1 Wednesday, 3 April 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Would you please bring in the witness, please,
9 Mr. Usher.
10 [The witness entered court]
11 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik. You may continue.
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Thank
15 you very much.
16 WITNESS: SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Examined by Mr. Krsnik: [Continued]
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Praljak.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. I believe we left off yesterday, if I'm correct - but you may
22 remind me - discussing the maps which you were using to explain to the
23 Court the situation in 1992, and I think we still had two maps which we
24 had no time to go through, so that I would like to ask the usher to help
25 us. ID D1/70, and ID D1/71.
1 I think that the last map was -- you remember, we were looking at
2 this map last, this. Now, the aftermath, the result of the war with the
3 JNA, if you can explain it on the map.
4 A. I'd like to repeat once again: Blue areas are the areas of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina controlled by the Croat Defence Council, the green
6 areas are controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and these red
7 areas were under the control of the Army of Republika Srpska.
8 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, we agreed to use this map without
9 translation, but you have to ask some questions to indicate what is this
10 map about.
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Praljak, will you also read to us this text in Croatian and
13 give us also the number of the document so that Their Honours can follow.
14 A. The year is 1992, the month is June, and the map shows the
15 directions of emigration, of movement of Muslims and Croats from the
16 territory which we call the territory of Republika Srpska. The Serbs were
17 expelling -- or rather, the population fled in the face of the crimes
18 committed by that army, and a huge number of people - some point in time,
19 over 400.000 - fled towards Croatia, taking different directions towards
20 Croatia, and some Muslims remained in the territory controlled by the army
21 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 It was mentioned yesterday, and I will confirm it today, that the
23 number of the expelled and refugees from the territory of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina to the territory of the Republic of Croatia exceeded
25 400.000, and as large a number of people - Muslims, Bosniaks - stayed in
1 the territory controlled by the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
2 Croat Defence Council.
3 One of the reasons for the major tension and repeated tension in
4 these territories between the Croats and the Muslims was, among other
5 things, the fact that with the arrival of a large number of Muslims to
6 towns populated before the war, inhabited before the war, by Croats and
7 Muslims, the percentages may have varied, but now, it changed
8 significantly the ethnic composition of those towns. A certain ethnic
9 occupation took place, if I may call it that, of the lands, ethnic
10 occupation by Muslims expelled by the Serbs. They took flats and houses,
11 say in Mostar, flats that were formerly inhabited by Serbs who had left
13 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you, but Mr. Praljak, do you know how
14 many flats are involved and how many were taken, of course if you know any
16 A. No, I would not be able to give you those figures.
17 Q. But would you know an approximate figure?
18 A. No. But it would be several thousand.
19 Q. You mean several thousand flats?
20 A. Yes, that's right. In particular, after the fall of Jajce and all
21 the Muslim population from the area of Banja Luka and this part here, the
22 ethnic structure was changed in Central Bosnian towns, where the number of
23 Muslims grew to one to five, one to six, one to seven, in relation to
24 Croats. The towns concerned are Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno, Novi Travnik,
25 Travnik, and so and so forth. And that gave rise to additional tension in
1 those areas, because people who had been expelled were very, in a manner
2 of speaking, aggressive. They behaved aggressively in the places that
3 they came to.
4 Q. Mr. Praljak, I will now show you a map which is ID D1/72 -- no,
5 excuse me, we have another map, a different map on the screen. Do you
6 wish to comment on this one, too?
7 A. These are figures. The year is 1992, and it is November of 1992,
8 and the map shows the number of expelled Muslims and Croats. And these
9 figures apply only to the period after the fall of Jajce. The fall of
10 Jajce produced --
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, the Prosecutor.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
13 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, counsel. Mr. President, these dates and
14 figures, if we could have some foundation, please, as to the source of
15 this information, what it's based on?
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Please indicate once again which map. Is it
17 ID D1/72?
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, ID D1/72 -- no, sorry, 71.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may ask some questions concerning about some
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
22 Q. You've heard the Prosecution's objection. You heard His Honour.
23 Can you tell us on what facts were these maps and these figures included?
24 A. These were the facts, the information we collected from the bureau
25 for the expelled persons and escaped persons of the Croats. I personally
1 participated in the organisation of the Croats and their transfer towards
2 the Republic of Croatia. And also another information is the size of the
3 population, the overall number of the population, in Jajce, before, in
4 October, 1992, it fell into the Serb hands.
5 Q. I thank you very much. Mr. Praljak, I would also like to ask you
6 only two or three questions more, and then we will move to another topic.
7 Were you planning liberation actions in this area with the army of BH?
8 Were there any instructions from the army of BH: Who was entrusted with
9 the defence of Mostar? Who was responsible for the defence of Mostar?
10 This will be in this group of several questions.
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] And Mr. Usher will you please put
12 this map on the screen?
13 Q. Will you please read the number down there and it is ID D1/72.
14 And then will you please tell the Court what this map is about?
15 A. As for the first question, the cooperation with the army of Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina, I could tell you first about June, 1992, about the
17 liberation of Mostar, which started with the liberation of Boksevica, an
18 important vantage point above Mostar on the right bank of the Neretva.
19 That operation of the liberation of Boksevica was conducted by Mr. Mladen
20 Naletilic. In view of its success and the situation on the ground, I took
21 over the command, and we, the Croat Defence Council, that's by the evening
22 that same day, reached the right bank of the Neretva. A few days later, I
23 ordered independently the crossing of the Neretva River, together with the
24 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which did not commit a particularly large
25 number of their troops in that action.
1 Q. Could you give us the number of the troops?
2 A. The first night of the attack, the number of their soldiers who
3 crossed to the left bank of the Neretva was between 30 and 40. I know
4 this figure because I requested a precise report from their commander,
5 whom I knew by his nickname, which was Tetak.
6 Q. Tell us something about the destruction in Mostar -- no. When we
7 come to that topic. I'm sorry. When we come to the summer of 1993.
8 But rather, Mr. Praljak, you said yesterday - maybe there was some
9 confusion. Yesterday that you said Mr. Naletilic took part in the
10 liberation of Orlovac, today you said Boksevica?
11 A. Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I was completely off the map today.
12 Orlovac, not Boksevica.
13 Q. You said that yesterday in your testimony. Boksevica is a
14 completely different hill, in a completely different area.
15 A. I apologise. Such confusions can happen. Orlovac.
16 Q. Tell us, were the bridges mined? Was there any destruction?
17 Which area did you liberate in that action? I mean, which part of Mostar
18 did you liberate, I mean?
19 A. Under the order of General Perisic, there are exact -- the exact
20 names of men who, in a single day, blew up all the bridges over the
21 Neretva. This was done by an officer of the Yugoslav People's Army, a
22 Croat from Dalmacija. Six bridges were blown up in one day, because in
23 them -- in the structure of those bridges --
24 Q. You mean at the time when the bridges were built?
25 A. Yes. When the bridges were built, they were in them places -- let
1 me explain. Whenever a bridge was built in Yugoslavia, it was designed so
2 that room was left there for an explosive charge which, in case of a
3 military need, would easily be put there and the bridge could then fall
4 down according to statistic calculations. And in all the foundations on
5 the Neretva -- in all the bridges over the Neretva, the explosive was
6 already in place, and when the Yugoslav People's Army came to that area,
7 it was then activated at the point when the Serbs decided that the left
8 bank of the Neretva was their territory. The only bridge which was not
9 demolished at that time was the old bridge in Mostar, but it was very
10 badly damaged. Personally -- I personally issued the order to use very
11 thick boards and put up a structure around the bridge so that mortar
12 projectiles would not destroy it, and two soldiers of the Croat Defence
13 Council were killed in the process. This structure protected the bridge
14 for months, and there is a sufficient number of photographs.
15 Q. Mr. Praljak, you said that the Serbs took the left bank of the
16 Neretva before you set off to liberate it. If I told you that in this
17 Court we heard a series of witnesses who testified to the following: that
18 there was an agreement between the Serbs and the Croats that the Serbs
19 should take the left bank, the Croats the right bank, and the Muslims
20 would go into the Neretva, what would you say to that, since you were the
21 commander of that operation, of the liberation of Mostar, in 1992, of
23 A. The absurdity of that thesis is best attested to by the action
24 during which Capljina, Stolac, and the whole territory up to 15 or 20
25 kilometres above Mostar were liberated, and a large number of dead, of
1 fallen soldiers of the Croat Defence Council and the army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina too who participated in that. If there was an
3 understanding, then the whole action and all those dead are absurd. If
4 there was such an action, if they were dead, then there was no such
6 Q. Have you ever heard of such an understanding, of such an
7 agreement, that there was an agreement to split Mostar, to partition
8 Mostar in that way?
9 A. No, never.
10 Q. And should you know such a thing, since you were a commander?
11 A. Well, I think I should know such things.
12 Q. Very well. Tell us, and what about the shelling in Mostar one day
13 to the other? But tell us only about what is your personal knowledge.
14 When it is not, then tell us, "I don't know it personally."
15 A. I know personally not only that there was shelling, Mostar was set
16 on fire by the Serbs. I personally know it also because after that I
17 found, on my own, a thousand metres of Kodak film, negative, and a
18 cameraman, and sent them to the left bank of the Neretva to take
19 photographs to record what had been left after the Serb shelling and
20 arson. That material, those films, were developed and then transferred to
21 Beta videotapes, and this material is stored in the archives of the
22 television in Zagreb, that is, the Croatian television, and it is in the
23 archives of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia, and I also
24 have it. It can be placed at the disposal whenever the Prosecution or the
25 Defence or the Court want it.
1 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Praljak. We shall certainly need the
2 tapes, so let me announce it in advance that we shall turn to you for
4 But we still owe a commentary of this map, so could you do that
5 briefly and then we shall move on.
6 A. The joint planning of the liberation operations obstructed by the
7 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The year is 1992, November and December. I
8 am not as familiar with this area here, that is, with Kupres, because that
9 was not my area, but I know with certainty, because I participated in the
10 planning of the liberation of some areas which were of technical
11 importance for the town of Konjic.
