1 Monday, 16 November 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you please
6 call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom.
9 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et
10 al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
12 This is Monday, November 16, 2009, and I greet the accused. I
13 also greet the Defence counsel, the eminent members of the OTP, and
14 everyone helping us.
15 Let me first give the floor to our Registrar. He has a number of
16 IC numbers for us.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 4D has submitted its objections to Prosecution's list of
19 documents tendered via witness Milan Gorjanc. This list shall be given
20 Exhibit IC1104. 4D has also submitted its response to the Prosecution's
21 objections to their list of documents tendered via witness Milan Gorjanc.
22 This list shall be given Exhibit IC1105.
23 Some parties have submitted lists of documents to be tendered
24 through witness Ivan Beneta. The list submitted by 4D shall be given
25 Exhibit IC1106. The list submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit IC1107,
1 and the list submitted by the Prosecution shall be given Exhibit IC1108.
2 Thank you, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber would like to
4 ask what the Prosecution thinks about the request for stay -- for
5 addition by the Petkovic Defence. It is proofing -- a proofing document
6 sent to the president of the Community of Herceg-Bosna. It's a report
7 coming from the president of the municipality of Stolac
8 Mr. Andjelko Markovic, and also written by the -- jointly written by the
9 commander of the Stolac Brigade, Mr. Bozo Pavlovic. This document seems
10 relevant. It is a report on the relations between Croats and Muslims in
11 Stolac, and it was handed over just a few hours ago to the Defence of the
12 Petkovic Defence -- to the Defence.
13 Does the Prosecution have anything to object, as far as adding
14 this exhibit to the list?
15 MR. KRUGER: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
16 everybody in and around the courtroom. Your Honour, no, the Prosecution
17 does not object to the addition of the document. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, then. The Trial
19 Chamber adds this document to the 65 ter list.
20 Let's bring the witness into the courtroom, please.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning [as interpreted],
24 Could you please give us your name, your family name, surname,
25 and date of birth.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Bozo Pavlovic. I was
2 born on the 24th of October, 1966, in Stolac.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your occupation at the
4 moment, please?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a retired colonel.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, have you already
7 testified in court or is this the first time that you are testifying in
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm testifying for the first time
10 here today.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please read the solemn
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
14 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: BOZO PAVLOVIC
16 [The witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, I will give you some
20 information, but I'm sure Ms. Alaburic has already told you everything
21 about it.
22 You will be answering questions put to you by Ms. Alaburic, who
23 will also show you a number of documents which are in a binder that you
24 have, and the documents will also be displayed on the screen in front of
25 you. After this first phase, the other counsels representing the other
1 accused can also ask questions, if they find it necessary, and then the
2 Prosecutor, who is to your right, Mr. Kruger, will also cross-examine
3 you. I believe he will. The four Judges on the bench can also step in
4 and ask questions on the documents shown to you.
5 Please try to be very specific in your answers. If you don't
6 understand a question, just ask for the person putting the question to
7 you to rephrase it.
8 I'd also like to draw your attention on the fact that whenever a
9 Judge is asking a question that you feel -- whenever you feel that a
10 Judge is asking -- whenever a Judge is asking a question, you can answer
11 to that question as you want. It's not because it's a Judge that you
12 must answer the question in a specific way. Feel free to answer as you
13 wish. The Judge is asking the question to try and maybe get confirmation
14 on something, or to try to shed some light on another item. If you
15 believe that the Judge made a mistake in his question, just say so, and
16 remember that you are completely free when you give your answer.
17 I wanted to tell you all this so that this hearing runs smoothly.
18 Let me also tell you that you have taken the oath, you took the
19 solemn declaration. You are now in the hands of justice, you are a
20 witness of justice. You are not to contact the Defence of
21 General Petkovic for the days to come.
22 I would also invite you not to relate what is happening in this
23 courtroom to anyone, notably the media. If, for example, a reporter came
24 and asked for your feeling on what has been happening, don't say
25 anything, because you are now under oath and you will be under oath until
1 you're done with your testimony.
2 I now greet you again, Ms. Alaburic, and I give you the floor.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good
4 afternoon to you and my colleagues of the Prosecution, to my Defence
5 colleagues, and you, Mr. Pavlovic, and everybody else in the courtroom.
6 Examination by Ms. Alaburic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Pavlovic, we're just briefly going to go
8 through your CV to provide our Judges with information about your
9 education, training, and career. You told us when and where you were
10 born, so now we can go on to your education and hear what schools you've
12 I'm going to read this summary. You can listen to me carefully.
13 Put me right, if I'm wrong. If not, just confirm what I've read out.
14 Now, as far as your education is concerned, you completed a
15 secondary technical school in Stolac, and then specialisation for a
16 technician for air force weapons. Then you completed an officers' school
17 at the level of battalion in Zagreb
18 again in Zagreb
19 A. [No interpretation]
20 Q. Now, your career is as follows: You were in the Yugoslav
21 People's Army for three years, and you had the rank of corporal. And at
22 the time, you were a technician in a combat squadron. You were in Zadar
23 for two years, and spent one year in Mostar. In September 1991, you left
24 the JNA, and until April 1992, you had a private firm and took part in
25 the preparations for the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In April 1992,
1 you were involved in the Municipal Staff of the HVO of Mostar, and you
2 took part in the liberation of Mostar from the joint forces of the
3 Yugoslav People's Army and the army of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Serbs.
4 On the 1st of July, 1992, you arrived in Stolac as commander of
5 the Municipal Staff of the HVO, and later on that was a forward command
6 post. And you stayed there until the 3rd of July, 1993. Until the 20th
7 of July, 1993, you were involved in the operative section of the
8 Operative Zone of South-East Herzegovina
9 appointed commander of the 3rd HVO Brigade. You remained in that
10 position until the 4th of October, 1993, when a new commander was
11 appointed, the commander of the 3rd Brigade, that is, and you handed over
12 your duties to him ten days later, that is to say, on the 14th of
14 In the Staff of the 3rd Brigade of the HVO, you stayed until June
15 1994, when you went to Zagreb
16 returned in January 1995 to the Military District of Mostar, and you
17 remained there until February 1996. When you went to work in Sarajevo
18 you went to the Ministry of Defence of the BH Federation, and you were
19 employed there until March 2001, when you left the ministry and became a
20 private entrepreneur again. You retired in December 2006 with the rank
21 of colonel of the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Tell me, please, Mr. Pavlovic, are the facts that I've read out
24 A. Yes, entirely.
25 Q. Now, since you were employed in the Ministry of Defence of the BH
1 Federation, I should like to ask you to tell us what was the Army of the
2 Federation composed of at the time when you worked there, when you were
3 in the ministry?
4 A. The Army of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina was composed of
5 two elements, two components; the Croatian Defence Council and the BH
7 Q. Thank you. Now, the first topic we're going to deal with,
8 Mr. Pavlovic, is the situation in Stolac, since your arrival there up
9 until the spring of 1993, so I'd like to ask you now --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, I have a question.
11 You retired in December 2006 as a colonel, colonel of the
12 Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina. When your military pension was
13 calculated, could you tell me whether the time you spent in the HVO was
14 taken into account, when you were in the HVO from 1993 to 1994? So could
15 you tell us whether the years you spent with the HVO was actually taken
16 into account when your military pension was computed? Was it taken into
17 account as service with the national forces?
18 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
19 MR. KARNAVAS: We didn't get a translation of the answer.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A "Da," but it wasn't -- it's
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, I have an additional question following on from
25 Judge Antonetti's question, who asked you about the time you spent in the
1 HVO in 1993 and 1994. Were your years of service in the HVO recognised,
2 too, in 1992?
3 A. Yes, and I received double credit for that.
4 Q. Can you explain to us what you mean by "double credit"?
5 A. As far as I understood it when I received my papers, all the time
6 that I spent in the HVO, and later on in the Army of the Federation,
7 was -- well, in the HVO, until the Dayton Accords were signed, it was
8 counted as double years of service.
9 Q. And did the same rule apply to the soldiers and officers of the
10 BH Army?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, we have looked at the law governing that, so we
13 can back that up by the letter of the law. But let's go back to Stolac,
14 1992. And in order to do that, you can look at the set of documents you
15 have before you, and I'd like to discuss document
16 4D11483 [as interpreted] as the first document. 1483 is the number,
18 This is a map, Mr. Pavlovic, prepared by our military expert, and
19 it shows the intervention plans of the Yugoslav People's Army in part of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia
21 1991. Tell us, please, did you have any knowledge of any plans of this
22 kind of the JNA at that time? And we're talking about 1991.
23 A. Yes, I was aware of this kind of plan, roughly speaking, because
24 from this we can see the axes of advance clearly of the Yugoslav People's
25 Army and the Serb forces, and they had the task of breaking through to
1 the Adriatic coast and, in so doing, to cut across the southern reaches
2 of Croatia
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was in the Mostar area, myself, at the time, and
4 what the Serbian Army did at the time, helped by the units of the
5 Yugoslav People's Army, was -- or, rather, roughly coincides with these
6 axes of attack as drawn in on this map here.
7 Q. When you say "at that time," Mr. Pavlovic, do you mean 1991 or do
8 you mean some other year?
9 A. I mean 1991 and the beginning of 1992.
10 Q. Now, if you recall what was happening in the early spring of
11 1992, could you tell us whether you have any knowledge and information
12 about the activities of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Serb forces in the area
13 of Kupres, Livno, and the more northerly part, in comparison to where you
15 A. Yes. In the area of Kupres, we saw the greatest deployment of
16 Serb forces, and they had strong armoured units, infantry units, and
17 backed up by the air force. They had the assignment of breaking through
18 in the direction of Split
19 forces were deployed in the area of Kupres, and they came there from the
20 direction of Mostar. So we were all able to see them passing by in large
22 Q. Had the Serbs succeeded in --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. This last answer, as recorded, may
24 be wrong. You're recorded as saying that from -- there were large forces
25 in Kupres and, I quote: "... and they came there from the direction of
1 Mostar." Looking at the map, this seems improbable to me.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, they came also from
3 the direction of Mostar. An armoured brigade, in the autumn of 1991, was
4 stopped along the axis of Mostar-Siroki Brijeg in a place called Polak.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That is understood. The problem is that the
6 sentence reads as if they came from Mostar to Kupres, but what you want
7 to say is from Mostar they also proceeded towards the sea?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They also came from Mostar. So
9 they came to Kupres from other directions, but also from Mostar, too.
10 That's what I wanted to say. And the other units launched an attack in
11 the direction of the sea, south of Mostar.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay, thank you.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you're interested
14 in this, perhaps on this map here, the map on our monitors, we could
15 perhaps indicate the movement of JNA forces that the witness is talking
16 about, because the witness did mention certain movements that took place
17 at the end of 1991, and he mentioned some events in 1992, the spring of
18 1992. So perhaps it wasn't quite clear, but if you want us to clarify
19 all this, then I'm sure the witness can show us what the troop movements
20 were at the end of 1991 and what it was that happened in the spring of
21 1992; Kupres, Livno, the direction towards Split, and so on.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, given the fact that this map depicts the
23 situation of May 1991, I don't think it's a basis to continue and ask
24 what happens later. I suggest that you go on.
25 Sorry for the interruption.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you,
2 Your Honour.
3 Q. My following question was whether the events in the field, in the
4 early spring of 1992, were exactly as shown on this map concerning the
5 plans of the JNA from 1991. So if you could give us a summary of the
6 events as they happened in spring 1992, Mr. Pavlovic.
7 A. As I've said already, in spring 1992 the units of the JNA had
8 taken up positions around the town of Mostar. They had taken all hills
9 around the town.
10 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, if I may interrupt you. I didn't want to go into
11 the details. If you could just state whether the events in spring 1992
12 corresponded to what's shown here on the map, if that's what you can do
13 by way of summarising.
