Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 16931

1 Monday, 31 March 2003

2 [Judgement]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 3.02 p.m.

6 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Madam

7 Registrar, could you please call the case.

8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number

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

10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. For the sake of the record,

11 could we have the appearances, please. For the Prosecution.

12 MR. SCOTT: Good afternoon Mr. President, Your Honour Judge Clark,

13 Your Honour Judge Diarra. Kenneth Scott appearing for the Prosecutor,

14 together with Mr. Douglas Stringer, Mr. Vassily Poriouvaev, Roeland Bos,

15 Marie-Ursula Kind, and Kimberly Fleming. Thank you.

16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. For the accused.

17 MR. KRSNIK: Good afternoon, Your Honours, Mr. President, Judge

18 Diarra, Judge Clark. Kresimir Krsnik as lead counsel and Mr. Christopher

19 Meek as co-counsel, and Nika Pinter as legal assistant.

20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.

21 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours,

22 Judge Clark, Judge Diarra. My name is Branko Seric. I'm a member of the

23 Croatian bar, and I am the Defence counsel for Vinko Martinovic. I am

24 assisted by my co-counsel Zelimir Par, who is also a member of the

25 Croatian bar. Thank you very much.

Page 16932

1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.

2 Mr. Naletilic, can you hear the proceedings in a language that you

3 understand?

4 THE ACCUSED NALETILIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may sit down, please.

6 Mr. Martinovic, can you hear the proceedings in a language that

7 you understand?

8 THE ACCUSED MARTINOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.

9 JUDGE LIU: We haven't seen you for about five months. Do you

10 have anything to complain? How about your health?

11 THE ACCUSED MARTINOVIC: [Interpretation] It's fine.

12 JUDGE LIU: You may sit down, please.

13 Trial Chamber I, Section A is sitting today to deliver the

14 judgement in the trial of Vinko Martinovic and Mladen Naletilic.

15 The purposes of this hearing, the Chamber will summarise briefly

16 its findings, emphasising that it is a summary only and that the only

17 authoritative account of the Trial Chamber's findings and of its reasons

18 for those findings are to be found in the written judgement, copies of

19 which will be made available to the parties and to the public at the

20 conclusion of this hearing.

21 Before turning to the merits, the Chamber wishes to thank the

22 legal support team, the translators and the interpreters, the court

23 management section, the security, as well as the Victim and Witness

24 Section for having facilitated the conduct of this trial.

25 Now I turn to Judge Diarra.

Page 16933

1 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

2 The indictment concerned events alleged to have occurred between

3 April 1993 and January 1994 in the course of a conflict between the army

4 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian Defence Council in the

5 south-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular, in Mostar

6 and the surrounding municipalities. The Prosecution alleged that this

7 conflict was international in nature and that the alleged crimes were part

8 of a widespread, large-scale or systematic attack directed against the

9 Bosnian Muslim population.

10 The accused Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic have been

11 charged to have committed crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the

12 Geneva Conventions of 1949, and violations of the laws or customs of war

13 in their positions of commanders of the Convicts Battalion and of the

14 Vinko Skrobo ATG respectively. They are charged with both direct and

15 command responsibility under Articles 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute.

16 More specifically, the accused Mladen Naletilic stood trial on the

17 following charges:

18 1. Persecution on political, racial, and religious grounds for

19 having subjected Bosnian Muslim civilians to unlawful confinement,

20 forcible transfer, mistreatments, unlawful labour, as well as for having

21 destroyed and plundered Bosnian Muslim property;

22 2. Inhumane acts, inhumane treatment, cruel treatment, unlawful

23 labour, murder and wilful killing for having forced Bosnian Muslim

24 detainees to perform dangerous or unlawful labour, sometimes knowingly

25 exposing them to a high likelihood of death or serious injury; (Counts 2

Page 16934

1 to 8)

2 3. Torture, cruel treatment, and wilfully causing great suffering

3 or serious injury to body or health as a result of the mistreatments

4 committed against Bosnian Muslim civilians and prisoners of war; (Counts 9

5 to 12)

6 4. Unlawful transfer of civilians for having commanded or ordered

7 the forcible transfer of Bosnian Muslim civilians following the attack on

8 the villages of Sovici and Doljani on the 17th of April, 1993, and in the

9 course of the conflict in Mostar between the 9th of May, 1993, and January

10 1994; (Count 18)

11 5. Extensive destruction of property and wanton destruction not

12 justified by military necessity for the destruction of Bosnian Muslim

13 property following the attacks on Sovici, Doljani, Mostar, and Rastani

14 between April and September 1993; (Counts 19 to 20)

15 6. Plunder of public or private property following the attacks on

16 Sovici, Doljani, Mostar, and Rastani between April and September 1993;

17 (Count 21) and

18 7. Seizure, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions

19 dedicated to religion for having ordered the destruction of the mosque of

20 Sovici following the attack on the village, (Count 22).

21 A total of 17 counts are held against him.

22 The accused Vinko Martinovic stood trial on the following charges:

23 1. Persecution on political, racial, and religious grounds for

24 having subjected Bosnian Muslim civilians to unlawful confinement,

25 forcible transfer, mistreatments, unlawful labour, as well as for having

Page 16935

1 destroyed and plundered Bosnian Muslim property; (Count 1)

2 2. Inhumane acts, inhumane treatment, cruel treatment, unlawful

3 labour, murder and wilful killing for having forced Bosnian Muslim

4 detainees to perform dangerous or unlawful labour, sometimes knowingly

5 exposing them to a high likelihood of death or serious injury; (Counts 2

6 to 8)

7 3. Cruel treatment and wilfully causing great suffering or

8 serious injury to body or health as a result of the mistreatments

9 committed against Bosnian Muslim civilians and prisoners of war; (Counts 9

10 to 12)

11 4. Murder and wilful killing of the detainee Nenad Harmandzic in

12 July 1993 while he was under the responsibility of the Vinko Skrobo ATG in

13 Mostar; or alternatively, cruel treatment and wilfully causing great

14 suffering or serious injury to body or health to Nenad Harmandzic who was

15 allegedly subjected to severe beatings by subordinates of the accused;

16 (Counts 13 to 17)

17 5. Unlawful transfer of civilians for having commanded or ordered

18 the forcible transfer of Bosnian Muslim civilians in the course of the

19 conflict in Mostar between the 9th of May, 1993, and January 1994; (Count

20 18)

21 6. Plunder of public or private property following the attack on

22 Mostar on 9 May 1993; (Count 21).

23 A total of 18 counts are held against him.

24 Following the presentation of the Prosecution case and pursuant to

25 Rule 98 bis of the rules, the Chamber found that no or insufficient

Page 16936

1 evidence had been presented concerning the incidents described in

2 paragraphs 42 and 47 of the indictment, respectively relating to the

3 alleged death of prisoners as a direct result of their use as human

4 shields on the 17th of September, 1993, and to the alleged mistreatment of

5 Witness B in the base of the KB in Siroki Brijeg.

6 The trial commenced on the 10th of September, 2001, and concluded

7 on the 31st of October, 2002. The Chamber heard a total of 84 witnesses

8 for the Prosecution, 35 for the Naletilic defence, and 27 for the

9 Martinovic defence. Throughout the trial, approximately 2.750 exhibits

10 were admitted.

11 The Chamber will now summarise its findings on the charges held

12 against both accused.

