Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 15107

1 Tuesday, 6 March 2007

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call

6 the case, please.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number

8 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

10 Today on Tuesday the 6th of March I'd like to greet everyone

11 present in the courtroom, the Prosecution, the Defence, the accused, and

12 all those who are assisting us in our work.

13 I'll first give the floor to the registrar for an IC number.

14 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you very much, Your Honour. 4D has

15 submitted a list of objections to documents tendered through Witness Josip

16 Praljak. Such list shall be given Exhibit number IC 472. Thank you very

17 much, Your Honours.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

19 Could we move into private session for a brief moment.

20 [Private session]

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Page 15108

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19 [Open session]

20 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could the usher please call the

22 witness into the courtroom.

23 Mr. Mundis, according to our calculations we have another two

24 hours and 51 minutes at our disposal, but as I know you well, I know that

25 you won't be requiring all this time.

Page 15109

1 MR. MUNDIS: I remain optimistic that Your Honour will be proven

2 right in this instance with respect to the time. I don't anticipate that

3 I'll need a full two hours and 51 minutes to complete the direct

4 examination.

5 [The witness enters court]


7 [Witness answered through interpreter]

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thank you in advance,

9 Mr. Mundis.

10 Good day, sir. I hope you spent an agreeable evening in The

11 Hague, and we will continue with your testimony today. If you can hear

12 what I am saying, please say so.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, I can hear you, Your

14 Honours.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Mundis, you have

16 the floor.

17 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

18 Examination by Mr. Mundis: [Continued]

19 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Biskic. Good afternoon, sir.

20 MR. MUNDIS: Perhaps the usher can return the binder to the

21 witness.

22 Q. And while that's being done, yesterday, when we broke, sir, we

23 were talking about -- or we were about to start talking about the second

24 meeting concerning the closing of the collection centres. Do you recall,

25 sir, approximately when that second meeting was held?

Page 15110

1 A. I think it was on the 13th of December, 1993.

2 Q. And can you tell us, sir, if you recall what some of the general

3 topics at that second meeting concerned?

4 A. Well, we continued to implement the decree of the president of the

5 Republic of Herceg-Bosna on disbanding the collection centres. It was a

6 report of the teams that we had established at the first meeting.

7 Q. Sir, if you could please turn to the document that's been tabbed

8 7143. This is P 07143. It's about halfway through the binder,

9 approximately.

10 A. 71243.

11 Q. 7143.

12 A. I have two documents, 7243. Perhaps there's an error.

13 Q. That's 7143. It should follow 7194.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. You now have that document before you, 7143?

16 A. Yes, I do.

17 Q. Do you recognise this document, sir?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Can you tell us what this document is, please?

20 A. These are the minutes of a meeting that was held on the 13th of

21 December in Posusje, and it concerns implementing the order of the

22 president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. It was an order on

23 disbanding collection centres. And as I have already said, these are

24 minutes.

25 Q. Mr. --

Page 15111

1 A. It's not a stenographic record.

2 Q. Mr. Biskic, I understand that they're minutes. Do you recall,

3 sir, having had an opportunity to review these minutes?

4 A. Yes. At the time, yes.

5 Q. And do you recall, sir, whether there are any significant errors

6 or omissions in these minutes?

7 A. Well, as far as I can remember there shouldn't be any errors, but

8 minutes are never completely faithful to what is said as far as the

9 contents and quality of the minutes are concerned.

10 Q. Now, Mr. Biskic, at the -- at the -- towards the top of the

11 document under the list of persons who were present we see the name of

12 Mr. Vladislav Pogarcic. Do you see that?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Can you tell us, sir, if you know the reason why Mr. Pogarcic

15 attended the meeting?

16 A. Well, he was probably designated on behalf of the office of the

17 president of Herceg-Bosna, because he was the head of the president's

18 office.

19 Q. Now, Mr. Biskic, if you could please turn to page 5 of these

20 minutes. Approximately four or five lines from the bottom of that

21 document, and this is on page 13 of the English translation but at the

22 bottom of page 5 in the Croatian language, there is a reference to a

23 statement made by Mr. Saric. Do you see that? I'm sorry, this is the

24 bottom of page 12 of the English.

25 A. Yes.

Page 15112

1 Q. Can you read what it says about Mr. Saric and Mr. Jukic? Can you

2 please read that out loud for us?

3 A. "Mr. Saric brought up the problem of the state of the detainees as

4 far as their nourishment is concerned and the state of the sick."

5 And, "Mr. Jukic replied that the prisoners had been receiving

6 treatment to get them into better physical condition for three weeks and

7 that they were receiving food regularly and that their living conditions

8 had been improved."

9 Q. Now, perhaps it's a translation error, but in the original

10 document is there also a reference with respect to what Mr. Saric said

11 about the media and the media presence?

12 A. Yes. I read Mr. Saric's words out, and he does mention media

13 presence or monitoring.

14 Q. Do you have any recollection, sir, as to what that conversation

15 concerned with respect to the presence of the media and this issue that

16 you've just read out?

17 A. Well, probably Mr. Saric meant that the media would be present

18 when the collection centres were disbanded and when the detainees were

19 either sent to the BH army side or third countries or the Croatian

20 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.

21 Q. Do you recall if there were any discussions about the impact of

22 the media with respect to the collection centres and the disbandment of

23 those collection centres?

24 A. I don't think there were any discussions, and I think they were

25 present when the collection centres were dismantled.

Page 15113

1 Q. Mr. Biskic, as a result of the decision to disband the detention

2 centres or the collection centres, did you personally issue any orders or

3 instructions?

4 A. As far as the jobs that the military police administration were to

5 do and the security and information service, then certainly I regulated

6 that area through an order of mine.

7 Q. Before we turn to that order, sir, I neglected to ask you,

8 these -- these two meetings that you told us about in December 1993, was

9 Mr. Pusic in attendance at those meetings concerning the disbanding of the

10 collection centres?

11 A. At the first meeting he was. I'm just looking at who was there.

12 And I do believe that he attended the second meeting as well.

13 Q. Do you know why --

14 A. He attend the both meetings. Mr. Berislav Pusic was there both

15 times as the representative of the office for the release of persons.

16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness kindly be asked to speak

17 slower when he comes to titles, headings, et cetera.


19 Q. Mr. Biskic, they've asked -- I don't know if you've heard that.

20 The interpreter asked if we could slow down, particularly with respect to

21 titles and headings of different individuals.

22 Let's turn now, sir, to document 7149.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Do you recognise this document, sir?

25 A. Yes.

Page 15114

1 Q. Can you tell us what this document is, please?

2 A. It is an order to the military police administration and the

3 administration of the SIS and their part in putting into practice the

4 disbanding of the collection centre, and the conclusions from working

5 meetings of the 11th and 13th of December.

6 Q. Now, Mr. Biskic, the first paragraph or the first numbered

7 paragraph of this order makes reference to the Heliodrom prisoner of war

8 shelter, and my question to you, sir, is at this point in time, 13

9 December 1993, who was the commander of the Heliodrom prisoner of war

10 shelter?

11 A. On the 13th of December the commander of the company for providing

12 security to the shelter of POWs at Heliodrom had and Ljubuski, Mr. Stanko

13 Bozic, and we saw a document yesterday by which I appointed him as the

14 acting person performing these function.

15 Q. If you now turn your attention, sir, to paragraph 2 of this

16 document, there's reference to transfer of persons not categorised as

17 prisoners of war to Gabela. Do you know, sir, at this point in time, 13

18 December 1993, who was responsible or in command of the facility at

19 Gabela?

20 A. Before that it was Mr. Bosko Previsic, and when they started to

21 disband all the collection centres Gabela was a transitory centre and

22 managed as such but I don't know who was responsible at the time. Now,

23 for those who were supposed to go on to third countries or who were

24 supposed to pass to the side under the control of the BH army, then that

25 part of the task was to have been done by the commission for exchanges,

Page 15115

1 the office for displaced persons and refugees cooperating with the

2 international ICRC committee.

3 Q. Mr. Biskic, at the time this document was promulgated, that is the

4 13th of December, 1993, were persons being detained for whom criminal

5 reports or criminal charges were to be filed?

6 A. All persons who remained in the POW shelter were treated as

7 prisoners of war or individuals who were incarcerated against whom

8 criminal reports had been filed. They were in detention too.

9 Q. And do you know, sir, if there were such persons in the second

10 category, that's persons incarcerated against whom criminal reports had

11 not been filed --

12 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, I hate to interrupt but I believe the

13 previous answer was not properly translated. Again, if the gentleman

14 could be asked the question and be given an opportunity to answer it

15 again.


17 Q. Let me ask again, sir. On the 13th of December, 1993, were

18 persons being detained for whom criminal reports or criminal charges were

19 to be filed?

20 A. All persons who remained in the POW shelter Heliodrom had the

21 status of prisoners of war or detainees against whom criminal reports had

22 been filed.

23 Q. Do you know, sir, as of 13 December 1993, approximately how many

24 persons fell into the category of detainees against whom criminal reports

25 had been filed?

Page 15116

1 A. I think that earlier on in some of the documents we found that

2 there were about 1.000-odd persons who remained in the POW shelter

3 Heliodrom.

4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I have a clarification, please? You have now

5 answered that all these prisoners were persons, those who went to Gabela,

6 persons against whom criminal reports had been filed. On the other hand,

7 on the 13th December, in the paper before us under number 5 you give the

8 order to the prosecutor, "... immediately file criminal reports against

9 all detainees." It is difficult to understand this if one assumes that

10 these reports had already been filed before.

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not mention

12 Gabela. I mentioned the shelter of the POW at Heliodrom or, rather, the

13 detainees who remained in the POW shelter Heliodrom after the detention

14 centres or collection centres had been disbanded, and part of the people

15 who remained in the Heliodrom POW shelter enjoyed the status of prisoners

16 of war, and a portion of those persons were persons against whom criminal

17 reports had been filed, and some of them, criminal charges had not yet

18 been filed but there were grounds for criminal reports to be file. And

19 that is why in point 5 of the same order I issue orders that in

20 cooperation with the SIS administration and the military prosecutor and

21 military court that criminal reports should immediately be filed against

22 all detainees who are in the category of detainees who should remain in

23 the POW shelter Heliodrom.

24 MR. KARNAVAS: If the gentleman could go just slightly slower, so

25 that -- because every word that you say, sir, is very important to us.

Page 15117

1 So if he could be cautioned just to go slightly slower for the

2 translation.

3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, on the basis of what you

5 have told us, one gains the impression that a certain number of detainees

6 were not the object of any complaints and that they -- and that the

7 criminal files had not been charged yet and that legally speaking they

8 were in some sort of vacuum. So having apprised -- been apprised of this

9 situation, you issued orders that criminal proceedings be taken against

10 them straight away or, rather, criminal reports filed immediately. So

11 that is the situation that you came upon when you took up your duties;

12 right.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.


15 Q. Mr. Biskic, could you please turn to Exhibit 7155. It's P 07155.

16 Are you familiar with this document, sir, and, if so, can you tell us what

17 this document is?

18 A. Yes, I am familiar with the document. It is a letter addressed to

19 the Red Cross from -- of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna and to the

20 commission for exchange about information about how far the decision has

21 been implemented of the 13th of December, 1993.

22 Q. Mr. Biskic, do you know if criminal proceedings were instituted

23 against any of the 1.119 persons that are referred to in this document?

24 A. I know that criminal reports were filed. I don't know whether any

25 criminal proceedings were taken, but I do know that from December 1993

Page 15118

1 until April 1994 all the persons who were in the POW shelter at Heliodrom

2 through the exchange commission were indeed exchanged for members of the

3 Croatian Defence Council and Croatian civilians who were held by the BH

4 army.

5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Mundis. I would need some

6 clarification here too.

7 It says in this document 1.119 captives is enclosed, a list of

8 captives for whom criminal reports were filed so they are treated as

9 prisoners of war.

10 I do not quite understand the logic of this link, because one

11 would expect prisoners who are charged to be treated as prisoners detained

12 on remand in the context of criminal proceedings, and their status is not

13 at all the same as that of prisoners of war. So could you please explain

14 this?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you -- it says here

16 prisoner -- war detainee and not prisoner of war. A detainee can be

17 anybody who under wartime conditions acted against the state or the system

18 and organisation and institution in control of the area. So that POWs are

19 not mentioned here. It is war detainees that are mentioned, not prisoners

20 of war.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, my colleague asked you

22 a question which has preoccupied the Judges, and the Judges have to

23 distinguish between prisoners of war and those people who do not have the

24 status of prisoners of war but who are -- against whom criminal reports

25 have been filed. In a word, when the HVO captures BH army soldiers, for

Page 15119

1 instance, then the BH army soldiers are prisoners of war. When the HVO

2 captures civilians, those civilians can be detained on remand under the

3 condition that there are criminal proceedings against them, which would

4 motivate their incarceration.

5 So do you distinguish in legal terms this distinction that the

6 Judges have to make and which you, too, have to make with respect to the

7 fate of the people who are detained? So did you distinguish between these

8 two categories, prisoners of war and captives who would ultimately be

9 legally prosecuted for some acts that they had perpetrated? And what my

10 colleague has said, that there seems to be a confusion over these two

11 terms and this -- these two types of status.

12 Mr. Karnavas, just a minute.

13 Witness, may I have your answer, please?

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you remember

15 yesterday we discussed this, and I assume you know that part of the

16 Muslim ethnic group or nationality were within the Croatian Defence

17 Council at the beginning the war that started on the territory of

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Once a conflict broke out between the Muslim armed

19 forces or the BH army and the Croatian Defence Council, then part of those

20 members of the HVO who were Muslims launched an uprising. They were

21 disarmed and incarcerated and criminal reports filed against them, and

22 they were treated as war detainees.

23 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President and Judge Trechsel, if I may be of

24 some assistance. The gentleman indicated earlier, and my colleague here

25 confirms this, that the document has been mistranslated, and I think that

Page 15120

1 perhaps we could ask the gentleman to read the first sentence, because at

2 least the way my colleague, who is a native speaker, looks at it, it says

3 "war detainee." It doesn't say war prisoner. It talks about detainees.

4 And again, if we go back to the gentleman's testimony from yesterday, it

5 was very, very clear about the distinctions and the categorisations. So I

6 think that for some reason there is a mistranslation.

