Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 8010

 1                           Wednesday, 13 May 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The accused Prlic and Coric not present]

 5                           [The witness takes the stand]

 6                           --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please

 8     call the case.

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honours.  Good morning,

10     everyone in and around the courtroom.

11             This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic

12     et al.

13             Thank you, Your Honours.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.

15             This is Wednesday, May 13th, 2009, and I would like to welcome

16     Mr. Pusic, Mr. Petkovic, and Mr. Stojic.  I also greet Mr. Praljak this

17     morning, and I of course would not forget our counsels, Mr. Stringer and

18     all his associates, as well as the people helping us.

19             I'd like to tell Mr. Kovacic that up until now he has used up

20     12 hours, and that's one-third of the time allocated for Mr. Praljak's

21     examination-in-chief.

22                           WITNESS:  Slobodan Praljak [Resumed]

23                           [The witness answered through interpreter]

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I have two

25     follow-up questions that I thought about during the night, and it's

Page 8011

 1     important for me I believe to think about it.

 2             The first one, you told us yesterday, as regards Mr. Tudjman's

 3     speech before the Croatian officers, if I'm not mistaken, I believe that

 4     your case is that the officers in the Croatian Army - and I'm talking

 5     about the Croatian Army now, not the HV - I think that your case is that

 6     these were officers who had joined the Croatian Army without any

 7     political commitment whatsoever.  And as an officer in the Croatian Army,

 8     you were not supposed to talk about your political opinions.  We know,

 9     because you told us that; we know that you were the general secretary of

10     a small political party for a while.  But this is my question:  When you

11     actually joined the Croatian Army, did you put aside your political

12     opinions that you may have had at the time, and in the framework of your

13     military career and mission you were only executing the orders received

14     from Tudjman through the Ministry of Defence, without taking your

15     political opinions into consideration?

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.  Good

17     morning to everyone in the courtroom.

18             That's not how it was in its entirety.  A good part of the

19     officers and some of the key persons were listed yesterday who had come

20     in from the ranks of the JNA, joined because of their political

21     judgement, but now I would like to draw a distinction between politics in

22     a well-ordered state, where you deal with taxes and things like that.  I

23     always refer to this as a pre-political era.  It's actually morality as

24     politics.  So these people came in for political reasons, so to speak,

25     because they no longer wanted to be in the ranks of the -- of an army

Page 8012

 1     that began serving the interests of a Greater Serbia.  So this is,

 2     conditionally speaking, political conviction, although I would like to

 3     use a different term for that.

 4             I was a secretary general of a party that was not really all that

 5     small.  It was the third-largest party in Croatia.  And again, as all the

 6     other parties at the time, we're not talking about politics as the term

 7     is understood today.  All the statutes and all the platforms of all the

 8     parties in Croatia were alike, like peas in a pod.  They all wanted a

 9     peaceful solution to the Yugoslav crisis.  They all advocated democracy,

10     free elections, a free market economy.  So these are the basic tenets

11     which at one point, once the state is in place, would make political life

12     possible.  And in this sense, when I was involved in politics before,

13     this had nothing to do, and my desire to get involved in politics, when

14     you use the term "politics," what you mean, when you use the term.

15             Thirdly, a large number of people who joined the Croatian Army

16     joined for political reasons, conditionally speaking, but we're not again

17     talking about politics in the usual sense of the term.  It was their

18     moral obligation to defend yourself if you're under attack, the moral

19     obligation.  If politics is actually striving for democracy, for

20     free-market economy, then, yes, it's politics.

21             However, in the Croatian Army, political debates were banned, and

22     Croatian soldiers and officers were not allowed to attend political

23     rallies or any other kinds of demonstrations in uniform.  As soldiers,

24     they were not allowed to be involved in politics.  They were supposed to

25     pursue the Croatian state policy, the conclusions of the Parliament, the

Page 8013

 1     government or the president.  That's what they were supposed to follow.

 2     And then if somebody wanted to be politically active because there were

 3     elections and so on, they were free to do so, we followed the German

 4     model which says a soldier is a civilian in uniform, and once they take

 5     off their uniform, they can participate in the political life.  But if

 6     they are nominated or elected to a position, they have to leave the army.

 7             And once again please bear in mind that this term "politics"

 8     should not be understood in the same way that it should as it is

 9     understood today in France, USA, and so on.  It was simply --

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Thank you for this.

11             A second question, it's a technical question, but I believe it's

12     important.  Yesterday, you showed us a number of documents dealing with

13     Mr. Tudjman and Croatian politics, and trying to establish that as

14     regards the JCE, Mr. Tudjman had no desire whatsoever to annex any part

15     of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Very well.  You showed us a number of documents

16     to this end.  Given this, I wonder the following, as far as global

17     control is concerned.

18             I'm sure you read all judgements rendered by this Tribunal,

19     Blaskic, Kordic, Aleksovski and others - I'm not going to mention them

20     all - Tadic also, but I'm sure that your counsel and yourself looked at

21     this, looked into this.  And you know that as far as Croatia and the HVO

22     are concerned, a number of judgements were rendered already.  In Blaskic,

23     for example, the Trial Chamber recognised the existence of global

24     control.  I'm sure you also know that in the Aleksovski case, the

25     majority of Judges did not rule on the existence of a global control of

Page 8014

 1     Croatia over the HVO.  The Appeals Chamber denied this, however, basing

 2     itself on the interpretation of the Tadic appeals judgement.  In this

 3     interpretation, global control must be assessed according to a number of

 4     parameters, and the fact that a state would supply weapons, provide

 5     training, and give money is not sufficient.  The state must also play a

 6     role in the military operations conducted by an armed group or a fighting

 7     unit in the other state.  Therefore, there needs to be a role played,

 8     which is not like the majority of Judges had thought in the Aleksovski

 9     case.  Giving a specific instruction is not sufficient; it also needs to

10     play a role.

11             So my question -- you see, my questions are becoming increasingly

12     specific, and here's my question:  When you were heading the HVO from

13     July to November - you see it's a very specific period of time, my

14     question deals with this very specific period of time from July to

15     November - I would like to know whether at that time, as far as you know,

16     in the framework of the military operation that you personally led, since

17     you were in charge of the military operations as commander of the HVO,

18     I'd like to know whether, as far as you know, at that time you felt that,

19     as far as your command was concerned, or maybe as far as the instructions

20     you were obtaining from Mr. Boban, who, let me remind everyone, at the

21     time was the commander of the HVO army, I mean he was the supreme leader

22     of this, did you feel at the time that the Republic of Croatia actually

23     played a role in the military operations that you led?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never, Your Honour.  Not even Boban

25     told me anything at any point.  At the time when I was the commander,

Page 8015

 1     I think that I met with Mr. Boban only briefly on two occasions.  I came

 2     when Bugojno had already fallen and when the BH army offensive had been

 3     launched, and that lasted up until the intensity was reduced a little bit

 4     by mid-October and there was this line from Uskoplje, Donji Vakuf, down

 5     to Mostar.  During that time, I never saw, I never spoke, I never met

 6     with Mr. Franjo Tudjman, and I think that I saw Gojko Susak only on one

 7     occasion, I think.  But I think we only saw each other.  It was, I think,

 8     the 1st of August, five or six days after I had arrived, when all my

 9     lines were broken in Uskoplje, when the troops and the people started

10     pulling out.  And automatically this meant the trauma might fall and

11     there was the threat of a general collapse, and I managed to restore the

12     lines.  I saw Gojko Susak on that occasion because he had been visiting

13     with his mother, who lived near Siroki Brijeg.  We met very briefly.  I

14     told him that we managed to restore the lines, and he never influenced in

15     any way, he never said anything during my tenure in command.

16             I was a commander who made military decisions, and those military

17     decisions mostly had to do with how to defend ourselves.  And this went

18     on day by day, night by night.  That's how it is in the war.  I think

19     that everybody knows that.  Constant fighting on long lines.  I would

20     lose some positions.  I would then recapture them.  When I say "I," I

21     mean "we."

22             And so I never discussed that with Mate Boban.  Well, I didn't

23     have anything to discuss with him.  We had to defend ourselves.  I never

24     spoke to Franjo Tudjman.  And I think that I only met and spoke with

25     Gojko Susak that day when he came to visit his mother.

Page 8016

 1             If you allow me, I will recount an event to show you what it

 2     was -- what it looked like.  Here, near Neum [indicates] - well, it's

 3     difficult to see - Bosnia and Herzegovina has its exit onto the sea, and

 4     we had lines here from Stolac to Neum [indicates].  However, the roads

 5     here are either nonexistent or are in a very bad shape.  So in order to

 6     defend this Neum area here, we had to rotate our units in such a way that

 7     we had to go to Metkovic.  Well, it's very difficult to see.  We had to

 8     drive them to Neum from Metkovic and then take them to their positions.

 9     And when a shift was being relieved, the Croatian police in Metkovic

10     said, pursuant to the complaints that Croatia was taking part in that,

11     that they would no longer let the troops of the other state pass, and

12     they made them go back from the border.

13             Now, I, of course, asked the military police to put the police on

14     the BH border in Neum, and then the Croatian Army that was supposed to

15     relieve positions in Dubrovnik came to the border, and the military

16     police officers from the HVO said, No.  Then I got a phone call, not from

17     the military part but from Interior Minister Mr. Jarnjak, and he asked

18     me, Well, why won't you let us pass through to Dubrovnik?  And I said,

19     Well, why don't you want to let us pass through Neum?  We are a state, we

20     have our own borders, and you will not pass.

21             This tells you how complicated the relationship was.  Of course,

22     then he wanted us to make some arrangements, and then I said, Okay, I'll

23     let you pass through Dubrovnik, because they had no other way.  They had

24     to pass through the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  But I also told

25     him, You have to let my army, the army under my command, pass through the

Page 8017

 1     border here at Metkovic to get to Neum [indicates], because I have no

 2     other way to get to those positions, because there were no roads, and

 3     Serbs held this area here [indicates].  So I quarrelled and I argued that

 4     because Croatia was being defended here, that they should take up the

 5     defence of this part of the territory so that the Croatian Defence

 6     Council should not be defending Croatia from those positions.

 7             At one point, they agreed to it, and then we let the Croatian

 8     Army hold the positions here because it was defending Croatian territory.

 9     But the international community, and I know that it was actually the

10     Americans, said that Croatian Army troops could not be on the territory

11     of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so we had to pull them out.

12             I still don't understand why I was supposed to be defending

13     Metkovic and all the other areas, because there was nothing else to be

14     defended there.  It was no -- there was no point for those units to be

15     defending Neum here.

16             So it was a complex situation, a complicated border-line, and it

17     was not the idea that it was another state intervening in this state, but

18     it was just that the Croatian Army had to defend its positions here in

19     the south, and that's what they had to do.

20             At one point, they agreed, and then under American pressure,

21     I think, they bowed to this pressure, and I think there was a UN Security

22     Council resolution about the Croatian Army pulling back from the BH

23     borders.  I think that it had to do with this, If you don't allow me to

24     get my troops to here through Metkovic, then I won't let you get your

25     troops through this area here to your positions.  And tensions ran really

Page 8018

 1     high.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak -- excuse me, Mr. Kovacic.  This

 4     refers exactly to what Mr. Praljak has recently said.  And maybe there is

 5     an error in translation.  I'm referring to page 8, line 6, and the

 6     following.  It starts by you saying:

 7             "At one point they agreed to it, and then we let the Croatian

 8     Army hold the positions here, because it was defending Croatian

 9     territory."

10             Then you speak of reactions of the international community, and

11     the conclusion is:  "So we had to pull them out," which can only refer to

12     the Croatian troops.

13             Now, it seems that in the first part of the paragraph, you

14     identify with Herceg-Bosna and the HVO, and in the last part you identify

15     with Croatia.  I wonder how this is to be explained.  I'm sure you have

16     an explanation.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There's a mistake in using the

18     pronouns "we," "they."  It may be an interpretation, whatever.

19             The HVO had very few soldiers, that was the point, so we, the

20     HVO, that is, asked that this area here from Stolac [indicates] -- to the

21     right is where we were.  There's Stolac [indicates].  So we were up until

22     this area here [indicates], and then we asked the Croatian Army defend

23     this portion of Croatia [indicates], and to the right of Stolac, since

24     Metkovic, which was in Croatia, was being attacked, that it should be

25     taken over by the Croatian Army.  At one point in time, they agreed to do

Page 8019

 1     that, and small units of the HVO, TG-2, Tactical Group 2, that is,

 2     withdrew, and the Croatian army came in to relieve them.

 3             Then there were complaints and objections, as far as I know, from

 4     the Americans that the Croatian Army was on the territory of

 5     Bosnia-Herzegovina and that this was in violation of some law or

 6     convention or whatever.  And then the situation returned to what it had

 7     been previously.  The Croatian Army withdrew, and we once again took up

 8     this position here [indicates], in fact, defending the borders of

 9     Croatia.

10             Now, I spoke about a misunderstanding in that respect, that once

11     again they, that is to say, the Croatian Army, under pressure probably,

12     at one point banned us from going through Metkovic and bringing our

13     troops in to defend this area here around Neum [indicates], because you

14     couldn't reach this area by any other route.  Then I banned the Croatian

15     Army from crossing over into Dubrovnik across Bosnian and Herzegovinian

16     territory.  And then there was this whole dispute, and we agreed to let

17     them through and they would let us through, because how else could you

18     defend that area?  There were no planes.  You couldn't take the sea

19     route.

20             So that was a classical situation and the kind of problems that

21     cropped up.  But there was a dispute over this, and as far as I know, and

22     I think that my information is very correct, although maybe not

23     100 percent, the existence of this area here [indicates] caused the

24     Croatian Army, which at one time took over this line to the right of

25     Stolac and TG-2, led to the resolution being passed to the effect that

Page 8020

 1     the Croatian Army was on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, although it

 2     was unable to defend its own territory of this narrow space around the

 3     south here in any other way from the mouth of the River Neretva from that

 4     whole area there.

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

 6             MR. STRINGER:  Could I ask the general to specify the time-frame

 7     of this dispute that he's described with the Croatian Army?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Petkovic.  You know dates

 9     better than me.  You know, sometimes dates are a little bit fuzzy.  Well,

10     I can't know everything.  There was so many events, so many events, lots

11     and lots of them, that I might be wrong in giving a date.  I don't really

12     think dates are that important in all that general chaos.

13             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] well, could you start off by

14     telling us the year?  You must know the year, General.

15             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What year was it?  1993,

16     between July and November?  It was between July and November, 1993.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, Petrovic.  I don't

18     really -- I don't know.  Don't make me say it.  I know the problem, I

19     know the telephones, the conversations, the events, but everything has

20     become mixed up.  Sometimes I don't what happened from one year to the

21     next, so why do you want me say something that I'm not sure of?  I'll

22     make a mistake.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, regarding all

24     this, you said that the Americans did not want the Croatian Army to enter

25     into Bosnia-Herzegovina.  The a few days ago, you told us that the 6th

Page 8021

 1     Fleet, the US 6th Fleet, was around, so I believe that through their

 2     monitoring system, they noted and they found out that the Croatian Army

 3     had actually entered into Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is why they

 4     actually stepped in or intervened.  Do you agree with this, yes or no?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  The American officers -- well,

 6     the military attache and his assistant had an absolute right to go to any

 7     part of the territory in the theatre of war, and I took them, for

 8     example, in 1992, when they were researching into whether the factory of

 9     the Yugoslav People's Army in Bijelo Polje by Mostar could have produced

10     noxious matter, and they were there with some experts and a Croatian Army

11     general who used to be a general and partisan -- he was a general of the

12     JNA who had retired and then was reactivated.  Binenfeld was one of

13     those.  And then they were very interested in seeing whether or not, in

14     that factory in Bijelo Polje - I don't know what iterate or some

15     poisonous noxious matter could have been produced - and they took

16     examples, and they visited me in Uskoplje, and they went wherever they

17     wanted to, whenever they wanted to.  They didn't need the US 6th Fleet.

18     And I know that there was some carriers and something controlling the

19     entry of ships.  But they didn't need the fleet, because all the military

20     attaches could move around Croatia however they wanted to, together with

21     the US monitors -- UN monitors and UNPROFOR and all the rest of it,

22     except when there was fighting going on, and then we'd tell them, Don't

23     go, because we can't guarantee your safety.  Something might happen to

24     you, and then we'll be blamed for that.  So those were the only days

25     when -- it was only when there was fierce fighting going on that, for

Page 8022

 1     their own safety, we asked them not to move around.

