1 Tuesday, 11 November 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, will you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
8 versus Jadranko Prlic et al., Thank you, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar. On
10 this Tuesday the 11th of November, 2008, I bid good morning to all those
11 present, the accused, the ladies and gentlemen of the Prosecution and
12 Defence counsel, as well as all those assisting us today.
13 We are going to continue with the examination-in-chief, and I'm
14 going to ask the usher to be kind enough to bring in the witness.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Before the witness comes in, Your Honour, I do
16 wish to go on record with respect to one matter, and if we could do it in
17 closed session or private session.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
19 [Private session]
11 Pages 34370-34373 redacted. Private session.
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in public session.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 WITNESS: ZDRAVKO BATINIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. Please be
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will give the floor to
16 Mr. Karnavas to complete his examination-in-chief.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Your
19 Examination by Mr. Karnavas: [Continued]
20 Q. Good morning, Mr. Batinic.
21 A. Good morning, everyone.
22 Q. I'm going to ask you to speak slowly again just as a
23 precautionary measure, and again, when referring to dates to give us --
24 or to periods to give us the dates, months and year, whenever possible.
25 We'll pick up where we left off yesterday. If I can turn your
1 attention now to document 1D 01692. That should be towards the end of
2 your binder. 1D 01692.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Perhaps we can get the assistance of the usher to
4 find the document for the gentleman.
5 Q. 1D 01692. If you look at the yellow tabs on the side, you'll
6 find them. They're quite -- 1D 01692. 1D 01692. Do you have it, sir?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Okay. I'm going to ask you to move very quickly because I have
9 limited amount of time and we just spent five minutes finding one
11 If you look at this document, we see it's dated 22 June 1992. We
12 see it's a decision. Yesterday, you told us about the Crisis Staff
13 becoming at some point -- changing its name to Presidency. Is this the
14 decision that does that?
15 A. The Crisis Staff was not renamed the Presidency, but the Council
16 for National Defence, which had always existed under wartime conditions,
17 became the Presidency of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf.
18 Q. All right. And the Council for National Defence, who were the
19 members of that, if you could just briefly tell us.
20 A. The National Defence Council of Gornji Vakuf consisted of the
21 president of the assembly of the municipality ex officio; the president
22 of the Executive Council ex officio; the secretary for national defence
23 of the municipality also by virtue of his office; the commander of the
24 Territorial Defence Staff by virtue of his office; the commander of the
25 public security station, also ex officio; and two Croats and two Muslims
1 additionally at the proposal of political parties.
2 Q. What about the presidents of the political parties, HDZ and SDA?
3 Were they members?
4 A. They could be members, but not necessarily. In this case, both
5 the president of the HDZ for Gornji Vakuf municipality and the president
6 of the SDA of the municipality were members of the National Defence
8 Q. All right. Now, you did introduce one particular position that
9 may need qualification, and that was the secretary for national defence.
10 Could you please very briefly explain what -- what that position
12 A. The secretary for national defence of the municipality of Gornji
13 Vakuf was in charge of keeping records of military conscripts in the
14 municipality. He was responsible for their mobilisation, and in
15 peacetime he would send them to serve in the Yugoslav People's Army.
16 Q. All right. And we can see in this particular decision under I,
17 item 2, the commanders of the Territorial Defence and HVO defence; they
18 are part of the Presidency. Is that correct?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And who were -- again, if you could remind us, who were the
21 commanders at the time?
22 A. In those days, the commander of the armed forces of the HVO was
23 Mr. Zrinko Tokic; and the commander of the armed forces of the TO,
24 Mr. Fikret Musa. And by decision of the Presidency in view of the
25 overall situation or, rather, the wartime conditions in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, they became full-fledged members of the municipal
3 Q. And what about the secretary of national defence? Do you recall
4 who served in that position at that time?
5 A. The secretary for national defence was Mr. Reuf Begovic.
6 Q. 1D 01687. That's the next document. Here we have an order.
7 It's dated 24 June 1992
8 building. And we can see from the very first item under Roman numeral I
9 that the Territorial Defence and the HVO commands are ordered to deploy
10 their personnel to secure the Municipal Assembly building.
11 Now, yesterday you did inform us that something had occurred in
12 town on or about the 18th, 19th of June, all the way to the 20, 21st of
13 June. Could you please tell us, why was it -- why was this order
15 A. From the 20th of June, 1992, when the first serious incident
16 occurred in Gornji Vakuf, members of the armed forces of both peoples
17 behaved in various ways. There was fear in the municipal administration
18 that individuals might break in armed into the municipal building, and
19 that is why such an order was issued for the people in the administration
20 to be able to do their job unhindered and also to prevent armed soldiers
21 roaming the streets of the town.
22 Q. All right. 1D 01690. Again, this is 24 June 1992. This is a
23 decision introducing a curfew in the territory of Gornji Vakuf
24 could see in Roman numeral III
25 Defence and the HVO commanders and the chief of the civilian protection
1 are responsible for implementing the decision.
2 Why was it necessary to introduce this decision by the Presidency
3 of Gornji Vakuf?
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, if I may comment on your question.
5 You ask why was it necessary. How do you know that it was necessary, and
6 how could the witness know? Would it not be more prudent to ask why was
7 it imposed, for what purpose was it imposed?
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, we could do that.
9 Q. Were you a member of the Presidency at the time, sir?
10 Mr. Batinic, I'm asking a question. Were you a member of the Presidency?
11 A. I was.
12 Q. And did you participate at these hearings?
13 A. I participated at all meetings of the Presidency.
14 Q. Why was this order issued?
15 A. To calm the overall situation in the territory of the
16 municipality after the incident of the 20th of June, 1992; and movement
17 after 2300 hours until 5.00 a.m.
18 problems again.
19 Q. All right. If we go on to the next document, 1D 01784. This is
20 dated the same date, so obviously you would have been present when this
21 ordered was issued. If you could please comment on the order itself,
22 which is to remove all check-points located within settlements and all
23 fortifications and heavy weapons deployed in and around the city. And
24 again, we can see on number Roman numeral II that the TO and HVO commands
25 are to appoint mixed groups to inspect the territory of the municipality.
1 So could you please comment on this particular order.
2 I skipped one document. I'll have to go back to it. My
4 A. After the incident of the 20th of June, 1992, every village had
5 its own check-point, and that is why such an order was necessary for
6 these check-points to be removed so that only those at the entrance of
7 Gornji Vakuf from the direction of Prozor, Bugojno, and Novi Travnik
8 should remain.
9 Q. Do you know whether this order was actually carried out?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, if you go -- in your binder if you go back one document. My
12 apologies. And that is to 1D 01691. That's the previous document. 1D
13 01691. This is, again, on the 24th, the same day. You're present. This
14 is an order on an investigation into the unfortunate events which
15 occurred between 18 June 1992
16 it. It's self-explanatory, but can you please tell us whether this
17 particular order was carried out.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And I know you spoke about it, to it. You told us yesterday the
20 results, but again, just to remind us, was a single report compiled with
21 agreed-upon findings, or were there separate reports? If you -- if you
23 A. For the reasons I referred to yesterday, there was no complete
24 agreement among investigation teams of the HVO, the TO, and the offices
25 of the public security station regarding the events of the 20th of June,
1 and that is why there wasn't a single document as a report about the
2 event of the 20th of June, but the parties had different reports.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Karnavas. I would like to come
4 back of a --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All these reports were in written
6 form, I'm sorry.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to come back to that question where
8 we have already had a little exchange about. You asked why were these
9 check-points removed. If we look at the answer, the witness gives only
10 an indication that there were check-points in villages.
11 Of course, there must be check-points so that you can remove
12 them, but you have not explained, Mr. Batinic, why it was necessary to
13 order check-points in villages to be removed. One can imagine, but maybe
14 you can give an explanation.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To enable free passage of people
16 within the territory of Gornji Vakuf municipality without them being
17 stopped and checked out at these village check-points; in other words, to
18 establish the three check-points that had already been formed at the
19 entry to the municipality.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That's what I guessed, but it's
21 better after the lecture we benefitted from from Mr. Karnavas this
22 morning that we actually hear it and have it on the record. Thank you.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Far be it from me to lecture to
24 anyone, but -- which is why I asked the question why was it necessary,
25 because I presumed an order wouldn't be passed unless it was necessary,
1 but I'm trying to speed up the time.
2 Q. 1D 01785. This is another order, same day. This is banning all
3 movement of armed soldiers within the city. Why was this order passed,
4 and what was happening in the city at the time that would make this order
6 A. At the time, at the beginning of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
7 there were and lot of little chiefs or heroes who were conducting their
8 own wars in cafes with rifles on their shoulders. Such individuals had
9 to be removed from the streets of the town of Gornji Vakuf. When they
10 needed rifles or arms, they should have been at the lines facing the
11 Serbian forces towards Radusa and other areas.
12 This is why the order was issued, according to which armed
13 members of the armed forces were not to be allowed to move around town
15 Q. And did that apply to -- to both sides, members of the
16 Territorial Defence and the HVO?
17 A. Yes. The military police implemented this order, the military
18 police of the HVO and the military police of the TO or, rather,
19 Territorial Defence.
20 Q. All right. And I take it when you indicated that there were some
21 sheriffs or heros, are we speaking about from one particular armed force,
22 or were they from both?
23 A. There were various kinds of groups. I'm not making a distinction
24 between the HVO armed forces and the armed forces of the TO. We're
25 talking about irresponsible individuals of the armed forces from both
2 Q. All right. 1D 01786. This is an order on the removal of all
3 flags from buildings within the city. And again, we spoke about this
4 yesterday. We do see in Roman numeral I that there is an exception
5 except for those religious buildings and barracks, so first let's talk
6 about this exception.
7 Did religious buildings -- were religious buildings allowed to
8 have flags, coat of arms on them?
9 A. In Gornji Vakuf, in the town itself, there was a Catholic church,
10 and there were two mosques, Muslim mosques, and no one could ban anyone
11 from there being a flag on the mosque. It's the green flag with a half
12 moon, with a crescent or, rather, the Roman flag if it was to be hoisted
13 onto the Catholic church.
14 Q. All right. And it says also the barracks. What sort of flags
15 would have been flown on the barracks, and where were the barracks
17 A. The TO barracks -- the barracks of the armed forces of the TO and
18 the barracks of the armed forces of the HVO were next to each other.
19 There was just a fence separating them. They were located in a factory
20 of the TO, and in another place there was the HVO. At the entrance to
21 the barracks, it was natural for there to be a flag on the barracks of
22 the TO, a flag such as they wanted it, a flag with lilies. And at the
23 entrance to the barracks of the HVO, the flag of the Croatian people in
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina had been put up.
25 Q. All right. Now, we don't see any exceptions in this order as far
1 as allowing flags to be flown on religious holidays, but I believe
2 yesterday you did tell us that both during -- Bajram and Christmas flags
3 would be -- were put up. Is that right?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Were any orders, to your knowledge, issued by the Presidency that
6 -- when those flags did go up that the flags should be removed?
7 A. Not on the church and the mosques.
8 Q. I'm speaking about the holiday. When the holiday seasons came,
9 Bajram, was there an order issued that there should -- no flags should be
10 displayed? And likewise, when Christmas came and New Years, that no --
11 the Croat flag of the -- or the Croatian flag of the people of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina should not be flown?
13 A. No, no such order was issued. It wouldn't have made sense to
14 issue such an order, and the order we have just been discussing had been
15 drafted to calm down the overall situation in the area of the Gornji
16 Vakuf municipality after the incident of the 20th of June. The purpose
17 of the order was to bring things back to normal in the area of the
19 Q. 1D 01792. This is an order to return the Gornji Vakuf
20 territorial armed forces to the territory of Radusa
21 explain this particular order, the reasoning behind it?
22 A. At the time of the incident, the 20th of June, 1992, TO forces
23 had been withdrawn from the Defence line facing the Serbian forces at the
24 Radusa mountain, and they had been assembled in and around the town of
25 Gornji Vakuf. At the defence lines facing the Serbian aggressor, there
1 only remained the forces of the HVO. As four days later from the 20th of
2 June to the 24th of June, 1992, the TO forces didn't decide to return to
3 the Radusa mountain on their own and to establish a joint defence line
4 with the HVO facing the Serbian aggressor, this order forced them to act
5 in this manner.
6 Q. All right. 1D 01686. This is now 28 June, and let me ask you,
7 were you present when this order was -- was decided upon by the
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And this is an order to return the offices of the public security
11 station and Municipal Secretariat of National Defence, and we can see
12 from Roman numeral I the HVO is ordered to open the office -- or these
13 offices, and we see that there is a commission to be there present
14 when -- when it is open, when they are open.