13 JUDGE LIU: Now I turn to Judge Clark.

14 JUDGE CLARK: Thank you, Mr. President.

15 Ladies and gentlemen, long after this Tribunal has determined its

16 last case, historians and political scholars will continue to debate and

17 theorise the genesis and causes of the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

18 This is not our task, and we have steered a course away from formulating

19 any theories of our own or findings as to the causes of the war. Our duty

20 as Judges of the International Tribunal is to determine whether the case

21 brought by the Prosecution against Mladen Naletilic "Tuta" or Vinko

22 Martinovic "Stela" is proved.

23 The events surrounding the accusations against Naletilic and

24 Martinovic took place in south-western Herzegovina, the south-most portion

25 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the only case so far to deal with this

Page 16937

1 particular region. Traditionally, Southern Herzegovina was the home to a

2 large number of inhabitants who declared themselves as Croats and who

3 shared the Catholic faith and traditions of their neighbours in Croatia.

4 Considering the geographic position of the two countries, this is not at

5 all surprising. The same area was also home to a significant number of

6 Muslims who shared no religious ties with Croatia. Both groups of people

7 speak the same language with regional and traditional variations in accent

8 and some vocabulary.

9 The capital of this area of Herzegovina was the ancient and lovely

10 Ottoman City of Mostar with a culturally diverse population of Croats,

11 Muslims, Serbs, Jews, and others. In the upheaval and tearing apart which

12 followed the expression of national or ethnic identity which occurred

13 throughout the regions of the former Yugoslavia from 1990 onwards, the

14 control of Mostar and the adjacent areas played an important and

15 profoundly tragic part. No people escaped the effects of this episode of

16 history.

17 Prior to the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, Mostar was an

18 ethnically diverse city with areas within the city which were enclaves of

19 Serbs, Croats, or Muslims. For the most part, however, the city was

20 ethnically mixed with a long history of tolerance. This is evidenced by

21 the presence of Franciscan monasteries, Orthodox churches, a Roman

22 Catholic cathedral, convents, a synagogue, and 19 mosques which had

23 survived many centuries of political change, including more than 40 years

24 of single party socialist rule. The city is divided by the fast flowing

25 Neretva River. The older and more historic part of the city is on the

Page 16938

1 east bank and was traditionally the more Muslim and Serb end of the town.

2 The eastern side was, during the Serb conflict and then the Croat/Muslim

3 war, subjected to merciless bombardment and is now in a state of ruin.

4 The painfully beautiful old arched bridge which stood over the Neretva

5 River for four centuries was blasted and finally destroyed in November

6 1993.

7 Although Mostar and the surrounding region was the battleground of

8 several conflicts between the different groups in the break-up of the

9 former Yugoslavia, this judgement deals only with the short period running

10 from April 1993 to March 1994. The indictment deals only with the

11 conflict between the BH Croats and Muslims. These two ethnic groups had

12 cooperated and fought jointly in 1992 in the Serb-Montenegrin conflict.

13 Sadly, many factors, the rights and wrongs of which it is not our task to

14 adjudicate, led to a bitter conflict and Mostar itself became a divided

15 city with the ABiH on the east side and the HVO on the western part. The

16 war was hard and brutal.

17 In dealing with the background to the allegations in this case,

18 this Trial Chamber has noted a strange uniformity in the description of

19 these tragic events from all the witnesses called. The war with the Serbs

20 is always referred to as the "Serb aggression" or the "Serb and

21 Montenegrin aggression," but the conflicts between the HVO and the ABiH or

22 between the Croats and the Muslims is always referred to as the war. The

23 disappearance of more than 20 per cent of the population of the city

24 following the Serb withdrawal in mid-1992 elicited no regret or adverse

25 comment from witnesses.

Page 16939

1 Many Defence witnesses testified that it was the constitutional

2 duty of Croatia to protect Croats throughout the world and, therefore, the

3 Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Counsel for the defence of Naletilic,

4 and witnesses called on his behalf, asserted that there was no such thing

5 as a "Bosnian Croat." There were only Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

6 Many Defence witnesses objected strongly to this description, yet the same

7 witnesses frequently, no doubt inadvertently, used the description

8 "Bosnian Croat" themselves. There was objection to the use of the name

9 "Bosnia" to describe the country. There is no doubt that some of the

10 country is indeed called Bosnia, and some of the country is traditionally

11 Herzegovina, and the whole entity is known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. A

12 country enjoying such an unfortunately long name is described almost

13 universally by its shortened name, Bosnia. We heard the testimony of

14 witnesses against such a background of sensitivities. For the purposes of

15 this judgement, therefore, we propose to refer to the participants as BH

16 Croats, Muslims, and BH Serbs. Croat simpliciter refers to citizens of

17 the Republic of Croatia. As mentioned previously, the scene of the

18 accusations is Herzegovina in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

19 Many witnesses did their best to recount painful events from eight

20 or nine years ago. Sometimes, however, the level of untruthful testimony

21 presented was disappointing. Some witnesses exaggerated the facts. Some

22 were economical with the truth and some told deliberate untruths. It has

23 been disappointing to note the frequency with which well-positioned

24 witnesses saw nothing, heard nothing, and knew nothing of important events

25 in their local area. It is accepted that in a bitter inter-ethnic

Page 16940












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Page 16941

1 conflict the same events can and frequently are described in quite

2 different and sometimes irreconcilable ways. The Trial Chamber allows for

3 this possibility. The Trial Chamber excludes this slant or interpretation

4 of the evidence in the assessment of witnesses who were untruthful. Our

5 comments refer to witnesses who presented untruthful testimony quite

6 deliberately and not from a genuine although objectively misconceived

7 perception of events.

8 At all stages we have approached the evidence from the premise

9 that the Prosecution must carry the burden of truth and that any

10 reasonable doubt raised must inure to the benefit of the accused. Because

11 of the continuing mistrust between the two communities with divided

12 loyalties, unless we found consistency between the evidence of independent

13 sources and the evidence of participants, we rejected that evidence as

14 unreliable. Almost 150 witnesses were heard and a very large volume of

15 documents were presented for the Trial Chamber's consideration.

16 Documents play a key role in this trial. The vast bulk of the

17 documents came from the HVO archive which is retained in Zagreb. These

18 included some of the records from the Heliodrom prison or camp, which

19 document the daily releases of prisoners to work for named units of the

20 HVO and the HV. The HVO archives are a careful, meticulous military-style

21 recording of army reports and orders and equally carefully prepared

22 reports and orders of the civilian administration of the HVO government.

23 The Chamber also received daily reports and weekly summaries from

24 international observers and from humanitarian organisations. The Chamber

25 also received documents which were seized from the headquarters of the

Page 16942

1 Kaznjenicka Bojna in Siroki Brijeg pursuant to a search warrant. These

2 documents confirmed much of the evidence received from seven previous

3 members of the KB and leave no doubt as to the position of Mladen

4 Naletilic, Tuta, as Supreme Commander of the KB.

5 The Chamber also received the humble diary of a careful and

6 observant man who recorded in a pre-used notebook the daily happenings of

7 the HVO command at Orlovac at the old fish farm outside Doljani. This

8 diary records in some detail the comings and goings of Tuta during the

9 period material to the accusations relating to Sovici and Doljani. In

10 spite of efforts by the Defence to minimise the diarist's role in the HVO

11 or to deny his presence at the fish farm, the Chamber is satisfied that

12 this diary is a genuine and reliable document. The Chamber ordered that a

13 photocopy be made of the original diary and a translation be made of this

14 photocopy and compared with the original presented to the Chamber through

15 the witness who had retained it for many years. The Chamber has no doubt

16 as to the authenticity of this diary, which is not to say that the

17 contents of the diary are necessarily true. The diary represents what the

18 writer recorded of events as they occurred to him and has corroborated the

19 testimony of other witnesses as to their treatment when brought as

20 captured prisoners to the fish farm. It has also assisted the Naletilic

21 Defence in placing Tuta in Doljani on the 19th of April, 1993, and not

22 before that.

