1 Wednesday, 22 March 2017
2 [Open session]
3 [Appeals Hearing]
4 [The appellants entered court]
5 [The Appellant Pusic not present]
6 --- Upon commencing at 9.29 a.m.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, everyone.
8 Mr. Registrar, could you kindly call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good morning, Your Honours. This
10 is case number IT-04-74-A, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you very much.
12 Could I call for appearances, starting from the Prosecution,
14 MR. STRINGER: Good morning, Mr. President and all of Your
15 Honours. For the Prosecution, Barbara Goy, Inneke Onsea, Sarah Finnin,
16 Douglas Stringer, Janet Stewart.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you very much.
18 Appearances for Appellant Prlic.
19 MS. TOMANOVIC: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
20 Honours. And good morning to everybody in and around the courtroom.
21 Suzana Tomanovic, co-counsel for Dr. Jadranko Prlic. Mr. Karnavas
22 expresses his regrets for not being here this morning due to a commitment
23 to International Criminal Court. He is lead counsel in a case, and his
24 client today is scheduled to be sentenced at 11.00 this morning. He will
25 be joining us after the lunch, if not sooner, and he wanted me to express
1 his regrets for not informing Your Honours about this yesterday. Thank
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Ms. Tomanovic. I better not comment.
4 Appearances for Appellant Mr. Stojic.
5 MR. KHAN: Mr. President, Your Honours, good morning. Mr. Stojic
6 is represented by lead counsel, Senka Nozica; who is assisted by
7 Mr. Aidan Ellis; and myself, Karim Khan. Thank you.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you, Mr. Khan.
9 Appearances for Mr. Praljak.
10 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
11 morning to everyone in the courtroom. Mr. Slobodan Praljak is
12 represented by Natacha Fauveau-Ivanovic; and myself, Nika Pinter.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Ms. Pinter.
14 Appearances for Mr. Petkovic.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
16 General Petkovic is represented by Vesna Alaburic; Davor Lazic; and our
17 legal assistant, Slavko Mateskovic.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Ms. Alaburic.
19 Appearances for Mr. Coric.
20 MR. PLAVEC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
21 Mr. Valentin Coric is represented by lead counsel,
22 Dijana Tomasegovic-Tomic; co-counsel, Drazen Plavec; and our
23 co-consultant, Dan Ivetic. Thank you.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you very much.
25 And finally, appearances for Mr. Pusic.
1 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
2 Mr. Pusic is represented by Mr. Sahota and Fahrudin Ibrisimovic.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you both.
4 We can now proceed to start with the submissions of the Defence
5 for Appellant Mr. Praljak.
6 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honours, General Praljak's
7 Defence plans to present its appeal with Natacha Fauveau-Ivanovic
8 responding to your questions 1, 2, 8 and 10; and expand on some points
9 from our appeals submissions. I'm going to respond to questions 3, 4, 5,
10 6 and 7 and also draw your attention to some key grounds of our appeal.
11 And with your permission, I would like to ask ten minutes for
12 General Praljak, in which he is going to touch upon the topics discussed
13 in the appeal. He will not testify. There will be no -- nothing else
14 except key arguments regarding our joint position on your decision. So
15 if he does not have time in this first part, we kindly ask that he be
16 given this time in our reply to the response by the Prosecution.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: You're not asking -- maybe it's a question of
18 translation here and transcript. You're not asking for an extra ten
19 minutes; you're just asking that ten minutes of your time will be
20 allotted for -- okay.
21 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Yes, ten minutes of our overall
22 time, yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
24 Madam Fauveau.
25 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your
1 Honours, the Defence of Slobodan Praljak raised a number of errors of law
2 and fact committed by the Trial Chamber. The Defence admits that all its
3 grounds of appeal are well founded. We shall today only address certain
4 grounds of appeal and emphasise some of the cardinal errors that
5 eviscerate the entire judgement and that invalidate Slobodan Praljak's
7 From the outset, we wish to emphasise that nothing has been --
8 nothing has been properly established in the judgement. The judgement is
9 inchoate, confused, contradictory, and unintelligible. It is based on
10 rumours and assumptions, which in turn are based on a selective and
11 approximate selection of the evidence that has often been assessed out of
12 context and mischaracterised. In breach of Article 23.2 of the Statute
13 of the Tribunal, the Trial Chamber has omitted to provide reasoned
14 opinions on its essential findings. The judgement ignores the basic
15 standards of international criminal law and general principles of law,
16 i.e., the presumption of innocence, the standards of proof beyond all
17 reasonable doubt, and it seems to ignore that the burden of proof lies
18 with the Prosecution.
19 When the Trial Chamber establish a state of occupation, i.e., our
20 second ground of appeal, paragraphs 42 to 56 of our brief; and an
21 international conflict, i.e., first ground of appeal, paragraphs 7 to 41
22 of our brief, it committed a series of errors of law and fact that led to
23 erroneous findings regarding, inter alia, the role played by Croatia, but
24 first and foremost the role played by Slobodan Praljak, errors that
25 invalidate all Slobodan Praljak's convictions based on Article 2 of the
1 Statute of the Tribunal.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I [Microphone not activated] but please slow
3 down as much as you can, please. Thank you.
4 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] If Article 2 of the
5 Statute of the Tribunal is to be applied, namely, grave breaches of the
6 Geneva Conventions, the Trial Chamber must establish the existence of an
7 international conflict or of a state of occupation. A state of
8 occupation can only follow from an international conflict or an invasion.
9 In the present case, there was no invasion. Therefore, to establish a
10 state of occupation, an international conflict must be established. But
11 also a cessation followed by the establishment of power -- by the
12 establishment of authority by the foreign power that then replaces the
13 authorities that were in place before the occupation. No foreign power
14 has established its authority over the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
15 and the Trial Chamber did not reach that conclusion either.
16 The Trial Chamber concluded in paragraphs 579, 580, 583 to 585,
17 587, and 588 of the judgement, volume 3, that the HVO had occupied
18 certain territories in Bosnia-Herzegovina - the HVO, namely, the Croats
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is quite impossible. The HVO cannot occupy
20 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The HVO had been created by the
21 Croats who lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was a body that had been
22 recognised by the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina. See 3D647 and
24 It was also one of the components of the armed forces, 3D647,
25 P339, and P1988. How could they occupy a territory in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina? This is from legal and logical standpoint quite
2 impossible. A people that lives in a location cannot occupy such a
3 location. It cannot occupy the land of its forefathers. It cannot live
4 on a territory where it has been living for centuries. This is quite
5 impossible. The absurdity of the conclusions of the Trial Chamber is
6 reflected in the Prozor municipality, which - according to the
7 conclusions of the Trial Chamber - was occupied by the HVO.
8 Paragraph 578 of volume 3 of the judgement.
9 In Prozor, during the elections of 1990, the Croatian Democratic
10 Party won an absolute majority, 1D920, transcript page 3478. No
11 change-over of power occurred during the purported occupation, and the
12 authorities that had been legally elected continued to exercise their
13 authority. There was no foreign power. The local authorities that had
14 been legally elected continued to exercise their power, and the Trial
15 Chamber found that there had been an occupation.
16 The Trial Chamber committed a series of errors of fact when it
17 concluded that there was a state of occupation, but it established no
18 legal element required for such an occupation. By concluding that the
19 HVO had occupied certain territories in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Trial
20 Chamber committed an error of law of such a magnitude that any discussion
21 on the state of occupation is quite simply impossible.
22 Nowadays, international law affords protection to civilians and
23 to their property in internal conflicts - fortunately - and in
24 international conflicts. International Judges do not need to conjure up
25 an international conflict or a state of occupation to try international
1 crimes. Suffice it for them to apply the appropriate standard. If
2 Article 2 of the Statute of the Tribunal cannot be applied outside an
3 international armed conflict or a state of occupation, the other articles
4 that essentially cover the same type of conduct require no international
5 armed conflict, neither -- neither an international armed conflict nor a
6 state of occupation.
7 However, in this case, no matter what the nature of the conflict
8 is, no matter what article needs to be applied, no rule of law has been
9 applied correctly, and this does not warrant the conviction of
10 Slobodan Praljak, for he has not committed the crimes he is charged with.
11 As in the state of occupation -- in a state of occupation, the
12 Trial Chamber committed an error when it considered that the conflict in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina was an international conflict. The evidence on the
14 record do not lead to the conclusion that the Croatian army participated
15 directly in the fighting. I shall not repeat the arguments we have set
16 forth in our appeal. I will, however, emphasise that an international
17 witness stated that the ECMM had no tangible indications of the presence
18 of the units of the Croatian army in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Transcript
19 pages 20486 to 20487, 20501 and 20504.
20 The presence of the Croatian army units was assumed; but despite
21 all the efforts deployed to establish it, the latter was never confirmed.
22 Transcript page 20504. And I'd like to specify that this is testimony of
23 an international witness.
24 The individual members of the Croatian army went to
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Some of them joined the HVO, others joined the Army
1 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Transcript pages 40076 to 40077.
2 These people retained their administrative ties to the Croatian
3 army but had been incorporated either in the chain of command of the Army
4 of Bosnia-Herzegovina or the chain of command of the HVO. The Trial
5 Chamber established this in volume 1, paragraph 775. Some members --
6 some of them -- some members of the Croatian army were also members of
7 the HVO and of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Slobodan Praljak himself
8 was a member of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. 3D3510.
9 Not having really established the direct presence of the units of
10 the Croatian army in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Chamber held that the
11 Croatian army exercised overall control over the units of the HVO.
12 Judgement, volume 3, paragraph 35 -- 545 to 567.
13 If the Trial Chamber had properly applied the standard
14 established by the case law of this Tribunal, namely, the standard of
15 overall control, it should have then assessed all the elements of control
16 assessed in there altogether and determined whether -- on this basis,
17 whether the requisite degree of control existed. Appeal judgement,
18 Aleksovski, paragraph 145.
19 In the Tadic case, the Judges held that the requisite degree of
20 control of a state could be considered proven when a state played a role
21 in the organisation, the co-ordination, the planning of military actions
22 of a military group, in addition to funding, training, equipping, and
23 providing operational support to it. Paragraph 137 of the Tadic appeal
25 In this case, the Trial Chamber did not establish that Croatia
1 had played a role in the organisation, co-ordination, or planning. All
2 that it established is some vague assistance which, moreover, was
3 provided, both to the HVO and to the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This
4 is -- can be found in the transcript pages 9878, 40076, 40077, and a
5 multitude of documents we have cited in our appeal brief, paragraph 18,
6 19, 22, 23, and 24.
7 The Republic of Croatia provided weapons to the Army of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Republic of Croatia trained the members of the
9 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Republic of Croatia had three logistical
10 centres of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina that operated freely on the
11 territory of the Republic of Croatia. The Republic of Croatia tended to
12 the wounded of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. What state? What state
13 would have provided the weapons, the equipment, the training, and the
14 logistics to the enemy army -- or the hostile army? The answer is, quite
15 simply: No state would do such a thing.
16 In addition, the Trial Chamber totally overlooked the
17 particularly unglamorous situation in which Croatia found itself during
18 the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Republic of Croatia did not take
19 part in this conflict. It was solicited by the international community
20 as a whole and by some individual states asking it to calm down the
21 situation, organise negotiations, and provide a solution. The findings
22 of the Trial Chamber concerning the visit of Minister Gojko Susak at the
23 time, Minister of Defence of Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina, volume 3,
24 paragraph 552, perfectly illustrate the misunderstanding of the Trial
25 Chamber of the situation. At the time, ministers of defence of a number
1 of countries visited Bosnia-Herzegovina. The visit of the minister of
2 Croatia carries no more weight or is not more important and is no
3 different from the visits of other ministers of other countries that took
4 place without interruption.
5 This visit is part of the role imposed by the international
6 community on Croatia and does not demonstrate in any way that Croatia
7 took part in the conflict; quite the contrary, it was to provide a
8 solution and put an end to it. No doubt, there was no international
9 conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993 and the conflict between the
10 Croats and the Muslims was an internal conflict, between two people that
11 were living in the same state for centuries.
12 I would, however, like to return to the standard of overall
13 control which the Tribunal has applied ever since it worked on
14 establishing an international conflict. The Tribunal admitted that the
15 overall control standard is less stringent than the standard affirmed by
16 the ICJ and explained that this approach allowed for a better protection
17 of civilian victims. Appeal judgement Aleksovski, paragraph 146.
18 If the purpose of international human law standards is to protect
19 civilians, the purpose of Judges must be no other than to apply the
20 standards. It is not incumbent upon the Judges, and particularly not in
21 a criminal case, to interpret the standards in a broad or loose way with
22 the sole aim of convicting the accused. The Judges must apply the law.
23 And the rules of criminal law, those that may lead to the conviction of
24 an individual even in an international context, must be strictly
25 interpreted. Despite the fact that I have already mentioned, namely,
1 that Article 2 of the Statute of the Tribunal is not the sole article
2 applicable to the alleged facts in the indictment and that the Statute
3 provides for other articles that may make it possible to enter a
4 conviction for alleged facts if they are proven. The approach adopted by
5 the Appeals Chamber in the Tadic case is today challenged by the ICJ. It
6 attaches the greatest importance to factual findings and legal
7 qualifications set forth by the ICTY to rule on the criminal
8 responsibility of the accused. The ICJ held that the ICTY is not
9 required to rule on the issue of international responsibility of states.
10 Appeal judgement of the ICJ dated 26th of February, 2007, paragraph 403.
11 To adjudicate indicate on the application of Article 2 of the
12 Statute of the Tribunal, the Judges of the ICTY have no choice and must
13 adjudicate indicate the nature of the conflict. When they adjudicate the
14 nature of the conflicts, it would be fair and legally correct and wise to
15 refer to international law that has been well established and that is not
16 familiar with overall control but effective control. Indeed, when the
17 Tribunal establishes an international conflict according to its own
18 standards - which is a problem in itself - it engages the responsibility
19 of the state which according to it would have participated in this
20 conflict. For, from an objective standpoint, if the state had
21 participated in the international conflict, then it - normally speaking -
22 could be held responsible. However, if the Tribunal does not apply the
23 rules of international law, its findings are worthless as regards
24 responsibility of a state. They will be deemed not applicable to that
25 state, and this situation may give the impression that the Tribunal is
1 not applying the law. It is difficult to understand how an international
2 jurisdiction applies one rule, whereas another one relating to the same
3 legal issue - i.e., international conflict - would apply another rule.
4 If the Tribunal applies a rule of law which is disavowed by the ICJ, this
5 situation could have a snowball effect in an avalanche, in which the
6 Tribunal in the end will lose all credibility.
7 I will now address your question number 2 and will discuss the
8 crimes committed in the municipality of Mostar.
9 Regarding the question regarding the errors committed by the
10 Chamber relating to the destruction of the Old Bridge, the Defence would
11 like to emphasise that errors committed by the Trial Chamber when it
12 analysed the destruction of the Old Bridge are not isolated but are part
13 of a series of errors which led to erroneous findings. By concluding
14 that a crime against humanity, persecution, and a crime of -- and a war
15 crime, spreading terror in Mostar, the Trial Chamber considered the
16 snipers, the bombings, the destruction of the Old Bridge, the destruction
17 of mosques, the isolation of the population, and forced transfer. But
18 none of these facts have been properly established with regards to
19 Slobodan Praljak. The errors relating to the destruction of the Old
20 Bridge are a perfect illustration of the errors committed by the Trial
21 Chamber that established no relevant facts as regards persecution or
22 spreading terror in accordance with a well-established criminal procedure
23 and international criminal law. None of these facts can be attributed to
24 Slobodan Praljak beyond all reasonable doubt.
25 The errors in connection to the destruction of the Old Bridge are
1 ground of appeal number 23, paragraph 280 to 296, have without doubt an
2 impact on crime of persecution and spreading terror, for they show that
3 these have been tried on the basis of erroneous facts and must therefore
4 be reversed. The Trial Chamber committed an error of law when it held
5 that the destruction of the Old Bridge was disproportionate. I will not
6 cover this or this ground again. Paragraph 290 of 296. But it also
7 committed an error of fact when it held that the HVO had destroyed the
8 Old Bridge.
9 I would like to now just give you one example. Once again, the
10 Trial Chamber disregarded evidence which did not suit it. It decided
11 that the -- the testimony of witness Vinko Maric was not credible simply
12 because it contradicted the theory of the Chamber. It's written -- this
13 is in the judgement, paragraph 1322.
14 The Trial Chamber has broad discretionary powers when assessing
15 the evidence, but it does not hold arbitrary powers and cannot substitute
16 a theory which is not founded on the evidence to a witness's testimony.
17 The same errors can be found in the findings of the Chamber as
18 regards all the other crimes. The snipers, for instance, the Trial
19 Chamber admitted that a number of -- volume 2, paragraph 1032, that a
20 number of these crimes could not be attributed to the HVO. It also
21 recognised on a number of occasions and for each incident identified that
22 it was unable to establish the exact location of the origin of fire.
23 This is also in the judgement, volume 2, paragraph 1077, 1087, 1107,
24 1130, 1134, 1147, 1150, 1151.
25 In such a situation, how could the Trial Chamber - not knowing
1 where -- what the origin of fire was - how could it in such a situation
2 reach such a conclusion, namely, that the snipers belonged to or were
3 under the control of the HVO? No reasonable trier of fact could have
4 reached such a conclusion. The same applies to the bombings, the origin
5 of which is confirmed by no document. P4573. This same situation
6 applies to the mosques. The Trial Chamber established that eight mosques
7 had been damaged or destroyed in 1992, well before any conflict erupted
8 between the HVO and the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Trial Chamber
9 also established that only two mosques were intact and still standing in
10 January 1993, but nobody knows what happened after January 1993.
11 Judgement, volume 2, paragraph 1369, 1370, and 1371.
12 How in such a situation could the HVO be responsible for the
13 destruction of ten mosques between June and December 1993 since at least
14 eight, if not all ten mosques, had already been destroyed? If one
15 follows the reasoning of the Trial Chamber, the HVO would have nothing
16 else to do but to destroy the already destroyed mosques, of course. From
17 a theoretical standpoint, one can complete the destruction of damaged
18 mosques. But in that case, in that case, the Trial Chamber would have
19 had to establish what kind of damage had been caused before that date and
20 what damages had been inflicted by the HVO. It did not do this. It
21 simply attributed - absent any evidence and in a totally arbitrary
22 fashion - the destruction of the mosques to the HVO.
23 The errors in connection with the Old Bridge are part of this
24 same series of errors by which the Trial Chamber attributed, without any
25 form of proof and in an arbitrary fashion, all these criminal acts to the
1 HVO. The Defence recalls that a reasonable trier of fact should be
2 reasonably convinced that the Prosecution has established all the
3 essential facts of a crime beyond all reasonable doubt. If at the end of
4 the trial the crime has not been established, the principle of in dubio
5 pro reo must be applied. Appeal judgement Martic, paragraph 55.
6 In this case, in this particular case, the Judges of the Trial
7 Chamber did not apply this principle. Likewise, when the Judges
8 established the presumptions based on indications, it is not enough to
9 state that the evidence may lead to a reasonable entering -- to a
10 reasonable finding of guilt. This finding cannot be the only finding
11 possible. If another conclusion can -- or finding can be reasonably
12 drawn from the evidence and when it does not exclude the innocence of the
13 accused, he must be acquitted. Appeal judgement Celebici, paragraph 458.
14 Once again in this case, the Judges of the Trial Chamber have disregarded
15 this principle.