15 Could you please explain this order very briefly?
16 A. The building of the SJB, the public security station, which is
17 where the Secretariat for National Defence for the defence of Gornji
18 Vakuf also had its premises, was in a part of town mainly inhabited by
19 Croats. At the time of the incident on the 20th of June, 1992, HVO
20 forces had been deployed at the demarcation line. The purpose was to
21 protect the Croatian population in the Croat part of town, and they used
22 the SJB building and the building of the Secretariat for National
23 Defence. The commanders of the HVO, as they were aware that some members
24 of the HVO might enter the buildings, the premises where there were
25 confidential documents - in the case of the SJB there were driving
1 licenses, passports, et cetera - they, therefore, locked those premises
2 so that a mess wouldn't be made, so that these very important documents
3 wouldn't be tampered with and scattered all around. That's why this
4 order was issued, so that the premises would be returned to those who
5 used them. The keys were returned, and the relevant commission was
7 Q. All right. 1D 01693. This is 3 July 1992. This is an order on
8 providing security during agricultural work on the territory of Radusa
9 Why was this order issued?
10 A. The Radusa mountain was where the defence line was for the HVO
11 and the TO forces facing the Serbian forces which had, in our mind,
12 occupied Kupres, and on the slopes of Radusa, in directly -- in the
13 direct vicinity of the war zone, the inhabitants who lived close to
14 Radusa had fields that they cultivated, and they had to be allowed to
15 harvest, to do their work without feeling that their lives were
17 Q. 1D 01694. This is an order on urgent repairs of a section of the
18 Gornji Vakuf-Novi Travnik road. If you could explain just very briefly,
19 what section are we talking about, and why was this order issued?
20 A. The road, the macadam road between Gornji Vakuf and Novi Travnik
21 was the only route that linked Central Bosnia to south-west Bosnia and
23 Road of Salvation, that could be used at the time. Various vehicles used
24 this road; and as a result, it was necessary to repair the road.
25 Q. 1D 01688. This is 8 July 1992
1 were present when this order was decided upon. This is to limit the
2 opening and licensing hours of catering facilities. So were you present,
3 and why was this order issued?
4 A. Yes. Yes.
5 Q. Why was it issued?
6 A. Well, because people, members of the armed forces, would spend
7 most of their free time in town. Many of them would drink. In fact, all
8 of them would drink - I have to put it that way - and that is why this
9 order was issued. Alcohol was not to be served after 1400 hours.
10 Rather, the purpose was to prevent people from drinking too much if they
11 had, well, let's say, pistols on them. They could cause problems for
12 themselves and for everyone else in such cases.
13 Q. 1D 01696. This is a conclusion. We see your name as president
14 of the Executive Committee. We can see this is issued on 27 July 1992.
15 It talks about the 13th extraordinary session; and of course, this is
16 about the installation of certain equipment for receiving HTV signals,
17 provided it doesn't interfere with TV BH. So my first question would be,
18 if there is a Presidency, how is it that we are having an extraordinary
19 session of the Executive Committee? If you could briefly answer that
21 A. The Executive Committee of the Municipal Assembly of Gornji Vakuf
22 functioned in a normal manner at the time, and these so-called
23 operational matters were carried out by the Executive Committee.
24 Q. All right. I just want to make sure that we're all clear. We
25 have the Presidency. You told us, you know, the composition and how
1 it -- how the Crisis Staff went away, and now you have this Presidency.
2 So are we to understand that while we had the Presidency, the Executive
3 Committee, as it had existed in the past, with its members having been
4 appointed by the Municipal Assembly as you told us yesterday, were
5 they -- was the Executive Committee still operational, still functioning
6 in some capacity?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. All right. We go on to the next document, 1D -- well, first let
9 me -- let me go back to this conclusion. Why was it -- why was this
10 conclusion passed?
11 A. The TV relay was on an elevation above Gornji Vakuf, and we could
12 use that relay to follow the TV programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 it was broadcast. The HVO wanted equipment to be installed at the TV
14 relay so that one could receive the Croatian television signal. So it
15 was logical for us to adopt such a conclusion.
16 Q. All right. We go on to the next document, 1D 01783. This is
17 another conclusion, same date, sign by you as president of the Executive
18 Committee, and this is for -- it says: "Conscripts whose place of
19 residence is outside of Gornji Vakuf municipality shall be, with the
20 assistance of the HVO and territorial defence -- military police, sent to
21 the first free municipality which is territorially the closest to their
22 place of origin."
23 Could you please explain that to us? I know we're talking about
24 conscripts, so these are men of military age, but what was the purpose
25 behind this conclusion?
1 A. When Bosnian Posavina fell, many military conscripts, both Croats
2 and Muslims, arrived through Croatia
3 one point in time, we had over 1.000 of them, and they had been provided
4 with accommodation in the premises of the primary school in Gornji Vakuf
5 and the sports hall and the primary school in Gornji Vakuf, in the gym in
6 Gornji Vakuf; and initially, we all made a huge effort so that these
7 people could be fed and so that they could have a rest. But in -- when
8 we look at it in the long-term, this was impossible to sustain. And on
9 the other hand, as military conscripts at that point in time, we did not
10 need them for the defence of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf from the
11 Serbian aggressor, and this is why having carried out political
12 consultations we adopted this conclusion according to which these
13 military conscripts should be escorted by military police of the TO and
14 HVO in vehicles that we provided, and they should be taken to the place
15 that was closest to their place of origin so that in these borderline
16 areas where a fierce war was being waged they could participate in the
17 defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. All right. Now, again, we see your name as president of the
19 Executive Council, and you signed it. Was this your conclusion, or was
20 it the conclusion of the Executive Council? I know we covered this
21 yesterday, but it might be helpful to remind us.
22 A. This is an invitation to the presidencies of political parties
23 that won after the multi-party elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It's an
24 invitation from the Executive Committee of Gornji Vakuf to attend a joint
1 Q. All right. That's the next document, but my earlier question was
2 the conclusion that we spoke of, the two conclusions that were signed by
3 you, were those your conclusions, your individual conclusions, or were
4 they the conclusions of the Executive Committee as a collective body as
5 you told us yesterday?
6 A. I only signed decisions, conclusions, and opinions of the
7 Executive Committee when the Executive Committee took such decisions as a
8 collective body or such a conclusion.
9 Q. Now, going on to the next document that you already commented on
10 briefly, 1D 01695. We see the date is 30 July 1992, and what's -- and
11 this is a blank form, it would appear, because we don't see a name, but
12 we do see the agenda item: "Problems encountered in the work of the
13 executive authorities in the municipality of Gornji Vakuf." So perhaps
14 you could comment on this particular item. What were, if any, the
15 problems that were being encountered by the executive authorities?
16 A. At that time, the end of July 1992, one wasn't sure how the
17 executive authorities in Gornji Vakuf municipality should function given
18 the fact that around the 22nd of July, 1992, at a meeting of
19 representatives of the Croatian and Muslim population, which was attended
20 by over 50 of the most distinguished individuals from both peoples, well,
21 on that occasion Mr. Ivan Saric suggested that an executive authority for
22 the HVO be formed as an executive and administrative authority for the
23 municipality of Gornji Vakuf.
24 Q. And was that executive and administrative authority actually set
25 up for the municipality of Gornji Vakuf at that time?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Was it ever set up? If not then, was it ever set up?
3 A. Not really. De facto, no. Not in 1992, never.
4 Q. All right. And yesterday, I believe, you did tell us that there
5 were no efforts to do so, but what about in 1993? You said 1992, de
6 facto, no. What about in 1993?
7 A. In 1993, after the clash in January and February, around the
8 beginning of March, both sides established their administrative bodies
9 or, rather, the civilian authorities of the HVO functioned, and the
10 administration of the Gornji Vakuf municipality functioned. Each
11 functioned individually according to the rules in force at the time. The
12 HVO functioned on the basis of the regulations of the community of
13 Herceg-Bosna and the municipality of Gornji Vakuf according to the
14 regulations of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. All right. 1D 01682, unless there are some questions from the
16 Bench on the previous document or answer. 1D 01682.
17 Now, we see here at the very top, it says the date. In English
18 we have it 12 October 1992
19 corrected, it's 22nd October; is that correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. All right. And now -- and we see that it is signed by the
22 president of the Gornji Vakuf SDA. That's Topcic. Just very briefly if
23 you could comment on this. It says: "As the functioning of the
24 president of the Gornji Vakuf is carried out by the president of the
25 Gornji Vakuf SDA..." And it goes on to say that the SDA essentially is
1 nominating Mr. Abdulah Garaca to replace Muhamed Palalic. Did that
2 actually occur? Did Mr. Palalic resign his position as the president, I
3 guess, of the Presidency, and was he replaced by Mr. Garaca by the SDA?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And, of course, there's nothing unusual in that. He was
6 appointed by the SDA, as you told us yesterday, and of course, they were
7 entitled, the SDA --
8 A. The SDA suggested this person.
9 Q. All right. And that was because of the elections, if I
10 understood your answers correctly yesterday.
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. Okay. Now, if we go on to the next document, 1D 01787. Here --
13 we saw earlier there was a notice. This is another notice by Mr. Palalic
14 as president of the Presidency for Gornji Vakuf. It's dated 6 November
15 1992, and this is to Mr. Saric, who you told us was the president of the
16 HDZ and also at the same time the president of the HVO, Gornji Vakuf.
17 And we see the agenda, reports by the commanders. And here, it says
18 armed forces of Bosnia Herzegovina and commander of Gornji Vakuf HVO.
19 Perhaps you could explain to us the name. We no longer see Territorial
20 Defence. Instead, we see armed forces. Is there an explanation for
22 A. I don't know exactly when the TO in Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 army of the Muslim people, started calling itself the army of Bosnia
25 Q. All right. Do you know whether this meeting ever took place? It
1 appears it was supposed to be scheduled for 10 November 1992. Did it
2 take place as scheduled and, if so, what, if anything, happened?
3 A. This meeting was held on the 16th of November, 1992, when instead
4 of Mr. Palalic as president of the Presidency of the municipality of
5 Gornji Vakuf, Abdulah Galacic [as interpreted] was appointed to this
7 Q. Do you know whether Mr. Saric appeared at that particular
9 A. Yes, he did.
10 Q. And when he's being invited at this particular meeting, in what
11 capacity is he being invited? By that I mean, we know that he holds two
12 different positions. He's the president of the HDZ and also the
13 president of the HVO.
14 A. Mr. Ivan Saric was de jure and de facto the president of the HDZ
15 for the Gornji Vakuf municipality. De jure, he was a member of the
16 national defence council for Gornji Vakuf from mid-April 1992 -- or,
17 rather, he was automatically a member of the Presidency of the Gornji
18 Vakuf municipality as a result of that position, and that's why he was
19 invited to attend this session of the Presidency of the municipality of
20 Gornji Vakuf.
21 Q. All right. 1D 00947. 1D 00947. This is dated 6 November 1992
22 and this is a report on the events in the territory of the municipality
23 of Gornji Vakuf for the period 19 to 31 October 1992.
24 If you go to the very end of the page -- of the document, we see
25 that it is signed by the president of HVO, Ivan Saric, the same gentleman
1 that you've told us, but we also see -- and we see the seal HZ HB HVO.
2 This is the same individual who was president of the HDZ and was also a
3 member of the National Defence Council, correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. If you look at this report, towards the latter -- the
6 very last paragraph in the first page in English, I draw everyone's
7 attention to -- to this particular portion, but in the text it appears
8 that Mr. Saric says that you, Zdravko Batinic, was a member of the HVO
9 Gornji Vakuf, and he also mentions in the same line a Fabijan Trbara.
10 Now, yesterday I asked you concretely and rather directly whether
11 you were a member of the HVO Gornji Vakuf, that is the executive
12 authority in 1992 or 1993, and I believe you told us no, and here we see
13 this document. Can you explain that, sir? Were you a member, or were
14 you not?
15 A. I was not.
16 Q. All right. Now, have you had a chance to look at this report,
18 A. Yes, I have.
19 Q. And, of course, you were familiar with the events at the time
20 because you told us you were living there, and can you confirm or can you
21 assist us in whether the accounts that are being reported by Mr. Saric
22 are accurate?
23 A. It corresponds to the events as described here.
24 Q. All right. Unless there are any questions, I'll move on to the
25 next document.
1 If we go to 1D 01789. And, of course, this is in connection to
2 the previous document that we had seen, 1D 01696. This is from Abdulah
3 Topcic, president of the SDA. We saw the conclusion that the -- that had
4 been passed by the executive council, and here now we have the president
5 of the SDA saying the following on November 23, 1992:
6 "With reference to your request for authorisation to install an
8 party has neither the authority nor the right to authorise this because
9 the relay is owned by BH RTV," that is radio television of Bosnia
11 view of the above."
12 And then, of course, we see who is being copied, the armed forces
13 of Gornji Vakuf being one of them.
14 First of all, the Executive Council -- if we go back to 1696, if
15 you could find that document real quickly. This is a conclusion. Is a
16 conclusion the same as a request?
17 A. A conclusion expresses agreement, whereas a request is asking for
19 Q. All right. Can you please explain how is it that the Executive
20 Committee, which had both Muslims and Croats as you indicated yesterday,
21 how it is that they as a legitimate organ, political organ, passes a
22 conclusion, and then we have the president of the SDA make -- deciding
23 whether the conclusion is going to be implemented or not, and in this
24 case saying -- calling it a request and then denying the so-called
25 request and also informing the Muslim armed forces?
1 A. This letter by the president of the SDA for Gornji Vakuf
2 municipality does not respect the conclusion of the executive council of
3 the municipality, and at the same time the armed forces are being asked,
4 probably of the BH army, of the 1st Company of the 1st Battalion, to
5 prevent any attempt to mount a signal to receive the Croatian television.
6 Q. All right. If we go on to the next document, 1D 00207. This is
7 dated 5 January 1993
8 HVO in Gornji Vakuf, HVO in, in Gornji Vakuf, and it says here that:
9 "Yesterday, on 4 January 1993
10 Brigade of the BH army of Jajce raided the offices of Gornji Vakuf
11 Municipal Council of the trade unions at the order of the president of
12 the Executive Board of Gornji Vakuf SDA, Mr. Abdulah Topcic."