23 A small number of documents were received from the Muslim

24 component of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the most part,

25 these documents were taken from the same HVO Command at the fish farm in

Page 16943

1 Orlovac and the ABiH overran Doljani in July of 1993. This is how the

2 Rados diary came to the attention of the Chamber which saw and examined

3 the original.

4 All the documents indicate an extraordinary consistency with

5 testimony of witnesses and provided corroboration in contested issues.

6 Having made those preliminary comments, we return to the subject

7 matter of this trial.

8 Mladen Naletilic is aged 56 and was born on the 1st of December,

9 1946 in Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nicknames are a common

10 feature with witnesses in this case to the extent that many persons were

11 known only by their nickname, to the loss of their family identity.

12 Mladen Naletilic has the nickname Tuta and indeed was known by many

13 witnesses only as Tuta, Mr. Tuta or General Tuta. The accused often

14 signed documents using only this name and other documents as Mladen

15 Naletilic-Tuta, hence this nickname Tuta as one of the accused.

16 Siroki Brijeg is 14 kilometres west of Mostar. It is on the main

17 route from Mostar to the Croatian border the sea or the Adriatic coast and

18 approximately 40 kilometres from Doljani and Sovici. By all accounts

19 Siroki Brijeg is an exclusively Roman Catholic town with a population of

20 less than 30.000 people.

21 For its size, Siroki Brijeg plays a surprisingly large part in

22 this case, being the birthplace of Mladen Naletilic and the birthplace or

23 habitual residence of a very large number of witnesses called by the

24 Naletilic Defence.

25 The evidence in relation to where Tuta lived and worked before he

Page 16944

1 returned to live in Siroki Brijeg is unclear. There have been oblique

2 references to his wealth, his villa with landscaping and swimming pool in

3 a terrain with no water supply, his being driven in an expensive car

4 surrounded by bodyguards. For an extended period of his life, he lived

5 outside Herzegovina in Germany and returned to Siroki Brijeg to live and

6 build a villa in the early 1990s. He appears to have been a generous

7 donor to the citizens of Siroki Brijeg, supporting the town's religious

8 and sporting activities while living and working abroad.

9 In 1991, Tuta was in his mid-40s. He is a slightly built man

10 given to wearing longish hair. Photographs taken of him during the period

11 of conflict show a light-framed man with glasses, a beard and longish

12 graying hair. He does not present as the usual military commander.

13 Before he returned to Siroki Brijeg in 1990 or 1991, he had

14 already set up an independent paramilitary group known as the Convicts

15 Battalion, KB, or Kaznjenicka Bojna, with the knowledge and approval of

16 Dr. Franjo Tudjman. This group was described as a special purposes unit

17 engaged in sabotage and infiltrating enemy lines. Under the leadership

18 and tutelage of Mladen Naletilic and his close associate Ivan Andabak, the

19 small group grew in popularity and legend, becoming for its fans the group

20 which was instrumental in the defeat of the Serbs and the liberation of

21 Mostar in the spring of 1992.

22 The break-up of Yugoslavia and single party rule produced a period

23 of extreme lawlessness. Defence counsel for Mr. Naletilic described the

24 early days of the conflicts between the different ethnic groups in Mostar

25 as where every man who had a weapon was a soldier and every man who had

Page 16945

1 enough money could by weapons and uniforms to set up a unit and call

2 himself commander. In spite of the arms embargo, it seems that for the BH

3 Croats, weapons and uniforms were readily available. Later this became

4 the situation for almost all citizens.

5 After the Serb withdrawal, Tuta, who enjoyed somewhat of a cult

6 status, being described over and over again by witnesses as a legend. In

7 the meanwhile, the Convicts Battalion grew in numbers and engaged in

8 continuing combat against the BH Serbs and the forces of the JNA until

9 June of 1992 to emerge again under the HVO umbrella in early skirmishes

10 against the BH Muslim forces in late 1992 or early 1993.

11 Tuta was a close friend and associate of Gojko Susak, Minister of

12 Defence in the government of Croatia, thus affording a line of

13 communication to President Franjo Tudjman. He was associated with Mate

14 Boban, president of the HDZ in BH and president of the HZ HB. There is no

15 evidence to show that he was a member of the HDZ nor that he was a member

16 of the government of HZ HB or the subsequent HR HB. The Defence deny that

17 he played any role during the war and deny that he was the commander of

18 the Convicts Battalion, but we are satisfied that he was a man of

19 influence and importance in the affairs of the Croatian Community of

20 Herzegovina. He was in a position to negatively affect the lives of the

21 BH Muslims during the war.

22 Vinko Martinovic, Stela, is aged 39 and was born on the 21st of

23 September, 1963 in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was brought up in

24 an ethnically diverse area of Mostar called Rodoc. He grew up, worked,

25 and lived in close association with Muslims. Prior to the war, he had

Page 16946

1 mostly been engaged as a taxi driver in Mostar. Many of the witnesses,

2 including his brother and some neighbours, described him as a natural born

3 leader and a patriot. In 1992 when the conflict in Mostar started against

4 the Serb-Montenegrin army, Vinko Martinovic, at the age of 29, joined the

5 HOS, a paramilitary group of BH Croats and Muslims where he became the

6 commander of the Mostar Battalion. He was never engaged politically. He

7 was a local Mostar boy with a basic education.

8 Following the breakdown of relations between BH Muslims and BH

9 Croats, HOS was dissolved and Vinko Martinovic became the commander of an

10 anti-terrorist group, an ATG of the HVO called Vinko Skrobo or Mrmak. This

11 small group was part of the Convicts Battalion, although for the most part

12 they led a fairly independent existence. Vinko Martinovic, who carries

13 the nickname Stela, appears to have prospered as such leader and to have

14 gathered to himself a group of like-minded young men. It is an

15 unfortunately sad fact of life that in wartime, groups of mean-spirited

16 profiteers and bullies frequently emerge. Under the guise of a uniform

17 and the safety of arms and numbers, they proclaim themselves commanders

18 and take over areas to the disadvantage of other citizens and to the

19 benefit of themselves. Vinko Martinovic is an example of those who

20 prosper during war. He rose from a taxi driver to a commander. When he

21 first appeared before the Tribunal, he described himself as a restaurant

22 owner. Throughout the trial, he was presented as a simple foot soldier

23 doing his best to protect his town and area from attack.

24 The 22 counts in the indictment are alleged to have occurred

25 during an international armed conflict and partial occupation of the

Page 16947

1 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These crimes are alleged to have been

2 perpetrated by the Conflicts Battalion with the armed forces of the HVO

3 who the Prosecution alleges were backed and supported by the HV in the

4 municipalities of Mostar and Jablanica.

5 It is alleged that Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, commanded the Convicts

6 Battalion, or KB, within the HVO from its headquarters in Siroki Brijeg

7 and that Vinko Martinovic, Stela, commanded a sub-unit, a so-called

8 anti-terrorist group, an ATG, of the Conflicts Battalion known as Mrmak

9 and later named Vinko Skrobo, on the front line in Mostar.

10 The Prosecution alleges that on the 17th of April, 1993, the HV

11 and the HVO, including the Convicts Battalion under the overall command of

12 Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, participated in attacks on Sovici and Doljani, two

13 villages in the municipality of Jablanica. During this operation, the BH

14 Muslim population were forcibly removed from these villages and their

15 houses and mosque were destroyed. The first part of our findings of fact

16 will therefore relate to these two villages, whether the events occurred

17 within an international armed conflict, and whether Mladen Naletilic,

18 Tuta, was the leader of the KB at the time and whether he was in overall

19 control of the Sovici/Doljani military operation.

