1 Thursday, 19 February 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are now in session.
7 Mr. Registrar, kindly call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic
11 et al.
12 Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 Today is Thursday, 19th of February, 2009. Good morning to
15 Mr. Stojic, Mr. Praljak. Good morning to the Defence counsel, to the
16 witness, Mr. Scott, his associate, his case manager, and all the people
17 assisting us.
18 Yesterday, a majority of Judges wanted to note the absence of
19 Mr. Pusic. From now on, I will record all the absent accused.
20 Today I note the absence of Mr. Pusic, of Mr. Coric, of Mr. Prlic
21 and of Mr. Petkovic. I also note that the lead counsel are absent, some
22 of them, Mr. Karnavas, Mr. Kovacic, Mr. Ibrisimovic. I don't know why
23 they are absent.
24 In the future, when Judges are absent, I will also say why they
1 As to the Prosecution, they're always there.
2 I also note that there is another 20 minutes for
3 cross-examination. I'm going to give the floor to Mr. Scott, but before
4 so, we may avail ourselves of the opportunity to give the floor to
5 Mr. Coric's counsel. She wanted to say something yesterday, and I didn't
6 let her do that, thinking that we were going to be able to finish
7 yesterday. But we have some time today, so we may as well use this time
8 to ask her to tell us what she wanted to convey yesterday.
9 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your
10 Honours. Good morning to everybody in the courtroom.
11 Yesterday, after some debate, I discussed with the court clerk
12 certain issues. It went for confidential information which I could not
13 disclose even in a closed session, and the counsel -- and the Bench has
14 been notified of that on my 65 ter list.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you would like us to move to
16 private session, or you don't want to speak about it at all?
17 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I wouldn't discuss that
18 because it is ex parte information.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At least now
20 everything's clear.
21 Mr. Scott, you may proceed.
22 WITNESS: VESO VEGAR [Resumed]
23 [The witness answered through interpreter]
24 MR. SCOTT: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning to each of
25 Your Honours. Good morning, Counsel, and all those in the courtroom, and
1 good morning, Mr. Vegar.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Scott: [Continued]
3 Q. Sir, we had completed -- finished the day, we were talking about
4 some convoys, and we had finished talking about a convoy to East Mostar
5 in August 1993 and some statements that you had made about that. In the
6 interest of time, I'm going to move rather quickly to try to cover a
7 couple of more topics in the 20 minutes that we have available.
8 I would like to go to the topic, in fact, of the Old Bridge
9 Mostar, the Stari Most. It's correct, is it not, sir, that in November
10 of 1993, you confirmed in your statements to the media at that time that
11 the HVO destroyed the bridge; correct?
12 A. I did not say that the HVO destroyed the bridge.
13 Q. Perhaps we can look at Exhibit P 10820 in the second binder,
14 P 10820.
15 My apologies. One moment, please. 10847. My error. It should
16 be close by.
17 10847, is that "The New York Times" -- if the usher can assist
18 me, unless I've numbered them wrong. Thank you very much. P 10847.
19 We'll come to the other one momentarily.
20 Sir, this is a "New York Times" article dated the 10th of
21 November, 1993, and I'm going to direct your attention to the -- or the
22 courtroom's attention, at least, and I will read to you the fourth
23 paragraph of that item, fourth and fifth:
24 "Veso Vegar, a spokesman for the Bosnian Croats' militia,
25 admitted Tuesday that the militia's gunners had targeted the bridge,
1 whose foundations were laid in 1557 at the orders of the Ottoman Empire's
2 greatest ruler. 'Since the bridge is in a place that is strategically
3 important and the Muslim positions are very near, 70 to 100 metres, the
4 bridge has constantly been shelled,' Vegar said, adding that Croats fired
5 10 shells at the span on Monday alone."
6 Now, that's what you reported to the media in November of 1993;
8 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
9 I apologise, but I really think it would be fair for the witness
10 to receive a translation of this. The witness does not understand this
11 language. The document contains some other information that would
12 refresh his memory, so it would be only fair, if confronted with the
13 text, for the witness to have a translation. I know that we've been
14 working with translations into English or English originals, but this may
15 confuse the witness, and I want it reflected in the transcript.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, if you don't have a
17 translation, you have to read out slowly the part that seems relevant to
18 you. Then, if the counsel is not happy with that, she can raise an
19 objection on the part of the article that seems to be in contradiction to
20 what you say.
21 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm looking at the
22 transcript, and with my compliments to both translation and the court
23 reporter, it appears that it's word perfect, so there's no reason for me
24 to repeat it again.
25 Q. Sir, that's what you informed the media of in November of 1993;
2 A. No, I could not say this to this journalist. At the time, there
3 were no telephone or any other links with Belgrade, and I see that this
4 was filed from Belgrade. As far as I could understand you,
5 Mr. Prosecutor, you said I admitted. It doesn't say here I admitted
6 anything to anybody, and it doesn't specify here that I spoke to
7 Mr. Sudetic. Of course I did not say this to him. We had no technical
8 means to discuss. There was firing and shelling around that area, and it
9 was -- went for a number of days.
10 Q. You've made a number of statements there that I want to address
11 in the limited time that we have. There is no indication here that
12 Mr. Sudetic was not in Mostar and spoke with you personally. The report
13 -- he may have telephone his report to his news agency and the report may
14 have been filed or published from Belgrade, but there's no indication
15 here, in fact, that Mr. Sudetic wasn't in Mostar with you when you made
16 this statement. So there's nothing -- unless you can specifically recall
17 that on the 9th or 10th of November, 1993, you did not have any
18 conversation with Mr. Sudetic. Can you specifically tell the Chamber
19 that in early November 1993, you did not have a conversation with
20 Mr. Sudetic in Mostar?
21 A. No, I did not. I saw Mr. Sudetic a couple of months earlier,
22 during the summer in Mostar, but not later than that.
23 Q. Let's go to Exhibit P 10820.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.
25 Witness, I have a technical question. Overnight, I thought it
1 over, and I thought that, for once, since we had some time ahead of us, I
2 could raise this issue and put the question to you.
