Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 39747

 1                           Thursday, 7 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 2.17 p.m.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, kindly call the

 8     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             Today is Thursday, 7th of May, 2009.  Good afternoon to

16     Mr. Stojic, Mr. Petkovic and Mr. Pusic.  Good afternoon, Mr. Praljak, who

17     is testifying these days.  Good afternoon to the Defence counsel,

18     Mr. Stringer, and all his associates.  Good afternoon to all the people

19     assisting us.

20             Regarding today's hearing, we'll first work until 4.00.  We'll

21     break then for 20 minutes, and we shall then resume until 6.00.

22             Secondly, I have a brief ruling to deliver in private session,

23     Mr. Registrar, please.

24                           [Private session]

25   (redacted)

Page 39748











11 Pages 39748-39749 redacted. Private session.















Page 39750

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 7   (redacted)

 8                           [Open session]

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, we're back in open session.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Open session.

11             Yes, Mr. Stringer.

12             MR. STRINGER:  Just one other very brief thing, Mr. President.

13             The Trial Chamber may notice over the next couple of weeks our

14     case manager, Ms. Winner, will be absent from the courtroom because of a

15     personal matter.  Today we're joined by another of our very capable case

16     managers, Mr. Sebastian van Hooydonk.  I hope I've pronounced the name

17     correctly.  And he will be joining us not only today but on other

18     occasions as well.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber welcomes you,

20     case manager, as part of the Prosecution team.  Our best wishes for

21     efficient work, and I hope you'll help us work very well.  Thank you.

22             Mr. Kovacic, you may proceed.  So far, I believe you have used

23     something around four hours.

24                           WITNESS:  SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]

25                           [The witness answered through interpreter]

Page 39751

 1             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.  We are

 2     informed about the time.  We keep track, with the help of the legal

 3     officer.

 4                           Examination by Mr. Kovacic:  [Continued]

 5        Q.   [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Praljak.

 6        A.   Good afternoon.

 7        Q.   I suggest we go on.  Yesterday, we saw one DVD where, among other

 8     things, there was a video of the attack of the JNA on Croatian coast

 9     towns, Sibenik, Zadar and Dubrovnik.  You spoke earlier as well about the

10     military danger to the Republic of Croatia, emanating from Bosnia and

11     Herzegovina, where the JNA was strong and where it had moved its weapons;

12     and inter alia Presiding Judge Antonetti asked whether and how it was

13     possible to pass towards Split, whether it was possible for the JNA to

14     get through to Split.  Can you tell us about that?  Was it possible, was

15     it dangerous, and so on?

16        A.   Good afternoon.  Good afternoon to everyone in the courtroom.

17     Good afternoon, Your Honours.

18             The honourable Judge Antonetti, in reaction to my clear

19     statements that the former JNA units based around Mostar had already

20     captured the areas around Stolac, Nevesinje, towards Dubrovnik, had the

21     intention to create Greater Serbia, which was its general intent, I put

22     forward one of the many books about that written by General Cokic.  It's

23     called "The beginning of the End."  It's 3D03546, 3D03546.  At the

24     beginning, we see --

25             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.  Mr. Praljak, could you indicate to

Page 39752

 1     the Chamber in which binder we can find the document because we have

 2     about six binders by now.

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first one.

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

 5             MR. KOVACIC:  Binder number 1.  Before that is only an outline of

 6     Mr. Praljak's statement.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you very much.

 8             MR. KOVACIC:  So if I'm not wrong, first one is binder with

 9     statement of Mr. Praljak.  And second one, I think that this one had

10     number 2.  That is the first one we need for this document.  There is a

11     list of documents on the beginning of the binder.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, the Trial Chamber

13     has one binder containing Mr. Praljak's statement.  Then we have three

14     binders numbered 1, 2 and 3.  Then we have smaller documents.

15             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] 1, 2 and 3.  This one is number 1.

16             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] So I believe this is binder

17     number 2.

18             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, while you're looking, I just would

19     take the opportunity to remark that if this were a paperless tribunal,

20     we'd all be looking at the document now.  Thank you.  And my thanks to

21     the Praljak Defence, because the document is in e-court, and so no

22     problems on that.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stringer, you're

24     right.  But when we have documents of dozens of pages, you can't see all

25     the pages in one go on the screen.  If you have the paper document, you

Page 39753

 1     can really leaf through it, you know, have a quick glance at it all, and

 2     work better therefore.  But you may be a whiz of the screen, you know.  I

 3     grant you that readily.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So Jevrem Cokic was a general of

 5     the Yugoslav People's Army.  The book is called "The Beginning of the

 6     End."  It's 3D03546.  The book was published, as we can see on the

 7     following page after the cover page, in 2008.

 8             And now I would kindly ask everyone to look at B/C/S page 12.

 9     That's 3D410614, paragraph 2.  In this second paragraph, the general

10     explains, from his own point of view, of course, the problems they were

11     facing, the existence of right-oriented separatist forces aspiring

12     towards secession and creation of their own armies, these forces forged

13     territorial defences under their own command, and that all this worked to

14     break the Yugoslav People's Army from within.

15             He also says that the armed forces of Yugoslavia were composed of

16     the army and the Territorial Defence, the latter being a republican

17     regional force, and that this Territorial Defence was within the

18     jurisdiction of republics and provinces.  He also says that this created

19     grave problems in command because there existed six republican, two

20     provincial and one federal army; and all this was very complex and

21     problematic.

22             Then he says that in the mid-1980s, in a plan that I have already

23     shown to this Court, the top military echelon adopted a plan called

24     "Jedinstvo," "Unity," the essence of which was to restructure the entire

25     organisation forces of the SFRY, and to this end the units of the JNA

Page 39754

 1     were made larger, military districts were established along the borders

 2     of the Greater Serbia, as it was designed, from the level of corps

 3     downwards, and these districts used to coincide with republican borders.

 4     And according to the plan, there were four theaters of war created.

 5             Let us now go to page 217 of the Serbian original.  It says the

 6     military top echelon had the task to realise the plan of defence of the

 7     remaining Yugoslavia along the borders of the republics with majority

 8     Serbian population.  The top military echelon had the task of

 9     implementing the defence of Yugoslavia, the rump Yugoslavia, that means

10     without Slovenia and the part of Croatia that is west of the border

11     Karlobag-Karlovac-Virovitica, on the line that coincided with the

12     majority Serb population area.  Nobody knows, of course, so what they

13     considered to be the Serbian majority population.  But he says in order

14     to implement this, they proceeded from an evaluation of the situation in

15     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and especially of the prospects for the future.  And,

16     therefore, they planned regrouping of the existing forces in Dalmacija,

17     in Herzegovina, and the bringing in of forces from the other areas.

18     Preparations began for the implementation of defence of the remainder of

19     Yugoslavia.  The key areas -- the key territories were Dalmacija and

20     Herzegovina.

21             Towards the end of July, he was invited by General Blagoje Adzic,

22     who was then chief of the General Staff of the JNA, and Blagoje Adzic

23     brought him up to date and told him of the decision to form a group -- a

24     task group for Dalmacija and Herzegovina.  He was appointed commanding

25     officer, commander.  He was tasked to plan an operation urgently, to

Page 39755

 1     organise operation groups, and establish an operation group that was to

 2     carry out this operation in Dalmacija and Herzegovina, together with the

 3     Civilian Protection and Territorial Defence in that territory.

 4             On page 218, he continues this same story and says the command of

 5     the operation group, together with staff units, was to be set up to

 6     include commanding officers from inspectorates of the military forces,

 7     units of the 1st Military District located in the broader area of

 8     Sarajevo and a certain number of commanders from the General Staff of the

 9     JNA.  And he goes on to say that all this was supposed to be done in a

10     coordinated action with the Territorial Defence of the

11     Dalmacijan-Herzegovinian territory, which was the territory of

12     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and on the part of the JNA the Knin Corps was to be

13     involved.

14             I would like to show where all this is on the map, if you can

15     turn on the --

16             MR. KOVACIC:  Usher, could you please be so kind to assist

17     Mr. Praljak with ELMO.  He brought a map to show those locations.

18             [Interpretation] The Judges have the map, and it's always of

19     assistance.

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Knin is here in Croatia.  I'll mark

21     it with 1 [marks].  So the Knin Corps was to be involved parts of the

22     Sarajevo Corps - I'll mark it 2 [marks] - then the 37th Uzice Corps from

23     the 1st Military District, Uzice is in Serbia; but I'm not going to look

24     for it now, then the 2nd Titograd Corps, Titograd is in Montenegro,

25     that's number 3 [marks]; and the naval district, which is practically

Page 39756

 1     this entire area here on the coast.  He -- the author talks about how all

 2     this was to be done, because the situation was chaotic in Bosnia and

 3     Herzegovina, but he couldn't do anything about that, but the operation

 4     was a priority task.  And he says that upon receiving and understanding

 5     this task, he conceived how to do it with basic forces from the areas of

 6     Herzegovina and the Knin Krajina, Herzegovina being here [marks], and the

 7     Knin Krajina, which is this [marks], and the naval forces from the sea

 8     who were to crush the forces in Dalmacija and link up with forces of Knin

 9     Krajina in Western Bosnia.  He simply wanted, from this area of Knin

10     [marks] and this area of Western Bosnia [marks], to crush Split, Sibenik,

11     Zadar, and to emerge here [marks].

12             Due to the secrecy of this plan, only the commanders of the corps

13     involved were let in on it.  The commander of the 2nd Corps of Titograd,

14     Mr. Radomir, Ratko Mladic from the Knin Corps, Major General

15     Milan Torbica from the Uzice Corps - Milan Torbica is mentioned, as

16     you'll remember, in orders to attack Mostar - and the commander of the

17     Naval Sector Boka.  This is Boka Kotorska, number 4 [marks], but the area

18     covered by the naval authority was broader.  And he says in stage 1, it

19     was planned to use forces that are in touch with Croatia and the Knin

20     Krajina, to continue offensive action, to capture Ravni Kotari.

21     Ravni Kotari is here [marks], this entire area of hinterland of the

22     Zadar.  This is Ravni Kotari, so the plan was to take control of

23     Ravni Kotari, "RK" [marks], to take control of Zadar and Sibenik, and to

24     threaten Split from the west, to attack Split from the west.

25             Parts of the operation group from the Kupres Plateau, which is

Page 39757

 1     going to be 7 on the map [marks], the Kupres Plateau, from that plateau

 2     they were to take control of the broader area of Livno - Livno is this,

 3     number 8 [marks] - to prevent the emergence and spreading of intra-ethnic

 4     conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the emergence of paramilitary

 5     units from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Of course, to talk about

 6     incidents caused by Croatian paramilitaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina is

 7     ridiculous, because we were barely able to defend what was left up here

 8     and all this was nonsense.  He planned, upon completing this task, to

 9     continue the attack towards the broader area of Dubrovnik via Trebinje

10     and to take control of areas such as Popovo Polje, which is here in the

11     hinterland.  Popovo Polje is here [marks].  The number will be 9 -

12     towards the Adriatic coast to crush Ustasha forces and take control of

13     Southern Dalmacija, and then go down the valley of Neretva to prevent

14     further blockades by the JNA and the outbreak of inter-ethnic conflicts.

15     So their idea was that everyone here were Ustashas, all the Croats and

16     everyone that was not with them were Ustashas, and that was an excuse --

17     a pretext for mounting this operation.  At the same time, they were to

18     threaten the Adriatic thoroughfare to make traffic impossible.  The first

19     stage was supposed to be implemented within ten days, and then the second

20     stage, the attack down the valley of the Neretva River[marks].  They had

21   their positions on both the right and the east -- left bank of the Neretva.

22       They were to go from this area of Mostar towards Split, and with part

23     of their forces they were to attack from Drnis to Split [marks].

24             The task of these forces was with the support of the air force

25     and the navy to take control of Dalmacija.  The predicted duration was

Page 39758

 1     between 12 and 15 days, and that was the dead-line for completing these

 2     operations.

 3             I have nothing further to add.

 4             Can we have page 245 of the Serbian or, rather, 3D41-0618.

 5             Here he goes on to say that he had learned about the elements of

 6     the 37th Corps already being in the catchment areas.  The

 7     3rd Partisan Brigade was there and so on and so forth, the 37th Corps in

 8     Herzegovina.  This is a poor photograph, but you can see columns of tanks

 9     moving.

10             Your Honours, perhaps you will remember about when the people

11     from Herzegovina stopped that tank brigade column heading towards the

12     Kupres field with their bodies, that they were carrying tea there, and

13     they were talking, and then Mr. Izetbegovic came and asked for the tank

14     brigade to be allowed to pass through to the Kupres field.  The column

15     that was allowed to pass through was one of the main agents of this

16     attack that was planned.  Instinctively, of course, people knew that this

17     would be the case.  Nevertheless, politicians more often than not had

18     little room for manoeuvre.  I'm not saying that it was a bad thing,

19     necessarily.  But the people there knew that those tanks should not be

20     allowed through, because it would soon blow up in their own faces.

21             Page 246, the next one, 0619, he says that from the command post

22     of the 37th Corps at Nevesinje, right here [marks] - Nevesinje is right

23     next to Mostar.  It's not marked on the map -- or, rather, it is.  Here

24     it is.  That's Nevesinje, number 10.  He ordered the command of the

25     operative forces to start moving immediately.  By midnight, the 20th of

Page 39759

 1     September, they were to reach the Ivkino Selo, Nevesinjsko Polje general

 2     area.  We're talking about 1991 here.  And so on and so forth.