14 A. Yes, they did correspond, as I've said already.
15 Q. Can you tell us, Mr. Pavlovic, who was it at that time, that is,
16 early spring 1992, who was able and willing to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina
17 against such an aggression or offensive actions, whatever way we may
18 choose to call them, from the JNA and the BiH Serbs?
19 A. At that time, it was only the Croatian Army that could put up
20 resistance against such forces and the units of the HVO which had
21 organised themselves by that time clandestinely.
22 Q. Tell us, in that process of organising units, did Muslims who
23 lived in those territories also take part? Did they also participate in
24 the preparations to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 A. In spring, that is, in early 1992, the HVO was being established
1 from units that had been preparing in secret. We prepared for defence
2 and cooperated in the field. We had night guards, and in some areas we
3 were able to stop the advance of these forces.
4 Q. Did you at the time personally participate in some liberation
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. Which actions were those?
8 A. I took part in the liberation of the town of Mostar.
9 Q. All right. As this has been discussed extensively in this
10 courtroom, we will skip that and pass over to Stolac.
11 When did you arrive at Stolac, Mr. Pavlovic?
12 A. I arrived there on the 1st of July, 1992.
13 Q. Was Stolac liberated at the time?
14 A. Yes, the town of Stolac
16 Q. Can you tell us, who was it that liberated Stolac?
17 A. The forces that had liberated Stolac were the forces of the
18 116th Brigade of the HV, the most -- the strongest element of which was
19 the Stolac Battalion, which was active in the direction of Stolac itself.
20 Q. You were not an eye-witness, but you probably heard the accounts
21 of eye-witnesses. Was there any fighting involved in the liberation of
22 Stolac or did the Serbs and the Serb Army simply leave, without
23 resistance, Stolac and the municipality of Stolac
24 A. There was fierce fighting for Stolac, the same as for Mostar, at
25 least according to the accounts of my colleagues and later fellow
1 soldiers who were engaged along the direction toward the town itself.
2 Q. The Stolac Battalion, at the moment when you arrived at Stolac,
3 what was your position on the 1st of July when you arrived at Stolac?
4 A. On the 1st of July, I was appointed the commander of the
5 Municipal Staff of Stolac.
6 Q. You mean the Municipal Staff of the HVO?
7 A. Yes, the Municipal HVO Staff.
8 Q. What condition was the Stolac Battalion in? Did they have enough
9 men, were they ready for subsequent combat activity, were they rested?
10 A. When I arrived, the condition of the unit was such that the
11 soldiers had been without relief for quite a while. They were very tired
12 and exhausted by combat. They were holding positions against the Serbs
13 in some areas immediately outside the town of Stolac and other areas in
14 villages to the north-west of Stolac.
15 Q. Who was your immediate superior at the time?
16 A. At the time, it was the commander of the 116th Brigade of the
17 Croatian Army, Colonel Beneta.
18 Q. Did you launch any activity with regard to the reorganisation of
19 the Stolac Battalion at the time?
20 A. Yes. When I came to Stolac, I was tasked with strengthening the
21 positions outside of Stolac, fortify them, and launch active defence.
22 With the forces I had found, I wasn't able to do so. And in co-operation
23 with my superior officer, we started mobilising additional soldiers and
24 enlarging the unit, so that in the following two weeks or so we were able
25 to improve the condition and mobilise as many soldiers as we could equip
1 and arm.
2 Q. This additional mobilisation, how was it conducted, by public
3 summons or secret summons, or was it a general mobilisation? Do
5 A. When I came to Stolac, there had already been a crisis staff. It
6 was possible to establish it. And within that Crisis Staff, the
7 Mobilisation Department started functioning, because the people who had
8 worked on these jobs before, that is, prior to the Serb aggression, had
9 removed and hidden the registers and the mobilisation documents, so that
10 we had complete insight into the military specialisations of the
11 conscripts. But there was a public mobilisation call, and many soldiers
12 answered the call, even more than we could accept at the time.
13 Q. Since inter-ethnic relations matter greatly in this trial, can
14 you tell us about the ethnic make-up of these people who answered the
16 A. Almost all able-bodied Croats had already -- or had already been
17 mobilised in the municipality of Stolac
18 that about 90 per cent Muslim conscripts answered that mobilisation call.
19 Q. What absolute numbers are we talking about?
20 A. I believe that there were as many as 400 men.
21 Q. Tell us briefly what you did with these people who were
23 A. We made a list. We saw what their military specialties were,
24 what they had been trained for in the former army, and some of them were
25 equipped right away, and we started establishing two battalions in
1 accordance with the principle -- a principle which was honoured because
2 the first battalion already had much combat experience, even in attack
3 operations, so that from that first Stolac battalion we took a platoon of
4 about 30 people and added to it another platoon of 30 more people, and
5 those were newly-mobilised soldiers. And that's how we proceeded until
6 we were able to establish two units of the strength of a battalion each.
7 Q. And what was the ethnic make-up of both battalions?
8 A. It was roughly on a 50:50 basis.
9 Q. And what about the commanding officers; what ethnicity were they?
10 A. We also took into consideration these factors when we were
11 establishing a command structure, but we had an agreement that to start
12 with, we must take into consideration the combat experience of the
13 members of the first battalion. However, in many commanding positions,
14 or positions of chiefs for artillery, or logistics, et cetera, we also
15 included people of Muslim ethnicity.
16 Q. All right, let's proceed. Tell us, Mr. Pavlovic, in this
17 establishing of a joint army of Croats and Muslims, did you enjoy the
18 support of your superiors or did you do it of your own accord?
19 A. When I received the order to take over the Municipal Staff of
20 Stolac from my superior officer, I received instructions to, above all,
21 strengthen the defence and include the entire population of the town of
22 Stolac in that defence, irrespective of their ethnicity. And that's the
23 kind of order that I received from Colonel Beneta, too, because he wasn't
24 opposed to including them in the units.
25 Q. And what was your attitude toward these orders? Did you approve
1 of them or did you think that they were wrong, deep down inside?
2 A. If I had considered them wrong, I wouldn't have agreed to carry
3 out these orders.
4 Q. Can you tell us about the reactions of the Croatian population
5 which by that time had returned to Stolac? Did they praise this effort
6 to establish a joint army or were they basically against it?
7 A. There was some disapproval of the decision to include Muslims --
8 sorry, soldiers of Muslim ethnicity into the units of the HVO.
9 Q. Can you tell us about the probable reasons?
10 A. The probable reason was that immediately before leaving Stolac,
11 as a consequence of a strong Serb attack, the Muslim people had not left
12 together with the Croats because the defence of the town of Stolac
13 that attack had been prepared jointly.
14 Q. Tell us whether the Muslim population, during the Serbian
15 occupation of Stolac, did they participate with -- or, rather, cooperate
16 with the Serbs in setting up local authorities or not?
17 A. According to the information that we had, the Muslim population
18 cooperated with the aggressor, and there was information that their
19 political leadership at the time signed a treaty of loyalty to the Serb
21 operated as if nothing had happened, and likewise -- or, rather, this
22 applied to all the other services in the municipal authorities.
23 Q. Do you happen to remember who the chief of police was at that
24 time in Stolac?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Tell us.
2 A. The chief of police was Mr. Mehmed Dizdar.
3 Q. And tell me what the position was of the Muslim population with
4 respect to the efforts to set up a joint army of Muslims and Croats. Was
5 there any resistance there on their part?
6 A. Well, what I experienced at the time was this: I wasn't able to
7 notice that the Muslim population and the Muslim conscripts, which
8 responded to the call-up voluntarily, that they had any misgivings about
9 an HVO army and the Croatian people, and I saw their enthusiasm. They
10 were pleased that they were relieved from the aggressor's pressure, the
11 kind of pressure they felt during the occupation, in fact, and that they
12 felt themselves to be free citizens.
13 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Pavlovic, at that time can you quote a
14 single example of any of the Muslims who had left Stolac wishing to go
15 back to Stolac without being allowed to do so or perhaps being prevented
16 to do so in one way or another?
17 A. No. Quite the contrary, in fact. We helped as much as we could.
18 We did help the refugees to return. We just did not allow -- in some
19 hamlets along the front-line where our soldiers had been put up, we did
20 not allow them to go back there, and where the civilians could have been
21 exposed to heavy shelling and infantry attacks by the Serb units.
22 Q. Tell me, please, this rule that you've just explained to us, did
23 you apply it to the Croats and Muslims alike, or was there any
24 discrimination in that respect?
25 A. At that time, this rule held fast for one and all.
1 Q. Very well, thank you. Tell us, please, Mr. Pavlovic -- yes,
2 we've got the surname spelt properly in the transcript, but does the name
3 Mirsad Mahmutcehajic ring a bell at all?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Tell us, please, was he an inhabitant of Stolac?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Was he a Muslim?
8 A. Yes, he was.
9 Q. What was his attitude towards the establishment of the HVO as a
10 joint army of the Croats and Muslims?
11 A. Well, at the beginning, when I arrived and during those first few
12 days, I had an opportunity of meeting that particular gentleman, whom I
13 didn't know until then, and he had the opportunity of getting a post in
14 the Logistics Department of our unit. And as far as I understood it, he
15 accepted this offer, to begin with.
16 Q. How do you mean that he was offered a post in Logistics?
17 A. Well, some of my associates asked me and, in fact, advised me to
18 have this gentleman work in logistics, that it would be a good idea,
19 because according to what they said, he had good connections and he knew
20 all the channels of weapons procurement, and so on and so forth, and that
21 this is something he had engaged in previously.
22 Q. Tell us, please, did Mr. Mahmutcehajic ever, for the purposes of
23 the HVO in Stolac defence, procure any weapons?
24 A. On two occasions, he asked me to issue him with some permits that
25 he needed to go to Zagreb
1 whom he could procure what we needed. And at the time, what we needed
2 most was anti-armour rocket defence systems and artillery weapons, and so
3 I gave him permission to do that. However, not once did he bring
4 anything back with him to our Logistics Department.
5 Q. Did you ever receive any information to the effect that
6 Mr. Mahmutcehajic was, in fact, dissatisfied with the way in which the
7 defence of Stolac was organised?
8 A. Not until that time, no. However, on one occasion when I and my
9 deputy, Mr. Edin Obradovic, toured the front-lines of our defence, upon
10 our return, on the way back, when talking, he told me that he had had --
11 that there were some problems among the Muslims, themselves, in Stolac,
12 and that Mr. Mahmutcehajic had caused many of those problems.
13 I asked him to explain what he meant, but he avoided answering me
14 and said that it would be best if the two of us got together, had a
15 meeting. I said, Right, fine, no problem. Where can I find the man?
16 And he told me that he was in Stolac, in a part of town called Uzinovici,
17 and that we could find him down there. I asked him, When? And he said,
18 Whenever you like. So we set off to find him straight away, there and
20 Q. Let me interrupt you there for a moment. You needn't go into how
21 you found him, but let's take it from the moment you actually found him.
22 What happened then?
23 A. Can I give you an answer?
24 Q. Yes. Go ahead, please.
25 A. We arrived at a feature called Palma in Uzinovici, where we were
1 supposed to find him. We came across a couple of people there, and they
2 told us that he was across the road in the mosque. So we set out towards
3 the mosque, and there were two guards standing in front of the mosque.
4 As we approached, they recognised Mr. Obradovic.
5 Q. Yes, "Obradovic," that's right. Tell us, this man,
6 Edin Obradovic, your deputy, what ethnicity was he?
7 A. Edin Obradovic was a Muslim.
8 Q. Right. So you went up to the guards standing in front of the
10 A. They knew Edin from before, I assume, because they referred to
11 him as Mehraba -- they said to him "Mehraba," which is a Muslim greeting.