12 I can say that the Muslims and the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
13 too, at that time were expressing certain reservation with regard to the
14 cooperation with the Croat Defence Council, and voices, opinions, against
15 the cooperation with the Croat Defence Council. Together with the
16 commanders of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Konjic, together with
17 General Miljenko Lasic of the Croat Defence Council, we planned an
18 operation to push away the Serb forces from Konjic if -- so as to reduce
19 the shelling considerably. For 48 hours -- sorry, 48 hours before the
20 action began, the order from Sarajevo came that not only the mayor in
21 Konjic should be dismissed but also the area military commanders there.
22 So the action never even started.
23 Q. Tell me about December, 1992. Were there any negotiations for the
24 liberation of Sarajevo, negotiations to dovetail positions with the BH
25 army? And if so, what was the result of them?
1 A. In 1992, in June, or a little later, at the beginning of autumn,
2 in a talk I had with Mr. Alija Izetbegovic in Mostar, I proposed the joint
3 deblocking of Sarajevo. This was not accepted at that time. I know that
4 negotiations were held afterwards with respect to a joint operation
5 because at the time the HVO was a strong, powerful and fairly
6 well-organised army, and it had a string of successes behind it. On our
7 part, General Petkovic led those negotiations. I know about those
8 negotiations, but, of course, he would be able to tell you more about
10 Q. Now, let us go to December, 1992, and January, 1993. Were there
11 any incidents that took place with the BH army? And as far as you know,
12 how many soldiers did the BH army have, where were they concentrated, and
13 was there any demarcation line with the Army of Republika Srpska in which
14 they went into operation, if they did? And if they did not, tell us why,
15 please. And then we will take a look at another map, which is ID D1/74.
16 MR. KRSNIK: It's okay. It's no problem. It's much easier, Madam
17 Registrar. Much easier.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Would you read out what it says on the map for
19 the Judges?
20 A. The year is 1992, and it is the period between the month of May
21 and December, and shown here are the incidents that took place between the
22 BH army and the Croatian Defence Council, the HVO. Do you want me to go
23 through them one by one?
24 Q. No, you don't have to do that. The document speaks for itself. I
25 just wanted you to comment on a few of these incidents which you know
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 about so that we can check out the document, confirm them or not, as the
2 case may be.
3 A. I personally know about some of them because I went to try and
4 bring about peace after they had taken place. As to the others, I know
5 about them from the information I had at my disposal. As you can see,
6 there were quite a lot of them. They were of a local character, and they
7 very often depended on, if I can put it that way, the mood that prevailed
8 between the two ethnic groups in the area.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
10 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, not an objection but I just -- I assume
11 everyone in the courtroom may have the same trouble we have. It's very
12 impossible, really impossible, to read the detail on the map, the names,
13 the dates and things. If it could be -- perhaps the booth could assist us
14 if it can be better focused.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Could we zoom in a little bit?
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I provided the map. My
17 colleague has just informed me that we took the copy we had intended for
18 you to give to the Trial Chamber. [In English] Okay.
19 Q. [Interpretation] I think we can see all the dates now where the
20 occurrences took place and the years, or rather the year.
21 A. I can comment Uskoplje, for example, on the 20th of June, 1992.
22 Q. Were you there personally? Do you have personal, direct
24 A. No. I went there afterwards.
25 Q. All right. Go ahead.
1 A. The problem is that the population was expelled by the Serbs from
2 Donji Vakuf. This is Donji Vakuf here. And the Serbs renamed it and
3 called it Serbograd or Serboslav, or one or the other, and the population
4 was expelled, and it stayed on in Gornji Vakuf, largely. There were so
5 many new people arriving into an area which had a well-balanced ethnic
6 structure in Gornji Vakuf, which straight away created a whole series of
8 On the 20th of June, there was a major incident that took place,
9 but the situation was quelled for a time. However, afterwards, as we
10 moved into 1993, the situation escalated to become an all-out conflict. I
11 myself was in Prozor immediately after this incident, and I held a whole
12 series of negotiations with the commanders of the BH army, in an attempt
13 to negotiate an agreement, together with them, and to look into the
14 causes, the causes, and so find a solution to the situation, and so on and
15 so forth. This would require an entire study, if we wanted to explain
16 this map fully.
17 JUDGE CLARK: We have an opportunity now, when you're doing your
18 direct examination of an important witness, to help the Trial Chamber.
19 For two of us it's our first trial of events in the former Yugoslavia.
20 You've been at pains for quite a long time to tell us that everybody spoke
21 the same language and there was no such thing really as a Bosniak
22 language, and as far as we can see, there is no visible difference in the
23 appearance or dress between somebody of Muslim origin or Croat or Serb
25 Can you use the opportunity, please, to assist us in what caused
1 the tensions between the parties? Did they eat different food? Did they
2 have different customs? What was it? It's not quite literally a
3 black-and-white issue. Perhaps you could assist us. I certainly would be
4 very grateful for some assistance. Why would the arrival of additional
5 Croats in a Muslim area or Muslims in a Croat area cause so much dissent,
6 when you had a common enemy?
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes,
9 Q. Mr. Praljak, you have just heard the questions from Her Honour.
10 Could you please assist the Trial Chamber and the Court in understanding
11 what was going on, at least for December, 1992? And then we will move
13 A. Well, I'll do my best, although we have already had an
14 interpretation of the war and why the war. Now, may I ask for your
15 indulgence and a little patience for stepping outside the framework of
16 these facts and figures?
17 Q. Yes, please go ahead.
18 A. It is impossible to reduce everything to the matter of language,
19 linguistics, manner of dress and food, Your Honour. It would be difficult
20 to explain 90 per cent of the wars being waged in the world today in that
21 way, and there were more than 17.000, if I'm correct, since ancient
22 Greece. The Protestants against the Catholics is a case in point in
23 Northern Ireland: The same people, the same culture, the same
24 civilisation, and for years and years, tens of years, we see that the
25 conflicts are persisting.
1 And the same thing is true in our area or part of the world. At
2 one point, a very precarious balance was upset. The war in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina was a war between three nations, three ethnic groups,
4 for two reasons: What the rights of peoples and individuals would look
5 like in a state which would be born after all that; and who, in that part
6 of the war, would defend the part of its territory or their territory
7 which they considered to belong to them.
8 In addition to this, let me also state the following. In the war
9 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with half a million Croats who were down there and
10 stayed on living there, seven and a half thousand people died of that half
11 million. Now, may I give you the equivalent facts and figures? This
12 resembles -- it would be as if, in America, four million people died. It
13 would be the same ratio. It would be the same thing as if in -- as if
14 250.000 people were to be killed in the Netherlands, for example; the
15 ratio would be the same. Or in China, if you had 17 million people killed
16 or dead.
17 In my opinion, one should conduct psychosociological studies to
18 gorge the sentiments and feelings of the people after suffering so many
19 casualties and having so many victims. Let me also mention that the
20 number of victims on the Muslim side was no smaller. I think that their
21 casualties were even greater, but not greater than the Croats.
22 If we know that in the Second World War, 380.000 Americans lost
23 their lives, then these figures, in my opinion, take on even greater
24 proportions. It is difficult to imagine that any people can, through
25 offensive operations, sustain such a large number of casualties and
1 victims. So many victims fell -- the victims are high when the war has a
2 civil character, ethnic character, and the character of a defence war as
4 So that the question of language or linguistics is one part. Of
5 course, people can think that they speak the same language, but we call
6 that language Croatian and the Serbs call their language Serbian. The
7 syntax -- in syntax and grammar, the syntax and grammar and the style, or
8 stylistics, there are great differences between those languages. It is
9 the right of Muslims, which has never been brought in question, to call
10 themselves a nation and to have the language that they speak called the
11 way they want to call it. That is their right. But of course it is also
12 the right of the Croats not to accept that language, because they already
13 have their own language. Now, the extent to which the Bosnian language or
14 Bosniak language, or whatever they wish to call it, will take root and be
15 accepted, I can't say, although I'm not actually a layman. I'm not quite
16 a layman in the area.
17 Q. Mr. Praljak, according to your knowledge, your personal knowledge,
18 to follow on from what Judge Clark just said, was it the war of a nation
19 fighting for its territory in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. Not only a battle for territory, Mr. Krsnik. The Serbs entered
21 the war with the desire to take a portion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, at least
22 to the tune of 66 per cent of the territory, to take it away with them or
23 to separate it and take it away into a state of its own, which can be
24 called Yugoslavia, or Serbia, or Serbia and Montenegro, whichever. The
25 Muslims, for their part, as early on as the Muslim declaration by Alija
1 Izetbegovic and the premises it was founded upon, continuously believed
2 that Bosnia-Herzegovina was their state, belonged to them, first and
3 foremost, a state in which they were the founding or fundamental people,
4 whereas the Croats and Serbs have their own reserve homelands, if I can
5 put it that way.
6 Now, if we exclude a portion of Croatian political thought, which
7 experienced Bosnia-Herzegovina as being something which was an integral
8 part of a historical Croatian territory -- the number of such persons is
9 negligible. The people who thought that way, there weren't many people,
10 but they did have their influence in political decision-making. But if we
11 exclude them, then the Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina wanted to protect
12 the people from genocide, from being killed, and they wanted to have a
13 state in which the peoples, the ethnic groups, as well as individuals,
14 would enjoy equal rights without domination, without assimilation, and
15 they would consider a state of this kind, one along those lines, to be
16 their rightful homeland.
17 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please: We left off discussing the BH army
18 and their numbers. Do you know how many soldiers, how many men it
19 numbered in December 1992 and January 1993? And did it undertake
20 operations towards the Serbs at any time? For example, did it start to
21 liberate Srebrenica, Gorazde, Eastern Bosnia, Western Bosnia, and so on
22 and so forth? And focusing especially on the corridor.
23 A. On the previous maps, we saw that there was an enclave around
24 Bihac and that a corridor had been established by the Serb army and of the
25 Serb army in Posavina.
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May we zoom in -- zoom out, please,
2 Mr. Usher and the technical booth. Can we see the whole map now, please?
3 Can we zoom out a bit? Thank you. That's fine.
4 A. Around the town of Bihac, there was an enclave, predominantly
5 Muslim-populated, under the control of the Bosnia-Herzegovina army and one
6 brigade of the Croatian Defence Council, under the command of General
7 Santic, who was killed later on, and we never knew why or by whom.
8 The Croatian volunteers from this bank of the Sava River tried to
9 shut off the Serb corridor in order to lessen the pressure on the enclave,
10 this enclave here, and Croatian territory, and they were defeated for
11 several reasons. The first reason was the following: An order could not
12 be issued to the regular forces of the Republic of Croatia to cross the
13 Sava River and go to the assistance of the Croatian Defence Council
14 there. The domestic forces were not sufficiently well organised and
15 equipped to stand up to a well-organised and mighty army, the kind that
16 the Serb army was, or rather, the Yugoslav People's Army. And the third
17 reason was that --
18 Q. I apologise, Mr. Praljak. Perhaps you'll be able to explain this
19 better using the next map.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, could you put the map on
21 the ELMO, and we see the enclaves and all the rest on this map, which will
22 facilitate the Trial Chamber. I'm not tendering this in any way, but just
23 using the map to help us in understanding what we're talking about.
