Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 47341

 1                           Thursday, 26 November 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The accused Coric and Pusic not present]

 5                           [The witness entered court]

 6                           --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you call the

 8     case.

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honours.  Good morning,

10     everyone in and around the courtroom.

11             This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic

12     et al.  Thank you, Your Honours.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.

14             Today is Thursday, 26th of November, 2009.  Good morning to the

15     four accused.  Apparently two are ill.  Good morning to the Defence

16     counsel.  Good morning, Witness.  Good morning, Mr. Bos, Mr. Scott, and

17     Madam Case Manager, and all the people assisting us.  And I also greet

18     the security officers present in the courtroom.

19             We are to continue with cross-examination.  It seems that the

20     Prosecutor still has 40 minutes to complete his cross-examination.  But

21     before I ask him to proceed, I have a follow-up question for you,

22     Witness.

23                           WITNESS:  WITNESS 4D-AB [Resumed]

24                           [The witness answered through interpreter]

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Who was the commander of the

Page 47342

 1     operative zone of your brigade?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not receiving interpretation.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll put my question again.

 4             Could you tell me, Witness, who was the commander of the

 5     operative zone of your brigade?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat?  I was

 7     without interpretation again.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I hope the interpreters are

 9     awake now.  I'll repeat my question for a third time.

10             Can you tell me who was the commander of the operative zone of

11     your brigade?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We belonged to the Zone of

13     Operations South-East, and the commander was Mica Lasic.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  When there were

15     large-scale operations, were there joint operations conducted by several

16     operative zones?

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this case, as far as we from

18     Konjic are concerned, the answer is no.  Only when we requested help, we

19     simultaneously requested it from both zones of operations because that

20     was our position between two or, if you will, three zones of operation,

21     if we consider Central Bosnia too.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you were in your brigade

23     on the 15th of April, 1993 -- this may be a difficult question, because

24     I'm going to ask you whether you remember exactly what you were doing on

25     the 15th of April.  I couldn't answer such a question, personally, but

Page 47343

 1     you're younger than me, so it may be that your memory works better than

 2     mine.  On the 15th of April, 1993, did you, by any chance, hear that the

 3     commander of the HVO brigade in Zenica, Zivko Totic, had been kidnapped

 4     by Muslims?  Did you, by any chance, hear about that?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, I didn't know that.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said that you didn't know

 7     that then.  When did you learn about it?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Until our departure, that is, until

 9     our part of the brigade left the circle in which it was, a significant

10     amount of time elapsed.  But a number of people were kidnapped or

11     detained, so I'm not really sure.  I may have heard such accounts, but I

12     didn't pay much attention.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're not aware of it.  The

14     reason why I'm asking this question is as follows.  I'm very clear,

15     transparent, in my questions.  My questions are never tricky, there's

16     never any trap.  So the Prosecution says that there was an ultimatum on

17     the 15th of April, and following the ultimatum there was an all-out HVO

18     offensive in several municipalities, including in Central Bosnia; hence

19     the attacks on Ahmici, Vitez, et cetera.  One of the Defence cases in the

20     Kordic or Blaskic cases was that the attacks on the 16th of April were

21     only the result of this Totic gentleman being kidnapped, and as a result

22     of that Colonel Blaskic, at 6.30 p.m. on the 15th of April, gave an order

23     to mobilise the brigades for defensive actions.  And that's the reason

24     why I was asking you whether you'd heard that something had happened on

25     the 15th of April.  And you answered, No, so I must conclude from that

Page 47344

 1     that at the level of your brigade, on the 16th of April, there was no

 2     plan for defensive or offensive actions at your level?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as we're concerned, in my

 4     brigade -- actually, parts of my brigade, that is, the 1st Battalion, we

 5     were attacked by the ABiH as soon as the 14th of April, and on the 16th,

 6     there were attacks of the ABiH in the area of my battalion, which was

 7     deployed at Konjic, and we didn't launch any attacks.  We were caught in

 8     a situation in which we were broken up into smaller groups.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for your answers.

10             Mr. Bos, you may proceed.

11             MR. BOS:  Thank you, Your Honour.

12             Good morning, everyone in the courtroom and outside the

13     courtroom.

14                           Cross-examination by Mr. Bos: [Continued]

15        Q.   Good morning, Witness.  We'll have to have your exhibit binder.

16     Maybe the usher can give you the exhibit binder.  There's one topic that

17     I still want to discuss with you this morning, and that's the events

18     around mid-April 1993, which you already received some questions from the

19     Presiding Judge.

20             Could I ask you to take a look again at P01911, which is the

21     ECMM report that we've seen before.  P01911.

22             Now, sir, I'm going to read out to you Chapter 5 of this report,

23     and then I'll ask you some questions about it.  So this report is dated

24     the 16th of April, and under number 5, the officer here describes the

25     present situation in the region:

Page 47345

 1             "Conflict rages between the villages north of Lake Jablanica with

 2     the HVO villages much better equipped, T-34 [sic] tanks and rockets, much

 3     better equipped than Muslim communities.  The BiH are:  A, attempting to

 4     seize the strategic military position of Zlatar, just east of Konjic,

 5     which the HVO refused to share; B, blocking the Prozor approach to

 6     Jablanica along with HVO armour with approach at Slatina, where a

 7     heavily-fortified position exists and large blocks of granite have

 8     stopped all vehicle movement; C, expelling all HVO units from Jablanica

 9     and Konjic ..."

10             Sir, let's just stop there.

11             So the officer here is describing the situation as regards the

12     BiH Army.  What would be your comment on this?  Would this be an accurate

13     reflection of the situation on the 16th of April, as far as the BiH Army

14     is concerned and what they were doing?

15        A.   As far as these facts are concerned, the ones you read out, as

16     far as I know, we didn't have T-84 [as interpreted] tanks, at least to my

17     knowledge, but the T-84 [as interpreted] is a large piece of armament, so

18     I think I would have seen it.  And as for Zlatar, we spoke a lot about

19     taking that strategic feature.  It was our communications centre.  The

20     Muslims tried to take it at any price, because if you take away a

21     communications centre from a unit, you have 50 per cent defeated it,

22     because they are left without communication then.

23             And the approach toward Jablanica we know very well from previous

24     documents that we dealt with.  And with regard to that, there were orders

25     to block approaches not from -- from Prozor, but from other directions,

Page 47346

 1     units from other directions that wanted to go to Konjic.

 2             HVO units from Jablanica were mentioned yesterday, and I said

 3     that our battalion had problems there, and it pulled out of Jablanica

 4     under pressure and went to the village of Sovici.

 5        Q.   So, sir, you would agree that this is an accurate reflection of

 6     the situation around mid-April 1993, at least as far as the part that I

 7     have read out so far?

 8        A.   I would not agree, because I said right away that the arguments

 9     are not stated correctly.  Did we have a tank?  No, we didn't, so I

10     cannot agree with what is said here.

11        Q.   My apologies.  You did say that you didn't have tanks, but I was

12     referring to what the BiH Army was doing, and I think there you seem to

13     confirm that what is being said here, it was indeed what the BiH Army was

14     doing.  Correct?

15        A.   Yes, but not in this context that is put forward here.  They had

16     other intentions and not protecting some facilities or things.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I did not pay any

18     particular attention to the issue of the T-54 tank, but I was listening

19     to you and then I wondered whether this report we all can see is

20     accurate.

21             If the author of this report speaks about a T-54, there are two

22     possibilities.  Now we can see "T-84."  It was T-54, T-54 tank, please.

23     So if this tank did exist, the observers must have seen it, and it's

24     rather unbelievable that you should say that you've never seen any in the

25     area.  So what conclusion do you draw?  Because there are two

Page 47347

 1     possibilities; either the report is wrong or you are lying.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am saying that there was no T-84

 3     [as interpreted] tank.  Whether there were other armoured vehicles, well,

 4     there may have been, but here it is said that the ABiH had a

 5     self-propelled Howitzer which looks like a tank, and they took it from

 6     Konjic toward our Neretvica Brigade, and the Lisin Detachment made the

 7     most use of it.  It was positioned above the villages that were

 8     mentioned.  The Lisin Brigade is a unit of the ABiH.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.

