military matters, please.
18 A. I do not exclude the possibility that
19 Mr. Kordic sometimes also addressed military issues,
20 but he was not the person who decided or who led
21 military matters. He was a political figure.
22 Q. Well, why, at these press conferences where
23 there was soldiers present, didn't they deal with all
24 the military matters? Please help us.
25 A. In any event, the soldiers dealt with the
1 military matters, and given the situation, I don't
2 exclude the possibility that some civilians also
3 addressed certain military issues.
4 Q. On the 12th of January of 1993, you were
5 appointed to the personnel committee under Blaskic, no
6 longer with Sliskovic. I don't need the exhibit if
7 you'll accept that. It's Exhibit 359. Do you remember
8 that you were appointed to the personnel committee?
9 A. I cannot recall, but I would like to see the
11 Q. 359, please. You see, on this day you were
12 appointed to the personnel committee, along with
13 Blaskic, Josic, Nakic and Sliskovic, and a very
14 important committee it was, wasn't it?
15 A. Of course the personnel committee should be
16 important, but I don't recall having taken any
17 personnel decisions further to this order.
18 Q. I see. Very well. Well, we'll move on, for
19 wont of time.
20 There's a video to be played, or part of it.
21 But before we come to that video, just tell me what it
22 is you're saying about Busovaca and the attack.
23 Are you saying Busovaca was the subject of an
24 attack in January of 1993?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And that this was an unprompted attack by
2 Muslim forces; is that right?
3 A. That is correct.
4 Q. To which the Croats and HVO did not respond
5 in any way?
6 A. How do you mean?
7 Q. Well, I suppose they defended themselves, but
8 they didn't do anything else?
9 A. Isn't it natural in any community, if you
10 were attacked, that you should defend yourself?
11 Q. And, of course, what's the date of this
12 attack by the Muslims on Busovaca, please?
13 A. This was at the end of the month. I cannot
14 recall now, but it was at the end of the month.
15 Q. But it was the very first violence, was it,
16 in Busovaca, the attack by the Muslims; is that your
18 A. There were incidents before that.
19 MR. NICE: Let's just have a look at the
20 video, please, if we may. It's 1705.
21 [Technical difficulties]
22 MR. NICE: Just give them another chance.
23 Any chance that it's working?
24 [Videotape played]
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. I would like you to explain how you would --
3 [Videotape played]
4 MR. NICE: That's enough, to save time.
5 Q. Does that look familiar to you, please,
6 Mr. Prskalo? This was the area of your operation?
7 A. I see some damage here to some houses and
8 some streets, but I cannot make out what place this is.
9 Q. The evidence is that this is Busovaca and
10 it's all the Muslim premises and the businesses. You
11 were there. You were in charge of propaganda,
12 receiving information and disseminating it. How did
13 you deal, please, with the damage to Muslim businesses
14 in Busovaca in January 1993?
15 A. I must say that I did not handle even the
16 houses which were damaged in the Croatian area. And I
17 didn't recognise whether this is an authentic videotape
18 from Busovaca, and from what period this is.
19 Q. You may say that, but take it, please, from
20 me, and I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, that the video
21 has been played as a tape of Busovaca, and the evidence
22 of the damage to Muslim premises has not been
23 challenged. So it may be that that's accepted as
24 having happened. Now, how come it's just Muslim
25 premises that are damaged in Busovaca in January, if
1 what you're saying is true, please?
2 A. If these are really pictures of damaged
3 Muslim business premises in Busovaca, I do not want to
4 contradict. But I also need to tell the Trial Chamber
5 that we had damages on the Busovaca side as well. We
6 were in a very complex situation. There were
7 individual incidents. I know very well that it
8 happened, for instance, that Croatian premises were
9 also mined in other places as well.
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Prskalo,
11 you just saw this film. Could you recognise Busovaca?
12 A. I have just said that I could not really
13 recognise it. I couldn't say whether it was Busovaca.
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] How long
15 were you in Busovaca? Did you know the town?
16 A. Well, I didn't really know Busovaca, but I
17 did go there now and then. In my evidence at the
18 beginning today, I said that being a member of the
19 monitoring mission, I spent something over a month in
20 Busovaca. But at that time I was not in the town
21 itself. We were staying in the hotel in Busovaca, and
22 the monitoring mission, or rather our teams, went out
23 into the field to different areas.
24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So you did
25 not recognise it. It was a small town and you spent
1 all the time there and you could not recognise the town
2 from these images? Think about it, because it is the
3 matter of credibility concerning you that arises. We
4 can show you the film once again.
