1 Monday, 11 January 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, kindly call
6 the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 Today is Monday, 11th of January, 2010. Let me first wish you all a very
12 Happy New Year in 2010. I hope it will bring you the fulfillment of all
13 your wishes, and I do hope that together we will be able to spend the
14 year as best as we can.
15 So my greetings today to Mr. Prlic, to Mr. Stojic, Mr. Praljak,
16 Mr. Petkovic, Mr. Coric, and Mr. Pusic. And I greet the Defence counsel,
17 Mr. Scott, Ms. West, and their case manager, their entire team, and all
18 the people assisting us.
19 I have a couple of oral rulings, and I have also a housekeeping
20 matter to deal with, but before I do so, let me turn to Mr. Coric to tell
21 him this: At the end of last year and beginning of this year many
22 accused were granted provisional release, which was unfortunately not the
23 case for him. Personally, I understand that he may have had some doubts
24 or questions about it.
25 You know, Mr. Coric, that you appealed the decision, and the
1 decision was confirmed on appeal by a majority decision. This may have
2 come across to you as something unfair since the other co-accused were
3 able, for their part, to enjoy this provisional release, which was not
4 the case for you. But that's the way it is, and the Trial Chamber
5 decision was confirmed on appeal. So unfortunately you were not able to
6 see your daughter or your wife in Croatia
7 I just wanted to tell you that I personally was in favour of
8 granting your request.
9 Now a housekeeping matter. Following a motion filed by many of
10 you regarding problems you experience in communicating with your
11 respective counsel, I was informed by the Registry that in the future
12 Mr. Miro Dangubic will be the one in charge of making sure that documents
13 or other information will be communicated between you and your counsel.
14 You just raise your hands and the person present here on the very left of
15 the bench in front of me will be able to fetch any document and will be
16 the liaison officer, as it were.
17 Mr. Dangubic, please stand up so that you can see that he's
18 available to you.
19 First oral ruling regarding the allocation of time for the
20 testimony of Witness Vinko Maric. The Trial Chamber decided to grant
21 three hours to the Petkovic Defence for their examination-in-chief and
22 redirect, if any. In the absence of any specific requests by the
23 parties, the Trial Chamber's granted one hour and 30 minutes altogether
24 to the other Defence teams for their cross-examination and three hours to
25 the Prosecution.
1 Second ruling: We were seized by the Petkovic Defence of a
2 request for leave to add three exhibits to the 65 ter list. 4D02020,
3 4D0221, 4D0222 [as interpreted].
4 The Trial Chamber would like to know what the position is of the
5 other parties and the Prosecutor. I'll first turn to Mr. Scott. Does he
6 have any objection to these exhibits being added?
7 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, good
8 afternoon to all Your Honours. I wish all of you and those in the
9 courtroom a Happy New Year. Your Honour, no. We've been advised and
10 thank counsel for receiving her motion. We have no objection.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No objection. Very well. What
12 about the other Defence teams? I suppose they don't have any objections
13 either. This being so, in the absence of any objection and inasmuch as
14 the Trial Chamber is of the view that these documents prima facie have
15 indicia of real ability and probative value, the Trial Chamber has
16 decided to add the three documents to the 65 ter list of the
17 Petkovic Defence.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Allow me a minor correction.
19 The numbers as given are not exact. 4D02020. So it's 02020, 21, and 22.
20 02021, 02022.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe this has now been
22 corrected in the transcript.
23 Last item, and I'm now turning to Ms. Alaburic. You had
24 scheduled a witness for Thursday. Before issuing its ruling as to time,
25 the Trial Chamber has to say this: Vinko Maric is due to testify on
1 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and possibly Thursday. Do you still want to
2 have this witness testify? I'm not going to give their name because
3 they're going to have protective measures. Do you want to have that
4 witness on Thursday or he is going to be postponed until next Monday?
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, first of all, I would
6 like to greet everybody in the courtroom and wish everybody a Happy New
7 Year, and to your question I would like to answer as follows: The
8 witness is on his way now already --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. I can't hear
10 the French channel.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I don't know why we are having
12 this background noise. I still have it although it's properly switched
13 on. I don't know what the problem is about. I'll try to use the other
15 I believe that somebody else has a mike switched on and that's
16 the cause of the background noise. I wanted to greet everybody in the
17 courtroom and wish everybody a Happy New Year, and to Judge Antonetti's
18 question I would like to provide the following answer: The witness is
19 already travelling to The Hague
20 this evening. According to our estimate, Witness Maric should be
21 finished Wednesday or on Wednesday. As far as I know, the witness who is
22 supposed to witness on Thursday would not be able to be in The Hague
23 week and that's why, in agreement with him, we have planned for him his
24 testimony to take place on Thursday.
25 If Maric's testimony spills over onto Thursday,
1 General Petkovic's Defence is prepared to consider the possibility to
2 call the witness who's scheduled to testify on Thursday to be called at
3 another time.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for your
5 answer. Let's have the witness brought in.
6 Madam Usher.
7 Mr. Scott.
8 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. Before the witness is
9 brought in, I think there's one matter that we attempted to advise the
10 Chamber of earlier today in terms of this witness. And I think out of an
11 abundance of caution -- excuse me, Your Honour, I'm recovering from a
12 cold, probably like many. Your Honour, out of abundant caution, if we
13 might go into private session.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's go into private session.
15 [Private session]
11 Pages 48081-48086 redacted. Private session.
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So in open session. Sir,
1 please state your name, first name, date of birth and current occupation.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Vinko Maric. I was born
3 on the 26th of August, 1954. I am currently retired. I was a brigadier
4 in the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, have you had an
6 opportunity to testify before a court or not?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you ever heard by the
9 police or by a judge as to the events that took place in the former
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I was
12 interviewed in 2005 in Sarajevo
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were interviewed in
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was interviewed by the
16 investigators of The Hague Tribunal as part of the proceedings against
17 Prlic et al.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the OTP Prosecutors. Were
19 you interviewed by investigators of the Republic of Bosnia
21 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm now -- please, I'll repeat
23 my question because apparently the interpretation was not heard for your
25 Were you interviewed by investigators from the Republic of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I've never been interviewed by
3 any investigators of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Please read out the
5 solemn declaration.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I solemnly declare
7 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation].
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]. [Interpretation] Sir, I
11 believe there's a problem, because I can't see on the screen the
12 translation of what I'm saying.
13 If during the three days of your testimony at any time you need
14 to get up and ask to have a break, please raise your hand and please let
15 us know, because your state of health is important to us. If you feel
16 that you are not well, please let us know immediately so that we can have
17 a break.
18 Second point: You have just taken the solemn declaration, which
19 means that you are now a witness of the court, and you may not have any
20 contact whatsoever with the Petkovic Defence team, which also means that
21 during this -- the course of this week you must not have any contact with
22 the media or anybody else about the questions and answers addressed in
23 this courtroom. You may afterwards, of course, but not during the time
24 you are testifying here. You may, of course, talk to your family.
25 In addition, questions will be put to you by Mrs. Alaburic, who
1 represents General Petkovic, and other Defence counsel who represent the
2 other accused, the Prosecutor and Prosecution team, and the Bench. If at
3 any point in time the question is a question which you feel may
4 incriminate you, then you're entitled not to answer. This question has
5 never arisen over the period of five years I have been here. The
6 Trial Chamber may ask you to answer, and then, according to the rules,
7 you are granted impunity.
8 Let me give you an example. This might seem a rather far-fetched
9 example but let's assume that you have stolen an apple, and you say, "Oh,
10 I don't want to answer the question." In that case, the Bench will tell
11 you you must answer nonetheless, and you will say, "All right, I have
12 stolen this apple," but you will not be prosecuted for that. This is
13 just an example I'm giving you to indicate that if a question could
14 incriminate you, you are entitled not to answer that question. In
15 addition, please try and provide succinct answers. If the question seems
16 too complicated, don't hesitate to turn around to the person who has put
17 the question to you to ask that person to rephrase it, even if it is a
18 Judge. And if you feel that it is premised on something wrong, then you
19 are entitled to say, "I cannot answer that question for such and such a
20 reason," even if it is a Judge putting the question.
21 In addition, I would like to advise you of the following: The
22 Defence teams will put questions to you which will not be leading
23 questions. The Judges have a way of putting their questions to you, but
24 the OTP is entitled to say to you, "Well, sir, this is what I feel about
25 this question. Can you confirm this or not?" The question may not be
1 such a nice question for you, but nonetheless you need to answer the
2 question because that is what the OTP is entitled to do.
3 We have come across incidents on several times because sometimes
4 the witnesses did not understand why what they were saying was being
5 called into question in such a way. The Judges put neutral questions in
6 order to avoid such problems, but the Prosecutor is entitled to
7 contradict what you are saying entirely. The Trial Chamber is available
8 at any time if you wish to put a question to it. As a rule, this never
10 Mrs. Alaburic, you have three hours for your questions.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
12 I'll try again from this microphone. It seems to work better now.
13 Examination by Ms. Alaburic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Maric, good afternoon.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. Let's start off with your biography. The translation of his CV
17 is in the binders we have provided to Your Honours.
18 I will read out the passages that we had agreed about, and you
19 will confirm whether I presented it correctly. Make any corrections you
20 feel necessary.
21 You told us when you were born, and I will continue. You were
22 born in Goranci, Mostar municipality, the State of Bosnia and
24 vocation. You have also completed the reserve officer school of the
25 Yugoslav People's Army, the branch of artillery, after which you attended
1 several courses for commander of artillery up to the level of artillery
2 battalion; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. As far as your career is concerned, until 1991 you were manager
5 of the electrical assembly unit in one enterprise in Mostar, and towards
6 the end of 1991 you took part in the organisation -- I will now move
7 again to the other microphone. Towards the end of 1991 you took part in
8 organising the defence of Mostar, and until this time you were a reserve
9 officer, assistant commander of artillery battalion in the Mostar Brigade
10 of the Yugoslav People's Army. Assistant commander of artillery
11 battalion in the Mostar Brigade, as I said.
12 Then you were assistant commander for artillery in the
13 Crisis Staff of Mostar until 24th of May, 1992. After that, you were a
14 commander of the mixed artillery battalion of the HVO until the
15 3rd of August, 1992. Following that, you were assistant commander of the
16 Municipal Staff of the HVO of Mostar for artillery until
17 10th November 1992
18 operations zone South-east Herzegovina until April 1994, then head of
19 artillery in the Main Staff of the HVO until 31st December 1996, and you
20 were retired on the 1st of January, 1997, in the rank of brigadier. And
21 then on the 1st of October, 1997, you were appointed advisor to the mayor
22 of Mostar for military issues, and you dealt mainly with co-operation
23 with international military organisation in the area of Mostar, and you
24 occupied this position for 13 months.
25 Is this correct, Mr. Maric?
1 A. Yes, everything is correct.
2 Q. Honourable Judge Antonetti asked you if any one of the
3 investigators in Bosnia and Herzegovina had ever interrogated you, but
4 tell me, are there any proceedings ongoing against you in Bosnia
6 A. Never in my life have I ever been prosecuted anywhere, including
8 Q. Now let us try to present Their Honours in very simple terms how
9 defence was organised in Mostar and your involvement in this.
10 Was there a time in the 1990s when you, your associates, and your
11 fellow citizens realised that Mostar was under some kind of threat, by
12 whom, and what you did about it.
13 A. In the second half of 1991, I realised this myself and personally
14 joined the so-called defence groups in Mostar that had been mainly
15 organised in neighbourhoods, in local communities, but not only in
16 Mostar, in other municipalities around as well.
17 Q. Where did this threat emanate from that made you organise the
19 A. During the days when I joined the defence groups, Mostar was
20 besieged by reservists of the Yugoslav People's Army, and their conduct
21 towards the citizens of Mostar was very dubious.
22 Q. In these groups that you mention, were there only Croats or
23 perhaps members of other ethnic communities or minorities?