7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That is correct, and the English translation has

8 made this quite clear. However, the problem is that there is no such

9 legal category as war detainees. It is not a technical term, and

10 therefore it is, with due respect, without any use for the Chamber. For

11 the Chamber, legal categories must be given. And for authorities

12 detaining, they must detain under a title which exists, and there is no

13 such title as war detainee.

14 MR. KARNAVAS: Yeah, I mean we can quibble over -- you know, a

15 rose by any other name is a rose. I think we can agree on that. But he

16 does make the distinction between somebody being a prisoner of war versus

17 somebody who has been detained because they're either within -- their own

18 army has misbehaved and that is the distinction the gentleman is making.

19 But I'll leave it to -- you know, we'll argue that at some other point.

20 But I'm not here to defend the gentleman or to defend the terminology that

21 was used at the time.

22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you have given us an

23 explanation and clarified the matter, and you said that amongst the

24 prisoners there were those who were Muslims who had been in the HVO and

25 deserted and were captured and against whom criminal reports had been

Page 15121

1 filed for desertion or some other legal transgression. So is that how we

2 are to understand the distinction that you made between one category and

3 the other?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, we're making

6 things clearer, thanks to the Judges' questions, largely.

7 Now, my last question. They are prisoners of war, BH army

8 soldiers who have been captured. Then you have old prisoners who were HVO

9 soldiers, Muslims, who deserted. And then there's another category that

10 we encountered, that is to say civilians who were not BH army soldiers at

11 all, neither were they former HVO soldiers.

12 Now, from your point of view, why were those civilians detained?

13 If you can answer that, if you're in a position to answer.

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know the answer to

15 that question.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.


18 Q. Mr. Biskic, during the period when the collection centres were

19 being disbanded, do you recall whether or not you received reports from

20 Mr. Pusic?

21 A. Well, we received reports, most of us did, who took part in that

22 process.

23 Q. And what was the purpose of these reports from Mr. Pusic?

24 A. The purpose of those reports was to inform us about how many

25 people who had been incarcerated had left, whether they went to the BH

Page 15122

1 army side or third countries or the HR HB, and also the number who

2 remained in Heliodrom, because in the service for the exchange exact

3 figures were kept, facts and figures about all this.

4 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you turn, please, to document P 07187, or, in your

5 binder, 7187, please. Are you familiar with this document, sir?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can you tell us what this document relates to, please?

8 A. It is a report by the service for the exchange of detainees and

9 other persons of HR HB of the 15th of December, 1993, and it addresses the

10 implementation of the decision to disband the collection centres.

11 Q. Can you turn now, sir, to the next document, that is 7246, P 07 --

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Before we go on

13 to the next document, Witness, can we go back to this document, 07187.

14 Now, look at the second paragraph. The first paragraph says that

15 prisoners of war should be transferred immediately to Heliodrom. Now, the

16 second paragraph seems to me to be interesting as well for us to be able

17 to understand what was going on. It appears to indicate that persons

18 should be transferred who were not characterised as prisoners of war to

19 Gabela so that they could be taken over by the commission for exchange.

20 Now, what did you want to say by that? What does that second

21 paragraph mean?

22 A. Your Honour, this is not a report by me. It is a report by the

23 office for the exchange of persons and other people of the HR HB, and all

24 I can do is to interpret what it says here.

25 Now, if we're talking about --

Page 15123

1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Witness. There is

2 definitely a misunderstanding somewhere, because in our files document P

3 07178, which was called by the Prosecution, is an order signed by

4 Mr. Biskic, and it appears that you have a different document under the

5 same number. So we must be sure that we talk about the same document,

6 otherwise we lose time.

7 MR. KARNAVAS: We have a report that is from Mr. Pusic, but it's

8 7187.

9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes, we have the same number.

10 MR. KARNAVAS: So there must be some sort of a mix-up. It's

11 7187.

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, in the document

13 07187 we have an order signed by the witness, that is 02-4193. The date

14 is the 13th of December, 1993. And looking at the document in the B/C/S,

15 it's another document which is signed by Stanko Bozic. Has there been a

16 mistake?

17 MR. MUNDIS: There would appear to be a mistake. I believe the

18 document that you have, the English translation of the document 7187 is in

19 fact 7149. The English version of 7187 in fact is not a document that the

20 question that Your Honours have asked relates to.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I asked you a question about a

22 document, so what document would you like the witness to address and

23 answer questions about, because I don't want to be studying a document

24 that you're not going to deal with. So your question, Mr. Mundis, which

25 document did it apply to, 07149 or the other document?

Page 15124

1 MR. MUNDIS: No, 07187. It appears as though the document in

2 English is available in e-court. Clearly the document the witness

3 referred to in answering my question, he was in fact looking at the

4 correct document that I wanted him to -- to answer questions about. The

5 English version now appears in e-court.

6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: To make the confusion complete, let me just draw

7 your attention to the fact that the B/C/S document we have under number

8 7178 corresponds neither to the English document nor to that which is now

9 on e-court.

10 MR. MUNDIS: I apologise for the confusion caused by this

11 document. Unfortunately the version -- or, rather, fortunately in the

12 case of the witness and myself our versions appear to be correct.

13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I don't say this to blame anybody, just to

14 clarify.

15 MR. MUNDIS: Absolutely. Thank you, Your Honour.

16 MR. MURPHY: It's possible Your Honour may be looking at the wrong

17 document, if you said 7178. I think the number Mr. Mundis is referring to

18 is 7187. Perhaps Your Honour has -- is that a further mistake.

19 MR. MUNDIS: That's a further mistake. On the front of the tab

20 it's 7187; on the back of the tab it's 7178.

21 Q. But at any rate, Witness, the document that you have before you on

22 which the English is available on the screen --

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, Mr. Mundis, I'll withdraw

24 my question and give you the floor.

25 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

Page 15125

1 Q. Perhaps, sir, Mr. Biskic, if we could return to this document,

2 7187, that you have before you. Again, sir, can you tell us what the

3 purpose of this report from Mr. Pusic --

4 A. The purpose of this report was to inform the person how far the

5 decision of the president of the HR HB to disband the collection centres

6 has gone and to see how many detainees had gone where.

7 Q. Do you recall, sir, that is in the period of, say, from the 11th

8 of December until the end of that month, the end of December 1993, do you

9 recall approximately how many reports were received from Mr. Pusic on this

10 subject of detainee or prisoner releases?

11 A. I can't remember exactly what the number was, how many reports,

12 but I think there were four or five at the minimum.

13 Q. Can you turn now, sir, to document 7246, that's P 07246.

14 Mr. Biskic, are you familiar with this document?

15 A. Yes. It is a continuation of the report that was sent out for the

16 commission for the exchange of persons.

17 Q. I'd ask you, sir, if you could look to the total number of

18 detained persons towards the bottom of this document.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Do you recall, sir, your reaction when you first saw this document

21 with respect to 4.320 detained persons?

22 A. I can't remember. I can't remember my reactions.

23 Q. Can you comment, sir, on the approximate proportion of the number

24 of prisoners of war to the overall total number of detained persons?

25 A. You mean how many remained and how many were released? Is that

Page 15126

1 the question?

2 Q. Well, it would appear that there were 1.089 prisoners of war out

3 of a total of 4.320 detained persons; is that correct?

4 A. That's what it says in the report, yes.

5 Q. Do you have any comments or -- concerning those overall numbers?

6 Does it --

7 A. Well, I can't claim that there weren't some who might have

8 remained in the collection centre for POWs among the others, but I believe

9 the teams that were -- worked because it was the information security

10 service, the military police, and the military prosecutor's office, the

11 military court, and I think there was also a representative of the health

12 service. They composed the teams, and I believe that they conscientiously

13 carried out their work.

14 Q. Do you know, sir, what the number 700 next to the "Remained to be

15 processed" column refers to?

16 A. It says that they were still being processed. That means that

17 those waiting to go to third countries were concerned or those waiting to

18 cross over to the ABiH side.

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, to help the Judges

20 understand this chart, I would like you to confirm something for us. We

21 have noted that there were 3.620 prisoners. 1.557 were on the Muslim side

22 because it says -- so there's 1.557 who should have been exchanged,

23 because on the ABiH side there was an office for the exchange of prisoners

24 too. So there were 1.557 of them who went to areas under ABiH control.

25 556 remained in areas under HVO control; 617 went abroad, to Croatia,

Page 15127

1 Germany, France, et cetera; and apparently 1.089 who had to stay there

2 provisionally because they were POWs. Is this how we should understand

3 this chart?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the 700 referred to should be

6 added to the 3.620, or they are part of the 3.620? So should we add this

7 number to the 3.620 or not, because it's not very clear when it comes to

8 these 700 individuals. Should the number 700 be added to 3.620?

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, when we have a

10 look at this report it seems that there is a total of 4.320. Those who --

11 that was the number of POWs. All I can note is what is stated here. They

12 hadn't been processed -- or, rather, they were waiting for visas in order

13 to go to third countries. I assume that that was the situation.

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So the 700,

15 shouldn't they be added to the number 1.089, because you said they should

16 be POWs. So should this number be added to 1.089 in order to reach the

17 total of 4.320 that is stated here?

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, because the number 1.089

19 concerns those who remained in the collection centre for POWs. There was

20 700 in Gabela, and they were waiting to be processed -- or, rather, to go

21 to third countries. So they are not included in the category of those who

22 remained in the collection centre after the collection centres were

23 disbanded.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So 700, in your

25 opinion. Where were they, in the Heliodrom, in Gabela, Livno, Ljubuski?

Page 15128

1 Where were they?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 18th of December they were

3 in Gabela, in the Gabela transit centre.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Fine. It's a lot

5 clearer now.


7 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you turn please to the next document, 7494,

8 P 07494. Sir, are you familiar with this document?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Can you tell us what this document is, please?

11 A. Well, it's a report from the service for the exchange of prisoners

12 and others. It was addressed to me as the assistant to the minister, and

13 in this letter a suggestion is made according to which some of the

14 detainees in Heliodrom collection centre should be transferred to Gabela

15 because the Heliodrom had too many people.

16 Q. Can you comment, sir, on the reference to the transfer to the

17 military investigation prison, VIZ Gabela, which is registered as a

18 military prison?

19 A. I don't know if it was registered as such at the time. On the 6th

20 of January, Gabela was no longer functioning in any way. It's a fact that

21 in Heliodrom collection centre for POWs there was not sufficient space.

22 However, I believed that there were exchanges that were being carried out,

23 and I did not provide a positive reply to this letter.

24 Q. Mr. Biskic, on the Croatian language version of this document

25 there's some handwriting at the bottom. Do you see that, sir?

Page 15129

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Do you know whose handwriting that is?

3 A. It's mine.

4 Q. And can you tell us what this says? Can you read the handwriting

5 that's written on this document?

6 A. It says on the 9th of January there was my reply that was sent to

7 the military police by fax, and the service for the exchange of prisoners

8 or detainees, and what I wrote down is that I do not agree with this

9 suggestion, and in future everything that concerns prisoners of war should

10 be forwarded to the military police administration.

11 Q. And the very last line, sir, I believe there was another

12 translation error in the English. What does the very last line of that

13 handwriting say?

14 A. The last line before my signature it says, "In the future,

15 everything should be forwarded to the military police administration."

16 Q. And the final line which you've indicated is your signature, what

17 does that say?

18 A. "Colonel Biskic."

19 Q. And just so that we're all clear, the English says,

20 "Colonel Blaskic." Did you write Colonel Blaskic's name at -- anywhere

21 on this document?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Now, again as a matter of clarity, you told us that you wrote, "I

24 do not agree" in the handwriting on the bottom of this document. Can you

25 tell us what did you not agree with in this document that was produced by

Page 15130

1 Mr. Pusic?

2 A. I did not agree with the idea that some of the detainees in the

3 Heliodrom should be transferred to Gabela.

4 Q. Why did you disagree with that idea?

5 A. Well, because we had decided where they would be detain. We had

6 established a company to provide security for the POW collection centre,

7 and I believed that the situation should have been maintained as such and

8 that they should be exchanged from that base.

9 Q. Mr. Biskic, I'm going to now return in a little bit more detail to

10 a subject we touched upon yesterday, which was the notion of detainees

11 being taken out for labour. Let me start by asking you, sir, based upon

12 your experience as a military police expert and authority, what is your

13 understanding as to the use of detainees or prisoners of war for purposes

14 of labour?

15 A. Well, according to the Geneva Conventions, POWs can be used to

16 carry out labour; it depends on their ranks though. And this can be done

17 outside combat areas and within the fields of industry, agriculture, et

18 cetera. That is what is stated in the Geneva Conventions.

19 Q. Were you aware of any types of labour that prisoners of war could

20 not be engaged in?

21 A. There was information and rumours according to which POWs had been

22 taken to carry out work in areas of combat activity.

23 Q. Okay. And what was your understanding, sir, based upon the Geneva

24 Conventions as to the legality of such labour by prisoners of war?

25 A. Well, obviously this wasn't in accordance with the Geneva

Page 15131

1 Conventions.

2 Q. Now, I believe you told us this yesterday, but at the time of your

3 arrival in Bosnia-Herzegovina on or about the 8th of November, 1993,

4 do you know if persons who were in the collection centres or prisoner of

5 war centres were being used to perform labour?

6 A. I have already said that I received such information. I haven't

7 got any specific documents that demonstrate that someone engaged someone

8 else at the front line, but according to reports from the security and

9 information service while -- I received information according to which

10 some POWs had fled from the front line.

11 Q. Do you recall approximately when you received this information

12 about these POWs who had fled from the front line?

13 A. I think this was during the preparatory stage for an operation in

14 the Uskoplje sector. It was the first half of January 1993.

15 THE INTERPRETER: The first half of November, interpreter's

16 correction, 1993.


18 Q. At the time of your arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina, sir, were

19 you aware of any orders governing the use of prisoner or detainees for

20 labour?

21 A. At that time I hadn't seen any such orders. I said I hadn't been

22 assigned my duties from anyone. I said that I assumed that there were

23 such cases and that was confirmed. Last time you showed me a document

24 which I think was drafted in October 1993.

25 Q. Do you remember who had signed the document that you just referred

Page 15132

1 to from October 1993?

2 A. I think General Milivoj Petkovic did.

3 Q. Can you turn, sir, to document 5873? That's P 05873. Mr. Biskic,

4 is this the document you were just referring to?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. With respect to the third sentence or the third numbered point in

7 this order, were you aware of any prosecutions for failing to comply with

8 this order?

