Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 45165

 1                           Thursday, 24 September 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The accused Coric not present]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 2.13 p.m.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you kindly call

 7     the case, please.

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

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

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

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.  Today,

12     the 24th of September, 2009.  I would like first and foremost to greet

13     the accused, the Defence counsel, all the prominent representatives of

14     the OTP, as well as all the people assisting us in this courtroom.

15             I have two oral decisions to hand down, but before doing so I

16     would like to give the floor to the registrar who has IC numbers to give

17     us.

18             THE REGISTRAR:  The Petkovic Defence has submitted its response

19     to the Prosecution's objections to documents tendered through

20     Slobodan Praljak.  This response shall be given IC1048.  The Prosecution

21     has submitted its objections to the list of documents tendered for

22     admission by 3D, 1D, and 4D through witness Josip Jurcevic.  This list

23     shall be given IC1049, and 3D has submitted its list of documents to be

24     tendered through Witness Arbutina Alojz, this list shall be given IC1050.

25     Thank you, Your Honours.

Page 45166

 1             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please, Your Honour.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I had forgotten my microphone.

 3             This is an oral decision relating to the testimony of the expert

 4     Witness Milan Gorjanc.  In support of a motion recorded on the 2nd of

 5     September, 2009, the Praljak and Petkovic Defence have disclosed to the

 6     parties and to the Chamber the expert report of their common witness,

 7     Mr. Milan Gorjanc.  The two Defence teams have indicated that the witness

 8     would testify when the Petkovic Defence teams present its case, which

 9     they agreed upon.  The schedule presented by the Petkovic Defence

10     indicates that this witness should come to testify on the 2nd of

11     November, 2009.

12             The Trial Chamber would like to remind the Praljak Defence that

13     to date -- at that date it will have no time left for the presentation of

14     its case.  Therefore, it will not be able to conduct the

15     examination-in-chief of the witness Milan Gorjanc.  It is only the

16     Petkovic Defence that will be able to conduct the examination-in-chief.

17             Furthermore, the Trial Chamber that -- reminds you that the

18     Praljak Defence will not be able cross-examine -- to cross-examine this

19     witness insofar as it is one of its own witnesses.  When this expert

20     witness comes to testify, it is Ms. Alaburic who will conduct the

21     examination-in-chief.

22             Second oral decision, which relates to time allocation for the

23     testimony of witness Zrinko Tokic on 28th -- from 28th of September to

24     the 1st of October, 2009.

25             According to an e-mail that was sent on the 23rd of September,

Page 45167

 1     2009, to the legal officer, and a copy was sent to the other Defence

 2     teams, the Trial Chamber understands that the Petkovic and Praljak

 3     Defence teams would like to conduct their examination-in-chief one after

 4     the other for one hour and 15 minutes and 45 minutes respectively.  This

 5     means that the Petkovic and Praljak Defence teams agree to deduct the

 6     time of the examination-in-chief and redirect used by the Praljak Defence

 7     team from the overall time for the presentation of the Petkovic Defence

 8     case.

 9             The Trial Chamber therefore decides to accord one hour and 15

10     minutes to the Petkovic Defence to conduct its examination-in-chief and

11     possible redirect of the witness and decides to grant 45 minutes to the

12     Praljak Defence to conduct its examination-in-chief and possible redirect

13     of the witness.  The Trial Chamber would like to stipulate that those 45

14     minutes allocated to the Praljak Defence will be deducted from the

15     overall time allocated to the Petkovic Defence team.  Since the parties

16     have not made any specific request and in light of the subjects to be

17     addressed in the presence of this witness, the Trial Chamber decides to

18     grant one hour to all the other Defence teams to conduct their

19     cross-examination and two hours for the Prosecution.

20             The Trial Chamber would like to specify that the Praljak and

21     Petkovic Defence teams will not conduct a cross-examination of this

22     witness.

23             In short, the Trial Chamber has decided that the Petkovic Defence

24     team will have one hour and 15 minutes, and the Praljak Defence will have

25     45 minutes.  The 45 minutes of the Praljak Defence will be deducted from

Page 45168

 1     the time allocated to the Petkovic Defence team.  The Petkovic and

 2     Praljak Defence teams will, of course, not cross-examine the witness.

 3     The other Defence counsel will have one hour, and the Prosecutor will

 4     have two hours.

 5             I believe that all of this is clear for everyone.

 6             In addition, Mr. Stringer has sent us an e-mail indicating that

 7     he will be able to cross-examine of -- the expert witness Gorjanc on the

 8     26th of October, 2009.

 9             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to you and

10     everybody else in the courtroom.  I would like in this open session to

11     thank my colleagues from the Prosecution for investing extra effort to

12     prepare for the testimony of our joint military expert and to enable the

13     Petkovic Defence to start off as they had planned to do with Mr. Gorjanc.

14             Now, I contacted Mr. Gorjanc today and looked into the

15     possibility of going ahead one week in advance, that is, earlier on, and

16     he said that he was ready to come in October.  So I'd like to tell you

17     now that we are going to start with our Defence case on the 26th of

18     October.  And in conformity with that, we'll be preparing a new list and

19     schedule for our witnesses.  So we'll let you know who is going to come

20     into this courtroom to the end of November.  Thank you.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Thank you,

22     Ms. Alaburic.

23             I would also like to thank Mr. Stringer for having responded so

24     quickly, which enables everyone to work in excellent conditions.

25             There's just one outstanding issue, which is to know whether 3DA,

Page 45169

 1     this witness will be coming or not.  If this witness comes he will come

 2     in the week precedes the 26th of October.  If he doesn't come, there's a

 3     fair chance that we will have no witness for that particular week.

 4             We will wait for the Praljak Defence to tell us exactly how it

 5     stands vis-a-vis Witness 3DA.

 6             Mr. Stringer.

 7             MR. STRINGER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Good afternoon.  Good

 8     afternoon, Your Honours, Counsel, and to everyone else.

 9             Just in respect to scheduling, I wanted to inform the

10     Trial Chamber of two things.  The 30-day deadline on the Prosecution

11     filing on the expert report of Mr. Gorjanc is next Tuesday, and when we

12     file that on Tuesday, we're going to also indicate to the Trial Chamber

13     how much time we would like to have on cross-examination.  So that's

14     going to be coming to the Trial Chamber by Tuesday at the latest.  Also,

15     one of the witnesses before Mr. Gorjanc, one of the remaining witnesses

16     for the Praljak Defence, I won't say his name.  I think it's public but

17     I'm not a hundred per cent at the moment, so I won't say the name, but I

18     expect that either later today or first thing tomorrow morning we'll send

19     a letter to the Trial Chamber indicating how much time the cross -- the

20     Prosecution would like to cross for that witness.  He's a 92 ter witness.

21     He's indicated as a one-hour witness for direct.  I think the

22     Prosecution's going to ask for two hours for cross based upon his 92 ter

23     statement, but you'll have that either today or tomorrow morning,

24     Mr. President.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.  We shall introduce

Page 45170

 1     Mr. Skender into the courtroom.  Let me remind you that the Praljak

 2     Defence will have one hour, the other Defence teams will have 45 minutes,

 3     and the Prosecutor will have one hour and a half.  Ideally we should be

 4     able to finish the examination-in-chief and the cross-examination of the

 5     witness, and the Prosecution could then start on its cross-examination on

 6     Monday.

 7                           [The witness entered court]

 8                           WITNESS:  ZVONIMIR SKENDER

 9                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.  Could you

11     give us your first name, last name, and date of birth, please.

12             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Zvonimir Skender.  My

14     name is Zvonimir Skender.  I was born on the 10th [as interpreted] of

15     July, 1939, in Zagreb in Croatia.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your nationality, or

17     what are your nationalities?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have dual nationality.  I'm both

19     French and Croatian.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current position?

21     Are you retired?  Do you have a job?

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am retired.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are retired from the

24     Croatian Army and the French Army?

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am retired from the French Army

Page 45171

 1     and from the Croatian Army.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What were your ranks in both

 3     these armies?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm lieutenant-colonel in the

 5     French Army and major general in the Croatian Army.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, have you already

 7     testified before a Tribunal on the events that unfolded in the former

 8     Yugoslavia or are you testifying for the first time today?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time -- I'm

10     testifying for the first time today on the events concerning Croatia.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please read the

12     solemn declaration which the usher is about to show you.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I declare that I shall tell the

14     truth -- I solemnly declare that I shall tell the truth, the whole truth,

15     and nothing but the truth.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, General.  You may

17     sit down.

18             General, some information about the way in which this hearing

19     will unfold.  You have been called by the Praljak Defence team.  You will

20     therefore answer questions which will be put to you by his counsel,

21     Ms. Pinter, whom I'm sure you have met either this morning or yesterday.

22     After that, the other Defence counsel of the other accused who are

23     sitting on your left may put questions to you as part of their

24     cross-examination.  General Praljak may even put questions to you of a

25     military nature in the time limit he has been granted.  The four members

Page 45172

 1     of the bench may at any time intervene to put questions to you, and the

 2     Prosecutor, who is on your right, will undoubtedly take the floor on

 3     Monday as part of his cross-examination.

 4             Had you come yesterday, we could have held our hearing yesterday

 5     and today, which means you could have gone home today since you come from

 6     Corsica which is long way away.  You were unable to be here yesterday.

 7     You will, therefore, unfortunately have to stay here over the weekend.

 8             Please try and be as accurate as you possibly can when you answer

 9     the questions.  If there's something you don't understand, please don't

10     hesitate to ask the person who has put the question to you to rephrase

11     it, even if it is a Judge who put the questions to you.  If you don't

12     understand the question, please let him know.

13             Everything you are saying is being recorded on the transcript

14     which is on the screen before you.  This is -- these are oral

15     proceedings.  Therefore, what you tell us is extremely important.

16             The Praljak Defence team will show you documents, and during the

17     cross-examination of the Prosecution some documents may also be shown to

18     you.

19             Today we will have 20-minute break after an hour and a half and

20     resume our hearing again after that and finish at 6.00.  Next week, on

21     Monday, we shall start at a quarter past 2.00 and the hearing will end at

22     7.00 p.m.

23             This is the information I wish to share with you to make sure

24     this hearing unfolds as smoothly as possible so that you can contribute

25     to the truth, General.

Page 45173

 1             On Friday and Saturday you will be staying here, and the Trial

 2     Chamber orders you not to have any contact with the media or anybody

 3     else, for that matter.  You mustn't tell anyone, Those are the questions

 4     that I've been asked and this is what was being said.  You mustn't say

 5     anything at all.

