1 Thursday, 2 April 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Prlic and Coric not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 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
11 Prlic et al.
12 Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 Today is Thursday, 2nd of April, 2009. Good morning, first, to
15 the accused, to all the Defence counsel, and all OTP representatives, and
16 the people assisting us.
17 I know you have four IC numbers for us, Mr. Registrar.
18 THE REGISTRAR: That's correct, Your Honour.
19 The Prosecution has submitted its objections to the list of
20 documents tendered by 2D and 3D via witness Andjelko Makar. These lists
21 shall be given Exhibit numbers IC975 and 976 respectively. It has also
22 submitted its objections to 2D documents tendered via Witness
23 Mario Milos. This list shall be given Exhibit IC977, and 2D has
24 submitted its list of documents tendered via Witness Dragutin Cehulic.
25 This shall be given Exhibit IC978.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
2 We're going to have the witness brought in, please, Mr. Usher.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. Please
5 stand up for your solemn declaration.
6 Please state your surname, first name, and date of birth.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tomislav Kresic. The 26th of
8 August, 1950
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current
10 occupation, sir?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have a BA in Economics.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Are you currently working?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your occupation?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm the deputy manager or, rather,
16 an adviser to the manager at the Punta hotel in Neum.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Have you had an
18 opportunity to testify before a court of law regarding the events that
19 took place in the former Yugoslavia
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please read out the solemn
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
25 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: TOMISLAV KRESIC
2 [The witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir. Please be
5 Some introductory words. I suppose Ms. Nozica has told you that
6 already, but to be on the safe side I'll repeat it.
7 She'll first ask questions of you on topics that you probably
8 addressed with her during the proofing for this testimony. Ms. Nozica
9 will no doubt show you three documents that we have received and you have
10 received in the pink folder on your right-hand side.
11 I believe your screen is not working. If it doesn't work, then
12 look at the documents you have available to you. Oh, it's working. Very
13 good. But even had the screen not been working, we could have had your
15 Do endeavour to be concise in your answers. If you fail to
16 understand a question, do not hesitate to tell us, sir. Ms. Nozica is
17 going to ask you first a few questions. It may be that the other Defence
18 teams have questions for you as well. And Madam Prosecutor, on your
19 right-hand side, may also ask questions of you. The four Judges in front
20 of you might have questions based on the documents as well.
21 So this is what I wanted to convey to you so that your testimony
22 can take place as best as possible for you and in the interests of
24 You may proceed, Ms. Nozica.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning. Thank you,
1 Your Honour.
2 Examination by Ms. Nozica:
3 Q. Mr. Kresic, good afternoon -- good morning.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. First of all --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, one person at a time, no
7 overlaps. Thank you very much.
8 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You completed your secondary education and a degree in Economics
10 in Sarajevo
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In 1980, you were working in Sarajevo, and then the same year you
13 returned to Neum and you got a job in the Bregava enterprise?
14 A. That's right.
15 Q. You continued to work for this company until 1984?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. As manager?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. In 1984, you were appointed manager of the Sunce hotel in Neum?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And this hotel was part of an enterprise named Arpo?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Just to make this perfectly clear, it was a socially-owned
24 company in its entirety; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Rather, a state-owned company?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In 1988, you were appointed president of Neum Municipality
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you remained in that position --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please ask the witness not to
7 overlap and not to speak at the same time. Thank you. The interpreter
8 didn't hear the witness's answer. Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: Yes.
10 [Interpretation] Until 1990, the first multi-party elections,
11 democratic ones.
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
13 Q. In 1990, you returned --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, could counsel please explain
15 to the witness not to speak at the same time as counsel. The
16 interpreters can't hear both at the same time. Thank you.
17 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Can you please just make a pause between my question and your
19 answer. They're having some problems with the transcript.
20 Mr. Kresic, how long have you known Mr. Bruno Stojic for?
21 A. I've known Mr. Stojic since sometime late 1981 and 1982. There
22 was a need in the Bregava company for a commercial manager to be
23 appointed, and then Mr. Stojic responded to a public tender about that
24 position, since he had a BA in Economics. I interviewed him twice or
25 three times, and I gave him an idea of what the job was about and what we
1 expected the person doing that job to do. Mr. Stojic left a very
2 favourable impression on me and my colleagues. A proper procedure was
3 initiated, and then we appointed Mr. Bruno Stojic as assistant commercial
4 manager. He had acquired some degree of experience, while in his student
5 days, working in Dubrovnik
6 different commercial enterprises.
7 Q. How long did Mr. Stojic continue to work in that position as
8 commercial manager in the Bregava company?
9 A. I switched over to the Sunce Hotel in 1984, and Stojic remained
10 until 1986/1987, I think, stayed on as commercial manager in the Bregava
11 enterprise, and then he moved on to work with the public utilities
12 company in Neum.
13 Neum is a tourist hotspot, and we wanted to keep it as clean as
14 possible and as pretty as possible. Mr. Stojic was showing every sign of
15 a person who was exceptionally diligent and capable, so he was elected at
16 a Municipal Council meeting unanimously and appointed manager of the
17 public utilities company in Neum.
18 Q. Was Mr. Stojic volunteering in certain positions at the same
19 time, anything that had to do with the development of tourism throughout
20 the municipality?
21 A. Mr. Stojic was exceptionally active. In the public utilities
22 company, which obviously had to do with tourism as well, because they
23 made sure the water was clean and the town was pretty, everything to do
24 with the holiday season. And then he was appointed to the tourist board
25 of the Neum municipality, and I even think he became its secretary and
1 remained in that position for what I believe were two or three years, or
3 Q. Based on your recollection, how long did Mr. Stojic stay in that
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Slow down, please, Witness,
6 because it's difficult for interpreters to interpret you. Please slow
7 down. Thank you.
8 THE WITNESS: Okay.
9 [Interpretation] I think it was sometime in 1991 that Mr. Stojic
10 left for Sarajevo
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
12 Q. What job, what position?
13 A. Assistant minister of Internal Affairs, the police. I don't know
14 what it was called, officially, but I think that was the position.
15 Q. Do you know if any of Mr. Stojic's family remained behind in
17 A. Yes, Mr. Stojic's family remained in Neum throughout, his wife
18 and his two and then three children.
19 Q. Mr. Kresic, did you know exactly what duties Mr. Stojic performed
20 after he stopped working for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the
21 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 A. No, I don't know specifically about his positions after that, but
23 I think he was working in the defence sector. I'm not sure what it was
24 called at the time, but I think it was called the Defence Department.
25 Q. Based on your recollection, was that in the HZ-HB?
1 A. Yes. That was later on, the HZ-HB, when it was established.
2 Q. Do you know what Mr. Stojic did after the war?
3 A. As far as I know, after the war Mr. Stojic was pursuing some
4 private business. I think it had something to do with a bank, or
5 banking, generally speaking.
6 Q. Mr. Kresic, we're looking at this entire period of time from the
7 beginning of the war to when you claim he started pursuing some private
8 business. Throughout this period, how often would you see Mr. Stojic?
9 A. When he left for Sarajevo
10 Neum the occasional weekend, that sort of thing. We would have a cup of
11 coffee together, that sort of thing, on Saturdays and Sundays, because he
12 was being -- they were keeping him quite busy in Sarajevo, and also he
13 was busy with his family.
14 Q. Do you know if Mr. Stojic had a role to play in a sports club or
15 anything like that in this period after the war?
16 A. Yes. Mr. Stojic had a role to play in the Basketball Association
17 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was also one of the founding members, I think,
18 and honorary presidents of the Brotnjo Citluk Basketball Club. It was to
19 a large extent thanks to him that a sports hall was built in Citluk, the
20 Brotnjo basketball Club, and they only have him to thank for it; and the
21 players, of course, became champions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they even
22 took part in some European competitions.
23 Q. Mr. Kresic, were you friends with Mr. Bruno Stojic?
24 A. Yes, I was.
25 Q. Were you friends with him family, and I mean his next of kin?
1 A. When he came to Neum, there was a year of what I would term
2 purgatory, in the sense that he was being tested continually. Well, how
3 did he perform, what sort of a person was he? And then at one point, we
4 ended up in exactly the same wavelength, and we became exceptionally
5 close friends. Neum being an exceptionally small town, our family
6 socialised as well, and we were very much on visiting terms, frequent
8 Q. Do you know Bruno Stojic's family?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And can you tell the Chamber who Bruno Stojic's family are?
11 A. His wife and three children, to begin with. Two of the children
12 have now obtained their BAs. The youngest one, Balavina, is now in
13 secondary school. Furthermore, I know his parents very well; his father,
14 Mirko, and mother, Paulina. I also know his brothers and his sister, but
15 to a lesser extent.
16 I do have to take this opportunity to say that Mr. Stojic's
17 parents are exceptionally hardworking and honest people. They built
18 everything with their own hands and through their own work, and thanks to
19 the efforts of their father, Mirko, who came from the country-side; but
20 then 40 or 50 years ago, given what the circumstances were, he was
21 definitely showing signing of managerial acumen of the more rural type.
22 That's where it all started, and all his children, and his son, Bruno,
23 [Realtime transcript read in error, "Kruno"] in particular, I believe,
24 had this sort of managerial talent.
25 Q. If I may just observe line 21, instead of "Kruno," it should be
1 "Bruno" because that is what the witness said.
2 Mr. Kresic, you were close friends with Mr. Stojic. That is what
3 you have suggested. In your opinion, what sort of a son, father, or
4 spouse was Mr. Stojic?
5 A. I don't know about him as a spouse. Probably his wife would be
6 best placed to tell you about that. Based on what I could tell, he was a
7 very good husband and a very good father. I do have to throw in the
8 occasional joke every now and again because we all somehow seem very
9 serious here.
10 Q. That happens to be the procedure here in this courtroom,
11 Mr. Kresic, but thank you anyway.
12 A. Let me just add something about his parents.
13 Mr. Stojic had a BA and he was a manager, but he never hesitated
14 for a moment, when he was required over in the country-side, his father's
15 place, to help him prune the vines, and they had plenty of those, I can
16 tell you that; dig up the soil, freshen up the soil, cut the new vines
17 when the time came; and then eventually go there and pick the grapes
18 every autumn, take those grapes, turn it into wine and brandy, so that
19 every time he came back from the country-side, his arms and his back
20 would ache, which means that he enjoyed working there and he enjoyed
21 helping them; and obviously they, in their turn, enjoyed helping him
22 whenever they could.
23 Q. Mr. Kresic, do you know about the ethnic make-up of the employees
24 in the public utilities company and headed by Mr. Stojic?
25 A. I don't know what the ethnic make-up was in that company or any
1 other in Neum. This wasn't something that people kept track of, really.
2 One thing that I can say: Back in 1981, I was head of the Census
3 Committee, the Central Census Board for Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 a municipality, was made up 95 percent of Croats, 2 or 3 percent Serbs,
5 and 2 or 3 percent Muslims, and about 1 percent everyone else. As for
6 the ethnic make-up of employees in various companies around Neum, and
7 this was not something that people were really spending much time
8 thinking about, I would conduct a census and then obviously I would have
9 to go and ask; but we didn't really keep track of that sort of thing, but
10 I think all three groups were represented in Mr. Bruno Stojic's company.
11 Q. If my understanding is correct of your last answer, all three
12 ethnic groups were represented. What exactly do you mean when you say
14 A. In addition to the Croats who were there, Mr. Stojic kept some
15 Muslims and Serbs and Yugoslavs in his company, Yugoslavs being actually
16 the fourth group.
