Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 24999

 1                          Monday, 26 November 2007

 2                          [Open session]

 3                          [The accused entered court]

 4                          --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.m.

 5            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the

 6    case.

 7            THE REGISTRAR:  Good afternoon, Your Honours.  Good afternoon,

 8    everyone in and around the courtroom.  This is case number IT-04-74-T, the

 9    Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.  Thank you, Your Honours.

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

11    is the 26th of November 2007.  My greetings to the representatives of the

12    OTP, they are all here.  The same for the Defence counsel, the accused and

13    all the people assisting us in our work.  As you know, today we are going

14    to have a witness who is to testify over two days.  On Wednesday and

15    Thursday, we'll start at 8.00 in the morning, since we are going to have a

16    video conference as well as a witness who is coming for the admission of a

17    single document, so he should be pretty short.

18            Before proceeding, I'll give the floor to the Deputy Registrar --

19    to the registrar for some IC numbers, sorry.

20            THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you, Your Honour, several parties have

21    submitted lists of documents to be tendered through Witness EA.  The list

22    submitted by the OTP shall be given Exhibit number IC 722; the list

23    submitted by 2D shall be given Exhibit number IC 723; the list submitted

24    by 3D shall be given Exhibit number IC 724; the list submitted by 4D shall

25    be given Exhibit number IC 725; while the list submitted by 5D shall be

Page 25000

 1    given Exhibit number IC 726.  Thank you, Your Honour.

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

 3            I wanted to point out to the parties that the Trial Chamber issued

 4    several decisions last week.  They were filed and I invite you to read

 5    them.  There is a major one, that was the second order modifying the

 6    schedule.  You may know it, you may not; the Trial Chamber decided that

 7    the Prosecution case would finish on the 24th of January 2008.  The 98 bis

 8    arguments will be submitted from the 28th of January to the 6th of

 9    February 2008.  Each of the accused will have three hours to submit their

10    arguments.  As to the Prosecution, they will have nine hours and the Trial

11    Chamber said that there would be no rejoinder, following which, further to

12    65 ter G rule, the lists will be filed at the latest the 3rd of March

13    2008.  As to the pre-Defence case conference, it will be on the 13th of

14    March 2008.  It is aimed, as you know, to fix the number of witnesses and

15    the time for each of the witnesses.

16            As to the beginning of the Defence case, it will take place on the

17    17th of March 2008.

18            So please read the order which was drafted in French but you

19    should receive the translation in English very shortly.

20            Let us move for -- to private session for a few moments,

21    Mr. Registrar, please.

22                          [Private session]

23  (redacted)

24  (redacted)

25  (redacted)

Page 25001











11    Pages 25001-25003 redacted. Private session.















Page 25004

 1  (redacted)

 2  (redacted)

 3  (redacted)

 4  (redacted)

 5  (redacted)

 6  (redacted)

 7  (redacted)

 8  (redacted)

 9  (redacted)

10                          [Open session]

11            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And let's have the witness

12    brought in.

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

14            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  The Prosecution will

15    have three hours.  The Defence three and a half hours.  Mr. Pusic will

16    have one hour and the other Defence teams 30 minutes each.  Of course,

17    you're free to give away some of your time, as you please.  But we thought

18    that Mr. Pusic's team should have one hour for cross-examination.

19                          [The witness entered court]

20            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.  Let me

21    check that you can hear me.  If you hear me, say so, please.

22            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, yes, I can hear you.

23            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Sir, before you read

24    out the solemn declaration, please state your first name, family name, and

25    date of birth.

Page 25005

 1            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Amor Masovic.  I was born

 2    on the 29th of November 1955 in Sarajevo.

 3            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you got a current

 4    occupation?

 5            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At present, I am one of the three

 6    directors of the institute for missing persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and

 7    the vice presiding person of the commission for missing persons.

 8            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Have you had an

 9    opportunity to testify before a national or international court as to the

10    events that took place in your country or is this the first time you're

11    going to testify?

12            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I testified in two cases before this

13    Tribunal, in 2001, from the 20th to the 22nd of March, and from the 24th

14    to the 25th of September, and I have also testified on a number of

15    occasions before the state court of Bosnia-Herzegovina for war crimes

16    committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and before the

17    cantonal courts in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in front of

18    the district court and the council for war crimes in Belgrade.

19            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.  So I see that you've

20    testified on several occasions, including twice before this Tribunal.  In

21    which cases, could you tell me?

22            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In March 2001, the -- my testimony

23    was in the trial of the Prosecutor versus Milorad Krnojelac and in

24    September, unless I'm much mistaken, of that same year it was the

25    Prosecutor versus Mitar Vasiljevic, those two trials.

Page 25006

 1            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Please read out the

 2    solemn declaration, sir.

 3            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

 4    the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

 5                          WITNESS:  AMOR MASOVIC

 6                          [Witness answered through interpreter]

 7            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.  Please sit

 8    down.

 9            Let me provide some information regarding the way these two

10    hearing days are going to unfold, briefly, because you already are

11    experienced when it comes to testifying before this Tribunal.  So you will

12    be first put questions by Mr. Stringer, based on documents he's going to

13    submit to you.  I suppose you have seen the documents together with

14    Mr. Stringer, at least this weekend.  Following which and this should take

15    the whole day today, tomorrow or perhaps already early -- later this

16    afternoon you will have cross-examination by several counsel, as you see

17    here today, but each Defence team represents a -- one accused and they

18    each will put questions to you in cross-examination.  You have four judges

19    before you.  They, too, can ask questions.  Generally speaking, we put our

20    questions once the examination-in-chief and cross-examination have taken

21    place, but since you may have a document in front of you we may like to

22    put questions at that time rather than look for the document later.  And

23    if we do so, we put follow-up questions as we call them.

24            As you know, we have breaks every 90 minutes and we break for 20

25    minutes.  If at any time you do not feel well, just tell us so.  If you

Page 25007

 1    wish to ask a question of the Judges, do not hesitate either.  Raise your

 2    hand.  If you do not understand a question, ask the person putting it to

 3    reformulate, to rephrase it.  So this is how the testimony is going to

 4    take place.  Let me also tell you that depending on the kind of questions

 5    and answers provided, if at any point in time your answer is likely to

 6    incriminate you because at the time you had certain functions, you may

 7    decide or say that you do not want to answer the question.  This is

 8    something really quite out of the ordinary.  We've never come across such

 9    a situation but if it were to arise, the question -- the Trial Chamber may

10    ask you to answer the question all the same.  Let me give the floor to the

11    OTP for the examination-in-chief.

12            MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President, and good afternoon to you

13    and to Your Honours, counsel and to all of the other people around the

14    courtroom.

15                          Examination by Mr. Stringer:

16       Q.   Good afternoon, Mr. Masovic, welcome.

17       A.   Good afternoon.

18       Q.   In the introduction that you've already given in response to the

19    questions from the President, you indicated that currently you are working

20    and associated with the Institute for Missing Persons in

21    Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?

22       A.   Yes.  I'm one of the three directors of the institute, and the

23    vice presiding officer of the federal commission, that is to say the

24    commission of one of the two Bosnia-Herzegovinian entities for missing

25    persons.

Page 25008

 1       Q.   I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about those two

 2    commissions, both the state-level Institute for Missing Persons, and then

 3    also the federal or the federation level commission that you've just

 4    mentioned.  Can you just perhaps tell the Judges what are these two

 5    entities, what are the differences between them and most importantly, what

 6    are the responsibilities and the mandates of these two commissions that

 7    you're associated with?

 8       A.   The Dayton Accords provided for the existence of two entities in

 9    Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Federation and Republika Srpska.  The governments

10    of both these two entities, at the beginning of 1996, passed decisions on

11    the establishment of commissions for the tracing of missing persons.  That

12    was a necessity because Bosnia and Herzegovina was faced with a large

13    number of missing persons that went missing during the aggression on

14    Bosnia-Herzegovina.  The number reached about 30.000, in fact.  So as on

15    the basis of the peace agreement reached in Dayton, it was decided to help

16    resolve the problem of missing persons.  The governments took the decision

17    or made decisions to form the commissions.  The commission established by

18    the then-government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was called the

19    State Commission for the Tracing of Missing Persons.  And I was appointed

20    as its president, and I remained in that position right up until the

21    beginning of last year when it ceased to exist, when that state commission

22    ceased to exist.  At the same time, the Government of Republika Srpska

23    formed its own commission for missing persons, or the tracing of missing

24    persons, with headquarters in Banja Luka.  The mandate of those two

25    commissions was in a way the same, but it also differed.  It was the same

Page 25009

 1    in the sense that both commissions had the task of tracing and looking for

 2    missing persons, missing persons applies to both missing civilians and

 3    missing soldiers who went missing in military operations as well as

 4    persons that went missing and came from the territories of other states,

 5    especially the neighbouring states.  That is to say, Serbia and Montenegro

 6    and at the time the Republic of Croatia, persons who went missing on the

 7    territory of the former Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 8            Now, the difference in the mandates, the basic difference between

 9    these two submissions, the state commission whose president I was and the

10    commission of Republika Srpska lay in the following.  The state commission

11    tried, it did not always succeed, but it did try, not to differentiate and

12    make any difference between the ethnic -- ethnicities of the missing

13    persons whereas the commission of Republika Srpska engaged in the tracing

14    of missing Serbs.  The state commission tried to encompass everybody

15    during their exhumations or investigations right up to the month of June

16    or July 1996, to look for all missing persons, when, at that time, in

17    Banja Luka, an agreement was signed on inter-ethnic exhumations, which

18    allowed these two commissions the right to conduct exhumations of mass

19    graves, individual graves or whatever, on the territory of the other

20    entity.  In 1997, the federal commission for missing persons was

21    established which de jure was formed in 1997, but de facto started working

22    sometime later.  That is to say, roughly at around the year 2000, when the

23    government of the federation started to finance it.

24       Q.   Okay.  And let me just jump in at this point because I want to

25    clarify, the federal commission that you've just mentioned, formed in

Page 25010

 1    1997, this then would be a commission comprised of representatives of the

 2    Croat and the Muslim or Bosniak communities then in Bosnia-Herzegovina; is

 3    that correct?

 4       A.   That's right, yes.

 5       Q.   Okay.  And then again getting back to the institute for missing

 6    persons which you are associated with also at this time, it's my

 7    understanding that this institute for missing persons or MPI, as it's

 8    called, is a more recently established entity under the law at the state

 9    level of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that it is intended then to bring together

10    representatives of the three groups or nations as well as the

11    international commission for missing persons; is that correct?

12       A.   The agreement on co-financing of the institute that you're

13    referring to was signed between the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina or,

14    rather, the council of ministers, and the representatives of the

15    international commission for tracing missing persons on the 30th of August

16    2005.  And since it was an international agreement, what was needed was

17    that it be ratified by the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that

18    followed several months later.  I think that took place on the 28th of

19    November 2005, and from that day on, from November 2005, up to the present

20    day, the institute has been in existence, the institute for tracing

21    missing persons, it has the directors, the supervisory board, executive

22    board, it still does not have the necessary employees but we expect to

23    have a full staff once the papers and documents of the institute are

24    passed.

25       Q.   Okay.  And is it correct to say, Mr. Masovic, that in one capacity

Page 25011

 1    or another, you've been directly involved at a high level with the

 2    commissions responsible for locating and identifying missing persons in

 3    the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the years since the conflict ended

 4    in 1995?

 5       A.   That's right.  I'm the president of the commission at state level.

 6    I am the deputy chairperson of the federal commission, dating back to

 7    1997.  And I'm one of the three directors of the institute for tracing

 8    missing persons since March 2006.

 9       Q.   And as I understand it, you're also a member, currently, of the

10    federation parliament in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well; is that correct?

11       A.   Yes.  That's right.  I'm a deputy in one of the two houses of the

12    federation of the parliament of the country.

13       Q.   Okay.  Now, I'd like to take you back, then, just to briefly

14    describe for the Trial Chamber the role that you played prior to the end

15    of the conflict in respect of prisoners of war, prisoner exchange and

16    attempts to locate missing persons at that time before the conflict ended.

17    Were you involved in that and if you could tell us a bit about the extent

18    of your involvement?

19       A.   When the aggression against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina

20    started, that is to say, already in April 1992, the then-Government of the

21    Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina formed a commission which was called the

22    state commission for the exchange of prisoners of war and persons who have

23    been deprived of liberty, and records of persons who were killed, wounded

24    or missing.  And I joined that commission in the second half of August

25    1992, and for a time I was a member of that commission, and for a time I

Page 25012

 1    was also the vice-president of the commission, and in the latter stage,

 2    after the Dayton Accords, I was the acting president of that state

 3    commission.  The commission's mandate emanated from its title.  Well, it

 4    did what its title said.  It was in charge of seeing that as many

 5    prisoners of war as possible or civilian persons who were in detention in

 6    enemy camps or prisons be freed through the process of exchange, and the

 7    other essential task of the commission was to make records of all those

 8    who had been killed, wounded or missing, persons killed, wounded or

 9    missing during the conflict.

10       Q.   Okay.  Now, can we say that during -- that Sarajevo is your home

11    and that this is the place where you were based and that you worked from

12    during the entire time of the conflict and afterwards?

13       A.   That's correct.  Throughout all that time, Sarajevo was also the

14    seat of all these commissions, both during the war and after the war, save

15    for the commission that I spoke about which was seated in Banja Luka, the

16    commission for the missing persons of the Republika Srpska.

17       Q.   And then in directing your attention now to the summer and to the

18    fall, the autumn, of 1993, then, is that when you became involved yourself

19    in respect of prisoner exchange, prisoners of war issues, as between the

20    Armija and the HVO, the Muslims and the Croats, in that conflict?

21       A.   I was not directly involved in the exchanges but one may say I was

22    involved indirectly by receiving information from the commissions that

23    were part of the state commissions that were called district commission

24    for exchanges.  They would inform me about the exchanges that had been

25    undertaken at the local levels between the BiH army and the Croatian

Page 25013

 1    Defence Council, and this went on up to autumn 1993 approximately, and

 2    after that, I became directly involved in the process of liberating

 3    prisoners which involved the BiH army and the Croatian Defence Council.

 4       Q.   Okay.  So that prior then to the autumn of 1993, you were focused

 5    primarily or perhaps even exclusively on prisoner issues in respect of the

 6    conflict with the Serbs?

 7       A.   That's correct.

 8       Q.   Do you know a gentleman named Berislav Pusic?

 9            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.  Yes,

10    Mr. Ibrisimovic?

11            MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] I believe that there is a

12    mistake in the transcript.  The gentleman said that he occasionally

13    received information, not all the time.  Occasionally he would receive

14    information from the district commissions up to autumn 1993, and it was

15    recorded that he received information all the time.