3 Yesterday, I was really struck by the fact that you said there
4 were some 2.000 international journalists who went to Mostar, and I was
5 under the impression that you had contacts and conversations with some of
6 them; hence my question: When you would meet with an international
7 journalist, would he or she speak your language, or did they have an
8 interpreter with them? How did you manage to do your job as part of the
9 Information and Propaganda Sector with an international reporter if they
10 didn't know your language? How would it happen? How did it work?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as a rule, a
12 journalist team would come, containing a driver, a journalist, an
13 interpreter and somebody else, and the interpreter who would accompany
14 the journalist would do the interpreting.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So when you would speak,
16 automatically what you said was translated by the interpreter. Of
17 course, you did not know how well the interpreter did their job, but the
18 meaning of -- the way of convening the meeting was the interpreter?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could not control what was
20 interpreted, but I do believe that people worked in good faith and that
21 they shouldn't twist what they hear in the interpretation.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were they local interpreters,
23 or were they possibly Croats who came from Croatia, or Serbs, or
24 Americans who knew your language? What is your recollection?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's true they were from all over
1 the place, from Zagreb, from Belgrade, and from the countries that the
2 journalists hailed from, from UK, Germany, from Vienna, for instance,
3 et cetera.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The reason why I'm asking you
5 this: As a rule, when a Judge puts a question, that's because he's
6 concerned or worried about technical parts of the issue, and here it is.
7 Mr. Scott just showed you a document in which what you said is quoted, in
8 inverted commas. You were a professional journalist. You know,
9 therefore, that one of the rules of journalism is that when a journalist
10 quotes a statement, it's because the person who's voiced that told him
11 that. A journalist cannot risk his reputation by misquoting because he
12 would be criticised very quickly, especially in major international
13 agencies. So how do you account for the fact that you may have said
14 that? Today, you say you didn't, but it is quoted by the journalist, so
15 what is it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I claim so because this was really
17 so. At the time, because of technical means and the situation in Mostar
18 at the time, I did not receive calls or visits by journalists, at the
19 beginning of November. I can testify that there were quotes from other
20 sources by journalists which appeared in foreign agencies and in domestic
21 media where I was quoted and my alleged words would be put in quotation
22 marks. Somebody else's statements would be attributed to me, and none of
23 that was true. So this was not the first time, I'm sure.
24 Unfortunately, I must say that in a war, you get plenty of
25 propaganda instigated by the parties to a conflict, but in that area
1 during that war, many journalists served certain interest groups in their
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's speak about journalists
4 in the former Yugoslavia. Was it their way of doing, when somebody was
5 saying something to them, they would sort of render the statement in
6 quotation marks? Is that what was being done in your country?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As a rule, this was so, but very
8 often this happens even today.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I just wanted to check that
10 with you. Thank you.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And one little additional question, Mr. Vegar.
12 You have admitted or said that you had met Mr. Sudetic. Does he
13 speak B/C/S, or did you also need an interpreter to converse with him?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He needed an interpreter, although
15 as far as I can remember, he knew some words of our language. But I met
16 him --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question for you,
18 Mr. Scott.
19 This Mr. Sudetic, is he the Sudetic who wrote a book with
20 Ms. Carla Del Ponte? Is he the one who was your expert?
21 MR. SCOTT: He is, Your Honour. He covered -- he is. He covered
22 Yugoslavia extensively for "The New York Times", wrote one of the best --
23 probably regarded as one of the best books on Yugoslavia at the time, and
24 in 1993 he was living and working in Yugoslavia and in fact is fluent in
25 Croatian. I've heard him speak with native speakers many, many times
1 completely fluently. So, yes, it absolutely is the case.
2 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] As a citizen of ex-Yugoslavia for
3 the past 50 years, I would have some reserves and state that it was
4 solely the Prosecutor's opinion that that book was one of the best on
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes. You asked and you did not
7 receive an answer. Yes, that person worked as an expert and prepared an
8 expert report to the Prosecution.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I noted the name and I
10 didn't know who this person was exactly, so now we know that this the
11 same person. Everything is clear now. Thank you.
12 Mr. Scott.
13 Mr. Praljak, please keep quiet.
14 Mr. Scott.
15 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, sir.
16 Q. You recall, sir -- you said that you thought --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MR. SCOTT: My apologies.
19 Q. You said that you thought Mr. Sudetic spoke a few words of
20 Croatian, but let me suggest to you and put to you, sir, that might
21 refresh your recollection: Do you recall, on further reflection, that in
22 fact Mr. Sudetic was quite fluent in the Croatian language and conducted
23 his contacts with you in Croatian?
24 A. I remember that he spoke our language poorly. This is what I
1 Q. All right. Well, we'll see. Can I next ask you to go to
2 P 10820.
3 MR. SCOTT: I'll note for the record, Your Honour, that since the
4 Tribunal, of course, didn't exist in November 1993, obviously Mr. Sudetic
5 was not employed by the ICTY at the time that he was covering the former
6 Yugoslavia for "The New York Times."
7 Q. Sir, if you have 10820, this is a further article on the 10th of
8 November through the Reuters News Service. I direct the courtroom's
9 attention to a little lower than halfway down the page, and I will again
10 quote and read slowly:
11 "Vegar said Croats fired ten artillery shells at the bridge on
12 Monday. Muslim-controlled Bosnian radio reported 60 shells striking the
13 bridge, hitting its most vulnerable parts.
14 "United Nations troops confirmed the Croats destroyed the bridge
15 with shells fired from Central Mostar.
16 "'The coup de grace was given by several tank rounds coming from
17 the north and south of the HVO sides,' said UN military spokesman Colonel
18 Bill Alkman in Sarajevo."
19 So, again, sir, you informed the international and original
20 media, you informed the media in early November 1993 that the HVO had
21 specifically targeted the Old Bridge and on Monday alone had hit -- fired
22 ten artillery shells at the bridge; correct?
23 A. No, I wouldn't know how many shells were fired and where. I did
24 not have a clear line of vision from the place where I resided. I did
25 say to the journalist that shells are being fired from HVO positions - I
1 did not specify whether tanks or artillery - onto BH Army positions
2 around and close to the bridge. Whoever quoted me was mistaken. I could
3 not tell how many shells were fired, I could not see that, and I had not
4 received any information from any official HVO sources.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.
