1 Monday, 26 October 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Pusic not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
9 Good afternoon, everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus
11 Jadranko Prlic et al.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Madam
14 Monday, the 26th October 2009. I greet Mr. Prlic,
15 Mr. Ostojic [as interpreted], Mr. Praljak, I also -- Mr. Petkovic and
16 Mr. Coric, who is with us now. I also welcome Mr. Pusic. I hope you
17 will get better soon. Best wishes. I also greet counsel, Mr. Scott, and
18 all his colleagues behind him, as well as his female collaborators, and
19 all those who are helping us in and out of this court.
20 I would like to have the Registrar give us the numbers.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Praljak Defence has submitted their responses to the Prosecution
23 objections to the documents tendered through Witness Sakic, Vlado.
24 This list shall be given Exhibit IC1081. As well, some parties
25 have submitted
1 lists of documents to be tendered through Witness Curcic, Dragan. The
2 list submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit IC1082. The list submitted
3 by 4D shall be given Exhibit IC1083. The list committed by 2D shall be
4 given Exhibit IC1084, and the list submitted by the OTP shall be given
5 Exhibit IC1085.
6 Thank you, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Madam Registrar.
8 Mr. Stewart.
9 MR. STEWART: Your Honours, good afternoon.
10 Your Honours may have noticed that the Petkovic Defence team is
11 in the front bench. Your Honours, for purposes of today, it's actually
12 essential because there are technical facilities available on this bench
13 which are not available behind, but we submitted a request to
14 Your Honours. I apologise. If we have had a response, we just haven't
15 had time to pick it up in the last few minutes. Our request was that we
16 should be able to sit in this row, with the complete agreement of our
17 helpful colleagues for the Stojic Defence, throughout the Petkovic case.
18 We believe that's more helpful for Your Honours, the witness, counsel,
19 for everybody.
20 Thank you, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Indeed, the Chamber received
22 your request, and therefore it is accepted. It is perfectly justified,
23 this request.
24 I will indicate to the Petkovic Defence that we are starting
25 today at a quarter past 2.00, and we'll stop around 10 to 5.00, because
1 as you know, today we have the election of the new President of the
2 Tribunal, and therefore there has been a change in the schedule at the
3 last minute, so you have been advised that the hearing would start at a
4 quarter past 2.00 and will finish, at the latest, at 5.00 p.m. Around
5 1650, we should really stop the hearing.
6 We have an opening statement which is now going to begin, and I
7 give the floor to the Defence of General Petkovic.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, good afternoon.
9 Good afternoon to my learned friends from the OTP, all the other Defence
10 teams, and everyone else in the courtroom, including, of course, the
12 Your Honours, the Petkovic Defence has decided to begin our case
13 with an opening statement, in keeping with Rule 84, the reason being we
14 wish to apply the same standard to the Court, the Prosecutor, and all the
15 other Defence teams in a clear and concise way in order to explain our
16 Defence plan and our main theories. The Petkovic Defence wishes that
17 these subjects be raised in a timely manner in this courtroom and for all
18 the events to be clarified that we believe to be of relevance to these
19 proceedings. The question is, of course: Do we make the job any easier
20 by opening like that to our learned friends from the OTP? We do believe
21 that this is the case. Nevertheless, we shall not let this stand in our
22 way, in terms of presenting our opening statement.
23 The situation is as follows: All the charges in this case in a
24 way are in relation to a person wearing a military uniform. The
25 customary understanding is that military commanders are responsible for
1 any steps taken by their own soldiers. The responsibility, in a way,
2 rests on the shoulders of these military commanders then, unless proven
3 otherwise. In other words, there is a certain presumption of
4 responsibility, at the expense of military commanders, who are also
6 The fundamental interest of the Petkovic Defence is for all
7 events and relations relevant to this case to be established specifically
8 both de jure and de facto.
9 Our opening statement has been sent up as a Powerpoint
10 presentation. I have just been told that the system can be switched on
11 as soon as I announce the use of Sanction. I have no idea what that
12 means, I do have to admit, but I hope that helps us switch on the
13 Powerpoint presentation.
14 The opening statement of the Petkovic Defence, Your Honours, my
15 learned friends, will comprise five subject matters or five chapters, the
16 first being the joint criminal enterprise, and that is what we shall
17 spend the longest time dwelling on. The next one is the time-frame. The
18 third one is the crime base. Number 4 is the HVO Main Staff. And
19 number 5 on our list is Milivoj Petkovic, himself.
20 Let us now move on to the first component, which is also the
21 central component to the Petkovic Defence, joint criminal enterprise, or,
22 as defined by the OTP, a campaign of persecutions, military actions,
23 arrests, and expulsions.
24 In the indictment, the Prosecution submits in paragraph 25, I
1 "While not every member of the HVO was part of the joint criminal
2 enterprise, the HVO was one of the essential structures and instruments
3 of the joint criminal enterprise."
4 Paragraph 33 goes on to state:
5 "The Herceg-Bosna/HVO forces set about a broad campaign of
6 persecutions, military actions, arrests, and expulsions to enforce their
8 The Prosecution also continues by saying this:
9 "On 16 through 18th of April, 1993, Herceg-Bosna/HVO forces
10 attacked more than 30 Muslim towns and villages."
11 Paragraph 34:
12 "The Herceg-Bosna/HVO attacks, arrests, and expulsions in the
13 second half of April 1993 set in motion an extensive campaign of such
14 actions, interrupted by occasional cease-fires, which continues even
15 after the signing of another peace plan, the Washington Agreement, in
16 March 1994."
17 The Defence counters these claims made by the OTP as follows:
18 Firstly, there was no joint criminal enterprise to persecute, arrest, and
19 expel Muslims. Secondly, the HVO never prepared for a war against the
20 Muslims. Thirdly, the clashes between the BH Army and the HVO, on a
21 broader scale, were a consequence of the offensive plans and actions of
22 the BH Army. Number 4, in 1993 the BH Army conquered territories and
23 expanded the area under the control of the Muslim authorities. Number 5,
24 the military actions of the HVO were no more than reactions to the plans
25 and actions of the BH Army. At the time, there was only one order that
1 the HVO obeyed, and that was to defend themselves.
2 Talking of the joint criminal enterprise, our Defence will be
3 structured as follows: There are two components to it. Firstly, we
4 shall try to prove that the Croats did not plan for clashes with Muslims
5 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And, secondly, we shall try to explain the
6 importance of a turning point in the relations between the Muslims and
7 the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993, the date being the 30th of
8 June, 1993
9 Let us move on to the first point. The Croats were not planning
10 for a conflict with Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. While dealing
11 with this, we shall be tackling seven individual components, as you can
12 probably see if you look at this introductory part of our statement. The
13 first element. The HVO was not planning for any clashes with Muslims in
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina. This theory by the Defence is proven, among
15 other elements, by the following: The Prosecution claims it was clear
16 that the clashes in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be of an ethnic national
17 character even before the first clashes broke out. They also go on to
18 state that there was a high probability of violence against civilians.
19 The Defence counter this as follows: The Croats believed that the war
20 against Muslims in -- had the Croats believed that the war against
21 Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina was inevitable, then, firstly, the HVO
22 would not have been built up as a joint army of both Croats and Muslims
23 and, secondly, the HVO would not have worked together with the BH Army,
24 fighting the JNA and the Army of Republika Srpska. Rather, it would have
25 started clashes with the army when it was at the lowest point of its
1 power. Thirdly, the Republic of Croatia
2 BH Army, nor would it have cooperated with the political leadership of
3 the BH Muslims. And, fourthly, the HVO would not have seen the outbreak
4 of clashes with the BH Army on a broad scale unprepared -- entirely
5 unprepared in April 1993.
6 Let us look at a number of documents now showing that the HVO was
7 really a joint army of both Croats and Muslims.
8 The Chief of the Main Staff of the HVO, Milivoj Petkovic, sent a
9 letter to Sefer Halilovic in February 1993. In this letter, he
10 emphasizes, I quote -- that was in February 1993. In this letter, he
11 emphasizes as follows:
12 "I looked forward to each new soldier, Croat or Muslim, because I
13 knew that they had a common goal.
14 "The HVO has not changed its attitude or behaviour towards the
15 BH Army to this day.
16 "We are aware that with the present balance of powers, neither
17 the HVO nor the BH Army alone could defeat the Chetniks."
18 The next document was written by the deputy chief of the Staff of
19 the Supreme Command of the BH Army, dated January 1993, conveying the
20 words of Arif Pasalic, who said that in the HVO units there were between
21 20 and 80 per cent Muslims.