10             MR. BOS:

11        Q.   Okay.  So let's continue reading under Chapter 5, and I'll just

12     read it out:

13             "The HVO are attacking the Slatina position with artillery from

14     Ustirama; B, attacking Ostrozac positions, including the obvious refugee

15     centre, with artillery and tank fire from Kostajnica; C, attacking the

16     villages of Here and Scipe north-east of Prozor with artillery from south

17     of Lake Ramsko; D, attacking the units in the Dreznica Valley running

18     west of the Neretva Valley (between Mostar and Jablanica), with tanks and

19     artillery from the south and west; E, shelling Jablanica from Kostajnica

20     and Doljani (west of Jablanica)."

21             So, sir, let me ask you the same question.  What do you have to

22     comment about the facts that are being stated here by the ECMM officer?

23        A.   I don't know how to comment this.  These EC Monitors may have

24     copied a report of the ABiH where statements are made in an arbitrary

25     fashion, because it is impossible to do some of the things mentioned

Page 47348

 1     here; namely, shell Jablanica from Kostajnica over Boksevica.  That's

 2     utterly impossible.  And I don't know what else to say about this report.

 3     This is obviously copied from another source, and it's in line with the

 4     scenario of the ABiH, which sent the reports to the media and to the

 5     UNPROFOR and everybody else around.

 6             Yesterday, when you interrupted me, I wanted to speak my mind

 7     about some things -- about some events in the Konjic municipality.  There

 8     were some organised groups.  I don't know whether they were part of the

 9     civilian or the military structures.  At the time, they wore uniforms,

10     but they were tasked to launch a media campaign and to disseminate lies

11     in order to create hatred between the Croats and the Muslims in the area.

12     I wanted to say that yesterday, but you interrupted me, so I thought we

13     might continue today.  There were several such groups, and those groups

14     were active not only at Konjic, but in all areas we are discussing now.

15     These groups had the task to work not only on these media plans and

16     information campaigns, they also had the task to buy armaments and

17     communications equipment from the HVO --

18        Q.   I'm going to stop you, because you're not responding to my

19     question anymore.  What I asked you to say is whether you agreed with the

20     facts that have been described here in this report, and now you're all

21     the way off my question.  So please stick to answering my question as to

22     whether you agree with what's being described here as the situation on

23     the 15th of April.

24        A.   Yes, yes, that's what I've been saying, that I don't agree with

25     this report because this report was drafted by such a group as these I

Page 47349

 1     mention now.  They sent their reports to UNPROFOR, and all the media in

 2     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and elsewhere.

 3        Q.   Fine, you don't agree with it.  That's enough.

 4             Let's have a look at another document, which is --

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  Since the

 6     Prosecutor is about to move on to another document, I have a question on

 7     this one.

 8             The Prosecutor asked you to confirm that the ABiH had - this is

 9     point 5 - carried out the actions as described in this document, and as

10     part of this action, there was Zlatar.  You told us that Zlatar was a

11     communication centre.  I was listening to you, and I now try to see the

12     Prosecutor's question in their overall case, which is that on the

13     16th of April, the HVO carried out a large-scale operation against the

14     ABiH, and not the other way around.  If the Prosecution's case is right,

15     at that time the ABiH was attacked from all sides in quite a number of

16     locations.  But when you are under attack from everywhere, all around, do

17     you counter-attack by taking a communication centre like the one in

18     Zlatar, whilst there may be more relevant objectives when you carry out

19     defensive actions?  In military terms, does that make sense?  Does it

20     make sense that a party that is attacked is going to defend itself by

21     taking a communication centre?  Is that logical, in military terms?

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 14th of April, I believe we

23     said, and corroborated that with documents, that the ABiH attacked the

24     HVO.  From no document can it be seen that the HVO attacked the ABiH.

25     Therefore, there was no reason for the ABiH to take the Zlatar facility;

Page 47350

 1     only if it was their intention to launch offensive actions which would

 2     involve the neutralisation of the communications centre and the

 3     neutralisation of the enemy military.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're not quite answering my

 5     question.  I'm going to rephrase it.

 6             Let us imagine that you, the HVO, are being attacked by the ABiH.

 7     Just a hypothesis.  So you're being attacked.  And if you are being

 8     attacked, you're going to defend yourself.  In doing so, are you going to

 9     attack the communications centre, the enemy's communications centre?

10     This is what I'm trying to find out.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every army, when it attacks any

12     other army, of course a communications centre is a high pay-off target,

13     so logically, taking the communication centre was a priority for the ABiH

14     in this case because it's a core component of a military structure,

15     because without a communication centre, there can be no co-ordination

16     between their units.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you don't understand

18     my question.  I'm going to repeat it.

19             My starting point is that you are the HVO and you're being

20     attacked.  I even imagine that you are the brigade commander, and you're

21     being told that there is an all-out attack by the ABiH.  You, as an HVO

22     commander, are you going to tell your men, who are being attacked, that

23     they have to counter-attack by taking the attacker's communication

24     centre?  This is a technical question, you see.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I answered your

Page 47351

 1     question.  I said that if we had attacked, I would also have ordered to

 2     take the communication centre.  I believe I provided that answer.

 3             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise.  I

 4     believe the witness didn't understand that the question involved a

 5     hypothetical counter-attack.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Alaburic.

 7             Yes, my question is about a counter-attack; not an attack, a

 8     counter-attack.

 9             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness has

10     obviously been under attack constantly, so probably he has difficulty in

11     adapting to this.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So he finds it difficult to

13     imagine such a situation.  Very well.

14             Please continue, Mr. Bos.

15             MR. BOS:

16        Q.   Sir, could I ask you to take a look at Exhibit P01915, P01915.

17             Now, this is an interim report from Commander Siljeg, inter alia

18     addressed to the HVO Defence Department and the HVO Main Staff, and I

19     want to go into detail into this document.  So let's start from the

20     beginning, and then I'll ask you some questions while we're going along.

21             So as I said, it's a report addressed to the Department of

22     Defence of the Main Staff, the Operational Zone Herzegovina,

23     Tomislavgrad:

24             "We are establishing IZM OZ SC Herzegovina at the command of the

25     Rama Brigade.

Page 47352

 1             "2.  Establish a wire connection with facilities Boksevica,

 2     Pisvir, Sovicka Vrata, and with the command of the Mijat Tomic Battalion

 3     in the village of Doljani."

 4             Let me ask you -- we've discussed Boksevica and we know what

 5     Boksevica is, but is it clear that Pisvir and Sovicka Vrata are elevated

 6     positions near Sovici/Doljani?

 7        A.   Yes, it's clear that these are nearby elevations.

 8        Q.   And we'll continue:

 9             "Artillery disposition as follows ..."

10             And then we have a couple of places, and I'm going to ask you if

11     you can identify where those places are:

12             "The village of Dobrosa area," and then, well, I won't read out

13     what -- people can read out what kind of artillery is located there.

14             What I'm interested in is, could you tell me where the Dobrosa

15     area is?  I'm not really sure whether you can indicate it on the map, but

16     do you know where that is?

17        A.   I don't know.  I'm not familiar with the area.  This is part of

18     the Prozor-Rama Z.  Maybe I would be able to locate it, but I can't tell

19     you anything about it.  I've never been there.  It's a different

20     municipality, different zone, a different brigade.

21        Q.   Which municipality would Dobrosa be?

22        A.   The municipality of Prozor, I believe.

23        Q.   And what about the village of Mlusa area, which is the next one

24     under item 3?  Is that correct that that's west of Prozor?

25        A.   I believe that it is also part of Prozor municipality.

Page 47353

 1        Q.   And then we have the village of Donja Vast.  Now, is it correct,

 2     sir, that that's east of Prozor?

 3        A.   I've told you that I'm not very familiar with the Prozor

 4     municipality.  I've never been in that municipality.  Before the war,

 5     jobs never took me there, so I'm really not very familiar with Prozor.

 6     I can tell you more about Konjic, but as for Prozor, I could search the

 7     map and try to locate places, but that would take a lot of time.  At this

 8     moment, I'm really not prepared to do that.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Prosecutor, I wonder whether it makes much

10     sense to ask this witness to locate localities which everyone can find on

11     maps.  I suggest that you look at IC693, which is a map of the Prozor

12     area labelled -- actually called "Konjic 1," and you find these

13     localities on the map.

14             MR. BOS:  Very well, Your Honours.  I will just continue.

15        Q.   Let me just then say, sir, correct that -- the next is the

16     village of Ustirama.  Is it correct that this is about north of Slatina,

17     the location of Ustirama?