 6             In addition, there is another something else I would like to tell

 7     you, is that you have taken the oath and you are a witness of this

 8     Tribunal, and you may not have any contact whatsoever with the Praljak

 9     Defence team.

10             Ms. Pinter, I shall now give you the floor so that you can

11     conduct your examination-in-chief.

12             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.  Good

13     afternoon to you and all my colleagues in the courtroom and good

14     afternoon to everybody else in the courtroom, especially to the

15     interpreters, who always have a bit of trouble with me, but I'll do my

16     best to be a good girl this afternoon and not go too fast.

17                           Examination by Ms. Pinter:

18        Q.   [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General.  May I ask you to

19     decide whether you're going to speak Croatian or French, because that

20     will facilitate the work of the interpreters -- or, rather, if you mix

21     your languages, it's a bit difficult for them.  I would suggest that you

22     take off your headset while you're listening to me and while I'm asking

23     you the questions, because you'll hear and understand me in Croatian, and

24     you'll understand and be able to hear the Presiding Judge when he speaks

25     in French, and then you can decide.  So perhaps that would be a good

Page 45174

 1     idea.

 2        A.   I shall be speaking French.

 3        Q.   Very well.  Then take your headsets off.

 4             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] And may I ask the usher to --

 5             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, sorry to intervene, but I think

 6     it's not proper for the witness to take off his headset so he can at

 7     least hear when some other party intervenes in some other language.

 8             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] And what channel is the French on,

 9     please?

10             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I think that channel 3 is the

11     floor.  So perhaps it would be best if the witness were to switch to

12     channel 3, which is the floor, and then he can hear the languages in

13     their original.

14             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

15        Q.   General, we're going to provide you with the documents now.

16             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Could the usher help us out, please,

17     and provide the General with the documents.

18        Q.   General, I've been told that you would be required to put your

19     headsets on and switch to channel 3, please.  Thank you.

20             You've now been given the documents, and since that is the case,

21     would you turn to the first document, and it is 3D03710.  Do you

22     recognise the document?

23        A.   Yes, I do.  I wrote it.  I wrote this.

24        Q.   It's the statement that you gave to the Praljak Defence.  And did

25     you give it to the best of your knowledge and recollections and

Page 45175

 1     truthfully?

 2        A.   That's right.

 3        Q.   May I ask you to wait for me to finish before you start speaking,

 4     which gives the interpreters a chance to interpret without any

 5     overlapping.

 6             So you signed this statement; right?

 7        A.   That's right.

 8        Q.   The first part of your statement relates to your military

 9     education, training, and your experience in the army.  Could you tell the

10     Court, please, as briefly as possible, because we've already got it all

11     in your statement, where you were educated and trained and so on?

12        A.   I was trained in the Foreign Legion in Algeria.  I joined on the

13     10th of April, 1959.  The basic training lasted four months.  I then

14     joined a unit which was fighting as part of the Legion.  After a few

15     months, I went back for a four-months' training, and I then obtained the

16     rank of corporal.  After one year, approximately, I went back for another

17     training course in Algeria and became a sergeant.  I was part of a

18     fighting unit until the end of the Algerian war.  I then returned to

19     France, more specifically to Corsica, on the 28th of June, 1962.

20        Q.   General, you needn't go into the details.  We've heard what

21     you've just said.  We have the details in your statement.

22             How long were you in the French Army, and what was the rank when

23     you -- your rank when you left the French Army?

24        A.   I retired from the French Army on the 17th of July, 1989.  My

25     rank was that of a lieutenant-colonel then.

Page 45176

 1        Q.   And your military experience and knowledge enable me to ask you

 2     the following question:  What, according to you, is the chain of command?

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, General, before we

 4     address the issues of chain of command.  So we know that you were a

 5     lieutenant-colonel when you left the French Army.  If I understood you

 6     correctly, when you joined on the 10th of April, 1959, you were a

 7     Croatian by nationality.  In the Foreign Legion you acquired French

 8     nationality.  As one says, in the Foreign Legion, through the blood that

 9     you have spilt.  When did you become French actually?

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I became French at the beginning of

11     June 1965.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You entered lieutenant -- as a

13     lieutenant-colonel in the French Army.  Can you confirm that your

14     training in the French Army was quite remarkable?  You started off as a

15     private, and you were, when you left the French Army, a

16     lieutenant-colonel.  That was quite exceptional.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, to be quite frank, this was

18     exceptional.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, you were a

20     member of the elite corps, the crack troops.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, could you say it this way.

22             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

23        Q.   With all due respect, I'm listening to the interpretation, and

24     I'd like to warn the witness that -- or, rather, could -- Witness, could

25     you wait after a question has been posed.

Page 45177

 1             And I was asking you about the chain of command.  What does the

 2     term "chain of command" mean and the concept, and what are the basic

 3     requirements for the chain of command to function without a hitch or to

 4     function well?

 5        A.   The chain of command is a chain -- when a commander of a unit

 6     gives an order, the order goes downwards, so to speak.  In other words,

 7     down to the last echelon, i.e., the private.  For this to work, it is

 8     necessary, of course, to have the right men, those that are used to

 9     giving the orders and those that are used to executing the orders.

10        Q.   Can we then say that for the functioning of -- we need a line

11     from bottom to top and from top to bottom?  Would that be right?

12        A.   Yes, we can.

13        Q.   In your statement you say that you came to the Republic of

14     Croatia -- well, could you tell the Court when that was and why?  When

15     did you come to Croatia and why?

16        A.   I arrived in Croatia in June of 1993.  There was a Croatian

17     officer there whom I had met in the Foreign Legion, who contacted me and

18     who asked me if I wanted to go and come and give a helping hand to the

19     Croatians to defend their country.

20        Q.   Did you stay in the Republic of Croatia for any longer, or did

21     you go somewhere else?

22        A.   When I arrived in Zagreb, I knew no one there except this officer

23     who commanded a battalion, and he asked me to -- he allowed me to be

24     billeted with him.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, when in June you were

Page 45178

 1     called by this officer, you got this telephone call from this officer

 2     asking you to come, you were under oath and you were telling us that you

 3     went to Croatia on your own volition.  No one in France told you, "You're

 4     needed over there.  You must go over there," no one from the secret

 5     services, the French Army?  Could you tell us whether anyone from the

 6     French State intervened to tell you that you must go over there, or is it

 7     or is it something you made on your own volition?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is something I did on my own

 9     volition.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What was the name of this

11     officer who called you?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Filipovic.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time you were in

14     Corsica, were stationed in Calvi?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I lived in Corte, in the middle of

16     Corsica.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Ms. Pinter.

18             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

19        Q.   General, you arrived in Croatia.  Did you stay in Croatia or did

20     you go elsewhere?

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, on the 5th channel --

22     [Interpretation] Channel number 5 we're hearing Croatian instead of

23     French.  It's the second question from Ms. Pinter which was not

24     translated.

25             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

Page 45179

 1        Q.   My question to the General was:  Could you please answer,

 2     General?

 3        A.   No, I didn't stay in Croatia.  I left for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 4        Q.   Where exactly?

 5        A.   In Citluk.

 6        Q.   Very well.  In order to gain time - there is a lot in your

 7     statement - what was the situation in Citluk like when you came there?

 8     I'm interested in the military organisation.  What was the situation in

 9     the HVO at the time when you arrived there?

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, the counsel is going

11     very quickly, but I believe that we should go step-by-step.  Filipovic

12     called you and said, "We need you," and then you left for Citluk in the

13     Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

14             Could you tell us whether at that time you actually signed a

15     contract with the Croatian Army, or whether you were just a volunteer

16     with a very undetermined status who just went to go and give a helping

17     hand in Citluk?  Could you tell us what your position was at the time?

18     Or maybe you had been recruited as a "mercenary."

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I was not recruited as a

20     mercenary.  I arrived in Croatia where I knew no one.  I ended up in this

21     barracks with Filipovic.  At that moment, Bugojno in Bosnia-Herzegovina

22     had fallen, and someone from the Ministry of Defence asked me whether I

23     would volunteer to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

24             I signed no contract whatsoever with the Croatian Army, but I

25     decided to go as a volunteer to help the Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Page 45180

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yourself, did you have any

 2     kinship with Bosnia-Herzegovina?  Do you have relatives over there?

 3     Where does your family hail from?  Does it hail from Croatia or from

 4     Bosnia and Herzegovina?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no connection whatsoever

 6     with Bosnia-Herzegovina.  My family comes from Zagreb.  Well, what's left

 7     of my family.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So why did you go to Citluk?

 9     Why did you go to Bosnia-Herzegovina?  What motivated you to go there?

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was motivated because of the

11     problems encountered by the Croatian population.  There was no

12     afterthought or -- as far as separation or any other idea.  I had -- did

13     not have that in mind at all with Croats on the one side or on another

14     side, whatever.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Ms. Pinter.

16             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

17        Q.   General, my question was this:  What did you find in Citluk?

18     What was the situation like in terms of the HVO -- or, rather, the

19     military component of the HVO?

20        A.   When I arrived in Citluk after a long road trip, going through

21     the island of Pag, I was asked the following question:  "How can you help

22     the HVO?"

23        Q.   They [Previous translation continued]...

24        A.   I believe at the time it was Colonel Matisse.  I believe that was

25     his name, or close to that.  Not Matisse, Matic.  Matic.

Page 45181

 1        Q.   That's correct.

 2        A.   There was no command post at the time, or command position, and

 3     therefore Colonel Matic asked me to tour, to inspect, if I could say so,

 4     the front line and then report to him.

 5        Q.   And what did you establish?

 6        A.   On the field I found a catastrophic situation.  The units were

 7     poorly equipped, hardly trained, or very poorly trained.  They were all

 8     volunteers, and they were commanded by people who had no basic military

 9     training.

10        Q.   You said that they were volunteers.  Could you please describe a

11     military unit for us when you toured the field and when you saw them?

12        A.   They were organised according to brigades or regiments.  Either

13     in brigades or regiments.  They were just normal people, village people,

14     or people coming from small towns.  They were integrated into these units

15     and sent to the front line.  There was a rotation.  There was a rotation,

16     usually one-third at a time.

17        Q.   And were there any problems with sending people to the front line

18     or whether that was organised well?  Was the response good?  Could you

19     have troops along the whole front line without any problems?

20        A.   The response was -- when these people joined the combat units, it

21     was very difficult for them to be integrated into these units.  There

22     were a lot of people absent from the front, but mainly on the front

23     line --

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's correction:  Notably when the

25     front line was far from their own village.

Page 45182

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These people just didn't like going

 2     to fight far away from their village.

 3        Q.   Did you have an occasion to see what the discipline was like

 4     among the troops?