 2             So I claim, I state, Your Honours, as somebody who granted

 3     permission, that anybody, any journalist, any European Observer or

 4     Monitor, all the military attaches could move around freely in

 5     Herzegovina and Bosnia, up to Uskoplje while they were there, whenever

 6     they wanted to and however much they wanted to, and they had all the

 7     information provided.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, please proceed.

 9             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.  Good

10     afternoon to everybody -- good morning to everybody.

11                           Examination by Mr. Kovacic: [Continued]

12        Q.   [Interpretation] Now, General, with respect to the first two

13     questions that Judge Antonetti asked you, I have a follow-up question

14     which wasn't fully clarified.

15             To go back to Judge Antonetti's first question, you didn't

16     expressly and specifically answer and say whether you, in formal terms,

17     in real terms, ceased to be a member of the HDS before you joined the

18     ministry or, rather, the Croatian Army.

19        A.   Yes.  In the spring of 1991, I stepped down from the Croatian

20     Democratic Party.

21        Q.   Thank you.  Now to go back to Judge Antonetti's second question.

22             When you were discussing relations with the Croatian Army and the

23     HVO commander - which is what you were - so while you were HVO commander

24     from July to November, did you ever talk or meet a commander of the

25     Main Staff of the HV, General Stipetic?

Page 8023

 1        A.   No, Stipetic wasn't the chief of the Main Staff.

 2        Q.   Well, I might have got the name wrong, but with the chief of the

 3     Main Staff?

 4        A.   Never.

 5        Q.   Had you had any military cooperation in the field, by the very

 6     nature of your business, would you have had to have met and had contacts

 7     with the chief of the Main Staff of the HV?

 8        A.   Yes, that would have been very necessary.

 9        Q.   Thank you.  And perhaps I can help out -- help Your Honours out

10     with respect to the explanations that Mr. Praljak spoke about, the

11     complicated situation around the border around Metkovic.  The 3D03544 map

12     that we provided you with, which was the A-3 laminated version, it's a

13     map of Bosnia-Herzegovina, if you look at it carefully, and I think that

14     you already know this, there's a part over there -- a part of the coast

15     which is the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  So Croatia hasn't got a

16     continuous coastline, continuous territory along the coast, so that, for

17     example, you could go from -- if you went from Split to Dubrovnik, taking

18     the road -- the coastal road which is parallel to the coastline, you have

19     to pass through several miles - I think it's nine miles or whatever - you

20     have to pass through the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

21        A.   Yes.

22             MR. KOVACIC:  So if you know this, then the situation is quite

23     clear, the detail that the general spoke about, that at one point in

24     time, for the Croatian Army to move towards Dubrovnik, the HVO placed

25     itself at the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina and said, No, to the

Page 8024

 1     Croatian Army, you can't pass this way.  You can't take this route.

 2             Well, that is just by way of explaining the map to you, if it is

 3     of any assistance.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understood very well.  So

 5     territorially speaking, there's no continuity; Croatia is cut off at some

 6     point.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

 8        Q.   Now, General --

 9             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]  Your Honour, just another

10     explanation.

11             Croatia wasn't cut off at that point in time.  Croatia is cut off

12     in the same way today.  Bosnia-Herzegovina always had an outlet to the

13     sea at Neum, and which means that Croatia -- there was always a gap in

14     Croatia along that area, along that portion of the coast.

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes, it's the state border.

16     In simple terms, it's the state border.

17             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, but it existed during the

18     Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and during these critical years,

19     and the situation is the same today.  It was never touched, nor did any

20     side challenge that.  Thank you.

21        Q.   General, yesterday we reached 3D01998.

22        A.   No, no, no.  We hadn't finished dealing with 3D00-1996.

23        Q.   All right.  Go ahead.

24        A.   No, I hadn't finished with Franjo Tudjman's speech with the

25     establishment of the Upper House of the Croatian Parliament.  I was

Page 8025

 1     dealing with page 6 of Hrvatski Vojnik.  I hadn't finished discussing

 2     that article.

 3        Q.   That's 3D31-0028, and in English it is 3D40-0805.  Go ahead,

 4     General, please.

 5        A.   I think I finished saying what I wanted to, where Dr. Tudjman

 6     said that the Serbs would be guaranteed all civil rights and the right to

 7     local self-government according to the highest European standards and

 8     standards of the developing world, and that would be enshrined in the

 9     law.  And here he talks about Croatia and the war in Bosnia and

10     Herzegovina.  And he says that the causes of the war in Bosnia and

11     Herzegovina are quite clear; it's clear why they came about.  And he says

12     that Croatia -- that it's vitally important to Croatia for the war to end

13     as soon as possible so that a political solution to the Bosnian and

14     Herzegovinian crisis can be found, and that Croatia must remain vitally

15     interested in resolving this problem.  So we're not denying that Croatia

16     is desirous of this.  And then says why; because of the geo-political

17     strategical links and interdependence between Croatia and

18     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  And then, B, because of the considerable portion of

19     Croats living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the number of inhabitants who have

20     been there for centuries, for ages, and that it was a nation enjoying

21     statehood.  And, C, because of the effects of the war in

22     Bosnia-Herzegovina on the whole economy and the political circumstances

23     in Croatia to the hundredth, and that normalisation with respect to

24     critical positions in the country could not be achieved until the Bosnian

25     crisis is solved, which is of course logical, because without a solution

Page 8026

 1     in -- to the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you can't resolve the whole

 2     situation because it's one battleground.  And I, myself, was surprised by

 3     this pressure exerted by the Americans, that they wanted to -- well, I'd

 4     understand it if they wanted to divide it up, but had they positioned the

 5     army along our borders and then have someone solve the Bosnia-Herzegovina

 6     question.  But the Serbs had taken all this [indicates], taken control of

 7     all these areas.  And I didn't really understand how we were supposed to

 8     forget this fact.  It was a political and military option.  And, of

 9     course, the president knew exactly that unless you resolve the problem in

10     Bosnia-Herzegovina, you couldn't resolve anything else.  And that's what

11     ultimately happened.  It was only with the subsequent operations that

12     took place with the international community's -- with Operation Storm,

13     Flash and Storm, that the problem with Croatia was solved, the problem

14     with the south was solved, and the problem of Bosnia-Herzegovina was

15     solved, as it was solved.

16             It goes on to say that the world, unfortunately, was not

17     completely aware of the fact that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, all the

18     problems that had been present in the former Yugoslavia had come to a

19     head.

20             Further on, he says that the time has come for the terrible war

21     to stop, and he goes on saying what problems might arise if the war

22     continues, because the Mujahedin has appeared.  There's are a lot of

23     volunteers on the Serbian side from Greece, from Moscow, and he says that

24     the war could soon go beyond the regional borders.

25             And then he speaks about the anti-fascist movement in Croatia for

Page 8027

 1     a simple reason.  The reason being that for 30 or 40 years, propaganda

 2     messages had been coming from Belgrade and had been slowly accepted by

 3     the world.  At the end of the day, Franjo Tudjman was also a Ustasha, and

 4     he was then a partisan and a Yugoslav general for some 60 years.  Bobetko

 5     was also a partisan and a general.  I was an Ustasha.  We were all

 6     Ustasha.  And there were decades of lies that spread like propaganda,

 7     causing the feeling of nausea in all of us.  We had to fight against

 8     those lies, although we were absolutely innocent.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Just for the record -- excuse me, Mr. Kovacic.

10     The page was indicated as the final three letters "805," but it must,

11     I think, be 895.

12             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] 805, Your Honour.  In English, in

13     e-court, the last three digits are 805, and the page was also on the

14     screen while it was being discussed.

15        Q.   General, I believe that yesterday you made a reference to the

16     fact that the military prosecutor in Croatia was a Muslim,

17     Colonel Baksic.  Could you please --

18             THE INTERPRETER:  There's too much noise in the courtroom.  The

19     interpreter did not hear the last part of what Mr. Kovacic said.

20             MR. STRINGER:  The last couple of exchanges between Mr. Kovacic

21     and the general have not be picked up by the English translation booth.

22     They're saying there's too much background noise.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, when you turn over

24     the pages, try to be more silent, because it gives a lot of background

25     noise to the booths.

Page 8028

 1             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Very well.  Just for my learned

 2     friend's information, I just asked General Praljak whether he wanted to

 3     continue talking about the military prosecutor, Colonel Baksic, which

 4     would be in the following article, and he was mentioned yesterday only in

 5     passing.  The general said, No, and we are skipping that part.

 6        Q.   General, you said -- you said that -- we can also skip 3D1998.

 7        A.   I don't know, maybe we should show two things.

 8        Q.   Then go on.

 9        A.   The first one is the Easter greetings to the supreme commander.

10     Can you please produce what I wrote on the 27th of March to the HVO in

11     Usora?

12        Q.   This one has been translated, and in Croatian e-court, it is

13     40892, and its translation -- I apologise.  It is 3D40-892 in English,

14     and in Croatian it is 3D31-0038.

15             Go on, General.  You have the floor.

16        A.   Usara, of course, is in Central Bosnia.  I can't find it on the

17     map at the moment.  However, and for their own reasons, which I don't

18     want to address, they wrote to Dr. Tudjman to inform him that they had

19     broken off the Czech [as interpreted] offensive.  They write that they

20     had fired 20.000 different projectiles on them, that they had attacked

21     with 34 tanks, and so on and so forth.

22             However, it also says here that they did all that because of

23     their heart and with the Muslim help.  The offensive was quashed.  They

24     had 19 dead Muslim and Croat soldiers.  And together with the civilians,

25     there were a total of 162 wounded.

Page 8029

 1             And they also say in this letter that -- a reference is made to

 2     the Muslim province.  And here you see the Vance-Owen Plan on

 3     cantonisation had already been signed and also ended up in the canton,

 4     and I'm imploring with everybody because this is being erroneously

 5     treated.  A reference is made here to the Croatian provinces as the

 6     provinces which should only have Croatia population, but this is not

 7     right.  This is the Vance-Owen Plan, and in order to make things simpler

 8     people said -- like here, they say that they remain in the Muslim

 9     province.  By the same token, Croatian Muslims were also mentioned.

10     There were no Muslim or Croatian provinces.  For example, there should

11     have been, allegedly, more Croats in Croat provinces.  They were to be

12     called Croatian provinces, but that has nothing to do with the

13     interpretations according to which those provinces were to be pure.

14     Muslim provinces, likewise, did not have to be pure.  Muslims and Croats

15     in Usora fought together against the Chetniks, as they described it in

16     the letter.  And they say president, that's how they address him,

17     although he's not the president, still they address him as President

18     Tudjman.  And they are hoping that they would be part of an

19     administrative unity because there were a lot of [indiscernible].

20             Of course, this is about Bosnia-Herzegovina.  They are not

21     talking about seceding, about being defending from -- defended from

22     somebody.  Mate Boban and Franjo Tudjman signed the Vance-Owen Plan, and

23     this should have been implemented.  The Serbs never signed it.

24     Mr. Izetbegovic, after having signed it, as was his custom, gave up on

25     it.  That would be that.

Page 8030

 1        Q.   The next article in the same --

 2        A.   No, no, skip that, forget that.

 3        Q.   So we've skipped it.

 4        A.   Give me a moment.  Hold on, hold on.

 5        Q.   Seks?

 6        A.   No, no, we're not going to do Seks, no.  No.  No Seks, forget

 7     Seks, nothing important about Seks.

 8        Q.   And the next "Hrvatski Vojnik" --

 9        A.   No, no, we're moving to "We'll Build Croatia."

10        Q.   Just a moment, can you give me the number?

11        A.   It's the same number.

12             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry.  If there is a pause, could we be

13     told where Usora is?  The Google map does not know a place called Usora.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Usora is too small.  I beg your

15     pardon, begging your pardon?  Pardon?  I know, I know, I know.

16             MR. KARNAVAS:  It's right next to Doboj, Your Honour.  That's

17     where, I believe, the Vice-President Zubak was from, Usora.  I believe

18     it's now part of the Republika Srpska.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't see it.  My eyesight is not

20     that good.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Please continue, Mr. Kovacic.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, "We Will Build

23     Croatia," that's --

24             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

25        Q.   Yes.  It's in the same one, 3D01998, a long article, an interview

Page 8031

 1     with --

 2        A.   It's not an interview, no.

 3        Q.   No, it's not an interview.  This is a speech delivered by

 4     President Tudjman.  The Croatian e-court is 3D31-0044, and in English it

 5     is 3D40-0895.

 6             General, as you go through the subtitles, could you please stop

 7     and give me time to refer everybody to the Croatian and English pages in

 8     e-court.

 9        A.   Of course, I'll do that.

10             This is what, in Croatian, is called the state of the union

11     address.  That's what it would be in America.  Of course, we have a

12     different name in Croatia for that.  This is a most fundamental address

13     by the president to the overall population of Croatia about the basic

14     principles of the state policy in all the spheres of life, including

15     wartimes and what is being attempted; culture, economy, and other things.

16     So this is an equivalent of the state of the union address.

17             I will start with the international circumstances in which we

18     create an independent state.  I'm doing this now, Your Honours, to show

19     you how crystal clear it was to Franjo Tudjman, the president of the

20     state, that he would not have been able to create a Croatian state if he

21     had not understood all international historical circumstances that were

22     at play and if he had not adjusted to those such circumstances.  He was a

23     historian and a statesman who knew so much.  He knew so well what was

24     going on, on the international scene, what kind of policies were in play.

25     And here this is explained very thoroughly and in great detail.

Page 8032

 1             For one to expect that Franjo Tudjman would try to do something

 2     covertly with regard to Bosnia-Herzegovina is completely beyond

 3     comprehension.

 4             Let's take things at a time.  He says, and I'm going to give you

 5     the basic ideas, because it would take me too long to read everything,

 6     Your Honours, he says that the international order was against the

 7     creation of new independent states, that that order as regards Yugoslavia

 8     was based on the results and the outcomes of the First World War, which

 9     was the Versailles [Realtime transcript read in error "Warsaw"] agreement

10     on the creation of a new Yugoslavia.  He also says here that the

11     establishment of new states were opposed by the states --

12             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Sorry to interrupt you.  I would only like to

13     say that there is a mistake in the translation and the transcript, that

14     when you spoke about the outcomes of the First World War, which, as you

15     say, "which was the Warsaw agreement," of course you said Versailles

16     agreement, so the "Warsaw" should be replaced by "Versailles."  Thank

17     you.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

19             He goes on to say that even those who wanted to protect

20     Yugoslavia or, rather, those who wanted to protect Yugoslavia were

21     against the establishment of a new independent Croatia.  He explains what

22     reasons guided them to support the former Yugoslavia, and he also says

23     that the relationships in the former Yugoslavia were not favourable, that

24     the most important representatives of Croatia in the institutions of

25     Yugoslavia were also people who were not very much in favour of the

Page 8033

 1     creation of a new independent state of Croatia.  And he goes on to say

 2     that everybody understood that Slovenia should let go if they so wanted,

 3     i.e., that Serbia was in favour of that, but that Bosnia and Herzegovina

 4     and other republics should remain in Yugoslavia, whereas Croatia would be

 5     given some confederal rights.  Those were the proposals of asymmetrical

 6     federation.  Those meetings ended with some preposterous solutions all to

 7     -- with aim to please Slobodan Milosevic.  And the only thing that could

 8     please Slobodan Milosevic was a Greater Serbia.

 9             Then he goes on to say under 5 that Croatia was in a position

10     where it was -- imposed the legacy of the independent state of Croatia,

11     the historical independent state of Croatia, as a reason against the

12     creation of a new independent state, and he says here that all that has

13     to be born in mind because it is all still present, and that in all of

14     that what one has to bear in mind is our overall international policy.

15             Somebody who would think that they could go against all that

16     would be nothing but a fool.  There were some requests for speedy

17     solutions in Croatia; of course there were.

18             He goes on to say that there is a dissatisfaction in the Croatian

19     people because of the fact that the Croatian administration had not been

20     introduced in all of its areas, that this should have been done through

21     our -- through force.  And he also says -- and he's being asked why he's

22     pursuing his policy, as he does, towards the solution of the crisis in

23     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  It is obvious that the international community has

24     not been able to resolve that crisis through their pens [as interpreted]

25     because they hesitated to resort to stronger political and military

Page 8034

 1     means.

 2             And now I quote --

 3             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the counsel please quote the number of

 4     the English page on e-court.

 5             THE WITNESS:  [Previous translation continues]... because of the

 6     circumstances that prevailed at the time, it --

 7             MR. KARNAVAS:  Excuse me, General Praljak.  Perhaps there could

 8     be some assistance to the translators, because they're trying to keep up

 9     with you, General Praljak.  You're reading quickly.  The translators

10     don't know the number of the page in English.  So perhaps counsel could

11     provide that information.  I'm not conducting the direct.  Otherwise, I

12     would help you out.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.

