Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 43957

 1                           Thursday, 27 August 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The accused Coric not present]

 5                           [The witness takes the stand]

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

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you call

 8     the case, please.

 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 Prlic et

12     al.  Thank you, Your Honours.

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

14             On this Thursday, the 27th of August, 2009, I bid good afternoon

15     to Mr. Praljak, Mr. Prlic, Stojic, Petkovic, and Pusic, the ladies and

16     gentlemen of the Defence counsel, Mr. Stringer, his assistant, and

17     everyone else assisting us in the courtroom.

18             We will complete this week with the cross-examination of

19     Mr. Stringer on the basis of the binders, so I give the floor to

20     Mr. Stringer.

21                           WITNESS:  SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]

22                           [The witness answered through interpreter]

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

24             Good afternoon.  Good afternoon, Your Honours, Counsel, everyone

25     else in and around the courtroom.

Page 43958

 1                           Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer:  [Continued]

 2        Q.   Good afternoon, General.

 3        A.   Good afternoon, Mr. Stringer.

 4        Q.   General, if I could ask the usher to hand you the binder with the

 5     list, six documents in it, and I think we're getting toward the end of

 6     that binder, General.  Yesterday, we were at Exhibit P03458.

 7             Do you have that, General?

 8        A.   I do, Mr. Stringer.

 9        Q.   And I was asking you questions about this document when we ended

10     the proceedings yesterday, General.  It's a report dated the 15th of

11     July, 1993, from SIS chief in Tomislavgrad to the SIS Administration, and

12     he's writing about the situation in Prozor.  And in particular, he's

13     writing about the crimes and the terrorising that's taking place in

14     respect of the Muslim population in Prozor.

15             Now, General, yesterday, when we completed or when we finished

16     the proceedings, I was asking you about your responsibilities in respect

17     of civilians in the areas such as -- in the areas that fell under HVO

18     military control.  Do you recall that?

19        A.   I do.

20        Q.   And you were distinguishing or you were -- you were talking about

21     your responsibilities, if I understand correctly, in respect of HVO

22     front-line positions where you were conducting combat activities.  Do you

23     recall that?

24        A.   Exact, I remember, Mr. Stringer.

25        Q.   Now, I want to -- I want to get this clear before we move on to

Page 43959

 1     the next document.  General, I'm going to put it to you that -- well, let

 2     me put it to you this way, because now we're talking about the 15th of

 3     July, 1993, and so we're talking about a period of time in which

 4     General Petkovic is the chief of the HVO Main Staff.  He's the

 5     highest-ranking military person in the HVO; correct?

 6        A.   He is the highest-ranking person in the Main Staff and with

 7     respect to the units subordinated to the Main Staff.

 8        Q.   And at this time, 15 July 1993, you were commanding HVO units in

 9     the field in the Prozor area; is that correct?

10        A.   No, sir.  On the 15th of July, 1993, I was no longer in

11     Herzegovina.  With the completion of the operation in Boksevica, I

12     returned to Zagreb until the 24th, when I took over duty.

13        Q.   And we've talked about the Boksevica operation already.  On the

14     15th of July, 1993, General, tell us, since you came into your position

15     as commander of the HVO Main Staff about nine days after the date of this

16     document, do you consider that on the 15th of July, as chief of the HVO

17     Main Staff, General Petkovic bore ultimate responsibility for protecting

18     the civilian populations that were in areas controlled by the HVO

19     military?

20        A.   I do not, sir.  That cannot be.  That is not in accordance with

21     the military rules, and it simply is not possible.  The army cannot

22     protect or be responsible for the territory outside the lines of

23     responsibility; only if it appears as an occupation force, as in Iraq,

24     for instance.  But even then, you can see from that example, the example

25     of Baghdad and the rest, the army is not responsible for half a million

Page 43960

 1     people that have been killed there.  It's simply not possible.

 2        Q.   Now, this report, General, is talking about Prozor, and it's

 3     talking about Muslims -- well, let me just read from part of it on the

 4     second page of the English:

 5             "They are taking from the Muslims gold, money, and more

 6     valuable --"

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, I have a question

 8     to put to you, because I have been listening very carefully to what you

 9     are saying, and you put a question to General Praljak which seems to me

10     to be a highly legal question.  General Praljak answered on the basis of

11     common sense without being familiar with the jurisprudence.

12             Your question was, You're responsible for the civilians.

13     Mr. Stringer, I would like to know on what juridical basis you're saying

14     that.  The accused tells you, I'm responsible for the zone of command,

15     that is, within the military zone, and it seems to me, unless I'm

16     mistaken, that in the jurisprudence of the Nuremberg trials concerning

17     generals of the Wermacht, it was, in fact, stated that in the case of

18     occupation, the general is responsible for the civilians, but in the

19     occupied zones.  So I would like us to be clear whether the Prosecution

20     believes that in the case of a civil war, or any other form of war, the

21     zone of command, of military command, implies a responsibility and

22     competence over the fate of the civilians.

23             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, it seems to me that we may be

24     talking about two things, and the general has taken us off in a direction

25     that's actually not the direction that I'm interested in.  I'm not

Page 43961

 1     interested in the status of the HVO, whether it was an occupying force or

 2     not.  I'm more interested in learning from the general what he believed

 3     to be his responsibilities or the responsibilities of his predecessor,

 4     General Petkovic, in terms of -- in not a legal sense, but a factual

 5     sense.  A commander or a chief of the HVO Main Staff has a lot of

 6     things -- responsibilities that they are required to undertake, from a

 7     factual point of view.  They command, they plan, they deploy.  And I'm

 8     trying to ask the general about how he viewed -- whether there was, among

 9     those factual responsibilities of the commander, whether protection of

10     civilians, the civilian population, against crime is among the

11     responsibilities that fell to him.  So that's where I'm trying to --

12     I'm --

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understand better now.  Thank

14     you.

15             MR. STRINGER:

16        Q.   General, let me try to break this down a little bit.  This

17     report's talking about crimes that are being committed against the Muslim

18     population, mostly by the military policemen, as it says here.  Now, can

19     we agree -- well, let's assume that these Muslims are in an area in

20     Prozor that is under the control of HVO armed forces, the HVO military.

21     Okay?  Can we agree on that for purposes of this discussion?

22        A.   Mr. Stringer, Prozor was not under the control of the HVO forces.

23        Q.   General, I'm going to insist that you listen to my questions very

24     closely and answer as precisely as you can.

25             There was a part of Prozor that was under the control of the HVO

Page 43962

 1     armed forces; is that correct?

 2        A.   No.  Why do you expect me to tell you "under HVO control"?  The

 3     HVO, in certain parts of Prozor municipality, had front-lines towards the

 4     Army of Republika Srpska in the west and certain front-lines towards the

 5     Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is responsible to keep order on those

 6     lines.  If those lines are close to villages, in a village, or in front

 7     of a village, they're responsible to make sure that HVO troops, in those

 8     villages and in those houses, do not commit something that is contrary to

 9     war law, responsible in the sense that they must not issue such an order,

10     that they must familiarise the troops with the Law of War, let them set

11     an example by their behaviour.  The rest is the responsibility of the

12     civilian authorities.

13        Q.   Behind the front-line positions, the HVO's front-line positions,

14     there were territories -- there were areas where Muslim civilians were

15     living, and those areas were under the control of the HVO armed forces;

16     isn't that correct?

17        A.   No, Mr. Stringer, they were not under the control of the HVO

18     armed forces.  Those people were deployed in 50 or 60 villages in the

19     municipalities, and they lived, as far as Mostar goes, they lived there.

20     And, of course, like all the citizens in the world, they were exposed to

21     the possibility of theft, but they are not under the control of the army,

22     which falls under the command of the Main Staff of the HVO.  I'm telling

23     you this crystal clear.

24             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Mr. Praljak -- I'm sorry, Mr. Stringer, to

25     interrupt you.  I really do not understand the situation.  You mentioned

Page 43963

 1     in your previous answer that:

 2             "... the HVO, in certain parts of Prozor municipality, had

 3     front-lines towards the Army of Republika Srpska in the west and certain

 4     front-lines towards the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is

 5     responsible to keep order on those lines.  If those lines are close to a

 6     village or are close to villages, in a village, or in front of a village,

 7     they are responsible to make sure that HVO troops in those villages and

 8     in those houses do not commit something that is contrary to the war law,

 9     end of quotation.

10             So now I really do not understand that -- at the same time, now

11     again you say that you do not understand the situation, I mean, the

12     question of the Prosecution, and you said that you do not have their --

13     you were not there to be responsible to keep order on those lines.  So

14     then what happened?  Was there a vacuum?  Were those territories really

15     empty, there were no people, there were no -- any senior order?  So,

16     really, I believe that the questions which the Prosecution asked are to

17     be answered.  Thank you.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Prandler, I don't

19     know how what I said was interpreted.  I said that along those lines, the

20     HVO, or, rather, the Command of the HVO, is responsible, or, rather, the

21     commander is responsible, and his superior, et cetera.  I said that they

22     are responsible for those lines.  But the rear is hundreds of kilometres

23     behind them, and for the whole depth of that territory outside the lines

24     held by the troops and immediately behind the lines, the HVO is not

25     responsible.  As far as I know, not in any army or any law that I have

Page 43964

 1     read are they held responsible, except if --

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, General Praljak.  To

 3     assist in understanding this, because it's very complicated, let us

 4     imagine that we are in Prozor.  We're going to transpose Prozor into this

 5     courtroom.  Let us say that the HVO front-line goes from Mr. Karnavas,

 6     Mr. Khan, and Madam Nozica.  That is the HVO lines, and where the Judges

 7     are is the front-line of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Does that

 8     mean that, according to what you say, that the civilians behind the

 9     front-line, Madam Alaburic, for instance, she's a civilian, she does not

10     belong to the zone of responsibility of the HVO because she's outside the

11     front-line?  Is that what you wish to tell us?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite so, Judge Antonetti.  There

13     are civilian authorities, the civilian police.  Of course, there's

14     control over troops that may do something, but the commander is

15     responsible for the front-line.  You saw my document about a village of

16     Pridris [phoen] which was at -- precisely on the front-line, and of

17     course I said, Remove all the inhabitants, including livestock, because

18     I'm responsible to protect their lives, which were in jeopardy because of

19     the fighting.  I was present there, so I moved the population of both

20     ethnicities, including their cows, so that they wouldn't get killed in

21     the fighting between the army and the HVO, and that is where the

22     responsibility of the commander ceases.  He cannot have control over 50

23     and even more than 50 villages behind him.  As far as I am familiar with

24     the rules, the answer is "no."

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have understood your answer.

Page 43965

 1     I give the floor to my colleague.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I just want to take another aspect, Mr. Praljak.

 3             The troops of the HVO under the General Staff were divided in

 4     operational zones, operation zones, not in lines.  The zone is a surface

 5     which was -- you could draw on that map the limits of a zone.  It was

 6     described as an area, not as a line; is that wrong?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is wrong.  The zones here

 8     indicate -- when the front-lines are drawn, then you say up to this point

 9     on this line, usually one says, Including such and such an elevation

10     point, including such and such a crossroads.  Then the defence line goes

11     on.  Then there's the commander of that defence line.  Usually, such a

12     zone, such a line, is given to a battalion, as the smallest unit.  Then

13     the brigade has its own front-line, then Siljeg has his own front-line,

14     and that's how this is done.  These are not zones, as a territory, but

15     precisely up to a certain point.  Up to this village, such and such is in

16     command, and then as the front-line goes on to the next table, someone

17     else is in command of that front-line.  So it's not a zone that consists

18     of I don't know how many square kilometres behind the front.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I still don't take it that it is a line,

20     Mr. Praljak.  There is a line.  Of course, I do not question that.  But

21     then to support that line, other military institutions are necessary.

22     For instance, the artillery is a certain distance behind the line,

23     perhaps several kilometres.  There are logistic needs.  There are depots

24     of MTS that are placed behind the lines.  So it is an absurd idea that

25     the -- mathematically what the army is doing is holding a line like

Page 43966

 1     something you can draw with a pencil once from right to left, or

 2     vice versa.  You have given us a conception here which is not convincing

 3     at all.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can only present what is written

 5     in all the rules of war.  That's not my conception; that is how it

 6     functions.  A gun that may be behind a hill certainly is linked by some

 7     sort of observation points and belongs to that operational zone, but the

 8     guns or the mortars are not positioned where there are people.  A

 9     howitzer may be put somewhere in isolation behind a hill.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Judge Mindua has a question to

11     put.

12             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, excuse me.

13             Mr. Witness, in many international laws, when a state of war is

14     declared on the territory of a state or a province or a locality, the

15     political authority may decide to replace civilian authorities for that

16     territory by military authorities.  So the question I ask myself:  With

17     respect to these operational zones behind the front-lines, according to

18     your own experience when you were on the front-line, or within your

19     operational zone, the civilian authorities, did they continue to

20     function?  I'm talking about municipal authorities, civilian tribunals,

21     et cetera?

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, all the structures of civilian

23     authorities were operational in all the municipalities which were behind

24     the front-lines held by the HVO, be it facing the Army of Republika

25     Srpska or the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina when the conflict started.  It

Page 43967

 1     is true, Your Honour, that when you're capturing a territory, for a

 2     certain amount of time until some sort of civilian authority is

 3     established by protectorate or, as we know from the history of warfare,

 4     by the English, for instance, for a time the commander of the army that

 5     has captured the territory is also responsible for that territory.  But

 6     we were not conquering territory.  This was not conquered territory.  The

 7     civilian authority was functioning in all the municipalities in those

 8     territories, fully functioning.  Whether they were functioning well or

 9     not so well, in view of the conditions, I don't think that is the subject

10     of my testimony.  But there was the mayor, the civilian police, and all

11     structures of the civilian authorities.

