Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 44228

 1                           Wednesday, 2 September 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [Accused Coric not present]

 5                           [The witness takes the stand]

 6                           --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.

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

 8     call the case.

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

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

11     the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.  Thank you, Your Honours.

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

13     is Wednesday, September 2, 2009, and I greet Mr. Praljak, as well as the

14     accused, the Defence counsels, Mr. Stringer, Mr. Scott, and their

15     colleagues.  I also greet everyone helping us in this courtroom.

16             First and foremost, first you know that today we will stop at

17     1.00 p.m.  I've been told by the Registry that at 2.00 p.m., we will have

18     a swearing-in ceremony for Judges.  I don't know the name of the Judges

19     yet, but I'm sure we'll be told by 2.00.  As of now, I don't know what

20     the name of these Judges are, and I was only told about this through

21     administrative channels.  Whatever the case, we will have to stop at

22     1.00 p.m., and we'll only have one break.

23             However, Mr. Praljak, if during the hearing you feel that you

24     need to be excused for a minute, just tell us and we'll just wait for

25     your return while looking at the documents in order not to waste any

Page 44229

 1     time.

 2             That was the first thing I had to say.  Then last week we said

 3     that we would take stock of the situation to know exactly when

 4     Mr. Praljak's witness will come once all cross-examinations are finished.

 5     Of course everything -- it all depends on how much time Mr. Stringer

 6     still needs, and depends also on the time used for redirect, for Judges'

 7     questions, and possibly questions from other counsels.

 8             Mr. Stringer, you told us that you still had a few binders to go

 9     through.  When do you think you could be done?

10             MR. STRINGER:  Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours, and

11     Counsel.  My best estimate is of course heavily dependent upon the amount

12     of questions and interventions that come elsewhere -- come from

13     elsewhere, but we -- as I've indicated before, we've got -- there are

14     going to be ten lists or ten binders.  We're just about to finish with

15     number eight.  We're going to be moving into number nine shortly, and I'd

16     like to be largely through number nine today, again recognising that it's

17     a short day, so maybe that's too optimistic.

18             I would like to be very close to the end by the finish of

19     tomorrow's proceedings.  I think I'll probably continue over into Monday,

20     but I should say as I've indicated before, there's going to be a small

21     number of documents after the list number ten, but those are more related

22     to smaller issues or loose ends, as we would say in English.  So I am

23     determined to wrap up the cross-examination at some point on Monday.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

25             Mr. Kovacic, if I understood you correctly, you said you needed

Page 44230

 1     two hours.  Is that it?

 2             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I think so, yes, Your Honour.

 3     Don't hold me to that, but as things now stand, for redirect I think that

 4     will be -- that is about right, and bearing in mind other people's time

 5     and our time, approximately two hours.  However, as we're on the subject,

 6     for us to sift through the topics for redirect, we should like to request

 7     that upon completion of the Prosecution's cross-examination and any

 8     additional questions from the Judges, because you said you will have some

 9     minor issues with respect to the map but perhaps you want to ask about

10     other things, too, we should like to ask for a break to give us time to

11     sift through the possible topics for redirect so that we could be as

12     concise as possible and prepare all the right documents necessary.

13             So once the cross is completed and once Your Honours have asked

14     all your questions, we should like to have one day's rest free to prepare

15     our material.  Thank you.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  As far as Judges'

17     questions are concerned, on my behalf it will be very short.  I will just

18     ask Mr. Praljak to comment the maps that he drew at my request, deal with

19     the location of the JNA before the conflict started, and have to deal

20     with the position of HV troops when they had to intervene because of

21     Dubrovnik, and then also the position of the HVO and the ABiH over time

22     during 1992 and 1993 as he knew this position, according to his knowledge

23     of it.  So it should be short, because Mr. Praljak will just show us the

24     maps, tell us this is where the troops were located and so forth and so

25     on, and that will be it.  So I do not need a lot of time.  However, what

Page 44231

 1     I do not know is whether the other counsels are going to want to take the

 2     floor for redirect.  Remember that the Trial Chamber said that this would

 3     be deducted from their own time.  But as of now I'm in the dark.  I don't

 4     know anything.

 5             Mr. Karnavas, could you keep --

 6             MR. KARNAVAS:  Good morning, Mr. President; good morning,

 7     Your Honours; good morning to everyone in and around the courtroom.

 8             I take it, it was a slip of the tongue when you said redirect.

 9     We did cross, so -- and whether we are entitled to re-cross, that's

10     another point.

11             I don't foresee the possibility of -- of going and asking

12     General Praljak any additional questions.  I would, however, invite the

13     Court to seriously consider having a cut-off date by which the testimony

14     of General Praljak would be finished and when the next witness would

15     begin for scheduling purposes.  And it would seem to me, based on what

16     I'm hearing, that by Thursday perhaps the next witness -- or the

17     following Monday the next witness should be coming.  I'm only saying this

18     for my own scheduling purposes, and I don't wish to interfere with the

19     Praljak Defence team, but I do think that, you know, we need to manage

20     our time outside of this particular witness.  So to that extent I would

21     invite the Trial Chamber to seriously consider, you know, giving --

22     inviting the Praljak team to designate when their following witness would

23     be coming, who is, as I understand, an expert and will require some

24     significant preparation time.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Stojic Defence, please.  Will

Page 44232

 1     you have questions after this cross-examination?

 2             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.  I have

 3     to say this is how we understood it:  We understood the Trial Chamber to

 4     say that any additional questions in the cross can relate to that portion

 5     of questions which the Trial Chamber will ask after the cross-examination

 6     by the Prosecution.

 7             Now, since at this point in time we cannot know whether and what

 8     issues will be raised, whether they'll have anything to do with the

 9     Stojic Defence after the cross-examination by the Prosecutor, I can't

10     give you a precise answer now and tell you whether I will or not, but if

11     I need to ask additional questions, it will be just brief and will be

12     related to the Judges' questions.  Thank you.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  In order to ensure

14     that everything is clear, this can only be an additional

15     cross-examination by the other teams.  According it our guidelines, this

16     was not authorised except under exceptional circumstances and with leave

17     by the Trial Chamber.  This is in paragraph 2 of the guidelines.  So the

18     Trial Chamber must give its approval.  But so far the Trial Chamber had

19     said that in principle they would agree, but that the time taken for

20     these additional questions would be deducted from your own time.  But

21     you're telling us that you don't know as of now how long you will need.

22             What about Mr. Petkovic's Defence?

23             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.  Just

24     briefly from the Petkovic Defence.  We do not intend to additionally

25     examine General Praljak, but if we need to clarify certain points because

Page 44233

 1     the explanations given were not full enough, we might need one or two

 2     minutes and that's all.  Thank you.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Coric --

 4             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

 5     As things now stand, our answer is the same as that given by the previous

 6     Defence, that is to say that we don't believe we'll have any questions at

 7     this point, but if necessary, just briefly.  Thank you.

 8             MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  The

 9     Pusic Defence does not intent to question General Praljak.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, if I understood

11     things correctly the Prosecutor will be finished on Monday.  I will have

12     a lot of questions, and then you will need at least one day to prepare

13     for your two hours, which means that on Tuesday we would not sit, and you

14     can ask your questions on Wednesday, your additional questions on

15     Wednesday for two hours, and your witness could come on Wednesday after

16     you're done with your questions to Mr. Praljak.  Is that it?

17             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please, Counsel.

18             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.  I think your

19     assessment is very realistic, and this afternoon I will issue a new

20     calendar and send it out to everyone to see if that's it, if I've got it

21     right, and then we might have the first witness on that Thursday,

22     Thursday the 10th of September, although I have to mention that we are

23     keeping him unnecessarily during the week, and perhaps it would be more

24     logical to have him come in on Monday.  But, yes, I can call him in for

25     Thursday -- or, rather, I made a mistake.  Wednesday.  I meant to say

Page 44234

 1     Wednesday.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

 3             Mr. Stringer, I think you've understood correctly.  Theoretically

 4     you should be done on Monday.  Tuesday the Defence will prepare itself

 5     for the additional questions and then we'll ask the questions for two

 6     hours and then we'll have the expert witness.

 7             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, I had one question about the

 8     status, the status of the testimony and the maps that the general's going

 9     to be talking about after the cross-examination's finished, because I

10     will be honest, we have not -- I have not yet -- I've not yet examined

11     them closely.  I'm not sure whether the intention is that they would be

12     admitted into evidence and that General Praljak's testimony about the

13     maps would be something that the Trial Chamber would consider at the end

14     of the trial.

15             I do recall the Prosecution very early in the cross put to the

16     general that he'd submitted a misleading map that did not contain all

17     pertinent information about HVO positions at Makljen Ridge in January of

18     1993.

19             So just to say that it's possible that the Prosecution, or

20     perhaps another party, I don't know, might -- might want or take the

21     position that they are entitled to cross-examine General Praljak on these

22     maps that he did not, you know, present or talk about at any point during

23     his direct examination.

24             I hate to say it and I hope it's not necessary, but I think it's

25     a point that has to be raised.

Page 44235

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  Let's rewind for a

 2     minute.  During the pre-trial stage, I talked with Mr. Scott -

 3     unfortunately I hadn't met with you at the time - but I told him that at

 4     the time that we -- that in this kind of trial we needed maps with the

 5     position of troops on the field, and I had made a reference to the

 6     Nuremberg trial.  They had maps there, maps that were posted on the walls

 7     in the courtrooms.  Unfortunately, this proposal was not agreed on and no

 8     one decided to have these maps.

 9             I must say that at the time, I had a good number of technical

10     meetings with the Registry at the time to see if that would be possible.

11             During Mr. Praljak's testimony lately, there's been a good number

12     of problems regarding the positioning of the troops.  You just talked

13     about the fact that you challenged the position of troops on the

14     Makljen Ridge.  There was also problems as the position of the HV during

15     the conflict.  Mr. Praljak did recognise that the Croatian Army at the

16     point -- at one point in time had entered and then had withdrawn, but it

17     would be nice -- the best is to know everything about it and to know

18     exactly where the troops were positioned in the field at the time,

19     knowing where the HVO was, where the ABiH was, and thanks to this, you

20     know, we can have a better idea of the situation at the time.

21             Since no one thought about it neither Prosecution or Defence, I

22     decided that it might be useful to at least have a few maps in order to

23     see more clearly into this issue.  So over the break, over the summer

24     recess, because he had to stay, unfortunately, I asked Mr. Praljak to

25     prepare these maps, and obviously he did.

Page 44236

 1             Now, following the question that had already been put in terms of

 2     additional questions, I wanted to also put questions to Mr. Praljak on

 3     these maps.  So we will have the maps that he drafted, and he will say

 4     such units was here, such -- another unit was positioned in another place

 5     and so forth and so on.  He will also give us his point of view.

 6             Defence, if need be, will tender these maps.  Of course, the

 7     other parties can object, the Prosecution can object, and the Trial

 8     Chamber will issue its decision.  That is one way to do things in terms

 9     of procedure.

10             Second possibility, the Trial Chamber could decide either to

11     admit or not to admit these maps.  Of course, the Trial Chamber will need

12     to have a unanimous majority decision on this.  So the maps might not be

13     admit because my fellow Judges might think they're totally pointless.

14             You're talking about status of these maps.  Well, as of now I

15     can't tell what you status they will have.  If the Trial Chamber decides

16     to admit them, then they will become evidence, but the Prosecutor could

17     also require -- tender these maps because he might think that they're

18     useful after all.

19             So before talking about the possible status of these maps, first

20     let's look at them and see whether they're relevant.  As of now I have no

21     idea, and we'll only be able to make a decision on this when we see those

22     maps.

23             Did this meet your concern?

24             Yes, Mr. Scott.

25             MR. SCOTT:  Good morning, Mr. President, each of Your Honours,

Page 44237

 1     and all those in and around the courtroom.  This perhaps gives me a rare

 2     opportunity for some time to get on my feet and at least say a few words.

 3             Since, Your Honour, Mr. President, you mentioned having raised

 4     the issue of maps before earlier, much earlier in the case and mentioned

 5     me by name, let me just ever so briefly respond to that just to put into

 6     context this -- this question and then bring it up to the current time.

 7             I am mindful, Your Honour, of the comments that the President, in

 8     particular, made earlier in the case about the maps.  Unfortunately,

 9     there are two -- well, there's two responses to that, neither of which

10     are critical of the President's position of course at all, but simply to

11     explain where the Prosecution has been coming from on this topic.

12             First of all, is all the parties are aware and as the Chamber is

13     certainly aware, there have been severe time limitations in this case.  I

14     virtually say that there's probably not a single topic or a single party

15     in this case that would not at various times have wished to have

16     substantially more time to address various issues.  There are simply

17     consequences, unfortunately, to time limitations.  And virtually every

18     day, virtually every day by all counsel something is let go, something is

19     let pass because we can't get to everything.  So one issue or one

20     constraint has been the time limitations on this case.  Again, I don't

21     say that in the sense of criticism, but just simply as a matter of

22     reality.

