Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 46534

 1                           Monday, 9 November 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.

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

 6     the case, please.

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

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

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

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

11     Monday, the 9th of November, 2009.  I would like to greet first and

12     foremost the accused who are all present.  I would like to greet all

13     Defence counsel, as well as all the members of the OTP who are here today

14     and all the people assisting us.

15             I would like to give floor to the registrar who has got 3

16     IC numbers to give us.

17             THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you, Your Honours.  Some parties have

18     submitted lists of documents to be tendered through Witness Milan

19     Gorjanc.  The list submitted by 4D shall be given Exhibit IC1093, the

20     list submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit IC1094, and finally the list

21     submitted by the OTP shall be given Exhibit IC1095.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.  I shall

23     ask the usher to go and fetch our witness for today, Mr. Beneta.

24                           [The witness entered court]

25                           WITNESS:  IVAN BENETA

Page 46535

 1                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.  Can you

 3     give me your first name, last name, and date of birth, please.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ivan Beneta, the 14th of March,

 5     1955.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.  What is your

 7     current occupation?  What do you actually do?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm an active officer with the rank

 9     of brigadier general, and I'm the assistant chief defence inspector in

10     the Republic of Croatia.

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

12     testified before a Tribunal or is it the first time today that you

13     testify?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my first time.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you read the text of the

16     solemn declaration, please.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will

18     speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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

20     sit down.

21             Just some information I'd like to convey to you.  As you know,

22     you will be asked to answer questions put to you by Ms. Alaburic.

23     Ms. Alaburic is the Defence counsel of General Petkovic.  At the end of

24     that stage, the other counsel who represent the other accused may also

25     put questions to you.  The representatives of the OTP sitting to your

Page 46536

 1     right will also put questions to you as part of their cross-examination.

 2     The four Judges that make up the Bench and who are sitting before you may

 3     also put questions to you on the basis of documents we have before us.

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

 5     the questions.  If you don't understand a question, don't hesitate to ask

 6     the person putting question to you to rephrase it.

 7             In addition, you have just taken the solemn declaration, which

 8     means that you are now a witness of the court, and you may not contact

 9     anyone at all.  Since your testimony is going to last several days, you

10     should not meet up with anyone other than family members and avoid giving

11     any interviews and avoid talking about what is happening in the

12     courtroom.

13             I would also like to add something else which I have not conveyed

14     to witnesses so far because it seemed so obvious that I felt it wasn't

15     necessary.  Mr. Stewart mentioned something to the Judges which we have

16     thought about.

17             When a Judge puts you a question and you feel that the Judge is

18     making a mistake when he is putting the question, if you don't agree with

19     the way the question is put don't hesitate to tell the Judge, I don't

20     agree.  I believe you have made a mistake.  It is not because a Judge

21     makes a mistake that you should endorse what the Judge is saying.  If, on

22     the basis of the document, which says four vehicles, and the Judge says,

23     "In this document three vehicles are mentioned," you should then say,

24     "Sorry, Judge, but you've made a mistake.  It says four and not three."

25     Please do not hesitate, and I encourage you to intervene if necessary.

Page 46537

 1     So you may answer the questions freely and try and be as accurate as you

 2     possibly can when you provide those answers.

 3             If you were to feel uncomfortable during the hearing, you must

 4     let us know and we shall then stop the hearing.  A hearing can be a very

 5     tiring experience, and some people sometimes feel uncomfortable in the

 6     course of it.  If that is the case, please let us know and we shall then

 7     have a short break.

 8             This is what I wanted to share with you to make sure that this

 9     hearing unfolds in the best conditions possible.

10             Ms. Alaburic, I would like to greet you once again and give you

11     the floor.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.

13     Good day -- good afternoon to my learned friends from the OTP and from

14     the other Defence teams.  Good afternoon to you, General, and to

15     everybody else assisting us today.

16                           Examination by Ms. Alaburic:

17        Q.   [Interpretation] General Beneta, we will first go into your

18     biography, and then we will expand some periods of your life on some

19     military issues that the Defence of General Petkovic considers relevant

20     in these proceedings.

21             You told us when you were born.  Tell us where you were born too.

22        A.   I was born at Dubravica in the vicinity of Skradin, municipality

23     of Sibenik in Dalmatia.

24        Q.   Which country is that?

25        A.   Croatia.

Page 46538

 1        Q.   I will now read out some information about your education.  You

 2     will please listen, and if I say anything wrong, please correct it, and

 3     if I say anything right, do confirm.

 4             You graduated from the military academy of the army, and you

 5     attended that academy for three years in Belgrade and one year in Zadar.

 6     You also reached the end of your studies of sociology on pedagogy, but

 7     you did not graduate from that faculty.  After the war you completed the

 8     War College of the Croatian Army, courses for working in staffs organised

 9     by NATO.  Furthermore, a school of management in the area of defence

10     which was organised in England.  And currently, you are completing your

11     master's thesis at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb.  The

12     course of studies is entitled "European Union Law, Politics, and

13     Economy."  So law, politics, and economy, and you are writing a thesis

14     entitled "The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia and the

15     Transformation of that Country on the Path to the European Union."

16             General, have I now correctly listed all the major steps in your

17     education?

18        A.   Yes.  All you said is correct.

19        Q.   And now a few words about your service.  Until 1991, you served

20     with the JNA in Zadar.  At first you were at the secondary military

21     school for seven years, after which you commanded a battery in the

22     vicinity of Zadar, and in 1999 you were again teaching at the

23     education -- sorry, the year was 1989, you taught at a training centre

24     for reserve officer.

25             Is that correct with regard to the beginning of your career?

Page 46539

 1        A.   Yes, but I also would like to stress the seven years that I spent

 2     at the secondary military school do not mean that I attended secondary

 3     military school for seven years.  I was the headmaster of that school.

 4        Q.   All right, General.  Explain to us, please, this training centre

 5     for reserve officers.  Who were these reserve officers?

 6        A.   That was a type of training developed through the concept of All

 7     People's Defence and social self-protection.  The trainees were

 8     able-bodied men.  Instead of serving their conscript service which was

 9     compulsory military service, they went through a shortened training

10     course for soldiers where they acquired military schools and a rather

11     demanding curriculum which enabled them to carry out the tasks of

12     officers.  They received their officer's rank once the territorial

13     defence offices had appointed them to some unit, mostly a reserve unit,

14     and once they had competed their first exercise with that unit, and then

15     they would get their officer's rank [as interpreted].

16             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Before we continue, I would like

17     to correct the transcript.  On this page, in line 9, the word "officers"

18     should have -- should also have had the attribute "reserve," so it should

19     read "reserve officers."

20        Q.   General, to somebody who is not from former Yugoslavia and to who

21     the concept of All People's Defence is not familiar, how would you

22     explain to that person the difference between an active officer and a

23     reserve officer?

24        A.   An active officer is developed through his military career, and

25     that is his main business for which he gets paid.  A reserve officer goes

Page 46540

 1     through compulsory military service and after that lives as a civilian,

 2     but in accordance with the concept of All People's Defence and social

 3     self-protection, or, in other words, the concept of the armed people,

 4     apart from a job that he may hold with a company also goes to annual

 5     exercises, has his own unit, mostly reserve unit, that he prepares for

 6     warfare, and he is still liable to military service until the age of 65.

 7        Q.   General, if I understood you correctly, you said that after the

 8     reserve officers' school he goes to civilian life.

 9        A.   Yes.

10             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, due to this

11     explanation, I would like to point out a mistake on page 6, line 22,

12     where it reads that he lives as a civilian, but the witness is -- said

13     that he lives a civilian life but remains a reserve officer.

14        Q.   Tell us, General, according to that concept of All People's

15     Defence, able-bodied men, did they have duties towards the military, and

16     if so, did only some of them have any such duty or all of them?

17        A.   Almost all men who are liable to military service or conscripts

18     would have their personal register card, and the defence offices would

19     post these conscripts with some units whether these were reserve units

20     that would only be established in the framework of mobilisation, or they

21     would complete the -- complete active units for wartime.  There would

22     also be a work obligation, especially in the case of subjects of special

23     interest for the defence of the country, and that would be activated in

24     the case -- in case of war.

25        Q.   Can you tell us, General, what was the principle criterion in

Page 46541

 1     deciding whether a particular individual would be assigned to a military

 2     unit or into civilian protection or into an enterprise or an institution

 3     to work as part of his work obligation?  What was the main criterion for

 4     assignment?

 5        A.   The principle criterion were his abilities, the best way to use

 6     that person with his particular knowledge and skills.

 7        Q.   Last week we used the example of a chemistry engineer

 8     specialising in explosives, and if you were an employee of the military

 9     department, what would be your thoughts about where best to assign that

10     chemistry engineer and explosives expert?

11        A.   He could be assigned as additional personnel, auxiliary

12     personnel, in a logistical unit to be replenished in wartime.  So he

13     would continue as military personnel during the war.  It would be a bonus

14     if he completed an additional military school, but the very fact that he

15     had served in the army would qualify him for service in a logistical

16     unit.  In addition, he could be engaged in an enterprise, in a factory

17     that would produce explosives under a work obligation that could be

18     imposed on the enterprise.  If he is assigned that way, that would be his

19     military obligation during the war.

20        Q.   All right.  I think we have clarified this concept of All

21     People's Defence as applying to reserve officers sufficiently.  I'd like

22     to ask you about your work in the training -- secondary training centre

23     in Zadar.

24             Did Milivoj Petkovic also work at that centre at the same time?

25             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Sorry, Ms. Alaburic.

Page 46542

 1             I have one short question for you, Witness.  The reserve officer

 2     that remains a conscript up to the age of 60, does this reserve officer

 3     increase in rank, and if he does what -- on the basis of what criteria?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  That officer is promoted up

 5     the hierarchy, and he rises in rank usually depending on military drills

 6     that he completes with his unit where he is usually one of the key

 7     people.  These drills are held once or twice a year.  And that kind of

 8     promotion would be a bit slower than with professional officers.

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

10             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

11        Q.   So, General, I asked whether Milivoj Petkovic was working in some

12     secondary training centre in Zadar at the same time.

13        A.   Yes.  Mr. Petkovic worked in a neighbouring training centre that

14     educated active and reserve officers in artillery.

15        Q.   Did you know Mr. Petkovic at the time?

16        A.   Yes, I did.  We were not exactly friends, but I knew he was

17     working there.  I knew he was one of the officers employed at the

18     training centre.

19        Q.   Did you have any information about the quality of his work, his

20     performance?

21        A.   No, nothing in particular, but I also didn't hear of any problems

22     connected to him and his duties.  I think he was a successful officer.

23        Q.   I'll ask you again about him later when we come to the

24     Croatian Army.  Let me now ask you about the relationship between the

25     army and politics.

Page 46543

 1             In the Yugoslav People's Army was there an organised aspect of

 2     the League of Communists?

 3        A.   In the Yugoslav People's Army the only political party

 4     organisation in existence was the League of Communists.  It was organised

 5     from grass-root level, from units up to the top military leadership in

 6     Belgrade.

 7        Q.   In the beginning of the 1990s, in all the republics of the former

 8     Yugoslavia other political parties come into existence, and the political

 9     authorities promote a multi-party system, and the first multi-party

10     elections are prepared.  What is happening at that time with the League

11     of Communists inside the JNA?

12        A.   The League of Communists remained, although time -- or the times

13     were beginning to show that there was no reason for the status quo to be

14     maintained, and certain absurd situation sometimes occurred on the

15     ground.

16        Q.   Can you explain what kind of absurd situations briefly?

17        A.   There was not a clue about how to answer the question, "Are we

18     going to continue admitting into military academies only people who were

19     morally fit," as the term went, "loyal to the League of Communists?"  And

20     another question, since some serving soldiers were also part of these

21     political organisations, what were we going to do if we get suddenly 20

22     soldiers who declare that they want to organise a Liberal Party inside

23     the army?

24        Q.   What was your position, General?

25        A.   At that time, towards the end of 1990, I was a member of the

Page 46544

 1     basic organisation of the League of Communists made up of teachers,

 2     instructors of the training centre.  Sometime in November 1990, because

 3     of that situation that I just described I asked for our agenda at a

 4     meeting to include the self-abolishment of that party organisation so

 5     that we may set an example as to what needed to be done.

 6             Despite the opposition of the chief of that organisation --

 7        Q.   It seems that the interpretation channels have been mixed up.  It

 8     seems the -- it's all right now.

