1 Thursday, 8 March 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.25 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Call the case, please,
7 Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
9 versus Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are starting 10 minutes late
11 because the previous Chamber surpassed their time limit by 10 minutes. So
12 once again, I should like to tell all the parties that we must respect the
13 hearing sittings, the time for them, and we'll have to end by 7.00 p.m.
14 That's the first point.
15 Secondly, I'd like to say good afternoon to everybody in the
16 courtroom, including the witness, and I'm going to give the floor to the
18 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you very much, Your Honour. We have one IC
19 document for today. That is the 6D reply to the Prosecution response to
20 the Defence exhibits tendered through Witness Josip Praljak. This
21 document will be assigned Exhibit number IC 474. Thank you very much.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now, as far as time
23 is concerned, I'm going to give the floor to Mr. Ibrisimovic. He'll have
24 60 minutes. And if he does not use up all his time, it can be used by
25 Mr. Prlic, who will have 60 minutes plus any time left over from
1 Mr. Ibrisimovic. Then the Stojic Defence will have 75 minutes, and 10
2 minutes for redirect from the Prosecution.
3 WITNESS: MARIJAN BISKIC [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We do
6 have a few questions for this witness in order to clarify something that
7 he has testified about over the past two days.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
9 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Biskic.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. I'm going to refer to you as Mr. Biskic so as to avoid general,
12 brigadier, or whatever other titles may have been used.
13 I would first of all like to ask you -- or, rather, I wouldn't
14 like to ask you anything you've talked about, why you've come, how you
15 came to be here, what your tasks were and what you did in respect of those
16 tasks and assignments. My first question is this: It is about the work
17 of Mr. Pusic or, rather, the office for exchange headed by Mr. Pusic. I
18 think your knowledge about what Mr. Pusic did before you arrived in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina is not such that you can actually talk to us about it,
20 that your knowledge in that area is limited; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. A little louder, please.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Your first contacts with Mr. Pusic and the work of his office was
25 in fact when the implementation of the decision by Mr. Boban to disband
1 the collection centres started; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You said that that was in December, that that's when you received
4 the first information about the collection centres. Now, I'm interested
5 in whether you received that information before this decision or with
6 respect to the implementation of the decision to disband the collection
8 A. I've already answered that question. I've answered it over the
9 past two days. It was in the first half of November 1993 that I became
10 acquainted with the problem of the collection centres, and during the
11 month of November I initiated a number of activities linked to that.
12 Q. Yes. In that respect you issued some orders to your subordinates
13 or, rather, proposals and guidelines to your subordinates [as interpreted]
14 as to how to resolve the problems of these centres, and this refers to the
15 order of the 17th of November, 1993, to Mr. Lavric to inform you what the
16 situation was like and what was happening in the detainee centres; is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I'd like now to go back to the meeting --
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] And, Mr. President, could the
21 witness be shown a set of documents. I think that he'll be able to follow
22 the proceedings more easily. I think the Trial Chamber has already
23 received copies of those documents, full sets. Thank you.
24 On page 3 of the transcript, line 13, it should say superiors and
25 not subordinates.
1 Q. Would you take a look at the document, P 07148. It is the minutes
2 of the 11th of December, 1993. You've already looked at it. It's the
3 second document in order, I think. The meeting lasted for more than two
4 hours, so these are excerpts from the minutes, because it's not a
5 stenographic rendition of everything that was stated at the meeting, and I
6 think that's what you said too, did you not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Among other things at this meeting, in addition to all the
9 individuals listed here, Mr. Pusic also attended as head of the office for
10 the exchange of prisoners of war; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Would you now take a look at page 5 of the original source
13 document, and take it look at what it says at the end. It says after that
14 the representatives of the organs mentioned determined -- or, rather,
15 appointed the following people to realise the tasks. Then we have the
16 Gabela centre, detainee centre. Is that right?
17 A. I apologise, but what page are you referring to? Are we talking
18 about -- I have the minutes of the 11th -- or, rather, the 13th of
19 November. You said it was the first document, so that's the document I
20 opened first.
21 Q. The number of the document is P 07148.
22 A. That's fine. I have it now.
23 Q. So if you look at page 5, for Gabela, the people appointed to
24 realise the decisions and tasks are listed, and we have a list of persons
25 who should head the activities to disband these centres.
1 If you look at this a bit more closely, Mr. Pusic was not
2 appointed to any of these commissions -- or either of these commissions in
3 charge of disbanding the detainee centres. Am I right?
4 A. Yes, you are right. These are teams who were supposed to divide
5 up the detainees into the categories that we discussed previously.
6 Q. On page 6 we have listed the tasks to be implemented by the
7 teams. Of that's precisely what you were saying; right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. A list of the prisoners of war, the detainees, their
10 classification, as you said.
11 A. Yes, into four categories.
12 Q. Now, these commissions, the ones that were established according
13 to these minutes, did they inform you of their work?
14 A. Yes, at the very next meeting, the 13th, they submitted a
16 Q. Can we now take a look at the minutes of the 13th. It is P 7143.
17 That's the number of the document. And Mr. Pusic attended that meeting as
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Ibrisimovic. You could greatly
20 assist the Chamber by indicating the page in the English version also.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] In this document I wasn't
22 referring to any particular page. I just asked the witness to take a look
23 at the document, but I will, of course, follow your guidelines and state
24 the page, and I apologise for not having done so previously.
25 Q. Now, do you remember this meeting of the 13th of December, 1993?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. We've already spoken about that, and these commissions informed --
3 informed all those present at the meeting how far they had gone
4 implementing the tasks assigned and among others they informed you too?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I wanted to ask you, Mr. Pusic says here that the International
7 Red Cross should be informed and be invited to attend the meeting to hear
8 all this information and the report tabled. Do you remember at that?
9 A. Is that on any page in this document? Does it say so? Well,
10 anyway, in the implementation of this decision, from the very beginning
11 the representatives of the Red Cross were included as were the
12 representatives of the International Red Cross.
13 Q. They played an active part, did they? And that's on page 3 of the
14 original version, and I'll find the page in the English version for the
15 Trial Chamber.
16 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Judge Trechsel. Page
17 5 anyway.
18 Q. Mr. Pusic suggests that Red Cross should be invited from
20 A. Yes. I believe that on the 11th of December it was stated that
21 the representative of the Red Cross was -- did not come to the meeting
22 although they had been invited, although I wasn't the one who invited
24 Q. So from the very beginning of the implementation of this decision
25 the Red Cross was actively involved, i.e., they were invited to get
1 involved in dealing with these problems?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now I would like to ask you about the office of Mr. Pusic. He
4 also played a role -- role in all this, given his office, he was the head
5 of the office for exchange, and he had some information that might have
6 been important for the implementation of the decision. Is this correct?
7 A. I believe so.
8 Q. When I listened to your testimony, you said that the office
9 provided collective reports about all that.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you please look at document P 7187. This is a report that
12 my learned friend has already shown to you.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Here it says that Mr. Pusic, when he sent this report, he spoke in
15 this report about the things that had already taken place a day before or
16 two days before that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. He doesn't say anything about what should be done in the future.
19 He just provides a report about the activities that had been taken in the
20 previous period.
21 A. Yes. Mr. Berislav Pusic reports on what was done between the 13th
22 and the 15th of December and the report is dated the 15th of December.
23 Q. My learned friend showed you these documents. All these reports
24 are very similar, and just for the record I'm going to say that these are
25 documents number P 7246. This is another collective report about what had
1 taken place with regard to the implementation of the decision. Is that
3 A. Yes. This is a report dated 18 December. We already saw
4 yesterday or the day before in the courtroom.
5 Q. When you look at these records and when we take into account what
6 you have testified about, then the role of this office run by Mr. Pusic
7 may be regarded as an office that assisted with dealing with all these
8 problems by using the database that the office had at its disposal?
9 A. As far as the description of the work of this service goes, I'm
10 not familiar with it. I assume that they did have some records on the
11 persons that were supposed to be exchanged, and obviously this report
12 confirms that based on the data that they had and based on the reports of
13 the teams. This is a collective report about the total number of
14 detainees and where they were sent to eventually.
15 Q. You know that this also existed in the Croatian army, in the
16 army of BiH, the army of Republika Srpska, that they had the same services
17 or -- and they performed the same tasks. This was necessary under the
19 A. These services existed, but they were not part of the armed
20 forces, however. They were just services of the Republic of Croatia.
21 At least in the Republic of Croatia they were not part of the armed
23 Q. Can you now look at document number P 7403. It is in the same
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This is a request that Mr. Pusic sent to you personally; is that
3 A. Yes, I suppose so.
4 Q. And he asks you to deliver lists that would help the regular work
5 of the service; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you please look at the following document. This is P
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The handwritten part, I don't know whether this is your
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And it says that a copy was sent to Mr. --
14 A. This is a hand -- the handwriting of somebody from the police
16 Q. And the police administration sent to Mr. Pusic --
17 A. And to me.
18 Q. -- and to you as well, lists of war detainees, prisoners of war.
19 This was sent on the 6th of January?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And on the following page is the list of the prisoners of war
22 which had already been categorised.
23 A. Yes. This is the 6th of January, 1994, which means that this is a
24 list of those who at the moment had remained in Heliodrom after the
25 collection centres had been disbanded.
1 Q. Can you please look at the following document in the binder, the
2 number is P 07494. This is a document that has already been shown to you
3 by the Prosecutor, and you have already spoken about this document.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. This is a proposal by Mr. Pusic, at least this is what it says
6 here. "We propose that the Heliodrom centre should be relieved of the
7 burden and some of the detainees should be transferred to Gabela."
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you said that you are not in agreement?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And that this is sent to whoever it should be sent to. I would
12 like to ask you this: Mr. Pusic, obviously, if this is on the 6th of
13 January, 1994, and would you say at that moment Gabela was not a military
14 investigative prison. He didn't know it at the moment.
15 A. Let me put it this way. I said this: After the implementation of
16 the decision on the disbanding of the collective centres we have defined
17 that there was only the Heliodrom as the prisoners' centre and also the
18 military prison in Ljubuski. As for other prisons or collection centres,
19 I did not know at the time, neither did my superior, Mr. Jukic, tell me
20 anything about them.
21 Q. According to this Mr. Pusic did not have that information either,
22 did he?
23 A. I wouldn't know that.
24 Q. Say here I do not agree.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So you don't agree that these people should be transferred from
2 the Heliodrom to the Gabela centre?
3 A. I should explain. The security company was established to guard
4 the Heliodrom, and during the implementation of the decision of the
5 president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna it was decided that all
6 the detainees should remain in the Heliodrom price and those who should be
7 transferred to prison they should be taken to prison. In agreement with
8 that I did not accept this proposal, although I believe, and I said it
9 already before that Mr. Berislav Pusic's proposal was well-meant because
10 he wanted to improve the conditions at the Heliodrom by reducing the
11 number of detainees there. I've already told you that I myself believe
12 that their number was excessive and that it surpassed the capacity of the
13 facility. And I will -- will also repeat what I said to him that the
14 exchanges are on the way and that very soon the number of detainees will
15 reduce in the Heliodrom; that's why I was not in agreement, and also
16 because of the security issues because it's much -- much more difficult to
17 provide security into different places simultaneously.
18 Q. What I'm trying to say is that Mr. Pusic could only issue a
19 proposal. He could not issue an order to you.
20 A. He could not issue an order to me or to anybody else, I believe.
21 Q. Let's look at another document which is P 08070. This is the last
22 document in the binder. P 08070.
23 You've already seen this document. My learned friend showed it to
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This is information, and we have also seen a couple of letters
2 that the International Red Cross sent either to you or to somebody else,
3 and also copied Mr. Pusic with all these letters.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now I would like to -- I would like to show you the last page of
6 this document. This report was sent by Mr. Pusic to the International Red
7 Cross, to UNPROFOR, to the monitors, amongst others.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. Thank you very much. I'd like to ask you this: When you had your
12 interview, my learned friend Kruger asked you, and I believe this was
13 about the meeting that took place on the 11th -- 11 December, 1993, you
14 were the first to take the floor and you were followed by Mr. Pusic, and
15 then Mr. Kruger said -- actually, he asked you if Mr. Pusic, who was the
16 key person according to him a very important in all of that, and you said
17 that he was not a very important person.
18 A. I don't know what I said, but I don't think I said that he wasn't
19 important. Every person is important. However, at this meeting,
20 depending on the way you look at it, we were all key persons or none of
21 them -- none of us were.
22 Q. Thank you very much.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions for
24 this witness, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Ibrisimovic.
1 Mr. Registrar, could you please tell me how much time did
2 Mr. Ibrisimovic utilise for his cross.
3 You may start.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Good afternoon, Your Honours.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
7 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. This is rather too large for me. I'm short.
10 I have a few issues to just clarify, and I'll start with: When
11 you arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina along with General Roso, it appears that
12 the situation was rather confusing at times and a little chaotic, and
13 therefore, based on at least from what I was able to understand your
14 testimony, certain measures needed to be taken rather quickly. Am I
16 A. Yes, you are correct.
17 Q. And I want to share to you a document, 1D 01246. This is a
18 document signed by General Roso. It's dated -- it's dated 13 November
19 1993. And this is more for the benefit of the Trial Chamber.
20 On page 1 we see this is a warning to all units and members of the
21 Croatian Defence Council. And if you see where -- the underlined portion
22 of that paragraph, we note that General Roso is being rather explicit that
23 anyone who commits any crimes will be executed by firing squad. Do you
24 see that, sir?
25 A. Yes, I can see that.
1 Q. And again this is just for the benefit of the Trial Chamber to
2 show that at the time that you arrived and General Roso arrived the
3 situation was such that -- at least the general thought that a certain
4 warning needed to be issued.
5 Now, let me move on to the next topic, and this deals with the
6 ICRC. It's very clear from your testimony that you received letters from
7 the ICRC, and upon receiving those letters you took certain measures.
8 Would that be correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And I just want to point out again for the Chamber's benefit some
11 things that would at least put things into perspective.
12 First, if we could see 1D 01253. 1D 01253. This is a letter
13 that's dated 12 -- 21/12/1993.
14 Okay. You may not have this, sir. It may not be in B/C/S or in
15 Croatian. It is in English, and I'll read the -- this is a letter to you
16 where it begins, "Dear sir, we do thank you for your letter mentioning
17 your appreciation towards the ICRC activities in favour of detainees."
18 And then it goes on to say: "Allow us, sir, also to thank you for your
19 personal involvement in the success of this operation to solve security
20 problems. We are all determined at the ICRC to continue our humanitarian
21 tasks in favour of all victims of the conflict."
