Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 8913

1 Tuesday, 26 March 2002

2 [Defence Opening Statement]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [Open session]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.13 a.m.

6 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number

8 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic.

9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Before we start, there is a few things I

10 would like to mention. The first one is that this Trial Chamber has made

11 a decision granting the applications for ex parte hearing. The time will

12 be tomorrow afternoon, 3.00.

13 The second matter is that there are still some motions which we

14 are waiting for the response from the Prosecution. We hope the

15 Prosecution could file their response as soon as possible.

16 Well, Mr. Krsnik, I think you owe us an apology since you are

17 late.

18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Yes, of

19 course, I do apologise. I was first late because of the traffic, and then

20 I had to look through the tapes. So that is why I was 15 minutes late,

21 and I really do apologise to everybody in the courtroom and outside it for

22 being late. I hope you'll accept my apologies. Thank you.

23 May I begin?

24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.

25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you.

Page 8914

1 Your Honours, unless I'm mistaken, I think I left off yesterday in

2 the portion of my opening statement in which I was talking about some

3 facts which the Defence will provide evidence of, to prove, with witnesses

4 as well, and I think I was referring to conflicts between the Muslims --

5 or rather a part of the Muslim people in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the

6 Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I think my last sentence

7 yesterday was recognition of the fact that in that war conflict,

8 unfortunately, there were people who were abused and beaten and tortured

9 of all three -- belonging to all three ethnic groups, but as a very sad

10 fact of and consequence of a war conflict, of a lack of education, lack of

11 organisation, and military discipline, disciplines, and military

12 operations. And I think I left off yesterday by saying the following,

13 that the fact of implementing ethnic cleansing was a consequence of the

14 armed conflict, an inescapable consequence of the armed conflict, a

15 consequence in which everybody fell victim, and in which individual crimes

16 and ethnic cleansing, or crimes, were not the objective, not an aim in

17 themselves, but an unfortunate consequence in which the criminal has his

18 full name, his first and last name, and we can't call -- refer to them as

19 a Croat or a Serb or a Muslim, because a people is never a criminal.

20 The Defence will show that there was no persecution of Muslims.

21 They were not sacked from their jobs. The Muslims who had jobs and were

22 employed in institutions or enterprises, economic ones, and who were able

23 to function, who were able to work, remained in their work posts, the ones

24 they had occupied before the conflict. We are going to show that the

25 Muslims -- that it was precisely the Party of Democratic Action that

Page 8915

1 exerted pressure on the Muslims themselves to leave their positions, not

2 to cooperate with, and not to participate in, and not to become employed

3 within, the HVO because, as you know, the HVO was an organisation of both

4 civilian authority and military authority. It was both civil and

5 military.

6 Contrary to the assertions of the Prosecution that the HVO units

7 launched an attack first, the Defence will show and demonstrate before

8 this Trial Chamber and present evidence which say that it was the BiH army

9 which attacked the HVO and that this happened on the 9th of May, 1993 and

10 that the conflict which followed in no case did it target Muslim

11 civilians. The Defence is duty-bound to present evidence and proof to

12 show that the Croatian army neither was nor did it occupy -- and I'm

13 talking about Mostar now. It did not occupy Mostar, and the genesis of

14 the conflict of the so-called Bosnia-Herzegovina army and the HVO, the

15 genesis of that conflict, especially in Mostar, that that was where its

16 origins were, and we will show that Mladen Naletilic himself was not an

17 individual who waged a campaign against the Muslims.

18 The Defence will also present evidence to challenge the claims

19 made that the events in Mostar, Sovici, and Doljani had as their aim

20 ethnic cleansing, and the assumption of control over Mostar and Jablanica,

21 those two municipalities, as well as other municipalities in

22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in order to force the Muslims to leave the territory

23 which they had inhabited up until then. We shall, of course, present

24 evidence and proof to show that my client, Mladen Naletilic, in no way

25 acted with those intentions.

Page 8916

1 And this brings me to the part of the indictment that we have to

2 challenge as the Defence, and of course we will be doing so, and that is

3 the Convicts Battalion and that issue. The Prosecution claims that Mladen

4 Naletilic throughout the material time in this indictment was commander of

5 the Convicts Battalion and that the Convicts Battalion held 200 to 300

6 soldiers grouped in several sub-units and that those sub-units were called

7 the ATJ or ATG, which means anti-terrorist group or anti-terrorist unit,

8 with bases in the municipalities of Mostar, Siroki Brijeg, and Ljubuski.

9 According to the indictment and the position taken by the Prosecution, the

10 main tasks of the Convicts Battalion were combat missions on the front

11 line, expulsions and attacks against Bosnian Muslim civilians in the

12 territories under, as the Prosecution claims, HV and HVO occupation, and

13 that the Convicts Battalion, or the KB, acted as part of or in

14 coordination with the HVO and HV.

15 Your Honours, the Defence will call witnesses who have direct

16 knowledge of the events that took place, and they will be speaking

17 precisely about the Convicts Battalion itself. These witnesses will not

18 be second-hand witnesses, Your Honours. The Defence will present evidence

19 to show that Mladen Naletilic was not the commander of the KB throughout

20 the time, that is to say, at all times material to this indictment, and

21 certainly - and you will be witness to this - that the Defence will call a

22 number of witnesses to show that he was not the main and highest authority

23 either in the HV or the HVO.

24 What the Defence is going to prove is that the Convicts Battalion

25 was established and came into being and that at the beginning only had 10

Page 8917

1 to 20 young men, and at the end of the Serb aggression, it grew to become

2 a unit with 200 to 300 young men. After the demobilisation took place and

3 after the war ended with the Army of Republika Srpska - and this was in

4 December 1992 - and with the departure of the demobilised young men back

5 to Croatia or back to Germany, where they were living and working, a part

6 of them, and the other part to their -- back to their own homes in

7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, without expecting a conflict, especially not a

8 conflict with the Bosnia-Herzegovina army, the HVO attempted to create or

9 to train as the start of some professional units or special purpose units

10 as more elite smaller units within the HVO.

11 So, for example, we have the emergence of the anti-terrorist

12 group, the ATG, and it came -- it was born from under the wings of the

13 young men in the KB, the Convicts Battalion, who had been in the war in

14 1992. They were members of the Convicts Battalion, so they were born from

15 under their wings. And the Baja Kraljevic anti-terrorist group was

16 formed, and it led a soldier's life, which means that they would get up in

17 the morning, salute the flag, have their regular training and exercise in

18 the morning, and everything else that is considered to be the life of a

19 soldier, and they lived in the barracks on the Heliodrom. But within this

20 HVO organisation, it was an independent unit, an autonomous unit, and it

21 received orders from its commander on a daily morning basis. And the

22 Defence will move to prove, in due course, that when it was called to

23 intervene as a unit, as a special-purpose unit, which -- when the front

24 line has to be broken through or when the enemy has broken through the

25 front line and when it is required to act, then it is called in, and it is

Page 8918

1 commanded by the zone commander himself, by the immediate zone commander

2 or the commander of the brigade, or rather the battalion or company, which

3 at that particular moment in time is at the front line. And not only the

4 Baja Kraljevic group but any anti-terrorist group or unit or

5 special-purposes unit and intervention unit would be at that given

6 moment.

7 Your Honours, we are going to present evidence, first and foremost

8 here, to show that the Convicts Battalion existed only in Siroki Brijeg

9 with the old veterans, if I can use that term, those dating back to 1991

10 and 1992, those veterans, who lived in their own homes at Siroki Brijeg or

11 perhaps at the Siroki Brijeg Hotel and that they never numbered -- this

12 unit never numbered more than about 80 people, 80 men, who had rallied

13 together, who rallied together when there was -- when the sound for danger

14 was sounded, and they would rally at the -- as the Baja Kraljevic ATG did,

15 the only difference being that the Convicts Battalion in Siroki Brijeg did

16 not carry out a soldier's life, the life of a soldier in a barracks, if I

17 can put it that way. They did not have any daily briefings, they did not

18 rally every morning for their exercises, et cetera, but we will come to

19 that in due course and demonstrate that through the evidence that we shall

20 present.

21 Therefore, Your Honours, it is very important - it is especially

22 important for the Defence, and we shall endeavour to do so at all times -

23 to give you a picture and to help you understand and differentiate between

24 one unit called the Convicts Battalion, one single unit, and possibly some

25 other groups that are called either anti-terrorist groups or

Page 8919

1 special-purpose units or whatever they may be - the Vinko Skrobo, Benko

2 Penavic, Zeljko Bosna, they all had different names - but they had nothing

3 to do with the Convicts Battalion or its internal organisation and

4 establishment.

5 And this brings me to a situation which the Prosecution claims and

6 refers to the Juka Prazina unit, was under the command of my client, that

7 is what the Prosecution has claimed. Your Honours, we will present

8 evidence and proof to show who Mr. Jusuf Prazina was, nicknamed Juka.

9 I am not going to dwell on his curriculum vitae, but what you

10 should know at this point in time is the following. Mr. Alija Izetbegovic

11 personally appointed this gentleman commander of all the special units of

12 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, at that time in occupied Sarajevo, and he

13 was rapidly to come into conflict not only with Mr. Izetbegovic himself

14 but also with the so-called military professionals of the

15 Bosnia-Herzegovina army in Sarajevo, and his unit at that particular time

16 was the most numerous one and the best organised one within the

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina army, and numbered over 5.000 men. So the conflict

18 came about, on the one side, through fear and the fear of Mr. Prazina and

19 the influence that he could wield in the position that he held, on the one

20 side, and on the other side, Mr. Prazina insisted upon the fact that

21 Sarajevo should be liberated first and then together with everybody who

22 had Bosnia in their hearts, should start liberating - and I say this in

23 inverted commas - should liberate Bosnia and create Bosnia as a future

24 community of all three ethnic groups, all three nations. We are going to

25 provide evidence, Your Honours, to show what the situation was like around

Page 8920

1 him. We're going to bring witnesses who were with him throughout that

2 time and who together with him after the conflict went to Herzegovina.

