1 Wednesday, 18 February 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, kindly call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic
11 et al.
12 Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 Today, let me greet the accused, the Defence counsel present in
15 the courtroom. And good morning, Witness. Good morning, Mr. Scott.
16 Good morning to your associates. Good morning, Ms. West. And good
17 morning, Mr. Court Reporter assisting us, whose work is extremely
18 difficult. Good morning to the Registrar and the usher.
19 We have to complete Ms. Alaburic's cross-examination. I'll ask
20 the legal officer to tell us how much time is left. And without further
21 adieu, I'll ask Ms. Alaburic to proceed.
22 WITNESS: VESO VEGAR [Resumed]
23 [The witness answered through interpreter]
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, I'm told that you
25 have 13 minutes left. Try to remain within the next quarter of an hour
1 so that Mr. Scott can start with his cross-examination.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, good morning to you.
3 Good morning, Mr. Vegar. Good morning to everyone in the courtroom.
4 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]
5 Q. [Interpretation] Now, Mr. Vegar, shall we go back briefly to the
6 topic of the foreign median their reporting.
7 Tell me, to the best of your knowledge, did foreign media, such
8 as agencies Reuters and AFB, have their own correspondents in Mostar or
9 elsewhere in Herceg-Bosna?
10 A. No, they did not.
11 Q. Can you tell us how they came by information about the events and
12 developments in the area of Herceg-Bosna? Did they get their information
13 by perusing domestic media, contacting local journalists, getting press
14 releases from domestic institutions?
15 A. Yes, that's how they came by their information, mostly
16 indirectly, except for the cases when they would come to Mostar
18 Q. Tell me, foreign reporters came to Mostar as a rule to prepare
19 one story, one report, they would stay briefly, and then return to their
20 base, or was it a different practice?
21 A. They stayed briefly when they came, for an hour or two, several
22 hours at most, and then they would go back.
23 Q. In this way of work, when you are using other sources, is it
24 possible for several media to publish one and the same story, based on
25 one and the same source? For instance, if Reuters comes out with one
1 story that contains a mistake, and other media take over the same story,
2 can the same mistake be perpetuated in many reports?
3 A. Yes. If a mistake occurs and several media take over the story,
4 then the mistake would be perpetuated.
5 Q. Yesterday, we spoke about the vertical and horizontal
6 organisation. I just wanted to look at one more document, 2D 853. It's
7 also a document of the Prlic Defence, 1D 1672.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I did not want to
9 interrupt, because we have little time, time is of essence, but I have a
10 technical question because you were a journalist.
11 Mention was made of foreign reporters. When they would go to
12 Mostar, for instance, if they went at all, you seem to say that they
13 would stay for very short periods of time. But when they went, did they
14 meet with their colleagues, their Croatian colleagues, or did they go and
15 have a whiskey at the hotel bar, and would they go back after gathering a
16 few pieces of information from the hotel porter? You were a journalist,
17 you were able to assess the work they would do. Was it serious, the work
18 they did? Were they fast, efficient, or were just very superficial? How
19 would you qualify their work?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As we said previously, there were
21 more than 2.000 reporters, many of them foreign, and you cannot lump them
22 in the same heap. Others did their -- ones did their work very
23 thoroughly; others would come, size things up in 10 or 15 minutes, and
24 return to wherever they came from.
25 The situation in Mostar was critical. Of course, when they would
1 come, they would ask me for a statement, and then they would focus on the
2 topic for which they came.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. The major
4 agencies, Reuters, AFP
5 or were there reporters or journalists in Zagreb?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Their correspondents were mostly in
8 without going to Mostar at all.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And as part of their work,
10 would they try and make contact with you? You knew them?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, I knew those who came
12 more than once. If they came only once, how would I know them?
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you would read their
14 reports, were their reports objective or exaggerated? How would you
15 qualify their reports?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What bothered me in their reporting
17 was one-sidedness and their enslavement to their prejudice about what
18 they called sides to the conflict.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And when you would observe
20 inaccuracies in their reports, would you ask them to be corrected
21 officially, sir?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If there was a factual mistake,
23 yes. If it was an opinion expressed in the story, then I didn't think I
24 had the right.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Please, Ms. Alaburic.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you allow me,
3 another few follow-up questions on this that would not go against my 13
5 Q. Mr. Vegar --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No. Questions by Judges do not
7 give you any more credit. It's part of your time. Otherwise, I won't
8 ask any questions anymore, ever. If that is your purpose, I won't ask a
9 single question anymore.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] All right, Your Honour.
11 We submitted a request to be decided about additional time for
12 the Defence regarding Judges' questions. I'll proceed like this:
13 Q. Mr. Vegar, in Mostar did you receive AFP service, Reuters --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you noticed that
15 my questions were essential ones, that they really encapsulated the whole
16 topic, so I fail to see what you could add to it.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would appreciate
18 it if you allow me to finish, and then you will see my purpose.
19 Q. Mr. Vegar, President Antonetti asked you if you corrected
20 information published in the foreign media. I would like to clarify for
21 the Trial Chamber, what did you know at all about foreign reporting
22 sitting in Mostar at the time? To begin with, did you receive Reuters,
24 A. No, I did not have that facility, but I had a certain insight
25 into their reporting through the stories in the domestic media that were
1 taken over from the foreign media.
2 Q. So you did not know directly? You did not have direct insight
3 into foreign reporting. You knew about those stories only if one of the
4 domestic sources would refer to a foreign source?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. At that time in Mostar, did you have occasion to receive US,
7 British, French weeklies and dailies, other publications, watch TV
8 reports of foreign agencies reporting from Bosnia?
9 A. No, I did not.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Because of lack of time, I will
11 skip the document I had called before.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, regarding this
13 question, does this mean that the HVO, in its civilian or military
14 components, that nobody had a satellite dish able to receive, through
15 satellites, CNN, Sky News, or other stations? There was nobody in Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Some people probably did, but we in
18 the HVO did not have a service of that kind, nor did we have a person
19 whose job it was to follow these programmes.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You had individuals -- I
21 suppose that if you had a Croatian worker who used to work in Frankfurt
22 and had a second residence somewhere, he must have put a satellite dish
23 in order to receive ZDF, a German channel, or not - I guess so - in order
24 just to see the football matches of his local team. Wasn't it so?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the HVO did not think it
2 useful, in terms of media, to know what the world was saying about what
3 was happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, that was important to
5 us, but I'm telling you we did not have the technical facilities or the
6 personnel who would do that.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Vegar, to follow up on this question, which I really believe
10 to be very important, did you hear about the programme of the Croatian
11 Television called "Picture Against Picture"? Some of those were
12 presented here as evidence by the Prosecution. Did you hear about the
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Because of lack of time, I'll go on with leading questions. Is
16 that a programme that portrayed reports by foreign television stations
17 about the region of the former Yugoslavia
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell me, if you know, at that time was it one of the most popular
20 programmes in all the areas covered by the Croatian Television signal?
21 A. I think so.
22 Q. Was one of the reasons perhaps the fact that the overwhelming
23 majority of citizens of the former Yugoslavia
24 aerials and were not able to follow foreign programmes on their own?
25 A. Yes, the media isolation was rather bad.
1 Q. Very well. Let us now go back to the topic of my
3 You told us, Mr. Vegar, and that was on page 31 of the transcript
4 of the first day of your evidence, you said that you had several sources
5 of information for your own work, employees of the IPD sector on all
6 levels, then other sectors within the Defence Department, the Defence
7 Department itself, and the Main Staff. Further on, you spoke a lot about
8 the Main
10 Did you receive daily combat reports from the Main Staff? Daily
11 combat reports, they were practically summaries of reports from all the
12 operation zones, all the four of them?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. To the best of your knowledge, were they summary reports that the
15 Main Staff also forwarded to other competent bodies in Herceg-Bosna, if
16 you know?
17 A. I really don't know all the other recipients, but I received
19 Q. Can you tell us how and with what regularities did you receive
20 information from other sources; for instance, from IPD personnel on other
21 levels, that is, assistant commanders of units and operation zones?
22 A. I received them, but I would have liked to have received more.
23 They were rather irregular.
24 Q. Were they supposed to be daily, weekly, or on some other basis?
25 A. From the operation zones, they were supposed to be daily. From
1 other levels, depending on the importance of the events.
2 Q. All right. What about other sectors of the Defence Department?
3 From which sectors did you receive information, on what basis, and what
4 kind of information?
5 A. That was information relevant to the HVO, but also to the public,
6 and it was much more seldom; for instance, the Health Sector.
7 Q. When you said that you used to receive information from the
8 Defence Department itself, could you please explain what you meant by
10 A. I meant information about the Defence Department itself, maybe
11 from head of the Defence Department or some other people within the
12 Defence Department.
13 Q. I presume that I have still two more minutes. Let's hear some
14 explanations about the college of assistants and heads of departments
15 within the Defence Department. This is the last set of my documents. It
16 is not important for me to discuss individual documents.
17 P 05032, please take a look at it. P 05032, invitation from
18 Bruno Stojic to you, Mr. Vegar, on the 14th of September, 1993, to attend
19 the college session. And then the next document, P 05045, identical
20 invitation to -- addressed to Slobodan Praljak. Please, Mr. Vegar, tell
21 us whether you remember having received such invitations to attend
22 college meetings.
23 A. Yes, I used to receive them.
24 Q. Fine. Let's take a look at this document, and the document is
25 P 04576 -- P 04756. These are minutes from a session of the college of
1 the Defence Department. Yes, now the number has been correctly reflected
2 in the transcript. This is the last document in this set of documents.
3 At least this is how it's supposed to be. Please take a look at the
4 first sentence. It says here, Head of the Defence Department drew
5 attention to the fact that in the future, chief of the Main Staff should
6 attend every college meeting. From this note, I conclude that the chief
7 of the Main Staff did not attend every session of the Defence Department
8 college. Isn't that so?
9 A. Well, I suppose so, because I did not attend every session.
10 Q. It is important for us, Mr. Vegar, to determine very exactly what
11 was the importance of such college sessions and whether members of the
12 college took decisions from the purview of the Defence Department, and
13 this is why I ask you whether you, as a member of the college, did take
14 part in taking decisions which concerned SIS, military police, or the
15 Main Staff, or any other segment of the Defence Department which would be
16 outside your sector?
17 A. No, I think that I did not have the right to take part in
18 decision-making about other sectors.
19 Q. Tell us, please, whether any other participants at such a session
20 of the college had the right to decide on matters outside their purview?
21 A. No.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Vegar.
23 Your Honours, I believe that I've remained within the limits of
24 the time that you allotted me. And if you allow me, I have one technical
25 remark. General Petkovic Defence team submitted an objection to the list
1 of evidence tendered by the Prosecution through the witness Buljan. Our
2 objection was given an IC number, 926, IC 926. The objection referred to
3 the lists coming from the Prosecution, which is P 924. Since the
4 Prosecution rectified their IC list yesterday and specified the correct
5 number of the document that they want to be approved, then the Defence
6 team of General Petkovic has withdrawn their objection and the IC number
7 can be then released for another evidence.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Well, the Trial
9 Chamber will check this later.
10 Mr. Scott.
11 MR. SCOTT: Good morning, Your Honours. It will take us a moment
12 to distribute the binders.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, the binders have
14 been distributed. Now you can begin.
15 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honours. And good morning to all of
16 you, to each of Your Honours. Good morning to counsel. Good morning to
17 everyone in and around the courtroom.
18 Cross-examination by Mr. Scott:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vegar.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. My name is Ken Scott.
22 Sir, just to touch on this one topic very briefly again, in terms
23 of your position, it seems that it's come up several times, but just to
24 be absolutely clear: Beginning on approximately the 31st of January,
25 1993, you became the head of what we have described in this courtroom in
1 the last couple of days as the Moral Guidance or Moral Education Sector
2 of the HVO Department of Defence; correct?
3 A. The Sector for Moral Guidance, yes.
4 Q. And even though you did not receive an official appointment until
5 sometime, I believe, around the 27th of August, there's no disagreement,
6 I don't think, that from the end of January until sometime when you left,
7 I believe in the summer of 1994, you continued in the position as head of
8 that sector; correct?
9 A. Until 1993, towards the end of 1993.
10 Q. All right. Well, that will suffice for now. And there were
11 times, if I understood your testimony, sir, in the last day or two, there
12 were times where the terminology "IPD" might be used by you, perhaps by
13 others, and in documents, to refer not only to the specific section by
14 that name, but to what the -- the Department or Sector of Moral Guidance
15 more generally; is that correct?
16 A. Apart from the official title, Moral Guidance Sector, we used
17 also the Information and Psychological Activities. That's IPD.
18 Q. All right. And at least until November of 1993, again just to be
19 abundantly clear, your immediate superior, if you will, you would
20 directly report to Mr. Bruno Stojic; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, I'd like to touch again -- as the Chamber probably knows by
23 now, I'm a bit of a stickler for locations, dates, and times, and I'd
24 like to go to the question of locations. Counsel took you through, at
25 one point, various locations of your offices and of the offices of the
1 Department of Defence. If I heard you correctly, sir, I think I heard
2 you say at one point that in the summer of 1993, the Department of
3 Defence moved to some other building in Mostar, the one -- a different
4 building than the one it had apparently occupied in the spring. Now,
5 maybe I misunderstood, but sometime during the summer of 1993, the
6 Department of Defence, including your office and Mr. Stojic's office,
7 moved to another location in Mostar?
8 A. Yes, it was relocated.
9 Q. And when was that, sir, and where? Where was the new location?
10 A. It was in the summer of 1993, and the location was in Mostar, but
11 further away from the delineation line.
12 Q. Okay. Well, I'm going to press you a bit more on both aspects.
13 When you say the summer of 1993, do you recall whether it was in June,
14 July, or August?
15 A. I cannot recall specifically. Most probably in July.
16 Q. And when you say you moved to another location in Mostar, can you
17 help us as much as you can, sir, to give us the name of the building, the
18 street address, the closest major intersection? Just assist us, please,
19 as much as you can so that in future we'll know the location of that
20 particular office.
21 A. I'm in two minds, whether -- do you ask me about locations where
22 I was located or the Main Staff of the Defence Department? Which
23 institution do you want me to tell you about?
24 Q. Apologies to the interpreters. Let me come to those things in
25 turn. At the moment, I'm talking about the Department of Defence in
1 general. Well, when I say the "Department of Defence," the headquarters
2 or senior management offices, if you will, if I can describe it that way,
3 that included Mr. Stojic's office. So the question I'm asking you now
4 is: In the summer of 1993, you've indicated that the Department of
5 Defence moved its management offices. You think that was most likely in
6 July. Can you give us, please, the approximate location of that office
7 after you moved -- after the office moved in approximately July?
8 A. I think there were locations found out of necessity.
9 Q. All right. Sir. What we're looking for is the location, a
10 street address, a building name, the closest major intersection. That's
11 what I'm looking for, please.