18        A.   Ustirama is on the road between Jablanica and Prozor, and it is

19     part of the municipality of Jablanica.

20        Q.   Let's continue under item number 4 of this report:

21             "Positions towards the villages Here, Kute, Scipe have been

22     secured.  The Makljen Pass has been reinforced with one platoon."

23             Can you make any comment on that?

24        A.   I'll try and comment.  If I am correct in what I think, I believe

25     that the Makljen Pass is a road from Prozor towards Vakuf or, rather,

Page 47354

 1     Uskoplje, and I believe that the task of that platoon was to prevent the

 2     arrival of any forces from Vakuf.  And likewise towards Here, Kute,

 3     Scipe, this is where the defence zone was set up, in my opinion.

 4        Q.   I'll continue to number 5:

 5             "Two battle tanks are ready for a show of force and action if

 6     needed, and are manoeuvring on axes:  The village of Kute, Here, Scipe,

 7     and towards the village of Slatina.  We do not have enough ammunition for

 8     them."

 9             Then moving to number 7:

10             "Coordinating with Tuta has been done through the Posusje unit on

11     Sovicka Vrata."

12             Sir, do you know who Tuta was?

13        A.   I know who Tuta is.

14        Q.   Sir, did Mr. Tuta have anything to do with the operations going

15     on in Sovici and Doljani?

16        A.   I don't know whether he had anything to do with the operation.  I

17     believe that he was involved in an operation when those villages were

18     being occupied by the BiH Army.  He was involved in one action in that

19     stretch around Sovici, but I don't know exactly where.

20        Q.   Sir, it's correct that Sovicka Vrata is an elevated position near

21     Sovici and Doljani; isn't that true?  That's what you just confirmed a

22     little while ago.

23        A.   Yes, above Sovici, in the direction of Risovac, that's where the

24     Sovicka Vrata is.

25        Q.   Let's read out number 9 of this report:

Page 47355

 1             "Requests of the Herceg Stjepan Brigade are unrealistic and make

 2     no sense.  There is a feeling that they do not know the situation, since

 3     the reports are written like children's compositions and newspaper

 4     articles and not like military reports.  We cannot know what's going on,

 5     since we do not have precise reports."

 6             Number 10:

 7             "According to the submitted requests, we should use up all

 8     available ammunition in one day and then do without it."

 9             Now, sir, here Commander Siljeg is criticising the reports that

10     are coming from Konjic.  Can you comment on what Mr. Siljeg is saying

11     here?

12        A.   I can say something about the reports from Konjic.

13             Yesterday or the day before, we discussed the situation that our

14     brigade found itself in.  The reports were not written by people who were

15     either savvy or were tasked with writing reports, because they'd never

16     been in such situations before.  Our brigade, as you can see from this

17     report, was in a very bad condition, without any communication channels,

18     so that the reports that were being sent to our superiors were not sent

19     by commanders or assistant commanders.  This was done by platoon

20     commanders.  These were not requests.  These were cries for help, sir,

21     because if you find yourself in a situation when you have only 20 men,

22     and you're under attack by 200 men and you're defending yourself, those

23     can't be requests but just cries for help, and they cannot be selective.

24     They can go along the lines of, We are asking for assistance.  Can you

25     assist us as soon as possible?  These were not requests.  These were our

Page 47356

 1     cries for help.  And the supremacy of the enemy was so obvious, and the

 2     more powerful they were, the more the commanders cried, and it shows you

 3     how much stronger the BiH Army was than the HVO.  I can tell you that for

 4     each member of the Croatian Defence Council, there were 20 soldiers on

 5     the side of the BiH Army.  That was the ratio at that time.

 6        Q.   Well, sir, I understand what you're saying, but doesn't it depend

 7     really on where in the region you are, because we're talking now here

 8     about Konjic and the region where you are, but what about the other

 9     regions, you know, in the bordering area of Konjic, Jablanica, Prozor?

10     You're surely not talking about the complete region, Prozor, Jablanica

11     and Konjic, are you?

12        A.   Sir, I am omitting Prozor.  I'm talking about the area of

13     responsibility of my brigade.  I'm talking about Konjic, the

14     Neretvica Valley and the 1st Battalion there, and I'm talking about the

15     area in the direction of Jablanica.  In that part, according to our

16     estimate that we undertook as much as we could, to the extent we were

17     able to make any estimates, one HVO soldier was attacked by 20 soldiers

18     of the BiH Army, so what kind of reports could one expect?  Was there

19     anybody able to compose a report, anybody who could get hold of any sort

20     of communication channel?  And as I've told you, all the communication

21     channels had been broken by then, so anybody who got hold of such a

22     communication channel cried for help.

23        Q.   Well, let's just continue reading the report in the last two

24     paragraphs:

25             "There is a wire link to the Herceg Stjepan Command from which we

Page 47357

 1     have asked detailed and precise reporting on the situation and precise

 2     requests for operations.  We continue to work according to plan."

 3             Now, sir, would you agree with me that this report from Siljeg

 4     confirms the ECMM conclusion that there was an HVO operation in the

 5     Prozor-Jablanica-Konjic region and that there was a specific HVO plan to

 6     take the region?

 7        A.   An operation was underway in the territories of Konjic and

 8     Jablanica, pursuant to a plan by the BH Army that we saw yesterday and

 9     the day before yesterday, and that plan showed the exact tasks which had

10     been distributed among the units from Bradina to Jablanica, Aleksin Han,

11     and the axis leading toward Doljani and Sovici and further on towards

12     Prozor.

13             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone.

14             MR. BOS:

15        Q.   Let's have a look at another document, which is P01872.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before we move on to

17     another document, the Prosecutor omitted reading item 8, and I would like

18     to draw your attention on it.  Please take a look at item 8.  Two

19     locations are specifically mentioned, the village of Slatina and the

20     village of Sovici.  An operation is supposed to occur on Slatina as of

21     7.00 a.m. and on Sovici as of 9.00 a.m., and what puzzles me is that here

22     we have mention of selected targets.  This document from Colonel Siljeg,

23     dates April 16, it's an interim report drawn up at 8.00.  It's "202/93."

24     That's the reference number.  It would have been interesting to know

25     that -- have a look at item 201, 200, 199.  I will do that later, because

Page 47358

 1     I have all documents in my office in chronological order, so I'll go

 2     check, myself, to see whether documents 201 and 200, you know, also

 3     exist.  I don't know yet.  But if it's an interim report, it means that

 4     there must have been a previous report which might have been drafted as

 5     of 6.00 a.m.  I don't know; maybe.  But if that's the case, this document

 6     seems to contradict what you're telling us.  It would seem that they did

 7     prepare to target Slatina and Sovici, and they didn't prepare the

 8     targeting on April 16th, but on the 15th, the 14th, or the 13th of April,

 9     because there is mention of selected target.  It's not targets that have

10     just been selected; they have been selected earlier.

11             So could you tell me how you interpret paragraph 8, in military

12     terms?  Does this mean that there was already a plan regarding Slatina

13     and Sovici?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me remind you of

15     the order issued by the BiH Army from Jablanica, and in that order he

16     sent his units in the axes of Slatina -- let me just see -- Slatina and

17     Sovici.  He sent his units in the direction of Slatina and Sovici, and he

18     also sent a sabotage unit which was capable of destroying artillery and

19     all the other armament that was deployed in the area that they assumed

20     that it was Risovac, which means that those units had already taken those

21     positions.  And I believe that the order was issued a day or two days

22     before that.  I believe that the reports arrived from the field to them,

23     that they had noticed those movements, and that this is what was going on

24     in that area.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  If I understand you

Page 47359

 1     correctly, your explanation is the following:  The BH Army attacked, and

 2     then the HVO prepared its retaliation and attack, which is why on item 8

 3     Colonel Siljeg planned an operation on Slatina and Sovici.  Is that what

 4     you told us?  Did I understand you correctly?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is the meaning of my

 6     words.  The units that had already been entering the sector were

 7     discovered, and that's what the gentleman was supposed to do.  You're

 8     right.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Witness, you might

10     be a bit surprised by my questions, but as Judges we have the following

11     difficulty:  We're totally dependent on what information is provided to

12     us by the Prosecution and by the Defence, and we draw our conclusions

13     from the information we've been provided with.  In another system, in the

14     civil law system, you know, the judge would have found all orders from

15     the ABiH and all orders from the HVO, and would have compared them and

16     would have seen the light from this comparison, and we would have

17     probably saved an immense amount of time.  But I have to put questions to

18     you in order to check many things, with the added difficulty that we do

19     not have the entire documents at hand.