9 A. I have no such information, and I wasn't the person within the

10 chain of command who would receive information on the implementation of

11 measures taken by the Main Staff and by commanders at their respective

12 levels.

13 Q. Do you remember, sir, as someone who had some responsibility with

14 respect to military police matters seeing any reports or investigations

15 concerning prosecutions for failure or investigations concerning failure

16 to comply with this order?

17 A. I don't remember that, but I have already said that there was the

18 criminal military police -- or the crime military police. They did their

19 work, and they acted in accordance with all the information they had at

20 their disposal, but I have no particular information that I could provide

21 you with that I could refer to. But we should make a distinction between

22 command responsibility in this case. Any commander can take disciplinary

23 measures; he has that right. And then there is this order issued by

24 General Milivoj Petkovic, which means that at lower command levels whoever

25 acts in this way will be held to account, will be held responsible. This

Page 15133

1 is not just the work and the duties of the military police.

2 Q. We touched upon this briefly yesterday, sir, but once you became

3 aware of this issue of prisoners and labour, what steps did you take

4 concerning this issue?

5 A. I suggested to the chief of the Main Staff, General Roso, that he

6 should issue an order on prohibiting detainees from collection centres

7 from being taken to carry out work of any kind. And the order should

8 specify precisely who could authorise taking detainees out to work.

9 General Roso issued such an order.

10 Q. Do you recall when?

11 A. I think it was around the second half of November 1993. In the

12 same order he ordered that all the detainees should be returned to the

13 collection centres.

14 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you please turn to document 7471. That's P 07471.

15 Are you familiar, sir, with this document?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Can you tell us what this document relates to, please?

18 A. This document is entitled "Prisoners of war." It concerns a

19 letter of mine that I sent to the ministry -- to the minister of defence,

20 Mr. Perica Jukic; and to the chief of the Main Staff, General Ante Roso.

21 Q. Mr. Biskic, I draw your attention to the fourth paragraph of this

22 document. There appears to be a reference to two orders in the fourth

23 paragraph, and I'm wondering, sir, if you recall and can comment upon what

24 those orders refer to.

25 A. Well, I think these orders were issued by the chief of the Main

Page 15134

1 Staff, and they concern the ban on taking detainees out to carry out

2 labour. And it also concerns returning these detainees. I can't really

3 say what the order of the 30th of November referred to and the other

4 order, but it concerned respect for international humanitarian law.

5 Q. And the paragraph immediately --

6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.

7 Witness, I have a question that I'd like to put to you in

8 reference to this document. You sent this letter to the minister of

9 defence, Mr. Perica Jukic; and to Mr. Ante Roso, personally. What I find

10 hard to understand with regard to your role of assistant -- or, rather,

11 deputy minister responsible for security is the following: Did you occupy

12 a political post, as is the case for a minister, or did you have an

13 administrative role to play? Could you tell me whether you were someone

14 who occupied a political position or administrative position given that

15 you're the author of this document.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, to be a deputy minister is

17 usually a political role, but in this case I did not act in this

18 capacity.

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You have answered

20 part of my question, a significant part of my question. You said that a

21 deputy minister has a political role to play.

22 As far as Mr. Perica Jukic is concerned, did you have meetings of

23 a political nature with him, meetings that were held to assess the

24 situation, find solutions sometimes of a political kind to military issues

25 and other issues? You have -- you sent this letter to him that concerned

Page 15135

1 POWs, which is an extremely delicate issue. Did you speak to Mr. Jukic

2 about this problem and about the consequences in international terms in --

3 with regard to the UN, with regard to other consequences, because you know

4 that at the time this Tribunal you are testifying before was established,

5 did you have any discussion was Mr. Jukic that concerned this problem, or

6 is there just this document that outlines the issues relating to POWs?

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yesterday I said that

8 this is not the only document in which reference is made to POWs. I

9 wasn't acting in my capacity as a politician, and I wasn't assessing what

10 the political consequences of these events would be. I was working as an

11 operations officer, and I was carrying out the tasks that I was

12 responsible for at the time as the deputy minister, but I was absolutely

13 against any violations of the Geneva Conventions and of international

14 humanitarian law. And as of November, to the with all those who occupied

15 certain posts in the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna at the time, we

16 dealt with the problems of collection centres.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But the blockades

18 that you recorded, who was responsible for them? Because you, as the

19 number two person to deal with this issue, since the number one person was

20 Minister Jukic, well, in your opinion where did these obstacles, these

21 difficulties, come from?

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yesterday I said that I

23 encountered no obstacles when carrying out my tasks. Naturally, it's

24 easier to carry out some tasks, and for other tasks you require more time

25 in order to deal with the task at the command level.

Page 15136

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In this document we can see that

2 you have mentioned the fact that Major General Matic gave the Mostar

3 defence permission to take 40 prisoners of war, and you say this violated

4 international law and orders, and you wrote, but you didn't ask Mr. Jukic

5 to immediately arrest General Matic.

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember this letter, it

7 was compiled after my return because I was in Zagreb over the New Year,

8 and from my office I was informed that agreement was given by

9 General Matic that 40 detainees should be given over to the defence of

10 Mostar. That does not mean that they would be at the front line. But I

11 considered that this was something that should not be granted permission

12 for, and it was not authorised.

13 General Matic was under General Roso's responsibility, and my

14 responsibilities were not such that I was able to propose to a minister of

15 defence or the chief of the Main Staff to give them instructions to

16 undertake any measures because a crime had not been committed here.

17 Perhaps the intention was a good one and perhaps those prisoners of war

18 might have been engaged in some sort of work which is allowed by the --

19 and under the Geneva Conventions, because in the town of Mostar itself the

20 front line was somewhere in the centre of Mostar.

21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: But, Mr. Biskic, if you allow for this

22 possibility, why did you, I say in quotation, "blindly stop this," and not

23 try to find out whether these prisoners were to be taken to innocent work

24 or to forbidden work? It looks as though you assumed they were used for

25 unlawful work, if one reads your order.

Page 15137

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's difficult for me to

2 remember now what I was thinking in 1994 when I wrote this document, but

3 at any rate, I did not agree with the permission granted and I stopped

4 it.

5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.


7 Q. Now, Mr. Biskic, if you could please look at the fifth

8 paragraph of this document, P 07471. There's reference to increasingly

9 frequent requests for work on the front lines, and I'm wondering, sir,

10 what -- if you recall what you based that statement in this document of

11 yours upon.

12 A. Well, probably my employees from the office were informed that

13 there were requests made of this kind. I didn't see anything in writing.

14 Had I done that, then I would have mentioned that in this letter.

15 Q. There's also reference, sir, in that paragraph to the fact that

16 you had not given any such permission for persons to be taken to the front

17 lines for labour. My question is, do you recall on how many occasions you

18 personally gave such permission for persons to be taken to the front lines

19 to perform labour?

20 A. I think that was once, but not up to the front line. What I did

21 was give permission to engage 20 or 30 detainees in the Aluminijum combine

22 in Mostar. And I think that that was in keeping with the Geneva

23 Convention.

24 Q. Now, Mr. Biskic, can you comment upon compliance with the order to

25 return detainees that was issued concerning persons who were taken out to

Page 15138

1 perform labour?

2 A. There were problems in returning them. Unfortunately, the order

3 from the chief of the Main Staff issued at the beginning of November

4 and -- or end of November and start of December, it was not respected.

5 So in January once again I think it was the minister of defence,

6 Mr. Jukic, who issued that order. And the last order that was issued in

7 that area was in April 1994, once again from the minister, but at the time

8 it was Mr. Vladimir Soljic. So there were problems in implementing that

9 order.

10 Q. How do you know there were problems implementing that order?

11 A. Because the International Committee of the Red Cross through its

12 letters cautioned us and said that some detainees were taken to collection

13 centres. They were taken out and never returned.

14 Q. Do you recall, sir, whether you also received some reports from

15 any of the persons under your authority concerning this issue?

16 A. Superior to me or subordinate to me?

17 Q. Subordinate to you.

18 A. Could you repeat your question, please.

19 Q. Do you recall, sir, whether you saw any reports from any of your

20 subordinates on the issue of failure to comply with the order to return

21 detainees who had been taken out for purposes of labour?

22 A. Well, subordinate to me were the chief of the administration of

23 the military police and the chief of the SIS administration. Now, the

24 chief of the administration of the military police informed me about the

25 problems about returning POWs to the POW shelter. But those who had

Page 15139

1 been -- who were taken out had been returned, but he -- it made no

2 information of somebody from the military police units being taken out and

3 not returned but from other units.

4 Q. Let me ask you, sir, to turn to --

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. You spoke of

6 your superiors and your subordinates. What I'm interested in is in your

7 superiors. The minister, Minister Jukic, he was above you; right? Now,

8 above the defence minister was the Prime Minister, who at the time was

9 Mr. Prlic --

10 MR. KARNAVAS: I object to the form of the question. I object to

11 the form of the question.

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment.

13 MR. KARNAVAS: That's an incorrect reading of the --

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mr. Karnavas.

15 MR. KARNAVAS: [Previous translation continues]... form of the

16 question, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sit down.

18 The question can be sensitive. I want to identify the gentleman's

19 superiors.

20 MR. KARNAVAS: It's not sensitive. It's an incorrect reading of

21 the laws, Mr. President. It's an incorrect reading of the statute. That's

22 what I object.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sit down.

24 Witness, your superiors in this government, who were your

25 superiors, can you tell me? Who was above you successively to the top,

Page 15140

1 from you upwards? You spoke about your subordinates. I understand that,

2 but what I'm interested in is your superiors. So who was your immediate

3 superior and right up to the top? So can you tell us who your superiors

4 were?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said but I will repeat

6 the minister of the defence of the HR HB was superior to me and that was

7 Mr. Perica Jukic up until the 25th of February 1994, and after the 25th of

8 February up until my return to Croatia on the 6th of May, 1994, it was the

9 minister, Vladimir Soljic. That was the only person that I reported to.

10 I was only subordinate to him.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. A moment ago you

12 said that you had a political post within the Ministry of Defence. Now,

13 above the minister of defence, to the best of knowledge, was there

14 somebody above the minister of defence?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not say that my

16 post was a political one. I said that mostly in ministries in peacetime

17 and wartime they were political duties and of course power and authority

18 goes to the party that won the elections. I was not a politician myself.

19 Perhaps following on from that logics, the Prime Minister appointed me.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, you were

21 appointed by the Prime Minister. Who was the Prime Minister?

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time it was Mr. Jadranko

23 Prlic.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Who appointed the defence

25 minister? Who was the defence minister appointed by?

Page 15141

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know that.

2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Was there at the

3 level of the HVO a Supreme Commander? Concerning the army.

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Supreme Commander of the

5 Croatian Defence Council was the president of the Croatian Republic of

6 Herceg-Bosna.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And who was that?

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The late Boban, Mate Boban.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To summarise what you've just

10 said, the Supreme Commander was Mate Boban. The Prime Minister was

11 Mr. Prlic. The minister of defence was Mr. Jukic, at least on the 4th of

12 January, and you yourself were the assistant to the defence minister;

13 right?

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.

16 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, perhaps now would be the appropriate

17 time for the break, the first scheduled break.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to take a 20-minute

19 break and reconvene at 4.00.

20 --- Recess taken at 3.42 p.m.

21 --- On resuming at 4.03 p.m.

22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.

23 Mr. Mundis.

24 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give you the floor, I'd

Page 15142

1 just like to tell Mr. Karnavas that I consider it impermissible for

2 counsel to control Judges' questions. That is absolutely impermissible.

3 I asked a question on the structure of government, and the witness

4 answered the about structure, so I don't see where the problem is. And

5 your intervention was a type of pressure exerted upon the Judge, and that

6 is what I wanted to say to you.

7 MR. KARNAVAS: With the utmost respect, with the utmost respect,

8 Mr. President, and I do have a lot of respect for all of you. First, the

9 question was rather leading in nature, but number two, there were facts in

10 the question that were -- you were assuming a facts that have not been in

11 evidence or it was a misrepresentation of what is in the statute itself.

12 We're going to clear this up on cross-examination, but I dare say I'm

13 entitled to object for the record purposes as opposed to waiting later on,

14 because I could see very clearly, Mr. President, you're trying to

15 establish, you know, the line -- who is at the top and who is at the

16 bottom in the command and control, and I dare say when we go through the

17 statute, because the Prosecution hasn't done that, they haven't gone

18 through the laws, but I would say that I'm entitled to formally object to

19 the form of the question if it assumes a fact which is not in evidence or

20 which is incorrect with the statute -- with the statute or the laws that

21 are being introduced in this court. And I meant no disrespect, did you I

22 do need to make an objection. And again, I have the utmost respect for

23 you, but there are going to be times where we're all going to disagree,

24 and I'm sorry.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The incident is closed.

Page 15143

1 Mr. Mundis.

2 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

3 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you please now turn to document 7153 in the

4 binder. This is P 07153.

5 Sir, have you ever seen this document before?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can you tell us what the subject matter of this report is,

8 please?

9 A. It is a report by Mr. Stanko Bozic, the warden of the -- or,

10 rather, the commander of the company for providing security for detainees,

11 to Mr. Radoslav Lavric, acting military police chief.

12 Q. And the subject of the report?

13 A. The subject of the report is lack of compliance with the order to

14 return detainees from doing labour.

15 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Biskic, whether any follow-up action was taken

16 as a result of this report of Mr. Stanko Bozic?

17 A. At my level steps were taken. The minister was informed again,

18 and the chief of the Main Staff that the order by the chief of the Main

19 Staff was not respected. And for this lack of compliance, the chief of

20 the Main Staff -- it is up to the chief of the Main Staff to take

21 measures.

22 Q. Can you now turn, sir, to document 7021, P 07021. And again,

23 Mr. Biskic, are you familiar with this document?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Can you tell us, sir, what this document concerns?

Page 15144

1 A. This document also deals with taking out detainees from the

2 collection centre to perform labour by the sector for the defence of

3 Mostar, and it is about the wounding, escape, and death of a detainee.

4 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Biskic, what steps, if any, were taken as a

5 result of this report?

6 A. Steps were taken. As I've already said, everything was linked to

7 the implementation of the order from the chief of the Main Staff about

8 the return of detainees or prisoners, and the sector it of the town's

9 defence was under the command of the Main Staff of the Croatian Defence

10 Council.

11 Q. Can you be more specific, sir, when you indicate steps were

12 taken. What types of steps?

