1 Wednesday, 25 November 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, kindly call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic
11 et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
13 Today is Wednesday, 25th of November, 2009. Let me first greet
14 the accused, the witness, the Defence counsel, Mr. Bos, Mr. Scott, and
15 their case manager, and all the people assisting us.
16 You have an IC number for us, Mr. Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
18 The Petkovic Defence have submitted their objections to documents
19 tendered by the Prosecution for admission through Witness Bozo Pavlovic.
20 This list shall be given Exhibit number IC01128. Thank you,
21 Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
23 Let me use these few moments to thank the usher. He's told us
24 that he's leaving us as of next week for a new job, and I want to express
25 my sincere thanks for his very good work, done in the interests of
1 everybody, whilst he was working as an usher in this Trial Chamber. On
2 my behalf, on behalf of my colleagues, I wish him the best in his new
3 job, and I note that once again the best are leaving, one after the
4 other. I'm rather worried about it. Who's going to be the next one out?
5 Whatever the case, I really thank you, Mr. Usher. I wish you all the
6 best in your new job.
7 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
8 MR. KOVACIC: Good morning to everybody and Your Honours.
9 Your Honour, if I may join on behalf of the Defence also with our
10 deepest respect and wishes for a new success on the new job to our usher.
11 Thank you so much.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Kovacic.
13 Mr. Karnavas, I believe -- yes, you had something to tell us.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes.
15 Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your Honours. Good
16 morning to everyone in and around the courtroom. I'll take 30 seconds,
18 On November 19th, the Trial Chamber issued a decision concerning
19 certain videos, and based on that decision we now have some rather very
20 clear guidance from the Trial Chamber which we, unfortunately, didn't
21 have prior to that because we were relying on the standards that -- or
22 the way the Prosecution had introduced its videos or similar-type
23 evidence. Based on that, we would like to have the opportunity to go to
25 to do so, as far as dates, times, with precision, and then have another
1 opportunity for you to consider that evidence. And as I understand it,
2 we have seven days to file for reconsideration. Given the task that is
3 involved, we would need a little more time. We would ask that we be
4 given until December the 7th, that would be a week from this Monday, to
5 have all that arranged with the Croatian government, to go to the HTV, to
6 get the documentation hopefully with a notarised statement documenting
7 with precision the dates and what have you where all these interviews --
8 television interviews took place. So that would be my request. And, of
9 course, we would have no objections if the Prosecution wanted to seek
10 similar leave for its evidence as well. Thank you.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, do you have any
13 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Good morning to you, Mr. President, all those in and around the
16 In fact, the Prosecution filed a motion yesterday seeking exactly
17 that relief. We've tendered some additional video material, or we
18 tendering video material with initial information to hopefully satisfy
19 the Chamber's requirements. So, indeed, consistent -- anticipating
20 Mr. Karnavas' position, we have filed our motion yesterday. Thank you.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] After discussing the matter,
23 the Trial Chamber grants this dead-line until the 7th of December to the
24 Defence, by which date they will be able to file their submissions.
25 We are going to continue with the cross-examination by Mr. Bos.
1 You may proceed.
2 WITNESS: WITNESS 4D-AB [Resumed]
3 [The witness answered through interpreter]
4 MR. BOS
5 the courtroom. Good morning, Witness.
6 Your Honours, I would like to start in private session for the
7 first part of cross.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.
9 [Private session]
11 Pages 47251-47262 redacted. Private session.
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
17 MR. BOS
18 Q. Sir, is it correct that the parallel of executive authorities of
19 the HVO were set up in Konjic and Jablanica municipality around May/June
20 1992 and that Mr. Dragutin Peric became the president of the HVO Konjic?
21 A. In June, the president of the HVO of Konjic, that position was
22 transferred to Ivica Azimovic, and Dragutin Peric was the president of
23 the HDZ of Konjic municipality.
24 Q. Be that as it may, it's correct that there was an executive HVO
25 authority set up in Konjic in June 1992; correct?
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just have one
2 remark. I believe that the Prosecutor has gone beyond the limits of the
3 direct examination with this question. I, personally, am not opposed to
4 your allowing him to ask this question, but I want to point out that this
5 goes beyond the scope of the examination-in-chief.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It goes without saying,
7 Ms. Alaburic, these Judges are professional judges. They are not
8 sleeping here at the hearing. They are listening. They know exactly
9 what is going on, unless you think that they are brainless, and then, of
10 course, your objection would be legitimate.
11 Please pursue.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. This
13 wasn't the point of my remark. But if I should ask for a redirect, I
14 wanted to point out that this goes beyond the scope of the
15 examination-in-chief. That's the only reason.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the Prosecutor put an
17 important question to you. You probably don't really see the reasons
18 behind the question, but he said the following: The HVO set up a
19 parallel authority. You rectified, saying that Dragutin Peric was the
20 president of the HDZ, and you mentioned Ivica Azimovic, who was president
21 of the municipality, but I don't think that the problem stems from this.
22 The problem comes from the words used by the Prosecutor, a "parallel
23 authority." Now, there might have been a parallel authority, but I would
24 like to know, as far as you're concerned, whether it is because the
25 Muslims didn't want to share authority with the HVO, because of this the
1 HVO decided to set up a parallel authority, or whether Muslims wanted the
2 HVO to join in with them, but it was the HVO who turned them down. You
3 see, it's a complex situation, and in both cases, whatever the case may
4 be, you know, this might have repercussions on other parameters.
5 Now, of course, you knew what was going on at the time because
6 you were there, so could you tell us exactly what this parallel authority
7 was all about?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this case, the HVO, that is, the
9 structures of power of the HVO, wanted to protect the interests of the
10 Croatian members of the armed forces, that is, the Territorial Defence at
11 the time. They wanted to protect the interests of Croatian soldiers and
12 the Croatian people in this case.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But could you tell us why this
14 protection could not have occurred within a joint authority?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was such a mixed instance in
16 which there was a dis-balance in some things and the taking of some
17 decisions. If that had continued, we would have lost our function, and
18 clearly somebody had to protect the Croats who at the time were members
19 of the units that had defended the Konjic municipality.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you correctly,
21 the HVO, on its own, decided to set up a parallel structure in order to
22 defend the interests of the Croats.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If somebody is threatened, then
24 they must somehow see to it that their interests are defended at that
25 moment, so we were fighting for our interests at that moment in time.
1 MR. BOS
2 Q. Just some follow-up questions on this.
3 You said that there was a dis-balance in the authority that
4 existed at the time. Now, I think at that time there was a war
5 presidency --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. General Praljak
7 had a problem?
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just a
9 technical question.
10 It's been the second day already. In order to understand you,
11 when you speak French, and then the response, we have to switch between
12 channels. My patience has come to an end. I'm losing half of what is
13 being said. I do ask you that in the following break, you see to it that
14 a technician come and fix this, because this is a disgrace.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Registrar will do what
16 needs to be done, and let's keep our fingers crossed and hope it will be
18 MR. BOS
19 Q. Sir, you said that there was an imbalance in the political
20 authority that existed in Konjic at the time, and we're talking about
21 May/June 1992. Now, at that time there was a war presidency, and isn't
22 it correct that the Muslims and Croats were equally represented in this
23 war presidency?
24 A. Yes, they were, initially. In April and May, there was equal
25 representation, and the decision-making was made on that basis. But as I
1 said yesterday, there was later out-voting, and the direction of combat
2 activity was no longer what had been agreed upon, but everything was
3 moving into the direction that the members of the Muslim ethnicity
5 Q. Well, we're talking about May/June 1992. I think at that time
6 you were allies and were co-operating quite well against -- you know, in
7 your fight against the Serbs. Didn't you?
8 A. Yes, that's correct. And I said yesterday, with regard to the
9 liberation of the communication towards Sarajevo, that the liberation of
10 the village of Bradina
11 representatives. But in order to avoid problems, we took part in that
12 action and conducted it together with the Muslims.
13 Q. Sir, is it not true that the real reason why the HVO set up a
14 parallel executive authority in Konjic was because Konjic was to become
15 part of the territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, even
16 though the existing authorities were working fine and it was very
17 unlikely that the Muslims would ever hand over control to the Croats in
18 this area?
19 A. I think that it wasn't like that at the time.
20 Q. Let's move on to another topic.
21 Sir, is it correct that after the HVO authorities were
22 established in Konjic that -- and also in Jablanica, that every person in
23 the municipality that wanted to travel in the area of Herceg-Bosna, that
24 they needed a pass with a stamp that was issued by an HVO authority in
25 order to travel through the territory of Herceg-Bosna?
1 A. These passes that you mention, I know that in the early days, in
2 April and May, they were issued by the Municipal Staff of the
3 Territorial Defence. They issued permits for travel throughout
5 been established, for crossing some check-points controlled by the HVO,
6 such a permit was needed. And as for check-points controlled by ABiH
7 members, you needed a permit to pass there. I personally had a pass
8 issued by the Territorial Defence to pass the check-points controlled by
9 ABiH members.
10 Q. Sir, could I ask you to take a look at Exhibit P581, P00581.
11 It's at the beginning of the binder, Witness. It's, I think, the -- it's
12 the second document in the binder.
13 P00581, Witness, is a document dated 15 October 1992, and it's a
14 signed order from the Stjepan Herceg Brigade commander, Sagolj, referring
15 to all people, persons in the territory of Konjic
16 their freedom of movement passes authenticated. Now, have a read through
17 this document, and then after you've read it, I would also ask you to
18 look at P00582, which is also related to this document.
19 Does P00581 confirm what we just said, that -- what I just asked
20 you, that if people needed to travel through the territory of
21 Herceg-Bosna, and that they needed an HVO pass, and that that pass had to
22 be signed by the Stjepan Herceg Brigade?
23 A. This is an order by Zdravko Sagolj saying that only the stamp of
24 the Herceg Stjepan Brigade is acknowledged on such passes, which means
25 that passes issued in the battalions to soldiers from those battalions
1 who wanted to visit their families who were refugees in Croatia, and that
2 would happen, and sometimes the battalions would issue many such passes,
3 so -- and that detrimentally affected our combat readiness. So there
4 weren't enough soldiers there to man a complete shift, and that's why the
5 commander, Zdravko Sagolj, issued this order to the military police not
6 to allow soldiers from Konjic to leave the municipality without this
7 stamp, this brigade stamp.
8 Q. Thank you for that explanation. And if we can now move to 50082
9 [sic] -- 00582, my apologies, and we'll see it's a document -- the next
10 document, and it's related to the document that we just saw. And here
11 Mr. Sagolj -- Commander Sagolj is writing a report to Mr. Boban,
12 Mr. Prlic, Mr. Stojic, and Mr. Siljeg, informing him about the problems
13 that you've just mentioned, and he takes a fairly firm position and he
15 "I was forced, due to their failure to carry out orders, to
16 disband the 3rd Battalion Command from the Herceg Stjepan Brigade,
17 Konjic, as well as the HVO Municipal Staff Command, Jablanica."
18 And then reading the last paragraph of this report, it says:
19 "It is necessary in this situation to appoint, without delay, a
20 new HVO Municipal Staff Command and its president, as well as other
21 military and civilian bodies in Jablanica. We therefore kindly ask you
22 to take appropriate action on your part so that this can be done as soon
23 as possible."
24 Now, sir, why do you think would Sagolj have asked for a complete
25 replacement of the HVO military and civilian bodies in Jablanica? That's
1 quite a dramatic thing to ask.
2 A. This doesn't refer to the whole town, only the Command of the
3 3rd Battalion. And if you remember well, the 3rd Jablanica Battalion
4 belonged to our brigade, that is the Herceg Stjepan Brigade, and it can
5 be seen that they weren't acting in accordance with the commander's
6 instructions and they continued to issue such passes stamped by the
7 battalion so that members of HVO from Jablanica were able to go to
9 they had refused the first order, the commander, Zdravko Sagolj, saw
10 himself forced to replace the command which didn't carry out his orders.