5 A. I do not know if it would make any
6 difference. I said I could not recognise it. I just
7 said that these are some streets in Bosnia. They are
8 typical Bosnian houses. But whether that is indeed
9 Busovaca or not, I cannot confirm that. I would be
10 very happy to confirm that, because I do not want to
11 deny it, if that is true. But I must tell the truth,
12 and the truth is that I really cannot recognise, cannot
13 say, whether these images come from Busovaca.
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. You've now said there were incidents on both
17 sides. Don't let me lead you to say something you
18 don't want to say and that isn't your evidence, but has
19 it not been your account that there was, as it were,
20 peace until the Muslims attacked Busovaca and its
22 A. No, I did not say that. Regrettably, there
23 were incidents on different sides and in different
24 areas. But when it comes to the facilities that I
25 refer to, I believe I said, but I can repeat it also:
1 It also happened -- it happened -- there were cases
2 when Croats mined some facilities. There were people
3 who, out of sheer envy, wanted to remove somebody.
4 There was a very uncomfortable situation in the
5 beginning. There was -- chaos set in. There was no
6 authority, there was no state. Nothing was in working
8 Q. Let's just hear it from you, then. Was there
9 an unjustified HVO attack on Merdani, for example?
10 Just yes or no.
11 A. I know nothing about it.
12 Q. Well, before I move to the next exhibit,
13 Mr. Prskalo, tell me this: In middle/late January of
14 1993, were you, and therefore others close to you,
15 preoccupied by the fact that you had suffered
16 unnecessary attacks from the Muslims, or were you in
17 the middle of fighting which was equal on each side?
18 Which is it?
19 A. All I can say is that I was worried by any
20 attack, regardless of who had launched it.
21 Q. Mr. Prskalo, you must know, broadly, whether
22 in January 1993 you were the victims of wholly
23 unjustified violence and warfare or whether you were
24 engaged in fighting that was broadly equal on each
25 side. Now, you must know. Which is it?
1 A. What I know is that we were attacked, and
2 logically, in view of that, we were defending
4 Q. Very well. Now, Blaskic was locked away in
5 Kiseljak, wasn't he? He couldn't get back.
6 A. As far as I can remember, Colonel Blaskic
7 could not return from Kiseljak because the Muslim
8 forces had blocked all the roads and all the accesses
9 to Busovaca and Vitez.
10 Q. Who did you deal with in his absence?
11 Mr. Kordic?
12 A. I must repeat here that at that time I did
13 not have any contact with Mr. Kordic, because Kordic
14 was a political figure.
15 Q. In which case, who did you deal with in
16 Busovaca or Vitez? Who did you deal with?
17 A. Could you be more specific? What period of
18 time do you mean?
19 Q. When Blaskic was in Kiseljak, who did you
20 deal with? Who was your immediate superior? To whom
21 did you answer?
22 A. We had the head of the staff. At that time I
23 did not answer to anybody else, practically. I simply
24 performed my duties regularly.
25 MR. NICE: Can the witness have, please, and
1 may the Court have 2801.3, the transcript of the
2 audiotape. 2801.2B. My mistake. Have you got
3 2801.2B? Thank you.
4 Q. Now, this is -- you have to -- Mr. Prskalo,
5 there is an audiotape. It is admitted. Do you
6 understand me? It's accepted that the voices on the
7 tape are Kordic and Blaskic. It's suggested that the
8 tape is the 24th of January, when Kordic was in
9 Busovaca and when Blaskic was in Kiseljak. Do you
10 understand me? There may or may not be issues as to
11 whether somebody's cut the tape and completely made it
12 up, but it's accepted that the voices are as they are
13 shown to be. And I just want you to look at one
14 passage of a conversation, which we'll come to, I hope,
15 in the original version so that you'll be able to
16 satisfy yourself that, as I read it to you, what's
17 being said is correct. It's my mistake. Ms. Verhaag's
18 got it all set up and I've mucked it up. Sorry. The
19 original is 2801.2 A, apparently, the original
20 transcript, and the translation is 2801.2B.