14             And I quote:

15             "From the circumstances --"

16             MR. STRINGER:  Excuse me.  Before you --

17             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Sorry.  Where do you quote from, that was the

18     question, and it is still an unanswered question.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the same text.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Yes, yes, but the interpreters would like to

21     know on which page.  The pages have three columns.  It is small print.

22     Their task is difficult enough anyway.

23             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   You are now in the portion dealing with Croatia and the war in

25     BH.

Page 8035

 1        A.   No, no.  "International circumstances in which we created an

 2     independent state."  "International circumstances," that's page 2.

 3        Q.   In English e-court, that's 3D40-0895, and then goes on to 896.

 4     Most of it is there.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, you're not

 6     going to read this entire speech.  It's extremely dense.  Just please

 7     read the highlights only that support what you are submitting.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I was hoping I would do that,

 9     so that's what I'll do.

10             From this text, which I hope will be admitted into evidence and

11     will become part of the record, it is clear, crystal clear, that

12     Franjo Tudjman understands all the elements working in the world

13     politics, understands them with cold reason, and adapts his policies to

14     those factors, aware of the fact that anything that might run contrary to

15     the policy might lead to a collapse or might prevent the Croatian state

16     from coming into being.  And then he says that the policy he has pursued

17     has been very careful, very cautious, clean, and that day after day he

18     won over international players, acting in accordance with their demands,

19     even though he was not always in accordance with them because those

20     demands were often quite irrational and unreasonable.

21             He goes on to say in the text that again the policy had to be

22     prudent and that it led to the gradual understanding on the part of the

23     international players and has resulted in the recognition of Croatia's

24     independence and its admission into the membership of the United Nations.

25             And then he says that one should not forget that Croatia on its

Page 8036

 1     route to independence was not armed; it had been disarmed, and that this

 2     state, such as it was, was able to set up a stable democracy, and that

 3     its constitution and other legal acts embodied all the civilizational

 4     achievements of the modern world, and so on.

 5             And then he goes on to say that we were recognised by

 6     103 countries, that 75 countries, including the European community, have

 7     diplomatic relations with us, that we have good relations with the key

 8     great power in the world, the United States of America.

 9             And then he goes on to say that our legal system must guarantee

10     all its citizens, in particular ethnic communities and national

11     minorities, all their rights that have been achieved in modern humanity,

12     that nothing will sway us from our way 100 times.  And then he goes on to

13     say that this has resulted in Croatia being able to sign the Vance Peace

14     Plan, and that it is clear from what is going on in Bosnia and

15     Herzegovina, what the Serb aggressor was ready to destroy in Croatia.

16             And then he goes on to say, speaking about UNPROFOR, that

17     UNPROFOR has fulfilled its tasks, and that there are some problems, but

18     that they are being dealt with.

19             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone for the counsel, please.

20             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

21        Q.   General, now you've moved on to the second heading, "Problems

22     with the protected areas and the UN."  That would be 3D40-0897.  Please

23     go ahead.

24        A.   Well, he speaks about UNPROFOR and how we managed to -- but

25     before the war in BH, let me just remark, he says that he will pursue the

Page 8037

 1     same policy consistently and that citizens will be guaranteed all their

 2     civil and ethnic rights, including a right to self-government, in

 3     accordance with the highest civilizational achievements of Europe and the

 4     modern developed world.

 5             He speaks about a normalisation of the relations with Serbs under

 6     the auspices of the UN peacekeeping force.

 7             And then he says that Croatia is in favour of having free

 8     elections for local government in those areas, and proposes that the

 9     Croatian Parliament should make it possible for the representatives of

10     Serbs from the two districts in which they have the majority, to be

11     members of the Chamber of Counties in the Parliament, and also that the

12     problem of Serb representatives in the Chamber of representatives should

13     also be dealt with.

14             So in the midst of this war, Franjo Tudjman says that for

15     Kotor Glina, for the Glina and Knin districts, he offers the Serb

16     representatives to have their own local self-government, their own

17     police, as we will see later on, and to have their members in both

18     chambers of the Croatian Parliament.

19             And when he talks about the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina --

20        Q.   Just a moment, General.  When he speaks about the war in

21     Bosnia-Herzegovina in English e-court, that would be 3D40-0898, and it

22     spills over to page 0899.

23             Thank you.  Please go ahead.

24        A.   I will not repeat the three basic points, why he says that

25     Croatia is interested in the actual solution.

Page 8038

 1             He says that some powers are getting involved in that war and

 2     that this might lead to an escalation; that the world has condemned the

 3     Serb aggression, but that there are some international factors that are

 4     afraid that there would be a Muslim state in the middle of Europe.  And

 5     he says unfortunately those people who are not from the area, from the

 6     region, do not understand the problem, and he says that the Croatian

 7     people in Bosnia-Herzegovina organised themselves to defend themselves

 8     against the aggression and was able to defend most of its area

 9     successfully, that the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina was saved in this

10     manner, which was true.

11             And then he goes on to say that under the auspices of the London,

12     Geneva, and Europe Conferences, that the position taken by him as a

13     matter of principle was always that any solution to the problem should be

14     such that it would lead to a stable, long-lasting peace.

15             And he says that Bosnia and Herzegovina can only survive as a

16     state if it is made up of three constituent peoples who have equal

17     rights, where they would have a certain degree of power in the areas

18     where they have the majority because, as we will see further on,

19     otherwise we would have the same thing that Bosnia-Herzegovina has seen

20     for centuries now, that any solution imposed from the outside, the

21     Turkish rule, the Austrian annexation, the Serb aspirations, any solution

22     which would not be based on such principles would lead to a chaos in the

23     country, as we are seeing now because the solution simply is not good,

24     and it is all being postponed and the quantity of mistrust, not to say

25     hatred, grows day by day.  Well, I don't want to go into that.

Page 8039

 1             This is, in fact, an address which presents an overview, and I

 2     have to say that a man who understands and sees politics -- international

 3     politics in this way and all the factors that play there, and then to say

 4     that this man and this politics or the policy is plotting to annex parts

 5     of Bosnia-Herzegovina, having carved it up, I think it's simply

 6     unreasonable.  And we can go on.

 7             Let me just -- I'll tell you what I want --

 8        Q.   Very well.  Thank you very much.  The next --

 9        A.   Well, we'll skip the next one.

10        Q.   That's what I thought.

11        A.   We'll skip this one, to cut this short.

12        Q.   201, 3D0201.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before moving to this other

14     document, I have a question coming from this speech which was delivered

15     in front of the two chambers, a speech made by the president of Croatia,

16     speaking before his citizens and the elected -- fellow citizens and

17     elected officials.

18             So he is there to talk about the policy that he's about to

19     conduct.  Now, given this, Mr. Praljak, I noted one thing.  In this

20     speech, President Tudjman addresses the problem of conflicts in

21     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  He says, Unfortunately in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there

22     are conflicts between the Croatian and the Muslim troops, and he adds "in

23     some places."  So he's not saying it's a widespread conflict.  He's very

24     careful and says that it only occurs in some places, and this is quite

25     important.  It's a president speaking to his people.  He's not allowed to

Page 8040

 1     make any mistake, and what he says must actually reflect the truth or the

 2     reality.  This is what he says, "in some places."  And then it seems that

 3     he's going to give the reasons for all this.  It seems that he says that

 4     it's the consequence of the Serbian aggression, that it also comes from

 5     the intentions and acts of irresponsible Muslim extremists.

 6             The analysis of the reasons of the conflict between Croats and

 7     Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina that he's actually carrying out, I would

 8     like to know whether the entire political class in Croatia at the time

 9     shared this opinion or whether here Tudjman is only expressing his

10     personal opinion.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, I can't really

12     give you an answer to that question because, of course, there were

13     various texts and statements as to why the conflict broke out.  There

14     were those who blamed it only on Serbs, those who blamed it only on

15     Muslims, and there were those who blamed only the HVO in Herceg-Bosna,

16     because as President Tudjman once said, there would not have been any war

17     in this area had Croatia agreed to remain in Yugoslavia.  Well, it's very

18     simple -- very simple to avoid war if you agree to remain a slave.

19             And the same thing went for Bosnia and Herzegovina.  There were

20     no conflicts between Muslims and Croats here in Bihac [indicates].  There

21     were no conflicts between Croats and Muslims in Posavina.  There were no

22     such conflicts here in the whole central area, Tuzla-Zenica,

23     Zenica-Tuzla, and so on.  There were conflicts in Konjic and in

24     Central Bosnia, and then it spread.

25             Of course, I share the position, and I will try to show what it

Page 8041

 1     was through the documents that I will call up in the course of my

 2     evidence, that several factors contributed to the conflict.  One is the

 3     influx of a great number of refugees into that area, but this is my

 4     position, and I reached that position through conducting some analysis on

 5     my own.  But the international community could not force the Serbs, who

 6     had taken large parts of the territory, to agree to any kind of logical

 7     peace, and then this part of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina that

 8     Croats and Muslims had left [indicates] simply made the negotiators, in

 9     particular I'm referring now to Mr. Izetbegovic and people who pursued

10     his policy, because we will see that Mr. Izetbegovic was not really all

11     that independent in pursuing this policy, to say, Okay, whatever we

12     present to the international community as being under our control in the

13     field, the international community is going to recognise it, because it

14     recognised the Serb conquests, because it is not the purpose of the

15     international community to get a just solution, but just to get peace at

16     any cost.  And born out of this kind of thinking, we had this kind of

17     logic, that the BH Army should take Central Bosnia and should take, as it

18     is stated by Sefer Halilovic explicitly, to get to its western borders

19     and to get to Neum and to Ploce, and then to simply say to the

20     international community, Well, we've dealt with the problem.  Serbs have

21     their own part; we've managed to capture our part of the territory.  And

22     I say to you, Your Honours, that they would have accepted that, because

23     they accepted the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as Serbs did in the

24     course of the war; 49 percent of an ethnically-cleansed state.  Of

25     course, this runs contrary to what I feel should be the moral fibre of

Page 8042

 1     the international politics, but there you have it.  That's the real

 2     politic for you.

 3             And this is why this is Franjo Tudjman's position, but this is

 4     also the way that the entire government thought, including the parliament

 5     and everybody else who looked at things reasonably.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, if you could

 7     please answer shortly, if you could give us shorter answers, you know, we

 8     could have more questions, that would be nice.

 9             I have one last question regarding this document, a question that

10     I put through the -- by looking at the possibility that Mr. Tudjman might

11     be playing a double game, which is the case alleged by the Prosecution.

12             On page 3D40-0899 for the English version, the first column, the

13     first paragraph of this first column on this page, he says, and I quote:

14             "Croatia recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina, and up until now it is

15     the first and the only one who sent an ambassador to this country."

16             Tudjman is thus saying that Croatia recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina

17     first and sent an ambassador to this country.  How can you interpret

18     this, coming from Mr. Tudjman?  Do you believe that in his mind, he is

19     making a symbolic gesture, or is it a gesture that runs parallel to

20     recognising a state, or is there something more, the fact that he wants

21     to be number one -- the first one to send an ambassador, the first one to

22     recognise the state?  How can you analyse all this?

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, precisely in that way.  If

24     you want a country to remain integral, you're going to recognise it

25     first, you're going to send an ambassador first, well, to Sarajevo, and

Page 8043

 1     it was Mr. Sancevic in this particular case.  And Mr. Izetbegovic didn't

 2     want to take a plane and go to Sarajevo, or him to take a plane, and that

 3     would prevent some political gains, but not on the Croatian side.

 4             So let me repeat.  Franjo Tudjman sent a prominent personage to

 5     spend a month in Bosnia-Herzegovina lobbying to have a referendum first

 6     because, Your Honours, the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina were not prone to

 7     go to a referendum for retaining Bosnia-Herzegovina without a precise

 8     qualification of what kind of Bosnia-Herzegovina they were going to have,

 9     because the essence of the problem is not Bosnia-Herzegovina, as such,

10     but what kind of Bosnia-Herzegovina it would be.  I, as a citizen and

11     Croat, what would I gain in that kind of Bosnia-Herzegovina?  And it was

12     expected that Mr. Izetbegovic would come out with a crystal clear -- and

13     I had a long conversation with him in Mostar in October, that he would

14     come out with a crystal-clear stand and say, I am offering to the Croats,

15     Muslims, Bosniaks and Serbs, I'm offering this kind of system, internal

16     system for Bosnia-Herzegovina, so let's fight for that social order.  And

17     I'm going to talk about this discussion I had with him in due course.

18             So President Tudjman lobbied as much as he could to have this

19     question of the referendum agreed to, and the Croats would not have

20     agreed to that, and it was the Livanjski problem.  I wouldn't have agree

21     to that, either, because the crux of the matter was what kind of

22     Bosnia-Herzegovina were we going to have, just as what is the position of

23     France in Europe?  What kind of country is Switzerland in Europe?  So it

24     wasn't a question of challenging Bosnia-Herzegovina as a country and

25     state, per se, as such, but here we have Tudjman selling his envoy in all

Page 8044

 1     Islamic countries.  Demirel's Turkey, they understood just how much

 2     Croatia had done for the Muslim population more than the West understood

 3     this, because people came in there from Iran, and Mr. Demirel, the

 4     president, was there several times, he set up a joint delegation with

 5     Mr. Tudjman to go to Mostar and try and find peace --

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, just a minute.

 7     Your answers are very lengthy.  Please try to cut it short.

 8             But you just said something that forces me to put a question to

 9     you.  It's something new that I've just discovered.  You just said that

10     President Tudjman lobbied as much as he could to have the referendum, a

11     referendum that could only lead to the existence of the Republic of

12     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  But logically, if President Tudjman intended to

13     annex Herzegovina, shouldn't he then have lobbied with the Croats of

14     Herzegovina or acted with them to tell them, you know, Say no in the

15     referendum, vote no, because Croatia must be integrated?  Wouldn't that

16     be more logical?

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour, what would have

18     been more logical?  He didn't even have to say, Don't vote.  The Croats

19     down there, without his influence, wouldn't have voted at all.  In other

20     words, the Badinter Commission would not be able to say that

21     Bosnia-Herzegovina exists as a state, because two ethnic groups would be

22     against, and quite simply we could have cut off that part without any

23     problems, militarily and otherwise.  We were far stronger than the

24     BH Army.  And in 1992 and when the war was going on down there, I,

25     together with the HVO and Petkovic, we were able to take a chunk, just

Page 8045

 1     like the Serbs did; Uskoplje and Rama and Central Bosnia, and all the

 2     rest of it.  But throughout that time, we assisted the BH Army and

 3     supplied it with weapons, so where's the logic there?  You recognise a

 4     state and force or try and have the people recognise the state if you

 5     want to cut off a portion later on, and you send an envoy, you send an

 6     ambassador, you sign agreements.  Well, that's precisely what I'm saying.

 7     It's quite unreasonable.  I can't understand that.  Nobody can understand

 8     that.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have five minutes before the

10     break.

11             Mr. Kovacic.

12             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

13        Q.   Perhaps before we move on to the next document, General, while

14     we're on the subject of responding to Judge Antonetti's question, you

15     mentioned your personal meeting and conversation with Izetbegovic in

16     October, and that was on page 34, line 5, of the transcript.  Could you

17     tell us what that year was.

18        A.   1992.

19        Q.   Thank you.  Now, this brings us to document 3D0201 --

20        A.   No, only 0200, and I have a small part there that I would like to

21     address.  3D02000, so three 0s, 2000, and it was an interviewed by

22     today's Prime Minister Sanader.  And at the time he was, I think, the

23     deputy foreign minister, Dr. Ivo Sanader.

24        Q.   Just a moment.  In Croatian, the page is --

25        A.   I'll tell you.  I'll tell you.  It's page 11 of

Page 8046

 1     "Hrvatski Vojnik," and it just says:

 2             "Can we, within this context, stand up parallel to Serb diplomacy

 3     which has for years disseminated lies?"

 4        Q.   That hasn't been translated.

 5        A.   What do you mean, it hasn't been translated?

 6        Q.   Well, on page 12, in the middle column, it says:

 7             "Dr. Sanader, you presented interesting views and the

 8     strengthening of cooperation between," et cetera, et cetera.

 9        A.   I'll read it out.  Dr. Sanader in that text says what kind of

10     propaganda you have during a war, and everybody that has dealt with

11     anything like this knows how many lies are disseminated, and I quote:

12             "On Easter Monday, the 12th of April, 1993, the world news

13     agencies broadcast a Serb lie to the effect that the conflicts between

14     the Muslims and Croats in Travnik started by the nationalistic cry to

15     genocide, appeal to genocide."