11 Q. But, sir, doesn't it go further than just the military part,
12 because it also says to replace the civilian HVO bodies in Jablanica,
13 which makes sense, because the document is also addressed to
14 Mr. Jadranko Prlic?
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, objection.
16 Could the Prosecutor please point out to us where mention is made
17 in this document of replacing the civilian authorities at Jablanica,
18 because I admit I cannot see it.
19 MR. BOS
20 "If necessary in this situation, to appoint, without due delay, a
21 new HVO Municipal Staff Command and its president, as well as other
22 military and civilian bodies in Jablanica."
23 So there is a reference here to civilian bodies, and the fact
24 that the report is addressed to Jadranko Prlic, who was -- it seems to me
25 that that would insinuate that it was also -- relates to civilian bodies;
1 doesn't it, Witness?
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to draw everybody's
3 attention that the entire document shows that people should be replaced
4 in the Municipal Staff of the HVO, and the Municipal Staff of the HVO was
5 the military part of the HVO which was transformed into a brigade about
6 that time. And the part that concerns the military and civilian bodies,
7 as the sentence goes on, is the appointment of totally new people, not
8 the replacement of the old people.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since we have
10 interrupted, I believe that the witness has not been given enough time.
11 The witness has not been given enough time, and I don't see a reason why
12 we should persist in avoiding the penultimate paragraph which clearly
13 explains the whole document. We have been playing games. We are putting
14 questions which imply things, and the penultimate paragraph, just like in
15 the last document, provides a very clear answer to all the questions.
16 Thank you.
17 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour.
18 I object to these ongoing interventions. These are the same sort
19 of things that have been going on now for some weeks. It's completely
20 inappropriate. There's no point and no proper purpose for counsel to get
21 up, make speeches, argue their case in front of the witness, clue the
22 witness in to where they're going, the answers that the witness should
23 give. There are absolutely no reasons for these interventions. The
24 Prosecution is going to increasingly be on its feet to object to it as
25 many times as it takes. This is improper, it's a waste of time, in a
1 case that is already taking a great deal of time.
2 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
3 My objection was clear. It was: Give the witness the time. And
4 the Prosecutor is purposely putting the questions constructing and
5 discussing various paragraphs in that document, meaning the witness is
6 following those questions, without giving him a proper time to read the
7 document. That is my point, only this.
8 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. Excuse me, Your Honour, but
9 that's never been the practice for the last three and a half years.
10 Unfortunately, because of the limitations of time, there is rarely --
11 there is rarely the opportunity to have a witness read an entire document
12 while he's sitting in the courtroom. That's nothing new. I don't think
13 we're inventing new rules for the first time, three and a half years
14 after trial. If Mr. Bos is being accused of misleading the witness and
15 he's acting unethically, then let counsel give support for that.
16 Otherwise, counsel should remain seated.
17 If Ms. Alaburic wants to raise issues for clarification on
18 redirect, of course, and use her time that way, of course, that's her
19 prerogative, if the Chamber thinks it's appropriate.
20 MR. KOVACIC: If I may, just this point, Your Honour.
21 It was always the rule, always, whenever the witness was dealing
22 with a short document, that the witness was provided time to see the
23 document, to understand the context of the document. I agree when it was
24 multi-page documents, then probably it wasn't possible. But this is a
25 short document. Thank you.
1 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, can I observe, Mr. Scott appears to be
2 saying that it's been the practice in this court over the last three and
3 a half years not to give the witness the proper time to read the
4 document. Now, that does happen from time to time, but we must reserve
5 the right not just to jump up every time an entire document has not been
6 read - of course we accept that, that would be wasteful - but we must
7 reserve the right to observe when it really is necessary, in fairness to
8 the witness, for him to answer the questions, that he should have proper
9 time. And if there is a practice -- if there has been a practice that
10 witnesses do not have proper time, then that practice needs changing
11 immediately, because evidence should not be given on the basis that a
12 witness does not have proper time to look at the document before he
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think by this time we could really end this
15 discussion. The witness has had the time to read the document 10 times
16 in the meantime during these discussions.
17 Please continue, Mr. Bos.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you have had time to
19 read the document during these exchanges by the parties. Mr. Bos is
20 putting a question to you. He wants to know why there was a change in
21 the HVO Municipal Staff Command, both at the military level and at
22 civilian level, among other things, in Jablanica. He's asking you this
23 question because, well, he has a reason for asking it. You may not be
24 aware of the Prosecutor's reasons, but the Judges have been sitting here
25 for several years, and as soon as asks a question, the Judges put the
1 question into its proper context of the case. Based on this, you're
2 supposed to answer the question, but when you do, you must be aware of
3 the context, which may elude you, but you must know the contents of the
5 Look at the third paragraph. It looks as if there were changes
6 because of what is said in this third paragraph. And as I understood
7 your previous answers, you explained what the problem was about. So
8 there are two possibilities. One is that the change was connected to
9 major political reasons; namely, the taking over of HVO for ideological
10 or other reasons, and then people are replaced. Second possibility, a
11 take-over that is going to take place by changing officials, but that is
12 linked to other technical reasons; for instance, the fact that stamps are
13 going to be used, that steps are going to be taken that have nothing to
14 do, meaning that there's a need for adjustment.
15 So what is your answer? Did it happen for ideological reasons,
16 why the HVO changed people, or was it to meet specific local
17 circumstances which resulted from individual behaviour and that had to be
18 adjusted ?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that I was very clear when
20 presenting my position. The 3rd Battalion, despite the order issued by
21 Commander Sagolj, did not act upon his order as issued. In other words,
22 they continued to use the stamp of the 3rd Battalion, and they continued
23 to use the stamp of the Municipal HVO Council of Jablanica when issuing
24 certificates to the members of the unit who were going to Croatia, and
25 this had a huge affect on the combat readiness in Jablanica. That's why
1 he says that he is going to remove the commander of the 3rd Battalion and
2 replace him, and then he goes on to propose the replacement of the
3 civilian structures in Jablanica municipality. And this is just a
4 proposal. He's not the one doing things. He's just proposing that they
5 should be done.
6 MR. BOS
7 Q. Sir, let me put it to you that Commander Sagolj asked for their
8 replacement because he considered that the local HVO authorities in
9 Jablanica were too weak to pursue the goals of the Croatian community.
10 If I put that to you, what do you say?
11 A. I believe that this is not correct. We saw in the previous
12 document that our commander, Zdravko Sagolj, put a ban on using the stamp
13 on those certificates that did not hail from the Herceg Stjepan Brigade,
14 so also certificates issued by the battalions could not be used and were
15 not valid if members of the brigade were going to Croatia for family
16 visits and for other reasons, because such departures had a negative
17 effect on the combat readiness of the brigade. Despite all that, despite
18 him being very clear about all that, the 3rd Battalion went against his
19 order. They went on to willfully certify such certificate with the
20 stamp, and so did the Municipal Council of Jablanica. That's why he says
21 in this document that he's going to replace Mijat Tomic, the Jablanica
22 Battalion commander. And he also requested for the responsible civilian
23 structures in the territory of Jablanica
24 all that was the result of the disobedience of those structures which
25 concerned the visits of the members of those units to their family
1 members who were refugees in Croatia
2 Q. Thank you, Witness. Let's move to another topic.
3 Besides the military information that you received through your
4 position in the army, what kind of public information sources were
5 available in Konjic at the time in 1992 and early 1993? Was there
6 television, was there radio, were there newspapers?
7 A. There was Radio Konjic. We couldn't watch TV because the
8 repeater which was giving the TV signal was in the hands of the JNA and
9 it was switched off. There was no transmission in Konjic. Radio Konjic
10 was in the hands of the Muslims.
11 Q. A little while ago, you said that you would also receive media
12 reports. What kind of media reports would you receive?
13 A. I said that this was done by Radio Konjic.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, while we were
15 listening to you, one could get the impression that you were perfectly
16 isolated. The television relay was in the hands of the Serbs, and maybe
17 it broadcasted TV Belgrade. Radio Konjic was held by the Muslims, so are
18 you saying that there was no Croatian media to broadcast information? Is
19 that your testimony?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, your fellow citizens
22 living in Jablanica or Konjic probably had radio sets; 1993 is not the
23 Middle Ages. And on these radio sets you can obtain Radio Zagreb, or was
24 it not possible to get that radio on a radio set?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Jablanica could receive signals
1 from Radio Zagreb and others because the repeater existed for their
2 transmission. I was talking only about Konjic.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about Konjic? Wasn't
4 there even one person that had a radio set that could listen to
5 Radio Zagreb
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose so. I wouldn't know. I
7 was a member of the military, and I was always on missions in the field,
8 and I often found myself in the areas where there was not even
9 electricity as a result of the previous shelling which destroyed the
10 entire electrical network at the very beginning.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
12 MR. BOS
13 Q. Sir, in the last few days there's been some talks about this
14 Constitutional Court
15 Herceg-Bosna illegal. That decision was rendered on 18 September 1992.
16 Did you learn about this decision when you were in Konjic?
17 A. Please repeat your question.
18 Q. There's no need to look at a document. I think it was on Monday
19 that there has been a reference to the Constitutional Court decision in
21 declared the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna illegal. Do you remember
22 that, there was talk about this decision?
23 A. [No verbal response]
24 Q. Now, that decision was rendered on 18 September 1992, and my
25 question is: Did you learn about that decision at the time?
1 A. I heard about that decision. However, that decision was rendered
2 only by the representatives of the Muslim people.
3 Q. And how did you learn about that decision?
4 A. I said that I heard about the decision on Radio Konjic. All the
5 decisions that came from Sarajevo
6 also I heard that at our political information briefings in the brigade.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, in October 1992, there were armed clashes
8 between the HVO and the ABiH in Prozor. Now, in light of your function,
9 I take it that you would have received some information about what went
10 on between the Muslims and Croats in your neighbouring municipality.
11 What did you learn about this conflict?
12 A. It was only then that I was appointed that function. I believe
13 that at that time I was attending military intelligence training in
14 Medjugorje just about that time, so I did not know much about the
15 developments in Prozor.
16 Q. Well, you may have been in training, but I take it that when you
17 came back, you must have heard what went on, because it had quite an
18 affect on the region, what happened there. Are you telling me that you
19 don't know anything about what happened in Prozor in October?
20 A. I heard, but I wouldn't be able to discuss any details. I did
21 hear about conflicts in Prozor, of course I did.
22 Q. Now, sir, let me quote from a UN report that was -- from a
23 Mazowiecki UN report, these were UN observers who were in the region, and
24 they reported about these events in Prozor in the following way, and I'm
25 quoting from Exhibit P01462, and I'll just read out to you what is said
1 in this report:
2 "There are accounts of ethnic cleansing being carried out by
3 Croat forces in the area of Prozor towards the end of 1992. Clashes
4 between Muslim and Croats forces resulted in as many as 3.000 Muslims
5 fleeing into the mountains in October 1992. There are reports of
6 large-scale arbitrary detention of Muslim men, women, and children by
7 Croat forces. Muslim detainees were also reportedly asked to sign an
8 oath of allegiance to the Croat authorities. It is estimated that 60 to
9 80 Muslim homes were destroyed in Prozor even after combat had stopped.
10 Non-violent attempts by Muslim residents to return to the town after the
11 fighting were reportedly blocked by Croats. The freedom of movement of
12 those Muslims who remained in Prozor has reportedly been severely
14 Now, sir, this is a UN report about the situation. Did any of
15 the information that I just read out, did you receive any of this
16 information as well?
17 A. I am familiar with the situation in Prozor later, but as I said,
18 I don't know what initiated those conflicts in Prozor.
19 Q. Now, sir, the Trial Chamber has heard evidence that thousands of
20 Muslims -- Muslim refugees from Prozor were moving to the neighbouring
21 municipalities, including Konjic; it was Jablanica, Bugojno, but also
22 Konjic. Is it correct that Muslim refugees were moving into Konjic
23 around November -- late October, early November 1992 from Prozor?