24 A. The corps was made up of Croats, but there were also Bosniaks,
25 Muslims in other words.
1 Q. What did you do specifically?
2 A. Well, considering that a lot of people knew me from before as an
3 artillery man, I started dealing with artillery issues from the very
5 Q. Did you start rallying some new people or did you try to pull
6 together your former artillery unit while you were in the JNA?
7 A. Yes. I tried to rally together the men who had been in my
8 artillery unit when I was the assistant commander for artillery in the
9 Mostar Brigade. Some of them were active officers and troops, but more
10 than two-thirds were reservists which were actually the foundation of the
11 All People's Defence system. I commanded these two-thirds of reservists
12 and the ratio of Croats and Bosniaks among them was half/half. I did
13 everything I could to organise artillery as quickly as possible during
14 those days towards the 1991 and beginning 1992.
15 Q. What was that year again?
16 A. The end of 1991 and beginning 1992.
17 Q. Those groups that you refer to, did they have anything to do with
18 the HVO?
19 A. After the official proclamation of the HVO as the legitimate
20 defence force in the region joined the HVO.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Correction: These groups joined the HVO.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. We received the interpretation that these groups joined the HVO.
24 Was it, rather, the case that they grew into the HVO?
25 A. They grew into the HVO. They became the HVO.
1 Q. I will now read out to you what Milivoj Gagro, a Prosecution
2 witness, said on the subject on transcript pages 2701 and 2703. He said:
3 "First of all, we had groups for the defence of Mostar city, and
4 after a very short while, these forces were renamed HVO. They were the
5 only forces" -- don't try to find it. It's not in your binder. "They
6 were the only forces for the defence of the city."
7 What I read out to you as the words of Milivoj Gagro, do they
8 reflect correctly the beginnings of the defence of Mostar?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now look at the first document in your binder. It is a document
11 that is very well known in this courtroom. It's P180, the decision of
12 the Crisis Staff of Mostar. It says, among other things, that the
13 defence and the protection of the town of Mostar is entrusted to the
14 Croatian Defence Council.
15 Tell me, were you aware of this decision?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Tell us, what the defence of Mostar indeed entrusted to the HVO?
18 A. Yes. The defence of Mostar was entrusted to the HVO.
19 Q. In item III
20 Defence Council consists of members of the Croatian and Muslim
21 communities and members of other ethnic communities.
22 To the best of your knowledge, was HVO really created as
23 multi-ethnic army?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The same item says that Muslims may form their own armed units to
1 be placed until the unified command of the HVO, the Municipal Staff of
3 Tell me, is it true that Muslims in Mostar not wishing to join
4 the HVO had the possibility of forming their own armed units?
5 A. That is true, but they were under the command of the
6 Municipal Staff of Mostar, the HVO Municipal Staff of Mostar.
7 Q. Now look at 4D --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, we have a document
9 which, as far as I'm concerned, is an important document. It's a
10 document which is dated the 29th of April, 1992, and you answered the
11 counsel by saying that you knew this document.
12 In the B/C/S version of it, I see that this document was
13 published. I looked at this signatories of this document with a great
14 deal of interest. If I'm making a mistake, I'm sure you'll correct me.
15 Did any Muslims sign this document?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, all members of the
17 Crisis Staff of Mostar municipality, Croats and Muslims alike, signed
18 this document.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There are nine members who
20 signed the document. Out of these nine people, how many people are
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can see three. Four. Four
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you give me the numbers,
25 please, or the names?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Number 2, Mr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic.
2 3, Zijad Demirovic. 5, Mehmed Bahmen. And 8, Fikret Bajric. I know the
3 first three particularly well. The last one I don't know so well.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Looking at the document I see
5 the following: This decision was rendered pursuant to an order stemming
6 from the civilian defence of the republic and the decision of the
7 4th of April and 10th of April, 1992, of the Republic of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since you were a player there, did you ever comply
9 with an order which had come from the -- from Bosnia-Herzegovina as the
10 document states.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question, because I
13 could spend hours on this, but all -- for all of us time is precious. If
14 Mostar ran into difficulty in April 1992, as the document states, some
15 units of the JNA are there, paramilitary formations who are creating
16 problems. How is it then that the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina does
17 not send its own army to defend Mostar? Why not?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at that time the only
19 organised formation in the city of Mostar
20 were also some smaller elements of Bosniak forces, and only the HVO was
21 in a position to respond to the requirements to defend Mostar and its
22 surrounds. I was not aware of any other units. They didn't exist.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You did say that the other
24 units did not exist. I shall remember that.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Maric, did you Croats and Bosniaks who were working together
2 at the time in order to try and organise the defence of Mostar, did you
3 consider yourselves the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or perhaps not?
4 A. Of course we considered ourselves the Army of Bosnia and
6 Q. If you were to compare, based on your knowledge, the way defence
7 was organised in Mostar as opposed to the other cities in Bosnia and
9 levels in Zenica, Tuzla
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. At that moment, the government in Sarajevo, did it have any armed
12 force that it could have sent to any part of Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 need to be defended?
14 A. As far as I know, there was no army in place at that time. The
15 only things that existed were some territorially organised defence forces
16 in municipalities.
17 Q. Let's look at the following document, which is 4D2022. This is a
18 document that you gave the Defence team of General Petkovic last weekend.
19 Isn't that correct, Mr. Maric?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Could you please tell us who is the author of this document?
22 A. I personally and my services in the unit where I was assigned to
23 at the time.
24 Q. Can you tell us when that document was drafted?
25 A. This document was drafted in early August or, rather, in
1 mid-1992, after I left duty as the division commander.
2 Q. Who took over from you?
3 A. The person who took over from me as commander was my deputy,
4 Mr. Hajro Jakirovic. He was my acquaintance and friend from before the
5 war and we were associates in the reserve units of the JNA.
6 Q. The gentleman is mentioned under number 1 on the list in this
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Mr. Maric, it is very ungrateful to judge somebody's ethnic
10 affiliation based on somebody's name. I will still take that route and
11 say that there are 288 persons on the list and 88 could be considered
12 Muslims judging by their names. Would you able to confirm that this was
13 indeed the ratio of Croatian and Muslims in your unit?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Let's look at the following document, which is 4D2020. This is
16 an order issued by the commander of the operations zone South-east
18 Mr. Maric, did you provide this document to the Petkovic Defence
19 team last weekend?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you describe the document for us?
22 A. This document is an order issued by my commander of the
23 operations zone South-east Herzegovina. By this order he reassigns some
24 of the people from the battalion into the already-established Infantry
25 Brigade in order to reinforce those brigades or, rather, the artillery
1 elements of those brigades. This means that we had estimated that the
2 focus of the artillery should be in those units which are in direct
3 contact with the defence line.
4 Q. In the attachment we can find the list of the troops that are
5 assigned to the 2nd Brigade, and again judging by the names, out of the
6 37 troops, 20 are Muslims. Mr. Maric, does this reflect the situation
7 or, rather, that over 50 per cent of the troops that were re-assigned to
8 a different brigade were Muslim?
9 A. What you see in the document is correct.
10 Q. What was the territory where defence was organised by the
11 2nd Brigade of the HVO?
12 A. The 2nd Brigade of the HVO organised defence in the northern part
13 of the town and to the north of the town above Bijelo Polje. They
14 organised their defence line facing the JNA and the Army of Republika
15 Srpska, which already existed at the time.
16 Q. Let's look at another document dealing with the same topic --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, one question. If I've
18 understood you correctly, when you met Mrs. Alaburic, you brought along
19 with you three documents, one of which we see here, which is 4D2020.
20 How is it that all these years you kept this document? Was it
21 customary to keep military documents?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not have this document on me
23 or with me. I received this document from the archives of the
24 2nd Guards Brigade as a copy, but the document is authentic and I
25 participated in its drafting.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So how did you manage to get a
2 copy of the document? Who did you send a letter to to obtain a copy of
3 the document?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was given this document at the
5 time when I had been invited to come to Sarajevo in 2005 to be
6 interviewed by the investigators of The Hague Tribunal, and it was by
7 chance that I came to see the man who was in charge of the administration
8 of the 2nd Brigade of the HVO, and he was the one who gave me the
9 document. I had about ten days to prepare for the interview, and that's
10 what I tried to do.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This man who had all the
12 documents of the 2nd Brigade, who is he?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was the administrative officer
14 of the command of the 2nd Brigade of the HVO. He was their clerk, as it
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This clerk, had he kept all the
17 documents or did he find them in the official army archives?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know how he had obtained
19 the document. I didn't ask him. In any case, he was the one who gave me
20 the document.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. I see.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Maric, the following document refers to the 3rd Brigade,
24 4D2021. It's similar in nature.
25 To start with, could you please tell us whether you provided the
1 document to the Petkovic Defence team last weekend?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is this also an order to reassign troops from the battalion to
4 the 3rd Brigade of the HVO?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And again judging by the names, one could conclude that out of
7 the 69 troops, 34 of them were Muslims. According to your recollection,
8 does this reflect the situation as it was at the time, almost half of the
9 soldiers who were assigned to the 3rd Brigade were Muslims?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Mr. Maric, tell us, please, whether you participated in the
12 operations to liberate Mostar from the remains of the JNA and the Army of
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbs?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Were these proper operations? Was this proper fighting, or,
16 rather, did the Serbs leave Mostar rather peacefully as the result of
17 some agreement that had been reached?
18 A. Those were real and bloody fights. I remember those fights
19 because many victims fell as a result of all those fighting in Mostar and
20 around it, and those are the days that I will never forget.
21 Q. Could you tell us when approximately operations to liberate
22 Mostar took place?
23 A. The most fierce fights to liberate Mostar and the surround --
24 surrounding villages south and north of Mostar started at the beginning
25 of the month of June 1992, and the fighting lasted for about a month.
1 Q. Except Mostar, were there any other areas in Herzegovina where
2 there was fighting against the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Serbs?
3 A. The fighting took place in the territories of Stolac, Capljina,
4 Mostar in particular.
5 Q. Dubravska Visoravan?
6 A. Dubravska Visoravan, that's what I meant when I said municipality
7 of Capljina. Those are the fightings that I participated in.
8 Q. In the course of 1992 were -- was there any other large-scale
9 operation against the Army of Bosnian-Herzegovinian Serbs?
10 A. Towards the end of 1992, there -- there was an operation Bura, an
11 operation of a limited scope against Bosnian Serbs, and I participated in
12 that operation personally.
13 Q. What was the goal of that operation?
14 A. Since the cities in the Neretva Valley
15 by the Army of Republika Srpska, the goal of the operation was to move
16 those forces and particularly their artillery as far as possible from the
17 Neretva Valley
18 Q. Once those defence operations were over, did any shells fell on
19 the positions of the Bosnia
20 A. Throughout war there was constant shelling from the positions of
21 the Army of Republika Srpska on Mostar and on the general area of Mostar.
22 Q. According to your knowledge, as you were manning defence lines
23 facing Bosnian and Herzegovinian Serbs army, did the HVO really consider
24 that some territories should be defended or were those lines manned
25 without any real reason?
1 A. The HVO considered that there were territories that needed to be
3 Q. According to what you know --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
5 Colonel, I'm listening to the questions and answers very
6 carefully, and upon reading the transcript I note what you said. You
7 said that back in June 1992, there was a defence in Mostar and Stolac, in
8 Capljina, and you say that towards the end of 1992 there was the
9 Bura Operation, Storm Operation. So listening to you I wondered this:
10 In June 1992, did you, with your own eyes, see foreign media, English,
11 American media, for instance, observing all this and seeing that Muslims
12 and Croats were fighting the Serbs? Did you yourself see an
13 international presence watching all this, or is it so that there was
14 nobody there, nobody from the international community but for the
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at that time I was too
17 busy as the commander of artillery, and I did not have any occasion to
18 meet with the representatives of the international community. My
19 position was close to the front lines of the enemy forces.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you say that you were close
21 to the front lines. On the front lines, did you see freelance
22 journalists, reporters who would come to take photos, find people to
23 interview, or was there nobody because it was too dangerous for any
24 foreign reporter to risk being there?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not have an occasion to see
1 them. I don't know whether there were any. I can't say either yes or
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. I will have just one additional question about the need to man
6 the defence line.