16             And then this "fierce appeal" is in quotations:

17             " ... none other," than once again in inverted commas, "the well

18     known 'extremist,' the Croatian Defence Minister Gojko Susak.  Allegedly,

19     this piece of news was confirmed by two high-ranking officers of

20     UNPROFOR.  And on that same day, I reacted to this untruth, because I was

21     present together with the other high-ranking officers of the HDZ at the

22     great fair, Velesajam, where we held the main board meeting of the party.

23             "Minister Susak," and you can see this from the papers, "was

24     sitting in the first row at that meeting.  Later on, Mr. Susak

25     acknowledged that he'd never been to Travnik."

Page 8047

 1             Now, Your Honours, there you have it.  This is one example, and

 2     this was mentioned for a long time later on, how war propaganda and lies

 3     were disseminated.  And I think that some Prosecution documents mentioned

 4     that Gojko Susak delivered this speech in Travnik, and on the same day

 5     there's a photograph in the papers.

 6             Quite simply, propaganda and lies took on a great importance and

 7     were disseminated by and large all over, and unfortunately we did not

 8     manage to set up a television station and to be able to disseminate our

 9     own information and stand up to this misinformation that was broadcast to

10     the world on a daily basis and caused major upsets and deviations of the

11     truth.  So that's that.

12        Q.   General, something was lost in translation.  Can you just repeat

13     your assertion.  The sentence on page 37, line 17 and 18, wasn't quite

14     clear.  You said that Gojko Susak allegedly, according to certain

15     sources, was in Travnik, whereas on that same day he was where, and where

16     did his photograph appear?

17        A.   He was at Velesajam.

18        Q.   Where?

19        A.   In Zagreb.

20        Q.   And?

21        A.   Attending the main board meeting of the Croatian Democratic

22     Community, and that on that day the papers published this, they published

23     where he was.  It came out in the papers.

24             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I think that clarifies matters.

25     Now let's take a --

Page 8048

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's time to have a 20-minute

 2     break.

 3                           --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.

 4                           --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.

 6             Please proceed, Mr. Kovacic.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.  Thank you

 8     to the interpreters.

 9        Q.   General, this 3D02001 and the next one, 2002, we're going to skip

10     that to save a bit of time, and this brings us to 3D02003.  And there's a

11     long article there about the celebrations of the anti-fascist struggle

12     and the 400 years of the battle of Sisak, and President Tudjman is

13     speaking at length here about that.  And you want to focus on certain

14     issues.  In Croatian e-court, it is 3D31-0076, and for the English it is

15     3D40-00929.

16             Go ahead, General.

17        A.   Well, it was a two-fold meeting.  On the 22nd of June, 1941, the

18     1st Partisan Detachment was established in Sisak of the anti-fascist

19     council, and it was considered to be the first in Europe, setup in

20     Europe, and also it was the 400th anniversary of the great battle of

21     Sisak between the Croats and the Osmani Empire, the Ottoman Empire.  And

22     in history, it is considered that after that battle, which the Croats

23     won, the burgeoning of the Ottoman Empire towards the West was stopped,

24     and that was the beginning of the fall of the Ottoman Empire.  And it is

25     important to mention that all the members of the diplomatic corps were

Page 8049

 1     invited to attend the rally in Sisak and that there were two prominent

 2     anti-fascist fighters, partisans, Dr. Franjo Tudjman and

 3     Mr. Janko Bobetko, and they both delivered speeches.

 4             It's a long article, as I said, and following Judge Antonetti's

 5     instructions and guide-lines, I'd just like to emphasise that

 6     Franjo Tudjman was speaking about how the anti-fascist movement in

 7     Croatia was formed and how many partisans there were from the Croatian

 8     nation, without, of course, denying the part the Serbs played, the Serbs

 9     from Croatia.  And proportionately, according to the number of

10     inhabitants, he says - he won't omit to say that - there were more of

11     them than there were Croats.  And he goes on to say that the anti-fascist

12     movement -- that there was a German detachment of the anti-fascist

13     movement in Croatia, an Italian battalion, anti-fascist one, there was a

14     Jewish battalion, a Czech brigade, a Muslim brigade.  And further on he

15     goes on to say that it was on the basis of this kind of anti-fascist

16     movement in Croatia, contrary and opposing the Pavelic regime, that

17     Croatia already at that time at the ZAVNOH and AVNOJ meetings, which were

18     the constituent elements, that Croatia gained the constitutional right to

19     its own republic, and he says that it was no province, it was not a

20     province, as was claimed by some European statesmen, and that pursuant to

21     the Constitution, the Croatian nation, the Croatian people, had the right

22     to self-determination.

23             Further on, he goes on to speak about how, through history,

24     Serbian hegemony over the Croats developed.

25        Q.   Just a moment, General.  That is "Learn the lessons of history,"

Page 8050

 1     is it?  3D40-0930 is the English e-court?

 2        A.   No, no, we're a long way from that.  We're dealing with "Never

 3     Serbian hegemony in Croatia again," that title, and then we have "Croatia

 4     and the anti-fascist movement during the war."

 5             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the speakers kindly slow down and not

 6     overlap.  It is impossible to translate.

 7             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 8        Q.   The subtitle "Never again a Serb hegemony in Croatia" --

 9        A.   They are not subtitles, they are supra-titles.  "Croatia on the

10     side of anti-fascism during the war," that's what I'd like to speak about

11     now.

12        Q.   In English, it is 0931.  That's the page.  Go ahead, please.

13        A.   He reminds us here --

14             JUDGE PRANDLER:  Excuse me.  I wonder if you have listened to the

15     interpreters, Mr. Kovacic and Mr. Praljak.  They cannot follow you.

16     Please, kindly slow down.  Thank you.

17             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.  That was my mistake.

18     I was trying to help out -- help the interpreters out by giving them the

19     page numbers, so I -- but I apologise.

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I apologise to you too,

21     Judge Prandler, and especially to the interpreters.  Unfortunately, one's

22     tongue and one's mind is linked; they are linked together.  And even if I

23     try to slow down my thoughts, unfortunately they tend to move rapidly,

24     beyond my will, and that's where the problem comes.

25             Anyway, he's reminding his friends in France here, and those who

Page 8051

 1     were not favorably disposed towards us for whatever reason, that the

 2     command of the resistance movement of Southern France was a Croat by the

 3     name of Ilic, who was given the rank of a French general and the highest

 4     French decoration, the Legion of Honour, and I think the Order of the

 5     War Cross as well.  I think he was given that decoration too, and that

 6     the man afterwards became the husband of Zinka Kunc, who was a famous

 7     opera singer.  She was an opera singer at the Metropolitan in New York.

 8             I've said all the rest of it about the constitutional decision

 9     and the right given to Croatia as an anti-fascist victor, et cetera.

10             I'd like to move on now to another title which says "We want a

11     political solution," and that is to be found on --

12             MR. KOVACIC:

13        Q.   In English, 3D40-0932 is where that part begins.

14        A.   Here he says what the Serbs want and how they want to achieve

15     that.  He refers again to the Knina Corps in Knin.  He also offers a

16     local self-government as something that they should get.  He says that

17     the military option is not what we want.  And further on, he says that

18     the normalisation of Croatian and Serb relationship is necessary for both

19     Croatia and Serbia.  And then he says that already some 20 years ago, at

20     scientific meetings, he spoke -- he wrote that the time would come for

21     the misfortunate Balkans to have reason prevail and that the Balkans

22     will -- would become a new Scandinavia.  This is something that

23     Dr. Franjo Tudjman was dealing with before the war for some 20 years or

24     so.  Then he explains how the Finns, the Swedes, the Danes, and the

25     Norwegians found a solution to their problem a long time before that.

Page 8052

 1             He also speaks about the Second World War and how misfortunate an

 2     event that was when the partisans waged a war against the

 3     [indiscernible], and the Catholics waged the war against the Orthodox,

 4     and that one should learn their lesson from history in order to avoid

 5     such happenings in the future.  And further on, he speaks at great length

 6     how this would be in the best interests of Europe, how the Czechs and

 7     Slovaks managed to separate peacefully, as well as they did in the Soviet

 8     Union.

 9             I was following his political and scientific work, and I've

10     always seen the same political thesis.

11        Q.   Now we're moving to 0933 in English e-court version.

12        A.   He again says that both -- that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina has

13     come to an end through a political solution that will be satisfactory to

14     all the three peoples there, because only that can be the foundation for

15     a long-lasting and stable peace.  He knew, as a historian, that all the

16     former solutions for Bosnia-Herzegovina, starting with the

17     Berlin Congress and others, were imposed on Bosnia and Herzegovina and

18     always ended in a disaster.

19             He goes on to provide a historical perspective and explain why

20     things should be done the way they should be done, what happened

21     throughout history if the political solutions were not good.

22             And then again he speaks about Bosnia and Herzegovina and what

23     happened there.  He calls it a conflict, and he says that among the

24     Muslims, as we all know, there appeared a thesis which they presented

25     that they were not ready for the Serbs and that they, however, were ready

Page 8053

 1     for the Croats.  He says that this is perilous, that this is tantamount

 2     to suicide.

 3             He also says that we have recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina.  He

 4     makes a reference and speaks at great length about refugees.

 5             He says that the Croatian population in Central Bosnia came under

 6     attack, that all Muslim politicians, soldiers, and all of them together,

 7     as we all know only too well and will be able to see from documents, are

 8     walking freely across Croatia as if they were in their own country, or

 9     even freer than in their own country.  However, some of them provided

10     statements to the press calling for the overthrow of the democratic

11     government in Croatia.

12             And again he says that the interests of the three peoples should

13     be taken into account, a good solution.  Always the same, more of the

14     same, and always the same, and more of it.

15        Q.   Very well.  Now we can move on to 3D02 -- I apologise.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  Mr. Praljak, let

17     us deal with this small topic which is, however, very important, the

18     issue of the number of refugees.

19             Mr. Tudjman says that there were half a million refugees that

20     moved over to Croatia, 400.000 from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He says

21     400.000.  That is a major number of people, and apparently he says that

22     272.000 people were Muslims.

23             I'm trying to find some logic wherever I am.  I try to

24     understand.

25             If the Republic of Croatia was in a state of mind that was

Page 8054

 1     connected with the Herceg-Bosna leaders, with a view to carrying out

 2     ethnic cleansing, why would it have harboured and welcomed 272.000

 3     Muslims, whilst it could have been told to the Muslims that they were to

 4     go to areas that were controlled by the ABiH?  Do you have an explanation

 5     for this, Mr. Praljak?  How is it that 272.000 Muslims moved -- flowed to

 6     the Republic of Croatia?  Why were they not directed to ABiH-controlled

 7     areas, rather than to the Republic of Croatia?  Is there an explanation

 8     for this?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, there is, Your Honour.

10             First of all, the number that is mentioned by Dr. Tudjman is

11     probably just the current situation.  There were a lot more refugees from

12     Bosnia and Herzegovina, and displaced persons, who either stayed in

13     Croatia for a longer time or passed through it.  First they would be

14     received in Croatia, and then they would move on to some third countries

15     that would receive them.

16             Next, we saw the figure, and we heard it from Dr. Rebic, that the

17     number was higher.

18             Second of all, 70 percent of the territory of Bosnia and

19     Herzegovina, or maybe somewhat less, maybe 68 percent of the territory of

20     Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbs occupied in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The

21     number of refugees from those territories was over a million, and some of

22     the refugees stayed, and that constitutes the impaired ethnic balance or

23     dis-balance.  Some part of these people found accommodation in the

24     territory under the control of the BH Army, and the HVO Mostar was

25     swamped, Uskoplje was swamped, Central Bosnia was swamped with them.

Page 8055

 1     However, Your Honours, you can't -- the first excavators that were sent

 2     to amend the forest-path that led towards Rama, the well-known road of

 3     salvation, Mr. Stojic and I worked in 1992 and managed to convince some

 4     private persons who had excavators to give us the excavators and try and

 5     make a proper path, because before the vehicles would end up in the

 6     ditch.  How could you not let people go?  People just kept on coming and

 7     coming, and people kept on coming.  You can't return those people and

 8     tell them, You can't go through.  It never occurred to us to do that.  We

 9     let through hundreds of thousands of people.  The first station was in

10     Posusje, where they would be fed and spend the night, and then they would

11     be sent on their way.  Transportation had to be arranged.  Those vast

12     amounts of people required resources and efforts that we just could not

13     invest because we simply did not have the resources.

14             For example, we would talk to three private owners of excavators

15     who would then agree to do that, and then a British battalion came.  And

16     for their own reasons, they continued improving the road.  There were

17     wounded.  There was no way one could send people back.  You just could

18     not leave them in the forest or on the road.  When you have 15.000 people

19     arriving in Rama, what can you do?  It never occurred to us to send them

20     back.

21             These people were en route to Croatia, and Croatia went beyond

22     all of their resources, filled up all the hotels along the Adriatic

23     coast, every single house that could be used, and in doing that they had

24     to make sure that these people should not be within the shelling range.

25             For example, Sisak, Varazdin, Demistura, everything was full.  It

Page 8056

 1     was bursting at the seams.  There were Croats, from Bosnia, Muslims.

 2     Nobody was turned down, nobody was turned down ever, neither wounded nor

 3     a refugee.  It never occurred to us to dwell upon what to do with them,

 4     where to send them.  There was no ethnic cleanses.  There was not even a

 5     remote thought to that effect.  Those were people who were fleeing to

 6     save their lives, to save their hides, and they were received, they were

 7     accepted.  And we worked day and night, as it were, under the conditions

 8     that prevailed at the time.  And I believe that everybody knows only too

 9     well what the conditions were at the time, financial and all the others.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.

11             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise.  I'm sure that you

13     know the part where I led one of the operations, which was transferring

14     people across the Neretva who had been expelled from Stolac, 15.000

15     people and 3.000 cars.  I'll go back to that situation.

16             We used a raft, a simple makeshift raft, to transport people and

17     cars, some heavy lorries as well that we had managed to load, and they

18     were all accommodated in Medjugorje, Citluk.  Some were transferred on to

19     Croatia, in the houses there.

20             And now what was insulting at the time and still is insulting

21     today, some of them who were not accommodated the first night.  It was

22     summer; they would remained outdoors; they would be given blankets, and

23     then a European Monitor would come by and he would tell us, Look what

24     you're doing.  It was insulting then, and it is still insulting.  If the

25     conditions were not the way he thought they should be, as he had just

Page 8057

 1     arrived from Munich or Paris, or God knows where from, this was

 2     belittling the efforts that had been invested in all that.

 3             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 4        Q.   General, could you please look at 3D02004.  This is an article

 5     entitled "Where there's no police, there's no life."  This is an

 6     interview with the then minister of the interior of Croatia.  I believe

 7     that you wanted to single out just one thing.

 8        A.   Yes, "A border without a barbed wire."

 9        Q.   This is on Croatian e-court page 3D31-0091, and in English 0004

10     and on to 0005.

11        A.   Just the first sentence here.  He is asked, What state borders

12     are you controlling?  Answer, and he says, The state borders we are fully

13     controlling today are the state borders with Hungary, Slovenia,

14     Montenegro, and Italy on the sea, and one part of the state border with

15     Bosnia and Herzegovina.

16             Thus, the minister of the interior controls the state borders.

17     And as for Bosnia and Herzegovina, he could not control the entire border

18     because there were Serbs here [indicates], and he cannot control the

19     narrow part in the west, because this is the free part of Bosnia and

20     Herzegovina.  He cannot control this part here [indicates] because the

21     Serb forces are across the border.  And that would be all about that.

22        Q.   Thank you very much.

23        A.   Well, it's obvious that he's speaking about other states; Italy,

24     Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Bosnia-Herzegovina is a different

25     state.

Page 8058

 1        Q.   3D02005 is what we are skipping, I believe.

 2        A.   Yes.

 3        Q.   3D02006?

 4        A.   Yes.

 5        Q.   We are skipping?

 6        A.   Yes, we are skipping.

 7        Q.   Just one article there.  006, that's "Hrvatski Vojnik" of the

 8     10th of September, 1993, and here at page 4 -- or, rather, that's

 9     3D31-0110.  There is an article about a session of the National Security

10     Council.  It's called "For Herceg-Bosna in a united BiH."  That's

11     3D40-0007, spilling over 0008 in the English version in e-court.