 5        A.   It was hardly -- there was no discipline whatsoever, or hardly

 6     any.  There were small groups commanded by -- by small little chiefs in

 7     such a way that it was very difficult for the unit commander to command

 8     these people.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one minute.  These HVO

10     soldiers who were often absent, who were far from their village, there

11     was a total lack of discipline, no training, no military training

12     whatsoever, compared to the situation you experienced during the war in

13     Algeria with the Fellaghas, was there a different nature between those

14     who you fought in Algeria who were civilians with a military command or

15     were these HVO people just plain civilians?  They were just given a

16     weapon and a uniform but no military training whatsoever?  Could you tell

17     us?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were civilians, civilians to

19     whom weapons were given, but they didn't -- there wasn't much command.

20     There wasn't enough people commanding them.  Whereas in Algeria, the

21     French Army was organised, trained, and there was no -- there was no

22     command problem.  There was no problem regarding the reporting of orders

23     also in the line of command, bottom to top, with reporting.  This did not

24     exist within the HVO.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question from my

Page 45183

 1     fellow Judge.

 2             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, I would like to come back

 3     to the volunteers in the HVO, these volunteer soldiers.  You said that in

 4     the HVO you met volunteers and small chiefs, as you called them.

 5     According to you, is "volunteer" a pejorative or is it positive as far as

 6     you were concerned?  And in the Foreign Legion you were a volunteer.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To answer your first question, the

 8     volunteers in the ranks of the HVO were civilians.  On paper they were

 9     part of the military organisation, but only on paper, whereas in the

10     Foreign Legion, the volunteers become professional soldiers.

11             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you.  So we talked about the

12     volunteers.  Now let's talk about the small chiefs.  You know that an

13     army can only work with discipline, and with discipline you have to have

14     sanctions.  If you have no sanction, there's no discipline and then

15     there's no army.

16             So you mentioned these small chiefs.  Could you tell us whether

17     they would severely punish their soldiers, their volunteers who were

18     under their command?

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, because -- that was the

20     problem.  These small -- small chiefs were able to impose their will on

21     small groups, and the unit commanders were almost unable to do anything,

22     because when they -- if they behaved with severity, they might lose a

23     good number of volunteers.  And actually, the situation became such --

24     was such -- became such that each man counted at that time.

25             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you.

Page 45184

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, you told us that you

 2     toured the front line, that according to you the situation was

 3     catastrophic.  Did you draft a written report on the situation, or did

 4     you just report on this orally to those who were asking you about it?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wrote a number of reports,

 6     reports which were addressed to the Main Staff.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And there you drew -- you told

 8     them about the situation, which was very poor, very bad.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Given the situation, why did

11     you stay?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was just one additional motive

13     for me to stay, to help out, to help these people out so they could stay

14     on their land, and I wanted to provide them with my military knowledge.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

16             Ms. Pinter.

17             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.  We have

18     General Skender's reports, but through my omission they were not put on

19     65 ter list, and that's why they have not been prepared for this

20     examination-in-chief.  One of the reports have already been -- has

21     already been used, and I can give you the Defence numbers for the

22     documents.  They have not been put on 65 ter list through my omission.

23        Q.   General, I'm going to refer to your statement in which you

24     describe the situation with regard to reporting along the vertical line

25     up and down, and you say that the situation was very difficult in terms

Page 45185

 1     of both control and reporting.  You are saying this on page 3D42-5273 of

 2     Croatian, and in English it is 3D42-5281.

 3             Now I would like to ask you this.  The situation was bad and

 4     that's how you found it.  Your assessment in view of your experience and

 5     your stay in that area, would you say that the commanders consciously

 6     provided for such a bad situation, the chain of command and the flow of

 7     information up and down the chain, did they just simply ignore the facts

 8     and issued an order that they then neglected, or is there a third reason

 9     why the situation was as it was?

10        A.   No, they did not neglect that, but when an order was issued, an

11     order was issued top down, it was very difficult if not impossible to be

12     absolutely sure that this order actually ended up where it was supposed

13     to end up, and it was even less sure to know whether the order hadn't

14     been changed while it was being transmitted.

15             What I mean is the following:  When a unit commander said

16     something, issued an order, to be sure that the order was correctly

17     understood, the only solution was for the -- was to directly ask the --

18     the last addressee of this order whether he obtained the order, and there

19     often there were surprises.  Most of the time the order that had been

20     issued, I'm not saying all the times, but most of the times the order

21     that had been issued had changed along the line of command, and the

22     reason for that was that the entire chain of command had been very poorly

23     trained.  Everyone would interpret the order according to his own ideas,

24     and there were hardly any contradiction on the way back up.  Because of

25     this situation, the command never knew whether the order issued had

Page 45186

 1     actually been carried out.

 2             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Excuse me, Ms. Pinter, that I interrupt you.

 3             The general spoke about the implementation of the orders and the

 4     difficulties connected to those, to the implementation, and also in his

 5     statement there are references to the rules to be followed and -- and at

 6     the very beginning of his statement, on English text page 1, second

 7     paragraph, there are references to the -- at one of the places to the

 8     Geneva Conventions in plural, and then in the end of that very paragraph

 9     there is a reference and I quote that:

10              "We are -- that even in harsh discipline environment we are not

11     obliged to execute orders which are not in accordance with the Geneva

12     Convention on -- Convention," in singular, "on human rights."  And there

13     are also references to the Geneva Conventions later on.

14             I would like to ask the general, because probably it is a

15     question of translation that there was a reference to the

16     Geneva Convention on human rights that, according to his knowledge and

17     what he learned, what kind of conventions are we speaking of, so what

18     would he recall -- what would you recall about the Geneva Conventions in

19     a more detailed way?  I do not say that you have to give us a lecture

20     about the Geneva Conventions, but if you would be able to tell us one or

21     two of those Conventions which you are referring to.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I don't speak

23     English and I did not get the French translation.  [In English] Excuse

24     me.

25             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Well, that's a pity.  Of course, really I don't

Page 45187

 1     want to take too much time with this question.  Let me summarise what I

 2     would like to -- to ask from you and give the following:  In your

 3     statement there are references to the Geneva Conventions and also to a

 4     Geneva Convention on Human Rights, but I would like to ask you that as a

 5     soldier who was trained in the Foreign Legion, and also you later on took

 6     responsibilities in the -- in -- actually in Herzegovina,

 7     Bosnia-Herzegovina, what kind of Conventions do you know about when you

 8     talk about the Geneva Conventions?  In concrete terms what kind of rules

 9     you believed that they are contained in the Geneva Conventions?  Thank

10     you.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course there are a lot of rules

12     in the Geneva Convention, but for the main part at that time that needed

13     to be applied on the ground were the rules that stipulated that one

14     should not brutalise, kill the prisoners of war of the opponent.

15             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Fine.  Thank you very much.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, without addressing the

17     legal issue of the Geneva Conventions, when you joined the

18     Foreign Legion, you signed what is called the Code of Honour of any

19     legionnaire.  Can you confirm that at the time you joined the

20     Foreign Legion you were shown this code which you signed?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite right.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you remember that in this

23     code of legionnaires, chapter 7, one mentions this, and I quote:

24              "In combat you must act dispassionately and without hate.  You

25     must respect the enemies that have been conquered.  You must never

Page 45188

 1     abandon either the dead or the wounded or your arms."

 2             In chapter 7 there is this sentence:  "You must respect the

 3     enemies that have been conquered."

 4             Since you were a high-ranking officer, how did you understand

 5     this when you were in the military in Citluk and elsewhere, this notion

 6     of respecting the enemies that had been conquered?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is indeed an item in the code

 8     of the legionnaires.  That is exactly it.  When I arrived in

 9     Bosnia-Herzegovina, I advocated this to everyone I was in contact with,

10     and I told everyone that the prisoners should not be hurt, the prisoners

11     should not be killed, even less so, because people who do that will be

12     held liable for murder, but after these killings those people will never

13     be able to rest in peace.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you correctly,

15     you conveyed this message, and you told these men that they should not

16     commit any crimes.

17             As far as the people under you were concerned, did you remind

18     these men that the Conventions existed that had clear indications of what

19     to do with the prisoners of war?  Did you really convey the spirit of the

20     Geneva Conventions?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every time I had the opportunity, I

22     did.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Pinter.

24             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

25        Q.   General, do you know whether the other commanders did the same?

Page 45189

 1     That is to say, did they caution their men about how to behave towards

 2     civilians, prisoners of war, and so on, or do you not know?

 3        A.   I don't know, but what I do know is that I had in my possession a

 4     small booklet - I don't know who had signed it - which explained or

 5     spelled out the Geneva Conventions.  This had been published by the HVO.

 6        Q.   Yes.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Published by the HVO, yes.

 7             I'd now like to ask you to open the following document:  It is

 8     3D00796.  And we'll come back to the situation in Herzegovina where you

 9     were.  And it's a document dated the 26th of October, 1993.

10             You were shown this document, General, yesterday.  I showed it to

11     you; right?

12        A.   Could you please give me the number of this document?

13        Q.   3D00796.  It's the first document after your statement?

14        A.   76.  Fine.

15        Q.   You've already seen the document.  You saw it yesterday.

16        A.   Yes, of course.

17        Q.   Do you stand by what it says in this document, or do you

18     disagree?

19        A.   This is document 5D76, is it?

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I think it's difficult

21     for you to find your way around the documents.  In the binder which

22     Ms. Pinter has given you, you have small tabs, yellow tabs.  You should

23     find this on the second and it, which is dated the 26th of October.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I got it.

25             Yes, I can see this document.  I must say that I did not attend

Page 45190

 1     this meeting for the simple reason that I was in France for a few days.

 2     But on reading this document, I find it quite adequate since a number of

 3     questions are put to the Ministry [as interpreted] of Defence.  It's

 4     quite appropriate.

 5             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

 6        Q.   From anybody else in addition to the Ministry of Defence?

 7        A.   It's also addressed to the civilian and political authorities,

 8     since they are to adopt a series of laws that would enable this proposal

 9     to go through.

10        Q.   Very well.  Thank you.  Now, from this document may we conclude

11     that the military component of the HVO had problems with mobilisation, or

12     was mobilisation something that did not pose a problem, that the brigades

13     were up to strength and equipped properly?  And can we conclude that

14     there weren't too many deserters either, so that didn't pose a problem?

15     Or perhaps there were deserters and that did pose a problem.  Which?  And

16     can we also say that all the components did their job?

17        A.   Not at all.  There were enormous amount of deserters and a great

18     deal of absenteeism.  I could -- this is something I could check myself

19     when I inspected the brigades that were in the south, brigades of the HVO

20     on the military attendance list, and I could also check their presence on

21     the ground.  There were huge gaps between the two, huge discrepancies.