23             Secondly, Your Honour, and more substantively, I do think it's

24     fair for the Prosecution to point out that while we would understand the

25     possible value of the maps and that sort of thing as context, the

Page 44238

 1     Prosecution does not see this case, has never seen this case, as a case

 2     primarily about the conduct of armed conflict.  Whether or not -- where

 3     the lines were at any given moment, whether there was on a particular day

 4     a particular conflict between the HVO and the ABiH is of relatively

 5     little relevance overall in terms of the crimes committed after attacks,

 6     the -- the burning and the destruction of property after attacks were

 7     completed, the expulsion of people from their homes after the attacks

 8     were completed, the operation of camps, the expulsions from West Mostar.

 9     Those, in our submission, Your Honours, have very little to do with the

10     lines -- with the confrontation lines on the map on any given day.  And

11     it's partly again because of that that given the very limited amount of

12     time to address a number of issues, we did not, after much consideration,

13     spend -- devote a great deal of time to dealing with these kinds of maps

14     or issues, and again I just simply state that to make our position clear

15     on that point.

16             Now, having said that, I think Mr. Stringer is entirely right,

17     and as, Mr. President, you just noted yourself, if in fact an additional

18     few hours, which as we know in this courtroom an additional few hours

19     quickly becomes a court day, since we only have four hours a day of real

20     court time, but if in fact Mr. Praljak goes into testimony concerning the

21     map, I'm almost for sure -- I may be a little bit more, depending on your

22     point of view, optimistic or pessimistic than Mr. Stringer.  If there's

23     any significant testimony on the maps, I suspect there will indeed be

24     extensive cross-examination on those maps.  So I do think the Chamber

25     would have to understand that that may indeed inject substantial

Page 44239

 1     additional time into the completion of the witness.

 2             That again is not criticism, Your Honour, but just simply to --

 3     in terms of the realistic, the realistic time schedule that we be looking

 4     at over the next days.

 5             I thank you for the Chamber's patience in receiving my comments.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, by Monday the

 7     Trial Chamber will have deliberated on all these issues because we're not

 8     there any way.

 9             For your information, I can say that as far as the maps were

10     concerned, I thought I needed about ten minutes and no more.  I don't

11     intend to ask detailed question on all this.  I assume that Mr. Praljak

12     did position the troops where they were, and that's it.  I will not be

13     able to contradict him on the position of the troops, so I won't need a

14     lot of time.

15                           [Trial Chamber confers]

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The -- now, as far as the

17     expert is concerned, Mr. Kovacic, the Trial Chamber has taken into

18     account a number of parameters and decides that your expert witness will

19     start testifying as of Monday, next Monday.  Not this coming Monday but

20     the one after.  So please make sure that he is there, that he's available

21     for Monday, 2.15 p.m.  Not this coming Monday but the next Monday.

22             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.  To avoid

23     any misunderstanding, it's Monday, the 14th of September.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  Next Monday is

25     September 7th.  So it will be on September 14th, absolutely.  Monday,

Page 44240

 1     September 14th.

 2             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] [Overlapping speakers] [Previous

 3     translation continues] ... flexibility during the week for any

 4     eventuality, and we can bring in the witness before appearing for his

 5     proofing session and so on.  And then he will be ready on Monday, unless

 6     of course there's a force majeure.  But I'll issue my calendar today and

 7     scheduling lists so that we all know what's happening.  Thank you.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, this took us 20 minutes,

 9     but I believe that this is time well spent.

10             Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.

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

12                           WITNESS:  SLOBODAN PRALJAK [Resumed]

13                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

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

15        Q.   Good morning, General.

16        A.   Good morning, Mr. Stringer.

17        Q.   General, yesterday at the end we were looking at this Novi List

18     interview publication from the 4th of April, 2004.  You were having

19     trouble reading the part that I wanted to you read, and so we went back

20     and we -- we made a better photocopy.  This is P10958.

21             And, General, I want to direct you to the box, the grey box in

22     the middle of the page.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you gave us this.

24     I note that there's "Mr. Pusic" right under this box.  Is it the same

25     Mr. Pusic?

Page 44241

 1             MR. STRINGER:  It appears to me to be, Mr. President.  I hadn't

 2     considered that, and I have to confess that I hadn't looked at that.  I

 3     focussed on the part that was -- was the interview with General Praljak.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You see, nothing escapes me.

 5             MR. STRINGER:

 6        Q.   General, the part that I want to discuss with you is your

 7     comments, comments here about Stolac, because we were talking about

 8     Stolac and Capljina a little bit yesterday, and I was asking you about

 9     the -- what you know, if anything, about the eviction of Muslims from

10     those places during August of 1993, and in this article, this is what you

11     say, you say:

12              "Stolac?  There is nothing wrong there.  What happened in the

13     concentration camp should not have happened in such a way, and it is a

14     real crime.  But to disarm a soldier in a battle, that is what I signed

15     for tomorrow.  What happened later on I would not sign for.  Anyway, I

16     was the one who let journalists --"

17        A.   No, no, Mr. Stringer.  I do apologise, but just a moment.  If

18     you're going to read a document, read it as it is written in Croatian.

19     It doesn't say "concentration camps," it says "camps," and it doesn't say

20     that I signed it, that I would sign it tomorrow.  And when you have this

21     "tomorrow," I'll explain what this phrase means in Croatian, but the text

22     is quite clear, and I'd like to read the text out myself so that the

23     interpreters can interpret it as it is written.  And then you can ask me

24     the questions.

25        Q.   That's fine.  Go ahead and read the part about Stolac.

Page 44242

 1        A.   And I'd like to ask the interpreters to be given the original

 2     text so that they can translate.

 3        Q.   They should have it on the screen.

 4        A.   You can see nothing on the screen.

 5             MR. KOVACIC: [Previous translation continues] ... impossible to

 6     follow on the screen, and usually we gave them such documents in advance.

 7             MR. STRINGER:  Let's try to put it on the ELMO.  Is that going to

 8     work?

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It seems that the text is

10     legible there.

11             MR. STRINGER:

12        Q.   General, can you read the left-hand column that begins with the

13     word "Stolac."

14        A.   Yes.

15             "Stolac?"  Which marks a question.  "There is nothing bad there.

16     What was in the camp, it mustn't be like that.  That really is a crime.

17     But to disarm soldiers in a war conflict, that I subscribe [Realtime

18     transcript read in error "describe"] to tomorrow.  What happened later,

19     that I do not subscribe to.

20             "Anyway, it was me who allowed journalists to enter Stolac, and

21     then a month and a half later they drove the women and children out of

22     the town.  I would give a medal to whoever did that, because that person

23     saved them from the retaliation of the refugees from Central Bosnia.  Had

24     they meant to drive them out, they would have done so immediately.  This

25     way, they didn't drive them out, but, rather, they saved them."

Page 44243

 1        Q.   Thank you.  General --

 2             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may.  Just a

 3     correction.  I apologise to my learned friends.  I do think that there

 4     was a verb that was mistranslated.  Page 15, line 11.  The General said,

 5     and that's what the text reads, "I subscribe to that," whereas the

 6     interpretation was to "describe," which I believe was misinterpreted.  I

 7     do apologise to the interpreters if I am in the wrong here.

 8             MR. STRINGER:  I heard the English word subscribe.  I think the

 9     interpreter said it correctly.  It may have been taken down incorrectly

10     in the transcript.

11        Q.   General, the fact that you would give a medal to the people who

12     evicted the Muslims out of Stolac, the command climate that's created by

13     a general who at any time would approve of such conduct is a climate in

14     which any crime like this is going to be tolerated.  Isn't that true?

15        A.   No, Mr. Stringer, quite the contrary.  First of all, the

16     interview was not authorised.  The interview was given at a point in time

17     when I'd already been served the indictment of the ICTY.

18             Secondly, as you can tell by looking at this, I was the one who

19     allowed the journalists to enter Stolac.  It was a cardinal error,

20     because I allowed the journalists to access detention centres, three of

21     them, in fact, the journalists, not Stolac.

22        Q.   Let me go back to my question on this.

23        A.   Well, first, I have to finish explaining how the interview came

24     about, don't I?

25        Q.   Well, no.  I'm asking you about the words that you -- that you

Page 44244

 1     used in this interview.  What you're telling the world here after you'd

 2     been indicted for these crimes is that you in fact approve of the

 3     evictions of Muslims from Stolac.  Isn't that the truth?  You approved of

 4     that?

 5        A.   Sir, I said it in very specific terms here.  Some people did

 6     that.  Based on this, it is clear that I knew nothing about it.  I did

 7     later conduct some conversations as to why that had been done, but I did

 8     not investigate nor, indeed, was I in any position to know something that

 9     was demonstrated at the time here at this Tribunal.  A number of people

10     told me at the time that this had been done for the sole reason of saving

11     those persons from the retaliation of other persons who had been expelled

12     from other territories.  If the reason was in fact for expelling the

13     population was to save people from being killed in scattered villages

14     such as these, I'm aware of the fact.  I would have done that for the

15     simple fact that in a situation of war the choice you have is between two

16     evils, you go with the lesser evil.  You have no manpower.  You have no

17     organisation available to save these people from retaliation, and the

18     people have to be moved somewhere else - please allow me to say this -

19     because these people who are still --

20        Q.   I'm not going to let you run on and make speeches.  You tell us,

21     when did you learn about the events in Stolac?

22        A.   Several years later, 1997, 1998, or thereabouts I started

23     learning about some things.  Nevertheless, the explanations that I

24     obtained during chance encounters with people were like this.  I didn't

25     know how this was done.

Page 44245

 1        Q.   General --

 2        A.   The only explanations I got -- well, listen, I --

 3        Q.   So your testimony is --

 4        A.   You're welcome.

 5        Q.   -- that even though you were going down to your forward command

 6     post in Citluk during August of 1993, you didn't learn anything about the

 7     expulsion of Muslims from Stolac or Capljina during that period of time.

 8     Correct?

 9        A.   Absolutely.  Nothing at all.  And the interview -- this portion

10     of the interview shows exactly that I knew nothing about that; I knew

11     nothing about the way it was done.  And I stood by my previous statement

12     that those living would return to some area, but those dead would never

13     return.  I didn't know at the time that this had been done; I didn't know

14     about the way in which it had been done, and the explanation that I was

15     given additionally resulted in an answer like this that I provided at the

16     time.

17        Q.   And so you're saying now that these people were removed for their

18     own good.  Is that your position?

19        A.   What I'm telling you is that was the explanation that I received

20     at the time from a number of people when I asked them about the reasons

21     for doing that.  They said to save those people from retaliation.

22        Q.   And when you say that you would give them a medal for doing it,

23     then you agree with what was done, the eviction of the Muslims from

24     Stolac; correct?

25        A.   With the proviso those people by that tact - I didn't know what

Page 44246

 1     it was or how it came about - if someone saves a group of people, and

 2     this happens in each and every war, then I would, for such an act, give

 3     to someone -- because anything else being done in that respect or not

 4     being done would have meant massive retaliation, meaning people who --

 5     yes.

 6        Q.   Right.  And the fact is, General, I'm putting it to you that in

 7     fact these people, these Muslim were evicted from Stolac and Capljina,

 8     those areas, in order to make room for the refugees who were being

 9     brought in by the HVO from Central Bosnia; correct?

10        A.   No, Mr. Stringer.  I knew nothing about that.  The refugees were

11     there already.  The refugees were there.  The explanation that I received

12     additionally and that is stated here clearly, I knew nothing about that

13     and that the explanation that I was given was given to the effect that

14     this was the lesser evil.

15        Q.   Now, who gave you this information?

16        A.   I would occasionally travel to Capljina, and I'd talk to people

17     when I was there.  I can't remember the specific people I talked to, but

18     I tried to learn about things.  And then I learned about what had

19     happened and why.  This was the kind of explanation that I got and was

20     based on such an explanation that [indiscernible].

21        Q.   And rather than being disgusted about what happened to the

22     Muslims in Stolac, you actually approved of it as you said here.  You're

23     all for it, aren't you?

24        A.   Well, Mr. Stringer, I was in favour of the explanation that the

25     scale of the retaliation would have been such that crimes would have

Page 44247

 1     occurred had they not opted for a different way out.  That is what I

 2     defined as the lesser evil in a war situation.  I'm not saying any more

 3     than that.

 4        Q.   So the appropriate response in that situation is to evict them

 5     from their homes, make them leave, put them on buses, drive them off to

 6     other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, make them walk and find their way to

 7     wherever it is they can find shelter.  That's the appropriate way of

 8     dealing with the security issue that was posed?  Is that what your

 9     telling us?

10        A.   Sir, I'm trying to be very specific about this.  In a given

11     theatre of war, you realise you cannot prevent killings, perhaps rape,

12     and other acts like that.  The only thing for you to do is to simply move

13     a population out of the area.  This is the lesser evil.  That's exactly

14     what it means regardless of how it may sound in the court of law.  This

15     is not an act of expulsion.  I could cite a series of examples from other

16     wars where the same sort of situation occurred.

17        Q.   Well, General, I'm going to -- obviously the Prosecution has a

18     different position on that, but let's move forward.

19             The next exhibit is -- unless there are questions.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I cannot help wondering why it is the always

21     people who had always lived there that must be driven away to protect

22     them from people who have come there from elsewhere.  I would regard it

23     as more logical and the lesser evil if the victims were placed -- the

24     refugees were placed something else.  Would that cross your mind as a

25     possibility?  What was the -- yeah.  Sorry.