6 General Praljak was on his feet. I wonder why.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know
8 who will do so. You saw in the previous report something that you --
9 MR. SCOTT: Objection. This is a commentary by Mr. Praljak. Can
10 we finish the witness and then we can put legal objections --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I don't even know
12 what he's about to say. He's just started. And you interrupted him.
13 MR. SCOTT: [Previous translation continues]... legal objection.
14 I'd like the Chamber to ask him -- I'd like to ask him is this a legal
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I don't know. Wait and see.
17 Yes, Mr. Praljak, was there a problem? That's what I asked you,
18 and you started. If I ask you, it's because you think there is a
20 MR. SCOTT: A legal problem, a legal objection, not commentary,
21 not argument.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It could be any kind of
23 problem. He might feel bad and want to leave the courtroom, or he wants
24 to speak to his lawyer. I don't know. I can't guess what he's about to
25 say. He could say that he agrees with what the witness said and he drops
1 the issue of the Old Bridge, which he's been addressing for a long time.
2 I don't know what he wants to say. Do you think that I'm in his mind? I
3 am not. Of course, I'd like to be, but it is not so.
4 MR. SCOTT: Perhaps he can tell us the topic of what he wants to
5 talk about before he gets into the substance to talk about.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. What did you want to
7 speak about, Mr. Praljak?
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] About simple technical
9 military facts.
10 MR. SCOTT: Then it's not appropriate.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but the problem is --
12 Mr. Praljak, please. This is not your witness. That's the first thing.
13 He's not a witness you called. If he was, then maybe there could be an
14 issue. He has been called by Ms. Nozica and by Mr. Stojic. The
15 Prosecutor is now addressing the issue of the Old Bridge, which is a
16 topic that we have been familiar with for a long time. But you are going
17 to testify, and you may call your own witness or witnesses on this part,
18 and you will have ample time to deal with the military or technical parts
19 or aspects.
20 He was a journalist, and he was doing a job of information and
21 propaganda in the Defence Department, and he's being asked questions by
22 the Prosecutor on an article in which allegedly he said some things about
23 it. Therefore, the Prosecutor is entitled to cross-examine him. You
24 have no right at all. So please, sit down, because I can't let you speak
25 on this technical and military aspect.
1 Yes, Ms. Alaburic.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I wanted to ask you, since
3 we cannot return witnesses for an umpteenth time - we don't have the time
4 - I wanted to ask you, who are familiar with the situation, and I'm
5 saying in two reports, facts are being mentioned. I wanted to see what
6 the facts were, whether Muslim forces were 70 or 100 metres from the
7 bridge or they were on the bridge. In this report, it is said that the
8 bridge was shelled from the north, and this is --
9 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, he's now doing what you just told him
10 not to do. Please.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Indeed, Mr. Praljak, Mr. Scott
12 is totally right. We did not know what you wanted to speak to. We are
13 familiar with these technical aspects. I could speak about it for hours,
14 about this Old Bridge. That's not the point. The point is that this
15 witness allegedly said something to a journalist.
16 Now, your counsel may want to say something.
17 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I just wanted to say that the
18 objection had to be focusing on a misinterpretation of the document,
19 General Praljak's objection, and that was what would have sufficed.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Mr. Vegar is not a
21 Defence witness for General Petkovic, but since we have some time, allow
22 me to supplement what my learned colleague Nika Pinter said and which
23 would be in connection with Bruno Stojic's yesterday's protest.
24 It goes for systematic misinterpretation of documents. When you
25 see Mr. Scott's question on page 3, he asks the witness about the
1 destruction of the Old Bridge at Mostar and then shows a document where
2 allegedly Mr. Vegar is supported to have said something about the
3 shelling of that bridge. If we do not react in time to such
4 misinterpretation of the document, then the answers by the witness would
5 have completely different meaning from the situation where we would
6 determine the nature of the document in the first place.
7 This is a document produced by Mr. Chuck Sudetic who we know very
8 well in the former Yugoslavia. He says that Muslim forces were 70 to 100
9 metres from the bridge, but it was in the middle of Muslim positions both
10 on the west and the east bank of Mostar and that they held that position.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Alaburic, our President has just told
12 Mr. Praljak that this is not the moment to comment on technical issues
13 and the substance, and you're doing exactly the same, but I hope you are
14 finished now.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I just wanted to say
16 the following: Had this document been interpreted -- translated into
17 Croatian and had the witness been given an opportunity to read the whole
18 document, as should be valid for each witness, then he would have known
19 this -- the contents of this document. There would be no possibility for
20 him to be misled.
21 And I apologise if I overstepped my boundaries.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, please resume, and
23 this will not be taken out of your time.
24 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Sir, in your last answer before the interventions, you said a
1 couple of times that you didn't see this happen yourself, and, sir, maybe
2 you did, maybe you didn't, but my question doesn't depend on that.
3 You've told us since Monday that you were receiving daily information.
4 There were daily bulletins. You were getting information from the
5 Main Staff. You had battle-field reports. You had casualty reports.
6 You could call the Main Staff and get information. You said you would
7 call up. You told us a number of things. Now, whether you saw it or
8 not, sir, I put it to you, this is the information that you reported to
9 the media in November 1993. You may not like it now. You may wish that
10 you hadn't said it, but that's the information that you gave out in
11 November 1993; correct?
12 A. Is there anywhere in those documents a statement by me that the
13 HVO had destroyed the bridge? I said that the HVO shelled positions of
14 the BiH Army around the Old Bridge. I did not specify tanks or
15 artilleries. I'm not sure whether there exists a report from the
16 Main Staff, or any other institution, or any Command about the targeting
17 of the old bridge. I don't know whether there is a report on the
18 destruction of the old bridge at all.
19 Q. Thank you, sir. We'll have to move on because of time. The
20 Court, of course, will have the two exhibits and your testimony to
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
23 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, please, just a quick
25 technical element.
1 Now, as you know, when there are documents, I look at them very
2 thoroughly, and I can see a point of detail here. There is a reference
3 to the spokesman of UNPROFOR, Colonel Bill Alkman, based in Sarajevo, it
4 says here, and he says the coup de grace was coming from tank rounds
5 coming from the north and south. Now, when I noticed that sentence
6 earlier, I thought the following: Apparently, a number of tanks were
7 involved in the shelling. Can I maybe ask whether there was one or more
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think it is a misunderstanding. I think it
10 says "several tank rounds," and a round is a shot, so this means several
11 shots from a tank, but not several tanks.
