1 Thursday, 11 February 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you kindly call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom.
9 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor against Prlic et
10 al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
12 Today is Thursday. I would first of all like to greet the
13 accused, Defence counsel, all the members of the OTP, as well as all the
14 people assisting us.
15 I would, first of all, like to read out an oral decision handed
16 down by the Chamber.
17 Oral decision regarding time allocation in light of
18 Milivoj Petkovic's testimony.
19 On the 28th of January, 2010, the Praljak Defence asked to have
20 two hours overall to cross-examine Milivoj Petkovic. In addition, the
21 Stojic Defence and the Coric Defence have both asked the Chamber, in two
22 applications filed on the 5th and 9th of February, 2010, respectively, to
23 have an extra hour, in addition to the time that would be allocated to
24 them by the Trial Chamber, pursuant to Practice Direction number 5 of the
25 decision of the 24th of April, 2008, to cross-examine Milivoj Petkovic.
1 The Petkovic Defence indicated that it did not object to the Praljak
2 Defence application, nor to the Stojic Defence application, and two
3 replies filed on 5th and 8th of February, 2010, respectively.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: "Not practice
5 direction," but "guide-lines," please.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On 9th of February, 2010, the
7 Prosecution also filed a reply to the Praljak and Stojic Defence
8 applications, in which it asked the Trial Chamber, first of all, to amend
9 its practices as regarded time allocation at the hearing when the Defence
10 witnesses were to testify. It objects, and that is the second point to
11 the Praljak Defence and Stojic Defence applications.
12 And, lastly, if the Trial Chamber were to grant these two
13 applications, it would ask the Trial Chamber to grant it extra time to
14 cross-examine Milivoj Petkovic, i.e., 50 per cent of their overall time
15 that has been accorded to the Defence teams for their cross-examination.
16 On the 10th of February, 2010, the Petkovic Defence indicated
17 that it objected to the extra time application of the Prosecution, as
18 well as an amendment of the guide-lines as far as time allocation was
19 concerned during the cross-examination of Defence witnesses. The Trial
20 Chamber notes that all the other parties have not filed a response to the
21 applications filed by Praljak and Stojic Defences and the Prosecution.
22 In addition, due to the fact that the application was filed
23 rather late by the Coric Defence, the Trial Chamber feels that it is not
24 necessary to wait for the answers, if any, by the parties regarding this
1 After having looked into the positions of the various parties,
2 the Trial Chamber notes that in light of the 65 ter summary of the
3 testimony of the accused Petkovic, nothing justifies extra time to be
4 allocated to the parties, pursuant to the decision of 24th of April,
5 2008, to conduct their respective cross-examinations. Consequently, the
6 Trial Chamber decides to dismiss the applications filed by the Stojic
7 Defence, the Praljak Defence, the Coric Defence, and the Prosecution.
8 The Trial Chamber, therefore, decides to allocate the time in the
9 courtroom as follows: The Petkovic Defence will have six hours to
10 conduct its examination-in-chief of Milivoj Petkovic. The Prosecution
11 will have six hours to conduct its cross-examination. The Prlic Defence
12 and Stojic Defence teams, Praljak, Coric, and Pusic Defence teams, will
13 have, all in all, three hours, i.e., 36 minutes each to be shared between
14 them. The Trial Chamber recalls, however, that the Defence teams can
15 agree between them on how these three hours need to be allocated, and
16 invites them, thereby, to inform the Trial Chamber of the way they wish
17 to proceed, if necessary.
18 Registrar, you have a few numbers to give us, I believe.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
20 Some parties have submitted lists of documents to be tendered
21 through Witness 4D-AA. The list submitted by 4D shall be given
22 Exhibit IC01170. The list submitted by 3D shall be given
23 Exhibit IC01171. And the list submitted by the Prosecution shall be
24 given Exhibit IC01172. Thank you, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In addition, the Trial Chamber
1 has been seized, on the 10th of February, 2010, of an application to add
2 on the 65 ter list documents which are in the annex. The Trial Chamber
3 is, therefore, asking the parties, Prosecution and Defence teams, to let
4 us know today what their positions are on this application to add 16
6 I think, Ms. Alaburic, that you had something to say.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
8 I have to say that I have nothing to inform you about. I'd just
9 like to thank you for your decision, and I am pleased to see that we're
10 going to start with the examination today. But I think Mr. Scott wanted
11 to say something.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
13 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour, and thank you, Counsel. Good
14 morning to Your Honours. Good morning to everyone in the courtroom.
15 Your Honour, I can give the Chamber the Prosecution's position on
16 the additional exhibits now, and I'm happy to say, perhaps especially in
17 light of some of the exchange in the written pleadings that were filed on
18 the other issue, the Prosecution has no objection to those. And as far
19 as the Prosecution is concerned, they can be added. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
21 We shall, therefore, bring General Petkovic into the
22 courtroom [as interpreted] -- bring him to the witness stand.
23 General, I hope your microphone is working. For the transcript,
24 I would like to greet you once again. I would like you to give us your
25 first name, last name, and date of birth, please.
1 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning to everybody
2 in the courtroom.
3 I'm Milivoj Petkovic. I was born on the 11th of October, 1949
4 in Sibenik, the Republic of Croatia
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Like I proceed with other
6 witnesses, I would like to know from you what your occupation was.
7 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, at present
8 I'm retired. Otherwise, I spent my whole working life as an army man,
9 and the last post was the chief inspector in the Army of the Republic of
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. General, have you
12 testified before a court of law on the events that unfolded in the former
14 and in what case?
15 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I testified
16 before this Tribunal in two cases, the first being the Blaskic trial, and
17 the second was the Kordic and Cerkez trial.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the Blaskic case, were you a
19 Prosecution witness, a Defence witness, or a witness of the Court?
20 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in both
21 cases I was a Court witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like you to read the
23 solemn declaration.
24 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I
25 will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: MILIVOJ PETKOVIC
2 [The witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, what I'm going to tell
6 you is going to be short, since it is only the third time that you are
7 taking the stand, so you know full well how all of this takes place.
8 Moreover, you have attended the proceedings in this courtroom for a
9 number of years now, so there is nothing new for you.
10 You will have to answer the questions put to you by your counsel,
11 Ms. Alaburic. After that, I believe I will put some questions to you.
12 Other Defence counsel will then put questions to you, and then the
13 Prosecutor, Mr. Prosecutor, I believe in this case, will cross-examine
14 you. Ms. Alaburic will undoubtedly take the floor again for her
15 redirect. This, all in all, should take a few weeks.
16 This is what I wanted to share with you, and I would like to
17 welcome you once again.
18 Ms. Alaburic, you have the floor.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, once
20 again. And, once again, good morning to you.
21 Once again, good morning to you all. Good morning to the
22 Prosecution, and particularly Mr. Scott. Good morning to everybody on
23 the Defence and everybody else who is with us today.
24 I would like to inform you at this point that the Defence of
25 General Petkovic, or, rather, my colleague Mr. Nicholas Stewart and
1 myself, will not be having any contacts with our client during his
2 testimony, not even during the examination-in-chief, and our
3 communication with General Petkovic will be reduced to technical matters,
4 if he needs a document or any other technical assistance. And in all
5 such -- if I do have any such communication, I shall inform the Trial
6 Chamber so that you know exactly what our contacts with the general have
7 been, if any.
8 Examination by Ms. Alaburic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General.
10 A. Good morning.
11 Q. Let's start off with some information that is pertinent from your
12 curriculum vitae. You know the procedure. I'm going to read that out,
13 and you're either going to confirm them, if they are correct, or say so
14 if they're not.
15 You said, General, that you were born on the 11th of October in
16 1949, and you were born in Sibenik in the Republic of Croatia
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. As far as your education is concerned, I think it's important for
19 the Trial Chamber to hear that you have -- you graduated from the
20 Pedagogical Gymnasium and then the Military Academy for the Land Army in
22 specialist training for missile and anti-armoured units in 1976. Next,
23 in 1979 you graduated from a training course for military personnel at a
24 military school in Sarajevo
25 Staff School
1 in three workshops on the work of NATO command and staff, and those
2 workshops were organised by retired officers of the United States Army.
3 General, is the information I've presented correct?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. The following information is important for your career.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, we've heard a witness
7 whose name I won't mention, because he was a protected witness. He told
8 us that he also underwent training with American generals. When he told
9 me that, I thought that it might be training initiated by the United
10 States of America
11 private organisation that had had former US officers to "sell,"
12 quote/unquote, a training course to all those people who wanted to attend
13 this course? This course you had in these three workshops, this was part
14 of what? Why was it organised?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it was organised at
16 the level of the two defence ministries, the Ministry of Defence of the
17 Republic of Croatia
19 General Vuono who headed it - offered its service all over the world.
20 But the contract wasn't made with the school directly but with the
21 ministry of each individual country, so that General Vuono and his team
22 worked in the Republic of Croatia
23 Guards Army and the units there, and the other was with superior
24 commands -- or, rather, the superior commands worked with the superior
25 levels of command and control, from brigadiers onwards, regardless of
1 whether they were commanders of brigades or whether they were in the
2 staff of the operative zone or in the Main Staff. That's how the groups
3 were formed. And this same group - let me just finish - for
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, this same group led by General Vuono, according to
5 the programme, it was called "Equip and Train," and after the Dayton
6 Agreement it provided services to officers in the Republic of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or now rather the Army of the Federation.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just to finish off with this
9 question, can you tell me on what date you started this training course
10 as part of the signature of an agreement between Croatia and the United
11 States of America
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the training course
13 in the Republic of Croatia
14 I said "1976." I meant 1996. That was when it started, with the lower
15 structures, that is to say, the units, and then the following year it was
16 continued at the command levels, according to a Ministry of Defence plan,
17 and the plan was adopted by the group. And I became part of it in 1996.
18 And since there were several subjects that were offered - you could
19 choose between several subjects - I chose three relating to the staff
20 command and NATO structures and so on and so forth, and that went on for
21 seven or, rather, ten days.
22 Perhaps General Praljak can put the date right.
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I don't want to say
24 anything leading, but I think that General Petkovic has said "1996"
25 twice, so I'd like him to think again about when the general started
1 working in Croatia
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I started in 1996. They started in
3 1994. So 1994 was the beginning, and various structures were operating,
4 and I became part of that in 1996, in the latter part. There were others
5 after me, but I thought it was sufficient to complete that part.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I asked you a question about
7 the date, it was because it was important, if I asked you a question
8 about the date.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] The translation hadn't been
10 completed, and, General Petkovic, you are speaking extremely fast. Could
11 you slow down, please? The interpreters would be very grateful if you
12 would slow down, please.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, please slow
15 What I wanted to say is this: If I put this question about the
16 date, it is because it is important. And I am discovering that this
17 training started in 1994. You attended in 1996, but the training course
18 was actually organised in 1994. Was this training organised in 1994,
19 when the conflict still existed between the HVO and the ABiH?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in 1994 I did not
21 attend that training course. On the 5th of August, 1994, I left the HVO,
22 and the first time I attended the course was in 1996.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question. I'm not
24 going to dwell on this. Maybe you are unable to answer the question. If
25 that's the case, please let us know.
1 When you started your course in 1996, which was an official
2 course since it was part of an agreement between two governments, as far
3 as you know, did the US
4 the course or did they accept all those people who signed up for the
5 training course, without the Americans selecting anyone?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the choice was made
7 by the representatives of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of
9 only at the end. They said we didn't need the first part, the part of
10 the course which was taught at lower levels. So the Republic of
12 the development plan for the Personnel Department and each individual
13 officer, they selected the people to attend those courses.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine, thank you.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. General, now a few words about your career.
17 You became employed in the Yugoslav People's Army, and you were
18 in Slovenia
19 transferred to Zadar, and you were at the Military Academy
20 1979 to 1991, and you worked there dealing with the training of artillery
21 cadres. Your last rank in the Yugoslav People's Army was a
22 lieutenant-colonel. You left the JNA in July 1991, and on the 1st of
23 August, 1991, on the basis of a decision terminating your service, the
24 status of officer of the JNA was equally terminated officially. You next
25 joined the Croatian Army, and you co-operated with the Croatian Army
1 since the 26th of July as a volunteer. Yes, July. And we said on the
2 1st of August, 1991, you officially left the JNA, and you officially
3 became a commander for the defence of Sibenik, first of all, on the basis
4 of a contract with the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of
6 with the Republic of Croatia
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat the date, please.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. On the 15th of November, 1991, you were deployed to the Command
10 of the Split Operative Zone in the Operations Department or for
11 Operational Affairs. And on the 14th of April, 1992, you were deployed
12 to Grude, to Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the Forward Command Post of the
13 Southern Front, as deputy commander to Janko Bobetko. And from that time
14 onwards, on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you spent until the 24th
15 of July, 1993, as chief of the Main Staff of the HVO. And after that
16 period, until the 9th of November, 1993, you were deputy commander of the
17 Main Staff of the HVO, that is to say, General Praljak. And after that,
18 from the 9th of November, 1993, until the 26th of April, 1994, you were
19 deputy chief of the HVO Main Staff, Ante Roso. And from the 26th of
20 April, 1994, to the 5th of August, 1994
21 of the HVO.
22 At that time, you left Bosnia-Herzegovina to return to the
23 Croatian Army. And from the 1st of November, 1994, you were deployed as
24 chief of staff of the Military District of Osijek. And six months later,
25 you were transferred as deputy commander of the Osijek Military District.
1 After that, from the 23rd of March, 1996, to the 3rd of January, 2003
2 you were commander of the Military District of Ston, with its
3 headquarters in Dubrovnik
4 3rd of January, 2003, until April of that same year, you were the chief
5 inspector of defence of the Republic of Croatia
6 2004 as colonel of the Croatian Army. That was your last rank.
7 Is that information correct, General?
8 A. Yes, it is. Perhaps I could make a correction. I officially
9 left the JNA on the 1st of August. That's when I received my papers from
10 the JNA. The fact that I left several days before was their goodwill to
11 allow me to leave the barracks. They said, Leave the barracks and you
12 can wait for your papers to arrive. So although I was still in the JNA
13 for a few days, I wasn't actually working, and that was a sort of gift
14 from them.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Let me just correct the
16 transcript, because the last rank you held in the army was
17 colonel-general of the Croatian Army. Yes, that's fine now, thank you.
