1 Wednesday, 20 January 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The Accused Pusic not present]
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you please call
8 the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
11 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Registrar.
13 Today is Wednesday, the 20th of January, 2010. I'd like to greet
14 the accused, Mr. Petkovic, Mr. Praljak, Mr. Prlic, and I see that
15 Mr. Pusic is sick, and I also forgot to greet Mr. Stojic.
16 I'd like to greet counsel. I would like to greet the witness as
17 well. I'd like to greet all the members of the OTP, as well as all those
18 assisting us, and I would also like to greet the new Usher, who is with
20 So we're going to continue with Mrs. Alaburic's questions, but
21 before that, following the questions which were asked to you, Witness,
22 yesterday, at some point I touched upon the question of the 3.000 Croats
23 who left Bugojno and who went towards the Serbian lines.
24 Tonight I looked at a map -- last night, sorry, I looked at a
25 map --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- 4D1483. There's no need to
3 look at it. But before I ask you the question, I'd like to ask you the
4 following: Were you very familiar with the Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno,
5 Prozor, Kupres region? Are you familiar with this region, because if you
6 don't there's no need for me to ask any further questions.
7 WITNESS: RADMILO JASAK [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am not familiar
10 with the region in great detail, but I do know where those towns are.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. So you're telling me you
12 know where the towns, and I think that's enough for me, and I can ask
13 you -- I mean, enough for me to ask you the question. So there's
14 Bugojno, and then there's a road from which it is possible to go from
15 Bugojno to Prozor going through Gornji Vakuf. So let's say I put myself
16 in the situation of the Croatian offensive, Serb -- the BH Army's
17 offensive --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- and the Croatians fleeing.
20 Looking at the map, I wonder why they didn't go towards Prozor or Rama?
21 What prevented them from doing so, and why did they go towards the
22 Serbian lines, towards Kupres? Can you please tell me why did they not
23 go towards Prozor, Rama, going through Gornji Vakuf? Do you know why, or
24 maybe you don't know. I don't know.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fair enough. Thank you very
3 Mrs. Alaburic, you have the floor.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
5 morning to my colleagues from the Prosecution. Good morning to all in
6 the courtroom, and to you, Mr. Jasak.
7 Examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]
8 Q. [Interpretation] Tell us, Mr. Jasak, as an analyst in VOS, what
9 was the zone that you primarily dealt with?
10 A. South-East Herzegovina, with focus on Mostar.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, sorry, I also work at
12 night, and, you know, some questions come to my mind overnight, and last
13 night I was wondering, when you left Bosnia-Herzegovina to join the
14 Croatian Army in August 1993, unless I'm mistaken, in light of the fact
15 that you were a VOS specialist, and Mrs. Alaburic's question is making me
16 think of this question, as a specialist in military intelligence, why did
17 not you go right away to the Croatian staff to deal with military
19 Let me try and explain why I'm asking you that question. I'm
20 fully transparent in my questions. There are never any traps; I say it
21 all; and I'm asking you questions. Now, why am I asking you this
22 question? The reason is the following: When the events relating to the
23 locality of Stupni Do took place, Mr. Tudjman himself at a meeting talked
24 about these events, and I'm quoting from memory here, asking the question
25 to the commander who was there and who could face responsibility for the
1 crimes about Visa Razic [phoen]. So he asks the question to those
2 attending around him, Who is it. So, in fact, he wants to know who is
3 Razic. And then I wondered, when I saw this, well, Mr. Tudjman did not
4 receive reliable intelligence about the commander. How come? Was there
5 a weak point in the intelligence services when in fact there are other
6 documents which show us that he was aware about a number of events? So
7 as I re-read the presidential transcript when Mr. Tudjman shows that he
8 did not have the intelligence and he's asking for the intelligence, with
9 someone like you who worked in the VOS and who did not join the Croat
10 intelligence services, why were not you recruited directly by the
11 Croatian intelligence?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I completed the
13 command staff school in Zagreb
14 5th of August, 1994, I was deployed on the southern front. That is the
15 proposal that was made when I was taken into active service, because on
16 the 5th of August, 1994
17 decided after the training I completed in Zagreb that it would be the
18 most necessary thing for me to do to go to join General Marinovic in the
19 operations there. That was the assessment of my superiors, and I don't
20 know why that was the case.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you just allow me
23 to correct the transcript. In line 11, what is recorded is that the
24 witness said that it was decided that he join General Marinovic in the
25 operations there. The witness actually said the southern front with
1 General Marinovic.
2 Q. Mr. Jasak, as for the southern front, we use it very often in
3 this courtroom. I mean, the notion itself. In which state was this
4 southern front where you were working?
5 A. That was in the Republic of Croatia
6 part of the operations zone of Split, or, rather, the military district
7 of Split
8 Q. Tell us, where was the headquarters of this southern front, in
9 what town?
10 A. The headquarters of the southern front was in Dubrovnik, and the
11 staff was at Hotel Splendid.
12 Q. Very well. Let us go back to 1993. So you primarily analysed
13 the area of the operative zone of South-East Herzegovina. Tell us, did
14 you do this in March, April, and May?
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the year.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Tell us, did you have any knowledge that in the area of the
19 municipalities of Konjic and Jablanica there was fighting between the HVO
20 and the BH Army?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Tell us, your first knowledge about the conflicts in that area,
23 what could you tell us? When did the first serious conflicts break out
24 in the area?
25 A. On the 23rd of March, 1993.
1 Q. Please take a look at your binder now, the chapter that has to do
2 with the Konjic.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to note for the
4 Honourable Trial Chamber, if you recall where we stopped yesterday in the
5 first binder, we're going to skip the next chapter about joint commands
6 because I think that we have dealt with it already through Their Honours'
7 questions. There should be blue markers, and you should be able to find
8 4D438 [Realtime transcript read in error "4D348"].
9 [In English] Binder 1, yes. [Interpretation] This is the last section in
10 the first binder of Your Honours.
11 Q. This is a document that we've seen several times already in this
12 courtroom, that is to say, information of -- provided by Commander Alic
13 from Konjic on the 23rd of March, 1993. The Army of
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina is reporting to its commander in the 4th Corps
15 that 100 members of the HVO had been captured, that the town was blocked,
16 that life in town is paralysed, and "That we continue with arrests."
17 Mr. Jasak, at VOS did you have any knowledge to that effect, that
18 things were actually happening as they are described in this document?
19 A. We did have such knowledge.
20 Q. Tell us now, Mr. Jasak, if we wished to know what was going on in
21 the neighbouring municipality of Jablanica
22 to know what was going on in Konjic or can we quite independently view
23 developments in these two neighbouring municipalities?
24 A. These two municipalities are interlinked, and they should be
25 looked at jointly.
1 Q. Tell us, developments in the areas of Konjic and Jablanica, to
2 the best of your knowledge, can they have any effect on the situation and
3 developments in Mostar?
4 A. Yes. Developments in the area of Jablanica and Konjic can affect
5 Mostar, because these two areas are within the operative zone of
6 South-East Herzegovina and within the zone of the 4th Corps.
7 Q. Tell us, do these areas make up a geographic whole, irrespective
8 of the military organisation of any army?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. KRUGER: Your Honour, I'm sorry to interrupt. Good morning
11 Your Honours, and everybody in and around the courtroom.
12 I don't object to the line of questioning, but I just object to
13 the form of the questions. These questions are being put in a very
14 leading fashion, Your Honour. Thank you.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to thank my colleague
16 Mr. Kruger. I really am doing my best to be very disciplined and to put
17 questions properly. I hope I haven't overstepped in any way.
18 Q. Mr. Jasak, does this area make up some kind of a geographic hole?
19 A. Yes. This area does make up a geographic hole, and that is why
20 this area was included in a single operative zone, that is to say, it is
21 within a single corps.
22 Q. Yesterday we said that this conflict in Konjic ended in a
23 particular way on the 23rd of March, 1993, but could you please remind
24 us, how did it end?
25 A. It ended by the signing of an agreement on the cessation of this
1 conflict, General Petkovic and the commander of the army.
2 Q. Was the conflict truly brought to an end once the agreement was
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, you're not an officer
6 of the level -- or, rather, now you're a colonel, but at the time you
7 were not an officer at the level of a general, and maybe that's a
8 question I will ask General Petkovic if I have the time, I'm not sure.
9 There are many questions which I'm currently preparing. But I'd like to
10 ask you the question, as you told us that you attended the school in
12 the question.
13 Now, this document shows that in March the BH Army is undertaking
14 a major action in Konjic as it captures 150 members of the HVO. They
15 blocked the town; the town is paralysed. And the colonel writing the
16 report to Pasalic explains that he is continuing the arrests. So from a
17 military standpoint, this is action taking place.
18 Now, you're in military intelligence. This must have been
19 brought to your knowledge. But in military terms, when such a large
20 offensive occurs, at that time did the HVO sing [as interpreted], that in
21 that geographic area and hence the question raised by Mrs. Alaburic is
22 interesting. It sees that there is continuity to loosen the military
23 grip on Lusic [phoen]. Isn't the HVO itself going to be in a position to
24 conduct an operation, an offensive, that is, in order to loosen the grip
25 on Konjic? In the analysis which you have conducted at the time, I mean,
1 was that conduct or was there a cease-fire right away?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for this particular date, after
3 the agreement there was a cease-fire during the days that followed, but
4 there were some minor skirmishes. The HVO had far fewer men than the
5 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in that area, and the HVO had no capacity to
6 defend itself.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So you're
8 introducing two things which I'm hearing for the first time. You said
9 that the HVO had fewer men, and so if I understand it, they were in a
10 situation of inferiority compared with the 4th Corps, and you added they
11 did not have the capacity to defend themselves.
12 So I'm trying to analyse what you said. It means that in
13 military terms, after the offensive of the BH Army, the HVO was not in a
14 position to attack the 4th BH Corps in Mostar because they did not have
15 the strength, I mean, the assets, the military assets. Is that what
16 you're telling me?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I meant when I
18 said -- or, rather, I meant Konjic and Jablanica. As for Mostar, at the
19 time, the HVO was engaged to a large part on the front line against the
20 Army of Republika Srpska. All conflicts were resolved by peaceful means
21 and every effort was may to resolve everything by peaceful means because
22 no one thought it was possible that there would be a total war, because
23 the general belief was that neither the HVO nor the Army of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina can defeat the enemy, the Army of Republika Srpska,
25 independently, on their own.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] By your leave, Your Honours, a
2 correction to the transcript. I think it will be important for your
3 possible future questions. In line 9, his answer is misrecorded when he
4 said that the HVO was not strong enough to resist the Army of
6 Q. So, Witness, can you repeat what towns you meant?
7 A. I meant Konjic and Mostar.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there is a
9 misrecording of the names. The witness said Konjic and Jablanica. He
10 did not say Konjic and Mostar.
11 Q. Witness, please tell us, did you say Konjic?
12 A. Konjic and Jablanica. That's what I said.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. So you're telling me
14 that in Jablanica the HVO was not in a position to do anything, to
15 conduct an offensive. Now, what about the cease-fire which took place?
16 According to you, did it take place on request by the HVO or on request
17 of the international community?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The cease-fire took place through
19 the agreement reached by General Petkovic and the representative of the
20 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. However, you did
22 not answer because you did not know whose request it was. That's what I
24 And the 150 soldiers who were held, I mean, were they released or
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, what was discussed was
2 the release of prisoners and negotiations were underway.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would just like to
4 say that the transcript misrecorded the number of the document that we've
5 just been discussing. I would like to thank Ms. Tomanovic for noting
6 that the number is 4D438. Very well.
7 Q. So we've been talking about March, and we said that there was
8 fighting and that it was stopped. Do you have any knowledge about any
9 skirmishes or clashes in that area in the beginning of April 1993?
10 A. I do have such knowledge.
11 Q. Please share it with us.
12 A. That was in the area of Neretvica, in the valley of Neretvica
13 the town of Konjic
14 Q. Please let's look at the next document, P1803. This is an SIS
15 report dated the 4th of April, 1993. In the third paragraph it says:
16 "In the north-east part of the municipality, in the area of the
17 town of Konjic, there are frequent provocations and even attacks
18 populated by -- against settlements populated by the Croat population."
19 Mr. Jasak, did you know about that, that in the surrounding areas
20 where the population was Croatian that there was skirmishes and clashes?
21 A. We did not have knowledge to that effect because the area here
22 Ivanci, Pajici, and Vratna Gora is close to the valley of Neretvica
23 is to the north-west of the Neretva.
24 Q. His Honour Judge Antonetti asked you about the HVO in Konjic and
25 Jablanica, and you said that the HVO had far fewer men than the
1 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. To the best of your knowledge, in the area
2 of Konjic and Jablanica, would the HVO be capable of carrying out any
3 attack activities and taking control of these towns and pushing the
4 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina out of the area of Jablanica and Konjic?
5 A. The HVO would not be capable of carrying out any such thing
6 because the HVO did not have the sufficient resources for that.
7 Q. The last part of your sentence, Mr. Jasak, is not recorded in the
8 transcript. Could you please tell us, it did not have the strength ...