22 And this was also copied to Dr. Jadranko Prlic. But anyway, I
23 want to share this with the Trial Chamber. Here is a recognition from
24 the ICRC that you, sir, upon your arrival, at least, have begun close
25 cooperation with the ICRC, and that would be correct, would it not,
2 A. I can't remember, but probably, yes.
3 Q. All right. Now, you indicated at some point --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, I apologise for
5 interrupting you, but isn't there some confusion here? You said that the
6 letter was -- that a copy of the letter was sent to Mr. Prlic. I have
7 the impression that this letter was sent to Mr. Prlic in person,
9 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm a little bit under the weather, Your Honour,
10 and you're absolutely right. I apologise for that. Sorry. Let me -- and
11 thank you for correcting me. It goes to show you --
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And also, Mr. Karnavas, the witness does not seem
13 to know this letter.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Right. Right. I understand. I'm going to move
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So it's questionable whether it's admissible. In
17 this context.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. I don't want to get into an evidence
20 Q. Now, at some point you indicated you were absent because you had a
21 personal -- for personal reasons you had to go back to Croatia; is that
23 A. Yes, from the 28th of January to the 25th of February, 1994.
24 Q. Okay. But nonetheless, even though that you were absent, you had
25 put measures in place for the continuation of the work that you had
1 started, especially with respect to the ICRC; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. And here by example again this -- this is Prosecution
4 document 7796. I don't believe the Prosecution introduced this.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To assist you again, you know
8 that the Chamber likes to be of assistance to both parties, this letter
9 from the Red Cross is in fact a reply to a letter sent to them by
10 Mr. Prlic, and as far as the Defence is concerned, it would be a good
11 idea, if that is possible, for you to give us, if you have it, a copy of
12 the letter that Mr. Prlic sent to the Red Cross in his own interest.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: So I take it now we're back to the previous
14 document. Are we back to the previous document, Mr. President?
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. All right. I'll do this at some other point
17 in time. The error was pointed out to me. Thank you again for clarifying
18 that issue. Now I've moved on to another document, another set of
19 questions, and the question was: When the gentleman was -- was absent, he
20 had put measures in place with respect to the ICRC, and therefore now we
21 are at 7798, 7798. This is a -- dated 3 February 1994.
22 Q. And this goes -- it says, "Subject: Report on the situation in
23 Heliodrom." There is a report. And if we look at the last page, I
24 believe, we see that somebody has signed it on your of what, I believe.
25 Is that correct, sir?
1 A. Yes. It's a document that we were looking at yesterday and
2 discussing, and this document was sent to the minister and General Roso
3 from my office.
4 Q. Right.
5 A. And I confirm that all the documents coming in from the
6 International Red Cross were complied with, whether I was down there
7 myself or not.
8 Q. Exactly. And that's the point I wanted to make, sir, to make sure
9 that there was proof of that.
10 Now, if we could go on to another document --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, could you just be so kind as to
12 show us where the date figures on the document?
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Where are the date figures. Well, on the very
14 first page it says, "Mostar 3 February 1994," at the very top where it
15 says "Security sector." That's what mine says at least.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I don't doubt that. Ours does not. Maybe the
17 cover -- the first page was missing, but you could still -- ours has a
18 page report.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, there should be a cover page along with that,
20 Your Honour.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: There should.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Well, I cannot explain why it don't, but
23 I'll make sure you'll have it at the break.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
25 MR. KARNAVAS:
1 Q. Okay. Moving right along. Now, if we could go on to 1D 01248,
2 and this is -- we may have looked at it. This is an order, sir, by you,
3 and is dated 29 March 1994. Do you see it, sir?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: And, Your Honours, do you have that document?
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Microphone not activated].
7 MR. KARNAVAS:
8 Q. Okay. And it's in reference to a letter dated 16th of March, but
9 hear we see, sir, that you have -- explicitly in your order you have
10 requested that certain things be done in reference to a letter that was
11 provided to you and -- is that correct?
12 A. Yes. This is an order which I mentioned, and I explained about it
13 earlier on to the Prosecution, but it wasn't shown in the last few days,
14 and it was -- refers to investigations of all abuse and mistreatment of
15 war detainees, and I issued this order to the head of the military police
16 and SIS and the Ministry of Defence and the chief of the Main Staff to his
18 Q. Now -- thank you, sir. And the reason I mentioned this is because
19 if we look at Prosecution document 8079, this is the letter that was
20 actually sent by the ICRC. It's copied, among others, to Dr. Prlic. I
21 don't know if you have it there, sir, but for the benefit of the Trial
22 Chamber, I think if we -- if we take a look at Prosecution 8079 and we
23 look at your order, they dovetail. I don't know if you have it, sir,
24 there, but in any event, do -- and I take it the Trial Chamber is
25 satisfied with that. Thank you. We can move on.
1 Now, there is also, I want to point out, another document, and
2 that is 1D 01254, because during your testimony questions have been raised
3 with respect to numerous requests from the ICRC, and here we have -- this
4 is dated 1 April 1994. Again, the document is 1254, and it's signed by
5 Colonel Siljeg.
6 And again this is for the court's benefit, if we go through the
7 document, you can see in the various paragraphs which makes references to
8 the various letters received, and the answers based on the investigations
9 that were conducted.
10 Does that not reflect that, sir?
11 A. Yes. And I mentioned that report yesterday in response to a
12 number of questions linked to letters from the ICRC. And this is a
13 report by the head of the military police administration, and it speaks of
14 what action was taken to 14 communications by the ICRC in a period of
15 time --
16 Q. Okay. Well, thank you --
17 A. -- ranging from January onwards.
18 Q. Thank you. And, sir, again that was for the benefit because there
19 were some questions as to whether any action was taken, and here we see
20 that yes, indeed, when you were absent and while you were there responses
21 to any requests by the international community were promptly dealt with.
22 Now I'm going to move on to another topic, a topic that was not
23 brought up by the -- by the Prosecution, though it was -- you were
24 questioned about it very briefly. I mention this because I'm going
25 outside the scope of the -- of the direct examination, but I don't intend
1 to lead the witness. I have no need to.
2 But, sir, after you left Bosnia-Herzegovina, you came back again,
3 as I understand it, late June, early July; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, you're right.
5 Q. And in fact, the reason you came back was to assist, to assist, in
6 an operation called Spider; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, you're quite right, an operation called Spider on the
8 territory of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
9 Q. And in fact, during that six-day interview, I notice there's one
10 page -- a page and a half was devoted to that operation, but that
11 operation essentially was an effort by the government to crack down on
12 criminal activity and to investigate criminals, not just for regular
13 crimes but also crimes against humanity or war crimes; is that correct?
14 A. That operation was planned and implemented in order to prevent all
15 forms of disruption of law and order and crime on the territory of the HR
16 HB. I was just an associated member in the staff of that operation, and
17 the operation was led by General Blaskic, as far as I remember.
18 Q. That's correct.
19 A. So the answer to your question is yes.
20 Q. Yes. And in fact, when I see that -- we're going to go through
21 some documents, but it appears that you were an associate member and that
22 you were there to assist sort of in providing, you know, expertise in the
23 sense of the knowledge that you have given your own background; is that
25 A. Well, yes, in a way, but you should not understand this in the
1 sense of -- that there weren't any professional people in the Main Staff.
2 There were.
3 Q. I understand. No, I totally understand that, and I don't mean to
4 minimise the professionality existed there, but it seemed that here the
5 government was reaching out because of the nature because of this
6 particular and complex issue. They were reaching out to folks like you to
7 make sure that it was successful. Would that be correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. Now, in we could go through some documents quickly 1D
10 01249, 1249. And this is a document that's signed by Jadranko Prlic as
11 president, and as president of the government, although he seems to be
12 called Prime Minister at times, but that's -- the correct translation
13 should be president of government. It's dated 21 June 1994, and -- do you
14 see that, sir? And if we look on page 2, at least in the English version
15 page 2 and it might be page 2 for you as well, we see you are listed there
16 as an associate member. Do you see that, sir?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Okay. We won't go through the entire document now because of time
19 and because we'll have other opportunities through other witnesses to deal
20 with this, Your Honours, but I just want to make sure that we get this
21 information in.
22 If we go on now to the next document, and that would be 1256,
23 1256, dated 24 June 1994. And this is, "Subject: Operation Spider," and
24 in the very first paragraph it says: "Based on the approved plan of
25 implementation of Operation Spider, Brigadier Marijan Biskic --"
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas. I'm a bit puzzled about
2 the previous document. The only thing we have about it is that the
3 witness's names figure there.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: If would you wait, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Oh.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: That's the whole point of the --
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Then you went to the other document, so -- okay.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: But, see, this is a chapter, and I tried to explain
9 this to the legal officer, in fact, that if I was allowed --
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I wait. I wait.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I know, but this is a repeating issue,
12 Your Honours. That's why I go from chapter to chapter. I alert everybody
13 that I'm involved in a chapter. If you would just wait, a little bit of
14 delayed gratification might be in order because at the end you will see.
15 And then I want -- you can ask all the questions you want but I'm trying
16 to at least help you out here, chapter -- you know, step-by-step.
17 Q. Here we have -- we'll move on to the next document. We'll move on
18 to the next document. It's getting impossible around here.
19 1251. 1251 seems to be meetings -- a meeting at the headquarters,
20 again regarding Operation Spider. And here, sir, at the very beginning we
21 see that you've taken the floor, and others speak as well, but do you see
22 your name there, sir?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. Okay. Now, if we go on to 1252. I apologise for not having the
25 time to go through this, but we don't generally get a lot of time for our
1 cross-examinations around here.
2 Now, in this document it says: "General data on the perpetrators
3 of a criminal act." And this -- this data seems at least when I glean at
4 it, all relate to Operation Spider. Would that be correct? At the very
5 top it should be operation -- is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And just by way of --
8 A. Yes. It says, "Operation Spider."
9 Q. Right. Now, if you look at -- just if you look at the first few
10 names, you will see that the victims in -- these names, the victims are
11 Muslims, are they not?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the perpetrators seem to be Croatian names; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And this seems to be at least some verification that efforts were
16 made, perhaps when conditions were more appropriate on the ground, to try
17 to deal with some of the crimes that had been committed in the past; is
18 that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And then if we look at D -- 1D 1257. This is a letter that is
21 sent to Mr. Gojko Susak.
22 Now, maybe you know, maybe you don't know, but can you tell us why
23 it was important or why was it necessary to inform Mr. Susak about this
24 operation, other than the fact that perhaps Croatia was involved in
25 providing some assistance to the local authorities to deal with this
1 criminal activity?
2 A. Well, I can't remember exactly what the reason for the report
3 was. I assume there were two reasons. First one that I've already said,
4 that Mr. Gojko Susak was highly interested in the situation in HR HB. And
5 secondly, because at the request of the authorities of HR HB he gave
6 permission for the crime prevention police to be aided and assisted.
7 Q. Okay. Now, the -- just a couple of words about Operation Spider,
8 and we're going to deal with this throughout -- later on in the course of
9 this trial, but this was a rather sensitive operation, was it not?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And some of the individuals that were involved, that is the
12 perpetrators, they -- some of them were rather dangerous, were they
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Okay.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Now, I don't have any further questions on this
17 topic, Your Honours, if you wish to make any inquiries. Otherwise, I'll
18 move to the next one.
19 Q. Before I move on to the next one, we saw -- Mr. Susak's name has
20 come up a couple of times.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We would like to ask questions,
23 but within your time.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm not sure I understand that, Mr. President. You
25 have your own time, I have my time. I mean, I --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Continue.
2 MR. KARNAVAS:
3 Q. Okay. We've heard -- we've heard Gojko Susak's name, and we all
4 know who he was. We know that he came from Canada, but we also know that
5 he hailed -- he was from Siroki Brijeg; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. He had a house there and his mother lived down there at the
8 Q. Exactly. And that's the point I want to make, because that hasn't
9 come out yet, that he had a house there and his mother lived there, that
10 his mother lived there at that particular time, that period.
11 A. Yes. And she liked to play cards.
12 Q. Okay. And he thinks he [sic] might have liked having her son come
13 to visit her occasionally, or would that be somewhat unusual in the
14 Croatian culture?
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, you said that in this area you
16 would not ask leading questions. I wonder whether you have changed
17 your --
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, now we're talking about Mr. Susak, and
19 Mr. Susak has come up during the direct examination several times, and
20 maybe we could -- we could do a search.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: But, in fact, there were many questions from the
23 Bench regarding Mr. Susak.
24 Q. And the whole issue is, occasionally Mr. Susak would come down and
25 visit his mother, which is in Herzegovina; right?
1 A. I've already said that Mr. Susak came several times.
2 Q. I know that. But it would -- but, see, here's the situation that
3 we have here: The Prosecution there thinks that there is a joint criminal
4 enterprise, and the reason that Mr. Susak came down was for criminal
5 purposes, and here I'm asking you whether when he came down he came to
6 visit his mother? And if he came to visit his mother, would it not be
7 also natural for him to go out and maybe meet with others and for others
8 to meet with him, given that he was, after all, the minister of defence of
10 A. Yes, I agree with you fully, and that's what I said myself.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. I spoke along those lines.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you. Well, we can move off Mr. Susak. And then I
14 want to just deal with a very minor issue, nothing that important but one
15 that I think needs some clarification, and that has to -- this deals with
16 the -- the issue of language or the one terminology, because -- one term,
17 because when we were -- looked at document 7155, 7155, this was a
18 Prosecution document, it's been translated here in English as "prisoners
19 of war."
20 Now, if you could -- if we could -- now, if you look at the
21 Croatian version, you use the word "zatocenik." Is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. All right. And this is again for the benefit of the Trial
24 Chamber, because there was some -- there was a discussion on this. If we
25 could look at 1D 01255. This is from a dictionary. It's a
1 Croatian-English, English-Croatian dictionary, and there are two terms.
2 If we look at the one that you used, and this would be found on -- at the
3 top of the page, it's 1646, in English, at least, it says internee,
4 detainee, confined person. Then it says captive person, prisoner,
5 exile, banished person. That's the word that you -- that you used,
7 A. Could you repeat that, please?
8 Q. Okay. Now, if you look at page 1646, and this is more for the
9 Court's benefit, we will find the word that you used. It's on the
10 right-hand column, and under that it says internee, detainee. And as I
11 understand your testimony, when you use that word you were referring to
12 Muslims who had been in the HVO who were more or less -- I mean, there
13 was -- for lack of a better term, this was an act of treason in a sense;
15 A. Okay. Okay, distinction --
16 Q. Okay, if we look at the previous page, "zarobljenik," a term that
17 you did not use but nonetheless it's in the dictionary, here we have
18 captive, prisoner, prisoner of war, POW. So at least in the Croatian
19 language, they do make a distinction between the two; correct?
20 A. Yes, and distinction is very important, and you've just explained
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. And again, that was for the benefit of the
23 Trial Chamber, and we can move on.
24 Now, during -- you gave a statement to the Prosecution on two
25 separate occasions. Is that correct, sir?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And in fact when I look at it seems they questioned you for about
3 six days. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of that.
4 A. Yes, and after that for two more days. Eight days altogether.
5 Q. And in fact, it was a lot of reading. And one thing that struck
6 me was that during that entire period you never refused to answer a
7 question; is that correct?
8 A. I have told them everything I know, and if I know things why
9 should I refuse to answer them? In the same way I have not refused to
10 answer anything here. So it is correct that I have not refused to answer
11 a question.
