1 Monday, 6 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you quality
6 case number, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. Case
8 number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'd like to greet
10 the representatives of the Prosecution, Defence counsel, the accused and
11 everyone else in the courtroom.
12 As you're well aware, I'll be giving the floor to the parties to
13 comment on the reduction of time allocated for the presentation of the
14 Prosecution case, but I would like to congratulate Mr. Karnavas for having
15 been elected as president of the Defence counsel. I do this on behalf of
16 all the Judges, and I'm sure that his competence will be of great benefit
17 for all of us and to the Rules Committee as well. On behalf of the
18 Judges, I'd like to congratulate Mr. Karnavas.
19 As I said, I'll now give the floor to the Prosecution for 15
20 minutes so that they can make known their position as far as the plan to
21 reduce the time granted to them for their case is concerned.
22 Mr. Scott, you have the floor for 15 minutes.
23 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours. Good
25 As the Prosecution was thinking about these -- this question, we
1 were -- reflected back on a similar presentation that we made to the
2 Chamber before the trial started and it seems to us that some of those
3 points are equally relevant today and I'll try to move as quickly as
4 possible but at the same time address points that are extremely important,
5 obviously to the Prosecution, and I think to everyone in the courtroom.
6 And I have taken a liberty of putting a few points on the PowerPoint
7 presentation so I would ask our case manager to pull up the first slide.
8 Mr. President and Your Honours, I start with this slide just to
9 remind everyone that the entire Tribunal, not just the Office of the
10 Prosecutor, moved in the direction of these larger so-called megatrials as
11 a move to greater overall efficiency in completing the docket, the heavy
12 docket of this institution. Nonetheless, it had to be known that these
13 megatrials, these leadership trials would be large, difficult and complex
14 and certainly in conducting these trials it should not be done to the
15 disadvantage or the prejudice of the Prosecution.
16 I also start, of course, with the fundamental notion that the
17 Prosecution and in its representation of the victims of the alleged
18 crimes and the international community is fully entitled to a fair trial,
19 a fair trial just as equal -- equally fair to the Prosecution as to the
20 Defence. Not almost as fair, not somewhat as fair, just equally as fair
21 the -- as to the Defence, no more and no less. We start with that as our
22 fundamental premise.
23 Indeed, this institution has recognised the importance and the
24 burden the Prosecution has in telling an entire story and putting on its
25 case. Unlike the Defence, of course, we have the burden to present our
1 entire affirmative case. In the absence of agreement we simply have no
2 alternative but to put on the evidence that we believe is reasonably
3 necessary to sustain the burden that we shoulder.
4 Based on these premises, Your Honours, the Prosecution starts --
5 in fact, starts from the premise that, and certainly the hope that the
6 Chamber intends to give and will give the Prosecution and the victims and
7 the international community a fair trial. Based on this, we have to
8 assume or understand that the Chamber has some ideas in mind on how to
9 move the trial more efficiently but at the same time fairly, in fairness
10 to both the Defence and in fairness to the Prosecution, and to the victims
11 and to the international community. Because of this, Your Honours, the
12 Prosecution cannot really fully state its position today without knowing
13 additionally what steps the Chamber has in mind for conducting the trial
14 more efficiently, because certainly, and it is our bottom line position,
15 certainly it would not be fair, it is not fair, to simply make a dramatic
16 cut in the Prosecution's case with a full burden and the consequences of
17 efficiency only being shouldered by the Prosecution to it's prejudice.
18 It is unfair and really not meaningful ultimately, Your Honours,
19 to talk about measuring the pace of the trial according to a 12-month
20 calendar, because a calendar can mean anything. It depends on how it's
21 defined. A calendar year can mean anything from 52 five-day weeks, eight
22 hours a day. It can mean 30 weeks a year, two days a week. It simply
23 means nothing until defined.
24 In this trial, a Prlic trial year is approximately 40 weeks --
25 taking into account all the holidays and recesses, 40 weeks, four days a
1 week - approximately, and not counting the breaks - in actual courtroom
2 time, approximately four hours. That equals a trial year of 640 hours.
3 Now, of course in this context, Your Honours, the Prosecution,
4 just as the Defence, can only be accountable for its own time. We have no
5 control over the -- what the Defence does or what the Chamber does.
6 Questions that the Judges ask, the procedural matters, we have no way of
7 controlling that and, certainly, Your Honour, we cannot be held
8 responsible or accountable for anything but our own time.
9 To date the Prosecution has been averaging approximately five and
10 a half hours a week of direct examination time. Now, the basic numbers
11 that we're looking at then, as of the numbers that the registry, and
12 thanks to the registry, produced on Friday, as of the 2nd of November we
13 have -- the trial has take approximately 330 hours and 30 minutes. The
14 Defence cross-examinations have taken approximately 126 hours, procedural
15 matters and Judges' questions have taken almost 105 hours, and the
16 Prosecution's time has taken a little less than 103 hours. I note, Your
17 Honours, that of the three categories the Prosecution is at the bottom of
18 the list. The bottom of the list.
19 The basic numbers, then. We have called 44 Prosecution witnesses
20 in 75 days. Of course, we've also tendered two 92 bis witnesses so far
21 that have been accepted, so we've actually presented 46 witnesses to the
22 Chamber so far. Again, a trial day is four hours. A trial week is 16
23 hours. The Prosecution has used a total of 102 hours and 40 minutes.
24 Now, you can do the math and that's -- for 44 witnesses, that's an average
25 of 2.3 hours per witness. Of course some have been longer, the experts,
1 some of the political witnesses, some might call policy witnesses; some
2 have been shorter. And many of the crime base witnesses will be shorter.
3 But, Your Honours, I must say I have been doing this work now for 26, 27
4 years and I've conducted a lot of large, complex cases and there is no --
5 with all respect there is no intellectually honest, fair-minded person who
6 can say an average of 2.3 hours to conduct an examination - on average -
7 of witnesses is unreasonable and dilatory. It is moving with remarkable
8 speed given a case of this size and complexity.
9 At the beginning, the Prosecution and the Chamber asked this
10 question before trial, computed that we would need based on our assessment
11 approximately 450 hours of direct examination. That's what we told the
12 Chamber in April. We remind the Chamber that the Chamber's already cut 50
13 hours from our case before what it is considering now. To cut an
14 additional 100 hours would mean cutting a full third of the Prosecution's
15 original time estimate which we believe was realistic based on an actual
16 analysis of our case.
17 Now, can steps be taken to work more efficiently? The
18 Prosecution, and I'm sure the Defence will say the same, the Prosecution
19 will certainly work with the Chamber to find ways to make the trial
20 proceedings more efficient, if this can be accomplished in a fair way and
21 without the full burden of any efficiencies being visited only on the
22 Prosecution, which in our respect -- in our respectful submission,
23 Your Honours, would be completely unfair. Not only unfair to the
24 Prosecution, this Prosecution team, but unfair to the victims who deserve
25 a full day in court and they deserve to have their claims heard and fairly
1 adjudicated, and the international community deserves a fair trial.
2 We have tried -- we've been -- various efforts to identify and
3 possibly narrow the disputed facts. We spent a huge amount of effort in
4 the pre-trial phrase to do that through exchanges of proposed agreed
5 facts. We have continued doing that.
6 The next slide.
7 Even in the past few weeks. We have submitted additional
8 proposals to the Defence since the end of August for possible agreement as
9 to certain -- the basic facts and certain facts in the Prozor crime base
10 area, the Gornji Vakuf crime base, and now we're starting today the
11 Jablanica crime base. Unfortunately this has not been productive. Again,
12 Your Honour, that means that the Prosecution has no alternative but to
13 present its full case, all of its evidence on each element of each offence
14 in a way that we believe satisfies the burden of proof that we have.
15 We said at the beginning of trial that we intended to make
16 extensive use of Rule 92 bis, and we hoped many of these witnesses,
17 especially as to crime base, especially as to witnesses who have testified
18 before, would not have to come for additional cross-examination. I
19 just -- I remind the Chamber that there are two -- at least two motions
20 pending now for two witnesses to be accepted on a 92 bis basis without
22 We have talked about the use of written evidence. This
23 institution has certainly by the rules committee and by the Plenary
24 Sessions indicated a desire and a decision to go in the direction of more
25 written evidence, not the strong preference for oral evidence that existed
1 at the beginning of this institution some years ago, but to accept more
2 evidence in writing. We have stated our intention to use those tools to
3 the full advantage and we've attempted and will continue to attempt to do
5 We've also had a number of discussions about how exhibits might be
6 taken and handled more efficiently, and Chamber just last week invited us
7 to make submissions today, other submissions today, on how that might be
8 done, and we continue to urge the Chamber, as you will see in our
9 submissions today, to adopt a flexible approach to the reception and the
10 admission of documentary evidence that is fully consistent with the
11 jurisprudence and practice of this institution.
12 Can the day-to-day mode of conducting trial be revised to work
13 more efficiently? Maybe the Prosecution has ideas. Maybe the Prosecution
14 has some ideas. Maybe the Chamber has ideas. Perhaps the day-to-day
15 questioning of the witnesses can be taken in a more efficient manner. I
16 simply put that out for additional discussion.
17 The Defence cases. I say this, Your Honour, not to cast any
18 stones but of course the Prosecution must take the position that if such
19 stringent time limits are put on the Prosecution case we can only insist,
20 we will only be able to insist that very same stringent positions be put
21 on the Defence cases. If the Prosecution case is limited to 300 hours we
22 would understand the Chamber to be saying the six Defence cases in total
23 would be limited to 300 hours, and I can assure the Court that we would be
24 very unhappy if we found that the same type time constraints imposed on
25 the Prosecution were not placed on the Defence.
1 Finally, as we said again in our submissions in April, if the
2 Chamber essentially puts us in a position with all respect of proving what
3 we might consider an extremely limited, rather skeletal case, then we
4 would expect and we would ask and we would hope that the Chamber will then
5 give us the opportunity to put on a substantial rebuttal case once
6 additional issues are identified in the course of the Defence cases,
7 because we will not under any circumstance, unless something dramatically
8 different is doing -- is done - excuse me - other than simply whack off a
9 hundred hours of the Prosecution case, we will not be able to put on a
10 fair and reasonable case.
11 That is our submission, Your Honour. We -- as I said, we stand
12 ready to work with the Chamber on all levels to find more efficient ways
13 to proceed in a way that that burden is shared by all in the courtroom,
14 including the Defence and, with the greatest of respect, including the
15 Chamber and its staff and the Prosecution, and without prejudice to the
16 Prosecution and the victims and the international community. I must say,
17 Your Honour, I must conclude my remarks by saying the victims of this case
18 in particular, the victims of the alleged crimes, deserve a fair trial.
19 Anything less than that, anything less than that would be a shame.
20 Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for your very
22 interesting comments, Mr. Scott, and in particular the slides that we saw
23 were very useful. It was possible for us to follow what you were saying
24 more clearly as a result of the use of the slides. So thank you for this
25 very efficient statement of your position which will make it easier for
1 the Judges to discuss the matter later on. But we will now be paying just
2 as much attention to what the Defence has to say. The Defence has,
3 roughly speaking, the same amount of time at their disposal. I believe
4 Mr. Murphy will be taking the floor on behalf of the Defence teams.
5 Mr. Murphy, you may take the floor.
6 MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Mr. President,
7 Your Honours.
8 There are two issues that will Trial Chamber has asked us to
9 address today. One relates specifically to the possible modification of
10 the decision on evidence of the 13th of July, and then there's the more
11 general question of the limitation of time that Mr. Scott has just dealt
12 with, and perhaps it would be convenient if I were to begin with a shorter
13 subject, which is the decision of the 13th of July.
14 As I understand it, Your Honour, we -- the Trial Chamber is of the
15 opinion that the decision of the 13th of July should essentially remain in
16 effect but with some modification to provide some flexibility for
17 statements that cannot be shown to witnesses in the course of direct
18 examination. Your Honour, the Defence had some discussion on this, and we
19 do have a proposal to make which I will make now, and there will be time
20 for the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution to reflect on it.
21 We suggest that one method of dealing with this would be to have a
22 witness execute an additional witness statement limited to the question of
23 the identification of documents with which that witness is familiar, and
24 that would be a statement independent of any other evidence that the
25 witness might give, and it could be disclosed to the Defence at some
1 reasonable time beforehand, and that -- that statement, Your Honour, could
2 then be tendered under Rule 89(F). We would only ask in that event that
3 the Defence be given a reasonable amount of time for cross-examination.
4 It may be that in some cases the witness would have nothing else
5 to give evidence about except to identify certain documents. It may be
6 that, on the other hand, this evidence would be additional to other
7 matters the witness deals with. But it would be a relatively simple
8 matter for the Trial Chamber to provide the Defence with a little
9 additional time, with the understanding that that would be dedicated
10 exclusively to any necessary cross-examination about the documents in
12 Your Honour, we have two other smaller proposals that might
13 assist. The -- the Trial Chamber has referred to difficulties in
14 complying with guideline 6 of the order of the 13th of July in explaining
15 to the Trial Chamber why a particular document is necessary for the case.
16 I only have the French version of the order with me today, but the
17 wording, Your Honour, in that version: "Raisons pour lesquelles la partie
18 estime que cette piece est indispensable a la determination de l'affaire."
19 Your Honour, we would submit that that provision may be unnecessary. We
20 would recommend that it simply be deleted. If a party -- if a party can
21 demonstrate that the document is in fact relevant and has some probative
22 value, we submit that that would be a sufficient premise for the motion,
23 and it would also remove any suggestion that if the Trial Chamber finds a
24 document to be necessary or "indispensable", it would avoid any suggestion
25 that the Trial Chamber simply by admitting it is assigning necessarily
1 degree of weight to that particular document that the word "indispensable"
2 rather suggests. So we would suggest that that might make the guidelines
3 somewhat easier to work with.
4 The last thing, Your Honour, is in the very first line of
5 guideline 6. There is a reference to the Prosecution as being the party
6 which is entitled to make a motion. We would anticipate, Your Honour,
7 that the Defence might eventually be in the same position and we would
8 invite the Trial Chamber to consider amending the first line to read "The
9 parties," rather than simply "the Prosecution" would be entitled to make
10 such a motion.
11 Your Honour, the second matter I have to deal with is the broader
12 question of the further limitation of time that Mr. Scott has just dealt
13 with, and by way of introduction to that, I would like to say,
14 Your Honours, that like Mr. Scott I have been engaged in legal practice
15 for many years, more than 35 years, and it's a tradition in my
16 jurisdiction that with some degree of seniority counsel has some
17 entitlement to address a Trial Court with a little more candor than might
18 be the case with a more junior member of the bar, while of course being
19 respectful. And I hope Your Honours know by now that I have the utmost
20 respect for each member of the Trial Chamber.
21 Your Honour, the first thing I want to say is that the Defence
22 supports the Prosecution's position as expressed by Mr. Scott today. This
23 is a case of enormous size and complexity. Now, we on the Defence side
24 have in the past advocated that the indictment should be reduced in size,
25 and it has been our consistent position that if that had been done, the
1 trial would be much smaller in scope and would last for a shorter period
2 of time. But given that that has not happened, we take the position that
3 the Prosecution is entitled to a fair trial and to present its case in as
4 much fullness as it considers necessary. We say that, Your Honour, both
5 as a matter of principle and -- and, to be quite candid, as a matter of
6 self-interest, because as Mr. Scott has indicated today quite logically,
7 what has happened to the Prosecution could equally well some months from
8 now be happening to the Defence, and we would be opposed to that. And
9 candidly, Your Honour, in 35 years of legal practice, I have never known a
10 Trial Chamber to step in and cut a party's time to such a drastic degree,
11 especially when the trial has been under way for something like six
13 Your Honour, it seems to the Defence that the focus of this trial
14 has somewhat shifted from being a search for truth in this very complex
15 case to being an exercise to complete it within deadlines that have been
16 imposed from outside. A good example of that which affects the Defence as
17 well as the Prosecution is the indication given by the Trial Chamber that
18 you intend to deduct time for objections from the time of the party who
19 makes those objections.
