Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 7202

          1                      Wednesday, 18th March 1998

          2  (4.42pm)

          3                (The accused entered court)

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

          5            JUDGE JORDA:   Please, have the witness

          6  brought in, Mr. Mesic.  We are now in closed session,

          7  I understand.

          8                (The witness entered court)

          9                 JUDGE JORDA:   Good afternoon, can you

         10  hear me?  Please be seated, and we will resume with the

         11  cross-examination.

         12            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr. Nobilo, it is your turn.

         13  We were talking about translations, and I see here that

         14  we have a translation in English and in French of the

         15  videotape.

         16                 STJEPAN MESIC (continued)

         17        Cross-examination by MR. NOBILO (continued)

         18       Q.   Thank you, your Honour.

         19            Good afternoon, Mr. Mesic.  We have a

         20  translation -- I do not know if the booth have the

         21  appropriate translation, but, in order to refresh our

         22  memories of the segment that we showed yesterday,

         23  I would like the technical booth to take us back to

         24  that fragment, that excerpt, and then we will look at

         25  the transcript.

Page 7203

          1                    (Videotape played)

          2            THE INTERPRETER: (Translating videotape).

          3            Question:   I must say that nobody was

          4  looking for Mr. Kljujic's resignation.

          5                    (Videotape stopped)

          6            MR. NOBILO:   On page 2, we have the question

          7  and a complete answer, so this was just to refresh our

          8  memory of what happened yesterday.  You said that

          9  nobody asked for this resignation on that meeting; do

         10  you still claim so?

         11       A.   Yes, I do, and I could not have said that

         12  Tudjman asked for it.  I think that we all have enough

         13  logical minds to understand that.

         14       Q.   Very well.  If Tudjman asked for it, why

         15  could you not have said that he asked for it?

         16       A.   First of all, I was the secretary of the

         17  Party and Tudjman was its President and he tasked me

         18  with removing Mr. Kljujic and so this was done in secret

         19  and I could not have stated it openly.

         20            MR. NOBILO:  So this was not completely true.

         21            MR. HARMON:  The only request I have is that

         22  we proceed with a slight pause between the question and

         23  the answer.  The answer is overrunning the question and

         24  it is hard to decipher which is the answer and which is

         25  the question.

Page 7204

          1            JUDGE RIAD:  May I add that the interpreter

          2  would say "question" and "answer"?

          3            JUDGE JORDA:   I think that the President has

          4  nothing more to say.  Everything has been said, so

          5  please continue.

          6            MR. NOBILO:   Thank you.  We will try to move

          7  a bit more slowly for the sake of interpretation.

          8            Yesterday, Mr. Mesic, you mentioned a meeting

          9  which was attended by Tudjman, you, Kostroman, Kordic,

         10  when the referendum of Herzegovina was discussed.  Was

         11  this the referendum about the unity of

         12  Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1 March 1992?

         13       A.   This was the referendum when it was supposed

         14  to be decided whether Bosnia were going to go

         15  independent.

         16       Q.   But as one unified State, and you agree with

         17  me this was on 1 March 1992?

         18       A.   I could not tell you that.

         19       Q.   Was this after Karadordevo?

         20       A.   I could not say that with certainty.

         21       Q.   What was your function at the time of this

         22  meeting?

         23       A.   I am not entirely sure, but I believe I was

         24  the President of the executive committee.

         25       Q.   Of the HDZ party?

Page 7205

          1       A.   Yes, the President of the executive board of

          2  the HDZ party, I believe, but unfortunately, I would

          3  have to consult my notes and I only have my memory

          4  available to me here.

          5       Q.   Do you recall Valenta, what function did he

          6  have?

          7       A.   I must say that these people sort of

          8  overlapped.  Sometimes the entire Bosnian team, that is

          9  the Bosnian HDZ team, was present there and sometimes

         10  there were those who were also in positions in

         11  Bosnia-Herzegovina and sometimes it was in a reduced

         12  number, so I cannot tell you who sat at which meetings,

         13  at what time.

         14       Q.   At that time, you did not have any State

         15  function, so we say that this was a Party meeting?

         16       A.   In 1992, but not all of 1992.  I only held

         17  Party positions, but until the end of 1991 I had both

         18  the Party and -- I held both Party and State positions.

         19       Q.   So, correct me if I am wrong, if the meeting

         20  was held in 1992, this would have been a Party meeting,

         21  and not a State meeting?

         22       A.   That need not be the case.  I would attend

         23  all meetings if I happened to be around.