13 It talks about the removal of flags, bursts of fire, that these
14 forces did the same with ten other Croatian flags, and so on. And, of
15 course, there is a request at the end from the Executive Board of the SDA
16 and the command of the Gornji Vakuf BH army in the strongest possible
17 terms to inform them about what measures would be taken to rectify this
18 or stop this sort of behaviour.
19 Can you tell us whether, indeed, these incidents occurred, first
20 of all?
21 A. Yes, they did.
22 Q. What was the 305 Mountain Brigade of BH army from Jajce doing in
23 Gornji Vakuf at the time, if you know? Go ahead.
24 A. We put the same question to representatives of the Muslim people,
25 that is, to the command of the 317th Brigade, which was a domicile
1 brigade of Muslims in Gornji Vakuf, and their answer was that they had
2 brought them there for a vacation. We didn't believe them, but there was
3 nothing we could do to remove them.
4 Q. All right. A vacation or to sort of rest? Because I've been to
5 Gornji Vakuf. In all due respect, I don't think one vacations in Gornji
6 Vakuf. Maybe Jahorina, but not Gornji Vakuf.
7 A. They brought between 500 and 600 members of the 305th Jajce
8 Brigade. I told you what their explanation was. I cannot speculate. Of
9 course, we didn't believe it.
10 Q. All right. And where were the -- these offices located, the
11 trade union, the council of the trade unions? Where were the offices
12 actually located?
13 A. The trade union office was in the part of town inhabited mostly
14 by Muslims.
15 Q. Was that in the middle of the town, outskirts, outside the town?
16 A. Very close to the centre of town.
17 Q. All right. Now, had -- how long, if you know, if you could tell
18 us, how long had those flags been up? We do see that the date here is 5
19 January 1993 about an event that occurred the day before. Do you know
20 how long those flags had been up?
21 A. But it is customary for the Croats, before Christmas, to hoist
22 their national emblems, and then they stay there until at least the Holy
23 Three Kings, that is, the 6th of January. In 1993, that was the day that
24 this festivity occurs. That is from the 25th of December, 1992, until at
25 least the 6th of January, 1993.
1 Q. All right. If we go on to the next document, 1D 01698. And
2 keeping in mind your previous answer to my question concerning about the
3 establishment of authorities, civilian authorities, and you told us that
4 there were two separate administrative authorities. 6 April 1993, and
5 this document, 1D 01698, we see that this particular individuals, Danica
6 Saric, is being relieved of her position. Do you know why this decision
7 was actually issued by Mr. Garaca, who now is the president of the
9 A. At the time that this conclusion was adopted, that is the 29th of
10 April, 1993, in the municipality of Gornji Vakuf there were two separate
11 organs of authority, that is of the HVO and its administration, and
12 Garaca with his own administration as the Muslim municipality. That is
13 why such a conclusion was adopted.
14 Mrs. Danica Saric, until the beginning of January 1993, was the
15 secretary of the Municipal Assembly.
16 Q. All right. If we go on to the next document, 1D 01699. In
17 keeping with the answer that you just gave us, here we have a conclusion
18 of 29 April 1993
19 officials relieved of their duties in administrative organs hereby lose
20 their status of administrative officials until a final agreement has been
21 reached on the organisation of all organs based on the principle of
23 Can you explain this conclusion, sir?
24 A. Very simple. As two administrations had been set up which were
25 services for the two peoples, they considered it logical for employees of
1 the joint administration to be fired from the administration that was
2 headed by Mr. Garaca.
3 Q. All right. We go on to the next document, 1D 01808 -- 09. 1D
4 01809. And this is 24 July 1993
5 president of the HVO and HDZ, and now it says Uskoplje municipality. So
6 which municipality are we speaking of now in light of this name?
7 A. The Croats always call this area Uskoplje, and after de facto and
8 de jure the separation occurred within the administration in Gornji Vakuf
9 and developed into two administrations, the Croatian part was called by
10 the Croats Uskoplje.
11 Q. All right. Now, in this letter we see that Mr. Saric is writing
12 to various organisations, the head of the European Community, UNPROFOR,
13 the Red Cross, and he's asking for assistance because his father, aged
14 70, was apparently taken, and now the Muslim forces are willing to
15 exchange his 70-year-old father for 12 of their men.
16 Do you know whether in fact this is accurate, and can you tell us
17 what, if anything, happened as a result of this event of Mr. Saric's
18 father being kidnapped or taken?
19 A. Unfortunately, this is true. Mr. Ivan Saric's father was
20 captured by the Muslim forces and taken first in an unknown direction.
21 Later on, we learnt that it -- he was held captive in a Muslim settlement
22 called Grnica. It took some time before he was finally released or,
23 rather, exchanged, but it is a fact that they tried to use an old man, a
24 civilian, to demand or receive some of their members who in their opinion
25 were captured by the HVO, which at the time was not true.
1 Q. All right. Now, 1D 01801. Here we have this report or part of a
2 report dated 5 August 1993
3 that this is compiled by the department or just -- it says department of
4 analysis, Professor Davor Cordas, and I want to focus your attention at
5 the latter part where it talks about report on Croats displaced from the
6 municipality of Gornji Vakuf who arrived in Prozor municipality on 29 and
7 30 July 1993
8 figure accurately reflects the events, that is, people being displaced
9 from Gornji Vakuf to Prozor?
10 A. Unfortunately, yes, and this figure of 2.000 displaced Croats
11 from Gornji Vakuf municipality who had to find accommodation in Prozor is
12 the lowest number of Croats expelled. I can say that my whole family, my
13 brothers, my parents, my wife and children, were among them.
14 Q. All right. This was not an attempt, by any chance, for reverse
15 ethnic cleansing, to ethnically cleanse the Croats of Gornji Vakuf and
16 send them someplace? That is, by the Croats, cleansing themselves of
17 their historical lands that they occupied for centuries?
18 MS. MOE: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours, everyone in
19 and around the courtroom. It would be preferable if the witness's
20 answers could be more narrative and not so much "yes" and "no" and
21 "correct" and that Mr. Karnavas could refrain from leading questions.
22 Thank you.
23 MR. KARNAVAS:
24 Q. Do you know -- do you know how it was that these Croats were
25 removed or arrived in Prozor municipality?
1 A. At the beginning of August 1993, Muslim forces attacked the
2 defence lines of the HVO in Gornji Vakuf from several sides with much
3 stronger forces, and so as to save their lives, people had to withdraw
4 and seek shelter; otherwise, they would have been killed. And as a
5 result of this attack by Muslim forces on Croatian-inhabited areas was
6 the exodus of Croats to the nearest free area, and for us that was the
7 municipality of Prozor.
8 Q. All right. You say this was at the beginning of August 1993 when
9 the Muslim forces attacked. This report here talks about the 29th and
10 30th of July, 1993. So this would have pre-dated the attack. Can you
11 give an explanation?
12 A. The end of July or the beginning of August for me is the same
13 thing. These were the most difficult days for the Croat -- Croatian
14 people in Uskoplje.
15 Q. All right. And finally, let's go to the next or last document in
16 this bundle, which is 1D 01791, and this is a report of sorts from
17 Mr. Saric, who is -- we've heard about.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas.
19 I find your last answer a bit strange, I must confess,
20 Mr. Batinic, because we have here a document which relates these
21 movements, and it is dated 5th August, but it refers to July; and the
22 attacks, you yourself said that was in the beginning of August, and that
23 is after 29th of -- 28th of July. Now, are you saying that when you said
24 beginning of August you misspoke, that that was an error? That is, of
25 course, possible.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The information provided by
2 Mr. Davor Cordas dated the 5th of August, 1993, relates to the situation
3 that already existed regarding the number of expelled Croats from Gornji
4 Vakuf - or, rather, Uskoplje as we called it - and this number is the
5 smallest number of displaced Croats in Prozor. According to my memory,
6 this started between the 31st of July and the 1st of August. That is why
7 I said the beginning of August. To the best of my recollection, it
8 happened between the 31st of July and the 1st of August. The 31st of
9 July, 1993, and the 1st of August, 1993.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: What is it -- what is it that happened at that
11 time according to you?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 from several directions attacked the defence lines of the HVO in
14 inhabited places which were mostly inhabited by Croats. The defence
15 lines broke, and the Croatian people fled from those inhabited areas.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, apparently they flew before. If we look
17 at the dates that you named, they had already flown, but I would be
18 interested. Probably, there were rumours or there were informations, and
19 they didn't -- which makes a lot of sense. They didn't wait to be shot
20 up and shelled.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said and I repeat, according to
22 my recollection, the largest-scale exodus occurred in the night between
23 the 31st of July and the 1st of August, 1993.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I leave it at that.
25 MR. KARNAVAS:
1 Q. When was it that your family fled the area?
2 A. Except for my wife and two minor children who had left two days
3 earlier, my parents, brothers and their wives fled that same night, that
4 is between the 31st of July and the 1st of August, as far as I can
6 Q. So at least some of your family members left two days earlier, if
7 I understand your answer correctly.
8 A. Yes. My wife and two small babies.
9 Q. And what was the reason? If the attack took place later on, what
10 was the reason for them leaving two or three days earlier? That's the
11 question, I believe, that Judge Trechsel was asking you.
12 A. The main reason was the fact that the free part of our
13 municipality, according to Croatian criteria, was in a semi-encirclement.
14 Before that, Bugojno had fallen, and from the direction of Novi Travnik
15 we could expect attacks by Muslim forces; and therefore, it was
16 absolutely essential for a woman with two babies to leave.
17 Q. All right. If we go to the next document, 1D 01791. We see here
18 from Mr. Saric he lists 20 villages in Gornji Vakuf municipality. This
19 is September 29, 1993
20 A. All of them.
21 Q. Okay. And he says that in all of these 20 villages, the Croats
22 are no longer living there. They're no longer there.
23 First, can you confirm to us whether Croats actually were there
24 prior to any events; and secondly, if they were there, if they had been
25 living there, whether Mr. Saric is correct in saying that as at least 29
1 September, none of them were in these villages?
2 A. Unfortunately, he was right.
3 Q. All right. I have one last document to show you, and that's it.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: That will only take about one minute, Your
5 Honours, and then we could have our morning break.
6 Q. That's 1D 02961, and I believe you also have the original of this
7 document with you. Is that correct, sir?
8 A. Yes. Yes, that is correct.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... it may be of some -- it
10 might be helpful. We might need to put one page of it on the -- on the
11 ELMO so we could see it, which means that we'll require the assistance of
12 the usher.
13 If we -- first of all, if you could identify -- this is 1D 02961.
14 If you could identify what this document is, and if I could get the
15 assistance of the usher so we could put this on the ELMO. And I'm going
16 to be asking you to put --
17 A. This document is the statute programme principles with
18 attachments of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna founded on the 24th
19 of May, 1997.
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. The 24th of May, 1997.
22 Q. Okay. Now, if you could locate the page where we have the -- the
23 flag of the Croatian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and put that on so
24 we could see it because we spoke of that.
25 Now, could you please tell us, what is the first part? We see
1 there are two -- we see a flag, and we see what appears to be a coat of
2 arms. Could you please explain that to us very briefly what those are.
3 A. Mr. Karnavas, this is -- it is not reminiscent of the coat of
4 arms. It is the coat of arms of the Croatian people in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina and their flag.
6 Q. All right. And this flag is not the flag of the -- of the
7 Republic of Croatia
8 A. No. No.
9 Q. All right. And -- now, you said that this was a founding
10 statute, and I believe you gave us the date of 1997. Is this
11 organisation with this particular statute and insignia, is it registered
12 as an organisation in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Was it registered then, and is
13 it registered now, today, some ten years later?
14 A. Yes. It was registered in the courts of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
15 1997, and it normally exists today as such.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, excuse me. Do we
17 have a copy of this document in English?
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Unfortunately, we do not. And we can provide
19 that. Of course -- and it will be provided. It's being translated, I'm
20 told. The purpose at this point was merely to show the -- the
21 Croatian -- the flag of the Croatian peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 because there seems to be some confusion at times. And also, the purpose
23 was to show that even today this is recognised. This is a registered
25 We received this from the witness himself, so that's why -- and
1 we received it rather late, which is why we haven't been able to
2 translate it among all the other things that we're constantly translating
3 to keep up.
4 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, that concludes my direct
7 Mr. Batinic, I want to thank you very much for your testimony, at
8 least this part of it, and I would be most grateful if you would be as
9 forthright and direct in answering the questions that anyone else may
10 have for you. Thank you again.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to have a 20-minute
12 break now, after which we'll continue with the cross-examination by the
13 other accused.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence team for the other
17 accused now has two hours at its disposal. Who will be starting?
18 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good day to everyone.
19 The Coric Defence has no questions for this witness.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours. Good day to
21 everyone in the courtroom. The Stojic Defence has some questions. I
22 think you'll now be provided with the binders for our cross-examination,
23 our files.
24 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Batinic.
1 A. Good day.
2 Q. My name is Senka Nozica. I'll ask you a few questions and show
3 you some documents that have to do with the first attack - that's how I
4 would call it - of the ABiH, against HVO units during the time period
5 that you have mentioned was a period from the 11th of January, 1993, up
6 until the 27th of February, 1993.
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I'd like to inform the Judges that
8 my questions will have to do with this period alone and with this subject
9 alone. In my opinion, they will be related to the questions put to the
10 witness in the examination-in-chief.