13 A. Steps were taken whereby the order was repeated several times from

14 the level of the minister of defence with respect to the return prisoners,

15 detainees.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, we have a report here

17 written on the 3rd of December from Mr. Bozic, and you appointed him, and

18 the report indicates that there were two persons who were killed, one

19 person who was wounded, and two persons who had escaped, and he is telling

20 you that he had no written report about that.

21 When you read this type of report, at your level what are you

22 supposed to do having read a report like this?

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I read a report like this in

24 the post I occupied that means I must make measures to prevent incidents

25 that have kind from happening again. Secondly, as the document was also

Page 15145

1 addressed to Mr. Lavric as the deputy chief of the military police, it

2 automatically implies that on the basis of this document information

3 should be gathered pursuant to these incidents and that the information

4 gathered should be processed.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you as the number one man,

6 the number one responsible person, because Mr. Lavric was a subordinate of

7 yours, did you not have the task of following up on this incident which

8 was reported to you because the report was addressed to you?

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I did not say that that was

10 not my job. The fact is that insistence was made upon the people's

11 return, and this is one of the results of the order from the chief of the

12 Main Staff to have the persons returned. And once they were returned, it

13 was establish that certain individuals were wounded. Some had escaped,

14 and some were killed. So on the basis of this information, it is the duty

15 of the crime prevention military police to unleash the process of

16 processing and to uncover the perpetrators linked to this event.

17 I cannot remember at this point in time what the result of all

18 that was, of those steps taken were, but I do believe that in the records

19 of the military police you will find the results of the investigation.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We saw that there was a document

21 from General Petkovic which was quite unambiguous and absolutely forbid

22 this kind of work performed outside. Now, apparently General Petkovic's

23 orders were violated. So within the military system there must be

24 investigations carried out and sanctions taken. So my question is: Were

25 any sanctions taken?

Page 15146

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't answer that question right

2 now because I can't remember what happened. All I do know is that I

3 insisted upon the return of these people, and finally sometime in April

4 1994, I issued an order myself saying that criminal investigations should

5 be carried out against all those perpetrators who violated the Geneva

6 Conventions or in any way infringed upon the rights of the detainees.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.

8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have -- I have two questions, the first just to

9 avoid possible misunderstanding. In this report it says, it's at the

10 bottom of the first page in English: "A group of detainees was

11 returned ... but the others remain there." "The others" does not sort of

12 cynically refer to the two who had been killed but indicates that there

13 were prisoners who continued to be working at the front line for the

14 sector commander. Do I understand this correctly?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you have understood

16 that correctly that a part of them were kept. But I cannot conclude from

17 this report that those people who were kept were working up at the front

18 line. That's an assumption.

19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, and you are quite right.

20 The second question is of a more general nature, and it has come

21 up with another witness. If a commander says, "I want to take away 20

22 prisoners from Heliodrom," and the chief of Heliodrom knows or has strong

23 reasons to suppose that these prisoners will be taken to do work on the

24 front line, can the head of the prison refuse and say, "No, we will not

25 release 20 prisoners for your purposes," full stop? Can he do that?

Page 15147

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the warden or commander of the

2 company for the POW shelter, if he is granted permission from the persons

3 in authority to let them go, then he cannot refuse to let them go. But as

4 from unauthorised persons, then he can, and then he will have to ask

5 permission from the person in authority and authorised to do so at that

6 time.

7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a moment ago when I

9 asked you questions about the governmental structure, it was to try and

10 establish the circulation of information. Now, at your level, if at your

11 level you were informed of this event, of things that happened, and you

12 did nothing, how do the superior levels react if they depend on you? How

13 can they act if they depend on you?

14 So here we have a case where you have been informed that there are

15 two persons who had escaped. Two persons were killed, and one person was

16 wounded. That is a report that you received on an incident that was

17 serious enough because it concerns the detainees, of course.

18 Now, if you do not react to this at your level, how does the

19 authority above you, superior to you, know what happened? Can you tell

20 me, if you remember? The follow-up to this incident, what happened next,

21 or don't you remember? And I can very well understand that in view of the

22 passage of time.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand the question that

24 you've asked me, Your Honour. I cannot claim -- one cannot claim that

25 there was no reaction, because the military police was working pursuant to

Page 15148

1 the authority. Military police personnel are authorised persons, and

2 whenever there is grounds to suspect that a crime had been committed they

3 must act as professional in their line of duty, and it would be a sorry

4 state if one would have to wait for an order from the minister for

5 security. So there were reactions to these incidents, as there were

6 reactions to all other incidents, and I'm sure that by the end of 1994

7 whenever detainees were missing an answer was found. And I do believe

8 that my April order, when I wished to emphasise the duty to determine the

9 responsibility of those people who acted towards prisoners and detainees

10 outside or in violation of the Geneva Conventions be dealt with.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.

12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

13 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you please turn to document 7787, which is P

14 07787, please. Are you familiar with these documents, Mr. Biskic?

15 A. Yes, I am familiar with this document.

16 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber, please, what this document

17 relates to?

18 A. The document was compiled when I was absent from the HR HB, and

19 from the office of the officer who replaced me, I can't remember who

20 signed it, can't say who signed it, I can't understand the signature, but

21 he received information. I assume it was information received from the

22 SIS. He forwarded that to the defence minister and the chief of the Main

23 Staff.

24 Q. Mr. Biskic, I'd like you to turn your attention to the document

25 entitled, "Information report on the situation of the prisoner of war camp

Page 15149

1 Heliodrom." Do you see that part of this exhibit?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Do you recall, sir, what the subject matter of this information

4 report is?

5 A. Well, there's an error as far as the year is concerned in this

6 report, or perhaps not. On the 1st of January a group of 60 prisoners was

7 taken away by the commander of the defence for the town of Mostar, the 1st

8 of January, 1994. And at the request of General Ante Roso, the prisoners

9 were to be used for the needs of the defence of Mostar. They refer to the

10 person who took them away. And reference is also made to the 13th of

11 October, 1993, and to the fact that another group was taken away on that

12 day.

13 Q. Let me just stop you there, sir. The group -- let's focus on

14 these groups one and a time. The group that was apparently taken out on 1

15 January 1994, when was that group returned?

16 A. The 29th of January, 1994, is what it says here.

17 Q. Can you comment, sir, on -- on the length of time that these

18 detainees were out performing labour?

19 A. It was authorised by the chief of the Main Staff, and according to

20 his authorisation they were out for 29 days. That concerns the first

21 group.

22 Q. And now let's turn, sir, to the second group. When was the second

23 group taken out?

24 A. On the 13th of October, 1993.

25 Q. And does the document indicate when those persons were returned?

Page 15150

1 A. The 21st of December -- on the 21st of December there was an

2 exchange. Twenty prisoners were taken to the collection centre, and

3 another 20 were taken charge of. And then it says that on the 22nd of

4 September Mr. Ivan Andabak took charge of 20 prisoners. No written

5 document accompanied this act. On the same evening he returned 13, but

6 that means that seven were not returned.

7 Q. Do you see reference to any other group of persons being taken out

8 for labour in this document?

9 A. On the 17th of November reference is made to 59 prisoners who were

10 taken out for the needs of the 2nd Brigade of the HVO. It refers to the

11 person who took charge of the group. It also refers to the fact that on

12 the 28th of January, 61 prisoners were returned, and it says that another

13 14 prisoners were missing, prisoners or detainees. And 16 were returned,

14 but these 16 individuals were not from this group.

15 Q. Mr. Biskic, with respect to these groups of unaccounted for or

16 missing prisoners, do you have any information or did you receive any

17 information as to what happened to those people?

18 A. At this point in time I can't remember, given that at the time I

19 wasn't present down there for two months, but I believe that the military

20 police administration did gather information on this matter. And I

21 believe that Minister Jukic and Mr. Ante Roso also took certain steps

22 after having received this report, but I'm not really familiar with this

23 matter because I wasn't present in the area.

24 Q. Now, yesterday, sir, you told us -- or we saw a document and you

25 explained to us how you were the person who could authorise prisoners to

Page 15151

1 be taken out for labour. Can you comment or provide some general

2 information as to what type of information you wanted or required in order

3 to approve taking persons out to perform labour?

4 A. Well, I don't think there are any documents, but when I received

5 such request I'd try to find out what the detainees were needed for and

6 where they were needed, but I didn't receive such requests. The other

7 thing I received was from the director of the Aluminijum plant,

8 Mr. Brajkovic, and I knew him personally and I knew the purpose for which

9 he would use such detainees, so I authorised this. I didn't authorise

10 anything else. But the chief of the Main Staff also had the right to

11 authorise such things.

12 Q. And just so we're clear, Mr. Biskic, when you make reference to

13 the chief of the Main Staff, who are you referring to at this point in

14 time?

15 A. Yes, to the chief of the Main Staff, General Ante Roso, because he

16 issued an order, and in his order he also stated who could authorise such

17 things, and he was one of the persons who could provide such

18 authorisation. So we're referring to a period when he took over the

19 duties as chief of the Main Staff, and in November 1993 he issued an order

20 on banning people from being taken away to perform labour, and on the

21 necessity of returning detainees to the collection centres.

22 Q. Mr. Biskic, what type of record-keeping requirements were in force

23 with respect to requests or approvals to take persons out for labour?

24 A. I can't remember that.

25 Q. Can you turn, is sir, to document P 07878?

Page 15152

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.

2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, before we move on to

3 another document, I'd like to dwell on what we have been dealing with.

4 I'll take a few examples at random. The 19th of September, 1993, 50

5 prisoners were taken. On the 28th of January, 1994, 61 prisoners were

6 brought in.

7 My question is as follows: What kind of prisoners are you

8 referring to here in your report? You remember the discussion we had

9 awhile ago with regard to POWs and detainees. On legal terms, naturally,

10 this poses a problem, but I want to know what category of prisoners we are

11 referring to, according to your own definition. And the second

12 subquestion is: Which ethnic group did these prisoners belong to, the

13 prisoners who were brought in, taken out, and those who didn't return?

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in response to your

15 first question, when we disbanded the collection centres we can talk about

16 POWs [as interpreted] that we referred to. So on the 1st of January,

17 1994, those who were taken away were people who belonged to that category.

18 They remained in the Heliodrom collection centre.

19 When we're talking about the 17th of November, 1993, the group

20 concerned is a group that hadn't yet been categorised, so I couldn't

21 answer your question precisely.

22 As to the nationality, their ethnic affiliation, I can't provide

23 an answer to at that either. I believe most of them were Muslims.

24 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, Your Honours, just a clarification.

25 He indicated war detainees, not POWs. I mean, it's in the translation. I

Page 15153

1 believe it's on -- it's here someplace. I can't remember, but it's --

2 it's on -- it's on line -- line 8, page 46. It has "prisoners of war"

3 when the gentleman indicated "war detainees."

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We take note of that

5 comment.

6 With regard to this document, on the 3rd of February you forwarded

7 a document to Mr. Jukic and to Mr. Roso. It concerned the situation that

8 POWs in Heliodrom were in, and you added to your letter some information,

9 a note, but what is more interesting is there is also a declaration

10 concerning 61 prisoners that relate to certain events, and among other

11 things they mention the fact that four prisoners had been killed by

12 snipers, and three apparently had been killed by ABiH snipers, and one had

13 apparently been killed by the HVO, someone called Roki.

14 Someone who reads this document must take the situation into

15 account and consider the conclusion reached in the information where you

16 say that such methods must be prevented and punished, because it has

17 obviously consequences to an international, political -- so you do your

18 work. And my question is again as follows: Mr. Jukic, did he speak to

19 you about this after the 3rd of February again or not? I'm putting this

20 question to you because the -- if the subject appears important for the

21 Judges, well, we can still call Mr. Jukic to testify before the Chamber if

22 he is still alive. But having said that, did Mr. Jukic refer to the

23 matter we're dealing with or not? Because you draft very alarming

24 reports, and one expects results. So what did Mr. Jukic tell you?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll repeat what I

Page 15154

1 said when this report was sent. I was not in the area. I didn't sign it.

2 An officer from my office signed it.

3 And secondly, this information note and the statements supplied

4 demonstrate that the matter was being dealt with. So SIS officials and

5 members of the military police gathered information and did everything

6 that was necessary in order to file a criminal report against certain

7 individuals.

8 What I can say is that the minister, Perica Jukic, was absolutely

9 in favour of having conventions respected. He was against abuse of any

10 kind and he was for measures to be taken. Whether he did anything else,

11 whether he forwarded any information up the chain of command subsequently,

12 I don't know. I can't say. But he was against such phenomena in any

13 event.

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You're saying on the

15 3rd of February you weren't in the area and that an officer signed on your

16 behalf. Very well. Could you look at the B/C/S version because there is

17 a handwritten reference, and I'm wondering whether you are the person who

18 made this reference. Can you tell me whether this was your handwriting or

19 not?

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Upon returning I had a look at

21 the mail that had been sent by my officers, and it mentions prisoners of

22 war -- rather, detainees, however you wish, that is what was referred to.

23 So I was subsequently informed of this document.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So when you returned, you a look

25 at what had been written. You had a look at the statement, et cetera.

Page 15155

1 You say that the minister of defence, Mr. Jukic, just like yourself,

2 wanted international conventions to be respected. Very well. But did you

3 discuss the matter with him, because what is referred to is not of a --

4 it's quite important. The International Red Cross was informed of this

5 matter, and there was going to be a follow-up on an international level.

6 So did Mr. Jukic talk to you about this problem or did you move on to

7 other subject? That is what I would like to find out.

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, we spoke about

9 how to deal with all the problems in the territory of the Croatian

10 Republic of Herceg-Bosna. We did not discuss this report in particular,

11 but we discussed matters in general terms, and we did everything we could

12 to make the system operational and to make sure that each and every

13 element within the system functioned properly.

14 I believe that the military police administration, the crime

15 military police administration, filed criminal reports against those with

16 regard to whom it was possible to prove that they had abused or maltreated

17 POWs.

18 As far as the report of the International Committee of the Red

19 Cross is concerned, they had evidence on entry and exit from these

20 locations. When I returned from the ministry of the Croatian Republic of

21 Herceg-Bosna, I asked from the chief of the military police,

22 Colonel Siljeg at the time it, to tell me about what had been taken --

23 what steps had been taken as a result of their requests, and I wanted to

24 know what results had been obtained by the military police with regard to

25 the comments made by the International Red Cross with regard to the

Page 15156

1 requests made by the International Red Cross.