7 In the course of 1992, were there any attempts on the part of the
8 Serbian Army to occupy certain positions that the joint forces of Croats
9 and Muslims had liberated?
10 A. Yes. The most striking example of that is the loss of a
11 territory on the slopes of Mount Velez
12 Bosniak forces, known as Bosniak battalion, had defended that under the
13 command of the HVO. I know about that because I participated in the
14 defence of those areas.
15 Q. Just a few more words about the organisation of the HVO. At what
16 level were HVO brigades formed?
17 A. Brigades were formed at territorial level, just as at the very
18 beginning when defence groups at detachment level were organised.
19 Q. Would they be organised municipality by municipality?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did the troops of one municipal brigade consider it normal to
22 engage in the territory of another municipality, or did they resist the
24 A. At the beginning it was rather difficult. The prevalent opinion
25 was that one should defend one's own municipality and one's own
1 territory. Later on, when awareness was more developed that the enemy is
2 out there as well, it was a bit easier.
3 Q. You mean the time when Guards Brigade had been established as
4 well in 1994, Guards Brigade whose tasks spread over larger territories,
5 or do you mean earlier as well?
6 A. Sometime earlier as well. Brigades that were formed following
7 the territorial principle would send parts of their forces to defend
8 other territories elsewhere.
9 Q. From what territory were troops mobilised into one municipal
11 A. Mainly from the territory of that particular municipality.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. Witness, would you be so kind and to
13 indicate a date when this change occurred, when the limitation of
14 brigades to municipal -- municipalities in the territory began to break
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the beginning of those
17 liberation operations against the Army of Republika Srpska in July --
18 June and July of 1992. By that time we were already able to use units
19 from one municipality in the territory of another municipality. In those
20 areas where the front line facing the aggressor lay.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Maric, let us be more precise to avoid problems later. Up to
24 a certain time the HVO army was organised into Municipal Staffs, and
25 later on those Municipal Staffs were organised into brigades.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. When did this re-organisation into brigades occur?
3 A. That was in mid-1992, if I recall well. I was focused on one
4 unit, my unit, so I can't remember the exact date, but it was in
6 Q. Do you know if there had been any resistance, reluctance in
7 certain municipal brigades to the idea of engaging some of their units
9 A. Yes, there was resistance to that.
10 Q. We may be able to show some documents about it later. You said
11 that municipal brigades usually included people who lived in that
12 municipality. Does that mean practically that one unit would include
13 members of one family, friends who had known each other for a while?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would that mean that they would bring their existing personal
16 relationships into the brigade?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, at that time - we're still talking about 1992 - was the army
19 organised in rotations or -- or were troops on duty 24 hours a day?
20 A. Troops were rotated.
21 Q. How many shifts were there, two or three?
22 A. Depending on the strength of a brigade, it would be mainly two or
23 three shifts.
24 Q. Apart from these territorial municipal units, did there exist
25 also manoeuvering units?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Could you compare the number of troops in municipal units with
3 the number of manoeuvering units? Which were the most numerous?
4 A. Territorial units.
5 Q. Mr. Maric, what was your personal attitude to Muslims in Mostar
6 and the organising of a joint defence? Your personal view.
7 A. From the beginning until the very end, my personal view was that
8 I chose people by speciality, by qualification, and had an inclination to
9 select people who were able to perform their assignments and completely
10 dedicated people regardless of ethnicity.
11 Q. Let us now try to describe to the Trial Chamber the artillery in
12 South-east Herzegovina.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
14 continues] ... answer the question I'd like to ask this, because I was
15 thinking about your answer. Ms. Alaburic asked you some clarification as
16 to the units, as to the territorial municipal units, and you answered
17 that you made no difference between those units. That's the way I
18 understood your answer, because you just wanted the soldiers to be
19 qualified without -- regardless of their ethnicity. So I'm trying to
20 remember or see what things were like in 1992 whilst I'm listening to
22 So soldiers like you who were facing the Serbs, were you
23 defending the town, the municipality, or were you defending something
24 else, the Croatian nation, for instance, or what was happening as part of
25 the international negotiations? Were you defending the idea of
1 independence with regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina? What were you
2 defending when you were together, side by side with the -- your artillery
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I was defending the
5 homeland I was born in, where I still live, Bosnia and Herzegovina
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about your fellow
7 fighters, both Croat and Muslims comrades? Did they have the same idea
8 in their minds?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, every soldier, down to
10 the last man in my unit, was a loyal defender of Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now I'm connecting your answer
12 to document P180, because in that document I saw it was mentioned -- or
13 that the recognition of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
14 mentioned. There was this notion of allegiance. That's under
15 paragraph 3 of the document. No need to look at it now. You can believe
17 So does this amount to saying that all and everyone in the units
18 had one and only mission, that of defending the Republic of Bosnia
20 component of it?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All the branches of the HVO were
22 engaged in the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Tell us, Mr. Maric, did you participate in the referendum on the
1 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. Yes, early that morning.
3 Q. And if you don't think it's too indiscreet, could you tell us how
4 you voted?
5 A. I voted for the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which I defended
6 with my own personal example, prepared to give my life if necessary.
7 Q. Were you aware that from the moment Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 becomes an independent internationally recognised state, the borders of
9 that state could not be changed except by agreement and international
11 A. Absolutely.
12 Q. Let us try to see how the command of the operation zone was
13 organised and how the artillery operated in that zone.
14 Let us first look at P907. This is a draft report for 1992
15 prepared by the chief of Main Staff, Milivoj Petkovic. What I will focus
16 on is something in item 3 where it says that at that moment the
17 Main Staff of the HVO was -- had 30 per cent of the full complement, and
18 the operations zone had 95 per cent of the full complement.
19 Could you tell us, Mr. Maric, how you explain the strength of the
20 operation zone in that situation?
21 A. In view of the situation on the terrain, our priorities were
22 personnel and materiel support mainly to those who were closest to the
23 front line, that is the brigades, and the bodies controlling the
24 brigades, and that means military district. Since there was a lot of
25 action next to the front lines, it was normal for these units to be
1 replenished more quickly than others.
2 Q. If we set aside the operation Bura, Storm, that was executed in
3 1992, were the activities of the HVO predominantly defensive or offensive
4 at that time?
5 A. Our activities at the time were exclusively defensive.
6 Q. Did the operations zone have its own Paket radio?
7 A. By that time, indeed.
8 Q. We have seen that you were chief of artillery in the command of
9 the operations zone. Tell us, what were the duties and responsibilities
10 of the chief of artillery?
11 A. To put it very briefly, the chief of artillery at any command has
12 to take care of the status of artillery in that command and to monitor
13 the status of artillery in subordinate units. That includes strength
14 degree of replenishment, degree of training. He follows the plans of
15 control and management. He organises training workshops, workshops for
16 repair and maintenance, and carries out a number of other tasks. Inter
17 alia, he also receives reports from above if so required.
18 Q. As chief of artillery, did you have any command capacity?
19 A. The chief of any branch whatsoever does not have direct
20 connections to any unit nor he is able to command.
21 Q. Would it be correct to say that in relation to the command of
22 the -- commander of the operations zone, you had certain advisory
24 A. That is precisely what it was, advisory responsibilities towards
25 the commander of the operations zone.
1 Q. Now, could you say again? Advisory function to whom?
2 A. Ultimately to the commander.
3 Q. Who else did you mention?
4 A. The Chief of Staff in any command co-ordinates the work of all
5 branches, including artillery, the Chief of Staff being ex officio deputy
6 commander. So advisory function towards the commander and the Chief of
8 Q. And if anyone took your analyses and advice and your estimates,
9 had to take decisions and issue orders, who would that be?
10 A. That would be the chief of artillery and the commander of the
11 operations zone or the commander of the brigade or whatever units.
12 Q. It's misinterpreted. I have to ask you to repeat your answer.
13 So who was able to take decisions based on the advice and analyses and
14 recommendations from the chief of artillery?
15 A. The commander of the body in which that chief served.
16 Q. Let's put it more simply. Let's take an operation zone.
17 A. Then the commander of the operation zone.
18 Q. What about the brigade?
19 A. Brigade commander.
20 Q. Battalion?
21 A. A battalion does not have a chief of artillery.
22 Q. And who makes decisions on the use of artillery if the battalion
23 has it?
24 A. If there is a combat group, a firing group in a battalion, the
25 battalion commander may based on estimates to -- may use this combat
1 group with the approval of the superior commander, in this case brigade
3 Q. Does this engagement require an approval from the superior
4 commander or does the superior commander only need to be informed of the
5 engagement of the combat group?
6 A. If the situation on the front line requires quick action, then
7 the battalion commander may use -- he's authorised to use that combat
8 group, but he is required to inform the superior command or the superior
9 commander as quickly as possible.
10 Q. Tell us briefly, Mr. Maric, how did you procure artillery
12 A. We started in the end of 1991 acquiring a very small number of
13 artillery weapons, and in the beginning of 1992, we acquired a larger
14 number from several sources. Part of the artillery weapons procured in
15 my area came from Travnik, because Travnik had certain bases. I don't
16 know exactly what sources in Travnik, but I know that we acquired a
17 certain number from Travnik. We acquired some more from Croatia
18 there were still no republic borders at that time. And then some were
19 brought by a certain number of officers and soldiers who were already
20 engaged in the Croatian Army, but that was at the beginning.
21 Q. I'll have to ask you, because some things may have been omitted.
22 After you liberated Mostar from the remnants of the Serbs, were
23 there any artillery weapons left behind in JNA installations?
24 A. I was about to say that. The largest arsenal in the HVO, in the
25 military district of Mostar and South-east Herzegovina, was captured in
1 operations against the Army of Republika Srpska. Which also proves if
2 that fighting with the Army of Republika Srpska in the course of
3 liberating Mostar and environs was extremely fierce and the withdrawal of
4 the enemy force left behind large quantities of materiel and equipment,
5 including artillery.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's time for a break, a
7 20-minute break.
8 --- Recess taken at 3.49 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session,
11 but I would first of all like to read out the oral decision concerning
12 Witness 4D-AA.
13 The oral ruling is quite a long one. It might even be the
14 longest I have ever had to read out over the last four years.
15 On the 18th of December, 2009, the Prosecution filed a
16 confidential application whereby it requested three hours to
17 cross-examine Witness 4D-AA. This witness is scheduled for the
18 14th of January, 2010.
19 In addition, the Prosecution recalls that he had asked for the
20 cross-examination of this witness to take place, and the Defence of
21 Praljak would like their witness to be heard pursuant to 92 bis.
22 On -- in January 2010, the Petkovic Defence team filed its
23 response in which it does not agree with the application.
24 On the 8th of January, 2010, the Prosecution filed an application
25 to be entitled to respond and attached its response thereto.
1 The Trial Chamber grants leave to respond to the reply. The
2 Petkovic Defence confirms that Witness 4D-AA will only appear for one
3 hour pursuant or as part of the examination-in-chief. The scope of the
4 examination-in-chief has been narrowed down and will focus on very
5 specific points as mentioned in the 65 ter amended summary which was
6 disclosed to the Prosecution on the 10th of December, 2009. There is
7 also a list of 27 documents which will be shown at the hearing.
8 The Trial Chamber decides, therefore, in light of the submissions
9 filed by the parties and the new 65 ter summary, to grant one hour to the
10 Prosecution for its cross-examination. The Petkovic Defence has one hour
11 for its examination-in-chief, and the other Defence teams have half an
13 In addition, the Trial Chamber feels that with a view to justice
14 being administered properly to rule on the Prosecution's application to
15 cross-examine the witness 4D-AA as part of a 92 bis statement of the said
16 witness which was requested by the Praljak Defence team. After looking
17 at or examining the written submission, the Trial Chamber holds that it
18 partly focuses on the behaviour of Praljak, the fact that he held a high
19 position within the HVO and deals with the relationships between the HOS
20 and the HVO.
21 The Trial Chamber holds that it cannot admit the written
22 statement pursuant to 92 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence
23 without cross-examining -- without the witness being cross-examined by
24 the Prosecution. Therefore decides to grant one hour to the Prosecution
25 for its cross-examination.
