1 Thursday, 18 January 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Pusic not present in court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, call the case,
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President. Case
9 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 I'd like to say good morning to all those present in the
12 courtroom, the Prosecution, the Defence, and the accused.
13 I'm going to start off by giving the floor to the registrar for
14 the IC numbers.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The OTP submitted a response to 3D objections
16 regarding OTP exhibits tendered through Witness CT. That shall be given
17 Exhibit number IC 220. Several parties have submitted lists of documents
18 to be tendered through Witness CU. The list submitted by 1D shall be
19 given Exhibit number IC 221. The list submitted by 2D shall be given
20 Exhibit number IC 222. The list submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit
21 number IC 223. The list submitted by 4D shall be given Exhibit number IC
22 224. The list submitted by 5D shall be given Exhibit number IC 225, and
23 the list submitted by 6D shall be given Exhibit number IC 226. Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
25 I'm going to read an important oral decision now. I'm going to
1 read it slowly so that everybody can take note of it. Oral decision
2 relating to the procedure to follow with respect to the requests for
3 protective measures for witnesses.
4 In order to ensure efficacious work, the Trial Chamber wishes to
5 regulate procedure with respect to the protection of witnesses in future
6 in the following manner: When the Prosecution wishes to make a submission
7 for protective measures for its witnesses, it will have to, in written
8 form, file a submission for protective measures, for allowing protective
9 measures to be put in place. This request must be made simultaneously
10 with the schedule for each particular month or, at the latest, this must
11 be submitted one week before the appearance of the first witness on our
12 schedule. This request on the part of the Prosecution must incorporate
13 and set out all the protective measures that they are requesting for that
14 particular witness, and it relates to the witness that has been provided
15 for in the schedule for the upcoming court proceedings.
16 The Defence will have one week at its disposal after the
17 Prosecution files its request to respond if they wish to object. These
18 objections, or any objections that the Defence wishes to make, must be set
19 out in written form, in a written response.
20 I'm now going to recapitulate the procedure, summarise it. From
21 now on, when the Prosecution prepares its schedule and timetable for our
22 work, which includes the names of witnesses for a given month, if the
23 Prosecution wishes to ask for protective measures for any of those
24 witnesses on the schedule, then they must file a written submission, a
25 written request, stating the reasons for which they are asking protective
1 measures. Once this submission is filed, the Defence will have one week
2 to decide whether it wishes to object or not, and if they do, this should
3 be done in writing.
4 That means that we're not going to have any more debate in the
5 courtroom as we had to do last time when we spent one hour discussing
6 protective measures. So this way everything will be regulated in writing.
7 I'm now going to ask Mr. Registrar for us to go into private
9 [Private session]
11 Pages 12506-12513 redacted. Private session
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're in open session, Mr.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, you can tell the
9 witness, as we're in open session, that he refrain from naming any names,
10 and if he wishes to do so, we can go into private session to hear them.
11 Examination by Mr. Bos:
12 Q. Witness, you've heard the Judge, and I think you know what the
13 situation is like. You're now in open session, and your face will be
14 distorted. So don't mention your name now, but as protective measures
15 have been granted, your image will not go out of the courtroom. Do you
16 understand that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And I'll be referring to you as Witness CV. That will be your
20 Witness, is it correct that you were born and raised in Mostar?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And could you tell us what was your profession before the war
23 against the Serbs -- started in 1991?
24 A. I worked in the hydroelectric power station.
25 Q. And what happened to your job when the war started against the
2 A. Sometime before April they arrived, the JNA units arrived of the
3 former JNA, and took control of the Mostar dam.
4 Q. Did that mean that you lost your job at the -- at the power
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And what did you do afterwards?
8 A. Afterwards, I registered as -- I was -- I joined the civilian
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to speak up.
11 We're having difficulty hearing him.
12 MR. BOS:
13 Q. Witness, could you move a bit closer to the microphone and try to
14 speak up a little bit. You don't have to -- this is okay, but also try to
15 speak up a little bit.
16 Now, you told the Court that you were joining the civilian
17 protection in Mostar. During that period, what was the relationship
18 between the -- between the Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian Muslims in the
19 protection -- in the protection force? How would you describe that
21 A. Well, at the beginning the relationship was good. There were no
23 Q. Did that change over time?
24 A. It did change over time, yes.
25 Q. And what was the reason? Why did it change? Can you give -- can
1 you elaborate a bit on that?
2 A. Well, there was a change when they in actual fact took control in
3 the town of Mostar, and all the main institutions came under the control
4 of the HDZ and military structures, that they should be under the command
5 of the HVO and the HDZ, which was their power.
6 Q. Just -- just to be sure because you say that they took control of
7 the town of Mostar, who are you referring to when you say "they"?
8 A. Now I mean the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Union.
9 Q. And then you also said that they took control of the main
10 institutions and that they came under the control of the HDZ. Can you
11 give us some examples of what kind of institutions came -- got under the
12 control of the HDZ?
13 A. Well, at that time there still existed joint HDZ and SDA
14 structures, politically speaking. However, in May or June already you
15 couldn't even leave Mostar without the approval, without a certificate
16 being issued.
17 Q. And when you say May or June, can you also give the year?
18 A. 1992.
19 Q. And I'm going to repeat my question. You've been referring they
20 took over institutions. Could you give specific examples of institutions
21 that were taking over, that were being taken over by the HDZ? And could
22 you also explain how they would take over an institution like that?
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may make an observation. We're
24 running out of time, constantly being told we have to move faster and
25 faster. Much of this information has been given by other witnesses. If
1 we -- if we run out of time today, it will not be because of the Defence,
2 it's because we're going over old material.
3 MR. BOS: Well, Your Honours, this is really -- this is something
4 I think it's important for the witness to tell this, and I will move as
5 swiftly as possible, but --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but it's also necessary to
7 let him answer. You just asked a question and he still hasn't answered.
8 MR. BOS: Absolutely.
9 Q. So, Witness, could you please answer the questions that I just put
10 to you?
11 A. Well, mostly large buildings such as the mechanical engineering
12 school of the university which they took over and turned it into their own
13 military police headquarters. And then all the other buildings that used
14 to house institutions of the town of Mostar on the right bank, they would
15 take them over, place their military police and nobody would be allowed
16 entry any more.
17 Q. Witness, did there come a time in July 1992, when you changed your
18 position, that you no longer -- that you joined another unit, and which
19 unit was that?
20 A. I then transferred to SIS. The minister in charge was Raljak
21 Vesic [as interpreted]. And that man Zoric who was still in the army,
22 they asked him to establish a special police force, and since I was a
23 mountaineer, I kind of fit the profile and I transferred there.
24 Q. Just a couple of questions for clarification. You said you were
25 transferred to the SIS. Now, what does the SIS stand for, and was this
1 the ABiH SIS or the HVO SIS?
2 A. It was the SIS of Herceg-Bosna.
3 Q. And what does SIS stand for?
4 A. It was the main police. It was called SIS then.
5 Q. And you mentioned the person who was in charge of -- of SIS, and I
6 think we didn't catch the name really well in the transcript. Could you
7 repeat the name of the person who was in charge?
8 A. Branko Kvesic.
9 Q. Now, again during this period, and we're now in the period July --
10 let me first ask you. Up until what period of time did you serve for the
11 SIS? Can you give a date when you actually stopped working for the SIS?
12 A. It could have been the 15th or the 16th of April, 1993.
13 Q. And during this -- this period up, you know, from July 1992 until
14 April 1992, can I again ask you how -- what was the role of the HVO in
15 Mostar during this period? Did -- did the tensions increase or did they
16 remain the same between the Muslims and the Croats?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, maybe you should ask
18 him about SIS again. I'm going to ask the question.
19 We know that we -- you worked in SIS from July 1992 to April 1993.
20 What did you do there? Were you a secretary, a guard? What were you
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I worked on the security of the
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what was exactly your job,
25 to guard the building?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Microphone not activated] Guard
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this
4 clarification. Continue, Mr. Bos.
5 MR. BOS: I think that last answer wasn't really catched by the
6 interpreters, so if we could repeat that answer.
7 Q. Well, let's me ask you this then also. How many people were
8 working in the building of the SIS that you guarded? Could you give us
9 the number of people that were working for the SIS at that time?
10 A. I think there were about 10 men.
11 Q. Okay. Now, coming back again to my question that I posed a bit
12 earlier, what can you say about the relationship between the Croats and
13 Muslims in Mostar during this period July 1992, April 1993?
14 A. The relationship was always a bit strained. They didn't want us
15 to have an army of our own. They wanted the HVO to be the only military
16 force in the territory of Mostar. They wanted them to have all the
17 control and to dispose of personnel and decide on further actions in the
18 fight against the enemy. And they always wanted to put us under their
19 command. They didn't want us to have our own command, and they
20 practically cut us off from Sarajevo, the capital of BH, and we didn't
21 even have passage towards Jablanica because a bridge was destroyed.
22 Q. Just for the record, you keep referring to "they". Who are you
23 referring to when you say "they"?
24 A. The HVO.
25 Q. Did there come a time in September 1992 that something happened to
1 the Sarajevo bank, and can you explain what happened?
2 A. The BH dinar was introduced for the first time, and it was
3 deposited in the Sarajevo bank. After that, HVO units, I don't know
4 exactly which, arsoned that bank with all the money in it.
5 Q. Did you witness this yourself?
6 A. No.
7 Q. And when --
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Can we have a basis for this? I mean, if the
9 gentleman is going to lead the witness and he is going to be introducing
10 this new evidence which we have heard now for the very first time, at
11 least he should lay a proper foundation.
12 MR. BOS:
13 Q. Witness, how did you learn about the fact that this bank was being
14 set on fire?
15 A. That bank was located near a department store. It was a large
16 building, and everybody saw the smoke when it was set on fire.
17 Q. And how do you know that it was set on fire?
18 A. Because HV units blocked the road and did not let anyone pass or
19 come near.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There must be a mistake, because
21 in line 20 there is HV. In the interpretation it was HVO. Maybe we
22 should inquire and correct.
23 MR. BOS:
24 Q. Witness, you've said that HV units blocked --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, get clarification
1 whether it was Croatian army that the unit belonged to or HVO.
2 MR. BOS:
3 Q. Witness, I think you've heard the question of the Judge. Which
4 units were actually blocking the streets? Do you know that?
5 A. HVO.
6 Q. Witness, there's a bundle of exhibits that are on your desk, and I
7 would like you to look at Exhibit number 619.
8 MR. BOS: Your Honours, this is a daily report dated the 21st
9 October 1992, and it's signed by -- by Valentin Coric.
10 Q. Witness, did you get a chance to read this document yesterday when
11 we met?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, let me read out a paragraph, the second paragraph of this
14 document. It says the following: "Under orders from the defence
15 department and on the basis of decisions from the HVO Presidency, we
16 captured the following features in the town during the day: The post
17 office, the building of the MUP, and the police station. We also
18 interrupted the work of Radio Mostar BH. We also blocked all the roads
19 and took all the check-points in the town."
20 Can you -- can you read this -- do you read this paragraph which I
21 just read out? And could I ask you, was this indeed -- did this indeed
22 happen in October 1992?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. If you could then move to another exhibit which is Exhibit 01654.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I ask a little question in between? Witness,
1 do you know who the Defence Minister was at that time?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I cannot tell you with any
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
5 MR. BOS:
6 Q. Witness --
7 A. I didn't quite hear the number you said.
8 Q. 01654.
9 MR. BOS: And this, Your Honours, is again a report from Valentin
10 Coric dated the 12th of March, 1993, and it's a report on the work of the
11 military police and the control of the security situation in Mostar
13 Q. Now, Witness, again, did you get an opportunity to read this
14 document yesterday?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. As I just said, we're now in March 1993, and here again it
17 talks -- it gives details about the control of the military police in
18 Mostar, and I'll just read you out one paragraph which is near the end of
19 the -- of the report where it says: "All entrances to the town are
20 covered by check-points of nine permanent military police officers 24
21 hours a day. The town itself is controlled by four permanent military
22 police patrols constantly at readiness for two military police platoons,
23 one on the left bank and one on the right, of 32 military police officers
25 Now, again is it correct? Does this give a good description or a
1 correct description of the control of the military police in Mostar in
2 March 1993?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Coric. You will have
5 the right to cross-examine.