20 The Prosecution further alleges that on the 9th of May, 1993,

21 forces of the HV and the HVO including the Convicts Battalion and the

22 Mrmak, later Vinko Skrobo, participated in launching a large military

23 offensive against the BH Muslim population in the town of Mostar provoking

24 the separation of Mostar along the confrontation line, dividing the city

25 between Croats and Muslims.

Page 16948

1 In the closing arguments of the Naletilic defence, the Trial

2 Chamber was addressed on the writings of a professor of law and

3 anthropology who it was alleged had written that this Tribunal "delivers

4 justice that is biased with prosecutorial decisions based on national

5 characteristics of the accused rather than on the available evidence

6 indicating what he has done."

7 The Trial Chamber was also reminded of the Kupreskic decision of

8 the Appeals Chamber which reversed the findings of the Trial Chamber and

9 acquitted the accused, and urged us to apply the same principles outlined

10 in that Appeal judgement.

11 This Trial Chamber can assure the parties that we have heard and

12 given deep consideration to all of the very many worthy representations

13 made by the Defence and the Prosecution counsel.

14 In many instances, both of the accused shared witnesses and

15 adopted similar legal arguments. There was no serious difference between

16 them as to issues argued. Both parties took the position that every

17 material fact was denied and that all facts were in issue. Although Vinko

18 Martinovic in his pre-trial brief accepted that he was the commander of

19 the Vinko Skrobo ATG during the relevant period, at trial he appeared to

20 have resiled from this position and witnesses who had previously been

21 prisoners at the Heliodrom prison were frequently cross-examined as to

22 visual identification of Stela, his headquarters of Kalemova Street or the

23 frontline at the Bulevar.

24 The main thrust of Mladen Naletilic's defence was that he was not

25 the commander of the KB and that the commander was Ivan Andabak. During

Page 16949

1 the Defence case, after more than 50 witnesses had been cross-examined and

2 after seven Defence witnesses had presented their evidence, the Defence

3 became more specific. For the first time the Chamber heard that Mladen

4 Naletilic had resigned from the KB in the early autumn months of 1992 due

5 to failing health and that he therefore was not responsible either as a

6 superior or as a perpetrator of any of the counts charged.

7 Clearly, if the Prosecution cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt

8 that Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, was commander of the KB in April 1993 to

9 January 1994, then all counts against him fail and he must be acquitted.

10 Such a finding would not affect the counts against Vinko Martinovic,

11 Stela, although of course the rejection of much of the evidence against

12 Naletilic would well affect the credibility of witnesses who gave evidence

13 concerning the role of both accused. Before dealing specifically with

14 each count in the indictment, it is proposed to make factual findings on

15 the chronological sequence of events which form the basis for specific

16 charges.

17 The witnesses and documents in this case deal mainly with first

18 the background to the conflict, the involvement of the Republic of Croatia

19 to the conflict, the military picture of the Convicts Battalion within the

20 HVO structures, and the locations of the crimes charged.

21 The accused have been charged with grave breaches of the Geneva

22 Conventions as included in Article 2 of the Statute. The jurisdictional

23 prerequisites therefore are that the conflict must be international by the

24 intervention of another state in that conflict through direct deployment

25 of its troops or by indirect intervention so as to exercise overall

Page 16950












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Page 16951

1 control over one of the parties to the conflict. The victims of the

2 alleged crimes must be protected persons.

3 The circumstances leading up to the conflict between the HVO and

4 the ABiH in this part of Herzegovina differ little if at all from the

5 factual and historical backdrop of two other cases already dealt with by

6 this Tribunal. These are the Prosecutor versus Blaskic, and the

7 Prosecutor versus Kordic and Cerkez. Those judgements were delivered on

8 the 3rd of March, 2000, and the 26th of February, 2001. Although both of

9 these cases involve the conflict between the HVO and the ABiH in the area

10 of the Lasva Valley, the essential ingredients relating to jurisdictional

11 prerequisites are identical.

12 The location of the crimes alleged in this case and in Blaskic and

13 Kordic is all within the separate self-proclaimed Herceg-Bosna. As in

14 those two cases, there is ample evidence of deployment of Croatian army

15 troops and equipment in the area of Herzegovina during the period of this

16 indictment. Many, many victims and prisoners who were witnesses in this

17 case had daily sightings of soldiers wearing HV uniforms, driving HV

18 vehicles, and occupying separate areas of the Heliodrom, a former JNA

19 military barracks used during the conflict for the detention of prisoners

20 of war and other mainly Muslim detainees. These troops appeared to fight

21 in separate units under separate commands, thereby belying the Defence

22 claim that they were for the most part volunteers of Herzegovinian origin

23 who had taken up arms against the Serbs for Croatia and, after that

24 conflict, had returned to protect their homes from ABiH attack.

25 This same Defence has been argued and rejected in the Blaskic and

Page 16952

1 Kordic cases and has equally been rejected by this Trial Chamber. The

2 sheer volume of testimony and documents recording the presence and

3 participation of HV troops from reliable independent sources and the HVO

4 archives leaves little doubt on this question.

5 There is ample evidence of Croatia's attempts to conceal its

6 direct involvement in the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the

7 documents presented during the trial and referred to as the Presidential

8 Transcripts. These documents were first the subject of debate during the

9 last stages of the trial of Dario Kordic, the former senior political

10 ruler of Herceg-Bosna. The Trial Chamber heard evidence as to the

11 technical details of the taping and subsequent transcription of

12 conversations at meetings which took place in President Tudjman's office.

13 The Trial Chamber received that testimony under Rule 92 bis and

14 was assisted in matters relating to the examination of this extremely

15 valuable archive by Mr. Marko Prlic. This is the first Trial Chamber to

16 rely on the contents of this portion of the Presidential Transcripts,

17 which were immensely helpful in highlighting unambiguous evidence of

18 President Tudjman's deep involvement in the affairs of Herceg-Bosna, the

19 HVO, and the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The findings which follow

20 therefore are made in the context of an international armed conflict.

21 The Trial Chamber finds that Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, was one of

22 the main commanders of the plan to take Sovici and Doljani as part of an

23 overall plan to take Jablanica, a predominantly Muslim town which resisted

24 being included in a Croat dominated Herceg-Bosna. Ivan Andabak and Mario

25 Hrkac, known as Cikota, were with him as commanders of the KB units.

Page 16953

1 In April 1993, the Jablanica area was in a state of readiness for

2 conflict on both sides, and acts of provocation, manipulation of media

3 reports and gross exaggeration of mutual fears were common. The arrival

4 of large numbers of Muslim refugees from the Serb conflict into Jablanica

5 upset the ethnic balance and contributed to heightened tensions. There

6 were troop movements of both sides into the area and roadblocks were a

7 common occurrence after the 15th of April. The local Muslim population

8 was less unprepared than witnesses were prepared to admit. The Chamber

9 has no function in determining the rights and wrongs in the overall

10 political situation which prevailed in the larger conflict. This Trial

11 Chamber does not minimise or condone the subsequent military activity in

12 the village of Doljani where it is agreed that atrocities took place in

13 July of the same year.

14 The Trial Chamber finds that in the local conflict which ensued in

15 Sovici and Doljani, Mladen Naletilic was instrumental in the gross

16 mistreatment of some of the captured soldiers loyal to the ABiH and in the

17 mistreatment of the civilian population and their property. The local

18 Muslims were without doubt outgunned and outmanned in the days of the 17th

19 of April and thereafter. Following their surrender, they became protected

20 persons subject to the protection of the Geneva Conventions III and IV.

21 The commanders of the occupying forces were obliged to follow the duties

22 imposed by these conventions for the treatment of civilians and prisoners

23 of war. Had these conventions been upheld, Mladen Naletilic would not be

24 before this Tribunal today.