12 MR. SCOTT: It does indicate -- I believe it says from the north
13 and the --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, just a moment. Okay, so a
15 number of tank rounds, but it does say from the north and the south. So
16 if we're talking of shots fired from the north and the south, it does
17 mean that we have at least two tanks. We can't have a tank both located
18 north and south.
19 Now, we have had a witness present us tanks shooting rounds.
20 Now, I know, Witness, that you were not standing by the tank or maybe
21 driving the tank yourself; you were commenting on events. Now, can I ask
22 you whether you knew -- and I'd like to ask you - although, of course,
23 we'll have other witnesses, but we might as well make the most of your
24 presence in Chambers here - were there, as far as you know, a number of
25 tanks shelling the bridge or not, just one?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know how many there were.
2 All I know is that there is an allegation that's difficult to sustain,
3 that from the north, from the HVO positions, that it was possible to fire
4 from tanks on the Old Bridge. I know Mostar very well. From the area
5 under HVO control, I don't know whether it would have been possible for a
6 tank to fire from that position. I can't imagine this. As for
7 shooting -- shelling from the eastern side, I think that's possible. I
8 don't know whether there was a tank there. I don't whether there were
9 several tanks. All I know is the HVO didn't have many tanks that they
10 could position around Mostar.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Okay.
12 MR. SCOTT: The Chamber may recall the video of the tank on the
13 hill-side firing at the bridge, and that evidence has been admitted
15 Q. Now, sir, we have to move on, although I'm sure we could spend
16 more time on that topic if time, indeed, allowed.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Scott, if you allow me.
18 MR. SCOTT: Yes.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Vegar, I looked at two statements that you
20 have made this morning. The first I find on page 7, line 17. I quote
22 "I did not receive calls or visits of journalists around that
24 And then on page 10, line 22, I quote again:
25 "I did say to the journalist ..." and that is about the same
2 Now, I find it a bit difficult to reconcile these two statements.
3 Could you explain?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can. When I said that I
5 explained the situation to journalists, well, what I had in mind was the
6 period after that event, the following days. Naturally, after several
7 days there was an invasion of journalists who came to look into the
8 situation. This occurred three, four, five days later.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: This is not very convincing, Mr. Vegar, in view
10 of the fact that both articles bear the same date. It's not that one
11 would have been at a different time. Both are reports published on the
12 10th of November, so you cannot have talked to no journalist around the
13 10th of November and also have spoken to a journalist at the same time.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I may have spoken to
15 someone on the 10th or 11th on the phone. I may have spoken to some
16 journalists at the time, but on the phone, on the 10th and the 11th, and
17 later I actually met some of them.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So, Mr. Vegar, what you said first was wrong?
19 It's not true that you did not at that time speak to any journalist
20 because you cannot speak and not speak.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, we have two journalists,
23 Mr. Sudetic and the Reuters' journalist, Maggie Fox. Now, apparently she
24 is in Zagreb. Her press release is also dated November 10th. Now, if
25 she is mentioning you, how did she get hold of you? Did she phone you?
1 How did she come into contact with you, or did she get her information
2 from someone else, maybe? Does Maggie Fox's name ring a bell, or did
3 Reuters maybe have a correspondent in your area of responsibility?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, I'm quite
5 sure that Reuters didn't have a correspondent in Mostar. Fox is not a
6 name I'm familiar with. Perhaps I even had contact over the phone with
7 her. I can't remember. I said there were a number of journalists. As
8 to whether I spoke to her on that day, I really couldn't say. Perhaps
9 she was quoting another source, but I really could not say.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, you will have noticed,
11 sir, that there are quotes around what Colonel Alkman is saying, and when
12 she refers to you, there are no quotation marks.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right.
15 Mr. Scott, please proceed.
16 MR. SCOTT:
17 Q. Sir, were you ever involved personally -- I mean, directly
18 involved in interrogating Muslim prisoners or detainees?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Were people on your staff - and by "people on your staff," I mean
21 IPD staff, whether they worked immediately in your -- worked directly in
22 your immediate office, so to speak, or people in the IPD structure that
23 reported to you - were they involved in interrogating Muslim prisoners?
24 A. As far as I know, they didn't perform such duties. They had no
25 such duties.
1 Q. Turning to -- back to the Heliodrom and to the men who were kept
2 there, if I can direct your attention to 10 -- excuse me, 10840 in the
3 second binder. And again, sir, I'll have to report -- I'll read out to
4 you the direct portions that I want to ask you about.
5 This is a Reuters News Service article for the 21st of July,
6 1993, a Mr. Kurt Schork - I'm not sure - but let me again direct your
7 attention to this part. And for the courtroom, it is toward -- well, at
8 least on my copy -- sometimes the print-outs are varied, but the top of
9 page 2, but it's a paragraph that begins as follows:
10 "Bosnian Croats on Tuesday denied allegations they had been
11 involved in 'ethnic cleansing' of Muslims in the Mostar area.
12 "Veso Vegar, spokesman of the (Bosnian) Croat Defence Council
13 (HVO), said in a statement such reports were unfounded. He denied
14 reports, quoting UN sources, that Bosnian Croats planned to send 10.000
15 Muslim men abroad, a number that could swell to 30.000 people if their
16 families were included."
17 Now, do you recall giving that information to the media in July
18 1993? You did, didn't you?
19 A. Yes, I denied the allegations according to which the Croats were
20 planning to expel thousands of Muslims. I am not familiar -- never was
21 familiar with the existence of such a plan.
22 Q. And where did you obtain your information, providing that answer
23 to the media by whatever you did, issuing a press release or holding a
24 press conference? What steps had you been taking to collect information
25 so that when you made that statement, you could be confident that it was
1 an accurate one? Who did you consult with? What HVO sources did you go
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would just like to
4 object again because the witness doesn't have a translation. I'd like
5 this to be entered into the transcript. I think that's correct. If the
6 Prosecution is referring to something and if we've seen so many
7 translations, well, I think it's then a little surprising that this
8 witness doesn't have a key translation available to him.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understand. But, Ms. Nozica,
10 it does happen occasionally that Defence counsel have documents that are
11 not translated, and we proceed in the same way.