2 I want to point out that steps were taken, that we didn't fail to

3 act, but given that 13 years have passed it's difficult for me to remember

4 each and every detail, but on the whole we dealt with all the issues that

5 are referred to here.

6 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to slow down a

7 bit for the interpreters.

8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to return briefly to the quality of

9 the prisoners concerned, those taken to work.

10 It seems that the information here comes from the ICRC people; is

11 that correct?

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the information we're

13 discussing now is an information report that was drafted by the SIS, and

14 there are letters from the International Committee of the Red Cross that

15 have been added, and they discuss the same problems.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have a look at the beginning of

17 the document that says, "Based on the report of the Red Cross in

18 Medjugorje." Apparently the facts that have been mentioned are facts

19 referred to given the information provided by the Red Cross. It's written

20 here in black and white.

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I said that this was an

22 information that was compiled by the SIS, and on the basis of letters from

23 the International Committee of the Red Cross. So they reacted to letters

24 from the Red Cross. Whenever information was provided, steps were taken.

25 There was a reaction.

Page 15157

1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Now, the ICRC is under the Geneva Conventions

2 entitled to visit places where prisoners of war are detained, and I mean

3 the war in its -- in its true meaning, and they have the right to talk to

4 those prisoners. Would you agree?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: They do not have the right to visit any kind of

7 prisoners unless there is a specific agreement. Is that correct?

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said yesterday or earlier on that

9 since my arrival, and I believe that was the case before, too, the

10 International Committee of the Red Cross could visit POWs whenever they

11 wanted to do so, whenever they expressed this desire.

12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Now, if one looks at these two issues the report

13 of the Red Cross on prisoners taken out to work and the comments of the

14 Red Cross again, that would normally be and indication that the prisoners

15 concerned were prisoners of war in the technical sense. Would you agree?

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, I don't quite

17 understand the question, nor do I understand what I should agree with.

18 Could you please repeat it?

19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Maybe it's a bit complicated.

20 These informations on prisoners taken out to work in engagements

21 which are not compatible with the Geneva Conventions come from the ICRC.

22 The ICRC has competence exclusively to deal with prisoners of war. Must

23 one not then assume that these prisoners were, in the technical sense of

24 the term, prisoners of war?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand your question now.

Page 15158

1 However, in the area that we're discussing, the ICRC and the Red Cross of

2 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna was responsible to deal with

3 everyone who was in collection centres at the time.

4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll conclude very rapidly,

6 because I see that the Prosecution still has a lot of time, but I can't

7 avoid putting this question to you: This document -- well, there's also a

8 letter from Mr. Claudio Baranzini who was the head of the Red Cross in

9 Medjugorje. It is addressed to you and the copy was from Mr. Pusic. It's

10 dated the 10th of January and they say in this letter that they visited

11 the Heliodrom, et cetera, and that a number of detainees referred to the

12 issue of labour, and a number of HVO brigades, in particular the 2nd and

13 the 4th Brigades had made these detainees work.

14 So the Red Cross officially informed you of the problem. It's not

15 without importance. It's an official letter that was sent to you. So my

16 question is: Did you realise how important this letter was or not?

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I was aware of the importance

18 of all the letters I received, and especially of all the letters I

19 received from the ICRC, and all the letters that I received, regardless of

20 the fact that they were also forwarded to other addresses, all these

21 letters were sent to the military police administration so that they could

22 check the allegations in the letters and so that they could respond to the

23 ICRC and inform them of the results of the military police's

24 investigation. So not a single letter from the ICRC at the time when I

25 was responsible was ignored, and I believe that that was the case before

Page 15159

1 too. I believe that not a single letter was ignored before my time.

2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, because apparently

3 the Red Cross spoke to detainees, because when we have a look at the B/C/S

4 document, and this can't be seen in the English translation, we can see

5 that the famous statement regarding 61 detainees was handwritten, and it's

6 been signed. We don't have 61 names, but we have 59 names, and each

7 detainee signed. So the information that came to light was information

8 that you should have paid attention to, and that is perhaps the reason for

9 which you contacted your superior minister, your minister of defence. But

10 didn't you think it would be useful to have a meeting with Mr. Baranzini?

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said that at the

12 time I wasn't in the area, but as far as the representative of the Red

13 Cross is concerned, the chief of the military police, Mr. Siljeg, had a

14 meeting with him.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So Mr. Siljeg had a

16 meeting. Is he the person who was the HVO commander in Prozor before he

17 was appointed as the chief of the military police? Can you remember that

18 or not?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Colonel Zeljko Siljeg, before he was

20 appointed as the chief of the police administration, was the commander of

21 the Tomislavgrad military district.

22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. We'll

23 see whether this colonel should come to testify as a witness for the

24 Chamber.

25 Mr. Mundis, we'll discipline ourselves now and leave you

Page 15160

1 sufficient time to conclude.

2 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.

3 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you turn now, please, to Exhibit P 07878, which

4 again in your binder is marked 7878.

5 Mr. Biskic, are you familiar with these documents that constitute

6 P 07878?

7 A. I assume I am, yes.

8 Q. Well, let me try this: Have you seen these documents before

9 today?

10 A. I suppose I have. I do believe so, in that period.

11 Q. The date of this document from Colonel Siljeg was during the time

12 period you were back in Zagreb; is that correct?

13 A. Yes. And I do believe that I saw it after my return.

14 Q. Now, can we turn, please, to the page that has the subject

15 line "List of people who were taken in 1993 and are currently on work

16 sites"?

17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just so that you are informed, Mr. Mundis, we

18 have only the cover letter.

19 MR. MUNDIS: Let me ask then with the assistance of the usher that

20 perhaps this document -- it should be available in e-court, but we can put

21 it on the ELMO.

22 Thank you for that, to avoid future problems here.

23 Q. Do you see, sir, in the Croatian language the page that I'm

24 referring to, subject line being "List of people who were taken in 1993

25 and are currently on work sites"? Do you see -- yes.

Page 15161

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, Mr. Biskic, what this document

3 concerns in terms of the information that's being put forward?

4 A. This document is a list of persons who were on work sites, and

5 they were taken there in 1993. The document was compiled by the company

6 commander for providing security to the POW shelter at Heliodrom. His

7 name was Stanko Bozic, and he is addressing this to the chief of the

8 military police, Colonel Zeljko Siljeg, on the 2nd of February, 1994.

9 Q. Can you please -- can you please, sir, and perhaps if the -- if

10 the document can be lifted up slightly on the ELMO so that we can see the

11 bottom of the document.

12 Let's just take, Mr. Biskic, the first cluster of this document

13 under the heading "Convicts Battalion, Siroki Brijeg." Do you see that

14 part of the document in Croatian?

15 A. Yes. The "Convicts Battalion, Siroki Brijeg," that comes first.

16 Is that the part you're referring to?

17 Q. That is precisely the part, sir. Can you just briefly explain to

18 the Trial Chamber the information that's contained under that heading so

19 that we can understand how this report is structured?

20 A. Here it says that: "Pursuant to the order from the coordinator in

21 the president's office, Mr. Tomo Sakota, on the 1st of December, 1993,

22 Robert Medic took away 20 people."

23 Q. Now, Mr. Biskic, do you know who Robert Medic is or was?

24 A. I can't say. The name doesn't ring a bell at all. I assume he

25 was someone from the Convicts Battalion because it refers to the Convicts

Page 15162

1 Battalion, or I assume it does, which had its headquarters in Siroki

2 Brijeg.

3 Q. Now, can you explain to us this position that Mr. Sakota had,

4 coordinator, in the president's office? If you're familiar with what

5 Mr. Sakota did as coordinator in the president's office, if you could

6 explain that.

7 A. Well, I don't know what that was.

8 Q. And if perhaps we can go on the English version to the next page,

9 please. And if we could go a little bit up or down on the document.

10 Now, Mr. Biskic, in the Croatian version you'll find under a stamp

11 a sentence that starts: "At the request of Marinko Sosa." Do you see

12 that in the Croatian language?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. We see an indication there, "... with the approval of General

15 Petkovic ..."

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Now, earlier today, sir, you told us that there were a number of

18 people authorised to approve the taking out of persons for labour. Is

19 General Petkovic one of the persons so authorised, pursuant General Roso's

20 order?

21 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, if you look at the date, it precedes

22 the arrival.

23 MR. MUNDIS: Sorry, my mistake.

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The date is the 23rd of October,

25 1993, and if we recall that a moment ago -- or, rather, in the course of

Page 15163

1 the day we saw an order from General Milivoj Petkovic issuing an order

2 that nobody without permission from the Main Staff could do anything,

3 which means that General Milivoj Petkovic was the person who was in the

4 capacity to give permission for detainees to be taken out.


6 Q. Okay. Let's turn now, sir, to a different subject. That document

7 can be removed from the ELMO.

8 Earlier -- or just a few moments ago, Mr. Biskic, we were talking

9 about documents you'd received from the ICRC. During the time period that

10 you were in Bosnia-Herzegovina, do you have a general idea as to the

11 number of letters or other correspondence that you received from the

12 International Committee of the Red Cross?

13 A. As far as I remember, about 10 at least.

14 Q. Do you know, Mr. Biskic, if letters were received from the

15 International Committee of the Red Cross during the time period when you

16 were back in Zagreb in early 1994?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. To the best of your recollection, sir, what subject matters was

19 the International Committee of the Red Cross raising in the correspondence

20 that you received?

21 A. Well, it mostly referred to the non-return of those who were taken

22 out from the collection centres.

23 Q. Can you turn, sir, to document 7537. That's P 07537.

24 Mr. Biskic, are you familiar with this document? Have you seen

25 this document before?

Page 15164

1 A. Yes. It's the letter from the ICRC dated the 10th of January.

2 And a moment ago we had the letter when we discussed the information

3 centre onto Minister Jukic on the 3rd of February [as interpreted].

4 Q. Can you turn, sir, to the next document, P 07636. And again,

5 Mr. Biskic, are you familiar with this document?

6 A. I suppose I received it before my departure for Zagreb, and if not

7 then, then later on.

8 Q. Now, Mr. Biskic, do you have any knowledge or recollection as to

9 how these letters from the ICRC were actually delivered to you or came to

10 you?

11 A. Do you mean the manner in which or, rather, when they arrived by

12 post or fax? Is that what you mean?

13 Q. Exactly.

14 A. I can't say for certain whether it was by fax or by post. I

15 really can't remember.

16 Q. Let's turn -- let's turn our attention to this document, 7636. Do

17 you have any recollection, sir, about receiving this letter in terms -- or

18 that relates to the death of several prisoners?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Do you recall whether this was the only such letter dealing with

21 the death of detainees that you received from the ICRC?

22 A. I don't think so.

23 Q. Again with respect to this document, P 07636, do you recall any

24 specific steps that were taken to determine whether the information in

25 this letter was accurate?

Page 15165

1 A. Well, I think that in response from the chief of the

2 administration of the military police that I asked for upon my return

3 from Zagreb that there must be a response to this answer from the ICRC of

4 1994.

5 Q. I understand that, but my question is: Do you have any

6 independent recollection of any steps that were taken?

7 A. In the sense of an investigation or what?

8 Q. In the sense of an investigation or a subsequent report that you

9 might have received from anyone concerning the information set forth in

10 that letter.

11 A. Well, I can't remember just now. If there is a report, document,

12 then we can see in it the results, whether what the ICRC was asking for

13 here was complied with and whether steps were taken.

14 Q. Can you turn, please, to the next document, 8050, which is

15 P 0 --

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this document, this

17 letter from the Red Cross, is addressed to you, and a copy was sent out to

18 three people, Mr. Petkovic, Mr. Prlic, and Mr. Pogarcic.

19 Now, when I asked you a question about the structure of the

20 government a moment ago, I was not aware of this document. Now, noting

21 that we have three names here that appear, I'm going to ask you whether

22 when you received this letter and you knew that a copy was sent to the

23 Prime Minister and to his chef de cabinet or who was acting as chef de

24 cabinet, did you not at that point in time report to your superior, the

25 defence minister, and tell him you received a letter from the Red Cross

Page 15166

1 which highlights a number of events? And then the Prime Minister also

2 received a copy, so did Mr. Petkovic, and, "What are we going to do?" So

3 do you remember that? Can you give us an answer? Because you can see

4 that these were all high-ranking individuals to whom copies were addressed

5 to. And so when I said a moment ago that the Red Cross brought up a

6 subject, it had implications, and here is one of them because the Red

7 Cross is sending copies to the head of the government.

8 So what did you do at your level since it was you to whom the

9 letter was addressed to? The others were just sent a copy by

10 information.

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll try and answer

12 your question in the following way: First of all, after having received a

13 letter like this I didn't have to ask my superior what I should do,

14 because it was normal that I ask the military police to investigate all

15 the allegations made in this letter, and that in keeping with its

16 authority to undertake the necessary measures. And I believe that the

17 minister, Mr. Jukic, was informed of this, but I had no -- I didn't have a

18 separate reason, any special reason to ask him what I should do, because

19 it was clear to me what the procedure was.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So what you're saying is this:

21 At your level you received a letter from the Red Cross. You did what was

22 necessary, which was to contact the military police about it, but you did

23 nothing other than that, even if it was the head of the government that

24 was one of the recipients of a copy of the letter, as was Mr. Petkovic,

25 but still you did nothing more than that, just to ask the military police

Page 15167

1 to look into the matter and see what had happened, that was all.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yesterday and today we

3 have been discussing what was done to find people who entered collection

4 centres and left them but where we have no records of that. We issued a

5 number of orders, and I insisted and went to see Minister Jukic and said

6 that he and others should take steps to supply us with information and

7 that these people should be returned. And all this happened up until

8 April when we realised that despite all the steps we had taken not

9 everybody was returned. Then concrete orders were issued once again

10 emphasising that an investigation should be conducted and a criminal

11 conducted for individuals which were suspected of having mistreated the

12 war -- the prisoners of war at any point. So this was something we

13 insisted upon all the time.

14 I don't have the individual results here nor can I remember what

15 they were, but I am quite convinced that the military police records must

16 have records of what steps were taken against somebody who was thought to

17 have abused any prisoners of war in any way whatsoever, because one of the

18 things I did was to solve problems like this in addition to the other

19 tasks I had as deputy security minister.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have taken note of what you

21 have said.