12 Q. And in fact, you -- you made the statement that you're neither
13 ashamed of or afraid of the truth; correct?
14 A. That's exactly what I said. I said that I was not afraid or
15 ashamed of the truth, never.
16 Q. And as far as -- and it would be fair to say that you stand by all
17 of the answers to all of the questions that they posed to you?
18 A. If the translation is good, then, yes.
19 Q. Okay. And in fact, those interviews were being tape recorded or
20 videotaped, one of the two?
21 A. The first six days, yes, and the last two days, which took place
22 some fortnight ago, no.
23 Q. All right. And as I understand from reading it -- as far as I
24 understand from reading the -- the statement, many of the questions that
25 were posed to you here today and yesterday and the day before and what
1 have you, were posed during those interviews, but during that period of
2 time you had more of an opportunity to elaborate; is that correct?
3 A. Correct. And I also saw more documents.
4 Q. And I take it you would not have any objections to those -- your
5 statement to come in to evidence, to be part of the evidence in addition
6 to your testimony?
7 A. I wouldn't object to that.
8 Q. Okay. Very well. Now, I want -- the issue --
9 MR. KARNAVAS: And by the way, Your Honours, we will be tendering,
10 and I will go through a little bit of the statement, not much, but there
11 are two documents. It's 1D 01258 and 1259. These are the documents, just
12 for the record; I'm not going to go through them right now, but just so
13 you know.
14 Q. And, sir, there is no translation of it, but I just want to move
15 on to the next topic, and this topic deals with the decision of the
16 organisation of the Ministry of Defence.
17 Now, do you recall being asked questions regarding that?
18 A. Yes. I was asked questions about the decision on setting up the
19 Ministry of Defence of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna of 18
20 December 1993.
21 Q. All right. Now, as I understand it from reading it at least, you
22 were asked several questions over several -- several pages, in fact,
23 regarding that, and the first -- during the first day, and they did not
24 show you the document themselves, the one dated 17 October -- I'm sorry,
25 the one dated 18 December 1993. Do you recall that? And it wasn't until
1 the following day, which would have been May 10, 1993, that you actually
2 came in, and you pointed out to them and tried to explain to them how
3 the -- how it was organised. Do you recall that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. And I point this out for the Trial Chamber primarily,
6 because it would appear that they're trying to get you to commit to
7 something without even showing you the document, to at least try to have
8 you give your interpretation of the document based on the reading of the
9 law itself as opposed to trying to get you to guess.
10 Now, if we could look at this document very briefly, it was shown
11 to you yesterday, I believe, the Prosecution -- under the Prosecution's
12 number it's 7236. If we could look at that for a second, and then I'm
13 going to show you another document. 7236, if you -- you should have it
14 there. This is a Prosecution document. Do you see it, sir?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Okay. And it's my upstanding that based on reading -- looking at
17 this document, particularly if we look at -- I believe it's -- it was
18 based on this document that you had indicated that the Main Staff is under
19 the department of defence; is that correct? I believe it's Article 12.
20 It says, "the chief of the Main Staff shall be responsible to the minister
21 of defence for matters of general organisation and functioning in the
22 peacetime and wartime." Do you see that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And then if we look at Article 13, it says: "The chief of the
25 Main Staff is directly responsible to the president of the republic in all
1 matters of Supreme Command, organisation, strategic and operative matters,
2 and use of armed forces in peace and war"; correct?
3 A. This is correct, and exactly how I said at the time and explained
4 things at the time.
5 Q. Right. And it was -- it was after you showing them this article
6 you answered their question that the president of the government, you
7 know, was not responsible -- or was not the superior of the Main Staff.
8 A. It is correct. And I also said that we had to look at the
9 previous decision which was annulled by the subsequent decision. I did
10 not see the previous one, but I believe that it was similar to the later
11 one. I said in answer to the question that while I was there that
12 decision was enforced, and I also reminded the Prosecutor that they should
13 look at the decision dated 15 December 1992, which was superseded by the
14 subsequent decision.
15 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter corrects the date: 15
16 September 1992.
17 MR. KARNAVAS:
18 Q. Okay. Well, I just so happen to have that document, and if we
19 look at P 00586.
20 And again for the Court's -- for the Court, for the Trial Chamber
21 to consider, the gentleman is being questioned on May 9th and 10th of
22 2005. So query whether the Prosecution at the time, or at least the
23 individuals questioning him, were aware of these documents and what the
24 documents contained therein, and query why they didn't show these
25 documents to the gentleman.
1 But if we look at this particular one, and I think we might have
2 touched on this yesterday, under IV, at least it talks about, the head of
3 the department of defence will have deputies. V talks about the deputy
4 head of security. We covered that. But then if we go on to IX. In the
5 English version it would be on page 5, and it's page 3 for you. And again
6 I raise this because this seems to be a continuing issue in this trial,
7 and here we are almost 10 months into it and we have yet to resolve it.
8 Now, under IX, it says that the Main Staff of the Croatian Defence
9 Council shall be part of the department. And then it goes on. Now, if we
10 look further down in the -- under IX it says: "The chief of the Main
11 Staff shall be directly responsible to the president of the Croatian
12 Community of Herceg-Bosna for all issues relating to the Supreme Command,
13 unit organisation, strategic and operative plans, and the use of the armed
14 forces in time of war and peace."
15 And just as you had indicated that probably the previous document
16 was similar to the one that you brought to their attention, we see that
17 the language is identical, do we not, sir?
18 A. Yes. When it comes to the chief the Main Staff to whom he
19 reported, and when it comes to superior command, strategic planning, and
20 the use of the armed forces, both in wartimes and times of peace.
21 Q. All right. Now, I don't wish to go into that too much because
22 others may want to cover in more detail the other aspects, with respect to
23 what the minister of defence can or cannot do, but anyway, I just wanted
24 to point that out because, at least during the interview, it appeared they
25 were trying to say that Mr. Prlic was responsible to the armed force -- or
1 for the armed forces.
2 Now, incidentally when you were questioned on May 10th -- I mean,
3 on May 9th, I'm sorry, you said that you had never received a verbal or a
4 written order from Jadranko Prlic.
5 On that would be on page 19, Your Honours, starting with the
6 transcript of May 9th, and it's 5 -- it's 1D 01258. Anyway, I point that
8 You were being asked if you received orders from Jadranko Prlic
9 and you indicated that neither an oral nor written order was received by
10 you from Dr. Jadranko Prlic. Do you stand by that answer, sir?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. We'll move on. Next topic. And this may be my very last
13 one, Your Honours, so ...
14 Now, a little bit about the organisation of the government,
15 because I think this again ties in with what we've been talking about.
16 Incidentally, did they ever show you any documents with respect to how
17 the -- the government was structured, how the -- from the Presidency to
18 the -- the executive authority when it was HZ HB versus when it became HR
19 HB? Did they show you any documents?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Okay. And of course you're not lawyer by training. We'll agree
22 on that; right?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Okay. But this line of questioning sort of deals with the issue
25 of who appointed you, because -- and again, this is a matter that needs to
1 be cleared up. Hopefully we'll never have to deal with this again. I
2 doubt it, but we probably will, because there's an insistence that it was
3 Jadranko Prlic who appointed you because we see his signature there, that
4 he personally appointed you. This seems to be the issue, and I want to
5 clarify this.
6 If we could look at document -- we'll start off with 5813, 5813.
7 This is from Official Gazette, and now I'm dealing with the Croatian
8 Republic of Herceg-Bosna. And here he -- it says here in Article 2 that
9 the government consists of the Prime Minister. We submit that this is a
10 wrong interpretation. It should be president of government. Deputy
11 ministers, ministers, and other ministers.
12 If we look at Article 3, second paragraph, it says: "The Prime
13 Minister, deputy -- deputy Prime Ministers and members of the government
14 are jointly responsible for decisions made by the government and are
15 particularly responsible for their own field of work."
16 Do you see where it says they're jointly responsible for the
17 decisions made by the government, sir? Do you see that part? That's on
18 Article 3. Not that important.
19 A. Are you asking me?
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. Yes, I can see that.
22 Q. If we move to Article 17, and again I'm going to move through
23 several documents just to clarify a point. It's unfortunate I have to do
24 it through you and not through somebody else, but it's something we
25 continually have to struggle here with.
1 Article 17, and again there is a mistranslation and we will be
2 asking for an official translation, for the first line, that is, where it
3 says, "the Prime Minister shall appoint," it actually should be the
4 president of the government shall convene a session. Not appoint the
5 government but convene a session. Basically that's what it's talking
6 about. And if we look at the last paragraph within Article 17, it
7 says: "The Prime Minister shall sign regulations and other acts passed by
8 the government and make sure that they are implemented."
9 So here it says -- here it gives us the reasoning why it's
10 Jadranko Prlic who is signing the document, which are decisions that are
11 jointly made by the government, not his decisions. Do you see that, sir?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. All right. We'll move on quickly. If we go on to the next
15 document, 6995, 6995. This is a decision. It's dated 20 November 1993,
16 and this says that: "The Chamber of Deputies of the Croatian Republic of
17 Herceg-Bosna at its 3rd session held on 20 November 1993, issued the
18 following decision," and here we see where Dr. Jadranko Prlic is appointed
19 as president of the government, as well as all the other ministers. Do
20 you see that, sir?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. All right. Now, we go on to 1D 01260, and this is dated 4
23 May 1994.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: But, Your Honours, if you look at the first
25 paragraph under "Decree," it talks about a session that was held on 20
1 November 1993. So even though this was signed by President Zubak at the
2 time, it was based on a session that was held on 20th November 1993. And
3 I want to look at two articles from this, Articles 26 and 29, because
4 this -- we're getting to you, sir, slowly but surely. It talks about
5 Article 26. It says: "The ministries are managed by the ministers. The
6 minister has a deputy minister," and it goes on.
7 Now, if we go to Article 29: "Managing employees at the
8 ministries, offices, and administrations are ..." So this is a
9 definitional article. "The managing employees are at the ministries'
10 assistant minister," at the very top one, and then it lists the other
11 ones, the offices, and so on.
12 Then if we go on to the following paragraph, it says: "Managing
13 employees at the republic administration bodies and the republic's
14 administration organisations are appointed and relieved of duty by the
15 government, at the minister's proposal."
16 And again, this is for the Trial Chamber's benefit because it
17 shows who appoints, who relieves. That it's not an individual, but it's a
18 government -- it's a collective decision.
19 Now, do you see that, sir?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. All right. Now, if we go on -- we're coming to you now,
22 sir, slowly. If we look at 699 -- 6994. And this is a decision. It's
23 signed by Jadranko Prlic, and this is where everybody gets confused.
24 Because it's signed they automatically assumed that he's the one that
25 appoints, he's the one that fires, and therefore he is the one that
1 direct controls and has the effective command and control over the
3 And here, this is a decision for your appointment, do you see
4 that, sir? 6994. Decision appointing you as assistant minister.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Okay. Now -- now for the finale on this issue because it helps us
7 a little bit. Let's step back a moment in time and let's look at the
8 extract of the minutes of the meeting, and this would be document --
9 Prosecution document 7000, 7000. Again, it may seem like a minor,
10 inconsequential point, but this is why I was up in arms with respect to
11 command and control earlier in the week.
12 This is from 1 December 1993. Now, if we look at --
13 MR. KARNAVAS: On the English version it would be page 12,
14 Your Honours, under item 21.
15 Q. For you, sir, it's page 8. It will be page 8 in Croatian. It's
16 page 12 for us in English. And we see here in the third paragraph on page
17 12, I will read it slowly: "The deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
18 Defence Perica Jukic proposed appointing Brigadier Miljenko Crnjac from
19 Siroki Brijeg as deputy minister of defence, and Colonel Marijan Biskic
20 from Derventa, and Mayor Dusan Vir from Livno, as assistant ministers of
21 defence for security and political activity respectively. The government
22 approved the proposals for assistant ministers of defence, and the
23 deputy's to be appointed bit Chamber of Deputies of the Assembly of the HR
25 Now, sir, correct me if I'm wrong. Does it not look like from
1 these minutes, dovetailed by what the law said earlier and what the
2 decision says later, that you were proposed by the minister, and it was
3 the government that approved that proposal?
4 A. Yes, and I was always clear on that. There was nothing unclear to
5 me in that respect.
6 Q. Right. And based on that approval of the -- of the government, a
7 decision was made which was signed by Jadranko Prlic, and hopefully this
8 clarifies the matter as to whether Jadranko Prlic appointed you personally
9 and, therefore, had command and control over you, or whether this was an
10 effort by the government based on a proposal by the minister himself for
11 your services.
12 Sir, I have nothing further at this point in time. I have nothing
13 further to question you on. I want that thank you very, very much for
14 coming here. It's been an honour and privilege to have you here in this
16 A. Thank you very much.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, you can have the rest of my time if
18 you have any questions, otherwise I will yield my time to my colleague,
19 Ms. Nozica.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a clarification, please,
21 Mr. Karnavas. I would like to know something about Operation Spider. In
22 the documents in B/C/S, there are some 40 documents which establish that
23 certain individuals committed crimes, but there are only eight
24 translations. It -- is it the fact that you did not have the time to
25 translate all the documents or did you make a decision what to translate,
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you for that question. I appreciate that
3 question, Mr. President. Here is the problem: The translation services
4 in this Tribunal certainly do not operate in a convenient time for the
5 Defence. You need months and months in advance to propose something for
6 them, and it takes literally hours and hours just to get one page
7 transcribed because of the bureaucracy. So we do internal translations,
8 and for those it -- we're just stretched. So we do not have -- we also
9 moved to have a translator assigned to us, as we're entitled for certain
10 matters. That has not occurred. The request has been in for almost a
11 month now, if not longer than that. So we apologise. It wasn't that we
12 made a choice and we're trying to cherry pick. It's just the we -- I
13 wanted to give you a flavour, and, of course, as I indicated, in due time
14 we will discuss Operation Spider more thoroughly, and we can have all the
15 documents translated.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, I'll give you the
17 floor, but just before that, for the transcript, 1D 01052 [as
18 interpreted], will certainly be tendered into evidence.
19 Now, concerning the documents translated into English, I'd like to
20 say for the transcript, I'd like to mention three names. There's
21 Tihomir Buric, aka Spiko. That's a name we've already heard, so I'd
22 like to draw attention to that. Then there's another name that appears
23 in this list, and that is Mladen Naletilic, aka Tuta, who is also
24 mentioned, and a third person who is mentioned, and he might be of
25 relative importance that was raised for April 1993 in Ahmici. So that
1 is what I wanted to say.
2 Mr. Mundis, you were on your feet.
3 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
4 Your Honours, and everyone in and around the courtroom.
5 Just three very, very quick points before the break. The first
6 one perhaps Judge Trechsel or others may want to look during the break. I
7 know Mr. Karnavas was making reference to Prosecution Exhibit P 07798.