24 A. This is where the corridor was narrowest, and apart from what I've
25 already said, we kept looking for ways to have the Tuzla Corps of the BH
1 army, who was very numerous and powerful, start out towards the HVO forces
2 and cut off the corridor. By doing so, we would facilitate the military
3 situation of Croatia here, and in western Slavonia and Croatia, moving
4 down towards Knin, and the enclave populated by Muslims and Croats around
5 the town of Bihac, and the pressure exerted by Serb forces via Kupres,
6 Livno, going down towards Split on the coast.
7 Unfortunately, at the end of 1992, the Muslim forces were
8 politically and militarily in a very poor state, in poor shape. I have to
9 say that this was due, in part, also to the fact that the international
10 community showed a maximum degree of indecision and allowed the Serbs to
11 do as they pleased. Sarajevo was under siege. There was no peace plan in
12 the offing. The Serbs were just verbally condemned. Srebrenica and the
13 Muslim enclaves in the eastern part towards the Drina River were under an
14 encirclement. They were surrounded. And in all the negotiations we had
15 with the BH army, we asked and expected to have a more forceful
16 engagement, that is to say, to link up Srebrenica, Gorazde, and a
17 deblockade for Sarajevo, or at least refuting the Serb guns, pushing them
18 back further to prevent the massacre that was to befall the population.
19 This was the state of affairs at the end of 1992. It was a very
20 bad situation.
21 Q. My question was: Do you know whether they had any operations
22 against the Serbs in any area? Are you aware of anything like that? And
23 I'm referring to the BH army.
24 A. No. Mr. Krsnik, after the fall of Jajce - and I was present
25 there - once again under the leadership of the Croatian Defence Council,
1 together we organised the defence of Travnik so that the Serb forces were
2 unable to continue down the Lasva River Valley towards Sarajevo.
3 Q. Mr. Praljak, we've now come to January 1993. How did
4 relationships develop? The BH army, how did it develop? What was the
5 situation? What were the developments? What happened next, to the best
6 of your knowledge and recollection?
7 A. The fact is that, faced with the situation of this kind, the BH
8 army became increasingly and exclusively a religious army. I personally
9 think that with so much suffering on the side of -- on the part of the
10 Muslims, and with so many casualties and victims which they had in
11 fighting -- in the fighting with the Serbs, this can be considered normal
12 and reasonable and understandable. However, it is an undisputed fact.
13 This observation is correct.
14 Now, when a nation or ethnic group - and the Muslims were
15 threatened with complete disarray, both as an army and as a form of
16 political thought, political thinking - they were faced with their
17 annihilation, then a metaphysical refuge for them was religion. This is
18 an area of the soul and the spirit of the nation which remains as the last
19 bastion, the last possible place of refuge, religion.
20 Q. Do you know that the BH army launched large-scale attacks in
21 Central Bosnia at this time? Are you aware of that? Was that the case?
22 A. We did happen to know at the time that in the BH army, people were
23 thinking and talking about the fact that the Serbs would be getting what
24 they needed, and that the international community had taken the side of
25 the Serbs and Serbia, and that they could only achieve something if they
1 were to extend their territory towards the Croats. The Serbs, at the end
2 of 1992, for their part, satisfied all -- had satisfied all their
3 strategic and tactical and political goals as well, whereas we, in 1992 -
4 I'm referring to the Croatian Defence Council and the political
5 leadership - we no longer had any serious conflicts with the Serbs,
6 because their attitude towards us -- that is to say, they had taken from
7 us what they considered satisfied them. The Croatian Defence Council, as
8 the weakest link in this three -- tripartite warfare had no reason or need
9 or reason for opening up a front towards the Muslim forces. That would
10 have been a political -- not a political -- a good political idea and
11 completely devastating militarily.
12 The Muslims, on the other hand, had to have a military success
13 somewhere, had to have scored a military success somewhere. Then, and
14 when the influx of an enormous number of members of different political
15 options from the Islamic world, which we refer to as the Mujahedin, they
16 began the Islamisation of the army. They began to introduce different
17 customs and different laws, and they found a very fruitful ground for
18 doing this.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
20 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, as we once did yesterday, I find that
21 we are lapsing over into what the Prosecution would consider extensive
22 opinion testimony not being given by an expert. This witness knows a lot,
23 I'm sure, about what happened in the HVO. He's now, for the last few
24 minutes, expressing strong opinions on the internal workings and
25 philosophy and reform, or what have you, inside the ABiH, and there has
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 been no foundation offered as to how this witness can know this.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, as a rule, we only hear what the witness saw and
3 did in those events, but we are very interested to know how the Croats and
4 the Muslims finally fought with each other. This is the -- we are very
5 interested in that, although it's forbidden by the Rules. But we'll let
6 this witness go for a while.
7 Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Not only is
9 the witness voicing his opinion, he also has knowledge of that, and when
10 the witness speaks about the Mujahedin - and we shall go into that - you
11 will also hear more explanations and more personal knowledge.
12 Q. Mr. Praljak, tell us, are the Mujahedin regular members of the
13 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which formations they belonged to, where are
14 they, how many are they, and where do they engage in fighting?
15 A. Mujahedin are part of the regular strength of the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is ample evidence about that, and it can be
17 shown to the Court. The manner in which they arrived there were the
18 humanitarian convoys. How? That we know. How? I know that. A
19 humanitarian convoy would have 40 vans in disrepair, 40, and each one of
20 them would have three or four escorts. And we were perplexed, why all the
21 goods in 40 ramshackle vans had not been put into a trailer truck, and why
22 people escorting those vans never went back? And even those vans never
23 went back. We asked the authorities of the Republic of Croatia to bear
24 this in mind, more than before, because we had clear military information
25 that told us where they were, how they were trained, what kind of units
1 they were forming, and what kind of war they wanted to wage.
2 Q. If I may interrupt you, did they add momentum to the conflict with
3 Croatia? Did they speed up matters? What happened when they arrived? In
4 which direction did the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina turn?
5 A. Yes. They significantly added to the momentum of the war. One of
6 their bases was here between Novi Travnik - my eyesight is not what it
7 was - and Uskoplje.
8 JUDGE LIU: If I may interrupt you, Witness, you are talking about
9 the events of the international humanitarian convoy. I just want to know
10 did you saw -- did you see that? And what was the date, and where did you
11 see it?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I saw it with my own
13 eyes, not once, because all those convoys entered -- arrived either from
14 Ploce via Capljina, Citluk.
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Will you please point to those places on the map?
17 A. Ploce, Capljina, Citluk, Mostar, and then when the road was opened
18 to Jablanica, and before that, Tomislavgrad, the road of salvation, which
19 we built so that the refugees could get to here, because these roads could
20 not be used, Uskoplje and onward. Not one Mujahedin could enter anywhere
21 else except by taking these roads.
22 Q. And you are talking about the year?
23 A. I'm talking about 1992 onward.
24 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, excuse me.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
1 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, if you'll allow me, I realise fully, of
2 course, it's the Court's question but I respectfully submit that the
3 witness hasn't answered the Court's question, and this was exactly the
4 part that relates back to the objection the Prosecution made a few moments
5 ago. I think, if I understand your question, Mr. President, with all
6 respect, you asked this witness to identify, very specifically, situations
7 he saw with his own eyes or with his own personal perception of incidents
8 where Mujahedin were smuggled into the country, so to speak, as it calls
9 it, by means of humanitarian convoys. Now, respectfully, I submit to you,
10 Mr. President, that question has not been answered.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, witness, please be more concentrated and answer
12 my question.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Specifically, I saw, concretely, I
14 wondered, and the military intelligence officers, I mean the officers in
15 the army that I worked for, why so many small vehicles, why so many
16 escorts in those small vehicles, why don't they go back, either the
17 escorts or the vehicles? And we collected information on both. And
18 those -- this information, even if partial, even if incomplete, can be
19 found with many intelligence and security services of the western world,
20 and I believe that Mr. Krsnik has it too. We requested for stricter
21 control by the authorities of the Republic of Croatia because whenever we
22 wanted to put an end to such an influx of warriors, who would then become
23 a very poor army, and every time our ears would be boxed. Every time we
24 would be accused that we were stopping international humanitarian
1 Those same people in their camps, several times before the
2 conflict, before the open conflict broke out, those men, on various
3 occasions, captured my men and, for instance, once they captured
4 Mr. Andric, who was in Bugojno. They stripped him naked and sent him down
5 the road from Novi Travnik to Bugojno.
6 Q. And the year was and month, if you remember?
7 A. It was early 1993 or the end of 1992. I wouldn't know exactly.
8 Q. Mr. Praljak, tell us, please: Is there verified information when,
9 in 1994, 1995, when the peace process started, did those people come
10 back? Are the numbers of the passports, their names, and were all the
11 western intelligence services informed about them, notably, the CIA?
12 A. Yes, Mr. Krsnik. We obtained photographs of many of them, their
13 nationality, the information of their country of origin, the nationality
14 of Bosnia-Herzegovina that was conferred upon them, the years of their
15 birth, photographs. And since, regrettably, it became a matter of public
16 interest in Croatia, in one such action --
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Can we go into private session, if we
18 may, because these, after all, are matters that -- so, Your Honours, may
19 we go into private session?
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll go into the private session, please.
21 [Private session]
13 Pages 9395-9399 – redacted – private session
11 [Open session]
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Now I'd like to ask to see a videotape which marks the beginning
14 of the conflict between the ABiH and the HVO, and you will see the tape
15 and tell us about it. It is about the arrival of Mujahedin, which then
16 set in motion things that we will see on the tape.
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Can we now see the tape?
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Can you tell us who are these men?
