1 Thursday, 18 February 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Petkovic takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
7 Registrar, could you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et
11 al. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
13 Today is Thursday, the 18th of February, 2010. I would like to
14 first greet General Petkovic, our witness for today. I would like to
15 greet the accused, as well as the Defence teams, and Mr. Scott and all
16 his fellow OTP members. And I would also like to greet everyone in the
18 First of all, I would like to tell Mr. Kovacic, who asked the
19 question as to whether or when I would put forward my dissenting opinion
20 regarding the decision to admit evidence or exhibits. You know that
21 quite a few exhibits were rejected by the majority of the Chamber, and
22 therefore I would like to issue a dissenting opinion. Unfortunately, I
23 did not have time to finish this opinion, because yesterday and the day
24 before yesterday I was in this courtroom from 9.00 until 7.00 p.m., and I
25 also had to prepare the questions that I will put to General Petkovic.
1 Obviously, I will put forward my dissenting opinion next week, either
2 Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. But as the Trial Chamber said, the time
3 you will have will be from the time you receive the translation, so there
4 is really no urgency and you don't really need it within 24 hours,
5 because you will have two weeks from the date at which you will receive
6 the translation of this document. It seems that there is a typing
7 mistake regarding my opinion on the document, but I haven't really looked
8 at the number. But I will let you know what number it is.
9 So this is what I wanted to say to Mr. Kovacic.
10 Mr. Scott, I believe you wanted to take the floor.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If I may, Your Honour, I'd like to
12 express my gratitude for the information you've just given me, and I hope
13 you didn't take our request as in any way hurrying you. We just wanted
14 to be sure that the document would appear. Of course, I know that you
15 need time, so thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 Mr. Scott, please.
18 MR. SCOTT: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon, all
19 of Your Honours. Good afternoon, Counsel, all those in and around the
21 Your Honour, there's one matter that the Prosecution thinks must
22 be raised today and at the beginning of the session, before Ms. Alaburic
23 completes her direct examination of Mr. Petkovic, and I want to preface
24 my comments by saying as someone who's been a courtroom advocate for
25 quite some years now, I'm not unsympathetic to the difficulty of the task
2 Having said that, and I don't think this is a concern unique
3 necessarily to the Prosecution - the co-accused may share the concern and
4 perhaps the Chamber will share the concern - given the constraints of
5 time in the case, which are considerable and we've all dealt with,
6 I think Ms. Alaburic dealt with some topics -- some central topics, if
7 I can call them that way, very fundamental topics, in a very brief, some
8 might even say cursory, fashion yesterday. Again, given the time-limits,
9 the rush of time, that might be understandable to some extent.
10 Let me give the Chamber three specific examples to make it less
11 abstract and more specific.
12 One was the topic -- actually, two topics, the April 1993
13 ultimatum, which everyone in the courtroom is well familiar with, and the
14 events in Prozor at the end of October 1992. Those two topics were dealt
15 with by Mr. Petkovic in a total -- a total of 18 lines -- 18 transcript
16 lines of testimony. The question of the camps and detention, that topic
17 and a very important aspect of that topic was dealt with in four lines of
18 testimony, four lines of testimony. And let me give you a specific
19 example on what that was.
20 Here's the question. This is at page 49577-49578 of the
22 "Q. In your conversation with the supreme commander of the HVO,
23 did you mention the facilities of where these isolated Muslim HVO
24 soldiers and able-bodied Muslim men could find accommodation?"
25 Mr. Petkovic's answer, four lines:
1 "A. Yes, he said that the HVO had facilities that can put up
2 this number of men and that it was up to the army to disarm these men in
3 the safest manner, and everybody else was somebody -- oh, sorry,
4 everything else was for someone else to take care of."
5 "Everything else was for someone else to take care of."
6 Your Honour, that's a question that begs -- that goes to the
7 heart of much of the case, and I suspect Mr. Petkovic must have a view --
8 a fuller view of what that means. And I suspect that both the
9 Prosecution and the co-accused would like to know what that case is
10 before their examinations begin. Certainly, someone was responsible.
11 These camps were not run by themselves. That's just one example.
12 Third example, Your Honour, was the questions of military
13 discipline and justice. That was taken also very briefly. The Chamber
14 may recall some sensitivity, I think someone described it yesterday, when
15 a number of Defence counsel, the co-accused, were on their feet about
16 leading questions, that this was a sensitive topic. It was again taken
17 in a very brief manner.
18 Now, what that leads me to, Your Honour, I wanted to give the
19 Chamber some specific examples of what I'm talking about. But here's the
20 concern, here's the concern: Ms. Alaburic several times in the last few
21 days has raised that, Well, to the effect -- and I'm paraphrasing, so
22 counsel, please, I'm not quoting, I'm paraphrasing, although I will refer
23 to some parts of the transcript. Ms. Alaburic's position has been to the
24 effect, largely, that, Well, if I don't deal with it now, I'll deal with
25 it in redirect. And I'm afraid, Your Honours, that things simply don't
1 work that way.
2 Let me just refer to a couple of times.
3 On Tuesday, page 49478, at line 11, Ms. Alaburic says:
4 "And one more thing. We have established that 20 to 25 per cent
5 of the time is used for follow-up questions to the questions of the
6 Judges. That is why we decided not to put any follow-up questions during
7 our examination-in-chief, but, rather, anything that we consider very
8 important will be left for redirect examination."
9 The second time on Tuesday at transcript page 49482,
10 Ms. Alaburic, addressing Mr. Petkovic, said:
11 "General, if you remember, yesterday we broke off while you were
12 looking at a map of Mostar on the 30th of June, 1993. I'm not going to
13 ask any questions about that map now. I'll do that in the redirect
15 Reference number 3, also on Tuesday, at page 49511 to 49512,
16 Ms. Alaburic:
17 "I would like the topic raised by Judge Trechsel --"
18 Excuse me:
19 "The topic raised by Judge Trechsel is very important, and it's a
20 comprehensive topic, and we will deal with it in the redirect."
21 Then Mr. Coric at one point intervened, and expressing his
22 concern about the number of important topics that it appears may be left
23 to redirect, and on that point I must say that I share Mr. Coric's views.
24 Following Mr. Coric's views, and I won't read his part of the
25 transcript, but I think the Chamber will recall the several interventions
1 that Mr. Coric made on the topic, Ms. Alaburic then responded to
2 Mr. Coric and again made a reference to the fact -- and ended her
3 comments -- or toward the end of her comments saying this:
4 "However, if such topics as haven't been covered in the
5 examination-in-chief, I preserve the right to deal with that in
7 And as I said, Your Honour, unfortunately the trial process
8 doesn't and can't work that way. You can't say a couple of words, take a
9 topic or a subject in a very brief -- highly brief, highly limited
10 manner, in the sense of putting your marker down, and then saying, I'll
11 come back to it on a redirect examination, after all the other parties
12 have had their turn. That's, unfortunately -- or otherwise, it just
13 doesn't work that way.
14 Your Honour, the Prosecution has thought about this overnight,
15 and this came to our attention as we thought about it yesterday, as we
16 reviewed the transcripts over the last two days last evening. There's
17 really, I suppose, a couple of possibilities: either Ms. Alaburic has to
18 be given some sort of reasonable time to address the topics in a full way
19 so that all the parties, the Chamber, the parties, the Prosecution, the
20 co-accused, could all go into their examinations with confidence that the
21 topic has been fairly and fully dealt with, or, I suppose, Ms. Alaburic
22 would have to give some kind of a commitment that she said as much as she
23 can say and will not come back to it in redirect. I don't know that
24 that's a workable solution. Or, number 3, following the redirect
25 examination, as the Chamber has provided for in its guide-lines dated the
1 24th of April, 2008, the other scenario is the Chamber would have to
2 provide -- would need to provide additional opportunity for the other
3 parties then to have further examination following the redirect
5 The core position, Your Honour, is that, again, you can't raise
6 topics very briefly on direct examination and, as I said, reserve the
7 opportunity then to address them more fully once you get to redirect.
8 That's the issue, and I lay it before the Chamber's attention, please.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, there are really two things
11 which need to be carefully distinguished here. They are connected, but
12 nevertheless need to be kept separately. The first is the question of
13 redirect examination or re-examination, as I normally call it; same
15 It's quite clear that re-examination or redirect has to be on
16 matters which arise out of cross-examination. That's absolutely implicit
17 and understood in everything that Ms. Alaburic has said in every
18 reference to re-examination, tested by the extreme case -- if there is no
19 cross-examination, and we can't force anybody to cross-examine - they've
20 just got the time and the opportunity to do it - if there's no
21 cross-examination, there's no redirect examination. There can't be. So,
22 of course it's implicit. Let's say we take our chances. We're not in
23 court to gamble as Mr. Petkovic's advocates, but we are here to form
24 judgements on his behalf, and to that extent we take our chances. If the
25 matters are explored in cross-examination so that we can legitimately
1 then go to them in redirect examination, then that's what we can do. If
2 they are not raised or if, in redirect examination, we attempt to go
3 outside the proper scope of that phase of the examination, then an
4 objection to those questions would be legitimate and would be expected to
5 be upheld, and that would be an end to the matter. And there really
6 isn't any more to it than that.
7 The other strand, which is where Mr. Scott started, is a
8 different point, which is that we should have gone more into
9 particular -- leave aside the redirect point. We should have gone more
10 into particular topics in examination-in-chief. Well, Your Honours, with
11 the greatest respect to Mr. Scott and the co-accused, the other Defences,
12 what questions they ask in cross-examination is a decision for them.
13 What questions we ask in examination-in-chief is a decision for us. And,
14 actually, it would be no solution, anyway, for the Trial Chamber to say,
15 at Mr. Scott's request, Petkovic Defence, you can have another hour, if
16 we actually don't want to ask any questions during that hour. We'd say,
17 Well, thank you very much, we've had that other hour, but actually those
18 are the questions we want to ask, we'll see what the cross-examination
19 is, and so far as we need or wish, on Mr. Petkovic's behalf, to
20 re-examine based on that cross-examination, that's what we will do.
21 And, Your Honour, the fundamental position is we didn't have to
22 call Mr. Petkovic at all. Of course, we didn't have to call any witness.
23 We didn't have to call Mr. Petkovic. When we do put Mr. Petkovic in the
24 witness box, naturally he's exposed to cross-examination, but that's part
25 and parcel of it. But what we ask him, then, in his evidence is up to
1 us. If the Trial Chamber wishes to explore matters further, of course,
2 you can always. Cross-examination within the legitimate bounds can be
3 done by the parties having the right to cross-examine, and then we get on
4 to redirect in exactly the way that I've described.
5 So there is, in the end, nothing at all in this point. We should
6 simply proceed.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, and
8 good afternoon to everybody else.
9 May I add another element, and I have, of course, discussed this
10 with Mr. Nicholas Stewart. We decided that I should tell you about this
12 I consider that I don't need to convince anybody in this
13 courtroom that the Trial Chamber is in charge of these proceedings and
14 that they know full well what the rules are governing re-examination, and
15 that the distinguished Trial Chamber has the right to interrupt any
16 re-examination which is contrary to the rules of re-examination. I don't
17 think that there's any reason not to believe Judge Antonetti -- not to
18 believe that he is fully capable of conducting these proceedings
19 according to the Rules and that he won't allow anybody in this courtroom
20 to examine contrary to the Rules. So as far as I'm concerned, there's no
21 possibility here of doing something in re-examination that they don't
22 have the right to do, according to the Rules of this Tribunal and the
23 guide-lines which the Trial Chamber has adopted.
24 At this point in time, the question that arises is this, and it's
25 going to be relevant to other Defence teams when they conduct their
1 examination: What are the rights of a Defence team with respect to --
2 during direct with a respect to questions from the Bench, from Their
3 Honours? If you remember, the Defence of General Milivoj Petkovic wanted
4 the Trial Chamber to make a ruling so that they could see what the rights
5 of other Defence teams are to react to the answers given in response to
6 questions by the Trial Chamber.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel kindly slow down, please. Thank
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I think that practice in this
10 courtroom has shown that the Judges can ask questions and do ask
11 questions when they wish to do that, and to ask as many questions as they
12 like, and we agree to that. That's not contentious.
13 Now, the question is: What can be done with respect to the
14 Judges' questions if Defence counsel conducting the examination feels
15 that something has been left unsaid with respect to that question? And
16 there are two possibilities open there: to ask follow-up questions in
17 that regard and spend time that was intended for in chief, outside the
18 plans drawn up for in-chief examination, without the desire of the
19 accused, or the witnesses, or the Defence counsel that prepared the
20 examination; and the alternative to this is not to enter into a debate
21 about the topics raised by the Judges' questions, but to behave towards
22 the Judges' questions as one would behave towards questions raised during
23 the cross-examination in general.