17 Q. You were municipality president for a while when Mr. Stojic was
18 manager of the public utilities company. Do you know anything about
19 Mr. Stojic's relationship with his employees, how he treated them, the
20 employees in that public utilities company?
21 A. Mr. Stojic was quite a severe manager. Nevertheless, his
22 employees held him in high esteem, and I can even say he was well liked.
23 He always found words of comfort or anything else that was required
24 whenever an employee needed assistance, privately or in the line of duty.
25 In addition to that, obviously it did no great harm that the salaries
1 were decent.
2 Q. Did you ever observe Mr. Stojic draw any sort of distinction
3 along ethnic lines among his employees, discriminating against anyone
4 based on their ethnicity, or anything like that at all?
5 A. Not only did he never do that, what's more he even favoured a
6 number of people. I know that for sure. The only group that was not
7 enjoying his favours was those who were shunning work. At the time,
8 nobody was counting blood cells exactly in terms of who belonged to which
9 ethnicity. It was more about how you performed and what sort of person
10 you were.
11 Q. You said he was a severe manager. Can you tell us if there was
12 any sort of referendum or an election held to appoint a manager among the
13 workers at the time in the public utilities company? Is there anything
14 that you can remember about that, in terms of Mr. Stojic being
15 re-elected, and how did the employees take a vote?
16 A. Rumours went 'round Neum to the effect that certain managers did
17 not deserve to have their term of office extended or that they were not
18 good enough, and this made Mr. Stojic have a referendum, voting in his
19 company. And I think he was voted in by as many as 96 percent of the
20 employees. They voted in his favour, and that put an end to all the
21 rumours going 'round Neum.
22 Q. What do you mean by saying that he was severe and strict as a
24 A. This means that instead of coming to work at 7.00 a.m., he would
25 tour Neum at 6.00 a.m.
1 would be at work at a quarter to 7.00 and watch when employees were
2 coming to work. If anyone was late, he would get a telling-off from him.
3 People couldn't leave work until working hours were over. And as this is
4 a special sort of activity, for example, a pipe would burst in the
5 plumbing or in the sewage, anyone who was in charge of that would have to
6 come in even in the afternoon to repair the damage.
7 Q. So he demanded discipline and hard work?
8 A. Precisely so.
9 Q. In his private life, did Mr. Stojic have friends of all
11 A. Well, in Neum, we were a multi-ethnic community, and many
12 visitors arrived of all ethnicities. Through our work, we had close ties
13 to Mostar, which was the regional centre, and to Sarajevo, which was the
14 republican centre.
15 I can say that some of Mr. Stojic's best friends were Muslims and
16 Serbs, and even Jews, although there were few Jews, and so that's why I
17 say "even Jews." I would like to support this by the fact that
18 Mr. Stojic's best friend was Mirza. I think his last name was Smajlovic.
19 He was the director of the Vodopriveda company, the waterworks company of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they had business associations as well, business
21 links; and also with Mr. Bozo Knezevic, who is a Serb, again through the
22 water utilities and waterworks affairs they were in charge of. He was
23 also on good terms with Mr. Papo [phoen], who was the director of the
24 roads of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because that also had to do with the
25 infrastructure and utilities; not to mention lower-ranking people from
1 Afan Sose [phoen] onwards, all of those who were working in those
2 services. So I can confirm that he respected those people, he held them
3 in high esteem, and they held him in high esteem. It was a mutual
5 Q. Mr. Kresic --
6 A. Excuse me. Let me just mention the following. He was also on
7 extremely good terms with the then mayor of Tuzla municipality,
8 Mr. Mirza Muratbegovic; and the director of the then salt factory in
11 Q. Mr. Kresic, do you know whether Mr. Bruno Stojic was politically
12 active when the multi-party elections started, so starting from 1991?
13 A. Mr. Stojic always showed more interest in the economy than
14 politics. Before the war, he wasn't very active, just a little bit in
15 passing; but during the war, I don't think he was very prominent in
16 politics. And after the war, I think there was an attempt, together with
17 Mr. Kresimir Zubak, to found a party called the New Croatian Initiative
18 as a sort of opposition party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but that was --
19 well, this was not very successful. And then Mr. Stojic, I think, worked
20 in a bank.
21 Q. When did Mr. Stojic become active together with Mr. Zubak in a
22 party called the New Croatian Initiative? What time-period was that?
23 A. I think late 1997 or early 1998. It doesn't matter, but that's
24 about the time-period.
25 Q. Mr. Kresic, can you tell Their Honours what you did during the
2 A. In 1990, after the elections, I returned to the Sunce Hotel or
3 the Sun Hotel as its manager, and I remained at that post until this
4 year, practically. In the meantime, war broke out, and in the hotel we
5 did work concerning logistics, putting up refugees and displaced persons,
6 students, the wounded, convalescents, and so on.
7 Q. When you say that you were a logisticians man, you said you were
8 working for refugees, convalescents and so on, did you have any contact
9 with the army and military units?
10 A. Yes, I was for a while, as a hotel-keeper, the main logistics
11 man, but that's as regards food, clothing, gas, water, batteries, things
12 like that.
13 Q. Was there an HVO unit based in Neum?
14 A. In Neum, I think it was first a company and then it was a
16 Q. What brigade did the battalion in Neum belong to?
17 A. I think it was the 1st Brigade, which was called the Knez Domagoj
18 Brigade. It was established subsequently. It wasn't there from the
20 Q. And where was the Knez Domagoj Brigade stationed?
21 A. I think it was around Capljina.
22 Q. You mentioned refugees, Witness. When did refugees begin
23 arriving in Neum, and where did they come from?
24 A. The first refugees to arrive in Neum arrived in August or
25 September 1991, I think it was 1991, and they came from Stolac. They
1 stayed for a short period of time and then went back there. After that,
2 when there was an attack on Ravno municipality, the entire area of Ravno
3 municipality and the Dubrovnik
4 from there arrived in Neum.
5 Q. When you say they came from Stolac, was it just refugees of Croat
6 ethnicity who arrived or were they people of all the ethnicities living
7 in Stolac?
8 A. Well, one should know that the area between Stolac and Neum is
9 inhabited mostly by Croats, so there were the most Croats among them, but
10 there were also Muslims and Serbs. I can give you specific examples.
11 In my hotel, for a certain period of time, Mr. Mahmutcehajic
12 resided. He was the father of the minister. I think his name was
13 Irfan Mahmutcehajic. He was a minister in the government of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so he stayed in our hotel.
15 Q. For how long did he stay in your hotel?
16 A. Well, at that time we didn't keep those records. People stayed
17 in the hotel for as long as they needed to, until someone -- some of
18 their relatives arrived and took them somewhere else.
19 Q. My question was whether they left voluntarily and whether they
20 were able to stay in Neum for as long as they wanted to.
21 A. They could stay for as long as they wanted to, but all those who
22 had relatives somewhere else went to stay with their relatives, they
23 moved on.
24 Q. And did the same happen with Croat refugees? Did some Croats
25 leave and others stay behind?
1 A. Yes, because the entire Croatian population of the Dubrovnik
2 Primorje area, after an intervention by the Dubrovnik authorities or
3 Metkovic municipality - I'm not sure who - went to other accommodation in
5 nowhere to go.
6 Q. You mentioned Mr. Mahmutcehajic, and you said that his son was a
7 minister in the Bosnia-Herzegovina government. Do you know that he had a
8 son who was the logistics man of the 4th Corps of the BH Army?
9 A. I heard about that, but I don't know that son of his personally.
10 Since I was not involved in those military units, I didn't meet him, but
11 I did know about that son of his. I think his name was Alija.
12 Q. Mr. Kresic, you also mentioned convalescents. Can you tell to
13 Their Honours who those persons were and how they were accommodated in
15 A. After a certain period of time, after the war had been going on
16 for a while, there were people who were sick, there were people who were
17 wounded, and of course the wounded went to hospitals, from Metkovic to
19 hospital treatment, they would be sent -- I don't know who sent them, who
20 referred them, but based on some referrals they would arrive in Neum,
21 escorted by their wife or someone else, to take a rest. They no longer
22 needed medical treatment, but they needed a rest. They needed to go to
23 the seaside for the climate. That's what happened.
24 Q. And were these people members of the HVO, the people you're
25 talking about now?
1 A. They were members of the HVO, yes, but I think that at the time
2 there were people of other ethnicities in the HVO, not just Croats.
3 Q. Can we take a look at a document, and then we'll come back to
4 this issue. The document is in your binder. It's 2D972. It's -- well,
5 this binder is not in consecutive order, but there are only three
6 documents in it, so it should be easy to find. Have you found it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. This is a decision signed by Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic, and the
9 date is the 27th of August, 1992. And it says that all wounded members
10 of the HVO can use a ten-day vacation at the Sunce Hotel in Neum based on
11 a suggestion by the command of municipal headquarters in their brigades,
12 and it says that this can begin from the 1st of September, 1992.
13 So, Mr. Kresic, when you spoke about members of the HVO of all
14 ethnicities, as you said, who stayed in the hotel in Neum for
15 rehabilitation or for a rest, as you say, is this a document which
16 confirms what you have just said?
17 A. Well, I hadn't seen this document before because it's not
18 addressed to me, but based on a decision made by somebody somewhere, we
19 received these convalescents with their escorts, with their companions,
20 and most of them stayed in the Sunce Hotel and some of them stayed in
21 another hotel.
22 Q. I would like to ask you again whether you knew that these were
23 people who were members of the HVO and that they were of all ethnicities.
24 A. Well, all I know for certain is at that time in the HVO, there
25 were members of all ethnicities, although later on there weren't many.
1 But in this period, there were quite a few. After the war, a good number
2 of Muslims remained on the, let's say, left bank.
3 Q. I'd now like to go back to the issue of the functioning of the
4 authorities in Neum. Can you explain to Their Honours how the local
5 government functioned, how it was focused, where it was concentrated?
6 A. Well, I have my opinion about this. I'm not familiar with the
7 details, but I think that authority was concentrated in the hands of the
8 mayors or the presidents of the municipalities, not just in Neum but in
9 every municipality, and their circle of close associates.
10 Q. Well, as regards Neum specifically, who was the president of the
12 A. The president of the municipality in Neum was Mr. Ivan Bender.
13 Q. As you say, you did some logistics work for the army. Do you
14 know how the army was financed in Neum municipality in 1992 and 1993?
15 A. Well, I do know something about this, although I'm not quite
16 sure, but in 1992 funds were paid to a municipal HVO bank account; and
17 these funds were used to finance the general needs, including the
18 salaries, the pay, of the members of the Neum company. Later on, when
19 the Croat community was established, I think that was the way pay was
20 handed out, and everything else.
21 Q. You say that some funds were paid. Who paid those funds?
22 A. The companies and enterprises in Neum. There was no pension
23 fund, no social security fund, so these funds were contributions from
24 people's salaries which were paid to that bank account, and this was used
25 to finance the expenses of the municipality.
1 Q. When you say "when the Croatian community was established," do
2 you mean the Croatian Republic
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you know what the staffing policy was in the unit which was in
5 Neum? Did they have regular contacts with the president of the
6 municipality, and what was the relationship between the municipal
7 authorities and the military authorities?