12 They didn't know me. They probably thought I was his driver, because we
13 didn't have any insignia on us, except on our sleeves, where it said the
14 "HVO/Croatian Defence Council." And they told us that Mr. Mahmutcehajic
15 was inside the mosque. We went into the mosque, said hello to him, but
16 after that he left the mosque straight away, and he started swearing at
17 the two guards. He said to them, Do you know who you just let in? They
18 said they had let Edo
19 You've let Pavlovic in. You know who he is?
20 Now, while he was leaving the mosque, Mr. Obradovic and I went
21 'round the mosque inside, and I found something that surprised me when I
22 walked 'round the inside of it. I counted some crates that were there,
23 and there were over 200 automatic and other types of rifle in the mosque
24 at the time in those boxes, 2 machine-guns, 3 82-millimetre mortars,
25 6 60-millimetre mortars that were known as the Partisan Mortars,
1 1 120-millimetre mortar, large quantities of ammunition, grenades,
2 shells, and military equipment of all kinds, and large quantities of
3 food; flour, oil, and other necessities.
4 Q. And what did you say to Mr. Mahmutcehajic when he returned to the
5 mosque, Mr. Pavlovic?
6 A. I first asked him whether that was the weaponry that he had gone
7 to Zagreb
8 gave me some answers which I can't quite recall now, but I demanded of
9 him at the time that in the course of that day, the 120-millimetre mortar
10 had to be up at the positions and used for the defence of the town of
11 Stolac, because at that time we only had one 120-millimetre mortar, and
12 here we had another one lying idle in the mosque.
13 Q. And did you negotiate this matter of the mortar?
14 A. Yes. I asked him to place it all at our disposal up at the
15 front-line to defend the town. However, he opposed me and said he would
16 distribute this materiel personally as he saw fit. I said that there
17 were rules governing how weapons were to be deployed and distributed and
18 that we knew full well who was able to manage this.
19 Q. May I interrupt you there, not to recount your entire
20 conversation with him. Just give us -- tell us what the result was.
21 What agreement did you reach? Did you get any of those weapons?
22 A. I didn't want to take any weapons by force and thereby violate
23 the relations that were improving, the relations between the Croats and
24 the Muslims. They were on the assent. However, I told him that he had
25 to provide us with that 120-millimetre mortar before the day was out, and
1 he agreed to that.
2 Q. And tell us, please, all that weaponry, did it remain in the
3 mosque? Do you know anything about what happened to those weapons later
4 on, where they ended up?
5 A. The weapons remained in the mosque when we left. However, we
6 later learnt that soon afterwards it was sent to other locations.
7 Q. Did you distribute the weapons or was it somebody else?
8 A. No, it wasn't us.
9 Q. Now, Mr. Pavlovic, going back to that same meeting in the mosque,
10 I'm going to tell you how the meeting was described by a protected
11 witness who appeared in this courtroom. And as he was protected, I can't
12 give you his name, but the pseudonym was CU, and his testimony was
13 recorded on pages 12470 of the transcript and 12471. So here's what that
14 witness said. He said that in July 1992, in the Unuzovic [phoen] Mosque
15 in Stolac, that there was a meeting between Pavlovic, Edin Obradovic, and
16 Mirsad Mahmutcehajic, and that in the courtyard of the mosque there were
17 27 automatic rifles, and that a platoon had been established, or, rather,
18 a squad, and that the weapons were taken away by Pavlovic and
19 Edin Obradovic. Now, can you tell us, Mr. Pavlovic, whether this
20 description was what actually happened?
21 A. That's just not correct. There were just two armed guards
22 standing in front of the mosque, that's all.
23 Q. Very well, thank you. Now let's look at the organisational
24 changes that took place in Stolac.
25 Last week in this courtroom, we had General Beneta, who told us
1 that in mid-July he had left Stolac. Now, tell us, is that what
2 happened? Did General Beneta really leave Stolac in mid-July 1992?
3 A. Yes. He was Colonel Beneta at the time, and he handed over the
4 positions and left Stolac.
5 Q. Tell me, please, at that time, the Municipal Staff of the HVO of
6 Stolac, did it undergo any reorganisation?
7 A. Yes, it did.
8 Q. How?
9 A. Well, the Municipal Staff of Stolac, at that time, that is to
10 say, when the 116th Brigade left, Group 2, TG-2, well, two battalions had
11 already been established, and he had units under the battalion, and they
12 managed to stabilise the front-line and make the town safer, to a certain
14 Q. Did these two battalions of the HVO -- or, rather, tell us, what
15 brigade were the two Stolac battalions a part of?
16 A. The two Stolac battalions, once the 116th Brigade had left, were
17 placed under the command of the 1st Herzegovina Brigade of the HVO.
18 Q. Did the battalions have their respective commanders?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You were not a battalion commander, were you?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Tell us, who was it that co-ordinated the activities of these two
23 battalions in the Stolac municipality?
24 A. When they were taken out of the 116th Brigade and became part of
25 the 1st HVO Brigade, the command post was transformed into a forward
1 command post, and its role was to co-ordinate the units in the territory
2 of the Stolac municipality.
3 Q. Tell us, was it possible for the commander of the 1st HVO Brigade
4 to communicate directly with the commanders of the Stolac battalions?
5 A. Yes, it was possible.
6 Q. Were there instances when the brigade commander directly -- was
7 in direct communication with the battalion commanders?
8 A. Yes, there were some instances.
9 Q. Tell us, Mr. Pavlovic -- we're still speaking about the month of
10 July. Can you tell us what the Serbs were doing at the time? Had they
11 retreated completely? Had they given up Stolac? Was there peace
12 prevailing in Stolac, without any fighting, or was the situation
14 A. At that time after my arrival, the Serbs were also involved in a
15 complete reorganisation, they fortified their positions, but they were
16 also daily engaging in active defence. That is, they were intensively
17 shelling our positions, the town itself and its surroundings. They also
18 had reconnaissance missions, and they were preparing for a counter-attack
19 on our units.
20 Q. And did that counter-attack actually come about?
21 A. Yes, it did.
22 Q. When?
23 A. It was on the 15th of August.
24 Q. Can you briefly describe -- or, rather, tell us, then, the year.
25 A. 1992.
1 Q. Can you briefly describe that attack for the Bench to get an
2 impression of the scope of the attack? Was it merely a skirmish or was
3 it more serious than that, with wounded and killed soldiers?
4 A. I dare say that the attack was -- possibly was more intensive
5 than our attack when we pierced through Serb positions and took positions
6 around Mostar and the town of Stolac
7 enemy shells were fired at us. We were attacked from several directions.
8 Along one direction, they were even able to pierce our defence lines,
9 whereas elsewhere we managed to defend ourselves. There were three
10 attacks of theirs. The first was launched at 6.00 a.m. It was the
11 fiercest. The second was around 10.00, or 9.30 to be precise, which was
12 almost as strong as the previous one at 6.00 a.m. And the third attack
13 followed at 2.00 p.m.
14 I have to point out that on that day, the Serb Air Force was also
15 active. There were many casualties on both sides. We had three killed
16 soldiers. It was -- the names were Papac, Zukanovic, and Obradovic.
17 There was about a dozen wounded, more or less seriously wounded, and the
18 Serb forces had much greater casualties, greater losses.
19 Q. Let us see what a document says about the losses on the Serb
21 Could we please go into private session, because the document I'm
22 about to show is protected.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
24 [Private session]
11 Pages 46808-46809 redacted. Private session.
1 [Open session]
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, please take a look at the following document,
6 2D1295. It's an order. Did you have an opportunity to see this order
7 during the proofing?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Tell us, what kind of order is it?
10 A. It's a defence order signed by General Petkovic.
11 Q. Has this order anything to do with Operation Bura?
12 A. Yes, it does, and it shows that -- it shows which units were
13 tasked with fortifying existing positions in Operation Bura and which
14 units are tasked with preventing the enemy from launching a
16 Q. Does it follow from this document that the defence was -- the
17 defence concept was that of a joint defence by the HVO and the BiH Army?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, in your evidence so far, you mentioned that when
20 you came to Stolac on the 1st of July, 1992, there was a crisis staff.
21 Can you tell us who the president of the Crisis Staff was?
22 A. The president of the Crisis Staff was Mr. Zeljko Raguz.
23 Q. What had been his position before the war?
24 A. He was the president of the Stolac municipality.
25 Q. Can you tell us about the ethnic make-up of the Crisis Staff?
1 A. I believe that it consisted of 50:50 Croats and Muslims.
2 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, I would now like to quickly go through some
3 documents I consider important for the period when you were active in the
4 Stolac municipality and which speak about the co-operation between Croats
5 and Muslims in defence.
6 Take a look at document P314, please. This is your document or
7 the document by which you are appointed -- by which you appoint the
8 commander and deputy commander of the 2nd Battalion. Could you read out
9 their names, please, and their ethnicities?
10 A. Mr. Muharem Dizdar is a Muslim.
11 Q. I would like to correct the name. The name is Muharem Dizdar.
12 Tell us about the ethnicity of his deputy, Ilija Markovic.
13 A. He was a Croat.
14 Q. Let us look at the following document, 4D914. This is one of
15 your reports from July 1992, and here, at the third paragraph, it is
16 stated that the command -- the staff command works intensively on the
17 establishment of mixed Croatian-Muslim units. Is this what you described
18 as a creation of a joint Croat-Muslim army?
19 A. Yes, this is evidence of that.
20 Q. On page 3, that is, toward the very end of the document, it reads
21 that about 90 per cent of the Muslims responded to the mobilisation. Is
22 this what you mentioned when the Muslims answered the call-up in great
24 A. Yes, this is evidence of that.
25 Q. Take a look at document 4D908, please.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, I have something to
3 In the last document, 4D914, this is a report that you wrote, and
4 you say four joint companies were set up and one purely Muslim company
5 was also set up. While I was reading this, I was wondering why you
6 didn't also set up a purely Croat company. Was there a reason behind
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll explain this
9 document to you.
10 I told you at the beginning that at that time, there was a purely
11 Croatian battalion, the Stolac Battalion, and that that was the basis for
12 the establishment of two battalions later on. Now, we took in all those
13 who had their own weapons, and we armed those others who did not. At
14 that point in time, the village of Prenj
15 had -- that is to say, illegally had, during the Serb occupation, a
16 company. This company had been illegally formed, and that company placed
17 itself at our disposal during the mobilisation period. The date here is
18 the 12th of July, and at that time we still hadn't established those two
19 battalions. That is why it was still purely Muslim. But over the next
20 few days, it became a mixed battalion, together with the Croats. So
21 after that, we no longer had any ethnically pure units.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Let's look at the next document,
23 which is 4D908, and this is a letter from the Bregava commander,
24 Bajro Pizovic. Tell us what army this is.
25 A. It's the BH Army.
1 Q. Now, from this document, we can see that a BH Army commander is
2 addressing the command of the 1st Herzegovina Brigade of the HVO and is
3 requesting an area of responsibility and a location in which to put up
4 his unit. Have I interpreted this document correctly? Is that what it's
5 about? Is it, indeed, a request sent to an HVO brigade commander?
6 A. Yes, and that was quite normal at the time.
7 Q. When you say "quite normal," do you mean that areas of
8 responsibility were being ascribed and that you were putting up a joint
9 defence against the Serbs? Is that what you mean?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, the next document is 4D932, and here Mr. Mahmutcehajic is
12 addressing Mr. Nedjeljko Obradovic. Tell us, what function did this man
13 Obradovic have?
14 A. He was the commander of the 1st Herzegovina Brigade of the HVO
15 Brigade called the Knez Domagoj.
16 Q. Once you read the first passage of this very short letter, what
17 is expected here is that the HVO commander should introduce the
18 Bregava Brigade to strengthen the defence abilities of the town of
19 Stolac. Now, based on your experience and this document, is that proof
20 of co-operation between the two armies or not?