24 It is my opinion that each Defence team should have the right to
25 respond and to add to the topics that were raised through the Judges'
1 questions, that that is a legitimate right, and that they can clarify
2 that in re-examination. But after that, all the other Defence teams also
3 have the right to re-cross-examine if, in that way, the questions of the
4 interests of their clients are raised. And in my opinion, that is the
5 only logical solution and the only fair solution. And if we recall the
6 ruling made by the Trial Chamber with respect to Judges' questions, which
7 is a recognised right for other Defence teams to react and, thus, defend
8 the interests of their clients, and if, through the Judges' questions and
9 answers to those questions, in a way it affects the interests of one of
10 the accused, then there's no dilemmas, as far as I'm concerned.
11 Now, if the honourable Trial Chamber makes another ruling and
12 says that in re-examination no Defence team has the right to go back to
13 the Judges' questions and deal with them, then I would like to ask the
14 Trial Chamber to make a ruling and decision whereby no Defence team, in
15 its cross-examination -- does not have the right to refer to Judges'
16 questions, and so the Judges' questions will remain as they were asked,
17 as they stand.
18 So this is obviously a subject that must be dealt with. And as
19 far as I can say, it can be dealt with in any way -- any of these ways
20 that I have put forward.
21 The Defence of General Petkovic will, of course, respect any
22 ruling made by the Trial Chamber. All I can say is that I regret having
23 to talk about this 17 minutes before the close of the
24 examination-in-chief of General Petkovic.
25 Now, as regards the request made by Mr. Scott for additional
1 time, this time we are absolutely opposed to that because, at the
2 beginning of the examination-in-chief of General Petkovic, we decided
3 about matters of time, we established the rules and regulations for these
4 proceedings, and General Petkovic began his testimony under those
5 conditions. And, therefore, I consider that those conditions must
6 absolutely be upheld and cannot be changed during his examination.
7 Thank you.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, if I may be heard just for a
9 second. I try to stay out of these sorts of procedural issues whenever
10 I can.
11 Mr. Scott used one particular word that I thought was rather
12 telling, and that was "confidence." That was the word, I believe, that
13 he used. Whenever one goes into cross-examination, they have to have
14 confidence that what they're about to cross-examine, the topics have been
15 covered fully and fairly, and that what will follow from
16 cross-examination, that is, redirect examination, will only be strictly
17 for rebuttal purposes, that is, for anything that might have come up
18 during the cross-examination purposes.
19 Now, I understand the dilemma that everybody's having, and
20 I think that the safest way to approach this -- the safest way to
21 approach this is to simply allow all counsel to have re-cross-examination
22 as a matter of practice. That way, by doing that - and we have that
23 practice in the United States - this is to prevent counsel from, on
24 direct examination, doing a little bit waiting for redirect in order to
25 sort of what we call sandbag the other side. By allowing
1 re-cross-examination, it then allows -- it forces the party who goes
2 forward to actually put all their cards up front, and that avoids any
3 last-minute, you know, need for re-cross-examination.
4 In any event, I think all of us are concerned. Ms. Alaburic has
5 a point. She has a lot of material to cover, little time.
6 I don't share, I must say with all due candour, I don't share her
7 viewpoint that the Judges' questions should be handled on redirect
8 examination, because in doing that -- because unfortunately the questions
9 coming from the Judges are coming contemporaneously with the direct
10 examination. On the other hand, I do know that by dealing with them
11 immediately, it takes up a lot of time, and I think the figure was 20 to
12 25 per cent, and I can -- from practice, I'm more than willing to accept
13 that figure, if not higher than that.
14 So there lies the problem. But I would prefer the practice be
15 that everything be handled on direct examination, allowing the parties
16 the possibility of re-cross-examination, and in this instance, because of
17 the topics and because of who we have on the stand, to allow Ms. Alaburic
18 the flexibility to do a thorough direct examination, thereby allowing the
19 rest of us, who are concerned - and I'm not saying that I am one of them,
20 but many of them, I know, are - to have a sense of confidence when we
21 stand up to do our cross-examination.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe that everything has
23 been said, Mr. Scott.
24 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, in light of the comments, I would like
25 to make an ever-so-brief response. Counsel -- both of Mr. Petkovic's
1 counsel were on their feet, and I think I should at least have a chance
2 to respond.
3 Your Honour, I don't mind and certainly in fact expect that any
4 argument or position put forward by the Prosecution or a concern raised
5 will -- is subject, of course, to a fair and even tough response.
6 However, I do not accept to have our position mis-characterised.
7 I did not request at this point additional time, and the Chamber
8 should not address, with all due respect, the issue that the Prosecution
9 has raised before the Chamber in the context or postured by the Defence
10 as Mr. Scott asking for more time. I have not asked for more time at
11 this point. I have raised what the Prosecution believes is a very
12 serious and good-faith concern.
13 Now, having said that, Your Honours, I agree with Mr. Karnavas.
14 This is not primarily about the Judges' questions. There's a factor of
15 that. But, again, I don't want the issue -- the fundamental issue to be
16 mis-characterised. This is not primarily about Judges' questions. This
17 is about fairness in the examination process. And I still stand by --
18 again with some sympathy to Ms. Alaburic's position, I repeat again, you
19 can't treat a matter in a very cursory fashion and then say, I'll come
20 back to it in redirect. It fundamentally corrupts the process.
21 Now, Mr. Stewart says, Well, they didn't have to put Mr. Petkovic
22 on at all, on at all. Of course not, of course they didn't. But once
23 they have -- but once they have, there has to be a fairness in the
24 procedure to both the Prosecution and the co-accused.
25 So that's our concern, Your Honour. The Prosecution felt that it
1 was something that should be brought before the Chamber. We're, of
2 course, as always, in the Chamber's hands. I do forecast, Your Honour,
3 that some days from now -- some days from now we'll be having this very
4 further discussion. I'll be happy to be shown wrong, but I forecast that
5 we will.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Since Judge Trechsel is not
8 here today, the Trial Chamber will hand out its decision on the basis of
9 what you have said and on the basis of what the parties have responded to
10 the question at issue; namely, that you have realised that the Petkovic
11 Defence did not address topics [indiscernible], in your view, are
12 important topics; Prozor, for instance, the April 1993 ultimatum, and so
13 on. I shall not go into details here. You feel that this is a problem,
14 and you seize the Judges of this question. And you explain that this may
15 have to do with the time factor.
16 We will deliberate on the matter. I could tell you straight away
17 what my position is, but out of respect for my colleague who is not here
18 today, I shall not do this.
19 On a personal note, and I would like this to be very clear, after
20 Ms. Alaburic has completed her questions, I, myself, would put questions
21 to General Petkovic, so we will be on the front-line then. I would like
22 to say this.
23 The Rules are very specific. There is an examination-in-chief, a
24 cross-examination, and redirect. As far as redirect is concerned, the
25 case law of this Tribunal, notably stemming from common law Judges, is
1 extremely strict. Redirect must have to do with the cross-examination
2 and ties into it very narrowly.
3 The Defence controls its strategy entirely. If the Defence
4 wishes to address a number of issues, it may. If it doesn't, then it
5 doesn't. The best proof of this is the Haradinaj case, in which the
6 Haradinaj Defence team did not wish to call any witnesses and stated that
7 as far as it was concerned, the trial had come to an end. The Prosecutor
8 did not get to his feet to say, No, he should conduct his
9 examination-in-chief. The Defence is entirely free. If it wishes to do
10 so, it can. If it doesn't want to, then it doesn't. The best proof of
11 that is that if an accused wants to, he can testify. If he doesn't want
12 to, he doesn't. That is what the Rules state.
13 In addition, as far as the examination-in-chief is concerned,
14 which addresses a number of issues, the cross-examination must, as far as
15 I'm concerned, solely focus on those issues that have been addressed
16 during the examination-in-chief. That is how this should be conducted,
17 in this spirit.
18 Even if the Trial Chamber is made up of Judges who come from
19 civil law systems, it also has a number of assistants who know, as well
20 as common law lawyers do, how the system works. We are working with
21 American prosecutors, American attorneys, and only a few days ago an
22 American attorney came to work with us in the Chamber. So this is
23 familiar ground, as far as we are concerned, and we know how the common
24 law system works.
25 The only problem which I see at the moment, and I shall discuss
1 it with my colleagues, whether we should force General Petkovic's team to
2 address a number of issues and then provide additional time, but the
3 Trial Chamber has set the time for all Defence teams. General Petkovic
4 has 55 hours, and the Petkovic Defence was free to use this time as it
5 wished. It decided to dedicate six hours to General Petkovic and to keep
6 a little bit of time for Mr. Coric's witnesses, Mr. Coric's testimony,
7 Mr. Pusic, and Mr. Pusic's testimony, if he is to testify. We don't
8 know. Since the Praljak Defence has had its time, it kept a little bit
9 of extra time in the event it wanted to put any questions during
10 redirect. So all of these elements fit into one another.
11 Of course, it hasn't escaped me that the Petkovic Defence did not
12 address a number of issues. Nothing tells you that I might not put
13 questions on these issues when I put questions to the witness. Why will
14 I intervene immediately after the examination-in-chief? Things are not
15 done haphazardly. I've been working for 30 years in a courtroom, and I
16 know what a criminal trial is all about. I felt it was better to
17 intervene then to enable all and everyone, namely, other counsel, during
18 their cross-examination, if need be, to come back on things the witness
19 has said when I put questions to the witness. This is a safety window.
20 And then the Prosecution has everything at its disposal for the
21 cross-examination of the witness.
22 I'm also making sure that the Prosecution can work properly. I
23 also make sure that the Petkovic Defence can work properly, because
24 Ms. Alaburic, when she decides to conduct her redirect, can, if need be,
25 revert back to my questions. No one is prejudiced in this way. This is
1 what I believe. If I thought that were the case, then I would just
2 remain silent, but that is not how I proceed, and certainly not in
3 professional terms.
4 The Trial Chamber will undoubtedly, either on Monday or Tuesday,
5 state its position, a unanimous position, a decision taken by the
6 majority; I don't know. Whatever the case may be, this issue will be the
7 subject of an oral decision.
8 Ms. Alaburic, I don't know how many minutes you have left. You
9 have the floor to complete your examination-in-chief.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Before I start examining the
11 witness, I would like to thank you for this explanation. For the most
12 part, it jibes with what I wanted to tell my learned friend Mr. Scott.
13 And my response is the following: We have spent the last two years
14 analysing all the evidence called by the Prosecution, and we have
15 analysed whether the Prosecution managed to prove the counts, the
16 charges. And based on that, we decided that we didn't have to adduce any
17 evidence to the contrary. Having decided that the Prosecution failed to
18 prove some charges against General Petkovic, we decided not to address
19 them in our case.
20 After General Petkovic's examination-in-chief, we will have just
21 one major topic that we want to examine him on, but unfortunately we
22 won't have enough time to deal with it, and this is the labour done by
23 detainees. Cutting my examination-in-chief short, down to 17 minutes
24 that I have left, I decided to skip this topic, while making it clear to
25 the Trial Chamber that I consider it to be very important, because I
1 could see that His Honour Judge Antonetti wanted to address some
2 documents signed by General Petkovic about labour by detainees, and I
3 have no doubt this topic will be addressed in this courtroom. And if the
4 Prosecution or my colleagues from the Defence -- other Defence teams want
5 to address this topic, and I'm sure that Mr. Scott will want to do that,
6 I will consider that to be a topic that has been covered in the
7 examination-in-chief, and I will not oppose leading questions by my
8 learned friend Mr. Scott, because we had to skip some topics or deal with
9 them in the briefest possible terms because we consider them to be not in
10 dispute when it comes to the innocence by the accused, General Petkovic.
11 Now, I have some 17 or 16 minutes left, according to my
13 WITNESS: MILIVOJ PETKOVIC [Resumed]
14 [The witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]
16 Q. General, we addressed the issue of your movements the past few
17 days. That's document 4D2027. Your Honours, it's the separate document
18 that I distributed to everybody two days ago. I assume that we have it
19 on our screens now. Yes, we'll have it soon. Let me repeat the number,
21 General, you have it in English only. Okay, now we have it in
22 Croatian. Did you take part in drafting this document?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The numbers listed here, under the headings that indicate where
25 you were, Geneva, Mostar, Sarajevo, what is the reference there? For
1 instance, P12 -- 1038?
2 A. It is the number of the exhibit admitted here at this trial where
3 my name and whereabouts are mentioned.