24 A. Refugees from Prozor did not arrive in Konjic. Maybe they ended
25 up in the outskirts, where our 1st Battalion was, but they did not arrive
1 in Konjic as such. Most were accommodated in Jablanica.
2 Q. Well, we have a report which says that there were about
3 912 Muslims arriving in the village of Kruscica
4 Does that ring a bell if I give you that information?
5 A. I've just said that this is one part of Konjic bordering on
6 Prozor where our 1st Bojna was. It's part of the outskirts. There were
7 no refugees in Konjic, itself, which was under the control of our 2nd
9 Q. So when you refer to Konjic, itself, you refer to Konjic town; is
10 that what you're saying?
11 A. Yes, but I said that when it comes to Konjic municipality, they
12 arrived only in the villages which were closer to Prozor, and that
13 applies to that village of Kruscica
14 Q. Let's move on to January 1993.
15 Now, sir, is it correct that armed clashes between the HVO and
16 ABiH broke out in Gornji Vakuf in January 1993? What can you tell us
17 about that conflict? What did you learn about it?
18 A. I didn't hear much. I only know that conflicts broke out.
19 Q. So was the HVO in Konjic in any way involved in the operations in
20 Gornji Vakuf?
21 A. I don't think so.
22 Q. Let's have a look at another exhibit, which is P01153.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a small question for
24 you, Witness, but I'm going to put it in private session, please.
25 [Private session]
11 Page 47281 redacted. Private session.
13 [Open session]
14 MR. BOS
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, for the record, we're back in open
17 session. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's have a 20-minute break.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
22 Mr. Bos.
23 MR. BOS
24 Q. Witness, we had left off at Gornji Vakuf. And I had asked you
25 whether you thought that the HVO in Konjic was in any way involved in
1 Gornji Vakuf, and you said you didn't think so.
2 Can you have a look at P01153. I don't know if you have it in
3 front of you or not, but this is a report dated the 15th of January,
4 1993, from Brigadier Petkovic, and it's an order of Brigadier Petkovic to
5 the HVO in Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno, and Konjic.
6 Now, as to what he orders to the municipality of Konjic
7 be read in the third paragraph. He says:
8 "Block all communication and roads towards --"
9 A. Which one? Which number?
10 Q. My apologies. P01153.
11 Witness, I think you're too far -- you're too far down in the
12 binder. It's about the sixth document in the binder. Maybe the usher
13 can help you find it. P01153. So, in fact, you have the document right
14 in front of you.
15 So I was saying so this is an order from Brigadier Petkovic
16 addressed to the HVO in Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno, and Konjic. And
17 as far as Konjic is concerned, he orders Konjic to block all
18 communications and roads towards Prozor and Vakuf. Now --
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I object to lack of
20 precision. This is not an order. This is an instruction.
21 MR. BOS
22 instruction for further procedure."
23 Q. Now, sir, do you recall that such instructions were received from
24 Mr. Petkovic on the 15th of January, 1993, to the HVO in Konjic, that you
25 had to block all communications and roads towards Prozor and Vakuf?
1 A. I do not know this document. If anyone got it, then probably the
2 unit commander. And I don't think that there were any obstacles or
3 barricades or anything.
4 Q. So as far as you're concerned, the HVO Konjic was not at all
5 involved in any operations relating to Gornji Vakuf?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. Let's have a look at another document, which is P01911, and this
8 is an ECMM report dated the 16th of April, 1993. Now, sir, I'm going to
9 refer extensively to this document, but for now I'm going to just stick
10 with the first two paragraphs of this report, and then later on I'll deal
11 with a couple of other parts of this report. But for now, I would like
12 you to look at Chapter 1, which is called "General Background," and I'm
13 going to read out to you the first two paragraphs of this report:
14 "In January 1993, violent clashes broke out between HVO and BiH
15 forces in the Gornji Vakuf region. The cause of the conflict was
16 initially unclear, yet the fact that forces external to the region were
17 involved suggested something out of the ordinary."
18 "At the time, military commanders from the HVO (Colonel Siljeg)
19 stated that they were on the verge of a major military victory and no one
20 was going to stop them. Indeed, only days before the ECMM secured a
21 cease-fire, the mayor of Siroki was televised on the hills surrounding
22 Gornji Vakuf, urging on his troops to take the town. The HVO clearly
23 wanted control of this town."
24 Now, sir, is it not true that around January 1993, the HVO
25 attacked Gornji Vakuf with the aim of taking military control over this
1 municipality, in the same way as they had done with Prozor two months
3 A. I'm really unable to comment this, because I was a member of a
4 unit that never went outside Konjic. I have no information about this,
5 and I didn't know about these events when they went on.
6 Q. Sir, is it not true that these HVO military actions in Prozor and
7 Gornji Vakuf caused great anxiety amongst the Muslims in the neighbouring
8 villages of Konjic and Jablanica, and also Mostar?
9 A. In the area where I was, no such anxiety could be felt either in
10 the Croatian or the Muslim members at Konjic, because the events were far
11 removed from Konjic.
12 Q. Well, you say "far removed from Konjic," but aren't Prozor and
13 Gornji Vakuf neighbouring municipalities of Konjic?
14 A. Prozor is, but Gornji Vakuf is more removed.
15 Q. Sir, let me ask you to show -- let me ask you to look at another
16 document, which is a Defence exhibit which --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute.
18 You know that when there's a document shown, I always look at it
19 very carefully. I'm not just obsessed with what the Defence or the
20 Prosecution -- the case that they're trying to put. But I checked the
21 document, and I note there's a paragraph called "Regional Importance" on
22 this document. It's right after the "General Background" chapter, and he
23 mentions Prozor, Jablanica, Konjic. There is mention also of the
24 Vance-Owen Plan, of Provinces 8 and 10, but what I'm interested in is
25 what comes after that. It says that the reasons for all this is quite
1 clear; it's the electrical power for Herceg Bosnia and -- comes from this
2 area because there's a number of dams and so forth and so on in that
4 The international community, represented by the person writing
5 this report, is giving a strategic, economic, and financial reason for
6 these military actions. It seems that it has to do with electrical power
7 and to know who exactly is going to be in control of the electrical
8 generation facility.
9 So you were in that area, so you knew about this. Do you think
10 that this matter of electrical power was essential for this area?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree with that statement.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At the time early
13 in January, could you tell us who was in control of the electrical power
14 generation facilities?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At Jablanica, it was controlled by
16 persons of Muslim ethnicity.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I wanted to check this with you
18 because it might be important later on.
19 Mr. Bos.
20 MR. BOS
21 Q. Witness, could I ask you to look at Exhibit 4D01591, 4D01591.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's the last document in the
24 folder, in the binder.
25 MR. BOS
1 Q. This is an intelligence report from Mr. Branko Kvesic to
2 Mate Boban, dated the 11th of March, 1993, and I'd like you to look at
3 this document in relation to the first two paragraphs of this report.
4 And maybe I'll just read out the paragraphs:
5 "We have reliable intelligence that in February this year, in
6 Konjic municipality, at the proposal of Muslim organisations, MOOK was
7 formed and that a number of meetings were held where the political
8 situation in this and neighbouring municipalities was discussed. At this
9 organisation initiative, a number of meetings were held with HVO
10 representatives where it was stressed that they did not recognise HVO
11 civilian authorities, dubbing them 'para-government' and 'para-civilian
13 Let me just ask you about this first paragraph. Did you know
14 about this organisation, what's called MOOK, and their views on what was
15 going on?
16 A. I don't know their name, but I knew of the existence of these
17 Muslim organisations, which certainly had different positions from the
18 local Muslims. They were more extreme, and they took such decisions,
19 because you can see further down who was a member of that organisation.
20 Nezim Halilovic is mentioned, and so it becomes clear why they decided
21 not to co-operate with the Croats. And we spoke a lot about
22 Nezim Halilovic yesterday. If you forgot it, let me repeat that it was
23 the mufti who led the Muderiz formation.
24 Q. Yes, I remember that, Witness. Let me read out the second
25 paragraph of this document as well:
1 "On 27 February this year, at the proposal of religious
2 officials, an extended meeting of Croatian and Muslim intellectuals was
3 held. At the meeting, Nusret Secibovic (SDA) and Halil Gagula
4 (representative of Muslim intellectuals) stated that they did not
5 recognise the HVO government or the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
7 Now comes the following sentence, which says:
8 "The incidents in Prozor and Gornji Vakuf were brought up, and it
9 was stressed that the situation in Konjic could not be seen in
11 Now, sir, would you agree with me that here we see very clearly a
12 link about the events Prozor and Gornji Vakuf and the effect it had on
13 the municipality of Konjic
14 A. I think that there was no close link, but that the intellectuals
15 of Konjic municipality wanted to set up such a link so they could deny
16 the Croatian people in the Konjic municipality and react to some events
17 that had happened or were happening outside our municipality.
18 Q. So, sir, is it your evidence that the Muslims in Konjic not at
19 all felt threatened about what was going on in their neighbouring
20 municipalities of Prozor and Gornji Vakuf, that the Muslim population in
21 Konjic did not feel threatened?
22 A. Not as far as I know, because nothing happened on the territory
23 of Konjic municipality, and the local conflicts up there had been
24 stopped, and there was no need for anybody to feel fear.
25 Q. But something did happen in Jablanica, didn't it, because in the
1 beginning of today's session we saw a report that you drafted in which
2 you said that the situation in Jablanica was becoming more complex and
3 that a conflict could begin at any moment? You remember saying that in
4 January 1993?
5 A. Yes, and I also said that the displaced persons from Prozor had
6 come to Jablanica and that there had been provocations, such as throwing
7 explosive devices at the premises of the 3rd Battalion and the guards
8 guarding it. And as far as Konjic is concerned, except for these three
9 villages that were closer to Prozor, there weren't any displaced persons,
10 and so no tensions arose.
11 Q. Now, sir, despite the HVO threat coming from Prozor and
12 Gornji Vakuf, is it not true that the ABiH 4th Corps was still trying to
13 avoid, at any cost, of getting into an armed conflict with the HVO in
14 January 1993?
15 Maybe in order to clarify what I just said here, have a look at
16 Exhibit 4D00421 in the binder.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we follow you,
18 Prosecutor, I still want to examine this document. As I said already,
19 this is a very complex case, and the more documents we see, as far as
20 I can see, the more complicated it gets.
21 Some time ago earlier on today, you spoke about Dragutin Peric,
22 and then you mentioned the name of the HVO presidents, and I wondered why
23 you made a distinction between the HDZ and the HVO. But I didn't put any
24 question to you because it wasn't quite clear to me. And I now discover
25 this document, in which it is written clearly that there are problems
1 between the HVO and the HDZ. Until today, through a set of documents, I
2 believed then those who were in the HVO, be it in the military structure
3 or in the civilian structure of it, were basically all HDZ members and
4 that there was, therefore, no difference, no distinction. And I now see
5 this document which indicates that there is a problem between the HVO and
6 the HDZ.
7 And by looking further into this document, Witness, I realise,
8 upon reading it, that the HVO represents possibly a political municipal
9 entity or possibly even a military one, whilst the HDZ is the political
10 movement. And since there are differences in opinion at the level of the
11 Konjic municipality, but it may be so elsewhere, too - I don't know - the
12 author of the document seizes Mate Boban of the issue in person in order
13 to try and find a solution to the problem, because it is said that the
14 dissensions between the HDZ and the HVO in that time may have
15 catastrophic consequences for the Croat population in Konjic.
