1 Tuesday, 12 January 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you kindly call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
9 versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar. We are
11 Tuesday, the 12th of January, 2010. I would like to welcome our witness.
12 Colonel, I hope that you had a good evening.
13 I also like to wish a good day to all the accused present and
14 members of the OTP.
15 WITNESS: VINKO MARIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yesterday we finished off
18 quickly because we had gone beyond 7.00 p.m., and I had a few follow-up
19 questions for you which I'm about to put to you very briefly. I'm not
20 going to delve into the details, but we have already heard a number of
21 witnesses, and we have a number of documents that stated that shelling
22 had taken place on the 11th of September, 1993, where the Muslim
23 neighbourhood of Mostar was shelled. Purportedly, there were three dead
24 and 20 people injured. On transcript page 10.158, 13th of September,
25 1993, grenades purportedly and anti-tank shots which have caused three
1 dead and 2 people wounded. Witness CB, page number 10.159.
2 Mr. Cedric Thornberry came in August, who was working for UNPROFOR. He
3 stated that East Mostar had not been spared by the shelling. Transcript
4 page 26.166.
5 In the month of September -- I shall run from September to
6 October. In September we have a report, Exhibit Number 05428, mentioning
7 five shell impacts coming from the area controlled by the HVO; five dead,
8 13 wounded. I spent part of the night looking into this, Exhibit 5625,
9 because I wanted to put questions to you. This is Mr. Larry Forbes who
10 explains that the East Mostar hospital was targeted by artillery fire
11 from the 4th to the 5th of October, 1993. We have several witnesses and
12 several documents that mention artillery fire.
13 So this is my question: In respect of the recent case law on the
14 Drago Milosevic case, the Judges need to establish whether or not there
15 were any casualties, and the Judges need to establish where the shots
16 came from, because if we cannot establish that, it is impossible for us
17 to charge the accused, and this is the case law of the Appeals Chamber in
18 this case.
19 So I would like to address these three possibilities: (A) the
20 HVO fires intentionally. Perhaps there were any written orders which I
21 have not seen so far; or, (B) the HVO responds and fires back either from
22 a fire coming from the Serb area or fires back against the ABiH, and if
23 there is firing back, then there is collateral damage. That's one of the
25 Second, the Serbs fire, and we have documents that indicate that
1 the Serbs were using artillery fire, I won't go into the details of this
2 because we do have documents to that effect, and then civilians are hit
3 by the Serb fire; or the second sub-possibility, the Serbs fire, the HVO
4 fires back, and then there -- there are casualties among the civilians
5 because fires -- the shots were fired quickly and not well calculated,
6 and the shells did not fall on the Serb side but fell within the lines
7 controlled by the ABiH, and you explained to us in detail yesterday that
8 between you and the Serbs there was East Mostar. That is the second
9 possibility. But we also have a third possibility which is the
10 following: i.e., the Muslims themselves for political or other reasons
11 might have fired at their own people. These things have occurred in the
12 course of history.
13 I'm a professional Judge, and I'm a specialist in criminal
14 matters, and I do not exclude any possibility. I have listened to the
15 possibility put forward by the OTP, by the Defence teams, but I could
16 also come up with other possibilities which neither party have put
17 forward. Now as far as these shots are concerned, there has a whole
18 spectrum of possibilities. The fires may have been shot (A), by the HVO;
19 (B), by the HVO; and (C), by the Serbs.
20 You are under oath here. As far as you're concerned, when these
21 shots were fired, when there were civilian casualties as has been tested
22 by some of the documents, where did these shots come from?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, all the time we were
24 waging war with the Serbian side and later with the Muslim side -- that
25 is, not the Muslim side but the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, any fire
1 by the artillery of the HVO was in keeping with the rules that applied to
2 every army, namely targeting positions that issue threats to our own
4 Throughout the fighting between the HVO and the Army of Bosnia
5 and Herzegovina
6 of Republika Srpska. Such shelling was especially intense at the time of
7 the conflicts and clashes, at the beginning, that is, and during
8 offensive operations in September by the Army of Republika Srpska against
9 the HVO. The theory that we could have targeted ourselves, I don't know.
10 Perhaps it's theoretically a possibility, but I don't believe it ever
11 happened. I don't believe anyone could have shot at themselves.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand your answer
13 properly, as far as you are concerned, the shots could have only come
14 from the HVO or from the Republika Srpska. You totally exclude the
15 possibility that the Muslims may have caused their own casualties. But
16 you are telling me that when the HVO fired, it fired according to the
17 regulations after having taken all necessary precautions. This is how
18 you answer my question. Am I right?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Mrs. Alaburic.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, good morning to you.
23 Good morning, Mr. Maric. Good morning to everyone in the courtroom.
24 Examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]
25 Q. [Interpretation] I will now, Mr. Maric, continue with my
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If I may ask Honourable
3 Judge Antonetti to turn off his microphone. Thank you very much.
4 Q. I will continue the line of questioning following up on
5 Judge Antonetti's questions. These are the most important issues we have
6 to deal with you as a witness. I'll now reorganise my questioning in
7 keeping with that.
8 There were certain inclarities, at least I was unclear. On
9 page 4, line 7, it is recorded that you were talking about offensive
10 operations by the Army of Republika Srpska in September.
11 A. In September I meant the offensive operations of the Army of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was a slip of the tongue.
13 Q. Which year?
14 A. 1993.
15 Q. We'll show documents that relate to that, but let us say that it
16 is the Prosecution's claim in the indictment that during a year of
17 conflicts between HVO and the ABH in Eastern Mostar, around 135 civilians
18 were killed. The exact formulation of the Prosecution is at least
19 135 civilians in a year.
20 Let us try, Mr. Maric, to define the area of Eastern Mostar. As
21 native of that area, could you tell us what is the length of the
22 municipality of Mostar on the eastern side of the Neretva River
23 A. What I consider to be the city itself is the length of about 4,
24 5 kilometres.
25 Q. What about the municipality?
1 A. The municipality would be 20 or so kilometres. Twenty something,
2 maybe 25.
3 Q. And as Judge Antonetti said and according to the documents we
4 have in evidence, we could conclude that the most intense shelling from
5 HVO positions took place in September and the first half of October 1993.
6 Can you tell us whether at this time in the whole territory of the
7 municipality of Mostar there were any combat activities between the ABH
8 and the HVO?
9 A. Yes. It was the time of the most intense planned attacks in the
10 area of Mostar by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Q. Were any actions actually executed or were they only planned?
12 A. The actions that I am referring to were indeed carried out, and
13 at the beginning they scored some successes, but with superhuman efforts
14 the HVO managed to stop these attacks. And in those places where we had
15 lost some positions, we managed to recover them after a while.
16 Q. In these actions, did the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina use
17 mortars and other artillery to target HVO positions?
18 A. In all these operations carried out at that time, activities were
19 carried out in keeping with all the rules of offensive operations. That
20 means including intensive use of artillery.
21 Q. In these offensive operations, did only local forces of the ABH
22 take part or were the Mostar forces reinforced by some outside forces?
23 A. In these offensive operations of the BH Army, the focal
24 activities were carried out by forces that were introduced from the north
25 towards Mostar, and of course supported by the forces from Mostar itself.
1 Q. Could you tell us precisely which places in the north you mean?
2 A. Your Honours, it's my birthplace. I know it very well. That was
3 the axis from Vrdi, the Raska Gora plateau, Rastani, the axes in Mostar
4 itself, and especially a very strategic place in Mostar which is the Hum
5 hill. Those were the axes of fiercest attacks.
6 Q. Mr. Maric, I didn't ask you about the axes of attack. I was
7 trying to find out from where in the north did fresh forces come to
9 A. From the direction of Konjic and Jablanica.
10 Q. Do you know whether forces from Sarajevo were expected to come to
11 Mostar as well?
12 A. These operations also involved units from other areas. From what
13 I know, Sarajevo
14 Q. Which army do you mean when you say that?
15 A. I'm talking about the 6th Corps from Jablanica, parts of the
16 1st Corps from Sarajevo
17 far as I know, in Zenica, as well as parts of other assault units of the
18 BH Army.
19 Q. To the best of your knowledge, at the time of these offensive
20 operations, did the BH Army ever experience shortages of ammunition that
21 would force them to stop their attack because they didn't have the
23 A. Looking at the entirety of these operations and the intensity of
24 the attacks by the BH Army, it is my conclusion that they were never
25 short of ammunition.
1 Q. Let us now look at a couple of documents at the end of your
2 binder, behind the last green divider. 4D741 will be the first document.
3 This is a protest by a liaison officer for the UNPROFOR, dated
4 31st August 1993
5 targeted and hit the base of the operation zone.
6 Where was the base of the command?
7 A. In Mostar.
8 Q. To the best of your knowledge, is this report correct?
9 A. Yes, this report is correct.
10 Q. Do you personally remember this incident when a shell hit the
12 A. Yes. I was there at the command.
13 Q. Let's look at 4D1702. This document was written by
14 Sefer Halilovic and approved by Rasim Delic. It's a map showing the plan
15 of the offensive operation called Neretva.
16 Mr. Maric, have you ever heard about this operation of the
17 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
18 A. Yes, I have.
19 Q. In the course of proofing, did you have occasion to see this map
20 on the computer, including an enlargement of the area around Mostar,
21 indicating exact directions of attack?
22 A. Yes, I did.
23 Q. Could you tell us if the offensive operation by the BH Army was
24 actually carried out on these precise axes as shown on the map?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Let's look at 4D778. This is Sefer Halilovic's document sent to
2 the command of the 1st Corps. This is a request for a unit to urgently
3 be sent to the Neretva Valley
4 My question to you, sir, is this: Where was the command of the
5 1st Corps of the BH Army?
6 A. The command of the 1st Corps was in Sarajevo.
7 Q. Based on this document, what would you say about the engagement
8 of the BiH units from Sarajevo
10 A. I can say that the intentions of the BiH Army during that
11 operation were to take the area at all cost and create preconditions for
12 further attacks southward.
13 Q. Let's look at the two following documents and then I will have
14 some questions for you. The first one is 4D1719, 1719. This is an order
15 issued by the Chief of the Main Staff, Mr. Zarko Tole, dated the
16 beginning of September 1993.
17 According to General Praljak, Zarko Tole was in charge of the
18 area of Mostar in the Main Staff. I don't have the time to go through
19 everything. However, it is clear from the documents that based on that
20 order the commander of the operation zone, Miljenko Lasic, issued his own
21 order which is P4743.
22 With regard to the two documents, I'm going to ask you this:
23 Were you familiar with Miljenko Lasic's order?
24 A. Yes.
25 MS. WEST: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning,
1 Your Honours. Good morning everyone in and around the courtroom.
2 Kim West for the Office of the Prosecution.
3 Just a brief comment, Your Honour. I've noticed this morning
4 there have been at least -- this is the third time that counsel has made
5 statements on the record. The first time she made a statement regarding
6 the number of killed in East Mostar. The second time, she made a
7 statement regarding offensive shelling from the ABiH in late September --
8 late September and early October. And this is the third time where she's
9 making a statement in regard to the documents.
10 I would just ask counsel to decline from making affirmative
11 statements of fact on the record. Those are not evidence. The only
12 evidence is that which is coming from the witness himself. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please do take into account
14 what has just been said, Mrs. Alaburic, please.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that the
16 objection is not founded. I believe that I have the right to explain for
17 the benefit of the witness all the circumstances that precede a question.
18 What I did was I quote some parts of the indictment, and I believe that
19 this is my right. My right is to precede every question with the
20 relevant portions of the indictment because this will also be relevant
21 when the testimony if -- of this witness is evaluated. I've not
22 suggested an answer to him, I just worded my question a certain way.
23 Q. Mr. Maric, you say that you had received this order --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, my fellow Judge
25 is about to intervene, but let me say this: Ms. West said, quoting
1 several examples, but I'm going to take one. You talk about an offensive
2 operation, page 10, line 7. Therefore, you infer that there was an
3 offensive operation. That may not be what the document says. So then
4 you have to tell witness, "This is an order by Halilovic. Is it or was
5 it an offensive or a defensive action in your view?" And the witness
6 would say, "This was an offensive action." And then you can carry on,
7 take it from there. So this is purely forensic. We're not going to
8 waste any time on this.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I was advising you, Ms. Alaburic, more or less
10 in the same line. It's enough that you mention each time, according to
11 such and such, that is supposed to have happened. Then it's not you who
12 make a statement, but you do what you said you wanted to do. It's --
13 perhaps with a little linguistic oil it goes down the throat of the
14 Prosecution too. Thank you.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I accept your
16 suggestion. I believe that I'm very fair. I'm trying very hard not to
17 violate the rules of this court.
18 Q. Mr. Maric, you will remember the map issued by Sefer Halilovic
19 and approved by Rasim Delic. If you see arrows on such a map, what do
20 such arrows signify?