 9        A.   May I continue?

10        Q.   Yes.  Please go ahead.

11        A.   So in spite of the opposition of the chief of that organisation,

12     the body of the staff voted that issue to be included in the agenda.  And

13     when the discussion came to that point, most of the younger staff, which

14     formed the majority, voted that we abolish ourselves.  Since it had been

15     my proposal in the first place, I experienced later certain problems in

16     the weeks and months that followed.

17        Q.   Tell me, General, about your position as a professional soldier.

18     Is the army supposed to perform its duty and serve regardless of which

19     political party is in power.

20        A.   Yes.  I definitely believe that the army must have its own set of

21     tasks and a mission that must be independent of political party aims.

22        Q.   Tell me, General, in a well-organised society, who governs the

23     army?  Who manages the army?

24        A.   The army is governed by the head of state and in certain aspects

25     the parliament and in yet other aspects the government.

Page 46545

 1        Q.   In your view, does the professional soldier have to be

 2     limitlessly, unrestrictedly obedient in following orders, or rather,

 3     after all, certain limits to obedience?

 4        A.   Despite the fact that soldiers are trained in the spirit of

 5     exceptional obedience, certain situations are described to them in their

 6     training where they have the right to refuse to obey.

 7        Q.   Such as?

 8        A.   Such as the commission of a crime and violations of the

 9     international laws of warfare.

10        Q.   All right, General.  We'll continue through your biography.

11             You joined the Croatian Army in July 1991; correct?

12        A.   Yes.

13        Q.   Can you tell us, if you know, about the position of the then

14     Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman, concerning former JNA officers?  Were

15     they welcome into the Croatia army or not?

16        A.   I believe that in that very peculiar situation, just before the

17     outbreak of the war and in the initial stages of the war, President

18     Tudjman was quite aware of the need to include military personnel with

19     skills and with experience in the war, and I believe he was seeking a

20     certain balance between such men and other men who did not have that

21     level of military knowledge but who in other terms seemed to be good

22     choices for appointments in the army being established.

23        Q.   You, General, were first employed in the defence of Zadar.  You

24     were then employed in the defence of the hinterland of Split, and soon

25     thereafter, a bit further to the south, towards Dubrovnik.  Was that

Page 46546

 1     approximately your path in geographic terms?

 2        A.   Yes.

 3        Q.   And then you occupied the position of Chief of Staff of the

 4     4th Guards Brigade of the Croatian Army; correct?

 5        A.   Yes.

 6        Q.   Can you explain what exactly are staff affairs, staff work that

 7     you carried out?

 8        A.   This is the work of planning, according to assignments given by

 9     the commander, work in supervision of the execution of the commander's

10     decisions, work in providing professional and technical assistance in

11     order to make sure that these missions and assignments are carried out as

12     best possible.

13        Q.   As a rule what was the relationship between the Chief of Staff of

14     a brigade and the commander of that brigade?

15        A.   The Chief of Staff of a brigade is a professional assistant to

16     the commander and the execution of his decisions.  He can stand in for

17     the commander in case of the latter's absence.  And it is also the duty

18     of a Chief of Staff to contribute to the implementation of the

19     commander's idea by means of planning.

20        Q.   When you say that he could stand in for the commander, does that

21     mean that he could also be the deputy brigade commander?

22        A.   If that unit did not have a deputy commander in reality or

23     according to its establishment, then the Chief of Staff would carry out

24     the duties of deputy commander.

25        Q.   Tell us, is the deputy brigade commander inside the chain of

Page 46547

 1     command?

 2        A.   No.  If we look at the structure of the chain of command, the

 3     commander immediately supervises the commanders of the subordinate units,

 4     and the staff, as well as the deputy or his personal group, are lateral

 5     adjuncts, and they are not within that basic line of command, chain of

 6     command.

 7        Q.   General, I believe that your reply did not enter the transcript

 8     exactly as you said.  It says that the commanders of the subordinate unit

 9     are subordinate to the commander, and you mentioned also the staff and

10     the deputy, et cetera.  So it may be best if you would once again

11     describe the chain of command as accurately as possible.

12        A.   In accordance with the principle of the unity of command, the

13     commander, or the singleness of command, commands the commanders of

14     subordinate units.  And that's the chain of command.  In that chain,

15     there is neither a deputy nor a staff, but the commander commands them

16     too.  However, they do not command the units.

17        Q.   All right.  It seems perfectly clear to me now.  If the Judges

18     have no questions, we can continue.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A technical question.

20     According to what you're saying, the Chief of Staff or the deputy to the

21     commander have no authority over the chain of command.  You say that it

22     is the commander who has authority over the subordinate units.  The Chief

23     of Staff or the deputy to the commander are not in the chain of command

24     stricto sensu, but let me give you a case study.  Let's say that we have

25     a commander, and unfortunately he has the flu and he's in ICU.  He's

Page 46548

 1     totally unable, unfit to command.  Who will take over the command over

 2     subordinate units?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If the commander is absent, the

 4     units are commanded by the deputy commander or the Chief of Staff in case

 5     there is no deputy commander.  If -- or unless otherwise decided by

 6     somebody from the superordinate command.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  So you're saying

 8     that if the commander is absent, the deputy then takes over the command.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   General, it may be good to define the notion of absence now so as

13     to avoid any misunderstanding.  Is the commander considered absent if he

14     is not in his command but at some other place?  What does "absent" mean?

15        A.   Absent in this sense means that he is unable to command the

16     units.  When I said this, I didn't mean him not being present at the

17     command post but, rather, being somewhere in the zone of operations or

18     maybe in case he went to see his -- his high-ranking officer.  These are

19     not cases when his duties are shifted to either the deputy or the Chief

20     of Staff.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, let me take another

22     example, another case study.  Let's assume that the commander is abroad

23     taking part in international negotiations.  He is away from the

24     territory.  Could you tell us who is in command then on the territory?

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It would be good practice in that

Page 46549

 1     case to empower the deputy and transfer the authority to command onto him

 2     in certain areas.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  And should there be

 4     a written order or is a verbal order sufficient, where the commander just

 5     tells his deputy, "I will be in Geneva in January and you will take

 6     over," or is there need for a very specific order?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A written order is required,

 8     because that has to do, among other things, with the income to which the

 9     person is entitled.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Now, if there is no

11     written order, what can you say about the situation?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that case, to my mind it follows

13     only that the commander left suddenly and had no time to do what he

14     should -- should have done.  The deputy can be in a rather unpleasant

15     situation if some drastic decisions have to be taken.  Daily leadership

16     and command, in order to implement decisions taken earlier, would be an

17     area in which he could move without hindrance in exercising command

18     duties, but going anywhere beyond that would be very risky.

19             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, please, this question of

20     the chain of command is crucial, and I would like to get some detailed

21     information on this.  Does the commander convey his orders in a written

22     form, as Judge Antonetti was asking, or can he also transmit orders

23     verbally?  And I'll put to you my second question also right away.  If

24     the orders can be conveyed orally, what happens to the -- to units like

25     brigades or divisions?  What about larger units?  Isn't there a problem?

Page 46550

 1     The deputy commander and members of the staff maybe could also decide to

 2     give verbal orders and saying that these orders actually come from the

 3     commander but do not.  And in the end, the soldiers executing these

 4     orders, are they able to check that these verbal orders were actually

 5     given by the commander heading the chain of command?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is exactly what I meant when I

 7     was saying that a written order should be in place about replacing -- or,

 8     rather, standing in for the commander.  It isn't only about the authority

 9     of the commander.  It also -- it's also about the implementation of the

10     commander's order when he wants them executed -- orders when he wants

11     them executed, because the deputy, too, while issuing written orders to

12     his subordinates, in the letterhead of that order or that act will state:

13             "Based on article so-and-so about general commanding, and the

14     decision to stand in for the commander from, 'til, I issue the following

15     order."

16             Then, it will be clear to the subordinates that he is now

17     exercising the function of commander.

18             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] And what about there is fraud, and

19     by fraud head of staff or a member of the staff gives a verbal order to

20     the units?  Should the units actually carry out the order or not?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The units must carry out that

22     order, and the commander of the unit, if he fosters doubts, can demand

23     the verification of the authority of the deputy commander, especially if

24     we're talking about orders that are not linked to the execution of

25     previously defined tasks.

Page 46551

 1             JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness.  You perfectly

 2     answered my question.

 3             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 4        Q.   Let us return to your biography, General.  We are now approaching

 5     or coming closer to Bosnia.  On the 4th of June, 1992, you became

 6     commander of the 116th Brigade of the Croatian Army, which was located at

 7     Metkovic.

 8             You first defend the transporter area of Eastern Herzegovina.

 9     You were defending the delta of the river Neretva from the east, and then

10     you participated in the liberation of Stolac.  In August 1992, you pull

11     out of Stolac.  You reorganise your brigade, and in September 1992, you

12     take over command over the unit in the area of Popovo Polje in a narrow

13     area along the Croatian border toward Dubrovnik.

14             Is that an accurate summary, General?

15        A.   Yes, but I must say that the unit that I commanded in the area of

16     Zavala was still the 116th Brigade but downsized due to partial

17     demobilisation.

18        Q.   We will speak that extensively in the continuation of this

19     examination.  Let us now continue with the biography.

20             In March 1993, you leave the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and

21     go to the command of the army district of Split; is that correct?

22        A.   Yes.

23        Q.   Please explain to us now the concept of army district.  What was

24     that territorial element of the Croatian Army called previously?

25        A.   It was called zone of operations.

Page 46552

 1        Q.   So it was zone of operations, and that's a synonym to army

 2     district; is that correct?

 3        A.   Yes.

 4        Q.   General, can you explain to us now what a zone of responsibility,

 5     and can the army district of Split -- can it be said of the army district

 6     of Split that the commander of that army district had a zone of

 7     responsibility there?

 8        A.   Zone of operations is a notion from the operational layout of the

 9     battle-field.  So that's a zone in which operations take place.  And

10     it -- when a commander gets his tasks, it is defined based on territorial

11     points.  The left and right limits are very precisely defined, and it

12     includes an area both in the depth of enemy territory as well as in the

13     depth of your own territory.

14             You also asked me about the meaning of "army district."

15        Q.   I asked you, actually, about the area of responsibility.  What

16     would that term mean?  Is the whole operation zone the area of

17     responsibility of the commander of that operations zone or army district?

18             MR. LAWS:  Before his answer, may I please interrupt.  And first

19     of all, good afternoon, Mr. President, and to each of Your Honours.  We

20     have been dealing with this evidence now of this witness for an hour.

21     The only matter that features on the two summaries that have been

22     provided to the Prosecution is the fact that's not in dispute, that this

23     gentleman took place in the liberation of Stolac in 1992.  We've dealt

24     with All People's Defence, with Zadar and Milivoj Petkovic's role there,

25     with the League of Communists in the JNA, with the work of the Chief of

Page 46553

 1     Staff of the brigade and the chain of command, and now we're moving on to

 2     deal with army districts, and I have sat, I hope, reasonably patiently

 3     because they seem, with respect, to me to be matters that were either

 4     peripheral or matters which the Prosecution didn't need notice of, but I

 5     must raise at this stage the fact that having asked for an additional

 6     summary in respect of this witness and having been given one, we've been

 7     given none of this whatsoever, and I'm afraid on behalf of the

 8     Prosecution I have to object to us pursuing any more lines that are going

 9     to take up -- lines of examination that are going to take us into

10     detailed, and if they are important, then important issues in the case

11     without the Prosecution having the least chance to prepare itself for

12     them.  And I would invite the Court to direct Ms. Alaburic to return to

13     the topics that are summarised in the two summaries which we have been

14     provided with.  Thank you.

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

16     would like to respond to my learned friend.

17             I believe that it is one of the elementary rules that if the

18     witness tells us he was Chief of Staff of a brigade, to ask him what

19     exactly that means, what kind of work he performed, and what his position

20     in the chain of command was.  The witness's answers, if they are judged

21     as good by the Trial Chamber, will be important for us when viewing any

22     future Chief of Staff we meet and his place in the chain of command.

23             If Mr. Beneta tells us that he had worked in an officers'

24     training centre, he should be allowed to tell us about his work in the

25     training centre as a part of the concept of All People's Defence.  This

Page 46554

 1     is no surprise, and we intend to discuss it with every future Defence

 2     witness because this is extremely relevant to our Defence case.  What

 3     Mr. Beneta is telling us now is an explanation of the whole set of

 4     categories that we have dealt before in this courtroom, and what we want

 5     to do now is get a precise definition of terms.