16 You were there in that municipality. Did you experience
17 differences in the way the political party, the HDZ, assessed the
18 situation and the way the HVO authority saw it? Did you experience that,
19 as seems to transpire from this document?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Konjic was a special case, in that
21 the president of the HDZ was not also the president of the HVO, because a
22 president of the HDZ, at the time when it was clear that there would be a
23 conflict between the JNA and the members of the Serbian people, at that
24 time Dragutin Peric did not engage in preparations for the defence of the
25 Croatian people, but, on the contrary, left Konjic with his family, and
1 Ivan Azinovic took over the role of coordinator. And once the situation
2 calmed down to some extent, when Dragutin Peric returned to Konjic
3 municipality, problems arose, because he, as president of the HDZ,
4 logically should have been the representative of the HVO too. So we --
5 when I say "we," I'm not referring to myself, but the other persons in
6 the Croatian leadership, as it were, proposed Ivan Azinovic and logically
7 elected him president of the HVO of the Konjic municipality.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In your view, when you're an
9 HVO member, you automatically must have your membership in the HDZ?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not necessarily. I was a member of
11 the HVO, but didn't belong to any political organisation.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were a member of the HVO,
13 but you were not an HDZ member. But if I understand properly, those who
14 hold positions of responsibility had better be HDZ and HVO members?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's for every individual to
16 decide, whether they want to belong to a political party or not. I
17 personally considered it unnecessary for me to join a political party.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 Mr. Bos.
20 MR. BOS
21 Q. Witness, could I ask you to look at Exhibit 4D00421. This is an
22 exhibit that you have seen also, I think, on Monday or Tuesday. It's a
23 Defence exhibit. And I'd like you to read -- I'll read out to you
24 paragraph 3 of this decision -- of this document. It's an order by
25 Mr. Pasalic dated the 14th of January, 1993. And paragraph 3 of this
1 order, which is -- and the order is addressed to various brigades,
2 including the brigades in Konjic and Jablanica. Paragraph 3 reads:
3 "Avoid conflicts with the HVO at any cost, regardless of the
4 attempts of extremist factions doing everything to ensure that the
5 relations between Muslims and Croats deteriorate. Only in the case of an
6 armed conflict against members of the BiH armed forces should there be an
7 equally energetic response, meaning that fire-arms should be used. This
8 relates especially to the situation around Jablanica and Konjic, where
9 all forces of the ABiH are to be put into full combat readiness and HVO
10 forces are to be prevented from taking over Jablanica and Konjic and from
11 establishing their own authorities."
12 Sir, isn't it correct that here the ABiH in Konjic and Jablanica
13 were prepared for defensive actions, as they expected an HVO attack on
14 their territory?
15 A. This is what it says. But if we remember the documents that we
16 went through yesterday, we were able to read that defence positions are
17 to be taken until orders are given for subsequent attack actions. They
18 want to avoid conflicts, they say, but there weren't any conflicts at the
19 time. There were minor provocations, but they raised their combat
21 Q. Let's look at another document, which is 4 --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
23 Witness, this is a document that mentions extremist factions.
24 This is not the first time we hear about this. There are many documents
25 from both sides, from the ABiH and from the HVO. And here it is very
1 clear. Mr. Pasalic, he may be lying, I don't know. I'm just reading
2 what is written. He says that there are extremist factions and that this
3 could be so that the relations between Muslims and Croats could
4 deteriorate. This is not the first document I see about this, and the
5 impression is that on both sides, on the Croat and the Muslim sides,
6 there are agreements between both, but there are individuals that play a
7 game that is such that it causes incidents. This is what Pasalic says,
8 but we have similar documents to this effect by the HVO.
9 You were on the ground. Did you experience this type of
10 situation in which the relations with the Muslims were good - it may be
11 that you went to school together, you knew each other very well - and
12 then there are other individuals who are really in muddy waters, playing
13 dubious games - we don't know what for - and they cause problems? This
14 is what the document seems to say. Do you agree with Mr. Pasalic or not?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yesterday I said that
16 Pasalic had in mind the extremists who were members of the BiH Army
17 units. I said yesterday that during that period of time, refugees and
18 displaced persons came from Eastern Bosnia, from the direction of
19 Mount Igman
20 said yesterday that we could co-operate with the locals, and we manned
21 the defence lines facing the Serbs together with them, without any
22 problem whatsoever, or at least for a while, until the conflict broke
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.
25 MR. BOS
1 Q. Sir, could I ask you to look at 4D00374. 4D00374. This is an
2 order dated 19 January 1993
3 the Command of the 4th Corps and the Konjic Municipal Defence Staff.
4 Now, what I would like you to look at is paragraph 2, and I'll
5 read it out. It says, paragraph 2:
6 "BiH Army units in the area of Jablanica and Konjic should be at
7 full combat readiness and prepared for persistent defence in case of an
9 Now, sir, isn't it very clear in this document that the HVO in
10 Konjic and Jablanica were expecting an attack of -- well, that the ABiH
11 in Konjic and Jablanica were expecting an HVO attack on their territory?
12 A. Again, I am repeating that most reports referred to defence at
13 the beginning. Later on, they referred to attacks. And in this case,
14 the activities are geared towards defence. I don't see the danger for
15 the HVO, in the territory of Jablanica
16 the BH Army.
17 We know that in Jablanica, there was just one battalion of the
18 Croatian Defence Council which had about 150 men, so what kind of danger
19 could there have been in Jablanica? What threat was there for them in
20 Jablanica at the time?
21 Q. Well, Witness, I'll tell you what threat was coming. I'm not
22 talking about maybe the local units within Konjic and Jablanica, but I'm
23 talking about units from Prozor and from Gornji Vakuf who were causing a
24 threat to ABiH units in Konjic and Jablanica. It was not only the local
25 HVO unit, but also units from outside the territory that were threatening
1 the territory of Konjic
2 A. I don't see a threat coming from Prozor. All the conflicts in
3 Prozor and Vakuf had already stopped, and there were no concentrations of
4 HVO members in the territories of Prozor and Vakuf, which means that
5 there were no soldiers in any large concentrations there.
6 Q. Let's look at one other Defence exhibit, which is 4D00433. Now,
7 sir, this is a document dated the 20th of January, and this is an order
8 by Brigadier Petkovic, addressed to the Konjic HVO. And it reads:
9 "Establish contact with the BiH Army in Konjic and work on
10 calming down the situation."
11 "We have information that the Chetniks are planning to enter and
12 take control of Konjic."
13 Now, sir, isn't it correct that the information of a potential
14 Serb attack on Konjic may have prevented the HVO from attacking Konjic in
15 January 1993?
16 A. No. We discussed this document yesterday. It says here that
17 Juka's units, which were deployed on Mount Igman, were engaged with the
18 BiH Army, and they, themselves, were members of the BH Army. The
19 Zulfikar Brigade, much more extreme than Juka's brigade, expelled that
20 brigade and incarcerated them in Ovcari. Then they were released, and
21 they came and joined our brigade. There were some tensions as a result
22 of us taking them on. General Milivoj Petkovic ordered that the brigade
23 should be moved from Konjic Brigade to avoid any possible conflicts,
24 because at that moment we needed co-operation, as we had intelligence
25 that an attack was being prepared against Konjic municipality.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just a minor
2 correction. On page 49, line 7, the witness said "more extreme."
3 MR. BOS
4 Q. Sir, did you know that around this same period of time, we're
5 talking here about mid-January 1993, that the HVO authorities issued
6 orders to the effect that the ABiH units in a number of municipalities,
7 including Konjic and Jablanica, were to submit their commands to the HVO
8 Main Staff? It's been referred to in this case as the ultimatum orders.
9 Have you heard about these orders?
10 A. I'm not aware of that. I didn't know that the BH Army was
11 supposed to subordinate itself to the HVO.
12 Q. Let's have a look at P01139.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Juka's men, we're talking about
14 Juka or Zuka Prazina?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Juka Prazina, and Zuka is
16 Zulfikar Alispago.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The unit that was there, who
18 did it belong to, the HVO or to the ABiH?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Juka's unit belonged to the
20 BiH Army, and throughout 1992 it was deployed on Mount Igman
21 controlled entrance into Sarajevo
22 established, Zulfikar wanted to move that unit because for some reason
23 that brigade -- unit did not suit him. In any case, both units belonged
24 to the BiH Army.
25 Zulfikar Alispago and his men engaged in an armed conflict with
1 members of Juka's unit, and they disarmed that unit and they expelled
2 that unit from Mount Igman
3 of Konjic municipality, or to be more precise, they were incarcerated in
4 Ovcari. Whether somebody released them from prison or whether they fled,
5 I don't know. In any case, they came to us and sought our protection.
6 We accepted them, we received them. And in order to avoid any
7 misunderstandings, we didn't want our members of the BiH Army who were in
8 Konjic to hold that against us and to start saying that we were
9 cooperating with the enemy. General Milivoj Petkovic ordered for that
10 unit to be moved from Konjic in order to avoid any conflicts, any
11 discords, any misunderstandings with the BiH Army in Konjic. This was,
12 indeed, done, and we forwarded that brigade in the direction of Mostar.
13 Actually, some units of that brigade.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As to members of
15 Zulfikar Alispago's brigade, were -- they were Muslims, weren't they?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. We spoke quite extensively
17 about them yesterday, and the Zulfikar unit that was established on
18 Mount Igman and was acting in conquering the territories that we were
19 talking about yesterday.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are telling us that this
21 unit got into conflict with the unit headed by Juka Prazina, that it was
22 taken in by the HVO, and that General Petkovic ordered for that unit to
23 be moved to Mostar. Did I understand you properly? And if so, does this
24 mean that by the 20th of January, 1993, the HVO could have some form of
25 military authority over a fighting unit that had belonged to the BH Army
1 and that may have still been part of it, but that did not agree with
2 Prazina, and that therefore the HVO had some degree of control over that
3 unit? Is that how the situation was?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that there has been a
5 misunderstanding. This is what I said. I believe there has been a
6 misunderstanding. Maybe you did not understand me properly. I said that
7 that brigade -- actually, Juka Prazina's unit conflicted with
8 Zulfikar Alispago's brigade. Both of them were members of the BiH Army.
9 Zulfikar Alispago and his unit disarmed Juka Prazina's unit and chased it
10 away from Mount Igman
11 in Ovcari, near Konjic. I don't know whether they fled from the prison,
12 whether they were released by somebody. I wouldn't know that. However,
13 during the night they arrived in the command of our brigade to seek our
14 protection. They wanted our side to protect them or to allow them to
15 join us. We kept them maybe for a day, maybe 24 hours, and there were
16 already objections on the part of the BiH Army which was deployed in
17 Konjic and on the part of the entire 4th Corps. In order to avoid any
18 tensions mounting in this territory, which was the territory of Konjic
19 municipality, General Milivoj Petkovic ordered men from that unit, not
20 the entire unit, but just men who had arrived and applied to become
21 members of our brigade, headed by Juka Prazina, to move from the
22 municipality Konjic sector, and we transferred them in the direction of
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To your knowledge -- I mean,
25 what you're saying is very clear. I have nothing to say about it. Later
1 on, what command did Prazina's unit remain? Was it part of the HVO, or
2 did it return to the 4th Corps?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When they arrived in Mostar, I
4 believe that they joined the HVO units there.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you tell us that then they
6 joined the HVO units. In other words, after January there were Muslims
7 who joined the HVO. Do I understand properly?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that this is an
9 exception. It is only about those men who had been in conflict with
10 Zulfikar Alispago and the BiH Army.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, we have heard many times that in the
12 HVO there were a number, sometimes considerable, of Muslim soldiers. Did
13 the reverse also happen? Were there members of Catholic faith and Croat
14 origin in the ABiH?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could it then be that members of Juka's unit who
17 joined the HVO were such Croats?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is possible.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, was Zulfikar Alispago
21 a Croat or a Muslim?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Zulfikar Alispago was a Muslim.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, Juka Prazina, was he a
24 Muslim or a Croat?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Muslim.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Had you heard of a colonel
2 called Siber who was a Croat and he was in the ABiH army?
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just an
5 In the interpretation, we heard the word "Siljeg," and I
6 understand you mentioned a person called Siber. I am just saying this to
7 avoid any misunderstandings.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Had you heard of a Croat
9 who was a colonel and called Siber, S-i-b-e-r, who was in the ABiH?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I've heard of him.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.
12 MR. BOS
13 Q. Witness, could you look at Exhibit P01139. You have to move back
14 in the binder. P01139.