20 Leaving aside the practical problems, for example, that certain
21 counsel tend to make objections on behalf of all the accused, it puts us
22 in a conflict in representing our clients between exercising two very
23 important functions, both of which are elements of a fair trial. One is
24 engaging in a full cross-examination, and one is making a record through
25 objections. And, as Your Honours know, the Appeals Chamber has repeatedly
1 taken the position that if one does not make a record at trial then the
2 Appeals Chamber will not consider that ground of appeal, if necessary,
3 later on in the proceedings. So we're in the position now where we must
4 trade time exercising one important function for time exercising another,
5 but it's our submission that the accused is fully entitled to a fair trial
6 and that involves counsel having the full latitude to exercise both of
7 those important functions.
8 There's also, Your Honour, an issue of due process. Because we're
9 now in the position where this Trial Chamber has imposed restrictions of
10 time on every aspect of the trial, whereas accused who are currently in
11 other trials are not subject to those restrictions, and indeed those
12 restrictions have not been applied to previous trials in this Tribunal,
13 and I take as an example the trial of General Blaskic, which obviously is
14 connected closely with this case, where there was one accused, and
15 allowing for the fact that there was a certain period when the trial would
16 meet and then recess quite frequently, that trial took approximately two
17 years to conduct.
18 Now, Your Honours, it seems to us looking over all the changes
19 that have been made that what has happened here is not simply a change in
20 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, but what has happened here is
21 something of a change in the mode of trial itself. In 1994, Judge
22 Cassese, the first President of the Tribunal, on the occasion of adopting
23 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence made a statement in which he said the
24 mode of trial of the Tribunal was intended to be adversarial, but very
25 recently Judge Pocar, in his address to the United Nations, said that the
1 adversarial mode of trial had to some extent now been superseded by a
2 system of trial in which there was a much greater degree of judicial
4 Your Honour, the Defence has no objection to the inquisitorial
5 mode of trial as such. We recognise that it can be perfectly fair. But
6 the problem is that there is certain procedural protections that have to
7 be in place under that system, including having a Prosecutor who has the
8 obligation to investigate in the interests of all parties and to produce a
9 dossier of the evidence. And in addition, the change of mode of trial has
10 been introduced several months into the trial itself.
11 Now, Your Honour, we -- we on the Defence side recognise that the
12 Judges of the Trial Chamber are very concerned with the issue of fairness,
13 and I hope that that will not be in doubt by virtue of anything that I'm
14 saying, but the Defence takes the position that this change of the mode of
15 trial and particularly with the restriction on time has made the trial
16 unfair both from the point of view of the Prosecution and the Defence.
17 And finally, Your Honour, I draw attention to this: That there
18 can be no fair trial without a fully independent judiciary. And from the
19 moment when the conduct of the trial is governed by the completion
20 strategy rather than the considerations of fairness to the parties, the
21 independence of the judiciary is clearly compromised. And because we know
22 that that is not Your Honours' intention, we wish to draw your attention
23 respectfully at this time so that it can be considered before the trial
24 proceeds any further. Because, Your Honour, what's at stake, as Mr. Scott
25 so eloquently indicated, is also the fairness of the trial to the
1 international community and, in part, the legacy of this Tribunal itself.
2 Your Honour, I -- I want to conclude, if Your Honours will allow
3 me, by saying one other thing very briefly. Like all Defence lawyers,
4 from time to time I make objections and file motions when I think
5 something has gone wrong with the trial, but like many other lawyers, I'm
6 often invited to speak at forums outside the -- the premises, and on those
7 occasions invariably defend the fairness of this Tribunal and its
8 procedures, and I become angry if somebody criticises my Tribunal on those
9 occasions. And, Your Honour, the Defence, just as much as the
10 Prosecution, is invested in the success of this trial, obviously for
11 different reasons, and we will work with the Trial Chamber to make sure
12 that we work to the maximum degree of efficiency, and we invite the Trial
13 Chamber to -- to reprimand us whenever we do not. But, Your Honour,
14 what -- what we cannot, with all due respect, agree to is having the --
15 the trial compromised by deference to external deadlines.
16 Your Honour, this has been, candidly, one of the most difficult
17 submissions I have made in 35 years of legal practice. I'm glad that it's
18 over, and I hope that the Trial Chamber will to some extent be assisted by
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Murphy. We
21 listened with attention to what you've said, and of course we're going to
22 examine the points one by one, everything that you put forward, and we
23 will particularly bear in mind everything that you said.
24 Now, you raised a subject which should be discussed today, that is
25 to say the admissibility of exhibits, and I'll briefly give the floor to
1 the Prosecution for them to tell me their point of view, because this was
2 not mentioned when Mr. Scott was speaking a moment ago.
3 To summarise, you have made a proposal, an innovative one, and
4 extremely interesting at that, which is if a witness has the possibility
5 of writing out a written statement about documents as well, so that the
6 Prosecution need not present the documents to him during the
7 examination-in-chief and which would later on allow the Defence to
8 cross-examine on those exhibits. So that's an interesting proposal and it
9 would be based on 89(F), Rule 89(F).
10 You have also proposed two technical invasions, one with respect
11 to paragraph 6 of our decision, of our ruling which related to the
12 order "indispensable." It is the view of the Chamber that certain
13 documents could be admitted if, in the eyes of the party presenting the
14 document are truly indispensable, that is to say that they have a
15 probative value and pertinence and relevance to a maximum level, and
16 others documents that are not at that character would not be admitted.
17 And also the third point, a technical one, and you're quite right
18 there, we substitute the term "Prosecution" for "parties." But you did
19 not respond to the question of substance, which is that we envisaged the
20 admission of documents without any witness at all. You did not address
21 that matter and made no proposals.
22 Mr. Scott, would you like to respond in written form or orally to
23 that first part of Mr. Murphy's intervention?
24 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. Excuse me. We had understood
25 and perhaps wrongly, but we had understood that this would be a written
1 submission and we have filed or are in the process of filing a written
2 submission on this point today. I do appreciate what Mr. Murphy has said,
3 and we would like to consider and take that further on board.
4 I think the Chamber -- I think the Chamber has pointed out -- made
5 the point that we would most make, and I guess our principal concern has
6 been, and speaking again with full candour, not the documents that cannot
7 be put in through a witness for various reasons, again because of time
8 constraints or because of witness unavailability or what have you. Our
9 basic proposal, Your Honour, in a nutshell is that virtually, we believe,
10 respectfully, that virtually every trial that's been conducted in this
11 institution, there has to be a reasonable mechanism for tendering at least
12 a certain amount of evidence, some say from counsel table or from the bar
13 table. We believe that's fully consistent with the Tribunal jurisprudence
14 and practice, and in our submission we outline that in more detail.
15 I am encouraged and I would take the opportunity to say that what
16 Mr. Murphy says, I think about relevance, we would agree. I think the
17 primary factor here is, is a document relevant? Is it something that will
18 assist the Chamber in conducting ultimately its task of adjudicating this
19 case? Clearly all the jurisprudence, all the jurisprudence is that this
20 Tribunal is not built on technical rules of evidence. It is to receive
21 evidence in an inclusion -- if you will, an inclusionary rather than an
22 exclusionary way. And in that context, it is indeed the relevance of the
23 document of the material that is the key criteria. We think that criteria
24 can be satisfied in a way, again, by tendering exhibits through -- from
25 counsel table, and the counsel, whether it's the Defence or the
1 Prosecution, we would certainly agree with Mr. Murphy that if it's -- if
2 the Prosecution can do it then certainly the Defence has to be able to do
3 it as well, that if the parties can put forward material that is relevant,
4 can be explained as relevant, that that is the principal criterion.
5 Thank you, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We're going to read
7 your written submission, since you have indicated to us that that is what
8 you're going to do and that you filed them this morning. I didn't know
9 about that. And in light of what Mr. Murphy has told us in his proposals
10 as well as all the written submissions, we will take everything into
11 account and give a ruling.
12 I saw Mr. Praljak on his feet. Mr. Praljak, just briefly,
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, I will be brief,
15 Your Honour. I'll speak in my own name but I think the accused agree.
16 We would like to see the victims receive satisfaction. We would
17 like -- we are in detention, that is to say, we are not at liberty, and we
18 continue to be in detention. We, too, would like to have the truth
19 prevail at this Tribunal and come out. But I would like to express my
20 concern once again on concepts. When we say "government," when we say
21 "army," when we use those concepts and terms, "political situation,"
22 being an another, the influence of the international community,
23 Yugoslavia, embargo, all those terms and concepts in order to arrive at
24 our basic goal here, which is to determine what could have been done and
25 what a person given a situation and circumstance could have done.
1 We saw with regret people here who were crime base witnesses, who
2 were raped or persons being killed, et cetera, but 90 per cent of them --
3 from 90 per cent of them we did not learn who killed these people, that
4 proceedings had not been taken. That is having we heard about. We heard
5 about these people, perpetrators going free and walking B but we didn't
6 actually hear who those people were.
7 Now, a society in war and a society out of war is a very
8 complicated thing with thousands of phenomena making up its individual
9 parts. So without being able to compare concepts such as armies, the
10 American army in Iraq and situations which get out of hand and the
11 possibility of controlling the unrest in France just because somebody in a
12 certain street in a certain town assumed a certain position, still does
13 not mean that there is enough power and authority to prevent these things
14 from happening.
15 Now, because we use concepts in this trial such as the army and
16 the fact that the German government, the German army, the German people
17 learned, for example, that in 2002 German soldiers had photographs taken
18 with the heads decapitated heads of individuals, skulls, and so on. Or in
19 Abu Ghraib just because a photographer uncovered this to the press in
20 other areas, in England, for example, did this fact come out. So I think
21 we're moving towards a situation where we are going to look at the subject
22 of crime and punishment and who is to blame just because we do not have
24 Now, you asked us to look at the different concepts of a state and
25 army, a well-ordered state, a well-ordered army or governments which --
1 governments in form with no ministers, ministers who have no telephones,
2 that we should clarify comparative models. I don't know. Perhaps New
3 Orleans after the flood. Look at situations like that. But it is not the
4 head of -- the chief of police or mayor that is held responsible.
5 I don't say that there is no other way of doing this, but we still
6 don't have this linkage, this mechanism for linking up all these different
7 things, and I think that this will lead us to ascribe blame on people who
8 could have not -- not have done otherwise.
9 Now, our lives have been disrupted, at least mine has over the
10 past six or seven years, because when journalists write about me they
11 always say that I'm a war criminal. They never say "alleged war
12 criminal" or that I have been accused of such, and my life is not worth a
13 penny unless I can establish here in the trial where the limits of my
14 blame go, how far I am responsible, how far I am not responsible given the
15 political climate and other circumstances and so on and so forth. So
16 that's what I wanted to say. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Praljak. We
18 listened to what you said. We have heard you, and we shall have that as
19 food for thought, and we shall of course be making a ruling.
20 I can see that Mr. Prlic would like to rise. I'll give him a few
21 moments to say what he wants to say.
22 THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
23 say that certain concepts ought to be cleared up. I don't know what the
24 word means for "deadlines" and time restrictions. In respect of what?
25 To -- we started -- we went to trial two years after the indictment had
1 been raised, and now the trial will last three years. If we continue
2 working at this tempo, which we do not conduct enough time to conduct
3 cross-examination of key witnesses that won't come back to this Tribunal,
4 that means another five years, which makes it a total of seven years, the
5 timeframe of seven years. And nothing can be considered to be big or
6 small unless it is compared to something else. And certain measures seem
7 at first glance to promote matters whereas they don't really. 92 ter
8 prolongs the trial and not speeds it up, because we see that we're given
9 20 minutes now for witnesses that had previously been allotted two hours.
10 That's my first point.
11 Secondly, when I speak of overall time and total time, it is not
12 up to us. It is not our responsibility. We have come to confront the
13 indictments that have been raised against us. We have briefs written to
14 the form of the indictment, objections to the form of the indictment.
15 They were refused. We asked for repeated confirmation, confirmation de
16 novo, with respect to the new circumstances. That was refused too. We
17 called for a separation of trial and that was refused too.
18 I don't accept the word "Defence," Defence teams. There are
19 various Defence teams here, six in fact. You said that there are 1.800
20 acts here with 14 degrees of responsibility. If we divide that up with
21 the total amount of time given to one Defence team, 66 hours, compared to
22 the initial 400, then it would appear that for each act and specific form
23 of responsibility and accountability the Defence has a little over seven
24 seconds for cross-examination. If we add to this when the Defence puts
25 forward its case, then this is 15 seconds for each act and form of
1 responsibility and accountability that is specified in the indictment, the
2 counts in the indictment.
3 Now, what I do want to say when I have said all this? You're
4 going to find a situation which even Kafka envisaged. We have to give up
5 our rights for a speedy trial and ask you to leave us in prison for
6 another two years, if the trial were to be a fair and just trial. So
7 please understand our position. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Prlic, for those
9 calculations and you are quite true that there are 1.800 crimes, and if
10 you divide -- your time by the number of crimes that will give you just a
11 few seconds per crime, per act, criminal act. That is something that
12 we're going to bear in mind in our deliberations.
13 So let me say that everything the parties have just said will be
14 analysed, dissected, and integrated into our ultimate ruling in response
15 to the questions raised and the elements put forward by both parties. Or
16 all three parties.
17 I see the President of the Defence Counsel Council on his feet, so
18 if Mr. Karnavas would like to stand and say something of particular
19 interest he can go ahead. If not, we can move on.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. I just wanted to point out to the Trial
21 Chamber that what Mr. Prlic said and others have said including, you know,
22 Mr. Praljak, that effectively they have -- they have and are willing to
23 waive what has been commented here as this right to an expeditious trial
24 or an expedient trial. Some would say, and I'm one of them, that the
25 right to an expeditious trial is for the pre-trial phase with the
1 understanding that the trial phase is held within a reasonable period of
2 time. That's not happening in this Tribunal. Most people at the
3 pre-trial stage will wait three, four, five years before they get to
5 But if such a right exists and is interpreted, as I believe some
6 would interpret it, that is that the trial process is expeditious. There
7 is an unequivocal waiver on the record of this particular right with the
8 understanding of rather having an expedient trial or fast trial they would
9 like to have a trial within a reasonable amount of time allowing the
10 accused, each accused, to put on their case, recognising that it's perhaps
11 insufficient for the Trial Chamber to tell the Defence, "Well, you can
12 bring that up on your case." Because that assumes that we have a case to
13 answer, and it does effectively shift the burden onto the Defence.
14 I think we have been moving in a rather fast pace, and I just want
15 to make sure that we don't move so fast that at the end we're all blamed
16 and -- with the outcome. And when I say "all," both parties and -- as
17 well as the Bench. But the record has been made, Your Honours, that
18 they're willing -- each accused is essentially willing to waive this
19 right with the understanding that the trial be held within a reasonable
20 period of time. And that waiver -- or that right incidentally can be
21 waived. It's not such a -- like a right of a fair trial. You can't waive
23 You're shaking your head, Judge Trechsel, but you can waive your
24 right to assist in your own defence. You can waive your right against
25 self-incrimination and testify. You can waive your right -- there are
1 some rights that are waivable to a certain extent. Obviously, and
2 that's -- that's my whole point, that they're waiving it to the extent
3 that they're saying, "Give us a trial within a reasonable period of time,"
4 and that's -- that's what I meant. So I hope that clears any
5 misunderstandings regarding that point.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm going to give
8 floor to my colleague.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to make
10 clear that apparently my non-verbal language can lead to
11 misunderstandings. I have not shaken my head, which would be turning it
12 like this, but I have waved it, which indicates deeper thought, which
13 perhaps you do not think I'm able of, but maybe I'm not, but I try to.