20             If I had been able to do so, I would have looked at Order 201,

21     200, 199, 198, and I would have also looked at all other orders given by

22     all other operational zones.  I would have done the same thing for the

23     3rd Corps of the BH Army, all the other corps, and I'm sure that we would

24     have found the truth.  But we only get part of the information from both

25     sides, which is why we have such difficulties and why I have to put

Page 47360

 1     questions to you.

 2             Mr. Bos, please pursue.

 3             MR. BOS:

 4        Q.   Sir, could I ask you to look at P01872.

 5             Now, sir, this is an order from Commander Lasic, dated the

 6     14th of April, 1993, and I'm just going to read out the operative

 7     paragraph of this order.  It says:

 8             "In view of carrying out the combat mission in the

 9     Prozor-Jablanica-Konjic area, I order ..."

10             And then what follows is the order.

11             Now, sir, would you agree with me that this language shows that

12     not only Commander Siljeg but also Commander Lasic were involved in this

13     operation, so that both the South-East Operational Zone and the

14     North-West Operational Zone were involved in this combat operation in the

15     Prozor-Konjic-Jablanica area and that both zones were involved in this

16     plan?

17        A.   I don't know who participated or -- I have not seen this order

18     before.  I was not in a position to see it before, because you know where

19     I was at the time.  No need to repeat that.

20        Q.   Let's move back one more time to P01911, which is the ECMM

21     report.

22             I'm going to read out to you Chapter number 7, which reads:  "The

23     present analysis."  It reads:

24             "The HVO wish to secure the Klis region within the framework of

25     or under cover of the Vance-Owen Plan for its military and economic

Page 47361

 1     importance.

 2             "The HVO are waging a political and diplomatic campaign to seize

 3     the region without international intervention or outcry.

 4             "At the time of writing, the HVO are making their most serious

 5     attempt to isolate Jablanica before seizing it.

 6             "Further advances can be expected in the Prozor region, where no

 7     ECMM or UNPROFOR presence can intervene at any time.

 8             "Any HVO initiative will have to use maximum force to minimise

 9     casualties and make maximum progress in as short a time as possible.

10             "The region must be secured before international talks re-start

11     and frustrate any military initiative."

12             Now, sir, it talks about the wish of the HVO to secure the Klis

13     region.  Could I ask you to indicate on the map what is the Klis region?

14             Maybe you can turn on the ELMO.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, I'm looking at the

16     map.  Yesterday, the witness circled a number of localities, positioned

17     villages and so on, but I don't think we gave an IC number to this marked

18     map.

19             MR. BOS:  No, sir, we haven't yet, and that's why -- because I

20     intended that he was going to mark a few more things on the map.  So

21     we'll give it an IC number.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, but don't forget to

23     ask for an IC number.

24             MR. BOS:

25        Q.   Sir, could you put a circle around the Klis region and mark it

Page 47362

 1     with the number C, please.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A D, rather, because a C has

 3     already been used.  It should be a D.

 4             THE WITNESS:  [Marks].  This is the circle, maybe a bit larger.

 5     This would be the region of Klis.  It may not be perfectly correct.

 6     There may be a place here and there that's outside of it.

 7             MR. BOS:

 8        Q.   Would you please mark a D in that region, please.

 9        A.   [Marks]

10             MR. BOS:  And if we could now get an IC number for this map,

11     please.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please, could we

13     have an IC number.

14             THE REGISTRAR:  Yes, Your Honour.

15             The document just marked by the witness shall be given

16     Exhibit IC01129.  Thank you, Your Honours.

17             MR. BOS:

18        Q.   Sir, is it correct, what the ECMM is saying here, that the HVO

19     were trying to secure the Klis region?

20        A.   What number was that?

21        Q.   No, you don't have to look at a document, well, unless -- we just

22     read out the ECMM report, and so the ECMM officer is saying that the HVO

23     wanted to secure the Klis region.  My question is:  Is that correct?

24             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, irrespective of the

25     fact that the UNPROFOR report is being quoted, I believe that my learned

Page 47363

 1     friend should clarify the notion "secure," because at that time the area

 2     of Klis was under the control of the Croatian authorities, so I'm not

 3     really clear as to what my learned friend is aiming at.  What is his

 4     question?

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said "secure," Mr. Bos.  We

 6     would like to know how the witness should interpret the term "secure."

 7     What exactly did you mean by "secure," so the witness can answer the

 8     question?

 9             MR. BOS:  Whether they wanted to keep control over that region.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As has been already been told, in

11     Klis and the region around it consisted of Croatian or mixed villages,

12     which means that the HVO did not engage in any attacks, nor did it want

13     to attack anything in the area.  The situation was as it was.  Everybody

14     held their own villages, everybody was in their own villages.  Those were

15     local units.  The HVO never attempted to cross over to the territory.

16     With Muslims, there was no single case of an HVO soldier -- or a soldier

17     bearing HVO insignia trying to enter a village with a Muslim population.

18             On the other hand, there are documents showing that there were

19     attacks on Buscak on the 13th or on the 14th, which was much before.

20             MR. BOS:

21        Q.   Sir, another thing that the ECMM report says is that the HVO

22     attempted to isolate Jablanica, and let me just show you Exhibit P01876.

23     Would you have a look at P01876.

24             Now, sir, this is a warning issued by Commander Lasic to Pasalic

25     on the 14th of April, 1993, on ABiH intention to remove the HVO

Page 47364

 1     check-point at Radesine, and he's warned not even to think about

 2     dislodging the Radesine check-point since it has been located in Croatian

 3     Community controlled territory.

 4             Now, if you read this order and the tone of this order, would you

 5     agree with me that this order doesn't give the impression that the HVO in

 6     Konjic is under an attack of the ABiH?

 7        A.   As for the check-point at Radesine, let me tell you that apart

 8     from all efforts to put up joint check-points, which -- and which proved

 9     unsuccessful, all along the M-17 highway, let me repeat once again, from

10     Aleksin Han through Jablanica, Ostrozac, Konjic, all the way to Bradina,

11     they were all controlled by the ABiH.

12        Q.   But we're talking here about Radesine.  Was Radesine, on the

13     14th of April, controlled by the HVO or the ABiH?  Just give me an answer

14     to that question, please.

15        A.   Yes, I will, but let me first explain why the Radesine

16     check-point was set up by the HVO, because we didn't have one single

17     check-point on the M-17 road from Jablanica to Bradina.  If we wanted to

18     let someone kill us, we could have let them take it.  So we had to

19     control the forces because there was intelligence that from Bradina,

20     following the M-17 road, two brigades had passed.

21             MR. KARNAVAS:  I would appreciate if the Prosecutor would allow

22     the witness to explain, because it goes to this whole notion of tu

23     quoque, the assertions that that's what the Defence is trying to do

24     throughout this case.  Now we're hearing an explanation.  The Prosecutor

25     is trying to use some ECC report.  I'm not sure whether this gentleman

Page 47365

 1     actually came in, where he's getting this information.  His answer

 2     directly impeaches the report, itself.  He's giving an explanation why

 3     it's there, and it's a contrary explanation as to what the Prosecution is

 4     trying to assert; that is, they are trying to isolate Jablanica.  And

 5     without the explanation, I don't believe that the Trial Chamber can reach

 6     a proper decision.  So I think the gentleman should be given the

 7     opportunity to explain what is there, why it's there, how it got there,

 8     and the Trial Chamber can then decide whether that was for the purposes

 9     of isolation.  And to trust this report of an individual who parachuted

10     into the region and is writing about things that most likely he had no

11     idea about.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is now recorded in the

13     transcript, but I wanted to put a follow-up question on Radesine.  But

14     I'll let Mr. Bos finish first.

15             MR. BOS:

16        Q.   Well, Witness, what I want to know is - and that's why I asked

17     this question and you only need to answer that particular question - is:

18     If the HVO controlled the Radesine check-point on the 14th of April, is

19     it correct that the ABiH in Jablanica was isolated from Konjic, that no

20     ABiH could move to Jablanica from Konjic as a result of this check-point?

21     Is that correct, yes or no?

22        A.   No, it's not correct, and I can explain once more, because if the

23     ABiH controlled everything at Ostrozac and at all other check-points, and

24     according to our intelligence, the M-17 road was used exclusively by the

25     ABiH to move their forces from Jablanica -- that is, from Bradina to

Page 47366

 1     Jablanica, and we set up the check-point exclusively for the purpose of

 2     controlling traffic and not to return anyone from that check-point, but

 3     only to have insight in the movements of the forces of the ABiH.  And the

 4     gentlemen from the ABiH were bothered by that.  We were not bothered by

 5     their eight check-points.