9 A. It did not have the strength even if it had wanted to do so.
10 JUDGE PRANDLER: Ms. Alaburic, I have to say again that of course
11 there are certain problems with the transcript, but it is due to the fact
12 that you are -- I mean, both of you are talking very quickly and you do
13 not have the pauses in between the questions and answers. Thank you.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for having cautioned us,
15 Your Honour. We are going to be even slower.
16 Q. Please look at the next document, 2D775, please. This is a
17 report of the HVO from Konjic, dated the 8th of April, and in that report
18 of the 8th of April it is stated that the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina is
19 attacking the Goran Stanic barracks in Seonica and that the -- if -- and
20 that the barracks are visibly damaged and that the capacity of the HVO
21 would seriously be affected by that.
22 If you had any specific knowledge with regard to that particular
23 date, could you please share it with us if you knew something was
24 happening in the area of Konjic on that day?
25 A. We had information indicating that there were activities going on
1 there, but as far as I remember, at the time, a representative of the
2 Main Staff was there, and I think he signed this in that capacity,
3 Mr. Slavko Puljic. He was reporting, covering these clashes, and he
4 tried to talk to representatives of the BH Army in order to somehow allay
6 Q. You mentioned representatives of the BH Army, the BH Army and the
7 HVO. Are we talking about a commission that was established pursuant to
8 an agreement between representatives of the HVO and the BH Army that was
9 supposed to work towards a peaceful solution to the situation and the
10 resolution of all problems?
11 A. Yes, that was the commission that was there in the area,
12 representative of the Main Staff and the former official of the
13 Eastern Herzegovina
14 signed this. And then he forwarded this from the Herceg Stjepan
15 Brigade Command, but he was also the chief of all branches at the HVO
16 Main Staff. One really wanted to know what the situation was both over
17 there and lower down. Ask Arif what his next snide move might be.
18 Q. All right. Next one, 2D --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm looking at this
20 document. Here, according to this document, there's been a BH Army
21 attack. Arif Pasalic is being -- is obviously involved. And on the next
22 day, a meeting with EU observers is supposed to take place. This is not
23 the first document you see that shows that when there are "incidents,"
24 there are immediately meetings either with observers, with the UNPROFOR
25 that takes -- that take place, because there's always a presence of the
1 international community.
2 Now, given this, in order to know who tells the truth, who is
3 perfidious, and who is playing games, I would like to know whether you
4 were involved in these international meetings at one point in time. Did
5 you ever attend one? Yes or no.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, I did not attend
7 these meetings. Nevertheless, what this shows is the hypocrisy of
8 Arif Pasalic, commander of the 4th Corps. In this particular case,
9 Slavko Puljic was specifically assigned as a highly trained officer who
10 had been formally trained in the JNA, and I see that he's still with the
11 federation, BH Federation Army. I think he's possibly the highest
12 ranking ethnic Croat in their ranks. That is the reason I tend to lend
13 credence to what he wrote here.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You're saying that
15 Arif Pasalic had a hidden agenda, was playing games. Well, obviously
16 here it says the same thing in this document. So everybody is blaming
17 themselves for playing games and having hidden agendas. The Judges will
18 have to see who actually did what. And what is a bit surprising here to
19 me is that in these international meetings there are often high-ranking
20 military who attend. They're extremely competent. And normally they
21 should immediately find out who has a hidden agenda.
22 Let me give you an example: General Morillon who signed a number
23 of documents with Halilovic and Petkovic, do you think that you could
24 play games with a person of -- of this competence? Because this is the
25 problem: Everybody's blaming each other, but the international community
1 is fully involved in all these meetings. And when people, you know, are
2 playing games in front of me or have a hidden agenda, I find out very
3 quickly as far as I'm concerned. So I'd like to know how you can explain
4 the fact that Mr. Pasalic, who might have attended this meeting but who
5 is actually challenged here, it seems that the international community
6 hasn't notice anything regarding his behaviour. How could you explain
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know why the
9 international community did not invite him. I do believe, however, that
10 these representatives of the international community hail from better
11 organised systems, and they simply couldn't even begin to imagine that
12 something like that might be happening.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Jasak, was it possible, for example, for Arif Pasalic to
16 sincerely want the situation to calm down, nevertheless, one of his
17 subordinate commanders had other ideas and simply refused to comply with
18 one of Pasalic's orders, continuing to cause incidents and continuing to
19 fight? Would an analysis like that be possible based on your knowledge
20 of the situation within the ranks of the BH Army?
21 A. Yes, such situations would have been possible, but they could
22 only have continued for a very short time before the commander found out
23 and responded. Nevertheless, if we look at the case in hand, the person
24 who wrote this document knows Mr. Pasalic really well. And who signed
25 this document? Mr. Slavko. I think the person who signed this document
1 really knows what they're talking about.
2 Q. 2D246, please. That is our next document. An order by the
3 commander of the 44th Mountain Brigade from Jablanica, Enes Kovacevic.
4 There is a detailed list of assignments for each of the battalions in
5 this brigade. Let us just mention that the 1st Battalion is to be
6 carrying out offensive operations in the direction of Kosna Luka and
7 Doljani village. The 2nd Battalion, among other things, is to take up
8 positions at Boksevica. The 3rd Battalion inter alia is to take up
9 positions at Aleksin Han, which is in the general direction of Mostar.
10 Now, 4th Battalion is the one that I'm really interested in right
11 now. It reads as follows in relation to the 4th Battalion:
12 "Having completed the mobilisation, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
13 platoons are to take up positions facing Risovac. The 5th platoon is to
14 remain at Doljani village at the ready in order to perform decisive
15 defence until help arrives. The position at Pajici is to be reinforced
16 by anti-armour weapons and a single platoon in order to control any
17 passing traffic. Once combat operations are underway, stop all passing
18 traffic on the road to Sovici and Doljani."
19 Just try and analyse this, Mr. Jasak. If the BH Army wants to
20 seize some positions facing Risovac, what could possibly be the final
21 objective of this operation?
22 A. If the BH Army are trying to take up positions facing Risovac,
23 that would imply that the objective is to cut off any help that the
24 Croats might be receiving from the Posusje area, prevent it from getting
25 there, prevent any support from reaching those people at Konjic and
2 Q. Based on this order and your knowledge of the situation as it
3 prevailed, what about these villages mentioned here, Sovici and Doljani?
4 Did they have any military significance for the BH Army?
5 A. Sovici and Doljani certainly had a military significance for the
6 BH Army. That was the only access that was still open in terms of
7 reaching Jablanica and helping out the Croats in the area.
8 Q. The order seems to suggest that the 5th Platoon of the
9 4th Battalion of the 44th Mountain Brigade of the BH Army was actually in
10 the village of Doljani
11 presence in the village of Doljani
12 A. We knew something about it. We didn't know it was the
13 5th Platoon, but we knew they had a military presence there.
14 Q. Let's try to analyse this. P1874. We shall be using further
15 documents to get a closer read of the situation?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, this document is dated
17 April 14th, 1993
18 for April 15th to ensure that Muslim troops in Croat sectors would come
19 under Croat control and Croat troops under Muslim territories would go --
20 would be under the control of -- of the BH Army. And normally this was
21 supposed to happen on the 15th of April, 1993. And in his case, the
22 Prosecutor says that it's the HVO who attacked first, which is why we
23 have Doljani and Sovici. That's the Prosecution's case.
24 Mrs. Alaburic is showing you a document which is an order sent to
25 the BH Army and providing for a number of operations to be carried out
1 and mentioning the presence of the BH Army in Doljani. This is what is
2 stated in the document. But I also note the explanations we have in this
3 document. The BH Army seems to have obtained intelligence from different
4 sources, and it seems that for a couple days, i.e., on April 12, 13,
5 and 14, was preparing movements and preparing its units in view of
6 having -- making an operation against the BH Army. So the BH Army seems
7 to be preparing for this operation, which is why we have this order with
8 14 items. I note item 10, for example, which deals with the war hospital
9 in Jablanica. And in item 10 this order says that the medical care and
10 instruments have to be prepared there.
11 So there are two ways to look at this: Either the HVO attacked
12 first and they are preparing for this attack, or it's the opposite.
13 Now, you're in military intelligence and you're under oath today,
14 so I would like to know what is your opinion. Do you believe that the
15 HVO attacked or the BH Army attacked?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe it was the BH Army to
17 attack first.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Jasak, you used the word "believe." You said, 'I believe."
21 Let me ask you now about your specific knowledge in your capacity as a
22 VOS analyst.
23 A. The question I received from the Chamber was do I believe, and
24 then I said I believe this and I believe that. Our actual knowledge was
25 that the HVO was attacked. Intelligence, such as they used, to the
1 effect that the HVO was attacking them, well, that was exactly the sort
2 of information that they were using in some of their other reports. The
3 whole world knew what happened on the 13th [as interpreted] of June,
4 1993, in Mostar. It's a similar term being used. Someone else is
5 attacking; they are striking back, taking large portions of the
7 Q. If I may just correct the date, line 17. The witness did not say
8 the 13th --
9 THE INTERPRETER: One speaker at a time, please. Thank you.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The witness did not say the
11 13th of June. The witness said the 30th of June.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the 30th of June, 1993
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. If I may interpret, I don't think that comes across with
15 particular clarity in the English. Are you trying to say that the
16 BH Army in their reports normally said that the HVO was attacking them
17 and then they responded, and that again was their interpretation of what
18 occurred on the 30th of June, 1993, where beyond a shadow of a doubt the
19 clashes that started were triggered by the BH Army? Is that what you
20 were trying to say?
21 A. Yes, that is precisely what I was trying to say.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Next document, P1874. This is a
23 joint report of the HVO Main Staff in relation to the
24 13th of April, 1993.
25 Could you tell us a thing or two by way of introduction,
1 Mr. Jasak? Do you know how these joint reports are produced?
2 A. Yes. A document like this is normally based on reports arriving
3 from the operation zones, those subordinate to the Main Staff.
4 Q. And the Main Staff does what exactly with these incoming reports
5 from the operation zones?
6 A. Well, in most cases they would simply be copied, aside from,
7 perhaps, certain linguistic shortcomings. And it was a useful thing to
8 have them all in one place. That's what this procedure was about.
9 Q. Witness, did you say "copied" or "copied"?
10 A. I say "copied." I said typed up again, copied by being
12 Q. Fine. Now we have a good interpretation, "typed up again." I
13 don't know. My impression is Judge Trechsel wanted to say something.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Your question, Ms. Alaburic, reads "Did you say
15 copied or copied," and that is probably not what you said. It's two
16 times the same. Is it white or white?
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it was
18 misinterpreted. I don't wish to further complicate matters and analyse
19 the misinterpretation, so instead of that I simply re-asked the witness
20 the same question. The witness said that the reports from the operation
21 zones were being copied, thereby creating these documents known as joint
22 collective reports.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Again the interpretation is
25 "copied." These were not copied.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The English word for
2 "prepisivati" is to copy, which refers both to handwriting and
3 typewriting. Could someone please share that with counsel. Thank you.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Could someone as an Englishman
5 please give us a hand. Could we say retype the document or retype? I
6 think retype would be retype, yes. Let us then try to use the word
7 retype. We were trying to prove that the documents from the operation
8 zone were retyped, and that's how these joint reports came into
9 existence. Grammatical corrections were sometimes entered, as the
10 witness said.
11 Q. Mr. Jasak, if you look at this report and look at paragraph 3,
13 "I requested an interim report from the Rama Brigade ordering
14 them to set up all the elements for artillery activity ..."
15 Who is this person speaking here in the first person singular?
16 A. This is the commander of the North-West Herzegovina operation
18 Q. If we look at this document, this collective report for
19 South-East Herzegovina, on the 13th of April we received three reports
20 from Konjic. How did this work as a rule? How many reports on a daily
21 basis would be dispatched from the operation zones to the Main Staff?
22 A. As a rule, one report a day. Whenever the need arose, more were
23 dispatched, when there was more happening.
24 Q. We see that we have three reports from Konjic for that day. How
25 would you characterise the situation in Konjic?
1 A. It is obvious that the situation was changing every hour. That
2 is why we had three reports.
3 Q. We have no time to take this one hour at a time. Let us focus on
4 the main conclusion. Report number 3 says this is an all-out attack on
5 the entire Konjic and Jablanica area.
6 Does this allegation tally with the information that you were
7 privy to in the VOS or would you change anything?
8 A. No, I wouldn't change anything. These reports came from the
9 operation zones. They normally reached both of the OS and the
10 Main Staff, and the substance of these reports was normally the same.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The next document, P1879.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When I see a document, I try to
13 examine it from the two angles, from the Prosecutor's case and the
14 Defence case. I try to see if there is exculpatory elements and
15 inculpatory elements. It's quite a -- quite an exercise.
16 Now, in this document it seems that there could be some
17 exculpatory elements because there is an all-out attack in the Konjic and
18 Jablanica area. This is written by the commander of the operational
19 zone, because we know that this collective report is a compilation of
20 different reports coming from different operational areas. But I note
21 that there is no number here, no reference number. It's blank. No
22 reference number for the logbook.
23 So starting from this, because this is how a criminal Judge
24 works, you know, you have to scrutinise the details and then add them up.
25 But starting from this detail, the following question could be asked: On
1 April 14, 1993
2 didn't have any time to reports. Maybe he was preparing his own all-out
3 attack for the HVO. And he had other things on his plate than just
4 reading about the situation, which might explain why, on that day, he did
5 not sign or endorse the report, and then the report is not recorded.