21 A. Such arrows signify the axis of attack.
22 Q. When we say "axis of attack," do we qualify this attack as an
23 attack to defend the territory or an attack with an intention to conquer
24 or launch an aggression? What is the meaning of an axis of attack?
25 A. As a rule, based on this map and the situation on the ground as
1 it was at the time, the axis of attack meant taking control of the area
2 of another side.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is exactly how
4 I interpret this term. If we had a representative of the BiH Army, he
5 would say that this was a liberation. A representative of the HVO would
6 say that this was aggression against the territory under the control of
7 the HVO.
8 Q. Let's go back to the orders. You said that you had received
9 Miljenko Lasic's order here. In this order first issued by Zarko Tole
10 and then by Miljenko Lasic, it is said that the MOS forces are planning
11 general offensive activities along the whole -- the length of the front
12 line. According to what you know, is this correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 MS. WEST: Mr. President, I just need to have a clarification.
15 I -- I see page 12, line 2, Ms. Alaburic indicating this is exactly how
16 to interpret this term. If we had a representative of the BH Army he
17 would say that it was a liberation. A representative of the HVO would
18 say that this was aggression against the territory under the control of
19 the HVO. It's just unclear to me. I don't understand if this is a
20 question, if this is another affirmative statement, and if we can clarify
21 that so the record is clear. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I'll do that gladly. Gladly. I
24 believe that it was very clear from my addressing the Trial Chamber that
25 the three sentences refer to the instructions that been given to me with
1 regard to the use of certain terms. My questions to the witness were put
2 in order to explain to the Trial Chamber what my intentions were. I did
3 not want to embark on any discussion about the topic of liberation,
4 aggression, or any other qualifications. This was just a continuation of
5 my communication with the Trial Chamber, or, rather, communication
6 between the Trial Chamber and all the parties to the proceedings,
7 including Mrs. West.
8 Q. My further questions under item 6 of Mr. Tole's order, it says --
9 according to you, Mr. Maric, when you read this what are the activities
10 that the HVO is preparing?
11 A. The HVO forces, according to this order, under item 6, where it
12 says: "Continue defensive engineering work and antipersonnel obstacle
13 construction ..."
14 This means that they have to continue reinforcing their defence
15 lines and also allow for the possibility to raise obstacles before the
16 defence lines in order to thwart any possible attacks. The intention was
17 to defend themselves, exclusively that.
18 Q. Let's look at the following document which is 4D786 --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]. [Interpretation] There
20 doesn't seem to be any interpretation. Sorry. This was an ancillary
21 question of interest to me in Mr. Tole's document, under number 1.
22 Witness, look at Mr. Tole's document. Under number 1, the troops
23 or units are ordered to be brought up to full combat readiness
24 immediately. So upon reading this, I wonder whether at the time the
25 situation was not such that everybody was positioned on the ground
1 depending on or according to the military space, and that there were,
2 every now and then, tensions and that everybody then was requested to get
3 into full combat readiness, which may mean for any judge who would think
4 about the situation, that the situation, the military situation, was
5 quiet most of the time and that there were, every now and then, incidents
6 that would cause everybody to be put on alert or mobilised, or was it
7 then a situation of full combat in which it was a situation of permanent
9 I may be wrong, but the first point here seems to say that there
10 is a mobilisation but following an event which was no doubt the Neretva
12 Could you shed some light on this?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the HVO use some of
14 its units to hold the lines facing the BiH Army and the Army of
15 Republika Srpska. Based on the intelligence received, they expected
16 somewhat stronger attacks in this particular area. And the way I
17 interpret item 1 is that the Main Staff, based on that intelligence calls
18 for full combat readiness because they estimated that the attacks would
19 be so strong that it would be -- that this would be the only way to
20 defend the front line.
21 I would like to mention that the focal points of the -- the
22 attacks, if there were any successes, would mean that the defence lines
23 of the HVO facing the BiH Army would crumble very soon. Especially the
24 Vrdi access was very sensitive because of the configuration of the
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Maric, is there a difference between an order to raise combat
4 readiness and an order to launch a certain combat operation?
5 A. An order to raise combat readiness means that all the elements of
6 a unit should be raised to such a level of preparedness that they can be
7 used should that become necessary, and an order to launch an attack
8 implies the drafting of certain combat documents which expressly assign
9 tasks -- tasks to certain elements in every unit.
10 Q. Let's look at the following document: 4D786. This a BiH Army
11 document issued on 11 September 1993, where it says an order to attack in
12 an operation under the name "The Defence of people's rights, Vrdi 1993."
13 Mr. Maric, did you ever hear of such an operation?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. At the beginning of this order you can see the axis of attack.
16 From your recollection, can you tell us whether this reflects the
17 situation on the ground?
18 A. Yes. I can confirm that the attack followed. All that is stated
19 in this document.
20 Q. Let's look at the following document: 4D1722. This is another
21 order by the chief of Main Staff, Zarko Tole, and after that let's look
22 at 4D1547. This is an identical order which was issued by the commander
23 of the operation zone and sent to his units.
24 Mr. Maric, were you familiar with this order issued by your
25 commander of the operation zone?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In the introduction it says that the Muslim forces have prepared
3 all-out offensive activities in all front lines, including Dreznica,
4 Vrdi, Mostar, Buna, and Dubrava. The locations that I have just
5 mentioned, were they in the territory of your operation zone?
6 A. Yes, they were in the territory of the operation zone South-east
8 Q. In mid-September 1993, was the BiH Army undertaking attacks in
9 that area?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were the -- those attacks undertaken in order to take over the
12 control of the territory that were under the HVO control, or
13 alternatively, was that the defence of BH Army-controlled territory?
14 A. This was about their desire to take over the control of the
15 territories that had been under the control of the HVO.
16 Q. Under item 6 of Zarko Tole's order it says: "Urgently invest
17 efforts to reinforce defence points in depth."
18 Could you please describe the HVO activities in some more detail?
19 A. I repeat, just like in the previous orders where warnings were
20 issued and troops alerted to carry out engineering efforts to reinforce
21 the defence line, and as regards the reinforcement in depth, for us
22 soldiers the worst task was to carry out engineering works in depth,
23 because that meant and that informed us that there was danger of losing
24 territories as a result of fierce attacks.
25 Q. Let's look at the next document.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. Witness, I am
2 trying to interpret this document politically. If the information
3 received by Mr. Tole is correct, because obviously he has received
4 intelligence from the intelligence services saying that there was an
5 offensive, but under points 2 and 3 explaining the order, there seems to
6 be a co-ordination between the VRS and -- and the ABiH.
7 Based on this, I suppose that the military part, that is,
8 Halilovic and on the other side we have Mladic, that they must have tried
9 to cover their backs, politically speaking, by including Izetbegovic and
10 Karadzic into the operation.
11 In your view, when Mr. Tole said that there was co-ordination
12 between the RS, Republika Srpska, and the Republic of Bosnia
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What dimension is it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't hear.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Because you answered yes, so I
18 asked you what kind of political dimension or meaning do you see.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, we know reliably that
20 meetings were held between local political leaders from Mostar and the
21 leaders of the Army of Republika Srpska, as well as certain political
22 circles from the neighbouring municipalities such as Nevesinje. The
23 topic at these meetings was co-operation, primarily military
24 co-operation, in order to inflict the worst possible damage to HVO
25 forces. I didn't go into any deeper analysis of their political
1 co-operation, not then and not now.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are therefore telling me
3 that you know that the regional political leaders met to address the
4 issue. Very well. Thank you.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Let's look at the next document, 4D1219. This is a schematic
7 showing offensive operations by the BH Army in Eastern Mostar and Mostar
8 in the middle of the month of September 1993.
9 Is this accurate?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. We want to avoid
11 further problems should you seek to admit the document. I don't know
12 whether you want to seek its admission or not. Can you tell us who
13 established -- who drafted the document, ABiH, VRS, HVO?
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is one of a
15 series of such maps which we wanted to use to show you, in a very simple
16 way, the events on the ground. Several of these have already admitted --
17 have been already admitted into evidence, including this one, my
18 colleague just advised me. It is already an exhibit. All these maps
19 have been prepared by the Defence team of General Petkovic.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine, but can you tell me
21 whether it was General Petkovic in person who put the various colours on
22 it, you know, and the arrows as well?
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Most often we worked in this way:
24 General Petkovic would draw up all the essential things, the locations of
25 various forces and the directions they were moving, and then the actual
1 placing of these positions on a -- in a wider area was done at a lower
2 level, to put it that way.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Again, Mr. Maric, to the best of your knowledge, does this map
6 accurately reflect the events on the ground in the middle of
7 September 1993?
8 A. It's a very simple way of showing it, but to me, who knows
9 exactly what it was, it's quite clear that all the axes of attacks by the
10 BH Army on the HVO are very well shown very accurately.
11 Q. And the last document we prepared for your testimony, 4D793.
12 This is a document from Arif Pasalic, 20th September 1993. I will read
13 out two statements to you and ask you for a comment.
14 The commander of the 4th Corps of the BH Army says, this is the
15 middle of the first passage:
16 "Solid territory of the BH Army, that is the Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, is growing by the hour."
18 Was the BH Army indeed spreading the territory under its control
19 in Mostar at the time?
20 A. Yes. At the time when this document was written, the BH Army has
21 taken hold of certain territories that we were holding until then.
22 Q. He then says that the positions of the BH Army were moving
23 forward in the south, north, and centre, including the capturing of some
24 very important elevations of strategic importance, and he says that there
25 is street-to-street fighting in Mostar and combat is continuing full
2 Is this statement by the BH Army commander correct?
3 A. Absolutely.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] This is all I have planned,
6 Your Honours, for my examination on the subject. We have a vast quantity
7 of documents that we haven't shown, but I think this will suffice.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question, but I'll
9 first give the floor to my fellow Judge.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Witness, I see this report where the commander of a corps of the
12 army -- Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina is growing.
15 Now, where are we politically and legally? Where is all this
16 taking place? On the territory of which entity, which state?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All this is happening in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Mostar.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Is it then not absolutely legitimate that the
20 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina recovers the territory of the Republic
21 of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, not for a moment did
23 I have a feeling that I did not belong to the units that were defending
24 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Therefore, I cannot accept that I
25 was not defending the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina regardless of
1 the fact that I was defending it from within the HVO.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I want to make it clear, sir. You are here as a
3 witness. You are not accused. This is not about your -- the
4 wrongfulness of your personal activities, so do not, please, feel attack
5 and do not think that you have to defend your own dealings.
6 I find it a bit confusing to see that apparently the units of the
7 Federal Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an internationally recognised
8 state with a government, are defending the territory of that entity, and
9 the HVO also claims to be defending the territorial integrity of that
10 entity. Somehow this seems to me rather absurd. I wonder whether you
11 can de-absurdise or rationalise, explain this situation in a way, or tell
12 me why I am -- I am in error in finding this somewhat absurd.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have been repeating from the
14 start, everyone whoever commanded me and every assignment I ever got
15 pursued one purpose, to defend the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 I never held any political position, nor could I ever evaluate this from
17 a political point of view.
18 When we were attacked, it was my assignment and the assignment of
19 my units to defend ourselves. I never bothered myself with political
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Antonetti, I
23 would appreciate it if you could give me leave to ask just a few
24 follow-up questions on the questions of Judge Trechsel, and then you can
25 go on asking questions of another nature.
1 Q. I have no time for political subjects, and I don't think I should
2 discuss them with soldiers, but I will nevertheless, Mr. Maric - and I
3 apologise for this - ask you this: Did you personally hold that the Army
4 of Bosnia and Herzegovina was protecting the interests of the Serbian
5 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 A. No, I could not infer that from their activities.
7 Q. Did you believe that the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
8 protecting the interests of the Croatian people in Bosnia and
10 A. No.
11 Q. Which interests of which ethnic community did you believe the
12 BH Army to have defended?
13 A. Of the Bosniak people.
14 Q. Can you tell us if somebody suggested that the BH Army alone in
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina defended the interests of all the peoples, all the
16 ethnic communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire state, what
17 would you say?
18 A. I would disagree any time, because every time I get up and -- or
19 sit down, I still feel all the consequences of my fighting to -- to
20 defend Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had an impact on my health and took a
22 Q. Tell me, how were you wounded? From a -- by a bullet from which
24 A. I was wounded in the middle of November 1993, by an enemy shell.
25 Q. From which positions or which direction did the shell come from?
1 A. Frankly, I do not care, and I would rather that it had come from
2 Serbian positions, but from all I know, I have reason to believe it had
3 come from the positions of the BH Army.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Antonetti, thank
5 you for allowing me these few questions.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, as far as the document
7 is concerned, I was looking at the B/C/S version and the English
8 translation of this document. General Pasalic, who has died, while we've
9 already seen videos of this gentleman, we've seen him in contact with
10 General Petkovic and the HVO. Seemingly, we had the feeling that the
11 relationship between Mr. Pasalic and the officers of the HVO was good,
12 all the more since they had fought together.
