Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 46700

 1                           Wednesday, 11 November 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The witness takes the stand]

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

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

 7     the case, please.

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

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

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

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

12             Today is Wednesday, the 11th of November.  I'd like to greet all

13     the people present in the courtroom, the accused, Defence counsel,

14     General Beneta, representatives of the OTP, as well as all the people

15     assisting us.

16             I believe Ms. Pinter would like to say something.

17             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.  Good

18     morning to everyone in the courtroom.

19             Yesterday during the cross-examination by General Praljak a map

20     was presented, an original map that we were unable to have photocopied

21     yesterday.  In the meantime we did so.  It's on the board.  I let the

22     Prosecutor compare the original with the copy, and I would now like to

23     ask for an IC number for the copy.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No objections, Mr. Laws?

25             MR. LAWS:  Good morning Mr. President, indeed, Your Honours, and

Page 46701

 1     everyone else in and around the courtroom.  No objection at all.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.

 3             THE REGISTRAR:  Yes, Your Honour.  The map shall be given

 4     Exhibit IC1101.  Thank you, Your Honours.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Laws, let me give you the

 6     floor for the rest of your cross-examination.

 7             MR. LAWS:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 8                           WITNESS:  IVAN BENETA [Resumed]

 9                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

10                           Cross-examination by Mr. Laws:  [Continued]

11        Q.   And good morning to you, General.  Can we pick up where we left

12     off yesterday, please, on the topic of the southern front and volunteers,

13     and would you turn in the Prosecution's binder to Exhibit P04295, please.

14             This is an order in respect of sending volunteers to the southern

15     front, and it's from the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia,

16     and we can see that it's signed by the defence minister, Mr. Susak, and

17     approved by General Bobetko.  You can see that on the last page.  We're

18     going to look at a bit of its contents in a moment.  It's an order about

19     sending troops and MTS to the southern front.  Can we just look first of

20     all at the final paragraph, paragraph 7, which tell us amongst other

21     things that involved in the coordination of this order is Brigadier Tole

22     the chief of the HVO staff, as he was in -- as he's referred to there.

23     Can you see that?

24        A.   Yes.

25        Q.   So we can deduce from that that it's something in relation to the

Page 46702

 1     HVO.  And we'll look back now together at the body of the order.  In

 2     paragraph 1 we learn that it's to create a reinforced battalion out of

 3     the volunteers from the 5th Guards Motorised Brigade, 1st Battalion,

 4     going to be sent to the southern front.  Can you see that?

 5        A.   Yes.

 6        Q.   In paragraph 2 it says that the battalion of volunteers shall be

 7     reinforced, and then it gives us the weaponry with which it's to be

 8     reinforced:  120-millimetre mortar battery, a six-weapon system with an

 9     anti-aircraft defence battery, a 76-millimetre gun battery which is a

10     six-weapon system, 128-millimetre RAK platoon.  What's an RAK platoon?

11        A.   RAK means two weapons, two artillery weapons, multiple-rocket

12     launchers, 128-millimetre calibre.  Every launcher with 12 barrels, with

13     a crew of four men.

14        Q.   Thank you.  And we're getting three of those sent on this

15     deployment.  Two tank platoons from the 5th Guards Motorised Brigade

16     armoured battalion with the entire crew, and at least three combat sets

17     of ammunition, and then it goes on to talk about the combat sets being

18     provided with the necessary MTS to go with them?

19             So it's not just that the volunteers are going to be allowed to

20     be deployed to the southern front, but they're going to be, on the face

21     of it, taking with them this weaponry; is that right?

22        A.   According to this order, they should be carrying this weaponry

23     with them, but I want to emphasise it says here up to two tank platoons,

24     which is not really properly termed, but it all depends on the order.

25     From 0 to 2.

Page 46703

 1        Q.   Well, you might have some comments to make about the language,

 2     but the sense of paragraph 2, I'm going to suggest to you, is that some

 3     heavily armed soldiers are being deployed.  Is that right or wrong?

 4        A.   It is true that this reads that in addition to the troops the

 5     volunteers referred to in paragraph 1, weaponry is sent.  I can't say

 6     heavy weaponry.  This is infantry weapons save for this phrase, "up to

 7     two tank platoons," which is not infantry weapons.  Obviously the author

 8     of this order was unsure how many weapons will be able to be sent.  The

 9     rest of the weaponry can be handled by infantrymen, because this is

10     included in infantry skills.

11        Q.   And the volunteers who have, on your evidence, asked to go to

12     fight in Bosnia and Herzegovina, they happened to be volunteers who will

13     be proficient in all of the skills necessary to operate this equipment

14     that they're taking with them, the multiple-rocket launchers, the

15     mortars, the anti-aircraft defence batteries, et cetera.  That's right,

16     isn't it?

17        A.   Yes.  In a group of 200, 300 soldiers at that time, you would

18     find men who are infantrymen whose specialisations covered all these

19     skills apart from the tanks.  That is not an infantry skill.

20        Q.   No.  But the tanks and the other weaponry are going with the

21     volunteers.  Does that in any way change your evidence about the nature

22     of this engagement of volunteers?

23        A.   I don't see any reason to question any of my previous evidence.

24     In paragraph 1, as in the paragraph about reinforcements, I don't see any

25     reason to change my previous evidence.  Apart from this reference to

Page 46704

 1     tanks, it says "up to two platoons," because the author obviously wasn't

 2     unsure to what extent this order will be able to be implemented.

 3        Q.   It's one thing for a soldier to say, I want to go and fight in

 4     Bosnia.  I'm suggesting to you that it's quite another for the

 5     Croatian Army to say, yes, that's all right, and please take with you

 6     multiple-rocket launchers, mortars, tanks.  That's not -- that's not

 7     something that happens with a volunteer, is it?  That's a deployment.

 8     That's what I'm suggesting to you, General.

 9        A.   I can also confirm to you that we did not send volunteers

10     blindly, haphazardly in a danger.  We equipped them properly so that they

11     have a chance of functioning there rather than sending them empty-handed,

12     without equipment, without weapons, without communications, somewhere

13     where they would be stranded.

14        Q.   Would you please look now at paragraph 4 of this document.  It's

15     over the page.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, Mr. Laws.

17             Just a question of information, Mr. Beneta.  A tank platoon

18     signifies how many vehicles, how many armoured vehicles per platoon?

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, a tank - T-55 is

20     mentioned here if I'm not mistaken - it will have a crew of four men.

21     Yes, I know they had T-55 tanks.  Perhaps at that time even M-84 with a

22     crew of three.  So a crew would be three to four men per artillery

23     weapon, and that would make 9 to 12 men in a tank platoon, plus

24     commanders, of course.  That means 10 to 13.  Or let me correct myself,

25     12, because the commander of a platoon is also a member of the crew.  So

Page 46705

 1     it would be 9 to 12 men.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I had actually not asked the number of men but

 3     the number of tanks, of armoured vehicles.  I take it that it is three,

 4     three tanks to one platoon.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, three tanks per platoon.

 6             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  So six -- six tanks are dispatched.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your Honour, how many

 8     tanks were sent.  I don't know anything about this order.  I'm just

 9     reading what it says, and it says, "up to two tank platoons."  I read

10     this as, "send from 0 to 2 tank platoons."

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  There is perhaps again a lack of precision in

12     the translation, because the "up to" I do not find in the English text.

13     Would you be so kind as to read the number 2 of the order, beginning with

14     "banju dragovoljaca."

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you've noticed that

16     very well.  It just says two in English.  I'm reading the original

17     though.  It reads:

18              "The battalion of volunteers shall be reinforced with a

19     120-millimetre mortar battery (six weapons), with an anti-aircraft

20     defence battery of 20 or 14.5 millimetres, one 76-millimetre ZIS gun

21     battery (six weapon systems), one multiple-rocket launcher platoon of

22     128-millimetres RAK (three weapons), up to two tank platoons from the

23     armoured battalion of the 5th Guards --"

24             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you, we have gotten to the right passage,

25     and I can absolutely follow that the translation is wrong and you were

Page 46706

 1     right.  So it would be up to -- mathematically up to six tanks, and you

 2     were quite correct in your answer.  Thank you.

 3             Please, Mr. Laws.

 4             MR. LAWS:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 5        Q.   Over the page, please, General.  Paragraph 4 and paragraph 5.

 6             "The 5th Guard Motorised Brigade commander and the assistant

 7     commander for political affairs shall be held responsible for the

 8     political preparations, conversations with all the volunteers, necessary

 9     explanations and motivation."

10             Can you see that?

11        A.   Yes.

12        Q.    I'm going to suggest to you that that -- we saw a similar

13     passage yesterday.  That is describing preparing people who are being

14     deployed.  It's talking to them about motivation.  It's talking to them

15     about political preparation and explaining matters to them.  It's

16     deploying troops who need to be told why they're going there and what

17     they can say whilst they're there.  That's the truth, isn't it?

18        A.   I would not quite agree with you.

19        Q.   You nearly agree with me?

20        A.   In some aspects I agree, in others I don't, but I cannot give you

21     a ratio or a percentage or even indicate that I agree more than not.

22        Q.   All right.  We'll take that answer.  Thank you.  The following

23     paragraph just before we leave this document says that on its arrival in

24     the port of Ploce, the volunteers battalion is to be put under the direct

25     command of the HVO staff as the reserve.  Can you see that?

Page 46707

 1        A.   Yes.

 2        Q.   Because that's the southern front, isn't it?

 3        A.   The Ploce port, at any rate, is the southern front.

 4        Q.   The HVO are operating in the southern front, aren't they?

 5        A.   The southern front the Croatian Army is active, mainly in the

 6     Croatian part of the territory of the southern front, partly in the

 7     border belt on the side of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  And here I see

 8     written, at least in what we've analysed so far of the text, that this

 9     group of volunteers, reinforced with some infantry weapons, maybe also

10     tanks, maybe not, should be arriving in Ploce where they have to stay in

11     reserve for intervening in an area of the southern front which is

12     located, as I read here, possibly in the area of responsibility of the

13     HVO, but they are still in the role of reserve.

14        Q.   Thank you, General.  Would you turn to the next document, please,

15     P06797.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Beneta, I'd like to get

17     back to paragraph 5 of this document.  I was waiting for the Prosecutor

18     to finish before reviewing this paragraph with you again.  Paragraph 5

19     states that these volunteers are all put under the commander of the HVO.

20     This is crystal clear.  On reading this document, I realise that fairly

21     substantial reinforcements are provided since the tanks which were in

22     Slavonia are going to cross the country in order to reach the southern

23     front since they will be transported on a car ferry.  So it's a

24     large-scale operation which is being conducted here.  Nobody can

25     challenge the fact that this is an important operation.

Page 46708

 1             Now, in military terms, all these people are placed under the

 2     command of the HVO.  Yesterday when I put a question to you relating to

 3     Kuwait and the Americans, you told me that normally speaking, in your

 4     view the American forces were to be subordinated to the Kuwaiti forces.

 5     I was going to follow up your answer with a question which I'm putting to

 6     you now.  Now, considering what is happening in Afghanistan at the

 7     moment.  NATO is in Afghanistan.  I'm sure you're familiar with the

 8     situation.  The US forces that are part of NATO are not under the command

 9     of Mr. Karzai.  Let's take the case of Iraq for instance.  Also, are the

10     US forces under the command of the current Iraqi troops?  You may respond

11     by saying no.  So military situations can be very different from one

12     place to another.

13             With these examples, I would like to know this:  In this

14     particular case we are talking about the southern front, and you have

15     mentioned the theory of the single battle-field.  How is it that all

16     these units are being subordinated to the HVO?  Why would the

17     Croatian Army not still be in command?  Why are these units placed under

18     the command of the HVO.  I find it difficult to understand this.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I also said yesterday

20     that it's thankless and easy to be misinterpreted to compare troops of a

21     scale of the US forces that are deployed 10 to 12.000 miles away from the

22     US territory with the forces of the Croatian Army which never, then or

23     now, had anything similar in terms of forces, equipment, or power to

24     justify such a comparison.

25             Here again we see, indeed, that these forces of the

Page 46709

 1     Croatian Army, established as a volunteer unit, are placed at the

 2     disposal of the commander of the HVO.  If you're asking me about the

 3     reasons why, the reasons lie in the official position of the political

 4     leadership of the Republic of Croatia and the pressure exerted by the

 5     international community for Croatia to refrain from interfering in the

 6     Bosnian war.

 7             If we had the same situation today and if I were in a

 8     decision-making position, I would go and protect the interests of Croatia

 9     wherever they are jeopardised, hitting directly at the centre of the

10     threat.  However, today in our current situation, our system is conceived

11     in such a way that enables us to make alliances with plentiful grounds in

12     the constitution, whereas at that time there were no such prerequisites.

13             If you're asking me whether these people down there needed

14     assistance and help, as a human being and as a military man I would

15     always say yes, and I say yes, and I can only echo the words of

16     General Praljak.  We protected them the best way we could with everything

17     we could within the limitations we had.  And I have to emphasise that the

18     role of the commander was one of the key roles, and I see that I'm

19     frequently asked yesterday and today to put myself in the shoes of

20     Mr. Kapular.  I will say a few words about it here, with your leave,

21     although I've seen some of these documents during proofing and decided

22     that I had nothing to say about them.  I never thought that I would be

23     asked to explain someone else's decisions and acts.  However, if a unit

24     commander has friends there, family there, or any other ties to that area

25     and is in a position to encourage people to volunteer and go help defend

Page 46710

 1     Bosnia and Herzegovina from aggression, then his unit will probably

 2     produce more volunteers.  However, if a commander thinks he has his hands

 3     full on Croatian territory without going anywhere else, this position of

 4     the commander will also influence people and less of them will volunteer.

 5             Yesterday, I watched on television some sort of commemoration in

 6     the United States attended also by the president.  I heard what he said.