16 Briefly, regarding your question number 8, the crime of spreading
17 terror, the Defence submits that crime of spreading terror requires a
18 specific intent directed at spreading terror, will establish a case law
19 in the Galic case, appeal judgement, paragraph 104. This intention has
20 not been established in this case. The Trial Chamber correctly stated
21 that the crime of spreading terror requires that the main purpose of the
22 act be the spreading of terror. Volume 1, paragraph 185 and 187 -- 195
23 and 197. However, it is not sufficient to enunciate the principle; it
24 needs to be applied to the facts. But the Trial Chamber established that
25 the activities of the HVO were directed at sectors where the military
1 objectives were located. Judgement, volume 2, paragraphs 1003, 1009,
2 1013, and 1014.
3 This finding alone, since the activities are directed at military
4 objectives, are sufficient basis to exclude terror.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. You haven't -- unless you tell me that
6 you haven't finished, you haven't answered the second part of question 8,
7 which is the --
8 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] What is question 8?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: What the impact would be if the Appeals Chamber
10 found that the Trial Chamber failed to provide a reasoned opinion in this
12 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, our
13 conclusion are the same regarding the second part. As far as we're
14 concerned, the judgement in its entirety must be invalidated. And
15 regarding the crime of spreading terror, it has not been established.
16 But in addition, the Trial Chamber did not provide a reasoned opinion;
17 and for us, that amounts to the same. This invalidates this conviction,
18 this particular conviction, and has an impact, of course, on the other
19 crimes in which spreading terror does play a part.
20 May I resume, Mr. President?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Up to you.
22 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Very briefly, I would like
23 to provide a response to question number 10. I believe that it is
24 slightly similar to the question you asked. At this stage of the
25 procedure what I would like to say is that -- and I would like to address
1 this immediately afterwards. We consider that there is no joint criminal
2 enterprise and no common purpose, so any question relating to JCE 3 is
3 moot, notwithstanding this irrelevant of any standard which was applied
4 or which should have been applied to the Trial Chamber relating to this
5 issue. Of course, we are prepared to return to this issue, if necessary.
6 We consider that the error committed by the Trial Chamber in this
7 case relates -- is to be found in its findings on the common criminal
8 purpose. The Trial Chamber held that the common -- the JCE was
9 established mid-January 1993 to achieve its political objectives, volume
10 4, paragraph 44. Firstly, political objectives do not amount to a common
11 criminal purpose. I take this opportunity to inform you that
12 Slobodan Praljak's Defence agrees entirely with the arguments of the
13 Defence of Jadranko Prlic and Bruno Stojic on all questions relating to
14 the existence of a joint criminal enterprise and a common criminal plan.
15 Having thus determined the political objective, the Trial Chamber
16 held that according to the interpretation of the leaders of the HVO, this
17 political plan included ethnic cleansing, paragraph 44, volume 4. Nobody
18 knows who these leaders of the HVO were, who would have attributed a
19 criminal dimension to a political plan. We don't really know which
20 crimes were included in this plan. In this plan the term "ethnic
21 cleansing" is not a legal term and is much too vague to specify the
22 alleged crimes.
23 The Trial Chamber has, therefore, never clearly established the
24 crimes which were envisaged in the initial plan and cast doubt on those
25 persons who may have had knowledge of this criminal plan. The common
1 criminal purpose was purportedly expanded in June, volume 4,
2 paragraph 57.
3 The Trial Chamber did not establish with -- all the members of
4 the JCE and Slobodan Praljak, inter alia, agreed to the common criminal
5 purpose. It did not even establish whether they were informed of such an
6 expansion. What crimes were included in this expanded enterprise? This
7 time the Trial Chamber cited a multitude of crimes, paragraph 66, but in
8 the following paragraphs, paragraph 67 of volume 4, the Trial Chamber
9 held that the members of the JCE knew that most of the crimes -- most of
10 these crimes were committed and intended to have these crimes committed.
11 Most of these crimes. Which crimes are included in the term
12 "most"? A judgement rendered by a criminal court must be specific which
13 is not the case; it is not specific, unintelligible, confused,
14 contradictory. For a member of a JCE to be held responsible for crime
15 committed by another, this crime must be part of a common criminal
16 purpose. Appeal judgement Brdjanin, paragraph 418. And to determine
17 whether a crime is a part or is not part of a common criminal purpose,
18 such a crime must be clearly established, which is not the case in this
19 particular case.
20 Beyond the fact that the initial common purpose or its supporting
21 from a legal point of view were not properly established, the Trial
22 Chamber made a factual mistake by ignoring the relevant facts. I'm
23 talking here about the broadening or extension of the JCE. Even if the
24 Trial Chamber established that in June 1993 the ABiH was attacking HVO
25 positions, judgement, volume 2, paragraph 880; and volume 4,
1 paragraph 57, it decided without any valid reason not to take this into
2 account. If the Trial Chamber had taken into account the attack launched
3 by the ABiH over HVO in June 1993, it should have held that the
4 subsequent events were the consequence of this attack. In this case, the
5 Trial Chamber would not have needed the imaginary common plan that
6 created only on the basis of the Prosecution's allegations, but the
7 Prosecution's allegations are no evidence and do not demonstrate facts.
8 For the sake of clarity, I would like to add that the attacks of
9 the ABiH do not warrant any crime committed in response to these attacks,
10 but they shed another light on the situation and explain differently the
11 events. These attacks cannot be ignored; they must be taken into account
12 if one is to properly assess the facts.
13 The Trial Chamber made findings but it instantly forgot them.
14 The Trial Chamber's conclusions are particularly unclear but also
15 contradictory with regard to Slobodan Praljak. Indeed, according to the
16 Trial Chamber's findings, the common criminal purpose would have been
17 enlarged in June 1993 with the siege of East Mostar and was mainly
18 implemented in Mostar. Judgement, volume 4, paragraphs 57 and 59.
19 And the same Trial Chamber held that there is no evidence about
20 the role that Slobodan Praljak played in these events in Mostar before 24
21 July 1993, judgement, volume 4, paragraph 577. Hence, when and where
22 Slobodan Praljak could have received the information about the
23 enlargement of the common criminal purpose is still a mystery. So is the
24 fact that Slobodan Praljak had or not adhered and joined this extended
25 purpose or whether he contributed to it in any other way. And since this
1 information is unknown, Slobodan Praljak can only be acquitted for the
2 crimes that he would have committed through his participation to the JCE.
3 We do not know either how the Trial Chamber reached the
4 conclusion that leaders of the Republic of Croatia were part of the JCE.
5 Once again, the findings of the Trial Chamber are contradictory. Indeed,
6 the Trial Chamber held that President Tudjman supported the
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina division by incorporating part of it in Croatia or,
8 alternatively, with the establishment of an autonomous Croat entity
9 within the BiH. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 10.
10 The establishment of an autonomous Croat entity within BiH does
11 not imply splitting it and directly contradicts the conclusion of the
12 Trial Chamber that President Tudjman supported the Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 division. Besides, dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina was not some invention of
14 President Tudjman because he always opposed to this division. I'm
15 referring here to P6454, page 2. Dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina was one
16 option proposed by the international community. So once again, the
17 international community raised this issue. P108, page 48.
18 The Defence indicated in its appeal brief, Ground 5, paragraphs
19 70 to 88 -- so the Defence indicated that all the documents showing
20 without any ambiguity that President Tudjman continuously advocated for
21 internationally recognised borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina and against any
22 separatist intention. President Tudjman's motives are not important.
23 His personal opinions or beliefs are not important. What matters in
24 criminal proceedings are actions an intentions, and both fully -- and
25 both show that full support to independent sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 within the internationally recognised borders.
2 When Bosnia-Herzegovina was recognised, President Tudjman made
3 everything he could to co-operate with Muslims. P134. Even if some
4 international bodies kept on considering for their own interest dividing
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1D896, page 3, President Tudjman or Croatia never
6 supported this option. Unfortunately, the majority of the Trial Chamber
7 showed complete misunderstanding of the historical background in the
8 Balkans, hence the wrong inferences regarding President Tudjman's
9 statements about a Croatian Banovina. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 22.
10 In order to fairly grasp what Tudjman meant, one has to know a
11 little bit of history. Banovina was only an administrative region
12 created in 1939 with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in order to find a
13 solution to the Croat question which was already raised at the time, and
14 the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was made up of several Banovinas and the
15 Croatian Banovina was only one of them. And when President Tudjman
16 referred to Banovina, he does not refer to an independent state and
17 sovereign state but to a whole territory; and actually, it does not even
18 include all the territories, all the current territories, of Yugoslavia.
19 There is it no Istria, no Baranja, nor Dalmatian Coast. So why, why
20 would President Tudjman have wanted to recreate this Croatian Banovina?
21 This is completely preposterous.
22 The Trial Chamber also ignored the fact that until April 1992,
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina was no independent and sovereign state in the sense of
24 international law. Bosnia-Herzegovina was part of Yugoslavia, which was
25 disintegrating. The discussions and talks that happened before
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed its independence have to be assessed within
2 this context. In 1991 until April 1992, nobody knew whether it would
3 become independent or not.
4 The Trial Chamber assumed - wrongly and without any tangible
5 evidence - that President Tudjman planned to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina;
6 and afterwards, it assessed all the evidence in light of this erroneous
7 presumption, which led it to ignore President Tudjman's statements or
8 misconstrue their meaning. This approach of the Trial Chamber culminated
9 with the erroneous and completely unreasonable conclusion that civil
10 servants of the Republic of Croatia would have been involved in a JCE.
11 Same for the Trial Chamber's conclusions that President Tudjman would
12 have been the real leader of the Croat of Bosnia-Herzegovina delegation
13 in January 1993. The evidence in this case merely show that Tudjman was
14 in London. Transcript page 16673. And there's a gap, being present and
15 participating. There is a gap between taking part in negotiations and
16 leading a delegation. And those gaps, the Trial Chamber did not even try
17 to fill those gaps. But beyond all this evidence, transformation, the
18 very conclusions of the Trial Chamber are confused and contradictory.
19 Indeed the Trial Chamber could never include the leaders of the Republic
20 of Croatia within the common criminal purpose; they didn't even try to do
21 it. It only claimed that the leaders of the Republic of Croatia, among
22 others President Tudjman, supported the creation of an independent or
23 autonomous Croat entity in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
24 leaders of the Republic of Croatia do not appear in the common criminal
25 purpose; and in all paragraphs referring to this plan, the Trial Chamber
1 only mentions HVO leaders - wrongly once again - but it only mentions
2 them or Croat community leaders in Herceg-Bosna.
3 In reviewing the common criminal plan, the Trial Chamber never
4 mentioned Minister Susak or General Bobetko, who would have been members
5 of the JCE. President Tudjman is only mentioned twice but in a context
6 that puts him not within the JCE, but as the contact person of the
7 international community - judgement, volume 4, paragraph 49 - or
8 attending a meeting with President Izetbegovic, paragraph 52. This is
9 not enough to infer that leaders of Republic of Croatia were part of a
10 JCE. Besides the Trial Chamber excluded itself the leaders of the
11 Republic of Croatia from the common criminal purpose when it held that
12 the crimes were the result of a plan established by the leaders of the
13 HZ HB. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 65.
14 Croatian leaders simply disappeared. It also excluded them
15 from ... from -- sorry. Strike this.
16 It also excluded them of any criminal purpose when it held that
17 leaders of HVO gave some criminal interpretation to the political plan
18 envisaged by the leaders of the Croats in Bosnia and some leaders of the
19 Republic of Croatia. These conclusions of the Trial Chamber confirm that
20 the leaders of the Republic of Croatia could have pursued some political
21 objectives, but these conclusions do not show any criminal intent or
22 criminal objective and cannot place them within a JCE.
23 Your Honours, with all due respect, you have -- this Tribunal has
24 jurisdiction to ... you have jurisdiction to judge -- [No interpretation]
25 THE INTERPRETER: Apologies for this.
1 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] This Tribunal was given a
2 mandate but it has no jurisdiction over political party, over the people,
3 and even less over a sovereign state. The Trial Chamber is bound to
4 establish some evidence in order to convict an accused on the basis of a
5 JCE. One could accept that these strict criteria cannot be held against
6 alleged members of the JCE who are not accused. Nevertheless, it would
7 be problematic to involve through JCE people who cannot defend
8 themselves, and this all the more problematic when those people held
9 high-level political or military functions within an independent state.
10 Their implication in a criminal enterprise could have extremely serious
11 consequences because it could make a state liable. As a consequence, the
12 Trial Chamber cannot be satisfied with a general statement without any
13 tangible proof which actually contradicts other findings that it made.
14 Similarly, the same mistakes -- or the Chamber erred with regard
15 to Slobodan Praljak. The Trial Chamber held that Slobodan Praljak
16 assisted and attended meetings with some leaders of the Republic of
17 Croatia. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 522. But according to the Trial
18 Chamber, Croatian leaders did not participate or were not involved in the
19 establishment of the common criminal purpose. Judgement, volume 4,
20 paragraph 44. So these meetings cannot lead to the conclusion that
21 Slobodan Praljak was involved in any way to the joint criminal
23 The Trial Chamber also tried to establish that Slobodan Praljak
24 was implementing in Bosnia-Herzegovina a policy established by the
25 Republic of Croatia. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 527. But the Trial
1 Chamber could find no criminal element in the policy of Croatia. As a
2 consequence, implementing such a policy - which in any way was not
3 evidenced - does not demonstrate in any way that Slobodan Praljak
4 participated in the common criminal purpose. Paragraph 525 of the fourth
5 volume of the judgement is also completely incomprehensible. How could
6 Slobodan Praljak have implemented in 1992 - 1992, Your Honours - the
7 common plan that was only established in 1993? Actually, over the
8 relevant period for Slobodan Praljak, between January and November 1993,
9 the Trial Chamber could only establish that he attended two meetings.
10 Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 523.
11 These meetings can in no way be linked to the common plan and
12 cannot be used as evidence showing that Slobodan Praljak was
13 participating in a JCE. The first of these meetings was held on 15
14 September 1992, and its objective was to convince the representatives of
15 the Herceg-Bosna Croat community to endorse the agreement with the
16 Muslims in order to find a peaceful solution. At this meeting, Praljak
17 only explained the situation in the field and his intervention had the
18 same purpose as the whole meeting: Finding a solution that would end
19 fighting between Muslims and Serbs. P5080, pages 11 to 23.
20 The objective of the second meeting was the same: Implementing
21 agreement with the Muslims. P6454, page 3. And once again, in his
22 intervention, Slobodan Praljak only described the situation in the field.
23 Actually, and to put it simple, the whole case - as lengthy as it may
24 be - has no evidence that Slobodan Praljak knew, one way or the other,
25 that there was a common plan in January 1993 or he knew later that such a
1 plan existed. According to the Trial Chamber, Slobodan Praljak shared
2 the intent, along with other members of the JCE, the intent to
3 permanently remove the Muslim population from the Croat Community of
4 Herceg-Bosna. The Defence contends this conclusion because there is no
5 evidence to support this. Nevertheless, from this intent, which is the
6 only inference that the Trial Chamber -- of fact that the Trial Chamber
7 established, Slobodan Praljak cannot be convicted on the basis of JCE for
8 crimes against humanity because he can only be held reliable for crimes
9 related to the displacement of the population. He should be -- his
10 conviction could be -- should be annulled for all the other grounds. For
11 such conviction to be possible, the Trial Chamber should have established
12 that the crimes were within the framework of a common plan and that
13 Slobodan Praljak shared, along with other members of the JCE, the intent
14 of committing each of those crimes, but it did not do so.
15 The Trial Chamber did not properly establish how Slobodan Praljak
16 contributed to the common plan. It held that Slobodan Praljak
17 facilitated and led the military operations in Gornji Vakuf in
18 January 1993. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 558. But the participation
19 of the accused in military operations which are inherent to any armed
20 conflict is not enough to hold an accused -- or to hold that an accused
21 was contributing to a common plan. And besides, Slobodan Praljak's
22 activities in Gornji Vakuf were aimed at easing the tension. The famous
23 15 January 1993 ultimatum was drafted in the night between 13 to 14
24 January 1993 in Zagreb, in the presence of Lord Owen, Cyrus Vance, and
25 Alija Izetbegovic. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 475. Praljak went to
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the joint request of President Tudjman and
2 Alija Izetbegovic, the president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, P1739, 3D561.
3 And the Trial Chamber acknowledged that Praljak was the envoy of
4 President Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic. Volume 4, paragraph 534.
5 The presence of two parties as well as representatives of the
6 international community shows that the document was drafted without any
7 criminal intent; on the contrary, in the hope that the conflict could be
9 The Trial Chamber ignored the basic legal principles because it
10 concluded that there was no specific information about the instructions
11 that Praljak could have done to -- could have given to HVO. Judgement
12 volume 4, paragraph 559. It held that Slobodan Praljak was involved in a
13 common plan. And the situation was the same for Prozor, because the
14 Trial Chamber could not find for Slobodan Praljak the requisite intent
15 necessary for JCE 1. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 573. And once
16 again, the Trial Chamber changed the positive actions of Slobodan Praljak
17 aimed at preventing any criminal act into contributing to JCE.
18 On 17 August 1993, Slobodan Praljak ordered that all prisoners be
19 taken off labour. In other words, he forbade prisoners' labour, P4260.
20 This order does not indicate that Slobodan Praljak knew that unlawful
21 work was going on for prisoners since that, according to the Third
22 Geneva Convention, prisoners' labour is not unlawful, as such. But
23 against all odds, the Trial Chamber inferred from this document that
24 Slobodan Praljak knew that prisoners were used for labour on the front
25 line, which is indeed forbidden and prohibited. Judgement, volume 4,
1 paragraph 574.
2 As for Mostar, Your Honour, I already said that the Trial Chamber
3 held that he played no role, no role at all, in Mostar until 24
4 January -- July - sorry - 1993. The JCE is not an open-ended concept
5 that allows for conviction by simple association. The accused that takes
6 part in a JCE of course does not have to take part in the actus reus, but
7 he must play a role; he must be involved in the implementation of the
8 common plan. And the Trial Chamber held that Slobodan Praljak played no
9 role, no role.
10 With regard to the role that Slobodan Praljak played in Mostar
11 after 24 July 1993, the Trial Chamber continued to change the evidence
12 and to misinterpret them. It held that Slobodan Praljak ordered to get
13 rid of Muslim terrorists in Mostar. Judgement, volume 4, paragraph 579.
14 Although getting rid of terrorists shouldn't take anyone by surprise,
15 it's quite surprising that the Trial Chamber gave it some importance.
16 And actually Slobodan Praljak's order was quite precise and specific; he
17 ordered to eliminate terrorist groups of the Muslim armed forces. And
18 this order was totally lawful and legitimate.
19 With regard to the role that Slobodan Praljak played in Vares -
20 and my learned friend will give you more details about this - the
21 conclusions of the Trial Chamber are contradictory, confused, and not
22 really clear. Judgement, volume 4, paragraphs 61 and 524. Once again,
23 the Trial Chamber did not assess the evidence the way it should have done
24 it by hastily concluding that Slobodan Praljak was contradicting himself
25 and ignoring testimonies of Slobodan Praljak and Milivoje Petkovic that
1 confirmed the same information. Judgement, volume 3, paragraph 324.
2 The Trial Chamber made a series of errors with regard to the role
3 that Slobodan Praljak played in the detention centres. The only thing
4 that the Trial Chamber could establish was that Slobodan Praljak was
5 willing to improve detention conditions, as well as his willingness to
6 implement and enforce Geneva Conventions. Judgement, volume 4,
7 paragraphs 602, 603, 607, 608, 611, and 612.