11 Q. Mr. Batinic, have a look at my binder, the pink one that you have
12 just been given. We'll have a look at a number of documents that confirm
13 what you've said in the course of the examination-in-chief. I'm not sure
14 whether you have already seen these documents. Some of them you probably
15 haven't seen yet, but I think they say the same sort of things that you
16 have been testifying about.
17 I just want to check whether you remember that this is how events
18 unfolded in the way described in the documents. So the first document is
19 P 01102, the first document in my binder. It's dated the 12th of
20 January, 1993. It's called an intelligence report, Dr. Ante Starcevic.
21 Mr. Pero Mejdandzic issued it for the brigade. Do you know him?
22 A. Yes, I know Mr. Mejdandzic.
23 Q. I'll read out what it says here. I haven't shown you this
24 document before. Quite a few places are mentioned. Reference is made to
25 the beginning of the conflict, but for the sake of the transcript, I just
1 want to point out that I'll provide this document later. If certain
2 place names are not correctly entered, one can make corrections later.
3 It says: "Since the previous report, the Muslim forces have blocked the
4 Bugojno-Gornji Vakuf road in the villages of Drazev and Duratbegov Dolac.
5 Units from Grnica have captured five soldiers from the Ludvig Pavlovic
6 unit in Rajci where fierce fights are taking place. The BH army units
7 from Voljice-Osridak is pounding the Trnovaca neighbourhood with
8 82-millimetre mortars. The 30-strong unit from Voljevac has sent to
9 intercept the HVO units on the Makljen-Vakuf axis. The entrance to the
10 town is completely blocked. The Uzricje neighbourhood must be cleared in
11 order to free the entrance to the town. Units from Voljice have received
12 orders to pound Podovi from Osridak and to be ready for an infantry
14 Mr. Batinic, can you tell us, are you aware of the fact that the
15 documents unfolded in the way described in the first paragraph of the
16 document on this day and on the previous day?
17 A. On the 12th of January, 1993, I was still a civilian in my house.
18 I was waiting to see how things would unfold, the events that commenced
19 on the 11th of January, so I can't confirm what is stated here, but given
20 the assumptions with regard to the places mentioned here, well, I believe
21 that Mr. Mejdandzic described the way events actually unfolded on the
23 Q. I will then ask you to continue reading this because you probably
24 heard something about this in the town at the time.
25 It says: "They're attacking Grebine and Zvizde from the town.
1 In the centre of town, the BH army has strongholds --"
2 MS. MOE: Your Honours, I would like a clarification from the
3 witness on his last answer. He says he can't confirm what is stated
4 here, but given the assumptions with regard to the places mentioned here,
5 well, I believe that Mr. Mejdandzic described how the events unfolded on
6 the ground, and the question is then the foundation. It's for the
7 witness to have this opinion.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, could you get the
9 witness to be more precise?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that on the 12th of January,
11 1993, I was at home. I was waiting to see what would happen, to see how
12 things would unfold, how the events that had commenced on the 11th of
13 January, 1993, would unfold. And when I said that I believe that
14 Mr. Mejdandzic correctly described the events at the time, well, Drazev
15 and Izetbegovic wanted ethnically-clean places. Grnica is a Muslim
16 place. Osridak is a Muslim place. That's why this is what I said. I
17 said that I believe that Mr. Mejdandzic said the truth.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Batinic, how do you know that
19 Mr. Izetbegovic wanted to ethnically cleanse Gornji Vakuf? Did he tell
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The interpreter
22 misheard the name the witness said.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't mention that, Your Honour.
24 Mr. Izetbegovic, I didn't mention the name of Mr. Izetbegovic. Someone
25 has mistranslated this.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That has been confirmed from the translation
2 booth, but maybe you repeat what you have in fact said so that we can
3 hear it correctly. If you could repeat that sentence.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 12th of January, 1993
5 a civilian, and I was at home, in a home close to my home, in fact, where
6 there was a temporary shelter in case of danger, in case of shelling. I
7 was there with my family, naturally.
8 I can't confirm what Mr. Mejdandzic said about the 12th of
9 January, 1993, but I do believe that what he said corresponded to the
10 situation on the ground at the time because the inhabited places referred
11 to here were ethnically purely Muslim places. Drazev Dolac, Duratbegov
12 Dolac, Grnica, and Osridak.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
14 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Witness, you said where you were on the 12th. I'd like to read
16 out the remainder of the document because it says what the situation was
17 like in the town, and perhaps you will be able to confirm some of this.
18 The second paragraph says: "From the town, Grebine and Zvizde is
19 being attacked. In the centre of town, stronghold of the army of Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina
21 Radusa, Gradina, the fire brigade home, the KB 1 and KB 2 buildings, the
22 Gornja Dzamija area, the machine park, and the relay.
23 Were the ABiH forces deployed in this way in the town as far as
24 you can remember?
25 A. On the 12th of January, I don't know whether they were deployed
1 here, but on the evening of the 13th of January, when I was in the
2 command of the HVO for the defence of the part of town of Gornji Vakuf
3 mainly inhabited by the Croats, well, at the time such things were
5 Q. If I've understood you correctly, you do not know whether this
6 was the situation on the 12th or, rather, you didn't know on the 12th,
7 but on the 13th you yourself bore witness to the fact that these
8 allegations were correct?
9 A. No, not personally. I didn't personally bear witness to the
10 fact. I received this information from people who at the time dealt with
11 the defence of the part of town mainly inhabited by Croats.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you. Let's move on.
13 It says: "The BH army has been reinforced in Rajci by men who
14 came from the direction of Novi Travnik wearing woven acorns as their
16 On that day or later on, did you know anything about the fact
17 that the ABiH received reinforcements from Novi Travnik, perhaps from
18 Bugojno, for that attack? Did you have any such information?
19 A. I didn't have such information as stated by Mr. Mejdandzic
20 because my house, which was where I was at the time, was a kilometre and
21 a half from the HVO barracks.
22 Q. Mr. Batinic, I asked you -- well, it wasn't on that day but on
23 the next day. Some reinforcements for the ABiH came; they lingered in
24 the area. On the following day, did you have the opportunity of seeing
25 that the ABiH had received reinforcements from outside?
1 A. Well, on the 13th of January there were such confirmations of
2 what was described here that were received on a number of occasions.
3 Q. Mr. Batinic, we'll get through this document more easily, a
4 document which I believe is very important, if you tell me immediately,
5 "I didn't know about that on the 12th, but I found out about this on the
6 13th or the 14th." I'm not asking you to say whether you were aware of
7 this on that day. Well, this is very precise military information. I
8 know that you couldn't have such information from your house on that
9 time -- at that time, but you could have subsequently found out about
10 this or found out about the consequences of what is described here.
11 Let's move on. "There were mortars --" it mentions a mortar or
12 reference is made to the ABiH above -- "They have a mortar above
13 Duratbegov Dolac..." it says. "Heavy shelling of the town and its
14 surroundings began at 15 -- 1500 hours."
15 Can you remember, Mr. Batinic, that on that day that is what
16 happened? Did you hear about that? Did you hear that? Did you hear
17 there was shelling of the town?
18 A. There was fierce shelling of the town.
19 Q. Very well. Then it mentions the strength of various units.
20 Perhaps you don't know about this, but let's read through it. It says:
21 "The concentration of forces is as follows: Around 1.000 men in Vakuf,
22 around 900 men in Voljevac, around 550 men in Grnica, about 550 men in
23 Voljice." It says: "Units are positioned in predominantly Muslim
24 neighbourhoods, Drazev Dolac, Duratbegov Dolac, Hrasnica, Luzani, Rojska,
25 Grnica, Bistrica. About 70 men because of the population is
1 predominantly Croatian, Jagnjid, Gaj, Osridak, Voljice, Kute, Batusa,
2 Odvode. You have a part of town, Vrse, Zdrimci, with very few men
3 because the population is predominantly Croatian. Uzricje, about 40 men
4 where 10 of our houses are also located."
5 Can you just confirm what is stated here? Which were these
6 hamlets mainly inhabited by Muslims, and is it correct to say that these
7 hamlets mentioned here were mainly inhabited by Croats?
8 A. Yes. This corresponds to the national composition of the
9 settlements in the area.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. Just to avoid misunderstandings,
11 what you confirm, Mr. Batinic, is that these villages are either Muslims
12 or they have some Croat inhabitants, or can you also confirm that the
13 ABiH on the 12th of January took positions there in the order -- in the
14 size that is written in the document?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I said, and I will
16 repeat what I said, that the settlements mentioned here which -- where
17 the Muslims inhabited as majority or the Croats as a majority, well,
18 these settlements correspond to -- to what was said about these places.
19 They are -- ethnically, they have an ethnic majority of Croats or Muslims
20 in these places.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I had to ask back because the
22 question -- the question had a double content of information, first about
23 the places and then that the ABiH had been there at that time, and you
24 confirmed the first but not the second part of it. Thank you.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll just make this
1 clear for the sake of the transcript. I read out the entire paragraph
2 for the witness, but my question had to do exclusively with whether he
3 could confirm that these inhabitants were mainly inhabited by Croats --
4 these settlements were mainly inhabited by Croats or by Bosniaks or,
5 rather, Muslims. I believe that what the witness said is that he doesn't
6 have any precise information about the things mentioned in this document.
7 Q. Mr. Batinic, let's have a look at the following document,
8 although it also refers to the 12th of January, 1993. This document is P
9 01112. It's the following document in the binder. It's been admitted
10 into evidence already, but I would like to draw your attention to
11 something that I believe is very important.
12 This is a report from the operational zone of North-west
15 Let's have a look at the first paragraph of this report, which is
16 about that period. It says: "In the zone of responsibility of the OZSZ,
17 there were no enemy combat activities reported. It is possible that the
18 enemy was firing at our forces in the white area of Vakuf." In brackets,
19 it says "the Chetniks." "Since we came to know through an intelligence
20 report about an order from Banja Luka issued to the commander in Kupres."
21 In 3, it mentions the capturing of five members of the Ludvig
22 Pavlovic unit; and item 4, it says: "We request that you urgently
23 arrange for negotiations with ABiH on a higher level in order to
24 normalise and calm the situation in Gornji Vakuf down."
25 Mr. Batinic, the Chetniks are referred to as the enemy in the
1 first paragraph. That's important. Can you confirm that at the time
2 there were Chetnik attacks or enemy attacks, as it says here, during the
3 period when there was a conflict between the ABiH and the HVO?
4 A. Yes, I can confirm that. The Serbian forces could use the
5 artillery to reach the area of Gornji Vakuf municipality. Given the
6 conflict between the HVO and the ABiH, they took advantage of this, and
7 in January they shelled us on a number of occasions.
8 Q. For the sake of the Judges, can you say what they meant -- what
9 you meant to say when you said that they amused themselves? I assume
10 that referred to shelling, but I wouldn't want your answer to be
11 interpreted in various ways.
12 A. Well, they used their artillery to shell part of the inhabited
13 places where the Croats were in the majority, and then they did the same
14 thing to shell places inhabited mainly by Muslims, and then each side
15 thought that they were being shelled by the other side. The Muslims
16 thought the HVO was shelling them, and the HVO thought that the Muslims
17 were shelling them. That's what I mean when I say they were amusing
18 themselves, having fun.
19 Q. Very well. Let's move on. Did you have any information
20 according to which five members of the Ludvig Pavlovic unit had been
21 captured, perhaps not on that day but perhaps on the following day. Did
22 you hear about that?
23 A. Later on, not only about this but about many other cases in which
24 individuals were captured.
25 Q. Mr. Batinic, you were someone who was highly involved in the
1 political and public life of Gornji Vakuf, so you must have known that
2 there were constant attempts by the HVO to calm things down; and from the
3 fourth paragraph, one can see that we urge the arrangement of
4 negotiations as soon as possible. Was it the HVO's position and wish to
5 end the conflict as soon as possible?
6 A. I know that in the area where I was we wanted this madness to
7 cease, but since the Paket communications were in the barracks of the HVO
8 a kilometre and a half away from the place where I was, unfortunately I
9 could not see these original documents. I couldn't contact my brothers
10 or my parents. I was unable to see them for almost a month, even though
11 they were not so far away.
12 Q. Mr. Batinic, please relax. I'm not asking you whether you saw
13 this document. I know that you didn't see the document. I'm just asking
14 you whether you're aware of what the document says, of the events
15 referred to in this document.
16 You said the conflict ended on the 27th. My question is, did the
17 HVO seek to put an end to the conflict or, rather, before that to prevent
18 it from breaking out? That is my question.
19 A. Please don't misunderstand me. I am not unrelaxed, to put it
20 that way. I'm just talking about what I know and what I don't know.
21 Much later after this event did I have more information about the
22 endeavours invested by the Croatian side, the HVO, to put an end to this
24 Q. That was all I was asking you about. Everything is fine. Thank
25 you. I'm sorry if you object to my remark about relaxation. Just tell
1 us what you know about that period or about what you learned later on. I
3 Since you mentioned the situation with regard to the Chetniks and
4 their activities, will you skip over one of the documents in my binder,
5 and let's pass on to the next one.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we do that, I have a
7 follow-up question.