12             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well.  My last question on

13     this issue:  You said "behind the front-line."  According to you, behind,

14     that would be how far behind; a certain number of metres or kilometres?

15     What is the distance that you mean when you're talking about the area

16     behind the front-line?

17    THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That distance of possible control depends

18    on the terrain.  If you are on certain lines and there's a small hill

19    behind you, then, of course, you will position, at the very beginning of

20    your line, certain guards so somebody would not be able to reach you from

21    behind. It can be 200 metres, 300 metres. It depends on the configuration

22    of the terrain, so that you couldn't be surprised by somebody hitting you

23    from the back, but only in the military sense, in terms of protecting your

24    own troops from a breakthrough of any small enemy unit from the rear which

25    might kill your soldiers.  And this happened in Capljina, when 26 men

Page 43968

 1    were killed well within the rear, if you remember that document, or the

 2    killing of those cooks that we discussed, and photographs were shown,

 3    when the ABiH killed them, 10 or 15 kilometres into the rear, when I got

 4    those fighters planes up because these were infiltrated territories to

 5    groups that can kill soldiers.  Then the situation is different.

 6             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well.  Thank you very much.

 7             So my understanding is that this may vary between 200 metres to

 8     15 kilometres, when you referred to the killing of HVO soldiers.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, you can't control 15

10     kilometres of territory.  They simply broke through.  This can happen.

11     You can penetrate hundreds of kilometres within -- most frequently, there

12     was no protection behind the front-lines.  Shall we say 100 metres, 50

13     metres?  It depends on the assessment of the commander as to the

14     possibility of a breakthrough from behind exists or not.

15             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Sorry, Mr. Praljak, you speak about a

17     breakthrough behind.  Breaking through what?  If there is no HVO, there

18     is no breaking through.  They can go for a walk.  HVO apparently,

19     according to you, does not control the hinterland, it's got nothing to do

20     with it.  That is what is not very convincing, I must say.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot change your opinion about

22     whether it's convincing or not.  I claim that this is written in any army

23     rules.  The commander in the field may control a certain road, 100 metres

24     or 50 metres, before his front-line, and he may position two guards on

25     that road so that no one can reach them from behind.  This is just

Page 43969

 1     control of his front-lines, not control of the territory.  You cannot

 2     control the territory with an army.  That is absurd.  The fact that there

 3     may be an anti-air battery in an English town that will hit German

 4     bombers, that doesn't mean that the army is controlling the entire

 5     territory of England, because there are civilian authorities there.  I'm

 6     sorry, I do know a little about wars.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I think it's not necessary to repeat more.

 8             Mr. Stringer.

 9             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Your Honour and Mr. President.

10             Mr. President, what I'm going to do, although very much staying

11     with this very issue - I don't want to give any indication that I'm

12     moving to something different - I do want to move to the next document

13     which I think will probably facilitate our questioning on this.

14             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.  I was waiting for my

15     learned friend to end, since he said he was moving on to another

16     document.

17             For the sake of the transcript, to make sure that everything is

18     clear later.  When we get back to it, I'd like to say the following:  We

19     haven't so far objected to the use of this document and the Prosecutor

20     using this document in his cross-examination.  We didn't object because

21     we didn't want to appear to be assisting the witness, but I think it is

22     now my duty to say the following for the sake of the transcript.

23             When my learned friend from the Prosecution asked Mr. Praljak

24     yesterday, at the very beginning when dealing with this document, it was

25     page 91, line 5 -- I apologise, it was before page 91.  The question is a

Page 43970

 1     fairly lengthy one.  When this question was put to the witness, the

 2     witness immediately replied that he had never seen the document before

 3     and that he knew nothing about it.  In spite of that fact, an entire

 4     series of questions continued to be put to the witness about the

 5     document.  The document, itself, as you have seen, gives no basis for the

 6     Prosecution to continue putting questions about it to the witness.  The

 7     witness said, No, I have never seen the document.  He also added that he

 8     had never been there, he wasn't there at the time, in fact.  And the

 9     document also doesn't show that the document was supposed to be provided

10     with the document.  It wasn't addressed to him.  It wasn't sent to him.

11     And as a result, there is no basis to put questions to the witness about

12     the document.

13             This Chamber has respected that principle, and for the three and

14     a half years that we have spent in this courtroom this Chamber has said

15     that questions couldn't be put to a witness once the witness had said

16     that he or she hadn't seen the document or hadn't been in the place

17     concerned.  The Prosecution has somewhat changed the approach today, and

18     they are now proceeding by using hypotheses, If such and such a thing

19     occurred, and so on and so forth.  But this doesn't change anything.

20             Thank you very much.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic, the Chamber

22     certainly does not agree with you, because, in fact, you are right when

23     you say that Mr. Praljak isn't familiar with this document.  On the 15th

24     of July, as he, himself, said, he had returned to Zagreb.  Fine.  So it's

25     difficult for him to answer questions about very precise facts.  But, in

Page 43971

 1     fact, you saw that when the Prosecution put questions to the witness,

 2     well, it was interesting, because I discovered that there was the problem

 3     of the operative zone.  I innocently thought that the operative zone

 4     covered a geographical area, but Mr. Praljak is claiming, and he says

 5     that this is supported by military rules and regulations, Mr. Praljak is

 6     claiming that the operative zone only covers the zone that the army is

 7     occupying as part of the front-line.  And the Prosecution has put basic

 8     questions to him that concern principles.  They've been using this

 9     document.  They could have taken a different document.  In the

10     Prosecution's opinion, the HVO commander had a certain amount of

11     responsibility for civilians or was responsible for civilians.  If there

12     is looting, if someone is killed, and so on and so forth, the issue of

13     responsibility arises.  So this document is being used, but in relation

14     to principles.  In relation to such principles, General Praljak has said

15     that from his point of view, his responsibility is for the zone, the

16     operative zone, and the civilian authorities are responsible for

17     everything else.

18             So your objection is interesting, but it in general terms it

19     wasn't pertinent because questions could have been put with reference to

20     other documents because we're now dealing with principles.

21             So please do continue, Mr. Stringer.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I think a correction imposes itself.  It says in

23     the transcript his responsibility -- Mr. Praljak said that his

24     responsibility is for the zone, but I think that you say your

25     responsibility is for the front-line, which is not the same.

Page 43972

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak, your

 2     responsibility is for the front-line; that is to say, the zone covered by

 3     the front-line, even if it's only a few metres or a few hundred metres.

 4     That's all you're responsible for?  You're not responsible for the

 5     hinterland?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.  The line -- the

 7     front-line, the zone, it's the same in this case.  That's what it's

 8     called.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  We have understood

10     that.

11             Mr. Stringer.

12             MR. STRINGER:

13        Q.   Just to follow up on a little bit of this.  General, it's absurd,

14     isn't it, to suggest that the military commanders -- your only

15     responsibility as a military commander was for the small area of the

16     front-line, and that you, as the commander of the HVO Main Staff, bore no

17     responsibility for the areas under HVO military control behind the

18     front-line position?  That's an absurd proposition, isn't it, one that

19     you're advancing only to escape responsibility for the crimes that

20     committed in those -- that were committed in those areas under HVO

21     control; correct?

22        A.   No, it's not, Mr. Stringer.  If your theory were applicable, 150

23     high-ranking American officers would be here because they were unable to

24     control the situation in Iraq that they had taken by military force.

25     These are well-known facts today.  What controlling something means is

Page 43973

 1     well known.  When they established a government over there, well, what

 2     are they responsible for?  Are they responsible for who's being killed

 3     there?

 4        Q.   Furthermore, your description now of what the area of

 5     responsibility of an operative zone is equally absurd, where you claim

 6     that the operative zone consists only of the front-line areas and not the

 7     hinterlands or areas under HVO control that fall behind those front-line

 8     positions; isn't that true?

 9        A.   Your Honours, if we're developing new theories and new rules, new

10     laws about what this means, well, there's nothing I can add.  It's

11     obvious that one is trying to introduce completely new rules on warfare,

12     on the rights that an army has, on the responsibility of a commander.

13     But we keep talking about these matters, but we don't refer to any rule

14     books, to any laws, to any examples of warfare in order to support the

15     claims made by the Prosecution.

16             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave,

17     although General Praljak has already answered this question, I would like

18     to object to the previous two questions put by my learned friend

19     Mr. Stringer, and for the following reasons:  Mr. Stringer has been

20     asking whether a theory is absurd or not, and he is asking

21     General Praljak to answer a question put in that way.  But Mr. Stringer

22     didn't say why it would be absurd if a commander was responsible for a

23     front-line and the civilian authorities were responsible for the

24     territory or some other community, so I believe that examining or

25     cross-examining the witness in this manner is inappropriate.  Thank you

Page 43974

 1     very much.

 2             MR. STRINGER:  I respectfully disagree with counsel.  I propose

 3     to continue to the next document, although we are going to stay with this

 4     issue.

 5        Q.   General, the next document is P04177.  Maybe this one's a better

 6     one for us to talk about, because it's made during the period of time

 7     after you have taken command of the HVO Main Staff.  It's dated 14 August

 8     1993.  It's a report of Luka Markesic to the SIS of the HZ-HB in Mostar.

 9     And before we come back to these issues we've been discussing, let's go

10     through the exhibit, and we'll talk about the factual situation on the

11     ground there in Prozor in mid-August of 1993.

12             Now, on page 2 of the English, General, for you it would be the

13     paragraph under the name of Ante Pavlovic.  There's a reference to the

14     new commander, Ante Pavlovic.  Do you see that?

15             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I object.

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

17             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I object.  I have an objection.

18             I believe that before the Prosecution asks questions about this

19     document, he must first establish whether the witness has seen the

20     document, whether he knows anything about the document, and only then can

21     he proceed, if the witness first gives him a basis to do so.  Otherwise,

22     he can use the document as an example of the events, which is what he did

23     with the previous document to a certain extent.

24             Thank you.

25             MR. STRINGER:  I'm a bit surprised by this type of an objection,

Page 43975

 1     frankly, Mr. President.  This is a factual account of the situation in

 2     Prozor in mid-August.  The general's the commander of the HVO Main Staff

 3     at the time.  We know that he, based on his own testimony, has made this

 4     particular area one of his top priorities, as commander, and that he

 5     spent a good deal of his time in this area.  I'm going to go through this

 6     document with the general.  We're going to establish his knowledge of the

 7     events that are taking place in this area, and on the basis of that we're

 8     going to continue with the discussion about what he believes he was or

 9     was not responsible for in respect of the crimes that were being

10     committed by the Muslims in this area.  The document will also show us

11     that, in fact, General Praljak was in this area at the very time the

12     document was written and that he was in the field using military or

13     civilian police units in combat operations.  So it's entirely appropriate

14     to ask him questions about the document.

15             MR. KOVACIC:  Your Honour --

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, I don't see the

17     problem.  I've listened to Mr. Kovacic, and having listened to both of

18     you, I was wondering something about the matter with regard to

19     Article 7(3) of the Statute.  If crimes have been committed, if something

20     can be described as a crime, then the superior is responsible pursuant to

21     Article 7(3).  However, there are certain conditions.  It's necessary

22     that he was aware of the crimes, and so on and so forth.  If you move

23     into this area, however, it's necessary to ask Mr. Praljak, first of all,

24     whether he was the HVO commander on the 14th of August.  Answer, Yes.

25     Then, secondly, Were you familiar with this document, yes or no?  We

Page 43976

 1     don't know.  If he says, Yes, you continue.  If he says, No, you ask him,

 2     Why not?  And then once he tells you, for example, I'm not familiar with

 3     this, then you can ask him about that.

 4             However, he said, with regard to the document, that if he says

 5     that such and such a thing happened, ask him whether he was familiar with

 6     it, and so on and so forth, because now everything you're dealing with

 7     falls under Article 7(3).

 8             MR. STRINGER:  Well, with respect, Mr. President, I would

 9     suggest -- or the position is that this is not limited to 7(3).  This

10     could very well go to Article 7(1), as well as JCE issues, so I don't

11     agree with the limitation that's being suggested.

12             Now, it is a common practice - it happens routinely and

13     regularly - that witnesses are shown documents that they may not have

14     seen before.  They're asked whether the activities or the events

15     described in the documents are consistent with what their understanding

16     of the situation was or whether they knew about this, and that's

17     precisely what the intention is going to be.  So, Mr. President, I'm --

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, I totally agree

19     with you, but I'm telling you, if we're dealing with a joint criminal

20     enter prize, well, if there is no support for such an enterprise, nothing

21     falls under 7(1), then we have Article 7(3) in the indictment.  So if you

22     don't want to cover the entire field, well, it's up to you to take such

23     risks.  But from a technical point of view, it's best to cover the entire

24     field, to deal with all the aspects.  But you're right, it's not

25     necessary for the accused to be familiar with this document.  You're

Page 43977

 1     perfectly right about that.

 2             Please proceed.

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

 4        Q.   General --

 5             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave, I

 6     fully agree with what you have said.  If I may.  The witness doesn't have

 7     to be familiar with the document.  I fully agree with that.  However,

 8     it's necessary for this to be established through the cross-examination,

 9     regardless of whether it falls under 7(1) or 7(3) or the category of

10     joint criminal enterprise.  If the Prosecution now examines the witness

11     with regard to facts referred to in the document, well, this is how we

12     have proceeded so far.  First, it is necessary to establish whether the

13     witness has seen the document, and then he can continue to ask questions

14     about whether the witness knew anything about the events themselves, even

15     if he didn't -- hadn't seen the document.

