1 Wednesday, 24 March 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The Accused Praljak and Pusic not present]
5 [The witness entered court]
6 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you kindly
8 call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
10 everyone in and around the courtroom.
11 This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus
12 Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
14 Today is Wednesday, the 24th of March, 2010. I would like to
15 greet the witness who is going to testify under oath in a few minutes. I
16 would like to greet the accused, as well as all the counsels, all the
17 members of the OTP, and everyone assisting us around the courtroom.
18 I will give the floor to the Registrar, who has IC numbers to
19 give us.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 2D has submitted its objections to 4D and the Prosecution's list
22 of documents tendered for admission via Witness Milivoj Petkovic. This
23 list shall be given Exhibit IC01216 and 01217 respectively. 3D and 4D
24 has also submitted their objections to the Prosecution's list of
25 documents tendered for admission via Witness Milivoj Petkovic. This list
1 shall be given Exhibit IC01218 and 01219 respectively.
2 Furthermore, 4D has also submitted their response to
3 Bruno Stojic's objections to their documents tendered for admission via
4 Zdenko Andabak. This list shall be given Exhibit IC01220.
5 5D, 2D, 4D and the Prosecution has also submitted their list of
6 documents to be tendered through Witness NO. These lists shall be given
7 Exhibit IC01221, 01222, and, 01223 finally, 01224 respectively. Thank
8 you, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
10 Witness, you may stand up, please.
11 Could you please give us your name, first name, and date of
12 birth, please?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mate Jelcic. The 4th of May, 1953
14 in Stubica, Ljubuski.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your profession or
16 occupation at the moment?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have a law degree, and I'm
18 currently retired.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, have you testified
20 before a court of law on events that unfolded in the former Yugoslavia
21 is it the first time that you're testifying before a court of law?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first time.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please read the
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 WITNESS: MATE JELCIC
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir. You may sit
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I do know that you have a
8 legal or law degree, but I'm going to give I was few explanations.
9 You're going to answer questions that Mr. Coric's counsel is
10 going to put to you based upon a written statement that you drafted and
11 that you signed. Thereafter, other counsels may also put questions to
12 you. The Prosecutor, who is on your right-hand side, as part of the
13 cross-examination, may also put questions to you. And after that, if
14 required, Mr. Coric's counsel may also ask some additional questions.
15 The Judges before you may also ask you questions at any time based on
16 your written statement or on the documents that will be put to you.
17 Please try and be as precise as you can be in the answers that
18 you will give to the questions put to you. You will see that when the
19 Prosecutor asks questions, the way the questions will be put to you will
20 be very different to those put to you by Mr. Coric's counsel or by the
21 Judges because the Prosecutor is entitled to ask you very leading
22 questions and he's entitled to give his point of view, which a Judge
23 can't do. In this case, please listen carefully to the Prosecutor's
24 question, and please try to keep your cool and answer the questions that
25 are put to you.
1 So there you go.
2 This being said, I give the floor to Ms. Tomic.
3 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,
4 Your Honours. Good morning to everybody in the courtroom.
5 Examination by Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Jelcic.
7 Could the witness please be provided with our binder with
9 Sir, could you please look at the first document, which is
10 5D0521. The first document, the following page, this is just a list of
11 documents. You have the pink labels on the side.
12 Mr. Jelcic, is this your statement?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you have an occasion to read this statement in its totality?
15 A. Yes.
16 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] For the record, I would
17 like to repeat the number. The number is 5D05112.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Do you stand by what you stated?
21 A. I have just one correction under 2, the month when I was born.
22 Q. Could you please give us the exact date?
23 A. I was born on the 4th of May, not on 4th of April. So it's the
24 4th of May.
25 Q. And what about the rest of your statement; is it correct?
1 A. No. I have one more --
2 Q. Slow down. I have told you, while I was preparing your
3 testimony, when I start examining you, when I finish my question, count
4 to 10
5 Now, start answering, but before you do, count to 10.
6 A. Under number 6, the brigade police did not send reports to the
7 duty operations room, but to the brigade, and that's the change that I
8 would like to make.
9 Q. Very well. And what about the rest of the statement?
10 A. The rest of the statement is correct.
11 Q. Very well. If you were to testify before the Court about what is
12 stated in your statement, would your testimony be identical to your
13 statement, save for the two corrections that you've just made?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And now let's look at your statement just briefly. Paragraph 3,
16 under 3, that is, it says that from April 1992, you were a security
17 officer in the Military Police Administration. Tell us, please, as a
18 security officer, what did you do in the course of 1992, what were your
20 A. My duties were always connected with the Military Police
21 Administration, the military police home, and as an officer I spent most
22 of the time in the military police building. That's where I was in
23 charge of security and other issues. I made sure that nothing was
24 lacking. If something needed to be done, I was there to do it, and
25 mostly in connection with the security issues and the supply issues. I
1 made sure that nothing was at short supply. And as a security officer, I
2 did not go into the field.
3 Q. And what about 1992?
4 A. In 1992 --
5 Q. I am asking about 1992. The witness told us what he did in 1993.
6 And in 1992, what did you do, as a duty -- as a security officer?
7 A. The same thing. I was never sent into field. I was in charge of
8 security in the main building and around it.
9 Q. Very well. With regard to your statement, under 7 and 8, I would
10 just briefly like to hear from you whether you knew a person named
11 Ante Prlic.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Who was he, and what did he do in 1993?
14 A. In the 1993, Ante Prlic was the commander of the brigade military
16 Q. What happened to him after 1993, after the war?
17 A. After the war, he returned to his company, which was a gas
18 station. That's where he had previously worked. He stole some money,
19 quite a lot of money, from there, and then he left for Germany on a
20 forged passport.
21 Q. And now I'd like to ask you about paragraph 10 of your statement,
22 where you refer to Kreso Medic and Kresimir Tolj. Could you please look
23 at the following document, which is P03613.
24 In your statement, under 10, you stated that Kresimir Tolj could
25 not appoint anyone to any function, and you also stated that
1 Kreso Medic -- the document number is P03613. And you said that
2 Kreso Medic carried out low-level tasks for the Ljubuski Military Police
3 Centre as a delivery man and as a driver. Did you find the document?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And here you can see that a reference is made to the appointment
6 of the prison warden in Otok, signed by Kresimir Tolj, and he appoints
7 Kreso Medic as the prison commander. Did you find the document?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You have just told us that -- I actually read out what you stated
10 about Mr. Tolj and Mr. Medic. What would you be able to tell us about
11 this appointment? Or, rather, do you have any comment on this document?
12 A. Yes, I do have a comment. Kresimir Tolj could not appoint
13 Kreso Medic in any way. The truth is that Kreso Medic did perform such
14 duties in our main building, and here we see the number, but this is not
15 a number from the Military Police Administration. "F-K" does not belong
16 to the Military Police Administration. And in the upper right-hand side
17 corner, the numbers have been corrected. Something has been done to
18 them. I don't know what exactly. In any case, Kresimir Tolj was not in
19 a position to appoint Kreso Medic to any position.
20 Q. What did Kreso Medic do in 1993?
21 A. Menial jobs. If some spare parts were needed for the repairs of
22 the water supply or the electricity, he would do that. He would be in
23 charge of taking mail to the post and such things for the Military Police
24 Administration; nothing else.
25 Q. And while you were the commander of the Military Police Centre in
1 Ljubuski, can you tell us whether the Military Police Administration was
2 housed in the same building?
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a second.
4 I was looking at the document which is you are challenging. So
5 should we draw from the document that this is a false document?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if the document is
7 false or not, but this number is definitely not a number of the Military
8 Police Administration. "F-K" was never used by the Military Police
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. If I understand
11 correctly, this person whom you knew, Kresimir Tolj, was a driver. He
12 was just a driver, wasn't he?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Kresimir Tolj was not a driver.