6 Just because he's busy doing something else. This is an assumption, of
7 course; I have no element to back it up. But I'd like to know whether
8 you think it is normal for a collective report not to have a reference
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may please try to
11 explain how these reports were produced. All of the reports arriving
12 from the operation zones had their numbers, and they were simply filed
13 away as such. These collective or joint reports are nearly identical.
14 As far as I know, they were meant to be helpful to General Petkovic, to
15 keep him from having to handle too many different documents at the same
16 time. Normally it was General Petkovic's secretary who would put all
17 these reports together. Then if General Petkovic forwarded these reports
18 to anyone else, then she would be one of these signatories. That's my
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So your explanation is the
21 following: General Petkovic is asking his secretary to make a summary of
22 all of the reports. The secretary does the work and prepares for this
23 document which we see here before us. General Petkovic reads this
24 document and draws the conclusion that he does not have to send this
25 document to other people, and that could explain why there is no
1 reference number. That could be an explanation, couldn't it?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour. That's
3 right. That's exactly what I said just now.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Jasak, lest there be any misunderstanding, this collective
7 report, is it a summary of the reports from the operative zones or is
8 a -- is this a retyped document from the report of the operative zones?
9 A. This is a literal retyping, but it is a summary so as not to have
10 too much paper, but the content is just like that of the reports. Some
11 came in by telefax. I mean, there are many different ways. So an effort
12 was made to avoid lots of paper. A single report was awaited from
13 general -- a single report was awaited so that when General Petkovic
14 would come back, say, for a trip, he could see that.
15 Q. In other words. If I understand you properly, it was not a
16 summary of a report, but it simply meant that everything was put together
17 in one single document.
18 A. That's right. Everything was brought together in one single
20 Q. Tell us, these reports, finally do they bear the name of
21 General Petkovic regardless of where General Petkovic was at that point
22 in time? Say, he could have been at a conference in Geneva for a couple
23 of days. Do the reports for those days also bear his name?
24 A. They do.
25 Q. Very well. Let us now look at the next document, P1879. Let us
1 look at the end of the document, the last report from Konjic. Let us try
2 to analyse parts of this document together. What is stated here is that
3 during the night major movements of the Muslim forces were noted towards
4 the strategically very important hill of Boksevica, and then it says who
5 holds that hill practically controls almost all of the valley of the
7 Tell us, Mr. Jasak, this hill of Boksevica, was it really of such
8 importance for this area?
9 A. Yes. Yes. This hill was dominant, and from that hill, one could
10 absolutely control the valley of Neretvica
11 Konjic to Jablanica and Prozor.
12 Q. The report further on says that everything boils down to the
13 following: That the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina wants to take Boksevica.
14 According to your knowledge, would that be the right conclusion?
15 A. To the best of my knowledge, that would be the right conclusion.
16 Q. Tell us, part of the area around Boksevica, is it in the zone of
17 South-West Herzegovina?
18 A. The -- a part of the area around Boksevica is in the area of
19 South-West Herzegovina. That is to say, to the north-west or the west of
20 Boksevica is the zone of North-West Herzegovina.
21 Q. Let us see what kind of help they're asking for from Konjic.
22 They say:
23 "That is why we ask you for the following: That the artillery
24 from Risovac plateau operates from Jablanica to Ostrozac and, if
25 possible, against the villages of Mrakovo and Rodici. And in this way,
1 the sabotage Muslim group would be threatened."
2 Tell us, Mr. Jasak, if HVO forces are on the Risovac plateau,
3 from which operative zone would these forces be?
4 A. These forces would be from the operative zone of
5 South-East Herzegovina
6 Q. Tell us, for these forces to fire artillery from Jablanica to
7 Ostrozac, could they truly help HVO units in the territory of the Konjic
9 A. Yes, they could help because in this way they disburden the
10 Neretvica valley and Boksevica, particularly because these two villages,
11 Mrakovo and Rodici, are on the southern part of Boksevica.
12 Q. In the previously quoted part of this report when we spoke about
13 sabotage groups that are moving towards Boksevica, it says that they
14 leave the villages Mrakovo and Rodici. Tell us, Mr. Jasak, to the best
15 of your knowledge when such localities are defined in such a way, I mean
16 that operations should be carry out against them, why is this being done
17 as a rule? Why are certain localities identified as an objective of
18 combat activity?
19 A. Because enemy units are in such places that aim to carry out
20 sabotages and threaten Croatian positions. In this particular case, it
21 is Boksevica.
22 Q. I'd like to correct the transcript in line 6. The witness did
23 not say Croatian positions but HVO positions.
24 Let us now look at the next section. It says:
25 "We are asking Prozor to support us with artillery in firing at
1 the objectives that we have already set, including the villages of Sovici
2 and Celina which would cause panic, and if that is not done it would be
3 hard for us to get out of these places."
4 Tell us, to which operative zone is this request for assistance
5 being sent?
6 A. This request is being sense to the North-West Herzegovina
7 operative zone.
8 Q. On the assumption that it is an undeniable fact that in
9 mid-April 1993 the artillery of the operative zone of
10 North-West Herzegovina operated in the areas of Jablanica and Konjic,
11 what would you tell us on the basis of these documents? What is the
12 objective of the combat activity of the HVO?
13 A. The objective of the combat activity of the HVO in this area was
14 to disburden the units of the Croatian Defence Council from attacks by
15 the Army of Bosnia
16 in these areas.
17 Q. Tell us, Mr. Jasak, to the best of your knowledge did the HVO
18 ever plan to attack Jablanica and take control of the Jablanica
20 A. To the best of my knowledge, the HVO had never planned that.
21 Q. Tell us, is there any other operative zone near the municipality
22 of Konjic?
23 A. Near the municipality of Konjic
24 operations zone of South-East Herzegovina; the zone of
25 North-West Herzegovina; and the third one, the operations zone of
1 Central Bosnia
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] 4D874. Could we have a look at
3 that document, please.
4 Q. This is an order of the head of Main Staff, 15th of April, 1993,
5 sent to the operations zone of Central Bosnia. It says in relation to
6 the newly created situation in the municipality of Konjic
7 difficult position that the Herceg Stjepan Brigade finds itself in, the
8 order is to have forces from the Central Bosnia operations zone engage
9 forces of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and then certain positions
10 are specified.
11 Tell us, Mr. Jasak, from a military point of view, is it logical
12 to engage certain units of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and -- from the
13 north and in this way make the position easier for the operation zone?
14 A. Absolutely. This was the only proper thing to do from a military
15 point of view, because if we're talking about the Neretvica valley and
16 this part that other forces came from, Gradina, et cetera, this is the
17 only way in which it could be disburdened. However, as far as I know
18 these units were also facing major problems and there were operations in
19 that area and they could not give any significant assistance.
20 Q. Thank you. Let us see what is going on in Konjic. 4D83. This
21 is a combat report from a unit of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. At the
22 end of the document it says:
23 "This time there shall be no stopping. We are going to press
24 ahead until final victory."
25 I am not going to finish ring this sentence because I'd like to
1 analyse only these two elements.
2 Mr. Jasak, as a military analyst, how would you interpret this
3 assertion made by a military commander, "This time there is no stopping"?
4 A. If we see that intensive combat activity is still underway and we
5 know that on the 23rd of March combat operations had been stopped, those
6 that had been started before that, I would conclude that now they do not
7 wish to stop combat operations until there is a final military defeat of
8 the Croatian Defence Council in the territory of Konjic
9 Q. Do you know, Mr. Jasak, whose nickname was Tetak in the
10 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
11 A. I know. Sulejman Budakovic had the nickname of Tetak. He was
12 Arif Pasalic's deputy. I knew him personally from the time of the
13 Independent Battalion in Mostar.
14 Q. In this document it says that a proposal is being made to Tetak
15 to order a cut-off of energy in Croatia
16 are more interested in the rest, to attack and free Boksevica and Pisvir.
17 To the best of your knowledge, were these localities an objective
18 of the activities of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that point in
20 A. Yes, these localities were an objective of the attacks of the
21 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Q. Let us look at the next document now from the point of view of
23 the HVO. 4D453.
24 At the time when the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina is reporting and
25 saying, "We should not stop until there is final victory," reports are
1 coming in from Konjic that Konjic is under attack. And the last document
2 reads, "Let us move ahead while we are still alive."
3 As a military analyst, can you give us your comment on this
4 sentence? What does it actually mean?
5 A. This sentence means that over here the Croatian units are
6 fighting for dear life, and we see that it's been sent to all addresses,
7 not only to the command of the operations zone of South-East Herzegovina
8 that was their immediate superior, but also to the Main Staff and the
9 command of the operations zone of North-West Herzegovina, the HVO,
10 Fojnica, and the brigade of Rama. So you see that this is a reaction of
12 Q. Let us look at the next document, P1882. This is yet another
13 report from the Herceg Stjepan Brigade, the 3rd Battalion from Jablanica.
14 What is stated here is that:
15 "Yesterday, on the 14th of April, around 1500 hours,
16 representatives of the BH Army's Neretva Brigade came in in order to
17 preserve peace in the inhabited areas of Doljani and Sovici, but in our
18 opinion they are just trying to relieve Bosnian army forces that were
19 consequently operate towards Boksevica and towards our forces in the
20 Neretvica valley."
21 Can you give us your comment with regard to this conclusion?
22 A. This conclusion was correct. The objective was to disburden the
23 forces of the BH Army. That is to say, to buy time, to ensure peace in
24 the area until everything else was resolved in the Neretvica valley.
25 Q. If the assessment here is that forces of the BH Army would be
1 freed up by doing this in order to proceed towards Boksevica, does that
2 mean that these forces are in the villages of Doljani and Sovici?
3 A. Yes, it most certainly means that.
4 Q. Who is the other signatory to this document?
5 A. Tomic, who was an official of the intelligence service. He was
6 the assistant battalion commander.
7 Q. Did you know him personally?
8 A. No, I didn't.
9 Q. Did you ever read his reports?
10 A. Yes, because his reports normally came through the South-Eastern
12 consolidated for the purposes of the Main Staff VOS.
13 Q. 3D557 is our next document. The day after, the 16th of April,
14 Arif Pasalic. The introduction states:
15 "In the Neretvica sector, the HVO is facing a difficult
16 situation because they don't have enough men. They want their own
17 artillery from Risovac to pound our positions to the north of Neretvica."
18 Mr. Jasak, assuming that what Mr. Arif Pasalic is saying here is
19 correct, would any request in fact made for the Risovac-based artillery
20 units to pound Jablanica?
21 A. There were requests for the Risovac-based artillery units to
22 pound the villages just beyond Boksevica, specifically the villages from
23 which acts of sabotage were being carried out. I think this actually
24 belongs to Jablanica, or, rather, it's just there on the border.
25 Q. Jablanica municipality, not the town itself.
1 A. No, not the town itself.
2 Q. If the HVO artillery from Risovac were to pound the area just
3 north of Neretvica, what would that lead you to conclude? What would
4 they have been trying to achieve by doing that?
5 A. The objective was to rescue our units in the Neretvica valley.
6 Q. If you look at paragraph 1 of the order, Article 1, Arif Pasalic
7 says that one should continue fighting in the zones of responsibility of
8 individual units. One should prevent any fresh HVO forces from arriving
9 from the general direction of Prozor through the villages of Kacuni and
10 Grevici and the direction of Bradina as well. Furthermore one should
11 harmonise and consolidate any joint action in order to be as successful
12 as possible in crushing the resistance of the HVO.
13 Based on this document, was is the character of the combat
14 operations being carried out by the BH Army?
15 A. These are offensive combat operations. They are attacking.
16 Q. We'll skip a document now and move on to 4D599. 4D455. It's a
17 combat report produced by Esad Ramic. This is a forward command post of
18 the 4th Corps.
19 The situation is described here at certain localities throughout
20 Konjic municipality. What I want to know about is what it says about the
21 last HVO facility in Radesina village. It reads --
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that's towards the
23 end of the document, the second to last paragraph.
24 Q. It reads:
25 "We shall be trying to wrap up the job at Konjic as soon as
1 possible and then use all of our brigades to launch a counter-strike
2 along two axes, the first being Konjic-Jablanica-Mostar; and the other,
4 Mr. Jasak, what does it exactly mean to wrap up the job at
6 A. It means to inflict a total military defeat on the HVO.
7 Q. And what about launching a counter-strike along two designated
9 A. That means proceed as previously planned down the
10 Konjic-Jablanica-Mostar axis, thereby linking up the three municipal
11 territories in order to create appropriate conditions for continuing to
12 operate further down towards the south, Stolac, Capljina, and the sea
13 coast itself in order to eventually reach Croatia's border.
14 As for Konjic-Prozor-Rama, that would be the other axis, quite
15 simply to prevent any breakthrough by the HVO from the other side in an
16 effort to provide assistance.
17 Q. 2D89 --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic, I have a
19 question for you. On the last document I see a figure D1 with a number.
20 I'd like to know where this document comes from. Is it a document which
21 was used in the Naletilic's case where 411 documents were admitted for
22 the Naletilic defence and 80 documents for the Martinovic Defence were
23 admitted? Does this document come from that particular file or does it
24 come from somewhere else?