21 A. Yes, it is. This is precisely proof and evidence of
23 Q. Now let's look at the next document, which is 4D624, and this is
24 a document --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll look at the following
1 document after the break.
2 We'll have a 20-minute break.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The court is back
6 in session.
7 Please continue.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, we're going to cut short some documents from the
10 bundle because time is flying, so we're going to skip to the next
11 document. We're going to look at 4D1521, 1521.
12 We have a small mistake in the date here, and it's not
13 "December," but it's "January," and we can see that from the contents of
14 the document.
15 Can you please tell us -- Mr. Pavlovic, at the bottom of the page
16 we can see a stamp. Can you please tell us what this stamp means?
17 A. This is a receipt stamp of the unit.
18 Q. Which unit; can you tell us?
19 A. It's the Bregava Brigade in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20 Q. So that means that the brigade received the document from the HVO
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So can you please tell us what the orders are, then, for the
24 Bregava Brigade?
25 A. It is being commanded or ordered to take up its assigned
2 Q. Can you please look at the next document, 4D1553. It's the order
3 by the chief of the Main Staff of January 1993, and it says:
4 "In connection with a conference in Geneva and due to the
5 potential enemy activities on the Stolac front, I hereby issue the
7 Mr. Pavlovic, can you please tell us, who was the enemy at the
8 Stolac front at that point in time?
9 A. The Serbian Army.
10 Q. In item 1 of this order, the forming of a unit of 70 men is being
11 referred to. Did that unit come to the Stolac area in January 1993?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what was its assignment?
14 A. It was a reserve force which we could deploy along a certain
16 Q. All right. The next document, 4D1026. It's a combat report from
17 the Bregava Brigade commander, Mr. Bajro Pizovic, and in the middle
18 section of the document he says:
19 "Our forces responded forcefully to the Chetnik attack, together
20 with the HVO forces."
21 Can you please tell us, in this document, are the HVO and the
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina Army at that point in time, in February 1993,
23 fighting together or holding positions against the Serb forces?
24 A. Yes, they're holding positions jointly.
25 Q. We're going to skip the next document, and we're now going to
1 look at 4D1048. Judging by the preamble to this order from February
2 1993, who is the enemy at that point in time?
3 A. The Serbian forces.
4 Q. In paragraph 3, the chief of the Main Staff is ordering that the
5 units of the B and H Army be informed about the same danger so that they
6 could also reinforce their defence lines. Can you please tell us whether
7 this was passed on to the B and H Army or not?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And does it represent an agreement between the two forces?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you please look at 4D478. This document actually consists of
12 two documents. It's a request Bajro Pizovic, the commander of the
13 Bregava Brigade, is sending to the operative zone of the HVO, requesting
14 artillery support. And in response to that request -- just one second.
15 I have an instruction to correct something in the transcript, so I just
16 need to understand what it's about. Very well. It's all right.
17 And then we have the response from Mr. Lasic about long-range
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not quite sure whether -- oh, yes, I see.
20 Excuse me, I was mistaken about the number of the document because -- but
21 it seems to be the one. You are on 478, and you skipped 1048; right?
22 No, you had it. I'm sorry, I was --
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I did skip one. I'm going to
24 skip some documents because I had a more or less optimistic option in
25 terms of the documents.
1 Q. So this response by Miljenko Lasic speaks about long-term
2 artillery. Can you please explain this reply?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Yes, go ahead.
5 A. Long-range artillery was entrusted to the South-Eastern
6 Herzegovina Operations Zone, and all units under the command of the
7 commander of that zone had the right to request artillery support if they
8 needed such support. So the Bregava Brigade, too, exercised its right,
9 and you could use your own artillery for targets that were in front of
11 Q. Can you please tell us, in terms of this long-range artillery,
12 were you and your units and the Bregava Brigade in the same position, in
13 terms of using this option?
14 A. Yes, all the units were in the same position, as far as making a
15 request of this type was concerned.
16 Q. Now we're going to skip a document again, and can we please look
17 at document --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
19 Colonel, we're looking at these two documents, and I'm trying to
20 understand. On the 6th of February, the commander of the Bregava Brigade
21 asked for support, for artillery support, but he made the request to the
22 HVO. And on the 7th of July [as interpreted], he got an answer from the
23 HVO. Basically, he got an agreement from the HVO. Now, based on the
24 examination of these two documents, because you were on the ground and
25 you know better than anyone what was happening, should we conclude that
1 in February 1993, there was, between the HVO and the ABiH, co-ordination
2 in the fight -- in the military fight against the Serbs?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, from what I understood
4 you to say, you said that the reply was sent to the 7th of July, if the
5 interpretation is correct.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 7th of February. I said "7th
7 of February," sorry.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You can see from this document that
9 co-operation at the time was good, because at the time units of the
10 Croatian Defence Council and the Bosnia-Herzegovina Army were keeping
11 control in the area of responsibility side by side and were defending the
12 line, the front-line.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] We're going to skip a document.
14 Q. Can you please look at document 4D476. It's a report by the
15 security organs of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Army 4th Corps, and in the
16 conclusion, under line 7, it says that:
17 "Relations between the army and the HVO at Rotimlje are very
19 Mr. Pavlovic, can you please tell us, are you able to confirm or
20 deny this assertion?
21 A. This assertion is absolutely correct.
22 Q. And is Rotimlje in the Stolac municipality?
23 A. Yes, it is. It belongs to the Stolac municipality.
24 Q. And were your units in charge of defence of that area in
1 A. No, they were not in charge of the Rotimlje defence, but I had
2 the opportunity to come to Rotimlje very often at that time, because
3 that's where my house is and I still live there.
4 Q. Were your parents in Rotimlje at that time?
5 A. No, not at the time, but I would very often drive there to stop
6 by and check my house, my property, to visit my neighbours and my
7 relatives, so that I could see for myself that the situation at Rotimlje
8 was without any problems.
9 Q. Let's look at the last document from this segment. It's 4D475.
10 We've already seen this document several times in the courtroom. It's a
11 request for active defence, and it was issued by the commander of the
12 Operative Zone Southern Herzegovina
13 February, 1993. And in item 3, they're talking about Bregava line of
14 defence. Mr. Pavlovic, can you please tell us whether that was actually
15 the line held by the Bregava Brigade at that time?
16 A. Yes, that was the Rudina area, yes.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I am being told to correct
18 page 37, line 4, and that we're talking about the order, not a request.
19 So it's an order, not a request.
20 Q. Now we can move to another topic about relations between Muslims
21 and Croats in this part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the fact that they are
22 becoming more complex at this time. Let's look at the documents to try
23 to see how the situation became more complex and more complicated in the
24 relationship between Croats and Muslims.
25 Now let's look at 4D929, please, 929. This is a report by
1 Mehmed Dizdar from early January 1993. Mr. Pavlovic, can you please tell
2 us if you had the opportunity to read this document while you were
3 preparing for your testimony?
4 A. Yes, I had the opportunity to read the document.
5 Q. I'm going to summarise the contents. I'm not going to read the
6 entire document. It's quite a long one. But it's clear from the
7 document that the following persons are trying to contact policemen of
8 Muslim ethnicity and persuade them to join the Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 Army and to leave the police force which was actually a joint police
10 force with the Croats. Those people are: Mehmed Dizdar, who wrote the
11 document, followed by Mirsad Mahmutcehajic, Esad Suta,
12 Alija Rizanbegovic [phoen], and members of the Crisis Staff.
13 Mr. Pavlovic, can you please tell us if at the time you knew that
14 persons who occupied some party posts or military positions were trying
15 to exert influence on Muslims in the police who wished to co-operate with
17 A. Yes, I did have such information.
18 Q. Can you please tell us who was the main source of this
20 A. In this case, they were the people who actually they were trying
21 to influence. They were the policemen from the Stolac police station.
22 Q. And were these Muslim policemen?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you please look at the next document, 4D1603, 1603. What I
25 would like to know from you, Mr. Pavlovic -- we're just going to look at
1 the cover page of this document, and we had the opportunity to analyse
2 this document before in the courtroom. Can you just interpret this stamp
3 at the bottom on this page?
4 A. You mean the receipt stamp?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. Yes, that is the receipt stamp by the Bregava Brigade in Stolac,
7 indicating that the document was received.
8 Q. Very well. That is all I wanted to know from this document.
9 Can we look at the next document, 4D1027. This is a document by
10 the Security Service of the HVO 1st Brigade which says that the Command
11 of the Bregava Brigade, without any kind of announcement, came to
12 Gubavica, set up a check-point in Pijesci, and that they were planning to
13 go to Bivolje Brdo Hill. Can you please tell us whether the fact that
14 Bregava came to these locations was an act that resulted of their own
15 will or was it a consequence of some command from the HQ?
16 A. No, they came of their own will.
17 Q. Can you please tell us if at the time you were aware of the fact
18 that they had come to this location on their own ?
19 A. Yes, I was aware of that.
20 Q. And how did you feel about this unannounced arrival at this
21 particular location, you and the HVO units in that area? Was that
22 something normal?
23 A. No, it was a form of provocation.
24 Q. Can we please look at the next document, 4D428. What I would
25 like to look at with you here, Mr. Pavlovic, is actually two things.
1 This is a report of the 4th Corps Command, the Section for Morale,
2 Information, Political Activity and Religious Affairs, and it says:
3 "Deterioration of the relations in the region of the municipality
4 of Konjic had some influence on the soldiers' morale."
5 The Defence often tried to prove in this courtroom that we were
6 unable to understand the events in Mostar unless we knew what happened in
7 the area of Jablanica and Konjic, and that this was all interconnected
8 and influenced the relationship, the atmosphere, and the understanding
9 among the sides, so can you please give us an insight about the situation
10 and tell us whether this interconnectedness actually reflected the
11 situation that prevailed at the time?
12 A. Yes, this was a closely-connected area, and any event that would
13 have any kind of influence, in terms of the deterioration of relations
14 between the HVO and the B and H Army or, rather, Croats and Muslims,
15 would powerfully reflect on all the units in that area, and of course
16 would also be felt among the population.
17 Q. If you know, can you please tell us whether the Konjic,
18 Jablanica, and Mostar area was part of a single corps of the
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina Army, and was it part of one operations zone? Was it
20 organised in that way?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And now can we look at this second part of the document, where it
23 says that:
24 "Another problem is also the opinion among some of the soldiers
25 who think that the war is over with the signing of the Vance-Owen Plan,
1 so that it would be necessary to implement a number of measures in order
2 to activate the combat morale among that part of the soldiers."
3 Can you, as a soldier, explain what these measures would be to
4 activate the combat morale among a part of the fighters?
5 A. Well, they were actions of low intensity, that is to say,
6 creating incidents, storming certain areas without any announcement. It
7 would also include opening fire without permission and things like that.
8 Q. Now look at P1809, which is the next document, please, 1809.
9 It's an order from the Command of the Bregava Brigade, dated the 5th of
10 April, 1993, and from this document we can see that the command is
11 located in the village of Gubavica
12 there with the HVO's agreement or not?
13 A. No. The Bregava Brigade Command was accommodated in South Camp,
14 whereas the forward command post and the command post of the unit which
15 held the line was in the village of Rotimlje
16 itself was called Kajtezovina.
17 Q. What you've just told us now, is that how things should have been
18 in agreement with the HVO or is that how things were?
19 A. It's the area of responsibility assigned to them in agreement
20 with the HVO, but in reality the situation was that off their own bat,
21 they reached the Gubavica area and took control of the barracks of the
22 former JNA.
23 Q. Now, this document is ordering stepped-up combat readiness in all
24 units of the brigade. Did you know about this increase in combat
25 readiness for the Bregava Brigade units?