22 MR. MUNDIS: Excuse me.

23 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you please turn to document P 08050. 8050. Have

24 you seen this document before, sir?

25 A. I think I saw it upon my return from Zagreb at the end of March

Page 15168

1 1994.

2 Q. Do you recall, sir, what steps were taken to identify or locate

3 the 365 detainees that are referred to in this document of the ICRC?

4 A. Well, I'm sure that the report from the chief of police of the

5 military police contains that. And when I returned, I would be able to

6 see what steps were taken with respect to this letter from the ICRC. And

7 I'd like you to find that report, and I'm sure it will help us provide a

8 response to that question in more concrete terms.

9 Q. Can you turn now, sir, to document 7796, P 07796. Are you

10 familiar with this document, sir?

11 A. I think we discussed this document a moment ago, earlier on, if it

12 is 7796, because it's a document sent from my office to Minister Jukic and

13 Mr. Roso, and we discussed it earlier on.

14 Q. You're correct. This is the same as 7787, so we'll move on, sir,

15 to the next document, which is 7895. P 07895.

16 Have you seen this document before, Mr. Biskic?

17 A. I think I saw it upon my return from Zagreb, just like I said for

18 the previous document.

19 Q. And again, do you have any independent recollection of any steps

20 that were taken with respect to the 76 detainees that are mentioned in the

21 second paragraph of this document?

22 A. I can't remember now, but let me emphasise that the report from

23 the military police should contain that.

24 Q. Turn, please, sir, to document P 08014.

25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment.

Page 15169

1 A short question on this document, 7895. The ICRC is making an

2 analysis of Article 23 of the Convention and the legal aspects of it.

3 That is to say that no prisoners of war should be detained in zones where

4 they can be subject to combat fire. We know all about that.

5 Now, the Red Cross is also talking to you about an agreement

6 signed on the 22nd of May, 1992, in Geneva, and from the conference in

7 London on the 27th of August, by which the ICRC should be informed of all

8 persons captured and detained. Perhaps you ignored -- you didn't know

9 about these international agreements on the 22nd of August and the other

10 one.

11 Now, when you received this letter, and you also see that

12 Mr. Prlic was sent a copy of it, what were you going to do? Would you go

13 to the foreign affairs minister to see what these agreements meant, or

14 would you contact the ICRC, which in a previous letter had asked you for a

15 meeting? What would have you done? What did you do on the 18th of

16 February -- or, rather, the 19th of February, because apparently this

17 letter was recorded on the 19th of February. So, what did you do on the

18 19th, as of the 19th of February to resolve this issue, which takes on now

19 a number aspects, international aspects, the aspects of government,

20 humanitarian aspects. What did you do?

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you asked me what I did

22 on that day. If that is so, then on that day I wasn't there. I wasn't in

23 the area. But pursuant to this document, we did what was done with the

24 previous one. The military police investigated and the orders were

25 repeated that those who had been taken out of the POW shelter Heliodrom

Page 15170

1 should be returned. So these order are being repeated. And I said that

2 the HVO units under the chief of the Main Staff -- were under the chief of

3 the Main Staff and that he issued an order for their return. And we

4 insisted upon this all the time.

5 Some results -- we came up with some results, but at the end of

6 the April we repeated the order from the military defence. We received an

7 answer from the commander and continued our investigations into each and

8 every person missing.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. There, too, we have

10 taken note of what you have said.

11 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, if I may for one second. The

12 gentleman has indicated today and yesterday that irrespective of the

13 classification, at least when he was there, that he wanted the Red Cross

14 to have access to everyone, and I think that was his testimony. So in the

15 overall context, I think his answer should also be taken into

16 consideration with previous answers and I must say that at least -- the

17 gentleman seems to be -- or at least some of the questions may give the

18 gentleman the impression that he's being tried over here - I know that's

19 not the intention - or that he's being treated as a suspect when he has

20 never treated as a suspect, was not questioned as a suspect. So I think

21 that in all fairness we should keep in consideration previous answers that

22 the gentleman has given.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Counsel has just told us that

24 yesterday you said the Red Cross could have access to detainees. You told

25 us that on several occasions. Very well. But when the Red Cross writes a

Page 15171

1 letter like this where apparently they're having difficulties, what did

2 you do faced with the situation of that kind?

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me repeat what I've

4 already said, and I said that the International Red Cross Committee should

5 come to the premises and facility where detainees were held and who were

6 under the authority of the sector of which I was in charge. The detainees

7 who were outside that facility or the POW shelter, I and the services

8 subordinated to me exerted pressure on all those to have them returned so

9 that they could be under our supervision and so that the ICRC could have

10 access to them. That's what I said earlier on, and that's what I stress

11 again, that those people who were taken out were not accessible to me

12 either at that point.

13 MR. KARNAVAS: One clarification on the record, Your Honour, just

14 on page 64, line 21. The gentleman indicated that they could have access,

15 not that they -- or that could come, not that they should come. That's

16 just a translation error or ...

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

18 Witness, to answer another an element of the Defence counsel's

19 intervention, when I put my question to you it wasn't a matter of

20 suspecting you of anything. We just wanted to know what you would have

21 done. You said the military police carry out an investigation.

22 Defence counsel believes that you are a suspect of some kind. I

23 asked you, you received a letter and what did you --

24 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't believe that he is. I'm saying that the

25 questions may give the gentleman the impression. Please. I mean, I don't

Page 15172

1 want to turn the gentleman into a hostile witness against me. I never

2 said that he is a suspect. I'm saying that the questions that are coming

3 at the gentleman would give the appearance that he didn't act, first of

4 all, and it seems to me that if anybody did act there, it was this

5 gentleman here. But I don't want to give the impression that I'm

6 suggesting that he's a suspect, but he may get that impression.

7 So again I apologise, but I want to make sure the record is clear

8 that the gentleman didn't think I'm being hostile to him.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

10 Mr. Mundis.

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I say something about that?

12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, please go ahead.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't consider myself to be an

14 accused. I know what I did. I know how I acted, and I'm proud of the way

15 that I acted, given the situation I was in and given what it was possible

16 for me to do.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.

18 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. And again for the record,

19 Mr. Biskic was never interviewed by the Office of the Prosecutor as a

20 suspect, and in fact, that point was specifically raised with him when we

21 interviewed him, and he was specifically informed that he was not being

22 interviewed as a suspect by this office.

23 Q. Mr. Biskic, could you please now turn to P 08014. 8014 in your

24 binder. And again, is sir, is this a document that you've seen before?

25 A. Yes.

Page 15173

1 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Biskic, being made aware, other than from this

2 letter, about persons being detained in the military police station in

3 Gornji Vakuf or Uskoplje?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Do you recall, sir, about any steps taken to verify or determine

6 whether this information in this letter was accurate?

7 A. Well, let me repeat. I believe that was the case, but I don't

8 know who did this at this point in time.

9 Q. Can you turn, is sir, to the next document, P 08031. Have you

10 seen this document before, sir?

11 A. It dates from a period when I was in Zagreb. I believe that when

12 I returned I saw it or was made familiar with it in some other way.

13 Q. Do you recall, sir, any steps that were taken to locate or find

14 any information concerning these persons listed as being missing in

15 Dretelj?

16 A. As I have already said, I believe that in the course of 1994,

17 every person was probably answered for. I didn't receive answers for

18 everyone when I was down there, but I believe that the investigations

19 continued and that attempts were made to establish the truth for everyone.

20 Q. Can you turn, sir, to the next document in the binder, P 08026.

21 Do you recall, Mr. Biskic, having seen this document before?

22 A. The date is the 7th of April, 1994. I believe that I saw it when

23 I returned. I believe it was one of the documents in the bundle of

24 documents waiting for me.

25 Q. And please turn to the following document, 8034, P 08034. Same

Page 15174

1 question, sir. Have you seen this document before?

2 A. My answer would be the same as the answer I gave you for the

3 previous one.

4 Q. The following document, sir, P 08036. Have you seen this document

5 before?

6 A. The date is the 8th of March, 1994. As far as I can see, the

7 document wasn't forwarded to me, so I can't really claim that I have seen

8 it.

9 Q. Let me ask you this with respect to this document, sir. Did you

10 at any point in time while you were in Bosnia and Herzegovina become aware

11 of citizens of German or Serbian nationality being detained?

12 A. I can't remember any Germans, but as far as Serbs are concerned,

13 well, yes, naturally there were detainees of Serbian nationality because

14 war was being waged against the Serbs too. But I can't remember whether

15 there were any when I arrived, because I didn't really look into the

16 ethnic affiliation of the detainees. But as far as Germans are concern, I

17 can't remember.

18 Q. Let's turn to the next document, sir, P 08079. Do you recall,

19 Mr. Biskic, seeing this document upon your return from Zagreb?

20 A. Well, I believe that I did see this document when I returned from

21 Zagreb. The date is the 16th of March.

22 Q. Let's turn, sir, to the next document, P 08089. Same question,

23 Mr. Biskic. Do you recall seeing this document upon your return from

24 Zagreb?

25 A. My answer is the same as the answer I gave you for the previous

Page 15175

1 one. I believe I did see it.

2 Q. Do you have any independent recollection about individuals such as

3 the seven prisoners listed on this document being detained in Prozor as of

4 this time period?

5 A. I can't remember anything right now.

6 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I note the time. This might be an

7 appropriate point for the next recess.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have a 20-minute break,

9 then you'll have an hour and 10 minutes, and it would be good if you could

10 conclude within the hour and 10 minutes that you still have.

11 --- Recess taken at 5.29 p.m.

12 --- On resuming at 5.50 p.m.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.


15 Q. Mr. Biskic, I'd ask you now, sir, to turn, please, to P 08124,

16 8124. Sir, are you familiar with this document?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what this document is, please?

19 A. This is a letter. I have the English version, so I need a little

20 time.

21 Q. Do you have the Croatian language version perhaps underneath?

22 A. MEG 94/111, is that the document?

23 Q. This is a document, sir, that appears to be signed by yourself.

24 A. I signed a document that I added to it and forwarded this to the

25 chief of the military police, and MEG 94/111 is a document from the

Page 15176

1 International Committee of the Red Cross.

2 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Biskic, I'd just like to focus your attention on

3 your letter, which is the covering letter to the ICRC document MEG

4 94/111. Can you read, sir, in the Croatian version of your letter the

5 date that you sent this letter or the date of this letter, your covering

6 letter?

7 A. You can't really see it well, but I think it's the 28th of March,

8 1994, I assume. That's when I returned from Croatia.

9 Q. And, sir, what was the purpose of you sending this letter to the

10 head of the military police administration?

11 A. Well, I sent the letter regardless of the fact that he received

12 this letter directly. I said what should be done so that the list would

13 correspond to the records on the detainees in Dretelj, where the evidence

14 on those exchanged by the office for exchanges and to carry out a

15 conversation with the head of Dretelj at the time. It was also to inform

16 the Red Cross and to launch a search for those who were missing.

17 Q. And, Mr. Biskic, on the 28th of March, 1994, do you recall who was

18 the head of Dretelj?

19 A. On the 28th of March, 1994?

20 Q. Yes, sir.

21 A. Well, no one, because at the time Dretelj didn't exist as a

22 collection centre. This concerns the 15th of September, 1994. On the

23 28th of March, 1994, Dretelj wasn't operating as a collection centre.

24 Q. Can you turn then finally, sir, to document 8070, P 08070.

25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Mundis. I would like to have an

Page 15177

1 answer to -- to what really your question is.

2 Who, Mr. Biskic, was this warden of Dretelj that you ordered to be

3 talked to? You say, "Have talks with warden of KRZ Dretelj." Who do you

4 have in mind?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't have anything in particular

6 in mind, but I assume that when Dretelj was in existence as a collection

7 centre it had someone at its head, but I don't know who that person was.

8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.


10 Q. Mr. Biskic, this document, P 08070, have you seen this document

11 before?

12 A. I saw it last time you provided me with it when we had a

13 discussion. It wasn't forwarded to me or addressed to me, so I assume at

14 that time I didn't see it.

15 Q. There appears to be in this document a listing of a number of ICRC

16 letters. Do you see that in this document?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Are you able, sir, to draw any conclusions based upon this listing

19 of ICRC letters concerning Muslim detainees and the transfer of Muslim

20 persons?

21 A. Well, I have to read through the document, because I didn't draft

22 it, sir. I can't really answer your question precisely.

23 Q. Were you aware, sir, of the fact that Mr. Pusic was receiving

24 letters from the ICRC in the first few months of 1994?

25 A. Well, I could draw that conclusion on the basis of the letters

Page 15178

1 that were addressed to me, too, and Berislav Pusic was referred to as one

2 of the addressees. It's only on that basis that I could draw such a

3 conclusion.

4 Q. Mr. Biskic, in response to a number of questions asked both

5 yesterday and today, you indicated a general awareness of the Geneva

6 Conventions. Can you tell us, sir, what type of training or education you

7 learned about the Geneva Conventions?

8 A. Well, in the course of my education at the military academy for

9 the land forces in Belgrade, I think I had a subject entitled military

10 law, and when we studied the subject, we also studied international

11 humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions. And as an officer of the

12 armed forces of the Republic of Croatia, we studied the Geneva

13 Conventions, and we also educated member of the armed forces of Republika

14 Srpska, and we implemented these rules and regulations in the course of

15 our operations.

16 Q. Can you tell us, sir, about the standard training that

17 professional officers coming from the JNA would have had with respect to

18 the Geneva Conventions?

19 A. Well, as far as I can remember, we had to pass an examine on

20 military law. To prepare for that examine we had to study those

21 conventions and international humanitarian law as well. I don't believe

22 we had any practical training sessions.

23 Q. Do you recall, sir, approximately how many hours or days of

24 instruction you would have had at the military academy in Belgrade

25 concerning humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions?

Page 15179

1 A. I can't remember.

2 Q. Now, let me ask you, during the time period that you were in

3 Bosnia and Herzegovina, at any point in time did you attend any meetings

4 where Dr. Prlic was present?

5 A. I remember the -- there were three or four meetings, and the

6 president of the government of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,

7 Mr. Jadranko Prlic, was present.

8 Q. Do you recall the time period where you were at these three or

9 four meetings where Dr. Prlic was present?

10 A. I think the first meeting was two or three days after our arrival

11 in the territory of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. I think it was

12 on the 13th of November, roughly speaking.

