Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 7125

     1                           Tuesday, 17 March 1998

          2            (2.30pm)

          3                (The accused entered court)

          4  (In closed session) [Confidentiality lifted by order of  Chamber] 

          5            JUDGE JORDA:   First, I want to say good

          6  afternoon to the interpreters and ask me whether they

          7  hear me?  They do.  We can continue.

          8            Mr Harmon, the floor is yours.  This is going

          9  to be a busy week.  We will try to organise a status

         10  conference.  You had some scheduling concerns.  We will

         11  try to do everything we can.  The Trial Chamber has

         12  other cases that it is hearing as well.  I have a

         13  status conference tomorrow in the Kordic case.  There

         14  are motions that were filed by the Defence, which

         15  should not be discussed here.  We have to review them.

         16  All of this means that we have to try to keep speeding

         17  up, as much as possible, the witnesses, but without

         18  prejudice to the rights of the Defence or to the

         19  Prosecution.

         20            Mr Harmon, I now give you the floor to

         21  continue the testimony of Mr Mesic.

         22            MR. HARMON:  Yes, if Mr Mesic could be brought

         23  in, Mr President, I will continue.

         24            JUDGE JORDA:   Can I have the witness brought

         25  in, please?

Page 7126

          1                (The witness entered court)

          2            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr Mesic, good afternoon.  Are

          3  you rested, are you feeling well?

          4       A.   Very well, thank you.

          5            JUDGE JORDA:   Thank you.  Mr Harmon.

          6                 STJEPAN MESIC (continued)

          7             Examined by MR. HARMON (continued).

          8       Q.   Good afternoon, Mr Mesic.  Let me first of

          9  all ask you, could you describe to the judges when you

         10  met Franjo Tudjman and could you describe your social

         11  and professional relationship with him?

         12       A.   I had the honour to meet Franjo Tudjman

         13  earlier -- that was in 1970 or before 1970, but this

         14  was at Matica Hrvatska and we did not really associate

         15  specifically at that time.  I came to know him better

         16  during the Croatian Spring, and even better

         17  subsequently, after we returned from the prison -- we

         18  would find ourselves in social circles which were --

         19  which happened because of certain birthdays or some

         20  other social occasions, because we could not call these

         21  meetings political meetings, but we found ways to

         22  meet.  We were all leaders of the Croatian Spring, then

         23  the generals who retired from the service in the former

         24  JNA due to Croatian nationalism and in such circles

         25  Franjo Tudjman would also be there very frequently.

Page 7127

          1            I do not know what else you may be

          2  interested, in that regard, in regard of our

          3  association.

          4       Q.   Mr Mesic, as part of the Government both of

          5  the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in

          6  Government in the Republic of Yugoslavia, did you have

          7  contacts with Franjo Tudjman, and can you describe

          8  those contacts, the frequency of contacts, the type,

          9  the nature of those contacts, please?

         10       A.   During these occasions when we met, we would

         11  discuss the topical events of that particular point in

         12  time.  We analysed the situation in the former

         13  Yugoslavia, in Croatia, we analysed what was going on

         14  in the world, and we would try to forecast what the

         15  situation was going to look like, where it was going to

         16  go and what we could do in that regard, and I need to

         17  say, with respect to Franjo Tudjman, he always took

         18  part in such discussions, but he was not easy to talk

         19  with, because he did not very well tolerant the

         20  differences in views.  He was not a pleasant collocateur

         21  -- he was very hard in his positions.

         22       Q.   Mr Mesic, during your contacts with President

         23  Tudjman, did he ever express his views in respect of

         24  Bosnia, and, if he did, could you tell the judges what

         25  his views were?

Page 7128

          1       A.   I think that one can read on that in his

          2  books, but, to put it succinctly, in these discussions

          3  and elsewhere, and when speaking in public, his

          4  position was that, after World War II, it was a big

          5  mistake to have created Bosnia as a republic.  He

          6  believed that Bosnia should not have been structured in

          7  such a way as a separate republic, but that, instead,

          8  it should have been dealt with like Kosovo and

          9  Vojvodina, which were annexed to Serbia.  He thought

         10  that the best course of action would have been for the

         11  Bosniaks, given their origin, because it is believed

         12  that they are for the most part Croats, so it would

         13  have been best that Bosnia should have been annexed to

         14  Croatia, but that some modality should have been found

         15  in that respect, so Bosnia should have been associated

         16  with Croatia.

         17       Q.   Were the views that he expressed to you about

         18  the annexing of Bosnia to Croatia, were those long held

         19  views, firmly held views?

         20       A.   I think that his initial positions were

         21  really a critique of the Communist leadership, which

         22  had allowed that Bosnia be created as a separate

         23  entity, that is, a constituent part of Yugoslavia, so

         24  at first, during our conversation, it did not come out

         25  that this position should have been changed.  Even

Page 7129

          1  after Croatia became independent, this idea was not

          2  really tabled about the restructuring of Bosnia and

          3  Herzegovina.  You could only glean that from certain

          4  statements regarding the very strange shape of

          5  Croatia.  It was considered that this shape of Croatia,

          6  which looks like a crescent -- it was considered that

          7  certain parts are missing, but there were no serious

          8  discussions in which way the position of Bosnia should

          9  be changed.  But, as time went by, and if Yugoslavia

         10  was going to disappear and it was a multi-national

         11  State, how Bosnia was going to survive as a

         12  multi-national State.  It was believed that it would be

         13  very difficult to keep it alive and these were

         14  positions that were then expressed publicly, but also

         15  it was something that was discussed in inner circles as

         16  well.

         17       Q.   In those discussions, both publicly and in

         18  inner circles, did he express a view that parts of

         19  Bosnia, historically, belonged to Croatia?

         20       A.   I believed that Tudjman's position was that

         21  the best position for Croatia and for the entire area

         22  was the solution from 1938, which was Banovina Croatia

         23  and the borders of the Banovina were defined then.

         24  However, this Banovina never really fully came alive,

         25  because of the World War II -- the process was

Page 7130

          1  interrupted and now, obviously, part of this Banovina

          2  was now within the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

          3            JUDGE JORDA:   Excuse me.  This was 1938 --

          4  you mean 1938, right?

          5       A.   Yes, it was at that time that the Banovina

          6  was created in 1938, but then World War II came and

          7  Banovina never fully came alive.  Then, after World War

          8  II, Yugoslavia was recreated, but now not as a unitary

          9  State but as a Federal State, which comprised Serbia,

         10  Croatia and then Macedonia, Slovenia and Montenegro as

         11  well and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         12            MR. HARMON:  His views were the territory that

         13  was comprised in the Banovina should be annexed to or

         14  absorbed into Croatia; is that correct?

         15       A.   Yes, his position was that this would have

         16  been logical, because there would have been fewer

         17  conflicts this way.

         18       Q.   Now, did he ever express to you, either in

         19  your discourse socially or in your business

         20  communications, his views about Muslims in Bosnia, and

         21  could you explain what those views were?

         22       A.   I believe that his positions are fairly well

         23  known, that is, with respect to the Bosniak Muslims.

         24  He thought that they were Croats by origin, that they

         25  converted to Islam during the Turkish occupation.

Page 7131

          1  However, as the situation developed, after the

          2  independence of Croatia, I believe that there were some

          3  unclear points.  If they were Croats by origin, I think

          4  that we should have cooperated more closely with them,

          5  because we were both the victims of the same

          6  aggression.  However, later, the conflict broke out

          7  between the Croats and Muslims, which was damaging to

          8  these victims of the aggression.

          9       Q.   Did he ever express his views about Alija

         10  Izetbegovic?

         11       A.   I am personally familiar with Alija

         12  Izetbegovic because we both formed the Defence counsel

         13  in the former system.  I must say Alija Izetbegovic is

         14  a wise man, but he is not a person who is skilled in

         15  politics -- he is not a dominating person.  He entered

         16  politics -- he was catapulted into the politics.

         17  I think that he did not have such clear ideas at first

         18  and I think Franjo Tudjman was aware of this, so that

         19  he could approach Alija Izetbegovic with more, how

         20  shall I put it -- you know, he is a general, after all,

         21  but he treated him in a way that is not really

         22  appropriate -- he treated him as if he did not know

         23  enough about politics, so he was a bit condescending to

         24  him.

         25       Q.   And so General Tudjman essentially was -- let

Page 7132

          1  me ask you a different question.  Mr Mesic, President

          2  Tudjman was in fact a former general in the JNA; is

          3  that correct?

          4       A.   Yes.

          5       Q.   And what you are saying is that that tempered

          6  his views towards Mr Izetbegovic?

          7       A.   I do not think that he had kind of moderate

          8  views to Izetbegovic.  I think that he may have

          9  underestimated Alija Izetbegovic, because he did not

         10  really appear to him as a politician.  At first, maybe

         11  he did not, but he was a smart man.  He found himself

         12  in this situation.  He was elected to President of the

         13  Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina at a time when -- at

         14  the height of the aggression against

         15  Bosnia-Herzegovina.  He had no defence mechanisms at

         16  his disposal, so that he may have made moves that were

         17  incomprehensible to Tudjman, but on the other hand the

         18  situation of Alija Izetbegovic was very difficult.  To

         19  me, it was really a situation that offered no good

         20  solution.

         21       Q.   Mr Mesic, can you describe a meeting that

         22  took place between President Tudjman and President

         23  Milosevic -- that took place in 1991 at Karadordevo .

         24  Can you tell the judges what you know about that

         25  meeting and what the ramifications of that meeting were

Page 7133

          1  in respect of Croatian policy toward Bosnia?

          2       A.   I think that this meeting at Karadordevo was

          3  sort of a turning point -- when the policy was changed

          4  -- the policy, when it was first believed that there

          5  was no Bosnia without Croatia and vice versa, and after

          6  this meeting, what was taken into account was the

          7  initial successes of Serbia.  I must say that this was

          8  at first tolerated by the European entities and I think

          9  that the observers may have perceived that Bosnia was

         10  finished and that it was doomed and I think that it was

         11  from this situation that Tudjman was drawing his

         12  conclusions.

         13            As far as the meeting at Karadordevo itself

         14  is concerned, at that time I was a member of the

         15  Presidency of Yugoslavia and, in discussions with Bora

         16  Jovic, who was the Serb representative in the

         17  Presidency in Yugoslavia, I said, "We in Croatia have

         18  information that the Serb villages," that is, the

         19  villages mostly populated by the Serbs "are being

         20  armed; that they are being armed by the JNA" -- which

         21  was becoming more and more Serb, because we must

         22  bear in mind that Yugoslavia functioned and it had

         23  three integrating factors.  One was Tito and his

         24  charisma; one was JNA; and one was the Communist League

         25  -- the Communist Party that is.  While these three

Page 7134

          1  elements were around, Yugoslavia could functions fairly

          2  successfully.  Once Tito disappeared from the scene,

          3  and after Milosevic destroyed the Communist Party,

          4  which was Yugoslav but mostly dominated by the Serbs,

          5  he then took control of the JNA so that the JNA became

          6  dominated by Milosevic and put itself in his service.