 6             The topic of the area of responsibility has been discussed at

 7     great length by every participant in this courtroom, and now we have

 8     before us a highly qualified general who is in a good position to explain

 9     to us what that means in the Croatian Army and in NATO standards, what an

10     area of responsibility is or isn't.

11             This is the last generally military -- general military question

12     I intend to ask and then we'll move on to the Croatian Army and Croatian

13     troops.  But before I move on to that, I would like Mr. Beneta to explain

14     to us what exactly an area of responsibility is and what its significance

15     is in the execution of military operations.

16             MR. LAWS:  May I reply just very briefly to that and say that

17     nobody disputes that -- that this general is well placed to say things

18     which might be important.  That's not my objection.  My objection is

19     simply this:  If they are important, then they should have been provided

20     to the Prosecution in advance as the rules and this Chamber's guidance

21     clearly state.

22             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I informed my learned

23     friends from the Prosecution and all Defence teams of all the facts that

24     this witness will be speaking to.  What we are dealing with now are

25     definitions of categories, because at one point when the witness tells us

Page 46555

 1     where he was in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the

 2     116th Brigade, we will be discussing with him his area of responsibility.

 3     Therefore, I thought it was a good idea to clarify the term now in the

 4     introductory part.  We can clarify it, of course later.

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Ms. Alaburic, I will not discuss whether it was

 6     a good idea or not, but you have indicated what the witness was going to

 7     testify about.  This question of zone of operation and area, we have

 8     extensively spoken with another military expert who has just testified

 9     the last two weeks, and I think that the objection is justified and

10     should be upheld.  So please proceed to address the questions that you

11     have actually said that you would address.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Very well.

13        Q.   General Beneta, then tell us then, please, when with the

14     116th Brigade you took up positions at Popovo Polje on the border between

15     Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia, what was your area of

16     responsibility?

17        A.   My area of responsibility was a section of the front line limited

18     on the left and on the right side.  Behind my own lines it was the area

19     where I deployed my forces, and behind enemy lines it reached up to the

20     possible limit of my action.

21        Q.   All right.  You will show us later on the map, and that will be

22     the end of it.  Let me now finish with your curriculum vitae.

23             In the summer of 1993, for about a month, you were engaged in one

24     military operation of the Croatian Defence Council in Bosnia and

25     Herzegovina, after which you returned to the army district of Split where

Page 46556

 1     you took up position of commander of Operations Group Sibenik for

 2     22 months; Is that correct?

 3        A.   Yes.

 4        Q.   And the last point:  You were chief of anti-aircraft defence in

 5     the Croatian navy and deputy chief of the operations zone of the Main

 6     Staff of the Croatian Army for modernisation.  Then you were commander of

 7     the centre for international military operations.  After that, commander

 8     of the school of warfare.  And as you said in response to a question by

 9     Judge Antonetti, you are now deputy chief inspector in the defence

10     inspectorate; is that correct?

11        A.   Yes.

12        Q.   Very well.  We'll now move to the next subject with a working

13     title as follows:  "Departure of Croatian soldiers to Bosnia and

14     Herzegovina During Wartime."

15             Do you have your set of documents in front of you, General?  Look

16     at 3D343.  Have you found it, General?

17             This is a letter signed by Petar Stipetic.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, that's not the right document

19     in the electronic courtroom.

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Did you mean 443?

21             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

22        Q.   Correct.  I misspoke.  It's 443.  My mistake.  3D443, a letter by

23     General Petar Stipetic, dated 8th of April, 1992.

24             I'll ask you very specific questions.  Based on this document, to

25     whom was it sent?

Page 46557

 1        A.   It was sent to the Operation Zone Split.

 2        Q.   At that time were you in that operation zone?

 3        A.   Yes.  At that time I was chief of the -- Chief of Staff of the

 4     4th Guards Brigade in that operation zone.

 5        Q.   Can you explain to us the beginning of this letter that says:

 6     "Subject:  Your act."  What does it mean?

 7        A.   That means that somebody from the operations zone, let's say a

 8     commander of the operations zone, had sent some sort of dispatch to the

 9     Main Staff, and here in this letter - which is a response - they cite the

10     reference.

11        Q.   From the contents of this document which approves the departure

12     of volunteers from the Croatian Army to Bosnia and Herzegovina, what

13     could you conclude about the contents of the original query sent to the

14     Main Staff?

15        A.   Well, that query was a summary of requests from units, and one of

16     those units was my brigade, the 4th Brigade, namely that a position be

17     taken urgently on the situation prevailing in the units at the time.

18     Namely, a certain number of soldiers in my unit, and I believe it was the

19     same in most other units, were young men who were living in Croatia or in

20     Herzegovina, both natives of Herzegovina who had joined the fight against

21     the Serbian aggressor and the Yugoslav People's Army and who reacted in

22     the circumstances that had obviously changed in the areas where their

23     parents lived and exercised enormous pressure to be allowed to go to

24     fight in Herzegovina.

25        Q.   What would have happened if these young men, these soldiers, had

Page 46558

 1     not been allowed to go fight in Herzegovina?

 2        A.   I think they would have gone anyway.

 3        Q.   If all your soldiers hailing from Bosnia and Herzegovina at that

 4     time, in the beginning of April 1994, in your unit and in other units, if

 5     all of them had gone to fight in Bosnia and Herzegovina of their own

 6     accord, what would have happened with the units?

 7        A.   First of all, our strength would have been significantly

 8     diminished without any prospect of replenishment in the near future.

 9        Q.   General, can we specify the period?  Is it April 1999 -- 1992?

10     We seem to have an error in the transcript.

11        A.   Yes.  We're talking about April 1992.

12        Q.   Can you now explain if the units of the Croatian Army were in

13     such danger, if all the natives of Bosnia and Herzegovina left, did you

14     have any interest in -- in organising this in a different way?

15        A.   Yes.  It was in our interest to do it in organised fashion for a

16     number of reasons.  Shall I explain?

17        Q.   Please do.

18     A.   At that point we had been carrying out military operations for eight

19     months already.  We had built something that was very difficult to build,

20     and that was a tight knit military group that had grown in the war.  To

21     let those men leave in a haphazard way would have meant that each of them

22     would have gone to their birthplace and tried of their own accord to

23     organise some sort of resistance or save their parents, something like

24     that.  If they had gone like that, just by deserting, going AWOL, we

25     would have had a problem with resolving their status later.  We would

Page 46559

 1     have trouble admitting them back into the unit a month later if -- just

 2     as if nothing had happened.  And in addition, those of them who had

 3     families in Croatia, wives, children, would have been deprived of income.

 4        Q.   All right, General.  Let us look at P153 now.  P153.  That's also

 5     a letter by General Stipetic.  To whom was this one sent?

 6        A.   The letter was sent to the commander of the zone of operations of

 7     Rijeka.

 8        Q.   In the first paragraph mention is made of both Croats and Muslims

 9     who want to go and defend Bosnia and Herzegovina as volunteers.

10             Tell us, General, from your own experience, too, did you treat

11     Croatian soldiers of Croatian ethnicity and of Muslim ethnicity the same

12     way or did you distinguish between them?

13        A.   In my unit I had about 20 to 30 per cent of Croats hailing from

14     Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I also had Muslims who were residents of

15     Croatia or who were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and there was no

16     difference with regard to our position about letting them go.

17        Q.   Let us look at the next document about this topic.  It's 3D299.

18     It's a document by Colonel Hasan Efendic from an office of

19     Bosnia-Herzegovina, sent to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of

20     Croatia.

21             It is requested that three officers of the Croatian Army,

22     mentioned by name here, be allowed to go, although it is risky to judge

23     about a person's ethnicity based on their name, but what would you say

24     about the ethnicity of these persons mentioned here?

25        A.   All these three persons are almost certainly of Muslim ethnicity.

Page 46560

 1        Q.   In the last paragraph it says:

 2              "We are asking you to resolve the status of these officers, as

 3     has been the case so far, by putting their status on hold, and after

 4     fulfilling their tasks, they should be allowed to continue serving in the

 5     Croatian Army."

 6             General, if you were asked to interpret what this "as has been

 7     the case so far" means with regards to the practice of letting officers

 8     of Muslim ethnicity go to BiH --

 9        A.   Taking into consideration the date, the Croatian Army had for

10     several months permitted people to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina

11     individually because they were obviously needed there and this document

12     obviously refers to that practice, and it is requested that three more

13     persons be permitted to go in accordance with the same principle.  That

14     is to keep their status in the Croatian Army, and after fulfilling their

15     task, they should have the opportunity to continue their career in the

16     Croatian Army.

17        Q.   So we can conclude, General, at this time in 1992, did you have

18     any knowledge or did you observe any instances of discrimination of

19     officers of Muslim ethnicity in the Republic of Croatia who wanted to

20     join the Territorial Defence or subsequently the army of Bosnia and

21     Herzegovina?

22        A.   Absolutely not.  I had an assistant.  That is, he was the chief

23     of pioneers in the brigade, who, after eight months that he had spent in

24     my unit, requested to be permitted to go to Sarajevo.  He was let go.  He

25     never even asked for his status to be put on hold.  He -- he went to --

Page 46561

 1     with no regard to that, and there were no problems for him to do so.

 2        Q.   All right, General, the let us pass on to the next topic the

 3     working title of which is "The Croatian Army on the Territory of Bosnia

 4     and Herzegovina."

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One in a moment, General.  I'd

 6     like to still look at this document which is dated the 4th of January,

 7     1993.  The date is important.  It is signed by Colonel Hasan Efendic.  If

 8     I'm not mistaken, Colonel Hasan Efendic was commander of the Territorial

 9     Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina before being replaced

10     by Halilovic.  Is that the same person as far as you know?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  I don't know anything about

12     the succession of their duties.  I never followed that.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You don't know.  This document

14     states that the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina had an office in

15     Zagreb.  We have the address of this office, Savska Cesta, number 41.  We

16     have a phone number also.  This document states that there is a request

17     for help submitted to the Ministry of Defence, Croatian Ministry of

18     Defence, for the latter to second three people who will keep the same

19     status within the Croatian Army.

20             As far as you know, at the end of 1993, in the early months of

21     1993, the Croatian Army, did it actually provide at the request of the

22     Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina soldiers and officers, or, as far as

23     you know, was it the case that at the end of 1992, in the early months of

24     1993 -- there is mistake on the transcript, I said end of 1992 and in the

25     early months of 1993, did the Croatian Army actually send soldiers and

Page 46562

 1     officers to reinforce the HVO against the ABiH and only in those cases?

 2     How did things stand as far as you know?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, I was busy in the

 4     4th Brigade, and later on I also was engaged with the 116th Brigade in

 5     Eastern Herzegovina.  So I was on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina

 6     with my unit.  My estimate is that we went as deep as 20 or 25 kilometres

 7     [realtime transcript read in error "metres"] into the territory of Bosnia

 8     and Herzegovina.

 9             I continue.  You probably want to know about the situation not

10     there --

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I don't understand how there

12     can be mistakes on the transcript like that.  You said 20 to 25

13     kilometres and it states "20 to 25 metres" on the transcript.  You have

14     to be very careful.  Everything a witness says is important.  Is it 20 to

15     25 kilometres or is it 20 to 25 metres?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's 20 to 25 kilometres.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have to be extremely

18     careful.  Very well.  Please proceed.

19    THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that your question is not focused

20   on that but whether or not there were members of the Croatian Army who were

21   let go and who were going deeper into the territory individually or in an

22  organised fashion, regardless of holding on the defence line toward Croatia

23  in the territory along the border. Yes, I know that there were departures as

24  a consequence of pressure exerted for the people to be let go, because we

25  were faced with arguments -- with such arguments that left me no choice than

Page 46563

 1   to let those people go. If I made a mistake or not, I don't know. I thought

 2   that was -- this way I would contribute to the resolution of the situation.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm interrupting you because

 4     you are developing a number of points, but there are salient features

 5     which are important.

