1 Wednesday, 15 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, will you please call
6 the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, President. This
8 is case IT-04-74-T.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like to say good
10 afternoon, everybody, Prosecution, the Defence, and the accused. We are
11 going to finish our work today. Before that, I have a decision to impart
12 to you and after that I would like the Registrar to move into private
13 session for a couple of minutes.
14 I will read slow so that everybody can follow.
15 This is a verbal decision pursuant to the request of the accused
16 Prlic concerning application for additional information regarding the
17 confidential motion of the Prosecution requiring introduction of 11
18 written statements pursuant to 92 bis (A) and (B).
19 This November, the Prosecution has filed a confidential request
20 for admission of 11 statements. The Defence of the Accused Prlic,
21 represented by Mr. Karnavas, required, in the name of all the accused,
22 that the Trial Chamber grant them approval to receive additional
23 information. The Defence claims that the Prosecution did not meet their
24 obligation to state to what extent those written statements proposed for
25 admission are cumulative in nature, bearing in mind that some prior
1 witnesses have already testified to similar issues.
2 The Trial Chamber notes that the Prosecution stated in their
3 motion that the statements they propose to introduce are corroborative of
4 prior testimony from other witnesses. The Prosecution named these
5 witnesses. However, they failed to explain in what way these statements
6 are cumulative relative to live testimony. We have heard the Prosecution
7 motion does refer to a specific charge, but that is not sufficient.
8 It is incumbent upon the Prosecution - and this is important in
9 regard to every statement - to specify which part of viva voce testimony
10 is corroborated by any particular statement. For that reason, the Trial
11 Chamber shall grant the application by the Defence. And in addition to
12 that, the time allowed to the Prosecution for making a new motion will
13 start to run now.
14 That means, Mr. Mundis, that you will be required to modify your
15 motion to include the information that we have just specified.
16 We are now going to private session.
17 [Private session]
11 Pages 10172-10174 redacted. Private session
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in open session.
21 MR. MURPHY:
22 Q. Witness, I was saying my name is Peter Murphy, and with my
23 colleague, Ms. Nozica, I represent Mr. Bruno Stojic.
24 I understand that during 1993, you spent approximately six months
25 in Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that right?
1 A. Yes, approximately six months. Just over six months.
2 Q. That was between roughly April and --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
4 MR. MURPHY:
5 Q. It was between roughly April and November?
6 A. Between April and October.
7 Q. And before you left for that assignment, you received -- or during
8 the voyage to the assignment, you received some briefing about the
9 situation on the ground?
10 A. Yes, indeed. We received, ever since the unit was gathered
11 together in Almeria in Spain, we starting receiving all reports coming
12 from the Spanish unit deployed in that place at that time.
13 Q. And effectively, you had to rely on that briefing for the
14 information that you had at the beginning of your assignment?
15 A. Yes. Not only that information. Among other things, my unit had
16 the mission of participating in conferences or lectures with the rest of
17 the contingent. So we had to undertake a learning exercise of the whole
18 Balkan region, the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzegovina more concretely.
19 In the files, all of the lectures that were given are listed to the
20 Spanish contingent before we left into -- to go into operations, and they
21 were geographic, historical, ethnic information included in that.
22 Q. Now, the first time that you were interviewed by the Office of the
23 Prosecutor about events in 1993, was that in November of 2000 when you
24 made your witness statement?
25 A. Yes. In November, 2000, I was in Kosovo, and I was called to
1 Madrid as a witness for this court.
2 Q. Now, yesterday, the Presiding Judge asked you some questions about
3 who had initiated the conflict in the area of Jablanica. Do you remember
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And I believe your evidence about that was that you thought that
7 that was the HVO who had initiated that conflict.
8 A. When he arrived and when I personally arrived in the area of
9 operations, we had reports already about the military operations already
10 under way in the area around Jablanica and other areas.
11 Q. Did you also receive information that on about the 27th of March,
12 1993, that was before your arrival, there had been an attack by the ABiH
13 in the area of Konjic?
14 A. Right now I cannot recall. We received reports of the situation
15 throughout Bosnia and the military activities under way throughout the
16 whole of Bosnia. It is possible, but right now, I don't recall precisely.
17 Q. But you would accept, would you not, that the conflict that you
18 became involved in in April of 1993 was very complicated?
19 A. I knew it perfectly.
20 Q. Because not only were there the Croats and the Muslims involved,
21 but also the Bosnian Serbs.
22 A. If I can be permitted, that is not all there is to it, because the
23 whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina saw activities being carried out by all
24 different parties given all of the different ethnic communities. There
25 the Croats in the Kiseljak pocket and those in the Grude pocket didn't
1 have the same way of going about their activities. Likewise, there were
2 differences in the way of acting between the Muslims on the east of Mostar
3 and the Muslims in Sarajevo or in Tuzla. And we were perfectly aware of
4 this, and we observed it during the time that we were present there.
5 Q. So when we talk about one side attacking or taking the initiative,
6 we have to bear in mind that different parties were attacking at different
7 times and at different places; is that correct?
8 A. That is correct, but I repeat that the first question you asked me
9 was about the operations, the military operations, close to Jablanica and
10 in Doljani, Sovici, Slatina. In these communities, when we arrived, the
11 news that we had was that the HVO forces were completing military
12 operations there and that they were cleansing the area.
13 Q. But you would agree, would you not, as a professional soldier,
14 that when you had military action in one area, it can spill over; the
15 consequences of that then lead on to an action in an area close by?
16 A. Yes, of course. But I wanted to point out that, as a professional
17 soldier, from the start I realised, as did my companions, that the
18 military actions under way in many cases were not following military --
19 logical military doctrine. Rather, they were being carried out in a -- in
20 an amateur way.
21 Q. It was quite chaotic, wasn't it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And one of the symptoms of that, as you mentioned yesterday, was
24 that the commanders could not always compel their subordinates to carry
25 out orders that they gave, for example, that cease-fires should be
2 A. In some or many cases this is the case. But I would like to point
3 out, that in many cases, the failure to complete higher commands was not
4 actually apparent to us. We didn't know whether this failure to fulfil
5 orders was because of a lack of will on the part of the medium-level local
6 command or whether these same people were receiving records along these
8 Q. You also observed, on the ground, that there were some units from
9 all the parties which, if I can put it this way, were simply out of
10 control, in the sense that they did not appear to respect any chain of
11 command; is that right?
12 A. Well, theoretically, on paper, there was a chain of command. In
13 practice, from our point of view, as UNPROFOR soldiers, the agreements
14 that had reached a certain level were not implemented at the lower levels.
15 I repeat that we were not aware whether this was because of ignorance on
16 the local medium-level commandment level or whether once the agreement had
17 been signed, different orders had been issued.
18 Q. You did observe, did you not, though, that on the ground there
19 were certain elements that would take action into their own hands, for
20 whatever reason that might be?
21 A. I repeat, acting on their own initiative, I would not dare to go
22 so far as to say that. Theoretically, there was a chain of command which
23 was clearly defined. There was a series of units which had a less clear
24 chain of command. I could name, for example, in the Croatian defence
25 forces, the case of an interlocutor with which we had conversations
1 frequently, which was Mr. Andabak. According to him, he was commander of
2 the special operations, and sometimes he told us that he depended on the
3 commander in chief of the Croatian defence forces, and other times he told
4 us he followed orders coming from President Boban himself.
5 Q. Because we don't have much time, I want to move this along if I
6 can, Witness.
7 May we have on e-court, please, Prosecution Exhibit number 1717.
8 And while that's coming up, Witness, what I'm going to show you is
9 the operations logbook of the unit to which you were attached. Are you
10 familiar with that document? You will be able to see it on the screen,
11 Witness. I understand that you do read English quite well; is that
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. If you have any difficulty, though, please let me know.
15 May we see page 53 of this document, please, in English. Do you
16 have the English version on the screen? Yes, please.
17 What I'm going to show you, sir, is an entry for the 4th of May,
18 1993. And to save time, while it's coming up on the screen, if I may, I
19 will read a short passage of this to you. It describes an occasion when
20 an escort from your unit was providing transportation and protection for
21 General Halilovic and General Pasalic after a meeting, and there was a
22 reference to -- that during the trip, various groups of
23 out-of-control-armija elements obstructed the passage of the escorts. Do
24 you recall an incident like that?
25 It's on the screen. It's the 5th of May, so if we could go back a
1 bit, please, to the 4th of May.
2 Do you recall an incident, Witness, of that kind?
3 A. Yes. I remember. I was part of the column heading towards
4 Doljani and Sovici, and the other part the column with General Petkovic
5 was heading towards Konjic. In Konjic, the convoy was stopped by ABiH
6 local forces who maintained that the UNPROFOR soldiers should hand in
7 General Petkovic as a prisoner of war. We refused --
8 Q. I don't mean to interrupt you, but my own question was -- since
9 we're short of time, I just wanted to get your recollection.
10 And then following on immediately after that on the same page,
11 there's a reference to a lieutenant. I won't mention his name, but
12 another officer in your company being surrounded by forces of the armija
13 and trying to compel the joint commission to -- to go to Konjic. You
14 remember that incident also? Is that right?
15 A. Yes, indeed. I remember that this was resolved with General
16 Halilovic's involvement. Thank you.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... same exhibit to page 103,
18 please. And you'll see there an entry for the 28th of June, 1993, which
19 reflects that on that day at about 1.30, 13.30, a team from the European
20 Community was detained by some people called Mujahedin. Do you see that?
21 A. No. It's not on the screen yet, no.
22 Q. Okay. Well, let me just ask you then. We should be looking --
23 I'm sorry, the date should be the 28th of June. It's page 103. But let
24 me -- let me just ask you generally, without reference to the document.
25 Do you recall an occasion when representatives from the European Community
1 were surrounded and detained by people who were described as Mujahedin on
2 or about the 28th of June, 1993?
3 A. I remember hearing about the presence of Mujahedin fighters or
4 so-called Mujahedin in the northern area of Jablanica; more concretely, in
5 the mosque of Sovici. This information, after having reading Kiseljak
6 reports on the possible presence of these irregular fighters, we heard
7 from a commander of the ABiH forces, Haso Hakalovic, and we had good
8 relations with him and he confirmed the presence of the Mujahedin fighters
9 in this mosque.
10 Q. Just one other point on that general subject. In your statement
11 to the -- your witness statement to the Prosecutor, you also referred to
12 having seen on one occasion some Croat combatants who were wearing black
13 shirts with the symbol of the black eagle. Do you recall that?
14 A. Yes, indeed. That was when, more precisely, on that particular
15 day of the visits to the areas in conflict, the column was visiting at
16 Doljani, Sovici, there were elements of the Croatian defence forces
17 wearing this black shirt underneath their other uniform.
18 Q. One other matter on that general subject. It's also true, is it
19 not, that all the parties to the conflict made use of snipers during the
20 time while you were in theatre?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, sir, in your professional activities, you were very much
23 concerned with convoys of humanitarian aid, were you not? That was one of
24 the main purposes of your activities.
25 A. Yes. When we arrived in the area, that was our sole mission, to
1 guarantee humanitarian aid flows.
2 Q. And there were occasions, were there not, sir, when abuses were
3 made of such convoys because weapons were found concealed in what were, on
4 the face of it, humanitarian supplies? Do you remember incidents of that
6 A. We heard and we received reports to the effect, that in one truck,
7 which was part of humanitarian aid convoy, had war materiel in it. I
8 believe that this was outside of our area of operations. Therefore, from
9 that time on, an order was issued so that our Ploce liaison officer,
10 whenever there was a truck, he would make a detailed inventory of all the
11 cargo of each truck.
12 Q. And that occasion that you just referred to, was that a convoy for
13 which the -- the UNHCR was responsible?
14 A. The UNHCR was in charge of all of the humanitarian aid dispatch.
15 Q. But there were smaller humanitarian organisations that also
16 operated in your area of responsibility, were there not?
17 A. Yes, indeed, there were other organisations, non-governmental
18 organisations, but all of them -- and here I would have to explain the
19 concept of a lead agency, the leader agency. One of the UN-named agent --
20 a leader agency to coordinate all of the activities of all the other
21 agencies working in that area. In this case, the leader agency was part
22 of the UNHCR anyway.
23 Q. Let me put this question: Is it not true, sir, that there were a
24 number of occasions during the months when you were in theatre when
25 weapons were found concealed in different convoys? A number of separate
2 A. Personally, I only recall the one that I mentioned, and I repeat
3 that these were reports that we received in our headquarters.
4 MR. MURPHY: If you would just allow me one moment, Your Honour.
5 [Defence counsel confer]
6 MR. MURPHY: Witness, thank you very much.
7 Your Honour, I have nothing further.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Murphy.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
11 Q. Witness, good afternoon to you. My name is Vesna Alaburic. I am
12 an attorney from Zagreb. Here with me is Mr. Stewart, a lawyer from
13 London. We are the Defence counsel for General Milivoj Petkovic, and we
14 have an hour at our disposal, thanks to the Trial Chamber and my
15 colleagues Mr. Karnavas and Mr. Ibrisimovic for giving us the time. I'm
16 going to start off by asking you --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment counsel. You have
18 one hour. Explain that to me. 30 minutes plus 15 minutes from Mr.