16            MR. STRINGER:  Well, I don't think that's what is reported at

17    least in the English transcripts.  I'm looking at line 1 of page 15 where

18    it simply indicates the witness said that he was involved indirectly by

19    receiving information from the commissions.  I don't know that the witness

20    said that he received information all the time.  I don't think it's a very

21    important point but I could ask the witness to clarify that,

22    Mr. President.

23            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  But I thought you were

24    going to ask that question.  Since you haven't I'm going to do that

25    myself.

Page 25014

 1            Sir, we understand that as of the month of August 1992 you were in

 2    charge of taking care of prisoner exchanges in Sarajevo but I'm interested

 3    in this.  Before August 1992, what were you doing?  How come you were

 4    appointed to that position?  What were you doing before August 1992?

 5            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before August 1992, I was attorney

 6    at law in Sarajevo.

 7            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you were a lawyer, attorney

 8    at law and who appointed you in August 1992?

 9            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992, in the month of August, I

10    was appointed as a member of the state commission, and the members were

11    appointed by the Government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for the information.

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

14       Q.   Now, Witness, I just before the intervention, I --

15       A.   What was your question?  You asked me whether I knew

16    Mr. Berislav Pusic and my answer to that is yes.

17       Q.   Okay.  Can you tell us when you first met Mr. Pusic personally?

18       A.   I believe that I first met him in Medjugorje in the headquarters

19    of the Spanish Battalion, the then protection forces also known as

20    UNPROFOR, on the 29th of December 1993.

21       Q.   Okay.  In front of you you have a binder of exhibits and you and I

22    have had an opportunity to go through most of these previously.  Let me

23    direct you to Exhibit 7417.  P 07417.

24            Now, sir, this is a report dated the 31st of December 1993.  It

25    appears to be over the signature or I should say over the name of

Page 25015

 1    Mr. Pusic, and it's referring to a meeting that you had with him on the

 2    29th of December.  Can you tell the Trial Chamber, please, the

 3    circumstances that led to this meeting and what you remember about the

 4    meeting, why it is at this point that you were meeting with Mr. Pusic in

 5    Medjugorje?

 6       A.   The circumstances that led to my departure from Medjugorje are

 7    partly clear from the document that I have before me.  After the

 8    negotiations or various attempts at negotiations about the exchange of

 9    prisoners of war at local level, and when I say local level, I mean one

10    part of Herzegovina comprising Mostar, Jablanica, Prozor, Konjic, and

11    Capljina, there was a stalemate in the negotiations at the local level.

12    In the meantime, three sticking points surfaced in the relations between

13    the BiH army and the Croatian Defence Council.  In addition to the ongoing

14    topical subject, at least when it came to the BiH army, and that was the

15    issue of camps, i.e., prisons, in the territory under the control of the

16    HVO.

17            Therefore, there were the three following topics that arose which

18    were a direct cause of my departure for Medjugorje:  The first one was the

19    13 imprisoned members of the BiH army who were captured on the 10th of May

20    1993 in a building popularly known as Vranica building, and the footage of

21    that event and their appearance before the cameras of the Croatian

22    television were not only in the region but also across the world, and this

23    is what resulted in a very electrified atmosphere in the territory of

24    Mostar and the territory under the control of the BiH army because the

25    parents of these soldiers wanted the problem to be resolved.

Page 25016

 1       Q.   Mr. Masovic, I'm hearing you talk and I'm also listening to the

 2    interpretation, and although the interpreters haven't said anything yet

 3    it's possible that it would assist them if you could try to speak a little

 4    more slowly so that they can be sure to capture all of your words and put

 5    them into the languages that we are all listening in here.  So I apologise

 6    for cutting you off there.  You were talking about --

 7            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I'd like to say something.

 8    Mr. Masovic, when I asked the question, I learned that you were attorney

 9    at law and you are now an MP so you know what you are talking about.  The

10    prosecutor presented to you a document.  It is mentioned in English,

11    "exchange of detainees".  And whilst I was listening to you, I heard you

12    say, "prisoners of war".  This is what I want to know:  When you mention

13    the exchange of prisoners, are we speaking about military detainees,

14    military prisoners, or military and civilian prisoners?  Because in this

15    document, at least in the translation in English, which may not be

16    absolutely faithful to the original, it is indicated as being the

17    Commission for Exchange of Detainees and Other Persons.  Therefore I

18    suppose the other persons are civilians.  So when you're answering the

19    question put to you, do make a distinction, please, between prisoners of

20    war, who generally are military personnel that have been captured, and

21    those who have a civilian status so that we know where we are going.  You

22    have the floor again, Mr. Stringer.

23            MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I'll try to bear that in

24    mind myself in the questions that I'm asking, although it is my intention

25    to explore this issue in greater detail with the witness.

Page 25017

 1       Q.   Mr. Masovic, now that we have this little bit of a break because

 2    you were giving us a lot of information and so I'd like to break down a

 3    little bit what it is that we have so far in respect of this exhibit,

 4    7417.  You had indicated first of all, I believe, that there had been

 5    negotiations taking place at a lower level or at a different level which

 6    had reached a sticking point, I think was at least the words I got in

 7    English.  And if you could just very briefly amplify on that, the extent

 8    to which negotiations and communications had been taking place prior to

 9    your involvement in the Mostar area in respect of prisoner exchange, as

10    far as you knew, who was doing the talking on the side of the Armija or

11    the Muslims?

12       A.   Before I answer your question, if you will allow me, Your Honours,

13    I would like to go back to what you said about the status of prisoners of

14    war.  In my further testimony, when I speak about prisoners or prisoners

15    of war, I'm always going to imply both categories, both the prisoners in

16    terms of the Third Geneva Conventions and civilians in terms of the Fourth

17    Geneva Conventions, given the fact that both groups were in the camps, in

18    the prisons, sometimes they shared or often they shared the same rooms,

19    and they were treated the same way by the prison or camp authorities.  All

20    of the negotiations from the beginning of April 1992 to the Dayton peace

21    accords that took place and that I was involved in, be it with the Serb

22    side or the Croatian side, always involved both categories of prisoners,

23    to put it that way.  In other words, as I provide my further answers when

24    I say prisoners, I will imply both categories.

25            And now, as far as the prosecutor's question is concerned, I said

Page 25018

 1    in the introduction to my testimony that my first immediate contact with

 2    regard to the exchanges of prisoners from the territory of Herzegovina

 3    took place on the 19th of October 1993.  I was a member of a mixed

 4    delegation consisting of governmental and non-governmental officials,

 5    namely the then-Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Silajdzic, Mr. Ivo

 6    Komsic, Mr. Andjelovic who was a priest, and I represented a local level.

 7    There was another representative of a commission from Konjic.  We

 8    discussed the exchange of prisoners between Herzegovina and Konjic.  That

 9    exchange comprised a large number of people, I believe around 800

10    prisoners altogether were liberated on that occasion, on the 19th of

11    October 1993.

12            In the negotiations on the Croatian side, there were members of

13    the HVO from Konjic, nobody from Mostar.  They were rather all from

14    Konjic.  On that occasion, the army released 309 prisoners from Konjic and

15    the HVO released approximately 550 people from Herzegovina and from two

16    prisons in the vicinity of Konjic including the so-called Tuzla

17    delegation, a delegation consisting of nine civilians, among whom was also

18    a Muslim mufti from Tuzla, Mr. Husein Efendi Kavazovic.  I will go back

19    now to the reasons for my departure to Medjugorje because I-- I'll give

20    only one reason which was the Vranica group.  The second reason for my --

21       Q.   Sorry to interrupt.  I wanted to get back because you may have

22    misunderstood my last question so perhaps I could just direct your

23    attention to the third paragraph of the document that's in front of you

24    there, in which Mr. Pusic is writing that the republican commission of the

25    ABiH have not been fully informed.  He's saying that there is another

Page 25019

 1    meeting that is scheduled in shortly after beginning of January and so I

 2    just wanted to ask you briefly again, this indicates that there had been

 3    some negotiations between Mr. Pusic and others prior to your involvement.

 4    And I just wanted to ask you if that is -- corresponds to what you said

 5    earlier about negotiations in the Mostar area that had been taking place

 6    at a lower level with Mr. Pusic?

 7       A.   Precisely so.  The third paragraph is correct.  The negotiations

 8    took place at the local level, between the east and west part of Mostar.

 9    They were partly successful.  They resulted in some exchanges of

10    prisoners, some handovers of the fallen soldiers or civilians, up to the

11    moment of the blockade which was the reason for my going to Medjugorje.

12       Q.   And then in terms of issues that resulted in this blockade or

13    this -- the sticking points, as you were mentioning, one of which, the

14    first one, you've already described and we will be talking about it in

15    much greater detail, the issue of the Vranica, the soldiers captured at

16    the Vranica building, is -- well, why don't you tell us, there were two

17    others, I believe, that you wanted to tell us and if you could just

18    indicate for the Trial Chamber briefly what were the other two issues that

19    were causing this blockade in negotiations?

20       A.   The second reason for the stalemate was the capturing of between

21    70 and 73, the figures differ, of members of the HVO and several members

22    of the Croatian army in the Herzegovina region.  They were kept in the

23    Armija's prison in the eastern part of Mostar.  The Croatian side, i.e.,

24    the Croatian Defence Council, was very interested in their release.

25    However, in a certain way, all further negotiations about the release of

Page 25020

 1    these men were stipulated from the Eastern Mostar, i.e., they depended on

 2    the information about the destiny of the Vranica prisoners, namely the

 3    families of those prisoners put a lot of pressure on the command of the

 4    4th Corps of the BiH army to involve those people in the negotiations and

 5    to have them released, as they were seen on TV screens.  And these

 6    families put an ultimatum to the army.

 7       Q.   So then as I understand it, the issue of any release of the HVO

 8    prisoners or HV prisoners from East Mostar was linked or was dependent

 9    upon a similar resolution of the issue of the Vranica prisoners?  You need

10    to say yes or no for the record.

11       A.   That's correct.  At that time, those two issues were mutually

12    dependent, and one depended on the other.  The third reason for my

13    departure for Medjugorje was the blockade of two medical helicopters of

14    the BiH army in Medjugorje.  Those helicopters were part of the medical

15    corps and their task was to transport the wounded between Zenica and

16    Central Bosnia to Split for treatment there.  Or further transfer to third

17    countries for treatment or recovery.  These helicopters, as far as I can

18    remember, were grounded by force in Medjugorje and kept there.  After

19    that, Croatian families of the 70 Croats who were kept in -- as prisoners

20    in Eastern Mostar blocked those helicopters and the eight-member crews

21    including a nurse, were urgently evacuated to the Spanish Battalion base

22    in Medjugorje.  The helicopters were -- remained in a school playground or

23    a plateau, I'm not sure that there was a school in question.  And the

24    Croatian families said that they would only allow the helicopters to take

25    off if their family members were liberated from the prison in Eastern

Page 25021

 1    Mostar.

 2            There was another reason for me to go to Medjugorje and that was

 3    the task that I had been given directly from the then-President of the

 4    Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Izetbegovic, and the

 5    task was to try and establish the lot and release the assistant commander

 6    for logistics of the 4th Corps or the -- of the BiH army, Mr. Mirsad

 7    Mahmutcehajic whose lot was not known at the time.  It was not known

 8    whether he was among the living.  Also Mr. Zijad Demirovic who was a

 9    highly positioned member of the SDA party in Herzegovina.  At that time

10    his lot was not known either.  So those were the reasons for my going to

11    Medjugorje and participating in the negotiations there on the 29th of

12    December 1993, all the reasons that I have just mentioned.

13       Q.   It sounds as though, then, all of these -- all four of these

14    reasons that you've described, Vranica, the helicopters, HVO prisoners,

15    Mr. Mahmutcehajic and Demirovic, these were all linked together or had

16    become linked together in one way or another by the sides?

17       A.   That's correct.  Throughout all these talks, the things got so

18    complicated that all these things depended on each other and were mutually

19    conditioned.  You said four reasons.  And I would say that the first

20    reason that I said at the beginning was to try and establish the real

21    condition of the total number of prisoners in the camps in Herzegovina and

22    parts of Central Bosnia in which the Croatian Defence Council had its

23    prisons or camps.  That was the first and the principal reason, and then

24    there were some particular reasons after that, the four that I mentioned,

25    subsequently.

Page 25022

 1            At that meeting in Medjugorje, we also discussed certain

 2    individual cases, such as was the case of Mersa Krzic, who had been

 3    arrested.  She had been the director of the Natron Maglaj company.  On the

 4    other side, Mr. Sandrk participated in those negotiations and he inquired

 5    about the lot of 200 Croats from Bugojno who according to him had been

 6    taken away in the direction of Gornji Vakuf, and their lot was not known.

 7    He asked me to inform him about the lot of these people.  And there were

 8    also some other individual cases discussed on that date, on the 29th of

 9    December 1993.

10       Q.   [Previous translation continues]  ... Let me take you to the next

11    paragraph, then, after the one we were just looking at.  This goes a

12    little bit toward the issue or the question raised by the president

13    already.  This document indicates, according to Mr. Pusic, that it's

14    necessary or he's asking them to submit a list of the detained persons of

15    the Muslim ethnicity held in prisons "under your control," and this is a

16    document that's being directed to the Tomislav military district, the Rama

17    brigade.  Could I ask you just to comment on that issue, the extent to

18    which during this period there were persons of Muslim ethnicity, whether

19    or not civilians or soldiers, who were in the custody of the HVO in these

20    various locations?

21       A.   It's very difficult for me to tell you precisely because

22    immediately before the meeting in Medjugorje on the 29th of December 1993,

23    I believe over 3.000 prisoners had been liberated pursuant to an order

24    which was believed to have arrived from Mr. Tudjman, the President of

25    Croatia, and there order was carried out through Mr. Mate Boban, i.e.,

Page 25023

 1    through the Commission for Exchanges of Prisoners that was run by

 2    Mr. Pusic.  I believe that by then already 3.000 people had been released

 3    and we did not have the exact information about the remainder of the

 4    prisoners in the Herzegovina prisons, as well as in some other camps and

 5    prisons in Livno, Kaonik, Kiseljak, Kresevo and so on and so forth.  I

 6    believe that at that time, however, it was believed that some 700-plus

 7    prisoners were still kept in the prisons and camps of the Croatian Defence

 8    Council.

 9       Q.   Let me direct you to another exhibit in the binder, sir.  It's

10    marked as Exhibit 6929.  And Mr. Masovic, this is not a report or a

11    document made by you or one that you would have seen at the time but there

12    are just a couple points in it that I'd like to raise with you.  I'm

13    looking about halfway down the first page of the English, the original

14    language version.  And this is making reference to a meeting in Medjugorje

15    which doesn't appear that you were present at but it may be that you can

16    comment on some of these issues.  There is a reference to Mr. Pusic

17    informing that he was not prepared to accept an all-for-all exchange.  Do

18    you see that part?