16             I know I'm objecting in this case, because when you have a look

17     at the title in the document, when you have a look at the stamp, you can

18     see that this has nothing to do with the staff, and the Prosecutor's

19     fully aware of this.  We can see who is writing to whom here, and we

20     can't see a copy being addressed to the witness.  So I do agree with you

21     that then the Prosecution can ask any questions he likes, but first we

22     have to establish what the link is between the witness and this document.

23     Does the witness know anything about the document?  We can then proceed.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, the Prosecution

25     has already asked questions about Prozor.  Secondly, he has already asked

Page 43978

 1     questions on the basis of the SIS document.  Thirdly, the author of this

 2     document, well, we've already seen documents drafted by this author, Luka

 3     Markesic.  So there are a series of documents, a series of items that

 4     have already been seen and examined.  This is an additional document that

 5     covers the period of August.  We've already dealt with previous periods.

 6     So there is a line of conduct.  We know what the basis is already.  The

 7     Prosecution wants to know whether Mr. Praljak was familiar with what had

 8     happened in August in Prozor, et cetera, but an entire series of

 9     documents have demonstrated that certain things were occurring during the

10     previous months.

11             Please continue, Mr. Stringer.

12             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  If I may -- if I may add a question to

13     Mr. Stringer.

14             I do not quite see, I confess, what obstacle to your work it

15     would be if you asked the witness has he seen this document.

16             MR. STRINGER:  I was going to do it, Mr. President -- or Judge.

17        Q.   General, this is a report, as we've indicated, of Luka Markesic,

18     who we talked about a number of times, directed to the SIS of the HZ-HB

19     in Mostar.  Did you see this document on or after the 14th of August,

20     1993?

21        A.   No.  On the 14th of August, I know for sure that I was in combat

22     in the south of Mostar, and afterwards I didn't see the document, not

23     until I arrived here as an accused.

24        Q.   Now, the document does talk about a number of events in Prozor

25     that I want to ask you about, ask you whether you had knowledge that

Page 43979

 1     these sorts of things were taking place.

 2             On page 2 of the English, after the reference to the new

 3     commander, Ante Pavlovic, Markesic writes about the fall of Konjic,

 4     Bugojno, and part of Gornji Vakuf, and he's talking about the refugees,

 5     women and children, elderly, who came from those places down to Prozor.

 6     And then he writes that:

 7             "Initially they," referring to the refugees, "were put up in

 8     Croatian houses, but when the number grew, they began to be settled in

 9     Muslim houses and villages.  Thus, the entire Muslim population from Rama

10     municipality is accommodated in three collection centres, Pograde, Duge,

11     and Lapcanje [phoen].

12             "The relocation of these Muslims was done by the military police

13     under the command of Ilija Franjic."

14             Now, first question, General.  Were you aware of the relocation

15     of Muslims from Prozor, from their houses, to these collection centres to

16     make room for incoming Croat refugees?

17        A.   No, I wasn't.

18        Q.   Were you aware that, as indicated here, the HVO military police

19     was ordering Muslims to be evacuated or taken out of their houses and put

20     in collection centres?

21        A.   No.

22        Q.   Now, Markesic continues to say that:

23             "The arrival of soldiers and civilians into the municipality has

24     caused an increase in crime, prostitution, the removal of Muslims from

25     prison and their liquidation, the extortion of gold, money, and other

Page 43980

 1     valuables from Muslims, and liquidation after extortion."

 2             Now, just so we're clear with interpretation or translation

 3     issues, General, can we agree or would you agree with me when I suggest

 4     to you that when Markesic writes about liquidation here, he's talking

 5     about killing, people being killed?

 6        A.   That's probably what he's talking about.

 7        Q.   He continues on, I'm moving to the next page of the English:

 8             "Men also go to Muslim houses, and daughters are stripped naked

 9     in front of their fathers, and vice versa.  All of this has been

10     happening systematically for a considerable time now, even though we

11     informed the HVO president, Mijo Jozic, the brigade commander, and the

12     commanders of the military and civilian police of this in writing."

13             And then he goes on to say that he's enclosing reports from the

14     prison warden, and he's also enclosing statements of Muslim women who

15     have been raped.  He says:

16             "Such things are mostly done by local soldiers and some of the

17     military police.  Thus, the Security Service is unable to deal with all

18     matters because collaboration with military police concerning the

19     prevention of such things is impossible, given that there are

20     perpetrators among them.  For now, we are succeeding in gathering

21     information on the above matters, putting pressure on the Command and

22     Presidency of the HVO to make sure these kinds of things are stopped."

23             I'm going to skip a paragraph.  He says:

24             "The military police are implementing an order from a higher

25     level to detain Muslims between the ages of 16 and 60 in their own

Page 43981

 1     particular way, imprisoning men without exception, including those

 2     younger than 16 and older than 60, and treating them in an extremely

 3     inhumane manner."

 4             I'm going to move to the next page in English.  I'm going to skip

 5     a paragraph or two.  He says that:

 6             "It has been known for some time that members of the military

 7     police have been involved in the seizure of vehicles from humanitarian

 8     aid convoys and that these vehicles are sold on the open market.  The

 9     military police commander openly admits that he authorised the plunder of

10     the convoy."

11             Continuing down a few paragraphs, it says:

12             "It should be noted that the military police go into the field

13     every day on assault operations, and so the credit they attain in action

14     among the people is wasted in the above deeds.  As regards concrete

15     cases, we have rationale for them.  It is just that the times are such

16     that it is dangerous to expound them."

17             He goes on, in the next paragraph, to talk about how this affects

18     morale, and then he says:

19             "The civilian police are unable to cope with all this, and

20     recently they have been mostly in the field under the command of

21     General Slobodan Praljak."

22             So, General, this document raises a number of topics that I'd

23     like to ask you about.

24             Would you agree with me, General, that assuming Markesic is

25     accurately reporting the situation, the military police in Prozor are out

Page 43982

 1     of control in August of 1993?

 2        A.   I can't comment.  I can't say anything more than what is written

 3     here.  I can't say anything about whether it's true or not.  I'm not

 4     familiar with the document.  All I can do is repeat what I have already

 5     said with regard to this period from the 24th -- I don't know.

 6        Q.   I'm not asking you to repeat what you've already said, General.

 7     I'm asking you whether, as someone who's the commander of the HVO

 8     Main Staff at this period of time, whether, in your opinion, the HVO

 9     military police in Prozor was out of control.

10        A.   As you have seen in that sentence, the military police, when used

11     in combat, fought well.  And then he says the credit that they earned,

12     when defending that area, was spent on these things.  He continues to say

13     all of this has an influence on the morale of many members of the Rama

14     Brigade and on the people.  So many of the people -- many soldiers don't

15     agree with this, and their morale is undermined through such acts.  When

16     the military police was at the front-line, they were naturally under the

17     command of that part of the front-line, and then that brigade, and then

18     the operative zone, and then Praljak -- or Praljak when he was in the

19     field, and then they fought well.

20        Q.   Well, let's talk about that.  These military police units, you've

21     told us extensively in your testimony that you used them yourself,

22     personally, in combat operations.  The fact is, General, that you turned

23     a blind eye to these crimes that they were committing because you wanted

24     to continue to have them with you in the field in combat operations.

25     That's the choice you made, isn't it?

Page 43983

 1        A.   No, Mr. Stringer, I didn't turn a blind eye to anything, never.

 2     The fighting up there, and I'll repeat this for the 10th, 20th, or 30th

 3     time, the fighting was so intense that --

 4        Q.   General, you knew about all of this criminal activities of the

 5     HVO military police in Prozor and you did nothing about it; isn't that a

 6     fact?

 7        A.   It's not correct.

 8        Q.   So you're claiming that you didn't know about any of this, any of

 9     these crimes?

10        A.   No, I didn't know about these crimes for the simple reason that

11     no one informed me of them.  And given the workload I had in combat, I

12     don't remember having ever slept in the same bed on more than one

13     occasion.  So if you want to depict me, Commander of the Main Staff, as a

14     god who could oversee everything and who was responsible for everything,

15     well, you can do whatever you like, but that's not correct.  I wanted to

16     describe the wartime situation for you.  You say that this was something

17     that was known.  The person who knows about this had the duty of filing

18     criminal reports.  That was his duty.  No one, apart from him, had that

19     duty.  It was his duty to take action in order to charge these peoples.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, let's not

21     waste time, let's not waste any more time.

22             You haven't seen this document.  Fine.  The Prosecution is

23     saying, Were you familiar with this?  You said, No, I wasn't.  Fine.  Now

24     I have a question I'd like to put to you, but from a different point of

25     view.

Page 43984

 1             Let's imagine that at the time you found out that on the 14th of

 2     August, in Prozor, all these events took place.  What would you have

 3     done?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Regarding the killing of this man,

 5     I would tell him that he must file criminal reports, that is his duty,

 6     that he should call on his superiors to arrest those people, because that

 7     is their duty, and that he should carry out his duty according to the

 8     laws and regulations, according to the line of subordination.  That is

 9     what I would ask of the man writing the report, that he shouldn't write a

10     report but that he should act in accordance with his official duty,

11     because I personally cannot arrest anyone.  That is not my job.  I'm not

12     responsible for the military police, nor do I have the ability to

13     discover.  It's like seeing a house burning and you have to find out who

14     set fire to it.  I simply don't understand.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say that the document

16     reached the Defence Department on the 18th of August, number 693.

17     There's a stamp on it, the receivable stamp.  To the best of your

18     recollection, did Mr. Stojic at some point tell you the following:

19     General Praljak, we have had a whole series of reports regarding flagrant

20     crimes, certain very serious offences being committed.  What can the army

21     do to assist the military police, the military prosecutor, the civilian

22     police?  Did you at some time have a conversation of this kind with

23     Mr. Stojic, or did you not have any conversations about this issue?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not discuss this topic with

25     Mr. Stojic.

Page 43985

 1             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your permission.

 2     This is not an objection.  Of course, there is no place for an objection.

 3     I asked for the witness to answer, but I think for this hypothesis which

 4     the President presented, we need to know that this -- whether this report

 5     reached Mr. Stojic at all or whether he was familiar with it.  The stamp

 6     says that the report reached the SIS, and according to the number of the

 7     protocol we cannot see that this is a protocol number of the Defence

 8     Department, where Mr. Stojic was.  And as there were questions as to

 9     whether Mr. Praljak was aware of this document, I wish to say for the

10     transcript that from the stamp we cannot claim that Mr. Stojic was aware

11     of this document either.

12             Thank you.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is just a possibility that I

14     envisaged, and the emphatic reply by Mr. Praljak may also cover the fact

15     that Mr. Stojic was not aware of it.  That is quite logical.

16             Mr. Stringer.

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

18        Q.   General, would you agree with me that in August of 1993, the head

19     of the SIS for the HZ-HB was Mr. Lucic?

20        A.   Correct.  According all -- according to all the information I

21     have, it was Mr. Ivo Lucic.

22        Q.   And he was a part of the HVO Defence Department; is that also

23     correct?

24        A.   According to my information, yes.

25        Q.   All right.  Now, General, getting back to the document and the

Page 43986

 1     situation in Prozor, it seems to me, General, that you're forgetting what

 2     your position was on the 14th of August, 1993.  You may have wanted to

 3     give yourself the luxury of just getting involved in specific combat

 4     operations and limiting your focus only to that, but the fact is,

 5     General, that when you agreed to take command of the HVO Main Staff, you

 6     assumed a greater scope of responsibilities than just a specific combat

 7     operation here or there.  Isn't that true?

 8        A.   Which?  Could you please tell me, on the basis of any document,

 9     what are the responsibilities of the commander of the Main Staff?  Then

10     we can discuss it.

11        Q.   Let's talk about the responsibilities that flow to you as the

12     superior of the commander of the operative zone, for example.  The fact

13     is that everything under that chain of command flows up to you and down

14     from you through the operative zone, where all of this is taking place.

15     Isn't that true?

16        A.   Sir, this was not happening in the operative zone, but in the

17     territory of the municipality.

18        Q.   Excuse me, General.  Isn't this -- isn't Prozor within the

19     North-West Herzegovina Operative Zone, and weren't these military police

20     units here subordinated to the operative zone when you use them in these

21     combat operations?

22             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object to this

23     question because I think it needs to be explained.

24             It is not possible to subordinate a unit to an operative zone,

25     because it is a territorial community, but it is subordinated to a

Page 43987

 1     particular commander.  So I don't think the question is precise enough,

 2     and that is why General Praljak cannot answer it.  Subordination must

 3     always be to a certain commander.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

 5             MR. STRINGER:  Well, Mr. President, I think the general knows

 6     precisely what I'm talking about, and --

 7        Q.   General, you want to know what your responsibilities are.

 8     Evidently, you don't know what your responsibilities are, as commander of

 9     the HVO Main Staff?  Is this where we're going to -- is this where our

10     conversation's going?  You want me to tell you what your responsibilities

11     were?

12        A.   No, Mr. Stringer.  I know perfectly well what my responsibilities

13     are, but I think that either you know nothing about the army or you're

14     making up things or a special case of responsibility for the HVO that

15     does not apply to the American Army, nor the British, nor the French.

16     That's what I think.  I think you're making up something, and this

17     wouldn't be a good idea.

18        Q.   Your position is that even though you're commander of the HVO

19     Main Staff, and you're therefore the superior officer of your operative

20     zone commander, Siljeg here, that really your only responsibilities are

21     limited to the precise combat locations and activities that you're

22     involved in on a day-to-day basis?  Is that how we're to understand your

23     testimony?