8 In this situation where Slobodan Praljak was doing his utmost to
9 implement the Geneva Conventions, the Trial Chamber could not establish
10 the necessary mens rea in order to convict him for JCE 1, but it
11 convicted Slobodan Praljak for crimes that would have been committed in
12 the Dretelj and Gabela centres on the basis of JCE 1. And my colleague
13 will give you further information if need be.
14 There is no doubt that Slobodan Praljak was participating in the
15 military activities of HVO between 24 July and 9 November 1993, because
16 this was his duty over this period; but this is not enough to establish
17 his contribution to the JCE. And the Trial Chamber should have
18 established that Slobodan Praljak was acting and had the intent of
19 pursuing the common plan - Tadic appeal judgement, paragraph 229 - and it
20 did not do so. The method that the Trial Chamber applied led it to make
21 an absurd finding, since the Trial Chamber ended up considering the
22 positive actions that Slobodan Praljak undertook in order to ease the
23 situation, to prevent crimes, to bring peace, and to alleviate civilians
24 as a contribution to the common plan.
25 Your Honours, war is no child's play. War is cruel and crimes
1 are part of it. There is no such thing as a clean war. And as long as
2 international law does not prohibit wars as such, crimes will be
3 committed over their course. This doesn't mean that one should accept
4 them and even less that the perpetrators shouldn't be convicted, but
5 those who intended to commit them should be convicted. No one should be
6 expected to do the impossible and throughout the whole war,
7 Slobodan Praljak worked to end the convict. Throughout the war he fought
8 against crimes, and some decisions he made required bravery in this
9 context and at the time. He did what he could do and never had any
10 criminal intent, not even a criminal thought. And by the way, the
11 Trial Chamber could never establish that. So the Trial Chamber did not
12 properly assess the evidence. It did not properly establish facts. It
13 did not properly enforce law and did not give us any reasons for this
14 decision. All we are asking for today is that the evidence is properly
15 assessed in this case and that the applicable law be properly enforced
16 for the properly established facts.
17 I thank you for your attention. I now give the floor back to the
18 lead counsel.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
20 Ms. Pinter, you have more or less three-quarters of an hour. We
21 will stop at half past 11.00. Thank you.
22 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'm going
23 to try to finish within my time.
24 Mr. President, Your Honours, I'm going to begin by replying to
25 your questions. After that, I'm going to draw the attention of the
1 Appeals Chamber to procedural and factual errors of the Trial Chamber
2 that we referred to in our appeal which we consider to be exceptionally
3 important due to the consequences they have had, which are that
4 General Praljak did not have a fair trial.
5 Dr. Prlic's Defence and Mr. Stojic's Defence responded to
6 questions that you put to Defence counsel, and I join with their
7 arguments and the answers to the questions that they gave. I'm going to
8 discuss questions 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
9 We have addressed all the legal and factual errors of the
10 Trial Chamber regarding the elements of the crimes for which
11 General Praljak, in relation to Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje was convicted,
12 and we have covered those in our grounds of appeal 11, 12, 13, 14, and
13 15. We have stated our position in Ground 38 about the sustainability of
14 conclusions regarding JCE 3.
15 Question 3 that you have put has already been given an answer by
16 the Defence of Mr. Stojic in their oral submissions. Here, I would just
17 like to stay that the conclusion of the Trial Chamber was not explained
18 in an understandable way as to the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt
19 that enabled the establishment of the intent to hurt or murder civilians.
20 The Trial Chamber did not have these -- this evidence because the
21 Prosecution did not present them, evidence which could justify such a
22 conclusion. The Trial Chamber did not establish the preconceived plan
23 and what its contents were, when, where, and with whom Slobodan Praljak
24 planned the military operations; did he, when, and from whom did
25 Slobodan Praljak receive any information regarding the particulars and
1 the results of the conflict between the ABiH army and the HVO. In other
2 words, did he know that civilians were killed in the combat operations in
3 the village of Dusa?
4 The Trial Chamber did not establish that the HVO fired the shell
5 at the house on Enver Sljivo, and therefore it was not able to establish
6 that the HVO had the requisite intent to inflict grave injuries and that
7 he could have anticipated that civilians would be killed, the civilians
8 who happened to be in the house of the commander of the ABiH unit. The
9 Trial Chamber did not establish - it did not have evidence to that
10 effect - that members of the HVO knew that there were civilians in the
11 house of the ABiH army commander, a house which was located immediately
12 next to a dug-in bunker, as shown in Exhibit 3D00527, P01213, and
13 paragraph 359 of volume 2 of the judgement. There were 25 members,
14 soldiers, of the BiH army in the bunker. There is no evidence, nor could
15 it have reasonably been concluded, that the soldiers or members of the
16 HVO in such a situation could have foreseen that there was civilians in
17 an army commander's house.
18 I also have to mention - and this is important in your assessment
19 of the events in the village of Dusa - that the bunker which was next to
20 the house in the village of Dusa, the house that belonged to the BiH army
21 commander, fires were shot at members of the HVO; and this can be seen in
22 exhibit 3D00527. It's a document dated the 16th of January, 1993, where
23 it states that there were 25 soldiers of the BiH army. It also talks
24 that the bunker was next to a large house, there was a dugout next to the
25 house, and that there were fired shots from there too "at our boys."
1 This is a quotation from a document.
2 We have written in our grounds of appeal 12.2 about the intention
3 to cause the death of civilians in the house of Enver Sljivo.
4 I would just also like to say the following regarding question 3.
5 The presence of the Croatian army in January 1993 was established through
6 the fact that the soldiers who entered the village spoke Croatian.
7 Exhibit P09202, Rule 92 statement by Enver Sljivo, who -- as my previous
8 speakers have said, he was not subjected to a cross-examination. His
9 statement was admitted as a written one, so he said that that was the
10 Croatian army and he established this because they spoke Croatian, based
11 on that fact. People in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in
12 Herzegovina, Croatian people, speak the same sort of Croatian spoken by
13 Croats from Croatia. So the fact that a person or persons who entered a
14 village spoke Croatian cannot be used as evidence of the presence of the
15 Croatian army in the village of Dusa on the 18th of January, 1993. The
16 specific error that the Trial Chamber committed regarding the charges for
17 the village of Dusa is an error in law. My colleague Mr. Khan addressed
18 this in his submissions, so I absolutely agree with his arguments.
19 And now question number 4. Your question states:
20 "If the Trial Chamber finding on the intent of HVO forces with
21 regard to the deaths of civilians who had taken refuge in Enver Sljivo's
22 house in the village of Dusa is overturned and if this finding that this
23 incident constituted the crimes of murder and wilful killing are
24 consequently reversed, the impact on the following."
25 So what would it have -- what effect would it have on the common
1 criminal purpose in terms of JCE 3? The position of the Defence is the
2 following. In that case, the events in Gornji Vakuf cannot be considered
3 as crimes under JCE and a common criminal plan. They should be viewed as
4 an incident between the HVO and the BiH army at the municipal level due
5 to disagreements between Croats and Muslims, which disagreements led to a
6 conflict, which then did not spread to the entire area of the HZ HB,
7 which should have happened if there had been a plan to cleanse the space
8 and free it up for Croats by removing the Muslims. In order to have such
9 a common criminal purpose, the conflict would have continued in other
10 areas. However, following the 18th or the 22nd of January, when the
11 conflicts in Gornji Vakuf ceased, there were no longer any more conflicts
12 until later when the Army BiH began an offensive.
13 In paragraph 45 of volume 4 of the judgement, the Trial Chamber
14 concludes the following in relation to Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje.
15 As the HZ HB leaders were participating in peace talks, the HVO
16 conducted military campaigns in the provinces it considered Croatian in
17 order to consolidate its presence here. I'm now quoting from the
18 judgement. Consolidating presence cannot in any way be part of the
19 implementation of any plan, particularly not if such an assertion is
20 taken out of context. The Trial Chamber's conclusion does not follow
21 from its reasoning and does not reply to the question why events in
22 Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje are considered to be part of a common criminal
23 plan. They do not answer the questions of when and how that plan was
24 conceived. The position of the Defence in the proceedings and in the
25 appeal is always the same: There was no JCE, there was no criminal plan.
1 The real open and general war between the HVO and the BH army began in
2 June 1993 when the BiH army offensive began in Central Bosnia, and then
3 in September, along the valley of the Neretva River spreading to
4 Herzegovina. In the course of the conflict between two armies of one
5 state, crimes did occur. We never contested that. But they were not
6 part of a criminal plan. Regrettably they were a consequence of the
7 extraordinary and chaotic situation caused by war. As my learned friend
8 said, crimes are part of war, unfortunately.
9 The (b) part of the question, the mens rea of Praljak for murder
10 under the first category of joint criminal enterprise. To that, the
11 response -- the Defence provided its response in Ground 12, errors that
12 relate to the military action in the village of Dusa. I emphasise here
13 that the presence of members of the BiH army in the village of Dusa -
14 with whom the HVO was in conflict from the 11th of January, not from the
15 18th of January - provides legitimacy to the military actions of the HVO.
16 It was not unlawful and it was, in particular, not directed against the
17 civilian population. If it were really a small number of BiH army
18 soldiers or defenders of the village, as they are referred to in the
19 judgement, then the conflict would not have lasted two days. It would
20 have been completed in a much shorter period of time.
21 The Trial Chamber did not have evidence through which it could
22 establish that Praljak knew that there was civilians in the house of the
23 BiH army commander. Therefore, he could not have the intent for killing.
24 Also, there isn't a single exhibit that the Trial Chamber mentioned in
25 its judgement based on which it would be able to conclude that Praljak
1 could have known there was civilians in Enver Sljivo's house instead of
2 members of the ABiH army. This is paragraph 342, volume 2 of the
4 Thus, in a local conflict which Praljak tried to calm down - and
5 we heard that from my colleague Ms. Fauveau - civilians were killed from
6 a shell which we don't know who fired; the Trial Chamber did not
7 establish that. Therefore, all available evidence does not provide the
8 opportunity to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Praljak intended
9 for civilians to be killed, that he knew that there were civilians in the
10 village, that he ordered that civilians be killed, that he in any way
11 willingly, deliberately, or by omission caused the death of civilians who
12 were in the house of the BiH army commander, next to which there was an
13 entrenched unit of the BiH army which was firing at members of the HVO.
14 Now we're talking about (c), which is part of question 4, and
15 your question is the mens rea of Praljak for murder under the third
16 category of joint criminal enterprise invites Praljak further to discuss
17 along with other relevant evidence not on the trial record, if any, the
18 significance of Zeljko Siljeg's report of 28 -- 29th January, 1993. This
19 is Exhibit P01351. In relation to -- this is the position of the Defence
20 in relation to JCE 3. We believe that if there is no JCE there can be no
21 JCE 3 either. In responding to this question, we know that the analysis
22 of available evidence does not permit a decision on Praljak's criminal
23 intent: The intent to begin a conflict with the BiH army and, in
24 particular, to commit crimes. Praljak could not have known, nor should
25 he have known, nor could he have foreseen that murders would be
1 committed. Exhibit P1351 is a report on the situation in Vakuf on the
2 28th of January, 1993; it was drafted after the conflicts stopped.
3 A joint commission of the BiH army and the HVO established the
4 effects of the conflict and the damage caused during the combat. That is
5 what it says in the document. Two houses were damaged from shelling,
6 were destroyed in the village of Uzricje; two houses were destroyed in
7 the village of Dusa; and one house suffered minor damage in the village
8 of Luzane. If there were a joint criminal plan, as stated in the
9 judgement, one could then ask: Why would the HVO have a joint commission
10 with the BiH army? Why would they establish the effects of the clash
11 together, the damage caused? And why ultimately the civilians returned
12 to their homes? If there was a common criminal plan to create a
13 territory dominated by Croats, why were military operations halted? Why
14 were Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje not captured when it was possible? And
15 why attempt to jointly assess the consequences of the conflict at all?
16 Additionally, the document also shows that there was no common
17 criminal plan that would encompass the conflict in Gornji Vakuf and
18 Uskoplje since the document shows the following. I'm of the opinion that
19 the question of Gornji Vakuf must be resolved as soon as possible and at
20 a higher level, unilaterally or bilateral, because a single shot could
21 re-trigger the war. Calling for a solution at a higher level at
22 Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje shows without doubt that there was no common
23 criminal plan or a JCE; because had it existed, the drafter of the
24 document would not be asking that the issue of Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje
25 be resolved at a higher level. Rather, they would militarily defeat the
1 army by continuing military operation and would have captured
2 Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje.
3 In reference to the village of Dusa, an important fact from this
4 document is that it was verified, that 23 soldiers were detained. These
5 were not defenders of the village; these were soldiers of the BiH army,
6 and that is why we do not accept the qualification of the Trial Chamber
7 that these were village defenders. Also in the document there is
8 another -- there were 23 soldiers there who were captured, and the
9 Defence does not accept the qualification of the Trial Chamber that these
10 were defenders of the village. The Defence asserts that these were
11 members of the BiH army, regular soldiers.
12 Another thing that the document states that is worthy of your
13 attention is the fact that the author of the document states that
14 somebody fired a recoilless gun at Enver Sljivo's house in which women
15 and children were killed. The author of the document notes - and he is a
16 member of the HVO - the following:
17 "We did not have a recoilless gun."
18 The Trial Chamber did not actually establish what type of
19 artillery weapon fired the shell that had such a tragic result.
20 General Praljak received information by the 22nd but he did not receive
21 information in this document because on the 29th of January, 1993, was no
22 longer in Gornji Vakuf. The document was not sent to him. He has no
23 knowledge about the consequences of the armed conflict between the BiH
24 army and the HVO in the village of Dusa.
25 After facts are established, they are interpreted according to
1 the law. For the sake of argument, because the Defence holds that JCE 3
2 does not exist at all, the JCE 3 mode of liability cannot be applied to
3 the facts the Trial Chamber established in relation to death of civilians
4 in the village of Dusa.
5 And now my response to question 5. I am skipping some things
6 because of a lack of time. The question states:
7 "The basis for the Trial Chamber's finding that the property
8 destruction caused during the attacks on the villages of Dusa, Hrasnica,
9 Zdrimci, and Uzricje was wanton and not justified by military necessity
10 and whether there would be any effect if this finding were overturned on
11 the finding that the property destruction caused during attacks on
12 several localities in Gornji Vakuf municipality was extensive."
13 The conclusions of the Trial Chamber that the destruction of
14 property during the attack on the villages of Dusa, Hrasnica, Zdrimci,
15 and Uzricje was wanton and not justified by military necessity are not
16 based on the evidence. The Trial Chamber had evidence that in the area
17 of Gornji Vakuf, Uskoplje municipality, there were incidents, conflicts,
18 between the HVO and the BiH army that in said places and facilities there
19 were members of the BiH army who took an active part in the conflict.
20 That on the 11th of January and the 12th of January, 1993, conflicts
21 began between the BiH army and the HVO, and they occurred in the villages
22 of Dusa, Hrasnica, Zdrimci, and Uzricje on those dates. This is volume
23 2, paragraph 336 of the trial judgement. In the same paragraph the Trial
24 Chamber notes that Serbian forces also participated in the conflict, but
25 the Trial Chamber did not establish what the damage was that was
1 inflicted by members of the HVO.
2 The Trial Chamber did not establish who and when -- damaged the
3 property. This is volume 2, paragraph 352. The Defence holds that the
4 only conclusion -- the Defence holds that it was not established beyond a
5 reasonable doubt that the destruction of property was excessive, as it
6 was not established that the destruction of property was wilful. It
7 could not have been established that it was excessive. We dealt with
8 this in Ground 11 of our appeal.
9 I would like to ask the interpreters to say when I say
10 Gornji Vakuf, Uskoplje, for them to write Gornji Vakuf, Uskoplje, because
11 that is it the official name of the town or the village.
12 Response to question 6 as to whether the evidence with particular
13 reference to Exhibits P06068 and P06073 establishes that Praljak knew
14 that UNPROFOR was seeking access to Stupni Do between the 23rd and the
15 25th of October, 1993, and that he sought to prevent such access -- that
16 Praljak sought to prevent such access. This is a question to be dealt
17 with by the Defence of Praljak and the OTP. In order to answer this
18 properly, I would like to ask for a closed session, since I'm going to be
19 dealing with documents under seal and with allegations made during closed
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, let's go in closed session, please.
22 Wait, wait, wait. Wait. We are not yet in closed session.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 406-407 redacted. Private session.
4 [Open session]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We are in open session.
6 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Document P6073 is information
7 Milivoje Petkovic is sending to Slobodan Praljak to the Main Staff of the
8 HVO in Citluk. From the document General Praljak learns that the UN is
9 requesting the transfer of 45 tonnes of explosives from the Sarajevo
10 airport and about 25.000 detonators allegedly for the construction of a
11 road in the Kakanj sector.
12 "I am concerned that this might be intended for the Muslims.
13 Serbs for now are not allowing them permission for in transport."
14 Among other things the information says:
15 "Firing by our side chased the UN away. I'm trying to reverse
16 the situation."
17 This is a document from the 25th of October, 1993.
18 General Praljak does not find out from this document that the UN
19 is seeking access to Stupni Do, but he does find out that UN is asking to
20 transfer large quantities of explosives. Document P6068 also from the
21 25th of October, 1993, is signed by General Praljak and it is a --
22 evidently response from questions from document P6073. Item 3 of the
23 document says that the UN request for the transfer of explosives should
24 not be allowed until further notice through our territory and that
25 Milivoje Petkovic should do everything to show that we did not chase the
1 UN away from Vares. So there is nothing there about Stupni Do and
2 preventing the entrance to Stupni Do. Praljak did not find out that
3 UNPROFOR sought access to Stupni Do. General Praljak on the 25th of
4 October, 1993, didn't even know that there was a crime committed in
5 Stupni Do. Volume 4, paragraph 641 of the judgement.
6 As for relations with UNPROFOR, Slobodan Praljak evidently
7 approved of the actions of Petkovic directed at -- rectifying the
8 situation in relation to UNPROFOR. Document D6063 is an order by
9 Milivoje Petkovic on the 24th of October, 1993, at 2315 hours. It is
10 sent to the commander of the Bobovac Brigade, requesting that all
11 activities towards UNPROFOR cease and that UNPROFOR must be given
12 unimpeded access and movement so there is no possibility here, either by
13 Praljak or Petkovic, to restrict movement by UNPROFOR.
14 Exhibit P06078 is a request sent from the Main Staff of the HVO,
15 Milivoje Petkovic, on the 25th of October, 1993, to the commander of the
16 Bobovac Brigade and Ivica Rajic, asking to have information, true
17 information, about Stupni Do submitted by 9.00 the next morning. So they
18 don't know what happened in Stupni Do. Therefore, the response to your
19 question is that General Praljak did not know that UNPROFOR was being
20 prevented from accessing Stupni Do, that he did not know that crimes were
21 committed. Therefore, regarding Stupni Do, his responsibility cannot be
23 Again, I say --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: You have eight minutes left. You have eight
1 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask to have an extra
2 two minutes, perhaps -- ah, perhaps it is because of the tape. I did
3 lose some time still. Would I be able to have a little bit of extra time
4 after the break perhaps, Your Honour?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm actually informed that we have only seven
6 minutes of tape left, so you have to stop after seven minutes.
7 I'll confer with my colleagues to see if we can give you an extra
8 three minutes after the break.
9 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Would it be possible to have some
10 time after the break? Three minutes?
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Prosecution.