21 A. Yes. These are Croats in Central Bosnia.
22 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] From villages, should the army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina expel all of them to enclaves? This means speeding,
24 acceleration of war in Central Bosnia. Here, Mujahedin killed four
25 escorts of a Zenica commander. Look at this. You will see that they were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 taking it out on those men. The number of bullets fired. Look at this.
2 It is really a shocking scene. But these people were not killed as
3 military. These were simply butchering of those men. We are seeing our
4 killed, slayed, massacred men from Lasva. This is the Lasva Valley.
5 These are the names: Zvonko Rajic, Franjo Rajic, Cegic [phoen], Stipo,
6 Niko Kegelj, Vinko Kegelj, Dragan Kegelj, Pero Ljubisic, Stanisic.
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Thank you very much. Can you stop the tape, please? Can you stop
9 the tape?
10 Q. Mr. Praljak, would you explain to Their Honours whether this was
11 your voice on the tape, who gave me this tape, and on what occasion did
12 you make these comments?
13 A. Yes, this is my voice, the first part. I prepared this tape for a
14 TV programme in Zagreb, and in it I tried to explain the reasons at the
15 beginning and the ascending spiral of the war between the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croat Defence Council.
17 Q. Tell us: When did this incident happen, and where did it happen?
18 These three slain HVO soldiers, who did that and which year are we talking
20 A. I think there were four soldiers. Those four soldiers were
21 escorting the commander of a small formation of the Croat Defence Council
22 from Zenica, and they were killed at a junction, at the crossroads in
23 front -- outside, right outside Travnik. And those other men, those who
24 were massacred, they came from a village in Central Bosnia. And the year
25 is 1993.
1 Q. On the tape -- I do not know whether it is in the transcript --
2 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Mr. President. I'd ask that -- I object
3 and would ask that we do better than "1993." These dates could be quite
4 important. We started -- a few minutes ago we were in January 1993. Now
5 we're just talking about sometime in 1993. And if the witness can assist
6 us, Your Honour, I think the Court -- the Chamber needs to know with
7 greater specificity when these events occurred.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Krsnik, could you ask some follow-up
9 questions on this very issue.
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honours.
11 Q. Mr. Praljak, could you give us the month, at least. Perhaps you
12 don't remember the date, but could you give us the month?
13 A. Well, I believe I will be here tomorrow, so that meanwhile I can
14 look at my tape, because there I have all the dates noted. I'm afraid to
15 go wrong, and I really do not wish to make any such mistake, not to be
16 accurate enough.
17 Q. Let me help you. Was it before or after May 1993?
18 A. I think it was before May 1993. I think I can say with confidence
19 that it was before May 1993, but for accuracy's sake, may I be allowed to
20 answer this question tomorrow? I mean, there are just too many dates, and
21 I really do not want to mention any that I'm not quite sure about.
22 Q. But, Mr. Praljak, you can make a small reminder for yourself. But
23 tell us: Those men we saw in the woods, who and what are those men? What
24 happened to them? What are they doing there?
25 A. They are expelled. They were expelled from a village in the Lasva
2 Q. Well, are they Croats or Muslims?
3 A. Croats.
4 Q. Tell us: In view of your -- in the light of your personal
5 experience and your post, would you know anything about the estimate of
6 the number of Mujahedin, how were they organised, and which units of the
7 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina did they belong to, were they incorporated in?
8 A. They established their own brigade, which was called El Mujahedin,
9 but they were also in other units of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Their number grew as the war progressed, but with the relatively -- it can
11 be relatively positively claimed that they were more than 5.000.
12 Q. And tell us, did you give me a tape about Mujahedin, and how did
13 you come by it? How did you obtain it?
14 A. Yes. Mr. Krsnik, I gave you several tapes. Those tapes were
15 issued by the Mujahedin because they had their information office which
16 recorded their promotional material, and they used to send it to Arab
17 countries, inviting new members to join, because in those tapes, they
18 claimed that the only kind of war waged in Bosnia was a religious war. I
19 was given this tape by a combatant from Central Bosnia, a Muslim.
20 Q. You don't have to give us his name, if you don't want to.
21 A. No, I won't.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May I ask the technical booth to play
23 the next tape, the clip from tape number 1? May I tell -- it is ID D1/50,
24 actually, F. It is the F supplement. And the Arab translation will be
25 ready in a day or two because half the tape is in Arabic and half of it is
1 in the B/C/S language. The Arabic translation is ongoing and I thank the
2 translators of the Tribunal for helping me and assisting me in having the
3 text translated from the Arabic. The text in Arabic says the opposite of
4 what the Prosecutor sets out in his indictment. As soon as the Arabic
5 version is completed, I will furnish it to the Prosecution and Your
7 May we see the tape and we'll comment after we see the footage.
8 Thank you.
9 [Videotape played]
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, here it says, "The El
11 Mujahedin Detachment. Our road is the road of Jihad."
12 [Videotape played]
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May we have a fast-forward here,
14 please, because the tape is rather a long one? Stop there, please.
15 [Videotape played]
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Fast-forward, please, again. Stop
17 there, please.
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May we have a fast-forward again,
20 please? Stop there, please. Stop the tape there, please. Thank you.
21 [Videotape played]
22 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Normally, of course, if they are
23 good, Inshallah" --
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Fighting for the honour -- for
1 honour and for Allah's word to prevail. As far as kufra is concerned,
2 hatred in the name of Allah, kufra and the struggle, until they are
3 destroyed, Inshallah."
4 [Videotape played]
5 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The El Mujahedin units in the
6 seat -- at the headquarters in Zenica."
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you.
8 May we continue, please?
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The lives of the Mujahedin are the
10 fraternal love for Allah, which has made the El Mujahedin unit the most
11 powerful in the state. The fact that they have all gathered here from
12 different parts in the world and towns in Bosnia is incomparable to
13 anything else. When a doctor or professor leaves his comfortable home and
14 the prosperity he lived in to come here, or a Saudi citizen or somebody
15 from Yemen comes to Bosnia because he cannot take the killing of Muslims
16 or the rape of their Muslim sisters, to come to Allah's call in the Jihad
17 and along his road."
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters apologise, but the text is
20 [Voiceover] And prepare as much strength and power to fight
21 against them and horses for the struggle to frighten off Allah's and your
22 foes, and others too. You do not know them, but Allah knows them very
23 well. Everything that you use up along Allah's road you will be rewarded
24 for, and you will suffer no injustice if you pursue along Allah's road.
25 Praise be to Allah, Allah the almighty.
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May we have a fast-forward, please.
2 Stop there, please.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] And set up a bastion that is
5 impenetrable in the name of Allah. Praise be to Allah, who has united the
6 brother Bosniaks of the Entereriya [phoen] and made them like a sabre to
7 thwart the enemy, who wanted to destroy Islam and the Muslims in Bosnia.
8 That is why the units are being joined by the faithful, the believers,
9 from all parts of the world and from all parts of Bosnia. Let
10 these suffoves [phoen] be guarantors of pride and victory for Islam and
11 the Muslims.
12 This is a brother of ours who is going to tell us how he prepared
13 for this operation. Does he expect us to beat Allah's foes, and how far
14 is he ready to fight?
15 I think that Inshallah it will be as it has always been, and as
16 long as we live. But in spite of all our preparations for battle, the
17 main support to us is Allah's existence, and we rely on Allah's help and
18 assistance, because Allah determines everything and exercises control over
19 all the events, and he has already decided who the enemy is to be. But
20 I'm always an optimist Inshallah that we will be victors, that we will be
21 victorious and vanquish our enemies, because as far as I was able to see,
22 our brothers, our brethren, have let the operation be led by Allah. And
23 we have a lot of Ibadet and fervor for victory Inshallah. My message to
24 my brethren, the Muslims, is to accept the faith, to return to the faith,
25 to return to the Koran and the Sumet [phone]. Because we have been living
1 here in Europe, we have been living under a communist system, we have
2 lived under some newfangled ideas and concocted systems, but a Muslim has
3 always been trodden over where there is no reliance on Allah and the true
4 faith and a return to the fundamental premises of Islam, which is the
5 Koran and the Sumet. So the Jihad, as proclaimed and as led by Elso
6 Slabagaja Selum [phone], within those frameworks, and of course with even
7 more fervor to kill all Allah's foes, because they are strong today and
8 they are mightier than they have ever been.
9 All right, brother. Thank you, brother. Allah be with you.
10 Pray for us. Pray that Allah's faith prevails. Allah can see
11 full well what they are doing.
12 Our Bosa [phoen] from Kuwait says: Praise to the Allah. Fear
13 Allah and do not die in any other way but as Muslims. Today is Friday,
14 the Mubarak day. We are in the centre of our preparations. Praise and
15 pray to Allah. And if you should die in the fighting, may Allah take you
16 in and heal your wounds. The enemy side has modern technology and they
17 have the advantage there, but we have the support of Allah, who assists
18 his faithful slaves. Let me say to my brethren that we must rely on Allah
19 and our faith and the humble qualities of the Emirs [phoen]. We have come
20 here to help our brethren, the Muslims. We have had beautiful dreams, and
21 one of our brethren told us that he dreamt that we were deployed with a
22 man leading us in white clothing, with a cap on his head and with a
23 beautiful dark beard, leading us to the trenches, and we followed him. He
24 praised Allah's victory for Allah's assistance. We pray to Allah that we
25 will have joyful tidings and that he will lead us in our battles
2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May we have a fast-forward, please.
3 Stop there, please.
4 [Videotape played]
5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May we have a fast-forward again,
6 please. Fast forward again, please. Stop there, please. Thank you. We
7 can stop there altogether for the moment, for the time being. Thank you.
8 Thank you very much to the technical booth and everybody who assisted us
9 from the booth.
10 Q. Mr. Praljak, could you now tell us, please, what you know about
11 the events that we saw on the tape. From your personal knowledge, may we
12 have your comments, please, to what we've just witnessed.
13 A. At the beginning of that footage, the images that were shown were
14 the United Nations, the Pope, the UN troops, and all the rest that were
15 shown, they were the enemy, the enemy to the faith, and the enemies of
16 Allah and the Muslims. The torsion that you see, the contractions, facial
17 grimaces on the faces of the people you saw were there because -- people's
18 identities were being masked with face distortion on the footage. They
19 were quite obviously important members of terrorist, Islamic
20 organisations. Image distortion. The review that we saw of the brigades
21 of the El Mujahedin, the review was conducted by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.
22 He toured the troops, reviewed the troops. And by virtue of office, he
23 was their commander.