8 Witness, in Gornji Vakuf, were there any representatives of the
9 international community? Was there UNPROFOR, a European mission or
10 observers? Were there any foreigners who were in Gornji Vakuf, or was
11 there no one?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In January 1993, I cannot confirm
13 that peace forces did -- were stationed in Gornji Vakuf.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To the best of your knowledge,
15 who was the commander of the Serb forces who amused themselves by
16 alternatively shelling the Croats and then the Muslims? Did you know
17 that or not?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know that.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Let me now ask you to move on to document 2D 00219. So just
22 leave out one in my binder. It is an order -- have you found it? It is
23 the same date of the 12th of January, 1993, and it is addressed to the
24 Ante Starcevic brigade of Gornji Vakuf. It is a response to a report
25 dated of the 12th of January, and it says: "To release our arrestees in
1 a peaceful way according to the principle all for all. Hold our forces
2 under control in order to avoid provocations and not to start any
3 themselves. Follow the situation and report regularly. As far as the
4 Voljevac-Gornji Vakuf direction is concerned, you have forces in the
5 village of Dobrosin. Ensure a connection with them, and regulate their
6 use if necessary."
7 Now we come to what my question will refer to. "We managed to
8 obtain some intelligence information that the Chetniks have been ordered
9 to strike the Muslim village by one weapon and the Croatian village with
10 another in order to give the impression that the Croats are opening fire
11 against the Muslims, that is, the Muslims against the Croats. The
12 Chetniks, through their informers, are most probably aware of the general
13 situation in Gornji Vakuf. Therefore, in this way they wish to provoke a
14 mutual conflict between the Croats and Muslims, which is in their
16 Mr. Batinic, was that the situation that you described a moment
17 ago when describing the behaviour of the Chetniks?
18 A. Yes. That is the situation that I described saying that the
19 Serbs amused themselves at our expense.
20 Q. Very well. Now, let's go on to the next document when you said
21 that the situation calmed down on the 27th of February. So let us look
22 at the document dated the 23rd of February, 1993, where there is mention
23 of UNPROFOR forces, and this is linked to the question put to you by His
24 Honour Judge Antonetti. So before we look at the document, let me ask
25 you, can you remember roughly when UNPROFOR reached the area of Gornji
2 A. According to the best of my knowledge, in the early spring of
4 Q. They are mentioned here on the 23rd of February that there were
5 discussions about the conditions of a cease-fire and the implementation
6 of that cease-fire agreement.
7 Can you remember whether they were there at this time? I don't
8 know what for you is the early spring because they were obviously there
9 on the 23rd of February according to this document. That is in Prozor.
10 This is a report from Prozor.
11 A. When I said the early spring of 1993, I am referring to their
12 base when they were stationed in our municipality, and they were
13 stationed in the former barracks of the -- of the BH army, in the factory
15 Q. Could you explain this? So in the early spring, they set up
16 their base; but did they appear individually from other areas? Did
17 representatives of UNPROFOR come for negotiations from another base?
18 A. In that period, I was with a group of home guards in the
19 industrial zone. They didn't come to my area, so I can't confirm that.
20 Q. We were talking about the Chetnik attacks in January. Here it
21 says: "Last night, the Chetniks deployed artillery against the area S1
22 from the village of Lapsunj
23 simultaneously upon the area of Gornji Vakuf in the zone of
24 responsibility of the Rama Brigade. About 30 grenades fell, and 4
25 grenades fell in the zone of responsibility of the Ante Starcevic
2 Can you confirm that the Chetniks continued their attacks in
3 February, too, and not just in January 1993?
4 A. Yes, I can, in view of the fact that in the area of our
5 municipality there was only infantry weapons. There was no shelling, and
6 then the shells that fell on our area came from the direction of the
7 north, from Kupres, and these were fired by the Serb forces.
8 Q. The last passage of this document refers to this. I heard your
9 answer when you said you were with the home guards. Are you aware of
10 these events?
11 I'm being told that I didn't give the number of document. 2D
12 01427. 2D 01427.
13 Have you found it?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In the last paragraph, it says - and I am repeating that I know
16 that you said you were with the home guards, but maybe you are aware of
17 this event: "The work of representatives from the HVO and the army of
18 BiH in the presence of UNPROFOR continued in Gornji Vakuf. The
19 realisation of the plan is being followed. Some settlements (Croatian
20 and Muslim) have received food. Both sides presented their plans for the
21 normalisation of life in the city with the emphasis on measures which are
22 to be undertaken by civilian bodies. Plans are being discussed today,
23 and tomorrow they will be adopted."
24 So it says: "Our representatives Begic and a representative of
25 the army of Bosnia
1 and they found a massacre in the village of Rojska
2 found slaughtered bodies of Franjo and Finka Okadar in their home."
3 Do you remember this specific incident? Were people talking
4 about it, and do you remember that there were any such situations of
5 crimes committed against Croats in the January and February of 1993?
6 A. I remember this event perfectly well. Unfortunately, it is true
7 that in the settlement of Rojska, which was an ethnically pure Muslim
8 settlement, the Okadar family was massacred. People took photographs --
9 the people who took photographs and later buried them told me about this,
10 specifically Mr. Vuka Spelin [phoen].
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't quite get the name.
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
13 Q. The interpreter didn't hear the name of this person who told you
14 about this.
15 A. Mr. Luka Sekerija, yes.
16 Q. Now it's correctly written, yes.
17 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wish to point out
18 that all these questions of mine referred to the attacks in January of
19 1993 by the BH army, and they referred to chapter 65 and 66 -- counts 65
20 and 66 of the indictment. I will now continue with the same issue.
21 Q. Mr. Batinic, were you aware that negotiations went on in Geneva
22 in January 1993 and that an agreement or a joint statement was issued
23 signed both by Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban on the cessation of
24 hostilities between the BH army and the HVO?
25 A. Yes, I was aware of the Geneva
1 Q. Will you now look at document P 01329, which is the next
2 document. It is the joint statement by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and Mate
3 Boban, signed in Geneva
4 BH army and the HVO be stopped immediately. They call on the Croats and
5 Muslims to give their full support. And in number 2: "Commanders of the
6 BH army Main Staff and the HVO Main Staff..." May I just read it out
7 until the end? " ... must immediately determine the responsibility for
8 the outbreak of the fighting at all levels and form a Joint Command
9 without delay."
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the Prosecutor.
13 MS. MOE: Sorry. Thank you. Before counsel and the witness goes
14 into this document, the question asked right before the document was
15 shown to the witness actually had two portions: 1, "Were you aware that
16 negotiations went on in Geneva
17 answered, I believe; and "Were you aware that an agreement or a joint
18 statement was issued signed by..." et cetera, and I do not think that
19 that part of the question was answered.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Madam Nozica. Please ask
21 the witness to specify whether he was aware of the agreement or not.
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I think if
23 we show the witness the document, he will give us the same answer as he
24 has said up to now. He will tell us that he hadn't seen the document.
25 So my question is whether he was aware of the joint statement or not.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We heard on the radio that such a
2 joint statement was signed by Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Batinic, let me now ask you about your own knowledge. We see
5 that such a statement was signed and an order issued to the Main Staff of
6 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Main Staff of the HVO as early as
7 the 27th of January, 1993, to immediately cease hostilities and to
8 establish the course of the conflict.
9 Were you aware that the HVO did endeavour for the conflict to be
10 ended by negotiation as soon as possible which the HVO had not provoked?
11 Did you know that the BH army and the army leadership was opposed to the
12 peaceful settlement of things and that actually in those days there were
13 already plans to attack the HVO in the entire area where the HVO was
14 situated and that the army from this time on wanted to resolve the set-up
15 or the structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina by war and not by peaceful means?
16 A. I have to say that I didn't have any such knowledge, but if I
17 may, a couple of sentences related to this statement and our
19 On the 27th of January, 1993, the Croatian Defence Council
20 endeavoured to cease hostilities, and there were no serious attacks by
21 the HVO. In other words, the HVO -- had the HVO had a plan or desire to
22 take the HVO, they could have chased them out by throwing stones at them.
23 Q. You mean the BH army could have been chased out in this period or
24 even before this period that the statement refers to?
25 A. The statement is dated the 27th of January. Yes, but even before
1 this period the HVO had control of all the more important elevations
2 around Gornji Vakuf.
3 Q. But I asked you something quite different, not about the
4 behaviour of the HVO.
5 A. No. I was -- I told you, I'm not aware of the plans and
6 intentions of officers of the BH army, whether they were ready to
7 implement this joint statement on non-aggression and truce. I just said
8 that this was the intention of the HVO as confirmed by the situation
9 before this date.
10 Q. Thank you. I'll show you the following document so that we can
11 confirm something you yourself said. It's 2D 00 --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.
13 I have a question I would like to put to you with regard to this
14 last document and in relation to the document that was examined a while
15 ago. P 1102, if I'm not mistaken.
16 The last document signed by Boban and Zeljkovic [phoen] shows
17 three things, first of all. There's the combat between the ABiH and the
18 HVO, and in fact, it goes to the benefit of the aggressor, to the Serbs.
19 That's how we should understand it.
20 The second thing is that the commanders of the ABiH and the HVO
21 are asked to determine immediately who is responsible for the fight at
22 all levels. So both parties are asked to determine who started the
24 And then the third item, Boban and Izetbegovic inviting people to
25 set up a Joint Command.
1 When one has a look at this document, a reasonable Judge could
2 believe that Mr. Boban and Mr. Izetbegovic were discovering that there
3 had been fighting ongoing, but when we see the first document, when we
4 have a look at the first document, the 12th of January report from the
5 Ante Starcevic Brigade, which seems to show that the ABiH launched an
6 attack, because we see that there were 3.000 ABiH men in the field when
7 we make the calculations. So in your opinion, wouldn't there be someone
8 who is not telling the truth, in particular with regard to the 11th of
9 January attack? What is your opinion, you personally? What do you think
10 about this as you were on the ground, Witness?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yesterday I said that
12 I didn't know how the conflict on the 11th of January started; and today,
13 I said that on the 12th of January the places referred to in this report
14 from the Ante Starcevic Brigade to the HVO, well, it's a fact that the
15 places mentioned here correspond to the way in which these places were
16 inhabited by certain peoples. How many ABiH men there were in these
17 inhabited places is not something that I can confirm.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 11th of January, in your
19 opinion, is it the ABiH that attacks the HVO or not?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know who attacked whom on
21 the 11th of January, 1993.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You don't know. Very well.
23 Ms. Nozica, you have used up almost 30 minutes. According to my
24 calculations, each team should have 24 minutes, so someone must have
25 given you some time.
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] No, we haven't shared out our time.
2 I'll finish with this document now. I'm surprised the fact that I've
3 used so much time. I'll conclude with this document, 2D 00207. It's a
4 document I asked the witness to have a look at.
5 Yes, Your Honours. I'd just like to tell you that I was told
6 that only three Defence teams will have cross-examination. That means
7 three Defence teams have 40 minutes, so I'm within the limits of my time.
8 Q. Sir, have you found the document?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I asked you a question, and you said that you didn't know what
11 the plans of the ABiH were. This document is dated the 20th of January.
12 You said that you knew that were ongoing negotiations in Geneva and this
13 document was signed by Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic. It's addressed to
14 the Command of the Bugojno Defence headquarters. I'll read it out to
16 "We appreciate your thoughts and suggestions, but we would like
17 to draw your attention to the execution of the tasks within the zone of
18 responsibility. Do not engage in work that is not in your sphere of
19 responsibility. Write reports so that they reflect the combat situation
20 and not so as to give political lessons."
21 And then it says: "It's premature for clashes in all the cities
22 of the HZ HB, even though this is a possibility that has been
24 And then the last sentence: "Try to do all you can and help
1 We're talking about the 20th of January, so this was later on
2 when you had already joined the HVO. Did you have any information
3 according to which HVO units from Bugojno had come to assist ABiH units
4 in Gornji Vakuf [as interpreted]?
5 A. Yes. ABiH units from Bugojno participated in the combat against
6 the HVO in the area of the Gornji Vakuf municipality.
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. That would
8 be all. I have now concluded my cross-examination.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. And now
10 for the following Defence team.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. I
12 thought my colleague Ms. Alaburic was going to cross-examine.
13 Mr. Praljak has some questions for this witness given his military
14 knowledge; and in particular, because in the examination-in-chief these
15 were matters addressed, we'd like to use this witness to check up on
16 information on the deployment of forces on the front facing the Serbs.
17 With your leave, Mr. Praljak would like to put these questions to the
19 Yesterday in the transcript with regard to the event of the 11th
20 of January, 1993, well, this event was mentioned on page 26, and that
21 subject was again addressed by my colleague Senka. There was a
22 discussion about locations, about Defence lines on pages 40 and 44, and
23 the map was entered, IC 00878.
24 MS. MOE: Excuse me. I didn't mean to interrupt counsel, but
25 just a clarification with the transcript maybe before we go into the new
1 cross-examination by a new Defence team.
2 The latest exchange between Counsel Nozica and the witness
3 referred to, on page 52, line 11: "Did you have any information
4 according to which HVO units from Bugojno had come to assist ABiH units
5 in Gornji Vakuf?" And I was wondering if that was a translation error or
6 if it's correct that the question would be as to HVO assisting ABiH.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, could you clear this
8 up or not?
9 MS. MOE: Sorry, the page number was wrong, I believe. It's 57.
10 57, 12, I believe, is where the sentence should be.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I understood
12 the question from Ms. Sokolovic [as interpreted], well, she asked me
13 whether the forces of the ABiH from the municipality of Bugojno
14 assisted the ABiH forces in the conflict in the month of January in
15 Gornji Vakuf. I confirmed that because we had a lot of information to
16 this effect. Forces from the ABiH, from the area of Bugojno municipality
17 participated in the January conflict in an active manner in fighting in
18 the area of Gornji Vakuf against the forces of the HVO.