6 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] I will be very brief. This
7 translation is not consistent with the original. That's all I wanted to
8 say. Those who seriously work on this will be able to ascertain why.
9 MR. BOS: [Previous translation continues] ... continue with my
10 examination without interruptions like this.
11 MR. MURPHY: Well, Your Honour, it's all very well for Mr. Bos to
12 say that. It was a perfectly serious and responsible interruption and one
13 that the Trial Chamber should take seriously. And, Your Honour, while I'm
14 on my feet, a couple of other things quite quickly. This witness
15 obviously has no personal knowledge whatsoever of the facts contained in
16 these documents. He's not competent to testify about them. And, Your
17 Honour, if the testimony that he's given about the arson of the -- of the
18 bank is the only testimony to be given on that, it's irresponsible for the
19 Prosecution to make a suggestion of arson based on this kind of testimony.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this document seems to
21 establish that the military police was controlling the town. You who were
22 at the time there, did you have that impression, that the military police
23 was controlling passages, buildings, access roads? I see that there are
24 several patrol -- patrols constantly on duty. Was that the impression
25 that you had.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. And there was a curfew imposed
2 just before the attack on the border from 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. And they
3 used combat vehicles to move around town and closed down catering
4 establishments, coffee bars, restaurants, et cetera.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have been told that there is
6 a translation problem. In one passage we see that part of the town was
7 controlled by military police it says. I think it was civilian police.
8 Was there also a civilian police force in Mostar?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were they a small force or a
11 large force?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know how many men they had,
13 but they existed.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Proceed, Mr. Bos.
15 MR. BOS:
16 Q. Witness, we now move to March, April 1993. Did there come a time
17 when tensions -- did around this time tensions increase even further
18 between the Muslims and the Croats in April 1993?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Let me show you one more document, and this is document 1868 in
21 the bundle. And I'll just ask you a quick question about this. This is
22 an HVO document dated the 14th of April, 1993. The heading doesn't say
23 1993, but if you read the text, you will see that there's reference to the
24 year 1993.
25 And, Witness, does this document which you read yesterday confirm
1 that -- that the HVO reacted to these increased tensions by planning more
2 intense fight control over the town of Mostar?
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object to the form of the question,
4 Your Honour. It's so leading. I don't know what was told to the witness
5 yesterday during the proofing session. We certainly didn't get any
6 proofing notes. It is so suggestive. Why not just ask the gentleman what
7 he knows and we can get his testimony. That is the best evidence, not --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're right, Mr. Karnavas.
9 You're right.
10 Mr. Bos, you are really leading, because you're asking him on the
11 basis of that document if the document is consistent with the situation
12 that you are describing for him. That's not what you should be doing in
13 your question. If you want to achieve that result, you should tell
14 him, "We see this document. You just said that the police had intensified
15 their work. There was increased control, curfew, et cetera. Can you also
16 confirm that the police really had control?" He will say yes, and
17 then "What else do you have to say?" you would say. And he would say, "In
18 my eyes, it was an increase in tensions or I don't know what."
19 So, Mr. Bos, please try to reformulate and proceed differently.
20 MR. BOS:
21 Q. Witness --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Even in the civil law system the
23 Judges would not allow themselves to ask this kind of question.
24 MR. BOS:
25 Q. Witness, can you describe to the Court the situation in April 1993
1 in Mostar?
2 A. There were clashes and skirmishes between the army and the HVO,
3 and there was conflict in -- among top military authorities. They wanted
4 to preserve their control, their military police, arrested members of the
5 army and took them to the mechanical engineering school where they would
6 keep them for two or three days. They would release some of them
7 immediately. They would keep others for a longer time. They mistreated
8 some of them, and thus the tensions were rising.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I really apologise for this
10 intervention, but I think it would be important to draw your attention to
11 the first sentence in this document, because we see from it that the
12 document was adopted because of the balance of powers and the situation in
13 Konjic. It would be therefore relevant to find out what the witness knows
14 about Konjic. The question of Mostar is not really relevant to this
16 MR. BOS: Well, it surely is relevant for document because it
17 says "Plan for intensified control over the town of Mostar." But I can
18 ask the witness.
19 Q. Witness, did you know what was going on in Konjic at the time?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. And, Witness, as -- as the way you've described the situation in
22 April 1993, looking again at this exhibit 1868, would that confirm the
23 situation as you just described?
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Same objection.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're coming back to the same
1 thing, Mr. Bos. You are again proceeding in the same way that was
2 objected to before, and maybe it is not with this witness at all that you
3 should be discussing these matters. If the witness told you that the
4 situation deteriorated, then you can ask him other things then about this
5 document. If he doesn't know the document, it's difficult to use it as a
6 basis for obtaining any answers from the witness. You can achieve the
7 same result by asking him different questions.
8 For instance: Witness, you told us that you were on a security
9 detail. Were you guarding the building of the SIS every day?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the course of those months,
12 specifically April, did you feel at your level an intensification of
13 security efforts? Did they ask you to double the shifts? Did you have
14 increased workload? Did you observe at your level a change of any kind?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time, the SIS building that I
16 was guarding was not subject to any increased security. However, security
17 was intensified outside in the street. They brought in a large number of
18 soldiers in camouflage uniforms from outside. I think they were military
19 police. The curfews started at 4.00 p.m. You could not move around town.
20 They would be walking all over the town. Stjepan Radica Street that was
21 close to the Vranica building in Mostar, and that's where army people had
22 their favourite coffee-shops. They would come in their combat vehicles,
23 dressed in camouflage uniforms, and close the cafes down. And they
24 were -- they were imposing a feeling of uncertainty among the citizens.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You who worked in the SIS and in
1 the HVO, you certainly talked to other people, your work colleagues. What
2 you just described, those increased patrols and security, what was the
3 reason for it, if there was a reason? Maybe we'll establish that there
4 was no particular reason.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With such a large number of
6 check-points and the other things, I don't think it was really without any
7 reason. I think it was all part of a plan.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, if one looks at the date of this
9 document, 14th of April, did something important happen to you on the next
10 day, the 15th of April?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 15th of April?
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 15th of April, I was
14 already -- well, on the 15th or 16th, I'd already left town and joined the
15 BH army.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Was that an individual decision of your own
17 initiative, or were any actions taken against you and maybe other Muslim
18 policemen in the HVO?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was at my own initiative, because
20 I saw that there might be a conflict, and nobody could tell me over there
21 what to do. So I joined my original unit where I had been before.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Excuse me, Mr. Bos, for interrupting.
23 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, we've just heard a
25 detail here. He said, "I joined my original unit."
1 So what was your original unit, Witness?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 2nd Battalion.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does that mean that you were
4 placed at the disposal of the HVO SIS by the 2nd Battalion?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's not how it was. When
6 Mr. Zoric crossed to set up the SIS and the special police, before that, I
7 discussed this with him and I wanted to be in the special MUP units.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. In the record we read the name of
9 Zoric. That could not be Coric; right? It's correct that it is Zoric,
10 not Coric?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Zoric, Zoric.
12 MR. BOS:
13 Q. Can you explain to the Judges who Mr. Zoric was?
14 A. He was -- well, he worked in the police in 1992 before the
15 conflict, as far as I know. He worked in the Kameni MUP, as we used to
16 call it, where the state security was. I don't know what he actually did
17 before the war.
18 Q. Witness, did eventually in April -- Witness, could you please.
19 Eventually in April, did it eventually ended up in an armed clash between
20 the Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian Muslims?
21 A. In April the clash was on the 19th of April. It was called in
22 Mostar the sniper war, although there was shooting afterwards.
23 Q. And were you involved in this sniping war? Can you explain in
24 what way you were involved?
25 A. At the time, we were located at the Mostar hotel. Mostar hotel
1 was the last stronghold of the BH army, if I can put it that way, before
2 Santiceva, Cernica and Donja Mahala, those streets and areas.
3 Q. And what happened on the 19th of April?
4 A. Well, on the 19th of April, they wanted to throw us out of Mostar
5 hotel, and we started to defend ourselves and they attacked.
6 Q. And who do you refer to when you say "they"?
7 A. I mean the HVO.
8 Q. And how long did this attack last?
9 A. Well, the -- there were general tensions for about 10 days before
10 we had to leave Hotel Mostar.
11 Q. And do you know more specifically which units were involved in
12 this attack?
13 A. I can't say specifically what the units were, although it was the
14 HVO army. Now, which units, I really can't say. And over there by
15 Pepi -- or what shall I call it, near the hospital where there was Juka
16 Prazina who, with sower, as we call it, kept this street under control.
17 Q. You said that it lasted about 10 days. How did it end? Why did
18 it end after 10 days?
19 A. I was up at the front line when suddenly UNPROFOR turned up with
20 three or four APCs, and the late Arif Pasalic arrived as well, and quite
21 simply, he demanded that we withdraw. He said that this had been agreed
22 by the politicians, that it was an agreement between the HDZ and the SDA.
23 Q. So is it fair to say that there was some sort of cease-fire agreed
24 after 10 days?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Witness, I'll ask you to look at two more documents. One is
2 document 2146.
3 MR. BOS: Your Honours, this is a document dated the 30th of April
4 1993. It's signed by Ramo Maslesa, and it's addressed to the MUP of the
5 BiH, to the minister of the MUP BiH.
6 Q. Witness, do you know who Ramo Maslesa was?
7 A. Ramo Maslesa was at the time the main person in the police. He
8 was in the CRD. He was the chief there.
9 Q. This document talks about --
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. Witness, could you explain what CRD
11 stands for, please?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The public security service.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
14 MR. BOS:
15 Q. Witness, this document talks about joint patrols in Mostar. Is it
16 correct that there were joint patrols after that cease-fire was agreed in
18 A. Before all this firing, it was agreed that none of the armies,
19 neither the HVO or the BH army -- or, rather, that they should all
20 withdraw and go back to barracks, and that just the military police, the
21 joint military police, should patrol town.
22 Q. And did -- did this happen? You say they should patrol town.
23 A. Well, it never happened in its entirety.
24 Q. And why not?
25 A. Because they couldn't reach an agreement about it?
1 Q. And is it correct that this document talks about the fact that --
2 that it was difficult in getting an agreement on these joint patrols?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. Could I then ask you to look at document 2169. And this is a
5 document dated the 1st of May, the next day, 1993, and it's signed by
6 commander Midhat Hujdur. Witness, do you know who Midhat Hujdur is?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Who is he?
9 A. He was the commander of the Mostar Brigade.
10 Q. And did -- was he in fact your direct commander at that time?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Witness, did you get a chance to read through this document
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Does this document accurately reflect the situation on the ground
16 at that time?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Witness, we're now moving to -- we're now moving to the 9th of
19 May. You can close the document. Can you tell the Court where you were
20 on the 9th of May?
21 A. On the 9th of May, as a military policeman, I was providing
22 security to the command, and I was stationed in the Kluz department store,
23 which is where the logistics was.
24 Q. And where is the Kluz department store located in Mostar?
25 A. In Stjepan Radic Street. And as the building -- the Vranica
1 building is linked to this building. They make up a compound.
2 Q. Can you tell the Court what happened on the 9th of May?
3 A. On the 9th of May, in the morning hours, at 4.30 a.m. or 5.00,
4 there was heavy shelling suddenly on the Vranica building -- at the
5 Vranica building and the Kluz building that I was in. They were heavily
7 Q. And could you describe what -- what you did when the building was
8 being shelled at?