 6             MR. BOS:  Your Honour, would you happen to have a follow-up

 7     question or --

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.

 9             Witness, we have a document dated 14th of April, signed by

10     Mr. Lasic.  It is an order that takes effect at midday, 12.00, on the

11     14th of April.  In this order -- this is document 1872, P1872.  In this

12     order, there's mention of various units being positioned, of

13     communications being set up, and also the fact that from a logistical

14     point of view, there should be support set up by the RTP of Medjugorje.

15     What is "RTP"?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't found the document.  I

17     don't know what "RTP" stands for.

18             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone for the Judge, please.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I see "RTP-Medjugorje."

20     You don't know what it stands for?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't know for sure.  I can't

22     remember.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're looking at P1872 --

24             THE INTERPRETER:  P1876, interpreter's correction.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- which is about Radesine.

Page 47367

 1     But when reading this document, which is sent to Mr. Pasalic, Mr. Lasic

 2     informs him that the Radesine check-point will be controlled by the HVO,

 3     but that if ever the ABiH were to try to do anything, action will be

 4     taken against Ostrozac, Konjic, Jablanica, and Mostar.  This order -- or,

 5     rather, this report - it's not an order, this is a report because I see

 6     in the English version that it is a report - this report can be

 7     interpreted as information given to Pasalic to the effect that from then

 8     on, the HVO is going to be in charge of the check-point.  The Prosecutor,

 9     when he asked you the question, predicated his question on the idea that

10     from this check-point the HVO was trying to isolate Jablanica, was trying

11     to prevent the ABiH from going there.  But looking at the map, you notice

12     that this locality, geographically speaking, is between Jablanica and

13     Konjic.  It is a hilly region.  So in military terms, if you have

14     positions there, you can prevent movement of the ABiH in both directions.

15     And that's the Prosecution case, as I understood it.

16             You answered the Prosecutor's question, in part.  You said, No,

17     we were not there in order to control and prevent, but just to check

18     traffic.  That's what you said.  But when you have a check-point, you can

19     prevent ABiH troops from passing through, couldn't you?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You can stop traffic at a

21     check-point, but I have explained why the check-point at Radesine was set

22     up in the first place.  I think that the ABiH hasn't mentioned one single

23     instance of a unit of theirs being returned from that check-point, and I

24     have said why the HVO had a reason to set up the Radesine check-point,

25     which means all check-points in the area of the Konjic municipality, from

Page 47368

 1     Donja Jablanica to Radisa Han were all controlled by the ABiH, and it's a

 2     well-known fact that they were returning HVO members -- turning away.

 3     And we set up the check-point to have insight to see where ABiH members

 4     were rallying.  So the ABiH had eight check-points, and so I guess that

 5     we, as the HVO, could -- were entitled to one check-point in a Croatian

 6     settlement.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A purely technical question.

 8             At this check-point, in your view, how was it manned by the HVO;

 9     by two people, three people, ten, or by a tank?  Who was manning the

10     check-point, exactly?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that check-point, there were up

12     to 10 men.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There were up to 10 men.  Are

14     you sure?

15             THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's take the Prosecutor's

17     case.  He seems to say that from that check-point, the HVO wanted to

18     isolate Jablanica and wanted to prevent the ABiH from getting to

19     Jablanica.  Now, is it logical that such a military action or operation

20     would be conducted by only 10 men?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've said that the purpose of the

22     check-point was not what the Prosecutor is trying to put forward.  We had

23     intelligence reports about forces massing at Donja Jablanica which had

24     come from the direction of Bradina, and we wanted to know whether that

25     was correct or not, so we wanted a check-point to know what kind of units

Page 47369

 1     passed by there.  And if 10 soldiers were in a position to stop them from

 2     passing through, then, yes, we were controlling that, but I don't believe

 3     that 10 men could have stopped any ABiH unit from passing through.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, I'm not aware of the area

 5     because I've never been there, but if the Judges had been to this area --

 6     now, if you want to carry out a real military operation, if you want to

 7     prevent the enemy from using this road, should you not have put one or

 8     two tanks at that check-point?  Because given the lay of the land, in

 9     that way the ABiH could not have taken the check-point.  So you wouldn't

10     have put just 10 men?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll repeat once more.  It was

12     never our intention to stop anything.  The village of Radesine, it is

13     well known, surrendered later to the Spanish Battalion, and there is

14     reliable information that there were about 50 persons there.  We had no

15     tanks.  These persons were partly civilians, partly soldiers.  There was

16     fighting for about 13 days against a much stronger enemy, the ABiH.  And

17     once they had run out of ammunition, they had the best intention to

18     surrender to the Spanish Battalion, and that Spanish Battalion handed

19     them over to a sabotage unit called Akrapi, and they took them to

20     Celebici, where they were mistreated, beaten.  And one man succumbed to

21     his injuries that were inflicted upon him when they beat him.  A few days

22     ago, a Konjic court convicted the perpetrator of that act who beat that

23     man to death.

24             So from the overall strength of units in that area, it was clear

25     that it was not a strong unit that could have prevented the much stronger

Page 47370

 1     units of the ABiH from moving down that road.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.

 3             MR. BOS:

 4        Q.   Sir, wasn't the root of the problem of the operations on the

 5     15th of April as follows:  The HVO had a plan to take over the Konjic and

 6     Jablanica area, an area which is a Muslim-dominated majority area.  They

 7     tried to attack the area, and it turns out that the ABiH resistance is

 8     much stronger and bigger than expected.  Is that not what we're talking

 9     about here?

10        A.   No, sir.  Let me repeat once more.

11             In the area of the Konjic municipality, the HVO never intended to

12     conduct offensive actions, which can be seen from the documents shown in

13     this courtroom.  The ABiH had offensive actions in the direction of

14     Konjic, through Klis and Boksevica, and other units from Jablanica were

15     tasked with taking the area toward Prozor, Risovac, and Boksevica, so we

16     are again speaking about offensive actions of [Realtime transcript read

17     in error "against"] the HVO, but there was never such a thing.  And a

18     short while ago, I enumerated to you and showed you how -- in what

19     position the HVO was on the 14th and 16th of April, that these units had

20     been broken up, they had no communication among themselves, they had no

21     communication centre, and I told you what the purpose was of the ABiH

22     attack against the HVO.

23             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just a correction of

24     the transcript.  Line 10 of the current page, the witness said, speaking

25     about the HVO offensive as something that we cannot speak about.  So

Page 47371

 1     speaking about an HVO offensive, there was never such a thing, and what

 2     is stated in the transcript, "offensive actions against the HVO."  So the

 3     word "against" is something the witness has not uttered.  I believe that

 4     once that word "against" is omitted, we will get a faithful rendering of

 5     the witness's words.

 6             MR. BOS:  Your Honours, I have no further questions.  I have

 7     concluded my cross.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last thing about the

 9     Radesine check-point.  Do you know the place?

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Regarding this area

12     or place, is there not a river along it?

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Jablanica Lake is beneath

14     Radesine, and there is also a railroad line beneath the road, and some

15     10 metres lower there's the lake.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So there's the Jablanica Lake.

17     To your knowledge, did the ABiH have boats that made it possible for the

18     ABiH to move along the lake?

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they didn't have boats, but

20     they passed through the road because we never prevented them from doing

21     so.  It was just a check-point which wasn't meant to prevent traffic.