Page 44248

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, I'm not

 2     talking about the present time.  I wasn't there, I do not have any

 3     information about that, and I was not involved in that.  Nevertheless,

 4     the numbers of refugees who were obviously there because they had nowhere

 5     else to go, whoever it was who explained the reason to me said there

 6     would have been retaliation by people who had been expelled.  Some

 7     people, not all.  That there would have been killings, rape, and so on

 8     and so forth.  There were a number of villages there and these people

 9     explained, well, it was in our conversations.  I didn't investigate this. 

10     I was no investigator.  I was just asking around.  I was asking questions

11     about things that I had not learned during the war.  And then there was

12     the explanation that in this way they were safe from retaliation.  And

13     then I said this is something that constituted a lesser evil in a

14     situation like this.  That was the logic I followed.  Same thing I did --

15     well, I moved -- well, let me not go back to that now.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  You are not really answering my question.  What

17     was the ethnic composition of the refugees?  Was that also Muslims or

18     Serbs or Croats?

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Croats alone, Judge Trechsel.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  And that's your idea of equal treatment, that

21     you let the Croats go into Stolac.  That's what -- your judgement now in

22     hindsight, taking your point of view.  You think it is just and

23     compatible with all the nice things you said about equal treatment and

24     things like that, that the Croats can settle in Stolac and the Muslims

25     are driven away?

Page 44249

 1             The -- the potential murderers and rapists are protected because

 2     they can stay there.  The potential witnesses are driven out.  That is a

 3     value judgement you are presenting to this Chamber now.  Are you aware of

 4     that?  And what's your reaction?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, that is not a

 6     value judgement on my part.  The value judgement would stem from this

 7     following from the mental fact.  You can actually enact what happens to

 8     be a value judgement, but if you're not able to carry it through, then

 9     you opt for the alternative which constitutes a lesser evil in a given

10     situation.  I'm not disputing that fact.  I merely responded to the value

11     judgement of the people who explained that to me.  I did not create this

12     value judgement myself.  I was merely commenting on the explanation that

13     I was provided at the time about a value judgement on someone else's

14     part.  Please take that into account.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, Mr. Stringer

16     had put forward a case when he asked the question.  I will reformulate

17     the question because I think it's important for him.

18             According to him there were Croat refugees arriving in Stolac,

19     and at that stage it was decided upon to remove all Muslims and to leave

20     room for those Croat refugees.  This is the Prosecution's case, which

21     explains, according to the Prosecution, why all those Muslim were is

22     evicted.  And when he said that, you answered very quickly.  You said --

23     I don't have the transcript before me because it's not on the page yet,

24     but you said they had already arrived, and then you moved on to something

25     else.

Page 44250

 1             I have to go back to this because it is important.  I would like

 2     to know, according to you, at what point the Croats fleeing

 3     Central Bosnia arrived in Stolac.  Did they arrive before the departure

 4     of Muslims, or did they arrive after Muslims had departed, or did they

 5     arrive as the Muslims were leaving, or are you not in a position to tell

 6     us precisely what was happening as for the sequence of events?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Everything I'm saying,

 8     Your Honours, I'm telling you based on information that I received years

 9     after the fact.  The last sentence here clearly expresses that.  Had they

10     meant to drive them out, they would have done that immediately as soon as

11     the HVO liberated Stolac back in 1992, whereas earlier on, the Serbs had

12     expelled everyone.  As you know I helped transport those 15.000 people

13     across.  Had the HVO meant to drive people out --

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, sorry, I do

15     not like to interrupt you, but you're not answering my question, because

16     you go on to something else as stating that if they wanted to evict them

17     they could have done this earlier on.  I understood that fully, but

18     that's not my question.  My question is to know whether the Prosecution's

19     case is valid or not.  And the Prosecution has a scenario or a case, and

20     it seems to make sense according to what he's saying.  Firstly, you have

21     Croats fleeing Central Bosnia.  They arrive in Stolac, and in Stolac we

22     do not know who did that.  You said that you were not there, but, let's

23     say, local authorities, because it's certainly what happened, they are

24     going to charter buses, and they're going to put Muslims on buses, and

25     they will ask them to leave.  And according to the Prosecutor, if I

Page 44251

 1     understood that correctly, the Croat refugees will then occupy or live in

 2     the flats or the dwellings that were left by the Muslims.  So this is the

 3     Prosecution's case.  And as far as you are concerned, you said, yes, but

 4     they had arrived before.  So this is what I want to know:  I would like

 5     to know what is the sequence of events.  Do you have proof of that, or

 6     are you assuming that they had arrived before, or whoever told you that

 7     it was done for their own good and told you that the Croat refugees were

 8     already there?  I don't know, but I'm trying to clarify this, and you are

 9     not bringing any additional information at this stage.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But I am telling you in the

11     simplest of terms, based on what I was told the Croats came to the area

12     and already things that weren't good started happening.  Based on the

13     explanation, then they felt unable to stop further acts of retaliation,

14     and that is why they did what they did.  That is all I'm commenting on.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You see, you've just brought

16     additional information.  You said the Croats had arrived beforehand, and

17     some had already committed some crime, and therefore the Muslim

18     population had to be protect, and therefore we decided to let them go.

19     And this is what you've just said, but you did not say that when

20     answering Mr. Stringer's question.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's written there quite clearly.

22     I am telling you yet again this was an explanation that I got.  I'm

23     commenting on this explanation, not any knowledge I had or any

24     investigation that I undertook.  What I'm saying here, a crime occurred.

25     Whatever happened I subscribe.  It doesn't mean that I actually signed

Page 44252

 1     anything to that effect.  When you say to subscribe, in Croatian it means

 2     that you agree.  You learn of something and then you agree.  Whether what

 3     I learned at the time was true or not is a different issue.  What I

 4     learned, I learned two things.  There was one thing that I agreed and

 5     another thing that I did not agree with, and I've been perfectly clear

 6     about that throughout.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Just one follow-up question.  You say -- you

 8     have said at page 23, line 23, "They felt unable to stop further acts of

 9     retaliation."  Who are "they"?  Who felt that it was not possible to

10     prevent acts of retaliation?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stolac had civilian authorities.

12     You saw the documents for yourself, and I'd never set eyes on them before

13     myself.  Stolac had civilian authorities, persons who were in charge of

14     Stolac felt powerless to stop this, or at least that's what they told me

15     and that's how they explained it me.  Based on that explanation of their

16     powerlessness to stop something, I still find it perfectly logical that,

17     for example, if there's something you can't prevent, a thing like this

18     from happening, you can't stop it from happening.  What would I have

19     done?  I can tell you about a parallel case, an analogous case, something

20     that I previously done in Capljina that was quite like this.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  [Overlapping speakers] [Previous translation

22     continues] ...

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right.

24             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  No, I just note you confirm that your policy and

25     your idea is that if there is a murderer and a victim, you remove the

Page 44253

 1     victim instead of containing the murderer.  Thank you.

 2             MR. STRINGER:

 3        Q.   General, just to stay --

 4             THE WITNESS:  No, no, no, no.

 5             MR. STRINGER:  Well --

 6             THE WITNESS:  No, no.  I'm sorry.  We're talking about the

 7     present tense here, but what I'm telling you about here is an explanation

 8     that I got.  It doesn't mean that I, myself, would have moved -- would

 9     not have moved the Croats.  I'm telling you about the explanation.

10     Please, this is a conclusion that I can't agree with.  I'm talking about

11     an explanation.

12             MR. KARNAVAS:  If I could be heard for just one second for the

13     record purposes.  I don't know whether this is done in the hypothetical

14     sense, whether this is done in the factual sense, but from listening to

15     your assertions, Judge Trechsel, and that's what I'm calling them,

16     assertion as opposed to questions, it would appear that you're now giving

17     factual testimony or at least making conclusions of facts.  And that it

18     is your position at this stage with the trial ongoing that these are

19     actual murderers, and what have you, that are committing these crimes.

20             Now, I am a little bit concerned.  Now, if it is in the

21     hypothetical sense, obviously which is something to be proved later on,

22     that's perfectly fine.  If, on the other hand, you have concluded at this

23     stage - and I would welcome the opportunity to hear on what basis you

24     have made these actual factual findings - but if these are factual

25     findings, I would say that perhaps this is improper.  And I say this with

Page 44254

 1     the utmost respect, from the legal point of view of course.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, I say that I think you are thoroughly

 3     misconceived, Mr. Karnavas.  I'm a bit amazed at that I must really say.

 4     Because what we have is we have a witness, an accused, who says that he

 5     learned of certain events, and he passed a value judgement.  He has said

 6     -- practically he said he would have done the same still.  And the basic

 7     situation is that there were --

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no.  I have a --

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  [Overlapping speakers] [Previous translation

10     continues]... Mr. Praljak, you are a witness.  You do not have any right

11     to interrupt.  You are really misbehaving rather badly.

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry.

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I could find it, but that's how I understood

14     him, and I was interpreting him.  There's no -- actually crimes had

15     apparently already happened is what he also said.  And then the

16     protection of murderers is of course a protection of potential

17     hypothetical murderers.  I think the situation is very simply, and it

18     needs quite some fantasy misinterpret what I ask.  And I think you

19     applied such fantasy, Mr. Karnavas.

20             MR. KARNAVAS:  Well, again, I understood -- well, part of the job

21     of a Defence lawyer -- I don't know what it's like in Switzerland or else

22     place, but part of the job of the Defence lawyer is to make sure that the

23     client's -- or his or her client is receiving a fair trial and to also to

24     make a record.  Now, I'm not implying anything.  I listened to the

25     questions very carefully, and it doesn't matter to me who's -- who on the

Page 44255

 1     Bench is asking the question.  I have a duty and a responsibility to the

 2     client and to the record.  And so based on what I was hearing, I posed a

 3     question, because it would appear that on the one hand, one could

 4     consider you to have been making factual allegations or factual

 5     assertions.  At this stage of the game this would be highly improper.  On

 6     the other hand, it could be on a hypothetical sense.  So I asked for

 7     clarification.  Did I so in the best of intentions.  I made no

 8     accusations, and I don't think that any personality issues should be

 9     involved in this sort of a response to an inquiry that I'm making based

10     on a good-faith basis.  So I would respectfully request, Judge Trechsel,

11     to whatever animosity you may have towards me as a person that it not be

12     transposed into the trial here when I'm simply trying to do my job as an

13     advocate.  Now, maybe I'm not doing it correctly.  Maybe sometimes I'm

14     overzealous, but I am trying with the best of intentions of making a

15     clear record.

16             Now, your telling us exactly what your intent was behind in

17     asking the question.  I take that at face value, you know.  But we have a

18     coal record here, and it may lead just as you are giving judicial hints,

19     as I take them to be, to the witness at times as to what he may be

20     saying, and you wish for clarification, I'm trying to do the same thing.

21     And so I apologise if for whatever reason I'm causing you discontent, but

22     my intentions were simply to clarify the record.

23             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Very briefly, two things.  First, I react to

24     questions and not to persons.  I see no merit in your suspicion.  I can

25     assure you they are not founded in this moment.  And second, I -- for the

Page 44256

 1     life of me I cannot see how I could have been understood as making a

 2     factual statement.  That was certainly very, very far from me.  I was

 3     just interpreting and distilling in a way what I had understood what the

 4     witness had said, that was all.  And I think that's perfectly correct.

 5             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, might I just be

 6     allowed to say one sentence on behalf of the Petkovic Defence.  I agree

 7     with the concern expressed by my learned friend Mr. Karnavas, and we base

 8     our concern primarily on the following --

 9             THE INTERPRETER:  I think somebody also has an extra microphone

10     switched on.  Could any unnecessary microphones be switched off please.

11     It creates a noise.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The Petkovic Defence's concern is

13     based on the following:  As far as we understand General Praljak, he

14     tried to say that the evacuation of the civilians, by doing that,

15     somebody in Stolac tried to protect the civilians from a possible

16     retaliation of Croats who had come in from Central Bosnia and who were

17     expelled by the BH Army.  Perhaps this appraisal about the reasons for an

18     evacuation was not justified, but the Petkovic Defence certainly

19     considers that this -- that the reason wasn't to try to protect the

20     killers of the civilian population.  So in that sense we share the

21     concern of my learned friend.  Otherwise, we consider Judge Trechsel's

22     observations and conclusions very instructive and important in -- for

23     future proceedings and how things should be understood and clarified.

24     Thank you.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, let me add

Page 44257

 1     something so you can know what my position is.  The difficulty we all

 2     have here is that we're working in several languages, and each language

 3     has its own nuances, and sometimes there's storms in the teacup just

 4     because of translation problems.  The words expressed by one person are

 5     not necessarily completely translated into another language with all its

 6     nuances, and sometimes there could be misinterpretation.

 7             Now, secondly, from what I understood, this is what happened:  My

 8     fellow Judge asked General Praljak the following:  There's a situation.

