Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 23075

1 Wednesday, 3 October 2007

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Registrar.

6 Please call the case.

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

8 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar. Today

10 is Wednesday, the 3rd of October. My greetings to everybody in the

11 courtroom. The Prosecution, the Defence counsel, the accused, as well as

12 all the people helping us. I believe that Defence wanted to say

13 something. Mr. Kovacic?

14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm very sorry to be

15 taking up court time but I'll just be two minutes with your permission to

16 say something with respect to the 30th of December 2006 ruling of yours.

17 It is a ruling about the manner in which documents are admitted or rather

18 exhibits.

19 Now, the deadlines are set for the reactions of the parties for

20 the IC list, and witness list, once it is tendered and according to that,

21 the Prosecution on Monday, that is to say the day before yesterday, tabled

22 a request with respect to expert witness Miller. And yesterday, we were

23 supposed to reply or, rather, oppose the proposal, but, Your Honours,

24 quite simply we didn't have time to do that. And we don't wish to not

25 take up this opportunity. So with the Trial Chamber's permission, could

Page 23076

1 you please extend the deadline until tomorrow so that we can do that in

2 good time tomorrow?

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber, after

4 discussing the matter, is granting you this additional time. This is the

5 first time and until now everything worked well. It so happens that this

6 time you had to face this problem. Therefore, you are granted this extra

7 time. And I believe Mr. Registrar has to give a few IC numbers.

8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. One of the parties have

9 submitted list of objections to documents tendered by the OTP through

10 Witness Nicholas J. Miller. The list admitted by 4D shall be given IC

11 number 675. Thank you, Your Honour.

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We are now going to

13 bring the witness in. He's been granted protective measures, but first

14 let's lower the blinds.

15 Regarding the timing, as was the case for the previous witness,

16 the Prosecution will have two hours, and then the Defence teams will have

17 three hours, that is 30 minutes each, and they can decide on the way they

18 want to use that time. Yes, Mr. Stringer?

19 MR. STRINGER: Good morning, Your Honour, counsel and everyone in

20 and around the courtroom. It's possible that the direct examination will

21 be less than the two hours that's been allotted but we appreciate the

22 Court's willingness to give us that much time.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Excellent. Well, if you need

24 less time and if the Defence needs this time, we might be able to stop

25 earlier tomorrow, around 12.00 or 12.30. We might not need to sit in the

Page 23077

1 afternoon.

2 [The witness entered court]

3 [Spanish government representative enters court]

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, witness. Let me

5 first check that you can hear me in Spanish. If this is so, please tell

6 me you understand me.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do hear you very well, sir.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Sir, you've been

9 granted protective measures upon request by your government which accounts

10 for the presence of the representative of the Spanish government in the

11 courtroom. There will be face distortion and your name will not be

12 revealed outside this courtroom. You were given a pseudonym, or you will

13 be given it in a few minutes but for the transcript, can you first state

14 your name, first name and date of birth?

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And are you still working.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] (redacted), have you had an

24 opportunity to testify before a court of law as to the events that took

25 place in the former Yugoslavia or is this the first time you're going to

Page 23078

1 testify?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is the first time.

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please read out the solemn

4 declaration.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I declare to tell the truth and only

6 the truth.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, sir.

8 Please sit down.


10 [Witness answered through interpreter]

11 Some explanations as to the way the hearing is going to unfold.

12 First of all, you're going to be given a pseudonym sheet. I don't know

13 which number was given to you but it is stated on it and you'll write

14 today's date and you'll sign this document, please. You will be DW --

15 MR. STEWART: Excuse me, Your Honour, it just occurs to me it's

16 not quite clear, although the blinds are gone down are we still in open

17 session? Because we don't appear to have gone into closed session and the

18 witness has said his name. I am not quite sure what the technical

19 position is.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But I have written an

21 order already for redaction. It's going to be taken out of the

22 transcript.

23 Please write your name and sign.

24 THE WITNESS: [Marks]

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can I have a

Page 23079

1 number for this document?

2 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. This document shall be

3 given Exhibit number IC 676. Thank you.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] (redacted), I wanted to give you

5 some explanations as to the way your testimony is going to be given.

6 You will have to answer in a few moments the questions put by the

7 Prosecution based on written statements or on documents that will be

8 provided to you. The Prosecutor told us that it should take under two

9 hours. After this, you will be asked questions either by the Defence

10 counsel themselves or by the accused. It's true the questions deal with

11 technical matters or with personal contacts.

12 You have judges in front of you. They too may ask questions of

13 you at any time. If you fail to understand the meaning of a question, do

14 not hesitate. Ask the person asking you to rephrase the question. Every

15 ninety minutes we have a 20 minute break to change the tapes and for

16 everybody to have a rest and your testimony is scheduled over two days,

17 today and tomorrow.

18 Today, we'll sit until 12.30, we'll resume at 2.30 until 5.00 and

19 tomorrow we'll start again at 9.00 and it may than we'll have to work at

20 2.30 again but we'll see whether we can finish before. If at any time you

21 want to address the Court, do so, please. I will give you the floor.

22 So this is in a very general way the way the hearing is going to

23 take place. I remind you that we are in open session. If at any time

24 anybody puts a question that is likely to reveal the identity of the

25 witness, please ask for private session before doing so, in order to avoid

Page 23080

1 any problem.

2 Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.

3 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

4 Examination by Mr. Stringer:

5 Q. Good morning, Witness, Witness DW.

6 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I know that a procedure has been

7 required by the Trial Chamber in respect of witnesses whose statements are

8 going to be tendered under Rule 92 ter. I have a summary of the witness's

9 testimony that I'm prepared to read as an introduction to his evidence.

10 However, it's my belief that at least part of this needs to be read in

11 private session because if I read it in public session, it could lead to

12 the disclosure of the witness's identity.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Let's move back into

14 private session.

15 [Private session]

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 23081











11 Pages 23081-23086 redacted. Private session















Page 23087

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 [Open session]

19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.


21 Q. Now, witness, have you previously provided on two occasions

22 written statements to the Office of the Prosecutor here at the ICTY?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And do you recall if the first statement you gave was in October

25 of 1997 and then the second one was more recently, in July of 2007?

Page 23088

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Now, I want to direct your attention to the more recent statement

3 in July of 2007. At the time that you provided that statement, did you

4 answer the questions truthfully and to the best of your ability?

5 A. That's so.

6 Q. And your providing a statement, the answers that you gave, were

7 they provided freely and with no coercion or pressure exerted on you by

8 anyone?

9 A. Completely free in my statements.

10 Q. And at the conclusion of the interview, sir, was your statement

11 then read back to you in the language that you could understand so that

12 you could confirm that the English version of it was correct?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And then the statement that you gave, the English version, did you

15 then sign that statement?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And do you recall if you put your initials on each page of that

18 statement and also the annex of documents that was attached to it?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. All right. Now, if you go to binder -- one of the binders, I know

21 you have three of them there, and I promise you we are not going to look

22 at all the documents that are in them, there is a binder B, B3. It is 3

23 of 3. List B, binder 3 of 3. And if I take you to the very back of that,

24 you'll see a document that's at tab number 10287. 10287. Which is the

25 exhibit number, Mr. President.

Page 23089

1 Witness, are you looking at -- is this the statement that you --

2 that we've been talking about, given by you in July of 2007?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And do you see your signature and your initials on the English

5 version of this document?

6 A. Yes, I do.

7 Q. Now, you travelled here to The Hague a few days ago, and you had

8 an opportunity to meet with me and also my colleague, Mr. Longone, in

9 order to review your statement and the relevant documents, is that true?

10 A. Yes, that's so.

11 Q. Okay. Now, in going through that statement here over the last few

12 days, are there any corrections that you wanted to make to the statement?

13 Is there anything in it that you consider to be incorrect that needs to be

14 fixed?

15 A. No. I don't think there are any mistakes.

16 Q. Now, there was one issue which I believe you wanted to clarify a

17 bit, and I'll direct you to paragraphs 12 to 15 of your statement. This

18 relates to the question of Croatian army forces in your area of

19 responsibility, and if you would like to clarify this issue for us,

20 Witness, now is your opportunity.

21 A. I have to underline what the actual statement says, to wit, I

22 wanted -- I'm talking about the initial statement before the second and

23 last one, because in the July statement, in my July statement, there are

24 opinions and data different from those included in my statement of 1997.

25 At that time, three years on from my return from Bosnia, I was

Page 23090

1 asked to make a statement on the facts, but I was not given documents,

2 but, sir, none of the documents which the Madrid Task Force had drafted in

3 the area three years before. I was asked about facts, I was asked about

4 the presence of the Croat army in my area of responsibility and I said

5 that there was none. In July 2007, during my statement, I was in fact

6 provided with plenty of documents from SpaBat and from the Madrid chain of

7 command in which it was obvious that there were elements of the HV army in

8 my area of responsibility.

9 So I wanted to make it clear that the 1997 statement and what I

10 said in it was due to the fact that I did not have that datum fresh in my

11 mind. And so in -- I wanted to make clear that elements of the HV army

12 was in fact not relevant for my daily duties. That's why perhaps I did

13 not remember their presence. So my units did not talk about units of the

14 HV rather. Rather it talked about a few isolated individuals and

15 apparently the units were deployed in areas which we did not visit

16 regularly. Most of the reports arriving at SpaBat are in fact reports

17 from military personnel or from people from other detachments or

18 battalions but not from my own battalion. This is all.

19 Q. Okay. Witness, now, having now made that clarification, are you

20 prepared to accept as accurate and truthful all of the other information

21 that's contained in your statement?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, I have a small group of documents, then, that I'd like to

24 show you over the next hour or so, that relate to some of the issues and

25 the topics that are mentioned by you in your statement. And let me ask

Page 23091

1 you this: During the past few days that you've been here in The Hague,

2 with the Office of the Prosecutor, did you also have an opportunity to

3 review the various Spanish Battalion reports that you've already referred

4 to?

5 A. Yes, yes, I did have that opportunity.

6 Q. And did you have an opportunity specifically to review the reports

7 and the documents that are specifically referred to in your witness

8 statement? And did you put your initials on all of those?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Okay. The first of the documents, Witness, that I'd like to take

11 you to, and what I've done is to arrange them simply in chronological

12 order so that they cover roughly the time of your mission in

13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I guess I should say this for the -- before we

14 start. Can you tell us when approximately you and the unit that you were

15 attached to, when you arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina, specifically the area

16 of Mostar and Medjugorje?

17 A. We arrived around the 23rd of September.

18 Q. And you were attached to a unit that was tasked with various

19 duties by the commander of the Task Force. Could you tell us just in

20 general what were the responsibilities of the unit that you were attached

21 to?

22 A. The general mission of the UNPROFOR units were to protect

23 humanitarian aid, to guarantee that humanitarian aid arrived where it had

24 to arrive. That's to say to -- the organisations directed us to.

25 Alongside that, our task force gave protection to and escort, rather, to

Page 23092

1 convoys for the exchange of wounded people or prisoners. We also mediated

2 between the parties to promote -- promote agreements between the parts in

3 conflict with a view to reducing violence and making life, conditions, for

4 all affected easier. We also provided medical assistance and aid to

5 people wounded in the field. We provided medical assistance also by

6 providing drugs or plasma to the hospitals in need of that. So this was

7 our mission in general terms.

8 Q. Okay. And the unit, the specific unit that you were attached to,

9 where did it have its main headquarters?

10 A. My battalion's headquarters was in Dracevo and we had fixed

11 detachments so to speak in East Mostar and another one in Jablanica.

12 Q. Okay. Just a question or two about that. At what point in time

13 did your unit establish a fixed detachment in East Mostar? Was that from

14 the very beginning of your deployment or did that happen later?

15 A. From the beginning of our deployment, we had a permanent patrol in

16 East Mostar but it was only later when we actually had a base. The patrol

17 that was permanently in East Mostar lived in their own vehicle actually.

18 Q. So the patrol was there 24 hours a day living in their armoured

19 vehicles?

20 A. That is so.

21 Q. Okay. And then at roughly what point in time, if you can say, did

22 the unit actually establish a place, a detachment, in East Mostar? Do you

23 recall what month approximately?

24 A. I take it you are talking about a base, a physical, fixed base in

25 East Mostar.

Page 23093

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. Towards the end of November, beginning of December.

3 Q. Okay. So that from the very beginning, your unit had a physical

4 presence in East Mostar of 24 hours a day?

5 A. Permanently, from the moment we arrived to the moment we left.

6 Q. Okay. Now, what about West Mostar? Did the unit that you were

7 attached to have personnel deployed or detached in West Mostar?

8 A. In West Mostar, we had to patrol daily but not on the basis of 24

9 hour, around-the-clock patrol. We had a patrol during the day. The

10 patrol entered West Mostar in the morning because a distance being short,

11 they came back for lunch to our base, and then they went back in the

12 afternoon. So in West Mostar, we only had a permanent base or we only

13 managed to get one by the month of March.

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'd like to put a follow-up

15 question in order to save time. The Prosecutor asked you whether the

16 SpaBat had a unit in Mostar, either Mostar west or East Mostar. There is

17 a question I have never asked, but I'm going to ask of you. If there is a

18 conflict between two parties, the HVO and the ABiH, through evidence we

19 have received we know that there is a front line that goes along this

20 famous boulevard between the two parties.

21 How can you explain that the SpaBat did not position themselves on

22 the front line, since there were cease-fire agreements, there are examples

23 in the past, in the history of the UN, in which there are forces that are

24 put in between or forces that are positioned between the warring factions.

25 Think of Lebanon. How can you explain that in Mostar, whilst there was a

Page 23094

1 series of cease fires, we have had evidence about this, nobody thought of

2 positioning the UNPROFOR between the warring parties? Do you have an

3 opinion, or an explanation? Was this question ever envisaged?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I perhaps have no

5 explanations to give. The UNPROFOR mandate was crystal clear, to protect

6 humanitarian aid, with clear rules of engagement that prevented us from

7 using force except in the case of legitimate self defence. UNPROFOR was

8 never an intervention force. We were not patrolling the confrontation

9 line. That was not part of our mission.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if I understood you well, the

11 patrols sent out vehicles either to West Mostar or to East Mostar, but not

12 on the front line?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour. We

14 escorted humanitarian aid convoys. That was our specific UNPROFOR

15 mandate. We protected convoys carrying or ferrying wounded people, and

16 even transported wounded people or prisoners should the situation require

17 us to do this. But we never actually deployed ourselves in between the

18 warring factions.

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But in addition to protecting

20 and escorting the convoys, did your battalion not have an observation

21 mission to carry out, which has nothing to do with protecting the convoys?

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. We had an observation mission

23 as a task derived from our general mandate. When we arrived, there was an

24 agreement between the two parties which was later known as the Medjugorje

25 memorandum. And in the case of Mostar there was an agreement to reduce

Page 23095

1 shooting and shelling and not to undertake military operations near or

2 around hospitals. Hence, the East and West Mostar patrols had as one of

3 their duties to count the number of explosions or the shell impacts coming

4 from the other side or arriving at the actual side. This was one of the

5 tasks that we undertook as part of our observation mission.

6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for your

7 answers. I apologise, Mr. Stringer.

8 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic?

10 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.

11 Could the witness please be asked whether he's aware of the agreement of

12 the 12th of May? Does he know that between the 12th and 13th of May, the

13 UNPROFOR forces entered the Bulevar at the separation line and the third

14 question, do you know that on the 30th of June, after the attack of the BH

15 army at the barracks to the south of Mostar, the Spaniards stopped

16 entering Mostar and they withdrew completely? Does he know about this

17 agreement? Does he know that they came in at the separation line between

18 the 12th and the 13th and remained until the 30th of June? After the

19 attack on the 30th of June, they left Mostar and never came back to the

20 separation line. It seems to me that he has no idea about it.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Normally speaking, these are

22 questions which are put during the cross-examination, but on line 20,

23 sentence 20, you mentioned Medjugorje, and I believe you were referring to

24 the 12th of May. And General Petkovic is putting questions to you on that

25 topic. Can you very briefly answer the question?

Page 23096

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, could you perhaps give me --

2 qualify your statement, rather? We are talking about the 12th of May of

3 what, 1993? What year?

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.

5 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the 12th of

6 May 1993. The agreement in Medjugorje that was signed by General Morillon

7 on behalf of UNPROFOR. The UNPROFOR commander. The two sides signed. I

8 signed, General Halilovic, and Mr. Thebault also signed it. Do you know

9 of that agreement signed in Medjugorje on the 12th of May?

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You arrived in September, I

11 believe, but when you answered a while ago, the question that was put to

12 you, you referred to this Medjugorje agreement. So this was the agreement

13 which was signed on the 12th of May 1993; is that right? Were you aware

14 of this agreement?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I was talking about an

16 agreement which was signed in the Medjugorje barracks with the Madrid Task

17 Force. This must have been in September or beginning of October 1993.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you were not

19 aware of the agreement that was signed on the 12th of May 1993; is that

20 right?