8 You will recall that's the document that apparently had a missing cover
9 page. As we informed the Defence last week, P 07796, which is in the
10 Prosecution bundle, contains the same document that's in P 07798 and
11 includes the covering letter. So for the record, P 07798 is totally
12 encompassed by P 07796, which is a more complete version of that document,
13 for the record.
14 Second, it would appear as though the Prlic Defence team will be
15 tendering the entire transcripts of the prior interviews with this
16 witness. I should note for the record that during those six days of
17 interviews that took place in 2005 the witness was shown a substantial
18 number of documents. I'm not sure if the Prlic Defence team intends on
19 tendering the documents that the witness was shown during those
20 interviews, but I will state for the record that in the event they do not
21 do that the Prosecution very well may seek leave to have documents
22 admitted into evidence on the basis of those earlier interviews in which
23 the witness explains and comments on those documents, and I simply want to
24 put that out there so that the Prlic Defence can take that into
25 consideration, but if they're tendering the transcripts, we will review
1 those transcripts to determine if additional documents could or should be
2 tendered as a result of those earlier interviews.
3 And finally, today being international women's day, we would be
4 remiss if we didn't note that. I know it's a very important holiday in
5 the Balkans. It perhaps should be given more weight elsewhere, but I
6 would like to wish all of our female colleagues happy international
7 women's day.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Very briefly. There was a correction on line --
9 page 39, line 2. It should be 1252 as opposed to -- I believe it reads
10 now 1052. It should say 1252. And I understand, Mr. Mundis's
11 observations with regards to the transcript. Obviously I -- we did take
12 that into consideration, and that would be standard practice. So -- and I
13 totally agree with his approach.
14 It should be 1D 1252.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you're on your
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] If Your Honours grant
18 permission and if Ms. Senka Nozica stays for some time, then there's some
19 technical questions that can better be clarified with an educated and
20 well-versed witness. That's the first point.
21 And secondly, leave the Balkans alone. We're from Croatia, from
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We're not a collection of Balkan people.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
24 Yes, Counsel Alaburic.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] In view of the fact that
1 Mr. Praljak said something that I was going to ask for at the beginning of
2 today's proceedings, and that is to be given 10 minutes for additional
3 cross-examination of this witness, because I consider that this witness is
4 exceptionally --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
6 Additional time -- for additional time you'll have to wait. You had a
7 fixed amount of time. Counsel Nozica has 75 minutes, and that is what I'm
8 preoccupied with to begin with. We'll see about all the rest afterwards.
9 So the priority is to allow Counsel Nozica 75 minutes, especially if there
10 are procedural matters and so on. So let's look at priorities first.
11 Ms. Nozica will go first. But before that, we have a question from our
13 Yes, Counsel Alaburic, I've taken note of what your concerns are.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] With the Court's permission, may I
15 just thank Mr. Mundis for his greetings and good wishes, and we from the
16 Balkans always considered the 8th of March, Women's Day, to be a
17 democratic heritage and that it is marked in the same way in democratic
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. President. I am not using the
20 time for the same.
21 I have a question for the witness which concerns the document 1D
22 01248. I'm not sure that you have to look at it. You will recall that it
23 is a document where, I think, you gave the order that certain
24 investigations be undertaken. Now, I would like to know whether any
25 results have been generated by these investigations into alleged crimes.
1 Can you inform the Chamber about that?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for the question. I
3 issued the order on the 29th of March, 1994. I cannot now remember the
4 concrete results. However, quite certainly there were some results which
5 were recorded in the military police administration of the Croatian
6 Defence Council and the SIS administration as well, and similarly the
7 results of this order can be viewed from the -- from Operation Spider that
8 we mentioned a moment ago, from that aspect as well.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I note that you speculate. You say
10 "quite certainly," "most probably," but you cannot specifically answer in
11 the positive or in the negative.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said, Your Honour, that I cannot
13 speak about concrete cases because you must understand that almost seven
14 years have gone by since then, but I'm quite convinced that this order
15 started to be complied with and that I'm sure there were some results and
16 that these would be found either on the side of the Defence or the
17 Prosecution, that they would find some record of results.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: In fairness to the witness, you know, the question
19 should be: Was he asked to look for or did the Prosecution search for,
20 because I think had he -- or if he had been aware that such a question
21 might be posed, maybe he could have tried to locate documents. And again
22 the burden is on the Prosecution to show that those documents don't
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. President -- Mr. Karnavas, I put this
25 question, and I do not stand to be corrected. I think it was quite
1 correct to put it the way I put it.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. I have a question to you, Mr. Karnavas.
4 On page 29, lines 18 to 22, you make an observation regarding the Chamber
5 that I'm not quite sure I understand correctly, and I would like you to
6 explain what you mean by it.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: What's the observation?
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You said -- sorry, I'm just finding it. "I point
9 this out for the Trial Chamber primarily because it would appear that
10 they're trying to get you to commit to something without even showing you
11 the document, to at least try to have you give your interpretation of the
12 document based on the reading of the law."
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I accept. It was "they" being -- obviously the
14 record doesn't reflect my hand motioning to "they" being the Prosecution,
15 not the Trial Chamber.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I was -- that's what I wanted to hear, because it
17 was strange. It looked -- it sounded very strange.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: And it sounds on the record, but it --
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Your explanation is taken.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Right. Because if you put it in context, they were
21 the ones who were questioning them and they did not show him the
22 documents, and it would seem to me that if you were going to question
23 somebody for six days and you're asking him to speculate, show him the
24 documents and let him interpret. That was the -- so there was no
25 implication that the Trial Chamber is in any way trying to trick a
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That's what I wanted to hear.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. All right.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to take a 20-minute
5 break and reconvene in 20 minutes' time.
6 --- Recess taken at 4.01 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.22 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
9 Before I give the floor to Counsel Nozica, the Chamber would like
10 to ask the Prosecution, so Mr. Mundis, listen carefully. We're going to
11 speak to Mr. Scott later on. We'd like to ask the Prosecution to furnish
12 as soon as possible a provisional chart of witnesses or timetable for
13 witnesses that you consider hearing between now and the end of the trial.
14 So we'd like a list of all the witnesses, and also the names of the
15 witnesses who are not going to come, those that you have decided not to
16 call. So we'd like those too. And I personally need to have this
17 schedule for me to be able to respond to your motion for appeal.
18 I think that, if I remember correctly, the Prosecution said they
19 would make a general schedule, and we never actually received a complete
20 timetable. So if you say that you don't have enough time, that's fine,
21 but we'd like to have a timetable to see where we're going and how much
22 more there is left. You did this kind of timetable for April, so May,
23 June, July, September. Would you put your witnesses within that
24 timetable, and tell us which witnesses you do not intend to call so that
25 if need be the Trial Chamber can call them, if they deem necessary. Have
1 you understood that, Mr. Mundis.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Absolutely, Mr. President. I can assure the Trial
3 Chamber that we are in fact in the process of doing that, and I cannot at
4 this point commit in terms of when we might have such a timetable
5 available, but I would expect it would be in the very near future, and
6 we -- we are working on that as expeditiously as possible. As we've
7 indicated before, a number of the remaining witnesses, being what might be
8 called international witnesses, are a little bit more difficult to
9 schedule than some of the crime base witnesses, and we are, to be as
10 transparent as possible, encountering some difficulty in scheduling some
11 of those witnesses, particularly as we move into the summer period, but we
12 are working on that, and I will redouble our efforts in order to provide
13 you with that. I believe we can certainly provide a list of witnesses
14 that we don't intend to call, and the timetable we will provide as soon as
15 possible, and with the caveat, of courses, that it -- that there could be
16 parts of it that are provisional, and that there could be parts of it that
17 have yet to be confirmed or even yet to be filled in. Certain -- we have
18 a couple of week periods where we have no witnesses scheduled yet, but I
19 will endeavour to provide all that information as quickly as that as
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. In order to be
22 precise, following on from what you said, we need the names of witnesses
23 that you're not going to call. That's the first point.
24 And secondly, and I completely agree with you, that there are
25 witness whom you have difficulty bringing in, to know what month, when,
1 but you must make an approximation, because what we want to know is how
2 many more witnesses you're going to call, which will allow us to compare
3 this to the time and the 65 ter list and so on. So we need this
4 timetable. And I need it personally so that I can rule.
5 MR. MUNDIS: I completely understand that, Mr. President, and I
6 neglected to mention, of course, one other factor that as we move into
7 some of the more what we again colloquially might call linkage type of
8 witnesses, such as the current witness, there are -- there are periods of
9 time where we will only anticipate calling one witness per week. So the
10 number of witnesses once we finish the Vares component towards the end of
11 March, that the number of witnesses will dramatically go down in terms of
12 our ability to call more than six or perhaps seven witnesses in an entire
13 month because of the fact that they tend to be much more lengthy
14 witnesses. So the overall number of witnesses after March is not a large
15 number compared to the crime base witnesses where we could do two or three
16 such witnesses in one day. So I will flag that up for the Chamber. But I
17 do understand, and we will get that information to Your Honours as quickly
18 as we possibly can.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And just something else. The
20 Chamber has deliberated the matter and decided that during the holidays --
21 or, rather, during the summer break that we're going to be working in the
22 first week of July, and we'll continue on the 7th of August.
23 You have 75 minutes.
24 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'd like to
25 inform you that my binders are with the registrar.
1 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
2 Q. [Interpretation] I'd like to say good afternoon to the witness.
3 Good afternoon, Mr. Biskic. And I'd like to inform you and Their Honours,
4 the witness Prosecutor, that in my black binder, Mr. Biskic, there are
5 exhibits which the Prosecutor showed this witness, and they have pink
6 stickers on them. This will allow the Judges to find their way in my set,
7 in my binder. So I had good intentions. Those were upset a bit because I
8 think that we need to clarify one point for the record.
9 May we have on e-court, to save the witness from looking for it,
10 Exhibit 7236. It's not in my binder, unfortunately. I didn't know that I
11 would be needing it. It's P 07236, and it is a Prosecution exhibit which
12 was presented to the witness, and a moment ago while my colleague,
13 Mr. Karnavas, conducted the cross-examination the witness looked at the
14 document too.
15 Mr. Biskic, it's the decision on the basis for the organisation of
16 the Ministry of Defence. Do you have the Prosecution binder to hand? No,
17 you don't. Very well. Well, you have it on e-court, on the screen.
18 Can we take a look at the last page of this decision. For the
19 witness, may we have the last page. That's right. Thank you.
20 Now, let's take a look, and I'm doing this for the transcript more
21 than for your own testimony, at point -- Article 20. It says: "The
22 decisions on the foundation of the organisation of the department of
23 defence, number 599/92, of the 15th of September, 1992, is no longer in
24 effect, is null and void."
25 Let us now --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Let's have a look at another exhibit shown to the witness twice.
3 It is P 00586. Just to have a look at the date for us to establish
4 whether the decision shown to the witness was the decision that was
5 declared null and void. P 00586. We just need the first page, and it
6 will explain everything to us. This is a decision of the 17th of October,
7 1992; is that right? It's obvious. You can see the date at the top.
8 A. Yes. And it says: "Please find attached the decision on the
9 foundations of organisation signed by Mr. Bruno Stojic."
10 Q. Yes. Can we have a look at the last page of that decision now,
11 please. Do we see that it says the 17th of October, 1992, on the last
12 page too? Whereas here it says the 15th of September, and that was the
13 reason why I wanted to put that right.
14 In P 00586, it is not a decision of the 17th of October, 1992, but
15 it is a decision of the 15th of September, 1992. Is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Then we can move on. Mr. Biskic, when you arrived in
18 Herceg-Bosna, you did not occupy a post of the head of the defence
19 department -- or you did not come across Bruno Stojic when you arrived,
20 did you?
21 A. No.
22 Q. After that, did you have any contact with him?
23 A. I said that in November Mr. Bruno Stojic was away attending a
24 meeting in Mr. Jukic's office as advisor for production, and he did not
25 appear after that, and I think that that was placed outside the Ministry
1 of Defence.
2 Q. Thank you. We're talking about the period of time when you began
3 working in the Ministry of Defence to reorganise the security sector; is
4 that right?
5 A. Yes, if you're talking about the beginning of -- well, if you're
6 talking about the beginning of December, I had no contacts, no.
7 Q. Your task and assignment was to establish the proper functioning
8 of the Ministry of Defence in the government of the Croatian Republic of
9 Herceg-Bosna. Am I right?
10 A. Well, in a way, yes, but not to establish the Ministry of Defence,
11 just a part of the Ministry of Defence.
12 Q. So you're referring to the security sector, the SIS, and the
13 military police; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you agree with me that this reorganisation was necessary
16 precisely in order to change the entire system, because executive power
17 and authority up until then in the HR HB was provisional, and now a new
18 stage was beginning whereby the ministries were to be established instead
19 of the previous departments?
20 A. Well, I agree with what you said, although I can't say whether the
21 previous one was provisional or not, but the answer is yes because
22 everything was changing or being changed.
23 Q. Yes. I think that is incontestable, that these were provisional
24 parts up until that time.
25 So as you're undertaking a new -- the construction of a new
1 system, was that the reason for which you did not determine the structure
2 that existed before your arrival, but you knew part of it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I have a bit of a problem when you say you could say yes. I don't
5 know what you mean.
6 A. Well, I said that I didn't deal with the past, and one of the
7 reasons, of course, was that the -- had the same system remained, then I
8 would have had to study that previous system, so that you could say yes.
9 Q. I see. Thank you. Your explanations are very important, and
10 whenever you feel the need to explain everything, please feel free to do
12 After your arrival, there was a reorganisation in the HVO, and I'm
13 thinking about its military structure.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. It was only upon your arrival after a certain amount of time had
16 gone by that you, among other things, among other tasks, were given the
17 assignment of disbanding the detainee centres.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. According to the documents that we've seen so far over the past
20 three days, in implementing that task, you received authorisation to
21 coordinate with all the structures within HR HB. Isn't that right?
22 A. Well, you could put it that way, yes.
23 Q. I'll explain where I get that conclusion from. At the meetings
24 that you organised, the representatives of all the bodies of HR HB were
25 present, from the presidential offices or cabinet of HR HB to
1 representatives of most of the ministries?
2 A. Yes. But a moment ago when I said you could put it that way, I
3 wasn't the main person at the meeting, because the minister also attended
4 as did other people who occupied higher positions than myself. But in a
5 way I was the operational man.
6 Q. I'll just enumerate who was involved in all this. There were
7 commissions that were established by HR HB, were there not?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Or representatives of individual ministries; right?
10 A. Right.
11 Q. Mr. Biskic, I said that you were the coordinator.
12 A. Yes. You could put it that way, yes.
13 Q. Yes. You were the coordinator. Now, to make things quite clear,
14 this task did not come under the authority of the Ministry of Defence in
15 which you were the assistant security minister?
16 A. No. It was an assignment of all the bodies involved in HR HB, and
17 outside that, the institutions of the International Red Cross, the office
18 for displaced persons and refugees, and similar institutions.