13 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. Yes, while we're
14 discussing the time, could I make one request or suggestion. If indeed
15 General Praljak is going to make submissions at some point in the scope
16 of the appeal, could I suggest that rather than it be -- being done
17 during the reply time, if he could just use some of their reply time in
18 response then, if necessary. It would enable the Prosecution to then
19 respond to whatever submissions he makes as well.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I can't create -- review the schedule. What
21 my suggestion is, if Madam Pinter requires an extra five minutes, we can
22 grant her five minutes after the break before you start. But that means
23 she has five minutes -- they have five minutes less for the time allotted
24 for the reply. And that's the beginning and the end of the story. Okay,
25 thank you.
1 So, Madam Pinter, please proceed. I will ask you to stop in five
2 minutes' time or however much time we are left -- yeah, four to five
3 minutes' time, four to five minutes' time. And then have you an extra
4 five minutes when we reconvene. Go ahead.
5 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I lost my place, but my time is
6 running, so very well.
7 I'm going to end with question 6. It's all stated in our appeal
8 submission anyway, so I'm not answering to the end.
9 Then question 7 regarding Gabela and Dretelj. I will shorten by
10 saying that there is not a single piece of evidence in the case file
11 which would beyond a reasonable doubt establish that General Praljak knew
12 about the conditions in Gabela and Dretelj; but what I would like to
13 stress more is that General Praljak was not obliged in any way to know
14 about the conditions in Gabela and Dretelj because he was the commander
15 of the Main Staff of the HVO. He was conducting military operations. He
16 was saving the lives of Croats who were attacked in Central Bosnia and
17 along the Neretva River Valley. And really, in conducting these
18 operations, he cannot be considered by doing his job to acquiescing to
19 crimes in Gabela and Dretelj. There's no piece of evidence on file
20 indicating that there exists any single document pertaining to Dretelj
21 and Gabela that was sent to the Main Staff or to General Praljak.
22 Therefore, the conclusion that he was aware of the conditions and
23 circumstances prevailing at Dretelj and Gabela is completely untenable.
24 If I need to stop now, I will gladly do so and continue after the
25 tapes have been switched.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We'll have the break now. We will
2 reconvene at 12.00. Thank you.
3 MS. PINTER: [No interpretation]
4 --- Recess taken at 11.28 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 12.01 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Let me clarify something for the record
7 and for the proper conduct of these proceedings. We have conferred
8 amongst us, and after also having heard Mr. Stringer's submission, which
9 wasn't as clear as we expected, actually. The situation is as follows.
10 That if we give you the floor now, Ms. Pinter, and you conclude in the
11 ten minutes that you have available, that would mean that your client,
12 when he is given the ten minutes that he wants to address the Appeals
13 Chamber, that would be during the reply time, which would deprive
14 essentially the Prosecution from responding to any submission that he may
15 come up with. So what we have decided is that you speak later and that
16 he makes his intervention now during the ten minutes that we are
17 conceding as part of the two hours that you had, and which would enable
18 Mr. Stringer then or whoever from the Prosecution side to make any
19 comments on his submissions -- if they are submissions because I don't
20 know what we are supposed to expect from him.
21 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. That is
22 what you had understood. We believe that Mr. Stringer's request was
23 fully justified. That is why we wanted to ask you - of course, we will
24 abide by your decision - that after I have concluded, to give the floor
25 to General Praljak to respond to a single question and that that time be
1 deducted from our reply time. That would conclude our arguments on
2 appeal. We believe the OTP request is fully justified.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: My preoccupation with that is that I don't like -
5 having been a lawyer and a Judge practically all these decades - I can
6 understand the frustration of counsel having his speech interrupted or in
7 bits and pieces. So -- because what you are suggesting is that 20
8 minutes for you and for Mr. Praljak which I'm sure can become an even a
9 little bit more sometimes, which would mean that Mr. Stringer would only
10 have about 35 minutes --
11 MS. PINTER: Not Mr. Stringer.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Not because we are going -- we are going to finish
13 at 1.00.
14 MS. PINTER: After the break. Yes, till break, then the main --
15 [Interpretation] We were thinking along these lines. We wanted
16 to conclude our part, and in our reply later on we will not make use of
17 the time allocated but we will use whatever is left so that Mr. Stringer
18 would be able to address General Praljak's arguments as well. That was
19 our thinking.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: So the decision is, madam, you will conclude later
22 on this afternoon, during the reply section; and Mr. Praljak will make
23 his intervention now.
24 MS. PINTER: Okay.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: And you have ten minute, Mr. Praljak, not more.
1 THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your
3 It concerns a document pertaining to the joint comment of the
4 ABiH and the HVO of the 15th of January, 1993. Given the fact that I
5 testified before this Court, this document was drafted in co-operation
6 with Mr. Izetbegovic in Zagreb on the 13th and 14th of January, 1993.
7 The Trial Chamber omitted to ascribe any sense or importance to the
8 document, and whatever importance they assigned to it was mistaken. The
9 HVO and the ABiH were equal components of the armed forces of the BH.
10 They had to have joint commands. They had to.
11 To continue. In that document, the ABiH and the HVO, the two
12 components of the BiH armed forces, are mirror reflections of each other
13 in terms of treatment. If two parties are treated in such a way, no
14 party can issue ultimatums to the other. That is basic logic.
15 I further assert the following. Unless there are joint commands
16 between two armed forces that act as partners and allies, there is no way
17 to avoid individual or extensive clashes between two such armed forces.
18 The non-existence of joint command will eventually lead to a military
19 defeat of such an armed force against the enemy, but clashes were
20 unavoidable because the non-existence of joint commands was an
21 architectural mistake within the system of alliance as it existed. The
22 document was created based on certain assertions I made as well, because
23 I took part in its design and drafting. As a sociologist, at least for a
24 period of my life, I studied the history of warfare. War is the most
25 disastrous aspect of human civilisation and society. From Thucydides,
1 von Clausewitz and others on. I tried to find the answers to the causes
2 and consequences of the concept of war and how it affects society,
3 starting with myself, of course, and the concept of war in and of itself.
4 I wanted to find the answer to the question of who wins or loses a war
5 and for what reason. Your Honours, I didn't find a single example, a
6 single case, in which two or more allied armed forces would function
7 without a joint command. Joint commands are sine quo non of the
8 functioning of allied armies. Joint commands are the alphabet, the basic
9 prerogative of any alliance of armed forces. Why is that so? War is
10 governed by fear unless there is a possibility to resolve individual
11 conflicts, armed forces located at front lines without communication,
12 with arms in their hands, the appearance of mistrust is imminent or
13 unavoidable, that one would turn on the other, that there they allow the
14 enemy through the backdoor and so on and so forth. All of that breeds
15 fear, and under such circumstances armies cannot function. An example of
16 that is the fall of Jajce in 1992. Even to this day arguments are
17 exchanged in terms of who was the first one to leave the front line
18 facing the Serb forces. There was no joint command. The HVO was afraid
19 that the ABiH soldiers would be the first ones to leave and vice versa.
20 The population saw there was something wrong and started to flee. The
21 soldiers representing the particular community see their population leave
22 and they leave themselves. Therefore, everybody flees ultimately and the
23 issue of who fled first becomes irrelevant. It happens everywhere and
24 all the time.
25 Let us look at the joint command functioning during the invasion
1 in Normandy in 1944 and the Allied Forces. There was a joint command.
2 Dwight Eisenhower was the joint commander, but did not draft orders to --
3 the American divisions were commanded by Bradley, the British divisions
4 by Montgomery. They simply co-ordinated. They discussed who went how
5 far, whose flank was exposed, and who needed air support. All other
6 attributes that comprise an armed force, such as arming, logistics,
7 rotation of commanders fall within the ambit of individual armed forces.
8 Joint commands do not become involved in that.
9 If there is no joint command, necessarily it will lead to a
10 conflict starting at an individual level and up. If there is no forum to
11 deal with it, if there is no joint command which would increase trust,
12 tour the front lines, visit the soldiers, such an armed force cannot
13 survive. Experiments conducted by social psychologists show that
14 conflicts of amorphus groups caused by irrelevant causes continue for
15 months even once those involved learn that the conflict was intended.
16 War is governed by fear, the fear of being abandoned, the fear of being
17 caught unawares, or of being killed. When this document was being
18 drafted, the gist of was it that it was not an ultimatum. It was a
19 necessary requisite so as to avoid any conflict. The document was
20 supposed to go to Sarajevo to be used by the ABiH the same way the HVO
21 used it.
22 To conclude, by refusing the proposal on joint commands was a
23 clear indication, a clear message that somebody did not want to be an
24 ally, that somebody was intending to attack. In and of itself such
25 decision is evil and it testifies to the basic belief of eventually
1 conducting offensive operation against your temporary ally, which is
2 exactly what happened in the ensuing months. Unable to oppose the Army
3 of Republika Srpska, the ABiH and the Muslim political leadership
4 attacked the HVO and the Croats so as to compensate for the territories
5 lost. All evidence points to that. The so-called JCE, as stipulated by
6 the judgement and those involved, throughout the period following the
7 15th of January sent and kept sending all the necessary arms to the ABiH
8 as well as equipment. Ninety per cent of the overall military arsenal at
9 the disposal of the ABiH during the war was obtained through -- or by --
10 by the Croats. All evidence indicates that was the case.
11 Thank you for your attention.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, Thank you.
13 Mr. Stringer, are you ready to go? Or do you prefer Ms. Pinter
14 to make her ten-minute submission now?
15 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, it's fine with the Prosecution either
16 way, I think is --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed, start, because it will get --
18 there's very little time left in any case and I suppose it's wiser to go
19 like I'm suggesting.
20 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Then with that, I will
21 be making the Prosecution submissions in response to the submissions of
22 General Praljak, and in the course of that I'll be responding to
23 Your Honours' questions 4(c) as well as question 8 as they relate to
24 General Praljak, question 8 relating to his specific intent to spread
25 terror. And I will also be making the Prosecution response on question 2
1 regarding the Old Bridge.
2 My colleague, Ms. Finnin, after I'm finished, probably after the
3 lunch break will be making the Prosecution's submissions in response to
4 your questions 6 and 7 on Stupni Do and the detention camps.
5 Your Honours, have already heard submissions yesterday and on
6 Monday from my colleagues, Ms. Gustafson, and Ms. Goy in relation to
7 occupation, international armed conflict and the conflict in Gornji
8 Vakuf, specifically the questions -- the Chamber's question in relation
9 to Dusa. And our submissions, we adopt those as our own submissions in
10 relation to appellant General Praljak, Mr. President, with just a few
11 brief exceptions for clarifications, some additions, supplements, we'd
12 like to make today in response to what's been said already by my friends
13 on General Praljak's Defence.
14 In regard to occupation, there was an assertion that the HVO
15 forces, the Bosnian Croats, could not occupy those parts of Herceg-Bosna
16 and we just wanted -- it's in our submissions but just to make it perhaps
17 more clear. By arguing that the HVO could not occupy parts of BiH, the
18 Defence overlooks that this is an occupation by agency as was found by
19 the Trial Chamber and that Croatia is the occupying power here, and, of
20 course, Croatia could indeed be an occupying power in relation to parts
21 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia's role as an occupying power is -- I
22 refer Your Honours to volume 1, paragraph 96, and to volume 3, footnote
23 1175 of the Trial Chamber judgement in relation to that point.
24 And then just a couple of follow-up in response to submissions
25 earlier about the HVO attack on the village of Dusa which forms part of
1 the Chamber's questions 3 and 4. Today the Defence argued that there was
2 significant fighting in Dusa, and relying on a finding that the HVO took
3 control of Dusa after one or two days of fighting, the Defence relied on
4 volume 2, paragraph 365. But, Your Honours, when you look at the
5 underlying evidence, it is clear that the HVO took control of Dusa in
6 less than a day. The attack on Dusa began in earnest on the morning of
7 the 18th of January. The HVO took control of the village and detained
8 all its inhabitants, defenders and civilians alike, that afternoon. And
9 for this we refer you to the evidence of Kemal Sljivo, Exhibit P10108,
10 pages 3 to 4, and the testimony of Witness BW at transcript page 780.
11 On the assertion we heard today, Your Honours, that the Trial
12 Chamber did not establish that the HVO fired the shell that hit the
13 Sljivo house, we say that in fact in volume 3, paragraphs 663 and 711,
14 the Chamber clearly found the HVO was responsible for the shelling of
15 Enver Sljivo's house and the finding's amply supported by the evidence
16 you've heard the Prosecution refer to on Monday.
17 Finally the Defence said that the HVO could not have foreseen
18 that there were civilians in Enver Sljivo's house and they rely on the
19 fact that the house belonged to the commander of the village defence. As
20 you heard from my colleague on Monday, Ms. Gustafson, Your Honours, a
21 residential house -- it's our position a residential house is a prima
22 facie civilian object. There was no indication here that it was being
23 used for a military purpose, no defenders were in the house, no shots
24 were fired from the house, and a house that was obviously occupied with
25 smoke rising from the chimney. The Defence seems to be repeating the
1 claim that they made in the brief that the mere fact that the owner of
2 Sljivo's house was among the local defenders was itself a justification
3 for the HVO to target the house despite the absence of any military
4 activity associated with the house. And as we've said in our
5 submissions, Your Honours, on Monday, we say that in fact when they
6 attacked the house on such circumstances, it was at the very least an
7 indiscriminate attack.
8 With that said, Your Honour -- oh, let me just go, first of all,
9 to another couple of the points that were made earlier today. One of
10 those relates to General Praljak's challenges to the Trial Chamber's
11 findings on the ultimate purpose. And here we would refer Your Honours
12 back primarily to the Trial Chamber's findings on the ultimate purpose,
13 leading to the ultimate purpose, which are set out in paragraphs 6 to 24
14 of volume 4 and as well as to the Prosecution's submissions that were
15 made on Monday. I made those submissions, Your Honours. I hope, I tried
16 to, as clearly as I am able to, lead Your Honours through the Chamber's
17 findings on ultimate purpose and how well supported they are by the
18 evidence. Issues relating to the plan, the aspiration, the obsession, as
19 was said by Mr. Karnavas on Monday, of President Tudjman to restore the
20 Banovina and how that required the use of crimes inside Herceg-Bosna
21 territory in order to achieve that ultimate purpose? We commend
22 Your Honours to the testimony the Ambassador Galbraith, I referred to it
23 on Monday, we'll be coming back to it today, as well as to the testimony
24 of Ambassador Okun, who the Chamber relies on extensively among all its
25 findings regarding ultimate purpose.
1 It's Ambassador Okun that speaks to the two-track policy, what he
2 considered to be a two-track policy. This relates to other submissions
3 made here today, Your Honours, in relation to Croatia'S alleged benign
4 intentions in respect of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time, sending arms to
5 the ABiH, the so-called -- well, the agreement on friendship and
6 co-operation between the HVO and the ABiH which has also been referred
7 to. None of that undermines the Chamber's findings, the core fundamental
8 findings on the existence of the joint criminal enterprise as applied to
9 this case, this conflict between those two armed forces. And nothing
10 called an agreement on friendship and co-operation is going to undermine
11 or cast doubt on the fact that there was a very brutal war taking place
12 during the period here, 1993 and 1994, between these two military forces,
13 the HVO and the ABiH.
14 Croatia, as Your Honours know, because all of you have sat on
15 Chambers in cases involving events taking place in the north of Bosnia,
16 the east of Bosnia during this period, 1993, 1994, you know that there
17 was a very strong conflict between the Serbs, the VRS on one side, and
18 unified Croat and Muslim forces that were fighting against the Serbs.
19 It was in Croatia's interest to support those efforts and that involved
20 providing supplies to Muslim fighters in other parts of the country. It
21 was in Croatia's interest to do so. But none of that undermines the
22 basic ultimate findings here that when we look at the conflict that we're
23 concerned with here, the conflict between the ABiH and the HVO in
24 Herceg-Bosna, there wasn't anything benign about Croatia's intentions and
25 there wasn't anything involving friendship and co-operation.
1 Your Honour, many of Slobodan Praljak's arguments were made at
2 the trial, they were rejected by the Trial Chamber after extensive
3 detailed findings on Praljak's role in developing the JCE before
4 January 1993 and then contributing to its implementation throughout the
5 claimed territories of Herceg-Bosna until the 9th of November, 1993, when
6 he quit the HVO and Bosnia-Herzegovina altogether to return to Croatia.
7 The final destruction of the Old Bridge, the Stari Most, and its collapse
8 into the Neretva River on that day, the 9th of November, is emblematic of
9 the destruction and the misery that he left behind.
10 As he did at trial, Praljak claims on appeal that he was just a
11 simple soldier. We see this in his brief at paragraph 385. In fact, as
12 the Trial Chamber rightly concluded, Praljak was one of the most
13 important members of the joint criminal enterprise. He exercised
14 significant de facto and, later, de jure and de facto authority over the
15 HVO armed forces and its military police. That's volume 4,
16 paragraph 1340.
17 In considering the evidence proving Praljak's high-level
18 positions in the Croatian government and the role he played as
19 President Tudjman's advisor and agent in the BiH, the Trial Chamber
20 concluded that Praljak enjoyed a "privileged and continuous link" to
21 Croatia's leadership on subjects regarding BiH and Croatia's engagement
22 there. That's volume 4, paragraph 1223. Praljak, Your Honours, was no
23 simple soldier.
24 As the Trial Chamber found, and it's not in dispute, throughout
25 1992 and much of 1993, Slobodan Praljak was an Assistant Minister of
1 Defence of the Republic of Croatia. His superior was co-JCE member,
2 Defence Minister Gojko Susak. Praljak was a member of Croatia's national
3 Security Council, the VONS, and he was a trusted advisor to Tudjman. He
4 was also a major-general in the Croatia army. Prior to the 24th of July,
5 1993, he was all of these things while simultaneously exercising de facto
6 authority over the HVO armed forces on the ground in Herceg-Bosna, armed
7 forces that committed crime on a large-scale. On the 24th of July, 1993,
8 Praljak officially assumed command over the HVO armed forces, including
9 its military police, as commander of the HVO Main Staff. Even then he
10 remained on Croatia's payroll. See volume 4, paragraph 520.
11 It's the combination of these high-level positions held by
12 Praljak prior to and during the JCE that made him one of its most
13 important members and enabled him to participate both in the development
14 and the implementation of the criminal plan to change the ethnic makeup
15 of Herceg-Bosna.
16 In my submissions this morning, Your Honours, this afternoon, I
17 should say, I will address Praljak's challenges in Grounds 39 and 41 to
18 the Trial Chamber's findings regarding his awareness of the common
19 criminal plan and his shared intent. I will then address his challenges
20 to the Chamber's findings on two aspects of his contribution to the JCE,
21 his role as a conduit between Croatia and Herceg-Bosna, and his use of
22 HVO forces to commit crimes in furtherance of the common criminal plan in
23 such places as Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, and Mostar as set out in his
24 Ground 40.
25 In Ground 39, Praljak claims that the Trial Chamber erred when it
1 considered his pre-JCE conduct. And this was raised earlier this morning
2 by my colleague in relation to their oral submissions, consideration of
3 his acts prior to the beginning of the joint criminal enterprise. We
4 rely -- the Chamber in fact relied on things Praljak said and did during
5 1992 in high-level meetings with Croatia's leadership and in secret
6 meetings with VRS commander Ratko Mladic, and they did this when
7 considering his awareness of the common plan. In fact, the Chamber's
8 consideration of these pre-JCE conduct amply establishes that he played a
9 key role in developing the common plan and that he shared the intent once
10 implementation began in January of 1993.