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I wasn't specifically aware of

22 that one. The communication between east and West Mostar in May was free,

23 and I believe it was as from July 1993 when West Mostar was in fact sealed

24 or closed.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will have occasion to refer

Page 23097

1 to this matter at a later stage, I'm sure.

2 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

3 Q. Witness, getting back to the -- I asked you about the detachment

4 that was established in East Mostar, and then you were talking about the

5 patrols on West Mostar, I believe. My next question was this: Did the

6 unit that you were attached to, was it ever able to or did it ever

7 establish a 24 hour presence in West Mostar?

8 A. No. Not until we could establish a permanent base there, which I

9 think was established by the month of March, if I recall correctly.

10 Q. Okay. Are you able to tell us why a 24 hour presence was not

11 established before then? Before March 1994.

12 A. Well, we did not have a physical base there, and in the

13 negotiations between the Spanish Battalion and the HVO, we felt that it

14 might be incurring into an unnecessary risk.

15 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I'm going to change things just a

16 little bit. I think while the issue is still fresh. Unless there is

17 objection from my learned friends on the Defence side, I'd propose to show

18 the witness a document that's already in evidence at Exhibit P05571. It's

19 an agreement made in Medjugorje in October of 1993. I believe it's had

20 the agreement that the witness referred to a few moments ago.

21 It's not going to be in the binders, Mr. President. I apologise.

22 I hadn't anticipated this one but if the staff can put it on the screens

23 from e-court, I think that we can work that way.

24 Q. Witness, I recognise this document is in English. If you want to

25 take a moment, you should see on your screen a document.

Page 23098

1 MR. STRINGER: Can we see it full screen in English, please? It

2 looks to me as though we have the B/C/S version of the document. No.

3 That's not it. Okay. Page 2, please. Okay. That's it. Now, if we

4 could perhaps have that -- well ...

5 Q. Witness, are you able to recognise this document? Maybe we could

6 go to the next page as well. It's a bit small.

7 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, rather than taking my time, I'll

8 propose that during the break, we will make some paper copies in all the

9 languages for everyone to look at and we'll come back to this. We'll save

10 time, I think.

11 Q. Okay, Witness. Let's just move then into the documents that we do

12 have here in the courtroom, in the binders, and I'd like to ask you to

13 refer or to take in binder B, Exhibit -- or binder B2, I should say, a

14 document that's at tab 5899. 5899, do you have it?

15 A. Yes, I do.

16 Q. All right. Do you recognise this document, sir? Can you tell us

17 what it is?

18 A. This is an official document of the Madrid Task Force. It's a

19 SITREP, situation report, dated 15 October, 15th of October.

20 Q. And in the very first paragraph there, there is a reference to

21 mortar shelling in East Mostar, do you see that?

22 A. Affirmative, sir.

23 Q. Indicating that about 54 explosions were heard in this area?

24 A. 54 explosions were heard in that area of Mostar.

25 Q. We'll look at a few more of these but the question is simply, you

Page 23099

1 indicated that as part of in fact in responding to one of the questions

2 from our president, you indicated that as part of its mission, Spanish

3 Battalion was keeping track of the number of mortar explosions or other

4 shelling, I should say. Is that reflected in this report?

5 A. Yes. We -- each patrol counted the number of shellings that

6 occurred in its area, and that is why you see here that there is mention

7 of 54 shells.

8 Q. Okay. Now, I'll ask you about this in a few more documents, but

9 did the unit keep track not only of the incoming shelling but the outgoing

10 shelling from the east side?

11 A. Yes. The Mostar, East Mostar and West Mostar patrols were

12 counting shell explosions in their area, incoming and outgoing, of their

13 area.

14 Q. Okay.

15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I ask a question? Witness, we have seen a

16 number of reports from SpaBat. They were all in Spanish. Could you

17 explain why this one is in English? Is there an explanation?

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not know. I'm looking at the

19 people the report is intended for. Maybe the person intended, the report

20 was intended for, is someone in UNPROFOR but, again, that is not mentioned

21 here so I cannot answer you, sir.

22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you.


24 Q. Witness, just one last question on this document. We'll see it in

25 others. In terms of the distribution, the intended distribution, of this

Page 23100

1 report, there is a reference, one of the references there is the Jegruta,

2 I probably mispronounced it J-E-G-R-U-T-A. Is that the group or the units

3 that you were attached to?

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 Q. Mr. President, we may need to just redact that line from the

7 transcript that goes out to the public. I think it could tend to identify

8 the witness as having --

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Registrar, please.


11 Q. If you could try to be mindful of saying specific bits of

12 information that could tend to identify you publicly, I know it's a bit

13 hard, but...

14 A. I'll do so.

15 Q. The next document is in the binder at 5950. And, witness, is this

16 an INTREP number 330 dated the -- appears to be the 20th or the 19th of

17 October 1993?

18 A. That's so, sir.

19 Q. Now, I want to take you to a point here, point number 1, in terms

20 of general situation. And there is a reference to a massive exchange of

21 prisoners. Do you see that?

22 A. Yes, that's what the report speaks about.

23 Q. And then turning to Jablanica, again there is a reference in item

24 3 to exchange of prisoners continuing throughout the day?

25 A. That is so.

Page 23101

1 Q. And then finally at the end of the document, in -- under the

2 heading of "other information," item 4, there is some information that

3 tells us why this was called "massive," SpaBat escorting a Red Cross

4 convoy of 14 lorries, about 500 persons from Gabela to Jablanica-Konjic.

5 You see that?

6 A. Yes, I do see that.

7 Q. So is this report indicating or documenting the types of prisoner

8 exchanges that you've mentioned were part of your mandate?

9 A. Yes, that is so.

10 Q. Could you briefly just tell us how those were organised? How did

11 you learn about them and what specific responsibilities were carried out

12 by your unit, or I should say the unit that you were attached to, in

13 respect of all of these prisoner exchanges?

14 A. Well, as I said previously, my mission was to fulfil the order I

15 had received, coordinate the aspects that had entailed, and pass it on to

16 my unit, and of course transport the people and protect the convoys. Now,

17 the prisoner agreement could come as a result of agreement between the

18 parties or by a unilateral decision as well, of one of the parties, or

19 maybe as a result of interposition of the Task Force or international

20 organisations, in some cases primarily the ICRC.

21 I would then arrive at the point of origin. I would escort the

22 ICRC vehicles or whatever vehicles it may be. If the prisoners were going

23 to be conveyed in vehicles, or sometimes if security conditions so

24 required, we would actually drive them, escort the prisoners in our own

25 armoured vehicles. We would then accompany the convoy to the destination

Page 23102

1 which was usually in a secure area, secure for the prisoners who had been

2 freed and then we considered our mission to be accomplished.

3 Q. And then one final point on this document, I see toward the

4 beginning, there is a reference in the area Mostar East, 15 mortar shells

5 during the night. Again, incoming. And then the next item 2, counting

6 nine "departures" is the word I have in English. So again, is this an

7 indication of the continued counting that the unit was conducting of the

8 incoming and outgoing shelling?

9 A. That is so. Here, you see that 15 grenades exploded in Eastern

10 Mostar and that also from Eastern Mostar we heard nine outgoing shells.

11 Q. And there is a note here that three of them landed 300 metres from

12 the patrol. Is that the patrol that was attached to your unit?

13 A. On this date, yes. It would be that patrol. It would probably

14 refer to the place where we had parked our vehicles. When they were in

15 stationary position, and not on actually patrol and moving in the patrol

16 situation.

17 Q. Okay. Now, the next exhibit is 06688, tab 6688. And that is

18 going to be in a different binder, Witness. I apologise. It's going to

19 be in the binder that's marked list A, 6688.

20 A. [No interpretation]

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. 0688?

23 Q. 6688. Do you have that document, Witness?

24 A. Yes, I do.

25 Q. Okay. And then can you tell us, do you recognise this as one of

Page 23103

1 the Spanish Battalion reports?

2 A. Affirmative, sir.

3 Q. And is this a situation report for 16th of November 1993?

4 A. 16 November 1993.

5 Q. And was it normal or customary that reports like this would have

6 been distributed to the unit that you were attached to?

7 A. Yes. I am mentioned here as one of the intended recipients of the

8 report.

9 Q. Let me ask you this: You said that we are now into November of

10 1993. You personally, could you tell us how frequently you personally

11 went into East Mostar during this period of time?

12 A. Movements into Eastern Mostar was part of my detachments and the

13 frequency with which I went to Eastern Mostar, unless I had to attend to

14 urgent matters requiring more frequency, but the usual frequency was about

15 on a weekly basis or maybe every five days. That is approximate

16 frequency.

17 Q. So then were you in a position to see for yourself the situation,

18 the humanitarian condition, in East Mostar during that period of time?

19 A. That's right.

20 Q. Now, information in this particular SITREP about the situation in

21 East Mostar, is that information that would have been provided by members

22 of the unit that you were attached to?

23 A. Yes. The paragraphs that refer to the situation are produced by

24 that Task Force, and they refer to the situation in Eastern Mostar.

25 Usually the source was the patrol that we had actually detached to Eastern

Page 23104

1 Mostar. Some reports come from the Madrid Task Force or from members of

2 the colonel's staff, and sometimes the colonel would tour the city as

3 well, but generally speaking the reports were produced by my own patrol

4 detached to Eastern Mostar.

5 Q. Now, in point 2, Witness, here, there is a reference to the

6 situation Mostar, "In the Muslim quarter is totally pathetic, food and

7 water needed, the city has almost been destroyed." Do you see that?

8 A. In point 1 A 2, sir?

9 Q. Yes, sir.

10 A. Yes, I do see that reference. Yes. The situation in Mostar is as

11 you see here in the document. It was a situation where water was lacking,

12 no electricity was available, housing was very damaged, and the bombing

13 was a heavy bombing, as we've seen, and the risk situation was high risk.

14 Q. I just noticed on the second page, there was reference to severe

15 weather conditions and I wanted to ask you if you could comment on the

16 effect of the coming of winter as we move through November, its effect on

17 the population in East Mostar.

18 A. I believe that the difficult living conditions of course were

19 worsened by the cold and the arrival of winter and of course the

20 presence -- there was lack of wood and the houses were damaged. A lot of

21 the window panes were broken. And that of course made the life for

22 Eastern Mostar inhabitants even more differ. At this time there was also

23 some fear that the weather conditions would further hamper the arrival of

24 humanitarian assistance convoys.

25 Q. The next exhibit also in the A binder is --

Page 23105

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. Before

2 looking at the next exhibit, Witness, in the last document, I would like

3 you to turn to the end of the document, please, Otras Actividades. And I

4 would like you to look at the middle of this page, where it starts with

5 SpaBat continue [Spanish spoken] and so on and so forth. Do have you that

6 sentence?

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sorry, are we speaking about the

8 same exhibit, 6688?

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Si. Right at the end of

10 the document, under the heading --

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do see the reference now,

12 sir.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Where one mentions Los Morteros.

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in order to avoid shelling or

15 close to hospitals or other sanitary or health protection installations,

16 that means that you should avoid placing military objectives or targets

17 close to such health situations. The Armija was constantly complaining of

18 having bombing near the hospital and the HVO responded that it was

19 countershelling that the Armija had actually effected from the vicinity of

20 the hospital.

21 The Spanish patrol tried to patrol the whole area but more

22 specifically, these areas close to the hospital in order to avoid

23 deployment of Armija mortars in that area which could then justify a

24 shelling response. This was an ongoing permanent situation and that is

25 why I must say that on some occasions we did find mortars actually

Page 23106

1 deployed in the vicinity of the hospital.

2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I have listened to

3 you carefully. You have just said that you found close to the hospital in

4 East Mostar mortar shells that had been fired, that had been fired by the

5 ABiH or by the HVO.

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe I did not explain clearly,

7 sir. On some opportunities, there was shelling by HVO that landed in the

8 vicinity of the hospital, but there was also mortars of the Armija that

9 were used to fire from the proximity of the hospital. These were BiH

10 mortars.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is extremely important.

12 What you are saying is extremely important. You have just said, on line

13 8, page 32, that according to you, the ABiH had used mortars in the

14 vicinity of the hospital. Do you confirm this?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Affirmative. We conducted

16 surveillance to prevent that from happening, but I also said that on some

17 opportunities we did actually find mortar weapons in that vicinity. I

18 cannot say with what frequency this happened.

19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] But you can say that it wasn't a

20 usual situation, that you didn't always find mortars in the vicinity of

21 the hospital, but, rather, something that happened from time to time,

22 occasionally?

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I suppose it was from

24 time to time. But when you position a mortar and use it to fire shells,

25 that takes very little time and we were not there on a permanent basis,

Page 23107

1 sir.

2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic?

4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like to object on the

5 transcript in view of Judge Trechsel's question. I think that in a way it

6 is not for judges even to put capricious questions after the witness

7 provided three answers. I don't think that it was fair, the way the

8 question was put, and I would like that to be on the record.

9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I do not see what was capricious about that

10 question. It was just a question for the witness to clarify something

11 that he had said. Refuse the protest. I think it's not justified.

12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think there is no

13 need to discuss it. I think that it was a capricious question, and it

14 contained an answer in it. After the witness said the same thing three

15 times, the question was put to him yet again. I don't want any decision

16 to be made by the Trial Chamber on this. All of us heard your question

17 and we reacted.

18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe it is also

19 necessary to say that in the documentation that was prepared along with

20 this witness, at least in half of the reports, according to my records, it

21 is noted that mortar positions of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were next

22 to the hospital and that SpaBat tried to remove these mortar positions

23 that were next to the hospital. And also, it is registered in these

24 reports that mortar positions were changed, which is one of the rules in

25 mortar activity, that after firing a few shells, since the enemy can

Page 23108

1 detect the position of the mortar, then they change their positions.

2 Therefore, Judge Trechsel's question was a very symptomatic one, and I

3 believe that the reaction of the Defence is justified. Thank you.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Stringer, please

5 proceed. We have ten minutes left before the break.

6 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

7 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, I apologise but now I recognise the

8 problem. Judge Trechsel asked me why do I think that the question was

9 capricious? Because this is the terms as my Croatian was translated. It

10 was wrongly translated. I used a term in Croatian "kapciozno" which in

11 our theory includes -- which in our theory -- which in our theory means

12 leading, because there is a response included in the question. So this

13 word which is here in translation, capricious, is absolutely wrong.

14 Sorry, Judge. It's a misunderstanding on this part.

15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes, and I'm very happy.

16 MR. KOVACIC: I do think your question was leading.

17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I accept that and I apologise.


19 Q. Witness, the next exhibit, which is in the same binder, is 6334.

20 And maybe to move it along before the break, can I just ask you does this

21 appear to be something called an operational diary of the Spanish

22 Battalion for the month of November 1993?

23 A. Affirmative, sir. Yes. This is the operations log of my

24 battalion.

25 Q. I would like to direct you to two parts of this. The first is at

Page 23109

1 the entry for the 16th of November 1993. And there is a reference in the

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

20 Q. There is a reference here to one of the explosions took place

21 close to the patrol, "Four missiles hit the very same building where the

22 patrol had found refuge." Do you see that?

23 A. Yes, I do.

24 Q. Could I ask to you comment just in general on the extent to which

25 members of the Spanish Battalion were affected, their operations were

Page 23110

1 affected, by shelling from the west side?

2 A. In Mostar, the deployment area was rather broad, and as you see,

3 was subject to numerous shell impacts. We were there because we weren't a

4 target for those.

5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear if we were or were

6 not the target of the explosions.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But they felt close to us. At that

8 time, in any case, many explosions, grenades, fell very closely to where

9 our vehicles were parked which was the Marshal Tito street. The other

10 reference here concerning an anti-tank shell, I don't know if it was while

11 the patrol was stationary or actually moving during a patrol mission, but

12 in any case, artillery or rifle fire was frequent against us, incoming.

13 Q. Now, during the course of your answer, we saw that I think the

14 interpreter may have missed a pretty significant part of your answer. So

15 let me ask you to clarify one part. Were you saying that the Spanish

16 Battalion was a target, an intended target, for such action or was it not

17 an intended target, in your view, the view of your unit?

18 A. Let me correct. On mortar fire I said that we were occupying a

19 zone that was subjected to artillery or mortar fire, and since we were

20 there, obviously it landed near us as well. So we were the object but not

21 the target of that shelling.

22 In the area where our vehicles were parked, Marshal Tito avenue is

23 an area that normally was subject to shelling, many grenades fell there,

24 and that is why I say that there were explosions close by to where our

25 vehicles were parked in that date in November. There is another reference

Page 23111

1 in the same paragraph, mentioning armoured vehicle or shelling, and I

2 don't know if this refers to shell fire landing in the parking lot or if

3 it was shelling against our patrol as it moved through Eastern Mostar.

4 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I think we can take the break now,

5 with your permission.

6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, we are going to have a

7 20-minute break.

8 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.

9 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The hearing is

11 resumed. We are now in open session. Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.


13 Q. Witness, before we took the break, we were looking at Exhibit

14 P6334 which is the operational diary for November of 1993. I'd like to

15 take you to one other entry in that document, on the 27th of November

16 1993. And specifically, in the second paragraph of this entry, there is a

17 reference again to perhaps the same Spanish Battalion soldier that we

18 spoke of before the break, relating to an operation or some activity to

19 rescue an injured woman or to get to the place where a woman had been

20 injured.

