Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 39538

 1                           Tuesday, 5 May 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The Accused Prlic and Coric not present]

 5                           [The witness takes the stand]

 6                           --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please

 8     call the case.

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

10     everyone in and around the courtroom.

11             This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus

12     Prlic et al.

13             Thank you, Your Honours.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.

15             This is Tuesday, and I greet Mr. Stojic, Mr. Petkovic and

16     Mr. Pusic, as well as Defence counsels, our witness, Mr. Praljak, and I

17     also greet Mr. Mundis [as interpreted] and all his assistants.  And I'm

18     also greeting everyone helping us.  I apologise.  It is Mr. Stringer, not

19     Mr. Mundis.  I apologise.  It's Mr. Stringer, representing the OTP.

20             I will give the floor to our Registrar for a couple of numbers.

21             THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you, Your Honour.

22             2D has submitted its objections to documents tendered by the

23     Prosecution through Witness Dragan Juric.  This list shall be given

24     Exhibit IC1002.  And the Prosecution has also submitted its objections to

25     documents tendered by 2D through Witness Dragan Juric.  This list shall

Page 39539

 1     be given Exhibit IC1003.

 2             Thank you, Your Honours.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.

 4             Let me first issue an oral decision.  It's quite short.

 5             Oral decision on the Stojic Defence motion to reconsider the oral

 6     decision made on April 7, 2009.

 7             On April 14th, 2009, the Stojic Defence filed a motion to

 8     reconsider the oral decision made on the 7th of April, 2009, in which the

 9     Trial Chamber rejected the fact that Exhibit 2D01532 would be added on

10     list 65 ter of the Stojic Defence.

11             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's correction, it's 2D01533.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In its motion, the Stojic

13     Defence submits that Exhibit 2D01533 is a crucial document for the Stojic

14     Defence case and also submits that postponing Witness Drago Juric, who

15     had been planned to testify from April 6th and 7, 2009, to April 27

16     and 28, 2009, is a new fact that would require the oral decision of

17     April 7, 2009, to be reconsidered.  The Trial Chamber notes that the

18     Prosecution and the other Defence teams filed no answer to this request

19     made by the Stojic Defence.

20             The Trial Chamber recalls that in its oral decision of April 7th,

21     2009, it had, inter alia, given the grounds to reject adding

22     Exhibit 2D01533 on the Stojic Defence's 65 ter list by the following

23     fact:  It deemed that it had heard enough evidence on the topic that was

24     expounded in Exhibit 2D01533.

25             The Trial Chamber deems that the Stojic Defence did not

Page 39540

 1     demonstrate that the reasoning in the impugned decision showed a mistake,

 2     and because of this there is no need to reconsider the decision of

 3     April 7th, 2009.  The Trial Chamber thus decides to dismiss the request

 4     made by the Stojic Defence.

 5             Mr. Praljak, on behalf of the Trial Chamber, let me tell you that

 6     we heard you yesterday, we heard your 84 bis statement, and we also

 7     listened to you while you were answering the questions put to you by your

 8     counsel.  We note that your answers are sometimes extremely lengthy.

 9             Therefore, we invite you to be more concise in your answers, to

10     be more to the point, and to answer the question more accurately, because

11     as you may know or as you may not know, everything you say is on the

12     transcript, is in the transcript, and when Judges will deliberate, they

13     will refer to the transcript.  In the trial judgement, there will be, I'm

14     sure, many footnotes that will refer to the transcript.  So if you start

15     expounding on a subject at length, this might be considered as a waste of

16     time for your case.

17             So please try and be very specific and very concise in your

18     answers.  Don't forget that everything you say might have probative

19     value.  You are under oath, of course, so this by definition means you're

20     telling the truth.  Everything you say is of utmost importance, but try

21     not to water down your evidence by being too lengthy, because we might

22     lose track of the essentials.  I wanted to remind you of this in order

23     for your defence to be as effective as possible and for you not to waste

24     any time.

25             I have a couple of questions to ask, following the answers that

Page 39541

 1     you gave us yesterday.  Short questions, but usually I spend the entire

 2     night thinking about what has been said during the day in order to

 3     revisit the issue, if need be, and here I really believe that it is

 4     important to revisit this issue.

 5                           WITNESS:  SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]

 6                           [The witness answered through interpreter]

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yesterday, you told us you did

 8     not do your service in the JNA because you had a hip problem.  You also

 9     told us that you were wounded in a leg in Syria.  Could you tell us

10     exactly how you were wounded in Syria?  What were the circumstances?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, after being in the

12     Yugoslav People's Army for three months and then dismissed from the army

13     due to incapacity, I have a leg injury, an ankle injury, actually, not a

14     hip injury.  I said my ankle was injured, and that's why I had the

15     nickname that I had, as I told you.  And it was a cart in Tomislavgrad,

16     while I was a child, that the wheel went over my leg, and it was a cart

17     carrying stones.  It wasn't in Syria, no.  I've never been to Syria.

18     That's quite wrong.  Not Syria.  So this injury occurred in Tomislavgrad

19     when I was a child.  A horse and cart drove over my leg, and so I didn't

20     spend more than three months in the Yugoslav People's Army.  That's what

21     I said.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Second question

23     now.

24             Yesterday, I was listening to you with great interest, when you

25     started talking about the history of your country and when you talked

Page 39542

 1     about the partisans and Ante Pavelic.  Everything you said was extremely

 2     interesting, and one could conclude from this that during this troubled

 3     time in Croatia, in the history of Croatia, there was, in Croatia, people

 4     who had become partisans, probably under the aegis of the late

 5     Marshal Tito, and others had joined the ranks of Ante Pavelic's units and

 6     were members of the Ustasha movement.  This was very interesting, and I

 7     understood, but maybe I made a mistake, so correct me if I'm wrong.

 8             I understood that after 1945, the partisans took power with

 9     Marshal Tito, and at the level of the Republic of Croatia and the

10     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia these people were in positions of power.

11     So you know, and this is no secret, that in the indictment and in the

12     preliminary brief, the notion of JCE, joint criminal enterprise, can also

13     involve this Ustasha phenomenon, who according to the Prosecutor these

14     Ustasha would have wanted -- these people would have wanted to recreate

15     the Greater Croatia.

16             Now this is why I want to come back to what you said, because

17     this is something that was very important.  You talked about

18     General Bobetko.  You know as well as I do that General Bobetko is a

19     member of the JCE.  It's in the indictment.  But yesterday you added that

20     General Bobetko was a former partisan, so logically I could infer from

21     this that since Bobetko was a partisan, he had nothing to do with the

22     followers of Ante Pavelic.  Normally, he was on the other side and he was

23     fighting against those people.

24             You were a person of importance at the time, so could you confirm

25     that General Bobetko was indeed a former partisan and that he did not

Page 39543

 1     accept the ideas of Ante Pavelic's movement?  I mean, you knew this

 2     person, Bobetko.  I've only seen his name, but I've had no inkling of his

 3     existence beforehand.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  Your Honour, Your Honours,

 5     first of all, let me put you right.  The number of partisans in World War

 6     II was far greater, as an anti-fascist movement, from the number of

 7     Communists, especially after 1943, who led the movement.  So in 1945, all

 8     the positions, political posts, military posts, posts in the economy,

 9     were occupied by Communists.  The Communists had come to power.

10             General Bobetko, not only was he a partisan, but he was the first

11     partisan in Europe, the Sisak Battalion -- Detachment that he established

12     was the first unit that was established in the soil of Europe, standing

13     up to the Hitler coalition.  He was a foremost fighter.  He was an

14     anti-fascist throughout the war, throughout the whole of the war.

15             Afterwards, he became a general of the Yugoslav People's Army and

16     was a general until 1972, when, within the frameworks of the political

17     movement in Croatia, which was called "The Croatian Spring," he advocated

18     greater independence for Croatia and was then made to retire.  So he

19     became active again when the aggression against Croatia was launched, and

20     for a time, for quite some time he was first commander of the

21     Southern Front and then Chief of the Main Staff of the Croatian Army.

22             The first chief of the Croatian Army, General Spegelj, was also a

23     partisan and a general of the Yugoslav People's Army, who had commanded

24     before that the 5th Army Aerial with its centre in Zagreb, and

25     General Tus also came from the Yugoslav People's Army, where before that

Page 39544

 1     he was the Chief of Staff for the air force, and he replaced

 2     General Spiegel as chief of the Croatia Army, and then General Bobetko

 3     came.

 4             Franjo Tudjman was also since 1941 an active partisan, and he was

 5     a general of the Yugoslav People's Army.  He worked in Belgrade for many

 6     years and, after that, devoted himself to work as a historian.  And in

 7     opposing -- well, he was in prison twice, found guilty after 1971, for

 8     questioning the number of victims in Jasenovac.  And I'd like to tell you

 9     that most of the Croatian Government and top Croatian army leaders were

10     in fact people who had been partisans.

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'd like to

12     intervene.  In the transcript, I think that this is indispensable for

13     understanding because in page 7 the name is lacking, and General Praljak

14     was referring to Franjo Tudjman.  Line 1 of page 7; isn't that right,

15     Mr. Praljak?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Dr. Tudjman was in the

17     partisan movement from 1941 to 1945.  He held senior posts in the

18     partisan movement in norther Croatia, that is to say around Zagreb; and

19     after that was he was in the Yugoslav People's Army and he was a general

20     in the Yugoslav People's Army.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  One last question.

22     It will be very short.

23             Yesterday, you talked about your father, and we know that he

24     worked in the State security system, and I thought I understood, but I

25     would like you to confirm this.  I thought I understood that your father

Page 39545

 1     was in favour of maintaining Yugoslavia as it was, so your father seemed

 2     to be in favour of the Communist system, at the time he was in favour of

 3     Yugoslavia; and I thought I understood, but correct me if I'm wrong; but

 4     politically you grew apart from your father because you were not in

 5     favour of former Yugoslavia, and you were certainly not in favour of

 6     Communism.  Is this how I am supposed to understand what you told us

 7     yesterday?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you understood everything I

 9     said quite correctly, but one should bear in mind just one point,

10     Your Honours, and it is this: that people in the Communist movement

11     matured, and there was a debate whether Yugoslavia was necessary or not

12     and what the powers that be should be.  This came gradually.  It wasn't

13     precipitous.  All the people that I mentioned were, first of all,

14     partisans and Communists, hard-line Communists, but as time went by and

15     as the powers that be did some bad things, they came to understand slowly

16     that a state of that kind, in fact, represented stifling the people who

17     belonged to it; and let's call it a democratic system, and that's what

18     happened to my father in 1971, 1972, and later on.  People who were ready

19     to lay down their lives for those ideals found it a difficult process, so

20     this happened bit by bit.  And, in fact, it was more the people who were

21     in the partisans formerly that began to question the system and movement

22     and began to think otherwise, more so than perhaps young people who would

23     join later on.

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

25     answering these questions.

Page 39546

 1             Let me now give the floor to your counsel, and he will resume his

 2     examination-in-chief.  He did use up about an hour yesterday.

 3             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

 4             Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom.

 5                           Examination by Mr. Kovacic:  [Continued]

 6        Q.   [Interpretation] Now, General Praljak, you were talking about the

 7     media, and you said that you worked in television and the newspapers of

 8     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you said that Radio Mostar existed in 1992, it

 9     was operating and functional.  And with respect to the attack on the HVO

10     in 1993, I would like to ask you whether anything changed or, rather,

11     with respect to that date and the events after that date, whether you,

12     yourself, knew at the time that military targets, such as Radio Mostar,

13     were legitimate targets, and similar facilities that you mentioned.

14             MR. STRINGER:  Excuse me, Mr. President.  Sorry for the

15     interruption.

16             Could we, for the record, specify perhaps more clearly the date

17     of the attack that counsel is referring to, whether it's perhaps

18     May 1993, or June 1993, or another time in 1993?

19             MR. KOVACIC:  Yes, certainly.  I said, "May 9, 1993."  I think it

20     was a transcript question.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Without any wish to meddle in an

22     interpretation of war law, I'm not a specialist in that, but I

23     nevertheless would like to say that the IPD of the Croatian Army that I

24     headed from 1992 onwards, when in fact the organisation was set up,

25     constantly organised seminars in which all levels of the Croatian Army

Page 39547

 1     were spoken to about war law, and war law was interpreted for them.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, the President has recalled that you

 3     should answer questions and not go into giving lectures of any kind.  The

 4     question was whether anything changed after 9 May 1993 with regard to

 5     Radio Mostar.

 6             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in my question, I

 7     expressly asked Mr. Praljak what he knew about what the legitimate

 8     targets were, military targets, and then as an example I said

 9     "Radio Mostar."  So what his knowledge was about law in that respect at

10     that time.  And Mr. Praljak began his answer, the circumstances in which

11     he learnt about that.  So I think it's a legitimate question.  It's

12     mens rea.  It's what he knew as a commander, and he started answering and

13     telling us how he came to know about that.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Okay, we'll listen to the answer.  Please

15     proceed, Mr. Praljak.

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel, I'll do my best to

17     be as brief as possible, but it's difficult because I have to say what I

18     knew; and I knew about international war law because part of the Ministry

19     of Defence of the Republic of Croatia, which I headed, dealt with that

20     subject; and so did I by organising a series of meetings, lectures.  I

21     published brochures about international war law together with the

22     Red Cross, and I knew that international war law allowed the bombing or

23     neutralisation of telecommunications systems, communications systems, and

24     radio facilities on the opposite side.

25             And after the 9th of May, 1993, it is true that Radio Mostar, as

Page 39548

 1     it was called, which was on the east bank -- in fact, in actual fact,

 2     Radio Mostar of the 4th Corps of the BH Army at that time, because it

 3     kept broadcasting, but despite the fact that we knew where its location

 4     was, not a single artillery shell was fired at it.  So that would be my

 5     answer.

 6             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, Counsel, please.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

 8             With the trial's permission, I'd like to move on to another area

 9     now, and that is the question of the shelling of Mostar.

10        Q.   General Praljak, would you please tell us what you know and what

11     you feel is important, as an introduction to that topic, and later on

12     we'll carry on discussing the topic through questions and answers.

13        A.   Well, let's list the main points first.

14             I claim that the Yugoslav People's Army, and later on the Army of

15     Republika Srpska in 1992, in March, April, May, June and onwards,

16     destroyed Mostar, as we were able to see it on the photographs shown

17     here, and especially in the book "Urbicide" which has been provided to

18     this Tribunal, and I also claim that in September/October 1992, I

19     personally toured almost the whole of Mostar and personally saw for

20     myself what had happened and what the destruction of Mostar actually

21     entailed.  During the destruction of Mostar, I was in Mostar myself for

22     most of the time.  I was there personally.

23             Furthermore, in the autumn of 1992, I sent two individuals from

24     Croatia, one of them was Goran Pavelic and the other one was

25     Goran Mecava.  One was a worker of the IPD.  The other one dealt in films

Page 39549

 1     and was a cameraman, and he had a professional 60-millimetre camera.  He

 2     was a cameraman.  He had the Arrow-Flex camera, and from 1.000 metres

 3     with a Kodak colour negative, and I sent them to film the destruction of

 4     Mostar, and that's what they did.  They completed the task, and the

 5     material is now to be found stored in Television Zagreb.  It was

 6     transferred to a positive and on videotape, so the Ministry of Defence

 7     has a copy of the tape and I do too.  I have it at home.

 8             Now, unfortunately at that time, the time when Mostar was

 9     destroyed, in Mostar there were no international observers, except for

10     maybe a few people who left.  The international observers arrived in

11     greater numbers afterwards, when the conflict between the BH Army and HVO

12     had already started, and then they were able to see there was shooting on

13     both sides and that Mostar had been destroyed.  And from that, they

14     concluded that it was the HVO which had destroyed Mostar.

15             Now, in the fighting between the HVO and the BH Army, buildings

16     were destroyed only at the separation line, that is to say, along the

17     boulevard, the Spanish Square, and Santiceva Street.  Luckily, as far as

18     my positions are concerned or the HVO positions, during the conflict

19     between the BH Army and the HVO on the east bank, for 24 hours there were

20     members of the Spanish Battalion who spent time there, and they went

21     around counting the shells falling on the left and right bank; that is to

22     say, on both sides of the line.  And from their reports, which the

23     Prosecutor has placed at the disposal of this Trial Chamber, I precisely

24     calculated just how many shells fell on the east bank of Mostar.  That

25     piece of paper has been handed over to the Court, and it is an exhibit;

Page 39550

 1     and I hope that the Prosecutor, if it should happen to find different

 2     figures, will put that right; but there were some 800-odd shells.

 3             And I claim that during the conflict and before, when there was

 4     no conflict, that both the east bank and west bank of Mostar was shelled

 5     by the artillery of the Army of Republika Srpska, more or less, to a

 6     greater or lesser extent.  And I also claim, to the best of my knowledge,

 7     that of the number that I have stated over those five or six months fired

 8     from HVO positions to the east side, it's not only the east bank but the

 9     whole of the eastern area around Mostar, that at least 25 percent or

10     30 percent fell from the Serb positions so that they could keep the

11     conflict alive.  And then once I would say, There you are, the BH Army is

12     shooting at us, and then the other side would say -- the BH Army would

13     say, Here we have the HVO shooting at us; and that's what would happen,

14     all this shooting to and fro.

15             I also claim that the number of about 600 projectiles over a

16     period of five or six months that were directed at exclusively military

17     facilities on the east bank, in the military sense, were at the level of

18     an attack that would be launched by a battalion, so it's a negligible

19     number for us to be able to talk about any kind of bombing for Mostar,

20     the bombing of Mostar.

21             What the Chamber is looking at here is a table showing how many

22     artillery shells must be fired according to the rules of any army in the

23     world in order to neutralise 25 percent or 50 percent of the enemy

24     forces, and so on and so forth; 5.000, 6.000, those are the figures that

25     we're looking at.  The Chamber has that.  If need be, I can explain that

Page 39551

 1     more.

 2             MR. STRINGER:  Excuse me.  Sorry for the interruption.  I may

 3     have missed the reference, but I see the general is referring to the

 4     binder that he was using yesterday, and there was a reference to a chart.

 5     And if we're on one of the tabs, I'm just wondering if counsel could

 6     indicate which of the tabs the general is referring to.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, what is this

 8     chart?  What is the reference?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a table or a chart that I

10     showed here in this courtroom.  No, I don't have it here.  What I'm

11     saying is it has been shown.  The Trial Chamber here has been shown this

12     chart or table.  These are NATO charts or tables containing information

13     about how many shells and artillery weapons must fire over a square

14     kilometre in order to neutralise, say, 25 percent or 50 percent or

15     75 percent of enemy forces.  That's the chart I have in mind.  Of course,

16     I don't have it in front of me, but I have it in another binder that is

17     in my possession.  As far as I remember, it has been made an exhibit.