3 And we will, of course, prove, Your Honours, that the Party of Democratic

4 Action, or rather, its president, Alija Izetbegovic, did not allow nor did

5 he want to hear about any plans to liberate Sarajevo coming from the HVO.

6 Without entering into an analysis of this situation -- and time

7 will tell. And the judges of history along with God's judgement is the

8 most just judgement of all. And because of all the suffering that ensued

9 as a consequence of the situation for all people who lived in Sarajevo --

10 and we're going to show that Sarajevo could have been liberated after a

11 period of two months, two months into the occupation. I think that

12 history and God will be the judges of those and to those who use Sarajevo

13 as propaganda - that was on the CNN news for three years - in order to

14 realise their political goals, falsely depicting the situation and the

15 victims and casualties or creating the image of only one type of victim, a

16 victim on one side. As I say, this could have been reduced to three

17 months, two to three months. And during that time, Sarajevo could have

18 been liberated.

19 Your Honours, let me now concentrate and focus on the specific

20 counts in the indictment. And I'll start off with Mostar, the 9th of May,

21 1992.

22 Your Honours, I don't want to tire you today with that because we

23 will be presenting witnesses to talk about Mostar and what happened prior

24 to the conflict in -- on the 5th of May, 1993. But what I wanted to

25 say -- I do want to say is that we're going to show that the BH army did

Page 8921

1 have plans, did issue orders, which we're going to show here, as early on

2 as the 16th of April, 1993, in which it elaborated a plan of attack and

3 occupation of Mostar, conditionally speaking, because you can't occupy a

4 town of the people living there. You can't occupy my street or my river

5 or my tree, if we're talking about the local inhabitants of Mostar. Today

6 it is a common city, a joint city. A Berlin Wall was never erected there,

7 if I can use the comparison. It is still a city of the people who live

8 there.

9 During the night, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the night

10 between the 8th and the 9th -- may I ask for the Court's indulgence for a

11 moment and your attention, please. If you recall that this is the

12 Bulevar. I don't know if the ELMO is switched on. Do you have the map on

13 your screens?

14 The BH army on the night between the 8th and the 9th, they crossed

15 this line in Mostar, in the town of Mostar. And with their special units,

16 special purpose units -- and we'll show that members of the BH army came

17 from all over Bosnia-Herzegovina. For example, special units, the Jusuf

18 Prazina, nicknamed Zuka, his special unit. Then there was -- there were

19 other ones. And they came to the roundabout here. And the object was to

20 join up and to reach the Zagrebacka or Kalemova Street and join with

21 Vranica, while the other units went to take control of Balinovac. And had

22 they succeeded in doing that, the town of Mostar would have fallen into

23 their hands straight away.

24 Now, how did the attack actually begin? At a preordained sign in

25 the morning, at 3.00, 4.00, or 5.00, a sniper from the Vranica building

Page 8922

1 killed a policeman -- and his surname was Lugonja. He was doing his daily

2 duty. He was in uniform, on the beat, on the job. And the Defence will

3 demonstrate that to this Trial Chamber and provide its evidence and

4 proof.

5 After that -- and let me also say that up until the 9th of May,

6 there was no demarcation line or confrontation line in Mostar at all. But

7 the battle began for each building at each street. But it was only on the

8 10th, or rather, the 9th in the afternoon and the evening on the 9th and

9 the morning of the 10th, the morning of the 10th of May, all morning, the

10 HVO units who were stationed in Mostar, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th Battalion, as

11 they were called, and the commanders of the brigades in which these

12 battalions -- of which these battalions were commanded per and in part.

13 We're going to bring in those commanders here into the courtroom. And as

14 eyewitnesses, they will be able to tell you what happened; as well as the

15 people who had been taken prisoner on the 9th of May and the 10th of May,

16 around this Rondo, round point, in that locality. Some of them were freed

17 in a counterattack, but others were taken into detention, across the

18 Bulevar, across the Neretva River, to be imprisoned for ten days; others

19 for one month; and others only in 1994. As for example, some evidence

20 that we're going to put forward here, that the parish priest of the

21 cathedral was taken into custody and detained in that way.

22 And it was only at the intervention of the Vatican itself, was

23 exchanged -- later to be exchanged, and when he was pulled out of the

24 eastern part of Bosnia, we are going to show this beyond all doubt, he was

25 killed on the eastern side, this parish priest. He was an officer of the

Page 8923

1 Spanish army, who was -- that is to say this officer of the Spanish army,

2 who was a member of UNPROFOR at the time.

3 Your Honours, I have been told by my colleagues that the

4 transcript says that the parish priest was killed. It was not the parish

5 priest. It was the officer of the Spanish army who was killed.

6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's mistake.

7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] When the action was launched to pull

8 out the parish priest from detention, from prison, from the left to the

9 right bank of the River Neretva. And through all due respect, every year,

10 to commemorate his death, in Medjugorje, at his grave, a mass is held.

11 And I'm not clear today what the indictment and Prosecution wanted to say

12 by presenting evidence in that regard. That is why we have done our best,

13 Your Honours, that the people who participated in those events should be

14 your witnesses and should come here into this courtroom to tell what -- to

15 tell us what actually happened.

16 Your Honour, I would just like to tell you -- give you a few

17 details which you will certainly be interested in and these are details we

18 will present in this Tribunal. We will present evidence to prove that

19 (redacted) was in Vranica, but not as a civilian but as a

20 commander at the time, and when the plan failed on the 10th, that is to

21 say when the units of the BH army were pushed back to the Bulevar, from

22 that date, the 9th of May, this famous Bulevar became the confrontation

23 line, the demarcation line right up until the Washington Agreement. [redacted]

24 [redacted]

25 [redacted]

Page 8924

1 [redacted] the Vranica building, and a surrender was carried out.

2 JUDGE CLARK: I'm a little worried, Mr. Krsnik, about what you're

3 saying now - [redacted]

4 [redacted]

5 [redacted]

6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] We can go into closed session. I

7 will immediately explain what it is about. I never said who the witness

8 was. I'm only speaking about the names of the people who participated in

9 those events. I mentioned a lot of names, but I never said, and I will

10 never mention, who the witness was or the name of the witness, but these

11 are the names of the people, of a series of people, who unfortunately

12 participated on all sides in the history of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And who

13 the witness was, I never said that, and it wouldn't cross my mind to say

14 such a thing.

15 JUDGE CLARK: I may be mistaken, Mr. Krsnik, but the name at

16 line - I'm no good at reading this - 1409;48:33, was that not a protected

17 witness?

18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we go into a

19 private session now?

20 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think we better go to private session for a

21 few minutes.

22 [Private session]

23 [redacted]

24 [redacted]

25 [redacted]

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Page 8929

1 [redacted]

2 [redacted]

3 [redacted]

4 [redacted]

5 [redacted]

6 [redacted]

7 [redacted]

8 [redacted]

9 [Open session]

10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I certainly won't mention names any

11 more. I shall do my best not to do. So I'll just focus on the events.

12 The event is important. And that was on the 9th of May, 1993 in Mostar.

13 The Defence shall provide irrefutable evidence by calling

14 witnesses and will show how an attempt at deception was made and we shall

15 prove how the HVO attacked for no reason -- an attempt was made to prove

16 how the HVO attacked for no reason in the Vranica building, which is in

17 the centre of town and the only reason being to take one more building. I

18 didn't -- I couldn't see any other reasons. So our witnesses, Your

19 Honours, will say what happened exactly here, and they will talk about all

20 the people who in the attempt to capture Mostar were captured, were taken

21 away from their flats in the west of Mostar and, as I said, right up to --

22 have a look once more. I will show you where -- how far they got. They

23 crossed the Bulevar. And this is where they arrived. This is where

24 Vranica is. Some of the units even reached Balinovac. And then in a

25 two-day fight, there was a fight for houses, for streets. They were

Page 8930

1 pushed back, and they came to the Bulevar. They reached the Bulevar. And

2 since then, the Bulevar has been the demarcation line -- the Bulevar was

3 the demarcation line.

4 And now, Your Honours, we will show you that up until the 13th of

5 June, there really was nothing else happening, nothing. For two months,

6 there was absolute peace, absolute peace in Mostar. Why? Because there

7 were peace initiatives which had been started by all sides, both by the

8 International Community, by the Croatian president, and by the sides

9 involved in the conflict themselves.

10 And when did the conflict start again? Again, this was an

11 attack - and this is something that has been recognised in the indictment

12 too - an attack by the BH army against the northern camp. And they called

13 it liberation. I don't know in whose name they were liberating it and

14 from whom. And this camp was on the eastern side. It was on the other

15 side of the River Neretva. And while doing this, they liberated Croats

16 from their homes, and they took them into captivity to Bijelo Polje,

17 Vrapcici. These were all municipalities of the town of Mostar, on the

18 east or left bank.

19 They founded a number of camps on the left bank, the well-known

20 building of the SDK, the 4th primary school, the primary school in Bijelo

21 Polje, where during 1993 -- throughout 1993 and right up until 1994 in

22 March, civilians too - about 80 per cent were civilians - were kept in

23 detention by the BH army there. Unfortunately - and I will always refer

24 to this - when they say "we liberated" something, well, they liberated --

25 well, whether it was a Muslim or a Croat and had been living in the

Page 8931

1 municipality of Mostar for 200 years, who did they liberate him from?