21 And as the entry continues, there is an indication that the unit

22 encountered sniper fire, and then had to use a smoke bomb to try to get to

23 the woman, who was ultimately transferred to a safe area together with

24 another young woman who was a staff member of UNICEF. So I wanted to ask

25 you if you recall that incident and if you could tell the Trial Chamber

Page 23112

1 what your recollection is of what occurred there.

2 A. I remember this incident very clearly because this was really a

3 merit of one of my officials and two officials also from my unit but

4 sanitary staff. They told us that there were two wounded women in a

5 street in East Mostar which was being fired by snipers. One of the

6 officers got to the area and he tried to rescue both women, and from the

7 position to which this officer could go to and where the women were, there

8 was an area still fired by snipers and every time they tried to get close

9 to that area, they continued firing. The only solution, therefore, given

10 the nervousness of the women was to try to use a smoke bomb in the area

11 and to have a quick access to where the women were to evacuate them and to

12 take them to hospital. One wasn't wounded and the other one, as the

13 report says, the woman belonging to UNICEF was wounded.

14 Q. Okay. Now, just to clarify because it indicates at least the

15 English translation that I have indicates that the UNICEF person was not

16 wounded and the other --

17 A. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, I would like to correct myself. Yeah,

18 the woman who wasn't wounded belonged to UNICEF. My error.

19 Q. Do you recall or do you know what positions or the areas from

20 which the sniper fire was coming in this incident?

21 A. From West Mostar.

22 Q. Thank you. Now, the next exhibit that I want to take you to is

23 Exhibit P07039, which is in the B binder, 7039.

24 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, maybe I should have been doing this

25 before, but a number of these statements or documents are explicitly

Page 23113

1 referred to by the witness in his 92 ter statement, and if you like, I can

2 also mention that this is referenced in paragraph 69 of the witness's Rule

3 92 ter statement.

4 Q. Witness, do you recognise this document?

5 A. Yes, I do. This is an official document from the tactic unit

6 Madrid.

7 Q. Okay. The first incident that I want to ask you about here

8 relates to the death of a couple of members of the Spanish Battalion in a

9 mine incident. Do you recall that incident and can you tell us what you

10 recall about that?

11 A. Unfortunately, I do remember. It is the death of only one

12 officer. The other officer was severely wounded. They were recognising

13 the Dyke of Salakovac when a mine exploded which impacted the captain

14 that -- whose name you can see in the report. And it severely wounded the

15 sergeant that was with him. Another captain from the Chief of Staff of

16 the Task Force tried to help them, and he was also fired, and he had to

17 take shelter in the dike where the accident occurred. He tried to stop

18 the fire, and the patrol that had taken them to the area and was close to

19 the dike went there and that is how we managed to retrieve or to get the

20 body of the captain and the wounded sergeant who was taken to the health

21 unit of our organisation.

22 Q. Okay. Now, this incident is also described in more detail at the

23 end of this same report, under item 5, other information, number 6, which

24 is on page 6 of the English translation.

25 A. Yes, affirmative.

Page 23114

1 Q. I'm going to ask if you can tell us this Salakovac dam, in

2 general, where was this location? Was it within the area of the HVO or

3 the Armija or neither? There is a reference here to the fire having come

4 from the western slope of the valley, probably from the HVO. So I just

5 wanted to ask you whether this incident can be attributed to any of the

6 parties to the conflict.

7 A. The report states that the fire seems to come from the area

8 controlled by the HVO.

9 Q. Okay.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, there is a -- some

11 ambiguity. I'm looking at paragraph 6 in this report as to the

12 circumstances of the death of Captain Vargas. It's indicated as I see

13 that he is head of the mine clearance team for ordnance. So apparently

14 this officer was the one in charge of the mine-clearing team.

15 My question is this: Did the mine explode while they were doing

16 their work, whilst he was making sure that the mine was no longer active,

17 or was it that he was just passing by when the mine exploded? Could you

18 shed some light on this?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The captain was

20 the chief of the explosive unit and it was during the reconnaissance

21 mission of the mine. When he was there, the mine exploded.

22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And can it happen

23 that members of an explosive team be injured whilst they are doing their

24 work by explosion?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

Page 23115

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was this mine characteristic in

2 any way? It was a mine against -- or land-mine or --

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Anti-person, sir, mine.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And had it been buried into the

5 ground?

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I seem to remember that it was on

7 the surface because it was on top of the dam, which was a concrete dam.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.


10 Q. Witness, the very next paragraph of this report makes a reference

11 to a place called Gabela, sources indicating that a thousand Muslim

12 prisoners are there in very crowded conditions. Do you see that?

13 A. The report gives a statement, the sources are reliable sources,

14 but I can't tell you more than that because I didn't visit the area.

15 Q. That was my next question was whether the unit that you were

16 attached to was ever present inside the Gabela facility?

17 A. No, never, never within the prison, as far as I remember. The

18 massive movement or transfer of prisoners that we have mentioned

19 previously, the transfer from Gabela to Jablanica, was carried out using a

20 Red Cross lorries, escorted by a unit that wasn't my unit, because we were

21 in charge of prisoners from Konjic to West Mostar. I don't know whether

22 there was other escorts. I don't know whether my patrol escorted other

23 people there, but it wasn't normal for the units to go to the prison.

24 They collected the people or the convoy at the door of the prison

25 normally.

Page 23116

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a few seconds, please.

2 Mr. Registrar, can we move to private session?

3 [Private session]

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 [Open session]

18 MR. STRINGER: We'll look into it, Mr. President.

19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I would like to ask you a

20 question about --

21 THE REGISTRAR: Sorry, Your Honour, we are back in open session.

22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I would like to go back to the

23 incident regarding where the clearing of the mine. Mine clearing was a

24 task for SpaBat generally speaking? Was SpaBat in charge of that?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] SpaBat tried to open, as much as

Page 23117

1 possible, all communication lines and all obstacles that we might

2 encounter. Later on, we provided the cleaning of the minefields or the

3 clearing. We organised the clearing and we protected the clearing

4 activities, but it wasn't a specific task of our unit.

5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Could you tell us why, right

6 then, a mine was being cleared in Salakovac?

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we cleared mines in Salakovac

8 and in others areas. We had to clear mines in those areas where we had to

9 go through. For example, close to the ULAU [phoen] when we had to start

10 working there or when we had to start with our reconnaissance operations

11 for technical studies for the reconstruction of the bridge. We had to

12 clear many mines that were there.

13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.


15 Q. Witness, if I could take you now to Exhibit 7293? Same binder.

16 There is reference to this document in paragraph 71 of the witness's

17 statement.

18 Now, witness, this is an INTSUM, intelligence summary, covering

19 the period of 14 to 20 December 1993.

20 A. Yes, I can see it.

21 Q. And for this case we're really only concerned about the beginning

22 part of it, particularly related to Mostar. Again, here there is a

23 reference to a HVO unilateral release of some 1100 prisoners during this

24 period of time, 15 to 20 December. Do you see that?

25 A. Yes. I can see it in the Mostar.

Page 23118

1 Q. There is also reference to the evacuation of wounded people and

2 their families from East Mostar to third countries, including Spain.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. The question here is simply this: Can you give us a general

5 description, when prisoners were released from the camps, or were

6 otherwise evacuated with the assistance of the Spanish Battalion, where

7 were they taken in general? Were they free to go back to their homes or

8 were they taken to specific locations that is were you instructed to take

9 them to?

10 A. I've got to repeat what I've said before. Now, the order that I

11 received to escort, transport, and protect wounded people or prisoners was

12 simply to collect the prisoners or the Red Cross convoy or other

13 organisations' convoy at the point where they were freed and to take them

14 or to escort the convoy to their destination, which normally was an area

15 which was secure for them. Whether there were members of the HVO -- well,

16 if there were members of the HVO, we left them in East Mostar. They

17 didn't need any further protection. So West Mostar, sorry. So that was

18 our mission. We considered our mission fulfilled once we got to the

19 destination point.

20 Q. The next Exhibit is 7408?

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I thought

22 Mr. Stringer was going to put a follow-up question to you, Witness, but

23 this is important, this issue of the destination for released prisoners is

24 important. Who was instructing you as to that destination? You would

25 take them at a given point in time, you would transport and escort them,

Page 23119

1 but who would tell you they will leave point A to go to point B? Who told

2 you that?

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I received on a daily basis

4 the order of the chief of commander, and that doesn't mean that my Task

5 Force had more information. Well, what I -- the information I received

6 was that I had to collect somebody in Rodoc and take them to East Mostar.

7 That was all.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Therefore, you would carry out

9 the order given to you by the colonel?

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. Thank you.


13 Q. Witness, Exhibit P7408 is in the binder, same binder.

14 A. INTSUM 472?

15 Q. That's correct. And this bears the date of 30th of December 1993,

16 at about midnight.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, to direct you, Witness, first, to item 2B, 2B, with respect

19 to the situation in East Mostar, again, just to sort of come back to this,

20 we are continuing to count the shelling activity in East and West Mostar

21 here, and that's reflected in this item, correct?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Then moving down to item 3 for Jablanica, there is a reference to

24 prisoners released by the HVO from the Gabela prison at this time.

25 Information was that their condition was good. They were taken from

Page 23120

1 Gabela and - maybe I should ask you this, if I didn't already - the

2 location of Gabela in respect of the base where your unit was

3 headquartered?

4 A. Gabela was at about one kilometre from Dracevo from the main road.

5 Q. And then so these prisoners then were moved up to Jablanica, and

6 moving down to the comment then regarding these prisoners, it's noted that

7 these were not prisoners of war but were people who were imprisoned by the

8 HVO at the beginning of the war because of their religion. Do you see

9 that?

10 A. Yes, I can see it.

11 Q. Is that consistent with your own experience or do you have

12 anything you want to add to that in terms of the profile or the nature of

13 the prisoners whom the Spanish Battalion was transporting pursuant to

14 these releases?

15 A. I don't have anything to add.

16 Q. Now, the next exhibit is 7622, which is going to be in the next

17 binder, binder 3 of 3.

18 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, by our count, I think I've got about

19 50 minutes left, cinquante, and I'll be able to finish well within that

20 time.


22 MR. STRINGER: Okay.

23 Q. Witness, for 7622, the first document in this new binder, we are

24 now into January of 1994 and we are going to stay in 1994 for the

25 remainder of your direct evidence. First of all, and I mention this

Page 23121

1 because you were asked about the situation, or you were asked -- the

2 president mentioned the various cease-fire agreements, and here in this

3 report, in item 1.1, there is reference to a cease-fire agreed to at the

4 Medjugorje headquarters on the 16th which has not been implemented, and

5 just to follow up on the question of the President, could you give us a

6 comment in general in terms -- in respect of this, the extent to which

7 cease-fire agreements between the parties were respected during the time

8 of your deployment in the region?

9 A. I don't recall this agreement, but the agreements that might have

10 been signed in this moment, they didn't have much practical effect until

11 we got to the end of February or March, and then there was a true

12 cease-fire, and the separation of the confrontation lines but there was no

13 practical evidence that the violence and the fire ceased.

14 Q. Okay. And in fact, moving down, despite there having been

15 apparently a cease-fire agreement, item 1.2 for Mostar makes reference now

16 to some 90 hits on East Mostar recorded on the 12th of January. Do you

17 see that?

18 A. [No interpretation]

19 Q. And then in the following paragraph, there is a reference to HV,

20 that is Croatian army elements, the number increasing especially in Buna

21 and Stolac. Do you see that?

22 A. Yes. I do see it, but I would like to abide by the first

23 statement I issued.

24 Q. I understand. So the issue regarding HV presence, Croatian army

25 presence, was one that was noted but it was not something that you dealt

Page 23122

1 with in discharging your responsibilities?

2 A. No. I don't recall any mission, any -- vis-a-vis the Croatian

3 army and the presence of that army didn't influence -- had no direct

4 influence on the fulfilment of my mission which was to escort and to

5 protect convoys.

6 Q. Now, the next exhibit is P07706. 7706.

7 A. [No interpretation]

8 Q. I didn't get a translation?

9 A. Task force Madrid, sorry, INTSUM Task Force Madrid.

10 Q. And then taking you, witness, to item 2, 2B for East Mostar, it's

11 indicated there were 55 impacts, and then I want to clarify what follows

12 because I'm looking in the English, it says none discharge. Maybe -- and

13 just so we are perfectly clear on what's being said, could you read in

14 Spanish, what the Spanish -- the original language, document says

15 regarding those 55 impacts?

16 A. Yes. It says that 55 explosions in East Mostar, and no fire from

17 East Mostar to -- outgoing fire has been observed.

18 Q. Okay. Because, Mr. President, I think that's a material

19 distinction or clarification that needs to be borne in mind in the English

20 translation. When I read the English translation, I thought it said that

21 there were 55 impacts but that none of the shells had exploded, none had

22 discharged. And so I think the record on that is clear now.

23 Q. So this means --

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed, the Spanish text

25 makes it possible to understand better because you have entradas and

Page 23123

1 salidas, so incoming and outgoing, so it is understood that there were 55

2 falling into East Mostar but that there was no out going fire from east to

3 West Mostar.

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, affirmative.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Affirmativeo, very well.


7 Q. One of which exploded about 30 metres --

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: 15 seconds. On that very day, it seems as

9 though there were three Italian journalists that were killed.

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite right, Your Honour.

11 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I actually was going to ask the

12 witness to talk a little more about this paragraph.

13 Q. There is a reference to an explosion 30 metres from the premises

14 of the patrol base. Now here we are into January, late January 1994. Is

15 this a reference to the more permanent base that the unit was able to

16 secure in East Mostar?

17 A. That's right. By then, and I think towards the end of November,

18 we had a house which was known as a blue house in East Mostar, where the

19 patrol, the radio emitter were lodged. The explosions which took place in

20 the vicinity of the house, and here one is mentioned, 30 metres from the

21 house, refers to the actual building of the base, and establishes a

22 difference, two, to place in front of the BMRs, we have the BMRs parked in

23 our usual parking lot, which were by the street, and very close by we have

24 the base. So two impacted near the vehicles and one nearer the base.

25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just for the record, the BMR, does that

Page 23124

1 correspond to APC, armed personnel carrier?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It's exactly the same, APCs.

3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.


5 Q. Witness, there is a reference here then in this same paragraph to

6 ten Muslim persons having been killed on that day as a result of the

7 shelling as well as three Italian journalists. Do you recall that

8 incident?

9 A. I recall the death of the three journalists, which was some --

10 unusual East Mostar, and it took place in a courtyard by the parking lot

11 for our vehicles. A grenade hit the courtyard where they were and that's

12 where they died. And this is what I have fresh in my mind.

13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Stringer, you have said ten

14 civilians. I only read persons.

15 MR. STRINGER: I don't -- I think I said ten -- Your Honour, I

16 think the transcript indicates I said ten persons.

17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I thought I'd heard civilians.

18 MR. STRINGER: If I said civilians I didn't mean to.

19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Good. Thank you.


21 Q. Witness, do you recall at all, can you tell us at all about the

22 ten persons, the Muslim persons, whether they were civilians or soldiers?

23 A. I can add nothing else. I suppose the figure of ten were given to

24 us by the Mostar municipality sources or it's data from hospital, but

25 obviously we did not get to see the ten dead people.

Page 23125

1 Q. Okay. I should ask you, you've now mentioned the blue house where

2 the unit had a sort of a base in East Mostar, as well as a location where

3 the unit parked its vehicles. Can you give us just a general idea of

4 where those places were located, perhaps specifically in relation to the

5 war hospital?

6 A. From north to south, we would come up to the hospital first, then

7 the parking lot for the APCs, and finally our permanent base. Distance to

8 its base and the hospital? Well, five to 700 metres, perhaps, but I dare

9 not say that with any certainty. I really can't say for sure.

10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise to my

11 learned friend Stringer. When we are talking about this, this important

12 issue, it would be important to establish the distance between the parking

13 lot and the bases of the 4th Corps which is mentioned in a sentence in the

14 document that we are talking about, and as well as in a series of other

15 documents. Thank you very much.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness, can you answer

17 this?

18 MR. STRINGER: Counsel actually anticipated my next question.

19 Q. You've given us, Witness, the location, I believe, of the

20 permanent base. I guess we can call that the blue house.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, also -- I don't know that we got the location if it was a

23 different location where the units' vehicles, like its APCs, where those

24 were parked.

25 A. Yes. I said that the vehicles were parked, takes the blue house

Page 23126

1 and the hospital, to give you two reference points, the vehicles were in

2 fact parked under an arcade on the Marshal Tito street.

3 Q. Okay. And then finally, in relation to the headquarters of the

4 4th Corps, where this incident occurred?

5 A. Sorry, what are you referring to? What happened?

6 Q. The shelling incident in which the Italian journalists were

7 killed.

8 A. From the parking lot or from the car park where the vehicles were,

9 you had to cross some houses or a courtyard, courtyard which was pretty

10 close, I'd say, 70 to 80 metres, at the most a hundred metres.