25 The 75 to 80 men who surrendered their arms to the HVO that day

Page 16954

1 were not all combatants. They were interrogated by Ivan Andabak, among

2 others, held overnight in unpleasant conditions, and transported the next

3 day to Ljubuski prison. The Muslim houses of Sovici and Doljani were for

4 the most part torched and remain uninhabitable to this day. All the

5 civilians of Sovici were held against their will in either the school

6 building or crowded into a small hamlet under armed guard for almost three

7 weeks when they were effectively expelled to ABiH-held territory. Mladen

8 Naletilic is guilty of their unlawful transfer.

9 Many of the soldiers who surrendered to the HVO in the village of

10 Sovici testified to harrowing mistreatment on the bus on the way to and

11 while in Ljubuski prison. Witness Y was specifically selected for

12 especially cruel treatment. His tormentors were frequently members of the

13 Convicts Battalion who it was reported were beyond the control of either

14 the prison commander or the local police. This same torture and

15 mistreatment became the pattern in the Heliodrom and Siroki Brijeg. The

16 same specific members of the Conflicts Battalion were identified on

17 numerous occasions. They belonged either to the KB unit in Siroki Brijeg

18 or to the Mrmak/Vinko Skrobo unit. They acted with apparent impunity

19 under the command of Mladen Naletilic. Mladen Naletilic must take

20 responsibility for the actions of his subordinates as he observed their

21 treatment of prisoners at Sovici and Doljani and on the bus taking

22 prisoners to Ljubuski and he did nothing to prevent further ill-treatment

23 or to punish his soldiers' behaviour.

24 Some of the ABiH soldiers who refused to surrender and who may

25 have continued to resist the HVO attack were captured a few days later.

Page 16955

1 They were taken to the HVO headquarters in Doljani to Naletilic who was

2 described to them only as Tuta. There they were beaten, tortured, and

3 abused in the presence of and with the participation of Mladen Naletilic.

4 It is a great pity that a man much respected and revered by his soldiers

5 acted as he did. He could with ease have been an example to his troops.

6 Instead, his abuse of captured combatants, his tolerance of the appalling

7 mistreatment of the local ABiH commander by his soldiers, the ordering of

8 the destruction of Muslim houses and mosque in Doljani, the forced

9 transfer of all Muslims out of the area, all set the pattern for future

10 abuse of Muslim prisoners by the soldiers in his Convicts Battalion.

11 Many of the men from the village who became prisoners at Ljubuski

12 were subsequently moved to the Heliodrom and forced to work on the

13 confrontation line in Mostar. One family in Sovici lost three sons in

14 Mostar.

15 The next scene of enquiry and findings is Mostar. The simmering

16 tensions between the HVO and the ABiH bubbled over on the 9th of May, 1993

17 when a well-organised mass roundup of Muslims to the Heliodrom was carried

18 out. At the same time, there was a massive attack and bombardment of the

19 ABiH headquarters. The roundup involved the civilian population of

20 Mostar. Their only common denominator was their Muslim identity. Young

21 and old, influential or insignificant, they were herded out of their homes

22 in the early morning and directed at gunpoint to collection centres and

23 then to the Heliodrom where no reason for their transfer and detention was

24 given apart from that it was for their protection. It was not deemed

25 necessary to lock up BH Croat citizens of Mostar. The Red Cross and other

Page 16956

1 humanitarian organisations were denied access to the Heliodrom until the

2 international community became involved and effected the release of the

3 women, children, and elderly men. Assurances to release the other

4 detainees were not heeded.

5 Many of the other Muslim civilians were forced to cross the

6 Neretva to the east side of the city. The ABiH soldiers in their

7 headquarters and the civilian residents of the same high-rise building

8 complex remained under siege until they surrendered the following day.

9 The soldiers were then separated from the group and brought by Juka, a

10 commander of a KB unit, to Mladen Naletilic and many other HVO luminaries.

11 The soldiers were physically and psychologically abused by Naletilic in

12 the presence of his soldiers, thereby repeating the pattern set in Sovici

13 and Doljani. These soldiers were then directed by Naletilic personally to

14 the MUP station in Siroki Brijeg, his hometown and the seat of the KB

15 headquarters, where they were held under inhumane conditions and

16 frequently and severely abused.

17 Some of the prominent civilian leaders who emerged from the

18 besieged Vranica building were tortured and mistreated and held in

19 captivity until the end of the conflict. Mladen Naletilic is responsible

20 personally for the torture of Z. Witness FF, one of the ABiH soldiers who

21 surrendered, was the son of a prominent politician. He was personally

22 tortured by Naletilic who, following interrogation, informed him that his

23 father had been executed that morning. The prisoner lost the use of his

24 arm when injured while obliged to repair fortifications on the front line,

25 and he believed that his father was dead right up to the date of his

Page 16957

1 release in March 1994.

2 The soldiers who surrendered in Mostar were held at the MUP

3 station in Siroki Brijeg and were subjected to violent assaults by members

4 of the Convicts Battalion. Some named prisoners were selected for

5 interrogation and torture. The Chamber finds Mladen Naletilic responsible

6 as commander for this torture. There is no reason to suppose that Mladen

7 Naletilic, who had personally directed the detention of these prisoners to

8 Siroki Brijeg following a threat to have them executed, was unaware of the

9 conditions of their detention and their treatment. Similarly, when

10 prisoners of war were subjected to cruel treatment at both the MUP station

11 and the cells in his headquarters at Siroki Brijeg tobacco station, he

12 must bear command responsibility for this prohibited treatment.

13 After some time, the prisoners in Siroki Brijeg were taken out to

14 work on the municipal pool. This pool has been wrongly described as

15 Tuta's pool. Some skilled prisoners of war worked for specified members

16 of the Convicts Battalion. The testimony of these prisoners established

17 that their skills were instrumental in preventing further abuse at the

18 hands of those notorious Convicts Battalion members who assaulted

19 prisoners in their cells and who now had become their masters.

20 The Chamber heard testimony of harsh work conditions undertaken by

21 prisoners for a period of two months during high summer on a canal leading

22 to the Naletilic villa. Defence evidence suggests that this canal was for

23 the installation of radio cables to a hill near the villa and not for

24 Naletilic's personal benefit. Such labour is not prohibited, but the

25 harsh conditions are. Naletilic visited the worksite and was aware,

Page 16958

1 therefore, of the conditions and must bear command responsibility for the

2 unlawful labour. He is acquitted of the charges relating to inhuman

3 treatment, inhumane acts, and cruel treatment as the extreme discomfort of

4 the prisoners did not reach the requisite standard for such findings.

5 The Convicts Battalion had a number of sub-units. Some were what

6 has been described as intervention units who were temporarily attached to

7 other commands for a specific purpose. For the most part, these

8 intervention units had the appearance of a more elite corps being led by

9 professionally trained soldiers. There were also a number of so-called

10 ATGs, or anti-terrorist units, whose role seemed to be to hold the

11 confrontation line in Mostar. These units were of a paramilitary nature.

12 Their members rarely had any professional training although most of them

13 had completed mandatory service with the JNA before the break-up of the

14 former Yugoslavia. These units had no role in travelling to trouble spots

15 and remained in Mostar.

16 Vinko Martinovic was the commander of one of these ATGs which was

17 made up of his old comrades of the HOS. His unit started out as the Mrmak

18 unit and then became the Vinko Skrobo ATG. His base was in the former

19 medical centre which had been damaged in the Serb conflict as may already

20 have been his HOS base at that time. Certainly on the 9th of May he and

21 his followers were already in place there and taking their meals at their

22 usual canteen. There is some evidence that the unit had been resurrected

23 before the 9th of May and was engaged in action as such unit that day.