8 A. Initially, the organisation worked very well, but when the
9 fighting really started, everybody tried to avoid, as far as they could,
10 these contacts. And then a nucleus was formed, and from that nucleus of
11 HVO members and, of course, the people who were in the party, a
12 leadership was formed, the leadership of the company which later grew
13 into a battalion. Of course, they had meetings and consultations with
14 the head of the municipality or the president of the municipality.
15 Q. So the head of the municipality and the command of the company?
16 A. Yes, the command. Well, they had meetings, yes.
17 Q. Excuse me. Can you just wait for me to finish putting my
18 question before you reply.
19 If I understood you correctly, the president of the municipality
20 held regular meetings and consultations with the command of the company;
21 is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Bender, as you said, was the president of the municipality.
24 Do you think what other posts he held in Neum, what other duties he
25 performed? Was he the president of the HDZ in Neum?
1 A. At one period of time, yes, he was. He was in the HDZ Presidency
2 of Herceg-Bosna.
3 Q. Do you know that Mr. Bender was a member of the Presidency of the
4 HZ-HB as the president of the municipality?
5 A. Yes, he was.
6 Q. Mr. Kresic, did you have any conflicts with Mr. Bender because of
7 the fact that he held absolute power in Neum?
8 A. Yes, I would say that we had different opinions about the
9 problems in Neum and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, of course, I and some
10 other people who had perhaps a different opinion were sidelined, passed
11 by, attacked, to put it mildly.
12 Q. Were you arrested or brought in at some point?
13 A. Yes. In 1993, on the 12th of May, in the morning at around
14 8.00 a.m.
15 showed me a piece of paper, some sort of warrant. They waved it at me
16 from some distance and told me I was under arrest and should go with
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Ms. Nozica.
19 It was said that people entered the hotel with long barrels. I
20 wonder whether fire-weapon was long barrels was the meaning.
21 Witness, did you say that the people who entered the hotel had
22 guns with long barrels in contrary to short-barrelled pistols or
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw them as cannons. To me, they
25 appeared to be cannons, because when somebody turns up early in the
1 morning -- they had weapons. I can't describe the weapons precisely, but
2 they had weapons.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Kresic, apart from you, were others brought in on that day in
7 A. Five of us were: The director of the utilities company,
8 Mr. Rade Lasic; Mr. Nedeljko Babic, who was the director of the health
9 centre; Ante Konjevoda, who was the director of the Neum Hotel; and
10 Slavko Katic, the chief of the defence office --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Head of the defence office, interpreter's
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were pushed in a van and taken
14 to the barracks in Capljina, to a room there, where we were put on the
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Why were you taken away, and where?
18 A. Well, I already said we were taken to the barracks in Capljina.
19 And the reason we were taken there was so that individuals could
20 demonstrate their power and intimidate other people.
21 Q. When were you released?
22 A. We were released that night at around 1.00 a.m. or 12.30, after
24 supper, but we didn't feel like eating much. And then in the night, at
25 around 12.30 or 1.00 a.m.
1 commander or deputy commander of the barracks to release us, and he then
2 responded noisily. He cursed and swore and said he would not release us.
3 He did, in fact, release us, but while we were getting ready he went on
4 cursing, asking who had issued the order for us to be released and so on.
5 Q. When you say that this was done to demonstrate power and
6 intimidate other people, what other people are you referring to? Are you
7 referring to citizens of Neum or someone else?
8 A. Well, the citizens in general. We didn't obstruct anything, we
9 had nothing to do with anything, but somebody needed an alibi or a
10 reason, a scapegoat in fact. They wanted to find an excuse for their
11 failures. Instead of admitting their failures and their lack of success
12 in some activities, they blamed us for their failure in order to justify
13 themselves before the military or civilian authorities.
14 Q. While you were detained, did you have contact with persons who
15 were in charge of detention there? Did you have any conversations with
16 anyone? Were you told why you were there? Were you given any
17 information as to what was happening and why you were there?
18 A. We had no information indicating why we had been brought there.
19 After a couple of hours, we were told that we had been detained over
20 military issues, regardless of the fact that we had nothing to do with
21 any military issues. The gentleman who was the one talking to us, or
22 perhaps it's better to say yelling at us, this man named Boko, Bosko
23 Previsic, told us that we were not good men and that we were not good
24 Croats, summing that up as the reason we were there.
25 Q. During the interviews, did they do anything to place you in the
1 same context with Mr. Bruno Stojic?
2 A. When this man came to release us, I eventually realised that this
3 had something to do with Bruno Stojic because we hadn't been talking to
4 anyone at all during that day. Nevertheless, Mr. Boko was swearing and
5 cursing Mr. Stojic and Mr. Prlic, and a number of other persons, too,
6 that he had no regard for them, that they weren't proper authorities and
7 he would not release us. There was an altercation. The man came to get
8 us. He quarrelled with Boko and then we were released. He demeaned
9 Stojic in such a way verbally that I think this must have had something
10 to do with an issue that he had with Stojic, he or another person from
11 his own group.
12 Q. Did you ever find out who had issued the warrant for your
14 A. I don't know where the warrant came from, but it must have been
15 Mr. Stojic or someone working closely with him. Our wives had called
16 everyone they knew. They had tried talking to everyone they knew, but
17 I think Stojic was probably the key man for our release.
18 Q. Could you now please look at 2D515. Have you got it?
19 A. What was that number?
20 Q. 2D515.
21 A. Yes, I've got it.
22 Q. This is a report on how a group of citizens from Neum were
23 detained the 15th of May, 1993, drawn up by the Security Sector.
24 Mr. Kresic, can you perhaps remember whether anyone from the Security
25 Sector interviewed you at any point following your detention?
1 A. Yes. The next day after I had returned from detention, I made an
2 official request to the HB authorities for the matter to be looked into,
3 as to who had ordered our arrest and for what reason. Two or three days
4 later, Mr. Ivan Bandic arrived, and he was a member of the Security
5 Service. He interviewed me as well as Mr. Slavko Katic, who was the head
6 of the Defence Department in Neum.
7 Q. Was that the defence bureau or office?
8 A. Yes, I think that's what it was called at the time.
9 Q. Could you now please go to page 2 of that document, the report,
10 the one drawn up by Mr. Bandic. This is 2D0390076 in the English,
11 2D0390076. That's the English reference. Paragraph 3 from the bottom of
12 the page up. This is exactly what it says, what you say Boko Previsic
13 said: That a military policeman had called, a person who introduced
14 himself, to order their release. The person introduced himself as
15 Minister Stojic. He made that request, and then Previsic responded that
16 he refused to acknowledge a minister who allowed his soldiers to be
17 captured at Konjic.
18 Are these the allegations made by Boko Previsic while you were
19 there in detention?
20 A. This is only a record that was drawn up, and obviously a bit of a
21 milder spin or spit on Mr. Previsic's words, compared to the way they
22 were actually uttered.
23 Q. We only have a very short time left and two rather brief subjects
24 to go through. Therefore -- I do apologise. I think we'll have to go
25 back to this document. Page 2, please. Page 2, there's a reference
1 there to Mr. Ramljak who was also in that prison, the previous page says
2 talking to Jelko, the prison warden. We found out that the group had
3 been brought into prison at five minutes past 12.00.
4 In addition to that, Ramljak said that at about 1.00 on the 12th
5 of May, he was informed over the phone by his deputy, Boko, that the
6 prison had been attacked and that they were trying to use force to get
7 those detained on the previous day released. His deputy was in a panic
8 and obviously nervous. He tried to calm him down and see what the whole
9 thing was about.
10 Immediately after that, Ramljak phoned Dragan Curcic, or at least
11 that's how he introduced himself, as Ramljak says, who was swearing,
12 yelling, and making threats to the effect that those people should be
13 released, that he had received order from Boban to that effect, and so on
14 and so forth. Ramljak responded by saying that he had no power to have
15 anyone released because the detention order had been passed by the Knez
16 Domagoj Brigade and that the other man should now try and get in touch
17 with Obradovic. Mr. Ramljak says that he then proceeded to get in touch
18 with Mr. Obradovic, or at least made an attempt to do that, get in touch
19 with Obradovic and [indiscernible], but he was unable to locate them.
20 And the warrant for their release was produced by Milenko Manala [phoen],
21 Obradovic's deputy, after which those people were released.
22 Sir, can you remember, learning about this, that it was at the
23 request of Obradovic and the Knez Domagoj Brigade that you were arrested?
24 A. I may have heard something to that effect later on. People were
25 talking about this. But at the time, we knew nothing. We were brought
1 in and put out of sight.
2 Q. This document even claims that there had been an order by
3 Mr. Boban. Obviously, nevertheless, it was said at the time that not
4 even his order was sufficient for your release without Mr. Obradovic's
5 approval. Do you remember things like that being said at the time?
6 A. The main culprit for us being detained was the group of people
7 from Neum and Capljina. Was Obradovic involved or anyone else, I can
8 hardly say. I have no information on that. The fact remains Obradovic
9 had to know about this, and so did Markovic and Bender. They all knew.
10 As for the conversation between Ramljak and Boko Previsic,
11 I think Ramljak said Boko sounded somewhat timid on the phone when he was
12 talking to him, but that was Boko's normal tone of voice, that's what he
13 usually sounded like. Boko was very much minded to keep us there, but he
14 had to give in eventually. The man came with someone's warrant,
15 following which we were released, and in all this din and noise he
16 eventually released us.
17 Q. Let's try and wrap this up, Mr. Kresic. What is your final
18 opinion on this? Were you detained because you were actively opposing
19 Mr. Bender and the people surrounding him? Briefly, please. I do have
20 other questions to ask you.
21 A. In my opinion, I was detained simply because my opinion was
22 different from theirs. And I would say my opinion was normal, unlike
24 Q. Was there any ban on entering Neum at the time? Was anything
25 like that in force, barricades or anything like that?
1 A. Yes. I was very outset of the fighting in the surrounding areas,
2 obstacles were placed in the way into Neum, and these obstacles or
3 check-points were manned. At first, they weren't wearing uniforms. Then
4 they sort of wore semi-uniforms, and then uniforms. And they were
5 checking everyone on their way into Neum.
6 Q. Were they issuing permits and were they in charge of determining
7 how long a person would be allowed to stay in Neum?
8 A. I think they were there to both allow and refuse entry, and also
9 to determine how long a person would be allowed to stay in.
10 Q. Were those persons members of the army or perhaps of the Neum
11 Company, the one we talked about?
12 A. Those were people from Neum who were there to perform checks. It
13 was some sort of a unit, military or something, and they were part of the
14 general Neum security.
15 Q. What time was that?
16 A. 1992 and early 1993.
17 Q. Did an incident occur at the time, perhaps, in relation to
18 Bruno Stojic's family, and they were still living in Neum, as you said,
19 something to do with visiting and this permit being issued? Do you
20 remember anything like that?
21 A. I think the most --
22 MS. WEST: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours, everyone in
23 and around the courtroom.
24 I understand that Ms. Nozica is now going to get into an incident
25 with regarding the Stojic family. We have no notice of this in summary.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, you don't have any
2 time left, so the time you're using now has to be taken out of the time
3 remaining for you.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. This is part
5 Mr. Kresic's general knowledge concerning Bruno Stojic's family. I have
6 a very short question in relation to the last document and that's all
7 that remains, so may I be allowed to use this time in order to then go on
8 and complete?