12             Please go ahead, General.  What did you want to say about it?

13        A.   Well, again, a clear confirmation of the truth in this whole

14     story, and that is that on that date the National Defence and

15     Security Council in Croatia reiterates that as far as Croatia is

16     concerned, that Bosnia and Herzegovina is an internationally-recognised

17     member of the United Nations and that the proposal of the international

18     community about the internal organisation of BiH as a union of three

19     republics is accepted, and that Bosnia and Herzegovina -- that the war

20     should be stopped, and that to the surprise of all international factors,

21     Izetbegovic first agreed to it and then refused to sign it; that Croatia

22     advocates Bosnia and Herzegovina as an internationally-recognised member

23     of the United Nations; that it accepts the plan that was tabled; that it

24     favours full compliance with the international law.  And that's all I

25     have to say.  That's the end -- that's the end of it.

Page 8059

 1        Q.   We will now skip 3D00208.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, General Praljak.

 3             Look at the photograph in this document, please.  Is this the

 4     room in which the people who were received at the presidential palace

 5     were meeting?  We'll soon come to the transcripts.  You attended some of

 6     the meeting.  Is this the room, the meeting room, the usual meeting room?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.  That was the room where

 8     meetings were usually held.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Second question.

10     We know that everything that was said was being recorded.  Where were the

11     microphones?  Maybe you don't know.

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the table, that's where the

13     microphones were.  Sorry?  Well, I don't see it here, but I can see the

14     little markers indicating who is to sit where, and it says here that a

15     part of the session of the council, when Geneva Conference was discussed,

16     was attended by Mate Boban, as a guest, and you can see he is third

17     person on the right.  There is Bobetko, Susak, Boban, with

18     President Tudjman sitting at the head of the table, and to his right-hand

19     side is Mesic.  I said initially to the left, it's on the picture, but in

20     real -- in actual fact, he was seated to his right.  Then there's Seks,

21     Mate Granic.  And the picture is not all that clear, so I can't tell you

22     who the others were.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A technical question.  The

24     National Security and Defence Council, when it came to meetings, was this

25     one of the most secretive meetings?  Is that the sort of meeting where

Page 8060

 1     you had the inner circle around the president of the republic?  Was this

 2     the type of meetings that would gather the key actors, the key players,

 3     the closest people to the president?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there was a decision on who

 5     comprised the National Defence and Security Council, and this decision

 6     clearly stipulates that.  But one could say that this was the part of the

 7     military, police, the parliament, the speaker of the parliament.  So key

 8     figures in all state institutions; the military, the parliament, the

 9     government, and the police, and the foreign affairs.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When there were such meetings,

11     would everybody agree or were there different opinions that might lead to

12     the fact that what was said was being controlled?

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.  The meetings were

14     very open in nature.  There would be a topic on the agenda, and there was

15     open debate about all those things.  Whoever wanted to take the floor was

16     free to do so and to present their opinions.  Of course, there would be

17     various questions, hypotheticals, If we do this or that, then what would

18     happen?  So it would be a typical debate of an analysis of the situation.

19     So people did not go there to present their opinions.  Often, people

20     would say, Okay, if you say this, let me say the contrary thing to see

21     whether your thesis holds water.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It was the 10th of September,

23     1993.  This document shows that a decision or an opinion is adopted by

24     the people attending the meeting.  It said that the Republic of Croatia

25     continued to support the unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Page 8061

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When this was said, could it be

 3     understood in two ways, a dual language, as it were?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, but whom were you

 5     to present this double language?  The UN recognised Bosnia and

 6     Herzegovina.  There were ambassadors.  Please believe me when I say this

 7     with utter sincerity.  I simply cannot understand this argument, what

 8     this would mean.  We say one thing, and then we'll do another.  We are

 9     suppose to butt heads with the United Nations.  Croatia recognised Bosnia

10     and Herzegovina, sent its ambassador there, helped the refugees, helped

11     arm the people, so I really can't understand.  How could we do this in

12     such an underhanded manner and take away parts of the country?  So I'm

13     asking this, okay, let's assume that we were lying, but please, can

14     somebody tell me, what were we supposed to do in secret?  Well, my brain

15     simply ceases to operate there.  I simply am not smart enough to

16     understand this argument put forward by the Prosecution.  I'm too stupid

17     to understand it.  I know the truth, because I was part of the whole

18     chain of events right from the beginning, but I simply do not understand

19     a single thing.  And I'm saying this with utmost sincerity.  There was

20     nothing of the sort in thought or action.  And we'll see what actions

21     Croatia took to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muslims, and the BH Army,

22     and -- well, I simply cannot understand it, Your Honours.  That's as much

23     as I can tell you.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question.

25             This document reaffirms the fact that the Republic of Croatia

Page 8062

 1     also supports the Republic of Herceg-Bosna in the framework of the union

 2     of the three republics.  It's written in black and white.

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is a proposal of the

 4     international community, and the international community tabled this

 5     proposal.  This was not a proposal, as you will see from the documents

 6     that I will show you later, that Alija Izetbegovic's adviser -- well,

 7     we'll see those documents.  Herceg-Bosna was a temporary, interim

 8     solution set up by a group of municipalities for the purposes of the

 9     defence.  And as soon as the international community tabled its first

10     proposal, that very moment, and I think that Mr. Karnavas presented all

11     that, the moment they accepted the solution, everybody was ready to

12     renounce Herceg-Bosna.

13             So this headline here, I think it was the Vance-Stoltenberg --

14     or, rather, the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, they tabled the plan, and

15     Franjo Tudjman co-signed it on behalf of Croatia, and Boban immediately

16     signed it on behalf of this Herceg-Bosna.

17             So let me share a joke with you.  There was a saying about

18     Franjo Tudjman, Take away his pen, because he keeps signing everything,

19     whatever the international community puts before him.  There was -- there

20     was some graffiti, Take away his pen.  So there's really no

21     behind-the-scenes games here.  Well, he's not a fool.  You have to read

22     everything that he said.

23             103 countries recognised Croatia, and the United Nations, so now

24     he's supposed to go and do something without getting the approval of the

25     USA and France.  Well, I really can't understand it.  It must be that I'm

Page 8063

 1     stupid.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.

 3             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

 4        Q.   General, let me rephrase the question.  The remaining two issues

 5     of "Hrvatski Vojnik," 3D224 and 228, do you perhaps want to comment on

 6     it?

 7        A.   Well, that's not "Hrvatski Vojnik."  We'll deal with that later.

 8     It's a Muslim magazine.

 9        Q.   So we won't be going into those two issues?

10        A.   No.

11             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we will need --

12     perhaps we can deal with just one minor matter.

13             The day before yesterday, Your Honours, there was a discussion

14     about the HV booklet and ID card, and General Praljak said that he had it

15     in his possession, and he brought it with him.  I suggested he should put

16     it on the ELMO, and we have photocopies for everyone.  So I would kindly

17     ask the usher to assist me.

18        Q.   General, could you please describe in your own words --

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It seems that we have a

20     problem.  We're running out of luck.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, could perhaps you just show

22     it to the Judges?

23             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I suggest that you look at the

24     original --

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, you can show this

Page 8064

 1     another time, when it will be fixed.

 2             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Well, we can do that, but we just

 3     wanted to show that it didn't slip our mind, this whole discussion, and

 4     we wanted to show.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's fixed.

 6             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you had to provide us

 7     with the alternative before, and then this whole thing would start

 8     functioning earlier.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, this is what we had, and it

10     was introduced relatively late.  This is the military ID card from the

11     HVO.  And this one, these two are from the Croatian Army.  And here, let

12     me show you -- sorry.  Here, this is when I was a colonel, and this is

13     when I became a major general [indicates], and you can see here it shows

14     you that it was impossible to establish things properly, because I had to

15     sign, myself, as the author, as the official, because there was nobody

16     else to sign it in Sunja, when a signature was required.

17             And here [indicates] this HVO ID card was issued on the 1st of

18     May, 1992.

19             And here [indicates] it's the military ID card from the BH Army.

20     You can see I received it, and it was signed by Mr. Arif Pasalic.

21     I think I got it when we went to Rama to try and calm the situation down.

22     I think it was in late October 1992.  His signature has faded, but you

23     can see the stamp.  But if you look with the magnifying-glass, you can

24     see the signature of Arif Pasalic, the commander of the 4th Corps of the

25     BH Army in Mostar.  I can show it to the Prosecution.  If they look from

Page 8065

 1     this angle, they will see Arif Pasalic's signature.

 2             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the BH Army military

 3     ID card has an ID number, and we will be tendering it into evidence.  We

 4     sought for that in our motion for late admission on the 65 ter list.  And

 5     as regards those HV and HVO ID cards, we do not intend to tender them

 6     because it is a notorious fact that he was a member both of the HV and

 7     the HVO.  But since this was a question pertaining to a soldier who was

 8     killed and who is mentioned in the Kordic/Cerkez judgement, so this man

 9     could be in the possession of only this ID card, and it doesn't contain

10     any other details.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's for sure.  These are

12     the only ID cards in existence, as -- and as you can see, I obviously

13     fought, myself.  There were five limited conflicts between the HVO and

14     the BH Army, or rather this conflict was very fierce, but it was limited

15     to a short time-period and a small area, and in the end it died down.

16             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I think this completes our

17     examination into this issue.

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Almost, almost.

19             Mr. Kovacic, if I correctly recall and understood, we spoke not

20     only of ID cards, but of a military booklet, and I just want to recall

21     this.  It appears that this booklet is not available.  I am not saying

22     that this is an essential piece of evidence at all, but together with

23     this, it might have completed the display of the memorabilia of

24     Mr. Praljak as a military.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, a

Page 8066

 1     military booklet was introduced at a very late stage, after the first

 2     group of people who had been drafted, who actually did their regular

 3     national service, and this military booklet is never given to soldiers.

 4     It is kept in the Secretariat of Defence, in its files.  It's the same

 5     thing with the work record booklet in Croatia.  It is kept by the

 6     employer.  You don't have -- the soldiers did not have them.  They are

 7     kept in the filing cabinets of the secretariats of defence, the relevant

 8     secretariats of defence that were entitled to do draft people.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  Let me perhaps just explain my

10     question, because my booklet, my military booklet, I have it at home, and

11     all my services are listed and promotions and so on.  That's why I

12     thought it might be the same, and, of course, one always learns.  Thank

13     you.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, yourself, did

15     you have a military booklet?  Was a military booklet made for you, kept

16     at the Secretariat of Defence?

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Antonetti, my

18     military booklet -- I received a military booklet two days before I left

19     the Croatian Army in 1995, when I was going to report to the Secretariat

20     in Tresnjevka municipality which is where I was in Zagreb, then they

21     wrote out this booklet; they wrote in the entries, and said I was unfit

22     for the army.  Because from my JNA files they copied out what it said,

23     then there was a commission decision proclaiming me unfit for military

24     service in the JNA.  Well, it made me laugh.  I didn't mind what it said.

25     Anyway, the booklet remained there, and that's where it is to this day.

Page 8067

 1             And until 1965 [as interpreted], I was a conscript, and if there

 2     were a war, I could still be called up, but two days before I left the

 3     Croatian Army is when the booklet was made and issued.  When I went to

 4     report there, that's when I saw it.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But where is this booklet?

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the Secretariat for National

 7     Defence of Tresnjevka municipality in Zagreb.  Tresnjevka is a part of

 8     Zagreb; it's a municipality, one of the communes.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm asking this question,

10     because I would like to be sure that in this military booklet, there is

11     only mention of unfit for military service.  I would like to know,

12     however, whether there aren't any other mentions of where you have been

13     assigned.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The duties are certainly not

15     stipulated in that booklet, no assignments, because I leafed through it,

16     and I changed 15 or 17 duties during that period of time, not only in the

17     army but other duties, and nobody knew about them to be able to record

18     them and enter them.  And I don't think anybody is interested in doing

19     that today, either.

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

21             MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't wish to

22     testify, but the general mentioned just one of the Zagreb municipalities.

23     I come from a completely different part, and my booklet doesn't exist.  I

24     went to fetch it, and it's disappeared, because the former Secretariat of

25     the SFRY probably didn't do their job properly and it got lost somewhere.

Page 8068

 1     But I don't think that's important anymore.

 2             My colleague, Ms. Nika Pinter, would like to carry on with the

 3     next chapter.  We just need two minutes to confer.  I don't think we need

 4     have a break.  Thank you.

 5             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours, and

 6     thank you.

 7                           Examination by Ms. Pinter:

 8        Q.   [Interpretation] Once again, good morning to you, General.

 9        A.   Good morning.

10        Q.   As far as the examination-in-chief is concerned, I think we

11     should complete the topic of the presence of the Croatian Army in

12     Bosnia-Herzegovina that we were discussing.  So I'd like to ask you to

13     open document P00153, please.  It's a document which is in an exhibit

14     already, and I'd like to ask you first --

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Please, Ms. Pinter, you see behind us that we

16     have a mountain of folders.  Could you assist us in getting the right

17     one, please.  I see now that ours looks the same as yours.  Thank you.

18             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Yes, it's the same, and I will give

19     notice in advance in the future.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you very much.

21             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

22        Q.   General, I wanted to ask you --

23             THE INTERPRETER:  Could Ms. Pinter adjust her microphone, please,

24     and speak into it.

25             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

Page 8069

 1        Q.   This is a document issued by Petar Stipetic, and it is

 2     instructions to a soldier, Mustafa Porobic.

 3        A.   Yes.

 4        Q.   Go ahead.

 5        A.   What is the truth is -- well, the deputy chief of the Main Staff

 6     of the Croatian Army, Major General Petar Stipetic, says that at the

 7     request of the chief inspector of defence and general -- the

 8     highest-ranking general, should resolve sending part of the officers and

 9     soldiers of the Croatian Army from the operative zone of Rijeka, mainly

10     Croats and Muslims, ready to go as volunteers to BiH to help the struggle

11     of the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that this had been accepted by

12     the top military -- top-ranking military authorities.  And this meant 300

13     to 400 soldiers and officers.  And I know for sure that there were more

14     than 300 Muslims and that they were led by Major Mustafa Porobic, and

15     that they were going with full military equipment, weaponry and

16     ammunition, and that what we repeated here 100 times is that they would

17     retain their rights of BH soldiers -- the rights of HV soldiers and their

18     monthly salaries.  And the important thing is that they cannot wear HV

19     insignia on their uniforms, nor can they hold other documents used by

20     members of the HV, the Croatian Army, because that was prohibited.

21             Now, of course, whether orders are carried out, you have a human

22     being in between the orders that are to be carried out, so there are

23     people who retain their insignia, did not take their HV insignia off, and

24     then somebody sees them there, and then they say, Here we have a member

25     of the Croatian Army fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  That wasn't true.

Page 8070

 1     It was exactly as it is set out here.

 2        Q.   So they retained all the rights that soldiers of the HV had; is

 3     that right?

 4        A.   Yes.

 5        Q.   Now look at 3D00 --

 6             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.  Mr. Praljak, you also made a

 7     normative statement.  You said that wearing the insignia of HV would have

 8     been illegal.  Can you explain why you say this?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't say "illegal."  That's

10     a wrong interpretation.  The order -- a lack of respect for the order.

11     He said that the order was clear -- I said that the order was clear, and

12     to respect an a order, in well-regulated armies and not national

13     uprisings, because this was a popular uprising than anything else at that

14     time, and of course some people wouldn't obey orders.  And if they didn't

15     obey orders, that's what happened.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  You do not write this in every order

17     that you give, of course.  Nevertheless, you say it is prohibited.  Why

18     was it prohibited?

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, because when they went over

20     there, they weren't the Croatian Army; they were volunteers going to

21     defend their homes.  We didn't want the Croatian Army to go there, but we

22     couldn't prevent individuals from going to help out their families if

23     their parents were being killed over there.  So who's going to listen to

24     those orders?  I would be the first not to listen to them, and I didn't

25     listen to them.

Page 8071

 1             So you can't say, Judge Trechsel, Let them kill you over there

 2     because we have rules and regulations.  If those are the rules and

 3     regulations, then I, for one, violate them.  But Croatia said --

 4     Croatia's stand was, You're not going there as Croatian soldiers, as

 5     members of the HV.  You can go over there of your own free will, you can

 6     stand up to the enemy, your salary will be retained, and that's as clear

 7     as day.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Praljak, this you have told us many times.