11 It is well settled, Your Honours, in our jurisprudence that an
12 accused's pre-JCE conduct may be considered in relation to a variety of
13 important issues once the JCE does come into being, such as an accused's
14 role in the JCE and his mens rea. In the Djordjevic appeal judgement,
15 paragraph 297, the Appeals Chamber observed that an accused's pre-JCE
16 meetings with senior political and military leaders could be considered
17 for that purpose. And this is precisely what the Trial Chamber did here.
18 See volume 4, paragraphs 18, 522, 525, 545.
19 Praljak's conduct in the lead-up to the JCE tells us a great deal
20 about his mens rea. In his acts and words, Praljak promoted ethnic
21 separation, the division of BiH and reconstituting the borders of the
22 1939 Banovina territory. In other words, he promoted the ultimate
23 purpose. What's more, he knew that achieving that would require changing
24 the ethnic composition of this new Banovina territory in BiH called
25 Herceg-Bosna through ethnic cleansing.
1 On the 26th of September, 1992, Praljak raised the alarm with
2 President Tudjman in a meeting of the VONS, the national Defence Council,
3 in reference to Muslim refugees now living in areas inhabited by Croats.
4 Lamenting the arrival of the refugees, Praljak observed that expulsions
5 would be necessary in order to achieve a Croat-majority population.
6 Your Honours have a slide, these are Praljak's words:
7 "As things stand now, and with the kind of settlements we are
8 seeing in Travnik, areas to the south of Travnik, I am afraid that at the
9 moment the war ends, in light of the substantial changes in the ethnic
10 structure, our chances are slim, unless we decide to deal with this, with
11 them in another war, and this is what will happen, civil, international
12 rights, et cetera."
13 And he says:
14 "It will be difficult to make those people leave those parts in
15 any way," I think we have got a typo in our slide "... those parts in any
16 way ... unless we evict those people from there we will not have a
17 majority there."
18 Unless we evict those people we will not have a majority.
19 Although is he referring here to incoming Muslim refugees, we
20 know that once implementation of the common criminal plan started in
21 January of 1993, implementation was not limited to evicting only Muslim
22 refugees. This JCE was about removing long-established Muslim
23 populations in communities from large areas of Herceg-Bosna to create the
24 necessary ethnic balance. Your Honours heard my reference on Monday and
25 my colleague Mr. Menon's reference yesterday to the changed ethnic
1 structure in Stolac when it was all said and done by September 1993.
2 8.000 Muslims down to 0. Stolac had been a Muslim majority municipality
3 before the conflict.
4 Nor did the Trial Chamber err when it considered Praljak's
5 pre-JCE meetings with Ratko Mladic. Just ten days after this meeting we
6 saw, the September 26th meeting between Praljak and President Tudjman,
7 Praljak, together with Prlic, Stojic, travelled to Hungary where they had
8 a secret meeting with VRS commander Ratko Mladic. This was referred to
9 already, Your Honours, just to repeat. It was at this meeting the
10 Praljak described the objective: "The goal is the Banovina of 1939; if
11 not, we'll continue the war." That's Exhibit P11377, page 2, referred to
12 at volume 4 -- sorry, 376 referred to at volume 4, paragraph 118.
13 Paragraph 18.
14 Bear in mind, Your Honours, that at this meeting Praljak was
15 representing Croatia as an Assistant Minister of Defence. His reference
16 to the Banovina obviously reflects the policy of Croatian
17 President Tudjman. You've heard this about in our submissions on Monday.
18 But it also bears on his knowledge and intent once the pattern of crimes
19 is unleashed to implement it.
20 In considering Praljak's knowledge and mens rea, how could the
21 Trial Chamber ignore Praljak's statements to Mladic when they met again
22 three weeks later, on the 26th of October, 1992. Praljak was again
23 accompanied by Prlic and Stojic, joined also this time by Milivoje
25 It was at this meeting that Praljak announced: "We're on a good
1 path to compel Alija," that's a reference to Bosnian President
2 Alija Izetbegovic "to divide Bosnia."
3 Later in this meeting he referred to the population movements he
4 envisioned as part of the Herceg-Bosna plan: "It is our interest that
5 the Muslims get their own canton so they have somewhere to move to."
6 Volume 4, paragraphs 14 and 18. That's P11380.
7 As with his statement to Mladic advocating the Banovina,
8 Praljak's statement here about the Muslims having their own canton to
9 move to reflects what was Croatian policy. Tudjman had referred to this
10 concept in December of 1991 in an important meeting he had with Bosnian
11 Croat leaders. Praljak attended the meeting. At the meeting, Tudjman
12 referred to the creation of a "statelet" for Muslims in BiH which would
13 serve as a "buffer zone in the demarcation of Serbia and Croatia."
14 That's Exhibit P89, page 33. And the Chamber considers that meeting in
15 volume 1, paragraph 428.
16 In these examples, Praljak's statements to President Tudjman and
17 to Ratko Mladic, we see Praljak advocating the essential elements,
18 aspects of the ultimate purpose that let to the JCE that was launched in
19 January of 1993, establishment of a Banovina territory, establishment of
20 ethnically Croat majorities inside it, the outward movement of Muslims
21 "to their own canton" to achieve this. The Trial Chamber properly
22 considered Praljak's pre-JCE conversations with Tudjman and Mladic in
23 relation to the JCE, his knowledge, and his mens rea.
24 In any event, Praljak's advocacy of the Herceg-Bosna project did
25 not end once the JCE started. The Trial Chamber noted in volume 4,
1 paragraph 522:
2 "From April 1992 to November 1993, Slobodan Praljak participated
3 in meetings of the senior Croatian leadership at which Croatia's policy
4 in BiH was discussed and defined with a view to furthering the common
5 criminal purpose."
6 And Your Honours will note in the judgement the Trial Chamber
7 referred to numerous of the presidential transcripts, numerous
8 conversations occurring at the presidential palace, numerous statements
9 of Praljak, confirming that he was involved throughout the course of the
10 JCE in advancing this policy.
11 The Trial Chamber committed no error in considering all of
12 Praljak's statements both prior to and during the JCE in finding that he
13 shared the common plan to recreate the Banovina on BiH territory. His
14 arguments to the contrary should be dismissed.
15 Shared intent. This is largely Praljak's Ground 41. It has come
16 up today.
17 Praljak did not merely advocate the goal of changing the ethnic
18 composition of Herceg-Bosna. He also shared the intent to use criminal
19 means to achieve the goal. He intended a range of crimes, ranging from
20 attacks on towns and villages, violent eviction operations, the unlawful
21 detention and mistreatment of Muslim inhabitants of Herceg-Bosna.
22 In his comments earlier, just a few moments ago, General Praljak
23 made references to populations fleeing war. Your Honours, you're going
24 to, we submit, find as the Trial Chamber did -- you're not going to find,
25 you're going to, we submit, reasonably conclude that the Chamber
1 reasonably concluded that everyone one of these crime bases that we've
2 got in this case is one that is not about populations fleeing war. It's
3 about deliberate attempts to drive a particular ethnic entity out,
4 whether it's West Mostar evictions, whether it's the Muslim community
5 removed from Stolac, Capljina, Ljubuski, whether it's eviction operations
6 and destruction that occurred in the wake of, after attack operations,
7 after the villages had been consolidated by the HVO. This is the pattern
8 and the theme that runs throughout the entire case, and it's not about
9 self-defence and it's not about people fleeing the ravages of war.
10 As this implementation of the JCE unfolded throughout 1993 and
11 the pattern of crimes revealed the goal of removing the Muslims,
12 Praljak's action reflect his intent. Although he didn't directly
13 contribute to every single crime that was committed during the
14 implementation of the JCE, he intended those crimes be used to implement
15 it and he willingly played his part. This is what brings us to Praljak's
16 contributions to the JCE.
17 I'll now address additional aspects of Ground 40, where Praljak
18 claims errors in the Trial Chamber's findings on his contribution to the
20 In sub-Ground 40.1, he claims the Chamber's findings are too
21 vague, requiring him to speculate as to their meaning.
22 Praljak overlooks the careful analysis of the evidence of his
23 unique and multi-faceted contributions set out in paragraphs 512 to 623
24 of volume 4. It is not vague. The Trial Chamber states precisely how
25 Praljak contributed to the JCE.
1 First, he contributed by serving as a conduit between Croatia and
2 Herceg-Bosna to further the common criminal purpose. Volume 4,
3 paragraph 545. By exercising his Croatia and Herceg-Bosna functions
4 simultaneously, Praljak knew that the Herceg-Bosna policy -- he knew the
5 Herceg-Bosna policy and willingly implemented it by transmitting orders
6 and instructions from Croatia. He informed Croatia's leadership about
7 the situation in BiH, Croatia's military support for the HVO armed
8 forces. See volume 4, paragraphs 515, 545.
9 Second, Praljak exercised de facto command authority over the HVO
10 armed forces from the autumn of 1992 until the 24th of July, 1993. And
11 then from that date until his departure on the 9th of November, Praljak
12 had command and control authority and effective control over all
13 components of the HVO as the commander of its HVO Main Staff. That's
14 volume 4, paragraphs 482, 506, 624. He contributed to crimes by actively
15 planning and directing operations of HVO units in which many crimes were
16 committed. He contributed to the crimes committed by the HVO forces in
17 Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, Mostar, including the siege of East Mostar and
18 Vares as well. Volume 4, paragraphs 546 to 598.
19 The third contribution as found by the Trial Chamber was that
20 despite his position at the apex of the political and military structures
21 of Croatia and Herceg-Bosna during this period, his command over HVO
22 forces, his privileged and continuous ties to Croatia's leadership,
23 Slobodan Praljak did virtually nothing to stop or prevent crimes of his
24 HVO subordinates. That's volume 4, paragraphs 617 to 623.
25 As you'll hear from my colleague Ms. Finnin later, he works to
1 block or stall UNPROFOR personnel from gaining access to Stupni Do after
2 the HVO massacre there, and he worked with Petkovic to cover it up. He
3 made no significant effort to improve the HVO's prisons at Gabela and
4 Dretelj, even after news of the appalling conditions there become an
5 international scandal.
6 I will address Praljak's claims regarding the first two of these
7 contributions, conduit and contribution to crimes as HVO commander.
8 Regarding the role of conduit, I've already referred to Praljak's
9 role in his meetings with Croatia's leadership as well as with VRS
10 Commander Mladic in relation to his mens rea and his membership in the
11 JCE. This does, of course, shed light on the nature of his role as a
12 conduit after the JCE began.
13 But let me take a few minutes first to address another key aspect
14 of Praljak's conduit role: Delivering the message and the policy from
15 Zagreb to those responsible for implementing the policy in Herceg-Bosna.
16 I'll give you four illustrations.
17 There's perhaps no better illustration of this than the role
18 Praljak played in relation to the Prlic ultimatum. This set the stage
19 for implementation of the JCE at Gornji Vakuf in January of 1993. I'm
20 referring of course to the 15 January 1993 decision by Jadranko Prlic
21 demanding that the ABiH units in Vance-Owen provinces attributed to
22 Croats subordinate themselves to the HVO.
23 And let me digress just a little bit here from my outline,
24 Your Honours, to respond directly to some of the assertions that have
25 been made by the Defence today.
1 General Praljak referred Your Honours to his testimony at the
2 trial in which he claimed that, in fact, he was delivering the essence of
3 an agreement that had been reached in Zagreb between him, the Croatian
4 leadership and Bosnian president, President Izetbegovic. Your Honours,
5 the Trial Chamber had that evidence and they correctly did not credit
6 that version of the events. When he was asked about this agreement that
7 had been reached in Zagreb, the agreement in which the ABiH would
8 subordinate itself to the HVO in these areas, whether the agreement had
9 ever been put into writing, Praljak said, no, it was actually not ever a
10 written agreement. It was what he called a gentlemen's agreement. So
11 that's worth bearing in mind when considering whether such an agreement
12 really came into an existence. The Chamber doesn't refer to this as an
13 agreement anywhere in its findings. It correctly refers to this as an
14 ultimatum. It was a unilateral ultimatum and it was based upon the HVO's
15 misinterpretation, deliberate misinterpretation of the Vance-Owen Peace
16 Plan. In my remarks on Monday I referred to the evidence, the testimony
17 of Ambassador Okun who was one of the drafters, lead negotiators of the
18 Vance-Owen Plan. He testified at trial that it was illegal; their
19 interpretation was wrong and illegal.
20 Also today my colleagues have referred to Exhibits P1739 and
21 3D561, asserting that in fact Praljak played a role as an envoy in
22 respect of this matter. We responded to this argument in our brief and
23 we refer Your Honours to that.
24 What the Trial Chamber reasonably found, Your Honours, was that
25 Praljak actively participated in drafting this ultimatum. We know he was
1 involved in it. We disagree as to whether it was an ultimatum or an
2 agreement. The Chamber's finding on that is the reasonable one. Praljak
3 was in Mostar with Prlic, Stojic, and Petkovic on the 15th of January.
4 Volume 4, paragraph 475. Once Prlic issued the ultimatum in Mostar, it
5 then moved down the HVO chain of command through Stojic and Petkovic and
6 then the HVO operative zones. In the days that followed, Praljak, who
7 again was still an assistant minister of defence and a major-general in
8 the Croatian army at this time, Praljak was present in the Gornji Vakuf
9 region and he was active in implementing the Prlic ultimatum. This is at
10 volume 4, paragraph 553, 556.
11 In a few moments I'll talk more about Praljak's contributions to
12 the crimes then that unfolded in Gornji Vakuf after the deadline on
13 implementation of this ultimatum passed and the HVO attacked the villages
14 in the municipality in Gornji Vakuf.
15 Another example of Praljak's role as a conduit is his meeting on
16 the 2nd of April, 1993, in which he carried the message of Croatian
17 policy to HVO armed forces and military police in BiH. There he chaired
18 a meeting of HVO authorities and commanders of the HVO Central Bosnia
19 operative zone. Consistent with the views he had expressed in his
20 earlier conversations with Tudjman and Mladic, Praljak spoke of
21 population movements, the importance of creating a Croatian state within
22 BiH. His co-JCE member Valentin Coric was present, together with HZ HB
23 Vice-President Dario Kordic also convicted in this Tribunal.
24 At this meeting, Praljak states:
25 "Now we have got what we want. The homogenisation of our
1 population continues. We can only fence off what is ours and build there
2 our own space and our own state. It is all as clear as noon on a spring
4 That's from Exhibit P1788.
5 The Trial Chamber rightly considered these remarks to HVO
6 personnel in Herceg-Bosna as illustrating both Praljak's role of conduit
7 and his state of mind. Volume 4, paragraphs 532, 1343.
8 Praljak's claims in Ground 40 that he did not attend this meeting
9 in an official capacity. That is not reasonable. See his appeal brief
10 paragraph 438. As the Chamber noted, on the day of this meeting Praljak
11 was an assistant minister of defence of Croatia, he was a major-general
12 in its armed forces. His authority emanated from his privileged and
13 continuous ties to the Croatian leadership. Also on this day, Praljak
14 had de facto command authority over the HVO's own forces. He was
15 addressing his subordinates, and the exhibit has him down as the person
16 chairing the meeting.
17 Okay, one more illustration, Mr. President, or is it time for the
18 break? Looks like we've got about five minutes?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: You still have about five minutes.
20 MR. STRINGER: Thank you. President Tudjman himself saw Praljak
21 as a surrogate and an implementer in Herceg-Bosna. The Trial Chamber
22 relied on the transcript of the meeting at the presidential palace in
23 Zagreb on the 2nd of July, 1993. Your Honours saw this yesterday, I
24 believe, in Mr. Menon's submissions. After expressing concern about the
25 possibility of international sanctions against Croatia for its support of
1 the HVO, Tudjman instructed Susak and Bobetko as follows. Tudjman
3 "But at the same time we must take steps to protect Croatian
4 interests in the territorial sense too. And you two, please, Minister
5 Susak, General Bobetko, see about this, and meet with Herceg-Bosna
6 leaders there, with General Praljak, Petkovic ... with Boban and Prlic,
7 to discuss exactly what should be done. But, it goes without saying, do
8 not lead the operation in such a way as to make a direct involvement."
9 My colleague Mr. Menon referred to this yesterday in relation to
10 the JCE membership of Mr. Susak and General Bobetko. This is another
11 point that was raised in the submissions of my learned friend this
13 Your Honours will note that at this point in time, Praljak held
14 no official position within the HVO. Tudjman is referring to his
15 Assistant Minister of Defence here as a Herceg-Bosna leader. And it's
16 correct: Praljak was both.
17 It's also worth noting that when Tudjman issued these
18 instructions to consult with Praljak and the others on taking steps to
19 protect Croatian interests in the territorial sense, the HVO had already
20 committed extensive crimes in its operations in Gornji Vakuf and
21 Jablanica. The HVO personnel including military police were committing
22 numerous crimes against the captive Muslim population in Prozor, the
23 violent expulsions from West Mostar into East Mostar were in full swing,
24 the JCE had by this time expanded to encompass crimes linked to the siege
25 of East Mostar, terror and unlawful attacks.
1 Two weeks after this meeting, Praljak would become the
2 Herceg-Bosna leader -- I should say, two weeks after this meeting,
3 Praljak would then become the commander of the HVO Main Staff, making
4 official his position as a Herceg-Bosna leader.
5 With that, Your Honours, if now is the time for a break, it's a
6 good time for me to ...
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Stringer. Mr. Stringer, you have
8 spoken for 41 minutes so that you can calculate what time, the amount of
9 time you have left.
10 We will reconvene at half past 2.00. Thank you.
11 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.58 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
13 MR. KHAN: Mr. President, before we start, can I just say that
14 Mr. Ellis before the break left the courtroom and our pro bono legal
15 assistant, Ms. Molly Martin, is in court. Just for the record. Thank
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Khan. And for the record also -- I
18 intended to do this earlier but I didn't. For the record, Mr. Karnavas
19 came into the -- entered the courtroom while Mr. Praljak was addressing
20 the Court. Thank you.
21 Yes, Mr. Stringer.
22 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Your Honours, before the break we were addressing aspects of the
24 Chamber's findings regarding Praljak's contribution as a conduit as
25 between Croatia and the policies and events in Herceg-Bosna. And the
1 last point I wanted to make on that is to draw Your Honours' attention to
2 the Chamber's finding to the extent it was based upon Mr. Praljak's own
3 testimony at trial, this finding that he played a role as a conduit
4 between Croatia and Herceg-Bosna. When it was put to him on
5 cross-examination that he was implementing President Tudjman's policies
6 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, General Praljak replied:
7 "No, I was implementing the policies of the Croatian state. My
8 policies were parallel to the policies of the Republic of Croatia and the
9 policies of Franjo Tudjman, Gojko Susak, Bruno Stojic, Jadranko Prlic,
10 and all the others."
11 That's at pages 43001 to 43002 of the transcript referred to by
12 the Chamber in volume 4, paragraph 527.
13 Your Honours, the policy, as the Chamber found, was to change the
14 ethnic composition of Herceg-Bosna through ethnic cleansing of Muslims.
15 And as Praljak tells us in his own words at the trial, his contribution
16 was to implement that policy.
17 I'd like to now move to the Chamber's findings and General
18 Praljak's challenges to the judgement in respect of his contribution as a
19 commander of HVO armed forces. In his briefs in Grounds 40.2 and 40.7,
20 Praljak claims errors in the Trial Chamber's findings that he contributed
21 by using HVO armed forces to commit crimes. As with the evidence of his
22 contribution as a conduit, the evidence of Praljak's contribution on the
23 use of the HVO armed forces also tells us much about his criminal intent.