 9     There are victims.  The Muslim population is removed, evacuated.  And if

10     I understood things right, my fellow Judge said this is your conclusion,

11     whereas the way the sentence is written, you could think that just

12     evacuating the victims did not prevent local authorities from starting

13     procedures against the -- the crimes made by the Croats against the

14     Muslims, but as I said already, Mr. Praljak, we are really in the eye the

15     storm.  We're in your zone of responsibility.  In your area of

16     responsibility.  You know, when I put questions, my questions are always

17     very long because I want to put everything on the table to make sure that

18     I get an answer from you.  Sometimes because there's not enough time,

19     because of time constraints, we ask you -- we ask a simple question, but

20     we should make it -- put more elements in the question to make sure that

21     we avoid problems.

22             Now, this is the question I feel I have to put to you:  In a

23     situation similar to the one you mentioned in your interview, interview

24     you gave in 2004, more than ten years after the fact - we have to keep

25     that in mind also - but in the situation that you describe in your

Page 44258

 1     interview, as far as what the elements you were provided with were exact

 2     and here, as an assumption because this is what Mr. Karnavas was hinting

 3     at, I'd like to know whether local authorities should have done something

 4     against the Croats who had committed crimes against the Muslims,

 5     according to you.  That's the whole question in a nutshell.

 6             In this interview regarding prisons -- not prisons.  You're

 7     talking about camps.  Let's put things straight.  In my translation they

 8     were just camps and not concentration camps.  So in these camps you

 9     condemned the crimes committed in these camps, and that was very clear.

10     You said that in the interview, actually.  However, when it comes to

11     evictions, maybe your interview was cut short, because you said nothing

12     on this.  And the question I'm putting to you and which I believe the

13     reporter should have put to you is the following:  You're saying Muslims

14     left Stolac for this reason, but what about those who had committed

15     crimes against the Muslims?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it was on the basis

17     of the information that I received subsequently about the camps I say

18     quite literally word-for-word that is a crime, and there is no reason why

19     I shouldn't say that for Stolac.  Here I'm saying on the basis of the

20     information that I was provided -- I don't know whether they're correct

21     or not, but you can't -- and you can't deduce that -- from that that I

22     knew that somebody had committed whatever.  I was given an explanation,

23     and hypothetically I say, this explanation, of course they were taken to

24     court.  They are being tried today, too, those people up there who

25     committed some crimes.  There are some serving sentences too.  Now, would

Page 44259

 1     I have acted that way?  I don't think so.  I don't believe so.  I can

 2     say, for example, to the Serbs in the village I was born in, I handed out

 3     weapons to them.  Now, I accepted the explanation.  Now, if the

 4     explanation was correct, then they acted correctly.  If it was incorrect,

 5     then I would call it a crime, just as I call the other thing a crime up

 6     there.  So there's none of my moral position about that, my moral views

 7     about that, but the explanation, and here I've just learnt that it was

 8     largely incorrect.  My information was largely incorrect.  Now, don't --

 9     I don't want you to say that I would have allowed this had I known

10     through the thousands of documents from the beginning to the end of the

11     war, and what was left out here is a series of explanations.  I have

12     never seen this interview, nor did I authorise it, or whatever.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

14             MR. STRINGER:

15        Q.   Well, the fact is, General, that these your words, and as you

16     said back in April 2004, you would award a medal --

17             "I would award the one who did it with a medal because he saved

18     them from the revenge of the refugees from Central Bosnia."

19             So in fact the -- the fact is that you approve of removing people

20     from their homes, punishing them in order to enable the incoming refugees

21     who were going be committing harm against them to come and stay in those

22     places.  Isn't that true?  As Judge Trechsel asked, you're punishing the

23     victims rather than dealing with the people who are going to be

24     committing their revenge against them.

25        A.   That's just construed.  It's a construed interpretation of

Page 44260

 1     everything that I've said so far.  At the same time in my flat in Zagreb,

 2     there were 15 Muslim refugees --

 3        Q.   All right.

 4   A. – and 13 in my weekend cottage whom I was feeding and taking care of. So

 5   I don't agree with what I heard here, but on the basis of the information

 6   that I was given, which might be wrong, that's all I'm talking about.

 7        Q.   Let's go to the next couple of exhibits on the issue of the

 8     relative -- the populations in Western Herzegovina during this period of

 9     time that you were commanding the HVO Main Staff.  And to start with

10     this, General, I want to take you to P09851, which is under seal, and I

11     believe we have to go into private session for this, Mr. President.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.

13                           [Private session]

14   (redacted)

15   (redacted)

16   (redacted)

17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22   (redacted)

23   (redacted)

24   (redacted)

25   (redacted)

Page 44261











11 Pages 44261-44268 redacted. Private session.















Page 44269

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10   (redacted)

11   (redacted)

12   (redacted)

13   (redacted)

14   (redacted)

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17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22   (redacted)

23   (redacted)

24                           [Open session]

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

Page 44270

 1     you.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]

 3             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, what time is the break?  I know

 4     that there's only one break today.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Given that we have only one

 6     break, we can carry on for another 10 or 15 minutes.  We'll carry on for

 7     another 10 or 15 minutes, and we'll have a break at quarter to 11.00.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to leave the courtroom,

 9     Your Honour, just for a minute.  I have to be excused for a minute.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay, in that case, we might

11     just as well have a break, a 20-minute break.

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

13                           --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.

15     It is almost 11.00.  The Registrar told us that we only have another two

16     hours to go, so we will finish at two or three minutes before 1.00.  I

17     believe that Mr. Coric's counsel wants to intervene, so we're going to

18     move to private session.

19                           [Private session]

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22   (redacted)

23   (redacted)

24   (redacted)

25   (redacted)

Page 44271

 1   (redacted)

 2   (redacted)

 3   (redacted)

 4   (redacted)

 5   (redacted)

 6   (redacted)

 7   (redacted)

 8   (redacted)

 9   (redacted)

10   (redacted)

11                           [Open session]

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

13     you.

14             MR. STRINGER:

15        Q.   General, before the break we had been looking at the first of the

16     two IC charts based on the ODPR data attached to Exhibit P09851.  I want

17     to now move to the -- to the second one, which is IC00834.  Again, this

18     is the one, if anyone's looking on the screen in Sanction, this is the

19     one on the bottom.

20             The first one related to ODPR data on domicile or residence of

21     these municipalities, the second one that we're looking at now relates to

22     data of ODPR on the displaced persons or refugees found in these

23     municipalities at these times.

24             And, now, General, what we see according to this data is, first

25     of all, starting with Ljubuski, we see on the Croat side again a

Page 44272

 1     significant influx of Croat people from January to September 1993, and

 2     then additional Croat displaced persons in Ljubuski from September to

 3     October.  We see the same trend in Capljina over this period of time,

 4     1.436 in the early part of 1993, with over 9.000 Croats in Capljina by

 5     October 1993.  Again, a significant influx of Croat people in

 6     Siroki Brijeg.  And for Stolac we see a reduction, or we do not see, I

 7     would suggest, the same sort of trending in Croat numbers that we see for

 8     Siroki Brijeg, Capljina, and Ljubuski.

 9             At the same period of time, we see for Ljubuski and Capljina,

10     General, again a significant drop in numbers of Muslim refugees or

11     displaced persons in Ljubuski, from 750 down to 0; Capljina from 3.325

12     down to 0; and then for Siroki Brijeg and Stolac it appears, according to

13     this, that there was never really any significant of presence of Muslim

14     displaced persons in those municipalities.

15             So, General, what these ODPR figures tell us is that in fact we

16     see for Ljubuski and Capljina we have significant numbers of Croat

17     displaced persons arriving in those municipalities, as well as in Siroki

18     Brijeg, and that I'm going to suggest to you the reason why we have so

19     many Muslim domiciles in those places being reduced or the numbers being

20     reduced is because it's necessary to make room to accommodate all of

21     these refugees, those Croat refugees, that you referred to in the

22     newspaper article we were looking at a little bit earlier.

23             Isn't that the real reason the Muslims were being evicted from

24     their homes in these municipalities?

25        A.   Again, you say those are mentioned in the article.  I can only

Page 44273

 1     say I commented on information that may or may not have been inaccurate.

 2     As for the interpretation of these tables, first of all, I knew nothing

 3     about these facts.  Secondly, if you ask me for my interpretation, I

 4     don't know, because we should have a broad analysis of this.  What

 5     remains a fact is that back as far as September, the number of native

 6     Muslims in Stolac was greater than the number of Croats.  So if you'd

 7     like to have my opinion, there was no intention to expel.

 8             Now, what happened between September and October?  That should be

 9     investigated.  I did not investigate this myself, but what these tables

10     show is exactly the opposite of what you're stating, namely that the

11     intention of the HZ HVO was to expel the Muslims.  It would have been

12     done in June, July, August, or September then.

13             What happened next?  Did people leave?  Why did they leave?  What

14     was going on?  I cannot say, but I would not interpret the facts in the

15     same light that you do.

16        Q.   All right.

17        A.   Simply because that doesn't hold water.

18             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, I'm ready to move on to the next

19     binder unless there are questions on this topic.

20        Q.   General, the next binder is binder number nine.  And, General,

21     there's going to be a few documents in here that we've looked at already,

22     and so I'm not going to really spend much time on them.  It's mostly just

23     to sort of bring us back to the times and the context that I'm going to

24     be asking you about.  And, for example, here the first document in this

25     binder is P03019.  Do you see that one?

Page 44274

 1        A.   Yes, I see that.

 2        Q.   And this is a document what we looked at, I believe, just

 3     yesterday.  This is an order from General Petkovic to the commander of

 4     the South-east Herzegovina operative zone, dated 30th of June.  We all

 5     know the significance of that date.  And General Petkovic here is

 6     ordering Muslim soldiers in the HVO be disarmed, able-bodied Muslim men

 7     be isolated, women and children be left in their houses and apartments.

 8             General, I'm not going to ask you about this again.  It's way of

 9     leading into this next topic which is going relate more to the camps, the

10     detention facilities that were located in various parts of the South-east

11     and North-west Herzegovina operative zones.

12             Now --

13        A.   A correction, if I may, if I heard you right.  You said the women

14     and children were leaving houses and apartments.  That's what I heard in

15     the interpretation, whereas the document reads women and children be left

16     in their houses and apartments.  Just to make sure that I have not

17     misheard the interpretation.

18        Q.   There may have been an interpretation issue.  The transcript

19     reads that the women and children be left in their houses and apartments.

20             All right.  So, General, first of all, let's go to the next

21     document, and I want to stay within the area of the South-east

22     Herzegovina operative zone.  P03121.  And, now, this is a report dated

23     the 2nd of July, 1993, and it's a report of the command of the

24     3rd Battalion of the military -- excuse me.  This is a report of the

25     commander of the 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion.  It's a military

Page 44275

 1     police document, and what the report says here is that -- and I'm moving

 2     to the second section on patrol and beat service.

 3             "Due to the newly arisen situation worsening, we have received an

 4     order from the command of the Knez Domagoj 1st Brigade of the HVO with

 5     regard to the closing of catering, shopping, and other facilities ..."

 6             And then I'm going to skip the next sentence, and then it says:

 7             "One Military Police Platoon in Stolac was used for collecting

 8     Muslims.  Another did regular tasks of guarding facilities and working at

 9     check-points."

10             And then moving down, the next section is on road blockade

11     check-points, and I want to ask you about one sentence here that's about

12     ten lines down in the English.  It says:

13             "For the purpose of more efficient implementation of the order on

14     bringing in the Muslim conscripts, reinforcement was sent to all

15     check-points, especially to those leading towards Muslim inhabited

16     places, because it can be expected that many Muslims will try to hide,

17     which would make the arrest very difficult.  From 0700 hours on

18     1 July ... to 0700 hours on 2 July ... 1.109 persons were arrested and

19     brought in.  The task of bringing in -- the task of bringing in was

20     carried out by the Knez Domagoj --"

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Pinter.

22             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have to put in a

23     reaction here to the translation.  The Prosecutor read that the arrests

24     of Muslim conscripts will be made difficult, but this was about bringing

25     in and not about arresting.  My attention is being drawn, in the

Page 44276

 1     meantime, to the fact that the Prosecutor has set the record straight on

 2     that.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

 4             MR. STRINGER:  I'll just continue reading.  It says:

 5              " ... 1.109 persons were arrested and brought in.  The task of

 6     bringing in was carried out by the Knez Domagoj 1st Brigade,

 7     Brigade Police, members of the Capljina PU MUP, and our members who

 8     brought in persons arrested at check-points."

 9             Now, General, we looked yesterday at the video footage of your

10     BBC interview where you, if I could put it this way, subscribed to the

11     decision on disarming Muslim members of the HVO.  Is that a correct way

12     of putting it?  You subscribed to the decision or an order on disarming

13     HVO members of the -- Muslim members of the HVO?

14        A.   Yes.  Given what the circumstances were, I'm entirely convinced

15     that General Petkovic's decision was entirely right, his decision for the

16     Muslim soldiers of the HVO who committed high treason to be brought in so

17     that the matter might be investigated.

18             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, are we still in private session?

19             THE REGISTRAR:  No.

20             MR. STRINGER:  No?  We're in public.  All right.

21        Q.   General, do you also subscribe to the decision or to the order to

22     arrest all able-bodied Muslim men between the ages of 16 and 60, even if

23     they were not members of the HVO?