 3             The next page, 247, the 3D number is the same, 41-0619, he says

 4     as units were being gathered in Herzegovina, at the same time in Serbian

 5     Montenegro there was a mobilisation progress of units that were supposed

 6     to then be joining the operative group.  Members of the 37th Corps were

 7     located in the Nevesinje area and Mostar.  The 2nd Corps was in the

 8     sectors of Stolac, Ljubinje, Trebinje, and Igalo.  That is this barrier

 9     in East Herzegovina.  And some elements of the 4th Corps were in the

10     Mostar sector.  The 9th Military Naval District had its units in the sea

11     near the coast and the coast itself, and then air force support were at

12     their permanent locations in the Neretva River valley, meaning the Mostar

13     Airfield.  That's where they were receiving support from.

14             The last thing, page 352, 3D41-0620.  Having received treatment

15     at the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, November of 1992, as chief of

16     the General Staff, I found General Zivota Panic.  I knew him to be a

17     naval officer of a somewhat Bohemian disposition, but with leadership

18     skills.  He was appointed chief of the General Staff as a general who

19     commanded the units of the JNA in Eastern Slavonia and Western Srem

20     during operations conducted there, Eastern Slavonia here meaning Vukovar

21     and the area around it.  I will put in number 11 there [marks].  Did I

22     mark that correctly or not?  No.  He goes on to say that this was

23     certainly a very high recommendation for the position to which he was

24     eventually appointed.

25             So much for this book.  I think the book is crystal clear, in

Page 39760

 1     terms of confirming everything that we have been discussing so far.  All

 2     the documents point in that direction, as well as all the facts.  I could

 3     bring up other books, should the Chamber so require.

 4             Could we please have a number for this map?

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could we have a

 6     number for this one, please.

 7             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, the map marked by the witness shall

 8     be given Exhibit IC1009.  Thank you, Your Honours.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies.

10             Your Honours, I was going to keep marking the map, as far as

11     here.  It doesn't look very pretty, but I think it's very clear.  Thank

12     you.

13             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The map that was used for this

14     demonstration is 3D03545.  It is the same map that you have,

15     Your Honours, and we'll be using it whenever necessary?

16        Q.   General, I would like to ask you a question about what you've

17     just said.  Right at the outset, you quoted the author.  Every now and

18     then, he talks about Dalmacija and Herzegovina.  He sees this area as a

19     single area.  What about that detail?  It's something that you mentioned.

20     If you could please sum it up for us again.  Is that in support of the

21     theory that in a military sense, from a military perspective, this was a

22     single theatre of war; the state borders were entirely irrelevant for

23     this particular JNA operation?

24             MR. STRINGER:  I object to the leading question, Mr. President.

25             MR. KOVACIC:  Well, Mr. Praljak actually said that, but I can

Page 39761

 1     rephrase.  No problem.

 2        Q.   [Interpretation] General Praljak, in addition to what you have

 3     been telling us about the JNA activities there and their plans, what else

 4     does that indicate to you, from a military perspective, in terms of state

 5     borders?

 6        A.   I'm not sure how much point there would be in repeating this over

 7     and over again.  He's very clear about this.  We'll take whatever remains

 8     of Yugoslavia.  It's not like he's having second thoughts about the

 9     republics or anything like that.  What is at stake here for the JNA is

10     that the plan to take the remaining areas and preserve Yugoslavia, as

11     well as taking the Virovitica-Karlobag-Karlovac line, that was their

12     objective, and there is not a single document to disprove that.

13        Q.   General, I know you understand that, but we have to do our best

14     to make this clear to everyone in this courtroom.

15        A.   But he says it two or three times, at least in the book, doesn't

16     he?

17        Q.   Fair enough.  Thank you very much.

18             Unless the Chamber has further questions, I would like now to

19     move on to my next topic.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have two technical questions

21     to ask, because when you show a document, you can imagine that the Judges

22     are going to scrutinise it, and on page 217, there are two matters which

23     I've seen.

24             This general of the JNA says this:  He is speaking of

25     paramilitary units, a few words, paramilitaries of Croatian paramilitary

Page 39762

 1     units.  Could you tell us, in a few words, what are these paramilitary

 2     units, Croatian paramilitary units, in a few words?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To him everything that had been

 4     done in Croatia to that point were paramilitary units.  At the time in

 5     Croatia, given the fact that it was perfectly clear by this time that

 6     Croatia, not having yet declared its secession from Yugoslavia, could not

 7     have an army, true and proper; therefore, they pulled the reserve police

 8     forces up to that level to the extent possible at that moment.  That's

 9     why I said yesterday that the first weapons that we could obtain legally

10     were given to us by Hungary.  We were allowed to buy weapons for the

11     police, and then through legal channels, without violating any laws, we

12     bought from Hungary 30.000 Kalashnikov automatic rifles and some

13     ammunition to go with that.

14             Another thing that was allowed was the establishment of the

15     National Guards Corps, not an army proper.  Those units numbered several

16     thousand men.  As a rule, when those units reached the lines along which

17     the JNA had previously penetrated, they viewed all of us as paramilitary

18     units.  I was a paramilitary.  We were all paramilitary.  Any attempt to

19     put up armed resistance was seen as a paramilitary attempt.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation

21     continues] ... in 1991.  Since 1945 - this is more than 40 years,

22     roughly, nearly 40 years - this army, the popular Yugoslav, exists with

23     all its elements, whether Serbs, Croatian, Muslim?  You agree with me?

24     And we know, and you said so, that several elements have established

25     this.  There are, in the structures of command sometimes, when number 1

Page 39763

 1     is Croatia, number 2 may be Muslim, number 3 Serbian, and so on, or the

 2     reverse, conversely.

 3             Now, in this book he writes -- where he speaks of 1991, he

 4     qualifies the Croatians as Ustasha.  How is this possible?  How is it

 5     possible that this general calls the Croatians who are in the opposite

 6     camp of Ustasha?  Do you have an explanation to give us?  Well, for

 7     decades there was this army which was functioning, and because of

 8     dismantling of the country, immediately this word is being used.  What is

 9     the explanation?  Is it a sociological factor, psychological factor, or

10     is it for propaganda?  And you are a specialist, yourself, since you were

11     chief of a department.  For what reason is the word "Ustasha" used here

12     on page 217 all the time?

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, first of all, what

14     you said about this commander and a deputy being a Croat, that's not

15     right.  That applied to political bodies, for example, in Bosnia and

16     Herzegovina, but not to the army.

17             Most of the men in the JNA, the greatest majority in all

18     positions, were either Serbs or Montenegrins, in relation to the entire

19     population.  The share of the Muslims was substantially lower.  I have

20     used the statistics and shown it to you before, but I could do that

21     again; next to no Muslims and even fewer Albanians.  There was no way

22     they could get promotion.  For example, one of them was in the Croatia

23     Army, General Ademi.  Obviously, he was in the Croatian Army, but there

24     is no way he could have made general in the JNA unless in pure theory.

25     I'm not aware of a single Albanian who ever made it to the rank of

Page 39764

 1     general in the JNA.  It was hard enough for the Croats, obviously.

 2             Back in 1991 -- let me say the following first.  In 1991, people

 3     of the JNA came to the Croatian Army.  The air force commander, Tus, he

 4     was air force commander in the JNA.  Spegelj came too.  There were two

 5     Serbs who crossed, for example, and many more, obviously, but I remember

 6     two; Sumanovac, who was General Agotic's commander, who was in charge of

 7     Croatian Army's air force.  I'm not sure if General Imra Agotic is an

 8     ethnic Hungarian.  I can't quite remember.  And there was another Serb

 9     who defected.  His name was Jezercic, and he crossed over to the Croatian

10     Army.  There was an ethnic Slovene, Gorinsek, who had been a JNA general.

11     There were large numbers joining.  At the time, he was saying something

12     to the effect of, I'm not sure if two or three Croats should be in the

13     JNA.  Everyone had changed sides already and joined the Croatian Army.

14             And now to the other question.  I'll try to keep it as brief as

15     I can.  Ever since 1945, those Croats who even spoke out loud were

16     immediately declared to be Ustashas.  It was synonymous, at least for the

17     purposes of Serb propaganda.  If you spoke out publicly, somewhere in a

18     public place, and said that you were a Croat, it was nearly equivalent to

19     saying that you were a Ustasha.  And there was this myth that was created

20     about Jasenovac and the NDH, and this was something that was foisted on

21     all Croats as some sort of collective guilt, with no end to it.  It was

22     impossible to live on under that pressure.  I watched this happen for

23     decades.

24             And I will just tell you two things.  For example, you needed a

25     loan to build a road or a railway between Belgrade and Bar.  Normally,

Page 39765

 1     this would amount to several million dollars.  The investment was shared

 2     by Serbian Montenegro, say, and they bankrolled this together to keep the

 3     Croats from standing up against something like this.  For months before,

 4     you would get a lot of propaganda about some Ustashas or some other.

 5             Needless to say, Croatia's political leadership had to calm

 6     things down and sweep the whole thing under the carpet and not say

 7     anything about it.  Or this, for example:  There was a large travel

 8     agency, Yugo-Tourist, Belgrade-based, and I followed that for about 20

 9     years.  They printed brochures.  There was never a single brochure, never

10     a single leaflet, not a single year that the word "Croatia" was

11     mentioned.  If you wanted to go to Croatia's coast, you would go either

12     to Istria, or to Dalmacija, or to the Dubrovnik coastal area, but not to

13     Croatia.  In case you went any further south, you were headed for

14     Montenegro's coast.  Montenegro was a name that was used.  So much for

15     the history.

16             It was very troublesome.  All of us were branded as Ustashas

17     en masse.  General Tus, General Agotic, General Gorinsek, a Slovene, as

18     soon as they joined the Croatian Army, they all of a sudden became

19     Ustashas, and he branded his colleagues of yesteryear as Ustashas

20     immediately.

21             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.

22        Q.   General, the situation being what it was back in 1991, when the

23     aggression began, there were, of course, some reactions abroad.  You have

24     told us about that, and no doubt you will more at a later stage.  What

25     was at the very outset the position of the US president concerning this

Page 39766

 1     entire situation?  What was the position that they took in relation to

 2     everything that was going on?

 3        A.   Well, you see all this propaganda regarding Croats and all that.

 4     Even earlier on, it's not like this was something that began in 1945,

 5     after Ante Pavelic's regime, which was what it was, but it goes further

 6     back.  Across the world, this propaganda gave rise to misgivings about

 7     Croatia.  It simply wasn't something that you could avoid.  To establish

 8     Croatia as a state was a work of art, simply because we were up against

 9     so much prejudice and reservation, the sort of thing that was being

10     spread in those diplomatic statement circles ever since 1945.

11             General Bobetko and General Tudjman, all of them had to defend

12     themselves from this accusation.  They were all partisans, but still they

13     had no choice but to repeat the whole thing over again, that this was

14     something that was not the case at all.  It was very difficult to these

15     ruts, these ways of thinking that were now deeply rooted.  For some

16     reason, they wanted Yugoslavia to remain.  Croatia is a small country,

17     and who cared about that anyway, especially given the fact that at the

18     time all of this was going on, the great powers had more serious problems

19     on their hands; the breakdown of the USSR, the reshuffle of NATO, no

20     Warsaw Pact around anymore, the unification of GermanyEurope, as I was

21     being told at the time by the French, the Germans, and all those who

22     came, was this:  Our war came at a very inconvenient time, because no one

23     was free to look into our situation.  There was no consistent foreign

24     policy in this regard by the European community at the time.

25             In this regard, we tried to repeat, over and over again, what are

Page 39767

 1     our principal positions were, how we wanted this state to exist and that

 2     we had no aspirations against anyone else, and also that the Serbs in

 3     Croatia, and you will be seeing that later on -- I will be showing

 4     documents, and this is something that is very important because this was

 5     something written in "Croatian Soldier" magazine which expressed our

 6     position at the time for Franjo Tudjman, Gojko Susak, some other general,

 7     myself.  They were facts and so on and so forth.

 8             And there was a huge effort being made to disprove all this false

 9     information, unfounded information regarding our efforts, regarding our

10     conclusions, regarding any agreements that we signed, and there you go,

11     and so on and so forth.  And here, there.  When you read this later on to

12     see what was reported, what I prepared here is several very short pages

13     reflecting how the US president saw the entire situation.

14             Bill Clinton, in his book "My Life," where as a matter of fact we

15     see and where he tells us himself about all these basic problems and

16     disagreements in the West about what to do in the area, especially given

17     the fact that by this time there was the Gulf War already, and America

18     was late jumping on this whole train.  And when they finally joined the

19     fray, they spoiled all the plans previously hatched by the French and the

20     English.  And when he wanted to join in, the French and the English tried

21     to put a spoke in his wheel, the plans to resolve the situation in Bosnia

22     and Herzegovina.

23             And then all of this had a dreadful effect on the situation in

24     Bosnia and Herzegovina, because people, generally speaking, and soldiers

25     had certain expectations, thought that there would be an agreement that

Page 39768

 1     would be signed, and then that was that, the whole thing would be over.