12 A. It was at Cim, but I'm not sure. The settlement of Cim, but I'm
13 not sure.
14 Q. All right. Can you spell that for the -- just so the record is
15 very clear, when you say "Cim," in the transcript it's just been spelled
16 C-i-m. Is that correct?
17 A. That's correct, C-i-m.
18 Q. Now, let me turn to the second aspect you said a moment ago,
19 which I had also intended to ask you. Now, did there also come a time,
20 if I heard you correctly over the past couple of days, in the summer of
21 1993, where the offices of the IPD or the Morale or Moral Sector were at
22 a location different than Mr. Stojic's office?
23 A. Yes, it was on another location.
24 Q. When -- at what point did you move into two separate locations,
25 where your office was at one location and Mr. Stojic was at a different
1 location, approximately?
2 A. In circumstances when it was too dangerous to remain in the
3 building that we used to occupy, then.
4 Q. Sir, I haven't asked you the reasons why you moved. I've asked
5 you about the location. When you did move, can you tell us when that
6 was, when you went to a separate office than the one Mr. Stojic used, and
7 the location of the moral guidance office once you moved to that
8 location? Here I'm talking about date and location.
9 A. I cannot give you the date because I don't recall. I recall the
10 location very well. It was on the avenue street, as it was called then.
11 Q. And how far was that office, the office of moral guidance, at
12 that point from where Mr. Stojic's office was at that time?
13 A. When he later left -- the Defence Department left the building
14 that I had left before, and they moved to a location maybe one or two
15 kilometres away.
16 Q. Now, moving again to sources of education -- information, excuse
17 me, as counsel was just talking about a few moments ago, you told us that
18 at various press conferences and in the course of issuing press
19 statements, you received -- on the one hand, you received, and then on
20 the one hand you put out, if you will -- you distributed battle-field
21 information. I think I heard you say something to the effect of casualty
22 reports, et cetera. And my question again to you is: Where did you
23 receive that information, talking about what was happening on a given
24 battle-field, what the -- how many people had been killed, how many
25 people had been wounded? Where did you receive that information?
1 A. From the Main Staff.
2 Q. And who, in particular, at the Main Staff? Because I'm going to
3 ask you, in the course of the day, not just to tell us about the
5 beings. So you said you received it from the Main Staff. Who at the
6 Main Staff did you receive the information from?
7 A. Of course, I could not get every time not -- to see the chief of
8 the Main Staff or his deputy, but there was always somebody on duty at
9 the Main Staff who provided that.
10 Q. If the chief of the Main Staff or his deputy were available, I
11 take it that you received your information from them, based on your last
13 A. Sometimes, yes, but more often than not I did not receive it from
15 Q. Well, here's what I'm going to suggest to you, sir, given just
16 human nature and the way most organisations work: You were doing this on
17 a regular basis, and I suspect, if you'll allow me, that there was
18 someone there, there was a person you had more contact often than others;
19 there was a person that you normally would pick up the phone on a daily
20 basis or go across the street or whatever, a kilometre away, and collect
21 information. So I'm putting to you, sir, there must have been some sort
22 of a more or less regular contact person at the Main Staff. Who was
24 A. There was no such special person.
25 Q. So if Mr. Praljak or Mr. Petkovic weren't available, then you
1 just called a general number at the Main Staff, and whoever answered,
2 that's who you talked to? Is that what the Judges should understand?
3 A. I would either call or call on the Main Staff, but whoever was
4 available at the moment.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, what is the
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, when my name is
8 mentioned in terms of the distance between the Defence Department and the
9 Main Staff, let it be precisely stated where the Main Staff was located
10 while I was chief of Main Staff.
11 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. I'm going to take a very
12 active role in this, in terms of Mr. Praljak getting on his feet. If
13 there's an objection, counsel can make legal objections. There's no
14 reason for Mr. Praljak to make running commentary or give evidence by
15 standing -- by popping to his feet whenever he feels like it, so I reject
16 that participation. I'm not going to take direction from Mr. Praljak.
17 If counsel -- if his counsel has a legal objection, then counsel can
18 certainly state that, and I'll certainly do my best to be guided by that.
19 Q. Now, sir, you would receive, then, information from the
20 Main Staff, and when you received this information from whomever you
21 received it from, did someone have to essentially clear to you or
22 indicate which information could be disseminated and which could not?
23 And I'll take it further, sir. Normally, when there's an ongoing, for
24 example, military operations, one does not disseminate all the detailed
25 information about where certain troops are located, what your combat
1 plans are, so who would tell you, when going in -- when you were walking
2 into a press conference or preparing a press release, who told you, This
3 information can go out, this information should, of course, remain
5 A. I think I was clear yesterday when I said that nobody would
6 specify that.
7 Q. So you could get up, sir, or you could issue a press release and
8 you could say whatever you wanted. You might divulge the -- you might
9 divulge sensitive information, you might divulge the location of HVO
10 troops that were in -- actually engaged in combat operations at the time,
11 and no one would say, Well, that's not particularly helpful, sir, or that
12 sort of information shouldn't go out? No one gave you that kind of
14 A. No.
15 Q. Let's turn to Exhibit P 00601. It will be probably in the first
16 binder, please, if we have that, sir. And the binders will work
17 essentially, I think, similar to what you've seen from the various
18 Defence teams. They should be, hopefully, in numerical order, and to the
19 extent there are Defence-marked exhibits, like 1D, or 2D, or what have
20 you, those will be separately listed probably in the second -- the back
21 of the second binder.
22 P 00601. I believe you mentioned -- may have mentioned this the
23 other day. Maybe I'm confusing it with another document by Mr. Rajic,
24 but I think we might have looked at this. This is a document dated the
25 19th of October, 1992, from the Sector for Moral Guidance. It appears to
1 have gone out under the name of Bozo Rajic when he was the head of that
2 sector. I suggest to you, sir, and the Chamber that it provides a pretty
3 good summary or overview of the work of that sector.
4 Let me ask you to direct your attention, in particular, to the
5 Roman numeral II, section Roman numeral II entitled "Work Plans, Methods
6 and Means."
7 Under item 1, "Information and Propaganda," it says:
8 "Informing in units I see as a twofold and concurrent process:
9 Incoming --" or excuse me, I'm sorry, "informing within units and
10 informing the public. Both processes are of the same importance. The
11 work should be carried out in such a way that the relevant facts,
12 occurrences, observations, information, objections, suggestions, or
13 requests are systematised two times a day at 1700 hours and 0700 hours,
14 in principle, submitted to the higher level of the service, IPD, for
15 compiling and submission, and then deliver the compiled information in
16 the shortest possible time to the highest level of the IPD in the units
17 so that the situation in the zone could be forwarded to the appropriate
18 administration of this sector."
19 Now, does that continue to be an accurate overview, if you will,
20 statement, of the work of the IPD in that respect, both in October 1992
21 and throughout the time in 1993 that you were part of that organisation?
22 A. This is a -- describes an ideal situation which could not be
23 realised in real life.
24 Q. In this next paragraph, it says:
25 "On the basis of the gathered reports, the Administration for
1 Information makes a selection of the received information and decides
2 which information, of what kind, and of which scope will be presented to
3 the public through press conferences, announcements for public
4 statements, commentaries, and other usual forms of public appearance."
5 Sir, I asked you about that a few moments ago, and I suggested to
6 you certainly there was some sort of screening or editing process which
7 is described -- I put to you, which is described in the language I just
8 to you a moment ago. Now, who, in the IPD section, would make those
10 A. At that moment, that is to say, while the assistant chief for
11 moral guidance was Bozo Rajic, he did that.
12 Q. And after Mr. Rajic departed, that became your responsibility?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, the language I just read to you, and I apologise that the
15 paragraphs are not numbered, so it makes it a bit more difficult for me
16 to assist you, but if you -- the language we were just reading a moment
17 ago through press conferences, announcements, et cetera, if I can ask you
18 to skip two paragraphs, and you should come to a paragraph that says:
19 "Based on the collected and analysed information, the
20 administration will issue a daily bulletin."
21 And you said -- in among there -- and this also relates back to
22 something counsel asked about a few moments ago, "... it would also
23 contain other information related to activities, work, achievement of the
24 units and the civil authorities, the highest bodies of the HZ-HB and the
25 life of Croatian people."
1 So what efforts can you tell me -- what information collection
2 efforts, if you will, were engaged in to collect information from the
3 highest bodies of the HZ-HB as part of your work and for distribution to
4 the public and others?
5 A. I'm sorry. I didn't understand the question.
6 Q. Sir, if you'll look in that paragraph I directed your attention
7 to, skipping two paragraphs, it talks about also the collection and
8 distribution of other -- other information, perhaps not strictly military
9 or Department of Defence, but the civil authorities, including "the
10 highest bodies of the HZ-HB." What information collection efforts were
11 there by the IPD to collect such information for distribution to the
12 public and others? Sir?
13 A. As far as I remember, we did not get the information. In fact,
14 we did not receive the information from the highest bodies of the HZ-HB.
15 Q. Well, let's -- let's take that up in the context of the next
16 language I'd like to point you to.
17 In that same paragraph, several lines down, there is a sentence
18 that continues on, saying this:
19 "... bearing in mind that the essential points of the state
20 policy, that is, the policy of the HZ-HB, be emphasised."
21 Now, what state policy is being referenced here?
22 A. The state policy of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose integral part was
24 Q. Sir, in the parens, it says: "That is the policy of the HZ-HB."
25 Do you see that?
1 A. Yes, I can see that, but I'm saying that it was the integral part
2 of HZ-HB. In fact, HZ-HB was an integral part of the state policy.
3 Q. And when you had any question about the policy of the HZ-HB as it
4 impacted the work of your section, albeit the larger section, Moral
5 Guidance or IPD, how would you determine the policy of the HZ-HB in order
6 that your work could be guided and could bear in mind at all times the
7 essential points of that policy? How would you determine that?
8 A. I did not need to determine that state policy every day. The
9 policy was clear. Its basic principles were constant, and I adhered to
10 that. I answered a specific question based on specific information and
11 new facts that arose out of political talks, negotiations, agreements,
12 international conferences led by the representatives of the three ethnic
14 Q. So on those particular occasions where you did have a question --
15 so you didn't always have a specific because you kind of knew what it
16 was, but when you did have a question, something came up and said, "Hmm,
17 I wonder what the state policy is on that," who would you contact and go
18 to for that information, to get an answer, to get guidance?
19 A. I did not contact anyone. I regularly followed, though, all
20 reports, all the conclusions from all meetings, primarily of the
21 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Mate Boban.
22 Q. Sir, you make it sound as if you conducted the operations of this
23 Moral Guidance Sector in a vacuum, in isolation, somehow just on your
24 own. Now, I put it to you that simply can't be the case, sir. You had
25 to take direction from your superiors, Mr. Stojic. You had to have
1 collected information from other, as it says in this document, highest
2 bodies of the HZ-HB. You simply weren't operating in a vacuum, sir. Who
3 were some of the people that you turned to for that information?
4 A. I'm telling you, with full responsibility, that as far as
5 political positions are concerned, I never sought out any -- anyone to
6 provide me with interpretation. I always put out press releases and
7 information based on something that already happened. I did not
8 anticipate anything or make any judgements in advance.
9 Q. We saw, in the course of your testimony so far, some documents,
10 and they were typically -- the ones we've seen so far have a date at the
11 top. There would be a certain body of text, and following the text we
12 would see the capital initial -- initials "V.V." Do you recall that? Do
13 you recall documents like that?
14 A. I have to admit I did not pay attention to this system of
15 numbering of documents. I just looked for specific numbers.
16 Q. Okay. I'm not sure how that got garbled, but maybe I'll try it
18 Sir, we saw documents that were apparently produced by you or
19 your section in the course of its business. They would typically have a
20 date on the top of them. They would typically have a certain amount of
21 text, and then they would be followed by the initials "V.V." And I'm
22 saying "V.V." is your name, your initials, correct, "Veso Vegar"?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What were those kind of documents, how were they prepared, and
25 what was the purpose of those particular kinds of documents?
1 A. Depending on the contents of the document. Mostly, those were
2 press releases, statements made to some specific media.
3 Q. And who drafted those statements that said "V.V." on them?
4 A. In most cases, me.
5 Q. Let's go forward to 2D -- it will be in the second binder, toward
6 the back probably, sir, 2D 01353.
7 If you have that, sir, this is a 21 September 1992 document over
8 the name of Milivoj Petkovic, directed to the Defence Department. In the
9 first paragraph, it says:
10 "Following a request of the HZ-HB Government for a report on the
11 implementation of the priority duties and tasks regarding the
12 establishment of the HVO Main Staff," et cetera.
13 Would you agree with me, sir, that this document was being
14 specifically prepared at the request of the HVO HZ-HB so that it could be
15 informed on the work of the Main Staff? Do you see the language, sir?
16 Have I read it correctly?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And if we go to paragraph number 7, toward the end of the
19 document, over Mr. Petkovic's name, does it not say:
20 "With regard to providing the information for the public, the
21 GS," the Main Staff, "will forward reports of subordinated commands to
22 the IPD department so that it can prepare information for the public."
23 That information would have come to you or your section; correct?
24 A. From what I see here, the Main Staff cedes reports, not makes
25 reports, so the Main Staff makes the reports available.
1 Q. Well, I'm not going to argue with you about that, sir. It would
2 involve -- paragraph 7 makes reference to providing information to your
3 operation, correct, IPD? Yes or no?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Would you please go next to Exhibit P 00518.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, just one minor detail.
7 Under item 6 in this document, it appears that General Petkovic recalls
8 that all the units in the HZ-HB territory are under HVO command. No
9 other unit will be allowed to act independently. And then we have
10 parentheses. The case is mentioned of the so-called Bregava Brigade. I
11 have a question, therefore. What does that mean? Does this mean that
12 the so-called Bregava Brigade was acting somewhat independently? Were
13 you aware of that or not? If you weren't, just tell us so and we can
14 move on.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think the Bregava Brigade was the
16 brigade at Stolac, but I really don't know that it acted independently.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
18 Mr. Scott.
19 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 If we could go --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MR. SCOTT:
23 Q. If you could go, Mr. Vegar, to the next document, which is
24 P 00518. This appears to be a report from Mr. Stojic to the HVO HZ-HB
25 the very next day, on the 22nd of September, 1992. And, sir, if you can
1 look at -- just scan through that document, please, and if you can recall
2 generally what you saw in the previous document, which was the report
3 from Mr. Petkovic to the Defence Department, and then we have this one,
4 dated the next day, going from Mr. Stojic to the HZ-HB -- or HVO HZ-HB.
5 Would you agree with me, sir, that essentially what Mr. Stojic passes on
6 is largely, I'm not saying word for word - don't anyone suggest that I'm
7 verbatim - but generally is passing on and incorporating the information
8 received by -- from Mr. Petkovic the previous day; correct?
9 A. Sorry, am I supposed to -- in fact, I would need to read the
10 document before I answer that question.