24        A.   I did not read about the -- about any arrest in

25     General Petkovic's decision but about isolation.  Given the fact that

Page 44277

 1     they were military conscripts, for a while obviously they were all armed,

 2     and one couldn't tell who was on leave and who was serving.  The decision

 3     was logical.  They're not talking about locking them up or about

 4     arresting them; they're talking about isolating them.

 5        Q.   Where were they isolated, or do you know?

 6        A.   No.  You're asking me about what under the circumstances -- what

 7     I know about how an army works --

 8        Q.   No, no.

 9        A.   -- or what -- therefore, I approve of this decision to isolate.

10     I don't know where they were isolated.  I don't know how this came about

11     or indeed if it came about at all.  You're asking me would I have, and

12     I'm telling you what I would have done as commander given the

13     circumstances and if this kind of situation had ever arisen.

14        Q.   And would you agree with me, General, that as indicated in this

15     order, the actual practice of arresting or isolating was undertaken by

16     both the military police and HVO members of the Knez Domagoj 1st Brigade?

17        A.   I know nothing about that.

18        Q.   Well, if it says here that the task of bringing in was carried

19     out by the Knez Domagoj 1st Brigade, that would -- that would indicate,

20     in fact, that this was a joint operation of the brigade and the military

21     police; correct?

22        A.   I know nothing about that.

23        Q.   Well, you do know that the Knez Domagoj 1st Brigade is not a part

24     of the military police -- military police administration; correct?

25        A.   That's right.

Page 44278

 1        Q.   All right.  The next exhibit is P03142.  This is dated the next

 2     day, 3 July 1993.  This is a report from the military police outpost at

 3     Buna.  And again there's a reference to the action of capturing Muslims

 4     in the areas indicated, commenced on the early morning hours of 2 July.

 5     It says here that the military police started the action together with

 6     the 1st Brigade Knez Domagoj.

 7             Now, again, General, that would indicate, correct, that the

 8     action of arresting Muslims was being carried out jointly by the brigade

 9     and the military police?  Correct?

10        A.   Sir, you're reading a document that was produced at the time.  As

11     far as this document is concerned, I can only read the same as you or,

12     indeed, the Trial Chamber.  I can't go any further than that, and I don't

13     know how to answer that question.  It reads that they were doing it

14     together.  You can read that as well as I or anyone else.  Why would I be

15     expected to comment on something that I was no way privy to?

16             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my

17     apologies.  It might be a good idea to go through this sentence again,

18     inspect it.  I can't possibly go putting any questions in redirect here

19     as this is a 3D witness, but first we need to look at the title, BP,

20     Bijelo Polje, the last sentence, and then we might be successful in

21     avoiding the term that 4D objected to, the Muslims, because this portion

22     explains who the persons being brought in were.

23             MR. STRINGER:  Well, maybe I could finish the document and then

24     we could see whether counsel's concerns have been addressed.

25        Q.   General, at the bottom of the first page of the English it says:

Page 44279

 1             "During the action many Muslims were detained and are currently

 2     being held in the military prison in Capljina."

 3             General, recognising that this is three weeks before you took

 4     command the HVO Main Staff, do you know what is the military prison in

 5     Capljina that's being referred to here?

 6        A.   I don't know, but obviously it wasn't Muslims being brought in

 7     here but, rather, people who were firing.  There was fighting.  I see

 8     that one person was seriously wounded and another, and some went missing.

 9     It's not that Muslims were being brought in here.  There was fighting

10     going on instead.

11        Q.   Right.  Well, I'm asking you about the Muslims that are detained

12     there and whether you -- I'm simply asking are you aware of the military

13     prison in Capljina, or did you become aware of it?

14        A.   Which military prison in Capljina?  I don't know about that.  I

15     know about Dretelj; I addressed that.  And I know that there was Gabela

16     too.

17        Q.   Well, what's happening, General, and maybe you don't know because

18     you weren't there, but counsel's made an intervention, it appears,

19     doesn't it, that the -- the capturing of Muslims in these areas resulted

20     in some sort of shooting on both sides and that as a result of that

21     someone died, someone was injured, and that during the action many

22     Muslims were detained, and they were then taken to the military prison in

23     Capljina; correct?

24        A.   I'm unable to comment on anything beyond what this says, and it

25     says exactly what it says.  It wasn't Muslims being brought in but,

Page 44280

 1     rather, armed persons.  That's what I see.  There was fighting.  Who's

 2     getting whom.  It is obvious that some Croats came to grieve, some

 3     seriously.  Some got off a little more lightly, some went missing, and

 4     that tells you what the situation was like being described in this

 5     document.

 6        Q.   All right.  Now, the next exhibit is P03201.  It's dated the

 7     5th of July, 1993.  Again, this is Knez Domagoj 1st HVO Brigade.  This is

 8     commander Obradovic, and here he's issuing an order to the warden of the

 9     Gabela, Dretelj, Heliodrom, Ljubuski prisons, saying that:

10             "No one shall be released from your prison without my personal

11     signature."

12             Now, General Obradovic -- or, General Praljak, would you agree

13     with me that at this point in time Obradovic was the commander or the

14     superior in charge of the Knez Domagoj 1st brigade?

15        A.   I can confirm that with a high degree of accuracy, not with

16     complete certainty.  Complete certainty I can only have concerning

17     documents that I produced myself or that eventually reached me.

18        Q.   And from the documents we've just seen, it was this Knez Domagoj

19     1st Brigade that was involved in arresting the Muslims; correct?

20        A.   What am I expected to say?  Based on documents I'm supposed to

21     confirm facts that I didn't witness in an area in which was not present.

22     I don't think it's fair to examine a witness like this.  It's are

23     documents and it's for the Trial Chamber to reach a conclusion, not for

24     Praljak.  I was not there at the time.  What do you expect me to say,

25     testify about Adam and Eve and then take if from there?  This document

Page 44281

 1     says something that anyone can read for themselves.

 2        Q.   I'm remembering your extensive testimony about Karadjordjevo,

 3     General, one of the many things that you testified about extensively on

 4     direct that you did not personally participate in.

 5             You know a great deal about the HVO, and you know a great deal

 6     about the HVO prior to the time you took command of the Main Staff.  So

 7     I'm going to continue to ask questions about the HVO as it existed before

 8     you took command of the HVO Main Staff, and then we're going to move to

 9     the time after.  All right?  So if you just bear with me and not react in

10     such a hostile way to my questions, I think we can move through this more

11     quickly.

12        A.   Mr. Stringer, my reactions to your questions are really not

13     hostile.  Nevertheless, I think this is beyond the scope of what I can

14     fairly be expected to say.  You're telling me to read a document.  I'll

15     gladly obliged.  It reads:  "Knez Domagoj was involved in this with the

16     military police."  And then in other words, you're saying -- well, what

17     else do you expect me to be telling you about?

18        Q.   Based on the information that was available to you as someone who

19     was involved with and then commanding the HVO Main Staff during 1993, did

20     Obradovic here, when he asserted authority over the release of prisoners

21     from these four prisons, did he actually possess the authority to do that

22     as the commander of Sector South?

23        A.   I don't know whether at this particular point in time he -- I

24     don't know.  All I can do is read this.  "In order to restore order and

25     discipline, I hereby order."  That's what it says.  It would no longer be

Page 44282

 1     fair of me to testify in that way and say that he did have the powers,

 2     that he did not have the powers.  I do not know.  All I know is I do not

 3     know.

 4        Q.   After the 24th of July, 1993, did Obradovic have the authority

 5     to -- the sole authority to order the release of prisoners from Gabela

 6     prison?

 7        A.   The correct answer would be as follows:  If he was supposed to

 8     receive approval from me or the operative zone commander, did he not

 9     receive permission from me.  He did not have permission to do that.  I

10     received no report that he had anything to do with the prison.  Now, had

11     I received a report or had I seen in any way that he was meddling in

12     affairs that don't concern him, I would have not given permission for him

13     to do that.

14        Q.   Let's move to the next exhibit, then, which is related to this,

15     P03216.  This is dated the next day --

16             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise

17     for interrupting my colleague.  I've done that with respect to this

18     document many times before.  I'd just like to remind the Trial Chamber

19     that it is a document for which the Coric Defence claims was forged, that

20     it's a falsification.  Mr. Coric's signature is not on the document.  It

21     should be Mr. Lavric's.  And to support this, that the document is indeed

22     a forgery, I would like to present the fact that the Prosecution

23     witnesses that we've heard, that is to say Josip Praljak, and this was

24     recorded on pages 15009 of the transcript, and 15010, and 14940 to 14943,

25     and then the next witness, Prosecution Witness E on pages 22050 to 22051,

Page 44283

 1     and on page 2211 [as interpreted] to 22212, as well as Prosecution

 2     Witness C on pages 22397 to 22399 and 22494 to 22497.

 3             These witnesses were at positions -- held positions whereby they

 4     would have had to have received this document, and they all testified

 5     that before their giving testimony they had never seen it before, that is

 6     to say, before talking to the OTP investigators.

 7             MR. STRINGER:  Can I object to the --

 8             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] And with

 9     Slobodan Bozic --

10             MR. STRINGER: [Overlapping speakers] [Previous translation

11     continues] ... Mr. President, I think we've allowed counsel to make a

12     record.  Time is slipping away, and if counsel wants to challenge the

13     document she can do it in her case.  She can do it in her final

14     submissions, but what is happening now is just suggesting a way for

15     General Praljak to avoid talking about the document, and I think that

16     it's not proper.  We understand they challenge the authenticity of the

17     document.  She doesn't need to go on and on.

18             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] If I might be allowed to

19     respond, Your Honours.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Tomasegovic, your

21     observation is now noted on the transcript.  You are contesting this

22     document, saying it's a forgery.  Very well.

23             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] All I wanted to say is

24     that it was not my intention to influence General Praljak, because

25     there's no need for me to do that sense everything has already been

Page 44284

 1     stated here in the courtroom umpteen times, and I don't think

 2     General Praljak was ever absent from the courtroom, so he, himself, could

 3     have heard it from me at least ten times.  Thank you.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

 5             MR. STRINGER:

 6        Q.   General, 3206 is a document dated the --

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  3216?

 8             MR. STRINGER:

 9        Q.   3216 is dated the following day.  It's a document bearing the

10     stamp of the military police administration.  You've heard counsel's

11     challenge to the signature on the document or that it's attributed to

12     Mr. Coric.

13             General, this is clearly a response coming from someone to the

14     order of Obradovic that we've just looked at.  It says here:

15              "Military Investigative Prisons are within the competence of the

16     Military Police Administration alone, and therefore you are not

17     authorised to issue orders for the release of prisoners."

18             And then it directs him to cancel his order, which is the one we

19     just looked at.  And then it says that:

20              " ... prisoners in the Military Investigative Prisons who were

21     captured by the HVO 1st Knez Domagoj Brigade will, if released, only be

22     released with your agreement."

23             So, General, the question for you is recognising that you were

24     not commanding the HVO at this time, based on what you know do you agree

25     with the assertion here that the military investigative prisons, and

Page 44285

 1     there are four of them indicated here at the end of the document, that

 2     the military investigative prisons are within the competence of the

 3     military police administration alone?  Do you agree with that assertion?

 4        A.   Mr. Stringer, I don't know about that, so I can neither agree or

 5     disagree.  I don't know.

 6        Q.   All right.  Well, let's talk about the period of time after you

 7     were commanding the HVO Main Staff.  During that period of time were the

 8     military investigative prisons within the competence of the military

 9     police administration alone?

10        A.   I don't know, Mr. Stringer.

11        Q.   Tell us what were the military investigative prisons that you

12     knew about during the time you were commanding the HVO Main Staff?

13        A.   I don't know, sir.  All I know -- well, what's military

14     investigative, what's central, what the military prosecutor's job is, I

15     don't know.  I'm not informed about that to the extent to which I could

16     give you any correct or relevant assessment.  I knew that Heliodrom

17     existed.  I knew about Dretelj, and I sent people, according to the

18     documents that you -- that's all I know.

19        Q.   Well, let's -- let's talk about the Heliodrom for a moment.  Did

20     you ever go there?

21        A.   Never, Mr. Stringer.

22        Q.   Never?

23        A.   Never.  Well, never during the war.  Afterwards there was some

24     sort of celebration, two, three years after the war.  That's when I went

25     to Heliodrom -- or, rather, Heliodrom is a large -- well, there was an

Page 44286

 1     HVO brigade put up there, and I think there was a joint army there of the

 2     federation or whatever.

 3        Q.   So you never went to the Heliodrom.  Did you ever see prisoners

 4     at the Heliodrom during 1993?

 5        A.   No.

 6        Q.   And just to be super clear, when I say prisoners, that includes

 7     detainees, people in isolation, Muslims, Croats, Serbs.  You never saw

 8     anyone who was in detention at the Heliodrom during 1993?

 9        A.   For the fifth time:  In 1993 I never set foot in Heliodrom.  I

10     didn't see anybody.  I had no reasonable grounds to do so or time or

11     information, for heaven's sake.