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please ask your question now.
10 Thank you.
11 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Could you answer, please, Mr. Kresic? Did you know anything
13 about that?
14 A. There was this one situation that remains etched in my memory.
15 When his wife gave birth to a baby, his sister and his son-in-law and
16 were allowed in, but it took a full two hours of to and fro, a bit of a
17 tug-of-war, and then they were eventually allowed to go and visit Bruno's
18 wife. But they had overstayed the two hours they were allowed to stay
19 there, and then the military police came and got them out of the Metkovic
20 area. It was a mixture of tragedy and comedy, one might say.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Eventually, 2D975, that's the last document
22 that we'll be looking at.
23 Mr. Kresic, do you know this man, Pero Kralj from Gradac?
24 A. Yes, this is Mr. Kralj from Gradac in the Neum area. I know him
1 Q. Do you know that before the war, he was working with the Atlantic
2 Overseas Ship company before the war in Dubrovnik in Croatia
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Did you know whether he at one point lost his job or, rather, he
5 received a decision terminating his contract with that company, which
6 occurred sometime in late 1992?
7 A. Mr. Kralj lost his job. He was drinking coffee with me at the
8 Sunce Hotel because that's where his wife was working at the time. He
9 came there to drink coffee with me, and as soon as he came, he told me
10 that he had lost his job.
11 Q. If we look at the first document, the first page, we see that
12 Mr. Kralj was informed by his company that under the employment law, he
13 was not a national, he was a foreign citizen, and that he could only get
14 another employment contract if he was permanently resident in the
15 Republic of Croatia
16 decision says that failed to meet those conditions, for which reason his
17 contract was terminated. And then there's a decision, and the decision
18 is to be found on page 2 of this document.
19 First of all, was Pero Kralj an ethnic Croat?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. All right. If we look at this document, we can see that there
22 were regulations in Croatia
23 nationals would only be allowed to be gainfully employed if they met a
24 set of very particular conditions. Mr. Kresic, you were the manager of
25 the Sunce company. I'm only asking you because this goes back to the
1 beginning of the war. Were you bound in any way under the law in
2 relation to persons who failed to show up for work, who did not report to
3 work? Were you supposed to fire them?
4 A. Our law says that if a person fails to show up for work for
5 between five to seven days without any proper justification, their
6 contract should be terminated. That is the sort of regulation that was
7 applied in Bosnia-Herzegovina and I think the same was true throughout
9 Q. What about you -- at very outset of the war, there were people
10 who were no longer coming to work. Did you at any point in time, under
11 the provisions of this law, fire anyone?
12 A. All those who failed to appear for between 10 and 15 days were
13 eventually fired, be they Croats, Serbs, or Muslims. I have examples of
14 all of these, but I was not alone in making these decisions because
15 everyone else did the same thing in situations like these.
16 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kresic, thank you, this
17 concludes my examination.
18 Your Honours, I'm now done.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before the break, I
20 have two brief questions for you.
21 I understood that you were the president of the Neum Municipality
22 and in 1990, and if I understand properly, you were then a member of the
23 Communist Party so that you became the president of the municipality.
24 Therefore, you were bound to know a lot of people, including Mr. Stojic
25 and his family. How do you account for the fact that Mr. Stojic, who had
1 obvious commercial skills because he was recruited to work in the hotel,
2 how do you account for the fact that a few years later he became head of
3 the Defence Department and later minister for Defence? Do you have any
4 information accounting for this unusual career, somebody working in a
5 hotel who finds himself later on a minister for Defence? This must be a
6 rare occurrence in the world. Do you have an explanation for it?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, I was not a member of
8 the Communist Party. I was a member of the League of Communists.
9 There's a difference there. It wasn't because of that that I was
10 appointed municipal president. It was because of my knowledge, because
11 of my ability, and I was appointed by the delegates of the then Municipal
12 Council. Being a member of the League of Communists was not really key
13 for becoming a manager or a municipal president. There were some people
14 who occupied those posts who actually weren't members.
15 As for Mr. Stojic, he was an exceptionally capable organiser.
16 Now, this was a new, big challenge facing him, going to Sarajevo; but he
17 had previously been manager of a public utilities company, not of a
18 hotel, and now he suddenly became minister, the Interior minister, no
19 less. This is quite a spectacular promotion and quite a spectacular
20 challenge as well.
21 When he left for Sarajevo
22 Muslims were hoisting their flags together and were still keeping
23 together. I think that was seen by Mr. Stojic as an enormous challenge.
24 He wanted something more, and Neum was no longer large enough to satisfy
25 his ambition.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Second question: It is
2 connected to the obscure reasons why you were arrested and detained for
3 some time, later to be released. I did try to understand, but it seemed
4 rather complicated, and I really don't have an answer. I have a lot of
6 One of the theories that I have that I'd like to put to you, in
7 order to try to understand, is this: It appears that you were quite
8 close to Mr. Stojic back then. Mr. Stojic was part of the HVO apparatus,
9 because we know that he was the head of the Defence Department and then
10 Defence minister. We also know that the Neum municipality was then
11 headed by Ivan Bender and that this municipality could play a part at the
12 level of the Presidency of the Croat Community.
13 When you were arrested, could that not be explained by some kind
14 of rivalry within the HVO apparatus and all these municipality leaders
15 who would like to gain power? Were you perhaps the victim of some kind
16 of a conflict, which might account for the fact that you were arrested,
17 or do you have perhaps another explanation that might shed some light on
18 the issue ?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as I've pointed out
20 already, I believe that we were detained for one reason alone. They were
21 trying to find an excuse for their own failures. They were trying to
22 intimidate people. They reckoned if they were able to simply arrest four
23 or five of the leading people in Neum and get away with it, and after
24 all, these people were in leading positions, what then could an ordinary
25 man expect? There was no need to prove anything else, because their
1 power by now was absolute.
2 At the time, Mr. Stojic most certainly had nothing to do with any
3 military bodies, regardless of the fact that he was a minister.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say that you were arrested
5 because someone wanted to, as it were, mask their failures. As for
6 Mr. Ivan Bender's failure, what was the duty?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not just Ivan Bender. There were
8 other people involved in this, in both civilian and military bodies.
9 They probably had some plans. I didn't know their plans. I wasn't privy
10 to their plans because I wasn't a member of their circle. Nevertheless,
11 they were up to something, and they failed. Was it about setting up
12 civilian authorities, military authorities? Whatever, but they needed a
13 scapegoat, and they found us. They were suddenly faced with a great
14 amount of resistance from many, many people in Neum, and they realised
15 that their plan had no future.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
17 Before the break, does the 3D team have questions, Mr. Kovacic?
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 No questions for this witness.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 4D?
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] We will have a number of questions
22 for this witness, Your Honour. A total of four minutes, I think, would
23 do. I can start right away, if you'd like me to.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: Very well. Go ahead.
25 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kresic, I'm Vesna Alaburic, an attorney at
2 law from Zagreb
3 General Milivoj Petkovic, a number of additional clarifications in
4 relation to issues regarding your arrest.
5 If I understood correctly what you said, you were arrested, or at
6 least that's what you were told, based on an order from the commander of
7 the 1st HVO Brigade, Mr. Nedeljko Obradovic; right?
8 A. Yes, that's what I was told, but I never saw the actual order.
9 Q. Mr. Kresic, at the time of your arrest, you were a civilian or a
10 military person?
11 A. I was a civilian.
12 Q. Mr. Kresic, according to the regulations that were being applied
13 throughout Herceg-Bosna, what about the commanders of brigades or any
14 other HVO units; were they allowed to issue arrest warrants in relation
15 to civilians?
16 A. I don't know. We were civilians, despite which we were arrested.
17 On whose orders, I don't know. There doesn't seem to be any paper trail
18 that I'm aware of. That is why I asked to submit a report to someone
19 from the Security Service. That was -- when Mr. Ivan Bandic came over,
20 he listened to our story, and he drew up an account -- a record of it,
21 rather, which I then received two months later.
22 Q. You say "which I then received two months later." You received
23 it two months later; right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Based on this, I assume, and this is new to me, that you were the
1 one who had initiated this interview with the people from the SIS; right?
2 A. Yes, because I wanted to have some sort of paper trail, if you
3 like, documents to show for this, so that I myself knew what it was
4 exactly and why we had been detained.
5 Q. Mr. Kresic, as far as you know, following this incident was the
6 commander of the HVO's 1st Brigade dismissed, or perhaps his SIS
7 assistant, Zara Pavlovic, whose name is also mentioned in this document,
8 or indeed was anyone else fired from the Knez Domagoj HVO 1st Brigade?
9 A. I was not a military man myself, nor indeed did I know about any
10 dismissals, or removals, or replacements. I don't think anything
11 actually happened. I think they just decided to gloss over it and go
12 ahead with their job.
13 Q. Based on your information, was someone perhaps initiating
14 anyone -- again, my question: Mr. Kresic, based on your information, was
15 there any sort of procedure that was initiated for anyone's removal and
16 then for some reason this came to nothing? Did you know anything about
17 anything like that going on?
18 A. I don't know. I simply wasn't involved in the work of those
19 bodies, particularly military ones. I don't think anyone was eventually
20 replaced, and I don't think anybody was called to account for this.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 5D?
22 MR. PLAVEC: [Interpretation] No questions, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 6D?
24 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Your Honour.
25 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] The Prlic Defence will have two
1 issues to raise with this witness about subjects that were brought up
2 during the chief, ten minutes maximum.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will have the break now,
4 since it is 10.30.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have the floor, Counsel.
8 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Good morning to everybody in and around the courtroom.
10 Good morning, Mr. Kresic. I'm co-counsel for Mr. Jadranko Prlic,
11 and I will put a few brief questions to you in connection with your
12 testimony during the examination-in-chief.
13 Cross-examination by Ms. Tomanovic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] First of all, you said that for many years you
15 were and still are the manager of the Sunce Hotel, which was part of the
16 Apro Corporation Holding Company; is this correct?
17 A. Yes. Yes, that's correct.
18 Q. For the sake of interpretation, please count to five before you
19 respond to my question.
20 We'll look at some documents right away. Please take the blue
21 binder have you before you, and the first document you will find there is
22 1D03136. That is the longer document you see here. It is a prospectus
23 containing a description of the activities of Apro Holding. Do you
24 recognise the prospectus?
25 A. First of all, I have to say that I participated in writing this
1 prospectus, so I am very familiar with it.
2 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just for the information of the
3 Their Honours and the Prosecutor's office, I have the original of the
4 prospectus here, if anyone would like to see it.
5 Q. Let's now look at the page most interesting for us at this
6 moment. In the bottom right-hand corner, you have numbers starting with
7 "1D," and find page 1D580204. That's towards the end of the booklet.
8 A. 58?
9 Q. 0204.
10 A. Yes, I found it.
11 Q. This book is in German and English. There is no Croatian
12 translation, but I don't think that will be a problem. In addition to
13 your company and your hotel, on this page we can see that Apro Holding
14 also encompassed about 36 companies, 111 basic organisations, that it had
15 14.500 employees, and that about 6.000 farmers participated or, rather,
16 were part of Apro Holding. This is information from 1983. Can we agree,
17 then, that when the war broke out in 1991, this company was even bigger,
18 far bigger than depicted in this prospectus?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you give us your estimate as to how many employees were then
21 employed in Apro Holding?