15 Okay, I think you have it. Sir, this is an order dated the 15th
16 of January, 1993, and it's an order from Brigadier Petkovic. And I'll
17 read out a couple of paragraphs from this order. Paragraph 1:
18 "All units of the HVO Armed Forces and of the BiH Army in
19 Provinces 3, 8, and 10," and Konjic and Jablanica would have fallen under
20 Province 8, "be placed under the command of the HVO Main Headquarters,
21 that is, under the command of the Central Bosnia, North-Western and
22 South-Eastern Herzegovina Operative Zone."
23 Then moving to number 4:
24 "Members and units of the HVO Armed Forces and of the BiH Army
25 who do not submit to the command in items 1 and 2 herein, leave the
1 provinces where they do not belong. Otherwise, they will be treated as
2 paramilitary units and disarmed."
3 And then if we move to paragraph 8:
4 "The order shall be carried out by 20 January 1993."
5 Now, sir, were you aware that Brigadier Petkovic ordered this on
6 15th of January, 1993?
7 A. I've never seen this document before. I suppose my commander was
8 informed and didn't do anything, he didn't act upon this order. No
9 measures were taken to subordinate those units in the territory of
10 Konjic. Nothing happened to that effect.
11 Q. As far as you know?
12 A. I repeat, I've not seen this order, I've not heard of it. Maybe
13 my commander, the brigade commander, saw it, but he didn't do anything to
14 act upon the order contained herein.
15 Q. Let's move again to P01911, which is --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a question I wanted to
17 put to you, and I thank Mr. Bos for having shown you this document.
18 If I understand correctly, in Konjic there was a majority of
19 Muslims, and Konjic was located in a province which should have been
20 controlled by whom, according to you ?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If we're talking about the
22 Vance-Owen Plan, then in the province, it would be under the control of
23 the HVO. But as I say, I have not seen this order. Maybe my commander,
24 the brigade commander, was privy to this order.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I mean, you're a
1 local, you lived there, you went to school there. You're very familiar
2 with this area. So according to you, thinking that Konjic could
3 eventually end up under the HVO control, was that realistic, when we know
4 that this -- in the town and even in the municipality, there was a
5 majority of Muslims? You even told us recently that today there are
6 90 per cent Muslims living in that area. So do you believe this idea was
7 realistic? Yes or no?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whether it was realistic or not, I
9 don't know. However, I know that members and representatives of the
10 Croatian people kept on seeking agreements and arrangements with Muslims
11 in Konjic municipality, and they never took decision in haste on their
12 own. They negotiated until a final and official political solution could
13 be reached for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as far as I know.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But is that the reason why the
15 brigade commander, Sagolj, didn't carry out the order, because maybe he
16 thought that it would be best to try and find an agreement rather than
17 strictly apply an order which may seem quite unrealistic? And the
18 brigade commander, Sagolj, might have been a man of experience. I don't
19 know him, I've not seen him. But maybe he decided not to carry out the
20 order and decide to find an agreement with the Muslims. What's your take
21 on this?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that Mr. Sagolj -- I can't
23 speak on his behalf. I can't tell you anything about his meetings,
24 negotiations. I suppose that he was in consultations with somebody from
25 the top leadership, because he could not say on his own, I'm not going to
1 carry out this order. I suppose that he must have received some
2 instructions for further actions, because those enclaves were established
3 according to a pattern, and details had to be coordinated, but the big
4 picture was there.
5 I believe that representatives of the Croats in Konjic did try to
6 negotiate and agree on certain things, that they didn't want to do things
7 on their own. They kept on insisting on negotiations and agreements in
8 regard to any of the problems that occurred in the municipality of
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the Muslim side, if they
11 knew that in the future, with the Vance-Owen Plan, they would be in
12 control of the province, and that the armed forces would be under their
13 own control in a number of Muslim provinces, but when they saw that the
14 HVO wanted to control Konjic, did they tell you about their opinion, say
15 that it would be best to enter into a dialogue, or were you ever in
16 contact with your Muslim counterparts, anyway?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had contacts with the members of
18 the ABiH who were working -- who were doing the same kind of work as we.
19 We focused on the then enemy, the JNA and the Serbian side. And as far
20 as these things are concerned, I had no contacts or communication with my
21 colleagues from the ABiH.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.
23 MR. BOS
24 Q. Now, although you didn't have contact with Muslim soldiers about
25 this order, and you, in fact, didn't know about this order, would you
1 agree with me, sir, that if Muslim soldiers would have known about this
2 order, that it would have -- that the Muslims in -- the Muslim soldiers
3 in Konjic would have felt a military threat in relation to this order,
4 that they would consider this order as a military threat?
5 A. As far as I know with regard to this order, some structures tried
6 to strike some agreements, and I think that even Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic
7 was involved in these negotiations. And with regard to -- or, rather,
8 these agreements and this co-ordination with the Croatian people was or
9 must have been the reason why he was replaced by his own people.
10 Q. Well, sir, I'm a bit puzzled by your answer, because you've
11 stated that you didn't know about this order, and now you're saying, As
12 far as I know with regard to this order, some structures tried to strike
13 some agreements. Now, were you aware of this order or not?
14 A. I didn't say "based on this order." I said that there were
15 people who tried to strike agreements, and among others there was
16 Rusmir Hadzihuseinovic who spoke to us. But I didn't say "based on this
18 Q. Very well. I'd like to now move to another topic, which is a
19 document that we've discussed extensively on Monday, which is 4D00454.
20 And it's in that binder as well. These are the 20 March 1993 minutes of
21 the joint meeting between the ABiH and the Muslim police stations.
23 Now, sir, this document, as I said, it was discussed extensively.
24 If I understood what your conclusion was about this document, it's that
25 you interpreted this document as evidence of an offensive plan of the
1 ABiH and the Muslim police in Konjic and Jablanica. Is that correct?
2 A. Yes, you're right.
3 Q. Now, you went through a number of these items in this order, but
4 some other paragraphs were skipped, and some of these paragraphs is
5 something that I want to go through with you. And it's, in fact,
6 starting with the first operative paragraph of this protocol, as it
7 reads, and it starts off by:
8 "Upon analysis of the military-safety situation in the free
9 territory of the indicated municipalities, significant deterioration of
10 the relations between HVO and legal government authorities of the
11 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Army of the Republic of Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina
13 negotiations in New York
14 in the establishment by force of parallel authorities by HVO, which is
15 manifested through ..."
16 And then they are listing a number of acts that they considered
17 as acts from the HVO parallel authority. They talk about the
18 implementation of a taxation system. So is it correct that the HVO
19 implemented a taxation system in Konjic?
20 A. The taxation system at Konjic during the war, I don't know
21 whether it was in existence at all and how it could have been
22 implemented. I'm not clear about this.
23 Q. Well, then, the second item:
24 "Control of the flow of goods and persons, whereby unlawful
25 actions of bringing in owners of private shops for enforced taxation are
1 carried out."
2 What do you have to say to that?
3 A. I don't think that any one private entrepreneur in the
4 municipality of Konjic was apprehended, because I was a private
5 entrepreneur, too. And as far as the flow of goods and persons are
6 concerned, you have seen the check-points for traffic control in the
7 municipality of Konjic. From Aleksin Han and Bradina, on the M-17
8 highway, they were all held by ABiH members. They had full control over
9 them, and they could also enforce some sort of taxation, so they could
10 take away goods from people. So if you're looking for a taxation system,
11 you can now see who had the power to levy taxes.
12 Q. Let me ask you about one more, the use of vehicle license plates
13 of the so-called Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Was that occurring
14 in Konjic?
15 A. At Konjic, there may have been a small number of such license
16 plates that were used during the war. Most vehicles at Konjic had no
17 license plates at all. Only the vehicles that would proceed toward
19 Q. If we then continue in the document, then, in the next paragraph
20 there's a reference to the Constitutional Court decision that we
21 discussed earlier. And then paragraph 1 is one that I would like to -- I
22 would like to read out. It says:
23 "In the free territories of Jablanica, Konjic, and Hadzici
24 municipalities, implementation of all regulations, as adopted by legal
25 authorities of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and all municipalities,
1 is to be enforced."
2 And then what follows are various measures, at least in my
3 reading, on how these rules need to be enforced.
4 Now, sir, didn't this document -- in this document, didn't the
5 ABiH and the civilian police at this meeting simply agree, We are not
6 going to allow the HVO to take control over Konjic, Jablanica, Hadzici,
7 and from now on we're going to see to it that only the rules of the
8 legitimate authorities of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina are being
9 enforced? Isn't that, in fact, what these minutes are saying? And don't
10 you think that they also -- that they had a fair point to agree on the
11 enforcement of the rules of the legitimate authorities of the Republic of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina rather than the rules of the Croatian Community of
13 Herceg-Bosna, who represented, A, a Croatian minority in Konjic? And --
14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, it would be better if questions were
15 asked one at a time, we suggest.
16 MR. BOS
17 Q. Well, sir, let me then just say: Would you agree that this
18 document simply says, We're going to follow the legitimate rules of the
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 a number of measures? Isn't that exactly what this document says, and
21 nothing more?
22 A. It says that measures must be implemented, but who took the
23 decisions about these measures? Were the decisions made with the
24 participation of the Croatian people, too, or only the Muslim people?
25 Q. Sir, let me read out paragraph 7. It's one of the paragraphs
1 that you also discussed on Monday. It says:
2 "Defence lines towards the aggressor are to be strengthened, and
3 full control of the area in the direction Jablanica-Kute-Here-Scipe is to
4 be secured, and these forces are to be linked with army forces in
5 neighbouring municipalities."
6 Do you recall this paragraph? And is it correct that you saw
7 this paragraph as -- well, do you recall it?
8 A. Yes, I recall it, and I also marked these directions.
9 Q. So the map that we saw and that became an IC document is -- where
10 we saw the lines going up were based on this paragraph.
11 Now, sir, if you read this paragraph, doesn't it read as a
12 defensive action rather than an offensive action? Doesn't it say defence
13 lines towards the aggressor -- by the way, let me ask you, who is here
14 the aggressor when they refer here to the aggressor? That would be the
15 HVO, wouldn't it?
16 A. In the Jablanica municipality, there was no JNA, and there were
17 no Serbian aggressor, because Jablanica was removed from that line. So
18 when they say "aggressor" here, they mean the HVO. And when they say
19 full control in the direction Jablanica, et cetera, is to be secured,
20 we're speaking about villages with a mixed Croatian-Muslim population.
21 So they want to set up a communication line from Jablanica towards Kute,
22 Here, and Scipe. There were no Serbs there, so this can refer only to
23 the Croats.
24 Q. But they were doing that in order to create a defence line. You
25 know, that's what this paragraph starts with, defence lines towards the
1 aggressor. So isn't it true that they were taking measures in order to
2 defend themselves against HVO aggression?
3 A. In each order of theirs, we can read "take defence positions
4 until further orders," and these orders can be aggressive or otherwise.
5 And as far as I can see, it wasn't a defence action that ensued; it was
6 an attack action. So when you enter an area, you take a defensive
7 position, and from that you can launch offensive activities, but you can
8 also receive an order to retreat. In this case, you have taken a defence
9 line, established a defence line and waited for subsequent orders, and
10 these orders were to move the forces in the directions stated.
11 Q. Let's move to the armed clashes on the 23rd of March, 1993
12 you've said that the 23 March clash was a one-sided attack of the ABiH on
13 the HVO in Konjic, and you claim that this attack was sort of the
14 starting point of an ABiH military offensive against the HVO, and that
15 this attack was based on the minutes that we just looked at; correct?