14 Kreso Medic was a driver.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what about Kresimir Tolj,
16 then? Who was he?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Kresimir Tolj worked in the
18 Crime Prevention Service.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was he a rank-and-file soldier,
20 a non-commissioned officer, or an officer of quite a high rank?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, at the time he did not hold a
22 rank, at the time.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Your answer has not been recorded, and I asked you whether the
1 Ljubuski Military Police Centre building also housed the Military Police
3 A. Yes, the Military Police Administration was housed in the same
5 Q. Were you there every day? How often were you there, for how
6 long? How many hours would you spend in the centre every day?
7 A. I would spend the whole day, all of my working hours, in the
8 centre, unless another commitment took me elsewhere. But most of the
9 time, I was there during the day, sometimes during the night when I was
10 on duty. I was in charge of that building, and that's why I was there
11 most of the time. I spent most of my time in the building, itself.
12 Q. Did you ever, in 1993, in that building see Ante Prlic?
13 A. No, never, I never saw him there.
14 Q. In your statement, under 8, you say that Ante Prlic did not
15 receive orders from the Military Police Administration or from the chief.
16 Could you please look at the last document in your binder, which
17 is P10190. This document was issued by the 4th Brigade Military Police,
18 signed by Mr. Prlic, the gentleman that we have just spoken about, and it
19 says in the document:
20 "The command in Gabela is hereby requested to -- in accordance
21 with the law and pursuant to an order issued by the head of the military
22 police, Valentin Coric, for all detainees of Muslim ethnicity who are in
23 possession of letters of guarantee to be released."
24 You have just told us that Mr. Prlic did not receive orders from
25 the chief of the Military Police Administration. However, we can see
1 here that he is referring to an order given by the chief. How -- would
2 you comment that?
3 A. My comment would be as follows: It's the same situation as if
4 some cleaning woman from one firm is calling upon the director of another
5 firm for some services, asking him for some services. Well, it's
7 Q. Tell me, you spoke about this in your statement -- just let me
8 check the paragraph. In paragraph 9 of your statement, some letters of
9 guarantee are mentioned here. What do you know about letters of
10 guarantee? And it's also mentioned in this Prlic document, letters of
11 guarantee. Did you hear about letters of guarantee in 1993? What do you
12 know about the subject?
13 A. Yes, I heard about that in the summer of 1993, that letters of
14 guarantee were arriving to a law firm in Ljubuski, and people would pick
15 up letters of guarantee there that they used to leave the country, I
16 assume. They would pick them up there.
17 Q. Did any such letters reach the Military Police Administration,
18 or, rather, did you ever see a copy of a letter of guarantee or a letter
19 of guarantee?
20 A. Never. No such letter ever arrived, nor did I ever see anything
21 like that. And since I was in the Military Police Administration all the
22 time, I can state that no letter of guarantee ever arrived there.
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Jelcic.
24 Thank you, Your Honours. That completes my examination-in-chief.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 What about the counsel for Mr. Petkovic?
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In the meantime, Witness, I would like to ask
3 two follow-up questions. The first relates to the naming of
4 Mr. Kreso Medic to head of Otok Military Prison. You said
5 Mr. Kresimir Tolj was not competent to do that.
6 I would like to know, if you know, what actually happened;
7 whether, nevertheless, Kreso Medic did take control over Otok Military
8 Prison or whether it was someone else. Do you know?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, well, I would know,
10 because I know Kreso Medic and Kreso Tolj. Kreso Medic worked for me, he
11 did work for me, so Kreso Medic could not go anywhere except where I told
12 him to go.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Your answer, then, if I understand correctly,
14 would be, No, he did not become head of Otok Military Prison?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, he did not.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. And the other question relates to
17 the document P10190, which contains a certificate, as it is called, that
18 Asim Obradovic and Zihno Obradovic ought to be transferred from Gabela to
19 Ljubuski. Again, you told us that this order was not lawful. I would
20 like you to tell me -- to tell the Bench whether, in fact, these persons
21 were transferred to Ljubuski Military Prison or not.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, those persons weren't
23 transferred to the prison.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, good morning, and
1 good morning to everybody else in the courtroom, including you,
2 Mr. Jelcic.
3 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] I'm going to ask you a few questions on behalf
5 of the Petkovic Defence.
6 In your statement and also today, you said that in 1992 you were
7 an officer for security in the VP Administration. My question to you is
8 this: Were you an officer of SIS or some other security service?
9 A. I was an officer of SIS.
10 Q. Tell me, in 1993 were you also a SIS officer?
11 A. In 1993, I was a SIS officer for a time, and then I was commander
12 of the centre.
13 Q. Tell us, Witness, are you certain that it was the SIS Service
14 within the VP Administration and not a separate security service? Are
15 you sure about that, absolutely certain?
16 A. Yes, I am, I'm certain.
17 Q. All right. Now, in the binder that you have before you, would
18 you look for document 2D1501, please.
19 A. Just let me take a moment.
20 Q. It's the first document there in that set, but you can listen to
21 me, listen to my question.
22 Mr. Jelcic, this is a report by Ivica Lucic, as head of SIS,
23 dated the 1st of December, 1993, sent to his new chief, who was
24 Colonel Biskic at the time, forwarded to Colonel Biskic. And Ivica Lucic
25 says in paragraph 2:
1 "During the entire time of the war, there was a latent conflict
2 between the military police and the Ministry of the Interior, the
3 Main Staff, and also with the SIS Administration. Since some persons
4 from the military police were involved in criminal activities,
5 themselves, it was very difficult to work with them."
6 And then a few paragraphs down, Ivica Lucic goes on to say:
7 "When we wrote about this and said that co-operation between the
8 VP Administration and the SIS was correct and proper, we primarily had in
9 mind co-operation with Mr. Rado Lavric and a group of officers from the
10 MP Administration. And I wish to contribute to join SIS and the military
11 police closer together in that way too."
12 Now, Witness, do you have any knowledge about the conflict that
13 Mr. Ivica Lucic is writing about here?
14 A. No, I know nothing about those clashes.
15 Q. Now, Witness, in this security service within the MP
16 Administration, did you have any knowledge about the problems that were
17 ongoing with certain structures in Herceg-Bosna, the problems that the
18 police had in co-operation with certain other structures in Herceg-Bosna?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Now, Mr. Jelcic, in paragraph 4 of your statement you speak about
21 the military police establishment in 1992. And since you're a lawyer,
22 yourself, in December 1992, let's analyse your statement and look at the
23 documents that testify to that establishment.
24 The documents we're going to discuss now are P957, and it's a
25 document that you mention as being a document on the basis of which the
1 organisation and establishment was conducted. It's the fifth document.
2 But tell me first, have you ever seen this document before?
3 Witness, I'm asking you. Have you ever seen the document before?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. This document was signed by Valentin Coric and Bruno Stojic. My
6 question to you is this: The chief of the VP Administration and the head
7 of the Defence Department, were they authorised to make decisions about
8 the organisation and establishment of the military police?
9 A. Well, I have to correct you. I'm not a lawyer --
10 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to say
12 Your Honours, I don't think it is proper to ask this witness what
13 the authorisation and authority of --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]
15 [Interpretation] Let me repeat. I can't hear the translation in
17 Mr. Coric, please repeat what you said.
18 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] I think it is improper to ask
19 this witness about whether these people had the authority to --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Stop. I still can't hear the
22 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Well, it's not my fault. It
23 means that something is not working properly.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is because of the
25 interpreters that I couldn't hear the French. It is better not to switch
1 over systems, to avoid this kind of inconvenience.
2 Mr. Coric.
3 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Well, never mind. I don't
4 consider the question to be that important, so I'll just sit down.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
6 Ms. Alaburic.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Jelcic, let me correct myself. You are an administrative
9 lawyer. You're not actually graduated from the Faculty of Law, but from
10 the Higher School of Law; right? Can you answer that? Can we have an
11 audible response, please?
12 A. That's right, I'm not a graduate of the Faculty of Law and a
13 lawyer in that sense.
14 Q. So my question to you is this: According to your understanding
15 of the regulations in Herceg-Bosna, who could make decisions about the
16 establishment and organisation of the military police in Herceg-Bosna?