22     There were no barriers of any kind.  There was merely a check-point, the

23     purpose of which was to see what was going on.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm just trying to

25     ascertain the Prosecutor's case through my questions.  I'm asking you

Page 47372

 1     whether it was possible to use the lake to move using boats.  This is

 2     what I'm trying to find out, and you can tell me whether the ABiH had

 3     boats or whether they didn't.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they didn't have any boats, but

 5     they were able to use the railroad line, which was open and nobody

 6     blocked it.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Regardless of the railway line,

 8     sir, apart from the road, there may have been paths, making it possible

 9     for infantrymen from the ABiH to bypass your check-point without any

10     problem?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And using such paths, would

13     have found themselves under HVO fire, or could they have just gone on

14     without any problem?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were in a position to walk

16     from Celebici and Idbar, bypassing Radesine by descending to Seljani, and

17     from Seljani to Ribici.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you tell us that it would

19     not have been easy to go through without problems?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They could have passed without any

21     problems taking the route that I described.  It's a foot-path.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, because, you see, I wanted

23     to know whether the ABiH soldiers, the infantry soldiers, using those

24     paths, were under the risk of HVO fire or whether they did not run the

25     risk of being seen and, therefore, being fired on.

Page 47373

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they wouldn't have been exposed

 2     to HVO fire because Radesine is a small village, and it's a Croatian

 3     village, Croatian-populated village, and they were only defending

 4     themselves.  And the route that I described is on the other side of the

 5     mountain.  Celebici-Idbar-Seljani-Ribici, that would have been an easy

 6     path to take.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The time has come to have a

 8     break, and we'll then have the redirect.

 9                           --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.

10                           --- On resuming at 10.48 a.m.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

12             Before I forget, I would like to read an oral decision on time

13     allotment for next week.

14             As you know, Witness Filip Filipovic is about to testify next

15     week, and early into next week also.  The Trial Chamber has decided that

16     for the Petkovic Defence, the cross-examination and possible redirect

17     will have four hours, the other Defences for cross-examination will have

18     two hours altogether, and the Prosecution will have four hours for his

19     own cross-examination.

20             Ms. Alaburic, you have the floor for the redirect, and the time

21     you take for this will be deducted from your overall time.  The

22     Trial Chamber had given you three hours.  You've used up all three hours.

23     Now all time spent on the redirect will be deducted from your total time.

24             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to

25     thank you.

Page 47374

 1             I would like to remind you that during the cross-examination,

 2     some new topics were tackled, not having been tackled in the

 3     examination-in-chief.  I'm going to try and bring this to a swift end.

 4                           Re-examination by Ms. Alaburic:

 5        Q.   [Interpretation] Witness, good morning.

 6             Let's start with the questions about the control or check-point

 7     in Radesine.  You said that that was a check-point and not a point where

 8     people were stopped; is that correct?

 9        A.   Yes, that's correct.

10        Q.   Following up on Judge Antonetti's questions, I'm going to have a

11     similar question.  If M-17 road was used by a battalion of the BH Army

12     about 300 men strong, and if they wanted to pass along that road,

13     irrespective of the HVO check-point, was there any possibility for those

14     troops to be stopped?

15        A.   No, there was no such possibility.  As I've already said, there

16     were about 10 soldiers at the check-point, and if they were faced with

17     300 troops coming on, of course, they could not have been stopped.

18        Q.   You said that the BiH Army soon gained control over the village

19     of Radesine; is that correct?

20        A.   Yes.

21        Q.   The Prosecutor showed you documents dated 14 April 1993.  Just a

22     moment.  Listen to me.  Don't look for anything.  He tried to demonstrate

23     to you that the HVO --

24             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic.

25             Bearing in mind the quest for precision that we've heard from

Page 47375

 1     Mr. Praljak yesterday, "soon" seems to me a very vague term.  What do you

 2     mean, "soon," "the ABiH soon gained control"?  Does that mean the next

 3     day, or the next week, or the next month?

 4             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have already seen

 5     some documents to that effect, so I did not think that I had to be that

 6     precise.

 7        Q.   Maybe the witness can tell us when it was that Radesine fell.

 8        A.   It was 13 days after the beginning of the aggression against the

 9     HVO.

10             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   Can you tell us the date?

13        A.   26th or 27th of April, I believe.

14        Q.   Year?

15        A.   1993.

16        Q.   Very well.  The Prosecutor showed you documents dated 14 April.

17     I'm going to remind you of a document that we analysed together during

18     the examination-in-chief, and the document speaks about the situation as

19     it was the day before, on the 13th of April.  The document is in my

20     binder, towards the end, in the last part speaking about the April

21     events, and the documents follow a chronological sequence.

22             Your Honours, if you want to look at the document yourself, the

23     number is P1874, and the instruction for the witness is just to listen to

24     my question.  P1874, P1874.  Very well.

25             This is a summary report for the 13th of April.  Let's see what

Page 47376

 1     happened on the eve of the day when this document was issued or, rather,

 2     when the documents that the Prosecutor showed you were issued.  It says

 3     that on that day, the Croatian village of Buscak was attacked.  Is that

 4     correct, Witness?

 5        A.   Yes, it is.

 6        Q.   It is also stated herein that the BiH Army had tried to cross the

 7     lake from Ostrozac and to take Falanovo Hill.  Further on, it says that

 8     Buturovic Polje had been shelled.  At the moment when the report was

 9     being written, Kostajnica is under shelling.  Actions were launched in

10     Konjic, which was encircled, as well as Jablanica.  And the last sentence

11     reads:

12             "The actions are being stepped up."

13             According to what you know, Witness, was that the situation on

14     the 13th of April?

15        A.   Yes, that's what it was like.

16        Q.   The following report from Konjic, in the same document, states:

17             "The village of Buscak is about to fall.  There are a lot of

18     wounded and captured.  Urgently act pursuant to our previous request that

19     was sent to Prozor.  A lot of reinforcement came from the direction of

20     Jablanica and is moving towards Mrakovo and Zuglici, with an intention to

21     take Boksevica.  Buscak has fallen."

22             According to what you know, Witness, was that the situation on

23     that day?

24        A.   Yes, that was the situation on that day.  Buscak fell on that

25     day, precisely.

Page 47377

 1        Q.   In the same document, the third report from Konjic says that the

 2     BH Army is opening mortar fire on Ljesovina, Buturovic Polje, and

 3     Kostajnica.  It says as well that the forces have infiltrated Mrakovo and

 4     Djukovica [phoen], although they are still passive, from Orlovac,

 5     Ljesovina is being pounded by laser [as interpreted].  An ultimatum was

 6     given to Radesine to surrender their weapons before 1300 hours, and

 7     Konjic are threatened by forces from Bosnia.  And the final conclusion is

 8     this is an all-out attack on the entire zone of Jablanica and Konjic.

 9             Witness, is this a truthful report or not?

10        A.   Yes, this is a truthful report, and this was said already a few

11     days ago.

12        Q.   The Prosecutor has just shown you a document, P187 --

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this is a question

14     that I will probably put to General Petkovic, but I think I'm also going

15     to ask you about it.  We have seen this document, and during the redirect

16     we're seeing it again.  This is a report -- a joint report from different

17     operational zones; North-West, Central Bosnia, and South-East.  When

18     looking at this document, I am struck by the fact that it seems that

19     things are very quiet on the Central Bosnia front.  Well, it's more or

20     less quiet.  But in your own area, very serious events are happening, and

21     a great number of events.  So when reading this document, according to

22     you, do you think the Main Staff, the central military authority, noting

23     that the situation was such on the south-east front, shouldn't they have

24     sent reinforcement to Konjic, given that the events that were unfolding

25     there?  You were there, and did you feel that troops came to your rescue

Page 47378

 1     or that you were left alone to deal with the situation?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as we are concerned, the

 3     BH Army in our zone, the zone where my brigade was deployed, carried out

 4     an aggression against our unit, which could be seen from the previous

 5     documents.  And then if we remind ourselves of the documents that we also

 6     analysed, and one of them was an order by the commander of the Neretva in

 7     Jablanica, who says that the BiH Army and the leaders had foreseen that

 8     we would seek assistance from operational zones in case of attack, and we

 9     did that; however, they had already foreseen that, and the

10     Neretva Brigade commander from Jablanica issued an order and they

11     prevented the arrival of any assistance to us by any unit of the HVO from

12     any part, either from Mostar or Posusje or from Prozor.  That means that

13     they prevented access to the units that were supposed to come to our

14     assistance in Aleksin Han, Sovicka Vrata, and the Prozor axis.  This

15     means that we were left to our own devices to cope with a much more

16     powerful enemy, and I told you several times what the ratio was between

17     the two of us.

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  You said that you

19     were not provided with any reinforcements, but according to you, it's

20     because the BH Army acted in such a way that the troops never were able

21     to come to your rescue.  That might be the truth, but there could be

22     another version.  And here I'm assuming, but let's assume that for some

23     time the HVO intended to prepare a plan to attack Central Bosnia.