11 Q. And then you would arrive at the headquarters of the 4th Corps?

12 A. I'm referring to the courtyard where the death of the three

13 journalists took place. I cannot remember whether it was a courtyard of

14 the 4th Corps.

15 Q. Okay. The location where the journalists were killed, if I could

16 just be allowed to clarify this, I think we can take care of it without

17 any intervention. Thank you, Mr. President.

18 Could you tell us in general the location of where the journalists

19 were killed, that location in relation to the headquarters of the ABiH 4th

20 Corps?

21 A. I would not venture to give you any distances, I'm sorry.

22 Q. Okay. The next point --

23 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I'm going to move from that point.

24 I think we've gotten what we can for my purposes. If someone wants to

25 come back to it in cross-examination, obviously they are free to do so.

Page 23127

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, just one question because,

2 well, behind the question, there is the problem which the Judges will

3 eventually have to settle. They will have to make decisions in the last

4 instance, at the end of the trial. These ten persons who were killed

5 apparently on the basis of this document, they were killed because of

6 explosions, because of shelling, but the report is not very precise. We

7 do not know exactly where this group of people was.

8 Secondly, we do not know whether the three journalists were part

9 of the group or were separate from the group, because your document says

10 nothing on this. But there is a question to be raised, and Mr. Stringer

11 did try to obtain an answer on this. Were these people in the vicinity of

12 the headquarters? Could you estimate the distance under 100, over 100

13 metres, under 50 metres, as far as you can remember? I know this goes a

14 long way back. But you said earlier on that the death of these three

15 journalists had remained in your memory. So to know where their bodies

16 were may be able to prompt you to remember what distance there was from

17 there to the headquarters, or not. I don't know.

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The demise of the three journalists,

19 Your Honour, I have fresh in my mind because unfortunately the death of

20 people in Bosnia was quite frequent, unlike the death of journalists. I

21 remember the three were in a courtyard very close to where we had our

22 vehicles parked. I understand the question by the Prosecutor and the ones

23 that may well come from the Defence counsel, East Mostar is or was a small

24 town and everything was close by us, and the area where shots could come

25 from could be interpreted in very many ways. Hence, I dare not say how

Page 23128

1 close or how far the yard was from the different military objectives. Now

2 I could show you on a map of Mostar where the car park of our vehicles was

3 and where the so-called blue house base was situated.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Thank

5 you for your answer. It may be that the Defence will put that in their

6 cross-examination, yes, Mr. Kovacic?

7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I wanted to be of assistance but I

8 don't want to be of assistance to the Prosecution. We'll do it during the

9 Defence time. We have this map of Mostar, but we'll come up with an even

10 better map during the cross-examination, but let me say, Your Honour,

11 while I'm on my feet, I have to comments on this. It all seems rather

12 absurd. The Prosecution now here with reference to a detail is trying to

13 prove the killing of ten civilians and three [Realtime transcript read in

14 error "ital January"] Italian journalists.

15 Now, if we were in a classical court of law, I don't have to

16 remind you that, we at the very least would have photographs from the

17 scene of the incident. I know that it might have been difficult to get

18 them, but if the Defence can do this with very limited resources, then the

19 Prosecution should at least have brought in a map and diagram, and the

20 witness said what I was going to say: Give me a map and I'll show you.

21 The witness is a professional officer and he could work with a map. This

22 way, we are wasting ten or 15 minutes of our valuable time trying to

23 determine the location. It's up to the Prosecution. If they wish to have

24 this as an exhibit they should bring in a map.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, just one correction, line

Page 23129

1 11 it's not ital January, it's three Italians. So you'll have to replace

2 this to have three Italians. Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.

3 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

4 Q. The next point on the -- well, it's on the same page of the

5 English translation at the bottom, there is a reference to a girl who had

6 been wounded in the hip by a sniper. Do you see that?

7 A. Yes, I do see it.

8 Q. The question here again is incidents such as this, civilians being

9 hit by sniper fire, first of all, was it something that members of your

10 unit encountered regularly during the course of its deployment in East

11 Mostar?

12 A. But, to say that it was something we saw regularly could be

13 interpreted in various ways, since there was so often this took place, but

14 yes, quite frequently we had to respond to requests from civilians from

15 East Mostar so as to pick up the wounded or the dead who had been killed

16 or wounded in areas under sniper fire. Normally, we would go with one or

17 two APCs and attempted to in fact protect the wounded person from further

18 shots so as to evacuate that person to hospital.

19 Q. And when you say evacuate that person to hospital, is -- would

20 this be to the hospital on the east side of Mostar?

21 A. Yes, that's right, to the hospital in Eastern Mostar.

22 Q. Okay. Now, the next exhibit is P7771, which is the next document

23 in the binder. This is an intelligence summary number 436 dated the 2nd

24 of February 1994. Do you see that?

25 A. Indeed I do.

Page 23130

1 Q. Okay. Now, under item 2A for West Mostar, there is a reference

2 here to a Mr. Prlic and a General Kot regarding deployment of UN forces in

3 West Mostar. Do you see that?

4 A. Yes, yes, I do.

5 Q. Okay. Now, so here, by early February, your unit or the unit you

6 were attached to, still did not have any permanent presence in West

7 Mostar?

8 A. That's right, we did not have a permanent base there.

9 Q. And again, what was the reason for that, as far as you know?

10 A. We did not have the authorisation or rather we did not have a

11 facility, a premises, we did not have premises to have such a base there.

12 Q. Well, did the Spanish Battalion have the support of the HVO in

13 establishing a military presence in West Mostar?

14 A. Obviously not. If we -- we would have wanted to do the same we

15 had done on the other side, but we could not do so until March.

16 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise. I apologise for

17 interrupting but since the Prosecution is linking his questions to the

18 paragraph in the document that was read out, I would like to ask the

19 witness on the basis of which -- on the basis -- or rather how is that

20 paragraph linked to the question? Was he at the meeting? Does he know

21 about the contents of the meeting, the topics discussed at the meeting, or

22 anything with respect to the meeting at that time, not in July, when the

23 Prosecution showed the witness the document, but when he was there.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You can put this in

25 cross-examination. Still, witness, can you answer briefly?

Page 23131

1 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, if I could just please interrupt

2 because now the interventions are really coming before I'm actually able

3 to complete the point. I mean they are legitimate --

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Because you wanted to raise the

5 question, didn't you? Well, put it.

6 MR. STRINGER: Because what I tried to do in my questions, I

7 believe, is to ask the witness specifically what does he know based on the

8 position he had at the time, and so this is again the question.

9 Q. Witness, based on what you know, was the security situation in

10 West Mostar such that it was not possible for members of your unit to be

11 deployed in West Mostar on a permanent basis?

12 A. No.

13 Q. So it was possible from a security point of view?

14 A. Lack of safety or insecurity was part of our job. Obviously, it

15 was more perilous for us to be in Eastern Mostar than in Western Mostar.

16 Q. Now, what efforts do you know about that were made in order to

17 attempt to establish a permanent Spanish Battalion presence in West

18 Mostar?

19 A. We attempted to do so from our arrival in Bosnia, from the moment

20 we arrived in Bosnia.

21 Q. And do you know in what way those attempts were made, how that was

22 handled within the chain of command?

23 A. Well, all this was the duty of the Chief of Staff of our battalion

24 who were the ones that had direct contacts with the HVO.

25 Q. Okay. Now, in this report, there is a reference to a meeting

Page 23132

1 involving Mr. Prlic and General Kot. Do you know if you were present at

2 the meeting?

3 A. No.

4 Q. And according to this it was stated that deployment of the UN

5 forces in West Mostar was not considered as appropriate but it was

6 believed to be a useless risk. Is that consistent with the reasonings

7 that you were informed such a presence could not be established?

8 A. Well, there was the reason wielded or given, but I don't think it

9 would have been an unnecessary risk for our battalion.

10 Q. All right. Well, if the HVO was saying it was a useless risk, do

11 you accept that? Or do you disagree with that?

12 A. I disagree with that opinion.

13 Q. Okay. Now, your unit -- the units of -- the units deployed in

14 West Mostar, can you tell us in general what time of day did they arrive

15 and then leave West Mostar? Since they couldn't stay 24 hours?

16 A. We had a shift system. First thing in the morning we arrived in

17 Mostar, in West Mostar, rather, the patrol stayed there patrolling all

18 morning, came back to the Dracevo detachment for lunch and returned in the

19 afternoon until dusk and stayed there until dusk when they once again

20 returned to the Dracevo headquarters.

21 Q. Do you know if their movements, their patrolling activities, were

22 limited within West Mostar?

23 A. On a number of occasions, we had problems entering West Mostar.

24 There was a check-point in the Varda area, if I'm not mistaken, and on

25 pretty many occasions, the patrol was not allowed or could not, rather, go

Page 23133

1 into West Mostar and sometimes there were also limitation problems,

2 limitations to the freedom of movement of the patrol in the city. But the

3 major problems were access sometimes to the city.

4 Q. What about East Mostar? The permanent presence on the east side,

5 were there places that were off limits, that you weren't allowed to go?

6 A. No, no, none, no limitations in East Mostar.

7 Q. Now, item 2B relates to East Mostar, 82 explosions were recorded

8 in the city of which 59 took place between the hours of midnight and 1.00

9 in the morning. And then in the next paragraph, HVO laying mines on the

10 road at the entrance to East Mostar at the area of the airport.

11 You see that?

12 A. [No interpretation]

13 Q. So then would it have been necessary for the Spanish Battalion

14 personnel to remove those mines if they wanted to pass through this place

15 on their way to East Mostar?

16 A. Excuse me, excuse me, I'm going to read this paragraph, if you

17 will.

18 We had to cross the airport runways in order to gain access to

19 West Mostar. The mines were not a particular problem because very often

20 they were in fact placed in areas which we did not go over. But if we had

21 to use those tracks then we would clear the mines. But we had basically

22 problems gaining access to West Mostar at the check-points and on the way

23 out, and as I say problems were the rule rather than the exception at

24 check-points. But mines were not a problem. I insist we had clear rules

25 of engagement, and any member of a check-point by himself could put a stop

Page 23134

1 to a 15-vehicle-strong column.

2 Q. And then turning to --

3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry.

4 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Here, there is a certain

6 contradiction, I fear. In the document, it is said that it is very HVO

7 soldiers who clear the mines. But a little while ago, you stated that you

8 were the ones undertaking that duty. So what's true? One or the other?

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We are talking about two different

10 cases, Your Honour. We did not clear mines planted with a military

11 objectives. These mines that the report refers to as at other

12 check-points were mines in order to prevent people from going through and

13 we could do nothing about it. The other mines we are referring to, the

14 Salakovac mines or the Bijela bridge mines were planted there in no man's

15 land, so to speak, which made our life difficult, that put at risk the

16 lives of our people, and those are the ones that we cleared. Thank you.


18 Q. Now, witness, just on the next page, page 3 of the English

19 translation, this would be for you again item B3, there is sort of a

20 description again of the shelling incident which had resulted in the death

21 of the three journalists as well as other individuals and the wounding of

22 two SpaBat personnel on the 27th of January. Do you see that?

23 A. Yes, I have it.

24 Q. Okay. Then the next paragraph says people were -- the streets are

25 deserted, people were running from one place to another for fear of the

Page 23135

1 shelling. Fear among the population has considerably increased.

2 Could you just elaborate, if you can, the effect on the civilian

3 population of this shelling, the frequency of the shelling, and its effect

4 on the civilian population and their movements in East Mostar?

5 A. I think that this is stated in the report. Life in Mostar was

6 permanently subjected to this danger, the number of daily explosions were

7 good reason to understand why people were afraid. I must add that people

8 get used to living with such risks and often the streets were crowded and

9 our parking lot where our vehicles were parked was full of children. And

10 this was an added risk when shelling took place. But this fear, and the

11 risk existed, pervaded life in Mostar, particularly at that time when the

12 shelling was very frequent.

13 Q. During the course of your testimony, you've referred to East

14 Mostar as being a rather compact area. We know that there are civilians

15 there. We know there are military objectives there as well. We also know

16 that there was a significant amount of shelling that occurred in the dark,

17 during the night-time hours. So my question is whether you could comment

18 on the use of mortar and other forms of shelling that's directed into an

19 area such as East Mostar. It's -- whether it's appropriate or

20 inappropriate to use such weaponry in an area such as this.

21 A. Well, yours is a very thorny question. Are you talking about the

22 accuracy of weapons? Well, the mortar shells are not the most appropriate

23 weapons to use. If we are talking about the rate of action, neither the

24 mortar nor artillery fire are appropriate. Military fire must in fact aim

25 at military objectives. And on the basis of an operation, a military

Page 23136

1 operation, but I would have to issue a value judgement to be able to say

2 why the shelling took place. All I can say is that shelling did take

3 place against East Mostar and it caused civilian deaths. To go beyond

4 this would be to, as I say, issue a value judgement with little

5 information. Thank you.

6 Q. Then I will move to the next exhibit, which is 8099.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please, before

8 you move on to the next exhibit, you could have put a question to the

9 witness on the 5th paragraph; i.e., the fact that the SpaBat had

10 discovered four mortars. Could you read the fourth paragraph witness,

11 please, which starts off with oja [phoen] --

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Today the second part of the field

13 hospital was introduced without any incidents. Nevertheless in the

14 eastern area of the hospital, east SpaBat has discovered four mortars of

15 81, 82-millimetres, belonging to Armija. Comment: The installation of

16 these is very close to the hospital and may mean a problem for the safety

17 of such hospital in the future. On the subject of safety, the Armija

18 authorities have spread the rumour that this will be in the hands of an

19 east SpaBat patrol. At present the chief of the hospital is Mr. Safet

20 Suljic." End of comment.

21 I do not think that this refers to the permanent hospital of

22 Eastern Mostar but a field hospital that we introduced into Eastern Mostar

23 attempting to set it up in an area where we could deploy it. That

24 hospital was managed by east SpaBat and we actually helped set it up in

25 Eastern Mostar.

Page 23137

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]. Very well.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I recall that it was in the

3 eastern area of Mostar, but again I would not actually affirm that in a

4 committed way.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You can't specify the exact

6 location of the hospital, can you?

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, I cannot.

8 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

9 Q. Witness, the next Exhibit is 8099. And would this be an

10 intelligence summary, 482, dated 20th of March 1994?

11 A. [No interpretation]

12 Q. Okay. So this is reaching the end --

13 A. Affirmative.

14 Q. -- close to the end of your deployment in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I

15 just want to take to you item 2, indicating that the prisoner exchanges

16 and the releases are still occurring during this latter part of March. Do

17 you see that?

18 A. Yes, I see that part.

19 Q. And the unit that you were attached to, was that unit involved in

20 making these prisoner exchanges come to -- was your unit involved in

21 transporting prisoners during these releases?

22 A. Affirmative.

23 Q. And then in general, prisoners from Rodoc, those were taken to

24 East Mostar, Jablanica, and also a few to Mostar West?

25 A. That is what the report says.

Page 23138

1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may, an additional question: These

2 prisoners here are all designed as POW. Was that used in a technical

3 sense or was it sort of a routine abbreviation? Was there some

4 verification on their status?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that the report speaks of

6 POWs and it is -- refers to prisoners of war. There are other reports

7 where civil prisoners are mentioned, or civilian ones, civilian personnel.

8 These are the two possibilities.

9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.


11 Q. And witness, the next exhibit is in the binder A, number 7763.

12 Now, witness, this one is a little bit different from the other Spanish

13 Battalion documents that we've been looking at. So let me just ask to you

14 take a look at this one, and if you could please tell the Trial Chamber

15 what this one -- what this is, who would have made this report and where

16 it would have been sent?

17 A. This report is a memo from the officers staff or the chief of our

18 unit, providing information and intelligence. If memory serves correctly,

19 this refers to a document which describes the activities of that part of

20 our detachment, over the four months of last month of 1993 and three first

21 months of 1994, so this document is not intended to the subordinate units

22 but the document is used as a reminder of what has been done and is

23 intended for the higher officer levels, in this case probably intended for

24 the chief of the unit located in Bosnia, and who was then the chief of the

25 unit was based in Spain.

Page 23139

1 Q. And just looking through this, it contains a significant amount of

2 detailed information and analysis, would it be fair to say, relating to

3 issues that were beyond your area of responsibility?

4 A. Yes. This basically constitutes a summary of everything that

5 transpired within our section. Some information pertains to my unit and

6 other information does not. In any case, I was not one of the recipients

7 of this document.

8 Q. And there is one part of this document that is of interest to me,

9 and I hope to others as well, which is the information found in 3 annexes

10 to the report, and I wonder if you can find those, annex 1, annex 2, annex

11 3. They are graphs.

12 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, the document number, the ERN number

13 that would assist would be R 0642624, ending in 2624, 25 and 26.

14 Q. Witness, do you see those?

15 A. Yes, I can see them, sir.

16 Q. Okay. Witness, I want to ask you if you recognise this. It's not

17 something that you made but is it based upon information that you know

18 about, that you talked about here in your testimony today?