17 A. I don't know.
18 Q. Tell me, Witness, except for this document, have you ever seen
19 any rules and regulations, or a decision or order, on the establishment
20 of the military police from December 1992?
21 A. Well, I have seen documents, but I can't remember which ones
22 exactly and how it was.
23 Q. You said you saw one document?
24 A. I said I saw -- I did see something, but I can't remember what
25 was in the document.
1 Q. And do you know whether the document referred to MP organisation
2 and establishment?
3 A. I'm not quite sure.
4 Q. Well, why are you mentioning this document, then, in the context
5 that I'm asking you about?
6 A. Which is that?
7 Q. In the context of the MP organisation. Why did you mention it;
8 because it's a Valentin Coric document, or what's the importance of the
10 A. Well, I don't know whose document it is.
11 Q. Very well. Now let's look at this document, and it's the only
12 document which we have on MP organisation, dated December 1992. So let's
13 take a look at parts of that document.
14 But before we do that, tell me, if you know, whether the members
15 of the military police were mobilised or were they taken into the
16 military police service in some other way, were they admitted in some
17 other way?
18 A. As far as I know, they weren't mobilised.
19 Q. Does that mean, Witness, that in military units of the HVO,
20 citizens were mobilised according to regular mobilisation procedure,
21 whereas for the military police, people were admitted according to a
22 special procedure?
23 A. Well, I think they were admitted in the same way, admitted to the
24 military police and to the HVO units in the same way, according to the
25 same procedure.
1 Q. Well, I'm not quite clear on what you're saying. Were they
2 mobilised into the military police then; is that what you mean to say?
3 A. Well, from the Defence Department, people would go to the
4 military police, so they were mobilised.
5 Q. Witness, in your statement you say that the light assault
6 battalions were exclusively combat units of the military police. Do you
7 remember saying that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Therefore, they had exclusively combat assignments?
10 A. Well, combat and military police assignments, both.
11 Q. Can you repeat your answer?
12 A. They had combat and military police assignments.
13 Q. Tell us, Witness, why, in your statement, did you say that they
14 had exclusively combat assignments, whereas now you're testifying
15 differently? Which of the two is correct?
16 A. Well, I think what I'm saying is true and correct, and I think
17 that's what I said over there as well.
18 Q. Just a moment, please. Pause there. Are you saying that you
19 think you said the same thing in your statement; is that what you just
21 A. I don't think; I'm stating that they had combat and police
22 duties. That's quite normal, to have both.
23 Q. Tell us, Witness -- tell us the military police tasks of the
24 light assault battalions of the military police. Can you enumerate them,
25 list them for us?
1 A. The MP Administration had five battalions.
2 Q. I'm not interested in that. Just list the military police tasks
3 of the light assault battalions of the military police.
4 A. I can't list them because I don't know. I did other jobs.
5 Q. Okay. Now, tell us, Witness, if you can, why, along with the
6 regular military organisation of the HVO, why was a parallel system of
7 combat units set up in the form of light assault MP battalions?
8 A. I said I don't know. I wasn't doing that kind of work, I wasn't
9 in those units, so I don't know.
10 Q. Witness, if you know, could you tell us why those light assault
11 units or, rather, combat units, were not subordinated to the Main Staff
12 of the HVO, but were, rather, established within the framework of the
13 military police?
14 A. I believe that they were attached to the Main Staff.
15 Q. Let's look at the document about the -- about the organisation of
16 the military police. The document number is P957.
17 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] First of all, can you hear
18 me? Can anybody from the technical staff hear me at all? If not, could
19 my microphone be made to work?
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] In principle, I'll say that I
22 have an objection about this witness being asked questions that only the
23 chief of the Military Police Administration or the highest-ranking
24 officer in the Military Police Administration should answer, and not a
25 person who is in charge of the maintenance of the Military Police
1 Administration building. He made sure that all the cars were in their
2 positions, that all the cars were parked, and so on and so forth. The
3 questions put to him were about the duty of Mr. Stojic or myself, which
4 is the minister or the chief of the administration respectively. I don't
5 know how far that leads. Could you please protect this witness?
6 Otherwise, he will go on answering, I don't know, I can't answer.
7 And I would kindly request a short break to consult with my
8 Defence counsel, and if that could be granted as soon as possible.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
10 Ms. Alaburic, the witness said on several occasions that there
11 were a number of things he knew nothing about. So rather than wasting
12 time, maybe you could ask him whether he can address one or other
13 subject. If he can't, move on to something else, please.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am asking this
15 witness based on his statement. If this witness says that all he knew
16 was how to park vehicles in the parking-lot of the building, and that he
17 doesn't know anything else, and that he doesn't know anything that is
18 stated herein, I'm not going to have any questions for him.
19 However, for as long as this statement exists in this courtroom,
20 I believe that I have the right to question every sentence in the
21 statement, and this is exactly what I'm doing. It is not my intention to
22 discredit the witness.
23 Q. Witness, the document, at the very end on page 3, says that
24 platoons of the military police attached to the brigades, the brigades.
25 Could you please tell us, you have a degree in administrative law, how
1 would you explain the word "pry," p-r-y? Why doesn't it say "in," "in
3 A. I don't know.
4 Q. Very well. Witness, in your statement, you say -- or you speak
5 about the battalions of the military police, and in paragraph 5 you say
6 that military police battalion commanders reported to the duty operations
7 room of the Military Police Administration and the commander of the
8 operations zone. I am interested in reports sent to the commander of the
9 operations zone.
10 You said that you spent all days -- most of the days in the
11 Military Police Administration building. My question is this: How do
12 you know that the commanders of military police battalions reported to
13 the commanders of the operations zones?
14 A. Madam, my office was very close to the operations duty room, and
15 I heard. On several occasions, I heard those reports being sent, how
16 they were being sent, where they were sent to.
17 Q. So you heard that --
18 MR. SCOTT: I apologise to my colleague Mr. Longone, but I think
19 there's a very important matter that's come up which goes beyond the
20 normal scope of objections and even for cross-examination.
21 Based on what Mr. Coric said a moment ago, I think there's a
22 fundamental question whether this witness has any foundation to be giving
23 the testimony he's giving. The Chamber may recall - this has come up
24 before - there has to be a foundation for a witness giving evidence.
25 There has to be some basis of personal knowledge, there has to be
1 something that makes it worthwhile -- excuse me, I'm getting a lot of
2 interference from the other side. There has to be something, some
3 measure, which makes it worthwhile for this Chamber to hear evidence from
4 this witness on these points.
5 According to what Mr. Coric just said -- according to what
6 Mr. Coric just said, and I'm referring now to page 18 of the daily
8 "In principle, I'll say that I have an objection about this
9 witness being asked questions that only the chief of the Military Police
10 Administration or the highest-ranking officer in the Military Police
11 Administration should answer, and not a person who is in charge of the
12 maintenance of the Military Police Administration building. He made sure
13 that all the cars were in their positions, that all the cars were parked
14 and so forth."
15 Now, I put it to the Chamber that -- with respect, that that is a
16 fundamentally different picture of the man and his position than what we
17 have in the statement, in which he is described as, at some point, the
18 head -- the commander -- at least in the English translation, as
19 commander of the Military Police Centre in Ljubuski. Was he in the
20 maintenance? With no disrespect intended for the gentleman, was he the
21 commander of the police centre, with significant roles and
22 responsibilities, and he can address policy and procedural questions, and
23 fundamental structures and policies and reporting, or was he, again with
24 respect, the maintenance man, parking cars? Now, this is more
25 fundamental. This should not have to wait for cross-examination, because
1 it may be that the witness, again with respect to the witness, we
2 shouldn't receive this evidence at all.
3 So until this is resolved -- and it's Mr. Coric who put this
4 question into play, and I support him in that. This may or may not have
5 been his intended result, but this is what Mr. Coric said. And until
6 this is resolved, with great respect, we should not go forward with this
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Once more, we are wasting time
9 on procedural issues.