14 I would like to add one or two points. First, indeed I am not
15 quite sure to which extent one party, namely the Defence, can, as it were,
16 unilaterally waive the right to an expeditious trial. Here the
17 Prosecution goes in the same sense but it is a question I think which is
18 not really settled in any -- clearly settled in any case law. That was my
19 -- my doubts.
20 I am impressed, and Mr. Murphy has referred to it more or less in
21 passing, that there is one element which we all are aware of. So far
22 there is a clear opinion of the counts of the Security Council of the
23 United Nations that trials in first instance must be terminated by the
24 end of 2008, and one permanent member, Russia, "pour lesquelles la
25 partie", indicates very clearly that they will veto any prolongation of
1 the existence of this trial, and I would have hoped that those present
2 would address with some substance this situation which I'm afraid is
3 beyond the control of the Chamber.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may very quickly.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Not everyone at the same time, perhaps.
6 Mr. Karnavas first and --
7 MR. KARNAVAS: If I could go just very quickly, and I mentioned
8 this before. What in essence is occurring or has occurred, the Security
9 Council has placed the Tribunal and the Judges in particular in a rather
10 untenable position, because they have to decide whether they're going to
11 serve the interests of the Security Council which created this -- this
12 institution, which funds it, which drafted or approved the Statute, or
13 will they be serving the interests of justice. And I would say that for
14 me it is a very easy answer. Judges can only serve the interests of
15 justice and that's it. The Security Council, if they want to close down
16 the institution in the middle of a trial, let them do so. Shame on them.
17 They established it; they have to fund it. I think Judge Hunt was rather
18 precise and rather eloquent when he said, "If the international community
19 wishes to have tribunals of this nature then they need to fund them." And
20 they can't simply shift the burden onto the Judges to do the Security
21 Council's dirty work, as it were, to say, "You figure out a way of
22 finishing a trial within this period of time because there is no more
23 funding," and then have you share the responsibility, share the burden,
24 ensure -- and effectively take on the shame that will follow if later on
25 it turns out that the accused or the Prosecution, the victims, did not
1 have a fair -- a fair trial, did not have a fair day in this courtroom.
2 And I think that is something that unfortunately no one wishes to discuss
3 but that is what is happening.
4 We like to think about this, having an expeditious trial, I hear
5 this so often these days, and for me it's kind of a buzzword. I must say
6 and I must speak very openly and honestly. To me that's completion
7 strategy talk. Years ago we didn't talk about completion strategy, and
8 nobody dared talk about it last year or the year before. Now we're
9 talking about it openly and candidly. But I think that the Judges have to
10 stand firm and say, "We cannot provide a trial within this amount of time
11 given the complexities of these trials."
12 Mr. Murphy talked about due process and equal protection. The
13 previous cases -- granted there were lots of legal issues and procedural
14 matters that needed to be dealt with. However, when you look at -- when
15 you look at those kind of -- those cases, when you look at the
16 indictments, when you look at the level of those individuals and then you
17 look at the resources that were available and the time that was allotted
18 versus today you have these megatrials, you have individuals who are at
19 the highest level, and now even if you accept a lot of adjudicated facts
20 and even though some of the procedural issues might have been dealt with,
21 when you look and you do the comparison, one would say how is it that
22 Blaskic gets a fair trial and Prlic or Petkovic or Praljak or Stojic or
23 Coric does not.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Pusic.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Or Pusic does not get one. Why is that Kordic can
1 have so much time? Or Naser Oric, who is basically half of a count, has
2 more time than we have? I don't want to get to trial -- the issue of
3 whether one ethnicity gets more time than the other. I think that's not
4 the case. What we're talking about is, if you go back in history when
5 this institution was flush with money and they wasted it, in part they
6 were having very long trials on minor individuals, granted they didn't
7 have anybody else, but now we're at the stage where the international
8 community is rather impatient. But they need to understand we're rapidly
9 coming up to the 60th anniversary of Nuremberg. Nuremberg was the first
10 step, was the very first step in establishing international criminal law
11 as we know it today. That was the very first step. But what is Nuremberg
12 really known for also? For a flawed process, an appeal process where they
13 gave them 15 days essentially. A trial process where, well, where the
14 Defence was heavily disadvantaged. I'm not even to go into the common
15 purpose, the joint criminal enterprise, because I think that is flawed and
16 is still flawed and unfortunately this Tribunal accepted that flawed
17 concept. But when we look at Nuremberg, we see -- we see, yes, it was a
18 positive step forward. However, it was somewhat of a victors' justice
19 because it was rushed. The Defence were not given sufficient time to
20 prepare. They were not given sufficient resources.
21 I don't think we want to be in that position, and I think every
22 Judge, every Judge has to stand on his or her own and say -- look in the
23 mirror at the end of the day and say, "I gave them the very best trial I
24 possibly could. Not because the Security Council's pressure that they're
25 going to close down the institution and therefore I must rush them, but,
1 realistically speaking, you know, I gave them the very best possible trial
2 I could in light of the complexity of the trial."
3 We all understand that the trials cannot take on for four or five
4 years. We're trying to work as best as we can. But there comes a limit
5 where if you try to make the procedures so short and try to have so
6 many -- cut so many corners that effectively you're not providing a fair
7 trial. And I must go back and ask all of us in this courtroom would any
8 of us want to be tried in this fashion? Would we want to have a president
9 of a country that we represent tried in this fashion? No. Would any
10 member of the Security Council, would Mr. Bolton like to be an accused
11 over here? I doubt it. Would President Bush like this process? Would
12 Putin like to be here under this process? Granted the Russians are a
13 little upset over the Milosevic death, but frankly speaking, we should be
14 providing the sort of a trial that all of us wants for ourselves.
15 And I -- I agree with the Prosecution that they're entitled to put
16 on their case. They worked very hard. They do have a client as well.
17 Their client are the victims. Their client is the international
18 community, and I fully support their right to put on their case, because
19 if they don't get to put on their case then somehow I'm going to be
20 restricted as well, but they fulfil a particular function and that's why
21 the Prosecution has to be independent in deciding who they're going to
22 indict, how they're going to indict, what they're going to indict on. But
23 the Defence at the same time has to be given the sufficient resources, the
24 sufficient time to put on their case and to defend their clients in
25 this system. And the system is adversarial. It's not Anglo-Saxon, it's
1 adversarial. We are moving closer to the civil system and I don't have a
2 problem with that. Mr. Murphy spoke about that. But it is adversarial,
3 and, as Mr. Murphy indicated, the closer we go -- and I -- I must disagree
4 with President Pocar when he says this is more of a Judge-control process
5 now, as if we've gone -- we've stepped into the civil -- civil law land.
6 If that were the case, then we're in deep trouble because effectively what
7 is going on is, Judges are making the rules and circumventing the Statute
8 and the Statute can only be amended by the Security Council.
9 And what Mr. Murphy was pointing out and I had pointed this out in
10 the past and let me -- let me repeat it: By effectively crossing that
11 line, it means that we don't get the protections that an accused would get
12 under the civil law system while at the same time by curtailing our rights
13 to cross-examine, you are taking away the -- the necessary tools that we
14 need. That's why cross-examination, the right of confrontation is so
15 important in the adversarial position because of the different role the
16 Prosecution plays. And that's why making a record is so important as
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stewart, but please be
21 brief because everything has already been said. Go ahead.
22 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, if I thought everything had been said,
23 I wouldn't say anything at all. But I will be brief. Your Honour, there
24 is no dissent from Mr. Petkovic's Defence team from what Mr. Murphy said
25 about the Prosecution case or anything else for that matter, nor am I
1 going to enter into a debate this afternoon about the degree to which a
2 fair trial can be waived. The simple position is, we would not contend
3 that there's some general right to waive a fair trial. There are certain
4 aspects that can be waived but that's for an another day. Our position in
5 principle is simply this: That one cannot assess the time properly needed
6 to prevent -- to present the six defence cases here until the Prosecution
7 case has been presented, because it's the Prosecution case then that has
8 to be answered. So that's the earliest point at which it can be properly
9 assessed and it has to be kept under continuing review because the basic
10 principle is that the Defence have to have throughout the trial sufficient
11 opportunity and sufficient time adequately to present their defence, and
12 the right to an expeditious trial is to be fitted within that basic right.
13 The trial can go and should never go faster than is entirely consistent
14 with that essential right. And that we -- I speak for Mr. Petkovic, with
15 Ms. Alaburic this afternoon. I don't claim to speak for any other
16 defendant, but so far as any other defendant supports that principle --
17 those principles and that approach, we would be delighted, because we say
18 that's essential. What one cannot do is use the defendant's right to an
19 expeditious trial against them to cut away at their essential right to
20 have sufficient opportunity to present their own cases.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Stewart.
22 Mr. Murphy was getting on his feet, but perhaps if his colleagues
23 have already addressed the issues he wanted to it address.
24 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I think they probably have. I just
25 wanted to make sure that Judge Trechsel's question was fully answered, and
1 I think it can be answered, Your Honour, really by -- by looking at -- I
2 think it's Article 12 of the Statute that says that the Judges of the
3 Tribunal have to be independent. Of course there will always be political
4 issues regarding the funding of the Tribunal and all those things and I
5 myself hesitate to address those things in detail in open session in the
6 courtroom, but I think the important point is that it's the duty of the
7 Judges to remain independent from that and to continue to give a fair
8 trial and -- throughout the lifetime of this Tribunal.
9 If it should be that the Tribunal's life is cut short, which I
10 personally don't think it will be, but if it should be the case then, Your
11 Honour, the poor people who should not suffer from that are the accused.
12 Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, yes, your response.
14 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. One moment, and I want to preface
15 what I'm saying now by saying I appreciate very much in all sincerity the
16 very principled comments that have been made by the Defence this
17 afternoon. At the same time, I would be -- I would be delinquent if I
18 didn't observe that once again today the Prosecution has used the least
19 amount of time as anyone in the courtroom and yet here we are, and it
20 would be our time, it would be the Prosecution case that would be cut.
21 Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. What you have said
23 has been entered into the transcript. Perhaps we'll have a break soon
24 because we were to have our break in 15 minutes' time, but it might be
25 best to have a break before the witness comes into the courtroom.
1 But first I'd like to read out an oral decision that concerns the
2 admission into evidence of documents. It concerns documents relating to.
3 Witness BU. Witness BU appeared only the 12th of October 2006 the Chamber
4 decides to admit into evidence the following documents as shown by the
5 Prosecution since they have a certain relevant and probative value and now
6 I will read out the numbers of the documents slowly. P 09713 [Realtime
7 transcript read in error, "P 0971"] under seal. There is an error in the
8 transcript so I'll repeat that P 09713 under seal. And there is still an
9 error. I'll start again. You'll make me say it in English. P 09713
10 under seal. That's fine now.
11 Then P 01839, P 01955, P 01966, P 0196 -- 976. P 01976. P 08289
12 under seal, P 099 -- P 09696 under seal. I'll say that again, P 09696
13 under seal. P 08477 under seal. P 08613, P 08615.
14 The Chamber notes that the Defence is not requesting that any
15 documents be admitted into evidence in relation to this witness.
16 It's now half past 3.00. We'll have a 20-minute break and we'll
17 resume at 10 to 4.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 3.29 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 3.51 p.m.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm just concerned
23 about the exhibits that relate to Mr. Agic. Perhaps this is not the
24 appropriate time, but if we have a few minutes at the end. We've checked
25 the information that we wanted to check.
1 WITNESS: SAFET IDRIZOVIC
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, could you stand up, please.
4 I'd first like to make sure you are receiving the interpretation of what
5 I'm saying. If so, say that you can hear and understand me.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can understand you.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, could you tell me your
8 first and last name and your date of birth, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Safet Idrizovic, the 28th of March,
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm the chief of security in a
14 powerplant in Jablanica.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, have you already testified
16 before an international or national court with regard to the events that
17 took place in your country in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994, or is this the
18 first time.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have already testified.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you have already testified.
21 Could you tell us where you testified, before which court, and which case
22 was concerned?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before this court. I testified in
24 the Tuta and Stela case.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you a Prosecution witness
1 or a Defence witness in the Tuta and Stela case?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a Prosecution witness.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have another question which is
4 important. Were you interviewed by investigators from your country? Have
5 you been interviewed by investigators from your country? You have been
6 interviewed by OTP investigators, but I'd like to know whether
7 investigators or judges from your own country have interviewed with regard
8 to events that took place in your country, et cetera.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Never. Very well, then. Could
11 you please read out the solemn declaration that the usher will show you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'd like to provide you with
17 some information, sir. According to the Prosecution, you'll be spending
18 three days in The Hague to testify. So that means today, Tuesday, and
19 Wednesday. He will first have to answer the questions put to you by the
20 Prosecution, and the Prosecution will also show you some documents,
21 documents that you have certainly seen already or that you saw when you
22 met the Prosecution yesterday or this morning.
23 Once the Prosecution has completed its examination-in-chief -- the
24 Prosecution believes they'll take four and a half hours, at first sight
25 this seems to be quite a lot of time. Perhaps the Prosecution will make
1 efforts to reduce the amount of time they need. The Defence will have
2 four and a half hours for their cross-examination.
3 You mentioned General Petkovic on a number of occasions. As a
4 result, General Petkovic's Defence will have an hour and 30 minutes,
5 whereas the other Defence teams will have 45 minutes each.
6 The four Judges sitting before you may also put questions to you
7 if they believe it's necessary. As a rule, when the Judges put questions
8 to a witness, these Judges follow on from questions put to you, or we put
9 questions to you because we believe that your point of view might be
10 interesting with regard to the indictment and the questions that we are
11 putting to ourselves. The questions we ask ourselves are of two kinds.
12 Firstly, we want to know who did what exactly, and once we have obtained
13 answers to such questions, we try to establish the role each individual
14 placed [as interpreted] within the chain of responsibility. So it's
15 within such a framework that the Judges put questions to witnesses, and
16 this allows the Judges to go to the crux of the matter immediately.
17 If you run into difficulties in the hearing, inform us of the
18 fact. If you fail to understand the meaning of a question, don't
19 hesitate to ask the person putting the question to you to rephrase it.
20 The Chamber is here to help you if you feel you have difficulties of any
22 Everyone one and a half hour we have a break for technical reasons
23 and also to allow you to have a rest. Having testified for three days,
24 you'll certainly feel quite tired. That's why it's necessary to have
25 these breaks.
1 Mr. Scott, I believe that you will be conducting the
2 examination-in-chief, so I give you the floor now.
3 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
4 Examination by Mr. Scott:
5 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
6 A. Good afternoon.
7 Q. Mr. Idrizovic, I would like to move relatively quickly through
8 some of your background, but some of it is important to various aspects of
9 your testimony, so it will take a few moments.
10 I understand, sir, that you served your period of military service
11 in the JNA during the approximate period 1969 to 1971; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. During that period of service did you also receive training for
14 reserve officers which was intended to qualify you as a commanding officer
15 within the reserve units which were known at that time as the Territorial
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And in 1971, on leaving active service, did you continue as a
19 reserve officer in the Territorial Defence in the Jablanica municipality?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Is it correct, sir, that in addition to being -- acting in that
22 capacity at the time you were also employed professionally as a
23 schoolteacher in the elementary school -- in an elementary school in the
24 municipality of Jablanica during that time period?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You then -- you began a course of study at the university of
2 Zagreb, and you received a degree in political science; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You received a degree, I believe, in 1979.
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. Having obtained that degree, then did you go to work for the
7 Ministry of Defence office in the municipality of Jablanica from
8 approximately 1979 to 1983?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you tell the Judges briefly, please, when you served in that
11 particular capacity what were you -- what was your job description, as it
12 were? What were your responsibilities?