18 Q. Tell me, General - you have corrected me - when we discussed your
19 CV, you mentioned that you left the JNA based on an official decision.
20 What was the reason for your insistence on the paperwork to be done in
21 accordance with the rules?
22 A. Your Honours, I had the right to leave the JNA after eight years
23 of service because my contract that I signed with them only stipulated
24 that I stay twice the length of my military training or education, and
25 that only lasted four years. So after eight years, I could have applied
1 to be discharged, but I held out until 1991. That was the year when
4 Training Centre in which I served, on the 22nd of June started relocating
5 some of its elements outside the Zadar Garrison for reasons of security,
6 as they said. And then the School of Reserve
7 returned, for security reasons was relocated to the Benkovac Garrison,
8 which was the center of the rebellion in Croatia. You can imagine, in
9 Zadar, a predominantly Croatian city, the army feels unsafe and moves to
10 Benkovac. Other elements of the Training Centre were preparing to
11 relocate to Sarajevo
12 unfeasible, Belgrade
13 It became clear to me that, in practice, there were no real
14 negotiations about the reorganisation of Croatia. Being a Croat and born
15 in Croatia
16 leave Croatia
17 continue living there and make a living that way as then already things
18 started happening that shocked the Croatian public, such as the events at
19 Plitvice, where allegedly rebel Serbs who actually came out of JNA APCs
20 attacked the police force of Croatia
21 these incidents, there was the JNA, because it is obvious from the
22 footage made that these weren't Serb volunteers or rebel Serbs, but
23 rather the JNA.
24 So in Zadar, we raised the question why the railroad lines out of
25 Benkovac, Knin, Gracac, Zagreb
1 unblock that important railroad line in Croatia. The reply we received
2 was that it wasn't for us to worry about that, that there was a general
3 staff, the so-called SSNO, who was monitoring the situation and would
4 take adequate steps. In the meantime --
5 Q. General, I just want to ask you to cut short this part because
6 we'll run out of time.
7 A. All right. So, basically, the JNA in the Zadar Garrison was
8 planned to leave Zadar and move out of Croatia, and that didn't suit me.
9 I was born neither in Serbia
11 want to run away, which some people had done, and there was a
12 recommendation by the federal secretary for everybody to leave who felt
13 like that, and that's what I did. I was even escorted by my commander to
14 the gate.
15 Q. Tell us, General, until that time, until the late 1980s, were you
16 satisfied with your life and work in the JNA?
17 A. Your Honours, yes, I certainly was. The salary wasn't high, but
18 the salaries were still higher than those paid out in the private or
19 social-owned economy. My wife -- or, rather, I even was allotted an
20 apartment within three months. Others had to wait for years. My career
21 advanced rapidly. So I was, all in all, satisfied, but the time came
22 when I had to leave the JNA, which became what it became at that time.
23 Q. You told us, General, that in 2003 you were appointed chief
24 inspector of defence of the Republic of Croatia
25 promotion or not? Was it an advancement in your military career or
1 something else?
2 A. With regard to everything I had gone through in Croatia
3 that time, it was an advancement in my career. Having said that, I would
4 like to add that I left the HVO as chief of main staff of an army, that
5 was my title, and I returned to the Croatian Army, to zone of operations,
6 as a third man there, because they said to me, Well, you'll be given the
7 post of operations officer, and your next post will be that of a staff
8 officer. Take it or leave it. I accepted. And where I had left off in
9 the Croatian Army, that's the same level at which I started again after
10 this interval.
11 Q. Who was the minister of defence at that time, General?
12 A. It was Mr. Gojko Susak.
13 Q. No, in 2003.
14 A. It was Ms. -- I'm stalled.
15 Q. Zeljka Antunovic?
16 A. Yes, Zeljka Antunovic, a member of the SDP. Before her, it was
17 Mr. Rados, who was also from the coalition government.
18 Q. "SDP
19 A. Yes, that's what they say.
20 Q. Tell us, who was president of Croatia at that time in 2003?
21 A. Mr. Stipe Mesic. He still has a few days left and then he'll be
23 Q. Tell us, General, do you consider yourself a professional
25 A. I most certainly do, because I have everything it takes to be a
1 professional soldier.
2 Q. Tell us your personal view, General. Does the quality of work
3 of -- or can the quality of work of a professional soldier depend on the
4 programme of the ruling party? Or, in other words, you will be a good
5 soldier/officer if the Christian democrats are in power, but you will be
6 less good if the social democrats are in power? What do you say to that?
7 A. Your Honours, the quality of your work only depends on what you
8 know and how you go about your work. Another issue is whether the party
9 that is in power at the time appreciates it appropriately. There were
10 instances of people being selected by computer to retire because there
11 was a down-sizing process in place in Croatia that included officers,
12 NCOs, and soldiers. I must add that the political suitability also
13 played a role in that respect, and that is how the computer recognised
14 them. And when I say "computer," that's, of course, a metaphor.
15 Q. Speaking from the point of view of a professional soldier, should
16 he go about his job regardless of who is in power or will he behave
17 differently depending on that element?
18 A. There can be no difference. We all know what it means to be a
19 professional, and in your working hours you must go about your job
20 professionally, irrespective of who is in power. Another issue is how
21 that will be appreciated, because the criteria can be different, you
23 Q. Tell us, General, what's your opinion? Should the objectives of
24 an army be set by the civilian authorities or can the army, itself,
25 define the reasons of its existence and the objectives of its actions?
1 A. Your Honours, it is clear that these objectives are set by
2 politics rather than the military. The military must implement these
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, regarding where you
5 were positioned, I have two questions to ask you. The first one is the
7 When you were within the JNA, were you a member of the Yugoslav
8 Communist Party?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I joined the
10 League of Communists during the second year of military academy. And to
11 be honest, when I left the JNA I forgot to leave the League of
12 Communists, but probably when I left the army I probably automatically
13 ceased to be a member of that organisation. But throughout my army
14 career, except for the two years at the beginning of my training, I was a
15 member of the League of Communists; that is, 21 years in all.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And when you were a member of
17 the League of Communists, was it because it matched your ideals, or did
18 you have to become a member if you wanted to reach higher ranks? In
19 other words, was it not possible to reach higher ranks if you were not a
20 member of the League of Communists, so did you join for that reason, or
21 did you join because of ideological reasons?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, let me explain.
23 When you are admitted to a military academy, they start
24 monitoring you, they say, You're studying well, and so on, and the party
25 is present in your platoon, your company, in your generation. It's
1 there. You cannot do anything without the party being involved. Once
2 you complete a training that lasts for a month, it is normal to analyse
3 that training subsequently, and the military structures take part in
4 that, but there's also the party that has its say and points out how
5 party members fared in that training and how they influenced others, who
6 were not party members, to go about their duties and responsibilities.
7 So you couldn't make a single move in your unit without the party
8 being present. So sometimes there were the three levels talking about
9 the same thing; the military collective, then the command structure of
10 that collective, and the party, and there was a fourth. That was the
12 military schools. So there were two political structures that also had
13 its say about all of us.
14 For example, toward the end of my first year in military school,
15 the party also assessed my performance, what I could have done better, or
16 worse, or whatever. So the party was present everywhere, and what -- and
17 I want to say something else, too.
18 It was essential to your career to be a party member, so people
19 considered that -- well, that party sanctions are a more serious
20 impediment to your advancement than disciplinary punishment. If you were
21 thrown out of the party, you could remain in the JNA, but you wouldn't be
22 promoted for 50 years, and they would find you a position somewhere out
23 of the way. So the party basically determined your development and your
24 advancement. You couldn't become a division commander without being a
25 member of the League of Communists, or even battalion commander. You
1 could be company command, because they would think, Well, he's still
2 young, he still has time to join the party. But at the meetings of that
3 organisation, they would try to induce you to join.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a second question to put
5 to you.
6 When you left the HVO, you said that you went back to the
7 Croatian Army, and you were the third man or number three in an operative
8 zone. And I believe I understood, but perhaps I'm wrong. Through what
9 you said, I had the feeling that, in a way, you were rather disappointed.
10 Perhaps you found that given that you had a very high rank within the
11 HVO, you could have expected to have a similar rank or position, whereas,
12 in fact, you were only number three. And you also specified that at the
13 time, the minister of defence was Mr. Susak.
14 Could you perhaps tell me if this appointment did not take into
15 account the role you had within the HVO? Given that you were a volunteer
16 within the HVO, the Croatian Army, did it have to take this on board?
17 Was that some sort of a sanction, or was there any other reason for this
18 appointment? Could you perhaps tell us what is your personal opinion as
19 to why you were appointed at that position?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wouldn't say that
21 it was any sort of punishment or me being ignored. At that time, Croatia
22 had a lot of its own commanders and generals who had been in war in
24 irrespective of the fact that I'd been the chief of the Main Staff there,
25 to have people removed because of me. I was very glad that neither the
1 minister of defence nor the chief of staff made such moves, although I
2 had been promised that I would be in charge of military education. That
3 was one of the options. But there was a person there who had two years
4 until retirement, after having worked there for three or four years, and
5 they didn't want to eliminate them, and that was okay. I accepted the
6 post of the chief of staff in the Military District Osijek because I'd
7 been told how the professional developments would go there.
8 My first deputy soon joined the Office of the President of the
9 Republic, and there were also announcements that the commander would also
10 leave and join the Ministry of Defence. So within a very short period of
11 time, I would become the commander of the military region. However, it
12 didn't happen that way. The commander stayed on a bit longer, and in the
13 meantime the Croatian Army was reorganised and a new military district
14 was set up in the south of Croatia
15 and what was offered to me was either to wait for the commander in Osijek
16 to be reassigned and then for me to take his position, or I was offered
17 to go to Dubrovnik
18 and in Dubrovnik
19 And then after seven years, due to a new reorganisation of the
20 Croatian Army, I closed the military district. And I hold the record in
21 those terms, because I was a military district commander for seven years.
22 I didn't object to being the commander of that district, because
24 had peace and quiet over there. And at the end of the day, when I was
25 offered that position -- or, rather, when I was offered to become the
1 inspector of defence, I had two or three more years before retirement,
2 and that's why I accepted that position. And I remained in the position
3 until I was transferred to Scheveningen, to the Detention Unit, and here
4 I don't hold any function or positions, as you know.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Ms. Alaburic, please proceed.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. General, what is your position? In a well-organised society, do
9 civilian authorities exert control over the military?
10 A. The civilian authorities do control the military. I -- as the
11 chief inspector of defence in the Republic of Croatia
12 subordinated to the supreme commander. I was subordinated to the
13 minister of defence, and the minister of defence is a member of the
14 Government of the Republic of Croatia
15 authorities, which means I was not subordinated to the supreme commander
16 and I didn't fall under the category of those who were members of the
17 armed forces. I was in charge of a department that, as a whole, was a
18 department of the Government of the Republic of Croatia
19 department which controlled the armed forces in Croatia.
20 Q. Still, if we are trying to define the position that applies to
21 other social communities, irrespective of the concrete situation in
23 authorities should, indeed, control the military?
24 A. Absolutely. It would be bad if it was the other way around or if
25 the army controlled itself. That army would be good for nothing. Or far
1 be it from anybody for the military to control the civilian authorities.
2 That would be bad.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I listened carefully
4 to the question put to you, and I listened even more carefully to your
5 response. If I understand correctly, you're saying that the Ministry of
6 Defence in Croatia
7 if there were any military actions, they would be under the remit of
8 political authorities.
9 At the time of the events that unfolded that are mentioned in the
10 indictment, the president was Mr. Tudjman, army general but also
11 president of the Republic of Croatia
12 may have done and everything that the HV may have done has always been,
13 as far as you are concerned, controlled by the civilian political
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the supreme commander
16 of the army has its authorities within the system of control and command,
17 and you can't control him, as such. However, all the other segments in
18 the army are under the control of the civilian authorities. In Croatia
19 for example, the government issued a decision on the reduction of the
20 strength of the military. It was not the commander -- the supreme
21 commander who issued that decision. It was the Croatian government that
22 took into account its budgetary constraints and issued a decision for the
23 Croatian Army to be reduced firstly by 30 per cent, then in the second
24 period by a further 20 per cent. Therefore, a decision on the reduction
25 in numbers was issued by the Ministry of Defence, and the Main Staff was
1 just the operational segment that had to respect dead-lines and implement
2 the decision on the reduction of the strength of the Croatian Army.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me stream-line my question.
4 It is an important question, in my view. And every time I put a
5 question, remember, it is always an important question after four years
6 of trial.
7 If the Croatian Army intervened in the Republic of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, does this mean, according to you, that this falls
9 within the exclusive competence of the supreme commander, namely, at the
10 time President Tudjman, or does this have to be approved by the civilian
11 authorities, either the government, parliament, or the people, through
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll try and be even
14 more careful in answering your question.