19            "At the second meeting with the president of the HVO prisoner

20    exchange committee, Mr. Berko Pusic, he informed ECMM that in this

21    instance he was not prepared to accept all-for-all as it would mean HVO

22    releasing 2500 Muslims and receiving only 70 HVO prisoners."

23            And then this continues down a couple lines, makes a reference to

24    the issue of the helicopters, as you've already described, and so

25    recognising that this document is dated just prior to about a month prior

Page 25024

 1    to your involvement, 28th of November 1993, I wanted to ask you about two

 2    things.  First of all, the HVO position, based on you knew it to be and

 3    after you did get involved, in respect of all-for-all exchange.  What does

 4    all-for-all mean?

 5       A.   Well, Mr. Pusic says that in the document, all-for-all.  And

 6    all-for-all meant that the ratio of those freed would be drastically --

 7    well, under inverted commas, of course, to the detriment of the Croatian

 8    Defence Council.  Now, why do I say that?  Because in the camps or prisons

 9    of the Croatian Defence Council, throughout the time, from the very

10    beginning of the conflict, right up until the end or rather the Washington

11    agreement and after the Washington accords as well, throughout that time,

12    there were mostly civilians there or a far greater number of civilians

13    than there were members of the Armed Forces of the Republic of

14    Bosnia-Herzegovina, or in this case members of the BH army.  And

15    liberation or setting people free according to the all-for-all principle

16    in certain times would mean for the HVO a ratio of one to ten, for

17    example.  That is to say that the HVO had to release ten prisoners,

18    Bosniaks, and for that only one HVO member would be released or one Croat.

19    So that kind of agreement was not to the advantage of the HVO, and

20    Mr. Pusic, not just once but a number of times, at meetings, although

21    sometimes he emphasised that he did wish to have the all-for-all principle

22    in the exchange, in the implementation of these kinds of agreements, the

23    all-for-all ones, there was always some obstruction or some additional

24    conditions laid down which deferred the process or overrode these

25    agreements of all-for-all exchanges.

Page 25025

 1       Q.   Beginning with your first meeting with Mr. Pusic, then, on the

 2    29th of December 1993, could you give the Trial Chamber in general terms

 3    an idea of how many meetings then you had with Mr. Pusic on the issues of

 4    prisoner exchange during the time prior to the end of the conflict in

 5    Bosnia-Herzegovina in November of 1995?  I want to break up your testimony

 6    between the pre-conflict and the post-conflict period.  So this period of

 7    time prior to the end of the conflict, how many meetings did you have with

 8    Mr. Pusic in respect of prisoner exchange issues?

 9       A.   Up until the signing of the peace agreement for Bosnia and

10    Herzegovina in Dayton or rather in Paris, I think that the number of

11    meetings, there were a number of meetings held to discuss the exchange of

12    prisoners of war or the question of missing persons was dealt with after

13    the Washington agreements and I'm sure there were more than 50 such

14    meetings, and some of them went on for several days, two or even three

15    days.  So the meetings were interrupted, then taken up the next day, then

16    they weren't completed the following day but went into the third day.  So

17    I think there were more than 50 such meetings in different areas including

18    Medjugorje where they mostly took place.  Then they were held in Kiseljak,

19    in Sarajevo, in Gornji Vakuf, Tuzla and I think -- yes, in the post-Dayton

20    period there were some more meetings outside Bosnia-Herzegovina, but after

21    Dayton.

22       Q.   What was the focus -- can you describe whether there is any

23    change, then, in the focus of the meetings and the discussions you were

24    having with Mr. Pusic at the time the conflict was still taking place

25    versus then after the conflict ended?

Page 25026

 1       A.   If I wanted to be brief and precise, and to depict the real image

 2    for you, so you could understand, in the war period, that is to say up to

 3    the signing of the Washington agreements, when the BH army and the

 4    Croatian Defence Council were in play, and in the focus of the meetings

 5    were living persons.  That is to say, POWs, people who were alive,

 6    including civilians.  Now, in the post-Dayton period or post-Washington

 7    period, what they focused on, what we focused on in our meetings were the

 8    dead, the missing which were later seen to be dead.  They turned out to be

 9    dead, not just missing.  So during the war we dealt with living people.

10    In the post-war period we dealt with the missing and dead.

11            MR. KARNAVAS:  Just a point of clarifying, Mr. President and

12    Your Honours.  He keeps talking about the post-war period and he's

13    interchanging between Washington agreement which is the creation of the

14    Federation, and of course the Dayton peace accords signed in Dayton and

15    then after in Paris.  Which one does he mean?  And again, the indictment

16    stops at a particular point in 1994.  Now, unless there is some contextual

17    purposes, I just think we need to be a little more focused and perhaps a

18    little more precise with the gentleman.

19            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  Would you kindly be a

20    little bit clearer in what you're saying?

21            MR. STRINGER:  I'll try to clarify that, Mr. President.

22       Q.   Witness, we know that the conflict between the Croats and the

23    Muslims ended with the Washington agreement at the beginning of March

24    1994.  And let's focus on your dealings with Mr. Pusic prior to the

25    Washington agreement and during the couple of months that followed, and

Page 25027

 1    I've got some documents to show you that relate to that, and so -- and

 2    then we'll talk a bit -- then we'll talk about the issues that follow in

 3    respect of the missing persons and dead in the years that followed the

 4    Washington agreement.

 5            During this period of time, your meetings with Mr. Pusic, prior to

 6    and around the time of the Washington agreement, just tell us, based on

 7    your observations, what was his title, what was his role, what was his

 8    level of responsibility and authority in respect of the prisoner issues?

 9       A.   Well, I'm going to tell you what I know about.  And what I know

10    about is this:  That he was the number one man or the chief of the

11    commission or service for the exchange of prisoners of war and other

12    persons, although already at the time in Medjugorje I learnt that in a way

13    he did some other things too, which had nothing to do with the exchanges

14    and that kind of thing was the evacuation of civilian persons from

15    territories under the control of one armed force to another territory

16    controlled by another force or, rather, BH army territory to HVO

17    territory.

18            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now I'm rather surprised

19    actually, and I'll tell you why.  You said that you met Mr. Pusic for the

20    first time at Medjugorje on 29th December 1993.  The conflict between the

21    HVO and the ABiH goes back to September 1993 but before that as well, we

22    know that from the witnesses that have come already from 1992 it's clear

23    that there were conflicts, there were prisoners taken, so given that, you

24    appear to be, number 1, in charge on the Bosnia-Herzegovinian side and

25    then according to what you say, your counterpart Mr. Pusic represented the

Page 25028

 1    HVO.  How is it that you only met each other in December?  That's the

 2    particular point that I don't follow.  Can you explain that?  The conflict

 3    therefore goes back actually at least a year in time.  In fact rather more

 4    than a year.

 5            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The conflict, the mass conflict

 6    between the BH army and the Croatian Defence Council started from

 7    mid-April 1993.  So that's when I met Mr. Pusic for the first time.  That

 8    is to say six months after the conflict actually began.  And I explained

 9    in my introduction the reasons for that.  The first reason was that up

10    until then, up until my direct contact with Mr. Pusic, things functioned.

11    That is to say, they evolved on a local level in Central Bosnia, Travnik,

12    Zenica, Stari Vitez, Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak, in Herzegovina, around

13    Mostar, Konjic, Jablanica, Prozor, exchange did take place both of

14    prisoners of war and the bodies of persons who had been killed.  So there

15    was no need for me physically to be present at meetings with Mr. Pusic.

16    So that's one reason.

17            The second reason is the following:  Sarajevo and that's common

18    knowledge, I believe, was under a complete siege, blockade, on the one

19    hand, and after the conflict with the Croatian Defence Council, Mostar too

20    was completely blocked off.  So that every time I had to leave Sarajevo, I

21    would have to rely on assistance given to me by the protection forces

22    because the only way in which I could reach Jablanica, which was under the

23    BH army or to East Mostar under the BH army's control or Medjugorje under

24    the HVO's control, the only way was for me to get into an APC and for the

25    UNPROFOR protection forces to transport me there, which wasn't easy.

Page 25029

 1    There were incidents along the way, there were situations where my life

 2    was endangered, in these APCs, but their details, I don't know whether

 3    they are essential now for me to tell you about them.

 4            But six months after the massive conflict between the BH army and

 5    the Croatian Defence Council was the first time I physically met

 6    Mr. Pusic.  I have already said that before my meeting with Mr. Pusic, and

 7    that was on the 19th of October 1993, a major exchange took place.  I

 8    don't know whether Mr. Pusic took part and if so to what extent in this

 9    massive exchange but it was agreed upon in Konjic on the territory that

10    was controlled under the BH army, and a Mr. Pusic -- since Mr. Pusic was

11    not directly involved in the negotiations to free more than 800 prisoners,

12    including the Tuzla delegation, with the mufti, Husein Efendi Kavazovic.

13            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much indeed for

14    your answer which does actually clarify for me that you only met in

15    December 1993.  Mr. Stringer?

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

17       Q.   Witness, my last question to you, and you've answered it, which

18    was to describe in general terms the role and the responsibilities of

19    Mr. Pusic as you observed them to be based on your dealings during this

20    period just before and just after the Washington agreement.  Let me ask

21    you now, based on that experience with Mr. Pusic during this period, and

22    perhaps also based on your experience on the October 1993 release which

23    you've already talked about, could you tell us your observations,

24    conclusions in respect of HVO policy in the taking of prisoners and the

25    release of prisoners, whether they be civilian or military?

Page 25030

 1            MR. KARNAVAS:  Mr. President, if I may object at this point, there

 2    is a lack of foundation.  If -- there are two parts to this question; the

 3    first part is the taking of prisoners.  Now, I want to know exactly what

 4    are we talking about?  And secondly, what is his foundation for this, what

 5    is the basis of his knowledge?  He comes into the situation at a

 6    particular point so at months, which place, what events.  If we could take

 7    it step by step.

 8            MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, the question was very limited to the

 9    witness's dealings with Mr. Pusic during the period just prior to and just

10    after the Washington agreement.  So let us say end of December, January,

11    February, the witness will talk about dealings and agreements with

12    Mr. Pusic in March as well.  In addition, the witness has testified about

13    his dealings with others in the HVO in October 1993 and I expressly asked

14    the witness about that so I think the foundation has been laid and the

15    Trial Chamber and counsel are obviously free to --

16            MR. KARNAVAS:  He asked about a policy.  That's what caught my

17    attention first of all, and I believe there is a lack of foundation.  He

18    can talk about what his dealings were with a particular individual or

19    individuals at a particular time but now to ask about a policy of events

20    such as "the taking of prisoners," that's his words, not mine, I'm not

21    adopting them, unless he can lay a foundation, we are talking about a lot

22    of events in a lot of different places.  The gentleman does not have, at

23    least to my knowledge, he doesn't -- he doesn't -- he lacks the foundation

24    at this point.  It's beyond his -- unless he can lay it through a series

25    of questions, non-leading, hopefully.

Page 25031

 1            MR. STRINGER:  Well, Mr. President, the witness is dealing with

 2    the HVO authorities about Muslim persons under their control.  I think the

 3    witness is competent to testify about who those people are, they are the

 4    prisoners who have been taken, and the HVO policy in respect of releasing

 5    those people.

 6            MR. KARNAVAS:  Now, I just want to make sure that I understand

 7    because now we're twisting it a little bit.  We are talking about HVO

 8    policy of release.  First it was HVO policy of taking and that's what drew

 9    my objection.  I just want to make sure, what are we talking about?  It

10    was a compound question to start with.

11            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, would you

12    reformulate your question?  I follow the discussion where I think you

13    referred to December 1993 going through to just before the Washington

14    agreement, March 1994, and it's for that period that you wish the witness

15    to provide the Court information you're talking about Mr. Pusic; is that

16    correct?

17            MR. STRINGER:  Yes, Mr. President.

18            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would you reformulate the

19    question and relate it to a specific time period?

20            MR. STRINGER:

21       Q.   So, witness, then the time period that I'd like to ask you about

22    is the months of January, February, March and April of 1994, and my

23    question first of all, I asked you about policy in respect of taking of

24    prisoners.  Let me ask it this way:  Based on your dealings with Mr. Pusic

25    and the HVO, as well as your experience with the HVO in the October 1993

Page 25032

 1    release that you testified about, what was the general composition, who

 2    were the prisoners, in the camps, in the custody of the HVO?  Were they

 3    civilians, were they soldiers, were they both?  What can you tell us about

 4    the nature of the Muslims who are referred to by Mr. Pusic in the exhibit?

 5    Muslim -- persons of Muslim ethnicity.

 6       A.   I'm not going to talk about politics and policy.  I'm going to

 7    tell you about practice, the practice that I witnessed, and about what

 8    Mr. Pusic told me personally not only me but the representatives of the

 9    international community as well, including the ICRC.  And Mr. Pusic said

10    the following:  "All men between 18 and 65 years of age are soldiers, and

11    they should all be in camps or prisons."  And that practice, and I had an

12    opportunity of checking that out by talking to hundreds and hundreds of

13    prisoners who had been released from camps in Herzegovina, in particular,

14    that practice was implemented.  That is to say, people were 18 to 65, but

15    not only them.  In the prisons, there were boys or young boys who were not

16    yet 18.  And there were those who were over 65 years of age.  So that was

17    the practice that was applied.

18            The second practice that was partially successful, partially,

19    which Mr. Pusic implemented and advocated publicly, was this:  He

20    maintained that all Croatians who lived on the territory not under HVO

21    control were potential prisoners and that it was his task to see that

22    those people were transferred from that territory, the territory where

23    they were potential prisoners, to territory under the control of the

24    Croatian Defence Council.  So that practice too in countless cases was

25    implemented.  Sometimes the local authorities allowed this to take place.

Page 25033

 1    Sometimes they did not.  And I'm talking about the local authorities in

 2    this case on territory under BH army control, with the proviso that the

 3    status of those categories of those civilian persons depended from case to

 4    case.  It differed from case to case.  The vast majority of them were in

 5    their own homes, in their houses, in their apartments, but there were

 6    other cases where those civilian persons were not in their own homes.

 7    They were not in their own flats.  They were in some refugee centres and

 8    there were also cases and I have to say that quite openly, be quite frank,

 9    that some of those civilians were also deprived of their liberty and that

10    was at the level of incidents that took place.  So there were cases where

11    a civilian would be captured without any legal basis.

12       Q.   Let me take you back to the first point you just raised, which was

13    the practice of -- or the view that all the Muslim males between the ages

14    of, I believe you said 18 to 65, are prisoners.  That practice, then, when

15    it was implemented and they were arrested, when it came to release, did

16    that raise any particular issues or dilemmas on the side of the Muslim

17    negotiators such as yourself?