22 The third document, the "Herzegovina Soldier," which was a
23 newspaper published by the 4th Corps of the BH Army, containing an
24 interview of an HVO company commander in Capljina, comprising Muslims as
25 well. He said that all of his soldiers were wearing lilies from the very
1 beginning, and as far as that was concerned, they had no problems in the
3 Your Honours, we could move on and show you dozens of other
4 documents on this same topic, which is exactly what we plan to continue
5 doing throughout our Defence case. Nevertheless, we believe that for the
6 present purposes, this is quite sufficient for you to get an idea of our
7 theory, the main theory that we have expounded, for the duration of this
8 case so far.
9 Also, during this trial we have seen a great many documents about
10 the fact that the HVO and the BH Army were allies in their struggle
11 against a common enemy. Allow me at this point in time to point out a
12 number of those, the ones that we believe to be exceptionally relevant.
13 Milivoj Petkovic, in June 1992, addresses the HVO municipal
14 staffs in Konjic and Gornji Vakuf, the HVO municipal staffs in Konjic and
15 Gornji Vakuf, and I'm talking about 1992. Among other things, it
16 reads -- there were some clashes between the Croats and the Muslims, and
17 Petkovic says, I quote:
18 "Sit down immediately all together at the same table and clear up
19 the situation that you are now facing. I expect you have not forgotten
20 that the TO and the HVO are both integral parts of the armed forces of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Instead of strengthening your mutual bonds in your
22 struggle against our common enemy, who is at the door-step of your
23 municipality, you are preparing to use arms against each other.
24 In the name of both Croats and Muslims, I beg you to try and
25 overcome this situation, and as members of the BH armed forces, you are
1 bound to do just that."
2 In this same context, another document that is highly relevant is
3 a press release by Mate Boban on the 3rd of July, 1992. Mate Boban says
4 that a provisional executive authority was established in the
5 successfully-defended liberated areas of the BH by setting up the HZ-HB
6 Presidency. Nevertheless, he goes on to state that this in no way
7 challenges the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and
9 In the second paragraph of this press release which you can see
10 on your screens, it reads, I quote:
11 "The Croatian Defence Council was set up as an armed force of
12 their own against the occupied and aggressor in Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 As soon as it was set up, the Presidency and Government of Bosnia and
15 the united defence forces under the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 but that a joint command of the armed forces for the entire area of the
17 independent state of Bosnia and Herzegovina needed to be established."
18 The third document shows that the brigade of -- Bregava Brigade
19 of BH Army requested the 1st Brigade of the HVO a zone of responsibility
20 and a location for their own unit.
21 This is followed by the next document in order by
22 Alija Izetbegovic to lift the blockade of Sarajevo, dated October 1992.
23 This was also dispatched to the BH Army and the HVO.
24 Next one up, order to defend by Milivoj Petkovic, dated November
25 1992, dispatched also to the Mostar Brigade of the BH Army. Likewise, an
1 order by Tihomir Blaskic for the defence of Central Bosnia, showing that
2 the tasks were defined in order to be carried out jointly with the
3 BH Army. The same thing is shown by Miljenko Lasic's order for active
4 defence of the South-Eastern Herzegovina Operation Zone, dated February
5 1993. He, too, defined certain tasks that also applied to brigades from
6 the BH Army.
7 Your Honours, there are numerous other documents on a real and
8 sincere cooperation between the BH Army and the HVO. In certain areas of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the cooperation, indeed, continued throughout 1993.
10 The honourable Chamber has seen ample evidence to this effect, and we
11 will not be dwelling on that in particular.
12 The third component within this is about the HVO as a
13 component -- a component element of the BH armed forces. We have spoken
14 a lot about that as well during this trial, Your Honours. Let us try and
15 remind ourselves of some key elements: The agreement on friendship and
16 cooperation signed in 1992 by Izetbegovic and Tudjman, in July 1992.
17 Paragraph 6 reads:
18 "The armed component of the HVO is an integral part of the united
19 armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
20 The Decree on the Armed Forces of BH was soon amended, and the
21 HVO was now considered to be a component of the army.
22 Alija Izetbegovic, in the "Oslobodjenje," liberation daily, in
23 October 1992, announced an imminent establishment of a -- the imminent
24 establishment of a joint command of the BH Army forces and the HVO.
25 Halilovic and Petkovic, in their agreement dated the 20th of
1 April, 1993, defined both the BH Army and the HVO as legal and legitimate
2 armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 treated as such. Soon after, there was a joint statement that was issued
4 on the 25th of April, 1993
5 asserted and called on the military units of the BH Army and the HVO to
6 start setting up a joint command. They also pointed out that both armies
7 were equally legitimate. On that same day, in a military supplement to
8 the joint statement, Halilovic and Petkovic agreed that the BH Army and
9 the HVO would keep their separate identities and command. It also says
10 that they would be setting up a joint command to control military
11 operations throughout the military districts in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 In June 1993, at a meeting of the BH Presidency, the following
13 was said:
14 "We recognise the HVO as a constituent part of the armed forces."
15 The Washington
16 Your Honours. The Army of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina would be
17 made up of two components, the HVO and the BH Army. It also says that
18 the bodies of command, at the moment the agreement was concluded, would
19 continue to operate and that a joint command would soon be established.
20 There are quite a number of other documents to this effect, Your Honour.
21 We shall not be placing an extra burden on the Trial Chamber by repeating
22 this, because we believe this to be a proven fact in this trial.
23 Number 4 is in relation to the Republic of Croatia
24 support lent by the Republic of Croatia
25 Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Petkovic Defence theory in relation to
1 the Republic of Croatia
2 was not an occupying power in Bosnia-Herzegovina; secondly, the Republic
3 of Croatia
4 in Bosnia-Herzegovina; thirdly, the Republic of Croatia
5 the HVO and the BH Army in the following ways: A, by supplying weapons,
6 ammunition and other military equipment; B, by training men; C, by
7 allowing HV soldiers and officers of both Croat and Muslim ethnicities to
8 join the HVO and the BH Army in an effort to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina,
9 without thereby altering in any way their soldiers' or officers' status
10 in the Croatian Army; D, logistics centres of the BH Army, training
11 centres for BH Army soldiers, in the territory belonging to the Republic
12 of Croatia
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, irrespective of their ethnicity; F, medical care for
14 wounded and sick, irrespective of their ethnicity; G, various forms of
15 financial aid, and other forms of aid as well.
16 Your Honours, the Petkovic Defence has no intention of dwelling
17 on this segment, although it is very important to this case, simply
18 because we believe that what has been put forward by the Praljak, Stojic
19 and Prlic Defence so far fully support this theory. We believe there is
20 no need for the Petkovic Defence to go any further into this and bring
21 new evidence to support these claims.
22 Number 5 within the same framework is entitled "The HVO did not
23 prepare for war against Muslims." At this point in time, we shall be
24 pointing out two statements to that effect, the first being from a
25 Milivoj Petkovic interview published by the Zagreb-based daily,
1 "Vecernji List," in August 1994. General Petkovic says:
2 "We did not prepare for war against the Muslims."
3 Kresimir Zubak, in a Croatian TV show, said, I quote:
4 "At the moment we were signing the Vance-Owen Plan, the HVO was
5 in control of 88 per cent of the territory that was supposed, under the
6 Vance-Owen Plan, to be annexed by the Croatian provinces. Nevertheless,
7 following an aggression by the Muslim forces, the control of that
8 territory was reduced to 50 per cent, showing that the Croats had not
9 expected the MOS, the Muslim armed forces, to act in this way. In this
10 sense, we were unprepared."
11 Furthermore, Your Honours, the Prosecution in this case claims
12 that the clashes between the HVO and the BH Army in April 1993 occurred
13 as a result of the criminal plans and criminal actions taken by the
14 Croats. Our theory, Your Honours, is as follows: The BH Army, who was
15 planning, in the spring of 1993, to launch broad offensive actions
16 against the HVO and gain control over some strategically-important
17 locations, both for the country's economy and in more narrow strategic
18 sense, and this is what gave rise to the wide-ranging conflict in 1993.
19 We shall try to prove this theory by citing further documents and witness
20 and bringing witnesses. At this point in time, we would merely like to
21 point out a number of documents that we believe to be crucial.
22 In January 1993, there was a plan by the BH Army to cut across
23 some roads, thereby creating Croatian enclaves in Central Bosnia. This
24 is demonstrated by the report of the chief of security, Administration of
25 the Staff of the BH Supreme Commander. You can see which specific roads
1 are mentioned there and what corridor was to be sealed off. I would like
2 to merely draw your attention to one of those, which was the one that was
3 most commented on in this case, and that was the sealing of the
4 Busovaca-Kiseljak road. The army was planning to do this back in April,
5 and they soon put this into effect, which is demonstrated by the
6 following document appearing on our screens right now, which is a report
7 by the HVO to the government, but concerning the situation in Central
9 "The Busovaca-Kiseljak road is cut off in the region of the
10 Kacuni village."
11 We would like to point out, Your Honours, that the BiH Army
12 conducted and pursued a very deliberate policy by removing non-Muslims
13 who occupied -- or, rather, Muslims who occupied high positions and
14 wanted cooperation with the Croats. The document that points to that
15 fact is an order by Sefer Halilovic, dated 28 January 1993. In the
16 introductory part of the order, it says that a small number of staff from
17 the BiH Army, the MUP, and the government completed placed themselves at
18 the service of the Greater Croatian policy, and names are mentioned.