 6             When you are 20 to 25 metres [as interpreted] in depths, what

 7     dates are you talking about?  20 to 25 kilometres.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm referring to the period from

 9     the first half of 1992 'til -- well, almost until the end of the war

10     speaking about the southern front, but that that depth was reduced to 2

11     to 4 kilometres at certain spots.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  You're saying until

13     the end of the war, but give us a date, please.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the end of 1995, September,

15     October.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  You're telling us,

17     and you're under oath, that your unit was in depth in the territory of

18     the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and still under oath you are telling

19     us that you were 20 to 25 kilometres in depth and this was reduced to

20     some 4 kilometres.

21             Now, here's my question:  When you received the order to go over

22     there, to go in another country, in a country which is not the Republic

23     of Croatia, what were you told exactly, "You are going there to face the

24     Serbs," or "You're going there to attack the Muslims"?  Could you tell us

25     exactly what was the content of the military order which you received

Page 46564

 1     allowing you to go in depth in a foreign country?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The order was to defend the

 3     territory of Croatia and a constituent part of the order were also

 4     geographical maps.  It was clear from that that we were to take positions

 5     from which we can successfully defend a relatively narrow stretch of

 6     territory between the state border and the coastline and which would at

 7     the same time allow us enough manoeuvre space.

 8             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, everything the

 9     witness has said now we put on a map which we will show to you, and we

10     will show you documents.  We will also try to explain the reasons and the

11     legitimacy of this way of proceeding.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  It is time for the

13     break.  We will break for 20 minutes.

14                           --- Recess taken at 3.51 p.m.

15                           --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.

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

17             General, before giving the floor to Ms. Alaburic, I have a

18     follow-up question.  You're telling us that you were 20 to 25 kilometres

19     in depth.  Could you tell us whether there were civilians in that

20     territory?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  There were also civilians in

22     that territory.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  There were

24     civilians, but these were not Croatian citizens.  These were civilians

25     who lived in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were citizens of

Page 46565

 1     Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, maybe you know this or you

 4     don't, and if you do, all the better because it will be easier, and if

 5     you don't, well, I'll tell you about it.  We have a regulation, a 1907,

 6     The Hague regulation, and Article 42 of this regulation says, and I will

 7     quote it slowly:

 8              "A territory is considered as occupied when it is placed de

 9     facto under the authority of the enemy army.  The occupation is only --

10     is only for the place where the authority is located and where the

11     authority can be exercised."

12             So when you were occupying this 20 to 25 kilometres in depth, did

13     you feel like you were exercising an authority?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In part.  As unit commander I came

15     across situations when I had to deal with certain issues that could be

16     qualified as issues of authority seeking to hand it over to the civilian

17     authorities as soon as possible if the system had been disrupted.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Let me continue

19     with my question.  There is another article in the 1907 regulation,

20     Article 43:

21             "The authority of the legal -- of legal power being now in the

22     hands of the occupying power, the latter will take all measures depending

23     from it in order to re-establish and to ensure, as far as possible, law

24     and order while abiding, unless possible, the rules in place in the

25     country."

Page 46566

 1             When you were in depth in that territory did you take any

 2     measures to re-establish law and order and public life in this area?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Let me finish off.

 5             As you know, officers of the German Army were tried by American

 6     courts, and there is a very famous judgement, appeals judgement,

 7     US v. Pohl and it says the following, and I'll quote it and you'll

 8     understood:

 9             "The rules of war impose on all military officers who are in

10     command the positive obligation to take all possible measures suitable to

11     the circumstances in order to control those who are under his command and

12     to prevent all actions that may lead to infringements of the rules of

13     war."

14             When you were in a foreign territory, when you were stationed in

15     depth in this foreign territory, did you take any measures against your

16     own soldiers to make sure that these would not commit any infringement

17     of -- any acts that would be against the rules of war?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  In all foreseeable

19     situations, I did take such measures, and I never had any need to take

20     subsequent measures because there were no cases of disciplinary

21     infractions in such a form that anyone would be hurt, especially not

22     civilians.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Your answer is very

24     specific.  I will finish off with one simple question.

25             When you were occupying this territory, this 20 to 25 territory

Page 46567

 1     in depth, were there any combats in that zone?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm putting this question to

 4     you about the combat, because when Belgium was occupied by Germany, the

 5     areas of responsibility were broken in three, areas where combats were

 6     under way.  There the authority was the military authority a hundred

 7     per cent.  And then there was another area, the reserve area, where

 8     authority was jointly exercised between the civilians and the military.

 9     And there was a third zone, the rest of Belgium, where the only authority

10     was the civilian authority.  The occupying power, of course, but civilian

11     occupying power managing this area, which is why I'm asking you whether

12     there were any combats in your own zone, and you said there were.  So in

13     this zone, this area where combats were occurring, did you believe that

14     you were the only person liable or responsible and that no civilian

15     authority was in charge of anything in that area?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My operations and combat activity

17     that I pursued there was conducted in co-operation with the populous in

18     that area, and I did not have all the elements of an occupying power, nor

19     did I have to exercise it.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Ms. Alaburic, you

21     have the floor.

22             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can tell you that

23     you have now touched upon absolutely all the subjects that I wanted to

24     cover in my examination.  I would just kindly ask the Trial Chamber to

25     trust us to examine our witnesses both on the Hague Conventions and the

Page 46568

 1     principles of occupation, and that we will honestly and openly

 2     demonstrate all the circumstances we believe relevant.

 3             And before I resume my examination, I would only like to

 4     intervene on the transcript.  The question of Judge Antonetti on page 29

 5     related to the fact that Croatia was sending officers and troops into

 6     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The witness started to answer in line 12, 13,

 7     and 14 on page 29, and a part of his answer was not recorded; namely,

 8     that Croatia approved the departure of these soldiers and officers to

 9     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  We will correct the transcript later, but it is

10     now important to make this straight for the sake of everyone's

11     understanding.

12        Q.   We will now, using documents and maps, try to demonstrate all

13     that all you, Witness, have told us so far.

14             Last week, Witness, we had a Defence expert for Generals Praljak

15     and Petkovic Defence, and in document 4D1731 he explained that under

16     certain circumstances a state has the right to enter the territory of

17     another state if it had been attacked from the territory of that other

18     state.

19             Following up on that position, I will ask you a very specific

20     question.  Let us assume that the Republic of Croatia is targeted from

21     the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, let's say from the environs of

22     Trebinje.  Let us define that it is the Army of Republika Srpska

23     attacking the Republic of Croatia.

24             Now, tell us, in the normal course of things what would the

25     Republic of Croatia be expected to do to stop these attacks from the

Page 46569

 1     territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the territory of Croatia?

 2        A.   It would be necessary to do exactly what I eventually received as

 3     a military assignment, namely to nip the threat in the bud, that is, to

 4     enter the territory from which we are targeted up to a point from which

 5     it is possible to make sure that these attacks would be terminated.

 6     Remove the sources of threat.

 7        Q.   Tell us, General, under international law, at least as described

 8     in the manuals of the Yugoslav People's Army, what is considered to be a

 9     theatre of war?

10        A.   A theatre of war is the entire territory covered by the warring

11     parties in that war.  Namely, the territories of states are A and B if

12     these states are at war.

13        Q.   So if the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina up to Trebinje,

14     from which Croatia is targeted, is defined by the term "theatre of war,"

15     would it be correct to say that the territory of Croatia, which is

16     targeted, like the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina from which the

17     attacks originate, is considered as one theatre of war?

18        A.   Yes.  Both these territories of Croatia and Bosnia and

19     Herzegovina are theatres of war.

20        Q.   Very well.  Look now at the next document, 4D1483.  It's a map

21     showing plans of the Yugoslav People's Army from May 1991, and it was

22     made by our military expert, Milan Gorjanc, and from this map we can see

23     that it was planned from north via Livno to move towards Split, and in

24     the area of Split, cut through the territory of the republic -- of the

25     Republic of Croatia and completely isolate the territory south of Split.

Page 46570

 1     And it was also planned from the south side, from the direction of Stolac

 2     and this part of Herzegovina, to move towards the sea and then link up

 3     these forces of the JNA from the south and the north and completely

 4     isolate Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Republic of Croatia.

5     Now, my question, General Beneta, is this:  Did you have information that

 6     the Yugoslav People's Army in mid-1991 had such plans of combat activity

 7     relating to this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia?

 8        A.   Yes.  I had that information, because one of my assistants, now

 9     General Mirko Sundov, was working -- had worked in the Territorial

10     Defence before the war broke out, and he told me about this plan called

11     S2 that had been developed as a sort of contingency plan in case

12     Yugoslavia was attacked from that side.  However, it is clear from

13     everything that it was in fact a military plan to enter the territory of

14     the Republic of Croatia.

15        Q.   If we go back to April 1992 when many soldiers, members of the HV

16     who hailed from BiH want to go to defend their homeland, BiH, was there a

17     military activity from the army -- by the Army of the Republika Srpska

18     much along the same lines as these that we see on the northern end of

19     this map?  Namely, from the direction of Kupres and Livno?

20        A.   I personally didn't take part in activities regarding the area up

21     there, but I knew that the JNA did manoeuvre in order to mass troops

22     around Kupres, and they wanted to bring as many troops there as possible.

23        Q.   I will show you a map now, 4D1351 --

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I have the map in

25     front of me like everyone else.  Ms. Alaburic told us that this map

Page 46571

 1     was -- was a plan, intervention plan, May 1991, and she asked you whether

 2     in April 1992 the Republika Srpska had the same plan, and you answered by

 3     saying that you didn't know, but I thought I understood that it would

 4     have been normal for Republika Srpska to do exactly the same thing from

 5     Kupres to Livno.

 6             Now, when looking at this map, I was listening to what you said

 7     earlier regarding this single battle-field, saying Republic of Croatia

 8     and Bosnia and Herzegovina were one battle-field.  Does this mean that

 9     for the Republic of Croatia to be able to defend itself it had

10     militarily, and I insist on the word "militarily," to penetrate into the

11     territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in depth in this territory,

12     otherwise it would find itself in dire straits and could maybe be

13     squeezed out of the territory?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to point out to the

15     Chamber that part of this plan had already been carried out through the

16     attacks of the JNA.  The southern-most arrow pointing towards Slano had

17     been implemented in October 1991, and only after that did the Croatian

18     forces that were only being created had grown barely strong enough to bar

19     the enemy from go -- from going any further.  So it was the task of the

20     unit of which I was commander, or Chief of Staff, to do the following:

21     After the south of Croatia had been occupied and Dubrovnik cut off, we

22     were in a situation where the south of Croatia was occupied except for

23     the town of Dubrovnik itself.  That was fighting off attacks in the

24     outskirts of town.

25             With regard to the northern part, the area of Kupres, there was

Page 46572

 1     an entire corps, and it was especially conspicuous to see the movement of

 2     an armour brigade toward Kupres, which didn't have any barracks up there

 3     or any other accommodation, but it was ad hoc, being moved there in order

 4     to create favourable conditions for the implementation of this plan

 5     thought out by the JNA before the war broke out.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Now, as a final

 7     question, I was listening to you and I would like to know the following:

 8     If the Serbian forces had reached Split, can we infer from this that

 9     militarily the Republic of Croatia would have been in jeopardy?

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would have meant the

11     occupation of some 15 to 20 per cent of the territory of Croatia, only in

12     this part.  A similar situation was in existence in Western Slavonia or

13     in the area of Vukovar.  All that put into jeopardy the crucial interest

14     of the Republic of Croatia, namely integrity and sovereignty.

15             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

16        Q.   Tell us, General, what was the only way for Croatia to try and

17     liberate this occupied southern part around Dubrovnik and further south

18     and protect itself from possible aggression on the territory around Split

19     and southward?  So what was the way to -- for Croatia to protect itself?

20        A.   The only possible way was military intervention.  And I must

21     stress that in the area from Ston and Slano southward, that military

22     intervention is next to impossible if it takes place only in the area

23     between the coastline and the state border.

24        Q.   Tell us, General, how broad is that territory?

25        A.   Down there the territory has an average width of 5 kilometres,

Page 46573

 1     ranging from 15 kilometres down to only 800 metres.

 2        Q.   Tell us, General, is this a mountainous area or is it a plain?

 3        A.   The area is mountainous, and there is only one road

 4     communication, which is entirely on Croatian territory.  There is also an

 5     unpaved road which is higher in the mountains, but it runs partly through

 6     Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 7        Q.   If I understood you correctly, Croatia -- for Croatia there was

 8     no other way to defend itself but send troops to the territory of BiH; is

 9     that correct?