2 They liberated him from himself, just because he was a Croat. I think

3 this is very hypocritical to say that the BH army was liberating Bosnia.

4 Perhaps they were liberating Bosnia. But the territory which they were

5 going to take, which they were going to seize and Islamise, yes, in that

6 manner, yes; in those terms, yes, they were liberating it from members of

7 other faiths or of other peoples; in that sense, yes, they really were

8 liberating it.

9 I would now ask the technician to show us the videotape. I think

10 it's still tape number 1. I don't know if we have contact with the

11 technical booth. Could you please ...

12 Please, could you fast-forward it a bit.

13 [Videotape played]

14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I need the second supplement, not

15 this one. Could you stop here for a moment, please.

16 So after the 9th of May, there was a peace initiative. This came

17 from Dr. Franjo Tudjman. And it first started by providing Alija

18 Izetbegovic and Mate Boban with a message. And finally following his

19 initiative, on the 18th of May, in Medjugorje, representatives of the

20 International Community and all the sides of the conflict met. And Franjo

21 Tudjman was at the head of the Croatian delegation. Alija Izetbegovic

22 headed the Muslim delegation. And on behalf of the International

23 Community, there was Mr. Owen, Mr. Stoltenberg. The representative of the

24 European Community, I think it was Mr. Jenson. The UNPROFOR commander, I

25 think his name was General Wahlgren.

Page 8932

1 Could we please show this part. Could you fast-forward a bit,

2 please.

3 [Videotape played]

4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] These are various quotations here,

5 messages.

6 Could you stop here for a bit. Please could you stop the

7 videotape and could you rewind it a bit. Stop here. Stop it here.

8 So this part is the one I need, the one that comes after this

9 image here, and the one which concludes it -- let's start here. And we

10 need the sound too, please.

11 [Videotape played]

12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] The Spanish officer who tragically

13 died, there was a mass for him in Medjugorje. And the Mostar bishop gave

14 this mass. The officer of the battalion died while he was being taken out

15 of captivity. Following the tragic death of the Spanish officer, the

16 commander of the Spanish Battalion expressed his condolences -- was given

17 the condolences by Mate Boban. The fate of the Croats who have been

18 surrounded in the municipality of Konjic is still not sure. There are

19 still Croatian villages which are surrounded by Muslims and have been

20 surrounded for over a month.

21 Well-known diplomats arrived at the airport. This was a matter of

22 considerable interest, and there were representatives of the media. They

23 gathered here, following the initiative from Dr. Franjo Tudjman. They

24 were speaking about how to put an end to the unnecessary conflict between

25 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croats, the HVO in Mostar, in

Page 8933

1 Northern Herzegovina, and in Central Herzegovina -- Central Bosnia. So

2 how to stop the conflict in the provinces which should belong to the

3 Croats according to the Vance-Owen Plan.

4 David Owen was there and the Norwegian diplomat Stoltenberg was

5 present too.

6 [In English] ... in Mostar and around these areas stopped.

7 [Voiceover] We want to see an end to this conflict. We want to

8 see the HVO and the BH army. We want to see this conflict stopped between

9 them. We want to find a political solution which will enable them to live

10 as partners, which will enable these constituent peoples to live as

11 partners. They shave the municipalities of Travnik and Vranica. This is

12 how we have to speak with everyone, and we don't want to see anyone in

13 captivity.

14 The public wasn't present at the talks. And in one case, Alija

15 Izetbegovic wasn't present when Tudjman was there. So the usual messages

16 for the public were not present, and we had to rely on the participants'

17 announcements. Alija Izetbegovic arrived at the airport and said that he

18 wasn't an optimist. This is all he said. And before flying to

19 Medjugorje, when he spoke to the Russian minister of the foreign office

20 and to Stoltenberg and Pederson he didn't change his mood. And in

21 response to the journalists, he just remained -- in response to

22 journalists' questions, he remained silent.

23 Tudjman commented on what Izetbegovic had said yesterday, and he

24 said that the HVO units were paramilitary units. This is what was

25 claimed. This is quite incredible. It's hard to understand how such a

Page 8934

1 conclusion can be reached, given that Mr. Izetbegovic signed a document

2 where he spoke about the fact that the HVO was a regular army. Not a

3 paramilitary formation, just as regular as the BH army. And it is a

4 well-known fact that the HVO prevented the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina

5 from falling into the hands of the greater Serbian policies. This is a

6 document that he signed, and our friendship was based on this and our

7 cooperation was based on this. And this is quite incomprehensible. And

8 we shall try to address this in our talks today and to reestablish

9 relations between Croatia and Bosnia.

10 Neils Pederson was not at all talkative. He came to give the

11 viewpoint of the 12 members of the European Union. Koziraf [phoen] said,

12 "The situation is difficult, but it's not terrible. What is important is

13 that all the people that we have spoken to, including Izetbegovic,

14 Tudjman, and all of them spoke about the validity of the Vance-Owen Plan,

15 and they admitted the possibility of implementing it in a progressive

16 way. We'll meet in Belgrade with the Serbian side, that is to say, the

17 Yugoslav side. And afterwards we will have close consultations with

18 others. Later we will have detailed talks with our American partners."

19 In response to the question how would Vance Owen's plan be

20 implemented, he said -- Koziraf said, "I have close contacts with the

21 American secretary. We spoke last night. And I intend to maintain these

22 close contacts. Please don't think that there could be any disagreement.

23 However, it is agreed that the Croatian president was the greatest victor

24 here, and the commander of the UNPROFOR forces confirmed this too, the

25 Swedish General, Eric Wahlgren. Tudjman is the host, yes. He invited us

Page 8935

1 to this meeting. And I might perhaps be the host in the command of the

2 French Battalion. All the participants went to Medjugorje from Split.

3 Yes, representatives of the Croatian people arrived in Medjugorje today.

4 It was a meeting suggested by Dr. Franjo Tudjman. Lord Owen was also

5 there" --

6 MR. KRSNIK: Stop there, please.

7 [Interpretation] I have been warned not to show lengthy videotapes

8 in the course of my opening statement. And -- but you have seen some of

9 the tapes, and this is my first opening statement. And I think that brief

10 photographs and images should be shown. But I think that you have been

11 able to see Dr. Franjo Tudjman and the events that were filmed.

12 But the participants of the meeting will come and testify here,

13 and we hope to show that despite what was happening this time in Mostar,

14 that is to say on the 9th of May, initiatives never ceased to bring the

15 conflict to an end, and this was one attempt, the attempt in Medjugorje,

16 to ensure that the conflicting parties, the Muslims and the Croats in this

17 particular case, be stopped, or to prevent them from starting again,

18 especially as the Vance-Owen Plan was to enter its -- the stage of

19 application. It was signed by both the Croats and the Muslims.

20 But there were constant obstructions, and now it becomes clear why

21 we or why anybody signing a peace plan of any kind on several occasions

22 never actually wants to implement it in the field.

23 At that meeting, it was the will to implement the Vance-Owen Plan

24 was reiterated and to release all the prisoners, all for all, on the

25 principle of all for all, and on that occasion, everybody was released,

Page 8936

1 all those who were brought into the so-called camp, some people referred

2 to it as a camp, others to refer to it as a collection centre, in the

3 prison building, which was in the one-time JNA barracks, which are

4 referred to and called the Heliodrom.

5 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but could you

6 inform me how long are you going to take? If you could finish your

7 opening statement in 15 minutes, we will go on, but if not, we will have

8 our break.

9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll need half an hour

10 at the most, perhaps 15 minutes but half an hour at the most. I go to

11 Mostar, to Sovici and Rastani, with which I conclude my opening

12 statement.

13 JUDGE LIU: Well, we'll have our break and we'll resume at quarter

14 to 11.00.

15 --- Recess taken at 10.18 a.m.

16 --- On resuming at 10.50 a.m.

17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, please continue.

18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

19 Your Honours, I have had a few consultations during the break and

20 I think I can say that I will be over in approximately half an hour. I

21 have made some adjustments.

22 We were talking about Medjugorje and the peace efforts and the

23 agreement that was reached in Medjugorje, and on the basis of that

24 agreement, from the collection centre or camp or whatever you like to call

25 it that was called the Heliodrom, all those were released except those who

Page 8937

1 were ascertained to be members of the BH army, and we are going to show

2 you through our evidence that there were exactly 599 of them, army

3 members. This figure I have quoted because there were lists, even when

4 they were a joint army, and those members who were not from Mostar but who

5 had come from different parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina and whom people didn't

6 know, they of course had to go through a phase of examination, to see

7 where they had come from and who they were, and this is natural in every

8 military procedure. The courts were functioning and there was a military

9 court that was established, which conducted investigations and legal

10 proceedings, and we will demonstrate that about 600 individuals were

11 processed in this way, and the judgements by the investigating court in

12 Mostar prescribed for detention. So they were not punished only because

13 they were Muslims, as they would have you believe, but because they put --

14 took part in an armed conflict. Some were suspected of having looted,

15 pilfered, burnt and so on. So that is why they were held in detention and

16 sent to the prison in Ljubuski or the military court sent him to the

17 Heliodrom.

18 Your Honours, if there is fighting for every building and every

19 street, can you imagine the situation in a high-rise building, where the

20 inhabitants are Muslims, Croats and Serbs all living together? And can

21 you just imagine if all of them are armed to the teeth what the situation

22 would have been like? But thank goodness, there were not more casualties

23 and victims than there were, faced with a situation of that kind and a

24 situation in which nobody believed anybody, and the political and media

25 propaganda that was ongoing on a daily basis, that they -- the people were

Page 8938

1 armed, that there was a state of anarchy in which everybody was shooting.