19 A. I think so. These documents reflect in graphic terms the contents

20 of the daily INTREPs and at the beginning of course it basically indicates

21 the incoming and outgoing shell fire from eastern and Western Mostar. I

22 cannot guarantee the veracity of each of these or the precision, but I

23 would say that the graph is probably what best represents those events.

24 Q. So this would be -- appear to be a daily day by day graphic

25 representation of the shelling incidents that your unit was recording

Page 23140

1 during their deployment in East Mostar?

2 A. Yes, that is so.

3 Q. Okay.

4 MR. STRINGER: Now, Mr. President, to come back to the Medjugorje

5 Agreement, I think I have a few minutes left and it may be useful. During

6 the break, we made copies of Exhibit P05571, and we have copies to

7 distribute and we need to give one to the witness also.

8 Q. Witness, you can disregard the first page of this actually because

9 that's -- page 1 is not relevant for our purposes today but what begins at

10 page 2, you had mentioned earlier, and I know this is in English, you had

11 mentioned earlier an agreement made in Medjugorje during late September or

12 early October of 1993. Is this the document that you were referring to?

13 A. Yes. That's the one I'm referring to.

14 Q. Were you involved in implementing or monitoring compliance with

15 this memorandum on cease-fire?

16 A. I did not participate in the drafting of the document, nor in its

17 implementation. But of course, the -- we did of course record the number

18 of incoming or outgoing shell fire from and into Eastern Mostar.

19 Q. Okay. So that the monitoring the shelling activity, was something

20 carried out by the unit you were attached to as part of this agreement?

21 Or you were doing that because -- at least in part because of this

22 agreement?

23 A. That is so. In the fulfilment of the orders I received, I

24 considered that a consequence of this agreement was counting the shell

25 fire on both sides.

Page 23141

1 Q. Okay. And this has come up already, and I'm sure it will come up

2 some more. There is a reference here to location of hospitals and the

3 positioning of military installations in relation to hospitals. So is

4 that why you were monitoring the location of mortars on the east side of

5 the city?

6 A. Well, we were monitoring and trying to prevent the location of

7 such mortars because there were complaints by HVO and we didn't want such

8 a thing to happen.

9 Q. Then finally going to the signature lines here, there appears to

10 be a signature by the commander of the Madrid Task Force, that's Colonel

11 Carvajal?

12 A. Affirmative.

13 Q. Then also there is a signature over the name of Berislav Pusic.

14 And I wonder if you had any dealings with that person, Mr. Pusic?

15 A. I do not recall. I don't think so. But we may have met at some

16 point.

17 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I have no further questions.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is now 20 past

19 12.00. It might be a good time to have a break until 2.30. Which Defence

20 counsel will start when we resume?

21 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] It should be us but we

22 don't have any questions for this witness.

23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it would be our

24 turn next. We are going to check our notes and then after the break we

25 are going to tell you whether we intend to cross-examine or not.

Page 23142

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's begin now so

2 that we remain on schedule.

3 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Our Defence will consult our

4 clients and after the break we will inform you about our decision.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are not making much progress.

6 Mrs. Nozica?

7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] The answer is the same. I suppose we

8 won't have any questions but we will inform you.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall see what happens after

10 the break. You will have three hours and it is for you to share the time

11 in a way which you deem fit. We shall now have a break and resume at half

12 past 2.00.

13 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.19 p.m.

14 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The hearing is

16 resumed in open session. We are going to raise the blinds. Just an

17 announcement by the Trial Chamber. The Trial Chamber noted the

18 following: Witness C, who appeared on the 17th and the 18th and the 19th

19 of September, following his appearance, the Prosecution had filed a list

20 of exhibits but it appeared that the registrar did not think at the time

21 of giving an IC number for the said list so we need an IC number. I'm

22 going to give the floor to the registrar in a moment. Should the Defence

23 have any comments, they should do so tomorrow.

24 Mr. Registrar, please, an IC number for the Prosecution list.

25 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you very much, Your Honour. One of the

Page 23143

1 parties have submitted list of documents to be tendered through Witness C.

2 The list submitted by the OTP shall be given Exhibit number ICC 677 and

3 several parties also submitted list of documents to be tendered through

4 Witness DV, the witness submitted by the OTP shall be give everyone number

5 IC 678. The list submitted by 4D shall be given IC 679. Thank you very

6 much, Your Honour.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now has come the

8 time for the cross-examinations. The Defence teams have had time to

9 prepare themselves. Mr. Ibrisimovic?

10 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions for this

11 witness Mr. President, thank you.

12 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] The Defence of Mr. Prlic has no

13 questions for this witness either, thank you .

14 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, The Defence of

15 Mr. Stojic has no questions for this witness either and cedes its time to

16 the other Defence teams.

17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of General

18 Praljak does have questions for the witness, and with the Court's

19 permission I should like to start off and then General Praljak would like

20 to ask questions himself and I believe that the arguments in favour of

21 that are self-evident. He was there personally while the witness was

22 there, during that same period, he was the commander, and quite obviously

23 he has specific knowledge, technical and other about those matters,

24 especially with respect to Mostar. And with your permission, I would like

25 to start off.

Page 23144

1 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.

2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] He left, General Praljak left

3 Mostar in November, right, in the month of November 1993; is that right?

4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour. And we

5 have evidence of that on the 8th of November he left and after that, he

6 has special information, general knowledge and so on, but he wasn't there

7 at the time himself. Thank you.

8 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:

9 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. I'm going to ask you a few questions as

10 Defence counsel for General Praljak.

11 My first question is this: Or rather, the first topic I'd like to

12 deal with is this: You and your colleagues, that is to say officers of

13 SpaBat, had a number of direct contacts with Mr. Praljak, and we saw a

14 number of documents here. And in your binder as well as in the binders of

15 other witnesses, we know that you had those contacts. Now, are you aware

16 of the fact that your colleagues also met him, and did you have any

17 contacts yourself with General Praljak?

18 A. Good afternoon. I didn't have any contact with General Praljak.

19 And I know that members of the Madrid Task Force, including my colonel,

20 had contacts with him.

21 Q. Witness, to your knowledge, SpaBat as an institution, did it know

22 of his precise function and position in the field within the ranks of the

23 HVO?

24 A. I suppose so.

25 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Through those contacts and discussions,

Page 23145

1 did SpaBat know that Mr. Praljak was born and brought up in Herzegovina,

2 specifically in the Capljina area?

3 A. I cannot answer the questions because I don't know.

4 Q. Of course. Thank you. Witness, in October 1993, General

5 Praljak's father died in that same area, in Grabovine. He lives in

6 Grabovine, near Capljina. Now, do you perhaps remember anything about the

7 funeral or the condolences expressed by SpaBat to the general with respect

8 to his father's death?

9 A. No.

10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could the registrar help me out, or

11 rather, the usher, and help the witness out with the documents? I think

12 he received a binder like this.

13 Q. Would you look at the first document in that binder? It is

14 3D 01088. It's the first document?

15 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, the Prosecution has not

16 been supplied with any documents.

17 MR. KOVACIC: Sorry, they remain on my table but the list was

18 sent.

19 MR. STRINGER: We don't have a list, Mr. President. But it's

20 okay. I don't see any reason to pause. Except if I might add,

21 Mr. President, I'm looking at the witness's binders which have tabs on

22 them with the numbers, and I'm looking at mine, which don't have tabs. I

23 don't know if anyone else has tabs or not.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Last time, Mr. Kovacic, we had

25 said that just out of courtesy, the Defence could try to put in tabs for

Page 23146

1 the Prosecutor, and he would do the same for the Defence teams. Because,

2 look, it's going to force him to go through, to leaf through the

3 documents, to find them. So, please add some tabs. It's not that much

4 extra work, is it?

5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise, first of

6 all I forgot to place it on my learned friend's table. We didn't do that

7 on time, but the list must have reached him. There must be a technical

8 mistake somewhere. As regards the tabs, we really do try and do it

9 whenever we have time. This time I see there are no tabs. You know what

10 our schedule was. We finished one witness yesterday and had overnight to

11 complete this binder, and quite obviously my staff didn't have time to do

12 that. But as you requested this earlier on, although we haven't got any

13 colour, each document which is already an exhibit states an exhibit on the

14 tab.

15 Q. Now Witness, I don't know if you've had a chance to look at the

16 first document on the binder, 3D --

17 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I propose that we take a five minute

18 break so that we can get tabs on this. I'm not willing to sit through a

19 cross-examination struggling to find the documents as counsel leads the

20 witness to them. So I'm proposing a five-minute break so that I can get

21 tabs, and I'll do it myself or with the assistance of Ms. Winner.

22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber is going to

23 give you one of their batches of documents in order to save time.

24 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And we are going to take the

Page 23147

1 documents that had been given to you. Go ahead.

2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I have one, too, with the tabs.

3 Q. Witness, I hope you've had a chance to look at the first document

4 now, it is 3D 01088. Have you managed to look through it?

5 A. I can see it, yes, thank you.

6 Q. Could you turn to -- it's just the first document. I think you've

7 gone on further. This is what it looks like, just a short document,

8 Witness. That's right. [In English] That's it.

9 A. [No interpretation]

10 Q. This, then, is a telegram or probably it was sent by fax, signed

11 by I won't say the name, you can see it yourself, so that we can stay in

12 open session. It is the commander you mention. And you have the

13 translation of it in English on the next page. It is an expression of

14 condolences which your commander sent to my client, General Praljak. Do

15 you agree that that is indeed his signature and that is in fact a SpaBat

16 document, what SpaBat documents usually look like, right?

17 A. Yes, most certainly so.

18 Q. Since you were distributed in different locations, did this remind

19 you, perhaps, or do you know that two officers, as representatives of

20 SpaBat, attended the funeral of General Praljak's father?

21 A. No, sir.

22 Q. Very well. Thank you. I'd like to move on to another area now.

23 Now, in the Prosecution binders, the documents you've been looking

24 at so far, look at 06518, please. It's an INTREP 350 of the 8th of

25 November 1993. It says, "General state," the second section is "Mostar,"

Page 23148

1 and in the section under Mostar we have point 1 and point 2 and I'd like

2 to draw your attention to that point 2. And it says that there was

3 security provided for someone who was held at a check-point at Zitomislici

4 [phoen]?

5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I'm so sorry, I can't find the

6 document.

7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Binder B2, B2.


9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.

10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

11 Q. In point 2, as I was saying, it says that "SpaBat patrol was kept

12 at Zitomislici in spite of the letter signed by General Praljak, the HVO

13 commander, which was received yesterday at SpaBat headquarters."

14 Have you found that, Witness? [In English] Have you found that?

15 A. Yes, I have found it.

16 Q. [Interpretation] And then another section, a comment, it says

17 comment, and it says, "Once again we have seen how little or not at all

18 the commanders of the HVO -- how much power they have, how little power

19 they have over the terrain, little or no power."

20 You're a professional soldier, Witness. You are a high-ranking

21 officer. You were in Bosnia. Now, in your preparations for taking up

22 your mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, especially since one of your

23 battalions was there before you, did you learn about the circumstances in

24 which the military wing of the HVO was established? What were the

25 circumstances and conditions, in general terms? Did you learn about that?

Page 23149

1 A. No. I don't really know what you're referring to.

2 Q. As observers, and it was your role to be an observer among other

3 things, do you know that the HVO was not formed, or, rather, did not act

4 there like some earlier established army with its structure, training, and

5 so on? That's not how it came into being. But it was established when

6 the Serb army launched an aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina and then

7 people took the initiative to self-organise and that's how the HVO came

8 into being and was established. Are you aware of that?

9 A. Yes, generally speaking, yes.

10 Q. Thank you. Can you accept that on the basis of the prevailing

11 conditions, this was an army rapidly formed and organised, which

12 functioned in the best way that the circumstances allowed it to and

13 developed as it progressed, in fighting the Serbs and later on in the

14 conflict with the Muslims, it became organised to the best of its ability

15 under the circumstances and given the conditions that prevailed?

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Prosecution?

17 MR. STRINGER: My objection is I don't think this witness is not

18 competent to give an assessment since he was not in Bosnia-Herzegovina

19 until September of 1993.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic, you're asking

21 questions of this witness as to the way the HVO was created, to meet the

22 aggression by the Serbian army whilst the witness was not in the field.

23 Witness, can you answer this question or not?

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not with any accuracy, Your Honour.

25 Our units were not present whilst the conflict with the Serbs was raging,

Page 23150

1 if I recall correctly.

2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, well, I'll drop some of

3 my next questions in view of your position. However, I would like to

4 remind the Court that a group -- the Canarias group was there from the

5 beginning of the conflict with the Muslims, and the previous witness said

6 that they had been briefed about the events that took place prior to their

7 arrival, so they didn't arrive there with blank knowledge, with a tabula

8 rasa, so that was the position. And I'm bearing in mind the fact that of

9 course the witness is an experienced and well-trained soldier, and he was

10 in the field and that was quite obvious, and I think that any soldier

11 would be able to observe that. But I have received an answer so I'll move

12 on.

13 Q. Now, witness, would you look at the next document, 3D 00 --

14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: To assist the Defence, perhaps one could ask the

15 witness whether he observed professional or highly unprofessional

16 behaviour on behalf of the HVO, whether it gave the impression of an army

17 which works well or generally which an amateurish -- something amateurish.

18 I hope this would be in the sense of what you are aiming at,

19 Mr. Kovacic.

20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for that suggestion, Your

21 Honour. I was getting to that by first asking the witness about the time

22 when the HVO was established but perhaps I could go more directly.

23 Q. Witness, you've heard Judge Trechsel's proposal. Now, while you

24 were there, what were your impressions? Was the HVO well-organised a

25 well-structured army with a firm chain of command in place?

Page 23151

1 A. As you well know, we do not participate in the actual conflict.

2 We were not, in fact, intervention forces or interposition forces, and we

3 were not in fact in touch with the HVO command or the Armija command. My

4 first contacts had to do with the check-points or those troops managing

5 communication lines. I suppose I could say that the behaviour and

6 presence of the HVO troops present was not up to the expectations of a

7 professional army behaviour.

8 However, when we, in fact, through our chain of command, made a

9 protest known either because we'd been stopped at a check-point, the

10 organisation finally made this known to the HVO command. So there was

11 some sort of chain of command. However, I'm not familiar with the

12 internal discipline measures taken by those groups.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One small technical detail,

14 Witness. If you were stopped at a check-point, as you just said, the

15 soldiers manning it, were they in whatever kind of connection with

16 authorities by walkie-talkie or through other ways? Did they have means

17 of communications, making it possible to find an immediate solution to a

18 problem by calling the chain of command?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We communicated this via our own

20 means of communication and through our own chain of command. When a

21 patrol was stopped at check-point, through our own chain of command,

22 through our own battalion's chain of command, we actually made our problem

23 known, and the task force through the liaison officers made this known to

24 the HVO, and when it arrived there, of course, the HVO command made this

25 known to the lower ranks in order to try to solve the situation.

Page 23152

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The question was more focused.

2 I wanted to know whether the HVO soldiers on the ground were able to

3 communicate with their own chain of command, through radio, walkie-talkie,

4 I don't know.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that normally they did have

6 some means of communication. I cannot say so for certain at all times,

7 but in very many opportunities, communications did arrive to try to solve

8 the situations. Now, I cannot know whether this was a permanent means of

9 communication.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

12 Q. I'd like to round off that area, but just to go back to a

13 Prosecution document or rather your statement of the 8th of November,

14 50618, 06518, do you accept the contents of the statement and the

15 assessment made here? 6518, P06518. We looked at that a moment ago.

16 A. Item 2, West Mostar, paragraph 2, you're asking me about my

17 comment about this?

18 Q. Yes. And the comment. Now, do you agree what it says here is

19 correctly stated, everything in the document, including this second

20 paragraph?

21 A. Well, I would not rule out any HVO authorities. In another

22 SITREP, allusion is made to this, I believe. Now, to go to the nutshell,

23 this happened because I believe there was a letter from General Praljak in

24 which he commits himself to ensuring that the VIP convoys would not be

25 detained at check-points for over 15 minutes. However, in this case, the

Page 23153

1 patrol was stopped for over 40 minutes. Hence, the comment. I said

2 before that I'm convinced, and I do believe that the HVO did not, in fact,

3 abide by the standards of a professional army. Nevertheless, I would not

4 say that the HVO chain of command had no authority whatsoever over their

5 troops. That is my belief.

6 Q. I don't know if the interpretation wasn't right. I was told that

7 the commander didn't have authorisation over its soldiers. Did you mean

8 to say that it did not have full control over its soldiers, authority over

9 its soldiers?