9 A. Well, at the entrance shells fell. Part of the wall was blown
10 away. We weren't able to leave. We were down in the basement. The
11 logistics building --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you said at 4.30 or
13 5.00 a.m. On what basis do you say that was the time this happened? Did
14 you have a detail which allowed you to specify? Did you hear artillery
15 noise and you looked at your watch, or were you standing guard? Can you
16 tell us how you know that that was the exact time, between 4.30 and 5.00
18 A. Because it had -- day had just broken.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Between 4.30 and 5.00 most of
20 the people were asleep. Were you asleep or were you awake?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we were all asleep except for
22 the guard that was there.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So what woke you up?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I was woken up by the
1 MR. BOS:
2 Q. With how many people were you in the Kluz building, Witness?
3 A. In the Kluz building there were six or seven people together with
5 Q. And, Witness, did there come a time that morning that you -- that
6 you heard something over the radio?
7 A. That morning, I don't know at what time, on Radio Herceg-Bosna it
8 was reported that the HVO had taken control -- or, rather, launched a
9 broad action to cleanse the town and that this was related to Santic
10 sector, Crnica, and Donja Mahala, that area. Afterwards, they announced
11 that all members of the BH army on the right bank who were in their houses
12 would be given white sheets -- should put white sheets over the balcony to
13 hand in their weapons and they wouldn't be harmed and that all the wounded
14 and anybody who needed help in hospital would be able to get that help.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you've just said that
16 on the radio they said that the cleansing operation had started. Now, we
17 must be quite precise here. Was it a speaker, a presenter, a radio
18 announcer, or somebody else who was talking over the radio? Could you
19 tell us about that?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a presenter and her name was
21 Zlata Brbor.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what was it that she said
23 exactly, to the best of your recollections? So it was a woman, Zlata.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What did she say to the best of
1 your recollections and be as precise as possible?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, she said that
3 the HVO had taken -- had engaged in broad action to cleanse the town. And
4 this replied -- applied to Santiceva, Crnica, and Donja Mahala, and that
5 they were asked to surrender, all the Muslims who had rifles in their
6 homes should put out a white sheet and that nothing would happen to them
7 if they did that and if they handed in their weapons.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So somebody who hears this
9 word "cleansing" might not understand. What did that mean? What did this
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, they just wanted to expel us
12 and force us to go to the left bank of the river Neretva to take control
13 of the right bank.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So that's what the presenter
15 said, did she?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not the presenter. You asked me
17 what cleansing meant.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You told us that the lady
19 presenter said over the radio at the beginning, and this is on lines 12
20 and 13, that the HVO had launched a widespread operation to cleanse the
21 town. So my question to you is this: Was it this lady presenter who said
22 that they were going to cleanse the town?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. The presenter said that the HVO
24 had taken on a broad operation to liberate Mostar and that referred to
25 Santiceva, Crnica, and Donja Mahala in particular. And then I told the
1 guys -- when you asked about cleansing, I said that they wanted to expel
2 us to the left bank, liberating the right bank. So that's it. And I know
3 what I said in my statement.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's be clear. So the lady
5 presenter said that the HVO was going to liberate, and you translated the
6 word "liberate" as meaning cleansing.
7 All right. So with my questions, I have cleared the matter up.
8 A question from the Bench.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness CV, an explanation, please.
10 You said you were woken up by the shelling. Now, the Kluz department
11 store where you were standing guard, was that shelled as well? That's my
12 first question.
13 Was there fighting going on at that particular location? That's
14 my second question.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it was shelled and, yes, there
16 was fighting. Well, I don't know what you mean by "fighting" exactly.
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] You said that it was announced over
18 the radio that they were going to liberate or cleanse the town. Now, my
19 question is: In the spot you were, the store was shelled, I understand,
20 and were there soldiers that were fighting in or around the building, the
21 department store?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] And what forces were there?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Around the Vranica building and
25 around the Kluz department store, there were a number of HVO units. There
1 was the military police. There was the 3rd Battalion and their
2 anti-terrorist platoon or something like that. And there was the Knez
3 Domagoj Brigade from Capljina. And there was -- well, some others, too.
4 Something with respect to the army. They had this machine-gun known as
5 the sower controlling the area, and that's where they were doing the
6 shooting from. And they also shelled us using heavy weapons, because at
7 Bijeli Brijeg there was a tank, and there was a PAT too.
8 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 MR. BOS:
10 Q. Just a clarification for the -- for the record. On line 12 it
11 says -- when you talk about the units that -- when you identify the unit,
12 it says there was the third month, and I think that's probably not
13 correct. Can you tell me again which unit was the 3rd? Can you tell that
14 again for the transcript?
15 A. The 3rd Battalion.
16 Q. Thank you. Witness, did you actually try to defend the Kluz
17 building that morning?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And how long did you stay at the Kluz building?
20 A. Well, we were in the Kluz building up until about 10.00.
21 Q. And where did you go after that?
22 A. From the Kluz building you could go in through the basement, the
23 other side, and enter the building that was above it.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'd like to go back to
25 an important question. We've heard a number of witnesses on this, and the
1 question was raised, so I'm going to ask you this question.
2 At the time, you were a military -- part of the military personnel
3 stationed in this Kluz building. And you said that on the 9th of May you
4 were sleeping when you suddenly heard artillery firing.
5 As a military man, as a soldier, before the 9th of May, did your
6 command tell you at any point in time that the ABiH was going to attack
7 the HVO? Were there any orders to that effect, any preparations or
8 anything said about that?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Never? Never? You affirm that
11 this was never said?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were never told, you
14 soldiers, your unit or group, that an attack was being prepared?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never.
16 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I don't know whether this is important
17 or not, but page 36, line 6, the answer that they were in the Kluz
18 building up until about 10.00, I thought I heard the witness say in the
19 French translation une dizaine d'heures, which would actually have a
20 different sense of 10 hours, being there for 10 hours rather than until
21 10.00. I wonder if that's important.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Let's clear that up.
23 MR. BOS:
24 Q. Would you tell us when you left the Kluz building? Could you tell
25 us that again? Around what time?
1 A. We left the Kluz building at about 10.00 a.m.
2 MR. BOS: Could the witness be shown this drawing that the witness
3 drew up yesterday in proofing. And this hopefully will help explain a
4 little bit what the witness did on the 9th and 10th of May. Have that on
5 the overhead projector.
6 Q. Witness, is it correct that you -- that you made this drawing
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And could you just explain the Court a little bit the various
10 locations that you have drawn up here so that the Judges will know which
11 building is which? Maybe let me just ask you. Where is the Kluz building
12 on this drawing?
13 A. The Kluz building is exactly here.
14 Q. And the building on the left, is that -- what's the building on
15 the left? Maybe you can just explain all the various buildings on this
16 drawing. Just tell the Judges which buildings they are.
17 A. This is the entrance to Kluz, and the building is joined to this
18 one over here, the Vranica building. Between those two buildings there's
19 a passage. And there are columns, and above the columns are flats. What
20 I've drawn here is the entrance to this building here. So you could enter
21 the building underneath Kluz, through the basement corridor and come up
22 the other side.
23 Q. Now, you say that the building was connected with the Vranica
24 building which I presume is the building on the left. How was it
25 connected? How were you able to go from one building to the other?
1 A. From this building here you could go to this building. There was
2 a terrace linking the two buildings.
3 Q. So -- and where was this terrace situated?
4 A. Up at the top of the building. That's how they were linked. You
5 could go via the terrace over into the next building.
6 Q. When you left the Kluz building at 10.00 a.m., where were you
7 planning to go?
8 A. Through this passageway. You could run across. And there was
9 another entrance there on this side where the courtyard was. You could
10 enter the building that way. But it was a wide space to run across, and
11 one of our men tried and he was wounded in the leg. So we gave up running
13 Q. And why did you want to go to the other building? Why did you
14 want to go to the Vranica building?
15 A. Because we wanted to link up with our unit. In this first
16 building we were no longer able to hold the line.
17 Q. And which other units were in the Vranica building?
18 A. When I -- when we refer to the Vranica building, it is linked --
19 Vranica was where the 4th Corps was, and here, to begin with, was this
20 brigade, the 41st Motorised Brigade, and they were linked with a cellar, a
21 basement. So you could enter one side, go through the basement and come
22 up the other side. This whole building was linked via the basement.
23 Q. And how many members of the 41st Brigade were in the Vranica
24 building on the 9th and 10th of May, and how many of the 4th Corps?
25 A. In the brigade command there might have been no more than 20 to 30
1 of us, if that. In the Vranica corps -- in the corps in the Vranica
2 building, the corps there, maybe 10 to 15 men.
3 Q. Now --
4 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I see the time. It's 9.30 [sic]. Should
5 we have a break now, or should I continue?
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Time flies by.
7 Mr. Registrar, how much time has the Prosecution used?
8 Let's take a 20-minute break, and we'll reconvene in 20 minutes'
10 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
12 MR. BOS: May it please the Court.
13 Q. Witness, we left off with the drawing, and we left off around
14 10.00 a.m. that you were leaving the Kluz building. Now, could you tell
15 the Court where did you go when you left the Kluz building? And if you
16 wish, you can show on the drawing where you went.
17 A. As I have already said, since it was possible to reach this
18 entrance from the basement, we wanted to physically join our brigade.
19 Since that was impossible because we had one wounded, we returned to the
20 building, and then we went upstairs, taking the stairs, and the only
21 possibility for us was to reach the building of the brigade across
23 Q. So you ended up on the roof of the Vranica building; is that
25 A. When we got to the roof of the Vranica building and crossed over
1 to the brigade building, we were unable to get in because there was the
2 elevator entrance with bars on the doors that we couldn't get through.
3 Since there was firing at the brigade building from PATs and PAMs,
4 anti-aircraft guns and anti-aircraft machine-guns, one shell hit the
5 elevator and created a passage.
6 Since there was a number of us and we couldn't get in safely then,
7 we waited for the night, for the cover of the night to get into the
8 building of the brigade.
9 Q. So is it fair to say that during that whole day you were on the
10 roof of the Vranica building before you actually entered the building
11 during the night?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And with how many people were you there?
14 A. Six to seven.
15 Q. And can you indicate on the map from which side the HVO was
16 targeting the Vranica building?
17 A. From this side over there.
18 Q. What did you eventually do when you were able during the night to
19 get into the Vranica building? Where did you go?
20 A. When we got into the building, then we took the stairs to get down
21 to the command headquarters.
22 Q. And was this the command of the brigade or the command of the 4th
24 A. The command of the brigade.
25 Q. And when you were there -- when you got there, is it correct that
1 you encountered your father there as well?
2 A. Yes. When I got there to the brigade command and even before
3 while I was still climbing down the stairs, I was told that I shouldn't
4 worry but my father was wounded.
5 Q. How did he get wounded?
6 A. Since I lived close to the Vranica building, he had left his home
7 to go to the brigade, and when he was just entering the building he was
8 hit by a small calibre bullet in his back.
9 Q. Was your father wearing a uniform? Was he a member of the
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now -- so you entered the brigade command on the night of 9th of
13 May. Did you stay there overnight in the brigade command?
14 A. We spent the whole night there.
15 Q. And what did you do on the morning of the 10th of May?
16 A. On the morning of the 10th day [as interpreted], after a whole
17 night on guard duty, we were resting, and I heard when somebody was
18 passing by and saying that if my father isn't transferred to the hospital
19 immediately he would bleed to death. When I heard that, I went to our
20 communications centre because the communication with the army was cut off
21 at the time. We could only communicate with the HVO. I managed to reach
22 one of those people there and asked them to put me -- to put Vlado Topic
23 on the telephone because we were family friends. And if I remember well,
24 he had said on radio Herceg-Bosna that nobody would be deprived of medical
25 assistance, that everybody would be given access to the hospital.
1 So when I got Topic on the line, I told him that my father had
2 been wounded, that he was bleeding out, that he needed to be moved
3 urgently and hospitalised. And since we were family friends, he asked me
4 why we were not surrendering, and I replied, "We have no one to surrender
5 to. We were just defending ourselves. We were not attacking anyone."