13 A. Well, my responsibilities was prescribed by the law on defence
14 that was in force in the country at the time. My duties involved
15 recruiting young men, sending them to serve in the then JNA, and then
16 assigning them to reserve JNA units or to Territorial Defence units, and
17 monitor the preparation for defence of the municipality, make defence
18 plans, et cetera, et cetera.
19 Q. And you said a moment ago you continued in this position --
20 acting in that capacity in addition to teaching school until approximately
21 1983. And then is it correct, sir, that you worked for a couple of years
22 until approximately 1985 in essentially private business?
23 A. I don't think I understood you correctly. When I worked in the
24 ministry, I was not working at the school.
25 Q. Forgive me. You did then -- yes. When you took up your position
1 with the Ministry of Defence, that was then a full-time job; is that
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. My mistake. Forgive me. And then did you spend a couple of
5 years, until 1985, in private industry?
6 A. Well, it wasn't private. It was socially owned, and it was a
7 catering establishment. It was not privately owned. It was not state
8 owned. It was what we called socially owned, as all things were in the
9 former Yugoslavia.
10 Q. And then, sir, in approximately 1985 did you return to what was
11 considered active military service as commander of the Territorial Defence
12 in Jablanica until approximately 1988?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And is it correct, sir, that your rank at that time was captain
15 first class?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, is it also correct, then, from about 1988 and really
18 continuing until the present time you then took up responsibilities as
19 chief of security at one or more hydroelectric facilities in the Jablanica
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. All right. And I just said this but just to be clear, you
23 continue in that position until the present time; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Sir, directing your attention to 1990, can you tell the Judges
1 based on your having lived in this area for a very long time what the
2 approximately demographics of Jablanica municipality was as of 1990 in
3 terms of the various national or ethnic groups.
4 A. In the papers you have the exact statistical data, but roughly
5 speaking, between 71 and 72 per cent were Muslims; about 17.8 per cent, if
6 I'm not very much mistaken, were Croats; and approximately 4 per cent were
7 Serbs. As to the rest, they were other, Yugoslavs, or other ethnicities.
8 Q. Mr. Idrizovic, the usher has just placed before you a bundle of
9 documents which we'll be using in the course of your examination. If I
10 could ask you please to look -- if you can find, please, number 8556. It
11 should also be available in e-court.
12 There are tabbed numbers there, and they should be in numerical
13 order, so I suspect 8556 is going to be toward the back or bottom of the
14 bundle, please.
15 MR. SCOTT: Perhaps the usher can assist. 8556. It may be in
16 the second bundle.
17 Q. Now, Mr. Idrizovic, this is a document from the -- part of the
18 1991 census results. And if you can find the place that lists -- gives
19 the information for Jablanica municipality.
20 A. I have found it.
21 Q. All right. This does not give percentages, but do you see that
22 for Jablanica municipalities it indicates that there were approximately
23 7.806 Muslims and approximately 2.346 Croats? Do you see that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And does that generally -- is that generally consistent with what
1 you said a moment ago just in terms of your actual life experience and
2 observation in Jablanica?
3 A. Well, I think it does, and it's not difficult to calculate either.
4 Yes, it does coincide.
5 Q. And for the -- for the Court's assistance, then are there also --
6 is there also a figure for Jablanica town, if you will, not the
7 municipality or opstina, but indicates the town is comprised of
8 approximately 1.839 Muslims and approximately 617 Croats among others?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honours, I won't take the time to go through
11 all -- other individual entries, but you'll see on the document it also
12 gives the particular breakdowns, for example, the villages of Doljani and
13 Sovici in the same way.
14 Q. Sir, moving forward the Chamber has heard a substantial amount of
15 evidence concerning the political developments in approximately 1990 and
16 the elections that were held toward the end of that year so I won't ask
17 you a lot of questions about that. But can you tell the Judges, please,
18 during -- in 1990 and in the following several years, were you a member of
19 any political party?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And had you during this time -- you say you were not a member but
22 let me just ask you. Were you active -- would you consider yourself
23 active politically during that time?
24 A. No. No, I wasn't. I supported the SDP as a multi-ethnic party
25 but without any active participation.
1 Q. Now, as a result of the elections that were held in approximately
2 November 1990, can you tell the Judges what the election results were in
3 terms of on a political party basis? Which party received the majority
4 votes, and which party received, for example, the second most votes?
5 A. In principle, the elections were - how shall I say? - democratic,
6 if you can speak of democracy at all down there, and the elections
7 expressed the will of the people, but what they showed was a catastrophe.
8 Q. Well, let me ask you. Did the SDA party win the biggest portion
9 of the votes and the H -- the party known as the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 win the second most votes in the Jablanica municipality?
11 A. Well, in principle it was the nationalist parties that won in the
12 elections, and the party that presented itself or represented itself as
13 the representative of its people won the SDA, as the Muslim party, Party
14 of the Muslim People won the largest number of votes --
15 Q. All right.
16 A. -- because there were most Muslims. The other one was the HDZ
17 because the Croats were the second most numerous ethnic group. The SDS
18 received a lesser number of votes because there were about 4 per cent of
19 Serbs. At that time, there was a bloc of multi-ethnic parties,
20 multinational parties like the SDP, the Liberals, and the Ante Markovic
21 party. I forget what that was called. And they won some of the votes
22 too. But all in all, the national parties were victorious, and they set
23 up their power and authority which was to be fateful for
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina later on.
25 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, at that time based on the
1 election results, who became the president of Jablanica municipality?
2 A. Well, the SDA candidate was put forward, Hamdo Sefer.
3 Q. And do you recall who took the position of vice-president?
4 A. I don't remember, but it must have been some Croat from amongst
5 the Croatian ranks. That would have been normal given the set-up.
6 Q. Very well. Moving forward, then. Can you tell the Judges,
7 please, and again the Judges have heard a fair amount of this evidence,
8 but did there come a time in 1991 when the JNA essentially seized all the
9 weapons and equipment that had traditionally belonged to or been part of
10 the Territorial Defence?
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. Did that affect, then, the position -- your involvement during
13 this time if you were, if you continued to have any reserve capacity, or
14 did that involve -- excuse me. Did that affect your involvement and
15 others' involvement in the Territorial Defence in the territory of
17 A. That was already a time of the dissolution of the former
18 Yugoslavia. The war had already begun in Slovenia. In 1991 things were
19 brewing up in Croatia, and war ultimately broke out there. The
20 Territorial Defence in Bosnia was disarmed and everything spelt of war.
21 Q. Moving forward from that but in 1991, can you tell the Judges, was
22 there any efforts by the various ethnic groups or political parties to
23 divide up various factories or companies in the area of Jablanica
25 A. Yes. It began straight away in 1990, as soon as the power had
1 been set up.
2 Q. And what happened?
3 A. Well, it was difficult for normal people to understand what was
4 happening, but let's say they would decide that a company which had
5 been -- well, all the companies were, as we call them, socially owned, or
6 most of them, and where the director was a Muslim that was going to be a
7 Muslim factory then. Where the director was a Croat or a Serb, those
8 companies became Serb companies or Croatian companies, whatever.
9 Something took place that no practice or theory could explain. There had
10 been no precedent of that kind anywhere in the world. Of course this led
11 to conflicting situations. The people knew that nothing good could come
12 of it.
13 Q. Can --
14 A. But the power -- powers that be are the powers, and they dictate
15 what they want. It was not just one such case. There were cases of that
16 kind all over the country.
17 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, what if anything happened in
18 particular concerning the forestry business or the forest resources in the
19 area of Jablanica municipality?
20 A. Yes. It shared the fate of everything else, went the same way.
21 In an area where -- which was plentiful in forests, that's what happened.
22 Q. And can you tell the Judges which of the national groups are
23 ethnic groups seized -- took charge of the forest industry, if we can call
24 it that?
25 A. Yes. I was going to do that, but I was waiting for the
1 interpreters. Up until that period it was a Serb who was in charge, but
2 he was displaced, replaced, and a Croat was sent in his place.
3 Q. And did you have any information or knowledge as to the way that
4 the forestry resources then began to be used once the -- once it became
5 essentially a Croat or Bosnian Croat enterprise?
6 A. No, I have no information about that. I couldn't have had any
7 information about that. However, the forests began to follow a different
8 route, a different course than had been the case up until then.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, may I intervene, because
10 we're talking about a forestry industry, but we are jurists, the Judges.
11 Now, was this industry based on private property, or did it belong to the
12 municipality or an ethnic group or state? What kind of industry was it?
13 Who did it belong to? Go ahead, please.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The state. This was a state-owned
15 enterprise. The forests, at least that's what it says on paper, still
16 belong to the state, the property of the state.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So this replacement of a Serb
18 director by a Croat, who effected this replacement?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the political parties which
20 decided about matters of that kind. It was the political parties that had
21 come into power and held the power.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So that means that the Croats
23 had the political majority and were able to nominate and appoint who they
24 wanted; is that right?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. They cooperated very well
1 together when it came to privileges. They had no problem in deciding
2 things like that together with the SDA. The important thing was to take
3 as much state property as possible, or to take property away from a group.
4 They had no problem in deciding amongst themselves what would belong to
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But when they appointed this
7 Croat director, was the SDA in agreement with this? Did they agree to
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Scott.
11 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Sir, if a few moments ago on page 44, line 7, you said -- or
13 excuse me, line 2, starting at line -- you stayed, "However, the forests
14 efforts began to follow a different route, a different course that had
15 been the case up until then." Can you tell us more what you mean?
16 A. Well, there was lack of control and forests were being felled down
18 Q. Mr. Idrizovic, if I can ask you to look next to Exhibit 9400.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. You said that
20 there was a massive and uncontrollable felling of the forests. Who
21 perpetrated this? Were they the managers of the forestry industry? Was
22 it the workers themselves, workers within the industry? Who were they?
23 Who decided upon these changes, and who decided to exploit the forests in
24 a different way like that?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the person who was the
1 director. He could do whatever he liked. Unfortunately, that's what the
2 situation is like in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the present day. Nothing has
3 changed in that respect.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it was the Croatian director
5 who decided to change, to modify the way in which forests were exploited,
6 timber was exploited; right?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. But the same happened in other
8 areas too. This was no exception. What I wanted to say when I said what
9 I did was that on all sides there was a mass destruction of general
10 socially owned property, and the property was used by those in whose hands
11 it was, who disposed of it. This wasn't the only case and example. This
12 kind of thing happened in other places too.
13 And that's what's going on in Bosnia today as well, although there
14 is an international police force there, the IPTF or whatever it's called
15 down there. And although they exercise control, the political forces down
16 there are doing the same kind of thing today.
17 MR. SCOTT:
18 Q. Mr. Idrizovic, let me move forward. I just asked you to look a
19 moment ago at Exhibit 9400, which should again be there in front of you,
20 and I assume it would be in the second of the two bundles.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Or you can look -- if you have it on the screen, sir. Whatever is
23 easiest for you.
24 Sir, in the past several years did you take it on yourself to
25 prepare a chronology of various events or developments related to
1 Jablanica in the early to mid-1990s?
2 A. Yes. Actually, I am president of the veterans union at present in
3 Jablanica municipality. Otherwise, I'm a member of the leadership of that
4 organisation since its inception.
5 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, what Exhibit 9400 is.
6 A. Perhaps I'm speaking too slowly. If you want me to speed up, I
7 can do that. I wanted to continue, actually, and say that among our other
8 affairs and the work we do we decided on the basis of documents, wartime
9 documentation that we had in our possession, to compile a chronology of
10 the events as they occurred between 1992 and 1995. And in going about
11 this business, I was given the task of dealing with the period from the
12 15th of April, 1992, to the 15th of April, 1993, to the beginning of the
13 conflict with the HVO. It lasted five or six years, and it's still
14 ongoing. And on the basis of the documents that were accessible to me, I
15 carried out that assignment. And then when I had completed the
16 assignment, and since I had already entered -- well, started these
17 proceedings, at least where we are today, I felt that it was a good thing
18 that from that chronology I should extract what relates to the activities
19 of the HVO, to extract those portions up until the conflict of the 15th of
20 April, 1993.
21 So that's the chronology. I have all these documents in
22 Jablanica. These are just excerpts from the document as it relates to the
23 HVO. Nobody asked me to do this. I did this at my own initiative because
24 I considered that it would be -- that it would facilitate an understanding
25 of the situation if one were to look at the chronology of events and the
1 time sequence.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, if I could intervene for one second
3 here. We don't have the original chronology and this seems to be an
4 excerpt, and we can see from the very first sentence here, says that this
5 is a supplementary to the gentleman's statement. I'm wondering if he has
6 the chronology with him because that would be important for us. Since
7 this is just an excerpt of what he had, and it would be important for
8 confrontation purposes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. In the document in B/C/S,
10 I can see that this was done on the 26th of November, 2004. What we have,
11 it's an extract of a more voluminous document and, if so, are there any
12 dates that haven't been included in your chronology?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There's a chronology of all the
14 events, but everything that concerns the HVO has been extracted from it,
15 everything that concerns HVO activities.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So this document only includes
17 issues that concern the HVO. For example, on 28th of November, 1991, in
18 Grude, things start. The HZ HB is established, et cetera, et cetera. So
19 all that has been noted concerns the HVO.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You haven't understood me correctly.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, I'm trying to understand
22 you, so please tell us again what you have included in this chronology.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The chronology includes all the
24 events that took place in the territory of the municipality, all those
25 events, and this includes the way in which the authorities functioned. It
1 includes party activities, the army, the minister of the interior, and the
2 HVO. We in fact tried to use the documents we had to establish a
3 chronology in order to depict the way life went on at the time. That
4 included how the economy functioned, wartime production, the military
5 hospital, wartime hospital, education. So we tried to provide a picture
6 of life in Jablanica during that period of time. But all this was done
7 exclusively on the basis of documents. It wasn't on the basis of what
8 people could remember.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you say "we," if I have
10 understood you correctly, this was a collective effort made by veterans
11 and the municipality. So it was not just you who worked on this matter.
12 It was a collective efforts. Is that how I should understand your
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I
16 wanted to clarify this because the witness constantly uses the plural. So
17 what is his contribution and what is the contribution of others? I think
18 that he said he was only involved in a certain period when it comes to
19 this chronology. If I have understood him correctly, from April 1992 to
20 April 1993. I think that's the period that he mentioned that concerned
21 him personally.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How many veterans were there?
23 How many of there were you in this group? And as counsel has said, did
24 you participate in the work of the entire group, or was your contribution
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, others continued with the
2 work. I was focused mainly on this period. We tried to work in groups,
3 in teams. We tried to divide the work up according to our age, our fields
4 of interest, et cetera. We worked in different ways. But in the end
5 there were five or six of us who remained active in order to bring things
6 to a conclusion. Unfortunately, we haven't published the entire
7 chronology because we can't find anyone to finance us. Money is needed to
8 publish this. Otherwise, over 90 per cent of this chronology has been
9 prepared for publication.