10 A. No, no, no. I say that in the HVO units or at the check-points

11 with which we had to deal with, if I had to make a general statement, I

12 would say that they were submitted or subjected to the HVO military

13 authorities, but in the situation we were living in, any isolated soldier,

14 unarmed, was able to stop a 15-APC convoy by himself. However, this does

15 not mean that these people were not subjected to the HVO chain of command.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think that you said

17 contradictory things because initially I was under the impression that

18 your impression was that the chain, the HVO chain of command did not have

19 any authority over the soldiers on the ground. That was my first

20 understanding. Could you be more specific because this is extremely

21 important.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, either I do not explain

23 myself properly or perhaps the translation has been misleading. I do

24 understand your question. I understand that you're asking me whether I

25 agree or not that the HVO units were units that could act beyond the chain

Page 23154

1 of command of the HVO chain of command, and that is not my perception. I

2 believe that they did act abiding by the HVO chain of command. A

3 different kettle of fish is the following: In those units which did not

4 abide by the standards of a professional army, there may have been more or

5 less discipline or uncontrolled elements, which would lead those people to

6 stopping a convoy in which there were elements unfriendly to them,

7 including perhaps UNPROFOR elements. But in the long run the orders

8 issued by the chain of command were in fact implemented.

9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

10 Q. Thank you for that explanation.

11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for your

12 assistance and I'd like to cede the floor to my client. I don't think I

13 need go on any more. Thank you.

14 Cross-examination by Mr. Praljak:

15 Q. [Interpretation] I'm sorry, I've -- I'm just going to take a

16 moment to get myself organised. Good afternoon, Witness. That's how I

17 have to refer to you. I don't -- I mustn't use your rank. Good

18 afternoon, Your Honours. I'm going to stick to technical matters once

19 again and be as expeditious as possible.

20 Sir, I'm going to ask short questions in the military manner,

21 precise, because of our time constraints. So I'd like to ask you to give

22 me brief answers in the same manner as well. Thank you.

23 Some things have remained unclear.

24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I did leave

25 the area on the 9th of November 1993. That is true. Early in the

Page 23155

1 morning. But for continuity's sake with regard to mortars I'm going to

2 refer to certain documents in order to show the continuity of certain

3 events and actions of the BH army. So I will deal with some documents

4 that are not within that date. With your permission I'd like to use them,

5 and I'd like to clarify something straight away, something that the

6 Prosecution said. It relates to P07706, that document, and it refers to

7 the death of the Italian journalists. Could this map be displayed

8 somewhere, please?

9 We are going to have this map displayed, if we may, to clarify

10 matters still further. And we can take a look at 3D 01071 as well. It's

11 the map in e-court, 3D 01070. It's the map of Mostar which we've seen

12 many times already.

13 Q. Witness, we're just going to pinpoint some basic facts on the map.

14 One of them is where the hospital was in East Mostar, the military

15 hospital there, and where the blue building was situated, which was where

16 your headquarters were later on that you mention, 3D 01071. It's not this

17 at all. It's a map of Mostar that we need to be looking at.

18 Well, that map is much bigger than this area but, well, you can

19 still see. Please, 3D 01071 on e-court. Could you please bring it closer

20 to the witness? Would you please bring it closer to the witness? Could

21 you please look at this on e-court? Why haven't we got it on e-court?

22 Sir, sir, Witness, let us clarify that particular detail, when you

23 say that it is a fact that a woman got killed and that a woman from the

24 UNHCR was attacked, and that they were targeted by sniper fire coming from

25 the western side. My next question: At that moment, were you there?

Page 23156

1 A. Are you asking me if I was there on the day that we removed those

2 two women from the theatre of operations? No, I was not there on that

3 day.

4 Q. On the next day, were you there to have a look at what the

5 situation was?

6 A. I do not recall whether I was there or not. That fact in any case

7 did not require my place on site.

8 Q. That's not what I said. I'm just asking whether you know that

9 this happened in a very small street that goes to the north of the street

10 of Marshal Tito and is near the national theatre in Mostar. Do you know

11 that, a very small street, a bit to the north of Marshal Tito street, near

12 the theatre in Mostar? I marked it on the map. I put a circle there.

13 Would you please look at the map and tell me the following: On

14 the basis of this report, these women were lying in this ditch. They were

15 being shot at from the west side, as is stated there. My question is: In

16 the previous report, it also says that the street was so narrow that an

17 APC could not enter it. So there are houses around it and the rest. Did

18 anybody take a look, and did you ask as to whether, from the place where

19 they were lying in the ditch, one can see any HVO position, and how far

20 away is that HVO position from that particular place? I marked it on the

21 map.

22 I marked the separation line. You can have a look at that. You

23 are quite familiar with that separation line. So did anybody have a look?

24 There were two ladies lying in the ditch, there are houses around, an APC

25 could not enter that street, and somebody is shooting at them.

Page 23157

1 Did anybody take a look at it in that way? Do you know about

2 that? If not, then I'll proceed.

3 A. General, I cannot provide you with such specific details. I do

4 know that it was a narrow street. I know that the APCs were not able to

5 climb up that street, and I know that the two officers who rescued the

6 women had to cross over an area that was covered by a sniper, in a street

7 that was heading for the western part of Mostar and that these two

8 officers were fired upon when they attempted to rescue the women.

9 Q. I fully understand that. I'm not denying that.

10 A. Yes, sir.

11 Q. I'm asking you the following. From that particular place to the

12 west, how many more hundreds of metres are there or kilometres of the army

13 of Bosnia-Herzegovina? So if we look westward, how many hundreds of

14 metres or kilometres are there until HVO positions start, on the

15 assumption that you can even see it from a house, from there? Look at the

16 separation line on this map that goes along the Bulevar.

17 Perhaps it's going to be easier for you to see on the big map.

18 Unfortunately this one is very small. Perhaps if we could zoom in on this

19 map, then you could see better, the part that is above the old bridge, the

20 middle, a bit further up, a bit further up, could you scroll up a bit?

21 All right, all right. Now, could you please take a look at this here? I

22 have marked this. Now, where is this? It should be turned around,

23 actually. Ah, yes.

24 Now, look at this white dot. That's the national theatre.

25 Further up to the left, do you see this street of Marshal Tito going to

Page 23158

1 the left of the railway station, and then it goes further on, and then we

2 get further up north to this white stain, as it were, which is the

3 building of the national theatre? Do you see that? Can you indicate

4 that?

5 A. No, I do not see it, if you are actually pointing at it, I cannot

6 see it.

7 Q. Now, how do I do this?

8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if it's scrolled up a

9 bit or rather if we look --

10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please speak one at a time?

11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The witness would have to get closer

12 to the parts where Mostar is.

13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could the map be lifted up a

14 bit so the witness can see better.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stringer.

16 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I have a paper map which I think is

17 better than the one on the screen. The problem is if the witness starts

18 to move around then his face distortion is at risk, and so I don't know if

19 there is a way to accommodate those two things. But I think everyone

20 agrees it would be better if somehow the witness could work off of this

21 paper.

22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, quite simply I

23 think that without a map and without the distances involved, the

24 buildings, and then the HVO building on the other side, I mean without all

25 of that we really cannot see from which place one can shoot in a narrow

Page 23159

1 street that is surrounded by houses and two women are lying in the ditch

2 and fire is opened at two officers of the Spanish Battalion too. Please

3 take a look. There is a circle in the right-hand corner.

4 Q. Witness can you have a look, can you recognise any of that?

5 Unfortunately I didn't want to mark it with --

6 A. Sorry, are you speaking about these circles here?

7 Q. Look, we've got these circles there. Let's move from left to

8 right. The first one I put there is where the Mostar hospital is, the

9 military hospital of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is the first

10 circle. Is that correctly marked there underneath the railway station in

11 Marshal Tito street?

12 A. Yes. I can imagine it, but the map is of such a scale that it's

13 very difficult to be precise in my answer.

14 Q. Very well. The next mark that I put is the blue building where

15 you were, the former Energoinvest Hotel that is very close to the military

16 hospital of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Is that correct?

17 A. That is right, yes.

18 Q. Between your building and the military hospital, you parked your

19 cars; is that right, in a particular area? The third mark there is -- in

20 response to my question, whether between the blue building, which is the

21 second mark, and the military hospital, there was a parking lot where you

22 left your cars, parked your cars, what was your answer to that?

23 A. Yes. I said before -- please just give me a few seconds.

24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Spanish translation coming over channel 4] [In

25 English] cannot recognise anything on this map. So we are completely lost

Page 23160

1 and we do not want to you think we can follow if we cannot.

2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation], Your Honour, Judge

3 Trechsel, I quite understand but you see, I think that the trial should

4 have been adjusted in terms of establishing precise facts, accurate facts,

5 very important facts. I'm going to get to that later.

6 First of all, there was a war going on and we are going to get to

7 that through the documents. Someone is constantly keeping mortars by the

8 hospital. There are 20 documents that I will show. Then the command of

9 the 41st command of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina is among the

10 population. The command of the 4th corps is among the population. Then

11 the command of the military police of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina is

12 among the population. Among the population. Right in the middle of town.

13 That parts of the army that deal with logistics are in the centre of town.

14 Your Honour, Judge Trechsel we are in the middle of a war, we are not on a

15 picnic and the gentlemen sitting opposite us, I mean, really, I cannot.

16 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters could not hear the end.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, on the screen which is

18 in front of you, the markings on the larger map, with the markings on the

19 larger map, could you show us where the blue building is, where the

20 hospital is, and so on and so forth? Don't show this to us on the large

21 map. Show it to us on the map which you have on your screen, because I

22 would like you to mark 1, 2, and 3 on this map, please, with the

23 electronic pen.

24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

25 Q. Sir, would you start from the railway station that you can see and

Page 23161

1 then please mark the hospital with a 1, 2 blue building, 3, the command of

2 the 41st brigade, 4 the command of the 4th corps, and 5 where the incident

3 occurred, the one that had to do with the two ladies that were shot at, as

4 I marked this there, and then you can testify as to whether that is

5 correct or not.

6 A. Your Honour, do I not think that I'm able on such a scale to

7 actually indicate these points. I think that the way General Praljak

8 marked them is probably correct. I have nothing to say about that. And

9 as I said before, our own patrol headquarters was located some 500 metres

10 from the military hospital, and I said that between our patrol base and

11 the military hospital, we had a parking lot for our vehicles.

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I shall try and help you.

13 Do you see where the military hospital is on your screen?

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, sir, I do not see it.

15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can it be enlarged, please?

16 Can it be enlarged a bit? And Mr. Pusic who is disabled and who is from

17 Mostar, can he assist the gentleman, or actually let's try to do this in a

18 simpler way.

19 Q. Sir, look at the big map according to information accessible to

20 you. On the big map did I correctly mark the military hospital under A;

21 and then B, the position of the blue building where you were; C, the

22 position of the command of the 41st brigade; and D, the position of the

23 command of the 4th Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? 1, 2, 3, 4,

24 all of that is in the street of Marshal Tito.

25 A. I see the points on the map, but I don't see any letters nor any

Page 23162

1 numbers.

2 Q. From the left to the right, that is how I refer to them. If you

3 agree that all of that is the street of Marshal Tito, was that the way it

4 was, sir?

5 A. Yes, that is so.

6 Q. Could you now please look at the last dot on the right? There is

7 this little circle next to the big white mark where the incident involving

8 the two ladies happened. Could you put a line there from that dot to the

9 Bulevar where the positions of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO

10 are, westward?

11 A. I said before that I am not aware of the details pertaining to

12 this incident with the two ladies. I don't even know the name of the

13 street or even where it's located. I do not know these details.

14 Therefore, I cannot say whether the incident took place there or not.

15 Q. I fully understand you. Thank you. That will do, as far as I'm

16 concerned. Since you testified that my markings are correct --

17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation], Your Honour, Mr. President,

18 can an IC number be assigned to this?

19 MR. STRINGER: I apologise for the interruption but I don't know

20 that the witness testified that Mr. Praljak's markings were correct. What

21 I heard was the witness say that he agreed that the Marshal Tito street

22 was correctly indicated, but I don't know that he's agreed that the other

23 locations are correctly marked.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the general has

25 indicated four locations on Marshal Tito street, A, B, C, and D. In light

Page 23163

1 of these markings on the map, can you confirm A that this is Marshal Tito

2 street, and, B, that these locations are the ones that were mentioned? In

3 other words, that D is where the command of the 4th Corps was located? So

4 far as we do have the letters on the map, but Mr. Praljak seemed to say

5 that we had these letters, A, B, C and D on the map.

6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No, no. I didn't really put

7 any letters. I just marked the hospital, the blue building, the command

8 of the 41st Brigade, and the command of the 4th Corps of the army of

9 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

10 Q. Is that correctly marked from left to right, these four dots,

11 Witness?

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, there are four

13 circles from left to right. The first circle is where the hospital is,

14 the second circle is where the blue house is. Third circle is where the

15 command of the 41st Brigade is, and fourth circle is where the command of

16 the 4th Corps is. We have four circles. Can you confirm that these four

17 circles are on those locations which were mentioned by General Praljak, or

18 do you say that you can't recognise these locations? In that case we

19 shall move on to another topic.

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can confirm that. I do think that

21 that is Marshal Tito street. I think that this mention from left to right

22 on the map corresponds to the hospital, to the parking lot, to the blue

23 house, and to the headquarters and I -- that more or less, I believe that

24 they are present there in the order that the general indicated on the map.

25 I cannot be more precise when looking at things at this scale.

Page 23164

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. General Praljak

2 would like to have an IC number for this map. Registrar, can we have an

3 IC number, please?

4 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This document shall be given

5 Exhibit number IC 680. Thank you, Your Honour.

6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

7 Q. Please, could we just clarify one more thing? Namely, the death

8 of one of your men, one of your men who was killed by a land-mine. Is it

9 correct, sir, that you went there at the request of the army of

10 Bosnia-Herzegovina and that that location where you were is at the

11 Salakovac dam at the exit out of the tunnel on the road between Sarajevo

12 and Mostar? You were asked by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina to come

13 there to that dam and then one of your officers stepped on a land-mine

14 there and got killed; is that right?

15 A. I cannot confirm that interpretation. It could be possible. The

16 person doing the reconnaissance for the dam was the chief of deactivation

17 or mine clearing or explosives clearing, and it's very possible that the

18 Armija may have detected presence of a mine close to the dam and that that

19 was -- that they were present there but that I do not know.

20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry, witness there seems to be a contradiction

21 now. Now you have been asked whether the officer stepped on the mine.

22 And you said yes, possibly. This morning, you have been asked whether the

23 soldier was killed while trying to disactivate the mine, which is

24 something quite different. Can you say whether one is correct or the

25 other or whether you don't know?

Page 23165

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I was saying, in answer to

2 General Praljak's question, when he said that the Armija had requested the

3 patrol to respond to the dam, and I said yes. That's what I was answering

4 to.

5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] So you are not confirming that

6 the soldier stepped on the mine?

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I'm not confirming that.

8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, why do you say

10 that the Spanish soldier stepped on the mine? This morning, things seemed

11 pretty clear. We said that this man got killed whilst trying to

12 neutralise --

13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, I withdraw that.

14 Actually what I was -- well, I just wanted to ask whether the Spanish team

15 went there at the request of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and then,

16 well, I got an answer so I don't want to deal with it any longer.

17 Q. Sir, now that we have dealt with that, I would like to go back to

18 the question of the Croatian army. In your first statement, you said, or

19 rather can we have 3D 01090 on our screens? 3D 01090. Witness, you have

20 that in my binder, page 3. Take a look at this. It's like this. You

21 see, this kind of document. Or, rather, it was already prepared for the

22 gentleman who came here before you, but I didn't manage to use it until

23 now.

24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] May I be of assistance? Witness

25 it's the second binder, the smaller one, DV.

Page 23166

1 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, I don't think I have the

2 second binder that's being referred to now.

3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yesterday's bundle.

4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] You got it yesterday.

5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

6 Q. Witness, please --

7 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, I didn't get it yesterday because I

8 wasn't here yesterday and my colleague, Mr. Poryvaev, who was here

9 yesterday, was never alerted, nor was I, that we would need to have a

10 different binder for a different witness present in the courtroom today.

11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm go to provide my

12 learned friend with our copy. We perceive the Prosecutor's Office as an

13 institution rather than just a collection of people or persons. I

14 apologise for the scribblings on my copy, but I hope it won't bother my

15 learned friend.

16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

17 Q. Could you please look at 3D 01090 and please look at the second

18 page, the part that concerns the arrows, to show how the operations

19 evolved against Croatia from Bosnia and Hercegovina. My question is very

20 simple. At the time when you were there, in your statement you stated

21 clearly that at that time, you personally did not see or have information

22 about the Croatian army being deployed in that area. Is that correct? Is

23 that what you stated in your first statement?

24 A. Yes, that is right.

25 Q. Sir, you're a professional soldier. I'm sure that you got

Page 23167

1 yourself familiar with the general area of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Are you

2 familiar with the following fact, the Croatian army could not reach

3 Dubrovnik in order to defend Dubrovnik from an attack of the Serbian and

4 Montenegrin army without crossing through the territory of Neum which

5 belonged to Bosnia-Herzegovina? Were you aware of that fact at the time?

6 A. Yes, I was.

7 Q. Thank you very much. Were you also aware of the fact at the time

8 that the Croatian Defence Council that was supposed to defend the area in

9 front of Neum; i.e., the northern part of the territory of Neum -- Neum

10 could not reach those positions without crossing the Republic of Croatia

11 Metkovic, and part of Neum to reach the northern part of Neum, that's how

12 the roads look in the area. Were you aware of that at the time?