 9     I do not say things.  I ask questions.  There's a big difference.  And I

10     asked the question because there could be another interpretation; namely,

11     that Croatia did not want it to be known by people from other sides that

12     they were sending their troops.  You are saying, I suppose, and it may be

13     something of a legal question, you are saying that this is completely

14     wrong.  There is no question of any wish of Croatia to hide the fact that

15     soldiers, under the command of a major, whose name is given in the paper,

16     are sent into Bosnia and Herzegovina.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, Judge Trechsel.  Just

18     assume that you came to defend Croatia from Switzerland, for example, and

19     then somebody happened to attack Switzerland, and then somebody says to

20     you, You can't go to Switzerland.  It was an attack by the Serbs against

21     the non-Serbs.  And I say that we never proclaimed that Croatia was

22     just -- that Croatia proclaimed that they wanted to help the Muslims of

23     Bosnia-Herzegovina, but that didn't mean that we were sending our army,

24     but that we were allowing volunteers to go and defend their homes and

25     thresholds.  And I always get a bit upset when this topic is raised, you

Page 8072

 1     see.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I know it.  Thank you.  The comparison with

 3     Switzerland, I'm afraid, is not really very befitting for many reasons.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ha, you could have come, you might

 5     have come.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, in this

 7     document there is a word, "volunteers."  So as far as you know, were

 8     there Croats or Muslims in the Croatian Army who said, No, I have no

 9     intention and no desire to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina?

10             Let's look at things military-wise, and, of course, I'm talking

11     to a specialist here.  Did things happen as follows:  Say we have a given

12     unit in the morning, when all the troops are collected and brought

13     together.  The colonel in charge of the unit says -- makes an

14     announcement, says, We need 300 volunteers.  Let's step forward,

15     everyone.  And the group steps forward, and the colonel says, Well, now I

16     have got my 300 volunteers.  Did it happen that way, or did the colonel

17     tell the troops, You know what's happening in Bosnia-Herzegovina; we need

18     volunteers; if you want to volunteer, raise your hand?  So how did things

19     happen?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] None of the two methods described

21     by you.  It was done in a third way, and that is that people on

22     television or in the papers saw what was going on, and then they

23     discussed it amongst themselves, for example.  They would say, I'm from

24     Doboj, I'm from Tuzla, I'm from some other place.  And then they probably

25     had their families there, their brother, their sister, their houses, and

Page 8073

 1     they would gather together and go to see their commander, and they said

 2     to him, Listen, this is the situation:  I'd like to go and fight down

 3     there because I'm coming under threat.  And then the person would give

 4     his permission.  He would say, Okay, that's the position that's been

 5     adopted.  You are discharged, although we'll keep a record of you as if

 6     you're still here.  You'll be receiving your salary, and you can go down

 7     there.  But you mustn't carry any HV insignia or HV IDs because you're

 8     going to a different country, to another state.  And that's how I fled,

 9     that's how I went, in that same way.  Who's going to stop me?

10             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Still on the same issue:  These people were

11     clearly put under a command here.  How did they travel to

12     Bosnia-Herzegovina, together under the command or individually?  And if

13     individually, how would they know where to go?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A broad spectrum there,

15     Your Honours.  This group around Porobic probably went in that way, in

16     the group as it was, and then there were individual cases too.

17             But, unfortunately, I didn't finish my answer.  There were far

18     more of those people who were from Bosnia-Herzegovina and didn't want to

19     go down there and fight, and I was sorry to see that.  They stayed on in

20     Croatia and let whatever happen down there happen.  So of the 13.000 who

21     were from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Croatia Army, well, in the HVO I knew

22     them all.  If there was 600 -- I don't think there was 600.  I can cut

23     off my head if there were more than 600.  Sometimes there would be

24     individual groups.  A group would arrive, and they weren't as they should

25     be.  There was a group called Jelen or "deer" in translation, and when I

Page 8074

 1     saw what they looked like and when I checked them out, I sent them

 2     packing.  I told the military police to deal with them.  I called their

 3     commander and I said, Listen here, mate, unless you leave this territory

 4     within the space of 12 hours, you'll end up in prison.  And the military

 5     police gave instructions to deal with them.

 6             And there were people, of course, who came as volunteers, who

 7     were not in the Croatian Army.  I mean, really, there was the chaos, on

 8     the one side, and then there were guide-lines and instructions that we

 9     gave, on the other.

10             Now, when you have a situation like that, and men will be men,

11     then various things happened.  And if they were seen by observers, this

12     would be wrongly interpreted.

13             So they would go as this Porobic team went with him, and that was

14     one of the groups.

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  And, Mr. Praljak, would you then consider those,

16     that you threatened with arrest if they did not go, also as volunteers?

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were volunteers, but they

18     were -- well, our services weren't such that I could check them out

19     fully, but I didn't like the look of them, and I had my suspicions.

20     Their conduct and behaviour was unacceptable.  They sort of bragged

21     and -- anyway, it was my decision, on the basis of my assessments, that a

22     group like that couldn't be allowed to remain in the territory.

23             You know, in conditions where you have limited access to

24     information and you have three minutes or half a minute to make your

25     decision, and you do make a decision, I made my decision, and I stand by

Page 8075

 1     that decision and those decisions, and I stand by them today.  And I sent

 2     this lot packing, because I didn't think that they had come with

 3     honourable intentions.  It was my own personal decision, and I stand by

 4     it today.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, you mentioned 13.000

 6     volunteers.  This document shows that among the volunteers, there were

 7     Muslims.  Out of the 13.000, approximately, sir, what would be the

 8     percentage of Muslims and of Croats, or possibly of Serbs?  I don't know.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whether there were any

10     Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina.  But in the Croatian Army there were a lot

11     of Serbs in Sunja, where I was.  There were 20 or so Serbs.  The theatre

12     of war there was very small, you know.  I don't know how many Muslims and

13     how many Croats there were, but I know that recently a list was compiled

14     by the Muslim community in Croatia.  They also established a memorial

15     cemetery probably close to the mosque in Zagreb, and I believe that you

16     could learn from them how many Muslims there were.  But I'm sure that

17     there was many more Croats than Muslims.  I'm sure of that.

18             I apologise, but there were also a lot of Muslims in the Croatian

19     Army.  The number was very high.  I don't know how many there were.

20             However, Your Honour -- please, please, Your Honour, please,

21     Muslims who were in the Croatian Army from Bosnia-Herzegovina are one

22     thing, and the other thing are Muslims who had resided and were citizens

23     of the Republic of Croatia [Realtime transcript read in error

24     "Bosnia-Herzegovina"] we're talking about two separate groups here.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's speak of the Muslims

Page 8076

 1     in --

 2             MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Your Honours, I

 3     apologise for interrupting.  I believe that we should correct a mistake

 4     in the transcript.  On page 66, line 2, the second group of Muslims

 5     refers to the Muslims who reside and are citizens of the Republic of

 6     Croatia and not of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  So the first group are Muslims

 7     from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the second group are Muslims who are

 8     citizens of the Republic of Croatia.  This is what General Praljak said,

 9     and it seemed very important to me.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's how I'd understood this.

11     It's important, indeed, but I had understood.

12             Let's speak of the Muslims in the group of Mustafa Porobic.  They

13     left in April 1992 or May 1992, they left for Bosnia and Herzegovina.  As

14     far as you know, among those volunteers, these are HV volunteers, there

15     were Muslims.  Were there among them people who joined later on, who

16     later joined the ABiH?

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, I'm sure of that.

18     Immediately upon arriving there, they joined the Army of

19     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  They had to join an army.  Some joined the HVO, and

20     the others joined the BiH Army, of course.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please give short answers,

22     because then I can follow up with very important topics, because you've

23     just said something that is relevant.

24             When the volunteers would leave for Bosnia and Herzegovina, would

25     they be forced to join the HVO units, or were they free to join an HVO

Page 8077

 1     unit or an ABiH unit?  Did they do whatever pleased them, or were they

 2     told, You've got to remove the HV insignia, but you have to join an HVO

 3     unit?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.  When they arrived

 5     in Bosnia-Herzegovina, they could choose whether they were willing to

 6     join the BiH Army or the HVO.  The group in question, as far as I know,

 7     and I know it very well, joined the BiH Army.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, this group that we have

 9     here, that one joined the ABiH, and what did the Croats do who were with

10     them?  Did they also join the ABiH?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your Honour.  I don't

12     know what happened.  I believe -- I know that there were over 300 Muslims

13     in this group and that they went to Central Bosnia and joined the BiH

14     Army there somewhere.  I don't know whether all the Croats joined

15     somebody else or whether they were scattered all over the place.  I

16     believe that not only -- not even the whole group of Muslims joined one

17     unit of the BiH Army.  They actually went to their own villages and

18     joined the army there.  They went in the direction of the villages from

19     which they hailed.  They did not go there as a unit which placed itself

20     at the disposal of the BiH Army.  They scattered all over the territory

21     under the BiH Army and the HVO, depending on their place of birth and

22     depending on what they believed should be defended by them.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the level of the command,

24     high-ranking military authorities, as is, by the way, shown by the

25     document, because it says that the departure was accepted by high-ranking

Page 8078

 1     military authorities or top-ranking military authorities, had it been

 2     envisioned that the soldiers - these are Muslim soldiers - would go to

 3     the ABiH and might possibly return their -- or turn their weapons against

 4     the HVO Croats?  Was that sort of situation envisioned, or was everybody

 5     innocent, candid, and they failed to assess the possible consequences of

 6     the action?

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that moment on that date,

 8     Stipetic and Spegelj could not think that the BiH Army would conflict

 9     with the HVO.  There was no way for them to think that.  I was one of the

10     rare people who knew about the different interpretations of the internal

11     organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina which existed on the part of

12     Alija Izetbegovic, on the one hand, and the Croats, on the other hand,

13     and that this could lead to a conflict.  I knew it very early on.  I knew

14     that while we were defending ourselves from the Serbs, we would be

15     united.  But when that was no longer in place, due to the different

16     political positions with regard to the organisation of

17     Bosnia-Herzegovina, there would be political conflicts.  But the people

18     that you mentioned certainly didn't know that.  They thought that the

19     Serbs were the enemy, the two other peoples were defending themselves,

20     and they could not envisage any problems in the future.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

22             MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise.

23     I would just like to say that on page 64 - maybe my learned friend Pinter

24     could take Mr. Praljak to that - on lines between 6 and 9 there is

25     something that is not clear.  When he was talking about the unit called

Page 8079

 1     Jeleni, I thought that he had called the commander of the Jeleni group

 2     and told him that they had 12 hours to leave the territory, but it is not

 3     clear whom he called, whether he called the commander of the police or

 4     the commander of the Jeleni group.  That's one thing.

 5             And the second thing is that the military police had been given

 6     instruction to deal with Jeleni, whereas it was recorded that the

 7     military police provided instructions for somebody to deal with the

 8     Jeleni.

 9             I believe that these are major errors in the transcripts which

10     can be clarified in two sentences.

11             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   General, you heard that?

13        A.   Yes, I spoke to the commander of the Jeleni unit and told him

14     that he had to leave.  I sent him packing.  I asked -- I demanded from

15     Valentin Coric, the chief of the military police, to remove the unit

16     Jeleni from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that was done.

17        Q.   General, following up on Judge Antonetti's question --

18             MR. STRINGER:  I apologise for the interruption.

19             This last statement by the general about his communication with

20     Mr. Coric, could we get the time-frame in which that occurred?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, August or September,

22     thereabouts.  There is a document to that effect.

23             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   General, we are still talking about P00153.  In the first

25     paragraph of the document dated April 9, 1992, it says why the volunteers

Page 8080

 1     could be sent to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the purpose of their sending.

 2        A.   Yes, to help the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina in their

 3     fight.

 4        Q.   Thank you very much.  And now let's move on to document 3D00443.

 5     The date is 8 April, one day prior to the previous document.  This

 6     document was issued by General Major Petar Stipetic.  It was sent to the

 7     Operation Zone Split.  The document speaks about the position of the

 8     Croatian Army, vis-a-vis the departure of the Croatian Army outside the

 9     territory of the Republic of Croatia.

10        A.   This is just repetition.

11        Q.   Yes.

12        A.   This is a repetition of what was said previously, that they can't

13     bear the insignia.  An attack had already been underway in Bosnia and

14     Herzegovina.  And why is there always a reference here to Rijeka and

15     Split?  There were a lot of people there from Bosnia-Herzegovina who

16     worked in ship-building yards, who were welders and so on and so forth.

17     And when the war started, they joined the Croatian Army.  And at that

18     moment somebody was destroying their homes, and they wanted to go there

19     and fight the Croatian political and military authorities, because this

20     is not happening without the political decision.  Stipetic or I could not

21     do it without ever having consulted with Minister Susak and

22     Franjo Tudjman, of course.

23        Q.   All sorts of assistance is approved by this document.

24        A.   Of course.

25             MS. PINTER:  With this document and the previous one, I would

Page 8081

 1     like to draw the Trial Chamber's attention to Exhibit 3D0029.  I'm sure

 2     you will remember the document.  This is the Republic of Bosnia and

 3     Herzegovina or the office of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

 4     rather, in the Republic of Croatia, which sent this to the Ministry of

 5     Defence of the Republic of Croatia --

 6                           [Overlapping speakers]

 7             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] I did say the number.  It is 3D --

 8             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I'm sorry, Madam Pinter, to interrupt you, but I

 9     would like to ask a question about the previous document, which was

10     document 3D00443.  You submitted it before.  My question is the

11     following, and, of course, I asked you the question from Mr. Praljak.

12     The very first sentence of this message, or rather, kind of comment, in

13     my view, it says, and I quote:

14             "The formation systems of the Croatian Army are not valid outside

15     of the territory of the Republic of Croatia."

16             So I believe that it is an important sentence, because the

17     formation systems of the army, meaning that the units, how they were

18     organised, et cetera, are not valid outside, of course, Croatia, but why

19     should it be included, I mean this comment, why should it be included in

20     that very message or comment by the commanding officer, the

21     Petar Stipetic, if those units were anyway volunteers who went to

22     Bosnia-Herzegovina to help?  But in that very sentence, I feel that that

23     was a kind of very determined comment that they should not look like the

24     regular units of the Croatian Army.

25             So my question is if that particular sentence, and the whole

Page 8082

 1     text, as a matter of fact -- because, for example, the third sentence

 2     speaks about the following:  That the men cannot carry the HV insignias

 3     or any of the documents which we already talked about before.  So I would

 4     like to seek for further clarification on this very matter.  Thank you.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour

 6     Judge Prandler.  This is really very important, the formation or the

 7     establishment system of a unit, a company, a battalion.  And here

 8     General Stipetic says that you can't send an establishment system.  You

 9     accept the volunteers, you give them what you will, and then they should

10     go there and they should establish their units within the HVO and the

11     BH Army.  Namely, let me explain, there were occurrences, especially in

12     Posavina that appeared as a problem, that a lot of people were in the

13     Croatian Army look here from the defence, because they were from

14     villages, they had salaries, and so on and so forth.  And those same

15     people, and especially those around Slavonski Brod, most of them in the

16     unit, for example, were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and maybe even their

17     commander was from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  And then what happened, which

18     we're going to see in the following document, what happened was that the

19     commander would say, I order my men to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Of

20     course, maybe 70 or 80 percent of the unit who hailed from there, and

21     30 percent were their comrades, and he therefore asked for the whole unit

22     to go there with or without insignia.  This should not have been done.

23             You will see later on that there is a suit raised, and there is a

24     warning here, you can't send a single establishment unit of the Croatian

25     Army; you can send volunteers who will then join the military forces of

Page 8083

 1     Bosnia and Herzegovina, but you can't send the whole unit.  In the

 2     following text, I will explain that partially.

 3             Ms. Nika, maybe you can move on to that.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, General Praljak.

 5     The question put by my fellow Judge is a relevant one.  And you admitted

 6     yourself that the sentence was important, so that's why I want to revisit

 7     it.

 8             It is said that the formation systems of the Croatian Army are

 9     not valid outside of the territory of the Republic of Croatia.  This is

10     the initial sentence in the text.  Very well.  In order to understand my

11     question, let us take the example of the NATO forces currently stationed

12     in Afghanistan.  If you have British units that are incorporated in the

13     NATO forces, then the NATO rules will apply.  If you have French troops,

14     then the NATO rules will apply, in principle.  But here, don't we have

15     the same principle?  Is this not to recall the military in the

16     Croatian Army that from then on, because they are volunteers and they're

17     going to go somewhere else, the Croatian Army rules do not apply, but

18     probably other rules and operation that they have to comply with?  Is

19     this, to confirm a principle, a principle with consequences; namely, that

20     there is no more control?  What do you think of this?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know there is a provision in the

22     Constitution, that was passed in a non-military spirit, that a Croatian

23     soldier, as a Croatian soldier, as part of the establishment of the

24     Croatian Army, must not engage in fighting outside of the borders of the

25     Republic of Croatia.  It was a provision in the Constitution of the

Page 8084

 1     Republic of Croatia, and Minister Susak, in his TV show, actually said

 2     this in public.