 7     And if we go back to that document which reports on the protests of

 8     parents and friends of the men in the 5th Brigade and the punishment of

 9     those 26 men and the reasoning stated there, the language is practically

10     the same as that used by the president of the United States.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry for interrupting you, but you're going

12     a bit too far in this kind of explanation.  It sounds like pleading for

13     the Defence.  I think Mr. Laws should continue questioning.

14             MR. LAWS:  Thank you.  The question was pending.  I'm so sorry.

15     The question was spending from Your Honour.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Beneta, you are telling

17     us that these volunteers went to the southern front for reasons.  They

18     had their own reasons.  Very well.  But as I was listening to you, I was

19     wondering the following:  What about the -- a tank crew member who hails

20     from Slavonia?  What business does he have going to the southern front?

21     I don't know exactly how these crews were made up, but I assume that most

22     of the tank crew members hailing from Slavonia had a very distant

23     connection to this southern front.  They were just executing an order.

24     They were asked to come and reinforce units who were already deployed on

25     the southern front and they obeyed.  So you're telling us that they

Page 46711

 1     volunteered to go.  Maybe so.

 2             We need to take a look at the breakdown of the tank crew members

 3     to seeks exactly whether they had a connection with Bosnia-Herzegovina or

 4     not, but I don't have all this at hand.

 5             I'm going to hand the floor back to Mr. Laws, but in your answer

 6     I wanted you to -- to explain why the HVO was in command, and you told us

 7     that it was because they were volunteers and it was up to the HVO to

 8     command them.  At least that's what you gave us as an explanation.

 9             Mr. Laws.

10             MR. LAWS:  Thank you, Mr. President.

11        Q.   The next document, please, General, is P06797.  It's a document

12     that was added overnight, in fact.  And if it assists, we have a spare

13     copy here.

14             MR. LAWS:  If I could have the assistance of the usher just for a

15     moment.

16        Q.   Ah, you have it.  Thank you, General.  This is a document from

17     the Welfare Administration Department of the Ministry of Defence of the

18     Republic of Croatia.  It's dated the 22nd of November, 1993, and it is an

19     order which is said to be "based on the fact that there have been

20     frequent remarks and complaints lately, related to correct and concrete

21     way... carrying out duty, I hereby issue the following order."

22             And if you look with me at the first paragraph of the order, I

23     think we'll find it says:

24              "1.  To be very careful during filling out of death forms so

25     that in the case of a person killed in the territory of the Republic of

Page 46712

 1     Bosnia and Herzegovina, one is supposed to fill in the southern

 2     battle-field and not the exact place of death.  The matter is that this

 3     has been still happening, especially in the recent time ... some people

 4     are mentioning the name of the place of death as, for example, Mostar,

 5     Bugojno, or other places."

 6             Do you see that paragraph, General?

 7        A.   Yes.

 8        Q.   It's an order that when people die in Mostar or in Bugojno or in

 9     other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that mustn't be put on the death

10     certificate.  Instead, "Southern front" must be put on the death

11     certificate.  That's the effect of it, isn't it?

12        A.   Correct.

13        Q.   It's being concealed.  The truth is being concealed by this

14     order, and I'm suggesting to you this:  It's being concealed because its

15     politically sensitive that Croatian troops are dying in Mostar and

16     Bugojno and other places.

17             Do you agree that that's a sensible interpretation of this

18     document?

19        A.   Your Honours, this document is an example of the absurd situation

20     in which we were at the time.

21        Q.   Well, could I interrupt you, because you told us a bit about the

22     absurdity.  I'm asking you a simple question.  Do you agree that it is a

23     sensible interpretation of this document, that the truth is being

24     concealed because it is politically sensitive?  Do you agree that that's

25     a sensible interpretation of this document?

Page 46713

 1        A.   I completely disagree.  And I can state my reasons if you're

 2     willing to listen to me now.  I'm sorry that you interrupted me five

 3     minutes ago, because I wanted to establish the link between what was said

 4     yesterday and Mr. Kapular, but I wasn't allowed to.

 5        Q.   Well, you were -- you were stopped by the Judges when you wanted

 6     to talk about Mr. Kapular.  Mr. Kapular is not involved in this document.

 7     You've given evidence over the course of two days about the fact that

 8     people were volunteering, and so being sent to the southern front because

 9     they wanted to go there.  This document may or may not help us, but I

10     want to take it in stages, and I've asked you whether you agree that the

11     truth is being concealed because it's politically sensitive.  You say you

12     strongly disagree with that.

13             Don't tell us about Mr. Kapular.  Tell us why you disagree with

14     that.

15        A.   Thank you for enabling me to say so now, and I would like to ask

16     the Trial Chamber to go back to the issue that I haven't had the chance

17     to deal with, haven't had the chance to exhaust.

18             This document, if we understand the situation completely,

19     absolutely cannot be connected to a political hiding of the fact that

20     Croatian soldiers are being sent to the front in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21     This document is a consequence of a simultaneous establishment of a

22     state, the laws and regulations that we had at the time, and the

23     situation -- or, rather, reality which was not in line with that.

24             If at the time a written -- there was no written evidence that

25     the -- a soldier died in the southern front and exclusively in the

Page 46714

 1     Republic of Croatia, in other words, if there was written mention that he

 2     was killed even as little as 500 metres across the border, the killed

 3     man's family had no legal grounds for claiming a pension.

 4             This was written exclusively for social reasons, to enable the

 5     families to get what -- to get their due, because to us soldiers, it was

 6     so absurd that if we say that somebody was killed in the outskirts of

 7     Metkovic, on the Bosnian side of the border, then the family of that

 8     killed soldier cannot get what they would otherwise have been entitled

 9     to.  So -- and if that man was the only one generating income for their

10     family, the family would be left without anything.  So on a daily basis

11     we complained that this must not be done.

12             I, too, drafted documents that this must be taken care of in the

13     legislative way, but the -- they said that they didn't have time to do

14     that.  And in order to get to grips with the situation, they replied,

15     "Well, then don't state that the man was killed across the border.  Just

16     state that he was killed at the southern front."  And from a military

17     point of view, the southern front was on both sides of the border.

18        Q.   Mostar and Bugojno are both considerably more than 500 metres

19     across the border, are they not?

20        A.   Yes.  I believe that there were individuals who even went as far

21     as Bugojno as volunteers and remained Croatian soldiers.  They retained

22     that status.  But the Croatian state considered it necessary to provide

23     for his family if he got killed in Bosnia.

24             I, too, had one or two such cases, and I still paid out wages for

25     that killed soldier until the authorities resolved the situation.  And I

Page 46715

 1     called his father, who was in Bosnia, and it was very difficult to bring

 2     him to Croatia to pay out to him the four -- his son's four last wages,

 3     although the son had already been killed.

 4             This is an interpretation of documents from the positions of a

 5     well-established state that has been functioning for hundreds of years.

 6     I beg you, do try to put yourself in the situation in 19 -- back in 1991

 7     when the state wasn't yet fully established.

 8        Q.   Well, this is 1993.  During 1992 and 1993, whilst you were

 9     deployed in the territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you were

10     a HV soldier, and you were being paid by Croatia; is that right?

11        A.   Yes.

12        Q.   And although Croatia could arrange to pay you your regular salary

13     and could arrange the deployment of soldiers and weaponry as we saw in

14     the last document, you're saying that it simply couldn't arrange benefits

15     for those who died unless it said "Southern front" and not "Mostar."  Is

16     that what you're saying?

17        A.   Yes.  Benefits could be paid out if the official document read

18     "Southern front."  So if a soldier got killed in Croatian territory, then

19     benefits could be paid out.

20             This administration mentioned here, that also takes care of

21     burying people or bodies --

22        Q.   We don't have very much time.  We're not dealing with burying

23     people at this stage.  You've given your answer.

24             Let's turn on to 4D00701.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.  The question

Page 46716

 1     raised by Mr. Laws was essential.  In his question, he put to you that

 2     according to him, according to the Prosecution, for political reasons the

 3     fact that Croatian troops were in Bosnia-Herzegovina was concealed,

 4     notably when they were killed in Mostar or Bugojno.  There's a logic

 5     behind this point of view.  But you are answering by saying that this was

 6     not the case, that it was just an administrative problem, because the

 7     administration of the Ministry of Defence, having noted that death

 8     certificates mentioned Mostar or Bugojno did not want to trigger off the

 9     procedure that should occur when a soldier dies on the battle-field.

10     According to you, the Croatian law says that you can only get

11     compensation if you died either on Croatian soil or on a Croatian front

12     but not abroad.  And then right at the end of your answer you said that

13     this document came from the Ministry of Defence, from the welfare

14     department in charge of burials, and I do note that -- and I do note

15     welfare administration on this document.

16             The -- Mr. Laws did not show you -- did not show you all the

17     reasons behind this order, because in any military document, there is

18     always reasons.

19             In this document we see that there were remarks and complaints

20     that had been made and that this was the reason why this order was

21     actually issued.  Now, here's my question:  You're under oath, and you

22     are telling us that this document is just the -- is just an explanation

23     for administrative questions linked to the payment of compensation to

24     families, because this payment can only be done if the troop actually

25     died on Croatian soil or on the front, on the battlefront, but nowhere

Page 46717

 1     else.  Is that it?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you have said the very

 3     things that I wanted to say, and I apologise if I didn't phrase it as

 4     well, because I was a bit upset, but you have summed it up perfectly.  I

 5     have nothing to add.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is your position.  This is

 7     what I'm saying.  I'm not saying that the conclusions -- we'll draw the

 8     same conclusion, but I tried to sum up your position.  And I summed up

 9     also the Prosecution's position.  Of course, both are different.

10             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I would like to add a little question.

11     Mr. Beneta, are you able to tell us where we find the rule that no

12     compensation can be paid out if a soldier of the HV has been killed

13     somewhere else than on the territory of the Republic of Croatia?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot give you the

15     exact reference such as the article, but I know that in the constitution

16     and other subordinate legislation mention is made of the Croatian Army

17     waging a defence war, and the -- the purpose of the war explicitly or

18     implicitly was the defence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity

19     of the Republic of Croatia.  It was always about the territory of

20     Croatia.  This may be a law that was taken over from ex-Yugoslavia,

21     because in order to maintain law and order in Croatia by a parliamentary

22     decision, a series of legal acts was taken over from former Yugoslavia.

23             I know when this was happening to me with people whose status had

24     been frozen and they had left for Bosnia and Herzegovina temporarily, if

25     they got killed the state didn't pay out to them what it should have, but

Page 46718

 1     I continued to disburse their salaries, although the men had been killed.

 2     But to my mind this was a lesser evil than leave their families without

 3     an income.

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I would -- would be led to draw the conclusion

 5     from your answer that dispatching Croatian soldiers to Bosnia and

 6     Herzegovina would not be exactly in conformity with the constitution.  Is

 7     that a correct -- a correct thinking?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, they were not sent

 9     there.  They were just enabled to go there, both individually and as a

10     unit.  I said as much yesterday.  But they were not made to go there.

11     They were not forced.

12             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

13             Mr. Laws.

14             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Well, I -- I do not -- I cannot stop here,

15     because I really feel that the very question which was raised by

16     Judge Trechsel a few minutes ago, that is that the sending and

17     dispatching Croatian soldiers of the HV to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I

18     quote here, "would not be exactly in conformity with the constitution."

19     And really, I feel that it is a bit difficult to accept what you,

20     General Beneta, said, that they, that is the volunteers, "... they were

21     not sent there.  They were just enabled to go there, both individually

22     and as a unit."

23             I really feel that after so many documents what we have seen, it

24     is a bit far-fetched to say that they were just enabled to go there.  And

25     I stop here, but I would like to -- just to mention that I have a kind of

Page 46719

 1     problem with that approach.

 2             Thank you.

 3             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for

 4     rising now, but given the words of Judge Prandler, I need to point out

 5     the following:  If I have studied the adjudicated facts properly, it is

 6     not an adjudicated fact that the Republic of Croatia deployed soldiers to

 7     Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 8             Secondly, considering the documents shown in this courtroom, the

 9     OTP has not proven that Croatian Army units were sent to

10     Bosnia-Herzegovina in an organised manner.  That remains to be proved

11     yet, and we will prove that these -- they were really volunteers.

12             I believe that this is a matter that deserves to be explained,

13     but if what we heard a minute ago is the position of the Trial Chamber,

14     then we need not introduce any more witnesses, but if we still have a

15     chance as a Defence to prove our case, then I believe that the position

16     of Judge Prandler should be explained, or otherwise should we take it

17     that this matter has already been adjudicated?

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, no decision has

19     been made, and you know this very well.  Just -- you can see this with

20     the numerous questions put by the Judges.

21             And secondly, Judge Prandler very justly put a question to the

22     witness, so let him answer.  You're taking the floor, but what's

23     important for us is the answer of the witness.  Judge Prandler gave us

24     his position.  This is what this adversarial debate is all about, but you

25     keep cutting the witness off.  He was about to answer.  Now, he might

Page 46720

 1     agree with Judge Prandler, or he might disagree, and he'll tell us why.

 2             MR. KARNAVAS:  Good morning, Mr. President --

 3             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Mr. Praljak, don't shout here when the President

 4     of the Court is speaking.

 5             MR. KARNAVAS:  Mr. President and Your Honours --

 6             THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you can

 7     sentence me, but I'm not going to sit here like a log.  You have

 8     anticipated the decision of this Trial Chamber.  You said you don't

 9     believe.  Well, it's your right not to believe, but I will not keep quiet

10     about this because there is no evidence that units of the Croatian Army

11     was -- were ever sent there.  You can throw me out, you can punish me and

12     throw me into gaol again.  This will either be a trial or I will protest.

13     I respect the Trial Chamber, but the Trial Chamber must also respect the

14     people sitting here.