19 Karnavas; is that right? And another 15 minutes from whom?
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] From Mr. Ibrisimovic.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see. Thank you.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. A few questions about Jablanica. In response to a question from
24 His Honour Judge Antonetti and now from Mr. Murphy, you spoke of the
25 activities of the HVO in the general area of Jablanica. What I'm
1 interested in is the following: It is not the area of Jablanica itself
2 but the town of Jablanica.
3 So to start off with, I'm going to ask you this: In preparing for
4 testimony at this Tribunal, did you have an opportunity of looking through
5 all the reports of the Spanish Battalion prepared for this trial by the
7 A. I would like to point one thing out. During my time in the area
8 of operations, I wasn't only in Jablanica. I was all around the area of
9 operations from Mitrovic in the south to Sarajevo in the north. During my
10 time in Jablanica, every day I went out of the detachment and the town of
11 Jablanica to see other places and to visit commandments throughout the
12 area. We were not hermits in our command in Jablanica.
13 Indeed, in preparing for this trial, the Prosecutor provided me
14 with a number of reports relating to that area.
15 Q. Yes, of course, but I'm going to ask you about the offensive
16 activities that you referred to in the Jablanica area, and within that
17 framework, I'm going to ask you about what had to do with the town of
18 Jablanica itself. So I'm not going to ask you about Sovici, Doljani, and
19 Slatina, but the activities that were geared towards Jablanica. If
20 necessary, I can explain the reasons for that.
21 But tell us, please, to begin with, whether you know what was
22 happening in the area of the neighbouring municipality such as Konjic
23 municipality when the combat was taking place in the Jablanica area, that
24 is to say Sovici, Doljani, and Slatina? Do you know what was happening in
25 Konjic and the Konjic municipality?
1 A. Yes. We were informed as to what was happening throughout the
2 area of operations.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And Konjic, how far is that from
4 Jablanica? How many kilometres approximately?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's about 20 minutes by road, but I
6 don't have the exact distances in my memory right now.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Pusic has just told us that it
8 is 20 kilometres, if that is important to the Trial Chamber. That will be
9 of assistance, then.
10 Q. Witness, when you spoke about the offensive actions by the HVO in
11 the Jablanica area, did that refer to some offensive action towards the
12 town of Jablanica itself with the intention of taking control of the town,
13 of expelling the Muslims, and having the Croats control the town so that
14 the town, as ethnically pure, could be integrated into the territory of
16 A. In the area of Jablanica, especially in the north of Jablanica,
17 there were military operations on a widespread scale. Given the reports
18 that we received from the area of Prozor, the Croatian defence forces were
19 putting pressure on -- towards Jablanica.
20 Similarly, in the areas around Konjic, the ABiH forces were trying
21 to take the small towns nearby or near Konjic. I remember Radesine, for
22 example, in which the Croatian population was expelled by the ABiH forces.
23 Q. I'm interested in what you've just said, this pressure against
24 Jablanica from the direction of Prozor and the west. This assessment of
25 yours that it was pressure on Jablanica, did that mean that that was the
1 objective of the HVO, to exert pressure on Jablanica? Is that right?
2 A. I didn't see the HVO operation's plans. I cannot say what their
3 intention was. What I can say is what the result of these operations was.
4 The result of the operations was that in the town of Jablanica many
5 refugees started to arrive. They were civilians who had been displaced
6 from municipalities which were Muslim in their majority.
7 Q. Based on your military experience, refugees from one area are
8 pouring into a town which was shelled heavily on a daily basis, which was
9 under siege by an enemy army, and which the enemy army wanted to expel the
10 population from, that is to take control and expel the population who were
11 of a different ethnic group.
12 In your experience, was that something that could happen? Was
13 that possible?
14 A. In my experience, not only is it possible, it is actually what
16 Q. Can you tell us whether any report by SpaBat, and you had a chance
17 to look through the reports in preparing for your testimony, was there a
18 single report by SpaBat where it stated that the HVO intended to take
19 control of Jablanica?
20 A. Right now I cannot recall whether -- whether this is stated in any
22 Q. Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. Defence
24 counsel has been asking some very interesting questions, and one of those
25 with military -- was with military overtones, but you didn't answer the
1 question, I don't think. What she was asking you -- well, she asked you
2 what you did, and you said that there was pressure from the HVO towards
3 Jablanica, on Jablanica. That's the first thing.
4 The second element is this: You said that there were refugees who
5 arrived in Jablanica.
6 And the third element is this: You said that the HVO launched an
7 offensive on Jablanica. So we can see the scenario.
8 Now, quite rightly, the Defence counsel was asking you, in this
9 type of scenario, with this type of scenario, how is it that you, the
10 international specialists who were on the ground, did not send out this
11 information in a report, did not reflect all these things that could have
12 had a logic of their own in your reports? So that is the question, and
13 that's the question that I wanted to ask you, and can you answer that?
14 The scenario as has just been described to us, was it ever contained and
15 reflected and described in a report by the Spanish Battalion?
16 A. Your Honour, I don't remember if precisely in those words this is
17 stated, whether there is a report of this nature among those which I
18 looked at. My personal impression from these operations, the Neretva
19 River is very important from a strategic point of view given -- because of
20 the hydroelectric power. Production of hydroelectric power from the
21 Neretva River is enough to power all of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and there is
22 even enough to export. Controlling the dams all along the river is vital
23 for controlling hydroelectric power generation.
24 The biggest power station is in Jablanica. Logically, or from a
25 military point of view, taking Jablanica is very important from a
1 strategic point of view, given the energy factor on the one hand and also
2 because it is a vital crossroads for connecting the south of Herzegovina
3 with Central Bosnia.
4 Q. Witness, it is not the largest hydroelectric power plant on the
5 Neretva, the one in Jablanica, but we can discuss that in due course. But
6 I'd now like to go through the documents of the Spanish Battalion, and
7 from the documents provided by your battalion, it would emerge that the
8 HVO did not have the intention of taking control of the town of Jablanica,
9 although, without a doubt, there was combat in the area of Sovici,
10 Doljani, and Slatina. And I'd just like to mention that the Prosecution
11 did not provide us with a Spanish Battalion report for the 15th of April,
13 So the first -- next document is the 16th of April. So may we
14 have on e-court document P 01914.
15 Witness, if you're looking at the English text, we have prepared a
16 set of documents for you in English which we intend to use during your
17 testimony. And this document is one that states what happened in the
18 Jablanica area. And at the beginning of that document, you can see that
19 there is not a single word saying that on that day Jablanica was shelled.
20 On page 2 of the text, it is said, "During yesterday's shelling,
21 32 civilians took refuge in the base and the convoy of the main command of
22 the BH army."
23 Now, tell us, please, Witness, on the 16th of April, if there was
24 an HVO offensive against the town of Jablanica, wouldn't that certainly
25 have been reflected and recorded in your report?
1 A. This is the first time I've seen this document. I ought to remind
2 you that for the preparation of my -- my presence here in this court, I
3 understand that two paragraphs above it can be read that the authorities
4 of the armija feared that the Croatian defence forces might be able to
5 take advantage of the movement of the convoys and approach and bring
6 military weapons and personnel towards Jablanica.
7 Q. In any case, not to look at the references in the text, I'd just
8 like to emphasise that this is the document as we have it in the B/C/S and
9 in English, and it was provided by the Prosecution. You have not seen it
10 because the Prosecution did not intend to introduce the document through
11 you, but there is no mention about -- of any HVO offensive. That's
13 Now I'd like to take a look at the next document, and I'd like the
14 usher or registrar to put it on e-court. P 01964 is the document number.
15 And while we're waiting for the document to appear on our screens, I'd
16 like to give an explanation.
17 The title of the document -- or, rather, on the title page, the
18 date is the 14th of April, 1993. However, it is in fact a document which
19 was compiled in Madrid on the 16th of April, 1993, and that can be seen
20 from the last page of the document. And we are, of course, interested in
21 the Jablanica area and the 15th of April, which is to be found in point
22 1.3 of the document. And I --
23 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, I would like to remind the counsel
24 that the witness arrived in the area of Jablanica on the 20th of April.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I know that the
1 witness arrived in the area of Jablanica after these events, but the
2 witness himself emphasised, and my learned friends from the Prosecution
3 stressed it themselves in the examination-in-chief, that he had
4 received -- he had been receiving for a while, before his arrival, daily
5 reports on developments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this is relevant to
6 adjudicated fact number 30, which refers to the alleged operation to
7 capture Jablanica, which would then also be the context of the ultimatum
8 of the 19th of April, the conduct of the -- sorry, 15th of April, the
9 conduct of the offensive, et cetera. That is the context of my question.
10 So the document I mentioned, in item 1.3, we read: "In the last
11 few days, the tensions between Muslims and Croats have increased again.
12 One of the elements -- one of the contributing elements was the
13 appointment of a Muslim mayor, a radical, who was elected by the
14 Presidency for towns of Jablanica and Konjic." And, which is important to
15 us: "In the morning of the 15th of April, HVO pulled out the headquarters
16 of the battalion from the town of Jablanica, relocating it."
17 Q. Could you please tell us, Witness, did you see this report before
18 arriving in Bosnia? Were you informed that the developments followed the
19 course described in this paper?
20 A. Yes. I was informed and I received this report.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Now, I would like to make one point. The
22 Prosecution did not disclose to us at all the reports of the Spanish
23 Battalion for the period of 17th through the 20th of April. The first one
24 we have is for the 21st of April in this set of documents. P 02008.
25 On page 3 of that document, which regards Jablanica, under
1 subtitle "Shelling," there is not a single word. So we would appreciate
2 it if you would explain, Witness.
3 When in your report, under sub-heading "Shelling", there are no
4 specific descriptions, that means that there was no shelling. Isn't that
5 so? Is that correct? Is that how we are to understand your report?
6 A. Indeed. If there is no list or no comment in that particular
7 sub-heading, it's because we have no relevant information to put there.
8 Q. Okay. Let us look at the Prosecution's set of documents. 02011,
9 also the segment concerning Jablanica.
10 In paragraph 1 we read that: "The main concern for BH forces is
11 the situation in Doljani and Sovici."
12 It is reasonable to interpret this as meaning that the situation
13 in Jablanica is no reason for concern. It does not give rise to anxiety.
14 A. I am waiting to see the report on the screen.
15 Q. So again, this is document P 02011, page 3. In B/C/S version,
16 it's page 3. Unfortunately, I do not have Spanish documents, and I cannot
17 give you a reference, but I did read out the sentence. It reads
18 verbatim: "The main concern for BH forces is the situation in Doljani and
20 Very well. In order not to waste too much time, could we please
21 look at the general assessment in this document.
22 We will move to another document, because the English and other
23 versions of this particular one are not quite consistent.
24 The next one is P 02185. This is a document in which, again, in
25 the segment regarding the situation in the Neretva valley, it's paragraph
1 1, Neretva valley, we'll find this sentence -- Witness, I would be
2 grateful if you could focus on my words and what I say, because matters
3 are very simple here.
4 So in the report we read: "On the 19th, another meeting was held
5 in the staff of the battalion in Medjugorje presided by General Morillon.
6 He took note of the request of the chief observer, General Pellnas, and
7 decided that on the next day, the 20th of April, at 10.00 a.m., Spanish
8 units would be deployed in places where conflicts are ongoing. Konjic,
9 Parsovici and Mostar."
10 What I would like to emphasise is that Jablanica is not mentioned
11 among these places where conflicts are ongoing. Is my conclusion correct?
12 Could you just say it aloud so we have it on record?
13 A. Your conclusion is correct, but there is an error. In Jablanica,
14 we did didn't require a deployment of our unit because, within the
15 population itself, there was our detachment which was garrisoned
16 throughout this period.
17 Q. But it was also deployed in Mostar, and still you mention Mostar.
18 You had been stationed in Medjugorje?
19 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I just say
20 one sentence?
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, General.
22 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] In the report that my
23 counsel is reading, that they were deployed in Parsovici, Mostar, Konjic,
24 we read the next sentence saying: "Units of the HVO allegedly attacked
25 Sovici, Doljani, and Slatina villages."
1 I think that many others from the UNPROFOR would have noted if we
2 had attacked Jablanica. If we had really attacked it, it would have been
3 reflected in other documents. However, it isn't it.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I seem to recall, and if I have used
5 the words "attack on Jablanica," maybe it has been misunderstood. The
6 attacks that were orchestrated in Doljani, Sovici, and Slatina followed a
7 single line. They were all along one axis. What I meant was that an
8 attack was being carried out moving towards Jablanica. In Jablanica, in
9 the months, mainly, let's say the end of April, May, June, and July,
10 Jablanica was heavily shelled during that time. The shelling was -- this
11 shelling period was when our forces tried to protect any areas that were
12 likely to be attacked.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In military terms, would it have
14 been logical to attack Sovici, Doljani, and Slatina without attacking
15 Jablanica? If you, as the head of the Spanish Battalion, had to conduct
16 such a military operation, would you have attacked these villages while
17 leaving Jablanica alone, militarily speaking?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In military terms, strictly
19 attacking the villages of Doljani, Sovici, and Slatina is a
20 stepping-stone, a necessary prerequisite to attacking Jablanica. What
21 would not be logical, Your Honour, would be to attack these communities
22 because, in a military point of view, they have no consequence.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I just thought of another
24 question. The Spanish Battalion realises that Doljani, Sovici, and
25 Slatina are attacked. In military terms, you just explained, that logic
1 requires that Jablanica be attacked too.