22             For instance, there was something like 1.700 men on the

23     attendance list, but it was something like 1.100, in fact.  This

24     discrepancy could only be due to the fact that some were deserters or to

25     a high rate of absenteeism.

Page 45191

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in your written

 2     statement there is a short gap which I would like you to fill for us,

 3     please.  You say in your statement that you became a commander of the

 4     operational zone in Tomislavgrad in December 1993.  The document we have

 5     before us is dated October before you commanded the operational zone.

 6     Can you tell us from June 1993 onwards what was your position inside the

 7     HVO before the 1st of December, 1993?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't in command of anything.  I

 9     was part of the HVO.  I was something of an instructor, save for an

10     emergency, which in fact was the case when the Muslim offensive was

11     launched on the 15th of August, 1993.  I was then asked to assume the

12     command and, if possible, to get back onto ground and regain the

13     territory lost by the HVO.  This only lasted a few days, and then I was

14     no longer in command until the 20th of December, 1993, when I assumed the

15     command of the military area in Tomislavgrad.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 15th of August, during

17     this military operation, where exactly did this operation take place?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] South of Mostar, around or close to

19     the Neretva and the Buna.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Between June and December, did

21     you have an opportunity to meet the commander of the HVO, who was

22     General Petkovic, who was then replaced by General Praljak?  Were you in

23     contact with these two generals at any time?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had no contact with

25     General Petkovic, because he was almost all the time in contact with

Page 45192

 1     representatives of the international community.  General Praljak, well, I

 2     saw him for the first time by the by in Prozor.  This only lasted a few

 3     moments.  We didn't even introduce each other, didn't -- however, I met

 4     him on the ground in the battle-field in this area between the Neretva

 5     and the Buna.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you acted as an

 7     instructor, what were people saying in the HVO about the command?  Who

 8     was the commander?  The commander -- who was the commander?  Was it

 9     General Petkovic, was it General Praljak, X, Y?  What did people say?

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I -- I can only say that

11     General Praljak --

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please repeat your answer.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was saying that General Praljak

14     was very much liked by his men.  General Petkovic, a little less so,

15     despite the fact that he was my friend, because people at the time did

16     not like the officers that came from the Yugoslav Army.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were on the ground,

18     General.  From where you were, did you have the feeling that the supreme

19     commander was Mate Boban, or the defence minister, or the commander of

20     the HVO, or no one?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had the feeling, and I am

22     practically sure that everything had to go through Mate Boban.  But I

23     cannot vouch for it 100 per cent, because I have no proof of it.

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, Counsel, please.

25             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

Page 45193

 1        Q.   Since we've just mentioned General Praljak, apart from that

 2     meeting in Prozor and in August 1993, did you ever meet him again before

 3     you became commander of the Tomislavgrad Operation Zone?

 4        A.   I was in contact with General Praljak when I commanded the area

 5     in Tomislavgrad.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, we have a big problem,

 7     which is the following:  You have just told us that you assumed the

 8     command of the military area in Tomislavgrad in December.

 9     General Praljak left his position in November.  He went to Zagreb then.

10             How can you explain this to us, this discrepancy in the time

11     line?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I was in contact with

13     General Praljak in January 1994, he was no longer the leader of the HVO,

14     but in light of the huge problems that arose at the time in Prozor, I had

15     asked him to come and give us a hand to try and find a solution to this

16     problem which was a serious one, since he knew the men who were there and

17     the men who were there knew him, and he was well-respected.  He agreed to

18     come, because at the time he was in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we found

19     a solution to this serious problem.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, what we knew so far is

21     this:  That General Praljak left his position as the commander of the HVO

22     at the beginning of November, the 8th of November.  He goes to Zagreb,

23     and he then seemingly has a hard time for a short while before emerging

24     on the scene again as a close aid of President Tudjman and as a military

25     advisor.  We have seen material evidence of this, that he re-surfaces

Page 45194

 1     again afterwards.  In January 1994, he is no longer part of the HVO and

 2     does not figure anywhere on the administration files of the HVO.

 3             When you saw him again or when you saw him, how was he?  Was he

 4     dressed as a civilian, as a military?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, he was

 6     dressed in civilian clothes.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you correctly,

 8     he came to give you a helping hand to solve a problem.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's quite right.  This was

10     something he did on a personal note.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is something which is

12     normally done in such a situation?

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, but it was important to calm

14     things down.  The people involved in all these problems were having

15     difficulties.  The tensions had risen very high.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And was your command of the HVO

17     aware of this?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.  I believe so, but I

19     don't know.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

21             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

22        Q.   Since we're at this point, General, could you describe what the

23     situation was like when General Praljak was called to come and give his

24     assistance, and could you tell us the period of time that this happened?

25        A.   This had to do with a very serious incident.  This occurred

Page 45195

 1     towards the end of January.  I can check the dates.

 2             In the town of Prozor, there were people who were drunk, and two

 3     killings occurred.

 4        Q.   Just a moment, please.  Just one moment.  Are we talking about

 5     HVO members -- or, rather, Croats, or are you talking about an event

 6     where both the Muslims and Croats took part?

 7        A.   No.  I'm talking about an incident that occurred between Croats

 8     of the HVO.  Let me specify.

 9             This had to do with men from the Rama Brigade and soldiers or men

10     from a brigade that came from Bugojno.  Two men from the Rama Brigade

11     were killed in a bar, which gave rise to the withdrawal of a great number

12     of the military in Rama on the defence lines, and they started moving

13     towards Prozor.  On the other side, the military that were part of the

14     Bugojno Brigade did likewise.

15             The men from the Rama, from Rama surrounded the command of the

16     area -- or, rather, the area of my command.  Prior to that, I arrested

17     and made sure that the man who was suspected of having killed these two

18     men was protected in a shelter -- who was suspected of having killed.

19             It was clear that there had been this conflict between the two

20     brigades.  This would have affected the whole area.  The Rama Brigade, in

21     other words the men -- the military from the Rama Brigade, then demanded

22     that I hand over this man from Bugojno, which I refused to do, because I

23     knew full well that if I did that, that man would be a dead man.

24             Given that the situation was so serious, we decided -- or,

25     rather, I -- I appealed to General Praljak, I appealed to the military

Page 45196

 1     police and to a military judge in Livno, and in addition I appealed to a

 2     number of prominent political figures.

 3             The situation calmed down, and after having provided guarantees

 4     to the men of the Rama Brigade that this man would be tried according to

 5     the law, and that's what happened.

 6             It took a good 48 hours for the situation to calm down a little.

 7        Q.   Did General Praljak manage to calm the situation down?  Was he

 8     involved in that?

 9        A.   Yes.  General Praljak played the most important role in defusing

10     the situation, given, as I said, that the men knew him and he knew his

11     men.  He knew these men.

12        Q.   You said that you had seen General Praljak in Prozor and that you

13     had also seen him near Mostar in the month of August.  Did you meet him

14     in the Main Staff as he well?  When you arrived you were in Citluk, in

15     the Main Staff, as you've told us.

16        A.   No.  I never met him at the Main Staff.  I was on the field every

17     day.  And when I went to the Main Staff, he wasn't there.  I guess that

18     he was doing the same as I was.  He was also on the field.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, we have heard a good

20     number of witnesses, and we've also heard General Praljak.  He sat in

21     your seat just a few days ago.

22             We understood that in the HVO there was the Main Staff and the

23     operational zone commands, and you, for example, were commander in

24     December of the Tomislavgrad command.

25             Now, this is what I would like to know, because you are the first

Page 45197

 1     one that we have who is right under the -- you're the first that we have

 2     that is right under the HVO command.  I'd like to know whether the three

 3     Cs, the C cube -- the C cube was always enforced in the Main Staff, and I

 4     would like to know whether there was always someone on duty at the Main

 5     Staff who would be totally always in contact with the duty officer in the

 6     operational zones.  I'd like to know whether there was a permanent

 7     communication between these duty officers, because you've just told us,

 8     "I went to the Main Staff and he wasn't there."  Fine, but I guess there

 9     must have been a duty officer there.  And in your own operational zone,

10     there was also a duty officer.  At least I guess so.

11             Was that the way things worked?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  Each staff or military region

13     or operational zone had a duty officer, and these duty officers were

14     always in contact with each other.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.  So communication between

16     the Main Staff and the operational zone was ensured round the clock.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  I believe it's time

19     for the break, or our only break.  It's 10 to 4.00.  We will now break

20     for 20 minutes.  Therefore, we will resume around 4.10 or 4.15, and we'll

21     run until 6.00.

22                           --- Recess taken at 4.53 p.m.

23                           --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Court is back in session.

25             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

Page 45198

 1        Q.   General, in response to a question from Judge Antonetti about

 2     whether communication between the Main Staff and the zones were constant

 3     and secure, your answer was yes.

 4        A.   Yes.

 5        Q.   And in that communication there was no problem either with

 6     respect -- either from the operative zone to the Main Staff or vice

 7     versa, from the Main Staff to the operative zone; is that right?

 8        A.   To my knowledge, no.

 9        Q.   Thank you.  Now would you look at the next document, and as

10     Judge Antonetti told you, you have a yellow sticker where it says

11     3D01098.

12             Have you found the document?  It is dated the 11th of September,

13     1993, signed by someone for Slobodan Praljak.  Have you found it?

14        A.   98.  Yes.  September 11, 1993.

15        Q.   Tell us, please, General, according to your military experience,

16     is it customary for a Main Staff commander to write "urgent" on these

17     reports?

18        A.   No, this is not customary.  Normally when a commander issues an

19     order, the order is carried out, but in this document I see that he's

20     asking to be told quickly why the order was not carried out, which proves

21     once again that the chain of command did not work from top down.

22        Q.   Thank you.  Tell me, please, General --

23             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] If I may.  Witness, you say that

24     this shows that the command chain did not operate properly, but if I

25     understand you correctly, this means that a communication was not

Page 45199

 1     transferred or transmitted at one point in time, but maybe another is --

 2     another solution is that the Livno Command forgot to answer, so it would

 3     be a communication problem but a discipline problem?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't say what it was.  I

 5     cannot be sure that the communication was actually transmitted.  But I

 6     believe that the order was not carried out, and there was no -- but it

 7     wasn't carried out and there was no report on why it wasn't carried out.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you.  I see that you agree

 9     with my observation, which says that there are several possibilities to

10     be envisaged here.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in -- as far as HVO is

12     concerned, you're the first commander of an operational zone to come and

13     testify.  So far we have seen no one at your level, which is why it's

14     extremely interesting to have you in the witness box, and this gives us

15     the opportunity to put a number of technical questions to you.