15             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I do not want to, actually, to throw you out,

16     and I have never suggested this kind of approach, number one.

17             Number two, I have never spoken about adjudicated facts, and do I

18     not know why Ms. Alaburic has take -- has mentioned this, and I only said

19     that it is a bit difficult to believe that all those people were only

20     allowed to go there, I mean to Herzegovina.  It is what I said.  It was

21     not prejudged.  Again, I didn't mention anything about the adjudicated

22     facts.  It was taken and it was mentioned only by Ms. Alaburic and not by

23     myself.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak.

25     General Praljak, just a minute.  General Praljak, there might have been a

Page 46721

 1     translation mistake, and then of course you lost your cool immediately.

 2     It probably comes from a translation mistake.  It's not the first time.

 3     I note that every time we have incidents in the courtroom it comes from

 4     slight interpretation mistakes.

 5             Judge Prandler is mentioning the issue of the constitution and

 6     the dispatch of troops, and he's waiting for an answer from

 7     General Beneta.  Then Ms. Alaburic suddenly stands up and is giving us a

 8     lecture on law.  You can look at the transcript.  She's talking about

 9     adjudicated facts.  Judge Prandler never mentioned adjudicated facts.

10     And in the translation you probably followed what Ms. Alaburic was saying

11     and you gave us a statement, whereas Judge Prandler never mentioned all

12     of this.  He was first dealing with the question of Judge Trechsel who

13     addressed -- which addressed a constitutional issue that had been raised

14     by General Beneta about the compensation paid to killed soldiers.  So

15     General Beneta is the first person to talk about all this.

16     Judge Trechsel tried to go into details, and Judge Prandler seconded that

17     question.  There was never any mention of adjudicated facts where the

18     Chamber -- the Chamber would have admitted or not.  Ms. Alaburic

19     mentioned all this, and then you followed the -- you listened to her.

20             So before getting all het up, please try and understand the

21     situation and understand who's saying what.  I told Ms. Alaburic that it

22     would have been best if she had kept silent and she'd let the witness

23     answer the constitutional issue raised by Judge Prandler before taking

24     the floor.  I believe that the way of the events unfolded here, you

25     were -- were not understood correctly by you and then you got all nervous

Page 46722

 1     and all uptight for nothing.

 2             THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] The interpretation that I

 3     got was, "I am not convinced," says Judge Prandler, although this

 4     document says they went to Ploce, the Republic of Croatia, and no

 5     further.  And you have seen that 500 witnesses responded when I called

 6     them.  We did not send all the volunteers to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Out

 7     of the 500 I chose ten to send to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Let's stick to

 8     facts.  The document says up to Ploce, nothing further.

 9             MR. LAWS:  I'm sorry to interrupt, but this -- this, the

10     Prosecution says, is wholly unacceptable.  It started with this general

11     trying to shout the Trial Chamber down, and it has continued with him now

12     testifying from the dock, and both of those practices must stop straight

13     away, in our submission --

14             THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [No interpretation]

15             MR. LAWS:  -- as indeed must his current attempt to shout me d

16     own.  It just has to stop because we are attempting to address these

17     issues in a civilised way.  What's happening here is the very opposite of

18     that.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]

20             MR. STEWART:  Well, Your Honour, I hope to continue in a

21     civilised way.

22             THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [No interpretation]

23             MR. STEWART:  Excuse me.

24             THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [No interpretation]

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

Page 46723

 1     Mr. Stewart speak.

 2             THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I don't want anybody to

 3     teach me civilised manners.

 4             MR. STEWART:  I'm making no such attempt, Mr. Praljak.

 5             Your Honour, just to observe this, that so far as Your Honour

 6     sees that there was a question in what Judge Prandler said, I must

 7     confess it seems to be rather heavily disguised that it was a question,

 8     and it would be understandable that the witness did not see that there

 9     was a question there.  So that if a learned Judge is posing a question, I

10     entirely see that a question may often be implicit in something that the

11     Judge says, it's probably helpful if it's made very clear to the witness

12     that there is a question and what the question is because then he can

13     answer it.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In fact, it was a question that

15     Judge Prandler was putting.  This was not acknowledgement of a

16     constitutional issue.  It was a question he was putting.

17             General, since you have followed all that has been said, let's

18     get back to the question that Judge Prandler was putting to you.  How do

19     you answer his question.  That is what has led to this time-wasting

20     operation.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would really

22     appreciate it if the question could be repeated to me, because at first I

23     did not understand it myself.

24             JUDGE PRANDLER:  The question was related to your explanation

25     when you said -- I cannot now find now the text, it is not an exact

Page 46724

 1     quotation, that the volunteers were allowed to go to Herzegovina.  My

 2     question was in a way implied question, I admit, and I accept what

 3     actually Mr. Stewart said on that issue, but my question was in a way

 4     what kind of proofs you may give us that they were only allowed to go

 5     when we have seen a number of orders that they were sent to that place, I

 6     mean to Herzegovina, to the "southern front."  So therefore my question

 7     is if you can cite examples and orders and all other kind of acts,

 8     official acts, which said that, "Yes, we allow those people, this or that

 9     unit, or those persons who volunteered to go."  It is my question.  Thank

10     you.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm giving evidence

12     here from my own personal experience.  If you or the Defence or anyone

13     had thought that I should bring documents with me, I should have been

14     told so.  If you want me to bring documents, I just need some time.

15     Right now I only have a pencil with me, and I have the experience that I

16     carry from that war, and I have answers to questions as to how I dealt

17     with problems, in which frameworks I had to act, and I am being asked

18     here to interpreter documents, and I am stating my opinion about them.

19             In all of them I see volunteers.  I see orders related to the

20     issue.  I see references to cases where the state had to deal with issues

21     related to the death of soldiers only 500 metres into Herzegovinian

22     territory, and I had to deal with all these things.  And the logic

23     underlying this is more justified than the logic of sending troops to

24     Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever.  But with a view to our international

25     obligations, we had to find a modality for sending their people who

Page 46725

 1     volunteered, who wanted to go there.

 2             Because of the workload I had in Croatia, I had to limit the

 3     number of those people, and I can only assume that Mr. Kapular, and I'm

 4     coming back to his documents because your question sublimates everything

 5     that has been said so far, all my prior experience and career, the

 6     experience on which I based my command and the experience of Mr. Kapular,

 7     are two parallel lines that never meet.  Mr. Kapular, I think, came from

 8     Canada.  I'm pretty sure about that.  After the defence of Vukovar where

 9     he served honourably, he was given command of a brigade.  I believe that

10     for him, it was quite normal to act in a soldierly fashion and say to the

11     men, "People, the situation there is very hard.  Anyone who wants to go

12     will have my assistance."  Back in Canada his neighbour fought in Iraq or

13     in Kuwait or in Afghanistan together with US troops.  For him it must

14     have been normal.  That's why I am saying what I said about the reasons

15     for punishing those people where he said that it was a question of

16     professional conduct.  I don't know what other things he enumerated, but

17     the US president's speech yesterday sounded very similar to me.  He

18     brought his own life experience to that war.  I believe our opinions

19     differed even on that issue.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Okay, Mr. Laws.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Beneta, I shall follow

22     up on the two questions put by my colleagues.  There was no reason for an

23     incident to occur.  When a Judge from the Bench has a question, it's

24     important.  Judge Mindua might have also put the question to you.

25             What we would like to know is this:  Whether the constitution of

Page 46726

 1     the Republic of Croatia enabled troops to be sent outside the Croatian

 2     state.  The answer is a yes or no answer.  And whether -- or in the case

 3     the constitution did not allow for that, did the constitution allow for

 4     Croatian soldiers to volunteer outside the Croatian state, which seems to

 5     be your case.  This is what you told us.

 6             These are very simple questions which should not lead to a

 7     revolution.  Could you answer my question, please.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot tell you now

 9     exactly whether the constitution made it possible or not, and if it did,

10     which article especially, because some articles were amended, but I know

11     that there was no grounds in the constitution for paying out benefits to

12     a family who's father was killed outside the territory of the state, and

13     I know I had very difficult problems at that stage.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thank you for your answer.

15             Mr. Laws.

16             MR. LAWS:  Thank you.  We've nearly finished this topic.

17        Q.   Before we look at the next document, General, can I just take you

18     back to the time when you were deployed in 1993 on Operation Jug.  You've

19     told us that you were there for about a week prior to the operation and

20     for some little while after it.  Before the operation, did you meet

21     Milivoj Petkovic?

22        A.   No.

23        Q.   All right.  Well, we're going to come back to that.

24             Would you look, please, just finishing this topic, at 4D00701,

25     which is the last document in the binder.  Very last one.

Page 46727

 1             This is a document dated July the 24th, and it bears the

 2     signature of Mr. Petkovic, and it's addressed to General Briquemont of

 3     UNPROFOR, and we're not going to have time to look at the whole document,

 4     but it's really on one topic.  It's denying that there are HV troops in

 5     Bosnia, but saying that some had volunteered and had joined the HVO.  All

 6     right?  And it's going to complete this topic of volunteers on the

 7     southern front.

 8             July 24th is nine days after Operation South; is that right?

 9        A.   Yes.

10        Q.   Remind us which units of the Croatian Army had been deployed in

11     Operation South.

12             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour, to the use

13     of the word "remind," because the witness has never said that the

14     operation involved units of the Croatian Army.

15             MR. LAWS:  Well, I think he has.

16        Q.   Did Operation South involve units of the Croatian Army?

17             MR. LAWS:  Let the witness answer.

18             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] May I just tell my learned friend

19     Mr. Laws the witness did not understand that the question is addressed to

20     him.  We, coming from our parts, are quite used to people looking us in

21     the face.

22             MR. LAWS:

23        Q.   Did you --

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, you may put

25     your question again.

Page 46728

 1             MR. LAWS:  Thank you.

 2        Q.   Did Operation South involve units of the Croatian Army?

 3        A.   Operation South involved the 1st Brigade of the HVO, the 3rd

 4     Brigade of the HVO, independent detachment Ludvig Pavlovic, and a group

 5     of the 5th Guards Brigade, a group of volunteers.

 6        Q.   It was a very simple question.  You've listed the HVO people and

 7     finally said that there were some from the 5th Guards Brigade.  They were

 8     troops of the Republic of Croatia, weren't they?  We're going to look at

 9     the south in more detail later on, but just for the moment do you not

10     agree with me that the -- even if you were to call them a group of

11     volunteers, they were, as you were, troops from the Republic of Croatia.

12     It's a simple yes to that, isn't it?

13        A.   Yes.

14        Q.   Thank you very much.  Nine days later Mr. Petkovic is writing a

15     letter to General Briquemont in which he is denying in strong terms that

16     troops from the Republic of Croatia have been deployed in

17     Bosnia-Herzegovina and saying that some have returned to the -- to the

18     native homes and joined HVO units.  That's halfway down page 2.

19             Finishing this topic of Croatian involvement in Bosnia and

20     Herzegovina --

21        A.   Excuse me, but I did not say anything.  I need time to read that

22     passage.

23        Q.   By all means.  It's quite a long letter.  It's responding to

24     something that's been said by UNPROFOR, saying that there are Croatian

25     troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and General Petkovic is saying that that's

Page 46729

 1     not right.  You take your time to look at it.  He's saying that there

 2     aren't HV troops there, but there are some who have joined the HVO --

 3     joined HVO units, I should say.

 4        A.   Your Honours, everything that is written in this passage on page

 5     2 is described accurately, and I have no objection to that.  I think it

 6     actually corroborates all the evidence I've given here.

 7        Q.   Well, except for the evidence that you gave a moment ago that the

 8     5th Guards Brigade was deployed in Operation South and that you,

 9     yourself, were on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an HV soldier.

10     That --

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, objection.

12     Objection to this question.  The question misrepresents the fact.  The

13     witness never said that the 5th Guards Brigade was involved in the

14     operation.  The witness said that volunteers from that brigade were

15     involved.

16             MR. LAWS:

17        Q.   Well, you remained a member of the Croatian Army, didn't you?

18     You told us that yesterday.  It was one of the very first questions I

19     asked you.  You remained, throughout, a member of the Croatian Army, did

20     you not?

21        A.   Yes.

22        Q.   And the members of the 5th Brigade, I don't accept for a moment

23     that they were volunteers, but the members of the 5th Brigade remained

24     members of the Croatian Army throughout, did they not?

25        A.   After that operation a part of that group remained and another

Page 46730

 1     part returned to the Croatian Army.  I also returned to the

 2     Croatian Army.

 3        Q.   When they were sent to fight in Operation South, they were

 4     Croatian soldiers.  That is simply the position, isn't it?  Employed

 5     by -- well, look.  We're going to need to get to the bottom of this.

 6     Ms. Alaburic can have the floor in just a moment, but really it's taking

 7     a great deal of time.  It's a simple question.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, I don't

 9     understand what you're doing.  You intervene when the probative value of

10     your witness will be assessed by the Judges in line with the question,

11     the answers, and everyone's understanding of it.  So wait for the witness

12     to answer.

13             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours.  I have an

14     objection to this question.  Mr. Laws is systematically asking questions

15     that contain inaccurate facts.  You will assess whether my objection is

16     valid or not.

17             In line 9 of this page, the current page, Mr. Laws says that

18     members of the 5th Guards Brigade were sent to fight in Operation South.

19     The witness did not say that.  He said that these persons were

20     volunteers, not people who were sent.

21             MR. LAWS:

22        Q.   The people who were in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whether they got

23     there as volunteers or whether they got there because they were sent, the

24     members of the 5th Guards Brigade, during Operation Jug remained

25     employees of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, and HV

Page 46731

 1     soldiers, didn't they?

 2        A.   Yes, but that status of theirs was frozen.

 3        Q.   They were -- we are going to look at Jug in more detail later on

 4     today, but you agree with me, don't you, that they were -- the only way

 5     you can describe them is as soldiers from the HV?