19 Dr. Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic, Hadzihuseinovic, we will make note of that
20 and correct that later, he was the president of the municipality of
21 Konjic. The next one was Jasmin Guska, the chief of the MUP in Konjic,
22 Mr. Tufo, Refo, the chief of the MUP in Hadzici, and Midhat Cerovac, the
23 commander of the BiH Brigade in Konjic. Three of the four aforementioned
24 persons hailed from Konjic. Sefer Halilovic's order to Arif Pasalic
25 reads as follows, and I'll paraphrase: Remove all those who are within
1 your authority and prepare decisions that need to be taken by somebody
2 else, including the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 That order demonstrates clearly that the BH Army had plans for Konjic to
4 remove Muslims who were willing to cooperate with the Croats. Let's see
5 what happened soon thereafter.
6 Soon thereafter, Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic was removed from his
7 position, and Mr. Safet Cibo took over the overall power in Konjic and
8 Jablanica. The Presidency of the ABiH appointed him on the 13th of
9 March, 1993, as the president of the War Presidency of Jablanica and
11 Sefer Halilovic, on the 20th of March, 1993, appointed Safet Cibo
12 and deployed him to the 4th Corps of the BiH Army within who's are of
13 responsibility were Konjic and Jablanica. And, thirdly, the regional
14 board of the SDA issued a decision about adopting Safet Cibo as a member
15 of the Regional Committee of Herzegovina
16 happened on the 20th of March 1993.
17 Let's look at what happened three days after the reshuffle in
19 On the 23rd of March, 1993, the BiH Army attacked the HVO in
20 Konjic. A report by the BiH Army reads, and I quote:
21 "150 members of the HVO captured, the town blocked, the life in
22 town paralysed, and we continue with further arrests."
23 Your Honours, we are going to demonstrate that the conflict was
24 partly appeased. However, in the first part of April a new attack was
25 launched by the BH Army against Konjic. Everything that we are going to
1 show you will predominantly be excerpts from the BiH Army documents. A
2 combat report by the BiH Army dated 23rd March 1993 reads as follows:
3 "On the 14th of April, 1993, the Neretvica Brigade gained control
4 of the Buscak feature, where it seized an 82-millimetre MB and some
5 infantry units, and the HVO barracks ..."
6 We would like to draw attention to the fact, Your Honour, that
7 this incident happened three days before the conflict in Sovici. In the
8 same arm -- report of the BH Army, it says:
9 "I believe that tomorrow is the decisive day. The actions to
10 liberate the town will start tomorrow. It is already under heavy fire
11 from the aforementioned elevations. This time there will be no stopping.
12 We will go on 'till final victory."
13 Let's see what the HVO is reporting on the same day from Konjic.
14 The HVO from Konjic reports as follows:
15 "Konjic was attacked by forces that had arrived from Bradina and
16 Igman. We are trying our best to neutralise those activities. They are
17 putting pressure from Jablanica on the territory of Klis
18 to do our best in Jablanica to link up all those forces."
19 This is one of the crucial sentences, Your Honours:
20 "We are going to try and prove that the HVO did not attack
21 Jablanica in order to conquer Jablanica, but rather that the attack was
22 within the context of broader and wider conflicts in the territory of
23 Jablanica and Konjic."
24 Further on in the same document, the HVO says:
25 "Help, start while we are still alive."
1 This document is actually a cry from Konjic on the 15th of April,
2 1993. And again I emphasise this is a conflict which took place two days
3 before the conflict in Sovici.
4 There are a number of other BiH Army documents which show how
5 this operation to conquer the Konjic area developed. Let us point out
6 just the most relevant ones.
7 A combat report dated 17 April 1993, which says, and I quote:
8 "We will try to have the work in Prozor completed as soon as
9 possible and then start with all brigades counter-attack in two
10 directions. The first axis will be Konjic-Jablanica-Mostar, and the
11 second axis will be Konjic-Prozor-Rama."
12 That is why Konjic has been the source of the essence of the
13 army -- of the conflict between the army and the HVO, and it has been so
14 for all Defence teams. The Stojic Defence had a witness to that effect
15 and produced a number of documents. Unfortunately, so far we have not
16 managed to penetrate the Trial Chamber's attention with this theory
17 because on a number of cases -- in most of the cases you said that it was
18 a tu quoque defence. We would like to say that this is the central part
19 of our defence case, this is not a case of tu quoque. We are trying to
20 point out what were the causes of the conflicts in mid-April which were
21 relevant for the further developments on the ground. We are going to try
22 and show you why the BH Army was concentrated and focused on Konjic
23 predominantly, and why an action could develop further from Konjic
24 southwards towards Mostar and Prozor.
25 The next document shows the situation in Kakanj in June 1993. I
1 would like to say that documents that we currently have on the screen are
2 under seal, so maybe the documents should not be broadcast out of the
3 courtroom, and that will be enough to protect them. I'm not going to
4 mention the number of the document.
5 In the month of June, the BiH Army conquered Kakanj as well as
6 Travnik, and this is demonstrated by the documents that you can now see
7 on the screen.
8 On the 30th of June, 1993, the BiH Army conquered the territory
9 of Bijelo Polje and the territory north of East Mostar in the direction
10 of Jablanica. In July 1993, the BiH Army also conquered the territory
11 south of East Mostar in the direction of Blagaj and Buna. In the month
12 of July 1993, the BiH Army conquered the entire territory of Konjic
13 for just one enclave there. In the month of July 1993, the BiH Army
14 conquered Fojnica. In the month of July 1993, the BiH Army conquered
15 Bugojno. In the month of July, the BiH Army conquered Doljani. In the
16 month of November 1993, the BiH Army conquered Vares.
17 We will dwell upon Vares a little bit longer because, Your
18 Honours, we would like to show you how the operation to conquer Vares was
19 an operation that had been planned for a long time. It was a
20 well-planned military action.
21 The first document shows that already in the month of August
22 1993, there was a plan to conquer Vares and that the deputy commander of
23 the Staff of the Supreme Command of the BH Army informed the Command of
24 the 3rd Corps that they were agreeable with the proposals about offensive
25 actions that were to be undertaken in the areas which are described in
1 the document. The second document is an order to launch an attack
2 against Vares, which was issued by Rasim Delic on the 1st of November,
3 1993. And the third document is also a document of the BiH Army. This
4 is an analysis of the Vares operation, drafted on the 10th of November,
5 1993, which shows that the action had been planned, well organised, and
6 well executed.
7 Now, if all of that, Your Honours, is depicted as an image, this
8 is how it would look. Please focus on the blue area in the central part
9 of Central Bosnia, and you will see how that blue area is reduced, and
10 the green area that was under the control of the Muslim authorities
11 becomes bigger. The first situation is in January 1993. You can see the
12 attacks launched with the BiH Army in order to cut off the corridor
13 between Busovaca and Kiseljak.
14 The next map shows the situation in the months of March and April
15 1993. The corridor has been cut off. In the month of June, you can see
16 the attacks against Travnik, Novi Travnik, Fojnica, and you can see that
17 the attacks were also taking place around other places. In the month of
18 July, the area in blue is already drastically reduced. We have already
19 told you which places fell in July. In the month of September 1993, the
20 blue area is further reduced. And then in October, the area under the
21 control of the Croatian government is further reduced. And then in the
22 month of November, certain blue enclaves have stopped existing.
23 And the last map that we would like to draw your attention to is
24 the summary of the situation as it was in November 1993. You have a list
25 of towns that were under the control of the BH Army and the number of
1 Croats who had fled those towns.
2 The following maps show the territory of Mostar
3 shows the situation in Mostar on the 30th of June, 1993. You can see how
4 at that moment the town -- the eastern part of town of Mostar looked
5 like. The following map shows the situation after the 30th of June. We
6 said that that was the day when the BiH Army conquered the area north and
7 south of Mostar. This map that you have before you at the moment depicts
8 the situation in the broader or general region. East Mostar is still an
9 enclave of sorts, and in the territory of Jablanica
10 still two Croatian enclaves in existence.