 2             But when your expectations are let down, especially in the middle

 3     of a war, what you get as a result is that you have to keep climbing the

 4     ladder.  And then there is another cease-fire that is signed, and a new

 5     plan comes along to sign.  The Croats are the first to sign, and then

 6     suddenly everybody gets their hopes up, This must be the end now, we've

 7     reached an agreement.  And this is again refused by Izetbegovic, more

 8     seldom, perhaps, Karadzic all the time, almost as a rule.  And then the

 9     whole thing falls through again, comes to nothing, and then the chaos

10     increases.

11             But the saddest thing of all in this whole thing is that whenever

12     these new proposals were tabled by the international community, conquests

13     that had taken place up to that point in time were recognised as a

14     fait accompli.

15        Q.   It might be a good idea, now that we've got the book in front of

16     us, to hear about your position on the UN arms embargo.  We might link

17     that up to some topics that we'll be tackling later on, but perhaps you

18     might want to tell us now.

19             Clinton claims that the Americans at one point changed their

20     position on that embargo imposed back in 1991.

21        A.   Mr. Kovacic, we'll tackle this briefly.

22             At page 487, 3D330826, down towards the bottom of the page, and

23     I'm skipping some paragraphs, he says, back in 1992, the European

24     community recognised Bosnia as an independent state.

25        Q.   Perhaps just to give the Chamber a hand, in the English it's

Page 39769

 1     0839.  The page in the book is 509, the right-hand column.  Yes, it's

 2     right there.

 3        A.   I don't have the same -- it's 487, 3D33-0826.

 4        Q.   Yes, I got it right.  It's got a different number in English.

 5        A.   In April, the European community recognised Bosnia.  Okay.  The

 6     first thing that has been perpetuated up to this very day, the name of

 7     the country is Bosnia-Herzegovina.  The name is not Bosnia, it's

 8     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  From the perspective of the great powers, obviously

 9     the same difference, Bosnia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, but everybody keeps

10     saying "Bosnia."  My position is that this has certain negative political

11     implications as well.  He says the first independence achieved by that

12     country since the 15th century.  That's quite right.  In the meantime,

13     Serb paramilitary units continued terrorising the Muslims and killing

14     citizens.  There you go.  Not a single word about the Croats in Bosnia

15     and Herzegovina again, and they were doing the same thing both to the

16     Muslims and to the Croats.

17             Then he goes on to say that Milosevic put on a show, pretending

18     that he was withdrawing this soldiers from Bosnia, while he placed more

19     supplies and more weapons under the command of Ratko Mladic, which of

20     course is true.

21             And then moving on to the next page, 488, that's a translation,

22     3D330827, talking about some economic sanctions that were meant to be

23     imposed.

24             At the beginning, there was resistance from the Secretary-General

25     Boutros-Ghali, the French and English, who believed that Milosevic should

Page 39770

 1     be given a chance to stop the violence that he had triggered.  Needless

 2     to say from the perspective of those of us who were there, this seems

 3     absurd, Milosevic being given a chance to stop the violence that he,

 4     himself, had triggered.  It makes no sense at all.  He triggered the

 5     violence with an objective in mind, and the only way to stop him from

 6     achieving his objective was for someone to tell him, Stop where you are,

 7     man, or else you get bombed.

 8             And then on from there, Clinton says that the problem with the

 9     embargo was the fact that the Serbs had sufficient weapons and ammunition

10     to fight for years, to keep fighting for years.  Therefore, the only real

11     consequence of keeping the embargo in force was making it virtually

12     impossible for the Bosnians to defend themselves.  When he says "The

13     Bosnians," he probably means the Muslims and the Croats.  If he means

14     that, then that's correct.  What it should say is the Bosnians and the

15     Herzegovinians.  Then he says in 1999 we managed to push through, somehow

16     we got the weapons, and then we suppressed the Serb forces, which is

17     entirely untrue because no one could suppress or crush the Serb forces.

18     All he says through small-scale supplies from Croatia that somehow

19     slipped through the NATO blockade on the Croatian side.  Well, that now

20     is true, not small-scale supplies but, rather, maximum large supplies,

21     the largest that could be achieved by Croatia under embargo.

22             And then Mr. Clinton goes on to say that he proposes for this

23     embargo -- for the arms embargo to be lifted, and then the Europeans were

24     focusing on putting an end to the violence.

25             The British prime minister wanted to force the Serbs to stop

Page 39771

 1     their siege of Bosnian cities, and they dispatched 8.000 soldiers to

 2     protect a convoy.  Did they protect these convoys?  Not well.  To some

 3     extent, probably they did, but actual what this shows is no chance of me

 4     accusing anyone, I'm just stating a fact.  The West -- the Western

 5     countries, for whatever reason, at no point in time really faced the

 6     facts on what was going on in Yugoslavia.

 7             And then for whatever reason, down towards the bottom of the

 8     page, Mr. Clinton says when he became president, and that was as far as I

 9     know, at the beginning of 1992, as always, the arms embargo and the

10     European support for the Vance-Owen Plan weakened, weakened.  It weakened

11     the Muslim resistance against the Serbs.  Even the evidence of the

12     massacres against the Muslims and their rights was clear enough already.

13             Now, one thing I don't understand.  The European support for the

14     Vance-Owen Plan, it never weakened, because in the next sentence

15     Mr. Clinton says, In early February, I decided not to back the

16     Vance-Owen Plan.  It is my deepest conviction -- or, rather, based on

17     what we knew, that was a total disaster, because the Americans now said,

18     and I think that this is something that Lord Owen mentioned in his own

19     book, and I think Mr. Karnavas also raised that, they were embittered

20     because the Americans said, There you go, you and your plan.

21             And then Clinton claims he met Brian Mulroney previously,

22     Canada's prime minister, who told him he didn't like the plan.  And then

23     they completed a new plan for a new Bosnian policy, and Warren

24     Christopher said that the US now will be joining the whole thing.

25             Further on, he speaks about the road ahead, and he says that that

Page 39772

 1     road to a joint or unified policy is very long.

 2             "At the beginning of 1992, during our first meeting, French

 3     president Francois Mitterrand let me know that although he had dispatched

 4     5.000 French troops as part of the humanitarian forces to prevent

 5     violence, that he was inclined to support the Serbs, and he was less

 6     inclined to see a united Bosnia under the Muslim leadership.  I don't

 7     want to draw any conclusions."

 8             This is what it says, and this was written by the president of

 9     the United States of America, and there is nothing for me to add.

10             And then he says, on the 26th of March, he's met with Kohl, and

11     Kohl was inclined to support the lifting of the arms embargo.  Kohl was

12     inclined to support the lifting of the arms embargo.  However, it

13     continues by saying that Kohl and Clinton could not convince the British

14     and the French of the same.  They believed, in their turn, that the

15     lifting of the embargo would prolong the war and jeopardise the UN troops

16     on the ground.

17             And now again I don't want to provide any comments.  I just wish

18     to say this:  We can conclude, if we are going to draw any conclusion,

19     that they expected for the Serbs to win very soon, and thus the war would

20     end, or that they would conquer the part of the territory that they would

21     be satisfied with and then they would stop.  Otherwise, how could you

22     have the third side without any arms and that the war could stop in that

23     way?  The only thing that could happen was for one side to kill everybody

24     else on the other side, and then peace would arise.

25             He says here that on the 26th, Izetbegovic met with Gore in the

Page 39773

 1     White House.  Gore was the deputy president of the United States of

 2     America, and there was also the assistant for national security, and he

 3     was responsible for our failure to lift the embargo.  Both Kohl and

 4     Mr. Clinton said to Izetbegovic that they were taking everything they

 5     could, for Europeans to take a firmer position in that regard.  And after

 6     that, the Serbs were prevented from carrying out flights, which was not

 7     important at all.

 8             In April, Americans returned from Bosnia, requesting for military

 9     intervention.  People who had been on the ground were very clear on that.

10     They requested for a military intervention in order to prevent further

11     slaughter.

12             Further on, it says here they saw the killings, they saw ethnic

13     cleansing on the ground.  Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the holocaust,

14     publicly requested from the president to do as much as he possibly could

15     in order to stop violence.

16             Up to the end of that month, the foreign policy team recommended

17     that if the -- if the Serbs could not be convinced in any other way, the

18     embargo for Muslims should be lifted.  No mention of Croats there again,

19     which is absolutely unclear to me.  And so on and so forth.

20             And it finally says after the first 100 days, we were still not

21     close to a satisfactory solution to the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

22     The Britains and the French refused, the attempts of Warren Christopher,

23     and reasserted their right to be -- to play the main role in dealing with

24     the problem.

25             On the ground, we knew that.  We knew in our countries that there

Page 39774

 1     was a competition between the states who would reach a solution.  This is

 2     a competition between the states from Europe and the United States of

 3     America in various combinations to see who would take credit for solving

 4     the situation.  The matter of the fact was nobody was actually doing

 5     anything to solve the situation in any efficient way.

 6             Here, Mr. Clinton states that the tragedy would take two years to

 7     resolve and that there would be 250.000 dead, but this is not true.  In

 8     Bosnia and Herzegovina, the number of dead on the three sides was around

 9     98.000, of which 64 or 5 thousands were Muslims, Bosniaks.  In percentage

10     terms and in absolute terms, they had the highest number of victims.

11     About 26.000 Serbs were killed, and around 8.000 Croats were killed, give

12     or take a few.

13             And now he says something that I believe is very important.

14     Dick Holbrooke called something the largest collective security omission

15     in the West from the 1930s, and this is something I have to deal with.  I

16     have to agree with him, unfortunately.  All the facts were clear.

17     Everything was very clear, who wanted what on what side.

18             So, Your Honours, I believe we proposed that at the very

19     beginning you could have dealt with the crisis in Yugoslavia in a very

20     simple way.  All it would have taken was to place NATO troops on the

21     borders and say there would be no war, and, You in the country employ all

22     the highest standards of democracy and deal with the problem.  Croatia

23     was eager to reach such a solution; however, without any success.

24             And now what he says here is this:  Holbrooke says an erroneous

25     interpretation of the history of the Balkans.  It was considered that the

Page 39775

 1     ethnic clash was too old and too deeply rooted for foreigners to get

 2     involved.  However, this was not an ethnic conflict at all.

 3             Second of all, the obvious loss of strategic position of

 4     Yugoslavia after the Second World War -- I apologise, I'll repeat.  So

 5     this is correct.  Yugoslavia, which had been balancing between the East

 6     and the West and served as an example of a different Communist, although

 7     it was no different at all, but that's what the West wanted to convey as

 8     a message, when the Soviet Union broke up, Yugoslavia lost its strategic

 9     position.

10             The victory of nationalism over democracy, as a dominant ideology

11     of the post-Communist Yugoslavia, I can't agree with that, because no

12     nationalism won over democracy.  Democracy has its two parts, and the

13     first part is introducing legal democratic standards; and then it takes

14     years, for people who lived under the Communist rule, to learn how to

15     apply democratic norms of behaviour.

16             It takes a lot of time for people to learn that, and the best

17     example is East GermanyEast Germany, Prussia, and so on and so forth,

18     before the beginning of the Second World War, were in very many ways much

19     more developed than the western part of Germany.  After having spent 40

20     years under the Communist rule, the psychology of that people changed

21     radically.  The Prussians, who had enjoyed a reputation of a very

22     well-organised state, behaved the way they did, behaved as people would

23     in socialism, and German sociologists concluded after that that people,

24     Germans who lived in West Germany and those who lived in East Germany,

25     that they would reach the same level of development once the children who

Page 39776

 1     went to East German nurseries died.  And fourth of all, less willingness

 2     on the part of Bush's government --

 3             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I have a number of remarks.  One is, in a way,

 4     procedural and helping the interpreters; and I would like to ask you

 5     again and ask everyone in the repertoire, including the Bench, that we

 6     should take into account that the interpreters are suffering a lot,

 7     because everybody speaks here without due attention to their work.  It is

 8     my first remark.

 9             My second remark is that I really don't understand what is the

10     relevance of, for example, the last items which you have taken as subject

11     material, so how the Prussians behaved, et cetera, concerning our

12     indictment.  And we have talked about it yesterday.  I do not want to

13     waste time about it, but I would like to remind you and Mr. Kovacic which

14     it is, indeed, our task to address the indictment and to talk about it,

15     and of course to enhance your case which we are ready to listen to.

16             Thank you.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, Judge Prandler is

18     absolutely right.  Our concern is the indictment, so please keep in mind

19     throughout what you say what is stated in the indictment.

20             I have not read the book written by Bill Clinton.  I'm sorry I

21     haven't, but I haven't, and it might be better somehow, because then

22     I can remain absolutely neutral with respect to what you have just said.

23     But I'm sure you have read the book, and since you are under oath, I

24     absolutely trust the answer you're going to give me.

25             In Clinton's book, and I -- and Judge Prandler just said it so

Page 39777

 1     rightly, I stick to the indictment.  When he wrote this book, I suppose

 2     that he wrote the book surrounded by his advisers, people from the State

 3     Department, the CIA, the secret services, et cetera; so I suppose that he

 4     has good sources because when a former head of state writes a book, he

 5     can't afford to write any odd thing.  So we can be -- we can believe that

 6     what he has written is serious, very serious, indeed.