2 In order to establish the functioning of a town, in order to

3 ensure that a town functioned, you first had to put a stop to the

4 conflict, and so it would be logical to see which of the inhabitants were

5 armed and which were not, and if people were carrying arms without being

6 authorised to do so, then those arms would necessarily be taken away from

7 them, a curfew would be introduced or other restrictions and limitations

8 in movement, and as there were several hundred people or thousands of

9 people, you couldn't put them all into a police station or a court

10 facility, they couldn't be put up all together, in order to be able to

11 investigate and see who is who amongst all these people, where they came

12 from, how they arrived in Mostar, why they had weapons, did he use a

13 weapon, did he perhaps kill someone or not. All these things have to be

14 established and investigated. And to interview and investigate all these

15 people, you had to organise them somewhere, and with the -- but with the

16 aim of preventing a conflict and not in expelling these people. And that

17 that was so, Your Honours, we are going to call witnesses and present

18 evidence to show that throughout the conflict, or rather, that the attack

19 of the BH army on Mostar, in the western part of Mostar throughout that

20 time -- figures vary of course, but our witnesses will show, and we will

21 call in other evidence, that at least seven and a maximum of 12.000

22 Muslims normally lived -- lived a normal life on the right bank of the

23 river, or rather, in Western Mostar. We will also show through our

24 evidence and with our witnesses with that from the eastern part, the

25 Mostar municipality on the east bank, east side, was displaced. That is

Page 8939

1 to say, 8.000 Croats were displaced from that eastern bank never to

2 return. That is another figure. And it is interesting to note that 73

3 members of the Croat nation lives on that eastern bank today. That is

4 all.

5 And you will hear witnesses invoking the reasons for that,

6 especially after the second BiH army on the 30th of June without cause,

7 with the aim merely of taking control of more territory, of seizing

8 Vrapcici, Bijelo Polje, in order to launch an attack on Rastani a little

9 while later. And Rastani was almost empty because before then, there was

10 the Serbs who lived there mostly. The Serbs were the majority population

11 in that part. But had they succeeded in taking over Rastani and holding

12 their positions, Mostar would have fallen into their hands on its own.

13 So this was a fight for territory, for the seizure of territory,

14 and not for the liberation Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nobody could liberate

15 Bosnia-Herzegovina from the members of that community and the owners of

16 that state, the Serbs, the Croats, and the Muslims. So whenever I use

17 that term, I will always use it with reservation and under inverted commas

18 because they all lived there. A Muslim can't say that he liberated Bosnia

19 from the Serbs or from the Croats or vice versa or any one of them. All

20 they can say is that they enlarged their territory, the territory on which

21 they will exercise their power and authority. That is what can be said

22 and will logically follow on from what I have said so far and which I will

23 prove with the evidence I will present. So there was no aggression

24 exerted on Bosnia and Herzegovina. If I may caricature the situation, for

25 Bulgaria for example, and then you know you have these occupiers, these

Page 8940

1 Bulgarians. And then it is up to us to liberate our country from the

2 Bulgarian occupation, if I can use that figure of speech or example. It

3 was people from the territory who wanted to achieve supremacy over that

4 territory.

5 The Defence will also move to show that my client on the 23rd of

6 September was not in Rastani at all nor was the Convicts Battalion in

7 Rastani there at all, in Rastani. They were in a locality called

8 Djubrani, which is 15 kilometres away from Rastani on a hill. And the

9 reason they were there was that if Djubrani were to fall, then in Siroki

10 Brijeg, you would reach Siroki Brijeg in 15 minutes' time.

11 The units which held the positions in Rastani - and it was the 2nd

12 Battalion of the 2nd Brigade of the HVO - was reinforced by combat units

13 and group; once they lost their positions with the combat units, returned

14 them. And we will show that that was so through the evidence that we're

15 going to present.

16 For illustration purposes, Your Honours, although I'm not a

17 military man myself or a military expert, I'm going to show you some

18 maps. I'll try and explain them to you.

19 Your Honours, with the Court's indulgence, allow me to explain.

20 This is Mostar. This blue line is the River Neretva. This is the

21 locality where the town ends and where Rastani begins. So this is quite

22 close by. The BiH army attacked from two main axes, one across the

23 hydroelectric power plant, from the bottom side of Rastani, and the other

24 line of attack was from the Vrapcici area where it crossed the River

25 Neretva and entered directly into the area, so that these HVO units found

Page 8941

1 themselves in an encirclement under siege. And you will see what happened

2 to them.

3 The BH army assumed control of this area here and took the HVO

4 from the back and reached Mostar from the rear. Now, what happens?

5 There's a counterattack launched by the HVO. The 2nd Battalion of the

6 2nd Brigade, as I said, which held its positions here, attacked from two

7 main axes. And it was reinforced. And this is the legend which I will

8 translate and interpret for you. They were reinforced with an infantry

9 platoon, 15 soldiers. So these were mobile groups, or rather, infantry

10 groups, and they numbered between 15 to 20 men. There was a counterattack

11 from this dam here, the dam across the Neretva River, Solakovac. And they

12 assumed this position here and were able to regain this territory. But

13 the Convicts Battalion did not take part in that. And the witnesses that

14 we're going to call will bear that out.

15 On the 30th of June, Your Honours, we can say definitively that

16 the conflict became a lasting conflict from the 30th of June up until the

17 Washington Agreements. It was ongoing and continuous during that period

18 of time until the Washington Agreements in February, 1994.

19 We are going to show that the 9th of May was no beginning to the

20 war, as the Prosecution wanted to show. It was just one of a series of

21 incidents, as we refer to them, because for two months, absolutely nothing

22 was going on in Mostar for two whole months, except in the same way that

23 it had been for the five months previously, sniper shots, individual

24 arrests and things of that kind.

25 Up until the 30th of June, in the Northern Camp, members of the

Page 8942

1 BiH and HVO lived together and we are going to prove that with our

2 evidence and you will see why, on the 30th of June, in particular, the

3 localities in Rotimlja or rather members of the Bregava Brigade arrested

4 people in Capljina and so on, because on the 30th of June, they received

5 an order that all members of the Muslim people, unless they take the side

6 and stand on the side of the BiH army - and they are in the HVO units, of

7 course - unless they act on the orders issued by the BiH army, then they

8 should arrest all the members of the HVO where they were a minority and

9 they generally held the lines facing the Army of Republika Srpska, and

10 that's what happened on all the front lines, where they were together,

11 where the HVO members and the BiH army were together.

12 And if I may put it this way, it was a race to see who would

13 arrest whom first. It wasn't that somebody was arrested just because he

14 was a Muslim, whereas he was wearing a uniform, he was armed with a

15 Kalashnikov and was shooting around. So -- and to say that the only

16 reason why such a person would be arrested was because he was a Muslim.

17 You will hear exactly what happened in the barracks on the 30th of

18 June, because we have a viva voce witness who is going to testify about

19 that. You will hear his story, and it's very important because some

20 witnesses in this courtroom also told their tale as to what happened on

21 the 30th of June. But, as I say, you will hear that and all the rest, and

22 I hope my learned colleague of the Prosecution will not object tu quoque

23 because that particular witness -- we will bring one witness forward to

24 testify to those circumstances and facts, and he will tell you what the

25 situation was like when the Northern Camp fell, and everything he

Page 8943

1 experienced and lived through.

2 And once again, there is no Convicts Battalion there. It's not

3 there on the 5th of May. It is not there on the 30th of June. There are

4 no units or subunits of the KB in Mostar, and let me explain why. Well,

5 gentlemen, even an unorganised army of that kind, a fledgling army, which

6 is what the HVO was, if it has units up at the front line, wouldn't it be

7 logical that they have one commander? Like take the Bulevar, for

8 example. Can you imagine that hundreds of people were in control and

9 issuing orders to the Bulevar? There is one city, one operative zone and

10 one headquarters, one main staff command.

11 Do you think that each unit could act when it liked and say to

12 itself, "Well, I'm going to cross the Bulevar and launch an attack"? No

13 matter how -- what lack of organisation existed, that could not have taken

14 place. Otherwise, people would have been killed like flies. And we are

15 going to test this fact and bear it out through the witnesses that we are

16 going to call. They will tell you what the situation was like and what

17 was true and what was not true. And we could have learnt that much

18 earlier on, had we wanted to be objective.

19 We shall also prove that the Benko Penavic and Vinko Skrobo units

20 were not under the command of the Convicts Battalion, and even if it was,

21 even if they were, once they are in the operative zone, and in this case,

22 the zone of Mostar or any other zone, for that matter, they are

23 subordinated to that operative zone. So even if they were, the KB would

24 not have been able to command. Let me repeat and reiterate, it would be

25 the operative zone in whose area the units were located.

Page 8944

1 The Defence will also show that Mladen Naletilic had nothing to do

2 with the Heliodrom, Dretelj, or any other collection centre or camp,

3 whichever you like to call it, and that he could not have done anything to

4 change or determine the conditions in the collection centres.

5 The Defence will also show that he was never in a collection

6 centre of any kind, or ever visit anybody in a collection centre. And had

7 he been there, I'm sure the Prosecution would have evidence about that,

8 because each of the visits was recorded, every visit was recorded, and I'm

9 sure that the Prosecution would gladly have shown us a document to that

10 effect, had that been the case. And even if he had been, was that a

11 crime? Now the question is in what capacity he was there and what he did

12 there. That is the question.