24        A.   There is responsibility.  When a unit has been mobilised and

25     gathered at a certain position, when it is armed, loaded onto trucks and

Page 43988

 1     buses and moves on, then it becomes a part of the military, and command

 2     and responsibility over it begins.  It is deployed to a certain position,

 3     subordinated to a commander, deployed in trenches or bunkers, and that is

 4     the responsibility of the commander from the bottom to the top.

 5        Q.   These military police units that are being referred to here that

 6     are involved in the combat operations in which they're able to

 7     distinguish themselves -- let me just read this passage to you again.

 8     Markesic writes:

 9             "It should be noted that the military police go into the field

10     every day on assault operations, and so the credit they attain in action

11     among the people is wasted in the above deeds."

12             Now, General, I think we can agree, based on your extensive

13     testimony on this, that those military police in the field on assault

14     operations are subordinated to the operative zone, or the brigade, for

15     operational purposes at that time; isn't that correct?

16        A.   Correct.  From a certain point in time, it is clearly stated to

17     what commander they are subordinated, for what period, and what their

18     assignment is.  Once this ceases, they are no longer subordinated to that

19     commander, and they are not accountable to the commander once their

20     re-subordination ends.

21        Q.   And you testified at one point early in your direct examination

22     that even though they were subordinated to the operative zone for this

23     purpose, they remained military police officers, they still remained

24     within the structure of the Military Police Administration; correct?

25        A.   Correct.

Page 43989

 1        Q.   Now, the military police that are being referred to here appear

 2     to be involved in combat operations during the day and involved in

 3     criminal operations at night or when they're off duty, so the fact is

 4     that the operative zone, where the commander is using these military

 5     units in the field, are clearly responsible for these military police

 6     officers when they're committing crimes when they're off duty; isn't that

 7     true?

 8        A.   It is not true.  They didn't go to the front one day and then

 9     come back at night, but it is stated here that the Muslim offensive had

10     calmed down on the 14th, and that is why I left the area.  At the time,

11     the military police -- will you let me answer your question?  I told you

12     the time has to be determined, to whom they are subordinated, with what

13     aim, and until when?  It's not for two hours, but a precise order has to

14     be issued.

15        Q.   And during the period of that subordination, you're telling us

16     that nobody is responsible for them if they commit crimes?

17        A.   When they are re-subordinated, they are accountable to their

18     commander.  But when irregularities have been established, sanctioning is

19     done by the structure to which they belong.  The commander, if he finds

20     out, is duty-bound to report it.

21        Q.   So these military police who are being referred to here, then,

22     you're telling us that while they're subordinated to the operative zone,

23     the operative zone people can't do anything to hold them accountable or

24     to prevent them from committing more crimes; it's only the Military

25     Police Administration that can take action after they're re-subordinated?

Page 43990

 1        A.   It depends on the type of offence.  If a commander was present

 2     and the offence was murder, it is his duty to disarm him and arrest him.

 3     But as for other offences, he reports to the superior commander, who will

 4     then take steps against the offenders; an investigation, proceedings,

 5     et cetera.  This is then passed on to other institutions, as anywhere

 6     else in the world.

 7        Q.   Well, General, you're describing a very nice, tidy procedure

 8     which, in fact, no one was interested in, because your only interest was

 9     in using these military police units in combat activities, and you

10     weren't interested in punishing them or doing anything other than using

11     them in combat; isn't that true?

12        A.    That is not true, Mr. Stringer.  I cannot do something about

13     something I'm not aware of.  And when the time -- the energy required --

14     you have an operation ongoing and someone does something somewhere, and

15     if you're operating somebody's heart, you will stop that and investigate.

16     You cannot understand the problem until the strength of the Muslim

17     offensive at that point in time is recognised.  And 15.000 to 20.000

18     refugees from Bugojno with the army, it is impossible.

19        Q.   Well, you know about the refugees from Bugojno, General.  The

20     fact is that you know very well what the situation in Prozor was.  You

21     know that all the civilians had been moved out into these detention

22     centres to make room for incoming Croat refugees.  You knew that the

23     Muslims were being terrorised, raped, liquidated.  But the fact is you

24     weren't interested in doing anything about all of that.  You were only

25     interested in conducting combat activities; isn't that true?

Page 43991

 1        A.   No.  You're making things up, Mr. Stringer.  It is -- what you

 2     are saying is absolutely not true, and you have been repeating it for the

 3     50th time and you're angry if I tell you for the 50th time that that is

 4     not true, that the situation was not the way you describe it.  Look at

 5     the next document and you'll see.

 6        Q.   This is what you said in your testimony on the 12th of May this

 7     year, very early in your direct examination.  You were talking about

 8     using the military police, and you said:

 9             "I said very precisely that such a use of the military police

10     will significantly decrease the ability of the military police to perform

11     their tasks, their normal tasks, and that for that reason there will be

12     an increase in the rate of general crime, and there will also be a

13     decrease in the number of those who will be arrested for those crimes."

14             Do you remember that testimony?

15        A.   Correct, that is what I said.

16        Q.   And so what you're telling us is you made a choice, a conscious

17     decision, to use military police units in combat activities, knowing that

18     this was likely to result in crimes such as we're seeing here in this

19     document directed against the civilian population; correct?

20        A.   My choice was a conscious, reasonable, rational one.  I still

21     stand by it, because that would have been done by any commander, every

22     commander, whoever he may be, even if he is American.  The main aim is to

23     prevent the fall and the defeat that would have happened if I hadn't done

24     this.  And my knowledge, like that of any man, when the -- use the police

25     from New York for something, there is no electricity or something, there

Page 43992

 1     will be a thousand crimes because people are thieves and murderers, at

 2     least a large number of them, and there's nothing you can do.  But that

 3     doesn't mean that you will let the Japanese defeat you rather than using

 4     the police to prevent that.  So please.

 5        Q.   In terms of the justification for your decisions, it actually

 6     goes deeper than that, doesn't it, because you needed these military

 7     police units to fight, and you knew that if you punished them, put them

 8     in jail, removed them so that they could not continue to prey on the

 9     civilian population, you'd lose good fighters, and so you choose to keep

10     the fighters and to tolerate the crimes that they were committing; isn't

11     that so?

12        A.   I refuse --

13             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Please let me.  Just a

14     brief objection.

15             The Prosecutor keeps using the term "military police units."  I

16     have kept quiet, but he's used this term so often that one would think

17     these may be military police brigades.  In this document, nor in any

18     other, have we seen the term "units."  These were cases, individuals,

19     military policemen.  There may have been five or six such offenders, or

20     two of them.  We don't know how many from these documents.  We don't know

21     who they were, what their names were, know how many of them there were.

22     The concept of a unit does not exist.  If the Prosecutor knows which

23     units were involved, then let him tell us.  I know which unit we are

24     talking about, it was such and such a unit, and then we can proceed.

25     There is absolutely -- it's not right to use the term "units."  If anyone

Page 43993

 1     knows what units are involved, they should tell us.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Furthermore, I want to say that the

 3     enormous number -- the majority, as everywhere else, the majority of

 4     military policemen were honest people of integrity who fought with honour

 5     and carried out their duties with honour.  According to the logic of

 6     statistics, one could expect more offences, as I had said, but killed and

 7     wounded policemen who fought well were in the vast majority.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll come back to this when I

 9     come to my questions, but I'd rather let Mr. Stringer finish his

10     questions first.

11             MR. STRINGER:  Just to respond briefly to counsel, we're talking

12     about P04177.  I'm talking about the crimes and the military police that

13     are referred to in this document.

14             Mr. President, I have just about exhausted my questioning on this

15     document, so I think I can yield to the Trial Chamber if there are more.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I have several

17     questions.

18             I am looking at this report by Luka Markesic, and there's nothing

19     in it that would lead me to believe that it does not reflect the precise

20     situation.  There are many details there, and this is -- I believe that

21     this is a situation as is described.  And reading this report, I note

22     that there are six persons whose role needs to be examined.  This report

23     refers to the president of the HVO of Prozor.  The second person is the

24     brigade commander.  The third person who has a role is the commander of

25     the military police.  The fourth person is the commander of the civilian

Page 43994

 1     police, because there are offences committed by the civilian police.  The

 2     fifth person is the director of the prison, who denounces the facts.  And

 3     the sixth person is the author of this document.

 4             Proceeding in this way, when we look at the document, one finds

 5     that the author of the report is calling into question the president of

 6     the HVO and the commander of the military police, and he says that the

 7     commander of the military police has put himself under the municipal

 8     institutions, the president of the HVO, and the brigade commander, and he

 9     cites evidence of this, saying that when someone leaves the municipality,

10     he has to have the signature and the stamp of the HVO president.  So we

11     are in a very specific situation in Prozor.  When we look at this

12     document, one has the impression that the municipal authority in the body

13     of the president of the HVO has an important role and that the commander

14     of the military police has somehow put himself under his orders, but

15     still nothing is being done.  Unfortunately, an enormous number of things

16     are taking place, as we see from the document, the looting of convoys,

17     and the commander of the military police says openly that he was

18     authorised to do that, to loot the convoys.

19             The document also says that the military police is participating

20     in combat, so where -- one could understand that they are participating,

21     but then afterwards they engage in criminal activities.  That is what

22     this document tells us.

23             And proceeding from that, do you know whether the -- who was the

24     HVO president of Prozor?  Was he an individualist, was he someone who did

25     not obey anyone, who had his own policies, or was he closely linked to

Page 43995

 1     the civilian structure of the HVO?  If you don't know, you tell us that

 2     you don't know and I will move on to another question.

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.  I will repeat for

 4     the hundredth time that the quantity of fighting with the units available

 5     while I was there, you will see from the next document that there was so

 6     much effort, strength, and energy involved that after at least 20 hours

 7     of combat, I would fall into bed, and then the next day things started

 8     all over again.  I could not do more than I did, and I was responsible

 9     for what I did.  So you can imagine whatever systems you like.  I don't

10     think you can make up a system that does not correspond to reality, but

11     it's up to you.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have seen a moment ago that

13     counsel for Mr. Coric raised the question, Who were these military police

14     units.  But the military police mentioned in this document, in your view,

15     were they people who depended on the chain of command of the military

16     police, with Mr. Coric at the head, or were they people who were in the

17     Rama Brigade and who considered themselves military policemen, they

18     called themselves military policemen, without really being dependent upon

19     Mr. Coric?  Do you inform us about this?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that they belonged to a

21     military police battalion which was within the chain of command of

22     Mr. Coric.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see.  So they belonged to a

24     battalion that was within Mr. Coric's chain of command.  Very well.

25             You tell us that in the month of August, the situation, in

Page 43996

 1     military terms, was so grave that you were concerned solely about the

 2     combat and that the military policemen played a role in those operations,

 3     so that you didn't concern yourself with all these different aspects.

 4     Very well.  And Mr. Stringer insists, and he is right, because he wanted

 5     you to specify whether you felt responsible for the military police, and

 6     my understanding was that your answer was, No, except when they were

 7     subordinated to a brigade under my authority.  Is that your answer?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  So if I analyse

10     this, when they're subordinated to a brigade and they're fighting, in

11     that case, if they commit a crime, you have a role to play.  But when

12     they are no longer subordinated and have returned to their houses, or are

13     on leave, or are in a cafe, in such cases you are claiming that you have

14     nothing to do with it, it wasn't a role you had to play?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, the commander is no longer

16     responsible -- well, responsible.  If he finds out about something, he'll

17     report it, but then there has to be an investigation carried out by other

18     bodies.  It has to be processed by other bodies.  He, for example, has to

19     protect a building.  But this wasn't possible at the time.

20             Mr. Stringer just wants to have a look at the following document

21     and ask me a few questions about it.  He'll see that in such situations,

22     I significantly improved the situation.  That was the case wherever I

23     was, I significantly improved the situation.  I spoke to people,

24     persuaded them.  I prevented the fall of Vakuf, et cetera.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have a few more minutes

Page 43997

 1     before the break.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, having listened to you this

 3     afternoon, I can recall there was a moment when Mr. Stringer put it to

 4     you that you were well aware of the fact that taking away police to the

 5     front-line would increase the probability of criminality.  You took that

 6     in account, you were aware of it, and your point is that this was a case

 7     of necessity; that is to say, the situation was so tense that the end of

 8     fighting the enemy justified the means of drawing away a police force,

 9     which exposed civilians to a greater risk of crime.  Have I understood

10     that correctly?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.  Unfortunately, that was

12     how it was.  You have understood my answer correctly.  Given what I knew

13     about crime from before, I had lots of information about the criminal

14     law, policemen, and so on and so forth, I'm not stupid.  I simply knew

15     that if we reduced the number of military policemen or if -- and that's

16     also what happens when you reduce the number of policemen anywhere in the

17     world, I knew that the result would be that the rate of crime would rise.

18     I was aware of that, Judge Trechsel.  The military situation was such

19     that it was necessary to have part of the military police force engaged

20     in battle.  I asked for the right for them to be engaged in battle, I was

21     granted this right, and unfortunately that's how it was.  I stand by

22     that.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you said that as

24     this was necessary, you sent the military police to the front.  But if I

25     deal with Prozor, if you had known about what was happening, about the

Page 43998

 1     events described in the document, theft, cases of theft, cases of rape,

 2     of arson, attacks launched on convoys, a corrupt military police force,

 3     if you had known about all of this, would you have nevertheless said,

 4     Well, fine, go into combat, although you knew that having told them to go

 5     and fight, the rate of crime was going to rise, because if the military

 6     policemen are engaged in combat, they aren't exercising control, the

 7     civilian police remain, but they commit crimes, because the document

 8     doesn't only concern military policemen; it also concerns civilian

 9     police?  So if that was the scenario, if you're familiar with this

10     document, for example, would you have sent them into combat in spite of

11     this?