          7            This is why out of their depots the Serb

          8  population was being armed.  I told Bora Jovic, the

          9  Serb President in the Presidency, that we have this

         10  information, that it was a suicidal policy on the part

         11  of Serbs in Croatia as well as the Serbs overall and

         12  that, in any ensuing conflict, they will lose the most,

         13  because 10 per cent of the Serb population cannot

         14  resist the 90 per cent, because then the Croats would

         15  arm themselves and a catastrophe would ensue and the

         16  most damage will befall the Serbs.  I asked them what

         17  did they want.  He said that they were not interested

         18  in the Serbs in Croatia, that they were our citizens,

         19  that we could do whatever we wanted with them and that

         20  they were also not interested in the Croatian

         21  territories, that is the territories of the Croatian

         22  State.  I said, "Well, what are you interested in?"  He

         23  said then that they were interested in Serbia in

         24  66 per cent of Bosnia.  He said this used to be Serbia

         25  and this will remain Serb.

Page 7135

          1            Since they were not interested in Croatia,

          2  that is the Croatian territory, or the Serbs in

          3  Croatia, then I said, "Why do we not sit down?  Why do

          4  we not try to avoid a war?  People are being armed and

          5  everything and everything could blow up.  There is no

          6  need to shed blood if we can sit down and resolve

          7  things at the table."  He said that he agreed, but he

          8  needed to talk to Slobodan Milosevic.  I said

          9  that I would talk to Tudjman and I said, "Why do not

         10  the four of us sit down at the table and see what the

         11  problems of the Serbs in Croatia were so that we could

         12  resolve things without any armed conflict, because we

         13  have an opportunity to do so".

         14            I knew that there was such an opportunity,

         15  because, as a Prime Minister in 1990, I attempted to

         16  establish contacts with the representatives of the

         17  municipalities where the population was Serb -- the

         18  majority of the population was Serb, and at that time

         19  all these representatives wanted to discuss, with the

         20  exception of Milan Babic, who was the president of the

         21  municipality in Knin.  He was directly in contact with

         22  Belgrade and he personally forbid this contact.  But

         23  I could see that people did want peaceful resolution of

         24  the problem, and I also said that the Bosnian problem

         25  should be resolved on an international level, that it

Page 7136

          1  should be internationalised, that it should be resolved

          2  through the UN, but that we should do everything to

          3  avoid a war.

          4            Since Slobodan Milosevic agreed to the

          5  meeting and he said that we could meet anywhere,

          6  State-side or abroad, then I went to Zagreb and

          7  I talked to Franjo Tudjman and told him that these two

          8  men were agreeable and was he agreeable that we should

          9  all sit down and he said that he was.  Then I expected

         10  this call to see when we could organise this meeting.

         11            However, Tudjman, at one point, told us that

         12  he was going to go to Karadordevo alone -- this was on

         13  30 March of 1991 -- that he wanted to see what they

         14  wanted.  I objected to Karadordevo, because Tito held

         15  the 21st session there of the Communist Party and this

         16  is when the Croatian Spring was broken, so I said, "We

         17  should not go to this place because we have bad

         18  memories relating to it".  He said it did not matter

         19  where we meet; it is more important to find out what

         20  they wanted.  Tudjman came back from Karadordevo that

         21  same day and he told us that the army was not going to

         22  attack us, that he had guarantees of Veljoko Kadijevic,

         23  who was the Chief-of-Staff, and of Milosevic, and that

         24  it would be difficult for Bosnia to survive, that we

         25  could get borders of the Banovina.

Page 7137

          1            Tudjman also said that Milosevic, sort of in

          2  a gesture of largesse -- that Croatia could take

          3  Cazin, Kladusa and Bihac, because this was the

          4  so-called Turkish Croatia and the Serbs did not need

          5  it.  I thought Milosevic was really dolling out foreign

          6  territories and I said this would end up in

          7  catastrophe.  I objected and this is why I was later

          8  given a lot of grief for that, but then I also said

          9  that there would be a short war in Slovenia, a longer

         10  one in Croatia and that Bosnia would be awash in blood

         11  and, unfortunately, I seem to have been right on all

         12  these counts.

         13       Q.   Mr Mesic, from that day forward, did Croatian

         14  policy vis-ą-vis Bosnia change?  Was there in fact a

         15  dual policy then from Croatia towards Bosnia?

         16       A.   The Croatian public policy always proceeded

         17  from the position that Bosnia was a State, that it was

         18  unified, and that Croatia was the first to have

         19  recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina.  However, in objective

         20  terms, taking into account everything that happened

         21  subsequently, when Milosevic created a Serb republic

         22  within the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croats

         23  formed the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, which

         24  later became the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, it became

         25  clear that this did not consolidate Bosnia-Herzegovina,

Page 7138

          1  but, on the contrary, it undermined it, especially

          2  since, after a certain period of time, Fikret Abdic

          3  appeared on the scene and proclaimed the autonomy of

          4  western Bosnia -- the area of Cazin, Kladusa and

          5  Bihac.

          6            Therefore, on the one hand, we had a public

          7  expression of determination to support a unified Bosnia

          8  on the part of Croatia, whereas, in fact, we were

          9  following in Milosevic's footsteps, because of what

         10  Milosevic had done, and this was fatal precisely for

         11  the Croats, because, due to it, 850,000 Croats -- the

         12  majority of 850,000 Croats have moved from

         13  Bosnia-Herzegovina so that there are only about 350,000

         14  left in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         15       Q.   So, after President Tudjman returned from the

         16  meeting at Karadordevo with President Milosevic, he

         17  informed you that Bosnia would be partitioned --

         18  partitioned between Croatia and partitioned between

         19  Serbia; is that correct?

         20       A.   Roughly, from what he said, one could deduce

         21  that Bosnia could not survive, that we would be given

         22  the borders of the former Banovina plus Kladusa and

         23  Bihac -- Cazin and Bihac.  That was the conclusion that

         24  could be drawn from what he said.  Of course, nothing

         25  was said to the effect that there was a written

Page 7139

          1  document about it, or a written contract.  That was not

          2  mentioned.

          3       Q.   Mr Mesic, could you tell the judges about any

          4  mapping commissions that were then set up between the

          5  Serbs and the Croats to agree on the boundary lines of

          6  a divided Bosnia?

          7       A.   I think that, at the time, there was no

          8  debate about the Croat and Serb territories in

          9  Bosnia-Herzegovina, but there is no doubt that

         10  something started to happen which was not revealed to

         11  the public, namely, we were at war with Serbia, and, to

         12  me, it seemed abnormal for Serb and Croatian

         13  delegations to visit one another and especially during

         14  those visits a debate to be conducted on the territory

         15  of a third State, i.e., of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Reports

         16  reached me that there were people assigned to dealing

         17  with this problem of maps, geographical maps, to

         18  delineate the areas of Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks.

         19            On the Croatian side, several people

         20  participated, but, after a couple of months, they would

         21  give up the job, dissatisfied.  Among them were

         22  Professor Lerotic, Dusan Bilandzic and others, who

         23  would abandon these talks, because they said, "This

         24  simply cannot be done," because Bosnia-Herzegovina is

         25  like a leopard skin -- the people are scattered

Page 7140

          1  throughout the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so that

          2  there is not a single locality that is ethnically pure,

          3  except for parts of Herzegovina, which could be said as

          4  being more or less purely Croatian -- even compared

          5  with areas in Croatia, there are few that are so

          6  ethnically pure as western Herzegovina is.

          7       Q.   Mr Mesic, could you describe a meeting that

          8  took place in Graz between Mate Boban and Radovan

          9  Karadzic, that meeting that took place on 6 May 1992 --

         10  can you tell the judges about that meeting, and what

         11  Mr Boban told you following that particular meeting?

         12       A.    At the time I was president of the executive

         13  board of the HDZ, and I was not informed about that

         14  meeting -- at least, I was not informed about it

         15  beforehand, and I learned about it having taken place

         16  quite by chance.  For me, it was an absolute surprise,

         17  because there was a conflict between the Croats in

         18  Bosnia, and Karadzic -- because he was an exponent of

         19  Milosevic, we were at conflict with Serb policy and

         20  then suddenly such a meeting was held in Graz.

         21  Therefore, some time later I learned about that meeting

         22  and I asked Mate Boban what he could tell me about that

         23  meeting.  He said, "Not much -- not much was signed at

         24  the meeting, but at least we now know that the Croats

         25  and Serbs have cleared up all dilemmas and no disputed

Page 7141

          1  issues remain.  There is absolutely no further reason

          2  for conflict between the Serbs and Croats in

          3  Bosnia-Herzegovina."

          4            After some time -- again I happened to be at

          5  President Tudjman's -- he asked me to stay for lunch.

          6  At that luncheon, in addition to representatives of

          7  Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nikola Koljevic

          8  appeared, too, who was at the time Vice-President of

          9  the Serb Republic, and it so happened that he sat next

         10  to me.  We did not talk about Bosnia.  He is a scholar

         11  of Shakespeare, so we talked about Shakespeare; people

         12  were shedding their blood in Bosnia-Herzegovina and he

         13  spoke to me about Shakespeare.

         14       Q.   Mr Mesic, did you become aware after the

         15  Karadordevo meeting and after the meeting in Graz that

         16  cooperation between the Serbs and Croats in Bosnia was

         17  in fact occurring?  For example, did you learn about

         18  the blockage of weapon supply to the siege of Sarajevo

         19  by Bosnian Croats and did you learn about events

         20  relating to Fikret Abdic's obtaining gasoline supplies

         21  and supplying that to the Serbs and any other events

         22  that would illustrate the increased cooperation between

         23  the Serbs and the Croats in Bosnia?  Could you describe

         24  to those to the court, please?

         25       A.   As soon as the conflicts started between the

Page 7142

          1  Muslims or the Bosniaks on the one side and the Croats

          2  on the other, the assistance to the Bosnian army was

          3  intercepted, because all that aid could only come from

          4  Croatia.  I must say that, at first, this cooperation

          5  was good, but it worsened with time.  I know a concrete

          6  case, when -- he was not the imam of Zagreb, but I do

          7  not exactly know his title -- anyway, Sefko Omerbasic

          8  came to see me with a group of Muslims and said they

          9  had collected weapons and sent it, escorted by the

         10  Croatian army to Sarajevo, but that those weapons did

         11  not reach Sarajevo but were detained in Busovaca and

         12  that it was still in Busovaca, even the soldiers were

         13  still there, and this had been done by Dario Kordic.

         14            I called up Mate Boban and asked him to

         15  intervene, to let this shipment pass, because

         16  I realised that if Sarajevo is not defended, Bosnia

         17  would fall, and then the survival of Croatia would be

         18  in jeopardy.

         19            Mate Boban told me that he could not exert

         20  any influence over Dario Kordic, if he refused to do

         21  that, and then I joked and said, "What should be done?"

         22  He said, "Kill him".  Following this joke, Tudjman

         23  called me after a short time and asked me, "Did you

         24  give instructions for Kordic to be killed?"  I said,

         25  "no, I was joking, but some pressure had to be brought

Page 7143

          1  to bear on them.  Both of them are in the HDZ.  This

          2  one is his superior so the problem has to be resolved".

          3  How it was eventually resolved in concrete terms, I do

          4  not know.

          5            As for the gas or the petrol, I think that

          6  Fikret Abdic had a double-track policy.  One was his

          7  communication with Croatia through which he could only

          8  receive the goods that he purchased abroad, including

          9  oil.  What he did after that with the oil -- surely he

         10  could not have consumed all that he purchased himself,

         11  but at the same time he was cooperating with Belgrade

         12  and he appeared at the same time in both Zagreb and in

         13  Belgrade, and, finally, he established cooperation with

         14  Karadzic and, together with his forces, he attacked

         15  Bihac, when the very survival of Bihac was at risk,

         16  which meant the survival of parts of Bosnia. And

         17  I think that Croatia played a positive role in that

         18  particular instance, and this part of Bosnia was saved.