11 The following map shows the situation after the 30th of June.
12 The BiH Army now has control over the territories north and south of the
13 town of East Mostar. The town of East Mostar at that point had
14 communications in the direction of north and south, the length of which
15 is about 50 kilometres. We will dwell upon that a little bit later. I'm
16 not going to go into great detail now. And now the same situation in the
17 general territory of Jablanica
18 A conclusion about the first cluster topic that concerned the
19 joint criminal enterprise is as follows:
20 A general conclusion would be this: The HVO combat activities in
21 mid-April 1993 were not the beginning of the realisation of the so-called
22 criminal plan of the persecutions, arrests, and expulsions of Muslims, as
23 the Prosecutor claims, but rather the reaction to the plans and
24 activities of the BiH Army. This is corroborated by two separate events.
25 There could be more of them, but for the time being the two rules
1 suffice. The first one is this: The HVO did not conduct combats in
2 Sovici in April 1993 in order to conquer Jablanica, as asserted by the
3 Prosecution. Those combat activities were part of the conflict in the
4 territory of Konjic and Jablanica, and the HVO's intention was to help
5 its units and Croats in Konjic who were under the attack by the BiH Army.
6 And the second event is Vares.
7 We would like to demonstrate that the BiH Army did not conquer
8 Vares in November 1993 because of the alleged provocation on the part of
9 the HVO in Stupni Do. The word "alleged" refers only to the word
10 "provocation." Rather, the conquest of Vares was previously planned and
11 well executed, an operation by the BiH Army.
12 The Petkovic Defence believes that without understanding the
13 plans and activities of the BiH Army and the political leadership of
14 Bosnian Muslims, it is not possible to estimate the actions of the HVO
15 and the leadership of the HZ-HB. Therefore, the Petkovic Defence will
16 mostly deal with plans, combat activities, reports, and other documents
17 issued by the BiH Army, as well as documents about the BiH Army.
18 And I repeat once again, because I believe it is very important,
19 it is not a tu quoque defence. Not for a single moment do we believe
20 that any crime can be justified by another crime. However, we believe
21 that one needs to understand the context, and that in the context of
22 joint criminal enterprise it has to be said clearly whether something was
23 a consequence of a joint criminal plan or a consequence of some other
25 Our second topic is about the 30th of June, 1993, which is a date
1 that the Petkovic Defence will be focusing on most of all throughout our
2 Defence case.
3 Your Honours, we wish to show that the HVO was expecting
4 offensive actions by the BH Army in the surroundings of Mostar. Two
5 documents will suffice for that purpose so far.
6 In early June 1993, Milivoj Petkovic said to the commander of the
7 operations zone:
8 "On account of the situation occurring as a result of the Muslim
9 aggression and in an effort to control and occupy the Neretva Valley
10 hereby order: Urgently assess and organise the required number of units
11 to stop a potential Muslim breakthrough along the following axis:
12 Jablanica-Bijelo Polje-Mostar."
13 What this document shows, Your Honours, is that the HVO
14 Main Staff had information on BH Army plans to take the area between
15 Jablanica, Bijelo Polje, and Mostar.
16 On the 30th of June, 1993, Milivoj Petkovic sent a letter to
17 Mr. Wallgren and Mr. Morillon, saying, and I'm about to quote two
18 sections of this letter:
19 "I would like to remind you that when meeting
20 General Mr. Morillon in Medjugorje on the 26th of June, 1993, our side
21 warned him about the possibility that the Muslim side was organising a
22 frontal assault against the town of Mostar and HVO positions and its
24 "It was very easy to foresee these developments as a logical
25 consequence of offensive activities by the Muslim forces started in
1 Central Bosnia
2 River Valley
3 continuation of the same geo-strategic whole, and the Muslim leadership
4 wanted to take that area in order to ensure they had access to the sea,
5 the sea coast."
6 Therefore, Your Honours, the HVO Main Staff knew about these
7 plans by the BH Army. Nevertheless, no one was even vaguely suspecting
8 that these plans might be carried out in cooperation with HVO soldiers of
9 Muslim ethnicity.
10 This was an event without precedent, or that's what we believe;
11 HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity betrayed the HVO. A lot of evidence has
12 been produced to show this. I will be pointing out a number of documents
13 also originating from the international community, the recording of the
14 conversation between Sefer Halilovic and Arif Pasalic. Arif Pasalic on
15 the 30th of June, Sefer Halilovic, congratulates the other man on his
16 success, and we also believe this to be exceptionally important; this
17 speech given by Arif Pasalic on War Radio on the 30th of June, 1993
18 which says:
19 "People, citizens of Mostar, you have to understand that this is
20 judgement day. You have to start fighting. I am hereby calling on every
21 citizen able to bear a rifle or carry a rock to kill these Ustasha
22 criminals, because there is no life for us with these Ustasha here,
23 except for life with Muslims, honest Croats, and loyal Serbs side by
25 HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity, Your Honours, were entangled
1 with the BH Army. We shall be pointing out a number of documents more or
2 less exhibits already and known to all in this courtroom.
3 In the official transcript of the crime squad of the military
4 police, dated the 30th of March, 1993, we see that there is pressure
5 being exerted on Muslims who are members of the HVO and MUP units to
6 leave those units.
7 The next document, chief of the Security Administration of the
8 BH Army Supreme Command Staff, the date being the 16th of April, 1993
9 He says:
10 "It is realistic to expect the tensions to mount further, and
11 what is required is to have a general mobilisation of all Muslims within
12 the HVO."
13 The chief of security of the 42nd Mountain Brigade of the BH Army
14 claims in another document that one must call upon all Muslims who are
15 members of the HVO to place themselves on the side of their own people.
16 This same person, on the 18th of April, in a different document, claims
18 "Cooperation must be established with our soldiers in the HVO,
19 and we must point out the seriousness of the situation to them."
20 Next, the commander of that same BH Army unit talks about the
21 plan to inform Muslim soldiers who are in HVO units in Mostar, Capljina,
22 and Stolac about developments. Just as meaningful is the letter written
23 by the commander of the 42nd Mountain Brigade of the BH Army that he sent
24 to the Command of the HVO Knez Domagoj Brigade. He says:
25 "I mention, and this is very well known to you, that a large
1 number of Muslim soldiers are in your units, and they are Muslims and,
2 hence, belong to this people, so it would not be good if a certain
3 organisation and formation of your units, as defined, were to be
5 Your Honours, this is a direct threat by using the fact there
6 were many Muslims in HVO units.
7 Another important document is the one by Arif Pasalic dated the
8 2nd of May, 1993, stating that:
9 "An effort was carried out to link up with our men in the HVO."
10 It also says that the men from the Capljina HVO had the task of
11 taking Tasovcici village and the bridge in Capljina in order to prevent
12 troops being brought in from the Metkovic area. Furthermore, it states
13 that there had been an agreement to seize the town of Stolac with "our
14 people in the HVO."
15 On this subject, Your Honours, we could provide many further
16 documents, as we shall be doing in due course. Nevertheless, these
17 should suffice at present to arrive at the following conclusion: The
18 security of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was at risk. A state
19 of emergency had been declared because of two things: the danger of
20 new betrayals by HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity and; (b), the danger
21 that the BH units from Central Bosnia would invade the Mostar region and;
22 (c), the danger of losing control over West Mostar, Stolac, Capljina, and
23 the whole of South-Eastern Herzegovina, all the way up to the Adriatic
24 coast. In order to protect the security of the HZ HVO, the Muslim
25 soldiers of the HVO were disarmed in some of the HVO units.
1 The most important document on that particular subject is a
2 document that we've seen many times in this courtroom already, and the
3 first time was when it was raised by the Petkovic Defence. This is an
4 order by General Petkovic dated the 30th of June, 1993. Paragraph 8:
5 "All Muslim soldiers, who are still active in some units, should
6 be disarmed and isolated.
7 "In places with a Muslim population within the area of
8 responsibility, [indiscernible], should be isolated. Women and children
9 should be left in their houses."
10 Paragraph 10 reads:
11 "A close cooperation and activity coordination should be
12 established with all forces in your zone (anti-terrorist groups, the
13 police and the military police outside your structure)."
14 In relation to this document, Your Honours, we shall be pointing
15 out for the very first time an important element, the fact that both the
16 police and the military police were involved in the operation to disarm
17 and isolate Muslim soldiers who were members of the HVO, which is a fact
18 well known to you. But the theory that we shall be putting forward for
19 the very first time is this: The Main Staff was not superior to the
20 police or the military police.
21 If you have a situation where, in a single action, we see
22 cooperating in a synchronised way the army, based on an order by the
23 Main Staff, the police and the military police, who were not subordinated
24 to the Chief of the Main Staff, the only logical conclusion that one can
25 draw, based on this, is that the order could have been possibly issued
1 only by the supreme commander, himself, to disarm and isolate these
2 Muslim soldiers. Therefore, we shall be trying to prove at least the
3 following four circumstances, Your Honours: Firstly, there were
4 legitimate security reasons to isolate Muslim soldiers of the HVO;
5 secondly, the isolation or detention of these Muslim soldiers of the HVO
6 was legal; thirdly, this is an order by the Chief of the Main Staff that
7 follows up on an order of the supreme commander; and, fourthly, HVO
8 soldiers would not lose their status as HVO soldiers simply because they
9 were now detained or isolated.