24 Gornji Vakuf, Your Honours have heard a lot of about Gornji Vakuf
25 today and in the previous days. At Gornji Vakuf, Praljak claims in
1 Ground 42 that the events there were not planned and that he was not kept
2 informed of the situation there. The Trial Chamber's findings to the
3 contrary are reasonable.
4 Your Honours, in my remarks over the next couple of minutes this
5 will not only go to Praljak's challenges on his contribution in respect
6 of the Gornji Vakuf operation and the crimes there, but this will also
7 relate to our answer to Your Honours' question 4(c) to the extent it
8 relates to Praljak's knowledge or the extent to which he was privy to the
9 Siljeg report, Exhibit P1351.
10 We know that after the ultimatum make he was involved in drafting
11 was issued, HVO Operative Zone Commander Siljeg and HVO Chief of Staff
12 Miro Andric consulted with Praljak on the 16th of January about
13 implementing it. By then Praljak had arrived from Mostar. He is
14 referred to in Siljeg's report at 2000 hours on the 16th of January,
15 that's P1162, as calling for the ABiH to accept the decisions of the
16 HZ HB, that is, the ultimatum. Also on the 16th of January, Praljak
17 issued orders for artillery such as rocket-launchers to be deployed in
18 Gornji Vakuf. That's Exhibit P1172, referred to at volume 4,
19 paragraph 558.
20 Notably on the 23rd of January, the British Battalion
21 peacekeepers in the area reported an HVO rocket attack at the village of
22 Bistrica in Gornji Vakuf where the houses were burning fiercely. The
23 report stressed: "This is most definitely ethnic cleansing by Croats on
24 a Muslim village."
25 That's Exhibit P1278.
1 On the next day, the 24th of January, Petkovic ordered Siljeg to
2 "report urgently to Brada." And Your Honours, Brada -- Praljak is
3 referred to in some of the HVO's documentation as Brada, or Beard.
4 "Report urgently to Brada in Mostar and send a report on the situation in
5 Gornji Vakuf directly."
6 That's P1293.
7 Petkovic was in Geneva at the negotiations on the 24th at that
8 time. Praljak was in charge and Siljeg was reporting to him on
9 Petkovic's order. Other reports of Siljeg make clear that Praljak was
10 well informed, was directing HVO operations and was even issuing orders
11 to Siljeg himself. In P1277, the 23rd of January, Siljeg reports: "I
12 issued necessary orders that were in the spirit of the orders issued by
13 Brada and they were carried out."
14 In his report on 26 January 1993, Siljeg again referred to the
15 other orders of Brada that he carried out. P1311. See volume 4,
16 paragraph 559 on that.
17 The HVO's own documents thus confirm that Petkovic ordered Siljeg
18 to report to Praljak regarding the Gornji Vakuf operation. Praljak was
19 in direct, regular contact with Siljeg, and issued orders to him for HVO
20 operations. The Trial Chamber thus reasonably found that Praljak
21 planned, directed, facilitated, and was kept informed of ongoing events
22 in Gornji Vakuf after the HVO launched its attacks there on the 18th of
23 January. That finding is at volume 4, paragraphs 558 -- sorry, 558 to
24 562. Praljak knew about these HVO crimes, he intended them, he
25 contributed to them.
1 For the booths, I'm going to skip ahead in my outline to
2 paragraph 64.
3 Your Honours, this brings to us the second part of your question
4 4(c), where Your Honours invite us to address the significance of the
5 Siljeg report and the extent to which Praljak may have been privy to its
7 The series of HVO documents that I've just referred to clearly
8 establishes that Praljak was privy to the information contained in
9 Exhibit P1351, including HVO crimes. They show it was Praljak and Siljeg
10 who were essentially co-directing the HVO military operations in Gornji
11 Vakuf. Everything that Siljeg knew about the events in Gornji Vakuf,
12 including the crimes referred to in Siljeg's report, were undoubtedly
13 known to Praljak. Pursuant to Petkovic's order of 24 January, Siljeg was
14 to report directly to Praljak, Brada, about Gornji Vakuf. There was no
15 reason for Siljeg to withhold any information from Praljak contrary to
16 Petkovic's order. We know that this report of Siljeg was sent to the
17 Herceg-Bosna government, the Herceg-Bosna Defence Department, and the HVO
18 Main Staff. And it reported the HVO crimes in Gornji Vakuf. Why would
19 Siljeg have withheld that information from Praljak when it was reporting
20 all of this information to the government, the Defence Department and to
21 the Main Staff?
22 Praljak knew the scale and the violent nature of the crimes
23 directed against the Muslim population as referred to in Siljeg's report.
24 Exhibit P1351.
25 And, Your Honours, the Chamber should dismiss, therefore,
1 Praljak's challenges to the Trial Chamber's findings on his contribution
2 to the Gornji Vakuf crimes.
3 And now for the booths, I'm going to skip ahead to paragraph 86
4 of my outline.
5 I'm going to address, Your Honours, Praljak's contribution and
6 awareness of the HVO crimes at Mostar, and in the course of doing that,
7 I'll address your question number 8 and then I will conclude my remarks
8 with a response to your question number 2 related to the Old Bridge.
9 In regards to Mostar, Praljak claims he should be acquitted of
10 any crimes that occurred prior to his taking command of the HVO
11 Main Staff on the 24th of July, 1993, as well as any crimes after his
12 departure and return to Croatia on the 9th of November, on the grounds
13 that he was not involved in implementing the common criminal plan in
14 Mostar during those periods. This is General Praljak's brief at
15 paragraph 483. As to the post-November 9th period, Your Honours, Praljak
16 has not been convicted of those crimes what occurred in Mostar or
17 anywhere else after he quit the HVO on the 9th of November. In volume 4,
18 paragraph 1228, the Trial Chamber found that he ceased being a member of
19 the joint criminal enterprise at the time he left on the 9th of November.
20 See our respondent's brief on that at paragraphs 177 and 179. So he's
21 not responsible for what happened after the 9th of November.
22 In terms of his responsibility for what happened prior to taking
23 formal command of the HVO Main Staff on the 24th of July, we say that
24 Praljak's misapplying the law of JCE when he claims he is not responsible
25 for what happened in Mostar before the 24th of July. He was a member of
1 the JCE from mid-January and he's therefore responsible for crimes
2 committed by co-JCE members prior to the 24th of July, 1993, during the
3 time that he was exercising de facto control rather than de jure control
4 over the HVO armed forces.
5 So, Your Honours, it's our position that he was properly
6 convicted of all JCE 1 crimes committed in Mostar during the period of
7 his JCE membership.
8 Now, regarding Praljak's contribution to crimes committed in
9 Mostar after the 24th of July, 1993, when he was commander of the HVO
10 Main Staff and therefore exercising de jure authority and effective
11 control over the HVO armed forces, Praljak claims that the Trial Chamber
12 relied only on his functions as commander of the HVO Main Staff in
13 finding that he contributed to the crimes. See his brief, paragraphs 428
14 and 431. He claims he didn't know about the crimes in Mostar, and that
15 he did not possess the requisite mens rea.
16 But before considering what he knew and how he contributed, let's
17 first recall the situation in Mostar. And I'm going to do this briefly
18 because I need to make sure to answer your questions 8 and 2.
19 So the situation in East Mostar while Praljak was commander of
20 the HVO Main Staff. The HVO shelled East Mostar "daily, intensely, and
21 closely." That's volume 2, paragraph 1000.
22 One international told the Trial Chamber that from
23 September 1993, when Praljak was commander, East Mostar received on
24 average between 20 to 100 HVO shelling impacts per day. That's volume 2,
25 paragraph 1000.
1 The densely populated Donja Mahala neighbourhood was hit not only
2 by artillery and intense shelling, but also by improvised explosive
3 devices in the form of tires filled with explosives that would be rolled
4 into the town from HVO positions. Volume 2, paragraph 1005.
5 The HVO conducted a test dropping two napalm bombs on
6 Donja Mahala neighbourhood in August of 1993. It is referred to in a
7 report directed to the HVO Main Staff, Praljak's Main Staff on the 17th
8 of August. That's Exhibit 4265, volume 2, 1006.
9 The Trial Chamber found that HVO sniping targeted women, children
10 and elderly. People were targeted while carrying out daily activities
11 like fetching water. Volume 2, paragraph 1185.
12 What's more, when Praljak took command of the HVO Main Staff,
13 waves of evictions of Muslims were happening already, well under way,
14 from West Mostar across the Neretva River into East Mostar. This did not
15 stop once Praljak took over. The campaign of violence, expulsion and
16 appropriation of Muslim housing in West Mostar continued unabated.
17 As I mentioned on Monday, during this period the number of
18 Muslims living in besieged East Mostar, Your Honours, increased from
19 20.000 to 55.000 by late August 1993. Volume 2, paragraph 1200. The
20 conditions were horrendous.
21 So what was Praljak's role in all of this. The Trial Chamber
22 reasonably concluded that Praljak played an important role in planning
23 and directing the military operations in Mostar municipality during the
24 time he was commander of the HVO Main Staff. Paragraph -- volume 4,
25 paragraph 579.
1 On assuming command of the HVO Main Staff, Praljak asserted firm
2 control over the HVO armed forces. Within two weeks, his Main Staff took
3 over command of what he called the defence of Mostar. That's
4 Exhibit P3983. Praljak's order of 12 August 1993 mobilized all the
5 manpower and materiel of the HVO armed forces to eliminate the Muslim
6 terrorists from Mostar. Volume 4, paragraph 579. This order placed an
7 HVO rocket and artillery regiment under the direct command of Praljak's
8 Main Staff. Volume 1, paragraph 801. Thereafter, this artillery
9 regiment sent reports to Praljak's Main Staff, including a report dated
10 25 August 1993 on its "intensive operations against targets in Mostar."
11 That's P4495.
12 On the 1st of September, Praljak issued an order on HVO military
13 operations in Mostar, a one objective of which was to clear Mostar of
14 Muslim armed forces and in subsequent offensive operations to take
15 control of Mostar. That's P4719. On the 24th of September, he issued a
16 report to all Herceg-Bosna combatants entitled "Situation on the Mostar
17 front," informing HVO armed forces of various developments, expressing
18 his pride in their successful operations and exhorting them on to "new
19 victories for the HZ(R)HB and all Croatian men and women. P5365,
20 referred to at volume 4, paragraph 579.
21 Your Honours, the level of Praljak's control and involvement in
22 the HVO's Mostar operations confirms the Trial Chamber's finding that he
23 participated in directing and planning HVO operations in Mostar as
24 commander of the Main Staff. It is inconceivable that the substantial
25 commitment of HVO assets, its men, its materiel to perpetuating the
1 prolonged siege and attack on the Muslim population in East Mostar,
2 including organised HVO operations to evict Muslims from West Mostar,
3 targeting East Mostar with dozens or even hundreds of shells every day
4 organised teams of snipers, it is inconceivable that this could have
5 occurred for over three months, from the 24th of July to the 9th of
6 November, 1993, without the knowledge and steadfast approval of the
7 commander of the HVO Main Staff.
8 Praljak's control and responsibility for the crimes in
9 East Mostar was even confirmed by Croatia's leadership, specifically
10 Defence Minister Susak when he was confronted with the HVO's crimes in
11 East Mostar by US Ambassador Galbraith. On the 31st of August 1993,
12 Galbraith spoke to Defence Minister Susak about reports of heavy shelling
13 in East Mostar. He reported in the cable that he warned Susak of the
14 potentially disastrous consequences should UN personnel be injured by HVO
15 shelling. The cable states that: "Susak promised he would be
16 immediately in touch with HVO Commander Praljak to demand a stop to the
17 shelling." That's P9506.
18 At trial, the Chamber asked Galbraith: "Were you certain that
19 there was a link between Mr. Susak and Mr. Praljak and Mr. Praljak and
20 the bombing?"
21 And the answer was: "Yes."
22 Croatia's conduit in Herceg-Bosnia had the authority to turn the
23 HVO shelling on and off. The Chamber reasonably concluded that Praljak
24 contributed to the HVO's crimes there and intended them.
25 This brings me, Your Honours, to your question 8. You've asked
1 us to consider whether the Trial Chamber made necessary findings on
2 specific intent to spread terror and what the impact would be if the
3 Trial Chamber were found not to have given a reasoned opinion on that.
4 Our answer is that although the Trial Chamber did not explicitly
5 say that Praljak possessed specific intent to spread terror, it did make
6 the findings to that effect. As I'll explain in a little bit of more
7 detail in a moment, the Trial Chamber correctly set out the law. It
8 made, secondly, the underlying factual findings on terror. It found the
9 HVO intended to spread terror, and it found Praljak intended the
10 underlying components of the terror campaign. These findings make clear
11 that in convicting Praljak of this crime, the Chamber concluded that he
12 possessed specific intent to spread terror.
13 First, on the law, the Trial Chamber addressed the elements of
14 unlawful infliction of terror on civilians as charged in Count 25 in
15 volume 4, paragraphs 195 to 197. It cited the appeals judgement in the
16 Galic case when citing the elements.
17 Second, throughout the judgement the Trial Chamber makes
18 appropriate factual findings that the crime was committed. I referred to
19 a number of these findings already in my submissions on Mostar and
20 Praljak's contribution. The shelling, the siege, the sniping, the
21 overcrowding, the conditions.
22 In volume 3, paragraph 1689 to 1692, the Trial Chamber explicitly
23 found that by intensely shelling and sniping at the Muslims of East
24 Mostar, deliberately destroying the mosques as well as the Old Bridge,
25 blocking humanitarian aid, targeting internationals, all the while
1 keeping the civilians there in this increasingly overcrowded enclave,
2 "the HVO primarily intended to spread terror among the civilian
3 population of East Mostar." That's volume 3, paragraph 1692.
4 And this is a point that was raised by His Honour Judge Meron
5 yesterday, the finding that it was the HVO that intended terror, and I
6 will return to this in a moment, Your Honour.
7 If the HVO was anyone, it was Slobodan Praljak between the 24th
8 of July and the 9th of the November, 1993. He contributed in multiple
9 ways to those means that were used to spread terror in East Mostar. He
10 intended the destruction of the structures and the mosques, the
11 deliberate targeting of civilians, the murders, the woundings, physical
12 and psychological abuse, and attacks on internationals. That's the
13 Trial Chamber's finding at volume 4, paragraph 586.
14 After making its underlying findings in volumes 2 and 3, the
15 Trial Chamber expressly included unlawful infliction of terror as among
16 the JCE 1 crimes in volume 4, paragraph 68. The Chamber expressly
17 included the HVO's crimes against East Mostar in the crimes intended by
18 Praljak. Volume 4, paragraphs 586, 625. Only after all of that did the
19 Trial Chamber convict him of Count 25, in volume 4, paragraph 630.
20 So yesterday, Your Honour, Judge Meron, you referred to the Galic
21 appeals judgement and you drew the distinction between the intent of the
22 accused versus the intent of a force. That's at transcript page 88. And
23 indeed the Trial Chamber did find that the force, the HVO, intended
24 terror. That's at volume 3, paragraph 1692. But it did not stop there.
25 As I've just indicated, the Trial Chamber then went on to
1 expressly include the crimes directed against East Mostar which form the
2 basis of the overall terror finding and included those crimes in the
3 crimes intended by Praljak. And it then went on to include those crimes
4 in its finding of what was -- what were the crimes of -- the shared
5 intent crimes of the JCE 1 and ultimately convicted Praljak of the crime
6 of intent to spread terror.
7 And so, Your Honours, we say that the only reasonable
8 interpretation of all these findings is that the Trial Chamber was
9 satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Praljak and not just the
10 HVO who possessed specific intent to spread terror among the civilian
11 population. And although the Trial Chamber could have made a more
12 explicit finding on this point, there is no error or reason to invalidate
13 Praljak's conviction. On this point, I refer Your Honours to the Martic
14 appeal judgement, paragraph 181.
15 In any event, if the Appeals Chamber finds there is insufficient
16 reasoning in the judgement to uphold Praljak's Count 25 conviction, its
17 own examination, your own examination, Your Honours, of the evidence and
18 the underlying factual findings will lead to the same result of finding
19 that Praljak intended to spread terror.
20 In volume -- sorry, question 2, Your Honours, you have asked what
21 would be the impact on the Trial Chamber's findings on persecution and
22 infliction of terror as to Stojic and Praljak should it conclude that the
23 Trial Chamber erred in finding that the destruction of the Old Bridge
24 constituted wanton destruction as charged under Count 20?
25 Our assumption, based on the parts of the Stojic and Praljak
1 briefs that Your Honours have referred us to, is that Your Honours are
2 inquiring what would be the impact if it were determined that the
3 shelling attack on the Old Bridge was a proportionate, lawful attack;
4 that is that the attack was justified by military necessity as opposed to
5 the Trial Chamber's finding that it was a disproportionate attack.
6 Were Your Honours to determine that the attack was justified by
7 military necessity, there would be an impact on Stojic and Praljak's
8 convictions for persecution and terror but it would be minimal.
9 Before explaining why, I would like to preface my answer with an
10 observation that forms the foundation of the Prosecution position on the
11 relation between the crimes of wanton destruction, persecution, and
12 intentional infliction of terror as applied to the attack on the
13 Old Bridge.
14 If the Old Bridge was targeted primarily to spread terror, if it
15 was destroyed in order to contribute to the HVO's persecution campaign,
16 then its destruction was not justified by military necessity. And this
17 holds true whether or not the Old Bridge remained a military target on
18 the date of its demise, the 9th of November, 1993.
19 But on your question, a determination that the attack on the Old
20 Bridge was proportionate and lawful would mean that the destruction of
21 the Old Bridge could not form a part of the persecution and unlawful
22 infliction of terror counts -- convictions, I should say. This is
23 because the attack would not have been carried out with the primary
24 intent to inflict terror or with the intent to discriminate. Since the
25 findings on persecution and infliction of terror are based on an
1 aggregation of numerous crimes and acts intended to discriminate against
2 the Muslims or to inflict terror on those in Mostar, Stojic and Praljak's
3 convictions for those crimes under Counts 1 and 25 would remain intact.
4 On this, we refer Your Honours to the Trial Chamber's findings on the
5 violations underpinning persecution, volume 3, paragraphs 1694 to 1741.
6 And the findings such as shelling and sniping that comprise the overall
7 finding on the crime of terror. Those are at volume 3, paragraphs 1689
8 to 1692.
9 The destruction of the Old Bridge is just one feature of this,
10 and so the persecution and terror convictions would stand even if the
11 destruction of the Old Bridge is not a part of them. That said,
12 Your Honours, we would offer these submissions on the unlawfulness of the
13 destruction of the Old Bridge in response to the appellants' submissions.
14 The attack implicates several different crimes as Your Honours
15 know, wanton destruction, persecution, infliction of terror. All are
16 distinct crimes with elements, none of which can be considered in
17 isolation. Above all, we stress that the attacks must be considered in
18 the context of the HVO's protracted campaign of persecution, shelling and
19 sniping, that is, terror, directed against the Muslims of Mostar. We
20 know that by November of 1993, the HVO and these appellants had for ten
21 months been attacking, killing, imprisoning, violently expelling and
22 deporting Muslims throughout Herceg-Bosna. This was ethnic cleansing on
23 an extraordinary scale and it was on discriminatory grounds. We know
24 that the conflict in Mostar began in early May 1993, and that from that
25 point until the 9th of November, when the bridge collapsed into the
1 Neretva River, the ABiH held a narrow slice of territory on the west bank
2 of the Neretva River and during this period the Old Bridge was used as a
3 supply line for both the ABiH and the large Muslim population, civilian
4 population living in Donja Mahala on the west bank of the Neretva. So
5 the Old Bridge was a lawful military target, but the totality of the
6 evidence shows it was not targeted for that reason.