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would
20 like to thank my colleague. I think that's how I put the question.
21 Obviously, there was a mistake in the transcript. Thank you very much.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Praljak, you
23 have the floor since we're dealing with military matters here.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
25 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Batinic.
2 A. Good day, General.
3 Q. Is it true to say that we know each other from that time in
4 Gornji Vakuf, in Uskoplje?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell me, before we start dealing with maps, what does the word
7 "Vakuf" mean?
8 A. Vakuf is a religious or humanitarian association that has to
9 serve Islam or Islamists, that simple.
10 Q. According to your information, apart from the upper part of Vakuf
11 and the lower part of Vakuf, is it true to say that it was a kind of
12 contract in which the inhabitants of the place at the time of the
13 Osmanlijes had to work for religious purposes?
14 A. That's correct. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are several
15 Vakufs, or there were several Vakufs. There was Gornji Vakuf; there was
16 Donji Vakuf, Skender Vakuf, Herze [phoen] Vakuf. I won't go on.
17 Q. And today, you live in the area now. Do we have two names for
18 the place, Uskoplje and Vakuf Gornja?
19 A. Yes. The High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina decided on
20 the 1st of October, 1991 -- 2001, that the municipality would officially
21 be called Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje.
22 Q. Since we're dealing with this matter, does this also apply to
24 A. Yes, but with the case of Prozor-Rama the decision was taken
1 Q. Thank you. Let's clarify something since this question was put.
2 What does the coat of arms and the flag of the Federation of Bosnia and
4 historical coat of arms of the Croatian people, the red and white
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you explain for the sake of the Chamber what the flag of the
8 Central Bosnian county looks like, the county you live in? Does that
9 flag contain the historical coat of arms of the Croatian people?
10 A. Well, I'm not sure how I could describe the coat of arms of the
11 county of Central Bosnia
13 it contains a symbol that shows that the Croatian people live in the area
15 Q. Thank you very much. Let's have a look at the maps and
16 photographs now. Number 3D 03250. They will help us --
17 A. General, could you repeat that?
18 Q. 3D 03250. It's not a problem. We'll find them now. 3D 03250.
19 It says 3D 37-0428. That's what it says at the top. That's the first
20 one. It was a photograph from Podova. Have you found it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You're familiar with this. We'll get through it quickly. As a
23 result, we have certain photographs here taken from the Podovi location -
24 that's what it says - and we have Voljice, Gaj, and Jagnjid. Is this map
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Very well. Let's have a look at the following page. The
3 following page, 3D, and then instead of 28 at the end, we have 29 at the
4 end. This is a place that you have marked as the location of the
5 repeater. It's above the town of Vakuf
6 you see that elevation?
7 A. Yes, I can.
8 Q. Here we have photographs that were taken this year, last summer.
9 These are the ruins of a bunker that are still -- that are still there.
10 My question is as follows: Before the conflict broke out in
11 January 1993, as far as you know, did the ABiH set up bunkers at all the
12 important elevations around the town of Uskoplje itself?
13 A. Yes, they did. With your leave, I'll say that this happened for
14 the first time on the 20th of June, 1993 [as interpreted], in the
16 Q. Mr. Batinic, do you know that --
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If you excuse me. Mr. Batinic, it's surprising
18 that you can choose the exact time. Can you explain why you know so
19 exactly that it was the 20th of June in the afternoon? Have you been
20 directly involved or ...
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, on the 20th of June,
22 1992, a meeting was held in the Radusa Hotel, a meeting chaired by
23 Mr. Muhamed Palalic and myself. We both chaired the meeting. And when
24 the meeting came to an end, about 1400 hours, and when I went home for
25 lunch, my brother stopped me in front of the hotel. He pointed to an
1 elevation called Zvizde, and he said, "You're discussing things with them
2 in a normal manner. You're functioning in a normal manner. Why are they
3 digging trenches?"
4 On the 20th of June, 1992, members of the TO dug a trench on
5 Zvizde. This position was facing the town.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. What is striking is that in your
7 earlier answer, which is on page 61, line 23, you said it was the 20th of
8 June, 1993.
9 MR. KOVACIC: The defendants are not having the translation.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Oh, I'm sorry.
11 MR. KOVACIC: And besides, Your Honour --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. Technical problem.
13 MR. KOVACIC: -- there was an error in transcript. I followed.
14 The witness said 1992, but it was 1993.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. Although this is not sworn, I take your
16 testimony to be the full truth. Thank you.
17 Then my intervention is not of such interest in that case that it
18 is worth going back and answering. So it's 1992. Thank you. I'm sorry.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Batinic, are you testifying -- or I have another question in
21 connection with the trenches. Are you aware that after this, after they
22 started digging trenches, on several occasions there were discussions,
23 and especially in December 1992, between the commander of the HVO for
24 Gornji Vakuf and the commander of the ABiH in Uskoplje that these
25 trenches should be filled in and that they have no military meaning in
1 view of the positions towards the Serb forces?
2 A. That resulted from the incident between the 24th and 25th of
3 October, 1992; and from then until December, those trenches remained
5 Q. So do you agree with the map that you are looking at now? So
6 this is a photograph towards Gornji Vakuf. Can you testify to the
7 correctness of this map and the photographs?
8 A. Yes. The map corresponds to the actual situation on the ground.
9 From my own house I can see clearly, which is about 300 metres as the
10 crow flies, the remnant of these trenches with concrete in them.
11 Q. Thank you. Will you please turn to the next page. It is -0430.
12 And look at the military map first. There are three red arrows. So we
13 are now facing from the repeater, the position of the repeater facing the
14 other side, and we're taking photographs of a locality called Mackovac
15 and these slopes towards the ski-runs. Does this correspond to the
17 A. Yes, from Mackovac via Kuk towards the area where the relay was.
18 Q. Now look at the photograph at the bottom of the picture. You can
19 see remains of the trenches, and we know how many trenches there were
20 around Vakuf and how good they were in quality.
21 A. I heard about these trenches from members of the HVO, and this
22 happened much later after the war that these trenches were very well
23 fortified [as interpreted].
24 Q. We can go on to the next map, again, 3D 370431. It is the next
25 page. Again, it's 3D 03250, and the page is 3D 370431. 0431. So I just
1 have the following question: In your view, the photograph that we see on
2 the top, was it taken from the position of the repeater? It seems rather
3 far removed, but tell me what you have already said, whether the --
4 whoever controlled the repeater and the rest of this hill, was he able to
5 have control over the entire town of Uskoplje
6 from Rama via Uskoplje to Bugojno and further on?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So the question again, if --
9 MS. MOE: Thank you. I see there is --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Prosecutor.
11 MS. MOE: [Previous translation continues]... that I have on my
12 screen, but it's in B/C/S, and I can't see a translation. Could we have
13 that read out, please.
14 MR. KOVACIC: There is a translation in the same file. You
15 should see it. And, Your Honour... [Interpretation] While I'm on my
16 feet, on page 64 in the witness's answer, 3, 4, 5, maybe there's an error
17 in the transcript. The answer has not been properly recorded.
18 According to the transcript, he heard about those trenches from
19 members of the HVO, and this happened much later after the war, that
20 these trenches were very well fortified. He said that he heard about
21 this after the war that the trenches were well fortified at the time;
22 whereas according to the transcript, it would appear that the trenches
23 were fortified after the war. Maybe the witness could clarify this, when
24 he heard about those trenches.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Praljak, can you ask
1 the witness to clarify, please.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I can.
3 Q. Mr. Batinic, tell us, when did you learn or did you know that
4 there were constant talks, and these were particular intensified in
5 December 1992, about the fact that the ABiH army had dug trenches at all
6 the important elevation points in town and around the town and the HVO
7 demanded that these trenches be filled in because they are a threat to
8 the HVO, whereas the lines of the common enemy were five or six
9 kilometres away towards Radusko? Did you have any knowledge of this?
10 A. Yes, I did, General. This was discussed, and I said that after
11 the incident of October, the 24th, 25th of October, there were trenches
12 dug around town, and the representatives of the HVO demanded and
13 requested from the representatives of the command of the ABiH that these
14 trenches be filled in.
15 Q. Thank you. Look, now, at the next page. I don't have to give
16 you the numbers. You will see a marking saying the Partisan cemetery.
17 The photograph was taken from the position of the repeater and the
18 confrontation line between the HVO and the ABiH going towards the west.
19 Is this the correct position that -- of the Partisan cemetery?
20 A. Yes, it is the exact location of the Partisan cemetery or Glavica
21 as we call it, which is at a lower elevation than the relay station.
22 Q. Thank you. Look at the next image, please. I wish to point out
23 that these photographs were taken last summer, and it says: "From the
24 top of the repeater in the direction of the Partisan cemetery, along the
25 whole ridge there were shelters in the third degree, and some were even
1 built and cemented."
2 So these are photographs taken 16 years later. My question,
3 again, is, if not at the time, did you know after the truce that one of
4 the main thing was to fill in the trenches, to separate the forces, and
5 that these trenches were fortified in a highly professional manner?
6 A. I did not visit these locations, but from members of the HVO
7 after the cessation of hostilities, I heard how well-fortified the
8 positions of the ABiH were at the elevation point that you're referring
9 to; and long after the war, hunters would make similar comments as they
10 moved around these areas.
11 Q. Mr. Batinic, please look at the next photograph. It was taken
12 from the position of the Partisan cemetery. Does this correspond to your
13 own geographic knowledge of the town you live in? Is this correct? So
14 it's from the Partisan cemetery towards the repeater and towards
15 Uskoplje. According to your own topographic knowledge, would you agree
16 that the repeater has full control of the entire area of Uskoplje?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. We will move on quickly now. Please look at the next photograph
19 of the town. The photograph was taken last summer. So will you just
20 tell me in view of the fact that you are familiar with your town, do
21 these photographs correspond to the reality in your town?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Let us move on to the next photograph. We here see the ski-runs,
24 the Partisan cemetery or Glavica as you call it. Is this a photograph
25 that has been correctly marked?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Again, we see the ski-runs on the next photograph; is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. On the next photograph, we see the elevation of the Partisan
6 cemetery in relation to the town of Uskoplje
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, then, we have photographs of the remains of the bunkers,
9 which shows that they were fortified with concrete elements. Look at all
10 the photographs one after another, one, two, three, four. I'll give you
11 the numbers. We have to give you the numbers. Let's look at photographs
12 number 3D 37-439. Do you see that?
13 A. I do.
14 Q. Not this one.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have a question. I have a question on this.
16 Witness, have you ever seen this? Have you been there?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said, Your Honour, that the first
18 trench that was fortified next to the repeater is something I can see
19 from my own house every day, but I didn't see all the others because I
20 never went to see them.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I -- I see a couple of broken concrete pieces
22 that could be fallen columns or a wall or whatever. How can you say this
23 is a bunker -- or was a bunker? Could it not be the ruins of a house,
24 for instance?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, 200 to 250 metres
1 below this bunker that we see now was my own position at the beginning of
2 the January conflict as a member of the armed forces of the HVO. I know
3 very well how they acted from this area where the repeater was, and then
4 they also built a strong -- stronghold there, and that is why I know.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Please proceed, Mr. Praljak.
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel,
7 we will be having witnesses on this issue who actually saw this, but no
8 houses are allowed around the repeater, anyway. I just wish to tender
9 these photographs.
10 Q. Let's go on to the next photograph, which is 0440. 440. Next
11 one, please. I will leave out the other photographs. There's no need to
12 burden you with these. We'll stop with the photographs there.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a small
14 question of a technical nature. The picture that we see, which according
15 to Mr. Praljak is a former bunker, I am surprised not to see any metal
16 reinforcements. How can you explain that? Or maybe at the time there
17 were no metal rods.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the general said that
19 this photograph was taken last year, so 14 and a half years after the
20 conflict which occurred in Gornji Vakuf. At this location, I can confirm
21 that the TV relay or repeater was situated with equipment to monitor the
22 TV signal of Bosnia-Herzegovina television.
23 After the combat operations and after the HVO gained control of
24 these elevation points, the repeater was destroyed and the remaining iron
25 rods were collected by people who wanted to sell them. They could be
1 sold for a good price in those days.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour
3 Judge Antonetti, this flat area has elements of a good structure.
4 Let's look at the last photograph, 0445, please.
5 Q. Witness, look at the road down there. Can you see in the
6 forefront? This was taken this year, this summer, not last year, the
7 remains of a bunker facing a road. Can you see the road down there?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. From this bunker or one of these bunkers, is it possible to have
10 full control of the road leading from Uskoplje to Rama?
11 A. Yes, because it is some 300 metres as the crow flies away.
12 Q. Could we now -- can we now show Mr. Batinic a map, the number of
13 which is 3D 00464. 3D 00464.
14 Mr. Batinic, I'm sorry it's so small. It's not very clear, and
15 that's not good, but I have the map here, so -- you have the map. Good.
16 Well, have a look at it. Naturally, you weren't in the brigade command.
17 You weren't in the command of the operative zone, and I don't think you
18 can know everything about this. But here in red, you have the positions
19 of the ABiH and of the HVO, the positions facing the army of Republika
20 Srpska. That's how we'll call it. These are the red lines and the
21 circles that you can see.