 7             So based on this, does Mr. Clinton, in his book, mention three

 8     issues that concern me:  The issue of the Greater Croatia?  Does he say

 9     anywhere that Mr. Tudjman wanted to have a hostile take-over on

10     Herzegovina in order to recreate the Banovina?  Does he say so,

11     expressly?

12             Secondly, you spoke about ethnic cleansing, but I understood that

13     you meant the Serbs in saying so, but does Clinton say anywhere that

14     there was ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the

15     Croats in Herzegovina?  Does he say so in his book?

16             So these are my two main concerns, and I remind you that I don't

17     know what is in the book, all the more so since I don't have the

18     translations into English in the binder I received from Mr. Kovacic.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise for sometimes

20     wandering, and I thank you for your warning.

21             Let me say that nowhere in the book did I find that Mr. Clinton

22     says that he heard Franjo Tudjman speak about a Greater Croatia.  That's

23     number 1.

24             Second of all, I read the book, and I didn't see in the book that

25     Mr. Clinton spoke about any sort of ethnic cleansing that would have been

Page 39778

 1     carried out by Croats in Herzegovina.  What I wanted to demonstrate, on

 2     the basis of this book, is the following:  The Western states were not

 3     unified, and it says here that in some European governments, they were

 4     not happy about having a Muslim state in the heart of the Balkans,

 5     because they feared it could be -- it could be turned into a base for the

 6     import of fundamentalism.

 7             What I wanted to show is this:  War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was

 8     moderated by the discord among the states of the Western part of the

 9     world.  One wanted one thing; the others wanted something else.  And what

10     I'm saying is this, Your Honours:  The representatives on the ground

11     followed their government's policies.  That's how the English behaved,

12     that's how the French behaved, that's how the Americans behaved.  And

13     they created additional chaos and additional confusion, and the whole

14     thing made the war even longer and created a cause that in the indictment

15     is actually ascribed to us, and I believe that's why this is relevant.

16     And Clinton said in his book that he wanted to lift the embargo, and then

17     he says, for example, I was against the decision to lift the arms embargo

18     that was proposed by Senator Dole because I feared that would weaken the

19     position of the United Nations.

20             I also claim that after that, the American, as far as we learned

21     in our contacts, that America weakened the embargo which stayed in place.

22     However, the 6th American Fleet no longer controlled what was being

23     transported across the Adriatic, and they also kept quiet when Turkish,

24     Iranian, and other planes landed full of weapons.

25             And let me not go on enumerating and accusing states.  They would

Page 39779

 1     let all these things.  The first plane from Iran that they had not

 2     approved, I suppose - this is a detail that is important - that was

 3     seized.  However, they allowed us to destroy just one part of the

 4     weapons, because people on the ground had seen that what their

 5     governments were doing, in simple words, was not good; that one could not

 6     allow two peoples being killed without allowing them to get arms.  For

 7     that reason, many officers and officials who served with the

 8     United Nations assisted us.  The French did, the Spanish did, and they

 9     did it secretly, unbeknownst to their governments.  They did it covertly.

10     They couldn't do it in openly and publicly.  They were not allowed to do

11     that.  However, they saw this as a good deed on their part.

12             I wouldn't add anything to that.  I would like to finish on that

13     note.  However, let me just say that Clinton says that he had made a

14     confederation with the Washington Accord and he had forced Izetbegovic

15     and Franjo Tudjman to adopt that federation of Muslims and Croats in

16     Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that that federation would be part of a

17     confederation with Croatia.  To this day, I'm really not clear about

18     this line of logic.  And I'm just saying that this is how things

19     happened, because if that part of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

20     consisting of Croats and Muslims, would have become part of a

21     confederation with Croatia, then the Serbs would have entered into a

22     confederation with Serbia, which would mean that there

23     was no longer Bosnia-Herzegovina, or, rather --

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, just one last question

25     to go to the heart of the matter, because you can see that all my

Page 39780

 1     questions are now based and focused on essential things.

 2             Last question:  There, where you're sitting today, several months

 3     ago we had the US ambassador in Zagreb.  He came to testify.  You heard

 4     it as well as I did, and I remember very vividly that he said that,

 5     Basically every day we'd go and see Mr. Tudjman.  He would call him, but

 6     he was permanently, he said, close to Mr. Tudjman; for instance, also in

 7     November 1993, when the events occurred in Stupni Do.  You, yourself, had

 8     positions of responsibility in the Croatian government because you were

 9     assistant minister, and then you joined the HVO, and then you went back

10     to Zagreb as of the 9th of November, 1993.  But in the various positions

11     you held, did you feel that Mr. Tudjman's policy was under American

12     control or that his policy was an absolutely independent policy?

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would sincerely thank you for

14     this question, Your Honour.

15             The policy of Franjo Tudjman was in his aspirations very clearly

16     directed towards one goal.  In order to reach that goal, under the

17     circumstances of a complete -- and he always claimed, and he repeated and

18     he parroted, and I'm not trying to insult the late president, that the

19     Croatian state could not be organised if it was in discord with the

20     international community, if there was no agreement with the international

21     community, and that's why he always wanted to be in agreement.  He wanted

22     to be absolutely clear on what the West wanted.  And the goal was for

23     Croatia to be a democratic state, to be within the framework of borders

24     prescribed by Badinter Commission.  But look here, he had to obey, he had

25     to listen, because those people didn't just come to have a chat.  They

Page 39781

 1     said, You have to.  If you don't, we will introduce an embargo, we will

 2     impose this and that and the other.  We were too weak to talk at the

 3     equal footing with them.

 4             The ambassador of the United States of America was not a person

 5     with whom I could talk with as I would with my equal, regardless of what

 6     I thought of him, but he was a big person who was a representative of a

 7     big force.  Franjo Tudjman could not tell Galbraith, I'm not going to see

 8     you today.  He was not in a position to do that.

 9             And the second thing, Your Honours, it would have created a lot

10     of confusion, and I know it fully well in some positions of

11     Franjo Tudjman that were misquoted.  Franjo Tudjman had two stories.  One

12     was real and pragmatic; he will do this and that and the other.  And the

13     second story was an attempt to explain, in historical terms; and they

14     didn't want to listen to any of that, what would be the best thing for

15     them to do in order to resolve the situation in the area.  As historian

16     with 20 or 30 years of experience before the war, he wrote his works, and

17     he always repeated that we should do what the Scandinavian navy and

18     states had done.  He was somehow obsessed with the idea of a Scandinavian

19     state and how they reached peace, and he believed that we should do the

20     same, we should reach the peace in the same way.  However, he never drew

21     a clear line between his historical explanations and proposals as to how

22     to best achieve the goal.  And people who were listening to him

23     misconstrued that, and that's why -- that's one of the reasons why they

24     misunderstood him.

25             An American does not have the time to listen to you talking about

Page 39782

 1     history.  An American is here for 10 or 15 years as a company with a

 2     clear goal and a clear timeline.

 3             MR. KHAN:  Could I respectfully request that General Praljak

 4     speak a little bit slower.  Sometimes it's difficult to keep track.  It

 5     would be of some assistance.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do try to slow down,

 7     Mr. Praljak.

 8             Yes, please continue, Mr. Kovacic.

 9             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] All right.

10        Q.   I think there's no room for further questions on this.  Could you

11     just look at the screen from time to time, and then you will see how far

12     behind the LiveNote is lagging.  You do need to slow down.

13             In this last portion, one of the main thesis is the existence of

14     a variety of positions among big and powerful states on the developments

15     in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the whole region, so the positions of the

16     big powers were different.  We just spoke about the Americans.  How did

17     the British look upon all this?  Margaret Thatcher first condemned

18     Milosevic; if it were not for him, there would be no war.  Is it a

19     simplification or did the British really understand the reasons for the

20     war better?

21        A.   I will try to slow down.  Just let me say one more thing about

22     the Clinton book.  He says, We did not really enforce the embargo on

23     weapons because we knew that Bosnia could not survive.  Weapons could not

24     come through Croatia.

25             Ms. Thatcher was no longer in British politics at the time.  The

Page 39783

 1     her time was over by then.  But she wrote a book which is called

 2     "Statecraft:  Strategies for a Changing World," and of all the big

 3     leaders, she was the one who best understands what proceeded, what -- how

 4     the problems developed and emerged, who made a mistake where, and how it

 5     all happened.  I could subscribe to everything said in that book.  She

 6     put very clearly what it was all about.  And as far as I am able to

 7     see -- again, you might ask what this has to do with the indictment, but

 8     I'd like to say a few things about the book.

 9             Look, for instance, at this lovely sentence.  She speaks about

10     the kind of policy where every national sentiment is labelled

11     "nationalism."  It's on page 15 of the introduction, 3D41-0098.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please indicate where it is on

13     the page.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry.  We can find perhaps the page if you

15     give the number of the document first.

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 3D02642.

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like your permission to

19     cover a few topics that I believe are relevant to the indictment and are

20     relevant to the case, but it's the break now; isn't it?  Okay.

21             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreters do not have the page on

22     e-court.

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's 3D41-0098.

24             Rare are those among us who are so indelicate to fail to

25     notice --

Page 39784

 1             THE INTERPRETER:  Could Mr. Praljak repeat this or have this put

 2     on the ELMO or in e-court.  We cannot do this like that.

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you look at the history of

 4     Croatia and see all the problems that Croatia had with other states, the

 5     moment the border with Hungary was established, the relationship between

 6     Hungary and Croatia became perfect.

 7             Page 25.  That's 3D41-0098.

 8             THE INTERPRETER:  Please indicate the paragraph on the page.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sometimes fences have to be put up

10     in order to have a good relationship with your neighbour.  Our

11     relationship with Hungary, with Italy, with Austria, were brilliant.  All

12     these were areas with which we used to have problems.  Our relations with

13     Serbia are improving, and they might even be good in some 15, 20 years,

14     when certain issues are resolved.

15             I'll skip all this.

16             MR. KARNAVAS:  It would be helpful also, when Mr. Praljak reads,

17     to designate the paragraph so that the translators can follow along.  And

18     it might also be useful if counsel puts his headphones on so he can hear

19     what exactly is being said in the booth.  I don't mean to be directing

20     around here, but someone has to.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the future, when you prepare

22     a document, Mr. Praljak, do endeavour to keep in mind that we need, of

23     course, the page in B/C/S, but also the page in English, if you can, but

24     in principle so that the English-speaking people can follow the text.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

Page 39785

 1             Page 224 in translation, English text, 3D41-0104.  That's the

 2     English, paragraph 4.  The heading is:  "Criminal Courts for the former

 3     Yugoslavia and Rwanda."  Paragraph 2 says:

 4             "The establishment of the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and

 5     Rwanda...."

 6             And so on and so forth:

 7             " ... constitute an act whereby the West and the broader

 8     international community admit defeat.  In the former Yugoslavia,

 9     Slobodan Milosevic, and the main vehicles of his policy, had already used

10     the Yugoslav People's Army and paramilitary gangs of Serb extremists to

11     wage war against non-Serb population."

12             Mind you, not Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina; non-Serb

13     population:

14             "Milosevic did this so barbarically and ruthlessly, in the plain

15     view of the West, that Europe and the US could not have failed to see it.

16     Moreover, on several occasions messages were sent that Belgrade

17     interpreted as a green light for continuing these actions.  After the

18     greatest world's superpower, America, made a number of bad evaluations at

19     the beginning of the 1999 conflict, and then persistently tried to

20     apportion blame equally upon the victim and the aggressor, it had to find

21     a way to respond to the increasing outrage throughout the world."

22             Page 224, that's 3D33-0728, paragraph 1, one sentence that we

23     studied in history:

24             "Bismarck said on one occasion the whole of the Balkans is not

25     worth the bones of one Pomeranian Grenadier."

Page 39786

 1             Many would agree with opinion of the iron chancellor.

 2     Unfortunately, that sort of thing was rampant in our war, but I would not

 3     agree with Bismarck on this.  But the people who came to our country came

 4     with little brochures full of so many simplification and so much scorn

 5     and disdain that it was sickening to listen to.

 6             Page 245, that's 3D330729, the second paragraph in the middle:

 7             "The West finally did intervene in order to try to preserve the

 8     old Yugoslavia together, and exerted great pressure in public on those

 9     who are insolent enough to want to secede.  Western states, among other

10     things, imposed an embargo on the import of weapons, putting the

11     aggressor in a far better position, and thus adding fuel to the

12     aggression."

13             A little further below, Baroness Thatcher says that the West

14     mediated in numerous cease-fires, addressed numerous threats, and she

15     thinks that it might have been better not to interfere in that way.  It

16     would have been better, in her opinion, to let us deal with it ourselves.

17             On page 248 -- no, no, I can't do this one.

18             MR. STRINGER:  Excuse me, Mr. President.  Just -- I've been

19     quiet, and I'll continue to be quiet because it appears that the

20     Trial Chamber, despite the admonitions to General Praljak to try to bring

21     this testimony more closely to what's alleged in the indictment, the

22     Trial Chamber is agreeable to his continuing, but just for the record,

23     the Prosecution objects to this testimony as irrelevant.  He's reading

24     books of various individuals, politicians, the president, the

25     prime minister, which is all sort of interesting, and maybe his point is

Page 39787

 1     that it's the international community that's responsible for the crimes

 2     that he's charged with.  If that's his position, then let him say it.  I

 3     mean, that seems to be where he's going.  But it's our submission that

 4     this is irrelevant.