 6        A.   Yes, and during their service there they had some aspects of that

 7     status, which was frozen at the time.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Beneta, could you explain what you mean by

 9     "frozen"?  Does it mean, for instance, that the time served in Bosnia and

10     Herzegovina did not count as time served in the Croatian Army, for

11     instance, for purposes of promotion or similar matters?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They did not enjoy some of the

13     elements of their salary.  We had several elements in the salary.  One of

14     them was field mission allowance payable for service in the field.  If it

15     was a short service, it did not affect the whole status.  If it was a

16     longer service, then we had cases where the man remained in the rank, the

17     Croatian Army rank, of major, whereas he had served for a long time in

18     Bosnia-Herzegovina and there was given the rank of brigadier.  I think we

19     have some people who are generals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whereas in

20     the Croatian Army they have the rank of major still, or lieutenant.  So

21     we have cases where people served for a longer spell in Bosnia and

22     Herzegovina without being promoted in the Croatian Army.

23             I think I can name one such person, Mr. Obradovic, and another

24     person who remain in the area after the Operation South.  He was serving

25     in the logistics.  He served there for a longer time.  He received the

Page 46732

 1     rank of general there, but this rank is not recognised to him in the

 2     Croatian Army.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

 4             Mr. Laws.

 5             MR. LAWS:

 6        Q.   Well, we're going to finish this topic now, and I'm going to

 7     suggest to you that this letter from Mr. Petkovic is doing no more than

 8     toeing the party line, putting forward the explanation that's going to be

 9     put forward for years to come and which you're still putting forward now,

10     volunteers, not Croatian deployment, and it's not the truth, is it?

11        A.   What you are saying in my view does not reflect the situation on

12     the ground.  It's nothing that I can confirm.  On the contrary, I reject

13     that assertion.

14        Q.   Thank you.  Let's turn to consider, briefly if we may, Stolac in

15     1992.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think it would be better to

17     address this after the break since it is nearly 10.30.  We shall have a

18     20-minute break.

19                           --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.

20                           --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Laws, you have the floor.

22             MR. LAWS:  Thank you, Mr. President.

23        Q.   We're going to look briefly at the situation in Stolac in 1992

24     and then into 1993.

25             When the Serbs first occupied Stolac in 1992, do you know if it

Page 46733

 1     is right or wrong that most of the Croat population had left Stolac

 2     shortly before the Serb arrival?

 3        A.   Yes.

 4        Q.   That was -- that was your understanding.

 5        A.   Yes.

 6        Q.   And that the majority of the Muslim population had been left

 7     behind in the town.

 8        A.   Yes.

 9        Q.   Thank you.  You told us a little bit about the liberation of the

10     town from the Serbs.  Are you saying that you fought your way into Stolac

11     town and evicted the Serbs from their positions?  Is that what happened

12     in June of 1992?

13        A.   Yes.  We evicted them from the positions that they had held

14     around Stolac and thus enabled Croats to return to Stolac.

15        Q.   Yes.  Well, that may be where the difference arises.  There was

16     certainly skirmishing in positions around Stolac, were there not, on the

17     high ground?

18        A.   I don't understand what you mean by "skirmishing."

19        Q.    I mean, there was some engagement between the Serbian forces and

20     your combined forces in the hills around Stolac.  That's what I mean by

21     it.

22        A.   What time -- to what time is the question referring?

23        Q.   It's referring to the time immediately before the Serbs withdrew

24     from Stolac town.  Is that right or wrong?

25        A.   About ten days prior to that there was intensive combat activity

Page 46734

 1     in the area of the Dubrava plateau, which in that action was liberated by

 2     a group of soldiers, HVO soldiers, and HV soldiers.

 3        Q.   All right.  Let's just deal with Stolac town itself.  Is it right

 4     that the Serbs left Stolac in an orderly convoy of over 70 vehicles?

 5        A.   I don't know how many vehicles there were.  I can only state that

 6     they were able to leave Stolac because we had attacked two sides out of

 7     the three that they had been keeping.  One side was protected by the

 8     Bregava canyon, and they could leave by that way relatively safely,

 9     although there was fighting only a kilometre away from that road, but

10     they couldn't be observed from anywhere, so I don't know now who left on

11     that road, with what kind of vehicles or how many.  I can only confirm

12     that --

13        Q.   They left Stolac not as a result of combat operations in the town

14     of Stolac.  On that we're agreed, are we not?

15        A.   From a military aspect it was impossible to fight in Stolac, and

16     there shouldn't have been fighting there because Stolac is in a

17     depression, and whoever holds the hills around it holds Stolac.  You can

18     practically choose your target if you have a rifle, and you would be only

19     500 metres away from it, from the positions that they had kept around

20     Stolac.

21        Q.   Did they, the Serbs, withdraw to the hills around Stolac, to a

22     new front line?

23        A.   Yes.  They set up a new front line near the town or village of

24     Do.  They kept their positions on Mount Hrgud which is 900 metres above

25     Stolac, and they kept their position at Zegulja and further south.

Page 46735

 1        Q.   Thank you.  And without being precise to the hundred metres, but

 2     roughly the Serbs remained in those positions from that withdrawal, and

 3     they remain there to this day.  Is that also right?

 4        A.   That is right.  We didn't even -- we hadn't even planned to

 5     attack any further from Stolac.

 6        Q.   Well, no, that's right.  There was no operation mounted to drive

 7     them further back.  They were still in the territory of the Republic of

 8     Bosnia-Herzegovina, were they not?

 9        A.   Yes, they were.

10        Q.   But your aim was to recover the town of Stolac; is that right?

11        A.   Yes, and there were good reasons for that.

12        Q.   Strategic reasons, no doubt.

13        A.   No.  Strategic reasons are at a far higher level.  I'm talking

14     about reasons at the operational and tactical levels.

15        Q.   Very well.  Thank you.  It was a predominantly Muslim town prior

16     to the war in 1992, 1993, was it not?

17        A.   The majority of the population in the municipality of Stolac up

18     to the war was Croatian.  In the town itself, I believe that the Muslims

19     slightly outnumbered the Croats.

20        Q.   Well, I think the evidence in this case is that the municipality

21     as a whole had 35 per cent Croats and 48 per cent Muslims, but there we

22     are.

23             Stolac was also a part of the Banovina, wasn't it?

24        A.   Which Banovina?

25        Q.   Well, have a look, please, at document P05237, and we'll get the

Page 46736

 1     answer.  This is a -- in the middle of your bundle there.  This is a

 2     presidential transcript, 21st of September of 1993.  We're going to look

 3     at it in a different context a little bit later on, but it's the

 4     president of Croatia, Mr. Tudjman, talking to some representatives from

 5     Herceg-Bosna.  And if you'd look at page 7, please.

 6             MR. LAWS:  It's 7 in both the Croatian and the English.

 7        Q.   You can see a paragraph eight lines down that begins with the

 8     word "Stolac," "Stolac," full stop.  Can you see that?

 9        A.   Yes.

10        Q.   As we can see from the text, President Tudjman speaking of

11     Stolac:

12             "I know the strategic importance of Stolac, both as the president

13     of Croatia and, if you will, as a soldier.  I know that Stolac and the

14     entire former Jablanicki Kotor and Konjic were included in the Croatian

15     Banovina in 1939.  These are arguments I have upheld since the first

16     day."

17             And then he goes on to talk about ethnic cleansing because it's

18     much later in time when he's speaking about this.

19             You, as you have said, never pushed on further from Stolac.

20        A.   Correct.  I never tried to go further from Stolac.

21        Q.   The Serbs remained on their line and didn't launch an offensive

22     to recapture the town.

23        A.   That is not correct.  After I had given these positions to the

24     HVO and gone south, the Serbs launched a strong counter-attack but it was

25     unsuccessful.  However, there were many casualties.

Page 46737

 1        Q.   Is it right that when you had taken control of the town from the

 2     Serbs in 1992, one of the first thing that happened was Croatian symbols

 3     and flags were put all over the town.  Do you remember that happening in

 4     the time immediately after the Croatian entry into Stolac -- I'm so

 5     sorry, I should have said your entry, not the Croatian entry.  You were a

 6     combined force.  Immediately after the liberation of Stolac, do you

 7     recall Croatian symbols and flags being put up all over the town?

 8        A.   No.  I cannot confirm that.  I cannot confirm that anything

 9     dramatic of that kind was done or that it was ordered.  I don't remember

10     any such display.

11        Q.   There's no suggestion that it was ordered.  It's Witness DT, a 92

12     bis witness, who says that the first morning of your arrival in Stolac

13     Croat flags and symbols were put all over the town.  You don't recall

14     that?

15        A.   No, I don't recall.

16        Q.   Very well.  Let's look together then, please, at a document that

17     you were shown, I think on Monday, possibly yesterday in the morning.

18     It's P00279.  It's the third document in -- in my binder as well.  Stay

19     in my binder.  Third document from the front.

20             Now, this is a document which is dated the 26th of June of 1992,

21     and that is after the liberation of Stolac from the Serbs of which we

22     have just been speaking, is it not?

23        A.   Yes.

24        Q.   And we can see in the third paragraph that Stolac is one of the

25     areas which is listed as being under almost the entire territory of the

Page 46738

 1     Croatian municipalities being under the control of the Croats.

 2             "Today we have under control almost all the entire territory of

 3     the Croatian municipalities of Neum, Ravno, Stolac, Capljina, Ljubuski,

 4     Citluk, Siroki Brijeg, and Mostar."

 5             You told us that you attended an occasion when General Petkovic

 6     made a speech, a rousing speech about problems and about their solutions.

 7     Do you recall saying that?

 8        A.   Yes, I do.

 9        Q.   Are you saying that this is the same text as the speech that you

10     heard or a different text?

11        A.   I cannot give a precise answer to that question.  I know that

12     General Petkovic gave a speech and that he spoke about the problems with

13     the organisation of civilian life and the establishing of civilian life

14     in the liberated territories and that those were the same problems that I

15     had in the area of Stolac.

16        Q.   Very well.  Now, we looked at one or two of the examples of the

17     use of the term "Croatian" in this document, but I want to look at four

18     in all.  The first we've already seen in the third paragraph down.

19              "Today we have under control almost the entire territory of the

20     Croatian municipalities," and then listing them in the way that we have

21     looked at.

22             Five lines down:

23             "The four main tasks in front us are:

24             "1. To put under control the remaining area of Croatian

25     municipalities."

Page 46739

 1             And then 4:

 2             "To establish Croatian rule over all municipalities."

 3             I'll come back to that one in just a moment.

 4             Five paragraphs down:

 5             "Our intentions are," and then at the second bullet point:  "To

 6     prepare ourselves and through offensive activities liberate the remaining

 7     Croatian territory."

 8             You said in answer to a question from one of the Judges that you

 9     didn't think that when Mr. Petkovic used the term "Croatian" he meant

10     Croatian as opposed to Croatian and Muslim.  Is that how you understand

11     this document?

12        A.   Yes.

13        Q.   How do you know what he meant, General?  How do you know what he

14     meant when he wrote those words?

15        A.   I know from practice, because after that, on the ground -- or,

16     rather, in the areas which Mr. Petkovic also mentions in this document,

17     in other words, after what is said here, I established authorities in the

18     town of Stolac on a parity level.  If the Serbs had stayed, then their

19     representatives would also have been -- would also have been included in

20     a certain percentage, but they weren't there.

21        Q.   You're absolutely right to say that you established a joint

22     structure in Stolac after its liberation in June of 1992.  We're going to

23     deal with that separately, just taking it very, very briefly.  Sadly,

24     you'd agree with me that didn't last more than a matter of some weeks,

25     did it?  After you left, that fell apart very quickly, didn't it?  We'll

Page 46740

 1     look at that.

 2        A.   I cannot testify to the reasons of this dissolution, because

 3     after my departure I went elsewhere to deal with other problems.  But

 4     what I can say here is that I did everything I did with the approval of

 5     everybody involved in that process and that nobody has ever said anything

 6     bad to me because of that, and neither was I ever condemned because of

 7     that.  On the contrary, I spoke about that briefly with Mr. Petkovic.  I

 8     asked him what I should do, and he gave me such suggestions, suggestions

 9     as to what I should do, because he knew the situation in that area better

10     than I did.

11        Q.   Now, I didn't ask you about the reasons why it fell apart.  The

12     fact of the matter is that it did, and we'll look at that in just a

13     moment, I promise you, but the fact of the matter is that what you had

14     done by way of setting up joint institutions simply didn't survive, did

15     it?  You know that as a simple fact, don't you?

16        A.   Yes, I know that they didn't survive, but I don't know the

17     reasons.

18        Q.   Well, we'll look at that, as I say.  But that doesn't help us,

19     does it, with this document?  This is addressed to a general, gentleman

20     of the municipal leadership, and the commanders of the Croatian Defence

21     Council units.  All right?  And it goes on to talk about Croatian

22     municipalities, and under 4 it specifically says that one of the aims

23     is -- one of the tasks is to establish Croatian rule over all

24     municipalities.

25             The municipalities that are being discussed here are territories

Page 46741

 1     within Bosnia-Herzegovina, aren't they?

 2        A.   Yes.  But territories over which the authorities of

 3     Alija Izetbegovic couldn't exert any real influence physically.

 4        Q.   Territories which were claimed as part of Herceg-Bosna.  That's

 5     what it comes down to, isn't it?

 6        A.   To me that was a territory from which the area of the Croatian

 7     state was being attacked, and I was tasked with eliminating that threat.

 8        Q.   Well, that's not the topic that we're dealing with here with

 9     respect to you, General.  We're dealing with establishing Croatian rule

10     over all municipalities, and you gave evidence that in your view that

11     meant something different.  We're looking at that.