6 And I told him not to come with large vehicles that they normally used to
7 move around town. I told him to bring a small car instead, bringing no
8 more than 2 men. He said he would do so and then the line was cut off. I
9 managed to reach him again to get a telephone connection 15 minutes later,
10 and I got Vasic on the phone, and I had a clash with him. If you look at
11 my statement, it was --
12 Q. Let me interrupt you here. Just one clarification. You've said
13 that you contacted the person named Vlado Topic. What was the position of
14 this person?
15 A. I don't know what position he held exactly at that time.
16 Q. Why did you call him? Why did you think that he could help you?
17 A. Because we were family friends.
18 Q. Let me then ask you. You were talking about --
19 A. Just a second. Franjo Topic, in fact. Franjo Topic.
20 Q. Maybe you could spell the name for us, please.
21 A. F-r-a-n-j-o, Franjo Topic.
22 Q. Now, I interrupted you and you said that about 15 minutes later a
23 second person called. What was the name of that person?
24 A. I think it was Lasic, who was then commander for the south zone,
25 but I'm not sure.
1 Q. You remember his first name?
2 A. Miro Lasic, something like that.
3 Q. And what did Lasic tell you when you got him on the phone?
4 A. When I got him on the phone, he asked me whether the wounded
5 person was wounded or bleeding, and then he said we had killed his
6 brother, and then we started shouting at each other.
7 Q. And why did you shout at him?
8 A. Because I realised he was not going to help me. And on top of
9 that, he started to threaten me. And then I threatened him, and then we
10 both hung up on each other.
11 Q. Can you then describe what happened during -- on the 10th of May,
12 during that day?
13 A. Well, on the 10th of May, since we had no where to go and the
14 civilians from that building were together with us in the basement, and we
15 had to move into the entranceway from time to time so that they couldn't
16 get near us, and it could have been 10.00 or 11.00 in the morning when,
17 although we didn't know it yet, but we found out when we got out. Juka
18 Prazina's unit was firing at us using incendiary bullets from the school
19 building, shooting at random at the first, then the second, then the fifth
20 floor, and some of the shells were falling into the basement. And one of
21 those cluster rounds injured the daughter of Batlak as well as one of the
22 young men who worked in communications.
23 Since everybody was panic-stricken, the residents of that building
24 practically pushed us out into the entranceway. When we got there, we
25 realised there was no way we could fight back. And there were civilians
1 there. Those people were demanding over the bullhorn that we surrender,
2 and one of the civilians negotiated with them, and they said that all the
3 civilians should get out and they would be safe. No harm would come to
5 Since HVO soldiers were stoned or something, we didn't want to
6 surrender in our uniforms. We decided it was better to change into
7 civilian clothes and surrender and get out with the civilians.
8 When we changed into civilian clothes, we left the building,
9 together with the residents, and we walked out with hands behind our
10 back -- behind our head, and we walked through to the economic school.
11 They let all the Croats go immediately, and they told the Muslims to walk
12 to the Velez stadium.
13 Q. Let me stop you there. Just one clarification. On page 44, line
14 6, you say that the HVO were stoned or something. What do you mean by
15 that, and why -- why do you say that?
16 A. Well, the way they acted you could see that their behaviour was
17 altered. They kept threatening to kill us.
18 Q. Let me just focus your attention again on the map, because you
19 testified that you were taken to the economic school. Can you indicate on
20 the map where this is?
21 A. [Indicates]
22 Q. Thank you. Now, you've said that when the group arrived at the --
23 at the economic school that a selection was made. First of all, who --
24 who did this? Who made this selection?
25 A. They were members of Juka Prazina's unit, and there were other HVO
1 soldiers who all had the insignia, those patches with the flag, or
2 armbands on the left arm.
3 Q. You stated they all released the Croats immediately and told the
4 Muslims to walk to the Velez stadium. Should I conclude from this that
5 you went to the Velez stadium?
6 A. No. Elderly Muslims who were 70 years old and over were told that
7 they were going to be taken to the stadium, and we, the others, were left
8 to stay at the economic school.
9 Q. How many -- so you stayed at the economic school. How many other
10 people stayed there from your group?
11 A. Since there were also civilians there, and perhaps 30, maybe more,
12 of us.
13 Q. Where were you taken, you and these other 30 people?
14 A. Well, we were then taken to -- we didn't know where exactly we
15 were being taken. We were going through the avenue, and we finally
16 reached the tobacco factory.
17 MR. BOS: Could the witness be shown on e-court Exhibit 09613.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which number?
19 MR. BOS:
20 Q. 09613. Witness, I'm waiting for the photograph to appear on the
21 screen. Can you also see the photograph now in front of you on the
22 television? Witness, do you recognise this building?
23 A. That's the building of the tobacco.
24 Q. And can you indicate on the map?
25 MR. BOS: And maybe the witness can use the electronic marker.
1 Q. Can you indicate where you and the other 30 people who were with
2 you were put when you arrived at this building?
3 A. I'm not really sure that's the right picture, but here on the
4 right side when you are entering the buildings, on the right-hand side you
5 go straight ahead and then there is a small semicircle near the road, and
6 then it goes straight ahead. I'm not sure this picture really shows that,
7 because at the time there were no cars outside. Maybe we were somewhere
8 here. As this road goes, perhaps we were at this point, but I cannot
9 really recognise it from this picture. I think we were further to the
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are commenting on the
12 photograph that we see on our screens or on something else?
13 MR. BOS: Yes, Your Honour. He actually did make a couple of
14 drawings on the e-court photograph. I don't know if --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 MR. BOS:
17 Q. And, Witness, when you arrived there, who was at the tobacco
18 institute? Were there people there when you arrived?
19 Maybe move a little bit away from the microphone because you're a
20 bit too close to the microphone.
21 A. As we were coming, the first thing I saw was that there were a lot
22 of people there, including Branko Kvesic. He approached me, took me by
23 the shoulders, and we had an exchange. And outside this building there
24 were many, many people, some troops, and some civilians. I think all the
25 top men of the HDZ and the HVO were there. Apart from Branko Kvesic, I
1 saw Petar Zelenika. Misic later came there too. He was commander of the
2 4th battalion. There was Juka Prazina with his unit. There were many
3 people. I couldn't take it all in. But right before us there was a
4 crowd, including civilians, outside the tobacco institute.
5 Q. Okay. Just one follow-up question on what you just testified.
6 You've mentioned a couple of names, Branko Kvesic, Petar Zelenika, and
7 then you referred to a person named Misic. Do you know the first name of
8 that person?
9 A. Misic was a man whom everybody called Old Misic. He was commander
10 of the 4th Battalion. He approached us. He asked 10 men to be singled
11 out, to be executed.
12 Q. Well --
13 A. And then he said, "I'll execute them all."
14 Q. Let's -- let's go step-by-step. So when you arrived with your
15 group on the -- at the tobacco station, just explain from there what
16 happened to you in as detailed as possible.
17 A. As soon as we arrived we were lined up. Before that I had that
18 exchange with Branko Kvesic. He asked me why I hadn't come to see him. I
19 said I didn't want to shoot at my own people. Tuta was there as well.
20 And then Kvesic told Tuta, "This man used to be in our ranks. Then he
21 crossed over and started shooting at us." Then Tuta approached me, took
22 out his Motorola and starting hitting me, cursing my balija mother. I
23 told him my mother was not a balija, she was a Catholic woman. And after
24 that he started hitting me even harder.
25 Then a man called Dujma approached. He was with another man,
1 Slezak, blonde and thin, and they started hitting me with the rifle butt,
2 and that went on for some time. They hit me more than once. Then Juka
3 offered his hand to help me up. He said that nobody was to hit me any
4 more. And then, as I was still crouching, he hit me -- he kicked me in
5 the head and I fell to the ground again.
6 Q. When you referred to Juka, which Juka is this?
7 A. Yes. Juka Prazina, who was -- who had crossed over to the HVO.
8 Q. Witness, were other -- were any other members of your group also
9 being beaten?
10 A. Just Pobric, Pobric. They beat Pobric too. Tuta hit him with the
11 handle of a pistol over the head, and he started bleeding straight away.
12 Q. Now, sometime earlier you spoke about Misic doing things. When
13 did that actually happen, and can you explain again what he did?
14 A. When he entered the institute, as he walked towards us, he said he
15 should be given 10 men to execute, and then he said, "Not 10, all of
16 them." Then Juka said, "Those you take into custody you can execute. The
17 others will go for the exchange and be exchanged for my soldiers."
18 Q. Witness, while you were there at the tobacco institute, did you at
19 any time see a television crew?
20 A. On my right there was a camera, and I saw that it said HTV2 on the
22 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I would now like to show Exhibit 08987,
23 and -- which is a video of a couple of minutes, and it will be presented
24 through Sanction. So we will be able to play that video from our desk.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Can we show it in
1 open session?
2 MR. BOS: No, Your Honour. We will need to go into private
3 session. I don't know if there is any public.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, let's move into private
6 [Private session]
11 Pages 12552-12557 redacted. Private session
13 [Open session]
14 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're in open session,
15 Mr. President.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After the tobacco factory, we were
17 put into a bus and taken to the civilian police, the building of the
18 civilian MUP.
19 MR. BOS:
20 Q. And where was this? Was this in Mostar?
21 A. In Visnjica.
22 Q. Could you give the name of that village again? I think the
23 interpreters didn't hear you quite well.
24 A. It was Listica and is now Siroki Brijeg.
25 Q. And with how many people were you taken there --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Listica, interpreter's correction. Listica.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, they took us from the tobacco
3 factory to Siroki Brijeg.
4 MR. BOS:
5 Q. And how big was the group of people that actually went, was taken
6 to Listica?
7 A. About 25 of us.
8 Q. And where were you -- where were you put in the MUP station in
9 Siroki Brijeg?
10 A. There were two small cells, and the ventilation was just a brick
11 turned upside town with air coming through it.
12 Q. Were you ever mistreated during this period that you were at the
13 MUP station?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you give me the names of the persons that -- that mistreated
16 you, if you can recall?
17 A. I don't know exactly, but I think his name was Andabak, that he
18 was Tuta's deputy. When we lined up in front of that MUP building, he set
19 to straight away on Meho Zilic because he had worked in the DB beforehand,
20 and he said that he was responsible for persecuting Croats. And then he
21 was hit and then he was asked whether he was involved in the liberation of
22 the left bank against the Serbs. I came forward. I was there. And I
23 thought I would have an easier time. And he asked me whether I was at
24 Hum. I said that that's not the left bank, and then he started beating me
25 and kept saying that they fed us and that we stuck a knife in their backs.
1 Q. Were any other people besides the person you referred to as
2 Andabak who beated you or any of the other prisoners at the MUP station
3 during the period that you were detained in?
4 A. When we went down to those cells, at night two men came. Two
5 uniformed men came during the night, Romeo and Takac. Romeo Blazevic and
6 Ernest Takac.
7 Q. And what did these two persons do that night?
8 A. Allegedly they had a piece of paper from the police giving them
9 authorisation to interrogate the prisoners.
10 Q. Did these two persons beat up prisoners that night, Witness?
11 A. Well, Romeo, as soon as he entered the cell where I was, he
12 immediately set to -- threw himself on me and said that I had thrown a
13 bomb into a coffee bar. He had a truncheon in his hand and wanted to hit
14 me on the head with it.
15 I tried to defend myself, to protect myself, but at one point he
16 took out a pistol and said that I should stick my thumbs into the pockets
17 of my tracksuit, and whenever he tried to hit me, wanted to hit me, I
18 still raised my hands to defend my body.
19 I fell across a raised section of the cell. He took his rifle
20 butt and hit me on the head and it started to bleed, and he left me like
22 Q. Witness, for how long were you kept detained at the MUP station?
23 A. At the station, MUP station, I think we were there for about seven
24 or eight days. I can't remember exactly.
25 Q. Do you -- do you recall during this period that you were ever
1 asked to sign a paper?
2 A. Before they transported us to the other prison, the other camp,
3 they asked us to sign a piece of paper saying that nobody had touched us
4 over there.
5 Q. And did you and the other prisoners sign that paper?
6 A. Yes. We all signed it.
7 Q. When were you -- where were you taken next?
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I would like to add a question on
9 this period. You have described an incident where you were ill-treated.