13 In this document, he signs the following, we are the 20th of
14 September. It is 1900 hours, and he says as follows: That the
15 extremists of the HVO and of the Croatian Army have not abided by the
16 cease-fire that they had signed, and in the morning, they shelled the
17 defence lines in Mostar in the area of -- area of responsibility of the
18 4th Corps. Together with the artillery, hundreds of shells are coming
19 from the tanks, howitzers, and mortars.
20 What I'm struck with in this text is why he qualifies the
21 extremists of the HVO and of the Croatian Army. It seems that -- but
22 unfortunately he will never be able to tell us what he actually meant
23 since he is no longer alive. But when I read this text, I feel that in
24 his mind he felt that there was the HVO and the Croatian Army and
25 extremists and that these are the troublemakers.
1 What do you think of this? Is the document not lying, because
2 you have shelled and attacked, and why does he mark this distinction
3 between extremists and those people who were not extremists?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm of the opinion that with this
5 rhetoric, Mr. Pasalic was just trying to give a different tone to this
6 report. As for this theory that there was a regular army as opposed to
7 some extremists, I cannot believe it. That is how I see this document.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, as far as the attack
9 conducted by the HVO is concerned, do you agree with him that on the
10 20th of September the HVO shelled, thus violating the cease-fire?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't agree that the HVO opened
12 fire and violated the cease-fire. It simply wasn't possible. They
13 wouldn't have done it if they hadn't come under a threat. I can't
14 remember the day. I don't remember whether there were any combat
15 activities. In any case, the HVO or anybody else could not open fire
16 without any order, and I don't remember any such order, an order to open
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Let's go back a little and continue where we left it off
21 yesterday, Mr. Maric, mid-March 1993. I'm not going to show you any
22 documents because I want to reduce the number of documents to a minimum.
23 I would like to remind you of Sovici, and you said that Konjic and
24 Jablanica were in your operation zone. You remember you said that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. My follow-up question is this: In mid-April of that year, was
2 there any redeployment of the artillery of the operation zone in the
3 areas of Risovac, Sovicka Vrata, and some other localities in the
4 municipality of Jablanica?
5 A. Yes. A rocket artillery group, or, rather, an artillery firing
6 group was taken out from the artillery of the operation zone and moved to
7 the locality known as Risovac, which was also part of the South-east
9 firing positions.
10 Q. What was the purpose of that redeployment of artillery equipment?
11 A. The purpose of the redeployment of the artillery equipment under
12 the command of the commander was to open fire on military targets along
13 the line from Jablanica to Konjic. The purpose was to relieve the burden
14 and a distraction, as far as possible, and the relief of all the
15 aggressive attacks against the HVO in Konjic.
16 Q. According to what you know, did the HVO have an intention to take
17 the town of Jablanica
18 A. This was not either HVO's intention or something they were able
19 to do. The establishment of a firing group did not mean that there were
20 any guarantees to the HVO that the HVO was in a position to conquer
22 Q. Were you in Sovici or around Sovici at the time when the HVO
23 carried out the attacks on that village?
24 A. No. I was involved in the preparation and transport of that
25 firing group in the direction of Risovac.
1 Q. Let's move on to a different topic. The topic is the 9th of May,
2 1993, Mostar. Just by way of introduction, let me say something before I
3 show you a couple of documents.
4 Were you in Mostar during the night between the 8th and 9th May,
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Where were you?
8 A. I was in my own house which was relatively close to the centre of
9 Mostar and the command of the operation zone.
10 Q. Did something unusual happen that night?
11 A. In the early morning hours I was woken up by the intense fire
12 opened from infantry weapons and sporadic and more frequent detonations
13 of infantry weapons and artillery weapons of low calibre.
14 Q. What did you do when you heard all that?
15 A. At that time I had means to communicate with the command of the
16 of the military district. I called the duty officer. I --
17 Mr. Bozo Raguz replied. I was the first one to call him. I asked him
18 what was going on. With some trepidation and nervousness in his voice he
19 said, "I don't know what's going on. It seems that we are under attack."
20 I immediately got up, got dressed, and from the moment I woke up
21 to the moment I arrived at the command of the military district was about
22 20 minutes, not more.
23 Q. How many people were already there when you arrived?
24 A. The customary number of officers were there at the communications
25 centre and the logistics centre. Some five or six officers were there,
1 as was the custom at the time.
2 Q. What does it mean when you say "the customary number"? Customary
3 for what?
4 A. That was the number that would have been present there in
5 peacetime. Officers on duty, a minimum number of officers on duty.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. Mr. Maric, can you tell us at what
7 time you arrived at the headquarters?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sometime after 5.00 in the morning.
9 5.15, or thereabouts.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. The commander of the operation zone, was he there at the command?
13 A. No. As soon as I arrived at the command, I asked the duty
14 officer, Raguz, whether he had spoken to the commander of the military
15 district. His answer was, "Yes, I spoke to him at his home in
16 Siroki Brijeg, and he told me that he would be there immediately."
17 Q. And did Lasic indeed come?
18 A. Mr. Lasic came some 40 minutes or so after me.
19 Q. Tell us briefly, what did the commander of the operation zone do
20 when he arrived?
21 A. When he arrived, his first reaction was to ask us whether we had
22 established communication with all the units on the ground, whether we
23 had managed to obtain information as to what was going on.
24 Q. According to the initial information from the ground, what was
25 going on?
1 A. The only thing that we knew with some certainty was the fact that
2 in the direction of Liska, Ulica, Zahum, and Podhum, groups from the
3 direction of the hitherto BiH camps where units of BH Army had been
4 deployed until then, that infantry groups started marching from those
5 camp areas. Then Commander Lasic went to the communications centre, and
6 for some 15 minutes or so we were separated. I was in my own office
7 reflecting upon the situation at hand.
8 Q. The infantry groups of the BH Army, did they enjoy any artillery
10 A. Yes. They were supported mostly by 60- and 82-millimetre mortar
11 fire and other tools that an infantry group can have on its strength such
12 as Zoljas, RPGs, and similar tools.
13 Q. What was the first order issued to HVO units at the time?
14 A. The first verbal order that I heard from Commander Lasic was to
15 engage on the axis of attack and to establish communication with all the
16 subordinated units.
17 Q. If you know and if you remember, what was the goal of the HVO
18 engagement at the time?
19 A. The goal of the HVO unit and group engagement at the time, those
20 who could react most rapidly in Mostar, was to stop further advancement
21 in depth of the territory in the western part of Mostar.
22 Q. Tell us, please, whether there was a plan to push back the
23 BiH Army units.
24 A. While we were trying to devise a plan to stop the attacks, we
25 were also trying to devise a plan to push back the infiltrated groups and
1 other BH Army units on the axis of attack.
2 Q. What was the position to which BiH Army groups and units had to
3 be pushed back to?
4 A. Since at the time there was no separation line between the
5 BH Army and the HVO in any classical military terms, there were no
6 military positions that could be construed as part of the military
7 activities involving the HVO and BiH Army. The focus was Bulevar road.
8 That was the area which lended itself to establishing a temporary defence
10 Q. Is that the separation line that had been agreed already in April
11 between the BiH Army and the HVO under the auspices of UNPROFOR? You
12 mentioned Bulevar.
13 A. Yes, that would be the same thing.
14 Q. At that moment did the HVO also take a decision to take any
15 BiH Army facilities or positions?
16 A. Yes. Since we managed to stop the attack and since we managed to
17 almost completely push the BiH Army units back to their starting
18 positions, it was decided to take the Vranica building and the command of
19 the 4th Corps of the BiH Army.
20 Q. According to what you know, was any HVO attack targeted at any
21 other facilities but military facilities?
22 A. At that moment the focus was put on pushing the units back and
23 returning the positions. There was no intention or order to attack any
24 other military or other facilities save for the command of the 4th Corps.
25 Q. Mr. Maric, did there come a time on the 9th of May for you to see
1 an unusually large group of people gathering in the vicinity of the Velez
2 football pitch?
3 A. I left the command on two occasions only briefly, and I did have
4 an opportunity to see groups of people moving more or less in that
6 Q. Do you know why those people were there, in the vicinity of the
7 Velez football pitch?
8 A. I don't know. I'm not aware of all the reasons. However, in
9 passing, I did ask a few acquaintances where they were going and what was
10 going on, and the answer was, "Let me be. You go down there and stay
11 alive." Those were mostly residents of those neighbourhoods where combat
12 had started that same morning.
13 Q. Did any of the members of the civilian or military structures of
14 the HVO ever tell you what the whole thing was all about, why those
15 people were there in the first place?
16 A. As far as I knew at the time, it was all a matter of prevention.
17 Civilians were being evacuated from the area of war activities.
18 Q. Tell us, please, the bus depot in Mostar, where is it located?
19 A. The bus depot is 70 metres away from the football pitch, and the
20 parking lot is adjacent to the stadium.
21 Q. Would you say that buses were parked there every night and, if
22 so, how many?
23 A. That was the case even before the war. All the buses belonging
24 to the city transport authorities were parked in that locality.
25 Q. Mr. Maric, under the assumption that people had arrived in the
1 Velez football pitch in order to be evacuated from Mostar and that this
2 should have been done through the engagement of a large number of buses,
3 would it have taken a long time for the buses to be provided and put into
4 that use?
5 A. No, it wouldn't have taken long at all.
6 Q. Could you please tell us how long would it have taken? Would it
7 have sufficed for the bus drivers to be called and for the engines to be
8 turned on?
9 A. Yes, that would very much sum it up. The drivers would have to
10 be called and that's all. The drivers in that company had already been
11 mobilised and they had already been duty-bound to use the buses as
12 necessary and as they were told.
13 Q. Do you remember if the HVO ever managed to take the Vranica
14 building which housed the command of the 4th Corps?
15 A. Yes. The HVO took the Vranica building in the course of the
16 following day, if I remember properly.
17 Q. In the course of the following day, did the intensity of
18 fighting --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mrs. Alaburic.
20 We're going to stop now because it's 10.30. The questions are important,
21 of course. I shall not fail to put some of the questions myself, but as
22 far as the time left, I believe you have something like 20 minutes left,
23 perhaps even less than that. Our Registrar, who is back, will tell you
24 exactly how much time you have left, which means that you will be able
25 over the break to put in the right order those documents you wish to show
1 to the witness in those 20 minutes you have left. And I will also have
2 questions to put to the witness, because this is an extremely important
4 We shall have a 20-minute break.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
8 Please, Ms. Alaburic, proceed.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since I have only
10 18 minutes left and some other events and some other dates, in our view,
11 are more important for the Petkovic Defence than the 9th of May, 1993, I
12 don't have more questions about that topic, and since you told us that
13 you might have some questions about that date, I would like to give you
14 the time.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I listened to the questions and
16 the answers very carefully. The date of the 9th of May is a very
17 relevant date for the OTP. In the indictment, the Prosecution says that
18 there were events that took place in Mostar on the 9th of May and that
19 involved consequences as part of a joint criminal enterprise.
20 Let us take the case in which the HVO allegedly attacked the
21 ABiH. In that case, would there have been a phase of preparation with
22 orders involved, among other things, concerning the positions to be taken
23 by the artillery?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You are under oath,
1 and I ask whether prior to the 9th of May there existed this type of
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So there are two options,
5 Colonel. Either you are telling the truth and the Prosecution case has
6 to collapse inevitably, because then it was not the HVO but the ABiH that
7 launched the attack, or you're not telling the truth. So I'm going to
8 try and dig deeper.
9 If -- as I understood you told us that between 4.00 and 5.00 in
10 the morning you were asleep, you were in bed, when you heard shooting.
11 Then you rang Raguz, who was the duty officer, and straightaway you went
12 to the operational centre, the operations room, where Mr. Lasic was not
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Had the HVO attacked - this is
16 an if, of course - would Mr. Lasic have been present at the operations
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So as I understand, he was,
20 like you were, in bed, he was in bed when you were woken up.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was woken up by
22 detonations, and Mr. Lasic, our commander, got a telephone call because
23 his house was about 30 kilometres away from Mostar.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So he was 30 kilometres from
25 Mostar. You are a military man. You are highly trained, and we have to
1 look at it from a purely military point of view.
2 In military terms, can it be imagined that the HVO commander
3 would be absent, that the defence minister would be absent, that the
4 commander of the operation zone would be absent, that the one in charge
5 of artillery would be absent? In military terms, is it conceivable that
6 all these individuals would be absent and that there would be an HVO
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would be inconceivable.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If the HVO had attacked, I
10 suppose that there would have been preparatory meetings, because the
11 Main Staff of the ABiH that was in West Mostar would have been taken
12 control of. There would be a host of -- of orders, I suppose. I suppose
13 that there would be an increased degree of mobilisation of the soldiers,
14 and I suppose also that everybody would have been there with their full
15 kit all prepared on the ground.