24 I think that I also recognised the commander of the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina among the faces. He was later to become General
2 At one point, we saw some captive Serbs, some Serb prisoners. We
3 also saw the training centre, and the way in which the men were trained.
4 In the speech that we heard, there was repetition of the fact that
5 hatred was allowed in the name of Allah, was permitted in the name of
6 Allah. Not only is it permitted, but that it is desirable too. And that
7 in the name of Allah, they must kill those who are the enemies of Islam.
8 And it is within that context that mention is made frequently of the word
9 "Jihad," the Jihad. And the Jihad means a holy war. And Allah's foes
10 are enumerated again, and mention is made of Europe and all new systems,
11 which obviously are non-Islamic ones and are not founded upon the way of
12 life proclaimed by the Koran.
13 Mr. Izetbegovic himself asks briefly who the people assembled are,
14 and in another section of the footage, the speaker that we can hear in the
15 background, in "off," says that many professors --
16 Q. Mr. Praljak, not to interpret what was said, I'm going to have the
17 whole text translated, and the documents will speak for themselves, but I
18 just wanted to hear your comments and some things that you knew of
19 personally. But let's move on because our time is limited, and with the
20 Court's indulgence, I have been -- my time has been extended today for the
21 examination-in-chief, but we do have to end by the close of business
22 today. So let's move on and let's focus on 1993 and tell us where you
23 were in Bosnia, in Croatia. Did you return to Herzegovina? Could you
24 comment on that, please?
25 A. There are two landmark periods insofar as my tours of duty in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina are concerned. In 1993, in the former half of 1993, I
2 went to Bosnia and Herzegovina whenever I could so as to help, either with
3 the organisation or by taking over the command in one of the defence --
4 over one of the defence sectors, or so as to calm down the situation which
5 was increasingly -- which increasingly looked like war between the Croat
6 Defence Council and the Muslim forces.
7 Q. And when did you go back to Croatia?
8 A. On the 27th of July, 1993. I went down there again, and I was
9 appointed the commander of the Croat Defence Council.
10 Q. Sorry, you said "down there." What does it mean?
11 A. Not to Croatia. I went back to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. Don't. That's all right. Don't apologise. Just so, on the 27th
13 of July, 1993, you went back to Herzegovina and you are appointed the HVO
14 commander. Is that so?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 Q. And tell us, what was the situation? What kind of a situation did
17 you find there? Could you perhaps explain how were the forces deployed at
18 the time? Perhaps we can use a map to make your explanations easier.
19 This is ID D1/76. What was the situation then? How were the forces
20 deployed? Where was the fighting going on, if there was any fighting
21 going on at the time?
22 A. The situation, in a manner of speaking, the situation for the
23 Croat Defence Council, was bad. We were under attack from all directions,
24 at all points of contact with the Muslims. The war had already started
25 before I arrived there - I mean the open conflict - with all the elements
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of war. We had already lost various territories, territories from which
2 we had been expelled, accompanied by series of crimes perpetrated by
3 Muslim forces.
4 Q. Can you be more specific as to the area?
5 A. Central Bosnia, Bugojno, Konjic. And then the Muslims embarked on
6 their closing operation, which they called Neretva '93. What they wanted
7 was to move down the Neretva valley and come out at Metkovic and then on
8 to the coast. And there were already political speculations at the time
9 that the Serbs might get the southern part of Croatia from Neum, and the
10 Muslims at the same time thought they could get the area from Ploce to
11 Neum. As the time went by in -- into fierce fighting, we managed to stop
12 that offensive, to recover the positions that we at times lost along those
13 directions, and defend the remains of the remains of the Croat enclaves in
14 Central Bosnia, but without Kakanj, without Orasje, without Travnik,
15 without Bugojno.
16 Q. Mr. Praljak, just briefly, how were the forces deployed? Will you
17 please tell us the number of the exhibit and everything that is in
18 Croatian and then let us comment on this map in just a few words.
19 A. This is D1/76.
20 Q. ID D1/76.
21 A. Blue means the Croat Defence Council. Green stands for the army
22 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And red stands for the Army of the Republic of
23 Serb Krajina. And the rest, I think, is self-evident. I don't see what
24 else do I have to say.
25 Q. And this map here, will you please be so kind as to -- so as to
1 ensure the continuity and so that the Court can follow?
2 A. This is Exhibit D1/77, April, 1993, directions of operations of
3 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, scenes of crimes of the army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, cleansing of Croat villages in the Neretvica valley.
5 All the crimes that I've just pointed at have been documented, the
6 villages were cleansed, their population expelled.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
8 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, partly for consistency's sake, I want
9 the Prosecution position to be clear. As we have said from the beginning,
10 we object to this evidence as irrelevant. It is not -- tu quoque is not a
11 defence. The counsel has not tendered any other reason why this
12 information is relevant to this case other than tu quoque. We said in our
13 opening statement that crimes were committed on all sides. That has never
14 been in dispute. This is not a defence to any issue in this case.
15 Counsel has not tendered or proffered any reason why it's relevant. And
16 we object to that.
17 Secondly, we object to the broad-brush way that this information
18 is being treated.
19 Now, in the Prosecution case, the Prosecution has had to bring
20 witnesses to establish crimes on the ground, elements and crimes and
21 actual evidence. We have a witness here who, in a broad brush, has now
22 said, without any basis or without any details, that Muslim crimes were
23 committed at all these places. We object to this testimony, Your Honour.
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Your Honours, this is
25 not the tu quoque defence. We are challenging the Prosecution thesis that
1 the Croats or the Croat Defence Council attacked the Muslim people, that
2 is, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This has nothing to do -- we are
3 merely showing how Mostar happened, that is, how the conflict came about.
4 We have to provide this explanation, and we cannot do it in one single
5 sentence. These are crimes, and we're not interested in that. We have to
6 go to the heart of the conflict and understand and explain why a broader
7 conflict or, if you want to put it that way, why the war happened. And
8 the Defence submits that as of the 16th of April onward, the HVO -- that
9 was put to us, that the HVO attacked the Muslims and the army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We say no. What we submit is that the HVO and the
11 Muslim -- and the Croat people was attacked before that and expelled them
12 from the areas, and that then erupted in the all-out war in Mostar. And
13 the only way we can prove our point is to explain it with witnesses who
14 were there, with witnesses who held the highest-ranking positions, not by
15 listening to the hearsay in Mostar, but having the situation where the
16 high-ranking officials saw with their own eyes and about which they can
17 testify before this Honourable Court.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Scott --
19 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, one brief comment. I won't belabour it
20 further than we already have, except for this. I respectfully ask the
21 Court to consider it this way: Assuming for the moment that anything that
22 has been said in the last few minutes is true - and the Prosecution does
23 not concede that that's true or that this version of events is
24 correct - but assuming for the moment that it's true, is that a defence to
25 the expulsion of Muslims from their homes in East Mostar? If that is
1 true, is it a defence to the torture and beating of Muslim soldiers at the
2 fish farm in Doljani? It's not relevant, Your Honour. We submit it is
3 not relevant to this case.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Scott -- well, Mr. Scott, I think, you know,
5 it's the time for a break. And Mr. Scott, I, in principle, quite agree
6 with you that this Trial Chamber will not accept any evidence that is
7 irrelevant, let alone that tu quoque defence, which we have been -- has
8 been mentioned at the very beginning of this trial. But in this
9 situation, we understand this witness is laying down the foundations for
10 this case. There must be some instances which touch upon the wrongdoings
11 of the other side.
12 And we won't spend much time on that issue, Mr. Krsnik, because we
13 have been sitting here for the whole morning. And I wonder how long are
14 you going to take for this witness? Are you expecting us to sit until
16 MR. KRSNIK: Your Honours, but of course not. I have three, four,
17 five pages altogether, so about an hour and a half, and I believe that
18 will then conclude my examination. As I said, I will try to do my best,
19 but I'm trying -- so I'm trying to do my best to provide this Court with
20 all the evidence, and we cannot explain why something happened unless we
21 go back to the cause, because everything has a root somewhere. And this
22 is the highest court on this planet, and that is the only way that we deem
23 fit to provide evidence.
24 The Defence said that it will never use tu quoque defence, but my
25 learned friend doesn't understand. If he thinks that he has proven that
1 there were expulsions and tortures and that these are already final
2 judgements, then perhaps he would be entitled to a reaction such as this
3 one, but not in this case. And even if I went along with my learned
4 friend, who did that in our case with the background of the indictment,
5 and we have to -- have to apply an individual approach to the indictment,
6 and that is why this witness was called: Who did what. And even if
7 the -- if I grant to the Prosecution that this and that happened in
8 Mostar, but let us see who did it. I mean, it is up to him to prove who
9 did that. It is on the Prosecution to prove who did it, and then we have
10 to respond to the background of the indictment, which constitutes 90 per
11 cent of the indictment, and only the rest are individual charges.
12 I already said in my opening statement why do we have to go into
13 things which are common knowledge simply because they are represented in a
14 different way in the indictment? And therefore, we cannot but do that,
15 and we are bringing the most relevant witnesses, witnesses who have
16 absolutely their personal knowledge, who are all eyewitnesses, and we
17 shall not have a single secondhand, hearsay witness. I've already said
18 that, and we shall not bring any such witness here.
19 Thank you very much, and I apologise for this rather long speech.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, we are not quite satisfied with the
21 proceedings this morning. It takes so much time. Remember that yesterday
22 you told us altogether you need four hours for this witness. We have to
23 move fast.
24 MR. KRSNIK: Yes, okay.
25 JUDGE LIU: We don't have one hour and a half during our next
1 sitting. I hope you could finish your direct examination in 30 to 40
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I just say this:
4 Here I have to address the testimony of Mr. Geld [phoen]. There are other
5 documents. There are presidential transcripts. And this gentleman is an
6 eyewitness. I really cannot plan the time. And I believe that this
7 Honourable Court wishes to know about it, especially the presidential
8 transcripts, Mr. Singara [phone], Jeremy Bowen. You remember BCC, don't
9 you? And this gentleman personally, he personally can testify about this
10 because he was an eyewitness. And I cannot skip various subjects. I'm
11 really very sorry, but during the break I will try to focus on this. But
12 finally I will have to ask the witness what he knows about my client,
13 because that is also in the indictment. I will do my best, Your Honours.