 5             I'm not going to object any more on this, because I think

 6     ultimately we get off track and we lose time, but that's the Prosecution

 7     position.  This is irrelevant testimony.  It's not linked to the crimes

 8     that are alleged in this indictment, which by the way doesn't include any

 9     crimes committed by any Serbs.  But that's our position, and I'm just

10     going to put that on the record for now and be quiet.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  You have produced

12     resolutions of the Security Council, articles or stories from the British

13     press.  You have also produced several documents.  So why don't you want

14     an accused to be able also to produce some documents which come from

15     political people of the United States, English, or other countries who

16     are talking about these events?  Why prohibit the accused to talk about

17     this?

18             But, Mr. Praljak, as for the book of Ms. Thatcher, which I

19     haven't read - I think my colleagues haven't read it either - the only

20     question, and I'm coming to the objective of my colleague Judge Prandler,

21     and he's perfectly right, it is the indictment, and my question is very

22     simple:  Does Ms. Thatcher, in her book, speak again of the three

23     subjects I talked to you about in the book of Mr. Clinton; a Great

24     Croatia and the ethnic cleansing?  Those are the subjects which are

25     important.  Does she speak or write about them, or as I got an

Page 39788

 1     impression, she only writes about the Serbs, the Serbians?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Out of three things you mentioned,

 3     Ms. Thatcher did not ascribe a single one to Croatia or Mr. Tudjman.  She

 4     speaks not only about the Serbs and the attitude of the West; she speaks

 5     about how the war started, how it developed, and about the conduct of the

 6   international community in all of that.  You will allow that the indictment

 7   contains allegations about the joint criminal enterprise and our desire to

 8   carve up Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we read in Clinton's book that he

 9   brought Alija Izetbegovic and Milosevic to Washington to sign an agreement

10   with Croatia, and that was a carving up of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  After

11   all I am not without intelligence and don’t tell me that I have committed

12   war crimes before it has been proven in court.  So, if it were just about,

13   “Praljak, you have done it, and so on”, then all of this would be

14   unnecessary.  What we are talking about here is the effect of the embargo.

15   Ms. Thatcher had a very good understanding of why things were happening the

16   way they were happening.  She understood the effect of the mass of Bosniaks

17   expelled by Serbs, and the ethnic composition had been very balanced until

18   then; and she understood how this fed the inter-ethnic conflict because

19   disturbing the balance of ethnic population by expelling population and

20   giving them abandoned apartments to occupy, that produces effects later on. 

21             These people do not care for anyone else.  They are busy simply

22     surviving.  I think the conflict in Mostar and the conflict in Travnik,

23     if there had been no peaceful ethnic occupation, meaning expulsions by

24     Serbs, would perhaps have happened anyway, but it would have happened

25     much later, on a much smaller scale and with much smaller effects.  And

Page 39789

 1     it's very important to know this and very relevant to this indictment.

 2     I believe that lack of understanding of these things amounts to a logical

 3     fabrication and a legal fabrication.  By presenting this book by Bill

 4     Clinton and the book by Ms. Thatcher, I wanted to show their thinking.

 5             And it's also important, in my mind, to know that the length of

 6     the war, as a particular variable on the actions of every individual, and

 7     on the moral stakes, will be the greater in proportion to the length of

 8     the war.  The longer the war, you will have more and more individuals who

 9     will break down from killings, from starvation, attrition.  These are

10     important things.  Or perhaps I don't understand anything.  Of course, it

11     is up to you Judges to see what you will do with it.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's time for the break now.

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Perhaps I can be helped after the break.

14             If you look at page 42, lines 8 to 12, I must confess I

15     completely fail to understand what Mr. Praljak tries to say here.  Maybe

16     it is lost in translation.  So let's go into the break, and maybe

17     afterwards it can be sorted out.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  We'll break for 20

19     minutes.

20                           --- Recess taken at 4.03 p.m.

21                           --- On resuming at 4.27 p.m.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing starts again.

23             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   Mr. Praljak, perhaps you could explain -- that is, clarify for

25     Judge Trechsel what you meant on page 42, lines 8 and 9, where you said

Page 39790

 1     that the conflict in Mostar and Travnik, in the circumstances of these

 2     peaceful ethnic occupations of refugees caused by the Serbs -- something

 3     might have been omitted here.  Could you explain?

 4        A.   I can.  Your Honour Judge Trechsel, when I come to the paragraph

 5     of Ms. Thatcher that is relevant, I'll explain it very slowly and

 6     clearly.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, I need no paragraph at all.  I want

 8     a re-translation or just what you have said between lines 8 and 12,

 9     because you speak there that the conflict could have been avoided,

10     I think, or something, if there had been no peaceful ethnic occupation,

11     and this seems very strange to me.  I don't think that you wanted to say

12     something like that.  So if you can recall what you actually wanted to

13     say, and say it slowly.  Then the interpreters will translate that.  It's

14     a linguistic problem that I have.

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right.  It's very simple.  The

16     waves of refugees, mostly Muslims that Serbs had expelled from their

17     homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, a large number of them went

18     to Croatia and a large number of these refugees came to Central Bosnia.

19     In that way, the ethnic balance between Muslims and Croats was upset, and

20     that was an important factor that contributed to the open war that broke

21     out in March 1993 between Muslims and Croats.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  This is very clear now.  It makes

23     sense, and I'm grateful.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me finish, Your Honour

25     Judge Trechsel.

Page 39791

 1             What I just quoted is written by Ms. Thatcher on page 261 in the

 2     Croatian translation, and in English it's 3D33-0743, paragraph 3.

 3             I claim, once again, that the waves of refugees that upset the

 4     ethnic balance in Mostar and Central Bosnia were an important

 5     contributing factor in the conflict that broke out between Muslims and

 6     Croats, that is, between the BH Army and the Croat forces, because these

 7     people, in the general situation as it was, felt that they had no

 8     guarantee of ever being able to come back to their native areas.  A huge

 9     number of them has still not returned, nor will they ever return.  They

10     were very embittered.  They were people looking for a place to live, to

11     inhabit, and neither in Mostar, nor anywhere else -- I'm not saying that

12     the conflict would never have broken out, but even if they had broken out

13     eventually, without this upsetting of the ethnic balance, the conflict

14     would not have been so bad.  And I believe that this was even done

15     deliberately to provoke a conflict between Croats and Muslims.  That was

16     the purpose.

17             I'd like to come back to page 250 now.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, unfortunately I do

19     not have the page you are reading from or you're looking at.  There has

20     been, indeed, a technical problem, but could you exactly say the sentence

21     which was pronounced so that we'll have it on the transcript?  It's

22     probably only two or three lines.  Could you please say exactly what she

23     says on this question?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll read it exactly.  Page 261 in

25     the Croatian translation.  In English, it's 3D33-0743.  I quote:

Page 39792

 1             "It is evaluated that 900.000 people sought refuge in

 2     neighbouring countries and in Western Europe, while 1.3 million were

 3     displaced within Bosnia itself.  The burden of accommodating such a large

 4     number of people, especially in Croatia and Bosnia, was unbearable."

 5             Next paragraph:

 6             "Those waves of refugees brought about instability, and that was

 7     the purpose.  The arrival of thousands of Muslim refugees in Central

 8     Bosnia, which upset the ethnic balance between Muslims and Croats, is an

 9     important factor that contributed to the open war which broke out between

10     them in March 1993."

11             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mr. Praljak.  In

12     e-court, it's 3D33-0632, in English, and the page of the book is 301 in

13     the English original, in the chapter "War Against Bosnia."

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

15     having read this passage.  The members of the Chamber appreciate it.

16     Right.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'd like to go back now to the

18     page 250 in Croatian.  How come my numbers are different for English?

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] No, Mr. Praljak, that's not

20     English.  That's for the Croatian version.  It's the original page in the

21     book and the e-court number for Croatian.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the first paragraph,

23     Ms. Thatcher visited Vukovar in 1998 and says that everyone should at

24     least once in their life face the material reality of evil, because when

25     she saw Vukovar, she saw evil assuming a real face that no one can ever

Page 39793

 1     forget.  She says that the area of Eastern Slavonia peacefully

 2     reintegrated into Croatia because Croatia gave up on any military action,

 3     and the United Nations scored its first success in peaceful

 4     reintegration, which was led by General Klein.  And she says:

 5             "I also believed, as I had believed from the very start, in the

 6     summer of 1991, that Croatia, as a New Democratic state, needs all the

 7     support it can get, and that the support it had so far received from the

 8     West was almost negligible.  Therefore, I accepted the invitation of the

 9     Croatian president, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, and the Croatian government to

10     come for a long-postponed visit."

11             And then in the next two paragraphs, she talks about the fact

12     that Croatia belongs to Mediterranean Europe and that the rest of Croatia

13     belongs to Central Europe.  She says that Dubrovnik is a sublimely

14     beautiful city and that the shelling of Dubrovnik was one of the

15     stupidest tactical moves by Belgrade.  She also says that the shelling of

16     Dubrovnik --

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak.  We really need -- do

18     not need Maggie Thatcher to tell us that.  This is completely redundant,

19     because everyone knows it, and certainly the members on the Bench are

20     very well aware of that.

21             MR. KOVACIC:  Thank you.

22             [Interpretation] For the sake of the record and in order to

23     facilitate reading, what Mr. Praljak has just read is on 3D33-0626.  The

24     original page is 288.  The chapter is "Vukovar."  There is a photograph

25     there -- rather, the image of a map on that page.  Thank you.

Page 39794

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you have read from

 2     a part of this book.  There may be another one you might have read, which

 3     I'm discovering now and which I will summarise quickly so that we save

 4     time.

 5             Apparently, two years before 1993, let's say in 1991,

 6     Ms. Thatcher had brought her support to Croatia and supported Croatia,

 7     and according to what she writes, she was going to be rewarded with a

 8     doctorate at the University of Zagreb.  And there is also -- and because

 9     of that, she didn't go.  So she cancelled her visit, and she says that

10     those were attacks by Croatians, extremists of Croatia.  Can you comment

11     on this?  Do you have anything to say about this?  Because you used the

12     book and also everything which is written in it, which is directly linked

13     to the indictment.  So this is what she's written.  What can you say

14     about this?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know about that, Your Honour.

16     Ms. Thatcher was supposed to visit, but she cancelled the visit after

17     what had occurred at Ahmici.  Ahmici became a worldwide topic at the

18     time.  As far as I knew at the time, she believed that this was not a

19     good time for her to be visiting Croatia, although we ended up wondering

20     what Croatia had to do with Ahmici.  Nevertheless, that's what happened.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're not answering the other

22     part of my question.  Why does she speak about Croatian extremists?  Do

23     you have an answer?  Because it's written here.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't understand.  Otherwise, I

25     would have replied.

Page 39795

 1             It is not contentious, Your Honour, that there were groups of

 2     persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This is in relation to Ahmici.  She

 3     is referring to extremists involved in that event.  That is my

 4     understanding.  It is a fact that the chaos of war in Bosnia and

 5     Herzegovina, there were, on both the Croat and Muslim sides, groups of

 6     people who were out of control and who were extreme and impossible to

 7     control, those who operated at night.

 8             In broad daylight, they would have formed part of the HVO, for

 9     example, but no one really knew what they were doing once they were back

10     home from the front-line, with 15 or 20 days off to follow.  Control was

11     impossible under those conditions.  Everyone, ranging from Franjo Tudjman

12     to all the others, were saying, because this was a new democracy, and she

13     refers to all these problems faced by new democracies, that it wasn't

14     possible to lay the blame at the door of the leadership, be it Croatia's

15     leadership or the HZ-HB's leadership, for not fighting hard enough to

16     suppress that sort of thing.  I clearly demonstrated that this is an

17     arduous enough task even for states that are not at war, for full-fledged

18     democracies.

19             We were severely affected by this for the following reason:  We

20     ended up looking like we were to blame, and yet there was nothing at the

21     time that we could do to eradicate things like that.  To put it in the

22     simplest of terms, it was powerlessness. A classic case of powerlessness.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right, I'll continue just very

25     briefly.

Page 39796

 1             A couple of things remaining for us to see.  The page is 259 of

 2     the Croatian translation, paragraph 2, and now you can tell me what the

 3     English reference would be.

 4             In this paragraph, Ms. Thatcher says that the Western leaders,

 5     faced with the threat, meaning Yugoslavia, committed three key errors:

 6             Firstly, they tried to preserve Yugoslavia, thereby making it

 7     known to the JNA that the foreign powers would not oppose their attempts

 8     to prevent secession.

 9             Secondly, the international community imposed an embargo, thereby

10     making it impossible for Slovenes, Bosnians and Croats to defend

11     themselves.

12             And thirdly, quote, "in a bid to, 'in an unbiased fashion,'

13     distribute the blame for these events," while in reality that was only

14     one side - that was the aggressor - while the other side was the victim,

15     the West became a kind of a co-culprit for the crimes that were

16     committed.  This was no, and I quote -- Ms. Thatcher quotes, rather,

17     "fine hour "for Europe, as claimed at the time by the Luxembourg Foreign

18     Minister Jacques Poos.  Rather, this was the moment of European disgrace.

19             In the last paragraph, she says a third of Croatian territory was

20     occupied, roughly speaking, and I quote:

21             "The UN forces were passive onlookers to the continuing ethnic

22     cleansing of Croats from Croatia's territories.  As Croatia's strength

23     grew, they started to operate as the protectors of the Serb aggressor."