11 Q. We'll give you the time to take a look at -- to look at the
12 document briefly. I'm not going to ask you in detail, but I'll suggest
13 to you, and I'll suggest in the interests of time in the courtroom, that
14 if you put the documents side by side, they're not the same, but they're
15 very similar.
16 A. Yes, I can see the similarity.
17 Q. Now, because our time is limited, sir, if I can just ask you to
18 go to a section in the second document, the 518 document. In the
19 English, it will be on the fifth page. In Croatian, sir, it will be the
20 third paragraph from the end. So if you go to the last page or your last
21 item above the date, and if you work at -- yourself up, please, to the
22 third paragraph above, you'll see a paragraph that begins with:
23 "The Moral and Propaganda Sector have begun holding press
24 conferences every week on Tuesday and Friday."
25 And we don't have the time to read the entire paragraph, but it
1 talks about radio and TV, reviewing the newspapers on a daily basis,
2 issuing press releases, daily monitoring and analysis of the newspapers.
3 "We will issue denials, make comments, or start polemics about
4 certain issues whenever we find it necessary."
5 Now, again, does that, generally speaking, state at the time and
6 continue to describe, at least in substantial part, the work of the Moral
7 Guidance and IPD Sector?
8 A. That's what the IPD was supposed to do.
9 Q. If we can go next to Exhibit P 01593 in binder number 1, P 01593.
10 You'll see that this appears to be an HVO document dated the 3rd of
11 March, 1993, issued over the name of Mr. Stojic and yourself, Veso Vegar,
12 directing the collection and provision of certain information. Do you
13 see that?
14 A. Yes, I see that.
15 Q. "Submit the following documentation to the HVO Defence Department
16 in Mostar: Film material; audio and videocassettes; photographs, books
17 and war issues of newspapers," et cetera. "Your own and enemy propaganda
18 material. Testimony by prisoners and detainees."
19 When it makes reference to sending your own -- when you and
20 Mr. Stojic directed these people to send your own and enemy propaganda
21 material, what kind of material was that?
22 Sir, I apologise but time is precious. Can you tell us, please,
23 when you and Mr. Stojic said "send your own and enemy propaganda
24 material," what material did you want them to send you?
25 A. Their own material that they developed themselves. Let's focus
1 on that. It didn't have to be something targeted at the enemy. It could
2 have been the brochures that we distributed to the troops from the ICRC.
3 It could have been information developed by IPD personnel for their own
4 troops. But I don't believe they had any enemy material or targeting the
6 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, I think it is an
7 interpretation problem. It says in the original "your own and enemy,"
8 enemy material.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please start again, because
10 there was a problem for a moment.
11 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I was about to say that it's the
12 problem of translation, in fact, the translation of this document.
13 In the original of the document, it says "your own and the
14 enemy's propaganda material." It wasn't "your own enemy material."
15 MR. SCOTT: The document appears to be correctly translated. I'm
16 not clear -- not sure about the issue, but I appreciate counsel's effort
17 to assist.
18 Q. Sir, because again our time is limited or I would ask more
19 questions about that, the next item that says "Testimonies by prisoners
20 and detainees." Now, what did you and Mr. Stojic expect to receive in
21 terms of testimonies by prisoners and detainees, and why were you
22 collecting that information?
23 A. Well, by that I meant statements of people who had been in camps
24 and information they could provide on how they had been treated there,
25 and the people who had perhaps remained in the camps, how they were
1 treated, what health condition they were in, et cetera.
2 Q. If you'll go next, please, to P 02331 in the first binder,
3 P 02331. Sir, this is a document that we've seen before, and I believe
4 counsel may have used it again in the last day or two. It's dated the
5 12th of May, 1993, a communication from Mr. Petkovic to Mr. Stojic. And
6 as counsel has previously pointed out, it's correct to say that the word
7 "Order" on the middle of the first page should have been translated as
8 "Request." There's no dispute about that. But what Mr. -- at least in
9 terms of its going to Mr. Stojic, I mean. But what Mr. Petkovic is
10 saying here is:
11 "The IPD shall, based on reports and information received from
12 all the operations zones, regularly and on time inform all HVO units
13 about events in the territory of the community.
14 "I suggest that this should take place at least once a day ..."
15 Now, the information that's being collected here referenced by
16 Mr. Petkovic. Can you confirm to us, sir, that it was some of that
17 information, that kind of information, that would then find its way or
18 come to you and to the IPD for the purposes of conducting your various
20 A. I understand this request by Mr. Petkovic like this: He believes
21 that the IPD section should regularly and in a timely manner inform all
22 HVO units, because I think he felt it wasn't being done properly, and
23 that's why he suggested that at least once a day one summary report
24 should be received by every unit.
25 Q. But in producing the report, again, I guess the other side of the
1 coin, so to speak, is the IPD would have to collect that information in
2 order to prepare and distribute it; correct?
3 A. Yes, but it can only distribute information if it has
5 Q. Certainly. If you'll go, please, to Exhibit P 03274. P 03274 in
6 the first binder. This appears to be a document coming from Mr. Stojic
7 on the 7th of July, 1993, a rather wide distribution of 10 -- 10 items in
8 the list, starting with "HVO Chief of Staff." And looking at the first
9 paragraph, sir, do you agree with me that what this document does is
10 Mr. Stojic says to all these people:
11 "At its session on 5 July 1993, the HZ-HB HVO," that is, the
12 HZ-HB government, "adopted a conclusion that all HVO bodies should submit
13 their reports for the period between January-June 1993."
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And below that, it says at one point:
17 "The following officers are responsible for the implementation of
18 this conclusion: HVO Chief of Staff Petkovic...," the assistant heads,
19 the chief of the Military Police Administration, the chief of the
20 Personnel Department and others? Do you see that?
21 A. I can see that.
22 Q. And when such information projects were underway, it did often --
23 often also involved IPD, given the information business that you were in,
24 that part of the information to prepare such reports would come from IPD?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I want to -- the courtroom will see that -- I think we saw most,
2 if not all of these next couple of documents previously, but I'd like to
3 revisit them briefly again.
4 If you can turn, please, to 2D 00687 in the second binder,
5 2D 00687. Sir, this is a document dated the 24th of November, 1992
6 the name of Mr. Petkovic. I'm going to paraphrase it, if I might be
7 allowed. Everyone in the courtroom will have it. But again as I think
8 we saw before, it's Mr. Petkovic's attempt to impose controls on contacts
9 with the media and information going to the media; correct?
10 A. This is an attempt by Mr. Petkovic to prevent out-flow of
11 confidential information and provision of information by people who would
12 not be authorised to do so.
13 Q. And item 3, in particular, specifically says:
14 "Press conferences are responsibility of the Defence Department's
15 IPD (Information and Propaganda). All others within the zones,
16 headquarters, and formations can organise conferences based upon my
18 Now, when it refers to the Defence Department IPD, that's your
19 section; correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And if you can go to Exhibit P 00797 -- well, I'll tell you what.
22 Hopefully, this -- we'll skip them in order, because -- since you're
23 closer to the next one, to try to assist you in the courtroom. If you
24 can turn while you're in the second binder to 2D 00637. It should be
25 close by. 2D 00637. This a document dated 20 September 1993, over the
1 name of Slobodan Praljak:
2 "I command: All informations for the media about the situation
3 at the battle-field will be exclusively approved by the Public Relations
4 officer from HVO main staff --" excuse me, it doesn't staff, "HVO main
5 headquarters," and among others it's distributed to Mr. Veso Vegar; do
6 you see that?
7 A. Yes, addressed, delivered to.
8 Q. Sorry. Is this not again a similar attempt by Mr. Praljak to
9 impose, what I'll suggest, pretty strict control on contact with the
10 media by the HVO; correct?
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have an objection
12 for misinterpretation of this document. It is clearly seen from this
13 document that it goes for information about the situation in the -- at
14 the battle-field that doesn't concern other contacts with the media, so
15 I'd like to ask my learned friend from the Prosecution to be precise in
16 describing this document and its character.
17 MR. SCOTT: I think I just read it in full a moment ago.
18 Q. Sir, it's an effort to control the distribution of such
19 information quite strictly, isn't it? One person, apparently,
20 exclusively approved by public relations officer of the HVO main
21 headquarters; correct?
22 A. I must admit that many things are not clear to me regarding this
23 command, this order, the fact that public relations officer of the
24 Main Staff of the HVO is authorised to give information to the media
25 about the situation on the battle-field.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, isn't there a very
2 classic conflict here in this document between those who are on the
3 ground and those who are sitting comfortably in their offices? Those on
4 the ground seek to control media information, and this is a document
5 coming from Mr. Praljak. It is a very clear document. It says that all
6 the information has to be approved by the public relations officer from
7 the main headquarters, and you are one of the addressees for information.
8 If you compare this document with other documents from the
9 Defence Department, you can see that here there is a conflict in terms of
10 power or competence. What do you think of this?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when you mentioned
12 people on the ground, let me, please, to finish my answer about the
13 locations of the Main Staff and the Defence Department. I mentioned just
14 one location, asked by the Prosecutor, where we went to when we left the
15 main or the original locations. There are two other locations of the
16 Main Staff, and this is why Mr. Praljak intervened as he did. One was
17 five or six kilometres away from the original one, and the next at twenty
18 kilometres away in the town of Citluk
19 the date of this command, the location was 50 kilometres away, and I
20 believe that this is something the Chamber should know. I can't remember
21 exactly. This is September 1993, autumn. I believe that the Main Staff
22 was reorganised around that time, but don't hold me to that, and maybe
23 this order is based on that reorganisation.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your explanation comes from the
25 fact that locations were changed, and you date that back to the month of
1 September. Very well. It's been recorded.
2 The time has come to have a break. Mr. Scott, a 20-minute break.
3 We shall resume then.
4 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're resuming our session.
7 MR. SCOTT:
8 Q. Mr. Vegar, we were looking at 2D 00637 a few moments ago, and I
9 want to come back to that in a moment. But before we get too far ahead,
10 I'd like to go back and ask you to look at P 00797, which is in the first
11 binder, P 00797.
12 This is a document which again I think we saw, but dated the 24th
13 of November, 1992, over the name of Milivoj Petkovic, ordering, and again
14 I'll paraphrase, that any contact be had with UNPROFOR and the European
15 Community members only with the permission by the chief of the HVO
16 Main Staff. Do you see that?
17 A. Yes, I can see that.
18 Q. Sir, before going on to other points, wouldn't you agree with me
19 that when we look at the three documents we've last looked at, 2D 00687,
20 Mr. Petkovic's 24 November order about control over information going to
21 the media, this one, P 00797, and 2D 00637, the September order by
22 Mr. Praljak that we were also looking at a moment ago, there was an
23 effort from the top down to control the information going out to the
24 media and to the international agencies; correct?
25 A. I think it goes for a desire to systematically order the area of
1 information provision and not control in terms of prohibition.
2 Q. If you'll turn back to -- and I'm sorry to -- to everyone in the
3 courtroom, but we'll need to go back, please, to 2D 00637, the Praljak
4 order in the second binder, because there's a second point that I'd like
5 to address, please. 2D 00637.
6 Now, again, what Praljak says here is all information about --
7 "All information for the media about the situation at the
8 battle-field will be exclusively approved by Public Relations officer
9 from HVO Main Headquarters."
10 Now, who was the public relations officer at HVO main
11 headquarters who would exclusively approve this information going to the
13 A. You mean at the Main Staff or generally in the Defence
15 Q. Sir, this document, I'm reading -- you have the document in front
16 of you. I've read it now to you twice. It's very short.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. "Public Relations officer from HVO Main Headquarters," so who was
19 that, when Mr. Praljak issues such an order referring to such a person?
20 A. I really can't recall.
21 Q. Well, sir, the only other individual that's copied by name on
22 this document is Veso Vegar. You see that, don't you? Yes?
23 A. Yes, I can see that.
24 Q. Sir, I'm going to put to you quite directly that at least for
25 most of 1993, if not all of it, you really were that person, weren't you?
1 You wore both hats, if you want to put it that way? You were the
2 spokesperson for the Department of Defence and the spokesperson for the
3 HVO Main Staff, weren't you?
4 A. No, I was just the spokesperson for the Defence Department.
5 Q. Tell us, sir -- give us the name of the person who fulfilled that
6 function at the HVO Main Staff, if it wasn't you.
7 A. No, I really can't recall. I don't recall who that person was.
8 Q. I put it to you again, sir, that the reasons you were saying
9 earlier today that perhaps journalists might perhaps attribute to you the
10 position as spokesman for the Main Staff, or spokesman for the Department
11 of Defence, or spokesman for the HVO, is because, in fact, you did wear
12 all those hats, didn't you?
13 A. Journalists attributed to me all those duties and posts, and for
14 the main part the reason for that is their ignorance of the structures of
15 the Defence Department and the HVO and the military structure. They very
16 frequently mistook the Main Staff for the Defence Department and thought
17 it was one single body, which was not true.
18 Q. During 1993, sir, in terms of the regional media, that is, the
19 media in the former Yugoslavia
20 terms of the regional media, who were your principal media contacts in
21 carrying out your function as head of IPD and Moral Guidance?
22 A. First of all, all correspondents who worked out of Mostar and
24 were the most numerous. Then media correspondents from the Republic of
1 Q. All right. Let me come back to some of those individual ones in
2 a moment. I'm not sure if we've explicitly, at least, referred to or
3 clarified this. In some of the documentation over the past couple of
4 years, the courtroom has seen references to HINA, H-I-N-A. That is the
5 state press agency of the Republic of Croatia
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And we may have seen or may see yet today a reference to
8 something called Habena, H-a-b-e-n-a. That was the public agency, news
9 agency, press agency, if you will, of Herceg-Bosna; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, this was the news agency of the Croatian Community of
12 Q. Who was the director of Habena?
13 A. I think that Mr. Bozo Rajic was either the director or
14 editor-in-chief, but he was there in Habena.
15 Q. And did that continue to be the case after Mr. Rajic left the
16 position as head of Moral Guidance, that you then took over, and did he
17 then go and become head of Habena at that time?
18 A. No. Habena did not exist at the time, only after a couple of
19 months while he was minister of defence of the Croatian Republic
20 Herceg-Bosna, and then after a couple of months from that date, the
21 Habena agency was established.
22 Q. So when you say "a couple of months," we're talking sometime in
23 March or April of 1993?
24 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned friend.
25 There is a mistake. Like the day before yesterday, I would like the
1 witness to state which position Mr. Bozo Rajic occupied when he left the
2 post of the assistant to the head of the Defence Department.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He went to occupy the post of the
4 minister of defence of the Croatian Community of Bosnia-Hercegovina --
6 MR. SCOTT: Counsel -- Your Honour, I'll clarify and ask.
7 There's no dispute that Mr. Rajic left for a time and became the minister
8 of defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That's correct,
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, my learned friend. The
11 witness's answer is incorrect two times in a row, so an impression is
12 gained that he is not -- doesn't know what he's talking about in the
14 MR. SCOTT: There won't be a dispute about that, at least from
15 the Prosecution.