13 A. I don't quite know what it is that you're asking me, sir. What do

14 you mean whether I was aware of that at the time? I was not aware that

15 HVO wished to do what you said.

16 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Yes. I'm asking. I'm asking

17 you if you know it okay. If you don't, never mind. My question is clear.

18 In order to reach the northern part of the defence of Neum, the

19 Bosnia-Herzegovina territory, the HVO had to pass through Metkovic,

20 through Neum and reach the hill tops. There was no road there. Do you

21 know it or do you not know it? This my question. If you don't we will

22 clarify that with another witness. Were you aware of that fact?

23 A. Sir, I would like to you ask the question more clearly because I

24 am not able to get the sense of your question.

25 Q. The south of Croatia looks like this. First there is Croatian

Page 23168

1 territory, then it is intersected by the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

2 where Bosnia-Herzegovina has its exit to the sea, and then the Croatian

3 territory continues towards Dubrovnik. You can see it on the map, below

4 Ploce, you can see it and the situation during the war was this: If the

5 Croatian army wanted to defend Dubrovnik, you testified to that effect,

6 they had to go through Neum because that was the only road, through the

7 hills, and if the HVO wanted to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina territory from

8 the Serbian army, there was no other road for them to reach that area but

9 to go through Metkovic, and then to Neum. And then they have to reach to

10 the Bosnia-Herzegovinian territory in the north and again, the -- a part

11 of the Croatian territory continues after that and the Croatian army had

12 to go through Dracevo.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber is somewhat lost.

14 We have three maps in front of us, and we find it difficult to follow what

15 you are talking about. We have the second map which is a political map

16 relating to 1991-1992. I'm translating from your language because we

17 don't have an English version here. What are you getting at? Because the

18 witness wasn't there at the time. So if you put him a question of a

19 general nature, in that case, ask him to agree with or disprove your

20 theory.

21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the situation

22 is very simple. I have shown the witness the second map. The situation in

23 1992-1993 did not change, the army of Republika Srpska continued to

24 attack. The Croatian territory, as you well know, is intersected or it is

25 cut near Neum by the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In its continental

Page 23169

1 part, Croatia is cut in one part by the Bosnia-Herzegovinian corridor to

2 the sea.

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Second map, the second map, the

4 first or the second map?

5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

6 Q. Witness, Dracevo, was it on the very border between Croatian and

7 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Bosnia-Herzegovina but on the very border maybe a

8 kilometre or two away from the border? Would that be correct? You were

9 in Dracevo. Thank you very much. Unfortunately again for technical

10 problems my following question is this: From Dracevo, did you say

11 affirmativo that Dracevo was a kilometre to two kilometres from the border

12 with Croatia; is that correct?

13 A. Between one and five kilometres, I'd say, it could be.

14 Q. Very well then, very well. My question is this: From Dracevo

15 towards the south, Metkovic to the south, this is where the territory of

16 Croatian state continues; is that correct? To the north is Bosnia and

17 Herzegovina and to the south is Croatia; is that correct?

18 A. I think so.

19 Q. My question is this, if the Croatian army is supposed to defend

20 its territory, the coastal part, the only road that could bring them to

21 that area would go through Dracevo. Would it then be logical that the

22 road through Dracevo and the Croatian army would get into the territory

23 that is its territory, wouldn't that be logical, wouldn't that be

24 militarily logical?

25 A. It could have some logic, Your Honour. I'd rather be questioned

Page 23170

1 on my statement or on the -- what I've said, but not on the geopolitical

2 or strategic situation.

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you're quite right.

4 But from what I understand, from Mr. Praljak, we have a map on which we

5 can see Dubrovnik, and he is saying that if the Croatian army wishes to

6 reinforce the army or go to Dubrovnik, they need to go through Dracevo, a

7 settlement where you were, which might explain - but this is not what he

8 said, I'm just trying to understand what he is demonstrating - which might

9 explain why you, the SpaBat, would have seen members of the Croatian army.

10 Is this logical or illogical? I don't know. What is your view on this?

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have never studied how a military

12 operation could be conducted so that from Mostar or the southern part of

13 Bosnia it would be possible to go to Dubrovnik. Therefore, I cannot

14 answer you sir. I can speak to you about the roads that I see on a map.

15 Yes there's a road from Metkovic-Dubrovnik indeed, but I cannot tell you

16 that a military operation can or cannot be conducted by following that

17 road or not following that road.

18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

19 Q. Thank you very much. Unfortunately I will have to clarify this

20 issue with somebody else in another way. Just for the record I would like

21 to invoke the Tudjman-Izetbegovic agreement on allowing the Croatian army

22 to enter the areas around the border within the tactical operations. This

23 agreement was signed in 1992. The Trial Chamber has already seen it.

24 Can you now please look at the document P05210? The date is 19

25 September 1993. We will go quickly through all of the documents that we

Page 23171

1 still have left.

2 A. My apologies, general, what folder are you speaking about?

3 Q. The Prosecutor's binder. This is the Prosecutor's document number

4 P05210.

5 P05210. You've already seen it.

6 A. This is an INTREP of the Task Force, of the Madrid Task Force.

7 Q. Let's look at paragraph 1.1 where it says axis, we had two axes

8 here: The main axis, Metkovic-Mostar, Jablanica, Tarcin, Kresevo, nothing

9 to report; and the alternative route across Dreznica.

10 Did you have two axes towards the north? Metkovic, Mostar,

11 Jablanica, Konjic was the main route or axis across the hill tops, across,

12 Dreznica was the second route, is it correct that there were two routes?

13 A. Affirmative, sir.

14 Q. Let us now look at the second page of the same document, under

15 Mostar, it is stated that 20 shells fell on the Muslim neighbourhood. Can

16 you see that? Can you just confirm for me that it is stated so herein?

17 Is it correct that this is what is written in this report?

18 A. That is what it says here, sir.

19 Q. Under item 2, one SpaBat patrol reported on the fact that the HVO

20 military police forced a group of fighters to return to their positions on

21 the front line. Can you see that? I'm just going to read through the

22 document, and I just want you to confirm that this is correct.

23 Remarks, it is clear that both parties breached the cease-fire

24 agreement, although the level of activities decreased from the moment when

25 the agreement was initiated, that is that. In the text where it says

Page 23172

1 fighting, it says in the report, according to the BiH sources, the army of

2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the fighting continued in the territory of Trvi

3 [phoen]. They captured 72 HVO soldiers, including the chief of staff

4 himself, and it says here also that according to the same sources, the

5 army isolated the area of Slatina from the area of Prozor.

6 Further on, other information of interest, it says here, according

7 to the BiH sources, the territory of Dreznica and Vernik at the moment

8 does not fall under the responsibility of either the 4th or the 6th Corps

9 of the BiH army. It is directly subordinated to Halilovic.

10 Under item 3, in the same part, it says the same sources report

11 that the operations in the territory of Vrdi and Slatina are going as

12 envisaged. And then in the remarks of this document, it says that the

13 concentration of the HVO troops in Gradina might mean that they were

14 preparing for a counterattack against Vrdi, or they were creating a

15 defence line in order to prevent the advancement of the BiH army to the

16 south.

17 Have I read out everything correctly? Can you confirm, sir, that

18 the document states what I have just read out to you?

19 A. You have read it correctly.

20 Q. Very well.

21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: By the way, Mr. Praljak, you have now done what

22 the Defence always also criticises. You have a document, you read a part

23 of it. You ask the witness is this written here? But that is not witness

24 testimony. Everyone can read this who can read. You should ask him a

25 question and not just what's in the document, because we all can read

Page 23173

1 that.

2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Trechsel,

3 of course I'm going to put the witness questions at the end, and I'm going

4 to tell you immediately what these questions are going to be.

5 I'm going to ask the gentleman where they are; I'm going to show

6 him the map. I'm going to ask him how far Vrdi is from Mostar Bijela.

7 I'm going to ask him whether such attacks, according to his information,

8 are part of the offensive of the BiH army that was known under the name of

9 Neretva 93.

10 I simply have to show him the documents first and read them out to

11 him and then put some general questions. Maybe you can give him some

12 instruction as to what to do, but I first have to go through the documents

13 because the Prosecution extracted from the documents only those parts that

14 do not reflect the whole truth. I have to ask the gentleman at the end --

15 MR. STRINGER: Mr. Praljak is talking about what he's going to do.

16 I'll take the opportunity to tell the Trial Chamber what I'm going to do.

17 When those questions come the objection will be that those issues

18 the operation at this location, Vrdi, the time frame is all beyond the

19 scope thereof witness's direct examination. It's not an issue that he was

20 asked about, and I don't even think that he was present in the region

21 during this period of time. I'll have to double check that but -- but

22 this Operation Neretva, et cetera, the witness's testified that he had a

23 fairly discrete set of responsibilities and task that he conducted. It

24 seems to me that questions about these issues are going to go well beyond

25 the scope of the direct examination and also well beyond really what the

Page 23174

1 witness's own area of responsibility was, his competence, and his

2 knowledge, based on the things that he was doing in the region. So it

3 doesn't seem to be a very helpful at all.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak, if I've

5 understood you well, the Defence, by using the documents and putting

6 questions to the witness address the Neretva operation in 1993. Is that

7 what you're getting at?

8 Perhaps the way you are proceeding is not ideal. We have spent a

9 lot of time looking at the document already. You should have put the

10 question to the witness and ask him, "Do you know this document? Have you

11 seen it before? As this is a document which is dated September, perhaps

12 he's seen the document, perhaps he hasn't seen the document. He arrived,

13 as it seems, at a latter stage. So you should ask him when he arrived,

14 and when he arrived was he shown documents that had been drafted before he

15 arrived? He would have said yes, or no.

16 And after that, you should have discussed the document and the

17 references in the document, to discover whether, in September, there was

18 an offensive that had been launched by the ABiH. He would have said yes

19 or no. He might have known, he might not have known. As he was in charge

20 of logistics, if he doesn't know, then you move on to something else.

21 So, pick it up along those lines, please.

22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

23 I've been listening to the witness very carefully because I'm a very good

24 listener. He told us earlier this morning that he inspected all the

25 documents when he arrived on the 23rd. This happened on the 19th, very

Page 23175

1 shortly before that. We are talking about continuity here.

2 Second of all, the witness stated clearly that he was not a

3 logistics man, he was a member of the combat group that provided the

4 logistics of the UNHCR. He was not making a list of tins and ammunition,

5 if I heard the witness well, and if I understood him well. Since at the

6 time the convoys passed through the combat sector of an offensive that we

7 have already spoken about, my approach, I don't know how else to call it,

8 but I can ask him whether he's familiar with the document. But it says in

9 the document what was going on there, that there was an attack ongoing. I

10 really --

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you answer that question,

12 please, Witness, now? In light of this document, you arrived on the 23rd,

13 a few days after which this document was drafted. Did you know, as you

14 assumed your duties that there had been an offensive launched by the ABiH?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe yes, sir.

16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, maybe I should just say

17 something that General Praljak may not have seen. In the distribution

18 list, it seems that the witness has been provided with this document. The

19 witness should have a look at the document instead of us closing the

20 session.

21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I'll try and make the whole

22 story shorter.

23 Q. From the documents, witness, that you have received and that you

24 can find in the Prosecutor's binder, a reference is made to a number of

25 things starting with the existence of operation, and I'm going to skip

Page 23176

1 those that preceded your arrival, the attack on Hum, the attack on Mostar

2 on the 28th and the 21st of September. To which extent were you aware or

3 did you feel the combat activities in that area and according to your

4 information was it the BiH army that attacked or rather the HVO? I'm

5 talking about Vrdi, Hum, Mostar, Buna. I'm talking about these attacks.

6 You went there once a week. Did you know anything about these things at

7 the time? I believe that my question was really simple.

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, I think just for the

13 record, we should probably have a redaction of that bit of testimony.

14 Because it could tend to identify the witness.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Registrar, please could

16 you -- could we have an order? Please proceed, Mr. Praljak.

17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

18 Q. My question again is very simple. I am just going to deal with

19 two problems.

20 Can the witness please be shown these two maps? Did you know

21 irrespective of who the addressee of the document is, did you see, did you

22 feel, were you aware of the fact that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina at

23 that time and prior to your arrival but in any case during your stay

24 there, carried out offensive against the HVO in the entire south sector of

25 its theatre of war from Dreznica to Vrdi towards Siroki Brijeg towards

Page 23177

1 Mostar, Hum and Buna? Just tell me briefly. I am familiar, I am not

2 familiar. I saw, I didn't see.

3 A. Yes. I was going to answer before, but I was just telling you

4 about that exception. I have said before that we didn't have as a task

5 the control of military operations, and therefore I didn't follow that up.

6 You know very well that in a military organisation, there is a norm which

7 is need-to-know, and therefore, only the information is only addressed to

8 who has to get that information. I don't know whether what were the

9 military operations of the HVO and the BiH. Now, the changes of command

10 or a front in the Dreznica area, well, I always had the same type of

11 controls coming from the HVO and the BiH controls.

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry for intervening, Witness.

13 We have a document, there is no doubt that this document speaks of an

14 offensive. These -- this is information gathered by SpaBat. We also note

15 that the HVO is concentrating troops in Gradina. The hypothesis is that

16 the HVO is preparing a counteroffensive. This military situation is very

17 precise and this is something worth mentioning. 72 HVO soldiers have been

18 captured in Vrdi.

19 Therefore, we are dealing with an obvious military situation. You

20 are charged, as you said, with the security of humanitarian convoys. For

21 a simple mind, it is easy to think that there is a military operation

22 underway. This may have an impact on humanitarian convoys, on their

23 movements. So -- which is apparently under your responsibility. So when

24 you arrived four days after this document was drafted, were there any

25 briefings with your commanding colonel? Did you assess the situation and,

Page 23178

1 at SpaBat level, which were the consequences of it?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can't really tell you

3 more than what this document says. I say that I might know about this

4 document because during our preparation and possibly during those days I

5 was travelling by boat towards Split where I got to on the 23rd, but

6 possibly we knew about this topic. But what I want to say is that if I

7 can't provide you with more information right now, it's because I was not

8 really involved in the analysis of the situations.

9 You are obviously right if a counteroffensive is being prepared or

10 any type of combat, this obviously affected the security of convoys, but

11 what happened then is that convoys didn't leave the place, either the

12 parts didn't offer their agreement, or I didn't get the order to escort

13 any of the convoys. And this happened many times. Many times we weren't

14 able to send convoys to the area of Jablanica because we were told that

15 there were conflicts in Vrdi many, many times when I was there. So what I

16 have told General Praljak is that always, with some -- with maybe some

17 geographic changes in the front, I have always had to go through the HVO

18 lines and the BiH lines, and practically always at the same place. That

19 is why I can't provide you with more information than what you can here

20 see.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. General Praljak, the

22 witness has answered. Do you really want to insist or can you move on to

23 another topic?

24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I'm going to move on to a

25 different topic. I would just like to read out paragraph 10 of the

Page 23179

1 witness's statement which says, "Before going to Bosnia we got the

2 documents of the Main Staff, like reports, as well as documents from the

3 General Staff. We were from the previous task force, Canarias. We were

4 lectured by those who had been in Bosnia as to the general situation and

5 as to military procedures." On the basis of this paragraph of the

6 statement, I started my cross-examination, convinced that the witness will

7 be able to testify about basic things.

8 Q. Sir, you're a professional soldier. I would like to move on to a

9 different topic before I move on to mortars, yet another topic.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, now, look, it's five past

11 4.00. We need to have a break before you move on to your next topic.

12 You'll deal with that later. You know, time flies. I've just noticed

13 what time it was. We are going to have a 20 minute break and

14 unfortunately, remember, we have to finish by 5.00.

15 --- Recess taken at 4.04 p.m.

16 --- On resuming at 4.24 p.m.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have another 40 minutes

18 before the end of the hearing.

19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

20 Q. Witness, before I move on to another area, just one more document.

21 It is a Prosecution document that I would like us to look at, P06452,

22 6452. It's a document from SpaBat dated the 5th of November 1993. While

23 you're looking for it, I am going to read the portion referring to East

24 Mostar which is on page 3 of the Croatian version, East Mostar.

25 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, could we get the number

Page 23180

1 again of that exhibit?

2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes. P06452, P06452. It's

3 your own document, I mean a Prosecution document, the date is the 5th of

4 November 1993.

5 MR. STRINGER: The witness -- it's in the binder that doesn't --

6 it's in the documents to your right. Yes, sir. It's not in a binder.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, this document is in

8 which binder? Because we have to find it.

9 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Binder 3D, 6452. P, P,

10 P06452.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic?

12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] [Microphone not activated]

13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] We don't know which Prosecution

15 binder it is in because we do not receive the same binder as the Trial

16 Chamber does. We are just given the raw documents and then we put them

17 together.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. This document is in your

19 binder.

20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, because our case managers do

21 their best to put them into binder form to speed up the process but

22 otherwise...