4 Q. General, could you tell us, on the five pages of text that we
5 have here, to the best of your recollection, is this an accurate
6 representation of your movements relevant for the time-period of the
8 A. Yes, but I have to make a correction. As regards November.
9 Q. Please go ahead, General.
10 A. It says that on the 8th of November, "Boban-Petkovic in Ploce."
11 That's wrong, because it should read that Petkovic was in Split on the
13 Q. Can we please look at the last page of this document. That's
14 page 5 in both languages. And then I would like to ask you, General, to
15 correct this.
16 And perhaps we can make it possible for the general to correct it
17 on the screen.
18 General, I think that you will now be able to cross out what is
19 stated here for Ploce, and then you can just cross that out and write
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. General, now I would like you to initial this page.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And then we can go back to page 1, and you could perhaps initial
25 page 1 as well, and then I would like us to get an IC number for it.
1 If we could go back to page 1.
2 A. [Marks]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the document just initialled by the
5 witness shall be given Exhibit IC01180. Thank you, Your Honours.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, over the past few days we spoke at length about the
8 obligations of the commander of a military unit. Now I would like you to
9 give us some explanations as to the deputy commanders.
10 Do deputy commanders have the right to discipline soldiers and
11 officers in that unit?
12 A. No. The law stipulates that only the commander has that right,
13 or if that person stands in for the commander for a lengthier
15 Q. General, could you please tell us, is the deputy commander part
16 of the chain of command?
17 A. If we look at the chain of command, in terms of individuals, only
18 commanders, people designated as commanders are part of the chain of
19 command, because you cannot have two people at the same place in the
20 chain of command.
21 Q. General, tell us, does the deputy commander have any inherent
22 command powers?
23 A. The command powers must be defined and conferred upon him.
24 Q. Let me repeat the question. Does that mean that that person has
25 or has not inherent command powers?
1 A. In the organisational part of the command structure, he does have
2 powers, and he is in charge of other services that are not in the strict
3 operational or command sense.
4 Q. General, I don't think that the interpretation is correct. Could
5 you please repeat your answer slowly? So I am asking you whether deputy
6 commanders have inherent command powers.
7 A. He does not have any command powers when he's together with the
8 commander. He has powers to carry out auxiliary, secondary activities in
9 a command.
10 Q. Could you tell us, when can deputy commanders have some command
12 A. At the point in time when the commander confers the command
13 powers upon him and gives him the task and the time-frame for his
15 Q. If we go back to the topic of Stupni Do, and if we recall that
16 Ivica Rajic sent his first report on the 8th of November, 1993, about the
17 events in Stupni Do, and sent a supplemental report on the 15th, can you
18 tell us whether you, as the deputy chief of the Main Staff, and the chief
19 was Ante Roso, did you have any powers to take any measures against
20 Ivica Rajic or any other HVO members?
21 A. No. I was duty-bound, if General Ante Roso was not informed
22 about that, to bring this report to his attention and to inform him about
23 all actions that were taken. And in that case, he took it upon himself
24 to act further.
25 Q. Finally, General, I would like you to explain to us some of the
1 statements that you made earlier. We've seen them in the documents that
2 were admitted in this courtroom.
3 4D75, it's the penultimate document in the third binder.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, let me get back to the
5 disciplinary measures. That is not something I had contemplated as part
6 of my questions, and I would like to thank Ms. Alaburic for having
7 addressed this question with you. She addresses it through the events in
8 Stupni Do.
9 I have listened to her, and I have re-read the Military
10 Disciplinary Code, P00425, which you don't have, I'm sure, in your
11 documents. This could be placed on the screen, but I don't think it is
12 necessary to look at it. I compared the former Yugoslavia text with the
13 text of the ABiH and the text of the Croatian Army, and of the HVO, and I
14 see that there isn't much difference between all these texts with the
15 system of my country. There is very little difference.
16 When an offence is committed -- afterwards, I would like you to
17 answer, General Petkovic, please. When a military contravenes the
18 system, this could be of two kinds. It could be of a disciplinary nature
19 or it could be of a criminal nature. If it is of a disciplinary nature,
20 it is defined under Article 3 of the Military Code. I'm not going to
21 quote them all, but, for instance, this is the case of a soldier who
22 refuses to obey an order. That comes under the military discipline rules
23 of the army. That is the case, for instance, of a soldier who is not
24 obeying the orders as he should. He's being asked to monitor the
25 entrance door of the barracks, and in the middle of the night he is
1 caught sleeping. That is a disciplinary offence. Eight are listed here
2 in Article 3. And in Article 59, Article 59 provides that the commander
3 of a unit can then punish the person in question. That is what we call a
4 disciplinary breach.
5 As far as crimes are concerned, General Petkovic, that is another
6 story. When there is a crime, this does not come under Article 3 of the
7 Military Disciplinary Code. When a crime is committed, and that is
8 something which you will understand when I put questions to you later on,
9 then the military prosecutor intervenes, or an investigating judge, and
10 this has got nothing to do with the penalty imposed if it is a
11 disciplinary breach.
12 If you read the text as it stands, of course, it can happen that
13 when a crime is committed, the commander places the soldier in custody
14 and punishes him that way. He will then be placed in a military prison.
15 But he can be taken into custody.
16 According to the Military Disciplinary Code which you had in the
17 JNA and in the HVO, did it coincide with the situation where a unit
18 commander can punish a military who has committed a disciplinary breach
19 to military discipline, but when a crime is committed, he can arrest him
20 on a temporary basis, but then this falls within the competence of
21 another jurisdiction? Am I right or am I wrong? You are totally free to
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you're quite right,
24 but I'd just like to add something.
25 Infractions, offences, the first point you say, when somebody
1 fails to carry out an order properly, in that case then --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, I will let
3 you take the floor. I could have completed my question by saying: As a
4 prosecutor, I have sometimes had to manage cases in which military had
5 committed crimes, and in cases like those the military in my country was
6 not the subject of military disciplinary sanction because this fell under
7 another jurisdiction. Because a commander was entitled to take him into
8 custody, he then was the subject of another procedure, which was a
9 criminal procedure, which was instigated by the prosecutor and not by the
10 commander. Did things work like that in the JNA, in the HVO, and in the
11 Croatian Army? You were fortunate enough, or unfortunate - I don't
12 know - to have served in three armies.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps even four, Your Honour.
14 Yes, rules on military disciplinary action in force in the HVO
15 was, well, the same as the one used in the Yugoslav People's Army and is
16 the same as the rules and regulations that were in force in the Republic
17 of Croatia. So there were two levels. The first level were lighter
18 offences, where the commanders could mete out sanctions, but only to
19 soldiers and soldiers in detention. Now, when it comes to proper
20 detention, officers and non-commissioned officers could just be meted out
21 light sentences, they could be given reprimands. But if an offence was
22 considered more serious and jeopardised the life of a unit, both in the
23 former JNA -- there were military disciplinary courts attached to
24 military districts in Croatia, there were also military disciplinary
25 courts. Herceg-Bosna enacted rules and regulations where military
1 disciplinary courts are mentioned. However, they were not -- they were
2 never established, because there were not the necessary cadres to set
3 them up.
4 Now, with the military disciplinary courts, there were several
5 types of measures that could be meted out. First of all, you could be
6 stopped or held back, or you could -- you would not be promoted for four
7 years. You would have to wait four years for promotion. Now, if you had
8 a two-year ban on promotion, then you would carry the rank you already
9 held for six years. Furthermore, a decision could have been made to
10 deduct 10 or 20 per cent from your salary for a maximum period of two
11 years. That was another sanction. And then for officers and
12 non-commissioned officers, there was detention up to 30 days that the
13 Military Disciplinary Court could give. And for officers and NCOs, they
14 could also be struck off the list of reserve officers. I think there was
15 another measure that could have been implemented - I'm not quite
16 sure - for officers. Well, they could also lose their rank. That was
17 another measure.
18 So those were basically the measures that could be applied both
19 in the Yugoslav People's Army, when it came to military disciplinary
20 courts, and these same measures were applied in the Republic of Croatia.
21 And let me tell you that I was the president of the Military
22 Disciplinary Court in Split, for example, for a time, for one term of
23 office, and I know that there were sentences of that kind, too, measures
24 of that kind. And this was also provided for by Herceg-Bosna in its
25 rules and regulations. However, as I said, the military disciplinary
1 courts were never actually established, attached to the operative zones
2 or the Main Staff, and not every operative -- it needn't have been for
3 every operative zone. You could have one military disciplinary court for
4 several zones, and that was the case in Croatia while I was president of
5 the Military Disciplinary Court.
6 So Herceg-Bosna did not succeed in actually setting up courts of
7 this kind, and in my opinion, because it failed to do so, the command
8 structures were deprived of sanctions and measures that could be taken.
9 Now, the third part of what you mentioned, when it came to
10 crimes, crime and punishment, I think the proceedings were the same in
11 the JNA and in the Croatian Army, and in Herceg-Bosna as well. If you
12 know who the perpetrator or perpetrators were, then you were duty-bound
13 to ensure that they did not abscond, which meant that you had to secure
14 him, and block off the crime scene, if I can put it that way, where the
15 crime took place. You would have to collect up all the evidence and
16 gather all the information, and then report that to the investigating
17 judge. If the perpetrators were unknown and a crime had been committed,
18 then you had the Security Service at your disposal, as well as the
19 military police, who would then undertake the process of investigating
20 the matter, and once again it would end up with the investigating judge,
21 or, rather, further proceedings would be taken within the various
23 So the rules and regulations and provisions were the same both in
24 the JNA -- I think Croatia copied out that section of the law, and it
25 applied in Herceg-Bosna as well, except that major drawback, and that is
1 to say that no military disciplinary courts were actually established.
2 And then there was this third method, which was one applied in the JNA
3 and in the Republic of Croatia, and it was also prescribed for
4 Herceg-Bosna, and a basis was formed with the military district courts
5 and that system that were in several locations to deal with it that way.
6 So since we're mentioning three states, three countries, those
7 provisions were, to all intents and purposes, well, I would say even
8 identical, and the procedures and measures that could be taken were also
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you,
11 General Petkovic, for this very exhaustive reply. And given that you
12 touched on disciplinary sanctions, I realise that you chaired a
13 disciplinary commission and/or a military disciplinary court, and
14 therefore you know more than anybody else what it's all about. So thank
15 you very much for giving us this information.
16 Just a small point of clarification. When I said that you were
17 part of three armies, I was basing that on the facts that I was sure of,
18 but, in fact, you may have been a member of a fourth army, which would be
19 the ABiH. But, of course, this will be in the judgement. And you will
20 understand that I could not take any position on this point, and this is
21 why I only talked about three armies. I'm being very cautious when I put
22 anything forward. But we take note of the fact that you were a member of
23 four armies.
24 Ms. Alaburic, you have the floor.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 Q. Document 4D75, General, your letter to Sefer Halilovic. It's in
2 the third set of documents, the last-but-one; the third binder, that is.
3 But maybe you can rely on e-court. I will read out the section in which
4 I'm interested in now and ask you for your comment.
5 In February 1993, among other things, you wrote to
6 Sefer Halilovic, I quote:
7 "I looked forward to each new soldier, Croatian or Muslim,
8 because I knew that they had a common goal. The HVO hasn't changed its
9 attitude or behaviour towards the BH Army to this day. We are aware that
10 with the present balance of powers, neither the HVO nor the BH Army alone
11 can defeat the Chetniks."
12 Could you please comment, General, on what I have just read?
13 A. Certainly, Your Honours. I can say that I was pleased when I saw
14 that the BH Army was growing stronger and that it would be able to stand
15 up to the Serb forces. I was also pleased by the HVO growing stronger,
16 and also proud of the fact that the HVO had some Muslims in its ranks.
17 In spite of some tensions, I sincerely wished that Sefer Halilovic
18 succeed to get to terms with the Chetniks or -- in Central Bosnia. I
19 enjoyed -- or, rather, I promised him that we would engage additional
20 forces of ours and also move up to the front against the Chetniks.
21 Q. Did you ever invite any prominent persons from the BH Army to
22 come to the HVO staff?
23 A. When Hujka received the brigade, once it was established, I
24 wanted Halilovic [as interpreted] to come and see, and we wanted to keep
25 Jasmin Jaganjac in the HVO and give him an opportunity to rise or be
1 promoted maybe even up to the higher levels.
2 And I can mention one more person, Mirsad Catic from Konjic. I
3 asked Arif to lend him to me, and he was for -- my deputy in the JNA for
4 a while. But he had also an injured leg, so we wanted to give him the
5 opportunity to be treated in Split if he came to the HVO to help us out.
6 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like to ask General Petkovic about one
7 issue to be clarified.
8 In the transcript, it is said that:
9 "I asked Arif to lend him," that is Mirsad Catic, "to lend him to
10 me, and my deputy in the JNA ..."