12             The question is difficult.  I'm not obliging you to answer the

13     question.  You can say, I don't know.  But I'm just trying to see how you

14     would have reacted in such a case.

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's a difficult question,

16     Judge Antonetti, it's a very difficult question, but I'll try to answer

17     the question to the best of my ability.

18             At one point in time, it's true that I also assembled the

19     civilian police and went to the front with them because my lines had been

20     broken through.  Naturally, just as Vakuf had fallen on the 2nd -- or,

21     rather, between the 1st and 2nd, well, 30 kilometres of my line had

22     fallen.  I was returning the line by using a tank and a machine-gun, and

23     I was the first person to do so, I was alone, and then gradually others

24     joined in.  The people had fled, the entire population had fled.  They

25     had set fire to their own houses, tot warehouses.  They blew up the

Page 43999

 1     ammunition warehouse.  They killed their very own cattle so that the

 2     Muslims wouldn't get hold of it.  And at such a point in time, in such a

 3     situation, having Bugojno in mind, I would probably have sent the police

 4     there, in spite of the fact, and then they could have been held to

 5     account later.  It was a catastrophe that concerned 40.000 individuals.

 6             I say that is probably what I -- that is probably what I would

 7     have done.  I would have sent the police to the front-line in such a

 8     situation, too.  But when I say "the military police," well, in

 9     1994 - this is something that Colonel Skender will talk about for sure, a

10     high-ranking officer from the Foreign Legion, he will describe the

11     situation to you - but even then, two HVO units were killed, there were

12     two dead individuals, five wounded.  I was called in to deal with the

13     situation.

14             We're trying to live in a world which isn't realistic.  I was

15     really performing my duties in a courageous manner.  It was necessary to

16     be there in the field.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, please complete

18     your questions with the last document before the one-and-only break we

19     will have today.

20             MR. STRINGER:  Is the break at 4.00, Mr. President?

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI:  Yes.

22             MR. STRINGER:  Well, let me just -- I want to follow up on some

23     of the statements the general's just made in the last few minutes.  And

24     if we can put up on the screens in Sanction page 39943 of the transcript.

25        Q.   Now, General, just a moment ago you were asked by the President

Page 44000

 1     about who was responsible for those military police units, and you said

 2     that:

 3             "I think that they belonged to a military police battalion which

 4     was within the chain of command of Mr. Coric."

 5             That's page 39, line 10.  Now, on the screen, I know you can't

 6     read it, this is a transcript from your earlier testimony in this case.

 7     This is what you said when you were talking about the same thing.  You

 8     said:

 9             "It is also true ..."

10             This is line 17:

11             "It is also true that due to a heavy offensive on the part of the

12     BH Army, I requested from Mate Boban, and then from Bruno Stojic as well

13     as a body of the second instance, for one part of the military police to

14     be placed at disposal and participate in defence.  They still remained

15     military police officers, but in the operative part I was their

16     commander."

17             So, now I know you've just suggested that they were a part of the

18     Coric chain of command, but the fact is, General, that for crimes

19     committed by military police subordinated to you for operational

20     purposes, you, in the operative zone, would be responsible for those

21     crimes and for dealing with those crimes; isn't that true?

22        A.   No, it isn't.  Operative re-subordination is something I've

23     explained five times already.  I don't know how much longer --

24        Q.   So I put it to you that you were aware of those crimes, and are

25     you telling us, General, that even if you were aware that they were

Page 44001

 1     committing crimes, you didn't have any responsibility to deal with those

 2     perpetrators?

 3        A.   Your hypothetical questions are questions I can no longer comment

 4     on.  Had you known this, had you known that, what would you have done?

 5     This is just a matter of speculation, and I don't have an answer to that

 6     question.  I'll refrain from answering that question.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, sometimes I

 8     also formulate hypotheses.  Everyone can do that.  The Prosecution is

 9     putting a hypothesis to you, says, If you had been aware of crimes at the

10     time, what would you have done?  Fine, it's easy to answer.  And you

11     answered a conditional question that I previously put to you.

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Antonetti, we dealt with that

13     issue half an hour ago.  If I had known about what the document states, I

14     would have told the author of the document to perform his duties.  He was

15     responsible to find out who was involved, to report these cases to the

16     prosecution.  The individuals in SIS are responsible for security, and

17     the military police should be replaced, they should be taken to prison,

18     and so on and so form.  So the person who described these events had the

19     duty of performing his duties, doing his work, not Praljak or anyone

20     else.

21             So it's as if you had an FBI agent who writes to someone else and

22     says, Look, we have some problems, and -- well, the response would be,

23     Well, look, you have to find out who is involved, you have to find

24     evidence, and you have to forward the evidence to the US Attorney's

25     Office so that these individuals can be held to account.  We're confusing

Page 44002

 1     matters.  A policeman drafts a document and says, Listen, I've heard that

 2     in the suburbs of Paris, about 100 cars have been set alight.  And what

 3     then?

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I would like to insist a bit on this line.

 5             You said you would have told the responsible person to do his

 6     duty.  Who would that be?  Whom would you have told to do his duty?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] SIS, S-I-S, is responsible for

 8     security, the Security Department.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  And while you had taken aware much

10     of the police force, and SIS complained, anyway, that they didn't have

11     the force to do this, how do you think they could have done it?  Would

12     you have wondered whether they were able to do the duty you asked them to

13     do, when you had taken away the means they ought to have had at their

14     proposal [sic] to fight crime?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 14th of August, this person

16     stated that the situation had calmed down, and naturally they were

17     already performing their duties again, even if there were certain

18     omissions, because for a period of time they couldn't perform their

19     duties, while subsequently it was possible to arrest and bring in the

20     individuals who had committed the crimes concerned.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, that would probably not be very helpful

22     for the victims, but it is -- it is a possible action.

23             I would like to take up the question -- the hypothesis

24     Mr. Antonetti has put to you.  Namely, if you had known what was going on

25     behind, not what would you have done; would you have acted in the same

Page 44003

 1     way?  If you had known more precisely about the crimes that were

 2     committed, would you nevertheless have acted the way you have and ordered

 3     the police to the front?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I've already answered that

 5     question.  It's difficult for me to do so, but when confronted with such

 6     a situation after the fall of Vakuf and Prozor, if the entire area of

 7     Herceg-Bosna was going to have the same fate as Bugojno and Travnik, for

 8     example, if the Croats there were going to have the same fate, it's very

 9     probable that I would have done the same thing.  I would assembled

10     everyone who could bear arms in order to prevent the area from falling,

11     because I was a commander and the main task of a commander is to prevent

12     defeat from occurring, which would lead his army and people - and there

13     had been other examples in Konjic, in Travnik, in Bugojno before that –

14     into a situation involving hundreds of dead, people who had been

15     expelled, and so on and so forth.  Therefore, Judge Trechsel, even if I

16     had been aware of certain facts, it's very probable that I would have

17     acted in the same manner.  I wouldn't want to lie to you.  I'm telling

18     you that it's highly probable, not to say certain, because one can never

19     claim for certain what one would have done.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you, Mr. Praljak.  It seems today we have

21     better relations than on other days, because again you have satisfied my

22     question, you really answered my question.  Thank you.

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel, I always want to

24     answer your questions.  Misunderstandings don't occur because I want to

25     muddy the water, but this has been going on for so long that it's

Page 44004

 1     inevitable for certain misunderstandings to occur.  It's not that I want

 2     misunderstandings to occur.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

 4             We will have our break now, because we will be running out of

 5     tape.  We'll have a 20-minute break, and we will then resume at 4.20.

 6     The hearing will come to an end at 1800 hours.

 7                           --- Recess taken at 4.03 p.m.

 8                           --- On resuming at 4.23 p.m.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, please continue.

10     MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I apologise.  I was just trying

11     to clarify the next exhibit to make sure it's available to everyone.

12             Mr. President, we've been talking extensively about P034 --

13     sorry, 4177, and over the break I reached the conclusion that from the

14     Prosecution point of view, we've exhausted the issues that the document

15     raises and that I'm prepared to move on to the next topic, the next --

16     which is one of the documents that we passed over yesterday.  So I'd like

17     to come back to a document.

18        Q.   General, it's 3D00484, and this -- General, I think you'll

19     recognise, it's one of your document.  This is a report that you talked

20     about during your examination, your direct.  Do you recognise this,

21     General, as the report made by Ante Prkacin about his efforts to reach

22     the Jajce front-line in October 1992?

23        A.   Yes.

24             MR. STRINGER:  And for the record, Mr. President, the -- and

25     I think the Praljak Defence team will agree with me, it seemed to us that

Page 44005

 1     the initial translation that had been made, I understand, quite a long

 2     time ago by the Praljak Defence was not a great one, and so we've had the

 3     document re-translated, and so there's a new version which was

 4     distributed in hard copy to everyone yesterday, and also to the Trial

 5     Chamber as well.  And I'm told that it is in e-court, or if it's not in

 6     e-court yet, it's in the process, but just to make sure we're on the same

 7     version, Mr. President, the translation now is one that's double-spaced,

 8     and up in the upper right-hand corner it says "ET 3D19-0240."  So just to

 9     make sure we're on the correct translation, not the old one, because the

10     translation that's on the screen is not the correct one.  So the correct

11     one is not yet in e-court.  So if it's agreeable to everyone, I can

12     continue with the document and we can just work on the hard copy, since

13     we can't get -- okay.  Actually, we can put it up in Sanction, the

14     correct translation or the new translation, so we can have it on our

15     screens.

16        Q.   General, I want to take you back to an earlier part of your

17     testimony.  This is page 41851 of the transcript, and this is your

18     evidence from the 23rd of June of this year.  And you spoke about the

19     fall of Jajce, and there's -- your testimony on the fall of Jajce is

20     something I want to challenge you on, and I want to challenge you with

21     this particular report of Mr. Prkacin.

22             So let me take you back and read to you a part of your testimony

23     from June about the fall of Jajce.  You said:

24             "Jajce fell into Serb hands.  A unit comes from Croatia, about

25     270 strong, and it comprises 80 per cent Muslims and 20 per cent Croats,

Page 44006

 1     and they have volunteered to assist in the defence of Jajce."

 2             And then I'm going to skip down a few lines.  You say:

 3             "So this joint unit, with this ethnic composition, didn't manage

 4     to reach Central Bosnia, Travnik, because the Muslim units and the Muslim

 5     politicians prevented it from getting there.  They spent three days on a

 6     bus from Gornji Vakuf to Travnik.  They were mistreated, weapons were

 7     trained on them, and so forth, and I claim that this marked the beginning

 8     of an organised preparation on the part of the BH Army and some of the

 9     people in the SDA leadership for the future conquest of Central Bosnia."

10             And then again skipping down a few lines:

11             "It was a terrible, terrible knowledge, it was quite surprising,

12     and it really reflected the trends in the Muslim military and politics in

13     the time that followed.  That's what I'm claiming."

14             So now, General, I want to challenge that testimony by going

15     through Mr. Prkacin's report with you of the events, his trip trying to

16     get from Grude to Jajce which, as he indicates here, began on the 28th of

17     October, 1992.  Now, you'll see, right at the very beginning of the

18     document, the second sentence, he says:

19             "The first trouble, though not a major one, happened at a

20     check-point seven to eight kilometres between Tomislavgrad and Prozor,

21     when the HVO military police would not accept our pass, i.e., a signed

22     order, approved by Mr. Petkovic, HVO chief of staff.  They demanded and

23     we counted and listed -- they demanded that we counted and listed the

24     soldiers.  One of the soldiers asked me, 'Are there any balijas?  I'll

25     kill them all.'  Given the composition of this unit, the question was

Page 44007

 1     quite awkward."

 2             And then he goes on to talk about how he was -- Prkacin was able

 3     to resolve the situation there and pass through this check-point.

 4             Now, before moving on, General, as you indicated in your

 5     testimony, it is true that this group of soldiers that Prkacin was taking

 6     up to Jajce was mostly constituted of Muslims; is that correct?

 7        A.   Yes, I think that 80 per cent of them were Muslims.

 8        Q.   All right.  And this being a group of HVO -- an HVO group of

 9     soldiers, mostly Muslims, with Ante Prkacin, General, is this a group of

10     soldiers that had recently come across to the HVO from the HOS, which

11     Mr. Prkacin had been associated with in the months previous?

12        A.   They were mostly volunteers from Croatia, the people that

13     Mr. Prkacin brought with him, volunteers from Croatia, HOS.  They didn't

14     join the HVO, they remained HOS members, and among them, about 80 per

15     cent of them were Muslims, and in Capljina they were reinforced with what

16     was lacking and went off towards Central Bosnia.

17        Q.   So moving down a few lines, then, Prkacin reports:

18             "We arrived in Prozor only around 0700 hours, due to extremely

19     difficult driving conditions."

20             And as he indicates there, he contacted Glasnovic and two

21     additional groups, and that 30 men, anti-terrorist platoon from

22     Siroki Brijeg, and others were waiting for him.  And then he says they

23     waited around two hours until the guys got ready, and they were looking

24     for a vehicle to transport the 20 men.

25             So then he reports that they started moving toward Vakuf at

Page 44008

 1     around 2000 hours, with the police at the head.  And then he says they

 2     reached Bugojno, where control was carried out jointly between HVO

 3     military police and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Here he says the

 4     HVO let them pass, but the BH Army asked for a written request for

 5     passage in order to respond to it in writing.