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could you please
1 repeat the document number. It says 1D, and I'm not sure which document
2 you have in mind.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Hold on. I need to look again
4 at the last document. Can you please tell me again what the number is
5 for the last document?
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] 4D599.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So you see in
8 4D599, in the English version it says: "Exhibit D1/340." Now, where
9 does this document come from? Is it a document which comes from the
10 Naletilic-Martinovic case?
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. We tried to
12 study the documents from that case very closely, and we have been trying
13 to use any documents that proved to be of relevance. I hope that we have
14 succeeded in this.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you just confirmed the
16 Naletilic, Martinovic case?
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. That is the
18 trial from that document, and that document has already been exhibited in
19 our case as well.
20 Q. Let us try to wrap up the Konjic story. 2D89. The date is the
21 18th of April, 1993. Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban are trying to
22 reach an agreement on a cease-fire. In Article 3 they order for all
23 clashes to stop and cease with immediate effect.
24 Mr. Jasak, did you know that soon after the clashes in
25 Central Bosnia
1 all clashes?
2 A. Yes, I knew about that.
3 Q. P1959 is our next document, 1959. The order is dated the
4 18th of April, and the HVO units are here ordered to immediately stop all
5 clashes assumed to the Boban-Izetbegovic Agreement.
6 Mr. Jasak, who signed this order?
7 A. It was signed by Zeljko Akrap on behalf of General Petkovic.
8 Q. Very briefly, to wrap up Konjic. Our next documents, we'll be
9 looking at them briefly and then I'll ask you a single question.
10 On the 18th, the decision was taken to stop all conflicts. 4D445
11 is our next document. This is a combat report of the BH Army, dated the
12 18th of April, at 2200 hours. The last paragraph states:
13 "Following your dispatch about the negotiations with the
14 Chetniks at Butmir, Mr. Handzo Mustafa was assigned."
15 Mr. Jasak, was there any information indicating that throughout
16 the clashes in the Konjic and Jablanica region representatives of the
17 BH Army were negotiating about something with this army that they here
18 refer to as the Chetniks?
19 A. We knew about that as early as January. I don't think I ever saw
20 this specific document though.
21 Q. There are a number of places mentioned here in the general Konica
22 area that were taken or about to be taken by the BH Army. Did the
23 fighting continue on the 18th of April as well?
24 A. Yes, the fighting continued.
25 Q. 4D90. The 22nd of April, 1993. During the day in Konjic there
1 was intense fighting. One had to give up the idea of liberating certain
2 villages, but the decision was taken to liberate the village of Radesina
4 Mr. Jasak, this report dated the 22nd of April, four days after
5 the cease-fire agreement was signed, in your opinion as a military
6 analyst, is this document relevant in terms of understanding what was
7 going on in the area?
8 A. Yes, this is certainly highly relevant.
9 Q. And why would that be?
10 A. Because they were agreeing and signing one set of conditions and
11 doing something entirely different in reality.
12 Q. As far as you know, did the fighting in fact continue up until
13 the 22nd of April?
14 A. Yes, it did.
15 Q. I'm skipping a document here. 4D91, another BH Army document,
16 dated the 24th of April. In relation to the 25th of April, we are
17 planning a continuation of our activities along the entire front line and
18 taking the villages of Vrci and Budisina Ravan.
19 Mr. Jasak, could this document be relevant for understanding the
20 situation on the ground?
21 A. Yes. Yes, it could. It also shows that there is no compliance
22 with the terms agreed as early as the 18th of April. It's not
23 Budisina Travan. It's Budisina Ravan.
24 Q. Let me ask you for your opinion, if you believe you know enough
25 about what was going on at the time. Any continuation of these BH Army
1 activities which in itself flew in the face of the cease-fire that was
2 agreed, do you think anything like that would have been possible without
3 the consent of the high-ranking commanders in the BH Army?
4 A. Nothing like this could have happened unbeknownst to high-ranking
5 commanders in the BH Army. Maybe something like this could have gone on
6 for a single day, but if anyone had failed to carry out an order actually
7 sign by President Izetbegovic, this person would then have been removed,
8 meaning even President Izetbegovic himself would have known about this,
9 as well as their supreme military command.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it might be a good
11 time for our break.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's break for
13 20 minutes.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.38 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.06 a.m.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
17 Mrs. Alaburic, you have an hour and 30 minutes left.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Let us
19 move on to a new section. Your Honours, we are moving on to binder
20 number 2. We'll be discussing --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all the microphones
22 not being used please be switched off. Thank you.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Jasak, were you in Mostar in the first half of May 1993?
25 A. Yes, I was.
1 Q. Where were you during the night between the 8th and 9th of May?
2 A. I was in Mostar, the same place as usual, in a flat.
3 Q. Did anything out of the ordinary happen that night as opposed to
4 previous nights?
5 A. Nothing special except the morning of the 9th I was sleeping and
6 then I was roused by loud detonations from shells exploding.
7 Q. What did you do?
8 A. I got up and got ready to leave. A friend drove me to the
9 Main Staff. That's how we did things. There were no telephone lines
10 that were working, so whenever you heard something, you would just simply
11 go and report to the Main Staff.
12 Q. Are you trying to tell us that you did not have a telephone in
13 your flat?
14 A. Yes, that's right. I didn't.
15 Q. What time, roughly speaking, did you reach the Main Staff?
16 A. At about 6.00 a.m.
17 Q. Were there any officials already who were up and about at the
18 Main Staff?
19 A. Yes. I saw about ten different people.
20 Q. Do you remember who was on duty the previous night at the
21 Main Staff?
22 A. When I arrived, I saw that Bozo Peric was the duty officer.
23 Q. On the way from your house to the Main Staff -- well, first of
24 all, tell me how long did it take you to get there?
25 A. About five minutes.
1 Q. While you were driving, could you see from inside the car what
2 was going on outside?
3 A. No, I couldn't really see anything, but I heard explosions and
4 shooting, sounds of shooting.
5 Q. When you came to the Main Staff, did you ask anyone there what
6 was going on in Mostar and if they knew anything about that?
7 A. I asked the duty officer, and he said, The Muslims have
8 attacked us.
9 Q. Did he specify the parts of Mostar in which there was fighting?
10 A. Yes. He said there was fighting around the office of the
11 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna near the roundabout,
12 and also that Sjeverni Logor was under attack, specifically the Tihomir
13 Misic Barracks.
14 Q. Did you spend any time at the Main Staff that morning? Did you
15 stay there?
16 A. Yes, I stayed. I phoned my boss and I asked him what I was
17 suppose to be doing. He told me to try and talk to the electronic
18 activity centre in order to tell them to step up their activities, that's
19 all. He said I should also analyse our reports, specifically those
20 mentioning the possibility of BH Army action being taken against the HVO.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, Mrs. Alaburic asked
22 you some excellent questions which help us follow what you did almost
23 minute by minute, but she forgot to put a question to you.
24 You arrived at 6.00 a.m.
25 advisor to the head of military intelligence, and you told us that your
1 office right next door to his. If I understood you correctly, I believe
2 that your activity was to look into BH Army activities.
3 Well, at 6.00 a.m.
4 attacks -- had attack. Well, if I -- this is what I thought: If I was
5 in his shoes, if I had his job, I would wonder whether I had may a
6 professional error because I hadn't detected that the BH Army was about
7 to attack. Did this spring to your mind?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm afraid I don't
9 entirely understand the question.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The question is a bit complex,
11 and I will rephrase it, and I'll go into details.
12 We know that you are an analyst, that you work for military
13 intelligence and you analyse military intelligence. We know that you
14 make reports for your boss using elements that you can collect, and then
15 these reports are conveyed to the line of command. So you work for
16 military intelligence. I assume that since you work -- you are in this
17 line of work, your objective is to find out what the enemy is doing or
18 also what friends are doing, because sometimes, you know, there are
19 friends that are not real friends, et cetera. So you are trying to
20 collect information on what the others are about to do or intend to do or
21 might do.
22 On the night from May 8 to May 9 you were sleeping soundly, and
23 suddenly the BH Army attacks. You arrive at 6.00 a.m. You're told that
24 the BH Army has attacked. So, professionally, don't you think that you
25 might have made a mistake, a professional mistake, because you didn't
1 detect the fact that the BH Army was escalating its activity and planning
2 an attack. Did that come to your mind at one point in time on that day?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that did cross my mind
4 as well. Nevertheless, at the time we were already forwarding
5 information to our own superiors about such a possibility that existed,
6 especially after what had occur in this other operation zone a little
7 further up north. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious to me that our
8 reports were not quite being taken seriously. I know that they were
9 talking to local commanders, and they were saying that they did not
10 believe there was any real danger.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You understood my question, and
12 you're answering very accurately.
13 For -- let me tell you for the transcript that you said that
14 earlier you had provided some information because you had detected that
15 up north there were operations underway. You passed on this information
16 to your superiors, but they didn't take you seriously. They didn't
17 believe you. That's what you said; right? Did I sum up what you said
19 A. It's not necessarily that they didn't believe us. They were
20 simply confident that the situation in Mostar was a bit more peculiar
21 than over there. They reckoned that we had been working together with
22 them for quite a long time in Mostar by this time. They simply refused
23 to believe that anything like that might come to pass.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Jasak, last week we heard the chief of artillery in
2 Eastern Herzegovina
3 that up until the 8th of May he had been drinking coffee every day with
4 his colleagues in the BH Army Eastern Herzegovina Corps and that they
5 were headquartered in Vranica up until the date the clashes started on
6 the 9th of May. So tell us what you know about the communication between
7 certain HVO officers and certain BH Army officers. Was there any way to
8 envisage that the clashes that erupted on the 9th of May would eventually
10 A. If you looked at the Mostar area alone, there was nothing to lead
11 anyone to believe that clashes would soon be erupting. Nevertheless, we
12 from the VOS tended to take a broader view of the situation. There had
13 been a number of incidents before, but those were soon dealt with at a
14 local level between the 4th Corps and everyone else; all the problems
15 were quickly dealt with.
16 Q. Mr. Jasak, the record misstates who was involved on behalf of the
17 HVO. You said the 4th Corps and who else whenever there were --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Please observe a pause
19 between your questions and your answers to allow the interpreters to
20 interpret correctly. Thank you.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Can you please repeat your answer, Mr. Jasak, and also, could you
23 please pause a little before you start answering my question in order to
24 allow the interpreters to do their job properly.
25 So who were they negotiating with?
1 A. They were talking to their counterparts from the
2 South-East Herzegovina operation zone and the HVO Main Staff.
3 Q. Let's look at the first document that we have covering this topic
4 and then we'll be going back to the 9th of May and what happened. 4D557.
5 4D557. This is an Arif Pasalic report which he sent to the Presidency of
6 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the BH Army staff, dated the
7 20th of April, 1993. It says that a meeting was held of representatives
8 of the BH Army and the HVO. The setting up of joint military and
9 political points was agreed. They agreed to try and stop mutual clashes
10 along the confrontational line along the following axes,
11 Semovac-Bulevar-Mose Pijade, also that joint check-points would be set
12 up, manned also by someone from UNPROFOR and so on and so forth.
13 Mr. Jasak, in late April 1993, was there any co-operation that
14 was being brokered between the BH Army and the HVO in Mostar under the
15 auspices of UNPROFOR? Do you know anything about that?
16 A. I do. I know that that was agreed upon, because at night-time
17 there was random shooting in town. In order to know who was on which
18 side, an agreement was reached.
19 Q. Tell us, do you have any knowledge about these agreements and all
20 of this that was taking place under the auspices of UNPROFOR? Do you
21 have any knowledge of that affecting the military authorities in Mostar
22 in terms of forecasting what the future behaviour of the BH Army would
24 A. As far as I know, when this was agreed upon, it was believed that
25 this would lead to a reduction of tensions and that all would turn
1 towards the joint enemy and defence from the Army of Republika Srpska.
2 Q. Tell me, on the 9th of May, 1993, when you came to the building
3 of the Main Staff in the morning, did you see any military commander in
4 the building itself or in the yard?
5 A. In passing, I saw Tuta. I saw that some soldiers were walking up
6 to him.
7 Q. Could you hear what they were talking about?
8 A. No, I could not hear what they were talking about.
9 Q. Let us now look at 3D3101, please. Let us see whether this
10 description of what happen in Mostar on the 9th of May is correct. This
11 is Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic's book. This is an excerpt from his book.
12 The book is called the "Bosniak-Croatian Political Showdown."
13 Chapter 14, paragraph 1, The War in Mostar. I would be interested in the
14 first two sections of this document.
15 A. I do apologise to the interpreters. I'm sure that it sounds very
16 bad in their headphones when I accidentally hit the microphone while
17 leafing through these pages.
18 Q. Have you ever heard of Mr. Hadziosmanovic?
19 A. Yes, and I knew Mr. Hadziosmanovic personally.
20 Q. Tell me, was he involved in politics in Mostar?
21 A. Yes. He was the representative of the SDA.
22 Q. President or representative?
23 A. President.
24 Q. He says that -- he said the following:
25 "I was an eyewitness of that war in Mostar from the spot where my
1 apartment was located. In settlement centre number 2, I could clearly
2 see heavy machine-guns of HVO firing from the locality of Hum hill
3 towards the locality of Semovac, Bulevar, around --"
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think you're too fast, much too fast. I'm
5 sorry. When you read, there's always a danger that you go downhill.