10 I agree with Mr. Coric and with Mr. Scott. The essential
11 question is: What exactly does this witness know? Ms. Alaburic, it
12 might be better to determine, beforehand, what he knows and what he
13 actually did, because if he was only in charge of the cars, there is no
14 point in putting questions to him on the commander of the operational
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may add a point.
17 I quite agree that this should be clarified. It should be
18 clarified, I think, not at the expense of your time, actually. I think
19 this is a special question. I would take it upon myself that you assert
20 the level of knowledge and experience of this witness, as it were, at the
21 expense of the Chamber.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Coric, when I'm saying that
23 we are wasting time, that's three people on their feet, all of that to no
24 avail, because what I'm interested in, and this is something I must tell
25 you, when the time comes to deliberate, it's not because you are all on
1 your feet that this will change things. It is the statement of the
2 witness and the exhibits that are shown, which is what we go by. You are
3 going to object, and we are going to waste time. It might be more useful
4 for the witness to tell us what he did exactly as the commander of the
5 military police in Ljubuski. That is what is of interest. If he was
6 looking after cars, fine, that we have understood. If he was involved in
7 policy matters of the military police, that we have understood also.
8 Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic.
9 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] First of all, I would
10 like to say that the witness's statement was not taken by Mr. Coric, but
11 his Defence. Everything in the statement was said by the witness.
12 The witness is being examined here pursuant to rules, and I
13 believe that the key issue is where the witness was. He was in the
14 Police Administration building. Witnesses can base their knowledge of
15 the rules or what they saw and heard in different situations. The
16 witness said just a minute ago that his office was only a few metres away
17 from the operations duty room of the Military Police Administration, and
18 that he heard a lot of things, that he saw a lot of things. The fact
19 that the witness did not see a regulation and cannot interpret it does
20 not mean that the witness doesn't know or that he didn't hear or see a
21 certain thing.
22 During the Prosecution case, we had witnesses who were shown
23 combat reports, and they were illiterate, and still they could comment
24 upon the combat reports. They were aware of some information in those
25 combat reports, and that's what they testified about.
1 He may not know the regulations, but the witness should be asked
2 what he bases the information in his statement on.
3 I asked him at the beginning what he did, and he said he was in
4 charge of security and of the functioning of the entire centre. If he
5 was in charge of security, then he obviously knew when the battalion
6 commanders came and went. He also possibly knew how many members of
7 those --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I must tell you that my office
9 is four metres away from the office of the President of the Tribunal. I
10 don't know what the President of the Tribunal does. I have no idea. And
11 my office is two centimetres away from Judge Mindua's office. I don't
12 know what Judge Mindua does. It's not because the office is next-door
13 that you know everything that's going on.
14 Mr. Scott.
15 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, and let me take the opportunity to say
16 good morning to each of Your Honours, to the President.
17 I regret if I'm trying your patience, Mr. President. I hope,
18 after almost four years, the Chamber will hopefully believe that I don't
19 rise to my feet unless I think it's something important. I do think this
20 is an exceptional situation.
21 I also want to clarify for the record that my objection, to the
22 extent it was an objection, was not directed at Ms. Alaburic. It was
23 directed more generally to the presentation of this witness. It may be
24 through no fault of counsel for Mr. Coric. I don't know. I'm not
25 throwing any stones in that direction, I'm not blaming anyone, but it
1 very well could be and appears to be that a fundamentally false
2 representation of this person has been put before the Court as a
4 When someone says they are a security officer, that doesn't mean
5 custodian or maintenance man. When someone says they're the commander of
6 the centre, after four years in a military case, we talk about
7 commanders, generals, operational zone, brigade commanders, we don't talk
8 about the head maintenance man at the building. And this is fundamental,
9 and I go back, I think, to Judge Trechsel's point. I think it needs to
10 be clarified before we take any further evidence on these points, because
11 otherwise it may be of no value whatsoever.
12 I regret if I've taken the time -- the Court's time
14 MR. KHAN: Mr. President, I'll be very short.
15 I would simply say, with the greatest of respect, that we are
16 wasting an awful lot of time with procedural issues. The weight and the
17 utility of any testimony given by this witness will be evaluated by
18 Your Honours once his evidence has been given, and it's completely open
19 to the Defence and for the Prosecution to test the credibility and
20 veracity and cogency of any testimony given by any witness in the box.
21 Your Honours, Mr. Scott can do that and Ms. Alaburic can do that, but
22 perhaps that can be done instead of delaying proceedings as they are
23 being delayed at the moment.
24 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, could we just support that, and --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One more on his feet.
1 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, I do represent a different
2 accused, and, therefore, I'm entitled to make my contribution.
3 I, first of all, support what my learned friend Mr. Khan has
4 said, and, secondly, simply observe that in light of the comment made a
5 few minutes ago, a cross-examination which elicits the answer, I don't
6 know, can often be extremely valuable cross-examination to that party
7 and, in fact, in the way that Mr. Scott has indicated, to expose any
8 weaknesses and perhaps get more quickly away from areas which are not
9 worth exploring.
10 Your Honour, not surprisingly, I entirely support the
11 cross-examination of my learned friend lead counsel here and ask
12 Your Honours to bear in mind that precisely that sort of
13 cross-examination which elicits answers, I don't know, may be the most
14 valuable cross-examination and use the time more effectively.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, can you tell me what
16 your exact position in Ljubuski was? What were you doing there? And
17 then we will see what questions can be addressed during
18 cross-examination. What were you doing, exactly?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I worked in the military police
20 building, and I was in charge of several things: maintenance; when there
21 was training and when young policemen were involved, I made sure that
22 they had equipment, that they were equipped; and that's the jobs I did.
23 I made sure that the kitchen functioned, that the administration
24 functioned, that everything functioned properly, so that the other people
25 could work in the military police building.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What else did you do?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's what I did mostly,
3 mostly that.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If we understand things
5 correctly, you were in charge of maintenance and of training of young
6 policemen. That was, in essence, your job?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I prepared equipment for them. So
8 when they turned up for training, they had everything they needed for
9 that training.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It seems to have been a misunderstanding. You
12 were not training soldiers; you were just putting the chalk to write on
13 the blackboard, for instance; is that correct?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, there was no chalk involved in
15 that, no chalk, no.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. But then perhaps it was sports material,
17 weapons for manipulation, things like that, blind ammunition?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, everything. Your Honour,
19 everything they may have needed during training, I prepared all that for
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Judge Mindua has a question
23 pursuant to Rule 90 [as interpreted] ter (C) of our Rules.
24 THE INTERPRETER: 92 [sic] ter, interpreter's correction.
25 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Of course, Witness, this is an
1 extremely important question, as the Prosecutor has reminded us of.
2 I would like to know this: In your statement, which is document
3 5D05112, it says, in paragraph 3, that you were the commander of the
4 Military Police Centre in Ljubuski. Can you very briefly give us the
5 organisation chart of this centre with the position of the commander?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The military police building was
7 organised in this way: There was the Military Police Administration.
8 There was also a school for young soldiers or, rather, military
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A correction on the transcript.
12 I said "15 ter (C)," not "90." 15.
13 Ms. Alaburic, you have seen and heard what the witness has said.
14 Please adjust your questions accordingly.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Witness, I'm now going to go through your statement. I'm going
17 to ask you what the source of your knowledge is.
18 In paragraph 5, you refer to the fact that battalion commanders
19 submitted daily, weekly, monthly reports, and, as needed, interim
20 reports, first of all, to the duty operations room of the
21 MP Administration and then, secondly, the commander of the operations
22 zone. You go on to explain how the battalion commanders compiled their
23 reports, where those reports went. You further speak about
24 VP Administration reports which were sent to the Defence Department, and
25 then Defence Department reports going to the government or, rather, to
1 the HVO of the HZ-HB.
2 Now, my question to you is: What is the source of your knowledge
3 of what you describe in paragraph 5?