1 The other Defence teams have not asked to cross-examine this
2 witness and will therefore will have no time available to do so. In
3 addition, the witness in this case will only appear for the
4 cross-examination pursuant to Rule 92 bis (C). The Praljak Defence team
5 will not examine the witness as part of its examination-in-chief.
6 Moreover, the Trial Chamber would like to state that the
7 cross-examination of the witness which will focus on the witness's 92 bis
8 statement, which was requested by the Praljak Defence, will take place
9 straight after the witness's testimony, the viva voce witness of the
10 Defence team.
11 The oral decision states as follows, and I shall sum it up: On
12 Thursday we shall proceed in two stages. First of all, we will have the
13 examination-in-chief, which will be led by Mrs. Alaburic. She will have
14 one hour. The other Defence teams will have half an hour, and after that
15 the Prosecution will have one hour. And after that, we shall move on to
16 the second part, i.e., the 92 bis procedure. Then the Prosecutor will
17 put its questions solely on the basis of the 92 bis document, which, if I
18 am not mistaken, is 30 pages or so long, and the Prosecution will have
19 one hour, which means that we might be very short on time on Thursday
20 since we will have one hour and half an hour. That's an hour and a half
21 plus one hour, that's two and a half hours all in all. With the
22 questions of the Judges, let's say three and a half hours to four hours.
23 And after that, the Prosecutor will have another hour, which means that
24 normally speaking we shall not be able to finish this witness's testimony
25 on Thursday.
1 There are two alternatives. Either the Petkovic Defence team
2 cuts down on its time. I don't know if this is possible - or we address
3 the first part and as far as the 92 bis procedure is concerned, i.e., the
4 cross-examination of the Prosecution, the witness will have to come back.
5 From what I understood, he has some commitments and the witness can only
6 be here on Thursday. In that case the witness will have to come back for
7 the cross-examination to be led by the Prosecution pursuant to
8 Rule 92 bis. But Ms. Alaburic will have to see how this works out with
9 her witness, because we have Thursday and the weekend and we could resume
10 on the Monday, or he can come back on another day so that we address the
11 second part of his testimony.
12 I hope all of this has been sufficiently clear, Mrs. Alaburic.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, absolutely
14 clear. I have to admit that I personally expected a decision of this
15 kind, and my commitment to you is this: This evening I'm going to meet
16 with the witness, and I'm going to discuss the matter with him, and if
17 there is a slight possibility for him to stay on until Monday and finish
18 his testimony on Monday, I will kindly ask him to stay, and tomorrow
19 morning I will have an update on that for you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There's also another
21 possibility. If ever we finish this witness earlier than expected, we
22 could then start on the second witness straight away on Wednesday
23 already, but much will depend on the time we will spend on Mr. Maric.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. That is also
25 another possibility, but it's very hard for us to believe that this could
1 be doable, because this would mean that we would only have one-half a day
2 tomorrow after -- tomorrow afternoon to prep the witness. But after our
3 conversation with the witness, it is possible that we might even do that.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed. If you have no
5 more questions on document P907 that's fine, but I do have questions on
6 it. Please proceed.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no further
8 questions about this document.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, let me get back to
10 this document which, in my view, is an important document because it
11 stems from General Petkovic. It's a report on the situation for the
12 second half of 1992.
13 In this document, which I have scrutinised, as you can imagine,
14 because it's not the first time that we see this kind of document, I
15 would like you to specify three things for me. General Petkovic says in
16 this document that the HVO had 45.000 men, but he also says that as far
17 as the officers were concerned, there were only 85 of them. There were
18 perhaps some non-commissioned officers, there were 91 of them, and there
19 were 670 - in English - privates, and in your language I see the term
20 "vojaka." Can you tell me what these 3 -- 670 "vojaka" stand for?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those who don't have a rank are
22 soldiers, "vojak." Among them there could also be specialists; for
23 example, for infantry weapons. But there are also those who specialised
24 in more sophisticated weaponry that was in use in the army after a
25 certain specialist training. If that is the gist of your question.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you confirm that in the HVO
2 army in general there was less than a hundred officers?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't confirm this. I can only
4 speak about the part where I was. I can't speak in any more general
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the penultimate paragraph,
7 General Petkovic says as follows: When he created his own army in the
8 territory of the HZ HB, the Croatian people are defending themselves, and
9 there are majority of Muslims.
10 How do you interpret this paragraph? What does it mean, or
11 doesn't it mean anything to you?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To me this means that we defended
13 ourselves from the Serbs and that we had Muslims on our strength. Those
14 are the facts.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Then one last question on this
16 document. In the chapter "Personnel problems and mobilisations -- and
17 mobilisation," paragraphs 3 and 4, General Petkovic says that there were
18 some ordinary men in the army who had no knowledge whatsoever of military
19 matters but that these men are totally dedicated to the cause of the
20 HZ HB. What does this mean?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can comment upon the first part
22 and say that there were indeed people who did not have any -- any
23 military training. There were such men in my unit as well. However,
24 they were given such tasks that could be carried out by any healthy
25 person aged between 18 and 60. This meant that they could dig trenches,
1 that they could do engineering work and similar things.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In this paragraph there's an
3 important point. General Petkovic says that these men who have no
4 military knowledge, which is something you have just confirmed, are
5 dedicated to the ideas of the HZ HB. What are those ideas of the HZ HB?
6 It's written here.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The HZ HB, as far as I know about
8 that matter, was organised at the moment when there was no control in
9 certain areas, no control by the official bodies of Bosnia and
11 Republika Srpska. In such areas and at the moment when the laws of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina could be implemented, I know that I was among
13 those who implemented them. I did it in the area where I was. And this
14 is corroborated by the document -- or, rather, the decision issued on the
15 24th of September where we were authorised to do so by the official
16 bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question which I have
18 put to other witnesses already. This is a question which I shall also
19 put to future witnesses. I can see, if this document does illustrate the
20 situation on the ground, that the HVO, the military component, had
21 85 officers. I would like to know this: In military terms only, with
22 85 officers, can one run an enterprise which aims at annihilating the
23 enemy forces of the ABiH which comprise hundreds of thousands of soldiers
24 and hundreds of thousands of officers? Was this something which was
25 feasible in military terms, to win a battle with 85 officers against the
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in my unit I had
3 enough trained officers who had been trained by the JNA and who were
4 members of the reserve forces of the JNA before the war. I was one of
5 them, and I could carry out my tasks -- tasks to the extent necessary,
6 and that's all I can tell you about this.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Maric, you have just answered Judge Antonetti's questions
10 about the penultimate passage in this document without having read it. I
11 would kindly ask you to open the last page of the document, which is
12 P907, and look at the penultimate passage which reads:
13 "As they were creating their armed forces in the HZ HB
14 territories, the Croatian people defended themselves and a majority of
15 the Muslims there."
16 His Honour Judge Antonetti wanted to hear your opinion about this
17 particular passage.
18 A. Your Honours, in the territory where we created and indeed formed
19 the HVO, which also comprised of some Muslim units and soldiers, we did
20 not discuss the issue of the HZ HB. Our main issue was how to defend the
21 territory. This means that nobody who fought with us no Muslim soldier
22 or unit ever raised the issue of the HZ HB. Nobody was bothered by the
23 HZ HB at that time.
24 Q. Mr. Maric, when the HVO was engaged in defence, irrespective of
25 the ethnic composition of the HVO, what was your intention? Did you want
1 to defend Croats, Muslims, and all the other residents of the territory,
2 or did you only want to defend Croats?
3 A. Absolutely everybody, Croats, Muslims, and some of the Serbs who
4 remained fighting with us in our units.
5 Q. Thank you. And when we're talking about the -- defending the
6 population or residents of the territory, would you say that your
7 attitude was equal when it came to Croat or -- and Muslim populations, or
8 did you make a distinction between the two?
9 A. No distinction was ever made along the ethnic lines.
10 Q. Very well. We could go on about this document, but there will
11 probably be another opportunity. Let's move on. Mr. Maric, I would
12 kindly ask you to explain for the benefit of the Trial Chamber about
13 officers and non-commissioned officers. Could you tell us something
14 about the staff of the artillery in the operations zone. How were people
15 hired? Did those men had any prior artillery experience? Anything you
16 can tell us about the topic in very brief outlines.
17 A. Your Honours, the artillery at the time in Mostar, which had a
18 battalion, and there was also a battalion in another municipality, which
19 was Siroki Brijeg, had enough officer staff that was capable of
20 organising the artillery, using the artillery, planning the artillery
21 use, and do everything else for of a unit of this kind to be engaged in
22 combat and be used in combat. For example, my superior was a former
23 officer of the JNA who had proper training. There were several officers
24 who had completed school for reserve officers. For example, my deputy,
25 Hajrudin Jakirovic. There were also several officers who had completed
1 secondary military education during the JNA. The commander of one unit
2 was a reserve officer who had obtained two university degrees as a
3 civilian. And at lower levels there were specialists who I personally
4 selected together with my services, having used materials that I received
5 from the defence department of Mostar municipality. And similar
6 procedure was observed in other municipalities.
7 The defence department had files showing specialties, and we used
8 those files to -- to make our selection.
9 Q. And what did you do with those men for whom you thought that they
10 were not well trained?
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could all mikes not in use please be switched
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Such people were sent for
14 additional training. Towards the end of 1991 and 2000 -- at the
15 beginning of 2002 [as interpreted], those men were sent to schools that
16 had already been organised, and their trainers were people with an
17 officer's and non-commissioned officer's degree from the JNA. We used
18 the rules of the Yugoslav People's Army, although unfortunately at that
19 time we were waging war with them.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Let's just explain an error in the year now after having
22 mentioned 1991 you said --
23 A. 1992.
24 Q. So it wasn't 2002 but, rather, one -- 1992.
25 A. I apologise. It was a long time ago. You have to accept my
2 Q. According to what you know, did it happen that when it came to
3 using a certain artillery weapon, you had to use somebody, a member of
4 staff who was not trained to use that artillery weapon?
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter kindly asks everybody in the
6 courtroom to switch off their microphones if they're not in use.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Only qualified men could use
8 artillery weaponry.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Tell us, please, at the level of the operation zone was there an
11 artillery unit? Was there an artillery unit at the level of the
12 operation zone?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What unit was that?
15 A. There was a unit which was called a rocket artillery regiment,
16 and actually on its strength it had artillery weapons that would qualify
17 it for a reinforced battalion.
18 Q. What artillery tools did the regiment have at its disposal?
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter kindly asks Mrs. Alaburic to
20 switch her microphone off.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the beginning it had
22 130-millimetre cannons; 120-millimetre howitzers, D30; and
23 122-D38 howitzers, two pieces; and 155-millimetre howitzer, three pieces.
24 In total that would have been the strength of one battalion.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: A question here. This question of Ms. Alaburic
1 regarded a regiment, and normally we have not found regiments in the HVO.
2 We have battalions and brigades, and the brigades correspond more or less
3 to what in other armies is called a regiment. I would be glad if you
4 could clarify this. Am I wrong?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the terminology in
6 artillery, that is, a unit in artillery, there is a platoon, a battery,
7 an artillery battalion, and a regiment. That regiment was -- that unit
8 was called regiment, although its complement in terms of numbers was not
9 up to regiment. There were ambitions to replenish it with time, but this
10 replenishment never actually took place to make it a full regiment.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. And as we speak about artillery, was
12 such a regiment a unit for combat or was it, rather, a pool of fire to be
13 put at the disposals -- at the disposal of infantry in combat to support
14 brigades, operation zones here and there, but -- or was it a unit, the
15 regiment, that went into battle by itself?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in practice this unit
17 served the purpose of providing its parts to be resubordinated to other
18 units on axes with intense combat activity. As a whole, it was never
19 able to be used because of its tactical and technical idiosyncrasies.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That corresponds to the concept I
21 had. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, allow me a follow-up
23 question. Earlier on Ms. Alaburic asked about the formation. I was
24 listening to you, but it so happens that when I did my military service I
25 serve in the artillery, so I was listening to you with great interest as
1 you can imagine. And when you were talking about formations, I wondered
2 who you were training. Were you training officers or privates, simple
3 soldiers, because as a soldier you carry shells that are put into the gun
4 or the cannon and then the gun is fired. So you don't need to train a
5 soldier very long in order to train him to carry heavy shells. However,
6 officers who are supposed to make calculations on the fire range, for
7 instance, have to be trained. So when you mention training, was it in
8 relation to officers or to simple soldiers?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was primarily training for
10 officers, and the focus was on how to use a unit, but it's important to
11 say that even the person carrying a grenade or a shell has to know
12 exactly how to do that. So troops took training from the officers who
13 had just been trained. The training went on continuously, from the top
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's very clear. One follow-up
16 question after Judge Trechsel's questions. There's something very vague
17 in my mind regarding the HVO artillery. Are we talking about units,
18 regiments, or batteries supporting foot soldiers, infantrymen, or were
19 they very specific units that would not support units? Because in modern
20 warfare, in many Western countries, the artillery supports the infantry,
21 and here I have some doubts regarding what you say.