10 Was that the only incident or have beatings being repeated?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It wasn't the only incident.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could you be a bit more specific, please?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After -- well, we were made to do
14 forced labour at the pool. They said it was Tuta's pool, their pool, the
15 city pool. We worked there. And as it was an open space, at a given
16 moment a driver turned up. He was the driver to the minister for social
17 welfare or whatever it's called.
18 I was sitting down by the pool, and without asking anything, he
19 just kicked me in the ribs. And I fell down and hit me head on the
20 concrete. And he pulled out a pistol, wanted to kill me as I grabbed his
21 legs, and one of the guards prevented him from doing that. They took me
22 back down there.
23 And on another occasion, a tall guy wearing a uniform came into
24 our cell, and later on he told me that it was Cikota's brother. Or
25 somebody told me it was Cikota's brother. And together with him there
1 were seven or eight men, and they beat me. And at one point Andabak or
2 whatever his name was, this deputy, put a pistol to my head and said he
3 would kill me, and he pulled the trigger and put the pistol back. And
4 then afterwards, Cikota told me to put my tongue out, stick my tongue out,
5 and he put out a cigarette butt on my tongue and then he made me eat that.
6 Afterwards, he forced me to hit my head against the wall 10 times as
7 strongly as I could.
8 MR. BOS: Did that answer your question, Judge? Can I continue?
9 Q. Witness, so where were you transferred after you left the MUP
11 A. They transferred us to Ljubuski.
12 Q. With how many people were you transferred to Ljubuski? Was this
13 the complete group that was in the MUP station?
14 A. That complete group was transferred to Ljubuski.
15 Q. Can you describe where you were taken when you arrived at
17 A. They took us to Ljubuski, and at the time there was the military
18 police there, and --
19 Q. When you say the military police was there, are you saying that
20 the guards of Ljubuski were military police?
21 A. Yes, yes. It was a prison belonging to the military police, and
22 they stood guard over us.
23 Q. So please continue. Where were you taken when you got at
25 A. We -- when we went inside, into the Ljubuski building, in the
1 hallway they told us that all -- we should leave all our belongings,
2 everything we had brought with us, and then they took us to a cell.
3 Q. And how big was this cell?
4 A. As there were about 25 to 30 of us, the cell was so small that we
5 couldn't all sit down in it.
6 Q. And how long did you stay in this cell?
7 A. I stayed in Ljubuski for perhaps 15, 10 days. I don't know.
8 Q. But my question was during this 10, 15 days, did you always stay
9 in that particular cell with the whole group?
10 A. No. The next day they came from Siroki Brijeg and took eight or
11 ten men to continue working on the swimming pool.
12 Q. And were you included in this group or not?
13 A. No. I stayed at Ljubuski.
14 Q. Did you ever have to perform forced labour while being detained in
16 A. I was taken only once to forced labour at Ljubuski.
17 Q. Where were you taken?
18 A. It was the front line facing the Serbs. We dug trenches for them
19 there. I was given a sledgehammer, and we had to climb up rocks and make
20 steps for them so they wouldn't slip. They said the next shift would
21 include men who had been in Mostar. And there were many men killed in
22 their unit, because when they were getting down this reservoir with
23 petrol, with a fuel, they couldn't get it up and it ended up killing a lot
24 of them.
25 I thought I was again going to be beaten because this wood --
1 THE INTERPRETER: The witness said something using some words that
2 the interpreter doesn't understand. Could he repeat the last thing he
3 said about the wooden handle?
4 MR. BOS:
5 Q. Witness, the interpreters didn't get the last part of what you
6 just said. You said something about wood. Could you repeat that sentence
7 because the interpreters didn't hear you.
8 A. That wooden sledgehammer. At the end of the handle was cracked.
9 It was not smooth. And to avoid being called out to work again, I let
10 this wood slide across my hands so as to injure my hands and to be unable
11 to do forced labour again.
12 Q. Witness, were you ever ill-treated --
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. The witness has said that many were
14 killed. I am quoting from page 62, line 6, 7. "Because when they were
15 getting down this reservoir with petrol, a fuel, they didn't get it up and
16 it ended up killing a lot of them."
17 I, frankly, do not understand this, and I would be grateful if --
18 if you could explain, Witness. Maybe it was difficult to translate or
19 whatever. What reservoir were you talking about?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what date it was, but
21 HVO units filled a tank with petrol and with bombs and ammunition, and
22 they wanted, once reaching Hit, to let this tank drop and explode at the
23 bridge which was the only crossing against -- across Neretva and thus cut
24 off the entire Donja Mahala. And they were looking for a man to be the
25 driver of that tank. They looked for a person from the camp to be -- to
1 drive that tank.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And how did people get killed in this context?
3 You said many people were killed.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what I was told. The
5 explosion was so strong that balconies flew up into the air 200 metres or
6 so. I didn't see it with my own eyes, but the soldiers at the location
7 where I was working told me about it.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
9 MR. BOS:
10 Q. Witness, were you ever ill-treated at -- at the time you were in
12 A. No.
13 Q. Do you know whether other prisoners at Ljubuski were ill-treated?
14 And let me just, in order to move a bit more quickly, if you know persons
15 who were ill-treated, could you just give me the names of the persons that
16 were ill-treated and maybe the perpetrator, if you know, so that we just
17 have the names, please.
18 A. The one who was most mistreated was Rudi, because he had served at
19 the brigade command, and he was a Croat who switched to our side. They
20 had kept trying to make him join them, and he always refused.
21 There was an incident when they were supposed to go to the front
22 line in Mostar. The military police of Ljubuski got drunk. One policeman
23 got drunk and hit this man a lot.
24 Another guard came into my cell and told me, "Look at you. You
25 are so thin now." And then he went to the cell where Rudi was, and I
1 heard the guard telling Rudi, "You know what, pilot? Those who fly high
2 fall very low and hard."
3 Then they also beat up one young man from Mostar. He hit Dzemo
4 immediately. Dzemo lost consciousness.
5 He made Alija lie down and spread his legs, and then he kicked him
6 so hard he flew to the wall.
7 And he also made Rudi slap about two other inmates, and Rudi
8 didn't want to do that.
9 Q. Just a few questions to clarify. First of all, you've been
10 talking about Rudi. Do you know the last name of that person?
11 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] If I may just briefly. I
12 think we have an error in the record, page 64, line 9. I think the
13 gentleman named the person who went into the cell. He said it was Cikota.
14 We have on the record "another guard," whereas he actually said who it
16 MR. BOS:
17 Q. Witness, your testimony is being translated in English and
18 sometimes things may not be catched up. Did you actually refer to a
19 person named Cikota just now?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, you should wrap up.
22 You have almost used two hours.
23 MR. BOS:
24 Q. Witness, what was the last name of this person named Rudi?
25 A. Jozelic.
1 Q. And when you say that -- when you were talking about Cikota who
2 beat up Rudi, was he the only one beating up prisoners in Ljubuski or were
3 the guards also ill-treating prisoners at Ljubuski?
4 A. At Ljubuski there was no mistreatment of prisoners, not by the
6 Q. All right. Let me go quickly through, then. Did there come a
7 time around mid-June 1993 that you were transferred to Heliodrom?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, I said it was over.
9 You have used up your two hours. So if you continue, the Defence will not
10 be able to finish because they will not have two hours, and that would
11 force the witness to stay here until Monday, if the Defence wants to have
12 the same amount of time for cross-examination.
13 MR. BOS: I understand, Your Honours, but this witness was
14 scheduled to testify for two and a half hours, and we're now -- I'm --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but I said two hours
16 yesterday, not two and a half hours.
17 MR. BOS: But -- well, the case manager now is trying to calculate
18 how long I've been going on, but I don't think I've been going on for two
19 hours yet.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Perhaps if the gentleman could just tell us what
21 points he wishes to establish, that may be at least of some assistance to
22 you, Your Honours, to see whether he should be granted any additional
23 time. I don't wish to be helping the Prosecution, but maybe our young
24 colleague here could benefit from some guidance.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which points do you want to
1 cover, Mr. Bos? Because if it's to hear things we have already heard from
2 others -- could you specify?
3 MR. BOS: This witness will -- will testify that he then went to
4 the Heliodrom for a period from 10 June to 30 June, that he was
5 subsequently detained at Dretelj, and then around the 20th of July, he was
6 again moved from Dretelj to Heliodrom. And at the Heliodrom, during his
7 detention at the Heliodrom, he -- he had to perform forced labour also on
8 location called Santiceva Street where he actually was -- while he was
9 performing labour there, he was used as a human shield.
10 And finally, Your Honours, and for this I would need to go into
11 private session because this -- this is evidence relating to his mother,
12 and there I would also like to introduce some exhibits. And I hope the
13 witness can explain in his own words what happened to his mother.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to go into private
15 session then.
16 [Private session]
11 Pages 12569-12572 redacted. Private session
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in public session now.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Continue, please.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On one occasion in Santic Street, at
12 the very beginning of the street where the Ero Hotel is now, there were
13 two buildings about 10 metres away from each other, and since they knew I
14 had been captured in Vranica building, the other prisoners would carry the
15 sacks up to the buildings, and I would have to pile them in this clearing
16 to make a fortification. And as I was doing that, one HVO soldier fired
17 from his rifle and the bullet went just above my shoulder. I said, "What
18 are you doing?" And then he told me to sit across the sacks, and then he
19 sat on my shoulder and started shooting at the BH defence line.
20 I gestured, showing at my -- showing my shoulders, pointing at my
21 shoulders, hoping that somebody from the other side would see me, because
22 I was afraid I would be hit in the head.
23 At Heliodrom we all had to work, and the worst location was Santic
25 Q. Thank you, Witness. I have no further questions, and my apologies
1 again that things had to be rushed at the end.
2 MR. BOS: And just one correction for the record. I referred to
3 the three exhibit numbers and one Exhibit was 8784 but it needs to be
4 89 -- it needs to be 8784 and I said 8987.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Now we
6 turn to the witness -- to the Defence. Unfortunately, we have only one
7 hour and five minutes left. If you want to continue with the
8 cross-examination after the end of the day, he will have to stay until
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, but as far as I am
11 concerned, it's definitely not a problem to stay until Monday. Just don't
12 rush me. I am prepared to answer everybody's questions, just don't rush
13 me. I only feel a little hot, but I'm in no hurry. You can ask me
14 anything you like, and whatever I know I will tell you, to everybody, to
15 the Defence and the accused. It makes no sense to rush, because that
16 would avoid problems with interpretation as well.
17 I am nervous, I must admit, and every word carries some weight.
18 The point I'm trying to make is that I really have all the time in the
19 world. Let's not rush. And you might tell me later if I make a mistake
20 that I was lying or something. This is a very sensitive subject.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Dobro. Okay. Not a problem. We'll go slowly,
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
24 Q. I just have a few questions for clarification purposes, nothing
25 really complicated. Okay?
1 You had indicated that sometime, I believe it was in April 16 or
2 17 of 1993, that is when you left SIS and you went to -- to the 2nd
3 Battalion; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, I wasn't clear on this issue. Were you in the 2nd Battalion
6 before going to SIS?
7 A. Yes, I was.
8 Q. And when did you join the 2nd Battalion, if you could tell us.
9 A. Straight away, at the beginning of the aggression itself. First
10 of all it was the Territorial Defence. Then it was the defence of Mostar.
11 Then, finally, it was a brigade within the 41st Brigade. The 2nd
12 Battalion was Santiceva-Donja Mahala.
13 When I gave the statement, it was already the 41st Motorised
14 Brigade, and that was called the 2nd Battalion already.
15 Q. All right. So if I -- if I get it straight now, you were in the
16 2nd Battalion, and then you left on your own and you joined SIS.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So you weren't -- you weren't forced to be with SIS. You went
19 there on your own.