12             These are territories claimed as Herceg-Bosna, and it's only in

13     that sense that they are Croatian territories at all, isn't it?  The

14     Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.

15        A.   I can testify here about requests for me as a commander to be

16     relieved from what today is called Simik [phoen], that is civilian

17     military co-operation, in that area.  But these tasks could have been

18     executed only by, I believe, what was called then the Croatian Community

19     of Herceg-Bosna.

20        Q.   Going back to your --

21             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If we could delete the Kosovo

22     Albanians from line 18.  The witness said that he supposed that the name

23     was the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Kosovo Albanians were never

24     mentioned.

25             MR. LAWS:

Page 46742

 1        Q.   Let's go back to Stolac and your attempts to establish joint

 2     institutions between the Croats and the Muslims.  You told the Chamber

 3     that there was a range of reactions from local Croats in respect of the

 4     Muslims being allowed to join in the Crisis Staff.  Most were in favour

 5     and some were less favourable and some were strongly opposed to that.

 6     Does that summarise your experience in Stolac post-June 1992 accurately?

 7             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could my learned

 8     friend oblige me by referring to the exact page of the transcript.

 9             MR. LAWS:  I'm sure I can do that in the break and I should have

10     it with me, but the witness will remember very well what he said about

11     that.

12        Q.   You remember, General, don't you, telling us that some -- most

13     were in favour of joint institutions, but some were strongly opposed to

14     Muslims being in the Crisis Staff?  And you told us, do you remember,

15     that you sent two of them away because you weren't happy with their

16     attitude?

17             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, now I really have an

18     objection, because the witness didn't say that.  The witness didn't speak

19     about that.  I object to this, and I insist that a page reference be

20     given.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, the witness knows

22     exactly what he said.  General Beneta can tell the Prosecutor, "You are

23     wrong.  I never said this."  It's more important to have General Beneta

24     say this than you.  Unless we think that General Beneta is totally unable

25     to understand the questions put to him.

Page 46743

 1             MR. LAWS:  Well, let's let him, with respect to Ms. Alaburic,

 2     let's let the General answer for himself.  It's a really small detail of

 3     the evidence which he'll remember well, I suggest, and we don't need to

 4     take up more time with it.  I would be very grateful if I could just

 5     continue.

 6             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no problem

 7     with that, and I don't doubt that General Beneta would be able to

 8     reproduce accurately what he said, but since I in my redirect have to

 9     give a page reference to the cross-examination, I think it would be fair

10     for my learned friend to give -- state page references in his

11     cross-examination.

12             MR. LAWS:  Well, I can do, but you know, we all have the same

13     tools, and if it's really re-examination that's the issue here, it's

14     46603, line 25, and that I hope assists my learned friend.

15             MR. KARNAVAS:  I would appreciate for the gentleman to stop

16     playing games.  He knows the technique.  This is what he has to do.  It's

17     not a matter of us searching for it.  He has to do it.  He knows it.

18     He's been trained to do it, and we should just move on.  And I think that

19     the bench should instruct him to do that in the future as we have been

20     instructed in the past.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Karnavas, you are again insinuating improper

22     intentions like playing games.  Please.

23             MR. KARNAVAS:  No, I'm not insinuating anything.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please refrain from that kind

25     of personal attacks.  It's not a matter of playing games.  I don't think

Page 46744

 1     anyone here is playing games.  It's a serious matter.  Thank you for

 2     taking note.

 3             MR. STEWART:  Excuse me.

 4             MR. KARNAVAS:  Let me finish.  Let me respond to --

 5             MR. STEWART:  Sorry I thought you had --

 6             MR. KARNAVAS:  I can't get a mike.  If I can get a mike --

 7             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

 8             MR. KARNAVAS:  I'm not sitting down until -- okay.  Here it is.

 9             Well, first of all it is common courtesy.  Second of all we need

10     to make the record.  Third, it is a game when counsel knows that he has

11     to do it, he as at it his fingertips, and then after there's an objection

12     and we waste five minutes, then he cavalierly says, "Well, if we must

13     here it is."  He could have done that in the first instance, and I can

14     assure you, Judge Trechsel, being in the courtroom as a trial lawyer this

15     is what normally has to be done by trial lawyers.  They just can't say

16     some way in the record some place and then go look for it.  That must be

17     done.  This is the training that we all get in the adversarial system,

18     and we are in an adversarial system, and I will continue to insist that

19     on these occasions it's a mere of common courtesy so that we can all look

20     it up because sometimes mistakes are made.

21             MR. STEWART:  I'm sorry, excuse me, Your Honour.  I was only

22     going to ask - I wonder if Mr. Laws would help - I don't have and others

23     may not have the version with the full numbering.  If I could either have

24     the -- the smaller page number or some sort of fairly uniquely phrase

25     will enable me to find it.

Page 46745

 1             MR. LAWS:  Very well.  May I just say this:  It's not playing

 2     games in the slightest, and I didn't have the reference to hand, and I've

 3     already apologised for that once.  But this is with respect to those who

 4     are raising the objections, really a highly technical matter.  The

 5     general is not misled.  He knows the evidence I'm referring to.

 6             Let's proceed.  If I can ask him whether he can remember it, I'll

 7     find the -- Ms. Winner sitting to my right will find the reference, I

 8     have no doubt, within the next minute or two, long before redirect takes

 9     place, and I hope that we can proceed in that way.

10             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wish to say that

11     the page and line reference given by my learned friend 46603, line 25,

12     are about the return of refugees.

13             MR. LAWS:  Yes.  There's been a mistake there and we'll get it in

14     the next few minutes, I have no doubt at all we'll be able to help with

15     the redirect which must be possibly some hours away now.

16        Q.   General, Beneta, is it right or is it wrong that when you formed

17     joint institutions some people locally were opposed to the inclusion of

18     Muslims?  Is that right or wrong?  Don't worry about what you said

19     yesterday or the day before.  Is that fact right or wrong?

20        A.   It is right.

21        Q.   Thank you.  And I hope that that's a sufficient basis for me to

22     proceed now.  What I'm going to suggest to you is this:  Those who were

23     opposed to it were the people who very soon after you left took control.

24     They were the ones who didn't want to share authority with the Muslims.

25     What do you say about that?

Page 46746

 1        A.   I think you misunderstood me.  I said that I had spoken to the

 2     soldiers who entered Stolac or taken it militarily, if that is more

 3     acceptable to you.  In that process that conversation was overheard by

 4     400 mostly young people of Muslim ethnicity who felt attracted to the

 5     idea of establishing two battalions instead of one to defend Stolac

 6     jointly.

 7             Why did I speak to the people?  Because I thought that the moment

 8     was very sensitive.  One group was attacking and had jeopardised their

 9     lives to reclaim the town or the area where they were living, and others

10     were in places held by these forces of Republika Srpska.  There were

11     indications that there might be some kind of vengeance under the

12     assumption that the Muslims had co-operated with the Serbs.  That is why

13     devoted -- I devoted special attention to that.

14             Those who opposed that were two soldiers.  I don't think that

15     they were significant personalities either by their education or

16     otherwise.  They didn't enjoy any special authority.  They were mere

17     soldiers, privates who didn't understand the situation well.  They had

18     some personal reasons to be opposed.  And even though I tried to persuade

19     them, they stuck to their positions.  Others accepted my arguments.  Most

20     of them, if they had been asked, without my having given my introductory

21     speech and presented my arguments, would probably have been opposed,

22     because that was the atmosphere at the time.  But they accepted what I

23     had told them, and they understood that most probably a counter-attack

24     would be launched.  They accepted that help, and then we started

25     organising them militarily, and I also took up measures to organise

Page 46747

 1     civilian administration for life to return to normal.

 2        Q.   Right.  Well, let's look at life in Stolac.  In October of 1992

 3     Andjelko Markovic became the president of the HVO, and if you look at

 4     P01234, we'll see him issuing a decision in January.  P01234.

 5             Can you see that?

 6        A.   No.  I need a bit of time.

 7        Q.   It's the -- possibly the fourth document in.  One, two, three,

 8     four.  It's with a yellow sticker, I'm told.  Just probably back from

 9     where you are now.  That looks like it.

10        A.   Yes.

11        Q.   20th of January.  It's the Croatian Defence Council who are, in

12     the person of Andjelko Markovic, President of the Croatian Defence

13     Council, issuing a decision on a curfew.  All right?

14        A.   Yes.

15        Q.   So it would seem the HVO exercising authority in the

16     municipality.  Do you agree?

17        A.   Your Honours, may I -- I really have no knowledge about this

18     document.  I cannot testify to this period to which I'm directed.  I

19     would really appreciate it if I could not be asked about documents I know

20     nothing about and events I did not participate in, and I have nothing to

21     say about them.

22        Q.   I just want to follow through with Mr. Markovic, if I may.  Would

23     you turn, please, in the binder to P05237.  We looked at it a little

24     while ago in the context of Stolac being in the Banovina.  This is

25     Mr. Markovic attending that very same meeting.  And if you look with me,

Page 46748

 1     please, at page 4.  We can see a paragraph in which he is speaking and he

 2     says:

 3             "Second, Stolac was twice defended as you once said, once from

 4     the Muslims and from the Chetniks."

 5             And then this:

 6             "Today there is not a single Muslim in Stolac."

 7             That's as of the 21st of September of 1993.

 8             "We have populated Stolac with our refugees from Bosnia."

 9             Can you see that, General?

10        A.   Your Honours, I really beg you not to place me in a situation

11     where I would have to confirm something I know absolutely nothing about.

12     I was not in the area at the time.  I cannot testify about anything.  I

13     don't see any reason to ask me about things I have no clue about.

14        Q.   Well, if I could help you to this extent:  One of the reasons

15     you've been asked to give evidence on behalf of the Defence is to talk

16     about attempts to set up joint institutions, and I'm exploring with you -

17     and that's the end of, I think, the exercise - what happened, because

18     otherwise we have the story just hanging in the air.  "I did my best to

19     set up joint institutions."  They fell apart and the hardliners took

20     control.  That's the truth of it, isn't it?  You must have heard about

21     that.  You were back in Bosnia the following year in 1993, weren't you?

22     You must have known what was going on.

23        A.   I am really testifying to events that I was present to, events

24     that I initiated, I have already said all I have to say about them and

25     I'm prepared to continue to testify.  Now, concerning events I was not

Page 46749

 1     involved in, that I knew nothing about then and still know nothing, I

 2     think I'm the wrong person to state any opinion whatsoever.

 3        Q.   Very well.

 4             MR. LAWS:  Well, we're going to leave Stolac.  Before we do so

 5     may I give everybody in the courtroom the reference that was requested,

 6     that -- the passage starts at page 466 -- sorry, 46599 at line 19, and it

 7     continues through 46600 to line 7.  And in the draft I'm told it's page

 8     66.

 9             Thank you.  Very well.

10        Q.    I said we've finished it.  We very nearly have.  I want to look

11     with you, please, at what was happening in the following April after you

12     left Stolac.  P01913.  And it's a gentleman who you, I think, know,

13     Nedeljko Obradovic.  01913.

14             Was this the Mr. Obradovic that you were referring to earlier,

15     Colonel Obradovic of the Knez Domagoj?

16        A.   Your Honours, this is again a document about which I can state

17     nothing.  I was not in that area of responsibility at the time, and I was

18     in no way involved in the developments in that area.  I even knew nothing

19     about the developments in that area.  I had too much to do in my area,

20     which was the hinterland of Slano.

21        Q.   Could you just answer my question just -- just briefly.  Was the

22     Obradovic that we see there the one that you knew?  There are several.

23     Was this the one that you knew, the commander of the 1st Knez Domagoj?

24        A.   There are a few men with the same name and surname, and that's

25     why I have to ask you to relieve me from answering this question about

Page 46750

 1     events in which I was not involved in.

 2        Q.   My question conceded that there are several people called

 3     Obradovic.  I'm asking you whether you knew this one who was the

 4     commander of the 1st HVO Knez Domagoj Brigade, and being fair about it,

 5     General, you can answer that question yes or no, can't you?

 6        A.   Yes.  I know that Nedeljko Obradovic was the commander of the

 7     1st Brigade of the HVO.

 8        Q.   Did you know him?  Did you know this man who has put his name to

 9     this document?  Was he a man that you knew?  Yes or no?

10        A.   I can't recognise the signature, and I don't know the man well

11     enough to identify his signature.  I have to repeat, I know a man called

12     Nedeljko Obradovic who was commander of the 1st HVO Brigade.

13        Q.   General, please.  You're saying you know a man called Nedeljko

14     Obradovic who was the commander of the 1st HVO Knez Domagoj Brigade, but

15     you're not prepared to say it's the same person.  I've asked you a number

16     of times.  You know this man, don't you?

17        A.   Yes, I know the commander of the 1st HVO Brigade who was -- who

18     was the commander of the command of the 1st HVO Brigade and his name was

19     Nedeljko Obradovic.

20        Q.   Thank you.  And by April 1993, according to this order, the time

21     of joint institutions has long passed, has it not?

22        A.   I don't know that either.  At that time I was somewhere else.

23     And please don't involve me into something that I cannot testify to.

24        Q.   Very well.  Well, we can see that it restricts the entry of BH --

25     BiH Army members into the area of responsibility unless there's written

Page 46751

 1     clearance from the commander.  Those who do are to be arrested and held

 2     for 15 days and to be disarmed.  When you came back to Bosnia in 1993,

 3     was the Knez Domagoj Brigade a unit with which you had any contact?

 4        A.   It was a brigade commanded by Nedeljko Obradovic at the time that

 5     was to be involved in, in fact, one of the two main vehicles of the

 6     operation.  However, that commander sent a written report that he did not

 7     have the required forces for the mission.  Did he not come to the

 8     command, and I suppose it was also a matter of personal differences.