22 So has this been correctly depicted, the line towards Bugojno and
23 Uskoplje and further on?
24 A. I really am not familiar with these topographic maps, but if this
25 represents the defence line on the Radusa mountain from Idovac, from the
1 area of Rama and of Raduski Kamen and then down towards Bugojno, then
3 Q. That's what it says here. It says Raduski Kamen and Idovac and
4 so on and so forth. That's correct. Have a look at this map, now, where
5 we can see the lines of contact between the HVO and the ABiH around
6 Uskoplje and in Uskoplje after the conflict had broken out. As far as
7 you know, given the villages you are familiar with, after the conflict
8 broke out, would these be the lines? Green is for the ABiH and red for
10 A. General, I apologise, but I can't see the inhabited places here.
11 Perhaps you could help me. Perhaps you could mention some place names.
12 Q. Well, yes. You would need a magnifying glass. Unfortunately, I
13 didn't bring one with me.
14 Have a look at the area around the repeater and the continuation
15 here. In this area, did the ABiH have previously fortified positions as
16 far as you know?
17 A. From the beginning of this mountain and up towards the repeater
18 and when you look in the direction of Rama or Pidris, yes, that was the
20 Q. Tell me one more thing. Do you know that on the road from
21 Bugojno to Travnik there was a Mujahadin camp? Did people discuss this?
22 Did you have any information about this?
23 A. Unfortunately, according to the information that I had when the
24 HVO lost Bugojno and when they left Bugojno, Ravno Rostovo, a position
25 between Bugojno and Novi Travnik, there was a motel, and the Mujahadin
1 were located there, and according to certain information, strange things
2 would happen there.
3 Q. Do you perhaps remember that at one point in time they
4 captured -- I apologise.
5 MS. MOE: I'm asking for time specifics on this. That goes both
6 to the question and the answer relating to Mujahadin. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
8 Q. My first question: Do you know that in the conflict in January,
9 the conflict between the ABiH and the HVO in Uskoplje, there was a
10 Mujahadin camp in Ravno Rostovo?
11 A. Yes, I heard about that.
12 Q. In January 1993, do you perhaps know that at that very same
13 check-point when going to talk to the ABiH, a Croatian military
14 delegation was disarmed with the deputy chief of the Main Staff, a
15 Colonel Mangric [phoen]? They were stripped, looted, and they had to
16 continue towards Bugojno while naked.
17 A. I heard about that later on, but at the time I didn't know about
19 Q. Thank you very much.
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can we have an IC -- but
21 it's a 3D, so it's not necessary.
22 Q. A few more questions. Tell me the following: The shelling of
23 the Serbs, did this take place before the conflict that broke out between
24 the Armija and the HVO in January 1993?
25 A. Yes. They started shelling our municipality on the 15th of
1 August, 1992. They launched the first eight shells.
2 Q. So they started this in 1992. Is it true that they killed the
3 civilians, too, and they --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could the -- could Mr. Praljak please repeat
5 the question?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
7 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Praljak is kindly asked to repeat the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the beginning of the conflict in
10 1992 --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. Excuse me. Stop, stop, stop, stop.
12 We must go back. The question of Mr. Praljak should be repeated, and
13 then we go on because the interpretation then stopped. So if you would
14 like, kindly repeat your question.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Batinic, my question is as follows: When the Serbian forces
17 started shelling Uskoplje -- well, first of all, did they do that? When
18 did they do that? When shelling Uskoplje, were there civilian victims as
19 well? Were buildings that supplied electricity destroyed and so on and
20 so forth? Tell us everything you know about this.
21 A. On the 15th of August, 1992, in the evening hours the first eight
22 shells were launched from Serbian guns from the area of Kupres or from
24 Croatian part of town or, as I said, that's how they greeted -- they
25 celebrated Assumption for us. From the 15th of August onwards, they
1 sporadically shelled between 12 to 40 shells on the territory of the
2 municipality of Gornji Vakuf.
3 In January when a clash broke out between the ABiH and the HVO,
4 the Serbs shelled the area more frequently, and sometime at the very
5 beginning of the conflict some of their shells completely destroyed the
6 main stations for supplying Gornji Vakuf with electricity.
7 About the 20th of January, 1993, from that date onwards we didn't
8 have electricity anymore in the entire area of the municipality of Gornji
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Batinic. You said that in the conflict in
11 January, as far as you can remember, the HVO on the 22nd of January took
12 control of the elevations that had previously been taken by the ABiH.
13 You said that there were no more attacks on the town. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. I'm now about to conclude. Let's go back to July
17 Is it correct to say that in the second half of July 1993, from
18 the 15th onwards, the ABiH attacked the HVO in Bugojno?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. As far as you know, how many civilians from Bugojno and how many
21 HVO soldiers passed through Uskoplje in the direction of Rama around the
22 23rd, 4th, 5th of July, 1993?
23 A. Several thousand.
24 Q. Tell me, sir, on that occasion did the ABiH continue to advance
25 in the direction of Uskoplje?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And then on to Pavic Polje. Naturally, they wanted to reach
3 Makljen and go further.
4 According to the information you have, was there fierce fighting
5 in that area at that time?
6 A. Yes. On the -- well, with regard to the HVO, Bugojno lost about
7 the 20th of July, 1993
8 forces tried to take territory or areas in Gornji Vakuf where Croats
10 Q. Please, we have a problem when we say the 20th of 6th. It's --
11 A. The 26th of July, 1993.
12 Q. That's right. Thank you. Now let's go back to the 31st and the
13 1st and so on.
14 According to your information, was there complete breakdown of
15 all the defence lines of the HVO in the town of Vakuf, in Uskoplje and
17 A. 80 per cent of the defence lines of the HVO on the evening
18 between the 31st of July and the 1st of August were broken. These lines
19 were lost, in fact.
20 Q. Is it true to say that the people and the soldiers started
21 withdrawing in the direction of Rama on a massive scale?
22 A. Unfortunately, that's true.
23 Q. Do you know that a number of people burnt their own houses?
24 Croats did that. They killed their livestock, et cetera, when leaving
25 that area?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know that at the time I was in the area?
3 A. We saw each other, Mr. General, on the 1st of August in town.
4 Q. Is it correct to say that on the 1st of August we managed to
5 retake all the lines?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Because I was a little boastful, is it true to say that I took
8 the remainder of the troops back on a tank?
9 A. From Pidris, yes.
10 Q. What is not yet clear is what Croats, and religious Croats in
11 particular, mean when they say "Assumption." What is this?
12 A. Well, the Croatian Catholics in Bosnia and Herzegovina and
13 throughout the world have a number of religious festivals which they
14 celebrate, Christmas, Easter, and Assumption before all.
15 Q. My last question. At the repeater, there were two things. It
16 was possible to broadcast the signal of TV Sarajevo 1 and TV Sarajevo 2.
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Did the HVO ask that the part of the repeater broadcasting TV
20 part of the repeater to be used so that the Croatian programme in Zagreb
21 could be watched?
22 A. Yes, and that's the conclusion adopted by the Executive
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Batinic. I wish you a safe trip home.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 That concludes my examination.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Praljak. We
3 will now have our 20-minute break. Mr. Scott, you're on your feet.
4 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, and I'll be very brief, and you should
5 know for the record I'm not taking anyone's time in saying this. But I
6 will make the Prosecution's periodic objection and observation that I
7 await the day, I await the day when anyone will be able to explain to me
8 that that was cross-examination. We continue to object to this
9 procedure. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll have our
11 20-minute break.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.57 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. Just a technical issue.
16 I thought I would handle it right now before we lose track of time.
17 Today, we submitted an amended IC list for the witness Zelenika, and we
18 added one document IC 00863. So that's just to -- for technical
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
21 Ms. Alaburic.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have the same sort
23 of thing to say. The Petkovic Defence also submitted an annex to the
24 formal list of exhibits shown to the witness Mirko Zelenika. The extra
25 document concerns a map, and IC number is 00862. Thank you very much.
1 And if I could continue immediately, since it's my turn to cross-examine
2 the witness. I would first of all like to greet the Chamber, everyone
3 else in the courtroom.
4 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] And you, Mr. Batinic. My name is Vesna
6 Alaburic --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Concerning the initial list
9 submitted by the Prlic Defence team, it shall be given Exhibit number IC
10 00879, and the supplementary list submitted by the Petkovic Defence team
11 shall be given Exhibit number IC 00880. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
13 Q. Mr. Batinic, my name is Vesna Alaburic. I'm a lawyer from
15 Could you first inform the Chamber whether we know each other?
16 Have we ever spoken to each other before today, participate in your
17 proofing for this testimony?
18 A. I don't know you from before, Ms. Alaburic.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Batinic, could you clarify something for us,
20 something that I thought was not sufficiently clear? When answering a
21 question put to you by my colleague Karnavas about removing check-points
22 in villages, the honourable Judge Trechsel then put a question to you and
23 asked you why those check-points in the villages had been removed. You
24 answered that the reason was to make it possible for people to move
25 around freely in the area of Gornji Vakuf, but you said that three
1 check-points were to remain at the entrance to Gornji Vakuf. Now, this
2 was entered into the transcript on page 11. Do you remember that answer?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What is unclear to me in your answer is the following: If the
5 check-points in villages were removed to make it possible for people to
6 move around freely in the area of Gornji Vakuf, the question remains:
7 What was the purpose of the three check-points at the entrance to Gornji
8 Vakuf? Someone could draw the conclusion that those check-points
9 remained there to prevent people from moving around freely, and perhaps
10 one might think that the check-points were there for security reasons.
11 So, Mr. Batinic, could you please clarify the matter for us?
12 A. It's very simple. Before there were any incidents in Gornji
13 Vakuf municipality, the HVO and the TO - I'm talking about the armed
14 forces - had joint check-points at entrances or access routes to the town
15 and municipality of Gornji Vakuf. The check-point from the direction of
16 Bugojno in Gornji Vakuf municipality area was in the Humac settlement,
17 which is about ten kilometres from the actual town of Gornji Vakuf
18 check-point from the direction of Novi Travnik towards the direction
19 of -- the entrance to settlements in the area of the municipality of
20 Gornji Vakuf was in the settlement of Bistrica -- or, rather, it
21 controlled the entrance from the canyon of the Bistrik River
22 entrance to Gornji Vakuf; and the check-point from Prozor at the entrance
23 to Gornji Vakuf at the very entrance of Gornji Vakuf was also a joint
25 Our order had to do with removing check-points inside settlements
1 in the very municipality of Gornji Vakuf, which is where you had a
2 settlement where the majority were Muslims, and then you had one
3 settlement where the Croats were in the majority, and that's how it went
4 on, in an alternate manner. These check-points had to be removed, but
5 the three main check-points, well, they were used to control entrance and
6 exit of any individuals to and from the area of our municipality. And
7 also, it was to prevent conscripts from leaving the municipality if they
8 didn't have certificates from the TO, the HVO, and the public security
10 Q. Tell me, at these three main check-points, were soldiers from the
11 HVO and the ABiH, did they act in the same way towards Muslims and
12 Croats, or was there discrimination on a national basis?
13 A. They didn't behave in a different manner. They treated them in
14 an identical manner.
15 Q. You mentioned military conscripts, and we have seen a document
16 that concerns military conscripts. I'll have a question about this for
17 you. Perhaps you know the answer, perhaps not.
18 In Gornji Vakuf, was there a record of military conscripts which
19 included young men regardless of their ethnic origin, or were various
20 kinds of records kept for military conscripts? Tell me if you know.
21 A. Before the war in Gornji Vakuf, we just had one single record of
22 military conscripts. The secretary for national defence kept these
23 records. At the beginning of the very war, the list of military
24 conscripts recognised by the operational headquarters of the Croatian
25 people, which was founded by decision of the Crisis Staff of the HDZ for
1 the municipality of Gornji Vakuf, well, had its own list of Croatian
2 military conscripts, and the SDA had a list of its own conscripts -- or,
3 rather, the Patriotic League also had such a list.
4 Q. Let us now go back for a moment to this road. Was Gornji Vakuf
5 an important communication place, or was Gornji Vakuf insignificant in
6 terms of communications?
7 A. Depending on the viewpoint. For us, it was an important
8 transport location in view of the fact that from Gornji Vakuf you could
9 go to Central Bosnia and towards the south to Herzegovina. So the
10 Bugojno-Gornji Vakuf-Prozor road going on to Jablanica and Mostar, and on
11 the other hand, Gornji Vakuf-Bugojno-Travnik, and so on.
12 Q. I would now like to show you a part of the statement of a witness
13 who was a British soldier in the UNPROFOR unit deployed in Gornji Vakuf.
14 The page is 8468 of the transcript, and he said: "Who controls Gornji
15 Vakuf also controls the entire approach to that part of Bosnia
16 Would you agree with this statement of his?
17 A. No. But viewed from the south towards Bosnia, from Herzegovina
18 towards Bosnia
21 Q. Tell me, from Mostar towards Bugojno, could there any other --
22 was there any other way to reach it except via Gornji Vakuf?
23 A. Yes, via Kupres, but at that time Kupres was occupied.
24 Q. We're talking about the possibilities at that time. After the
25 occupation of Kupres, could one reach Bugojno in any other way except via
1 Gornji Vakuf?
2 A. Not, no.
3 Q. Tell me, could you reach Novi Travnik and Travnik from Mostar
4 without passing through Gornji Vakuf?