20 A. Nobody, no.
21 Q. Okay. And you were with SIS. And we're talking basically you
22 were working as a police officer; right? Or in a security position?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. Now, was that for the -- was that for the Muslims or the
25 Croats or for both?
1 A. SIS was the police at the time. I can't say that I worked for
2 either, one or the other. It was just the police, and I was a member of
3 the police.
4 Q. Okay. And then at some point -- and then just to make sure that
5 we have the -- the dates straight, for how many months were you working in
6 the SIS, between being in the 2nd Battalion and going back to the 2nd
8 A. Well, with any certainty I can't -- well, 15th of -- 15th or 16th
9 of April, 1993, when I returned to the battalion. Now, the exact date of
10 departure to SIS I can't remember, but it was after the expulsion of the
11 Serbs when the lines were at Pod Velez. So that might have been August or
12 perhaps September. I can't be certain.
13 Q. September of 1992.
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. Okay. But it would be fair to say that you were with SIS for
16 several months?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, one other point of clarification. When you eventually gave
19 yourself up, I believe it was the 10th of May, the 10th or 11th of May,
20 1993; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, we saw from the photograph you were wearing civilian clothes;
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In fact, we saw many people, and I think that's how they were
1 described, as people wearing civilian clothes, and they were all men;
2 correct? What we saw in the video.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, before -- before that, that is before you gave yourself up,
5 you and all the others that were in civilians clothes were wearing
6 military uniforms; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And then you changed into civilian clothes so you would look like
9 civilians before you gave yourself up?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And in the building that you were -- that you were in and in the
12 Vranica building, there were weapons prior to you giving yourself up;
14 A. Only our personal weapons.
15 Q. Well, but they were weapons nonetheless; right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And those weapons were hidden; right?
18 A. No. When we left we threw the weapons away about the buildings.
19 Q. And that was -- so you would show that you didn't have any weapons
20 at the time. You wanted to give the impression that you were a civilian
21 without any weapons; correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Okay. Now, the Vranica building, that's sort of in the middle of
24 the town, is it not?
25 A. You could put it that way, yes.
1 Q. Okay. Now -- and so in the middle of the town, and that's mostly
2 occupied by Croats; is that right? That part of the town.
3 A. No. It was -- you could say it was the sort of centre of town as
4 far as the right bank is concerned, the right Neretva bank. It was
5 somewhere in the middle of town because nearby, before the war, there was
6 the number one police station. The centre of Mostar town was, in fact --
7 what do you call it? Where the music school is by Tito's bridge. Well,
8 if you look at the right bank then you could say it was the centre because
9 the shops were there and the office buildings and facilities, and the old
10 Velez stadium was built. So you could say that.
11 Q. All right. Now, the left bank certainly had -- had sufficient
12 premises for the -- for the headquarters to be stationed over there, of
13 the 4th Corps. So if the 4th Corps wanted to have its headquarters on the
14 left bank, there was space available there, was there not?
15 A. I don't know how familiar you are with the town, but in the
16 beginning of 1992, when the armed conflict began with the Serbs, then in
17 the Kameni MUP, which was the DB previously, state security, you had
18 members of the police who had worked before the war, both Croats and
20 Now, we at the time -- I was in the command from the very
21 beginning, and they put the town's defence up in the Vranica building
22 because it was the safest building because this was in the basement. And
23 from the very beginning, that's where we were. Now, as that building --
24 Q. Let me stop you here for a second. You say "we." I take it when
25 you're talking about "we," you're talking about the army of BH, correct?
1 A. Yes, I mean the BH army.
2 Q. Okay. And initially you talked about the Croats and the Muslims
3 were fighting together; right? Because you were facing the Serb
4 aggressors or the JNA aggressors; right?
5 A. Right.
6 Q. And you talked about, and this was to the questioning, that for a
7 period of time in 1992 leading all the way up into May 1993, that there
8 were tensions, right, between the Muslims and the Croats? It's either yes
9 or no.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. And you talked about also that the tensions could be
12 seen even in the streets? It's a yes or no. I mean, it's based on your
13 testimony. That's what you said. I'm trying --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, my question was this: On the left bank
16 there were premises available, and the situation was secure enough, in
17 other words, you were no longer facing the Serb aggressors, or the JNA
18 aggressors, that had the 4th Corps wanted to have its headquarters on the
19 left bank, it could have done so? It's a yes or no. If they really
20 wanted to, they could have moved over there; right?
21 A. As to that question, I cannot answer it because we fought for a
22 united Mostar. And whether you're talking about a left bank or a right
23 bank, that didn't mean anything to us.
24 Q. When you say to "us," who's us? Is that the Croats and the
1 A. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina fought for all citizens regardless
2 of their ethnicity.
3 Q. Again, I want to -- I want an answer to my question. There was
4 space available and the situation was secure enough on the left bank that
5 had the 4th Corps wished to have its headquarters on the left bank it
6 could have done so. It could have moved. It could have gotten out of the
7 basement and gone to the left bank to some other premises; correct?
8 A. Well, I can't answer that question. You can't make a ghetto out
9 of Mostar, left bank, right bank. It is my personal opinion that had I
10 not -- that I didn't take up a rifle for Mostar to be divided.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. A better foundation.
12 Witness, do you have any idea, any training of what setting up the
13 headquarters of an army corps implied? What has to be taken into account
14 when that decision is taken?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know. I'm not a
16 university professor to know that.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: All right. Well, there was a different reason for
19 the question, Your Honour, and that was with respect to an answer given by
20 the previous witness, which was a rather ridiculous and false answer that
21 is that the -- there was still shelling going on by the Serbs and that's
22 why they had to be on the west bank and not on the left bank, but that was
23 the purpose of my questioning.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The questioning is certainly justified, but I
25 don't think the witness is the right person to address it.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: I totally agree with you, but I just wanted the
2 conditions. Very well.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, I apologise for
4 interrupting you, but at line 4, page 79, you said that the previous
5 witness gave a ridiculous answer. As far as I remember, the witness said
6 that the General Staff, the HVO, was more or less like the BH and that it
7 was natural for them to be close to each other because of the ties they
8 had, and now you're saying that the answer given was ridiculous.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, there was a -- we can go to the
10 transcript, and we certainly will be pointing out what we believe the
11 gentleman fabricated or was totally unlearned in the situation. But at
12 one point he indicated that -- at that point in time it was a question
13 that you posed, in fact, Mr. President. He had indicated that the
14 situation was unsafe on the left bank, giving the implication that was
15 still shelling going on by the Serbs. So that was the point. But I'll
16 move on, Your Honour.
17 Q. Now, I just have one other -- couple of other questions. Now, you
18 say that you were in the command. Did you hold a high-ranking position
19 during that period of time?
20 A. I apologise. When you asked me, you asked me expressly about the
21 command post, whether they could have been moved to the left bank. Had
22 you asked me whether there was shelling -- shelling of Mostar by the Serbs
23 at that time, I would have told you that yes there was, but all over town.
24 So --
25 Q. Sir, sir, I asked you about the safety conditions and you failed
1 to answer. Now, I moved on.
2 You said that you worked in the command. My question is: Were
3 you a high-commanding officer at the time? Yes or no?
4 A. I apologise, but I have to --
5 Q. I will ask -- I will insist on you answering my questions and then
6 you can supplement whatever you wish on redirect. So, sir, were you a
7 high-ranking officer at the time?
8 A. I apologise, but I can't forget that point. If you're asking me
9 about the security situation at the time, then ask me whether there was
10 shelling by the other side. Don't ask me about the security situation
11 when we're talking about the army and the HVO. So don't talk about 1992.
12 Q. Very well.
13 A. And put words in my mouth. I just can't --
14 Q. Very well.
15 A. -- pass over that point.
16 Q. You indicated earlier to a question posed by the Judge that you
17 weren't competent, learned enough, had enough knowledge, were in a
18 position to answer the question about whether the headquarters could be
19 moved. Do you recall giving that answer, that you're not competent? You
20 were the person with sufficient knowledge to answer that question. Do you
21 recall saying that? Yes or no?
22 A. I said I wasn't an expert in order to know where a command should
23 be positioned.
24 Q. All right. Now, the next point is, were you a high-ranking
25 officer at the time?
1 A. No.
2 Q. What was your position?
3 A. I was an ordinary soldier, private.
4 Q. So when the question was posed with respect to the incident in
5 Konjic, you indicated that you had no knowledge of what was happening
6 there. Might that be the reason, because you were just a simple soldier?
7 A. First of all, I was a simple soldier, and secondly, I couldn't
8 have been in Konjic and Mostar.
9 Q. Well -- but my point is, you were not a position, you were not in
10 a position in order to have sensitive information come your way.
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. And so what the commanders were thinking of doing or what they
13 were planning on doing, they certainly were not consulting you or not even
14 making you aware of what their intentions were. Right?
15 A. No, that's right.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. Just one last question. I just want to ask you
17 about that bank. Now, is it your testimony that bank from the central
18 bank of Sarajevo was being transferred to a bank called Sarajevo bank in
19 Mostar for safekeeping? Is that your testimony? And let me help you out
20 here a little bit. Is it not a fact, sir, that during that period of
21 time, large -- that sort of money would have been kept at the payment
22 bureau, the SDK and not at private banks under the then existing system in
23 BiH? Think about it.
24 A. As far as that is concerned specifically, we all know, we all
25 know --
1 Q. Who is "we"? When you say "we", who is "we"?
2 A. When I talk like that and say everybody in town knew that the BH
3 dinar arrived in that bank and that it had to be circulated. We know the
4 name and surname of the man in the bank, and it is well known that the
5 army was -- surrounded the bank and didn't allow anybody to approach, and
6 it was only when the fire broke out that the fire brigade was called in,
7 and as they didn't have any water, they couldn't put the fire out.
8 Q. Just one final question. Was the SDK functioning at that point in
9 time? The payment bureau system, was it still in effect?
10 A. No.
11 Q. It wasn't at all?
12 A. Nothing, no.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... or you don't know? Which of
14 the two?
15 A. No, it wasn't active, no.
16 Q. Okay. So it was your testimony that this money came from the
17 central bank of Sarajevo, and it was transferred to this bank called
18 Sarajevo bank in Mostar. That's your understanding?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you very much, sir. I apologise if there was a heated
21 exchange here, but I appreciate your answers. Thank you very, very much.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Next Defence counsel.
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. Can we just start off with clarifying your position in SIS and
3 what SIS was and what Mr. Brana Kvesic had? You said that Brano Kvesic
4 was the head of SIS?
5 A. He was the minister of the interior.
6 Q. Well done. You've remembered. So that was in fact the civilian
7 police force, was it not?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. All right. Thank you. And what were you in this civilian police?
10 What did you do there? You said in your statement that from July 1992
11 until the 15th or 16th of April, 1993. I mean, organisationally speaking,
12 did you provide security for the building? Were you in a separate
13 department that was called SIS? If so, what did you do in that separate
14 department? Or generally speaking, can you explain to us what you did
15 within that Ministry of the Interior?
16 A. When we were -- or, rather, when we pushed back the Serbs from the
17 left bank and took control of the town, since Mr. Zoric was still in the
18 command of that Joint Command in the BH army, he was called to set up a
19 special MUP unit. And as I had contact with him and wanted to be a
20 policeman and I talked to him, he kept saying that these units would be
21 set up like those other units that were established during the war. Now,
22 when he went to establish that unit, he said, "You can come whenever you
24 As there was not so much fighting against the Serbs and we just
25 held the front line, I went and joined up with that unit.
1 Q. Since my time is limited -- but this is logical. You were a
2 sportsman yourself, and -- as far as I know. That's right, isn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So you wanted to be in this special unit. I understand that. But
5 just tell me the kind of work you did. What was your job throughout this
6 period? And it's almost a year that you worked there.
7 A. I was security detail for the building, because a gentleman from
8 Sarajevo came, Vikucan, and he was supposed to set up a team to work with
9 us. And since I knew him from before, he asked me about the
10 mountaineering gear and equipment, that I could teach people getting into
11 an upper building and so on, but that never came about. And I thought
12 that politics would resolve the issue and that there would be a joint
13 institution or joint institutions.