15 The Croatian Army, with all of its elements that it had, did not
16 intervene in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which means that it didn't send its
17 formations as they existed and as they were. It never established a
18 command structure that would have been in charge of all that. The
19 Croatian Army at first, which was also the time when I joined, sent a
20 group of officers to organise, prepare, and deploy forces which existed
21 in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time. During the war,
22 there were some elements that belonged to the Croatian Army, but they
23 were volunteers. The chain of command finished with the Main Staff of
24 the Croatian Defence Council. Their command chain certainly did not go
25 to the nearest operative command in Croatia or even the central command
1 in Zagreb
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You must have noticed that when
3 I put my question, I started off by saying "if," so this was a
4 hypothetical question. And you answered by saying, if I have understood
5 your answer correctly, you ascertain that the Croatian Army did not
6 intervene in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is what you're
7 saying, isn't it?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's exactly what I said,
9 because when I think about the Croatian Army, I think about the
10 organisational form, with all the elements belonging to it. For me, the
11 organisational structure of the Croatian Army are not 100 or 150 men that
12 arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a majority of them were -- or
13 99 per cent were nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina who had fought in
15 thing, to my mind, than when we say Croatia
16 Let me tell you, in the month of October, we had 10.000
17 something -- I don't know the exact number. We had about 10.000 soldiers
18 who hailed from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were
19 absent for a reason, because they still had their status and there is
20 only three in the Croatian military. If the HVO had been more active,
21 they could have had two or three more brigades composed of such troops of
22 volunteers. So when we say "the Croatian Army," then one has to take
23 into account a system that is capable of performing a task, a system
24 which has its head and a tail, it has its organisation in the command
1 Since we have touched upon that, let me tell you that those
2 elements that found themselves around the borders between
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia
4 because they opposed an army that would have consisted a whole in the
5 Republic of Croatia
6 OG-2 of the JNA under the command of General Strugar, and in Herzegovina
7 the commander of one part was General Perisic, and in Croatia from
9 So that was one military, a military that had taken an operative
10 and strategic area and included Bosnia and Croatia
11 carried out maneuvers and attacks against the territory of the Republic
12 of Croatia
13 cross over the border into the territory that belonged to the Republic of
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina, quite justifiably so, but it was not at the very
15 beginning. It was only from November 1991. And then, on the 6th of
16 December, 1991, when the Croatian Army finally took some 15 kilometres of
17 the front-line south of Stolac, the so-called Stolovi, and then we called
18 that area "TG-2," you will remember that, it was only then that the JNA
19 forces did not manage to fool the defence of the Republic of Croatia
20 which, up to then, exclusively defended itself in a narrow part of the
21 Republic of Croatia
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was attacked by the forces of the JNA. And it was
23 only when somebody realised that that territory of defence had to be
24 extended 10 kilometres deeper into Herzegovina because those were the
25 same forces, both in Croatia
1 was stopped. They didn't manage to take Neum. They were stuck there for
2 several months. And then in 1992, they were pushed back towards
4 away to the territory of the then Yugoslavia
5 I believe that somebody else will ask me about that. I certainly
6 hope so.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Rest assured, there will be
8 other questions. Thank you for your answer, anyway, which, unless I'm
9 mistaken, enables me to understand that you are saying that the Croatian
10 Army intervened on a distance of 10 kilometres because of the action
11 conducted by the JNA, but that on the 6th of December, 1991 - you are
12 very precise - one should consider that the Croatian Army put an end to
13 its action and did not take part in a military action in the Republic of
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which you define by giving us all its components.
15 Have I summed up your position adequately?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on the 6th of
17 December, the Croatian Army stopped the advancement of the JNA from
18 Stolac across a sector called "Stolovi," in the direction of Metkovic and
19 the Neretva Valley
20 to Neum, which means that on the 6th of December the JNA forces were
21 finally stopped on that line and never again after that.
22 Not only did they not cross that line, but also in the month of
23 May 1992, the Croatian Army launched an offensive to push the JNA forces
24 towards the very south of the Republic of Croatia
25 of October - I believe that I am not mistaken about the date - the
1 international community intervened. Your fellow countryman
2 General Morillon conducted the negotiations between General Strugar and
3 General Bobetko on the Invincible, and it was then agreed that the JNA
4 would be given a possibility to retreat with dignity, that the Croatian
5 Army would stop its advancement and allow them to retreat.
6 And then the international community sent military observers on
7 the border with Montenegro
8 peninsula of Prevlaka
9 arrived in 1996, to co-operate with the military observers. Truth be
10 told, they came to me, to my command post. I couldn't go to their
11 command post, because their command post was in the area which was under
12 the UN mandate, and not a single Croatian soldier, including generals,
13 was allowed to go to that territory.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you know, to be very
15 specific, on what date exactly did the HV, with its flags and banners and
16 car license plates and soldiers, crossed over the border again of the
17 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina? On what date, exactly?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Croatian Army, that was
19 sometime at the end of November 1991, after the fall of Slano, a place
20 called Slano, and then Smokovljani and Visocani - it could not be
21 defended in that narrow part because there were attacks from the flank -
22 put part of its forces, let's say some 10 kilometres away from its
23 border, to cover the area towards Stolac because the JNA was attacking
24 from that axis.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, you're a specialist,
1 and my questions are extremely specific. Try to answer my questions very
3 My question was as follows: According to you, on what date,
4 exactly, did the HV cross over the border again of the Republic of Bosnia
5 and Herzegovina
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I'll tell you is this: In the
7 second half of November -- now, what date it was exactly, I don't know,
8 but it was 1991 -- I can't give you an exact date. That's the most I can
9 do, because on the 15th of November I arrived in the Split Operative
10 Zone, and then several days later -- but, anyway, on the 16th I came out
11 onto the area where the JNA forces were stopped.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I have understood what you
13 are saying, on the 1st of January, 1992 -- I'm just taking this date
14 randomly. On the 1st of January, 1992, you state that in the Republic of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina, within its boundaries as part of the Yugoslav
16 Federation, there wasn't a single soldier of the Republic of Croatia
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, that's not what I said. What I
19 said is this: In that southern part in the second half of November 1991,
20 it entered, and it stayed there right up until May 1992, when it moved
21 from those positions towards the JNA and towards Dubrovnik to liberate
22 the area. And then they penetrated 300 metres or 1 kilometre, depending
23 on the configuration of the terrain, how far in depth they went, to allow
24 them to stop the attacks coming from Eastern Herzegovina, or, rather, it
25 was Bosnia and Herzegovina, because the Croatian Army, as it attacked
1 along the borders, suffered onslaughts from the Serbian Army and the JNA
2 until it withdrew from the flanks from Bosnia-Herzegovina. So that's how
3 it had to position itself, and that's what General Beneta said, too. He
4 was in that region along Popovo Polje right up until the hinterland of
6 And now the Serb side always insisted on the Croatian Army
7 withdrawing from that part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and so on the 6th of
8 April, 1993, there were negotiations in Sarajevo, and the three
9 commanders from Bosnia
10 on behalf of the Croatian Army to negotiate with Mladic, and then he
11 said, When you withdraw from there, we will withdraw, too, from the 100
12 metres or 200 or 300 metres, because it's a narrow belt down there.
13 So that's what happened, and that's how it stayed right up
14 until -- well, I left the area, myself, by the Dayton Agreements. And
15 then after the Dayton Accords, in that area, which is where the Croatian
16 Army was, soldiers of the Croatian Defence Council entered because they
17 were now the legal army in Bosnia and Herzegovina. So it's this
18 Popovo Polje area that was taken over by the soldiers of the HVO, and in
19 that way the Army of the Republic of Croatia
20 of the territory.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Petkovic --
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] With your permission, I'd just
23 like to correct the transcript to avoid any misunderstandings.
General, what was interpreted was that you stayed until Dayton
25 We're not quite clear.
1 Q. When you mentioned the Dayton Accords, how did you link the
2 Dayton Accords up?
3 A. The Croatian Army, in that border belt towards Dubrovnik, that is
4 to say, this very narrow belt towards Dubrovnik
5 remained there at positions which entered into Bosnia-Herzegovina for a
6 bit until the Dayton Accords, up to the Dayton Accords, because then the
7 army of the Croatian Defence Council was sent into the area, which was
8 then the legal army of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the
9 Croatian Army left. So it was no longer down there; it was just along
10 its border.
11 And let me tell you that in 1996, in June, I, as the commander,
12 was -- demobilised the last 1.000 soldiers of the Croatian Army and
13 handed over the border to MUP.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, thanks for
15 your answers, which are now very specific.
16 I think I understand that the Croatian Army stayed in a border
17 area which was approximately 100 to 200 or 300 metres long. We're not
18 going to measure this. The army remained in this border area until the
20 left the area and got replaced by the HVO; is this right?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right. And I think that
22 after that, it was the MUP forces that arrived, because I met one of us
23 here. It was Valentin Coric, actually. He was the chief of MUP of that
24 district. And from the other side of the border, he deployed the forces
25 of the civilian police there, so that the problem was definitely solved
1 there, the civilian police on the Croatian side and the civilian police
2 on the side of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Therefore, until the
4 Dayton Accords, the international community knew that you were there in
5 this border area, and it tried, together with the Serbs and the Muslims,
6 to settle this issue. But clearly this issue was only settled after the
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, you couldn't
9 have any guarantees from the Army of Republika Srpska. That was the
10 situation. You couldn't expect any guarantees from them as to what they
11 would do at any point in time, because you just had the elevation from
12 which you were defending yourselves, and if you left those positions you
13 were in the sea. There was no depth, nothing. And let me just tell you
14 of one particular detail.
15 When the Yugoslav Army, in mid-October 1992, had to pull out
16 pursuant to an agreement, then they thought up something, and that was
17 that the Army of Republika Srpska should enter the region they had to
18 leave, regardless of the agreement confirmed by General Morillon, so --
19 and that was the game they were playing. However, General Bobetko saw
20 through that and arrived at that part of the border before them. And
21 I think that they were pushed back towards Trebinje. And then the JNA
22 forces and volunteers from Serbia
23 Bileca area, because had they lost the sea belt, they wanted to go back
24 to the Neretva River
25 Operation Bura, but nobody says why that was undertaken.
1 Now, the volunteer forces from Serbia-Montenegro were transferred
2 to the Eastern Herzegovina region to try and get back to the
3 Neretva River Valley
4 they had seized the territory of the Republic of Croatia
5 this Operation Bura that we keep mentioning had to be undertaken, to
6 attack the concentration of these forces that had prepared to move
7 forward, and that's when these forces were routed. The volunteer forces
8 were very small in number in Eastern Herzegovina, anyway.
9 I thought I was speaking slowly.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Now, General, you see how it's very difficult to speak slowly.
12 Now, to go back to General Antonetti's [as interpreted] question,
13 does that mean that along that border belt of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
14 Croatian Army was there after the Washington Agreement was signed? Is
15 that what that means?
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A correction to the transcript.
18 I'm not a general. I'd like this to be corrected.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was told that I did
20 not make a mistake, but I apologise if I misspoke anyway.
21 Q. So it was after the Washington Agreements. Now, the presence of
22 the Croatian Army in that border belt of Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 Muslim side of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was that a problem of
24 any kind for them?
25 A. No, Your Honours, it was no problem at all. If you look at
1 Sefer Halilovic's directive, then we can see that he wished to tie in the
2 forces of the army in Herzegovina
4 and Trebinje, and in the western parts against -- towards Livno and
5 Grahovo. And in his directive, he is tying in the forces as his
6 right-hand neighbour, the forces of Croatia, and is counting on their
7 support and reinforcement to take control of the Nevesinje, Bileca, and
8 Trebinje area. That is what the directive was for the defence of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We've seen that directive here in the courtroom, and
10 we studied it. But he referred to the Agreement on Friendship and
11 Co-operation for the two neighbouring countries.
12 Q. Tell us now, please, General, give us the date of the document,
13 Sefer Halilovic's directive for defence. What date was that?
14 A. I think it was September 1992. I can't remember the exact date,
15 but we can take a look at it on the document and see.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] For the record, I'm going to say
17 it's 4D1240. That's the document number. It's not in your binder. The
18 date of the document is the 10th of September, 1992, and it has the state
19 of a sovereign exhibit.
20 Q. General, you also mention the Agreement on Friendship and
21 Co-operation. Now, can you tell us what that agreement was? What kind
22 of document was that, and when was the agreement reached and signed?
23 A. The agreement was signed in July 1992. Whether it was the 21st
24 of July, I'm not quite sure, 1992, as an inter-state agreement between
25 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 before that notes of goodwill -- of an intention of goodwill were
2 exchanged, because Mr. Izetbegovic couldn't leave Sarajevo at the time,
3 and this was the first time he left going to Zagreb to sign the Agreement
4 on Friendship and Co-operation.
5 And I think that in point 8 of that agreement, it talks about a
6 joint enemy and an attack on Croatia
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and there's mention of co-operation along the border
8 between the two countries. And it was on the basis of this agreement
9 that I became a member of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
10 HVO was recognised as a component part of the armed forces of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That was the position.
12 Q. Well, we'll deal with that in due course. But one more question
13 to you, General, as a professional soldier.
14 For a professional soldier, where does -- at what point do you
15 have the right to refuse to carry out an order? Where is that line
17 A. At all times, if in complying I would be consciously committing a
18 crime, and if the person who was conscious of his order being a crime,
19 the person issuing it, and if I am conscious of the fact that if I were
20 to carry out the order, I would be committing a crime.
21 Q. You've given us a lot of elements there, and it is a subject for
22 a more extensive discussion, I would say. Perhaps we'll do that on some
23 other occasion, but let's start off with the first topic that we decided
24 to discuss during your testimony, and that is your arrival in
1 Yes. My colleagues tell me it's time for the break, so perhaps
2 this is a good moment to take the break.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Since you are going to address
4 this topic, we shall have the break now, a 20-minute break.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Court is back in session.
8 Ms. Alaburic, you have the floor.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. General, we have so far used up 27 minutes, so I would like to
11 ask you to be concise, and I also remind you to speak slowly because it
12 would be a shame for the transcript not to record everything you said.
13 To the question of Judge Antonetti, you have explained rather
14 extensively the circumstances of your arrival in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
15 which is our following topic. I believe that we can start with a map
16 right away, because that will be easiest.
17 I would like to call document 4D2024. I don't know whether you
18 have my binders next to you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, when there is a
20 new document, I've just discovered that we received three binders, but
21 when there is a new document which hasn't been admitted, please tell us.
22 Please say that it's a new document, a new exhibit, and in that case
23 I can look more closely at those documents.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we always mark the
25 documents in your binders with stickers in two colours, yellow and
1 orange, yellow for the documents that are not exhibits, orange for those
2 that are. I believe it will be clear, and I hope no mistakes have been
3 made. Moreover, in the lower half of the document, you will see a mark
4 showing the status of the document.
5 Q. General, can you see the documents in front of you?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You're looking at it on the screen. Tell us, General, do you
8 know this map?
9 A. Yes, Your Honours, I know this map. I drew it, personally.
10 Q. Tell us, General, what exactly does this map show?
11 A. Your Honours, in this map I wanted to show you the connection
12 between that part of the Republic of Croatia
13 operations is, with the free area of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So if you
14 allow, I can comment what I have marked.
15 Q. General, let us try and not describe the map, because it is
16 all -- all markings are clearly explained. This southern part of
18 the HV had to enter BiH territory in order to defend Croatian territory.
19 Show us which territory we are talking about.
20 Perhaps we can enable the general to mark on the map.
21 A. I don't know if you can see it. I'll mark it blue and place a
22 "1" next to it [marks]. So this red stretch next to this blue marking is
23 the southern part of Croatia
24 the VRS from Bosnia-Herzegovina. This round spot here [indicates] is the
25 city of Dubrovnik
1 JNA. To the west - it isn't clearly visible, though - there's the line
2 that the JNA and the VRS has been able to reach. That is close to Neum.
3 That is the part of Bosnia-Herzegovina that is on the sea, and here
4 there's the JNA and the VRS.