16 Q. Sir, if I can go back to the agencies -- not the agencies, the
17 outlets, if you will, which -- we are talking about the regional media
18 and you mentioned Sarajevo
19 the names a few -- name a few of the -- like, for instance, the
20 newspapers, the regional newspapers that you had most of your contacts
21 and dealings with ? And in the interests of time, sir, let me suggest,
22 did that include "Vecernji List," did it include "Slobodna Dalmacija"?
23 Did it include "Vecernji"?
24 A. Yes, "Oslobodjenje" and so forth.
25 Q. "Oslobodjenje" in Sarajevo?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And in terms of television, television stations, did that -- was
3 your principal contact -- did it include, at least, Croatian TV,
4 sometimes abbreviated HTV
5 A. Yes, among others.
6 Q. Were there any other radio stations -- excuse me, television
7 stations that you had more frequent or regular dealings with others --
8 other than Croatian TV?
9 A. When technical circumstances allowed, Television Sarajevo would
10 work out of Mostar every day.
11 Q. And as far as radio stations, would it be fair to say your
12 principal dealings were with Radio Herceg-Bosna in Mostar?
13 A. Yes. After its establishment in 1993.
14 Q. Approximately when in 1993, sir, approximately?
15 A. I can't remember precisely. The autumn 1993.
16 Q. We'll see a document that will give us that in a moment. And any
17 other radio stations, apart from Croatia Radio, Herceg-Bosna, any other
18 radio stations that you had, again, more regular or more frequent
19 dealings with the connection with your work?
20 A. Yes, two radio stations in Mostar, Radio Sarajevo, Radio Zagreb,
21 et cetera.
22 Q. The two other stations in Mostar, can you give us the names,
24 A. One was Radio Mostar. And it's a radio station that had existed
25 before the war in Mostar. And the second and newly-established War
1 Studio of Mostar.
2 Q. The so-called War Studio was, if you will, the alternative radio
3 station established by the Muslims sometime during 1992/1993; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Because of the clarification on Mr. Rajic's position, I'm
6 reminded that we didn't actually get an answer on the question about
7 Habena. You had indicated that that was formed, I think you said,
8 approximately two months after Mr. Rajic left his position at the HVO
9 Department of Defence, and I was suggesting to you at the time of the --
10 we went into the clarification, two months would mean, then, that Habena
11 was formed sometime in approximately March or April of 1993; is that
12 correct? Would you agree with me?
13 A. I think it was later than that. I believe it was towards the end
14 of 1993.
15 Q. All right. Well, again, perhaps we'll see documents that will
16 assist us. Your initial answer was that it was a couple of months after
17 Mr. Rajic ceased being the head of the Moral Guidance Sector, which was
18 in January, but let's go on.
19 Now, I've asked you about the regional media, and let me ask you
20 about international media. I take -- would it be fair to say that two of
21 your principal electronic media contacts were with, for example, CNN,
23 A. I don't think so.
24 Q. No? How about newspapers?
25 A. As I say, there were hundreds of foreign journalists. I cannot
1 highlight the main ones, so to speak. There was "Daily Telegraph," "The
2 Guardian," "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung," "Sky News," among -- ITN
3 among TV stations, then CNN and so forth.
4 Q. All right.
5 A. "Rajuno."
6 Q. Thank you, sir, for assisting on that. Let me show you,
7 just a -- very briefly, a video-clip, P 02157, which I think we can play
8 in Sanction, P 02157. It's very short, but just to illustrate the kind
9 of press conference or appearance that might have occurred at the time.
10 This is from May 1993, I believe.
11 [Videotape played]
12 MR. SCOTT: Go back to the beginning of it. It's fairly short.
13 [Videotape played]
14 "The battle is being fought in the centre of Mostar, said a co-op
15 military spokesman who blamed the conflict on Muslim units who had come
16 to Mostar from Eastern Bosnia, upsetting the ethnic and military
18 MR. SCOTT: Can we go back, please, can we go back to the
19 beginning and -- please. Stop, please.
20 Q. Sir, is that you giving a press conference in about May 1993 on
21 CNN or to CNN?
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. SCOTT: All right. Since it's so -- just can -- now that
24 we've -- can you just play that again very briefly?
25 [Videotape played]
1 "The battle is being fought in the centre of Mostar, said a co-op
2 military spokesman, who blamed the conflict on Muslim units who had come
3 to Mostar from Eastern Bosnia, upsetting the ethnic and military
5 MR. SCOTT: All right, thank you.
6 Q. Now, sir, was it also part of the information effort, if you
7 will, information propaganda, I take it, each side would try to monitor
8 the media communication -- media contacts and communication of the other
9 side; is that fair to say?
10 A. I have to remind you again of the technical limitations we faced
11 in following the work of the other side. Of course, in wartime you
12 always want to hear what the other side thinks and tells, but my
13 technical facilities for monitoring that, and even the time, were
15 Q. Let's go to Exhibit P 08115 in the second binder, P 08115. Sir,
16 this appears to be a report or a note from the SIS on the 25th of March,
17 1994. Subject: Monitoring of the Mostar Radio War Studio broadcasting.
18 Now, you confirmed for us just a few moments ago that the Radio War
19 Studio was the Muslim radio in Mostar; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, that was the radio station of the 4th Corps of the Army of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 Q. And you and your office, the IPD, in various documents I think we
23 showed this, sir, you worked quite closely from time to time with SIS,
24 the intelligence agency, didn't you?
25 A. Not closely.
1 Q. And they were one -- but they were one of the organisations from
2 which you received information; correct?
3 A. Yes. Very rarely, though, because that's a service that gathered
4 intelligence information, secret information.
6 HVO authorities want information about the Mostar Radio War Studio's
7 coverage of who the Muslim side considered to be the most notorious
8 perpetrators of crimes against detained Muslims?
9 Sir, why would the authorities want to know this information?
11 A. I think that all authorities want to know what other media are
12 saying about them; in this case, the other side, the enemy side.
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe it would be
14 a good idea if the Prosecutor first asked Mr. Vegar about the position
15 where he was when this report was made, and then we'll see if he was in a
16 position to know anything about it.
17 MR. SCOTT:
18 Q. Sir, if we can go to Exhibit P 0 -- excuse me, P 10627, P 10627,
19 which will be in the second binder. P 10627. Sir, this is a report
20 concerning the work of Croatian Radio Herceg-Bosna, dated the 27th of
21 September, 1993, and if you look at the document, I think in the second
22 paragraph on the first page, I think you'll see then this -- relating to
23 one of the questions we discussed earlier, the broadcast of the programme
24 started a month before the anticipated dead-line, i.e., on 14 May, 1993
25 So does that refresh your memory as to when Croatian Radio Herceg-Bosna
1 went on the air?
2 A. Yes. Well, I thought I remembered it was a bit later, but --
3 Q. All right. And if you can please go -- if you'll go to find, by
4 way of a landmark, if you will, to paragraph 6. I'm not going to ask you
5 about paragraph 6, but if you can find paragraph 6. And for the English
6 speakers or readers, the second -- page 3, second paragraph. Sir, you
7 should find a paragraph that starts with these words: "The total
8 programme orientation, editorial policy, and programme scheme ..."
9 Tell me when you have found that, please. The first paragraph
10 under paragraph numbered 6: "The total programme orientation ..." Do
11 you have it?
12 A. Yes, I can see that.
13 Q. "The total programme orientation, editorial policy, and programme
14 scheme are defined by the basic documents of the Croatian Republic
15 Herceg-Bosna, with an emphasis on presenting the survey of the activities
16 of the official bodies," HVO Main Staff, soldiers, refugees, et cetera.
17 Skipping down one sentence:
18 "One can state that the defence of the area of Herceg-Bosna is
19 very much present in the programme of the Croatian Radio of Herceg-Bosna
20 through the statements issued by the Main Staff."
21 That's a fair description of the work of the radio station, isn't
23 A. Yes, but there's a mistake here. There were no press releases
24 from the Main Staff. It's repeated again, this confusion that I
25 mentioned between the Main Staff and the Defence Department.
1 Q. Just so the record is clear, sir, this isn't a foreign
2 journalist. This is an HVO document. That's apparently what Mr. Srecko
3 Vucina, management board of the radio station, apparently thought that
4 they were issued by the Main Staff; correct?
5 A. I don't see the name of the author of this report.
6 Q. If you look at the last page, sir, I think you'll see
7 Mr. Vucina's name, and another name, Zlatko Prlenda. But in any event,
8 sir, the paragraph I just referred to --
9 A. I suppose it could be Zlatko Prlenda, because he was the director
10 of the radio, but this radio was not part of the military structure of
11 the HVO or the Defence Department, where I was.
12 Q. The next paragraph, sir, you will see -- the one that we just
13 referred to, it says:
14 "One should particularly single out the fact that a large number
15 of information from all battle-fields, as well as the information from
16 Herceg-Bosna in general, have been broadcast to the whole world by the
17 London BBC
18 programme one to four times a day ..."
19 And then also goes on to talk about the cooperation and
20 distribution through HINA, the Croatian state news agency. Those are
21 both correct statements, aren't they?
22 A. Yes, BBC
23 even after the war, I believe.
24 Q. Could I ask you, please, to turn to Exhibit P 05551, 5551, just
25 ever so briefly. Sir, this is the record of the minutes -- the English
1 translation is wrong on the date. It should be the 1st of October, 1993
2 rather than "March," and the date under the -- in the phrase "convene"
3 should also say "on 4 October 1993
4 sir, in reference to the document we were just looking at, if you look in
5 this agenda, item number 9, I think that you will see that
6 Mr. Jadranko Prlic had put, as agenda item 9:
7 "An examination of the report on the performance of work and task
8 to establish and set in operation Croatian Radio Herceg-Bosna," which is
9 the report which is marked as Exhibit P 10627 that we were just looking
10 at. Do you see that?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Sir, when we were -- when we first began your testimony on
13 Monday, and you were questioned about what you were doing, your
14 profession as a journalist, I think it was one of the Judges, perhaps it
15 was the President, but in any event you were asked about what you were
16 currently doing, and I believe at one point you said -- you were talking
17 about being a journalist, but you said you were retired? Did I hear you
18 correctly or is that a misunderstanding?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And so do we understand correctly, sir, that you're not presently
21 involved in any -- engaged in any form of employment or means of making a
23 A. No regular income, except for my pension.
24 Q. And do you have irregular sources of income, then; consulting
25 fees, work on behalf of political parties, media consulting?
1 A. I don't have compensation, but I work as a consultant and I am
2 engaged in a political party.
3 Q. What kind of consulting work do you do?
4 A. I lead an office in a political party, the information office.
5 Q. And what political party is that, sir?
6 A. HDZ 1990.
7 Q. How long have you been involved with that party, sir?
8 A. Around two years.
9 Q. What political party were you involved in prior to that, prior to
10 approximately 2007, two years ago?
11 A. I did not work in political parties before, but I worked in the
12 electoral campaign of the HDZ BH in 2002.
13 Q. And were you a member of that party, sir?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Were you a member of the HDZ party in the Republic of Croatia
16 A. No.
17 Q. I'm still -- I'm just a little curious, sir, because on the first
18 day of your testimony, you gave what Judge Trechsel also observed was a
19 rather odd and qualified answer. When you were asked about whether you
20 had ever been a member of the HDZ, you said:
21 "If you mean the BiH, my answer is no."
22 And to my way of thinking, sir, you never really gave a clear
23 answer of what you meant by that. So if you were not a member of the
24 BiH, were you a member of some other political party at that time?
25 A. Yes. Now I am a member of the HDZ 1990.
1 Q. How about in 1993/1994?
2 A. I was not a member of any political party then.
3 Q. Well, now let's be clear here, because a few moments ago you made
4 the distinction between being a member of a party and working for a
5 party. So in 1993/1994, maybe you weren't the member of a party, but
6 were you engaged in activities in connection with -- on behalf of a
7 party? Did you work for a political party at that time?
8 A. No.
9 Q. I don't want to play word games with you, sir, about whether it
10 was employment or something else. Were you associated with a political
11 party in 1992, 1993, 1994, in any aspect?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Sir, I put to you that you've worked quite hard these last few
14 days to portray yourself as something of a technocrat, but the reality
15 is, sir, you've been closely and actively involved in Croat nationalist
16 politics since at least 1992, haven't you?
17 A. I was not involved in Croat nationalist politics, and at the time
18 of the war and in the post-war years, I was not a member of any political
19 party. If you ask me about party activities, I was a member of the HDS
20 party from 1990, when HDS was established in Zagreb, and then in Bosnia
21 and Herzegovina
22 it stopped to be active and is not active today, so that in that year, my
23 party activities ceased.
24 Q. When did you obtain your Croatian citizenship?
25 A. In 1993, I think.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, one minor problem.
2 Line 2 on page 47, you said that you were a member of the HDZ in 1990,
3 and now, on line 22, page 47, you said that you were a member of a party
4 called "HDS."
5 MR. SCOTT: If I can be allowed -- if I can be allowed to assist.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, is it "HDZ" or "HDS"?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] HDS. I was a member of that party
8 in 1990.
9 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. The answer of the
10 witness was not recorded in full. The witness said that in 1991, his
11 engagement, even in that party, ceased. I think that should be on the
13 MR. SCOTT: And can I also -- sorry.
14 Q. Can I also clarify, Witness. Perhaps this may be a source of
15 confusion; maybe not, but let me try.
16 When you say you were a part -- you were a member of a party, HDZ
17 1990, that's the name of the party; correct? It's not the date of your
18 membership. There is a political party now in Bosnia-Herzegovina called
19 "HDZ 1990"; correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Now, you said a moment ago that you obtained your Croatian
22 citizenship in 1993. Can you tell the Judges how you made your
23 application and where you submitted your application for Croatian
24 citizenship? Was that in Mostar?
25 A. I think it was in Mostar, but I don't really remember. And if I
1 applied, I didn't apply only for myself, but for my family as well.
2 Q. And going back to your political involvement, you say -- you say
3 you haven't been a member of HDZ, but Mr. -- there's a man named
4 Mr. Jelavic who has been an actively involved, one of the leaders of that
5 party in the second half of the 1990s; correct, Mr. Jelavic?
6 A. Yes, that's true.
7 Q. And you have been, at various times, a very close adviser and
8 associate of Mr. Jelavic, haven't you?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. You were -- did you receive payment from Mr. Jelesic or --
11 Jelavic, excuse me, or the party for the work that you did?
12 A. No.
13 Q. All right. But just so we can be clear here, because that goes
14 back to why I was asking these questions a few minutes ago, sir: So
15 you've told the Judges and you've left the impression that you haven't
16 been associated with the HDZ, and yet you were an adviser to the leader
17 of the party, weren't you? Correct?
18 A. Yes, and there were other people, his advisers, that were not
19 members of the HDZ.