24 But no finding is made on this point.

25 After some weeks, Vinko Martinovic took his orders from the Mostar

Page 16959

1 town defence and from the Supreme Command of the KB. How the unit first

2 came to be associated with the Conflicts Battalion and Mladen Naletilic is

3 not clear. The Chamber has received convincing corroborated evidence that

4 the Vinko Skrobo unit was part of the Convicts Battalion. The most

5 telling of this evidence was a statement made to a court in Zagreb by

6 Martinovic himself in the presence of Naletilic when he was called as a

7 Defence witness in proceedings unrelated to this trial. The Chamber

8 received the testimony of Jan Van Hecke, a senior investigator from the

9 Office of the Prosecutor who was present in the Zagreb court when this

10 testimony was given. Martinovic stated then that he was the commander of

11 the Vinko Skrobo unit which formed part of the Convicts Battalion under

12 the command of Mladen Naletilic. This testimony further corroborates the

13 testimony of former Convicts Battalion members and the documents seized at

14 the tobacco factory in Siroki Brijeg.

15 Vinko Martinovic's main task was to hold the frontline against the

16 ABiH who were literally shouting distance away. In holding this line, he

17 used many Muslim prisoners from the Heliodrom to carry out work digging

18 and repairing trenches and sandbag fortifications, carrying supplies and

19 generally assisting the soldiers of his unit. The prisoners had a tough

20 existence with harsh living conditions in the Heliodrom and dangerous work

21 conditions at the frontline. Although the HVO used printed forms

22 reminding commanders that the use of prisoners of war for labour was

23 subject to the Geneva Conventions, there was no evidence that these

24 conventions were applied in the Vinko Skrobo unit or area of

25 responsibility.

Page 16960












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Page 16961

1 Prisoners were forced to work in crossfire without the minimum

2 protection of a flak jacket or helmet and many suffered death and injury.

3 An attitude of complete indifference to the welfare of prisoners

4 prevailed. Their fate defended on Vinko Martinovic's humour each day.

5 There were prisoners who, as friends prior to the war, enjoyed his

6 protection and who were required only to work in the relative safety of

7 his headquarters at Kalemova Street and render free their technical and

8 mechanical skills. Those fortunate ones were not exposed to the dangers

9 of the frontline which were, in general, reserved to former combatants.

10 Many of these testified that they felt safer at Stela's than anywhere

11 else. They were indeed the lucky ones.

12 There were many who were less fortunate. Among the worst excesses

13 committed by Vinko Martinovic against these prisoners was their use as

14 human shields on the 17th of September, 1993. On that day, four prisoners

15 of war were dressed in HVO uniforms and furnished with replica Kalashnikov

16 guns. One of the selected prisoners was so frightened of what was to

17 happen that he fainted and was replaced by another prisoner.

18 The four prisoners in uniform were ordered to walk alongside a

19 tank to draw fire from the other side. The opposing army was aware of the

20 misuse of prisoners in this way and frequently held their fire, hence the

21 wearing of the HVO uniforms on this occasion. In the confusion caused by

22 the firing of the tank into the buildings opposite and the deafening noise

23 of gunfire, the four prisoners armed with replica wooden rifles made it to

24 the other side in relative safety. At least three of them were injured.

25 While the word "human shield" is used in the indictment, "decoy" would be

Page 16962

1 the most appropriate description for the position in which the prisoners

2 were put to draw fire and protect the HVO advance. Vinko Martinovic is

3 personally responsible for the inhuman treatment, inhumane acts, and cruel

4 treatment to the four prisoners in this incident.

5 The Chamber received a wooden rifle into evidence. This rifle may

6 well be the rifle carried by Witness PP that day and subsequently taken by

7 an ABiH soldier in the building on the opposite side. This soldier kept

8 the rifle until 2002, when he gave it to an investigator from the OTP. He

9 described receiving it from a prisoner dressed as a soldier in HVO

10 uniform. His description of the prisoner fits PP's description. PP was

11 shown this rifle and recognised it by a hole which he said had housed a

12 screw holding the rifle strap and which had worked loose. Forensic

13 examination of the rifle could not determine when the rifle was made, but

14 screw holes were noted. The Chamber does not require an identification of

15 the rifles to establish that the event took place.

16 Three prisoners of war signed out to the Vinko Skrobo units lost

17 their lives that day. Others were injured while obliged to collect the

18 injured and fallen HVO soldiers. The indictment charges Vinko Martinovic

19 with the wilful killing of the three prisoners who were killed on the

20 confrontation line that day. These prisoners were clearly signed out to

21 Vinko Martinovic personally and were engaged on the front line in

22 prohibited labour. This evidence cannot, however, rebut the suggestion

23 made by the Martinovic Defence that the three prisoners may have died in

24 an escape attempt during confusion created by the firing of the tank. As

25 all four of the prisoners with the replica rifles made it to the other

Page 16963

1 side, there is the possibility that the three prisoners, Colakovic Aziz,

2 Colakovic Hamdija, and Pajo Enis tried to make a run and were caught in

3 crossfire. Vinko Martinovic must receive the benefit of that doubt.

4 The loss of prisoners' lives at Santiceva Street that day was

5 enormous. Santiceva Street was outside of Vinko Skrobo operations. Vinko

6 Martinovic cannot be held responsible. He is, however, responsible for

7 the unlawful labour of the prisoners on the front line as ordering the

8 unlawful labour and as a commander for the acts of his subordinates.

9 There was no convincing evidence to relate the deaths of prisoners at

10 Santiceva Street as human shields to the Convicts Battalion or Naletilic.

11 He must be acquitted.

12 Several terrifying misuse of prisoners of war occurred in Rastani

13 village, a village to the west of Mostar which changed hands frequently

14 during the conflict. On the 23rd of September, while the Convicts

15 Battalion was engaged in combat operations there, several prisoners were

16 forced to walk five or six metres in front of the Convicts Battalion

17 soldiers and to search houses where it was believed that ABiH soldiers

18 were hiding. This search was carried out in the very real fear of the

19 presence of armija troops as bodies of soldiers of both armies were found

20 in the vicinity and two ABiH soldiers were captured. This incident is the

21 subject of charges of cruel treatment, inhuman acts and inhumane treatment

22 against Mladen Naletilic. Although Naletilic was the commander of his

23 troops on that occasion, the evidence is that he was not actually in the

24 village at the time as he was directing operations from a higher location

25 and may have been unaware of the use to which the prisoners were put. He

Page 16964

1 is therefore entitled to the benefit of the doubt on these charges and on

2 the charges of what was clearly also unlawful labour.

3 When the two ABiH soldiers were captured, they were immediately

4 physically abused by soldiers of the Convicts Battalion whose members on

5 this occasion included BH Croat convicted criminals recently released from

6 the Heliodrom. One of these criminals was about to set fire to the

7 captives when a radio message from Stari ordered that they be brought

8 alive to Siroki Brijeg. The Chamber understands that Stari is Mladen

9 Naletilic. These soldiers did not fare well at the tobacco factory

10 headquarters of the KB. They were kept in solitary confinement in inhuman

11 conditions and beaten on a regular basis. This treatment is the subject

12 of torture charges found against Mladen Naletilic.

13 Returning to the events of September 17, 1993. HVO and SIS

14 documents show that Mladen Naletilic, with two other highly-placed members

15 of the HVO military, was one of the planners of this attempt to take

16 territory and move the frontline. They acted without the knowledge and

17 approval of the HVO Main Staff, an indicator of the power and influence

18 Mladen Naletilic exercised as commander of the Convicts Battalion. There

19 is no evidence that he was aware of the wooden rifles incident. Vinko

20 Martinovic solely bears responsibility for this grave breach of the Geneva

21 Conventions in relation to prisoners of war, and Mladen Naletilic is

22 acquitted of this series of charges.