4 A. The source of my knowledge is that I knew everything on the basis
5 of the duty operations room. I knew where the reports were going, who
6 they were going to, and so on.
7 Q. Tell us, Witness, did you work in that duty operations room?
8 A. No, but the room was close to mine. So when I didn't have --
9 when I wasn't doing other things, when I had a free moment, I would sit
10 in the duty operations room, with the people there.
11 Q. Now, Witness, when it says that some police does something
12 ex officio, do you know what that means, in the line of duty, in the line
13 of their official duty?
14 A. Well, if the police is working in the line of duty, then they go
15 about their police business, police tasks.
16 Q. So what the police is duty-bound to do under the law, not waiting
17 for the government, the ministries, the Main Staff, or anybody else to
18 tell them what they're supposed to do; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could you tell us, Witness, what tasks the military police was
21 obliged to do according to its line of duty, ex officio?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. Now, in paragraph 4 of your statement, Witness, towards the very
24 end, you mention the reorganisation of the military police in mid-1993.
25 And you mention a date there, and it's the 28th of July, 1993
1 that's a mistake and that it should say the 28th of June, 1993. And you
2 say that based on that order, assistant chief of the MP Administration
3 was formed.
4 Look at P2997 now, please. This is a piece of information sent
5 by Valentin Coric to the command of the military police battalions,
6 informing them about the reorganisation of the military police.
7 Now, tell me, Witness, is that the document that you had in mind
8 when you had the -- when you wrote the part of your statement that I just
9 quoted from?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Tell me, Witness, apart from this document, did you see any other
12 decision, regulation, or order relating to the new establishment of the
13 military police in mid-1993?
14 A. No.
15 Q. All right. Now, you mentioned the post of assistant chief of the
16 VP Administration, and in this document it says, and I quote:
17 "Pooling together the military police activities of the light
18 assault battalion and military police battalion in the operative zone
19 shall be conducted by the chief of the MP Administration for that zone
20 that is authorised to command the battalions as well."
21 Now, my question to you is as follows, based on that: The
22 assistant chief of the MP Administration for the Operative Zone of
23 South-East Herzegovina, is he authorised to command the
24 1st Light Assault Battalion and the 5th Battalion of the Military Police
25 active in the area of that same operative zone?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now take a look at the next document, P3487, which is a decision
3 by the head of the Defence Department, dated the 16th of July, 1993
4 as assistant chief of the MP Administration for the Operative Zone of
5 South-East Herzegovina, Zlatan Mijo Jelic is being appointed to that
6 post. And I'm going to show you a few more documents first, and then I'm
7 going to ask you my question later.
8 The next document, P4146, P4146. It is an order from
9 Valentin Coric, dated the 12th of August, 1993, in which, in the
10 attachment, it says, and I quote:
11 "The chief of the MP Administration conveyed most of his
12 authority to the assistants for the individual operations zones."
13 And so, for example, in the -- for the chief of the military
14 police of the Operative Zone of South-East Herzegovina, Zlatan Mijo Jelic
15 was appointed.
16 Several further lines down, it says the assistant chiefs of the
17 MP Administration received an order and authorisation from the chief of
18 the Military Police Administration to establish and organise, in each of
19 the four operational zones, military police light assault battalions, and
20 to reorganise the existing battalions of the general and traffic military
22 Just a moment, I'll read on.
23 The next document is P3778. A little patience, please, and I'll
24 come to my question after we've looked at that document. It is an order
25 from Valentin Coric, dated the 28th of July, 1993, in which it says, and
1 I quote:
2 "The assistant chiefs are duty-bound, in addition to engaging in
3 combat, the military police and their re-subordination to the commander
4 of the HVO or to the commander of the corresponding zones specifically
5 authorised by the commander of the HVO."
6 This order was sent to the following addressees, or, rather, four
7 assistant chiefs of the VP Administration for the operative zone.
8 Now, Witness, under this column "Delivered to," is it true that
9 the order was sent to the assistant chiefs of the VP Administration in
10 the four operative zones?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honours. Excuse me, Counsel.
13 Again, Your Honour, I apologise if I annoy the Chamber with this,
14 but I don't think the issue's been resolved. It doesn't matter how many
15 documents Ms. Alaburic reads to the witness. She can read documents to
16 him all day long. She just put four documents in a row without a
17 question, four documents, to the maintenance man at the centre. This
18 witness, with great respect, has no competence -- he has no basic,
19 fundamental foundational-level competence to address these questions, and
20 we can read documents to him all day long. I can stand up and read
21 documents to him and ask for him to give opinions.
22 There's no value to this, Your Honour, with great respect. There
23 is no value to receiving this evidence from this witness. He can't talk
24 about the policies and structures and how the military police was
25 organised, because he parked cars in the parking-lot. The Chamber needs
1 to -- with great respect, needs to address this more fundamentally.
2 Otherwise, we are, indeed, wasting time in taking the evidence of an
3 incompetent witness.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Your Honour, I'd just
5 like to ask Mr. Scott for a little patience. I took on board what was
6 said about the examination of this witness, and I'm not going to ask him
7 about these documents. I'm going to show him one more document -- or,
8 rather, two more documents, and then I'm going to ask a question of fact,
9 about fact, which I consider to be extremely important in this trial.
10 And I think I have eight more minutes to do that in, and I will stick to
11 the time-limit.
12 Q. Now, Witness, the next --
13 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Counsel. I apologise for interrupting my
14 good friend Ms. Alaburic, who I have great respect and affection for, but
15 I don't understand. What's the point of raising four documents which
16 she's not going to ask questions about them. She just said:
17 "I'm going to show him one more document. I'm not going to ask
18 him about these documents."
19 Why do we spend court time talking about documents we're not
20 going to examine on?
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, Ms. Alaburic has six
22 minutes left. She will finish in six minutes. If she's wasted our time,
23 it's just too bad. It's her problem.
24 Please go ahead, Ms. Alaburic.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. The next document, Witness, is P5869, 5869. This is an excerpt
2 from the minutes of a meeting held in the Military Police Centre in
3 Ljubuski, held on the 10th of October, 1993. It is a regular monthly
4 meeting of the heads of -- or leading officers of the Military Police
5 Administration with the military police battalion commanders, and here,
6 of those listed present, we see that Zlatan Mijo Jelic was present as
7 assistant chief for the Operative Zone of South-East Herzegovina.
8 In view of the fact that the meeting was held in Ljubuski, at the
9 MP Centre there, do you remember the meeting, Witness?
10 A. I remember a number of meetings being held. I can't remember
11 this particular one, but there were several such meetings with the same
12 people attending.
13 Q. I see, with the same people attending. Now, did, for example,
14 Mr. Ivan Ancic attend those meetings, if you recall?
15 A. Ivan Ancic was there. I don't know if he was there every time,
16 but he did attend.
17 Q. And what about Zlatan Mijo Jelic, Witness. Do you remember him?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell us, did Zlatan Mijo Jelic come to those meetings, for
20 example, in the second half of 1993?
21 A. Yes, he did.
22 Q. Now, the next document is 4D2063, 4D2063, which is a proposal
23 from Valentin Coric, dated the 11th of November, 1993, sent to
24 Perica Jukic, and, among other things, saying that the duties of the
25 assistant chiefs of the MP Administration for the Mostar Military
1 District be relieved of duty -- rather, that Zlatan Mijo Jelic be
2 relieved of duty.