22 Was your artillery in support or was it sort of independent?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In support of infantry units, but
24 as a whole it was an independent organisational unit, but in practice
25 parts of artillery units were resubordinated, and its sole function was
1 to support the infantry. It could never be used alone.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So everything is crystal clear
3 now. I think that what you have just said was very important.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. So, Mr. Maric, we are still at the level of the operations zone.
6 Just a follow-up on Judge Trechsel's question about terms and concepts.
7 Did the HVO use the term "regiment" applied only to artillery,
8 whereas in infantry the unit of the same level would be a brigade?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. Since I tried very hard to learn all these things, I would like
11 to demonstrate my newly acquired knowledge.
12 In artillery, therefore, we have a unit called artillery
13 battalion, and its equivalent in infantry would be battalion?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Now the third level. The battery in artillery is the equivalent
16 of a company in infantry; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. All these terms were used in the HVO for separate branches?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I'm being told this third level is not recorded in the
21 transcript. I said that the company in infantry would be the equivalent
22 of battery in artillery.
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Where was the seat of the regiment?
25 A. The seat of the rocket artillery unit was in Siroki Brijeg.
1 Q. Tell us --
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me if I act as a linguistic policeman.
3 You have now used the term "unit" and that is a rather general term.
4 Maybe it's also a question of translation, I cannot say, but was it a
5 rocket artillery battery or a rocket artillery battalion, or even a
6 rocket artillery regiment?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the organisation of
8 artillery from the lower levels up, the lowest is platoon, then comes
9 battery, followed by artillery battalion, followed by regiment. The
10 regiment may be mixed or rocket artillery, et cetera.
11 Was that clear enough?
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That was actually unnecessary, if I may say so.
13 You have used the term "unit" when asked: "Where was the seat of the
14 regiment?" You answered: "The seat of the rocket artillery unit was in
15 Siroki Brijeg." Your answer does not fit the question because the
16 question went to the regiment and it's not a pure rocket regiment. You
17 speak of a rocket artillery "unit," and that's why I'm asking you what
18 kind of unit was it, a battery or a battalion or only a platoon?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was a rocket artillery
20 regiment based in Siroki Brijeg. It was organised up there for practical
21 reasons, because JNA forces and the forces of the Army of Republika
22 Srpska at the beginning of the war were around Mostar, Capljina, and
23 other municipalities in the valley of the Neretva River so that these
24 assets, for practical reasons, could not be organised in those
25 municipalities. And for security reasons as well, the unit was organised
1 in Siroki Brijeg.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I hope my colleagues will not mind
4 one leading question.
5 Q. Does that mean, Mr. Maric, that the rocket artillery regiment was
6 an independent artillery unit based in Siroki Brijeg, and it had its own
7 commander, and in a certain way it could be compared with infantry
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. This regiment, this rocket artillery regiment, was it able to act
11 throughout the operation zone South-east Herzegovina?
12 A. Yes, contrary to the orders of the commander of the --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. Interpreter's correction: In keeping
14 with the orders of the commander of the operation zone South-east
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. You said in keeping with the orders; right? It's all right now.
18 It's been corrected.
19 Now we have dealt with the level of the operation zone. Tell me
20 now, in brigades, in these infantry units, were there some units of
21 artillery nature?
22 A. Infantry brigades had within their composition an organised unit
23 called artillery battalion. From time to time we will come across the
24 term "mixed," which means it was made up of several types of weapons of
25 different calibres. That artillery battalion was under the command of
1 the brigade commander.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is a minor ambiguity.
3 You may not know this. General Praljak testified. He was sitting there
4 where you are standing -- or sitting today, and he explained at length
5 that the HVO had put under -- the artillery under the Main Staff control.
6 At least that's what I understood. In other words, that is until you
7 said the opposite just now, the artillery unit in Siroki Brijeg was under
8 the Main Staff orders, but you, in answer to Ms. Alaburic's question, you
9 said it was under the order of the south-east operation zone. Line 19,
10 page 53. So now I'm at a loss, because based on what General Praljak
11 said, I thought the artillery was totally controlled by the Main Staff,
12 whilst you say that it is under the orders of the operation zone.
13 Can you confirm that the unit in Siroki Brijeg was under the
14 orders of the commander of the operation zone, or was it under the orders
15 of the Main Staff?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, for the longest period
17 during the war this unit was under the command of the operation zone
18 South-east Herzegovina. There was also a period when the unit was under
19 the command of the Main Staff with the proviso that the use of the unit
20 was practically unchanged, meaning that parts of the unit were seconded
21 on certain axes to certain other units on whose axes the enemy activity
22 was concentrated.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You seem to confirm in part
24 what General Praljak said, namely, that at some point in time -- when was
25 that point in time? When was the artillery under Main Staff command?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I recall, it was in the
2 second half of 1993, when there was a general reorganisation in the
3 defence of the territory in South-east Herzegovina.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Maric, I had not intended to discuss this at this point, but
7 since we have already broached the subject, to the best of my
8 recollection, General Praljak said that a certain point the decision was
9 made for the rocket artillery regiment to be placed under the direct
10 command of the Main Staff. I don't recall that General Praljak said the
11 whole artillery had been placed under the Main Staff. So could you
12 clarify this?
13 You said the Main Staff become responsible for something. What?
14 A. For that particular unit, the rocket artillery regiment, all the
15 other units and all the brigade artillery battalions were still organised
16 within the framework of that brigade.
17 Q. Very well. There will be other opportunities to clarify this if
19 Now we are discussing again the level of brigades, and we're
20 talking about artillery battalions within brigades. Can you tell us what
21 kind of artillery weapons brigades had?
22 A. According to the rules, brigades usually had artillery battalions
23 disposing of mortars, up to 120 [Realtime transcript read in error "122"]
24 millimetres. Considering that in the operation zone we had these
25 weapons, these weapons were placed at the disposal of artillery
1 battalions with the proviso that some artillery battalions also had other
3 Q. Could you repeat the calibre you mentioned, the highest one?
4 A. Mortars 120 millimetres were the main weapon.
5 Q. I just wanted the number corrected. Who, Mr. Maric, was able to
6 issue orders to engage the artillery battalion of a brigade?
7 A. Exclusively the brigade command.
8 Q. Tell us now, we have an infantry battalion, let's say. Is there
9 a unit within such a battalion that could use some sort of artillery
11 A. In battalions there were mainly combat artillery groups depending
12 on the situation in the area of responsibility of that -- of that
14 Q. Could you give us the calibres of the mortars available to such
15 combat artillery groups?
16 A. Smaller calibres, 60 and 82 millimetres.
17 Q. Did it ever happen that such combat groups had higher calibres?
18 A. If the area defended by such a battalion was large and if there
19 were reasons to believe that they would be more frequently under attack,
20 such battalions could be given parts of the rocket artillery battalion
21 from the same brigade.
22 Q. Who had the right to take the decision when to engage such a
23 combat artillery group within a battalion?
24 A. Such a combat artillery group with all its equipment and its
25 commanding cadre can be engaged only by decision of the battalion
1 commander on a specific axis of action.
2 Q. Let us try to tell the Judges the total number of artillery
3 assets at the disposal of the HVO in the area of your operation zone?
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I? Excuse me. I would like to come back to
5 your last answer. You had said that the battalion could also get rocket
6 artillery support, and you were asked who was deciding on this, and you
7 said it was the commander of the battalion. Wouldn't it rather be the
8 commander of the higher unit of the brigade which dispatches the rocket
9 fire to the battalion? Then the battalion commander says where they are
10 to shoot. But the battalion commander cannot decide to take some rocket
11 artillery from the brigade if the brigade commander does not decide so.
12 Isn't that correct?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If there was a decision to second
14 some of the artillery to an infantry battalion, that would be made by the
15 brigade commander. And the use of that unit would be under the command
16 of the unit commander to which it was resubordinated.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Honourable Judge Trechsel, I would
19 like to draw your attention to the fact that you are obviously referring
20 to line 1 on page 57. That question was actually not interpreted
21 correctly. My question was about using a combat group already in the
22 battalion. That's why the witness answered the battalion commander was
23 in charge.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Thank you. And I may have
25 misunderstood that. I thought that it was important to say that it was
1 only the brigade commander that can put rocket artillery at the disposal
2 of the battalion.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Now let us be very precise. Can rocket artillery be
5 resubordinated to a battalion or would it be a brigade mortar that would
6 be seconded to a battalion?
7 A. Both rockets and artillery weapons actually make up the unit of
8 the rocket artillery battalion. The rules are the same for seconding an
9 artillery asset and a rocket system.
10 Q. But it's always an asset seconded from the brigade, not an asset
11 from the rocket artillery regiment?
12 A. No, no. We're not talking about the rocket artillery regiment.
13 It would be an asset from the artillery battalion of the brigade.
14 Q. I hope the artillery people behind me have no objections anymore
15 to these questions and answers. I think things are clear enough.
16 Mr. Maric, have you ever heard in the operation zone that
17 artillery weapons needed maintenance or repair?
18 A. Your Honours, I only not heard about it. It was my duty to
19 organise and to supervise and to gather information about inspections and
20 maintenance and the condition of weapons in the operations zone, which I
21 did through my subordinate chiefs in brigades. And I have to add
22 immediately that they had within their establishment units mobile
23 artillery workshops that were 24/7 at the disposal of the artillery unit.
24 Q. These mobile workshops, what were they actually?
25 A. A mobile workshop is a special vehicle with special equipment and
1 tools and qualified repairmen who are able to carry out an inspection at
2 any time and to do smaller repairs in the field and major repairs at the
3 maintenance base.
4 Q. At what level were these mobile artillery workshops organised?
5 A. At brigade level -- or, rather, at the level of artillery units
6 within brigades. Of course, the rocket artillery regiment had its own.
7 Q. Did anything exist of that kind at the level of the operation
8 zone for all units?
9 A. Yes, fortunately. In Mostar, for decades before that, we had
10 Soko Mostar, an installation that also produced military assets and
11 aircraft, and all our repairmen there placed themselves at the disposal
12 of the HVO. Artillery repairmen from that installation placed themselves
13 at the disposal of artillery units at HVO.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now you mentioned this factory
15 called Soko which manufactured military equipment and aeroplanes, and
16 this reminded me on an incident which occurred in July 1939 on the border
17 between the Russians and the Japanese, and Marshall Jukov explained this
18 in his memoirs. He explains that the artillery should be used jointly
19 with aeroplanes. J-u-k-o-v is the spelling of the Marshall in question.
20 According to what you are saying, it seemed to me that an
21 essential component was missing, the aeroplanes. You are saying that
22 aeroplanes were being manufactured, but because of the embargo you didn't
23 have any aeroplanes, did you, and as an artillery man was this a handicap
24 for you or not?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean did I feel handicapped
1 because I have no aviation, if I understood correctly. I did not think
2 about that, personally, nor was it a topic discussed in the circles in
3 which I moved.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you're concerned, the
5 fact that there was no aeroplanes or any air force was not a handicap.