16 In military terms, should that have been the case?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let leave this part
19 aside. Regarding the Velez stadium and the buses you said something
20 important, and I must say I hadn't seen that before, whilst it is
21 important. You gave a minor detail. Maybe it was not really seen in its
22 full importance, but for me it is important. Based on the indictment and
23 the pre-trial brief of the Prosecutor, I thought that everything had been
24 organised, and, among other things, that the buses had been
25 requisitioned, and I thought, so far, that these were private buses
1 belonging to a private company. In other words, that would have involved
2 quite a degree of organisation. And you said before, and this is the
3 first time I hear this, and we've been in trial for over four years, you
4 said two important things. Firstly, that the buses were all parked next
5 to the stadium. That was always so. And secondly, you added that, as a
6 matter of fact, these were buses that belonged to the public transport
7 company. In other words, they were there. And the bus drivers, who were
8 staff members of that company, they were available.
9 As far as you know, is this the way it took place, the buses were
10 there and they could, if need be, transport people?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The buses were there, as I've told
12 you, even before the war for a number of years. The main bus depot in
13 Mostar is some 70 metres away from the stadium, whereas the big open --
14 opened area adjacent to the stadium served as the main parking lot for
15 those buses.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You also said another thing
17 that was important. You learned that the people that had been in the
18 stadium and then put somewhere else, that was part of the civilian
19 evacuation because of the fighting. But how can you account for the fact
20 that a number of these people ended at the Heliodrom and that some stayed
21 there for some length of time? You may not have an answer to this, but
22 how is it that people one sought to protect and evacuate from places
23 where there was fighting ended up "detained" or imprisoned? I'm not
24 using any of these specific terms, but that a certain number of these
25 people ended up at the Heliodrom? And in some very few cases, they were
1 very elderly people, even a few children. Not many of them, but a few.
2 So how do you account for this?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my explanation is as
4 follows: Heliodrom is a large plateau with facilities which were
5 virtually empty. Only a few were being used. The area was secure, which
6 means that there were conditions in place for the safe evacuation of a
7 certain number of civilians to save them from the threat of combat or any
8 other negative external influences in the area. That is my opinion and
9 my explanation.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We know about the Heliodrom
11 because the Judges went there and visit the facilities. Indeed, it's
12 rather large.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, you have said that you talked to
14 certain people that were marching towards the Velez stadium. Do you have
15 an impression, an idea or a knowledge of how these people were ethnically
16 composed? Were they half Muslim, half Croat? Were they mainly Croat?
17 Were they mainly Serbs perhaps? Do you have any idea about this?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the people I met and the ten
19 of them or so that I recognised, there were six to seven Muslims and
20 around three Croats I know personally.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could you give us the names of those Croats that
22 you know personally and that were led to the Velez stadium?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mrs. Pehar, Zorica something. Her
24 last name I don't know. And they lived close to the Bulevar in Liska
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this is important
3 because this is the very first time we've heard about this. You gave
4 names and you said that among the ten people that you came across who
5 were on their way to the stadium there were Croats. So they were made to
6 leave the place. Were they put into the Heliodrom or not?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I had no such knowledge.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You mentioned ten or so people
9 you came across. Were they being taken towards the Heliodrom under the
10 threat of a gun or a rifle, or was it by word of mouth, that it had been
11 said that they had to leave and go towards the Velez stadium?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I sent [as
13 interpreted] them when they were on the move, going in the direction of
14 the Velez stadium. I cannot give you any details because I don't know
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you have
17 18 minutes left.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just one correction.
19 Page 37, line 7. It's recorded that the witness said "I sent them," and
20 the witness actually said "I saw them," to avoid any confusion about the
21 role of Mr. Maric.
22 Q. Now, Mr. Maric, let us go very briefly through some important
23 events in Mostar after these clashes on the 9th and 10th of May. I have
24 prepared a set of documents about May.
25 Now, rely on the monitor, because I can't give you any
1 instructions, any references for the binder. This will concern the
2 situation in Mostar after the 9th of May. The first document is 4D1680.
3 It's a report by the commander of the operation zone, dated 14 May,
4 concerning the situation in Mostar, and the report says that in the city
5 of Mostar occasional shooting can be heard, and in conclusion it says
6 it's relatively quiet.
7 The next document is 4D1681.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic. Would you please give
9 us some time to find these documents. There are somewhere here, but it's
10 not easy to locate because they're not in an order. They're in the order
11 you planned to present them, but now we have to -- to check to find these
12 documents. Okay.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. If we may go on, the next document is 1681, a report from
15 Miljenko Lasic for the 15th of May. It is noted that things are
16 relatively quiet. And going on in all reports for May the same statement
17 is made.
18 Mr. Maric, are these indeed reports by the commander of your
19 operation zone?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Are the estimates correct as stated in the reports, that the
22 situation was relatively quiet?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. If you had to describe briefly that May in Mostar, what would you
1 A. On the ground the situation was getting calmer and calmer every
2 day, and people were beginning to feel a dose of optimism, that perhaps
3 there is peace in the foreseeable future.
4 Q. Tell us, approximately how long did this relative peace continue
5 in Mostar?
6 A. May and June approximately, 1993.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. Mr. Maric, on document 1681,
8 Mr. Lasic reports a heavy mortar attack on the Tihomir Misic Barracks.
9 Is that consonant with the idea that the situation was calm?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, to some extent it is
11 not consonant, but the Tihomir Misic Barracks is a bit away from the
12 city, so the situation in the populated area was quiet, and to us it was
13 of great importance.
14 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would also like to ask a question from you
15 about the same document. Then in, I believe, one, two, three, four,
16 five -- then the fourth line of that very document, then it is said:
17 "UNPROFOR came to Konjic yesterday but failed to enter Croatian
18 villages in this area."
19 My question is: If -- what was the cause, why UNPROFOR failed to
20 enter Croatian villages? Is it because they were not allowed to do so
21 and to go there, or for whatever -- any other reason which then prevented
22 them to enter Croatian villages? I wonder if it is clear to you what my
23 question is aimed at. Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those Croatian villages were
25 completely encircled by the BH Army. I don't know why the army didn't
1 allow them into those Croatian villages. It's certain that HVO could not
2 prevent them from going in.
3 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Honourable Judge Trechsel drew your attention to this part of
6 Lasic's report about the attacks by the BH Army on the Tihomir Misic
7 Barracks. If we also look at the other reports by Lasic, we would see
8 that on other days there were similar attacks on the barracks. Is that
10 A. In the period from the 9th May until the 30th of May, 17 members
11 of the HVO were killed by BH Army snipers, including 11 who were my close
12 friends or acquaintances. Those were mainly sniper attacks from
13 positions in Zalik.
14 Q. Tell us, if a military report refers to relative peace, what does
15 that mean?
16 A. That means that there is no combat activity that could result in
17 movements of front line, but there may be sporadic fire to harass the
18 other side.
19 Q. Would it be correct on the premise that the BH Army is attacking
20 the barracks while it is quiet in other parts of Mostar, would it be
21 correct to call that situation relative peace?
22 A. At that time it was called relative peace, and there was an
23 amount of wishful thinking in that. Everyone wanted that to turn into
24 real peace. However, later developments demonstrated that those sniper
25 attacks on the barracks pursued the aim of demoralising the troops in the
1 barracks, because it's quite a lot for 17 young men to be killed within a
3 Q. Tell us, Mr. Maric, after the clashes on the 9th of May in
4 Mostar, is it the case that a large number of Muslim members started
5 leaving the HVO?
6 A. After the conflict on the 9th of May, some members of the HVO of
7 Muslim ethnicity began to leave.
8 Q. To the best of your knowledge, how did the HVO treat its own
9 members who wanted to leave?
10 A. Very fairly, in keeping with all the rules on demobilisation, but
11 there was a lot of emotion on the part of lower-level commanders who had
12 spent a lot of time shoulder to shoulder with those men fighting a common
14 Q. You referred to the rules on demobilisation. Does that mean that
15 those young men who wanted to leave were simply demobed? Is that what
16 you were trying to say?
17 A. At their own request they returned to supply all their equipment
18 and weapons, and were issued appropriate certificates, after which they
19 were free to go wherever they wanted.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Witness. In the translation this is
21 not quite clear. They returned to supply their equipment. Does that
22 mean that they rendered, they gave back their equipment, or does it mean
23 that they -- they sort of were allowed to keep their equipment?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those who wanted to be relieved of
25 duty, and that was only a part of them, had to return to supplies their
1 equipment and weapons.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. Then it's now correct, return to
3 supplies, to a special place. Thank you very much.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. We still have to look at a number of documents. 4D1180 will be
6 the first.
7 Mr. Maric, you look at the monitor.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And for Your Honours, it's in the
9 same set, several documents behind.
10 Q. This is an approval of a commander, a brigade commander, for the
11 demobilisation of a soldier -- of some soldiers of Muslim ethnicity
12 judging by names, and this specifies that the soldiers had returned the
13 weapons and equipment they had been issued with at their unit.
14 Mr. Maric, was this indeed the proper procedure, when a soldier
15 wanted to leave at his own request, he would hand back his weapon and be
17 A. Yes, that was the procedure.
18 Q. Was the unit commander indeed authorised to approve, authorise or
19 not authorise?
20 A. Yes, the unit commander had that right.
21 Q. 4D1225 is the next document. Also from the 2nd Brigade of the
22 HVO, the unit commander proposes demobilisation for a number of soldiers
23 of Muslim ethnicity due to their failure to report to the unit. It's
24 dated 14 June 1993
25 Tell us, Mr. Maric, was it indeed the procedure for demobilising
1 soldiers who were simply not showing up anymore?
2 A. Yes, that was the procedure. The list would, of course, be sent
3 to the department that monitored the strength of the unit so that all the
4 benefits and pay and payroll would be adjusted.
5 Q. What happened with the equipment and weapons of these soldiers
6 who simply stopped showing up?
7 A. They would be properly stored in the appropriate facilities of
8 the unit.
9 Q. I don't think you understood my question. Let's assume we have a
10 soldier who simply stopped coming back to the unit. What happened with
11 the equipment and weapon of that soldier?
12 A. All the equipment that was on the person of that soldier at the
13 moment when he stopped coming back to the unit remained in his
14 possession. My first answer referred to the other procedure, the proper
15 procedure when authorisation was given and weapons were returned.
16 Q. What was the attitude of the HVO to Muslim soldiers who remained
17 in HVO units?
18 A. They were treated like any other member of the HVO.
19 Q. Did anyone in the HVO make any sort of trouble to a Muslim
20 soldier who want to stay on?
21 A. I don't know of any such case.
22 Q. And now tell me, Mr. Maric, for you in Mostar, the date of
23 30th June 1993
24 A. It is. That was an important date, a hugely important date for
25 Mostar. That night all the chances for the peace we had so wished for
1 were buried. I don't know which minds planned on that night that some
2 Muslims within the HVO in cahoots with members of the BH Army, mainly
3 locals from Bijelo Polje who that night were at their homes, should
4 attack the command and the troops of the HVO, mainly the 2nd Brigade,
5 also the area of Rastani and the Tihomir Misic Barracks.
6 That night, to our astonishment - and we have to blame also our
7 bad evaluations - some HVO members of Muslim ethnicity turned against us,
8 changed their insignia, and attacked the men they had served together
9 with until the day before.
10 Q. Mr. Maric, I'll tell you now how General Praljak characterised
11 that date, that day, and I will ask for your comment. He said that was
12 the beginning of all-out war in Mostar between HVO and the BH Army.
13 Would that qualification be accurate, in your opinion?
14 A. Yes. Yes. That is very accurate.
15 Q. Did the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks to these events on
16 the 30th June, capture the territory to the north of Mostar, towards
17 Jablanica and east of Sarajevo
18 A. That night, the BH Army took control of the territory from the
19 beginning, that is, the North Camp, Carina, Zalik, Rastani, Vrapcici, all
20 of Bijelo Polje, and further to the north towards Dreznica and Jablanica.
21 Q. Now, tell us, Mr. Maric, after that 30th of June, if anyone
22 wanted to go from Eastern Mostar to Jablanica, was he able to?
23 A. Yes, he was able.
24 Q. Do you know of any civilian or a serviceman who -- who was killed
25 on the Mostar-Jablanica road as a result of artillery fire or any other
1 fire opened by the HVO?
2 A. I don't remember any such instance. I'm not aware of any such
4 Q. Let's look at another document speaking about communication
5 between Mostar and Jablanica that I deem to be the most relevant. I am
6 going to skip everything else that I wanted to present about that topic.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is in the set
8 of documents, third from the last.
9 Q. Mr. Maric, you can listen to me. The document number is 4D719.
10 It is already in evidence, and I would like --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic, your time is up.
12 Please try to conclude now.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I thank you, Your Honour. I will
14 just have one more question about this communication and that will bring
15 me to an end.