 9        Q.   Very well.  Thank you.  Well, let's move on to 1993, the time

10     when you came to Bosnia, and you said yesterday you thought you were

11     coming to fight the Serbs and only found out later that you were coming

12     to engage Muslim forces.  Yes?

13        A.   Yes.

14        Q.   Would you look with me, please, at Exhibit P03112.  This is a

15     document dated the 2nd of July of 1993.  It's another presidential

16     transcript.  We can see that those present include Mr. Susak and

17     General Bobetko.  And we're going to pick it up at page 54.  There's a

18     discussion at the top of that page about sanctions, and then five lines

19     down the conclusion that Tudjman has reached that "I think this threat is

20     even smaller today but we must be careful not to give them any direct

21     cause to serve as an excuse for their policy."

22             And then this:

23             "Clearly we must not do this.  But at the same time we must take

24     steps to protect Croatian interests in the territorial sense too.  And,

25     you two please, Minister Susak, General Bobetko, see about this and meet

Page 46752

 1     with Herceg-Bosna leaders there, with General Praljak, Petkovic and

 2     Ambassador Sancevic and their leaders there, with Boban and Prlic to

 3     discuss exactly what should be done.  But it goes without saying, do not

 4     lead the operation in such a way as to make it a direct involvement.  And

 5     what I said earlier is very important in terms of, I don't know, of

 6     trade, of payments, I don't know what, do not let the people there feel

 7     left on their own but let's take care in this respect."

 8             If you turn on two pages, please, you'll see that later on in the

 9     conversation that day, it's our page 67, President Tudjman has something

10     to say about the southern Neretva front.

11             "Still on the southern Neretva front, it's important for us to

12     push back Muslim units, and if we do this, it will be a sign for the

13     Serbs not to move."

14             Can you see that?

15        A.   Yes.

16        Q.   This is the 2nd of July, which is just short of two weeks away

17     from Operation South in which you were involved, is it not?

18        A.   This is a -- this is 13 days before the operation.

19        Q.   That's right.

20        A.   And I wasn't there.  I wasn't there at that meeting, but I wasn't

21     even in the area of the operation.

22        Q.   Well, you were involved in the operation that took place two

23     weeks later, weren't you?

24        A.   Yes, two weeks later.

25        Q.   Thank you.  And did you understand that General Bobetko was the

Page 46753

 1     person in overall control of that operation, Operation Jug or South?

 2        A.   There was nothing during the time I was there that gave me basis

 3     to conclude something like that.

 4        Q.   All right.  But we'll look at a document in just a moment in

 5     respect of that.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, very briefly.  On page

 7     67, I read what President Tudjman said.  He mentions the southern front,

 8     but I have the feeling that he is breaking down this operation in two

 9     parts, A, the Muslim parts, and then he adds that this could be a sign

10     for the Serbs not to move, or a signal for the Serbs not to move.

11             In military terms, the operation against the Muslims, well, does

12     it have an impact on the Serbs as well by demonstrating their strengths

13     against the Muslims this would prevent the Serbs from moving.  What do

14     you think about this?  I'm just talking in military terms, of course.

15        A.   Your Honours, the fear from the south part of Croatia being cut

16     off was extremely strong among the Croatian leadership at the time.  The

17     easiest way -- because the greatest majority of roads and in the Neretva

18     River valley.  In addition to that, the Ploce port was the only one with

19     sufficient capacity to support the entire hinterland.  For that reason,

20     but also based on intelligence reports and because of that previously

21     mentioned S-2 plan, this thinking was justified for the State of Croatia,

22     in my only personal estimate, the enemy were the Serbs associated with

23     the Yugoslav People's Army, both from Serbia and Republika Srpska,

24     because it was they who, from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were

25     threatening the Croatian territory, which is militarily practically

Page 46754

 1     undefendable south of the Neretva River, especially if you don't go

 2     across the border at least up to Popovo Polje.  That's why there was a

 3     little -- a lot of military concern about this invasion.

 4             As the Muslim forces grew in strength, they also obviously wanted

 5     to reach lines in the Neretva River valley, and some intelligence reports

 6     that I heard when I was in command reconnaissance indicated that.  It was

 7     a surprise to me.

 8             I also heard of events north of Mostar that caused me a lot of

 9     concern.  I believe that the name is Bijelo Polje.  And they pointed out

10     that the situation was very grave indeed.  Croatian forces in Bosnia and

11     Herzegovina, I believe, according to a uniform, widely shared judgement

12     and estimate based on the same premises concluded that this was a

13     possibility.  And I participated in that operation defending approaches

14     to the Neretva River valley, because I had already liberated that area

15     once.  And believe me when I say that I was not at all looking forward to

16     doing it again.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Laws.

18             MR. LAWS:  Thank you.

19        Q.   We saw that it was General Bobetko who was present at that

20     meeting with President Tudjman when there was discussion about doing

21     something to protect Croatian interests, and I'm going to take you now to

22     an interview which was held between the Office of the Prosecutor and

23     Brigadier Dzanko in July of 2003.

24             Now, Luka Dzanko was the gentleman to whom you reported.  He's

25     the man who asked you whether you wanted to come to Bosnia; is that

Page 46755

 1     right?

 2        A.   Yes.

 3        Q.   Will you turn, please, in the binder to the last-but-one

 4     document, P11070.  Right at the back, two documents in.

 5             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned friend.

 6     I just want my objection on the record.  This is a new document not on

 7     the 65 ter list, and I would appreciate it if my learned friend Mr. Laws,

 8     in keeping with the decision of the Trial Chamber from last year, would

 9     explain the reason for introducing this document, and also I hope the

10     Trial Chamber will rule on admissibility.

11             MR. LAWS:  Well, may I say that's a matter --

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  Let me recall that

13     the Trial Chamber has handed down guidelines and stated clearly that when

14     a document is not on the 65 ter list, the party using this document uses

15     it only to test the credibility of the witness.  This has been stated

16     many a time.  Every time this document comes up we are told the same

17     thing.  What's the point ever issuing guidelines in that case?

18             Please proceed, Mr. Laws.

19             MR. LAWS:  May I say that that's an issue which is currently

20     being litigated by way of IC lists which the Prosecution hope will bring

21     some clarity to that issue, but for the moment if I can continue with

22     this.

23        Q.   The meeting in the presidential palace was the 2nd or 3rd of

24     July, and I want to pick the story up now with General Bobetko calling

25     Brigadier Dzanko on the 5th of July.  We're dealing with Operation Jug

Page 46756

 1     and with its origins, and then we're going to look at happened in it, all

 2     right?

 3             P11070.  If you look with me --

 4             MR. STEWART:  Excuse me, Your Honour.  When Mr. Laws says it's a

 5     matter of currently being litigated, what is he saying?  Is he saying

 6     he's not going to comply with the guidelines or that he is complying with

 7     the guidelines and then he's going to say how he's complying with the

 8     guidelines?  I'm just not clear.  He brushed it aside very deftly, but it

 9     was a bit of a brushing aside.

10             MR. LAWS:  I didn't brush anything aside.  I was invited to take

11     the floor and continue with this by the President who said that every

12     time this issue arises time is taken up with this, and I was invited to

13     continue and that's what I'm doing.

14             MR. STEWART:  Well, I -- nevertheless, the "Please proceed

15     Mr. Laws" from Your Honour preceded Mr. Laws giving any answer at all in

16     relation to the objection, and Your Honour specifically referred to the

17     Trial Chamber's own guidelines without any answer having been given as to

18     how those guidelines are actually being complied with.

19             MR. LAWS:  The answer, Mr. President, is the one you gave:  That

20     I'm using this document in one way at the moment, and if I seek its

21     submission by way of an IC list in due course, that's a matter the

22     Chamber will rule.  But nothing prevents me from using this document.

23             MR. STEWART:  No, I'm sorry, it's -- Mr. Laws could -- one

24     assumes he could easily simply say "I'm using it for this purpose or that

25     purpose in compliance with the guidelines."  It's a single sentence.  He

Page 46757

 1     must know presumably.  I'm sure he knows.  Mr. Laws knows what he's

 2     doing.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Laws, Mr. Stewart always

 4     intervenes to say something useful.  He is asking you to tell him in line

 5     with the guidelines that you are using this document to test the

 6     credibility of the witness.  That is all Mr. Stewart is asking you to do.

 7             MR. LAWS:  Well, without getting too deeply into the guidelines

 8     and precisely what their application involves, the Prosecution's

 9     submission is that they do not require us at this stage to make

10     statements about the purpose with which the document is being used.  I

11     can say straight away that this witness gives an account of this event

12     which differs from the account that this record of interview discloses.

13     So to that extent at this stage, I am addressing the credibility.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Laws, I don't agree with

15     you.  We have a document that is not on the 65 ter list, that the Defence

16     quite rightly raises the issue.  The Defence teams are right.

17             Second point.  The guidelines of the Chamber clearly indicate

18     that in such a case the party using such a document uses it solely for

19     the purpose of testing the credibility of the witness.  That's it.  So in

20     line with the guidelines, you should say, "I wish to use this document to

21     check a number of points the witness has indicated which relate to his

22     own credibility."  Maybe this document contradicts what he said a while

23     ago, what he stated yesterday.  This is what Mr. Stewart would like to

24     know, and he's right.  And you are trying to bypass the issue.

25             MR. LAWS:  With the greatest of respect I'm not trying to bypass

Page 46758

 1     anything at all, and the guidance of the Appeals Chamber on this topic is

 2     the subject of current litigation before the Chamber.  The Appeals

 3     Chamber have made it clear that the use of a document of this kind is not

 4     limited to testing the credibility.

 5             Can I leave it in this way:  At the moment I'm going to explore

 6     with this witness the issue of his credibility so far as the preparations

 7     of Operation Jug goes.  I reserve my right as to any other use that the

 8     Prosecution may wish to make of it in due course, but I hope that assists

 9     Mr. Stewart at the moment.

10             May I now proceed to use the document?

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the time being you are

12     testing the credibility of the witness, and I would like the legal

13     officer to pull out the decision handed down by the Appeals Chamber, who

14     seems to be stating -- which seems to be stating the contrary.  So please

15     proceed on the credibility of the witness.

16             MR. LAWS:  Thank you, Mr. President.

17        Q.   Do you have the paragraph beginning --  667, number 667:  "On the

18     5th of July, 1993, I was called by General Janko Bobetko."  Do you have

19     that line?

20        A.   Yes.

21        Q.   "On the 5th of July knee I was called by General Janko Bobetko

22     who then was the head of the Main Staff of the Croatian Army.  He told me

23     to come to the command post in Zadar and he gave me the oral order to go

24     to Neum in BiH.  To be in Neum on the 7th of July, 1993, in the morning,

25     in the municipal building, and to wait for him on the same location on

Page 46759

 1     the 8th of July.  He said to me that I was entitled to take two officers

 2     with me, based on my personal choice, to be my assistants in operational

 3     duties.  I chose Colonel Ivan Beneta and Colonel Davorin Radic."  Can you

 4     see that?

 5        A.   Yes.

 6        Q.   Do you agree with your brigadier so far that that's what he did

 7     in choosing you and the captain who he names there?

 8        A.   That's the only thing that I can confirm of all this, that I was

 9     asked by Mr. Dzanko to take part in this operation, and it's true that

10     this other colleague was there, Davorin Radic.

11        Q.   And you have testified that Milivoj Petkovic was not someone you

12     had met prior to Operation Jug; is that right?

13        A.   That is right.  I hadn't seen Mr. Petkovic before the operation,

14     nor did I see him during or after it.

15        Q.   Well, let's look at what Brigadier Dzanko says starting at line

16     683 about the meeting on the 8th of July in Neum.

17              "General Bobetko came.  He held the meeting on which there were

18     present Milivoj Petkovic, HVO head of staff, General Martic, his deputy,

19     Stanko Martic from the HVO; and a Colonel called Pranjo [phoen] Pavicic.

20     General Bobetko's brought Pavicic from the Croatian Army school as the

21     expert for artillery.  I was present, Beneta was, as well as Radic from

22     the Croatian Army.  And the topic of that meeting was Operation Jug,

23     which I will give more details about later as a special issue."

24             Do you agree with me that the brigadier appears to be saying

25     there something very different to you; namely, that Mr. Petkovic was

Page 46760

 1     present at a meeting in Neum to discuss Operation Jug?

 2        A.   I cannot confirm or provide an explanation because in spite of

 3     what is stated here, I was not at that meeting.  At the time, I probably

 4     hadn't even left Zadar.  I arrived on the 8th very late in the evening.

 5     I only slept at Neum and on the next morning I continued to the command

 6     post.

 7             Your Honours, I was familiarised with this document during the

 8     proofing by counsel Ms. Alaburic.  I found not only this inaccuracy but

 9     more of them in the memory of Mr. Dzanko about the establishing of the

10     battalion at Stolac and some other situations that he sees very

11     differently from the way I see them and the way I remember them.

12        Q.   Because it's your assertion that Petkovic is not involved in

13     Operation Jug, and you're not going to agree with the brigadier's

14     recollection as expressed in this document that you had a chance to see

15     the other day?

16        A.   I believe that you misinterpreted my words.  I have said several

17     times, and I'm going to repeat it again, I did not meet Mr. Petkovic or

18     Mr. Bobetko either before, during, or after Operation South.  I don't

19     believe that I ever met Mr. Bobetko either.

20        Q.   The taking of Blagaj was one of the key objectives of Operation

21     South, was it not?

22        A.   The key objective of the reduced operation was to cut through the

23     area between Heliodrom and Gnojnice, the consequence of which would have

24     been that the forces to the south would be cut off and their status would

25     have been resolved in negotiations.  We were -- we did not favour the

Page 46761

 1     taking of such a wide area or an operation that would involve the taking

 2     of Blagaj.

 3        Q.   You say that you didn't favour it.  At what stage do you say you

 4     learnt about the fact that South was an attack on Muslim forces, before

 5     coming to Neum or after you arrived?