16             When we look at this document, which is issued by General Praljak

17     as the HVO Main Staff commander, when this document arrives in the

18     operational zone could you tell us whether the operational zone commander

19     is going to read the document himself and maybe put some -- mark it and

20     then issue orders, or is it his assistants or someone else who is going

21     to receive the document, which means in that case that the operational

22     zone commander might not see this document.

23             Could you tell us whether the military rule is that all orders

24     coming from the top must be read by the people under the superior?

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This document must have been read

Page 45200

 1     by the commander of the operational zone.  He was the -- he was to

 2     receive this document, because the Livno Brigade is under the command of

 3     the Tomislavgrad Operational Zone.

 4             THE INTERPRETER:  Or military region, interpreter's correction.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know why the commander of

 6     the region did not react before he -- General Praljak reacted, because he

 7     should have been the first one to react.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Let me give you an

 9     example.  Let's say that the commander of the military region is not at

10     his desk.  He's touring the front.  He's inspecting a unit.  A very

11     urgent order arrives coming in for Mate Boban, for the Ministry of

12     Defence, or for the commander of the HVO, personally sent to the

13     commander of the operational zone.  The duty -- what should the duty

14     officer do in such a case?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The duty officer is first must

16     write down this document in the logbook, then secondly, he must contact

17     the commander of the regional district to which this order was sent in

18     any kind of fashion to make sure that the region commander can read the

19     document and then react.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Another technical

21     question but the last one.  The commander of the military region, let's

22     say you, for example, in December, you arrive at your desk in the

23     morning.  Are you going to take a look at the logbook to see what exactly

24     happened overnight?  Is it something that you do customarily?

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, because I was trained to do

Page 45201

 1     that.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

 3             Ms. Pinter.

 4             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation].

 5        Q.   According to your personal experience while you were the advisor,

 6     while you were not appointed in official terms in the HVO as commander of

 7     the operative zone, did you come across situations in which you were able

 8     to see what the commanders' of the operative zones conduct was?  Did they

 9     look at the various books and logbooks and so on?  Do you have any

10     knowledge about that?  If not, you needn't speculate or guess.

11        A.   No.  I don't know exactly whether all operational zone commanders

12     worked as I did because I wasn't there when they arrived and took over

13     their regional command.

14        Q.   Tell us, please, General, do you know the following:

15     General Praljak was sitting in the HVO HQ, in the command, from, say,

16     July 1993 when you were in the area of Herzegovina.  Was he there, or he

17     went to Zagreb, or was he up at the front line or was there some other

18     explanation as to where he was which explained why you couldn't meet?

19        A.   I said that I met General Praljak twice on the field, once in

20     passing in Prozor at the end of July, and a second time in the middle of

21     August during the operations to recapture the terrain lost by the HVO

22     between the Neretva and the Buna.  I didn't know where he was apart from

23     these two times.

24        Q.   Was it normal for General Praljak as the commander of the Main

25     Staff of the HVO to be on the front line?

Page 45202

 1        A.   No.  But if you want to know exactly what's happening, you have

 2     to go -- that's the way -- that's what you have to do.  As I said

 3     earlier, to know exactly what is happening, you have to go on the field

 4     to check what's happening, which proves that the report chain didn't work

 5     well from bottom up.

 6        Q.   In this courtroom we also heard that General Praljak spent most

 7     of his time in the months of July, August, and September on the front

 8     line.  What you're saying is that that was the only possible -- possible

 9     way for him to work, or do you think that he had to act differently in

10     order to provide for the three Cs, the command, control, and information?

11        A.   As far as I know, General Praljak likes direct contact.  He'd

12     rather go for human contact, and he always wanted to prove, to show to

13     his men on the field that he was with them, amongst them.

14        Q.   How did it reflect on the foot soldiers?  Do you know anything

15     about that?

16        A.   Excellent, as far as the morale was concerned.  Men on the field

17     liked to see their commander with them in the same quagmire, if I could

18     say so.

19        Q.   According to what you personally experienced and saw in the

20     territory of Herzegovina, was that the only possible way to have an

21     insight into the entire -- into the whole situation, or was there any

22     other mechanism in place?  Was that only because General Praljak had felt

23     the need to be in contact with his men, or was it just a necessity?

24        A.   General Praljak liked this kind of contact, but it was also a

25     necessity.  The morale of the troops was a bit low.  But every time a

Page 45203

 1     commander would come to visit the men and to get direct information from

 2     them, that way he could get a better idea of what was happening on the

 3     ground.

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] If you -- if I may, Ms. Pinter.

 5             What you're telling us is not new.  We've heard about this

 6     already.  However, I would like to know what was the relationship between

 7     this commitment on the field, which is probably extremely positive, as

 8     you just told us, and the tasks of a commander when he's in his

 9     headquarters.  Do you know how General Praljak maintained contact with

10     the headquarters when he was touring the front?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, but I guess that the front was

12     never too far away.  So it didn't take a long time to return to the Main

13     Staff, to the HQ, where meetings were probably held.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you, but this is a bit --

15     this conjecture is --

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Overlapping speakers] No.  No.

17     Look at the front line.  The front line at the Neretva and the Buna, they

18     were just a few kilometres from the Citluk HQ.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] That's not where I see you

20     giving us a hypothesis.  You said, "I suppose the front was not long.  I

21     guess the front was not long -- far away."

22             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's correction:  Far away.

23             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] And then you said there were

24     probably meetings at the HQ, probably, which means that it is not

25     something you know for sure.  You're just supposing that that's the way

Page 45204

 1     things happened.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, which is why I added this

 3     probably.  I wasn't there.  I'm not 100 per cent sure that these meetings

 4     were actually held.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in the same line of

 6     questioning regarding this problem with communications, if I understood

 7     you correctly, in August, around August 15th, you came to help in the

 8     framework of this military operation on the Neretva-Buna front, and if I

 9     understood you correctly, you saw General Praljak on that occasion.

10             Now, when you saw him, in August he was -- he's just taken

11     command of the HVO.  So he's the number one in the HVO.  He's the

12     number-one man.

13             And when you saw him, could you tell us whether he was escorted

14     by a de'conte [phoen], a transmission man, someone that would be equipped

15     with a radio set to make sure that the connection remains with -- the

16     [indiscernible] connection with the HQ, whether he's coming with a

17     vehicle that has a radio set, you know, so that there's continuity in the

18     chain of command and communication with the chain of command.  Can you

19     tell us whether you remember whether this was the case or not?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember this very well.  It was

21     at night, and he came alone.  His vehicle was not very far away, but I

22     don't know whether there was a radio link in this vehicle.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in an army worthy of

24     this name, could you -- can one consider that the number-one man, the

25     commander, would go and tour the front line, go -- without any logistical

Page 45205

 1     support with him so that he can continue to control all the operational

 2     zones under his command, or could this be the proof of a certain

 3     amateurism in the forces?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In all force -- armed forces it's

 5     absolutely impossible for a commander no longer to be linked to the

 6     staff.  If this happens, this is very serious.  However, in a combat --

 7     in the context of the combats that were going on in these areas, this was

 8     not of major importance after all, because there was the duty officer and

 9     the assistant commander who were there and who could always take over.

10     And then on the other hand, I think that General Praljak, like everyone

11     knows, was not trained as a military, so he acted -- I don't want to say

12     as an amateur, but he wanted to go and tour the terrain to see what was

13     happening at all times.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Let's continue with this line of

15     questioning.  Do you have any idea of how informed General Praljak was as

16     far as what was happening in general in other places than where he was?

17     Did he have an overall view of the situation?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question on this

20     topic, but before answering, please be very careful about my question.

21             We know that you were on the field as early as June 1993.  We

22     know that you took command of an operational zone as of December 1993.

23     We know, because you told us, that you took part in military operations,

24     in combat operations, in August, for example.

25             Now, here's my question, and it's very important, so listen

Page 45206

 1     carefully:  At your level, did you feel -- did you get the feeling, or

 2     were you sure that everything that was happening militarily was

 3     militarily controlled from Zagreb?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, because the operations that

 5     were under way in the area were local operations.  Now, whether Zagreb

 6     was told about it or not, probably so, but I can't vouch for this.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A follow-up question:  While

 8     you were in command, in your own HQ, did it ever happen that you received

 9     a call from Zagreb, either by phone or called through the radio or

10     through another way, asking you to report on such-and-such situation or

11     such-and-such problem?  Did this ever happen to you?  Remember that you

12     are under oath.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It never happened.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're absolutely sure?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A hundred per cent sure.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

17             Ms. Pinter.

18             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

19        Q.   General, can one say that the HVO as you found it when you came

20     there was an organised army?

21        A.   It was an organised army but poorly organised.  There had been a

22     call-up so that men were sent to the front lines, but this call up had

23     been poorly done, because as I told you, there was a huge amount of

24     absenteeism.  You could see that the training also very poor.  Of course,

25     with time it improved slowly, but this was a far cry from an effective

Page 45207

 1     and professional army.

 2        Q.   Could you tell us, please, whether that was the -- because there

 3     was no wish to organise the army or was there any other reason why the

 4     situation was as it -- as you found it?

 5        A.   No, this was not deliberate, but have a well-organised and

 6     well-trained army, it takes more than a few months or even a few years.

 7     It takes years and a lot of work to make sure that you end up with a

 8     well-trained army.

 9        Q.   And what was the role of the war in establishing that army?  How

10     did the role affect the whole process?

11        A.   It only made the process worse, because this new army had to be

12     set up and developed while combat were under way, and it was a tall order

13     for the HVO.

14        Q.   In your statement you speak about an event after you were

15     appointed the commander of the area of Tomislavgrad.  Before I put my

16     question to you, can you remember when that happened?  When did you

17     become the commander of that area?

18        A.   If I remember correctly, I assumed command on the 20th of

19     December, 1993.

20        Q.   I received a message from the General that he has some military

21     questions to put to you closely tied to military issues, that is, but

22     before the General stands up, I have one more question.

23             General, could you please describe for us the situation when you

24     were personally arrested, the event that you mention in your statement

25     and that involves and has to do with Banja Luka.

Page 45208

 1        A.   Yes, you are quite right.  This event took place around the 10th

 2     of January, I believe.  It might have been the 12th of January, 1994.

 3             I was in the refectory.  I was eating in the refectory.  There

 4     were a hundred or so men, military men.  At some point in the refectory,

 5     right at the entrance, there was an armed man.  As soon as he entered, he

 6     started shooting with his assault rifle.  He started aiming at the

 7     ceiling, and while so doing asked kill Skender [as interpreted].  Given

 8     that the situation was dangerous for me and since I didn't know what this

 9     was all about, I answered and I said, "It's me."  He was very excited and

10     starting shooting again.