 6             And then the next paragraph, he talks about meeting with the ABiH

 7     commander there, Mr. Sead Dautovic, who received him warmly but asked for

 8     a list of soldiers and officers.  And you can see in the text that

 9     follows Prkacin resisted providing that information.

10             And then in the lines that follow here, he talks about Dautovic

11     then contacting Mr. Lendo, who I think you referred to in your testimony

12     at one point.  And ultimately Prkacin was issued a pass, but he said it

13     was rather bizarre because they were going to have a police escort and

14     they were also being escorted by an anti-terrorist group who was to

15     protect them, but in the event of them lining their troops in a

16     suspicious manner, to destroy them.  Prkacin says he accepted this almost

17     unconditionally because he wanted to reach Jajce as soon as possible, but

18     the HVO police members' reaction was strong.  They said it was

19     unacceptable.  And so he's describing the difficulties or the tensions

20     that resulted from this -- the conditions that came with this HVO pass.

21             And then he talks about being in Bugojno, at the headquarters in

22     Bugojno, the military police, Mr. Suvalic and Mr. Bilos, and they didn't

23     like the situation, if I can put it that way.  And he refers then to an

24     anti-terrorist group from Siroki Brijeg, 30 strong, and he says:

25             "There was another such group in my unit whose commander came to

Page 44009

 1     me to ask for a permission to attack the BH Army members who encircled

 2     us.  Predrag Mandic (Lija) leader of the Siroki Brijeg group did a

 3     similar thing, telling me he was ready, so when I felt the moment was

 4     right, give him a signal."

 5             And it's at this point Prkacin says he ordered them to turn

 6     around and go back to Bugojno until the HVO and the ABiH could reach an

 7     agreement about passage.  And then he says they returned to Bugojno and

 8     the joint representatives of the BH Army, Dautovic, and the HVO, Zivko,

 9     came along and reached agreement and ready to let us pass.  This came

10     after five hours of waiting.  Prkacin talks about how it was getting

11     tense or edgy, and then he says:

12             "The Siroki Brijeg commander, Mandic, was categorical, he said,

13     'I am for fighting and I am not afraid to die, but this is a suicide

14     mission without brains.  Tuta (his superior officer Tuta Naletilic)

15     ordered me to use my judgement well before I went anywhere, so my

16     judgement is that this is useless and too dangerous, and so I'm going

17     back ...'."

18             Just one question on this, General.  Is that consistent with your

19     knowledge at the time, October 1992, that Predrag Mandic was a

20     subordinate of Mladen Naletilic, Tuta?

21        A.   I couldn't say.  It's not a question I can answer with certainty.

22        Q.   That's fine.  I don't want you to speculate.  If you don't know,

23     I can accept that.

24        A.   But I'm afraid that you have skipped many things in this

25     document.  It's the sabotage part of the ABiH escorting the convoy.  They

Page 44010

 1     took out Zoljas and pointed them at the convoy.  They surrounded them.

 2     There were 20 young men trained in Split among them, and they had been

 3     born in Central Bosnia.  They went to assist them up there.  I stand by

 4     my testimony --

 5        Q.   General, no, you're right, I'm not going to read the entire

 6     document because we're going to be here for the rest of the day.  I'm

 7     trying to read parts of it.  Everyone can read the document in its

 8     entirety.  I'm trying to get through this so that we can get a general

 9     overview of where they were and what happened.  And it's clear, as we

10     move through this, I think everyone is seeing that there are a number of

11     things happening that are causing a lot of tension as they continue on.

12             Now, so let me just continue with this.  What he says is that

13     they reached an agreement in Bugojno and they were ready to leave.  Now

14     I'm at page 3 of the -- the top of page 3 of the English version.  And

15     then he says that just as they were getting ready to go, the BH Army

16     would not allow the passage along the route just agreed, but then

17     proposed an original -- or an alternative route via Vakuf-Pavlovica.

18             And then he goes on and he talks about having passed a few

19     barricades without difficulty.  He says they reached the Sebesic

20     check-point, where the commanding officer was Ivica Cobanac, whose men

21     expressed huge opposition toward the Muslims:

22             "... which was an additional upset for the Muslims in my unit.  I

23     went with Mr. Cobanac to his office.  He promised to let the convoy

24     through, despite the fact that he hated the Turks more than the Serbs

25     because they had killed more of his men than the Chetniks, but he claimed

Page 44011

 1     that we would not get safe passage at the next two semi-private Muslim

 2     barricades because those were also Croat-haters and criminals, so he

 3     proposed to clear the way with hand held anti-tank rocket-launchers and

 4     RPGs."

 5             Now, General, what we did not do -- perhaps I should have done at

 6     the beginning of this.  We're talking about the 28th of October 1992.

 7     We're talking about a period of time where this unit is attempting to

 8     pass through areas which are very close to the Prozor area, in which

 9     combat activities between the ABiH and the HVO have been taking place for

10     several days; correct?

11        A.   No, this is about Bugojno and the area between Bugojno and

12     Travnik.  Prozor, in spite of this, had allowed all those volunteer units

13     to pass to assist in the joint defence of Jajce, though it was about to

14     fall.

15        Q.   My point is this: that because of the events in Prozor at this

16     very same time that are clearly going to be known to HVO and ABiH in

17     other areas in the region, there's a tremendous amount tension and

18     suspicion and fear at all of the -- along all of the routes and all the

19     check-points; correct?

20        A.   No.  The HVO let them pass, regardless of Cobanac.  He

21     experienced a total massacre by the Mujahedin, and --

22        Q.   Let me ask you this, then:  If the ABiH, based on the events that

23     were taking place in Prozor, was hesitant about letting a well-armed,

24     large group or groups of HVO soldiers move through its territory, they

25     would have been justified, wouldn't they?

Page 44012

 1        A.   No, these are Muslims, and if they won't let them pass, how can a

 2     unit, composed 80 per cent of Muslims, how could it have been used in any

 3     way against the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina?  This is not correct.

 4     This is an indicator of what I said.  Already then, the Army of Bosnia-

 5     Herzegovina considered the HVO something that they would need to defeat

 6     in the future.  To accept 200 Muslims in the unit, and there were at

 7     least 200 of them, this could only have benefitted them to show that HVO

 8     who led the team had no ethnic divisions and they wanted jointly to fight

 9     in Jajce, so they didn't send such aid.

10        Q.   What we've seen so far is that at two of these check-points, in

11     fact, the ethnic composition of this group raised a hostility among the

12     HVO.  They didn't want to -- you know, they didn't want to let balijas

13     through, they didn't want to let Turks through.  They did so reluctantly,

14     but this certainly contributed to delay and suspicion, didn't it?

15        A.   It is true that there were individuals of this type, but the HVO

16     succeeded to force such individuals to let the convoy pass, and it did.

17     But the HVO or General Petkovic didn't provide an escort with -- of

18     anti-terrorist teams with trained weapons.  An individual is an

19     individual, and the position of the command, which is being implemented

20     even with difficulty, is something else.  This was the position of the

21     Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in our case it was only individuals.

22     Even the position of Cobanac, that the ABiH army had killed more of his

23     men, which is true, is one thing, but he says, I let them pass, because

24     he received such an order.  But those over there will not let you pass,

25     because the next team were Mujahedin at Rostovo.

Page 44013

 1        Q.   So what Prkacin talks about is moving up to those next Muslim

 2     barricades, and I'm not going to read all of this, but essentially he

 3     talks about the thoughts that were racing through his head and what

 4     should he do.  And so I'm skipping now down toward the bottom of page 3

 5     of the English.  He says that he decided and ordered that they go back.

 6     It says:

 7             "... deep in a forest, on a bad forest-path and heavy rain, tried

 8     to find billeting in Bugojno or Vakuf through the police, but they would

 9     not even allow us to park the buses; rather, they escorted us to Prozor,

10     where we arrived well after midnight.  We were not able to arrange

11     billeting there, so the men were sleeping on the buses."

12             Now, General, so Prkacin arrives back in Prozor, and he's not

13     even able to find a place for these people to sleep.

14             The next morning, on the 29th, they reassemble, and he says now

15     they were joined by a platoon of BH Army from Mostar, and they received

16     firm guarantees that they would be escorted by a joint police escort to

17     Travnik, to a large barracks where the men can rest and eat after 60

18     tiring hours.

19             And he says then:

20             "This time we managed to reach Travnik, despite minor

21     difficulties (a few delays in some places, a truck deliberately left

22     across the road by the Muslims in the village of Opare) ..."

23             So they meet up with this BH Army platoon, they receive a joint

24     police escort and are able to pass from Prozor all the way to Travnik on

25     the 29th of October, and then he talks about what happened after they

Page 44014

 1     arrived there.  He went to see Colonel Blaskic.  Again, he's trying to

 2     find billeting, a place for these guys to sleep.  He's making proposals

 3     so that they can rest up before moving to the front-line.  And he says:

 4             "They agreed to that.  Blaskic selected Mr. Filipovic to go with

 5     me to Travnik to follow this through.  But Mr. Filipovic failed in this.

 6     Instead of issuing decisive orders, he begged and proposed, and that

 7     brought no results."

 8             So now these units with Prkacin are in the Central Bosnia

 9     Operative Zone.  The operative zone commander turns them over to

10     Filipovic to find accommodation so they can rest, and the HVO can't even

11     find beds for these people.

12             He continues, he says:

13             "The officers of the ABiH promised to help with billeting the men

14     in a room with no beds, but this had poor results.  They managed to free

15     up only one room, with no beds or covers, so most of the men remained on

16     the bus."

17             And then he continues on, General.  Skipping down a paragraph, he

18     says:

19             "After we left Travnik, heading towards Turbe, our vehicle was

20     fired upon from light infantry weapons."

21             I'm going to move to the next page in the English.  He talks

22     about the events and his observations when he was trying to get to Jajce

23     to see what the situation was out there, and he says:

24             "We also saw a number of civilians and soldiers walking towards

25     Travnik."

Page 44015

 1             Do you see that part, General?

 2        A.   Yes, I see them walking towards Travnik.

 3        Q.   "At Karaula, we encountered obstructions which were set up so as

 4     to prevent the passage of vehicles towards Jajce."

 5             And he talks about all that and basically says that after all

 6     that -- after that:

 7             " ... on both sides of the road, so we had to give up on the

 8     attempt to get to Jajce.  Instead, we returned to Travnik, presented all

 9     we saw to the Command of ABiH (because we could not find the HVO members)

10     and we suggested to them to clear up the road.  They promised to do so,

11     but they did not succeed in that because we had tried again around 3.00

12     or 4.00 p.m., but we failed again.  We managed to do something else.  By

13     now, we were seeing a very big number of soldiers moving in a disorderly

14     fashion from Jajce towards Travnik.  Through conversations with some of

15     them, we found out that our side (HVO and ABiH) were completely deserting

16     also the flank lines."

17             And he goes on to talk about various things they tried to do to

18     deal with the situation.

19             And then at the very end, he concludes:

20             "I think that Jajce should serve as our last lesson and a

21     warning.  We cannot win this war by leading such a battle with such an

22     enemy.  Being engaged in a defence war does not at the same time mean

23     exclusively defending oneself.  We must give up on the trench-based

24     battles ..."

25             And he continues on.

Page 44016

 1             So, General, I realise I've taken some time to go through this

 2     document, and I also realise I haven't read it to you in its

 3     entirety - everybody can do that - but I'm going to put to you, General,

 4     that your testimony about the fall of Jajce and blaming it on the ABiH or

 5     Muslim political goals is not true, and in fact what we know from this

 6     account is that the ABiH and the HVO, soldiers and units on check-points

 7     and in all of this terrain, all of this tension and difficulty

 8     contributed to the fact that those soldiers did not reach Jajce and that

 9     the fall of Jajce is not something that is a result of profound political

10     wish or desire on the part of the Muslim leadership.  So I'm putting that

11     to you.  Would you agree with me on that?

12        A.   I don't need to agree with you because I didn't say anywhere, as

13     far as I can recollect, that the fall of Jajce was caused by this kind of

14     behaviour towards the general of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

15     Ante Prkacin.  He's a general of the ABiH.  Jajce fell for quite

16     different reasons that I didn't delve into.

17             I don't think you can find in any part of my testimony that I

18     accused the politicians for the loss of Jajce or that I linked the fall

19     of Jajce to this event.  I spoke about this event from a completely

20     different standpoint, and that is that the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina

21     showed an unbelievable behaviour towards a unit of 200 and odd troops,

22     80 per cent of whom were Muslims who wanted to assist.  The fall of Jajce

23     may have happened or not even if it had been different, but such

24     behaviour in -- at a time of joint defence shows that there were cracks

25     already at a very high level, not at the individual level.

Page 44017

 1        Q.   Well, I read your testimony -- I read to you your testimony

 2     earlier about this, in fact, when you did link the fall of Jajce with

 3     political objectives of the Muslims.  Let me read it to you again.  This

 4     is again from page 41851.  You say:

 5             "And I claim that this marked the beginning of an organised

 6     preparation on the part of the BH Army and some people in the SDA

 7     leadership for future conquest of Central Bosnia, because how can you

 8     trust somebody's good intentions about the joint fight if such a unit,

 9     after the fall of Jajce, is not allowed to pass through to Jajce at any

10     cost?  It was a terrible, terrible knowledge, it was quite surprising,

11     and it really reflected the trends in the Muslim military and politics in

12     the time that followed.  That's what I'm claiming."