 6        A.   As far as I remember, that was something I learned at the command

 7     reconnaissance mission which took place at the hill next to Krivodol, and

 8     from there we had a good overview of the situation in the Mostar valley

 9     from the winery or the Heliodrom if a -- that's -- if that's your

10     favourite, all the way to Buna or the airstrip.

11        Q.   Yes.  The question I asked you is did you learn about the fact

12     that South was an attack on Muslim forces before coming to Neum or after

13     you arrived?

14        A.   I think I learned that not at Neum but only after I had left and

15     gone to the field in the area of Krivodol.

16        Q.   General, I'm going to ask you that question again, and it may be

17     there's a problem with the translation.  Did you learn that Operation

18     South was an attack on Muslim forces before arriving at Neum or after you

19     had arrived?

20        A.   I learned about it after I had left Neum.  In other words, not at

21     Neum but after spending the night there and leaving Neum.  So I learned

22     these things not at Neum but at Krivodol.  The objective of the operation

23     was something about which I heard in the field.

24        Q.   So having chosen you as one of his two assistants, Dzanko held a

25     meeting in Neum which you didn't attend, and by that stage, with a week

Page 46762

 1     to go before the operation, hadn't told you, his assistant, that it was

 2     the Muslims, not the Serbs, who were the target.  Is that really what you

 3     are saying to us, General?

 4        A.   Before replying, I must correct you.  I was not his deputy.  I

 5     was the third man down.  That is, Chief of Staff.  You said deputy.

 6        Q.   Thank you for the correction.  I didn't call you deputy even

 7     once.  I said you were one of his assistants.  It doesn't matter.  The

 8     question still stands.  Could you please answer it.

 9        A.   No.  I wasn't his assistant either.  I was Chief of Staff, no

10     more, no less.  And at Neum he didn't inform me what it was about.  It

11     was only at Krivodol.

12        Q.   Thank you.  Let's move on to deal with the outcome of Operation

13     South, if we may.  It was an attack that took place -- it was an attack

14     that took place on the 15th of July, which had been the subject, as you

15     call it, of some sabotage operations which held it up for a day or two;

16     is that right?

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Beneta, just a small

18     detail.  Whilst Mr. Laws was putting questions to you, I was re-reading

19     the decision of the Chamber, as well as my dissident opinion --

20             THE INTERPRETER:  My dissenting opinion, interpreter's

21     correction.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- and I was also reading the

23     questions put by Mr. Scott to Luka Dzanko, and I note one thing:

24     Luka Dzanko seems to be saying that at this meeting in Neum held on July

25     8th, 1998 -- 1993, excuse me, you were present.  Were you there?  Yes or

Page 46763

 1     no?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the interview held with

 3     Mr. Dzanko -- or, rather, in that interview I saw some false statements

 4     about my name and about that period, one of them being that I did not

 5     come to Neum with him.  And I couldn't have attended the meeting because

 6     I arrived very late.  And he sent me to the area of Krivodol in the

 7     morning to find an adequate spot and that he would follow with the task.

 8             I as Chief of Staff was tasked to establish a command post from

 9     which the operation would be led, and that's what I did.  I found other

10     inaccuracies, too, involving my name.  I did not check when this

11     statement was taken, but it is obvious that it is partly incorrect as --

12     as far as it involves me.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  I wanted to check

14     that.

15             Mr. Laws.

16             MR. LAWS:

17        Q.   We were just going to deal with what you termed the sabotage

18     operations that delayed Operation South, and I want to take you back to a

19     document that you looked at yesterday with Ms. Alaburic in the morning.

20     It's in the other binder, and it's P10145.

21        A.   10445?

22        Q.   10145.  It's in fact the last document in the binder if that

23     helps you.

24        A.   Yes.

25        Q.   You were taken to part of this statement about the attempts that

Page 46764

 1     it specifies to conduct or to call sabotage operations.  I want to start,

 2     please, by looking at paragraph 23 where this gentleman describes special

 3     HVO units coming to arrest him and his colleagues.  Do you see that?

 4        A.   No, I haven't found it yet.

 5        Q.   Paragraph 23?

 6             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I just want to inform my learned

 7     friend that the Croatian version doesn't have paragraph numbers.  So if

 8     you could refer to the page number.

 9             MR. LAWS:  Yes, certainly.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I'm close.  Just tell me

11     the first words.

12             MR. LAWS:

13        Q.    It's page 4, and it's the second paragraph up on that page.

14     "Until the 30th of June, 1993, there were 130 soldiers ..."  Can you see

15     that?

16        A.   Yes.

17        Q.   And it describes that special HVO units came to address them, and

18     then if you skip the next paragraph, the arrest is described.  It's over

19     the page for you on page 5.

20              "I was woken by a soldier aiming his weapon at my neck.  The

21     whole unit was disarmed.  We were made to get into a truck and brought to

22     Dretelj about 11.00 on 30th of June, 1993."

23             Do you see that?

24        A.   Yes.

25        Q.   You were asked to comment on this.  Were you aware of the order

Page 46765

 1     that had been issued to detain Muslim members of the HVO and Muslim men

 2     of military age?  Were you aware of that order?

 3        A.   No.

 4        Q.   When you were fighting in Operation Jug, were you aware of any

 5     orders as to the detention of men who you encountered?  Muslim men.

 6        A.   I'm unclear about the period to which you're referring.  Do you

 7     mean the events mentioned here at which I was not present, or do you mean

 8     the sabotage actions between the planned beginning of the operation and

 9     the actual beginning of the operation, because the two -- there is no

10     connection between the two.

11        Q.   My question, I don't think, could really relate to either of

12     those.  It says when you were fighting in Operation Jug, when your men --

13     when the -- when the forces engaged in Operation Jug fought on the 15th

14     of July, were you aware of any orders as to the detention of the men whom

15     you encountered, Muslim men?

16        A.   No.

17        Q.   Thank you.  You gave as your opinion the view that the commander

18     faced with this sort of situation as described in the statement P10145,

19     you gave us your opinion that it was justifiable to take the steps that

20     he took to protect his own troops and to protect the civilian population.

21     Do you remember saying that?

22        A.   Yes.  I believe that there was question from the Bench about the

23     way a commander should act to take care of civilians in operations

24     generally, and reducing the probability of casualties among civilians.

25     But I understood neither that question nor my reply to refer to any

Page 46766

 1     concrete events.

 2        Q.   Very well.  In this statement, if you turn, please, to page 8.

 3     Can you see a paragraph in the middle of the page dealing with the 15th

 4     of July, retrieving the body of this gentleman's cousin, Remza Ulakovic?

 5     Can you see that?

 6             Did I say a page number?  I'm sorry, page 7, right in the middle.

 7     Page 7, right in the middle.

 8        A.   Yes.

 9        Q.   And if we read on, we can see the reference to at least 50 people

10     being killed, trampled to death or dying through exhaustion.  That's

11     three paragraphs down.  And then reference to this gentleman's

12     grandmother, Fata Sabljic, who was 94 years old and who was also

13     expelled.  She could only walk very slowly.

14             Do you agree with me that from a military point of view,

15     civilians of that kind present absolutely no threat to soldiers; is that

16     right?

17        A.   Yes.

18        Q.   And so to expel them from their homes can't ever be justified,

19     can it?

20        A.   I cannot agree.  There are military situations in which

21     collecting people, gathering them in one place, is justified.

22        Q.   But what's being described here is a woman of 94 who is being

23     expelled, who can only walk very slowly.  She's not being collected for

24     her own safety.  This is something which a military commander has no

25     business doing.  It's no part of soldiering, is it, forcing people out of

Page 46767

 1     their homes at that age.  Is it?

 2        A.   I must go back to my reply of yesterday.  Obviously I didn't

 3     explain the situation well enough.

 4             Your Honours, most houses, especially in villages on the Dubrava

 5     plateau, and this is the area concerned here, so most of these houses are

 6     one-storey houses.  They only have a ground floor.  They have roofs,

 7     slanting roofs of brick tiles, and there is a ceiling that is made of

 8     reed without any concrete.

 9             When we come to a village in which civilians can only have such

10     kind of shelter, generally speaking it is easier to collect these people,

11     take them to a safe place, because you never know where a shell from a

12     mortar or a cannon can land.  And the other supply routes are cut.  The

13     people can't go even out to their yards to fetch water from their wells.

14     So it is more logical, and it's justified to take all these people to one

15     place and take care of them.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Witness, could you explain the logic behind

17     taking away the Muslim but not Croat people?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can see no mention of the taking

19     care of Croats in this statement.  This is a statement given by a Muslim

20     witness which gives information about himself and other Muslims.  I do

21     not read this to mean that nobody took care of the Croats.  On the

22     contrary.  I strongly doubt that the Croats remained in such houses

23     whereas the Muslims were forced out.

24             MR. LAWS:

25        Q.   But you've read this statement.  It's about forcing people, not

Page 46768

 1     just from their homes but expelling them to Blagaj.  Look at the

 2     paragraph immediately above the assessment that 50 people were killed,

 3     trampled to death.

 4              "At the beginning of the expulsions from Buna to Blagaj there

 5     were casualties every day, but later on the HVO soldiers stopped firing

 6     systematically on the exiled people."

 7             It's nothing to do with taking care of people, collecting them,

 8     looking after them.  It's expelling them and shooting them, shooting at

 9     them systematically.  That's what this witness statement describes.

10             Can you confirm for us that a commander has no, no justification

11     for behaving in that way at any time?

12        A.   Yes, it --

13             MR. KARNAVAS:  Excuse me, sir.  I would qualify that with

14     assuming the facts that are being described in this document are correct,

15     because that's what the witness is being asked to assume.  When it comes

16     from the Prosecutor's mouth it's as if these are the facts, so assuming

17     the facts are correct, with that proviso I would say that the question

18     then is proper; otherwise, it assumes facts not in evidence and the

19     question is improper, and I would object to that question being asked.

20             MR. LAWS:  I -- I don't mind the intervention at all.

21        Q.   Assume the facts are true, that these HVO soldiers are expelling

22     civilians, including women of 94 and forcing them to walk to Blagaj and

23     then shooting at them.  Assume that's true.  No commander has any

24     business doing anything of that kind ever, do they?

25        A.   Yes.

Page 46769

 1        Q.   Thank you.

 2             MR. LAWS:  I'm told that might and appropriate time for the

 3     break.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.  It's time for the break,

 5     but you only have ten minutes left.

 6                           --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.

 7                           --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.

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

 9             One moment we have two IC numbers first.

10             THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you, Your Honour.  The Prosecution has

11     submitted their objections to documents tendered for admission by 4D and

12     3D through Witness Milan Gorjanc.  The documents submitted shall be given

13     Exhibit IC1102 and 1103 respectively.  Thank you, Your Honours.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Laws, you have the floor.

15             MR. LAWS:

16        Q.   General, we'll just finish off with the remaining time the

17     questions that I have in respect of Operation South or Jug, please.  Just

18     to recap, we saw the presidential transcript, which is the 2nd of July,

19     talking about what needed -- whatever needed to be done with

20     General Bobetko.  I put to you the 8th of July meeting in respect of that

21     operation in Neum, and you've given us your evidence about that.

22             Can we just look, please, at one document in the Prosecution

23     binder, the smaller of the two binders, and it's P03128.  And it's an

24     order from General Petkovic in agreement, so it says, with the head of

25     the Defence Department, Bruno Stojic, and I wonder if you'd look with me,

Page 46770

 1     please, at the heading "Sector South," which is the fourth heading on the

 2     document.  For you it's the foot of page 2 and then going over the page

 3     to page 3.  In the English it's the second page of the document.

 4             And the third sub-heading, sub-heading "Task."  Can you see that?

 5        A.   Yes.

 6        Q.   This involves General Petkovic discussing the taking of land in

 7     the same area as the later Operation South was to take place.  Do you

 8     agree?  You particularly mentioned the village of Gnojnice and we talked

 9     about Blagaj.  It's the area south of Mostar, is it not?

10             MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment.  I believe the

11     witness received a wrong interpretation.  What he heard was Operation

12     Storm instead of Operation South.  Just to avoid misunderstanding his

13     answer.

14             MR. LAWS:  I'm grateful for that.  I'm not suggesting that

15     General Petkovic was involved in Operation Storm.

16        Q.   The Operation South objectives were to take the area south of

17     Mostar, as you've told us.  Specifically you made reference a moment ago

18     to the village named there of Gnojnice; is that right, General?

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General.

20             THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there is a

21     technical error on behalf of the Prosecution.  This is not about

22     Operation South.  It is about Sector South.  I would appreciate it if the

23     Prosecutor would read exactly what is written.  There are three sectors

24     mentioned, north, centre, and south.  There is no Operation South in this

25     document.  This must be a slip of the tongue.  He got carried away with

Page 46771

 1     Operation South and then --

 2             MR. LAWS:  I've not suggested that this document has mentioned

 3     Operation South nor I hope am I carried away.  I'm simply identifying the

 4     objectives as expressed in this document, and General Petkovic will have

 5     a full opportunity to testify about this in due course.  But on the 2nd

 6     of July, this document appears to specify certain objectives.  What I'm

 7     doing with the witness is clarifying that they overlap with and are very

 8     similar to the expressed objectives of Operation South.  Not that this is

 9     South, but that this is aiming at, in particular, areas that were later

10     to be the target of South.

11        Q.   And that's right, General, isn't it?

12        A.   I cannot say anything about this document, because I can't see in

13     it anything I could testify to.  I was not there at the time.  I've never

14     seen this document before.  I was not aware of its existence, and I can't

15     see anything here in my role as a witness.

16        Q.   Forgive me.  On Monday you testified about witness statements

17     taken under interrogation.  You testified about the friendship agreement.