13 Q. And do you recall what was discussed at that meeting?

14 A. I think the discussion was that Mr. Jukic informed the Prime

15 Minister of the situation, of your arrival. I think Minister Jukic was

16 present. I think it was a meeting that was held in his office. There was

17 General Roso. I was there, and I believe that General Bobetko also

18 attended the meeting, but I can't say for sure.

19 Q. With respect to the other meeting or meetings that you had that

20 Dr. Prlic attended, do you recall approximately when the next such meeting

21 was and what the subject of discussion was?

22 A. I think the next meeting was held when we were implementing the

23 decision of the president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna on

24 disbanding collection centres. I think it was a meeting held in the

25 office of the Prime Minister, but I can't be sure. I think Mr. Berislav

Page 15180

1 Pusic was with me. I think Mr. Pogarcic was there. And on the whole, I

2 remember one sentence in particular according to which all activities

3 should be coordinated with the ICRC. That's what the Prime Minister

4 said. And as far as disbanding centres and the transfer of the detainees

5 to third countries is concerned, and as far as moving across the front

6 line to territory under the ABiH is concerned, I think that was also

7 discussed. I can't remember the exact date, but I think it was between

8 the 11th and the 15th, roughly speaking.

9 Q. Of which month, sir? Which month?

10 A. December 1993. That's the second meeting I'm referring to.

11 Q. Other than these two meetings, Mr. Biskic, do you recall any other

12 meetings that you attended in which Dr. Prlic was present?

13 A. I think there was a meeting held perhaps on Christmas or just

14 before Christmas, the 24th or 25th, but I think it was before the 24th,

15 and it was held with Minister Jukic. I think that the Prime Minister

16 informed us of initiatives that had been taken for a cease-fire. A

17 cease-fire had been requested, a cease-fire with the ABiH for the holiday

18 period, but apparently the ABiH had refused to agree to this.

19 And as far as the international forces in the area are concerned,

20 they wanted them to insist that by a certain date in January a cease-fire

21 or, rather, a truce should be established, and we were expecting a truce

22 with the ABiH.

23 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you make a comparison with respect to the status

24 or quality of the military police forces of the HVO at the time you left

25 Bosnia and Herzegovina in the spring of 1994 as compared with the

Page 15181

1 situation as you found it when you arrived on 8 November 1993?

2 A. Well, it's difficult to make a comparison without being

3 subjective. All I'd say is that when I left, all the units that were to

4 be established were established. The chain of command was absolutely

5 transparent. The military police was in charge, and as far as daily

6 command is concerned, military police units were under the command of the

7 HVO, under the command of a battalion of the military police in the

8 military district, and, yes, they were under the command of the military

9 district commander. As far as the system of information is concerned, it

10 became fully operational and daily reports and information was compiled on

11 other activities of the military police. There were few objections to the

12 work carried out. The military police was no longer at the front line,

13 because towards the end of December 1993 we managed to withdraw from the

14 front line, and that was certainly perhaps the cause of the fact that the

15 military police had not carried out its work as well as it could have

16 before. No one objected to my work, so I believe that the situation that

17 we left was good.

18 Q. Retired Brigadier Biskic, I'd like to thank you for answering our

19 questions.

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis. You

21 completed your examination-in-chief within the exact time fixed by the

22 Chamber, which means that we have 50 minutes left.

23 Who is going to start off on the Defence side? Mr. Praljak's on

24 his feet.

25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I'm the first one. Good

Page 15182

1 afternoon, Your Honours.

2 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:

3 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General Biskic.

4 A. Good afternoon. I'm not a general.

5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] May we ask the usher's assistance to

6 hand round the documents, please. I apologise. My microphone wasn't on,

7 but may I ask the assistance of the usher to distribute the documents,

8 please.

9 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

10 Q. Let's just clear this matter up. The Croatian army, would you

11 agree with me there that the Croatian army adopted the nomenclature of

12 NATO ranks according to which brigadier was in fact brigadier general and

13 is a one-star general. Therefore, you are a general, Mr. Biskic, and

14 that's how I'm going to address you.

15 Let's move on straight away to the beginning. When -- you came

16 down there with a team numbering several persons and all of them were

17 born on the territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that

18 correct?

19 A. I do believe so, yes, although I didn't establish where each of

20 the people were born, but I assume that's so.

21 Q. All right. So when you got there, did you come across any

22 obstruction in your work?

23 A. General, let me repeat. There were no obstructions to my work.

24 Q. Just give me a yes or no answer - in this case it is no - because

25 I have very little time, and we have to get through a great deal of

Page 15183

1 things.

2 A. My answer is no.

3 Q. Thank you. My second question: Did you while you were working in

4 the Croatian army and in the HVO, from any of your superiors at any level,

5 by some guidelines or instructions you were given, did you receive

6 anything like that ever which -- or, rather, receive an assignment to

7 conceal something bad that happened and was detrimental to the image that

8 the army had?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Did you ever issue an order of that kind to anybody subordinate to

11 you?

12 A. No.

13 Q. According to what you know in the Croatian and in the HVO during

14 the time that you served there, and the SIS and the military police, and

15 the HVO, did they report about any evil deeds that happened exactly,

16 whether it be killing, wounding, looting, or whatever, and whether or not

17 the perpetrators were found or not, but was the reporting and information

18 given correct and exact without anything being hidden?

19 A. Yes, I do believe that was the case.

20 Q. Right. Thank you. Now, before your arrival on the territory of

21 Herceg-Bosna, did you know that sometime in the second half of October

22 long-lasting and forceful military operation by the BH army was

23 completed? It was called Neretva 93. And the object of that operation

24 was to reach the western borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina towards Croatia,

25 that means.

Page 15184

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Thank you. So you yourself spoke about this. Was it clear --

3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, the question you have just asked is

4 a question that was not raised in the main interpretation. You can ask

5 such questions but not as leading questions, and you have been leading

6 there. You must distinguish those two kinds of questions.

7 MR. KARNAVAS: Absolutely -- absolutely not, Your Honour.

8 Absolutely not. That is not the rules. It is cross-examination. Now, if

9 he's going beyond the scope of direct examination, if it's relevant, he

10 should be entitled to do so. If it's not relevant, he should be cut off

11 immediately.

12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not saying he's not allowed to do so. I'm

13 saying he should not lead.

14 MR. KARNAVAS: And I vehemently object to that. The rules for

15 cross-examination is that there are leading questions and there is nothing

16 in the rules that prevent this, nothing. This is something for the first

17 time I hear.

18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: But I have not invented it, Mr. Karnavas.

19 MR. KARNAVAS: I know you haven't invented it but it probably

20 comes from some other system. But not in this system. So with all due

21 respect, Your Honour, I don't believe --

22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It comes from an American source.

23 MR. KARNAVAS: No it does not come from -- well, I'd like to see

24 the American. I'll correct him right now.

25 MR. MURPHY: Can I assist on that, Your Honour. I think what

Page 15185

1 Your Honour has in mind is that in -- in certain common law jurisdictions

2 there is a rule that if you want to go beyond the scope of direct

3 examination you may have to bring the witness back as a witness for your

4 own side of the case, and in that case, of course, you wouldn't be allowed

5 to put leading questions in that form of examination, and sometimes there

6 are -- if you call an opposing party or witness identifying an opposing

7 party that could also be the case but, Your Honour, that rule has not been

8 adopted in the Tribunal, and I think under Rule 90(H) Mr. Karnavas is

9 right because if the witness is able to give evidence relevant to the case

10 of the cross-examining party, then he may cross-examine about the subject

11 matter, and indeed there's no restriction in the Rule on leading

12 questions.

13 So I think Your Honour may have had that particular common law

14 rule in mind, but, Your Honour, it doesn't appear to be reproduced in the

15 Rules of Procedure and Evidence in the Tribunal. So in my respectful

16 submission, Mr. Praljak's question would be appropriate.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

18 Mr. Praljak, continue your questioning, but as my colleague said,

19 in order to reinforce your thesis, it would be advisable that the witness

20 himself tells us what you want him to say rather than you guiding and

21 leading the witness. But it's up to you to see how you're going to obtain

22 a result, how you're going to score.

23 Continue, Mr. Praljak.

24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will remain

25 by the question and its precision, because the man came as an assistant

Page 15186

1 for security. That post cannot be taken on without knowing the previous

2 situation. That's the first point.

3 Number two, the witness said quite clearly that straight away upon

4 his arrival he worked with operative knowledge, operational knowledge, in

5 order to conduct a military operation in Uskoplje and thus lessen the

6 pressure from the BH army in Central Bosnia. I think that was sufficient

7 reason for me to ask the question of the witness.

8 Q. Now, is it clear to you that the commander of the HVO, which was

9 me at the time, had every right to ask the chief of the military police to

10 place at his disposal all the available manpower so that I would be able

11 to defend the territory that was under jeopardy? Is that clear to you,

12 militarily speaking?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now I'd like to go back to something that is called republican

15 citizenship. When in the former Yugoslavia you filled out various forms

16 providing personal data, was there a column which said "citizenship," and

17 then you would write SFRY, or "nationality," SFRY?

18 A. I think so, yes.

19 Q. You wrote "Croat," did you?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. But then there was a column which said "Republican citizenship,"

22 and in the republican citizenship column all of us born on the territory

23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina would write "BiH"; right?

24 A. Yes, that's what I did too.

25 Q. So you, too, were a citizen, the republican citizen, of

Page 15187

1 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

2 A. Yes. And in April 1992, I became a citizen of Croatia.

3 Q. But you did not ask them to strike you from the citizenship of

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

5 A. No.

6 Q. And you'll agree that I didn't ask for that either. I didn't ask

7 to be struck off that register either.

8 A. I assume not.

9 Q. Do you know that General Roso was a citizen of France, for

10 example?

11 A. I can only assume that because he was a member of the Legion

12 d'honneur, and I --

13 THE INTERPRETER: Of the foreign legion, interpreter's correction.

14 Q. What about Mr. Cepic? Was he a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina as

15 well?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What about Minister Susak? Was he a citizen of Canada, a Canadian

18 national, in view of the fact that he had emigrated after having been

19 persecuted, and he emigrated to Canada a long time ago?

20 A. I know he lived in Canada, and I assume he had Canadian

21 citizenship too.

22 Q. What about General Crnjac? Was he born in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

23 A. I think he was, yes.

24 Q. Right. Fine. And the others, I don't want to enumerate them

25 all. But anyway, all the people I mentioned, including me, in that legal

Page 15188

1 vacuum with the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, we found

2 ourselves in a position - would you agree with me there? - whereby we

3 joined up with the Croatian army, but we did not cease to be responsible

4 to the citizen -- to citizenship of BH. Is that right?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, do you know, and I showed the Trial Chamber a

7 document, that during 1991 and 1992 there were cases of the kind that I

8 have mentioned now in the Croatian army, and they numbered about 14.000

9 people who were actually born in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

10 A. I don't know the exact figure, but I am quite convinced and assume

11 that there were that many. Anyway, there were a great many. That I do

12 know.

13 Q. And when on the 15th of January, 1992, in Croatia a sort of truce

14 was signed, or towards the end of the year anyway, and in

15 Bosnia-Herzegovina preparations were being made for the war that would

16 break out in 1992, a large number of these people felt the need to defend

17 their own homes in the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which at that time was

18 within the composition of Yugoslavia; is that right?

19 A. Yes, that is right, and I said in the previous discussions that I

20 wanted to leave at the beginning of the war to Posavina; however, because

21 of my duties in the Ministry of Defence I was not given permission to do

22 so.

23 Q. Because your extended family lived in Posavina. Isn't that

24 right?

25 A. Yes.

Page 15189

1 Q. May I have document 3D 00443 next, please. It's a document dated

2 the 8th of April, 1992, signed by the deputy chief of the Main Staff of

3 the Croatian army for the combat sector, General Petar Stipetic. Do you

4 know who General Stipetic is?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Was he a general in the Yugoslav People's Army as well before he

7 moved to join the Croatian army?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. [Microphone not activated]

10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone for

11 Mr. Praljak.

12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] 3D 00443 is the number of

13 the document I'd like to be shown on e-court. Do we have the document in

14 no. It's in the bundle. You have the document in your bundle.

15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If that is problem with e-court we

16 have a hard copy.

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The last document I have is the one

18 shown me by the Prosecution.

19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

20 Q. We'll show you the right document in a moment. Mr. Biskic, take a

21 look at that document. And from this we can clearly see the position of

22 the Croatian army vis-a-vis this problem. That is to say that people

23 fought as volunteers in an army of a state, and now their homes were being

24 attacked in the place where they were born. And let's focus on paragraph

25 2 --

Page 15190

1 MR. MUNDIS: Sorry to interrupt, General Praljak.

2 Your Honour, either I need the English version on the ELMO or I

3 need a copy of the bundle, because we don't have ...

4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] May we move on? I

5 apologise, Mr. Mundis, for not placing the English version before that.

6 Q. It says "People cannot have the HV patches or any other HV

7 documents." Is that a clear order?

8 A. It is for me.

9 Q. It says all types of material aid can be given as well as

10 professional assistance in the organisation of defence and other forms of

11 resistance, and so on and so forth. Is that order clear to you?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, move on to the next document, 3D 00300. Here we have another

14 clear instruction from the defence minister to all the Croatian army units

15 signed by the minister of defence, Mr. Gojko Susak, on the 7th of July,

16 and it says that, "Not a single officer, commander, is allowed to send or

17 deploy the Croatian army outside the borders of the Republic of Croatia.

18 Anybody who does so without receiving express orders from the Supreme

19 Commander" - and do we agree that Dr. Franjo Tudjman was the Supreme

20 Commander? - "he will bear all the consequences of his actions. If

21 volunteers from the Croatian units who were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina

22 wish to go to the battlefield and defend their homes, the commanders must

23 not prevent them from doing so." Is that what it says there?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Is that how it was?

Page 15191

1 A. Yes.

2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Now, may we go into private

3 session for a moment, please?

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Private session, please.

5 [Private session]

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 [Open session]

17 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 15192

1 [Private session]

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 [Open session]

22 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.

23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

24 Q. Sir, do you know that I was the assistant or, rather, the deputy

25 minister of defence of the Republic of Croatia for information and

Page 15193

1 propaganda activities?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You have a document of mine dated the 31st of August, 1992. This

4 document also concerns the exact instructions as to how members of the

5 Croatian army can be taken to the battlefield in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

6 It says: "We suggest that you avoid taking repressive measures," and then

7 this says: "Given the fact that the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is

8 a foreign state," is that what it says here?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Does this show clearly that in the political department of the

11 Ministry of Defence the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina was a foreign

12 state was never in dispute, and this was the case significantly prior to

13 the commencement of the conflict? Based on the fact that the Republic of

14 Bosnia and Herzegovina is a foreign state, and this was made public on

15 television by the minister of defence, et cetera, et cetera, is that what

16 it states here?