12 So, sir, you have a document here in English. That is not a
13 language you understand. The Prosecutor has highlighted the paragraphs
14 related to the topic he wants to put a question to you about. He gave
15 you -- he read them to you, and they were translated. Is that enough for
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'd like to see the entire
18 document, be familiar with all the contents. I'm being presented with
19 excerpts, and I have to comment on the basis of those excerpts. And I
20 have to remember the situation that prevailed at the time, and it really
21 is a little too difficult for me.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. Witness, the only
23 question here, the only issue at hand in this document, is the issue of
24 ethnic cleansing, and there is a mention of ethnic cleansing in this
25 Reuters press report. The journalist clearly indicates here that there
1 were allegations of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population in and
2 around Mostar. This journalist must have put the question to you, and
3 your answer is written down here.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I have
5 understood this, it has to do with the plan to expel a huge number of
6 Muslims from the area. At the time, I told the journalist, according to
7 what is stated here, that there was no such plan and that this would not
8 take place. That's what I was aware of, and that's what I could have
9 told the journalist.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Scott, you have
11 another four minutes.
12 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Sir, the question pending to you at the time from me was: Where
14 did you -- once again, I've asked you several times since yesterday, when
15 you've stated positions, where did you get that information? When you
16 made this statement to the press, the one that the President just
17 confirmed with you, what was the source of your information? Had you
18 called up your sources in the HVO? Did you call the Main Staff? Did you
19 call Mr. Stojic, your immediate superior, the man you worked for? Did
20 you contact other people and say, By the way, what is our position? I'm
21 getting inquiries -- I'm getting inquiries from the media. I have to
22 give an answer. What did you do to prepare yourself to give this answer
23 that you then gave, as reported, and as the President just confirmed?
24 A. Perhaps I contacted the HVO at the time, that's possible, the
25 Office for Refugees and Displaced Persons, something like that. I can't
1 remember now. It really took place a long time ago.
2 Q. Let's go to Exhibit P 10816. Sir, this is another article
3 written by Agence France-Presse on the 20th of July, 1993. Let's see.
4 That's the day before the first article we were just looking at. So on
5 the 20th of July, 1993, Agence France-Presse says:
6 "Some 2500 Muslims are being held by the Bosnian Croat militia,
7 HVO, at the helioport near the southern Herzegovina town of Mostar,' the
8 HVO spokesman Veso Vegar said Tuesday.
9 "The spokesman, quoted by the official Croatian news agency HINA,
10 denied reports that the HVO was planning mass deportations of Muslim
11 prisoners from Bosnia-Herzegovina to third countries."
12 I pause to note that this information apparently, if you say it
13 was -- if you suggest it was misquoted, was coming from the official
14 Croatian news agency HINA:
15 "But he said, 'The HVO is ready, in concert with the UNHCR, to
16 set up a transit centre for all those who wish to go to a third country.'
17 "Vegar said that the detainees were 'all men taken prisoner in
18 the course of fighting (against the HVO) or arrested at Mostar in
19 possession of documents proving their links with the Bosnian Army.'"
20 You gave that information to Agence France-Presse; correct?
21 A. It's possible. I can't remember. It's quite possible that I
22 gave this information to them or something to this effect.
23 Q. Now, sir, you knew, did you know, that -- and not only you, but
24 the HVO leadership, you were aware that the United Nations had clearly
25 rejected any such proposal and refused to endorse or be any part of a
1 plan to move the men at the Heliodrom and their families out of
2 Herceg-Bosna; correct? But in fact, the HVO went ahead and did it
3 anyway, including transfers on the 20th and -- excuse me. Let me get the
4 exact dates. Well, including transfers at the end of July 1993; correct?
5 Correct, sir?
6 A. I wasn't aware of mass transfers of such people having been
7 organised, transfers to areas outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 Q. Sir, we don't have much time left. You were the spokesman for
9 the HVO, the Department of Defence, at least, if not others as well. It
10 was your business to know, sir. You were appearing before the media on a
11 daily -- virtually a daily basis, fielding inquiries, getting telephone
12 calls. This was world news. You probably couldn't pick up a single
13 world -- major world paper and not see this reported, mass expulsions
14 happening in Herzegovina.
15 Now, you said you didn't know you had no information. What did
16 you do to inform yourself on these issues so you could make truthful
17 answers to media inquiries?
18 A. I don't know what you have in mind right now, the deportation of
19 thousands of individuals, or do you have the cases that we were
20 discussing yesterday and the day before yesterday in mind?
21 Q. Sir, in fact, you don't know why those men were being held, do
22 you? You don't know?
23 A. They were detained there for several reasons. There were
24 prisoners of war there. There were people who had been arrested in town.
25 They were in uniform. There were people who had weapons in their flats.
1 There were people, military conscripts, who presented a risk in town.
2 Q. Let's look -- and, Your Honour, this is my last exhibit. If I
3 could ask the witness to look at P 03663. Let's look at what the HVO --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, it will be your last
5 exhibit. We haven't got any time left.
6 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. I indulge the Chamber -- I
7 ask the Chamber's indulgence to let me finish this exhibit. P 03663.
8 Let's look at what the HVO was saying around this time, same time.
9 Q. Sir, this is an HVO military police report dated the 23rd of
10 July, 1993. It gives reference in the first paragraph to a meeting on
11 the 22nd of July involving, among others, Mr. Coric. Now, I'd like to
12 direct your attention, please, and the courtroom's attention to the third
13 paragraph of that document. It begins with the words:
14 "Consequently ..." Now, about the second sentence in that paragraph, it
15 says the following:
16 "This refers solely to the large number of Muslims who have been
17 brought unselectively to the SVIZ, the Central Military Remand Prison
18 buildings, and have since been forgotten. By inertia, the Crime
19 Prevention Department has conducted interviews with more than 2.000
20 people, and none of them were interesting from the standpoint of crime."
21 Do you see that, sir?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. And in fact, sir, you told this Chamber on Tuesday, at pages 39
24 to 41, under oath -- in fact, it was the President, Judge Antonetti, who
25 asked this question:
1 "You, yourself, didn't know why they were being detained, or did
2 you know?
3 "A. No, I didn't."