18             MR. STRINGER:  Okay.  From glancing over, Mr. President, I think

19     we're at tab 5 that the Prosecution at least has.

20             And if I could, with respect, while I'm on my feet, as was the

21     case yesterday, the general is referring and basically testifying on the

22     basis of papers that are contained in the binder, and I think that -- and

23     we've had a number of cases throughout the trial in which witnesses are

24     testifying with notes or with pre-prepared materials, and it's not clear

25     to us, and I think it may be useful to -- I'd like to know the status, if

Page 39552

 1     I may, of these notes.  Are they going to be tendered into evidence?  Are

 2     these materials prepared by the general with his counsel?  It seems that

 3     we're not really getting live testimony so much as reading back of

 4     something that's been prepared previously by the general and possibly his

 5     counsel.

 6             MR. KOVACIC:  If I may assist.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, yesterday, in the

 8     84 bis statement, Mr. Praljak relied on documents that were under tabs.

 9     Are you going to seek to tender such documents?  That is the question

10     raised, and rightly raised by Mr. Stringer.  Could you enlighten us on

11     this, because he saw Mr. Praljak looking at documents and he's of the

12     view that these are documents arising from the statement or other

13     documents that you might seek to tender later on by submitting them to

14     Mr. Praljak.  Could you shed some light on this?

15             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, of course I'm only

16     too glad to be given an opportunity to explain this.  Nevertheless, there

17     is a number of details involved that I think might be helpful in avoiding

18     any further misunderstandings.

19             First of all, perhaps the detail raised by my learned friend, the

20     last three minutes of General Praljak's answer, in which he mentioned two

21     documents that were used and shown in this courtroom before.  He is

22     referring to specific exhibits.  We don't have the numbers at our

23     finger-tips or in front of us right now, but I think we all know which

24     ones we're talking about.  These have been admitted.  General Praljak

25     simply added up some information gleaned from all the SpaBat reports in

Page 39553

 1     order to arrive at the total number of shells, and this is something he's

 2     just explained.  The other document involved was another chart showing

 3     artillery information according to NATO standards, the amount of

 4     ammunition used up for certain targets.  These are military standards.

 5     I think Mr. Petkovic helped a little with that.

 6             THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may,

 7     there is a mistake here.  These are expenditure norms of the JNA and not

 8     NATO.  I think Mr. Kovacic misspoke.  Let me just put him right on this.

 9     These are expenditure norms prescribed by the JNA, not NATO.

10             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I thank the general.  He's quite

11     correct.  I had come across the reference to this being about NATO

12     standards, but after the break we can provide the exact reference for

13     these.

14             As for the question just posed by the Trial Chamber, and then

15     following the question by my learned friend from the OTP, General Praljak

16     prepared his opening statement assuming that he would be given three

17     hours to present his statement, as we had requested.  He prepared the

18     statement on his own, unaided, based on any documents in his possession,

19     based on any documents in the Defence team's possession - he doesn't have

20     everything in the Detention Unit - and based on everything that had gone

21     on in this courtroom.  You then restricted the time he was allowed, and

22     we decided to take over some of these individual topics for purely

23     practical reasons, practical reasons, since all of this is --

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Kovacic.  I'll

25     give you the floor in a moment, but there is a question to be raised

Page 39554

 1     straight away.

 2             Yesterday, when General Praljak made his statement, we followed

 3     the statement based on the binder he gave us, and we could see that he

 4     was reading parts of the documents that was in the binder.  You told us

 5     that that was his own work.  Our question is as follows:  Was the binder

 6     given yesterday to the Prosecution?  Did the Prosecution receive it?  You

 7     say, Yes?  Please say that so it is on the record.

 8             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, yes, it was

 9     served on the Chamber and the OTP in order to enable for everyone to

10     follow.  This is General Praljak's statement.  I'm just coming to that,

11     or I was just come to that when you asked me this question.

12             When his time was limited, we decided to try not to cause any

13     trouble, in terms of document handling, and there has been a lot of that

14     in this trial.  I didn't particularly wish to separate the topics that I

15     set aside in order to do them myself and raise them with General Praljak.

16     My learned friend is now informing me that the OTP was given the binder

17     on Friday.  Therefore, I'm using this same binder to ask all these

18     questions, because if we had physically separated my questions and his

19     questions, it might have made it more difficult for others to follow and

20     we might have ended up with a mountain of documents to deal with.

21     Nevertheless, I will always call the tab number for the reasoning

22     following.

23             General Praljak, for the most part, is trying to follow the

24     structure of his presentation in order to keep matters as brief as

25     possible, but I see that he's also adding to what is presented there and

Page 39555

 1     his own thoughts, but he's trying to follow the logic of the structure

 2     that is already there in order to be as effective as possible.

 3             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters note, could all the other

 4     microphones in the courtroom be switched off while counsel is speaking,

 5     because we can't hear counsel or anyone else, for that matter.

 6     JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Should the Chamber understand this to

 7     mean that you will proceed to tender all documents, that is, 28 documents

 8     to be found in the binder; water, telephone, electricity, information,

 9     shelling of Mostar, Old Bridge, siege of Mostar, sniper fire, et cetera,

10     all these other topics in the document.  Are you going to file a motion

11     in writing, possibly, to seek to tender the 28 documents, knowing that

12     you told us that Mr. Praljak read at least half of them and that he did

13     not have the time to read the others because he lacked time?  If he had

14     three hours, he would have read document number 1, entitled "Water," or

15     document number 2, entitled "Telephone," et cetera?

16             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.  Your question

17     foreshadows what we hoped we might be able to do.  It was for the sake of

18     efficiency and in order to aid the Judges and the OTP that we tried to

19     use this entire binder, tabs 1 through 28, after completing our questions

20     on these matters, in order to tender it, for ease of reading, and then

21     you can judge its probative value.  That is up to you.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, we got the message.

23             Yes, Mr. Stringer.

24             MR. STRINGER:  Just forward record, Mr. President, the

25     Prosecution is going to object to these written texts being tendered into

Page 39556

 1     evidence or being accepted.  The general gave his opening statement

 2     yesterday within the time-frame set by the Trial Chamber.  He's now a

 3     witness in the box.  He's taken the solemn declaration.  Witnesses don't

 4     come to the Tribunal are read pre-prepared statements and then tender

 5     those speeches or written statements into evidence.  The evidence are the

 6     words that come from his mouth, in my submission, Mr. President, and so I

 7     don't -- I don't want to take more time on it, but I think there is a

 8     distinction between what the general says and then what is contained in

 9     these pre-prepared written texts that they're proposing to tender.  And

10     so it's our position that the written texts are not admissible, but

11     that's for another day.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  The Trial Chamber

13     will deliberate on this topic.  We note your position.  We note

14     Mr. Kovacic's position.

15             Very well.  Continue, please, Mr. Kovacic.

16             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, I have a question.

18             Mr. Praljak dealt with the topic of destruction of buildings in

19     Mostar by the JNA or the Republika Srpska.  He told us that he asked for

20     the destruction to be filmed.  He has a film, he has a copy of it, and so

21     has the Croatian Television.  Did you plan to show us the video?  Because

22     this could be evidence that what is alleged in the indictment -- in the

23     indictment, it is alleged to have been destroyed by the HVO, but that in

24     fact it was destroyed by the JNA or the Republika Srpska?  Are you going

25     to show this to us or not?

Page 39557

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do have the

 2     material.  It's over an hour long.  I was convinced that the book

 3     "Urbicide," authored together by Muslims and Croats, describing with a

 4     great degree of precision the destruction, might be better evidence

 5     backing my claims than the film.  But if you want me to, I could show the

 6     footage as well, the Svenko [phoen] house taken from an angle above the

 7     house and then swinging down.  It's really dead boring and it might take

 8     some time.  If you really want me to, I can show you that, maybe a small

 9     portion of the material, maybe everything.  It depends on how much time

10     you have.  But I was convinced that the book "Urbicide" and the two or

11     three exhibitions in Paris and in Zagreb and everything that would

12     present clear and unambiguous evidence as to who destroyed the Mostar

13     bridge, the Old Bridge in Mostar.  That is my position, but then it is up

14     to my lawyers to judge that, and we can also attach the tape.

15             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If I could just add a single

16     sentence to what Mr. Praljak has said.

17             We conferred with our client, and we decided to apply the

18     principle of best possible evidence.  We considered this subject, and as

19     Mr. Praljak said, the best possible evidence would be his book "Urbicide"

20     prepared by an independent commission, a mixed commission, if you like.

21     We have heard witnesses who spoke about how the book came into existence.

22     The chief editor was here talking about that, as a matter of fact.  That

23     is why we believe that the other piece of evidence was of lesser value,

24     as General Praljak said.  But if you want to know about that

25     specifically, no problem.  It is somewhat boring.  It takes a long time

Page 39558

 1     to see the whole thing.  We can show you the whole thing.  We can show

 2     you an abridged version, but we have not included it in the 65ter.

 3             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreter didn't hear the last part of

 4     counsel's answer.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have in front of you Judges

 6     that are going to rule on matters, and you said something that I don't

 7     agree with.  You said that the probative value of the movie is less than

 8     the document.  I don't agree, because a book or a document can have been

 9     just made up; but something that has been filmed, that was filmed then by

10     a party, whatever party it was, that's something visual, unless of course

11     they were edited; but that has a higher probative value than what may

12     have been written in a book or was a photograph, because the weight of a

13     picture, in my book, is greater than what someone may say because you can

14     see precisely what happened.

15             So the reason why I'm saying this is also because I refer to

16     something I can say in open session.  I refer to the decision of the ICJ

17     in the case Serbia and Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which there

18     is a large part devoted to destruction in Mostar, and I noted that in

19     that part of the decision of the ICJ decision, there seems to be mention

20     of buildings that are mentioned in our indictment for facts that are

21     attributed to the HVO; hence, the interest in seeing and watching this

22     film.  The footage was taken at the time, if I understood Mr. Praljak

23     properly, before HVO fire, of which he claims that it was only focused on

24     the boulevard separating the front-lines, and having no other objectives.

25             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, no objection to raise

Page 39559

 1     about what you said.  I fully agree.  What I said was merely an

 2     assessment that we made.  We tried to think about the simplest way -- the

 3     best way to present evidence, backed by live witnesses.  That seemed the

 4     most practical course of action to take.  Obviously, we welcome your

 5     suggestion, and we shall be more than glad, especially as concerns Mostar

 6     1992.  We might be getting to that over the next couple of days, and we

 7     might have the footage ready by such time.  I do have to consider the

 8     form.  Will we present the entire footage, or maybe just sections, or

 9     maybe we shall give the whole thing to everyone and then they can pick

10     whichever sections they are most interested in, but we have absolutely no

11     reason to hold back anything that's in our possession.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If the film is one hour long,

13     of course, you're not going to use one hour out of your time, because you

14     don't have all the time in the world, but you could maybe select five or

15     ten minutes, the most relevant part.

16             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Thank you, Your Honour.

17     I think we know the general direction.

18        Q.   General Praljak, I think you wanted to add something about this.

19        A.   Yes.  I'm just trying to say that I prepared this and I wrote it

20     under oath.  I am here asserting that I wrote here is true.  I wrote this

21     on my own, unaided.  I also assert that the translation that was produced

22     in Zagreb was produced for that purpose alone, just to hurry things along

23     over the three hours that I hoped I would be allotted.  So that's that.

24             I further assert that in Eastern Mostar, after the clashes

25     between the HVO and the BH Army or, rather, the attacks by the BH Army on

Page 39560

 1     the HVO, the Command of the 4th Corps was in the centre of town.  The

 2     Command of the 1st Motorised Brigade of the BH Army was in the centre of

 3     town.  The Command of the Military Police was in the centre of town.  The

 4     mess of the BH Army, their kitchen, was in the centre of town.  The

 5     ammunition storage units they had, the depots and everything, was in the

 6     centre of town, and the military commands, finally, were in the centre of

 7     East Mostar.

 8             Further, I assert that the BH Army soldiers and civilians were

 9     mingling on a regular basis.  It was all mixed up, and they were bringing

10     weapons in all the time.  This was something that was easy enough to

11     observe on a daily basis.

12             In those conditions of war, obviously, many people were wearing

13     uniforms that weren't, strictly speaking, supposed to be wearing

14     uniforms, and there were children carrying weapons through and through.

15     What the International War of Law has to say about that, well, you

16     probably know more than I do.

17             It is the right and duty of a military commander to destroy any

18     enemy military targets.  It is necessary to use a proportionate number of

19     artillery shells for that purpose.  The word "proportionate" is

20     interpreted as the amount necessary to destroy or disable, for example,

21     an enemy bridge, enemy communications, enemy HQ, and so on and so forth.

22     I assert that the HVO commanders, headed by me, abided by that right and

23     that duty, or rather had we done that, the number of artillery shells

24     fired on the area of East Mostar would have been at least 1.000 times

25     greater than the number counted by the members of SpaBat, even without

Page 39561

 1     taking into account the artillery shells of the --

 2             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I'm sorry to interrupt you.  You used, in your

 3     answer now, and I quote the word, quote, "proportionate" is termed as

 4     "the amount necessary to destroy or disable, for example, an enemy

 5     bridge, enemy communications, enemy headquarters, and so on and so

 6     forth."  Now, I would only like to underline that you misunderstood the

 7     meaning of "proportionate."

 8             Of course, I do not have before me now the text of the -- I mean

 9     the articles of the given Geneva and The Hague Protocols and Conventions,

10     but I am sure that the proportionate is referring to the fact that the

11     very aim of the -- to destroy a certain building or whatever should be

12     proportionate with the results of the efforts -- the military efforts

13     that is being employed by the parties concerned, that is, one or the

14     other party in the armed conflict.  So, therefore, it is not about the

15     question of the ammunition, et cetera, but it is a question of being

16     proportionate with the very aim of how to complete a military operation.

17             Thank you.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Judge Prandler.  I tried

19     to find an exact definition of the word "proportionate."  Nevertheless,

20     it is still about the putting of action, something that is targeted,

21     unless we take into account such countries usually considered to be the

22     best representatives of international law, such as the United States.

23     For example, they attacked Serbia, and disproportionately they destroyed

24     over 60 bridges [as interpreted] of the TV buildings.  Proportionate,

25     that's what it means, according to their doctrine, put out of action a

Page 39562

 1     military target as defined by military law to keep it from continuing to

 2     operate.  Lawyers, of course, give the definition a wide berth at times.

 3     They try to avoid defining exact balance this means.  "Proportionate"

 4     means putting out of action, putting out of operation.  All these things

 5     were in the town itself, and according to standard charts, thousands and

 6     thousands of shells more would have been necessary to put all these out

 7     of action.

 8             All the witnesses we've heard here agreed on one thing as to the

 9     number of shells.  The HVO commanders fell far short of taking full

10     advantage of their right, despite the fact that their mortars were next

11     to the hospital.  Some of them were mounted on cars and were used to fire

12     throughout the town.  Despite all of this, the smallest possible number

13     of shells under my command was fired, and those shells were fired on

14     military targets, and nothing else but military targets.  I'm claiming

15     that.  There is both proof in the military charts that I attached, but

16     finally it will be up to you to judge the meaning of this expression,

17     "proportionate," under the terms of the Law of War.  And then I believe

18     we can study other examples from the wars waging throughout the world

19     right now at this moment by the great powers.  I think that should be a

20     reference point that we should all abide by and decide and define our own

21     concepts in relation to.

22             Thank you very much.  I have no more questions.

23             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, I think it's time to

24     move on to our next topic, that being the Old Bridge.

25             I would like to point out one more thing to the Trial Chamber and

Page 39563

 1     to everyone else in the courtroom.  General Praljak will provide no more

 2     than a set of brief reference points in relation to this topic, which is

 3     a topic that has been dealt with already.  We might have to return to

 4     that subject, but I hope there will be no further need for that.  Thank

 5     you.

 6        Q.   Please move on, General.

 7        A.   I assert that at the time, I commanded the operation of crossing

 8     from the right-hand riverbank to the left-hand riverbank, these HVO units

 9     involved, and there were some Muslim units helping, the second day or the

10     second night of the attack, and there was a guard set up around the Old

11     Bridge, no more than 150 or 200 metres away from the Serb lines.  I gave

12     orders to the HVO logistics to build a cage around the bridge to protect

13     the bridge.  Several lorries were needed.  Thick planks to protect the

14     bridge, seven centimetres thick, to protect the whole structure.  It was

15     mortar shells raining down, for the most part, and we wanted to keep

16     those from inflicting further damage on the Old Bridge because it had

17     been damaged very much already.  So those planks that were wrapped around

18     the Old Bridge were supposed to absorb these detonations by these mortar

19     shells, shrapnel flying throughout the area, without causing further

20     damage to the bridge.  That's why I did that.  There were a total of

21     between 30 and 40 young men involved in this, and as they went about

22     their tasks, they were facing grave danger.  They were in danger of a

23     single shell or two shells killing 10, 12, or even 15 of them in one foul

24     swoop.

25             MR. STRINGER:  May I request counsel or the witness indicate

Page 39564

 1     what's the time-frame that he's talking about.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, when you provide

 3     this type of information, please provide dates, because when we write the

 4     judgement, we will have to put dates to confirm or dismiss what you said.

 5     So you said that you gave orders, but when did you give orders, in which

 6     month, on which day?  Well, it might be difficult to tell us the day, as

 7     such.  But I'm also surprised, Mr. Praljak.  I looked at the three

 8     binders, and in them I could not find any military order you would have

 9     signed.

10             For instance, you said here that you gave an order.  Was it an

11     oral order?  Of course, if it was an oral order, it has less value than a

12     written order.  And if you wrote an order, it must be found somewhere,

13     and then you have to produce it.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, from what I know,

15     verbal orders have the same weight as the written orders in a war.  When

16     an operation is launched, it is impossible to issue written orders; some

17     minor ones, yes.  However, verbal orders are given during an ongoing

18     operation.  So this was a verbal order, and people who were engaged in

19     the task, some four or five, signed a statement which will be submitted

20     to the Trial Chamber as to who had given them the order and what they did

21     and when they did it.  It was in the month of June 1992, two days after

22     the beginning of the attack that started on the 14th of June, 1992, at

23     5.00 in the morning, or 4.00 or 5.00 in the morning.  So not the first

24     night, the 14th; it was between the 15th and the 16th of June, if my

25     memory serves me properly.  I am a bit confused at the moment, but that

Page 39565

 1     was the time.  It was then when 30 to 40 lads obeyed my verbal order, and

 2     you will see their statements, protected the Old Bridge by way of tube

 3     construction and planks.