16 Q. In this document, and you can listen to me, Mr. Maric, the chief
17 of the staff for the 4th Corps of the BH Army in mid-October 1993 says,
18 amongst other things, that it is necessary to stop traffic along the road
19 during the changeover of men from this company, and the sentence goes on
20 but I will finish it here. In your view, Mr. Maric, what does this
21 sentence mean when it says in terms of traffic along the way? Is there
22 any traffic or not?
23 A. There was traffic along that highway, and this points to the fact
24 that it was so heavy that at certain moments it could even hinder the
25 regular changeovers of the BiH Army units.
1 Q. Further on this report says, and I quote:
2 "The transport of civilian population and others who are marching
3 in the direction of north and south is a big problem for us. That's why
4 the organs of civilian authorities should take over the transport of
6 According to what you know, Mr. Maric, if a civilian from
7 East Mostar wanted to go to Jablanica, for example, did they have an
8 ability to do that? Could they do that?
9 A. Yes, they could.
10 Q. Further on it says there are major problems in the transport of
11 the wounded and others, and an APC
12 Did you know that the BH Army transported its wounded to the
13 hospital in town?
14 A. Yes, I knew that.
15 Q. It says further on that there is a major problem with the supply
16 of the BiH units with bread, because wood for the bakery has to be
17 transported to Mostar and then bread has to be transported to
18 Bijelo Polje. In your view, does this confirm or deny the possibility
19 that there was communication between Mostar and Bijelo Polje?
20 A. This confirms the possibility of communication between Mostar and
21 Bijelo Polje and vice versa.
22 Q. And my last question about this topic is this: It says here that
23 combatants on the front line belonging to this battalion are protesting
24 about the departure of special groups and units from Mostar and the
25 movement, the large-scale movement of civilians and soldiers towards the
1 north. My question to you is this, whether you knew about the movement
2 towards the north?
3 A. I had intelligence to that effect.
4 Q. Did you know that this was a large-scale movement of people?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And finally, just one more time, Mr. Maric, according to your
7 most sincere opinion, we need to know your opinion in these proceedings.
8 When you organised the army and when you established the HVO, what did
9 you think? What state were you defending by doing that?
10 A. I and all those with whom I co-operated, we all defended the
11 state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Your Honours.
12 Q. And what do you think, Mr. Maric, about --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, my fellow Judges
14 are telling me that you have gone well beyond your time and you must stop
15 now. Is this your last question?
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my last question,
17 indeed. I believe that the question is important and that's why I'll ask
18 your permission to put it to the witness.
19 Q. Mr. Maric, what do you think about the multi-ethnicity of Mostar?
20 Do you think that Mostar should have become an exclusively Croatian city?
21 A. In my opinion, Mostar is only possible as a multi-ethnic city in
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this is the only way it should exist.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this brings my
24 examination-in-chief to an end, and I would like to thank you for the
25 additional minutes accorded to me.
1 Mr. Maric, thank you very much.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, before I give the
3 floor to the other Defence teams, who have an hour and a half to put
4 questions to you, we, the Judges are faced with the following problem,
5 which is not a fundamental issue but something which is contained in the
6 indictment and the pre-trial brief. The Prosecution claims that the
7 civilians in East Mostar could not leave the town either by the north or
8 by the south. That is the case put forward by Ms. West when she
9 cross-examined a number of witnesses with maps in support of her case.
10 A while ago we saw a document which stemmed from the ABiH,
11 therefore from the other side, in which General Pasalic clearly was
12 asking the civilian authorities to handle the transport of civilians in
13 the direction of the north and in the direction of the south. It's
14 written down. If General Pasalic wrote this, unless at the time he was
15 totally incompetent, this means that, as far as he was concerned, the
16 civilians could move around. And when you answered Mrs. Alaburic's
17 question, you said that they could move around.
18 What I would like to know is this: A while ago we saw another
19 document in which the 1st Corps in Sarajevo was asked to send over some
20 units. When the ABiH was replenished in unit terms, the ABiH soldiers
21 who arrived in Mostar, how did they manage to reach Mostar? Were they
22 sent there with a parachute or did they use the roads?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the replenishment of
24 units around Mostar from the direction of north was possible throughout
25 the entire time using the Glogosnica-Glogova access, Bijela, Ravni and
1 Bijelo Polje valley access. With short interruptions that could also be
2 done by the Konjic-Jablanica-Bijela road, and also for a short time it
3 was possible via the hill if you walked for about an hour to the village
4 of Ravno and then took some sort of transportation towards the Bijelo
5 Polje valley.
6 If you regulated the flow of water at the Salakovac
7 hydro-electrical power plant, the BiH forces were given a bypass under
8 the Old Bridge, under the new bridge over Bijela, which was the former
9 road leading from Jablanica and Mostar. So what I'm saying is that if
10 they lowered the level of the water, you could reach the old road which,
11 subject to minor repairs, could be made possible for the passage of
12 special vehicles.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your leave, Your Honours, I would
14 like to correct something in the transcript. On page 48, line 18, it
15 says Konjic road; whereas the witness said the highway leading from
16 Konjic via Jablanica to Mostar.
17 Q. Witness, when you were talking about the possibility to --
18 correction, correction.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I thought you were just correcting the
20 transcript and not asking more questions as your time is up.
21 But, Witness, you have said that for a short time, and that is
22 page 48, line 19, for a short time it was possible by the hill if you
23 walked for about an hour. Why do you say for a short time? Could you
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was talking about a period after
1 the initial conflicts and the withdrawal of some of the units of the HVO
2 into the area of Bijelo Polje or, rather, the villages above Bijelo
3 Polje. After the 30th of June, for a short period of time after that,
4 the BiH Army could regulate the level of Salakovac lake and thus it could
5 use the road to the Bijela Bridge
6 onwards to the village of Ravno
7 between the 30th of June until sometime around the 10th of July.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just one more
9 correction that should be made, because it is related to Judge Trechsel's
10 question. The way it's recorded in the transcript, I'm not clear on what
11 the witness said. The witness didn't say "for a short time" but "after a
12 short time." After a short time the second means of communication was
13 opened to the BH Army, and this is what the witness meant to say.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I shall now
15 question the Defence teams. I would like to know who's starting. 1D?
16 Any questions from 1D?
17 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Dr. Prlic's Defence does not have
18 any questions for this witness. Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 2D?
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Stojic's Defence
21 also does not have any questions for this witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 3D?
23 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good
24 afternoon to everyone in the courtroom. General Praljak's Defence or,
25 rather, General Praljak himself, with your leave, does have some
1 questions for this witness. General Praljak has been mentioned in
2 examination-in-chief. In addition to that, he participated in the events
3 himself and he has some specialist knowledge regarding the topic that
4 will be the topic of cross-examination by General Praljak.
5 It is my duty to inform you about the parts of the
6 examination-in-chief that will be tackled by the cross-examination and
7 point to the relevant -- relevancy of such examination. The documents
8 are 3D00455, which refers to paragraph 112 of the indictment, 17.3(i)
9 and --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please slow down when
11 mentioning the numbers of the indictment.
12 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] And it is recorded on page 64 of
13 yesterday's transcript. The paragraph in the indictment is 117. That's
14 the one that I mentioned last. And the following document that we will
15 be using is already Exhibit P6365, which refers directly to paragraph 114
16 of the indictment. This was mentioned yesterday to Judge Antonetti's
17 question when the witness was talking about a document issued by
18 Arif Pasalic, 4D00488, which contains references to the topic of sniping.
19 And furthermore, questions will refer to paragraphs 27, 26, and
20 paragraphs relative to Mostar from 88 to 117. All those topics were
21 contained by the examination-in-chief.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. General Praljak.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
24 Thank you very much.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Praljak:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Maric.
2 A. Good morning, General.
3 Q. Do you know me?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Very well then. We will briefly about through some matters in
6 very simple terms in order to simplify the procedure. To start with,
7 let's look at the artillery and the problem of the consumption of
8 artillery ammunition with regard to the target. Could you please look at
9 3D00455. The document is already an exhibit, as we all know. There are
10 two tables in the document. If you want to destroy 25 per cent of
11 various enemy targets or neutralise them -- or neutralise 80 per cent of
12 the enemy targets -- or, rather, for a target to be destroyed to the
13 extent of 80 per cent.
14 My question is this: After the conflict, after the 30th of June,
15 1993, what was the main thoroughfare in the eastern part of Mostar?
16 A. The main street in the eastern part of Mostar, in the city, is
17 Tito's street.
18 Q. The Marsal Tito Street?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Tell me, did the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina have in that
21 street military installations, command bases or something? What targets
22 did they place in the main street in the eastern part of Mostar?
23 A. Your Honours, I am aware that there were several military
24 installations in that street used by the BH Army forces, beginning with
25 the SDK building where the command of the 4th Corps was based, then the
1 national theatre, the buildings of the Razvitak company with very large
2 basements, the building of the former JNA's military district near the
3 railway station, and they had a military prison in the 4th primary
4 school. Since that street, Marsal Tito Street, goes on to the south in a
5 parallel line, there is a former camp of the JNA leaning onto it, and it
6 was used during the war by the BH Army forces.
7 Q. Brigadier, in war, is a military installation a military target?
8 A. In war, a military installation is a legitimate military target.
9 Q. All these buildings that you mentioned and some that you didn't
10 mention, were they located in a densely populated part of town, among
12 A. Most of these facilities are located in the populated part of
14 Q. And now, Brigadier, on the other side at that time I was the
15 commander of the HVO.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And Mr. Mico Lasic was the commander of the operation zone;
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In the second half of 1993, in the area of Mostar in that
21 operation zone, who was attacking whom and how? Low-level attack, medium
22 attack, intensive attack?
23 A. In the second half of 1993, HVO units were being attacked by
24 BH Army units.
25 Q. I'll just mention 4D00793, dated 20th September 1993. That's a
1 document where General Pasalic says that the HVO was targeted by his
2 front line artillery. Can you remember that major intensive attack on
3 Hum hill by the BH Army and sweeping towards the Liska Street at the foot
4 of the Hum hill?
5 A. If I remember correctly, it was the 19th of September.
6 Q. That's correct. Now tell me, do you remember whose artillery
7 support did the BH Army have on that day in that attack?
8 A. I remember very well. They had artillery support at least from
9 three sources. They had the support of the Army of Republika Srpska.
10 Q. Now, Brigadier Maric, look at these tables here. If I were doing
11 my duty, and Mico Lasic, too, if we gave orders to the artillery to
12 destroy the installations of the BH Army which was attacking us, as you
13 said, their military installations in the town of Mostar, wouldn't we
14 have had to expend thousands and thousands and thousands of shells to
15 achieve an 80-per-cent destruction of these installations?
16 A. Correct, General.
17 Q. If, from whatever neutral international source that was counting
18 the shells falling on the other side, you were to find out that during
19 five and a half months in the second half of 1993 the eastern side of
20 Mostar was hit by 850 shells, would you consider that random, excessive
21 shelling, or would you say as an artillery shelling that it was the
22 absolute minimum under the circumstances of the BH Army attack?
23 A. Well, that's -- yes. I can't say less than minimum, but it is
24 the minimum.
25 Q. Now it's --
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to correct the
2 record. I'd like the interpreters to say exactly the way he says it.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm saying I don't have another
4 word to replace your term, "the minimum of the minimum," to make it even
5 more picturesque. But we didn't even have the minimum of the minimum to
6 approach any standards to destroy the military targets on the BH Army
8 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Did observers of the artillery report that the BH Army, firing
10 from mortars, multiple rocket launchers, et cetera, was active from the
11 very centre of the town, near the hospital, near other civilian
13 A. All observers and all monitoring services reported precisely
15 Q. Now, Brigadier, it's year 1992. To which nation do you belong?
16 A. I was born a Croat.
17 Q. To the best of your knowledge and under the constitution of the
18 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were Croats a constituent
19 nation, constituent people?
20 MS. WEST: Objection.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 MS. WEST: Mr. President, these are not artillery questions. I
23 object to them.
24 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] They were a link to the issue of
25 who had the right to Bosnia and Herzegovina, an issue raised by
1 Judge Trechsel.
2 Q. I want to ask this: Did we Croats of Bosnia-Herzegovina by
3 responding to the referendum make it possible for Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 to be internationally recognised?
5 A. Yes.
6 MS. WEST: Objection. Regardless of whether this issue was
7 covered during the direct, it doesn't allow Mr. Praljak to ask these
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, the
10 Trial Chamber is aware of the fact that you are extremely competent also
11 in constitutional and political matters. We didn't know that to start
12 with but we do know that now. The witness is here to speak about
13 artillery. It would be much more important for him to say -- ask a
14 question about the Old Bridge
15 How is it that the Old Bridge
16 it were, or from another source? That is far more interested --
17 interesting than constitutional matters everybody is aware of, including
18 the witness, hence Ms. West's objection.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you were the
20 one who asked the witness whom he was defending and I want to clarify
21 that. Who were we defending? I want to see if Mr. Maric came to Bosnia
22 and Herzegovina
23 country, or in 1992 he was defending himself from someone.