18     You've testified about a range of things of which you have absolutely no

19     presence at all.  This is a question based on this document, and I'm

20     asking you to confirm what I suggest is the plain obvious truth, that the

21     objective set out in "Task" under 3 are the objectives, some of the

22     objectives of Operation South.  Particularly, you mentioned Gnojnice

23     village, and we talked, you and I, about Blagaj village and clearing the

24     area south of Mostar.  That's all.  And you can comfortably do that if

25     you choose to do so, General, can you not?

Page 46772

 1        A.   I think you can find in the documentation from that area hundreds

 2     of documents referring to these places, because every military document

 3     describing the situation in the terrain refers to key points and features

 4     on the ground.  You can find reams of documents of this kind.  You can't

 5     use them to prove that this is linked to an operation or anyone's intent.

 6             I'm not saying yes or no.  I'm just saying I can't say anything

 7     on the basis of this document.

 8        Q.   Could you not worry about what I'm trying to prove or what I'm

 9     not trying to prove.  I'm simply trying to establish the fact that on the

10     2nd of July, General Petkovic is expressing an intention in securing the

11     objectives which later were the express intention of Operation South

12     itself.  I'm not saying it is Operation South.  I'm asking you to confirm

13     that, and if you decline to do so, then that's a matter for you.  We'll

14     move on.  Can you help us with that?

15        A.   I'm sorry to say on the basis of this document or this idea I

16     can't confirm or deny.

17        Q.   Even though it has the place names that we've discussed, are you

18     actually trying to help us at this stage, General, or not?

19        A.   Your Honours, I'm really trying to be helpful about things that I

20     was involved in, that I knew something about, but this is not the case

21     here.

22        Q.   All right.  You've been brought to court partly to say that

23     General Petkovic was not involved in Operation South, and what I'm doing

24     is looking with you at whether he was expressing an interest in the

25     objectives, whether he was present at the meeting in Neum which you say

Page 46773

 1     you were not present at when Operation South was discussed, and now I'm

 2     going to look with you at a document that may have another connection to

 3     this operation.  Would you turn, please, to look at -- at document

 4     P03466.

 5             And paragraph -- the paragraph that we need to look at, please,

 6     is in the English at the foot of page 2, the paragraph beginning "Out of

 7     700 men," and in the B/C/S it is a paragraph just to the right of the

 8     lower hole punch, beginning "Out of 700 men from the battalion of the 5th

 9     Guards."

10             Do you see that paragraph?  Can you see that paragraph, General?

11        A.   I'm not sure.  This one begins with "The 3rd Brigade numbers 750

12     men."

13        Q.   No.  If you go down just another six lines, you'll see just the

14     right of the lower hole punch:  "Out of 700 men from the battalion of the

15     HV 5th Guards Motorised Brigade --" got that one?

16        A.   Yes, yes.

17        Q.   There's a trap in this document because in English it says,

18     "During the attack on the 10th of July," you can see in the B/C/S that

19     it's the 15th of July, can you not?

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  Before you answer,

21     you have no time left, Mr. Laws.  The witness will answer and that's when

22     we shall stop.

23             MR. LAWS:  Mr. President, I've just been told that I have three

24     minutes left according to our calculation.  May I just complete this

25     document and then draw it to a close?  I'll be no more than another

Page 46774

 1     minute or so, but I want to just get this clear.  It's the end of

 2     Operation South.

 3        Q.   15th of July is in the document, is it not?

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I shall just turn to my

 5     colleagues to see whether we will grant you an extra few meant.

 6                           [Trial Chamber confers]

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have no time left.  The

 8     Trial Chamber generously grants you three extra minutes.

 9             MR. LAWS:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  I'm very grateful

10     for that.

11        Q.   15th of July.  What's being described in this letter is the

12     attack on the 15th of July in the area south of Mostar, its task being to

13     cut off the Muslim forces and take Gnojnice, a village you and I

14     discussed a just a moment ago.  During very heavy fighting, the brigade

15     had 12 dead and 30 wounded, of whom three soldiers were seriously

16     injured.  The infantry part was pulled out of combat and put up in a

17     hotel in Neum, et cetera.

18             Now, that's a report about the short-lived and unsuccessful

19     operation that was Operation South, isn't it?

20        A.   I believe so.

21        Q.   It couldn't possibly be anything else, could it?  That's what it

22     is.

23        A.   I haven't read it through.  I just read the passage you pointed

24     out.  If you want to ask me about the whole document I'd have to read the

25     whole document.

Page 46775

 1        Q.   That's the only passage that we need and that, I think you agree,

 2     relates to the short-lived unsuccessful Operation South.

 3             This is a document which is being sent to the Ministry of Defence

 4     of the Republic of Croatia and the Main Staff of the Croatian Army by two

 5     people, Milivoj Petkovic as the Chief of the Main Staff, and Luka Dzanko

 6     the brigadier who was, as you have told us, in charge of the operation

 7     from the Croatian side.  All right?

 8        A.   Yes, judging by the signature.

 9        Q.   So just drawing the strands together, you've come here partly to

10     say that Petkovic was not responsible or involved in Operation Jug, and

11     here he is reporting on that day about what had happened in relation to

12     it.  Do you agree with me?

13        A.   From this I can also see that just as Mr. Dzanko, Mr. Petkovic

14     was angry about certain aspects of this situation.  Mr. Dzanko, after we

15     finalised that day, I believe he went somewhere else that evening, he

16     told me the next day, this document had been drafted, that he had invited

17     General Petkovic to help him assess the situation, and in my recollection

18     General Petkovic was extremely angry about the whole situation, but for

19     more details you should ask someone else.

20        Q.   Well, we hope to, but for what it's worth, that is the end of my

21     cross-examination.  Thank you.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very briefly, before we give

23     the floor to the Petkovic Defence for redirect, I'd like to remain on

24     this document, and I ask you to look at the end of the document where

25     General Petkovic makes proposals.  When he testifies, we shall, of course

Page 46776

 1     review this document again, but I would like to put you this question.  I

 2     see that General Petkovic analyses the situation and explains that the

 3     Chetniks, let's say the Serbs, and the Muslim forces are occupying a

 4     strategic axis which is the road from Stenovac [phoen] to Drenovic, I'm

 5     sorry we don't have a map, and the ultimate objective is the Neretva and

 6     the Ploce harbour.

 7             In this document General Petkovic puts the Serbs and the Muslims

 8     on the same side, i.e., the enemy, and he specifies, as you can see in

 9     this document, that the situation seems to call for, on the part of the

10     Croatian Army the taking of the Bregava River and of the Popovo Polje

11     area.  And then in the second part of the document General Petkovic seems

12     to be writing that in order to liberate the Neretva valley, let's say the

13     Mostar-Jablanica area, that's what's written here, it would be necessary,

14     seemingly, for the forces of the HVO to be reinforced by professional

15     brigades of the Croatian Army.  When I see this - and I listened very

16     carefully, as you can well imagine, to all the questions put by the

17     Prosecutor on Operation South - I have the feeling, which of course

18     merits further investigation, that on the side of the HVO and the

19     Croatian Army the positioning of the Serb forces was an issue, and this

20     is actually what is written in the document.

21             At the time you were there, during this Operation South was the

22     Serb issue the key issue or was it the Muslim issue which was the key

23     issue or were they both key issues?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my view, Your Honour, the level

25     of threat was the same from the Serbian side, and a new threat seemed to

Page 46777

 1     be emerging, namely that Muslims, too, might be looking to get to the

 2     Neretva River valley up to Ploce.  So it was both.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So as far as you're concerned,

 4     there are two threats.

 5             Ms. Alaburic, normally speaking you had nine minutes left for

 6     your redirect.  Of course, if you go beyond that time, it will be taken

 7     off your overall time, so you have the floor.

 8             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of

 9     General Petkovic believes that we have gotten the Trial Chamber used to

10     using up all our time to the last minute and more, but this time we have

11     no redirect.

12             Thank you, Witness, for your answers.  Thank you for coming to

13     The Hague.  I hope to see you again.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in light of the fact

15     that your testimony has just come to an end, I would like to thank you

16     for having come to testify at the request of the Defence counsel to help

17     us establish the truth.  I wish you a safe journey home, and I shall ask

18     the usher to escort you out of the courtroom.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

20                           [The witness withdrew]

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Since we have a few minutes

22     left before adjourning, Ms. Alaburic, you have planned to bring a witness

23     for next week.  Everything is running smoothly, is it?

24             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, from what I know now,

25     the witness is coming tomorrow.  He will be ready to come into the

Page 46778

 1     courtroom on Monday.  He will be continuing with the subject of Stolac at

 2     the beginning of the Muslim-Croat conflict, and we can expect to spend

 3     four or five days in the courtroom with him.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have planned to hear him

 5     for three hours.  Other Defence counsel have an hour and a half, and the

 6     Prosecutor will have three hours.  That is what has been scheduled.  This

 7     is what you have provided us with.

 8             I shall ask the registrar to move into private session for a few

 9     moments.

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                           [Open session]

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

25     Thank you.

Page 46779

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, do you have

 2     anything to tell us?

 3             MR. STRINGER:  Yes.  Excuse me.  Yes.  Thank you, Mr. President,

 4     and greetings to Your Honours and to all.

 5             We've got another down day tomorrow.  We had two down days last

 6     week.  I think we've sat for a combined total of 24 days during September

 7     and October.  We're proceeding at a glacial pace, and it's become in the

 8     view of the Prosecution grossly inefficient and a waste of the Court's

 9     resources.  May we invite the Petkovic team to have the following witness

10     on standby and in The Hague next week in the event that, as we did this

11     week, the three-hour witness for direct has actually concluded his

12     testimony in three days so that we're able to make full use of the

13     Court's time and resources and to proceed more expeditiously through the

14     Petkovic case.  Thank you.

15             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you allow me to

16     say just this:  If all the Defence teams had availed themselves of their

17     right to cross-examine, we would have entered the fourth day of

18     examination of this witness as we had planned.

19             When scheduling our witnesses, we also reckon with the Judges'

20     questions, and we did this on the basis of the duration of Judges'

21     questions in the past.  We think it appropriate for Judges to have enough

22     time to examine our witnesses as well while we are all relatively

23     relaxed, without feeling under pressure while contemplating our

24     questions.

25             I believe that the next witness will take a longer time.  There

Page 46780

 1     will be many more controversial issues covered, and there will be many

 2     more Judges' questions, we expect.

 3             If you instruct me to reduce the expected time for each witness

 4     and to reckon with a reduced time for the Judges' questions and if the

 5     Court is prepared to pay for witnesses being here on standby, I will be

 6     happy to obliged.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, let me give me --

 8     my opinion on this also.  I am very interested by all the trials that

 9     occur here, and I note that the pace of Defence witnesses is always

10     different from the pace of Prosecution witnesses, and all trials

11     experience this.  When it comes to the Defence case, things become more

12     complicated.  Why is it?  Well, because the Defence must contact the

13     witnesses, then convince them to come and testify.  These are usually

14     witnesses that are high ranking in the administration, in the military,

15     or in politics.  So everything is complicated for the Defence.

16             And I also note that up until now it's true that we've had some

17     down days, but I believe that the trial is still proceeding at a very

18     good pace.  And just as Ms. Alaburic justly said, the witness could have

19     been -- could have continued to testify tomorrow.  The other Defence

20     teams decided that they didn't want to cross-examine, but they could have

21     done so.  And even during the Prosecution case, we had some Prosecution

22     witnesses that end up -- ended their testimony earlier than expected.

23             So I believe that we are running at a very good pace.  We're

24     almost at three-fourths of the trial.  We still have 20, 25 per cent of

25     total time to finish in time.  We're not running late.  The Trial Chamber

Page 46781

 1     has taken into account the fact that a few -- that sometimes some accused

 2     were not present in the courtroom, but fortunately their counsel were

 3     representing them so we could continue whereas we might have decided for

 4     a stay.

 5             So I think that we are really trying to move forward.  Everyone

 6     is trying to move forward.  The schedule that we have been provided with

 7     is very good, and I believe that we should stick to it.

 8             Mr. Stringer.

 9             MR. STRINGER:  Well, Mr. President, I've expressed what is the

10     Prosecution's submission on this.  We're three and a half years into this

11     trial.  I think that what has been the exception and the -- the

12     consequence or the circumstance to be avoided, whether it was during the

13     Prosecution case or the Prlic case or the Stojic case or the Praljak

14     case, was to not have these gaps in the trial becoming the rule, and it

15     appears to us that is -- that's really now what is becoming the accepted

16     or the customary practice during, admittedly, this early phase of the

17     Petkovic trial.

18             Obviously, every team and everybody recognising that there are

19     scheduling issues and time runs on.  I think in terms of practice in the

20     other trials it's the witness who waits.  In this case it seems to be

21     more so now than ever that it's the Judges and the parties, really, who

22     wait.  We're all waiting now for the next few days until the next witness

23     is here ready to go, when, in fact, perhaps the witness should be the one

24     has a wait a little longer for the preceding witness to conclude his or

25     her testimony.

Page 46782

 1             So we obviously acknowledge the views of the President, but

 2     nonetheless, I think that I am expressing some valid concerns on the part

 3     of the Prosecution.  Thank you.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, we're today

 5     November 11th.  Courtroom I, no trial.  Courtroom II, Stanisic was

 6     sitting this morning and the afternoon there will be no sitting.

 7     November 11th, Courtroom number III, Prlic in the morning, nothing in the

 8     afternoon.  Check with the other Trial Chambers, the ones that are also

 9     running trials.  For them also it's difficult to have witnesses and so

10     on.  I believe that the Prlic trial is the one where there's the less

11     down time, contrary to what you've just stated.

12             Let's put an end to this.  We will resume next Monday, 2.15 p.m.,

13     with the Defence witness called by the Petkovic team.  Thank you.

14                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.23 p.m.,

15                           to be reconvened on Monday, the 16th day

16                           of November, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.