5 Q. Please place a number 2 next to the line where the JNA and the
6 VRS were stopped.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. Now explain to us, General, when we say in this courtroom that
9 this territory of Southern Croatia and the neighbouring area in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was not occupied, constitute a single theatre
11 of war, what does that mean? And please circle it.
12 A. [Marks]. This is the single theatre of war in which Operative
13 Group 2 of the Army of Yugoslavia acted. It included the entire area of
14 Eastern Herzegovina
15 were deployed, and the occupied part of the Republic of Croatia
16 a hole in which one force is active, and that is the JNA. It's the same
17 forces in Croatia
18 single command, and this is called an operational strategic territory.
19 The JNA called it "theatre of war." And there was the Groups of
20 Operations number 2 with the Belgrade Corps, the Titograd Corps, and -- I
21 don't need to enumerate them.
22 Q. In answering to Judge Antonetti's question, you said, General,
23 that the Croatian Army stopped the onslaught of the JNA in late 1991.
24 You mentioned the month of December in 1991. Is that the time when the
25 events you marked with a number 2 happened?
1 A. Yes. I placed a number 2 next to it. I can also add, although
2 it will be difficult to see, I can add an arrow above the number 2. This
3 is the line where the offensive of the JNA was stopped [marks]. They
4 were advancing on Croatian territory, and there were also forces from
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina that attacked Croatian territory.
6 Q. When you are saying "from the flanks," please show this with
7 arrows, and put a number 3 next to them.
8 A. [Marks]
9 Q. So the number 3 represents attacks from the flanks by the JNA and
10 the Serbian forces from Bosnia-Herzegovina against the Croatian
12 A. Yes, from BiH territory.
13 Q. General, please place today's date on this map. It is the 11th
14 of February, 2010.
15 A. [Marks]
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And I would like an IC number.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, in order to avoid that
18 this document is rejected, you drew this map with colours, et cetera.
19 This corresponds to the state of play exactly when; which month, which
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this situation, I
22 will mark here [marks], is that of the 6th of December, 1991.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. When I look at this
24 map, and if I'm mistaken, please correct me - you're free to do so - if I
25 understand correctly, in December 1991 the JNA, in the area of the
1 Operative Group 2, was launching an action aiming at occupying the
2 entirety of the area circled in blue, with an added intention to seize
4 This would mean that if there had been successful, militarily speaking,
5 the entirety of this area as well as the coastal area would have been
6 under the control and the influence of the JNA, and as a result of this
7 part of the Republic of Croatia
8 especially the coastal area; is that correct?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you're right, Your Honour.
10 Let me just add that in this situation as shown here, the JNA forces
11 reached the Neretva and also controlled the eastern part of the city of
12 Mostar. I may have drawn the line off the River Neretva. So they were
13 on the banks of the Neretva. They held the east of Mostar and the
14 southern part of Croatia
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, General Praljak, I believe
16 it would be better for you not to intervene because we have
17 General Petkovic testifying here, and any clarification or any changes
18 can be done during the cross-examination by the Defence team of
19 General Praljak, unless there is really a mistake. But I don't believe
20 that is the case.
21 So, Ms. Alaburic -- just a second. My colleague wants to take
22 the floor.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Petkovic, I am still a little bit confused,
24 because you have shown this map and commented on it, and it is supposed
25 to be a view of a specific point in time, 6 December 1991. Now, as the
1 map is drawn, the yellow part, which is South-Eastern Herceg-Bosna, and
2 the coastal part, which is in pink, according to the legend, are areas
3 already occupied by Serb forces. On the other hand, you have put two
4 arrows pointing roughly in a south-western direction. But I do not
5 understand. If that territory along the coast is already occupied by
6 Serbs and the VRS, why should there be any operations planned? Perhaps
7 you can clarify.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was requested to
9 show the directions of the succession of advancement. When the
10 conquering of the south of Croatia
11 operations began simultaneously here from this part and from up there,
12 and that's how it went on until the 6th of December, 1991, when the
13 entire area became a single occupied whole. Certainly, at that moment
14 there was -- there were no more operations from the flanks.
15 In early October 1991, it started -- attacks started from the
16 south and from the flanks. On this day stated here, the entire area is
17 controlled by the JNA, including the territory of Croatia
18 the area in Bosnia-Herzegovina was controlled by the VRS because the JNA,
19 due to a Security Council resolution, started pulling out of that
20 territory in 1992.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Just to make sure that you actually
22 confirm my conception, it is not entirely correct to put the date "6/12"
23 for this whole map, because what the -- the arrows marked as number 3
24 refer to a previous period when they were still fighting to get to the
25 coast. Is that correct?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. This started in
4 mid-October 1991. There was an attack from the flank, followed by the
5 next one, and then another attack. And then it all stopped, the attacks
6 were stopped.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you want an IC
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just a few more
10 words about the map before we do that.
11 Q. General, let's be very precise. The date refers to the situation
12 as it was on the territory of the Republic of Croatia
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. On that day, did this territory of the Republic of Croatia
15 is marked by pink, was it occupied by the JNA and the Serb force?
16 A. Yes, it was.
17 Q. On that date, the 6th of December, 1991, the Republic of Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina
20 A. Yes, it was an integral state in Yugoslavia. I did not draw any
21 occupied territories. I drew something that, in military terms, is
22 called the theatre of war.
23 Q. If we look at the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina alone, and if
24 we look at the territory which is coloured orange, and the rest of the
25 territory, which is not coloured, for which you said that it was a free
1 territory, what could one say about such a division of Bosnia and
3 A. This was the situation in April 1992.
4 Q. Very well. General, when you say "a free territory," what are
5 you referring to? Is this the free territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. Yes, this is the free territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In
7 the map, that part is not coloured.
8 Q. Who controlled that part of the territory?
9 A. That territory was controlled by the BiH Army and the HVO or the
10 Territorial Defence and the HVO, and it depended on the municipality.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Could I please now be given an IC
12 number for the map.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, I seem to get confused again and
15 Now you have said -- I refer to page 42, line 9. The question
17 "On that day, the 6th of December, 1991, the Republic of Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina
20 And you say: "Yes."
21 But if one looks at the map, Stolac definitely is in the area
22 painted orange, which according to the legend is an area occupied by Serb
23 and VRS forces. And you have then said that this refers to April 1992.
24 Is there still another period covered by the map, or do you correct what
25 you have said, that Bosnia and Herzegovina was entirely unoccupied on the
1 6th of December? It cannot very well be both, can it?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on the 6th of
3 December, 1992 [as interpreted], Bosnia-Herzegovina -- or, rather, in
4 1991, I apologise. The yellow part of Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 where the forces of the JNA were deployed, as they were pulling out from
7 still part of the Yugoslav territory. When Bosnia-Herzegovina proclaimed
8 its independence, the pink territory became an occupied territory for
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I think the pink areas are not part
11 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are part of Croatia
12 seems that you confirm --
13 [Overlapping speakers]
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Please do not interrupt me. It's not because
15 it's impolite - I'm not so touchy - but it is because the interpreters
16 lose what you say and what I say at the same time, so we have to apply
17 some restraint. I may not always be correct, myself, and then I
19 But the result of this exchange now is that you must correct the
20 statement on page 42, line 9, 10, 11, 12, according to which, when you
21 said that on the 6th of December the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
22 apart from the fact that it did not really, as such, exist then, was
23 still an integral state, there were no occupied territories, that was
24 wrong, correct, or the map is wrong?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, correct, that was an
1 integral state. And this yellow territory was where JNA units were
2 deployed, those that were pulling out from Croatia and previously from
4 April 1992, and when they proclaimed the JNA a hostile army, the yellow
5 territories, as they are drawn here, became occupied areas for Bosnia
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I will not -- I will not insist now, but
8 it seems a bit confused, I must say. Thank you.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could you please
10 allow me to do my job properly and bring my examination about the map to
11 an end, and then everything will become clear.
12 Q. This date, 6th December 1991, refers to what you marked by
13 numbers 1, 2, and 3 on this map; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's exactly so.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Can we now be given an IC number
16 for the map, and then we will put another clean copy of the map, and then
17 we will discuss the map in the light of a different date, the 6th of
18 April, 1992.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could give an IC
20 number, please.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I still need the map.
22 Ms. Alaburic, now, you've said the 6th December refers to 1, 2,
23 and 3, but a short while ago the general accepted on my question that
24 number 3 refers not to the 6th of December, but for a period previous to
25 the 6th of December. I'm not pleased with your observation that we are
1 hindering your examination, because there are contradictions which the
2 Chamber must clarify. I'm sorry. And you have again contributed to the
3 confusion, I'm sorry to say.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, very well, I
5 apologise. Well, let's take things one at a time.
6 Your Honour, the problem is I'm losing my minutes on your
7 questions, and I'm not going to be able to do what I planned to do. And
8 my analyses show that I have to spend about 20 to 25 per cent of my time
9 to follow up on the Judges' questions, which prevents me from working the
10 way I should. That's why I intervened.
11 Q. Number 3, General, shows the axis and directions of actions that
12 resulted in an occupation as it was on the 6th of December, 1991; is that
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] And now could we please be given
16 an IC number for this map, and then I am going to call up for a clean
17 copy of the same map.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to give an IC
19 number, but I have a question to ask. So please give an IC number, and
20 then I'll ask the question.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
22 The marked version of Exhibit 4D02024 shall be given
23 Exhibit IC01173. Thank you, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 General Petkovic, based on this map, you have let us know how,
1 according to you, the JNA and the Serbian forces were positioned on the
2 6th of December, 1991. And you gave us loads of details, and this is all
3 in the transcript. And upon the request of your counsel, you also
4 pointed out that the JNA had positions in the coastal areas, and they had
5 taken up those positions in October. And you put the number 3 there.
6 That's all very well.
7 However, we have to look at the words that are used, because as a
8 legal expert, I have to make sure that the correct language is used.
9 When we talk about occupied areas, "occupied" has a legal connotation, of
10 course. And unless I'm mistaken, on the 6th of December, 1991, from an
11 international point of view, we had a Yugoslav federation made of several
12 socialist republics which were members of this federation. Therefore,
13 the All People's Army or the JNA, in December 1991, while the Republic of
15 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so I would like to know if I'm
16 mistaken in saying that the JNA deployed its forces in areas which
17 belonged to the territory of the Yugoslav state. And I'm using the word
18 "deployed," and not "occupied."
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, that's how one
20 could say, strictly speaking, and looking at the period up until Croatia
21 proclaimed its independence on the 15th of January, 1992, or, rather,
22 when it was recognised as an independent state.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So if we use
24 military jargon, we have to use the word "deployed"?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if troops are deployed as a
1 result of combat, then you can't use the term "deployment." Deployment
2 is something that is done peacefully, freely, and you just send troops to
3 certain areas. That's deployment. However, if you start from the border
4 and engage in combat, then this is not deployment. And although Croatia
5 was still officially part of Yugoslavia
6 against the forces which were deployed in the area, which were mostly the
7 police forces of the Republic of Croatia
8 peaceful deployment of the kind practiced by an army in peacetime. It
9 was combat, irrespective of the fact that it was still the territory of
10 their common state.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I fully understood
12 what you say. But to clarify this point, I'll take an example.
13 Let's assume that today, in the Republic of Croatia
14 territory is facing some problems, and the new president, and unless I'm
15 mistaken it's Ivo Josipovic, the new president decides that the Croatian
16 Army will position itself on those territories, where there will be some
17 strife or something happening. According to you, do you think that the
18 Croatian Army would deploy itself or would occupy those territories?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Croatian Army would be deployed
20 in such areas. However, if to do that it had to engage in combat, then
21 that area would be placed under control by military action. Deployment
22 is free and peaceful, and if, on the other hand, there is something that
23 I'm not happy with, then I engage in action. When, on the 6th of
24 December, the JNA torched the entire Konavle Valley
25 what they did, it is not deployment. It is not in the spirit of what our
1 -- the militaries do to deploy their troops. This is an entirely
2 different matter. The JNA did not arrive and deploy its troops in six,
3 eight, or ten locations in the south of Croatia, but rather they had
4 engaged in combat for several months using the territories of both the
5 Republic of Croatia
6 on the 15th of January, when independence was proclaimed and when the JNA
7 was still there, it became an occupational force from what could have
8 been a force that only deployed its troops.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. General, please focus. On the 15th of January, 1992, did Croatia
11 proclaim its independence or was it internationally recognised on that
13 A. On that day, Croatia
14 moratorium expired sometime in the month of November.
15 Q. October?
16 A. Yes, October. And according to that --
17 Q. Hold on, hold on, hold on. I'll take things one at a time.
18 When we speak about the three-month moratorium, could you please
19 explain to the Trial Chamber what it means? When was it that Croatia
20 actually proclaimed its independence, and what is the meaning of the term
21 "Croatian moratorium"?
22 A. Well, Croatia
23 its independence, and then, at the incitement of the international
24 factors to have the situation resolved more easily, allegedly, that that
25 should be frozen for a period of three months.
1 Q. Now, when you say "June," what year is that?
2 A. 1991.
3 Q. And was it then that the presidents of the former Yugoslavia,
4 pursuant to a proposal from the international community, that they
5 decided about the independence of Slovenia
6 for three months, their independence, in order to achieve some agreement,
7 and that was the moratorium; is that it?
8 A. Yes, precisely.
9 Q. Tell us, please, officially, what is the official date of
10 independence for the Republic of Croatia
11 A. Yes, that's right, the 8th of October is Independence Day for
13 Q. Therefore, General, since when was the Republic of Croatia
14 independent state?
15 A. From the 8th of October, 1991.
16 Q. The Yugoslav People's Army, on the territory of the Republic of
18 occupational army then?
19 A. Yes, absolutely. I apologise for the misunderstanding earlier
20 on. The 8th of October, the day Croatia
21 when the attack started; in 1991, that is.
22 Q. Thank you. Let's go back to that same map that we were dealing
23 with a moment ago, and I'm interested, General, in what the situation was
24 like in April 1992. So we're now going to speak about April 1992.
25 The parts of the territory of the Republic of Croatia
1 pink here, and we're just referring to the territory in the Split
2 Operations Zone, was that territory under the occupation of the JNA, or,
3 rather, the forces of the Croatian Serbs?