3 Now, do you know that towards the end of 1993, Zlatan Mijo Jelic
4 ceased to be the assistant chief of the MP Administration for the
5 Military District of Mostar?
6 A. I don't know.
7 Q. Very well. In paragraph 7 of your statement, you say that the
8 Military Investigative Prison of Ljubuski, or remand prison, began
9 operating in September 1993. Today, you corrected some of the
10 information in your statement, but you did not correct that piece of
11 information, so I'm going to ask you whether you stand by the fact that
12 the Ljubuski Prison was set up in September 1993.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now look at P373 - yes, P373 - which is the house rules of the
15 prison in Ljubuski passed on the 7th of August, 1992. And it is signed
16 by the assistant chief of the VP Administration for Military
17 Investigative Affairs. Tell us, Witness, did you know about these house
18 rules, the existence of these house rules?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. But these house rules date to 1992. Can you explain to us how
21 come we have house rules for 1992, and you say that the prison in
22 Ljubuski was established a year later, in September 1993, in fact?
23 A. The prison existed in 1992.
24 Q. All right, fine. Now look at the last document, P956, 956, which
25 is a report from the military police for 1992. And in the first part, it
1 talks about the work of the individual services, and what I'm interested
2 in and would like to focus on are prisons. And it says here that by the
3 end of June 1992, three military remand prisons were formed in Mostar,
4 Ljubuski, and Livno, and that in July 1992, a fourth military remand
5 prison was set up in Capljina.
6 Tell us, Witness, to the best of your knowledge, is that data
8 A. Yes.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
10 questions. Thank you.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
12 Next Defence team.
13 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] No questions. Thank you,
14 Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
17 everyone in and around the courtroom. And good morning, sir.
18 We have no questions for the gentleman, but we do wish to thank
19 him for coming here to give his evidence.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. 2D.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have no
22 questions, in principle, for this witness, but I want to correct a lack
23 of precision in the transcript, to put that right.
24 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Jelcic -- this is page 16, line 24 of
1 today's transcript, but it's not important as far as you're concerned.
2 When Ms. Alaburic asked you about the mobilisation of the military
3 police, you said that they were those coming from the Defence Department.
4 That's what was recorded. Did you mean the Administration for Defence or
5 Defence Department?
6 A. I meant Department.
7 Q. Did mobilisation go via the Administration for Defence or the
8 Department for Defence?
9 A. Department for Defence.
10 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have
13 some 15 minutes of cross-examination, but it will all depend on what the
14 witness's first answer is to my question, what he's going to say first.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go ahead, and then we'll
16 have the break and the Prosecutor will do the cross-examination. Please
17 go ahead.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness. I represent the Praljak
21 Defence, and I'm going to ask you a few questions.
22 Your statement, the one you confirmed as being your statement
23 here this morning, in paragraph 4, the third paragraph reads as follows:
24 "Besides the active VP force, there was also the brigade VP,
25 which was a constituent part of the brigade, like all other units of that
2 Now, my question is as follows: Is that your statement -- or,
3 rather, do you stand by that assertion and statement?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right, thank you. Then, tell me, how do you know that? How
6 do you come to know that a military police platoon is exactly the same
7 thing as all the other platoons of the brigade military police? On what
8 grounds are you able to say that and do you know that? Explain that to
9 us, please.
10 A. Well, I think the platoons were the same everywhere.
11 Q. My colleague tells me that my question was wrongly recorded, so
12 I'm going to repeat it.
13 My question was: How come you know that that is so, that the
14 platoons in the brigades, all of them were exactly the same, regardless
15 of whether it was a military police platoon or some other platoon? How
16 do you know that? What is the source of your knowledge?
17 A. That's a mistake. I didn't understand you properly.
18 Q. What is a mistake? Now I don't understand you.
19 A. Well, it's a mistake that all platoons are the same.
20 Q. Ah, I see. That means -- or, rather, you tell me. Does that
21 mean that this statement of yours, in paragraph 4, third paragraph, is
22 not correct?
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Objection. The witness
24 didn't say in his statement that all the platoons were the same. What he
25 says was that the brigade platoon was within the composition of the
1 brigade or a constituent part of the brigade, like all other units of
2 that brigade, which means that it was a constituent part of the brigade.
3 He didn't say whether they were all the same, or different, or equal. He
4 said that they were just a constituent part of the brigade, like all
5 other units of that brigade. That's what -- how the statement reads.
6 That's what he said.
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] All right, that's the way this is
8 being interpreted, but I'm going to ask the witness -- let me repeat for
9 the record --
10 MR. STEWART: Sorry, if my learned friend would just allow me.
11 Page 38, line 3, the English interpretation of what the witness
12 is saying in court today is:
13 "I think the platoons were the same everywhere."
14 Now, whether that does or doesn't need some further exploration
15 or explanation in questions, it's no use Mr. Coric's counsel tells us
16 what his statement said, because he said, I think the platoons were the
17 same everywhere, and the simple understanding of that is what he says.
18 If he means something different then, well, I invite anybody to explore
19 it, if they wish to, but that's what it says there on the transcript in
21 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] The witness answered the
22 question, thus I drew Mr. Kovacic's attention to the fact that the
23 witness misheard him because Mr. Kovacic made a mistake in his question.
24 You can see it on page 37, lines from 23 through 25. He asks:
25 [In English] "... to know that the military police platoon is
1 exactly the same thing as all the other platoons of the brigade military
3 "Of the brigade military police." [Interpretation] Which means
4 that the question, the way it was put to him, was whether the military
5 police platoon was the same as all the other platoons of the brigade
6 military police, and that's why I asked my learned friend to correct
7 himself, because it was really not clear what he was asking him. It
8 turns out -- or he interpreted the question as being asked to compare the
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that was corrected. I'm not
11 going to dwell upon mistakes and interpretations thereof. I'll repeat my
12 question, because obviously the witness doesn't understand what he said,
13 what he's saying, so I'll go over the same grounds as an elementary
14 school witness.
15 Q. Please, concentrate to what you're saying. In your statement, it
16 says literally -- and you signed this statement, and you confirmed
17 earlier today that this was, indeed, your statement. It says as follows:
18 "Besides the active VP force, there was also the brigade VP,
19 which was a constituent part of the brigade, like all other units of that
21 This is your statement. My question is this, my first question:
22 How do you know that?
23 A. I know that because I was in Ljubuski. I know exactly how things
24 were there.
25 Q. Okay. Were you ever at the brigade commander?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the answer.
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Okay, let's go on, then.
3 Q. Please be so kind and repeat the answer. It was not recorded.
4 A. Yes, I was in the brigade.
5 Q. Could you tell me approximately how many times, when did you go
6 to the brigade command, and how often could you receive that information?
7 A. It was not often. But since I hail from Ljubuski, I had a lot of
8 acquaintances in the brigade. That's why I popped over to the brigade
9 now and then.
10 Q. Very well. Could you tell us who the commander of the brigade in
11 Ljubuski was?
12 A. There were several commanders. At that time, it was
13 Cane Primorac.
14 Q. What do you know by "then"? Cane Primorac was the commander
16 A. I believe in 1993.
17 Q. And at that time in 1993, or for the most part of 1993, who was
18 the commander of the brigade platoon of the military police in the
20 A. The commander of the brigade platoon in 1993 was Ante Prlic for a
21 while, and I believe that he was replaced by somebody called Bebic.
22 That's -- during that same year.
23 Q. Very well. Do you remember who, for example --
24 MR. STEWART: Excuse me, sorry.
25 At page 40, line 17, we got a question which, in English, is
1 distinct the ambiguous, as recorded on the transcript:
2 "Okay. Were you ever at the brigade commander?"
3 Now, there are two possible questions there: Were you ever at
4 the brigade command or, Were you ever the brigade commander? Now, I've
5 got some recollection of what it was that Mr. Kovacic asked, but as it
6 stands on the transcript, and therefore it is important to make sure that
7 it's right, as it stands on the transcript it's completely unclear, in
8 English, what that question was. And actually, as it happens, it doesn't
9 appear that the answer that I've got at line 21, "Yes, I was at the
10 brigade," doesn't appear to be a direct answer to either question,
11 actually, in whatever form. So, really, there is confusion here, and I'm
12 just inviting it to be cleared up one way or the other.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, could you perhaps
14 ask for clarification regarding this question?
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes. This is the interpretation
16 problem or inadequate terminology that we use in Croatian as opposed to
17 what we use in English; hence, such situations which we need to clarify.
18 But maybe you can give me three or four more minutes, because this is a
19 linguistic problem.