10 Further along these lines, Your Honours, I would like to remind
11 you that a military expert brought by the OTP, Mr. Pringle, at page 24265
12 of the transcript, 24265, when prompted by me -- I asked him whether
13 based on such documents as he had been discussing, would it be fair to
14 conclude that the Muslim soldiers in the HVO were posing as sort of a
15 security threat, he answered:
16 "Yes, I can understand that they would."
17 The next thing we are trying to prove, Your Honours, is about
18 isolating Muslim conscripts in a part of the Croatian Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna. We are trying to prove that these were reserve soldiers --
20 the reserve component of the BH Army. We shall be pursuing this
21 throughout our Defence case a great deal, and we certainly hope that you,
22 too, will be contributing questions, asking our witnesses questions in a
23 bid to define more precisely the status of these reservists.
24 Let us look at a number of documents for the time being.
25 The commander of the 44th Mountain Brigade of the BH Army, in his
1 report, says:
2 "Civilians from the village of Doljani
3 moment, conscripts will remain."
4 Based on this document, Your Honours, it transpires beyond a
5 shadow of the doubt that the BH Army, themselves, were not considering
6 these conscripts to be civilians. The Petkovic Defence is entirely in
7 agreement with this.
8 The next document on our screens are the proposed measures to
9 organise an all-people's liberation war, dated May 1993. We are using
10 this document to show that all citizens were to form a patriotic front to
11 defend the country.
12 The next document by the chief of staff of the 4th Corps talks
13 about the mobilisation of local able-bodied population, and the
14 mobilisation rate was almost 100 per cent.
15 Allow me to remind you of the testimony of Witness BB, transcript
16 page 17215. She said:
17 [In English] "At the time, draft-age Muslim men [sic] regarded by
18 the Bosnian Croatians as a threat to national security because they were
19 perceived as being potential combatants for the Army of Bosnia and
21 [Interpretation] We believe this evidence to be important, Your
22 Honours, also in order to establish the mens rea of the accused at a
23 moment when these Muslim conscripts were isolated.
24 Finally, although this is a point of law, we believe it
25 necessary, within this context, to point out that the Geneva Conventions
1 contained this, too. This is footnote number 2:
2 "Grounds for internment or assigned notes:
3 [In English] "The fact that a man is of military age should not
4 necessarily be considered as justifying the application of these measures
5 unless there is --"
6 JUDGE PRANDLER: Ms. Alaburic, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but
7 the previous quotation, I believe there is some problem there, in it.
8 From page 23, it says in English:
9 "Muslim men regarded by the Bosnian populations as a threat to
10 national security because they were perceived as being potential
11 combatants for the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
12 Now, I really don't understand this. Did the Bosnian population
13 regard the Muslim men as a threat to national security? It is somehow,
14 in a way, a contradiction in adjecto, and of course they were potential
15 combatants - and this I agree with as being a kind of important issue -
16 but are you sure that this quotation was well quoted in your text or
17 would you confirm that? It is my question. Thank you.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'd hope that I'm
19 following. I wasn't focusing on the text. I think your reaction is
20 about page 27 of the transcript, a portion of page 27. I think you're
21 talking about what I quoted from the testimony of Witness BB. I would
22 like to draw your attention to the fact that the word "were" is missing.
23 The word "were" is missing. The entire sentence would be, and I'll say
24 it again:
25 [In English] "At the time, draft-age Muslim men were regarded by
1 the Bosnian Croatians as a threat to national security because they were
2 perceived as being potential combatants for the Army of Bosnia and
4 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you very much, Ms. Alaburic.
5 As a matter of fact, probably, Dr. Prlic would have liked also to
6 point out that what I read here in the transcript, it was "Muslim
7 population regarded them" so-and-so. Of course, now you've said
8 "Bosnian Croats," which is, of course, quite another issue here. So
9 thank you for the clarification.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you're able to
11 follow our Powerpoint presentation, and we have prepared the opening
12 statement for you in Powerpoint. You can see for yourself, if you look
13 at the page in the Powerpoint presentation, that the quote is there.
14 It's an extract from the testimony of Witness BB. I do apologise for not
15 realising there was an error in the transcript in a more timely fashion.
16 The last thing I mentioned was this footnote from the comment
17 following Article 42 of the 4th Geneva Convention. I repeat in English:
18 [In English] "The fact that a man is of military age should not
19 necessarily be considered as justifying the application of these
20 measures, unless there is a danger of him being able to join the enemy
21 armed forces."
22 [Interpretation] The sixth component within this subject matter,
23 Your Honours, is this: We shall try to show that these isolation
24 measures were not being taken in secrecy. The internationals were
25 informed in a timely manner of these steps to disarm and isolate being
1 taken by the Herceg-Bosna authorities, including the involvement of the
2 army. The documents are classified, and I will not be quoting them. I
3 would just like to say this by way of conclusion:
4 In paragraph 37, the Prosecutor claims:
5 "In early July, the Herceg-Bosna HVO forces, supported by and
6 involving the government and armed forces of the Republic of Croatia
7 launched a massive campaign to attack, arrest, and cleanse Bosnian
8 Muslims from areas claimed to be part of Herceg-Bosna, including the
9 municipalities of Mostar, Prozor, Stolac, Capljina and Ljubuski."
10 The Defence counters this in the following way: Firstly, in
11 early July 1993, HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity were disarmed and
12 isolated for justified security reasons. Secondly, all able-bodied men
13 are potential fighters and members of the armed forces; therefore, the
14 Muslim conscripts were isolated as prisoners of war. Thirdly, the HVO
15 military police and civilian police did not arrest any civilians in early
16 July 1993. Fourthly, the decision to take these isolation measures was
17 passed suddenly on the day of the betrayal by the HVO soldiers of Muslim
18 ethnicity, and there was absolutely no plan to launch an organised
19 campaign against the Muslim population. These are the key theories of
20 the Petkovic Defence in relation to the joint criminal enterprise.
21 Now a couple of words about the time-frame and the way we shall
22 be going about the different periods involved.
23 The first period covers Milivoj Petkovic's time as Chief of the
24 Main Staff. We shall be dealing with the period between mid-April 1993
25 and 24 July 1993
1 the reason being as follows: The charges prior to this period are in
2 relation to Prozor in October 1992. We believe that this has been proven
3 to be a local incident. We believe that the evidence that exists sheds
4 sufficient light on all the circumstances surrounding this event. The
5 next incident is Gornji Vakuf in January 1993. We believe that this
6 trial so far has shown that Milivoj Petkovic was not involved in the
7 planning, organising, and commanding the HVO combat activities. We also
8 believe that General Praljak, including our joint witness, Zrinko Tokic,
9 has shed sufficient light on any circumstances regarding this event. Of
10 course, General Petkovic will be testifying about what was going on at
11 the Geneva Peace Conference at the time which he, too, attended.
12 The next period covers Milivoj Petkovic's time as deputy
13 commander or deputy Chief of the Main Staff. The period runs from the
14 24th of July, 1993, to April 1994, which is the last period of time
15 covered by the charges in the indictment. The deputy commander is not a
16 part of the chain of command. Therefore, we will not be covering all the
17 developments throughout that period, but rather just those in which
18 Milivoj Petkovic was personally involved, and we'll also be covering
19 documents that Milivoj Petkovic personally produced.
20 Following the relevant period, Milivoj Petkovic again became
21 Chief of the Main Staff. We shall not be dealing with that especially
22 because it is not covered by the time relevant to the indictment. We
23 will be mentioning the fact in order to be able to properly determine the
24 place and role of Milivoj Petkovic in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Milivoj Petkovic was dismissed from his office as Chief of the
1 Main Staff of the HVO soon after a total war broke out between the
2 BH Army and the HVO in a part of the BH territory. He again assumed this
3 role and took up this office when the clashes with the Muslims stopped.
4 When he was General Praljak's deputy, his task was to contribute to talks
5 and agreements to stop the clashes. General Petkovic sincerely believed
6 that the war could not be stopped in any other way but for the warring
7 parties to sit down at a table together and reach a solution that was
8 acceptable to all. It was precisely because of this view that
9 General Petkovic was constantly being given the task of being involved in
10 talks and negotiations with the internationals, members of the BH Army,
11 and the VRS.