1 A. Yes, we did know about that.
2 Q. How could you know that?
3 A. Well, through intelligence work, the intelligence we gathered in
4 different ways.
5 Q. Were there any large movements in the area when combat readiness
6 was raised?
7 A. Well, yes. They would assume their positions, and then it would
8 be normal that the troops would be deployed in the area so that they
9 could perform the tasks assigned them by their superior officer.
10 Q. Now let's look at 4D568, the next document, please, 4D568, and
11 this, in our opinion, is a very important document from the Staff of the
12 Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, the Security Section. And it says
13 in the last part of the document that it was realistic to expect
14 relations to come to a head and even to expect a confrontation between
15 the BH Army and the HVO. And now I quote the last sentence in that
16 passage. It reads as follows:
17 "It is very important to prepare ourselves for such a situation
18 and to inactivate the Muslims who are in the HVO and to exercise
19 influence on them to move over from the HVO to the Army of the BH."
20 Now, Mr. Pavlovic, did you in the HVO at the time know about this
21 kind of policy pursued by the BH Army with respect to the Muslim
22 soldiers, the Muslim component in the HVO?
23 A. Yes, yes, we were aware of that.
24 Q. All right. Now let's look at the next document, which is 4D1715,
25 and this is a special report on the Bregava Brigade which, in December
1 1993, was set up in the Security Section of the BH Army. It's a special
2 piece of information, and we're interested in something it says on the
3 last page of the document, that is to say, page 3 of the Croatian version
4 and I assume it's the last page of the English version. So the last
5 page, third paragraph from the bottom, and it says here as follows, that:
6 "The HVO, on the 22nd of April, 1993, attacked the Command of the
7 Bregava Brigade which, with the brigade police, was moving towards
8 Stolac, so that in the area of Osanici it encountered an ambush and all
9 20 members of the command, except Smajo Cerkez, were arrested, captured,
10 and taken to the camp, just like other members of the Bregava Brigade had
11 previously been captured and taken away."
12 Now, do you know what the situation was like in Osanici, and the
13 fact that these people were captured and so forth?
14 A. Yes, and this information is partially correct, because it wasn't
15 the fact that 20 people were captured, but just 3, 3 individuals.
16 Q. Can you give us the names of those three?
17 A. Mr. Pizovic, Mr. Sijercic, and Mr. Zujo.
18 Q. Let's repeat those surnames so that we don't have to correct the
19 transcript later on. Bajro Pizovic; right?
20 A. Yes, Dzemil Sijercic and Meho Zujo?
21 Q. Yes, we'll deal with that later on, we'll correct the transcript.
22 But, anyway, in that action of uncovering and capturing members of the
23 Bregava Brigade, did your soldiers take part in that operation?
24 A. Partially, yes.
25 Q. Who else took part?
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, I'm impressed by the fact that you know
2 these names after all this time. Have you had those present in your
3 memory all the time, or has your memory been refreshed recently?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I know that one of them is my
5 next-door neighbour, in fact. I know the men. I can't forget them. I
6 know the people.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, the first name we mentioned, we've seen it -- come
10 across it in many documents. He was commander of the Bregava Brigade; is
11 that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So who else took part in this action of uncovering these people
14 and capturing them, in addition to your men?
15 A. The civilian police took part and the military police did, a
16 military police platoon, in fact.
17 Q. Do you know who did the actual capturing, who actually captured
18 the men?
19 A. The civilian police captured them.
20 Q. I'm now going to ask you something about the paragraph above,
21 which describes how certain members of the BH Army went off in various
22 directions, and it says that part of the men, about 15 of them, pulled
23 out towards Blagaj and another part towards Sevac Njive, Pocitelj and
24 Domanovici, and operated independently, and then on the 13th of July,
25 1993, during a BH Army action on the Dubrava Plateau, they joined up with
1 the 42nd Mountain Brigade of the BH Army.
2 Tell me now, please, Mr. Pavlovic, do you happen to know what
3 this action on the 13th of July was all about?
4 A. I learnt from my colleagues what this was about, but at the time
5 I, myself, was far away from that area, so I can't tell you anything with
6 any certainty.
7 Q. And according to what your colleagues told you, did the BH Army
8 actually engage in action on the Dubrava Plateau on that particular day,
9 the 13th of July, 1993?
10 A. As far as I know, during the night between the 12th and 13th of
11 July, 1993, they used a number of groups and stormed the HVO from behind,
12 from different directions. And with respect to the units you just
13 mentioned, they went into action and attacked from the rear, from the
14 back, the HVO units, and there were quite a lot of civilian casualties.
15 Q. Do you happen to know that the HVO at that time was preparing
16 some liberation operations in that area south of Mostar?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know what that operational action was called?
19 A. I think it was called "Operation South."
20 Q. Did you know about that operation from your colleagues in the
21 operations zone, the people you worked with?
22 A. Yes, but that was superficial information. I didn't take part in
23 all that, so I can't really say.
24 Q. I'm now going to ask you something with respect to
25 General Petkovic, who was chief of the Main Staff at the time. Did you
1 have any information about General Petkovic taking part in the planning
2 of that operation in any way and executing it, or in executing
3 supervision over the operation?
4 A. As far as I know, the answer is no.
5 Q. Very well, thank you. Mr. Pavlovic, I'm now going to ask you to
6 focus on a rule that a witness with the pseudonym CR spoke about and
7 referred to, and that was on page 11941 of the transcript. He said that
8 in the army, there was a general rule that was followed whereby the
9 soldier of one unit, when entering the zone of another unit, was supposed
10 to report and announce himself. Now, to the best of your knowledge, does
11 such a regulation exist?
12 A. Yes, that rule does exist, and I always respected it.
13 Q. Very well. Now let's take a look at a few documents on that
14 subject to see how the Bregava Brigade respected that rule. And the
15 first of those documents is P1736, which is an order by the chief of the
16 Main Staff of the HVO, dated the 27th of March, 1993, and I'd like us to
17 look at item 2, where it says that:
18 "Other units are forbidden to enter the areas of responsibility,
19 other than their own, without the consent of the commander of that unit
20 and his superior command."
21 Tell me now, please, Mr. Pavlovic, is that precisely the rule
22 we've just mentioned?
23 A. Yes, that's the rule.
24 Q. I see here that this order was sent to the commander of an
25 operative zone, which would mean that it is a rule that holds true for
1 the units of the same army. Is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now let's look at the next document, which is 4D474. And it's an
4 order, once again, from the commander of your operative zone, with the
5 same contents expressed in item 2. Now, tell me, did this order reach
7 A. Yes, but through the brigade command.
8 Q. All right, fine. Now let's look at the next document, which is
9 5D3046. This is one of your documents, and in the introduction you say
10 the same thing, that the objective was to prevent incidents from breaking
11 out in the Operative Zone of Stolac. Could you expound on that? Could
12 you explain the document to us in a few words?
13 A. I'll do my best. This is an agreement that was reached between
14 the 1st Herzegovina
15 effect that all movement from the area of responsibility should be
16 announced in advance, and that there would be no problems for those
17 activities to take place if they were announced. That means that if one
18 of my soldiers were to leave his position and go into hiding in the area
19 of responsibility controlled by the Bregava Brigade, for example, then it
20 is my duty to send in a request to the commander of the Bregava Brigade,
21 and it is his duty, in turn, on the basis of that request from me, to
22 deploy his military policemen to capture the soldier and send him to a
23 contact point, escort him to a contact point.
24 Now, if a soldier of the Bregava Brigade were to leave his
25 positions, then he sends me -- his commander sends me a request to that
1 effect, then our military police takes him into custody and escorts him
2 to a point of contact, so that there should be no problems among the and
3 between the zones, the areas of responsibility.
4 Q. Thank you. Now let's look at the next two documents. P1913 is a
5 request from the Command of the 1st Brigade with respect to entering an
6 area of responsibility without written permission. And the second
7 document is P1900. That's an order with roughly the same contents. What
8 we're interested in here is the following: Mr. Pavlovic, did you know
9 about these requests and orders from the commander of your brigade?
10 A. Yes, I was aware of them. We had situations like this daily, so,
11 yes, I was kept abreast.
12 Q. Now, I see that these documents were also sent to
13 Mr. Bajro Pizovic, the commander of the Bregava Brigade. Is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now let's see what it is that Mr. Pizovic answered, what his
16 response was to the brigade commander.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, about this document,
18 P1913 that you're aware of and familiar with, we can see the situation,
19 when an ABiH soldier wears an insignia, he can be arrested and detained
20 for 15 days, but what happens on the 16th day?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 16th day, he would be
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And did you come
24 across such instances when you arrested an ABiH soldier who was detained
25 for 15 days and released on the 16th day?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot remember precisely, but
2 I think that they were released in accordance with what is said here.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
4 Q. Tell us, Mr. Pavlovic, in the municipality of Stolac
5 territory of your battalions, was any member of the Army of BiH arrested
6 because they wore a BiH Army insignia?
7 A. No, not because they wore those insignia, but if they did not
8 respect the rules, that is, if they -- if he was on leave, he would have
9 to carry a document about him being on leave to be allowed to stay in our
10 zone, and if he didn't have such a document, he would be arrested.
11 Q. If there are no further questions about this, let us look at the
12 next document, 4D473. In the final part of item 2, could you please
13 interpret this? So the commander of Bregava answers to the commander of
14 the 1st HVO Brigade about the warnings about entering the zone of
15 responsibility without announcement, and now I quote:
16 "This is well known to you, that a large number of Muslim
17 soldiers are in your formations, and they are Muslims and belong to this
18 people, so it would not be good if the defined organisation formation of
19 your units would be disrupted."
20 Can you explain what this means? And if you knew about this at
21 the time, how did you feel about it?
22 A. It follows clearly from this that the commander of the Bregava
23 Brigade at any given moment can deploy a part of Muslim soldiers who are
24 part of the HVO.
25 Q. Let us now try to sum up what these documents state. We have
1 seen from these documents that in April 1993, some people were taken
2 prisoner, so I want to ask you, based on these documents, what would you
3 say who these arrested people were?
4 A. They were members of units that did not execute their tasks, but
5 engaged in arbitrary actions in their zones of responsibility and outside
6 the zones, and they were members of the BiH Army.
7 Q. In accordance with your knowledge, Mr. Pavlovic, in April 1993,
8 in your territory, was anybody arrested who was not a member of the ABiH?
9 A. Not as far as I know.
10 Q. Do you have any information that in April 1993, in the territory
11 of the Stolac municipality, that anybody was in -- house arrest?
12 A. No way, that was not possible.
13 Q. Tell us, have you ever heard of the Begovina facility in the
14 Stolac municipality?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Was that facility near the front-line or in the center of Stolac?
17 A. That facility was at the very -- was at the first line. Bunkers
18 were 50 metres removed, if at all.
19 Q. Can you tell us, these bunkers, when were they built?
20 A. Right after liberating Stolac from the Serbian aggressor.
21 Q. That means in mid-1992; right?
22 A. Yes, in June.
23 Q. I'm going to show you some documents now, and after that we'll
24 try to draw some conclusions from them. The first document is
25 4D33 - yes, that's it - and that's a document of the 42nd Mountain
1 Brigade of the Army of BiH. Tell us, Mr. Pavlovic, is that the
2 Bregava Brigade?
3 A. Yes. I can tell by the stamp.
4 Q. All right. In the third-but-last item, it reads that all Muslim
5 members of the HVO should be called upon to side with their own people.
6 The next document is 4D34. Again, the security organ of the 42nd
7 Mountain Brigade two days later. It also says that:
8 "Co-operation must be established with our fighters in the HVO,
9 and the seriousness of the situation must be pointed out to them."