23 Stela's activities during the war were not confined to the

24 frontline. He and his now infamous subordinates and others were involved

25 in evicting Muslims from their flats and forcing them to leave the west

Page 16965

1 side of Mostar. They were also engaged in the looting of those now

2 emptied flats. The prohibited activity described as unlawful transfer is

3 an almost inadequate depiction of the crime with all its attendant

4 horrors. The very quietly understated text accompanying a video film made

5 by BBC war correspondent Jeremy Bowen shown to the Trial Chamber captured

6 some of the true horrors of unlawful transfers. Civilians in time of war

7 usually suffer depredation of some sort. To minimise the suffering of

8 non-combatants in a conflict, the Geneva Convention IV guarantees

9 civilians that they cannot be moved unless for their own safety. Any such

10 prohibited transfer or deportation is deemed a grave of this Convention.

11 The elderly and young civilians of Mostar were therefore entitled to

12 expect to remain in their homes without HVO or KB soldiers arriving at

13 their door and forcing them out. In Mostar, the Geneva Convention was not

14 heeded. The civilians targeted were moved to the east side without their

15 consent or sanction, without their clothes or necessities and with guns

16 firing over their heads.

17 The Chamber heard very convincing and distressing evidence of the

18 involvement of Vinko Martinovic personally and that of his soldiers in

19 this activity. His unit was the subject of frequent and adverse comment

20 in SIS reports and that of humanitarian organisations. The ABiH commander

21 Arif Pasalic wrote to ECMM observers complaining of this behaviour and

22 naming Mladen Naletilic, Ivan Andabak and Vinko Martinovic for the

23 eviction of many Muslim citizens from their homes at gunpoint and the

24 forcing of these people over the remnants of the old Mostar footbridge to

25 the east side of the city. The Chamber heard and received convincing

Page 16966

1 documentary and oral evidence connecting the Convicts Battalion with the

2 wave of evictions which occurred on the 29th of September, 1993. Vinko

3 Martinovic is guilty of such unlawful transfers and looting for his

4 personal involvement and for the activities of his subordinates. Mladen

5 Naletilic is guilty as a commander who, being aware of the wave of

6 evictions or ethnic cleansing on the 29th of September and the involvement

7 of his subordinates, including Ivan Andabak, did nothing to punish the

8 actions or to prevent their occurrence.

9 Nenad Harmandzic, a former police inspector, was one of Stela's

10 victims. He was specifically sought out on the 13th of July, 1993, at the

11 Heliodrom where he was a prisoner. He was beaten and taunted throughout

12 the day while at the Vinko Skrobo headquarters. When the other prisoners

13 were leaving to return to the Heliodrom, he was left behind. The other

14 prisoners were admonished to forget what they had seen or heard. The

15 prison authorities were told he had escaped. His body was exhumed five

16 years later where it was revealed that he had suffered multiple fractures

17 and a bullet wound to his head. His injuries were such that he could not

18 walk prior to being shot.

19 The Chamber heard the evidence of Halil Ajanic, an acquaintance of

20 Vinko Martinovic for many years and a civilian prisoner at the Heliodrom.

21 He testified to the beating and abuse of Nenad Harmandzic at the Vinko

22 Skrobo base. In spite of the efforts to discredit this simple and brave

23 man who gave his testimony in open court with no protective measures, the

24 Chamber is convinced by the truth of his testimony.

25 The identification of the remains of those of the late Nenad

Page 16967

1 Harmandzic was contested and an expert called to cast doubt on the

2 identification conclusions. The Chamber accepts that there is a question

3 over the height of Nenad Harmandzic when alive and the estimated height of

4 the remains. The Chamber has considered this discrepancy against the

5 other findings at autopsy. These findings included identification by a

6 close relative of his belt buckle, shoe, teeth, cigarette lighter, and

7 most important, the discovery of a bullet embedded in muscle tissue in his

8 right thigh. The close relative was aware that several years earlier,

9 Nenad Harmandzic had accidentally shot himself in the right thigh and the

10 bullet had never been removed. The exhumation team of forensic

11 pathologists were specifically directed to this fact before the autopsy

12 took place. The possibility that another body unrelated to Nenad

13 Harmandzic could also have a bullet of the same calibre in the right thigh

14 negates any discrepancy in the post-mortem height found. No allowance was

15 made when hearing the testimony of the two forensic experts for the

16 possibility of human error in the measurement of the femur or indeed the

17 estimated height of Nenad Harmandzic while living. The Chamber therefore

18 finds that the findings at autopsy, combined with the location of the

19 burial site by the witness who buried the body, determinative. The other

20 evidence of false representations to the Heliodrom authorities that he had

21 escaped, coupled with conversations with the Harmandzic family that he had

22 been killed at the Vinko Skrobo unit, convince the Trial Chamber of the

23 involvement of Vinko Martinovic in his killing. The secret burial and the

24 injuries to the body which are inconsistent with any possibility of flight

25 are all links in a chain of strong circumstantial evidence which convince

Page 16968

1 the Chamber that Vinko Martinovic played a role in Nenad Harmandzic's

2 death. He is guilty of cruel treatment and wilfully causing great

3 suffering to Nenad Harmandzic. His participation before and after the

4 shooting amounts to substantial involvement in his killing in the form of

5 encouragement and practical assistance. He is guilty of individual

6 criminal responsibility of aiding and abetting the murder of Nenad

7 Harmandzic.

8 Mladen Naletilic was charged with the destruction of Muslim houses

9 in Sovici, Doljani and Rastani. There was evidence that the houses in

10 Rastani were substantially damaged in previous skirmishes. Mladen

11 Naletilic must be acquitted on this charge. There is compelling evidence

12 that Mladen Naletilic ordered the destruction of the Muslim houses in

13 Doljani. This order was carried out to good effect. No charge is brought

14 in relation to the mosque in Doljani. There is insufficient evidence as

15 to the involvement of the Conflicts Battalion in the burning of Muslim

16 houses in Sovici, and the same situation prevails with the Mosque in

17 Sovici. Mladen Naletilic is therefore not guilty of the charges relating

18 to Muslim property in Sovici. He is guilty of ordering the destruction of

19 Muslim houses in Doljani.

20 The Prosecution case is that all the unlawful treatment of

21 civilians and prisoners was motivated by a discriminatory intent towards

22 this section of the population who were specifically targeted because they

23 were Muslims. The main judgement deals with the legal issues associated

24 with a finding that such persecution existed. It suffices at this stage

25 to say that the Chamber is satisfied from the weight of the evidence that

Page 16969

1 the Muslim civilian population of Mostar, Sovici and Doljani were subject

2 to persecution. Neither Mladen Naletilic nor Vinko Martinovic were the

3 grand architects of this plan and its implementation. They each, however,

4 played a role in giving effect to the plan. The Chamber is satisfied that

5 the detention and subsequent transfer of the civilian population of

6 Doljani and Sovici was motivated by malice towards Muslims and at that

7 they were the object of discrimination. Mladen Naletilic is guilty of

8 persecution of the civilian population of Sovici and Doljani. He is also

9 found guilty of the torture of two civilians referred to previously as Z

10 and FF. These two witnesses were members of or associated with the SDA

11 leadership in Herzegovina and were targeted because they were Muslims

12 associated with certain political beliefs.