14 I will really do my utmost.
15 JUDGE LIU: So we'll trust you, and during the break you
16 reorganise your questioning concerning all those questions.
17 We will rise until 12.30.
18 --- Recess taken at 12.06 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.34 p.m.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Seric?
21 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honours, I merely
22 wish to say that I will not have any questions in direct examination so
23 that I can give my time to Mr. Krsnik, because I know how precious every
24 minute is, and I have told him that I will not be using any time for
25 direct examination. Thank you.
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Praljak, I will now ask you to try to focus better and move on
4 faster because we really have very little time left. So please try to
5 make your answers as brief as possible. We have to reorganise slightly.
6 I also had to do that, to go through all the topics that I had prepared.
7 And I will now start by asking you about the structure of the HVO at the
8 time when you arrived, as of the 28th of July -- 27th of July, 1993
9 onward. So let me ask you first, do you know Mr. Mladen Naletilic
11 A. Yes, I do know him personally.
12 Q. Have you known one another for a long time?
13 A. We've known one another since childhood. He was a year or two
14 younger than I am, but we attended the same school in the same place, and
15 we met again when he returned from abroad.
16 Q. Do you know where and when the Convicts Battalion was established?
17 A. No, I don't.
18 Q. Can you tell the Honourable Court, if you have any direct
19 knowledge, which rank did Mr. Mladen Naletilic enjoy in the HVO structure?
20 A. Mladen Naletilic is not ranked in the HVO structure.
21 Q. I will now show you a chart showing the HVO structure in 1993, and
22 you will tell us whether it tallies with what you found when you got
23 there, and I will invite you to comment on it and the structure and tell
24 us where was who in -- on that chart.
25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, will you please help me?
1 Q. And also I will show you Prosecution's Exhibit 532.1, which was
2 done by the Spanish Battalion. So will you please have a look at it and
3 compare the two? This is ID D1/82.
4 A. This is a more or less accurate chart of the HVO structure in
6 Q. Could you be more specific, because this is in Croatian, we do not
7 have the translation?
8 A. First comes the Supreme Commander, then the Defence Department,
9 then below it is the Main Staff. The Military Police units are attached
10 to the Defence Department. The Main Staff has command over four operative
11 zones: Operative zone Mostar; Tomislavgrad operative zone; Vitez; Orasje
12 operative zone. And directly tied to the Main Staff are the units
13 attached to the Main Staff, and special purpose units and professional
14 units are directly related to the Main Staff through the Defence
15 Department. And then on, that is upward, to the Supreme Commander.
16 Q. Yes, yes, yes, but that is clear. Tell us what are the special
17 purpose units or have you heard of the term "ATG"?
18 A. Yes, I'm familiar with the term "ATG." These are mostly units
19 which would go to the front line at a particular point in time, perform a
20 task and then go back home, in point of fact, because there were no
21 barracks. And in those instances when they stayed on the front lines,
22 then they would be subordinated to the commander of that particular front
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Now that you mention it, could we go
25 into private session, Your Honours, please? Because some names perhaps
1 will be mentioned, and I'd rather not have them spoken in public.
2 JUDGE LIU: We will go to the private session, please.
3 [Private session]
13 Page 9422 – redacted – private session
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
13 Page 9424 – redacted – private session
9 [Open session]
10 A. At the time of my command, while I was the commander of the Croat
11 Defence Council, I never once participated, nor did I see Mr. Mladen
12 Naletilic, Tuta, plan, command, or perform a military action.
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Did he issue orders to you, perhaps?
15 A. No. No, he did not issue orders to me.
16 Q. Did he perhaps transmit some orders to you? Did he coordinate?
17 Was he a coordinator between the Croatia and the HVO, the Croatian state
18 and the HVO?
19 A. No. I'd call such a thesis and such claim preposterous.
20 Q. Did you ever see Mr. Mladen Naletilic present at the meetings of
21 the Main Staff?
22 A. No. He was never at those meetings, and it wasn't his to be
24 Q. Did you ever see him plan an HVO action?
25 A. We were together only during the liberation of the hill above
1 Mostar that I already mentioned, Orlovac, but it wasn't he who planned
2 it. It was simply the authority that he wielded, the authority that he
3 enjoyed before the war, as a Croat patriot, in Communist Yugoslavia, so
4 he -- so the combatants of the unit held him in high esteem. And in the
5 planning of the liberation of Orlovac, I was present when that plan was
7 Q. Tell us: Which year was it, the Orlovac action?
8 A. It was May. It was May. It was May 1992.
9 Q. Mr. Praljak, do you have any knowledge whether -- about Rastani on
10 the 29th of September, 1993? Do you know anything about this action and
11 what happened there?
12 A. Yes. At that time I held the office of the commander of the Croat
13 Defence Council. In Rastani, on that date, an attack of the Muslim forces
14 was rejected.
15 Q. Perhaps I can help you with a map.
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Usher, can you please be so kind as
17 to help me? This is ID D1/86 and ID D1/87.
18 A. The city of Mostar, Rastani. The attack of Muslim forces came
19 along the right bank of the Neretva to go around Mostar, but the Home
20 Guard units and the brigade successfully thwarted this attack.
21 Q. Perhaps we should use another map to show that.
22 ID D1/87. Will you please tell us what does it say in Croatian so
23 that we can follow?
24 A. "The situation on the 23rd of September, 1993, Rastani." The
25 red -- the forces in red are the units of the Muslim forces the army of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this is the confrontation line, when the attack
2 was rejected.
3 Q. Will you tell us which units took part in this on the side of the
4 Croat Defence Council and which units were involved on the side of the --
5 A. One of the brigades -- there were two brigades in Mostar. One was
6 Dobrobrodska [phoen] the Home Guards Brigade, as we called it. And
7 another one. I cannot really tell you now offhand which Muslim units were
8 attacking because it would be going into too much detail for the position
9 that I occupied at the time. I know that I commanded the units which
10 succeeded in stopping the attack, and which would have, had it succeeded,
11 placed Mostar in a very difficult position.
12 Q. Did the Croatian army, Croatian units, participate in the defence?
13 A. No, counsel, there were no Croatian troops, troops from the
14 Republic of Croatia, in that defence.
15 Q. And what about the Convicts Battalion units?
16 A. No. The Convicts Battalion was not there. There was the Home
17 Guards Brigade from Mostar, whether the first or the second, I wouldn't
18 really be able to tell you.
19 Q. My colleague reminds me that you've already answered my question
20 whether the Croatian troops participated in that action and you said not
21 here but -- and no where else, didn't you?
22 A. Well, with regard to the questions that we already considered
23 about the never-ending participation of the Croatian troops in the
24 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so that to not -- to leave the impression
25 that they did not participate here but did elsewhere.
1 Q. I apologise, Mr. Praljak, but we have to check the transcript. My
2 colleague warns me that the transcript is not quite clear, so I must ask
3 you explicitly. Did the Croatian army participate in any action at that
4 time, before or after? Are you aware, therefore, of any action, that it
5 took an active part in the fighting?
6 A. I have already said exactly and precisely. I have quoted two
7 instances during that war, when, how and how many soldiers of the Croatian
8 army were present in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I have
9 nothing else to add to that.
10 Q. Thank you, very much, Mr. Praljak. We have simply to make things
11 clear for the record, so I apologise if I have to ask you certain things
12 repeatedly. Tell us, did the intervention units -- can intervention units
13 use prisoners if they go into attack, for instance, as a live shield, or
14 do they take some prisoners or -- and use them for something, for some
16 A. No, Mr. Krsnik, nobody can do that, not only intervention units.
17 Nobody can do that. Nobody can have -- can keep prisoners outside the
18 organisation. Nobody may use prisoners as a human shield. And if that
19 happened somewhere, that was then the violation of the law of war and the
20 violation of all the rules, of all the regulations that we managed to not
21 only to adopt but to enforce and control the enforcement in spite of all
22 the chaos of all the disarray that reigned at the time.
23 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Praljak, did you have talks with foreign
24 representatives at the time, representing the international communities
25 who were down there? Did you take part in any peace initiatives? And if
1 so, which international representatives did you talk to?
2 A. Many, as we -- our time is limited, let me just say many. In
3 Medjugorje, for example.
4 Q. What year was that?
5 A. 1993, with Lord Owen, President Franjo Tudjman, the President of
6 the Presidency -- of the rump Presidency of the Muslims, Alija
7 Izetbegovic, various commanders and so on. With the Spanish Battalion,
8 representatives of the Spanish Battalion, there were regular meetings with
9 them. Then General Bricmont, the Commander-in-Chief of the international
10 forces, we had meetings with him. With Mr. Garrod, with journalists.
11 Q. Which journalists did you talk to, if you recall?
12 A. I remember a journalist at the BBC, I've forgotten his name, but
13 there was a rather sharp verbal conflict between the two of us. And then
14 we -- I continued the conversation with Mr. Garrod. I also spoke to
15 Mr. Gutman who received the Pulitzer Prize sometime later, and Mrs. Sally
16 Baker, she wrote a book about it all. And many, many others. I can't go
17 through them all now.
18 Q. Did the BBC journalists, did they have to ask permission to film
19 and where did they do their filming?
20 A. Yes. They did ask permission to film the eastern part of Mostar
21 and I asked that before they go into the eastern part of Mostar, that they
22 should strike a balance between the facts as they stand and present the
23 truth in a well-balanced way, and that they should inform the people of
24 the situation in -- downstream from the Neretva, around Konjic and so on.
25 We considered - and I did so personally as well - that - and I still
1 consider that today to be true - that there was a propaganda war being
2 waged against us at the time, so that the Muslims, as victims of the Serb
3 aggression, were treated as if we had launched an aggression on them too.
4 That was how the situation was portrayed, to my mind. After talking to
5 Mr. Garrod, I managed -- we let the gentlemen from the BBC go and film
6 Eastern Mostar.
7 Q. How did they get to Eastern Mostar?
8 A. They were escorted by us.
9 Q. You mean from the western part to the eastern part, along with
10 your escort; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. Mr. Praljak, I'm going to show you a document now, the
13 number is D1/32. It is a Prosecution exhibit, in fact.
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] And could I ask the usher for his
15 assistance? D1/32 is the number of the document.