20 Q. Now, when you left your position at the Department of Defence and
21 went to work to "Slobodna Dalmacija," in about December of 1995 you
22 conducted an interview with a man named Vladislav Pogarcic, didn't you?
23 A. Possibly, because I did many interviews. Maybe with him too.
24 Q. Let's look at Exhibit P 08623 in the second binder, P 08623.
25 08623. It should be in the second binder. If it's not, can we go to
1 e-court, please, to try to save time, please. My apologies if there's a
3 Sir, while we're looking for that, I'll represent that -- the
4 Chamber has seen this before. It won't be new to the courtroom. It is
5 an interview that you apparently conducted while employed at
6 "Slobodna Dalmacija," an interview on the 9th of December, 1995
7 Mr. Pogarcic. Now, because our time again is so limited, I would like to
8 direct your attention and I'll direct the courtroom's attention in the
9 English version in the -- toward the bottom of the second page. And,
10 sir, if you can find a paragraph -- you asked a question -- you'll see
11 that there's references to the questioner and the speaker. So you'll
12 see -- you'll see: "Vegar, Pogarcic, Vegar, Pogarcic."
13 So if you find one of the "Vegar" entries where you say -- you
14 put this question to Mr. Pogarcic:
15 "Do you really think that the peaceful division of Bosnia
17 Do you see that? Do you see it, sir?
18 "Do you really think that the peaceful division of Bosnia
19 possible?" Vegar.
20 A. I don't see that question on the screen.
21 Q. All right. We'll just have to keep scrolling, I guess, unless
22 can we get anything else as a reference? It's probably roughly halfway
23 through the overall document in most formats, I would think. Or no, I'm
24 sorry, I wouldn't -- well, probably not. Let me read this to you, sir,
25 and I'll read slowly and for translation, and I'm sure that the courtroom
1 will correct me if I'm wrong. You put that question to Mr. Pogarcic, and
2 Pogarcic says:
3 "Yes. In fact, that possibility is the only clear result of
4 these four years of war. Remember how Bosnia was described at the
5 beginning of the war as a 'leopard skin.' Today, however, it is a
6 country of three ethnic communities, each having its own
7 strictly-delineated territory. This might be thought to be ugly, there
8 are people who are even disgusted by this, but they should know that it
9 is the result of the will of the population itself. The Serbs, Muslims,
10 and Croats have ethnically cleansed territories wherever they could
11 (meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that the Pandora's Box of ethnic
12 cleansing was forced open by the Serbs, although the two other nations
13 could not resist the temptation to take a look into it), until they
14 reduced the members of the other ethnic communities to 10 per cent or
15 less of the total. With 10 per cent or less of the total, one cannot
16 threaten the political position of the majority, while simultaneously the
17 minority functions as an ornament and can even serve as proof of the will
18 to create a 'multiethnic society.'"
19 My question to you, sir: Did you share that same view as
20 Mr. Pogarcic in those statements?
21 A. I, as a journalist, do not necessarily have to share political
22 views, the political views of the person I'm interviewing. I would not
23 agree with all these statements by Mr. Pogarcic, but I recorded them, as
24 he said that. At that time, he was deputy foreign minister of the
25 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I thought it was important for
1 the readership to hear his thinking, and that's why I conveyed it.
2 Q. My apology. In the early part of the passage that I read to you,
3 let me just break it down into some smaller pieces, Mr. Pogarcic suggests
4 that the division of Bosnia
5 years of war." Do you agree with that statement?
6 A. The war ended with the peace agreement that divided Bosnia
8 All the rest are very debatable theories about ethnic cleansing, the
9 percentage of an ethnic community can have in an area without threatening
10 the other ethnic community. That maybe derives from something he read.
11 But, again, I have to say I don't have to share his positions, because
12 I'm not writing a commentary here. It was an interview.
13 Q. That's correct. You don't have to, you're absolutely right, but
14 my question is whether you do, in fact. And, for example, do you agree
15 with the statement that all the three ethnic parties, the Serbs, the
16 Muslims, and the Croats, all three had engaged in ethnic cleansing?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Do you believe the Serbs engaged in ethnic cleansing?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you believe the Muslims engaged in ethnic cleansing?
21 A. This is a consequence of war.
22 Q. And do you believe that the HVO, the Croats -- excuse me, the
23 Croats - to follow through with Serbs, Muslims, and Croats - do you
24 believe that the Croats engaged in Muslim -- in ethnic cleansing, excuse
1 A. No.
2 Q. So everyone did, except for the Croats; correct?
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may. The
4 Prosecutor showed a passage to the witness, and we don't have the
5 document in the binder; neither does the witness. But when he highlights
6 the question by the witness, is peaceful division of Bosnia possible, had
7 the witness been in a position to read the article, he would have read
8 the previous answer which preceded that question, and this was taken out
9 of context.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, would you mind
11 reading, in your own language, the sentence starting with "Zar mitlite"?
12 Read in your language the question there.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Do you believe that a peaceful
14 division of Bosnia
15 read on?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just the question. I ask this,
17 because in the text as translated into English, we have "Really," so does
18 that mean -- it seems as though it meant, "Do you really think that?" So
19 in the English translation, it's more as a question. But the way you put
20 the question in your language -- as you read it in your language is, you
21 don't have this qualification; is that right?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm asking a question and putting
23 forward a thesis in that question which was present in the public domain
24 then and now. The question of the public and the readership was that it
25 was impossible for Bosnia
1 asking this individual, Do you really think that a peaceful division of
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 Mr. Scott.
5 MR. SCOTT:
6 Q. Sir, if we could move off this document to P 10826, also in the
7 second binder, P 10826. Sir, this is an article -- a media article from
8 Agence France-Presse from the 3rd of March, 2001. In the third
9 paragraph, it says this:
10 "Veso Vegar, an adviser to leaders of HDZ, the main nationalist
11 Croat Democratic Union, told Friday that an inter-regional council made
12 up of areas with a Croat majority would probably be set up, such a
13 council would have its own parliament and government, he said."
14 Do you remember giving interviews like that around this time,
15 March 2001?
16 A. Yes, at that time I did issue statements to the press.
17 Q. And at the end, the very last paragraph of this particular
18 article, says:
19 "The Croat member of Bosnia's Presidency, Ante Jelavic, who also
20 heads the HDZ, also said Wednesday that the federation was 'a Muslim
21 entity without Croats,' and the government was 'illegal and illegitimate
22 and we will no longer either participate or recognise it.'"
23 My apologies, apologies to the interpreters for being so quick.
24 Shall I repeat any of it? I think it's -- thank you.
25 And did you agree with Mr. Jelavic on that assessment, that the
1 current government structure at that time was, quote, "illegal and
2 illegitimate" and the HDZ would no longer either participate or recognise
4 A. I'm sorry, but I have to provide a wider explanation. We are
5 entering a political debate. Such statements and such assessments issued
6 by Mr. Ante Jelavic then have been repeated all those years since 2001 to
7 date. They were deeply founded sometimes --
8 Q. I apologise to you, sir. If my time was not more -- less
9 limited, I would certainly be happy to get a longer answer, but my
10 question to you is: Do you agree? Do you share the assessment stated by
11 Mr. Jelavic in this article?
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I object. I do
13 believe that the witness should be allowed to explain why this happened.
14 If this is not allowed to him, then it's impossible for him to answer in
15 the way that the Prosecutor wants.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Listen, Ms. Nozica. If the
17 Prosecutor puts the question in an infelicitous way, too bad for him.
18 Don't try to rescue him.
19 MR. SCOTT:
20 Q. Sir, let me --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can explain this statement. It
22 is short, it's taken out of context of the overall discourse of
23 Mr. Jelavic. At that moment, and this was not solely Mr. Jelavic's
24 opinion, the government did not include representatives of the strongest
25 Croatian political party which was voted for by 70 per cent of the
1 Croatian voters at the time, so that party and the people represented by
2 that party did not have a representative in that government of the time,
3 the HDZ BiH. So the HDZ BiH did not have any representatives in the
4 federal government, a political party which reached 70 per cent of the
5 Croatian vote in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The federal government was
6 established then, which included ministers, representatives of some
7 Croatian political parties, who received 29 votes in total in that
9 MR. SCOTT:
10 Q. I apologise to -- excuse me. I apologise to the courtroom, but I
11 don't have time, unless the Chamber wants to give me more time to get
12 into how many seats each of the parties won during these particular
14 Now, let me go on, sir, to some other documents and perhaps it
15 will clarify these issues. I'll be happy to address it further if the
16 time is provided for me to do so, but there is no such time at the
17 moment. And I apologise to you, Mr. Vegar, for that.
18 But if you could please turn to Exhibit P 10828, P 10828. It
19 should be very close by, the same binder. Sir, around this same time in
20 February 2001, do you recall supporting the possibility of actually
21 withdrawing the credentials of two international diplomats, including the
23 because of their concerns about certain anti-Dayton activities by the
24 HDZ? Do you remember supporting that position?
25 In this article, about halfway down, it says:
1 "Veso Vegar, adviser to Bosnia Croat Presidency member Ante
2 Jelavic, says he also supports the possibility of withdrawing credentials
3 to the two men."
4 Is that right?
5 A. Your Honours, I here must --
6 Q. Does it accurately state your position in 2001?
7 A. I cannot recall whether this opinion of mine was credibly relayed
8 and whether I spoke to anybody from Associated Press. I can confirm,
9 though, that there were --
10 Q. Let's turn to P 10827 and ask if you remember talking again to
11 Agence France-Presse. 10827. It should be the immediately-preceding
12 document, the 2nd of March, 2001, the second paragraph:
13 "Led by the national Croat -- nationalist Croat Democratic Union
14 HDZ, some 600 Bosnian Croat officials will be asked to sign on to a
15 document on setting up a new council made up of Croats, said Veso Vegar,
16 adviser to HDZ leaders.
17 "An inter-regional council made up of areas where a Croat
18 majority would probably be established, Vegar said, adding that such a
19 council would have its own parliament and government."
20 Did you make that statement or a statement like that in March
22 A. In March of that year, it is true that Croatian Peoples Congress
23 was held, but none of this that had been announced to -- that was
24 supposed to happen after that congress, no institutions of executive
25 power, no government was established. I did issue statements, but
1 whether this was my statement and whether it was credibly relayed, I
2 don't know; although, I could have issued a statement that there will be
3 an inter-regional committee. It was announced in all the media and
4 there's no doubt about that.
5 Q. At the end of that article, it says that:
6 "Mr. Jelavic's criticism escalated at a rally Wednesday in
7 support of Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez who have been sentenced to
8 prison by the UN war crimes tribunal for their role in the massacre of
9 hundreds of Muslims between 1991 and 1994."
10 I'm just wondering, sir, did you attend that same rally with
11 Mr. Jelavic?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did you ever attend any rally like that on behalf of any Croats
14 indicted by the ICTY, or attend any fund raisers for their defence, for
16 A. I don't recall I've ever done so.
17 Q. And it was this same Mr. Jelavic that was then removed, because
18 of these activities, removed from the Bosnian, BiH Presidency by the
19 Office of the High Representative because of his anti-Dayton activities
20 later in -- I think later in the same month of March 2001, or if not,
21 then certainly by April; correct?
22 A. Yes, he was removed from the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Q. And did you continue to be a close adviser to Mr. Jelavic after
24 that time?
25 A. What do you mean, "close associate"? Well, yes, I maintained
1 contacts with Jelavic for several months afterwards.
2 Q. Did you continue to be an adviser to him in any capacity after he
3 was removed from his position?
4 A. No, formally I could not be his adviser, because I also resigned
5 my post in the Presidency. It was only logical, because I no longer had
6 anyone to advise there.
7 Q. What post did you hold in the Presidency at that time?
8 A. Adviser for culture and education.
9 Q. And you held that position as a part of Mr. Jelavic's government,
10 if you will?
11 A. No, at the BiH Presidency, while he was a Croat member of the
12 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. And you're saying when he was removed, you also left that
14 position; correct?
15 A. Yes, 10 or 15 days afterwards.
16 Q. If you can go, sir, to Exhibit P 04626 in the first binder,
17 turning to a different topic, P 04626. It may not -- if it's not in the
18 binder, I think it was used yesterday by the Defence, so again I might
19 have to ask for the assistance of the e-court. My apologies. It was in
20 one of the Defence bundles, P 04626. It is the -- it may not be that we
21 even need it. It's so fresh in everyone's mind that perhaps the
22 courtroom will remember.
23 Sir, this was the HVO IPD document which was dated the 17th -- my
24 apologies, which was document number -- issue number 59, which you told
25 the courtroom you thought it was a bad joke. Do you remember that?
1 A. Yes, very bad joke.
2 Q. And when do you recall first having seen that document?
3 A. This is a document, a bulletin, number 59. I saw some -- I read
4 some, but I could not read all of them, and I can't recall when I saw
5 this first. I really can't recall.
6 Q. Let me explore it with you, sir. It obviously -- according to
7 what you've told us in the courtroom, you suggest that it made quite an
8 impact on you. You thought it was improper. Provided you read it at the
9 time, what action, if any, did you take to respond to this IPD officer
10 who was in your chain of command, to the effect of, "Hey, that's not
11 really appropriate, take some action about that"?
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I've already noticed
13 this, that the Prosecutor claimed that this was an IPD document. No,
14 this is a document of the OZ South-East Herzegovina, as it's stated here,
15 so it should be precisely stated, so in terms of hierarchy and what the
16 witness could have done about it in the chain of command.
17 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Counsel. Your Honours, it was covered in
18 the testimony on the first day, or maybe yesterday -- yesterday, at
19 pages 19 and 21, Mr. Vegar testified, "I do know the IPD published a
20 document, the Operative Zone of South-East Herzegovina." This is
21 number 59, IPD.
22 And I believe it was Ms. Alaburic who showed us -- among others
23 who may have showed us an organisational chart of IPD, and all those IPD
24 units were subordinate to Mr. Vegar, and I put that as the proposition to
25 him. And that's what leads me to my question -- if I could just finish
1 my submission first, and then I'll sit down. That's why I put to the
2 witness that if he says this is such a bad joke, what action, if any, did
3 he take to deal with it, if he can assist us.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will give you two answers. First
5 of all, I did not have this in my hands and I did not read it then.
6 The other thing, I could not have done anything specific and
7 officially against the authors of this bulletin of the IPD of South-East
9 MR. SCOTT:
10 Q. Sir, you testified yesterday --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. SCOTT: My apologies.
13 Q. Sir, you testified yesterday at pages 103 and 104 of the
14 transcript -- you were asked about the chain of command of the IPD, and
15 you gave this answer:
16 "Apart from their own commander, they were in communication with
17 employees of the IPD, IPD personnel at levels superior to their own, up
18 to the assistant chief of the Defence Department Sector for
19 Moral Guidance."
20 That was you, sir, that was you. So the person who issued this
21 document was directly in your chain of command, and if you thought this
22 was such a bad joke, sir, what, if anything, did you do to discipline or
23 correct the person who issued it?