 4             I also claim that at that moment, as far as our attack is

 5     concerned, that bridge did not have any significant military purpose, and

 6     I also claim that I don't know which commander of an organised army would

 7     have exposed the lives of 30 or 40 men at the time when intense and heavy

 8     fighting was going on.  In some armies, it would be characterized as an

 9     irresponsible act on the part of a commander, which was me at the time,

10     exposing people to excessive danger.

11             Also, I found justification for that order of mine in the

12     symbolic and culturalogical [as interpreted] meaning of the Old Bridge

13     for the citizens of the city of Mostar, because that bridge was a symbol

14     more than anything else.  I would not have protected any other bridge in

15     the same way, I would not have saved any other bridge in the same way.

16     Only the Old Bridge enjoyed that right because its significance surpassed

17     any other bridge's significance.  That's why I undertook all the

18     measures.  I issued that order which, in military terms, could not have

19     been justified or reasonable, in military terms.

20             Likewise, I assert that at the time of attacks by the BiH Army in

21     the month of May, and especially after the end of June 1993, and

22     throughout the time that I'm going to demonstrate clearly as the major

23     operation Neretva 1993 which started in Bugojno and ended sometime in the

24     second half of the month of October 1993, I assert that the HVO

25     commanders of the operative zone and the brigade commanders, and the

Page 39566

 1     artillery subordinated to them, had received clear instructions from me

 2     not to fire at civilian targets or the military targets that the BH Army

 3     chose to locate among the civilian population.

 4             The Old Bridge was never targeted by the HVO, and I also assert

 5     that it was -- if it had been targeted from Hum Hill, it would have

 6     sufficed three shells in one minute to destroy the Old Bridge.  All it

 7     took was three shells, the bridge was shelled, such shells could

 8     penetrate the bridge, and where its statics -- where the [indiscernible]

 9     bridge would have collapsed.  Throughout the whole time of my command

10     down there, the bridge was never targeted.  Throughout all that time, it

11     was a military target that we could see in some of the footages that were

12     made at the time, and it was also confirmed by Muslim witnesses.  If that

13     bridge -- that bridge was a military target.  Soldiers crossed it

14     carrying weapons and ammunition for the parts and positions of the

15     Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina which were on the right bank of the

16     River Neretva.

17             In other words, based on that and based on what I understood as

18     being implied by the law, I was entitled to destroy the bridge.  All the

19     law provides for something else.  There is a provision according to which

20     a commander of a division which would be equal to a commander of

21     [indiscernible], the commander of an operative zone, I or somebody else

22     would have had the discretionary right to destroy such a facility if that

23     facility signified a major value for the enemy side.  I didn't do any

24     such thing.  None of that was ever done.

25             There have been words about how the bridge was destroyed.  I,

Page 39567

 1     unfortunately, cannot say who destroyed it, who did it.  It will always

 2     remain a mystery, although I believe that it was a very dirty game

 3     according to what I know and one person participated in that, known by

 4     his nickname Scott, Ed Scott, who was a member of the British Army, and

 5     immediately before the bridge was destroyed he had placed his camera

 6     there, and so on and so forth.

 7             I know one thing with a great degree of reliability.  Not a

 8     single member of the HVO participated in the destruction of the

 9     Old Bridge.  Who was it who, on the 8th of November, 1993, shelled the

10     Old Bridge from a tank which is visible in the footage?  I don't know to

11     this very day.  The investigation started, some people were reported, and

12     then the whole thing came to a halt and never was resumed, for a simple

13     reason; the Goebbels propaganda found a culprit in Slobodan Praljak.

14     Slobodan Praljak is a scapegoat who protected the bridge throughout the

15     war in every possible way when he was commander and later on when he was

16     no longer commander.

17             By the way, the bridge was destroyed on the 9th of November,

18     1993, at 1030 hours, and as from 7.45, I was no longer the commander of

19     the Main Staff from the HVO.  I was already close to Zagreb when I heard

20     about the destruction of the Old Bridge.  So much about that.

21             However, the Judges had in front of them some experts, the book

22     that I wrote as well, and I did that in my relentless struggle to counter

23     the harangue of lies and smears and defend myself and say that I had

24     nothing to do with the destruction of the bridge.  The contrary is true.

25     I protected the bridge, I saved it, and on the 8th, when I had been

Page 39568

 1     formally been dissolved of the duties of commander and I had the document

 2     in my hand, a tank opened fire.  However, my powers are too small to

 3     investigate, and nobody else gives a toss about what really happened. 

 4     But I will not be taking the blame for it.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, let me ask the

 6     Registrar to move to private session for a few minutes, please.

 7                           [Private session]

 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 39569











11 Page 39569 redacted. Private session.















Page 39570

 1   (redacted)

 2   (redacted)

 3                           [Open session]

 4             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, we're back in public session.

 5     Thank you.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

 8        Q.   General Praljak, I believe that this is enough and that we have

 9     managed to synthesise the topic of the Old Bridge, and now I would kindly

10     ask you to say to the Trial Chamber what your position is based on what

11     you know about the encirclement of Mostar as qualified in the Indictment.

12        A.   A town or a territory considers itself besieged when it is

13     surrounded in an unbroken line by soldiers of the opposing enemy side or

14     allied enemy forces.  Until the 9th of May, 1993, the HVO and the Army of

15     Bosnia and Herzegovina together held the lines facing the Army of

16     Republika Srpska on the Herzegovinian battle-field from Konjic to Stolac

17     and Neum or, rather, what remained of unoccupied Konjic to Stolac and

18     Neum.

19             On the 9th of May, the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina attacked

20     the HVO in Mostar, and after the situation calmed down very quickly and

21     the cease-fire was fine, the separation line remained in the town of

22     Mostar, the way we saw it along the boulevard, and outside of Mostar to

23     the north and the south.  The units of the HVO and the BH Army kept their

24     positions facing the Army of Republika Srpska.

25             On the 30th of June, 1993, the BiH Army, or to be more precise

Page 39571

 1     the Muslims in the ranks of the HVO, attacked and disarmed the Croatian

 2     Defence Council and its soldiers on the joint lines of defence, and from

 3     that day on the line of conflict between the HVO and the BiH Army went

 4     from the north towards the South mainly along the River Neretva, all the

 5     way down to Blagaj.

 6             And now could I be allowed to show Your Honours -- everybody has

 7     a map.  Do I need to show them or are you going to look at them in your

 8     binders?

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, it's up to you to

10     decide how you will present your evidence in the framework of the time

11     you were allotted.  If you believe this is useful, do it, proceed.  I'm

12     always in favour of being shown things.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask for the map to

14     be put on the ELMO.

15             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Can the usher please assist the

16     witness with putting the map on the ELMO.  The ERN number is IC549.  It

17     has already been admitted into evidence.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is not the first map.  I am

19     going to be showing them a sequence.

20             Look at the map, please, everybody.  This is the distribution or,

21     rather, the deployment at the moment when the conflict started.  The red

22     line depicts the Army of Republika Srpska.  Down there is the 2nd Brigade

23     of the HVO, the 3rd Brigade of the HVO, and problems arose in Mostar that

24     I've already mentioned.  That's that.

25             And after that, I would like to show --

Page 39572

 1             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 2        Q.   Just a moment, Mr. Praljak.  The number is IC00596 is the one

 3     that you're showing right now.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, we've just seen a

 5     chart, a map.  On these maps, could you tell us what is the date where we

 6     see the position of these armies?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It bears the date 9 May, 1993.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  So May 9, 1993.

 9             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's correction.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I make a personal observation,

11     but no one has to follow me, of course, but I look at this map and in the

12     center I see Mostar.  Mostar is encircled by the VRS, by the 2nd Brigade

13     of the HVO on the top, the 3rd Brigade of the HVO on the bottom.  Is that

14     how we're supposed to read this map?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Then please explain.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On this map, Your Honours, you can

18     see what we heard about here, and that is that there were small conflicts

19     or skirmishes in the town somewhere around the boulevard.  However, the

20     3rd Brigade of the HVO was composed of Croats and Muslims, and it was

21     holding positions facing the Army of Republika Srpska, so nothing was

22     encircled.  The 2nd HVO Brigade was also made up of Croats and Muslims,

23     and it was holding the positions facing the Army of Republika Srpska once

24     again.  The Bosnia-Herzegovina brigade, 1st Brigade, also held a position

25     here.  You see the 2nd Brigade, where their positions end, and then this

Page 39573

 1     continues with the 1st BH Brigade holding the position facing the Army of

 2     Republika Srpska.  Then in Mostar, there were no positions until the 9th

 3     of May, but there were just skirmishes going on.  So there was no

 4     encirclement, no siege, and that was the situation before the 9th of May,

 5     before the lines were to be taken up in the town itself.

 6             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 7        Q.   Since the map is on the ELMO, would you indicate what you're

 8     talking about on the ELMO so we can see it there?

 9        A.   The 2nd HVO Brigade was here [indicates].  Then we have the

10     1st BH Army Brigade facing the Serbian Army and the 3rd Brigade, and

11     their units were not deployed here before the 9th of May.

12             So the Command of the 1st Brigade was located here [indicates],

13     and on the west side in Vranica we have the 4th Corps Command, and the

14     very fact that the 4th Corps Command was so deep into the west tells us

15     that the HVO had no intention of attacking anyone, because no normal

16     commander would allow his 4th Corps to have a command deep in some

17     territory that it wished to take control of.  So this is the situation

18     prior to the 9th of May, 1993, and there is no siege, no encirclement,

19     quite simply joint positions manned by the BH Army and HVO facing the

20     Army of Republika Srpska.

21             Now, I'd like to make a remark here.  In the 2nd and 3rd HVO

22     Brigades, there were large numbers of Muslims, and we've already seen

23     that from the tables that were shown here.

24             Our next map is the one that the Prosecutor showed, and we have

25     the lines there drawn in, the HVO lines - that's Blagaj - and the HVO

Page 39574

 1     lines go to the left of Blagaj, as you can see them.  The lines of

 2     Republika Srpska take a different direction.

 3             Now, on the Prosecution map, we can already see that Mostar was

 4     not a town under siege.  It had not been encircled.  First of all, we had

 5     nothing to do with the Army of Republika Srpska.  We were simply holding

 6     our lines north-south as the military situation developed, whereas the

 7     whole northern part of Mostar across Bijelo Polje and Bjela Bridge

 8     towards Jablanica was still open, and that's the map that's compiled by

 9     the Prosecution.

10             And then we have another map that I compiled.

11             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] General Praljak, before we look at

12     the next map, let's have an IC number for the Prosecution map, given that

13     we received the explanation.  So may we have an IC number for that,

14     please?

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, for the map of July

16     1993 OTP, do we have a number?

17             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honour, that map shall be given

18     Exhibit IC1004.  Thank you, Your Honour.

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

20        Q.   Go ahead, General, please.

21        A.   Your Honours, we used Google for this map, and everything is very

22     clear here.  The red is the Army of Republika Srpska.  The BH Army holds

23     its positions facing the Army of Republika Srpska.  The HVO had its lines

24     along the Neretva River valley and holds the west bank of Mostar and an

25     area under BH Army control along the very embankment.

Page 39575

 1             And to that map, we can add another one, so may we have an IC

 2     number for this first map, please, before I move on.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This Google map, could you tell

 4     us what is the date that refer to the lines that you drew?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the situation after the

 6     30th of June, 1993.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Would you like -- you want a

 8     number for this map extracted from Google; right?

 9             Mr. Registrar.

10             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, the Google map shall be given

11     Exhibit IC1005.  Thank you, Your Honours.

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This shows that the BH Army was

13     holding positions facing the HVO and that the whole area to the north of

14     Mostar was open.  And it is true and correct that there's a mountain

15     here, but it's also true and correct that the main line -- main road goes

16     through Bijelo Polje towards Jablanica and that this entire area,

17     together with Bjela Bridge, was under BH Army control.  The other lane of

18     the Bjela Bridge was destroyed in October 1993, and it's difficult to

19     understand the reasons for that.  Perhaps they were afraid that after

20     their futile offensive, they would not be able to reach Neum and Ploce or

21     the western borders.  And after Neretva -- the offensive Neretva-93

22     proved abortive, they lost the battle and then citizens from

23     Eastern Mostar would start moving to the north, they feared.  So

24     according to the information that I had at the time and that I learned

25     afterwards, they wanted to destroy Bjela Bridge to show the people that

Page 39576

 1     they had nowhere to flee and had to stay where they were, regardless of

 2     the danger you face, and that you face perhaps death, too, which is

 3     contrary to international war law.

 4             And may I have an IC number for that map?

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Mr. Praljak.

 6     Could you give us again the exact date at which these positions --

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation

 8     continues] ... after the 30th of June, 1993.  It's the same map, but I

 9     just show the HVO positions or, rather, positions facing the HVO.  And

10     the other map showed positions facing the Army of Republika Srpska.  This

11     map focuses on the north.  The other map, the first map, focuses on the

12     south.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thanks.  If I

14     understood you well, the green line represented the BH positions, and if

15     I'm not mistaken, the positions of the BiH and the HVO go through Mostar

16     and separate into Mostar -- East Mostar and West through the boulevard;

17     is that it?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not through East Mostar.  They pass

19     through the Neretva River valley up until the Sarinski [phoen] Bridge and

20     then move right into Mostar West, going down Santiceva Street, down the

21     boulevard, down Donja Mahala, to where they were according to that very

22     good map we saw earlier on, and then down the Neretva River valley

23     further on.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Therefore, if the

25     BiH wants to move into Mostar East, according to this map that we have

Page 39577

 1     here, they could go through the mountains in the north and then just go

 2     along the VRS lines that are in red.  So actually you're telling us that

 3     Mostar was not encircled.

 4             I'm just trying to understand what you're telling us and make

 5     sense of it with this map, because as you drew this map, and this is what

 6     you told us and I want you to confirm this, you are actually say that

 7     there is a possibility to access Mostar East through -- coming from the

 8     sector held by the BiH if you go through the mountains; yes or no?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not only across the mountains,

10     Your Honour.  You could use the normal road from Mostar to Jablanica.

11     You could follow that road.  And I claim that they took the journalists

12     across the mountains for propaganda reasons.  Even when the bridge wasn't

13     in existence, there was a Macadam road running over several hundred

14     metres and you could pass by that way.  So that's the first point.

15             Secondly, Your Honours, we had nothing to do with the Army of

16     Republika Srpska.  We had our positions facing the BH Army, and it was

17     the BH Army attacking us, so that's what these lines show.  We were under

18     siege, there was a siege, a line around a town, either joint forces --

19     but we had nothing to do with the Army of Republika Srpska.  The fact

20     that the BH Army put itself in a position whereby it had two fronts and

21     two enemies, that was its choice.  That's what it chose to do.  And as I

22     have shown in some of the books that I wrote, they purchased weapons from

23     the Army of Republika Srpska and launched their operations against us.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In terms of military technique,

25     that's important, because the indictment alleges that Mostar was

Page 39578

 1     encircled.  You challenge this?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Completely.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you challenge this.  But

 4     from the purely military point of view, could any BH Army unit enter

 5     East Mostar going through the mountains or through another route?  Was it

 6     feasible, without having to undergo HVO fire or without it being

 7     impossible to enter East Mostar because the position would have been held

 8     by the HVO?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the documents that we have

10     presented here, you were able to see that from the direction of Sarajevo

11     and Central Bosnia, from Jablanica, we had Zuka coming into Mostar, and

12     with the Neretva Operation 93, they brought in reinforcements, they

13     brought in weapons and ammunition, and that an operation which according

14     to what Sefer Halilovic said, which was the first large-scale military

15     operation undertaken by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina over an area of

16     200 kilometres of the front from Uskoplje to South Mostar, they brought

17     in two or three corps and had a complete artillery force and infantry

18     force and deployed their units.  And I'm going to prove that and show you

19     that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's have an IC number for the

21     last map, Registrar, please.

22             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honour, the last map shall be given

23     Exhibit IC1006.  Thank you, Your Honours.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's break now.  It's quarter

25     to 4.00.  Let's break for 20 minutes.

Page 39579

 1                           --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.

 2                           --- On resuming at 4.11 p.m.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.

 4             Please proceed, Mr. Kovacic.

 5             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

 6             I think that General Praljak wanted to discuss the following map,

 7     and that is 0047 [as interpreted], the IC number, 00427.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Shall I put it on the ELMO?

 9     Perhaps it will be easier that way.  I've already shown this map.

10     These are the attack operations launched by the BH Army [indicates],

11     and they were known as Neretva -- under the name Neretva-93, and these

12     operations, as we've already said many times before, they began with

13     the -- well, they began in Konjic after the fall of Bugojno, when there

14     was a fierce attack from the direction of Uskoplje towards Rama, and then

15     the whole line flared up.  And then they made a breakthrough, both in the

16     south around Blagaj, at around the 13th of August, 1993, that was, and

17     then later on breakthroughs towards Hum Hill.  And we read excerpts from

18     the commander of Sector South.  What was his name?  Anyway, I'll be

19     coming back to that later on.  And they came to this area which you can't

20     see on this map, but it's to within 12 kilometres of Siroki Brijeg, they

21     broke their way through in the direction of Vrde and there was very heavy

22     fighting in that area for several months, actually 2.5 months.

23             So the BH Army, according to clear-cut stands, from what the

24     commander said and the chief of the Main Staff of the BH Army

25     Sefer Halilovic said and Rasim Delic, it was quite clear -- or, rather,

Page 39580

 1     they explained these operations in detail, very clearly, so I need not

 2     say any more about them, just to say that they described what they wanted

 3     to achieve, what kind of operation they launched, what their object was,

 4     and how it all ended, what the outcome was.

 5             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 6        Q.   Thank you, General.  Now, if there are no questions, I'd like to

 7     move on to the next area which in the binder is topic number 9, and the

 8     title is "Snipers in Mostar."  General, I'm sure you can tell us a great

 9     deal about that.  It is topic number 8, not 9, "Snipers in Mostar" then,

10     and I'm sure you can tell us about that because you were there, you saw

11     what was going on, and so on and so forth.

12     A.  There are various definitions of snipers, but in the military sense

13     it's quite clear that a sniper is every military rifle with optic sights,

14     which are used to draw the target closer –- the lenses are used

15     to see the target clearly.  Now, in professional armies, you

16  choose a sniper from thousands of candidates, one or two men.  Have you to

17  take into account the humidity of the air, the speed of the wind and so on

18 for a sniper -- for a sharpshooter to be effective when targeting his target.