11 I believe that you said that he was your deputy in the JNA, but
12 it is again not very clear if it was Catic or Arif, that is,
13 Arif Pasalic, who was your deputy before in the JNA. Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 First I said that in Mostar we wanted Arif to join us in the HVO
16 Main Staff, because we had a brigade and appointed a new commander. We
17 made that request to the political structures in Mostar with who we were
18 in permanent contact. But when they told us that they were establishing
19 a corps and that Arif has his place there, I met Mr. Catic in Konjic, and
20 I asked them to let him at least come to my Main Staff, because this
21 Mr. Catic was my deputy in the JNA for a while and I wanted to have him
22 next to me.
23 And, secondly, I believe that he stepped on a land-mine, or
24 something happened to him, anyway, so I could have given him the
25 opportunity to get treatment in Split for this leg of his.
1 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you very much for your answer. Thanks.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to correct the
3 transcript on the previous page, 29, line 22. General Petkovic said that
4 they called Arif Pasalic, rather than Halilovic, as is recorded in this
6 Q. Now tell the Trial Chamber, sir, what was your attitude toward
7 the alleged idea that part of Bosnia-Herzegovina separate itself from
8 that country and become part of Croatia.
9 A. My attitude? I never was in favour of part of Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 seceding from that state and becoming part of Croatia.
11 Q. General, we saw a document dated 21 April 1993. It's P2019.
12 Judge Antonetti prepared it for your examination; I didn't. It was --
13 these were the minutes of Tihomir Blaskic taken at your meeting in
14 Zenica, and there Sefer Halilovic told you something:
15 "Hey, what are you talking about? You only want a Croatian state
16 in these parts, anyway."
17 And then you spoke your mind about the so-called Greater Croatia.
18 So could you now please explain to the Trial Chamber what you thought
19 about this idea and the possibility of its being implemented ?
20 A. Let me first say what I replied to Halilovic. I said to him, You
21 must be out of your mind if you really think that's the case. Croatia
22 has as an integral part of its territory the Serbian Krajina which wishes
23 to leave Croatia, and it is a crazy idea to think that Croatia, given
24 this unsolved problem, aspires to anything more; something along those
25 lines. So I'm not sure whether it was -- how faithfully it was recorded
1 in that document. But, anyway, as far as I'm concerned, I was never in
2 favour of the idea that part of Bosnia-Herzegovina should join Croatia.
3 Instead, Bosnia-Herzegovina was a unified country and stayed this way,
4 only I'm sorry that nowadays they can't seem to be able to run their own
6 Q. What is your attitude toward the relationship between the HVO and
7 the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before you answer this
9 question, I would like to come back to Halilovic. Listen carefully,
10 General Praljak -- I'm sorry, General Petkovic. But I was thinking of
11 General Praljak, and you'll understand why.
12 When General Praljak was in your stead, when you were not there,
13 General Praljak talked about General Halilovic. I do not have the
14 transcript before me because I was not planning to put this question to
15 you right now. And I don't always look at the transcript, anyway, but I
16 trust my memory. In a couple of words, and General Praljak had said the
17 following. He had explained that Halilovic and others were sometimes
18 pushing Alija Izetbegovic to voice some views or take some positions, and
19 I think I understood - I may be wrong, but this is what I understood
20 through what General Praljak said - that he may have some words against
21 General Halilovic, but at the same time he thought highly of you. But
22 against Halilovic, he had none. So he said the following: According to
23 him, General Halilovic, who was, like you, a member of the JNA before,
24 was playing such a game that one could believe that he was playing in the
25 hands of the Serbian KOS, and one could think that he was a Serbian agent
1 that had been infiltrated in the ABiH. So these were very strong words
2 that were uttered by General Praljak.
3 So now you have been on the ground, you have seen
4 General Halilovic, you have spoken to him probably in Geneva, and I
5 assume that you must have had lunch or dinners with him, so what do you
6 think of the opinion expressed by General Praljak on General Halilovic?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can very briefly
8 say -- speak my mind without either confirming or rejecting
9 General Praljak's view.
10 To my mind, General Halilovic did not work either for the JNA or
11 for Yugoslavia. He broke all bands with the JNA and Yugoslavia. I know
12 that from heated meetings called by General Morillon and many others.
13 And that -- and the same situation prevailed in Geneva when we spoke to
14 Mr. Nambiar. General Halilovic, if you ask me, never shed a tear for
15 Yugoslavia or the JNA. And as for Mladic, he didn't have a nice word for
16 him, and there is footage to that effect.
17 Halilovic is a few years younger than I. He was a security
18 officer for a while, and he served in Djakovo, which is in Slavonia, in
19 the east of Croatia. But I don't think that whoever worked for the
20 Security Service automatically was a KOS man, because the Security
21 Service was separate from the Counter-Intelligence Service, KOS. The
22 Security Service worked inside a unit and worked locally, whereas the KOS
23 worked even across borders. I heard the stories from some people of him
24 being a KOS man, but I wouldn't say that of him. He had his views, he
25 opted for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he was very critical of Mladic and his
1 team that accompanied him to meetings and talks.
2 As for him and Mr. Izetbegovic, I heard from Mr. Morillon when he
3 said to me, on the 9th of June, You won't be speaking to Halilovic today
4 because great things are going on in Sarajevo; the 1st Corps is on its
5 feet because Halilovic is to be replaced, but he couldn't be replaced in
6 five minutes because they had to persuade all the other commanders, and
7 that went on all day. But why Mr. Izetbegovic decide to replace
8 Halilovic has remained a mystery to me to this date.
9 Halilovic -- or, rather, Mr. Izetbegovic [as interpreted] always
10 wanted to impose himself. He was very assertive. He always wanted to be
11 number 1, even at Presidency's meetings, and not everybody was willing to
12 accept that, so that obviously a rift came about between the two of them.
13 I cannot say that Halilovic was a KOS agent. His mind worked
14 very differently.
15 By the way, there were stories of me being a KOS man because I
16 had come from the JNA, although that has nothing to do with reality.
17 I know that he worked for the Security Service. It was the
18 security service of a brigade, but I know what their tasks are. It is
19 limited to some operational tasks and tactical tasks, whereas the KOS
20 even works in other countries.
21 So I never accepted these arguments or stories, but he was very
22 assertive, he was indeed. You agreed to him about one thing, and when
23 the following -- when the course of the discussion didn't seem to go in
24 his favour, then he would change his mind.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Yes, your position
1 has been recorded in the transcript.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I have a correction on page 34,
3 line 6. The general said that Sefer Halilovic wanted to impose himself
4 at Presidency meetings, rather than Mr. Izetbegovic, as is recorded here,
5 and that other people objected to that.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed, that was the case.
7 Actually, I heard those stories from other people in the ABiH
8 when I asked why he had left.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. I believe that we have two more minutes to go. What do you think
11 of the relationship between the HVO and the Armed Forces of
13 A. We --
14 Q. The Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, General.
15 A. Well, if you ask me, the HVO was an integral part of the
16 Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we were waiting for the man we
17 considered the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina to gather everybody around him and say publicly, on
19 TV, Today it is we who represent the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 Petkovic isn't here, but in his stead there is so-and-so, et cetera.
21 Mr. Izetbegovic spent a day and a half in Mostar, and he was in a
22 position to do that in October 1992, or -- and he could have done that
23 whenever he wanted, in Geneva and when I was in Jablanica with him. But
24 he was the president of the country and the commander-in-chief, and, you
25 know, this should have been his initiative.
1 Q. Tell us about the joint command of the HVO and the ABiH. We saw
2 a number of documents here, and we know that this joint command couldn't
3 be established before the signing of the Washington Agreements. Did the
4 HVO in any way obstruct the establishing of a joint command of the HVO
5 and the ABiH?
6 A. No. We considered the joint command a great step forward, and we
7 also saw it as something that provided us security, because we were in a
8 weaker position than the ABiH. So that was a guarantee of our survival.
9 But some things happened at the political level. The Vance-Owen Plan
10 failed for good, and then things went bad.
11 Q. By way of finishing, General, tell us, the two years you spent in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, what did you think -- which country were you
13 defending there?
14 A. I defended Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I left that country. It is
15 still in existence today, so -- it exists in its original borders, so
16 nobody took any part of its territory from it.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, General.
18 Your Honours, thank you for additional time. I believe my time
19 is up, so thank you once more.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Indeed, you have used six hours
21 and forty minutes. This was confirmed by the Registrar. So Mr. Scott
22 will have six hours and forty minutes, as it was planned.
23 We will have a break, because it's nearly 20 to 4.00. We will
24 resume at 4.00, and we will go until 6.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 3.41 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 4.09 p.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I have understood correctly,
3 you have completed your examination-in-chief, Ms. Alaburic.
4 I wanted to specify, for information purposes for the Praljak
5 Defence, a document was unaccounted for because the document couldn't be
6 printed out, I believe. For some time now, when documents are being
7 copied, some of the numbers don't always come out properly. This would
8 be 3D03640, 640. I believe that's the right number.
9 Mr. Kovacic, you can look at this document.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honour, we will
11 take a look in the course of the day, I hope.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as the oral decision we
13 took yesterday pertaining to the extension of time so that the English
14 translation is provided and that people can make their submissions after
15 that, that applies to all and everyone, not only for the Praljak Defence.
16 This stands to reason.
17 Questioned by the Court:
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, I shall now
19 put you a number of questions. We have been sitting in this courtroom
20 for the last four years now. On several occasions, and too rarely, in my
21 view, we have been able to talk to each other. I now have some time
22 before me, and I'm going to put you a series of questions.
23 Let's begin today. As you know, there will be two hours left
24 when we finish. I shall resume on Monday. I don't think I'll be able to
25 finish on, so we might still be addressing this on Tuesday, part of the
1 hearing on Tuesday.
2 To all Defence counsel and to the Prosecutor, I have handed out
3 the documents relating to the questions I was going to ask. And to be
4 fair, I relied on the Prosecution's case, based on the Prosecution
5 documents that bear the letter P, as well as the Defence case and its
6 various submissions. I relied on documents which are either D3, D4, D2,
7 and sometimes I relied on P documents as well, because these are
8 documents that can be used by either. When I shall address the documents
9 and when I shall dedicate my time to the Prosecution's case, to begin
10 with, I may also highlight in a document some elements which could be
11 deemed exculpatory, and vice versa. This is an empirical division I'm
12 making. A document can be read in different ways.
13 Before we start, there are a few preliminary questions I'd like
14 to address.
15 As you know, you come after General Praljak, who has already
16 taken the stand before you. I have not spent the same time on him,
17 because General Praljak testified at great length and I realised
18 afterwards that I had spent approximately 22 hours with him. Out of
19 these 22 hours, a lot of time had been spent on the presidential
20 transcripts, so it is not useful to address these presidential
21 transcripts again, with one exception which I will address at the end of
22 the first day, namely, on Monday, which seems to be a very important
23 transcript, in my view. Let me give everyone the number. That is
24 P07475. This is the presidential transcripts of the 4th of June, 1994,
25 and there are three people present; Tudjman, Susak, Bobetko. And you are
1 also mentioned. That is why this transcript is important. So we will
2 have an opportunity to address this again.
3 General Petkovic, as you know, I put questions to
4 General Praljak, and a Judge in this Tribunal, when he puts questions, he
5 or she must be extremely careful when the questions are put, because at
6 no point in time must it transpire that the Judge has an opinion on the
7 guilt or non-guilt of an accused. That is certainly the reason why very
8 few Judges put questions since the inception of this Tribunal 15 years
9 ago. There can be a number of reasons for that. Perhaps they are not
10 sufficiently experienced in criminal trials, shy away from putting
11 questions; I don't know. But when there is a question put by a Judge,
12 the Judge is running a very great risk by so doing.
13 I must say that when I put a question once, I got a very
14 spontaneous reaction on the part of Mr. Karnavas. I did not understand
15 his reaction. There was a witness who was sitting where you are sitting
16 now, and the question I asked was: How had he been convened to meetings
17 which were of a presidential nature; was there an agenda or something?
18 And I wanted to know how this functioned. And Mr. Karnavas stood up
19 right away, and I didn't understand why he had stood up and spoken so
20 forcefully. That is the first time in 30 years that a lawyer stood up in
21 that manner, whereas I was just putting a question -- an innocent
22 question and asking how the meeting was unfolding, was there an agenda,
23 and this is what happened. I believe that another person would have
24 said, All right, I won't put anymore questions, but I decided to continue
25 putting my questions in a courageous manner.
1 You must noticed, General Petkovic, that my questions are very
2 lengthy questions. When I put questions, I want to make sure that the
3 person who is going to answer the question has all the information. I
4 don't want to direct the witness in one way or another, so I give the
5 witness all the information I actually have. Sometimes I open up several
6 avenues for the witness, and I don't exclude anything.