24 Q. Who was attacking you, Mr. Maric, in 1992?
25 A. In 1992, the enemy for the Croatian and Bosniak peoples in the
1 area of Mostar were the Yugoslav People's Army and the Army of Republika
3 Q. Judge Antonetti asked you if Mr. Izetbegovic had an army to send
4 help and defend his side in Mostar, or he considered the Yugoslav
5 People's Army, all the way up to the attack in Sarajevo, an army that
6 would save their people?
7 MS. WEST: Objection, Mr. President. Again, it's the same issue.
8 Just because this was talked about during direct does not allow
9 Mr. Praljak to ask these questions. Move to strike them.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm asking permission to respond. I
11 mean, this is the military issue, the issue of whether there was the army
12 to fight with or there was no army. And Mr. Praljak, as you well all --
13 as you are all very aware, was involved in that from the very beginning,
14 and this is obviously a relevant point.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In my view, the witness is
16 allowed to answer, but as to the usefulness of the testimony of this
17 witness, it is something else altogether. I asked the question. You
18 want to revisit the subject. Well, I didn't insist. You can ask your
19 question, but you better move on to something else afterwards.
20 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I will come to that issue,
21 Your Honour, because I have time for that and very soon. I would just
22 like the witness to answer whether there was any army apart from the HVO
23 at the time that was able to save the people, that is, prevent the
24 penetration of the Yugoslav People's Army westward via Mostar.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know for a fact there was no
1 other army apart from the HVO.
2 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Who bombed nose in 1992, beginning with April?
4 A. The Yugoslav People's Army.
5 Q. How much of Mostar was destroyed in that bombing?
6 A. I don't know the percentage, but an overwhelming majority of
7 buildings were destroyed at that time by the Yugoslav People's Army,
8 including all the bridges in this town on the Neretva River
9 by vehicles.
10 Q. On what date did the Army of Republika Srpska, that is, the JNA,
11 expel all the people from the left bank to the right bank of the Neretva?
12 A. That was the beginning of April 1992.
13 Q. When approximately was the operation of the liberation of the
14 right bank of the Neretva, that is, the right start of the Mostar,
15 carried out, because the Serbs had positions on the hills around?
16 A. That was in the beginning of June 1992.
17 Q. Who commanded that operation?
18 A. You did, General.
19 Q. Very shortly afterwards, the Neretva was crossed in the section
20 from the Una River
21 Stolac. In Mostar, who gave the command for the crossing, and who
22 commanded part of that operation?
23 A. You did, General.
24 Q. How many losses did we have? How many dead, how many wounded in
25 that operation? If you don't have exact data, never mind.
1 A. I don't have exact figures, but in operations against Serbs we
2 had dozens of losses in Mostar.
3 Q. Tell us, Brigadier Maric, how many artillery shells did we have
4 at our disposal at the time the decision was made to cross the
5 Neretva River
6 A. Well, considering that in documents that it is expressed in
7 combat sets, we had on average one combat set per weapon.
8 Q. If there had been an agreement with the Serbs, was it an easy
9 military operation, and why did we cross the Neretva if the majority of
10 the population there were Muslims? Why would we have done that if there
11 had been an agreement with the Serbs?
12 A. I wasn't aware then, and I'm not aware today that there was an
14 Q. As soon as we liberated the right bank of the Neretva, what
15 happened with approximately 115 Croats and Muslims in Uborak and Sutina?
16 A. They were killed in what could be qualified as a massacre.
17 Q. By whom against whom?
18 A. The Serbs killed Croats and Muslims.
19 Q. The Old Bridge
20 in the crossing on the eastern side, was the Old Bridge
21 pipes and planks?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was that done while there was still fighting going on for the
25 A. I can't say precisely.
1 Q. Who defended the Old Bridge
2 A. The engineering units of the HVO.
3 Q. Who issued the order, while the fighting was still going on, to
4 protect the Old Bridge
5 A. I know that. You did, General.
6 Q. From that time, from the beginning until the end, did the Serb
7 artillery firing at the west of Mostar and the east of Mostar try to
8 spark a conflict between the HVO and the BH Army all the time up until
9 the end of the war?
10 A. Absolutely correct. The Serb side constantly tried to provoke a
11 conflict between these two armies.
12 Q. Let's clarify. The year 1993, from the moment Mostar was
13 liberated, do you know that the HVO at any level ever planned or indeed
14 attacked or in any way hindered the establishment of the BiH Army in that
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did the BiH Army de facto in the area obtain all the weapons they
18 had from the Croatian Defence Council?
19 A. According to what I know, yes, and I can especially confirm that
20 they had received a lot after the operations involving Serbs that I
21 personally distributed in the area from Sarajevo to Mostar.
22 Q. Let's go back to the second half of 1993. You yourself told us
23 Vrdi, Jug, Blagaj, Buna, Hum. The attacks by the BiH Army, can they be
24 called skirmishes, as His Honour Judge Antonetti put it, or was it really
25 that large-scale and intensive wartime operations were being conducted
1 for months in that area, and in those operations we defended ourselves
2 and we were being attacked by the BH Army?
3 A. Large-scale, intense and fierce attack operations were being
4 conducted by the BiH Army against the positions of the HVO.
5 Q. In artillery terms, let's say you have a position on Mount Hum
6 Could you place a 130-millimetre cannon up there?
7 A. No, General, sir, not on Hum. A 130-millimetre cannon cannot
8 exist on Hum.
9 Q. Which one could you place there?
10 A. A smaller calibre.
11 Q. From that position -- I apologise. I apologise. From that
12 position could you see the Old Bridge
13 A. From certain positions, yes, you could see it.
14 Q. If I or anybody else had wanted to do so, would it have been
15 possible for anybody to launch one or two or three shells and destroy the
16 Old Bridge
17 A. I'm not sure that it would be possible with three shells, but it
18 would have been possible with ten.
19 Q. You -- I would have had to target the middle.
20 A. I can't tell you that. I don't have that experience.
21 Q. It was my duty to put the question. Maybe General Petkovic will
22 better suited to ask you that. I beg your pardon? Okay. Okay.
23 Judge Antonetti will ask you the rest. I don't have anything to ask you
24 about the Old Bridge
25 already said it, as we know.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, a question, a
2 follow-up question on the Old Bridge
3 Old Bridge
4 destroyed. You know that tank crews were prosecuted, and you also know
5 that the accused in this courtroom are also charged with destroying the
6 Old Bridge
7 I'm speaking purely in military terms. What happens? How does
8 it happen if the artillery is requested to destroy a bridge? Is that
9 done by way of an order? Are there preparations made for the purpose?
10 Technically speaking, how can that be done?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the destruction of
12 such a building requires long preparation, starting with observation,
13 selection, the selection of a firing position, the selection of equipment
14 and tools, the selection of adequate ammunition, engineering works, and a
15 lot more other preconditions and especially a very sophisticated set of
16 instruments that would be able to give you the exact distance to such a
17 small facility, and all the other elements that are necessary. In other
18 words, such an exercise would require a lot of actions if one wanted to
19 destroy a building such as a small bridge.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Still in military terms, it
21 is -- is it conceivable that a tank could decide to position itself
22 without any orders to do so and starts firing on the Old Bridge
23 possible in military terms or not?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think it would be possible
25 in military terms.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the event that it happened
2 the way I've just described, that a tank fired on the Old Bridge
3 having received any prior order or with an order, but if there is an
4 order I have to see it. So far I have seen no such offered to the
5 effect. But if a tank were to fire without any prior order, what is the
6 command authority supposed to do?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Urgently, by the fastest possible
8 means of communication, such weaponry should be excluded from use.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the day when the bridge
10 collapsed - that was in November 1993 - where were you?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That happened two days or a few
12 days before I was wounded. I was at the command observation duty, the
13 southern part of the front line, some 10 kilometres south of Mostar.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you were some 10 kilometres
15 away from Mostar. But let us suppose that General Praljak would have
16 decided to destroy the Old Bridge
17 written orders. I also suppose that you, possibly, because you were the
18 chief of artillery, you would have been on notice.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose that the -- that that
20 would have been the case. However, I didn't have any knowledge about
21 anybody on the part of the HVO would have planned or carried out an
22 operation of that kind.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I assume, and all these are
24 mere hypotheses, if General Praljak had decided for some reason to
25 destroy the Old Bridge
1 to see with him how best to go about it, to destroy the Old Bridge
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If that had been the plan, I'm sure
3 that he would have called me, either me or anybody else in that position.
4 If it had been me, I would not have taken upon myself such a duty.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When did you hear that the
6 Old Bridge
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On return we came across a
8 lower-ranking officer of the HVO who told us that the Old Bridge
9 destroyed, had crumbled, something to that effect.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How did you react? Did you
11 seek to find out who was responsible for it, how it could have been done
12 without you knowing about it, because if it had had to be destroyed, you
13 should have been resorted to and you would have turned it down, you said.
14 Did you ask your superior command to investigate into the matter? What
15 was your reaction?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since the HVO artillery was not
17 tied expressly to the destruction of the Old Bridge
18 ask for any investigation. However, the bodies in the military district
19 probably had information that the bridge had been destroyed. I don't
20 remember that any investigation took place at the military district
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question: The tank
23 fired on the Old Bridge
24 destroyed the Old Bridge
25 discuss the matter in due time. But this tank that allegedly fired on
1 and destroyed the Old Bridge
2 as far as you know?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the -- in Mostar military area
4 there was a tank battalion which had a couple of obsolete tanks which
5 mostly acted towards the prevention of onslaught of the enemy through the
6 areas passable to a tank. Those tanks had very limited mobility. And
7 that tank battalion was subordinated to the commander of the Mostar
8 military district.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So Mostar operation zone. Very
11 Please continue, Mr. Praljak.
12 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Tanks had nothing whatsoever to do with artillery; is that
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Second of all, tanks were primarily subordinated to the commander
17 of the tank battalion?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And he in turn was subordinated to the commander of the military
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know that after the destruction of the Old Bridge
23 was indeed an investigation which was never completed, and the goal of
24 the investigation was to find out how and what unit shot at the
25 Old Bridge
1 A. Yes, I know that.
2 Q. Did you ever read the results of the investigation?
3 A. As far as I know, there was a reference to a couple of names, or
4 maybe three names, of the people who possibly participated in that.
5 Q. Let's look at another document, P -- it's a film, and it's an
6 exhibit. P6365. P6365. In that video-clip you will see that the author
7 claims that --
8 [Video-clip played]
9 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Rewind. Let's see that woman
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have anything on the
13 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Please rewind.
14 [Video-clip played]
15 "Not long afterwards, another emergency. A woman was lying on
16 the riverbank."
17 MR. PRALJAK: Stop.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Please. The author of this video-clip claims
19 that that unfortunate woman had been hit by sniping fire on the left bank
20 of the Neretva River
21 position of the HVO.
22 My question to you, Brigadier, since you are a citizen of Mostar,
23 resident of Mostar, and as an artillery man you had a good overview of
24 the directions from which it could be fired from, the Carina bridge, the
25 customs bridge where that part of the town starts from, the customs
1 bridge there, is -- is there a single place in the western part of the
2 city from which one could observe and see the bank on the left bank of
3 the Neretva River
4 MS. WEST: Mr. President, objection. I waited for the end of
5 that question to see if it was somehow related to the artillery testimony
6 that this witness gave, but it appears not to be, so I object to the
8 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
9 respond to this objection. The indictment in paragraph 7 and 8 as well
10 as in 15 and 17 claims and alleges that, amongst others, General Praljak
11 is responsible for everything that happened in Mostar as well as the
12 incidents involving sniping fire. That's number one.
13 Number two, the terrain in Mostar is something that
14 General Praljak is very familiar with because he resided there. He was
15 educated there, and the banks of the River Neretva are very well known to
16 him. And this refers to the part where General Praljak has a personal
17 and specialised knowledge because he personally resided in the area. At
18 the objection put forth by my learned friend Ms. West is not based -- is
19 not founded. Also the witness has very concrete knowledge because he
20 hails from the area of Mostar and he's very familiar with the Neretva
21 River, with the banks of the Neretva River
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you will allow me,
23 I will join my learned friend Mrs. Pinter in her response. In keeping
24 with Rule 90(H)(i), a cross-examination can tackle the credibility of the
25 witness, the topics raised by the examination-in-chief as well as the all
1 the other important topics "[In English] ... to the case for the
2 cross-examining party, to the subject matter of that case."
3 [Interpretation] For such a cross-examination, the parties do not have to
4 seek permission from the Trial Chamber. I would like to remind you that
5 based on this role the Trial Chamber has already decided on a submission
6 by General Petkovic's Defence and allow the Prosecution to carry out
7 cross-examination irrespective of the topics that were raised during the
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic, my question is
10 for Mr. Kovacic. Mr. Praljak knows that area and the video, well, that
11 is fine, but we want to know whether the witness does know the area and
12 whether he can add anything, and if it's only to confirm what
13 General Praljak knows already, well, that's something we know about. The
14 question is: What can the witness contribute as regards this video?