         19       Q.   Mr Mesic, can you inform the judges what

         20  President Tudjman's view and what Slobodan Milosevic's

         21  view was in respect of shifting populations and what

         22  impact that would have on the division of Bosnia?

         23       A.   Since I was Belgrade and had occasion to meet

         24  with Slobodan Milosevic quite a number of times,

         25  I think I can say, with objectivity,

Page 7144

          1  that I comprehended his policy.  I realised what it was

          2  he wanted.  Actually, when he was withholding the

          3  autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina, he proceeded from the

          4  position that Serbia must be unified, that it must not

          5  consist of three parts, and, in doing so, he was also

          6  undermining Yugoslavia, because, as I said yesterday,

          7  he was not interested in any kind of Yugoslavia,

          8  federal or confederal.

          9            This can be corroborated by the fact that we,

         10  in Croatia and Slovenia, had proposed a confederal

         11  model for a limited time of 3 to 5 years to see how it

         12  would work and if it worked, we could go on together.

         13  If not, we would part ways, but things would be decided

         14  similarly to the Czechs and the Slovaks.  Milosevic

         15  obviously wanted something else.  We see now the

         16  results of his policy.  He wanted a greater Serbia, he

         17  wanted to extend the borders, and to take advantage of

         18  the collapse of Yugoslavia, to extend the borders of

         19  Serbia.  However, his model included a policy of

         20  genocide, because he not only wanted a greater Serbia,

         21  but he wanted a purely Serb Serbia, and that is why his

         22  squadrons of death destroyed and killed everything they

         23  came across.  They destroyed Catholic churches, Muslim

         24  mosques -- they simply wanted to erase all traces of

         25  other ethnic groups having lived in the areas through

Page 7145

          1  which his armies passed.

          2            The world was rather tolerant towards this

          3  policy of Milosevic's, and I assume that Tudjman drew

          4  the conclusion from this that the world wanted a

          5  division of Bosnia-Herzegovina and he obviously played

          6  the card of expanding his own borders, because he

          7  stated on a number of occasions that what we were

          8  holding by force of arms, when the war ended, sooner or

          9  later, it would belong to us.

         10            He was not very explicit.  He did not say

         11  that this would be Croatia.  He said it would be

         12  "ours".  This could be interpreted as being Croatia,

         13  or Croatian territory over which the Croats would have

         14  certain privileges or priority.  So, I think this is up

         15  to us to make our own conclusions, because he was not

         16  quite explicit.

         17            We can see what was really wanted from Hrvoje

         18  Sarinic, who was chief of cabinet of President Tudjman,

         19  who said in public that he went to meet with Milosevic

         20  13 times, that he travelled to Belgrade while we were

         21  waging war -- a fierce war against the Serbs and he

         22  said that Serbia must emerge from the war as the small

         23  greater Serbia; in other words, the maximum ambitions

         24  of Serbia would not come true, but that what one could

         25  expect and what would be normal is for Serbia to make

Page 7146

          1  some territorial gains after this war.

          2            Therefore, if it was acceptable that, at the

          3  expense of a third party, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia

          4  should emerge enlarged in terms of territory, how then

          5  could it be assumed that a little of that territory

          6  would not belong to Croatia as well?

          7       Q.   Did Franjo Tudjman also believe that, by

          8  shifting populations from the areas that had been

          9  allotted to it following the Karadordevo meeting, that

         10  that would benefit Croatia by dividing Bosnia?

         11       A.   Since, as I have said, Bosnia and Herzegovina

         12  is rather like a leopard skin in terms of population,

         13  with the exception of a few enclaves, it was difficult

         14  to establish ethnically pure territories and probably

         15  that was why Milosevic's genocidal policy was to

         16  cleanse areas, and people fled as soon as villages were

         17  torched and towns and people killed -- after all,

         18  hundreds of thousands of people were killed, so,

         19  clearly, this provoked fear, even among the people who

         20  had still not been swept up by the war.

         21            I remember an expression that was widely in

         22  use after the Vance-Owen Plan, which established the

         23  boundaries of the cantons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a

         24  term that became current was "humane resettlement".  It

         25  is not a good idea for people to suffer and to tolerate

Page 7147

          1  this destruction -- it would be better for the people

          2  to be allowed to move towards their ethnic centres --

          3  on the one hand there was Sarajevo, on the second

          4  Mostar, the third Banja Luka, but from today's optics,

          5  there is no such thing as humane resettlement.  It is

          6  only a milder term for genocide, in fact.

          7       Q.   Did you hear those discussions about the

          8  humanitarian resettlement of population personally and

          9  did you hear those -- that expression used by President

         10  Tudjman in discussions with Dario Kordic, in

         11  discussions with Mate Boban, Anto Valenta, Ignac

         12  Kostroman and others from Herceg-Bosna?

         13       A.   Yes, because when talking to these gentlemen

         14  that you mentioned and when Tudjman used the

         15  term "humane resettlement", in explaining it, he said

         16  that this was to avoid suffering, to put an end to the

         17  killing, to put an end to the destruction, so that

         18  people should be given a chance to deal with the

         19  problem themselves, to swap houses among themselves

         20  and, actually, to end the war.  But, ultimately, this

         21  led to division.

         22       Q.   Mr Mesic, I would like to turn your attention

         23  now to the creation of Herceg-Bosna, which was

         24  proclaimed on 18 November 1991.  Did you have occasion

         25  to see excerpts from the Narodni lists and other

Page 7148

          1  decisions from Herceg-Bosna, which vested the HVO with

          2  the executive power in the municipalities in which they

          3  were located?

          4       A.   Yes.  I somehow gained possession of these

          5  decisions that you are referring to.  Those decisions

          6  were worded in such a way as to indicate the abolition

          7  of the legally elected authorities at the previous

          8  elections in the towns and municipalities and, instead,

          9  deputies were appointed by the HVO.  I asked Mate

         10  Boban, who was the most senior among the Croats in

         11  Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time, I said that this was

         12  not legitimate, that it was not lawful, that the HVO

         13  could not abolish legally elected bodies, but the

         14  legally elected bodies could potentially set up some

         15  sort of institutions which might assist in the defence

         16  of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

         17            Of course, those decisions never made any

         18  mention of Bosnia-Herzegovina but rather of Croatian

         19  lands, and I asked them what had prompted them to pass

         20  such decisions which are rather like a putsch, like a

         21  coup, they were not legal or legitimate.  He said,

         22  "Look here, these were done by the most qualified

         23  lawyers, Vice Vukojevic from Zagreb, Smiljko Sokol, a

         24  university professor, and as regards the wording and

         25  the legal grounds, everything is absolutely above

Page 7149

          1  board, and do not worry, we will not make a mistake".

          2            As I was not satisfied with this answer,

          3  I asked President Tudjman whether he had seen these

          4  decisions that were being passed by these people in

          5  Herzegovina and he said that he had been informed about

          6  them.  I repeated to him what the problem was.  I was

          7  saying that, "Illegal organs were substituting for

          8  legal organs".  He said that he agreed with me.  After

          9  that, I tried to learn whether any changes took place,

         10  since he said he agreed with me, but no changes were

         11  made.

         12            True, due to certain operations taken by Vice

         13  Vukojevic, who was a member of Parliament, in my

         14  Parliament, I insisted several times with him that his

         15  status be cleared up, because he was one of the

         16  mediators in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then Tudjman said,

         17  "Leave it -- as far as Bosnia is concerned, all the

         18  civilian affairs are under the control of Vice

         19  Vukojevic and the military affairs by Gojko Susak the

         20  Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia."

         21       Q.   As a result of those decisions that you saw,

         22  Mr Mesic, what happened to the borders between Bosnia

         23  and Croatia -- did they exist or did they cease to

         24  exist, in your view?

         25       A.   I do not know whether even now that border is

Page 7150

          1  fully established.  For a time, it did not exist at all

          2  -- it was an open border, and of course economically

          3  this was harmful for us, but the areas which were under

          4  the control of the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council,

          5  our currency was in use, as an established currency,

          6  and the whole legal system was a replica of the

          7  Croatian legal system, so that one could not cross the

          8  border without any formalities at all.  That border did

          9  not exist and, as far as I hear now, it is being

         10  established, but I am not familiar with the real state

         11  of affairs today.

         12       Q.   Mr Mesic, when you talked to Mr Boban about

         13  the putsch, as you described it, did Mr Tudjman agree

         14  with the decision to place HVO officials in authority

         15  over elected officials in Bosnia?

         16       A.   I must say that President Tudjman agreed with

         17  my opinion.  He said that I was right, but he also said

         18  that I should not interfere with Bosnian affairs any

         19  longer, but that other people would be in charge of

         20  that.

         21       Q.   Would it be fair to say, in your opinion,

         22  Mr Mesic, that the leaders of Herceg-Bosna took their

         23  political direction from the leadership in Croatia?

         24       A.   I think, and I can assert with certainty,

         25  that the Croatian Democratic Union of

Page 7151

          1  Bosnia-Herzegovina was under the total leader of the

          2  HVO leadership in Zagreb, because any decision that

          3  needed to be made within the framework of the HDZ of

          4  Bosnia-Herzegovina had first to be established in

          5  Zagreb and any observer of the Croatian TV programme at

          6  the time could see that HDZ representatives would come

          7  to Zagreb every couple of days to talk with the

          8  President of the HDZ of Croatia.

          9            Afterwards, when the Republic of Herceg-Bosna

         10  was formed, representatives of the Croatian Republic

         11  would come, but they were the same people, and now, now

         12  that the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna no longer

         13  exists formally, representatives of the Croatian people

         14  come to Zagreb for instructions.

         15            I can concede that, during those discussions,

         16  it is possible to have a conflict of opinion, but since

         17  I do not participate in them, and I am familiar what

         18  the situation was before, it is my view that all they

         19  do is come to collect instructions.

         20       Q.   Mr Mesic, let me ask you to go back to the

         21  time when Herceg-Bosna existed initially in Bosnia.

         22  You have testified that you saw certain leaders from

         23  that entity, Mate Boban, Dario Kordic, Valenta,

         24  Kostroman and others come to Zagreb --

         25       A.   Kostroman, yes.

Page 7152

          1       Q.   -- come to Croatia and meet with President

          2  Tudjman.  Where did they meet with him?

          3       A.   All of those who came to see President

          4  Tudjman go to the presidential palace.  It is always

          5  like that.

          6       Q.   And would the meetings that occurred between

          7  President Tudjman and the people I have just mentioned,

          8  Boban, Kordic, Valenta, Kostroman and others be

          9  recorded in appointment books kept in the presidential

         10  palace?

         11       A.   I can describe how these meetings are held.

         12  First of all, each meeting is recorded, every meeting

         13  is recorded -- is registered with the secretariat and

         14  then everything is recorded on the tape and President

         15  Tudjman also makes his own notes about the contents of

         16  some major meetings.

         17            We were always warned that other meetings

         18  were being taped and that everybody who was speaking

         19  should introduce themselves so that the person who is

         20  taking down minutes later would be able to identify

         21  each of the speakers.

         22       Q.   Now, is it during one or more meetings that

         23  you heard President Tudjman say, "What we hold with

         24  weapons will be ours"?