10 The third document is 4D35. In the final part of the document,
11 that is, item 3, it is said that the morale organ for IPD and religious
12 issues should draft an information plan for the Muslims in HVO units in
13 the municipalities of Capljina and Stolac. It is signed by Bajro Pizovic
14 on the 18th of April, 1993
15 The fourth document is 4D36. It's a document of Arif Pasalic,
16 the commander of the 4th Corps of the Army of BiH, dated May the 2nd,
17 1993. In item 3, second paragraph, it reads that:
18 "We linked up with our people and the HVO, and the --"
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please show us where she's
20 reading from?
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I'm not listening to the
22 interpreters, so I thank the colleagues who warned me. So we described
23 the document, and I'm saying that in item 3, second paragraph,
24 Arif Pasalic is saying that:
25 "Linking up with our men in the HVO was carried out."
1 Then he goes on to state that men from the Capljina HVO have the
2 task of taking the village of Tasovcici
3 then other tasks are listed, such as seising the town of Stolac with "our
4 people in the HVO," et cetera. I don't have to read the entire document.
5 We've seen it here a number of times.
6 The fifth document about the same topic is 2D300. In these
7 official minutes, the document is in Croatian, and item 2 states that
8 pressure is being exerted on Muslims in the units --
9 MR. KRUGER: Your Honour, I apologise to my colleague for
10 interrupting. I don't want to object, but, Your Honour, I just wish to
11 note that thus far we've shown documents and -- 4D34, 35, and 36 to the
12 witness without a single question being asked, so I wonder if that's an
13 appropriate way of going -- proceeding.
14 Thank you, Your Honour.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I announced that.
16 In this series of documents, we are dealing with documents that are
17 exhibits already, so the witness doesn't have to comment on every one,
18 and I did say that I would ask my question after a series of documents,
19 this document being the last in that series. So let me just outline the
21 So it is stated that pressure is being exerted on all Muslims who
22 are in HVO and MUP units to leave those structures, and if they don't,
23 they are threatened by physical liquidation or by burning their homes.
24 Q. Now, based on these documents, I have a question for you,
25 Mr. Pavlovic. At that time, did you know about the policy of the ABiH to
1 link up with Muslims in the HVO and that it was planning to initiate some
2 actions in co-operation with them?
3 A. Yes, we knew about it.
4 Q. What was the source of your information?
5 A. First of all, the most reliable source of information were our
6 soldiers in the HVO and the police, on whom pressure was being exerted,
7 and they complained to us because they didn't want to leave our units.
8 And the other sources were other intelligence sources; that is,
9 intercepted conversations, et cetera.
11 your attitude toward your soldiers of Muslim ethnicity?
12 A. No, there is no reason for me to change my attitude towards
13 someone who came to me to complain because he wanted to stay in my unit.
14 Q. Can you tell us whether any special measures of any kind were
15 taken toward your soldiers of Muslim ethnicity?
16 A. No measures -- no special measures were taken, except once we had
17 learned which HVO members had initiated these events, we would have
18 deployed that unit differently or we would strengthen the share or step
19 up the share of Croatian soldiers and the like. Those were the measures
20 that we took.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] All right. Let us now take a look
22 at another document, but we should move into private session because the
23 document is protected, I'm being told.
24 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Please take a look at document P10258. It's a letter sent by
16 Alija Izetbegovic to Franjo Tudjman. The date is handwritten and says
17 "22 May 1993
18 "It has come to my attention from numerous sources that
19 yesterday," which means on the 21st of May, "an intensive ethnic
20 cleansing of Muslim people started yesterday in Stolac upon Boban's
22 Did you know about this letter, sir?
23 A. I learned about this letter from President Boban.
24 Q. Let us look at the following document, 4D2000.
25 Mr. Pavlovic, are you familiar with this document?
1 A. Yes. I signed it.
2 Q. Did you give this document to the Defence of General Petkovic
3 during the proofing?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did Mr. Mate Boban ask you to explain what was going on at Stolac
6 as a consequence of which Alija Izetbegovic complained of ethnic
8 A. Yes, the president asked me to provide information about the
9 events at Stolac. Am I to describe it?
10 Q. Well, yes, if you can, but very briefly.
11 A. I received a phone call from his office, and they put me through
12 to the president. And he asked me, What kind of problems are there at
13 Stolac? And I, as I knew that there were no problems at the time --
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think the president is Boban here, the
15 president referred to, right, just to make sure?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know what
18 exactly you mean, because the first letter shown was Alija Izetbegovic's
19 letter to Franjo Tudjman, and this is Boban's letter.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In the meantime, the witness has answered the
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So I received a phone call from his
23 office, put me through to the president. He asked me, angrily, what kind
24 of problems there were at Stolac, and I replied that there were no
25 problems at all, and that was really how it was. And we had a short
1 conversation, and I think I was able to convince him. And he asked me
2 whether I could leave my command post, and I said, Why not? There are no
3 problems. And he demanded me to submit a report about the events at
4 Stolac and come and see him if I could.
5 And I knew what it was about. I had been informed orally that it
6 was about refugees and the expulsion of civilians. And I linked up with
7 Mr. Markovic, the president of the HVO, and we drafted a document which
8 corresponded to the facts. We took it to Mr. Boban together and showed
9 it to him, and then the president showed me this document, the letter
10 sent by Mr. Izetbegovic to Mr. Tudjman.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, I'm going to put a question to you about that. Are
13 you able, in this courtroom now, under oath as they often say, can you
14 tell us whether in Stolac, during those months, except for capturing
15 members of the Bregava Brigade, were there any other arrests, expulsions,
16 or crimes against Muslims, or anything that could considered an element
17 of ethnic cleansing?
18 A. No, not at all. Nothing like that occurred.
19 Q. Thank you for this answer.
20 Now we're going to move to our next topic, which will probably
21 interest our Judges, too. This is Topic 36, the 30th of June, 1993, when
22 a drastic change in the relationship between Muslims and Croats occurred.
23 For a start, Mr. Pavlovic, can you please tell us if you know
24 what happened on the 30th of June, 1993, in your Operations Zone
25 South-Eastern Herzegovina?
1 A. Yes, I do know.
2 Q. Can you please tell us what happened?
3 A. Something tragic happened which I am unable to understand even
4 now, and that is that co-fighters which had been together at positions
5 for months attacked their colleagues from the back, disarmed them, killed
6 them, captured them, and together with Bosnia and Herzegovina Army in the
7 Bijelo Polje area, expelled the Croatian civilian population from there.
8 Q. When you say "co-fighters," who do you mean?
9 A. I'm thinking of the soldiers of the HVO of Muslim ethnicity.
10 Q. Can you specify the area where this happened, what you just
12 A. This happened in the northern part of the Mostar municipality, so
13 it was north of Mostar, some 25 to 30 kilometres north of Mostar.
14 Q. Very well. When you tried to compare this event, as it had been
15 described to you, to some other incident that happened during the war in
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina, what would you say? Is there any event that
17 would compare to it?
18 A. I don't know or I didn't hear that anything like that happened
19 outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the history of the war.
20 Q. General Praljak, when he testified in this courtroom and
21 described this event, said that after that, total war between Croats and
22 Muslims started in that part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the area of
23 this operations zone. Would you agree with such a qualification by
24 General Praljak or would you have a different comment or provide a
25 different assessment of the incident?
1 A. Yes, I would agree with that, absolutely.
2 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, according to what you know, can you please tell us
3 what the percentage of Muslim soldiers was in HVO units in the area of
4 this operations zone, South-Eastern Herzegovina? You can talk about your
6 A. As far as my units are concerned, I can give you almost precise
7 information, and I think the situation was similar in other units. I had
8 at least 50 per cent of Muslims in my units, at least 50 per cent.
9 Q. Are you able to tell us what would have happened had the Muslim
10 soldiers in your units behaved the way the HVO Muslim units behaved in
11 the Mostar area, that they betrayed their Croat comrades and betrayed --
12 and joined the HVO, what would have happened to the lines of defence of
13 the HVO?
14 MR. KRUGER: I'm going to object to the question, Your Honour,
15 that that calls for speculation.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you permit me to
18 Had we had a civilian here, I would absolutely agree with my
19 learned friend, and there would be no need to agree, actually, because I
20 would not have put that question at all, but we have a commander of the
21 HVO and we're asking him to evaluate the security reasons for the
22 implementation of a certain measure. I believe the question is quite
23 appropriate, because I believe at that moment the witness should have
24 made the assessment whether Muslim soldiers presented a danger for his
25 units or not.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, put your
2 question, but use it only as far as military consequences are concerned.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, I'm putting this question to you as a military
5 commander who, after this betrayal by Muslim HVO soldiers very close to
6 your operations zone, had a large percentage of Muslims in your units,
7 and that your Muslim soldiers, had they done what the Muslim soldiers of
8 the HVO did in the area north of Mostar, what would have happened with
9 your lines of defence?
10 A. Our lines of defence would have been under threat, and I think
11 that they would have had to be abandoned.
12 Q. When you say "abandoned," what does that mean? Can you be very
13 specific, please? Would the HVO still be able to hold these lines or
15 A. No, it would not.
16 Q. And what would that have meant at that point in time for the
17 Serbian Army, which had its positions not that far from yours?
18 A. That would mean that they could have walked into the town with a
19 very small number of forces and could have captured the whole area around
20 Stolac and broader.
21 Q. According to your estimate as a military commander, would such a
22 situation have presented a security issue, a security problem?
23 A. Absolutely, yes.
24 Q. And as a military commander, can you tell us that in such a
25 situation, did you think that you had to take some measures in order to
1 prevent you from losing control over the lines of defence that you were
2 in charge of?
3 A. Of course, something had to be done.
4 Q. All right. Can we now see what it was, exactly, that you tried
5 to do?
6 I just have an additional question, and I thank you -- for being
8 We're talking about the dangers facing Stolac because of a
9 possible betrayal by Muslim soldiers in your units, and when we recall
10 that order by Arif Pasalic from the 2nd of May, 1993, that we looked at
11 earlier and which mentioned, as one of the tasks, "capture Stolac in
12 co-operation with our people in the HVO," when we link those two
13 situations together, how would you, as a military commander in charge of
14 the defence of Stolac -- would you say that there was a danger facing
15 Stolac or not?
16 A. Yes, Stolac was facing quite a considerable danger, meaning that
17 if there was an internal conflict, the enemy could capture Stolac without
18 major difficulty whenever they wanted.
19 Q. Can we now look at document P3019. This is an order by the
20 Main Staff of the HVO. I'm correcting the number. It's P3019, 3019.
21 Yes, that is correct. It's an order by the chief of the HVO Main Staff,
22 General Petkovic, of the 30th of June, 1993. I'm going to say this. We
23 will go back to that part. It's an order on the disarmament and
24 isolation of HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity.
25 We can look at page 2 of this document. The order was sent to
1 the Operations Zone of South-East Herzegovina. Let us look at the
2 parties that the order was forwarded to.
3 Mr. Pavlovic, can you please tell us who else received this order
4 within the operations zone?
5 A. It was sent to the commanders of the 2nd and 3rd HVO Brigades.
6 Q. Can you please tell us, which brigade did you belong to?
7 A. I was in the 1st Brigade.
8 Q. And what did we say? Who was the commander of that 1st Brigade?
9 A. Colonel Nedjeljko Obradovic.
10 Q. If we conclude that the commander of the operations zone did not
11 send this order to the 1st Brigade, I will ask you whether this order --
12 this order did reach you in some way, as a person who was in one of the
13 companies or the forward command posts of an HVO brigade?
14 A. Yes, elements of this order did reach me.
15 Q. I am asking you this: This order, in the form of this document,
16 did that reach you?
17 A. No.
18 Q. First we're going to analyse this document, and then we're going
19 to try to see how you received the order on the disarmament.
20 Can you please look at item 10 of this document. And in item 10,
21 it says:
22 "A close co-operation and activity co-ordination should be
23 established with all forces in your zone."