19 Q. You came to the position of assistant minister for security by
20 appointment on the 1st of December, 1993. Can we confirm that once
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Before being officially appointed, you started collecting
24 information about where prisoners of war were being held and in what
25 centres and who headed those centres. Am I right in saying that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. According to the documents that we have in our possession, you
3 started your activities before an official decision had been taken by the
4 president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Boban, and several
5 times you expressed the wish to see that document, so I'm going to show it
6 to you now, but do you agree with me that you started your activities
7 before his decision was officially made public?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Were you informed by the presidential cabinet of the HR HB that
10 such a decision was being prepared, so that's why you started acting eight
12 A. No, I didn't know about the decision, but quite simply, as I got
13 to know the situation, I set certain steps in motion to resolve some of
14 the problems.
15 Q. Mr. Boban, as president of the HR HB, issued an order on the
16 unconditional disbanding of detainee centres on the territory of HR HB on
17 the 10th of December, 1993. So I'd now like to ask you to take a look at
18 document number, in my binder, and it should be marked in yellow, it is
19 7096. And I'd just like to inform you that the numbers are in order. So
20 it's 7096. P 07096 is the number of the document, and the documents
21 follow each other in consecutive order.
22 A. Yes, I've found it.
23 Q. We can see that the decision was made on the 10th of December,
24 1993. Mr. Boban refers to certain agreements, and the Geneva agreement is
25 one the most important ones, as well as the declaration on human rights,
1 and he says that all detainee centres should be disbanded on the territory
2 of the Republic of Herceg-Bosna unconditionally.
3 From this decision --
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. From this decision, and I'm going to ask you simple questions, we
6 can see that the decision is being made by the president of the Croatian
7 Republic of Herceg-Bosna; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. From this decision we can also see that most probably before this
10 decision was taken he knew that on the territory of HR HB there were
11 detainee centres; is that right?
12 A. That is the assumption, yes.
13 Q. Let's go a little further than just mere assumption. In order to
14 make a decision of this kind there must have been knowledge about what you
15 were deciding on; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This decision is one by the president, so it is a political
18 decision which, as a rule, only the president can make based on his
19 competence and authority. You can assume that, and then we'll see that
20 that is indeed so in due course, but do you agree with me that these are
21 political decisions taken by, let's use a term that might not be
22 appropriate in this courtroom, but which is a sovereign decision? He
23 makes sovereignly. He decides to disband unconditionally these prisons
24 and that people be set at liberty. Can you agree with that?
25 A. Yes, I can agree with that.
1 Q. I'm saying this because we have had an opportunity to see such
2 decisions in the course of these proceedings. Such decisions have been
3 taken by President Boban and the president of the Presidency, Alija
4 Izetbegovic. These were the two people who such decisions. Not even
5 members of the Presidency, although the president is only the first among
6 equals. Those decisions were taken for the territories that they were
7 irrespectively in charge of, and later on the decisions were implemented
8 by those who were authorised by these two to implement them.
9 Do you know anything about that? Do you know anything about some
10 previous decisions? Were there any agreements, international accords
11 after which similar decisions would follow?
12 A. I'm not aware of such decisions, but I believe that there must
13 have been such decisions even before this one. And let me just tell you
14 that this is the first time I see this decision.
15 Q. When you were interviewed by the Prosecutor, you said on several
16 occasions that you had never seen this decision. That's why I'm showing
17 it to you today, to show you what it looks like.
18 Could you also tell me this: I believe that you have two wars
19 behind you, one in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the other in Croatia, and I'm sure
20 you can answer the following question: Can we then conclude that such
21 decisions, decisions on disbanding certain centres are within the
22 exclusive authority of the president of a state or the president of an
23 entity? When I say "entity," I'm saying this because at the moment when
24 the decision was made, the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna was an
25 entity, because if we look at this decision taken by Mr. Boban above the
1 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, it says "Bosnia-Herzegovina," which
2 means that the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna was one part or an entity
3 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Can we then conclude that such decisions are within the exclusive
5 authority of the presidents, the presidents of the Presidency, or those
6 who are authorised to lead the state or an entity?
7 A. I can't answer your are question fully, but I believe that if he
8 took this decision that it must have been within his purview as the
9 president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
10 Q. Okay. Thank you. Let's go back to something that you know much
11 better, and this is your operative work on the implementation of this
12 decision. You've already told us that after you collected some
13 information about the detainee centres that had existed at the time when
14 you arrived in the territory of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, you
15 received information that the prisons in Heliodrom and Ljubuski were
16 secured by the military police. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes. This was in the report of the acting chief of the police
18 administration of the HR -- HVO. The date is 22nd of November, 1993.
19 Q. In the course of your work were you aware of who had taken the
20 decision on the establishment of the central prison in Heliodrom?
21 A. I never saw this decision. I don't know who had passed it.
22 Q. So you don't know when this decision was passed?
23 A. No, I don't.
24 Q. You then also don't know which of the facilities among those that
25 you saw at Heliodrom was the central military prison. Wouldn't I be right
1 in saying that?
2 A. Yes, you would.
3 Q. Let's clarify this. You don't know who brought people in, how,
4 which categories of people, when were people brought to the central
5 military police? Wouldn't that be correct?
6 A. Yes, it would. I've already said that I have never been provided
7 with a full answer to that question by anybody.
8 Q. As for the prison in Gabela, you were informed that the security,
9 and I'm being very precise -- precise here, I'm not talking about
10 anybody's authorities, I'm just talking about providing security, and for
11 that prison the security was provided by the home guards?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you also establish there were prisons in police that had been
14 established by certain brigades - and let me just finish - that were
15 secured by members of the brigade military police?
16 A. Yes. I learnt that later on when I was implementing the decision
17 by the president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. And this
18 referred to the area of Rama.
19 Q. I remember that you said that yesterday, but I don't think that it
20 made its way to the record. That's why I went back to this.
21 Did you also establish that there were prisons that were secured
22 by MUP members?
23 A. Yes, in Livno and Tomislavgrad.
24 Q. Did you also establish that there were some private prisons,
25 and "private" in quotation marks?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In some units.
3 A. Yes, in certain reports, Vojno was mentioned which was never
4 treated as an accommodation facility for a -- prisoners, detainees, or
5 anybody else.
6 Q. Let me show you a document, which is very significant, in my
7 view. This document is number P 08077. I don't know whether you have
8 ever seen it before. I don't think you did. You were talking about this
9 situation and you couldn't remember something. Did you find it?
10 A. Yes, it's 077.
11 Q. This is a letter to the chief of the Main Staff -- actually, by
12 the chief the Main Staff, Mr. Roso, dated 16th March, 1994.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I don't have the time and it is not my goal to do this but I can
15 tell you that this is actually a reaction by Mr. Roso to the information
16 that he had received about Vojno that we saw within document -- document P
17 07798 that you were questioned a lot about by the Trial Chamber, and the
18 questions were to the effect whether Mr. Jukic reacted, whether Mr. Roso
19 reacted, and now we see a reaction of that sort here in this letter; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Have you ever seen this document before?
23 A. No, because at the time I was absent, but you can see that it was
24 sent to the administration of the SIS as well as the administration of the
25 police. I myself never saw it.
1 Q. Under item 1 it -- there is a mention of private prisons, and at
2 the time Mr. Roso reacted about information -- to the information about
3 Vojno. There are certain number of MOS members in private prisons; is
4 that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Yesterday, we spoke at length about the chain of command, about
7 the line of command. Look at the way General Roso as the chief of the
8 Main Staff gives a task to the SIS administration and the police
9 administration. Can you look at that, please?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Those are the situation when the chief of the Main Staff can issue
12 orders to certain sectors in the ministry and in the Ministry of Defence,
13 and we will also see a reverse situation, if we have the time.
14 In your view, sir --
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just a question, Witness. You have said with
16 regard to this document that you had never seen it, but you know that it
17 refers to Vojno. How do you know this?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume because General Roso refers
19 to the facts that he was provided by the Red Cross and the High
20 Commissioner. And these were the same letters were sent to us, some of
21 them addressed to General Roso.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And they refer to Vojno, these letters.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that based on -- pursuant to
24 the lawyer's question, I said yes, and then finally I said that I assume
25 this was the case.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
2 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] In order to clarify this, can we show
3 in e-court P 07798. I'm afraid, Your Honours, you don't have it in hard
4 copy. This is the document speaking about the information relative to
5 Vojno. I apologise. Just a moment, please bear with me.
6 Q. This was the previous document. Can the Prosecutor help me,
7 please. This is P 7787, and now it is marked as P 07798. This is in the
8 transcript, and this is the information that you were talking about.
9 A. Yes. I said that I assume that a link could be made between the
10 letter by the International Committee of the Red Cross or in the letter by
11 General Roso in which he gives the task to the administration of the SIS
12 and the military police.
13 Q. Correct. And you can see that date on the letter the 3rd
14 February, 1994. Isn't that correct? You can see it on the left-hand
16 A. Yes, I suppose so.
17 Q. You can see it on the English version since you don't have the
18 B/C/S version.
19 I would like to dwell upon these private prisons. I believe that
20 based on your military experience both in Croatia and in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina you know that these were -- these were common
22 situations that certain units would organise their private prisons, and
23 those would function until the moment somebody learnt about them and asked
24 them to do something about them. Is that correct?
25 A. I can't say that this was a common occurrence. They were isolated
1 occurrences, yes.
2 Q. I did not say common occurrences referring to a certain locality.
3 When I said "common occurrences," I am saying that this happened in all
4 units in all the militaries in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I am referring to
5 three militaries that were present there, and I am also implying the
6 Croatian army. That's why I said that this was frequent, although I know
7 that these were isolated cases.
8 A. Yes. I can talk about Bosnia-Herzegovina and say yes, but I can't
9 remember any such thing in Croatia.
10 Q. Croatia is not the topic of our conversation today at all.
11 Let's then sum up and say that you established that the prisons or
12 certain prisons were under the control of or under the security of members
13 of both military and civilian structures, and we can conclude that based
14 on the analysis that we have just done.
15 A. Yes. We may say that if you imply the Ministry of the Interior
16 when you say civilian structures. If we're talking about private prisons,
17 I don't know what you mean by civilian structures.
18 Q. Exactly what you've just said. I know that if a unit has its own
19 private prison then this is not a civilian structure. So your answer is
20 exactly what I was expecting from you.
21 You established who provided security for certain prisons, but you
22 didn't establish within which -- within whose purview they were, within
23 whose authority. Am I right in saying this?
24 A. Yes, you're right. I've already answered that question, and I
25 have already told you that to this very day I don't know under whose
1 authority they were, which ministry within which institution.
2 Q. By a decision dated 8 December 1993, you determined for the
3 military prisons in Ljubusko a company commander that would provide
4 security. Stanko Bozic was that commander; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In other words, these two centres, when it came to their security
7 they were under the authority of the Ministry of Defence of the Croatian
8 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And those centres to which civilians were transferred after this
11 date were under the authority of the civilian authorities. Am I right in
12 saying that?
13 A. I didn't say that. I could only state what was regulated by my
14 decision. And if this is an inference you can make, then I can say yes,
15 but I cannot state that for a fact because I was not in charge of that
17 Q. I have asked you about your authorities as the coordinator of the
18 entire activity, and since some of your decisions went beyond the
19 authorities that you had in the Ministry of Defence, I ascribe them to
20 your capacity as the coordinator.
21 A. Just one explanation. My decision that was issued on the 8th,
22 this was not my coordination role but my role as the assistant minister,
23 because the accommodation facility in Heliodrom and the prison in Ljubuski
24 were provided with clear authority when it came to the military police
25 security. This was not done in my role as a coordinator but as an
1 assistant minister.
2 Q. If you'll allow me, we'll come to that, but on the 8th of December
3 you did not issue an order, did you?
4 A. No. It was not an order. It was a letter.
5 Q. Well, we will -- we'll see if this was an order or not, but I
6 believe this was within the regulations.
7 A. Yes, I agree.
8 Q. You're saying that you don't know who had authority over civilian
9 prisons, i.e., whether the civilians who were not in Ljubuski and
10 Heliodrom were under the authority of civilian authorities, and you said
11 you didn't know. What civilians are you talking about?
12 A. I'm talking about the time when the definition was established as
13 to who prisoners of war were.
14 Q. But this was not on the 8th?
15 A. I'm talking about at the time when that definition was made, the
16 definition of the prisoners of war. They were placed in Heliodrom and in
17 the prison in Ljubuski.
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. We established that they could remain in prison.
20 Q. And who went to Gabela?
21 A. Those who to be exchanges or who were to go to the third
22 countries, and the fourth group were those who were released in the
23 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. From then on Gabela became a transit
24 centre which was under the authority of the International Committee of the
25 Red Cross, the service for exchanges, when it came to the implementation
1 of the decision.
2 Q. This is exactly why I asked you whether this was under the
3 authority of civilian institutions, because the implementation of that
4 task was in the hands of the civilian institutions. I hope that we would
5 understand each other when I said that.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. On the 20th of December, 1993, you passed an instruction about the
8 treatment of prisoners of war in which you stated obligations. This was a
9 regulation or an instruction how to treat prisoners of war, and you stated
10 what the obligations of the members of those who took prisoners of war
11 were, as well as the warden and the staff employed at such centres it, as
12 well as the obligations of the judiciary with regard to these individuals,
13 i.e., the judges and the prosecutor.
14 Can then one say that the authority over the newly established
15 centres or accommodation facilities of prisoners of war were -- was in the
16 hands of both the Ministry of Defence but also of the other ministries as,
17 for example, the Ministry of Justice?
18 A. Yes. The Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice, and also
19 the Ministry of Health, in the sense of health care.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, I asked you this because of an observation you
21 made in a letter to Mr. Susak on the 7th of December, 1993, and that is
22 Prosecution Exhibit - it's got a pink sticker - P 07064.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You've found it. Very well. Now, I'm going to read that sentence
25 out, and briefly could you explain it to us, because I think that there is
1 a little contradiction there. This is what you say: "From the very
2 beginning of the shelter," and I'd like to tell you that it is page 2 --
3 or, rather, paragraph 2 of page 1.
4 "From the very time that the POW shelter was formed, as well as
5 the collection centres, an organisational shortcoming was made without
6 legal foundations. Everything was placed under the authority of the
7 Ministry of Defence of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, although
8 that should not have been the way it should be done."
9 A. Well, I can accept what you say. I probably said that on the
10 basis of the fact that at that moment in time the pressure, exclusive
11 pressure to disband it all came from the Ministry of Defence of HR HB.
12 And secondly, from the letter by the head of the administration or the
13 acting head of the military police administration of the 17th of
14 November, 1993, it says that security should be provided by the Home
15 Guards Unit, and I considered that that, too, was part of the Croatian
16 Defence Council.
17 Q. Yes. You're talking about the Home Guards Unit, which was a
18 military unit and which belonged to the HVO. Is that what you're
20 A. Yes. I hope it belong to the HVO.
21 Q. Well, we're not going to guess. There's no need to do that. We
22 can establish that through witnesses who know that for certain.