15 Colonel, you've heard the question. You have seen a video very
16 briefly. You know those parts. Can you contribute anything or can't you
17 say anything whatsoever?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's not easy for me to watch this
19 video-clip, but I will kindly ask you to rewind and let it run from the
21 [Video-clip played]
22 "Afterwards another emergency. A woman was lying on the
23 riverbank. She'd been doing her family's washing. She was already dead,
24 shot by a Croat sniper."
25 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
1 Q. From the top, please. See the people running. Ten metres away
2 from the edge of the riverbank and -- do you see the right bank of the
3 river Neretva? Do you see the right-hand side of the Neretva riverbank
4 from this place?
5 A. No.
6 Q. It seems that the river is deep --
7 [Video-clip played]
8 "A woman was lying on the riverbank. She'd been doing her
9 family's washing."
10 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Stop.
11 Q. My question to you is this: Once again you saw the people
12 running. You're familiar with the Neretva River
13 away from the edge of the riverbank you can't see anything. Either this
14 riverbank or the other. This is way I saw things. Maybe you can tell us
16 A. General, sir, this victim is on the right bank, not on the left
17 bank. Judging by the flow of the river you can see that the water's
18 flowing in the right direction which means that the victim is on the
19 right bank. And during the summer, the Neretva is about 27 metres deep
20 if you're measuring from the Old Bridge
21 bridge, and 22 metres from the Carina bridge. This is a canyon,
22 therefore, and as I am looking back at the positions where the HVO
23 positions were, I cannot allow for the possibility for anybody to be able
24 to see the right bank of the river Neretva.
25 Q. When you say that the Neretva is deep, do you mean that this is
1 from the Old Bridge
2 that what you mean?
3 A. Yes, that's what I mean. So if the victim is level with the top
4 level of the water, you could not observe that, and you certainly could
5 not open fire from the positions of the HVO.
6 Q. Does this concern what I asked you? If you're looking from the
7 Carina bridge, could you observe that all the way down to --
8 A. All the way down to the ultimate positions of the HVO in the city
9 of --
10 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can I please ask the Trial Chamber
11 to --
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could you please --
13 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] -- switch off the image on the
14 screen. Just one more thing.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak. Excuse me. You are both going
16 much too fast and overlapping and we cannot follow. So could you
17 kindly slow down. sorry for being loud, but I thought it was the only
18 possibility to pull the brake, and you don't have to repeat as much as
19 you would have other wise. Please go ahead. Or resume, rather.
20 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, I like
21 passions, I hope to inspire even more, especially with an image like
23 Q. One more question. If a sniper killed that woman, why isn't he
24 shooting at the soldier you see here?
25 A. I have no [Realtime transcript read in error "to"] clever answer
1 to that question.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, this video is a video
3 we've seen already on several occasions. This is a video which, of
4 course, does give rise to an emotional shock when you see this woman
5 washing her family washing and being shot at. We don't know who did this
6 but the commentator says that it is the HVO. I didn't quite understand
7 Mr. Praljak's questions in the beginning, but your answers seem to
8 indicate that, as far as you were concerned, it was impossible for this
9 woman to be shot by an HVO sniper because from the positions of the HVO,
10 it was not possible to hit anyone from there, that particular location.
11 Is that exactly what you're telling us?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. You couldn't hit
13 anyone on the right bank, not even the left bank, but especially not the
14 right bank, because it's evident from this image that the victim is on
15 the right bank of the Neretva River
16 the south.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're positive about it?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely sure.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prlic.
20 THE ACCUSED PRLIC: There is obvious mistake in transcript and I
21 think this is the reason for your question, Judge Antonetti. In line 8,
22 witness answered, "I don't have clever answer to this question." And it
23 was put in transcript, "I have to clever answer to that question."
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. Prlic.
25 Witness, maybe Ms. Alaburic will help us because I see there is
1 map somewhere in this file of Mostar, and if we -- if you look at it, I
2 would be interested to know whether you can say where this woman has been
3 lying. Can you tell us the number of the document which is the city map
4 of Mostar? I have seen it, but I've not remembered where.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the maps of Mostar
6 we had prepared for you are not very good for this purpose. We have a
7 so-called tourist map of Mostar indicating targets that we prepare for
8 the examination around the 9th of May. It's in your binder. This is the
9 map which is easy for everyone. I can give this map to the witness and
10 he can mark it on the ELMO, but I think it's better to ask him first
11 whether he's able to locate at all the place where the woman is lying, or
12 he can just say on which bank.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, you've heard what
14 Mrs. Alaburic has said. The problem we face is this: On the basis of
15 what you saw and on the basis of the tourist map, would you be able to
16 shed some light on this issue for my fellow Judge? Would you be able to
17 tell us, according to you, where this woman was lying?
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just a technical point for -- for everyone else,
19 the document is 4D00918, I think.
20 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I go get my bag
21 to bring photographs of Mostar so the man can tell us whether this place
22 can be seen from any building in town?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think even these
24 photographs are necessary for me to answer this question. Ninety-five
25 per cent and perhaps even 100 per cent of the Neretva riverbank on both
1 the right-hand side and the left-hand side are not developed. It's
2 mostly rocks, caves, grottos that look alike at whichever section you
3 look. There are dozens of similar places along the bank and hardly
4 anyone in Mostar, apart from someone born precisely in that spot, could
5 locate exactly one it is, not on the basis of one or two rocks. We need
6 a broader picture to locate this. Ninety-five per cent of the banks are
7 undeveloped, and you can bathe in the Neretva in only two or three
8 places. At least it's allowed in only two or three places. Otherwise,
9 it's too dangerous.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You will be unable to locate
11 this spot. Fine.
12 Mr. Praljak.
13 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
14 Q. I only wanted to show the photograph not to locate this place
15 precisely - I know it can't be done - but to show that what you said is
16 correct; namely, that it's impossible to see that river from the
17 buildings. No sniper sitting on top of a building can see the river.
18 A. Well, General, I gave an oath to say what I know, and I confirm
19 that it is true. It was impossible from HVO positions, even in peacetime
20 when you could choose your position, it's impossible to see the right
21 bank of the Neretva.
22 Q. Last question and last topic. This road from Mostar towards
23 Jablanica and Bijelo Polje is not quite clear.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, General Praljak.
25 We shall have a break now because it is 20 minutes to 1.00. Is this your
1 last question, General Praljak? If that is the case, we shall have a
2 break after -- after that, or do you have any further questions?
3 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
4 ... one.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go ahead.
6 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
7 Q. After the attack by the BH Army on the 30th of June, was that
8 road passable, continuously passable towards the north, except for one
9 small section, considering that the BH Army controlled it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So the mountain tracks were the only way if anybody wanted to go.
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have shall have a 20-minute
15 break and resume at 1.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.44 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 1.04 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak was finished.
19 5D? Does Mr. Coric's Defence have any questions?
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before we start, just
21 a small correction to the transcript. Page 73, line 16. The question of
22 General Praljak records: "[In English] So the mountain tracks were the
23 only way if anybody wanted to go." Actually, the question was -- of
24 Mr. Praljak the question was: "So the mountain tracks were the parallel
25 or alternative way if anybody wanted to go," and that is what witness
1 then confirmed yes, and that was what was said on Croatian in original
2 and that's how the witness understood the question. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It has now been
4 recorded as such.
5 5D, do you have any questions?
6 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have no
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 6D?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. West, so you have your
11 three hours.
12 You can begin. We all have received the folders.
13 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Cross-examination by Ms. West:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Maric.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber your exact address in 1993?
18 A. In 1993?
19 Q. Please.
20 A. In 1993, my address was Mostar, Blajburskih Zrtava 92, Bosnia
22 Q. And what neighbourhood was that in?
23 A. That's in the western part of town.
24 Q. Is there a specific name to the neighbourhood?
25 A. Bihovic.
1 Q. Did the name of that street ever change or is it still known as
2 that today?
3 A. Before 1992, it was called Prekomorskih Brigada, Overseas Brigade
5 Q. Did you live in a single-family home or in an apartment building?
6 A. In a single-family home. In a house.
7 Q. And were any of your neighbours Muslim?
8 A. The first Muslim neighbour was about 120 metres away from me.
9 Q. And can you give us their name?
10 A. Well, there were more than one. Kajan is one name.
11 Q. Can you give us another name, please?
12 A. I cannot recall, but it will come back to me in a while if you
13 will come back to this question.
14 Q. Sir, in May of 1993, can you tell us where your office was
16 A. In May 1993, my office was in the command of the military
17 district of Mostar. The building was called Lesnina.
18 Q. And what was the address of the building?
19 A. I -- I can't answer that question precisely. We'll come across
20 that street in documents perhaps.
21 Q. That's fine. Did the location of your office change for the rest
22 of 1993 or did it remain in the same building?
23 A. At the very end of 1993 my office moved to Rudnik, a settlement
24 called Rudnik.
25 Q. And during the period of 1993, during most days did you work out
1 of your office?
2 A. My job description required me to spend most of my time at the
3 office, but sometimes on commander's orders I could go on field missions
4 as commander in reconnaissance, mainly in co-operation with the commander
5 of the command concerned.
6 Q. Sir, I just want to go back - we're about to lose it on the
7 transcript - when you gave us your address. It doesn't appear that the
8 street name was spelled out. Can you spell out your street name, please.
9 A. P-l-a-j-p-u-r-c -- sorry, s --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness just say the name again
11 without -- we don't know where one word begins and the other ends.
12 MS. WEST:
13 Q. Mr. Maric, maybe say it one more time and they can try saying it.
14 Just say the word, the street name?
15 A. Blajburskih Zrtava. Bleiburg victims.
16 Q. And you had also indicated that it may have gone by a different
17 name in 1992? Can you say that name again?
18 A. Put Prekomorskih Brigada.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Maric. I now want to talk to you about your job
20 description. You talked about it on direct and you described for the
21 Chamber what your role was in regard to being assistant commander for the
22 artillery. And particularly yesterday, at page 36, you were asked:
23 "Would it be correct to say that in relation to the command, the
24 commander of the operation zone, you had certain advisory
1 And your answer to that question was:
2 "That is precisely what it was, advisory responsibilities towards
3 the commander of the operation zone."
4 And on the same page there is another question, and it was:
5 "And if anyone took your analysis and advice and your estimates
6 how to take decisions and issue orders, who would that be?"
7 And your response was:
8 "That would be the chief of the artillery and the commander of
9 the operation zone or the commander of the brigade or whatever units."
10 Sir, my question for you is to just to clarify this. My question
11 for you is: Was it your job to analyse the full military situation in
12 the area and then give the commander advice or analysis as to the best
13 usage of HVO artillery?
14 A. Well, the structure of the command was this: The commander and
15 then Chief of Staff who integrates the work of all chiefs of branches in
16 that command, and my role was to act as an advisor and assist in the
17 planning, employment, training, maintenance, reinforcement and
18 replenishment, even distribution, and regular and interim reports as
19 required by the command.
20 Q. In order to do that job, specifically the planning part, did you
21 have to have knowledge of the full military situation in Mostar?
22 A. Your Honours, I needed to be informed of the situation on the
23 front line where the units of the military district organised defence.
24 Q. Thank you. You were asked a question by Judge Antonetti at
25 page 52, regarding whether the artillery supported the infantry and you
1 indicated that indeed that's what the artillery did. So my question is:
2 In order for you to effectively use artillery to support the HVO infantry
3 in operation plans, was it important for you to know the general overall
4 military plan for the entire municipality of Mostar
5 A. Your Honours, in my position of chief of artillery, I was
6 informed of all aspects of the situation on the front line where there
7 were units in which artillery had been deployed, artillery of the
8 operation zone, and the focus of my information was on the disposition
9 and the role of artillery.
10 Q. Sir, I'm going to read to you the summary given to us by
11 Ms. Alaburic. I know you didn't write this, but I'd like you to listen.
12 It says:
13 "In order to understand the timing and intensity of artillery
14 activities in the town of Mostar
15 combat activities of the ABiH and HVO in the area of the Mostar region."
16 Now, I know you didn't write that, but would you agree with me
17 that that's a true statement? Yes or no?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. I want to talk to you specifically now about the
20 artillery components of the HVO and you talked about this extensively
21 yesterday, and at page 48 you were asked about the rocket artillery
22 regiment and the question was, starting at line 14 was:
23 "Tell us, please, at the level of the operation zone was there an
24 artillery unit? Was there an artillery unit at the level of the
25 operation zone?"
1 "A. Yes.
2 "Q. What unit was that?
3 "A. There is a unit which was called a rocket artillery
4 regiment, actually on its strength, it had artillery weapons that would
5 qualify it for a reinforced battalion."