19             Now, in the area, various observers referred to all kinds of

20     shooting as sniper fire, and so there was a general area in Mostar that

21     was referred to that way, and I claim that the examples put forward by

22     the Prosecutor here, which I challenged, I claim that the 13 cases here

23     could have been wounded in every other way, but not in the way the expert

24     witness testified about.  That is absolutely incorrect.  I won't

25     challenge the fact that some soldiers did have rifles with optic sights,

Page 39581

 1     but I will deny the fact that I or any of my commanders in any way

 2     whatsoever not only did not issue an order, but every time, in every

 3     conversation, they banned any shooting where civilians were concerned, in

 4     the direction of civilians.  I cannot exclude all possibilities that --

 5     more possibility that in a town that was divided, where you had

 6     residential buildings, high-rises and so on, I cannot say that some

 7     unknown person could have shot someone, but what I do claim is this:

 8     From all the photographs that I showed you, in view of the configuration

 9     of the terrain and the lines of the HVO, there were very few

10     possibilities -- there were very few areas from which this could be done.

11     Of course, the positions that were described by the expert witness in

12     South Mostar or up there on that building in the center of town where he

13     claims the shooting came from, it wasn't possible to hit people who were

14     described in those cases.  That's my first point.

15             Secondly, never, during the conflict between the BH Army and the

16     HVO, did I ever receive information from anyone about the existence of

17     any sniper nest whatsoever.  Now, the fact that people sitting in APCs

18     heard shooting and then said that they were fired at by snipers, that

19     goes against the grain of logic, because if you're in an APC, you can't

20     hear very much, and if you hear shooting, you can't say where the

21     shooting came from or what calibre was used, especially as you can use

22     silencers or not silencers when shooting, but the bullets have the same

23     sound whether you're shooting from a weapon with an optic sight or not.

24     So you can't differentiate between the sound of bullets coming from those

25     weapons.

Page 39582

 1        Q.   Thank you very much.  We might as well move on to our next topic.

 2     This is language, the Croatian language in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The

 3     indictment proposes a special theory on this.  What have you got to say

 4     on this, General?

 5        A.   I don't know exactly.  I think this was something that Heidegger

 6     said that language was the house of being. Or, I don’t know, that at the

 7     beginning was the word, as stated in the Bible.  Language is the very

 8     essence of human existence or survival.

 9   There is one thing that I would like to tell the Chamber.  Back in the days

10   when we were young, in our area there was some people who were deaf and

11  dumb. They were dumb because they were deaf, but for that reason, especially

12   in rural areas, almost without exception, they were also retarded.  Why? 

13   Because the human brain cannot shape itself if there is no communication.

14   The child, for example, is deaf.  That must be diagnosed at an early age

15   and there must be communication that is established with this child in

16   another way in order to develop the child's brain potential and for the

17   child to become a fully rational human being.

18             Many examples are known, and if you look at any psychology

19     textbook, will you come across a great many of those.  Many examples are

20     described where a child, for example, grew up with a she-wolf or a

21     chimpanzee.  Even in those conditions, the child will make it or will

22     survive, even though it will be retarded and will not live past the age

23     of 30.  Even the animal screams and the language of anthropoid wolves is

24     sufficient to stimulate a minimum brain activity which then provides for

25     survival.  If a child is left with no communication, even with the best

Page 39583

 1     possible care, no communication would leave a child to die.  And this is

 2     also something you can find in those textbooks, because the child would

 3     not develop the ability for its brain to govern the biological functions

 4     of the body, once these functions outgrow the early instincts.  All of

 5     this tells us that the brain can be structured only through language, and

 6     that is why every nation sees language as the very foundation of its

 7     existence.

 8             Likewise, we have many descriptions of prisons and gulags, the

 9     French Guiana, for example, where the people suffered, and the horrible

10     conditions for 30 or 40 years.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry.  With all respect, Mr. Praljak,

12     you're talking as an expert, and you're here as a witness.  This is

13     nothing that you have observed.  That's something that you have learned,

14     and we have also learned it, and we have also thoughts about it and could

15     say things about it.  You're asked to speak about facts that have some

16     relevance to this case, and not to language in general.  There is no

17     allegation that anyone was deprived of language.

18             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would just like to

19     refer to a Chamber ruling dated the 21st of April, 2009, in the Perisic

20     trial.  I won't take up any time for this or go into any detail.  I'll

21     just quote the title.  [In English] "... for Prosecution witness

22     Miodrag Starcevic."

23             [Interpretation] The decision is public, and I'll just read a

24     single sentence from paragraph 11, the last sentence, quoting the

25     Karemera case:

Page 39584

 1             [In English] "Factual witnesses can also express opinions, so

 2     long as they emanate from personal experience."

 3             [Interpretation] I think as soon as we've seen the general's CV,

 4     it becomes clear that he can talk about this from his own experience,

 5     given his education, given his knowledge, given his qualifications.

 6     I think he's perfectly qualified to talk about the subject.  Thank you.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, I strongly disagree.  This is a

 8     different case you're talking about.  We want to hear things that are in

 9     some way related to the indictment, and so far what Mr. Praljak has said

10     about language has no connection to the indictment at all.  So please,

11     Mr. Praljak, limit yourself to speaking about what is of some relevance

12     to this case.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic.  Mr. Praljak,

14     I do share my colleague's view.  I've just read your filing on English.

15     It's under tab 9.  It is indeed interesting, but this does not respond to

16     the indictment.  In the indictment, it is alleged that there was

17     Croatisation in Herzegovina through education schools, et cetera.  That

18     is interesting.  The accused should tell us, No, that did not happen as

19     alleged in the indictment by the Prosecutor, and you can provide

20     examples.  We've heard witnesses on this already.

21             It would be much more useful for you and more interesting to do

22     that than to go into a theory on language that we are aware of.  Of

23     course, any human being has a language, but that was not alleged in the

24     indictment.  You are accused or charged, together with the other accused,

25     with setting up in Herceg-Bosna an entire system through which you

Page 39585

 1     Croatisised [as interpreted] the language.  Of course, you can meet the

 2     allegation by providing examples because the Trial Chamber will have to

 3     rule on that, saying yes, or no, or it happened not as alleged by the

 4     Prosecutor but as said by you; but you have to provide evidence for that,

 5     whilst now we are in a very general realm that does not further your

 6     case.  You may say that now, but the Trial Chamber together, all the

 7     Judges, wanted to tell you that right now.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand.  I understand,

 9     Your Honours.  I was just trying to point out the importance for a people

10     of something like this.  It is the French of all peoples who are famous

11     for being fond of their language.  I don't understand, in the indictment,

12     what is suggested by the phrase "the Croatisation of language."  To speak

13     Croatian is no Croatisation.  Croats speak Croatian.  Serbs speak

14     Serbian.  In France, they use French, don't they?  You can't Croatise

15     someone as something.

16     At the time, the official language in Bosnia-Herzegovina was Serbo-

17   Croatian.  It's that simple.  The Croats did not agree to that.  I, myself,

18   don't agree.  I have never agreed to Serbo-Croatian language.  There is no

19   such thing as Serbo-Croatian.  It's tantamount to glossing over and trying

20   to eradicate my own national identity.  This is an artificial language that

21   was created in order to create a super-nationalist institute which was in

22   the service of a very harmful policy.  I can't put it any other way.

23             So there's this aggressor speaking Serbo-Croatian attacking a

24     state, destroying a state, killing its people.  In a situation like that,

25     to expect us to speak Serbo-Croatian is a contradiction in terms.  It is

Page 39586

 1     an irrational statement or assertion.  I won't speak Serbo-Croatian.  I

 2     will speak Croatian.  I have every right to speak Croatian.  I'm not

 3     saying that the French should not be speaking French, that the Serbs

 4     should not be speaking Serbian, or indeed that the Bosniaks or the

 5     Muslims should not be speaking Bosniak, which by the way at the time they

 6     did not even call that.

 7             Now, the Prosecutor claims that they felt in some way offended.

 8     What does that mean, to feel offended?  If I assert the right to speak my

 9     own language, in my own language, causing someone else an offence, this

10     is a dangerous theory.  What I state here is that, needless to say, the

11     Germans felt harmed by the Jews, so they killed 6 million Jews.  What

12     does it mean, feeling harmed or offended?  The law does not recognise the

13     felling of offence or harm.  If you feel offended because I speak

14     Croatian in Croatia and not French, then I am entirely at a loss.

15             That is how I was trying to show how important language is.  We

16     used our own money in those schools, and I'm saying "we," it's not just

17     me, it's "we," at the time when we were supposed to speak -- well, just

18     imagine this.  You have French schools in World War II, and imagine

19     someone had introduced Germano-French as the language of instruction in

20     these schools, and some people wanted to speak French but they saw those

21     people as violating the national feelings of Germans or a third person

22     actually has no language to call their own.  The Bosniaks were free to

23     speak in their own language.  They were free to be taught in their own

24     language, in peril, especially where the subjects involved a call for

25     that sort of thing, such as, for example, their literature, their

Page 39587

 1     language, I would stand for that, I would fight for that.  I did then,

 2     and I still would.  I don't want to see my rights jeopardised, but I

 3     don't want another's feelings to put my own rights at risk.  That is the

 4     essence of the problem.

 5             You see, the indictment, what the OTP wrote there, the Croats in

 6     Tuzla and in Zenica spoke Serbo-Croat, and they went to the front-lines,

 7     getting themselves killed while fighting people who were speaking the

 8     Serbian language.  You really must have some very horrible feelings in

 9     order to claim anything like that.  It is an unquestionable and

10     inviolable right of people to speak their own language.  They have no

11     right to challenge anyone else's right to use their own language.

12             Your Honours, you know all the examples.  I won't be listing

13     them.  You know the Quebec example, the French language in Switzerland.

14     There were three languages being spoken.  Your Honour Judge Trechsel can

15     choose his language, the language in which he will express himself, and

16     no one may feel any offence about it.

17             JUDGE PRANDLER:  You're making a lecture.  We do not need your

18     lecturing.  We would like to know about the facts.  Do you have any facts

19     by which you will refute the indictment's position or not?  If not, then

20     we can go on forward.  Thank you.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour Judge Prandler, I

22     did refute these assertions in the indictment.  The Croats never imposed

23     the Croatian language on anyone.  They didn't stand in the way of

24     Radio Mostar the way people spoke.  The Muslim speaker was using

25     whichever language he preferred to use.  I offered incontrovertible

Page 39588

 1     evidence about the way the schools were organised by the Republic of

 2     Croatia.  There was teaching there in the Bosnian language before the

 3     Bosniaks themselves ended up calling their own language the Bosnian

 4     language.  There were those experimental schools in Croatia.  All this

 5     was bankrolled by the Republic of Croatia, and writers were part of the

 6     syllabus in those schools that wrote in the Bosnian language.  All the

 7     grammar had not been written up by this point.  I'm not trying to lecture

 8     anyone.  All I'm saying is it's entirely counter-intuitive, absurd, to

 9     have a right like that, an inalienable right defined as Croatisation in

10     the indictment.  I don't understand what the word means, and there is not

11     a single living soul in the world who can convince me that is actually

12     means anything at all.  Croatisation, what does that mean?  What language

13     were we supposed to be speaking?  Serbo-Croatian?

14             All right, I will stop right there.  I will speak in

15     Serbo-Croatian in a war in which I am being killed and massacred?  I

16     refused, before the war, whenever I could.  When I wrote, I wrote in the

17     Croatian language.  Therefore, this is crystal clear.  I'm not going to

18     be giving a lecture on this.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, we spent a lot of

20     hours on this issue.  Unfortunately, I do not have before me the

21     Constitution, but your lawyer might help me on that one, but I believe

22     that in the Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina - this

23     is from memory - there was a provision that gave every constitutive

24     nation, the Serbs, the Croats, the Muslims, the right, the possibility of

25     using their own language.  Had these events not occurred, how would you

Page 39589

 1     have settled the language problem?  You were a general in the Republic of

 2     Bosnia-Herzegovina and you were supposed to use your own language, but

 3     the other general, who would have been a Muslim, let's say

 4     General Halilovic, he was going to answer to you in his language.  How

 5     can you settle that issue?  Or in order to understand each other, are you

 6     going to both use Serbo-Croat?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the essence of the

 8     language is not understanding.  Unfortunately, we can't -- for example,

 9     there is a much smaller difference between Swedish and Norwegian than

10     between Croatian and Serbian.  Obviously, I have a dictionary of both

11     Croatian and Serbian, here in all differences between the language in a

12     grammatical sense and in terms of syntax, there are major differences.

13             Understanding is just part of what a language is about.  I read

14     the Cyrillic script as well as I read the Latin script.  I know Serbian

15     literature better than most Serbs.  That is completely undisputed, and I

16     understand the Serbian language.  The Bosnian Constitution did not say

17     that each people should use their own language because the prescription

18     was for the language to be called either Serbo-Croatian or Croat or

19     Serbian.  Needless to say, General Pasalic wrote in any language he

20     chose.  I understood that, and I would never raise any objection about

21     that, him choosing a language in which he wrote.  There is no doubt about

22     that.  No objections were ever raised, and every time there was

23     communication between us, orders coming and going, we always understood

24     all of that.

25             All I'm talking about here is a name, a simple name.  This is a

Page 39590

 1     fundamental right, a fundamental right for someone to call his or her own

 2     language by a chosen name.

 3             At the time, the Muslims, who later called themselves the

 4     Bosniaks, had no name for their language, as simple as that.  Yet, until

 5     they found one, they wanted us to refer to that language as

 6     Serbo-Croatian or Croat or Serbian.

 7             Before the war, during the war, I believed and I still believe

 8     that no claims can be made for anyone to do anything like that.  Later,

 9     they said that their language would now be called Bosniak, and they had

10     every right to be taught the Bosniak language, but all we wanted was

11     this:  When we wrote something, and even nowadays that is the way it is

12     in Bosnia-Herzegovina, all of the documents must be written up in three

13     languages.  I'm not sure if that applies in Switzerland, or in Canada, or

14     wherever, but that's what it was like over there.

15             Unfortunately, this is not practiced, the principal being there

16     are more of us than of you, you don't understand the language.  That

17     would entail a great expense to use up so much paper.  Let's not change

18     the grammar or the syntax.  Let's just leave it as it is, because this is

19     widely understood.  I consider that to be unacceptable, and I would

20     never, never settle for that.  It was difficult for me to even settle for

21     this, for the name of the language being used as it is here in the

22     Tribunal, the three names, and I stand by my position.  It is simply not

23     possible for someone to include in the indictment the following

24     statement: that anyone can be harmed by anything like this, that we

25     banned anyone from speaking whatever they chose.  They published

Page 39591

 1     newspapers and magazines, and that's something that has been shown here,

 2     and they have their own radio in which they spoke in their own language.

 3     We tried to ban that.  We impose anything in that sense, or anyone else,

 4     that would have been defined as Croatisation and that would have

 5     constituted a violated of someone else's right, but as far as I know, the

 6     HVO, no civilian, no military structure authority -- the thought had

 7     never occurred to anyone at all, not even occurred to anyone.

 8             MR. STRINGER:  Counsel, I apologise for the interruption.

 9             Mr. President, if I could just have a few brief words.

10             For the last 12 to 15 minutes, I think, in our submission, the

11     general has actually addressed himself to the issue of language as it

12     relates to the indictment.  He didn't begin that way, and that was noted

13     by the President some time ago.  The problem is that, the way we

14     understand the time is being kept, this last 15 minutes or so is probably

15     not going on the Defence time, and it's for the Trial Chamber to decide

16     whether or not it should, but I think just during the short time begun

17     today and yesterday, what's emerging is General Praljak is giving

18     extremely long answers, addressing himself very much towards comments and

19     questions of the Trial Chamber, and if we continue to keep time in the

20     way that we are up to this point, we will never finish this direct

21     examination.  We're running at about a nine-week pace for the direct

22     examination at this point, because we're getting about an hour or less of

23     time.  And I don't know what the answer is.  It may be that the time

24     given responding to the Trial Chamber's questions should be included.  I

25     don't know, and I'm sure counsel would have his own position on that, but

Page 39592

 1     it seems to me that the pattern that's emerging is one that is not going

 2     to work within any remotely reasonable time-frame for this direct

 3     examination to be concluded.

 4             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would not like to

 5     address this at any great length; maybe just one sentence in response to

 6     my learned friend's words, although there was no concrete proposal; there

 7     was just criticism to the effect that the system that we are applying,

 8     saying that the system is not the best and the most desirable.

 9             However, in this courtroom, you, Your Honours, particularly, you

10     cannot consider any changes in the rules of the game that you,

11     yourselves, prescribed at the very outset, before the game even started.

12     I believe that I don't have to provide any further explanation as to how

13     absurd this would be.  Once the rules are set, then the participants in

14     the game should abide by the rules, unless they are changed, of course.

15     However, rules are never changed in the middle of a game.  And this is

16     all for me on that topic.

17             Unfortunately, there was an intervention even before that, and I

18     would like to answer His Honour Judge Antonetti.  It is true that there

19     is a document in e-court under 1D10236, which is the Constitution of the

20     Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  You remembered the document well,

21     and we're talking about Article 4 of the Constitution.  And it is true

22     what Mr. Praljak is saying, and that is that that article envisages

23     Serbo-Croatian and Croat and Serbian as two official languages in Bosnia,

24     and the Ikavian dialect as the way the languages are pronounced.  The

25     Croatian variant would be the Ikavian variant.  Let's not expand the

Page 39593

 1     subject of language any further.  No, I don't have anything else to add.

 2     Thank you very much.

 3             And the number that is being suggested to me, let me just repeat

 4     the number.

 5             [In English] If I may just repeat the number --

 6             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Please do so.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: -- for the transcript, 1D01236.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  I think the Chamber must react to

 9     what Mr. Stringer has brought forward.

10             I do not envisage, and I'm sure that my colleagues agree, any

11     change in rules, but we have to distinguish two things.  One is questions

12     asked by Judges, and they are time which is not counted towards the

13     Defence.  Another thing is Judges recalling the witness that he is to

14     speak as a witness and not as an expert or something else.  And then if

15     he continues, of course that is not answering a question by the Judges,

16     but it is continuing of his testimony.  I think that is completely in

17     conformity with the rules, and I even seem to realise that you also agree

18     with this interpretation.

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I absolutely agree, Your Honour.