18       A.   Mr. Pusic asked us for assistance in putting that kind of practice

19    into effect, the principle of a one-for-one exchange.  Now, in

20    implementing agreements like that, what Mr. Pusic asked me personally to

21    do was that we should release the persons who were in prison, HVO members,

22    and in certain cases members of the Croatian army, whereas in return, on

23    the principle of one-for-one, he would release the Bosniak individuals who

24    were in this category of civilians ranging in ages between 18 and 65, who

25    were incarcerated in camps or prisons held by the HVO.  So for us in

Page 25034

 1    Sarajevo, for the government, for the Presidency, we were faced with a

 2    moral dilemma, whether to agree to release from prison an HVO member, for

 3    example, who had been captured, and in reciprocity to have a Bosniak

 4    released by the other side.  Some international organisations such as the

 5    High Commission for Refugees, High Commission for Refugees, exerted direct

 6    pressure on the government in Sarajevo to undertake this type of exchange

 7    of, well, in inverted commas, POWs.

 8            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This principle, one-for-one, we

 9    have been talking about this awful principle for sometime now.  But can we

10    clarify this?  In the areas which were controlled by the ABiH, wasn't the

11    same practice adopted?  Wasn't it also the case that civilians were

12    arrested, Croatians aged between 18 and 65 years old, and following that,

13    all-in-all was implemented?  This is a question that I'm asking you.

14            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  That wasn't the practice.  That

15    wasn't the rule.  I said that there were incidents and cases like that

16    where Croatians, civilians, without any legal grounds, were taken off,

17    taken into custody and taken to prison.  That happened sporadically, as

18    incidents.  But the rule that the government adhered to, as did the BH

19    army, was that it was only the POWs who could be held in prison and could

20    be exchanged in the sense of the Third Geneva Convention and those

21    civilian persons of Croatian ethnicity who had been captured or rather who

22    had been incarcerated for crimes that came under the republican laws of

23    Bosnia-Herzegovina recognised as crimes and that were brought into

24    connection with the war conflict, however that law was not applied only to

25    Croatian civilians.  The law was also applied to all civilians regardless

Page 25035

 1    of their ethnicity and they were crimes that they had committed such as

 2    armed rebellion, for instance, refusal to be mobilised.  Another case in

 3    point, illegal possession of weapons or explosives.  So the kinds of

 4    criminal acts that everybody could be held responsible regardless of their

 5    ethnicity.  So those are the two categories.  And if we are speaking of --

 6    people of Croatian ethnicities who were in the prisons.

 7            MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, I believe it's time for the break.

 8            MR. KARNAVAS:  Just -- and perhaps just one observation,

 9    Mr. President.  I noticed that earlier he had talked about when the Croats

10    are in -- are being detained, they are in refugee camps.  When the Muslims

11    are being detained, they are in prisons.  The Croat men of military age

12    which they had to serve they are civilians when they are captured where

13    the Muslims of military age which they had to serve they are somehow

14    treated as prisoners.  I believe this deserves follow-up questions that

15    should not be dealt on cross-examination but rather the Bench perhaps

16    should elicit information from this particular gentleman.  He seems to be

17    making some rather interesting distinctions which fly in the face of logic

18    and common sense not to mention the law that was applying at the time.

19            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, indeed.

20    You will have noted that was the reason I asked my earlier question but

21    Mr. Stringer I think will certainly come back to this and if necessary the

22    judge will as well.  It's now quarter to 4.00.  We are going to take a

23    20-minute break.

24                          --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.

25                          --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.

Page 25036

 1            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.

 2    Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.

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

 4       Q.   Mr. Masovic, let me take to you a different exhibit now.  It's

 5    toward the front of the binder, number 5945.  This goes to the issue that

 6    was raised just before the break, 5945 is a -- it's an interview of

 7    Mr. Pusic that's published on the 19th of October 1993 in the publication

 8    "Slobodna Dalmacija" and I want to take you to one of the questions and

 9    Mr. Pusic's response to the question and ask you to give us your comment

10    on that.  I can't take you to the Croatian version, but I want to go to

11    the fifth page of the English version, at the bottom, and the journalist

12    is asking Mr. Pusic:  "Have you been holding talks about the release of

13    detained Croatian soldiers?"  Were you able to find that part in the

14    original language version?  The question is:  "Have you been holding talks

15    about the release of detained Croatian soldiers?"

16       A.   Yes.

17       Q.   Now, the response that's given is Mr. Pusic indicates that they

18    are negotiating the release of both civilians and captured Croatian

19    soldiers, "At the moment the Muslim side does not consider the civilians

20    prisoners but in my opinion, every civilian is a potential prisoner, if he

21    is not free to go where he wants.

22            "So at first sight, all these are irrelevant details which the

23    Muslim side in almost all negotiations presents as its conditions knowing

24    that we cannot agree to them, all with the aim of preventing the exchange

25    of detainees."

Page 25037

 1            Now, this statement of Mr. Pusic's, is that consistent then with

 2    the views that he expressed in his dealings with you about who the

 3    prisoners are, how the prisoners are defined, at least in respect of the

 4    Croats, either civilians or soldiers, who were in the territory held by

 5    the Armija?

 6       A.   Yes, yes.  What he said corresponds to what I have stated.

 7    However, the point is not Mr. Pusic's claim that they are all potential

 8    prisoners.  Behind that statement, you can discern a very dangerous

 9    intention.  And the intention was, and I've already spoken about that

10    practice, that those civilians should be taken out from their places of

11    residence and transferred from those territories where they were all

12    alleged potential prisoners to be transferred to the territory under the

13    control of the HVO.  That was the intention, i.e., that was the common

14    practice that was in place, based on this statement of Mr. Pusic that all

15    of them were potential prisoners.

16       Q.   Now, on the Muslim side, then, what was the Muslim policy in

17    respect of these proposals to exchange all Croats for example, who were in

18    the areas held by the ABiH?

19       A.   I can't answer that question because I don't know what were the

20    policies of the side that you're referring to as the Muslim side.  Such a

21    side did not exist, as far as I know, in the conflict in

22    Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I can talk about the policies of the government that

23    appointed me as the head of the commission for the exchanges of POWs.

24       Q.   And that was my question.  What were the policies that you were

25    implementing based upon the instructions you received from the government?

Page 25038

 1       A.   My task was to participate in the negotiations about the exchange

 2    of prisoners of war and persons deprived of liberty, which implied a

 3    circle of individuals who found themselves in the prisons in the territory

 4    under the control of the government and those individuals had either been

 5    convicted or charged with a limited number of crimes stipulated by the

 6    then-law that could have been considered to be in connection with the

 7    armed conflicts as it is defined in the agreement dated 1st October 1992,

 8    which was reached in Geneva, at the time when there were still no

 9    large-scale conflicts between the BiH army and the Croatian Defence

10    Council.  In other words, that agreement in Geneva provided for the

11    release of prisoners of war and civilians who were imprisoned in

12    connection with the crimes that had to do with the war conflicts.  That

13    was the policy of the government in Sarajevo as well as the policy that I

14    was duty-bound to implement in practice when I was involved in the

15    exchanges of POWs and persons deprived of freedom.

16       Q.   Was it the policy of the government that all males between the

17    ages of 18 and 65, who were of Croat or non-Muslim ethnicity, that all

18    such males would be arrested and held by the Armija for exchange purposes?

19       A.   No, absolutely not.  I don't know how is it possible to state

20    something like that, given the well-known facts that such individuals of

21    non-Bosniak ethnicity throughout the whole period of the aggression

22    against Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were hundreds of thousands of such

23    individuals residing in the territory under the control of the government

24    forces.  In Sarajevo alone we are talking about over 60.000 such people.

25    In Tuzla as well, in Zenica, in Bihac and in other towns and settlements

Page 25039

 1    that were under the control of the government throughout the aggression.

 2    If this were true, if that policies were in place, all those people would

 3    have found themselves in prison, which did not happen.  And the best proof

 4    of that are the reports of the International Committee of the Red Cross

 5    which had access to the prisons and camps, if we are talking about the

 6    Serb forces and partly about the Croatian Defence Council.  In order to

 7    illustrate my words I'm going to give you some data.  When it comes to the

 8    relationship between the BiH army and the HVO, the number of exhumed

 9    victims in the territory --

10       Q.   I'm going to ask you that question in a little bit.  We are going

11    to be talking about the recent exhumation and I'm going to be asking you

12    for some figures on that, Mr. Masovic, so let me just take to you that

13    point in my outline by first going to Exhibit number 8084.

14            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, before we move to

15    that exhibit.  I'm still with the interview given by Mr. Pusic.  In this

16    framework, he says that according to the reports he has available, 10.149

17    Croats are allegedly detained in the prisons of the Republic of Bosnia and

18    Herzegovina, and based on this figure, a question is put to him how many

19    civilians are there, how many soldiers are there?  And he says there are

20    3.149 soldiers.  As for the remainder, they are civilians.  So if I

21    subtract that I have 7.000 Croat civilians who are detained by the Muslim

22    side.  What do you think of this?  Are these figures exaggerated ones?

23    Are they real figures?  What do you have to say as to the figures

24    mentioned by Mr. Pusic?

25            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never ever, until this very day, did

Page 25040

 1    I see a list of prisoners, either prisoners of war or civilians that would

 2    show these numbers.  None of the international representatives saw it

 3    either.  And to be honest, I don't think that Mr. Pusic ever saw the list

 4    either.  This list simply cannot exist because these names and family

 5    names simply do not exist anywhere.  I would find it intriguing if such a

 6    list were presented during this trial, since there is a claim that it

 7    exist in the records.  Quite the contrary:  Throughout the conflict, the

 8    number of people missing, first imprisoned and then missing, and I'm

 9    talking about members of the HVO or Croatian civilians, according to the

10    BiH army, never surpassed the figure of 1100, not for a single moment and

11    I'm talking about the combined number of prisoners of war and civilians

12    together.  I'm also saying that the number of prisoners of war I --

13            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry, but you're talking about

14    potential prisoners, and the journalist asking the questions asks how many

15    Croats there are that would be detained according to the ICRC records.

16    And he answers, 850.  What do you think of that?

17            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is precisely what I've just

18    said.  I started saying that a number of registered according to my

19    information never surpassed the figure of 1100, and I believe that this

20    corresponds with what Mr. Pusic said in the interview about the

21    International Committee of the Red Cross figures.

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

23       Q.   While we are on the Red Cross, let me take you to Exhibit 7852,

24    7852.  Do you recognise this, sir, as a letter that was directed to you by

25    the ICRC, the Red Cross?

Page 25041

 1       A.   Yes.

 2       Q.   Now, the date of this letter is the 12th of February 1994 so this

 3    is getting close to the time of the Washington agreement.  The second page

 4    of this exhibit contains numbers according to the ICRC of the number of

 5    Muslim prisoners who are detained as of this time; do you see that?

 6       A.   Yes.

 7       Q.   My question is whether, in your view, the figures that were

 8    published or provided to the two parties, the two sides, by the ICRC

 9    tended to be in your view accurate or not accurate?  Is this in your view

10    a fairly accurate indication of the number of Muslim prisoners who were

11    being held at this point?

12       A.   Yes.  This is relatively correct, but I know for certain that

13    subsequently, the ICRC registered in some of these places some other

14    prisoners that were not on the original list, and I'm talking about

15    Kiseljak, Livno, in Grude and Grude is missing from here completely, and I

16    believe that the ICRC subsequently registered another prison in Grude

17    whereas I don't see Grude as a prison here.

18       Q.   The next exhibit I wanted to take you to is Exhibit 8084.  And

19    while you're finding that exhibit, Mr. Masovic, I'll just say that what we

20    are doing now is we are moving a couple of weeks after the Washington

21    agreement, to the 17th of March 1994.  You recognise this as an agreement

22    that you and Mr. Pusic signed in respect of remaining prisoner releases to

23    take effect after the Washington agreement?

24       A.   Yes.  I recognise this.  This is the Gornji Vakuf agreement dated

25    17 March 1994, which was signed by Mr. Pusic and myself in the presence of

Page 25042

 1    some witnesses.

 2       Q.   In paragraph 1.1 of that document, it provides that on the 19th of

 3    March 1994, a variety of prisoners will be released from different

 4    locations; do you see that?

 5       A.   Yes.

 6       Q.   There is a reference -- there is a reference here to 73 prisoners

 7    from the prison in Mostar.  Do you know who that is referring to?  Which

 8    prisoners?

 9       A.   This refers to the prisoners that we have just discussed because

10    of whom I went to Mostar in December 1993.  They were members of the HVO

11    and several members of the HV who had been imprisoned in East Mostar.

12    They were one of the reasons for which the exchange process reached a

13    stalemate at one point.

14       Q.   So the issue of getting release of those prisoners was never

15    resolved until this time a couple weeks after the Washington agreement was

16    reached?

17            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak?

18            THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness

19    has several times mentioned several prisoners of the HV.  Can we have

20    their names in order for us to be able to prepare until tomorrow and see

21    who these people actually were and what happened to them?

22            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  Could you ask the witness?

23    The problem is that Mr. Praljak says that he needs the names for

24    cross-examination.  He needs to know who these people are.

25            Sir, you spoke about HV prisoners.  We are talking about the

Page 25043

 1    Croatian army.  How many of them were there?  In this document you and

 2    Mr. Pusic signed, do we find an explicit mention of these HV prisoners?

 3            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They are not mentioned in this

 4    document.  If the fact that they were in the prison in East Mostar is in

 5    dispute, I can try and obtain their names before tomorrow.  I can try.  I

 6    don't know whether I will succeed.  I don't know them by heart.  If there

 7    is any dispute about the fact that they were members of the HV.

 8            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation

 9    continues] ... according to you, so were they members of the HV army who

10    were imprisoned in East Mostar?  How many?  10, 20?  Five?  Do you have

11    any figure?

12            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  There were prisoners in

13    East Mostar, very few of them, maybe two or three altogether, and they

14    were not the first members of the Croatian army that had been taken by the

15    BiH army.  Somewhat before that we had handed over the bodies of nine

16    members of the HVO [as interpreted] who had been killed in an operation.

17    They were handed over to Mr. Pusic at the local level.  They were members

18    of the HV.

19            MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  My only observation

20    would be that I know that General Praljak has excellent counsel and I'm

21    sure they will be able to investigate that as well before tomorrow.

22       Q.   The other part of this document that I wanted to take you to is

23    paragraph 2.1 and it's just staying with the first paragraph 1.1, 1.1 is

24    talking about a release of prisoners that is to take place simultaneously

25    on the 19th of March; do you see that?

Page 25044

 1       A.   Yes.

 2       Q.   And then in paragraph 2.1, there is what appears to be envisioned

 3    a second round of releases that is to take place on the 22nd of March; is

 4    that correct?  Is that how it was to work?

 5       A.   Yes.  Precisely so.  That's how it worked.  That's how it was

 6    implemented.