22 A. We in Apro Holding had between 15.000 and 16.000 employees around
24 Q. When you look through this prospectus, can we agree that
25 Apro Holding also encompassed various types of companies; research
1 institutes, service companies, manufacturing companies, and trading
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can we also agree also that the largest number of employees were
5 actually employed in the manufacturing companies?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right. Let's look at the next document. It's already in
8 evidence. That's 1D02390, and it's information on the situation in the
9 Apro Corporation Mostar Holding Company, submitted to the HVO of
10 Mostar Municipality
11 This is information was delivered by the then general director,
12 Dr. Jadranko Prlic. Please take a look at page 4 in your version, and
13 for the Judges it's page 2. I'm interested in the paragraph that begins
14 with the word "Ukratko," in your version, and for the Judges, "Shortly."
15 It's the last item in paragraph 2, and I will read it to you.
16 Dr. Jadranko Prlic says:
17 "In short, due to the war, almost all manufacturing activity has
18 ceased, and the greatest damage is expected in perennial crops, (almost
19 3.500 hectares of vineyards and orchards). Detailed information on the
20 damage will be obtained only after we have surveyed the situation, which
21 is at present impossible, for understandable reasons."
22 As you were there, you will agree that Dr. Jadranko Prlic, as the
23 general director of Apro Holding, delivered to the HVO of
24 Mostar Municipality
25 A. Yes, yes, the information is correct.
1 Q. In view of the fact that most employees were employed in
2 manufacturing companies, we may assume that these employees, in fact,
3 lost their jobs or could no longer work for the simple reason that there
4 was no work?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In our Law on Labour Relations, the one that was in force before
7 the war, when such a situation arose there was a legal provision stating
8 that such workers would be put on standby; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So we may conclude that the vast majority of employees were, in
11 fact, on standby; they hadn't, in fact, lost their jobs?
12 A. Well, I would put it differently. The vast majority of the
13 workers were left without work because the areas in which they worked
14 were devastated. Factories were destroyed, burnt down, they were
15 inaccessible, and some of the employees were mobilised.
16 Q. In the document I showed you previously, in this Apro Holding
17 prospectus, we saw information on the number of employees in 1983, but
18 nowhere in that prospectus can we find information as to the percentage
19 of Muslims, the percentage of Croats, or the percentage of Serbs. Were
20 records of this kept in Apro at all?
21 A. We in Apro were only concerned with employing people who were
22 professional and who wanted to work. There was also a social welfare
23 element. In certain backward areas, work-places were opened up so that
24 people would remain there; for example, in Duvno, Tomislavgrad,
25 Nevesinje, Popovo Polje, and so on. But nobody cared about the ethnic
1 make-up of the employees in any company, nor were any records of this
2 kept at all.
3 Q. So based on everything we have said, we may conclude that the
4 policy of Apro Holding in 1992 was not to fire all Muslim employees, but
5 rather that the wartime situation brought the economy into such a state
6 that people lost their jobs?
7 A. The idea that somebody wanted to fire employees of another
8 ethnicity is not correct. A large proportion of Serbs and Muslims
9 remained in what we can conditionally refer to as Croatian areas. I can
10 give you quite a few examples of this. And in Neum, there were Serbs and
11 Muslims who remained. The only ones who left were those who left of
12 their own accord, of their free will. And regardless whether they were
13 Serbs, Croats, or Muslims, if they didn't show up for work for five to
14 seven days, they were fired, in compliance with the law.
15 Q. Very well. We'll now move on to another topic, and this topic
16 concerns the functioning of the local government in Neum.
17 In addition to being the managing director of Apro Holding at
18 that time, and your managing director, Dr. Prlic was also a professor at
19 Mostar University
20 A. Yes, he was, the university based in Neum.
21 Q. We heard testimony here that Mostar University was relocated to
22 Neum in late 1992 because, for security reasons, it was impossible to
23 organise classes in Mostar. You know that Dr. Prlic continued lecturing
24 at Mostar University
25 A. Yes, yes, I do.
1 Q. And do you know that he travelled to Neum regularly in order to
2 give those lecture?
3 A. Yes, I saw him many times.
4 Q. Did Dr. Prlic ever complain to you that when he arrived in Neum,
5 the people -- the local people would allow him to stay in Neum for only
6 two hours, and after two hours he would have to go back?
7 A. Well, those are those ridiculous situations when a professor
8 arrives at a check-point and some guard tells him he can't pass through
9 or that he can only stay for two hours, and then he has to go back. This
10 means that at that time, Dr. Prlic found it more difficult to enter Neum
11 than other professors did.
12 Q. You know that at the time, Dr. Prlic was not just a professor; he
13 was also the president of the interim executive authorities, the interim
14 executive board of the HVO. Did that change the situation at all?
15 A. At that time, Prlic was not an important person in politics. His
16 importance was very small in Herceg-Bosna, and it was nonexistent in
17 Neum. He was seen as a man who was supposed to organise civilian life,
18 civilian authorities, and linking up with the areas controlled by the HVO
19 because that was where he had experience.
20 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Kresic.
21 I have no further questions for this witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West.
23 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President. I just need a moment.
24 Cross-examination by Ms. West:
25 Q. Good morning, sir. My name is Kim West. I'm with the Office of
1 the Prosecution, and I'm just going to ask some follow-up questions.
2 May we have P100608. It's a map, P10608.
3 You have a binder next to you, the black -- the actual binder,
4 and we're going to refer to a number of documents in there. Can you turn
5 to P10068. This is a map.
6 A. P006?
7 Q. P10068; and it's map 39. There you go.
8 Sir, in front of you, you have a map of the entire BiH, and just
9 so we have an idea of where Neum is located, can you just point out on
10 the board -- you have in front of you a pen that you can use to mark on
11 the board, and if I can have the usher's assistance, you can just circle
12 where Neum is located.
13 A. This is Neum here [marks].
14 Q. So right next to the red dot that you put on the screen; correct?
15 And can we have an IC number for that, please.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
18 The map just marked by the witness shall be given
19 Exhibit IC00979. Thank you, Your Honours.
20 MS. WEST:
21 Q. Mr. Kresic, you had indicated in your direct testimony that in
22 1981, you were the head of the Census Committee. Would you agree with me
23 that by 1991, the next census ten years later, there was an absolute
24 majority of Croats living in Neum?
25 A. I said in 1981.
1 Q. And my question is: Would you agree with me that by 1991, ten
2 years later, there was still an absolute majority of Croats living in
4 A. The ethnic make-up of the population in 1981 and 1991 was almost
6 Q. If we can go to P10912. This is another map, P10912. P10912.
7 I'm sure you can see on the screen in front of you now.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. There you go, and it's the colour version in front of you. This
10 is information on Neum from the actual 1991 census. And in 1991, do you
11 agree with me that the total population of Neum municipality was 4.325 or
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And of that number, the number of Croats was 3.792, the number of
15 Serbs was 207, and the number of Muslims is 190, the number of Yugoslavs
16 was 90, and the number of others and unidentified was 46. Does that
17 appear accurate to you?
18 A. Yes. Yes, this information is accurate.
19 Q. So in your testimony today, you actually indicated that in Neum,
20 you were a multi-ethnic community. Would you agree with me that although
21 there were at least four ethnicities in Neum, the primary ethnicity was
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Mr. Kresic, from late 1992 to early 1994, was there any actual
25 fighting going on in the municipality of Neum
1 ABiH, actual conflicts, battles going on?
2 A. The conflicts between the BH Army and the HVO did not occur on
3 the territory of Neum
4 the Serbian Army, the Army of the SAO Krajina or whatever it was called,
5 the Serbs, and our HVO, but there was no conflict with the Muslims in
7 Q. And would you also agree that the ABiH didn't even have a
8 presence in Neum during that period of time?
9 A. I wouldn't fully agree with that. Some members of the Army
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina were present in Neum. They had training there and
12 Q. Fair enough. So they were training there, but they weren't
13 involved in any conflicts with either the Serbs or the HVO?
14 A. No, that he weren't.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, you had --
16 A. On the territory of Neum
17 Q. Thank you. You described in your direct testimony sort of the
18 government of Neum, and you indicated that Ivan Bender was in charge in
19 Neum. Do you remember that testimony?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And you agree with me that Ivan Bender was a founding member of
22 the HZ-HB?
23 A. He was one of the founders, yes.
24 Q. And you would also agree that had the HVO been dissatisfied with
25 his performance in Neum, they could have dismissed him?
1 A. You mean remove Bender?
2 Q. Correct.
3 A. It wasn't easy to remove him. He was the authority there. He
4 would hardly remove himself. Every municipality was an authority in
5 itself, and the representatives of the municipalities made up a broader
6 organisation. It wasn't easy to replace one. Bender never wanted to
7 replace himself.
8 Q. But the HVO municipalities -- or the government that Bender was
9 in charge of in Neum was under the auspices of the HVO, was it not?
10 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment. I wish to ask my
11 learned friend to be very precise when she says under whose authority she
12 thinks the municipalities were.
13 [In English] "Under the auspices of the HVO." What HVO, who?
14 MS. WEST:
15 Q. Mr. Witness, let's look at P00303, and this may help us along.
16 P00303. You actually have it in front of you on the screen as well, and
17 if we could go to Articles 13, 14 and 15, second page of the English,
18 second page of the B/C/S. There you go. I'm going to review these, and
19 then we can talk about this.
20 This is the 3rd of July, 1992, a statutory decision on the
21 temporary organisation of executive authority and administration in the
22 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. If we look at
23 Article 13, it says:
24 "The HVO has the right and duty to annul a regulation passed by a
25 department or other administrative body which is detrimental to the
1 general interest or which contravenes established policy or positive
3 Article 14:
4 "The HVO shall supervise the work of its departments and
5 municipality HVOs. The HVO may use its supervisory power to annul or
6 abolish individual legal acts passed by the bodies referred to in the
7 foregoing paragraph."
8 And Article 15:
9 "If a municipal HVO has passed a decision or performed an act
10 violating the basic league provisions of the HZ-HB, the HVO has the right
11 and the duty to dissolve the said municipal HVO.
12 "The mandate of all HVO members shall cease on the day the
13 decision to dissolve the said municipal HVO is issued.
14 "The HVO shall propose members for a new municipal HVO within
15 eight days of having dissolved the old one."
16 Mr. Kresic, my question to you is: Isn't it true that
17 Ivan Bender was the head of the municipal HVO in Neum?
18 A. He was at the head of the municipal HVO in Neum, yes.
19 Q. In regard to these articles that I have just read out, were you
20 aware that the HVO had made these decisions?
21 A. No. This is the first time I've seen this. As I said, I did not
22 participate in such things, and I never even read this. I wasn't focused
23 on that. It's the first time I've seen it, and I know nothing about it.
24 Q. So even though this is the first time you've actually seen this
25 regulation, did you see -- putting aside you've not seen it, did you see
1 any execution of these types of powers going on in Neum?
2 A. How could I have seen that? I saw what I saw in everyday life,
3 in normal communication. This is the first time I've seen or heard about
4 this. There may have been some things in writing that I don't know
6 Q. Were you aware whether Ivan Bender had -- any of the decisions he
7 made were ever nullified in Neum?