6 Now, if we look at the way the NATO armies operate or the former
7 Warsaw Pact armies, was there not something which functioned well? You
8 bombarded first of all, then the artillery steps in, and the infantry
9 steps in in the last resort without any aeroplanes. Would this scenario
10 be feasible or not?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From that point of view, of course,
12 it was a handicap that we did not have an aviation. However, we were
13 created on the basis that I tried to explain at the beginning of my
14 testimony, and we were perfectly aware that at that time it was not
15 possible to have an aviation, and we adapted to the circumstances in
16 which we came into being. Regrettably my homeland, Bosnia and
18 after the creation of its first units.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Mrs. Alaburic.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Maric, let's try to go on with repairs in artillery. Was
22 there an option if a certain weapon needed major repair to send it
23 somewhere outside Mostar? Was it possible?
24 A. Yes, and we used that option. The best known such location was
25 in Novi
1 weapons there, making sure that every weapon would work to its technical
3 Q. Have you ever heard of the term "experimental targeting"?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What is that?
6 A. Experimental or test firing or targeting are tests of new
7 weapons, new systems.
8 Q. Did the HVO engage in such test firing?
9 A. Yes, in locations specifically designated for that purpose.
10 Q. Did artillery weapons of the HVO have their own service booklets?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And what was recorded therein?
13 A. Well, to put it in the simplest terms, like for any other piece
14 of equipment, the technical service booklet should contain all the
15 specifications and the condition of that piece of equipment, and also
16 records on its use.
17 Q. Would the booklet show records of service and maintenance?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was the servicing regular or would weapons only be repaired at
21 A. In artillery, we are familiar with terms "first service" and
22 "second service." One service would be done on the combat position, and
23 the second one would take place in designated workshops for artillery.
24 Q. Let us try, Mr. Maric, based on certain documents, to see how
25 artillery operated in the HVO. On this subject, the first document would
1 be 4D1625. That is a report from the commander of the operation zone,
2 Drago Poljak, at this time, which is end October 1992.
3 Tell us, Mr. Maric, are you familiar with this document?
4 A. I saw it for the first time in the course of proofing.
5 Q. Could you tell us, looking at the date, if any important combat
6 events took place at this time?
7 A. This document was drawn up just before the execution of
8 Operation Storm.
9 Q. The signatory of this document, Mr. Poljak, was he really
10 commander of the operation zone?
11 A. Yes, Mr. Drago Poljak was indeed the commander.
12 Q. Let us look at the list of artillery and ammunition that he
13 presents in this report. Could you tell us briefly the rubrics in this
15 A. Yes, I can. Shall I start? Column 1, number. Column 2, name
16 and type of weapon. Column 3, number of pieces. Column 4, combat set,
17 which means -- I can explain. The amount of ammunition that goes with a
18 certain -- with one piece of weapon, and that depends on the calibre.
19 Larger calibres would have a smaller amount of ammunition to go with it,
20 and smaller calibres a larger amount. The importance of this combat set
21 is that in planning defensive or offensive operations you use the term
22 "combat set" rather than "number of shells."
23 Column 5, three combat sets. Column 6 is the calculation. How
24 many shells per piece that means. Column 7 is a status at a given time,
25 meaning when this document is written. And column 8 is a calculation,
1 how much the logistics should provide, how much ammunition logistics
2 should provide to satisfy the requirement of three combat sets times
3 number of weapons.
4 Q. Just to be very precise about the last two columns, tell us, do
5 these numbers refer to combat sets or to pieces of shells?
6 A. Pieces of shells.
7 Q. If this list is based on three combat sets, what could we
8 conclude the artillery needed in the operation zone? Why is it three
9 combat sets?
10 A. I will repeat. This document was drafted just before the
11 Operation Tempest and the requirements for ammunition as listed here were
12 probably dictated by the plans for Operation Tempest.
13 Q. Now, tell us, Mr. Maric, as an artillery man, if you have this
14 number of shells stated here and if you are missing the number of shells
15 listed in the last column, how would you qualify the level of supply with
16 ammunition in the HVO?
17 A. At the moment when this order was written, the level of
18 replenishment was minimal. Is that the right word?
19 Q. Did the situation with replenishment change in any considerable
20 way in 1993?
21 A. Your Honours, the level of supply with ammunition was always
23 Q. Mr. Maric, we don't have much time to discuss standards.
24 Standards were frequently mentioned by General Praljak during his
25 testimony, including 3D455, which speaks about that, and those are
1 standards for the usual expenditure of shells to neutralise certain
2 targets depending on the type of target, type of shells, et cetera. A
3 certain number of shells is expected to be expended for each of these
5 Are you familiar with these standards of expenditure of shells
6 for neutralising certain targets? We don't have the documents ready for
7 your testimony, but are you familiar with these standards?
8 A. Your Honours, these standards are shown in the form of tables.
9 This is something you don't learn by rote. It's something that's kept in
10 offices and in places where plans are developed. These standards are
11 very, very far removed from what HVO was able to implement. They could
12 never really be met in the HVO.
13 Q. Tell us, roughly, with the total number of shells and ammunition
14 the HVO had at that moment, relative to these standards that also apply
15 in NATO, was it possible to neutralise more than 10 to 15 targets?
16 A. No.
17 Q. All right. Let's look at the next document now, 4D1628. This is
18 a document from January 1993, and to us it's important because it shows
19 the total number of personnel engaged in the operation zone. It does not
20 relate only to the army, the HVO, but also the Ministry of the Interior,
21 the military police, et cetera. The total number of 7.743.
22 Tell us first about the person who signed this. Do you know
23 these people?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. From what you know, was it really this number of personnel
1 engaged in total in the operation zone?
2 A. Well, in this zone I know about the rocket artillery regiment,
3 and that's correct so I have no reason to doubt the other numbers.
4 Therefore, I agree.
5 Q. Let's try to explain one thing now. It may be important later.
6 Number 8, what is number 8?
7 A. LARD PZO, Light Infantry Rocket Battalion for Anti-Aircraft
9 Q. Does it fall under the artillery of the operation zone?
10 A. No, it doesn't fall within the artillery of the operation zone.
11 Q. Does that mean that you personally have absolutely no
12 jurisdiction over this unit?
13 A. No, I didn't.
14 Q. Let us look at the next document, 4D1629. This is also from the
15 operation zone. The signatory was also your commander, and the payroll
16 for April.
17 We see from this document that on behalf of the HVO, around
18 5500 personnel were engaged in the operation zone. In the rocket
19 artillery regiment, 350 troops. Is that correct, to the best of your
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you confirm that the commander of the operation zone,
23 Mr. Lasic, co-issued this document?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Let us now look at 4D1534, and I would appreciate your comments.
1 This is an order issued by the commander of the operation zone on the
2 1st of June, 1993. Tell us, please, whether this was indeed Mico Lasic
3 who signed the document?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Have you seen this document before?
6 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this document. I drafted it myself,
7 actually. Or, rather, it was drafted upon my suggestion.
8 Q. This document forbids the use of Maljutka unless it was
9 technically inspected. When it comes to the technical inspection of
10 artillery pieces, were they done on a regularly basis?
11 A. Regular inspection of artillery pieces was carried out on a
12 regular basis and the rocket anti-armour pieces also fall under the
13 artillery sector, and they are mentioned in here.
14 Q. Mr. Maric, did you also check the ammunition?
15 A. When it comes to ammunition, as I've already told you, the
16 ammunition is inspected every time a new batch arrives. The ammunition
17 is then tested, and the use of ammunition is always carried out pursuant
18 to strict regulations. All the ammunition is marked by weight, by
19 colours, and all that you can see in the target practice tables, and
20 commanders of detachments and platoons have to bear the information in
22 Q. If ammunition is stored in a humid area, can that affect the
23 quality of the ammunition?
24 A. As a rule, ammunition is stored in dry areas. However, if there
25 was possibly contact with humidity, such ammunition was most often
1 excluded from use, or what followed was recalculation and preparation of
2 such ammunition for use in a different way.
3 Q. Let's look at 4D1675. Are you familiar with this report?
4 A. Yes. This is my report. I drafted it myself as part of my
5 obligations as chief of artillery.
6 Q. Based on the information about the available ammunition contained
7 in this report, what would you say? Could the HVO carry out any
8 offensive operations with such equipment and ammunition?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Here we can see a number of locations where the artillery weapons
11 were deployed. Can you tell us, please, how was the artillery equipment
12 and towards whom at that time?
13 A. Here you can see some positions that tell us that a majority of
14 our positions faced the Army of Republika Srpska and most of the
15 artillery pieces faced the positions of the Army of Republika Srpska.
16 Q. Mr. Maric, when was it that the HVO aimed its artillery pieces
17 towards the positions of the -- of the BiH positions in your operation
19 A. It was after the unfortunate events in May 1993.
20 Q. And we're talking about Mostar, aren't we?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Very well. Let's look at 4D948. This is an order, issued by the
23 Chief of the Main Staff, dated 7 June 1993. Just a few question with
24 regard to this document.
25 To start with, could you please tell us whether you remember the
1 time at the beginning of June 1993, and do you remember that there was
2 indeed a threat facing the HVO in the Mostar region from the direction of
3 Jablanica on the part of the BiH Army?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Under item 2 an order is issued. According to your knowledge,
6 would you say that forces in Bijelo Polje had been regrouped in order to
7 prevent the onslaught of Muslim forces that was expected at the time?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Alaburic. It seems to me that these are all
10 really directive questions asking for yes or no, and according to the
11 rule you ought to ask them in a more open way, please.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that I'm
13 following the procedure that has been used so far and that has also been
14 used by the Prosecutor. If we are -- have been asking the witness about
15 a document, then we would ask him whether what is in the document is
16 correct or not, and the witness has the right to say yes or no. I don't
17 believe that this is a leading question, because the witness can also say
18 that the information contained in the report is incorrect. However,
19 bearing in mind your opinion about the nature of my questions, I'm going
20 to change the nature of my questions.
21 Q. Mr. Maric, under item 7, the most rational use of artillery in
22 the area is being ordered. What can you tell us about this term "most
24 A. The term "most rational" is the term that was probably most
25 commonly used when it came to the use of artillery during the war for a
1 number of reasons. First of all, we had to identify a military target
2 with as much efficiency as possible and then open fire as rationally as
4 Q. At that moment, did the HVO have enough ammunition in its
6 A. To the largest extent that rationality of use was conditional
7 upon the rational use of ammunition because the HVO did not have enough
9 Q. Let's look at item 8. Under item 8 you can read that all the
10 defence lines facing Muslims had to be organised in order to prevent
11 attacks. How would you construe this as a soldier? Was this an order
12 for offensive or defensive activities?
13 A. It arises from this item that two things were at stake. First of
14 all, to arrange positions means to prepare for defence; and to prevent
15 attacks means that further attacks were expected, and that meant
16 engineering obstacles, mines and explosives had to be placed in order to
17 prevent attacks and secure the defence line. All this was for the
18 purposes of defence exclusively.
19 Q. Could you please try and explain the rest of this item. What
20 does it mean to arrange positions in depth, in depth?
21 A. This means that on certain axes losses of territories could be
22 expected, that some of the parts of the defence line, as it was at the
23 time, were probably going to be abandoned and that reserve positions
24 would have to be taken.
25 Q. Let's look at P2712. Are you the author of this document,
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. This document refers to a novelty in the organisation. What was
4 the novelty about?
5 A. This was written at a time when the conflicts with the units of
6 the BiH Army started, at the time when new defence lines were
7 established, and when it was necessary to deploy certain pieces of
8 equipment in such a way as to allow them to cover some new territories
9 within their range.
10 Q. Let's look at the following document, 4D1676. Are you the author
11 of this document?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. This is a report which refers to the correction of aim. Could
14 you please explain this term?
15 A. When it comes to correction in artillery terms, this means that
16 the initial target elements are corrected in order to improve the aim.
17 And this -- the purpose of that was to have a good aim of the target.
18 Q. The locations that are referred to in here as the areas where the
19 correction firing is taking place, were those settled areas, or what kind
20 of areas were those?
21 A. That was a no-man's land, as it were, no settled areas and no
22 units on any of the sites.