12 The third part of our Defence case will deal with some specific
13 localities from so-called crime-base. Since my time is slowly coming to
14 an end, I'm going to use just a few minutes to draw your attention to the
15 key theories of our defence. We are going to be dealing with Sovici and
16 Doljani, and we will try and show you --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a second, Ms. Alaburic.
18 My colleague thinks it would be just time to have a break, since you are
19 going to start on a third part. I don't know how much time you still
20 have left, but I think you probably used already an hour, so you probably
21 have about half an hour left. But let's not do sums now. Perhaps we
22 could break now, and we will better prepare and assess what is yet to
24 So a 20 minutes' break.
25 --- Recess taken at 3.31 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.58 p.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, I'm told by the
3 Registrar that you have still 30 minutes.
5 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your
7 I would like to address the Trial Chamber about a technical issue
8 for a couple of minutes. Could we please move into private session.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, closed session,
11 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 As far as the crime base is concerned, the Petkovic Defence will
2 be dealing with certain localities, including Sovici and Doljani. The
3 Petkovic Defence case is as follows: Firstly, the conflict in Sovici was
4 part of the conflict in the general area of Jablanica and Konjic. The
5 HVO did not intend to conquer Jablanica. It was never a plan. The
6 Convicts Battalion participated in the combat in Sovici, and it was not
7 subordinated to the Main HVO Staff. This is a very important part of the
8 Petkovic Defence, or at least we deem it important. The inhabitants of
9 Sovici and Doljani agreed with Sefer Halilovic for those whose houses had
10 been destroyed to be driven to Jablanica. The HVO merely ensured
11 vehicles for the realisation of that agreement. The vehicles did not
12 arrive in Jablanica, as had been agreed. Due to obstacles on the road,
13 they were rerouted to Gornji Vakuf so that the inhabitants of Sovici and
14 Doljani arrived in Jablanica only a few weeks later.
15 The second locality is Mostar. Your Honours, we're going to try
16 to prove the following: On the 9th of May, 1993, when the conflicts
17 broke out between the HVO and the BiH Army, General Petkovic was not in
18 Mostar at the moment when the combat started. He arrived in Mostar as
19 soon as he learned about the conflict in Mostar in the early afternoon
20 hours on that same day, and the first thing he tried to do, after he was
21 briefed about the events, was to get in touch with Arif Pasalic and
22 Sefer Halilovic and in order to stop the conflict.
23 The following day, on the 10th of May, 1993, Alija Izetbegovic
24 and Mate Boban ordered a break in the conflict. On the following day,
25 11th of May, 1993, Generals Halilovic and Petkovic met in Kiseljak and
1 agreed cooperation.
2 On the 12th of May, 1993, Halilovic and Petkovic signed the
3 cease-fire agreement. From that moment on until the end of June 1993,
4 General Petkovic participated in many rounds of negotiations with the
5 representatives of the BiH Army and the Army of Republika Srpska. He
6 also participated in the organisation and presence of the representatives
7 of the international community. All those contacts and negotiations
8 happened in the territories of Kiseljak, Sarajevo, Medjugorje, and
10 Your Honours, from day to day, based on the evidence provided to
11 us by the Prosecution, we'll try to show you what General Petkovic did
12 and where he was.
13 On the 30th of June, 1993, as we have already said, the Muslim
14 HVO soldiers committed the treason which was the beginning of an all-out
15 war between Muslims and Croats in that area.
16 The Petkovic Defence will also deal with the artillery actions in
17 Mostar. We are going to try to show that during the relevant period, the
18 artillery was under the command of the commander of the operative zone,
19 that only military facilities were legitimate targets, and that the
20 proportionality principle was always taken into account.
21 Your Honours, we are also going to try to prove that there was no
22 siege of Mostar, and we will dedicate a lot of attention to that subject.
23 Therefore, on this occasion we would like to point to a number of
24 documents that confirm that.
25 The first document is information about combat activities that
1 was prepared by the Staff of the Supreme Command of the BH Army on the
2 1st of July. This describes the territory north of East Mostar which was
3 conquered by the BiH Army, and it includes the following statement, and I
5 "According to the report of the Command of the 4th Corps, the
6 forces of that corps linked up yesterday with the forces of the
7 6th Corps, which will have a positive influence on the further course of
9 Your Honours, if we know that the seat of the 4th Corps was in
10 Mostar and that the 6th Corps covered the territories of Jablanica and
11 Konjic, we can conclude from this sentence that the forces of the BiH
12 Army linked up from Jablanica and from Mostar.
13 The following document, which is already in evidence, is an
14 excerpt for Esad Sejtanic's book. He says that again a number of
15 inhabitants wanted to go to Jablanica and further on to Bosnia from
16 Mostar. This document also proves that there was a possibility of
17 communication between East Mostar and Jablanica and further afield in
19 The following document is an order by Arif Pasalic from the month
20 of September 1993. It arises from the description of the area of
21 responsibility that in the direction of north and in the direction of
22 south from well-defined points, there were the forces of the BiH Army
23 that, on the eastern side, there are, and I quote, "Chetniks," and that
24 in the west there were, and I again quote, "Ustasha." This document
25 again shows that the BiH Army in East Mostar was not encircled or under
1 siege. And the following document, issued by the chief of staff of the
2 4th Corps, dated from October 1993, proves the same. Let's look at the
3 statement, which says:
4 "A great problem for the Command of Operational Group is the
5 transport of civilian population and others who are marching in the
6 direction of north and south."
7 Therefore, communication in the direction of north and south did
9 And one more quote from the same document:
10 "There is a big problem to supply the unit with bread because
11 fuel wood has to be transported to Mostar and bread has to be transported
12 from Mostar to Bijelo Polje. At the same time, there is a bakery in
13 Vrapcici that could start operating and needs only some minor repairs."
14 This means the communication between East Mostar and
15 Bijelo Polje, including the settlement of Vrapcici, was completely
16 unhindered. Our conclusion is this: East Mostar was never under siege.
17 The third locality is Ljubuski. In a short statement about this
18 topic, we are going to try and show the following: The HVO soldiers of
19 Muslim ethnicity were not disarmed and isolated in early July 1993, which
20 points to the fact that at the beginning of July 1993, the action to
21 isolate and disarm was carried out only in those units which were at
22 the -- most threatened at that moment. We are going to show you how and
23 why HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity in Ljubuski were disarmed and
24 isolated in August 1993. We are also going to show how one-third of the
25 population of Muslim ethnicity stayed in Ljubuski, and also that the
1 destruction of a mosque in Gradiska was condemned by the citizens of
3 The fourth locality is Stolac. We're going to try to show you,
4 Your Honours, that Stolac was liberated by the Croat and the Muslim
5 forces in June 1992, and I believe that the Trial Chamber already knows
6 that. We are going to try and show that on the 20th of April, 1993
7 was not Muslim intellectuals that were arrested, as the Prosecution
8 claims, but rather that it was the members of the Command of the BiH
9 brigade Bregava who were arrested. We are also going to bring a witness
10 who was the commander of a military unit where HVO soldiers of Muslim
11 ethnicity were disarmed and isolated, as well as able-bodied men of
12 Muslim ethnicity. He will describe how the action transpired and how
13 people were disarmed. We are also going to show that in this territory,
14 in mid-July 1993, there was the military action called Jug in order to
15 take back the control of the area south of Mostar.
16 General Milivoj Petkovic believed that the HVO was not well
17 prepared to engage in such a military action, and that's why he was
18 excluded from the Command over that action. That operation was not
19 successful. It was carried out on the 15th of July, and nine days later
20 General Petkovic was removed from the Command of the Main Staff of the
22 The fifth locality is Vares. We will dwell upon that in order to
23 try and prove the following: Milivoj Petkovic did not come to Kiseljak
24 because of the situation in the territory of Vares
25 Ivica Rajic, together with the local HVO commanders, inspected the area
1 and then decided about the military action on his own. We're also going
2 to try and prove that Ivica Rajic did not inform either his immediate
3 superior, Tihomir Blaskic, or the commander of the Main Staff,
4 Slobodan Praljak, about the activities in Stupni Do, and he never
5 informed General Petkovic about it either. We are also going to try to
6 prove, Your Honours, that Petkovic, in Kiseljak, did not receive any
7 reports from Ivica Rajic directly and that he did not receive a single
8 report from him about the operation in Stupni Do. Milivoj Petkovic left
9 Kiseljak prior to Ivica Rajic's return from Vares. The military
10 prosecutor was involved in the investigation of facts about the crimes
11 committed in Stupni Do.
12 We're also going to try to prove, Your Honours, and explain that
13 the president of the HZ-HB, Mate Boban, decided to publish information
14 about the removal of Ivica Rajic, but his decision was actually to keep
15 Ivica Rajic under a different name in the same position.
16 General Petkovic was aware of that decision, and General Petkovic
17 communicated with Ivica Rajic under his new name, Viktor Andric, after
18 that. The operation to conquer Vares, as I've already said, was planned
19 in the summer of 1993, and the fall of Vares was not the result of an HVO
20 attack on the village of Stupni Do.