17 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the answer.

18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

19 Q. Let's now move on to another subject.

20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The witness answered the question,

21 but it's not in the transcript because it wasn't quite clear.

22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

23 Q. Once more. Does this sentence show that the political section of

24 the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia, and I was in charge of

25 it at the time, never doubted the fact that Bosnia-Herzegovina was a

Page 15194

1 foreign state?

2 A. Yes, that's the case, and that was quite clear to me too.

3 Q. Thank you very much. Now let's have a look at the following

4 document: 3D 00313.

5 General Biskic -- not Blaskic. We all have Blaskic on our mind to

6 a certain extent. I do apologise.

7 General Biskic, you are aware that in the Republic of Croatia

8 there were training centres where members of the ABiH were trained. You

9 were a member of the military police force? Yes or no?

10 A. To an extent that's correct.

11 Q. Have a look at this here. We have a list of certain locations,

12 Zagreb Borongaj, Zagreb Sljeme, Jastrebarsko, Pljesivica, Kutina-Zutica,

13 Sisak-Zazina, et cetera. As a member of the military police were you

14 aware of centres where members of the ABiH were trained in the territory

15 of the Republic of Croatia?

16 A. I knew that they were being provided with assistance when it came

17 to training and equipment, but I wasn't aware of the locations of these

18 centres.

19 Q. Thank you very much. Let's have a look at the following

20 document: 3D 00314. 3D 00314. The establishment of the units of the

21 ABiH in the territory of the Republic of Croatia in 1992. Were you aware

22 of the fact that in the territory of the Republic of Croatia the 77th

23 Brigade was established as well as the Berbir brigade, the 17th Brigade,

24 and the Handzar Brigade, and all of these brigades after they had been

25 established joined the ABiH?

Page 15195

1 A. I knew about some of these brigades.

2 Q. Which ones were you aware of?

3 A. The one in Rijeka, I think. I can't remember this name, but I do

4 know it was in existence. I'm almost familiar with the name Handzar and

5 Berbir.

6 Q. Thank you. Can we look at the following document 3D 00299, 3D

7 00299. You have the document before you. Could you show us the heading.

8 The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the office of the Republic of

9 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia. The letter was

10 addressed to the Ministry of Defence Zagreb, and the date is the 4th of

11 January, 1993, and the text signed by Colonel Hasan Efendic, have you

12 ever heard of Colonel Hasan Efendic who was a military representative

13 later on?

14 A. I can't remember.

15 Q. He says further needs of the armed forces of the Republic of

16 Bosnia and Herzegovina allow HV officers to be engaged as follows: Avdic,

17 Ismet; Ahmet Puskar; Dr. Rakanovic, Sadik, Colonel. Judging by their

18 surnames are these people Muslims?

19 A. Judging by the surnames, yes.

20 Q. It states the status of these officers should be dealt with as has

21 been the case to date, and I emphasise the fact, as has been the case to

22 date. They should have all the privileges that HV officers should have,

23 and having carried out their task it should be made possible for them to

24 continue operating through the HV. Is that what it says here, sir?

25 A. Yes.

Page 15196

1 Q. What does this word, "responsibilities," mean? Does it mean what

2 you had when you were in the HVO? You have your salary in the Republic of

3 Croatia, but when you return you return to your previous position is that

4 what it means?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Do you know that there was a number of people from the Croatian

7 army and on the same principles they went to the ABiH more of them went to

8 the ABiH than the HVO?

9 A. Do you mean did more of them join? I didn't quite understand

10 you.

11 Q. When we see that there were these brigades and when we examine all

12 the documents on assistance provided to the -- Bosnia and Herzegovina by

13 the Republic of Croatia and we have a hundred thousand such documents at

14 our disposal. According to the information you have, did more members of

15 the Croatian army go to the ABiH than to the HVO on the basis of the same

16 principle?

17 A. I don't know what the answer would be.

18 Q. Very well. Let's have a look at the following document -- let's

19 have a look at 3D 00795. 3D 00795.

20 This is a document we received from the office for national

21 security from the Croatian intelligence service. The subject is

22 assistance to the Ministry of the Interior when it comes to establishing

23 an establishment system for the armed forces of the republic of

24 Herzegovina in 1992.

25 Are you familiar with the name Brzovic, Ivan, who signed the

Page 15197

1 document?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Tomislav Druzak, do you know this name, the name of the head of

4 the SIS?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. The document is a lengthy one. There are many names in it. It

7 says, "In the course of 1992 and 1993," this is the third paragraph, "on

8 several occasions equipment was sent to the most jeopardised areas and

9 major cities in a systematic and organised way and it was picked up in

10 Zagreb by authorised individuals from the HVO and the BiH Territorial

11 Defence such as" and then there are certain names that follow. It says

12 the places to which equipment was sent are as follows and then you have a

13 list of names.

14 Given the names, can you see that there are more Muslims who came

15 to collect equipment than there were Croats?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Given the place names, the names of the places that the equipment

18 was sent to, can you see that there were more places that were under the

19 control of the ABiH than places under the control of the HVO?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. I'll just read out another section. In the course of the early

22 war years in Bis, the role of the logistics and communication section

23 changed and certain humanitarian and economic sectors were also covered,

24 and then after the beginning of the conflict between the HVO and the ABiH

25 they ceased using the system by the HVO while the ABiH continued to use

Page 15198

1 other methods of cryptographic protection. Is that what it says?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Thank you. Let's move on to the next document. My --

4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the question. The

5 microphone was not on.

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that we tried to help the

7 establishment of the term in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina in all

8 way. We assisted displaced persons, refugees of Muslim nationality, my --

9 believe that among other things this area that's referred to here was also

10 covered.

11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

12 Q. Thank you. Let's have a look at 3D 00794. 3D 00794. That's a

13 document dated the 3rd of October, 1995, and it concerns the establishment

14 of Porobic's brigade. In the second paragraph it says the brigade was

15 active from April to August. For some time they were involved in combat

16 in the Derventa area and briefly in Central Bosnia in the area of Hadzici

17 or, rather, Pazarici. While staying in Hadzici, the brigade had about 600

18 men, and about 150 returned to Rijeka. The fate of the others is not

19 known. Does this show that these 150 men that returned to Rijeka returned

20 to the Croatian army after their work in the ABiH had come to an end?

21 A. That's the conclusion that could be drawn from there.

22 Q. Do you know that Mr. Mustafa Porobic retired, do you know that

23 Mr. Mustafa Porobic was a retired officer of the Croatian army?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Thank you.

Page 15199

1 MR. MUNDIS: Perhaps before we move on to the next document, could

2 we kind some kind of indication as to the source of this document?

3 MR. KOVACIC: This is clear from the header of the document. I

4 mean, it was disclosed to the Defence upon the request of the Defence from

5 the official body of the Republic of Croatia, but the author is obvious

6 from the header.

7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We have another series of

8 authentic documents on this brigade; unfortunately, I have to move on.

9 Q. Sir, we have discussed knowledge of the Geneva Conventions and of

10 military law. Do you know that I, as the deputy minister for political

11 activities in 1992, immediately after my appointment, together with the

12 ICRC launched an initiative to educate Croatian soldiers and -- with

13 regard to the Geneva Conventions and war law?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Did we on that occasion issue tens of thousands of booklets that

16 were distributed to soldiers, booklets that dealt with what was

17 permissible in law and what wasn't permissible?

18 A. Yes, that was the case. In the Croatian army there were many such

19 things.

20 Q. At all levels --

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, you say that

22 there were little booklets on war law. It would be interesting to show us

23 some such booklets.

24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Judge Antonetti, we have

25 such booklets, but you've given the time -- well, time is limited, but

Page 15200

1 these booklets do exist, and there is evidence about what I will now ask

2 the witness.

3 Q. Were there ongoing courses at all levels of the Croatian army and

4 within the military police, too, courses that concerned education for

5 commanders at all levels, and soldiers, and this concern what was

6 allowable in war and what wasn't? Is that correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Do you know that it was pursuant to my instructions that those

9 booklets reached the HVO in the second half of 1992 and that there, too,

10 the same things were done, perhaps to a lesser extent?

11 A. I don't have that information.

12 Q. Take a look at this. That's what it looked like, what the

13 document looked like which went to the HVO. We can place it on the ELMO

14 perhaps.

15 While we're waiting for that to come up on the ELMO -- here we

16 have it. We will provide the original booklets when the time comes, in

17 due course, but this is just by way of information as to what was done and

18 how things were done, and it says, "Rules and regulation for conduct in an

19 armed conflict. The International Red Cross committee. In wartime

20 certain humanitarian laws must be respected even in the case of the

21 enemy. These rules and regulations were determined by the Geneva

22 Convention to combatants," et cetera. Is that what it says there,

23 Witness?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. I'm now going to -- well, we got an answer. There was an answer.

Page 15201

1 Yes. It will be recorded. Yes.

2 MR. KARNAVAS: I take it that this document is going to be

3 introduced at this point. If so, we may need an IC number. It might

4 help.

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Number, please.

6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will become document IC

7 473.

8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

9 Q. Let's proceed in the following manner. I'm going to give you the

10 names, and then you can tell me if I get anything wrong. General Petkovic

11 came from the Yugoslav People's Army?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Zarko Tole came from the JNA?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Mr. Biskic came from the JNA?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Mr. Blaskic came from the JNA. Curcic, Rajic, Siljeg, Obradovic,

18 Vrbanac, you all came from the Yugoslav People's Army; is that correct?

19 As officers.

20 A. I don't know which Curcic you mean --

21 Q. Curcic?

22 A. But all the rest, yes.

23 Q. Dragan Curcic, lieutenant of the JNA?

24 A. Yes, Dragan Curcic.

25 Q. General Roso came from the foreign legion; is that correct?

Page 15202

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Colonel Glasnovic came as a member of the Canadian army?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Mr. Zvonimir Skender, does the name sound familiar?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Mr. Zvonimir Skender, did he spend 33 years in the foreign legion

7 and became a lieutenant Colonel, which is the highest rank that a

8 foreigner can receive in that organisation?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Was he a member of the Croatian Defence Council as well?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. All those people knew the Geneva Conventions and the provisions of

13 the war law because they sat for examinations in the -- on -- in the

14 subject?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Can you testify and you meet these people that all of them, every

17 single one of them, had the wish and intention and desire to implement

18 those rules and regulations in the war that they waged?

19 A. Yes.

20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.

21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. I think this is really going too far. How

22 can the witness know the true intention of a long list of people? This is

23 mere speculation, and it is not really convincing.

24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Let's go back to the

25 functions performed by the witness. Assistant minister for security

Page 15203

1 matters. That person knows each of these officers, because they were

2 commanders of the Croatian Defence Council during the period of time that

3 he was down there.

4 Q. Is that correct, Witness?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So my question is based on that. He knew these people. He met

7 these people. He collaborated closely with these people, talked to them,

8 and he would be in a position to know, at least on the declarative level

9 whether these people wanted to work against the Geneva Conventions and war

10 law.

11 A. In the extent to which I worked with these people and knew them,

12 some I knew better than others, I can say that the answer would be yes.

13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] May I add another argument, which is

14 very important, in addition to what General Praljak has said, and I'm sure

15 at that Their Honours know this on the basis of general education.

16 Croatia is not a large country by nature of its inhabitants. The Ministry

17 of Defence in Zagreb was very modest, a small organisation. So in actual

18 fact everybody knew each other, if not directly then they knew of each

19 other. It's not an American army where 14.000 people work in just one of

20 the an army's departments.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, do you confirm that the

22 organisation of the Croatian army was not as -- was not very large, which

23 means that if somebody was in its structure would know everybody and that

24 based on that fact you knew at least some of the people on the list that

25 was read out by General Praljak.

Page 15204

1 Let the witness answer.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since the armed forces of the

3 Republic of Croatia in different stages of the war had different -- a

4 different number of members, I, of course, knew people that were higher up

5 in rank. The officers and the generals mentioned by General Praljak I can

6 say I did know. Some of them I knew better than others. I worked more

7 with some and less with others, but I knew them.

8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

9 Q. Mr. Biskic, these names that I read out they were members of the

10 Croatian Defence Council at the you were down there; is that correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. I'm not talking about HV, the Croatian army, but of the HVO; is

13 that correct?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Now that we've heard these logical analyses, and the law is based

16 on logic, I would like to add some meat to the bones with the various

17 documents so that we can see what actually happened on the ground, and I'm

18 going to show you a document in order to do that. But first of all, let

19 me ask you this. Do you know about the conflict in Rama between the

20 Garavi and the Kinder platoon?

21 A. Well, I know about this in part, although I wasn't down there at

22 the time, but the head of SIS, Mr. Rajic, and Colonel Siljeg, the military

23 police chief, applied operative measures to stabilise the situation after

24 this conflict in Rama.

25 Q. Do you know that Colonel Siljeg at the time, the head of the

Page 15205

1 military police, called me up at 2.00 a.m. during the night, and I

2 happened to be in Mostar on private business by chance, he called me up to

3 resolve the conflict because they were not in a position to do so. They

4 were incapable of doing that. Did you hear about that?

5 A. No.

6 Q. (redacted). I'll deal with that in due

7 course. But are you convinced that the conflict between these two units

8 with two persons dead and a number of persons wounded, do you consider

9 that there should have been at least 700 military policemen if the

10 conflict were to be resolved?

11 A. It's a difficult question to answer, but, yes, indeed it was very

12 difficult to resolve those conflicts.

13 Q. All the units were in the HVO.

14 A. Yes, in the Croatian Defence Council, the HVO.

15 Q. Now -- ah, that's it, the end of the day.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think that you've used about

17 50 minutes. Mr. Registrar, could you tell me how much time has been

18 used?

19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, I think I used less,

20 Judge Antonetti, than 50 minutes.

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The registrar's going to do the

22 calculations, and I'll be able to let you know how much time you have left

23 tomorrow.

24 It is 7.00. We're going to break for the day and reconvene

25 tomorrow at 2.15.

Page 15206

1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,

2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 7th day

3 of March, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.