16 A. Yes, based on these minutes that were drafted, on the 23rd of
17 March the implementation of this agreement started, which affected our
18 1st Battalion with offensive actions and conflict. And in the town of
19 Konjic, other units were blocked. We saw the report by Midhat Cerovac
20 about 150 HVO members being captured, and Croats were being disarmed
22 Q. Now, something that puzzled me, and it's something that
23 Judge Antonetti asked you also on Monday, is: How come that on that same
24 day, on the 23rd of March, Mr. Bruno Stojic and Brigadier Petkovic come
25 to the area and that immediately a cease-fire agreement is arranged? How
1 come that's within the day that they could calm down the tensions in that
3 A. During the day, if Milivoj Petkovic, and I don't remember who
4 else there was with him, they arrived before the conflict had grown
5 larger, so there was still a significant likelihood for the tensions to
6 be reduced. If they had come later, that probably wouldn't have been
7 possible. On the 23rd of March, there was adverse weather, too. That
8 was also one of the reasons why things stopped.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, General Petkovic. Do not
10 forget that you are going to testify, so keep your ammunition.
11 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. There
12 is a technical problem.
13 The Prosecutor probably forgot that this was an order and not a
14 visit. One is an order that you can dispatch, and another thing is to
15 arrive in person. So the Prosecutor said "visit," whereas you never
16 mentioned a visit. You said "order." Thanks.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.
18 MR. BOS
19 Q. Sir, could I ask you to take a look at P01911. It's the ECMM
20 report that we have looked at before. Sir, this is a document that we've
21 already looked at on a number of occasions, P01911.
22 A. P1 --
23 Q. -- 01911. This is the ECMM report dated the 16th of April, 1993
24 and I would like now to draw your attention to paragraph 3 of this
25 report. Do you have it? P01911. I think you have the wrong document.
1 Maybe the usher can help.
2 Now, sir, I'm going to read out a couple of paragraphs from
3 Chapter 3 of this report. Starting at the top:
4 "The clashes that have occurred in the past months have generally
5 followed provocation, and it's the experience of ECMM and some UNPROFOR
6 units that the provocation is usually HVO inspired."
7 Moving to the third paragraph:
8 "Furthermore, the HVO have emphasized Muslim aggression. Any
9 possible material has been used to their advantage. An example is the
10 recently published document seized at gunpoint from the kidnapped chief
11 of the police at Konjic. The document is, in fact, the minutes of a
12 routine BiH municipal --"
13 THE INTERPRETER: Would you mind reading slowly. Thank you.
14 MR. BOS
15 Q. "The document is, in fact, the minutes of a routine BiH municipal
16 meeting. The contents are routine and in no way suggest that the
17 military actions should be taken against the HVO, as the HVO might
18 suggest it does."
19 Sir, let me just ask you about this paragraph. Were you aware
20 about this document that was seized from this kidnapped chief of the
21 police in Konjic?
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I object to this
23 question because we haven't defined which document was seized from the
24 chief of police in Konjic, and who kidnapped him, when, what this is
25 about. So my request is to lay a foundation for the question first.
1 MR. BOS
2 that the Konjic chief was kidnapped. Maybe he doesn't know, and then
3 I'll continue.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that at the check-point
5 toward Kostajnica, Mr. Jasmin Guska was detained. He was heading for
6 Buturovic Polje.
7 MR. BOS
8 Q. And did you also know that some documents were seized from him,
9 and did you get a chance of reading these documents?
10 A. I don't know which documents these are. I may have read them,
11 but I'm not sure which documents you mean.
12 Q. Well, let's continue reading. The fourth paragraph:
13 "The list of incidents comprising provocation are heavily
14 weighted towards the HVO, and it is considered by monitors in the region
15 that any incident initiated by the BiH follows HVO provocation and not
16 the other way around. The flag issue is another example. The HVO
17 planted their flags all around Gornji Vakuf and were distraught when some
18 went missing."
19 Moving a few paragraphs down:
20 "ECMM observation concludes that HVO provocation is intense, that
21 their explanations for military action contains no truth, and that there
22 must be a clear requirement from Mostar for much of the aggression to
23 take place."
24 Now, sir, would you agree with me that this ECMM report is very
25 outspoken about the HVO provocations towards the ABiH in this region?
1 A. I didn't receive the full interpretation. Could you repeat,
3 Q. Sir, would you agree with me that the ECMM report that I just
4 read out is very outspoken about the HVO provocations towards the ABiH?
5 A. As for my unit, the positions it held, I disagree with the report
6 these people made because I think that no reasonable man would provoke an
7 enemy three times stronger than himself.
8 Q. Well, sir, is it not true that the armed clashes in Konjic on the
9 23rd of March were mainly the results of HVO provocations against the
10 Muslims in Konjic?
11 A. I have already spoken my mind. How can someone who is three
12 times outnumbered provoke the other side? I really don't understand
13 these minutes. I can go on to clarify.
14 If we consider the fact that our unit is holding the line toward
15 the JNA and the Serbs in an equal share with the ABiH, that means that
16 our reserve units, and they were very weak and we know how many units the
17 ABiH had, and any provocation of a much stronger enemy would have been
18 madness, and I don't see how it could have happened at all.
19 Q. Well, sir, you keep talking about the HVO units within Konjic,
20 but isn't it true that there were also HVO units in the neighbouring
21 municipalities of Prozor and Gornji Vakuf, and that those units were
22 right at the border of Konjic were posing a direct threat to the Muslims
23 in Konjic?
24 A. But this is about attacks on Konjic on the 23rd of March.
25 Q. Yes, correct, and I'm -- what I'm saying is that because of the
1 military threat of the HVO, that there were enormous tensions between the
2 HVO and the ABiH, and that these tensions were as well caused by all the
3 provocations of the HVO within Konjic and outside Konjic. Let's look
4 again -- let's --
5 A. I mean, it's illogical, and I can only repeat that I don't see
6 how somebody would there provoke somebody so much stronger.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you said on several
8 occasions that there were at times tensions between the Muslims and the
9 Croats, and several documents go to that, but that's not the issue. When
10 you found yourself in a situation of tension between two parties, one
11 side is Side A, the other side is Side B, the fact that you create an
12 event or an incident, is that not likely to exacerbate things? In the
13 current climate, if you hoist a flag, whatever flag it may be - this was
14 here the chequerboard flag - was it not likely to cause among the Muslims
15 some kind of reaction? That is a question. You were on the ground. The
16 fact that a chequerboard flag was hoisted was not going to cause an
17 inconvenience to anybody, or did you think that it might cause reactions?
18 And that's the question by the Prosecutor. He asks you whether all this
19 amounted to provocations or not.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that hoisting a Croatian
21 flag should not bother anybody. Hoisting a flag is one thing, and the
22 affiliation to the people is another thing. Muslims also hoisted their
23 green flags with crescent and the star, and we were not bothered, so I
24 don't see why the chequerboard flag of the Croatian people in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina should have bothered somebody, by the same token.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Under Tito's rule, would it
2 happen that on religious festivals, these types of flags could be
3 hoisted, like the chequerboard flag, and would that be normal? I believe
4 that there were religious festivals when flags were hoisted. Maybe I
5 misunderstood, but can you confirm this or not?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about the former
7 regime and about the JNA. I know that what we had at the time was a
8 uni-party system, and the only flag that could be hoisted was the flag
9 with a five-pointed star, which was the state flag of the Socialist
10 Federative of Republic of Yugoslavia
11 know whether they were celebrated openly or not, or locally, and in that
12 case people would carry flags of the local population, traditional things
13 that those people have, like their traditional costumes and other
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Mr. Bos.
17 MR. BOS
18 Q. Maybe just before the break, let's have -- let's continue with
19 the exhibit that we're on, and let's move to Chapter number 4, which is
20 called "Military Activity." I will read out the second, third, and
21 fourth paragraphs:
22 "The BiH forces lack heavy weapons, and when fortifications are
23 levelled, they are left cradling their Kalashnikov rifles, while the HVO
24 retain their transport armour and artillery. The local BiH forces
25 appreciate this disadvantage and can no longer reasonably accept further
1 mediation or compromise in negotiation for peace if it leaves them at
2 such a disadvantage."
3 "The BiH and HVO each recognise the other's strengths and
4 weaknesses. The HVO strength lies in their organisation, resupply,
5 communication, armour and artillery; while the BiH have their backs to
6 the wall and positions in depth."
7 Sir, would you agree with what the ECMM officer has written here?
8 A. No, I wouldn't agree. It is not true that BH Army members did
9 not have artillery, as they call it. If you only remember
10 Sefer Halilovic's order that was carried out by Zejnil Delalic that the
11 artillery from the area of responsibility of Territorial Defence, that
12 Zvekusa should be moved to Igman, those were cannons, Howitzers and
13 mortars, and that was carried out by Zejnil Delalic upon
14 Sefer Halilovic's order. This is just one of the proofs that they did
15 have artillery.
16 Q. I don't think it says that they did not have artillery. They
17 just said that the HVO had an advantage over the ABiH when it came to
18 artillery. Would you agree with that?
19 A. I don't agree. When it comes to Konjic, I believe that they had
20 even more artillery than the HVO members there.
21 Q. But, again, if we look at the wider region and if we don't focus
22 just on Konjic, if you look just generally at the ABiH and the HVO in the
23 region Konjic-Jablanica-Prozor-Gornji Vakuf, the wider region, would you
24 agree that the HVO had an artillery advantage over the ABiH?
25 A. I can't say what they had in those areas, but what I had just a
1 minute ago, I know full certain what they had. I can't speculate as to
2 what they had in the territory of Mostar
3 wouldn't be able to do that. I can't.
4 Q. Sir, would you agree with the assessment of the ECMM in
5 paragraph 3, where he says that when it came to cease-fire agreements in
6 this period, and I think, you know, we just discussed the 23 March peace
7 agreement, that such cease-fires would generally be more beneficial to
8 the Bosnian Croats, who were a minority in the region and who were far
9 better organised and equipped with heavy weapons and artillery?
10 A. I have already said it. It was in our interests to stop all the
11 conflicts in general. And as far as how well we were equipped and how
12 well members of the BH Army were equipped, I believe that they were well
13 equipped and that they were even better equipped than the HVO, I would
15 MR. BOS
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Quite. Let's break for
17 20 minutes.
18 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe Mr. Karnavas has
21 something to say.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President, Your Honours. Again, hello to
24 I just wish to point out that today we got the Prosecution's
25 response to the motion on provisional release. We are not seeking --
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, I'm sorry to interrupt counsel. We
2 are still in open session.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Oh, sorry, okay.
4 Okay. Can we go into closed session, then?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: May we?
7 [Private session]
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session. Thank
11 MR. BOS
12 Q. Witness, I'd like to stay on -- a little longer on the causes for
13 the 23 March clashes.
14 Could I ask you to look at P01698. P01698. This is a BritBat
15 report dated the 22nd of March 1993, and I would be interested in
16 paragraph 5 of the report, which is headed "Gornji Vakuf."
17 Let me read out what the third paragraph under "5.
18 Gornji Vakuf," what it reads. Halfway through the paragraph:
19 "Approximately 40 soldiers wearing 4th Brigade HV badges were
20 sighted in the town -- "
21 I see you're still trying to find the document. Do you have it,
22 Witness? Maybe the usher can help you find it. It's P01698, and I'm
23 interested in paragraph number 5, Witness. And it's a chapter called
24 "Gornji Vakuf." I will read out to you a part of the third paragraph of
25 this chapter:
1 "Approximately 40 soldiers wearing 4th Brigade HV badges were
2 sighted in the town hall carrying new 5.56-millimetre Austrian (sic)
3 assault rifles."
4 "Comment: B Coy noted that there have now been four separate
5 units sighted in Prozor. They are believed to be the following: A, Rama
6 Valley Brigade HVO; B, Jajce Brigade HVO; C, 4th Brigade HV; D,
7 163rd Brigade HV?"
8 "B Coy comment that these sightings may be one of the reasons why
9 the BiH commander in Gornji Vakuf, Hagic [phoen], was claiming that the
10 HVO were concentrating their forces in Prozor."
11 Comments end.
12 Sir, did you know that HVO and HV forces were concentrating in
13 Prozor on the 22nd of March, 1993?
14 A. No, I didn't know that. I didn't know that they were
15 concentrating forces there. I never saw a single member of the Croatian
16 Army in the territory of my municipality. I went as far as Mostar, and I
17 never saw people wearing HV insignia.