20     However, there is a problem there.  Who will be the arbiter of that?

21     Who's going to take the role of judge in such a case?  Are you prepared

22     to take the stopwatch in your hand, and every time the accused opens his

23     mouth, you say, Stop, and say to the representative of the Registry, Up

24     to here, this is us, and from there it is them?  I am exaggerating,

25     Your Honours.  I'm sure you understand that, but this would take us too

Page 39594

 1     far.  The rules are what they are.  However, if you are of the opinion

 2     that the accused is going too far, you have all the prerogatives to stop

 3     the situation at that moment, as you did just a moment ago, and you have

 4     the right to warn the accused and to stop him sometime.  It may be

 5     premature, because an introduction serves to open an issue, and sometimes

 6     it's not.  The however, this is the way the cookie crumbles in the

 7     courtroom, and since you have opened the issue, I strongly object to any

 8     modification of the rules that exist.  You can always control every

 9     speaker in the courtroom at every moment.  You can tell me or anybody

10     else, This is enough.  Sit down and shut up.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm happy to state and to see that we are in

12     agreement, Mr. Kovacic, and I even agree that there may be delicate

13     questions, but I think as a rule we can trust our Registrar, who does a

14     wonderful job on this.  We will perhaps have to control it, and you too,

15     and in case that the suspicion comes up that there are problems, then we

16     could take it up again.  But I think it's premature now to see more

17     problems than are actually at issue, and I think we can continue now.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic --

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] With all due respect,

20     Your Honours --

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, let me cut to the

22     chase.  My colleague, my fellow Judge, was absolutely right to mention

23     all this, and I fully agree with him, but you just said something.  In

24     Article 4 of the Constitution, it is recognised that the citizens of

25     Bosnia-Herzegovina can use the two languages, either Serbo-Croat or

Page 39595

 1     Croatian-Serb, and if I understood you right, the Ikavian language, which

 2     means that in Mostar as well as in Herzegovina, anyone, according to the

 3     Constitution of the BiH, had the possibility of speaking Croat, the

 4     Croatian language.  Is this what you're telling us?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not under the Constitution.  This

 6     should have been the same language, one and the same, in two different

 7     forms.  In schools where there was a majority Serb representation, then

 8     the teaching would be in the Serbian, and in Siroki Brijeg and Grude,

 9     the teaching would be in Croatian.  There was no possibility to do

10     it legally without being subject to punishment.  It was not possible for

11     a teacher to say, for example, to children, Children, you're now going to

12     be taught Croatian.  That was not even possible in Croatia proper.  The

13     term used there was "Croatian literally language," a language used by

14     novelists and writers.

15             I started talking about the problem of Croatian language on

16     account of which people ended up in war started from the declaration on

17     the Croatian literary language that was written in the 1970s by

18     intellectuals who were against unification.  I reduced my speech to a

19     minimum.  You cannot know things.  I don't want to pretend that I'm an

20     expert, but I know a thing or two about the language.

21             At the moment when an aggression started, the people that were

22     exposed to the aggression could not speak or use the language of the

23     aggressor.  They had their own language where they called Croatian, and

24     when that was introduced into school and when that was being used, then

25     it was the beginning of --

Page 39596

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Mr. Praljak.

 2     Let's not spend too much time on this.  Your answer to the question, of

 3     course this time is not deducted from your time, but my question was of a

 4     legal nature.  This is what I wanted to know:  With respect to the

 5     Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was it possible for Croats in Mostar

 6     to speak another language than that provided for in the Constitution?

 7     That's all.  You said, No.  Perfect, you answered.

 8             Mr. Kovacic, please resume.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Mr. Kovacic.

11             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

12             I just wanted to add to this, since the document has been

13     mentioned under 1D01236, Article 4, we're talking about the Constitution,

14     that we should bear in mind that that Constitution was passed by the

15     Presidency of the former Bosnia-Herzegovina on the 24th of February,

16     1993.  Even then, when the war was raging, what was being done was a

17     copying of the Constitution norm that existed during the existence of the

18     former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.

19             Maybe I should ask the General just one more question since we've

20     been talking about the language at such great length.

21        Q.   General, you mentioned on several occasions that the Bosnian

22     language did not exist at the time.  Do you maybe remember when the first

23     reference of a Bosnian language was made at public gatherings or

24     professional gatherings or when the term started becoming used at any

25     significant rate?

Page 39597

 1        A.   It was a long, long time ago, but I would not go into that

 2     because that would --

 3        Q.   Just a moment, General.

 4        A.   It was a fellow citizen of the honourable Judge Prandler, Kalaj,

 5     who was the governor of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who tried to invent the

 6     Bosnian language, but that was connected with the annexation of

 7     Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austro-Hungary, and it is a broad area.  But the

 8     essence of the matter is this:  You lawyers should agree whether the

 9     Presidency could pass the Constitution, which Presidency could pass the

10     Constitution, which Presidency can pass a Constitution?  The Bosnian

11     language.  The Bosnian language that was first introduced into the

12     territorial schools for the children who were Bosniaks and Muslims in the

13     Republic of Croatia in 1992.

14        Q.   Very well.  Thank you very much.

15        A.   -- because I believe in order to give them the right to use their

16     own language as a people.

17        Q.   Thank you very much.  I believe that we have explained things

18     very well.  If there are no further questions, I would like to move on to

19     the next topic, which is number 10 in this binder, and it is the issue of

20     presidential transcripts.  A lot has been said in this courtroom about

21     that.  We've seen a lot of them also.

22             You have your position on that, General.  Can you please tell us

23     something about that?  Can you tell us what you know about the

24     presidential transcripts?

25        A.   Although the integral reading of the text which we call

Page 39598

 1     presidential transcripts does not reveal anything mean dishonourable

 2     politically unacceptable unless some people stirring and insisting on

 3     their ideas.  However, these conversations were taped secretly, and the

 4     participants did not know that they were being taped.  To my question,

 5     this was testified by the Prosecution Witness Manolic.

 6             Second of all, what was said was abbreviated from the

 7     transcription from speech into text.  There was the possibility and it

 8     did happen that there was a wrong match between the person who said a

 9     certain word and the text attached to that person.  For example, I would

10     be ascribed the words of Mr. Karnavas, Mr. Karnavas would be ascribed the

11     words of somebody else.  This is because people spoke without introducing

12     themselves.  I would, for example, say something, and I did not precede

13     my words by saying, This is Praljak speaking, and then the words who

14     transcribed had to speculate who it was, whether it was Praljak,

15     Karnavas, Kovacic, or whoever.

16             Number 2, Franjo Tudjman, the president of the state, did that in

17     his office because he was a historian, and he hoped that he would live

18     longer, and he wanted to use the documents for his historical synthesis.

19     The transcripts arrived at a court, in my layman terms, in a legally

20     invalid way pursuant to a private decision on the part of President Mesic

21     who gave the transcripts to the journalists and told him, Do whatever you

22     want to do with them.

23             Furthermore, speech within a family, speech in closed session,

24     speech at free seminars, of free universities, speech in editorial rooms

25     in newspapers, speech at closed sessions of judges, are all speeches that

Page 39599

 1     imply the freedom of speech as a thesis, as a possibility, and sometimes

 2     this is contrary -- what is said is contrary to what the person really

 3     believes.  This is examining all the possibilities, speech as a possible

 4     provocation, speech as a gain.  That is what is done at universities.

 5     This is a freedom which doesn't imply that what is said is necessarily

 6     what you actually mean, that it reflects your position.  It has never

 7     been so.

 8             I'm going to skip the theories of the language by Saussure and

 9     Chomsky.  I'm going to skip all that.  However, when such a text which

10     was transcribed and cannot be authorised in the spoken utters, the words

11     are often accompanied by gestures, laughter, even a sarcasm; there is

12     grovelling up to somebody, there is acted anger, and when all this is

13     reduced to the essence, what we arrive at is a text that may mean

14     absolutely different from what is actually said.

15             I remember at a session -- at a meeting, Gojko Susak had just

16     returned from Canada, and they always would use their fingers to show

17     that something is being quoted, that something is in inverted

18     commas [indicates], and, for example, he would say that Nika was an

19     excellent chef yesterday, and then he would show with his hands that her

20     dinner was not actually good, whereas in the text what you would read was

21     that Nika was an excellent chef and that she prepared a very good dinner.

22     That's why I'm saying that if the raw text would reflect the possibility

23     of what the essence of the speech was, there would be no theatre, you

24  wouldn't be able to have Moliere’s The Miser, or Don Juan, or Hamlet or King

25  Lear. They could only be played in one and only way.  That's why the actors

Page 39600

 1  play,that's why the directors direct.  They take the raw text and they

 2  produce those texts in hundreds of different plays, giving the words

 3  multiple meanings, and that's without any further adieu when it comes to me

 4     to explain what I actually said and what I meant at such meetings.

 5             I would like to say that you cannot transcripts -- you cannot

 6     judge the transcripts in such a way, especially not the details there of.

 7     In my layman's opinion, I don't think that this can be a piece of

 8     evidence in any trial.

 9        Q.   General, when we're talking about transcripts, I believe that two

10     questions would be in order.

11             You have looked at a lot of these transcripts; if no others, then

12     at least those that the Prosecutor has submitted.  Just say "yes" or

13     "no."  Did you find, in any of the so-called presidential transcripts, at

14     the beginning of such a transcript as is customary in our lands, that

15     there is a clause that the minutes from the last session are being

16     adopted?  Have you ever seen that in any of the transcripts?

17        A.   No.

18        Q.   Thank you very much.  General, you also mentioned recording.  Is

19     it true that there was audio-recording in most of the situations and that

20     there was no video-recording at the same time?

21        A.   I have absolutely no idea.  I never saw videotapes.  I never saw

22     anyone videotaping me or audiotaping me.  And nobody ever told me that I

23     was being filmed or recorded, and nobody ever offered up any text for

24     authorisation.  Now, I know what authorisation means, when you give a

25     statement for the press and then you authorise it.  And I have an example

Page 39601

 1     with respect to an error, a mistake.  Well, if you want to ask me about

 2     that, but not at the expense of my time; that is to say, how mistakes are

 3     made when you convey somebody's words without putting them into context.

 4        Q.   Well, one more question, and we'll come to that when we look at

 5     the individual transcripts, but let me ask you this now:  Do you know

 6     that there is no longer any original audiotapes from the sessions, that

 7     they don't exist anymore?

 8        A.   As far as I know --

 9             MR. STRINGER:  I'm going to object, Mr. President.  The question

10     is a leading question.

11             MR. KOVACIC:  I admit, I admit.  I admit that it is misleading,

12     but it is a notorious fact in Croatia, so every day newspapers --

13             MR. STRINGER:  That's an even greater reason not to allowing

14     leading questions.

15             MR. KOVACIC:  Okay.  I think that I don't have to rephrase

16     question, because Mr. Praljak is smart enough to provide --

17        Q.   [Interpretation] Yes.  Finish your answer, Mr. Praljak, with just

18     one sentence, if you would.

19        A.   No, I won't be led.  I don't know that, but from relatively

20     reliable sources, from a friend of my son's, Miroslav Tudjman, Tudjman's

21     son, that tapes were erased, so there weren't enough tapes and things

22     were erased and taped over.  So that's what I know about that.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I note a

24     contradiction in what you've just said.

25             Earlier, when your counsel asked you why all this was taped, you

Page 39602

 1     said a couple of things.  You said that you didn't know, that these were

 2     secret tapes, but you also added, to justify the taping of the

 3     conversations, that Mr. Tudjman was a historian and that for history he

 4     wanted to put all this on record.  But this being the case, and of course

 5     one can understand Mr. Tudjman's approach, if he wants to keep all this

 6     for the record for history, he's going to make sure that everything said

 7     will be recorded for historians, for later -- for the future, and he

 8     wants to make sure that everything is absolutely faithful to what was

 9     actually said.  And now you're just telling us that according to

10     Mr. Tudjman's son, who is a professor - there's many professors, but

11     there's another professor that we're learning about - so according to

12     this new professor, he said that they were erased -- that they were

13     erased, so there's a contradiction.  So why would Mr. Tudjman want to

14     keep a record for history while, at the same time, erasing the tapes as

15     they are recorded?  Do you have an explanation?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said all this on an

17     assumption, because Miroslav Tudjman doesn't know exactly whether these

18     tapes were erased or not.  This is something he heard about later on or

19     had to surmise.  It's his conjecture.  According to what he said, it was

20     erased, but it's not contradictory for the following reasons.

21             At that point in time, we -- well, the president -- we weren't a

22     rich country.  Of course, tapes are not very expensive, but we didn't use

23     the small cassette tapes.  It was the larger tapes that were used on a

24     professional tape-recorder, the Nagra or whatever, to ensure that sound

25     was good.  It's those tapes that were expensive, and he probably wanted

Page 39603

 1     to have things written down.  Now, I'm just guessing here, but I know

 2     that you can't look at it as if you had a French budget to spend.  There

 3     was very little money for everything.  There was a shortage of money in

 4     every area, because there was a war on.  Later on, I will present the

 5     data about the unemployed, about how much the army cost.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is a bit surprising.  You

 7     might be right.  I don't know.  But if I compare this to what we know of

 8     East Germany, where citizens' conversations were taped, and in the

 9     archives all these wire-taps were kept, I assume that in Croatia there

10     were also wire-tapped conversations that were kept, and I guess in the BH

11     also there were wire-tapped telephone conversations that were kept.  So

12     if you keep these kind of records, why not keep the transcripts of

13     high-level meetings between Mr. Tudjman, his ministers, and eminent

14     political personalities?  Why erase all that?  I really don't understand

15     this.

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I did not claim that

17     I know any of this for certain.  I don't know how much tapping there was.

18     I do know how much there was in the former Yugoslavia, but one thing I

19     know for sure.  On Croatian Television, for example, and it filmed under

20     wartime conditions at the time, tapes were erased, the ordinary

21     better-type tapes.  Very important material was erased because there

22     simply wasn't enough money to buy new tapes with, and I know that for a

23     fact.  And, among other things, the Kodak negative that I mentioned

24     earlier on that I had received and sent to Mostar, I received it from

25     Germany through my private channels, and at the time this cost several

Page 39604

 1     thousand marks.  It was a great deal of money at the time, and you

 2     couldn't get that money easily.  It wasn't readily available.  So what

 3     I'm saying about television, I say that with every certainty.  As to the

 4     rest, I can't know.

 5             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we didn't think it

 6     was necessary to put exhibits of that type on the 65 ter list.  But in

 7     the Kordic and Cerkez trial, the Court was shown statements by three

 8     witnesses as to the circumstances of how the audiotapes were used, how

 9     they were transcribed, how the tapes were erased, and then finally how

10     the electronic records on the computer were erased.  So I say with full

11     responsibility, on the basis of exhibits before this Tribunal - I'm not

12     testifying, I'm just providing you with this information and you can look

13     up those testimonies - that ultimately the Prosecution showed

14     transcriptions and photocopies of transcripts of goodness knows which

15     generation in order.  That's all I want to say, and if necessary I shall

16     ask that the exhibits and the witness statements from Kordic and Cerkez

17     be presented here, but I don't think that will be necessary.

18        Q.   Now, General, I think we can move on to the next area, which is

19     topic number 12 in our binder, an important topic, and it is the question

20     of the assistance of the Republic of Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

21        A.   I claim that all humanitarian convoys reached their destination.

22     All humanitarian convoys for Muslims, Croats, and for all others who

23     lived in the non-occupied part of Bosnia-Herzegovina passed through the

24     HZ-HB with permission.  All those convoys were loaded up in one of the

25     Croatian ports, organised by some of the 270 registered humanitarian

Page 39605

 1     organisations in the Republic of Croatia.

 2             And I also claim that as representatives of these humanitarian

 3     organisations, and I know this for a fact personally, that through the --

 4     through Croatia and the HZ-HB, some 5.000 fighters from Islamic countries

 5     and also from Western countries and Westerners converted to Islam, passed

 6     through that way, and all of them entered with regular international

 7     passes of humanitarian workers.

 8             And I also claim that nobody in those areas were ever hungry.

 9     They never went hungry, except for people in Sarajevo for some of the

10     time.  And I also claim that weapons were smuggled, as was food,

11     medicines whose validity had expired.  There was narcotics smuggling,

12     cigarette smuggling, and alcohol.  Hazardous waste was deposited.  And

13     all this led to the disapproval of the fighters and the occasional

14     unauthorised stopping of the convoys.  Every such case was resolved and

15     the convoy reached its destination.  That is true for the eastern part of

16     Mostar during the BiH attacks on the HVO.

17             One of the convoys that was stopped in the attack of the 30th of

18     June, well, there was an interruption for a time, as far as I know,

19     but -- and there was also another interruption when the BH Army launched

20     an all-out attack in Blagaj and the south of Mostar in 1993, and I

21     personally several times insisted that the persons be punished who would

22     stop a convoy, and that was quite normal in wartime conditions.

23             And also we were quite conscious of the fact that the convoys of

24     humanitarian aid were going to areas where there was a large population,

25     but they also went to the BH Army.  Now, in what measure, I don't know,

Page 39606

 1     and I don't know what the international war law says about stopping

 2     convoys intended for the enemy army, and that civilians must be separated

 3     from the army, and that the distribution of goods should be supervised.

 4     But, anyway, all the convoys did get through, they all passed through.

 5     There were rare cases in which they were interrupted, and everything came

 6     in through Croatia except for some of the aid that was dropped from

 7     planes in the Sarajevo area.

 8             So that's what I have to say on that topic.

 9        Q.   Now, for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, the question of aid

10     to -- from Croatia and so on, we'll discuss that later on.

11        A.   May I just add one thing?

12        Q.   Go ahead.

13        A.   Never in the history of warfare did one people, like the Croats

14     in this case, help another people, that is to say, the people of

15     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then they turned their army against the HVO, and

16     I claim that that was along with permission from Dr. Franjo Tudjman with

17     the knowledge of the Government of Croatia, and permission from them and

18     from Gojko Susak and the Minister of Internal Affairs Jarnjak and with

19     the knowledge and permission of Slobodan Praljak.

20             Never in the history of warfare did the commander of the HVO

21     allow a convoy of weapons to pass through to another army, the Army of

22     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and when that army, the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

23     used those weapons to attack the very people who brought those weapons

24     in.  And as far as I know, this was permitted and approved by

25     Bruno Stojic and Milivoj Petkovic and Slobodan Praljak and

Page 39607

 1     Valentin Coric, and I also know that the body called the HZ-HB, or let's

 2     call it with a reservation, the government, led by Jadranko Prlic, never

 3  opposed that. And I also claim that an action of that kind against one's own

 4  people in every country anywhere in the world would have been characterized

 5  as high treason and those persons would have ended up on the gallows.

 6             What I want to tell the Judges is this, and we'll have a witness

 7     to talk about that, not only about the conflict on the 9th of May and the

 8     10th -- 30th of June, but after the conflict as well.