12        Q.   What about in 1992?

13        A.   1992?  1992.  Well, in 1992 I was not at Heliodrom.  In 1992, I

14     was -- that is to say in June when we liberated that there, then part of

15     the unit moved forward as I was up at the line.  In 1992, in June, I was

16     there.  After that, no.

17        Q.   All right.  Now, in June of 1992, you were there.  Did you see

18     prisoners there?

19        A.   No, sir.  On those premises you had the Yugoslav People's Army

20     and the Army of Republika Srpska.  They were on the surrounding hills,

21     and in that action of liberation, it seems to me -- well, if I toured the

22     area, I probably toured that area but not Heliodrom, the Neretva River

23     and so on.

24        Q.   Well -- now, General, are you telling us that you never knew

25     during 1993 that any of these Muslim men who were being arrested or

Page 44287

 1     isolated were being held at the Heliodrom facility?

 2        A.   Dear sir, I've already told you once that in September, the 4th

 3     or 5th of September in actual fact, I gave permission to a journalist

 4     from the magazine Globus, and on the basis of which permit and permission

 5     he wasn't able to enter, because he was told - and you'll have his

 6     statement - that as far as permission from Praljak was concerned, it

 7     wasn't worth a penny and that Tole gave him position [as interpreted]

 8     later on.  As the guard changed, then they allowed this journalist to

 9     enter.  But five or six days later, I happened to see in that particular

10     magazine that there were prisoners, but, Mr. Stringer, that was not an

11     area of responsibility of the commander of the Main Staff that I was, nor

12     was the information that I read, nor did it indicate anything.

13     Everything I learnt, I learnt subsequently.

14        Q.   Well, General --

15        A.   So let me repeat for the umpteenth time --

16        Q.   Okay, you've set out your position.  Then what you're telling us

17     is, and you'll correct me if I'm wrong, you learned about prisoners at

18     the Heliodrom sometime by mid-September after the article was published,

19     but you never went to the Heliodrom to look at the prisoners or the

20     conditions because you didn't think it was part of your responsibility.

21     Is that what you're telling us?

22        A.   No, it's not.  It's not.  First of all, the journalist didn't

23     enter Heliodrom.  It was Gabela or Dretelj.  I can't remember now which.

24             Secondly, you keep wanting to add some time to the person who was

25     sitting there.  I had no information.  I had no time in which to receive

Page 44288

 1     information of any kind, sir, because during that time I was releasing

 2     Muslim prisoners, letting a helicopter fly to save a Muslim doctor and a

 3     Muslim child.  I was fighting at the front.  So leave your constructions

 4     at home.  I said no.

 5        Q.   Well, General, you just told us that the journalist came to you

 6     and that after -- and that after that, five or six days later, you

 7     happened to see in that particular magazine that there were prisoners.

 8     So what you're telling us, General, is that you didn't know about any

 9     prisoners based upon information available to you as commander of the HVO

10     Main Staff, but you did have the means to learn about prisoners from

11     reading about it in the media.  Is that how it was?

12        A.   I read about it not in the media but in one medium, that is to

13     say in a magazine where that journalist had an article, and the

14     magazine's name was Globus.

15             So you, sir, or Judges, sentencing people, you don't ask who the

16     people are in prison.  You can't go to a prison and ask how they are, how

17     they're doing.

18        Q.   Now --

19        A.   Do you want to make out it was a Stalinistic totalitarianism, or

20     what?

21        Q.   You're claim that as commander of the HVO Main Staff you did not

22     have the authority to go to Heliodrom, Gabela, Dretelj, Ljubuski in order

23     to inspect the conditions there?  That your assertion?

24        A.   How do you mean authority?  How do you mean authority, did I have

25     the authority?  So in which little box of the commander of the Main Staff

Page 44289

 1     does he have the right and duty to do what you're talking about?  What do

 2     you mean authority?  I wasn't -- didn't have authority over prisons or of

 3     prisons in any shape or form.  That's what I'm claiming.

 4        Q.   I want to try to be a little bit more systematic about this.  I

 5     think I know what your answer's going to be, maybe we can move through

 6     this quickly.  During the time you were commander of the HVO Main Staff,

 7     did you ever learn that Muslim men were being held there at the

 8     Heliodrom?

 9        A.   No.

10        Q.   If there were Muslim men being held at the Heliodrom, was the

11     Main Staff, in your view, responsible for the conditions of their

12     detention there?

13        A.   No.

14        Q.   Gabela.  When, and forgive me if I missed it, you just spoke

15     about the September 5th, the journalist, the Globus article, the granting

16     of access, does that relate to Dretelj or Gabela, or do you know?

17        A.   I can't remember now.  Either one or the other.

18        Q.   All right.  Ljubuski.  You've heard testimony, you've seen the

19     documents, military investigative prison at Ljubuski.  At any time during

20     the period you were commanding the HVO Main Staff did you know about

21     Muslim men being held prisoner at Ljubuski?

22        A.   No.

23        Q.   All right.  Now, you said you never went to Heliodrom.  Did you

24     ever go to Dretelj, Gabela, or Ljubuski during 1993?

25        A.   No.

Page 44290

 1        Q.   Now, you said that you were not responsible for any prisoners at

 2     the Heliodrom.  General, tell us who or what body was responsible for the

 3     prisoners at the Heliodrom?

 4        A.   I don't know.

 5        Q.   Was it the HVO Department of Defence and Mr. Stojic?

 6        A.   Don't know.

 7        Q.   Was it Mr. Coric as head of the military police administration?

 8        A.   I don't know.

 9        Q.   So you have no knowledge as to who was responsible for the

10     conditions and the treatment of prisoners being held at the Heliodrom

11     during the time you're commander of the HVO Main Staff; correct?

12        A.   That's right.

13        Q.   And if I asked you the same question about Dretelj, Gabela, and

14     Ljubuski, would your answer be the same?

15        A.   It would be the same.

16        Q.   All right.  Let's go to P04496.  I'm going to skip ahead a little

17     bit.  4496.

18             General, this one is from the 25th of August, 1993.  You are

19     commander of the HVO Main Staff at this point in time.  This is a report

20     or a statement of reasons.  It's issued to Brigadier Tole.  It's coming

21     from the deputy security commander of the 1st HVO Brigade, Knez Domagoj.

22             Now, general, at this point in time Brigadier Tole, he's the

23     Chief of Staff of the Main Staff; correct?

24        A.   Correct, but I think that the deputy commander for security, not

25     of the brigade.  The deputy security man in the brigade.  That's what it

Page 44291

 1     says here, as far as I can see.

 2        Q.   All right.  You're talking about the person who wrote this

 3     document?

 4        A.   Yes.

 5        Q.   And he's sending it to Brigadier Tole, who was the Chief of Staff

 6     of the Main Staff.  Correct?

 7        A.   Brigadier Tole was the chief the Main Staff of the Croatian

 8     Defence Council.

 9        Q.   All right.  So that -- and what -- the information that's being

10     passed on to Brigadier Tole relates to the reasons why a particular

11     person was released from prison, and then it describes the procedure and

12     the priorities, et cetera.  And it says:

13              "The procedure, priorities, and the questions as to whether to

14     release inmates from the prison has not been dealt with or defined by --

15     either by the operative zone South-east Herzegovina or the ministry.

16     Because the lack of such instructions, we were forced to take our own

17     decisions at the level of local HVO presidencies and brigade commands."

18             And then it talks about the procedure for releasing inmates from

19     Gabela and Dretelj.  And here they could be released if they were married

20     to a Croatian woman, if not of interest to security; or if they possessed

21     letters of guarantee and a transit visa, if no interest to security; or

22     if they are being sought by the Republic of Croatia with the necessary

23     papers there.

24             And then at the bottom it says:

25             "The confusion surrounding releases from prison is due to

Page 44292

 1     ill-defined prisoner status, authority over prisoners, and the method of

 2     dealing with them, trials, exchanges," et cetera.

 3              "The subject of prisoners in this territory where they are the

 4     most numerous has been discussed on several occasions, and the leadership

 5     was informed of it both through the security service and through

 6     Commander Colonel Obradovic.  Security service suggests that the matter

 7     of prisoners in this territory be dealt with urgently."

 8             Now, General, what this tells us, isn't it true, is that as of

 9     the 25th of August, 1993, we know that your Chief of Staff of your

10     Main Staff has direct knowledge about prisoners being held at the Gabela

11     and Dretelj prisons, these discriminatory criteria for release, if I can

12     put it that way, releasing men who happened to be married to a Croatian

13     woman.  And so in fact information about the prisoners and the release

14     criteria is information that's fully available to you as the commander of

15     the Main Staff.  Isn't that true?

16        A.   No.  From this it is clear that this was not sent to the

17     Main Staff but to somebody personally, that is to say to Brigadier Tole

18     personally.  So then it's probable and logical that out of personal

19     interest he sought information about what was happening.  He was in the

20     area, which is why -- I don't know why he asked that this be sent to him.

21     It wasn't addressed to the Main Staff, to the commander of the

22     Main Staff.  Neither did Tole show me this, because it was a personal

23     interest on his part in the matter.  And here it says that the presidents

24     of the HVO, that is to say of the municipalities, and that the leaders

25     were informed, but not the leaders of the HVO about the problem in hand.

Page 44293

 1     So that's it.  That's what this document is about.  All you have to do is

 2     to read it carefully.  There was probably some misunderstanding and Tole

 3     asked what this was all about.  Not because it was his right to do but

 4     most probably because he had some reason to seek information and

 5     explanations as to what was going on.

 6        Q.   Well, clearly Tole knew that there were prisoners down there at

 7     Dretelj and Gabela, and the fact is, General, that by late August of 1993

 8     it was no secret.  The media was on to it.  Your Chief of Staff knew

 9     about it, and the sheer volume of prisoners involved makes it clear that

10     someone in your position would have had full knowledge about the

11     existence of these detention facilities.  Isn't that true?

12        A.   Well, let me repeat for the 15th time when I learnt.  On the 1st

13     of September -- well, I'm saying this dozens of times, the existence of

14     detainee centres does not change the situation.  It is conduct that is

15     important here.  I sent people who had been sentenced to Dretelj.

16        Q.   Let's go to P10924.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I have a

18     follow-up question on this document.  Looking at this document, it seems,

19     and I say "it seems" because I don't want to draw any conclusions or make

20     any statements, but it seems that Brigadier Tole obtained information on

21     the conditions surrounding the release of Dr. Muhamed Durakovic.  He was

22     inquiring about these conditions and because of this the brigadier of the

23     Knez Domagoj brigade is reporting to him and is telling him - you can see

24     this in the document - that it's a complex matter; that it's difficult to

25     know who does what.  But as far as is Dr. Durakovic is concerned, he says

Page 44294

 1     that there was this question of transit visa, that the NUMA security

 2     service was also involved, and there was the president of HVO Mr. Bender,

 3     the commander of the new battalion, and the civilian police.  All these

 4     people were involved.  As a conclusion, it says that there is a lot of

 5     confusion around this.  So any reasonable trier of fact looking at this

 6     document could draw this conclusion.  Obviously at local level there's a

 7     lot of uncertainty on this issue, the issue of prisoners.

 8             You have an extensive knowledge of the politics prevailing at the

 9     time, so could you tell us whether -- how this Durakovic could be of

10     interest to Tole in August.  Either personally, that's your version of

11     facts, or maybe for other reasons.

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't answer that question

13     specifically.  I think these can only be personal reasons.  Obviously

14     Tole addressed him personally.  Information is forwarded to him in

15     person, privately.  It's not like -- it doesn't say "Chief of the

16     Main Staff, Brigadier Tole."  It says Brigadier Tole personally, here is

17     the information you asked for.  I don't know what the immediate cause

18     was.  I have no information on that.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  I will be very

20     brief.  We have a military document; this is obvious.  And it is sent to

21     Mr. Tole; there is no question about that.  And this document deals with

22     a detained person, but I note that in the first paragraph, given that

23     there was a lack of instructions and the -- the local HVO presidencies

24     and the brigade commands were consulted, and I will touch upon an issue

25     that has already been mentioned here, namely the role of local political

Page 44295

 1     authorities.  I do not know under which conditions Durakovic had been

 2     detained.  Had there been an investigation, I don't know.  All I can see

 3     is that political leaders of the HVO are being consulted, whereas in fact

 4     we are in the military arena.  How do you explain this?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your Honour.  I

 6     cannot provide any relevant information on this for your benefit

 7     regarding the confusion about this.  My ignorance keeps me from

 8     furnishing you with any sort of answer at all for fear of getting it

 9     wrong.  I don't know.  The 25th of August I was probably on that convoy

10     or some place.  I don't know.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

12             Mr. Stringer.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may answer one thing,

14     Your Honours.  After the ZDF show, after the article that was published

15     in Globus and then after Ed Vulliamy's piece, Mate Granic came over from

16     Croatia, Silajdzic came, and they started dealing with this problem, and

17     then I heard about this problem being dealt with.  Franjo Tudjman went

18     berserk, to put it that way.  And then the whole thing started that

19     September based on what the journalists had shown.

20             But again this is not something that I was involved in or

21     spending my time doing.  I had heard about the exchanges that were under

22     way, that the situation was being dealt with.  In September in

23     Bosnia-Herzegovina there were the attacks in Mostar by the BH Army, and

24     they wanted to take everything, the hills and all of it.  If you look at

25     one thing first and then at the other separately, impression is that I

Page 44296

 1  had 24 hours to deal with each and every single thing.  It's not in my job

 2  description, I don't have any information about this or about the text here.