7 Therefore, General Petkovic, when you answer, you have the
8 opportunity to answer in any way you like. If, in the question I put,
9 you notice a mistake, do not hesitate to let me know in that case,
10 because I'm not infallible and I can make mistakes; all the more so that
11 we are discussing extremely technical topics, military topics, where it
12 is important sometimes to have a lot of knowledge on military matters and
13 detailed knowledge. Since you are a high-ranking officer and a general,
14 you have held high commanding positions, and this may be a handicap for a
15 regular judge. If I make a mistake when I put my question, please do not
16 hesitate to let me know, and I shall welcome any correction. I don't
17 wish to have an answer to a question which hasn't been put properly.
18 Could your answers also be as comprehensive as possible. This is
19 an important moment for you. You have waited for this for a number of
20 years. Everyone can put themselves in your shoes, and for you this is a
21 very important moment in your life. And I understand full well that you
22 wish to answer the questions.
23 General Petkovic, this is my question: What is your status? You
24 are an accused, but you are testifying as a witness, and you have taken
25 the solemn declaration. Admittedly, when I discovered in the Rules that
1 the accused had to take the solemn declaration, this raised a number of
2 questions in my mind, because in my system - and I believe in your system
3 it was the same - an accused does not take the solemn declaration, but
4 here in this Tribunal an accused must take the solemn declaration. So
5 the accused should be telling the truth, but sometimes there might be a
6 number of issues. I'll give you an example.
7 For instance, if I put a question to you and you say to me, I
8 don't wish to answer the question because this could incriminate me, in
9 that case, if I apply the theory of the witness-witness, and I will say,
10 Yes, please answer, because you will not be prosecuted. And then you
11 will turn around and say, Well, all right, in that village or that
12 village, I admit that, which that means that you cannot be prosecuted,
13 you're exonerated. This is something strange, which probably escaped the
14 Judges who drafted this provision. I'm speaking off my own bat. You are
15 an accused who is testifying, and since you have taken the solemn
16 declaration, you should be telling the truth.
17 So as you know, General Petkovic, Mr. Praljak -- the Praljak
18 Defence has asked to have some time to cross-examine you, as submissions
19 have been filed. When I heard that this time application had been made,
20 I thought that General Praljak wanted to put questions to you as part of
21 the time that had been allocated to him. In legal terms, I looked into
22 the matter. As far as I know, unless I'm mistaken, this case has never
23 arisen in any of the international trials. No accused has ever addressed
24 questions to another accused. In Nuremberg, this didn't happen; in
25 Tokyo, not either. In Cambodia, with the ongoing trials, not either. In
1 Lebanon, not at all, because the trials haven't started yet. At ICC,
2 it's still in the making, so we don't have examples yet of this. And if
3 I turn to the common law countries, the trials are usually single trials.
4 The question doesn't arise. And in civil law, trials in my country, for
5 instance, an accused cannot examine another accused. I've never had such
6 a case, so this is the first time, and this will be the first time.
7 In my view, the answer can only be found in the Statute. The
8 Statute states that an accused can examine or have an accused examined.
9 "Examined" means himself. If he has someone examined, that means the
10 examination is conducted by counsel. As the Statute provides for this,
11 I, therefore, hold that General Praljak may put questions to you, but
12 this will only be pursuant to Article 21 of the Statute. I have found
13 nothing as far as case law is concerned. The Rules of Procedure and
14 Evidence says nothing about this, and we have no examples to date. We
15 only have this article in the Statute. After having hesitated quite a
16 lot, I feel that if General Praljak so wishes - I don't know if he
17 does - that he may put questions to you.
18 In addition, I would like to recall that you're presumed
19 innocent. This is important. It's important to state this, and it's
20 important to reassert this, because contrary to the feeling you may have
21 had, General Petkovic, we, the Judges, we have not deliberated on either
22 the facts nor on the responsibility. We have not met to discuss these
23 issues, and we will only meet once the trial is over, once we have the
24 submissions of the Prosecutor and Defence counsel. We cannot say that we
25 know which way the trial is going. We cannot, because I have not
1 discussed with the other Judges the question of your responsibility or
2 innocence, and we haven't discussed the facts either. This is something
3 we will do when the time comes to deliberate, which means that when I put
4 a question to you, this is solely my question I am putting to you. I
5 have not proffered the questions and met with my colleagues beforehand.
6 I haven't even given them my list of questions. And I haven't given them
7 my list of documents, either, to make sure that I am really independent.
8 If there's something which you may doubt, I'd like to remind you
9 that I was a confirmation Judge. This is something I told
10 General Praljak at the time. I confirmed the indictment. You were not
11 there at the time. One fine morning, somebody knocked on my door to
12 bring me all the documents relating to this case. There were cubic
13 metres of documents. And 24 hours before that, President Meron told me
14 that I had been appointed Judge in this case. I thought I would be the
15 Presiding Judge in the Popovic case, because I had been the Pre-Trial
16 Judge in the Popovic case and I was about to become the Presiding Judge
17 in the Popovic case, and one fine morning somebody knocks on my door to
18 bring me these cubic metres of documents. Today, this is something which
19 we should know. I have nothing to hide. I am fully transparent. This
20 is something you should know.
21 When people bring you cubic metres of documents and when you are
22 asked to confirm all of this, things have to be done swiftly. So what
23 did I do then? I checked that there was a legal foundation for this, as
24 regards the counts that were mentioned, and I made sure that there was
25 one document -- that there were documents which coincided with this,
1 documents that confirmed what was in the indictment, but that there was a
2 nexus, a connection on a prima facie basis, and that is how I confirmed
3 the indictment.
4 I must tell you that if I were to be seized today of such matter,
5 i.e., to confirm an indictment, I would proceed differently. This would
6 no longer be the case, because since 2008 no more indictments can be
7 issued. And what is missing is this: The list of all the exhibits
8 should have been annexed to the indictment, and that was not the case.
9 So we do not have an entire list of exhibits, and today I can't tell you,
10 from memory, what exhibits were presented in support of the indictment
11 because these exhibits were in the thousands and there was no list of the
12 exhibits. So if we were to improve the system, that would be something
13 that should be done. The ICC is going in that direction, and the ICC,
14 when they hand down the confirmation of the indictment, they also provide
15 a reasoned opinion.
16 I confirmed the indictment and I signed the arrest warrant,
17 because when there is an indictment, there is an arrest warrant, and I
18 signed the arrest warrant for you. After that, when I learnt that I was
19 to be a Pre-Trial Judge during a status conference, General Praljak was
20 present, he had problems with his lawyers; at the time, he was alone. I
21 then raised the issue of a potential withdrawal. Since I had been the
22 Judge involved in the confirmation of the indictment, could I be
23 conducting the trial? I quoted this Tribunal's case law. No one
24 objected, and I continued with this. Had someone objected, I would have
25 left the case right away. There was no point in having any problems when
1 I had not been asked to conduct this case.
2 In addition, I also checked whether the indictment and
3 General Gotovina, there wasn't some kind of connection. This is
4 something I'm sure you're familiar with. In my country, I needed to try
5 Mr. Gotovina for an ordinary offence, and my name appeared in the
6 Gotovina proceedings. This is something I discovered afterwards, and I
7 discovered afterwards that I had tried General Gotovina. I then asked to
8 withdraw from the Cermak-Markac case, because Mr. Gotovina was involved
9 in that case. To begin with, as Mr. Gotovina was a fugitive, then that
10 was not necessary. Once he was arrested, the President then changed the
11 Judges, and I was no longer appointed to that case, because I feel that
12 if a Judge has any form of connection with a case, the Judge in question
13 should withdraw automatically without a request or application being
14 filed to that effect. I knew nothing about those events. I had not been
15 in contact whatsoever with the accused. And, moreover, I'd never been to
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so I was neutral in this case.
17 You may have a few doubts about those people who are going to try
18 you. You will be tried by me, through the evidence adduced by the
19 Prosecutor, who, beyond all reasonable doubt, must convince us that you
20 are guilty, and the documents of the Prosecution, of the Defence, of
21 witness testimony, need to be scrutinised. And at the end of this,
22 normally speaking, the truth should rise to the surface. This is
23 something I wanted to share with you before you answer my questions.
24 I've stated this before.
25 My questions are not trick questions. That's not how I'll
1 proceed. In my job, I have always held everyone in great respect,
2 whether it be an accused or any other person. It's not because a person
3 is accused that he should be well less-treated than any other person.
4 You are a human being. You are entitled to respect, in light of the high
5 positions you held before coming here. No later than a few moments ago,
6 I discovered that you presided over a disciplinary court. All the more
7 reason to show you respect.
8 Also, you are testifying under oath.
9 So, General Petkovic, let me start off with a question which was
10 put a few moments ago, something which didn't come to mind, but this was
11 Ms. Alaburic's last question, so I shall therefore use her last question
12 and start with mine.
13 You said, when answering Ms. Alaburic's question, that you
14 defended the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so I would like you to
15 explain to me -- unlike General Praljak, who was born in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, you were born in Croatia, so what I would like to
17 know is why, as a Croat, you volunteered at some stage, when you joined
18 the HVO, to defend this Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina within the
19 framework of the HVO. What was your deepest motivation? Was that for
20 personal reasons, was that a very strong motivation coming from yourself,
21 or was there any other reason? Could you perhaps explain that to me?
22 A. Your Honours, it was exclusively for personal reasons. I agreed
23 to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina and to defend the Republic of Croatia on that
24 territory, to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, to stand up to the
25 aggression of the Bosnian Serbs and the then Yugoslav People's Army. I
1 considered that in this way, I could make a greater contribution to the
2 defence of the southern part of the Republic of Croatia and the defence
3 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because a safe and secure Bosnia-Herzegovina on
4 that territory meant that a large portion of the Republic of Croatia
5 would be secure and safe, too, because it borders on Bosnia-Herzegovina.
6 At the time, I occupied operative functions, operative posts, and
7 I considered that at the given time and in view of the experience that I
8 had gained in the war on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, in this
9 case the Republic of Croatia, that I could give far more to the Republic
10 of Croatia, and thereby to Bosnia-Herzegovina, if I were to cross over
11 the border and become involved in the defence system on that territory.
12 So that was my guiding light.
13 And it's true I don't have anything much to do with
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina; a few relatives and friends here and there, perhaps,
15 but during my lifetime I just spent a few months in Bosnia-Herzegovina in
16 three or four locations, but seeing what was happening there in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina and seeing the movements towards the Republic of
18 Croatia, and envisaging what could happen if Bosnia and Herzegovina were
19 to be closed off at that sole entrance point, I simply decided to leave
20 everything I'd been doing in the Croatian Army behind and, for a time, to
21 relocate and go to Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I think that by doing that, I
22 contributed to a great extent to the defence of the Republic of Croatia,
23 itself, because the forces that were going to move against the Republic
24 of Croatia were stopped in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that way, we expressed
25 our solidarity with Bosnia and Herzegovina and its nations and
1 ethnicities and provided one sole entrance -- the one sole entrance into
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina remained open. We provided access. So that's what
3 prompted me to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina, nothing else but thoughts along
4 those lines.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 If I understand correctly, because when you make a long
7 statement, and I actually encourage you to do so because the clock is not
8 ticking as far as you're concerned, so you can make long answers, but I
9 have to summarise in order to understand perfectly what you're saying and
10 in order to avoid making any mistakes. The fact that you volunteered to
11 go to Bosnia-Herzegovina was due to the fact that for you it was a way of
12 securing Croatia, because if that part was going to fall, it would
13 endanger the whole of Croatia, and so you felt it was your duty to be a
14 volunteer. Did I understand your statement correctly?
15 A. Yes, that's precisely it, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'm going to touch
17 on a sensitive issue, and you know that I never shy away from touching on
18 sensitive issues.
19 If you want to, we can move to private session. Otherwise, we
20 can stay in open session. For the time being, we are in open session.
21 You testified twice; in June 1999, in the Blaskic case, and in
22 November 2000, in the Kordic case. During your two testimonies, you were
23 a witness of the Court, but I understood that you were a witness of the
24 Court because the Croat government was actually very reluctant at the
25 time for any officers to testify, and the Croatian government was very
1 reluctant and not very akin to co-operate, and therefore the technical
2 solution was to bring you to the stand as a witness of the Court, with
3 another specificity, because there was a videolink. Is that correct or
4 is that incorrect?
5 A. No, Your Honour, that is not correct. If anybody in the Blaskic
6 case, be it the Defence or the Prosecution, had called me to testify, I
7 would have answered the call. I expected the Blaskic Defence to want me
8 to come and testify, but they never asked me to do so; nor did the OTP.