10        A.   Yes, it is.

11        Q.   Please take a look at the next map, 4D1351.  Take a look at the

12     screen, please.

13             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If we could give the witness a

14     pen.

15        Q.   General, this is a map showing the deployment of HVO forces.

16     Furthermore, forces of the HV as opposed to the VRS and the JNA.  The

17     date is the 30th of April, 1992.

18             We have already seen this map in the proofing so that you're

19     familiar with it.  Tell us whether this map reflects the deployment of

20     the units of the HV on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21        A.   Could you repeat the date?

22        Q.   The 30th of April, 1992.

23        A.   Yes, it does reflect.

24        Q.   Could you please mark on this map where exactly your command post

25     was.  If I'm not mistaken, you were still in the 4th Guard Brigade.

Page 46574

 1        A.   Yes.  The command of the brigade was here at Hutovo.  I'm

 2     marking.

 3        Q.   Please put a number 1 next to it.

 4        A.   [Marks]

 5             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] So number 1, Hutovo where the

 6     command of the 4th Guard Brigade was, commanded by the witness.  Could we

 7     please have an IC number for this map.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] IC number, please.

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  Yes, Your Honour.  The marked version of document

10     4D1351 shall be given Exhibit IC1096.  Thank you, Your Honours.

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Could I now ask the

12     usher to bring this map to the witness and put it on the ELMO.

13             Your Honours, we made this map for you.  The witness saw it

14     during the proofing and he will explain it to you, and we'll use it in

15     order to reduce the time necessary to discuss these issues.  It's the

16     same map that we saw a minute ago, and now we'll see which combat

17     activity and what kind of combat activity took place there by mid-1992.

18        Q.   General, there are territories here marked A, B, and C.

19             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It seems that there are problems

20     with the ELMO.  All right.  Maybe we can move on.  If it can be fixed,

21     then we'll go back to it.

22        Q.   All right.  Since the Trial Chamber has this map and perhaps the

23     ELMO can be repaired in the meantime, General, tell us what you wanted to

24     show on this map.  What do the letters A, B, and C mark?

25        A.   The letter A, the southern letter A, that is, marks the territory

Page 46575

 1     which was liberated by the 4th and the 1st Brigades of the Croatian Army

 2     in the end of May and in early June 1992.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Sorry.  Ms. Alaburic, we do not have the map.

 4     We cannot see it, I think, so it's very difficult to follow.

 5             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Then we'll skip that, Your

 6     Honours, and meanwhile we'll fix the ELMO.  But I want to say that this

 7     map shows the activities involved in the liberation of the southern part

 8     of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in one part, and the liberation of

 9     Dubravska Visoravan in one part, and the Stolac operation in which the

10     witness took part.  That's the territory that's 25 kilometres deep.

11             I hope the ELMO can be fixed so that we can speak about it later.

12        Q.   General, the last operation that we'll show on this map is the

13     liberation of Stolac.  When you spoke about an area that is 20 to 25

14     kilometres deep in which forces of the HV were engaged, did you mean

15     those operations, that is the liberation of the Dubravska Visoravan and

16     Stolac?

17        A.   Yes.

18        Q.   Did you carry out these operations in co-operation with the

19     Territorial Defence or the ABiH, respectively; that is, with the Muslim

20     population?

21        A.   Yes.

22        Q.   Let us look at the following document:  P339.  It's an agreement

23     about friendship and co-operation signed by Alija Izetbegovic and

24     Franjo Tudjman of the 21st of July, 1992.  Tell us, General, this date

25     July the 21st, was this after all these liberation operations that we

Page 46576

 1     mentioned?

 2        A.   Yes.

 3        Q.   General, let us go back to the map which we now have on the ELMO.

 4             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Maybe we could move it up so we

 5     can see all of it.

 6        Q.   Tell us, General, the area you marked A.

 7        A.   This area here and this area were liberated in the same operation

 8     when the forces of the HV started moving toward Dubrovnik -- Dubrovnik.

 9     It was from the 28th or 29th of May 'til the 4th of June, 1992.

10        Q.   And the territory marked B?

11        A.   This territory was liberated round about the 6th of June, 1992.

12     Maybe a day earlier or later.  That is immediately after the completion

13     of the operations in which the A territories were liberated.  Here, too,

14     the forces of the HV and those of the HVO acted jointly.

15        Q.   Did the Muslim population co-operate with you?

16        A.   In the area marked A there weren't really any Muslims.  And about

17     area B, I have no direct knowledge because I didn't take part in that

18     operation.

19        Q.   And the territory marked C?

20        A.   For this territory I led the combat operations, and a battalion

21     composed of people who live at Stolac and the surrounding areas marked B

22     were the ones who were involved.

23        Q.   Tell us their ethnicity.

24        A.   They were mostly Croats, because they were driven out when the

25     Serbian forces moved into territory B, Domanovici, and the people

Page 46577

 1     expelled established a unit of the strength of a battalion.  They -- it

 2     was organised by their local authorities.  They went through training,

 3     and they took part in the liberation of their towns and villages.

 4        Q.   Was that battalion joined by the population of Stolac of Muslim

 5     ethnicity?

 6        A.   The operation was carried out in such a manner that 200 men in

 7     the night of the 11th of June, 1992, were allowed to enter Stolac by the

 8     assistance of the Muslim population that remained to live in Stolac,

 9     which was under Serbian occupation.

10        Q.   We'll go into the details later.  For the time being, it matters

11     to me that these were joint actions carried out by Croats and Muslims.

12             And the territory marked C was also liberated in June 1992.  Is

13     that so, General?

14        A.   Yes, it is.  It was from the 13th to the 15th of June

15     thereabouts.

16        Q.   Now, please put today's date on the map, sign it, and perhaps we

17     can get an IC number.

18        A.   [Marks]

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have a

20     number, please.

21             THE REGISTRAR:  Yes, Your Honours.  The second map marked portion

22     of the map shall be given Exhibit IC1097.  Thank you, Your Honours.

23             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   Can we now please come back to this document P339, the agreement

25     on friendship and co-operation, of 21st July, 1992, signed by Izetbegovic

Page 46578

 1     and Tudjman.

 2             So it was signed about a month after all these actions of

 3     liberation.  Let us look together at item 8, please.  In item 8 it is

 4     noted that the aggression of the Serbian and Montenegrin military forces

 5     against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is continuing, but also

 6     largely against the Republic of Croatia from the contiguous areas of the

 7     Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 8             My question, General, the authorities under Izetbegovic at that

 9     time, did they have the power to intervene at the time in the areas from

10     which Croatia was attacked?

11        A.   No.  The estimate at the time, and even when you analyse it now,

12     everything indicates that they did not have the ability to intervene.

13        Q.   At that time had there ever been any objections to the joint

14     military actions by the Croatian Army, the HVO, and the army of Bosnia

15     and Herzegovina that was still called the Territorial Defence at the time

16     in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

17        A.   No.  There had been no objection to these interventions.

18        Q.   What about Alija Izetbegovic, the Muslim populous of those areas

19     and the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?  Did they ever consider the

20     Croatian Army an aggressor?

21        A.   No, on the contrary.  I can only recall the excellent

22     co-operation both on the part of the Muslim population and the authority

23     of both ethnicities.

24        Q.   4D1240 is our next document.  It's a directive from the staff of

25     the Supreme Command of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed

Page 46579

 1     by Sefer Halilovic.

 2             What we want to know at this time is item III where neighbours

 3     are defined, and those are the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia.

 4     And then it says that:

 5             "These armed forces, by executing offensive operations to

 6     liberate the territory of parts of Croatia with the part of their forces

 7     engaged in the area of Dubrovnik, coordinate most immediately with our

 8     forces in the liberation of Eastern Herzegovina, especially the towns of

 9     Trebinje and Stolac."

10             General, can you comment on this position of the man number one

11     in the Supreme Command Staff of the BH Army?

12        A.   This is essentially correct, although I would put it even more

13     accurately perhaps.  In this paragraph the focus is a bit different.

14     From this paragraph you would understand that the main vehicle of this

15     action is the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whereas in fact you could

16     say that the Croatian Army had done more.

17        Q.   But there is no dispute that this was a joint action of the

18     Croats and the Muslims?

19        A.   No dispute whatsoever.

20        Q.   Now look at the next document, 4D1353.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  I noticed a

22     paragraph which could be of interest on page 4.  Roman numeral III.

23     There it is.  It says that:

24             "The armed forces of the Republic of Croatia, conducting

25     offensive operations to liberate Croatian territory ..."

Page 46580

 1             General, this document, stems from the supreme commander of the

 2     armed forces in Sarajevo, seems to admit that the Republic of Croatia is

 3     conducting a military operation to liberate its territory.  This is what

 4     it says in writing, doesn't it?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  Yes, that's precisely what we

 6     read there.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And then it says that --

 8     Trebinje and Stolac are mentioned, as well as the area of Dubrovnik,

 9     Dubrovnik sector.

10             Ms. Alaburic.

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   General, if we wanted to define all these localities mentioned

13     also by Judge Antonetti from the point of view of theatre of war, it's

14     not only a unified single theatre of war but a single battle zone.

15        A.   Yes.  This was declared as the southern theatre of war by the

16     Croatian command, and it includes both parties in these -- in this

17     territory.

18        Q.   Let us look now at the next document, 4D1353.  It's a map

19     developed on the basis of this document by Sefer Halilovic we have just

20     looked at.  It was made by General Petkovic.

21             Could you now on this map, which is also on the screen, mark

22     where at that time, and that was September 1992, your unit was, that is,

23     the Croatian Army was.

24        A.   September 1992, the Croatian Army was in this area.

25        Q.   Could you put letters HV there and sign.

Page 46581

 1        A.   [Marks]

 2             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And I would ask for an IC number

 3     for this map.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have an IC

 5     number for the map, please.

 6             THE REGISTRAR:  Yes, Your Honour.  The marked version of document

 7     4D1353 shall be given Exhibit IC1098.  Thank you, Your Honours.

 8             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 9        Q.   Now, General, we'll look at two documents, skipping the next one,

10     to see what was going on with you in your unit.  First P326.  It's an

11     order issued on the 13th July, 1992, signed by Janko Bobetko, sent also

12     to TG-2.  It says "Colonel Beneta."

13             Tell me, what orders did you receive herein?

14        A.   This order orders me to hand over the defence positions around

15     the town of Stolac to the Croatian Defence Council.  In fact, also the

16     unit that was then in defence positions were to be handed over to the

17     1st Brigade of the HVO.

18        Q.   Let us clarify in follow-up to the question by Judge Antonetti.

19     In legal terms you were entering Stolac as an occupying force, and you

20     had certain special powers as a military commander.  What happened with

21     these special powers after the hand-over of Stolac?  Did you continue to

22     hold these powers or not?

23        A.   No, I no longer had any of those powers.  I had turned over both

24     the area of responsibility and the forces defending that area to the

25     1st Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council.

Page 46582

 1        Q.   All right.  Let's look at the next document, 4D1406.  It's an

 2     order from Milivoj Petkovic, dated 1st August 1992, and item 1 says that

 3     by 7 August 1992, the sectors of defence of the 116th and the 114th

 4     Brigades of the Croatian Army shall be taken over by units from Grude,

 5     Ljubuski, and Citluk.

 6             What happened following this order?

 7        A.   I am aware of it, and pursuant to that order I turned over also

 8     that area that a unit of the Croatian Army under me was holding north of

 9     Stolac, marked on the map as north A.  That part, too, I handed over to a

10     unit of the HVO, and I moved lower to defend Slano, taking up positions

11     to the left and right of a place called Zavala, towards the exit in the

12     direction of Popovo Polje.

13        Q.   This place Slano is in the territory of which state?

14        A.   It's a coastal settlement in the territory of Croatia.

15             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] May I now ask the usher to show

16     the witness another map to be placed on the ELMO.  I hope it will work

17     this time.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.

19             Witness, you're telling us that you handed over to the HVO all

20     your powers.  The document is fairly clear on that.  The area you were

21     occupying, is this a part of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

22     Well, it is.  So why did you not hand over your authority to the Army of

23     Bosnia-Herzegovina?  Why did you hand your authority over to the HVO?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, at that time in that area

25     there was no BH Army, none.  There were only forces of the HVO.

Page 46583

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And let's assume that if the

 2     Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had been there, what would you have done?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can I tell you before

 4     that a situation that actually happened, and then I'll answer your

 5     question?