2 We know that there are units of the Spanish Battalion in
3 Jablanica. Now, at this moment, would there be measures taken at the
4 level of the battalion at least to protect yourselves? So were measures
5 taken at the level of the battalion to protect your own troops?
6 There is an attack going on. You are telling yourself there is a
7 risk to the town. Would it have been reasonable to leave the town or take
8 some other steps in conformity with the rules of engagement? What would
9 have been your reaction?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right. The Spanish detachment in
11 Jablanica, all along this time, was carrying out strengthening tasks.
12 Subterranean shelters were built, and furthermore, all buildings were
13 protected with sandbags. As for the detachment itself and the security of
14 the forces themselves.
15 Now, as for the people of Jablanica, we had talks with the
16 authorities and it was the authorities themselves that were responsible
17 for preparing the city militarily, and that did not involve our battalion.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would now kindly
19 ask you for leave for my client to ask this witness about another
20 alternative explanation of this military action against Sovici, Doljani,
21 and Slatina that would exclude the intention to attack Jablanica.
22 Cross-examination by the Accused Petkovic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, first of all, I would like to come back
24 to this document. On the 19th, you really did come out into those places
25 quoted here, Konjic, Parsovici and Mostar; is that correct?
1 A. General, are we talking about May? No. April?
2 Q. April.
3 A. 19th April. On the 20th April, there was a change of authority.
4 So after this date, yes, I did go to Konjic and Jablanica. In the first
5 week of our stay in the operational area, we did a reconnaissance
6 activity, and during that, if -- if my memory serves --
7 Q. Witness, I know all that. Let us go back to the area of Jablanica
8 and Konjic. Please, on the 19th, in my presence, you received orders from
9 General Morillon to pull out your forces into Parsovici and the broader
10 area of Konjic; is that correct?
11 A. If I remember correctly, at the meeting, during the agreement
12 chaired by General Pellnas, there was a signatory, and as a result of this
13 agreement, our orders were to send patrol so that our presence is seen in
14 the entire area, and that is how we proceeded.
15 Q. Thank you. That is sufficient for me. Please, from Jablanica you
16 sent out patrols to Konjic and Parsovici. We know that Konjic belongs to
17 Konjic municipality. To which municipality did Parsovici belong? Did
18 Parsovici also fall into the Konjic municipality? Do you know whether
19 they are on the opposite side of Konjic? As soon as you pass Ostrozac
20 it's across the road. Yes or no?
21 A. At this moment, I don't know exactly what Parsovici's situation
23 Q. Sir, I suppose that you visited Haso Hakalovic at least once in
24 the command. I suppose you know who he is.
25 A. Yes. More than once. But you and the Tribunal have to understand
1 the problem of the names. I'm referring to the names of the population --
2 of the towns. If Parsovici is the place where Haso had its headquarters
3 at that time, yes, I did go to that area.
4 Q. Witness, we just concluded Konjic, the broader area of Konjic.
5 And Parsovici are also integral parts of Konjic municipality. The
6 negotiators and people leading the meeting make a decision for UNPROFOR to
7 leave the municipality of Konjic. Is that what we can see from this or
9 A. I understand it exactly the opposite way. In that agreement, the
10 decision was made to establish patrols in the entire area, in all this
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I can just say
13 that the interpretation is not correct.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic is asking you
15 very precisely. Following that meeting attended by General Morillon,
16 General Petkovic as well, there was an agreement reached. According to
17 that agreement, UNPROFOR had to leave Konjic. That's the thesis of
18 General Petkovic. It seems that you are saying no, that what was agreed
19 was that UNPROFOR was to send out patrols into the area.
20 Therefore, how do you remember that agreement? Because it seems
21 that you and General Petkovic do not agree on this.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that's precisely --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It's a misinterpretation, and
25 that's what I wanted to say. My client asked a question saying that
1 UNPROFOR was supposed to go to Konjic rather than away from Konjic, so
2 that the witness answered at cross-purposes at first. His answer actually
3 is on the same line as the question of my client.
4 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Let me repeat. From your base in Jablanica, your --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry. It seems the French
7 interpreters are asleep because we have no more interpretation. Very
8 well. They woke up.
9 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. May we conclude, Witness --
11 JUDGE PRANDLER: I have to say in the defence of the interpreters
12 that it is very difficult when almost three of you speak at the same time.
13 So it is that I would like to emphasise. Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Witness, on the 20th, with one of your patrols, you set out
16 towards Doljani. Do you remember that or not?
17 A. I do not remember. On the 20th April, 1993, I don't remember
18 having gone to Doljani on that day, to Doljani. I don't remember.
19 Q. One of your patrols took off together with a mixed commission to
20 Doljani. Did you read that in your report if you weren't there? That's
21 P 02012.
22 A. Yes. That was when two patrols were organised, one for
23 Doljani-Sovici, and the other one for Konjic, and that is when this
24 incident in Konjic took place, et cetera.
25 Q. Witness, I would conclude this: It's not without reason that
1 UNPROFOR sent patrols that evening to the area of Konjic municipality in
2 addition to Sovici and Doljani. Right, or not? They had reason to send
4 You are nodding. You have to say yes or no.
5 A. Yes, there were reasons for sending patrols.
6 Q. Witness, you mentioned that the first meeting was held on the
7 18th. General Morillon arrived on the 19th and the patrol was sent out.
8 Do you remember that the fighting in Sovici and Doljani had stopped and
9 your patrol arrived on the 20th in Doljani and there was no fighting? Yes
10 or no?
11 A. Yes. Military action had been concluded. The towns were empty,
12 and what we observed was the result of the actions that were carried out.
13 Q. Thank you. Doljani is a village, not a town. Six hundred
14 inhabitants is not a town by our standards; it's a village.
15 Now, a military question --
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I have to intervene on the linguistic
17 point. In the English language, one does refer to town where we would say
18 village. So it's a linguistic thing. There's no difference.
19 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you very
20 much. We who are from a village get upset when they tell us we are from a
22 Q. Witness, we see from this that fighting takes place in Konjic
23 simultaneously as in the area of Jablanica. Yes or no?
24 A. Yes. There were confrontations all over the area.
25 Q. Witness, you stated that you were not there in end March and early
1 April, and that you do not know what the situation was in the area of
2 Konjic; correct?
3 MR. PORYVAEV: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Your Honour. It's not the
4 witness's allegation that he didn't know. On the contrary, he stated that
5 by the time he got some information of what was happening in the area.
6 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Witness, is it militarily justified in order to assist the HVO
8 Brigade of Herceg Stjepan in Konjic. You know about the Konjic pocket and
9 about Kostajnica, and because it was impossible to get there and link up
10 with forces in Kostajnica, to exert pressure on another part of the front
11 line in order to cause at best a cessation of talks and negotiations,
12 could that be one of the justifications?
13 A. It could be. I must repeat that I did not see the plans of the
14 Croatian defence forces. I don't know what the intention was behind these
15 attacks, but from a military point of view, there is a logic no it.
16 Q. Yes, Witness. You are also a witness of those events. The attack
17 on Sovici began on the 17th, and the orders to stop fighting arrived on
18 the 18th from the highest level, and the whole machinery of the
19 international community was set in motion, together with the commanders of
20 the HVO. Yes or no?
21 A. On the 18th was the date when we had the meeting, and the 19th was
22 when General Morillon gave the order to form these patrols.
23 Q. Yes, that's quite true, but on the 17th, according to all the
24 witness statements and according to the Prosecution, they say that Sovici
25 was attacked by the HVO, and on the 18th, the order came from the top-most
1 level to cease-fire in Sovici, Doljani, and also Konjic, Kostajnica, and
2 the town of Konjic itself. Yes or no?
3 A. I don't know when the Croatian defence forces gave the order to
4 stop the operations. What is true is that when the patrol went into that
5 area, military operations had stopped. It's also true that there is no
6 civilian population left in those -- in that area except for those that
7 were held in the Sovici school.
8 Q. Thank you, Witness, for now. I'll hand the examination over to my
9 Defence counsel.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can I know how much
11 more time I have for the defence of General Petkovic to be able to
12 organise myself during the break?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I've been informed that you've
15 already used 30 minutes, which means you have another 30 minutes. So the
16 best thing to do is to take a 20-minute break and reconvene at five
17 minutes past 4.00 and then you'll have 30 minutes running from that time.
18 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. Just a
21 moment, please, Mr. Stewart.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to put a question to you. We have
23 been -- I don't know whether this is working. It is burning, but it's not
24 working. Does the microphone -- okay.
25 We've been talking about military logic, and --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, now.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Or explain to us any military logic in attacking
3 the valley of Sovici and Doljani and then driving away or imprisoning all
4 the Muslims but not the Croats. Can there be any military logic behind
5 such a tactic, if one can call it like this.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could explain, Your Honour, the
7 military logic on the movements within that territory. The valley in
8 which these towns, Doljani and Sovici, are located, are what we military
9 personnel call an area of approximation, which means on the way to
10 Jablanica. That's why I stated that from a military logical point of
11 view, if an operation is launched to take Jablanica, taking and occupying
12 these towns is a vital step.
13 I hope that with this I have answered your question.
14 The treatment of civilians in these towns is not part of the
15 military logic. Normally, when a military unit launches an operation, it
16 tries to cause as little damage as possible to the civilian population.
17 So within the military logic, the idea of removing the civilian population
18 to avoid any damage to this population is possible. Thank you.
19 Your Honour, I would like to clarify one issue from the previous
20 session. We talked about visits made by Spanish troops to these towns,
21 Doljani and Sovici. Indeed, a visit was undertaken on the 20th of April
22 by a Spanish patrol.
23 Quite honestly, I must state that I do not recall whether I take
24 part personally in this patrol or not. Later, on the 4th of May, as
25 result of another agreement, a second visit was carried out, and there I
1 remember perfectly that I did take part.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, to follow on from what you
3 said, it seems that after the agreements, you said that you went to Sovici
4 with General Petkovic. Is that what you said?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the visit undertaken on the 4th
6 of May, I went accompanying General Halilovic to the towns of Doljani,
7 Sovici, and later Sivnica and Velici.
8 In the visit of the 20th of April, I do not remember, and I must
9 apologise for this, but I really am not capable of stipulating whether or
10 not I took part in that patrol.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for giving us that
12 additional explanation.
13 Mr. Stewart.
14 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Stewart:
16 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. I apologise for that rather abrupt form
17 of address but you know the reasons.
18 The -- you arrived in Medjugorje on the 19th of April. Did you go
19 straight into work that same evening in some way?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. And then so far as the next period is concerned and the
22 documentation, can we take it that you have not, for example, read the
23 complete run of intelligence reports for April and May but only the
24 particular ones that were selected for presentation to you for the
25 preparation of your evidence here?
1 A. During the mission, I read on a daily basis all the reports, and
2 in the case of most of them, it was myself, I myself, who drafted them.
3 Q. I'll stop you, Witness, because we're at cross-purposes. I'm not
4 questioning that you read the stuff scrupulously at the time you were in
5 the region. My -- I was asking you whether it was correct that this year,
6 I assume it's this year, for the purposes of your evidence here, you only
7 read the selected batch of material presented to you and not, for example,
8 the whole run of intelligence reports. Is that correct?
9 A. Indeed. This year I read the material that the Prosecutor
10 provided me with.
11 Q. And you very fairly said in the correction you've offered since
12 the break, that you don't remember whether you took part in that visit to
13 Doljani and so on on the 20th of April. Is it also correct, because you
14 were asked yesterday by His Honour Judge Trechsel whether you could
15 confirm that the first time you were in Jablanica was before the 21st of
16 April, which must mean on the 20th. Is it also correct that you can't, in
17 fact, now remember whether you did go to Jablanica on the 20th of April?
18 A. I visited the area of Jablanica-Konjic, and, in particular, the
19 detachment of Spanish troops in Jablanica during my first week in the
20 area. If I took part, precisely, in the patrol, which on the 20th of
21 April visited Doljani and Sovici, I'm afraid I cannot confirm.
22 Q. So -- well, we seem to be moving quite close together, Witness.
23 The position is you simply can't say now for sure whether you were or
24 weren't in Jablanica before the 21st of April?
25 A. No. Excuse me. Excuse me. In Jablanica, yes. Yes, I did take
1 part in the patrol that we have mentioned which was carrying out
2 reconnaissance tasks. It's Doljani and Sovici that I can't confirm.
3 In the week from the 20th to the 25th, I know that I did visit
4 these areas.