 7            MR. KARNAVAS:  If I could ask my learned colleague to ask

 8    non-leading questions?  This is a rather critical area.  If we can just

 9    get a narrative so he can lay the foundation of what the procedure was,

10    but for counsel to be leading and prodding this particular witness, who

11    he's had several days at least to question and to proof, I don't think

12    it's quite appropriate and the gentleman is a lawyer as well.  He's a

13    professional witness, in other words.

14            MR. STRINGER:  Well, Mr. President, if I'm leading, I apologise.

15    I think it's pretty self-evident I'm trying to keep things moving but we

16    can ask the witness to describe what's being talked about in this

17    paragraph.  I'm actually mostly interested in the prisoners from

18    Central Bosnia, Zepce, Novi Seher, Maglaj, Zenica and had intended to ask

19    the witness specifically what he recalls about those prisoners who were at

20    the Heliodrom.

21            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As it is written in the agreement,

22    that's literally how it was implemented.  So everything it says in the

23    agreement was realised in the way in which it was written.  I'm reading

24    the provisions of the entire agreement and also speaking on the basis of

25    my recollections and I think that each of the individual points including

Page 25045

 1    point 3 of 2 was implemented as the ICRC had stipulated.

 2            MR. STRINGER:

 3       Q.   And then just to finish this document, 3.1 then makes a reference

 4    to a final exchange or release, I should say, that is to take place on the

 5    24th of March.  Do you see that?

 6       A.   It's a meeting, not release.  We agreed to meet again on the 24th

 7    of March 1994 in Gornji Vakuf, in order to discuss the release of all the

 8    remaining prisoners of both sides.  And I think that the meeting took

 9    place in Mostar, if I remember correctly, and that we didn't adhere to the

10    letter of the agreement in that sense because it was in Mostar rather than

11    what it says here but I'm not quite sure, but I think it was the 24th of

12    March anyway.

13       Q.   Do you remember what the issues were that were delaying the

14    release of these prisoners who had come from the Central Bosnia areas?

15       A.   The only reason, as far as I recall, was a certain lack of

16    confidence and trust that prevailed between the two sides or between us as

17    the heads of the commission, whether the other side would abide by what

18    had been agreed and put it into practice, in view of certain previous

19    agreements which had not been implemented and our experience there.  So

20    the only reason that I can remember is that quite simply we needed to see

21    how the release would function of the 19th and 22nd of March so that the

22    last stage of the release to be effected.

23       Q.   Now, this agreement then appears to --

24            JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Sorry, if I may in this context, does that mean

25    that these prisoners from Central Bosnia were kept as some sort of a pawn,

Page 25046

 1    almost like hostages, by the HVO?

 2            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's difficult to answer that

 3    question.  We did agree to agreement like that, to developments like that.

 4    And my signature was placed on the agreement.  I wasn't forced by anybody

 5    to sign it but I did sign it.  That's what the agreement was like.  And

 6    that's how we implemented it.  Now, I can't remember in this particular

 7    case why it was that people from Central Bosnia were the last or amongst

 8    the last to leave Heliodrom, but I can just assume or guess at why that

 9    happened.  The exchange was agreed at the level of Mostar, and the most

10    important prisoners on both sides were from the Herzegovina area.  So at a

11    local level, in Herzegovina, it was important to pull the people out as

12    soon as possible from that part of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  What could have

13    happened possibly, the number of people from Central Bosnia remained in

14    the group of the last people to be released because of that.

15            JUDGE TRECHSEL:  May I ask whether on the other hand, and I don't

16    find an answer in this document, whether the -- your side also had a

17    certain reserve of prisoners that they with held for later release?

18            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That we held a certain number of

19    prisoners?  Well, there were a number of prisoners whom we released

20    subsequently, and I think they were prisoners from the prison in Sarajevo

21    and Zenica and possibly in some other places but those prisoners were left

22    for the second stage of the release process.  It wasn't the prisoners from

23    Central Bosnia and Heliodrom held by the HVO.  They weren't the only

24    left-over prisoners in the conflicts between the BH army and the HVO.  So

25    the government, I think, had some ten or more prisoners in prisons in

Page 25047

 1    Sarajevo and Zenica and I think in Travnik as well, who were released in

 2    the subsequent stage.

 3            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic?  Just a moment.

 4    Before we give Mr. Ibrisimovic the floor, can I just follow on from this

 5    question already raised?  In paragraph 3.1, it states that on the 24th of

 6    March, there is to be a new meeting held because you sign a document on

 7    the 17th of March 1994.  In paragraph 3.1, it states that there are still

 8    prisoners held in Central Bosnia by the HVO and by the ABiH but in

 9    paragraph 3.2, which has to be related to paragraph 3.1, it states that

10    the HVO requests that there be a visit to Tarcin and Smijovic [phoen] in

11    order to verify whether any Croats are being held in captivity in those

12    locations.  Isn't that actually the real reason for waiting one week to

13    sort everything out?  Since there were suspicions that there were people

14    still being held in Mehurici and in Tarcin?

15            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.  I think that

16    that's exactly how it was.  So I was talking about a certain dose of

17    mistrust between the representatives of the commission and Mr. Pusic

18    already in Vakuf and I think that was recorded by the representative of

19    the international community as well, he insisted upon the fact that the

20    government was holding in some secret places a certain number of Croats,

21    and he requested that the ICRC visit those so-called secret places.  The

22    international -- ICRC committee did that and reported back to us.  They

23    told us that there were no secret prisons or any new secret prisoners, so

24    then we continued with the process of releasing prisoners overall.

25            MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  Might

Page 25048

 1    I be of assistance to the Trial Chamber and Mr. Masovic with regard to

 2    paragraph 2.2 and that is what the asked by Judge Trechsel was on, Catici

 3    and Vares were mentioned and that was under the BH army's control.  Now,

 4    could the witness explain the status of Catici to us, please?  And that

 5    will perhaps make it more understandable and the people who were in Catici

 6    as well?

 7            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In paragraph 2.2, there is mention

 8    of three different locations.  One of them was under the control of the

 9    Croatian Defence Council and that was called Rotilj.  And it's a suburb of

10    Kiseljak in actual fact, under HVO control.  The other two locations

11    mentioned are Vares, which at that time was under the control of the BH

12    army.  And it was specifically in Vares that 32 members of the Croatian

13    Defence Council are mentioned who were released from prison there.  So

14    they were at liberty on the territory of Vares which was under the control

15    of the BH army.

16            Now, the third place that was mentioned is a place called Catici,

17    that too was under the control of the BH army.  Now what the status was of

18    persons in these three locations should be looked at.  Rotilj had an

19    undefined -- they had an undefined status, their status was not clear.

20    People that I interviewed who had left Rotilj claimed that they had been

21    captured and held contrary to their own will, held in Rotilj.  However, I

22    think - let me repeat, I think - that the ICRC when it visited these

23    people, did not record these people as having been captured, as persons

24    captured, but as some individuals who found themselves in isolation and

25    the ICRC used the term "isolated persons" referring to these people in

Page 25049

 1    Rotilj.  So that was what I can tell you with respect to Rotilj.

 2            Now, Vares.  Vares is what it says here, 32 former HVO members,

 3    had been taken prisoner and in keeping with the provisions of the

 4    Washington accords, were released from prison and later on they were able

 5    to move around and go where they wished.  I think there were 30 or 31 of

 6    them who left the Vares territory and just one of them stayed on in the

 7    territory of Vares.  Anyway, they were allowed to move around, they were

 8    given free passage and when they were transported from Vares, they weren't

 9    people who had been deprived of their liberty.

10            Now the third group of persons were Croats, I think they were

11    exclusively or almost exclusively civilians who happened to find

12    themselves at the base of the French Battalion, the French Battalion's

13    base in Catici.  And that's what it says in this agreement, in the

14    paragraph of this agreement that was signed by Mr. Pusic and myself.  Now,

15    if you want to ask me why they happened to be in the French Battalion base

16    in Catici in the first place, my answer would be probably because they

17    didn't feel safe and secure in their own homes near Catici or in Catici

18    themselves where they lived.  So they found themselves under UNPROFOR

19    control and they were not individuals who had been captured or deprived of

20    liberty, neither were they isolated persons as being isolated by the

21    government forces.  This agreement provided for the fact that for

22    exclusively humanitarian reasons the problems of all these persons in

23    Rotilj, Vares and Catici be resolved and that is what was done.

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

25       Q.   So Mr. Masovic, then, just to bring this document to a close, I

Page 25050

 1    think you've indicated that to a quite a large extent, the agreement, the

 2    various items provided for in this agreement, were ultimately implemented

 3    and the prisoners were released in accordance with this agreement,

 4    certainly for the most part; is that correct?

 5       A.   I think that this agreement was implemented in its entirety, with

 6    the exception of the meeting in Gornji Vakuf, but that's not essential.

 7    It was to have taken place on the 24th of March but I think that actually

 8    it did take place but not in Gornji Vakuf but rather in Mostar, if my

 9    memory serves me.

10       Q.   So there was resolution in respect of the 70 or the 73 HVO and HV

11    soldiers that were one of the sticking points items from the beginning?

12    Is that correct?

13       A.   I'm not sure I understood the question.  What did you ask me?

14       Q.   Initially, your initial involvement was in part related to the

15    issue of the HVO --

16       A.   Ah, yes, yes, and my answer to your question is yes, this did

17    resolve the problem of the 73 HVO and HV members.  This agreement resolved

18    that.

19       Q.   Now another issue you mentioned early on was the situation

20    involving Mr. Demirovic and Mr.  Mahmutcehajic.  Are you able to tell the

21    Trial Chamber whether this agreement or any other ultimately then resolved

22    the issue of their release or their detention?

23       A.   Well, it was a form of political agreement, if I can put it that

24    way, which took place between two presidents, Mr. Izetbegovic on the BH

25    side and Mr. Tudjman on the Croatian side and then subsequently, after

Page 25051

 1    that, this was confirmed by the foreign ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina

 2    and the Republic of Croatia, that is to say, Mr. Silajdzic and Mr. Granic,

 3    and I implemented it later on without the participation of my opposite

 4    number, Mr. Pusic, who was opposed to the agreement.

 5            The agreement was as follows:  It said that two HVO members who

 6    had been arrested in Sarajevo because of having committed some crime of

 7    treason or whatever, because they were the commanders of a brigade, the

 8    commander and deputy commander of a HVO brigade in Sarajevo, Mr. Slavko

 9    Zelic and another deputy of his, I've forgotten his name just now.  Anyway

10    the agreement was that those two should be released and that the HVO on

11    the other side shall release Mr. Mahmutcehajic as the top-ranking officer

12    of the BH army held in captivity throughout the conflict in

13    Bosnia-Herzegovina, both between the Serb and Croatian side and Mr. Zijad

14    Demirovic be released too.  Now, I arrive with Mr. Slavko Zelic by

15    UNPROFOR helicopter.  I came to the confrontation line, if I can call it

16    that, because the Washington agreement had already been signed but

17    nonetheless there was still a check-point between the BH army and HVO

18    south of Mostar in a place called Bisce Polje, I believe, and the other

19    gentleman who was supposed in the helicopter with me refused to cross over

20    into territory controlled by the HVO so he stayed on in Sarajevo and this

21    created a fresh problem because after that, on the Croatian side, to all

22    intents and purposes, the exchange was brought into question, according to

23    the two-for-two principle.

24            I was forced, from Mostar, to telephone Mr. Mato Granic and talk

25    to him, as well as Mr. Bozic and Mr. Izetbegovic, as well as

Page 25052

 1    Mr. Silajdzic.  I also had to talk to Mr. Pusic and contact all those

 2    people and I think some others too, Mr. Orucevic another one, and after a

 3    certain amount of trouble over a period of four or five days, Mr. Zelic

 4    was with me in Mostar but it was decided ultimately that the exchange

 5    should take place but that it would be two-to-one, that is to say, that

 6    the HVO should release Mr. Mahmutcehajic and Mr. Demirovic and that the

 7    government should release Mr. Zelic in view of the fact that this other

 8    member of the brigade command, the Kralj Tvrtko Battalion, refused to

 9    cross over into HVO-controlled territory and that took place on the 29th

10    of March 1994.  Two prisoners, Mr.  Mahmutcehajic and Mr. Zelic --

11       Q.   Mr. Masovic, we are being asked to have you slow down just a bit

12    for the interpreters and also the court reporters.  I think actually

13    you've brought us right to the end of that --

14       A.   Well, I finished what I had to say.

15       Q.   Yes.

16       A.   Well, I wanted to add was that Mr. Pusic did not attend the actual

17    handover of these two prisoners.  He was angry with me because allegedly,

18    I had done this without his knowledge, worked without his knowledge,

19    towards the release of Mr. Mahmutcehajic and Mr. Demirovic and the ICRC

20    brought in the prisoners without the presence of the representatives of

21    the commission or Mr. Pusic.

22       Q.   Now, your agreement with Mr. Pusic 19th of March or 17th of March,

23    I should say, did that then result in resolution of the other sticking

24    point which was the Vranica issue, the issue of the Vranica soldiers who

25    had been captured and had gone missing on the 10th of May 1993?

Page 25053

 1       A.   When we drew up the agreement, I was conscious of the fact

 2    although I didn't have direct evidence of this, that 13 members of the BH

 3    army from Vranica were not alive and that in a way it would not be

 4    rational and not opportune or reasonable and wise to insist that they be

 5    released while holding all the other prisoners in camps and prisons

 6    belonging to the HVO.  I didn't think that would be wise because of these

 7    13 people to leave more than a thousand others in camps.

 8       Q.   Now, we are now at a point in time that is after the Washington

 9    agreement so that the hostilities have for the most part ended and, as you

10    indicated before, now the mission for you and for Mr. Pusic as well, I

11    would think, changed, the focus of your work changed; is that correct?

12       A.   Several other exchanges were to take place, the last taking place

13    on the 21st of April, I believe, and then Mr. Pusic and I focused our

14    attention on the second part of our mission, that is to say, to record and

15    investigate the fate of all those who from the beginning of the conflict,

16    that is to say from 1992 onwards, had disappeared or were missing and that

17    nothing was known of their fate.

18       Q.   So from this period, then, say, end of March 1994, going forward

19    then into the years that followed the conflict, how many years, then, did

20    you communicate, negotiate, with Mr. Pusic in respect of locating missing

21    persons?  How long did that relationship between you and Mr. Pusic

22    continue after the conflict ended?

23       A.   Well, our contacts more or less intensely went on for as long as

24    Mr. Pusic was in the federal commission for tracing missing persons, and I

25    think that was sometime in 1999, when Mr. Pusic, by the then-High

Page 25054

 1    Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, was replaced because of certain

 2    activities in another commission at state level, and that commission was

 3    called the commission for de-mining.

 4       Q.   So during this then post-conflict period from March-April 1994

 5    until the time that he was no longer involved in the missing persons,

 6    approximately how many times did you meet with him in respect of these

 7    issues of locating, finding missing persons?