16 Q. The document was compiled by the international force and it
17 pertains to all important people in the HVO. So could you take a look at
18 it carefully? Could you look through the document, please -- or shall we
19 do this together? Let's leaf through it quickly. Is Mate Boban's
20 position correctly stated? And I think you have the text in English,
21 unless I'm very much mistaken.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, could this document be put on the
23 ELMO so we could have a look at it? Because we don't have this document
24 at our hands.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It says Mate Boban, and everything
1 is correct for Prlic. For -- incorrect for Topic. Bruno Stojic,
2 correct. Slobodan Bozic, correct. Branko Kvsic, I'm not sure. I don't
3 know this next one. I'm not sure about the next one. He was chief of the
4 security service, that one there.
5 Q. Does that mean that is incorrect, then?
6 A. Incorrect, that's right.
7 Q. Now what does the word "police" mean here? Is it police or what?
8 A. It is "police."
9 Q. Then it is incorrect?
10 A. Correct. Gagro, incorrect.
11 Q. Mr. Praljak, could you -- when you say something is correct or
12 incorrect, could you read out the name, please, first?
13 A. Stjepan Kresic, I don't know.
14 Q. If somebody does not exist within the structure, then tell us
15 that, too.
16 A. Jozo Maric, incorrect. Leica, doesn't exist. I don't know who he
17 is. Ratko Peric, yes. Bishop, correct. Milivoj Petkovic was my deputy.
18 He wasn't policy director or anything. Milivoj Petkovic was a brigadier
19 at the time and I was a general.
20 Q. So that means that is not correct?
21 A. That's right. That wasn't correct, and I'm not Praljac with a C,
22 I'm Praljak with a K. And I was commander, yes, that's correct. Zarko
23 Tole, Chief of Staff, correct. Pero Zelenika, not correct. Lucic, Ivica,
24 that's the one -- previous one. And it's Ivica with a "C," not Ivika with
25 a K. Correct. He was in charge of security and the police. Milenko
1 Lasic, correct, commander of the zone. Correct.
2 Q. Would you please read the name out, first?
3 A. Ivan Andabak, correct. Nedeljko Obradovic, Mojmir Primorac;
4 correct. There are some missing here, some parts missing. For example,
6 Q. It says "General Staff."
7 A. That's another Naletilic. He was in the Main Staff, a certain
8 person with the surname Naletilic.
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, I have sufficient copies.
10 Could you hand this around, please? I think the Prosecution has a copy of
11 this document. Hand one copy to the witness, please. Could you place it
12 on the ELMO? The Prosecution has a copy, has been provided with a copy.
13 Q. Is that the man in question with the surname Naletilic? Is that
14 the one?
15 A. Yes. This is the Naletilic who was in the Main Staff of the HVO,
16 General Staff of the HVO.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] This document is ID D1/88.
19 Thank you, Mr. Praljak.
20 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Krsnik, is that a document that was produced by
21 a member of the UN Monitoring Mission, European Monitoring Mission?
22 MR. KRSNIK: Yes.
23 JUDGE CLARK: I thought he explained to us that it was really
24 telephone numbers of people who were useful to them, and nothing more than
25 that. I thought he explained that to us. Is that a different list?
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. It's the same list,
2 but it went via the Prosecution, the investigator of the Prosecution,
3 Mr. van Hecke. We got it by way of him. Not only -- it wasn't only
4 telephone numbers, but who was who in the HVO, plus telephone numbers.
5 And Mr. van Hecke testified to that. He was the main investigator of the
6 Prosecution team. And if you remember, at the time, when I asked him
7 where Mr. Naletilic was and whether it was this particular Mr. Naletilic.
8 I asked Mr. van Hecke that question during the cross-examination.
9 JUDGE CLARK: I must be thinking of a different list. If you give
10 me the Prosecution number of that, I'll be able to look it up in my own
11 files when I go back to the office. Please.
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour, but I do
13 not have the number of the Prosecution document. But I have the numbers,
14 the basic numbers. But you'll find it difficult to find your way with
15 them. But perhaps my colleagues, my learned colleagues across the well,
16 can help me. But we tendered it, and the number was D1/32. We introduced
17 it on the basis of D1/32, on the 7th of November, 2001, in actual fact.
18 JUDGE CLARK: Thank you. I don't want to take up your valuable
19 time. We can look it up later.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott.
22 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, while we're stopped on exhibits, the
23 Prosecution would assist -- would appreciate some assistance on the
24 foundation, the source of Exhibit D1/88, this document supposedly about
25 this other Naletilic. There's been no information as to the source or
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 authenticity of this document.
2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, to be frank, I can't
3 say, but I think it was within the frameworks of a request we made to the
4 authorities in Mostar, and as far as I remember, it says here that it is
5 the file of a person who was replaced. It was an ID card. We asked MUP
6 Mostar for a lot of information, and this is taken from their files, which
7 every citizen in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina has in the police force.
8 That is to say, the police have files which they keep for their personal
9 identification cards.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, since you've seen the Croatian
11 language, we don't understand the first line of the words. Maybe you can
12 assist us by translating them into English.
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] It says: Card of issued or replaced
14 personal ID, personal identification card. And this was the system
15 introduced in the former Yugoslavia and has prevailed to today. Each
16 citizen has one personal identification number, plus his name and surname,
17 first and last name, the last name of his parents, with the maiden name of
18 the mother, date of birth, place of birth, municipality of birth, state.
19 National affiliation or ethnicity, it says "Croat." Profession, it says
20 "professor." Education, it says "higher education." Residence, Siroki
21 Brijeg, municipality of Siroki Brijeg. Address, date of issuance of the
22 ID, and valid until the 2nd of October, 2005. Issued the 2nd of October,
23 1995, valid until the 2nd of October, 2005.
24 Q. Let me ask you again, Witness: Do you know this man, and do the
25 facts correspond to the situation as it stands?
1 A. I know the gentleman, and as to the first and last name, they are
2 correct; they correspond.
3 Q. Thank you. I keep having to look at the clock. I apologise if
4 this is a little disconcerting.
5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] May we now see a tape, and I'm going
6 to ask you about the problems you encountered down there when you were the
7 commander, what you did to organise the people, et cetera.
8 Could I ask the technical booth to play the tape.
9 Q. And could you tell us the date and the place, please, when this
10 was filmed, who filmed it, et cetera.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Soldiers, you're going to listen to
13 me, and the rest of you too. We're not talking about love here. I have
14 received eight trucks. I received eight trucks this morning. We have to
15 go to the Croatian people in Vares and pull out eight dead bodies from
16 Mostar. It's not a question of love. We have examined the convoy,
17 checked the convoy. We have to transport people up there. What happened,
18 happened. The rest will do their duty, their jobs, in order to feed the
19 people in Vares, in Zepce, in Vitez. We have to let this go by. There's
20 no question about that. Gentlemen, soldiers, move away from there, and
21 the convoy has to go through. Shut up.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] We can stop the tape there. Thank
24 Q. Mr. Praljak, tell us when this happened, where it happened,
25 whether there were similar situations with other humanitarian aid
1 convoys. The place and time, please, where this was filmed and when.
2 A. It was the summer of 1993. The place is Citluk. The people had
3 stopped the APC transporters and the convoy carrying humanitarian aid
4 moving towards Eastern Mostar, because the people felt in jeopardy and
5 that they found it difficult to accept the fact that in an imposed -- a
6 war imposed on us by the Muslims, we allowed convoys to pass through, and
7 as I said previously, carrying weapons too. The truth is -- it is true
8 that they allowed convoys to pass through towards our enclaves in Eastern
9 Bosnia too.
10 Q. There were nine dead bodies mentioned that had to be exchanged.
11 What was that about? What was that reference to?
12 A. Unfortunately, this was all linked up in that war. We were able
13 to -- we would be given the bodies once the convoy had passed through.
14 Q. But the civilians were Croats, were they?
15 A. Yes. All the civilian were Croats, and I myself was there as the
16 commander, and I had to intervene against the people, in opposition to the
17 people and the will of the people, in actual fact. I had to get up on the
18 APC itself, on the vehicle, and escort them through to Eastern Mostar.
19 Q. I saw that there was no rank insignia on your clothing. Were
20 there ranks in the HVO? If there were, tell us when they were introduced,
21 or tell us generally when ranks were introduced and what the command
22 structure and what commanding consisted of in the HVO at that time.
23 A. We did not have ranks in the HVO. We had insignia denoting a
24 command of a military structure, the commander of the Main Staff, for
25 example, the deputy commander of the Main Staff, et cetera, the zone
1 commander, the brigade commander, and so on and so forth. Ranks were
2 introduced quite a bit later.
3 Q. So you had commanders, from the lowest unit to the highest unit;
4 is that right? Am I reading you correctly?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. Mr. Praljak, I started asking you yesterday, and I said I'd
7 continue today, whether you personally had talks with the president of the
8 Republic of Croatia, Mr. Tudjman.
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. I'm going to show you some transcripts now. Would you take a look
11 at them carefully, study them carefully, and tell us whether they
12 correspond to the gist of your conversation with the president.
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] The first transcript is PT32. It is
14 marked PT32. I apologise. I omitted to give a number for the tape. It
15 is ID D1/89, and I'm very grateful to my colleague for reminding me of
16 that. Thank you.
17 The conversation was allegedly held on the 22nd of January, 1992,
18 in the presidential palace.
19 A. Your Honours, this is too short a time for me to be able to say
20 whether this is authentic or not. There's too much of it. I would have
21 to read through the entire text. I was present at the meeting. Now, what
22 it says here from start to finish, I can't really say. It was seven years
24 Q. Very well. To save time, I'm certain that my learned colleague
25 will be asking questions about that during the cross-examination, but do
1 you perhaps recall a conversation you had on the 15th of September,
2 1993 - and the number of that document is PT9 - also with President Franjo
4 A. The 15th of September? Which year did you say?
5 Q. In 1993, held at the presidential palace, Presidnicki Dvori
7 A. I can't tell you without the text that on the 15th of September I
8 was in Rama, Prozor, on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Actually, I
9 was -- because that's when the Muslim crime in Uzdol took place, so I was
10 there on the 15th of September. That's where I was.
11 Q. It says here that you attended a meeting, and that you weren't in
12 Rama, and that you talked to the president of the Republic of Croatia.
13 A. No, Mr. Krsnik. I say when I know a date and I say when I don't.
14 There was a great crime that took place in the village of Uzdol, Prozor on
15 the 15th of September, and I know I was there, because I issued an order
16 to the Croatian forces to liberate Uzdol and the people who were blocked
17 in a school, some hundred-odd people who would have suffered the same fate
18 as the 30-odd people who were killed.