21 And if you -- you'll see two voices shown on
22 that -- or various voice numbers shown. Do you see
23 those? And if you look down over to the next page,
24 you'll see something that called "voice 6" and "voice
25 7." And then you'll find a place where it says, under
1 voice 6, "Let's have that multiple rocket launcher,
3 MR. NICE: Top of our page 2, Your Honour.
4 Q. And when you find it, can you let me know?
5 You've found it, have you? Very well.
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. Now, the passage I want you to follow with me
8 is this. It starts there: "Let's have that multiple
9 rocket launcher, friend. Get it ready for me, for
10 Kacuni and Lugovi over there. Let me hear it roar."
11 That voice is Kordic.
12 The next voice is Blaskic: "When? Now?"
13 Then Kordic: "It doesn't have to be right away. When
14 we also ..." Next voice: "Well, you just tell me
15 when." Next voice: "Listen, you prepare everything.
16 Select the targets for the mortars and the VBR, and
17 everything there is. Let's burn everything." Blaskic:
18 "Well, I've already prepared that." Kordic: "You
19 prepare everything and we're also preparing."
20 Now, you were there. For what was your army
21 preparing on or about the 24th of January, if it wasn't
22 the attacks that were to follow on Merdani?
23 A. I really cannot confirm that this is an
24 authentic conversation and who was involved in it. I
25 do not have any information that something like that
1 took place at the time.
2 Q. Very well. I want to ask you one other
3 question about this transcript and I'll move on.
4 From the account you've given to the Judges,
5 at this time, you, the Croats, and in particular the
6 Croats in Busovaca, had just suffered an attack by the
7 Muslims. That's correct, isn't it?
8 A. When?
9 Q. In January 1993. Your evidence is that there
10 was an attack by the Muslims on the Croats in
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And that must have been uppermost in people's
14 minds; correct? It must have been.
15 A. But of course people had it on their minds.
16 Q. Right. So if we read on from where you were,
17 Blaskic says: You're preparing?" "Yes. Listen, stay
18 there. We shall be in touch." Blaskic: "I'm here all
19 the time. No problem." And then a reference to
20 Botanic getting a Nora howitzer and a VBR ready for
21 Zenica from Kordic. Blaskic: "That's good. Let him
22 load 40 in the VBR and fire a salvo." Kordic: "I told
23 him, I told him. But he won't do anything without an
24 order. I told him we would strike if Zenica reacts.
25 Otherwise, we won't. Just Kacuni."
1 Was that a plan of which you were aware?
2 A. I did not know that plan, I do not know any
3 details, and I simply can't believe that things were
4 really happening as you are telling me they have.
5 Q. Well, read on. Blaskic saying: "They've
6 asked for me over the TV." "Hmm?" Blaskic: "So shall
7 I get in touch with them or not?" "What, over the TV?"
8 "Well, it was announced over the TV that they've asked
9 for me." "Forget that. Say you died. Say your funeral
10 has been scheduled, friend, when we finish the job."
12 Then this, and please follow this: "They
13 killed two of our boys, friend." That's from
14 Kordic. "Two?" "Two of our boys killed in --"
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice, I
16 think we have a problem with the interpretation, so
17 will you please bear that in mind.
18 MR. NICE: I'm sorry.
19 Q. Were you not following this, Mr. Prskalo,
20 with what was being said?
21 A. I wasn't following the text, but I am
22 listening to you attentively.
23 Q. I'll go more slowly, because there comes a
24 time when Kordic says: "They killed two of our boys,
25 friend." "Two?" "Two of our boys, they killed them
1 perfidiously from behind at the checkpoint in Kacuni."
2 Now, you remember the killing of those two
3 people at Kacuni, don't you?
4 A. Well, at that time there were incidents in
5 different places. I can't remember.
6 Q. Then it goes on, four lines further on, with
7 Kordic saying: "One hundred should be killed for every
8 one, friend," and he's going on over our page to say:
9 "Squeeze them, and keep an eye on those in Fojnica,
10 Kakanj and Visoko."
11 It makes no reference, you see, this
12 telephone conversation, to an attack on Busovaca, and
13 it picks up the one provable event that had happened;
14 namely, the loss of two men at Kacuni. That
15 tape-recorder is telling the truth, isn't it? Namely,
16 that at the time that you're saying there was an attack
17 on Busovaca, there had been no such thing, and far from
18 you being the victims, the HVO was in an aggressive
19 mood; that's the truth, isn't it?
20 A. Unfortunately, I cannot agree with that,
21 because if that is so, then when is the crimes
22 committed in the territory of the municipality of
23 Busovaca at the time?
24 Q. I'm not denying there were other bad things
25 done by the Muslims in other places. But as to the
1 attack on Busovaca, I'm challenging you.
2 A. The crimes that I'm referring to were a part
3 of the attack.
4 MR. NICE: Those exhibits can go back. Thank
5 you. Exhibit 422.