13 It is very difficult for the Defence now -- because some witnesses

14 did not give us any dates or any time, hour, not even the month or day,

15 all we know is the year, sometimes an approximate month or an approximate

16 season, they would say late autumn, for example, and it's very easy to

17 show as some witnesses testified here, I have to be very careful not to

18 disclose anybody's identity at this point, but if they said that

19 Mr. Naletilic was at the Heliodrom, it would be very good if we could at

20 least hear the month, and if we heard the month from a witness, then it

21 would be easy for us to prove where our client was at that particular

22 time. Now we have to accept that assertion and claim, and we have to do a

23 lot of guess-work and try and guess where my client was in the month of

24 July or the month of September or August, for example.

25 And as we have mentioned September, that was the month that the

Page 8945

1 HVO started to reorganise, which ended in January, 1994. The

2 reorganisation went on until January, 1994. The organisation of the HVO

3 as it was up until that date was disbanded and brigades were set up, and

4 according to that new model of organisation, the HB de facto ceased to

5 exist, not de jure, of course, and it became extinguished ultimately in

6 December and no longer existed. And I'm saying this because we are going

7 to show documents as to salaries and so on, how people collected their

8 salaries, incomes and so on, where they went to collect them and so on and

9 so forth.

10 Your Honours, the Defence shall also prove -- shall also present

11 evidence on what the situation really was at the Heliodrom, and we will

12 show that the civilians -- that civilians, as civilians, were not there

13 but perhaps as prisoners of war or people who were fit for military

14 service, so anyone would be released if he said that he wouldn't be

15 military active. In such cases, such a person would be released from the

16 Heliodrom. But to a -- they were there to a lesser extent than members of

17 the BH army, and those people, none of them, whether a prisoner of war or

18 a civilian or a soldier, none of them was taken there in accordance with

19 the decision taken by Mladen Naletilic, not a single one of them, and this

20 is something that we shall prove. Even if he had wanted to, he never had

21 the authority to do so, and this is something that we will prove too, Your

22 Honours. I know it's very difficult to defend the position after three

23 years, after two years in detention, in this Tribunal, and then say, "Who

24 have you brought here?" He should be someone very powerful, with a lot of

25 authority, but it's difficult to say. Perhaps his place is not here, but

Page 8946

1 this is exactly the sort of person we are talking about, and you will hear

2 about this today in very clear terms.

3 And Your Honours, I still have to explain the case of Sovici. I

4 left this for the end deliberately. And after that, I think that I will

5 have finished my opening statement.

6 Your Honours, before I start elaborating on the Sovici case, I saw

7 a marking here, I saw an indication here, I have said nothing about Siroki

8 Brijeg, so I will address this shortly. The police station in Siroki

9 Brijeg - and this is something that the Defence will show - was under the

10 MUP, the Ministry of the Interior, the MUP of the Croatian Community of

11 Herceg-Bosna. And that police station - and this is quite clear and

12 logical - no one else could have commanded that police station other than

13 them and their ministries. No army could have had this under their

14 command, no Convicts Battalion. Do you really think that a police station

15 of any country, even if it's a banana country like the HZ HB, to

16 caricature it in this manner, do you think anyone could have entered the

17 police station of such an entity and beat anyone whenever they felt like

18 it?

19 We will prove that this was not the case, that this was not

20 possible. And we shall call witnesses who will provide evidence of this

21 viva voce. We will prove the contrary. We will prove that the so-called

22 prisoners in Siroki Brijeg were in fact not prisoners at all, because they

23 spent more time visiting the bars in Siroki Brijeg, and this is something

24 that we will prove too, and their request which was to return from Ljbuski

25 to Siroki Brijeg, they wouldn't have asked to return if they hadn't had it

Page 8947

1 so good there. They slept in the building, in which the Defence -- half

2 of the building was the Defence Department, the civilian part of the

3 municipality, which had to deal with military and mobilisation issues and

4 other issues, and in the other half of the building, the other half was

5 inhabited by prisoners. They ate the same food, they smoked the same

6 cigarettes, and you will hear that. They were protected by the Home

7 Guard, and they were not able to -- who were not able to do anything else

8 because of their age. And they will come here and tell you viva voce how

9 it was for them. And there were jokes going around in Siroki Brijeg.

10 They would say, "They are prisoners, they are carrying the guards' rifles,

11 and the drunken guard is on their backs." And this is something that

12 really happened. You will hear about this.

13 We will now show and provide irrefutable evidence that my client,

14 Mladen Naletilic, never entered the police station in Siroki Brijeg and

15 never arrived in Brkovici, but I'm not going to talk about this because

16 the Prosecutor didn't talk about this very much either, so there is no

17 point in me talking about this, addressing this matter.

18 But we will provide irrefutable evidence of this to this

19 Tribunal. And you know that in accordance to the propaganda article that

20 I showed you yesterday about who would be on trial in The Hague, you will

21 see why some witnesses were very ready to mention Cikota as a surname,

22 that is the first name, as the last name, but they forgot that the person

23 they were thinking of, and the person they were thinking about here, they

24 forgot to renounce him, they weren't well prepared, because that

25 gentleman, right up until 1995 - and this is something that we will show

Page 8948

1 you here too - he lived and he worked 300 kilometres away from Siroki

2 Brijeg, in the Republic of Croatia. He worked there as a policeman in the

3 Republic of Croatia. I'm approaching the end. I'm going to move on to

4 Sovici now. I deliberately left this for the end because I think it

5 deserves more attention than the other cases. But I'm not going to tire

6 you for much longer.

7 Your Honours, if you could follow this, if you could follow my

8 pencil on the screen, you will see that this is an area that is called

9 Vrisovac. Blidinsk Zaravan is here. Some people also call it Blidinje

10 for this reason. Here, I'll try and show you some photographs to

11 illustrate this. We made an effort.

12 Your Honours, Sovici and Doljani are down here. And on this side

13 is the plain which is called Vrisovac. It's surrounded. Here you have

14 Sovici and Doljani. They're surrounded by hills, such mountainous

15 terrain. Here you can see it very clearly. It's surrounded on all

16 sides.

17 Down here you have Jablanica, and you can see it's in the valley.

18 Each soldier, even an uneducated one, was quite -- it was quite clear to

19 him who had these hills. The fighting took place on the hills and not in

20 the valleys. That's why the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, it

21 dug trenches up there in the mountainous terrain. They looked like this.

22 You can see here. And they're still there right now today. We took these

23 photographs a year ago. You can see here. You can see the machine-gun

24 nests here. And for this reason, they took those hills, those

25 elevations. You can see them here. This is the so-called Pasje Stjene.

Page 8949

1 You can see the road which goes to Sovici. And here you can see the

2 Blidinska plain.

3 I'm showing you this in order to reach -- for one reason. Here in

4 this photograph, can you see the road? That's the flat part of land.

5 They can see Blidinje here. Whoever comes here, they can see it. If the

6 HVO really wanted to attack them, would they have come during the day with

7 lorries? Would they have gathered there and then come there if they had

8 had the intention to attack? Is that how they would have carried out an

9 attack? They would probably have come by night, taken their positions in

10 the elevations, because whoever takes the elevations no longer has the

11 need to enter Sovici.

12 Here you can see a view from the other side. If I am standing at

13 Sovicka Vrata, it's from the other side. I think this is called Brbusak

14 [phoen]. On the 16th, the night of the 16th, Paket transmission sent a

15 message. They said that they were surrounded, totally surrounded. They

16 were surrounded up in the hills. The second place at which they were

17 surrounded was between the villages and the elevations. And the first

18 point at which they were surrounded was in the village itself, because the

19 relation of the ratio of forces was not 3 to 1, as the witnesses said, but

20 in military terms, 7 to 1. That was the ratio of forces. The logistics

21 base was in Jablanica. And at that time they had 10.000 soldiers there.

22 And the first mayor -- the first bigger place, which was in the HVO hands,

23 is about 30 kilometres from -- no, 20 kilometres from Sovici. Also

24 Posusje, Tomislavgrad, and perhaps from the bottom side -- well, yes,

25 Posusje and Tomislavgrad. That's about 20 kilometres away.

Page 8950

1 And then it's necessary to climb up the hill which is an elevation

2 of 1.200 metres. This is 1.500 metres high here. And in Blidinje, it's

3 about 1.200 metres high. You have to climb up there. And Sovici itself I

4 think it is at an altitude of 600 metres. This may not be quite precise.

5 I'm just sort of giving you average figures.

6 Here on the left you can see quite clearly, you can see the whole

7 valley quite clearly. Sovici is here and Doljani is here. That's the

8 road which is descending here. Here you can quite clearly see the road

9 too from the position of Sovicka Vrata. It's leading into the village.

10 And to tell you the truth, this has now been modernised a bit, this road,

11 because before, there was another road which was called the Road to

12 Salvation, and it was built by the HVO. And the witnesses will show that

13 the humanitarian aid passed through this road to everyone in Bosnia and

14 Herzegovina during the time that the territory was being seized by the

15 Serbians, by the Army of Republika Srpska. About two to three hundred

16 thousand refugees passed down that road in Sovicka Vrata and Blidinje.

17 They were met by Caritas. They were provided with aid, with care, because

18 the people would arrive without anything. You can see here. That's the

19 so-called Sovicka Vrata. That's the first time -- this is the first time

20 you can see it here in the photograph. That's where the flat part of land

21 finishes, and this is where you start descending into Sovici. When you

22 leave Sovicka Vrata, you can see the hills here. So now we have come

23 through that -- the Sovicka Vrata, and we have arrived here. Army --

24 members of the BH army were here. And when the HVO army wanted to enter

25 Sovici, they were fired upon. And then they returned, they went back.

Page 8951

1 Here you can see all these photographs. When you pass through the

2 Sovicka Vrata, this is what you can see. One more time, Sovicka Vrata.

3 And now we have come to here. I'm at Pasje Stjene now. This is in the

4 valley which is called Blidinje Vrisovac. And here you can see -- Sovicka

5 Vrata is here. You see? So we take this road to get there, and then

6 start descending towards Sovici by this route.