8 A. I don't know that. I doubt that anything like that ever
9 happened. There may have been some conflicts of opinion at those
10 meetings, but for someone to alter a decision of Bender's, I'm not aware
11 of that.
12 Q. Mr. Kresic, you testified at page 18, that the authority in Neum,
13 and you said the authority was concentrated in the president of a
14 municipality, not just in Neum, but in other municipalities. So you had
15 some sense as to what sort of power the local HVO government held; true?
16 A. Well, I saw that in my day-to-day living. I wasn't involved, but
17 it was the sort of thing that you could see. Neum is a small town.
18 Everything that went on went on through the municipal authorities.
19 Q. And would you agree with me that it would appear quite
20 reasonable, in fact, that none of these things that I read out,
21 Article 13, 14 and 15, appear to happen in Neum because it was quite
22 different than the other municipalities in Herceg-Bosna?
23 A. I don't think I can speak to that. I simply don't know. There
24 are things that I don't know, so I would not commit. I simply don't
1 Q. All right. But nonetheless, you would agree that Neum was
2 different than other municipalities because, number one, it had and
3 overwhelming Croat absolute majority; and, number two, there was no
4 conflict actually going on in the Neum area between the HVO and the ABiH?
5 A. Neum itself is peculiar because of its geographical position.
6 Neum's history is also quite peculiar. Another thing that is peculiar
7 about Neum is the ethnic make-up.
8 Q. Let me go to P07876, P07876. You'll see it in front of you in a
9 moment. This is a February 16th, 1994 decision signed by Mate Boban, and
10 it's a decision on the nomination of the members of the President Council
11 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
12 members will be, and it says, "The members of the Presidential Council
13 should be --"
14 THE INTERPRETER: Please read slowly, Counsel.
15 MS. WEST: Thank you.
16 Q. Kresimir Zubak, chairman, then number two is Ivan Bender as a
18 My question, Mr. Kresic, is that: Would you agree with me that
19 at least by February of 1994, this document would show that the HVO was
20 not displeased with Ivan Bender's service in Neum because they appointed
21 him to a particular council?
22 MS. TOMANOVIC: Microphone, please.
23 [Interpretation] Again, could my learned friend please
24 distinguish between president of the Presidency of the Croatian Republic
25 of Herceg-Bosna, the Presidency of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,
1 and the executive organ of the Government of the Croatian Republic
2 Herceg-Bosna because at this point in time the HVO is no more than a
3 military wing. We are talking about a time when the Croatian Republic
4 Herceg-Bosna was in existence.
5 MS. WEST:
6 Q. Sir, can you answer the question?
7 A. I cannot say anything about thi, because I know nothing about it.
8 I know nothing about this document. I don't know who the members were.
9 The HDZ, the organisation appointed certain council members, and I know
10 nothing about that. I don't know what to say. Were they pleased, were
11 they not pleased, to what extent, I don't know. I can say nothing about
13 Q. If we can go to P01831, P01831. This is an April 8th, 1993
14 proposal. It's signed by Bruno Stojic, and it's -- the subject is:
15 "Proposal for the revocation of the decision on mobilising material and
16 technical equipment in Mostar," and I'm going to go to the second-to-last
17 paragraph, just the ver end, and we can talk about that, where it writes
19 "We maintain that the municipal HVO is not authorised to
20 prescribe a mobilisation procedure different from the one prescribed by
21 the competent body. We are also of the opinion it is not necessary to
22 pass regulation on defence issues --"
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel slow down, please.
25 MS. WEST: Thank you:
1 "We are also of the opinion that it is not necessary to pass
2 regulations on defence issues that have been regulated by the Decree on
3 the Armed Forces."
4 Q. Mr. Kresic, this is an example of the HVO nullifying a municipal
5 regulation, and my question for you regards again your commentary or your
6 testimony today that the authority was concentrated in the presidents of
7 the municipality in Neum. Would you agree with me that this example that
8 I'm showing you, although it's in Mostar, would suggest that, in fact,
9 the real authority came from the HVO in Mostar, over the municipalities,
10 and it was not in the local municipalities themselves?
11 A. The authority probably did come from Mostar later on, but the
12 municipalities held on to their own power for a while, probably. It took
13 some time for a decision to become operational. That is my opinion,
14 really. This document, I know nothing about it. All these are military
16 Q. All right. So this document you indicate is a military document,
17 signed by Bruno Stojic, so would you agree with me that Mr. Stojic had
18 some authority over military matters?
19 A. I cannot disagree. Certain authority, yes, I would agree to
20 that, but I don't know what kind of authority exactly. This is simply
21 not something I ever discussed with Mr. Stojic or, for that matter,
22 anyone else.
23 Q. May we go to P01716, P01716. This is a February 1993 document.
24 It's signed by Mr. Prlic. It's an invitation to a meeting, and it's to
25 the presidents of the HVO, and lists a number of municipalities, Neum
1 being one. And in it, he writes there's going to be a working meeting of
2 the Croatian Defence Council of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, the
3 participation of presidents of H -- of municipal HVO's on the 26th of
4 February, and it goes on. It says the subject of the meeting is a
5 military security situation on the territory of the Croatian Community of
7 "In light of the importance of this working session, we expect
8 your mandatory presence."
9 Mr. Kresic, would it be fair to say that this demand on the part
10 of Mr. Prlic suggests some relative power over the municipal governments?
11 A. Mr. Prlic probably called that meeting at the time, yes, in order
12 to try to reach agreements on a number of issues, as specified here. All
13 those who were called to the meeting, who were invited and who came, were
14 they listening to Prlic, were they following what he was saying, do they
15 accept his proposals? I simply don't know. Probably his effort was
16 focusing on trying to put all of these people together. I'm not sure if
17 they reached any agreements or not. I'm not sure what amount of
18 influence Prlic could exercise over those presidents and municipal
19 presidents and all those people assembled there.
20 Q. Although you're not sure the amount of influence he could
21 exercise, he had enough influence to demand their presence; correct?
22 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm really sorry, Ms. West, but it has already
23 many times been asked by the interpreters to kindly slow down, both of
24 you. I don't understand why shouldn't it be followed. Thank you.
25 MS. WEST: My apologies, Judge Prandler.
1 Q. So my question, Mr. Kresic. You indicated that you weren't sure
2 of the amount, I think, of authority that he could exercise; but you
3 would agree that he did exercise enough authority to demand their
4 mandatory presence at this meeting?
5 A. He provides a list of all the municipalities that were supposed
6 to attend, probably. Did they all show up? I don't know. I wasn't a
7 member of any of those bodies, nor do I know anything about this. You
8 have been asking me all these questions. I don't think they have much to
9 do with the evidence that I'm here for, frankly. I simply don't know
10 about these things. I was a mere civilian.
11 Q. Sir, I'm going to remind you again that you testified here today
12 that the authority was concentrated in the presidents of the
13 municipalities; so, in fact, you have given testimony on this particular
14 issue, so I'm going to ask you a little bit more.
15 If we can go to P00788, P00788. This is another letter signed by
16 Prlic. It's November 1992, and the subject is contacts --
17 MS. TOMANOVIC: Just a second.
18 [Interpretation] This document is not signed by Jadranko Prlic.
19 I think all of us in this courtroom are perfectly familiar with Prlic's
20 signature. All this says is "President of the HVO HZ-HB" and then added
21 by hand "Jadranko Prlic." This is not his signature, and we have no idea
22 if he actually produced this or not.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
24 MS. WEST: Thank you.
25 Q. This is a document. The subject is: "Contacts with
1 representatives of UNPROFOR."
2 And it says:
3 "A large number of the UNPROFOR units have recently been deployed
4 in the territory of the HZ-HB in order to protect humanitarian corridors
5 and then carry out their basic task and other specific tasks.
6 "Bearing in mind that the manner of their deployment may have
7 consequences for the future development of the war in these territories,
8 the official contacts with the representatives of UNPROFOR should be
9 maintained following the consultation and coordination with the Croatian
10 Defence Council of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna."
11 Sir, would you agree with me this is another example of Prlic's
12 ability to influence -- his ability to influence control over the
14 A. Based on what I knew about the situation, and I was not a member
15 of any military or political bodies, I didn't have the impression that
16 the municipal authorities were lending too much of an ear to
17 President Prlic. He was formerly the president of the HVO HZ-HB, but I
18 don't think he enjoyed the full support or even a formal support from any
19 of the municipal presidents.
20 Q. And, Mr. Kresic, you have not -- you don't have a document to
21 show us to support your contention that you did not have the impression
22 that the municipal authorities were lending too much of an ear to
23 President Prlic? Do you have anything to show us?
24 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Objection. The witness is under
25 no obligation at all to produce any documents at all for the benefit of
1 the OTP. It's the OTP that must prove what they are claiming.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Prosecutor, it is not for
3 the witness to provide documents in support.
4 Witness, would you mind reading, in your own language, the final
5 formula at the end of the document. Please look at the document,
6 Witness. Could you read, in your own language, the words that are
7 written? I see an "S," and then I see "Postovanjem" [phoen]. Would you
8 mind reading this slowly? What does this mean?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what it means
10 specifically, but I can read it for you:
11 "Bearing in mind the manner of their deployment --"
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, look. You see handwritten
13 there is "Jadranko Prlic," and then to the left of it we see some
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Oh, no. Oh, "respectfully."
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Precisely. Well,
18 "respectfully." You were the president of a municipal. Therefore, I
19 have a question for you. When somebody sends you a letter in which it is
20 written "respectfully," in terms of power or authority, how do you read
21 such a letter?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think this letter was
23 written by Mr. Prlic or, indeed, signed by Mr. Prlic. As for
24 "respectfully," in a document like this, this formula should not be
25 included, or at least that's my opinion.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, what makes you think that this was not
3 written by - and that may on the order or dictation of - Mr. Prlic?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We can assume that the document
5 might have been dictated by Mr. Prlic. However, these are serious
6 matters, and I think Mr. Prlic is more than intelligent enough to allow
7 something like this to be signed by anyone other than him.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. West.
9 MS. WEST: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] One moment, Ms. West. Excuse me.
11 Witness, on page 53, lines 15 to 20, you stated that Mr. Prlic
12 did not have enough support or authority, if I understood you well, to
13 impose anything to presidents of municipalities. My question is as
14 follows: Why are you of the view that he could not really impose
15 anything serious on the presidents of municipalities? Was it because of
16 the statutes governing the HZ-HB that would not give him enough power, or
17 was it because of his own personality, that it was not a strong enough
18 personality to impose anything or to have influence over the presidents
19 of municipalities?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Prlic was a professional who
21 was now there to, in a way, set up the work of the civilian authorities.
22 As for military or political matters, he was not nearly as powerful. In
23 some circles with some leaders, he had no power at all.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you knew Mr. Prlic,
25 didn't you?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You knew Mr. Ivan Bender?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which of the two is not --
5 well, not intelligent, but the stronger personality?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Generally speaking, Jadranko Prlic
7 is by far the more powerful person. Nevertheless, that would apply to a
8 normal context, to a European context, if you like. In a small
9 tightly-knit community like Neum, I suppose you would find Ivan Bender's
10 personality to be the more powerful one.