10 So I was only involved in this period up to the conflict. As far
11 as the time period after the 15th of April, 1993, is concerned, well,
12 others could say much more about that period than I can, and that's why I
13 didn't want to get involved in that period.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you worked up until the 15th
15 of April, 1993. And when did you start working on this project? Did you
16 start on the 28th of November, 1991? Did you personally start working
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. That's when everything
19 started, in 1991 when they said HB [as interpreted] in Grude was
20 established. And then on the 20th or 21st of January, 1992, when the
21 Republika Srpska was established. This doesn't represent everything.
22 This is not even a 10th of -- of what has actually been prepared, not even
23 a 20th.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, I would request that this particular
25 document, one, not be introduced into evidence for a variety of evidence,
1 and that we not proceed with taking evidence from this particular document
2 for the following reasons: One, we don't have the names of the other
3 members. That would be helpful. Two, we don't have the documents that
4 were used for each and every one of these occasions that are listed in the
5 chronology so at least we could test to see what sort of documents were
6 used, whether documents were available but not used, documents that should
7 have been used but were unavailable. Thirdly, we don't know whether the
8 chronology is based on the gentleman's knowledge, personal knowledge of
9 the events or whether these are merely something that he compiled as a
10 result of reading documents, drawing some conclusions. And I don't think
11 that this chronology has any real probative value. It would be much more
12 useful for the gentleman, since he's here, to describe to us what he
13 recalls since he was there on the ground. I think that's much more
14 valuable than presenting this particular chronology, because it does
15 affect the right of cross-examination since he doesn't know that -- he
16 cannot, for instance, cite anything in any of these entries. And the way
17 the chronology is put, Your Honour, is like an expert report, in a sense.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, the problems that
19 the Defence have discussed, and the Judges might have this in mind, too,
20 concerns the methodology used to draw up this document. Perhaps you
21 could pose a series of questions in order to respond to the objections
22 raised by the Defence if you believe that this document has such
23 importance that it's necessary to deal with it. That's yet again another
25 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. I did not in fact -- excuse
1 me. Sorry, counsel's --
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours. I really
3 don't want to interrupt the proceedings, but in fact the witness didn't
4 answer your question as to when the document was prepared. He started
5 describing the first event mentioned in the chronology, but he said
6 nothing about when they started on this, and obviously this took place
7 many years after the war.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Could you answer that
9 question. When exactly was the document prepared? And then Mr. Scott
10 will take the floor. Please go ahead, Witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] People won't understand this or
12 probably don't want to understand this. I said there are documents for
13 each event in the chronology. There are documents for all the material
14 that I have and that you have. The documents were the basis used. If
15 they prepared themselves adequately, then they have documents for
16 everything that has been written down here. I have provided the documents
17 If they haven't read them, that's their problem. If they don't want to
18 read them that's their problem again.
19 MR. SCOTT: Let me --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's a pity that our decision on
21 time for objections hasn't been made effective yet. Otherwise, things
22 would be somewhat different.
23 Ms. Nozica, what did you want to say?
24 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I -- I didn't want to
25 raise an objection. I wanted to assist the Bench and the Prosecution. In
1 addition to the statement -- or in the statement we can see that the
2 witness provided the Prosecution with 65 documents, and if we count the
3 events chronology, there are twice as many events as there are documents.
4 So the argument just presented by the witness isn't correct or can't be
5 correct if the number of documents he provided to the Prosecution is
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise for
8 saying -- for interrupting again but the witness hasn't answered the
9 question again. The question was quite clear. Could the Prosecutor
10 please put the question to the witness or may I ask this question. You're
11 quite clear, when you put your question to the witness I paraphrased it
12 and now the witness is lecturing Defence counsel and telling them what
13 they should know. He should quite simply answer the question and say when
14 the document was drafted.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that I answered that
16 question, but obviously you don't want to understand my answer. Work on
17 this document was done for years. Immediately after the war, as of 1995
18 we started preparing the documents. I also said and this has been
19 recorded --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have understood that, but --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'd like to answer the question.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What we want to know is the date
23 on which you decided to start working on this. In the document we can see
24 Grude, November, 1991. We would like to know whether this date
25 corresponds to when you started focusing on the chronology or did you
1 start working on the chronology prior to that date. That's what we would
2 like to know. We don't want to know that you all started working in 1991.
3 Have you understood the difference? When exactly did you say, "We're
4 going to start working on this subject"? Was it November, 1991?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I must be quite frank and say I
6 don't know. There's a decision rendered by the Presidency of the
7 organisation that concerns this matter, but I wouldn't like to say
8 anything off the top of my head. I can't even remember the year. It was
9 a long time ago.
10 MR. SCOTT:
11 Q. Let me ask, Your Honour -- with the Court's indulgence, may I ask
12 a few questions, if I might.
13 JUDGE PRANDLER: Yes. Really I believe we have to stop the
14 discussion. The Chamber will decide about the acceptability of that
15 document. We have heard the Defence. We have heard the witness. We have
16 heard the accusation -- Prosecution, sorry. So it is my proposal to
17 continue. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, you have the floor,
19 and try to answer our concerns by putting an appropriate series of
20 questions to the witness, if possible.
21 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Mr. Idrizovic, what I understand is that sometime after the war
23 was over, and you said a moment ago in 1995 this veterans organisation
24 decided to prepare a chronology of events in Jablanica municipality
25 essentially during the conflict; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And your part of it, your assignment, was from approximately April
3 1992 until mid-April, 1993? Is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. If you look, please, at the exhibit itself, if you look at the
6 second page of the document --
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Since
8 there is no decision yet, I'd like to add a few words. Mr. Scott asked a
9 question about the chronology in the municipality of Jablanica, but the
10 witness said that the chronology concerned HVO activities. So I could use
11 that chronology to say what I was doing or Mr. Karnavas. This is just a
12 partial approach to what the HVO was doing. It doesn't concern the
13 chronology of events in the municipality of Jablanica.
14 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, this is way out of hand. I don't think
15 that there's any -- this would be like making an objection that no -- no
16 one book or no one document is exhaustive. It does not purport to be
17 anything else. It would be like objecting and saying someone has written
18 a book and they didn't bring every source item in the book to court. It
19 would be like saying that not every piece of history is covered in a
20 particular book.
21 This is a publication which, in fairness to the witness he has
22 answered a number of questions put to him. It was started by a veterans'
23 organisation in approximately 1995. His particular part of it, the part
24 that he was given responsibility for, was for the period from the 15th of
25 April, 1992, approximately, until mid-April, 1993.
1 Now, when one looks at what I was about to do was to ask the
2 witness to look at the second page, at least of the English translation of
3 the document, and you will see that but for the entry of the 28th of
4 November, 1991, you will see that indeed the first entry is April, 1992.
5 Likewise, if you turn to the last page of the document, and the witness
6 can confirm this, but I think the document is very clear, the document --
7 the document ends on the 15th of April, 1993. Now, that's exactly what
8 the witness has been telling us over this past 20 minutes or so.
9 If I might just go back, sir, and just for the record and then
10 we'll move on -- perhaps the use of the document might assist the witness,
11 it might assist the Chamber. It is not the Bible of everything that
12 happened in the conflict, but it is one organisation's attempt to make an
13 order which the witness has explained.
14 Q. But let me just ask you, sir, just so the record is clear: No one
15 at the Office of the Prosecutor asked you to prepare this document or told
16 you what to put in this document; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The veterans, they were former
19 combatants, Croats, ABiH, HVO, or were they only members of the ABiH or
20 the Territorial Defence of Jablanica? Could you tell us who these
21 veterans in fact were.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. They were armija members. HVO
23 members have their own organisations with its own name, Hvidra.
24 Unfortunately, they have not yet joined forces. They should do so,
25 because if they remain separate entities, well, this means nothing.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are telling us that the
2 former HVO members also have their own organisation, and the name of the
3 organisation is Hvidra, but they haven't yet compiled such a document,
4 and, if I understood your document correctly, you seem to be saying that
5 your two organisations should join forces, should become one organisation.
6 Is that how I'm to take your answer?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At least that's precise.
9 Mr. Scott, please carry on.
10 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Sir, moving forward, then, can you tell the Judges after the 1990
12 elections and the election of the municipal officials which you mentioned
13 now some minutes ago, did the municipal authorities continue to -- to act
14 throughout most of 1992 as multi-ethnic or multi-party authorities in the
15 sense that they were members of the SDA, they were members of the HDZ,
16 they were members of the SDS, et cetera?
17 A. Well, ostensibly, yes. [No interpretation].
18 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [No interpretation].
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation].
20 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll check to see whether the
22 interpretation is being received now. It's functioning. Can you hear the
23 interpretation now, sir? Yes, it's functioning.
24 MR. SCOTT:
25 Q. All right. Sir, you said a moment ago yes, ostensibly that was
1 the case. Can I ask you please to look at Exhibit 624 in the first bundle
2 of documents that you should have, or on the screen if you like.
3 And are these the minutes of a meeting, a session of the Jablanica
4 Municipal Assembly on the 22nd of October, 1992?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And is it correct, sir, that on the face of the document and
7 listing those present it indicates the participants from a number of
8 political parties; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Just as -- simply as one example, if you go to -- I'm not sure
11 in -- probably in -- the same in the Bosnian version, but the second page
12 do you see that the first agenda item was talking about a camp settlement
13 for displaced persons? Agenda item 1.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Again, if you go several pages down in -- through the document,
16 would you please go -- turn through the document until you find agenda
17 item 2. Tell me when you have that, please.
18 A. I'm trying to find the place on the screen. I can't see it on the
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, it would be best for you to
21 have a look at the documents. It's very difficult to use the screen, and
22 personally I only work with documents that I have in my hand. Have a look
23 at the document.
24 MR. SCOTT:
25 Q. If you have agenda item 2, sir, is that agenda item concerning
1 the -- the security situation in Jablanica municipality?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Sir, did you ever have occasion in any of your capacities to
4 attend such meetings as this or to see the minutes of meetings such as
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And I take it, sir, that if we looked at a collection of the
8 minutes through 1992, they would look something similar to this in terms
9 of the various participants of the various political parties being
10 involved; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Let me direct your attention forward to February of 1992. Again,
13 the Judges have heard a fair amount of evidence about this, but can you
14 tell us what happened in connection with the referendum on the
15 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, focussing specifically on Jablanica
16 municipality? What did you see and what do you remember about that?
17 A. Well, this -- prior to this event, representatives of the Serbian
18 people in the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina stated their position,
19 and they wanted to cease taking part in the work of the Assembly, and they
20 wanted to secede and to establish a Serbian republic in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And there was a decision for a referendum at which
22 the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina would say whether they were in
23 favour of Bosnia and Herzegovina remaining part of Yugoslavia or whether
24 they were in favour of Bosnia and Herzegovina becoming an independent
1 If my memory serves me correctly, the referendum was to be held on
2 the 28th of February and the 1st of March, 1992. According to the media
3 who reported on the 28th in the evening, in municipalities where the
4 Croats were in the majority participation in the referendum was either
5 minimum or non-existent. On the following day, the Croats who had
6 participated in the referendum proclaimed independence, secession from
7 Yugoslavia. And the next -- the next day they started immediately with
8 the blockade of Sarajevo, and then things unfolded in the way that they
9 unfolded. And on the 15th of April, a full-scale war had erupted.
10 Q. All right. A couple of things there. When you say the 15th of
11 April, you're now referring to 1992; is that correct?
12 A. 1992, yes.
13 JUDGE PRANDLER: Excuse me, Mr. Scott.
14 MR. SCOTT: Yes.
15 JUDGE PRANDLER: I wonder if there was a mistake in the -- in the
16 transcript, in the answer of the witness. Did he -- did you speak about
17 the municipalities where Croats were in the majority or Serbs? Because
18 then it is -- it is said at the end of your last answer that -- that on
19 the following day the Croats who participated in the referendum proclaimed
20 independence, secession from Yugoslavia, and the next day they started
21 immediately with the blockade of Sarajevo.
22 So I believe that you were speaking about the Serbs and not
23 Croats, because in the transcript it is Croat which is being written.
24 Thank you.
25 MR. SCOTT:
1 Q. Witness, you just nodded your head in an affirmative way. Are
2 you answering Judge Prandler's question that he is correct?
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Say so aloud.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know why there was this
5 confusion. I said that given what the Croats wanted, Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 gained independence. And immediately on the following day - perhaps I
7 wasn't clear - the Serbs blockaded Sarajevo and what happened, happened.
8 That's what I wanted to say. I don't know if I was clear enough.
9 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, the question that was put to the witness
10 was what was going on in Jablanica. It might save a lot of time if the
11 witness was not giving us a narrative about events in the whole of the
12 former Yugoslavia but confined himself to the issue.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. That's what I was
14 thinking. You did political science studies, so -- you're not here as an
15 expert in the social science sense, but you're a witness about the
16 municipality in Jablanica. So please restrict your answers to Jablanica.
17 Because if you incorporate the geopolitical and geostrategical
18 considerations or whatever, then we're going to waste a lot of time, and
19 what we're interested in is your experience of Jablanica. So please try
20 to focus on that, exclusively what went on in that municipality.
21 Mr. Scott, try and set that framework and ask your questions
22 focussing on Jablanica.
23 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. I -- I think I did, as Mr. Murphy
24 said, but I will try to do better.
25 Q. Sir, directing your attention specifically, because the Judges
1 have heard about the referendum in general, and I want to ask you
2 specifically questions about what happened where you lived, in Jablanica,
3 during this time. And you said a moment ago on the first day -- to your
4 knowledge on the first day of the referendum the Croats did not turn out
5 to vote but on the second day they did. Now, that's where we are at the
6 present time.
7 Did you learn any information or come to know in Jablanica around
8 that time what, if anything, had happened between the first day and the
9 second day, leading to the Croats voting on the second day, if you know?
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone for the witness,
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as Jablanica is concerned,
13 what I said a moment ago does not relate to that. In Jablanica, the
14 necessary number of people voted the very first day. Of course, the
15 voters we know don't vote according to ethnic group [as interpreted]. The
16 media reported that in areas predominantly inhabited by Croats not enough
17 people went to vote, that's what I said, on that first day.
18 MR. SCOTT:
19 Q. And I repeat my question to you, sir. Do you know what, if
20 anything, happened between the first day and the second day that caused
21 Croats to vote on the second day?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. Moving then after the referendum to approximately April, 1992, was
24 something called the War Presidency or Crisis Staff formed in Jablanica
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Tell us about that, please, briefly. How was that formed, and how
3 was the War Presidency or Crisis Staff different than the municipal --
4 existing municipal government?
5 A. The statutes or the constitution at that time in case of war the
6 decisions are made by the narrow bodies, not the parliaments, the narrow
7 bodies formed by political parties in power in order to be expeditious and
8 expedient, and that's how the War Presidency was formed and Crisis Staff,
9 and it functioned throughout the war.
10 Q. And at that time, as of April, 1992, was the Crisis Staff formed
11 on a multi-ethnic and multi-party basis?
12 A. Yes, yes. It reflected that, yes.
13 Q. Meaning, were there Croats, Muslims, and also Serbs on the Crisis
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And did --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. I'm a bit lost
18 here. You said during the war. Now, who was the enemy? Because if there
19 were Croats, Muslims and Serbs, who then was the enemy?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was another enemy, one more.
21 Well, the Serbs were the enemy at that time.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the enemy were the Serbs, and
23 in the Crisis Staff there were Serbs as well; right?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, because they were there. They
25 lived there and weren't acting against the state in any way. Not all the
1 Serbs had left straight away. There were 4 per cent of Serbs where we
2 lived. They weren't -- didn't represent a power of any kind. People were
3 just living there, and they were represented in the authorities in that
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The 4 per cent of Serbs in the
6 municipality of Jablanica were represented in the Crisis Staff; is that
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. They had the -- the SDS had a
9 deputy in the Assembly and in the Presidency as well.
10 MR. SCOTT:
11 Q. Perhaps it might assist, Mr. Idrizovic, did that -- if I ask you,
12 this was the case -- I asked you, at the beginning of this time, in April,
13 1992, did that continue to be the case throughout the period of the
15 A. Well, nothing is the same. The situation deteriorated from one
16 day to the next almost.
17 Q. Let me follow up on the President's question. Did there come a
18 time when the Serb members of the Municipal Assembly and/or the Crisis
19 Staff that the Serb members stopped being involved or withdrew or were
20 kicked out?
21 A. Not during the time we're discussing now. We're discussing it in
22 general terms.
23 Q. When did that happen?
24 A. I didn't understand the question.
25 Q. Well, you said it didn't happen at this time it, and we're talking
1 now about April, 1992, and you said it didn't happen at that time. I take
2 it then your question -- your answer, excuse me, that it did happen at
3 some time. Can you tell us when it happened?