21 The fourth topic, Your Honour, concerns the Main Staff of the
22 HVO; first of all, are tasks, authorities, and responsibilities of the
23 HVO Main Staff and the Chief of the HVO Main Staff. We want to show you,
24 Your Honours, that the HVO was not the occupying power in the territory
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Also, that the Chief of the HVO Main Staff was
1 not the occupation commander or military governor. Tasks, authorities,
2 and responsibilities of the Chief of the Main Staff were precisely
3 defined by the rules. For example, the Decree on the Armed Forces
4 defines that the Main Staff performs staff and other professional
5 tasks -- staff and other professional tasks.
6 And the following important document, the decision on the basic
7 principles of the organisation of the Defence, it is stated for which
8 tasks the Chief of the Main Staff is responsible to the supreme commander
9 or the president of the HZ-HB. The same decision also defines, and I
11 "In the part of principle and other authorities, the Chief of the
12 Main Staff is superior to the commander of the HVO."
13 I have quoted this provision because it shows clearly that the
14 Main Staff, when it comes to these issues, was the superior body to the
15 commanders of the HVO, which means that in other issues it is not
16 superior to the HVO commanders.
17 There are also some other regulations which are mentioned in here
18 that you can see on the screen, but in conclusion we would like to say
19 the following: First of all, the HVO Main Staff performed staff and
20 other specialised services for the supreme commander. Second, the chief
21 of the HVO Main Staff is in the chain of command in relation to operative
22 commanding and the use of the armed forces in concrete military actions
23 and operations. Thirdly, the chief of the HVO Main Staff exercised
24 superior authority over the commanders of the operative zones or, rather,
25 military districts, brigades, and other military units within the scope
1 of general and specific powers vested in him by the president of the
2 HZ-HB, as the supreme commander of the armed forces.
3 And as we have already seen, we are talking about the issues of
4 operative command and the use of armed forces in concrete military
5 actions and operations. Therefore, Your Honours, we believe that when it
6 comes to deciding about whether the chief of the HVO Main Staff was
7 obliged or duty-bound to do something in keeping with his command
8 responsibility, it is necessary to establish whether the issue is within
9 the scope of general and specific powers vested in him by the president
10 of the HZ-HB as the supreme commander, or, rather, whether the matter
11 in -- are other issues in which the Chief of the Main Staff is not
12 superior to military commanders and soldiers.
13 Under item 4.2 of our presentation of -- or, rather, our
14 introductory speech, we have listed a few areas in which the Chief of the
15 Main Staff was not authorised to issue decisions. I'm going to point out
16 only the one that I deem to be the most important under number 15, the
17 most important in this case, and that is:
18 "To decide on establishing, managing, and supervision over
19 custody facilities, prisons, collective centres, prisoner of war centres,
20 and other detention centres."
21 Your Honours, we do not intend to dwell upon this topic during
22 our defence case because we believe there is ample evidence already in
23 the file that showed that not a single commission -- not a single
24 supervisory body or a commission for the disbanding of detention centre,
25 there were no members from the Main Staff, and especially not the head of
1 the Main Staff.
2 When it comes to the issue of what falls under the authority of
3 what organ within the Herceg-Bosna, including the Main Staff, we believe
4 that we will be able to reply to that if we read programmes and reports
5 on the work of those bodies. Like in every other social group, including
6 Herceg-Bosna, such programmes and reports testify best who was supposed
7 to do what and who was responsible for what.
8 And the fifth and final point of our introductory presentation is
9 the person of Milivoj Petkovic, himself.
10 Your Honour, Milivoj Petkovic is a professional soldier, a former
11 officer of the JNA. Before the beginning of the 1990s, he was rather
12 happy with his work in the JNA and Yugoslavia
13 moment the JNA was transformed completely and became an army of just one
14 people and that was prepared to wage war against other peoples.
15 In July 1991, he interrupted his employment in the JNA and joined
16 the Croatian Army. First, he was the commander of the defence of
17 Sibenik. Sibenik is a town on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. And then
18 the chief of the operations and training in the Operative Zone Split. In
19 April 1992, Milivoj Petkovic arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina upon the
20 order issued by Janko Bobetko, the HV [as interpreted] commander of the
21 southern front.
22 How long did General Petkovic believe he was going to stay in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina? The answer is to be found in an interview that he
24 gave to "Vecernji List," published on the 2nd of August, 1994
25 very end of his term of office in the Main Staff and just before his
1 return to Croatia
2 "I thought that it would be for a month until the problem in
3 Kupres and Livno was resolved."
4 Nevertheless, Milivoj Petkovic did not remain a mere month, as he
5 had planned. He stayed a lot longer. Having been relieved of his duty
6 in the Croatian Army, Petkovic, of his own free will, stayed on in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina and accepted the position of chief of the HVO
8 Main Staff, in the belief that Croats and Muslims would jointly liberate
9 and defend the country from their common enemy.
10 Your Honours, General Petkovic knew that the
11 internationally-recognised borders of countries could not be altered by
12 force. He also knew that the Republic of Croatia
13 issue of changing the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina simply because of
14 the danger that the Serb population in Croatia would use the same or
15 similar principles to have the AVNOJ, A-V-N-O-J, borders of Croatia
16 changed. This can be backed by a note that Tihomir Blaskic wrote down
17 regarding the negotiations between the BH Army and the HVO on the 21st of
18 April, 1993.
19 Petkovic responded to Halilovic about Croatia's Banovina and the
20 Greater Croatia
21 "Well, you, of all people, ought to be reasonable enough to know
22 that Croatia
23 that case it would end up without some of its own territory.
24 Nevertheless, you are simply looking for reasons to disagree."
25 My conclusion: Croatia
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina populated mostly by Croats, because it might thereby
2 legitimate the claims of some Serbs living in Croatia to have their areas
3 separated from the Republic of Croatia
4 as far as the Petkovic Defence is concerned, ends all talk of
5 Franjo Tudjman's alleged plans to cede parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 annexed by Croatia
7 reasonable, pragmatic, realistic person could claim or believe otherwise.
8 Likewise, as far as General Petkovic's activity was concerned, we
9 would like to demonstrate that Petkovic, throughout his time in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was in charge of cooperation with UNPROFOR and
11 representatives of the international community. He attended
12 international conferences and was involved in talks between the warring
13 sides. Obviously, he also met representatives of the VRS. He sincerely
14 believed that it was only through negotiations and talks that problems
15 and clashes could be resolved.
16 This is not a position that the Petkovic Defence has come up with
17 for the purposes of this trial, and this is clearly demonstrated by the
18 following document, an extract from Petkovic's interview to the
19 "Vecernji List" daily, dated February 1993. This is a brief extract, and
20 you will see General Petkovic saying the following:
21 "I believe that weapons should be completely removed from
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as a whole, or as I propose, for all heavy weapons to
23 be melted down in the Zenica ironworks. Therefore, the solution lies in
24 a complete de-militarisation of this state."
25 We would also like to point out another extract from the media,
1 another interview given by Milivoj Petkovic to the Serbian Television in
3 occurred during the talks at the Sarajevo Airport
4 representatives of the Republika Srpska. The talks were organised and
5 attended by members of UNPROFOR. The video is six minutes' long, and I
6 would like to pay close attention, please, to what exactly
7 General Petkovic said and how he phrased his thoughts on the war in
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Well, listen, why would I sign
11 something if I wasn't an optimist, because I said in the last month and a
12 half there were no considerable actions --"
13 MS. ALABURIC: Okay, we will start from the beginning.
14 [Video-clip played]
15 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Well, listen, why would I sign
16 something if I wasn't an optimist to begin with, because I said in the
17 last month and a half, there were no considerable actions. There was
18 stronger fighting around Livno. However, that has also quieted down now.
19 Here, in the Neretva Valley
20 "Q. And around Brcko?
21 "Petkovic: Well, no, around Brcko, these past two or three days
22 the battles were a little stronger. I don't have any real insight into
23 what is going on up there except what I hear through the public media.
24 "Q. Following this agreement, will you order the fighting in
25 Brcko to stop as well, I mean, will you order your own units?
1 "Petkovic: Yes, our units, but that's what I'm saying. There
2 aren't any particularly large HV [as interpreted] units in Brcko. We are
3 to the left of Brcko, in Posavina, and they are currently peaceful during
4 these days. There is no significant action in that area, and this
5 agreement of mine with Halilovic has not been implemented in practice at
6 all. For this reason, that signature cannot be applied in Brcko as well.
7 Everybody would sign but no one would do anything in practical terms, and
8 I hope that I still will succeed to maintain the cease-fire because even
9 by this time there has not been significant action in these areas. There
10 were provocations, but there hash not been considerable action.