11 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I will have to correct the
12 interpretation of what the witness just said, page 56, line 8. The
13 interpretation is "powerful person," and the witness said "more powerful
14 person," and I think a better interpretation would be "stronger
15 personality." Am I right?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what I thought.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Kresic, would you be so kind as to look at
18 the Croatian version of this letter, which you say could not have been
19 written by Mr. Prlic.
20 Does something strike you -- when you look at this, is there
21 something extraordinary, technically?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, this letter is technically
23 off the mark, or illiterate, if you wish. This letter was written by
24 someone who was simply illiterate.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I very much doubt that. How do you think it was
1 written; on a normal typewriter or by some special technical means?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was probably typewritten.
3 Nevertheless, if I look at how it was put together, no method known to me
4 for business correspondence was applied here. That much is certain.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I would not subscribe to that. What is --
6 why do you think it's illiterate? What is special about this letter?
7 Can you tell us?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The format is unusual. It's not
9 the one used for normal business communication. One just doesn't write a
10 document like this, like that. Where it says "Confidential," as far as I
11 know, it's never there, is it? The address, recipient, "All municipal
12 HVO," again that shouldn't be there.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'll help you, I'll help you. You will find a
14 number of signs in the text, which are not really letters but technical
15 signs that make no sense at all. Why do you think is that so? For
16 instance, in "zastice" [phoen] in the second line.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was probably an old typewriter
18 they were using. The letter S wasn't working properly, and then instead
19 of that, they put a parentheses there. It's a simple technical error, a
20 short-coming, if you like.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Kresic, none of the typical letters with
22 accent signs of the Croatian letter -- the Croatian alphabet are properly
23 typed here. They are all exchanged by some merely technical sign that
24 makes no sense. I put it to you that this letter was written by telex,
25 by an international system which does not have the adaption to be
1 correctly Croatian. Does that sound plausible to you? Have you heard
2 about telex?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I used to work with one, but that
4 was a long time ago. That just might be the case, what you're
5 suggesting. It might have been produced by some internationals, but I
6 don't know. I can't confirm that for you.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. As you know telex, have you ever received
8 a telex with a signature?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the most parts, there was no
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
12 Ms. West.
13 MS. WEST: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Sir, now we're going to move to your arrest in May of 1993.
15 It's your testimony today that you were arrested by the HVO
16 because of your political views?
17 A. I wasn't arrested by the HVO. I was arrested by a group of four
18 uniformed men who said they were from some police. Or, rather, why was I
19 arrested? I can give you my assumption, because I don't know for a fact.
20 I think it was because of the opposition that we were putting up and the
21 noncompliance with the policies being implemented at the time.
22 Q. Let me remind you what you testified to. You said:
23 "I was detained for one reason. They were trying to find an
24 excuse for their failure."
25 And then you went on and you said:
1 "But I didn't know their plans. They were up to something, and
2 they failed."
3 And this was in response to a question by Judge Antonetti. Sir,
4 can you be any more specific than that?
5 A. The people who ordered our arrest had their own reasons for that.
6 We don't know those reasons, but those of us who were arrested had
7 assumptions about those reasons based on our later interviews and the
8 stories that we heard. The crux of the matter was they probably felt
9 they failed to complete some of their own activities, and they were
10 looking for a reason and an excuse to put forward to their own colleagues
11 and superiors. It wasn't their fault, they were trying to say, it was
12 that other group that was to blame, and they wanted to shoulder all of
13 their responsibility to us.
14 Q. And when you speak about "the people who ordered our arrest," do
15 you believe that one of those people was Ivan Bender?
16 A. I cannot be positive about this, but we have certain ideas and we
17 know that nothing at all could be done without Ivan Bender,
18 General Obradovic, and a number of other people. The least I can say is
19 that all of them knew about our arrest. They had given the order.
20 Probably it was the general alone who officially should have given the
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the last part
23 of the sentence.
24 MS. WEST:
25 Q. Can you repeat the last part of your last sentence?
1 A. They all knew, in a way, and they had agreed on it, but the order
2 was most probably signed by General Obradovic. Why do we know that, that
3 General Obradovic signed the order? Because when we were to be released,
4 it was again General Obradovic who had to sign the order, but he wasn't
5 around, he couldn't be found, it was already late, so they just released
6 us without an order.
7 Q. And would it be fair to describe your relationship with
8 Ivan Bender as one of political rivalry?
9 A. Political rivalry, other sorts of rivalry, but we are not
10 enemies. We have contacts, we talk. We each have our own story to tell,
11 and our stories are different. But as time has elapsed, we have buried
12 the battle axe.
13 Q. Sir, when you were arrested in May, were you -- is it your
14 testimony the five of you were all held in one room together?
15 A. Yes. That was a room of some 30 square metres. We had a table
16 and two chairs there, and that's all.
17 Q. And you testified that you thought Stojic was the "key man for
18 our release." Do you remember that testimony?
19 A. I can only assume that. I can't be certain about it.
20 Q. Is this assumption based on the fact that Mr. Stojic held a
21 superior position in the HVO and you knew he had the power to get you
23 A. Well, firstly, I would say that his power was not very great,
24 because had he had real power, we would probably not have been detained
25 in the first place. But when word got around, because our arrest was
1 widely talked about in Capljina, Neum and Stolac, and reactions were
2 stronger than those people had thought they would be, since we were
3 people of influence, people who were esteemed as businessmen, all five of
4 us, who were held in high regard, Mr. Stojic and some others probably
5 intervened or asked for our release because they had realised they had
6 made a mistake and that there was no reason to detain us.
7 Q. Sir, you didn't answer my question. The question was: Is your
8 assumption based on the fact that Mr. Stojic held a superior position in
9 the HVO and you knew he had the power to get you out?
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
11 Your Honours, I wish to object because the witness has fully
12 answered this question. The witness said that Mr. Stojic did not have
13 that power, so he has fully answered this question.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, is there any
15 contradiction in the answer? Ms. Nozica said that the question was asked
16 and answered.
17 MS. WEST: I disagree, Your Honour. I don't think he answered
18 the question.
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] The witness can repeat, but could we
20 please look at the reply. It's still on the transcript, page 60,
21 line 24, to page 61, line 1.
22 MS. WEST: And in that reply, he describes Stojic's power, but he
23 does not answer the question as to whether his assumption is based on his
24 estimation of Stojic's power. He gave testimony here that he assumed it
25 was Stojic, and the question is: Why did you assume it was Stojic?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that had Stojic been as
2 powerful as that, we would not have been arrested. Someone would have
3 had to consult him. Stojic and some others, I don't know who, learned of
4 our arrest only subsequently. For something like this to happen without
5 Mr. Stojic's knowledge shows that nobody asked him or consulted him about
6 such things, because had they done so, we would not have been detained.
7 MS. WEST:
8 Q. Sir, this Trial Chamber has heard the testimony of
9 Slobodan Bozic, who is another senior person in the HVO. Do you know who
10 he is?
11 A. Yes, I know Mr. Bozic.
12 Q. And at pages 36582 through 96, he also spoke about the same
13 subject. The subject was his vouching for people he knew to get them out
14 of prison. He indicated that he, in fact, did that. Would you agree
15 with me that if Stojic's deputy, deputy of the Defence Department, had
16 the power to do that, certainly Bruno Stojic had the power to do it?
17 A. I don't know what powers Mr. Bozic had, who got him out, or
18 whatever, and I also don't know what powers Mr. Stojic had and what he
19 was able to do. I can only assert that the municipal authorities did not
20 value either Mr. Stojic or Mr. Prlic very highly, as I've already said.
21 Q. Now, on direct testimony, you showed us a document of a friend of
22 yours. I think his name was Pero Kralj, who was a Croat who was working
23 in the Republic of Croatia
24 indicated that you had coffee with him and you -- he told you that he had
25 to leave his job because he had not filled out some correct paperwork.
1 Do you remember that testimony? Sir, do you remember that testimony?
2 A. [In English] Okay.
3 Q. And in the document we looked at, it was because -- it said that
4 foreign citizens can sign a labour contract only if they are a permanent
5 resident of the Republic of Croatia
6 are you a Croatian -- are you a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. [Interpretation] I am a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina is my domicile, my home country. Mr. Pero Kralj is
9 not a friend of mine, he's simply an acquaintance, because his wife works
10 in the Sunce Hotel, she works in my hotel. So he came to complain that
11 he had been fired, and I had coffee with him and tried to console him.
12 Q. Sir, are you also a Croatian citizen?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And when did you become a citizen?
15 A. Of Croatia
16 as Croatia
17 Q. And where did you apply to become a citizen?
18 A. In Zagreb
19 Q. And are you aware that after that period of time going in 1993,
20 it was actually possible to apply and get Croatian citizenship by making
21 that application in Herceg-Bosna?
22 A. I don't know. I think it's possible, but I don't know.
23 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
24 The Prosecutor is stating something that is not in evidence. She
25 should know more about the testimony of people who are competent to
1 testify about this point.
2 MS. WEST: Your Honour --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This topic has already been
4 addressed, but you may put your question. Perhaps the witness will be
5 able to answer.
6 MS. WEST:
7 Q. Sir, I'd like to direct your attention to 10921 -- it's P10921,
8 and this is -- English, it's page 20 of 24, and in the upper right-hand
9 corner it says that. It's the loose paper, but you're going to see it in
10 front of you, nonetheless, and you'll have the B/C/S right in front of
11 you. I'm going to read a paragraph and then ask you a question. This is
12 a UNHCR report from January of 1997. It's the US Department of State
13 country report on human rights practices, 1996, for Croatia, and it says:
14 "The Law on Citizenship distinguishes between those with a claim
15 to Croatian ethnicity and those without. The 'Croatian people' are
16 eligible to become citizens of Croatia
17 the former Socialist Republic of Croatia, as long as they submit a
18 written statement that they consider themselves Croatian citizens.
19 Others must satisfy more stringent requirements through naturalisation in
20 order to obtain citizenship, even if they were previously lawful
21 residents of Croatia
22 application for citizenship is pending, the applicant is considered an
23 alien and is denied rights such as social allowances, including medical
24 care, pensions, free education, and employment in the civil service. The
25 Government's practice of discriminating against ethnic and religious
1 minorities, particularly Serbs and Muslims, in the issuance of
2 citizenship papers drew harsh criticism. Human rights organisations
3 reported numerous documented cases in which the Interior Ministry denied
4 citizenship papers to long-term residents of Croatia (that is, resident
5 in Croatia
6 example, residents of several ethnic Muslim villages near Slunj (a total
7 of some 500 people) were unable to obtain Croatian citizenship, and in
8 some cases entire villages were rendered stateless. Human rights groups
9 complain that the Interior Ministry frequently based its denials on
10 Article 26 of the Law on Citizenship, which permits it to deny
11 citizenship papers to persons otherwise qualified to be citizens of
13 reasons to be explained, and human rights organisations reported that the
14 police continued to refuse citizenship applications without full
16 Sir, in 1992, going into 1993, were you aware that these were the
17 regulations in Croatia
18 A. I don't know what the Croatian regulations were. I know that I
19 applied in 1992 and received Croatian documents, and I also know that all
20 those who were born in Croatia
21 able to get Croatian documents, regardless of their ethnicity, whereas
22 those who wanted to obtain Croatian papers for reasons which were
23 problematic, for example, people not residing in Croatia, not born in
25 them to get them. Maybe -- it says some villages here, but all those
1 people who lived -- who had permanent residence in Croatia were able to
2 obtain Croatian papers without any problems.