23 Q. And during that exercise could you damage anything or anybody?
24 A. The only thing that could happen was for us to reveal our own
25 positions. We could not damage anything around the target that we were
1 aiming at.
2 Q. Two more documents about the subject. 4D488 is the first one.
3 This is an order issued by Arif Pasalic. I'm interested in item 3, where
4 it says that the sides are committed to carry out special efforts to
5 protect civilian population. And then under (a) it says that military
6 facilities will be moved to a reasonable distance from hospitals,
7 residential buildings and other public facilities.
8 My question to you, Mr. Maric, is this: Did the BiH Army have
9 some of its military facilities in residential neighbourhoods?
10 A. Yes, it did.
11 Q. Could you give us an example or two?
12 A. The command of the 4th Corps was in a settled area, the logistics
13 base as well. The command of the artillery unit, the reserve forces, and
14 quite a few other units of the 4th Corps which were deployed in Mostar.
15 Q. Did the BiH Army ever fire mortar shells from the vicinity of the
16 hospital in East Mostar, as far as you know?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Let's look at the follow document, which is 4D7 --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question, but I'll ask
20 the question after the break. It has to do with 3(d). So we're going to
21 break for 20 minutes. We shall resume at five past 6.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 6.07 p.m.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
25 Colonel, please go back to the last document we examined, 4D00 --
1 sorry, 4D1676. No. Sorry. 4D488. Please read out in your own language
2 what is under 3(d).
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Intentional or accidental shelling
4 and sniper activity against civilians shall stop."
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. General Pasalic
6 said that shelling or sniper fire directed against civilians, whether
7 they be intentional or accidental, shall stop. So if I read this
8 sentence, I can reach the following conclusion, that the ABiH used
9 snipers against civilians, and General Pasalic demands that this be
11 What is your view on this?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This part of General Pasalic's
13 order confirms that there was indeed intentional and accidental shelling
14 and sniper activity against civilians.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Since we're really trying to
16 get to the bottom of an issue and you being here helps us in this task,
17 any reasonable Judge might think, by way of a hypothesis, that if the
18 ABiH used this, the HVO would do the same. What do you think of this?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would have to see a
20 document and then I could comment. As things stand now, in my work as
21 the chief of artillery and when I was artillery commander, I never either
22 ordered or allowed anybody to open fire on civilian population.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 Ms. Alaburic.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Maric, we have relatively short time left. There are a lot
2 of documents that I would like to discuss with you. The next one is
3 4D754. This is an order issued by the town defence sector commander,
4 dated December 1993. Tell us, did you know Mr. Zlatan Mijo Jelic?
5 A. Yes, I did.
6 Q. Under 1 he says that artillery should be used against observed
7 targets exclusively. Could you please explain this rule of shelling
8 observed targets?
9 A. The rule is to shell only the observed targets, and we always
10 tried to open fire only on such observed targets.
11 Q. Why is observation so important?
12 A. This is important because of the efficiency of fire and avoiding
13 collateral damage, and it is also important because of the amount of
14 ammunition, the use of ammunition. This is what I mean.
15 Q. Observation and adjustment of fire, are they connected?
16 A. Adjustment of fire is carried out from an observation post, which
17 means that you cannot adjust fire if you don't observe your target.
18 Q. Given item 2 in this order where it says that representatives of
19 international forces should not come under threat, let me ask you this:
20 Do you know that any soldier or officer of the HVO intentionally opened
21 fire in the direction of the international forces?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Tell us, was there ever any soldier or officer who opened fire in
24 the direction where he knew there were members of the international
25 forces but did not show any concern as to whether he would hit any of
1 them or not?
2 A. No, of course not.
3 Q. Let's look at the following document, which is P187 --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a follow-up
5 question, a basic one. It is an essential one because it is at the very
6 heart of the indictment, regarding the shelling in Mostar.
7 Paragraph 1 is very clear. "Artillery is to be used exclusively
8 against the observed targets," it says.
9 I have a question. Who did the observation work? Was it the
10 artillery unit? It could also be other individuals. Let me give you an
11 example. Let us imagine that the intelligence -- military or civilian
12 intelligence service say that on a specific location there is an ABiH
13 unit. The intelligence is fed back to the artillery unit that has all
14 the grids and ranges and can fire. Unfortunately, those who provided the
15 intelligence were wrong, hence damage caused within the civilian
16 population because there were only civilians there and no military. So
17 there was a mistake when it came to gathering intelligence.
18 Now, back to this language here. Who is to observe? Was it the
19 artillery unit as such or it could have been other units passing on the
20 information, and you as an artillery man, you fire based on specific
21 coordinates that you were provided with, and this unfortunately is going
22 to cause damage among the civilians.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Observation and firing were done by
24 those who belong to the very top echelons of the command in an artillery
25 unit, which means that this was within the purview of the officers of the
1 unit opening fire.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're telling me under oath
3 that when your unit would fire, you had had prior observations from your
4 officers and that the information only came from your own unit. Is that
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Observers as rule and in practice
7 are deployed in such positions where they could best observe everything
8 that goes on on the enemy side. They have all the appropriate equipment
9 for observation, and based on that they can establish the exact location
10 of the target and open fire accordingly.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Indeed, Colonel, but this is an
12 essential question. These observers you are speaking about, are they
13 under your own command or under somebody else's command?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Persons, or, rather, officers who
15 were in charge of observation and opening fire are primarily responsible
16 to their immediate superior officer or commander.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your answer is more accurate
18 but not quite yet. You say that those who observe are answerable to
19 their immediate superior officer or commander, but I am trying to
20 ascertain whether the superior officer in question is directly answerable
21 to you or is he answerable to other individuals?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they're not answerable to me as
23 the chief of artillery. If they are members of a brigade, then they are
24 answerable to the brigade commander. If they're resubordinated to a
25 lower-ranking unit, then they're answerable to that -- the commander of
1 that lower unit who then in turn informs the brigade commander.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to take a theoretical
3 example that may have not occurred in reality but you might be able to
4 give me an answer that might hope clarify the situation.
5 Let us imagine that General Praljak, HVO commander, asked you to
6 take position on a specific location and to fire, if need be, at the
7 enemy if there is potential risk or the danger of response from the
9 The observers on the ground, are they answerable to you
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I was the one who issued the
12 order, then yes, they are answerable to me if I act as their commander.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Maric, I would like to come back to an
15 answer you have given a bit earlier. It's on page 73, lines 23 and
16 following. The question was like this:
17 "Tell us, was there ever any soldier or officer who opened fire
18 in the direction where he knew there were members of the international
19 forces but did not show any concern as to whether he would hit any of
20 them or not?"
21 Your answer is:
22 "No, of course not."
23 Now, the -- the question is very absolute. You are not asked
24 whether you know about any soldier but whether there was ever any soldier
25 who did something like that. And you not only say no, but you say "of
1 course not."
2 Now, I would like to know how do you know this? You ought to be
3 omniscient to know something like that.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, from day one of their
5 engagement in the units to the last day -- or, rather, from the first day
6 of my engagement in the unit, I tried, as did all of my officers, all of
7 my subordinate officers, to use the artillery in the best possible way,
8 and such things just could not happen.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Even letting this stand, the question was not
10 limited to your artillerymen. It was generally any soldier or officer,
11 not any under your command. You would have stood -- you would have had
12 to stand next to every soldier whoever fired in this period a shot in
13 Mostar in order to be able to affirm something like that.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When it comes to a unit, there are
15 levels of command and levels of responsibility, which means that a
16 soldier in a position cannot be answerable only to me as his supreme
17 commander. He's answerable to his squad commander, and a squad commander
18 is answerable to the platoon commander. The platoon commander is
19 answerable to the battery commander, and it goes all the way up to the
20 brigade command.
21 Any incident that occurs in a firing position is only possible if
22 the commander of that squad did not carry out his duties conscientiously.
23 And they were all educated and trained to carry out their duties
24 honourably and in a conscientious way. Although one of the lowest
25 positions, it is also one of the most honourable positions in any unit.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I hear and read the answer you give.
2 Please, Ms. Alaburic.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, with
4 your permission I would like to provide an explanation. I believe that
5 your questions had more to do with my question than the witness's answer.
6 I would like to draw attention to the fact that my questions are recorded
7 on page 73, line 20. My first question was this:
8 "[In English] Do you know that any soldier intentionally opened
9 fire," [Interpretation] and then I received an answer to the effect that
10 there was no direct intention. I wanted to ask a question about what we
11 lawyers refer to as possible intention, and I believe that I could do a
12 follow-up be -- without repeating my introduction which read, "Do you
13 know that." All my questions try to elicit answers from the direct
14 knowledge of this witness in order to achieve what is known as objective
15 reality, if such a thing exists in the first place.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Ms. Alaburic. It's very kind of you
17 to explain to me. I do not think that I have misunderstood, but I think
18 you can go on simply now.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Let's look at the following document, Mr. Maric, number P1879. I
21 would kindly ask for your comment upon one part of this report which
22 emanated from your operation zone. Under item 4 on your page 3, I'm
23 going to quote the lower part of the text and then I would like to invite
24 your comment. This is a report from the Rama Brigade.
25 "We have forbidden opening artillery fire until the moment an
1 order is received for action, until the moment responsible commanders are
2 appointed for the sectors and areas of responsibility, until the moment
3 observation posts are established, and until the moment wire connection
4 is established with that observation post in order to be able to follow
5 fire and direct fire. There were some requests to open artillery fire
6 today which was disallowed for the above-mentioned reasons."
7 Mr. Maric, could you please tell us whether this shows the rule
8 and procedure that was followed in the HVO artillery?
9 A. Your Honours, this was drafted in the way it was requested from
10 the units, the way they were instructed to wage war, and this is
11 something that could have been learned, and it could go only from the
12 higher command. The use and engagement of artillery in the HVO was based
13 on that, and it went from the commander down the scale, and political
14 influences were excluded from that.
15 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Maric. We'll now briefly move on to the
16 next section about HVO as a legal -- the legal and legitimate army in
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina and a component of the armed forces of Bosnia
19 one document and look at P476. That is decision of the Constitutional
20 Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina from September 1992.
21 I'm not going to ask you about the details of this decision
22 because it is a topic for us lawyers, but I'll ask you this: We see here
23 that the Constitutional Court annulled the decision on the establishment
24 of HZ HB, and in item 5 it annulled the decree on the armed forces of the
25 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
1 It is not stated here that the decision on the establishment of
2 HVO was annulled.
3 MS. WEST: My apologies to counsel. Kim West for the Office of
4 the Prosecution.
5 Mr. President, I've stood up because I understand now
6 Ms. Alaburic says that she's moving to this decision, and I've looked
7 through the original summary, the second summary and then the most recent
8 summary, and it appears that there's nothing even coming close to this
9 topic there, never mind what the gentleman would say about the topic and
10 what testimony he would give. So I may be mistaken and I would ask
11 Ms. Alaburic to correct me.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, at this moment I
13 don't have the summary with me. I can look at it later. But what is
14 quite certain is that we said we will be discussing with this witness HVO
15 as a component of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the
16 parts of this chapter is proving that the decision to establish the HVO
17 was never annulled. Based on that and based on the current legislation
18 of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 and legitimacy of the HVO, and I believe this chapter is certainly
20 indicated in this summary, although it is not itemised.
21 Your Honours, if our learned friends from the Prosecution need
22 additional time to prepare their cross-examination on this subject, if
23 they are not ready to cross-examine any witness of the Defence on the
24 subject of the HVO as component of armed forces, I absolutely don't mind
25 delaying the cross-examination of this witness for a couple of days if
1 that would help the preparation of the Prosecution. And I believe
2 restricting the possibility to examine a witness is completely contrary
3 to the rules of this Tribunal and the rights of the accused to a fair
4 trial. In the course of a witness's testimony all sorts of subjects can
5 crop up, and if we follow the principle of looking for the truth and a
6 fair trial, we must certainly examine the witnesses on all subjects.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West.