5 Q. So this was part of what you described in your evidence as your
6 reconnaissance. This was your -- well, necessary familiarisation with
7 your area of responsibility, well, just to see the lie of the land; is
8 that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And so far as Doljani and Sovici were concerned, I think you have
11 said yourself today that -- and it was mentioned that by the time we got
12 to the 17th of April, before you'd even arrived in Croatia, the main
13 conflict had started and finished, and you read that in the reports,
14 didn't you?
15 A. Yes, indeed. In the intelligence reports that we had received in
16 Spanish territory, there was a mention of this conflict in that area.
17 Q. Did you have any dealings yourself, and I'm talking but you
18 personally now, just to draw the distinction between you and your group
19 and your colleagues, did you have any dealings yourself with somebody
20 known as Tuta?
21 A. Personally, I never met with the man known by the name as Tuta.
22 Yes, I -- I did have many meetings with Mr. Ivan Andabak, which according
23 to him, was the lieutenant of a so-called Tuta person.
24 Q. He was the man who spoke good Spanish; is that right? Presumably
25 that was one good reason why you tended to meet him quite often; correct?
1 A. Yes. Not Tuta, no. Ivan Andabak.
2 Q. No, understood. Understood. I hope everybody understood. I
3 understood you weren't talking about Tuta. You were talking about the
4 other gentleman, Ivan Andabak.
5 So far as Tuta is concerned, you know -- you know his real name,
6 do you?
7 A. I know that Tuta was a pseudonym. I know what Tuta means. And
8 right now I cannot recall his real name.
9 Q. Let's speed it up then. He's Mladen Naletilic?
10 A. Naletilic.
11 Q. Well, we know who we're talking about even if I'm struggling with
12 the pronunciation immediately. And what did you know -- immediately after
13 your arrival in Croatia, what did you know about his role -- well, I'm
14 sorry, in Croatia, and then on into Bosnia, what did you know about his
15 activities and his role in the events in Doljani and Sovici?
16 A. Well, we had reports which indicated that the head of the
17 operations of the Croatian Defence Council in the area of Doljani and
18 Sovici was this person Tuta.
19 Q. And did you know of somebody who was -- went under the name or
20 nickname of Cikota?
21 A. No. That doesn't ring a bell, Cikota.
22 Q. Well, to see whether it does jog any memory or ring any bell,
23 Cikota who was one of Tuta's men, one of Tuta's associates, and was
24 killed. Does that ring any bells or jog any memory?
25 A. I'm sorry, but no.
1 Q. Did you read or hear reports after that -- that main fighting
2 which we've agreed started and finished by the 17th of April, did you read
3 and hear reports of quite serious actions taken in Doljani and Sovici over
4 the next few days, burning of houses and so on? Did those come to your
5 ears or to your eyes?
6 A. Yes. I remember reading reports relating to the situation and of
7 what little we could see or what our forces could see. There was mention
8 of expulsion of civilians and the burning of houses.
9 Q. Was it understood by you is that Tuta had a significant role in
10 such reported events?
11 A. The reports that we had told us that Tuta was in charge of the
12 operations on the Croatian Defence Council side in that area. On the
13 other hand, we had reports on these serious activities, and that's all I'm
14 able to tell you.
15 Q. Did you hear or read of any suggestion that Tuta had his own
16 special motives involving some type of revenge?
17 A. I do not recall having heard or read anything of that nature.
18 Q. All right. Let's move on then to -- now, Mr. Petkovic, yesterday,
19 you heard, said that it was the 3rd of May that you first came to
20 Jablanica. So we're leaving aside the sort of reconnaissance exercise
21 which you'd mentioned earlier about which we're not disagreeing, but -- so
22 when we're talking about a specific visit, you'd agree with what Mr.
23 Petkovic says about that, would you?
24 A. I seem to recall that it was the 4th of May.
25 Q. Yes. Well, we'll go with the 4th of May, and we won't have a big
1 dispute about that, Witness. And do you recall, then, that on that visit
2 there was an agreement reached between Mr. Petkovic and Mr. Halilovic that
3 civilians should be moved to Jablanica?
4 A. I do not remember this element of the agreement.
5 Q. Do you remember whether Mr. Petkovic and Mr. Halilovic had any
6 private discussion either -- well, first of all, private discussion not in
7 your presence on that occasion?
8 A. Indeed. On the day, and I think it was the 4th of May, or it
9 might have been the 3rd of May when that Jablanica meeting was held, once
10 the agreement was completed, I don't remember exactly upon the initiative
11 of whom, but I do recall that General Petkovic and General Halilovic did
12 request that we give them leave to have a private discussion. We provided
13 them with one of our Spanish detachment's offices, and there we let them
14 talk together in private for a few minutes. We did not know what the
15 conversation was about because obviously we were not present in that
17 Q. And just to be clear, when you said that you gave them leave to
18 have a private discussion, who was in charge? Whose decision was it to
19 give them leave?
20 A. Bearing in mind that we were within the Spanish detachment and
21 that the meeting was attended by the head of the Spanish Battalion, it
22 was -- it was colonel in charge of the Spanish Battalion himself who gave
23 the order.
24 Q. It was your superior, your colonel. And may it be shown, please,
25 the document which is P 02203. I think since you read and handle English
1 with facility, Witness, that's the one clearly to give you. Do you have
2 that? It's quite a short document, and it has, do you see, Mr. Petkovic's
3 name at the bottom. It's got some illegible words, apparently, though
4 from our checking, it should and can read "Did five buses arrive in Sovici
5 or Doljani?" We had a look at the text in the B/C/S version, "to evacuate
6 the population (Greens) towards Jablanica? If so, where did they come
7 from," and then apparently the word "buses" appears we think in the B/C/S
9 Now, do you know -- if you don't, say so. Do you know that Mr.
10 Petkovic did not actually write this document?
11 A. I'm afraid I cannot answer.
12 Q. Witness, I'm going to show you -- well, first of all, do you know
13 yourself where Mr. Petkovic was on the 5th of May, which is the date of
14 this document? Again, if you don't know, say you don't know.
15 A. I do not know. On the 4th of May, when the visit of the region
16 was concluded, General Petkovic was transferred by Spanish Battalion
17 vehicles to Mostar. And if my memory serves me correctly, he left the
18 Spanish Battalion vehicles in the headquarters of the Croatian Defence
19 Council there.
20 Q. So, again, it's a slightly different question, but again if you
21 don't know -- do you know that Mr. Petkovic was not in Mostar on the 5th
22 of May?
23 A. I do not know.
24 Q. Witness, I'm going to just show you a series of agreements, just
25 to see whether you can give any personal firsthand input into these
1 particular items. The first one is -- the number is 2D 00089, and it's a
2 document dated the 18th of April. Can you see that?
3 A. No.
4 Q. No. Well -- it's got another number which may help. 3D 00559, in
5 case that makes it any easier for anybody to produce it. I can't offer
6 any more than that, those two numbers. Do you have that?
7 A. Yes, here I have it.
8 Q. Thank you. You see it's described as "Joint declaration." I'm
9 looking at the annex signed -- it shows at the bottom by Mr. Izetbegovic
10 and Mr. Boban, a joint declaration by the president of the Republic of
11 Bosnia and the President of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And
12 the key point is item 3. I'm obviously happy to go through anything else
13 if anyone thinks I'm skipping over something absolutely vital, but the
14 result is: "3, We order all units to cease hostilities immediately,
15 release prisoners and, through negotiation at all levels, remove the
16 causes of conflict."
17 Now, you weren't there on the 18th of April or indeed perhaps not
18 at all in Zagreb, but this was a document that you were more or less
19 immediately familiarised with, was it, Witness?
20 A. Well, honestly speaking, I can't remember seeing this document
21 till today.
22 Q. All right. Well, that's a very fair answer, then, Witness. The
23 next document, then, which is really a follow-up for that. The number for
24 that one is P 1959. If you've got this bundle of paper documents as well,
25 you'll find it in there.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mr. Stewart. The
2 document that we've already seen, 3D 00559, I'd like to make two
3 observations about it. First of all, I can see on that document that
4 there is departure from Zagreb on the 18th of April at 10.50 hours. So
5 this seems to be a faxed document. That's what we have at the top. My
6 second observation is that the signature of Izetbegovic should be compared
7 to other signatures of Mr. Izetbegovic.
8 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, I'm not for one moment
9 questioning that. I think Your Honour has a different physical version of
10 this document from the one I've got. But may I just say, that in light of
11 the witness's answer, perhaps such issues could be explored some other
12 time, because the witness has said he don't remember seeing this document
13 at all, so perhaps questions about its -- its signature can just be put on
14 one side for the moment, with respect. Or, well, perhaps they don't
15 [Microphone not activated] Ms. Alaburic has got something to add.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we wish to compare
17 various signatures of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, I suggest we look among
18 others. Document P 02088, which is a joint statement of the 24th or the
19 25th of April, 1993. We can compare these signatures to others we have
20 seen. I don't think this is in dispute, because that's the document on
21 the basis of which both Mr. Arif Pasalic and Mr. Izetbegovic issued
22 certain orders.
23 MR. STEWART: I'm sorry, Your Honour. Perhaps my wish to speed on
24 is because I'm never quite sure whose time such things count as. So can
25 we then look at P 1959, Witness, which is a document dated also 18th April
1 with the name Petkovic, Milivoj Petkovic at the bottom. Do you see that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. And the first paragraph, the body of it says: "On the
4 basis of the conclusions reached after the talks between Mr. Mate Boban
5 and Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, which took place on 18th of April, 1993, in
6 Zagreb, and in accordance with point 3 of the agreement," which at least
7 appears to match the point which I drew attention to, "I hereby order
8 that: 1, All HVO units shall immediately cease hostilities with BH army
9 units," and then 2 refers to exchange of prisoners, 3 care for wounded,
10 and "4, reliable information shall be gathered concerning the protagonists
11 of the conflict, the expulsion of the civilian population, the killing of
12 captured soldiers and civilians, the torching of houses -- of the houses
13 and other buildings." And then contact was to be established with the BH
14 army command.
15 And I would just like, please, before asking that -- the question
16 about that to let you see what's a sister document or, perhaps, it's a
17 brother document to that which is 4D 00448. It's at the very end of the
18 bundle of hard copied documents. If you could have that 4D 00448.
19 Let us know when you have it, Witness, please.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You see it's a much shorter document, but the name is Arif
22 Pasalic. You know who he was. He was on the -- the Bosnia-Herzegovina
23 army side. You're nodding. 18th of April also. In the spirit of the
24 conclusions of the agreement, Izetbegovic, Boban immediately stop with the
25 offensive activities, send report immediately. So with admirable
1 succinctness, there's no doubt it's essentially the same thrust as the
2 other document, Mr. Petkovic's document. You were familiar with these
3 documents, were you, soon after your arrival or at least the agreement and
4 the orders which they contained?
5 A. I remember having seen a copy of the signed agreement. I think it
6 was the -- it was signed on the 18th of April. But I don't remember
7 having seen the specific orders as concerns each of the parties.
8 Q. Okay. Well, let's move on then, please. The next document would
9 be P 01988. If you could have that. That's also in the bundle of hard
10 copy documents. And this is -- do you have that, Witness?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... thank you for being so quick.
13 That's most helpful. The second page shows four signatures, Mr.
14 Halilovic, Mr. Petkovic, both of whom are familiar names, and similarly
15 Morillon, General Morillon, and Mr. Thebault, who was the European
16 Community Monitoring Mission representative. And going back to the
17 beginning of the document, 20th of April, during their common meeting held
18 in Zenica and co-chaired by General Morillon and Mr. Thebault, I'm going
19 quickly through this, number 1, BiH army and HVO are both legal military
20 forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and are treated equally.
21 Now, do you -- first of all, did you participate in any discussion
22 relating to this meeting, this agreement that emerged? It was very
23 shortly after you arrived, of course, but did you?
24 A. In the drafting of this document, no, I did not participate, but I
25 do seem to recall that a copy of this document arrived at Medjugorje.
1 Q. In any case, you were familiar with the point number 1, were you,
2 that it had been agreed that both the BiH army and the HVO were legal
3 military forces and were to be treated equally? You knew that concept and
4 that agreement, did you?
5 A. I knew of that concept.
6 Q. And point 4 in the same document: "The commanders-in-chief will
7 meet each week in order to ensure a close and permanent cooperation on all
8 the subjects. Such meetings will be organised," it should be alternately
9 would be the right English word, "in Mostar and Zenica. Next meeting will
10 take place in Mostar."
11 And those commanders-in-chief, that referred to Mr. Petkovic and
12 Mr. Halilovic, didn't it?
13 A. Yes, indeed.
14 Q. And they did in fact meet really, very frequently, didn't they,
15 over the next few weeks and months?
16 A. Yes, quite frequently.
17 Q. And sometimes you were present, and quite often you weren't; is
18 that right?
19 A. In most of the meetings I was present, but not in any of these
20 meetings was I the representative of the Spanish Battalion. Rather, my
21 task was a complementary one to the meeting.
22 Q. You made that very fairly clearly yesterday, Witness. This is
23 correct, isn't it, in those high level meetings, you had a secondary role?
24 Sometimes in the more local meetings of course you were the leader, the
25 word used in translation was "spearheaded." That's your position, isn't
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. The next document I would like to show you then is P 02088.