20 Q. Witness, when I ask you whether you were ever at the command of
21 the brigade, did you understand that as the brigade offices? Could you
22 please answer yes or no?
23 A. Yes, the brigade offices, as visiting the brigade offices.
24 Q. You did not understand my question as me asking you whether you
25 were a member of the command?
1 A. No, no, no.
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I hope that this clarifies the
3 matter. This is a linguistic problem.
4 Very well, let's move on.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, as far as I am
6 concerned, it's clear, but perhaps you can help me. Could you please
7 tell us, what your commander, who were you reporting to directly? Who
8 was your superior, in other words?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The chief of the Military Police
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what was his name?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Valentin Coric.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if I understand correctly,
14 when you were reporting -- when you were drafting reports, you would be
15 reporting directly to Mr. Coric.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, maybe this is a good
19 time for the break, or I'm --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think it's better for you to
21 complete your cross-examination. You have a few minutes left, so it's
22 better for you to complete your cross-examination now, before the break.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I was forced to waste
24 some time on my colleague's questions, which was not my intention.
25 I think it would only be fair for me to be given time after the break.
1 That would relieve pressure and we would save time, because the other --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you like. We'll have the
3 break now, a 20-minute break.
4 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak's Defence counsel.
7 Yes, Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic.
8 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, during the
9 break I consulted with Mr. Coric, and I informed the Prosecutor's office
10 thereof, and the matter is this: During the examination earlier today,
11 the witness provided different information than he did during the
12 preparation for his testimony, what he said to the Coric Defence. The
13 witness has serious health problems. I don't know what the reason for
14 his change of testimony is. However, given the new circumstances, after
15 the consultation with Mr. Coric, we would like to give up on this
16 witness. We would like to withdraw his statement.
17 I have spoken about that with the OTP, and Mr. Scott understands
18 our position and does not object to the withdrawal of this witness.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That a right you are fully
20 entitled to. I shall turn to my colleagues to see whether they agree.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber notes that
23 you are withdrawing this witness.
24 Sir, I thank you for having come to testify, but you have
25 understood that Mr. Coric's Defence counsel is withdrawing your
1 statement. She is fully entitled to do so. I thank you for having come,
2 and I wish you a safe journey home.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I can just add one thing on the name of the
5 We've heard that you have health problems, and we wish you the
6 best for a recovery of your health.
7 MR. STEWART: Your Honours, sorry to throw in this note yet
8 again. Well, I'm not sorry. I'd like to be courteous, but I'm not
9 saying I'm sorry, actually.
10 Your Honour, we don't accept that the Coric Defence is simply
11 entitled to withdraw this evidence. We don't accept that. It's -- once
12 a witness has come along and he's given evidence, we contend they're not
13 in that position. And, Your Honour, we would really like just a brief
14 opportunity to consider whether our position, the Petkovic Defence, is
15 that we simply assent to that without any argument at all.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Just for the record --
17 MR. KHAN: Sorry, if I could interrupt. Your Honours, I do
18 apologise to my learned friend Mr. Karnavas, but perhaps if there is any
19 more discussion on this issue, it would be better for it to be done in
20 the absence of the witness.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will ask the witness to
22 leave the courtroom.
23 [The witness withdrew]
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we
25 just move into private session just briefly? I would like to provide
1 some information about the health condition of the witness, because I see
2 that everybody needs additional information about that.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move into closed session.
4 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] The witness --
5 [Private session]
11 Page 51378 redacted. Private session.
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
10 MR. STEWART: Thank you so much, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stewart.
12 MR. STEWART: Very briefly, we have taken advantage of those few
13 minutes to consider the position in the Petkovic Defence. Your Honour,
14 although we maintain our position of principle that there is no
15 entitlement to withdraw, in this particular case we don't oppose that
16 course, having had the opportunity to considered the matter.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There's no problem anymore.
18 Since there is no problem anymore, would you like to say
19 something, Mr. Karnavas?
20 MR. KARNAVAS: There is an entitlement, and they exercised it.
21 And, of course, on the other hand, none of the testimony that we heard,
22 or the documents that were introduced through the witnesses -- through
23 this witness, can be used, so there's no prejudice to anyone else.
24 Normally, you would ask that the record be stricken, although it's an
25 impossibility to strike a record, but I think that's the point that I
1 wanted to make. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Tomorrow -- I'd like to thank
3 you all for having taken the floor. Is tomorrow's witness available? If
4 that is the case, we could perhaps save some time.
5 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, because
6 I could not have envisaged this happening. I didn't know that
7 proceedings would take this course today. But, yes, he is ready to come
8 into court tomorrow. There's no problem about tomorrow. The next
9 witness is ready tomorrow.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. In that case, we'll wait
11 until tomorrow and resume our hearing at 9.00 tomorrow morning, since we
12 are sitting in the morning.
13 I would like to thank you all.
14 Mr. Coric.
15 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have an
16 objection to make, something I noticed over the past few days. For
17 example, specifically Ms. Alaburic is using terms which are not customary
18 in the Croatian Defence Council and Croatian Army. So, for example, she
19 refers to disciplinary rules instead of saying "stegovnik," and then she
20 uses another term for re-subordination and attachment which is unusual,
21 and I noticed some new terms being used today. If this practice
22 continues, of course, this language is B/C/S, as somebody has termed
23 it - I don't mind - but if this continues I'm going to ask for
24 interpreters for my own witnesses for certain terms, because I'd like
25 somebody to show me, in military terminology, or a piece of paper in any
1 language, where it says "spontano pretpocinjavanje" or "spontaneous
2 re-subordination." We have heard talk about disciplinary measures as
3 being "stegovni pravilnik," "stegovni sud," a disciplinary court,
4 et cetera, so these terms and other terms are some that my witnesses did
5 not understand.
6 So in future, if something like that happens, would you please
7 allow me to stand up and intervene, objection? I'm going to avail myself
8 of the right to get up on my feet and object. And this has happened in
9 dozens of cases. I have mentioned just the most important. But in
10 future, I shall be on my feet and complain and object to every term that
11 was used. And you know what the interpretation is like here anyway.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I deem it necessary
14 to respond. I don't wish to react to what one of the accused says, but I
15 assume that you can't understand the substance of the objections made by
16 Mr. Coric because you are hearing the same words in interpretation.
17 What Mr. Coric wants to say to me is this: that I don't use the
18 real Croatian language, the proper Croatian language, but that my
19 language is something that is closer to the B/C/S variant, and that for
20 that reason he and his witnesses will, in future, need an interpreter for
21 themselves to interpret what I am saying.
22 I could talk to you at great length about a pure Croatian variant
23 of the language, or Croatian language -- the Croatian language as
24 understood by some people, and about the Croatian language which contains
25 words originating from the Serbian language, from the Turkish language,
1 and which we consider to be the richness of both the Croatian language
2 and every other language of the former Yugoslavia, and I'll tell you why
3 I frequently use certain linguistic variations which are closer to the
4 Serbian language. I use them when I know that our interpreters are also
5 from the Serbian linguistic area and that it will be simpler for them if
6 I say -- I use the Latin term in saying "December," for the month of
7 December, instead of "Prosinac," which would be in the pure Croatian
8 language, because I want to avoid any difficulties to the interpreters in
10 In my own country, I use all the linguistic variants of the
11 Croatian language, and I shall continue to use them in this courtroom.
12 And if I consider that a certain expression taken from the Serbian
13 language or the Bosnian language is better suited to expressing what I
14 want to say, I shall use that language.
15 And if this is something that Mr. Coric and his witnesses don't
16 like, then I'll leave it up to the Trial Chamber to decide whether
17 separate interpreters are needed to interpret my multi-ethnic Croatian
18 language to be translated into the language spoken by Mr. Coric.
19 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] I have spoken up here for the
20 purpose of protecting my witnesses. I'm not here as an interpreter and
21 to be played up to -- by anyone in this courtroom.