11 "Q. Give us just one more brief comment. The conflict between
12 the Muslims and your units, does it look like it's going to end and what
13 can, in fact, be done for it to end?
14 "Petkovic: It will be necessary to implement the agreement that
15 we have signed. In Mostar, to withdraw the soldiers into barracks. In
16 the area of Konjic, a line of separation has been established, and now we
17 should withdraw the units of one side to one side, the units of the other
18 side to the other, and insert UNPROFOR to patrol between them, at least
19 for a period of time.
20 "Q. Tell us. According to your opinion, is the Muslim side more
21 to blame for the conflict in that area?
22 "Petkovic: You know what, we were with the Muslims from the
23 beginning. However, that changed. As they grew in size, so their
24 relationship towards us changed. The stronger they were, the more they
25 wanted to make decisions about many things, and that's why these
1 conflicts erupted. However, these conflicts erupted due to other reasons
2 as well. They were not incidents. It was already a real war, and a war
3 must be planned.
4 "Q. What is your comment regarding the Serbian side and the
5 Croatian side? They easily meet and agree. Will Alija Izetbegovic
6 finally have to sit down with the Serb side and talk?
7 "Petkovic: Well, we do get together easily or not, in any case.
8 Whenever Morillon invited us, we accepted the invitation, attend it with
9 the strongest delegation possible. However, they have not been coming in
10 this way thus far. This is my eighth trip to Sarajevo. Thus far, I have
11 never met Halilovic here at this place. I don't know why. Everyone has
12 their reasons; right?
13 "Q. Is there anything else you would like to comment on that I
14 haven't asked you yet?
15 "Petkovic: Well, I think that it is time to stop the war in
16 these areas. It is better to spend a year or two politically negotiating
17 than to wage a war for five months or even for one day.
18 "Q. Do you share my opinion that a final agreement about the
19 fate of the three peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina should be reached between
20 the three warring sides instead of - how should I put it? - politics that
21 are created for us by the international community from outside?
22 "Petkovic: Well, listen, if the people living here could agree,
23 the agreement would be far more firm and stronger. That is
24 understandable. It is like that at home, too. When you agree with
25 someone who is yours, the agreement is stronger than when someone tells
1 you that you must agree in a certain way. Fine, maybe as part of these
2 negotiations, which the world is leading, there could be more mutual
3 contacts, but, you know, it is easy to agree to some things, and then
4 back here it is a bit more difficult to carry things out, right. But I'm
5 afraid that one day an agreement will have to be reached because of the
7 "Q. Is that day near?
8 "Petkovic: Listen, I would like that to happen as soon as
9 possible. You see what is happening in all this, the suffering, the
10 destruction, the burning, people leaving certain territories. Therefore,
11 every day of war brings with it more victims, more destruction, and more
12 people get hurt. And what is a country without people? And there is
13 enough room here in Bosnia
14 than have lived here thus far.
15 "Q. Is it true that the Muslim side really wants to - how should
16 I say? - appropriate Mostar?
17 "Petkovic: Well, listen, it is obvious that they want to
18 appropriate Mostar. They say that Mostar belongs to them. We don't say
19 that Mostar belongs to us, not just us. Mostar belongs to the people of
20 Mostar. I think that that is the most sensible definition and that this
21 is the one we should stick with. If we stick to this, then there will be
22 no conflict. But they accuse us of wanting to take Mostar for ourselves,
23 you see, but how could we take it exclusively for ourselves when they are
24 here as well. You can't just take it for yourself. If I share something
25 with you, then I cannot take it for myself, which means that I'm actually
1 sharing it with someone.
2 "Q. Okay, thank you very much."
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is what
4 General Petkovic said:
5 "Two years of political negotiations is better than a single day
6 of war and suffering."
7 Finally, Your Honours, we wish to point out that we really
8 believe that human victim, any suffering, any destruction as a result of
9 war is inexcusable. Any victim who simply belongs to another ethnicity
10 is not justified. That is why the Petkovic Defence would not wish for
11 any part of our case to be understood as a denial of a crime -- ignoring
12 a crime or trying to excuse a crime. The Petkovic Defence fully
13 sympathizes with all of the victims and their families, particularly the
14 Bosniaks, who were the victims of crimes committed by individuals
15 belonging to the Croatian ethnic group.
16 Your Honours, this concludes the opening statement of the
17 Petkovic Defence. I thank you for allowing me to present it. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Chamber is
19 going to read out two oral decisions.
20 Oral decision concerning requests to reconsider the Petkovic
21 Defence to add to the 65 ter list.
22 First decision. By a motion of 22 October 2009, the Petkovic
23 Defence filed a new request for adding documents, 4D01470, 4D01471, and
24 4D01472, on its 65 ter list. This adding of these documents had been
25 rejected by a decision of the Chamber on the 21st of October, 2009
1 particular because the translations of these documents did not correspond
2 to the original documents which had been downloaded on the e-court
4 Preliminarily, the Chamber finds that this requested motion is
5 de facto a request for a reconsideration of the decision of the 21st of
6 October, 2009. The Chamber notes, first of all, that the English version
7 of document 4D01472, which was put on e-court, does not have any
8 translation with it of Articles 73 to 91. It is, therefore, not in a
9 position to appreciate, prima facie, the reliability and the probative
10 value of this document and part of articles whose addition has been
11 requested on list 65 ter. Consequently, the Chamber rejects the request
12 for reconsideration for adding 4D01472 on the 65 ter list of the Petkovic
14 For Exhibits 4D01470 and 4D471 [as interpreted], the Chamber
15 considers that the new English versions, which have been downloaded in
16 the e-court system, correspond to the original of these exhibits. The
17 Chamber considers exceptionally that the corrections made by the Petkovic
18 Defence enables, in the interests of justice, to reconsider the decision
19 of the 21st of October, 2009, and considers that 4D70 [as interpreted]
20 and 4D01472 [as interpreted], have now the guarantees, prima facie, of
21 reliability and probative value which are sufficient to accept their
22 injunction on the 65 ter list of the Petkovic Defence.
23 The second oral decision.
24 MR. STEWART: Before Your Honours go on to the second one, it may
25 be convenient just to correct, because it's not Your Honour, it's the
2 At page 50, line 10, the reference to 1472 should be to 1471,
3 because Your Honours are admitting those two, and 1472 is the one that
4 you have rejected. So forgive me for interrupting. It seemed convenient
5 to deal with it straight away.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're quite right. The
7 two documents which are now admitted are 4D01470 and 4D01471. Therefore,
8 these two exhibits can be put on the 65 ter list, can be added.
9 Second oral decision. By motion of 26 October 2009, the Petkovic
10 Defence requested the Chamber to reconsider its decision of the 21st of
11 October, 2009, by which it rejected adding on the 65 ter Exhibit P02231,
12 which gave no prima facie guarantees of sufficient reliability. Indeed,
13 the Chamber considered that this exhibit, which came from the assistant
14 of the commander of the 3rd Brigade of the HVO, was handwritten,
15 practically illegible, and had neither stamp, nor signature, nor official
16 heading. The Chamber considers that in its request, the Petkovic Defence
17 only completed its initial request to add the document on the 65 ter list
18 and has not shown that the reasoning of the decision contained an error
19 or that any specific circumstances which it hadn't presented in its
20 initial request would justify its reconsideration. The Chamber decides,
21 therefore, to reject the request of the Petkovic Defence.
22 Very well. So as a conclusion, there are two exhibits which are
23 added and three which are still rejected.
24 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, two accepted and two rejected, is it
25 not, Your Honour?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have two which are accepted
2 and three rejected.
3 MR. STEWART: Sorry, rejected is 1472 and P2231, Your Honours?
4 Accepted, 1471 and 1472, and rejected --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, you're right. Yes, indeed.
6 Excuse me, you're right. There are two which are accepted, which are
7 01470 and 471, and two which are still rejected, 4D01472 and P02231.
8 MR. STEWART: Yes, thank you, Your Honour. That's clear, thank
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 Ms. Alaburic, is the witness here, because perhaps he can make
12 the solemn declaration. In five minutes, he could make the solemn
13 declaration, take the oath. Or will he take the oath tomorrow?
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that the
15 witness is here. I personally don't mind. We can bring him in today,
16 but I think it would be better if we did it tomorrow. But as I say, I
17 don't mind if we --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Until tomorrow. Let's do that
19 tomorrow. The Chamber has decided he will take the oath tomorrow.
20 As you know, we are starting the session tomorrow at 9.00, so
21 we'll see one another tomorrow at 9.00. Mr. Coric, I repeat to you that
22 if you want to get up, to get up, if you want to get up to get out, the
23 important is that he can attend the session within the limitation of his
24 physical capabilities.
25 This is what I had to say, so see you tomorrow at 9.00 a.m.
1 thank you.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.43 p.m.
3 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 27th day of
4 October, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.