6 "Q. What artillery tools did the regiment have at its disposal?"
7 And your answer was:
8 "At the beginning it had 130-millimetre cannons; 120-millimetre
9 howitzers; D-30; and 122-D38 howitzers, two pieces; and 155-millimetre
10 howitzer, three pieces. In total that would have been the strength of
11 one battalion."
12 Sir, you said this was on the operational zone level, but would
13 you agree with me that there came a time when this unit was put directly
14 under the Main Staff control?
15 A. Your Honours, it's true that in a certain period this unit was
16 placed under the operative command of the Main Staff.
17 Q. Sir, I'm going to read to you some testimony from
18 General Praljak. It should come up on your screen on Sanction. You'll
19 see it shortly, and this is from August 20, 2009, and regarding the same
20 issue General Praljak spoke about it. The question then was:
21 "Let me take you through the various units that are identified,
22 and that's primarily what I'm interested in. The next unit that's
23 indicated here is the rocket and artillery regiment, and it's correct,
24 General, that pursuant to this order the rocket and artillery regiment is
25 one of the units that's directly subordinated to the HVO Main Staff?"
1 Praljak's answer was:
2 "This is the artillery. This is meant to establish the full
3 control, and that's why I asked that some of the artillery units be
4 resubordinated and placed under the command of the Main Staff in order
5 for us to achieve effective control to make sure they weren't doing
6 anything outside my control."
7 Mr. Maric, would you agree with me that it was important -- it
8 was significant that certain important artillery items be placed directly
9 under the Main Staff control?
10 A. If such an evaluation is made by the command, then I believe it's
11 accurate, it's right.
12 Q. Were there any other artillery pieces that were directly
13 controlled by the Main Staff?
14 A. Your Honours, there was no other artillery pieces under control
15 by the Main Staff.
16 Q. You're going to see more testimony in front of you and this is
17 from August 20th. Again this is General Praljak, and this -- there was a
18 question regarding this. The question was:
19 "Let's just try to just sum this up. Can we agree that your
20 intention here in this order," and we're showing a document, "in respect
21 of the artillery, is for the Main Staff to exert greater control over the
22 use of 130-millimetre guns, recognising that under certain circumstances
23 it maybe appropriate for an operative zone commander to use one of these
24 guns without first seeking permission from the Main Staff?"
25 General Praljak's answer was:
1 "That's right. If unable to get in touch with anybody from the
2 Main Staff, they might just use it, under the rules."
3 So, sir, would you agree with me at least in the case of
4 130-millimetre guns, that these were also pieces of artillery that came
5 under the direct control of the Main Staff?
6 A. Yes, during a certain time period.
7 Q. So let's now turn to the brigades and the battalions, and you
8 were asked about this yesterday as well. And at page 55, you were asked:
9 "Can you tell us what kind of artillery weapons brigades have."
10 And your answer was:
11 "According to the rules, brigades usually had artillery
12 battalions disposing of mortars up to 122-millimetres."
13 You later corrected that to be 120.
14 "Considering that in the operation zone we have these weapons.
15 These weapons were placed at the disposal of artillery battalions with
16 the proviso that some other battalions also had other calibres."
17 So, sir, you would agree with me that, at least in regard to the
18 brigades, they had access to 120-millimetre mortars?
19 A. Your Honours, yes, I agree with that. In the infantry battalions
20 there were 120-millimetre mortars.
21 Q. And then at page 56 you said specifically:
22 "In battalions, there were mainly combat artillery groups
23 depending on the situation in the area of responsibility that battalion.
24 "Q. Could you give us the calibres of mortars available to such
25 combat artillery groupings?"
1 And your answer was:
2 "Smaller calibre, 60 and 82 millimetres."
3 Mr. Maric, so you would agree that even -- the battalions even
4 had smaller mortars at their disposal?
5 A. According to the establishment of infantry brigades, in infantry
6 battalions or, rather, on the strength of the infantry battalions there
7 are 60- and 82-millimetre mortars, and what I stated is correct.
8 Q. So I think now we've established that in regard to the brigades
9 and the battalions, they had mortars; 60, 82, and 120 millimetres. And
10 then in regard to the rocket artillery regiment that was under the Main
11 Staff, they, as you described, had 130-millimetre cannons, 120-millimetre
12 howitzers, D30s, 122-D38s howitzers and 155 military [sic] howitzers.
13 And then we also -- I think I've come to the conclusion that the Main
14 Staff, at least for some time, was in role of 133-millimetre guns. Would
15 that summary be correct, Mr. Maric?
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I cannot reach my Defence
19 counsel and things are getting complicated. You have to read my
20 statement to the very end, and the precise answer that the Prosecutor's
21 always repeating had a command. When and to what intent did I ask for
22 certain artillery to be under my command and why. There are no
23 130-millimetre cannons.
24 MS. WEST: Mr. President, may I proceed?
25 Q. Would that accurately sum up the state of artillery and to where
1 it was -- under whose control it was in 1993?
2 A. In 1993, the artillery in the brigades was unchanged, but the
3 numbers of pieces varied in keeping with the circumstances on the ground,
4 and the artillery of the rocket and artillery regiment was more often
5 resubordinated to the command of the operation zone and there were also
6 times when it was subordinated to the Main Staff of the HVO. I would
7 like to join the objection given the fact that calibre not known in the
8 artillery is mentioned. I don't want to suffer consequences as a result
9 of that and as a result of not reacting -- reacting. If this is
10 irrelevant, I can accept even the error because I know what the
11 Prosecutor is referring to.
12 Q. Mr. Maric, what other pieces of artillery were used by the HVO?
13 A. Cannons [as interpreted] which were part of the strength, as
14 mentioned in the reports that I saw in Mrs. Alaburic's file. Where there
15 was not a sufficient number of cannons as envisaged by the establishment,
16 there could also be other pieces but with the same or similar purpose.
17 Q. Mr. Maric, my question was --
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to apologise to my
19 learned friend Mrs. West. I would like to correct the record. On line 7
20 of the page in front of us, it says that the witness said cannons, but
21 the witness said artillery pieces rather than cannons. The witness did
22 not say cannons but artillery pieces, which means that he used a term
23 describing something bigger or larger than just cannons.
24 MS. WEST:
25 Q. Mr. Maric, these artillery pieces, were they under the control of
1 the operation zone?
2 A. All artillery pieces in the brigades were primarily under the
3 control of the brigades or, rather, their commanders. In keeping with
4 the system of subordination, the brigades were answerable to the superior
5 command, and in our case that was the operation zone. In view of that,
6 those pieces were under the command of the operation zone via the
7 commanders of the brigades.
8 Q. Thank you. Then I will take that as a yes. Let's talk about
9 what you just described as this system of subordination. When we
10 consider that system of subordination or chain of command, would you
11 agree that all of the artillery was ultimately under the chain of command
12 directly to the Main Staff?
13 A. All units within an army are in formal terms under the
14 Main Staff. However, their use and the command over parts of the units
15 that form an army follow a certain scheme by the levels, and the platoon
16 which has a mortar are also part of an army whose supreme commander is
17 the Supreme Command. There is an organisation. The Main Staff was above
18 all military units and districts, and military districts -- districts
19 were composed of brigades and other units including the rocket and
20 artillery regiment for the -- most of the time.
21 Q. So let's look to see what General Praljak said about this very
22 issue. It's August 20th, 2009. He was asked a follow-up question:
23 "... the other forms of weaponry, the 105 and 60s and the
24 mortars and RPGs which remained within the brigade or the battalion, and
25 as to those weapons, simply the question was that those were indirectly
1 under the chain ... or remained within the chain of command of the Main
2 Staff but they were just farther down the chain. Isn't that the correct
3 way of putting it?"
4 Mr. Praljak's response was:
5 "Yes, in part. Look, everything is within the chain of command
6 of the Main Staff. The rocket and artillery regiment, this was something
7 for the soldier. A soldier would have been this charge of these pieces.
8 When under attack, obviously, formally speaking, it's all within the
9 chain of command of the Main Staff."
10 Sir, I gather you would agree with General Praljak?
11 A. Your Honour, I agree with what General Praljak said.
12 Q. For the record that is transcript page 43575.
13 Mr. Maric, did you have to issue reports to the Main Staff?
14 A. Along the professional line, a chief at any level has to write
15 reports to a higher level and receives reports from a lower level in the
16 form and at the time prescribed by the superior command.
17 Q. Should I understand your answer to that question is yes?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you agree that it was important to do so so that the
20 Main Staff could exercise control?
21 A. As I said it, those were periodical reports which were prescribed
22 and which had to be sent as necessary. The reports were always sent from
23 a lower level to a higher level, and it was the higher level that
24 prescribed their form and the time when they had to be sent.
25 Q. So, for example, it was important for you to ensure that the
1 Main Staff had full knowledge of, say, the use of ammunition, because the
2 Main Staff made decisions about its allocation; is that right?
3 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry for interruption, but we were going into
4 the transcript, original transcript on the system of Mr. Praljak
5 testimony, and it appears that the numbers of the pages which you put on
6 the excerpt you prepared for us and which we see on the screen, those
7 numbers does not match. They are entirely wrong. For example, on the
8 page we are having now on the screen, on the e-court system, is 43575.
9 Yes, 75. And here we see this is -- on this line we have the question
10 from Mr. Stringer, and then answer, et cetera. It simply does not match.
11 It must be some mistake. So we are not able to go into the transcript
12 and control, or in other words, if you will later on refer to those
13 alleged numbers, there will be complete mess because it wouldn't be
15 Thank you.
16 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. Kovacic.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps -- it cannot be, of course, corrected now,
18 but perhaps you should correct it. Thank you.
19 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. Kovacic. And if those are wrong,
20 they're my fault and I will correct them. But in regard to the issue of
21 the words themselves, those are copied directly from the transcript, but
22 nonetheless we'll correct them.
23 Q. So, Mr. Maric, my last question was, for example, it was
24 important for you to ensure that the Main Staff had full knowledge of,
25 say, the use of ammunition, because the Main Staff made decisions about
1 its allocation; is that right?
2 A. In my view, the Main Staff was not in charge of the replenishment
3 of ammunition. The military district had its own logistics base, and in
4 its depots it had certain quantities of ammunition, and my requests were
5 sent to the logistics base of the operation zone. Actually, it was part
6 of the briefing sessions in the military districts, which comprised
7 officers at all levels, including logistics officers. And then based on
8 the written or oral reports sent to the commander of the operation zone,
9 an intervention came from the logistics base in keeping with the request
10 that could be signed by nobody else but the commander of the operation
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Maric. So we're going to look to see what
13 General Praljak said about this issue, and this is transcript 44407. He
14 was asked about these reports. The question was:
15 "General, is it correct that reports were issued by the
16 appropriate units to the Main Staff regarding the use of artillery and
17 firing at targets in Mostar? This was an issue that was among the
18 reports that were sent to the Main Staff."
19 "A. Yes, for a period of time, and that mostly stayed with the
20 operative zone, but then the number of -- amount of ammunition would be
21 for 10 days, 15 days. You would have different reports about the amount
22 of ammunition used, and that reached the Main Staff, too. Yes, that's
24 "Q. Was it the Main Staff, then, that would have to co-ordinate
25 the amounts of ammunition --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please slow down. Thank you.
2 MS. WEST: Yes, sorry.
3 "Was it the Main Staff, then, that would have to co-ordinate the
4 amounts of ammunition, allocate amounts of ammunition, that sort of
5 thing, to determine where the ammunition would be used and how it would
6 be used?
7 "A. The chief of the artillery of the Main Staff controlled the
8 amount of ammunition used, how much ammunition there was left in the
9 depots. So there was the chief of artillery, and in the operative zone
10 in the Main Staff who takes care about that, and of course he reports on
11 the situation either to me or somebody else in the Main Staff."
12 So, Mr. Maric, you just testified that, in your view, the
13 Main Staff was not in charge of the replenishment of ammunition. And
14 seeing here what General Praljak said about that, do you still believe
15 that to be the case or was General Praljak talking about something
17 A. Your Honour, I may have not been clear enough. I did send
18 reports at the request of the chief of the -- to the Chief of the
19 Main Staff about all the issues requested from the Chief of the
20 Main Staff. From time to time, depending on the situation, those issues
21 referred to the level of replenishment, and of course that the Chief of
22 the Main Staff was duty-bound to report to his superiors in the
23 Main Staff. This didn't have to be the Chief of the Main Staff, because
24 in the Main Staff there was also the administration of each of the
25 branches that was a single body with its own chief who communicated with
1 the Chief of the Main Staff. I know that because in 1994, I personally
2 was a member of that body.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall stop now because it's
4 time. I have another trial afterwards. You have already had 35 minutes,
5 so you have, therefore, two hours and 25 minutes left.
6 Colonel, you shall come back tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
9 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 13th day
10 of January, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.