 6             When I was planning the operation to liberate Stolac, I had

 7     assistance from Muslims who had remained in Stolac under Serb occupation.

 8     When we were mounting and preparing our defence, the Muslims joined the

 9     Croatian Defence Council and defended their hometown.  At one point a man

10     called Mahmutcehajic wanted to form a unit of the BH Army in Stolac.  I

11     enabled him to do so, and I asked that proportionally to the strength of

12     the unit he was forming he take over a part of the front line, because I

13     thought it was fair.

14             Three or four days later, around 30 young men, mainly Muslims,

15     came to the command of the sector that I had formed and asked to be

16     included in a that unit that I had positioned in defence, saying that

17     they were not going to set up any army just because an individual wanted

18     it to be so, and they had no equipment, no uniforms.  And after that I

19     went back to that man and asked him if he still wanted to stick with his

20     original plan or he wanted to join the joint defence.  He agreed, and he

21     became assistant commander of the Stolac sector for logistics.

22             No one would have been happier than I had we been able, had we

23     had the wherewithal to create a unit of the BH Army that would have taken

24     up part of the front line, because my men were getting killed every day

25     defending that line.

Page 46584

 1             That attempt failed not because of my unwillingness, but because

 2     of the local people who wanted instead to join a force that in that area

 3     was the best prepared, the best trained, the best equipped, the most

 4     experienced.

 5             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 6        Q.   Thank you, General.  Now we can deal with the map on the ELMO.

 7             Tell me, did you draw this map over the past few days when we

 8     were preparing for your testimony?

 9        A.   Yes.

10        Q.   Can you explain to the Judges what this map shows?

11        A.   This map shows the situation from September 1992 onwards.

12     Conditionally, I divided it into two parts.  I'm showing the first part

13     now where one unit of the Croatian Army was still holding positions.

14     Very shortly afterwards, within a month, that unit, too, turned over that

15     area of responsibility to an HVO unit.  I think it was the

16     Ravno Battalion.  And this Croatian Army unit withdrew to the shaded area

17     I'm showing now.  I shaded only the area on the other side of the border

18     that belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and somewhere in that area that's

19     how the border went, and important topographic features were taken on

20     both sides of the border and defence was held throughout the war.

21        Q.   This border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is this

22     black line; right?

23        A.   Yes.

24        Q.   Can you tell us, what is the width of this territory at the

25     beginning of this section that is strongly shaded?

Page 46585

 1        A.   When you climb up the macadam road, up the hill, for one

 2     kilometre approximately, that's where the border is.  And then it varies

 3     from 4 kilometres to 8 kilometres all the way up to Dubrovnik.  Sorry, 4

 4     kilometres to 800 metres all the way to Dubrovnik.

 5        Q.   General, can you repeat when you were talking about the width --

 6     it's now been -- it's now been corrected.  Thank you.

 7             This territory that you're talking about, it's between the sea

 8     and the Bosnian border.

 9        A.   Yes, I'm talking about the territory between the sea and the

10     border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the positions of Croatian forces

11     were either a bit further south inside Croatian territory or a bit more

12     forward up to 1, 1.5 kilometres.  It depended more on topography than on

13     the physical border itself, because soldiers simply have their own rules

14     of action and they cannot take up positions in a depression just because

15     the border lies there.

16        Q.   Let us define for the Judges, General, the width of this area

17     inside Bosnian territory at the narrowest point and at the widest point.

18        A.   The widest point would be precisely from Slano towards Zavala,

19     around 8 kilometres, and the narrow part would be 100 metres from the

20     border.  The front line was inside the Croatian territory, actually,

21     which we can't see on the map because topography did not allow it any

22     other way.

23        Q.   Sign this map, too, General, and then I would like to ask for a

24     number.

25        A.   [Marks]

Page 46586

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I have a technical

 2     question.  I don't have the Strugar indictment at hand when he bombed

 3     Dubrovnik.  However, could you tell us whether what you have mentioned

 4     occurred before or after the bombing of Dubrovnik?

 5             Did you understand my question?  We have a map here on the ELMO

 6     where we see Dubrovnik and the front line.  I would like to know whether

 7     this map was drawn before or after the shelling of Dubrovnik.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the shelling of

 9     Dubrovnik lasted for quite a while, so I can't tell you that this

10     happened on a certain date.  This was the situation after Croatian forces

11     lifted the blockade of Dubrovnik.  Thus from the area of Slano -- or,

12     rather, Ston, a breakthrough was made towards Dubrovnik, and a bit later

13     the conditions were created for a noncombat takeover in the south with a

14     minor skirmish only, and this situation here is following all that, after

15     the Croatian forces successfully controlled not only the ground forces of

16     infantry but also tried to control the enemy artillery to stop them from

17     shelling Dubrovnik, because they were still doing it occasionally with

18     the largest calibres.  However, we did not take any offensive operations

19     because of that.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  You answered my

21     question.  Now I would like to know the following:  If the Croatian Army

22     had not been positioned as it is here on the map, above Dubrovnik, then

23     the service -- the Serbian forces would have been close to Dubrovnik and

24     it would have placed Dubrovnik in jeopardy, and you said that was the

25     reason why they used heavy artillery to shell Dubrovnik.  Was that the

Page 46587

 1     gist of your answer?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  They shelled Dubrovnik with

 3     heavy artillery before this area was liberated.  There was even direct

 4     shooting from smaller calibres.  They reduced their activity to the

 5     greater calibres only when we pushed them away from Dubrovnik.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  So if I understand

 7     you correctly, this is the first time that I'm looking into the situation

 8     of Dubrovnik.  If I understand correctly, if the Croatian Army hadn't

 9     been there, Dubrovnik would have been in jeopardy because the Serbian

10     forces would have invaded the territory of BiH where the BiH -- where the

11     ABiH was not present, and could have easily shelled and attacked

12     Dubrovnik, which is why the Croatian Army had to be present in this area.

13     Is this what you're trying to convey?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is the very

15     essence the military situation.  Not because I say so, but it was like

16     that on the ground.  Dubrovnik was literally hanging on a thread.  The

17     only connection that we had with Dubrovnik, which was a pearl of Croatian

18     culture, was by sea and at night, and we used small and fast vessels

19     to -- to go through the Yugoslav navy vessels.

20             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I'm sorry to interrupt you, Ms. Alaburic, but I

21     would I like to have a follow-up question only.  Here what we are having

22     in front of us as far as the map is concerned, it is from August 1992.

23     My question is that - I'm not very familiar now as far as the dates are

24     concerned with Dubrovnik - if when the siege of Dubrovnik has been

25     terminated by the Croatian army, it is what I would like to ask you, was

Page 46588

 1     it before 1992 August or afterwards, if you remember the date.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The attack operation on the

 3     southern theatre of war to liberate Dubrovnik started on the 30th or 31st

 4     of May, 1992.  It lasted three to four days, and we broke through enemy

 5     positions on both sides of the border, that is from the coastline all the

 6     way to Popovo Polje, and hereabouts the forces were stopped partly due to

 7     the intervention of the international community, I believe.  And after a

 8     few months, but I can't give you an exact date, after long and tough

 9     negotiations an agreement was signed on a ship of the international

10     forces, I don't know which country it belonged to.  So there was an

11     agreement between General Bobetko and the enemy force, that they would

12     leave the entire area all the way to Prevlaka, but the agreement didn't

13     define all -- any elements, because it mentioned a -- the departure of

14     the Yugoslav People's Army, but the plan was for the forces from the

15     Republika Srpska, that is from a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to enter

16     that area suddenly, which would have meant that the agreement had been

17     honoured, technically, but Croatia wouldn't have gotten back its

18     territory.

19             When the agreement entered into force, the Croatian forces landed

20     from the sea in that area and soon reached a topographically significant

21     area.  There was a brief fighting and we were able to -- to take the

22     Serbian forces by surprise and put the territory -- territory under our

23     control where it remained until the end of the war.

24             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Thank you, General.  Thank you.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We need an IC number for this

Page 46589

 1     map.

 2             THE REGISTRAR:  Yes, Your Honour.  The map just marked by the

 3     witness shall be given Exhibit IC1099.  Thank you, Your Honours.

 4             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 5        Q.   General, just for the sake of a better understanding of the map,

 6     let us explain once more.  Once we draw a borderline, we assume that

 7     everybody knows where the border is, so please confirm that the black

 8     line that you drew is the international border between Croatia and Bosnia

 9     and Herzegovina.  Perhaps we should return the map.

10             My friend Mr. Stewart has just told me that it all just isn't

11     clear enough.  So if I could ask the usher to oblige.  Could we put the

12     map back on the ELMO, please, and I'll also ask my friend Mr. Stewart to

13     keep an eye on everything to see whether everything is clear.

14             General, let's proceed in the following manner:  Mark the

15     territory of the Republic of Croatia with a number 1.

16        A.   [Marks]

17        Q.   Perhaps we can use a marker that is more conspicuous.

18        A.   [Marks]

19        Q.   So a number 1 to mark the territory of Croatia.  And now please

20     write BiH on the territory that belongs to that country.

21        A.   [Marks]

22        Q.   All right.  And now please show us which is territory controlled

23     by Serbian authorities including the VRS.

24        A.   [Indicates]

25        Q.   The red line is the one representing it?

Page 46590

 1        A.   East of this dotted red line is the territory controlled by the

 2     forces of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 3        Q.   Now, please put a number 2 on the territory controlled by the

 4     VRS.

 5        A.   [Marks]

 6        Q.   And now let's go to the part of Bosnia and Herzegovina controlled

 7     by the Muslim and Croatian authorities.

 8        A.   The Muslim and Croatian authorities control this part of Bosnia

 9     and Herzegovina, and I will mark it with a number 3.

10             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, Witness.  When I look at the map, did

11     you not put the H of Herzegovina into Serb-controlled area?  The H of

12     BiH, it is not on a territory now which is actually controlled by Serbs.

13             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we wanted to say

14     that this is the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country,

15     irrespective of the effective control, and the number 2 stands for the

16     Serbs, and the number 3 for Croats and Muslims.  I believe that it is

17     clear now.

18        Q.   Thank you very much, General.

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I apologise.  Thank you.

20             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It's all right.  And now there is

21     another document about this subject, and I believe we'll be able to deal

22     with it until the break.  So the document number is 4D475.  We have

23     already seen the document in this -- in this courtroom.  It is a document

24     by Miljenko Lasic, the commander of the zone of operations of South-east

25     Herzegovina and under item 3, which is on page 3 for you, he describes

Page 46591

 1     his neighbours.  It reads:

 2             "To the south, right-hand side of us, defence is organised by the

 3     116th Brigade of the Croatian Army."

 4             Tell us, General, is this position of your brigade as stated

 5     here, does it coincide with what we have just seen on that map?

 6        A.   Yes.  This is that situation briefly described, but don't be

 7     confused by this -- by this language "south" and in brackets, "right-hand

 8     side," because it was actually to the south-east.

 9        Q.   And if we recall your biography, then we'll see that you stayed

10     there until March 1993 on these positions, namely, and then you returned

11     to Croatia; is that correct?

12        A.   Yes.

13        Q.   According to your knowledge, did the brigade -- or the

14     Croatian Army stay there until the end of the war?

15        A.   Yes, it did.  And there wasn't significant movement, and I've

16     already explained how the Croatian Army forces entered the southern

17     areas.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we would like to go

19     into the liberation of Stolac now, so this may be a convenient moment for

20     a break and then start a new subject.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're right.  It's time

22     for a 20-minute break.

23                           --- Recess taken at 5.32 p.m.

24                           --- On resuming at 5.54 p.m.

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

Page 46592

 1     Mr. Stewart, you have the floor.

 2             MR. STEWART:  Your Honour, just very briefly.  Your Honour, the

 3     Prosecution have put in a list.  There's only one item on it for an

 4     exhibit to be tendered through -- to be admitted that was tendered

 5     through Witness Gorjanc, the expert witness.  We have put in our IC list

 6     in the normal way asking for a number of items.  Each of these

 7     submissions requires a little bit more than the usual thought and

 8     response, and I've discussed it with Mr. Stringer.  Your Honour, subject

 9     to Your Honours' approval, we would ask that we each have until Thursday

10     to respond to give our objections to the other's application.

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

12     is extending the deadline to Thursday.