         25       A.   Yes, I said this to several of those

Page 7153

          1  meetings.  Of course, the discussion was also about

          2  where the Croatian forces were, what areas they were

          3  in.  However, whether the President meant that this was

          4  going to be Croatia or this was going to be Croatian

          5  lands in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was no analysis of

          6  that.  It was just said, "This was going to be ours",

          7  but what he actually meant by those words, I really do

          8  not know.

          9       Q.   Did you hear President Tudjman utter those

         10  words to the leaders of Herceg-Bosna in the context of

         11  discussions with the Vance-Owen peace plan?

         12       A.   It was precisely around this time that these

         13  discussions took place, because the proposition of the

         14  Croatian side was to implement this agreement --

         15  actually, this plan -- the Vance-Owen Plan -- as soon

         16  as possible, because it suited the Croats.  However, it

         17  was still not signed by the Serbs, and later --

         18  actually it was signed eventually, but it was never

         19  ratified by the Croatian assembly, so that the plan

         20  fell through.

         21            However, the Croatian side in

         22  Bosnia-Herzegovina enthusiastically supported the

         23  implementation of this plan.

         24       Q.   Let me ask you your opinion, Mr Mesic: In

         25  your opinion, would it be fair to say that the leaders

Page 7154

          1  from Herceg-Bosna, that is, Mate Boban, Dario Kordic,

          2  Valenta, Kostroman, and the military leaders of that

          3  entity Herceg-Bosna became instruments of implementing

          4  the policies of President Tudjman in Bosnia,

          5  particularly the policy to divide Bosnia?

          6            MR. HAYMAN:   Compound, your Honour, and

          7  vague.  If more clear, express terms could be used.  We

          8  have been hearing about political leaders and now

          9  counsel wants to lump presumably every military leader

         10  in Herceg-Bosna into one group.  I would ask that the

         11  question be clear and be broken down so we can have a

         12  fuller response by the witness.

         13            JUDGE JORDA:   Yes, objection sustained.  It

         14  was a very broad question.  We see what you are trying

         15  to get, but try to do this in a different way.

         16            MR. HARMON:  Let me ask you this question,

         17  Mr Mesic:  in your opinion, is it fair to say that the

         18  political leaders who I have identified, that is,

         19  Boban, Kordic, Valenta, Kostroman and others, became,

         20  in your opinion, instruments of implementing the policy

         21  of President Tudjman to divide Bosnia?

         22       A.   In fact, in the final analysis, it was really

         23  on the Bosnia policy that I parted ways with President

         24  Tudjman.  I had other objections, too.  It was about

         25  centralisation of power at all levels, the

Page 7155

          1  centralisation of finances, the transformation of the

          2  so-called social property -- all these were issues

          3  which I parted ways with Tudjman's policies, but

          4  I think that Bosnia was really the dot over the "i", if

          5  you will, because I believe that Bosnia could not be

          6  divided, and it was this insistence on the division on

          7  the ethnic purity of Bosnia, the insistence on

          8  resettlement of the Muslim population from all towns --

          9  from many towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- I thought that

         10  was a mistaken policy and I believe that those who

         11  implemented such a policy were really the instruments

         12  of a misguided Croatian policy in that regard.

         13            MR. HARMON:  And did you believe that Kordic

         14  and Boban and Valenta and Kostroman were the

         15  instruments by which that policy of dividing Bosnia was

         16  implemented?

         17            JUDGE JORDA:   Is this a different question?

         18  It is a different question?

         19       A.   Yes, in a certain way, I had good relations

         20  with Mate Boban -- not with the others.  I only met

         21  them during the official meetings, and he told me --

         22  every time I met him I gave him my objections about

         23  this policy towards the Muslims, because I believed

         24  that we had a single aggressor in Bosnia-Herzegovina

         25  and that we will receive international support if the

Page 7156

          1  international community understands that there is a

          2  single aggressor, that that is Serbia, that this was

          3  not a civil war, and later the growing tensions and

          4  later the conflict with the Muslims really played into

          5  the hands of the Serb politics, or the Milosevic

          6  politics.  I then asked him what was his politics.

          7  Then he said he had none himself, that he was really

          8  implementing the policies of Zagreb and that he only

          9  trusted Franjo Tudjman.

         10            MR. HARMON:  Mate Boban was

         11  the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces in

         12  Herceg-Bosna; is that not correct?

         13       A.   Yes, that is correct -- this was so in legal

         14  terms -- this was the case in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         15       Q.   And the policies of Mate Boban were

         16  implemented in Herceg-Bosna by military force; is that

         17  correct?

         18            MR. HAYMAN:   Could we have a foundation -- a

         19  foundation for the answer?  How does he know?  Was he

         20  there, was he briefed?  Could we just have a foundation

         21  for this, and some specificivity as to Central Bosnia

         22  as opposed to just referring to Bosnia-Herzegovina --

         23  where?

         24            JUDGE JORDA:   We are not going to ask

         25  questions about every question asked, but I would like

Page 7157

          1  Mr Harmon to be specific in this question.  Ask your

          2  question differently, Mr Harmon.

          3            MR. HARMON:  Were the policies of Mate Boban

          4  implemented through the use of military force?

          5       A.   Since Mate Boban was the President of the

          6  Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, he had the supreme

          7  political authority.  He represented Bosnia-Herzegovina

          8  and obviously he was responsible for all the bodies of

          9  authority that were established in Herceg-Bosna,

         10  including the military ones.

         11       Q.   Did you ever hear of a single military leader

         12  in the HVO disagreeing with the principles and the

         13  policies of Mate Boban?

         14       A.   I did not meet these people, or, if I did,

         15  this would be in some joint meetings and I never talked

         16  to them, except with those who were in the Croatian

         17  army and who were going to Herceg-Bosna, that is to

         18  Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I talked quite a bit with Slobodan

         19  Praljak and we could not come to agreement over this

         20  major issue, because he believed that no communal life

         21  could be preserved with the Muslims and that these two

         22  ethnic groups should go each their own ways and

         23  I talked to some others, who went to Bosnia -- to

         24  Herceg-Bosna, but these were just casual meetings, sort

         25  of in passing.  I had no official contacts with these

Page 7158

          1  persons.

          2       Q.   Let me turn your attention, Mr Mesic, to the

          3  situation of dual citizenship and the situation of

          4  people who were citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina

          5  being able to be members of the Croatian Parliament, or

          6  the SABOR.  Could you explain to the judges the laws

          7  I referred to, when they were promulgated and what

          8  their effect was on the sovereignty of Bosnia and

          9  Herzegovina?

         10       A.   At any rate, I was part of the opposition

         11  politicians in Croatia who were against the election

         12  rule where citizens of other States could also

         13  participate, because I thought that only those Croats

         14  from Diaspora could take part in elections who happened

         15  to find themselves abroad at the time.  As far as the

         16  citizen law, the electoral system allows all Croatian

         17  citizens to vote for the Croatian Parliament, and then

         18  the law provides that all Croats of -- all persons of

         19  Croatian origins could become citizens, with some

         20  provisions which were -- conditions that were easy to

         21  fulfil.

         22            There were 12 representatives in the

         23  Parliament, so about 10 per cent of the representatives

         24  in the Parliament came from Diaspora and it was clear

         25  that these Croats were Diaspora who have nothing to do

Page 7159

          1  with the Croatian State -- they did not pay any taxes

          2  -- it was clear that these were dominated for the most

          3  part by the HDZ, and so it was clear to me that this

          4  was sort of an abuse of the elections, because the

          5  Party that controls those 10 per cent of the vote

          6  clearly has a 10 per cent advantage coming into an

          7  election, and obviously it was something that the

          8  Opposition fought against.

          9            However, it is clear that the HDZ has an

         10  advantage here -- they have a monopoly -- they had a

         11  monopoly, so they passed this law.  But in terms of

         12  Bosnia-Herzegovina, it had a devastating influence

         13  there, because what it did there, it oriented the

         14  Croats in Bosnia towards Croatia, rather than directed

         15  them to look for their happiness and future in the

         16  State where they were born, and where they lived with

         17  other people with whom they should look for

         18  co-existence.

         19            I also spoke to the representatives of

         20  Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo, because I went there as

         21  well several times.  They said that they did not want

         22  to exacerbate that problem, because they were getting

         23  all their assistance through Croatia, and so they did

         24  not want to undermine this kind of situation.

         25       Q.   As a result of that law that permitted people

Page 7160

          1  from abroad to be elected to the Croatian Parliament,

          2  were there members of the SABOR who were also involved

          3  in the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were

          4  officers in the HVO?

          5       A.   I think that several of these prominent

          6  members of the HDZ who took part in the Government of

          7  the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the State of

          8  Bosnia-Herzegovina are legally members of the Croatian

          9  Parliament, so at the same time they are members of the

         10  Croatian Parliament and the one in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         11  However, it is not easy for me to sort of estimate what

         12  the level of their involvement over there was.

         13            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr Harmon, we might now take a

         14  20-minute break and then resume at 10 after.

         15            (3.50pm)

         16                  (A short break)

         17            (4.17pm)

         18            JUDGE JORDA:   The hearing is resumed.  Have

         19  the accused brought in.

         20                (The accused entered court)

         21            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr Harmon, until 5.30.

         22            MR. HARMON:  Thank you, Mr President.

         23            Mr Mesic, you were President of the SABOR,

         24  which was the Croatian Parliament, from the end of 1992

         25  until through 1993; is that correct?

Page 7161

          1       A.   Correct.

          2       Q.   While you were President of the SABOR, during

          3  that time, were members of the SABOR, who were from

          4  Bosnia-Herzegovina, also members of the HVO and of

          5  Herceg-Bosna?

          6       A.   I never officially received any information

          7  from any representative that they were members of the

          8  HVO.  However, I saw some people on television,

          9  including Vice Vukojevic and Ivan Tolj, wearing the HVO

         10  uniforms.  I think there was a physician involved as

         11  well, but I think he was only involved in medical

         12  affairs.

         13       Q.   Can you describe a conversation that you had

         14  with Vice Vukojevic?

         15       A.   Since I was interested in the events in

         16  Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the final analysis the

         17  defence of Croatia depended on what was happening in

         18  Bosnia-Herzegovina, so, in that light, I called Vice

         19  Vukojevic.  He was born in Herzegovina.  I asked him

         20  what was actually going on there, expecting to hear a

         21  common defence was being established there.  However,

         22  to my surprise, he said that it was impossible to work

         23  with Muslims, that there were conflicts in Prozor -- so

         24  much so, that they loaded them up on a truck.  I said,

         25  "How many Croats were killed?"  "None." "How many were

Page 7162

          1  wounded?"  "None." I said, "What did you do?  You just

          2  shot summarily people who were tied up?"  I threw him

          3  out of the office and we never met after that.

          4       Q.   Vice Vukojevic, did he representative himself

          5  to you as being a member of the HVO, or did you ever

          6  see him in a uniform belonging to the HVO while he was

          7  a member of the SABOR?

          8       A.   Only on television.  I saw him only on

          9  television in uniform and he publicly said that he was

         10  a brigadier of the HVO.  I do not know who appointed

         11  him to that position, but throughout this time he was

         12  also in the Croatian Parliament -- he never said that

         13  he was going to resign from that post in order to

         14  assume another one elsewhere.

         15       Q.   Mr Mesic, who was Ivan Tolj and what rank did

         16  he tell you he had in the HVO?