24     Everything was ready, and suddenly the HVO discovers that there is a

25     BH Army attack around Konjic.  But since they prepared, they planned

Page 47379

 1     their attack for Central Bosnia, they're not budging and they letting you

 2     to your own devices, so that on D-Day, i.e., April 16, they can launch

 3     their attack starting at Ahmici, Vitez, and so on.  Do you believe this

 4     version to be plausible or ludicrous?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was not privy to the

 6     plan in Central Bosnia.  I was not aware of any movements of the HVO in

 7     Central Bosnia.  I didn't know of any plans, attack plans.  I don't know

 8     if there were any.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  So you were not

10     privy of anything.  Fine, thank you.

11             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   Witness, now please rely on the documents that will start

13     appearing on the screen.  There's no need for you to go through the

14     bindings.

15             P17886 [as interpreted], 1876, P1876.  This is a short report by

16     Miljenko Lasic, sent to Arif Pasalic, with regard to the check-point in

17     Radesine.  Very soon you will see it on the screen.

18             My learned friend Mr. Bos told you earlier today, on page 24 of

19     today's record, that the tone of this order reveals that the HVO was

20     preparing an offensive against the BiH Army in the territory of Konjic.

21             Witness, could you please tell me whether Miljenko Lasic, in this

22     document, responds to a threat issued by the BH Army or, rather, whether

23     does he threaten the BH Army?  Which is the case here?

24        A.   This is Mr. Miljenko Lasic's response to BiH Army threats.  It is

25     not him threatening anybody.  He is, on the contrary, responding to a

Page 47380

 1     threat.  He says if there is a forcible removal, which means --

 2        Q.   Look at the introduction.  It says that the BiH Army threatens to

 3     remove the HVO check-point in Radesine by force.  Does this document

 4     contain a threat that the HVO will forcibly remove BiH Army check-points

 5     in the same region?

 6        A.   No, no.  A reference here is exclusively to the check-point in

 7     Radesine.  Nobody in the HVO threatened anybody else with regard to any

 8     check-points.  The threat came at the expense of the HVO, against the

 9     HVO, and it would be carried through if they did not remove their

10     check-point.

11        Q.   How do you understand this report?  Is this information, on the

12     part of the HVO to the BiH Army, that they intended to defend their

13     check-point, or do they express any offensive intentions with regard to

14     the BiH Army?

15        A.   This is just information from the HVO to the BiH Army that they

16     will defend their check-point.

17        Q.   Let's look at the following document, P1872, P1872.  This is

18     another document issued by Miljenko Lasic.  It is an order dated

19     14 April 1993.  We have it on the screen, Witness.

20             Witness, tell me, based on this order, can we say that certain

21     units of the HVO are moving towards certain localities or whether the

22     order has a different effect?

23        A.   This order orders troops to go to the positions from which they

24     will be able to extend help, if a request for help is sent.  This is the

25     14th, and on the 13th we already asked for assistance from the operations

Page 47381

 1     zone, which means that this is an order preparing grounds for extending

 2     future help to somebody in a certain sector; in other words, to help us

 3     in our sector.

 4        Q.   Let's look at the localities where troops should have been

 5     deployed.  A reference is made to Sovicka Vrata, and another reference is

 6     made to the direction of movement, Citluk, Ljubuski, Posusje, Rakitno,

 7     and Risovac.  And then under 8 it says:

 8             "Contact shall be established upon arrival in the Risovac

 9     area ..."

10             Witness, on the examination-in-chief, did we already encounter

11     the localities of Sovicka Vrata and Risovac?  If you remember, could you

12     please give us the context?

13        A.   Yes, we did mention the Risovac axis.  That was the axis from

14     which the assistance could have come to our brigade from Posusje.  That

15     was one of the axes along which we could have expected help in Konjic.

16        Q.   Just for the record, I'm going to say what was the order that we

17     analysed.  It was an order by Enes Kovacevic, commander of the BH Army,

18     dated 14 April, and the document number is 2D246 [Realtime transcript

19     read in error "426"].

20             Witness, you will probably remember, but if you don't, we will

21     look at the document.  Did this document set out that the BiH Army would

22     take certain positions precisely at the localities around Sovicka Vrata

23     and Risovac in order to prevent the arrival of the HVO assistance in the

24     territory of Jablanica and Konjic?

25        A.   Yes.  I don't have to read, but I can tell you that one BiH

Page 47382

 1     company was sent in the direction of Sovici and Doljani and that a

 2     sabotage unit was sent directly to Sovicka Vrata.  In keeping with their

 3     assumption, that was the only platoon from which fire could have been

 4     opened, they did not have to go any further in depth.  That was the only

 5     elevation where artillery could be positioned.  They sent their sabotage

 6     unit to intervene in case artillery had been positioned or there were

 7     attempts to position artillery on that elevation.

 8        Q.   Let me first correct the number of this document.  In line 8, the

 9     document number is 2D246.  Now it is correct.

10             Let's look at the following document - it will be on the

11     screen - P1915, 1915.  That's correct.  This is an interim report by the

12     commander of the OZ, Zeljko Siljeg.  You have it on the screen.  Maybe we

13     can reduce the size to display the entire page.  Now I'm going to draw

14     your attention to two elements in this report.  Under bullet point 9, the

15     requests and reports from the Herceg Stjepan Brigade are qualified.

16     You've already spoken about that in great length.  And then under 12, it

17     says that:

18             "Wire connection has been established with the command of the

19     Herceg Stjepan, and we request detailed and precise information about the

20     situation from them, and we also request a precise request for action."

21             My question to you is this:  You have read the entire

22     information, because my learned friend Mr. Bos also showed it to you.

23     Would you conclude, based on this report, that the operations zone of

24     Mr. Siljeg had some independent offensive plans for action against

25     Jablanica or were they, rather, waiting for precise requests from the

Page 47383

 1     Konjic Brigade in order to launch their actions?

 2        A.   Based on this report, I can see -- everybody can see that

 3     Zeljko Siljeg did not have any offensive intentions.  He was waiting for

 4     reports from our brigade.  He did not want to act pursuant to the cries

 5     for help by lower-ranking officers.  Mr. Zeljko Siljeg established wire

 6     communication instead with our communications centre, I suppose, in order

 7     to be able to tell exactly and act precisely on the most critical parts.

 8     This means that no offensive activities were being prepared.  Things

 9     would have started moving in case the Herceg Stjepan Brigade sent precise

10     instructions for assistance.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.

12             Witness, I would like you to explain to me what, then, the

13     number 8 of this order means, where we read:

14             "Beginning of today's operation on selected targets next to the

15     village of Slatina, seven hours, and on the village of Sovici, nine

16     hours."

17             I do not see that this means waiting for some request, but maybe

18     you can explain.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have just explained

20     things with regard to bullet point 8 in connection of Sovici and Slatina,

21     if I'm not mistaken.

22             At 7.00, Sovici, Slatina -- if you remember the order that we saw

23     here, that one company of the Neretva Brigade from Jablanica should be

24     sent to the sector that we're dealing with, which is the sector of

25     Slatina and Sovici, and I believe that even one day prior to that they

Page 47384

 1     entered that part with their units and positioned their artillery, I

 2     suppose, and deployed troops, I suppose.  And most probably troops

 3     noticed those movements and they requested from Mr. Siljeg to help them

 4     in that part.  And that's why he answers and says, We'll do it tomorrow

 5     morning.

 6             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I note that two times you say "I suppose" in

 7     this answer, so you're not quite sure.  It's something that you think,

 8     rather than something that you know?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's not what I think.  I said that

10     everybody knows that, and I was answering the same question coming from

11     the Presiding Judge.  I was not there to be able to tell you exactly,

12     This is this.  However, in view of the document that we looked at and by

13     which the commander of the Neretva Brigade from Jablanica sent his units

14     into those areas, that means that those units of the BiH Army were

15     already on the ground and actually they were carrying out tasks that they

16     had been given, which means that they were preparing themselves for

17     assault or had already launched an assault.  And it is only logical that

18     our members, members of our 3rd Battalion, Mijo Tomic, who were deployed

19     in the area, requested assistance in artillery or in any other form from

20     Zeljko Siljeg, sir.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Please continue, Ms. Alaburic.

22             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]

23        Q.   Witness, we have just seen a summary report for the

24     13th of April.  This is P1874.  In that document, there is a reference to

25     the 13th of April, and it says that from the area of the Konjic and

Page 47385

 1     Jablanica region, requests were sent for assistance.  I've found the

 2     exact sentence.  It says:

 3             "Urgently act upon our previous requests that we sent to Prozor,"

 4     in other words, to the OZ of Zeljko Siljeg.