13             Ms. Alaburic.

14             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

15        Q.   General, let us now go into the issue of the liberation of

16     Stolac.  Although, you have already said something about that, but we'll

17     try to deal with it systematically.

18             Tell us, to start with, the OTP in these proceedings has tried to

19     put forward several times the thesis that there was no fighting for

20     Stolac, that the Serbs merely walked out of Stolac, and that it may be

21     the outcome of some kind of agreement between the Serbs and the Croats.

22             Can you, as an eyewitness, say what -- what this was all about?

23     Was there any fighting at Stolac?

24        A.   There was fighting for Stolac in which three of my soldiers were

25     killed, and there were several dozen wounded.  The commander of the

Page 46593

 1     defence of Stolac, a major by rank, in the VRS was killed and one of his

 2     staff officers, and three other staff members of his were taken prisoner.

 3             There was fighting for each and every position around Stolac, and

 4     I must admit that I am astonished by such a view.  We began the operation

 5     in such a way that the intelligence organ of the 116th Brigade agreed

 6     with the Muslim population from Stolac to accommodate a number of my

 7     fighters and hide them away until the beginning of the attack.  I didn't

 8     expect it, but it happened that the Muslim representatives of the

 9     authority, anticipating an attack, sent over -- sent a significant number

10     of civilians to my side of the confrontation line, and so we asked the --

11     our high command to organise and provide buses, and this population that

12     had fled Stolac was moved out of my area of responsibility and out of the

13     range of artillery.

14             After that, the attack started on -- in the afternoon of the

15     following day, but it was unsuccessful.  It was repeated on the day after

16     that in the morning, but with success that time.  And the things that I

17     mentioned occurred then, I mean the losses.  And by midday, everything

18     was clear except for a position east of Stolac for which I didn't have

19     enough forces.  At that moment, I was assisted by a unit commanded by

20     Dragan Curcic of the HVO, who took that hill which -- which could

21     threaten the town of Stolac, and a high-ranking officer from the command

22     of the zone of operation was almost killed when my commanders came to

23     inspect the situation.

24             So I completely disagree with the -- with the statement that the

25     Serbs walked away, and which can be corroborated that the very commander

Page 46594

 1     of the defence was killed in the operation.

 2        Q.   So, General, you entered Stolac with your troops.  Was there a

 3     functioning civilian authority there which, until the beginning of the

 4     attack, took care of the -- of civilians at Stolac?

 5        A.   No.  When we entered Stolac, I have already said that the first

 6     attack was unsuccessful, so that the second wave of people who had fled

 7     Stolac turned up on the first evening after the unsuccessful attack,

 8     because it was clear that another attack would be -- would follow.

 9     The -- after two days of fighting, the Serbian population left the area

10     with the troops, but the Serbs were a minority at Stolac.  We didn't --

11     we hardly saw any Serbian civilians there once we entered.  And the

12     conditions had to be created for the return of the civilian population to

13     Stolac.

14        Q.   We have minor problems with the transcript, so I would ask you,

15     General, to repeat the part about the second wave of refugees.  So what

16     happened after the first unsuccessful attack?

17        A.   After the first unsuccessful attack, the representatives of the

18     Muslim local authorities organised a group of civilians to leave Stolac

19     and cross the confrontation line to the side that I controlled, and that

20     second wave was also taken by buses away from the combat activities.

21             On the following day -- what I just described happened during the

22     night.  And on the following day, in the morning, we attacked again, but

23     this time with success.  We took control of all most important positions

24     around Stolac except for one.  It was the detachment of -- called Bozan

25     commanded by Dragan Curcic that actually took that position, and thus

Page 46595

 1     conditions were created to maintain defence positions and prepare for a

 2     counter-attack which was to be expected in the coming period.

 3             So Stolac was a vacated town, and around Stolac the forces of the

 4     HV and the HVO held their positions.  The establishment of civilian

 5     authorities ...

 6        Q.   I was about to ask you about the establishment of civilian

 7     authorities.  So you enter Stolac.  There's no one.  The only organised

 8     force is the army.  You're in charge.  And tell us, General, do you take

 9     any steps toward the establishment of civilian authorities at Stolac?

10        A.   It was a joint effort in which I took part to organise life at

11     Stolac, because there were indications that the population wanted to

12     return to Stolac and the surrounding areas where they had their homes and

13     land.  There was also the wish of the persons who are -- or persons of

14     esteem with both the Muslim and Croatian authorities who wanted to bring

15     Stolac back to normal life.

16        Q.   Do you remember approximately how much time elapsed since your

17     entry into Stolac and the establishment of a body of civilian authority?

18        A.   For a few days there was intensive shelling from both sides, in

19     parallel with some talks with the Serbian side about exchanging the

20     dead bodies, but there were no conditions for civilian life, but about a

21     week after the successful attack the civilians from the area -- it was

22     both the civilians from the area and myself who launched this initiative

23     to create the conditions for the refugees to return, and around about the

24     1st of July there was a meeting between the representatives of the Muslim

25     and the Croatian communities where I put forward the military and

Page 46596

 1     security related situation, but I also demanded from them that they take

 2     upon them their responsibility, because there was an increasing pressure

 3     for the civilian population to return, which they should be enabled to

 4     do.

 5        Q.   I'm going to show you the testimony of a Prosecution witness.

 6             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It was a protective -- protected

 7     witness.  Therefore, I ask the Trial Chamber to move into private

 8     session.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar.

10                           [Private session]

11   (redacted)

12   (redacted)

13   (redacted)

14   (redacted)

15   (redacted)

16   (redacted)

17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22   (redacted)

23   (redacted)

24   (redacted)

25   (redacted)

Page 46597











11 Page 46597 redacted. Private session.















Page 46598

 1   (redacted)

 2   (redacted)

 3   (redacted)

 4   (redacted)

 5   (redacted)

 6                           [Open session]

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

 8     you.

 9             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

10        Q.   So, General, is it correct that at that meeting on the 1st of

11     July it was agreed that a Crisis Staff be established that will be made

12     up of 50 per cent Muslims and 50 per cent Croats and that it will

13     discharge civilian authority?

14        A.   Yes.  That is correct, and I believe that the witness described

15     the very meeting that I mentioned.

16        Q.   The name Zeljko Raguz as president of that Crisis Staff, is it

17     familiar to you?

18        A.   Yes, it is.  He was the president of the Crisis Staff.

19        Q.   Toward the end of 1992, Mr. Andjelko Markovic is mentioned as the

20     person discharging civilian authority at Stolac.  Do you have any

21     knowledge about that or was it much later?

22        A.   I left the area in early August, so that must have been after my

23     departure, and I have no knowledge about it.

24        Q.   I would now like to ask you, General, to explain to the Trial

25     Chamber whether or not a military unit was being established of -- and

Page 46599

 1     that consisted of the civilian population from Stolac.  Do you know

 2     anything about it, and if so, did you play any role in it?

 3        A.   Yes.  When I entered Stolac, I positioned a battalion to defend

 4     Stolac, which consisted to a great part of Croats from that area, and

 5     they carried out the attack in co-operation with the local Muslim

 6     leaders.  Through the talks and conversations I had those days, it seemed

 7     to me very logical to make an offer to the Muslims' authority there,

 8     namely that younger Muslims should be included in the defence activities

 9     together with ethnic Croats.

10             They accepted that.  They invited young people to a place we had

11     agreed on previously as sheltered from observation from the Serbian side,

12     in the canyon of Bregava River, and over 400 people gathered there.  I

13     divided what used to be a battalion into two parts, and in every squad as

14     the lowest-ranking unit, ten men strong, when I divided them - there was

15     five people in each - and I placed in each squad five people of Muslim

16     ethnicity, and thus I created two battalions of around 200 men each, with

17     a 50/50 ratio in ethnic terms.

18        Q.   What about the commanding officers?

19        A.   I accepted the Muslim share in leadership, but I placed two

20     Croats in commanding positions.  The commander of one battalion was

21     Edin Obradovic, who had the required military skill and experience

22     because he was a former JNA officer.  And in the same way we found a few

23     more people who had certain military skills and gave them appointments in

24     those two newly established battalions.

25        Q.   How did Croat soldiers react, soldiers of Croat ethnicity, to

Page 46600

 1     your efforts to include Muslims into military units?

 2        A.   Most of them accepted it, some with a certain amount of

 3     grumbling.  A few were strongly opposed.  Most of these defiant ones I

 4     managed to persuade from a military, human, ethical point of view, that

 5     it was the only fair solution, the only right one.  And two men who no

 6     longer wanted to be part of this I sent away from the battalion and they

 7     were no longer members.

 8        Q.   These two that you sent away, they had been opposed to the

 9     creation of a joint Muslim-Croat army; correct?

10        A.   Yes.

11        Q.   At that time, towards the end of June when all these operations

12     had been finished, did you organise a meeting of representatives of

13     military units, commanding officers, to see what to do next and compare

14     notes?

15        A.   Yes.  There was a meeting, a high-level meeting, in Grude, I

16     believe - I'm not quite sure - attended by Mate Boban, a few more people

17     from the Croatian government of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.

18     There was Mr. Petkovic.  I can't remember the others, but those I named

19     are certainly -- were certainly there.

20        Q.   Did Mr. Petkovic give a speech then?

21        A.   Yes.  He gave a cross-section of the situation from the military

22     point of view, and he presented very frankly the problems we were facing.

23     Surprisingly frankly, in my view.  But I can say that I followed him with

24     a great amount of understanding.

25        Q.   P279 is going to be our next document.

Page 46601

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'd like to get back

 2     to what you've said, because this is important.  You explained to us that

 3     there was fighting in Stolac, and in the month of August 1992, the

 4     Muslims had been placed on buses in order to protect them and they'd left

 5     the town.  And then you took control of the town because the Serbs had

 6     been defeated.  Therefore, at the time you enter Stolac, there are no

 7     Serbs left, there are no Muslims left, there are only the soldiers you

 8     are commanding.  Was that exactly what the situation was like?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were the only people there.

10     There were no civilians there.  It was an empty town.  There was nothing

11     to govern in an empty town.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the 1991 census, the town of

13     Stolac.  I don't mean the municipality.  I mean the town.  There were

14     recorded more than 5.000 inhabitants.  So when you entered Stolac, there

15     were no more Muslim civilians left.  At that time, did Croats from the

16     HVO tell you the Muslims must not come back.  All we need to do is have a

17     municipality that is solely inhabited by Croats, and then we can set up a

18     Croatian brigade.  Did people tell you this or did nobody mention this to

19     you, and you on your own bat decided to set up these two battalions, one

20     being a Croatian one, the other a Muslim one?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if someone had told me

22     that earlier or even at that time, I would have obviously gone against

23     the orders or any such suggestion, because what I established there at

24     that time, and I have to emphasise this, not a Muslim unit and a

25     Croatian Army unit separated, but a joint army where each ethnicity was

Page 46602

 1     represented 50/50 at the level of every company and every battalion.  It

 2     was mixed, 50/50, at every level.  And I formed a Joint Command for these

 3     two battalions, and I called them the command of sector Stolac.

 4             And let me stress one more thing.  At a point, that attempt that

 5     I had described earlier of establishing the BH Army, which had met with

 6     my understanding but eventually failed, these people now were also

 7     included in the joint forces of defence.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  What did you do to

 9     get the Muslim population back, those that had left on board the buses?

10     Did you ask them to come back?  What did you personally do?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right after combat died down, I

12     asked for a Crisis Staff to be set up, because that term was the easiest

13     to use in the circumstances, because everyone knew what it meant and what

14     the jurisdiction, the powers of a Crisis Staff are.  I asked for that

15     Crisis Staff, and both ethnic communities, Muslim and Croat alike,

16     accepted it and accepted that it be mixed, 50/50.  That's the way they

17     set it up.

18             From that moment on, they started rapidly assuming all the

19     functions of civilian authority, organised the return of the population,

20     protection of property, transportation, medical services, supply, and all

21     the other aspects of restoring life to normal, relatively normal.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, a while ago you said that

23     you had captured some Serbs.  What became of them?  Did you imprison

24     them?  Were they exchanged?  What happened to them?

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My obligations as a commander were

Page 46603

 1     to turn over prisoners to the military police, and that's where my

 2     obligations ended.  I really cannot tell you what happened with them

 3     after that.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you handed them over to the

 5     military police.  The military police of the HVO, was it, or the military

 6     police of the Croatian Army?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was the HV,

 8     Croatian Army, police, because at that time the HVO did not have its

 9     police in that area.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.  The Croatian

11     politicians who were part of the crisis cell, well, were they reluctant

12     to see Muslims alongside them?  Were they happy about it?  Did they find

13     it a normal situation to have a 50/50 ratio or not?