 9             From the Republic of Croatia, convoys brought in weapons to the

10     BH Army, and in Zagreb, in locations that I'm going to tell you about

11     later on, we enabled those weapons to be packed together with tins of

12     food, and what actually happened was that those weapons in those convoys

13     were transported to the BH Army, that is to say, to their central base in

14     Visoko.

15             Now, if one of you were to give me your son and then I provide

16     weapons to someone who's going to kill your son, you can't envisage

17     anything more serious and graver than that, but the HVO did that.  We

18     smuggled weapons against ourselves to enable the Army of

19     Bosnia-Herzegovina to defend itself in Tuzla, in the east in Gorazde, and

20     so on and so forth, and then quite certainly they used those same weapons

21     and pointed them at us, they used them against us.  And that's what

22     witnesses have spoken about here.

23             We had a witness testifying on one occasion when he was English,

24     and we said, Yes, we gave weapons to both sides.  What he meant was he

25     provided both Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedong the weapons to fight each

Page 39608

 1     other, mutually kill each other.  But can imagine the French forces

 2     giving weapons to Germany, that never happened.  It was only the

 3     leadership of Croatia and the leadership of the HZ-HB, with me at its

 4     head, that did that.

 5        Q.   Thank you.  So much about that the humanitarian convoys and one

 6     of the forms of aid and assistance.

 7             Now, for purposes of -- well, you were speaking generally about

 8     all forms of aid from the Republic of Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina, so

 9     that was a general overview, but we'll take the specific instances later

10     on in due course when we come to topic 12 in our binder.

11        A.   I think I've already told the Judges about this.  My Defence team

12     gathered together documents relating to the aid and assistance from the

13     Republic of Croatia to the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Muslims,

14     and it has filled 92 binders.  Those 92 binders were brought to The Hague

15     here, and I showed you photographs of those binders, and I couldn't bring

16     in 92 binders into the courtroom.  They're all on CD-ROM and can be used.

17     Of course, in proceedings of this kind we cannot look at all the

18     documents in those 92 binders, and that's why I made a summary of those.

19     And I will provide the Court with that, and it says quite precisely how

20     many documents there are, what the documents are, and how many documents

21     are recorded in the book that I compiled.

22             We provided assistance in the form of weapons.  We packed --

23     packaged those weapons in food supplies and loaded them up onto trucks,

24     UNHCR trucks.  Units were set up in -- and sent to Bosnia-Herzegovina to

25     fight.  There were training centres of the BH Army in Croatia.  BH Army

Page 39609

 1     pilots were trained in Croatia.  Logistical centres of the BH Army

 2     existed in Croatia, both in Split and Zagreb, and Rijeka too.  So at a

 3     point in time when the HVO allegedly attacked and expelled and so on and

 4     so forth, together with Franjo Tudjman, as it said, at that point in time

 5     the BH Army had logistic centres to collect weapons, to receive aid and

 6     assistance, where barracks were placed at their disposal, and that's why

 7     I said that large portions of the indictment are quite absurd, and the

 8     world has never seen the likes.

 9             Humanitarian organisations on the territory of the Republic of

10     Croatia, well, there were 270 of those, or a similar number, through the

11     port of Ploce and Split and Rijeka.  Planes brought in -- flew in

12     assistance, aid and assistance.  And I don't want to repeat everything,

13     but, anyway, Croatia took in over half a million refugees from

14     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Croatia organised ex-territorial education for

15     pupils, Muslims, in their own language.  They didn't call their language

16     that at the time.  Anyway, there was cooperation in the field of sport.

17             For example, Croatia helped the sportsmen from Bosnia-Herzegovina

18     to go to the Mediterranean Games, to attend the Mediterranean Games.  So

19     all this evidence is contained in that book, and how can anyone say that

20     Croatia wants to cut off part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and attach it to its

21     territory, and allows the sportsmen from that country to travel using the

22     money of the Republic of Croatia, sportsmen who trained on Croatian

23     training-grounds and then go to the Mediterranean Games, recognising that

24     Bosnia-Herzegovina was a Mediterranean country, whereas it only has the

25     small stretch around Neum, and then you call it Greater Croatia or

Page 39610

 1     whatever?  Certainly, we wouldn't have sent the sportsmen over there, if

 2     you had plans of a different nature, whereas you lend international

 3     dignity to them and you allow them to take part in these various games.

 4     There was basketball competitions and so on and so forth.

 5             Now, assistance to Bihac.  It was not possible to keep Bihac

 6     going without the efforts of the Croatian pilots and Muslim pilots.  At

 7     the beginning, there were certain routes that had been broken through,

 8     and I took part in helping those young men out until some of them were

 9     killed.  I helped them carry the aid and assistance.

10             So the Republic of Croatia, when a third of its territory was

11     occupied, when it was engaged in battle, when its economy and tourism had

12     completely been routed, invested all-out efforts, and if anybody were to

13     tell me that such a small country, under the given circumstances,

14     provided somebody else the assistance that Croatia provided, if you can

15     quote any example in history, then I'll be happy to say that I know

16     nothing, if you are able to say and claim that.

17        Q.   We could say a great deal more about this, but General Praljak

18     will be offering more information on certain specific forms of assistance

19     at a date later on.

20             The next subject that we shall be touching upon is tab 13 in the

21     binder.  I'm talking about what I think I shall rightly term the famous

22     Tudjman-Milosevic meeting in Karadjordjevo.

23        A.   This is a fairy tale, a myth cooked up by a shady agent.  We

24     shall be talking more about that, so I shall not speak about this now at

25     any great length, but please look at the map "Greater Serbia

Page 39611

 1     Aspirations."  I think it's right here.  I will be showing all these

 2     books.  I'll be showing all the evidence, thousands and thousands of

 3     pieces of evidence.  It all points to one conclusion.  The aspiration was

 4     to create a Yugoslavia like this [indicates], for this whole portion to

 5     be torn off.

 6             Now, the logic eludes me.  How would Franjo Tudjman think of

 7     carving anything up within Bosnia-Herzegovina, dividing anything with

 8     Milosevic?  Milosevic wants a country all the way up to here [indicates],

 9     that's what he's after, conditionally speaking.  I'll get to speak more

10     about that later on.  There was, I think, a total of 43 meetings between

11     the various Republican presidents after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

12     Tudjman and Milosevic met a total of 43 times at these meetings and

13     conferences.  31 times out of these 43, Alija Izetbegovic was around.

14     There was a letter I handed over to the Chamber when they wanted to know

15     where the letter was from, and it states clearly Franjo, you will be

16     meeting Milosevic.  I heard -- mind you, it says that I heard that he

17     will table a proposal for carving up Bosnia-Herzegovina to you.  So the

18     Secret Service and everybody else, they had organised themselves already,

19     released this about rumour to the effect that Franjo would be carving

20     something up.  It was a rumour that was circulated in a bid to prevent

21     the two statesmen from reaching any sort of helpful agreement.

22             How was it possible to carve up Bosnia-Herzegovina, and which

23     part of Bosnia and Herzegovina should have been annexed by Croatia.  I

24     don't know.  As the honourable Judge said, I did have a role to play

25     there.  It wasn't a major role, but it was an important role, yet I never

Page 39612

 1     had an inkling of anything like that, not in my wildest dreams.

 2             Nevertheless, this was a myth perpetrated by powerful secret

 3     services with certain powerful players involved.  The myth is perpetuated

 4     ad nauseam, and then everyone involved, and I will be presenting some

 5     very specific arguments about this at a later stage, they were all saying

 6     that this was entirely pointless and meaningless, that this was nonsense,

 7     and then the most important thing, can you please tell me what the

 8     consequences were of that agreement, all of the aid that we have seen

 9     here in Croatia shipped to B and H, Tudjman's desire to sign an

10     agreement?

11             And, Your Honours, you will see that as early as 1991,

12     Franjo Tudjman put an offer on the table to create a joint army, joint

13     armed forces.  This was a proposal he tabled to Alija Izetbegovic through

14     his then high-ranking official Hamed Filipovic, and he wrote it down in

15     his own memoirs.  This is all a bundle of lies and speculations that have

16     nothing whatsoever to do with reality.

17             In case you're interested, Josip Pecaric, an important

18     mathematician, I've got something about that here.  He's one of the two

19     most important mathematicians as far as equations are concerned.  And he

20     said, All right, this man, Milosevic, he must be insane.  He had the

21     tanks, he had the cannons, and Tudjman had nothing at all.  He had a

22     handful of rifles, rifles bought from Hungary for the police, and there

23     were people who bought some weapons on their own.  And Milosevic comes up

24     to him, with all the military might at his disposal, and he says, Okay,

25     let's do a brotherly deal, 50:50, and carve it up.  All right.  This is

Page 39613

 1     totally counter-intuitive, if you ask me.  This is a meaningless topic,

 2     scandalously stupid, and yet it is perpetuated on and on like that.

 3     Thank you.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I wanted to deal

 5     with this later, but since you have just spoken about the division and

 6     you said it was stupid, I listened to you and I looked at the map.

 7     Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that part of Croatia had inhabitants of

 8     Serbian origin.  If there had been a division, as was said by the

 9     Prosecutor, how do you think -- the issue of Serbs in Croatia, how would

10     that have been settled?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I mean, Your Honour, you see, first

12     of all no -- nobody knows how they carved it up or where.  All right,

13     I'll show it right here.

14             Most of the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina lived around Banja Luka

15     and then to the east, that entire area, most of them.  And then there's

16     the Muslim enclave around Bihac.  The Muslims were there.  And then

17     further up, across Croatia's border, there were certain areas with some

18     Serbs living there.  In terms of percentage, not too many, really.  It

19     was the smallest group of Serbs.  Most of the Croatian Serbs lived in

20     Zagreb.  Nevertheless, this was a traditionally poor area, and

21     territorially speaking, this is what was termed the Krajina.  All of the

22     rest was occupied by the Serbs.  How should I show that --

23             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   General, I think you should simply stand up.

25             [French on English channel]

Page 39614

 1             [In English] Your Honour, even better, you got those on A3 format

 2     maps, and maybe we can do that after the break.  You can have the map,

 3     and Praljak will explain this question.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the time has come to have

 5     a break, but Mr. Praljak, you fail to answer my question.

 6             I started on the hypothesis that Tudjman and Milosevic divided

 7     for themselves Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Let us assume that the project

 8     existed based on such a project.  Here's my question:  How would the

 9     issue of Serbs in Krajina be settled?  Would Tudjman have to accept that

10     the Krajina would go over to Belgrade, and therefore that his territory

11     would be diminished, reduced?  How could this have been done?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour, that is

13     precisely what I'm telling you.  I have no idea.  It defeats all logic.

14     It's entirely counter-intuitive.  Franjo Tudjman never -- and maybe not

15     even then would have yielded a single inch of Croatia's territory without

16     the necessity of military defeat; nor would I have.  I would have fought

17     on until I fell down.  This is beyond all doubt, and it's also beyond all

18     reason, I'm afraid.

19             But there's something else, too.  If someone wants to have --

20             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters note, the interpreters can't hear

21     Mr. Praljak because he's too far away from the microphones.

22             MR. STRINGER:  Excuse me.  They're saying that they can't hear

23     the general because he's not close to the microphone.

24             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry.  Could not the map be transplanted a

25     bit to the right, seen from us, so that it is practically behind

Page 39615

 1     Mr. Praljak, and we can see him and the map at the same time?

 2             MR. KOVACIC:  Your Honour, that is a little bit difficult with

 3     moving the map, and there is another one on the other side, so maybe we

 4     should do it after the break, we should prepare it.

 5             THE WITNESS:  [No interpretation]

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's have the break now, and

 7     all these logistical problems can be solved then.  Let's break for 20

 8     minutes.

 9                           --- Recess taken at 5.32 p.m.

10                           --- On resuming at 5.54 p.m.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, please proceed.

12             MR. KOVACIC:  Your Honour, Mr. Praljak will respond to your

13     question.  The point is only he can use the big map behind him or,

14     alternatively, you have got these A3 format maps, and he has one, so

15     whatever will be more convenient.

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll start out with

17     the assumption suggested to me by Judge Antonetti.  I will try to pursue

18     this logic of a possible division.  It would be necessary to know some

19     history, but I'll skip that.

20             At any rate, back when the stories began even before the war, the

21     Serbs, because they were what they were in Yugoslavia, believed that this

22     part of Croatia [indicates] was territory that belonged to them, the area

23     surrounding Okucani and what was later termed Western Slavonia.  They

24     also believed this territory to be theirs, the Banija territory south of

25     Karlovac.  They also believed Lika to be theirs, this area

Page 39616

 1     here [indicates], and then the Velebit hinterland, what we normally

 2     called Zagora, the area around Knin, and then all the way down to the sea

 3     coast.  Obviously, they believe Zadar was theirs too, but we'll come to

 4     that later, and they took these areas eventually.

 5             In Bosnia-Herzegovina, they believed Banja Luka was theirs,

 6     Mount Kozara, Grmic, around these parts, and all these, all the way down

 7     to Livanjsko Polje, Bosansko Grahovo, Bosanski Petrovac and Drvar

 8     [phoen].

 9             In a way, it was part of their historical consciousness.  They

10     believed these areas to belong to them.  Even back in World War II they

11     committed heinous crimes against the Muslims.  We have had a witness here

12     who spoke about that, but I will later show what sort of casualties were

13     involved and what sort of massacres were committed along the Drina Valley

14     against the Muslims, precisely because their objective was to somehow

15     break up the Muslim ethnos here in this part of Pestar Plateau in

16     Serbia [indicates] because Sandzak contains a large Muslim minority.

17     Eastern Herzegovina in their eyes was entirely theirs.  No reservations

18     whatsoever:  Nevesinje, Trebinje, Gacko, and so on and so forth.

19     Probably they believed Eastern Slavonia to be theirs.  They destroyed

20     Vukovar, they laid it to waste, and so on and so forth.  So even if they

21     gave up the plan about the Karlobag-Virovitica line all the way up here,

22     I don't know about that, except they offered Franjo Tudjman something

23     like this:  Here's a country, it looks like this, but what about the

24     Muslims in that case?  The Muslims would then yield all of this to the

25     Croats in a country looking like that.

Page 39617

 1             Your Honours, I really don't know.  I don't know of a single

 2     Croat -- I'm not talking about Franjo Tudjman.  I don't know of anyone

 3     who, in their wildest dreams, would think up something like that.  This

 4     is entirely absurd.  It is entirely counter-intuitive, like nothing else

 5     on earth, and that's how the situation evolved.  That's as far as they

 6     went, because we stopped them right there.  I, myself, stopped them south

 7     of Sisak, north of Sunja, when I was still fighting in Croatia, and so

 8     their plans fell through, and I simply can't bring myself to understand,

 9     and I don't know if anyone does.  What part of Bosnia-Herzegovina are we

10     talking about, in addition to all these parts of Croatia they thought

11     were theirs, in the sense of Serbs living in those areas and it had to be

12     Serbia Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia, Greater Serbia under the guise of

13     Yugoslavia.  No other assumption is feasible.  It would have been an

14     impossible task to carve it up like that, and the logic doesn't work,

15     even if we assume all these things.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.

17             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

18        Q.   General Praljak, please slow down.  You are trying to say too

19     many things all at once.

20             The map in front of the Chamber is 3D03545.  I believe there will

21     be other opportunities to use that map.  Therefore, let's keep it close

22     at hand.

23             General Praljak, we are now coming to the next meeting mentioned

24     in this trial.  I'm talking about tab 14 in the binder, for the reasons

25     following.  I'm talking about the Boban-Karadzic meeting that took place

Page 39618

 1     in Graz.  Just for the sake of the record, we have had P00187 admitted

 2     into evidence, the 6th of May, 1992 meeting.  What can you tell us about

 3     that?

 4        A.   We've heard witnesses here -- well, one of them was actually at

 5     this meeting, and all I'm trying to say is the following:

 6             Under the assumption that something was agreed at this meeting

 7     between Boban and Karadzic, some sort of a cease-fire or something like

 8     that, here's what happened after the meeting:  There was a large-scale

 9     attack by the Army of Republika Srpska on Livno, a large-scale one.

10     Following this meeting, the HVO liberated Stolac.  Following this

11     meeting, the HVO liberated, after the Serbs had previously expelled

12     nearly the entire population of East Mostar on the 15th of May, 1992, and

13     made them cross to the west bank.  People were jumping into the river.

14     There were some casualties at the bridge, and so on and so forth.

15             So after that, the Croatian Defence Council liberated not just

16     the western bank but also the east.  It attacked the VRS and the JNA and

17     scored an impressive success, thereby establishing the lines that we

18     looked at.  There was another attack in Rama.  After that, the Serb

19     forces attacked and took Jajce.

20             After this meeting, there was incessant fierce fighting around

21     Bosanska Posavina up here [indicates].  If I could just use this one, I

22     have the map, but I'm trying to use this one.  That's it.

23             So following this meeting, the Serbs attacked Livno, expelling

24     from the east bank in Mostar all of the people there to the west bank.

25     The HVO, that is, we, took Stolac.  We liberated the hills on the

Page 39619

 1     right-hand riverbank, the right-hand riverbank in Mostar, and we reached

 2     the right-hand riverbank.  Several days after that, the HVO crossed the

 3     Neretva and liberated Mostar in all this area here around Bijelo Polje

 4     and all that.  The Serbs then attacked Jajce and eventually took Jajce.

 5     There was another attack at Rama, one which failed.  There it is

 6     [indicating].

 7             Throughout this time, of course, following the fall of Jajce, the

 8     Serb forces stopped short of Travnik.  I was involved in that.  I will be

 9     talking about that as will my witnesses, of course.  After that meeting,

10     there was fierce fighting in Posavina, in Bosnia-Herzegovina that went on

11     for months.  Eventually, the Posavina area was lost and the River Sava

12     was reached, with the exception of a small section along the river.

13             Now, what was this meeting about and what was agreed after the

14     meeting?  Yes, and, yes, there is something I forgot, the Operation Bura,

15     another operation that we addressed, which occurred in October or

16     November of 1992.  I think we tried and were to some degree successful in

17     showing the Serbs how we could take territory or at least that it was a

18     show of force; therefore, they gave up any further substantial attacks to

19     us throughout this area.  That is as much as I can tell you about that

20     meeting.

21        Q.   Thank you very much.  We may be needing this map at a later

22     stage.  Can it be assigned a C number, please, in case we plan on using

23     it later on?

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.

25             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honour, the map shall be assigned

Page 39620

 1     Exhibit IC1007.  Thank you, Your Honours.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There you go.  Your Honours, now

 3     that I'm at it, can I just say that what we see marked here are the

 4     positions of the HVO, and it's over and beyond what is suggested in the

 5     indictment about some Banovina or something.