13 Vinko Martinovic protested vehemently through his counsel that he

14 never discriminated against Muslims, having many Muslims in his unit and

15 under his protection. The Chamber nevertheless finds that the crimes

16 already proved involving the rounding up and movement of Muslims on the

17 9th of May, 13th of June, and the 29th of September were committed with

18 discriminatory intent. The Muslim civilians of Mostar were targeted for

19 no reason than their Muslim ethnicity. Vinko Martinovic was personally

20 involved in those occasions and therefore bears responsibility under

21 Article 7(1).

22 Mladen Naletilic bears responsibility under Article 7(3) for the

23 unlawful transfer carried out by his subordinates on the 13th of June and

24 the 29th of September, 1993.

25 There are no further charges against the accused after the end of

Page 16970

1 September 1993. It is not the function of this Chamber to deal further

2 with the events in Herzegovina. It is clear, however, that the suffering

3 of the prisoners and civilians continued for a very considerable time

4 thereafter. Prisoners and soldiers continued to die on both sides of the

5 conflict and the beautiful old Stari Mos was destroyed, to the loss of all

6 the peoples of Mostar. As previously mentioned, no group was immune from

7 the terrible suffering. What we know is that following a cease-fire

8 agreement, the war officially ended. Time will tell if the scars will

9 heal and the wonderful fabric of the diverse city described by the leader

10 of the Jewish community in Mostar will return. Mladen Naletilic and Vinko

11 Skrobo are responsible for much of the pain inflicted and must now take

12 the consequences of their actions.

13 JUDGE LIU: For the foregoing reasons, and having applied

14 applicable standards in relation to the cumulative convictions, the

15 Chamber enters the following convictions:

16 Mr. Mladen Naletilic, please stand up.

17 The Chamber finds you guilty on the following counts:

18 Count 1: Persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds

19 as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(h) of the Statute.

20 Count 5: Unlawful labour as a violation of the laws or customs of

21 war under, Article 3 of the Statute.

22 Count 9: Torture as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(f)

23 of the Statute.

24 Counts 10: Torture as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of

25 1949, under Article 2(b) of the Statute.

Page 16971












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Page 16972

1 Count 12: Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to

2 body or health as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under

3 Article 2(c) of the Statute.

4 Count 18: Unlawful transfer of a civilian as a grave breach of

5 the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(g) of the Statute.

6 Count 20: Wanton destruction not justified by military necessity

7 as a violation of the Laws and Customs of War, under Article 3(b) of the

8 Statute.

9 Count 21: Plunder of public or private property as a violation of

10 the laws or customs of war, under Article 3(e) of the Statute.

11 The Chamber acquits you on the following counts:

12 Count 2: Inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, under Article

13 5(i) of the Statute.

14 Count 3: Inhuman treatment as a grave breach of the Geneva

15 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(b) of the Statute.

16 Count 4: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs of

17 war, under Article 3 of the Statute.

18 Count 6: Murder as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(a)

19 of the Statute.

20 Count 7: Wilful killing as a grave breach of the Geneva

21 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(a) of the Statute.

22 Count 8: Murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war,

23 under Article 3 of the Statute.

24 Count 11: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs

25 of war, under Article 3 of the Statute.

Page 16973

1 Count 19: Extensive destruction of property as a grave breach of

2 the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(d) of the Statute.

3 Count 22: Seizure, destruction, or wilful damage done to

4 institutions dedicated to religion as a violation of the laws or customs

5 of war, under Article 3(d) of the Statute.

6 In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on you, the

7 Chamber has adhered to all the formal requirements laid down in the

8 Statute and the Rules and to its obligation to fit the sentence to the

9 gravity of the crimes and the individual circumstances of the accused. As

10 an aggravating circumstance, the Chamber took into account your status as

11 a commander and your position of great influence in that area. The

12 Chamber further found that Defence has not presented evidence as to your

13 medical condition such as to constitute a mitigating circumstance.

14 Furthermore, the Chamber found no mitigating circumstances as your

15 transfer from the Republic of Croatia to the Tribunal was not voluntary

16 and as you have not shown substantial cooperation with the Prosecutor.

17 Taking all these circumstances into account, the Chamber hereby

18 sentences you, Mr. Mladen Naletilic, to a single sentence of 20 years' of

19 imprisonment.

20 Pursuant to Rule 101(C) of the Rules, you are entitled to credit

21 for time spent in detention as of the date of this judgement, together

22 with such additional time that you may serve pending the determination of

23 any appeal.

24 Pursuant to Rule 103(C) of the Rules, you shall remain in the

25 custody of the Tribunal pending finalisation of arrangements for your

Page 16974

1 transfer to the state where you shall serve your sentence.

2 You may sit down, please.

3 Mr. Vinko Martinovic, the Chamber finds you guilty on the

4 following counts:

5 Count 1: Persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds

6 as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(h) of the Statute.

7 Count 2: Inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, under Article

8 5(i) of the Statute.

9 Count 3: Inhuman treatment as a grave breach of the Geneva

10 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(b) of the Statute.

11 Count 5: Unlawful labour as a violation of the laws or customs of

12 war, under Article 3 of the Statute.

13 Count 12: Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to

14 body or health as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under

15 Article 2(c) of the Statute.

16 Count 13: Murder as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(a)

17 of the Statute.

18 Count 14: Wilful killing as a grave breach of the Geneva

19 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(a) of the Statute.

20 Count 18: Unlawful transfer of civilians as a grave breach of the

21 Geneva Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(g) of the Statute.

22 Count 21: Plunder of public or private property as a violation of

23 the laws or customs of war, under Article 3(e) of the Statute.

24 Vinko Martinovic, you are acquitted on the following counts:

25 Count 4: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs of

Page 16975

1 war, under Article 3 of the Statute.

2 Count 6: Murder as a crime against humanity, under Article 5(a)

3 of the Statute.

4 Count 7: Wilful killing as a grave breach of the Geneva

5 Conventions of 1949, under Article 2(a) of the Statute.

6 Count 8: Murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war,

7 under Article 3 of the Statute.

8 Count 11: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs

9 of war, under Article 3 of the Statute.

10 Count 15: Murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war,

11 under Article 3 of the Statute.

12 Count 16: Cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs

13 of war, under Article 3 of the Statute.

14 Count 17: Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to

15 body or health as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, under

16 Article 2(c) of the Statute.

17 In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on you, the

18 Chamber has also adhered to all the formal requirements laid down in the

19 Statute and the Rules and to its obligation to fit the sentence to the

20 gravity of the crimes and the individual circumstances of the accused. As

21 a primary consideration, the Chamber noted that you have been found guilty

22 of heinous crimes, including murder. The Chamber further considered your

23 commander's role and the influence on your unit as an aggravating

24 circumstance. Further, your transfer to the Tribunal has not been deemed

25 voluntary so as to constitute a mitigating circumstance. Considering your

Page 16976

1 prior criminal conduct, the Chamber noted that the conviction of murder

2 rendered by Zagreb County Court is pending appeal and has not taken it

3 into account as an aggravating circumstance. It also has not considered

4 your previous convictions for grand larceny and looting in light of the

5 nature of crimes that you are found guilty of today.

6 Taking all these circumstances into account, the Chamber hereby

7 sentences you, Vinko Martinovic, to a single sentence of 18 years'

8 imprisonment.

9 Pursuant to Rule 101(C) of the Rules, you are entitled to credit

10 for time spent in detention as of the date of this judgement, together

11 with such additional time you may serve pending the determination of any

12 appeal.

13 Pursuant to Rule 103(C) of the Rules, you shall remain in custody

14 of the Tribunal pending finalisation of any arrangements for your transfer

15 to the state where you shall serve your sentence.

16 You may sit down, please.

17 The hearing is adjourned.

18 --- Whereupon the Judgement hearing adjourned

19 at 4.32 p.m.