9 And at that moment, I got a summons from the Trial Chamber. Probably
10 both parties were in accordance with that, and the Trial Chamber
11 considered it necessary for me to come. So the entire procedure is not
12 true. I was prepared to come and testify for either party, but what I
13 expected least finally came true. I was summoned by the Trial Chamber.
14 Only at a late stage in the proceedings did it occur to me that something
15 like that might happen.
16 I don't know whether the Republic of Croatia prevented anybody
17 from going to The Hague to testify. Probably they wouldn't have been
18 able to do so, only possibly if the Defence had wanted anybody to come
19 and testify; then they could have prevented that.
20 So this is all I can tell you about my first evidence.
21 And as far as my second evidence is concerned --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will stay on this. Is it
23 true that you asked to have protection measures? And if so, why did you
24 ask that?
25 A. No, Your Honour, I was least involved in that process because I
1 simply didn't know. I simply heard that Croatia --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak -- sorry,
3 General Petkovic. I keep saying "General Praljak" because he was before
4 me for days and days, and it's difficult for me to get used to you, but
5 I'm sure I will, eventually.
6 I have the transcript before me. This is the transcript of the
7 beginning of your testimony, and here is what it says. It's the
8 Presiding Judge, Judge Jorda, who is speaking, and he greets you, and
9 then he says the following. It's page 22440:
10 "General Petkovic wanted to testify through a videolink, under
11 technical conditions, which seems to be quite usual."
12 So my question is the following: Why did you want to testify
13 through a videolink?
14 A. Your Honour, this suggestion was made to me by the
15 representatives of the Croatian government in charge of the co-operation
16 with the ICTY, because they said that they had agreed with the Tribunal
17 for this to be arranged in that manner. And then I accepted that.
18 Croatia at that time had a rather lengthy correspondence with the
19 Tribunal, and when I heard about these technical measures, I said, Okay,
20 it's all the same to me. If you want, I can testify from Zagreb.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Still on this same page in the
22 transcript, the Presiding Judge says the following:
23 "It means that General Petkovic wanted to benefit from protective
25 This is what I read, so I don't understand. You are saying, No,
1 while the Presiding Judge says that you required or you requested
2 protective measures. So could you please clarify this?
3 A. Yes, Your Honour. I didn't know what kind of reply to give, and
4 at that time it was suggested to me by the Croatian government that I
5 should request protective measures, that nothing will happen to me. And
6 they also suggested that I should apply for a private session. That was
7 all. And they said something else to me, You will not testify there
8 alone; you'll be accompanied by an attorney of the Republic of Croatia
9 and a representative of the Croatian government. I think that was the
10 first instance in which a witness was to be controlled by the government,
11 but it was put that way to me.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. This is very true,
13 what you're saying. Your hearing was different to what is happening
14 today. The Chamber had given you a number of points and gave you some
15 time to make a presentation, and after that, instead of asking questions
16 like I'm doing, they asked the Prosecutor to put some questions to you,
17 and then to the Defence team, and Judges also asked a few questions.
18 And you may remember this little detail. Judge Shahabuddeen
19 asked you if the soldiers and yourself who were in Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 were paid by the Republic of Croatia, and then the representative of the
21 Croatian government stood up and said, He cannot answer this question.
22 Do you remember this anecdote?
23 A. Yes, Your Honours, I remember. I remember that my minister of
24 defence explained to me for an hour how this would go on, They have the
25 right to interrupt you and tell you that you shouldn't reply. And, yes,
1 at a certain moment the man stood up and said, I believe -- No, we don't
2 want the general to answer those questions. He really intervened that
3 way. And it took the minister an hour to explain that to me, that I
4 would find myself in such a situation. And I asked him then, Well,
5 Minister, what does the government think, that I'm testifying in the
6 Blaskic case or in a case of the Republic of Croatia? I now really don't
7 know who's being tried up there. And he said, No, it is my duty to point
8 this out to you. We were able to achieve that your evidence is monitored
9 by a representative of government and a lawyer.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. In November 2000, a
11 year later, you testify in the Kordic case. Could you please tell us
12 under which circumstances you were called to the Bar during the Kordic
14 A. Your Honours, the attorney - what was his name - Naumovski, at a
15 moment -- at this one moment in time made an appointment with me to speak
16 to me in Split, and we spoke for an hour and a half. And he said, We
17 agreed you to be a witness in the Kordic case. And I believe that I was
18 to testify in April of that year. And I said to him, Sir, my daughter is
19 getting married in April, and going to the Tribunal and then returning,
20 and I've already given evidence there once, no, I can't do that. And
21 that's how we parted. I didn't receive any news from him for a while,
22 but then I received a phone call from him in which he asked me what I
23 thought of that. And I said to him, No, I cannot go there and testify
24 the way you expect me to, because I need some time for preparation. And
25 then they gave up on me. I never confirmed that I would be his witness.
1 I think I told him that I could be a Chamber witness, which may have been
2 the most useful solution.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you were called
4 to testify in the Kordic case. I'm not going to give the name of the
5 witness, because it was a protected witness, but you noted that there
6 were documents that were put forward by the Office of the Prosecutor.
7 Could you tell us, under oath, whether during both cases, Blaskic
8 and Kordic cases, and in this very trial, could you tell us if a group
9 called The Hague Group coming from the Croatian government could have
10 done anything or would have put pressure on you in order to,
11 quote/unquote, "prepare" your coming to The Hague, or whether nothing
12 happened; you were helped when you asked for help, but you enjoyed the
13 entirety of your freedom when you testified? Could you tell us about
14 this, if you know about this? Of course, if you don't know anything,
15 then you can tell us, and then we can move to something else.
16 A. Your Honours, I can say this to you: I said so in the Kordic
17 case already. I had nothing to do with The Hague Group or Mr. Rebic. I
18 said that the gentleman who represented the government when I gave
19 evidence, Mr. Udiljak, called me three or four times about the articles
20 published in the Croatian press. Do you read those articles, General?
21 What do you say to that? And I replied, It seems to me that somebody
22 staged a trial or a presentation of that trial to the Croatian public,
23 but they diverged somewhat from what's going on in the courtroom,
24 although I didn't really know what was going on in the courtroom.
25 There was some malignant articles about special-purpose units or
1 military police units, which were called various names, but in no
2 articles that I read was there any mention of that. That was my only
3 contact with the team of the Croatian government for the co-operation
4 with the ICTY, but never with Mr. Rebic, and nobody of them ever
5 mentioned Petkovic.
6 After I received the first call, I went to Split, said, Goodbye,
7 to the minister. I never even went to lunch with him, because he only
8 spoke to me about somebody representing Croatian, in the interests,
9 without bothering to ask me how I felt.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'm now going to
11 talk about your family background, because in my country, when someone is
12 accused, we are looking at the person's character, we have psychological
13 experts, we have medical experts, psychiatric experts, and we have all
14 sorts of information that we use. Here, we have nothing. We have a
15 name, and if the person doesn't say anything, in fact, we don't really
16 know who we're dealing with. And, in fact, I would like to get to know
17 you a little bit. I would like to know who you are.
18 So could you perhaps tell me what were your parents doing, what
19 profession did they have? Could you tell me a little bit about your
20 family background?
21 A. Yes, Your Honours. My father was a railroad worker, a common
22 worker. My mother, for the first two years, until the age of 22, worked,
23 but then gave up her job to be a housewife.
24 I have two brothers. One is five years younger than I, and the
25 other is ten years younger than I. They still live in Vrpolje, which is
1 10 kilometres away from Sibenik. They live with my mother. My father
2 died three years ago.
3 So I'm from a working-class family, and this may have been one of
4 the reasons why I decided to enroll on a military school, because my
5 father didn't have the means to pay for my education. Apart from that,
6 he also supported my grandmother and grandfather, who didn't have an
7 income, so he was the only source of income in our family.
8 So I graduated from secondary school, and then I joined the army,
9 the JNA, but my first choice was the navy. The contract with the JNA was
10 that I had to spend twice the length of my education as a career officer,
11 and that was, indeed, my plan. Although I'm from Dalmatia and it would
12 have been logical for the JNA to accept me in the navy, they wanted me to
13 serve in the army. I had two uncles who were in the JNA, and my father
14 had also served in that army. And I finally accepted their proposal,
15 although I was -- I did consider refusing because they didn't grant my
17 I went to Belgrade to Military Academy in 1961.
18 One of my brothers is an engineer who works at the aluminium
19 factory in Sibenik, or the former aluminium factory. I don't know who's
20 the owner now, after the privatization. But, anyway, he still has a job,
21 although he's afraid he might lose it, like many others in Croatia. He
22 has two children. One is a university student, and the other is in
23 primary school. The younger brother works for the railroad as technical
24 staff. He's also married. He has two children. One of his sons got
25 married recently, so they are all grown up. This is my family from my
1 father's and my mother's side.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How many children do you have,
3 and what is their profession?
4 A. Your Honours, I have two children, two daughters. Both are
5 married. One works for a bank, and so does the other. My older
6 son-in-law is a dentist, a private practitioner, and my younger
7 son-in-law is also a bank employee.
8 I have two grandchildren. One is in the first class of primary
9 school, and the younger one still has four years to go. He's only three.
10 My wife retired a number of years ago. She wasn't old enough to
11 retire, but she decided to retire prematurely for health reasons. And
12 now she is looking after her grandchildren.
13 I have an apartment of my own, and both my daughters have their
14 own apartments and cars, and both families make an independent living.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, if I remember
16 well, you attended the wedding of one of your daughters - I'm sure this
17 was your youngest daughter - when you were granted provisional release.
18 Is that right?
19 A. Yes, Your Honour, it was granted to me then, and I thank you for
20 that. I swapped with a colleague of mine to be able to go when my
21 daughter was getting married. Actually, they were waiting whether I
22 would get leave before she set the date of her marriage. That's my
23 younger daughter.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Last time, I put the question
25 to you, and you provided a very lengthy answer, but I wish to get back to
1 this. When you left the JNA to join the Croatian Army, I assume that
2 this was an important moment in your life. But I had asked you whether
3 you were a member of the Communist Party in Yugoslavia at the time, and
4 you answered by saying, Yes, because in order to have a career, it was
5 necessary to be a member of the Communist Party, of the Yugoslav
6 Communist Party.
7 In the Yugoslav system, those people who reached the top, either
8 in the army, or in the judiciary, or in diplomacy, or in the
9 administration, did these people necessarily have to be members of the
10 Communist Party?
11 A. Your Honours, I believe that in all walks of life, that meant a
12 lot. It wasn't absolutely required, but it meant a lot. In the Yugoslav
13 People's Army, there was agitation for all officers and NCOs to become
14 party members, and efforts were made for everybody to join the party.
15 And I must say that the strongest party organisation, with the largest
16 number of party numbers, was the JNA. I think it was stronger than any
17 party organisation in any of the republics of the former Yugoslavia, at
18 least as far as I know.
19 And let me tell you one more thing. The head of the Committee of
20 the Federal Secretariat of People's Defence, or National Defence, was a
21 general, so under the level of division, that was no longer the case,
22 because somebody would have the regular duties and next to that they
23 would also go about their party duties. But at this highest level, you
24 would only have your party duties exclusively.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Petkovic, when I
1 questioned General Praljak, I put to him a number of questions based on
2 the Constitution of Yugoslavia, of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
3 and of Croatia. This was some constitutional work I did. On looking at
4 the Yugoslav Constitution, since you were an officer in the JNA, I was
5 struck by the fact that the Yugoslav Army took into account ethnic
6 specificities, i.e., Serb, Croat, Muslim. So this was taken into
7 account. When you were in command in the JNA, was this true to fact or
8 was this just something you mentioned in the documents and everybody
9 asked themselves the question?
10 A. Your Honour, that was really the situation. There were some
11 quotas. Based on this or that number, it would be desirable to have a
12 certain number of Serbs in the rank of colonel, and so-and-so many Croats
13 or Muslims, et cetera, so the share of officer ethnicity was desirable,
14 but it wasn't always fully possible to implement that. Croats weren't as
15 eager to join the army than the Serbs. Slovenians were even less eager
16 to do so, and there were -- the fewest were Kosovo Albanians. So there
17 was much effort invested to have some Kosovo Albanians join in order to
18 keep up that ethnic balance, but it was never up to the desired level.
19 As for Croats, their share was about 12 per cent, and that is a very
20 small number compared to the overall share of Croats in the then
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Under the aegis of
23 Marshal Tito, who was a Croat, within the JNA, if you were a Croat, did
24 that mean that you were promoted faster, or did this have no impact
25 because of the quota system and everybody had their turn?