13             General, what I'm claiming is that, based on this report, what we

14     see is that Prkacin wasn't able to get --

15        A.   I claim that too.

16        Q.   What I'm claiming is that, as we see from this report, there are

17     a good many factors on the HVO and the ABiH side that resulted in delays,

18     and a conflict situation, a tense conflict situation, and that one simply

19     can't ascribe the fall of Jajce or the failure of Prkacin to get to Jajce

20     on time.  You can't simply lay that at the feet of one side of this

21     conflict.  That's what I'm putting to you.

22        A.   I would be grateful if you were to read where I said that the

23     fall of Jajce was linked to this.  I was talking about the period after

24     the fall of Jajce and my thoughts about it.  I was quite right, my

25     assessments were correct.  All my efforts to prevent those assessments

Page 44018

 1     from coming true, and these efforts went on until the month of May 1993,

 2     unfortunately were in vain, and I fully stand by my testimony, which is

 3     precise, and I did not link the fall of Jajce to the arrival of this

 4     unit, as you are claiming.

 5             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, I'm ready to move to the next

 6     binder and the next topic.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I have two

 8     questions.  The first is quite simple, and the second will be more

 9     complicated.

10             The first is that, on the basis of this document, we see that

11     there's an incident at this check-point.  We have seen numerous documents

12     referring to check-points.  A few days ago, we had a document of

13     Mr. Petkovic which insisted on the need to ensure this control, and I

14     have been thinking about this for some time.  Could you tell me if, in

15     the JNA doctrine, the little you know about it because it is of a highly

16     military nature, in the ex-Yugoslavia the JNA doctrine and the doctrine

17     of the Yugoslav generals, was it to control, within the territory of

18     ex-Yugoslavia, all the communication routes with the help of

19     check-points, in view of the topography?  By having control, this would

20     ensure this Chinese Communist concept of people's defence, all people's

21     Defence.  Therefore, in ex-Yugoslavia, and specifically in the Republic

22     of Bosnia-Herzegovina, did the check-points correspond to a military

23     strategy whereby one controlled the movement of enemy troops?

24             This is a rather simple question, but of a military nature.

25     Could you answer it, please.

Page 44019

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  According to what I know,

 2     but -- well, not only in the JNA, but in all armies, the military police

 3     has the duty of controlling roads at certain check-points.  They have to

 4     control the movement of convoys, soldiers, and in this way they have an

 5     overview of the situation and they prevent military unacceptable acts

 6     from occurring.  That's what I have learnt from the various literature,

 7     from films.  In each and every war, military check-points are set up at

 8     which vehicles are controlled in areas that are affected by war, and our

 9     area was affected by a war.  This is what I know about the matter.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Another question that relates

11     to check-points.  We've seen numerous documents which show that there

12     were incidents at check-points on occasion.  That was the case here.

13     We've seen in certain documents that some, on both sides, HVO -- the HVO

14     and the ABiH, they imposed taxes when people or vehicles wanted to pass

15     through the check-points.  This was perhaps not authorised.  As far as

16     you know, was this a system that was necessary, that was organised, or

17     was this just a matter of the individual behaviour of certain soldiers

18     who are manning the check-points?  Did they just say that they would

19     combine business and pleasure and impose taxes, levy taxes on those who

20     were passing through the check-points?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Apart from the so-called irregular

22     [as interpreted] check-points set up at certain locations and controlled

23     by the military police, there were occasionally check-points that had

24     been set up by a brigade.

25             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise.

Page 44020

 1     We have an important error in the transcript.  It's page 63, line 6.

 2     General Praljak said "apart from regular check-points," whereas the

 3     transcript says the contrary, it says "apart from the irregular

 4     check-points."  I think this is very important, and it would be good for

 5     Mr. Praljak to repeat what he said.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please repeat what you said.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Apart from the regular

 8     check-points, HVO or ABiH check-points manned above all by the military

 9     police, there were occasionally other check-points.  The commander, when

10     his unit was passing through or returning from the battle-field, the

11     commander would establish a check-point and check whether everyone had

12     passed through, and so on and so forth.  But, Your Honours, the number of

13     wild check-points was just too great.

14             After Prkacin, I passed through Central Bosnia, and I think I was

15     stopped at least 15 times by incredible individuals, and it's only as a

16     theatre director, as an actor, that I was able to pass through.  I had to

17     assess how to behave towards these individuals, and I could give you an

18     example of what individuals had to do in order to pass through.

19     Sometimes they would be there for two days.  They'd steal some things,

20     then move on to another location and then disappear.  They'd just come

21     out onto the road, set up a few stones or rocks and some kind of -- and a

22     few pieces of wood, they'd have their weapons with them, and then you had

23     to stop.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for that answer.

25             And now for my second question, which is somewhat complicated.

Page 44021

 1     I've been listening to you for several weeks now, and on a number of

 2     occasions you've spoken about Jajce, well known for its waterfalls, if

 3     I'm not mistaken.  And towards the end of the afternoon, Mr. Stringer has

 4     shown you a document on Jajce.  He put questions to you about the link

 5     between an Izetbegovic action, Muslim actions, and the fall of Jajce.

 6     Let's try and see things clearly.

 7             You said that in Jajce, there were Muslims and the HVO facing the

 8     Serbs.  They were at the front-line, and then things exploded, units

 9     left.  It was quite a catastrophe, it would appear, because many refugees

10     left, and it seems that 20.000 Muslim refugees left in all directions.  I

11     say this with caution.

12             Did the fact that there were refugees pose a double problem to

13     Izetbegovic, in that they had to be provided with accommodation, that

14     they had to go somewhere?  And then, secondly, was he going to use them

15     within the framework of what we call the Vance-Owen Plan?  It would

16     appear to demonstrate that Izetbegovic was taking advantage of the

17     situation that there were thousands of people on the road, the HVO had

18     certainly been weakened in the course of this route, and at that point in

19     time he may have planned an attack, together with Halilovic and others,

20     that was to be launched against the HVO, and this might, in a certain

21     manner, explain the events that transpired in Prozor.  So there might be

22     a link.  There was Jajce, the refugees, taking political and military

23     advantage of the situation by Halilovic and Izetbegovic, and then the

24     events in Prozor.  Is this possible or not?  What would you say?

25             I'm putting this question to you, General Praljak,

Page 44022

 1     because pursuant to the provisions of the Statute, the Judges at the end

 2     of the trial have to rule on whether you are guilty or innocent, and part

 3     of their mission is to state what actually happened, in a judgement.  It

 4     is therefore necessary, in one way or another, to explain how all these

 5     events occurred.  I personally need to put such questions and receive

 6     appropriate answers to try and understand what exactly took place.  So

 7     I'm presenting you with an event that may have occurred.  You can say,

 8     It's true, It's not true, and you can tell me what the reason is for your

 9     answer.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I fail to see a causal link between

11     the fall of Jajce and the events in Prozor.  I don't think there is any

12     such link, to answer the first part of your question.

13             Muslims and Croats lived in Jajce.  The ABiH and the HVO was

14     defending Jajce.  Perhaps HVO troops were somewhat more numerous than

15     ABiH troops.  Jajce fell.  In my opinion, given the way it was defended,

16     it couldn't defend itself, in military terms, because from Travnik to

17     Jajce there was an area controlled by the Serbs, so providing supplies

18     was difficult because you could see Prkacin said that they were firing at

19     a distance of 200 metres from the road.  The stretch that I mentioned

20     where I tried to do something was completely under the control Army of

21     Republika Srpska.  In military terms, Jajce would have fallen five days

22     earlier or five days later.  Given the military situation at the time, it

23     was impossible to prevent.  Then Croatian refugees arrived, and many of

24     the HVO members from Jajce passed through.  They stopped in Croatia,

25     Makarska, et cetera, and they also asked for their salaries to be paid.

Page 44023

 1     The Jajce Brigade, the Muslims from the ABiH, instead of acting logically

 2     and going to Tuzla, in the direction of Srebrenica and Sarajevo, moved to

 3     Gornji Vakuf, where there was no danger from the Army of Republika

 4     Srpska, and there they provoked the next disturbances.  Why move a

 5     brigade to Vakuf, whereas you are fighting against the Serbs who are not

 6     present in Gornji Vakuf?  And the line held by the armija towards good

 7     positions is a short one.  And the refugees, Muslims on the whole, remain

 8     in Vakuf, the majority of them in Travnik, and the ethnic composition of

 9     the population significantly changes.  There are naturally -- there are

10     problems, requests that start to lead to changes in the opinions or

11     positions of the political leadership.  Because of that energy, those

12     people have new requests.  They become aware of the fact that they won't

13     be returning to areas where Serbs are present.  They don't believe in a

14     just solution.  They are trying to find territory for themselves by

15     having recourse to various means.  They are bitter, they are tired,

16     they've been driven out, they've been killed.  It's a powder keg, one

17     powder keg next to another.  There's a lot of energy present.  There are

18     people who no longer trust anyone in the world.  They're trying to find

19     an area for themselves, and the policies pursued in the field have to

20     adapt to the situation so that the people can be provided with

21     accommodation.  And the HVO and the Croat believe that -- well, Look,

22     there were 50 per cent of us or 40 per cent of us here yesterday, now we

23     7 per cent or 20 per cent, we represent 7 or 20 per cent, and so on and

24     so forth.

25             So that's how things start developing, and then significant

Page 44024

 1     events occur.  Why not let through such a unit because it's not just a

 2     matter of Jajce now.  Travnik has no defence.  There's nothing as far as

 3     Sarajevo.  Why not let them through so that lines are established,

 4     because you have seen the power that Filipovic had up by the barracks and

 5     the ABiH commanders, naturally, and at that point, Your Honours,

 6     naturally I took over responsibility for commanding Travnik, for digging

 7     trenches, for defending that area, and so on.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  General Praljak,

 9     thank you.  It was a long answer, but I draw two conclusions from what

10     you have said.  First of all, there is no link with the events in Prozor,

11     and, secondly, you say the following, and this seems to be important to

12     me.  It's for everyone to assess.  These refugees modified the ethnic

13     composition of the places, and you say that in certain places there were

14     40 per cent of Croats and then the percentage could fall to 7 per cent,

15     for example.  So I'll bear this in mind and reflect on the matter at a

16     later stage.

17             Very well.  I will now give the floor back to Mr. Stringer.

18             Yes, Mr. Praljak.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, bear the following in

20     account -- take the following into account.  Then people started having

21     more radical ideas.  Those who had more radical solutions were more

22     acceptable than those who were saying how things should be calmed down.

23     Unfortunately, that was the case.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

25             Please do hurry up, and we will distribute the new binders.

Page 44025

 1                           [The witness stands down]

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, will we have a

 3     new binder?  I'm looking for it.

 4             MR. STRINGER:  It's the binder called "List Number 7."  And, in

 5     fact, while the general is taking his quick break, maybe the usher could

 6     take number 6 away so that binder 7 is ready when he comes back.

 7                           [The witness takes the stand]

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  We will resume.

 9             MR. STRINGER:

10        Q.   General, the next binder has been put on the table in front of

11     you there.  We're going to move forward in time -- or we're going to move

12     now to discuss the situation in Gornji Vakuf.

13             If you would turn to the first exhibit, P00643.  General, this is

14     dated 24th of October, 1992, from Commander Colonel Siljeg.  It's a

15     command for action.

16             General, as I understand, on the 24th of October, 1992, you had

17     not yet arrived in this area, in the Prozor area; is that correct?

18        A.   Correct, I hadn't arrived.

19        Q.   Were you aware -- did you become aware that Colonel Siljeg had

20     issued a command for action, directing that -- I'll just read it:

21             "Put the town under your control."

22             This is to the HVO Ante Starcevic Brigade, Gornji Vakuf:

23             "Put the town under your control.  Control all routes and

24     fiercely prevent any attack on the HVO units."

25             Were you aware that Colonel Siljeg issued this command prior to

Page 44026

 1     your arrival in the North-West Herzegovina Operative Zone?

 2        A.   I wasn't aware that he had done this.  This was for

 3     Ante Starcevic in Gornji Vakuf.

 4        Q.   Let's go to the next document, and then I'll ask a couple of

 5     questions about both of these.

 6             The next one is P00460.  And, General, the form of this one is a

 7     bit unusual.  You'll see, I believe, that it appears to be --

 8        A.   It's not 460.  Which one is it?

 9        Q.   P00460.  You should have 460 in your binder.

10        A.   Yes, yes, that's right.  I apologise.

11        Q.   And what you're going to see is on the original version it

12     appears we've got two separate packet communications that are appearing

13     on this one page, and I'm only interested in the first one, the one on

14     top, which is dated "27.10," which we take to be the 27th of October, and

15     this is a 1992 document, we see from the upper left-hand side.

16             General, in this one Colonel Siljeg is calling this an urgent

17     report requested, and he's directing this to brigades in Bugojno,

18     Gornji Vakuf, and Prozor, and he says:

19             "We immediately request information on the situation in Bugojno,

20     Gornji Vakuf, and Prozor.  Provide estimate of a possibility of passage

21     on the roads ..."

22             And then he says:

23             "Provide estimate of a possibility of eliminating the Muslim

24     forces in Gornji Vakuf."

25             And then he's asking if they've established a connection with

Page 44027

 1     Major Jure Smidt and what the result are.

 2             Now, General, this is the 27th of October.  The previous document

 3     is the 24th of October.  Both of these documents -- well, let me ask you

 4     first:  The second document that we've just looked at now, were you aware

 5     of this order or request from Siljeg to provide an estimate of the

 6     possibility of eliminating the Muslim forces in Gornji Vakuf, were you

 7     aware of this document when you arrived in the North-West Herzegovina

 8     Operative Zone?

 9        A.   No, but --

10        Q.   Well, let me just continue.  Can we agree, General, that both of

11     these orders were issued prior to the fall of Jajce, as indicated in the

12     report of Mr. Prkacin that we've just gone through?