4 That's in the hard copy bundle as well. Let me know what you have it.
5 A. Yes, I have found it.
6 Q. This is a document which bears three signatures, Mr. Boban, Mr.
7 Izetbegovic, and described as witnessed by Dr. Tudjman. And we note --
8 and it's been mentioned that, although it's been dated April the 25th,
9 it's actually at quarter to 1.00 in the morning. So it came at the end of
10 an evening meeting, no doubt a long one, on the 24th. That -- the
11 document begins, "Mr. Izetbegovic, Mr. Boban, at a meeting in Zagreb," I'm
12 skipping unnecessary words, "on April 24th by co-chairmen of the
13 international conference, Lord Owen, Dr. Tudjman," in the presence of a
14 lot of other, in many cases, extremely distinguished people and down to --
15 well, down to -- only down on the page to General Halilovic and Mr.
16 Petkovic's name we see. Were you there at that meeting? I think you
17 weren't, were you?
18 A. No.
19 Q. But you -- did you ever see a copy of this -- first of all, did
20 you see a copy of this document in April or early May, 1993?
21 A. No. In this meeting I was not present. To start with, I think
22 the meeting was held in Zagreb, and I was not there, and I doubt that a
23 representative of the Spanish Battalion was there.
24 Q. Well, you're quite right. It was recorded as being in Zagreb.
25 And do you see item 4, the signatories of the joint statement reaffirm
1 that the conflicts between units of the HVO and the army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina are contrary -- in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
3 are contrary to the representatives of the two peoples? You see that,
4 first of all, do you?
5 A. Hmm.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... signatories of the joint
7 statement condemn most severely all violations of the rules of
8 international humanitarian law regardless of their perpetrators, both
9 sides having been responsible according to data available so far. You see
10 that as well, do you?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. From your -- now, it may have taken you a little while from April
13 25th to form your own assessment, but as you formed your own assessment
14 and as you became familiar, does that summary there, does that represent
15 your assessment of what had been happening?
16 A. Could you please repeat the question?
17 Q. Does -- well, does that summary there, that both sides were
18 responsible for violations and they were -- both sides were accepting that
19 both sides were responsible, does that reflect your assessment as you came
20 to be familiar and knowledgeable about what had been happening?
21 A. Yes, my personal opinion, which was formed over the six months or
22 just over six months that I was in the area, if you would like a summary,
23 I could say that I think there were no goodies and baddies, and that
24 everybody to a greater or lesser extent was just as guilty as innocent.
25 Q. Now, you're -- you're -- in that summary -- nevertheless,
1 yesterday, you did say, and this remains your position, does it, that the
2 higher-level people with whom you dealt did appear to show a genuine will
3 to achieve peace and can we take it also to restrain and prevent the sort
4 of excesses that are mentioned here? Is that a correct summary?
5 A. Yes, that's correct. And I reiterate what has been stated.
6 Q. And among those people, because I've used the more general phrase
7 higher-level people that appear to show that general will, do we and can
8 we include Mr. Petkovic?
9 A. I must state that from my personal point of view, out of the
10 people that I worked with, in the meetings in which the Croatian Defence
11 Council was represented by Mr. Petkovic, we got the impression that there
12 was a general positive will and predisposition to implementing and
13 completing these agreements.
14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, might I ask. I'm sorry to keep
15 troubling you on this, but how much longer I have because I've got to make
16 sure I've --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you please tell
18 me how much time was used up? You seem to have very complicated
20 MR. STEWART: [Previous translation continues] ... I hope, Your
21 Honour. I did ask the question.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have already exceeded your
23 time by six minutes.
24 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I have about --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you've nothing left, not even
1 six minutes, because you've already used up one hour, six minutes. So
2 normally you should be finished.
3 MR. STEWART: I'm hearing I hope a slight hint that Your Honour
4 might just give me two or three minutes just to rounds off these
5 documents. It's been exceptionally difficult to calculate in the course
6 of this afternoon's examination.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Shall we give counsel another
8 two minutes? By exceptional approval, you have another 10 minutes?
9 MR. STEWART: I'll say thank you and move on, Your Honour.
10 Q. Witness, would you look at 4D00456 --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry, two minutes, not 10. The
12 court reporter or the interpreter is too generous.
13 MR. STEWART: That bit doesn't count, Your Honour.
14 Q. 4D 00456. Do you see that? I hope you do quickly.
15 A. I have it.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and that's signed by Mr.
17 Boban. That's 10th of May, and it's -- it's a cease-fire command. Did
18 you -- were you familiar with that at the time, and did you know that
19 there was an equivalent order issued by Mr. Izetbegovic on the same date?
20 A. No. I had not seen that command.
21 Q. And last document. I promise. P 02352. Do you see that?
22 A. [No interpretation]
23 Q. 02352. 12th of May. Last page shows it signed by Mr. President
24 Halilovic, Mr. Petkovic, and witnessed by General Morillon, Mr. Thebault.
25 Was that a document with which you were familiar at the time? It was
1 reconfirming their will to establish peace within the territory of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I have to take it as read given the time
3 constraints. Is that a document you were familiar with at the time?
4 A. Hmm. Yes. I think I received a copy of this document in our
5 headquarters in Medjugorje.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, exceptional thanks for that exceptional
8 indulgence. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, just one question of
10 military order. You have been shown documents. One of them was signed by
11 Mr. Boban and by Mr. Izetbegovic, and President Tudjman witnessed the
12 document. It is an agreement, Exhibit P 02088. After that you have seen
13 several documents that are actually execution documents, whereby this
14 agreement is implemented, among them P 23352.
15 Now, when I compare these, I see the following: In the first
16 agreement signed by Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban with Mr. Tudjman as a
17 witness, it is stated that all violations of humanitarian law should be
18 investigated and perpetrators brought to justice. It is also written that
19 in order to establish the facts, it would be necessary to set up some sort
20 of international commission.
21 In this document signed by Generals and witnessed by General
22 Thebault and General Morillon, none of this is mentioned.
23 To the best of your knowledge, was there any action taken by the
24 UNPROFOR, the international community, the HVO, or the BH army towards
25 criminal prosecution of violations of international humanitarian law as
1 mentioned in this agreement between Boban and Izetbegovic? Were there any
2 investigations and prosecutions? And how do you explain the fact that
3 your superiors have not said anything about this?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there are several
5 questions there rolled into one, and I will try to answer as best I can.
6 Firstly, from a military point of view, it is logical that in the
7 document signed by military personnel, there is no mention of a purely
8 legal issue.
9 Secondly --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So with a proviso that General
11 Morillon recognised HVO and BH army as two legal armed forces, anyway.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Well, that is on the one hand.
13 As for the rest, yes, UNPROFOR, in some cases there were investigations
14 concerning events or activities that were to be punished by international
15 law. When a Spanish officer died on the Tito Bridge in Mostar, a joint
16 commission was set up - and I was a member of that - and an investigation
17 was conducted. I don't remember the outcome of the commission because I
18 left it when I was sent to Jablanica.
19 I also recall reading reports on the well-known bombardment of
20 Sarajevo, in the market of Sarajevo, reports produced by UNPROFOR forces
21 and specialists within those forces. And what's more, the forces under
22 the auspices of the UN knew of these reports.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, the interpreter corrects: I was not
24 aware of what they did.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Next counsel -- you want to add
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to mention one thing,
3 if I may. My personal experience that I would like to share to you. I
4 feel I must state it before the good. We've mentioned many documents
5 signed by Izetbegovic and Boban. I met, on one occasion, directly with
6 Mr. Boban in the city of Siroki Brijeg known as Listica before, in what
7 was the headquarters of the Herceg-Bosna community.
8 During that meeting in which I took part as an official of civil
9 affairs of the United Nations, during the conversation, when we were
10 discussing the conflict in Mostar, Mr. Mate Boban said that Mostar should
11 belong to the Croats because the Muslim community of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina had its capital in Sarajevo. Therefore, allegedly, Mostar
13 should be the capital of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
14 I don't have any further comment.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Next counsel.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, is it you at the
18 same time? So which one of you is --
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, I would like Mr.
20 Praljak to examine since these are military matters and he will do it
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
23 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, I should like us to go through several
25 documents very quickly, and then on at that basis, I would like to ask you
1 a couple of questions, because regrettably, we have very little time to
2 deal with a huge amount of information and conclusions based on that
3 information. So can we immediately see P 02241. We will begin with 9th
4 of May, 1993, what is frequently referred to as the attack of the HVO
5 against the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a reference that you have made
7 In this document, I think it is noteworthy, on page 3 of the
8 Croatian version, to see just one sentence of your report. It
9 reads: "Forces of the HVO broke out to the Muslim part of the Bulevar.
10 So the situation at such-and-such an hour is unclear."
11 My question is as follows: Is it the case that the Bulevar, in
12 its western part, that is the right bank of the Neretva River, 300 or 400
13 or 500 metres away from the river itself as the crow flies? Is that
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. Thank you. Next question: Before that, following various
17 agreements, numerous military civilian, military, military police
18 commissions and civilian police commissions worked to try to calm down the
19 situation in Mostar, and you patrolled the Bulevar as well as they; is
20 that correct?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. Thank you. If that is so, and looking towards the south, to the
23 right of the Bulevar, there is, let's say, some Croatian forces, and to
24 the left of the Bulevar, the forces of the BH army, how then did the
25 forces penetrate and reach the Bulevar, if on the basis of military logic,
1 they should have started out from the Bulevar to the left and attacked the
2 BH army? So how did they reach the Bulevar and against whom were they
3 moving to reach the Bulevar?
4 A. I haven't seen the date of this report, but in any case --
5 Q. We're dealing with the 9th of May.
6 A. Thank you. That phrase refers to the fact that our patrols
7 observed movements of units from the Croatian Defence Council which were
8 crossing the Bulevar and then penetrated in the eastern part of the
9 Bulevar, which in theory, was an area where the majority of the population
10 were Muslims and where, among other things, we had -- there was the HQ of
11 the ABiH in Mostar.
12 Q. Thank you. I think you'll agree with me that at that point in
13 time the command of the 4th Corps was in a street which, looking from the
14 Bulevar towards the HVO, is still further inwards, towards the west, in
15 the Vranica building, in fact, in the central part of the western district
16 of the West Mostar; is that correct? We've already heard about that here
17 in this courtroom.
18 A. If I remember correctly, the HQ of the ABiH was in the hotel,
19 which is really closer to the river than to the Bulevar.
20 Q. Thank you for that information, but that's not true. It was in
21 the Vranica building, and we've heard that many times here. Now can we
22 look at 3D 00370, the next document. It's a document dated the --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: There may have been a misunderstanding. You were
24 asking, Mr. Praljak, for the headquarters of the 4th Corps, and the
25 witness was answering referring to the headquarters of ABiH. I'm not
1 quite sure whether that is the same. Not necessarily.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, we know that the 4th
3 Corps of the BH army was the corps which united all the forces before the
4 6th Corps was established, up until Konjic. And according to the witness
5 that we had in here some 10 days ago, numbered 20.000 men. We've already
6 been through those facts and we've heard it a hundred times before. May I
7 look at 3D 00370 as the next document, please, and it is dated the 25th of
8 January, 1993.
9 Q. And you will see in what way the 4th Corps commander of the BH
10 army, Mr. Arif Pasalic, requisitioned and took over features and
11 facilities that he considered should belong to them. And then he goes on
12 to quote some points of some law and issued an order to free office
13 premises, the property of DP Vranica Mostar in Stjepan Radic Street, and
14 that's an avenue and business -- and the business building of Vranica
15 where the HVO's traffic police is located at present.
16 Witness, can we note therefore that Commander Pasalic, of the 4th
17 Corps, is issuing an order to evict the traffic -- traffic police of the
18 HVO from the building and that the HVO was not reacting? Is that what it
19 says in the document? Just say yes or no.
20 A. Yes, that's what it seems to say.
21 Q. May we have the next document now, please?
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise for
23 interrupting, but just to avoid any further misunderstanding, document 3D
24 00370, unfortunately, has the wrong translation in the title, as to the
25 body issuing it. In English it says it was the army of the Republic of
1 Croatia instead of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So there's a mistake
2 there. We will of course put that translation right. It's our own
3 translation service that provided us with it. So we will put that right.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. May I have 3D 2269, please, the next document. And I'd like us to
6 take a look at page 2 in the Croatian version. It is a document relating
7 to the day after the conflict in Mostar, if I can call it that, and it
8 says: "There was fierce fighting in Mostar. It began at 5.00 a.m. when
9 the Croatian forces of the HVO attacked the Muslim sector using artillery
10 weapons, mortar, heavy weapons, and firing from infantry weapons as well.
11 Many buildings were set ablaze, especially in the western part of town."
12 Why, sir, were buildings on fire in the western part of town? If
13 it was the HVO who was doing the attacking, the eastern part of town in
14 order to expel the BH army and the civilians who -- let me say there were
15 about 20.000 Muslims -- Muslim refugees who had come into the town, how
16 can we explain that then?