7 And where this photograph was taken from, that's where the

8 trenches of the BH army were. And look, not even an ant could pass by

9 this way without it being seen. When on the night of the 16th they

10 received that dramatic appeal and they were told that a massacre was being

11 prepared for them because such a massacre had already taken place in

12 Orliste, Drusina, and in Pristina two days earlier. This is when it

13 happened. So 16 Croats and Muslims -- news about this came into Sovici in

14 the same way. Croatian villages had been closed down into small enclaves

15 and were then cleansed. This happened in all the Croatian villages in the

16 area of Konjic. And now it was the turn for Sovici and Doljani. Why?

17 Because one side was protecting its flank. The BH army was protecting its

18 flank. And it could never carry out a plan, especially not in Neretva

19 93 -- within Neretva 93. It couldn't carry out a serious attack on Mostar

20 without protecting its flank, securing its flank, and protecting Jablanica

21 on the one side. And on the other side, at any time they could have

22 descended and taken Tomislavgrad, Siroki Brijeg, and Rama, because whoever

23 held Pasje Stjene also held all these places I have mentioned. Those

24 weren't reasons for which they might have been afraid of being attacked by

25 the Army of the Republika Srpska. The Army of the Republika Srpska

Page 8952

1 had nothing to look for here. It never even crossed their mind to turn up

2 here. Their first lines were 50 kilometres away from there, at least 50

3 kilometres away, and that was Kupres. I'm telling you all about this just

4 to show how certain things are quite transparent, very transparent.

5 I apologise to the interpreters. I get a bit carried away

6 sometimes. I'm really going to try to slow down. But I don't think it

7 will take me much longer.

8 So those are two important military strategic issues. But the

9 Croats also were given this story. They were said that there would be

10 some sort of attack. And if they had carried out an attack, I don't know

11 whether they would have arrived what the Army of Republika Srpska would

12 have tried to attempt -- to occupy them. In the centre, they were

13 occupied by Muslims and Croats. The Croats believed this. They were

14 their neighbours. They had been living together for centuries in the same

15 villages. Once more, they didn't have to go to the line. That was even

16 better. They didn't have to take up shifts because these shifts were in

17 the trenches at the elevations in Sovici. And the -- together with the

18 battalion which was called the Sovici Battalion of the BH army, which was

19 part of the 44th Mountain Brigade, which was under the command of the Enes

20 Kovacevic in Jablanica, and which was part of the 4th Corps of the army --

21 of the BH army, which was under the command of Arif Pasalic.

22 They had all the modern equipment for communication, including

23 Motorolas and other equipment. We'll show you this. There was

24 communication between Jablanica, Sovici, and Mostar. They had logistics

25 back-up. They were armed to the teeth. They had PAMs, I think those

Page 8953

1 anti-aircraft machine-gun. They had .60 and .80 millimetre mortars which

2 were placed - this is something you will hear - in Rudnik but also up in

3 the trenches, in case, as they said, there was an attack by the Army of

4 Republika Srpska. Of course this was just something that was imagined.

5 But these were the reasons for holding the elevations.

6 And then we have Pristina, or rather, if you can remember what I

7 tried to explained yesterday, with the arrival of Safet Cibo, on the 8th

8 of March, this cleansing started. They cleansed the entire area of Konjic

9 right up to Jablanica. Of course the Croats became afraid. Quite a few

10 of them were still living in Jablanica. The ratio was 1 to 10. And if

11 something bothered me in the indictment immediately, it was the fact that

12 it was alleged that the Croats tried to ethnically cleanse Jablanica. And

13 there were 150 of them there, 150 in comparison to hundreds of thousands

14 of Muslims who were living in Jablanica. And they ended up in the camps

15 of course in the end, both civilians and women and children, and they

16 spent a year in that camp.

17 Out of fear that perhaps they were going to be massacred - this

18 was happening every day - the Muslims had moved. They started cleansing,

19 the BH army had started cleansing. They sent a message through Paket

20 radio and they informed their command. Their command was also surrounded

21 in Konjic. They were surrounded in Konjic because they were part of the

22 brigade, the Erceg Stjepan Brigade and their battalion, which was part of

23 their brigade, was called the Mijat Tomic Battalion. Half of their

24 members were in Sovici and the other half in Doljani. The total was not

25 more than 60. You'll hear about this, Your Honours. You'll hear about

Page 8954

1 this in this Tribunal.

2 Erceg Stjepan managed to establish contact with the headquarters.

3 The headquarters were informed on the 17th of April. The headquarters

4 issued an order not just for Sovici. An order was issued because an

5 offence of the BH army had obviously been launched against all the points

6 where an attack would be carried out. And now the people in Sovici were

7 told that something was being prepared too and they were surrounded. They

8 were informed that an act of defence should be prepared, should be

9 established. And in the night of the 17th, all three military units,

10 combat units were informed, all units which could spare a combat group.

11 They were informed to come here. Can you see? To the so-called Doresevac

12 [phoen], to gather here, to rally here, to get into contact, to establish

13 contact with the forces that were surrounded. This is Sovici here. And

14 here, Doljani. It's completely surrounded. To deblock these places,

15 because the war with the BH army was not even approaching. It was the

16 16th of September [as interpreted], 1993. Why shouldn't friends, the HVO

17 army, and the BH army, why shouldn't they -- why shouldn't the HV come and

18 ask in Sovici the commander whether they were really surrounded and

19 whether they were getting prepared, what they were prepared do? Did they

20 have to come and start shooting immediately? When they went there, that's

21 what their intention was. They wanted to ask them what was really being

22 done and they wanted to help them if necessary. And -- because the HVO

23 was not in -- I'm sorry. I had a lapse of concentration because in the

24 transcript, it says the 16th of September. It should say the 16th of

25 April. Yes.

Page 8955

1 The HVO had that intention, and it was quite legal. We were

2 partners. Both units were -- the units of both sides were legal. So they

3 went to ask what was happening. They wanted to see whether it was true

4 what sort of situation was it, how were they surrounded and so on. And

5 the BH members were here, look. They were looking from here. They saw

6 that something was happening here. They issued a warning of -- extra

7 forces were mobilised as soon as they arrived here. You see Sovicka

8 Vrata. They started firing from all sorts of weapons on the HVO.

9 What else should they do? They should stop, withdraw, regroup.

10 Everyone knows that. And there were various units; I will try to list

11 them, and you will hear this viva voce here. There were between 15 and 20

12 members of the Convicts Battalion. There were also between 15 and 20

13 members of the Siroki Brijeg Battalion. There were 15 to 20 members of

14 the Bosuskija [phoen] Battalion. There were some men from Tomislavgrad.

15 And having heard about this, members of the HOS, the Croatian armed

16 forces, also came. But the witnesses who will come here will be able to

17 tell you precisely what the numbers were and who the members were, the

18 members who came. They met up there, they were attacked, they returned,

19 they withdrew.

20 I'm sorry, I don't know how this has entered the transcript. I

21 apologise to the interpreters. I know that they are tired and I'm rapid.

22 I'm also tired though. I've been talking for two days now. But I didn't

23 say that the Croatian forces came. [In English] Croatian armed force.

24 [Interpretation] Didn't say Croatian armed forces. I didn't say that for

25 sure. I said HOS, H-O-S, Croatian defence forces.

Page 8956

1 They were attacked. They sat down at the table. You can see here

2 that there are some houses here. You can't see them because they are

3 small. There are some small houses here, I think they went to the house

4 of Rado Bosnjak, if I'm not mistaken, or somewhere in the vicinity of that

5 house, and they tried to agree on something. The commanders of those

6 small groups, between 15 and 20 men - I'm not going to mention the names,

7 because some of them will perhaps be witnesses here, not perhaps but they

8 will be witnesses here - they entered the house and they tried to agree on

9 what to do. They said, "We are going to regroup. We have to take

10 territory." As soon as they said that our forces were surrounded in

11 Sovici, who knew what was happening to them, maybe they had already been

12 killed and so on. So this is the type of plan that they made. We tried

13 to present it in this way.

14 To make this story brief, you see the Convicts Battalion was

15 assigned the task to go to the elevations of these -- to get to this point

16 by passing through the elevations of these mountains. This is where

17 resistance was mounted. And a very interesting point, they never entered

18 Sovici or Doljani. Not a single member of the KB, the Convicts Battalion,

19 entered Sovici or Doljani. They remained at the hills where they fought

20 for two or three days incessantly, and the units would be withdrawing in

21 the direction of Jablanica. A second group received the task of heading

22 in the direction -- I think this is called the plateau. They were given

23 the task of taking these elevations, and when Pasje Stjene fell, they

24 immediately surrendered, of course, because whoever had the elevations had

25 the villages. As soon as they fell at the elevations, they surrendered.

Page 8957

1 Everything else was futile. And the Convicts Battalion continued along

2 the elevations, they continued with the fighting, and they continued

3 withdrawing in the direction of Jablanica.