         17       A.   I do not know what rank he held in the HVO.

         18  He was a general in the Croatian army.  He was in

         19  charge of political affairs -- he ran the political

         20  affairs in the Croatian army and he said he had the

         21  same job in the HVO, but he was also a member of the

         22  Lower House of the Croatian Parliament.

         23       Q.   Mr Mesic, what is your conclusion as to the

         24  effect that this kind of representation in the SABOR

         25  had, that is, allowing people who were from Bosnia and

Page 7163

          1  Herzegovina to be members of the SABOR -- what effect

          2  did that have on the independence of Bosnia and

          3  Herzegovina?

          4       A.   I am convinced that this led to destruction

          5  -- if Croats were looking for their place in Croatia,

          6  they were not going to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina, they

          7  were not going to advocate the unity of

          8  Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I thought that it was a policy

          9  that was detrimental to Bosnia-Herzegovina and

         10  I thought that it hurt Croatia as well.  I have always

         11  believed, and I do so now, that, had it not been for

         12  the Washington and Dayton Accords, that it is

         13  questionable whether, with the fall of Bosnia, Croatia

         14  itself could have survived.

         15       Q.   Now, while you were in the SABOR, did you

         16  send a commission down to Mostar to investigate into

         17  tensions -- I am sorry, into the events and the

         18  tensions that were rising between the Bosnian Muslims

         19  and the Bosnian Croats?

         20       A.   Different information, different news was

         21  reaching me as to what was going on in

         22  Bosnia-Herzegovina.  For instance, in Mostar, and in

         23  order to get to the real information, I sent a

         24  delegation of our Parliament to Bosnia-Herzegovina,

         25  with a special visit to Mostar in order to find out

Page 7164

          1  what was really going on there, and it was led by Drago

          2  Krpina.  Upon their return, they were very

          3  disappointed, they were very depressed -- they said the

          4  place was going to blow up, that a large number of

          5  Muslims of the villages surrounding Mostar left those

          6  villages, and those were mostly the Muslims who had

          7  fled the Serb terror, and they came to this area and

          8  that changed the complexion, the demographic complexion

          9  of Mostar, that this was upsetting the balance there,

         10  and that the leadership of the HVO was very concerned,

         11  because if such a large number of Muslims stayed in the

         12  area, they had feared that the conflict may arise from

         13  it and then later on television I saw that some people

         14  were leaving Mostar, moving out.  The television showed

         15  columns of people leaving Mostar.  I do not know where

         16  they were headed. Some were transported in trucks.

         17  I also do not know where.

         18            I asked Drago Krpina to inform President

         19  Tudjman about what was actually going on there, but

         20  I do not know what he actually did about it.

         21       Q.   Now, did in fact conflict break out between

         22  the Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats?

         23       A.   Yes.  A fierce conflict broke out, of

         24  terrible proportions, so that a part of Mostar now

         25  looks like Hiroshima.  After the fighting, the city was

Page 7165

          1  divided.  In principle the city was divided in an

          2  artificial way, and great efforts are being invested in

          3  order to establish an homogenous community, that the

          4  people there are Mostar citizens regardless of which

          5  ethnic origins they are of.

          6            There was even an old bridge there, which was

          7  a symbol of the city, which was destroyed.  This bridge

          8  was built during the Turkish rule, but it was a symbol

          9  of binding of people, because it was a symbol of

         10  tolerance; the Turkish engineers designed this bridge,

         11  but it was built by the Croat workers with stone which

         12  was brought from Croatia.  So, it was symbolic, the

         13  destruction of this bridge, which strategically meant

         14  nothing, and this was the justification for its

         15  destruction.  I think that the policy was such that it

         16  wanted to destroy all bridges between the ethnic groups

         17  in Bosnia, to divide them as soon as possible, and to

         18  keep them as separate as possible.

         19       Q.   Which side of the conflict destroyed the

         20  Mostar bridge?

         21       A.   It is difficult for me to say who destroyed

         22  it, because I do not have personal knowledge of who did

         23  it, but I have information that this bridge -- that the

         24  destruction of the bridge was planned from the Croatian

         25  side.  However, who issued the order, I do not know.

Page 7166

          1  There were different accounts in the public, but I do

          2  not think that the investigation of that was ever

          3  completed.

          4            However, objectively speaking, the Bosniak

          5  side had the least interest in destroying it.  There

          6  are acts of provocation -- there are all kinds of thing

          7  in the war.  An objective investigation would probably

          8  yield results.

          9       Q.   In your opinion, Mr Mesic, was it logical for

         10  the Muslims to have started the Bosnian/Croat conflict?

         11       A.   Since I, too, am some kind of a general of

         12  the Croatian army, true, I attended military school for

         13  officers in reserve a long time ago, but I see no logic

         14  there, regardless of what the various sides allege.

         15  The Bosniaks were absolutely inferior in relation to

         16  our common aggressor and that is Serbia and its army.

         17  By the time when the Muslims had vast casualties, when

         18  more than 100,000 people were killed, and then for them

         19  to open up a new front and to narrow down the

         20  manoeuvring space that they had seems strange.

         21            First of all, they could get logistics from

         22  Croatia and, if they open up a front against the

         23  Croats, there is no assistance for them -- nor is there

         24  any chance for Bosnia to be saved.  That is why it is

         25  unconvincing for me to claim -- it has no ground to

Page 7167

          1  claim that the Muslims started that war.

          2            However, it was harmful equally to the Croats

          3  and Muslims, and fortunately the Washington agreement

          4  came, and the Dayton Accords were signed which halted

          5  that war; but, to heal the effects of that war will

          6  take a long time yet.

          7       Q.   Mr Mesic, during that war, did Croatia

          8  provide material assistance to the HVO?

          9       A.   Since the policy was that the HVO was

         10  defending Croatian interests and Croatian areas in

         11  Bosnia and Herzegovina -- because you must listen to

         12  the statements made by the leaders of Herceg-Bosna,

         13  they always spoke about Croatian lands, they never

         14  spoke about Bosnia-Herzegovina and this is something

         15  that bothered me in particular, so, clearly, Croatia

         16  did assist them and this was no secret.  The only

         17  secret is how that assistance was organised.  I was the

         18  President of the Parliament and I am familiar with the

         19  Croatian budget and there never was an item referring

         20  to assistance to Herceg-Bosna, nor was mention of

         21  Herceg-Bosna ever made in any way, but Josip Manolic,

         22  who abandoned the HDZ together with me, and he was in

         23  charge of all the intelligence services in Croatia, he

         24  stated in public, addressing the international and

         25  domestic public opinion, and he told me in person, that

Page 7168

          1  Croatia had spent 1 million German marks per day on

          2  assisting all the structures in Herceg-Bosna and that

          3  certainly means the HVO included, because, from where

          4  else would the HVO receive logistic support if not from

          5  Croatia.  I think there is no secret there.

          6            I assume that the assistance came from the

          7  Defence Ministry to the Defence Ministry of

          8  Herceg-Bosna, the Ministry of the Interior to the

          9  Ministry of Interior of Herceg-Bosna.  That is probably

         10  how that assistance was run, but I cannot explicitly

         11  allege how much was spent on this assistance, nor how

         12  it was actually channelled.

         13       Q.   In your opinion, Mr Mesic, would the

         14  ministries that you have just described have kept

         15  records and maintained records of the assistance that

         16  it provided to the HVO?

         17       A.   I have never seen any such document, but

         18  anyone who has control of any funds must have some kind

         19  of control mechanism over the spending of those funds.

         20  Therefore, this must exist somewhere in the

         21  documentation of any ministry, including the Ministry

         22  of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence.  All

         23  I know is that an audit was carried out in most

         24  ministries, except in the most sensitive segment, where

         25  it has not been completed, so that neither the public

Page 7169

          1  nor the Parliament have been fully familiarised with

          2  the audit carried out of the operations of the Ministry

          3  of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior and the

          4  Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

          5       Q.   Mr Mesic, between 1992 and 1994, for purposes

          6  of this question, were Croatian troops and Croatian

          7  police in Bosnia?

          8       A.   You see, I can claim, with certainty, that

          9  the Croatian army could not legally go to

         10  Bosnia-Herzegovina for the very reason that, for the

         11  use of the Croatian army outside the borders of

         12  Croatia, a decision of the Croatian SABOR was

         13  required.  No such decision existed.  If it did,

         14  I would have known about it, but whether any units were

         15  there, whether they were used in Bosnia-Herzegovina,

         16  that is a different matter.  There was an agreement

         17  between President Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic during

         18  the Serb attack on parts of Dubrovnik and

         19  surrounding area.  An agreement was reached where a

         20  part of the Croatian army defended the hinterland of

         21  Dubrovnik and entered the territory of

         22  Bosnia-Herzegovina, but that was in agreement with the

         23  Bosnian President.

         24            However, due to the post I held, I was often

         25  exposed in the media, I often appeared on radio and

Page 7170

          1  television.  People asked me questions to the effect

          2  whether our troops were in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

          3  I said that I had requested a report from the Defence

          4  Ministry about it and that the answer I received -- an

          5  explicit answer was that there was no Croatian troops

          6  on the territory of any other country, including the

          7  country of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  But soldiers did come

          8  to me who were discharged because they refused to go to

          9  Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Their parents would come to see

         10  me, too, for the same reasons, but officially, I was

         11  always told that if any Croatian soldier did go there,

         12  he went there as a volunteer.

         13       Q.   So, Mr Mesic, is your answer that there were

         14  or there were not Croatian troops in Bosnia between

         15  1992 and 1994?

         16       A.   I believe there were, but if they were, they

         17  were not there legally.

         18       Q.   Were those troops involved in the conflict

         19  between the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats?

         20       A.   Since after the outbreak of the conflict

         21  between the Croats on the one side and the Muslims on

         22  the other, a certain shift was made to the detriment of

         23  the Croats, I received information that some aid was

         24  given in the form of volunteers to halt the Bosnian

         25  offensive.  Whether these were real volunteers, what

Page 7171

          1  kind of units were used -- that is something that

          2  I never investigated myself.

          3       Q.   Now, to your knowledge, Mr Mesic, did the

          4  Croatian army personnel, who were in Bosnia, suffer

          5  casualties, and would there be records of those

          6  casualties?

          7       A.   As in any normal administration, there should

          8  be some kind of a record, especially about human

          9  casualties, so if Croatian soldiers died there, then

         10  there must be a document to that effect, because the

         11  families need to regulate their benefits.  If soldiers

         12  were wounded, again, their disability benefits needed

         13  to be regulated.  But it is a fact that in our press

         14  there was a lot of vagueness and, whenever somebody was

         15  killed, the report said where he was killed and where

         16  he fought for Croatia, but, for a certain number of

         17  casualties, the term used for some in the papers

         18  was "fell for their homeland" and I was told that this

         19  phrase was used for those who fell in Bosnia.  But

         20  I must admit that I did not investigate this in any

         21  detail, either.

         22       Q.   Mr Mesic, did any of the soldiers who came to

         23  you directly inform you that, while serving in Bosnia,

         24  they wore patches that said "HV" but they had been

         25  instructed to remove those patches and replace them

Page 7172

          1  with patches identifying them as members of the HVO?

          2       A.   Yes.  This was told to me by several people,

          3  that the task of all those going to Bosnia was to

          4  remove the insignia of the Croatian army.

          5       Q.   Can you tell the judges what you know about

          6  the issue of joint commands, that is, commands between

          7  the Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats, and what

          8  the view of Zagreb was in respect of that issue?