17 A. Right. At 5.00 in the morning, there was a strong shelling on the
18 eastern area of Mostar, and our patrols were able to observe, aside from
19 this shelling, this bombardment, that there is a response, a reply from
20 eastern area positions, from the ABiH, a counter-attack. And there are
21 impacts in the western part as well. There is damage there.
22 Q. Thank you. We can observe the following: At 5.00 in the morning,
23 the Spanish Battalion had one combat vehicle on the left bank of the
24 Neretva River and another one on the right bank; is that correct? And
25 we're talking about the 9th, in the morning, because one vehicle is
1 mentioned up by the hospital. So there was one vehicle there with
2 infantrymen and driver or whatever. They were not on the street. They
3 were in the shelter, probably taking shelter behind a building. So how
4 then were they able to see which infantrymen were launching attacks where?
5 They could have heard explosions, detonations, but if I look at this
6 picture before my eyes, I'd like to see -- hear how is it possible if they
7 were in the APC and after the explosions started and they of course took
8 refuge and shelter by the hospital, how could they have seen or, rather,
9 how could they have provided you with the information about what the
10 infantry was doing?
11 A. There wasn't just one vehicle. There was a patrol. I don't know
12 how many vehicles exactly, but there must have been at least four armoured
13 vehicles in Mostar. As I said before, when the shelling started, the
14 patrol tried to find an area which was not a danger zone but from which
15 one could still observe.
16 Q. Thank you, Witness. You must understand me. I have very little
17 time. The fact that they removed themselves, we heard about that, but the
18 witness that testified before you said there was one vehicle --
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have -- I have the feeling you are -- you are
20 giving us the feeling that you are cutting off the witness because he is
21 telling something which you do not like to hear, and I would ask you
22 please to let the witness finish his answer. You have interrupted him in
23 the middle of his answer, and I think it is fair that you let him give the
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Trechsel,
1 that is of course partially true. The witness whom I fully respect, as
2 far as I understood it, was going to repeat a well-known fact, according
3 to which the vehicle which was on the right wing due to artillery fire had
4 removed itself to the Croatian side and the hospital up there to take
5 refuge. Now, if we've already heard that and I have very little time at
6 my disposal to go through a whole -- a large number of information, then I
7 think that the erroneous conclusions, with full respect for the witness,
8 have been made. Of course there is a lot of nervousness when we have time
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're saying that it is on the
11 basis of erroneous information that he made the wrong conclusions. Is
12 that what you've just said?
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No, no, no.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you want to show that the
15 Spanish Battalion saw nothing. That's what you want to show, Witness?
16 Because according to where they were, they could not have seen anything,
17 and that's what the witness is challenging, because he said that there
18 were in fact four armoured vehicles and that they continued their
19 observation mission, which does not suit you, what you're saying, and you
20 interrupted him at that point when he was about to say that.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
22 Q. My question is this: Are you quite sure that there were four
23 vehicles or was there just one vehicle at that point in time in Mostar,
24 Witness, on the right bank?
25 A. There was one full patrol. And one of the basic rules that we
1 followed was not to ever have an isolated vehicle. There would have to be
2 at least two. In any case, during the route, the vehicles continued
3 observing, and they did not seek refuge in the Croatian hospital. But in
4 front of the main entrance to the Croatian hospital, there is an excellent
5 vision of all of Mostar. Thank you.
6 Q. I'm not challenging that, Witness. I know what the trees are like
7 round the hospital building. I know where the hospital is located. I
8 know the kind of buildings that can be seen from that area. And you were
9 in Mostar yourself, and we know that from any point in town you have a
10 very restricted view of the area. Would that be correct?
11 A. The Croat -- Croatian hospital allows a very good point of
12 observation, especially on the Bulevar and adjacent area.
13 Q. Let's move on. I will, of course, take photographs of the Bulevar
14 from that vantage point and show the Trial Chamber in due course.
15 May we have 3D 00571 on e-court now, please. It is a book by
16 the -- it is called "The Bosniak-Croatian Political Settling of Accounts"
17 by Dr. Hadziosmanovic, a very prominent representative of the Muslims in
18 Mostar. He was a SDA member. And may we take a look at page 197 in that
19 book. And it is under the chapter of "The War in Mostar," chapter
20 14, "The War in Mostar."
21 Witness, would you read through this quickly and I'll read it
22 too. "It began in the early morning hours of the 9th of May, 1993," and
23 then it goes on to say, "I was an eyewitness at that war in Mostar. From
24 the positions of my flat in the central distinct, I could clearly see that
25 from Hum hill HVO heavy weapons were firing around the health centre
1 towards Semovac, the Bulevar, and the secondary school building where the
2 units of the 4th corps with an infantry onslaught across the Bulevar and
3 entered the small streets and they're crossing towards the west, of
4 course, towards Liska street. The most intensive infantry attack by the
5 4th Corps soldiers took place in Musala, the new pontoon bridge, the
6 Marshal Tito bridge that is, the former street named Korzo Street as well
7 as smaller skirmishes and attacks from the Crnica Street across the
8 Bulevar towards the health centre and the surrounding green areas. At the
9 time of the attack launched by the infantry of the 4th Corps with the HVO
10 heavy weapons," and we can skip over this next part. "Between 8.00 and
11 9.00, there was fierce firing towards the BH army, the hygiene institute,
12 the SDK building and Konak."
13 Now, further down to another portion. It says, "Already at
14 around -- or, rather, artillery explosions could be heard at the same time
15 from Cimu, Rudnik. Those are localities which are deep into the western
16 part of West Mostar. And this came from the left bank and targets were
17 targeted that were pinpointed by former orders from the 1st -- command of
18 the 1st Mostar Brigade of the 20th of April, 1993. And they used
19 incendiary ammunition and fires broke out in various flats in the
20 locality. Artillery fire went on long into the night, and the next day
21 too. Then the HVO units took control of the building and entered the 4th
22 Corps command buildings. And we're talking about Vranica here. And that
23 is how the line was stabilise at Santic Bulevar."
24 That is what it says in the book by Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic, a
25 prominent member of the Muslim community.
1 Now, were you able to see any infantry movement within the
2 buildings as is described in this book? Yes or no? Did you write that?
3 A. I personally, at that time -- we're talking of the early hours of
4 the 9th of May, I saw no movement. But at that point, the patrol we had
5 in Mostar has informed that they saw these movements.
6 Q. May we have 3D 00015 on e-court now, please, so that we can see
7 what came before this event, what preceded this event.
8 In the document, which we have already seen in this courtroom,
9 signed by the commander of the 1st Mostar Brigade, up to the 41st and 4th
10 Corps, Commander Hujdur, on the 19th of April, and this is mentioned in
11 the book as well, when during the ongoing negotiations to calm the
12 situation down in Mostar, he issues an order. And, of course, because we
13 don't have enough time to go into this, but anyway, he issues an order to
14 place the units on combat readiness, full combat alert with express
15 attacks in -- on South Camp, cutting communications and so on. And then
16 to launch an attack towards the crossroads at Mostar-Buna, Mostar-Bragas,
17 and to try and link up with the independent company of Blagaj and move
18 forces to the right bank of the Neretva and place them under the command
19 of the 2nd Battalion.
20 The 2nd Battalion has the task of taking up defence positions in
21 its area of responsibility, to close off the communications from Rodoc
22 towards Mostar, and to try to take control of the Semovac and Bulevar
23 area, Dr. Safet Mujic Street. And you can look at the map and they are
24 all streets which are on the right bank of Mostar. Kanicvahar [phoen],
25 the garrison, the clinic, and old hospital, the dairy and so on. And
1 block the HVO forces and neutralise HVO forces.
2 Now, I'm going to skip over the next part. This is -- ah, we have
3 the wrong document on our screens.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on the screen we
5 should be seeing 3D 00014, whereas we have 15, 00015 on our screens.
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
7 Q. I'm going to carry on reading. The 3rd Battalion has, as its
8 task, to take up defence positions in its area of responsibility and to
9 launch an attack and to block and take control of the North Camp barracks,
10 which, after the 30th of June, they in fact took control of. Part of the
11 forces with weapons should be transferred to the right bank and to send to
12 the command and headquarters a complete crew for the Osa hand-held and
13 artillery rocket launcher and containers and the crew for the RPG
14 hand-held rocket launcher, and then to take up positions in the school on
15 the right.
16 And then he goes on to say that the Blagaj independent company
17 should launch an attack along the Blagaj-Kosor-Buna access and take
18 control of the bridges across the Buna river, along the Capljina-Mostar
19 road and Mostar-Domanovici road and to put up resistance, et cetera. A
20 reconnaissance platoon and so on and so forth.
21 Now, sir, did you ever learn any of this in the Spanish Battalion?
22 A. It's the first time I see this document.
23 Q. Could 3D 00165 be prepared, please. That's the next document I'd
24 like to show on e-court. 3D 00165. When we finish with this one.
25 Do you know anything about the events --
1 JUDGE PRANDLER: Excuse me. I would like to wait for the
2 translation, and now I start saying the following: You have referred to
3 your document which is contained in 3D 00015 and about the orders given by
4 Commander Hujdur, but there is a kind of problem here in your next
5 document, next to that one, which is the symbols 3D 00014, and with the
6 same, actually, date, that is the 19th of April, and which has also a
7 Bosnian or Croatian language version and with an English translation. And
8 in that order it is -- it is being said, and I am now reading the English
9 text, that on the very first page of the English translation that -- and I
10 am trying to -- to save your time, "Due to reliable information that HVO,"
11 that is the Croatian Defence Council, "supported by HV, Croatian army
12 units will attack the city of Mostar and beyond, I hereby order," and the
13 order we follow on the next pages. And the very end, of course, again, it
14 is Commander Midhat Hujdur who signed that order.
15 So I wonder if you would be able to clarify as far as is there any
16 contradiction between the two orders. You referred to the first order
17 which is contained in document 0015, and in this case, we have the other
18 one, 14. So I wonder if you could comment on it.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak. As you
20 commented on that order, the number 14 order, it says "Order for defence."
21 And my colleague has just indicated that in the preamble it says that on
22 the basis of the information they have, the HVO, supported by the Croatian
23 army, could attack the city of Mostar. And then we have a description of
24 the -- what the 1st Battalion is to do, and the 2nd Battalion, and so on.
25 And the next document, number 15, is clear, because on the 19th of
1 April, there are a number of documents which indicate that when the signal
2 Sicily 126 is given, defence positions should be prepared and that an
3 attack should be launched along several axes and that the colour would be
4 blue. The previous one was green. The next sign, 30 -- 364, action
5 should be undertaken.
6 So contrary to what you've just told us, it seems that the BH army
7 was preparing a defence action, should it be attacked, in case of an
8 attack against it, whereas you seem to be supporting the opposite view.
9 So you're demonstration is designed to prove what, Mr. Praljak?
10 To gain time, tell us what you aim at proving.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, summarised, it would
12 read as follows: At the time when the intensive negotiations in Mostar
13 were taking place, when commissions were patrolling Mostar and everybody
14 was engaged in the peace process, this document, with absolute clarity,
15 just like the next one that I'm going to show does, shows that the plans
16 and wishes of the BH army are dishonourable and improper in any sense of
17 being allies to anything, and the document begins with a preamble that
18 every attack begins on whether it be an attack against Poland, Iraq,
19 Napoleon's attacks because they say I'm going to hit first because I fear
20 that the enemy will strike me. And they speak about taking up attack
21 positions and then says, launch an attack, take control of such-and-such,
22 move towards such-and-such. So he says that with military clarity. They
23 state precisely which unit, which axis, what must be taken control of.
24 And I don't think that any soldier can say anything to the contrary, and
25 I'm going to ask the witness the following in that regard.
1 And of course, two days earlier we have a document -- no, no. I
2 won't use it. I will show this document now, which describes the
3 situation even more clearly, and I named it 3D 00165.
4 Q. So, Mr. Arif Pasalic, commander of the 4th Corps of the army of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the 2nd of May, sends a report to the headquarters
6 of the Supreme Command of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina about the
7 situation and events in the 42nd Mountain Brigade. Namely, he informs
8 them why the plan was thwarted and failed, a plan associated with the
9 Hujdur plan. And I would like us to read only paragraph 3.
10 "According to the report of the command of the 42nd Mountain
11 Brigade, dated 17th April, 1993, addressed to the 4th Corps command, after
12 the received ultimatum," and I should like to point out that it's always
13 one ultimatum after another. So the ultimatum by the 1st Brigade of the
14 HVO to leave the village of Gubavica commands and units, the necessary
15 measures have been taken in order to confront fiercely in case of HVO
16 attack. In the order issued to the battalion commanders and the narrow
17 part of the 42nd Mountain Brigade, at the meeting held on the 17th of
18 April at 2200 hours, the commander said verbally: Do not start operations
19 without orders. And now the most important sentence in these documents.
20 A link-up has been performed with our troops, with our people in the HVO.
21 A link-up with our men in the HVO has been performed. And to make it
22 clear to the Trial Chamber, with our men who are Muslims in the HVO.
23 So at the time, in the HVO, there is a great number of Muslims.
24 So they linked up with men from their own ethnic group inside the HVO.
25 I will ask the witness immediately. Isn't it an act of high
1 treason in every human and military organisation -- while you think about
2 it, I'll go on.