 8       A.   Sometimes those meetings were more intensive, sometimes less.  We

 9    would meet in different places for different reasons, but I think that we

10    met more than 60 or 70 times in all.  We would meet on the territory of

11    Bosnia-Herzegovina and outside BH territory.  Sometimes to deal with the

12    problem of missing persons, sometimes we were parts of other delegations

13    such as the central commission for missing persons.  Then there was a

14    joint military commission of some sort, and we were members of some other

15    structures and organs where generals would meet or high-ranking officers

16    who met from both sides to discuss some current problem.

17       Q.   Tell the Trial Chamber please the issue of the missing Vranica

18    soldiers, how much of an issue did that remain in the months and the years

19    immediately following the end of the conflict?  How prominent an issue was

20    that for you?

21       A.   It was very important for the position that I occupied and the job

22    I did because the problem was one that was a burden to our relations, to

23    the two sides' relations, even after the establishment of peace, after the

24    Washington agreements.  Relationships particularly in Mostar were highly

25    tense because of the problem of missing persons in Vranica and even while

Page 25055

 1    I'm testifying the problem still exists.  It still hasn't been resolved.

 2    And even today, 14 years post festum after they had been captured and

 3    after they had gone missing it's still a problem for people on the east

 4    and west bank of the Neretva River.

 5       Q.   And why is this particular issue, these 12, what has, in your

 6    view, raised this to the issue of such importance or significance in the

 7    Mostar area?

 8       A.   Their status is specific, if you compare the status of other

 9    prisoners or other prisoners who are missing.  We have a list of missing

10    persons made up by the International Red Cross committee, people

11    registered in Heliodrom or some other camp, and we still haven't found

12    those persons.  We still have lists of them.  But the problem of the 13

13    Vranica prisoners took on special significance because of the fact that

14    the act of their having been captured was filmed, it was caught on

15    camera.  And then their families and their co-fighters and nearest and

16    dearest or relations of theirs saw them being taken prisoner alive and

17    this is footage that is frequently shown on Bosnian television stations to

18    commemorate the anniversary of when they were captured, every 10th of May

19    that footage is shown again and again.  So that is why the problem is kept

20    alive of those 13 prisoners.  They weren't the only BH army members who

21    were captured and went missing but that's why they take on such a lot of

22    importance if you compare them to all the other events and incidents.

23            MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, Exhibit P 09036  is a short video

24    clip that we've prepared.  I think the same images are already in

25    evidence.  We think that this particular one is a bit better quality so we

Page 25056

 1    decided to use this one today, and I'll ask if we can just show the video

 2    segment that we've got and then I'm going to ask the witness some

 3    questions about that.

 4                          [Videotape played]

 5            MR. STRINGER:

 6       Q.   Mr. Masovic, is that at least some of the video that you've just

 7    mentioned in terms of its having been broadcast in the -- in

 8    Bosnia-Herzegovina?

 9       A.   Yes.  That's precisely that footage.  A shorter version of the

10    whole tape.

11       Q.   Now, let me take you to your binder, Exhibit 8542.  Do you

12    recognise this document, sir?

13       A.   If this is a document called "Press release for the general

14    public," this is not the document that I --

15       Q.   [Previous translation continues] ... I don't think you have the

16    right one, 8542.

17       A.   I apologise.  I recognise this document.  This is a document I

18    drafted and signed and submitted to the families of the Vranica prisoners.

19       Q.   Now, I think we should clarify at the beginning, because this

20    document contains the names of 12 individuals, already in your testimony

21    you've made reference to 13 prisoners.  So could you clarify for the Trial

22    Chamber, please, what the 12 comes from and what the number 13 then comes

23    from?

24       A.   On the video footage that we just saw, you can see 12 members of

25    the army captured in the Vranica building and that indeed was the case.

Page 25057

 1    12 of them were captured in the Vranica building.  The 13th person who is

 2    mentioned very often within the context of the Vranica building or the

 3    prisoners from the Vranica is Fedja Huskovic.  He was indeed captured on

 4    the same day, also he was a member of the BiH army.  His parents also

 5    resided in Mostar and his parents also joined the other parents, the other

 6    12 sets of parents, of the prisoners, in order to raise the awareness of

 7    the international local public in order to help them and to learn about

 8    their destiny.  However, that person was not captured in the Vranica

 9    building together with the others.

10       Q.   Okay.  And he's not on the videotape?

11       A.   No.  He does not appear on the videotape.  And the moment of --

12    when he was captured was not recorded by a film camera.

13       Q.   I'd like to direct you to the very last sentence that you write in

14    this certificate and ask if you could just explain what you're referring

15    to here?  What you're saying is that the explanations given by the HVO

16    saying that some of those persons are currently abroad are not acceptable

17    for the state commission.

18            What are you referring to there?

19       A.   During my initial contact with Mr. Pusic, on the 29th December

20    1993, when I raised the question of the destiny of the 13 members of the

21    army who had been captured in the Vranica building, Mr. Pusic told me

22    something along these lines.  Eight of them are alive.  Ask Orucevic about

23    their destiny.  He was the one who exchanged them.

24            At that moment, I didn't know how reliable that information was or

25    wasn't.  Obviously I got in touch with Mr. Orucevic as well as with some

Page 25058

 1    other people who were in Mostar involved in the process of exchanges.  For

 2    example, the men called Safo Orucevic, Sefkija Djiho and Alija Alikadic,

 3    and they told me that this was not correct because none of them ever

 4    appeared alive, none of the 13 of them.  In other words, when Mr. Pusic

 5    told me that Mr. Orucevic had exchanged those 8 of the 13 men from Vranica

 6    and sent them abroad this was obviously not accurate, and this is the

 7    intention of my last sentence in which I inform the parents' committee

 8    that the explanation given by the HVO saying that some of those persons

 9    are currently abroad are not acceptable to the state commission.

10       Q.   Now, and just so it's clear, you mentioned Mr. Orucevic; is that

11    Mr. Safet Orucevic who was mayor of Mostar at the time?

12       A.   Yes.  Mr. Pusic actually told me, ask Safo Orucevic about the

13    destiny of these people.  He'll tell you.

14       Q.   The next Exhibit is 8565, 8565.  Now, Mr. Masovic, if I could just

15    direct your attention to the bottom, if you recognise the signature down

16    there at the bottom of this communique, tell us what this document is and

17    who has signed it?

18       A.   The document was signed by Mrs. Azra Penava, I suppose.  She was

19    Fahir Penava's wife.  This is a communique for the public which followed

20    at the local level in Mostar after the session of the Presidency of the

21    municipality of Mostar.  At the session, the problem of the 13 prisoners

22    from Vranica was discussed amongst other things.

23       Q.   And this person, Azra Penava, she's just so we are clear, can you

24    tell us again who is she is?  The record isn't quite clear on that at the

25    moment.

Page 25059

 1       A.   Mrs. Penava was the wife of one of the 12 members of the BiH army

 2    who had been captured on the 10th of May and who appeared on the video

 3    footage that we have seen today.

 4       Q.   And I wanted to ask you -- well, does she play any particular role

 5    in respect of all of the families of these missing soldiers from the

 6    Vranica building?

 7       A.   I would say that all of them together played a very important role

 8    throughout all that time because they put pressure on the authorities,

 9    which unfortunately did not bear any results.  They have not stopped

10    putting that pressure for 14 years now.  I personally have received over a

11    hundred letters from the Amnesty International organisation, from various

12    countries, from various continents, and in all of these letters, the

13    representatives of the Amnesty International have been inquiring about the

14    destiny of the 13 army members from the Vranica building.  Obviously I

15    have never been able to tell them much, but that we are still trying to

16    find what their destiny is but without any success.  Mrs. Penava was the

17    head of that committee and she was the most active member of the -- that

18    committee.  She has been the most active member of the committee for 14

19    years now.

20       Q.   Exhibit 8595.  It's the next one in the binder.  This is dated the

21    17th of August 1995.  Do you recognise this as a letter from Mr. Pusic?

22       A.   Yes.  According to the letterhead and the signature, this will be

23    the letter that Mr. Pusic sent to the office of the ombudsman of the

24    federation in reference to the disappearance of three men that he mentions

25    here, they were members of the BiH army.  One of them was from the group

Page 25060

 1    of 12 from Vranica.  The third person on the list, Fahir Penava.

 2    Fedja Huskovic is also mentioned among the 13 but he's not in the footage.

 3    And also Fadil Djelilovic [phoen] is mentioned, and he is one of the

 4    persons of whose destiny I don't know anything at the moment.

 5       Q.   I wanted to direct your attention down below that.  There is a

 6    reference to BH army general Jusuf Prazina, nicknamed Juka.  And I wanted

 7    to then ask you to -- whether you, in any of your conversations with

 8    Mr. Pusic or whether Mr. Prazina's name has come up with connection with

 9    these prisoners from the Vranica building?

10       A.   I didn't mention him but Mr. Pusic often mentioned Mr. Prazina as

11    a -- the person who allegedly was familiar with the destiny of the 13

12    members of the BH army from Vranica.  He repeated it on several occasions,

13    even before the letter sent to the ombudsman and later throughout all the

14    time while Mr. Pusic was active in the commission for the missing persons.

15       Q.   Do you know who this person, Jusuf Prazina is?  Was he a member of

16    the ABiH or do you know his status?

17       A.   Mr. Prazina was the commander of one of the local units in

18    Sarajevo of the BiH army for a while, and then because of some things that

19    bordered on crime or were considered to be criminal acts, the way was

20    found for him to be demobilised and to leave Sarajevo.  After that, at

21    least this is what was speculated at the time, he was outraged for having

22    been expelled from the army and allegedly he joined the units of the

23    Croatian Defence Council.  I know that there were some problems for a

24    while, that he held a point south of Jablanica, that people were robbed

25    there, travelling from Mostar to Sarajevo, and then rumour had it that he

Page 25061

 1    had joined the units of the HVO.  I don't have any direct information.  I

 2    am speaking from the knowledge that I gained from the media and from what

 3    I heard on the grapevine in Sarajevo at the time.  After the war,

 4    allegedly, he was killed in a showdown somewhere in Western Europe, I

 5    believe in Belgium but I'm not sure.

 6       Q.   Do you recall having a conversation with Mr. Pusic about the

 7    Vranica prisoners that took place in Geneva or I should say in the area of

 8    Geneva, Switzerland?

 9       A.   I remember that conversation.  This was one in a series of

10    conversations about Vranica which had taken place before Geneva and after

11    the meeting in Geneva.  Mr. Pusic, myself and several others --

12       Q.   Forgive me, let me just ask a couple of questions that lead up to

13    this.  Tell us, first of all, when did this particular meeting take place?

14    Do you recall the month and the year, the date?

15       A.   Mr. Pusic and I were in Geneva between 16 and 21 July 1997.  In

16    Geneva or in the vicinity of Geneva.  During the meeting of the working

17    group of the International Committee of the Red Cross for the missing

18    persons.

19       Q.   Had you and Mr. Pusic been participating in a series of meetings

20    of this working group?

21       A.   Yes.  We were both active representatives in that working group

22    and we both participated in its work.  There were the so-called active

23    representatives and observers.  Mr. Pusic and I were in the ranks of the

24    active participants, i.e., the representatives of the working group for

25    the missing persons.

Page 25062

 1       Q.   Then in the course of this series of meetings in Geneva, you had a

 2    conversation with Mr. Pusic about Vranica, the Vranica prisoners?

 3       A.   As for the conversation about the prisoners from Vranica, there

 4    was such a conversation but not in Geneva.  This was during the period

 5    between the 16th and 21 July 1997.

 6       Q.   Why don't you just tell the Trial Chamber then about the meeting

 7    where it took place.

 8       A.   On the last day of the 11th meeting of the International Red

 9    Cross, i.e., the working group in Geneva, the ICRC organised an excursion

10    for all the participants in the meeting.  We were taken to the Geneva Lake

11    and we were also taken to Montreux.  It was and the 20th of July 1997.

12    Mr. Pusic and I were talking on the lake in -- near the monument to

13    Freddie Mercury, the frontman of the Queen band.  Mr. Pusic had a very

14    interesting proposal for me.  He told me literally that he was prepared to

15    give 16 members of the BiH army from Vranica should I give him 21 Croats

16    who had been captured in Bugojno by the government forces and who had gone

17    missing after having been captured.  They were taken from the prison and

18    nothing further was known about their destiny.  At that moment, this was a

19    surprise for me because this was the first time a reference was made to 16

20    prisoners.  Before that, the reference was always made to either 12 or 13

21    prisoners.  The first time ever Mr. Pusic mentioned the figure of 16 which

22    I was not clear on at first, and later on, on reflection, I suppose that

23    he wanted to strike a balance between the 16 members of the army and 21

24    members of the HVO from Bugojno because he might have thought that this

25    would have been the way for him to learn about the destiny of those

Page 25063

 1    members of the HVO.  I did not pay too much heed to that offer.

 2            I immediately replied that I would try and investigate although I

 3    knew even at that moment that it would be very difficult or impossible for

 4    me to obtain any information about these persons from Bugojno because

 5    already at the time it was almost certain that none of them had survived

 6    and that after having been taken from the prison, they were actually

 7    killed and the place where they were buried is not known.  At that moment,

 8    already, I knew that I could not and I wasn't able to accept that proposal

 9    by Mr. Pusic but I promised I would investigate.  After that I did not pay

10    too much attention to that proposal, i.e. 16 for 21 because I believed at

11    that moment that it was not a serious proposal on the part of Mr. Pusic.

12    I did not take that proposal seriously.

13       Q.   Excuse me.  In respect of these prisoners, these are HVO prisoners

14    from Bugojno, correct?  To this day do we know the fate of those men?

15       A.   Certainly nothing is known about the destiny of those 21 men who

16    had been in the prison and taken from it.  It is absolutely certain, after

17    14 years, that they are no longer alive.

18            My colleague, Marko Jurisic and I tried to investigate.  We went

19    to six or seven different locations including a diving team that did a

20    search in a lake near Bugojno.  We followed a trace.  We were digging.  We

21    had contacts with the alleged perpetrator of a crime against these people.

22    Unfortunately, all this was to no avail and to this very day, I am not

23    aware of their destiny.

24       Q.   At this meeting in which Mr. Pusic discussed these Vranica

25    prisoners with you, was anyone else present?

Page 25064

 1       A.   My colleague from the commission who was in charge of the Mostar

 2    region, her name was Sanja Mulac, she was nearby.  Later on, I tried to

 3    talk to Sanja Mulac about that and she was equally surprised when she

 4    heard Mr. Pusic's proposal mentioning a total of 16 members of the BiH

 5    army.

 6       Q.   Let me take you to the last document, the last exhibit in the

 7    binder, number 10354.