14 Q. All right. So let me observe that you were a security detail,
15 providing security for the building.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you have a weapon?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you have a long-barrel weapon or a pistol or what?
20 A. I had a long-barrelled weapon.
21 Q. So during that time it was quite logical that armed persons stood
22 guard and provided security for important buildings and facilities; is
23 that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And the same thing holds true today but without these
1 long-barrelled weapons; right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now tell me this: When you crossed to join the BH army, did you
4 take this rifle with you to the BH army?
5 A. No, I did not.
6 Q. You didn't. Are you quite sure of that?
7 A. No, I didn't.
8 Q. And who did you leave your weapon with?
9 A. I didn't leave it to anyone.
10 Q. Did you hide it?
11 A. It was with me all the time.
12 Q. Aha. So you did take it?
13 A. Well, it belongs to me. It's mine.
14 Q. Now, the Prosecutor showed us some documents -- showed you some
15 documents that are very interested -- interesting to us.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just something specific. This
17 rifle that you had with you, did you have it when you were in the 2nd
18 Battalion and when you went to SIS and then returned to the battalion?
19 Because you said it belonged to me, you said. Now, belonging to you, does
20 that mean you bought it or what? What can you tell us about that?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I say the rifle was mine, then
22 it means mine since 1992. I didn't leave anywhere, or leave it anywhere.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Who gave you that rifle, the 2nd
24 Battalion, the SIS, or did you buy it yourself?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I got it.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Got it from whom?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the reserve force of the former
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Reserve force of the former JNA.
5 So Serbs gave you the rifle; right?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, that's not what it means. A
7 Muslim man came to the command. He gave me the rifle and four clips.
8 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Q. Could we just see a Prosecution Exhibit, P 00619, in e-court.
10 You will be able to see this on the screen.
11 It's all right if it's only in the language that the witness
12 understands. We can keep this screen.
13 The Prosecutor has shown you this exhibit, in fact, the bottom
14 part of it. I'd only like to ask you, you've already responded to my
15 colleague Mr. Karnavas that you were not familiar with the situation in
16 Konjic at all. Can you now look at this daily report for the 21st of
17 October, 1992. I will ask you if any of the events described in the first
18 paragraph are familiar to you. I will read very slowly.
19 "According to information from Central Bosnia, the situation in
20 municipalities Vitez, Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Gornji Vakuf is getting
21 evermore complex. A military police company was stopped between Prozor
22 and Gornji Vakuf in a Muslim village where barricades have been put up.
23 The Muslim side requires approval from the superior command in order to
24 let our forces through."
25 Then we'll skip a bit and read on.
1 "We have no information as to whether they received approval, but
2 during the night the commander of the company from Prozor called. He says
3 that Muslim forces are fortifying in the area of municipalities Gornji
4 Vakuf, Konjic, and Jablanica, whereas heavy fighting is going on in
5 municipalities Vitez, Travnik, and Novi Travnik. We received information
6 from the same source that Muslim forces in Vitez and Travnik got
7 reinforcement from the area of Zenica and Konjic."
8 From this passage we see that the situation in that territory was
9 rather complex.
10 Talking about the 21st of October, were you aware of all these
12 A. I was aware that there were skirmishes in Novi Travnik, but I'm
13 seeing this document for the first time. I knew about clashes and
14 skirmishes and exchanges of fire.
15 Q. You used the word in our language which means an exchange of fire.
16 A. Yes. They were shooting at each other.
17 Q. Now, let's look at this document again. It says that: "In view
18 of the conflict in Central Bosnia, the situation in Mostar in the early
19 morning hours was deteriorating."
20 Do you agree with this?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. It says: "On the orders of the representative of the defence
23 division and based on decisions of HVO Presidency, we took control earlier
24 this day of the following buildings in the town ..."
25 At that time you were in the Ministry of Interior?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You were part of a security detail in SIS. Do you know --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat the name?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think both sides took control of
5 the buildings. Both -- both worked on taking control of those --
6 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Just a moment. I have a problem with the record. I asked you a
8 question. At that time, you were employed in the SIS. Did you know who
9 at that moment was in the post office building. And after that you
10 answered. Could you repeat your answer, because we have an interpretation
11 problem. You said both sides --
12 A. Both sides were working together is what I said.
13 Q. Where?
14 A. The post office building.
15 Q. What else did you say?
16 A. I said the buildings indicated here were all buildings where we
17 worked together, including the police centre and the police station.
18 Q. So what you're saying is, when you're talking about joint work,
19 you mean that there were HVO members and members of the BH army together.
20 A. That's right.
21 Q. Let's look at page 2 of this document. I want to show you one
22 more thing. Just before the signature.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The questions you're asking on
24 this document, I remind everyone that it's from Mr. Coric himself. It's
25 to show what, to demonstrate what? To challenge what is written? What is
1 your objective? What is your purpose?
2 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] The purpose of this line of
3 questioning is to demonstrate precisely what the Prosecutor demonstrated.
4 The Prosecutor focused only on the second passage, that the situation in
5 Mostar was a reflection of developments in other areas where the HVO was
6 attacked by the army, or as they put it here, where there were conflicts
7 between the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO. Because the
8 Prosecutor showed only the second passage, and taken in isolation, it
9 seems to indicate that everything was done without any reason whatsoever
10 and that these buildings were taken over on a whim.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understand what you're saying,
12 but the passage begins: "The situation in Mostar has deteriorated in the
13 early morning hours," and at that moment the author of the document
14 describes the entire situation. And what you're saying is that what is
15 written does not apply to Mostar but to Gornji Vakuf.
16 That may well be, but it's certainly not this witness, who is not
17 aware of this document at all, who would be able to clear up this matter,
18 but you may continue.
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. But precisely
20 because the Prosecutor has shown this witness a number of documents that
21 the witness is not familiar with, and he's not familiar with the situation
22 described, I want to see what the witness does know.
23 The translation is slightly different from the original, so I am
24 going to read what this paragraph reads like in Croatian. It says: "In
25 view of the conflict in Central Bosnia, in the early morning hours the
1 situation in Mostar is deteriorating."
2 From this sentence in the original, we clearly see the
3 relationship between the situation in Central Bosnia and the situation in
5 Q. Could you please look at page 2, the sentence that begins
6 with: "Similarly, in the area around the old bridge in Mostar,
7 fortification and deployment of heavy weaponry has been observed by
8 members of the Mostar battalion."
9 Were you aware of that? Yes or no?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Now, if you please, can we look at document P 02169, also shown to
12 you by the Prosecutor. This is a report about the situation in Mostar
13 town of the 41st Motorised Brigade.
14 The Prosecutor showed you this document, and you said that on that
15 day, in fact at that time, you had already returned to the army of Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina. Where were you, if you can remember, on the 1st of May,
18 A. The 1st.
19 Q. The 1st, the 2nd. What was your routine? Where did you usually
20 go in these days?
21 A. When I was in -- at that time I was in Crnica.
22 Q. What were you doing? What was your job?
23 A. Since an agreement had been reached that all military units of the
24 HVO and the army of BH should retreat to barracks and that only joint
25 patrols of the military police should be out in the town --
1 Q. We'll come back to that agreement. It's also important to me. In
2 any case, for that reason, you had moved to Crnica.
3 A. No, we didn't believe in that. We came to Crnica to defend it.
4 We had been in Mostar hotel and then we were driven out. And after the
5 politicians reached that agreement, we moved to Crnica in civilian clothes
6 because it was the separation line.
7 Q. You mean, you didn't comply with this order and that agreement
8 with Mr. Arif Pasalic and the other side. Instead, you put on civilians
9 clothes and you went to Crnica to defend it.
10 A. No. We were transported to APCs to Crnica -- on APCs to Crnica
11 because -- we had to wear civilian clothes because troops were not allowed
12 to move according to the agreement.
13 Q. Let us look very briefly at this document. The Prosecutor asked
14 you only if you agree that this is what happened. We see references to
15 Buna and Bijelo Polje on page 1. On page 2, reference is made to
16 Breznica. On the third page, there are references to some recommendations
17 by Mr. Hujdur. Did you know what was going on at Bijelo Polje, Dreznica
18 at that time, what recommendation Mr. Hujdur was giving concerning the
19 situation in Mostar?
20 A. I obviously didn't turn the right page, but all things that you
21 ask me, all of those are important things for Mostar.
22 Q. I asked you if you were aware of what was going on.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What?
25 A. We knew that they put up their check-point in Buna and that they
1 were not allowing anyone from the army to leave Mostar.
2 Q. Did you know what kind of recommendations Mr. Hujdur had issued
3 related to those events?
4 A. I believe that, like every military commander, he was trying to
5 fortify his defence line.
6 Q. Did you know to whom he sent those recommendations?
7 A. It would have been logical to send them to the units in that area.
8 Q. Then that is that. Thank you. You said further that the sniping
9 war in Mostar began on the 19th of April, 1993; is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know if the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the 4th
12 Corps had a snipers platoon?
13 A. No.
14 Q. You also said at that time you were accommodated in Mostar Hotel?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you were informed by Mr. Arif Pasalic that you had to withdraw
17 from there because some sort of agreement had been reached with the HDZ?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How long did that situation last, that situation of sniping war?
20 A. What do you mean?
21 Q. A month or two?
22 A. From the 19th of April to the 19th of May they attacked us.
23 Q. When did Arif Pasalic tell you that?
24 A. It lasted all the time when we were in Mostar hotel. Perhaps 10
1 Q. Well, according to your interpretation now, since you claim that
2 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina did not have a snipers platoon at that
3 time, did it have snipers? Did snipers shoot at the HVO?
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Maybe this is again an error in translation. I
5 have not heard the witness say that the ABiH had no snipers platoon. He
6 said he did not know about it when you asked him. In the English version.
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise to Your Honours, but I
8 understood the witness to say that they did not have one. But we'll ask
9 the witness again.
10 Q. Do you know whether the 4th Corps, we're talking about the 4th
11 Corps and the units in Mostar, was there a snipers platoon in Mostar?
12 A. From what I know, no, it did not.
13 Q. From what you know it did not. Were there snipers in other units?
14 Do you have any knowledge about that? The army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
15 I mean.
16 A. Well, like any other army, they had a sniper or two.
17 Q. Please tell me only what you know. You were at the Mostar Hotel.
18 Did you have a sniper in your unit?
19 A. No.
20 Q. What you just said, any army has a sniper or two, did you see any
21 snipers in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did you see any sniper rifles?
22 A. I saw snipers.
23 Q. When? Can you tell me?
24 A. What do you mean when?
25 Q. When and where? It's a long period. Did you see them between the
1 19th and --
2 A. Between 1992 through 1996.
3 Q. This is a serious matter, sir.
4 A. You are asking me very unserious things about the sniping war. It
5 lasted all the way. While we were in the Mostar Hotel there was a sniper
6 on the rooftop of a bank and he was shooting at us.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Everybody is talking at the same time. The
8 interpreters cannot do this any more.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We were going very
10 quickly. I'll have to check the record.
11 You said there was a sniper atop the roof of a bank. Did you see
12 that sniper yourself with your own eyes?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he was shooting.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And he belonged to which army,
15 HVO, BH army, Serbs?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The HVO.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you're sure?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sure.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you -- can you tell us, Witness, which bank
20 you are talking about?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm now talking about the glass
22 building of the hotel. That was the closest to Mostar Hotel. It was the
23 tallest building in Mostar.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So there was an HVO sniper atop
25 the roof of that bank. The BH army could not use their own sniper to
1 shoot at that sniper?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would have been impossible,
3 because it was a very tall building and it only had an elevator shaft on
4 the roof. You could not simply get there. It was very high up, and we
5 were all down there on the road. That was the tallest building in town.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So there was some sort of rocket
7 launcher available. Couldn't you shoot at him with a rocket launcher?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Rocket launcher? If we had had a
9 rocket launcher, the bank would not survive for a long time. We did not
10 have a rocket launcher, regrettably.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
12 Q. To tell you the truth, I don't see anything funny here, and with
13 all due respect for everything you've gone through, I have to say I would
14 appreciate the same treatment, because we are deciding the fate of some
15 people here.