 6             The HVO units were established anywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina

 7     where there were any soldiers -- rather, any Croats at all.  They were

 8     established as armed units defending Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The

 9     positions marked here are only those units that were outside the

10     purported Banovina.  Needless to say, the question that I might ask is:

11     Why should one establish units outside this territory to be defended,

12     territory to be purportedly annexed to Croatia?  Who will they be

13     fighting?  Who will they be defending from, or who will they be defending

14     against someone else?  There is no inherent logic in that, but it's not

15     my inference to draw.

16             There's another map that I have on the ELMO.  This is Operation

17     Bura.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Praljak.  Let

19     us return to the previous map.  You have just spoken about the Banovina.

20     Let's look at the deployment of the HVO brigades, the 7th -- the 107,

21     108, 110, 111, et cetera.  We've got red lines on this map.  That's the

22     way the Serbian forces were positioned; is that right?  We've got two red

23     strokes.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So militarily speaking, this

Page 39621

 1     famous, quote/unquote, "Banovina" was surrounded by Serbs; is that right?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You see, Your Honours, Bihac is not

 3     in Banovina.  We have our units.  Sarajevo is not Banovina.  We have our

 4     unit there.  All of these units that have nothing to do with Banovina

 5     apart from this one unit in Posavina, in part, in part.

 6             There were many more there, many, many more.  An army made up of

 7     Croats and Muslims, and there is no logical link between that and Usora,

 8     Gradacac and Tuzla.  These units, they have nothing to do with Banovina.

 9     We don't have the map now, but the Banovina is about this part, around

10     Neretva, Stolac, and so on and so forth.

11             The best part is there and there is a small part that is about

12     here.  All of these units were set up in an area that had nothing to do

13     with the so-called Banovina.  These units had more soldiers than me, than

14     the soldiers I had available to me.  The HVO numbered a total of about

15     40.000 soldiers, no more than that, or thereabouts.  Fewer than 20.000

16     were actually available in this area conditionally named the Banovina.

17     More or less all the rest were under the command of the BH Army.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  May I just ask a question still about this map.

20     Perhaps I missed something, but what is the time that is depicted?  At

21     what time did this situation prevail?

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the situation as it was,

23     roughly speaking, back in 1992, before the Posavina area fell.  This is

24     the situation or the months that followed the talks between Karadzic and

25     Boban.  It remained like that from the beginning to the end, except where

Page 39622

 1     we lost our positions, and then the units from Posavina, with the

 2     exception of some who remained there to defend some sectors went under

 3     the command of the Tuzla Corps of the BH Army.

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Another map, Operation Bura, the

 6     8th of November, 1992.  Again, the HVO put together some forces --

 7     assembled some forces with the assistance of the BH Army, insofar as it

 8     was developed at the time, and then it attacked the units of the VRS in

 9     the way displayed here.  One cannot say that the operation was completely

10     successful or that we had managed to ship the lines forward in any major

11     way.  One thing is certain, though.  We inflicted large-scale casualties

12     on them, and this was a show of force -- a sufficient show of force, in

13     fact, to dissuade them from attempting anything in the Neretva River

14     valley.  It was a convincing show of force, and it told the Serbs one

15     thing; that we were a powerful army, and they would not be able to get on

16     with their ways as they had earlier on.

17             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

18        Q.   General, following this explanation, and I think we have a clear

19     picture now, if my understanding's correct, please answer with "yes" or

20     "no."  All of these events that you've just described, does this picture

21     not deny the possibility of an alleged agreement between Boban and

22     Karadzic in Graz?

23             MR. STRINGER:  That's a leading question, Mr. President.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is what I would like to say.

25     If there is any logic at all, then this should constitute a denial of any

Page 39623

 1     putative [Realtime transcript read in error "punitive"] agreement.  If

 2     there is no logic involved, then we can say whatever we like.

 3             There is another thing I would like to say.  Unfortunately, I

 4     missed that earlier on, but if the honourable Judges look at what I have

 5     provided, there is one unit from Olovo.  We forgot to mark it on the map.

 6     I tracked it down later on.  I knew that there was a unit in Olovo.  If

 7     you look at these pages here, you can see that.  The BH Army, fighting

 8     alongside the HVO.  The name of the unit was Matija Divkovic.  Another

 9     unit of the HVO that we failed or forgot to mark on this map that I

10     offered.  Olovo is far away from the Banovina area and it simply doesn't

11     make sense to place it in that context.

12             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] All right.

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Just an observation on the transcript.

14             On page 83, line 24, we read "punitive agreement."  Probably it

15     should be "putative agreement" or something of that kind.  Thank you.

16             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

17        Q.   You have addressed a number of chapters in this binder.  I would

18     now like to move on to tab 22.  You wanted to skip some portions, and

19     then you skipped this one because you wanted to keep it brief, 22.  Would

20     you just like to say something about this?  The title is "Peoples Right

21     to Self-Determination."  Is there something you would like to say about

22     this, even briefly, something to add?

23        A.   I'll try to be very brief and not take up too much time with

24     this.  Just the following.

25             I assert, and I have proof of that here, that James Baker, in his

Page 39624

 1     statement, the one that is attached here, clearly backed the preservation

 2     of Yugoslavia as a whole.  He thereby gave a green light to the JNA to

 3     move ahead.  He declared Slovenia and Croatia to be separatist countries.

 4     Given the context of that statement made by such a high-ranking

 5     representative of the United States, it was interpreted to mean, We are

 6     against separatism, and you, gentlemen, it down to you to resolve the

 7     situation by weapons, of course, and that's how the war was triggered.

 8     And I'm saying this peacefully.  This is strikingly amoral.  I find it

 9     stunning and terrifying.  We had no weapons.  We didn't even have the TO

10     weapons.  All we had was endless bravery, the endless bravery of our

11     lads, but we still managed to survive and preserve our country.

12             And then the Security Council imposed an embargo on weapons.  I

13     am saying this calmly and peacefully.  I cannot imagine a more scandalous

14     or amoral or more miserable decision.  It was a decision that was made

15     against the rights of individuals of nations to self-determination, which

16     is a right proclaimed in international law.  It is also the violation of

17     the right to self-defence.  It causes nausea, such as the one I read

18     about in Jean Paul Sartre's book.  It's very difficult to be in trenches

19     when they pound away at you with mortars, planes, artillery weapons, and

20     you have nothing.  You only have the trenches, and maybe you have a

21     handful of rifles to respond, but no more than that.

22             What followed after that was this:  Croatian citizens, citizens,

23     much more than the army at that point in time, laid siege to the JNA

24     barracks in Croatia containing lots of weapons.  Some of the barracks

25     were taken.

Page 39625

 1             Varazdin, for example, was teeming with weapons and equipment,

 2     but then, and I know this for sure, Croatia was forced, in order to not

 3     keep evoking the Serbs, to allow the weapons to leave for

 4     Bosnia-Herzegovina, no less.  The weapons for Slovenia left for

 5     Bosnia-Herzegovina, no less.  This was probably done in a bid to convince

 6     us that they would be using the weapons to plant flowers once it came to

 7     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  It is hard to imagine a form of political blindness

 8     worse than this.  What happened later on in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you know

 9     that all too well.  Nevertheless, there's another thing here.

10             First of all, you impose an embargo.  An embargo is to be

11     observed.  That's what the law says.  But if you observe the embargo,

12     you'll end up getting yourself killed.  I would have understood if the

13     embargo had been imposed, introduced, and then one of the great powers

14     came along and they said, No war, please, we'll protect you.  You can't

15     bring in weapons in, but we'll protect you.  No one is there protecting

16     you, and you have no right to purchase weapons because you violate that

17     law.  This is not a formula that works, as simple as that.

18              That's how it was, the only way to get weapons was in the black

19     market, and what I'm saying is that in a more or less secret way, the

20     state authorities, the banks, the players in the economy, hundreds of

21     thousands of Muslim and Croat individuals, those from the Ukraine,

22     Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, Turkey, Iran, Argentina, France, Switzerland,

23     all of those who wished to help, some of those just wanted to make money,

24     of course.  The embargo was violated.  Anyone who was in a position to

25     violate it did so.

Page 39626

 1             First of all, later on, the Americans, as Ambassador Galbraith

 2     said, turned more than a blind eye to everything that was going on simply

 3     because they had realised at one point that this was -- there was simply

 4     no moral justification for this.  And then what happened was something

 5     that was even worse.  Weapons were purchased in this way, and that led to

 6     the following:  The state authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and

 7     Croatia simply compromised their position of authority.  If you leave the

 8     role of purchasing weapons to people who weren't always honourable people

 9     and shady individuals, and these people purchased weapons which in turn

10     provides them with social status, with some sort of power, people who

11     were selling cows in order to buy weapons did not bow before the

12     authority of an army.  It belonged to him.  He was the one who bought the

13     uniform with his own money.  And this applied to both Croatia and Bosnia

14     and Herzegovina, and this to a large extent ruined any authority enjoyed

15     by the state bodies in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Croatia, to say nothing

16     of the army.

17             It took a long time for the shipments to become more legal than

18     they used to be, to be placed under control, for weapons to be given to

19     people and the process to be monitored to some extent so that order could

20     be brought to the situation.  This is something that to a very large

21     extent at the very outset is something that continued for a long time.

22     It was a situation where order was difficult to establish.  I won't say

23     it was a situation of disorder.  He said, Well, what power of command do

24     you have over me?  It was my money, I bought the rifles, so I'll do

25     whatever I like.  And they did with the rifles whatever they like.

Page 39627

 1             What I want to say about these divisions, one thing I don't

 2     understand to this very day:  When the Croat-Muslim offensive, following

 3     explicit orders by the Americans, stopped just short of reaching

 4     Banja Luka.  We have the indictment here that we were carving up Bosnia

 5     and Herzegovina, which -- the entire Bosnia-Herzegovina, thereby creating

 6     a state where the Serbs, after everything that they had done, they get 49

 7     percent of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  And the Bosnians and

 8     Croats get 51 percent of its territory, and the Serbs create a state

 9     called Republika Srpska.  Bosnia-Herzegovina, it has no -- may I just be

10     allowed to complete my answer, please?

11             MR. STRINGER:  I just wanted to ask if the general could tell us

12     the time-frame, the date of the Croat launching the offensive that was

13     stopped, just so we have a time-frame for all of this.

14             MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] There was probably an error in

15     the transcript.  General Praljak said the Croats and the Muslims

16     together.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the Croats and the Muslims,

18     that's right.  That was in 1995, after the Operation -- Operation Storm.

19     First of all, one operation, then Operation Storm, then the operation

20     where the HVO liberated Kupres and reached the Livanjsko area, Livno

21     Plateau, and came to behind the forces of the Army of Bosnian Krajina,

22     and then an agreement was signed, a military agreement between

23     Alija Izetbegovic and Franjo Tudjman, and the Croatian Army was legally

24     allowed to cross over on to Bosnia-Herzegovina territory when Bihac was

25     liberated, and they moved towards Banja Luka.  This is something that

Page 39628

 1     Holbrooke writes in his book.  Did we make a mistake or not when we

 2     stopped them there?  We thought that that was the right thing to do at

 3     that time.  General Gotovina was told to stop in front of Banja Luka and

 4     not go forward.  They were called to Dayton afterwards, and a map was

 5     placed before them, and there was to be absolutely no discussion.

 6     49 percent of the Serbs, 51 to the Muslims, and that was the division of

 7     Bosnia-Herzegovina that was legalised, that is in force today and is

 8     functioning today.  200.000 Croats were expelled from the area, never to

 9     return, and I am sitting here, among other things, because it is said

10     that I started dividing up Bosnia-Herzegovina.

11             After all the documents that I've shown you, well, tell me now,

12     Prosecutors, where do you have -- where is there any logic in all this?

13     Where is the logic of it all?

14             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Very well.

15                           [Defence counsel confer]

16             MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.  We have

17     another mistake in the transcript.  On page 88, line 23, General Praljak

18     said that 49 percent was given to the Serbs and 51 percent to the Croats

19     and Muslims together.

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.

21             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, Counsel, please.

22             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

23        Q.   General, now the next chapter in this binder is entitled

24     "Indictment."  On Monday, that is to say, yesterday --

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before you move on to the next

Page 39629

 1     chapter, Mr. Praljak, you mention James Baker, and I looked, and then I

 2     went on to the following documents.  And if you don't mind, let us speak

 3     about the Geneva Agreement dated 23rd of November, 1991, signed by

 4     Tudjman, Milosevic, Kadijevic and Cyrus Vance.  Have you got the

 5     document?  Have you found it?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've got it in my binder.  Please,

 7     after Baker, yes.  No, this is a resolution.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] After the resolution.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've found it, yes.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  I've always tried

11     to understand who was the first to start.  That's the issue of the

12     chicken or the egg.  Now, there may be an answer here in this document

13     with four points, A, B, C and D.  What do we see?  Under A, Croatia is

14     required to put immediately an end to the blockade of the barracks of the

15     JNA in Croatia.  Under B, the JNA will have to withdraw from Croatia,

16     et cetera.  But it seems, in the way events unfolded, and you said that

17     yourself, by the way, it seems that the Croats blocked the JNA barracks,

18     and then all the other events ensued.  Can you confirm what is found in

19     this document?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.  On the 23rd of

21     November, 1991, in Croatia the war was already in full swing, and we had

22     Vukovar and all the rest of it on the 23rd of November, and for several

23     months I'd already been at war.  There were lots of persons dead.  We

24     blocked the barracks, of course we did so, that they wouldn't shatter us.

25     We blocked the barracks of the Yugoslav People's Army.  When it says

Page 39630

 1     "people's army," it means the Croatian people, too.  The Croats are

 2     people, too.  But we purchased the weapons with our own money, sent to

 3     the budget.  Of course, this was under great pressure, and the weaker

 4     side always has to give way.  But if we had been stronger and if it had

 5     been my call, I would never have de-blocked the barracks.

 6             I would agree, of course, to having all the soldiers and officers

 7     leave and go home, but the Yugoslav People's Army was a Yugoslav Army and

 8     a peoples' army.  It wasn't a Serb army so that the Serbs could control

 9     it any way they like.  They took the weapons from the Territorial

10     Defence.  They had a lot of weapons in Serbia and were able to do what

11     they liked in their barracks.  These were barracks on the territory of

12     the Republic of Croatia, under an aggression by that army, and they had

13     to be deblocked.  And had there not been such great pressure -- well, of

14     course President Tudjman was criticised and the people were embittered,

15     because to allow the weapons to leave and then to have them beat you in

16     all these areas which were already occupied at the time, Your Honours, to

17     have them kill you and you to leave weapons -- let weapons go that you

18     had purchased yourself, was a very serious concession which emerged from

19     weakness, not through morality, or a just cause, or whatever.  And we

20     have videos to show that all the weapons went to Bosnia-Herzegovina,

21     where that dance macabre was to be continued.  So it's not a matter of

22     the chicken or the egg, which came first, Your Honour.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Thank you very much

24     for your answer.

25             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, Counsel, please.

Page 39631

 1             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 2        Q.   General Praljak, for the record, you discussed the indictment and

 3     it was erroneously recorded on the transcript yesterday, page 32, line

 4     14.  It was recorded as being topic 23, but it is Chapter 23 that deals

 5     with the indictment.  And what I want to ask you now is this:  Well, you

 6     mentioned Chapter 24 and the statement, and I'd like to ask you now

 7     something about Chapter 25, which is titled "Simulation Based on

 8     Percentage Comparisons," the number of victims, I'd like to underline the

 9     word "simulation," and examples were taken with the number of

10     inhabitants, the surface area of countries such as France, or the USA,

11     comparing it to Croatia.  Would you explain these slides to Their

12     Honours?

13        A.   I prepared this simulation in my introduction when you have me

14     five hours to speak, and as far as I remember, it was Judge Antonetti who

15     showed some interest in looking into this more fully.

16             The number of victims is often looked at in absolute terms and no

17     relation to the population, so in order to show you how dreadful the war

18     was, I compiled this simulation with Croatia, which has 4 million-odd

19     inhabitants, 189.000 expelled, 11.000 killed.  I think the figures are

20     greater now, but I think they are illustrative enough, 26.000 persons

21     wounded; unidentified persons died, 782.  Let me add to that that about

22     1500 soldiers of the Croatian Army are still listed as missing and their

23     graves not found.  By 2008, a little under 2.000 Croatian soldiers

24     committed suicide.

25             On the next map, we see France, and quite simply I looked at that

Page 39632

 1     in proportionate terms.  And the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, if

 2     it were to be superimposed on France, it would mean that there were 26

 3     million Muslims, 80 million Serbs, and I've turned the French into

 4     Croats, and then there would be 10 million of those Croats or French in

 5     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  There would be 4.800.000 others.

 6             On the next map, I superimpose France on Croatia.  It's not quite

 7     possible, given the shape of Croatia and the shape of France, but I did

 8     this as far as it was possible, geographically, to do that.

 9             Then I went on to page 6, and I showed you what an attack against

10     France would have looked like, the way Croatia was attacked from the

11     territory of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

12             On page 7, I showed the French territory that would have been

13     occupied or conquered by foreign troops.  And then I come to my most

14     important point on page 8.  If we look at the number of inhabitants of

15     France, which is 60 million, a population of 60 million in France, that

16     the following figures would correspond, which means that about 5 million

17     Frenchmen would have been expelled, there would be four and a half

18     million refugees in France, 151.000 would have been killed, 351.000

19     wounded; unidentified persons died, 10.000.  And the French soldiers,

20     French defenders, if we stick to the ratios, should have committed

21     suicide after the war to the tune of 26.000.

22             So these figures -- well, Judge Antonetti is French, and the

23     French -- this would help the French understand what the ratio of the

24     victims and fatalities were, because if you say 50 people were killed in

25     a town called Rama, that figure does not reflect the situation.  And I

Page 39633

 1     devised the same sort of thing on page 10 for the number of refugees and

 2     displaced persons who were French from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, apart from the fact that I find it

 4     a bit difficult in considering this to be evidence of a witness, it seems

 5     to be some sort of a relatively witty, perhaps, expert essay that you

 6     present to us, so this is not -- but then it is also highly polemic.

 7             If you look at page 7, you have put France in there, but you have

 8     completely changed the proportions.  I must say, I find this rather

 9     criticable [sic].  France would be much bigger, in fact, if you took it.

10     So this gives an indication that the whole thing you present here is

11     probably not very seriously presented, and I think it would be better if

12     you dropped it now.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't agree, Your Honour.  Look

14     here, let me explain.