3 With smaller forces, the bridge in Zitomislici and two dominant
4 features over Buna have been captured. Positions towards Domanovici,
5 positions towards Stanojevici village, Hodbine is under control. The
6 major part of the forces is on standby, resting from the task. The next
7 task is to take the position and the bridge on Buna with one part of
8 Blagaj forces. To take Domanovici, men from HVO Capljina. So this is the
9 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina saying that men from HVO Capljina, from their
10 ethnic group and their faith, have got to take Tasovcici and the bridge in
11 Capljina with the aim not to allow the forces gathering from the direction
12 of Metkovic. Villages are safe and connected by courier communications.
13 Take the town of Stolac, take control of the bridge, et cetera, et cetera.
14 I want to ask the witness just one thing. Were you aware of any
15 of these things?
16 A. No. It's the first time that I've heard of this.
17 Q. Thank you very much. I would now like document 3D 00 --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Excuse me. We will now have to
19 take the break. I've been told you've already used 30 minutes. Since you
20 have been given 15 minutes by Mr. Prlic, plus Mr. Pusic, another 30
21 minutes are allowed to you. Since we are going to go on at 5 past 6.00,
22 there are other counsel outstanding, and I want to know how much time they
23 intend to take, because we have to finish at 7.00.
24 How much time do you need, counsel?
25 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you.
1 We need 10 minutes because we also gave 20 minutes to Mr. Praljak earlier.
2 So we just need 10 minutes for two brief questions.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Praljak. So try
4 to finish before 15 to 7.00 and then we will be able to finish in time.
5 We resume at exactly 6.05.
6 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 6.05 p.m.
8 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Your Honour,
9 for interrupting, but we consulted within our team during the break, and
10 we decided we won't have any questions for this witness.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Praljak, now all
12 the time is yours, except if Mr. Karnavas needs some time.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I just needed a couple of minutes -- five minutes,
14 but if the General needs my five minutes, he can have them.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Thank
16 you, everyone.
17 Q. Witness, can we look at P 04698. It's a Prosecution exhibit. On
18 page 7 of that document in the report on your battalion we read, and the
19 date is the 30th of June, 1993, Mostar: "To capture Tihomir Misic in the
20 area of Bijelo Polje," which is in the northern part of a large valley
21 overlooking Mostar, P 04698, "carried out on the night of the 29th of June
22 when Muslims conscripted into the 3rd Brigade of HVO based in Tihomir
23 Misic barracks deserted together with their weapons in order to join the
24 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
25 Is it true --
1 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, on the screen because we have here an
2 old version of Exhibit, not the full version. Does Mr. Praljak mean the
3 old version or new version? With A or without A? 4689 -- 98A or without
4 A, because the pages are quite different.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, such confusion is
6 frequent because the appendices to documents are constantly revised by the
7 Prosecution, but this should be version A, with an A.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Version A.
9 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Are you aware, Witness, that on that night, the army of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina, together with those deserters from the HVO, attacked Tihomir
12 Misic barracks, took control of it, captured it, killed some people and
13 captured Bijelo Polje?
14 A. Yes. I remember that on that date there was an attack conducted
15 by the BH army and that, in that attack, there were elements of Muslim
16 ethnic people who were in that barracks in the north, Tihomir Misic, and
17 as a result of this attack, the confrontation line between the Croatian
18 Defence Council and the ABiH shifted towards the north, towards Tiso
19 [phoen], and Aprotici [phoen].
20 Q. Thank you very much. I understand that you are not familiar with
21 the previous document, but since we can see from this document these
22 things, did you have in your possession the facts from both these
23 documents that reflect the actual relations between the army of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina and "their men" in the HVO? Did you know the facts from these
25 documents until now?
1 A. I didn't know these documents. As I said before, this is the
2 first time that I've seen them. The first time that I've ever seen them
3 has been in this very room.
4 Q. But the facts contained in those documents, did you know about
5 them? Because you mention in one of your own reports that you have been
6 shown HVO soldiers who have been killed and massacred in those barracks.
7 Did you know any of those facts?
8 A. I -- let's see. Concerning the Tihomir Misic northern barracks,
9 no, I don't remember it being mentioned.
10 Q. Earlier in Capljina, not Tihomir Misic. The conflicts in the
11 Stolac area, when those who were carrying food were intercepted and
12 killed, and you mentioned stab wounds. Do you remember that?
13 A. Yes, I recall that perfectly. Right now, I can't recall the
14 precise date. I would have to go through the documents to find that out.
15 But I do recall, and I can repeat what is in my statement, there were
16 shots fired in the early morning, and the command staff with whom we have
17 contact, I think it was in the Stefan unit in the military barracks. I
18 remember there was a refrigerator truck. I think there were six coffins
19 inside that. They opened the coffins and they explained that these were
20 personnel who were taking food to the confrontation line and that they had
21 been ambushed. And we could indeed see that, apart from the wounds from
22 firearms, there were stab wounds, and so we understood that they had been
24 Q. And in relation to these documents, my last question: In your
25 army, in your own military code of conduct, do such facts constitute high
1 treason? In the barracks Tihomir Misic and in the documents we saw
2 earlier, how treason is agreed with the Muslims within the ranks of the
3 HVO. In your army, would an act like that constitute high treason?
4 A. Of course. If I base my statement on what I'm shown, then this is
5 an act which, in the Spanish military code of conduct, would be considered
6 a treason.
7 Q. Thank you very much. Now, may I ask for a couple of documents
8 that we need to look through quickly. 3D 0027, 3D 0027. It's a document
9 dated 8th December, 1992, signed by Commander Hujdur, and in it you will
10 see an order that reads: "In all battalions and in the Reconnaissance
11 Platoon, check the precision of sniper rifles and the fine-tuning of the
13 MR. PORYVAEV: [Previous translation continues] ... this document
14 to the witness, especially the document dated 1992. Relevance, please.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] It is relevant, Mr.
16 Prosecutor, for the simple reason that sniper shots in Mostar were for the
17 most part ascribed to HVO activity, and with this document, which is clear
18 as a sunny day at noon, that in establishment terms, it is the army of
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina that had sniper platoons.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, this document is
21 interesting to the question of snipers, but in December it -- he was not
22 in Mostar. So if you have a general question concerning snipers grounded
23 in this document ask it, but as far as things in December are concerned
24 and snipers in Mostar, its relevance is problematic.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No, I don't want to ask that
1 question. I want to show something. Here is why. In document P 0 --
2 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I believe
3 there are documents, and the Prosecutor has to know it, because he
4 disclosed this to us, documents from SpaBat, from the period when the
5 witness was in Mostar mentioning snipers, sniper units, and sniper rifles
6 with night-sights. I don't have to enumerate them. Anyway, we have those
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We can take this document
9 off and show 3D 0026. It is a document from which we can see that, for
10 3.000 Deutschmark, two bullet-proof jackets were bought and infrared
11 snipers for night action.
12 Just show us this document. I'm referring to a Prosecutor
13 document, P 04698A in which we have a table, and the Tactical Group of
14 which this gentleman was part, enumerated all the reports when they were
15 shot at. On the 14th of May, 2nd May, 2nd May, 6 May, et cetera. And
16 when I enumerated these 18 incidents of shooting at the battalion, of
17 which this gentleman was an officer, then there were certainly 10,
18 according to the place from where they were shot at, Donja Mahala, Donja
19 Mahala, again Donja Mahala, CG, which is the abbreviation for the 4th
20 Corps --
21 MR. PORYVAEV: [Previous translation continues] ... your statements
22 or comments to the documents.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I am reading what is
24 written. It is written here in the document disclosed by you. At CP and
25 it says verbatim, "GC, abbreviation unknown, 4th Corps of the BH army,
1 Mostar." That is the report of the battalion of which this witness was a
3 Q. I'm asking, was Donja Mahala controlled by the HVO or the army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Was CG, as written here, at the exit from Konjic --
5 who could have fired, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or the HVO?
6 A. Well, there are several questions here. At some -- at that point
7 in time, Donja Mahala was controlled by the army of BH. As for CG, this
8 is an error in the translation in Spanish. It means "check-point," and
9 this is listed as CP or PC, point of control in Spanish. But point of
10 control or check-point established by the Croatian Defence Council forces
11 which were in the Juveni pocket at the entrance on the east of Konjic --
12 Q. I would now kindly ask for document 3D 00557. It's a handwritten
13 order signed by Arif Pasalic, Commander of the 4th Corps Mostar, on the
14 16th of April, 1993, where he says: "HVO is in a difficult position
15 because they don't have enough personnel. HVO units accept reinforcements
16 from Prozor." It is about Jablanica. "And HVO units in Kiseljak were
17 ordered to help those units by going across Bradina." And he
18 says: "Continue with combat action in your zones of responsibility, and
19 do not allow new forces from Prozor to come in.
20 "Synchronise and integrate joint combat activities to maximise
21 success in combat and to break, break the HVO forces. Proceed to execute
22 this order immediately."
23 This was sent to the 43rd, the 44th Mountain Brigades, et cetera,
24 in Jablanica. At the time, while negotiations were taking place there and
25 commanders were coming in, Mr. Arif Pasalic, Commander Arif Pasalic,
1 issues an order of this kind. Were you able to find out about this, to
2 learn anything of this from what you could see on the ground?
3 A. This is the first time that I've seen this document. What I can
4 affirm is that in the area, as has been already stated, in the area of
5 Jablanica, there was fighting in the area around Jablanica mainly in the
6 towns already mentioned, Doljani, Sovici, Slatina, and further to the
7 north in the area around Boksevica.
8 Q. Thank you. I would like to go back to one more document, but
9 please look at this white map first, the white map of Mostar. It has
10 drawn into it features marked by green, features captured by the army of
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina. They housed command posts or other things.
12 I refer to Prosecution Exhibit P 03963.
13 Following the same principle according to which Arif Pasalic took
14 Vranica, while you were on the right bank, did you know which houses,
15 which buildings belonged to the section controlled by the BH army and
16 which of them were military facilities? Look at the map and tell us for
17 how many of these buildings did you know that they were military
18 installations situated in civilian areas but housing something like the
19 command of the 4th Corps, the command of the military police, the
20 headquarters of communications, et cetera. You have a key to the map in
21 the left corner in English, so please look at it.
22 You cannot rise, so somebody should --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, there are six
24 cameras. Couldn't one possibly focus on the map? It's no use having six
25 cameras if we can't zoom in on the map.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
2 Q. My question is: Since you mentioned in one document, that I will
3 reference soon, that mortar positions were near the hospital and that the
4 command was in Marsala Tita Street, the command of the 43rd Brigade and
5 the 4th Corps, do you know from among those facilities whether, apart from
6 those three or four in Konak, were there any that we made in civilian
7 areas? If you know, how many?
8 A. Well, all of Mostar was a civilian area, and I repeat, weapons,
9 especially heavy weapons, were located wherever possible. Mainly, I
10 repeat, from a strictly military point of view, the available space in the
11 eastern part of the city was very small. In the east part of Mostar, the
12 central part of Mostar is not very big. Everything is very close
14 As far as the buildings that you've mentioned are concerned, I can
15 confirm, indeed, that the headquarters of the -- headquarters of the 4th
16 Corps was transferred to the ground floor of a building located in Marsala
17 Tita Street. As for other occupied buildings, on the confrontation line,
18 just about all of the buildings had some military presence in them on
19 either side.
20 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, we have this
22 opportunity of seeing the map on our screens. Now, do you remember, I
23 know it's been a long time, but could you show us where the hospital was,
24 where your vehicle played this role of observer.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] The map has to be lowered so
1 we can see the upper part. So could you zoom in on the upper part of the
2 map, please.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's fine. Thank you.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps it would be a
6 good idea to go into private session since the cameras will find it
7 difficult to focus on the map without showing the witness.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] There's one camera and the
9 other supplies the distorted image.
10 Could the usher come and collect this document, 3D 00341, and
11 place it on the overhead projector, please, the ELMO, because I have
12 marked four points, the hospital and three points of the BH army.
13 Q. So can you tell me whether the situation was indeed the situation
14 on the ground at the time.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] May the witness be provided
16 with a pen.
17 Q. Is it true that the hospital was on the left side marked in red
18 and the three other points on the right side were the commands of the BH
19 army? And if that is correct, please let me know, say so.
20 A. Yes. As far as I can make out in the photograph, I seem to recall
21 that this point here is the hospital.
22 Q. All right.
23 A. And the headquarters that I referred to before is this other point
24 here. This must be the Marsala Tita road. And this would be the general
1 Q. All right. Now, would you draw around those red areas and sign
2 the document by placing your initials and today's date on it, please. B
3 for hospital, Bolnicka; and the others K1, K2, and K3, if you agree that
4 that is an authentic representation of the situation?
5 MR. PORYVAEV: I think that not the initials should be indicated
6 but his pseudonym.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes. I said pseudonym.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not sure that I have understood
9 the question. You want my to circle these points on the map. Is that
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Yes, if you agree. And the commands of the 41st and 4th Corps.