 5             Is it true, Witness, that already on the 13th of April, a request

 6     was sent to Zeljko Siljeg's OZ that your brigade, or some elements

 7     thereof, sent appeals and requests for assistance?

 8        A.   Yes, that's correct.

 9        Q.   Let us go back to the document that we saw by Zeljko Siljeg,

10     P1915, 1915.  In item 12, Zeljko Siljeg says that he expects precise

11     requests for action.  Why does he stress "precise requests"?

12        A.   He wants precise requests for operation to be able to open fire

13     at military targets that threaten the units in our area.

14        Q.   Witness, as a soldier, tell us, if Zeljko Siljeg had been

15     preparing for offensive actions, would you know which targets he was

16     planning to attack?

17        A.   Yes, of course.  If he had wanted to launch offensive actions, in

18     the plan for these actions the targets would have been identified which

19     were to be attacked or destroyed.

20             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it seems to me that

21     my question doesn't make sense the way it was interpreted.  I will

22     repeat.  My question was:  If Zeljko Siljeg had planned offensive

23     actions, would he, that is, Zeljko Siljeg, know which targets he wants to

24     attack?  The question was interpreted as if I had asked the witness

25     whether the witness would have known, but the witness gave a correct

Page 47386

 1     answer because he listened to me.

 2        Q.   Let us look at document P1911 now, please, 1911.  This is the

 3     report by the European Commission Monitors.  You have answered many

 4     questions about that.  I will go into paragraph 5 of that report, and I

 5     will not elicit summary assessments of what is correct and what is wrong.

 6     But let us see whether there are correct elements in there, after all.

 7     We will not deal with the value judgements of the monitors, because they

 8     are not relevant for the proceedings.

 9             It is said here that the ABiH are attempting to seize Zlatar.

10     Tell me, is this a correct statement?

11        A.   Yes, it is.

12        Q.   It goes on to say that the ABiH are blocking the Prozor approach

13     to Jablanica and setting up heavy granite blocks as obstacles.  Do you

14     have any knowledge about blocking the approach to Jablanica?

15        A.   You mean that the ABiH were blocking?  I didn't understand well.

16        Q.   Sub-item B reads that the ABiH are blocking the approach to

17     Jablanica from Prozor, and it goes on to say that they are positioning

18     granite blocks.

19        A.   Yes, that is correct, because we know from the document issued by

20     the commander of the Neretva Brigade from Jablanica that a company was

21     sent to that area, and it was tasked to block the road from Prozor to

22     Jablanica.

23        Q.   In item 5(c), it says that the ABiH wants to expel all HVO units

24     from Jablanica and Konjic.  As far as you know about the situation on the

25     ground, is that a correct statement or not?

Page 47387

 1        A.   Yes, it is.

 2        Q.   The report continues to mention the activities of the HVO.

 3     Please listen carefully.  It is said the HVO are attacking the Slatina

 4     position with artillery.  They are attacking the positions at Ostrozac.

 5     They are attacking the villages of Here and Scipe.  They are attacking

 6     the units in the Dreznica Valley.  I'll ask you about these localities

 7     now.

 8             If we try to link these places to the order issued by

 9     Enes Kovacevic on the 14th of April, which is document 2D246, if you

10     remember, are those localities where the ABiH had its positions in order

11     to prevent the arrival of HVO units to help the Konjic HVO?

12        A.   Yes, these are the very positions.

13        Q.   All right.  Witness, I'm going to ask you a few short questions

14     now about UN documents and a testimony in the Blaskic case.

15             The report of the Secretary-General of the UN, document P1391.

16     You just listen.  1391, dated February 2, 1993.  In item 1, it says,

17     paragraph 1, the participants included the leaders from the three sides

18     in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including President Alija Izetbegovic,

19     Radovan Karadzic, and Mate Boban.  In item 8, these three persons are

20     mentioned again, and it is stated that Mate Boban -- we're talking about

21     the Vance-Owen Plan.  Mate Boban had signed the agreement setting out the

22     constitutional principles, the provincial map, and the agreement on

23     military issues; furthermore, that President Izetbegovic had accepted the

24     constitutional principles and the military agreement, but did not accept

25     the map.  Mr. Karadzic had not yet answered.  Paragraph 9 again mentions

Page 47388

 1     three sides in Bosnia.

 2             According to your information, Witness, were there three

 3     parties -- conflicted parties, in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time;

 4     namely, the Muslim side, the Serbian side, and the Croatian side?

 5        A.   Yes.

 6        Q.   According to your knowledge, was Radovan Karadzic the leader of

 7     the Serb side?

 8        A.   Yes.

 9        Q.   According to your knowledge, was Mate Boban the leader of the

10     Croatian side?

11        A.   Yes.

12        Q.   According to your knowledge, was Alija Izetbegovic the leader of

13     the Muslim side?

14        A.   Yes.

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Ms. Alaburic, I cannot help wondering about

16     these questions.  These are facts that are before us since three and a

17     half years.  Why do we need a witness to confirm again?  I think it's a

18     sheer loss of time.  I'm sorry.

19             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I disagree, because

20     in this courtroom Alija Izetbegovic is constantly called the president of

21     a country supposed to -- that fought in the interests of all citizens of

22     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the ABiH is consequently being presented as the

23     only legitimate military force in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

24             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  We have heard a lot of argument to the contrary

25     also.

Page 47389

 1             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] But, Your Honour, let me just say

 2     that every now and then a question is asked whether or not the HVO was

 3     legal, or whether it was a paramilitary formation, or I don't know what

 4     kind of military force, and I believe that this must be clarified, and it

 5     will also be significant later.

 6             I just have one question left for the witness.

 7        Q.   Witness, having defined the three sides this way, can you tell us

 8     who, in your opinion, took care, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, simultaneously of

 9     all three peoples and every citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

10        A.   At that time, there was no such person or body.  Everybody took

11     care of their own people.

12        Q.   I will now remind you of a document the Prosecutor showed you,

13     and that is P11086, 11086.  It's a report by Zarko Keza, dated

14     December 7, 1992, which says that some ABiH commanders said that the

15     Croats would get only 25 per cent of managerial positions in the army.

16     At that moment in late 1992, that was roughly the share of Croatian

17     population in the overall population of Konjic?

18        A.   Yes.  According to the 1990 census, Konjic -- in Konjic, there

19     were 26 -- or, rather, precisely 27 per cent of Croatian population.

20        Q.   Tell me, Witness, as a Croat at Konjic at the time, were you or

21     any of your friends afraid of the situation that you Croats would have

22     such a share in the authorities as the Muslims were inclined to cede you?

23        A.   Yes, we were afraid, because if the Croats accounted for

24     27 per cent of the population, and if we say that in 1992 the Serbian

25     people left the municipality of Konjic, and a real percentage, according

Page 47390

 1     to the census, was being reduced, so that we were no longer 27 per cent;

 2     we accounted for a larger share because the Serbs were no longer there.

 3        Q.   Can you provide me a brief answer to the question whether you

 4     Croats were afraid that you would have only those rights that the

 5     Muslims, who were the majority population, were willing to give you?

 6        A.   Yes, certainly we were.

 7             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this concludes my

 8     redirect.  Thank you.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, on behalf of the

10     Trial Chamber I want to thank you for testifying as a Petkovic Defence

11     witness.  I wish you all the best for your return back home, and I'm

12     going to ask the usher to kindly escort you out of the courtroom.  It may

13     be the last thing he's going to do in this courtroom.

14             Ms. Alaburic, with regard to next week, you're going to meet up

15     with the witness, you're going to proof him, and he should be

16     availability for the Trial Chamber on Monday afternoon?

17             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, next week we are

18     moving north to Central Bosnia, and we will also deal with some other

19     issues.  Thank you.

20                           [The witness withdrew]

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

22             So failing other questions by the parties, I want to thank

23     everybody.  We shall reconvene on Monday, but do prepare for the next

24     testimony.  I wish you a very good weekend.

25                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.35 a.m.,

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 1                           to be reconvened on Monday, the 30th day of

 2                           November, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.