24 And then in brackets it says:
25 "(Anti-terrorist groups, the police, and the military police
1 outside your structure)."
2 Can you please explain, Mr. Pavlovic, whether we can conclude, on
3 the basis of this, that the disarmament action would be implemented with
4 the co-operation of four groups of units; first of all, the units of the
5 HVO which were part of the operations zone, then the anti-terrorist
6 groups, then the police, and then the military police? Would you
7 interpret this paragraph 10 in that way?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you please speak up a little bit and repeat your answer?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. According to what you know, Mr. Pavlovic, was the chief of the
12 Main Staff authorised to command civilian police?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Can you be a little bit louder, please?
15 A. No. Okay, I need to come closer to the microphone.
16 Q. According to your information, was the -- did the chief of the
17 Main Staff have the authority to command the military police?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Can you help us now, Mr. Pavlovic, to understand this: If units
20 of the HVO under the command of the chief of the Main Staff participate
21 in one action and some armed units not under the command of the chief of
22 the Main Staff also participate in that action, who at that point in time
23 in Herceg-Bosna was the person who would be able to decide about a joint
24 action by all of these armed formations?
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If you allow, Ms. Alaburic, I would like to
1 complete the series of questions that you had begun before and ask the
2 witness: Was the chief of the General Staff competent and allowed to
3 order troops to give orders to brigades, to operations zones?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I thought that was
7 understood, because this was an order to the operations zone. So, Judge,
8 based on your knowledge of the situation in Herzegovina, we have the
9 situation where in one action we have military units participating under
10 the command of the chief of the Main Staff.
11 Q. I'm going to repeat my question. If, in one action, we have
12 military units under the command of the chief of the Main Staff
13 participating, and if we also have armed formations who cannot receive
14 commands from the chief of the Main Staff because they're not in his
15 chain of command, who at that point in time is the person in Herceg-Bosna
16 who can issue an order for such a joint command to be carried out in the
17 first place?
18 A. Such an order can be issued by the supreme commander.
19 Q. Very well, thank you. Now let's try and analyse item 8 of this
20 order. Item 8 states as follows:
21 "In units where there are still Muslim soldiers, they should be
22 disarmed and isolated."
23 Now, to the best of your understanding, Mr. Pavlovic, the word
24 "isolate," did that mean "arrest" or did it mean some other measure?
25 A. The word "isolate," as I understood it then and now, means that
1 you have a certain group which you have to disarm and escort them to an
2 area in which that group will be secure, where that group will not be
3 able to operate.
4 Q. Now look at the next excerpt, where it says:
5 "In places with Muslim inhabitants within an area of
6 responsibility, all military-capable men should be isolated."
7 Now, in your understanding of this sentence, does it mean that
8 the Muslim conscripts should be isolated in places where they are located
9 or whether something else should be done?
10 A. This can be interpreted in two ways. In the places in which they
11 lived, they could not have been isolated.
12 Q. Why?
13 A. Well, for reasons of their security, because those places were
14 close to the front-line, to begin with, and there was the danger at all
15 times from that, from the enemy artillery fire. And in the second case,
16 if we were to isolate people in those places, there could be an attempt
17 at an attack with the other groups that we mentioned, and then they could
18 fall casualty in that way.
19 Q. Very well. Now, the sentence goes on to state that:
20 "Women and children should be left in their houses or
22 So tell us now, did the order reach you, too, whereby the
23 civilian population should be left alone, unprotected?
24 A. Yes.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] May we move into private session
1 for a moment, because I'm going to show a protected document and quote
2 the statement made by a protected witness.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm still looking at this
4 document. Before we move into private session, I have a question on
5 document P3019.
6 Colonel, I listened to the questions very carefully, and I also
7 listened to your answers, but at the same time I was looking at this
8 document which we know very well. We've already seen it. I'll tell you
9 why I'm surprised.
10 This document dates June 30th, 1993
11 there's no stamp saying "Urgent," and it is not encoded. This document
12 is sent to the commander of the south-eastern zone, Mr. Miljenko Lasic.
13 All he's going to do is inform the 2nd and the 3rd Brigade of the HVO of
14 the content of this document. And when we look at the order, what do we
15 note? Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 seem to be very technical. There was a
16 request for reinforcement of lines, there was reference to the
17 trigonometric points and so far and so on. But in item 8, the crucial
18 question is addressed, the disarmament of Muslim soldiers, and I really
19 wonder why this has to be placed in item 8, whereas it seems that this
20 was an urgent and necessary measure. Why is it sort of lost within
21 technical -- other technical items? Do you have any idea? What's your
22 take on it? Do you have any explanation for this?
23 Of course, when Mr. Petkovic will come and testify, I will ask
24 him the same question, because he signed this order, but this is only a
25 few weeks from now. And you're here, so I might as well put the question
1 to you also.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, General Petkovic would
3 be best placed to give an answer to that question. However, my answer
4 would be this: I think that at this point in time, the essential thing
5 was to establish the defence lines because the forces were continuing to
6 attack, enemy forces continued to attack. So what was important here was
7 to reinforce the lines, fortify them, strengthen them, and protect
8 oneself from further attack, and all the other activities that one needs
9 to undertake would come subsequently.
10 Now, in reading this order from items 1 to item 10, all this
11 lasts for just a few minutes, and the commander receiving this order will
12 be able to read through it and then decide what to do. It is possible
13 that for one unit, the prime task would be to set up a defence line, and
14 that unit was one that had already suffered an attack, but on the other
15 hand, for another commander who had still not come under attack in that
16 same zone, item number 8 might be the most important task in hand.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps this is a
19 good time to break.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Let's have a 20-minute
21 break now.
22 --- Recess taken at 5.38 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed. You have 35
25 minutes left, based on our calculations.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 May we move into private session, as I had requested, because
3 we're going to deal with a protected document, a document under seal.
4 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Tell us, please, Witness, did you know about these speculations
25 in the HVO brigade?
1 A. There might have been speculations, but I can't confirm who
2 issued the order.
3 Q. Very well. Now let's see what was happening in your area. Now,
4 from whom --
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Ms. Alaburic. I find that answer a
6 bit -- very meager: "There may have been speculations ..." Can you
7 specify what you meant, what you were referring to?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I -- as I understood, judging
9 by the statement made by this witness, that he meant specifically the
10 person mentioned, that that gentleman had issued the order, which I can't
11 confirm because I don't know about it.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay, thank you. But I don't know whether that
13 was actually the gist of the question, whether it was Mr. Markovic who
14 had issued the order or whether there were discussions about the order
15 itself. I was of the opinion that you were, Ms. Alaburic, referring to
16 the contents of the order. And if the witness only -- if you only have
17 doubts about whether it was Mr. Markovic or not who issued the order,
18 then does that mean that you have not heard about any reactions to that
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I know who issued me
21 the order. Now, guess-work and speculation is another matter. Anybody
22 can say anything.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Colonel.
25 Generally speaking, among soldiers, indeed, we know that there
1 were sometimes Croats and Muslims side by side in those units facing a
2 common enemy, the Serbs. Generally, there is a sort of military feeling
3 of solidarity among soldiers who experience things together. On the 30th
4 of June, the soldiers learned that they had to disarm their
5 brothers-in-arms, i.e., the Muslims here in this case. As far as you
6 knew, were there any discussions on this issue among soldiers, or did
7 they all find it totally normal?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I understood
9 your question, you were asking whether there were discussion and debates
10 among the soldiers. Once the soldiers had been given their assignment,
11 that is to say, to disarm the unit, they didn't have time to talk to
12 anybody about it, to discuss it, because it happened in a very short
13 space of time.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see. Thank you.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Pavlovic, who did you receive the order from
17 telling you to disarm the Muslim soldiers in Stolac?
18 A. I received orders from my brigade commander.
19 Q. What was his name?
20 A. Mr. Nedjeljko Obradovic.
21 Q. Tell us, please, was it a written or oral order?
22 A. It was an oral order.
23 Q. How were you given this order, where and when?
24 A. The oral order was given to me at Domanovici, the command post of
25 the brigade.
1 Q. On what day? When was that?
2 A. In the evening of -- I think it was the 30th of June.
3 Q. Did you meet with Commander Obradovic alone or were there some
4 more people there?
5 A. I think there was a short briefing at Commander Obradovic's.
6 Q. At the meeting, did you discuss the situation in Bijelo Polje and
7 the surrounding parts north of Eastern Mostar, after the treachery of the
8 Muslim HVO soldiers?
9 A. Yes. My commander informed me about the situation. He informed
10 all of us, in fact, of the situation, and issued us our tasks, although
11 at that time the soldiers didn't know much about this because there
12 wasn't much information going 'round.
13 Q. Now, at that meeting did you and the military commanders conclude
14 that this event and the danger of new treachery on the part of the Muslim
15 soldiers represented a security risk or was this considered to be a
16 fairly benign event?
17 A. Well, at all events, once we learnt what had happened, when we
18 learnt the whole truth of it, then we were able to make our conclusions,
19 and we expected that this might happen in our unit, too, imminently.
20 Q. Did you go back to Stolac after the meeting?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And did you have a meeting with any of your associates?
23 A. Not that evening, but on the following day.
24 Q. Who did you meet?
25 A. That evening, if you will allow me to tell you, we raised our
1 combat readiness, and the next day I had a meeting with my battalion
2 commanders. With the commanders of the 4th and 5th Battalions, in actual
4 Q. Tell us what the first reaction was of those Stolac
5 soldiers [as interpreted].
6 A. Well, the first reactions were -- well, you know what it's like
7 when you get such a sensitive assignment. People didn't believe what was
8 going on, they didn't know what was going on, so they were in a quandary.
9 However, once I explained the situation to them and what might happen in
10 their very own unit, and what the intentions of the enemy was in the near
11 future, then they saw that the order had to be carried out.
12 Q. I'm just going to correct the transcript. In line 20, it says
13 "Stolac soldiers." I said "Stolac battalions." We're referring to the
14 two battalions, the HVO and the other one in Stolac.
15 Now, Mr. Pavlovic, I am interested in the immediate reaction of
16 the commanders before you explained to them what the situation was. When
17 you said that they professed disbelief, could you explain to
18 Their Honours what their initial -- what the initial reaction of your
19 commanders was?
20 A. Well, the first reaction was -- of the commanders was that they
21 were unable to understand that a person they had spent a year with up at
22 the front-line, that they now had to disarm that person and send him
23 away. Now, later on I heard from them that this happened at a lower
24 level to them later on, so they wondered whether anything could be done
25 to avoid total disarmament of these individuals.
1 Q. Tell me, Mr. Pavlovic, if I understand you correctly, the HVO
2 Croatian soldiers were not happy to have to undertaken action against
3 their Muslim colleagues; is that right? Is that what you're saying?
4 A. Yes, that is right, and there were some very touching scenes in
5 that respect.
6 Q. Very well. And after that, you explained to your brigade
7 commander -- battalion commanders what the reasons for that were, and
8 what was their conclusion afterwards? Did they feel that it was
9 justified that these measures that had been ordered were taken or not?
10 What was their position?
11 A. Well, when we analysed the situation, they were in full agreement
12 with the order that was received and they undertook to implement the
14 Q. When you said that the meeting took place on the following day,
15 we're talking about the 1st of July, 1993, are we?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And tell us, how was the action of disarming the Muslim HVO
18 soldiers organised in your area?
19 A. On that day, we received reinforcements. Those were two
21 Q. Let me immediately ask you from whom you got those
23 A. From the brigade command. So those were two companies, and then
24 we made a plan of how those two companies should be used.
25 Q. Before that, tell us where those companies that came to help you
1 out came from.