 3             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's note:  The interpreter did not

 4     comprehend the last part of Mr. Praljak's answer.

 5             MR. STRINGER:

 6        Q.   General, I've got to call you out on something you just said --

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  We just learned from the interpreters that they

 8     did not understood the last part of your last sentence, so maybe you'll

 9     repeat it so that we have it in the transcript.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What did I say?  I don't -- I no

11     longer know what I said.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The general doesn't really

13     remember what he was saying, but we have the audiotape anyway.

14             Go ahead, Mr. Stringer.

15             MR. STRINGER:

16        Q.   General, you just said after President Tudjman went berserk, et

17     cetera, you said:

18             "This is not something that I was involved in or spending my time

19     doing.  I heard about the exchanges that were under way, that the

20     situation was being dealt with."

21             General, you're the commander of the HVO Main Staff.  I'm going

22     to put to you it's not like an al a carte menu at a restaurant.  You

23     don't get to choose the things you're going to be responsible for, the

24     things you're going to deal with.  The fact is you know as of early

25     September that there's a tremendous problem, an outcry based upon the

Page 44297

 1     conditions of these prisoners in these various HVO facilities.  And in

 2     fact you were responsible and you could have done any number of things to

 3     look into the situation and to fix it.  The fact is, sir, that you just

 4     chose not to.  Isn't that true?

 5        A.   No.  You're simply saying whatever pleases you, and I'm telling

 6     you no.  I certainly wasn't a commander who in Afghanistan would have

 7     taken so many people away in order to pound the Taliban.  Here you have

 8     to compare the armies and not come up with any sort of organisation for

 9     the HVO as you saw fit.  There are parallel systems, various users, what

10     a commander should do in a given area, be they American, French, or

11     Croatian -- no, no, and no.  You can say whatever you like, and I'm

12     telling you no.

13        Q.   So --

14        A.   I allowed the journalists in because I -- I didn't have the right

15     to do that either.

16        Q.   If you would move to P10924.

17        A.   Sure.

18        Q.   This is an article from Reuters, Deutscheland, an article that

19     was published on the 7th of September, 1993.  He's talking about --

20     according to UN information, all three war parties have set up detention

21     camps in Bosnia.  This according to a report submitted on Tuesday by

22     Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the special reporter of the UN Human Rights

23     Commission.

24             It says in the next paragraph:

25              "According to the Mazowiecki report, in the town of Gabela,

Page 44298

 1     south of Capljina, men were locked up in aircraft hangers.  Sixteen

 2     prisoners survived on daily rations of a cup of watery soup, 650 grams of

 3     bread.  Former detainees reported that during the summer months, they

 4     feared they would suffocate as the hangars were almost sealed airtight."

 5             And in this trial, General, we've heard and seen a lot of the

 6     evidence about the conditions at Dretelj.

 7             Now, General, I asked you a little while about your knowledge

 8     about what was going on in these camps, and you denied having any

 9     knowledge.  How is it possible, General, that as commander of the HVO

10     Main Staff you don't know what is going on in Dretelj, Gabela, but

11     Mr. Mazowiecki knows enough about it to put it into a report that's

12     published in early September?

13             MR. KARNAVAS:  Your Honour, I object to the form of the question,

14     because we are to then presume that this report is true, accurate, and

15     complete.  As I recall, the gentleman never came forward to testify.  As

16     I recall, he was never on the Prosecution list.  As I recall, he was

17     never offered the opportunity or was subpoenaed to come and refused to

18     come.  And therefore to now suggest that everything in this report,

19     albeit comes from a very esteemed individual and is through a

20     highly-esteemed organisation that we are to accept it.  It is nothing

21     other than pure hearsay.  And so therefore if the gentleman wishes to

22     rephrase the question, I have no problem.  But as the question is phrased

23     he's asking the -- first of all, the witness and, indeed, the

24     Trial Chamber to accept what is in the report as fact, as established

25     fact, as judicial facts to be accepted.  And to that, I cannot abide by.

Page 44299

 1     Thank you.

 2             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, let me respond.  I can --

 3             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Before, Mr. Stringer, you speak, I would only

 4     like to say that Mr. Mazowiecki's reports are of public domain, and they

 5     have been distributed and used and acknowledged as official documents of

 6     the United Nations and of the Security Council, and therefore they have

 7     standing.

 8             Now, of course I do recognise that here in this case the

 9     Prosecution spoke about an article reporting about Mazowiecki's report

10     itself, so from this point of view, it is true that it has a certain --

11     certain standing which is not only so official as the documents what I

12     mentioned.  But anyway, those issues which were raised by Mr. Mazowiecki

13     are -- have been well-known within the UN, within the General Assembly of

14     the UN, and of the Security Council itself.  Thank you.

15             MR. KARNAVAS:  And I accept the comments of Judge Prandler.  My

16     point is slightly different.  It is not whether the gentleman said it.

17     We all know that the UN said a lot of things and it came out especially

18     during the scandal with oil for -- for food, that a lot of folks working

19     for the UN were simply lying and stealing.  We know that.  And to suggest

20     that every UN document has a certain cachet value that we are to accept

21     and not challenge in a court of law, I think that would be the wrong

22     approach.

23             Now, I fully understand Mr. Stringer's right to say in this

24     report he's making these representations.  Now, assuming these are

25     correct, then he can go on.  But to say since they are in the report and

Page 44300

 1     because it's to the UN by the UN for the UN, we must therefore say that

 2     these are true, accurate, and complete facts, I think in a court of law

 3     that should not be the case.  Facts have to be proved.  People make

 4     mistakes, but I do take your point, Your Honour, and I do think that

 5     Mr. Stringer is perfectly capable of using the material if he slightly

 6     reformulates his question.  We're seeing a superb advocate quickly

 7     thinking on his feet and even entertaining us sometimes with some

 8     sound-bytes.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

10             MR. STRINGER:  Mr. President, it should be clear, and I don't

11     have the question on my screen any more.  I mean, this goes to the

12     knowledge of the general, notice, information that's out there that would

13     be available that would put the general or anyone else on notice of the

14     events, the situation that's being reported in the press by Mazowiecki.

15             Now, clearly the Trial Chamber will ultimately have to conclude

16     whether the conditions -- whether the information that's reflected in the

17     report or whether the conditions as asserted by the Prosecution have been

18     moved, but the point is, and I asked the general this, how is it possible

19     that he doesn't know when it's in the press and when Mazowiecki knows or

20     is reporting it?  So, you know, I guess I concede counsel's point that

21     ultimately it's for the Trial Chamber to decide, but with respect, I

22     don't think I asked the question that way.  The question is about notice.

23     And I would assert, Mr. President, it's a fair question to ask the

24     general how is it that he doesn't know when these are in the reports in

25     the media, these are things being written by others.

Page 44301

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please ask him the question.

 2     And I would like to remind everyone that this debate already took place

 3     on several months or perhaps several weeks ago.  It was said by the

 4     Defence, and I remember this very clearly, that reports from the UN can

 5     only be valid according to what had been purported to be said to the

 6     reporter or to the drafter of the report.  So this has already been said.

 7     But the question that is raised is to know whether Mr. Praljak knew about

 8     the report, about press reports and so on and so forth.  So we are in

 9     this area.

10             Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.

11             MR. STRINGER:

12        Q.   General, let me put -- let me put it to you again.  The fact is

13     the information was out there.  It was readily available to anyone in the

14     media, and it was readily available to you.  You were on notice.  You

15     knew about these things, didn't you General?  Or at the very least you

16     knew enough to put you on notice that you needed to look into it and deal

17     with it yourself.  Isn't that true?

18        A.   Can you please try to break this down?  Was I supposed to be

19     careful?  Was I supposed to look into it?  At what time exactly?  Let's

20     take this one step at a time and then I can answer.  This way, I don't

21     think so.  One by one, please.

22        Q.   General, you had notice that there were situations involving

23     prisoners at all of these facilities that you as the commander of the HVO

24     were obligated to look into.  Isn't that true?

25        A.   What do you mean there were situations?  What do you mean by

Page 44302

 1     there were situations?  Can you please explain that.

 2        Q.   General, I'm not going to fence with you on this.  Let's move to

 3     the next part of this document.  It says in the next paragraph --

 4        A.   It reads here General Slobodan Praljak stated his soldiers were

 5     holding no prisoners at all.  This document that I'm being shown.

 6     General Slobodan Praljak stated that his soldiers were holding no

 7     prisoners at all.  That's probably what I said at the time to this

 8     person.  The soldiers under my command were holding no prisoners at all.

 9        Q.   Well, the fact is that the HVO were holding hundreds if not --

10     well, hundreds of prisoners still in the Heliodrom, Gabela, Ljubuski;

11     correct?

12        A.   I stand by what I said.  The soldiers under my command were

13     holding no prisoners at all.

14        Q.   All right.  Well, here you say that your soldiers were no longer

15     holding any prisoners of war.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  If I may intervene.  Prisoners of war, POW.

17     Now, Mr. Stringer, are you suggesting that the prisoners held in Gabela

18     and Dretelj were all POWs?  Or is it possible, Mr. Praljak, that they

19     were other prisoners but not POWs technically?  Could you have meant that

20     when you said that you held no POW?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know, sir.  I can't answer

22     that one.  It's not that we were no longer holding any prisoners at all.

23     It reads:  "They were holding no prisoners at all."  The HVO soldiers

24     under my command.  That's crystal clear.  Anything else --

25             MR. STRINGER:  I'm ready to move to the next document.

Page 44303

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, we have a

 2     press release from Reuters, which is a news agency of high repute.  Their

 3     correspondent based in Sarajevo reports on the 7th of September in

 4     Sarajevo, and he quotes the Mazowiecki report, and then you seem to

 5     appear in the report as well.  If this journalist has done his duty, you

 6     should have had some contact with the Reuters journalist, and he must

 7     have asked you some questions saying, Well, there is a UN report talking

 8     about this and that.  Do you remember having being interviewed precisely

 9     on those points because here some words are put into your mouth.  But

10     when a journalist is doing his work properly, there are some commas,

11     inverted commas to show that it is a quote.  So there is no certainty

12     that you responded.  We are asking you what may have happened 15 years

13     ago, and I realise that this might not be realistic, but do you remember

14     a journalist calling you or interviewing you on this report?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember.  I can't

16     remember, Your Honour.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  I have another

18     question then.  I believe I asked the same question to other witnesses.

19     All we have to do is look at the transcripts.  We have this report which

20     has been covered by the press, and we realised that there are prisoners

21     on all sides, and there are 1.220 Serbs [as interpreted] that are

22     detained by the BiH in 24 camps.  So we have Croats that are detained.

23     Information of this nature should have been brought to the attention of

24     the authorities, whether it was in Zagreb or elsewhere.  And my

25     assumption is that it had been brought to the attention of the Zagreb

Page 44304

 1     authorities who learned about that.

 2             At this stage or at that stage, rather, did someone call to say

 3     there is a problem in Zagreb?  Do you remember, or do you not remember.

 4             THE INTERPRETER:  Correction from the interpreter it was

 5     1.220 Croats.

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't.  I remember that one

 7     missing sentence about the partial nature.  If you lose site of the fact

 8     that the Muslim offensive continued even more fiercely on the 15th and

 9     the 16th of September, perhaps one might say you could have done this or

10     you could have done that.  But then for the next 25 or 30 days around

11     Vrde and all that, I hardly left the front line throughout that time.

12     The only way you can get at the truth is if you look at the whole.  If

13     you take a partial view of one thing at a time, it can mislead you.  I

14     never had lunch with Petkovic.  I never slept in the same bed for two

15     consecutive nights.  I mean --

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI:  Very well.  Please proceed.

17             MR. STRINGER:

18        Q.   General, the next exhibit is P05104, 15 September 1993.

19     President Boban issues an order.  The order is directed towards the

20     Defence Department and the Main Staff of the armed forces of the Croatian

21     Republic of Herceg-Bosna.

22             Now, in item 3 he orders:

23             "In the prisoners of war detention centres where the conditions

24     required by the international war law and Geneva Convention are not

25     ensured, they should immediately be introduced, and prisoners of war must

Page 44305

 1     be treated in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention and

 2     other humanitarian standards."

 3             He orders the ICRC is to be allowed free visits to detention

 4     centres for prisoners of war, flow of humanitarian aid.

 5             Item number 7 he orders:

 6             "The HVO Main Staff will inform all subordinated commands and

 7     units of this order and provide professional help in its implementation."

 8             Now, just to continue on with this, General, and then we'll talk

 9     about it all, the next exhibit is P05188, which if you would look at that

10     one I'd suggest then is you issuing this order as you've been directed by

11     Mr. Boban, sending his order down to all operative zones, all units

12     subordinated to the Main Staff, and to the chief of the military police.

13             All right.  Do you remember this, General?  Do you remember

14     receiving this order from Mr. Boban and then sending it down the chain of

15     command as is indicated here?