18 Q. Let's move to another document, P01747. This is an UNPROFOR
19 report, P01747. UNPROFOR report, and I'm going to read out a section
20 which -- 01747, yes, and I will read out a section. On the English page,
21 it's page number 3, and I think you will have a B/C/S translation of that
22 part at the end.
23 On page 3, under "B. Gornji Vakuf," it reads the following:
24 "The relationship between the Muslims and the Croats appear to
25 have deteriorated during the past seven days. On 21 March, according to
1 BritBat reports, the HVO to the east of Prozor," the area bordering
2 Konjic, "attacked the Muslim village of Here
3 concentrations of soldiers from both sides were noted in the surrounding
4 villages and fighting was reported from some of these villages. Towards
5 the end of the week, the situation in both Prozor and Gornji Vakuf seem
6 to have improved with both towns returning to their own degree of
7 normality. In retrospect, the majority of the activity in the area
8 appears to have taken place in the villages to the east of Prozor."
9 Now, sir, isn't it correct that the east of Prozor directly
10 borders Konjic, the eastern area of Prozor, and that in fact the village
11 of Here is very close to the Konjic border?
12 A. Yes, Here, Kute, and Scipe are very close to the borders of
13 Konjic municipality.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a technical
15 question for you.
16 We have an UNPROFOR report on screen. Now, when you were in the
17 field, did you see them in their positions, watching what was happening
18 with their binoculars, taking notes, in order to report that in Here,
19 this and that place, such event happened? According to your
20 recollection, were they really present? Were they canvassing the area
21 correctly? Were they in such a position that they would not be making
22 mistakes when they were reporting the situation?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not observe any such thing.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're saying, I did not see.
25 You didn't see them? They weren't there?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They could have been there, but I
2 didn't see them.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were deployed on the field.
4 Any serviceman on the field, you know, is going to observe the situation
5 and try and detect what's going on, check whether the enemy is there, for
6 example. They were neutral, they were not enemies, so why is it that you
7 could not detect them? Were they camouflaged, were they in dug-outs?
8 You're saying that you couldn't see them. That's a bit strange.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't tasked with observing or
10 watching UN members. I dealt with completely different things. I
11 collected intelligence about the enemy and some other things, so I did
12 not pay attention to the things that you just asked me about.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You cannot answer.
15 Mr. Bos.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, yes, and I couldn't
17 see them because it's over 20 kilometres. And if you were asking me
18 about Vakuf and Prozor, even with a pair of binoculars from my position,
19 you could not see anything. You couldn't see anything; I couldn't, no
20 other soldier could.
21 MR. BOS
22 Q. Sir, could I ask you to look at a document that you have seen
23 also on Monday or Tuesday - I don't remember - P01712.
24 Now, sir, this is a document from the HVO, a special report from
25 the HVO Rama Brigade, dated the 23rd of March, on the situation in
1 Konjic. Do you recall having looked at this document in your
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. So what is being asked is a request from the Rama Brigade
5 artillery to open fire at the villages of Kruscica, Studencica and
6 Jasenik, and then on the next page we see that this artillery fire never
7 took place because of an order of Commander Siljeg; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you -- I'm going to show you now a map.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And the map is in your binder, and I would like to request the
12 assistance of the usher. The map is P11122. It's the last document in
13 the binder. And I would ask the usher to take the map out of the binder
14 and place it on the ELMO.
15 Now, sir, this is an UNPROFOR map, and the Office of the
16 Prosecution has made a few markings on this map in order for everyone to
17 find places more easily. And it also indicates where the various units
18 were stationed.
19 Now, we've been talking here about the village of Here
20 I would like you to do is take a marker and put a circle around the
21 village of Here on this map. Could you please do that for me.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. Thank you. And from the report that we just read, there was a
24 request to shell the villages of Kruscica, Studencica and Jasenik. Now
25 in order to assist you, we've placed red lines underneath these villages,
1 but could you please encircle these three villages? So Kruscica,
2 Studencica, and Jasenik. Sorry for the pronunciation.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. Now, sir, would you agree with me that these three villages are
5 located not far from the village of Here
6 A. Yes, I would agree with that.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [No interpretation]
8 [Interpretation] Your Honours, what is a relative distance or
9 relative closeness? In the military, there are kilometres. Your Honour
10 Trechsel, what is relative distance? We have 500 such words here,
11 "Relative distance," "relative closeness." For what? For throwing a
12 stone, for throwing a bomb, for a cannon, for a mortar? These are
13 military issues. There are kilometres, yards, so there is length, width,
14 height. I really don't know. I don't know. I have been patiently
15 refraining myself from many reactions. The questions are "far away,"
16 "close," "do you see over a hill." What is that?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, the witness is
18 a serviceman, just like you are. If he finds out that the question put
19 to him by the Prosecutor creates a problem, he can ask the Prosecutor,
20 Why are you talking about a relative distance? For example. So he can
21 put the question to the Prosecutor. He might not put that question
22 because he is maybe a bit -- feels a bit awkward talking to the
23 Prosecutor. All you have to do is, you know, send a message to your
24 counsel. The counsel will stand up, wait for the witness to finish his
25 answer, and then the counsel will take the floor, say, We might have a
1 problem. What exactly is this notion of relative distance? And the four
2 Judges are also listening and can also wonder about this concept of
3 relative speed or relative distance.
4 Please trust the Judges. You know, they can ask for more
5 information. Everybody can make mistakes; you know, the Prosecutor, the
6 counsel, even Judges, you know, because it's complicated. So don't think
7 that just because one person made a mistake, whether it's the Prosecutor
8 or someone else, this is going to harm your case. Absolutely not.
9 Remember, there are a lot of safe-guards in this procedure.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 First of all, you cannot send a message to Defence counsel,
12 because the guard is not going to give my message to my counsel because
13 that's lowering the security and taking risks. So the guard gives the
14 message to the first lawyer, and that's members of the Pusic team. And
15 for a number of years now, Mr. Pusic's lawyer has been acting as a
16 courier, and I feel embarrassed for that reason. I tried to instruct the
17 guard to take a piece of paper to my own lawyer, but they can't do that.
18 Second of all, it is true that the gentleman is a soldier. How
19 much of a soldier is a different matter, but still it is impressive. But
20 we are hearing the 30th question put to the witness, a question which
21 does not seek to go for the truth. I believe that the Judges will
22 ultimately look at the map and measure. If I didn't believe that, I
23 would stop coming to the courtroom. However, it makes me concerned when
24 I hear that the 30th question of the type has not been interrupted, and
25 those questions are not telling us anything about the real distance, the
1 dates, the number of soldiers. For years now, we have been having I
2 don't know what kind of discussion. It's like us being in medieval ages.
3 We can't go into the field to see whether there is a road or whether
4 there is not a road. We have been dealing with speculations.
5 I believe that the Trial Chamber will finally take some
6 measurements, I believe that, but allow me to say that for three and a
7 half years now, I've been sitting here, and I'm saying I don't mind being
8 convicted if I'm guilty, but this is --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As far as the
10 transmission of messages is concerned, I had asked the Registry for the
11 accused to be next to their counsels, like they are in the US, for
12 example, and like they are in many democratic countries. As far as
13 security is concerned, I don't think you're going to run away. It seems
14 pretty obvious. But the Registry, for some reason, decided not to allow
15 this. And naively, I thought that they could establish some kind of
16 process in order to make sure that messages could be transmitted easily,
17 but this was not set up. I know that in a courtroom, people are always
18 listening, so I'm sure that Mr. Hocking, our Registrar, is going to be
19 told about this problem quickly, and I hope that he will find a solution.
20 It seems very -- it's incredible to think that the accused cannot have
21 realtime communication with their counsel. There could have been a
22 solution. You could have had a computer, and that way you could just
23 send e-mails to your lawyers. But maybe that's a tall order.
24 So I fully agree with you, because I raised this problem with the
25 Registry already. I concur with you. But maybe we are confronted with
1 administrative inertia, red tape. And the security, it's easy to blame
2 -- to use security as a scapegoat.
3 Now, regarding technical problems that you are raising, remember
4 that we will have some redirect, and the counsels for General Petkovic
5 will be able to ask questions in terms of military issues. And the trial
6 is not over. We know that General Petkovic is going to take the stand,
7 and if huge mistakes have been made, militarily, I'm sure he will correct
8 them. And Judges are there. The Bench is there to check everything.
9 So this is what I had to say.
10 Mr. Bos wants to take the floor, but my fellow Judge has
11 something to add.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Perhaps I'm saying something which you would
13 have raised; namely, translate what we see into language.
14 This is a map 1:100.000, which means one centimetre on the map
15 equals one kilometre in the terrain. There is a net of
16 vertical-horizontal lines that are one centimetre apart. It is very easy
17 to get a picture of the distances, as I see it. The longest distance is
18 between Here and Jasenik, and that's 14 and a half to 15 kilometres. The
19 shortest is between Kute and Studencica and Kruscica, and that is roughly
20 five kilometres. I don't know what the fuss is about. This is really
21 open and easy.
22 MR. STEWART: Well, actually, Your Honour did pretty much take
23 the words out of my mouth. I was going to suggest a lot of this,
24 Mr. Praljak did have a point, and a lot of the trouble would have headed
25 off if a distance was simply put. I do 100 per cent agree, even leaving
1 aside the fact that a village called "Here" is always likely to call
2 confusion on an English transcript.
3 MR. BOS
4 have --
5 MR. STEWART: Excuse me, but the point is that it's much easier,
6 we then don't have to subsequently look at the map to work out what was
7 actually meant in distance by the rather loose phrase "not far from,"
8 which I understand to have been His Honour Judge Trechsel's point, and,
9 well, he made my point for me as well, with respect. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 Mr. Bos, please resume.
12 MR. BOS
13 Q. Sir, if we can just stay with the map for a little longer. Now,
14 we just read this report from P1712, in which HVO Konjic is asking
15 artillery assistance from the Rama Brigade. Would you know if these --
16 so there's a request for the shelling of these three villages that you
17 just marked. From where would the HVO Rama Brigade would have shelled
18 these villages, if it would have happened? Would you know that?
19 A. I don't know where the artillery positions were at that moment.
20 Q. All right. Well, let's -- I'm going to ask you some few more --
21 to make a few more markings on this map.
22 Yesterday, you've discussed the Boksevica hill, and you were
23 shown a document by the Defence, which was P01887, which discussed the
24 Boksevica hill, and it read something to the effect that whoever holds
25 Boksevica hill had control over almost the entire Neretvica Valley
1 you recall that?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. And you basically confirmed that statement, that Boksevica hill,
4 in fact, did control the whole Neretvica River Valley
5 A. Yes, correct.
6 Q. Sir, could you please mark for me the Boksevica hill, put a
7 circle around it.
8 A. [Marks]
9 Q. And then could you please indicate what would be referred to as
10 the Neretvica Valley
11 A. [Indicating]
12 Q. You can indicate it with the marker, please.
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. I'm just seeing a line. Could you please make a circle around
15 the whole valley.
16 A. [Marks]
17 Q. Now, sir, is it correct that the HVO controlled the Boksevica
18 hill up until about mid-July 1993?
19 A. I don't know if it controlled all of Boksevica. If you remember
20 the report from the 1st Battalion, it said that there is a communication
21 centre on Boksevica and there are some two or three dozen soldiers on
22 Boksevica. I don't think that there was a need for more soldiers,
23 because at that time there was no conflict with the ABiH. But now things
24 are different because there is a conflict between the ABiH and the HVO,
25 and now this is about taking control of Boksevica hill. Whoever takes it
1 automatically controls the communications centre and the passage through
2 the Neretva Valley
3 yesterday from Papratsko through the Neretva Valley, all this
4 way [indicates]. But the inscription "Boksevica" is only in part. The
5 map only shows the highest peak. But this is the entire area of
6 Boksevica all around it [indicating].
7 Q. Now, sir, knowing that Boksevica hill was under the control of
8 the HVO in March and April 1993, would you agree with me that control
9 over this very strategic and very important hill caused, you know --
10 caused a serious military threat to the ABiH, especially if the HVO had
11 artillery on Boksevica hill?