4 A. The Serbs or the majority of the Serbs from which portion the
5 deputies were left Jablanica in the autumn of 1993. Before that, might I
6 just be allowed to say, the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
7 had proclaimed the SDS a terrorist organisation, and then the mandate
8 ceased to be, the term of office of those people, because they represented
9 a terrorist organisation. I think that was sometime in 1992.
10 Q. Well, you've said that they left in the autumn of 1993, but I
11 think just now you said something about 1992. Can you clarify that,
12 please? Perhaps it was translated wrong or transcribed wrong.
13 A. I said that the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 proclaimed the Serbian Democratic Party a terrorist organisation, and with
15 that the deputies' mandate came to an end, the SDS deputies' mandates came
16 to an end.
17 Q. All right. Now, in relationship to -- between the Crisis Staff
18 and the Municipal Assembly, did the Crisis Staff take the place of or
19 displace the Municipal Assembly, or did the Municipal Assembly also
20 continue to function during this time?
21 A. The Crisis Staff took decisions when the Assembly was not able to
22 meet, to hold sessions. And when conditions were created, the Assembly
23 was convened, an Assembly session was convened, and then the Assembly
24 would verify or not verify the decisions passed by the Crisis Staff.
25 Q. All right. In April 1992, was a new organisation called the
1 Territorial Defence established?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. How is this Territorial Defence different, if at all, from the
4 Territorial Defence that had existed as part of the JNA structure?
5 A. At the same time, the decision was taken to abolish the staff as
6 it had existed up until then, because it was a tag of the Yugoslav
7 People's Army, if I can put it that way, and the staff of the Republic of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina was formed.
9 Q. And approximately when was that, sir, if you recall any particular
11 A. The beginning of April, 1992.
12 Q. And is this the same organisation, then, a couple of months later
13 or so in June -- approximately June, 1992, became the army of Bosnia and
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And can you tell the Judges, please, and again we're talking now
17 about Jablanica municipality, was an HVO armed organisation or military
18 organisation formed around this same time, April of 1992?
19 A. Well, it's in the documents somewhere. There is that decision
20 somewhere there about the establishment of the HVO in the municipalities
21 which were supposed to make part of the Herceg-Bosna part. Thereabouts,
22 perhaps earlier on.
23 Q. Between the Territorial Defence and the HVO as they then existed
24 or becoming established in April and May, 1992, which of the -- which of
25 the two organisations were better organised and better equipped at that
1 particular time?
2 A. I think the HVO was better organised and equipped. I have no
3 proof of that, but I assume it was better equipped because logistically it
4 was better equipped than the army, the BH army, and it had somebody to
5 lean upon.
6 Q. When you say it had somebody to lean upon, what do you mean?
7 A. Well, they could rely upon the Republic of Croatia which I assume
8 helped them in their -- helped the members of the HVO in their equipment
9 and training and things like that, because they had taken part in the
10 Homeland War in Croatia before that. So it was normal for Croatia to help
11 them in that respect.
12 Q. During this time, sir, in Jablanica municipality did a number of
13 Muslims join and participate in the HVO because it was perceived at that
14 time to be the better organised and better equipped organisation?
15 A. From Jablanica, as far as I know, there were just three soldiers
16 in the HVO. That's not why Jablanica was characteristic -- or, rather,
17 Jablanica was not characteristic of that like others were, like Capljina,
18 Stolac, Mostar, and so on.
19 Q. Can you tell the Judges, did there come a time in April, 1992,
20 that a bridge in the area of Jablanica called the Aleksin Han bridge was
21 destroyed or partly destroyed?
22 A. Yes. On the 10th of April, 1992. An attempt was made to destroy
23 the bridge at Aleksin Han, which was -- or -- the sole route and
24 connection between Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 Q. Where was that bridge located in relationship to the town of
1 Jablanica, north, east, west, south, what have you?
2 A. It is located 10 kilometres south of Jablanica.
3 Q. So in the direction of Mostar; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And did you and others know at the time who had destroyed or
6 partly destroyed the bridge at that time?
7 A. An investigation into the event was conducted by the Ministry of
8 the Interior. Some -- Ivan Rogic was seen in a truck and taken in for
9 interrogation. The investigation, unfortunately, never reached completion
10 because the person I named at that time and during the war, and today as
11 well, is a very prominent member of the HDZ.
12 Q. What was Mr. Rogic's position in the Jablanica area as of April,
14 A. Well, he was in various positions. From the elections onwards, he
15 changed positions. He was in the party. Well, he was the number-one man
16 in the HDZ of Jablanica, the main person as far as the Croatian people
17 were concerned.
18 Q. Around the time that the Aleksin Han bridge was partly destroyed,
19 was another -- was there a tunnel called the Bradina tunnel either again
20 destroyed or partly destroyed around that time?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Where was this tunnel in relation to the bridge?
23 A. The tunnel was between Konjic and Sarajevo, on that road.
24 Q. What --
25 A. Some 10 kilometres south-east of Konjic.
1 Q. What was the --
2 A. North-east of Konjic.
3 Q. Excuse me. Sorry. What was the effect of the destruction or
4 partial destruction of the bridge and the tunnel on transportation in or
5 out of the Jablanica area at that time?
6 A. The bridge was completely damaged or one of the lanes on the
7 bridge was completely destroyed. And UNPROFOR brought in a metal
8 construction which bridged that damage, and then the bridge was in partial
9 use after that, but heavy trucks couldn't cross over the bridge.
10 And as to the tunnel, the roof of the tunnel caved in and the
11 walls, and the road was partially destroyed too. But after it -- the
12 debris had been cleared up it could be used.
13 Q. How soon after the bridge was partly destroyed did UNPROFOR build
14 a replacement bridge?
15 A. Not long afterwards. It was a metal construction, as I've said,
16 which spanned the area and enabled traffic in one direction, one lane.
17 The work went on for some five or six days.
18 Q. Let me ask you this before -- I think it may be about time for the
19 break, but if we can finish on this. You said a moment ago, however, if I
20 understood you correctly, that even though this replacement bridge was
21 build, it was not sufficient for heavy vehicle or truck traffic. Did I
22 hear you correctly?
23 A. Yes. Yes.
24 Q. And was there any alternative route, then, for truck traffic in
25 that area at that time and, if so, what would be the alternative route?
1 A. Well, it was the general assessment that these two explosions were
2 supposed to make it impossible to communicate from Sarajevo with the
3 Adriatic coast. Since this was in the Konjic-Jablanica area, the eastern
4 border of Herceg-Bosna, they didn't need any roads linking Sarajevo to the
5 sea. Instead of that, they built a series of roads, and the main road,
6 which led from Jablanica across Posusje and Grude to Imotski and further
7 on to Split. That was the main road. There were other roads that were
8 built, too, because you had to link up all the territories of
9 Herceg-Bosna, from Kiseljak to Split. And that project was almost
10 completed. All that remained were two oases that hadn't been built, one
11 around Fojnica and another around Prozor. And then you went on further
12 across Prozor, Vran Planina, Tomislavgrad, once again to Split.
13 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, perhaps we can come back to that topic
14 after the break.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. It is now 5.25. We're
16 going to take a 20-minute break and reconvene at about quarter to 6.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.24 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.44 p.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, could you clarify
20 something for the Chamber, because as you know, the Prosecution's time is
21 important for you. In the indictment, the indictment concerns Sovici and
22 Doljani, and it relates to events that took place in April, 1993. We have
23 spent about one hour discussing what took place in Jablanica municipality
24 in 1992. So what are you trying to demonstrate? What is your objective?
25 That's what I fail to understand. And not just me personally. The Bench
1 as a whole fails to understand the objective you're pursuing.
2 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you for that. It is true
3 that what is specifically charged in the indictment in terms of the crimes
4 in Sovici and Doljani are quite specific to the period roughly April,
5 1993. However, as Judge Liu used to say on another case, Rome wasn't
6 built in a day, number one, and there were a number of events leading up
7 to those particular events. That's one part of the answer.
8 The second part of the answer is notwithstanding that, it's part
9 of the Prosecution case that there was a similar pattern of HVO takeovers
10 in each of the municipalities, whether it was -- whether it was Mostar or
11 Jablanica or Vares or Stolac, or what have you. And this is, as you know,
12 Your Honour, we are now on a sequence of evidence in our case about the
13 crime base in the various areas, and Mr. Idrizovic is the first witness,
14 apart from any sort of introductory witnesses we may have had in the first
15 phase, if you will, he is the first witness to talk about and to introduce
16 Jablanica municipality. Therefore, he is providing a -- more of a
17 historical lead-up to the core events. And it is relevant, because the
18 case is built on a background of an increasing -- well, I don't want to
19 say too much in front of the witness, frankly, Your Honour, but the case
20 is, in theory, about the takeover of power in each of the municipalities,
21 then leading up to the more core events, and that's what we're trying to
22 do, albeit, I agree, slower than we would like.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, with respect to the last answer we
24 got to the witness which dealt with the bridge and the tunnel, if I
25 understand the Prosecution correctly, if I'm reading the tea leaves, that
1 is, or the coffee cup, as it were in the old country, I seem to be getting
2 the impression that he is insinuating that the events in April, 1992, are
3 part and parcel of the indictment. I fail to see how that is so.
4 Is the Prosecution alleging now that the destruction of the bridge
5 and the destruction of the tunnel, was that part of the joint criminal
6 enterprise of the HVO? If that's so, then I'd like to know whether that
7 is in the indictment. Is that something that I need to be aware of and to
8 worry about?
9 And also, is that what the witness is saying? Is there a linkage?
10 Because as I understand it, at that time period in time the main aggressor
11 are the Serbs.
12 MR. SCOTT: Well, Your Honour, it is in the indictment. I can go
13 and point to the various -- not the charging -- not the -- not the
14 destruction of the bridge per se, but what the indictment says, what the
15 indictment says, if Mr. Karnavas would please give me a moment --
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Take your time, take your time.
17 MR. SCOTT: Starting in the sections on -- starting with paragraph
18 18, those paragraphs give an overview of the history of the case, and
19 among other things they talk about the series of takeovers of municipal
20 power by the HVO in the various municipalities claimed, claimed, to
21 comprise Herceg-Bosna, and that is indeed part of the Prosecution's case.
22 Of all these events leading from 1991, and the Chamber well knows, that
23 they've heard a substantial amount of evidence as to the formation of the
24 HDZ, the formation of Herceg-Bosna in 1991, the dealings in Croatia, Mr.
25 Manolic, all sorts of things. It is all one piece of events leading up to
1 the conflict, the open conflict, in 1993. And Mr. -- this witness is the
2 first witness to simply introduce these matters, background and history of
3 these matters for Jablanica.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as the question of the
5 tunnel and bridge is concerned, well, is that part of the strategy to take
6 over power?
7 MR. SCOTT: Yes.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Very well. We'll see.
9 Mr. Karnavas.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, I suspect also when it came to the forestry
11 company, that's the same thing. But first of all, paragraph 18 is not
12 mentioned in -- in the chart over here that this gentleman is going to be
13 talking about paragraph 18, although that's fine. I'm not -- I don't want
14 to go into any great details. But I fail to see how if it's not alleged
15 in the indictment, because at this point in time it seems to me that what
16 the Prosecution is arguing, that is of April, 1992, there is a joint
17 criminal enterprise and this is part of that enterprise. This is --
18 keeping in mind that later on Mostar is going to be liberated, keeping in
19 mind all of the events.
20 Now, I think if I'm going to -- I need to have some precision, and
21 in the indictment that is not alleged. These acts are not alleged. And
22 to simply say in just one broad stroke that they were trying to take over
23 the municipality, I can see if they're going into the structure, the
24 political structure, the War Presidency decisions, but now we're talking
25 about events in the middle of a war. Now, if they want to make some
1 connection and ask the witness, you know, pose some more questions, I
2 might be able to come around and say, okay, maybe this is part of their
3 plan to establish a takeover. And while Rome wasn't built in -- you know,
4 wasn't built in one day. I mean, we just seem to be starting someplace
5 out in the stratosphere.
6 MR. SCOTT: Well, Your Honour --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, can the questions
8 you're putting to the witness you're trying to demonstrate how this
9 takeover of power occurred in the municipality by the HVO. That's how we
10 are to understand your series of questions. We'll see how things develop
11 in light of the examination-in-chief and the cross-examination. Please
13 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Sir, before the break you were talking about then the construction
15 of a number of roads - excuse me - and before you continue on this can you
16 tell the Judges around this time after the destruction of the bridge,
17 around this time was certain heavy equipment appropriated or taken by
18 certain parties from some of the large companies in the Jablanica area?
19 And, if so, tell us about that.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the witness, please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before the war in the territory of
22 our municipalities, in the direction of Konjic, there was substantial work
23 being carried out to reconstruct the road. Two big construction companies
24 from Sarajevo were involved in this project. After Sarajevo had been
25 placed under a blockade the equipment remained there on the road. Our
1 wartime Presidency mobilised some of the heavy equipment and used it to
2 construct the Jablanica-Posusje road, or some of it for that purpose,
3 whereas another part of the equipment was used by members from the valley
4 of Neretvica. They used it to construct a series of roads in the
5 territory of the municipality of Konjic and further on in the direction of
6 Fojnica. Several roads were built. I don't know how many exactly. I
7 don't know whether it's really important for me to go into the details
9 So some of the equipment was mobilised, and other material, other
10 equipment was taken to Neretvica and used to construct roads for the HVO
11 over there.
12 MR. SCOTT:
13 Q. All right. On that point, sir, in the interests of time let me
14 just ask you, did you observe at the time or come to know that this
15 extensive road building that you observed happening in the Jablanica
16 municipality and elsewhere, Konjic, was related to Herceg-Bosna
17 consolidating communication and transmission lines in the area.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I object to the form of the question.
19 I can understand trying to assist the witness, but this goes beyond the
20 pale, and I'm not really objecting normally as much as I would.
21 MR. SCOTT: Let me just --
22 Q. Can you tell us sir, can you simply tell us what did you see
23 happening in terms of the roads being built in relationship to various
24 cities and lines of -- means of access to various parts of Herzegovina?
25 A. Well, there's a decision from the War Presidency in our
1 municipality according to which all men and equipment should be built on
2 the Jablanica-Posusje road of salvation, the so-called road of salvation.
3 You have this document. A number of other roads were built linking up the
4 positions with inhabited places, et cetera. These roads are still in
5 existence. I can provide you with a list if you like.
6 Q. Could you look, please, at Exhibit 273 in your bundle.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This document doesn't have
8 anything to do with the roads, though, Mr. Scott.
9 MR. SCOTT: It has to do with the freedom of movement,
10 Your Honour, which roads are often used for.
11 Q. Sir, did you see this document at the time or come to know of this
12 document, about the ability to move around and through Jablanica
14 A. I haven't seen the document before, but we all felt the
15 consequences of this. The HVO was our embassy and our customs house. It
16 was everything for us. If you wanted to travel somewhere, the HVO had to
17 issue a certificate, as if I came to the Netherlands and I'd need a
18 passport and a visa to come here. So we needed an HVO certificate.
19 Naturally, I understand why Boban intervened. These certificates
20 were being issued for money, and many people were in a position to print
21 out these certificates and to sell them. So then Ivan Rogic was the only
22 person authorised, and you could only leave the municipality with the
23 relevant document bearing his signature. That's how things worked.
24 Q. And what is reflected in this document, that is the content of
25 that document, is that what you saw and experienced, you and other
1 inhabitants of Jablanica, during this period mid-1992?
2 A. Well, we all experienced this. We couldn't leave the municipality
3 and set off in the direction of Croatia without having received
4 authorisation from them.
5 I personally went to Split on two occasions during that period of
6 time. My father was in hospital over there, and I couldn't have gone
7 there without a certificate.
8 Q. Was there any -- were you involved in any discussions or
9 conversations around this time or with the municipal authorities in
10 Jablanica as to why it was that either Mate Boban or Ivan Rogic or only
11 the HVO could issue such certificates?