6 Thank you.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise primarily to the
8 interpreters and then to you, Your Honours.
9 Q. So:
10 "... Semovac, Bulevar, around the health care centre and towards
11 the high school where the 4th Corps units are crossing Bulevar and
12 getting to Liska Ulica, towards the locality of Liska Street. The most
13 intense infantry attacks of the 4th Corps combatants were Musala - the
14 new pontoon bridge - the former street of Korzo, as -- and then there
15 were also some smaller attacks from Cernica Street across Bulevar, it was
16 the health care centre, and the gardens nearby. In those moments of the
17 4th Corps combatants infantry attack, heavy machine-guns of the HVO fired
18 towards Bulevar and the buildings located by the road itself. Another
19 part of the heavy machine-guns fired towards the localities of Vranica
20 building in Stjepana Radica Street where the command of the 4th Corps was
21 located. Heavy artillery weapon of the HVO severely fired towards the
22 temporary establishments of the BH Army between 8 and 9 o'clock, the
23 building of the hygiene institute, the SDK, and Konak. Artillery fire
24 towards these localities alternated in waves. At the same time, one
25 could hear artillery explosions on localities of Bijeli Brijeg towards
1 Cim and Rudnik. Localities of Bijeli Brijeg towards Cim and Rudnik.
2 That was coming from the left bank and targets were being hit which were
3 marked by previous orders of the 1st Mostar Brigade commander, dated the
4 20th of April, 1993."
5 Let us look at one of the documents in this respect, the document
6 of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, date the 20th of April. There are a
7 few of them. We're just going to look at one. 2D478.
8 So we are skipping the next document after the quotation from the
9 book, so it is document 2D478, or an order by Mr. Midhat Hujdur,
10 commander of the Mostar Brigade of the HVO, in which targets are being
11 specified, namely Cekrk; Nova Banka; and the high school, Gymnazia; and
12 then the Avenija Rudnik area; and then Bijeli Brijeg; Rondo; and the
13 university; and then the tower at Hum is mentioned. Further on the
14 garrison outpatient clinic, the pensioners' residence, et cetera.
15 Mr. Jasak, as I understand you, you did not have any personal
16 knowledge, you did not take part in fighting in Mostar?
17 A. I did not take part in fighting in Mostar on that day.
18 Q. Tell me, according to the information that reached you on that
19 day, if you can remember, are the references to localities where there
20 was fighting correct?
21 A. They are correct.
22 Q. Let us go back to Ismet Hadziosmanovic's book. That is to say,
23 document 3D3101. It says in -- further on:
24 "Already around 11.00 concentrated infantry fire was heard at
25 the locality of Mujaga Komadina's house, part of the former street
1 Lenjinovo Staliste, Liska park, and the Rondo. Later on, it became
2 obvious that these were maximum infantry breakthroughs by the 4th Corps.
3 Roughly that's where they stayed, in that broader location. Heavy
4 machine-guns continue to focus their fire on the Vranica building."
5 Now my question, Mr. Jasak. Is it correct when it is asserted
6 that the HVO attacked BH Army positions in the Vranica building?
7 A. To the best of my knowledge, this information is correct.
8 Q. Tell us, all these localities that we mentioned just now, are
9 they to the west or east of that line of delineation or separation that
10 was agreed upon on the 20th of April?
11 A. All the localities are to the west of the agreed line of
13 Q. Tell us, Mr. Jasak, on that morning, the 9th of May, was
14 General Petkovic the Chief of the Main Staff at the Main Staff?
15 A. He was not present.
16 Q. Do you have any knowledge about when he arrived in Mostar?
17 A. He arrive, to the best of my knowledge -- I mean, as far as I can
18 remember, it was around 1400 hours.
19 Q. Did you have an opportunity to see him?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know what the first thing was that General Petkovic did
22 when he arrived in Mostar?
23 A. He asked to have Lasic and Pasalic called for him.
24 Q. Could you repeat the second last name that you referred to?
25 A. He asked to have Lasic and Pasalic called for him.
1 Q. Do you have any knowledge as to where it was that
2 General Petkovic had arrived from?
3 A. I have no knowledge as to where he had arrived from.
4 Q. Very well. Do you know anything else about Mr. Petkovic's
5 communications? Did he really manage to speak to Lasic and Pasalic? Did
6 he meet up with them?
7 A. I don't know whether he met up with them or not and whether he
8 talked to them or not. When the general arrived, I went to my office.
9 Q. I've prepared two documents for you. Since my time is running
10 very quickly, I'm not going to show them to you, but I'm going to refer
11 to them.
12 On the 8th of May, 1993, Ratko Mladic and Sefer Halilovic signed
13 an agreement on an instance cease-fire. 4D1344 is the number of that
14 document. Please have a look at that document. That is one of the
15 documents that follows in your binder.
16 Tell us, Mr. Jasak, did the VOS have any knowledge about the
17 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Army of Republika Srpska agreeing
18 on a cessation of all hostilities throughout the territory of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina as referred to in this agreement?
20 A. We did have such knowledge. I already told you about that
21 previously when we were discussing Konjic. We did have some information
22 to the effect that certain talks were being held since January and that
23 they, the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were asking for this to be secured
24 for them and that they would pay for certain amounts of weapons and
1 Q. As a military analyst, how would you interpret this document from
2 which we can see that on the 8th of May, 1993, the
3 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Army of Republika Srpska had agreed on
4 a cessation of all hostilities throughout the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
5 A. I would interpret this document in the following way: that the
6 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina no longer intended to fight the
7 Army of Republika Srpska and that they were turning to the creation of
8 their own living environment at the detriment of their hitherto ally,
9 that is to say, the Croats.
10 Q. Tell us, Mr. Jasak, on that day, the 9th of May, until when were
11 you at the Main Staff?
12 A. I was there until the late evening hours, almost up until
14 Q. How would you describe the intensity of the fighting in the
15 course of the evening? Was it of the same intensity as that morning or
16 was it considerably less?
17 A. It was considerably less. Evidently the night-time conditions
18 had contributed to decreasing the intensity.
19 Q. The 10th of May. On the 10th of May, did you go to the
20 Main Staff?
21 A. Yes, I did, in the morning. I was on duty that day.
22 Q. That morning, did General Petkovic go to the Main Staff in?
23 A. Yes, he did arrive there.
24 Q. Tell us, what did he do that morning in the Main Staff?
25 A. He arrived in his office in the morning. At around 9.00 a.m.
1 received a call from Mr. Boban's office, and he said he was going to
2 Grude, that they were going to have a meeting between Mr. Boban and
3 Mr. Izetbegovic concerning a cease-fire and that he had to provide some
4 elements of information for that.
5 Q. Witness, we'll have to repeat the last part of the question
6 because it was misinterpreted. It appears that there was a meeting.
7 What was actually agreed on?
8 A. What was agreed on was that the elements for a cease-fire
9 agreement were to be discussed and that General Petkovic had to provide
10 some elements needed for that agreement.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, let me come back to
12 document 4D1344, document which I see for the first time, and I don't
13 recall having seen this document previously. It's dated 8th of May;
14 that's an important date. This is a document which is signed by
15 Halilovic and Mladic. However, this document is signed under the
16 auspices of General Morillon.
17 What does this document say? Well, first HV -- the HVO is not a
18 part in this document. This document states that for the restoration of
19 peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina a consensus is reached between the two
20 parties. Cease-fire as of noon
21 Well, I take it, and I have no evidence for that, that
22 General Halilovic must have afterwards called all of the commanders of
23 the corps, the 1st Corps, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Corps and particularly
24 Pasalic to tell him, Look, Arif, I want to announce you that on the
25 9th of May you need to stop firing. It's an assumption. And that the
1 agreement will have to be implemented because UNPROFOR is a part to it, a
2 part to this agreement. And so, with this information, Pasalic arrives.
3 And Pasalic, for whatever reason, could have, in the conditional tense,
4 could have thought, Well, we'll attack and we'll stop everything at noon,
5 but in the meantime we will have made some headway. And this could
6 explain the thesis of the Defence about the BH Army's attack. I mean,
7 that's a question which came to my mind from this document.
8 Now, you at the time were in military intelligence. Had you
9 learned that there had been an agreement between your "enemy," i.e., the
10 Serbs, and your "friends," the BH Army? Were you aware of that?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the Military Intelligence
12 Service, we knew that they had reached an agreement.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you found out before the
14 9th of May; is that right?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before the 9th of May. We know it
16 was signed on the 8th, but we knew that they had discussed it previously.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. That's what I
18 wanted to check.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Jasak, we're -- we've now reach the 10th of May. In the
21 morning General Petkovic set out for Grude to see Mate Boban in order to
22 agree on a cease-fire with Alija Izetbegovic.
23 Let's look at 4D456 and 4D457. These are orders issued by
24 Mato Boban and Alija Izetbegovic, dated the 10th of May, 1993. The text
25 is almost identical. And this order orders a cessation of hostilities
1 between the BH Army and the HVO; and Sefer Halilovic and Milivoj Petkovic
2 are tasked with arranging a meeting to agree on all the details for the
3 implementation of this agreement.
4 My question is as follows, Mr. Jasak: As the person on duty in
5 the Main
6 Grude ended and that a cease-fire agreement had been reached?
7 A. I knew that it had been agreed on. The order was issued by
8 Mato Boban and Alija Izetbegovic to start a cease-fire.
9 Q. Mr. Jasak, tell us, do you know where General Petkovic went then?
10 A. On that day, the general did not return to the Main Staff. He
11 told us that the following day he had to go to Kiseljak to meet
12 General Halilovic.
13 Q. The next document is under seal, so please take care. It's
14 P2461. It's an UNPROFOR report. On page 6 in Croatian, which is
15 part 13, the Neretva River
16 Petkovic had a meeting on the 11th and reached an agreement, and this
17 took place in Kiseljak. They reached an agreement to tour the town of
18 Mostar together on the same day.
19 Mr. Jasak, did you know that General Petkovic actually did meet
20 General Halilovic in Kiseljak on the 11th?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. In the report it goes on to say that on the 11th of May, at
23 1830 hours, Generals Halilovic and Petkovic, accompanied by
24 General Morillon and ambassador -- the ambassador of the European
25 observers and advisor for civilian affairs, flew to Metkovic by
1 helicopter from where the Spanish Battalion was to escort them to Mostar.
2 Tell us, did you know that in the evening of the 11th
3 General Petkovic arrived in the area of Mostar?
4 A. No, I didn't know that he arrived in the area of Mostar.
5 Q. Let's look at the next page of this document. On the
6 12th of May, according to this document, in the headquarters of the
7 Spanish Battalion, an agreement was reached between Petkovic and
8 Halilovic in the presence of General Morillon and Ambassador Thebault on
9 behalf of the European observers.
10 So let's look at the next document, P2344. This is an agreement
11 reached on the 12th of May and signed by Halilovic and Petkovic. It's
12 the agreement mentioned in the Spanish Battalion's report which we saw
14 My question for you, Mr. Jasak, is as follows: Did you know that
15 on the 12th of May a cease-fire agreement had been reached in detail?
16 A. I knew that an agreement on the cessation of hostilities had been
18 Q. Did the situation in Mostar soon change as regards the intensity
19 of the fighting?
20 A. The situation changed, and there was only sporadic activity.
21 Q. Mr. Jasak, did you have any knowledge to the effect that a large
22 group of people have gathered at the Velez stadium on the 9th of May and
23 that later on these people were taken to the Heliodrom?
24 A. I learned that in the late evening from a television news
1 Q. From the building of the Main Staff, are you able to see the
2 Velez stadium?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Did you try to establish why these people were rounded up and
5 taken to the Heliodrom?
6 A. Well, those of us who were sitting in the Main Staff commented on
7 this. I was told that they had learned from colleagues from the
8 operations zone that these were people who had been taken from the areas
9 where there were military activities going on, to shelter them.
10 Q. Mr. Jasak, in this courtroom we saw evidence that the vast
11 majority of these people were of Muslim ethnicity. Could you explain to
12 us why there was such a disproportionately large number of Muslims among
13 these people compared to the composition of the population at that point
14 in time?
15 A. Well, I'll try. In my opinion the only possible explanation is
16 that a large number of Croats had already moved out of that part of town.
17 They had taken their children to continue their schooling elsewhere. And
18 a large part of the inhabitants of Mostar came from the surrounding
19 municipalities, and they may have gone away for the weekend. Also, when
20 people heard shells falling, they left the town in their own vehicles.
21 I don't know what else could be the reason.
22 Q. I'll now put a question to you as a resident of Mostar. Do you
23 have any knowledge that in the vicinity of the Velez stadium there was a
24 facility where a large number of buses could be parked?
25 A. I know that near the Velez stadium there was a garage. It
1 belonged to a publicly owned company, Autoprevoz Mostar. As early as
2 April 1992, we had requisitioned their taxis, because that company also
3 had taxis. It was a public transport company.