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I object to this
13 question because my learned friend stated that the HVO controlled all of
14 Boksevica in March and April 1993, which has not yet been established as
15 a fact in the proceedings. So I would like to ask my colleague to be
16 very precise.
17 MR. BOS
18 that - and I think the witness said so - that Boksevica hill was taken
19 over -- that the ABiH took over Boksevica hill by mid-July 1993.
20 Q. Is that correct, Witness?
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, I would like to
22 remind you of line 1 on page 83:
23 [In English] "Controlled all of Boksevica."
24 [Interpretation] These are the witnesses words.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say that what is marked here
1 is only the highest peak of Boksevica
2 Mrakove Stijene, all these also belonged to Boksevica. And further on
3 toward Zuglici, all these I mentioned, were controlled by the ABiH all
4 the time. When we speak about Boksevica and which part of it the HVO
5 controlled, then what is meant is only the peak of Boksevica
6 repeater was, the heart of our communications centre. The HVO at no
7 moment in time controlled all of Boksevica.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In military technique, you've
9 just gave a detail that was not shown on the map, and I didn't know about
10 it. You say that next to Boksevica hill, there were ABiH units that were
11 positioned. And using your pen, you showed those positions, or you're
12 doing that right now.
13 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I also say -- I made the point so
14 many times. We've got a couple of references already over the last few
15 minutes to the witness indicating. We see that at line 11 on page 83.
16 We see it again at line 13 on page 83. He did indicate, but what he did
17 was indicate; he wasn't then invited to mark. We saw what he indicated,
18 but it doesn't appear on the transcript. We also now have a number of
19 circles. Some of them are very obviously related to particular places
20 with names, but we've got that large circle which doesn't coincide with
21 the line which the witness already drew as being the valley, and then we
22 got a smaller circle -- or they're not quite circles; they're oblongs.
23 Once again, Your Honour, I do make the point we end up with these
24 maps that are just in a mess from the point of view of future use of
25 them, when we all get back to them even a few minutes, let alone weeks
1 and months and so on, after we have actually been sitting in court,
2 seeing what's happening and what everybody is pointing to.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, Mr. Stewart is a
4 stickler for precision, and he's asking you to draw a precise map, so
5 could you put an "A" on the Boksevica hill, where there were 20 to 30 HVO
6 soldiers? Just draw an "A," and this way it will be clear.
7 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, regarding the valley, can
9 you write in "B," the letter B, and so everybody will know that "B"
10 stands for the valley and "A" for the place where the 20 to 30 HVO
11 soldiers were positioned.
12 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Next to "A," you drew three
14 short lines. They show the ABiH positions. Maybe you could write a "C"
15 there so that if we match this with the transcript, we will see that they
16 correspond to the ABiH positions.
17 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
18 MR. STEWART: [Previous translation continues]... of the witness.
19 I do want that to be very clear. I do accept that there is an implicit
20 criticism in what I said, I don't shrink from that, but it's not directed
21 at the witness at all. He has done exactly what he's been asked to do.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, let us now come to the
23 technical question.
24 There are ABiH units that are listed or shown under "C." They
25 are positioned between Boksevica and Jablanica. Do you agree with this
1 observation that can be seen by anybody?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To your knowledge, do you know
4 whether the ABiH units had mortars or not?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The units of the ABiH had mortars.
6 Where they were deployed, I'm not sure, but I'm positive that they had
7 some here in Ostrozac and Poprazac [phoen] [indicates]. And you asked me
8 yesterday whether it is possible that they had removed their mortars from
9 the line facing the Serbs to this area, you may remember.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're telling us that you're
11 not totally positive, but there may have been mortars. In the event that
12 they had mortars, could they have fired on Boksevica hill, shown under
13 "A," in order to destroy the 20-odd soldiers that were there, and in so
14 doing in causing or neutralising this threat that the Prosecutor saw in
15 the fact that the 20 soldiers were positioned there? Militarily
16 speaking, it may have been that the military action was to neutralise the
17 HVO positions through mortar fire so as to reduce the capacity to be
18 dangerous. Would a serviceman do that, or would you rather attack with
19 footmen to take the hill? What would be the right military solution?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the village of Papratsko
21 Ostrozac, they were able to open fire on these positions. They could
22 have also sent sabotage units to this village at Boksevica. And in the
23 document that was shown yesterday, it was said that a part -- the part of
24 a unit from Jablanica was sent here to assist here around
25 Mrakovo [indicates], at the foot of Boksevica, so that there was an
1 attack in place on our communications centre on Boksevica.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yesterday, when we saw the
3 video with the Muderiz unit that was in Jablanica, I guess that when they
4 were in Jablanica, it meant that the ABiH had taken control of the hill
5 shown with letter A. Is that right or not?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that moment when they were
7 receiving the plan of combat activities, the ABiH did not control the
8 Boksevica hill, not fully, so their task was to link up with Here, Kute,
9 and Scipe as soon as possible; that is this direction [indicates]. And
10 here at the foot of Boksevica, they deployed sabotage units. I cannot
11 remember which company or which battalion they belonged to.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question.
13 To your knowledge, we see a unit positioned under letter A, these
14 20 to 30 HVO men. Until when did they stay in that position?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't mention a precise date, but
16 probably when everybody retreated; that is, in mid-July, probably,
17 because until then the communications centre was in function and we had
18 contact with the 1st Battalion. Later, we lost all contact with the
19 1st Battalion because the communication centre in Boksevica was down.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are saying that the
21 communication centre was down around mid-July, which would mean that the
22 HVO withdrew. So it's clear to me.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: An observation regarding the transcript.
24 Around page 87, line 1, it is the witness that starts speaking,
25 but it cannot be seen on the transcript.
1 MR. BOS
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We have a few minutes
3 left. Do not forget that we have the Gotovina trial -- oh, no, no, no,
4 they're sitting in Courtroom II today this morning.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. BOS
7 Q. Witness, let me just recap some of the evidence that we've heard
8 today and which I've showed you today.
9 I've showed you evidence of HVO offensive actions against the
10 ABiH in the neighbouring municipalities of Prozor in October 1992, and in
11 Gornji Vakuf in 1993. I'm sure --
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honours. I object
13 to the phrasing "offensive actions."
14 MR. BOS
15 Q. Well, I've showed you evidence of armed clashes between the
16 Muslims and the Croats in Prozor and Gornji Vakuf. I showed you a UN
17 report which talks about HVO ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Prozor in
18 October 1992. I've showed you an HVO ultimatum document issued to the
19 ABiH on the 15th of January, 1993, also addressed to the Konjic
20 municipality, to submit their command to the HVO Main Staff. And now I
21 just showed you evidence of an HVO attack on the village of Here
22 21st of March, which is located right next to the border of Konjic.
23 With all that in mind, is it still your position that the
24 Muslims -- that there was no reason for the ABiH to feel any threat with
25 regard to HVO aggression in Konjic?
1 A. Yes, that is still my opinion.
2 Q. Let's move to April, then. And again I would like you to look at
3 Exhibit P01911, the ECMM report.
4 A. P01 --
5 Q. P01911. It's a document we've looked at on a couple of
6 occasions, and I'm going to read out Chapter 6 to you:
7 "There is no known plan of either side, save for the apparent and
8 declared intent of each side to hold their ground."
9 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you for slowing down.
10 MR. BOS
11 Q. "The HVO have declared their intent to implement the
12 Vance-Owen Plan."
13 "However, analysis of political manoeuvre by the HVO, their
14 military build-up, the ground and strategic importance of the region
15 suggests that the HVO wish to implement the Vance-Owen Plan to their
17 "The HVO make regular radio broadcast ultimatums to the Muslim
18 forces in Herceg-Bosna (never written), yet seldom follow up the
19 ultimatums, suggesting that the concept is to provoke the Muslims into
20 action that can then be used to justify aggression in the name of
22 "Because the Muslims will now bow to the HVO designs, the HVO
23 will have to use force to subdue the region, and indications are that
24 intense military preparation has taken place to this end. Much
25 reinforcement has taken place south-west of," and then there's a place
1 which is not readable, "... from Tomislavgrad."
2 "The HVO need to secure roads into the disputed area, and Muslim
3 factions in Gornji Vakuf, Here, Parsovici, and Konjic dominate all four
4 routes through the region. These four positions have come under
5 concentrated military assault, while villages without strategic
6 importance are left unmolested."
7 Now, sir, this document talks about immense military preparation
8 has taken place to this end. Is it not true that the HVO were preparing
9 for a large military action in the wider region around mid-April 1993?
10 A. No, it is not true.
11 Q. Let me ask you about the broadcast of these ultimatums. You said
12 that you never saw any written ultimatum, as far as it concerns the
13 15th of April ultimatum. Did you maybe hear about oral ultimatums being
14 spoken on the radio, or did you ever hear anything about ultimatums
15 around mid-April 1993?
16 A. I have never heard in any media a direct ultimatum issued by
17 anybody to anybody else. There was talk in town about some things, but
18 that wasn't the ultimatum, itself. Those were only individual
20 Q. What kind of talks were in town? Can you be a bit more specific?
21 What was being said?
22 A. I cannot say. I said that I have never seen or heard a direct
23 order, the one that you mentioned to --
24 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I object on this question.
25 The mode of question, and the previous one, the last one, it is a
1 direct request of the cross-examiner to the witness to speculate. The
2 witness clearly said what he does know or he didn't. He said there were
3 some stories about that, I have heard something in the village. And
4 after that, he is again asked. This is a clear example of speculation.
5 Why do we need the witness to speculate? This is not the
6 evidence, anyway.
7 MR. BOS
8 and I'm just asking him to specify.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
10 Mr. Kovacic, there's no need for you to intervene. On line 16,
11 page 90, the witness said, No. So he provided an answer, he answered.
12 So there's no reason for you to rise on your feet. He said that there
13 was no ultimatum through the radio, and now you challenge the Prosecutor.
14 He does his job well, less well. Well, he does his job, anyway. And by
15 saying what you say, you're challenging him. He's doing his job, like
16 you do yours, and the witness is the referee, and he says, No, I don't --
17 and then he said something. The Prosecutor says he doesn't agree, and we
18 have the text in front of us, and we can see. I can see that there were
19 ultimatums through the radio, but which ones? It's not stated in the
20 document. It could be anything. Let's say, you know, Let's get
21 together, there's a meeting because there's foot-and-mouth disease.
22 Nothing is specific here, so no need to take the floor to say that your
23 learned colleague is manipulating the questions. The Judges are
24 listening, they're attentive. They'll correct as needed.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I want to clarify. I think there has been
1 perhaps a slight misunderstanding.
2 Your objection is to the question, What did people speak about?
3 And here, what the witness has first said, he never had direct ultimatum,
4 he never knew about the direct ultimatum. We are on page 90, line 20.
5 But then he added, There was talk in town about some things. And the
6 Prosecutor asked him, What kind of talks?
7 MR. KOVACIC: Exactly, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So the witness had not, before that, said he had
9 no idea what kind of talk it was. That was still open at that moment, so
10 the question was absolutely correct, and the objection must be overruled.
11 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm sorry. I wouldn't waste any more
12 time, but please later you can check the transcript. And he exactly
13 refers to the crucial question and answer, and this was my objection.
14 After that, what you referred on page 90, line 22, then Mr. Bos is going
15 again on the same. After the answer of the witness on 91, line 1 --
16 sorry, on 90, line 22, it was clear. He said there was talk in town
17 about some things, but that wasn't ultimatum, those -- and then it
18 continues some. But I'm sorry, but I think that the objection is --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have 40 minutes left,
21 We shall resume tomorrow. Witness, we shall reconvene, and
22 you'll come here again tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning.
23 [The witness stands down]
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
25 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 26th day of
1 November, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.