13 B. Were the other three points the 4th Corps command, the 41st command,
14 and the military police command?
15 A. General, I am going to point out what I think is what is the
16 general headquarters that I visited several times.
17 Q. That's fine, yes. You indicate what you think it was.
18 A. I have indicated the hospital and the general headquarters of --
19 Q. Thank you.
20 A. -- changed name throughout the conflict. First, it was the
21 brigade and then it was called the general headquarters of General
22 Pasalic, who was the commander of the area, et cetera.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Put the initials CB there.
24 May we have an IC number, Mr. Registrar, please.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit IC 000087, Your Honours.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Witness, at the end of July and the beginning of August, after the
3 fall of the Tihomir Misic barracks, did the BH army control the north --
4 to the north, Bijelo Polje, 20 kilometres, and to the south some 15
5 kilometres up to the Buna River, up until Blagaj? Would that be correct?
6 A. Yes, approximately.
7 Q. Of course, approximately. Can you then explain to me why it is
8 that mortars -- why mortars would be there if the range of 120-millimetre
9 mortar is six or seven kilometres? Why would the mortars be at the
10 hospital, and why would the army have so many of its effectives in town,
11 different types of materiel and equipment, when they could have moved to
12 South Camp or Bijelo Polje or North Camp or to the south of Mostar,
13 further south, whereas at the same time, not to lose any of it's firing
14 power, targeting the HVO? What military explanation can a reasonable, a
15 reasonable military man have for 120-millimetre mortars, as your
16 predecessor said, should be held behind the hospital?
17 A. I repeat that, from a strictly military point of view, I think
18 that these positions could have been seeking to achieve the fact that the
19 range of these weapons would enable them to have a significant impact on
20 the east side.
21 Q. Witness, the distance between the hospital and the first HVO
22 positions is 500 metres. If you move a mortar one and a half kilometres
23 to the left or right, and you're an expert, would you agree with me that
24 it doesn't change anything with respect to the firepower of the weapon?
25 It even improves it if anything. So the desire to place those mortars
1 there is because it represents -- it is a military target to the opposite
2 side. So an action of this kind, is that not geared towards causing
3 civilian casualties in order to achieve the desired propaganda effect and
4 to make it look as if you are the victim, that side is the victim?
5 I have marked North Camp here -- yes, yes. I do apologise.
6 Please answer.
7 A. General, I would not like to get into personal discussions on
8 tactics or about the intentions of one side or the other.
9 As concerns this issue, I would like to offer a purely technical
10 opinion, and I hope not to have to go into this again. One of the weapons
11 that caused the most damage to the ABiH at that time were some
12 anti-aircraft cannons of 20 millimetres which were located in this area.
13 The -- sorry. The BH army knew perfectly where they were and was
14 never able to fire against them.
15 Q. In connection with that, in your statement, you've said to begin
16 with, that you saw and knew that on Mount Hum there was a tank, a T-34
17 tank, and that it was hit. Now, if they had nothing other than a mortar,
18 and a mortar can't be used to destroy a tank, as we well know, how come
19 they managed to hit the tank at Hum and we, on a piece of footage that we
20 saw here, when I entered the convoy in Mostar, we saw a 105-millimetre
21 howitzer? So do you know whether they had a 105-millimetre howitzer? Do
22 you know whether they had an anti-aircraft 120-millimetre gun? Did they
23 have Maljutkas? Did they have the red arrow type of weapon? Do you know
24 anything about that?
25 A. As concerns the tank on Mount Hum, the information that I can
1 provide is that it was destroyed by portable grenade launchers after the
2 propulsion of a unit which infiltrated from the east side and went up the
3 side of Mount Hum until reaching the tank.
4 Q. Their Honours saw Mount Hum, and according to information, what
5 was there was destroyed by the red arrows. Now, do you agree, that on
6 this map, we see the area of North Camp and South Camp? So they were
7 military camps of the Yugoslav People's Army. Is that correct on this
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. Will you then place an SJ and JL at the top and bottom. SJ at the
11 top and JL at the bottom referring to Sjeverni Logor and Juzni Logor and
12 the date.
13 And the usher can take down the white map now.
14 A. I'm sorry, in the southern camp, what am I to write?
15 Q. JL.
16 A. [Marks]
17 Q. Thank you. And your initials plus the date.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Place your initials there, CB,
19 somewhere on the document.
20 May we have an IC number, Mr. Registrar, for the map.
21 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit IC 000088, Your Honours.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] And a number for the white
23 map as well, please.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Before we go on to the next map, I
25 have a correction to make for the record. I don't know whether it was the
1 witness that made this mistake or whether the interpreter did, but I'd
2 like to draw your attention to lines 22 and 23 of page 77, whereas the
3 witness was talking about the following: He said, "I think that those
4 positions," and it was the gun -- artillery positions by the hospital, he
5 said, "I think those positions could have achieved their goal bearing in
6 mind the range of the weapon and could have had a significant effect on,"
7 as it says in the transcript, "the eastern side."
8 Now, as it's obvious that the guns were on the eastern side, he
9 meant the west side, but it changes the context fundamentally. So could
10 the witness see that portion of the transcript, because I didn't hear
11 whether the witness misspoke or whether the transcript was mistaken.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, did you mean to say
13 east or west?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I could see on the screen the
15 declaration in question, then I would make any rectification as required.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I don't know whether we can do that
17 and have our screens display that portion.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
19 Q. But do you agree that it was mortars on the eastern side to hit
20 the western side? Would you agree with that? Was that what you were
21 saying? Mortars at the hospital were supposed to target the western side;
22 is that correct?
23 A. Mortars around the hospital were aiming at the western side of
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. That is just what
1 Mr. Kovacic was saying.
2 May we have a number for the white happen, Mr. Registrar.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit IC 000089, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Witness, I have in my hand here NATO's doctrine, tactical doctrine
7 for the ground forces of NATO, which, in one of its chapters, deals with
8 operations in built-up areas. Did you study NATO doctrine relating to
10 A. Yes, General, I did study it. I hope you're not going to make me
11 pass a test.
12 Q. Yes. Thank you. No, no. All I want is to ask you whether you
13 agree with me that to have crews, soldiers, command posts, artillery in a
14 settled area -- in a built-up area, together with civilians, implies
15 certain responsibility for everything that is a consequence of the other
16 side's right to target military targets. Would that be correct according
17 to that doctrine?
18 A. According to NATO doctrine, fighting in built-up areas and
19 populated areas, with the presence of civilians, is a nightmare.
20 Q. Thank you. That's precisely it. May we now have P 03980 on
21 e-court, please. It is a Prosecution document. P 03980.
22 I'm sorry, I've got the wrong number. That's not the right
23 document. It should be 3 -- P 03963. And on the basis of that document
24 and in view of what you said about receiving information about the broader
25 area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a map was compiled of Bosnia-Herzegovina which
1 you have in front of you.
2 And would the usher, Madam Usher -- please, Madam Usher -- all
3 right. So I'm shouting a little. So what. Madam Usher, I apologise for
4 having to get you up again, but could you turn the witness towards the --
5 the map towards the witness.
6 [No interpretation]
7 THE INTERPRETER: There is a problem with the translation. We can
8 hear no English.
9 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can we proceed?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, please proceed.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Take a look at the map now, please, and the situation at the
13 beginning of September, 1993. The end of August, beginning of September.
14 The Croats, the HVO, Croatian Defence Council, up until that date, was
15 expelled together with the people from Zenica and Kakanj and Travnik and
16 Bugojno and Fojnica and Konjic and Jablanica. Vares and the rest is being
18 Look at the enclaves that remain. Now, how did you interpret,
19 militarily speaking, the fact that, according to many reports, the HVO is
20 attacking three, four, or five -- three, four, or five times mightier
21 army, more numerous army, and loses seven towns and cannot take part in
22 the defence of those towns and is reduced to an enclave, half of Mostar,
23 with very heavy fighting, as you say, in Gornji Vakuf, with a
24 strategically important Makljen, the fall of which would mean the fall of
25 Prozor and, according to the 1993 offensive, they would reach Neum.
1 So how do you interpret this as a military man? Is it that the
2 HVO commanders were imbeciles or was it something else?
3 A. Well, I'm no one to judge the commanders of the HVO or the ABiH,
4 my General. The only thing I can state here is the fact that, mainly from
5 July, 1993, the initiative in the conflict between the HVO and the ABiH,
6 well, the initiative is in the hands of the latter. And those who carried
7 out the attacks are normally ABiH.
8 Q. Thank you. I'm sorry, I didn't give you the dates when these
9 places fell to show that it began in March with the onslaught against
10 Konjic, but we'll do that on another occasion.
11 I just have one more question left and that relates to Bijela
12 Bridge. And may I have the following document: 3D 00567. 3D 00567.
13 3D 00567 is the number of the document. The date is the 23rd of April.
14 It is an order signed by Arif Pasalic, where he says as follows, to the
15 44th Mountain Brigade in Jablanica: "Pursuant to developments in the
16 territory," et cetera, "convey this order to the 4th battalion of the 41st
17 Motorised Brigade at Dreznica to de-mine the Bijela Bridge."
18 Witness, is it clear from this that the bridge was mined, that it
19 had to be de-mined, and that it was under BH army control? Is that quite
20 clear from this document?
21 A. That seems what we can interpret from this document. I repeat,
22 it's the first time that I see this document.
23 Q. Thank you. And my last document, P 02433. It is a Prosecution
24 document, P 02433.
25 You told us yesterday that the Croats blew up the Bijela Bridge,
1 but in document P 02433, the next document, on page 4 of the Croatian
2 text, point 5 says the following: "The BH army forces destroyed the
3 bridge which is located at grid Y12781 by which the Mostar region was cut
4 off from Jablanica and Konjic, which represents an attempt by the BH army
5 to prevent reinforcements -- HVO reinforcements in the north, and that is
6 why the main supply route was intercepted and humanitarian convoys could
7 not reach their destination."
8 Now, does that apply to bridge Bijela? If not, which other bridge
9 could it be which would cut off ties between the north and south?
10 And an additional question, a follow-up question: Why would the
11 HVO that was still in Bijelo Polje and the North Camp destroy a bridge
12 which was its only exit route? Because you couldn't go to Mostar any
13 other way because of the fighting that had taken place there. Where would
14 the military logics of that be?
15 So does this refer to Bijela Bridge? That's my first question.
16 And if it does not, what bridge does it refer to? And my third question
17 is, where would the HVO logics be to cut its nose to spite its face, that
18 is, to cut its only exit towards that area?
19 A. Well, if you're talking about the Bijela Bridge, well, I would
20 have to see the military map. This document is a document drafted by the
21 headquarters, Kiseljak headquarters, and I would have to see precisely
22 which are the grids you're referring to.
23 Anyway, as far as that bridge is concerned, the Bijela Bridge, the
24 reports drafted by the SpaBat, well, I remember that the information that
25 we had received then was that that had been carried out by the HVO or
1 forces that are under the HVO with the intention to prevent the aid coming
2 from the north area of Jablanica.
3 Q. But the HVO could only pull out of Bijelo Polje and North Camp
4 that way. And secondly, within the context of this decision here, that
5 the humanitarian aid convoy cannot go through, and that's just the feature
6 that was destroyed. I think it is crystal clear that in a document of
7 yours that you say that the people controlling it destroyed it because
8 they were afraid that fresh forces would be brought in to the other side.
9 So I assume your answer is satisfactory and whatever it is, I would like
10 to thank you, Witness. I'm sorry that we can't go through a whole series
11 of questions that have remained open.
12 I would also like to thank Mr. Karnavas for giving me his time
13 without my even having to ask. And I apologise to Your Honours for all of
15 May I have a number for the map?
16 If you wish to place your initials on it, if it is correct as of
17 September, 1993, please do so. If not, never mind. To the best of your
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] While the witness is placing his
20 initials CB on the map, may we have a number for the coloured map, please,
21 Mr. Registrar.
22 THE REGISTRAR: [Previous translation continues] IC 000090, Your
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'd like to say that
25 I'm going to put my initials on the map. I can do that. But in order to
1 be very accurate, I should really see the documents and the -- the reports
2 of my battalion to see whether the maps that are in that report are the
3 same, reflect this very same situation.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall take note of that
5 reservation, but place your initials anyway, CB.
6 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] It was on the basis of the
8 report and map number I said that --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] It was on the basis of a
11 SpaBat report that the summary or legend of the map was compiled, and the
12 number is on the map itself. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. If the
14 Prosecution does not have any additional questions.
15 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you very much, Your Honour. I have no
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Then I will thank the witness on
18 behalf of the Judges. Thank you for coming to The Hague to contribute to
19 the establishment of truth and justice. I wish you bon voyage back home
20 and every success in your future work. Thank you for coming.
21 Tomorrow we have another witness, 92 ter witness, and according to
22 what the Prosecution has told us, they envisage one hour, which means
23 another hour for the Defence, and we'll be able to get through our
24 proceedings very quickly tomorrow and end this week's work by the first
1 Thank you, and we reconvene tomorrow at 2.15.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.05 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 16th day
4 of November, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.