4 Q. Mr. Jasak --
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, I don't intend
6 to continue putting questions on the events of the 9th of May, so if you
7 have any questions about this, please ask them now, because then I would
8 like to discuss events in June 1993.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have one question about the
10 9th of May. You said that you saw in the headquarters Naletilic. We
11 know that he and his troops participated in some actions and captured
13 According to you, in your capacity you're usually informed about
14 the chains of command and the usual military circuits. What about such
15 unit, the Naletilic unit? Could it have acted outside the control of the
16 main -- of the staff? Think about it before you answer.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as regards the
18 Naletilic unit, if you put such a question hypothetically, it could have
19 taken action without the action of the Main Staff, because I never saw
20 that the Main Staff ever issued them with any tasks.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. One last question,
22 and, again, this is an assumption, and I'm trying to check on these
24 Let's imagine that the staff would have decided on the 9th of May
25 to attack the BH Army and that therefore there was some preparation going
1 on before this attack. What about yourself and your boss in the VOS?
2 Would you have been involved in the preparation, in the planning, and in
3 the assessment of the number of forces, friendly forces or enemy forces?
4 I mean, let's not get into the semantic discussion. Besides, would you
5 yourself have worked in the preparation of the plan in light of your
6 functions within the VOS?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the Main Staff, there was no
8 plan whatsoever for any offensive activities. VOS always provided the
9 elements concerning the enemy for any order issued by the Main Staff, and
10 we never provided such elements. So we would have known had the
11 Main Staff been planning anything of the sort.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fair enough. This is an
13 important answer. Remember, you answered under oath, so under -- unless
14 you're lying, but I don't have any elements to prove this. This is what
15 you're saying, and my question is very specific. After four years of
16 trial, I'm now -- I'm putting very focused questions that go to the heart
17 of the problem.
18 So you are telling me that if the HVO had prepared a plan, then
19 you would have been associated inevitably because there was a need to
20 assess enemy troops and that was your job. Therefore, since you were not
21 associated to this, there was no plan drafted by the HVO, and the HVO did
22 not attack on May 9, 1993
23 This is what you meant; right?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 Mrs. Alaburic.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Mr. Jasak, very briefly, let us try to summarise the situation in
4 Mostar up until the end of June 1993. What would be a general assessment
5 of that period?
6 A. Aside from sporadic incidents, the situation was quiet.
7 Q. The 30th of June, 1993. Does that date bear any special
8 significance for you?
9 A. Yes. An all-out war with the BH Army broke out in Mostar on that
10 day, war between the BH Army and the HVO. An all-out attack was launched
11 on that day against the HVO.
12 Q. Were you on duty at the Main Staff the night between the
13 29th and the 30th of June?
14 A. Yes, I was.
15 Q. What was peculiar about that attack as opposed to earlier
16 attacks, for example, those in Konjic?
17 A. The peculiarity consisted in the fact that the attack came about
18 as a result of treason by Muslim soldiers of the HVO who coordinated this
19 act of treason with the BH Army. It was the most insidious way for
20 something like this to come about.
21 Q. Because of this act of treason was the BH Army able to take or
22 conquer any particular areas?
23 A. Yes. From East Mostar, further up to the north and Salakovac,
24 specifically the Tihomir Misic Barracks, Vrapcici, Bijelo Polje, as far
25 as Salakovac.
1 Q. So following the attack on the 30th of June, who was holding the
2 territory north of Salakovac as far as Jablanica?
3 A. The BH Army as well, specifically the forces that headed out from
4 Konjic and Jablanica towards Mostar. On that day, the
5 Konjic-Jablanica-Mostar area was linked up.
6 Q. Did the VOS have any information at the time indicating the
7 existence of any plans by the BH Army to link up their forces in Mostar
8 and Jablanica?
9 A. The VOS did, in fact, have that kind of information.
10 Q. What information specifically? Did you include anything in your
12 A. In our reports we indicated that the BH Army would try to link up
13 these areas, Konjic, Jablanica, and Mostar, in order to obtain the right
14 conditions for pressing on towards Stolac, Capljina, and Neum.
15 Q. Was there a particular date that you envisaged as the date on
16 which this attack could occur?
17 A. We talked about the 1st of July, as a matter of fact, in one of
18 our reports.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, I'm listening to all
20 these details while looking at the map. You're saying that the plan went
21 Konjic, Jablanica, Mostar, all the way to Neum.
22 I'm looking at the map, and I say if this plan had succeeded, the
23 HVO would have been destroyed. Yes or no? Is it true or false?
24 A. That's right. That's true, Your Honour. For the most part, the
25 HVO would have ceased to exist in such areas.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Jasak, what about Mr. Keza, the VOS chief? Did you orally,
4 verbally warn him about the existence of these assessments and
6 A. We discussed that, and I believe that my chief as well spoke to
7 his own superiors. And then the superiors probably discussed this with
8 commanders on the ground. Quite simply, our report was not construed as
9 being particularly alarming; the reason being, local HVO commanders
10 reckoned that after the 9th of May all those who did not wish to remain
11 in the HVO left and that the Muslim members of the HVO who remained were
12 together with the Croats in the HVO from the very beginning and there
13 would be no problems concerning those men.
14 Q. Mr. Jasak, did you, at the Main Staff, receive information at one
15 point in time as to how exactly the BH Army established control over the
16 area to the north-east of Mostar?
17 A. We received information indicating that there had been an act of
18 treason in Bijelo Polje, and then the -- the stretchers [as interpreted]
19 component worked with the BH Army in order to take this area.
20 Q. Was there any response, and if so, what kind?
21 A. There was widespread disappointment and disbelief in the
22 Main Staff, particularly when we heard that three of our own officials of
23 the Main Staff had come to grieve. Bozo Peric's parents, relatives of
24 Tomo Mihalj and Ante Ivankovic [phoen], and, well, you know, those men
25 were with us at the Main Staff. And then we learned at one point that
1 their close relatives had come to grieve. It was a difficult situation
2 to cope with. People simply couldn't understand that the same people
3 with whom they had been sharing food and drinks now started doing things
4 such as these.
5 Q. Did you inform General Petkovic of that attack?
6 A. Yes, we did.
7 Q. Where would General Petkovic normally sleep when he was staying
8 in the Mostar area?
9 A. In Grude.
10 Q. Did he come to Mostar immediately, as far as you know, after you
11 informed him?
12 A. General Petkovic came at about 8.00, I think.
13 Q. Do you know where he was before?
14 A. It may have been 9.00, actually, and I think he went to the
15 East Herzegovina operation zone just before he came there.
16 Q. Do you perhaps know who General Petkovic talked to when he
17 arrived at the Main Staff -- or, rather, did he talk to anyone when he
19 A. He looked quite crestfallen, and I was about to hand over as duty
20 officer, so I -- I wasn't in touch with him after that.
21 Q. All right. We'll be looking at that again later on in terms of
22 what happened to General Petkovic.
23 4D948 is our next document. It's a set of four that I'm looking
24 at now. It's an order by General Petkovic, dated the 7th of June, 1993.
25 The introduction reads that the order is being adopted because of the
1 Muslim aggression and efforts to establish control over and occupy the
2 Neretva River
3 Can the situation on the ground be based on the reports from the
4 VRS, your own service?
5 A. Yes. This is based on our information. As I said earlier, we
6 were providing this kind of information to the effect that this was a
7 possible development.
8 Q. The order goes on to say that one must prevent any breakthroughs
9 by the Muslim unit along the Jablanica-Bijelo Polje-Mostar axis. Was
10 that the axis along which they were operating on the 30th of June, 1993
11 A. Yes. Jablanica-Bijelo Polje-Mostar, and
12 Mostar-Bijelo Polje-Jablanica, and then they met up at Salakovac.
13 Q. The order goes on to say that all the lines facing the Muslims
14 must be reinforced by engineering work. One must lay obstacles along the
15 lines and build new positions down the depth.
16 My question: Are these preparations for defensive activities or
17 offensive activities?
18 A. Obviously, these are defensive activities. When someone is
19 building new positions down the depth, what that means is they're
20 preparing for the eventuality that all the other positions further up
21 front might fall.
22 Q. 4D702. 4D702. A letter by General Petkovic on the
23 30th of June, dispatched to Wahlgren and Morillon.
24 Paragraph 5 states that the HVO and the Croatian people would
25 defend. Nevertheless, it also says that this would not be possible
1 without a great amount of sacrifice on the part of the Muslim forces.
2 Could you, therefore, please caution the commanders of the so-called
3 BH Army about these consequences and call upon them to immediately
5 Mr. Jasak, could you please comment on this appeal made by
6 General Petkovic to the international forces? He was asking them to
7 mediate and try to and broker a cease-fire; right?
8 A. Sure I can comment on that. This was an appeal or a call by
9 General Petkovic for the international community to get involved in order
10 to keep large-scale civilian casualties from occurring and in order to
11 help stop the fighting.
12 Q. Given the fact you knew General Petkovic personally and you
13 actually saw him only the 30th of June, could you tell us, in your
14 opinion, this call on the international community to mediate, would you
15 take that to be an earnest endeavour by General Petkovic to stop a
16 large-scale conflict from erupting?
17 A. Knowing General Petkovic, before and after, I can tell you that
18 what he was doing was always very sincere.
19 Q. Next document, 2D448.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, document 4D702 is
21 important as far as I'm concern. It is written by General Petkovic, but
22 it is sent to the highest international authorities, General Wahlgren and
23 General Morillon.
24 On reading this document, it's obvious -- when reading the
25 document, the ABiH attacked. So the following question springs to mind:
1 Is General Petkovic just making fun of the international community and
2 saying things that are not true? Could he actually try to -- to make --
3 to talk to these authorities and not tell them the truth? He is
4 mentioning a meeting that he had with General Morillon in Medjugorje on
5 July 26th -- on June 26th --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- four days earlier when he
8 told us -- told him that there was a possibility that the Muslim side
9 could attack, and he is calling on the international community to put an
10 end to this.
11 Now, you were on the ground at the time. Could you tell us
12 whether this document perfectly reflects what you experienced in the
13 field or whether there are some elements that could be challenged? And
14 in such a case, could you tell us which elements could be challenged?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this document is
16 completely identical to my own memory of that period. More so, since
17 this is mentioned here:
18 "We would like to remind you that our side, during the meeting
19 with General Morillon in Medjugorje, on the 26th of June, 1993
20 everyone there about the possibility that there was a plan for a frontal
21 attack by the Muslim forces against Mostar and HVO positions and its
23 This was exactly along the same lines as the sort of information
24 that the VOS kept forwarding to General Petkovic. He obviously presented
25 this information to the international community, specifically to
1 General Morillon, on 26th of June, 1993. And this is perfectly
2 consistent with the situation as it was.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question, but it will
4 depend on the knowledge that you have.
5 At the time, not now but at the time, had you followed closely
6 the international negotiations held in Geneva which aim at restoring
7 peace between all sides and setting up a system that would make it
8 possible for all ethnicities to live together peacefully and, you know,
9 which led to the Vance-Owen Plan and so on. Were you aware of all the
10 efforts employed by the international community to try and find -- to
11 strike the right balance between the Serbs, the Muslims, and the Croats,
12 all three communities?
13 A. Your Honour, anyone in that area was following these
14 developments, and the same applied to us who were with the VOS, with a
15 great deal of interest. It was something that everyone over there cared
16 about the most, to have peace back as soon as possible and for the
17 clashes to end.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You're saying that
19 at VOS you were following this, but given this, in this document that we
20 have here, there is mention of the possibility that Muslims want to have
21 an access to the sea. Does this motivation, obtaining an access to the
22 sea, could it destroy the very fragile balance that the international
23 community was trying to strike, as long as this problem of access to sea
24 wasn't solved? So with this in mind, the BH Army could have thought,
25 Well, we want to have an access to the sea; we will have our access to
1 the sea; and then the international community will have to live with
3 Had this been integrated into the work done by the VOS? Had the
4 VOS taken that into account in it's work?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the question is maybe
6 a little too broad. I'm not sure I understand the question in its
7 entirety. Are we talking about our assessments in which we tried to show
8 that the BH Army had every intention of starting out from
9 Konjic-Jablanica-Mostar and then eventually reaching the sea coast? Is
10 that what we're talking about?
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You say that the
12 question had been dealt with, if I understand you well. But if the
13 BH Army actually reached the sea, the coast, you answered earlier, but
14 could you be more specific? Could you tell us what the consequences of
15 this would be for you, for the Croats, living in the
16 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can only talk about the military
18 component. The Croats and the HVO would have vanished from the area as
19 far as any military activity was concerned. I'm not talking about
20 anything that is political.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Jasak, would it have made any difference if, for example, the
24 Muslim side in Bosnia-Herzegovina was granted a piece of territory near
25 the sea coast? And on the other hand, the following situation: The
1 BH Army takes such territory by force. Would that have made any
2 difference in terms of the non-Muslim population in that area? Would
3 people be leaving on a massive scale if they had been fighting in that
4 area? I'm just trying to talk about two very hypothetical situations.
5 A. One thing is if you take something by force and the other is if
6 something is actually peacefully agreed.