24 A. I must also say something that I said yesterday. I said that
25 assistant commanders for IPD were subordinated to their commander.
1 Second thing: They were not in my chain of command. There I said in
2 contact, in communication through the operation zone and the sector in
3 the Defence Department. The third thing: I did not read this then. Had
4 I had the powers to command or sanction, I could not do it, because that
5 problem did not reach me. I was not aware of it, and I could not have
6 done anything about it.
7 Q. Sir, because of the time, I only have one more question on that
8 topic, and that is: To your knowledge, if not by you, did you know then
9 or did you ever learn later that the person who issued that press release
10 or document which you say is a bad joke, was that person ever admonished,
11 fired, punished, by any HVO authority on the inappropriateness of his
13 A. I don't recall that he was.
14 Q. If we can turn to 2D 01316, 2D 01316 in the second binder. Sir,
15 this is a public announcement dated the 12th of June, 1993
16 some of your answers in the examinations on Monday and Tuesday, I'd like
17 to just ask you a couple of things.
18 In the second paragraph, it says:
19 "There were a few attempts of infantry attacks. These villages
20 find themselves completely surrounded and if forces of UN do not enter
21 those villages soon, there will be mass slaughter and massacre of the
23 In the -- at the last paragraph -- at the last paragraph of the
24 document, and again we don't have time, unfortunately, to go through all
25 of it, it talks about the same roads used by Muslim women and children to
1 run from Serbs are now full of Croat women and Croat children running
2 from the Muslim knife. Now, do you think that kind of language was
3 intended to have a calming-down influence?
4 A. The wording is in keeping with the dramatic situation. I would
5 not have done -- I would have used such words if I had written it, most
6 certainly, but the suggestion was of general threat to the survival of
7 those people in that area, and such grave words should not surprise us at
8 all in the light of that.
9 Q. Well, let's turn next to 2D 1309, which was shown to you
10 yesterday, I believe, or perhaps the day before, but in any event the
11 last couple of days. And let me just say, sir, for the record and so
12 that you don't think that I'm not recognising the situation. As I've
13 said before, some of these events, there were indeed some terrible events
14 that happened with Croat victims, which have my complete condemnation.
15 There's no question about that.
16 But if you look, please, sir, at 2D 01309, I asked you earlier,
17 sir, about these so-called "V.V." documents, and these appear to be
18 documents that you prepared or at least put your initials to. And
19 looking at the first one, in the second paragraph, there is, among other
20 things, this language:
21 "Muslim criminals took pleasure in torturing helpless elderly,
22 women, and children --"
23 A. I'm sorry, but I don't have the document.
24 Q. I apologise. 2D 1309. Sorry, sir. I thought you had it. It
25 may be in the Stojic -- excuse me, Your Honour, again I was drawing on a
1 couple of these on the Defence binder. My apology. I believe it's in
2 one of the Stojic binders or bundles.
3 While they're doing that, Your Honour, to save -- hopefully save
4 time again, I may also be referring to 2D 00648, which was also used by
5 the Stojic Defence yesterday, I believe, if people want to also be
6 finding that, and I apologise for the additional effort.
7 Do you have 2D 01309 now, sir? Sir? Or in e-court? 2D 01309,
8 do you have it? If I can direct your attention, please, sir, to the
9 second paragraph on the screen in the Croatian language version in front
10 of you. I believe in that paragraph is the phrase:
11 "Muslim criminals took pleasure in torturing helpless elderly,
12 women and children... another Croat from Zuka's unit was murdered by
13 decapitation, after which his head was thrown in the Neretva.
14 "Sefer Halilovic and Rasim Delic, highest commandants of the
15 Muslim army, knew of the massacre and sent cigarettes to those who
16 committed it as a reward."
17 Now, once again, sir, these phrases and this information, first
18 of all, where did you obtain the information? When you issued -- when
19 you prepared this document, where did you get this information that you
20 based it on?
21 A. These information did not come from official sources, but came
22 from a source which I trusted, and unfortunately many information from
23 this report were proven to be correct.
24 Q. And the statement that Mr. Halilovic and Mr. Delic knew of the
25 massacre and sent cigarettes to those that committed it as a reward,
1 what's your source of information for that statement?
2 A. I heard it from people who managed to flee that area and who saw
3 Mr. Sefer Halilovic in Jablanica at the time.
4 Q. And when you wrote this, and then you -- going on down, there's a
5 series of these -- the 25th, there's a second one, there's one for the
6 24th, one on the -- two on the 24th, perhaps. Again, did you write these
7 with the -- with the concern in mind that they might have an inflammatory
8 effect on those who might receive and read them? Sir?
9 A. My duty was to inform about this tragic event. Of course, one
10 should be mindful of possible consequences, of course, but at the time,
11 at the time when we heard every day news about tragic events,
12 unfortunately such bad news did not have consequences that they would
13 have in normal times. It was just another bad crime, and it did not
14 elicit a reaction of those who were supposed to prevent such crimes.
15 Q. If you go last on this topic to 2 -- also, and I mentioned it a
16 moment ago, if we could find 2D 00648 --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please, may I ask you two brief
19 How did you know that Halilovic and Delic had thanked the
20 perpetrators of those crimes by giving them cigarettes? How did you know
21 about that?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard it from people who escaped
23 from that area. They were lucky to be able to escape. They saw
24 Mr. Halilovic several days after the massacre, and that was the story
25 that circulated around Jablanica. At that time, cigarettes were very
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So the person who
3 gives the information had seen Mr. Halilovic handing out packs of
4 cigarettes to the soldiers?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, she only saw Mr. Halilovic, but
6 that was the information that circulated around Jablanica.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Second question.
8 I can see that you were talking about the women who were in the Museum of
9 the Revolution, where things that you have written may have happened, and
10 I'm not going to -- what is alleged has happened, I'm not going to say
11 that again. Did you grasp what consequences the fact of writing about
12 that would have on families, people who were worried? Did you think
13 about that?
14 In one or the other assumption, either what you write is true or
15 it's not, but in both cases did you grasp the potential consequences it
16 would have on the families, on the neighbours, et cetera, or is it mere
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My first and foremost aim at the
19 time was to present facts, and I believe that the information is
20 unfortunately true concerning that massacre that happened, but also the
21 camp that existed in Jablanica, detaining mostly civilians, because there
22 were very, very few soldiers.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
24 You may proceed, Mr. Scott.
25 MR. SCOTT:
1 Q. Sir, if we can just look briefly --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 MR. SCOTT:
4 Q. 2D 00648, another one that was shown to you previously. Again,
5 sir, it's over your initials, and in part -- this is for the April 16th,
6 and it says:
7 "Over radio connections, they clearly tell Croats that they will
8 be slaughtered and that this will be land 'Muslimanija'."
9 Do you see that? Do you see that, sir?
10 A. I can't see it on the screen at this moment.
11 Q. I can see it. It's the bottom -- it's the last sentence above
12 your initials "V.V.," sir. Do you see that?
13 A. Yes, I see it.
14 Q. Sir, because our time is so limited, can I just put this to you:
15 Isn't it correct, sir, that all sides, all sides, engaged in propaganda
16 and hate speech and inflammatory language in connection with the events
17 that were going on at the time, including the HVO, including sometimes
18 you, yourself, sir?
19 A. I have to say again that I only presented the information and the
20 facts that I received, I put it on paper. There is no expression of my
21 opinion, my comments, or any statements of mine. This word
22 "Muslimanija," was used by the soldiers who looted the houses, burned
23 those villages, not by the person who relayed this information to me. I
24 also did not have that word in my vocabulary, I didn't use it in my
1 Q. Sir, I'd like you to go next to -- changing topics, unless the
2 Chamber has any questions on that, I'd like you to go, please, to P 10675
3 in the second binder. Yes, second binder, P 10675. Sir, this is a
4 compilation -- the Chamber has seen it before -- the courtroom has seen
5 it before -- of four articles all written around early April 1993 -- ones
6 that -- well, three are early, one is the 20th. We have a 4 April
7 article by Reuters. We have a 6th of April article by
8 Agence France-Presse. We have a 7th of April article by the "Christian
9 Science Monitor," and we have a 20 April article by the Financial Times.
10 And I'll just make it very clear to you, sir, that they all deal
11 with certain statements made by the HVO in April of 1993. And let me
12 direct your attention, because time is short, specifically to the 6th
13 April Agence France-Presse article. It will be the second article in
14 your bundle, please.
15 In the third paragraph from the bottom of that article, this
16 statement is made:
17 "A communique published on Monday by the Zagreb daily 'Vijesnik'
18 said the HVO had decided to force the Bosnians to implement the plan,
19 regardless of the Serbs. 'It is definitely an ultimatum,' said HVO
20 spokesman Veso Vegar, adding, 'We cannot wait indefinitely to put the
21 peace plan into practice.'"
22 That's what you told Agence France-Presse; correct?
23 A. No, I didn't say this to the Agence France-Presse. I never used,
24 in these statements, the word "ultimatum." And I cross-checked this
25 through the media. The Zagreb
1 of mine or that I gave anyone an ultimatum. All that appeared in those
2 days was a statement from the session of the Croatian Defence Council but
3 during those days I did not give any statements, and I couldn't have
4 given an ultimatum if there hadn't been one from the HVO. I was not in a
5 position to make decisions for someone else.
6 Q. Sir, I'm not suggesting or never intended to suggest that it was
7 your personal ultimatum. It was an ultimatum given by the HVO; correct?
8 And that's what you're addressing; yes?
9 A. I couldn't have said that, because the HVO that not issued an
10 ultimatum either.
11 Q. Excuse me. Let's look back at the 4 April 1993 Reuters article.
12 About halfway through that article issued in Zagreb on the 4th of April,
13 you'll find this statement:
14 "'If Izetbegovic fails to sign this agreement by April 15, the
15 HVO will unilaterally enforce its jurisdiction in cantons 3, 8 and 10,'
16 the statement from HVO headquarters in the south-west Croat stronghold of
17 Mostar warned. Croatian Radio said, 'Bosnian Croat chieftain Mate Boban
18 had already signed the proposed communique and the president's signature
19 was ''expected'' ..."
20 THE INTERPRETER: Would you mind reading slowly.
21 MR. SCOTT: My apologies, interpreters.
22 Q. Sir, isn't that -- when someone says, If this doesn't happen,
23 something else is going to happen. Now, the word "ultimatum" might not
24 appear in that particular passage, but isn't that exactly what it is?
25 If you don't do this, we are going to do this. That's the definition of
1 "ultimatum," isn't it?
2 A. Not in my understanding. But I have to say again, I'm not here
3 to interpret the positions expressed at the session of the HVO. I
4 understood that there was no ultimatum, and in my statements I could not
5 have said to anyone that the Croats would do this and that if somebody
6 does not withdraw, or that we would do anything to make them withdraw.
7 Q. Well, let's go to the 7 April 1993 "Christian Science Monitor"
8 article, the third article in the bundle, the "Christian Science Monitor"
9 for the 7th of April. The third paragraph from the -- no, forgive me,
10 it's a longer article. You will see, sir, and I'll simply read it to
11 you, and I will read slowly - for the English readers, it's at the bottom
12 of the first page - there's this paragraph, sir. I'll read two
13 paragraphs to you:
14 "But Jadranko Prlic, the self-styled acting prime minister of
15 'Herceg-Bosna,' says the ultimatum reflects only HVO's intention to
16 implement the demilitarisation clause of the Vance-Owen Plan. 'We signed
17 the document and the Muslims signed the document, and it is one of the
18 real ways to overcome problems between Muslims and Croats,' he says.
19 "Mr. Prlic concedes, nonetheless, that the HVO ultimatum could
20 lead to bloodshed. 'We expect everything. We don't want this struggle.
21 We don't have any reason for this struggle,' he says."
22 Do you see that, sir?
23 A. Yes, I found it, I see it.
24 Q. Is that an accurate statement of the HVO position at the time, at
25 least in part?
1 A. No. I was not aware at that time that that was the HVO's general
2 position. I did not understand it that way.
3 Q. Well, sir, I put it to you that in the Agence France-Presse
4 article that I put to you initially, and your statements about this being
5 an ultimatum, "it is definitely an ultimatum," I put it to you, sir, that
6 Agence France-Presse got it exactly right, and that is indeed what you
7 said at the time, isn't it?
8 A. I don't think you're right.
9 Q. It is --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, several months ago we
11 saw this document, and I had put the question to the witness then. You
12 are a professional. You know the AFP, you know the Reuters agency. You
13 must know that when a quote is given of a sentence, that means that the
14 sentence was said by someone. Now, this regards you, because you are
15 being mentioned in this story.
16 If I understand properly, there was a press release issued on
17 Monday by the Zagreb
18 quoted, so I suppose you are at the origin of this press release. The
19 Agence France-Presse only relays something that was published in
20 "Vjesnik"; is that right or not?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I said that I spoke to
22 "Vjesnik," but "Vjesnik" did not carry an ultimatum. It only relayed the
23 information from the session of the HVO.
24 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] If I may be of assistance, please.
25 We have that "Vjesnik" issue of the 5th to which this article refers. It
1 contains neither the communique, nor the statement. If you wish, if the
2 Trial Chamber allows, we can provide this issue and put it in e-court
3 during the break. There's nothing to translate. There is no communique
4 and no statement in the "Vjesnik" issue of the 5th of April.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you were ahead of me. You
6 knew what question I wanted to put to Mr. Scott. I wanted to ask him how
7 it was that the Prosecution did not try to find that newspaper to check
8 that, and the Defence just told us that they have the press cutting and
9 that the quotes are not present in that communique, so now it's on the
11 Mr. Scott, you have a few minutes before the break. In terms of
12 time, I'll tell you soon how much time you have left.
13 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, thank you very much. I would appreciate
14 it, so that I can review and determine the use of the rest of my time.
15 Your Honour, I'd also remind the Chamber, with great respect,
16 that there was also additional direct examination time taken by several
17 of the other accused, and of course I will ask that that time be included
18 in the time that I have, since the Prosecution gets the same amount as
19 direct examination, I believe. So if the Registrar can assist us both in
20 that respect, it would be much appreciated.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Your Honours. My
22 examination was under three hours, if I am not mistaken, and since
23 cross-examination is proportionate to direct examination, I'm just giving
24 this as a reminder.
25 MR. SCOTT: Your Honours, I'm certainly in the hands of the
1 Registrar and I will abide -- absolutely strictly abide by any numbers
2 that they come up with. May I --
3 THE COURT: I'm going to tell you. You have 49 minutes left.
4 MR. SCOTT: Well, I have 49 minutes based -- the Stojic Defence
5 took, as I understood it, three hours and ten minutes. I also understand
6 that both the Praljak Defence and one of the other Defence teams took
7 direct examination time, so I'll ask the Registrar to please assist us in
8 determining how much additional direct examination time was also taken by
9 the other co-accused.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, the quality of
11 Prosecution or Defence is not the time it takes, it is the quality of the
12 questions that are put. In the matter of a few minutes, you can raise a
13 fundamental issue. You can also spend hours on nothing.