 3             However, second thing, at the time and at no point later --

 4     Izetbegovic, up until 1995, refused to sign a military agreement, because

 5     NATO goes to places where they have agreements with the army -- with the

 6     government.  In Afghanistan, NATO has an agreement with the government

 7     there, and then there are units of the Croatian, German, French Army, I

 8     don't know -- okay, maybe not French, but English Army which are all

 9     covered by that agreement, and this could not be done here.

10             Some commanders, for some reasons, because his house is on fire

11     there and he wants to take his whole unit there, drafted orders to that

12     effect.  One of those was the major general, and then Franjo Tudjman

13     demanded that this whole thing be investigated and that he be prosecuted.

14     It was crystal clear, and you will see from the document where

15     Mr. Bozo Butmir, a major general, is being indicted because he issued an

16     order to a unit to move into the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He

17     was not allowed to do that.  He could do one thing, go there, join the

18     HVO or the BH Army, as we said, under two bases; first of all, because it

19     is unconstitutional and, secondly, because there was no military

20     agreement.  The military agreement that existed later made it possible

21     for the army to operate in the border areas.  The Croatian Army was

22     allowed, and that is why I found it strange that the Americans were

23     complaining and telling the HVO to move out of these areas, because in

24     accordance with the Tudjman-Izetbegovic agreement, in the border areas

25     the Croatian Army could take part in the joint defence effort.  But if

Page 8085

 1     the order came to pull them out, well, they were pulled out.

 2             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Let us wrap up this topic --

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry.  This I consider, as my colleagues

 4     do, a central issue, really.  I have two questions still with regard to

 5     this document.

 6             The first is:  I note that the second sentence is:

 7             "The departure of volunteers," and I stress, "organised in

 8     adequate units, is granted."

 9             So here, at least, we have not a source which would allow

10     individuals, on their own volition, to go into Bosnia and Herzegovina and

11     look around and see with whom they would like to fight.  Is there

12     something else, another order that provides for this, or legislation?

13     And I'll put the other question afterwards.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you always have to

15     draw this distinction in our parts between principle and what could be

16     implemented and the extent to which things were violated.  Here,

17     General Stipetic talks about the gathering in the Imotski Sector and

18     engagement in accordance with the plan of the group.

19             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters note, could the accused please

20     speak into the microphone.  The interpreters cannot hear him.

21             THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]

22             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreters could not hear the accused

23     while he was not speaking into the microphone.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time in that area, and

25     partially in Posavina, one thing does not exclude the other.  If groups

Page 8086

 1     are formed, send them there in accordance with the operational plan.

 2             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters note, we really cannot hear the

 3     speaker.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These are the plans that you saw

 5     with General Tokic.

 6             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone please.

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  You cannot be heard, either.

 8             MR. STRINGER:  You're hearing anyone say -- the interpreters say

 9     that they're not able to hear the general when he's not speaking into the

10     microphone.  Everything he's been saying at the map has not been recorded

11     because they're not hearing it.

12             MR. KARNAVAS:  Maybe he will need to repeat it.  Repeat again.

13             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] No, just a moment, General.  Perhaps

14     it would be much simpler if we could put the map into e-court, and then

15     the general won't have to turn around.  He will be facing the microphone.

16     So could we please have 3D031 -- 3545.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] While we're waiting for it,

18     Judge Trechsel, I can tell you it's not either units or individuals, it's

19     both.  So there were many more cases involving the individuals going

20     there, but right at the beginning --

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I'm sorry, Mr. Praljak, I'm quite aware.  You

22     have said so before.  But here we have a document, and the document only

23     supports one part of it.  My question was:  Is there any other document

24     or did not one take the law or the order very strictly?  I don't think a

25     map is needed.

Page 8087

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Judge Trechsel, law was

 2     complied with most strictly.  We tendered documents from Split, from the

 3     Muslim organisation there, that sent hundreds of people into Croatia

 4     based on the same principle, and this has been explained in detail.  This

 5     document speaks only about one segment, and that is if there are

 6     volunteers, they would be mostly from -- well, I don't know, that they

 7     should be deployed from Imotski to defend Livno and to carry out the

 8     breakthrough, to stop the JNA and the Republika Srpska Army at the

 9     beginning of the war, in accordance with the maps and the intentions, as

10     indicated and as I showed with General Cokic.

11             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   Now we have the map here.

13        A.   Well, these are the axes of the attack, as anticipated, where

14     Croatia must not send its troops for the defence.  Well, Mostar is

15     here [indicates] and Imotski [indicates] is there.  So Imotski-Mostar.

16     So they say, If you have a unit, send it to Imotski, and accordance with

17     the plan --

18        Q.   General, no, we can't see anything.

19        A.   Well, then if you can't see it, there's nothing to be done about

20     it.  But we don't really need the map.  The map is not really necessary.

21     It just complicates matters.

22             At this point, Stipetic is saying that the volunteers from

23     Croatia -- well, he probably had somebody.  He says, Well, it is expected

24     that personnel would come from other units of the HV.  So it's personnel,

25     not units.  People.  And then they have to be organised.  And in this

Page 8088

 1     part -- the first part, where the defence had to be set up from Livno and

 2     that area, they had to be sent there to assist in the defence against

 3     this first assault.  It is quite clear the Croatian Army is not allowed

 4     to go --

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  I have a second question, and it

 6     refers to the last two words, "they are to be engaged according to the

 7     plan of the operative group."  Could you explain to the Chamber what it

 8     has to understand?  What is this operative group that decides on where

 9     these volunteers are engaged?  It obviously shows that they do not go

10     where they think it would be nice, or fit, or where their mother lives,

11     or something like that, but they are in the hands of an operative group

12     which tells them where to go.  That's what the text -- that's how I read

13     this text.  Maybe I'm wrong.

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are wrong, Your Honour.

15     General Stipetic at that time doesn't really know what's going on down

16     there.  He is not familiar with it.  He didn't go down there.  And it is

17     a typical response of a trained officer, who says, Well, probably there

18     is an operative group, and then let's do it in accordance with the plan

19     of the operative group.  There was no operative group on the 8th of

20     April.  I arrived there on the 10th of April.  General Petkovic came on

21     the 14th, and then it was only later that he was appointed the chief of

22     the Main Staff.  What operative group?  Well, I don't know whether it

23     existed or didn't exist.  Of course, there was the Operational Zone

24     Split.  But for any operative group to exist -- well, later on, at the

25     time when I came there, and among other things according to -- it was

Page 8089

 1     under my demands for people to go there to prevent the attack that I was

 2     talking about, General Roso came to this area facing Livno, and then he

 3     was followed by General Gotovina.  I was replaced by somebody else, and

 4     General Petkovic was down there at all times.

 5             So it's just a military term.  He, as a trained soldier, as a

 6     trained officer, he said, Well, probably there must be some operative

 7     group.  But there were no operative groups down there.  There were

 8     operational zones where everyone -- and I will, in the course of my

 9     testimony, show to you what operational zone really was, in actual fact.

10     It was just a levy on arms.  It was just an insurgency on the part of the

11     people, and it takes months and months --

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's now 12.30.  We need to

13     have our second and last break.  We'll break for 20 minutes.

14                           --- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.

15                           --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.

17             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

18        Q.   General, could you please look at document 3D00453.  This

19     document has already been admitted into evidence.  It's a document that

20     you, yourself, signed, so could you please tell the Judges what this is

21     all about and how this document came into being.

22        A.   Of course I can.  This document was engendered by the problems

23     that cropped up.  At that time, Croatia, so from the 3rd of January --

24        Q.   It's the 25th of August.

25        A.   No.  I'm saying on the 3rd of January, Croatia signed the

Page 8090

 1     cease-fire.

 2        Q.   What year?

 3        A.   1992, but then the war broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and

 4     the great problem -- the general position taken by the politicians and by

 5     the army, the command of the Croatian Army, was clear as to who and how

 6     and in what way can go to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  But soldiers are human

 7     beings, in particular in the kind of army that we had at the time, and

 8     those human beings act -- well, they have this burning problem.  The

 9     Serbs were attacking fiercely.  Just before Bosnian Posavina fell

10     completely, there was fierce fighting there with a huge number of

11     casualties, so there was fighting involving the HVO, with many Muslims in

12     its ranks.  It was a mixed army.

13        Q.   Could you please face the microphone.

14        A.   Those people who were in this operational zone of the Croatian

15     Army [indicates], among those soldiers serving in the Croatian Army there

16     were many people who had joined the Croatian Army from Bosnian Posavina.

17     I was there in early July 1992, and I know for a fact what it looked

18     like.

19             For instance, there was the 139th and 157th -- or 137th and 159th

20     Brigade of the Croatian Army, with 70 percent of the personnel from

21     Bosnian Posavina, and they did not want to cross the Sava River.  I

22     talked to them.  Half of them wanted to cross, half of them didn't want

23     to cross.  The commanders demanded that they should cross, saying that

24     that part -- that area had to be defended because it would render Croatia

25     much more difficult to defend.  Of course, this was not in accordance

Page 8091

 1     with the instructions.  Of course, in this document they say clearly some

 2     are -- some members issued orders for the river to be crossed, in

 3     contrary to all the rules that were in place.  And I say that military

 4     judicial organs would take appropriate action.  We'll see what kind of

 5     action.  Of course, I agreed, these are human beings, everything is on

 6     fire, there is a war going on.

 7             I can't explain this in simple terms, but I fully agree with the

 8     position that Croatia has its interests in Bosnian Posavina.  It's the

 9     border area, there are many Croats living there at the time, and in any

10     time.  And we are aware of the fact that some other operational zones

11     faced the same problem.  But the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a

12     foreign country.  We do have our vested interests there, but it is a

13     foreign country.  And the defence minister confirmed that in a televised

14     interview.  So repressive measures should be taken.  Of course, they're

15     angry because people do not want to comply, they don't want to cross,

16     some of them don't want to cross, invoking the Constitution and other

17     legal documents.  So what should I then propose, but to have a dialogue

18     and to discuss this issue, the fact that Chetniks are going to destroy

19     everything, that we would have a new Vukovar.  Everything that we knew

20     would happen, and that really happened, and that this should be resolved

21     through dialogue, through providing explanations that this cannot simply

22     be cut off, just like that.

23             In the French Army, there would be an order, and the troops would

24     obey.  That's as simple as that.  But here it wasn't as simple as that,

25     because it was not the kind of army that France or England have.  Those

Page 8092

 1     were soldiers of a different kind.  Well, it's simply difficult to

 2     explain.  It was a different kind of a war.  People were all mixed

 3     together from various places, and this was the inevitable result.

 4             So I proposed that only volunteers could be sent, that

 5     questionnaires should be sent out, and perhaps solutions should be found

 6     whereby soldiers would be offered three- or six-month contracts, and then

 7     under that contract they would have the status of a professional soldier.

 8     But this is something that the Personnel Administration should deal with.

 9             So this was a very intense war.  There was fighting all over

10     Croatia, a great number of casualties in Slavonski Brod.  More than

11     500 children were being killed.  And a whole series of human interests

12     were present there, and they were present in the army, and they were

13     conflicting interests, because people had their families, people serving

14     in the army.  And, unfortunately, it couldn't be dealt with in the way in

15     which it would have been dealt with in the US Army or in the French Army;

16     this is how it should be done, and this is how it's going to be done.

17        Q.   General, could we please look at 3D017 --

18             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, in the last

19     paragraph we see a reference to contracts, to a contract.  So is it the

20     three- to six-month contract signed with the Republic of Croatia, or is

21     it concluded with the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, HVO, or ABiH?  Who

22     is the other party signing the contract?  On the one hand, we've got the

23     volunteer soldier.  Fine.  But who is the other party to the contract?

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- not

25     Bosnia-Herzegovina, or the HVO, or anybody else had a contract with the

Page 8093

 1     soldier; nothing.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say Croatia.  Fine, but

 3     then there's something I don't understand.  Let's assume that we have a

 4     soldier from the Croatian Army.  He's in Zagreb, stationed in a unit

 5     somewhere in Zagreb, and he's a volunteer.  He gets his pay and says, I

 6     want to volunteer.  Is this the moment where he will sign a new contract

 7     with the Republic of Croatia, even though he already is paid, he's

 8     already on the payroll?  How does this happen?

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there were contracts between

10     soldiers and the Croatian Army about the professional status, only for

11     guards brigades, not for the rest.  In other words, while he was there,

12     mobilised or whatever, he would receive a salary.  As soon as, for some

13     reason, he stepped down, he forfeited his salary.  And here the proposal

14     is to offer up a three-month contract to volunteers, because he could

15     say, I want to go there, but as soon as I go, my family will be left

16     without a livelihood.  So I would like to go, but provide me with an

17     agreement or contract of some kind; first of all, if I am killed, that

18     they receive state benefits.  So that would be a kind of contract for a

19     three-month period or a six-month period, because people had to deal with

20     questions of livelihood.  But with Croatia, not with anybody else.  They

21     could just sign these contracts with Croatia.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, this very clear.

23             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   Perhaps this is an opportune moment, General, for us to go

25     back --

Page 8094

 1             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I also have a question.  I seem to understand,

 2     but I always stand to be corrected, that the war you were speaking about

 3     here was the Muslim and the Croats together against the Serbs.  Now,

 4     there has been an allegation in the indictment of Croatian troops in

 5     Bosnia-Herzegovina fighting against the Muslims, and there the issue of

 6     international armed conflict arises.  But does it arise in any way -- is

 7     there any problem if Croatia sends her troops, with the consent of

 8     Bosnia-Herzegovina, into the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina to fight the

 9     common enemy, which then would be an international armed conflict that

10     exists anyway between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, on one side, and

11     the Serbs on the other side?  If you could explain.

12             I seem to sense that Mr. Karnavas would like to jump up and

13     explain it all, but I must ask the witness, of course.

14             MR. KARNAVAS:  I don't want to explain it.  I'm a little bit

15     puzzled, Your Honour --

16             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

17             MR. KARNAVAS:  I'm a little bit puzzled by the question,

18     Your Honour, only on the sense -- I think it's a very good question.

19     Don't get me wrong.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  You can expect that from me.

21             MR. KARNAVAS:  Well, I can be surprising at times.  But it does

22     seem to -- you seem to be requesting a legal opinion at this point in

23     time.  Based on the question itself, one could interpret that question to

24     be eliciting a legal opinion from a layperson.

25             Now, I suspect, you know, the question, as you wish to put it, is

Page 8095

 1     whether it was his understanding, given that he's indicated that he

 2     studied some law, but otherwise it would appear that you're asking a

 3     question that is best put to an expert.

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  You certainly have a point there, and it goes

 5     against my own attitude if I ask a legal question.  Maybe I withdraw the

 6     question.

 7             But I want to correct the transcript on line 14, on page 84.

 8     What I was saying a bit jokingly is I was putting it to you that you did

 9     not expect me to ask a very good question, but that was meant as a joke,

10     and it needs no further intervention.  Thank you.

11             Excuse me, Ms. Pinter.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, just a minute.

13     My fellow Judge is withdrawing this question, but I'd like to come back

14     to it, because he said something very important, something that I had

15     neglected to see up until now.

16             We see this volunteer system, which you have described, and I'm

17     sure that the Prosecutor and during the cross-examination will shed light

18     on this and bring his own opinion to this.  But my fellow Judge addressed

19     a very important issue, I believe.

20             There is a conflict going on against the Serbs, so could you tell

21     us why it is that the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of

22     Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the framework of a partnership or cooperation, did

23     not officially start fighting against the Serbs, but in an official

24     manner and jointly, then the Croatian Army could have officially crossed

25     the border in order to go help out, if I could say so, the ABiH in the

Page 8096

 1     struggle against the common enemy?  Why was this not done?

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because Mr. Alija Izetbegovic

 3     didn't agree to that.  On the Croatian side, a proposal of that kind was

 4     put forward, it existed, because there was a joint enemy, a common foe

 5     with a clear-cut strategic goal, and we were to stand up to a common foe

 6     together, jointly.