4 And you might be asking where Mladen Naletilic was. Mladen

5 Naletilic was -- gentlemen, look, he was somewhere here in the house of

6 his friend, Mato Zelenika, because on the 16th, that is to say on the

7 17th, it was the so-called Small Easter, and Mr. Naletilic, after having

8 returned to his home with his children, who were then -- I think one of

9 them was five years old, and the other child was eight years old, he

10 always spent Easter here because the country is beautiful, there is a

11 beautiful lake and so on. That is now turned into a skiing centre, a

12 skiing resort. From Easter, which was I think on the 12th, if I'm not

13 mistaken, the 10th or the 11th of April, the second Sunday is called Small

14 Easter, Mr. Naletilic would spend that week with his children there. He

15 would always spend that week there. He didn't even know -- even if he had

16 wanted to, he couldn't have known what was happening from the 10th --

17 between the 10th and the 16th, because that's where he was. He surely

18 wouldn't have taken children who were between -- who were five and eight

19 years old there if he had wanted to be in command. He wouldn't have taken

20 his children there and then gone into combat. And we will call witnesses

21 to prove this here, to prove that this is the truth. But when he saw what

22 was happening, he was afraid for his children, and there were lots of

23 people at Risovac.

24 Everybody went and asked what was going on, what was happening,

25 but it was only when the shooting started, because until then there wasn't

Page 8958

1 any shooting every -- there were members of the army moving back and

2 forth, there were people moving back and forth. That was not unusual.

3 What was unusual was when the shooting started. And then people asked

4 themselves what was going on. They went to see what was going on. And

5 the witnesses will show whether Mr. Naletilic went personally or whether

6 somebody came to tell him, not only him but to the inhabitants, that the

7 battles were starting, that the fighting was starting, and that people had

8 begun to leave the area when they learnt what was going on.

9 And he continued his stay. He stayed on, although he intended to

10 leave on Sunday, and he was always very much concerned about the young men

11 in the Convicts Battalion, because they were all children of his friends.

12 So you can imagine what it's like to go to somebody's house and say that

13 somebody's son had been killed, and to say that, "I was the commander,

14 wasn't the commander, or I mobilised him," or whatever. It takes guts to

15 go to a parent and tell them that their child had been killed.

16 He never -- he always carried out that responsibility because he

17 always considered himself to be responsible for the establishment of the

18 Convicts Battalion in the first place, so that whenever a young man was

19 killed, he always had the moral responsibility to attend that young

20 person's funeral and to inform the parents personally, because you know in

21 Siroki Brijeg, it's a small place and everybody knows each other, and

22 that's precisely what happened. On the 19th or the 20th - I can't

23 remember exactly; the witnesses will be more specific and tell you the

24 dates - but that was when two members were killed. Two had been killed

25 previously straight away on the 17th, and two others were killed a few

Page 8959

1 days later. Or rather the two people who were killed were not members of

2 the Convicts Battalion. They were members of some of the HVO units. But

3 on the 19th and 20th, two persons were killed - I won't state their names

4 now; I'll do so in due course - he was informed up there that that had

5 happened, and as he always did, regardless of which position my client,

6 Mladen Naletilic, was in, he would go personally. He took up that dead

7 young man, transported him to Siroki Brijeg. And this was the 19th or the

8 20th. The action was already over, and had it not been, it would have

9 ceased, because that was the custom throughout the HVO, to pick up the

10 dead, the friends, the relatives, there were always friends and relatives

11 who were just one or two kilometres in front of their own houses because

12 they were all defending their own villages and their own houses.

13 I apologise. I see the time. I promised to finish within half an

14 hour. I've gone on further. But, Your Honours, we will prove that the

15 Convicts Battalion was never in Sovici, especially Mr. Mladen Naletilic

16 had nothing to do with it, and we'll see what position he held at the

17 time, which leaves me another ten minutes. I think I'll be able to finish

18 within ten minutes. Because this -- I want to say that it is the

19 responsibility of the Defence to show Mladen Naletilic as he is, the man

20 he is.

21 I am not behaving in front of this Tribunal as I would generally

22 in my practice as a lawyer. This is a new thing for all of us. But it is

23 a top-level Tribunal, so I'm going to put everything before you, even

24 things that are not to my advantage. I'm not going -- I'm going to tell

25 the truth, even if some of those things are not very pleasant to hear.

Page 8960

1 Let them be heard. They are the truth. So I'm going to depict my client,

2 Mladen Naletilic, in the way he actually is, the man he is.

3 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, the problem is that if the

4 interpreters or typists do not make any mistake, we just simply forget

5 them at all. You have plenty of time. Take your time and do it slowly.

6 Yes. You may continue.

7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for your

8 understanding. I promised half an hour, so I'm trying to get through it

9 as quickly as possible because I see that I have taken up an hour

10 already. That's why I speeded up. I always seem to be in this -- between

11 a rock and a hard place, between saying what I want to say and saying it

12 in the time that I have at my disposal.

13 But to wind up, Mladen Naletilic had a dream. He dreamt a dream

14 outside Yugoslavia, outside Bosnia-Herzegovina, outside Siroki Brijeg, and

15 outside his Cigansko Brdo hill area.

16 Why? Because he lived as an immigrant in the Federal Republic of

17 Germany. He lived there for 20 years, over 20 years, and that is why he

18 had this dream. He dreamt that one day he would be able to return to his

19 country. And he was thinking of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, a country

20 which he hoped would have the similar type of democracy that he was living

21 in, and that the republics of the former Yugoslavia would be independent

22 states, that the Republic of Croatia would be an independent state of

23 Croats, but also other citizens living within it. And dreaming that

24 dream, he built up a strong, national awareness, national consciousness,

25 but we cannot say that he was a chauvinist. In his world, he found a

Page 8961

1 place for all people, all people who love their own and respect other

2 people's property.

3 After the first multi-party elections, when it was clear that a

4 uni-party system had come to an end and that the rule of communism had

5 come to an end, he went back, convinced that his place was in his native

6 town, his rightful place was in his native town. It was not his will or

7 expectation that a war would break out on the territory of the former

8 Yugoslavia, and that what began in a democratic road would end up in

9 bloodshed.

10 Mladen Naletilic did not want to stand by and see his dream

11 disintegrate. He mobilised all his resources and, together with other

12 friends who were the prisoners of consciousness, sets up the Convicts

13 Battalion. As to the young men who joined up, who joined the battalion,

14 he recognised himself from his younger days. He saw himself in them.

15 They were not criminals, as the Prosecution would like to show at all

16 cost, nor were they convicts who had come back from serving a sentence of

17 any kind, but quite the reverse. They were the founding -- founders and

18 members, they were individuals who, through their own convictions, had to

19 go to prison and had to go through legal proceedings, while members who

20 were joining up were, for the most part, young people, very young people,

21 their ages ranging from 18 to 21. And these young people were true to

22 their people and their ideals, loyal to their people and their ideals.

23 Mladen Naletilic was never a member of a single political party.

24 He never had -- held a single political post or office, nor did he take

25 part in any body or organ of power and authority. Neither was he a member

Page 8962

1 of the military hierarchy or military organisation and structure,

2 because -- and that that was so, the Defence will prove, and I'm sure

3 that the Prosecution would have waved documents to that effect long ago,

4 had that been the case. Because nobody can say for himself, "I'm going to

5 be a commander as of tomorrow." He has to be appointed as such by

6 someone, although commanders in the HVO usually functioned in the way that

7 when a village or street was being defended, the most courageous person

8 would become the commander.

9 We are going to show the Court that there were no ranks in the HVO

10 until May of 1994, that is to say after the Washington Agreements. All

11 that existed was an insignia signifying that somebody was a commander from

12 companies and right up to brigades, from squad level to brigade level, and

13 so Judge Clark's question was in order because everybody spoke about

14 commanders. Everybody was a commander, from the lowest unit to the

15 top-most unit, because that was all that existed. This word or term

16 "commander," that was how they were referred to.

17 When the JNA, from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, launched

18 its strong attacks and destructive attacks on Croatia, led by his national

19 feelings and national sentiment, and also by his life's experience, he

20 recognised that this was the beginning of the -- of a war which would come

21 to prevail and take control of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. The Croats in

22 Bosnia-Herzegovina were not militarily organised, nor were they equipped,

23 and my client, Mladen Naletilic, took it upon himself to organise and

24 equip one unit, a single unit.

25 Let me clarify. At the beginning of 1992, during that period of

Page 8963

1 time, let me tell you how the army was organised and created in Croatia

2 and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Any person who was of better material

3 standing, or companies which were still not privately owned at the time,

4 they would equip each of their units and then you would have a unit in a

5 factory, in one particular factory, because that factory equipped this

6 unit. You would have the man because the man equipped the unit. He came

7 by the uniforms and weapons and so on. And you would have funny

8 situations, because they wouldn't listen to anybody except the person who

9 actually equipped the unit. So I'm talking about 1991 in Croatia, the

10 beginning of 1992 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'm talking about that period of

11 time. And I'm just trying to conjure up the situation for you, what it

12 was like at the time. Because you come from the well-to-do strata of

13 age-old democracies, and you did not experience a war of this kind. It is

14 difficult to experience it even by looking at the screens, let alone in

15 the courtroom.

16 And so also my client, Mladen Naletilic, came from a good life

17 that he lived in the Federal Republic of Germany. He too had come in from

18 abroad. And he went through an intimate drama of his own, which I will

19 not recount here. I'll wait for a more opportune moment and do so through

20 witnesses in due course. It was, in fact, the disintegration of his

21 family - that was what it was about - precisely because he decided to go

22 to war, or rather to return to Croatia or rather Bosnia. And so it was

23 that he prepared and organised this one, single, solitary unit.