4 You didn't know why -- just like this HVO report that says they
5 didn't know, you didn't know either, did you? That's what you testified
6 on Tuesday, sir; correct? Sir?
7 A. Yes. I think I said what I knew, what I could say.
8 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Vegar.
9 Thank you, Mr. President, to counsel, to each of Your Honours for
10 the time. Thank you.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica.
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, I can now start
13 with my redirect.
14 Could the usher just hand out some documents.
15 Re-examination by Ms. Nozica:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Vegar, before we start discussing the
17 subjects I have prepared for my redirect, I would first like to go back
18 to the issue that relates to two reports of the same date or, rather, two
19 different dates. One is dated the 10th, and the other the 11th. Or,
20 rather, one the 9th and the other the 10th, I apologise, of November
21 1993, and they have to do with the Old Bridge, with the Stari Most.
22 Let's now have a look at the following document, 10820. It's in
23 the Prosecution binder. That's the first one that I would like to show
24 you. This is the letter from Maggie Fox. I think it's the second
25 binder, the second Prosecution binder, that you can find the document in.
1 It's not in my binder. I didn't have time to prepare this. It was five
2 minutes ago. 10820 is the first one. We have a translation for that
4 And now could we have the following document, 10847. Could we
5 have it up on the screen. Then we'll make a few comparisons. So the
6 second document we want to have a look at is 10847. The second one is a
7 document that has been signed by Charles Sudetic. I'll refer to what you
8 said with regard to who relayed what kind of information, and
9 Judge Antonetti asked you about this, too, and I'd like to point
10 something out to you which I think is of crucial importance in these two
11 texts, and there are differences in both texts.
12 In inverted commas, it says -- in both reports, it says -- in the
13 report signed by Reuters, it says, given that the bridge is in a place
14 that is strategically important and the Muslim positions are very near,
15 70 to 100 metres away, the bridge has been constantly shelled or is being
16 constantly shelled - it's the continuous tense - and it doesn't say what
17 is being shelled. What does Sudetic say? Since the bridge is in a very
18 strategically important place and the Muslim positions are very near, 70
19 to 100 metres away, the bridge has been constantly shelled.
20 You can't see this. I'm reading out the text from "The New York
21 Times", Charles Sudetic's text. You can't see both texts at the same
22 time. The difference is that Reuters says that it is being constantly
23 shelled, and Sudetic says that the bridge is being constantly shelled.
24 Mr. Vegar, these constructions - that's what I have to say - are
25 different. Was this often the case in media reports from the
1 battle-field, the reports you could follow?
2 A. Yes. There's an important difference here. If there is
3 shelling, then that implies that it's the artillery, tanks and so on, and
4 if you're firing, well, you can fire from all sorts of weapons, from
5 light weapons to very heavy weapons.
6 Q. I just wanted to point this difference out to you.
7 Mr. Vegar, with regard to the media, I'd just like to ask you the
8 following: Did you ever have the opportunity -- I asked you about this,
9 as well as Judge Antonetti. Did you ever -- have you ever, up to date,
10 have the opportunity to receive any of this information from that period
11 of time right up to now?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you. So you didn't have a chance to deny any
14 of those which were misreported? I'm talking about war-time reports.
15 A. The situation was this, predominantly: Very rarely,
16 international agencies reporting would trickle down to me in --
17 translated into Croatian, and mostly, if so, then they came from Zagreb.
18 Q. Thank you very much. So much about the media.
19 Mr. Vegar, I believe that we are going to be able to go through
20 those documents in my binder very quickly. First, take a look, please,
21 at document -- this first one, P 2334. This is an agreement on secession
22 of hostilities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, concluded on the 12th of May, 1993.
23 Mr. Vegar, please take a look at it.
24 Do you recall those agreements? Did you comment developments
25 that occurred after such agreements?
1 A. Yes, I do remember.
2 Q. Please, item 4, take a look at item 4. It says here that both
3 sides are in agreement to release all civilians, unconditionally, and
4 this is to take place on the 13th of May; is that correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And after that, prisoners of war will be exchanged, and the list
7 of POWs is going to be presented to the ICRC by noon on the 13th of May;
8 is that correct?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. Let's take a look at P 10838, a document that was shown to you by
11 the Prosecution yesterday. This document is dated 14th of May, 1993, two
12 days afterwards, and the Prosecutor presented a part of your statement.
13 He said all Muslims will be released when all Croats will have been
14 released. If this refreshes your memory, I'd like to ask you, did you
15 comment at this press conference the exchange of prisoners agreement?
16 A. I believe that I spoke about that agreement on several occasions
17 because there were many expectations of it, because it was reached by the
18 top level of both armies, and it was done in mediation of
19 General Morillon.
20 Q. Thank you. The previous document was reflected erroneously in
21 the transcript. It was supposed to be P 2344. Thank you very much.
22 Mr. Vegar, now let's take a look at another of yesterday's
23 documents, and that would be document --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I'd like to turn
25 back to the document signed by General Halilovic, General Petkovic,
1 General Morillon, and the ambassador.
2 Under paragraph 5, could you please read it out in your own
3 language so that I can check? No, it's actually paragraph 6. It's a
4 very short paragraph. It's the last one in the text.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "All disputed issues will be
6 resolved through negotiations of both sides in the presence of UNPROFOR
7 and international monitoring missions."
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could you please
9 read out paragraph 5?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Both parties will fully help the
11 return of displaced persons to their property or homes. Both sides shall
12 guarantee the safety and security of the displaced persons."
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. "Displaced person"
14 in this text, I suppose that when General Petkovic signed this document,
15 he must have sent a copy of it possibly to the Defence Department or to
16 Mr. Boban. What about displaced people? I'm interested in them. Who
17 are they?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those were the people who left
19 their homes for whatever reason and were situated in the area of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so they still do not have a status of a refugee.
21 This is how I understood the situation.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Vegar, please take a look at document P 2538. The
25 Prosecution showed you this document yesterday. This is a memorandum by
1 the Operation Zone of the South-East Herzegovina to Mostar concerning
2 decisions on giving certain flats to the members of the said regiment. I
3 will ask you this: Is there a single Bosniak name among the ten names
4 cited here as previous occupants?
5 A. No, I can't recognise a single Bosniak name.
6 Q. Thank you very much. The Prosecutor showed you this document
7 concerning the period when Muslims were allegedly removed or expelled
8 from Mostar, so I wanted to clarify this one detail.