4 A. Yes, that's right, they were under occupation.
5 Q. Tell us, please, General, on the -- or, rather, in the month of
6 April 1992, the territory in orange or yellow, was that territory under
7 the control of the Yugoslav People's Army and the forces of the Bosnian
8 Herzegovinian Serbs?
9 A. Yes, that was it exactly. That territory was controlled by the
10 VRS and the JNA.
11 Q. Now, General, please, could you tell us whether, at the beginning
12 of April 1992, you had any knowledge about any combat plans of the
13 Yugoslav People's Army and the forces of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Serbs?
14 And if so, could you draw that in on this map, please?
15 A. The forces of the Yugoslav People's Army and the army of the
16 Bosnian Serbs, in April 1993 --
17 Q. 1992, you mean?
18 A. Yes, 1992, undertook the implementation of a plan that had been
19 devised previously at the level of the JNA, and it meant this: From the
20 west, Kupres, Livno, Tomislavgrad --
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Might we provide the general with
22 a felt-tipped pen so that he can mark this in on his screen?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm going to draw a circle 'round
24 that territory [marks]. And then they moved across Herzegovina down the
25 Neretva River Valley
1 and Split
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. General, could you put a number 1 for this plan of invasion, plan
4 of occupation?
5 A. [Marks] The second part of the plan was for the forces located in
6 the Neretva River Valley
7 Metkovic, Makarska, that is to say, Croatia
8 continue and link up with the forces -- to continue the advancement and
9 link up with the forces coming in from the western part, Livno,
10 Tomislavgrad, and Kupres, who were moving eastwards [marks].
11 Q. General, could you put a number 2 for those axes?
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. And let's state this once again. What period are we talking
14 about for these plans?
15 A. It was April 1992.
16 Q. Tell us, please, General, had these plans been carried out, what
17 would have happened to the Republic of Croatia
18 A. The Republic of Croatia
19 occupied, just as the southern-most part of the Republic of Croatia
20 which means the entire region south of Split would have been under the
21 occupation of the JNA and the Army of Republika Srpska.
22 Q. Tell us, please, in that area, would the state of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina or the free territory of the state of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, would it border on the Republic of Croatia
25 A. No, it would not. The territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina would also
1 have been cut across, cut off, and the corridors from -- well, north of
2 Mostar, Posusje, would have been an enclave under siege in the Central
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, without any access to any of the states surrounding
4 it, which in this case is just one, Croatia.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
6 questions on this map. Now, before I tender it into evidence or ask for
7 a number, do you have any questions? If not, may I have an IC number for
8 this map, please.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have an IC
10 number for this map, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: The second marked version of Exhibit 4D02024
12 shall be given Exhibit IC01174. Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a follow-up question,
14 General Petkovic.
15 We have just seen two maps in quick succession. You've explained
16 how the JNA took up its position and how the troops were positioned on
17 the ground. I assume that your counsel will ask for these two maps to be
18 admitted. Can you tell me, according to you, in what way these maps are
19 relevant to understand the military situation resulting from the
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, based on the
22 indictment raised and the assertions made with respect to the involvement
23 of the Army of the Republic of Croatia
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, this map is highly relevant.
25 The situation in the Republic of Croatia
1 situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The general territory between the two
2 red occupied territories in the Republic of Croatia
3 [indiscernible] by Croatian forces, but for moral and psychological
4 relationships towards Bosnia-Herzegovina, not to be considered closed
5 off, but the defence was based on joint resistance to the Serb forces and
6 the Yugoslav People's Army.
7 Now, these events, from April 1992 onwards, in the west, which is
8 number 1, I showed the direction taken by the forces, and then later on,
9 with the liberation of the eastern part from Neretva to Stolac, the
10 liberation of East Mostar, in my view, led to a joint agreement between
11 President Izetbegovic and President Tudjman, and an Agreement on
12 Friendship and Co-operation which was reached. And in point 4, it
13 emphasizes the need for trans-border military co-operation, because it
14 was noted that both Bosnia-Herzegovina -- that Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
15 Republic of Croatia
16 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that Croatia
17 the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, just a few days after independence
18 had been proclaimed, did not have the necessary number of troops to help
19 the Republic of Croatia
20 Croatian territory and thereby to block entry into Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Therefore, these events, which took part in the first part --
22 took place in the first part of 1991, tells us that Croatia did not have
23 its own interest, but the joint interest was to stand up to a joint
24 adversary in the trans-border region, the border belt between
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, this is a
2 question I'm putting to you and which I shall not put to you again. It
3 might be the most crucial question.
4 To understand the indictment, should one only look at the
5 conflict between the HVO and the ABiH, or should one consider this
6 conflict including the Serbs?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, looking at
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and only the conflict there between the HVO and BH,
9 would not be complete. You mustn't leave the Serbs out from this
10 equation and from the overall conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. That means
11 that they are the ones who must be considered a component of the
12 conflict, and not to leave them aside and then just look at the conflict
13 between the HVO and the BH. Why? Because the part of the territory that
14 we are looking at now, we have, on the one side, the Serbs doing what
15 they're doing, occupying territory and so on, and on the other side you
16 have the HVO and the BH Army and certain other forces of the Republic of
18 the closing off the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina and, therefore,
19 jeopardising -- thus jeopardising the Republic of Croatia
20 So all three sides are linked up. You can't exclude the Serbs in
21 this equation. Had there not been the Serbs, there wouldn't have been
22 any need for activities on the part of the HVO, BH, and so on. We would
23 just be sitting in Geneva
24 for the negotiations to end, and nobody would have resorted to rifles.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, let's move on. We'll skip the next map in your binder,
3 and let's look at P162 now, please, which is an order dated the 16th of
4 April, 1992, from Commander Janko Bobetko, on the establishment of a
5 forward command post and southern front in Grude.
6 Tell us, General, does this order have anything to do with the
7 map we've just looked at for April 1992?
8 A. Yes, it has an important connection. Because of the situation,
9 the forward command post was set up in Grude, which, since the forces
10 were less well organised in this part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it took on
11 the role of the organiser for the establishment of these forces, for
12 deploying them along the lines, and for commanding the troops in the
13 battles against Republika Srpska and the JNA, and that is the sole reason
14 that the forward command post in Grude was set up in the first place.
15 Q. Now let's look at the next document, which is P163. It is also
16 an order from Commander Janko Bobetko about the composition of the
17 command at the forward command post at Grude. And, General, you are
18 stipulated here under item 1?
19 A. Yes, that is true. Now, this is -- these are the specifics,
20 listing the names of the people making up the command post. And there
21 were a total of 11 of us, and those people were responsible for these and
22 forthcoming expected operations in this territory in April, May, and June
23 of 1992.
24 Q. Tell us, please, General, when did you arrive in the territory of
1 A. I arrived on the 14th, in the evening.
2 Q. "The 14th," meaning what month?
3 A. The 14th of April, 1992. And I was officially recorded as being
4 there on the first -- next day, on the 15th. So the first day was sort
5 of reconnaissance, but I always list the actual date of my arrival,
6 although I actually took up my duties on the 15th. So it would have been
7 more correct to say, perhaps, the 15th of April, 1992.
8 Q. Tell us, please, General, in arriving in Bosnia-Herzegovina, did
9 you expect any main staff to exist over there or anything like that, any
10 HVO Main Staff, or the Main Staff of any other Croatian and Muslim
11 forces? What did you actually expect to find?
12 A. Well, I was told that a main staff existed. I didn't know in
13 what shape or form. But I was told that as it was, the Main Staff, from
14 the 4th to the 10th of April, commanded the HVO force in the battles
15 against the JNA and the Serb forces at Kupres, Tomislavgrad, and Livno,
16 and we did expect to find this Main Staff in place. However, what
17 happened was that the man who headed it and some other men had left,
18 allegedly to return. However, I actually never saw them.
19 And let me just add that I was surprised, upon my arrival in the
20 area, to see that the BH authorities, south of the line running from
21 Prozor to Jablanica, which is a long line of Eastern and Western
23 units whatsoever, except for an independent battalion in Mostar. So in
24 that respect, I was really surprised to find that, because I had expected
25 at least two or three brigades of the Territorial Defence, but there was
1 nobody there.
2 Q. Tell us, General, what about Herceg-Bosna? What existed of
3 Herceg-Bosna in that area when you arrived?
4 A. Well, it's like this, Your Honours: If I were to be asked about
5 that particular day, I can tell you that I couldn't find my bearings at
6 all and I didn't know anything. It was only later on, after the 24th --
7 after the fighting in Livno, that I sat down and talked to Jozo Maric,
8 discussed the situation. He was the head in Grude. He was a professor,
9 and he explained to me about Herceg-Bosna, which was an organisation of
10 Croats for the defence of the territory. He said, We have these troops
11 in the municipalities and so on. And then I asked him, All right, now
12 Boban and the others, who else was there? Well, they couldn't point to
13 anybody. Anything that was said, they would say, That's Boban, the HDZ,
14 the Presidency, nobody around him allegedly leading the HVO. And around
15 him you, you had three men in a hotel in Grude.
16 Now, I expected in those first 10 days that I would meet at least
17 15 people who meant something, but, no, that wasn't the case. I had the
18 feeling that Boban was quite alone in all that territory, so that I
19 wasn't acquainted with the structure, I never saw any of the people that
20 made it up until, say, August 19 -- well, in 1992.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, your answer
22 is an important one, and it merits one spending time on it.
23 On the 16th of April, 1992, you go to the forward command post in
24 Grude because there is going to be fighting with the Serbs. And when you
25 arrive there, you say, I thought that there was a staff of the HVO, and
1 there was nothing there. You don't see a single HVO member anywhere.
2 Then after the fighting in Livno, you talk to Mr. Maric, who talks to you
3 about the HVO and who says that there is Mate Boban.
4 When I listened to you, I had the feeling that before the 16th of
5 April, 1992, you had had no contact whatsoever with Mate Boban and all
6 the people from the HVO, and now, in this instance, you are discovering
7 that it actually exists after the fighting has taken place. Is that what
8 you're telling us?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, not exactly.
10 In late March 1992, while with a team from the Split Zone of
11 Operations, I visited the area, the areas that were shown in red where
12 the Serb attack was stopped, by mere chance at a hotel in Metkovic, I ran
13 into Mate Boban. My assistant for logistics from the zone of operations
14 stood up and greeted the man. They were hugging each other, and he
15 introduced him to me as Mr. Boban and introduced me to him as
16 Mr. Petkovic, the operations officer in our zone. That's how we met and
17 sat down, and then I drew my conclusions from the ensuing conversation.
This assistant of mine was a manager of a hotel chain in Split
19 whereas Mate Boban was the manager of a company -- of a wholesale company
20 in Imotski, and they did business together. And I believe that Boban's
21 brother was also in logistics in the navy.
22 The conversation took about an hour, and we spoke. What the
23 situation was like here, will Neum fall, what will happen, those were his
24 questions. And I asked him to tell us what kind of forces can be found
25 along the Neretva from Capljina to Mostar on which we were leaning, in
2 conversation ran.
3 And then at one point he said, You commanded the defence at
4 Sibenik. It would be good if you could come to help us out and see what
5 kind of structure we have and what kind of forces we have. And I said,
6 No problem, I can come and visit for two or three days and see what you
7 have set up, and it would be good if I could meet two or three of your
8 people who know something about that. He insisted on me coming to join
9 their ranks, but I didn't. That's when we met first.
10 We never spoke about Herceg-Bosna at the time or anything else.
11 He told me that the Croats organised themselves by municipalities,
12 whichever way they thought fit or were able to implement, and he needed
13 someone with experience, because in the war in Croatia I commanded the
14 defence of Sibenik, I was in the zone of operations. And that's where we
15 broke off.
16 After three
17 for the defence and gave us information about where the HVO was, what
18 they had, et cetera.
19 My following contact was a phone conversation, when Kupres came
20 under attack. I believe it was on the 4th of April, 1992, when he
21 requested help from the zone of operations, but we were unable to provide
22 it. We were just saying we were monitoring the situation and see what
23 was happening.
24 Those are my contacts with him in 1992. I met him for the first
25 time when we spoke for about an hour at the hotel in Metkovic.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the document we have before
2 us, those 11 people who are mentioned, under point 7 I see that this is a
3 civilian by the name of Bruno Stojic. Is it the same Bruno Stojic who is
4 sitting here in the courtroom? And if that's the case, why is the term
5 "civilian" used for someone in the forward command post?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, indeed, under 7 there
7 is "Bruno Stojic." It is stated that he's a civilian. He was charged
8 with the logistics in this forward command post. As far as I know, for
9 some time prior to that he was involved in some logistical activities
10 which were under the authority of that Main Staff that was or was not in
11 existence, and everybody else, except for the last person mentioned, were
12 considered members of the Main Staff, and they are all the people from
13 the Main Staff I met. The chiefs had gone to Zagreb or wherever, and I
14 never saw them.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This civilian by the name of
16 Bruno Stojic, who was in charge of logistics, was this someone whom you
17 knew already or was it someone you met in April 1992?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I only met him then. Except
19 for the person under 2, Jure Zadro, I met him sometime in late March or
20 early April. And I met Zarko Keza at the same time as Zadro, because
21 Boban had sent them off to Ploce to present the situation in Herzegovina
22 to us. I didn't know the others, except for number 11 because he was
23 from the Croatian Army also.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Tell us, General, when you went to Bosnia-Herzegovina, if we
1 disregard the JNA officers who worked there and who you didn't know them,
2 did you know anybody else in Herzegovina
3 anybody close to you?
4 A. Your Honours, I knew nobody in Herzegovina. In my military
5 career, as far as Bosnia
6 Kalinovik, and it took me -- or, rather, I travelled through Mostar when
7 I travelled from Sarajevo
8 and continued. That's all I know about Bosnia-Herzegovina, although I
9 was a soldier for 23 years.
10 Q. When you went to Bosnia-Herzegovina, sir, did you have your own
11 concept of the internal structure of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
12 A. My concept? I never thought about these things, because it
13 wasn't for me to do so, nor did anybody care to hear my opinion. But I
14 did hear that the leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina talked, and I thought
15 that it would be best for them to accept what the international community
16 was offering them in 1992 and 1993, because at that time solutions for
17 the situation in that country were being put forward then.
18 Three peoples lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I thought that
19 each people must have the same rights, irrespective of their share in the
20 overall population. And that, to my mind, would have been a well-ordered
21 state. Anything else, I thought, would not have been a good outcome,
22 because the one with lesser rights would not have been satisfied. But
23 they could've reach any agreement at all. If they had decided to turn
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina into a monarchy, it would have been fine by me. I
25 would have saluted that king.