24 He himself was never a soldier personally. He didn't even do his

25 military service in the Yugoslav People's Army. He had no military

Page 8964

1 training or military knowledge. All he had was a heart beating for his

2 people. That is quite certain. His heart was, in fact, too big. And we

3 are going to say so loud and clear - I don't see why not; it is correct -

4 that Mladen Naletilic mobilised and financed the Convicts Battalion, but

5 while it numbered 20 members, which is how many there actually were at the

6 beginning - I'm talking about the beginning of 1992 - those 20 young men -

7 unfortunately, very few of them remain living today - were ready for the

8 defence. It is true that Mladen Naletilic led them in that war against

9 the JNA in 1992. It is also true that because of that, he was celebrated

10 as the liberator of Mostar in that year of 1992 because it is those young

11 men who showed themselves -- proved themselves to be exceptionally brave

12 and were the linchpin of the joint forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the

13 HVO in liberating territory from Mostar right until -- right up until

14 Nevesinje. And then the 18.000 refugees and displaced persons came from

15 those regions at the beginning of the conflict with the JNA, those people

16 who came could go back to their homes, and this was the first major

17 victory in the entire war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

18 And so, at the end of that war, the name of Tuta meant more than

19 Mladen Naletilic. It took on a special meaning, which we could interpret

20 and translate in the following way: as a small people, poorly armed, but

21 with a strong feeling of their own ground, territory, can conquer an enemy

22 a hundred times more powerful. And we can also put it that way: The name

23 of Tuta meant a resistance, it meant a force, a strength, it meant

24 courage, bravery, but also security. It inspired security and safety.

25 And you will hear witnesses in this courtroom who will tell you that in

Page 8965

1 1992, they felt safe only if they knew that Didjer [phoen] was close by,

2 Didjer and Tuta - and you will hear this from the members of all the

3 ethnic groups - in that year, 1992.

4 Mladen Naletilic, and we as his Defence team, are fully conscious

5 of the fact that his name has been abused. We are -- Mladen Naletilic is

6 conscious of the fact that those people who said they were his friends

7 were not, or are no longer, his friends. Mladen Naletilic himself is

8 fully conscious of the fact that in this courtroom, through force of

9 circumstance, based on many things, but quite certainly not on his

10 criminal responsibility and accountability. The Defence will present

11 evidence to prove this to this Honourable Trial Chamber. And we won't ask

12 for any mercy. We won't seek mercy. We will try and prove the truth,

13 prove what actually happened, and will never be ashamed to say where we

14 were and what we were. And I'm speaking in our joint name. We will

15 stress that with honour and pride. And we never committed crimes. Quite

16 the reverse, quite the contrary. We didn't want to come here and cry and

17 by doing so mask the facts, which is what we see here very frequently

18 around us. This is a court of law. It is a war crimes tribunal and not a

19 committee for political conciliation. And we will indeed only deal with

20 the facts - let me repeat for the hundredth time - the truth as it was,

21 because we do not have anything to hide, and we do not have anything to be

22 ashamed of. That is certain.

23 Had there been a little more goodwill - and I don't know why this

24 was lacking, why this was not so - had my learned colleagues, my learned

25 and distinguished colleagues sitting across the well from me, had they

Page 8966

1 just been a little more objective, my client would never be here in the

2 first place. And when we're talking about justice, Your Honours, justice

3 is partially blind. Anybody can close one eye, at least when it comes to

4 a world court of law, because in this court of law, we are trying just one

5 small point on the globe, and that small point, dot, is called the former

6 Yugoslavia, while other criminals roam around that same globe unfettered.

7 Nobody can do anything to them. So until justice is equal for one and all

8 from American generals to Tajikistan, only then can we say that the scales

9 of justice are equal for all and that justice is not -- does not have a

10 blind eye. That is why the nation to whom -- to which I belong, the

11 people in Croatia, are suspicious of this Tribunal, because crimes take

12 part in different corners of the globe every day and we see them televised

13 on television. But we say to them, and we are trying to convince them

14 that we should have trust in this Tribunal. It is a new institution which

15 has just started to work. And my client, and I too, rely upon your sense

16 of justice. And we shall accept all of your decisions and judgements,

17 whatever they might be. Thank you.

18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your eloquent statement. I

19 believe we have to have a break at this moment. And after the break,

20 we'll have the first witness, which we'll do his testimony in closed

21 session. I hope that the registrar will make the proper arrangement for

22 that sitting.

23 We'll resume at twenty -- at twenty to 1.00.

24 --- Recess taken at 12.10 p.m.

25 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.

Page 8967

1 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Scott?

2 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, I thought at

3 this time that there were a few matters I should deal with, both at the

4 closing of the opening statement and prior to the first witness. I'll try

5 to be brief.

6 I feel perhaps, Your Honour, that I should make some record, if

7 you will, in terms of the opening statement, only briefly. It's never

8 exactly clear or -- strike that, not never but it's sometimes not clear

9 what the rules and practices of this International Tribunal are, and they

10 do vary from Chamber to Chamber at times. And I do not want -- I would

11 not want anything said in the opening statement to be taken as given or

12 not disputed by either the lack of objection during the opening statement

13 or now. As the Chamber knows - and I would ask you to tell me if the

14 Chamber is -- I would ask -- appreciate the Chamber's guidance if the

15 Chamber has a different view - as the -- I believe the Chamber knows, of

16 course, the opening statement, just as with a Prosecution opening

17 statement, is not evidence. There were certainly many, many points that

18 will be heavily contested, certainly are not conceded. Largely out of a

19 courtesy of course to Mr. Krsnik, I did not interrupt, I don't think, one

20 time in the two days, but certainly that should not be taken as indicating

21 any sort of agreement with a vast number of assertions that were made.

22 In our view - and again I'm not going to belabour it now - but I

23 will also indicate many parts, many issues that were raised are not

24 relevant to the case.

25 Mr. Krsnik a few times very specifically turned to me and to the

Page 8968

1 Prosecution table and said, "Don't raise tu quoque," and, Your Honours, we

2 may very well -- we will object, we do intend and do anticipate objecting

3 to anything that is tu quoque, just as one example. So I just want to

4 make again those brief comments.

5 Further, picking up once again on Mr. Krsnik's assurances to all

6 of us and to the Chamber that he has nothing to hide, the Prosecution

7 again asks on the record for full disclosure from the Defence, including

8 any witness statements and including all exhibits.

9 Thirdly, there seemed -- we seemed to hear -- the Prosecution

10 seemed to hear something that sounded an awful lot like an alibi defence

11 concern Sovici, that Mr. Naletilic was somewhere else with family members

12 at the time that the -- at least the opening parts of Sovici was taking

13 place. I might remind the Chamber respectfully of Rule 67(A)(2)(a) which

14 requires notice of an alibi defence to be given prior to the commencement

15 of the trial.

16 I would also want to raise primarily this, Your Honours: There is

17 a pending motion from the Defence for the disclosure of any statements

18 that the Prosecution may have concerning Defence witnesses. Now, we have

19 not filed a response to that, nor have we fully -- to be very candid,

20 fully come to terms with what our response will be. Our preliminary

21 assessment -- I think I can say our preliminary view is that we are not

22 aware of any bases in the rules for such a response -- or such a

23 requirement, excuse me. And we will file a written response to that

24 motion. However, because the next witness, the first witness, is about to

25 be called, and out of an abundance of fairness, there is a statement of

Page 8969

1 [redacted] which we will make available to the Defence at this time,

2 without prejudice - and I want to stress this, without prejudice - to our

3 taking the position that in fact the Defence would not be entitled to such

4 material.

5 MR. KRSNIK: [No interpretation]

6 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm sorry, we did not get interpretation.

7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I apologise for interrupting you. I

8 would just like to ask for these names not to be mentioned.

9 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, Mr. Krsnik may have said -- I

10 apologise, and I would ask for redaction because counsel may have said --

11 and if he didn't say, I'll raise it myself. I, like many of us, appear to

12 have trouble with this this morning. I did mention a name and I ask that

13 be redacted in line 12. My apology. We do have a statement of a witness,

14 and we will provide that to Defence counsel for both teams at this time,

15 but again, as I started to say, I will do that without prejudice, in our

16 view, to our position that such disclosure may not be in fact required at

17 all. We are doing it out of courtesy and to move forward, without

18 committing to necessarily doing that in the future. So I will tender

19 those statements to counsel at the conclusion of my remarks.

20 Mr. President, it would assist us in planning -- it has not been

21 entirely clear to the Prosecution over the past two days, what the normal

22 break schedule will be during these morning sessions, how many breaks will

23 we take, when will we take them, and for how long. It would assist

24 probably everyone, including the Defence, to know what the Court's

25 anticipated schedule will be. I have noticed in the last two days the

Page 8970

1 Chamber has been taking a half-hour break about every hour. I don't know

2 if you intend to continue with that practice or if there was something

3 exceptional about that. But we would be very appreciative to have the

4 Chamber's additional guidance on that, again for planning purposes for

5 everyone.

6 And finally, Your Honour, I believe I then will let Mr. Stringer

7 address another important witness matter that's come to our attention.

8 JUDGE LIU: Could I make an initial response to your remarks

9 concerning the opening statement? It is our view that the opening

10 statement is just a summary of the case presented by either the

11 Prosecution or the Defence counsel. It is just a one-sided view, which

12 supplies the views from one party. Certainly they are not evidence at

13 all. They just give the judges certain ideas about their case. And in

14 the normal practice, the opening statement is not arguable, which is --

15 which means that there should be no interruptions or some debates

16 concerning of the contents of the opening statement.

17 The next issue is about the alibi matters. If the Defence counsel

18 would like to provide the Defence of alibi, they should abide by the

19 Rule 67, which means that they have the responsibility to furnish all

20 those evidence beforehand to the other side.

21 Yes, Mr. Stringer.

22 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. This -- my remarks will

23 relate to an upcoming Defence witness who is requesting protective

24 measures. And it would be my suggestion that we move into private session

25 so that I can inform the Trial Chamber of the issues.

Page 8971

1 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go to the private session.

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23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,

24 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 27th day of

25 March, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.