 8            Do you recognise that exhibit, Mr. Masovic?

 9       A.   Yes.  This is a photo which was taken on the 19th of July 1997 in

10    Geneva as we were leaving for a dinner party organised by the

11    International Red Cross for the participants of the 11th meeting of the

12    working group for the missing persons.

13       Q.   And do you recognise Mr. Pusic in that photograph?

14       A.   Yes.  Mr. Pusic is the first on the left in this photo.

15       Q.   And then the person next to him?

16       A.   The person next to him is Mrs. Sanja Mulac, the head of the office

17    for the missing persons in Mostar.

18       Q.   And then are you in that photo as well?

19       A.   I am the fifth person in the photo, from left to right.

20       Q.   Now, Mr. Masovic, I'd like to move forward now some ten years and

21    ask you whether you recall hearing of a potential or a mass grave site in

22    the area between Mostar and Siroki Brijeg in the month of May 2007.

23            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic?

24            MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  Could

25    Mr. Masovic maybe identify the other people depicted in the photo?  I

Page 25065

 1    don't think that that should be a problem.  He has identified Mrs. Mulac,

 2    himself and Mr. Pusic.

 3            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  You can indicate the names

 4    of the other persons that are on this photo.

 5            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In addition to the names that I've

 6    already mentioned from left to right, Mr. Pusic, Mrs. Mulac, Mr. Perkovic,

 7    the lady from the ICRC, I believe her name is Margaret.  Then myself.  I

 8    don't know the name of the next person but I know that she was a member of

 9    the local Red Cross, i.e., the Red Cross of Bosnia-Herzegovina based in

10    Sarajevo.  And the last person is Mrs. Fadila Mujic, a member of an

11    association of the family members of the persons missing from Srebrenica.

12    She was a member at the time.  She no longer is.  At that time she was in

13    charge of one of the Srebrenica associations of the missing persons.

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

15       Q.   Witness, then, bringing you back to my last question, in May of

16    this year, did you or your colleagues with the commission hear of a grave

17    site that had been located or potentially located in the area between

18    Mostar and Siroki Brijeg?

19       A.   On the 17th May of this year, Mrs. Mulac called me from Mostar to

20    inform me that an exhumation was underway of a number of victims in a

21    location near Mostar on the Mostar-Listica-Siroki Brijeg road.  The

22    exhumation was carried out by our colleagues from Republika Srpska, i.e.,

23    from a different entity.  Mrs. Mulac believed at the time that among the

24    victims there were no Serbs or at least that's what she had been told when

25    she arrived in the location, but rather that the victims in the mass grave

Page 25066

 1    were actually of Bosniak ethnicity.  After that, I told Mrs. Mulac that I

 2    would turn up on the following day, on the 18th of May, in the location of

 3    that exhumation, and I did.

 4       Q.   Now, you indicated that on the first day, the 17th of May, this is

 5    an exhumation that was being undertaken by representatives of the

 6    Republika Srpska.  Why is it that people from the RS, then, would have

 7    been out at this location west of Mostar?

 8       A.   The source that helped to locate the mass grave claimed that the

 9    victims in the grave were Serbs.  I believe that he even said that there

10    were between seven and 12 bodies in the grave, and that they had been

11    killed on either the 14th or the 15th of June 1992 near Mostar in a

12    neighbourhood called Podvelezje.  Governed by the agreement on the

13    inter-entity exhumations that stipulated that the exhumation should be

14    carried out by the entity for which it was considered that the victims

15    belonged to, and in this case the victims were believed to be the Serbs,

16    then the Republika Srpska contacted the competent prosecutor in order to

17    undertake the exhumation.  That's why Republika Srpska turned up in

18    Western Mostar.  Had we had information that the victims were either

19    Bosniaks or Croats, in that case, the exhumation would have been carried

20    out by my commission, i.e., the federal commission for the missing

21    persons.

22            MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, I'll just continue.  I'm not sure

23    what the breaking point is.  I can continue for a couple minutes, I think,

24    and move through a couple exhibits rather quickly with your permission.

25       Q.   Witness, let me then ask you to turn to Exhibit 10322.  And I'll

Page 25067

 1    venture perhaps to ask a couple questions that could be possibly perceived

 2    as leading in order to move a little more quickly through this.  I know

 3    that counsel can and will object if they think I've crossed the line.

 4    Mr. Masovic, is this an exhumation report that was made by the authorities

 5    of the Republika Srpska dated the 17th of May 2007?

 6       A.   Yes.  This is a report that was compiled by the district

 7    prosecutor's office and district prosecutor, Mr. Salvarica [phoen] from

 8    the district Prosecutor's Office in Trebinje in Republika Srpska.

 9       Q.   And now, it appears to me to be the fourth name down.  Is that a

10    reference to Ms. Mulac, your colleague whom you've already referred to in

11    your testimony?

12       A.   Yes.  That is Mrs. Sanja Mulac, representative of our commission

13    from the federation.

14       Q.   So her name is not spelled correctly there but that is who we are

15    talking about.  And was she then present at the site when the exhumation

16    was carried out on the 17th of May?

17       A.   In the original document, her name is properly written and

18    spelled, Sanja Mulac.  In the English translation there is a mistake.  It

19    says Mulic, it should be Mulac, but her name is properly written in the

20    original document.

21       Q.   Very well.

22       A.   But she was present and as I said a moment ago, she contacted me

23    that day and informed me that she considers that the victims were Bosniaks

24    since certain traces of their uniforms were found.

25       Q.   Then the next exhibit is 10323.  And then is this the exhumation

Page 25068

 1    report then for the following day, the 18th of May 2007?

 2       A.   Yes.  That's the exhumation report.  This time compiled by the

 3    main prosecutor of the district Prosecutor's Office in Trebinje.  Her name

 4    was Slobodanka Gacinovic and she did so on the 18th of May 2007 after the

 5    exhumation.

 6       Q.   And were you present then yourself at the exhumation site on the

 7    18th of May?

 8       A.   Yes, I was.

 9       Q.   And I see that on the second page of the translation, third name

10    down, it appears they've misspelled your name but I think we determined

11    yesterday that your name is not correctly spelled in the original document

12    either.

13       A.   That's right.  Not in the original document or in the translation

14    is my name written properly.

15       Q.   Now, just one last question before the break.  I think it's useful

16    to raise this now before we go into greater detail.  This exhumation then

17    and the events that followed, has that all resulted in final official

18    determinations regarding the remains and the identities of the remains,

19    the victims found, at this location?

20       A.   The interpretation I heard does not end in a question mark, as a

21    question, so I'm not sure what you actually asked me.

22       Q.   We are going to be looking at a series of documents that relate to

23    the subsequent work done on the remains found at this site.  My question

24    is:  Are any findings on all of this final and official as of this point

25    in time?

Page 25069

 1       A.   Everything that was ongoing and done after the exhumation was

 2    official, but some of it wasn't final.

 3       Q.   All right.  And that's my question:  Have we made a final,

 4    official determination of the identity of all of the persons or victims

 5    whose remains are found at this location?

 6       A.   Let me say first of all that on location, 16 bodily remains from

 7    found, incomplete, of the victims so none of these 16 victims have been

 8    completed.  There are bodily parts missing or parts of the skeleton that

 9    are missing.  But for 15 of those 16, a preliminary identity has been set

10    used DNA methods of identification.  But we still don't have the identity

11    of one of those victims.

12       Q.   And because these are preliminary DNA findings, I just want to

13    sort of flag this for everyone, I'm not going to be asking you about some

14    of the items found at the site such as watches, rings, things of that

15    nature which relate to identification issues related to family members.

16    We are only going to talk about the DNA results; is that correct?

17            MR. KARNAVAS:  Before -- the gentleman can answer the question.  I

18    assume they prepared him in the back.  But before he answers any questions

19    with respect to DNA, I suspect they are going to have to lay a foundation.

20    If he's here merely to say this is the report that was handed to us,

21    certainly we don't need the gentleman.  It doesn't mean that the DNA

22    results, if they are results, are accurate because that has to be brought

23    in through an expert but certainly I would object to having this person

24    turn into an expert to testify about DNA evidence when in fact, at least

25    as far as I know, he's an advocate, he's a lawyer.  Maybe on the side he's

Page 25070

 1    gone to medical school or he's got some other degrees in science.

 2            MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, if we could go to private session I

 3    could tell the Chamber where I'd like to go and where I don't want to go

 4    with this.

 5                          [Private session]

 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  (redacted)

20  (redacted)

21  (redacted)

22  (redacted)

23  (redacted)

24  (redacted)

25  (redacted)

Page 25071











11    Pages 25071-25077 redacted. Private session.















Page 25078

 1  (redacted)

 2  (redacted)

 3                          [Open session]

 4            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have 45 minutes remaining,

 5    Mr. Stringer by which time you should try to conclude.  You've used two

 6    hours and seven minutes already.

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

 8                          [The witness entered court]

 9            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer?

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

11       Q.   Witness, at the time that we took the break, you were looking at

12    Exhibit P 0 -- I'm sorry, P 10323  which is the exhumation report dated 18

13    May 1993.  Do you see that?

14       A.   Yes.

15       Q.   And I think you indicated that you were then present at this site

16    called the Goranci site on that day?

17       A.   On the 18th of May, the second day of the exhumation, the locality

18    is called Prikinac – Prikinac, the microlocation is the Rimski Bunar or

19    Roman well.

20       Q.   Can you tell the Trial Chamber, please, in general terms, the

21    extent of your experience as the commissioner or as a director of the

22    commission on missing persons, your experience on this process that begins

23    with an exhumation and then carries through DNA testing ultimately to

24    identifying the victims for their families?  How experienced are you in

25    that process and what is the actual level of participation?  What is it

Page 25079

 1    that you do?

 2       A.   Well, in the process of identification itself, I have been engaged

 3    in that for more than 15 years now, since 1992, October of that year, when

 4    I attended the identification of a body -- of bodies which were handed

 5    over to the commission whose vice-president I was for purposes of

 6    identification in an exchange, up until 2000, the identification of

 7    witnesses was conducted by using the classical method, the method of

 8    recognising the victim by close family member.

 9       Q.   I just want to make sure we have got the record is correct.  I'm

10    seeing the English translation or the English transcript that you are

11    talking about the identification of witnesses.  I think --

12            THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreter apologises.  Victims.

13            MR. STRINGER:

14       Q.   -- Identification of victims is what we are talking about.

15       A.   Yes, yes.  I said identification of victims.

16       Q.   So then, since the year 2000, how did the method of identification

17    change?

18       A.   Arriving on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the

19    international commission for missing persons, which established special

20    laboratories for DNA identification in Tuzla, launched the process of

21    identification using the DNA method.  And by comparing the blood samples

22    taken from the surviving family members of the missing persons and by

23    comparing them to the skeletal remains or the DNA structure obtained from

24    the skeletal remains of the exhumed victims.  If matching takes place, or

25    rather, if the DNA from the blood sample and from the skeletal remains is

Page 25080

 1    the same, then we say we have a positive match and that means that we have

 2    identified the victim preliminarily, and that was the case with the 15

 3    exhumed victims from the Goranci grave site.

 4            After the DNA analysis, and after obtaining a positive match, we

 5    undertake the process of a final identification, and that is done in the

 6    following way:  The matching DNA results are put to the family members,

 7    they are shown to them, as relating to a specific victim and then

 8    ante-mortal and post-mortal information is compared and checked once

 9    again, the height of the victim is looked into, the age of the victim, any

10    clothing that was present, and might be recognised by a family member, or

11    some personal objects, personal effects, such as pens, lighters, watches,

12    items of jewellery or anything else.  And then the family members try and

13    identify those objects and items and match them to the victims.  Once this

14    entire process has been completed, a minutes is compiled, a report on the

15    identification of the victim, and a family member, close family member,

16    signs the report and then the bodily remains are available to the families

17    for burial.

18            The procedure is such that the DNA samples taken from the victims

19    are taken by a local forensic expert or forensic expert working pursuant

20    to instructions from the prosecutor and he takes one or if need be more

21    DNA samples, if we are dealing with victims that are not compact, as in

22    the Goranci site grave, which is a secondary grave site.  The bodies of

23    the victims were completely decomposed.  Some of the -- some parts of the

24    skeleton are missing and they probably remained in the primary location

25    where the victims were buried first.  And that primary location is unknown

Page 25081

 1    to us.

 2       Q.   Since you've come back to this particular site, let me ask you

 3    about that.  Do you know from this particular site how many bones or

 4    artifacts are missing, that is, not found at this site?

 5       A.   [No interpretation] ... ribs or vertebrae.

 6       Q.   Let me ask you if you could just start your answer again.  We

 7    stopped getting the interpretation there.  The question was, yeah, if you

 8    know, how many bones or artifacts are missing from this site?

 9       A.   It's difficult for me to give a precise number of skeletal parts

10    that are missing.  But we estimate that it's more than 50, more than 50

11    bones are missing, from the 16 victims.  Mostly they are small bones that

12    are missing, such as finger bones, bones of the fingers, hands, feet,

13    ribs, vertebrae.  Some parts of larger bones such as the upper arm or

14    lower arm.  And especially parts of the skull are missing, with these

15    victims, which once again indicates that those skulls were damaged and

16    destroyed either when the victim was liquidated or when the victims were

17    transported from the primary site to the secondary site.

18            MR. KARNAVAS:  I do object to this testimony.  He's not -- unless

19    there is a foundation that he is an expert where he's now talking, he's

20    giving expert opinion.  Now, they've had experts.  Have the experts

21    determined that there was a --

22            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, the Chamber always

23    listens very closely to what you're saying but the witness has worked in

24    this area for 15 years.  I don't think anybody else is better positioned

25    to talk about this subject.  Sir, could I ask you a question of my own?

Page 25082

 1    For the last 15 years or so you've been working in this area.  Have you

 2    been involved with Srebrenica, for example?

 3            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe just one sentence will suffice

 4    to provide the entire explanation.  I'm probably the one who has attended

 5    the higher number of exhumations or identifications than any expert

 6    witness in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Why is that?  Because the

 7    expert witnesses focus on the work of one court in very narrow area, the

 8    area of my activity is Prijedor, Srebrenica, Zvornik, the entire state of

 9    Bosnia-Herzegovina and neighbouring states so I believe that I have a lot

10    of experience and that I can talk about whether a skeleton is complete or

11    incomplete after exhumation.

12            MR. KARNAVAS:  He is testifying as an expert we haven't been

13    noticed that he's an expert witness.  So I object.  If he's testifying

14    that he has some background information, again, I don't think that he's

15    qualified but if he's testifying as an expert, he is not been brought here

16    as an expert witness.  We have no notice and I would object to him

17    testifying on -- as that because now he's claiming to be an expert.

18            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please carry on, Mr. Stringer.

19            MR. STRINGER:  I'm running short of time so I'm going to keep

20    marching on and --

21       Q.   Let me just, on the last point, Mr. Masovic, do you have an idea

22    in general how many exhumations have been carried out under the auspices

23    of the commission for which you've been the commissioner or the director?