1 A. No, Your Honour, the fact that Tito was a Croat didn't mean much.
2 I think the most generals from Croatia were from a region called Lika,
3 but they weren't Croats but ethnic Serbs. So if -- and when your seven
4 or eight generals were to be promoted, there were efforts to have a
5 certain balance, to have, let's say, two Croats and one Slovenian, but
6 then there would be also three Serbs, because they were the most numerous
7 ethnicity in the JNA.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you exercised command
9 within the JNA, as part of your training, all the training you underwent
10 in the JNA, did you attend any training courses abroad in the Eastern
11 Bloc, as it was called - in Hungary, for instance - Eastern Bloc
12 countries? Did you go abroad to see how the other armies operated, how
13 command was organised, and what the practices were, or was your training
14 solely done within the Yugoslav Army?
15 A. Your Honours, there was a so-called exchange of persons at
16 certain levels in training. I never went abroad, but there were some
17 people who went to the Soviet Union - there weren't many, though - and
18 possibly to other Eastern Bloc countries where there were military
19 schools. But I know that some went to the Soviet Union. One of my
20 bosses, while I was a teacher, also graduated from the Artillery and
21 Ballistics School, I believe it was called, in Russia, and he was my
22 superior, so some officers did go; not very many, but some exchange
23 existed. Likewise, the JNA trained some personnel from other countries.
24 But as far as I remember, nobody came from the West then. Some were from
25 non-aligned countries, and others were members of movements, such as the
1 Polisario, or Arafat's men, Libyans, especially in the navy, and for
2 three months, I had the chance to teach artillery to a group of Libyans.
3 JUDGE PRANDLER: With your permission, Mr. President, I would
4 only like to say that according to my knowledge, and of course I do not
5 claim to be an expert on these issues, mainly in the 1960s, 1970s, and
6 later on, too, a number of Yugoslav officers went also to the West,
7 mainly to the United States and to other countries.
8 Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like to thank my
10 colleague for having specified this. This was to be my next question. I
11 wanted to know whether officers of the Yugoslav Army went to the West,
12 i.e., France or the United States. I wanted to know whether there was
13 any co-operation with the West.
14 A. Yes, Your Honour, Judge Prandler's right. It was a time --
15 although, actually, at that time I wasn't in the JNA, and if I was, I was
16 a cadet, a low-ranking army man. It was at the time when tensions were
17 high with Russia and when the West helped in arms and materiel, helped
18 Yugoslavia. You have Shermans, the Howitzers, 155 Howitzers, and other
19 weapons that arrived from the West as a sort of reward to the Yugoslav
20 leadership, who distanced itself from the Russians, and to deflate,
21 perhaps, a threat from the East towards Yugoslavia. And at the time,
22 some people did go, but not in large numbers. They did go to the West,
23 but not in large numbers.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Last question on this topic.
25 You, yourself, when you were serving in the JNA, did you take
1 part in any military operations, operation manoeuvres, with other
2 countries? Did you take part in any of these large manoeuvres? These
3 were peaceful, of course, but these were military manoeuvres.
4 A. No, Your Honours, I did not participate in that. I was a
5 candidate on one occasion for a peace operation, I think it was, after
6 the latest Israel-Lebanese war, but a colleague went instead of me. And
7 in some exercises -- no, I didn't take part in any such exercises. And
8 to be quite frank, I can't remember whether there was any joint
9 manoeuvres with the JNA -- between the JNA and a neighbouring country,
10 for instance. I can't remember.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will now address another
12 topic which your counsel did not address.
13 The question was mentioned several times. I would like to know
14 what you think about the notion of All People's Defence. In your view,
15 what does this mean, "All People's Defence"?
16 A. Your Honours, at the time, when the political leadership of the
17 then Yugoslavia considered that they had an enemy, an enemy mostly in the
18 West, but it didn't believe its great friend in the East, either, didn't
19 trust them too much, either, a theory was developed which allegedly gave
20 good results through the Second World War, the theory of an armed people
21 as a force to be reckoned with, a force that was invincible. And on that
22 basis, the so-called concept of All People's Defence or Total National
23 Defence was developed, so that everybody in the society had a role to
24 play. Everybody had a war plan, everybody was part and parcel of this
25 general effort and had tasks within the framework of the general plan of
1 Total National Defence or All People's Defence. And Yugoslavia, in this
2 way, wished to raise 5 to 6 million people able to resist what was called
3 a total aggression, because nobody thought that Italy -- a country -- one
4 country like Italy could attack Yugoslavia; it was backed by everything
5 else, all the other states in which that country was an ally. Or if
6 relations with the East deteriorated, no one thought that one eastern
7 country would be alone in its appetites towards Yugoslavia but that it
8 meant a whole bloc being the aggressor.
9 So viewing the situation like that, they thought that the West
10 was the principal foe, principal adversary, but reserving the right that
11 not even a great friend from the East might always be a great friend.
12 And so Yugoslavia was prepared for the worst possible situation, that it
13 might be attacked by one or both blocs, according to spheres of interest,
14 that something would then, if an attack came about, that something would
15 come to belong to the East and something to the West. And I think that
16 the Drina River was a sort of division between East and West, and that
17 was the worst-case scenario which the leadership considered at the time;
18 that is to say, that Yugoslavia might be attacked at one and the same
19 time by both the Warsaw Pact and NATO, and that is why they devised this
20 system of mass arming -- when I say "arming," I mean it quite literally,
21 the mass arming of all structures of society.
22 Let me just give you an example, the aluminium combine in
23 Sibenik, for example. In the anti-air defence system, I think it had
24 more resources and materiel than two brigades. Everything was bought by
25 the workers, by setting aside a portion of their incomes. Or, for
1 example, Zenica, the steelworks at Zenica had 10 tanks which belonged to
2 the workers of the steelworks. They weren't new tanks, but they were
3 either T-34 Russian tanks or the Shermans, or whatever. Nothing was
4 thrown away. Everything was maintained and stored, and Yugoslavia was a
5 real depot and warehouse. Look at what's happening in Albania. If
6 something explodes in the north, there might be a detonation somewhere
7 else or not. That was how they were linked.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You explained a moment ago that
9 in Yugoslavia, you were preparing against an attack of the Warsaw Pact or
10 NATO. As you know, NATO at some point bombed Belgrade and its
11 surroundings. You, as a former Yugoslav citizen turned Croat, what were
12 your feelings about this?
13 A. Well, I don't really know what my feelings were, how I felt in
14 that respect. It was the first time -- now, although I was a long way
15 away, it was the first time that I could follow what a war with NATO
16 forces would look like; war at a distance, as we used to call it. He's
17 destroying you, bombing you. Now, the way in which NATO attacked
18 Yugoslavia, I do not accept. I do not accept that method. It is not
19 acceptable, because the Chinese Embassy, Yes, you can destroy a
20 television station, but at night, when there's no programme, the
21 infrastructure being Novi Sad, whereas the front is 700 kilometres away
22 in Kosovo. So your not confronting an army over there; you are choosing
23 other targets. And then you say that a train was accidentally bombed and
24 destroyed as it entered a certain region, and so on.
25 So this was a war -- well, I also followed events in Iraq, but
1 this was closer, closer to home. And then I saw that it was might and
2 power that was being used in a too-uncontrolled way to inflict damage,
3 damage to everything, but least of all to the army.
4 And let me tell you when the Serb army, the JNA, withdrew from
5 Kosovo, the Americans were surprised to see so many tanks, because they
6 were firing somewhere, and columns of tanks were leaving Kosovo when
7 there was a truce, and then they asked, Where are the ones that they
8 destroyed? So it was a war to destroy the infrastructure and instill
9 fear in the people and bring the people in a situation -- you know, if
10 you keep cutting off electricity or use special means to destroy
11 communication lines, or whatever, a long way from the front, and you
12 don't have the courage to send in your land forces to clear up the area,
13 then there's something -- well, regardless of the fact that NATO is a
14 democratic army, wishing to instill a democratic order, I don't think
15 that that's what they did in Serbia. However, they have a justification,
16 which is accepted as such. Well, you see, that's it. That's the
17 situation, and that's how I viewed it. If you lose one plane, you have
18 100 planes to find it and pull it out. The fact that hundreds of Serb
19 ones were destroyed, never mind.
20 So it was interesting to follow all this happening from a
21 distance, and then you can engage in an analysis of the situation from a
22 distance. So I was a bit surprised that that was the way a war was being
23 conducted under new circumstances and conditions. Everything was done at
24 a distance. Everything relied on technology. Everything was resolved by
25 throwing -- not the army, but the people throwing to their knees. The
1 Serb army, actually, didn't suffer too much. They didn't destroy any
2 corps command, or brigade command, or anything like that. They didn't
3 even send in their army. They tried to use their helicopters, but when
4 they saw that they were being shot down, they didn't use them anymore
5 either. To bring the people to their knees.
6 So that's my view of the operation, and I really did think that
7 it would happen along the front-lines. And, of course, if you happen to
8 see a column along the way, it would be dealt with militarily. But to
9 attack a structure of that kind in a country, I really couldn't have
10 envisaged that.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thanks to your answer, I can
12 establish a connection with what General Praljak told us. He told us
13 that while he exercised his command either as a volunteer or when he
14 replaced you, he had been in contact with an American officer, whose name
15 I will not mention. This American officer came on the spot on several
17 As far as you know, when you were in command of the HVO, the
18 Main Staff of the HVO, were you aware of the fact that there was an
19 American presence, or did you know nothing about it, or was there no
20 American presence? What can you tell me about that?
21 A. You mean in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 A. Well, of course there were some of their officers in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they were led by one of our -- I think he was a
25 Croat by origin, an NCO who was there and who went to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 What? I can't hear what people are saying.
2 But as an officer, well, I was with him a few times, but I can't
3 remember his name now. I will remember by tomorrow. But, anyway, they
4 went down there to size up the situation, and I assume that among the
5 UNPROFOR people, there were those who were there, installed there.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, have I made a
7 mistake when I put my question?
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I would
9 just like to say this: General Petkovic says with that American -- well,
10 there was a Croat with the American, so ask him whether that other one
11 was an American soldier, wearing an American uniform as well, the man
12 accompanying the American presence.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, both of them were American
14 soldiers. They were American soldiers. I just said that I knew one of
15 these who knew Croatian, and he went around in Bosnia with them and
16 around Croatia as well.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One point of detail which did
18 not appear when General Praljak testified. These American officers, were
19 they wearing an American uniform or were they in plain clothes?
20 A. Your Honours, they wore American uniforms. I think they were
21 navy blue in colour, with all the insignia and designation of rank and so
22 on. And I thought that they were there quite legally. And they didn't
23 hide from anybody, the ones I knew. They were there in full view. They
24 would announce themselves, they would talk to us, so I assume -- well,
25 they didn't want to uncover their true mission. They had a mission of
1 some kind, but they moved around quite openly, wearing their uniforms and
2 so forth.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to you, were they
4 advisers or involved in the intelligence services?
5 A. Well, they were intelligence officers, first and foremost. They
6 didn't advise anyone. They were desirous of information. And on one or
7 two occasions with our man -- well, not "our man," but the man who was
8 the Croat by origin, I met him three or four times, but they came to see
9 what was happening and things like that. They did their work and acted
10 quite properly. They protected what they were doing and that was their
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think I should say
13 that in line 23 of the transcript, it would appear as if General Petkovic
14 is saying that the Americans were intelligence officers, but in Croatian
15 he used the word -- he said a sentence to this effect: that they most
16 probably were. But you could ask him. That would be best.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you did not know
18 exactly, because my question was very clear. I was wondering whether
19 they were military advisers, as we see them sometimes, or whether they
20 were intelligence officers. I thought that they were doing intelligence
21 work, but Mr. Kovacic said that you thought that they were rather doing
22 that. So could you perhaps clarify?