19 Q. And who attacked whom?
20 A. The crime committed in Uzdol was committed by the Muslim forces.
21 Q. How many civilians were killed on that occasion?
22 A. Thirty-something.
23 Q. And you were there then?
24 A. Yes, I was there.
25 Q. All right. I won't question you any more about that, because it
1 says here not only that you were present but that you took part in the
3 A. No. I'm quite certain of where I was on that particular date.
4 Q. And this brings us to our last transcript and document, the
5 alleged meeting held on the 5th of November, 1993, at the Vila Dalmacija
6 in Split, and the number of that document is PT12.
7 Could you leaf through that one, please, and tell us where you
8 were, whether you were there? Did you ever get a copy of the record?
9 A. No, never.
10 Q. Were you aware that it was being recorded when you went to see the
12 A. In Split, no, no, I'm certain of that.
13 Q. Here it says, you will see, "recorded," and every record, every
14 single minutes has that.
15 A. Mr. Krsnik, I cannot really testify to the authenticity of these
16 documents. Your Honours, I'm really sorry but I cannot say anything about
17 this. I would have to read it first and see whether it would reflect what
18 I retained in my memory, but just by looking at it, I cannot say anything.
19 Q. Well, well, well, perhaps you will have an opportunity during the
20 cross-examination. You will have time and you will be able to read it.
21 A. Well, if you have time, I'm quite ready now.
22 Q. Unfortunately, I do not have any more time. The Court was kind
23 enough as to give me some more time but I have spent it all.
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I have your leave
25 to give these texts to the witness so that he can read it all this
1 afternoon? There are very many pages, very -- very many pages and it's
2 very important for us. I can give him the copy which I was given so ...
3 JUDGE CLARK: In reality, your witness should have seen all these
4 documents before you raised the questions, because one of the main rules
5 in cross-examination is you don't ask a question to which you don't know
6 the answer. So strictly speaking, this witness really should have had an
7 opportunity to see all this material before. Are you saying, Mr. Krsnik,
8 you don't know whether he's going to --
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] My mistake. Entirely my mistake. I
10 simply didn't manage to do it all. I had a month, thanks to your
11 kindness, but it was 60 witnesses and I had to prepare them. And you see
12 how much time I spent here in the courtroom. Can you imagine how much
13 time I had to spend talking to those people, interviewing them, talking
14 them into coming here? Yes, I failed to do that, and it is my mistake,
15 but with your leave, I will give the -- I will give the witness to read
16 it. If not, then it can be done yesterday, because I'm quite sure that my
17 learned friends will also address this issue.
18 JUDGE CLARK: In what I said there, one of the main rules in
19 cross-examination should be one of the main rules in examining a witness
20 is that you don't ask, not cross-examination. I obviously said that
21 incorrectly. But as you've finished with this witness, you just want him
22 to read these documents in order that he may be ready for any questions
23 which Mr. Scott might have.
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] One or two questions.
25 JUDGE LIU: Any objections from the Prosecution?
1 MR. SCOTT: No, Your Honour, no objection.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, your request is granted, Mr. Krsnik. You may
3 furnish this document to your witness. I hope this is your last question.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Two, two
5 questions more, very brief. My colleagues warn me which questions I must
6 not forget to put.
7 Q. Many witnesses here in the courtroom affirmed that at the
8 Heliodrom, there were Croatian -- units of the Croatian army called the
9 Tigrovi, Tigers, and Thunders -- Thunderbolts, Gromovi. Would that be
10 correct? And I have an order here, which is marked ID D1/84.
11 A. Your first question, Mr. Krsnik? My answer is Croatian army
12 units, as organised formations, which the Croatian army might have
13 dispatched to the territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina do not
14 exist. There do exist volunteers who, from the Croatian army, went to
15 join units of the Croat Defence Council, because they, as we have already
16 stated, they had been born in that territory. From the territory they had
17 gone to the Croatian army. And Bosnia and Herzegovina was both their
18 homeland and their fatherland. Some of them, notwithstanding strict
19 orders to remove the patches of the Army of the Republic of Croatia, for
20 psychological reasons and because we did not have such an organisation to
21 enforce it all, went on wearing those patches, but only as individuals, in
22 their individual capacity, and not as members of the Army of the Republic
23 of Croatia. And this is attested to by this order, among other things,
24 which says that the volunteer units will be received -- when we say
25 "units," then these are very small groups of men. And that these
1 volunteer units will be received by Colonel Ivica Primorac, who will take
2 care of their accommodation and logistic support.
3 Q. Very well. And item 2?
4 A. Volunteer units arriving there will be accommodated in the
5 barracks at the Heliodrom. And here, mention is made of 90 men and a unit
6 for Bosanski Brod is announced of volunteers again, which unfortunately
7 never turned up.
8 Q. And item 3?
9 A. The use in -- the use in combat of such volunteer groups shall be
10 regulated by the Main Staff of the Croat Defence Council. In other words,
11 I command these men.
12 Q. And who signed this order?
13 A. It was signed by General Matic, Stanko Matic.
14 Q. And his office was?
15 A. I think it says here. Yes, yes, of course, Deputy Chief of the
16 Main Staff of the Croat Defence Council. I would have known that even
17 without anything in writing.
18 Mr. Krsnik showed me Mr. Garrod's report, and I confirm that it is
19 correct, truthful and honest, and that reflects honestly, properly and
20 authentically the situation, described the situation correctly and the
21 problems which the BBC television team had.
22 Q. The document that Mr. Praljak volunteered the information is
23 P611.1. Oh, we've skipped now over very many things.
24 My last question, since you were the commander at the time,
25 document marked P611 -- P611, which says the 23rd of September, 1993, one
1 has a seal, the other one doesn't, and it says, Defence Minister Bruno
2 Stojic. I don't know if this is his signature, so I will show it to you
3 to tell us. So on the 23rd of September, he was commended for valour and
4 military prowess in the fighting around Rastani and at the hydro power,
5 and it says, headed -- the unit headed by Commander Tuta for the -- and
6 for the --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please place it on the ELMO?
8 Because he's reading a text which the interpreters do not have.
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] And the contribution in the
10 liberation of Rastani, the 3rd Battalion.
11 JUDGE LIU: [Previous translation continues] ... because the
12 interpreter could not know.
13 MR. KRSNIK: Please put it on the ELMO.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot say whether this is
15 Mr. Stojic's signature, because too much time has gone by. But it wasn't
16 really all that common, and I do not know how a minister can commend a
17 military unit. The only way that it could have come about was that I had
18 given the foundation for him, and I did not do that.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
20 Q. But was there any action in Rastani before that? I mean before
21 the 23rd of September, because as far as I know, and I stand to be
22 corrected, on the 23rd of September, the action was still underway.
23 A. On the 23rd of September, the action was not over yet, but as far
24 as I know, it wasn't in Rastani. There was a strike by Muslim forces and
25 the commander, by the very fact, by the nature of his command, had to
1 respond to that.
2 Q. But were there any counter -- were there any such strikes before
3 the 23rd of September that you remember?
4 A. No, as far as I know.
5 Q. And my very last question, but you still owe us a comment on this
6 SpaBat structure of the HVO, and that would be my last and my closing and
7 concluding question.
8 A. Yes, I cast a look at it, and unfortunately, this is a very
9 dilettante piece of work and this is the mildest way to describe this
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] That is all, Your Honours. Thank you
12 very much for your indulgence, patience and understanding. On behalf of
13 the whole Defence team, I really have to say that we are -- I cannot
14 explain how highly we appreciate the fact that you allowed us to extend
15 our examination. Thank you very much indeed. And I apologise, the number
16 of this document. [In English] This document, I would like to see the
17 exhibit number.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, I'm afraid that we have to call you
19 back tomorrow morning for the cross-examination. So the usher will show
20 you out of the room.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, do you know how many hours you spent
24 on this witness?
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 JUDGE LIU: Your microphone.
2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] About six hours?
3 JUDGE LIU: No. I believe more than that. It's too long.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] We are measuring the time but -- see
5 how wrong I was, Your Honours. I didn't run -- I did not produce five
6 tapes and I'll have to do that with some other witnesses. At the time we
7 were preparing the summary, we were in Siroki Brijeg. You know how honest
8 I am with you. I simply had no idea how long it would take, with all the
9 objections, with all the tapes, with the documents, and so on and so
10 forth, but the responsibility rests with me, and I do apologise. I really
11 had no idea how much I would need for witnesses like this one. But
12 believe me, that will not be the rule. Perhaps it will hold true of the
13 first five or six witnesses, and then we shall enter the second stage.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
15 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, if you will indulge me literally one
16 minute, first off, by our records, just so the point is clear, we
17 calculate approximately 6 hours 40 minutes.
18 In terms of, Your Honour, we would ask about the next five, to
19 confirm the exact order, in light of the changes that we have
20 experienced. If we could be, please, assisted by tomorrow morning with
21 confirmation of the next five defence witnesses, the names and exact order
22 in which they would appear, we would be much appreciative. Thank you.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, since this is the first few
24 witnesses, and since it's a very important witness in your case, and since
25 we still have time, so we let you go for about six hours, but that should
1 never happen with the next few witnesses, because the time at our disposal
2 is so limited. We have to conduct our trial in a very efficient way.
3 The second issue is that we believe that it is the obligation on
4 your part to furnish all the documents and the names of the witnesses of
5 the Defence counsel. We had the ex parte hearing and this Trial Chamber
6 will consider your request upon your written motions, but until now, we
7 received nothing in this respect.
8 Thirdly, Mr. Krsnik, since so many documents was used in your
9 direct examination, we request you to submit to us a list of all those
10 documents you used during your direct examination before tomorrow morning
11 so that we could see which document is about what incident. Yes?
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] By all means, Your Honour. We shall
13 do that. We filed a motion this morning. It had to do with the ex
14 parte. Then yesterday some changes took place. The Prosecution somewhat
15 modified their views. We informed you and we filed the motion this
17 And as regards witnesses, we -- tomorrow morning -- the
18 Prosecution will have the list of witnesses faxed this afternoon, with all
19 the changes, because of the witness's illness and ...
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. We will rise until tomorrow morning.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m., to
22 be reconvened on Thursday, the 4th day of April,
23 2002, at 9.00 a.m.