14 We're going to have a 20-minute break.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.50 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
18 Let's take stock of the situation. Mr. Scott, you are entitled
19 to additional time because Ms. Pinter took 15 minutes to address new
20 issues, so you should make due with 10 minutes. So all in all, you'll
21 have 59 minutes. There's under an hour until the end of the hearing. I
22 guess that Ms. Nozica may have some redirect; I don't know at all. It
23 all hinges on you. If you act swiftly and efficiently, we can finish
24 today. Otherwise, everybody will have to be back tomorrow morning.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may just, for the transcript, I think it
1 must be recorded in the transcript that Mr. Pusic has not attended the
2 session since the break before this one, since after the first break he
3 has suffered from heavy back pain and was allowed to return. I think it
4 must be reflected in the transcript.
5 Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I thought it was
7 not necessary to record this on the transcript, in as much as the accused
8 was present at the beginning of the hearing. He is represented by his
9 counsel, and if he has to leave the courtroom due to medical reasons,
10 there's no need to have it on the record. But this being said, each of
11 the Judges having stated their views, we can proceed.
12 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President, and I do appreciate the
13 time. I will try to move as quickly as possible. I represent to the
14 Chamber that even over the break, I made substantial adjustments in my
15 outline, so I'm hopeful.
16 Q. Sir, I would like to next show you before moving on to the next
17 topic, and I would like to have this distributed, P 10850, for the
18 record, but I'm distributing it -- with the usher's assistance, I'm
19 distributing it now. Apparently it didn't find its way in the binders.
20 I'm sure it's probably my fault.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The name didn't make it to the transcript
22 either, so if you would repeat the number.
23 MR. SCOTT: One -- excuse me, P 10850. Thank you, Judge.
24 P 10850. It's also available in the e-court, if that assists anyone.
25 Q. Sir -- I think everyone has it. Sir, this appears to be a
1 document that was put out over your name, "Veso Vegar." On the top of
2 the first page, we have handwritten: "Received on 11 August 1993
3 you see that?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. And this is a document that you prepared, isn't it?
6 A. I think so.
7 Q. Sir, this is directed to the attention "All is assistants for IPD
8 and brigades, Uskoplje, Novi Travnik, Rama, or Prozor, Skopje also of
9 course being Gornji Vakuf, Kiseljak, and Vitez, so in light of the
10 discussion we had earlier today I'm going to suggest to you that this was
11 a distribution from you to IPD assistants in the field, which would not
12 be surprising, correct, because you're communicating to people in your
14 A. Yes, I'm addressing assistants for IPD in these brigades.
15 Q. Now, our time as you heard is very limited. In the second
16 paragraph of the document you'll see:
17 "It should be openly stated ..."
18 But then you go on to say:
19 "We have to strongly confront all troublemakers, all those, which
20 are spreading defeatism and even panic, and not even run from their
22 "Urgently put out of action 'all knowing' gentlemen, those that
23 spread rumours about 'sold out' this and that, and this or that town was
24 given away to Muslims or Serbs. The leadership of the Croatian Republic
25 of Herceg-Bosna ... gave nothing away."
1 And so on. Are those your words, sir?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What was the context in which this document was prepared, please?
4 A. In the context of massive disinformation and rumours, that
5 someone on behalf of the HVO of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
6 had sold out, namely, agreed to the hand-over of certain towns to be
7 given to another, to a second or a third republic, this document was
8 created after the third agreement that envisaged a union. That's why it
9 says in the first sentence that we have now received our own republic,
10 but within Bosnia and Herzegovina. And now smart-alecks appear,
11 know-it-alls who disperse such information that they got from not only
12 Croats, but also from the second or the third side, and they spread chaos
13 in the minds of people. This information had the objective of changing
14 the prevailing sentiment and refuting such rumours.
15 Q. Sir, I only have time to point one other part of it to you,
16 unless of course the Judges have questions, but in the next paragraph
17 that begins under the words: "Honourable HVO soldier ...," there is this
19 "We will not agree on any rotten compromises and proposals like
20 the one by Alija Izetbegovic on joint state from Neum to the Sava river."
21 What rotten compromise were you referring to?
22 A. I think for people who lived in that area, it was understandable,
23 what I was trying to say. I was talking about a political concept, an
24 idea that can be characterized as unitaristic, with a strong
25 centralisation of power in one place, that is to say, Sarajevo, wherein
1 none of the three ethnic communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 been separate or able to develop their own separate identity. This
3 sentence does not mean that I was denying that state. It means that
4 Croats agreed to such a state, but that they should have their own
5 separate identity within that state. And, anyway, this agreement did
6 envisage three entities within one state.
7 Q. And that was a separate Croat entity with a separate territory
8 set aside for Croats; correct? According to you?
9 A. It envisaged a separate republic where the Croats would be a
10 majority, just like the other two republics where the Serbs and Muslims
11 respectively would be the majority.
12 Q. So the answer to my question is, yes, there would be a separate
13 entity and separate territory for Croats; correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, we have to move on to Exhibit, please, P 10837, P 10837 in
16 the second binder. And I'm turning to the topic of events in Mostar in
17 May and June 1993. Sir, this is an article from the Associated Press,
18 dated 11 May 1993
19 and I'm going to put statements attributed to you in this article. Once
20 again, I'm sure that if I misquote or misstate, I'll be corrected. But
21 in this article, and it's on the second page of the English version, I'll
22 read it very slowly, sir, this statement is attributed to you:
23 "Vegar said civilians of all ethnic groups were merely being
24 evacuated from combat zones."
25 And that was in response to UN officials, two paragraphs up, if
1 you will:
2 "UN officials said they were concerned about Muslim civilians
3 reportedly cleared out of their homes in Mostar on Sunday.
4 "'There have been a number of civilians taken from their homes,'
5 said a US Army captain... 'We assume they are being detained or being
6 taken out of the area against their will.'"
7 And then in that context, sir, it's attributed to you:
8 "Vegar said civilians of all ethnic groups were merely being
9 evacuated from gather zones."
10 And before putting a question to you about that, can I just ask
11 you to turn very close by, P 10845. It should be just a couple of
12 documents down in your binder, P 10845. This is an article from -- on
13 the 12th of May, 1993, the following day, from the "Seattle
15 Yet again -- sorry, sir, let me just point out, at the bottom of
16 that, the English page, the first page of the article -- excuse me:
17 "When asked about the evidence of civilian detentions Croat
18 military spokesman --"
19 A. I'm sorry, I'm not getting any interpretation.
20 Q. My apologies. I'll start again, and please tell us:
21 "When asked about the evidence ..."
22 Are you getting translation?
23 "When asked about the evidence --"
24 A. I don't see --
25 Q. Maybe it's --
1 JUDGE PRANDLER: Mr. Scott, I'm sorry, but it is probably you
2 might want to mention that it is on page 2.
3 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Judge Prandler. I think perhaps --
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness is saying
5 there is no translation. He means the paper, the translation.
6 MR. SCOTT: No, there is not a translation of this. That's why
7 I'm reading it to you, sir, which is not a new procedure. It's a
8 procedure we've followed for the last three years:
9 "When asked about the evidence of civilian detentions, Croat
10 military spokesman Veso Vegar said civilians of all ethnic groups were
11 being evacuated from combat zones."
12 Q. Now, sir, where did you form the opinion or form the position
13 that what was happening to the Muslims in early May 1993 was an
14 evacuation for their own safety? Did you come up with that on your own
15 or is that what someone else told you?
16 A. That evacuation did have the purpose to ensure their safety,
17 especially in war-affected zones, and that was all of Mostar because that
18 was a small town. But as far as I know, the first to be evacuated were
19 the streets closest to combat activity.
20 Q. Sir, my question was, and I apologise if it wasn't clear or if it
21 wasn't -- there was a problem in translation, but our time is short: Is
22 that a position that you formed and stated on your own or is that a
23 position that was the HVO position at the time? Were you stating that as
24 your -- in your capacity as spokesperson for the HVO Department of
25 Defence, and if so, who confirmed that position to you? Who said, "This
1 is our position"?
2 A. Nobody told me it was our position.
3 Q. Sir, that statement is just completely wrong, isn't it, because
4 it wasn't all civilians, all ethnic groups -- civilians of all ethnic
5 groups being evacuated; it was specifically only Muslims, wasn't it?
6 A. I still maintain that all the people who were in the immediate
7 danger of war were evacuated.
8 Q. And they just happened to be only Muslims; is that correct?
9 A. There were not only Muslims, although Muslims were the majority.
10 Q. Well, are you aware, sir, that this Tribunal has found, in fact,
11 and this Trial Chamber has so ruled on adjudicated facts, that this
12 effort was directed only at Muslims?
13 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Sorry. I object on the basis
14 that the Prosecutor is leading evidence that is not admitted here in this
15 trial, in the sense that he is trying to make it out. I invite the
16 Prosecutor to check the lists from Heliodrom that he tendered himself and
17 to check how many Serbs and Croats there are on the lists.
18 MR. SCOTT: Well --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
20 MR. SCOTT: -- I'll refer to the adjudicated fact in this case,
21 number 91, as issued by this Trial Chamber:
22 "The arrest and detention of the civilian population in Mostar
23 was carried out on a discriminatory basis, as the Bosnian Muslim
24 population was targeted specifically, while their Croat neighbours were
25 left unharmed. It was unlawful, since there was no legal basis for this
2 That's the adjudicated fact.
3 Q. Sir, it wasn't --
4 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. I would
5 like to remind the Prosecutor of the status of adjudicated facts; namely,
6 that they can be disproven, and the Prosecutor has himself led evidence
7 in the form of these lists where it is obvious that there are Serbs and
8 Croats and others on those lists.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Scott.
10 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.
11 Q. Well, let me be very clear, sir. So you're saying the statement
12 that the Muslims were being evacuated for their own safety and that this
13 was happening to all ethnic groups, this is something that Veso Vegar,
14 completely by himself, when the question was put, it was completely your
15 position, the answer you gave, without consultation with anyone else in
16 the HVO authorities or Mr. Stojic, your superior; is that what you're
17 telling the Chamber?
18 A. Yes. At that time, I'm sure I didn't contact anyone, although it
19 was not only my position; it was the position shared by many others.
20 That's why I put it, then and now.
21 Q. Would you go, please, to Exhibit P 10838 in the second binder.
22 P 10838. Sir, this is a document -- this is a report from Reuters on the
23 14th of May, 1993, titled "Croat Troops Free Some Muslim Detainees in
24 Mostar." Apparently on that day, the second paragraph:
25 "Fifty women, children, and elderly were taken by bus from the
1 helicopter complex where they had been interned after being removed from
2 their home in the city on Sunday."
3 Skipping to -- one, two -- the third paragraph below that, it
5 "HVO spokesman, Veso Vegar, said all the Muslims would be free
6 once Croats arrested by Bosnian Army troops in the Jablanica-Konjic
7 pocket north-east of Mostar were released."
8 Now, again, the position is stated that the HVO would free the
9 others detained at the Heliodrom once Croats arrested and held by Bosnian
10 Army troops elsewhere were released. Who formed that position and
11 communicated that to you, or was this again Veso Vegar acting as the
12 leader of the HVO and making that decision on your own?
13 A. If I spoke to this subject at all, I could only have talked about
14 detained Muslim soldiers, certainly not those who were evacuated from
15 Mostar, so I think there's nothing illogical if I linked the release of
16 prisoners on one side with the release of prisoners on the other side
17 because at that time, in Konjic and Jablanica, there were many Croats
18 detained, fighting men, but also civilians.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this is a very central
20 issue to these proceedings. You are saying that if the Muslims who were
21 arrested can be released -- well, they can be released if the Croats that
22 were arrested in the Jablanica-Konjic area are released as well. The
23 problem is that -- well, I'm not aware of the situation in
24 Jablanica-Konjic. I don't know which Croats were arrested. But if there
25 were Croat civilians arrested in Jablanica, due to this sort of dual
1 track, the Muslims arrested in Mostar could also be civilians. Can you
2 see the extent of your statements then?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can look it up, but I'm not
4 talking about the capture of civilians in order to exchange them for some
5 other civilians in Jablanica and Konjic. I am certain that I am talking
6 here only about imprisoned soldiers and their possible exchange. But I
7 always referred to the freedom of movement for civilians.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're now speaking about
9 military, but in this Reuters statement, there's no distinction between
10 civilians and military, just mention is made of Croats and --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And the agency did not distinguish
12 between fighting men and civilians, but I did.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
14 MR. SCOTT:
15 Q. Well, that's not entirely true, sir. If you look at the first
16 sentence of the article Reuters says:
17 "Bosnian forces on Friday released about 50 of 2.000 Muslim
18 civilians detained in squalid conditions outside of Mostar as sporadic
19 fighting persisted around the south-western Bosnian city."
20 But my specific -- I persist in my question to you originally,
21 sir, I put it to you: This was not Veso Vegar's only single decision,
22 this was a policy statement or decision taken, a strategy announced by
23 the HVO, and unless you were in a much more senior position than the one
24 you were in, that wasn't your decision, sir, about when other people
25 would be released. Now, who told you that was the HVO policy or
1 situation -- excuse me, strategy, that when people -- when Croats in
2 Konjic would be released, then civilians being held at the Heliodrom
3 would be released? Who told you that was the position?
4 A. I fully agree this was not my decision, whether 50 would be
5 released or all of them. I did not discuss that at all and I did not
6 take decisions, but pursuant to the erstwhile practice, I discuss the
7 process of exchange which would always take place after decisive events
8 where there would be more captured soldiers. I'm sure I spoke about the
9 soldiers, not civilians.
10 Q. And the evictions of Muslims in Mostar continued throughout the
11 balance of May, and when I say "the balance," after the 10th of May,
12 1993, and continuing through June and thereafter; correct?
13 A. Yes. Muslims, Croats and Serbs.
14 Q. No, sir. The eviction of Muslim families and Muslims continued
15 throughout Mostar, in West Mostar, throughout the balance of May, June
16 and July; correct?
17 A. Yes, all subsequent months, but not only of the Muslims, as I
18 said. I can give you reliable data that in the eastern --
19 Q. I will direct your attention to P 02557. I apologise for cutting
20 you off, but the Chamber -- we only have so much time. P 02557.
21 MR. SCOTT: It should not be broadcast, I'm told, Your Honour.
22 We can use it in the courtroom, but the document itself should not be
23 broadcast outside the courtroom.
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I
25 apologise, but I've been listening to the Croatian interpretation. What
1 I'm bothered about - maybe my English is not good enough - but in the
2 headphones we heard, and I think this is important, the moving out as
3 interpretation for the word "eviction." I'm not sure that's the most
4 fortuitous choice of words when the witness is asked questions about
6 MR. SCOTT: I can't -- unfortunately, I can't control the exact
7 translations of my words. I did use -- I believe I used the words
8 "eviction" and "expulsion," and those are the words I intend to use.