12 A. No. How could one have discussed? It wasn't possible to go
13 anywhere without a certificate. There was nothing to discuss in
14 Jablanica, since someone up on Risovac wouldn't let you through. That was
15 the end of the discussion up there.
16 Q. Did you have any involvement -- excuse me.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I see this order issued by
18 Mr. Mate Boban addressed to the Municipal HVO Staff in Jablanica. If an
19 inhabitant of this place left the town without the certificate in
20 question, what could happen to him? Does this mean that the town was
21 under the control of the HVO forces and, as a result, you had no freedom
22 of movement? You said -- you yourself said you wanted to go to Split on
23 two occasions. You said you wanted to go to Split but weren't able to go
24 there. What would have happened if you had left the city? It wouldn't
25 have been possible for you to leave? What were the risks?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You didn't understand me correctly.
2 I receive the certificate and I went to Split. I went to Split after I
3 paid for the certificate. But you couldn't have left the town without a
4 certificate because they'd stop you at the first HVO check-point. It's as
5 if you arrived at the airport and you didn't have a passport, so they
6 wouldn't let you through.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the exit of the place there
8 was a check-point then?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not right next to the town but in
10 territory under HVO control.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And if someone was controlled
12 and had no certificate, what would happen to that person?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He'd have to return.
14 MR. SCOTT:
15 Q. Sir, moving to another topic, can you tell the Judges, during this
16 time, we're now in approximately April, the spring of 1992, did it ever
17 come to your attention that any military officers from the Republic of
18 Croatia came into the Jablanica area?
19 A. Yes, in April or a little later, General Mate Sarlija arrived or
20 Nijaz Batlak, as you wish, a Croatian general, a Muslim, and he had about
21 40 soldiers, it was a mixed formation and he said he was someone who would
22 gather all the forces together and go and to raze the blockade of Croatia
23 Q. Before we come to Mr. Daidza, did you observe any other military
24 coming into the Jablanica area before or apart from Mr. Daidza?
25 A. Well, at the time people moved around freely. There were no
1 problems. Later we found out that a member of the former JNA, Dzavid
2 Balija, who was an Albanian by nationality but was married to someone from
3 Jablanica, well, this member came to see us. At the time, everybody in
4 Bosnia wanted to leave the JNA join the Territorial Defence, et cetera.
5 The man came to us and we accepted him. And later in July and you can
6 find this in the documents we in fact found out that the HVO security
7 service had infiltrated this man amongst us. The aforementioned Daidza
8 would be appointed to our command although he wasn't competent to this.
9 And on the same day our commander was arrested, they sent this Daidza to
10 be our commander. Naturally when they arrived we arrested him and kept
11 him in prison for two days and expelled him from the municipality. He
12 never returned. Unfortunately, I haven't got time. I could go into the
13 details. But we had people who had been infiltrated amongst us throughout
14 the war and they acted as disruptive forces amongst our ranks.
15 Q. Do you know if any military advisors from the Republic of Croatia
16 were involved with the Territorial Defence in the Jablanica area during
17 the spring and summer of 1992?
18 A. I don't really understand the question. Military advisors, I
19 don't really understand what you mean by that. There were various
20 individuals who would come and offer assistance, but I don't really
21 understand the question.
22 Q. Well, I'm sorry. That's my terminology. When you say various
23 people came and offered their assistance, were some of these people from
24 the Croatian army?
25 A. I don't know about anyone coming from the Croatian army.
1 Q. Again staying on April, 1992, can you tell the Judges who became
2 the head of the Territorial Defence in Jablanica municipality at that
4 A. On the 15th of April, the Defence Staff was established. Zijad
5 Salihamidzic was appointed as the commander. Kopilas Stipo was appointed
6 as the Chief of Staff, and I think there were 23 or 24 members of the
7 staff. One of them was a Jew, one was a Serb, I think there were four or
8 five Croats, and one was a Muslim. The HVO in Jablanica proposed men of
9 its own and this proposal was accepted. There was Marko Zelenika who came
10 for about a month.
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the last part of the
12 witness's answer.
13 MR. SCOTT:
14 Q. Sir, the interpreter didn't get the last part of your answer. You
15 said Marko Zelenika came for about a month. And then what happened? Or
16 what else did you say?
17 A. Well, then he ceased performing those duties. He ceased coming.
18 Q. And after Marko Zelenika ceased participating, was that the end of
19 the participation of Croats in the Territorial Defence in Jablanica?
20 A. As far as the officers are concerned, yes. As far as the soldiers
21 are concerned, no.
22 Q. Did you become a member of the Territorial Defence Staff on about
23 the 12th of May, 1992?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did the Territorial Defence attempt to have the HVO or Croats are
1 the HVO, excuse me, participate in the Territorial Defence and come to
2 meetings of the Territorial Defence?
3 A. Yes. In the documents that I provided the Prosecution with, you
4 can see that on a number of occasions attempts were made to sit down,
5 discuss the subject, but it was all to no avail.
6 Q. Can I ask you please to look at Exhibit 321. Actually, my apology
7 to everyone in the courtroom. Could I please ask you to look first at
8 Exhibit 186.
9 Can you tell us what that document is and what that was about?
10 A. Well, this is the beginning of the war, May, 1992. Prior to this
11 decision, there was a decree law, something like that, issued by the
12 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and which stated that the armed
13 forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina were composed of the Territorial Defence, the
14 HVO, the Ministry of the Interior, and all other armed forces composed of
15 individuals prepared to defend Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was something
16 to that effect. And after that document was issued, this decision was
17 adopted according to which, given that there was the HVO, the Green Berets
18 and the Territorial Defence in the territory of our municipality, they
19 should be there in the municipality.
20 Naturally at the time there was no discussion of open clashes or
21 even of hidden clashes.
22 Q. Can I ask you, please, to look next at Exhibit 196. 196. And can
23 you tell us what that is and how this document fit into the events at that
25 A. Well, that's what I was talking about a minute ago. It's the
1 beginning of the war. They're suggesting that these individuals become
2 members of the staff, Stipe Kopilas, Marko Zelenika, Ivo Zelenika, and
3 Vjekoslav Skarda. Naturally apart from Marko none of them came to work
4 there. I've already said that.
5 Q. Now, if I can ask you to go to Exhibit 321, please. I asked you a
6 few minutes ago before I by mistake skipped over a couple of exhibits,
7 were there efforts by the Territorial Defence to continue to bring the HVO
8 into involvement, cooperative involvement with the Territorial Defence?
9 A. Well, there was the last attempt. After this attempt there were
10 no others because they didn't respond. And afterwards, I think that there
11 was a new decision issued on organising the staff since in the meantime
12 because of the threats representatives or, rather, the Jewish
13 representative and Serb had left the staff in Bos [phoen] and had left
14 Bosnia. The Croats didn't want to participate, so all one could do at
15 that point was to form the staff composed of members willing to
16 participate in its work.
17 Q. All right. There was a museum in Jablanica that contained
18 artillery equipment from the second -- some artillery pieces from the
19 Second World War; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And can you tell the Judges whether -- did there come a time in
22 the spring or summer 1992 when some of those artillery pieces were
23 refurbished to the point they could be used again, and then what happened
24 to those artillery pieces?
25 A. Yes. There were four howitzers. They were called Zis, Z-i-s
1 They were the 100-millimetre howitzer. And all of them were refurbished,
2 equipped to work. At the time we didn't have any active combat
3 operations. We had passive positions towards the Serbs on Mount Prenj.
4 We didn't need them, so we sent two to Sarajevo, to Igman, Mount Igman,
5 one to Konjic, because they had constant contact with the Serb army in the
6 vicinity of the town. And the third was given to Jasmin Jaganjac when he
7 was preparing to deblock Mostar, the operation to lift the siege of
8 Mostar. And let me just tell you that we put at the disposal of Jaganjac
9 80 of our fighters in liberating the northern portions of Sarajevo. They
10 took part together with the HVO in the area of Jasinjabovic [phoen] and so
12 Q. So if I understand correctly, sir, two went to Sarajevo to Mount
13 Igman, one went to Konjic, and one went to the Mostar HVO.
14 A. One to the -- yes, yes, that's right.
15 Q. Okay. Now, sir this brings us to the appointment you started
16 talking about a moment ago. Can you tell the Judges about this Daidza who
17 came on the scene at that time and how he came involved?
18 A. He came uninvited. He and his army, he and his soldiers started
19 to behave brazenly. The first thing he did was to use the media to attack
20 us in the Territorial Defence. Then he would walk around the villages
21 with a car full of sweets, and he would hand the sweets over to the
22 children and they thought he was Father Christmas, that kind of person.
23 Q. Before, sir, before you continue on with that, do you know where
24 Mr. Daidza came from or who had sent him into the Jablanica region? If
25 you know.
1 A. He was an immigrant. He was a criminal from World War II. Until
2 changes occurred in Croatia, he didn't dare come to Yugoslavia. As far as
3 we know, he was invited by somebody from Croatia and given the rank of
4 general. I don't know what the regulations in that republic and who can
5 hand out ranks of general left, right, and centre, but he came to us as a
6 general of the Croatian army.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you wish to
8 intervene on that point?
9 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I want to say that this man,
10 upon his arrival in Croatia -- or, rather, before -- he was a United
11 States citizen before he arrived in Croatia throughout that time, and if
12 he was a citizen of the USA with a passport, then the witness cannot be
13 allowed to proclaim the man a criminal without any proof and evidence.
14 This is completely unacceptable and an insult.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, it is also not acceptable and
16 according to the rules that you stand up and testify. You have -- far
17 from asking a question, you have stood up like a witness to make a
18 statement that differs from that of this witness. If you do not agree
19 with what he is saying, certainly your lawyers will take advantage of
20 that, but I think you should also respect the rules, please.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I will respect the rules and
23 procedure, but to call someone a criminal and nobody to get up to object,
24 well, I really don't know. And I do apologise. And in passing, we're
25 going to show who sent him and whose general he was in due course.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, in speaking about that
2 general, you said that it was a criminal from World War II.
3 General Praljak has told us that he was an American citizen and that he
4 held a USA passport. So what allows you to say that he was a World War II
5 criminal? Where do you get that from? Because it's very serious to
6 accuse somebody of things like that without proof and evidence. So what
7 has prompted you to say that? What allows you to say that?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were told that by his neighbours
9 and relatives, because he is a native of Blagaj, Mostar, that's where he
10 originated from and when he came to Bosnia-Herzegovina territory they told
11 us where he was from. We had never heard of him before then or seen him.
12 So what I said now, just now is how we saw him, and his neighbours and his
13 relatives told us that.
14 Now, if I have violated any procedural rights, I apologise.
15 Perhaps I used a strong word, but that's how we saw him. That's how we
16 experienced him.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're saying that it was the
18 family -- his family members or neighbours that said that. But you are an
19 educated man. You went to university, the university of Zagreb. You're a
20 specialist in political sciences, and you have some knowledge. You know
21 that if you are a citizen of the United States and if you come from a
22 country other than the United States there's a whole procedure that the
23 authorities engage in, the American authorities, to see whether you are a
24 delinquent, whether you are a wanted person, or whatever. The United
25 States authorities look into all that when somebody comes in from another
2 So you are stating facts -- you are stating some sort of fact that
3 an intellectual of your level and standing should not do without having
4 proof and evidence, or did you not know that you can only become a citizen
5 of the United States of America after you go through a whole system of
6 checks and proofs and verifications? Do you know that or not? If you
7 don't know that that is the case, then say so.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not know that, and I doubt
9 that he was in fact a citizen of the United States of America.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If Mr. Praljak tells us that he
11 is a US citizen, he must have proof of that, but we'll go into that later
12 on in due course.
13 Mr. Scott, continue.
14 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Sir, you began to tell us, I think, a few minutes ago when you
16 first mentioned this Daidza's involvement, did there come a time when the
17 commander of the Territorial Defence in Jablanica was arrested by
18 Mr. Daidza or people acting on his orders?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Tell us what happened.
21 A. At a certain point he stormed the hotel in Jablanica, stormed into
22 the hotel where the commander of our staff was with 15 or 20 well-armed
23 soldiers. He arrested the man, took him away to the Herceg Stjepan
24 Brigade headquarters at Kostajnica, near Konjic, and then he issued an
25 orders to appoint Balija Dzavid as commander and serve in his place, and
1 by doing so he put himself in the role of the Supreme Command who can
2 appoint or relieve of duty Staff Commanders.
3 Q. Before we go further into that, can you give us any approximate
4 date when this occurred or even the month or year?
5 A. Between the 10th and 12th of July, 1992.
6 Q. To your knowledge did Mr. -- I shouldn't say Mr. Daidza. Daidza
7 was a nickname; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. I think you've said it before, but do you know the correct name of
10 this man?
11 A. He has two, one Croatian and one Bosniak. Mate Sarlija or Nijaz
13 Q. And when Daidza arrested the head of the Territorial Defence on
14 who was that at that time for the record?
15 A. Salihamidzic
16 Q. When Daidza arrested the commander was there any explanation given
17 as to his authorisation or power to take such an action?
18 A. No, no, no. He was the commander of some brigade and he issued
19 orders to replace this man and to appoint the other man.
20 Q. You said a moment ago that he was taken -- the commander was taken
21 to the Herceg Stjepan Brigade near Konjic. Of which military organisation
22 was the Herceg Stjepan Brigade?
23 A. The HVO.
24 Q. Now, you mentioned that Daidza then attempted to put another
25 commander in the place of this other gentleman. What was the name of that
2 A. Dzavid Balija.
3 Q. And what happened with him?
4 A. Well, when he came to us to be our commander, we arrested him.
5 And two days later expelled him from the municipality.
6 Q. Why did you arrest him?
7 A. Because he was a Trojan horse.
8 Q. How so?
9 A. Well, the commander from one army replaces the commander in
10 another army and then appoints a new one. I don't know if there's a
11 better expression than that. We in Bosnia say that it's one of those eggs
12 that the bird places in somebody else's nest.
13 Q. Moving forward to -- or in the summer of 1992, who were the
14 principal leaders or figures, full in the HDZ in Jablanica at that time?
15 A. There were three men mostly who assumed all these posts in the
16 they were Matan Zaric, Ivan Rogic, and Mirko Zelenika.
17 Q. Can you give us the second name? You mentioned Matan Zaric which
18 is in the transcript. Can you give us the second name, please.
19 A. Ivan Rogic. Ivan Rogic.
20 Q. Further in the summer of 1992, was there another attack on this
21 same Aleksin Han bridge that you mentioned earlier today?
22 A. Yes. On the 8th of August, 1992. Some HVO units came to the
23 bridge again, killed two of our men who were providing security on the
24 bridge. They captured seven and took them off to Split. Two days later,
25 they were returned to Grude, and from there they were taken over by our
1 president of the municipality and chief of MUP. And in addition to other
2 things, there is an HVO police report in Jablanica among your documents,
3 among the documents you have Our engineers unit, after the incident on
4 the bridge, found about 150 kilograms of explosives with all the necessary
5 equipment to blow up the bridge. That was the second attempt to blow up
6 the bridge, to destroy the bridge, which luckily was aborted for some
7 technical reason. I don't remember exactly what it was. You might have
8 it in your documents, whether because of humidity or whether the gunpowder
9 was damp or whatever.
10 Let me also say that those were the first victims that fell, our
11 first fatalities during the war.
12 Q. Can I ask you please to look at Exhibit 388. A report from the
13 HVO military police covering the period from the 6th of August to the 13th
14 of August, 1992. Can I ask you please to turn to -- that is section
15 called incidents. If you can find the section called incidents and on the
16 English --
17 A. I've found it.
18 Q. Is that a description, sir, if you look at that, is that a
19 description at least in part of what happened at the Aleksin Han bridge at
20 that time?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you ever have occasion to talk with these -- any of the ABiH
23 members or soldiers who had been taken to Split? Oh, sorry. You probably
24 didn't hear my --
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. Okay. Can you tell us -- can you tell the Judges what they said
2 had happened to them and why -- what happened in Split?