7 Q. So what it's difference?
8 A. When there's agreement, this is a peaceful method of implementing
9 something, no problem there. If you take the military avenue, then you
10 have a problem because you drive out the other ethnic group that is
12 Q. Thank you very much. We'll skip Arif Pasalic's speech and try to
13 focus on the following document, 2D1389, a report by the
14 Supreme Command Staff of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
15 date is the 30th of June, 1993, specifically the paragraph that refers to
16 the 4th Corps. Let's keep the part where they say that the Ustashas were
17 the first to attack and then the BH Army launched a counter-attack, as
18 they call it, and then what do they take, it reads: Sjeverni Logor,
19 Rastani, Vrapcici, Bijelo Polje, Salakovac, and Rosici [phoen]. Aside
20 from that, the BH Army is holding all the hydroelectric power plants
21 along the Neretva River
22 Mr. Jasak, according to your information as far as the facts of
23 this report are concerned about the locations that were taken, would that
24 strike you as accurate?
25 A. This report on the locations that were taken is accurate.
1 Q. The last sentence says that the 4th and the 6th Corps linked up.
2 Does that mean that East Mostar and Jablanica linked up to all practical
4 A. It means that East Mostar, Konjic, and Jablanica linked up.
5 Jablanica, Konjic, Mostar, all together. The 6th Corps was from Konjic.
6 Q. That's in relation to this period; right, because a month and a
7 half before it was very different; right? It was in late June, the
8 6th Corps for Konjic and Jablanica; right?
9 A. Right.
10 Q. The 6th Corps was created by taking a component of the 2nd corps;
12 A. Yes.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my colleagues for
14 these leading questions, but I think these facts are well established in
15 this trial.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, too bad that Ms. West
18 is not here. But had she been here, she would have been interested in my
19 question. Now this document establishes that on the 30th of June there
20 is link-up between the 4th and the 6th Corps. That is what is stated
21 here, black and white. And this is not an HVO document; this is the
22 document from the BH Army. Does this mean that a Muslim from
23 East Mostar, because of this link-up, could leave Mostar and go to
24 Jablanica without any difficulty?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, they could leave.
1 The only difficulty was the fighting going on, but the possibility was
2 certainly there.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. We'll be dealing with that if we can later on.
6 Let us look at the following document: P3030.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Hold on, Mrs. Alaburic. You
8 have 28 minutes left. I see that we still have a lot of documents on the
9 list. Can you please try to sort them by order of importance, because,
10 you know, time flies. And 20 minutes is a very short period of time,
11 unfortunately. Especially, I mean, if some documents have already been
12 admitted, maybe it's better to talk about those which have not yet been
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I'm trying --
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to ask a question with regard to
16 the last document. Perhaps you will not know the answer. That would not
17 be surprising and nothing wrong with it.
18 The very last sentence of the document in English reads:
19 "A captured officer of the HV congratulated our commanders on the
20 exceptional success by our forces."
21 Do you have an idea where this officer of the Croatian Army came
22 from, how it is to be explained that in this action the ABiH, according
23 to what they state, caught an officer of the Croatian Army?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I shall try to
25 explain. To the best of my knowledge, in Bijelo Polje there were a few
1 officers of the Croatian Army who had come as volunteers to help the
2 Croats and the Muslims in the organisation of the defence from the
3 Army of Republika Srpska. It is possible that it's one of those officers
4 maybe. I know of two or three of them who originally hailed from that
5 area. That is to say that at that time they were in the first barracks
6 in Bijelo Polje, that was 50 per cent Muslim, and together with -- so,
7 rather, it was the HVO, the Croats and Muslims together within the HVO
8 that took part in defence against the Army of Republika Srpska.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Jasak, tell us, now since His Honour Judge Trechsel drew our
12 attention to this last part of the report, if we look at the conclusions,
13 relations with the HVO, what is referred to is the exceptional success of
14 the 4th and 6th Corps, this action to the north of East Mostar, and it
15 says that a large part of the territory was liberated, important
16 facilities, and all of that in one day only.
17 Tell me, are these actually the events that we've been speaking
18 of up until now?
19 A. That's right. It is precisely those events.
20 Q. Please look at the next document, P3030. Can you tell us what
21 this document is and whether you've known it before as well.
22 A. I know this document from before. It is an interim report of one
23 of our interception groups. And at 20 minutes past 1500 hours, they
24 intercepted a conversation between Arif Pasalic and Sefer Halilovic.
25 Over here on the right you can see that as soon as the document arrived,
1 I immediately copied it to three addresses, Bruno, Petkovic, Keza.
2 That's what I put up here. So it end up -- ended up with the head of the
3 defence department, the head of the Main Staff, and we at the VOS kept a
4 copy. And that is why it is here as such. It is not processed. It is
5 not in the VOS report because it was something that had to be sent
6 further on as quickly as possible.
7 Q. We see from this document that Halilovic is congratulating
8 Pasalic on his success. Also, they are stating that they will soon meet
9 up in Salakovac.
10 Tell us, how could Halilovic reach Salakovac?
11 A. He could get there --
12 Q. From what direction?
13 A. He'd get out to Sarajevo
14 Q. How can Pasalic get to Salakovac?
15 A. Salakovac, Mostar, Vrapcici, Bijelo Polje, Salakovac.
16 Q. Is that further confirmation that Jablanica and East Mostar
17 linked up?
18 A. Absolutely. Had they not been linked up, they could not be
19 meeting at Salakovac.
20 Q. Further on it says in the conversation there can be no stopping
21 while there is a single Ustasha left.
22 Can you give us your comment on that sentence?
23 A. That means practically that the area should be cleansed of all
24 Croats, because at that time they treated all Croats as Ustashas.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I hear my colleagues
1 moaning for a break, so perhaps it would be the right moment to take one.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Let's take a
3 20-minute break.
4 --- Recess taken at 12.40 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic, you may proceed.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Jasak, let's look at the next document in this set of
9 documents, 4D480. This is a report of General Petkovic to the
10 Defence Department about what happened on the 30th of June.
11 Inter alia -- actually, can you tell us for starters --
12 A. I'm sorry, what document did you say?
13 Q. 4D480.
14 A. Thank you.
15 Q. Can you tell us who signed this document?
16 A. This document was signed by General Petkovic.
17 Q. Do you recognise General Petkovic's signature with certainty?
18 A. Absolutely.
19 Q. This document says that the main task is to prevent the link-up
20 of Muslim forces of Jablanica and Mostar. Can you explain to us,
21 Mr. Jasak, how is it that General Petkovic is writing this, namely to
22 prevent what we saw the BH Army report say a few minutes ago?
23 A. Yes. This is a document that was written sometime in the
25 Q. So combat activities continued, and at the end of the day the
1 report was different. Is that what you're -- is that what you're trying
2 to say?
3 A. That's right. This was before the 4th and 6th Corps had linked
5 Q. In this document it also says that in the area of Bijelo Polje
6 the balance of forces is 60:40 per cent in favour of the Muslims and the
7 population ratio is 80:20, again, in favour of the Muslims. To the best
8 of your knowledge are these figures right, correct?
9 A. To the best of my knowledge, these figures are sort of around
10 that. I thought it was 50:50, but I note there were more than
11 50 per cent Muslims in the 1st Battalion.
12 Q. When General Petkovic says 60:40 in favour of the Muslims, would
13 that be the structure of HVO units in the area of Bijelo Polje?
14 A. That's right. That would be the structure in the area of
15 Bijelo Polje. That is to say, if we take this battalion of Bijelo Polje
16 into account, that was over 50 per cent Muslim, and then a bit further
17 down to the south there was part of the 2nd Battalion, practically an
18 entire company was purely Muslim. Then this structure of 60:40 per cent
19 I think is absolutely correct.
20 Q. Now we're going to deal with the Muslims in the HVO in a bit more
21 detail. Tell us, did some services in Herceg-Bosna believe that a high
22 percentage of Muslim soldiers in the HVO could constitute a security
24 A. To the best of my knowledge, that was assumed by the services.
25 Q. Tell us, what services?
1 A. Military and civilian, I think.
2 Q. Let's have a look a few -- at a few documents in the next set of
3 documents. I am skipping eight documents, so can we please look at
4 document --
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I have a question.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] One question to the witness, if I
9 Witness, when we look at the document 4D480, when he talks about
10 the Muslim soldiers which have attacked the HVO soldiers at 3.00 a.m.
11 a military intelligence officer, were there foreboding signs of this
12 attack? And if that is the case, what were the measures which you took
13 accordingly to face the attack, in particular to inform the HVO
14 authorities? And if it had not been the case, how can you explain this
15 shortcoming? How come you were not able to see or -- that the situation
16 would arise?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we had envisaged this
18 kind of situation. I said that in one of my answers a few moments ago.
19 In our report of the VOS, and I remember having personally signed it
20 because it was in the late afternoon hours because the chief of VOS was
21 not there, I actually wrote that a day before this. However, our
22 assessment was that this could escalate most probably on the 1st of July.
23 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Jasak, in your reports did you envisage that the
1 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina could take some territories due to the
2 betrayal of Muslim -- Muslim soldiers in the HVO?
3 A. Yes. We did envisage such possibilities. However -- well,
4 I mean that that could happen in the area of Mostar and further south,
5 further to the south of Mostar. However, commanders believed those
6 persons who had stayed on in these units after the 9th of May, and they
7 said, "Oh, no. There's not going to be a conflict, because we waged war
8 together with them against the Serbs all the time." I think that,
9 therefore, the Main Staff did not react in a different way either.
10 Q. When you say that commanders believed or trusted the people who
11 stayed on with them after the 9th of May, tell us precisely who was it
12 that they trusted?
13 A. They trusted the HVO soldiers who were of Muslim ethnicity.
14 Q. All right. Let us look a few documents now. The first one will
15 be P1438. This is a report on the situation in the 1st Brigade of the
16 HVO. February 1993 is the date.
17 Do you remember, Mr. Jasak, that information about the ethnic
18 structure of the 1st Brigade in June 1993?
19 A. I remember. The 1st Brigade had about 1600 members who were
20 ethnic Muslims.
21 Q. Do you remember what the percentage was?
22 A. I think that it was somewhat over 35 per cent.
23 Q. In this report, towards the very end when assessing the
24 situation, it says the security of defence is down because of a
25 considerable number of Muslims in the unit, over 50 per cent.
1 To the best of your knowledge, Mr. Jasak, after this report did
2 anything change in the behaviour of the military authorities towards the
3 Muslim soldiers of the HVO?
4 A. To the best of my knowledge nothing had changed, because we held
5 the front lines against the Army of Republika Srpska together.
6 Q. Let us look at the next document, 2D1379. This is a report of
7 the SIS for the first half of 1993. In the fifth section, roughly around
8 the middle, it says:
9 "As a special problem with regard to certain units, we pointed
10 out the large number of soldiers who were of non-Croat ethnicity, mostly
11 Muslims. The importance of this warning was particularly confirmed and
12 came to the fore during the recent conflict in Bijelo Polje when the
13 soldiers of the HVO of Muslim ethnicity crossed over to the
14 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and were the strongest Muslim unit, and also
15 in the attack on Gubavica and Dubravska Visoravan."
16 Mr. Jasak, you said that together with the SIS and other security
17 services you exchanged information. Were you in the VOS aware of this
18 position taken by the SIS because of the large number of Muslim soldiers
19 in HVO units?
20 A. Before I answer, I think that as you read this out in the -- as
21 you read this out I think that you made a mistake. The recent attack of
22 the army against the HVO.
23 Q. All right. If I made a mistake, then that's it. Could you
24 please go on.
25 A. This is knowledge that we had in the service and we showed
1 through all those reports. However, I would like to underline once again
2 that commanders simply could not accept the possibility of any such thing
3 ever happening.
4 Q. Tell us, Mr. Jasak, did you have any kind of knowledge to the
5 effect that the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina would systemically work
6 against -- work vis-à-vis the Muslim soldiers in the HVO and count on
7 them as an auxiliary force in some of the conflicts in the territories
8 that up until then had been under HVO control?
9 A. VOS had knowledge to that effect, that members of the
10 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were meeting up, I mean Muslims, with members
11 of the Croatian Defence Council who were also Muslims. There was some
12 information to the effect that they were trying to recruit people who
13 were of Muslim ethnicity and who were in the HVO. Namely, they wanted
14 them to stay on in their respective units up until a point when they
15 would be called. So there were pressures that were exerted against the
16 families of these people.
17 Q. Mr. Jasak, I would just like to check now whether I understood
18 you correctly. Are you trying to tell us that some soldiers of Muslim
19 ethnicity stayed in the HVO in agreement with the
20 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that then at a certain point in time the
21 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina would call them to participate in some
22 activities against the HVO? Is that what you were trying to tell us?
23 A. That's precisely what I said, that they should stay in the HVO
24 until they're called, because by then they would have been trained
25 soldiers with weapons and they could carry out any task that had been
1 agreed upon.
2 Q. Let us now have a look at the next document, P2562. This is a
3 report of the commander of the 5th Battalion in the 2nd Brigade about the
4 Muslims in that unit.
5 Tell us, the 2nd Brigade operated in the territory to the north
6 of East Mostar?
7 A. That's right. That's correct.
8 Q. Very well.
9 A. And this 5th Battalion was from the area of Ilici.
10 Q. Let us see what he says about his Muslims. He says:
11 "Probably the high percentage of Muslims who have stayed on in
12 our unit was caused by their position within our populated areas but also
13 by previous activities of our IPD service which held meetings with
14 Muslims and explained the real situation to them."
15 Now I'm skipping a few sentences, and I quote further on:
16 "We believe that the Muslims will stay on in our units but more
17 as an effect of the fact that they live in the area where the majority
18 are Croats."