23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] It's in my documents,

24 P06452.

25 Q. Have you found it, sir? Let's take a look at East Mostar and what

Page 23181

1 it says there. According to the observer reports from the United Nations,

2 on the 3rd of November, the Serbs fired six tank shots on HVO positions

3 and mortars in the Blagaj area. And now the comment, "This confirms Serb

4 operations as support to the BH army, it seems that the Serbs are

5 continuing to lend their support to the weaker side, depending on the

6 region, so that the fighting can continue." End of comment.

7 So on page 5 of the Croatian text, that's where you'll be able to

8 find it, point 3, it says, "It is claimed that four truck loads of weapons

9 have arrived in Mostar, coming from the Bosnian Serb army. It is also

10 claimed that they bought two heavy mortars and have two tanks on loan with

11 crews from the Bosnian Serbs, and they are opening fire on targets

12 selected -- on selected targets -- targets selected by BiH."

13 And my question to you is this: Did you know that the army of

14 Republika Srpska, on a regular basis, both before and during the time you

15 were there, bombed Mostar both the west bank and the east bank, especially

16 during the night? Did you know about that?

17 A. No. I had no knowledge about Serb shelling of West Mostar.

18 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, your remit was to take humanitarian

19 convoys and you usually parked them in Marshal Tito street when you came

20 to Mostar. Is that right, that you would be in Marshal Tito street mostly

21 during the night?

22 A. Yes, that's true.

23 Q. Sir, between the right and left side, you have high buildings.

24 Now from any HVO position, could you see position -- the position where

25 you stopped with your APCs? You were there. Could you see any HVO

Page 23182

1 positions from the buildings or, rather, from HVO positions, could you see

2 where -- the place where you had stopped with your APCs in Marshal Tito

3 street?

4 A. From where the vehicles were parked, it was difficult to see

5 anything of West Mostar because we have the house in between or right in

6 front of our eyes.

7 Q. Thank you. During the night, according to your reports, and what

8 was known, your men were in the APCs; is that right?

9 A. Yes, true.

10 Q. And from the APCs, they heard some explosions. Tell us, sir, with

11 what degree of certainty can a soldier in an APC conclude, A, where the

12 projectiles are falling, and where the projectiles are coming from, at

13 night, in Marshal Tito street, in a closed APC, counting some shells

14 coming from somewhere and falling somewhere? What would the certainty be

15 of soldiers knowing where these projectiles were coming from and where the

16 shells were falling?

17 A. Well, I'd say to a high degree. Not everyone was aboard the

18 vehicles. There was security patrolling outside the vehicles. And as to

19 know where the shots were being fired from, which is what you're asking

20 about, we undertook a number of tests via the sappers through the study of

21 the grenade handles, and from the studies we concluded that the grenades

22 came from West Mostar. There was an explosion in West Mostar ascribed by

23 the HVO to the other side. I remember that studies were undertaken and it

24 resulted -- basically was concluded it was a charge, what was being talked

25 about.

Page 23183

1 Q. Witness, please --

2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you please repeat the last sentence? It

3 seems that it was not quite understood. It's not fully transcribed what

4 was the matter with this grenade, this explosion.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The study of the handle is a way of

6 identifying the direction from which the grenade came from. We undertook

7 such studies both in West Mostar and once in East Mostar, in order to know

8 whether the grenade came from the Serb side, and on that occasion, as it

9 happened, it was a precharged grenade, charged in situ.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, let us try to clarify

11 this. SpaBat counted the number of shots, of explosions, at night-time.

12 We saw indeed a chart compiling on a daily basis the number of shots or

13 shells. Very well. During the night, your soldier will be observing. If

14 there is an outgoing shot, can you, in the middle of the night, determine

15 where it comes from, yes or no?

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, unless you see the flash light

17 of the shot. However, you can get some idea of where the sound is coming

18 from, as from where the sound is coming from.

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Back at the time, did you know

20 where the Serbian forces were positioned? Did you know what those

21 positions were around Mostar?

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we see in this document an

24 observation that comes from your own tactical group, the Madrid tactical

25 group. It is said that "This information confirms Serbian actions in

Page 23184

1 support of the ABiH in Mostar." Because it seems that the Serbs want to

2 support the ABiH in order to keep the fighting going.

3 This mention is important because it implies normally or it

4 involves the Serbs in what is happening in Mostar. So based on this type

5 of information, did your command request a finer analysis of the

6 information or more information? Because this is not a neutral piece of

7 information. In a conflict between two parties, the ABiH and the HVO, we

8 see that there is a third party that plays a part. This is what is being

9 said by the document. So, at your level, did you have a debriefing

10 session, an assessment, steps to be undertaken?

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is information from the

12 military observers, Your Honour, and I have no more information aside what

13 is here in the report. Aside from what the comment says.

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 So, your rank is of-- is such that with information of this kind,

20 well, you must be appraised of them. It would be unbelievable that number

21 2 or number 3 in SpaBat would have no knowledge whatsoever of this

22 information which at least at the military if not the political level, has

23 some consequences.

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. More at the

25 political level. I was not the second in command of the battalion. I

Page 23185

1 explained the flow chart, or the command structure of the Madrid Task

2 Force already. Perhaps we did talk about it, or perhaps I dealt with it

3 because this is an INTREP of which I'm the recipient amongst others. What

4 I'm trying to say to this courtroom is that I have no further comments.

5 Perhaps there were consequences and other reports by our group,

6 but I do not recall undertaking any specific mission to verify the

7 veracity of this information. Generally speaking, information gathering

8 operations with the different parties were undertaken by the battalion,

9 and all that derived from such information gathering activities did not,

10 in fact, impinge on the duties of my battalion. There was no reason for

11 me to know.

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please proceed.

13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

14 Q. Witness, I'll repeat the question again. At [indiscernible] we

15 have many years. Now, we are both soldiers. At night in Marshal Tito

16 street, in an APC in town, are there any realistic possibilities for you,

17 without any further investigation, angle of impact, can you with any

18 degree of certainty confirm the report and ascribe this to the HVO? And

19 say that the shells that fell in East Mostar came from HVO positions? As

20 a soldier, can you say that at all?

21 MR. STRINGER: I object to the question, Mr. President, because

22 it's already been asked and it's already been answered by this witness who

23 I believe testified in his view had a high degree of confidence. This

24 very question was asked and answered already.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak, the question

Page 23186

1 you asked him is a question that's been asked already. Perhaps you might

2 want to address this question in a different way.

3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

4 Q. On the technical aspect a very precise technical aspect, Marshal

5 Tito street. That's what I asked him about. In a street that's not too

6 wide, with buildings on either side, at night, people are in their

7 high-rise buildings, you're a professional soldier, so with what degree of

8 certainty can the shells falling all over the place be ascribed to the

9 HVO? You can say "on the basis of the sound, the type of sound, I can say

10 such and such."

11 A. General, it's been 14 years since events took place. Plenty of

12 efforts went into our mission, our tour of duty there. Perhaps now

13 technically I cannot prove anything because we would have to take a study

14 of the field. As you know, you can drive along Marshal Tito street from

15 the HVO territory and not just perpendicular to the street. I can assure

16 you that the whole of my battalion felt and were persuaded that the shots

17 arriving at East Mostar came from the HVO troops.

18 I cannot exclude that some were of Serb origin. I have no data to

19 prove or disprove that, but most of the shelling falling in Mostar is, you

20 know, by all concerned considered to have been HVO shelling. Nobody had

21 any doubts about that.

22 Q. Thank you. I am happy with your answer. We have talking about

23 evidence. We are in court here. I'm going to ask you this, sir.

24 According to the points that you established and we already saw in

25 previous pieces of evidence, your part of the battalion, according to your

Page 23187

1 choice, you were in the area of war activities. We are talking war here.

2 Tell me, please, is it the right of every command, would the

3 command of the 4th Corps be a legitimate military target, and is there a

4 right in war to target that legitimate military target? That would be my

5 first question.

6 A. Allow me to say that it would be a military objective, full stop.

7 Q. Thank you. The command of the 1st -- 41st Brigade, was it also a

8 military target?

9 A. True.

10 Q. And what about every possible mortar position that you can find in

11 that same part of Mostar? Would these also be legitimate military

12 targets?

13 A. Yes, that too is true.

14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak, these are all legal

15 questions, questions of law, and the witness is here to ask questions on

16 fact.

17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Trechsel,

18 I'm a bit short on time, and this is just a matter of the procedure. I

19 have 15 documents in which it says literally 15 documents, Prosecutor's

20 documents, in which it says the following: "We have again tried to

21 prevent the positioning of the mortars of the BiH army near the hospital."

22 I can give you a whole list of these documents. I've already done that.

23 We have tried to prevent but we failed. We just tried. In the

24 same documents, it says that the BiH army has a mortar on the tractor, it

25 says that the BiH army has a mortar on a lorry. This is what is stated in

Page 23188

1 these documents, the document number is P07408, East Mostar, the BiH army

2 placed mortars all over the town, and they are being used at random. They

3 placed mortars, they are firing shells, and then they are changing

4 positions. The document is P07408.

5 I'm talking in very simple terms here, what are military targets?

6 This is not a legal question. This is just my question. This is a

7 military question. Maybe somebody else can put the same question. I'm

8 talking about legitimate military targets, the military, the

9 communications, the weapons I've just asked a simple military question.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Without addressing any legal

11 questions, witness, let us assume because here we are talking about

12 military assumptions, let's assume that the Spanish army is involved in a

13 conflict and faces a situation where the enemy has its headquarters in a

14 particular location, his -- its troop in another location. Do you think

15 that in military terms you would be able to fire shots at the headquarters

16 of the enemy, fire shots on a location which might be a hospital but which

17 is surrounded by mortars? In military terms, what do you say to this?

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's very difficult to

19 give a concrete answer to such a difficult question. Armies are subject

20 to international law and the rules of war. The shelling of populated

21 centres is something which in principle should not take place. One would

22 have to find procedures that would allow sufficient accuracy in order to

23 avoid collateral damage. It is part of the responsibility of commanders

24 to take one action or another, and then it's up to the Courts of law to

25 judge what is right and what is wrong. It's not up to me.

Page 23189

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Sir, you've answered

2 my question.

3 Mr. Praljak?

4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you.

5 Q. P06568, P06568. This is a document in the Prosecutor's binder,

6 P06568. Have you found the document, sir? Please look at the page 4 of

7 the B/C/S text and towards the end of that page, a reference to the dam in

8 Salakovac.

9 On that same day on the 8th some information is received at the

10 dam at Salakovac is in a difficult position because of the rain, no party

11 has a free access and there is a major risk -- and now, is the witness

12 receiving interpretation into Spanish?

13 A. [No interpretation]

14 Q. Page 4 in B/C/S, a reference is made to the dam in Salakovac.

15 Towards the end of the page it says this: "On the 8th, information has

16 been received that the dam in Salakovac is in a bad situation, that no

17 party has free access to the outlet valve, and there is a risk that the

18 dam could collapse in which case the whole Neretva valley might be

19 flooded. The engineers on both sides established contacts in order to

20 negotiate and talk about the dam."

21 My question is this: Are you familiar with the situation and are

22 you aware of the fact that the BiH army closed the valves on the dam, they

23 had the control at the time, and they threatened that they would release

24 the water at a high pressure from the lake and that they would flood the

25 entire valley of the Neretva River? Are you familiar with that? Can you

Page 23190

1 tell us something about that?

2 A. I recall this issue of the dam, yes, there was a danger of

3 breakage, and I know that the two sides maintained some sort of contact

4 and there was some sort of reconnaissance, joint reconnaissance mission,

5 but I don't have any details about what you're saying so I can neither --

6 I cannot either confirm nor deny it.

7 Q. Thank you. Can I now have document P06405, one document before

8 the one that you have in front of you now? The document number is P06405.

9 Look under the caption, "East Mostar." Mortar fire was opened eight times

10 in the course of the day. Further on, a reference is made to Budakovic

11 who was the deputy commander of the 4th Corps of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It

12 says a few days ago he stated that he wouldn't mind making a deal with the

13 army of Bosnian Serbs in their common fight against Croats. Under 3 it

14 says the civilian population is not happy with the way the humanitarian

15 aid is distributed. The high officers of the BiH army are privileged in

16 that respect.

17 Under 3, under Jablanica, it says the chief of police speaks about

18 the Mujahedin. Under item 3, the BiH army published that it had taken the

19 Vitez and Vares pockets. Under item 5 which I'm interested in, and the

20 rest was just information, early today a patrol confirmed that the -- a

21 part of the Bijela bridge had been destroyed and that's the part that had

22 not been destroyed prior to today. I repeat, today one patrol confirmed

23 that a part of the Bijela bridge was destroyed and that's the part that

24 had not been destroyed previously. Enclosed with this document is a

25 drawing of the bridge before and after destruction.

Page 23191

1 My question is this: Sir, the Bijela bridge, and we saw earlier

2 who controlled the Bijela bridge, that was the BiH army, at your time,

3 when you were there, was the BiH army in control of the Bijela Bridge?

4 A. The ABiH had the control of the northern part of the Bijela

5 Bridge, and I believe that the HVO controlled the southern access to the

6 bridge.

7 Q. Please, could you look at one of the images there? You'll see the

8 whole Mostar valley.

9 Please could you point the gentleman to the ELMO and show him the

10 image?

11 I've put it there for you. My question, while this is being done,

12 is this: The bypass around the Bijela Bridge, a short bypass, before it

13 was flooded by releasing the water from the dam in Salakovac, was it

14 passable and before this destruction, was the Bijela Bridge also passable?

15 Please look at the Mostar valley. I have put a circle around the

16 Bijela Bridge, and I also marked the positions of the BiH army and the

17 Republika Srpska army, and I also marked the positions of the HVO. Look

18 that the circle and tell me whether it is at the point where the Bijela

19 Bridge was.

20 A. I think so but I say the same I said about the other map that I

21 looked at.

22 Q. Tell me, please, can you show me Vrdi on this map? As we sit here

23 and as we speak, can you show the place where the positions of the HVO

24 were at the time, and how was it possible for them to control the southern

25 part of the Bijela Bridge? You passed that way. How do you think it was

Page 23192

1 possible for them to control the southern part of the Bijela Bridge?

2 Could you please show Vrdi on the map?

3 A. Once again, General, 14 years later, I cannot with any certainty

4 remember the terrain, with any degree of certainty. I can say that a

5 little towards Novo Potoci, and every time that we went towards Bijela we

6 were shot at intensely by HVO troops. You may well ask why I say HVO

7 troops. Well, because I saw them with my very own eyes from a house by

8 the side of the road.

9 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I'm going to object to the question.

10 It's not a game we're playing here. And if he wants to show the witness a

11 map that has this place on it, then that's fine, but to simply show him a

12 satellite image of a significant swath of western Herzegovina and ask him

13 to pick out a position 14 years after the fact is unfair, and I object to

14 it.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak, the

16 Prosecution is quite right. How can you expect this person to show you

17 this place on the map, Vrdi, after 14 years?

18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I am looking

19 at a document, as simple as that. How can we know anything after 14

20 years? How can we know which house the fire came from and on what

21 positions? I don't know how else I can ask this question.

22 I can show documents to show where the fighting was taking place

23 on the hill tops, how far was the main road from the HVO, and my principle

24 question is this: Before the destruction that is mentioned here, when

25 this happened, was prior to that the Bijela Bridge passable, and was there

Page 23193

1 around it a bypass that was a macadam road which had been in use until the

2 moment the water level rose and flooded the whole area? Would that be

3 correct, would all this that I'm saying be correct?

4 A. You suggested and recommended that we use that bypass that went

5 around towards Vijez [phoen] going up from the Bijela Bridge, if I'm not

6 mistaken, the sapper unit in fact witness -- went to that area but we

7 never used it. The idea was to try to repair the bridge, and as you well

8 know, we came up with a solution eventually with a pontoon, but we never

9 actually used that bypass that went around the Bijela Bridge.

10 Q. I'm not saying anything about the pontoon bridge. All that is

11 correct. But I'm asking you whether there was a bypass and before the

12 destruction, could one use the Bijela Bridgeac at least to go over it in a

13 little passenger vehicle? You were there. You know the situation. Could

14 one use the bridge and the bypass before the destruction?

15 I'm not claiming that you were the one who used the bridge or the

16 bypass to go from one side to the other. I'm just asking you whether it

17 was possible, using the bridge and the bypass.

18 A. I think not. As I said, the sapper unit went and for what we

19 wanted to use the roads, to wit, to ferry the humanitarian convoys, we had

20 to discard that route.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll stop for now

22 because it's five minutes past 5.00. According to our calculations,

23 Mr. Praljak's Defence counsel and himself have had 80 minutes, i.e. one

24 hour and 20 minutes. We shall resume tomorrow morning at 9.00.

25 Witness, you should of course, as you are under oath, not discuss

Page 23194

1 this with anyone. You are a witness of the Chamber, and I would like you

2 to come back tomorrow morning. Thank you.

3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.06 p.m.,

4 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 4th day of

5 October, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.