11             He captured me and took me to the command of the Rama Brigade.

12     He forgot to take my pistol away from me, which meant that I could kill

13     him any time I liked.  Since I didn't know what all this was about yet, I

14     preferred to wait and see.

15             Once I got to the command of the Rama Brigade, I was asked, "What

16     is all this about?  This man was involved in a brawl in town, disarmed,

17     and somebody has taken his pistol away from him."  While this happened,

18     somebody told him that this was an order that had come in from

19     Colonel Skender.

20             In the meantime, the brigade commander of the Rama Brigade

21     arrived.  He brought this man along with him.  Obviously the man was

22     drugged, and he tried to calm him down in another room.  I don't know

23     where that was.

24             I then returned to my command where I went on with my work.

25             Now, I then reflected on it and said to myself, What do I need to

Page 45209

 1     do?

 2             MR LAWS:  Mr. President, before we lose the relevant passage

 3     before the General goes on to describe what he did next, line 23 where it

 4     says, "... and while so doing asked kill Skender," I think I'm right in

 5     saying that the General said in French he asked "Who's Skender."  So I

 6     just thought I'd clarify that before we lose it.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time it was out of the

 9     question of just not dealing with this.  The question for me and the most

10     important one for me was what will happen if I send this man to gaol --

11     to gaol.  The situation was so serious in this particular area that every

12     man was needed.

13             If I locked this man up, for sure 20 or so of his camp comrades

14     would leave the front line, or to avoid this happening, I could just

15     delay him being prosecuted by military tribunal.  And from what I learned

16     afterwards, this is in effect what happened.  He was tried by the

17     military tribunal a short while after my departure when I left for

18     Zagreb.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, what you've just told

20     us by quoting this example, well, General Praljak has told us the same

21     thing.

22             In a given military situation, the command must assess the pros

23     and cons, and sometimes notwithstanding the fact that an incident has

24     occurred, a crime has been committed, even a serious event, it is

25     important to consider the military situation overall, not to react

Page 45210

 1     instantly, and wait for the right time before doing something.  Is this

 2     what you're telling us?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're quite right, Your Honour.

 4     It was important to analyse the situation and take a decision which would

 5     harm this particular area not too much.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is a question which I

 7     wanted to put to you right from the start.  Let me remind you that in the

 8     HVO structure you were placed immediately under the command of the HVO

 9     command because you were commanding an operational zone.  I'm quoting a

10     textbook example.  This is a purely theoretical example.

11             When the commander of an operational zone realises that his

12     soldiers have committed a crime, for instance have burnt a house, have

13     stolen things, raped women, when a commander realises this, what does he

14     have to do?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in cases like these, the

16     military commanders must quite simply refer to the military police, who

17     will then pursue the investigation to try to shed some light on this or

18     to find the culprits.  If this happens behind the front line, it's the

19     military police who is working together with the civilian police.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In your area were you

21     confronted with this kind of situation?

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  When I was surrounded by the

23     Rama Brigade, not me personally but my command, I then called the

24     military police.  They came in fairly quickly, and they in turn

25     surrounded the Rama Brigade.  The military police did the work, shed some

Page 45211

 1     light on who was responsible and where this had happened, and the

 2     military police then strengthened the military police in the area and

 3     reinforced it with extra men to make sure that similar things could occur

 4     again, which was a very good thing since the situation improved in all

 5     areas in this district.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You quote the case of the Rama

 7     Brigade.  We have seen a number of documents drafted by the SIS, which

 8     indicated that as far as the Rama Brigade was concerned, at some point

 9     the military police was corrupt.  They -- or the military police abused

10     people.  In this situation what must a commander of a brigade do, and

11     what must a commander of an operational zone do?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You must know that at that time

13     there were two kinds of military police, one which was a military police

14     of the brigade, i.e., the military of the brigade, and the military

15     police, if you like, the real military police that came from outside.

16             The commander, if he heard about the abuses committed in the

17     area, always called up the real military police, so to speak, and the men

18     that were part of the military police in the brigade, well, everyone

19     knew, and this was something which the SIS was very well informed about,

20     were the first people to commit blunders.  After that, the real military

21     police took over and it was reorganised.  I can't give you an exact date

22     of when this happened, but the military police in the brigade

23     disappeared.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak described the

25     following situation to us:  Being made aware of crimes committed by some

Page 45212

 1     of his soldiers, being made aware of the front line, to protect the front

 2     line it was important not to arrest the culprits, the soldiers, and he

 3     rather let things be, because if he had arrested the culprits, there

 4     would be fewer men on the front line, which would have enabled the enemy

 5     to make a breakthrough.  In that case, the enemy could have occupied that

 6     territory.

 7             In short, make sure that military discipline is respected through

 8     arrests of the culprits, but on the other hand, make sure that the front

 9     line is sufficiently manned.  Well, he had rather make sure that the

10     front line was properly manned.

11             You as a professional, what is your view on this?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In an organised army, I would

13     arrest this man who has committed some kind of crime.  I analysed the

14     situation, and I delayed the arrest for my part and those individuals

15     were tried by a tribunal, to maintain the situation on the front line,

16     which was somewhat urgent and postpone the arrests and prosecution before

17     a tribunal which would rule on the case.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, as far as the Praljak

19     Defence is concerned, you have five minutes left.  A member of the Bench

20     would like to put a question to you.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] This has to do with the

22     situation which we have talked about and you have talked about.  I would

23     like to have your view on the areas of responsibility.

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone for the Judge.

25             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I was talking about the area of

Page 45213

 1     responsibility of a commander.

 2             A military commander, is he responsible for what is happening in

 3     an area which is the area he is commanding, or is his responsibility

 4     limited to a small part of the area?  In other words, the area where the

 5     front line is located.

 6             I hope I have been clear.  Otherwise, you can ask me to clarify,

 7     of course.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Military commanders are responsible

 9     for their area of responsibility where they are fighting.  They are

10     responsible for the front line.  Anything which might occur behind these

11     lines in the towns or villages must be dealt with by the military police

12     or the civilian authorities.

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] On military maps, very often a

14     circle is drawn around a terrain which is the area of responsibility of a

15     commander.  Are you saying that the commander of this area should only

16     deal with the front line and is not responsible in any way for what

17     happens in the rear?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A military commander is only

19     responsible for the front line, because let me repeat, behind the front

20     line it is the military police and the civilian authorities that are

21     responsible.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] You said a while ago, General,

23     that if you were a commander and if crimes were committed by soldiers,

24     you would have these men arrested.  To me, there is a contradiction here.

25     If this has nothing to do with the commander, why would the commander

Page 45214

 1     deal with such a situation?  He would let the military police deal with

 2     it, because this does not seem to be what you are telling us.  It doesn't

 3     seem to be your view here.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I said that I would arrest the

 5     military who have committed crimes, this means that these men moved

 6     towards the front line or came back from the front line and went home.

 7     So long as they're not at home, it is for the commander to make sure that

 8     everything is working out properly.  And if they are at home and if they

 9     are armed, then it is for the military police and the civilian

10     authorities to take over.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I must say I don't find your

12     answer very convincing.  I shall not take it any further.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, you have told us that

14     you exercised your command in Algeria.  I'm trying to establish a

15     comparison to try to understand clearly what you have said given that

16     there is something a little bit unclear.

17             When you were in Algeria, when soldiers committed offences, when

18     French soldiers committed offences, was it for the commander to arrest

19     these men, or was it for the military police - in that case it must have

20     been the gendarmerie - and the civilian authorities to do this?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During the war in Algeria, it was

22     maintaining law and order that we were involved in, and in all the units

23     on the ground, there were the gendarme who are entitled to act and deal

24     with both the military police and the civilians.  In cases where people

25     may -- when outlaws were taken prisoner, as we called them then, or

Page 45215

 1     civilians, the gendarme then moved in, i.e., the military police, then

 2     dealt with these men.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the case we will have to try

 4     and in this case which we will have to deliberate on is an important

 5     issue of the role of the military commander.

 6             Now, if we take the case where you -- there is a front line,

 7     which you have just explained to us.  So there are HVO soldiers on the

 8     front line, but let's say this is an area in which there are civilians,

 9     and these civilians are victims, are the subject of offences or crimes.

10     Let's assume that civilians are 4 to 5 kilometres away from the front

11     line and that soldiers going to the front line then rob the civilians on

12     their way to the front line.  The military commander who hears of that,

13     well, is he responsible for this?  Should he arrest these men and

14     prosecute these men, or should he inform the military police, the real

15     military police, as you say, so that it can conduct an investigation?

16     Must he inform the civilian police or the civilian prosecutor of the

17     locality in question, or the military prosecutor who may refer it to an

18     investigating judge?  What should a military commander actually do?

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A military commander must call the

20     military police and ask it to investigate the matter.  The military

21     police would then refer it to the civilian authorities depending on the

22     situation -- depending on the situation.  Whether this leads to anything,

23     we don't know, but the commander must refer all these cases to the

24     military police.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question.  In this

Page 45216

 1     situation you experienced since you were on the ground, when a Muslim

 2     civilian, or a Serb civilian, to be precise, was the victim of acts

 3     committed by your own soldiers, what were you to do?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had to act immediately to stop

 5     this from happening and to call the military police to refer these cases

 6     to them.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That is the rule.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is the rule.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And if a military commander

10     doesn't do this?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that case, he is a culprit since

12     he has not called the police who are in charge of these matters.  That

13     means he has hidden something.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the case when a military

15     commander knows that an offence has been committed, but he believes or he

16     has some idea that the SIS or the military police is going to handle

17     that, in that case the military commander does nothing and continues

18     business as usual even if he assumes that the SIS or the military police

19     or the civilian police is going to do something about it.  Should he not

20     make sure that something is being done about it?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He should.  It's important to check

22     this and to check what is going to happen after that, because after all,

23     it is his soldiers who have committed these offences.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the military commander must

25     check and understand what the follow-up to it is.

Page 45217

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He should at least be informed

 2     about what happens after.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In my mind your answers are

 4     very clear.  I don't see what other questions I could put to you.

 5             Let me remind the Praljak Defence that you have five minutes

 6     left.  General Praljak, you have five minutes to put your questions to

 7     General Skender.

 8                           Examination by Mr. Praljak:

 9        Q.   [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General Skender.

10        A.   Good afternoon.

11        Q.   Just a few questions.  From the moment you arrived in

12     Herzegovina, at least until I didn't go, did you see or take part in any

13     offensive plan, the elaboration of any offensive plan either vis-a-vis

14     the BH Army or the Army of Republika Srpska, or do you think that

15     throughout the time we were on the defensive?