23 But anyway, we have seen and you said a number of times, so we
24 have your testimony, too, that this observation of yours -- well, you say
25 that everything came under the competence of the Ministry of Defence,
1 which wasn't quite correct. We see that something came under the
2 competence of MUP too.
3 A. Yes, I agree. This is one month after my arrival, and so I allow
4 for the possibility that there were certain incorrect things there, but I
5 said on what basis I made those conclusions at the time.
6 Q. I can see that in fact almost all the information that you
7 received from Mr. Lavric's letter, that's -- they all come from
8 Mr. Lavric's report of the 22nd of November, which is P 06805, exhibit,
9 and I'm sure you know it off by heart by now, but we can take a look at it
10 nonetheless. That's where you got the information from.
11 So what you wrote to Mr. Susak, in part you rely -- or in greater
12 part you rely on this other letter; is that right? On this report.
13 A. Yes. On information from the 22nd of November to the 7th of
15 Q. I just wanted to look at this in chronological order and to
16 explain matters in that light, because I think the situation will be much
17 clearer that way.
18 After this report which you sent or the letter you sent to
19 Mr. Susak, you compiled a letter, a communication dated the 8th of
20 December, 1993. Would you look at P 07075 now, please.
21 A. What number did you say? 7075, is that it?
22 Q. Yes. It's in fact a letter we've already seen where you refer to
23 Mr. Bozic and the military police and the security to be provided by --
24 for Heliodrom and Ljubuski.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, I noticed here, and I think it would be a good idea for you
2 to explain this to us. You observe here that you establish a security
3 company to provide security for the POW shelter at Heliodrom and the
4 military investigation prison of Ljubuski. So you didn't consider
5 Ljubuski to be a shelter. Is that the difference that we're making
7 A. Yes. And everybody should make a difference between the POW
8 shelter and the military investigation prison, because members of the HVO
9 could be found in the military investigation prison.
10 Q. I see, so that -- members of who?
11 A. Members of the Croatian Defence Council against whom legal
12 proceedings are being taken.
13 Q. And what about members of the BH army, if they had committed some
14 crimes or offences?
15 A. Of course, if they had committed offences and are under criminal
17 Q. Yes. Now, I consider this to be a recommendation for this
18 situation to be regulated, and the order was issued by Mr. Lavric?
19 A. Yes.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please slow down and not
21 overlap. Thank you.
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise to the interpreters.
23 I'll slow down.
24 May we have Exhibit P 07098.
25 Q. Could you tell me when you find that document? Let me know,
1 please. P 07098. You've found it. Right.
2 A. It is an order by the acting head of the military police on the
3 basis of my letter of the 8th.
4 Q. We're dealing with the 10th of December now; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, since this is an order, and the order has the same structure
7 as your letter, as your other communication, but why is it being sent to
8 the military district of Mostar and the defence of the town of Mostar, as
9 it says below? It says, "Sent to."
10 A. Well, this is the first time that I see this order, and I really
11 can't answer that. I don't know. Maybe for logistical support, because I
12 believe that -- well, I don't know for sure, but I can only assume that
13 logistic support went through the logistic bodies of the military district
14 of Mostar, but that is just my assumption.
15 Q. Take a look at point 5. Can it have anything to do with the
16 people that it's being sent to -- or, rather, at that time --
17 A. Point 5 emanates from my own communication, from my own letter,
18 and then the head of the administration raises that point again, which I
19 think is quite in order.
20 Q. All right. If you can't tell us that's fine. I wondered if you
21 could tell it us whether during that time certain prisoners were being
22 taken away to perform labour by these units, but if you don't know
23 anything about that, we won't belabour the point.
24 A. You mean from the military district of Mostar?
25 Q. Yes, and the defence of the town of Mostar, too.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, although there's another very interesting area, I don't think
3 I'll have time to go into that, so let's finish off with this.
4 On the 13th of December, 1993, you issue an order.
5 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] And may I have the next document on
6 e-court, please, P 07149.
7 Q. Tell me when you've found it.
8 A. Yes, I've found it.
9 Q. By this order you determine that POWs should be transferred from
10 the collection centres to the POW shelter at Heliodrom, and the detainees
11 who did not belong to that category should be sent to Gabela.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Perhaps you can help me out here. When I said that you decided or
14 issued an order about the transfer of these individuals, and I'm referring
15 to point 2, that persons who were not in the POW category should be
16 transferred to Gabela and that the commission for the exchange from the
17 office of the -- of displaced persons and refugees should be taken over,
18 this isn't civilian power and authority. It is an order that from
19 Heliodrom those should be transferred who do not belong to that category;
20 is that right?
21 A. Yes. From Heliodrom persons were to be transferred who, on the
22 basis of the categorisation, came under the competence of the office for
23 exchanges in order to be exchanged. And we said that the transit centre
24 was Gabela, when the order of the president of HR HB came for the
25 disbanding of the centres, so that it exclusively refers to people being
1 transferred from Heliodrom to Gabela.
2 Q. Right. In point 1 of this order we see that in actual fact lists
3 had already been compiled of prisoners or detainees who belonged to the
4 prisoner of war category; is that right?
5 A. Yes. Or, rather, the word "prisoners of war" or "detainees"
6 appears -- war detainees appears quite often, but prisoners of war would
7 be a better term. Those who stayed in the POW shelter. So from all the
8 other collection centres, the people who remained at Heliodrom were to be
9 transferred to Heliodrom. That's the first point.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I do not suppose having heard you for
11 four days that you want to tell us that, and I quote, "people who remained
12 at Heliodrom were to be transferred to Heliodrom"? That's lines 9 and 10
13 of page 69. You did not want to say that?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. What I wanted to
15 say was the following: The first point implies the fact that all
16 detainees from other collection centres in -- that are in the category of
17 detainees and remain within the POW shelter at Heliodrom should be
18 transferred to Heliodrom.
19 The second point is that those who were already at Heliodrom and
20 did not belong to the category of detainees on the basis of the
21 implementation of the decision were to go to Gabela, which was a transit
23 Is that clear or shall I explain it once again?
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I just don't quite understand why persons who are
25 to remain in Heliodrom should be transferred to Heliodrom.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not say that the
2 people from Heliodrom were to be transferred to Heliodrom. We spoke about
3 the implementation of the decision to close the collection centres, such
4 as Gabela, Rama, Livno, Tomislavgrad, and of course Heliodrom.
5 Now, those people who from the other collection centres were
6 supposed to remain incarcerated were brought to Heliodrom, and this was
7 regulated by point 1. Those who were at Heliodrom to begin with and
8 needed to go to third countries or to the BH army side or to be released
9 on the territory of HR HB were transferred to Gabela and competence and
10 authority over them was taken by the commission for the exchanges and the
11 office for displaced persons and refugees in cooperation with the ICRC.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. This is clear.
13 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, just a follow-up question
14 to be more precise. During your mandate, term of office, during the time
15 you exercised your functions, were there detainees who had been condemned
16 by military courts, convicted by military or civilian courts, and if so,
17 where were they incarcerated? Where were they kept? If you know whether
18 there were any convictions, and where were these people held?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that I answered
20 that question in a way earlier on. All those who stayed in the POW
21 shelter at had Heliodrom, a criminal report was filed against them while I
22 was in the area, but until then no legal proceedings were taken against
23 them, and all of them were exchanged for those persons captured on the BH
24 army side. And this was sometime at the end of April when this process
25 was completed. Of course on the basis of the agreement of a truce and
1 cease-fire and everything else.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would just like to add a
3 question to what my colleague just said. Your answer isn't very clear.
4 My colleague wants to know whether the military courts, military
5 Tribunals, condemned and convicted, whether there was a trial, whether
6 there were legal proceedings and whether persons were convicted and
7 condemned to a term in prison. In a word, did the military tribunals
8 function? Did the military courts function, to the best of your
9 knowledge? You arrived in November. Perhaps you don't know.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The military courts started
11 functioning. Now, if somebody was convicted they didn't come under the
12 authority of the military police but under the Ministry of Justice.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're not answering the
14 question. My question was whether the military courts, tribunals,
15 functioned, and, if so, as of what date? You weren't answering the
16 question exactly. Perhaps you don't know, but that's my impression. You
17 either know this or you don't know this. So there can't be any ambiguity
18 and approximative answer to that question.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, then I'd hear say that
20 I don't know much about the work of the military courts and military
21 prosecutor's office. The fact is that they had been established, and at
22 the meeting when we discussed the disbanding of the collection centres,
23 there were representatives of the military court of Mostar, Livno, the
24 military prosecutor of Mostar, and the military prosecutor's office of
25 Livno. They were all present. So I do believe that they were
1 functioning, but they didn't come under my competence and authority, so I
2 don't really have any information about that.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
4 MS. NOZICA: [No interpretation]
5 [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, I have the documents
6 that would partly answer those questions of yours. I've been receiving
7 English interpretation in my headphones. I have a document in my binder
8 about the work of the military courts and military prosecutor's office, so
9 we may be able to clarify this in a minute.
10 Q. I've asked you about the selection that was carried out, and this
11 was carried out by the commission which were established at the meeting to
12 coordinate the whole thing, if we can call it that way.
13 A. Yes, those were teams, four teams for four collection centres that
14 existed at the time.
15 Q. Four teams for four collection centres. Very well. Do you know
16 that even previously there were orders to the effect that there should --
17 a list of all the detainees should have been made, that they should be
18 categorised? Did you ever come across such orders previously?
19 A. No, never.
20 Q. Let's take a look at P 07148. The -- this is the record, and my
21 colleague Ibrisimovic asked you about this document which was issued on
22 the 11th December 1993. Have you found it? I'm referring to pages 5 and
23 6 in the B/C/S, and these are pages 11, 12, and 13 in the English
24 version. Can we please look at the members of these teams and what their
25 functions were.
1 Can we conclude that the -- let's look at Gabela, Heliodrom,
2 Livno, and Prozor. Would you agree with me that these were members of the
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Of the military police?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The prosecutor's office?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. The military tribunal?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And a member of the MUP?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And in Heliodrom we have a doctor?
14 A. There was a doctor in Gabela as well.
15 Q. These were mostly representatives or members of the team whose
16 task was to do what they were said to do, which was on page 6 in B/C/S and
17 13 in English; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. It arises from these -- from the structure that there were no
20 commanders as members of the team. The commander of Heliodrom was not a
21 member of the team, although he had only been appointed by you as company
23 A. Yes. We believed that they could not be members of these teams,
24 that these should be people who had nothing whatsoever to do with the
25 accommodation centres or shelters.
1 Q. At that moment.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Personal.
4 A. Yes, personal. In that -- in other words, they were not employed
5 at the shelters.
6 Q. Yes. That's what I meant. At the meeting on 13 December -- and
7 this is the following document, P 07148. I'll refer you to page 4 in the
8 B/C/S version and page 9 in the English version.
9 A. Are you talking about the 13th? Are you referring to 748?
10 Q. No, 714 --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Can the counsel please repeat the number?
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
13 Q. I'm talking about page 4 in the Croatian version, and in the
14 English version this is page 9, paragraph 6. The number is P 07143, just
15 for the transcript.
16 Did you find what Mr. Pogarcic has said? This is towards the end
17 of the page. He says that criminal charges should be raised against
18 individuals who are in the category of prisoners of war.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And the problem this -- that was being mentioned all the time;
21 that was very topical. I would like to link it to the work of the
22 judiciary and prosecutor's office -- offices at the time. I would kindly
23 ask you to look at Exhibit P 06863.
24 Did you find it?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This is from the district military prosecutor's office in Mostar,
2 25 November 1993. They submitted information to the Ministry of Justice
3 and the administration of Mostar about the number of criminal reports that
4 they had received against members of the MOS, standing for the Muslim
5 armed forces; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And follows a list of names, but there's no need for you to go
8 into the list. The list contains 539 names; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I would like to state here that this letter is dated before the
11 meeting when Mr. Pogarcic said that criminal reports should be filed
12 against certain persons; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, it is. But criminal proceedings are not the same thing as
14 criminal reports. I don't know whether Mr. Pogarcic knew the
16 Q. Mr. Pogarcic mentioned criminal reports.
17 A. I believe that he meant criminal proceedings.
18 Q. I apologise. We'll come back to that.
19 Look at page 4.
20 A. Remind me of the number of the document.
21 Q. The number of the document is P 07143. Again the meeting was held
22 on the 13th. It won't be difficult for you to find it. On page 4,
24 A. I apologise. I was reading the passage below. Could you go on
25 and read it? The one above is okay. Mr. Pogacic believed that criminal
1 reports should be filed, and I was reading the passage in which
2 Mr. Pogacic said that there should be criminal proceedings carried out. I
3 misunderstood you.
4 Q. As my colleague Karnavas would say, can we take things at a time?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In order to avoid ambiguities
6 and for the benefit of the Judges, the document issued by the military
7 prosecutor on the 25th of November refers -- I'm looking at Mr. Arif
8 Pasalic. There is a list of 539 persons. Was he in prison or not? Was
9 this document compiled based on complaints of the persons who were
10 outside, who were not in there?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can't answer your
12 question because I don't know.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But Mr. Arif Pasalic, you knew
14 him, didn't you? Did you know who Mr. Arif Pasalic was?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard of Mr. Arif Pasalic, and I
16 believe he was the commander of a BiH army corps, if I'm not mistaken. I
17 the can't be sure of that, but name does ring a bell.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well then. So this list
19 mentions individuals who were not detained at the time, but there was
20 investigation against them; is that correct.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will repeat that I
22 don't know exactly. I can't answer your question. I don't know the
23 answer to your question.
24 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I knew that you would
25 raise this question, that you would notice that, but since we are in open
1 session, I can't --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Judges notice everything.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Can you look at the name under number
4 4? We are not going to mention the name in open session. This is a
5 witness that was heard here and that on that day was in Heliodrom because
6 he had been exchanged on the 29th of March, 1994. He was to be exchanged
7 on that date. So this list also contains the name of the people who were
8 at the Heliodrom at the time and remained there until they were finally
9 exchanged, but it also contains the names of the people who were at large
10 at the time. But that is topic that we will approach with other
12 Q. What I'm saying, Mr. Witness, is that the military prosecutor's
13 offices and judiciary worked at the time, that they filed criminal
14 reports, and so on and so forth?
15 A. Yes, of course the military worked. They filed reports. I
16 believe that the court also worked, as was the prosecutor's office. This
17 was not within my purview so I can't talk about that.
18 Q. Let's say something else about the -- about the court, although it
19 is very -- probably difficult for the Trial Chamber to understand. Do you
20 know how long would proceedings for such crimes last today? Would it have
21 been possible for somebody to be convicted within two or three months at
22 the time? Would it be possible today? Do you know that?