13        A.   I think that Jajce fell on the 27th or the 28th.  It depends what

14     you consider a fall, whether when it was all the refugees had fall -- had

15     left or when all the front-lines had been broken through.  So it depends.

16        Q.   Now, just a few moments ago, and I'm looking at page 66 of

17     today's transcript, line 14, you said:

18             "Why move a brigade to Vakuf?"

19             You were talking about the ABiH, and why would they move a

20     brigade to Vakuf after the fall of Jajce, rather than moving a brigade

21     somewhere else, such as Tuzla.  My question is -- on that, General, is

22     this, I'll suggest this to you:  After the fall of Jajce, the ABiH was

23     required or had to send a brigade down to Vakuf, if in fact that's what

24     they did, in order to deal with these sorts of actions and attempts by

25     the HVO to take the town of Gornji Vakuf under control; isn't that why

Page 44028

 1     the ABiH would have had to send one of its brigades to Vakuf?

 2             MR. KARNAVAS:  Your Honour, I object.  It calls for speculation.

 3     He obviously cannot know what they had in mind.

 4             MR. STRINGER:  Well, Mr. President, the general said he's

 5     attributed improper motives to the ABiH, saying they should have done

 6     this, they should have done that, they should have sent a brigade

 7     somewhere else.  Now, I think it's fair to use these documents to suggest

 8     to the general that they were, in fact, legitimate reasons.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, General Praljak can

10     answer, or he can say, I can't answer.  If he can, it can contribute to

11     the establishment of the truth.  If not, he can say that, I didn't know

12     of the existence of this document and I know nothing about it.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours and Mr. Stringer, this

14     is an order for action, not an order for attack, and it says clearly:

15     "Liberate the communication in Gornji Vakuf to Prozor.  Eliminate all

16     attacks on HVO units."  So the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina has already

17     intercepted communication.  The army does not allow the commander of the

18     brigade in Vakuf to reach his premises.  So when it says to put the town

19     under control, it's not conquer the town, it's prevent, and eliminate, by

20     your deployment, so that HVO units should not be attacked, and see if you

21     can liberate -- open the communication, the routes to Gornji Vakuf,

22     Bugojno, et cetera.  Otherwise, how will Merhamet pass, which is carrying

23     weapons for the Muslims, if the roads are blocked, which is what the next

24     document will tell you, signed by Susak or Praljak.

25             MR. STRINGER:

Page 44029

 1        Q.   The fact is just prior to the fall of Jajce, Siljeg is issuing

 2     orders to his brigades to provide to him an estimate of the possibility

 3     of eliminating Muslim forces in Gornji Vakuf, so clearly he's thinking

 4     about operations to eliminate the ABiH forces in Vakuf.  So if that's the

 5     case, then that's a legitimate reason for the ABiH to respond by sending

 6     a brigade down there, isn't it?

 7        A.   No, it's not.

 8        Q.   So they should --

 9        A.   It is an estimate of the possibility of eliminating after he says

10     there can be no passage along the roads Prozor-Vakuf-Bugojno-Travnik.  So

11     the aggression has already started, but not by the HVO.  And he says, If

12     we cannot pass along that route, then of course --

13        Q.   Let's move forward in time and to the next document, P01068.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we see the next

15     document, I should like to go back to the first document.  I see a

16     military document, and I'm trying to analyse it from a military

17     standpoint.

18             Colonel Siljeg is sending to the Ante Starcevic Brigade a

19     document, an order, saying, Put the town under your control, control all

20     the routes, and he adds, and I think this is important, in order to

21     prevent an attack on HVO units.  Therefore, in military terms,

22     General Praljak, could it be, because unfortunately the persons writing

23     these documents are not present - normally one would have reviewed all

24     this, and here this is not possible, so we're forced to make hypotheses -

25     is it possible that Colonel Siljeg had information on the basis of which

Page 44030

 1     there was a possibility of an attack on the HVO, and in order to counter

 2     this - I'm not saying to attack - but to counter it, the first military

 3     step that he is ordering is to control the routes?  In military terms, is

 4     that a possibility or not?

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Just a technical point.  It does not say, at

 6     least in the translation, but I think the translation on this point is

 7     correct, it's says not "in order to prevent any attack," but "and prevent

 8     any attack," so that it is put one next to the other and not one as a

 9     means to achieve the other.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  In the document, in

11     B/C/S, could you read the sentence?  What exactly does it say?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Put the town under your control.

13     Control the communications and resolutely eliminate any attack against

14     HVO units.  Be in touch with HVO brigade, the Eugen Kvaternik HVO Brigade

15     in Bugojno, and the Rama HVO Brigade in Prozor.  Establish mutual

16     communication and, if possible, jointly free the route between

17     Gornji Vakuf and Prozor."

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, as my

19     colleague has said, there are two things to be done; control the roads

20     and eliminate all attacks against the HVO.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, but to put the town under

22     your control does not mean to capture it militarily, but where important

23     facilities exist, place the HVO on the ready and prevent and repulse any

24     attack against HVO units.  And the communications between Vakuf and Rama

25     has already been blocked.

Page 44031

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will move on to the second

 2     document immediately.  Could we not read it to say that Colonel Siljeg is

 3     asking Eugen Kvaternik Brigade and the other brigades, because you see

 4     the difference between the documents is that the first is addressed only

 5     to one brigade, whereas the second is addressed to three brigades, and he

 6     is requesting an assessment of the situation; that is, the possibility of

 7     passage on the roads and the possibility of eliminating Muslim forces in

 8     Gornji Vakuf, and to establish connection with Jure Smidt, and he's

 9     waiting for the results?  The second argument:  Is it a request to assess

10     the possibility without containing an order for an attack, or is this an

11     order for an attack?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There's no attack.  He's asking for

13     a report.  He's saying, Provide an estimate of a possibility of passage,

14     which means that there is no passage, the roads are blocked.  And any

15     normal commander would say, Give us an assessment of the forces which we

16     may attack if we fail to de-block the entire HVO of Central Bosnia.  Then

17     that is a war.  But the war was not started by the HVO, but by the Army

18     of Bosnia and Herzegovina by blocking all the roads.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question.  If I proceed

20     from the hypothesis that Colonel Siljeg had decided to attack, to take

21     control of Gornji Vakuf, to take prisoners, et cetera, wouldn't there

22     then be quite a different order, the classical type of order with item 1,

23     2, 3, The attack will begin at such and such a time, report about

24     progress?  Would one not have such a classical type of order?

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.  You have seen what attack

Page 44032

 1     orders look like, but I assure you, Your Honours, that in the following

 2     days talks in Rama, Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf and Travnik, I managed to deal

 3     with the situation.  The roads were much freer, the situation calmed

 4     down, Travnik was defended, and until the 11th of January, 1993, the

 5     situation was more or less decent and -- in terms of relations between

 6     the two parties, because I went to the front-lines of the ABiH, I saw

 7     their commanders, and we planned joint actions, et cetera.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  A question of logic to you, Mr. Praljak.

 9             It says here:  "We urgently request information...," inter alia,

10     of a possibility of passage on the roads.  The rest is not relevant.  You

11     have affirmed that this means that there is no passage, and I do not

12     understand how you interpret a request for information as meaning that

13     there is a certain answer already at hand.  I'm referring to page 74,

14     line 21, which is doomed to pass from our view, full stop.

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The sentence, in my view, is a

16     logical one.  He's asking for an assessment of the possibility of

17     passage.  In other words, as talks went on in Bugojno, Travnik, whether

18     those talks - this is in my view because I am aware that there were such

19     talks - would this lead to the de-blocking of the roads, which actually

20     happened later on?  So give us an assessment of this possibility means

21     how are those talks progressing.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Kovacic.

23             MR. KOVACIC:  I just wanted to tell that Praljak, when he was

24     mentioning that communication is not open, he was referring on the

25     document 460, where it is clear from the last sentence, while the one you

Page 44033

 1     were talking now -- sorry, sorry, I mixed the document.  It is in 643, in

 2     the first document, last sentence.  In it, he says that the communication

 3     is not open, and this is what Mr. Praljak was referring.  And the second

 4     document, 460, is having the sentence you were discussing, you and

 5     Mr. Praljak.

 6             Thank you.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you, yes, and 460 is a few days later,

 8     so -- but, I mean, I think we have clearly the question, we have an

 9     answer.  It's not for me, at this moment, to comment, and I think we can

10     proceed.

11             Thank you.

12             MR. KOVACIC:  Yes, yes.  I just wanted to say that when --

13     Mr. Praljak, before your question, like one page before, when he said

14     that he understood the road is closed, he understood it from the document

15     which was prepared on 24 October.  So --

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I find it amazing that you know so exactly what

17     the witness is meaning.  I think it's for him to interpret what he means,

18     and not for his lawyers to say what he is saying or what he meant to say.

19     But I think we should -- we should leave it at that and continue now.

20     This is not a very fruitful exchange.  It's not unpleasant, but neither

21     does it add much to the task of this Tribunal.

22             MR. KOVACIC:  Your Honour, I apologise.  I simply wanted to be

23     helpful, because Praljak said so like two minutes before you asked,

24     because he was referring to this document.  That was obvious.  But -- and

25     I read the document carefully, both of -- and, I'm sorry, I wanted to

Page 44034

 1     help.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Kovacic, your candid intentions are not

 3     questioned.

 4             Mr. Stringer.

 5             MR. STRINGER:

 6        Q.   Let's just move to the next document, General, P01068.  01068.

 7     General, this is a report of the British Battalion.  It's dated 6th of

 8     January, 1993, so it's later in time, and it is relating to the situation

 9     in Gornji Vakuf on that day.  And you've just been talking about the

10     roads and the situation involving control of the roads, and I know you've

11     been claiming that the ABiH has been cutting -- or had cut off the

12     roads -- or certain roads in this area, forcing the HVO commander to use

13     the UNPROFOR to get to his headquarters.

14             Here, in the second paragraph, it says, on the third line:

15             "Comment:  There is an earth-work barrier at this check-point in

16     order to force the Muslim population of Hare to travel to Prozor and not

17     Gornji Vakuf.  Obviously, tensions are rising in the area, which is

18     reflected by an HVO presence at the check-point."

19             Then the next paragraph says:

20             "At approximately 1500 hours on Monday afternoon, the HVO raised

21     an Ustasha flag in the town.  The Muslims reacted and a Bosnian

22     Army soldier attempted to remove the flag.  An HVO policeman then fired

23     at the Bosnian Army soldier ..."

24             I'm not going to continue with my questioning, Mr. President,

25     until all the distracting discussion in the courtroom stops.  I mentioned

Page 44035

 1     it yesterday.  It's -- I don't think Mr. Kovacic understands how well his

 2     baritone voice carries, and it's really hard to concentrate when there's

 3     constant conversation coming from that side of the room.  I'm sure he's

 4     got a lovely singing voice, but it really does carry.

 5             MR. KOVACIC:  I apologise, I'm sorry.  I was not aware of that.

 6     Thank you.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have never so far made such a

 9     request, but this is my 58th day.  Could we perhaps stop 15 minutes

10     earlier today, Mr. Stringer, and then we could continue later?  I'm

11     somewhat exhausted.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, we were to end

13     this hearing at 6.00 p.m. today.  I know you are tired; I, too.

14     Everyone, in fact, here is tired.  All the documents require one to pay a

15     lot of attention to them.  When I ask questions, I have to be very

16     careful.  It's very stressful, because I have to be very careful about

17     how I formulate my questions, and as a result the nervous tension is

18     immense.  And as a result, I am completely exhausted at the end of the

19     hearing.  I put myself in your shoes, and I believe that you, too, find

20     yourself in the same situation because you wonder whether there are any

21     traps hidden behind certain questions.

22             If you would like us to stop here, I don't see why not, because I

23     have said if you want to finish, we can finish.  Fifteen minutes isn't

24     that important.  I believe that my colleagues are in agreement with that.

25             Mr. Stringer, we will continue with the binder next Monday.  How

Page 44036

 1     many more binders will follow?  I thought there were a few.

 2             MR. STRINGER:  Well, at this moment, Your Honour, there is only

 3     one, but there will be more by Monday.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, that's what I wanted to

 5     know.  How many binders do you still have?

 6             MR. STRINGER:  The binders haven't been made yet.  I can tell

 7     Your Honour that in terms of the issues that raise, because we're putting

 8     issues in binders - I think that we have issues relating to camps, in

 9     general - there will be documents on what we're alleging is the arrest

10     campaign of the summer of 1993, and events in Southern Herzegovina,

11     Capljina, Stolac.  There is going to be documentation regarding the town

12     of Mostar, and then some additional -- and fewer documents relating to

13     such things as Vares.  And I think as I indicated in our filing from

14     before, we're probably going to come back briefly to international armed

15     conflict and also some questions on it related to cooperation issues with

16     the VRS.  So I think there are four or five issues that remain.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  I see that you

18     still have a certain number of binders to deal with.

19             Very well.  Mr. Praljak, we will stop here, and we'll see each

20     other again next Monday.  Have a good rest in the meantime, and I wish

21     everyone a good afternoon.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to thank Your Honours.

23                           [The witness stands down]

24                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.46 p.m.,

25                           to be reconvened on Monday, the 31st day of August,

Page 44037

 1                           2009, at 2.15 p.m.