16        A.   As far as I know, we were always on the defensive, at least as

17     far as the southern front is concerned.  The only offensive operations

18     were planned in January 1994.

19        Q.   Thank you.  My second question:  You moved around nonstop.  Did

20     you ever see with your own eyes any one of your soldiers, except for the

21     violence against you, but did you see, not that you were informed but you

22     saw with your very own eyes anybody rape, kill, set fire to, or in any

23     other way violate any international rules and regulations on warfare?

24        A.   No.

25        Q.   Can we then conclude that this information always reached you

Page 45218

 1     subsequently from certain sources?  Some -- one wrote a report, someone

 2     provided information, that kind of thing?

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak.  This is not a correct

 4     question, because you have not -- first you must ask whether there were

 5     such informations, and then you can ask where they come from.

 6             THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, Judge Trechsel, we

 7     know that there was information like that.  Information did come in of

 8     that kind.

 9        Q.   Anyway, did you in one way or another -- or let me ask you, how

10     many times did you receive an official piece of information that

11     such-and-such a soldier at such-and-such a police at such-and-such a time

12     committed some violation of the international -- of international war

13     law?  Throughout the time you were -- that you were there, did you ever

14     receive a report like that, a piece of paper to that effect?

15        A.   Never.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A follow-up question.  I

17     believe unless I'm wrong, and if I'm wrong please tell me so, I think

18     that your former comrades of the Foreign Legion were in Vares.  Right or

19     wrong?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if they were in Vares.

21     However, I know that they were in the Croatian Army, under the command of

22     Filipovic.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  But I'm talking

24     about the legionnaires who were part of the UNPROFOR, of the United

25     Nations forces.  Were you in contact with the UNPROFOR?  Did you have any

Page 45219

 1     contact with them?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And as General Praljak was

 4     saying earlier, did these people tell you, "We've heard about this or

 5     that, this problem, this abuse that had been committed here, this crime

 6     committed here or there"?  Maybe hearsay only, but did they relay the

 7     information to you?  And then what did you say?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They never put this question to me,

 9     but let me give you an example.  During the offensive in January 1994,

10     during the combats a captain visited me.  It was a friend of mine.  I

11     knew him.  We'd been lieutenants together, and he asked me whether he

12     could visit Here combat zone.  I said -- told him that he could, and I

13     even provided him with an escort so that he could see exactly this place

14     where the combat was occurring.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

16             Mr. Praljak.

17             MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

18        Q.   From of what you've said, General Skender, may we conclude -- or,

19     rather, tell me did you ever, while you were in the HVO, receive

20     information -- were you given information, did you have it in your hands,

21     in which you had exact information, exact data, about somebody at a

22     specific time in a specific place having committed violations which go

23     against the rules of warfare?  Did you have a report like that in your

24     hands, and then did you say, "Act in such-and-such a way," according to

25     the rules of service?  Were you ever handed a report like that?

Page 45220

 1        A.   I never had any written document to this effect.

 2        Q.   I mean a document which your subordinates would hand to you on

 3     the basis of which you could act.  Did you ever receive a document of

 4     that kind?

 5        A.   Never.

 6        Q.   And my last question, General Skender.  In view of the overall

 7     situation which you were very well acquainted with, tell me this, please,

 8     regardless of my military knowledge, would my commanding from the Main

 9     Staff, given the situation that we had, would it have succeeded in

10     defending us from the Muslim offensive, or was it necessary to be on the

11     spot, in the exact location to prevent a defeat -- our defeat by -- from

12     the BH Army?

13        A.   I think that given that you're on -- that when you were on the

14     field it improved our effectiveness both in attack as well as defence.

15        Q.   And just my last question.  When you were the commander of the

16     operative zone, you had a car.  Now, did you have a radio station in the

17     car, or whatever, which enabled you to communicate directly with your

18     operations officer in the zone or when we were dealing with the problem

19     in Rama, for example, during those 48 hours, did you receive information

20     as to what was going on in the -- on the Livanj battlefront facing the

21     Army of Republika Srpska?

22        A.   No.  Every -- every time I went on the terrain with my SUV,

23     my 4X4, I had no connection until I reached a place where the connection

24     could be set up, either through a land-line or through the portable radio

25     sets we had.  But you know that these radio sets don't have a very large

Page 45221

 1     range.

 2        Q.   [Previous translation continues] ... Motorolas?  Do you remember

 3     whether there were any Motorolas?

 4        A.   These were Motorolas, but encrypted [as interpreted].

 5        Q.   That's right.  Thank you, General Skender, for coming, and for

 6     answering my questions.

 7             And thank you, too, Your Honours.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, there is I think a mistake in the

 9     transcript.  It says on line 16 of page 56, these were Motorolas, but

10     encrypted, and I thought that the witness said the opposite, namely that

11     they were open, they could be listened to by anyone.  Maybe I

12     misunderstood.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, you're right.  You're right.

14     There were two types of Motorolas, scrambled ones, encrypted, and the

15     normal Motorolas, but not everyone had a Motorola, those encrypted

16     Motorolas.

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica.

19             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.

20                           Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:

21        Q.   [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Skender.

22             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Could my binders be distributed,

23     please.

24        Q.   Now, Mr. Skender, we met during the proofing session; right?  And

25     we discussed the documents that I'm going to put before you now, but I'd

Page 45222

 1     just like to go back for a moment to a question that General Praljak

 2     asked you about what kind of information you received from the ground,

 3     from the field, and can -- am I correct in saying that the only written

 4     information was received from about the 20th of December, 1993, when you

 5     became the commander of the military district of Tomislavgrad?  Would

 6     that be correct?  Is that the period you meant?

 7        A.   Yes.  Before that period of time I had no command authority and

 8     no one was dealing with me.

 9        Q.   Mr. Skender, I'm going to ask you now to take a look at my

10     binder, the pink one, and -- open it and look at the first document.  You

11     have it in front of you, and it's a report, your report, and I'm sure

12     you'll recognise it.  And the number of that report is 2D3045.

13        A.   Okay.

14        Q.   I'll just say briefly that this is a report on combat readiness,

15     that's the title, of the Tomislavgrad Military District, and your

16     signature is on the first page.  The date is the 24th of February, 1994,

17     and it is being sent to the HVO Main Staff of Posusje to the commander

18     personally.

19             Now, Mr. Skender, we have your signature on your first page, and

20     during the proofing session I showed you this report.  Now, can you then

21     confirm that it is indeed a report which you compiled -- or let me ask

22     you first, did you sign it?  Is that your signature?

23        A.   Yes, I signed this report, but it was drafted by the officers in

24     charge of their areas, by each of the officers in charge of their areas.

25        Q.   Mr. Skender, were they your assistants for the individual areas

Page 45223

 1     within the frameworks of the operative zone -- or, rather, in the

 2     Tomislavgrad Military District?

 3        A.   Yes, these were officers of my staff, of the Tomislavgrad

 4     Operational Zone.

 5        Q.    It's been a long time, Mr. Skender, many years since this report

 6     was drafted, but you have seen it, and you had a chance to read through

 7     it in detail during the proofing session.  So can you now remember and

 8     tell us whether you had an insight into the situation as it is described

 9     and written down in this report, and do you today confirm that that was

10     what the situation was like as it is presented here?

11             THE INTERPRETER:  Could counsel adjust her microphone, please,

12     and speak into it.  Thank you.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  The situation was as it is

14     presented in this report.

15             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]

16        Q.   Mr. Skender, I'm going to ask you now -- well, I'll try and get

17     through this as quickly as possible, get through the report, focusing on

18     parts of your statement and your testimony here today and your answers to

19     some of the questions you were asked during the examination-in-chief.

20     For us to do so, let's turn to page 2.  It's 2 in the Croatian, and it

21     has a number 1 at the top.  So all those looking at the English

22     translation, I'd like to draw your attention to the numbers at the top of

23     each page.

24             Under number 1, this is what it says in the report, Mr. Skender:

25             "The training and qualification at all layers of command and

Page 45224

 1     control is not at the required level for successfully carrying out combat

 2     activities.  The reasons are generally known:  due to a deficiency of

 3     educated staff, regular soldiers have been assigned to the aforementioned

 4     commanding positions -- or, rather, to formational commanding positions,

 5     to formational commanding positions of squads as well as establishment

 6     positions and posts in the commands of the brigades and military

 7     districts.

 8             "There are few former JNA officers, reserve officers and

 9     non-commissioned officers occupying commanding positions."

10             Mr. Skender, does that part of your report in fact reflect the

11     situation with the command staff at the -- in the HVO at this time, which

12     is February 1994?

13        A.   I can't say what was happening at the command of the HVO, but

14     there were problems with the commanding officers, including commanding

15     officers in my own operational zone.  There were people who had received

16     no military training at all but who were appointed just because no one

17     else volunteered for the position.

18        Q.   Mr. Skender, you therefore confirm that that's what the situation

19     was like on the territory on which you were the commander, that is to say

20     the Tomislavgrad Military District, but what I want to ask you is about

21     the period before, when you travelled the HZ HB, did you come across

22     similar situations in other areas where you travelled?  And I'm referring

23     to the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and from July -- you were

24     there from July 1993, and you moved around this general area.

25        A.   This same situation prevailed elsewhere, if not worse.

Page 45225

 1        Q.   I'd like to ask you now, on that same page, before we come to the

 2     section titled "Conclusion," to look at the fourth line in the previous

 3     paragraph, and you are listing some of the main problems in the military

 4     district, and you say units are not up to strength, and even without the

 5     necessary weapons and ammunition, winter clothing, artillery support,

 6     communication equipment.

 7             Now, on page 17, lines 3 to 6, you said that the situation was

 8     catastrophic and that the units were not supplied well enough, didn't

 9     have the necessary resources.

10             Now, could you explain to the Trial Chamber what this 1BK means

11     and why it says here:  "Even without 1BK."  What is this BK that you're

12     referring to?

13        A.   BK is equipment, is the number of ammunition per man.  Each man

14     is supposed to have a number of rounds for his assault rifle.  It's a

15     standard issue.  If he don't have the standard issue, he must be

16     resupplied, and it could be a problem, of course, because he's coming to

17     the front and he's -- to the front line.  If he's coming without any

18     rounds in his -- for his assault rifle, there's going to be a problem.