24    How many exhumations are you responsible for in your years?

25       A.   Over 370 mass graves, the graves containing five plus victims.

Page 25083

 1    Over 2.000 individual graves.  Over 18.000 victims, including the

 2    Srebrenica victims, is something that my commission has been involved in.

 3    In other words, over 18.000 victims were exhumed as part of the mandate of

 4    my body over the past 11 years.  Over 15.000 victims have been identified

 5    of the 18.000 that have been exhumed.

 6       Q.   Now, let me -- I want to take you quickly through a series of

 7    exhibits here and ask you just to tell us very briefly what they are,

 8    whether you recognise them, and then we will come back and I'll ask you

 9    some more general questions about them.  So if you would turn to Exhibit

10    10337?  Again, just for the technical booth, this is the -- we are getting

11    into the evidence now that we are going to be asking be put under seal.

12            Witness, can you just take a look at this and tell the

13    Trial Chamber what this is or what these three documents are that are in

14    this exhibit?

15       A.   These are the three so-called positive matches, i.e., three

16    confirmations that the skeletal samples which were taken from various

17    parts of one body belong to one and the same person, and based on the

18    comparison with the blood of the surviving family members, it is confirmed

19    with a degree of certainty of 99 and -- 99 thousand 99 [as interpreted]

20    that this person is Camo Alija.  And that he was a member of the BiH army

21    who had been captured in the Vranica building and one of those that we had

22    occasion to see on the video footage.  In this specific case we are

23    talking about the upper jaw.

24       Q.   Excuse me, Mr. Masovic.  I really apologise for cutting you off

25    but I'm going to move on so that we can cover all 15 of these very briefly

Page 25084

 1    just so that we are attending to all of them.  So you've just mentioned

 2    Mr. Camo Alija as being in this Exhibit 10337.  One question about these

 3    reports, these DNA reports, are these the types of reports that come to

 4    you in the normal course of your work on the commission and then dealing

 5    with the families?

 6       A.   Yes.  This is a copy of the original report which is typically

 7    submitted to the forensic expert who takes the bone samples from the

 8    victim and then he submits the report to the competent prosecutor's office

 9    and to us as a commission in order to enable us to get in touch with the

10    victim's family and inform them that we have a positive match, i.e., a

11    positive identification.  In other words, that it had been established

12    through the DNA analysis that the victim is their potential relative.

13       Q.   Now turning to Exhibit 10338 can you tell us who these results

14    pertain to?

15       A.   These results pertain to Mr. Senad Cehic.  Again we have several

16    DNA analysis results in several samples were taken from the body,

17    Senad Cehic is also one of the captives from Vranica that we saw on the

18    video footage.

19       Q.   And then 10339.

20       A.   In this case, the victim who was preliminarily identified is

21    Dzevad Colic, also a member of the Vranica group.  He was also identified

22    on the video footage that we saw.

23       Q.   Okay.  Now when you say preliminarily identified, now, what

24    exactly does that mean?

25       A.   I've just explained that this means that the family will be

Page 25085

 1    informed, in this particular I've already informed all the families in the

 2    case of the Goranci mass grave.  The family has been informed about the

 3    positive match and the families have to prepare for the final act which is

 4    the signing of the record on identification of the victim after which the

 5    victim will be handed over to the family who will then determine the date,

 6    the place where the body will be buried.

 7       Q.   Next is 10340.

 8       A.   Mr. Mimo Grizovic, confirmation that we had a match between the

 9    skeletal remains and the blood samples provided by his mother and his

10    father.  He is also one of the victims seen on the Croatian television

11    video footage depicting the capturing of the Vranica group.

12       Q.   10341.

13       A.   Mr. Vahidin Hasic, a confirmation that that indeed was him, based

14    on comparing the blood samples of his mother and his father and the

15    skeletal remains which were taken from his body, another from the Vranica

16    group depicted in the video footage.

17       Q.   10342?

18       A.   Dzevad Husic.  In this case, the blood sample was taken from his

19    father and his sister.  We had a positive match based on the DNA method.

20    He's also one of the Vranica group that were depicted in the video

21    footage.

22       Q.   10343?

23       A.   Zlatko Mehic, the blood sample was taken from his mother and his

24    father.  We had a positive match, again this was a long-haired young man

25    in boots with hands in his pockets on the video footage, one of the

Page 25086

 1    Vranica group as well.

 2       Q.   10344?

 3       A.   Nenad Milojevic, the blood sample taken from father and mother,

 4    there was a positive match, also he was featured on the video footage in

 5    the Vranica group.  In this case his mother was also given an object that

 6    was found by the mortal remains that she was able to identify.  The object

 7    was the young man's ring.

 8       Q.   10345?

 9       A.   Mr. Fahir Penava.  Blood was taken from his wife, his daughter,

10    his son and his mother and we had a positive match, i.e., confirmation

11    that this was preliminarily identified Fahir Penava, one of the Vranica

12    group featured in the video footage.

13       Q.   And it's the wife of Mr. Penava, Azra Penava is the one you spoke

14    of earlier in your testimony?

15       A.   Yes.

16       Q.   The next is 10346?

17       A.   Mr. Nazif Sarancic.  Blood was taken from mother and father,

18    positive match by the DNA method.  One of the Vranica group from the video

19    footage.

20       Q.   10347?  Before we talk about this next one then, Mr. Masovic, so

21    far, we've been talking about soldiers who were identified in the Vranica

22    footage.  Now, these next five, what can you tell us about those?

23       A.   What can I -- what I can tell you with certainty is that all the

24    prisoners that were featured on -- in the video footage of the Croatian

25    television were not preliminarily identified by the DNA method and it is

Page 25087

 1    absolutely certain at the moment that two of the 12 were not found in the

 2    mass grave in Goranci.  As for the remaining six who were exhumed, in

 3    addition to the Vranica group, five were identified.  One victim's

 4    identification is still pending.

 5       Q.   Now, of the Vranica group and the 12 on the video as well as the

 6    13th, then we do not have an identification for Hasan Balic, Selfko Pobric

 7    or Fedja Huskovic; is that correct?

 8       A.   Not only do we not have their positive identification but it is

 9    also abundantly clear that their bodies were not in this mass grave

10    because the blood taken from their family members did not match any of the

11    DNA samples taken from the skeletal remains.  So we are absolutely certain

12    that they were not in that group of bodies.

13       Q.   Now, these remaining five whose remains or parts of their remains

14    were found, is there anything in general that you can tell the Trial

15    Chamber about these individuals in terms of where they were last seen or

16    their status as missing persons?

17       A.   We provided a laboratory with a total of nine names of whom we

18    knew that they had gone missing between the 9th of May which was the

19    beginning of the conflict in the Mostar region and the 13th of May which

20    was the date that we noticed on the watch of one of the victims.  We

21    submitted the names of nine names and of those names, the laboratories.

22    By way of DNA methodology.  Established that they were from that group,

23    Sabit Askraba, Hamza Filipovic, the Drace brothers, Alica and Dragan

24    Drace, and Esad Husic.  Those were the five names.  All of them save for

25    one whose status is not clear, but four of them at the moment of

Page 25088

 1    disappearance were members of the army who did not go missing in combat.

 2    It is certain that the Drace brothers, Alica and Dragan, had been taken

 3    from Alica Drace's apartment, one of the brothers' apartment, and it was

 4    either the 10th or the 11th of May.  In any case, all five of them had

 5    been reported as missing in the period between the 9th and 11th of May.

 6       Q.   And for the record, Mr. President, the tests for Sabit Askraba are

 7    at Exhibit 10347.  Those for Alica Drace are at 10348.  Those results from

 8    Dragan Drace are at 10349.  The results for Hamza Filipovic are at 10350.

 9    And finally, the results for Esad Husic are at 10351.

10            Now, Mr. Masovic, if I could just take you quickly back, you could

11    perhaps inform the Trial Chamber of -- about Exhibit 10324.  Can you tell

12    the Trial Chamber what this exhibit is, please?

13       A.   This is photo documentation of the scene by the ballistic expert,

14    a member of the commission for missing persons of Republika Srpska based

15    in Banja Luka.  He is their permanent member.  Upon his arrival at the

16    location of the mass grave, he took some 150 photos starting with the

17    situation that he found at the site and then in the course of the

18    exhumation itself.

19            MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, we did not load all these photos

20    into e-court just because it takes so much space and it takes a long time

21    to bring them up so rather than using the ELMO for them, I think I'll just

22    leave it at that, unless the Trial Chamber has any specific questions

23    about any of the photographs.

24            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I do actually have a question

25    for you, sir, Witness.  I'm looking at photo number 1 which indicates a

Page 25089

 1    field with some bushes, that type of thing.  Photo 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.  And

 2    that brings us on to the location of the bodies but earlier on you talked

 3    about a source that had indicated that there were Serbs that were buried.

 4    But in order for us to go to exactly the location as indicated on photo

 5    number 7, the source must have been indicated very, very clearly or

 6    precisely as to where was located the point where the bodies had been

 7    buried because otherwise, the situation is impossible.

 8            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm speaking based on my own

 9    experience in locating mass graves and I can claim with a high degree of

10    reliability that without a witness who can identify the microlocation of

11    the mass grave, it would be impossible, absolutely impossible, to identify

12    the mass grave because there were no changes in the vegetation, in the

13    configuration of the terrain.  In other words, the mass grave would not

14    have been identified if he hadn't brought our colleague from the

15    commission of the Republika Srpska to the site and pointed the site to him

16    precisely.

17            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please, Mr. Stringer.

18            MR. STRINGER:  I see that the photos are in e-court so they

19    magically obtained them somehow.  They're good.

20       Q.   Witness, one thing going back to the DNA testing, the preliminary

21    results that now you've commented on, in the years that you've been

22    involved in this process with the ICMP, do you know of any times when

23    these preliminary DNA results have actually turned out to have yielded an

24    incorrect identification?

25            THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [No interpretation]

Page 25090

 1            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Apparently Mr. Praljak has not

 2    heard what's been said apparently.

 3            MR. STRINGER:  I don't think the witness heard me either.  I'll

 4    ask the question again.

 5       Q.   Witness, my question was whether in all the years that you've been

 6    involved in this process with the ICMP, do you know of any times when

 7    these preliminary DNA results have actually turned out to have yielded an

 8    incorrect identification?

 9       A.   No, absolutely not.  I have to say that the laboratory in Tuzla

10    has carried out over 10.000 preliminary identification through the DNA

11    analysis for the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, for the entire

12    area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo.  We marked the 10.000th DNA

13    identification recently and not a single one of them proved to be

14    incorrect.  It is impossible actually.  The DNA analysis has served us to

15    correct some mistakes that we made up to the year 2000 in the course of

16    the so-called classical identifications.  The DNA analysis has helped us

17    to correct some misidentifications through the recognising of the clothes,

18    the effects, which were wrong, and now I'm not aware of a single case,

19    either from Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, that led to a wrong

20    conclusion, that the DNA analysis identified one person and then

21    subsequently something else proved the preliminary identification wrong.

22    We simply have not had such cases.

23       Q.   And my final question is this:  And you've mentioned this issue of

24    a secondary site, and I know that you're not an expert and that it's for

25    others to conclude whether or not in a formal official way this is a

Page 25091

 1    primary or secondary site so let me just ask you about the issue in

 2    general, say, for example, Srebrenica.  Have you had experiences in

 3    dealing with remains that have been found in secondary sites in connection

 4    with Srebrenica and other exhumations?

 5       A.   Yes.  This is my experience with some locations in the

 6    municipalities of Prijedor and Srebrenica, but the cases of secondary mass

 7    graves were even more drastic, for example, in Srebrenica, where we have a

 8    victim whose body was found in four different locations and the distance

 9    between the four of them is more than 30 kilometres.  In other words, when

10    his body was moved from the primary grave, the excavators and the lorries

11    that transported those skeletal remains and, mind you, those mass graves

12    contained over 1.000 victims, simply transported the remains to four

13    different graves.  This person, a young man from Srebrenica, despite the

14    fact that his remains were found in four different locations, this

15    person's body is still not complete.  Some parts of his skeleton are still

16    missing and this is where the DNA method is very important because without

17    the DNA method we would never be able to say that his body had been

18    reburied in four different locations.  Owing to the DNA analysis we are

19    able to partially complete that body from the four different locations.

20       Q.   And then in terms of the process that takes place in which the

21    families are identified, they are presented with the DNA testing results

22    and other artifacts, could you then tell the Trial Chamber the impact on

23    the families of these victims then when you have situations in which

24    secondary grave sites are involved so that not all of the body parts, the

25    remains, can be recovered?  How does that impact this whole process?

Page 25092

 1       A.   If we are talking about a primary mass grave, this implies that

 2    the bodies are complete and for the family, this is the end of their

 3    personal agony.  They stop suffering the uncertainty, the pain that is

 4    connected with that which lasts for a decade in certain cases.  When it

 5    comes to the secondary mass graves, and Goranci will probably be one of

 6    them because a lot of the skeletal remains are still missing, the families

 7    agony continues even after the identification is completed.  Why?  When

 8    the families recognise the ten victims from Vranica, when we hand over the

 9    mortal remains to them, when these mortal remains are buried and when

10    after their graves there are tombs -- above their graves, there are

11    tombstones, this is still not the end of the agony for their family

12    because we, after having located if we ever do, the primary grave, in that

13    grave we will again find parts of the same victims, the same ones that had

14    already been handed over to the families and we will again have to knock

15    on the doors of the same families and inform them that we have actually

16    located yet another bone or the -- a part of the skull of their husband.

17    In other words, the agony of these members whose dearest were buried in

18    the secondary graves do not stop with the identification but they rather

19    continue and go on and on.

20            MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. Masovic.  Mr. President --

21            JUDGE TRECHSEL:  May I just --

22            MR. STRINGER:  No further questions.

23            JUDGE TRECHSEL:  May I just add one very small question?  Are

24    there any efforts made when you have a secondary grave to find the primary

25    one?

Page 25093

 1            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm personally involved in that.

 2    I'm in contact with a source who brought us to the secondary location and

 3    we are trying to use that same source to get to the primary location but

 4    not only to the primary location but also to the mortal remains of the

 5    remaining three from the Vranica group for whom we are now certain that

 6    they are not in this particular mass grave, and we hope that we will

 7    succeed in our efforts.

 8            JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you very much.

 9            JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you have completed

10    your leading examination.  The counter-examination, the cross-examination

11    will take place tomorrow.  There will be no contact with the Prosecution.

12    Over that period, you're now a witness before justice so tomorrow we will

13    reconvene at 2.15.  By the way on Wednesday and Thursday, we will be

14    holding session in the morning starting at 8.00.  So we'll recommence

15    tomorrow at 2.15.

16                          --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,

17                          to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 27th day of

18                          November, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.