23 A. I will only say that it would not be serious to pass any
24 judgements within such a short period of time, but this is the only thing
25 I can tell you because I don't have any experience in that area.
1 Q. Do you agree with me since you were involved in such work as well
2 that every criminal report that is filed implies certain operative work,
3 checking information, and that it is only then that it is submitted to
4 the prosecutor's office, that the prosecutor also performs checks, and
5 it is only then that it is submitted to the court and -- and it is only
6 then that the court will start proceedings against the individual in
8 A. Yes. This is the procedure that was in place.
9 Q. It was in place then, and it is in place now?
10 A. Yes.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Trechsel.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I just recall that this witness is in no way an
13 expert in the administration of justice or criminal justice.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe you should move on to
15 another topic, because the witness has told you that else not familiar
16 with the practices of the judiciary. Don't waste your time on time.
17 There is also the Judges' time, and the Judges can ask questions on
18 anything, and this they do in your interest and in the interest of
19 justice. In this particular area, I mean.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I -- my questions arose
21 from your questions. Your Honours asked whether these people had been
22 convicted. I just wanted to hear from the witness who participated in the
23 course of his regular work in all the pre-trial phases of the proceedings,
24 and I asked for his opinion. I did not expect him to provide his expert
25 opinion, and this is not what I was after.
1 Q. And finally, can we look at the next exhibit P 07269. This is
2 your instruction or your guidance about the way prisoners of war should be
3 treated. Can you tell me whether you have found it?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Can we please look at number 1, taking prisoners. We can see the
6 obligations that we have already mentioned, and these are the obligations
7 on the part of the persons who were taking prisoners. And you state
8 herein that -- this is under item 2, "Bringing in captives." It says that
9 the duty officer in the shelter is duty-bound to take over prisoners of
10 war from the persons who have brought them had in. And the remark here is
11 that the person who -- can you please read it for us, because there is a
12 typo here.
13 A. Yes, there is a typo, so the word is who "brings them in." This
14 is a typo.
15 Q. So the persons who brings them in as to right a letter indicating
16 all the personal data of the prisoners, place and time of the capturing,
17 which actions were taken against them, and which actions are expected to
18 be taken against these individuals.
19 This is only logical. Do you believe that such instruction had
20 existed even before in the HVO? Mr. Praljak has shown you a document,
21 which I'll not be able to show you again, and this document says something
22 to the same effect, that every soldier had to be aware of the fact that
23 the captive had to be handed over to their subordinates who had to follow
24 the procedure.
25 A. I believe there were such documents. General Praljak showed such
1 documents yesterday and I explained why I repeated an act of the sort, why
2 I reissued it.
3 Q. Yes. I was after that information. You knew that they existed.
4 You just reached them. Now, that we have looked at all of the documents
5 that originates from you, I would like to ask you three concluding
6 questions that refer to this particular area.
7 I have not asked you anything about the category of civilians.
8 Judge Antonetti at one point asked you during the examination-in-chief
9 about detained civilians, and you said in your answer, both on your chief
10 as well as on cross-examination, that civilians could be removed from the
11 areas of war operations into centres, and that in that case they were
12 under the exclusive authority of the civilian authorities. And I'm
13 referring to the Red Cross, the ministry for carrying -- about civilian
14 prisoners. Am I right?
15 A. Yes. This is what I said. This is what I meant.
16 Q. Based on the documents that we have seen about the disbanding of
17 accommodation centres, we can see that the structures of the ministry of
18 defence were involved, and I'm referring to the SIS and the military
19 police, as well always the structures of the civilian authorities. And we
20 saw that there were commissions of different nature. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. According to you, these structures, including military units that
23 were involved in taking prisoners, had they had a previous obligation to
24 treat prisoners of war and detainees in a certain way?
25 A. I believe so, that -- because everybody who considers themselves a
1 soldier should be aware of the basic rules of treating prisoners of war or
2 civilians who were involved in war activities.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I need another three minutes for
4 another exhibit that is very important, but I believe the time is to take
5 our next break. Maybe you could tell me how much time I have spent so far
6 and whether I will be able to finish for the next three minutes.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you have the three minutes,
8 and finish within these three minutes, and by doing that you will have
9 finished your cross-examination.
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Sir, this is very important to me. Yesterday you were shown a
12 document, an exhibit, P 0787 [as interpreted]. Can you please look at it
13 in your binder. P 07878. I'm sure you will remember this document.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you please turn to the following page -- we know more or less
16 what the document is about. We have analysed it. But look at the first
17 page, that's the page I'm interested in. On page 1 you see a list of
18 individuals. This is the following page in the B/C/S version. I believe
19 that the witness has located it.
20 Under the list it says, "Kaznjenicka Siroki Brijeg, Siroki Brijeg,
21 pursuant to the order of the coordinator from the president's office,
22 Mr. Tomo Sakota, on the 1st of December, 1993."
23 A. I can see that.
24 Q. Yesterday you were asked by the Prosecutor whether Mr. Tomo Sakota
25 had been appointed as a coordinator?
1 A. I said I didn't know what his role as a coordinator was.
2 Q. Can we please look at the following exhibit, which is P 07341.
3 A. P 07341?
4 Q. Yes, that's the number. Could you please look at the last page to
5 see who the signatory of the document is? And this is actually the second
6 page of the document.
7 A. Yes, Tomo Sakota.
8 Q. Right. Tomo Sakota. And can you give me the date?
9 A. The 26th of December.
10 Q. 1993; right? So there's no doubt that it's the same person. And
11 we can take a look at the first sentence on first page just to confirm
12 what it said previously.
13 A. It says that the coordinator for inmates and prisoners of war on
14 the territory of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, that he was
16 Q. And what does it say?
17 A. As coordinator for inmates and prisoners of war on the territory
18 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. I was appointed by President
19 Mate Boban.
20 Q. Can we agree that it's the same person?
21 A. Well, I assume there weren't two people with the same first and
22 last names.
23 Q. Thank you for that answer.
24 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] And that completes my
25 cross-examination, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the transcript, and what I'm
2 going say concerns Mr. Karnavas and Counsel Nozica, you speak of Tomo
3 Sakota. In the document presented by Mr. Karnavas, at page 157 -- 2757 it
4 says, Tomo Sakota who was an object of somebody who was being looked for.
5 Is that the same person?
6 But we're going to take a 20-minute break and reconvene at five
7 minutes past 6.00.
8 This is a person that's being pursued.
9 Now, if there's time left over I'll give the floor to Counsel
10 Alaburic and Mr. Praljak, Mr. Mundis.
11 --- Recess taken at 5.46 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 6.06 p.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. Before
14 I give the floor to Mr. Mundis, an oral decision concerning a Defence
15 request with respect to the admission of exhibits. Mr. Kovacic has asked
16 to exceed the number of words. So the Chamber has considered the matter
17 and allows Mr. Kovacic to exceed the number of words.
18 Mr. Mundis.
19 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, with all due respect, I'm wondering
20 about the procedural road that we're going down with respect to redirect
21 examination, perhaps to be followed by reopening of cross-examination.
22 I'm -- to be quite frank, the general practice has been in most trials
23 here that the party calling the witness is given the final opportunity for
24 redirect examination and the motion of reopening or reopening
25 cross-examination should be based upon -- if it were to be based upon the
1 re-examination then it's, of course, impossible for the Defence to know
2 what issues I'm re-directing on.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're quite right. I
4 understood it that Mr. Praljak and Counsel Alaburic didn't want to broach
5 new subjects. That's not permitted, as you said, but to be more specific
6 on certain points. So in the interests of the Defence, the Chamber is
7 going to grant them that opportunity. You can have your redirect. They
8 can have their 10 minutes. And if by chance, although that would be -- if
9 they overstepped that ruling, then I would give you the floor again. If
10 they did broach a new topic. So rest assured that your rights are
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, if I may, and I'm speaking on behalf
13 of my client, and I'm sure other Defence feel the same way, under this
14 procedure, one counsel could get up and implicate, say, somebody else, or
15 might have an effect on another accused, and therefore now others might
16 want to ask questions as well. So I'm not saying I disagree with the
17 Court's ruling, but, you know, others may wish to then re-clarify the
18 clarifying point that hadn't been clarified in the initial cross.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, what did you wish
20 to clarify? What point?
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I wanted to clarify what the
22 law governing the armed forces was, who enacts what decisions, what the
23 armed forces are in war, what the supreme commander is, what the
24 relationship is between the chief of the Main Staff to engage forces, but
25 if you don't think that is necessary, then I won't do that.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think that we could consider
2 those matters with other witnesses. There will be other witnesses to
3 address those issues, but we have understood your concerns, and we'll deal
4 with that with other witnesses.
5 Counsel Alaburic.
6 There'll be other witnesses that you can ask those questions of.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we keep waiting
8 for an expert witness, an expert witness on the army to clarify certain
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of
11 Mr. Coric yesterday broached numerous subjects with respect to the work of
12 the military police, and I consider that they are exceptionally important
13 in these proceedings, and my colleague, Ms. Tomasegovic, did not have
14 enough time, as she said herself, to look through all the documents and
15 round off the topics she had.
16 Now, since we have a witness here who is extremely well-versed in
17 military police matters, and I'll tell you the subjects exactly, the
18 combat engagement of military police units, because it remained unclear
19 who was authorised to decide on engaging the military police in combat.
20 We can resolve that question in two minutes. Also, the military police
21 battalions in the operative zones and whether they are subordinated to the
22 commanders of the operative zones. And the third important subject is the
23 brigade military police which was not within the establishment of the
24 regular military police. That's not contested, but it would be important
25 to establish the tasks and assignments of the military police.
1 Now, in 10 minutes' time we can deal with those matters on the
2 basis of a few documents.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] He has already answered those
4 three questions. I personally could give you answers to those three
5 questions myself, but you seem to feel that the witness has not answered
6 them. I'll give you the 10 minutes.
7 What did you want to add, Ms. Tomic?
8 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I would just like to say
9 that since there's going to be direct reference to my client and questions
10 that deal with his responsibility and accountability in this trial, I
11 think it would be highly unjust that, after Ms. Alaburic, I was not given
12 additional time to deal with the problems that Mr. Karnavas raised before
13 me, and I completely agree with what he said.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The questions that she's going
15 to ask are questions that were already broached, and we had a document on
16 them. So, Counsel Alaburic, you have 10 minutes, not a minute more, to
17 ask your three questions, but as far as I'm concerned I think the witness
18 has already answered them. Perhaps you didn't realise this.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
20 prepared a set of documents, and if they haven't been distributed amongst
21 Your Honours, please may they be distributed, and I have a set for the
22 witness too.
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have to
24 react. These are not just three questions. These are documents that
25 we're going to it show now, new documents we're going to be looking at,
1 and I really object. I think I have every right to cross-examine on these
2 documents after my colleague Ms. Alaburic.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I have no -- nothing against
4 Ms. Tomic asking additional questions.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Use your 10 minutes, and then
8 we'll see whether we're going to allow Ms. Tomic to reply. You took us by
9 surprise. I didn't think you were going to raise some new documents.
10 During the break we spoke with the registrar about a document -- about
11 files with 1.000 exhibits, and now we have hundreds and hundreds of
12 documents to deal with every day. So one should be superhuman to get
13 through all this. And now, to top everything, you present us with
14 another 150 pages of documents that we're going to have to assimilate in
15 the space of 10 minutes' time. Now, we're not superhuman, so I'd like to
16 let you know that, but go ahead with your 10 minutes.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I completely agree
18 that if you so desire I -- I won't be tendering these documents into
19 evidence, but they could just serve as a basis for my questions, because
20 we'll get through this much faster than we would without these
22 Further cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Biskic, yesterday General Praljak and
24 Mr. Coric asked you questions about the light assault battalions both in
25 the Republic of Croatia and in HR HB. So I'd like to ask you the
1 following: Were they military police battalions which were established to
2 take part in combat activities?
3 A. Madam, Counsel, let me repeat the answer I gave you yesterday. I
4 said that in the Republic of Croatia there was a Light Assault Battalion
5 of the military police intended to perform combat operations. As far as
6 the light assault battalions of the military police, I don't know why
7 they -- what they were specifically intended for, because in the military
8 police of the Croatian army we had anti-terrorist units. They were
9 intervention forces to deal with the most complex military and police
11 Q. All right. Let's move on and we'll see on the basis of the
12 documents. Can we agree, to begin with, that up until the 1st of
13 September, 1993, on the territory of the Herceg-Bosna, one Light Assault
14 Battalion existed which covered the whole of the Herceg-Bosna territory,
15 and after that, subsequently, four light assault battalions were
16 established for each operative zone, one for each operative zone? Do we
17 agree on that score?
18 A. I said when I spoke about the establishment up to my arrival that
19 there existed four battalions in the military districts or for South-east,
20 Western and Eastern Bosnia, and Posavina, and that there were four light
21 assault battalions in each of those zones. That's how I understood the
23 Q. All right. Now take a look at document P 00978, please, and it
24 is -- they are rules and the systematisation of tasks in the
25 administration of the MP, military police, and I'd like to look at point 1
1 which relates to the chief of the military police. What were his tasks or
2 authorisations? He was in charge of managing and organising the work of
3 the military police administration. He performed functions of cooperation
4 with the organs and services of the HZ HB. He commanded military police
5 units, and in brackets it says battalions in the operative zone and the
6 Light Assault Brigade.
7 Now, my question is based on this break-up of posts, does it not
8 emerge that the chiefs of the military police had authority to command
9 both battalions in the operative areas or military districts and the Light
10 Assault Battalion -- Light Assault Brigade?
11 A. That's what it says here.
12 Q. All right. Let's move on to the next document which you've
13 already seen. It is P 00957. And the document is from the head of the
14 defence department and chief of the military police administration dated
15 December 1992 on the establishment of the military police. And look at
16 page 1, please, line 7, and it says the 1st Battalion of the military
17 police is directly linked to the military police administration and it is
18 active in that respect, and pursuant to an order by the chief it can be
19 active all over the territory of the HZ HB.
20 From this document, does it emerge that the Light Assault
21 Battalion is commanded by the chief of the administration of the military
22 police? Is that right?
23 A. Yes, but I didn't understand it that it talks about Light Assault
24 Battalions. This is an active battalion. I suppose it was attached to
25 the department for defence and that's why it was engaged all over the
1 territory of HR HB.
2 Q. Would you read out the third sentence? It says the 1st Company,
3 et cetera, et cetera, specially trained and so on and so on. So that's
4 what we're dealing here. That the company within the frameworks of this
5 active battalion was precisely this Light Assault Battalion that we are
6 talking about; is that right?
7 A. I can't confirm that answer because I understand this differently.
8 Perhaps I'm wrong, but as far as I'm concerned the Light Assault
9 Battalions of the military police were established later, not on the 26th
10 of December.
11 Q. Sir, it says for this active battalion it is composed of the
12 command, the communications, and three companies. The 1st Company is the
13 light assault unit specially trained for emergency interventions or
14 anti-terrorist activity.
15 So from this, can we conclude that we are dealing with a unit
16 which is capacitated to act as an Anti-Terrorist Unit just like the light
17 assault brigades or, rather, the units of the military police in the
18 Republic of Croatia?
19 A. I said that in Croatia we had a special anti-terrorist military
20 police and the Light Assault Brigade was different.