          9       A.   At the beginning of the aggression, clearly,

         10  the whole Yugoslavia army sided with the Serbs,

         11  together with all its logistic equipment and this part

         12  was under the control of Karadzic, or, rather, Karadzic

         13  was just the instrument -- the main planner and

         14  operator was Slobodan Milosevic.

         15            As regards the Bosnian army, it was partly

         16  all Bosnian, because 13 per cent of the members were

         17  Serbs and, also, there were Croats from other parts of

         18  Bosnia-Herzegovina, especially from Sarajevo in that

         19  army.  It is also well known that, in the HVO itself,

         20  there were quite a number of Muslims, so that some

         21  units in the Sava River valley were predominantly

         22  Muslim even though they belonged to the HVO.

         23            One must ask whether it is possible to wage a

         24  war against an aggressor if there is no unified command

         25  and the Bosnians insisted that there should be a joint

Page 7173

          1  command, because that was the only way to decide

          2  tactically and operationally about certain military

          3  operations.

          4            The Croatian side agreed with this joint

          5  command, which would mean that both the HVO and the

          6  Bosnian army would be represented according to the

          7  share of the population, so that the term "united

          8  command" was never used, and without that, it is

          9  difficult to score any military victories.

         10       Q.   Mr Mesic, what was the relationship between

         11  the Croatian army and the officers in command positions

         12  in the HVO?  Can you tell the court whether members of

         13  the Croatian army went to the HVO, served in command

         14  positions and then returned back to the Croatian army

         15  and can you identify, by name, those individuals?

         16       A.   Professionally, that was not part of my

         17  competencies.  I was primus interpares -- I was the

         18  speaker of Parliament, but certainly, I had more

         19  information than many other people.  Obviously, it was

         20  possible for me to obtain some more detailed

         21  information, but this information was also available to

         22  the public, so that there was this fluctuation --

         23  Milivoj Petkovic, Ante Roso, Slobodan Praljak, General

         24  Tolj -- they were for a time in the HVO, then again in

         25  the Croatian army.  Whether each time they regulated

Page 7174

          1  their relationship every time they went and came back,

          2  I did not try to establish.

          3            But one could see that, within a short period

          4  of time, they changed their positions.  They were for

          5  some time in the HVO, then again in the Croatian army,

          6  but how this was regulated, I do not know.

          7       Q.   Let me return to the issue of joint

          8  commands.  I have been asked by one of my colleagues to

          9  clarify one point, Mr Mesic.  Did Zagreb reject joint

         10  commands, or did they accept the principle of joint

         11  commands?

         12       A.   Zagreb was in favour of a joint command, but

         13  not in favour of a unified command.

         14       Q.   Let me turn next to the issue of Ahmici and

         15  ask you, Mr Mesic, first of all, had you heard of the

         16  events that occurred in Ahmici in April of 1993 and, if

         17  you had heard of those events, did you make an enquiry

         18  as to whether or not any investigation had been

         19  conducted into the massacre at Ahmici?

         20       A.   At the time, the time you mention, I was on

         21  an official trip with the Croatian parliamentary

         22  delegation, and, while on that trip, I learned of the

         23  events in Ahmici.  When I came back, I learned about

         24  the various brutalities that occurred -- the

         25  atrocities, that great crimes were committed, of which

Page 7175

          1  even children were victims, and certainly, as a Croat,

          2  I was not glad to see Croats committing crimes, and,

          3  deep down, I had hoped that the Croats had not done

          4  it.  I asked Mate Boban who I met shortly after that

          5  whether he knew anything about it.  He said that all

          6  those events had been provoked by a British officer,

          7  and that they had established something, but not

          8  sufficient information about it.

          9            Then I asked, what had they ascertained and

         10  who had committed the crime?  He said they had firm

         11  evidence that this was committed by people wearing

         12  black uniforms.  Then I asked him, "But then you did

         13  not understand me, Mate, I did not ask what colour

         14  uniforms they wore, but who was wearing those

         15  uniforms".  His reply was, "That, we have not

         16  established and they could have been Serbs".  Knowing

         17  this part of the country, I knew that Serbs could not

         18  appear there, and that it was obvious either that he

         19  himself did not know, or that he was not telling the

         20  truth.

         21       Q.   Since then, Mr Mesic, have you heard whether

         22  anybody has been prosecuted by the Bosnian Croat

         23  officials for the massacres at Ahmici?

         24       A.   No, I have not heard of that.

         25       Q.   Have you heard whether anybody has been

Page 7176

          1  disciplined, or was disciplined in the HVO for the war

          2  crimes that were committed in Ahmici?

          3       A.   My work was such that such a report would not

          4  reach me through official channels, but I never learned

          5  anything to that effect privately, either.

          6            MR. HARMON:  Mr Mesic, thank you very much for

          7  your testimony.

          8            I have no additional questions.

          9  Mr President, I have concluded my direct examination.

         10            JUDGE JORDA:   Thank you, Mr Harmon.  I turn

         11  now to the Defence.  I do not know who is going to be

         12  the cross-examiner -- it is Mr Nobilo -- yes, we spoke

         13  about it yesterday.

         14                Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO:

         15            MR. NOBILO:   Very well, thank you,

         16  Mr President.

         17            Good afternoon, Mr Mesic.  During the

         18  examination-in-chief, we heard the positions you held.

         19  Among others, the most important, if I am not mistaken,

         20  was that you were President of SFRY, or member of the

         21  Presidency of SFRY, Prime Minister of Croatia, Speaker

         22  of Parliament, and Secretary-General of the Party.

         23  Will you tell me, after leaving the HDZ, did you

         24  participate in the elections within another Party?

         25       A.   Yes.  After leaving the HDZ, I participated

Page 7177

          1  in the formation of the Independents Democrats of

          2  Croatia, which was joined by 11 former members of the

          3  HDZ.  After some time, as members of this Party, we

          4  joined the HNS, and I am now Vice-President of the HNS,

          5  but, due to circumstances, HND continues to exist

          6  headed by Josip Manolic, but I do not know what their

          7  membership is.

          8       Q.   But while you were President of the HND, did

          9  you participate in any elections as an individual or as

         10  a member of a Party on a list?

         11       A.   Yes, I was elected to the municipal assembly

         12  of Zagreb.

         13       Q.   Did you compete for Parliament, for President

         14  of State, or something else?

         15       A.   No.

         16       Q.   Did your Party compete to join the

         17  Parliament, HND?

         18       A.   Yes, and we won one seat.

         19       Q.   What share of the votes did you win?

         20       A.   I do not know.

         21       Q.   You said that the HDZ is an obstacle to

         22  democracy, that there is no democratic decision-making,

         23  there is a single Party attitude, that they have

         24  plundered property through transformation, that they

         25  are nationalists, et cetera.  Could you tell me, when

Page 7178

          1  did HDZ develop these characteristics?

          2       A.   I think after the agreement in Karadordevo --

          3  this destructive policy began.

          4       Q.   And when did that take place?

          5       A.   30 March 1991.

          6       Q.   So that Party has all these negative

          7  characteristics as of 1991; and when did you leave it?

          8       A.   I left it in 1993.  Franjo Tudjman asked me

          9  to withdraw from the Parliament, because he could not

         10  reach any agreement with Slobodan Milosevic, because

         11  I had said somewhere that the Serbs themselves would

         12  hang him on Terazije Square in Belgrade.  By then,

         13  I was already in deep conflict with official policy,

         14  together with my friends, who abandoned the Party with

         15  me.  As you know, a step in politics is not taken just

         16  like that, but when conditions mature, so that my

         17  departure from the HDZ did not take place suddenly, but

         18  when I felt that I had a chance of winning greater

         19  support from the public -- rather than just leaving the

         20  Party and ending my career without achieving anything,

         21  due to which I had left the Party anyway.

         22       Q.   So, when did you leave the Party and form the

         23  HND?

         24       A.   This was somewhere in April 1994.  But the

         25  talks regarding my departure from the HDZ lasted a long

Page 7179

          1  time.

          2       Q.   How long?

          3       A.   Ever since the agreement in Karadordevo.

          4       Q.   In the meantime, you held the highest

          5  positions in the HDZ.  Do you consider yourself to be

          6  partly responsible for the way the Party developed and

          7  what it did in Croatia?

          8       A.   Yes, I do shoulder part of the blame and

          9  I must admit, as the public knows, that throughout that

         10  period I advocated a policy of a unified and integral

         11  Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I struggled for a maximum

         12  degree of democracy in Croatia.

         13       Q.   Apart from the replacement of Kljujic, did

         14  you ever participate in the work of any other body of

         15  the HDZ for Bosnia-Herzegovina?

         16       A.   I attended another meeting in Sarajevo when

         17  the question of the election of Kljujic arose, after

         18  Mr Perinovic resigned, but I do not recall the exact

         19  date.

         20       Q.   Do you remember when Kljujic was replaced?

         21       A.   In 1992, because then I was President of the

         22  executive board of the HDZ, but I do not know exactly.

         23       Q.   Was it in the first half of 1992, can you

         24  remember that?

         25       A.   It could have been.

Page 7180

          1       Q.   Please correct me if I did not understand you

          2  well.  After the second half of 1992 and the

          3  replacement of Kljujic, you did not take an active part

          4  in the work of the bodies of the HDZ in

          5  Bosnia-Herzegovina?

          6       A.   No, I never participated in the work of those

          7  bodies.  I could merely follow what was happening

          8  there, up to a point.

          9       Q.   Very well.  In that case, I will correct

         10  myself.  After Kljujic was replaced, you no longer

         11  followed directly the work of any body of the HDZ in

         12  Bosnia-Herzegovina?

         13       A.   I did follow it, but I did not participate in

         14  the work of those bodies.  I did follow, because I had

         15  a certain position in Zagreb.  I was a member of the

         16  Presidency of the HDZ and the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina

         17  was not formally -- it was formally a separate Party

         18  but all decisions were taken by the HDZ leadership in

         19  Zagreb regarding what needed to be done in

         20  Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         21       Q.   But did you attend meetings of the HDZ of

         22  Bosnia-Herzegovina bodies after that, did you go to

         23  Bosnia-Herzegovina?

         24       A.   No.  They came to Zagreb.  The whole HDZ of

         25  Bosnia-Herzegovina came to Zagreb.

Page 7181

          1       Q.   About the visits to Zagreb, at what sessions

          2  and talks between Tudjman and the key figures of the

          3  HDZ for Bosnia-Herzegovina did you attend?

          4       A.   It is difficult for me to say, because I do

          5  not know how many such meetings were held -- after

          6  I demonstrated my difference with the Croatian policy

          7  towards Bosnia-Herzegovina, I was not invited to those

          8  meetings.  But, if I happened to be at President

          9  Tudjman's and people from Bosnia-Herzegovina came, or

         10  rather from Herceg-Bosna or from the HDZ of

         11  Bosnia-Herzegovina, then I would stay on and attend

         12  those meetings.

         13       Q.   Can you give us an example -- what meeting,

         14  when it was held, who was present, what was discussed?

         15       A.   You see, we would have to look at the TV and

         16  press reports.  There was at least one meeting every

         17  month, so that they appeared on television more often

         18  than our own announcers.

         19       Q.   My question is, regarding you, which meetings

         20  did you attend, when, who was present, and what was

         21  discussed?

         22       A.   Representatives of Herceg-Bosna, or of the

         23  HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, would come frequently, in a

         24  group, whose members were announced -- Mate Boban,

         25  Lasic, Boras, Kostroman, Dario Kordic -- I do not know

Page 7182

          1  all their names -- they would all come for counsel from

          2  the presidential palace.