7 We know that the repeated shelling attacks targeting the
8 Old Bridge on the 8th of November rendered it completely unusable, that
9 although it was still standing it could be considered destroyed. That's
10 what the Trial Chamber found at volume 3, paragraphs 1300 and 1318. In
11 other words, the bridge no longer had any military value. There was no
12 military advantage to be gained by bringing about its complete
13 obliteration and collapse into the river on the following day, the 9th.
14 We know that the impetus for the final attack on the Old Bridge
15 was not anything that had happened in Mostar. The impetus for this
16 attack was the fall of Vares to the ABiH forces in distant
17 Central Bosnia. The fall of Vares is expressly referred to by Petkovic
18 in his 8 November 1993 attack order, P6534. The Trial Chamber reasonably
19 concluded that the attack on Mostar on the 8th of November was a reaction
20 to the fall of Vares. That's at volume 2, paragraph 1301.
21 The European Community Monitors, the ECMM, in Bosnia, in Mostar,
22 concluded the same thing on that very day. At volume 2, paragraph 1352,
23 the Trial Chamber relied on an ECMM report of 9 November 1993. The ECMM
24 assessment was:
25 "The timing of the HVO action against the Old Bridge in Mostar
1 could be linked to events in Vares and explained as a bloody-minded
2 revenge. The consequences of its destruction should not be
3 underestimated. It produced a feeling of despair in East Mostar,
4 evidenced by the senior Muslim politicians literally reduced to tears.
5 Evidence presented to ECMM convincingly demonstrates the targeting was
6 deliberate and sustained. By choosing to destroy a monument to ethnic
7 tolerance, the HVO have sent a strong but negative message to the
9 So, Your Honours, this attack was a payback, it was retribution.
10 If the Old Bridge was targeted primarily to spread terror, if it was
11 destroyed to contribute to the persecution campaign, its destruction was
12 not justified by military necessity. IHL makes this clear. That an
13 object may be a lawful target does not mean that IHL, international
14 humanitarian law, will automatically authorise its destruction.
15 Identifying a potentially lawful target is just the beginning of the
16 inquiry. And the inquiry here leads to the conclusion that the ultimate
17 destruction of the Old Bridge was not the result of a thoughtful, good
18 faith application of the proportionality test.
19 In his brief, Stojic refers to the literature telling us that a
20 bridge is the archetypical military target. His brief paragraph 160. As
21 though this bridge was no different --
22 MR. KHAN: Objection. Mr. President, I've remained seated on
23 several occasions when my learned friend has used his opportunity to
24 respond to General Petkovic's submissions by including the name and
25 arguments of Mr. Bruno Stojic. Now, to raise arguments that are
1 contained in our brief is to -- is to deny the appellant Mr. Stojic the
2 right to respond, and I would ask that he be prevented from doing so.
3 Your Honour, these arguments could have been raised yesterday.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's hear what Mr. Stringer has to say and
5 then we'll decide.
6 Yes, Mr. Stringer.
7 MR. STRINGER: I think counsel's point is somewhat well taken. I
8 think the better solution is to allow them to respond to us if the
9 Chamber is so inclined. The Chamber's question number 2 --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: No, I would skip straight away to your next
11 argument because I don't think what you did is the right thing to do.
12 MR. STRINGER: Very well.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you.
14 MR. STRINGER: And so in considering the Trial Chamber's finding
15 on the lawfulness of the destruction of the bridge, we submit,
16 Your Honours, that the bridge was not destroyed because it was a military
17 target, otherwise it would have been destroyed earlier, much earlier, in
18 this lengthy campaign and siege.
19 The cultural icon of the Old Bridge was destroyed in the latter
20 stages of a lengthy and violent ethnic cleansing campaign. It was
21 destroyed as retribution for events that had occurred in Vares, far
22 removed from the Mostar battle-field. Its destruction was an attack
23 directed against the Muslims of Mostar, not the ABiH. It was intended to
24 spread terror and despair among the Muslim population who had been
25 hanging on in Mostar since the siege started five months earlier, to
1 extinguish any hope that their ordeal might end or their situation might
3 And so Your Honours' ruling affirming the unlawfulness of the
4 destruction of the Old Bridge on the 9th of November would not undermine
5 international law. It would not affect or -- it would not certainly be
6 inconsistent with a finding that the destruction of the bridge was not
7 lawful. It would, in fact, affirm that military commanders who do not
8 apply principles of IHL in good faith, those whose targeting decisions
9 are demonstrably intended to terrorise and persecute civilians based on
10 ethnicity will find no protection in the law of armed conflict.
11 Now, if Your Honours have any -- no more questions on this or any
12 of my submissions, I'm ready to pass the floor to my colleague,
13 Ms. Finnin.
14 Let me make one correction. Line 75 -- transcript page 75,
15 line 23 should read "volume 1," paragraphs 195 to 197, not "volume 4."
16 MS. FINNIN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. My name is
17 Sarah Finnin and I will be addressing questions 6 and 7 which relate to
18 Stupni Do and conditions of confinement at Dretelj and Gabela. For the
19 remainder of Praljak's arguments concerning Vares and his role in
20 detention centres, we rely on our written response to Grounds 32, 45, 46,
21 and 54.
22 In question 6, Your Honours have asked us to address whether the
23 evidence establishes that Praljak knew UNPROFOR was seeking access to
24 Stupni Do between 23 and 25 October 1993 and that he sought to prevent
25 such access. Your Honours have asked us to focus in particular on
1 Exhibits P6068 and P6073.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Kindly slow down, please. Thank you.
3 MS. FINNIN: I intend to give Your Honours a short outline of our
4 answer and then I'll address each of our points in more detail.
5 Our answer to Your Honours' question is yes. The HVO's own
6 communications as well as UNPROFOR and ECMM reports establish that in the
7 days immediately following the attack on Stupni Do, Praljak and others
8 within the HVO Main Staff were aware of allegations of a massacre.
9 Instead of taking swift action against the perpetrators, they facilitated
10 efforts to keep UNPROFOR out of the village for as long as possible,
11 buying time while the HVO attempted to cover up their crimes.
12 The two exhibits Your Honours have referred to in the question
13 tell part of this story. In the next few minutes I will put those
14 exhibits in the context of what was occurring at the time, both on the
15 ground and within the HVO Main Staff.
16 The Chamber found that HVO special units under the command of
17 Ivica Rajic attacked the Muslim of Stupni Do on the morning of Saturday,
18 23 October 1993. During the attack, HVO soldiers murdered 28 civilians,
19 including women, elderly, and children as young as 2. Some were shot at
20 close range. Others had their throats cut. Many were burned alive in
21 their homes. Volume 3, paragraphs 410 to 467.
22 UNPROFOR became aware of the attack on Saturday afternoon when
23 patrols in the area sighted smoke and heard firing coming from the
24 direction of the village.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I ask a question, please. What was the date
1 on the Saturday afternoon?
2 MS. FINNIN: That was 23 October 1993.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
4 MS. FINNIN: UNPROFOR became aware of attack on the Saturday,
5 23 October. That's P7838, page 2, and P10202, pages 1 to 2.
6 They immediately made attempts to reach the village. For three
7 days these attempts were consistently blocked by HVO soldiers who set up
8 roadblocks, mined check-points around the village, and fired on UNPROFOR
9 vehicles. P7838, page 2.
10 For those three days, the village continued to burn. P6098, and
11 P10202, pages 1 and 8.
12 In the view of UNPROFOR's force commander, it was clear that the
13 HVO troops were "attempting to hide from us the atrocities they had
14 committed." P6182.
15 But under unrelenting pressure from UNPROFOR and in the face of
16 widespread allegations of a massacre the HVO finally broke.
17 On Monday, 25 October, Un Military Observer Patrick Martin
18 managed to convince Commander Rajic to escort him through Stupni Do.
19 P7838, and P10202, pages 7 to 10. Then believing there was nothing
20 implicating them in a massacre, the HVO at last gave UNPROFOR full access
21 to the village. So on Tuesday, 26 October, UNPROFOR's Nordic Battalion
22 was allowed in, along with other internationals and members of the press.
24 Despite the HVO's attempts to tamper with the scene, enough
25 evidence remained for UNPROFOR to confirm that a massacre had occurred.
1 P6182, and P10084, paragraphs 19 to 22.
2 The Trial Chamber reasonably concluded that Praljak was
3 specifically informed of murders and destruction of property occurring in
4 Stupni Do no later than 5 November 1993. That's volume 4, paragraph 595.
5 This was the day he attended a meeting with Tudjman and other key JCE
6 members where the events of Stupni Do were discussed at length. P6454.
7 However, the Chamber also recognised that Praljak was aware of
8 allegations of crimes well before this meeting, when UNPROFOR was seeking
9 access to the village. That's volume 4, paragraph 621. This finding is
10 well supported by the evidence.
11 The evidence establishes that Praljak began receiving reports
12 about what had happened in Stupni Do on the very same day as the attack.
13 That Saturday evening, Rajic sent a one-page report to Petkovic. P6026.
14 Praljak admitted to receiving this report at around 11.00 that same
15 night, 23 October. Transcript page 41900.
16 In this report, Rajic states that in the morning hours he carried
17 out an attack on Stupni Do and that "some civilians were killed."
18 In the days to follow, reports of a massacre began to spread.
19 On Sunday, 24 October, international representatives on the
20 ground are reporting to their superiors about a suspected massacre at
21 Stupni Do. For example, P6055.
22 UNPROFOR's Nordic Battalion has already been tasked with getting
23 into the village to search for signs of a massacre. P6053, page 3.
24 And UNPROFOR Command has already informed the HVO's liaison
25 officer of their concerns and has sent a letter of protest to Boban and
1 Petkovic. P6053, page 3.
2 The HVO Main Staff - Praljak's HVO Main Staff - immediately goes
3 into damage control. Their liaison officer to the UN tries to placate
4 UNPROFOR, dismissing claims of a massacre as doubtful. P6049.
5 But by Monday, 25 October, the HVO has lost control of the story.
6 Croatian TV is claiming to have footage of the massacre, and the
7 Main Staff in Citluk is scrambling to come up with a position. That's
8 6104 and P6091.
9 By now, Rajic has escorted Patrick Martin through Stupni Do and
10 believes there are no bodies to be found as "the area has been cleaned
11 up." P6102.
12 Armed with Rajic's assurances that no footage of the massacre
13 exists, the Main Staff issues an announcement denying the allegations.
14 P6102 and P6083.
15 Late that evening, that's 25 October, Petkovic is summoned to
16 UNPROFOR to discuss access to Stupni Do. P6144, and P6454, page 59.
17 It's at this point that the HVO finally buckles under the pressure.
18 Petkovic writes to Rajic urgently, ordering him to "allow the UN to enter
19 Stupni Do tomorrow, whatever the consequences (understand that the more
20 difficult it is made for them, the worse it is for us)." P6078, and also
21 P6454, pages 59 to 60, and P6144.
22 The following day UNPROFOR is given full access to the village.
23 The evidence shows that during this critical period, Praljak and
24 the HVO Main Staff facilitated Rajic's efforts to keep UNPROFOR out of
25 Stupni Do.
1 I'll now take Your Honours to two examples which illustrate this.
2 The first example is a series of orders or reports coming from
3 within the HVO Main Staff on 24 and 25 October. And this includes the
4 exhibits referred to in Your Honours' question.
5 At 5.00 p.m. on Sunday evening, that's the 24th, as UNPROFOR is
6 continuing to seek access to Stupni Do, Rajic submits a report about
7 UNPROFOR directly to Praljak himself. This is P6067. Rajic asks Praljak
8 to please warn UNPROFOR to withdraw. And he states: "If not, we shall
9 be forced to intervene and we cannot be held responsible for the
11 As I said, Rajic's report was addressed to Praljak. Within just
12 hours, Rajic receives a reply. P6066. That reply comes from Tole,
13 Praljak's Chief of Staff. It orders that anti-armour weaponry be
14 positioned around UNPROFOR and that UNPROFOR be warned that they will be
15 destroyed if they interfere with the HVO's combat activities.
16 Through this order the Main Staff has effectively authorised the
17 use of force against UNPROFOR. It is inconceivable that Tole, Praljak's
18 Chief of Staff, would do this without Praljak's approval, that he would
19 direct the HVO to essentially blockade UNPROFOR and potentially engage
20 them in combat.
21 That evening, UNPROFOR forces are fired upon by the HVO.
22 Transcript page 24437 to 24438, and Exhibit P2980, pages 15 to 16.
23 This brings me to the exhibits referred to in Your Honours'
25 In Exhibit P6073, Petkovic informs Praljak that "in Vares our men
1 fired at the UN and drove them away. I'm trying to rectify the
2 situation." And, Your Honours, this is coming after the HVO has fired on
3 UNPROFOR the previous evening.
4 Praljak responds in Exhibit P6068 by ordering Petkovic to
5 disguise HVO's attempts to keep UNPROFOR out of Stupni Do. He states:
6 "Do whatever it takes to give the impression that we did not drive the UN
7 away from Vares by opening fire." That's also at transcript page 24572.
8 This interaction confirms both that Praljak knew Rajic was
9 preventing UNPROFOR from uncovering the HVO's crimes and that Praljak
10 supported it.
11 Turning now to the second example. This is Praljak's order
12 issued on the evening of Saturday, 23 October.
13 As I mentioned earlier, at 11.00 p.m. on Saturday, 23 October,
14 Praljak received a report from Rajic stating that he had carried out an
15 attack on Stupni Do and that some civilians were killed. The report also
16 indicated that three local HVO officials had been placed in isolation
17 because "they attempted to obstruct the planned activities." P6026.
18 It is on the bottom of this report that Praljak handwrites his
19 order to "sort out the situation in Vares, showing no mercy towards
20 anyone." P6026 and P6028.
21 In his appeal brief, Praljak has spoken at great length about
22 this order and what it means. He claims, for example, that it isn't
23 really an order and he claims it wasn't intended to be distributed among
24 HVO soldiers. But it is order. It is an order coming from the commander
25 of the HVO Main Staff and it's treated that way. It is typed and
1 distributed by packet communication to a number of Praljak's subordinates
2 in Central Bosnia, including Rajic himself. That's P6028.
3 Praljak also claims in his brief that the Chamber misinterpreted
4 his words. He claims this instruction to sort out the situation was
5 concerned with internal problems and local quarrels within the HVO and
6 was issued in response to reports of smuggling. And he denies the order
7 had anything to do with the crimes committed in Stupni Do.
8 Even taking Praljak at his word, this misses the point. In this
9 order, Praljak does not even acknowledge Rajic's report that civilians
10 were killed during the attack on Stupni Do. He shows no concern
11 whatsoever for the possibility that his subordinates have committed
12 crimes. Instead, through this order he effectively gives his
13 subordinates, including Rajic, the very commander responsible for the
14 attack, he effectively gives them carte blanche to act however they see
15 fit. And he also gives Rajic all the authority that he needs to cover up
16 the HVO's crimes.
17 And Rajic did exactly that, giving direct orders to severely
18 restrict movement around Vares municipality while his forces attempted to
19 clean up Stupni Do. P6114, P6126, and P10080, pages 221 to 228.
20 Even when more and more alarming information emerges about a
21 potential massacre, Praljak still doesn't act to hold Rajic to account or
22 even to curb his crimes. Instead, he facilitates Rajic's efforts to
23 conceal those crimes by keeping UNPROFOR out, as we see in the
24 interaction occurring over the next two days.
25 On the basis of this evidence, Your Honours should uphold the
1 Chamber's reasonable conclusion that Praljak sought to prevent UNPROFOR
2 from accessing Stupni Do and uncovering the consequences of the HVO's
4 Unless Your Honours have any questions concerning Stupni Do, I'll
5 now move to question 7.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
7 MS. FINNIN: Before addressing Your Honours question, question 7,
8 we would first note that by virtue of Praljak's shared intent and his
9 significant contribution to the JCE, Praljak is criminally responsible
10 for all JCE 1 crimes committed in the HVO's network of detention
11 facilities, not just the crimes he was personally aware of and not just
12 the crimes he personally contributed to. That's Sainovic appeals
13 judgement, paragraph 1491; and Karemera appeals judgement, paragraphs 109
14 and 153.
15 As such, Praljak's awareness of conditions of confinement in
16 Dretelj and Gabela does not impact his criminal responsibility for crimes
17 committed in those facilitates or in any other of the other HVO detention
18 facilities. In terms of his JCE 1 liability, his awareness of the
19 conditions in those two prisons only bears on the question of his failure
20 to make any real effort to improve the conditions there, this being part
21 of his significant contribution to the JCE.
22 So to return to Your Honours' question, our answer is that
23 Praljak was aware that the conditions of confinement in those prisons
24 were so serious as to amount to crimes and he knew this by September 1993
25 at the latest, when publication of images of emaciated detainees sparked
1 international outrage. Given this knowledge, his failure to make any
2 real effort to improve those conditions properly formed part of his
3 significant contribution to the JCE.
4 Again, I'll give Your Honours an outline of our argument and then
5 I'll address each our the points in more detail.
6 The Trial Chamber took a conservative approach in its analysis of
7 Praljak's awareness of crimes committed in Dretelj and Gabela. It
8 concluded that from September 1993, Praljak was aware that the conditions
9 in Gabela were problematic enough to bring about Tudjman's intervention,
10 and that the conditions in Dretelj were poor. That's volume 4,
11 paragraphs 609, 611, 614. However, the evidence establishes much more
12 than that.
13 In light of the information that was available to Praljak once he
14 took control of the HVO Main Staff on 24 July 1993, it is simply
15 implausible that he was not aware of the deplorable nature of the
16 conditions to which Dretelj and Gabela detainees were subjected.
17 Even before taking up that position, Praljak was already playing
18 a crucial role as the link between Croatian officials and members of the
19 HVO, a role that required that he remain informed of developments on the
20 ground in Herceg-Bosna and that he keep Croatia informed of those
21 developments. As a result, the only reasonable conclusion was that
22 Praljak was aware, just as Tudjman was, that the conditions in those
23 prisons were so serious as to amount to crimes.
24 And yet despite having the power to put a stop to those crimes,
25 Praljak allowed them to continue. It was only in the face of an
1 international scandal which forced Tudjman himself to intervene. It was
2 only then that Praljak did anything. And even then, he made no real
3 effort to remedy the conditions. In the end, nothing really changed.
4 I'll spend the next few minutes taking Your Honours through each
5 of these points in more detail.
6 Beginning with Praljak's knowledge of the conditions in Dretelj
7 and Gabela. I'll take Your Honours through some of the information that
8 was available to Praljak during the relevant period, information that was
9 either in the public domain or information that was otherwise available
10 to him. But before I do that, I'll just spend a moment setting out the
11 situation regarding the camps at the time Praljak took over as HVO
12 commander on 24 July.
13 Your Honours will recall that on 30 June 1993 Petkovic issued an
14 order which resulted in a massive campaign to arrest and detain Muslim
15 men. Volume 4, paragraphs 57 and 890. By the time Praljak took over as
16 commander of the HVO Main Staff on 24 July, several thousand Muslim
17 detainees were already unlawfully detained in both Dretelj and Gabela.
18 By that time, that's 24 July, the conditions in which those detainees
19 were being held were already so serious as to constitute inhumane acts
20 and inhumane treatment. As Galbraith testified, by that time, 24 July,
21 the US had been putting pressure on Croatia to put a stop to HVO crimes,
22 including inhumane conditions of detention for over a month. That's
23 transcript pages 6424 to 6425, 6477 to 6480, 6505, and 6541.