24             Meanwhile, Milosevic and the military leadership, who had been

25     allowed by international negotiators, without any difficulties being

Page 39797

 1     presented, to withdraw their heavy weaponry to Bosnia, were now able to

 2     set them to work against the non-Serb inhabitants there.

 3             Ms. Thatcher says:

 4             "What needed now doing?  Number 1, when the constituent peoples

 5     expressed their desire to leave Yugoslavia, the attempt to preserve

 6     Yugoslavia at all costs was not permitted.  Secondly, the side that was

 7     attacked had its right recognised."

 8             Number 3, one had to condemn the aggression against Slovenia and

 9     Croatia at its early stage, and place an ultimatum followed by military

10     action.  Air-strikes, combined with a supply of arms to the besieged,

11     would undoubtedly saved Vukovar and other Croatian cities.

12             Just to wrap this up, Your Honours, this is something that we

13     and -- this war could have quite simply been stopped, nipped in the bud,

14     quite efficiently.  All one had to do was deploy along the borders, give

15     us weapons to defend ourselves, and the Serb aggression would have been

16     to no avail at all.  This was simple.  It would have proved efficient.

17             Nothing is further from my mind than to accuse anyone at all, but

18     the fact is, as is written here, this failure of the West to find its

19     feet in this situation led to the results that we are looking at today.

20     So that's that.

21             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation].

22        Q.   Because pages 48, 49 and 50 were followed with a delay, the last

23     bit read by General Praljak, that's from 3D33-0631.  The next page, 0632,

24     the pages would be 298 and 299 of Baroness Thatcher's book entitled "The

25     Wars in the Balkan."

Page 39798

 1        A.   And just to add something that I forgot to say to Judge Trechsel

 2     before:  The refugees and the very duration of the war, with all the

 3     expectations being let down, and this is something that has to do with

 4     the indictment, each month or every two months, there was an exponential

 5     growth in the numbers of people who were becoming morally decompensated.

 6     Throughout the war, the amount of chaos and the impossibility to exercise

 7     any form of control over the amount of problems that the war and the

 8     failure to find one's bearings, and the loss of any reference points, as

 9     far as the aid that was expected from the West was concerned, this goes

10     to the very heart of the indictment.

11             I assert that what is termed the political and military

12     leadership of the HVO and I invested an endless effort; yet we were

13     unable to overcome these problems.  As for myself, I say, and I've

14     managed to establish that, regardless of the daily amount of work that I

15     put into it, which was never under 20 hours, regardless of my

16     unquestionable courage, it was impossible to overcome the amount of chaos

17     that was there.  In that regard, I have to repeat this:  If the

18     indictment was already there and I was facing the same situation in the

19     area, I don't know what else I could have done.  I don't know what I

20     could have done better.  I did the best that I could.

21        Q.   Thank you very much, General Praljak.  If there are no

22     questions --

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a few follow-up

24     questions on this document which I'm reading for the first time here.

25     Therefore, I have questions to put straight off the cuff.

Page 39799

 1             First of all, I'll tell you how to read my questions.  As a

 2     criminal judge, I tried to really look into depth and to have a clear

 3     overview of everything that is stated in an indictment, including what is

 4     in between the lines of an indictment.  By way of an example, when a

 5     criminal law judge has to assess an air crash, he may say that there was

 6     a crash because there was a defect in the engine.  Then the criminal

 7     judge will draw conclusions, make findings as to the cause.

 8             But if he is really thorough, he may find there was a defective

 9     engine, but when there was a breakdown, there was a light that lit up and

10     pilots that were drunk did not factor that in.  If they had, they could

11     have corrected the situation.  This is my approach, no matter what the

12     field is.  This is the way I work.  I try to have a comprehensive

13     overview of all problems.

14             We've been here for three years, and I realise that the Serb

15     element has to be taken into account when assessing the indictment.

16     Ms. Thatcher says so in her book on page 302 in the English version.  She

17     says that while there was 31 percent of the population, they occupied

18     70 percent of the territory.  This is a fact that cannot be ignored.  But

19     she goes further than that, so it seems, because she's a former

20     prime minister of Britain; so what she says is probably better than what

21     a journalist may say or than somebody who's just been on the ground for a

22     few hours, because if she writes anything, she must rely on various

23     sources.  She wouldn't write anything.  And her book is a very explicit

24     criticism of the Vance-Owen Plan.  She seems to say that there were

25     consequences.  One of the consequences is that the parties, be they

Page 39800

 1     Muslims, Croats or Serbs, wanted to take control of territory, which

 2     brought about, inevitably, conflicts, but she seems to put aside the

 3     Croats, at least in the pages that we have here.  I don't have the entire

 4     book, but in these pages she speaks about Serbs, but she also speaks

 5     about Muslims, with the Mujahedin phenomenon.  But curiously enough, I

 6     fail to find in these pages anything at all between the quote/unquote

 7     "the siege of Mostar."

 8             You have read the book.  Does she anywhere in the book speak

 9     about Mostar?  And if she doesn't, why doesn't she, in your view?

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I've read the book,

11     yes.  I'd just like to say this, a sentence in passing:  The bibliography

12     on that war runs into about a thousand books.  I've read them myself and

13     we have 28.  We won't be referring to them all, needless to say.

14             Why is that the case?  I entirely agree with Ms. Thatcher when

15     she says that when the plan fell through -- rather, look at it this way:

16     The negotiators come to Geneva whenever they met, and the pressure is

17     exerted on the weakest link, invariably, all the time.  No principles

18     were in force there.  It wasn't a principle line of reasoning that was

19     followed.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have an opportunity to

21     revisit this.  Just answer my question.  Does she speak about Mostar or

22     not?  Why doesn't she?  Because the "siege," and I always put it in

23     quotation marks, of Mostar, she should have spoken about.  Why doesn't

24     she?

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can only speculate.

Page 39801

 1     I don't know why she doesn't speak about Mostar, except perhaps she knows

 2     about what I'm telling you.

 3             The outbreak of clashes in Central Bosnia, in my opinion, and I

 4     have reason to assume that she had similar information at the time, was

 5     linked to the Mujahedin, the BH Army, and the ethnic dis-balance, because

 6     by this time they had understood that in international circles, those

 7     areas were recognised that were under some form of military control.

 8             As the BH Army didn't have the power to take back or reclaim the

 9     territories now held by the Serbs, it was only logical for them to turn

10     to the Croats.  For that reason, a theory was created here that several

11     thousand or 8.000 people from Central Bosnia, from the HVO, attacked 2

12     Corps of the BH Army, and this borders on military insanity.  This is

13     something that I will use, books written by Muslim generals, to

14     demonstrate to the Court beyond any doubt at all.  And then they launched

15     an operation towards the south, Mostar and as far as Ploce and Neum, and

16     this is something that is written by the commander of the Muslim forces

17     in his book.  It's not something that Praljak is suggesting.  It is then

18     saying it in no uncertain terms.  Had they won a victory there, they

19     would have come to the negotiating table to say, All right, the West was

20     well disposed to recognise and take for granted the solution that was

21     already there.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I infer from this that you do

23     not have any specific explanation for this, so let's stop here.

24             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I just wanted to state for the

25     record, when you asked the general the question, he said, No, and then he

Page 39802

 1     continued his explanation.  But he said, No, while you were still being

 2     interpreted, and that is off the record.

 3        Q.   General, let us try to speed things along a little, since we have

 4     lost a lot of time already.  I don't think we should go into

 5     Richard Holbrooke --

 6        A.   Or perhaps the three questions that we had in mind.

 7             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters note, one speaker at a time,

 8     please.  The interpretation is becoming exceedingly difficult.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do not say that we have wasted

10     a lot of time.

11             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, we did not get your last remarks

12     over the English channel.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  I was asking Mr. Kovacic

14     why he just said that we'd wasted a lot of time, but he has answered now.

15     He said that he thought that we are just sort of lagging behind, that's

16     all.

17             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps we should not start quoting

18     Richard Holbrooke.

19        Q.   Maybe just something that we touched upon today.  The Presiding

20     Judge, His Honour Antonetti summed it up.  What about Holbrooke, what

21     about his entire book, not only the portion that we're using; any

22     references at all to an alleged policy to create a Greater Croatia?

23        A.   I read Holbrooke's book "To End a War."  I never came across any

24     references like that.

25        Q.   Thank you very much.  Is it not his assertion in that book that

Page 39803

 1     the Croats, be it Croats from Bosnia, be it Croatia as a state, with its

 2     own army, were committing any acts of ethnic cleansing against the

 3     Muslims in Bosnia?

 4        A.   I can't say specifically.  I don't quite remember.

 5        Q.   All right.  Are there any references at all to the position that

 6     the Republic of Croatia was trying to annex parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

 7        A.   To the best of my recollection, no references at all.  That's the

 8     way I remember it right now.  I've read a whole lot of books, but I would

 9     say no.

10        Q.   All right.  Let's leave Holbrooke aside for the time being.  We

11     have now included the reference to him.  The book is there.  By virtue of

12     his position at the time, he was in a position to provide relevant

13     information.  Anyone is free to go back to that, should they so wish.

14             I think we should now move on to Dr. Alois Mock's book, edited by

15     Herbert Vyitska.

16             This was given to you separately, to the Registrar, because new

17     numbers were assigned.  Could that please be distributed to the Judges.

18     No, no, I apologise.  Only the general and I were given copies, and we

19     have to give you the old page references for the transcript.  I just

20     wanted to simplify matters a little.  The number in e-court will be

21     3D03552.  In your binders, the numbers should be 3D0 -- or, rather, that

22     remains, that's the e-court number now in your binders, it was 3D02649

23     and, in part, 3D03538.

24             Mr. Praljak, can you get the new folder, look at what I'm --

25        A.   I'll just try to be brief about this.

Page 39804

 1        Q.   All right.  My first question -- or, rather, what I wish to ask

 2     you first:  Tell the Chamber why you think that the views of Dr. Mock are

 3     certainly relevant.  That is the first thing that I would like you to

 4     explain.  And, secondly, aren't Dr. Mock's positions essentially the same

 5     or do they not coincide with those of Baroness Thatcher?

 6        A.   I read the book entitled "The Balkans in Croatia," written by

 7     Alois Mock.  The then-foreign minister of Austria, was an outstanding

 8     connoisseur of the conditions in the former Yugoslavia, it's economy,

 9     it's politics, it's ethnic problems.  He knew a lot about all these

10     problems in their entirety.  In the war, he played a very prominent role

11     as moderator and particularly as someone who passed on the explanations

12     to those further along in the West.  He explained to everyone what

13     warranted their attention.  I assert that Dr. Alois Mock reached many

14     conclusions that were similar to those reached by Ms. Thatcher there.

15        Q.   Do you wish to point to any of his assertions that summarises

16     positions of some relevance for Defence?

17        A.   It would take us too far.  I'm saying that he detects the same or

18     similar problems as Ms. Thatcher in a very exhaustive way.  I could go on

19     talking about that for hours, but maybe that would not be welcomed by the

20     honourable Trial Chamber.  But what I'm saying is what I'm saying.

21        Q.   Thank you very much.  The next book that we would like to use is

22     3D03553.  The author is Brendan Simms from -- and the title is "Britain

23     and the Destruction of Bosnia."  What is the main thesis in the book that

24     prompted you to use this document as evidence and as one of the

25     explanations of the situation?

Page 39805

 1        A.   When it comes to the positions of Mr. Brendan Simms, the title is

 2     the best illustration, "The Unfinest Hour:  Britain and the destruction

 3     of Bosnia."

 4        Q.   Mr. Praljak, can you please quote number that is on the bottom as

 5     the page in e-court?

 6        A.   This is the title.  3D410230.  I believe that the title page is

 7     the best illustration of everything that Mr. Simms writes in his book,

 8     "The Unfinest Hour," and it speaks about Britain and the destruction of

 9     Bosnia.  If I were to try to show everything that is in the book, and the

10     book is very long, written by a connoisseur, by someone who knew the

11     situation very well, he speaks about the campaign of ethnic cleansing

12     that fell upon Bosnian Muslims in North-West Bosnia.  This is on page 7,

13     at the very beginning of the book.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the transcript, who is

15     Mr. Simms?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, I don't know.  He is

17     a politologist.  He has offered some -- in any case, he is a political

18     analyst.

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

20        Q.   The first thing that you wanted to draw our attention to is in

21     the preface of the book?

22        A.   Yes, this is in the preface.

23        Q.   This is 3D410785.

24        A.   In the preface, I'm reading from it now, it says, and I quote --

25     I quote half a sentence:

Page 39806

 1             "The Serbs have taken it as their goal to create an ethnically

 2     clean state from which they would eradicate every trace of the Muslim

 3     heritage."

 4             Further on, it says that they carried out ethnic cleansing, and I

 5     quote:

 6             "During the largest part of the year 1992 in Bosnia, there was no

 7     war.  It was a slaughter, and Serb military circles, armed to the tooth

 8     and well organised, used their advantage against unprotected civilians.