23 A. Yes, that's what I said, Your Honours. An intelligence officer
24 is not going to say, Listen here, Petkovic, I'm an intelligence officer
25 and I'm going over there. So you have to assess this. Perhaps he
1 wasn't. But these were people who were interested in many things. Now,
2 whether he took a leave of absence, a month's holiday, to come to
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina and put on an American uniform, I don't know. Whether
4 he was an intelligence officer or not, I can't claim that either. He was
5 an officer. They were officers and NCOs.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So obviously they
7 were not having a holiday there. But if I understand correctly, in 1992
8 and 1993 and 1994 there were, on the ground, the European Mission,
9 UNPROFOR, journalists from the world press, as well as American officers.
10 Am I forgetting anyone?
11 A. Well, Your Honours, there was the UNPROFOR, there was the
12 European Observer Mission, there were the military observers who were
13 independent and separate, there were representatives of the UNHCR, the
14 International Red Cross Committee, and there were those who didn't
15 provide a lot of assistance but wanted to see a whole lot of things, and
16 they were the ones that collected up information and intelligence. And,
17 you know, the governments of all the countries who were interested had,
18 in a way, in addition to UNPROFOR and their forces there, to check out
19 certain information in other ways, too, resort to other means.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We understood that
21 some countries, who will remain nameless, had sent their agents there. I
22 will come back to the Americans now. They were visible because they were
23 wearing uniforms. When they were moving about, did they have some sort
24 of an authorisation? What were they doing when they reached this
25 check-point, or just the fact that they were wearing an American uniform
1 allowed them to go anywhere in an easier way than displaying an American
2 Express card?
3 A. Well, let me tell you, nobody stopped any groups like that or
4 checked them. They would take a look at the uniform, saw that they were
5 members of some armed force, and there were so many soldiers and army
6 members in Bosnia, you could always say you belonged to SpaBat, or,
7 BritBat, or the Canadian Battalion, the Nordic Battalion, or who knows
8 which other ones, so if you -- if there were just two or three people in
9 a vehicle, of course you would be let through. There was no problem in
10 being let through, in passing through. They would say they were members
11 of the international forces, and they would be let through.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm coming now to a sensitive
14 When the HVO launched a military operation, whichever that may
15 be - I will not go into the details - I was wondering whether those
16 American officers were aware, or whether you were doing that behind their
17 back in order for them not to know, or was the situation such that you
18 had nothing to hide and you knew that they would not shop you to the ABiH
19 or to the Serbs?
20 A. Your Honours, as far as the operations were concerned,
21 particularly offensive ones, we had nothing to show, because there were
22 no operations on the scale that would be of interest to an American
23 officer. Whether we would work within an area of 100 metres or not, that
24 was it. So the representatives of the nearest UNPROFOR unit would go out
25 into the field and see what was going on, and if they felt it was
1 necessary to send out some more monitors, then they would go and control
2 an area of, say, 60 kilometres, and then the European Observers would
3 hear about this and they would get there, and then you had a whole array
4 of international organisations, and finally you would see that the HVO
5 had taken Feature 504, for example, or had lost control of Feature 708.
6 But you would have six types of various international organisation
7 representatives there, because each one of them had -- there was some
8 shooting going on, and everybody wanted to report back first. So they
9 would all find themselves on the spot.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'm going to ask
11 clearer questions or with more detail.
12 I was wondering whether you personally spoke to those American
13 officers or with other officers.
14 A. I talked to this one who was from Croatia originally. I think he
15 was from Tomislavgrad, but left when he was a young man and joined the
16 army. So I think I talked to him, but we didn't discuss anything
17 special. He said, Well, we'd just like to come and see what's going on.
18 We're just moving through, that's what he said. He wasn't very talkative
19 and didn't say much. A man of few words. And that's the kind of people
20 they were, because if you sent talkative people out, that wouldn't have
21 been a good thing. The less you talked about what you were doing, the
22 better, from their point of view.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to look at the three
24 events at stake here: The 9th of May, Sovici and Doljani in April, and
25 the third event Stupni Do. I was wondering, as regards those three
1 events, whether one of those officers would have said to you, face to
2 face, General Petkovic, please explain to us what happened. Were you
3 asked to give some sort of explanation? Because I assume that they had
4 to report back to their relevant authorities, so I was wondering whether
5 you had a position on that.
6 A. Your Honours, you may not believe me, but here's what I have to
7 say: They never came to the command to ask what was going on. When they
8 did come, they -- it was as if nothing was going on anywhere. They have
9 their own plan of work. On the 9th of May, I wasn't able to see or hear
10 any one of them. Only on the 10th of May, in the evening, I think it was
11 when I arrived at Kiseljak, there was General Prado - that was his name,
12 I think - a Spaniard who was a member of the joint UNPROFOR command at
13 Kiseljak, and I had a word with him. And I waited for Halilovic to come
14 on the following day to have a meeting with him. Likewise,
15 General Morillon, who contacted us more than anybody else, didn't tell
16 such stories either, like, Now I'm going to draft an agreement, you're
17 going to sign it, and then we'll implement it. They never interfered.
18 They didn't ask questions, they didn't pass judgement. And to be honest,
19 when I read a report the Spanish wrote, I was amazed at what I could read
21 When it comes to Sovici and Doljani, and more generally the
22 entire Konjic area, from the 13th of April on, they were unable to access
23 the area. On the 8th of May, in Mostar, they requested the 4th Corps to
24 finally let them enter that area. I found out about that later, because
25 there were three ambassadors who had come to visit. They were blocked
1 and couldn't enter those areas. General Pellnas tried to organise
2 something like that, but was unsuccessful. I was there three or four
3 times. There are documents containing my protests, et cetera. Although
4 it was agreed otherwise, SpaBat would take me Kostajnica, and we would
5 wait four hours and then we would return. I was only able to enter our
6 church in Konjic. That's what I was able to reach. The furthest I could
7 go was Kostajnica, but I was never able to go seven kilometres further to
9 And I went to Ostrozac, where I had a very unpleasant
10 conversation with SpaBat, because some of our people said, Protect us, we
11 won't fight, there are over 100 civilians here. And then they handed
12 over their rifles to the Spanish, but the Spanish, pressurized by Zuka
13 and his people, delivered these 50 to 60 of our soldiers to Zuka. And I
14 was -- I felt very uncomfortable. I was very struck by that. They could
15 have protected them, because if the UNPROFOR makes a promise that they
16 would do something, then they should have, even if it means using force.
17 I even told them, Well, do use force once, and then such a situation will
18 never reoccur.
19 Let me tell you of an experience on the Road of Salvation. There
20 was a BritBat. Probably two HVO soldiers were provoking them, but they
21 lost their lives, because they opened fire at them. And then there was a
22 discussion about that, and, well, we didn't want to make things worse.
23 But I can tell you, later on nobody dared provoke them anymore. But you
24 cannot say that a check-point, manned by three soldiers, can stop five
25 APCs. Place a police car here on this road with five police officers,
1 whoever is daring enough will break through with his car, and not to
2 speak about five UNPROFOR APCs. But they would stop and speak for 10 or
3 20 minutes, and then make a report, Well, they stopped us at the
4 check-point. But why did you stop? Because there's no way you can stop
5 an APC
6 there are three to five men with rifles, no more than that.
7 And that was the suggestion I made to General Morillon. I told
8 him, Come on, be more energetic in your conduct. But let me not go
9 deeper into that.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly, you are
11 addressing something which I hadn't contemplated. It is true that in a
12 number of UNPROFOR reports, it appears that the HVO had established
13 check-points. I'm saying "the HVO," but when I look at the military
14 documents of the ABiH, I think the same would apply, so I am not
15 establishing a selection here. At some of the HVO check-points, there
16 were soldiers who were preventing UNPROFOR from passing. When I see
17 that, I say to myself that they should have passed all the same because
18 they are aboard APCs.
19 Can you tell me whether UNPROFOR managed to get through or not?
20 If they had managed to get through, would the HVO have fired at them?
21 A. Let me tell you, Your Honours, anything could have happened. But
22 let me give you the following example: The BritBat at Vitez. There was
23 no stopping them with any check-points. When they start with four of
24 their Warriors, Warrior vehicles, once they start moving, everybody
25 would -- nobody would dare to try to stop them. And when the UNPROFOR
1 came, they would stop and then engage in talks, Let me see who you are,
2 et cetera. I took rides with the Spaniards like that. Riding with them
3 to Kiseljak would have taken forever. But I also rode with the British.
4 You know where they would stop. If the destination of our journey was
5 Prozor, and that's the only place we stopped. And on the way there, they
6 passed a number of check-points of both the HVO and the ABiH. It all
7 depended on how they behaved. The commander of the BritBat said, Your
8 commander signed that we have freedom of movement, and nobody is going to
9 stop me. And that's how he went to Zenica and to Visoko, where the ABiH
10 was, and that's the same way they moved between Visoko and Busovaca.
11 That was the difference between them. Some of them were soft and waved
12 sheets of paper about, which they weren't obliged to do, if it says
13 "Freedom of Movement," and nobody had anti-armour weapons at those
14 check-points because those check-points were meant for your own army and
15 not for stopping the enemy.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I've understood you
17 correctly, because this is the first time -- even though the trial has
18 been ongoing for four years, it's the first time that this issue is
19 raised, you say that when, in the reports of the Spanish Bat, it is
20 mentioned that the HVO was preventing people from passing, that's not
21 quite what was happening, because if they'd wanted to, they could have
22 gone through. What they usually did, they stopped off and talked to the
23 people who were there, and then in the report they stated that they had
24 been prevented from going through, whereas the British acted differently.
25 They were on board their vehicles, they drove through, and there was no
1 problem. That is what you're saying, isn't it?
2 A. Yes, exactly, Your Honour. He showed everybody that he had a
3 warrant of freedom of movement, and nobody's going to stop him. And on
4 the 29th of June, when they drove me, they weren't shot at by anybody.
5 They said, We are not going to stop before we take the general to his
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's a shame that I hear about
8 it so late. Had I known before, when the Spaniards came to testify here,
9 I would have shown them their reports and I would have put the question
10 to them directly. This is something I am discovering only now. Most
11 importantly, it's on the transcript.
12 So all this came from the American officers. As far as I'm
13 concerned, it's all an open question. If you remember, Colonel Skender
14 came here. He was a member of the French Foreign Legion, and he became
15 an officer of the HVO. Ante Roso was also a member of the French Foreign
16 Legion, if I remember correctly; so was Gotovina, and there must be a
17 number of other people also. The fact that there was a Croatian presence
18 there, people who had been officers in the French Army, was this just a
19 question of chance or was it important to have men on the ground who had
20 served in the French Army? I put the question to Colonel Skender.
21 Remember, he came here to defend the Croats. But I didn't belabour the
22 point. Since you were head of the Main Staff, you might have some idea.
23 A. About Colonel Skender, I can only say that he told you the truth.
24 When he came to Croatia, he didn't have any special tasks. He just
25 wanted to join the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Initially, he really
1 visited those people, advised them, because he wasn't a man who would sit
2 around all day. He would move about. If you give him a vehicle, he
3 would visit two brigades, talk to people, try to explain things to them.
4 And then, whether it was in October 1993 or whenever, when he became
5 commander, I don't know if Roso was a chief when Skender became
6 commander, but, anyway, I believe that upon the request of General Roso,
7 he agreed to take over the Command of the OZ South-West Herzegovina until
8 somebody else can be found to replace him, and that's when he learned
9 that it is one thing to be a person without a commanding duty, who is
10 free to move about and advise people, and quite another thing when you're
11 a commander, with all the responsibilities that go with that post. So I
12 don't know how long he held out, how long he stayed in that position.
13 As for General Roso, I was surprised by his -- by the fact that
14 he agreed to take over that duty, because he had already been in the
15 Croatian Army. I'm not sure what the brigade in the Croatian Army was
16 called that Roso commanded. He also had a group of people of, I don't
17 know, maybe up to 100 people, and Roso was also happy to move about from
18 Slavonia to Dalmatia and Dubrovnik. He was also a guy who wouldn't stay
19 put in one place. He was always with some special units, as they were
20 called, and he had 20 or 30 of these from Osijek to Split and further on.
21 And that's why I was surprised by the fact that Ante Roso came to join us
22 down there, but otherwise I didn't object to that. He agreed to come and
23 take over that duty.
24 And as far as Gotovina is concerned, he was a non-commissioned
25 officer in the French Army and became a high-ranking general in the HV,
1 but Gotovina accepted to be the commander of the Operative Zone of Split.
2 And he did a good job there because he was a capable man, but he also
3 listened to his advisers.
4 By the way, let me tell you, they weren't adventurers.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General, what I wanted to know
6 is whether it was pure coincidence, the fact that all these people were
7 there on the ground, or was it not a coincidence?
8 A. No, it wasn't a coincidence. They weren't there by chance. We
9 trusted those people, although they had previously commanded smaller
10 units. Skender did have a high rank in the French Army, but the other
11 two didn't. However, we thought that they had great wartime experience
12 and that they would be very useful in working with those units.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] General Praljak, we'll have to
14 stop because we only have a few minutes left on the tape. If you're
15 quick, please do --
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] If I may, I would like to
17 make a remark that there is a misunderstanding, because you asked a
18 question quite some time ago, and your question was whether the Croats
19 who were sending these people to the Foreign Legion because they wanted
20 them to be prepared once they returned, or whether that was not the case.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, that was the meaning of my
23 General Petkovic, you have answered the questions. We will have
24 to stop now. The tapes have run out. It's 6.00.
25 On Monday -- well, this was a starter. I shall discuss the main
1 dish on Monday and discuss your role as indicated in the indictment and
2 the JCE. Then we will look into the documents. You have a few days to
3 prepare for this.
4 I wish everyone a pleasant evening.
5 [The accused stands down]
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.59 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Monday, the 22nd day of
8 February, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.