24 Also by that time, 24 July, while international representatives
25 had not yet been permitted access to Dretelj and Gabela, there was
1 growing concern about the treatment of detainees. For example,
2 transcript pages 17255, 17265, 17267 to 17268, and Exhibits P3271, P3952,
3 and P4863.
4 That was the situation Praljak faced when he took over from
5 Petkovic as commander of the HVO Main Staff. In just over a month,
6 conditions at Dretelj and Gabela became world news. By the end of
7 August, there was graphic evidence of the appalling conditions at
8 Dretelj, graphic evidence which was immediately reported on by the press.
9 Praljak claims in his brief that he wasn't aware of this press coverage
10 at the time. Before addressing Praljak's claim, let me just take
11 Your Honours to what was being reported and where.
12 The reports on conditions in the camps initially came from a
13 group of Muslim detainees who were released in late August and forced to
14 cross the front line into ABiH-held territory in Jablanica. That's
15 2D411, page 3; P977B; and transcript page 17266.
16 Your Honours, if we could go into private session for just a
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Let go into private session, please.
19 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
23 MS. FINNIN: Thank you.
24 As described in Exhibit 4D801, page 3, the shocking images of
25 those detainees "went around the world, just like those of the Omarska
1 camp inmates a year before."
2 For example, footage of those detainees appeared on both French
3 TV 5 and also on Croatian TV. Your Honours, in just a moment we will
4 play that footage for you. It takes about a minute. It's Exhibit P977A,
5 identified at trial by Malovic at transcript pages 14342 to 14344, and
7 JUDGE AGIUS: May I remind you that you have just under ten
8 minutes left.
9 MS. FINNIN: Thank you.
10 [Video-clip played]
11 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "These people just arrived to
12 Jablanica a bit earlier during their release. Their Croat captors amused
13 themselves by forcing them to run under rifle fire. Four people got
14 killed on that occasion. Their skinny bodies bear witness to a horrible
15 treatment they underwent and their statements reveal bestialities.
16 Packed in warehouses, starved, unbearably thirsty. In order to survive
17 they had to drink their own urine.
18 "Detention in the Dretelj and Gabela camps confirms again the
19 daily horror that reigns in detention camps in Bosnia. According to the
20 testimonies collected by the UNHCR, they were constantly beaten and
21 burned with cigarettes. Some of them died immediately. Croatian
22 soldiers amused themselves by opening fire from automatic rifles on
23 warehouses where they were kept. Thirty of them got wounded in that way.
24 In addition to physical, there was also mental torture. They had to sing
25 the songs that were derogatory for Muslims. UNHCR employees claim that
1 those people are nowadays desperate and humiliated. In the Dretelj camp,
2 there are allegedly two to two and a half thousand detainees."
3 MS. FINNIN: The transcript of that video is attached to
4 Exhibit P977A.
5 An interview with UNHCR spokesperson Ray Wilkinson was also
6 broadcast on CNN and Croatian TV. That's Exhibit P977B, identified at
7 transcript pages 14471 to 14474. In that footage, Wilkinson described
8 what these former Dretelj detainees were telling UNHCR about the
9 conditions and he expressed UNHCR's concern that the conditions were
10 deteriorating rapidly.
11 Praljak denied seeing or even being told that this footage
12 existed, footage that appeared on Croatian TV. He claimed at trial, for
13 example: "I wasn't watching television during those days, nor did I have
14 the time or possibility to do so." Transcript page 44328.
15 Praljak's claim that he was unaware of the seriousness of the
16 situation and the attention it was getting in the international press is
17 simply not worthy of belief. Particularly in light of the evidence that
18 Praljak was taking a very active interest in the way the media was
19 reporting on the conflict. This is revealed, for example, by his angry
20 complaints to ECMM in late September that: "He was not prepared to see
21 more stories claiming that the Muslims are the victims." P5356, pages 2
22 to 3.
23 In any event, Praljak admitted that in light of the international
24 scandal, Tudjman himself was forced to react. Transcript page 44332. By
25 6 September, that's one week after the story of the Dretelj detainees
1 broke, US ambassador Galbraith had met with Croatia's Foreign Minister
2 Granic. P9057. Galbraith urged "in the strongest possible terms" that
3 Zagreb demand the Bosnian Croats grant immediate access to detainees.
4 That same day, 6 September, Tudjman sent a formal letter to
5 Mate Boban calling on him to ensure international humanitarian law
6 regarding the treatment of prisoners was strictly observed. P9497, pages
7 5 to 6, and also Galbraith, transcript pages 6505 to 6509, and
8 Exhibit P9508.
9 It's in the midst of all this that Praljak was allowing members
10 of the press into the prisons, when images of emaciated Dretelj detainees
11 were already appearing in the news, when Tudjman and other senior
12 Croatian officials were being put under increasing pressure by the US to
13 take action, and when the ICRC was finally being allowed entry into
14 Dretelj and Gabela. This is when Praljak began to take action.
15 Information about the conditions continued to emerge throughout
16 September. And on 14 September, even the UN Security Council was
17 expressing "its profound concern over recent reports that Bosnian Croats
18 have been holding Bosnian Muslims in detention camps under deplorable
19 conditions." P5047.
20 By 24 September, Praljak himself was forced to admit during a
21 meeting with ECMM that Dretelj was "a bad thing." P5356.
22 In light of this evidence, Your Honours, the only reasonable
23 conclusion was that Praljak was aware that the conditions in Dretelj and
24 Gabela constituted crimes by September 1993 at the latest. In fact, it
25 was his job to know. Praljak was not only commander of the HVO
1 Main Staff. He was also the link between Croatia's senior leadership and
2 the HVO. As Mr. Stringer has already outlined, it was his job to provide
3 advice to Croatia's leadership regarding the military and political
4 situation in BiH and to implement Croatia's policies on BiH territory
5 through his authority over the HVO. So once the international pressure
6 regarding the conditions of confinement in HVO detention facilities
7 became so great that Tudjman himself was forced to do something, it was
8 Praljak who stepped in and gave the impression that something was being
9 done. When in reality very little changed for the detainees in those
11 The Chamber carefully examined Praljak's claims to have taken
12 steps to improve conditions and it reasonably concluded that these
13 measures did not constitute a real effort to remedy the situation. This
14 conclusion is supported by the Chamber's factual findings that crimes
15 continued in Dretelj until it closed in early October 1993. And rather
16 than being released, many Dretelj detainees were transferred to other HVO
17 facilities including Gabela. There the crimes continued into
18 December 1993.
19 In these circumstances, the Chamber was correct to treat
20 Praljak's failure to remedy the conditions in those military prisons as
21 part of his contribution to the JCE.
22 Unless Your Honours have any questions, that completes our
23 response to Praljak's appeal.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: No questions. You have three minutes left.
25 MS. FINNIN: That completes our submissions, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you very much.
2 Yes, Ms. Pinter, your client took ten minutes. You had still
3 about five, six minutes left. So you have 25, 26 minutes.
4 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 I have reorganised myself during the break and I believe I will
6 succeed in saying all that I wished.
7 First of all, I would like to follow up on my presentation on
8 appeal and then I would proceed to respond to the Prosecution.
9 The Defence of Slobodan Praljak wishes to draw the attention of
10 the Appeals Chamber, that in assessing the grounds of appeal and the
11 determinations, the findings of the Trial Chamber in their verdict,
12 should bear in mind that the charges against Slobodan Praljak refer to
13 the time of the fiercest offensive in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that findings
14 should be made based on the actual state of facts and context of the time
15 not in the general vision of an armed conflict between two armies, which
16 would be impossible. The Defence also wishes to draw your attention to
17 the fact that it's necessary to assess the incidents and events in the
18 context in which they belong, that is to say, regarding Slobodan Praljak,
19 to the extent that he was able to present the context and as we see it
20 from the case file, the testimony of witnesses and all our submissions.
21 The grounds of our appeal and the underlying arguments which we
22 adhere to in full point out to such a number of errors in law and in fact
23 made by the Trial Chamber, that is to say, the majority of the Trial
24 Chamber, and thereby negation of law and especially violations of due
25 process that even you cannot remedy. The Trial Chamber should have
1 enabled the equality of arms to the parties in the presentation of
2 evidence. They should not have given advantage to any of the sides in
3 the presentation of evidence, according to Article 2.4 of the Statute.
4 The points in our appeal to the effect that Slobodan Praljak was deprived
5 of a fair trial because the presumption of innocence principle was
6 violated as well as the principle of equality of arms and the premises of
7 fair trial, there were also violations of Article 23.2 of the Statute
8 described in grounds of appeal 5, 10.1, 37.2, 49, 50.1, paragraphs 558,
9 and Ground 55.1 and 53.
10 Without any statement of reasons given by the Trial Chamber,
11 Slobodan Praljak was also deprived of his right to appeal. Equality of
12 arms was described in Grounds 39.1, 52, 51, and 53, as well as 10.1,
13 because the procedural rights of Slobodan Praljak and those of the
14 Prosecution were not balanced, and we are right in saying that Slobodan
15 Praljak did not have the right to a fair trial.
16 In addition to that, the facts were not determined properly and a
17 reduction of facts also leads to a negation of justice. Da mihi factum,
18 dabo tibi ius is still a valid legal principle. Failure to apply the
19 standard beyond a reasonable doubt is described in grounds of appeal 4,
20 9, 10.1, 12, 15, 20, 23, 38.2, 39.3, 41.3, 42, and 44.1.
21 The Trial Chamber also failed to apply the standard in dubio pro
22 reo that we referred to in our ground of appeal 38.
23 With regard to the ground of appeal 50, in connection with the
24 introduction of Ratko Mladic's diaries, we elaborated it in
25 paragraphs 539 to 565 of our appeal brief.
1 With the improper procedure described with all the references to
2 findings and Defence submissions and the admission into evidence of the
3 written statement ground of appeal 50.1, paragraphs 547 and 548, the
4 majority made a decision with the intent of Slobodan Praljak regarding
5 the joint criminal enterprise and joint criminal purpose without giving
6 Slobodan Praljak the possibility to confront the said evidence, to
7 provide explanations and to respond. More detail is given in
8 paragraph 564 of Ground 50.2. We heard more today about Mladic's diaries
9 and the evidence they are supposed to provide in a deformed procedure, we
10 submit, we led to violations of Defence rights and the right to a fair
12 In our ground of appeal 51, the Defence points out that the
13 Trial Chamber, that is to say, the majority, resorted to reducing some
14 facts, simplifying them, which simplification necessarily leads to errors
15 in findings and determination of key facts by rejecting a considerable
16 number of Defence evidence. I am referring especially to the dissenting
17 opinion of the Presiding Judge of the 16th of February, 2010, which
18 dissenting opinion explains why he does not agree with the majority. The
19 groundless simplification and reduction of facts that were to be assessed
20 meant, as far as Slobodan Praljak is concerned, a conviction with regard
21 to the existence of the JCE, de facto control, effective control, and at
22 the same time there was a failure to apply the in dubio pro reo
24 By decision of the Trial Chamber, that is to say, the majority,
25 most of the decisions regarding Slobodan Praljak were made by the
1 majority, Defence evidence was rejected, evidence that was in response
2 and in rebuttal of Prosecution evidence. Slobodan Praljak did not
3 receive certification to appeal, and the Trial Chamber applied a double
4 standard to the Prosecution and to the Defence.
5 Concerning relevance, other failures to admit Defence evidence is
6 referred to in paragraphs 567 to 576 of our appeal brief. It is
7 impossible to respond to all the charges in the indictment if the Defence
8 is not given the opportunity to present the events and the reasons why
9 certain incidents happened.
10 The Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna did not exist in a vacuum.
11 General Praljak did not operate in a vacuum. Before making a verdict,
12 the Trial Chamber needs to have at its disposal all the available facts
13 in order to arrive at a just verdict. Events cannot be taken out of
14 context. It is impossible to judge the mens rea of General Praljak
15 without determining the pattern of conduct. His motivations, his
16 actions. And if all of this together is not linked into a causal nexus,
17 it is impossible to make a finding on criminal intent without hearing
18 evidence that explain the reasons for the conduct of the president of the
19 Republic of Croatia, the HVO, and General Praljak.
20 It is not in doubt that the crimes charged in the indictment have
21 been committed. However, in order to conflict General Praljak of these
22 crimes, it is necessary to make a comprehensive presentation of events,
23 not a partial one. It is necessary to assess the conduct of the
24 international community. What were the actions of the important
25 international players and what they said about the events in
2 I wish to draw your attention also to the allegations in the 51st
3 ground of Prosecution's appeal pursuant to Rule 92 bis evidence and
4 especially the statements regarding the Mujahedin in Central Bosnia and
5 the situation in Central Bosnia. Such evidence and statements were
6 rejected as irrelevant.
7 In footnote 1298 of the appeal brief, there are numbers of
8 statements that were rejected, especially the statement of Ali Ahmad Ali
9 Hamad [phoen] and the transcript of his evidence in case IT-04-83-T. The
10 position of the majority that witness statements referring to the
11 Mujahedin and the events in Central Bosnia, Travnik, Bugojno, Kakanj were
12 not relevant to the present case was erroneous because it was precisely
13 the Prosecution that claimed in its indictment that one of the ways of
14 conducting, carrying out the JCE was the unjustified terrorising and
15 intimidation of Croats, telling them that they are threatened by the
16 Mujahedin in order to achieve reverse expulsion and transfer of Croats
17 from Central Bosnia to Herzegovina.
18 The stand of the majority regarding these statements, namely that
19 they were irrelevant, was certainly erroneous and, as such, enabled the
20 finding from paragraphs 54 and 55 of volume 4 that HVO and
21 Slobodan Praljak conceived a transfer of Croats and the threat from the
22 Mujahedin in the absence of any real danger.
23 Furthermore, I would like to emphasise our ground of appeal 53
24 just to show the bias of the Trial Chamber regarding the Defence of
25 General Praljak. The Chamber rejected the expert report of
1 Professor Sakic, paragraph 377, volume 1, and concluded that the report
2 was not credible because it originates from the Ivo Pilar Institute which
3 is associated with the Croatian government and Croatian Intelligence
4 Services, which casts doubt on the impartiality of expert Sakic.
5 However, neither the Republic of Croatia nor its intelligence services
6 were parties to the case.
7 At the same time when expert Sakic was rejected as an expert
8 because of his association with Croatia, Witness Tomljanovich was
9 presenting his report which was admitted by the Chamber and it served as
10 a basis for the judgement. The Defence of General Praljak finds this
11 conclusion of the Chamber as partial against Slobodan Praljak and judges
12 such a finding as a confirmation that his basic right to a fair trial and
13 the standard of presumption of innocence were violated.
14 In his reply to the appeal, the Prosecution emphasises that the
15 appeal of General Praljak is repetitive, that we repeat arguments and
16 facts made during the trial and which were rejected at the time. It is
17 true that we are reiterating arguments even now, not only in our appeal
18 brief, we are repeating them in our submissions because they need to be
19 heard and read, and most importantly, Slobodan Praljak, in view of his
20 general right of the accused to receive clear and precise reasoning as to
21 which acts or omissions justify the rejection of his arguments and
22 evidence, what he should have done differently, more or better than he
23 had done, in order to receive a verdict that gives a proper answer to his
24 questions so that he may understand why he was convicted [as
1 The errors of the Trial Chamber emphasised in our appeal brief
2 were made against the rights of Slobodan Praljak. The Appeals Chamber
3 cannot remedy them. It would be contrary to the generally accepted
4 standards in the appeal procedure to try to remedy them now. The
5 violations were made during the criminal procedure, and we should remain
6 in that procedure. So we stand by our submission that Slobodan Praljak
7 should be acquitted on all charges and that the judgement, due to all the
8 errors made, should be invalidated and a re-trial be reordered.
9 That would be all our submissions for now, but if we have any
10 time left, I would like to proceed to respond to the Prosecution's reply.
11 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, could I please be heard very
13 We have just heard at least 20 minutes of Praljak appeal, which
14 should have been a part of the appeals submissions. I'm going to be
15 asking Your Honours to give us those three minutes, back, if I may.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: You have three minutes. You have three minutes.
17 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] It wasn't up to me. How much time
18 do I have left? My colleagues are telling me to ask that first.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Two minutes.
20 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I wanted to say one thing, something
21 that we wanted to make part of our appeal, which is to invoke
22 Judge Trechsel's separate opinion in volume 5, page 18, whereby he said
23 that nobody should be asked to do something that they are not obliged to
24 do. It had to do with the response to the question about Gabela and
25 Dretelj. Somebody should not be charged with something that they were
1 not obliged to do.
2 As regards the other answers to your questions, perhaps my
3 learned friend Mr. Stringer can reply first and then I might make use of
4 a minute or two I have left.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm giving Mr. Stringer three minutes. Because
6 rather than replying to his submissions, you raised new issues. I was
7 expecting that because we gave you the floor during the reply time. So,
8 however, we have to rectify that.
9 Mr. Stringer, you have three minutes.
10 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Grateful for your
11 willingness to be flexible.
12 Just a few words in response to the submissions on the Mladic
13 diary entries.
14 The Trial Chamber, after granting the Prosecution motion to
15 re-open its case, the Mladic diaries came in at the very latter part of
16 the case, granted the Prosecution -- allowed the two excerpts that
17 Your Honours have seen in these proceedings. The Chamber then invited
18 the Defence to file motions to re-open in order to respond to those which
19 had been admitted.
20 Slobodan Praljak tendered 24 exhibits, 22 of which were found by
21 the Trial Chamber not to have any bearing on the diary entries or really
22 much relevance to the case at all. He tendered also an expert -- well, a
23 report of a handwriting expert but he tendered it under Rule 89, ICTY
24 Rule 89 as opposed to 94 bis on experts, and the Trial Chamber very
25 correctly ruled -- excluded the expert report.
1 Praljak never indicated to the Chamber what it was he would say.
2 He never made a submission that would justify re-opening his case, and
3 the Trial Chamber had no basis on which to really make a decision as to
4 whether the standards for re-opening had been met or would be met by
5 whatever it was that Slobodan Praljak wanted to say because he never gave
6 the Trial Chamber any indication whatsoever. It did note, however, that
7 his desire to actually tender some of the Mladic diaries indicated that
8 it was inconsistent with his challenges to the diaries on the other hand.
9 Finally the Chamber offered and allowed him the opportunity to
10 brief and make submissions on the diaries in closing submissions, and
11 then at the closing submissions themselves, Defence counsel told the
12 Chamber that he did not wish to expand, in closing argument, on the
13 submissions made in the final trial brief about the Mladic diaries. So
14 Praljak didn't give the Chamber a sufficient basis in which to re-open.
15 He was granted nonetheless the opportunity to address this in closing,
16 both written and orally.
17 And then last point, Your Honour, as we've heard, Banovina,
18 division of Bosnia, those points that are referred to in the Mladic diary
19 entries are found throughout lots of other evidence in this case and they
20 don't have an impact.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Stringer. Thank you, Ms. Pinter.
22 Yes ... yes.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you,
24 Your Honour. My recollection is vastly different. It is not the Trial
25 Chamber, it is the majority --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, wait. Stop.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, Your Honour, if you're going to be allowing
3 the Prosecution to make these arguments -- very well.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Karnavas, please sit down.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Finished. We will reconvene tomorrow
7 morning at 9.30, and it will be Defence for Mr. Petkovic.
8 Finished, Ms. Fauveau. Finished.
9 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [No interpretation]
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.15 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 23rd day of
12 March, 2017, at 9.30 a.m.