9 Mr. Vegar, you were asked yesterday by the Prosecution whether
10 assistant commanders for IPD at unit level were in the chain of command
11 and subordinated to you. Let me finish my question. You said that they
12 were not in a chain of command. I will ask you a question because you
13 answered to Madam Alaburic about IPD operatives and that you said that
14 they may have -- may be members of your sector. I'm going to show you a
15 couple of documents, and finally, you are going to answer some of my
16 questions concerning assistant commanders for IPD in units.
17 Please take a look at the first document, 2D 927. We're going to
18 be over quickly. Mr. Vegar, this is the establishment of the Command of
19 the Operation Zone. Please take a look at items 24 and 25. Is there an
20 assistant commander for IPD envisaged as per establishment?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And a reference clerk for IPD?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Were they appointed in the operation zone that you had
25 communication with?
1 A. Yes, they were.
2 Q. Fine. The next document, 2D 1370, please take a look at it.
3 It's a schematic of a brigade. Please take a look at page 2 in the
4 Croatian version and page 6 in the English version. Well, the marking on
5 the Croatian page is supposed to be "0251" at the bottom. Please pay
6 attention to that. I believe that this is the sixth page. You will see
7 the words "Referent za ipider" [phoen] or "IPD clerk."
8 Mr. Vegar, did you know that there was a position for IPD
9 reference clerk for brigades?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you know whether there were any in the brigades that you
12 communicated with?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Well, I'm asking you because in the last two documents we did not
15 cover this precisely. Please take a look at P 556, the next document.
16 This a schematic of the establishment of a battalion. This is page 3 in
17 English, the third row in Croatian, third page, third position. Could
18 you confirm that assistant commander for IPD was planned at the level
19 of -- in the transcript, it's P 566. What we have on the screen -- no, I
20 apologise. Document P 566.
21 Sir, you have this document in front of you, Mr. Vegar. Have you
22 found --
23 A. Yes, command -- battalion command, and then the table.
24 Q. No, the page after the table. Have you found it, under "3"? Was
25 there assistant commander for IPD envisaged at the battalion level?
1 A. Yes, I see it under "3."
2 Q. Thank you. Please take a look at P 1510, P 1510. Please take a
3 look at it. This is a temporary establishment of a Home Guards Company?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Please take a look -- I apologise to the Bench. This has been
6 adduced as evidence, but in the e-court we could find only the
7 translations of the first and second page. But on page 3, under
8 number 2, concerning a company, could you tell us whether assistant
9 commander for IPD was envisaged?
10 A. Yes, under 2.
11 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Vegar. Yesterday, you answered to the
12 Prosecutor, and please repeat, in which chain of command were they from
13 the level of operation zone to the level of company? Who commanded those
15 A. Their immediate superiors, their commanders; battalion
16 commanders, brigade commanders, company commanders, operation zone
18 Q. Mr. Vegar, could you command those people?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Mr. Vegar, could you seek from them to deliver reports on the
21 basis of which you would do your part of the job in the sector that you
23 A. I could seek reports, but I couldn't command or order them.
24 Q. You also said that some of them delivered those reports and some
25 did not. Could you command those -- to those who delivered that they
1 deliver such reports?
2 A. I could not order anybody that.
3 Q. Mr. Vegar, did assistant commanders for IPD, within the
4 establishment and system of their commands or the sector of IPD?
5 A. They were in their units. They were members of their units.
6 They were not members of the IPD sector of the Defence Department.
7 Q. Fine. Now let's take a look at the last two documents. The
8 first is 2D 00338. Please comment, if you can.
9 The day before yesterday, asked by my learned friend, or the
10 Bench, or His Honour Judge Antonetti, you said that in September, there
11 were some restructuring of the Main Staff, in terms of the spokesperson
12 for the Main Staff. Here we have a report signed by Mr. Ciro Grubisic.
13 Please comment, if you can. What is this position cited below report by
14 the Chief of Staff? Do you remember whether he occupied this position,
15 how long he remained in this position? What is the "PU PD HVO"? And we
16 see otherwise that this is a document produced by the Main Staff, the
17 forward command position of Citluk.
18 A. I think this is the political administration. I was not familiar
19 with that. It was established due to a reorganisation drive at the
20 Main Staff. This is a complete novelty for me, this document, and I
21 cannot comment it.
22 Q. I mentioned this because you said that in September there was a
23 reorganisation of the Main Staff, and this is why I wanted to show you
24 this document, which would indicate a new head of service in the
25 Main Staff.
1 And, finally, Mr. Vegar, this is 2D 02050, the last document.
2 This is the "Vjesnik" daily newspaper, which is still not on the list of
3 exhibits of the Bruno Stojic Defence. We're going to give it to TTS in
4 entirety, and after that we will move for it to be included on our list.
5 This is a document in connection with our discussion about truthful
6 quotations by journalists. This is the "Vjesnik," which allegedly
7 carried your statement about an ultimatum. This is Monday, 5th of April,
8 1993. There was talk about a communique being relayed by "Vjesnik". Did
9 you read the whole of the "Vjesnik" issue of the day?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you please help me. How was "Vjesnik" structure laid out?
12 A. Well, there were sections, internal -- domestic policies,
13 international politics, Bosnia-Herzegovina, et cetera, et cetera.
14 Q. A question: Please take a look at page 7, which is a section on
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina in "Vjesnik". It will not mean much to Their Honours
16 because we have not translated that because we had nothing to translate.
17 Please take a look at this page and tell us whether there is anything on
18 this page that would be related to a report from the session of the HVO
19 HZ-HB or any of your statements contained on this page.
20 A. There is no such thing here.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Vegar.
22 Thank you, Your Honours. Hereby, I conclude my redirect.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Witness, on behalf of my colleagues, and I personally thank for
25 coming to testify in The Hague, and I wish you a safe return home, and
1 the usher is going to take you out of the courtroom.
2 But before we adjourn, I have two things to say.
3 First of all, I would like to tell Ms. Pinter, if Mr. Kovacic
4 would have been here, I would have said the same.