 9        Q.   Very well.

10        A.   And so on and so forth.  And then of course what is important

11     here is this:  He speaks about the behaviour of British military and

12     political circles, and on the preface on page 9, he says as follows, and

13     I quote:

14             "Therefore, the most recent claim by Milosevic's Defence team in

15     The Hague --"

16        Q.   Can you give us the page reference?

17        A.   It's page 9 in the preface.  This is 3D410206.

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I have an observation.  I don't know if it just

19     regards the transcript, but the number given for this transcript on,

20     sorry, page 58, line 6, is "3D03553."  I have spent I don't know how many

21     minutes trying to find this.  It's a wrong number.  It seems, at least in

22     my binder, there are two numbers, 3D03100 and 3D03539.  It would be very

23     helpful if these numbers could be given carefully and correctly, because

24     we lose time, and while we're looking for it we do not get everything the

25     witness is saying.

Page 39807

 1             I have found it now, but it's an observation pro futuro.

 2             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes.  Unfortunately, you're right,

 3     Your Honour.  However, there has been some confusion, or people try to

 4     deal with yesterday's [indiscernible], which we were alerted.  We tried

 5     to use some new technology and introduce everything together in e-court.

 6     The situation -- the very situation was not the best, and this is not

 7     good either, but everything was prepared even before that, so we have a

 8     problem at the moment and we can't deal with it, unfortunately.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  I understand that there is some

10     chaos even here.  Thank you.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may, I would like to quote

12     from page 9 in the preface of the Croatian translation, and now you can

13     give me the number for the English translation.  Brendan Simms -- I'm

14     going to say just a few things so that we don't lose much time with that.

15             On page 9 of the preface --

16             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

17        Q.   Very well.  We can read the number now.  This goes from 3D41/0785

18     to 3D41-0790 in e-court.

19        A.   I quote:  "Through the Security Council of the United Nations

20     in New York, and the NATO Consul in Brussels, for three long years the

21     Brits resisted the use of air force by NATO. 

22        At the same time, British statesmen and diplomats were looking upon,

23     in inverted commas, - strong – Serbia, as the best guarantor of peace

24     in the Balkans.  British mediators treated Serbs very amicably, and

25     they were arrogant with Bosniaks at the same time.  They used every

Page 39808

 1     possible way and mean to sabotage any American plans for a military

 2     intervention.  Therefore, the most recent claim by Milosevic's Defence

 3     team in The Hague, according to which Lord Carrington and Owen had given

 4     him the green light," in inverted commas, " does not surprise at all."

 5             And then he says that this policy undermined the international

 6     reputation of Britain, and so on and so forth, or, and I quote from

 7     page 28 -- we are no longer dealing with the preface.  We are dealing

 8     with something else.  On page 28 --

 9        Q.   If I may, this is in e-court 3D41-0790.  Yes.

10        A.   I quote the paragraph in the middle:

11             "Of course, when you and commanders on the ground ask for a

12     military intervention, British statesmen did not hasten to meet their

13     demand.  'No cease-fire,' complained General Abdulrazek in December 1992.

14     'There is no progress.  The situation is getting worse.  All our efforts

15     to save life and restore the basic services do not yield any results.'

16     He demanded," the UN general, "to give a dead-line to Bosnia-Herzegovina

17     under the threat of force.  'Guardian' wrote about a military operation.

18     It is no longer possible to rest on one's laurels and say that this is

19     being opposed by those on the ground.  Nothing happened.  There were

20     no -- any advances, even when the French UN commander, General Cot,

21     requested air-strikes in early 1994, after which he was immediately

22     dismissed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations."

23             And how did this look in propaganda terms?  This is on page 29.

24        Q.   This is the following page immediately after the one that we have

25     just dealt with, thank you.

Page 39809

 1        A.   And here Mr. Simms shows an example of a situation in which a

 2     girl, Irma Hadzimuratovic, had been hit by a Serb shell, and her mother

 3     was killed, and the girl was in a coma; and it says here her example was

 4     nothing out of the extraordinary.  Numerous children suffered such

 5     wounds.  However, thanks to the efforts of the BBC and the tabloid press,

 6     Irma's fate briefly became a national preoccupation in Britain.  After

 7     swift intervention by the prime minister, the young girl was flown out of

 8     Bosnia, with maximum publicity and whilst disproportionate expense.

 9             I quote:

10             "The aid agencies on the ground, who knew the British

11     government's lamentable record on the evacuation of injured adults, were

12     understandably contemptuous.  Sjlvana Foa, the UNHCR spokeswoman, pointed

13     out that Sarajevo was no supermarket for patients."

14             And we quote her:

15             "Does that mean that Britain wants only children?  Maybe they

16     want only blonde and blue-eyed children, maybe only children under the

17     age of six."

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak, I'm lost again.  This is

19     an accusation against Great Britain, which may be justified and

20     interesting, but I do not see any relation to the indictment.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour --

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  And it's something to which you have not been a

23     witness, have you?  Have you been there?  Have you seen anything of this?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe I can add some clarity, maybe

25     I can answer the question.

Page 39810

 1             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] This was the objective of this and

 2     some other chapters, but I believe I can put my question now.

 3        Q.   As you were reading the last part in this chapter, what did you

 4     actually want to convey, what message did you want to convey?  What

 5     impression did you want to convey?  What were the facts that had an

 6     influence on the conditions during the war?

 7        A.   I wanted to say the following:  I quoted this not to accuse

 8     Great Britain.  This was not my intention at all.

 9             However, the Croatian Defence Council and myself transported

10     10.000 wounded members of the BiH Army to Croatia, and this means at

11     least 8.000 times some ambulance had to go to Split and further afield.

12     We transported hundreds of wounded from the Mostar Hospital.  The one,

13     first, and then two helicopters that the HVO had at its disposal, I never

14     managed to use it because it was always used to transport wounded,

15     including wounded Muslims.

16             There was a lot more publicity in Britain given to the transport

17     of this one girl than anything that we might have done for over 10.000

18     people, and I am sitting here accused by a report when I was in Rama and

19     in Uskoplje, when I transported a Muslim child suffering from leukemia,

20     and its mother.  And I was the one who brought over the TV crew to record

21     what was being done because there were daily accusations against us.

22     There were no facts to corroborate any of these accusations.  There are

23     no facts you can use to fight against such accusations if somebody is not

24     going to accept a fact.  You can do whatever you will.  In keeping with

25     this, in their reports about us, they he wrote the same things that were

Page 39811

 1     requested from them, from the British government, that they lied, they

 2     lied to everybody, and nowhere, in none of the reports, did they mention

 3     a reference to the existence of the Mujahedin in Central Bosnia.

 4             Your Honour Trechsel, that's by way of answering your question,

 5     and this is why I quoted a passage from this book.

 6        Q.   I don't think there's any more need to dwell upon this book.

 7        A.   No.

 8        Q.   If there are no further questions, I would like to move on to a

 9     completely new chapter.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A question.  Mr. Praljak, you

11     have read this book, and you have seen that it uses a certain number of

12     witnesses who came to bear witness here, in particular from the British

13     Battalion.  Some elements in the book come directly from the mouth of

14     certain witnesses who came to bear witness here.  This professor of

15     Cambridge who wrote this book, tell us what you want -- I listened to you

16     very carefully.  What exactly do you want to show?  Do you want to show

17     that the British did not understand properly what was going on, and then

18     you take issue with the very fact that they didn't understand the threat

19     of the Mujahedin?  What exactly are you trying to tell us by using this

20     book?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me put it in very simple terms,

22     Your Honour.  It is my deep conviction that the Britains, who are

23     brilliant politicians and have been for centuries, knew exactly what was

24     happening with the Mujahedin, because it would have been impossible not

25     to understand.  They were absolutely well aware of what was happening in

Page 39812

 1     Yugoslavia and during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I claim that

 2     by following the policy of the British government and its political and

 3     military circles that is very precisely depicted here as a lamentable

 4     policy by Brendan Simms, I believe their people on the ground reported

 5     wrongly, erroneously, incorrectly, that they lied, and that their reports

 6     went in the direction in which this was suitable to the British policy,

 7     the policy of the British government, which was biased in favour of Serbs

 8     and which treated the Muslims and the HVO with arrogance.  Incorrectly,

 9     arrogantly, their reports did not correspond to the truth; they did not

10     reflect the truth.

11             For example, if they saw three people from Croatia bearing the

12     HVO insignia, they depicted them as an HVO brigade.  They never wrote

13     anything positive about us.  I'm not saying that there were no people of

14     that kind at all.  However, the evidence is clear, the HVO, the HZ-HB,

15     the overall structures, when they transport, with the resources that we

16     had at our disposal at the time, when they transport 10.000 wounded of

17     the BiH Army and everybody else, and nobody writes a single word -- a

18     single positive word about you, how is that possible?

19             You, Your Honours, listened to the testimonies by the

20     representatives of the Spanish Battalion.  Under my own leadership, on

21     four occasions, we transported wounded from the east side of Mostar by

22     helicopters, and except in their secret report, there's nowhere else a

23     word about that in no newspapers or magazines.  And that's how the

24     situation was at the time, and in such a situation you could not

25     demonstrate anything to these people, because they were looking through

Page 39813

 1     you and they were saying, We will write what we want, with -- and they

 2     treated you as aborigines or tribes.  This was insulting.  However, we

 3     were weak.  If they invited you to a meeting, you would be insulted

 4     there.  If you weren't -- if you didn't go, then you would go down as

 5     bad-mannered or ill-mannered, and so on and so forth.

 6             There was a meeting, and I'm telling you my own experience.  The

 7     commander from Uskoplje asked to come to my office in Rama for a meeting,

 8     and I accepted that.  He entered a room that was maybe six or seven

 9     square metres big, and he had a lower rank than me.  He brought into that

10     room his soldier with a cocked rifle.  He sat down, and his soldier was

11     there all the time with a cocked rifle.  That was his attitude.  Of

12     course, I told him to go out, because I would not have been humiliated by

13     anybody.  I would not have sold my dignity, but this resulted in an

14     argument.  He asked me who was I, to not allow his soldier to stand

15     there, and then I said I will bring four of my own, if that's what he

16     wanted to do.  That's what the attitude of these people was towards us.

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, you started off complaining about

18     bad press from the English.  Now you're speaking about a commander of

19     Uskoplje, which if I recall correctly would also be called Gornji Vakuf.

20     Was that a British -- was that a Brit?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  The commander of Uskoplje?

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.  Uskoplje, Vakuf, yes.

24     I'm a Croat, and I call it "Uskoplje."  It has two names.

25             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Yes, but this commander, was it a commander of

Page 39814

 1     BritBat?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, yes, yes, the commander.

 3     I don't know if it was BritBat or just one segment of a bat in that area.

 4     In any case, he was somebody, a major.

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  That's an important point, because

 6     one could not see that it was a British person by reading the transcript.

 7     Perhaps you were a bit too fast.  Okay, thank you for the explanation.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the transcript, on page 198

 9     of the book, Colonel Bob Stewart wrote this:  Several of his soldiers --

10     no, he's speaking about the soldiers, and he said some were professional

11     servicemen, but they were all brave people.  That's what

12     Colonel Bob Stewart said about the commanders, about military commanders.

13     We could spend hours on this book.

14             Please proceed, Mr. Kovacic.

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

16             Now I would like to move on to a different topic, and that's the

17     general's work in the Ministry of Defence in the Republic of Croatia.

18     You, Your Honours, have that in your binder, as we call it here, and the

19     title is "The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia."

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stringer.

21             MR. STRINGER:  Could we have an exhibit number, please?

22             MR. KOVACIC:  Of what?

23             MR. STRINGER:  Counsel indicated that we're moving to a different

24     topic, and he referred the Judges to the binder, The Ministry of Defence

25     in the Republic of Croatia, and that suggested there was a new exhibit

Page 39815

 1     coming up.

 2             MR. KOVACIC:  I'm merely assisting the Judges to find out first

 3     the binder, and then we go through the documents.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which binder is it?

 5             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone for the counsel, please.  Microphone

 6     for the counsel.

 7             MR. KOVACIC:  The binder should have on the side the title

 8     "Croatian Ministry of Defence."  Yes.

 9             [Interpretation] There are a lot of documents in this binder, of

10     course, and unfortunately there is not enough time to look at all of

11     them.  It is our intention to just go briefly through some of the

12     documents to allow the general to give an overview of his different

13     activities while he worked in the Ministry of Defence.  We want him to

14     demonstrate that he did all sorts of things there.  Somebody had to do

15     those things, and at that moment it was him.

16             As for the relevance with the indictment, in order to avoid some

17     future questions, is the fact that the indictment alleges that

18     Mr. Praljak was a permanent liaison between the Ministry of Defence and

19     the HZ-HB or, rather, HVO; and if I can put it this way, he was in the

20     Ministry of Defence of Croatia, he should have been sui Generi ambassador

21     of the HVO or HZ-HB, and we would like to point out to some of the

22     positions he held and jobs he did.

23        Q.   First, General, could you please look at 3D00482.  This should be

24     at the very beginning.

25        A.   Why did we skip the first two?  I would like to go through them

Page 39816

 1     in my own order.