16        A.   The answer to the first question, did I receive Mr. Boban's

17     order, this one, the answer is yes.  Did I forward it down the chain of

18     command, no.  I left out items 3, 4, 5 from Boban's order because they

19     had nothing whatsoever to do with the Main Staff.  I received Mr. Boban's

20     order and I conveyed to the lower levels --

21        Q.   All right.  We're going to talk about that.  Let me ask you some

22     questions first about the Boban order.  You do recall receiving this on

23     or about September 15th, 1993?

24        A.   Yes.

25        Q.   Now, we just looked at the Reuters article from September 7th,

Page 44306

 1     which is a week prior, in which you say that your soldiers are no longer

 2     holding any prisoners of war.  So, General, do you know what prisoners of

 3     war Mr. Boban --

 4        A.   It doesn't say "no longer."  It doesn't say "no longer."  It says

 5     "not at all."  You keep saying no longer.  It's like they were holding

 6     prisoners of war and now they are no longer holding prisoners of war,

 7     whereas it reads they were not holding any prisoners of war at --

 8             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's note:  Can the interpreters

 9     please be allowed the time to finish interpreting General Praljak.  Thank

10     you.

11             MS. PINTER: [No interpretation]

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can we a moment's break, please,

13     until you clear this up.

14             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Because in the English and the

15     German, it reads exactly the way Mr. Stringer is saying, but it was

16     translated into Croatian as there were no prisoners there without the "no

17     longer" bit.  So the General is working with one text and Mr. Stringer is

18     working with a different text.  That's why the discrepancy has arisen and

19     the excitement, too, on the part of Mr. Praljak.

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In German "mehr fest" does not mean

21     any longer.  "Seine Soldaten heilten keine Kriegsgefangenen mehr fest,"

22     but that is not correct, because it should read "are not holding" instead

23     of "are no longer holding."

24             MR. STRINGER:  Well --

25             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, where is the German text?  I don't

Page 44307

 1     have the German text, and I --

 2             MR. STRINGER:  The German text --

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  There is a chance I would understand it.

 4             MR. STRINGER:  It should be there.  It's the original language of

 5     the document.

 6             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] The very end.  The last document is

 7     in German.  In P --

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Judge Antonetti, a

 9     minute, please.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Go ahead.

11                           [The witness stands down]

12                           [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

13                           [The witness takes the stand]

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I inform everyone that the

15     Registrar was telling us we still have 20 minutes worth of tape.  So we

16     will have to stop at five to 1.00.

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm not quite sure whether and to what extent,

18     if so, I have to take an oath and take an expert or interpreter's stand.

19     I have the German text in front of me, and maybe I'll read it in German

20     and then under the control of all other linguists here give a

21     translation.

22             The German text reads:  "Der Kommandeur der bosnischen Kroaten,

23     General Slobodan Praljak, erkldrte hingegen, seine Soldaten hielten keine

24     Kriegsgefangenen mehr fest," which translated to the extent that it is

25     important would say:

Page 44308

 1             "Did not hold any prisoners of war any more," which is -- and the

 2     meaning is the same as "do no longer hold."  Thank you.

 3             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Correct, Your Honour, and that's

 4     where the problem lay, because the general in the Croatian interpretation

 5     didn't have this "mehr," "more," or "longer."  So Mr. Stringer was

 6     adhering to where it says "longer" or "more," and in the Croatian there

 7     was no -- this word was not there.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.

 9             MR. STRINGER:

10        Q.   General, looking at P05104, which is the order from Mate Boban to

11     the Main Staff and the Defence Department, I think my last question to

12     you was whether you recall receiving this document on or about the

13     15th of September, 1993.

14        A.   Yes.

15        Q.   Now, in item number 3, he says:

16             "The prisoners of war --" well, I won't read it again.  I read it

17     before we had the interruption.  But what's saying is that they have to

18     ensure that the applicable -- required conditions applicable to prisoners

19     of war must be ensured --

20        A.   I'm not receiving an interpretation.

21        Q.   I'll start again.

22             In paragraph 3, what Boban's saying there is that wherever the

23     conditions are not in accordance with law for the prisoners of war, those

24     conditions have to be fixed centrally.

25             Now, General, you saw this, so doesn't this tell you that there

Page 44309

 1     are prisoners of war, HVO prisoners of war, who were being held in places

 2     where the conditions may not be in accordance with international law?

 3        A.   It says in which possibly not all conditions have been ensured

 4     and so on.

 5             Yes, I did of course read this, and I gave you an answer to that

 6     question and you can see that from my order.

 7             Now, you want to introduce a totalitarian society, and I had

 8     nothing to do with items 3, 4, and 5.

 9        Q.   So the answer here is despite the information contained in this

10     document or the suggestion that all is not well with prisoners of war,

11     you did nothing with that information because you considered that it was

12     someone else's job, not yours; correct?

13        A.   Well, I read this information.  Now, what the situation was, what

14     should be improved, and what was actually happened, I did not have any

15     information, and I had nothing to do with this in the post that I held,

16     structural, under law, or prescribed.

17        Q.   And as you've already indicated, we see that when you sent

18     Boban's order down your chain of command, down as he directed, this is

19     P05188, you in fact made no reference at all to the treatment of

20     prisoners; correct?

21        A.   Why would I refer to prisoners and conduct towards prisoners when

22     the soldiers that I commanded did -- had nothing to do with any kinds of

23     prisoners?  So why would I write something in my order --

24        Q.   So --

25        A.   -- like that that was incomprehensible?

Page 44310

 1        Q.   So since the Defence Department is the other recipient of this

 2     order from Boban, are you telling us, General, then that it was the

 3     Defence Department that was responsible for the implementation of this

 4     order in respect of prisoners of war?

 5        A.   Sir, I'm saying exactly this:  The Main Staff was not

 6     responsible, and I don't want to speak about matters here in court about

 7     which I'm not fully certain.  Therefore, I don't know.  My answer is I do

 8     not know precisely and fully the kind of responsibility over these,

 9     whatever they were called, prisons of one kind or another, general

10     military or anything similar.  I don't know.  And I've said that for the

11     umpteenth time, I do not know.

12        Q.   Well, the fact is, General, within your own spheres of

13     responsibility and authority, the fact is that both you as the commander

14     of the Main Staff and Mr. Stojic as head of the Defence Department, and

15     Mr. Coric as head of the military police administration, each of you held

16     responsibilities and obligations in respect of prisoners.  Isn't that

17     true?

18        A.   Absolutely incorrect, and that's precisely what I've been telling

19     you.  You want to introduce a totalitarian system, which never existed.

20     A normal society has precisely defined rights and responsibilities for

21     individual matters, and we at least tried to do that.

22        Q.   And in a normal society, let me suggest to you that the commander

23     of the armed forces knows who's responsible for prisoners.

24        A.   That's not true, not even in the American army.  The commander

25     does not know what happened in prisons in Iraq.  It was the people who

Page 44311

 1     did that who were responsible, and he learned about this five months --

 2             JUDGE PRANDLER:  You don't have to speak now about Iraq and about

 3     the American army.  You have to speak about yourself and what you have

 4     done.  Thank you.

 5             MR. STRINGER:

 6        Q.   General, I'm asking you about who knows what they're responsible

 7     for.  You say you're not responsible for prisoners.  You claim that you

 8     don't know who is, and I'm putting to you that that's absurd, and that in

 9     any political-military organisation everyone knows, certainly at your

10     level, who's responsible for what.  And if you claim you're not

11     responsible for prisoners, the fact is you know who is and you just

12     refuse to say it, don't you?

13        A.   That's not true.  I don't have to know who was responsible for

14     prisoners.

15             And, please, Judge Prandler, there are regulations and rules in

16     armies, and you can't set this one apart.  You have to know how each army

17     operates in order to hold people accountable.  If you want to set up a

18     separate system for this army, you can do what you like.  But I claim

19     that it is not true either for the American army or the others.  Those

20     who committed crimes in Abu Ghraib, it wasn't the commander of the army

21     who was held responsible but the perpetrators of those crimes because he

22     wasn't informed about what was going on and it was journalists who

23     uncovered it.  And here it's my right to defend myself by using logics

24     and general knowledge, general well knowledge, but not only for the HVO

25     but something that holds true for everyone and all armies.

Page 44312

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, I have a

 2     follow-up question.  As an impartial trier of fact I must examine both

 3     versions, the case presented by the Prosecution and the case presented by

 4     the Defence.  This is how an impartial Judge does his work.  And in order

 5     to do this, I examine the Prosecutor's case.  He is showing us two

 6     documents, an order from Mr. Boban and your own order.  And the

 7     Prosecutor notes that paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 are missing in your own

 8     document.  Because of this anyone seeing both documents could very well -

 9     and here I say could only - could very well draw the conclusions that

10     General Praljak completely set aside this part regarding prisoners.

11     Actually, turned a blind eye on it.  And he did this deliberately.  That

12     is one interpretation of the documents.

13             Second interpretation.  You became aware of Mate Boban's order.

14     You gave instructions to the person drafting the order.  I'm sure you're

15     not the person who actually took a quill to write all this, and the

16     person drafting the order is executing orders given by you, and you can

17     give him the order not to copy paragraphs 3, 4, and 5.  And you might

18     have told the person drafting the document, "Because this is not of my

19     responsibility."  That is one assumption that would back what you're

20     saying.  You might believe that it is somebody else's business and that

21     you have nothing to relay regarding points 3, 4, and 5.

22             Now, as -- in your recollection, can you tell us whether you

23     asked the person drafting the document for you to set aside items 3, 4,

24     and 5, or is it that person who actually drafted the whole document and

25     just signed it blindly?  Do you remember anything about the way you

Page 44313

 1     drafted this order?

 2             There are two ways of looking at this, obviously.  One is in

 3     incriminatory, the other one exculpatory, of course.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it is pot possible.  An order

 5     by the president of the HZ-HB and the supreme commander of the armed

 6     forces is read.  I didn't write this, but it was read pursuant

 7     [indiscernible] orders, leave out items that have nothing to do with the

 8     responsibilities and rights of the Main Staff of the HVO.

 9             Your Honours, responsibility begins with appointments and

10     dismissals, and you send the responsible person the reports.  How can you

11     be responsible if you don't have the right to replace, dismiss,

12     incarcerate, and so on?  You can't.  And if you're not receiving any

13     reports, it means you're not in the reporting structure.  That's true for

14     courts.  That's true for everyone.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, you are not

16     answering my question.  It was a very specific question.  I wanted to

17     know whether you gave orders to the person drafting the document, orders

18     by which paragraphs 3, 4, 5 of Mr. Boban -- on prisoners to be excluded

19     for -- on grounds that you were not competent for this matter, or whether

20     this other person actually drafted the entire document by himself and you

21     thought it was fine.  What happened?

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I gave you an answer precisely.  I

23     don't know whether it was recorded and translated.  I ordered that he

24     throw out items that have nothing to do with the commander and the

25     Main Staff of the HVO.  That's what I said.  I don't know why there was

Page 44314

 1     no interpretation, but I did answer that in very precise terms and quite

 2     clearly.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  I'm sorry that I have to say I read

 4     these two documents in a different way than the President.

 5             In your order you say in the first introductory paragraph that

 6     you have enclosed the order of Mate Boban.  There is no reference to any

 7     redaction of that order, and I must suppose that you enclosed the order

 8     of Mate Boban the way you had received it.  Is that a correct assumption?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, sir.  Mate Boban is sending his

10     order to two addressees, and I attach his order --

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  No, no, no, no.  The question is much simpler.

12     You write an order signed "Praljak."  You do not deny that you signed

13     this.  You say in this order that the order of Mate Boban is enclosed.

14     So am I right in assuming that the recipient of your order gets your

15     order and attached to it a copy of the order of Mate Boban as it was,

16     original copied without changes?  Is that correct?

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.  Correct, yes, a copy of

18     Mate Boban's order and my order over the units that I command.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Then in number 3 of your order you comment on

20     numbers 5 and 6 of the order of Mate Boban; correct?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.  I say that they must be

22     as they stand.

23             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  I did not see in your order any

24     reference at all to other numbers in Mate Boban's order.  You do not

25     comment specifically on any of the other points.

Page 44315

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  I --

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Right.  So that -- it follows that when you told

 3     us that you did not hand on the order, carry on -- carry further to your

 4     subordinates the order to the extent that it concerns prisoners, this is

 5     your interpretation of your order, but there is no tangible trace of

 6     this.  It's just, you say -- I suppose, I'm putting it to you, you say,

 7     As this was not my business, automatically those who received from me

 8     Boban's orders also would disregard it because it did not concern the

 9     army, full stop.  Is that I way I should understand your argument?

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.  I with like to

11     put on the transcript that I do not share the content of this question.

12     I don't agree with it, because it's too complex, and I believe that we

13     should continue -- resume with all this tomorrow.  This is extremely

14     complicated, and we're almost at the end of the tape.  We will have to

15     take a look at the transcript, but we have no tape left, or hardly any.

16             So we will meet again tomorrow morning at 9.00 a.m. in this

17     courtroom.  Thank you.

18                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.53 p.m.,

19                           to be reconvened on Thursday, the 3rd day

20                           of September, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.