16 Can we see another document in relation to what you've just spoken
17 about. It's a Defence exhibit, 2D 00313. You will see it presently on
18 the screen.
19 I will slow down. Thank you.
20 We can look at this together. It's a joint communique.
21 Can we see the bottom of the page, please.
22 Does it say "Commander of the 4th Corps of the army of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, Arif Pasalic"?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And "Chief of the OZ JIH, Petar Zelenika"? Can we see --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can we see the top now. I have no time. I will just read some of
3 the passages, but it's in large enough lettering you can see it.
4 It says: "Today, on the 21st of April, 1993, at a meeting
5 attended by the Chief of Operations zone south-east Herzegovina, Mr. Petar
6 Zelenika, and the commander of the 4th Corps of ABiH, Mr. Arif Pasalic,
7 the following conclusions were adopted:
8 "1. To issue a joint order to relocate all troops of the army of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina to Konak and South Camp, whereas HVO troops are to be
10 relocated into Tihomir Misic barracks and Heliodrom barracks. The time
11 allowed for the relocation is 48 hours from the issuing of the order
12 (deadline is at 1300 hours on the 23rd April)."
13 Then it goes on:
14 "2. The military police of the HVO shall remain in their
15 positions at the engineering faculty, whereas the military police of the
16 ABiH shall remain at Senovac awaiting further orders.
17 "3. It is prohibited to all those not serving in the army to
18 carry rifles."
19 Further on:
20 "After relocation of troops to barracks, all covers and
21 fortifications will be removed."
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We know the document. The
23 Judges know the document. You don't have to read it all to him. Just ask
24 him the question.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] All I want to do is to have the
1 witness see the entire document and point 6 refers to the mixed
2 commission, and my question linked to this document is the following.
3 Q. Do you remember that it was about that time, as you said, that
4 Arif Pasalic told you that you had to leave Mostar Hotel and leave those
5 positions and relocate to positions that he had agreed upon with the HDZ?
6 A. No. That was before that.
7 Q. Then I really have no further questions, because quite obviously I
8 cannot clear this point up with the witness. Just a minute, Witness. I
9 just want to explain why I'm giving up.
10 The witness said that the sniper war began on the 19th, that it
11 lasted 10 days, and that after that Mr. Arif Pasalic told us -- he said
12 that we had to leave the hotel in Mostar.
13 Now, I have presented an exhibit to the witness showing that this
14 occurred precisely as he said, on the 21st, and that the deadline was the
15 23rd, and the witness now says that they were supposed to leave the
16 building, the Mostar Hotel, earlier.
17 Now, with respect to the confusion that I cannot understand
18 anything now, I am giving up on further questioning.
19 A. I apologise, but I would like to make things a bit more clear.
20 What was agreed upon on paper was not implemented on the ground. They
21 could have agreed whatever they liked. They could have reached agreement
22 over a period of millions of years and it would never have been translated
23 in practice on the ground. So when I said that we were in hotel Mostar
24 for 10 days then we were there for 10 days. UNPROFOR came to fetch us and
25 took us to Crnica where the HDZ and SDA had reached an agreement. When
1 we're talking about the conflict, the army -- between the BH army and the
2 HVO --
3 Q. Just a moment, please, Witness.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There might be some confusion
5 between what you were thinking and what the -- and what Defence counsel
6 has just asked you.
7 We have a document here which is a public announcement, a
8 well-known public announcement, which says that after a meeting held on
9 the 21st of April, there's a whole series of points and things that were
10 decided, and counsel is now asking you whether what was provided for was
11 ever executed, was put into practice. And you said, "We had left
12 beforehand, before that."
13 Now, does that mean that when you left it was because you
14 anticipated this or not? What do you have to say to that?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, the united police
16 and military forces to patrol the town of Mostar, that was after Mostar
17 Hotel. The politicians reached an agreement. That's what Arif told me,
18 at least, that the HDZ and the SDA had agreed that we should leave Mostar
19 Hotel and that they left it to them.
20 Afterwards, after that, when we left Mostar Hotel, there were a
21 whole lot of negotiations between the two sides. But don't think that the
22 date that you mention here and what I'm telling you about is the same
23 thing, because the things that happened between them, the more
24 higher-ranking officers did not reflect and have any effect on what was
25 happening in the streets. And if we're going to be quite honest and
1 frank, if both sides had reached an agreement, each side told their army
2 to stay where they were and just to change into civilian clothing.
3 Mostar is a very small town. I'm not saying that the gentlemen
4 over there wanted to come to the right bank and kill us or anything like
5 that, but there was the desire to come out on the right bank. Now who
6 wanted this to happen I don't want to accuse any of them over there, but
7 that was the complex situation in Mostar. It was so complex that it was
8 impossible to point a finger and say that's the man, that's the person,
9 and I don't want to hold any of those persons over there responsible for
11 But one thing is true, that orders were issued whereas quite
12 another thing was done on the ground, because if all the soldiers were to
13 respect all the orders that were given, there would never be warfare.
14 There would never be wars. It would never come to that.
15 What I'm talking about is about military strategists. Now, what
16 they decided I can't say, but --
17 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that was an answer to
18 your question so I didn't want to interrupt the witness, but I do just
19 wish to clarify one point and ask a final question.
20 Q. You then say that when Arif Pasalic told you that you had to leave
21 Mostar, you sort of received an oral instruction to change into civilian
23 A. I didn't want to leave Mostar.
24 Q. That means you didn't want to follow orders.
25 A. Of course not.
1 Q. Of course not you say. Okay. No more questions.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Next counsel, please.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not quite sure whether there is a
4 misunderstanding. You were talking about leaving Mostar, and we were
5 talking about Hotel Mostar. Did you mean leaving the Hotel Mostar
6 position, or did you mean leaving the town of Mostar?
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Hotel Mostar.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That's a different thing.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to say -- well, can I
10 have a cigarette break? I sort of feel a bit weak, and I don't want to --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're going to have a break in
12 five minutes' time. We're going to have to adjourn the hearing for today,
13 because there's another trial in this courtroom. So there's just five
14 minutes left.
15 Mr. Praljak, you have five minutes, and we shall continue on
16 Monday with this witness, unless you're going to finish within five
17 minutes and nobody else wishes to say anything.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, I will end in five
19 minutes' time as far as I'm concerned.
20 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. 1992, we'll get through this quickly. Do you know that I was the
24 commander of that zone in May and April 1992?
25 A. Well, I don't know exactly, to be quite frank. Perhaps you were.
1 Q. All right. Tell me, at that time in May, mid-May, the Jugo army,
2 let's call it that, did it expel all the Muslims or almost all the Muslims
3 from the left bank to the right bank?
4 A. It didn't expel them. The military did.
5 Q. You took part in the liberation of the left bank. Do you know who
6 was at the head of that action?
7 A. Who led the action?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. Cernica, Donja Mahala and so on. There was the BH army. Now, if
10 we're talking about liberation, then let's take it in order. First of
11 all, you liberated whom? Or rather, the HVO did.
12 Q. All right. Now, tell me, in Mostar at the time, were there nine
13 HVO battalions?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And one ABiH battalion; right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And later on, were there any obstacles in turning this battalion
18 into the 1st brigade, Mostar Brigade as it was called? Did that evolve
19 normally without encountering any problems? Was it an easy change?
20 A. In Mostar there were always problems.
21 Q. Yes. Well, let's leave behind these minor problems, but global
22 problems. Did anybody obstruct this, disarm? Did you get weapons at that
24 A. In 1992, you knew exactly -- I had information where we went down
25 Goranci, the HVO stopped the truck. There were two trucks in fact and
1 they wanted us to hand over half the truck. We refused to do that and we
2 went on our way. Halfway to the Goranci position, we stopped them
3 physically and brought both trucks to Mostar. So when I'm talking about
4 these conflicts, sir, I don't want to say that it was the leadership of
5 the HVO or anything like that. I'm just telling you what I know about.
6 Q. Yes. I'm not challenging that about these two soldiers. The only
7 problem we have here is when you say some two soldiers for whatever reason
8 stop a truck then you say it's -- then one says the HVO stopped the
9 trucks. The HVO is an organisation whereas these two soldiers, they're
10 just two simple soldiers. We don't know anything else about that. So
11 there is a misunderstanding.
12 A. I doubt that two soldiers who know that a convoy bearing weapons
13 is passing by can be just two ordinary soldiers and nothing more.
14 Q. Let's suppose that they would have stopped them before the Goranci
15 position. For example, Posusje Grude, Siroki Brijeg, they wouldn't have
16 been allowed to advance to Goranci had the HVO wanted to stop those
18 A. Well, I don't know that.
19 Q. Well, think about it and then you'll come to the same conclusion.
20 A. Perhaps they didn't come from Ljubuski.
21 Q. Well, they came from Grude then. But tell me whether at that
22 time -- we're soldiers, the two of us. Now at that time, on a daily
23 basis, let's call them the Serb forces, the Yugoslav forces bombing Mostar
24 left and right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was there bombing of greater intensity, lesser intensity, 1992 and
3 A. Well, in 1992 -- well, in 1993 there was less in town. Well, you
4 could say that.
5 Q. Yes. Less. But there was constant shooting both on the left and
6 right bank. Would that be correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, if you look at the whole situation, our situation together
9 and all the problems that a town has with it. You know that towns have
10 various problems and people in them, family problems or whatever
11 problems. Right up to May 1993, was the situation in people -- in which
12 people tried to calm the situation down, negotiate and then it erupted and
13 three or four days were needed to calm the situation down. Would you say
14 that's true? Is that your experience of the situation?
15 A. With all the greatest problem, and I'm talking about the town of
16 Mostar now, is the Vance-Owen Plan according to which it probably
17 belonged -- came to belong to the Croats, and certain structures, and
18 don't think I mean you now, but some civilian and military structures
19 wanted Mostar to be their -- the capital of Herceg-Bosna, and they did
20 everything they could, including negotiations and bickering between the
21 two armies as to who was going to take control of the town of Mostar.
22 I quite simply could not leave Mostar town, for example, with my
23 ID army card giving me permission to visit my sister in Split for five
24 days with the -- with the stamp of the HVO, and mostly that was the unit.
25 And where Petar Zelenika was, I had this permit and could move around
1 freely and all of us who were in the brigade could do that. We would take
2 these permits and leave Mostar. So quite simply with a BH army permit, we
3 weren't allowed to leave town. We couldn't leave town. We had
4 unpleasantness. Whether that was ordered -- whether those were the orders
5 issued or not I don't know. All I know is that the people in the HVO
6 would come to us, and they went to see their women and children, and it
7 was easier for them than it was in the BH army. We had to look through
8 various channels to be given permits to be allowed to leave town.
9 Q. I would gladly discuss all this, what kind of situation prevailed,
10 whether you had unpleasantness or not, but the HVO had problems like that,
11 and so did other people on various sides, but in April, after talking to
12 General [indiscernible], the attempt to calm the situation down at least
13 temporarily according to the Vance-Owen Plan. Would you agree to that?
14 A. I didn't understand any of what you said. What did you say?
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Shall I conclude this or can
16 I go on and ask another two questions perhaps, Your Honours?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, listen, I
18 assume that Counsel Alaburic and all the other Defence counsels have
19 questions, so we're going to continue on Monday. We cannot do otherwise.
20 So, sir, you said you were ready to answer all the questions. You
21 said you were available on Monday. So you will be back on Monday for the
22 proceedings which start at quarter past 2.00, and you will have two more
23 questions from Mr. Praljak and then other questions from the various
24 Defence counsel.
25 According to my calculations, the remaining counsel have 20
1 minutes each. So that means we have another one hour left for the
2 witness. We lost an hour this week discussing protective measures and
3 issues about that.
4 So I invite you to reconvene on Monday at 2.15. The meeting is
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Monday, the 22nd day of January,
8 2007, at 2.15 p.m.