3 A. They were interrogated but not abused, not mistreated. After the
4 interrogation, they were sent back to Grude.
5 Q. Moving forward to September of 1992, can you tell us whether there
6 was an attack on a check-point near one of the exit locations from
8 A. Yes, yes. There was an attack at the check-point to the exit from
9 Jablanica at the village of Jelacic, without any human casualties,
11 Q. And do you know who carried out this attack?
12 A. Well, I don't suppose -- you don't suppose the armija, BH armija
13 attacked itself, do you?
14 Q. Well, let me persist in my question to you, sir. Do you know or
15 do you have information as to who attacked that check-point?
16 A. The HVO attacked.
17 Q. Going forward to October of 1992, did you ever learn about a
18 meeting that was called by someone, and I'll ask you who in a moment, but
19 there was a meeting called to discuss the future of Bosnia and
21 A. The international community. Negotiations were conducted with
22 respect to the Vance-Owen Plan or something like that. I can't remember
23 exactly now what it was all about, but the plan never was accepted, and
24 it implied the cantonisation of Bosnia, as far as I remember, on ethnic
1 Q. In that context, sir, let me go back to my question then. In the
2 context you just gave us, was there a meeting in Tomislavgrad to discuss
3 the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 A. During the summer of 1992 there were attempts on our part of
5 meeting. I think our representatives went to Posusje and Tomislavgrad for
6 negotiations. And what you're asking me about now, the discussion on the
7 future of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Tomislavgrad, well, I can't really answer
8 that. I don't know whether that was the actual topic of discussion, the
9 future of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina is
10 a subject that was discussed elsewhere, not even in Bosnia-Herzegovina at
11 the time. It was a subject discussed elsewhere. But I'm not clear I
12 understand your question in the first place.
13 Q. All right. Let me ask you this, sir, and if it doesn't assist
14 I'll move on. Did you ever or did one of your colleagues ever attend a
15 meeting with a man called Zeljko Glasnovic?
16 A. I didn't, but some of my colleagues did.
17 Q. Such as, in terms of your colleagues?
18 A. Well, in principle it would always be the chief of MUP who went
19 and somebody to represent the staff, either the Chief of Staff or the
21 Q. Who was the head of MUP -- of the MUP at least of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina as of October, 1992?
23 A. In Jablanica you mean. Emin Zebic.
24 Q. Did Mr. Zebic go to this meeting with Mr. Glasnovic?
25 A. Well, someone went. I can't remember who it was. I haven't got a
1 note so that I can look it up.
2 Q. All right.
3 A. There was some kind of meeting, and it's all in the document
5 Q. Let me ask you -- then let's move forward then if you don't
6 remember that. Did there come a time when the Croat members -- some of
7 the Croat members of the MUP, we were just talking about the MUP, left the
8 MUP to go to the HVO?
9 A. Well, yes. That was already the autumn of 1992. And otherwise
10 attempts were made to include the MUP of Jablanica and Konjic into the MUP
11 of Bosnia. There were a number of attempts along those lines and finally
12 members of the Croatian people in MUP in the Republic of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina gradually left MUP and joined up with the military or
14 civilian police. I don't know if they had a civilian police, but anyway,
15 the HVO.
16 People were given a salary there, and they were able to have a
17 more or less normal status, whereas with us they didn't. That could have
18 been one of the reasons, and the other was the efforts made or, rather, it
19 was an attempt to establish HVO power and authority gradually in the
20 police, the army, later on the demand to take over power fully.
21 Q. Can I ask you, please, to look at Exhibit 832. This is a report
22 from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Interior dated the
23 30th of November, 1992. Can I ask you, please, to look at the first
24 couple of paragraphs of that report, and if you can tell that -- tell the
25 Judges whether that relates to what you were just telling us about a
1 moment ago.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And is that what was happening in the MUP of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina -- the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Jablanica
5 municipality around this time?
6 A. Well, yes. And this was a time when they insisted on MUP
7 Herceg-Bosna or, rather, they began to exist parallelly, the two MUPs, and
8 then a conflict of interests arose, if I can put it that way.
9 Here the minister of the MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina says or is
10 saying that the MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina is the legal organ, regular
11 organ, and all the rest isn't, and that they would reach an agreement to
12 have a joint MUP. That is more or less the contents of this document.
13 Q. And do you know if it was ever successful to form a joint MUP in
15 A. No, no. The MUP existed, the MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina existed.
16 Herceg-Bosna formed its own as a parallel organisation. So there were two
17 Ministries of the Interior in existence.
18 Q. Now, sir, in October, 1992, did it at some point come to your
19 attention that there had been an armed conflict in the nearby municipality
20 of Prozor?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When do you recall and how do you recall first learning about
24 A. Well, sometime after the 20th or 21st of October, reports started
25 coming in from the Municipal Staff of Prozor saying is that the situation
1 was critical and that they expected to be attacked at any moment, and they
2 asked for assistance. They asked that through our check-points -- that we
3 do not allow HVO members to pass through our check-points who could go as
4 reinforcements. And the first refugees started to arrive as well.
5 Q. Refugees from where?
6 A. From Prozor.
7 Q. And refugees of what ethnic group?
8 A. Muslims.
9 Q. Can you tell the Judges approximately how many Muslim refugees
10 came from Prozor to Jablanica around this time?
11 A. A little over a thousand arrived in Jablanica, and they
12 established some sort of provisional authority there. Most of the
13 population, the Bosniak population from Prozor, fled to Bugojno, and
14 another portion went to Konjic and the Neretvica river valley, bordering
15 on that municipality.
16 Q. Let me ask you to look, please, at Exhibit 653. Do you have that,
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. This is an HVO document dated the 26th of October, 1992. In the
20 text that is under the heading "Prozor sector," if you can go down through
21 that. Do you see a sentence that says: "The Muslims had previously
22 pulled out most women and children from Prozor and its surroundings"?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And is what you see in this document, sir, is that what was
25 happening in the Prozor area as it affected and came into Jablanica at
1 that time?
2 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object, Your Honour. There's a lack
3 of foundation. If the gentleman can establish that he was in Prozor and
4 was able to observe the events in Prozor that's one thing. Now he's being
5 asked to read a document and then speculate as to what was happening.
6 MR. SCOTT: I'll rephrase it Your Honour.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
8 MR. SCOTT: I'll rephrase it.
9 Q. Sir, you said a few moments ago that there were about a thousand
10 Muslim refugees that came from Prozor to Jablanica at that time; is that
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you see the reference that I directed your attention to a
14 moment ago talking about the Muslim women and children being taken --
15 being -- moving from Prozor?
16 A. Yes, I can see that.
17 Q. And is that around the time that these refugees arrived in
19 A. Well, the tension lasted for a long time up there. People tried
20 to save their lives. They would get out before a conflict broke out. So
21 a fairly small number of civilians actually came to harm.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When these refugees arrived in
23 your village, were you there? Did you see them? Did you see these people
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And did you speak to them, ask
2 them about what was happening?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. We spoke to each other.
4 Mr. Izetbegovic also came.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What did they tell you?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Petkovic would also come. We
7 discussed matters on a number of occasions. We went to Prozor. Pasalic,
8 my corps commander, and Mr. Petkovic and others went there.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please try and be precise.
10 Before President Izetbegovic or General Petkovic arrived there you saw
11 refugees arriving, and you said that you spoke to them. What did the
12 refugees tell you? Did they say they had left the town, they had been
13 expelled from the town, that they had come to Jablanica because they
14 didn't know where else to go? What did they tell you exactly.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, people tried to save their
16 lives. They realised that all hell would break loose and they left their
17 homes and arrived where they arrived.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're saying that they were
19 trying to save their lives. Did they say that people in Prozor had been
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't say anything about
22 that now. That happened a long time ago. That's not what I was
23 interested in at the time. I was in the army. I was more interested in
24 military questions. As far as civilians and refugees are concerned, well,
25 there are organisations, staffs that would work with them.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said that Mr. Izetbegovic
2 came. Do you remember him arriving there?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, very well. I was his host.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you were his host. Why did
5 he come?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, because that was the first
7 large-scale conflict between the armija and the HVO. He had come to try
8 and intervene, to calm the situation down, see whether it would be
9 possible to return to the previous state of affairs, whether it would be
10 possible for people to live as normal.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise, but it
12 might be good if the witness can provide us with the date on which
13 Mr. Izetbegovic arrived in Jablanica.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You have that in the documents.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I know, but tell us, because
16 there's a significant difference.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm not a computer. You must
18 recognise the fact a lot of years have passed since then. I can't
19 remember all the dates. It's written down.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you can't
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's in the documents.
23 I've provided the documents.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But for the moment
25 we don't have any documents concerning Mr. Izetbegovic's arrival.
1 You also said that General Petkovic came. Do you remember the
2 context when he arrived? Can you provide us with any other information?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Petkovic and Mr. Pasalic
4 came together. I think they came together, but I'm not a hundred per cent
5 sure. They went to the command where I was. They came to the premises
6 and we discussed certain things. I don't think this took place on one
7 occasion. On a number of occasions.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What was the date, because
9 counsel is on her feet again. You can't remember the date?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've written it down, but I can't
11 remember everything now. Don't be childish. I really can't remember
12 every day.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Pasalic and
14 Petkovic went to the command of the Territorial Defence. And what
15 happened there? Can you tell us what the purpose of that visit was, what
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They agreed to go to Prozor, and
18 that's what they did.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And did you see General Petkovic
20 with your very own eyes?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And how was he dressed? Can you
23 remember that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. He was in uniform. He
25 was wearing a military uniform. We were all in uniform.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And was Mr. Pasalic also in
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you saw Mr. Pasalic and
5 Mr. Petkovic. You're quite affirmative about that.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And did they come before or
8 after Mr. Izetbegovic, or perhaps during Mr. Izetbegovic's visit? I don't
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, without any documents, I
11 really can't answer that. I can't remember all the dates. It was in
12 1992. Fourteen years have passed since then.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we can just
14 contribute to clearing this up, because otherwise the witness will be of
15 no use. General Petkovic was in Jablanica in December, 1992. That's when
16 President Izetbegovic was there and the purpose of the meeting was quite
17 different. A different general came with Pasalic, not General Petkovic.
18 And if we should provide the witness with documents to refresh his memory,
19 I have absolutely nothing against that.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Petkovic came with Mr. Pasalic
21 to Jablanica. I personally saw Petkovic on that occasion for the first
22 time. You won't convince me of the contrary.
23 MR. PRALJAK: [No interpretation].
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What you're talking about took place
25 on the 15th of December, 1992, around that date when there was an
1 agreement with Petkovic to take action to raise the blockade of Sarajevo.
2 That's when that happened.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, put a question, as
4 the Judges have already said, if you have a question to put to the
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Witness,
7 did Mr. Petkovic come with Pasalic or was I with him? Have a look at us
8 now, if you can remember.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, look. Zeljko Siljeg came;
10 Petkovic came; you came; Maric, whatever his name was, came. Many HVO
11 generals came.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] There were no generals then.
13 Have a look at me. Now that you see, me do you remember me and not Mr.
14 Petkovic? Immediately after the incident in Prozor there was a big
15 meeting in Jablanica, in the powerplant in that hall [phoen]. Do you
16 remember having seen me or seeing Mr. Petkovic.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I recall you and Mr. Petkovic but
18 perhaps I'm wrong there were many meetings. We saw a lot of people. We
19 met frequently and without the relevant document I couldn't really say who
20 was there.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you see Mr. Praljak as well
22 during that period of time, because apparently you saw various
23 individuals. You saw him then?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I saw all of them who would
25 come, Mr. Siljeg, Mr. Praljak, Mr. Petkovic, Mr. Maric, the brigade
1 commander, the Herceg Stjepan Brigade commander. What was his name?
2 Sagolj and others. We had regular contact. We would meet, try to reach
3 agreements. Unfortunately the agreements were very poor agreements. That
4 was the problem
5 Your Honour, if I may. Mr. President, if I may continue.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes well.
7 MR. SCOTT: Mr. Scott, please continue. We have another five
9 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Idrizovic, maybe we can come back to some of these of things
11 that did happen a bit later. When we get to December, it appears from the
12 courtroom there was no dispute of certain meetings later in 1992, based on
13 what's been said. But let me direct your attention. Now, still in
14 October, after the events in Prozor did you become then were you named or
15 appointed the head of the Territorial Defence in Jablanica?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Approximately when was that?
18 A. On the 28th of October.
19 Q. Did that make you, sir, then for that period -- at that period of
20 time, and we'll come back to it probably tomorrow, did that make you then
21 the senior officer of the ABiH or Territorial Defence in Jablanica
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you become involved in something called the Prozor commission
25 around that time?
1 A. Well, after the events in Prozor, I received a decision from the
2 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to which I was a member of
3 the government commission that was supposed to go to Prozor to look into
4 what had happened there, to submit a report.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the answer,
6 since the microphone keeps switching off. Could the witness please repeat
7 the answer. The microphone switches on and off.
8 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me. Perhaps it would help if the second
9 microphone was also turned on. It's on. Okay.
10 Q. Sir, I'm sorry for the technical problems. If you could tell us,
11 apart from yourself, who was placed or named to this commission that was
12 supposed to investigate what had happened in Prozor.
13 A. Emin Zebic, the chief of the MUP in Jablanica; Jurisic from the --
14 Herceg Stjepan in Konjic. There was one of the officers from Zenica, and
15 I can't remember the fifth person.
16 Q. And can you tell the Judges, please, just to finish on this
17 tonight, did you or this commission attempt to carry out your work and, if
18 so, what did you do?
19 A. Well, yes. Since the situation had deteriorated in Prozor, we --
20 or, rather, Zebic and I went to Konjic to see Mr. Jurisic. He was a
21 member of the brigade command of the Herceg Stjepan Brigade command. I
22 can't remember the duties he performed exactly. We waited for him for
23 about two hours. He appeared, and he said -- or, rather, we needed him,
24 because without having someone from the HVO it wouldn't have been possible
25 for us to enter Prozor. We needed their authorisation, otherwise they
1 wouldn't let us in.
2 He said that he would consult his government in Grude to see
3 whether he'd participate in the work of the commission and that he would
4 then inform us of everything. Naturally we never received a reply, and
5 that commission never went there and never carried out its task.
6 Q. Did Mr. Jurisic ever participate in the commission after meeting
7 with him on this one occasion?
8 A. No. How would he participate in this since the commission never
9 really convened?
10 MR. SCOTT: If I can just finish on this, Your Honour, on this
11 topic, but hopefully --
12 Did you ever -- did some members of the commission ever attempt to
13 actually go to Prozor to conduct an inquiry?
14 A. Well, I suppose Praljak was there. When there was Pasalic and
15 when everyone went up there for the first time, I was supposed to go with
16 Pasalic, too, but since they had other things to do as well, they told me
17 to appear in Prozor at some point in time. I can't remember when exactly.
18 This is what Pasalic told me to do in fact. Naturally, I set off. I got
19 as far as the Jasen bridge, which was where the first HVO check-point was
20 at the time. I was kindly told by the men that they knew I had to pass
21 through and that I should wait for 10 minutes for certain formalities to
22 be completed. Ten minutes passed and then another ten minutes, and then
23 they told me that I would have to wait for another half an hour, and then
24 an hour, and then they told me I couldn't enter Prozor, so I didn't go to
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Idrizovic?
2 MR. SCOTT: We would stop there for the evening, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Tomorrow you'll have to return
4 for the hearing that will commence at 9.00, and you should not meet the
5 Prosecution in the meantime since you have taken on the solemn
6 declaration. You are testifying in the interest of justice right now so
7 you shouldn't meet up with anyone.
8 I will see everyone tomorrow at 9.00. Thank you.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 7th day
11 of November, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.