3 I don't know what UNHCR recorded. Maybe in the course of the war
4 or after the war, there were problems, but Croatia, as a state, has its
5 root for obtaining papers which has to be gone through. I know that even
6 today not even a Croat can get papers unless they fill in certain forms
7 and make an application.
8 Q. Can we go to P10920, 10920. This is a piece of the
9 Official Gazette of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
10 talks about pursuant to a ruling of the High Court in Mostar, and then it
11 says "The Nova Company," and this is the promoters, are Vesna Kresic, as
12 director; Tomislav Kresic as deputy director. The activities are:
13 Wholesale and retail trade; home trade; foreign trade; trade in transit;
14 trade by means of mobile shops of any food or non-food products, with the
15 exception of medicines; pharmaceutical preparations and primary products;
16 medical and lavatory equipment; defence and civilian protection
17 equipment; and foreign trade and antiquities. It goes on to talk about
18 the company.
19 But was this the registration of your own private company?
20 A. I was never deputy director of that company. My wife had her own
21 company with some other people, but I was never either a managing
22 director or a deputy director. I never worked in that company.
23 Q. Okay. So you're saying that your involvement here was a mistake?
24 A. I was never deputy director.
25 Q. But nonetheless, this is December of 1996. Is that about the
1 time that you say your wife was involved in registering this company?
2 A. My wife worked as a forwarding agent. This was a company
3 registered only for forwarding and customs affairs in Neum. She had one
4 employee and that's all. I don't know whether I'm listed as a co-owner.
5 That's another question. She could be the owner and I the co-owner, but
6 certainly not deputy director. I was never that.
7 Q. You're not denying that this is your wife's company, or group, or
8 whatever. It's just that you're saying it's misstated that you were the
9 deputy director. But this was your wife's group; correct?
10 A. It's possible that I'm listed there as the co-owner, yes.
11 Q. December of 1996, the war in BiH was well over, was it not?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Why is this company listed in the Official Gazette of
14 Herceg-Bosna and not the Official Gazette of the Federation?
15 A. That was the practice at the time. That's what our lawyers told
16 us had to be done. I don't know why.
17 MS. WEST: Mr. President, may we go into private session?
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
19 [Private session]
11 Page 38792 redacted. Private session.
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're now back in open session.
10 Thank you, Your Honours.
11 MS. WEST: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, do you have any
14 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, only a few
15 to clarify some points.
16 Re-examination by Ms. Nozica:
17 Q. Mr. Kresic, you were shown the excerpt from the registration
18 published in the Official Gazette of the Croatian Republic
19 Herceg-Bosna for the company of which your wife was the director. You
20 mentioned a lawyer. Could you clarify to Their Honours who did the
21 technical part of the job? Was it you who put this notice in the
22 Official Gazette? Who did all the work about registering the company?
23 A. As regards registering the company in Neum, this was done by
24 lawyers. They asked for certain documents. We obtained the documents,
25 and then they took those documents to the court in Mostar, where the
1 registration was made, and we had nothing further to do with that. We
2 gave the papers to the court, the court registered the company, and that
3 was it. It's not up to us to put a notice in the Official Gazette. The
4 court does that ex officio.
5 Q. You also said today, in answer to my learned friend's question,
6 that Mr. Mahmutcehajic spent several days in Neum and that after that he
7 went to Korcula, that his daughter-in-law came to collect him, and that
8 he went to Korcula. Can you tell Their Honours where Korcula is, in what
10 A. Korcula is in the Republic of Croatia
11 100 kilometres away from Neum. His daughter-in-law lived in Korcula
12 during the war, and she came to collect her father-in-law when she heard
13 that he was in Neum, and took him to Korcula to stay with her.
14 Q. When asked by the Prosecutor about your arrest today, you said
15 that you didn't know whether you were released upon the intervention of
16 Mr. Stojic, and you explained why you thought he didn't have those
17 powers. Let me just remind you, and we will bring up the document in
18 e-court so you don't have to look for it, 2D00515 [Realtime transcript
19 read in error, "2D00155"], which is information about your arrest.
20 On page 2, and I mentioned this in the examination-in-chief, I
21 showed this part to you, it says it was Dragan Curcic who called up
22 Mr. Ramljak, and he told him he had an order from Mr. Boban that you
23 should be released. And it says further in the text that persons
24 introducing themselves as Stojic, Mircenko [phoen], and Boban rang up,
25 and what is most important in this document, on page 2, and you have that
1 document before you, it says after Mr. Dragan Curcic rang up, saying that
2 he had an order from Mr. Boban, that after that a conversation with
3 Mr. Obradovic took place on the phone, and then a decision was reached by
4 Milenko Manala, Mr. Obradovic's deputy, that you should be released. Can
5 you confirm that what this document says is correct?
6 A. More or less, yes, that's how it was.
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you, Your Honours.
8 I have no further questions.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
10 Witness, on behalf of my colleagues, I would like to thank you
11 for having come to testify at the request of the Stojic Defence counsel,
12 to contribute to the truth.
13 Unless Mr. Khan has something to say --
14 MR. KHAN: Good afternoon, Mr. President -- Your Honours. Just
15 one correction for the transcript. At page 70, line 16, in fact, it
16 should be "2D515," not "2D155." Just that one clarification. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please give us the number
18 again, Mr. Khan, because there are little karats on the transcript.
19 MR. KHAN: Indeed. It should be at page 70, line 16, the
20 correct exhibit number should be "2D515," rather than "2D155," which it
21 currently records.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Witness, I would
23 like to thank you for having come to The Hague to testify and to
24 contribute to the truth. I wish you a safe journey home.
25 And I will ask the usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There are two topics I would
3 like to address briefly. The first is an oral decision which I shall
4 read out slowly.
5 Oral decision on the Prlic's Defence, leave to reply to the
6 Prosecution's response, on the application filed by the Prlic Defence for
7 the provisional release of Jadranko Prlic on the 2nd of April, 2009
8 On the 30th of March, 2009, the Prlic Defence filed an urgent
9 application for leave to reply to the Prosecution's response on the
10 application for the provisional release of the accused Prlic filed by the
11 Prlic Defence team on the 17th of March, 2009, on the ground that the
12 objections raised by the Prosecution in its response are unfounded and
13 reflect a misunderstanding of the submissions made by the Prlic Defence
14 team in its application of the 17th of March, 2009.
15 The Trial Chamber holds that the Prlic Defence did not
16 demonstrate that these were exceptional circumstances that would warrant
17 the filing of a response in this particular case and decides, therefore,
18 to dismiss the application to respond filed by the Prlic Defence.
19 The Trial Chamber recalls, furthermore and once again, that the
20 exceptional nature of the right to respond and emphasises, thereby, that
21 such a reply may not provide the parties with an opportunity to support
22 their initial application. In short, the Prlic Defence may not file a
24 Let me seize this opportunity, since Mr. Kovacic is present, to
25 submit the following to him: You sent us, and I would like to thank you
1 for this, a schedule for the month of May, in which Mr. Slobodan Praljak
2 is scheduled to testify as of the 6th of May onwards. For the entire
3 month of May, until the 25th of May, he will be testifying, but the
4 problem we have is the following: Below his name, you have written down
5 the figure of 35 hours -- 36 hours. If these are 36 hours dedicated to
6 the examination-in-chief, then half of this time will be given to the
7 other Defence counsel, i.e., 18 hours, in addition to the 36 hours for
8 the Prosecution for its cross-examination, and we have to factor in 16 to
9 20 percent of that time for the questions put by the Bench, which means
10 that if Mr. Praljak testifies for 36 hours, we will need, at the very
11 least, 96 hours.
12 Since experience has demonstrated that during one hearing we
13 actually have three hours which are purposefully used, if you divide 96
14 by 3, this means that we will need to have 36 days where we will be
15 sitting. Since we have four days a week, we will need at least eight
16 weeks. According to this schedule, only three and a half weeks have been
18 Am I right in saying, Mr. Kovacic, that General Praljak will be
19 testifying for 36 hours? That is the prize question.
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour, that is true.
21 We have envisaged a total of 36 hours for General Praljak's evidence. We
22 did make a mistake, when putting together the schedule, for the grand
23 total including the cross. I think you took that calculation into
24 account. We shall correct that mistake. It's a technical error that
25 occurred because of some changes that were introduced. Eventually, we
1 realised that the final copy comprised two different documents. Of
2 course, we do not intend to challenge the fact that the cross will take
3 one and a half times the time allotted for the chief.
4 At any rate and despite the fact that this is a simple error that
5 we discovered, we did not go so far as to base our calculation on
6 anything other than what the statistic so far has shown. The Chamber may
7 have more questions, and that will affect the scheduling, but I don't
8 think we need to make special allowances for that. If the chief will
9 take ten days, then the cross, the other Defence teams, and the
10 Prosecutor, will take up to 15 days, and we shall use that principle to
11 make any further calculations. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So please make the corrections.
13 Do send us a new schedule, knowing that you now have fixed parameters, 36
14 hours for you, 50 percent for the others, that's 18 hours, 36 hours for
15 the Prosecution, and factor in some 20 percent, give or take a little for
16 the Judges' questions, not to forget administrative, housekeeping matters
17 which do take a lot of time and can consume up to 25 percent of the time.
18 So having all this in mind, send us a new schedule, but at first blush it
19 looks as though we're now on a long course for several weeks.
20 Also, from memory, Mr. Kovacic, I believe that the Trial Chamber
21 gave you some 55 hours, so there will be 55 hours, minus 36. In other
22 words, you will have 19 hours left, roughly speaking, for all your other
23 witnesses. But I think you've used already one hour and thirty minutes
24 so far, based on my calculations, which are very reliable, as to the time
25 you have been allocated, so you don't have 55 hours; you have 53 hours
1 and 30 minutes.
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that is true, Your Honour.
3 Thank you for this warning. We have taken that into account. We have
4 checked the statistics. We know how much time remains after the evidence
5 of General Praljak. We shall use that time to bring two expert
6 witnesses, and as we are now hoping, a total of seven to eight viva voce
7 witnesses. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Excellent. I thought it was
9 important to flag that up. So we're waiting for your schedule. Of
10 course, whenever you can, do transmit the exhibit list. It's very
11 interesting, because as I told you already, I've been preparing for this
12 for several months already.
13 Does the Prosecution have any questions, other topics they want
14 to address?
15 MS. WEST: May we go into private session for just a brief
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall.
18 [Private session]
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 I'm now turning to the Defence counsel. No further topics to
10 As you know, we shall reconvene on Monday at 2.15. Ms. Nozica,
11 you told us that you would be ready for the entire week, thank you for
12 that, in advance; is that right, Ms. Nozica?
13 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, we have two
14 witnesses for the following week. One will take two hours, and the other
15 an hour. As I said, we might be ready for the second witness on Tuesday.
16 If we run out of time, we'll be wrapping up the last witness Wednesday
17 morning. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
19 I wish you all a good afternoon. We shall reconvene on Monday at
21 The hearing stands adjourned.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.35 p.m.
23 to be reconvened on Monday, the 6th day of April,
24 2009, at 2.15 p.m.