6 Q. Mr. Prskalo, you're claiming ignorance of
7 lots of things, but in fact, as we see, your position
8 was sometimes quite senior. Let's have a look at this
9 next exhibit. It's 419.3, and it's coming your way.
10 This is your handwriting, Mr. Prskalo;
12 A. Yes, this is evidently my document.
13 Q. This is dated the 30th of January. On that
14 day, you were present at peacekeeping or peacemaking
15 negotiations. Maybe you wrote this letter there. But
16 we can see that what you're saying is to a commander of
17 the Ban Jelacic Brigade: "It would be useful if you
18 would talk to Colonel Blaskic and appoint a member from
19 Kiseljak to the Joint Commission. We signed a peace
20 agreement. Send me a nomination as soon as possible.
21 This member should be" -- something -- "at 9.00."
22 Did you have the power to give instructions
23 to commanders of brigades, please?
24 A. To begin with, I must say that I did not have
25 any commanding role. And this morning in my statement,
1 I said that I absolutely did not play the role of a
2 political commissar. This is merely a letter which has
3 to do with the replenishment of the peace commission
4 which was about to start its work. As you can see for
5 yourself, this is an ordinary letter. It is no order.
6 MR. NICE: There's a reverse to that letter,
7 I believe. I'm not going to take time to go through
8 it. It appears to be in someone else's hands. I'll
9 make it available to the Defence.
10 While I'm on that topic, the document from
11 which I was effectively drawing this morning in dealing
12 with the roles of the propaganda department is a
13 document that's available to me, but at short notice.
14 It isn't translated, and again I'll make that available
15 to the Defence if they want to see it afterwards. It's
16 only in B/C/S at the moment.
17 Q. On the 3rd of February, we've heard evidence
18 that the man called Jennings met Kordic, and it would
19 appear from a document that he met him in your
20 presence. Do you remember a British officer called
21 Jennings, quite a young man, meeting Kordic? His
22 evidence is that there were other men in the room, it
23 would appear that you were one of them, and that you
24 all sat very quietly while Kordic spoke for quite a
25 long time, half an hour to 40 minutes, something like
2 A. Could you tell me, where was that, what
3 office? Is there anything more specific?
4 Q. I think it was in the Hotel Vitez, unless I'm
6 A. I have no recollection of that.
7 Q. Because what he's told us is that he asked
8 Kordic whether he wanted to be "Colonel" or "Mister",
9 and he accepted either, effectively. Would that be
10 right? He was happy to be addressed as "Colonel",
11 wasn't he?
12 A. I cannot remember hearing anything like
13 that. But when you are giving these facts to me, I
14 should like to know whether that gentleman, that
15 British citizen, was a member of the European
16 Monitoring Mission.
17 Q. My mistake. It was the PTT building in
18 Busovaca, and it was a British Battalion officer.
19 A. Well, then I believe if that was a part of
20 our mission, Monitoring Mission in Busovaca, I remember
21 that on one occasion, at the request -- because I
22 wasn't the one who decided this, it was the European
23 Monitors who decided where we would go and when, and I
24 know that once they asked to go and see Mr. Dario
25 Kordic because they wanted to discuss certain problems
1 with him. Perhaps this could be that meeting.
2 MR. NICE: I'm going to move as swiftly as I
3 can with one other video that has to go into evidence.
4 Your Honour, it's a long video. I'm going to ask the
5 booth to play the first very short clip of the video
6 which shows this witness, simply to identify it for
7 him. And then I'm going to ask them to put in the
8 other video, which is an extract from further on, which
9 has Mr. Kordic.
10 So that what you have in the transcripts
11 coming your way are a transcript of all, the excerpt --
12 well, we'll ask the video booth to play the first
13 video, and just for the purposes of identifying it for
14 the witness, so that he can be satisfied with what it
15 is. 652, please.
16 JUDGE MAY: Is it already in evidence?
17 MR. NICE: No, this one is not in evidence,
18 which is why I'm putting it into evidence now.
19 Otherwise, I would deal with it even more briefly.
20 I've only got a couple more exhibits.
21 [Videotape played]
22 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Colonel Dario
23 Kordic issued a public announcement and distributed it
24 to all media and stated: Today the unity of the
25 Croatian people is needed more than ever and the
1 programme of the Croat Democratic Union of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina has managed to unite all Croats, and
3 now from the votive darkness which has surrounded us
4 for 50 years, the so-called saviours of Croats in
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina have begun to emerge. These
6 missions of the fascist-communist Yugoslav system are
7 well known to all Croats wherever they are, and it is
8 perfectly clear where this ship is heading.