19 Tell us, Mr. Jasak, this commander, did he want soldiers of
20 Muslim ethnicity who were up until that moment in his unit, and that
21 moment was May 1993? Did he want the Muslims to stay on in that unit or
23 A. He absolutely wanted them to stay in that unit because they were
24 from that area where that unit was. That is to say, they lived together
25 with the Croats that he referred to, Ilici, Polog, Meljine.
1 Q. Please look at the next document, 5D1115. 5D1115. That's fine.
2 This is an order of the commander of the 3rd Brigade of the HVO,
3 dated the 28th of May, 1993. So it's the same period.
4 Tell us, the 3rd Brigade, what's the territory that it held,
5 which positions?
6 A. To the south of East Mostar. South-east, to the south-east.
7 Q. If I remember correctly, you told us yesterday that the greatest
8 number of Muslim soldiers who left, left from this brigade, following the
9 clashes on the 9th of May, 1993; is that right?
10 A. Yes, that's right. Two Muslim battalions left from this unit,
11 taking all of their weapons with them. I think about 800 men. As many
12 as that.
13 Q. What does the commander of this brigade say specifically in
14 paragraph 2?
15 The IPD services of these units and all of the commanders from
16 the detachment level to the uppermost level in that unit are intensifying
17 their relations in terms of settling their mutual relations within that
18 unit with the objective of, among other things, in view of the necessity
19 of continuing to co-exist in this area in which the unit was stationed.
20 And then, among other things, keeping the Muslim members in the units,
21 specifically those who were no extremists and were only thinking about
22 fighting the common enemy.
23 Mr. Jasak, based on this document, could you perhaps tell us what
24 the position was of the 3rd Brigade commander concerning the Muslims in
25 his unit. Was their presence desirable or not?
1 A. Based on what we see written here, their presence was desirable,
2 except for the presence of extremists.
3 Q. Can you tell us whether the position of the military commanders
4 was as follows: The extremists among the Muslims had probably left the
5 HVO units by this time anyway?
6 A. Yes. That is precisely what I said earlier on during my
7 evidence. All those who, in one way or another, opposed the co-operation
8 between Muslims and Croats abandoned the HVO after the 9th of May.
9 Another thing that is mention here is the necessity of continuing to
10 co-exist, to live side by side in the area in which the unit is
11 stationed. Therefore, no matter what happened next, they would have to
12 get on living together side by side from the next day on.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, can you explain the fact that the
14 commander, Primorac, here orders to keep only those Muslims who are not
15 extreme? If all that are extreme had already left, would he then have
16 reason to make that order? It's the last bullet point under number 2.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Having learned from previous
18 experiences, meaning this is the unit that got hurt the most in that
19 period. Eight hundred of their Muslim men had left, with about 200 more
20 remaining. Probably no other unit was more severely affected than this
21 one. They had lost a lot of their weapons. They asked for protection
22 and asked to see if there was anything the service could do for them in
23 terms of checking whether any extremists still remained.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation].
1 Q. I have to use up a minute or two to just clarify something. What
2 exactly is this about? Item 2 or paragraph 2 tells us that the IPD
3 service and the commanders should step up their work with their own men
4 in order to bring the relations within the unit back to normal. And
5 then, among other objectives, they seem to want to keep Muslim men who
6 are no extremists. The conclusion would seem to be, "We will not be
7 trying to hold back the extremists, if any. If they want to leave,
8 they're free to do that."
9 Do you think that interpretation of the order would be accurate?
10 A. Yes, I think the conclusion is accurate.
11 Q. Next document, not literally. It's -- there are a number of
12 documents before the ones that we've been looking at. It's 4D1461.
13 1461. This is an Official Note - please just listen to me - of the
14 Information and Security Service, dated September 1992.
15 A while ago we were talking about the talks to keep some Muslims
16 in the HVO as a result of an agreement with the BH Army. This report
17 states, I quote:
18 "According to certain sources on the 16th of September this year
19 in the evening hours, Muharem Dizdar, one of the HVO commanders, and
20 Ragib Dizdar were visiting Muslim members of the HVO of Islamic faith
21 telling them not to leave their units, the HVO units, and not to join the
22 BH Army until time was ripe. They also said that they would be informing
23 them of that in due course."
24 Mr. Jasak, is that precisely what you were telling us about a
25 while ago, the activities of the BH Army vis-à-vis the Muslim members of
1 the HVO?
2 A. Yes that's just that. It's exactly what I was talking about.
3 They wanted them to stay with the HVO until the moment was right for them
4 to leave.
5 Q. Mr. Jasak, when, the 30th of June, the Muslim soldiers of the
6 HVO's 2nd Brigade betrayed their fellow soldiers and turned on them
7 during that night, disarming them in the process, what happened in the
8 Mostar area? Were any steps taken to disarm and isolate the Muslim
9 soldiers in that area?
10 A. Yes, such steps were taken.
11 Q. Do you have any knowledge indicating that there were military
12 commanders who were involved in taking those decisions and taking those
14 A. Yes. It was one of the most difficult days of their lives. They
15 were aware of what had occurred on the 9th of May. Those who left were
16 those who wanted to leave. Nevertheless, what happened on the
17 30th of June in Bijelo Polje, they understood that the Muslims in these
18 units were a security issue; but on the other hand, it was also a broad
19 human issue you might say. It was difficult for them to start disarming
20 all these soldiers now whom they had been fighting alongside from the
21 very beginning of the war.
22 Q. Final question on this: Had the Muslim soldiers in the units in
23 the Mostar region done the same thing that the Muslims in the 2nd Brigade
24 had done before them, would the Croatian authorities in Herceg-Bosna
25 still have managed to hold on to their control over any part of the
1 South-Eastern Herzegovina operation zone?
2 A. No. They would have been unable to maintain that control.
3 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Jasak. I know that my time is up, and I
4 thank you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Absolutely. You have used up
6 the six hours that were allotted to you.
7 The Defence -- the other Defence teams will now have three hours
8 for their cross-examination. Let me ask of all teams how they've
9 allotted the times among themselves.
10 1D, Mr. Karnavas.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President, good morning
12 Your Honours, good morning to everyone in and around the courtroom. We
13 do not have any questions for the gentleman. We do wish to thank him for
14 coming here to give his evidence, and I did commit my time to the
15 Praljak Defence team in the event they -- they need to go beyond the,
16 I believe, 30 minutes that they are allotted to. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. 2D. Just a minute.
19 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. The
20 Stojic Defence will be cross-examining the witness. Nevertheless, we
21 only come after 3D, Mr. Praljak's Defence. We're the last to start.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, 3D will intervene.
23 Mr. Kovacic, how long do you need? How much time do you need?
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I reckon we'll be using up all of
25 our time, at least the 30 minutes allotted to us plus the time so
1 generously granted to us by the Prlic Defence team.
2 With your leave, the first part of the cross-examination will be
3 conducted by General Praljak. We realise, based on the chief, that these
4 are subjects that are closely tied to the army itself, their positions,
5 operations, and developments at the time. You also know very well that
6 General Praljak was there, including his time in the Main Staff at the
7 same time as this witness. Therefore, he has special knowledge. There
8 can be no doubt about that, and direct experience of these developments.
9 And maybe also something to do with Paket radio communications.
10 After that, my learned friend Ms. Pinter would like to examine
11 the witness on a number of documents that directly relate to the topics
12 covered so far. Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Our time is
14 precious, so, Mr. Praljak, you might start now. You have -- we have 12
15 minutes remaining. I believe that 5D -- well, I don't know. Will 5D
16 need time for questions?
17 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we do not have a
18 definite position at this time. We would like to hold on to our time,
19 but we will be coming after the Praljak Defence, so we'll decide
20 tomorrow. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. That's why I didn't
22 put the question to you, but my fellow Judge wanted you to have a
24 What about D6?
25 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
1 continues] ... Your Honour. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 General Praljak, you have the floor.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good afternoon,
5 Your Honours. Thank you. Given the short time I have, I will turn this
6 around a little.
7 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Jasak.
9 A. Good afternoon, General.
10 Q. Sir, let's start with some minor matters. You are with the
11 Croatian Army, as you said. The Croatian Army is a member of NATO;
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. A brigadier belongs to the general's echelon or is that below in
15 terms of rank?
16 A. Speaking of high ranking officers, we have lower ranking officers
17 and high ranking officers. This is the highest rank among the highest
18 ranking officers. The only rank above brigadier is general.
19 Q. You have a single star on your epaulette, right? Are you, in
20 fact, a brigadier general?
21 A. No, no.
22 Q. Fine. All right, all right. We've got that clarified now. When
23 you commanded a battalion in Mostar, what rank would that have normally
24 have implied in an army?
25 A. Major or colonel, depending.
1 Q. Is that a higher rank or a lower rank?
2 A. That is a higher rank.
3 Q. When you were discharging your duties in the Main Staff as an
4 analyst analysing everything that was going on within the operations
5 zone, which was the rank that belonged to you at the time? I'm not
6 saying you actually held it, because that's a different problem, but in
7 order to exercise that very responsible duty, which rank would that have
9 A. Again the rank of major, but that was absolutely the highest
10 level in that area. Only the chief of service held a higher rank at the
11 time, and we there were receiving all the information from the field. So
12 there was no one above me in terms of rank in the analysis section or
14 Q. All right. Let us press on. The year is 1991. In your part of
15 Mostar, did you have any sort of military organisation?
16 A. Late in 1991, we organised ourselves on a voluntary basis.
17 People had something that was very much like a battalion that they had
18 managed to organise.
19 Q. How many battalions like that were inside Mostar organised by
21 A. A total of nine battalions and four independent companies. We
22 tried to organise another one like that but not before 1992 on the Muslim
24 Q. So only one on the Muslim side?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Who was the commander of your battalion?
2 A. You must repeat the question.
3 Q. No, you will have to repeat the answer. How many battalions or
4 companies did the Muslims have early in 1992 or late in 1991?
5 A. Late in 1991, not a single one; early in 1992, one battalion.
6 They called it a battalion, but it numbered no more than 150 men.
7 Q. Who was the commander of your battalion until the day he died?
8 A. Tihomir Misic.
9 Q. How did you choose Tihomir Misic to become your commander? Did
10 another commander perhaps come along telling you that you should choose
11 him? Did instructions arrive from Sarajevo from Izetbegovic or whoever?
12 How was Tihomir Misic selected?
13 A. He was a well-regarded and very able person. People trusted him.
14 His ability to organise things was very notable, and the choice was a
15 natural one. It's not that someone put his name forward or anything like
17 Q. So you just selected him; right?
18 A. Yes, because we believed that he was the best among us, and he
19 was the person that everyone trusted.
20 Q. Is this how it happened in the other Croat units, too, that were
21 being organised, because it wasn't the HVO as such, not at this stage?
22 A. Yes, that was how the Croats organised themselves in other areas,
23 too, other local communes in the general Mostar area.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, could you explain a bit more
25 specifically how this happened? Did the battalion gather and then there
1 was a potation, or did some of the officers decide this, or did someone
2 outside the battalion upon proposal by members decide on this? How --
3 how was the proceedings for the -- how were the proceedings for this
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I said a thing or two
6 about that yesterday, and I'll try to provide more detail today.
7 The procedure was like this: Say I was familiar with five or ten
8 people and one of my colleagues was also familiar with five or ten
9 people, and then groups would be set up in local communes, and then
10 people would choose from among themselves. They would simply sit down,
11 talk, and agree on who would become the leader of that group. For
12 example, at the level of the Zahum local commune, Tihomir Misic was
13 chosen to be commander because he was the ablest person around. There
14 were no orders or recommendations or anything like that for that
15 appointment. Once people had realised that the village of Ravno
16 burnt to the ground, they started to organise themselves.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
18 MR. PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You said that in 1991, in addition to the JNA, another two corps
20 arrived in Mostar, but let's not go into that again. Where exactly did
21 the JNA go inside Mostar with those volunteers? Hum?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Orlovac?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Sjeverni Logor?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Juzni Logor?
4 Q. The airport?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Let's press on. Hum?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Orlovac?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Sjeverni Logor?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Juzni Logor?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The airport?
15 A. Yes. It's not "Luzni" Logor, it's "Juzni" Logor.
16 Q. Heliodrom?
17 A. No, not "Uzni," "Juzni." Yes, Heliodrom, yes.
18 Q. Cule?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Fortica?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The repeater on Mount Velez
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Tepcici, Slipcici, near Citluk?
25 A. Yes, they held that area, too, under their control. They were
1 present in the area.
2 Q. Tepcici, Slipcici, were they there too?
3 A. Yes, they were there too.
4 Q. Did they have a full military control of Mostar from all sides as
5 well as Mostar's broader surroundings?
6 A. Mostar was entirely under their control, as well's as its
7 surroundings, with the exception of one way out towards Goranci.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, we will stop
9 now and, of course, you'll continue tomorrow. But it's time to stop.
10 Sir, please some back tomorrow at 2.15 p.m. and until then, of
11 course, do not contact anyone, according to what I told you earlier.
12 Tomorrow we'll only break once for 20 minutes and we'll stop
13 around 6.00 p.m.
14 Monday for the cross-examination of the other Defences, and the
15 Prosecutor will start its own cross-examination next week as planned.
16 Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
18 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 21st day of
19 January, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.