1 Q. General, if I understand you well about -- or, rather, you mean
2 to you, as a professional soldier, any solution the leaders of the three
3 constituent peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina come up with would have been
4 all right with you, even a monarchy?
5 A. Yes, absolutely, even today.
6 Q. Now, let's be brief, General, because we have heard much about
7 these things in this courtroom before. Were the attempts to stop the
8 onslaught of the VRS around Livno successful?
9 A. Yes. On the 24th of April, 1992, a large operation of the VRS
10 and the JNA still at the time was launched, focusing on the town of Livno
11 and the municipality of Livno, but also on the remoter parts of the
12 municipality of Tomislavgrad.
13 Q. Tell us, to Janko Bobetko, what was the most important thing at
14 the time?
15 A. At that time, it was extremely important to him to stop the Serbs
16 at lines beyond Livno at any cost. The fall of Livno-Tomislavgrad were
17 not an option. That's why orders were given that the towns of
18 Livno-Tomislavgrad be provided with concrete blocks to make impossible
19 traffic along the roads. So Janko Bobetko was determined to stop the
20 attacks of Livno, because that would have -- that meant making impossible
21 further attacks on Herzegovina
23 Q. Tell us, under these circumstances, was it possible to start
24 considering the liberation of Dubrovnik
1 A. No, by no means, because any effort to liberate Dubrovnik and the
2 other territory we saw on the map, with someone being in the position to
3 attack you from behind was, militarily, not an option, so we first had to
4 do what I've just mentioned and then go south toward Dubrovnik.
5 Q. The towns you mentioned, General, were not recorded in the
6 transcript. You're speaking too fast. When you say "attack you from
7 behind," which territory do you mean?
8 A. Speaking about Croatia
9 the way to Metkovic; that is, the Neretva Valley
10 Q. Which liberation actions were organised in that period? We are
11 now referring to May and June 1992.
12 A. After remedying the situation in the area of Livno-Tomislavgrad,
13 and setting up a firm line of defence, which can also be termed a major
14 defeat of the VRS and the JNA, it was General Bobetko's assessment that
15 at the moment when the JNA, in May, started leaving the territory of BiH
16 in a way, and handing over authorities to local forces, and those who
17 belonged to the JNA but crossed over to those local forces, he assessed
18 that was a convenient moment to do something and undertake an offensive
19 action while they are re-positioning their forces.
20 Q. Tell us, in one sentence, which area was liberated.
21 A. The eastern banks of the Neretva River
22 to Mostar, the eastern part of Mostar, Bijelo Polje, the Dubrava Plateau,
23 and the municipality of Stolac
24 not able to liberate.
25 Q. Let us now take a look at the following document, P279.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, I've been listening to
2 you carefully. And based on the documents that we had had, I seem to
3 understand the following: The Serb forces occupy the Dubrovnik area, and
4 this causes a great deal of an issue for the Croats. In military terms,
5 General Bobetko is launching a military action in sector Mostar,
6 Bijelo Polje, the Dubrava Plateau, as well as the municipality of Stolac
7 in order to take up positions and to allow the Croatian Army in the area
8 of Dubrovnik
9 in April 1992, there is a military operation that is directed against the
10 Serbs. This is what I seem to understand from what you're saying.
11 But in the indictment, which I'm sure you've read, you are aware
12 that the Prosecutor claims that you were part of a JCE with
13 General Bobetko, and in fact this joint criminal enterprise had the
14 following purpose: either to take the control of municipalities by ethnic
15 cleansing, and so on and so forth. I'm not going to go into the details.
16 Based on that, one could think that in 1992, the forward command post in
17 Grude was part of this plan.
18 And here you are giving us an explanation of a military nature.
19 So to summarise, you're saying to us that the Croatian Army, in April
20 1992, had only one objective; namely, to launch a military action against
21 the Serbs. And if I understand the way you're looking at this, the
22 question of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina or anything to do with
23 Muslims was not really the main purpose of this action. Is that correct?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, you're absolutely
25 right, this is exactly how it was.
1 When we liberated the eastern bank of Neretva, Mr. Izetbegovic
2 proclaimed a state of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and on that day we gave
3 him a gift of a large part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, some 70 kilometres'
4 long and 30 kilometres' wide, from Capljina to Stolac. That was the
5 largest area that was liberated in 1992 and 1993 from the Army of
6 Republika Srpska and the remains of the JNA.
7 After these events, General Bobetko continued acting in the
8 territory of the Republic of Croatia
9 southern part of the Republic of Croatia
10 acted in concert with the 1st Brigade of the BiH Army, took it upon
11 itself to secure the newly-liberated line in the newly-liberated area.
12 In July 1992, General Bobetko withdrew elements of the
13 Croatian Army from that territory and deployed them in the direction of
15 sides every three months.
16 And let me say just one more thing. After the operations which
17 were carried out in the southern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to be more
18 specific, in the eastern part of Herzegovina
19 actions to liberate the territory or to defend the territory, there was a
20 meeting between Tudjman and Izetbegovic which resulted in an agreement on
21 co-operation and friendship. I believe that Mr. Izetbegovic would not
22 have come to Zagreb
24 with the Republic of Croatia
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. General, according to what you know, the engagement of the
2 Croatian Army on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time, did it
3 have even the least note of animosity or hostility towards the peoples of
5 A. No. On the contrary, Muslims also participated in those
6 operations, together with the Croats and the Croatian Army and the Croats
7 in the HVO. Therefore, all militarily-capable men who wanted to do so
8 took up arms and joined the operation. Do you think that the 30 per cent
9 of the Muslims who were in the HVO would have participated in those
10 operations if they didn't want to? They would have said, No, we don't
11 want to wage a war.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, you see how
13 difficult it can be for an international judge. If we had before us the
14 documents of the Main Staff, the Croat Main Staff, documents dealing with
15 all operations under the remit of General Bobetko, given the case that
16 you're putting forward here, namely, Dubrovnik
17 perhaps a reasonable judge would have better understood the situation if
18 they had everything before them. Unfortunately, as I've already said, we
19 only have what is given to us, what the Prosecutor is lodging, what the
20 Defence teams are lodging, and based on that we have to ask questions,
21 question that are intricate, that are very sensitive sometimes, and, in
22 fact, we have some pieces of the puzzles that are missing.
23 And to really be very precise, General Petkovic, in this sort of
24 case when you have military operations being carried out, as far as I'm
25 concerned, we should have all documentations dealing with the Croatian
1 Army as well as all documentations regarding the VRS and the JNA, as well
2 as all the documents from the BiH. And I believe that it's after having
3 looked at all those documents that we could really shed some light and
4 see the truth. But if we have only part of those documents, only part of
5 the truth, only part of the facts will be known and it will be very
6 difficult to find one's way through this. And this is why sometimes I'm
7 asking you long questions, because I'm trying to fill some voids.
8 Sometimes -- well, I remember that the issue of Dubrovnik was
9 mentioned at the beginning of the trial by General Praljak, and there
10 were some objections from the Prosecution and I didn't quite understand
11 what was at stake there, and now I listen to you and I understand better.
12 And, of course, I would have understood even better if I had before me
13 all the documents from the Main Staff of the Croatian Army, as well as
14 all the documents from the JNA, and anything relating to General Mladic
15 as well. So, unfortunately, I don't have all this, and so, please, I
16 apologise if sometimes my questions are long, but I'm trying to uncover
17 the truth and sometimes it's very complicated.
18 Ms. Alaburic, please proceed.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
20 Q. General, let's look at P279, please.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry. I just observe, and it's the second
22 time, Mr. Praljak sending a message to Ms. Alaburic, who is not his
23 counsel. Communication is possible between an accused and his counsel,
24 but not with an accused and other counsel.
25 MR. STEWART: With respect, Your Honour, we do take issue with
1 that. There is no restriction on that. He is perfectly entitled to do
2 that. He can do it through his counsel to us or he can communicate to
3 us. There simply is nothing in principle, in the Rules, in any sort of
4 practice to prevent that. Provided it's done politely and not
5 disruptively, he should be entirely free to communicate information to
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think he ought to do that through counsel.
8 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, perhaps that could, in practice,
9 conveniently be done, but we maintain our position, Your Honour. It's
10 not -- unless there is some security implication, which is another matter
11 altogether, Your Honour, he is entitled to do that. And I would say
12 this, Your Honour: Then, we would invite a ruling on that, because that
13 is our firm position. And if the Trial Chamber is going to rule against
14 us on that, then we do wish to have that very clearly indicated, either
15 unanimously or by a majority.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The Chamber will deliberate about this.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just for the record,
18 I would like to support what my learned friend has just said. I would
19 also like to remind you that this has been a communication problem all
20 the time. We, from the Praljak Defence team, have discussed that, and
21 every time we need to communicate about a mistake in the record, some
22 imprecision in questions that were put, we discuss whether
23 General Praljak would call the special usher, who would then come to
24 Mr. Praljak, and then the usher would come to me, and then I would send
25 that to Ms. Alaburic. I think it's unnecessary, because there is no ban
1 on communication between Defence teams, and we believe that we are free
2 to communicate. If you intend to impose a ban, I believe you should
3 state clear reasons for that, and we will abide by the decision.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you allow me, I
5 would like to share my position on that with you.
6 General Petkovic wants to say something. Maybe he should be
7 given the floor.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wouldn't talk about
9 that. I would like to answer your previous questions about the
11 I can claim that most of the documents already exist, and we have
12 complete documentation for the liberation of the east bank of the
13 Neretva, from the initial order to the last order. We've also
14 demonstrated from the same time, I believe, two or three orders issued by
15 General Perisic or, rather, the Army of Yugoslavia. So some of the
16 documents have already been tendered. The only one that is not is the
17 one issued on the 28th of May.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, about the
19 communication, I believe that this is an important issue, and I think
20 it's good that Judge Trechsel shared his position with us. I can tell
21 you what my position is. And I personally handed over a paper to
22 General Praljak containing a note on something that I deemed relevant,
23 and my reason for that was this: If I have reached an agreement with a
24 Defence team that we can communicate freely and that that communication
25 does not necessarily have to go through the Defence lawyer of the accused
1 that we want to address, that we can take a short-cut in communication,
2 as it were.
3 I would consider it inappropriate that if somebody communicates
4 with an accused without a previous consent with their Defence team, and
5 it is part of our legal ethic, but if the Trial Chamber wishes us to
6 communicate only with our peers, who will then be mediators in our
7 communication with the accused, then I will abide by that decision and I
8 will apologise for my previous communication with the other accused,
9 including Mr. Praljak.
10 JUDGE PRANDLER: Yes, I believe that we have to thank the
11 contributions by Mr. Stewart and also Ms. Alaburic and others. And as it
12 was already stated, the Chamber will deliberate on this matter, and of
13 course it will make its decision. Thank you.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In view of that, it might be good to hear what
15 the Prosecution has to say to it.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Until further notice, I'm still
17 the Presiding Judge in this Trial Chamber, and so I will give the floor
18 to Mr. Scott. And, Mr. Scott, I was going to ask you what was your point
19 of view on all this.
20 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 I was really going to hold my fire on this, just as a matter of
22 peace in the courtroom. But since so much has been made of it and since
23 the Court has now said that it's going to actually deliberate on the
24 matter, I think the Prosecution has to then, in these circumstances, make
25 at least one or two observations.
1 And I say this with some reluctance, but given the issue that was
2 raised earlier today and some of the things that have been said and some
3 of the pleadings filed in the last two days, I do have to note the
4 Prosecution has raised a number of times that many of these
5 examinations -- many of the relationships are very friendly ones and
6 friendly examinations, and when the Defence continually protest that we
7 are all single, individual units that don't co-operate with each other
8 and have their own individual interest, this flies a bit in the face of
9 that. I fully understand that they're entitled to co-operate, to a
10 reasonable degree. I understand that. That's common sense. But I do
11 want to note for the record, and if the Court is going to deliberate on
12 this, I think it's rather noteworthy. It's a little bit akin to
13 Mr. Praljak passing a note and saying, Here, ask this question. That
14 sound like the sort of independence that we're sometimes led to believe.
15 Thank you.
16 MR. STEWART: Can I just comment on that, Your Honour, that,
17 actually, one needs to look bit carefully at what Mr. Scott has just
18 said, because in principle, he is supporting our position. That's quite
19 clear. He's having a little bit of a complaint about where it leads, and
20 he's having a little bit of a whinge about what we said about previously
21 filings and so on, but he is basically supporting our position. He
22 doesn't say anything to suggest that there is anything, in principle,
23 which prevents us from having this sort of communication, and that is, in
24 fact, quite clear from what he's just said.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I hope that some of
1 our friends from the OTP can confirm that whenever I noticed a Prosecutor
2 misrepresenting a document or having any problem with a document, I sent
3 an e-mail to my colleague from the OTP to draw their attention to that so
4 that they didn't have to be publicly admonished. I believe that it was a
5 friendly gesture. And if I do the same thing vis-à-vis my colleagues in
6 the Defence teams, that doesn't change the fact that my accused is
7 independent -- that my client is an independent person, enjoying all the
8 rights as if he were tried independently.
9 And as for the remark that Praljak suggests questions that I
10 should put, I hope that Mr. Scott did not mean it seriously, because I
11 believe that Mr. Scott knows that I don't need anybody to suggest
12 questions to me and what I should ask.
13 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I'm not going to belabour it any
14 further. I just -- I do want to respond to Mr. Stewart, who I have great
15 respect for, but I don't appreciate him talking about the Prosecution
16 whinging. And as to the characterisation of my comments, the words speak
17 for themselves. I'll leave it to the Chamber, but I do not want them to
18 be characterised by Mr. Stewart as what I agree with or don't agree with.
19 I simply made the observation for the record, as invited by the Chamber,
20 and I did think it was something that had to put on the record.
21 Thank you.
22 MR. STEWART: Well, I can withdraw the word "whinge." I've
23 corrupted my language with adopting an Austro-Asian word. I'll
24 substitute "complaint" for that. It wasn't intended in the least bit
25 offensively, but it is a legitimate point that, in fact, it has been a
1 complaint about other things. That's neither here or there, but I'll
2 take the word back. It wasn't meant impolitely at all.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, it was actually time to
4 have the break. The Trial Chamber will confer, and after the break we
5 will give you the position of the Chamber.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.27 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.47 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber will hand
9 down its decision regarding the communication between an accused and
10 other counsel.