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, I'm not arguing with you.  I have

16     looked this up now on the map in Google, and France -- the size of France

17     almost would have covered or even more than the whole of Yugoslavia, and

18     here you put it only in a small part.  This is polemical, and I think the

19     Chamber does not want to hear this and there's no reason for the Chamber

20     to listen to that.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel, if I may -- please,

22     I would like to respond that I did not compare France to Yugoslavia.

23     This is not what I'm claiming.

24             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, I must recall that your role is

25     that of a witness.  You have been sitting in this court for three years.

Page 39634

 1     Numerous times, you have heard the Chamber telling witnesses that they

 2     are not here to comment or to explain; they're here to answer questions

 3     when they are asked, full stop.  You have chosen to posit as a witness,

 4     and this is also valid for you.

 5             Mr. Kovacic, please.

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] However, you have not -- you do not

 7     understand me properly.  I am talking about a misunderstanding.  I

 8     believe that the witness has a right to point to the misunderstanding

 9     from it arises your objection.  I'm not denying your right to rule this

10     courtroom; however you said that France is bigger than Yugoslavia.  Yes,

11     it is, indeed.  However, I'm talking about proportions here.  I put

12     France in the place of Croatia by way of proportioning it because in my

13     view proportions are important, Judge Trechsel, in order to see how many

14     people really died down there and what was the state of chaos, and how

15     much blood was shed, and it's important for this case, and I expect from

16     this Trial Chamber to allow me to try and explain the catastrophic

17     consequences of this war.

18             It's very important for me as a witness, as a person, for this

19     not to be a game, not to -- for me to play the game of a spectacular

20     expert.  I am trying to compare facts, and I did it in the best of the

21     intentions in order to explain to everybody the atrocities of war by

22     comparing facts.  I've just showed how much territory France would have

23     lost and how many victims it would have had.

24             I'm very calm, I'll listen to every objection of yours, I'll

25     stick to the rules.  Rest assured I'm willing to do all that.

Page 39635

 1             MR. KARNAVAS:  If I may be of some assistance.  I will attempt.

 2             I believe what General Praljak is doing is not comparing the

 3     actual sizes, but trying to put it in proportion, as he's just indicated,

 4     saying if France was the size of Croatia, and I believe the demonstration

 5     was for purposes to illustrate the psychological impact it would have had

 6     on the Croats in light of the circumstances.  Given that, I believe the

 7     Trial Chamber has seen this before.  Mr. Praljak has provided his

 8     explanation.  I believe we can move on.  I believe the point was

 9     established by General Praljak and is well understood at this point by

10     everyone.  Thank you.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Kovacic, please.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, because there

13     might be a discrepancy of view regarding the Judges, as far as the Judges

14     are concerned, regarding this.

15             Mr. Praljak, during your preliminary statement three years ago,

16     you did mention this, you did deal with this issue, so we know all this.

17             On page 23, we have a chart, a chart that you actually drew up,

18     and we should all look at this chart because it will help us save time.

19     You say in Croatia there were 11.296 persons killed, and if this was

20     compared with other countries, like France or the USA, but you might also

21     have used Hungary or Switzerland as examples because then there would

22     have been no problems as far as the Bench was concerned, then we would

23     have found out that, for example, when you compare what happened in

24     Croatia to what could have happened in the USA, there would have been

25     739.000 killed, 1.7 million wounded, which is a huge number, and as far

Page 39636

 1     as refugees are concerned, 46 million of refugees, which illustrates the

 2     impact of what happens psychological to each and every one.

 3             I think we all got your point, and Croatia might have been a

 4     smaller country, but still with this we note the impact that these events

 5     had on each and every one.  But you already told us about this earlier.

 6     We knew about this.

 7             Mr. Kovacic, you have the floor.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.

 9             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to do two

10     things now, just forward record and for everybody's information.  I would

11     like to say that the slides and the entire simulation have been

12     introduced into e-court as 3D01077, and that part refers to France, and

13     the following slides and simulations refer to the US of A, 3D01078.  This

14     is just for an easy referencing.

15             And now if you allow me, maybe Mr. Praljak would conclude the

16     whole answer.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't have nothing else to

18     say.

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I suppose and I hope that everybody

20     is clear that the comparison shows how it was possible to manage the

21     situation or not.

22        Q.   Mr. Praljak, now I would like to move to topic number 26, which

23     is human behaviour in civil unrest, or, rather, in complex situations,

24     which include war.  Again, we have a number of slides which have been

25     produced with the intention to simplify the whole matter.

Page 39637

 1             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, the Prosecution objects to this

 2     line of questioning.  The witness is not qualified to give opinions about

 3     this issue, nor is it, in our view, relevant to the case, although he

 4     might intend to call an expert to testify about this at some future time.

 5     We suggest it's irrelevant, the witness is not qualified, and we should

 6     move to something that is more relevant.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would say this, if I may:  First

 8     of all, General Praljak, in his biography, says that, amongst other

 9     things, he graduated with a degree in Sociology, and this is nothing but

10     sociology.  Second of all, this is the general's special field of

11     expertise.  And third of all, I'm going to refer to the decision that

12     I've already quoted earlier today, which is the decision reached by

13     Judge Moloto's Chamber, dated 21 April 2009.

14             [In English] "... for Prosecution Witness Miodrag Starcevic."

15             [Interpretation] It says very clearly in paragraph 11 thereof

16     that, and I quote in English to be faithful to the original:

17             [In English] " Factual witness can also express opinions so long

18     as they emanate from personal experience."

19             [Interpretation] I believe that personal experience in this case,

20     based on your practice in this courtroom, also the knowledge of personal

21     knowledge, Your Honour.  In any case, when it comes to the testimony of

22     an accused, which is a specific situation, I believe that he should be

23     given the right to explain what he knows and what he can explain, and he

24     can also say how he came by his knowledge.  If there are any doubts about

25     his knowledge, there's always room to ask additional questions.  Thank

Page 39638

 1     you very much.

 2             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, the witness has no personal

 3     knowledge.  He wasn't in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.  He

 4     wasn't in New York during the blackout.  He wasn't in Amsterdam when

 5     Mr. Theo van Gogh was killed.  He wasn't in Paris during the rioting

 6     there, and he wasn't, I don't believe, in Vietnam when the My Lai

 7     massacre occurred.

 8             Now, if the general wants to talk about issues confronting him in

 9     his capacity as commander, it's the -- the effect of the war and the

10     civil unrest on his troops, and how it affected or did not affect their

11     own conduct in the field, he's certainly, based on his own personal

12     experience, well qualified and positioned to talk about that.  But he

13     doesn't have any experience on these issues, nor does he have any sort of

14     expertise to comment on them generally, and so in our view again this is

15     irrelevant testimony and we should simply move on.

16             MR. KOVACIC:  If I may, just one sentence, Your Honour.  I think

17     it was obvious, but obviously I have to say that.  And excuse me, I would

18     like to switch on Croatian.

19             [Interpretation] It is the prime --

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, regarding this

21     issue, as far as I'm concerned, but I believe my fellow Judges share my

22     opinion, Hurricane Katrina, the New York blackout, the assassination of

23     Theo van Gogh, and what happened in Paris, well, it is true that the

24     witness was not a fact witness to all this, and we are going to waste

25     time indeed.  However, I believe that there is one topic which is

Page 39639

 1     perfectly relevant.  It is the massacre at My Lai.  Of course, he wasn't

 2     there, himself, but this case, which was actually tried, does give rise

 3     to the problem of command and control.

 4             Out of memory, I remember that this is an issue that is mentioned

 5     in a number of documents produced by the Praljak Defence team, and,

 6     Mr. Kovacic, you might ask questions to the witness on the situation that

 7     a commander might be in with its -- according to the troops that are

 8     subordinated to him to check whether they are in control or out of

 9     control, because here I agree with Mr. Stringer.  But the other topics

10     are totally irrelevant.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I would like to add an observation.

12             I'm not contradicting what the President says, that the My Lai

13     experience may, as such, have something to do with matters that come up

14     here.  I think that will also come up in an expertise, in an expert

15     opinion that we'll hear.  But looking at what is under number 26, I am

16     struck by the fact that in -- at the end of it, pages 33 and the

17     following until 36, we have a reference to sources, and this is a rich

18     documentation of sources, and this is the style exactly of an expert

19     opinion.  This is not testimony.  This is an expert opinion by someone

20     who really cannot claim to be heard in these proceedings as an expert and

21     who, in fact, is heard as a witness and not as an expert.  I think this

22     is very clear if one looks at the papers under number 26 as a whole.

23             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The general will, of course, serve

24     as a fact witness as well, there's no doubt about that.  However, bearing

25     in mind the methodology of work and the possibility of drawing

Page 39640

 1     conclusions about facts in such a mega-trial where everything is packed

 2     in a story that spans a period from 1991 to 1995, and even later than

 3     that according to the Prosecutor, General Praljak, as the accused, was of

 4     the opinion that some terms have to be explained and put on the table for

 5     an easier understanding of the possibilities given to a commander in the

 6     war that we are talking about here.

 7             It's not difficult to start with My Lai, because it is closer in

 8     terms of the issues.  However, we are talking about the sociological

 9     issues of chaos.  Be it My Lai, or Hurricane Katrina, or the New York

10     blackout, sociological rules apply and they are the same.  The general

11     has a degree in Sociology.  He is an accused.  He was accused a long time

12     ago, and of course as an intellectual he was dealing with all that and

13     did all the research in order to comprehend the possible arguments in

14     favour of the ability to control or the inability to control an army that

15     was established overnight.

16             In keeping with your instruction, because I don't have any other

17     choice, I'll ask the general to start with the example of My Lai, and if

18     you believe that this may apply to any other chaotic situation, then we

19     can talk about such situations as well, or maybe not.  However, I would

20     kindly ask the general to explain to everybody and to put My Lai in the

21     context, and to see whether he, himself, found the same rules that are

22     explained here and interpreted here from the point of view of sociology

23     and sociological science, did he see the same things in

24     Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he served as a commander.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All this time, it seems to me --

Page 39641

 1     okay, Judge Trechsel, I understand the notion of a fact witness.

 2     However, the indictment consists of facts, but it also comprises a

 3     whole --

 4             MR. STRINGER:  The general is not answering the question that his

 5     counsel put to him, he's making a speech to the Trial Chamber.  We ask

 6     the witness be directed to respond to the questions that his counsel has

 7     put to him and to not address rulings already made by the Trial Chamber.

 8             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 9        Q.   Answer the question first.

10        A.   There's a simple answer to the question.  It is not true that,

11     from individual crimes or particular crimes that may have happened or did

12     not happen in a certain area, this method can be used -- the induction

13     method can be used in order to draw conclusions about the existence of a

14     joint criminal enterprise.  This is a political and sociological thesis,

15     it's not a legal thesis.  That's why I'm saying that the example of

16     Katrina, where there was an outage and a flood, the outage in New York,

17     Theo van Gogh's case where mosques were set on fire, no perpetrator were

18     found, shows a mass -- shows what is the relationship between mens rea

19     and actus reus, and this is what the Prosecutor wants to skip, because

20     they don't know sociology and that's why my right is to defend myself in

21     the way that the indictment was construed.  The indictment doesn't say

22     Praljak did this or that, committed, but strangled, killed, and so on and

23     so forth.

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

25             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Previous translation continues] ... yourself.

Page 39642

 1     You are not invited and entitled to plead your case.  You have chosen to

 2     posit as a witness.  As a witness, you have to truthfully and, as far as

 3     possible, even coolly answer the questions put to you, full stop, full

 4     stop, and that is the role, and I must really ask you to stick to that

 5     role.

 6             Please, Mr. Kovacic.  Maybe it is good if you formulate, in a

 7     very precise way, a question which relates to -- which is a question to a

 8     witness.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, please proceed.  The

10     answer is very simple.  What has been done here has not been done by an

11     expert.  This was researched according to my instructions and -- for me

12     to answer the question why things were happening down there contrary to

13     the wishes, the acts, the commands, and so on and so forth.  This is my

14     attempt to explain in this court all the forms of a phenomenon that will

15     lead us to the truth, and that's the long and the short of it.

16             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

17        Q.   Just a few more questions to explain all that.  Do you, with

18     these examples and this literature, do you want to show that there is a

19     series of possibilities because of which some crimes happened in Bosnia

20     and Herzegovina between 1991 and 1993, as the indictment alleges?

21             MR. STRINGER:  I object to the leading question.

22             MR. KOVACIC:  It is not a leading question.

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, sir, I claim that under the

24     conditions of such social disorders which are even less than a war,

25     because of the nature of the human being, because of the nature of

Page 39643

 1     society, some acts are committed which cannot be ascribed to any intent

 2     or actus reus, and let me proceed.  For example, you cannot say that the

 3     car manufacturers are to be blamed for the people who are killed in car

 4     accidents, and there is as many as 30.000 of them in America, or maybe

 5     drug manufacturers, or cigarette manufacturers, who kill millions of

 6     people, but nobody closes down such factories.

 7             In my case, my best feeling, and please don't be angry,

 8     Judge Trechsel, I'm not trying to show my --

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, you are not --

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm trying to answer questions.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  No, you're saying, My claim is that, my claim is

12     that.  I quote you from the translation.  And you should say, I have

13     seen, I have heard, I have felt, I have smelled, your personal

14     experience.  Maybe you can say, When I felt this, I felt so-and-so; or

15     you could say, My adversary, my comrade, told me so-and-so.  But instead

16     you're giving us theories.  This is all theory.  It may be a correct

17     theory, I'm not taking a stand on that, but we should try to conduct the

18     hearing of someone as a witness the way witnesses are heard.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Your Honours --

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Mr. Karnavas.  I

21     have something to say.

22             The problem we have with Mr. Praljak's testimony is the

23     following.  Actually, it comes from the fact that he is a witness.  The

24     question is to know whether he should testify as all other witnesses

25     we've had so far or whether he is entitled to go beyond a fact testimony

Page 39644

 1     and defend his case -- defend himself by dealing with topics that are

 2     outside what a fact witness could deal with.  Few accused have testified

 3     so far in this Tribunal, only a few of them, and it always gave rise to a

 4     number of problems.

 5             I note that we have a divergence of views within the Bench.

 6     Personally speaking, I fully understand that an accused would want to

 7     testify on facts, but also want to defend himself.  This is my own

 8     position, but I understand that I'm in a minority here in this Bench.

 9     Given this, the accused is here to answer the questions put to him by his

10     counsel, and only that.  He's not here to make any speculations, and he's

11     not here to enter into guess-work, or assumptions, or whatever.  He is

12     here to answer the questions that are put to him point-blank.  This is

13     what the majority of the Trial Chamber seems to believe.  I must say that

14     personally I'm of another opinion, but I must abide by the rule of the

15     majority.

16             Mr. Karnavas.

17             MR. KARNAVAS:  Thank you.  And, again, this is just for the sake

18     of trying to add some clarity or perhaps some assistance.

19             I've been listening to the testimony quite keenly and to the

20     objections being raised and what have you.  I believe that because

21     General Praljak also has military experience, in a sense he can be viewed

22     as an expert.

23             That said, however, I believe that at least at this stage of the

24     proceedings, perhaps, there will be fewer objections, both from the

25     Prosecution and from the Bench, if General Praljak would be descriptive

Page 39645

 1     from his first-hand experiences, and then perhaps down the road, if it's

 2     necessary to draw some similarities between his experiences and some

 3     other events, historical events, that may be appropriate.

 4             But for now, I think perhaps if General Praljak would stick to

 5     providing more detail as far as first-hand experience, what it was like

 6     to command, what it was like to be in a situation where soldiers were not

 7     of a trained nature, such as in other countries or what have you, and

 8     from that description then perhaps he could lay the predicate -- the

 9     factual predicate upon which then he can explore this area.  But I

10     believe maybe there's been some mis-stepping of the laying of the

11     foundation, and that's what's causing some of the problems.

12             And it's 7.00 right now, but perhaps -- you know, we're still

13     early on at this stage, this is a very engaging direct examination, and

14     I'm sure General Praljak has been listening to all of the objections.  I

15     see him smiling, and I'm sure tomorrow he will be even smoother than

16     today.  Thank you.

17             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you'll allow me

18     just one sentence.  It seems that it might assist with this discussion.

19             I believe that Judge Antonetti is right, in terms of

20     General Praljak's right to testify not only about the facts, but also

21     about his specialised knowledge, which is also corroborated by our

22     experience from the examination of some Prosecutor's witnesses.

23             Let me remind you that when we had military personnel, members of

24     various forces, for example, there were UNPROFOR commanders in the

25     territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we put questions to them not only as

Page 39646

 1     fact witnesses, but also we put to them questions that would be more

 2     appropriate to ask from a military expert.  There were objections to such

 3     questions, and the position of the Trial Chamber was as follows:  One has

 4     to use all the knowledge of such persons, and if, in view of their

 5     knowledge and long experience, if such persons can help us to arrive at

 6     the truth, their testimony will only be welcome, although they don't

 7     enjoy the status of experts.

 8             I believe that General Praljak at this moment is in an absolutely

 9     similar if not the same situation, and I propose that we treat

10     General Praljak in the same way we treated commanders who came from

11     UNPROFOR.

12             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I'll be very brief

13     because of the hour.

14             With respect to my learned friend Ms. Alaburic, the point is that

15     there aren't any questions that are being put to this witness, really,

16     and the witness isn't giving any real answers.  What he's doing is making

17     speeches, and it may make him feel good and it may make people elsewhere

18     feel good, but there's no information and there's no evidence --

19     testimony from a witness that's taking place here.  It's just speeches

20     and statements, and that's number 1.

21             And then secondly, Mr. President, with respect -- with all due

22     respect, the Rules make no distinction between an accused who's a witness

23     and other witnesses.  Accuseds who testify aren't granted special status

24     under the Rules that gives them license to make speeches or to defend

25     themselves in any way other than answering relevant questions and

Page 39647

 1     tendering probative evidence through their testimony, in the same way

 2     that all the witnesses do.  So to the extent -- I know there may be

 3     disagreement among the members of the Trial Chamber on this, but in our

 4     view, the Prosecution submission is that simply by taking the stand, this

 5     witness -- this accused doesn't enjoy any special status that

 6     distinguishes him from any other witness that has testified in this

 7     trial.  Thank you.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is five past 7.00.  I think

 9     we have to put an end to the hearing.

10             Mr. Praljak, we shall reconvene tomorrow at 2.15.  We have to

11     stop, I'm sorry, because we are now into extra time.  Remember what

12     Mr. Karnavas said, because it was very relevant.

13             So we shall resume tomorrow.

14                           [The witness stands down]

15                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.05 p.m.,

16                           to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 6th day of May,

17                           2009, at 2.15 p.m.