          3       Q.   But you are not answering my question.

          4  I have understood that these people came to Zagreb, but

          5  my question is:  were you in attendance at any of those

          6  meetings?  If you were, could you describe it for us --

          7  when the meeting was held, what you discussed?  I am

          8  asking you about the meetings that you participated in?

          9       A.   If you had asked me that question earlier on,

         10  I would have looked through my notes to tell you which

         11  meetings I attended.  Whenever I happened to be in the

         12  presidential palace, I would attend that meeting,

         13  regardless whether I was invited or not.  Sometimes

         14  I was invited, sometimes I happened to be there.

         15       Q.   Could you describe any one of those meetings

         16  and place it in a time frame?

         17       A.   I do not know how many times I have to repeat

         18  it at least once a month.

         19       Q.   And you attended each one of those?

         20       A.   I have answered that question, too.

         21            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr Mesic, Mr Mesic, Mr Nobilo

         22  is very clear -- you can answer as you wish, but

         23  I think that the question was very clear.  You said

         24  that you participated in those meetings.  He asked you

         25  for a example of those meetings and what happened at

Page 7183

          1  those meetings.  You can or cannot, you want to or you

          2  do not want to, but you cannot simply say, "I have

          3  already answered the question".  I think you have not

          4  answered the question.  Maybe you cannot answer that.

          5  That is not my problem.

          6       A.   No, no, I can answer that question.  I think

          7  that I was quite explicit.  The HDZ of

          8  Bosnia-Herzegovina, their political leadership would

          9  come to meetings with the HDZ political leadership of

         10  Croatia.  The meetings were attended by the people

         11  whose names I have listed, as well as by members of the

         12  Presidency of the HDZ of Croatia.  I did not note down

         13  the dates of those meetings.  As for what was

         14  discussed, first, when the referendum was discussed --

         15  if you want an example, I will give you some examples.

         16            When the referendum was discussed, the

         17  referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina, when a decision had

         18  to be taken whether the Croats should support an

         19  independent Bosnia-Herzegovina or whether they should

         20  not participate in the referendum, because the Serbs

         21  had already decided not to participate in the

         22  referendum, I must say that the representatives of the

         23  HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina were against the Croats

         24  participating in that referendum, and this decision of

         25  theirs was supported by President Tudjman and the

Page 7184

          1  majority of the HDZ in Zagreb, or, rather, the Croatian

          2  HDZ.

          3            I had quite a lot of trouble to persuade both

          4  Tudjman and HDZ members that, if the Croats did not

          5  participate in the referendum, and if the Serbs did not

          6  participate, the referendum would not succeed and

          7  Bosnia-Herzegovina would remain part of Yugoslavia and

          8  only after that was that decision changed.

          9            At what meeting this happened, I cannot tell

         10  you exactly, but, whenever any key decision was taken,

         11  there was always a previous meeting of the HDZ of

         12  Croatia, and of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  When the

         13  Vance-Owen Plan was about to be implemented, even

         14  though it had not been signed by the Serbs or approved

         15  by their assembly, at one such meeting it was agreed

         16  that the Vance-Owen Plan should immediately begin to be

         17  implemented, because it was in the interests of

         18  Croatia, because it completed, it rounded off Croatian

         19  territory.

         20            MR. NOBILO:   You cited an example of the

         21  referendum and when the implementation of the

         22  Vance-Owen Plan was contemplated; were you present

         23  there as well?

         24       A.   Yes.

         25       Q.   Until when were you invited to these

Page 7185

          1  meetings, can you place it in time?

          2       A.   I was invited less and less frequently and

          3  sometimes I would just simply see on television that a

          4  certain meeting was held.  So, I would say, up until

          5  about the end of 1993 -- after that, not any longer.

          6       Q.   So, you were invited during the Muslim Croat

          7  conflict.  Was there ever a decision adopted to start

          8  to wage a war against the Muslims there?

          9       A.   No, formally such a decision was never

         10  adopted.

         11       Q.   I am not speaking about formally -- were you

         12  present on such occasion?

         13       A.   There was no formal decision adopted, but it

         14  is very clear that such a decision was implemented.

         15       Q.   I am speaking -- it is very clear that the

         16  war came about, but I do not know if it was the formal

         17  decision or not, but was such a decision ever adopted?

         18       A.   No, such a decision was never adopted.

         19       Q.   So you were in the HDZ leadership during the

         20  Muslim Croat conflict.  Was there ever a decision

         21  reached to ethnically cleanse the Muslim population in

         22  the territories controlled by the Croats and the HVO?

         23       A.   I must tell you that there was discussion in

         24  such meetings about the situation in certain

         25  municipalities and I was sitting next to Pero Markovic,

Page 7186

          1  the mayor of Capljina, at one of such meetings.

          2  I asked him, "What is the situation like between the

          3  Muslims and Croats in your city?" He said, "There is no

          4  situation in our place -- we have no Muslims left,

          5  because we just cleansed them all."

          6       Q.   He said that of Capljina.   Was ever a

          7  decision taken in these meetings to go into the ethnic

          8  cleansing of Muslims from certain regions -- to burn

          9  down their houses; was there such a decision taken?

         10       A.   Such a decision was implemented, and if you

         11  will recall, in the Croatian Parliament, a

         12  representative who visited these territories controlled

         13  by the Croatian army, that is the HVO, stated that he

         14  was surprised by the misinformation that seeped into

         15  the public.  For instance, that a mosque was burned

         16  down in Livno and he said, "I was in this mosque and

         17  I can tell you that it was not burned down and I chased

         18  out some sheep and some goats from this mosque

         19  personally, because I could not see that they would be

         20  in a place of worship, so I could tell, if sheep and

         21  goats were there, people could not have attended it."

         22       Q.   Mr Mesic, I would like you to answer my

         23  questions directly -- the way it is appropriate for

         24  this institution.  I asked you a direct question:  when

         25  people from the BHDZ would come to these meetings, was

Page 7187

          1  there ever a decision taken to ethnically cleanse the

          2  territories controlled by the HVO.  Have you heard of a

          3  decision, were you present there, did you take part in

          4  such decision taking?

          5       A.   No, I was not and such a decision was not

          6  formally taken.

          7       Q.   The English -- the translation says that it

          8  was not formally taken, such a decision, but did you

          9  hear that somebody informally said, "Let us do this, we

         10  will not put it down as a decision".  Was that -- did

         11  that happen at one of the meetings with Tudjman?

         12       A.   Since representatives from various parts of

         13  Bosnia-Herzegovina came to these meetings, where

         14  obviously there were movements of the Muslim

         15  population, and let us set aside things that were

         16  happening in Mostar, it was clear to me that somehow

         17  such policies were implemented, sort of by way of

         18  sidelines, but officially it was always held that

         19  Bosnia consisted of three constituent populations, and

         20  so on -- let me not go into all the details.

         21       Q.   These meetings were not public meetings --

         22  these were internal meetings.  The contents of such

         23  meetings were not revealed except what was decided to

         24  be publicised, but what I am asking you is did somebody

         25  say, like Tudjman, "Let us go and cleanse the Muslims

Page 7188

          1  from the Travnik territory", for instance.  Did you

          2  hear some such thing?

          3       A.   No.

          4       Q.   Did the Muslim leaders come to Zagreb

          5  frequently?

          6       A.   Yes, it was only through Zagreb that they

          7  could reach the rest of the world.

          8       Q.   So, you saw them around there frequently?

          9       A.   Yes.

         10       Q.   You characterised Perinovic, Kljujic and

         11  Brkic as persons who advocated the whole and unified

         12  Bosnia?

         13       A.   Yes.

         14       Q.   How do you explain the fact that Tudjman and

         15  you said that he had a significant if not paramount

         16  influence in Bosnia -- how did he agree that such

         17  persons would be elected to the positions that they

         18  were?

         19       A.   I guess they did not want to implement the

         20  policies that were asked of them, and so at first, for

         21  Perinovic they said that his ancestors were Serb, so he

         22  was not to be trusted and then Kljujic, that he was

         23  married to a Muslim, and that he was going to implement

         24  Alija Izetbegovic policies, and for Brkic, he was too

         25  moderate and also was not fully acceptable for the

Page 7189

          1  realisation of the Croatian policies in Bosnia, and so

          2  they arrived at Mate Boban, for whom Tudjman said he

          3  was the only person who understands his policy in

          4  Bosnia-Herzegovina.

          5       Q.   Very well.  These are all the reasons why to

          6  relieve someone of the duties, but how come that

          7  Tudjman accepted appointments of three separate persons

          8  who are not implementing his policies -- how do you

          9  explain that?

         10       A.   I have tried to explain that Tudjman's policy

         11  towards Bosnia also shifted in time; from the time when

         12  he also was advocating the unified Bosnia up until

         13  Karadordevo -- after that he evolves in a certain way

         14  because he was convinced that Milosevic would succeed

         15  in breaking up Bosnia and that it would benefit him.

         16       Q.   Very well.  We will now move on to the

         17  replacement of Kljujic.  In the examination-in-chief

         18  you said, "I was put in charge of relieving Kljujic on

         19  behalf of the HVO."  This was a meeting of the

         20  executive board; could you have effected his removal

         21  without his own will?

         22       A.   I think I could not, because at that time the

         23  faction which advocated the unified Bosnia and

         24  Herzegovina prevailed.

         25       Q.   You said that you came from Zagreb in order

Page 7190

          1  to remove Kljujic.  I would like to play a videotape,

          2  so please can we play it?  This is videotape number 1.

          3  It is very short.

          4            I would also ask the interpreter to

          5  interpret, if they can -- if not, I would like to

          6  replay it in order to get most of it.

          7                      (Videotape played)

          8            THE INTERPRETER: (translating videotape).

          9            "Question:  What is it about the division of

         10  Bosnia-Herzegovina?  I do not know about the meeting in

         11  Siroki Brijeg, but you said Bosnia-Herzegovina has to

         12  stay whole, not only because the international

         13  community wants it but it is also in the interests of

         14  Croats in Bosnia?

         15            Answer:   We always had the policy that the

         16  borders were inviolable, that they cannot be changed.

         17  This concerns Croatia as well as the other countries.

         18  However, I must say that the leadership of

         19  Bosnia-Herzegovina waited too long, that the moment of

         20  decision was when Croatia decided to go alone, because

         21  it is the best way to protect its own interests when it

         22  was clear that Serbia is not accepting the confederal

         23  concept proposed by Slovenia and Croatia, for all units

         24  of the former Yugoslavia.  I think that the BH was

         25  late.  I think that it was because the SDA leadership

Page 7191

          1  believed that they could eschew this pressure, that

          2  there would be no war.  Now we see that Bosnia is

          3  occupied; there is the largest concentration of

          4  soldiers in Europe and equipment right now, and it is

          5  very difficult now for Bosnia to achieve what Croatia

          6  and Slovenia have already achieved.  So I believe that

          7  this referendum is a bit too late.  But, as the saying

          8  says, it is better late than never, and so I think that

          9  it should go ahead, so that Bosnia should become

         10  independent so that the Serb army would leave the

         11  territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and so that the

         12  Bosniak can proceed on its own independent way, and all

         13  the advantages which it has with close cooperation with

         14  Croatia can come to be."

         15                      (Videotape stopped)

         16            MR. NOBILO:  Please can we play the second

         17  segment?