2 A. One was from our brigade and the other from the Ljubuski Brigade.
3 Q. The one from your brigade, from which town was it?
4 A. From Neum.
5 Q. Very well. Do continue now, please.
6 A. So we drafted a plan. We distributed the positions among us. We
7 sent platoons there from those companies, and locals, police officers,
8 took them to those positions. They reported to the commanders of the
9 units that were currently holding the positions. In co-operation with
10 those commanders -- or, rather, those commanders explained to their
11 soldiers what had happened, and that they must surrender their weapons,
12 and that they must leave the positions temporarily, and the newly-arrived
13 soldiers took the places of the soldiers of Muslim ethnicity.
14 Q. Did the soldiers of Muslim ethnicity surrender their weapons?
15 A. Yes. There were no incidents in that respect. They knew what
16 had happened.
17 Q. And what did you do with those Muslim HVO soldiers who
18 surrendered their weapons at their positions?
19 A. We used the same means of transportation that -- with which we
20 had brought the new soldiers. We took the Muslim soldiers to the factory
21 at Stolac, and then they were taken to Grabovina in Capljina.
22 Q. When you say "Grabovina," was that an HVO barracks at Capljina?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did those HVO soldiers of Muslim ethnicity spend the night in the
25 factory at Stolac or were they further transported to Capljina on the
1 same day?
2 A. I don't know of anyone having spent the night there.
3 Q. Who told you that the disarmed HVO soldiers should be transported
4 to the Capljina barracks?
5 A. I have already said that those people could not remain in the
6 territory of Stolac because one enemy shell would have been enough to
7 harm many of them, so I asked the brigade command to give us a facility
8 where these people can be isolated, and they decided that they should be
9 taken to Capljina barracks.
10 Q. Once these Muslim HVO soldiers were taken to Capljina, did you
11 have any subsequent contacts with those soldiers?
12 A. No, none whatsoever.
13 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, now think back a few days before that event. Were
14 there any indications that anyone at Stolac, Capljina, Mostar, or any
15 other place known to you was planning any kind of actions to arrest or
16 isolate a larger number of Muslims? Was anything of this kind being
17 prepared in any part of Herceg-Bosna known to you?
18 A. No. The moment we received the order that we have to do that,
19 I think, was the most difficult moment of my life, and it was very hard
20 for me to execute that order, because if you spend a year with someone at
21 the front-line, it is very difficult to isolate these people. Even
22 today, I live with some of them, and I have no problems with them.
23 Q. Tell us now, Mr. Pavlovic, as you spoke about these things after
24 the war, too, and you read memoirs and other literature, and you probably
25 have other sources of information, too, do you know any circumstance that
1 you could mention here to these honourable Judges that anybody in the
2 HVO, before this time in 1993, could have been considering to implement
3 such a wide-scale action of isolating Muslim HVO soldiers or other people
4 of Muslim ethnicity?
5 A. No, I've never heard anything of that kind, not even jokingly
6 said. We had good relations, and there was really no need for that.
7 Q. Very well. Thank you for these explanations.
8 Now, please, let's try and see, in some documents, what was
9 happening to your brigade.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, Ms. Alaburic has asked
11 you a series of interesting questions, because they made it possible to
12 understand how amazed you were and what kind of problems, from the point
13 of view of your conscience, you had after the Muslim soldiers were
14 disarmed in the afternoon of the 30th of June. My problem is as follows:
15 We saw a document a moment ago, P3185. This is an order by the
16 investigative judge, Dragan Budimir, for Arif Pasalic to be arrested, and
17 also for members of the Bregava Brigade to be arrested.
18 Looking at this document, I discover that the investigative
19 judge, who wants to have all these people, 10 people in all, arrested,
20 had been seized by the regional military prosecutor of Mostar of the
21 issue on the 16th of June, on the 16th of June, 1993. So there was at
22 least somebody who, 15 days before the 30th of June, knew that there was
23 a danger, and that was the military prosecutor. So how can you explain
24 that the prosecutor, the military prosecutor, was aware that there was a
25 problem, whilst you, two weeks later, you only discover there is a
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I can tell
3 from this document, and to the extent I understand it, I believe that
4 this is exclusively about members of the ABiH, nobody else, because the
5 persons listed in this document are members of the ABiH.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but this is a document
7 about the ABiH members, but that was because there was a plan by the ABiH
8 against the HV. And the document you saw before, 4D36, it's an internal
9 document, internal to the 4th Corps, dated 2nd of May, 1993. That
10 document shows that there was a plan for the taking of Stolac by the
11 Muslim HVO members. It's written black on white. So they knew that
12 there was a danger, but you, as the commander of your unit, you didn't
13 perceive there was such danger?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, I mentioned a
15 short while ago that we were aware of that threat, but we had taken a
16 series of measures and activities to prevent that from happening.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Pavlovic, if I remember correctly, you spoke about measures
20 of trying to control and the reorganisation of some units because of the
21 information that there were plans of the ABiH in connection with Muslim
22 members of the HVO.
23 A. Yes. We would strengthen the units that we considered exposed to
24 such a threat.
25 Q. What you were now explaining was in a situation when there was
1 information about the existence of such plans, but another situation was
2 when the HVO had lost control over some territory due to also the
3 treachery of some Muslim soldiers, and that would be a significant
4 difference, wouldn't it?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. If you can, tell us, briefly, the action of isolation was also
7 applied to conscripts of Muslim ethnicity; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you explain how you treated conscripts? What were they to
11 A. Conscripts were treated as the reserve force of an army.
12 Q. Were conscripts of Muslim ethnicity, to your mind, a reserve
13 force of the BiH Army?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Very well. Let us now see what happened to your brigade when it
16 was left without a significant number of soldiers of Muslim ethnicity,
17 who had been isolated. Tell us, in absolute numbers, how many soldiers
18 of Muslim ethnicity were there in your two battalions?
19 A. About 600, perhaps slightly over that number.
20 Q. And in the 1st HVO Brigade?
21 A. I have no accurate data, but maybe up to 2.000.
22 Q. Taking into consideration the composition of those who were
23 isolated, do you know how many of them were HVO soldiers and how many
24 others of Muslim ethnicity?
25 A. I really have no accurate data, but I believe that in the
1 territory of Stolac
2 Q. So we're talking about a 50:50 ratio?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Let's take a look at P3149. It's an order signed by the chief of
5 the Defence Department and chief of the HVO General Staff of the 3rd of
6 July. It's the Knez Domagoj Brigade. Was that your brigade?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was the brigade really restructured in accordance with this
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Let us look at the following document, P3151. In this order,
12 under 1, we see that the commander of the 1st Brigade is trying to
13 identify the Muslims who can remain in the units because they are
14 considered loyal, but I am now interested in item 2(b), which says that
15 the Forward Command Post Stolac is being abolished. Was it this order
16 that abolished your establishment position?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. As far as you know, Mr. Pavlovic, does an HVO soldier lose his
19 status, that of a soldier, namely, if he is locked up for some breach of
20 discipline or any other reason?
21 A. No, the status is not lost.
22 Q. As far as you know, when can an HVO soldier lose his status of a
24 A. He can lose his status if the unit is demobilised, that is, when
25 he is no longer needed, or if he leaves the unit without leave, if he
1 goes AWOL. And I don't know of a third way.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would now ask to go into private
3 session again, because I will be referring to documents and I would like
4 to protect the privacy of the persons involved.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
6 [Private session]
11 Pages 46862-46864 redacted.
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're in open session.
15 Witness, please take a look at the map on the screen. Can you
16 confirm that you were very familiar at the time with Mostar and its
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can confirm that I did know
19 Mostar and its environs quite well.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You're very
21 familiar with Mostar and its surroundings. Please look at point 2 on the
22 map. It's close to Rastani. Did you know Rastani?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Rastani, yes.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. This map is a
25 little bit difficult to read, but we saw other maps. We know that there
1 is a road along the river that flows by Rastani, and we know because
2 we've already had a witness who told us about this. We know that Rastani
3 at one point in time was occupied by the HVO in August 1993. Through
4 questions being put by the Prosecutor at the time, we found out that this
5 road was under HVO fire, and because of that there could be a problem
6 with traffic.
7 Now, you know -- you're very familiar with this place, so can you
8 tell us whether the Muslims in East Mostar could use another road or
9 other trails in order to avoid being under HVO fire because of the HVO
10 positions in Rastani?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This map is quite small, so it's
12 not really possible to see a lot on it. But based on what I know,
13 instead of Vrapcici, which is the neighbouring settlement - it's a place
14 which is on the way out of Mostar - can be reached by a road from a part
15 of the town called Zalik, and this M-17 road at that time was exposed to
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You are saying that
18 the M-17 was under fire or was exposed to fire. Very well. But was
19 there another road that would not have been under HVO fire that could
20 have been used?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have just said, Your Honour, that
22 I think that there was a road from the Zalik neighbourhood towards
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You confirm this?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the other road.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you were around -- could
2 you tell us exactly when you were around Mostar, from which months to
3 which months?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the environs of Mostar --
5 actually, I was in Mostar, itself, from March 1992 until the 1st of July,
6 1992, and from the 27th -- and from the 20th of July, 1993, until
7 early -- actually, until mid-1994.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were in Mostar from July
9 20th, 1993, until mid-1994. As far as you remember - and this is an
10 important question - as far as you remember, did the Muslims who lived in
11 East Mostar -- as of July 20th, 1993
12 living in East Mostar, could they leave East Mostar, with much
13 precaution, of course, could they leave East Mostar without being under
14 HVO fire?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think -- actually,
16 I'm convinced that they could leave without being under direct HVO fire.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you know, are there
18 any Muslims from East Mostar who were able to leave this part of the city
19 of their own volition and without getting killed on the road taking them
20 to Jablanica?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were able to go to Jablanica
22 of their own volition, without being hurt or hit on the road, because
23 there was a road -- an open road from Mostar to Jablanica.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just before we call it a day,
25 because we have a few minutes left: When you answered Ms. Alaburic
1 earlier, you said in passing that the 4th Corps and the VRS were
2 undertaking trade, selling small weapons and some food over the line that
3 was dividing them, and you seemed to be quite sure of yourself when you
4 said that. So as far as you know, do you know whether any Muslims from
5 East Mostar actually left East Mostar by being able to go through the
6 lines held by the VRS maybe because VRS officers had been bribed, were
7 corrupt, or because they just paid their way through?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't there, myself, so I really
9 cannot be sure or say that there were such cases. But the information
10 that reached me, the intelligence information that reached me, does
11 confirm that. We even have information -- or had information at the time
12 that a meeting was held at corps level, at the top level. Very often, we
13 would find an unexploded shell that was of Serbian manufacture, and
14 recent manufacture, at that, and there were also many other pieces of
15 intelligence indicating to us that such contacts were actually taking
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question, and then we
18 will stop for today.
19 As far as you know, did Serbian artillery shell Mostar, either
20 West Mostar or East Mostar? Are you aware of any such incidents where
21 the VRS artillery would shell either the HVO in West Mostar or the ABiH
22 in East Mostar? This is a question that encompasses all sides.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We have information that they did
24 fire shells at our positions that were guided by members of the
25 B and H Army, but I cannot really claim something like that decisively
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're telling us at some times
3 the VRS was shooting [as interpreted] Mostar West, but these were shots
4 that were guided by members of the BH Army. Had you learned this -- have
5 you learned this from prisoners of the ABiH, or from intelligence
6 sources, or just by rumours?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have that information from
8 intelligence sources, provided to us by our intelligence people who were
9 in charge of -- or who were tasked with monitoring these things.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 It's 7.00 p.m.
12 tomorrow. We're sitting in the afternoon this week.
13 Witness, please come back for the hearing, which will start at
14 2.15. And I warn you, once again, please do not contact anyone until
15 tomorrow. Thank you, and see you tomorrow at 2.15.
16 [The witness stands down]
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.
18 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day of
19 November, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.