19        Q.   Mr. Skender, can you tell the Trial Chamber whether there were

20     any standards in place in the army or in armies, the armies that you were

21     in, generally speaking, standards, well-known standards, on how many

22     combat sets were necessary when an offensive was under way or when some

23     military action was under way?  Is there any difference between how many

24     combat sets you need when you're on the defensive and how many combat

25     sets you would need when you were on the offensive?

Page 45226

 1        A.   In each army there's a standard issue per weapon.  For the French

 2     Army, for example, it's a hundred rounds for an assault rifle.  But when

 3     you are in an offensive operation or even sometimes a defensive

 4     operation, each man may receive one or two additional standard issues, as

 5     far as rounds are concerned, to make sure that the combat can continue,

 6     because the main problem during combat is the logistics.  Once the

 7     combat's under way, if soldiers run out of rounds they need to be

 8     resupplied and that takes time.  After that, it's too late.

 9        Q.   Yes, that's why I was asking you, because of the standards.  And

10     from your report, what happens is that your soldiers would turn up

11     without a single combat set.  You didn't have it at your disposal.  You

12     didn't have these combat sets or weapons at your disposal.

13        A.   Yes.  Often soldiers would arrive with a weapon but no

14     ammunitions, which is proof once again of the very poor command of this

15     unit.  Any commander who hasn't checked beforehand that the soldier is

16     fully equipped with clothes -- clothing and ammunitions before sending

17     him to the front, I mean is responsible for this very poor situation.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me take the opportunity of

19     this question to ask you a follow-up question.  It's absolutely

20     essential, as far as I'm concerned anyway.

21             You just told us that the soldiers were arriving with a rifle but

22     no rounds for their rifle and so forth and so on.  So let's start from

23     this:  When you were in command, when offensives were under way or

24     possibly defensive operations were under way but had already been planned

25     because you knew that the others were going to attack, could you tell us

Page 45227

 1     whether automatically a written order is issued, written order which is

 2     sent throughout the chain of command to say at this day, this hour, this

 3     area, this operational zone there's going to be an attack.  This is what

 4     is required, with a list.

 5             I would like to know whether each operation is accompanied by a

 6     written order.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  You need a written order,

 8     because -- you need that to get the ammunitions.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That is the military rule

10     throughout the world, but I would like to know whether this military rule

11     applied also to the HVO.

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's true that in the HVO

13     many things happened just with verbal orders only.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were there military operations

15     conducted with only verbal orders?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  There's always been a written

17     order.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, you have 15 minutes

19     before we are finished.

20             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes.  Thank you, Your Honour.  If I

21     don't get through all my questions, I would like to carry on on Monday.

22             Now, I'd just like to put something right.  Ms. Alaburic drew my

23     attention to it.  On page 61, line 17, it says about this combat set that

24     we're talking about "standard issue" and it should say "combat set."

25     "Combat set" is the term that we see in this document.

Page 45228

 1        Q.   Now, you said a moment ago, Mr. Skender, that if there wasn't --

 2     weren't enough weapons -- if an army didn't have enough weapons up at the

 3     front line that this was one of the problems of command and that the

 4     commander should check this out and verify if they had everything they

 5     needed, but can you tell us whether you know -- whether there exist --

 6     whether there was enough ammunition and weapons generally in the HVO

 7     HZ HB logistics for each commander to be able to receive as much weapons

 8     and ammunition as his men needed?

 9        A.   The HVO had enough ammunition for the assault rifles.  If men

10     arrived at the front line without any ammunition, it was because they had

11     left the ammunitions home, and their direct commander didn't check that

12     they had their ammunitions with them.  There was hardly any control.

13     When men left the combat zone, there was no check as to whether -- how

14     many ammunitions left the zone.  And there were hardly any checks either

15     on the incoming ammunitions.

16        Q.   Mr. Skender, we'll look through the documents and see if that was

17     the actual situation as you saw it, but let's take this step-by-step.

18     Staying with the report, let's look at page 4.

19             Page 4 the last paragraph it says:

20             "The average number of men in the units does not exceed 30

21     per cent in any of the units."

22             Can you confirm that that was what the situation was at the time?

23             "The average strength of the military occupational specialties in

24     the units does not exceed 30 per cent."

25             Is that how it was in Tomislavgrad?

Page 45229

 1        A.   It doesn't have anything to do with the number of men, but there

 2     are speciality.  In other words, there was only 30 per cent of the men

 3     that had the required speciality in a particular unit.

 4        Q.   Yes.  Yes, that's what I had in mind.  Now, moving on to the

 5     following page, page 5, let's see what the establishment strength was of

 6     the units.  And we have a table there where we see the number of

 7     officers, the establishment strength, the actual strength, and the

 8     percentage.  And can you explain what this means to the Trial Chamber?

 9     What does all this mean?

10        A.   There is in any army an allowance for the officers,

11     non-commissioned officers, and the military of that form a unit.  An

12     allowance.  That is the theory.  In practice, we have the facts on the

13     ground.  In other words, the unit is then supplemented by a given number

14     of officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers.  This is how you

15     can work out the number or percentage of men in these units.

16        Q.   Let's take a look at section 5, logistic support, and it says

17     there towards the end of the page:

18             "The electricity on the floor where logistics works fails as soon

19     as it starts to rain."

20             And there's another observation made there, "the ratio between

21     civilian structures and the command for the military district, which is

22     unbearable.  The attitude of the civilian structures towards the command

23     of the ZP is unbearable."

24             Now, we saw that the building where the -- where logistics was

25     put up was not adequate or suitable, and then you say that the attitude

Page 45230

 1     of the civilian structures towards the command was unbearable.

 2             Could you explain that, please?  What did you mean by that?

 3        A.   You need to know that all commands, including mine, were

 4     installed in civilian buildings.  Mine was in a former factory, and these

 5     buildings were often quite old buildings.  Work needed to be done on

 6     these buildings.  Large-scale improvements needed to be made.  For

 7     instance, the logistics section was located in an area of a building

 8     when -- where whenever it started raining they got wet.  So that was an

 9     inappropriate location to work in good conditions.  It was too expensive

10     to repair, and since the state had no money, this did not get repaired.

11        Q.   And tell me, Mr. Skender, why was this observation made about the

12     relationship with the civilian structures and the command, and it says

13     that they were unbearable.  So can you think back and try and remember

14     why you wrote this and what the situation was like?

15        A.   Yes, indeed, because every time the military settled somewhere,

16     we were in the way.  That's the first thing.  And secondly, it is true

17     that the military destroyed a lot of the equipment and the houses.  So

18     the civilians were not too happy about that.

19        Q.   I'd like to ask you to look at page 7 of this report of yours

20     now, please.  And on that page you speak about the quartermaster's corps,

21     and I'd like to draw your attention to the food supply, and you say that

22     food supply is coming from Grude, from the central logistics base, the

23     SLOB.  What was this SLOB Grude?

24        A.   Yes, indeed.  Grude was the logistics centre of the HVO.

25        Q.   So it says here that the food was good and there was a variety

Page 45231

 1     but in insufficient quantities and that the percentage of delivered food

 2     was just 80 per cent, which sometimes causes problems in its

 3     distribution.  Do you remember that and the problems that you faced?

 4        A.   Of course I remember, because my command and I, well, very often

 5     we didn't have enough to eat.

 6        Q.   Now, going further down the page, we see that it says that beds

 7     were urgently required in order to put up the soldiers, and then it says

 8     at the end that certain responsibilities had to be fulfilled but they

 9     didn't have the wherewithal; that is say, that the army didn't have

10     enough beds for the accommodation of soldiers.

11        A.   That's right.  There wasn't enough accommodation and beds were in

12     short supply, because there were a great number of units that weren't

13     properly accommodated.  I asked for more beds, which is a prerequisite

14     for a soldier when he's not in the field.

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I'm a little bit surprised about

16     this bed question, because we've been told at length several times that

17     the HVO soldiers were not usually in the barracks.  They went home when

18     they weren't on the front line, and at home we can assume that they had

19     beds.  So you are discussing a situation which seems to be different

20     here.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.  We need to place

22     this in context.

23             We were located behind a mountain.  There was only Prozor there

24     and the forest.  The units that arrived on the front line comprise a set

25     number of soldiers, of reserve soldiers, that were not on the front line,

Page 45232

 1     and these had to be accommodated somewhere.  They were not in a barracks

 2     because there weren't any barracks.  So it was important to find places.

 3     In our case it was in a building, to find a place to stay for these

 4     people.

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you.

 6             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]

 7        Q.   Thank you.  I'd like to ask you to ask you to look at the next

 8     document now, please, which P1077, in the pink binder.  It's the next

 9     document.  Have you found it?  It's a document signed by

10     Mr. Bruno Stojic, and it is on an appointment.  And I'd like to ask for

11     your comments, and at the beginning of your report -- well, when you

12     refer to your report, you say that -- that the establishment posts --

13     that there weren't trained cadres for the establishment posts and that

14     ordinary soldiers were assigned to those posts.  So may we have your

15     comments on that?

16        A.   This only confirms what I have said already.  People were

17     appointed to a command post without any military knowledge whatsoever

18     that goes with it, either via of political collection -- connection.  I

19     don't know.  A corporal was, for instance, appointed commander of a

20     brigade.

21        Q.   Mr. Skender, we're talking about the deputy commander here, not

22     the commander.  It's the deputy commander who is mentioned here.

23        A.   Yes.  Assistant commander.

24        Q.   And I consider this to be an important point, and I refer to what

25     you say in your report, because in your report you're not talking about

Page 45233

 1     private connections.  In your report you say that the reasons for acting

 2     in this way are common knowledge because there were no trained officers,

 3     and that is why ordinary soldiers were appointed to establishment posts

 4     of commanders and lance corporals and so on, that they were appointed to

 5     these posts although they didn't have the necessary qualifications in

 6     terms of establishment and rank.  It should have been a colonel here,

 7     whereas we see there was a reserve lance corporal assigned to the post.

 8             Am I right when I say that?

 9        A.   Yes, indeed.  He was appointed colonel and second in command, and

10     this was obvious in two ways.  Either he got there through his

11     connections or there was nobody else to fill this position, which was

12     unfortunately quite often the case.  So someone got appointed, someone

13     who had been chosen by the people in the brigade either because the

14     person was a pal or he was well-built or whatever.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, we shall stop for

16     today.  Ms. Nozica will resume on Monday, and on Monday Ms. Alaburic will

17     finish her cross-examination, and then the Prosecutor will cross-examine

18     you.

19             We shall meet again on Monday at a quarter past 2.00.  In the

20     meantime, I wish everyone a pleasant evening.

21                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.00 p.m.,

22                           to be reconvened on Monday, the 28th day

23                           of September, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.