 7             However, if, Your Honour, you go back to the facts and look at

 8     them - and I'm going to demonstrate that in due course -

 9     Alija Izetbegovic tried to reach a historical agreement with the Serbs,

10     and by the village of Ravno he said, It's not our war, that a few days

11     before Sarajevo - and I'm going to show documents to bear that out - was

12     bombed, he said, There won't be a war because you need two to tango, two

13     to enter into a war, and they weren't in favour of a war.  So he claimed

14     several times, and we saw a document to this effect, that the Yugoslav

15     People's Army would ensure peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the gentleman

16     whom I know, and I respect him on many counts, but quite simply either

17     didn't want to understand, or couldn't understand or whatever, what it

18     was all about.  He thought that the war -- he would be able to avoid a

19     war.  And he refused to enter into an agreement of that kind, the kind

20     that you have just mentioned, a military cooperation, right up until

21     1995.  When he signed it in Split, it was only then, pursuant to that

22     agreement, that it was possible for the Croatian forces, after Knin, to

23     move to, say, Bihac and move on towards Banja Luka, and join up with the

24     BH Army and the HVO to liberate this entire area.  Unfortunately, he

25     signed this in the summer of 1992.  He only signed an agreement on

Page 8097

 1     borders, and we're dealing with borders here.  That's what the agreement

 2     related to, and that is why all these different interpretations arose as

 3     to whether you could issue an order to cross the border for a 20 or 30

 4     belt to refute the Serb artillery that was targeting Croatian towns,

 5     Slavonski Brod, and so on.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  What you're saying

 7     is important.  He did not want the Republic of Croatia to officially

 8     enter into Bosnia-Herzegovina to help out.  But he knew there were

 9     volunteers, so implicitly he accepted the fact that Croatia would help

10     through these volunteers that were sent.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.  Then, at that time,

12     during that period, he already realised the mistakes that were made, and

13     this is logical.  He began taking in people from the Islamic world,

14     because when he was placed in this situation, any aid he could get was of

15     fateful importance to his people.  Of course, the people who came in, for

16     example, from the Islamic countries, and we refer to them later as the

17     Mujahedin, it didn't say on their forehead what kind of people they were.

18     He was facing a terrible defeat, so he took the hand offered to him.

19             Now, what they did later on, we can't criticise that now, because

20     it was -- he was catching at straws at that particular point in time.

21             And at this time, Alija Izetbegovic from Zagreb, together with

22     his whole entourage, arrived in Slavonski Brod and asked, because it

23     was -- he was already on the brink of destruction, whether he could send

24     an army from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that, of course, was completely --

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, each time you're

Page 8098

 1     answering, you're opening doors to new important issues.  You say that he

 2     brought in the Mujahedins because he had no other way out, given the

 3     situation, which is what you just said.

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If not, please tell us what you

 6     said, because this is what I thought I understood.  I thought you said

 7     that given the situation -- so please tell us what you said.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He did not accept the Mujahedin,

 9     but volunteers.  He took in volunteers.  Later on, it transpired that

10     they came to fight for the Islamic cause and to disseminate Islamism.

11     But, you see, when somebody is offering you a hand, you grab hold of that

12     hand, and you don't know who the hand belongs to.  It might belong to

13     Hitler, but at that point in time you just see the hand being offered to

14     you, the helping hand.

15             So what I'm saying is that most probably Izetbegovic did not know

16     what the Mujahedins would bring with them.  He accepted assistance.  He

17     accepted everything from Croatia and from others too, because he was in

18     this catastrophic situation, militarily speaking.  The Serbs were about

19     to take Sarajevo, and I don't know how Bosnia and Herzegovina would have

20     survived had that happened.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

22             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

23        Q.   General, I'd like to discuss document 3D00299 now, please.  I

24     don't think you have it in your binder.  It's already an exhibit.  But

25     when I put the document to you, I'd like to ask you how this was possible

Page 8099

 1     when I put it to you.

 2             Now, you can see the document on the screen in front of you.  It

 3     is a letter sent to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia.

 4     The date is the 4th of January, 1993.  It is signed by

 5     Colonel Hasan Efendic, who was the secretary for military affairs,

 6     attached to the Office of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the

 7     Republic of Croatia.  And in that letter, Colonel Hasan Efendic asks the

 8     Ministry of Defence permission for the purposes of the armed forces of

 9     the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to engage officers of the Croatian

10     Army; and they were Ismet Avdic, who was a colonel, Ahmet Puskar, who was

11     a major and who was in Dubrovnik, engaged in the defence of Dubrovnik,

12     and Dr. Sadik Rakanovic, who was also a colonel.  Furthermore, in this

13     request it says that the status of these officers would be resolved as

14     had been the case thus far; that is to say, their status would be put on

15     hold.  They would enjoy all the benefits as officers of the Croatian

16     Army.  And once they had completed their assignment, to enable them to

17     continue their engagement in the Croatian Army.

18             I'd now like to ask you to explain to the Court how that was

19     possible.

20        A.   Ms. Pinter, it wasn't -- it wasn't that it was possible.  That's

21     how it was.  And that's what I'm saying throughout.  Bosnia-Herzegovina

22     had its representative offices in Croatia.  We see we had this military

23     office in Croatia, and later on you'll be able to see that it had branch

24     offices of the Main Staff of the BH Army for logistics in Zagreb, having

25     been given permission from the Croatian government, of course.  So it's

Page 8100

 1     all quite clear, it's crystal clear.

 2             If you look at the basic premise, they talked to these people,

 3     these people said, Yes, we're ready to go and help out, but hold our

 4     status on hold, keep our status on hold, because when we come back, we'll

 5     take it up again.

 6             And two days ago, when I was talking about Jasmin Jarnjak, he was

 7     in the war, he was in Mostar, and he went back to the Croatian Army.

 8     That was a rule.  Assistants of the Republic of Croatia took that form;

 9     they said, Volunteers, you can go, your status will be retained.  If

10     you're not killed, come back and you can take up your status.  If you are

11     killed, your family will enjoy all the benefits and rights befitting a

12     Croatian soldier, just in the same way as if he had been killed in the

13     defence of the Republic of Croatia.  And that's what the situation was

14     like throughout, in all its aspects.

15        Q.   And those three people were Bosniaks, were they, Muslims?

16        A.   Yes.

17        Q.   Very well, thank you.  Let's move on now, and I'd like to show a

18     video.  3D03127 is the number.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, of course this

20     document deserves our in-depth scrutiny.  Obviously, the Republic of

21     Bosnia-Herzegovina is asking for three officers of the Croatian Army to

22     be assigned so that they can actually work within the Army of

23     Bosnia-Herzegovina.  They're doing this on January 4th, 1993.  We were

24     reading this document, I was listening to the question put to you by your

25     counsel and your answer, and I could only make the connection with what

Page 8101

 1     happened in Prozor in October -- what had happened in Prozor a few weeks

 2     earlier in October/November.

 3             If the high authority of Bosnia-Herzegovina is sending this

 4     demand, even though they knew what had happened in Prozor, what could

 5     they infer as to what had happened in Prozor regarding this?  It was just

 6     a skirmish, or was it an incident that was to be integrated within the

 7     plan?  What can you say?  We know that you were in Prozor.

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A local incident -- this was a

 9     local incident, and here, when I am going to talk about that, when I went

10     there to calm the situation down there, and then I went on to go to

11     Uskoplje, I had been asked to go there, and I can't really be sure

12     whether -- or, actually, Mr. Izetbegovic was there during one of the

13     requests.  Franjo Tudjman was there both times, and they were imploring

14     me, Praljak, go, please.  At one of them, the president told me, Praljak,

15     go there.  We don't want a war with the Muslims.  Please try and calm

16     them down.  It was a local incident.

17             After that, I stayed in Central Bosnia for a long time, and in a

18     month and a half, in the territory of Konjic, Rama, Uskoplje, Travnik,

19     Novi Travnik, in the defence of Travnik from an onslaught of Serbs after

20     the fall of Jajce, I managed to calm the situation down to a large

21     extent.  However, the fuel was rekindled.  Things went step by step.  The

22     fire was rekindled.  The negotiations went through.  It was an organic

23     development, and things went from bad to worse.  And all the time up to

24     the 30th of June, and even after Jajce, I'm going to show it crystally

25     clear.  In my engagement there was a will -- there was a desire and a

Page 8102

 1     hope that we would avoid a conflict, that we would not be attacked, and

 2     that was again a limited -- Croatia, not then, you will see later on when

 3     we come to that, in the summer of 1993, allowed the staff of the BiH Army

 4     to establish its logistics centres in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Split, to work

 5     in the territory of Croatia.  We gave them everything, although the

 6     conflict in Central Bosnia and in Konjic had already been underway, there

 7     had been already initial conflicts with Mostar.

 8        Q.   General, just for record, when you said all that was up to the

 9     30th June, what year was that?

10        A.   1993.

11        Q.   I apologise.  We have to have a clear temporal framework.  You

12     continued talking about Jajce.  That's why --

13        A.   Thank you, thank you.  No, no, no, that's when the conflict was

14     already clear.  But even after that, the Republic of Croatia did not

15     change anything with regard to the assistance to the BiH Army, nothing.

16     It became a bit more difficult to implement and transport the weapons

17     over there.  However, nothing changed in the general approach to the

18     whole matter.

19        Q.   Now I'm going to ask the Court to produce video 3D03127.  And,

20     General, I'm going to ask you once the video is over, to provide your

21     explanation, but let's first look at the video and listen to what it

22     says.

23             Can you tell us who --

24             MR. STRINGER:  Is there an exhibit number for this,

25     Mr. President?

Page 8103

 1             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Yes.  3D3127.  It's already on the

 2     record.

 3             We seem to be having a problem with the technical issues.

 4     There's no sound.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to run the video at

 5     the moment.

 6        Q.   General, while we are waiting to see what happened:  You are

 7     familiar with this.  This was a show on the Croatian Television.

 8        A.   Yes.

 9        Q.   Who were the guests on that show?

10        A.   This is Gojko Susak that we see.  Now, there was also

11     General Lucic, there was myself, and a few other from the Personnel

12     Administration who answered some other questions, and so on and so forth.

13        Q.   Very well.

14        A.   And there were people from Social Welfare as well.

15        Q.   Do you remember what was the topic of your discussion on that

16     show?

17        A.   All sorts of issues were on the table; the rights of the Croatian

18     Army, looking after their welfare.

19        Q.   Do you know that there was also a reference made to the departure

20     of the Croatian soldiers to Bosnia-Herzegovina?

21        A.   Yes.

22             MR. STRINGER: [Previous translation continues]... a leading

23     question.  If we could just -- if we're going to listen to the video,

24     that's fine.  Otherwise, perhaps, we should just move on and come back to

25     it, because it's not very helpful at this point.

Page 8104

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer seldom intervenes,

 2     but when he does so, it's always for a good point.  Indeed, if you're

 3     going to run the soundtrack, no use in putting a question before, unless

 4     you give it up.

 5             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] It depends on the technical service,

 6     whether we're going to see it or not.  It's not up to us.  Unfortunately,

 7     we still don't have any sound.

 8        Q.   General, while we're waiting for the sound to appear, just one

 9     question.  When this show aired, do you remember, can you remember?

10        A.   That aired either in July 1992 or maybe the beginning of August,

11     somewhere around that time.  I can't be really sure of the exact time,

12     but I know that it was after my return from Bosnian Posavina.

13                           [Video-clip played]

14             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters note that they don't have the

15     transcript of the video.

16             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation]

17        Q.   There is also an explanation provided by the minister to

18     explain --

19                           [Videotape played]

20             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Let's stop there.

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What should be said about this part

22     is this:  People ask why the Croatian Army does not intervene in Bosnia

23     Posavina, knowing fully well that from Bosnia and Posavina, from the

24     occupied part, the Serbs are pounding and killing people in the areas

25     around the Croatian border.  And Susak says, We're doing what we can, and

Page 8105

 1     we assist as much as we can.

 2             The second question was -- or the second part of his answer was

 3     this:  Croatia is not in a war, Croatia has just signed a cease-fire.

 4     And there was also a question coming from a mother whether a soldier, a

 5     Croatian soldier who refuses to cross the border and go to Derventa, will

 6     be punished, and he says, No, and explains.  President Franjo Tudjman,

 7     himself, and a few high-ranking officers spelled it out very clearly.

 8     Volunteers who hail from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and also

 9     others who want to volunteer and go of their own will to fight against

10     the enemy, who is common, Croatia had signed a cease-fire, but war did

11     not end with that.  They could go under the conditions as specified

12     herein, and nothing clearer then could be said.  This was the state

13     policy, and the state policy also dictated the position of the army.

14             MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Just for the information for the

15     Trial Chamber, the transcript in English of Minister Susak's answer bears

16     the following number:  3D41-0682 and 3D41-0683.

17        Q.   General, I would now like to go on working, and I would like to

18     ask you to tell us something about a document that you already mentioned.

19     3D00963 is its numbers -- number.  And together with this document there

20     is also 3D01719.  The first document, 3D00963, is a decision by the

21     president, Dr. Franjo Tudjman about the appointment of a commission that

22     would investigate some of the actions and orders issued by General Major

23     Bozo Budimir.  Have you got it?

24        A.   Yes.  Here, under item 1 of this request issued by the supreme

25     commander, it says as follows:  Why did the major general make a decision

Page 8106

 1     and issue an order to send the 57th Independent Battalion to

 2     Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Bosnian Posavina?  He never had such an authority

 3     from the Main Staff.  There are some other things here, but I believe

 4     that this is one of the things -- one of the calls for an investigation

 5     of that case.  This person was the commander of the operation zone in

 6     Sisak, and he was my commander when I was in Sunja.  He is a wonderful

 7     man, a former officer of the JNA, but he was full of desire to fight.  He

 8     wanted to fight the JNA and the Army of Republika Srpska, and he breached

 9     a previous order.  And he was not the only one.  Let's be clear on that.

10             There were a lot of such things going on in Bosnia Posavina, and

11     things were dealt with in the way that they would be dealt with.  He was

12     called to task and processed, and the others were just called to their

13     senses through a conversation telling them that they shouldn't do such

14     things, but that they should follow a procedure.  And this was probably

15     the best way to proceed in such situations, and the principle had to be

16     respected.

17             However, when people are being killed, when people are dying, for

18     example, when in a big town you have 28 killed children and in its

19     broader surroundings some 500 dead civilians, all the commands, all the

20     laws, assume a different perspective.  The perspective changes quite a

21     lot, as a matter of fact.  Where there is death, where there is blood,

22     dead children, all that creates in people -- an organised --

23     well-organised army would deal with those matters differently, but those

24     were their next of kin, their closest family and relatives, and only

25     human reactions could be expected.  They did not follow any rules, but

Page 8107

 1     they were still human reactions.

 2             And rules did apply.  We adhered to the rules, and whenever

 3     somebody broke a rule, there would be an investigation, even of an honest

 4     man like this person in question.

 5        Q.   Can you please look at 3D0171.  Now to round off this topic, this

 6     is a proposal to indict by the prosecutor of the Military Court, and I

 7     believe that this was taken even further.

 8        A.   Yes.  This person willfully used HVO units, unbeknownst to the

 9     Main Staff of the HV.  Posavina is not specifically mentioned, but I know

10     that he did that.  And I don't know how that all ended.  I know that he

11     was punished in one way or another.  And I know that he was hurt by all

12     the developments, because he also was a volunteer.  He was in Sisak when

13     I was in Sunja.  He was a volunteer.  He was a soldier.  He knew exactly

14     what discipline was, and everything else.  But, you know, there's no

15     single military where all the commanders obey all the commands.  There is

16     a misperception that a military is something like a firm mechanical

17     mechanism.  This is not true in any military.

18             In America and France, when a war starts, when people start dying

19     and bleeding, every military experiences lots of problems.  I already

20     shared with you one case that I know from history.  General de Gaulle did

21     not obey Eisenhower's words when he said that his troops would not enter

22     Paris first.  De Gaulle did not like that, and he sent the 3rd Army of

23     General Leclerc to enter Paris first, out of spite.

24             Well, you know, things are not as simple as they seem on the face

25     of them.  It's not like a laboratory experiment.

Page 8108

 1        Q.   Thank you very much.  Just for the record, on page 97, line 22,

 2     the number of the document that the general has just referred to is

 3     3D01719.

 4             We've wrapped up this topic, as far as our examination-in-chief.

 5        A.   Would you like this 3D1719?

 6        Q.   Yes, we did that.

 7        A.   No, we did not.

 8        Q.   Yes, it is.  That's the motion to indict.

 9        A.   Well, that's Stipetic's.

10        Q.   We've dealt with that through "Hrvatski Vojnik," right at the

11     beginning, so we don't want to repeat ourselves.

12             Our next topic is the assistance of the Republic of Croatia to

13     the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

14             I am now in the hands of the Trial Chamber.  Should we embark on

15     this new topic, or should we adjourn now and begin tomorrow morning?

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, but for a few minutes,

17     the moment has come to adjourn.  It might be better to start with a new

18     topic tomorrow.  If you don't mind, General, we could move on to a new

19     topic tomorrow.  Is that okay?

20             Very well.  As you know, we'll be sitting in the morning

21     tomorrow.  The hearing will start at 9.00.

22             Thank you.  The hearing stands adjourned.  Good afternoon.

23                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.39 p.m.,

24                           to be reconvened on Thursday, the 14th day of May,

25                           2009, at 9.00 a.m.