5 [The witness withdrew]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The editor-in-chief of the
7 Sense Agency wrote to the Judges, including to me, because my name is
8 stated in the letter, and I do plan to reply to him, as to the issue of
9 the press release issued by the agency last time. I asked Mr. Kovacic to
10 provide me with the text, and I still haven't received it, so I can't
11 answer if I don't have the document.
12 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I understand, Your Honours, and
13 you're going to receive one during today, as far as we are capable of
14 reaching him.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 Let me turn to Mr. Stojic, because yesterday he spoke and I did
17 not have time to fully reply to him. I will do so now.
18 Mr. Stojic, you must understand, as Mr. Praljak or the others
19 must understand, the Prosecutor has a remit. He has the onus of proof,
20 and he is entitled to say that, according to him, a document does
21 establish a fact and carries with it a specific responsibility. That's
22 the part to be played by the Prosecution, and the Defence also has to say
23 that in their view, the responsibility, the liability of the accused, is
24 not at stake. That's part of a criminal trial. There is, of course, the
25 presumption of innocence. Of course, it's not pleasant to hear somebody
1 say that you, in his view, in her view, are guilty, but that's part and
2 parcel of a criminal trial. Do endeavour to understand that the
3 Prosecutor does his job, even if you don't like it, but that's his task,
4 his mission, and your Defence counsel's job is to defend you, and that's
5 what she does. As to the Judges, they are to be arbiters, and they
6 listen to everybody's argument, and when the trial is over, they will
7 make a determination whether the Prosecution told the truth or whether
8 the Defence told the truth, and they will have findings.
9 I know it's a difficult criminal trial. You've been here for
10 three years, and you spoke only very rarely. I recognise that. I regret
11 that, personally, because I think that these international trials do
12 require the possibility for accused to express themselves, to speak, but
13 you're also entitled to keep silent, as per the Rules.
14 I know it's hard for you to be here, not saying anything,
15 listening to it all. If I were you, I would understand that perfectly.
16 I can understand that sometimes you feel like just bursting. It's human.
17 It's true for Judges too. You try to keep a grip on yourself, but it's
18 not always easy. We're all here in a situation of confinement. We've
19 been spending years together in this courtroom. There was the Stockholm
20 syndrome. Maybe there will be The Hague syndrome. I don't know. But
21 admittedly, this may explain why there are tensions between individuals.
22 It's only normal.
23 But the Prosecution has a part to play, has a mandate, and I can
24 understand that the Defence may raise objections, that there are things
25 you don't like listening to, hearing, but that's part of the process.
1 I wanted to say that because the Judges have a mission, which is
2 to do everything possible for the accused to be present because a trial
3 without accused being present is not a good thing, and as a Presiding
4 Judge I do my level best to make sure that we have a good atmosphere in
5 the courtroom, that everybody can speak. Of course, we are under time
7 This morning, I was looking at some figures regarding the
8 Milosevic trial. All in all, they had 1200 hours. We've already passed
9 that limit or that figure, you see, and we're not done yet. So to get to
10 the end, we all must chip in, try to listen to whoever speaks, but
11 whoever speaks must understand that we are pressed by time or under time
13 Now, I can say this because we have some time today. I could not
14 have said that if we hadn't. This is what I wanted to tell you,
15 Mr. Stojic.
16 THE ACCUSED STOJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. I
17 have understood the situation. Everything is fine. I got a bit carried
18 away, so to speak, because of the document that had nothing to do with
19 what was on the agenda, so I do apologise.
20 Thank you.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Your Honours, I will continue to fight. I'll take advantage of
23 the right you have granted me. If you remember, when we first met I said
24 the proceedings will be broken into thousands of small mirrors and, using
25 such separate details, can provide different kinds of pictures. I said
1 the Prosecution should take an oath to speak the truth because that's
2 what we're seeking here, and whether you try to use something to bypass
3 the truth, well, let me tell you, the truth is god here. I will fight to
4 the end to seek the truth.
5 If you say I'm guilty, well, fine, but we're not going to single
6 out certain elements, turn certain factors into other things, because
7 that would just be a game. It would no longer be a search for the truth
8 but just the search for a victory. One wants to win at whatever cost.
9 For as long as these proceedings last, I will fight like a lion.
10 Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Next week, we have a schedule
12 with two witnesses. For one of them, there will be one hour for the
13 examination-in-chief, thirty minutes for the other counsel, and an hour
14 for the Prosecution. As to the second witness, it will be two hours in
15 examination-in-chief, one hour for the other Defence team, and then two
16 hours for the Prosecutor. Is that so?
17 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, you're quite
18 right, but it's the reverse. First we'll have the witness for two hours,
19 and then we'll have the witness for whom we'll need one hour.
20 There's just a mistake in the transcripts. It's page 34, line 1.
21 The document number that I referred to is erroneous. It should say "2D
22 00338." I'd just like to check that, 00338. That's correct now.
23 Yes, Your Honours, that's the plan. However, in the territory of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, the weather is extremely inclement.
25 I don't think it will be possible for a lot of flights to take off today.
1 My witness will only arriving tomorrow, not today, because everything is
2 covered in ice. The roads are covered in ice. He had to get to
3 Sarajevo-Split from Bosnia, and today that was impossible. We'll follow
4 the situation, and if the witness can't come tomorrow, we will inform the
5 Chamber in good time. For the moment, everything is, so to speak, in the
6 hands of God. We'll see if the weather will change.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, the main thing is that
8 the witness be here on Monday and that you have time to proof him
9 beforehand. If he's to testify on Monday, you've got all of Sunday to do
10 so; is that right?
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. Thank you very
12 much, and that's what I was counting on. If the witness arrives on
13 Saturday, then with a little extra work we could finish everything, but
14 if he can't come on Saturday, we will then inform the Chamber of the
16 Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Well, that's beyond
18 our scope. Judges can do much, but nothing we can do about the weather.
19 Ms. Pinter.
20 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just for the sake of
21 the procedure, for the calculation of time, the second witness that my
22 colleague Nozica will be calling is also a Praljak witness, and we'll be
23 tendering the statement. It's a 92 ter witness.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Perfect. We'll take this on
1 Now it was time for the break, but there's no need for that.
2 We're going to adjourn.
3 I wish you all a good day, and we shall reconvene on Monday.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 10.30 a.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Monday, the 23rd day of
6 February, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.