9 Q. If you look at P 02557, sir, this is a report dated 29th of May,
10 1993. Item number 6 --
11 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise
12 to my learned friend Scott. The key thing happened again while I rose.
13 Now the witness received the word "protivanje," [phoen] "expulsion,"
14 which is something completely different from that, when -- what he heard
15 when Mr. Scott discussed "evictions."
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, Witness, the Prosecutor
17 in English used the word "eviction." In your language, what did you
18 understand? What was it that was translated to you?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understood that he was talking
20 about moving out, temporary leaving the town of Mostar, and this is the
21 context that I spoke in, people fleeing war and war threat, but not on a
22 permanent basis.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. You may proceed,
24 Mr. Scott.
25 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I mean, if the whole record now for the
1 last 15 minutes is contaminated by confusion, then it's -- we've lost the
2 time and I can't -- I'm not going to be held hostage by the loss of time
3 on that. The specific word that I've used repeatedly is "eviction" and
4 "expulsion," and that's what the documents use. So it's to my prejudice,
5 I'm afraid, but look at, sir, P 02557, item 6:
6 "Both the UNHCR and the ICRC report the internment and eviction
7 of Muslims in Mostar and the towns of the south ..."
8 Skipping a line or two:
9 "The UNHCR and the ICRC say report that Muslim families on the
10 west bank were evicted last night in organised raids, their homes
11 occupied by Croat families with 'permits' to occupy the flats. In
12 addition to families which were squatting in homes vacated by Serbs,
13 regular residents were also evicted."
14 Now, as I said, that kind of eviction, that expulsion, was going
15 on through May, June, and July, Muslims being evicted from West Mostar
17 A. I can confirm that there were individual cases of people coming
18 into flats and evicting the inhabitants from those flats, on the part of
19 criminal and uncontrolled groups, but I cannot accept the statement which
20 is being put forward here, that this was done by official institutions,
21 that it was done by the HVO or a unit of the HVO. Simply, there was no
22 plan of expulsion or of ethnic cleansing of Mostar.
23 Q. Let's go to P 02538, P 02538. Sir, this is a document issued --
24 a communique issued by Mr. Maric on the 27th of May, 1993, in connection
25 with flats in Mostar. Quote in the first paragraph:
1 "Pursuant to a verbal order issued by the head of the HZ
2 Herceg-Bosna Defence Department," I put it to you the head of that is
3 Mr. Stojic, "... with the aim of providing necessary accommodation for
4 family members of soldiers from the Ludwig Pavlovic Regiment," et cetera,
5 it's a communication, "the comission hereby places ten apartments at
6 disposal allegedly previously owned by the JNA."
7 Now, this has been copied to -- you'll see that this has been
8 distributed to the head of the Defence Department, Mr. Stojic, and
9 several other persons. Now, sir, if you will keep that document in
10 mind --
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Your Honours, I must
12 object to this. Mr. Scott must bring into connection those flats with
13 what he was asking the witness about previously. He seems to be implying
14 that somebody had been dislocated from those flats. He must lay the
15 grounds, prove that the decree on the attribution of flats was taken,
16 there were criteria that were applied, and this has nothing to do with
17 this question.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Nozica, there's no reason
19 to say that. You've got professional Judges here who have been dealing
20 with this case for three years. For 24 hours a day -- 20 hours a day
21 we're dealing with this case, we're hearing this case. So you can easily
22 imagine that when Mr. Scott talks about it, we are all focused on this,
23 and so it's pointless to tell us, yes -- well, we'll see. Wait and the
24 see the rest of the question.
25 Yes, Mr. Stojic.
1 THE ACCUSED STOJIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your
3 You know, I've been sitting here for three years, and I've been
4 silent so far, but this is very difficult for me to suffer, because that
5 person over there is airing lies. I'm responsibly saying this. This
6 document has nothing to do with what Mr. Scott is talking about, no
7 connection. Your Honours, I cannot suffer this any longer. You must
8 understand us. There used to be six of us here. Now there are only two
9 of us remaining. I cannot suffer this any longer.
10 Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stojic, the Judges have a
12 document which mentions apartments occupied by the JNA that are going to
13 be made at the disposal. Now, it's up to the Prosecutor to establish the
14 connection between the apartments, Muslims who may have occupied the
15 apartments and who may have vacated them, for Mr. Serafinov [phoen],
16 Pesic, [indiscernible] and so on.
17 Mr. Scott.
18 MR. SCOTT: If we can go to Exhibit P 02756, P 02756 in the first
19 binder. This is an ECMM report dated the 14th of June, 1993. I'll
20 direct your attention, Mr. Vegar, to paragraph number -- item number 6,
21 "Other matters."
22 Q. Skipping a few lines, it says:
23 "We have got information from three different sources about,
24 again since Saturday afternoon, Muslim families are being expelled by HVO
25 soldiers from their homes via south-east quarter Donja Mahala, to the
1 east bank. Approximately more than 100 Muslim people were Sunday night
2 and today expelled from the quarters Dum and Patikana [phoen]. On most
3 of their apartments, there were HVO stickers found where the apartments
4 were occupied by HVO soldiers."
5 Item 6, "Assessment," the second item:
6 "The ethnic cleansing on the west bank of Muslim families by the
7 HVO still goes on."
8 That's what was happening at the time; correct, sir? Muslims
9 were being -- Muslim families were being thrown out, HVO soldiers were
10 moving in; correct?
11 A. Mr. Prosecutor, this is the first time I've seen this document.
12 I have to go through it. I see that General Pasalic sent a protest note.
13 Q. That wasn't my question, sir. That's what -- these evictions
14 were what was going on in June and July of 1993, and you were aware of
15 it, weren't you, sir?
16 A. I -- what I knew about this, I already told you. I maintain that
17 HVO units did not do so. Individuals did that, most probably civilians
18 wearing uniforms. Everybody was wearing uniforms in Mostar at the time.
19 They had no other clothes. I cannot tell you or know whether there were
20 any HVO soldiers among them.
21 Q. Let's look at Exhibit P 03179 in the first binder, P 03179. Sir,
22 this is an HVO military police report for the 3rd of July, 1993. I would
23 like to direct your attention, please, to the headings which are -- it
24 gives by zone, and if you can find the part of the report under zone
25 number 2. Then there are three numbered -- there are three names with
1 numbers, 1, 2, 3, and I will begin at the next paragraph after the third
3 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned
4 friend Scott. May I remind Their Honours that on several occasions, and
5 this has been accepted as an exhibit and we stick by our objection, that
6 this document does not bear the signature of the alleged author, nor the
7 stamp, and nor the letterhead which is usual for military police
8 communications. Thank you.
9 MR. SCOTT:
10 Q. From 2000 --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a second. Madam -- let me
12 reply to the lawyer. Counsel, okay, you challenged this report. Fine.
13 You see that this report is signed by somebody named [indiscernible].
14 Why not summon here -- here with other witnesses for him to say, "I've
15 never written this document"?
16 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we move
17 into private session or closed session, please, for a moment?
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, look, we'll deal with
19 this at some other point. We have very little time left.
20 Mr. Scott, please.
21 MR. SCOTT:
22 Q. Sir, it says:
23 "From 2000 to 2200 hours, eviction of refugees from the Pupils'
24 Hostel was carried out. They were taken to the left riverbank. There
25 were 310 persons. From 2230 to 2330 hours, the eviction from the
1 kindergarten in Liska Street was carried out and the persons were taken
2 to the left riverbank. There were 36 persons. Regular patrolling duty
3 was performed during the night."
4 Those were Muslims being evicted from the west bank to the east
5 side; correct?
6 A. No, I don't know of these events. Particularly, not -- I can't
7 believe that there was mass evictions of this sort. This is the first
8 time I've seen the document, and I don't know anything about the pupils'
9 dormitory. I can't recall this at all.
10 Q. Sir, we don't have time to go through every single document I
11 might put in front of you on this topic, but I do want it to be very
12 clear. Your position is, and what you're telling these Judges, under
13 oath, is that you were not aware of the mass eviction of Muslims from
14 West Mostar taking place from the 10th -- from 9th of May, through the
15 rest of May, into June, into July, and thereafter of 1993; you're telling
16 these Judges you didn't know that was going on?
17 A. I really do not have any information, neither do I recall any
18 mass expulsion. I remember and I said that there were individual cases,
19 repeated several times, but I don't know of any thought-out plan or
20 design about mass expulsions. That, I really do not know.
21 Q. Let's go to Exhibit P 10846, P 10846, second line. Sir, this is
22 a Agence France-Presse article from the 9th of June, 1993, concerning the
23 movement of Muslims in Mostar. It attributes this statement to you, in
24 quotation marks:
25 "'We (Croats) are doing their (the Serbs') job now,' Vegar said
1 with a smile."
2 What Serb job were the Croats doing in early June 1993?
3 A. It's a terrible lie. I must protest. I've never heard such a
4 terrible lie in this courtroom, that I allegedly said that we were doing
5 the Serbs' job. No, I never would say that, and I never did say that.
6 Q. The third paragraph:
7 "The Croats are now trying to convince the Muslims remaining on
8 the west side to leave, but foreign sources say the residents are so
9 intermingled that the operation is proving problematical."
10 Do you recall that?
11 A. No, I don't recall a single such sentence. I'm not sure whether
12 this is anybody's statement or whether this was just a conclusion of the
13 author, the journalist.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very quickly, sir, very
15 briefly. Now, if this journalist states that you smiled, it's probably
16 that he saw you. So did you meet with this journalist on the 9th of
17 June, 1993?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I cannot recall which
19 journalist I met on which day, but it's impossible that I've said that,
20 at any rate.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Scott.
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you'll allow me,
23 I'm sorry for this interruption, but even if we did say they -- let's see
24 how this is written. Those are obviously not the words of Mr. Vegar, if
25 we take a look at what is attributed. Why do we have "Croats" and
1 "Serbs" in brackets?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have the translation, so I
3 can't really tell you what it's all about.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Ms. Nozica, I'll give you
5 credit for what you're saying. It's quite surprising that a journalist,
6 who is supposed to faithfully give the words of a person, should put in
7 between brackets these words and interpret those words. I've never seen
8 that up until now.
9 Mr. Scott.
10 MR. SCOTT: Could I just inquire from the Registrar --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. SCOTT: My apologies. Could I inquire of the Registry,
13 please, as to the time-limits, because given what time I have left, I
14 mean, I've just -- I've pushed as fast as I could, but I think it's
15 unrealistic to think we'll be finished by 1.45. If the Registry can
16 assist me, please.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, the main issue is whether
18 Ms. Nozica has additional questions in redirect.
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will have five to
20 ten minutes, not more than that.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. So we won't have the
22 five to ten minutes.
23 Mr. Scott, theoretically you have 26 minutes left.
24 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Sir, I'd like to turn to the topic of convoys, and I'd like to
1 start, please, if I could direct your attention to P 10831 in this
2 second -- excuse me -- yes, the second binder, P 10831. Sir, this is a
3 Reuters article dated the 1st of March, 1993. The first lead-in sentence
5 "Bosnian Croat forces said on Monday they were enforcing a
6 blockade of supply convoys for their estranged Muslim allies, despite
7 Bosnian government reports that it had been lifted."
8 I'm going to skip a paragraph. This statement is attributed to
9 you, sir, so you're on notice:
10 "'We're stopping all Bosnia-Herzegovina army convoys with
11 military equipment and weapons and any kind of supplies headed for areas
12 where there is tension or outright fighting between the HVO and Muslims,'
13 HVO spokesman Veso Vegar told Reuters.
14 "Bosnian Army columns destined for regions where HVO and Muslim
15 forces were jointly battling the Serbs, such as in north-east Bosnia
16 around Tuzla
17 Now, the statement attributed to you, sir, is that an accurate
18 statement as what was happening in the 1st of March, 1993?
19 A. I cannot recall what was going on precisely on the 1st of March,
20 and I'm sorry about that, but I can tell you about the information about
21 the stopping of convoys. There were such cases, yes. Very often in
22 convoys containing humanitarian aid, weapons, munitions, military
23 equipment, were being transported, and of course somebody had to have
24 control over such convoys because very often -- well, so that we could
25 know who is carrying weapons for whom.
1 Q. Sir, again because of the shortness of time, I simply want to
2 know. Was it -- did you accurately state the HVO position at the time,
3 that BiH Army convoys with military equipment and weapons and any kind of
4 supplies headed for areas where there is tension or outright fighting
5 between the HVO and Muslims were being stopped? Is that an accurate
6 statement by you of the HVO's position during this time-period?
7 A. If those convoys were stopped then to be examined, that was the
8 HVO's position. Of course, the HVO did that, not me. I could just relay
9 information if such things were happening at the time.
10 Q. Now, if you could go, please, to 10832. Perhaps we'll have time
11 to finish one more document today. P 10832. Sir, this is a Reuters
12 article by -- excuse me, the 24th of August, 1993, again about a convoy,
13 but this is about a different situation. This concerns a humanitarian
14 convoy to Mostar. I'll give people a chance to scan down a bit.
15 Nineteen trucks -- about halfway through the article, sir, this statement
16 is attributed to you, or this position or information is attributed to
18 "Croat military spokesman Veso Vegar said the convoy would be
19 given safe conduct through Croat check-points into the Muslim quarter of
20 the divided city later on Tuesday or Wednesday."
21 Then it goes on to say:
22 "'Some of its cargo would be unloaded in Croat-controlled Central
23 Mostar as the price of passage,' he said.
24 "'The HVO (Bosnian-Croat forces) will let the convoy through
25 later today or tomorrow, despite the fact that 190.000 Croats are under
1 siege by Muslims in Central Bosnia,' Vegar told Reuters by telephone from
2 Mostar in South-West Bosnia
3 Now, did you make -- did you provide that sort of information?
4 I'm not going to say -- I'm not going to hold you, sir, to the exact
5 words stated here, but do you remember providing such information to
6 Reuters and other journalists around the 24th of August, 1993
7 A. If on that day a convoy planned for Mostar was -- Eastern Mostar
8 was scheduled, then I can confirm that I had given that information. And
9 the second statement, that part of the cargo would be unloaded as the
10 price of passage, I can tell you that I never heard of such a price for
11 humanitarian convoys, I never received information that parts of the
12 cargo for humanitarian convoy would be taken and the other part being let
13 through. I don't know anything about that, and no such information
14 reached me.
15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I think that will have to finish us for
16 the day, with the Court's permission.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you want to continue. You
18 still have 20 minutes. You want to continue tomorrow?
19 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
21 Witness, you shall have to return tomorrow. Ms. Nozica will
22 address questions in redirect tomorrow. Mr. Coric's counsel can say
23 tomorrow what she wanted to say today. She should remind me so that
24 I can give her the floor tomorrow.
25 It's quarter to. We have to stop because there's the Popovic
1 case sitting here after us. Have a good afternoon.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.
3 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 19th day of
4 February, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.