 2             Your Honours, can I read the numbers?  Can I provide comments?

 3     It will take much less time.

 4        Q.   You can do that, but then we will not be able to deal with all

 5     that we have planned.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I mean, your

 7     lawyer is the one asking questions of you.  He tells you what documents

 8     you are supposed to look at, and then you have to provide the answers.

 9             Please proceed, Mr. Kovacic.

10             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] We could take any of these

11     documents.  I simply tried to pick the most interesting ones.

12             The first document in the binder is 3D00375.

13        Q.   Look at it, please, and explain, in a sentence or two, what the

14     document represents.

15        A.   The 22nd of October, 1992, the American General Consulate -- just

16     to say it briefly, the duty of the --

17        Q.   Please, General, just for the sake of the Croatian, the accurate

18     name of IPD, what would that mean?

19        A.   Information and Psychological Activity, which doesn't mean that

20     it didn't deal with political topics, not just within the army.  The IPD

21     was a rather broad organisation.  There was a section with psychologists

22     who dealt with psychology across the units, and then all the units up to

23     battalion level and even company level had their IPD men.  One had to

24     look after the wounded, the general condition of a unit, contact with

25     journalists, providing all possible information to the journalists.

Page 39817

 1             Part of this was also the "Croatian Soldier," which was the

 2     magazine of the Defence Ministry.  There was the brass band, and so on

 3     and so forth.  In a way, anyone outside the ministry, when they needed

 4     something like, for example, a person shooting a movie, needing a tank

 5     for the movie, or someone tracking down new expressions, in terms of

 6     language used in the army, they would come to us for help.

 7             A broad range of people addressed us for assistance, this

 8     department which I headed until my departure.  Among other things, here

 9     there is a lady from the American General Consulate requesting assistance

10     for (redacted) to go to Zadar, Split and Ploce, to inspect that.  By the

11     way, (redacted) later on became a military attache, him being in charge

12     of the humanitarian aid provided by the US, was obviously a perfectly

13     normal cover used for someone who pursues other activities --

14             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters note, one speaker at the time,

15     please.  We are no longer able to follow.  Thank you.

16             MR. KOVACIC:  [No interpretation]

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please, Registrar, an order

18     straight away.  Please continue.

19             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

20        Q.   So please refrain from mentioning the name and the --

21        A.   All right.  So that's what they're after.

22             Needless to say, I seconded someone from my own department who

23     was fluent in English and had university education, so in this other

24     document, 3D00376, the gentleman, thanks for the exceptional assistance

25     provided by the organisation, and so on and so forth.

Page 39818

 1             And by the way, no one ever came away unassisted, regardless of

 2     the country they came from.  All possible forms of assistance were

 3     offered, in terms of travel, inspecting something or other.  Whatever

 4     they were after, what they wanted to know, our positions, I'm under oath

 5     now and I'm telling you this, we were entirely open both in Croatia and

 6     in the HVO.  All the journalists, all the TV crews, any organisation that

 7     approached us, they were free to go where they liked, for as long as they

 8     liked, in any way they liked, regardless of any military plans, forms of

 9     protection and so on and so forth.

10        Q.   All right.  Let's move on, 3D00482.

11        A.   The 13th of January, 1993.  The document has been mentioned

12     before.  Really, the representative delegation arrived from France.  I

13     won't enumerate them because the list is here.  This is who came.  They

14     were met by General Tus and me.  It's all there.  Tus, of course --

15        Q.   All right, General, let's leave Tus and what he's saying aside

16     for the moment.  I would like to draw your attention to the paragraph

17     following Tus, on page 2 of the note.  This is 3D19-0232, followed by

18     page 234 and page 235.  Those are the e-court references.

19             Can you please tell them what you said in this conversation?

20        A.   It's quite simple here.  I told General Quesnot that the Serbs

21     had promised their people a Greater Serbia.  In this Greater Serbia or

22     for the sake of this Greater Serbia, they were ready to give up on

23     20 percent of the territory, or even less than that, that they weren't

24     interested in.  Therefore, this whole story about Herzegovina seceding

25     was something that emanated from Serbia's propaganda machinery; and I

Page 39819

 1     will use other documents to demonstrate that at a later stage.

 2  They proposed to the Croats to get Western Herzegovina in return for Krajina

 3  that would later be taken from them, and all the rest.  Here, I go on

 4  to say that the Muslims were promised a common Muslim state.  Alija

 5  Izetbegovic's positions were clear on that.  Before the elections, he said

 6  either a civil state or a civil war.  That's what he said, and documents

 7  will show that.  I am saying here that they were in favour of a state. 

 8  They had not prepared for war.  They had suffered a lot of deaths during the

 9  ethnic cleansing, and now I know this first-hand from talking to Alija

10  Izetbegovic, he simply -- for example, he did not wish to deblock Sarajevo--

11        Q.   There is something missing either in the transcript or in the

12     interpretation.  You said the Muslims suffered the most, the largest

13     number of deaths… all right --

14        A.   Yes, yes.  And then I say here that the Croatian position has

15     been clear from the start.

16        Q.   Thank you.

17        A.   Yes, the Croatian position has been clear from the start, we are

18     speaking of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

19     THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The territory belonging to the Croats.

20   Mind you, when we say "belonging to the Croats," the whole time we're

21   saying things about this, it's not only to the Croats, belonging only to

22   the Croats, but belonging to an administration over which the Croats --

23   all right, all the time we were talking about this from the beginning of

24   the recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cutillero's plan.  This state, the

25   condition for the recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina was that the state

Page 39820

 1  would be made up of three not pure ethnic -- no, no, no and no, but

 2  predominantly Croat.  Of course, I'm not using the correct expression here,

 3  because that's what one said, belonging to the Croats, which stands for

 4  belonging to the territories that is predominantly Croat territory, which

 5  then overlaps with the borders of Banovina Croatia from the Kingdom of

 6  Yugoslavia; but not the Banovina that ended up belonging to Croatia, because

 7  this stems from the following explanation:  The consistence with the 1981

 8  census here -- I repeat, the Croats are in favour of an integral Bosnia-

 9  Herzegovina as a state, and they advocate the rights for Croats as a

10  constituent people in that state.  The problems between the Muslims and the

11  Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina are a result of the different aims of the

12  political struggle.  The Croats are fighting for a Bosnia-Herzegovina with

13  autonomy for predominantly Croat-populated areas, so that's the point, and

14  the Muslims are fighting for a civil state.  What does this concept mean, a

15  civil state? This is about a majorisation of the most powerful ethnic group.

16  We were against a state that would be merely a civil state.  You can't have

17  a state that is not civil at the same time, but if it is only civil, then

18  the group making up about 18 percent of the population cannot protect their

19  own interests in any way at all.  I then go on to say this --

20        Q.   The expression here is "civil state."  We use a different

21     expression here, a different term, which I think is better for our

22     purposes.  Do you remember the term that we used?

23        A.   United or unitarian state.  When you say "in a multi-national

24  state with constituent peoples," just civil, that means unitarian, because

25  simply a greater number of civilians make decisions unable to protect a

Page 39821

 1     minority.  In Croatia today, we have the protection of minorities rights,

 2     so they are elected directly to Parliament, regardless of whether there

 3     are 500 or 700 of them.  Furthermore, and this is crystal clear when I

 4     say it, the Serbs are the common enemy.  Good mutual relations, and the

 5     meaning here is between the Croats and the Muslims, get further apart or

 6     closer together depending on the activity of this common enemy.

 7             Your Honours, on the 13th of January, I mean, I believe that I

 8     precisely and without making any mistakes, say when our relations were

 9     based on the existence of a mutual enemy; but the fundamental problem of

10     Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been resolved, and that was the internal

11     political structure of that country.

12             So what stems from this is the following:  When the Serbs take

13     the territory that they eventually took when they have been cited, there

14     will be problems that arise between the Croats and the Muslims; A,

15     because there is too little territory left.  And then it goes on to say

16     good mutual relations will be like that, depending on the activity of the

17     common enemy.

18             The Croats are better organised.  They fought better.  They

19     started earlier on.  They protected their own territory.  The Muslims, at

20     the outset, avoided any fighting at all.  They simulated the status of

21     refugees.  They voluntarily became refugees, and they talked about an

22     enormous number of units that belonged to them, but there were nowhere to

23     be seen on the ground.  And among the fighters, this created a huge

24     psychological rift.

25             In other words, on the one hand, you had a group with 17 percent,

Page 39822

 1     2.7 times fewer than the Muslims, assumed upon itself the burden of the

 2     war.  At the beginning, it was 90 percent, and then later on it still

 3     remained over 50 percent of the burden, and obviously the fighters were

 4     saying, Hey, hold on a minute, I hear them saying that they have 20.000

 5     soldiers in this corps and that corps.  I don't see them anywhere along

 6     the front-line.

 7        Q.   Fine.

 8        A.   I go on to say that I'm convinced that 80 percent of the Muslims

 9     would accept a joint policy without any problems, as would all the

10     Croats.  And then I'm also saying what the honourable Judge asked, a

11     problem is a large number of former JNA officers, who were Muslims who

12     worked for their people

13        Q.   Did not work.

14        A.   Did not work, yes.  Who did not work for their people -- no, no,

15     of course I can't prove that, but you know I moved about a lot in the

16     area, and one thing I can say is that a large number of officers from the

17     JNA who came to the BH Army, well, a good number of them were working for

18     the KOS, and they were working against the best interests of both the

19     Muslims and the Croats.  And when I get to that, when I start talking

20     about Mahmuljan, I will show you how that works.

21        Q.   I would like to draw your attention --

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry.  There's one sentence -- one

23    expression you have used, Mr. Praljak, that I would like you to comment

24     upon.  You say of the Muslims, on page 74, line 21-22:  "They simulated

25     the status of refugees."  I find that a bit surprising, in that we have

Page 39823

 1     heard about large amounts of refugees, but the expression "simulated

 2     refugees" is something I would like you to explain.

 3      THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is a misinterpretation.

 4     They didn't simulate anything, refugees or anything.  They went abroad to

 5     become refugees, but they simulated units, units.  In my book that I will

 6     present here, in his book Sefer Halilovic claims that he has an army of

 7     over 250.000 men.  For God's sake, 250.000 men.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  You have answered my question.

 9             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you quite sufficient.

10             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreter did not hear the other sentence

11     uttered by counsel.

12             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

13  Q. The part that you were talking about, you're now finished; right? Okay,

14  you're done with that. And then the last thing I would like to ask you about

15  that document is page 4, the paragraph down towards the bottom of the page.

16  You talk there or rather you given there -- or rather in that last paragraph

17  here -- is this a faithful reflection of your position on UNPROFOR's role?

18        A.   Yes, that's right.

19        Q.   Briefly, please, no more than three sentences, what exactly were

20     you trying to say?

21  A. The message here is that we -- or, rather, Croatia's leadership agreed to

22  the presence of UNPROFOR.  We wanted them there, and so on and so forth. All

23  I'm saying is UNPROFOR is made up of the various contingents or elements.

24  There were professional units involved who were doing a good job, and there

25  were also those that weren't doing a good job.  I'm not saying which ones,

Page 39824

 1     I'm not saying what I think, but there was a lot of smuggling going on.

 2        Q.   General, just a very brief question, please.  You talk here about

 3     UNPROFOR in Croatia; right?

 4        A.   Yes, yes.

 5        Q.   Another question about this.  What about the late --

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A quick last answer, because

 7     we're going to have to adjourn.  Your last question.

 8             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thirty seconds.

 9        Q.   General, what about later on in 1993?  Again you came across

10     UNPROFOR troops from different countries but the same organisation.

11     Basically, did your criticism remain?

12        A.   Yes, it was the same criticism.  [Indiscernible] zones, there you

13     go.  From the beginning of the cease-fire, we had 600 civilians who were

14     killed and 500 soldiers, and they deployed right there in order to

15     restore peace.  They were great units, they were doing great jobs,

16     professional units from certain countries, but there was a lot of

17     drunkenness, alcoholism, prostitution, smuggling, all sorts of shady

18     dealings going on.  Again, not all of them.  Most of them were

19     professional, doing a great job.  But they were just people, and that's

20     how it was.

21             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I think we have --

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have to stop, Mr. Kovacic.

23     This week, you have used seven hours and twenty minutes.  I think it was

24     difficult to get going, but now I believe that General Praljak is aware

25     of the Judges' concerns.  We really want to be glued to the indictment.

Page 39825

 1     So whenever your lawyer asks a question, factor that in, and I think

 2     you'll be much more efficient.  We'll run much more smoothly and much

 3     more quickly next week, and it will be 10 to 12 hours of your testimony.

 4             Well, you have the weekend to get ready, based on the remaining

 5     documents.  You know what our objective is.  We're listening to every

 6     word of yours, but it has to be relevant to your Defence case.  In this

 7     way, the Judges can ask questions based on the documents, even though I

 8     initially was waiting towards the end of your testimony.  But if I

 9     discover a document, if I see anything interesting in it, I do have to

10     ask a follow-up question.

11             So this is what I wanted to convey to you.  I'm sure that it's

12     going to get better all the time.

13             I wish you a good evening.  We shall reconvene on Monday at 2.15.

14     We'll be working in the mornings next week, though.

15                           [The witness stands down]

16                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.00 p.m.,

17                           to be reconvened on Monday, the 11th day of May,

18                           2009, at 2.15 p.m.