9 Croats do not need Yugoslavia anymore or a
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina made to suit only one people.
11 We want to build Bosnia-Herzegovina to suit all three
12 constitutive peoples. We say to the founders of the
13 Croat Peasants' Party in besieged Sarajevo and its
14 leaders, Ivan Komso, Branko Mikulic and Stjepan
15 Kljujic, that they had their historic chance to protect
16 the Croatian people had they wanted to. Isn't this yet
17 another desperate attempt by the order-givers to buy
18 off a few professional and already-proven Croats who
19 would then purport to represent Croatian interests in
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as was done with the Croatian Party
21 of Rights?
22 It is sad that attempts are made to
23 manipulate the reputation of the Croatian Peasants'
24 Party, which the HDZ respects. We cannot help
25 recalling those words from the Bible: "Beware of those
1 in sheep's clothing who are ravenous wolves inside. By
2 their deeds, you shall know them."
3 At the very beginning, the public
4 announcement will be read on behalf of the Operative
5 Zone by Mr. Marko Prskalo, assistant commander for
6 IPD. Please.
7 Prskalo: After the tragic events in the
8 territory of Busovaca, Muslim extremists, imbued with
9 hatred for anything Croatian, are going even further."
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for
11 Judge Bennouna, please.
12 MR. NICE: I think they have the text, but
13 not in French.
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] But even in
16 MR. NICE: I think they have it in English.
17 No, there's a wave. Perhaps if we could take one more
18 around. I'm sorry about that.
19 While the next tape is being put in, which is
20 652A, which starts at the English translation page 18
21 and is marked, I'll just ask the witness this:
22 Q. Do you agree with the comment about Stjepan
24 A. Well, I can't say, because this release or
25 this announcement was made by Madam Marija.
1 Q. Neither then nor at any other time did you
2 disassociate yourself from the action taken to
3 Mr. Kljujic, did you?
4 A. I do not really know what was done to
5 Mr. Kljujic.
6 MR. NICE: Very well. Your Honour, by the
7 time you reach the side-lined page on page 18,
8 Mr. Kordic had read out -- and that's why I'm not going
9 to go through it -- the document signed by Boban and
10 not signed by Izetbegovic. 595 is the exhibit number
11 for that document. There's no need to take our time
12 with that.
13 But if we could now play 652A, it picks it up
14 on page 18, and I intend to go through until the top of
15 page 20.
16 [Videotape played]
17 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] The free passage
18 of people and goods shall be immediately established on
19 all roads in the three regions of the said provinces.
20 The HVO of the HZ HB expresses hope that Mr.
21 Izetbegovic will realise the exceptional importance of
22 this statement and sign it, since it also contains the
23 wish for a much-wanted peace.
24 At its session, the HVO of the HZ HB assumed
25 the -- decided that if the above-mentioned statement is
1 not signed by the leaders of the Muslim delegation, the
2 basic assumptions of the peace plan concerning this
3 issue shall be applied in the provinces, regardless of
4 the separate agreement between the Croats and Muslims,
5 which reads: according to which any national armed
6 force must withdraw to its domicile provinces. If the
7 joint statement is not implemented, the competent
8 military and other bodies of the HZ HB HVO shall
9 implement this paragraph of the basic document of the
10 peace plan in the territory of the Provinces 3, 8 and
11 10. At the same time, the HVO of the HZ HB shall
12 respect the competent government organs in the
13 provinces where the other two nations dominate. The
14 organisation of the police at the provisional level
15 shall also be consistent with these principles.
16 The police organs of the former MUP in Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina, which shall cease to exist in
18 Provinces 3, 8 and 10 within the framework of the
19 Croatian Community Herceg-Bosna as soon as the
20 already-signed documents of the Vance-Owen Plan enter
21 into force, shall be informed with the public about the
22 transfer of all competencies to the HZ HB Department of
23 Internal Affairs in Province 3, 8 and 10. With regard
24 to this, something has already been done. We have seen
25 that new uniforms have arrived for members of the MUP,
1 and these lads will thus have the task of maintaining
2 peace and order in this region.