5 A. As far as I know, no.
6 Q. Let me ask you now as a man who is local to Gornji Vakuf. This
7 same British soldier, in answer to a question from Judge Antonetti about
8 the possibility of having control over particular areas, said that even
9 if the HVO would have the control of the road from Gornji Vakuf towards
10 Bugojno or Prozor, it would not be sufficiently important unless he had
11 control of the localities close to the road, and he mentioned the names
12 Uzricje, Hrasnica, Zdrimci, because the army that was in those villages
13 and has visual communication with these roads could hinder movement along
14 that road. Let me repeat the names of the villages which are mentioned
15 in the transcript. Uzricje, the villages of Uzricje, Hrasnica - Hrasnica
16 - and Zdrimci, on page 8474 of the transcript.
17 Tell me, Mr. Batinic, according to your knowledge of the area, is
18 this statement true or not?
19 A. It is partly true.
20 Q. Tell me, which part of it is true and which is not?
21 A. Uzricje is at least a kilometre away from the road Gornji
22 Vakuf-Bugojno or Gornji Vakuf-Prozor. Hrasnica leans on the Gornji
23 Vakuf-Bugojno road, and Zdrimci is at least 500 metres away from the
24 road, from the Gornji Vakuf-Prozor road. And I must note that from
25 Zdrimci, the road could be controlled from the elevation point Babe
2 Q. There's no dispute those villages are not on the road. They are
3 removed from the road.
4 A. I'm sorry. This road could not be controlled from Uzricje in any
5 possible way.
6 Q. Could another important road be controlled from Uzricje?
7 A. Yes. From the Croatian part of Gornji Vakuf, there is a forest
8 road which passes through Uzricje going to Mackovac or Pidris.
9 Q. Tell me, this side road, was it very important for Prozor-Gornji
10 Vakuf communication in the event that the ABiH could prevent
11 communication from Mackovac towards Gornji Vakuf and Bugojno? In other
12 words, could this side-road be used to reach Gornji Vakuf?
13 A. If the Prozor-Vakuf road is blocked, then the only way to reach
14 Mackovac and Pidris from Gornji Vakuf would be the road going through
16 Q. Very well. That was what I expected you to tell us.
17 Could we now have a look at the first conflict, which happened on
18 the 20th of June, 1992. You spoke at length about this conflict. It is
19 the conflict in June. We've also seen a number of documents from that
20 period when the Presidency of Gornji Vakuf issued orders to both the HVO
21 and the TO. Do you remember those documents and the discussions about
23 A. Yes, I do, very well.
24 Q. Tell me, is it right to believe that those documents show that in
25 those days in 1992 the HVO fully cooperated with the ABiH and that they
1 functioned as the joint armed force of Bosnia-Herzegovina, if I can put
2 it that way, or could those documents be given some other meaning?
3 A. There's no other meaning. The HVO and the Territorial Defence --
4 or, rather, the armed forces of these two components acted in a
5 coordinated fashion along the defence lines against the Serb aggressor,
6 and they cooperated well.
7 Q. Let us now see whether this situation was of a purely local
8 nature, or was it of any broader significance for this part of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So please look at my set of documents, document 4D
10 397. It is a document which is already an exhibit. It is a letter by
11 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic addressed on the 20th of June, 1991, to the
12 Municipal Staff of the HVO in Gornji Vakuf. Have you found that
14 A. Yes, I have.
15 Q. It's a brief document. In the fourth line, Brigadier Petkovic
16 says that the TO and the HVO are component parts of the armed forces of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Mr. Batinic, could you please comment on this? Does this
19 statement correspond to what we saw in the documents of the Presidency of
20 Gornji Vakuf, which apply simultaneously to the Territorial Defence and
21 the HVO?
22 A. The Crisis Staff of Gornji Vakuf and the Presidency of Gornji
23 Vakuf municipality considered as legitimate defence forces both the HVO
24 and the TO as equally and on an equal footing. And let me add that as
25 the Presidency of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf, by our decision we
1 appointed to the Presidency the commander of the armed forces of the HVO
2 and the commander of the armed forces of the TO who, let me add in
3 passing, regularly attended our meetings. Sometimes one of their
4 deputies would attend, and they would regularly report the same body
5 about the situation on the ground, the behaviour of the aggressor, et
7 Q. On the basis of those documents and your statement, one could get
8 the impression that in Gornji Vakuf you managed to establish something
9 like a Joint Command. Would such a conclusion be correct or incorrect?
10 A. One could not say that there was a Joint Command, but what one
11 can say is that they coordinated their activities, that is, the command
12 of the HVO and the TO command. So their coordination was excellent.
13 Q. If we look at the last sentence in this document of Brigadier
14 Petkovic at the time, which ends with the call to go jointly to the line
15 of defence against the common enemy, that is, the Bosnian Serbs, would
16 this call be in accordance with what was happening in the area of Gornji
18 A. Yes, in view of the fact that the armed forces of the TO had
19 abandoned the defence line facing the Serbs on Radusa mountain.
20 Q. Let me ask you a couple of questions regarding the conflict in
21 October 1992. This is the second conflict that you mentioned. Please
22 look at two documents. The first is P 633. It is also a letter by
23 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic, who now has the position of chief of the HVO
24 Main Staff, and it is addressed, among others, to Gornji Vakuf urging the
25 commanders to try and calm the situation.
1 And the next document, P 644, dated the 24th of October, with
2 roughly the same contents, and it is an order to establish contact with
3 the party in conflict and a cessation of hostilities.
4 Tell me, Mr. Batinic, you didn't see these orders before?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Do you know who Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic was?
7 A. In my memory serves me well, he was the commander of the HVO in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time.
9 Q. Did you know about him at the time, that is in June and October
11 A. I had heard of General Petkovic, but I didn't have occasion to
12 meet him.
13 Q. These orders to calm the situation and to cease hostilities, do
14 they correspond to what was going on in the area of Gornji Vakuf at the
15 time, that is, that the local commanders were endeavouring to calm the
16 situation and ease tensions?
17 A. Absolutely so, the more so as we in Gornji Vakuf made a maximum
18 of effort to avoid that conflict.
19 Q. Tell me, did the commanders of the TO and the HVO occasionally
20 walk through town together so as to let the people know that they were
21 together, that they were endeavouring to control the situation and in
22 that sense to set the population at ease regarding the situation?
23 A. Not the two commanders of the armed forces but a group of maybe
24 up to 50 men in which there were equal numbers of Croats and Muslims, the
25 most influential people of Gornji Vakuf, which included the commanders of
1 the armed forces of the HVO and the TO. And we had the so-called March
2 of Peace throughout the town of Gornji Vakuf, and by this peace march we
3 wanted to bring peace to the population of Gornji Vakuf to see that we
4 were together, that nothing strange would happen or should happen,
5 especially not a conflict.
6 Q. Could you tell us precisely when this peace march took place?
7 A. I believe that this peace march took place in the evening of the
8 24th of October, 1992.
9 Q. Mr. Batinic, let me ask you a few brief questions about flags.
10 You spoke about this at length. If my understanding was correct, it was
11 customary for the Croats to hoist their Croatian flags [as interpreted]
12 during the holidays. Is my understanding correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Tell me, did this custom exist prior to 1992?
15 A. After the first multi-party elections, this could be done freely
16 for our holidays that I mentioned, that is Christmas, New Year, and the
17 Holy Three Kings. Unfortunately, prior to the multi-party elections,
18 this was not allowed in Socialist Yugoslavia and in Gornji Vakuf at the
20 Q. The elections were at the end of 1990, so from the end of 1990
21 onwards the Croats of Bosnia-Herzegovina could freely hang up their
22 flags; is that right?
23 A. Yes, for the appropriate holidays.
24 Q. In 1991 when the flag of the Croatian people in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina was hoisted, would any Muslim inhabitants consider
1 this flag to be a provocation?
2 A. No.
3 Q. You mentioned the Holy Three Kings frequently. Maybe this is
4 common knowledge, but nevertheless, let us say when this holiday occurs.
5 It is on the 6th of January. Is that so?
6 A. Yes, correct.
7 Q. And finally, let me just ask you something in connection with a
8 few documents of the BH army and some other Muslim documents, so please
9 look at document 3D 511. These are conclusions from a meeting of
10 representatives of the Muslims held on the 11th of July, 1992
11 Vakuf. I'm interested in paragraph 4.
12 Please tell us first whether you were aware that a meeting of the
13 representatives of Muslims was being held on at that date in Gornji
15 A. I was not.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could there be a pause, please.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Let us look at paragraph 4. "The representatives of Muslims of
19 Central Bosnia and Herzegovina approve and support the fight of the HVO
20 as a component part --"
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You're going too fast, much too fast. It's
22 often happens when one reads a document. The interpreters have
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I thought I was slow
1 Q. So paragraph 4, the first sentence: "The representatives of the
2 Muslims of Central Bosnia and Herzegovina approve and support the fight
3 of the HVO as a component part of the entire liberating army of Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina
5 Mr. Batinic, could you please comment on this? According to your
6 knowledge and the positions of your co-inhabitants of Muslim ethnicity,
7 did they support the efforts of the HVO, and was it challenged at all
8 that the HVO was defending Bosnia and Herzegovina?
9 A. The Muslims in Gornji Vakuf perceived the armed forces of the HVO
10 and the armed forces of the TO in the same way. Their duty was to defend
11 the Gornji Vakuf municipality. The most responsible representatives of
12 the Muslim people who were in the Crisis Staff and in the Presidency of
13 the municipality of Gornji Vakuf showed this in their opinions, in their
14 decisions, in their conclusions on a daily basis. This was confirmed on
15 a daily basis.
16 Q. Mr. Batinic, I'll now show you a document, P 1226. It's already
17 been admitted into evidence, so if you could just comment on part of it,
19 In this trial, it's very important for us to know whether the
20 Muslim population of certain villages in Gornji Vakuf moved out of their
21 villages, and if they did so, how. So please comment on the penultimate
22 paragraph in this report from Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic. I'll read
23 out the sentence that I'm interested in: "The upper part of town and all
24 the villages inhabited by Muslims are under the control of the Armija, of
25 the army, with the exception of the village of Uzricje
1 whose residents evacuated or moved out voluntarily and moved to Gornji
2 Vakuf, as well as the village of Hrasnica
4 Mr. Batinic, do you know who Enver Hadzihasanovic was?
5 A. Well, at the time, I did not know who Mr. -- I don't even know
6 what his surname is. Hadzihasanovic. I later heard about him from
7 commanders of the HVO.
8 Q. Tell me, was Gornji Vakuf in the area of responsibility of the
9 3rd Corps?
10 A. According to the information I had, yes, it was.
11 Q. Did you at any time - and this includes the post-war period -
12 hear that Muslims evacuated from these individual villages around Gornji
14 A. Well, I don't know what happened exactly on the 19th of January,
15 1993, in these inhabited places. I have already said, I said so
16 yesterday and I have said so today, that during that period of time I was
17 located or deployed in the settlement Gornji Vakuf below the elevations,
18 the repeater, and the purpose I had was to protect myself and my family.
19 Q. Very well. I thought that perhaps you had heard something about
20 the post-war periods and events.
21 Can you just comment on 4D 1235 now, please. It's a brief
22 document, a short document. It's a report from Commander Hadzihasanovic
23 dated the 10th of January, 1993, so a period prior to the beginning of
24 the conflict.
25 It says and I quote: "Given the continuation of the Geneva
1 political negotiations -- on the occasion of political negotiations in
3 3rd Corps of the ABiH, we hereby offer you our unconditional support in
4 your efforts to prevent the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina on ethnic
5 or any other principles.
6 "Do not allow --" I haven't finish the quote. I'm continuing.
7 "Do not allow the following, and neither shall we, do not allow that the
8 blood spilled so far and the sacrifice of our fighters, children, women,
9 fathers and mothers be in vain."
10 Mr. Batinic, tell us, have you ever heard of any period of
11 time -- at the time and later that members of the ABiH were against
12 organising Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with the Vance-Owen Plan
13 that had been put forward in January 1993?
14 A. With regard to the period that this document refers to, the 10th
15 of January, 1993, well, I had no such information.
16 Q. And later on, did you obtain any such information?
17 A. Well, look, when you're a participant in armed combat and when
18 your life is at threat on a daily basis, your main task is to remain
19 alive and then to protect those who are with you, and you are least
20 concerned with such matters as these before us. So I can't say anything
21 in answer to your question. If they had accepted one of the solutions,
22 the war between the ABiH and the HVO wouldn't have been so fierce.
23 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Batinic.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have now completed
25 my cross-examination. There is just one correction I would like to make,
1 and I thank Ms. Pinter for telling me about this.
2 On page 86, line 11 and 12, my question on the flag of the
3 Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina was wrongly translated as a
4 question about the Croatian flag. So please bear in mind that I always
5 asked questions about the Croatian flag of the Croats in Bosnia and
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We have a few
8 minutes before we adjourn; and therefore, it's perhaps not necessary for
9 the Prosecution to commence with their re-examination unless they so
10 desire. If not, we can start with cross-examination tomorrow at 9.00.
11 The Prosecution will have four hours.
12 Mr. Scott.
13 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. No, we agree with you,
14 Your Honour. We would appreciate that -- since we only have about ten
15 minutes, we'll appreciate if we could just make a clean start tomorrow.
16 I will use one moment of the time, if I may, please, to ask for
17 a -- the Court's permission to file a longer response to the applications
18 for provisional release. Just as a brief recap, Your Honours, the --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move into private
21 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. I won't mention any names,
22 but I understand. I agree.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 34461-34463 redacted.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.41 p.m.
7 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 12th day
8 of November, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.