         18            MR. HARMON:  The only request I have is if

         19  counsel could identify the dates of these film clips it

         20  would be helpful to me and to the court, and perhaps to

         21  the witness.

         22            JUDGE JORDA:   I think that Mr Nobilo has to

         23  give all the information -- the identifying elements.

         24            MR. NOBILO:   We are going to try to ask

         25  Mr Mesic -- this was a "Picture on Picture" programme

Page 7192

          1  -- this is when you came back from Siroki Brijeg after

          2  the removal of Kljujic.  Do you remember this

          3  interview?

          4       A.   I do, but I do not recall the date.

          5       Q.   But do you accept that this was immediately

          6  after the removal of Kljujic?

          7       A.   No.  I do recall the broadcast, but I do not

          8  know the date.

          9       Q.   Can you recall the date when Kljujic was

         10  relieved of his duty?

         11       A.   No.

         12            MR. NOBILO:  Unfortunately, Mr President, we

         13  cannot give you the exact date.  This is one day after

         14  Kljujic was relieved of his duty in Siroki Brijeg.

         15  Maybe subsequently we will be able to provide a date.

         16            Please, the next segment.

         17                    (Videotape played)

         18            THE INTERPRETER:  (translating videotape).

         19            "Not only the sovereignty of people as people

         20  but also the sovereignty of a territory, because if the

         21  SDS claims that the sovereignty extends to where only

         22  5 per cent of Serbs live, that is an imperial policy as

         23  dictated by Milosevic, which is something that Karadzic

         24  only implements -- he is a small puppet.

         25            However, Croatian people cannot just react to

Page 7193

          1  challenges -- it has to spell out its own position,

          2  both in the entire Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the

          3  territory that it occupies.

          4            Question:   Speaking about Milosevic and

          5  Karadzic, oftentimes the parallel is made between

          6  Kljujic and the congressional leadership, and they say

          7  he had to leave because he would not implement?

          8            Answer:  No, nobody says that he had to

          9  resign.  It was at the very end of the discussion that

         10  he decided to resign.  Nobody asked for him to step

         11  down.  We are a Croatian community, so we are

         12  democratic."

         13                    (Videotape stopped)

         14            MR. NOBILO:  With respect to the first

         15  segment, were you at the time expressing the position

         16  of the Croatian Democratic Union?

         17       A.   Yes.

         18       Q.   So these were not just your own personal

         19  views, but also the positions of the Party you belong

         20  to?

         21       A.   Yes.

         22       Q.   You told us here that your task was to

         23  replace Kljujic, but on Croatian television you said

         24  that nobody replaced Kljujic.  There is a slight

         25  difference between those two statements?

Page 7194

          1       A.   No, there is no difference.  You did not

          2  understand me.  No-one, at the meeting, required the

          3  dismissal of Kljujic at that meeting, and I came with

          4  Tudjman's instructions to have him removed.

          5       Q.   So somebody did ask for his removal?

          6       A.   At the meeting, no-one did, but I came with

          7  Tudjman's request for him to be removed.  What do you

          8  think -- do you think I could have said on television

          9  I went there with instructions to remove Kljujic?

         10       Q.   Does that mean that you do not always tell

         11  the truth?

         12       A.   No, but at the time I could not have said

         13  that, because political circumstances would not allow

         14  it.  I always tell the truth, but if the pressure is

         15  such as it was at the time, then I could not go into

         16  the details.  Political considerations would not allow

         17  me to do that.

         18       Q.   So, if I understood you well -- please

         19  correct me -- depending on whether you will go into all

         20  the details or not, the complete truth or part of the

         21  truth, depends on political circumstances?

         22       A.   Clearly, at the time, as the executive

         23  secretary of the Party, I could not state for the

         24  benefit of the public that President Tudjman required

         25  the removal of Kljujic, but I did tell Kljujic that in

Page 7195

          1  confidence -- I told him -- and you can check -- "my

          2  task is first to persuade you to resign" and he said,

          3  "Is this the explicit request of Tudjman?"  I said,

          4  "Yes, explicitly", but I added, "I see that people

          5  here support you, that it is not possible to replace

          6  you here, maybe only a third would vote in favour of

          7  that, so I will go back to Zagreb and say that you won

          8  the support of the meeting and what will happen after

          9  that, we will see".

         10            However, even after this -- first he said he

         11  was sick, and then he said that he believed that

         12  Tudjman could remove him in one way or another and then

         13  he left, he went to Sarajevo.

         14       Q.   One further question:  if political

         15  circumstances affected your decision to speak the whole

         16  truth or not, what about the political circumstances

         17  today -- how do they affect your testimony?

         18       A.   You are wrong.  This was not a question of

         19  the truth -- I told the truth.  No-one at the meeting

         20  there -- there -- will you please repeat what I am

         21  saying -- no-one over there asked for Kljujic to

         22  resign, so will you repeat that.  I said "over there"

         23  and nobody asked me whether Tudjman had asked for his

         24  replacement, so it was not my duty to say even that it

         25  was Tudjman's request.

Page 7196

          1       Q.   In any event, what we saw now, these two

          2  clips, was that indeed an interview with you -- did you

          3  indeed say what you said on television?

          4       A.   Was that me?

          5       Q.   Are those your words?

          6       A.   Surely I can recognise myself, counsel.

          7       Q.   But we need to authenticate the evidence and

          8  that is why I have to ask you.

          9       A.   Yes, I did recognise myself in this clip.

         10            MR. NOBILO:  So could please the Registrar

         11  have these tapes translated and of course that is our

         12  next Defence exhibit.  Could you please give us a

         13  number?

         14            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr Harmon, we will consider

         15  these have been identified by the witness.

         16            MR. HARMON:  Yes, Mr President.  The only

         17  thing is I renew my request that a date on this tape be

         18  provided to the Prosecutor's Office.  Second of all,

         19  Mr President, I would request that any transcript of

         20  this tape, fully translated, in English, be provided to

         21  the Prosecutor's Office before Mr Mesic retires from

         22  his testimony, so if there are any discrepancies

         23  between the translation and the tape, I would have an

         24  opportunity to ask Mr Mesic about the substance of that

         25  tape.  I do not understand the tape, I rely on the

Page 7197

          1  interpreters, but I would like to have hard copy in

          2  front of me and I would like to be able to review it

          3  with Mr Mesic, if the occasion requires so.

          4            MR NOBILO:   We do not object if Mr Mesic is

          5  going to stay for a while, but if the Registry is

          6  unable to do that quickly, there should be no problems

          7  in calling the witness to come back.

          8            JUDGE JORDA:   Perhaps tomorrow morning when

          9  there is no hearing, it could be translated.  It seems

         10  rather long and it seems legitimate for the Prosecutor

         11  to want to have translations but he can use it for his

         12  right to re-examination.  Although, of course, we do

         13  compliment the interpreters on their work, but I think

         14  that a written text in English would be good.  I do not

         15  dare ask for one in French, but at least one in

         16  English.

         17            THE REGISTRAR:    We will take care of that.

         18  We will take care of getting a translation for tomorrow

         19  afternoon.

         20            JUDGE JORDA:   We are going to break and we

         21  will start at 3 o'clock, because at 2.00 or 2.30 there

         22  is a status conference for a different case.  I see

         23  Mr Harmon has another question.  We do agree about the

         24  identification.  I think it can only be identified once

         25  -- identified totally once we know what was the date

Page 7198

          1  of that interview.

          2            THE REGISTRAR:    This is D98.

          3            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr Harmon?

          4            MR HARMON:  The other request I have, if

          5  counsel is going to use documents that are in the

          6  Croatian language, and then provide them to me, they

          7  are of little utility for me because I cannot read

          8  them.  If he has some documents he intends to introduce

          9  and show this witness during his cross-examination,

         10  I request that he submit those to the translation

         11  department so they can be translated into English, and

         12  when he submits a copy to me, I can read it, the

         13  translation, and I can use it effectively.

         14            MR NOBILO:   Mr President, we have had this

         15  kind of discussion many times.  We have a lot of

         16  documents.  Mr Mesic is a public figure.  All the

         17  things he said here, he said earlier on, we claim in a

         18  different way.  We agree, but in that case, we must

         19  suspend the cross-examination until everything is

         20  translated, and then call back Mr Mesic, or, in order

         21  to save time, we will proceed in the way we have so

         22  far.  I do not intend to produce whole pages or whole

         23  articles, but only passages and in that way we can

         24  expedite the proceedings.

         25            MR HARMON:  I do not intend to be

Page 7199

          1  presumptuous in telling the Defence how to proceed with

          2  its case.  Quite clearly, they have had Mr Mesic's

          3  testimony for a considerable period of time.  They have

          4  had it since 6 May.  They have prepared this

          5  examination by collecting these documents which are

          6  relevant. I do not ask the court to suspend the

          7  testimony of Mr Mesic, but perhaps efforts could be

          8  taken at this late juncture to submit those to

          9  translation so that the translation section can

         10  provide, or make efforts to provide those documents to

         11  me.  They have had a clear eye on what questions they

         12  intend to use and what documents they intend to use to

         13  impeach, or attempt to impeach Mr Mesic's testimony.

         14  It comes as no surprise -- they are not operating in

         15  the dark on these.  My request is, if they do not have

         16  English translations at present, that they submit those

         17  documents, which they clearly know and intend to use,

         18  and introduce as exhibits in the cross-examination of

         19  Mr Mesic, to the translation services and that the

         20  translation services make maximal efforts to provide

         21  translations of those copies to us.

         22            I might add, Mr President, that the

         23  Prosecutor's Office also endeavours to provide to both

         24  the court and the Defence translations in English and

         25  French, in advance of using the documents.

Page 7200

          1            MR HAYMAN:   If I may speak on behalf of my

          2  colleague?  We strongly object to the Prosecutor

          3  telling us, the Defence, how we should prioritise our

          4  work in our requests of the translation unit.  As a

          5  side bar, ex parte, we will tell the court how many

          6  documents we have pending with the translation unit to

          7  be translated, that we are waiting for.  I am not going

          8  to state that publicly.  I can say Mr Nobilo has been

          9  gathering these items, including during the testimony

         10  -- he was out photocopying minutes before the

         11  testimony.  We react to the testimony and we gather

         12  material.

         13            Quite frankly, this is not the Prosecutor's

         14  prerogative.  He can translate everything we produce.

         15  This is his witness.  He can bring him back, but he is

         16  not in a position to unilaterally impose these burdens

         17  and requirements on us.

         18            JUDGE JORDA:   First of all, the Prosecution

         19  is not imposing anything -- just as the Defence is not

         20  imposing anything -- not one on the other.  The

         21  Tribunal decides.  We have already decided what we will

         22  do with the video.  If any other documents need to be

         23  provided to the translation, that should be done.  We

         24  are pleased with the interpretation of the interpreters

         25  here, and in case not all of the documents are

Page 7201

          1  translated, you can use the interpretation of those

          2  that have been interpreted.  If that is not enough, of

          3  course then Mr Mesic would be brought back.  But let us

          4  not make an incident out of something where there

          5  should not be.

          6            I recall once again that if your presiding

          7  judge were to interrupt each time -- every moment of

          8  the proceedings when there was not a translation, we

          9  would have a lot of interruptions.  Everybody has to do

         10  their best.  We will now suspend this hearing and

         11  resume tomorrow at 3 o'clock.

         12            (5.30pm)

         13           (The matter adjourned until Wednesday,

         14                18th March 1998 at 3pm)