3 Since the basic document and agreement on
4 transitional organisation, the competencies of the
5 future central government and the government in the HVO
6 HZ HB provinces are clearly, any attempt to install
7 different organs appointed by the present one-sided
8 presidency and government of the Republic of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, such as districts, for instance,
10 shall be prevented, whereas all decisions of the future
11 transitional presidency of the Republic of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the transitional central
13 government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina shall
14 be respected and implemented in the territories of
15 Provinces 3, 8 and 10 in accordance with the
16 obligations accepted with the signing of the peace
18 This is the gist of the government's
19 viewpoint, but since the 15th, which was named as the
20 deadline for implementing this, is approaching, it is
21 obvious that an extra time has been given to President
22 Alija Izetbegovic to realise that this is the only way
23 to put the Vance-Owen Plan into action. Therefore, I
24 can responsibly state that nothing will be resolved by
25 force in the days ahead and that the realisation of
1 this proposal will be sought through negotiations
2 between Messrs. Boban and Izetbegovic, because the
3 proposal itself is based on the Vance-Owen Plan which
4 President Izetbegovic has signed.
5 So Mr. Izetbegovic and the leaders of the
6 Muslim people shall, any day now, tell the Muslim
7 people who, according to the signed Vance-Owen Plan,
8 should live in provinces with a Croatian majority, to
9 accept these talks or negotiations about the
10 incorporation in the regional government as envisaged
11 by the Vance-Owen Plan. And I think this is the only
12 way to find a solution that would suit both peoples,
13 because it is clear that many controversies have been
14 settled by signature. However, there has still been no
15 true message for the Muslim people in this region,
16 because this is still subject to calculations and there
17 are still attempts to resolve things differently,
18 because how else can one interpret all this media
19 campaign against certain leaders of the HZ HB and the
20 HVO with heinous lies which do not even deserve any
22 But I think that Colonel Blaskic has best
23 illustrated one of the most heinous lies when he said
24 that the gentlemen who are now sitting here at this
25 press conference, along with others who are now absent,
1 were the first to be blamed for the fall of Eastern
2 Bosnia, as they said, while the Muslim people are
3 paying the price. I think the blame should be laid on
4 the gentlemen in Visoko who unloaded the weapons in
5 Visoko in order to perhaps prepare themselves for
6 future attacks in regions populated with Croats in the
7 direction of Busovaca and Kiseljak, because it is
8 obvious that there are still extremists among the
9 Muslim army leadership who have not given up yet the
10 idea of trying to impose certain solutions by force and
11 to destroy the Croat Defence Council, first of all in
12 Kiseljak and Busovaca. Information we are receiving
13 indicates that between the 15th and 20th of April,
14 there could again be an aggression against Busovaca and
16 We notified the officials of the European
17 Monitoring Mission about these intentions. They should
18 inform the leaders of the European Monitoring Mission
19 about how serious is the information which we received
20 and to ask them to verify these allegations and do
21 everything that is in their power to maintain peace in
22 this region, because the HVO and the HZ HB do not need
23 any conflict, and the Croatian people do not want any
24 conflict with the Muslim people.
25 But I also need to say that the Croatian
1 people are not going to allow the burning of Croatian
2 banners, because the burning of Croatian banners
3 represents an attack on the Croatian people and we have
4 the right to defend the dignity of the Croatian people,
5 because Croatian banners are meant for worship and not
6 for burning. The Croatian people have certainly proved
7 that they know how to respect other peoples' holidays,
8 and it is therefore our right to defend these banners.
9 Since I have the floor, I want to make just
10 one more comment. From what I have seen, Mr. Djidic,
11 the chairman of the SDA --"
12 MR. NICE: That's fine. Only two questions
13 out of all of this, something that the Chamber hasn't
14 seen before, Mr. Prskalo.
15 Q. You were in propaganda and had access to
16 information and intelligence. What's the detail of the
17 intelligence about the alleged fear of aggression
18 between the 15th and 20th of April?
19 A. I must tell you that I did not have
20 intelligence information. The information I was
21 receiving had to do with information coming from the
22 IPD assistant commanders from the brigades, because
23 that was the procedure.
24 Q. Can you help me with that? Or is the
25 position that reference to a possible attack --
1 A. No. No.
2 Q. -- was simply being advanced as an excuse for
3 plans already afoot to attack places like Ahmici a
4 couple of days later? Is that what was going on? The
5 best form of defence is attack?
6 A. I think this is not true, because today in my
7 presentation I also said that in Ahmici a convoy was
8 stopped, and that because of those events in Ahmici and
9 in Novi Travnik, we practically lost Jajce.
10 Q. The Ahmici attack, where were you at the time
11 of that attack, please?
12 A. What date are you referring to?
13 Q. 16th of April.
14 A. On 16th of April I was at the Operative Zone
16 Q. What can you tell us, please, about the
18 A. If you want the details, I was in my bed when
19 it happened.