11 The Trial Chamber states that an accused cannot address any kind
12 of communication to other counsel, only to his counsel, and the latter
13 will decide whether that information has been to be passed on to other
14 Defence counsel, who will then pass it on to their client. In short, if
15 Mr. Praljak has something to tell the other Defence counsel, he should
16 address this to his counsel. That is why there is somebody there whose
17 role is to pass on the messages. And his counsel will then see how this
18 can be passed on to his colleagues.
19 Have you understood, Mr. Praljak?
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I have
21 understood your decision, and of course it is a final decision, having
22 been taken by the Trial Chamber. However, every time I need to hand over
23 a message that I consider to be important, in the sense of allowing the
24 right decisions to be made in this trial, I'm going to ask for a break to
25 see whether they have read the message, to give them time to read it and
1 consider it, and then afterwards to be able to hand it over to the next
2 Defence team, which will also need a few minutes to read through the
4 So I have to respect the ruling, of course, but unfortunately I
5 have noticed, and with the Court's permission I'd like to be allowed to
6 say, that at this Tribunal and in this trial, decisions are being made to
7 the detriment -- great detriment, in my opinion, of the fairness of this
8 trial, and that prejudices are being formed, and I will give this some
9 thought and decide what steps I'm going to take, if any. And I'll be
10 able to inform Your Honours when the conflict began between the Judges
11 and others, and how certain military matters are being discussed, and why
12 there isn't a military expert here throughout, because there is a great
13 lack of knowledge when it comes to military matters, generally speaking.
14 Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Praljak.
16 In future, turn to your counsel, give them your comments, and
17 they will deal with it. Like that, this kind of problem will not arise.
18 Let's resume, Ms. Alaburic.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. General, third try. Let's go to P279. Third go. Third time
22 Now, this document is signed by you and is titled "Preliminary
23 Report," and my question to you is: Did you write this text?
24 A. Your Honours, this text was written by three people; by myself
25 and two of my associates.
1 Q. Tell us, please, what services were these associates of yours
3 A. There weren't many services at the time, but Zarko Keza was an
4 intelligence officer throughout, and Mr. Zadro, as the senior person, was
5 the communications man, but he held the highest rank, and he was in the
6 JNA previously.
7 Q. Tell us, please, General, did you deliver this preliminary
8 presentation or introductory presentation?
9 A. No. It was never presented because I wasn't provided with the
10 right information as to what was actually the object of the meeting.
11 Q. Tell us, please, what did you think your role ought to be at this
13 A. The information that reached me told me that -- led me to believe
14 that I was to chair the meeting and that I was the person to choose the
15 topics. That was the information I had, as far as preparations for this
16 meeting were concerned.
17 Q. Tell us, please, and who was supposed to attend this meeting?
18 A. The meeting was supposed to be attended by Mr. Boban,
19 General Bobetko, and the commanders of three -- well, three to four
20 commanders of the municipal staffs of this region along the Neretva
21 River, and two or three people from the South-East Herzegovina Operations
22 Group. So that would make a total of 35 to 40 people overall.
23 Q. Tell us, please, was Arif Pasalic supposed to be at the meeting,
24 as commander of the Mostar unit of the BH Army?
25 A. Yes, the delegation from Mostar brought Mr. Pasalic with it as
1 battalion commander.
2 Q. Tell us, please, when did you learn that the meeting was not
3 going to be the kind of meeting that you thought it was going to be?
4 A. The meeting started, I think, at 4.00 p.m. in Medjugorje, and
5 sometime between 1.00 and 2.00 General Bobetko arrived. He arrived after
6 talking to Boban. He came to see me. That's where the forward command
7 post was. And he asked me whether I was prepared for the meeting.
8 On the wall, there was a large map, 1:25.000 was the scale, and
9 he said -- and I said it couldn't have been a better map and that the
10 written document would be typed out shortly. And when we received the
11 written document, the general took a look at it, and he said to me, Do
12 you think that I'm going to sit in the front row while you chair the
13 meeting? And I said, Well, that was the information I received. And
14 then he said, The meeting is a military meeting. I'm not interested in
15 any of the civilians. They have Mr. Boban, so they can discuss it with
16 him, and I don't have time to spend an hour and a half at a meeting like
17 that. Then he looked at number 2 -- item number 2 and said that there
18 was no need to discuss the matter, especially since at that time the HVO
19 had no documents, so we couldn't discuss the establishment of brigades or
20 anything without any documents governing that type of organisation.
21 Q. So what was your actual role at that meeting?
22 A. Well, it was defined -- my role was defined as being the first
23 person to present the military situation in the territory east of the
24 Neretva River
25 lines facing the Army of Republika Srpska, and I would do this by
1 pointing out the exact positions on the map, to give the exact number of
2 soldiers, who they belonged to, and the support system in general, with
3 the exact number of tanks and everything else. And I also had the task
4 of assessing what the -- what Serb forces we would encounter in front of
5 us. So that was my task, and I was supposed to present that information
6 at the meeting.
7 Q. Tell us, please, whether that is what you did. Or, rather, did
8 you have a written speech or did you speak from your head?
9 A. Well, when General Bobetko said that he didn't feel the meeting
10 should discuss the items on the agenda, I simply took a map to the
11 meeting, placed it in the room that we were in - I had a wooden pointer -
12 stood before the map, and spent 35 minutes explaining the different
13 positions and situation by pointing to the map.
14 Q. General, would you explain to us how this document had no
15 registration number?
16 A. Well, when this document -- I can't use the word "rejected," but
17 when I was told that there was no need to have it processed further, that
18 it should stay the way it was, so we didn't give it a registration
20 Q. I see, thank you. Now, tell us, please, General, at the meeting
21 did you see General Beneta?
22 A. Yes, General Beneta was there, and there were four other people
23 from the Municipal Staff of Capljina, led by Mr. Luburic, I believe.
24 Q. Tell us, please, General, as far as Bobetko was concerned, what
25 did he see as being the most important thing at that point in time?
1 A. Well, General Bobetko made two conclusions. The first conclusion
2 was this: He asked to have in writing, first of all from me, and then 10
3 other commanders from the Municipal HVO Staff, that we should put down on
4 paper and guarantee that the line established facing the Serbs had been
5 secured and that no Serb forces would be able to break through the line
6 and advance to the Neretva River
7 gave me, the first guarantee he asked of us -- of myself and the other
8 people there, and I did sign that. And he said, Right, I have this down
9 on paper now with your signature, and I'm going to hold you to it.
10 And, secondly, the second conclusion that he made was the
11 following: He said, Think about having the remaining portion of the
12 Croatian Army which I have to withdraw, think about how you're going to
13 introduce the HVO army, and, secondly, set aside part of the forces and
14 train them for further attack operations so that you are ready, if I'm
15 successful and manage to route the Serb forces, that you could seize that
16 opportunity. So be ready.
17 And the third task was that there should be a firm link between
18 positions in Herzegovina
19 borders of the -- the Croatian Army along the border towards Dubrovnik
20 to prevent anybody from infiltrating along that line.
21 So those were the two main conclusions and assignments.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is not my
23 intention to discuss the document further. But if Your Honours have any
24 questions, feel free to do so.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, I have a
1 question, because the situation in June 1992 is what I address it from,
2 and then Bosnia and Herzegovina has been recognised by the international
3 community and is a state. And you know better than anyone that a state
4 has an army. And on that day, you organise a meeting, as it is indicated
5 in the document, together with General Bobetko and some -- there are some
6 commanders of the HVO from certain units, and political figureheads. And
7 if I understood you correctly, you also said that Pasalic was there. And
8 as the document states, you are setting forth the situation. And you
9 take the floor. Your speech is structured. And on reading this
10 document, I realise that the HVO has roughly a thousand men. You detail
11 their strengths per locality. In Mostar, you say 3.500 to 3.700. That
12 would total 10.000 in all. That would make up a division. And then you
13 even add that there is the HOS that provided 80 to 100 men.
14 And you then come up with a proposal - this is in
15 paragraph 3 - based on the professional unit of Mr. Pusic, and you state
16 that the army should become more professional and give the HVO soldiers a
17 status. This is under item 4.
18 You can read this document both ways. How is it, when a state
19 has been created, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that you never
20 say that there should be a professional army under the banner of the
21 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and so on, you don't say this at any
22 point in time, why was this not mentioned?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, we're dealing
24 with June 1992 here. The Presidency of the Republic of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina at that point in time did not organise a single force
1 in this territory here, except the independent battalion that was called
2 "Mostar," and we paid all due attention to that. Now, in previous
3 documents from the Ministry of Department [as interpreted] of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, all recruits -- all conscripts should contact the
5 municipal defence departments, be registered there, so that their units
6 could be set up. Now, the Croatian Defence Council reacted to that and
7 acted upon it.
8 Now, at this point in time I did not have a single BH Army
9 officer, except the independent battalion, as I said, not one single
10 brigade or any kind of unit which was close to me and with whose
11 commander I could reach an agreement. Therefore, all that existed was
12 the Croatian Defence Council. There was part of the Croatian Army that
13 helped liberate this area from the Army of Republika Srpska. And at that
14 point in time, first of all, I did not know what was to the north of the
15 army that was under the establishment of the Presidency of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I considered that since he sent this call-up for
17 a general mobilisation, declared a situation of war, that is to say, the
18 president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that all people, myself and everybody
19 else, all the other forces, were the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
20 because otherwise he would have set up a force which he would have
21 commanded. They did not do that. So most probably they counted upon the
22 fact that in this area there were quite a number of troops that had
23 already been established.
24 And if you remember the documents from May onwards,
25 President Izetbegovic was, in fact, establishing certain detachments and
1 brigades, but they were all located in Central Bosnia, around Bihac, and
2 nothing in this area. So as far as I was concerned, this meant to me
3 that he had accepted the Croatian Defence Council fully as it was
4 established in this territory here.
5 On the other hand, as far as I remember, in this particular
6 document I make no mention of Herceg-Bosna at all. I am -- I arrived in
7 these parts two months prior to this, and I said straight away that items
8 2, 3, and 4 were my thoughts, comprised my thoughts, and they were not
9 taken to the meeting. They were left behind for a more auspicious time,
10 because I couldn't speak about professionalisation without a single
11 document telling me what should be done and what legal foundations I
12 would have. So that item was left for another time.
13 And then I gave some thought to what had happened in Croatia
14 thought that it might be a good thing to apply something of that to
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So I didn't mention Bosnia-Herzegovina at all, or
16 Herceg-Bosna, for that matter. And, secondly, none of the municipal
17 leaders came to attend the meeting. And I had been informed that they
18 would be there, but they failed to arrive. So that was it.
19 And in my opinion, as somebody who led part of the operation, all
20 of us, to my mind, took part in the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And,
21 ultimately, the five of us were given the order of the Golden Lily in
23 never came to congratulate me in the Presidency building that I was in.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, a while ago, before we
25 saw this document, I must say that I had listened very carefully to the
1 demonstration you gave us on the question of the action conducted by the
2 Croatian Army as regarded the Dubrovnik
3 what had been done and what you had done, and you said that you
4 successfully managed to liberate some of the territories. I remembered
5 this. And now we see this document, which is dated a few weeks later,
6 and this doesn't seem to be saying quite the same thing.
7 As you can see, if you look at item 1, you are saying that an
8 offensive was launched in the south-east area by the HVO, with
9 considerable assistance of the Croatian Army. When I listened to you a
10 while ago, I had the feeling that it was the Croatian Army which had come
11 because you were the only one there facing the Serbs, and now we discover
12 in this document that there were HVO forces that took part in the
13 fighting, with the assistance of the Croatian Army. The word
14 "assistance" is in there. I had understood, from what you were saying
15 before, that the Croatian Army, to protect its own interests, had stepped
16 in to protect those interests. So I believe there is a contradiction
18 Can you explain this?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours.
20 It may be good to show the map again. The area in question is an
21 area along the Croatian border, and you heard General Beneta's testimony.
22 The Croatian Army was on a stretch of territory along the Croatian
23 border. The depth of that territory was from 7 to 10 kilometres.
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may we just show the
25 map for Mr. Petkovic to show you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll try to show you how it went.
2 This direction [marks] is parallel to the Croatian border, and it
3 is the direction of movement of the HV. Everything further north from
4 this [marks] were directions of movement of the HVO, and thus we reached
5 this line [marks]. That is the area along the border. Beneta was south
6 of Stolac. Units of the HV were moving here, and from Stolac along the
7 Bregava River
8 movement of the HVO. And here in the area of Mostar, they were also
9 joined by this independent battalion of the BiH Army.
10 And with your leave, once the HV and the HVO reached this line,
11 the Croatian Army was in a position to move toward Dubrovnik more freely
12 because its left flank is completely secured. That is, a part of the
13 Serb forces was pushed back from the Croatian border, this border being
14 protected by major forces, and the flanks of the HV are no longer open to
15 operations of the VRS. And, thus, the HV got a manoeuvre capability to
16 move forward to Dubrovnik
17 he needs a secure line as to have a safe flank, and it mustn't happen
18 that the enemy move down the Neretva Valley
20 And in July, in connection of Resolution -- whichever number it
21 was, the Croatian Army started leaving this area and only stayed in the
22 immediate vicinity of the border. On the 13th of July, General Bobetko
23 ordered a pullout of the Croatian forces and the HVO forces were required
24 to move in, because Bobetko wanted to move south toward Dubrovnik and
25 didn't have other forces to count on.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give this an IC number.
2 My colleague has several questions.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
4 The third marked version of document 4D02024 shall be given
5 Exhibit IC01175. Thank you, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have only one question, Mr. Petkovic, on this
7 document, and we do not need the map for that.
8 It refers to page 3 in the Croatian version, under number 3,
9 "Profesionalizacija Vojske." In the first bullet point, the question is
11 "Which territory would such a professional army cover, the entire
12 territory ..."
13 And the word here is "prostor." It's not "territory" as in the
14 first time when the word comes up.
15 " ... the entire territory or just a part of it?"
16 I would like you to explain to the Chamber what you meant by
17 "entire territory."