8 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President. The issue here is that the
9 parties should be on notice as to what the witness is going to testify
10 about, not just topic matters but exactly what he's going to say. So not
11 only do I not know what he's going to say about this particular topic, I
12 didn't even know that this document was going to be shown. This is a
13 very political document. This is a gentleman who was in charge of the
14 artillery. Why should the Prosecution expect that this gentleman would
15 speak about this constitutional order and then also have to guess what
16 his exact testimony should be.
17 So I'm not asking for any more time to deal with this, but I
18 think that the fundamental rule in order that we can all be properly
19 prepared and in order that the Trial Chamber can discern what the truth
20 of the matter is, is that we all know what the person is going to say and
21 we clearly don't know that in this case, and I think this is a very
22 flagrant abuse of the process.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, I believe that the
24 Prosecution received the exhibit lists and this document was mentioned in
25 the list. That's the first thing.
1 Secondly, can you first confirm that you received this document
2 that was mentioned in the list?
3 MS. WEST: Mr. President, what I -- I can't look through it right
4 now but I'll assume the answer to that is correct, that we did. But
5 specifically on this issue of Defence documents, this is not the first
6 time I've seen this from the Petkovic Defence, where the end of the
7 summary will say that the witness will -- excuse me. The witness will be
8 requested to comment on the documents contained in the chart. Therefore,
9 the documents should be treated as part of the summary. Again that's
10 something that the Prosecution objects to. This is talking about a
11 topic, and I don't think that the Defence can adequately oblige their
12 obligation to tell us exactly what the witness is going to testify to by
13 just suggesting that the mere document because it's present on the list
14 gives us fair notice.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to discuss the
16 matter on the Bench to see whether Ms. Alaburic can ask a question on
17 this document.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I just say one
19 thing? I'm not going ask questions on this document.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're not going to be asking
22 any questions?
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] For me this document was just a
24 basis for asking a very, very simple question, and that question is going
25 to relate to the fact that this witness is a retired officer of the Army
1 of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was going to ask him the
2 same question that I asked all the witnesses who were former officers of
3 the army of the federation. And if I saw this document on the list of
4 any party in these proceedings, it would be completely clear to me what
5 the Prosecution would use it to prove or anyone else.
6 And let me just emphasise that with their own witnesses, the
7 Prosecution countless times introduced documents that had nothing
8 whatsoever to do with the interview of the witnesses or their direct
10 Let me just mention the women who came here as witnesses -- as
11 victim witnesses who had nothing to do and no knowledge of very
12 sophisticated military documents they were asked about. We in the
13 Defence had no objection whatsoever. We were only frustrated because we
14 did not have a competent collocutor.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ask your question. The Judges
16 will tell you whether he can answer or not. What is your question?
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You told us, speaking of your biography, that you retired as an
19 officer of the Army of the Federation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 Tell me, did your service -- was your service in the HVO recognised as
21 valid service when you were retired?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Maric, do you have any knowledge that anyone at any time
24 annulled the decision to establish the HVO or questioned in any way the
25 legitimacy of the HVO army in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
1 A. No.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Those were all my questions on the
3 subject, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed. These
5 questions have already been put to other witnesses.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] That's the same thing I said, and
7 I will ask the same question of any former officer of the army of the
9 Q. The next subject I wanted to discuss with you, Mr. Maric, is the
10 joint nature and the co-operation between HVO and the Army of Bosnia and
13 This is one notification by Arif Pasalic to the Municipal Staff
14 of HVO Mostar on the replenishment of ammunition, the level of supply
15 with ammunition in the 1st Mostar Brigade of the Army of Bosnia and
17 Who supplied ammunition to the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
18 A. The Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 of the HVO.
20 Q. Next document, 4D615. This is November 1992. Deputy commander
21 of the Mostar Brigade of the ABiH informs the Main Staff of the HVO about
22 contacts with the command of the Municipal Staff relating to security of
23 the left flank and other areas, et cetera.
24 Based on this, tell me, Mr. Maric, did the ABiH and the HVO
25 co-operate in joint actions against their common enemy?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Next document, 4D616. This is a document from Arif Pasalic,
3 again November 1992, an order whose item 4 speaks of making contact in
4 Blagaj with Mr. Puljic or Mr. Lasic.
5 Whose commanders were Mr. Puljic or Mr. Lasic?
6 A. Mr. Lasic was commander of the military district of Mostar, and
7 Mr. Puljic was Chief of Staff in the same command.
8 Q. If you had to evaluate the co-operation between the HVO and the
9 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in area that time, what would you say?
10 A. That co-operation was without any reservation.
11 Q. Did you co-operate with your opposite numbers in charge of
12 artillery in the ABiH?
13 A. Yes. Setting the example for everyone else.
14 Q. What relations do you have with them today?
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the answer.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The witness said --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He saw me off to The Hague
18 message to my mobile telephone, wishing me a safe journey.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If we could just correct the
20 transcript. No. No. It's fine.
21 Q. Let's look at the next document, 4D10 --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment I have a small
23 technical question to put to you, Witness, which may have escaped a
24 number of people.
25 On item 3 I see that the departure is organised for the
1 1st Battalion, that is to go to the Luka barracks. And then I see that
2 the 2nd and 3rd Battalions will leave from the Old Bridge
3 that, I wondered whether, as far as you know, close to the Old Bridge
4 on the Old Bridge
5 was just an area where people assembled and from which the soldiers could
6 leave to go elsewhere.
7 Can you shed some light on this?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, at this time when
9 this was written, the 17th of November, there was only one bridge in
10 Mostar because the others had been destroyed by the Army of Republika
11 Srpska. That's where crossings were made. That's where troops assembled
12 and where vehicles took them across the river, the troops of these units
13 placed around Mostar. At that time there were no other installations. A
14 bit further was the Ruza installation. A bit further still was the whole
15 of the JNA. Elektrohercegovina and the facility of Razvitak holding
16 personnel of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but next to the bridge
17 there were no military installations.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Listen carefully to my
19 question. If I understand correctly, you are telling me that the
20 military units crossed the Old Bridge
21 still standing and that the crossing of the bridge, according to what I
22 have understood here, could also be done on board a vehicle. Is that
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No. The vehicles were on the
25 east side where soldiers boarded, the east side of Neretva.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The vehicles were on the east
2 bank, and the soldiers had to cross over the bridge; is that right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have a question to you regarding the previous
5 interrogation by Ms. Alaburic where you were asked about the relations to
6 the other party, I suppose it was, and the question was, did you have
7 good relations and you say, "He saw me off to The Hague with a message to
8 my mobile telephone."
9 I have looked this up and down a few times. I do not know, I did
10 not find out who he, this he was. Who was it that sent you an SMS and
11 wished you a good journey to -- a safe journey to The Hague?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a high-ranking person in the
13 artillery branch of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina who had coffee
14 with me on the 7th of May, 1993, in Mostar.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And is there a reason why you don't give his
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I didn't ask for his
18 permission, and if you don't mind, Your Honours, I would rather not say.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Or perhaps we could move into
20 private session.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I do not think it is that important.
22 Unless my colleagues think otherwise, we can go on.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, my colleague is
24 raising a problem as far as I'm concerned. I had understood that this
25 was an ABiH army serviceman. I hadn't realised what his status was. And
1 you're telling us that the 7th of May -- the 7th of May is an important
2 date since it is two days before the 9th of May, and you are telling us
3 that you had a coffee with him in Mostar. My colleague asked you why do
4 you not give us his name, and you said, "I don't wish to give his name
5 unless we were to move into private session." My colleague questions the
6 high rank of this officer of the ABiH.
7 I don't know anything about it. I shall turn to my colleagues
8 and ask them whether they wish to move into private session or not.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber had rather
11 move on to something else.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. One question regarding your unity. From the position of an
14 artillery weapon of one army, can you estimate who is the enemy of that
15 army at a given moment?
16 A. Certainly.
17 Q. Until the beginning of the conflict with the Army of Bosnia and
19 operation zone trained?
20 A. All artillery assets in the operation zone South-east Herzegovina
21 were trained at units of the Army of Republika Srpska, and these assets
22 served the function of defence.
23 Q. We have another ten minutes left. I think we'll just have enough
24 time to complete one more subject.
25 The brigade of HVO in Konjic and the unit of HVO in Jablanica,
1 were they part of your operation zone?
2 A. From the beginning of 1993, I think, they were under the command
3 of the operation zone South-east Herzegovina.
4 Q. Now you should skip two documents in your binder and look at
5 P18 --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a follow-up
7 question for you. Mrs. Alaburic put an important question. I thought
8 she was going to follow it up, but she moved on to something else. And
9 she put the question to you, which, as far as I'm concerned, lies at the
10 heart of the subject here.
11 Towards what was the artillery directed, and you answered her by
12 saying that the artillery pieces were in the direction of the forces of
13 the Republika Srpska, i.e., the Serbs.
14 As I listened to you, I positioned myself in Mostar and
15 East Mostar, and I was wondering whether the HVO artillery was aimed at
16 East Mostar. So this is my question: I want to know whether the HVO
17 artillery was positioned in the direction of East Mostar.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I understood your question
19 correctly, it had to be directed across East Mostar, because the lines of
20 the Army of Republika Srpska were behind the lines of Eastern Mostar on
21 the slopes of Mount Velez
22 weapons that were close or behind the lines of Western Mostar had
23 logically to be trained at the units of army -- of the Army of Republika
24 Srpska via Eastern Mostar.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I've understood. The artillery
1 was aimed at the forces of the Republika Srpska, and you are telling us
2 that East Mostar was, of course, along the trajectory of these weapons.
3 So there are angles always when shells are fired, because the shape is
4 such -- the shape is connected to gravity and an angle has to be set. So
5 this is a highly technical question I'm putting to you.
6 The angle which was set, well, would it avoid a shell from
7 falling accidentally or intentionally on East Mostar?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The margin of errors was studied at
9 several levels. In artillery, there are systemic and deliberate errors.
10 A deliberate error was not possible, not this kind of error. Whether a
11 systemic error could have occurred, yes, but I cannot recall an actual
13 I remember at another position a soldier of the HVO, whose name I
14 know, was killed.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, you know as we do,
16 because this is a known fact, that there were civilians in East Mostar
17 who were injured or killed following sniper fire or artillery fire.
18 When civilians are injured or killed, as far as the command where
19 you were is concerned, well, were you asked to report on this and explain
20 that on such and such a day did you fire, what did you do, what was the
21 angle and so on? On the part of your command, did you receive any
22 requests to clarify those shots in the case when civilians had been
23 killed or injured, or were you never asked such kind of question?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, about everything that
25 was done we had to inform the superior command. I sent reports covering
1 matters that were within my responsibility as chief of artillery. I did
2 not have that sort of information to send to the superior command.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're not quite answering my
4 question. I wanted to know whether at the request of your superiors you
5 had prepared reports on the firing which may have killed or injured
6 civilians. This could have happened accidentally or after having
7 complied with orders, and that was my question and you didn't answer my
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it could not happen
10 upon any order, because I've not seen such orders. Nobody issued such an
11 orders -- such an order for me to know about it. I'm sure that there
12 were no such orders issued at all.
13 As for collateral damage and whether there was any, I suppose
14 that there might have been. However, using the proportionality
15 principle, the HVO artillery always respected and honoured that
17 According to that principle, if the importance of a target is not
18 much larger than any possible collateral damage, then such target was not
19 targeted or shelled at all, and that was the principle that we all
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it seems to me that
22 there has been a misunderstanding between question and answer.
23 Q. Judge Antonetti asked you whether you received from your
24 superiors an order to draft a report about the artillery activity that
25 might have caused civilian collateral damage in East Mostar, not an order
1 to open artillery fire but an order to draft a report.
2 A. I never received such an order.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If I may put just one more
4 question which is a good follow-up on what has been said so far.
5 Q. Mr. Maric, do you know that anybody from the territory of
6 East Mostar submitted information to the HVO about the number of victims
7 and the status of dead and killed?
8 A. I never heard of any such information. I never was privy to such
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's now one minute past
11 7.00 p.m.
12 would like you to be back tomorrow morning at 9.00.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.
14 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 12th day
15 of January, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.