21 Now, in the armed forces it was just for combat operations and
22 came under the chief of the Main Staff fully, under his command
23 completely, and the anti-terrorist units were within the composition
24 of the military police and it was the battalion commander who was in
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly speak more slowly. It
2 is impossible to translate at this rate. Thank you.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [No interpretation]
4 [Interpretation] Because I have so little time, I apologise. I'm
5 trying to squeeze everything into the little time.
6 Q. Mr. Biskic, just for the record, I have referred you to the
7 regulations on the work of the administration of the military police, but
8 we cannot compare. We don't have the time.
9 A. I can explain, if the Trial Chamber wishes me to do so.
10 Q. Maybe at the end if I have another minute left, because I want to
11 go through the following questions. Tell me, please -- go to page 3,
13 On page 3, the third paragraph from the bottom, does it say that
14 the MP administration commands all units of the military police?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. Can you now look at document 4D 00509. I don't know
17 whether we have it in the e-court. This is a scheme of the military
18 police which was taken from a report of the military police for this first
19 half of 1993.
20 A. You're talking about the regulation?
21 Q. No. I'm talking about the scheme. And the document number is 4D
22 00509. This is a scheme, and just for an additional explanation I will
23 tell you what document the scheme has been taken from. I'm showing the
24 document. It is in the electronic court. Mr. Biskic, according to your
25 information, is this the way the military police was organised from 1st of
1 July, 1993?
2 A. Yes. This is the organisation that I found when I went down
3 there, but this organisation is not the same as it was on the 26th of
5 Q. Absolutely not. This would be reorganised military police. But
6 the document that we spoke about a while ago from 1992 is one type of
7 organisation, and the new document speaks about the organisation that was
8 in place in 1993.
9 According to what you know, Mr. Biskic, the assistant chiefs of
10 the MP administration, were they given the authorities of the chiefs of
11 the MP administration, and were they in the control of the light assault
12 company as well as the companies within their territory?
13 A. Yes. This is how I understood these documents when they were
14 shown to me by the Defence of Mr. Valentin Coric.
15 Q. Let's look at document P 03000. This is a letter by the chief
16 of the MP administration, Mr. Coric, dated 28 June 1993, in which he
17 wrote to all the commanders of the military police companies about the
18 new reorganisation that was to be put in place on the 1st of July 1993.
19 Can we look at the 3rd Company -- third paragraph from the bottom
20 it says the merger of all the military police activities by military
21 assault company and military police company in the operative zone will be
22 carried out by the assistant commander for that zone who will be in
23 command of the companies. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. We were talking about the combat operations of the MP units, and
1 you told us that in December 1993 the military police no longer was
2 engaged in any combat operations. Could you please tell us whether the
3 reason for that was the fact that light assault companies were separated
4 from the military police, they were disbanded, and members of these light
5 assault companies were -- became members of the HVO? Was that the
7 A. I suppose that this was one of the reasons. So the answer is
8 yes. But even before the light assault -- light assault companies were
9 disbanded, I asked the chief of the Main Staff to issue an order, and this
10 was issued but it was implemented only towards the end of December, but
11 the fact is that light assault companies were the foundation of the
12 organisation of guards brigades.
13 Q. I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that in the
14 document you have already seen several times over the past several days
15 about the meeting of the officers of the military police, which took
16 place on the -- 14 December. On page 6 of the Croatian text, Mr. Lavric's
17 words were recorded to the effect that light assault units were disbanded
18 and would from then on be under the authority of the Main Staff of the
20 Could you please look at document P 03778. This is an order by
21 the chief of the MP administration, dated 28 July 1993. And by this order
22 it is ordered to several military units, which I'm not going to go
23 through, everybody can read them -- those for themselves, these units of
24 the military police will be resubordinated to the commander of the HVO or
25 the commander of the respective operative zone that the commander
2 Does it arise from this paragraph that the chief of the military
3 police was authorised to resubordinate the units of the military police to
4 an HVO commander?
5 A. Yes. This arises from this order.
6 Q. Let's look at the following paragraph. It says here, the
7 assistant chiefs are authorised to issue an order based on their best
8 judgement to involve other companies or platoons of the military police
9 within their operative zones in the aforementioned companies.
10 Does it arise from this that further combat engagement of the
11 military police was something that an officer of the military police was
12 authorised to decide on?
13 Can we please look at the third paragraph? It says here:
14 "Assistant chiefs -- assistant chief are duty-bound to --"
15 Mr. Biskic, could you please repeat the answer to the question
16 whether the additional engagement of the units of the military police in
17 combat operations was something that an officer of the military police was
18 authorised to decide?
19 A. Yes. Assistant chiefs were authorised to act on this decision.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My colleagues are saying that
21 you have exhausted your time, Ms. Alaburic.
22 Mr. Coric, is there something that doesn't make -- doesn't tally
23 in the witness's answers? You're an expert. We have already seen the
24 documents. There's nothing new. Is there something that calls for a
25 clarification on the part of the witness? If that is the case, go ahead
1 he and put your questions to the witness.
2 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would
3 like to point to the document that is on the screen. I would like to
4 show the document that preceded this document. It will take me only two
5 minutes. It is in my binder. Maybe the document that my colleague has
6 just shown be put on e-court. This is P 03778. Can we please have it on
7 e-court again. The colleague asked for it a minute ago. And can we
8 please look at the heading where it says: "In keeping with the order of
9 the head of the defence department, number 02/1/914-93, dated 28 July
11 Let's keep this in our memory. And then I would call for another
12 document in e-court, and the Judges have in it in my binder.
13 Unfortunately I did not have time to show these documents yesterday. I
14 was going to but I didn't have the time. This is document P 02002 -- 5D
15 02002. 5D 02002, can we have this on e-court.
16 While we're waiting for the document to be placed on the e-court,
17 this is an order that Mr. Coric is referring to dated 28 July 1993. The
18 order is on the operative resubordination of the military police and to
19 avoid reading the entire document, I'm going to read just 1, 2, and 3.
20 "All units of the military police which are to be added to the
21 force, of the HVO until the task is completed shall be resubordinated to
22 the commander of the HVO.
23 "The military police in that case shall carry out tasks that will
24 be given to it by the commander of the HVO.
25 "I hereby request that all units of the military police should be
1 provided with this order as soon as possible in order to avoid any future
2 misunderstandings between the commander of the HVO and the commander of
3 the HV -- military police."
4 In this regard I have two very short and very simple questions.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Go ahead and ask your questions.
6 Further cross-examination by Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, yesterday I showed you a report for the
8 period from January to June. I told you also there would be
9 reorganisation and this would be carried out in order to be more operative
10 in the times of war. Was it customary or is it customary in every armed
11 force in the world, when they're faced with a war, that in an a single
12 operative zone all units are resubordinated to the strongest unit by
13 formation, and that for the troops to function and for the troops to carry
14 out their combat tasks and all the other tasks on the ground that this
15 resubordination means a merger of all units and that in this case the
16 assistant chief of the operative zone, regardless of the formal link-up
17 with the military police in the performance of his tasks, it would be the
18 chief of the operative zone who would be his superior. That's my
20 A. Yes. If you look at these two orders, then this is what arises
21 from these two orders.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no
24 further questions.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] If you will allow me, Your Honour.
1 If you will allow me, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Mr. -- we are
3 not going into any further discussions.
4 Mr. Coric, do you have in -- a question that would arise from the
5 witness's answers and that have to do with your position, the position
6 that you held at the time?
7 Further cross-examination by the Accused Coric:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Given my questions yesterday, which were more
9 detailed and more specific about combat activities, would you adhere to
10 yours answers to those questions?
11 A. Yes, I would adhere to my answers that I gave yesterday, and to
12 the answers that I provided about the specific documents.
13 Q. I'm going to repeat that question that was put to you by my
14 lawyer. In any operative zone, when there are combat operations going
15 on --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are -- you are repeating the
17 same question. Is --
18 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] I have not finished my
19 question, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Go ahead then, but we were under
21 the impression that you repeating the same question which was not the
23 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Could the military police be in charge of the cooperative
25 operations in an operative zone without the commander of that operative
2 A. No.
3 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Nozica, you wanted a
6 clarification on a document.
7 This could last forever. One document and another document, a
8 document arising from a document.
9 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] It's not going to take for ages. Two
10 documents where Bruno Stojic have been shown and I'm now in a situation to
11 seek clarification, but what I'm trying to tell to the Trial Chamber is
12 that there's no need for us to do this through this witness. We will have
13 experts on the side of the Prosecution and on the side of the Defence who
14 will be better suited to clarify all of this. This is what I'm -- I'm
15 saying, because some documents that originated from my client have been
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If you allow me just two words
18 because I would like to provide some explanations to my colleagues. If
19 we had had some more time, then my colleagues would have shown documents
20 that would have not caused this misunderstanding, and we are not
21 disputing the authorities of an HVO commander of the units of the military
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, your additional
24 questions. You're additional questions have to be directly linked to the
25 questions that were put in the course of the cross-examination, but I'm
1 sure you know that.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Re-examination by Mr. Mundis:
4 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Biskic.
5 A. Good evening.
6 Q. I have just a few questions, and they mainly stem from two precise
7 or two discrete topics. One of them, sir, relates to some questions put
8 to you by Ms. Alaburic yesterday concerning the relationship, if you will,
9 between a newly formed army and that army's compliance with the law, and
10 let me start by asking you this, sir: It's certainly the case that in the
11 time period that you were in Bosnia-Herzegovina the HVO was still in the
12 process of being formed. Is that your opinion? Is that your view?
13 A. Well, the HVO, I would say, was at war all the time, in the
14 process of formation o being re-established or established.
15 Q. Can you tell us, sir, the relationship between an army in the
16 process of being established under wartime conditions and the obligations
17 of commanders in such -- faced with such a situation to ensure compliance
18 with international law obligations?
19 A. At all levels of command starting out from a squad commander and
20 then further up, everybody at his level must take the measure -- the kind
21 of measures that you've just mentioned.
22 Q. Well, my question, sir, was a little bit more precise. When an
23 army is in the process of being established under wartime conditions, what
24 impact, if any, does that have upon these obligations of military
25 commanders to ensure compliance with the law?
1 A. If I've understood the question correctly, then my answer would be
2 the following: Of course it is more difficult to wage a war, at the same
3 time, to maintain security over the army, security in the area where
4 combat operations are taking place, and further afield as well, if I
5 understand your question correctly.
6 Q. Well, the answer, sir, seems to go to maintaining security over
7 the army and security in the area, but my question really goes to the
8 obligation of the commander to ensure compliance with international law
9 obligations. Do those obligations continue notwithstanding the fact that
10 the army in question is in the process of being established under wartime
12 A. Yes. I said yes, but of course it was difficult to ensure that
13 all that was applied. But of course that is what one must do regardless
14 of the prevailing conditions and conditions under which one has to
16 Q. I'd next like to turn, perhaps with the assistance of the
17 registrar, to P 04756, which was a document which was shown to you
18 yesterday. Perhaps we can have that in e-court, P 04756.
19 Mr. Biskic, do you remember looking at this document yesterday?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can we please go in the B/C/S version or Croatian version to page
22 3, and the English version to page 4. And I'm specifically, sir, asking
23 you to take -- or to turn your attention to item 3. Do you see that in
24 the document, sir?
25 A. I can't see the beginning of item 3.
1 Q. Perhaps if it's --
2 A. I can see page 3. I can see item 4 and part of the text of item 3
3 but not the whole of it.
4 Q. If we can go in the Croatian version to page 2. I believe it
5 starts at the bottom of page 2. And then if we could then go to --
6 A. I can see the beginning of that sentence now.
7 Q. If we could then go to the following page in the Croatian version,
9 Now, yesterday, I believe it was, the Defence for Mr. Coric asked
10 you to read out part of this document. Do you remember that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And if memory serves me, sir, you were asked specifically to read
13 out the last part under item 3 immediately above where Mr. Lucic -- or the
14 comments of Mr. Lucic are recorded. Do you see that part that begins with
15 Mr. Coric apparently saying: "My opinion is that we have two military
17 A. Yes. Heliodrom and the military prison at Ljubuski. As for other
18 places -- this is a little illegible. I had a better document in front of
19 me yesterday. "As for other places where," and then I can't read that.
20 And then in brackets, "(Gabela and Dretelj), I consider that they are not
21 military ones and I don't stand behind the work in those institutions."
22 Q. Mr. Biskic, can you continue reading the comments of Mr. Lucic.
23 A. Mr. Lucic says: "I consider that we cannot pass over the problems
24 of the prison in Gabela and Dretelj just like that and that that can do us
25 a lot of harm. We must say quite explicitly who is behind those prisons,
1 who is doing that, and what we can do to take certain steps."
2 Q. Mr. Biskic, with respect to these comments that were purportedly
3 made by Mr. Lucic where he says, "We must say precisely who is behind
4 prisons," by the time of your arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina in
5 November 1993, was that question or those questions answered to your
6 satisfaction? In other words, did you know who was behind Gabela and
8 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I think I've already answered that question. I
9 said from the letter by the deputy head of the military police
10 administration, dated the 17th of November, 1993, it was stated that the
11 security should be provided by the Home Guard Units, and a precise answer
12 as to who was in charge, who was responsible for that, I never received
13 that answer.
14 Q. Mr. Biskic, thank you again for coming to The Hague and answering
15 everyone's questions.
16 MR. MUNDIS: We have no further questions.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I would like to thank
19 you for having come. You have spent hours answering questions put to
20 you. You have gone through hundreds and thousands of pages. So I would
21 like to express our gratitude and our best wishes for a safe return back
22 to your own country and every success in your new activities in the
23 private sector.
24 I would like to ask the usher to escort you out of the room.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, and good-bye.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I'd just like to correct the
2 transcript on page 98, lines 7 and 8, what I said wasn't fully recorded.
3 I said that I -- we do not challenge the responsibilities and
4 authorisations of the HVO commander over those units of the military
5 police which were resubordinated to that commander.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We have that in the
8 transcript now.
9 I would like to say two things before we close for the day. I
10 would like to thank and congratulate Mr. Karnavas for the fact that he
11 went through one topic after another and enabled us to follow, and it
12 would be a good idea if the other Defence counsel were inspired by the
13 technique applied by Mr. Karnavas, which would facilitate us in the
15 I would also like to congratulate Ms. Nozica, who provided binders
16 with two colours. One colour for non-admitted documents and another
17 colour for admitted documents, which has facilitated our work. So that
18 was a good contribution, and we'd like to express our thanks there.
19 Now, as regards next week's witness, we have decided to grant the
20 Prosecution three hours, and the Defence will have 30 minutes for each
21 team, with the exception of Mr. Petkovic, who will be accorded one hour,
22 and it's up to you, of course, to distribute the time amongst yourselves
23 as you see fit.
24 It is almost 7.00. We adjourn until Monday at 2.15.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.50 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Monday, the 12th day
2 of March, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.