20 Q. The evidence -- I'm so sorry. You were in
21 your bed when it happened. Very well. When is that?
22 A. Yes. That was sometime before 6.00 in the
23 morning, and I was awakened by shooting. I got up. I
24 practically hurried to get dressed, came down, and saw
25 that the shells were falling. That was the beginning.
1 Q. Which HVO units were attacking Ahmici, since
2 you were just around the corner? Which ones?
3 A. I don't know who attacked where, because I
4 told you that I was awakened in my bed and not even
5 fully dressed. I ran down into the basement, the
7 Q. And how long did you stay in the basement?
8 A. I stayed there until the signals officer from
9 the British battalion, Bila, came, looking for
10 Mr. Blaskic, in order for Mr. Blaskic to send several
11 HVO people to talk about the ceasefire there.
12 Q. In the time that you were waiting to go to
13 Bila for the ceasefire meeting -- and we know that that
14 meeting started at half past 12.00 -- in those six
15 hours you appreciated that the HVO were attacking
16 villages near to your headquarters. Now, please, which
17 units were doing it?
18 A. First of all, I don't know who attacked
19 where, but I had information that the ABiH was
20 attacking the positions of the HVO.
21 Q. You're in the headquarters of the HVO, in the
22 basement. Who else is in the basement there with you?
24 A. Colonel Blaskic was in the basement.
25 Q. Presumably you're not sitting there in
1 silence; you're discussing what's going on. Did
2 Mr. Blaskic tell you what was going on?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Well, then, what did he tell you, please,
5 about where he deployed his troops?
6 A. He only told me that we had been attacked,
7 and we didn't talk about the deployment of troops.
8 After all, it was unnecessary for him to tell me this,
9 because I was now operations officer in the Central
10 Bosnia Operative Zone, in the sense of military
12 Q. Mr. Prskalo, please, who else was in the
14 A. As far as I recall, Mr. Ljubo Jurcic was in
15 the basement.
16 Q. Where was Mr. Kordic?
17 A. I have no idea where Mr. Kordic was on that
18 day, but I can say with responsibility that he was not
20 Q. For six hours you stayed there, and are you
21 really telling the Court that you know nothing at all
22 of what the HVO forces were doing while you claim you
23 were under attack?
24 A. I really have no information. I'm really
25 telling the truth about details. I only know that on
1 that morning, further to Colonel Blaskic's oral order,
2 I wrote a memorandum to the monitoring mission and to
3 the ABiH regarding these events.
4 Q. All right. And what was that about? Was
5 that a letter of complaint in some way, or what was
6 it? I'm not sure that we've seen it. We may have
7 done, but I don't think so.
8 A. Yes. This was a memorandum, because in all
9 similar cases, we made protests when something like
10 this would happen.
11 Q. There was a planned, an orchestrated series
12 of protests sent off that day and the following day,
13 trying to make out that the HVO were the victims and
14 not the aggressors. That's the truth, isn't it?
15 A. We also received a protest from the ABiH.
16 Q. Well, let's just see what you did at half
17 past 12.00.
18 MR. NICE: Exhibit 671.1, please.
19 Q. So that I can understand this, you've been in
20 fear of your life for six hours, in the basement,
21 suffering an attack. That really is your evidence, is
22 it, Mr. Prskalo?
23 A. Yes, that was so.
24 Q. Taken to the meeting at half past 12.00,
25 coming your way -- the meeting started at half past
1 12.00. Do you have the minutes there in front of you?
2 The English version will go on the ELMO.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Enemy representatives in UNPROFOR
5 headquarters in Bila. Presiding at the meeting,
6 commander of the British battalion, Major Bryan. You
7 and Pilicic, as your assistant, representing the HVO.
8 Dzidic and Sivro and representing the BiH. Topic of
9 the meeting: Cessation of fire in Vitez. HVO
10 requirements: Offensive operations-actions by Muslim
11 forces in Vitez are to be stopped; abducted Commander
12 Totic to be set free; abducted members of the HVO
13 headquarters from Novi Travnik to be released. Colonel
14 Stewart gave a most important piece of information,
15 namely, that Commander Totic was alive and may be
16 expected to be released this very day. Conclusions
17 reached: Cessation of fire, separation of forces,
18 release of prisoners.
19 Are you saying that what you said at this
20 meeting reflected the fact that you had been under
21 solid attack for six hours in the basement? Are you
22 saying that?