14        A.   The men who were initiated to become part of that Crisis Staff

15     had that kind of personality that it was very likely they would accept

16     it, and these people had authority among the population.  But I also have

17     to stress that on the Muslim side there was a wide variety of attitudes

18     and thinking.  And they also had to look for the right people for

19     co-operation.  And what I carried away from that meeting as my conclusion

20     was that we did a good thing, that the best people had been chosen, and

21     that this was -- had a good chance of success.

22             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

23        Q.   From what you know, did Croat and Muslim refugees then return to

24     Stolac or not?

25        A.   Yes.  At the time when I was there, for another 10 or so days, I

Page 46604

 1     noticed the first large groups of civilians coming back to Stolac and to

 2     their places around Stolac.  I mean Muslims and Croats alike.  Muslims

 3     even came back in greater numbers because they had not been long gone,

 4     and they had not had time to resettle in Croatia, whereas Croats had been

 5     refugees for a longer time and for all sorts of reasons.  They needed

 6     more time to start returning.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.

 8             Registrar, let's move into private session, because I need to say

 9     something.

10                           [Private session]

11   (redacted)

12   (redacted)

13   (redacted)

14   (redacted)

15   (redacted)

16   (redacted)

17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22                           [Open session]

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

24     you.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.

Page 46605

 1             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, let me just say that

 2     I acted the way we always acted whenever we wanted to quote a protected

 3     witness, private session, full name and surname.  And when we wanted to

 4     use only initials, we did that in open session.  I really tried very hard

 5     to do the right thing, and I'm sorry this -- I made an error.

 6        Q.   Witness, we are discussing the return of refugees.  You told us

 7     Muslims were returning in larger numbers than Croats, and that leads me

 8     to my next question.

 9             At that time, did you ever notice that anyone in the military

10     authorities or any one of the members of the Crisis Staff took any step

11     whatsoever to prevent the Muslim refugees willing to return from coming

12     back?

13        A.   No.  I never noticed anyone even thinking it, let alone doing

14     something.  And the return of refugees depended mostly on personal

15     decisions of the people, but nobody did anyone [as interpreted] to

16     prevent them.

17        Q.   All right.  Let's go back to that meeting we had mentioned and

18     where you told us General Petkovic addressed it, although he wasn't a

19     general then.

20             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Document P279, please.

21        Q.   This is a document we received from the Prosecution as the

22     introductory statement of General Petkovic.  We don't know where, at

23     which meeting, and we do not know whether the words noted here had ever

24     really been uttered.  That's why I'm going to ask you, General Beneta, to

25     the best of your recollection, at that meeting did Mr. Petkovic read from

Page 46606

 1     a paper or not?

 2        A.   General Petkovic spoke.  He spoke looking at his audience.  I

 3     would say that he spoke from the heart.  I think he was inspired in that

 4     speech, and he was saying the things that I believed, too, namely that in

 5     that area where I was with my unit of the Croatian Army, I was

 6     encountering the same problems that he was describing in his address.

 7        Q.   At a meeting in June 1992, was it clear who the enemy was?

 8        A.   Abundantly clear.

 9        Q.   Who was the enemy?

10        A.   The Yugoslav People's Army and the armed forces of Republika

11     Srpska.

12             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  May I ask a question particularly regarding

13     this.

14             Mr. Petkovic sets out the tasks in four points.  One is to put

15     under control the remaining area of Croatian municipalities, and number

16     four, to establish Croatian rule over all municipalities.

17             Now, I do not quite see how this relates to the Serbs being the

18     enemy.  Doesn't it -- it not look as if there were a problem, at least, a

19     problem also with the Muslims, with the non-Croats generally?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know where

21     you drew that inference from when it is said:

22             "Place under control the remaining territory of Croatian

23     municipalities."

24             Back then and today, still I understood that as an area populated

25     by Croats in a percentage that is absolutely significant.  I don't think

Page 46607

 1     he meant to say absolutely Croatian and turned against everyone else.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

 3             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

 4        Q.   General, one of the issues important to us now is whether what is

 5     stated here on paper was ever uttered at that meeting.  So I'm asking you

 6     now.  If I understood you correctly, then you said that General Petkovic

 7     at that meeting didn't read at all but looked at his audience and gave an

 8     inspired speech.  Did I understand you correctly?

 9        A.   Yes.  I cannot say which percentage of this was actually said,

10     but I can say that he spoke in an inspired manner looking at us, and I

11     nodded in agreement several times because it seemed to me that he had hit

12     the nail on the head as he was speaking.  But whether he actually read

13     out this entire text, I don't know.

14        Q.   General, at this meeting was there a proposition, implicit or

15     explicit, in any manner, that the Muslims were the enemies of the Croats

16     or that they would become their enemies one day?

17        A.   No.  At that meeting, no such thing was said, and if it had been,

18     it would not have been in accordance with the situation on the ground,

19     because at those days, I actually established a unit consisting of

20     Muslims and Croats at Stolac.

21        Q.   General, tell us to whom did you hand over your military duties

22     at Stolac before you left?

23        A.   The sector of Stolac with the zone of responsibility and the

24     forces defending that zone I handed over to the first brigade of the HVO.

25        Q.   Thank you, General.  Our next witness will continue speaking

Page 46608

 1     about this issue in relation to Stolac, and let us pass over to the next

 2     issue.  The working title is "Operation South."  This is our last topic,

 3     so we may actually finish your examination today.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.

 5             General, I would like to remain on this document of June 26,

 6     1992, before Stolac was taken by yourself.

 7             General Petkovic seems to be making a speech.  At this document

 8     it's never mentioned that the enemy would be the Muslims.  However, there

 9     is a strange sentence, item 4 where it says:

10             "To establish Croatian rule over all municipalities."

11             Municipalities which are not under HVO control, i.e., Mostar and

12     Stolac."

13             So according to you, what can this mean?  To establish Croatian

14     rule over these municipalities?  What did he have in mind when he said

15     that?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise, but

17     which sentence are you referring to?

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is on paragraph four, in

19     the fourth paragraph.  You have four bullet points, 1, 2, 3 and 4.  I'm

20     interested in bullet point number 4.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The item:

22             "To establish Croatian rule over all municipalities."

23             That was going on in practice the way I explained.  So one week

24     after this was said, on the 1st of July a joint Staff of Croats and

25     Muslims at Stolac was established, and it was partly my initiative.  At

Page 46609

 1     that time, I took these words to mean the establishment of authority, and

 2     that authority at Stolac in all segments and in every aspect of its

 3     function was leaning on the Republic of Croatia.  Not for political

 4     reasons, but there was no communication with anybody else.  No truck with

 5     food or medicine for the population could have come from anywhere but

 6     from Croatia.  So this language here I understood and implemented on the

 7     ground in the way that I have already described.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Thank you.

 9             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with regard to this

10     document, I would like us to state for the transcript that the

11     Prosecution hasn't submitted any evidence that the text that we see

12     before us on paper was ever uttered at any meeting.  So we should keep

13     this in mind.  And General Petkovic, who signed this document, can

14     certainly explain the meaning of any of its part, and I'm sure you will

15     ask him about it.

16        Q.   General, let us move to Operation South.  To start with, tell us

17     when that operation took place.

18        A.   Operation South took place in mid-July 1993.

19        Q.   Tell us whether that was really an operation in the sense as

20     defined by the JNA doctrine, because we have heard of differences in

21     the -- with regard to the notion of operation between the Yugoslav

22     doctrine and the NATO doctrine.

23        A.   Yes, there are such differences.  In accordance with the doctrine

24     that was known there at the time would not be considered an operation

25     but, rather, a battle that took a very short time and small forces were

Page 46610

 1     involved.  And under this definition of "operation," this doesn't qualify

 2     as one, but merely as a battle, as an attempt.

 3        Q.   General, where were you at the time in 1993?

 4        A.   Since the end of March of that year, I was transferred to the

 5     command of the military district of Split, and I was chief of

 6     anti-aircraft defence at a command.  I dealt with -- I dealt with the

 7     issues related to the defence of the pontoon bridge near Zadar which was

 8     the only connection between the south and the north of Croatian at the

 9     time.

10        Q.   All right.  Tell us, General, who sent you to participate in

11     Operation South?

12        A.   Mr. Dzanko, who at the time held the rank of colonel in the

13     Croatian Army, and he was the deputy commander of the army district.

14        Q.   The verb is missing from this transcript.  What did Mr. Dzanko

15     do, did he ask you or order you, or what did he do?

16        A.   He asked me to take part.

17        Q.   Could you please repeat your answer, General.

18        A.   Colonel Dzanko came to my observation point and asked me whether

19     I was willing to accompany him to South-east Herzegovina, because an

20     operation was to be staged there.  I was in a position to refuse or

21     accept to accompany him.  I eventually accepted.

22        Q.   The transcript read "He ordered me to take part."  That's why

23     we're repeating.

24             Tell us, General, if you had refused that request, would you have

25     suffered any detrimental consequences?

Page 46611

 1        A.   No.  There would have been no detrimental consequences for me if

 2     I had refused.

 3        Q.   Tell us, who was it that defined your task in that operation?

 4        A.   My task was defined by Mr. Dzanko at -- at the commander's

 5     reconnaissance that we carried out.

 6        Q.   Tell me, how did Mr. Dzanko define your task?

 7        A.   In the introductory part when he was describing the military

 8     situation to me, he said that the Muslim forces were preparing to attack

 9     in the direction of the Neretva valley.  When we say that, we mean the

10     Neretva delta.  That is Croatian territory, which leads to the town of

11     Ploce, which is on the coast.  He said that we must plan the operation,

12     an attack operation, in which the 1st and the 3rd Brigades of the HVO

13     would take part in the area south of Mostar.

14        Q.   Should a part of the HVO's special unit Ludvig Pavlovic have

15     taken part in the operation?

16        A.   Yes, it should have.

17        Q.   Which area was to be liberated in that action?

18        A.   It was our task to liberate the area between the southern

19     outskirts of Mostar up until Buna, which was controlled by Muslim forces.

20     That should have been cut through, and thus the forces south of that

21     area, that means around Blagaj, would have been cut off, and they would

22     be forced to surrender.

23        Q.   According to those plans, when was the operation to begin?

24        A.   It was to begin on the 13th of July.

25        Q.   Did it really start on that day?

Page 46612

 1        A.   No, it did not, because in the night during -- or, rather, before

 2     the start of the operation which was to commence at dawn, considerable

 3     forces of the ABiH had moved through two -- two HVO brigades and

 4     attacked --

 5        Q.   I apologise, General.  For the sake of the transcript, can you

 6     repeat the part about the forces of the ABiH that broke through?  What --

 7        A.   No, they didn't break through.  They infiltrated.  So without

 8     fighting.  At night-time.  They were able to move through the combat

 9     disposition of the defending forces without the defenders ever noticing.

10        Q.   When you say "defenders," who do you mean?

11        A.   The forces of the 1st and 3rd Brigades of the HVO.

12        Q.   All right.  So they infiltrated.  And what happened then?

13        A.   Fighting broke out behind those brigades, behind their positions,

14     and there were killed and wounded soldiers on both sides.  And it went on

15     that night, the following day, and the following night.  Only on the day

16     that followed the first reports became available and it was possible to

17     make the first analyses.  Militarily, the situation was very complex.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my following

19     questions refer to the statements made by the Prosecution witnesses about

20     these actions, and I will have some documents about that that constitute

21     a whole, so I believe now would be a logical time to break and start

22     something new tomorrow.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Absolutely.  As far as time is

24     concerned, I think you have about 30 minutes left.  The registrar will

25     check.  Altogether you had three hours at the beginning.  I said there

Page 46613

 1     were to be about 30 minutes, not 13.

 2             Witness, you will come back tomorrow morning because we're

 3     sitting in the morning.  Please be here for the 9.00 hearing tomorrow and

 4     make the necessary arrangements.

 5             Ms. Alaburic, you have used two hours and 24 minutes so far, so

 6     you have 36 minutes left.  Thank you.

 7             I wish you all a pleasant evening.  See you tomorrow.

 8                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,

 9                           to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 10th day

10                           of November, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.