22 Let me put Ms. Alaburic right. The term "cisti Hrvatski jezik,"
23 "pure Croatian language," does not exist, except perhaps in your
24 terminologies. There's the -- what does exist is the official language
25 of Croatia
1 officially by all officials in the state service, on state television,
2 and so on. But people are free to speak any way they like, but I asked
3 to be protected from her terms that my witnesses do not understand, some
4 of them.
5 Now, if you thought you would provoke me or my witnesses by using
6 those terms that you use, you're not going to. I lived in all three
7 republics of the former Yugoslavia
8 other in Macedonia
9 that I have been saying something that I have not.
10 The fact that what I'm saying and my speech is provoking such
11 emotional reaction on your part is not my fault. I just wanted to
12 protect my witnesses, because you are confusing the witnesses. Perhaps
13 you're provoking them intentionally in that way. But I know the people.
14 You can't provoke them. They're quite okay, these people.
15 Thank you, Your Honours, and I'm going to be persistent, I'm
16 going to rise to my feet, every time you use terms that I never read in
17 any literature, in any book, and that come from a language where I can
18 assume -- a language which I can assume that my witnesses don't
20 Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your counsel,
22 Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic.
23 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'd like to
24 say the following: I can't speak in the name and on behalf of Mr. Coric.
25 He got on his feet himself. But I can say something with respect to this
1 discussion from the Coric Defence.
2 And as I understood Mr. Coric's intention, it was not to insult
3 Ms. Alaburic or the way in which she speaks, or any of the -- neither do
4 any members of the Coric Defence consider that Ms. Alaburic and anybody
5 else in the courtroom speaks a language that they ought not to be
6 speaking. I'm sorry if she has understood it that way. I see that she
7 has taken it to heart, but I don't think she understood what Mr. Coric
9 As far as I understood him, he wanted to say this: His witnesses
10 were in the army or the military police at a time when certain names and
11 titles were used to refer to these things. Of course, there are synonyms
12 for these same things used in the former Yugoslavia and which are still
13 used to the present day. But he is afraid that if the witnesses are not
14 asked a question using the exact name and title of what was used and term
15 that was used when they were in service, they won't understand what is
16 meant. I think that that was his objection, and it wasn't his aim to
17 insult Ms. Alaburic. I'm very sorry that this is happening in this
18 courtroom, and I would like to apologise if in any way she thought that
19 we wanted to insult her in any way. I'm very sorry if that is the case,
20 and I apologise.
21 MR. KHAN: Sorry, I do apologise.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.
23 MR. KHAN: I apologise to my learned friend.
24 Your Honours, I thought we had the good fortune to finish a
25 little bit early today, and however interesting the etymological and
1 linguistic presentations have been, it may not be the most efficient use
2 of court time.
3 A couple of solutions come to mind. The first, of course, is
4 that it must be right that every counsel has the full discretion to use
5 the words that counsel deems appropriate. Any uncertainty or
6 clarification can be elicited from a witness in re-examination. And,
7 indeed, if Mr. Coric has concerns, there is a procedure in this
8 jurisdiction of proofing, and in proofing it's always open, prior to the
9 witness coming to the box, for the witness to be told that these terms
10 may be used, this is what these terms mean, and that may be a time-saving
12 Your Honours, I would simply urge that this is all to do about
13 nothing, we don't waste more time. If Mr. Coric still, despite these
14 other avenues that are available, has concerns, perhaps it could be made
15 in writing and it could be ruled upon in the normal manner.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Your Honours, I wish
17 to respond.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber is not going
19 to watch over this ping-pong game. This is a way of abusing the
20 Trial Chamber's time, so we will let you know what our point of view is
21 on this matter.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think we should
23 clarify, on a factual level, whether we're dealing with a personal attack
24 by Mr. Coric against me or is it a question of principle, a request of
1 In this courtroom, we have counsel who do not speak the Croatian
2 version of the Croatian language, and nobody ever raised this question
3 and asked whether the witness would understand the language they're
4 speaking, or witnesses who don't speak Croatian at all but are speaking
5 their own Bosniak language.
6 We also have a situation and situations in which my colleagues
7 from the Defence counsel and from the Prosecution, who are foreigners,
8 speak their own language and are translated into B/C/S, interpreted into
9 B/C/S, very often by interpreters who come from the Serbian area, so we
10 get interpretations into the Serbian language. Nobody ever raised this
11 issue. Nobody ever asked whether the witnesses understand this Serbian
12 language or not.
13 Thirdly, no witness, including Mr. Coric's witnesses, ever told
14 me that they don't understand a word that I have uttered in my questions.
15 Therefore, Mr. Coric has absolutely no factual basis for presenting the
16 allegations that he has presented.
17 What Mr. Coric said I consider to be a direct personal attack
18 against me. I consider that it is completely unfounded, and I would like
19 you to seek ways and means to ensure that the conduct of Mr. Coric should
20 be commensurate to the type of conduct that is suited to a courtroom of
21 this kind.
22 Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Coric, please sit down.
24 I'm going to say something.
25 As far as I'm concerned, no one is attacking anyone. It's just
1 that a Defence counsel of a particular accused would like the witnesses
2 to be able to speak in their own language, i.e., the Croatian language,
3 as Mr. Coric has said. It so happens that this is an ongoing topic
4 before this Tribunal. This is something we have addressed already. We
5 have already talked about the use of B/C/S.
6 The response provided by the administration, i.e., the Registrar
7 of this Tribunal, runs as follows: There are a series of interpreters
8 who are familiar with B/C/S. I had asked -- because I have been involved
9 in another case and I was confronted with the same problem, I thought
10 innocently that when there is a Serbian, it is better that the
11 interpreter is Serbian; when there is a Croatian witness, it's better
12 that the interpreter is Croatian; and when it's a Bosnian, it is better
13 that the interpreter speaks a language of Sarajevo. I was told that
14 things did not happen that way because the interpreters were supposed to
15 use all the linguistic variants. So it depends on the schedule, and that
16 is how the interpreters are allocated to various cases. This is what the
17 administration of this Tribunal responded.
18 I believe Mr. Khan is quite right when he says that a solution
19 can be found during the redirect. When Mr. Coric's Defence realises that
20 there is a problem, there is still time to come back and address the
21 wrong term that has been used.
22 Let me take the case of my own language, which is spoken in
24 and so on. Sometimes I don't understand a term. I don't understand what
25 a Canadian is saying when he comes from Quebec, because the terms he uses
1 are terms which I'm not familiar with. I assume the same thing happens
2 in your language. I understand perfectly. It's better when the word is
3 perfectly well understood by the witness and the witness is perhaps
4 speaking a language which is somewhat different from the language used by
5 the person putting the questions.
6 As Mr. Khan has said, and he is absolutely right, there is a way
7 of finding a solution to this; for instance, the issue of the proofing.
8 If, before the testimony, the counsel says to the witness, This is a
9 topic that is going to be addressed, these are the types of questions
10 that my be raised, these are the terms that will be used, do we agree on
11 the use of such and such a term, then a solution can be found. But
12 during redirect, if there are diverging views, this can be corrected at
13 that time.
14 It so happens that the Judges have the documents before them, and
15 they have translations which are worth what they are worth. But if a
16 Judge realises that there might be a problem, then the Judge will put the
17 question even if sometimes we are told we ask too many questions.
18 As far as the term of re-subordination is concerned, if I realise
19 that it is not very clear and what the witness is saying is not very
20 clear, then I will tell the witness, What does "re-subordination" mean to
21 you, and then he will answer the question. So we do have solutions at
23 If Mr. Coric wants to take the floor and say that he had rather
24 have a Croatian interpreter, I would tend to agree with him, but it so
25 happens that the administration of this Tribunal doesn't operate that
2 So we are all doing our best, and I would like to state that one
3 must not imagine that some teams are attacking other teams, because I'm
4 sure that everyone has one single objective, which is to establish the
6 We shall meet tomorrow at 9.00.
--- Whereupon the
hearing adjourned at 11.22 a.m.
8 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 25th day of
9 March, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.