23 A. I did not understand that this was a
24 question. I was in the basement until we went to this
1 Q. You don't appear at this meeting to have been
2 making much of the fact that you had been under attack
3 for six hours, in the way you describe, and you say
4 absolutely nothing about the attacks that were being
5 made by the HVO.
6 A. I said that I had no information on that
7 morning about what was actually going on the
8 ground. That there were attacks, that is not in
9 dispute. And I didn't say that the shells kept falling
10 for a full six hours, but only intermittently. Because
11 I can also say that while we were talking in the
12 British battalion compound, that we could hear fire
13 even at that time.
14 Q. The contemporary documents prepared at
15 headquarters would show, or will show, if they exist
16 and are genuine, exactly what troops were deployed.
17 That's correct, isn't it?
18 A. I don't know. If such documents exist, then
19 certainly, yes.
20 Q. And you're not aware of any effort made to
21 make such documents available to you for your
22 consideration before giving evidence, are you?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. Very quickly, Exhibit 631, please.
25 Mr. Prskalo, you're saying, aren't you, that politics
1 and the army were separated, one from the other?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. This is an HDZ document for the 8th of
4 April. It emanates from a meeting on that date.
5 You're not shown as present, but I want your comment on
6 two or three passages of it. At the -- on our page,
7 page 4, under "Military Organisation" -- can you find
8 the title that says "military organisation"?
9 "Military authorities have to work as much
10 as possible on strengthening the military organisation
11 and full readiness for the defence of Croatian
12 territory, and individuals must be appointed to key
13 posts after consultation with the HDZ."
14 A. I'm sorry. I haven't found the passage.
15 Q. The heading is "Military Organisations".
16 It's about the third major title, fourth major title.
17 Have you found it now?
18 A. Yes, I found it. Because this is on page 3,
19 and you said it was on page 4.
20 Q. Sorry. "Appointments after consultation with
21 the HDZ." This was a fully politicised army, wasn't
23 A. I cannot say that, because, for practical
24 purposes, we were going through a phase of
25 organisation. So certain things may have occurred
1 which would not have fallen within his domain.
2 Q. And then over a couple of pages -- it's
3 English version page 6. I'm not sure of the page
4 number in the B/C/S, but it's under the heading
5 "Initiating Activities of the HDZ for the BiH." If
6 you can find that heading, please. And towards the end
7 of the paragraph that has that heading "Initiating
8 Activities of the HDZ for the BiH." Do you have that?
9 It reads as follows, and then you can comment on it if
10 you don't accept it:
11 "The party has to take charge of personnel
12 policy in the municipality's army, police, and senior
13 authorities of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
14 The party has to take ..."
15 I repeat the relevant passage: "The party
16 has to take charge of personnel policy in the army."
17 This is all a reflection of the fact that
18 this was a politicised army and that decisions about
19 the war were being made by politicians.
20 A. I cannot confirm this, because I don't know
21 that such decisions were taken.
22 Q. I'm simply going to have to cut out most of
23 everything else. Do you accept that in his press
24 conferences, Dario Kordic from time to time would say
25 things like this --
1 MR. NICE: And Your Honour, we've provided to
2 the Defence much earlier the whole package of press
3 conferences as recorded in this way.
4 Q. Do you accept that Mr. Kordic would say
5 things like this in his press conference: He would
6 call on the summit of Islamic countries, showing it
7 would be best if he, Alija Izetbegovic, was to move to
8 Jeddah, as it seems that Jeddah is a proper place for
9 him rather than Bosnia-Herzegovina? Is that the sort
10 of thing you heard him say?
11 A. I do not exclude a possibility that such
12 things were said, but I did not hear them.
13 Q. Z376, I think. Just so that I can make my
14 position clear as to your suggestion that there was, on
15 the 15th, an earlier attack on the plateau, there may
16 have been such an attack, but it was later. And what
17 you're saying about that being the earliest attack on
18 the night of the 15th, 16th, is incorrect, and you know
19 it to be incorrect, sir?
20 A. I did not say that it was not true. This was
21 not correct, sir. Could you please repeat the question
22 for me?
23 MR. NICE: [Microphone not activated]
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] My first
1 question to you is: How long are we in session today?
2 I need some time, because it was a very long
3 cross-examination. I wonder if we should start
5 JUDGE MAY: You'll have to be back,
6 Mr. Prskalo, to complete your evidence tomorrow
7 morning, half past 9, please.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
9 at 4 p.m., to be reconvened on
10 Friday, the 5th day of May, 2000, at
11 9.30 a.m.