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, when I was drafting
19 this, I meant exclusively the area of the 10 municipalities along the
20 Neretva River
21 Citluk, Siroki Brijeg, Mostar, Capljina, Stolac, Neum, Ravno. I may have
22 left out one. I don't know. Anyway, my idea was that in this area there
23 should be a professional unit, a regiment or a brigade, exclusively in
24 this area.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. You may have left out Siroki Brijeg.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you, I believe you're
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That completely answers my question.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A last question for you,
5 Mr. Petkovic.
6 At this meeting, you said that General Pasalic was there.
7 Perhaps other Muslims were there also. I don't know; maybe, maybe not.
8 But General Pasalic, who was listening to you talking about professional
9 units, about a professional army, well, all that may be right for him.
10 But you were a colonel of the Croatian Army. He could have thought, Why
11 is he looking after our future army, because the Republic of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina exists. Maybe the Presidency of this republic should
13 look after this, perhaps. Why is it that this Colonel from the Croatian
14 Army is looking after this? Nobody made any comment in that regard?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours, there were no
16 comments to that effect. You're reading this off the paper, but it
17 wasn't discussed at the meeting at all. I said that everything after
18 item 2 was given up on. And there was no reason for Pasalic to foster
19 misgivings against me, because his chief of Main Staff was from Serbia
20 so Bosnia
21 Halilovic, by the way, is not a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 He was born in Sandzak, which is in the then Socialist Republic of
24 But nobody would mind somebody coming to help, and that applies
25 to Mr. Pasalic, too. And I believe that he was well informed about the
1 structure of his battalion, brigade, and so on, how much of that he owed
2 to the HVO.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you take the floor before
4 these elected officials in the municipality, were you aware of the
5 political situation locally? Did you know anything about the ethnic
6 breakdown? Did you have any idea of the census of 1992? Did you have
7 any idea about the sensitive issue of Mostar? Did you know about this or
8 didn't you? And you took the floor as a military who had conducted an
9 action, and you are making proposals so that this military assignment be
10 conducted by others?
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 1991.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I had a view of the
13 situation in these municipalities, so that I knew that in the
14 municipality of Grude the population is almost
15 inclusively [as interpreted] Croatian and that the Croatian party had won
16 the elections. The same applies to Siroki Brijeg. When I say
17 "elections," I mean the legal elections. In Citluk, there was an
18 absolute Croatian majority. I also believe that the Croatian political
19 party won the elections. Ljubuski, I wasn't sure of the relative shares
20 in the population, but, anyway, the Croats were the majority and the
21 Croatian political party had also won the elections. At Capljina, the
22 situation was that the Croats were somewhat more numerous in the
23 municipality, and I believe that in Capljina there was a coalition
24 government of the HDZ and the SDA. I don't know what their respective
25 shares were. At Neum, almost 100 per cent Croats. Again, Croats won the
1 elections. Ravno, also 100 per cent or maybe 95 per cent of the
2 population was Croatian. I'm not sure which villages are in the
3 territory of the municipality.
4 At Stolac, there was no local government at all, and earlier, as
5 far as I knew at the time, Croats, Muslims, and Serbs were represented in
6 government. Now only the Croats and Muslims only remained, but they were
7 unable to establish government. In Mostar, the HDZ and the SDA
8 participated in local government. I believe there was a share of Serbs.
9 I don't know how many, though. But, basically, the HDZ and SDA were in
10 power, and a decision was taken to entrust defence-related issues to the
11 HVO. And the relative shares of the ethnicities in the former Mostar
12 municipality, I think, was such that the Croats were slightly more
13 numerous than the Muslims, and the Serbs were third, constituting half
14 the share of either the Muslims or the Croats.
15 I knew that and tried to consider all that, but it didn't -- it
16 wasn't a problem for me because all the Muslims willing to fight were
17 joining the HVO. The units were multi-ethnic. There was some mention of
18 Herceg-Bosna, but nobody heeded that much at the time. What mattered was
19 to be successful against the Serbs and then let them come to whatever
20 agreement they can reach.
21 At the time I am referring to in 1992, there were no obstacles in
22 that part of Herzegovina
23 situation in Central Bosnia because I never went there. And apart from
24 that, I didn't have any authority to interfere with things in Central
1 And it may be interesting for you to hear that Mr. Keza, who
2 assisted me in drafting this item 1, said that it didn't really matter
3 whether you say "Croatian," or what, because the people didn't mind much
4 and they lived together in that area anyway.
5 Later on, things may have changed, but while I was there for
6 these two months, there was no reason for me to count people. So the
7 information received from people was recorded by me, and I accepted what
8 they had put down in writing and never opened a discussion about that.
9 As for the term "Croatian," if anybody said "Croatian Mostar," of
10 course, that could be understood to mean that no Muslims are there.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, you know that
12 a document is read and then will be interpreted by the Judges, and the
13 Prosecutor will also interpret all that. And I look at point 4, and you
14 say that it's Keza who drafted this, and perhaps he was not very careful,
15 and you took over from him. We have four points, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And
16 point 4, it says that rules should be established in all municipalities.
17 When we read that, we have the feeling that all municipalities in the
18 area should be regulated by rules, but those rules should be for Croats,
19 and we know that they are Muslims and Serbs as well. Is that a drafting
20 mistake, or was that really the intent, or did it fail the attention of
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may intervene on a linguistic question.
23 I think "rule" is not properly translated by "regle," but it is
24 "dominance," it is the control. But perhaps the interpreters want to
25 confirm or contradict.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Look at your document. What is
2 the word that was used? And as my colleagues said, perhaps there is an
3 issue of translation from the original language. Could you perhaps read,
4 in your own language, point 4 so that we have the translation
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Reading item 4:
7 "Establish Croatian rule or authority on municipalities."
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just wait a second. You can
9 clarify this. But in your own language, it was translated into French
10 and into English, and we have very good interpreters, it said:
11 "Establish the Croatian powers in all municipalities."
12 This was the translation that I got in French, so it goes beyond.
13 There is a real power, isn't there, a real Croatian power? So my
14 question remains the same. Is this a mistake in the way it was drafted
15 by Keza? Did he not see the implications? Was that part of a definite
16 intent or is there another explanation? I don't know.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we look at item 4,
18 it reads "in all municipalities ," but if we look at which particular
19 municipalities this is referring to, then it doesn't make sense, because
20 there are authorities in these municipalities. They were established in
21 1991, and since that time they've had the HVOs or whatever they were
22 called. So this can be understood to mean that there are no authorities
23 in Ravno, Neum, Capljina, Citluk, Ljubuski, et cetera. But there are
24 authorities everywhere so that the only municipality with that authority
25 is Stolac. This is not in line with the reality, because there were
1 authorities in all municipalities apart from Stolac, and the authorities
2 were elected in 1991. We saw how the process went of transforming those
3 authorities into the HVO rule. So there were authorities, there was
4 rule, so that this item 4 is out of sync with reality, because this can
5 be understood to mean that in all 10 municipalities there are no
6 authorities. In fact, there was only one such municipality, and that is
8 In all other municipalities, there were authorities established
9 long before my arrival to those parts. I don't know when the elections
10 were in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990. That's when authorities were
11 established. The only municipality without legal authorities was Stolac.
12 And you know that General Beneta said that a crisis staff was formed
13 which had Muslim and Croat representatives, and that's when that
14 municipality received authorities.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Petkovic, listening to you, one gets the
16 impression that it was a matter of course that the authorities would be
17 Croat, but that may be the issue, to establish Croat rule even where
18 previously, as in Stolac, there was not a Croat rule and even a clear
19 Muslim majority in the population. I think that was the point that the
20 President was raising here.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, I'm
22 talking using plural, and I said that at that moment the only place where
23 there were no Croatian authorities was the municipality of Stolac
24 the 26th of June, 1992, only Stolac municipality did not have any
25 authority at all.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Let me immediately
2 correct. The general didn't say did that there was no Croatian
3 authorities. He said that there were no authorities at all.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't mention the word
5 "Croatian." All those municipalities, save for Stolac, already had
6 established authorities. Your Honour, those authorities had existed long
7 before I arrived in the area. So why am I using plural? I really don't
8 know. Why is this plural, I don't know.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We understand what you're
10 saying, but you are not a legal expert, nor a drafter of a document. But
11 you say that point 4 was only dealing with Stolac. Very well. I have no
12 reason not to believe you. But if this is the case, and this only
13 applies to Stolac, why not say to establish in Stolac authorities with
14 all political components of the municipality; namely, the SDA, the HDZ,
15 and so on? Why not draft it that way?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it's not up to me to
17 think about that. At that moment, I was faced with the fact that the
18 army had liberated Stolac and that there was nobody to hand over the
19 power to, and that was that. The plural is used by mistake. There was
20 nothing to change in Grude, Capljina, because the authorities were well
21 established in all the other places. The only place in question is
22 Stolac. And as I've already told you, this was taken off the typewriter.
23 Nobody really looked at it twice. But let me say again that all the
24 municipalities, except for Stolac, had legally-elected powers. And it
25 was a well-established fact that in 75 per cent of -- in all those
1 municipalities, Croats constituted more than 75 per cent of the
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you said there was a
4 mistake, and it was only dealing with Stolac. So it's in the transcript.
5 Ms. Alaburic, you have 10 minutes left.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, let's be very clear and say: Was this document read at
8 that meeting or not?
9 A. No, Your Honours, that document was not read. It could not have
10 been read. It remained in Grude, and the meeting was held in Medjugorje.
11 Q. General, you've told us that the persons who participated in the
12 drafting of the document was Keza, Zadro, and yourself, and that the
13 document was then read by Janko Bobetko; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. Did anybody, except for the four of you, know about this
16 document? Did anybody read it?
17 A. No, except for the lady who typed it.
18 Q. Very well. And now, General, could you please tell us, do you
19 remember when Dubrovnik
20 A. In the first half of August 1992, that's when the blockade was
21 lifted. It was always a free town, but what happened on that day, the
22 blockade was lifted and it was linked up with the western part of
24 Q. Thank you for the clarification.
25 Please, let's look at P479. This is an invitation issued by
1 Janko Bobetko and sent to people from Herceg-Bosna to a meeting in order
2 to clarify certain circumstances regarding the military situation in the
3 territory of Herzegovina
4 Did you see it before?
5 A. Yes, I saw it before, because I participated in the meeting and I
6 had been given a task to deliver a keynote address and tackle certain
7 issues. Items number 1 and 1.1 are my items, the ones that I discussed.
8 Q. In the autumn of 1992, did Janko Bobetko stop being active in
9 that part of the front-line?
10 A. Yes, one could say that at that moment General Janko Bobetko
11 turned completely towards the liberation of the small remaining part of
13 for Zagreb
14 Q. General, you also mentioned that you received a Golden Lily and
15 that Halilovic never came to shake your hand and congratulate you. What
16 were you talking about? Is that a decoration, the Golden Lily?
17 A. When they gave it to me, they told me that it was a decoration
18 for those who played a prominent role in the defence of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was handed to me by Mr. Ganic, in the presence of
20 Kljujic, Siber, and three or four lower-ranking officers.
21 Q. When you say that "they explained to me, they told me," who were
22 you referring to? Who are "they"?
23 A. Mr. Ganic, the vice-president of the Presidency of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Stjepan Kljujic, a member of the Presidency of
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina from the ranks of the Croatian people, and
1 Stjepan Siber, of course, who was the deputy chief of staff of the BiH
3 Q. Who was the decision-maker for that decoration? Was it the
4 Presidency or some other body?
5 A. They told me that the decoration had been established and awarded
6 by the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Counsel. I apologise if I missed it, but
8 I don't recall and I don't see on the transcript that we ever got a date
9 for this reward. It's come up several times, and it would be nice --
10 MS. ALABURIC: My next question, my next question.
11 MR. SCOTT: Thank you very much.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Since I have to take things at a
13 time, it seemed to me that it was more important to clarify the
14 significance of the decoration and then to deal with the date.
15 Q. When was it, General, when you were awarded?
16 A. It was on the 7th of October, 1992.
17 Q. General, which state were you defending at the time?
18 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina. There was no other state.
19 Q. In 1993, when you were in the territory of Bosnia
21 A. There was just one state, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 Q. And in the first half of 1994 when you were in Bosnia and
24 A. Again, the only state in existence was Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, earlier on I
1 fully heard the fact that you mentioned that you got the Golden Lily
2 award, and you know that we [as interpreted] obtained it on the 7th of
3 October, 1992, so the date is very clear. But as far as I can recollect,
4 when you are given an award like this, a decree is drafted. And I assume
5 that in a decree to grant you this Golden Lily award, this must have been
6 issued by the president of the Presidency, namely, Mr. Izetbegovic. In
7 this case, did you receive this decree that was published in the
8 "Official Gazette"?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know what
10 they did in terms of administration and paperwork. However, at the end
11 of the meeting they first approached me and the other of my five men.
12 They gave us the Gold Lilies. And they gave one to me to pass on to
13 Mr. Boban, and there was something else with it, a copper pot or
14 something, and I gave the two to Mr. Boban.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but he got another present, as
17 I just told you. It was a hand-made work of craft as a symbol of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Sarajevo
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. When you are given
20 an award, it is for service rendered, as it were, and what is it that you
21 were awarded it for?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, at a meeting held in
23 the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Ganic thanked the Croatian
24 Defence Council for all that had been done from the month of April 1992
25 up to then, in terms of the defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He
1 particularly emphasised the significance of the operation to liberate the
2 eastern part of Bosnia
3 River, including the town of Stolac
4 failure to present the whole situation well to the general public in
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina. To be honest, I held it against him, to a
6 certain extent, but he promised that he would put it right.
7 And then a new meeting with the UNPROFOR was scheduled for the
8 12th of December, and then Mr. Ganic asked me if he could send me an
9 invitation to that meeting instead of UNPROFOR, and I said,
10 Mr. Kljujic [as interpreted], sure, why not, we will come. And I did
11 come on the 12th of October, and those who had sent me the invitation
12 never turned up. And then I said to General Morillon, Let's go back to
13 the old way of doing things. You send me the invitation.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just a small
15 correction. The first time the date was mentioned, it was the 12th of
16 October, but there is a mistake. Instead of "October ," we have the
17 month of December. Just to avoid confusion.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we have a bit more
19 time left, we can also talk about December, the next invitation for a
20 meeting in Sarajevo
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will have time next week.
22 It is time to close this session.
23 We'll carry on next week and will resume our session Monday at
24 quarter past 2.00. And I thank everyone in the courtroom.
25 [The accused Petkovic stands down]
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.
2 to be reconvened on Monday, the 15th day of
3 February, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.