         24       Q.   Since these meetings are important and you

         25  draw certain significant conclusions based on these, at

Page 7206

          1  least significant to the Defence, I would like to

          2  reconstruct some of these meetings when the Croats were

          3  deciding whether they would participate in the

          4  referendum on independence or not.  Could you tell us

          5  who participated and what was the topic of that

          6  discussion?

          7       A.   Such topics were not always discussed in open

          8  meetings.  Whether the Croats were participating in the

          9  referendum was something that was discussed both in

         10  broader and narrower circles.  The idea that prevailed

         11  was that people should not participate in the

         12  referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  In Croatia, people

         13  believed that they should participate in it.

         14       Q.   You did not understand me.  I think that we

         15  have completed our discussion on this meeting and the

         16  referendum, but my question to you is:  do you recall

         17  any other meetings, any other topics where such people

         18  like Kordic, Kostroman, Valenta, Boban, Tudjman and you

         19  were present?  So, another meeting, if you could tell

         20  us when such other meeting took place, what was the

         21  topic, where it took place, et cetera?

         22       A.   Let me tell you, any problem that concerned

         23  Bosnia-Herzegovina -- the people from HDZ, that is,

         24  from Bosnia, would come to President Tudjman for any

         25  such meeting, so there were many such meetings.  We

Page 7207

          1  should consult documents to see how many there were.

          2  The television recorded most of these meetings.  Now,

          3  as to what was discussed at any of these meetings, it

          4  is too much to ask of me.  All the problems that they

          5  were facing in Bosnia, but also that were facing us,

          6  were the topic of those conversations.

          7            MR. NOBILO:  I understand -- they came to

          8  Tudjman and they talked about things, but I am asking

          9  you about meetings that you attended.  Could you recall

         10  any specific meeting that you attended, what was

         11  discussed.

         12            JUDGE JORDA:   I think that we must make some

         13  progress.  If you have in mind a particular meeting, at

         14  least that is my impression, why do you not ask the

         15  witness, telling him what meeting you have in mind,

         16  because if you do not have such a meeting in mind, then

         17  there is no point.  Either you have in mind a

         18  particular meeting that you want the witness to speak

         19  about, then it is up to you to say so: "Did you

         20  participate in a meeting held on such and such a day?";

         21  otherwise the witness has answered your question.  This

         22  way we are going to use up a lot of time.

         23            MR. NOBILO:   I understand you, Mr. President.

         24  I do not have a specific meeting in mind, but I would

         25  like to know what exactly does the witness recall,

Page 7208

          1  because the witness offered his opinions on a number of

          2  significant topics, but did not provide us with a

          3  foundation with his opinions, so what I am trying to

          4  find out is what the foundation is, because, for

          5  instance --

          6            JUDGE JORDA:   In that case, he has answered

          7  your question.  He said many meetings and he said that

          8  he participated and that certain leaders from

          9  Herceg-Bosna were there.  Otherwise I do not see how we

         10  can persist in that direction.  So, please rephrase

         11  your question.  If you are referring to a style of

         12  meeting, then say so.  I am not taking sides, of

         13  course, with either side, I am the judge, but I do wish

         14  to speed up the debate.  Thank you.

         15            MR. NOBILO:   Very well.

         16            Mr. Mesic, do you recall any meeting with

         17  Tudjman attended by the Bosnian representatives where

         18  some really significant affairs were being decided

         19  upon, such as matters of war -- can you tell us who was

         20  present, what was discussed and who said what at such

         21  occasion?

         22       A.   I believe that I was quite clear.  In those

         23  meetings the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina was

         24  discussed, certainly and, also, the defence of certain

         25  narrower areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but, listen,

Page 7209

          1  these meetings sometimes did not have a real agenda.

          2  It was discussed -- when people would come from Bosnia,

          3  certain topics were floated and I cannot really say

          4  what was specifically discussed, but it was a dual

          5  policy -- you know, officially we had recognised

          6  Bosnia-Herzegovina, officially we were for a unified

          7  Bosnia-Herzegovina, but we also had another policy.  We

          8  established Herceg-Bosna, just as Milosevic had

          9  established Republika Srpska, which was not supporting

         10  the whole of Bosnia.  They say about my going to

         11  Sarajevo.  How could I have gone to Sarajevo?

         12       Q.   So, you cannot recall any specific meetings,

         13  very well, we will move on.  One additional question

         14  regarding the meetings:  was there a decision ever

         15  taken to start a war, to attack the Muslims, at

         16  meetings that you attended?

         17       A.   I do not know of any such decision.

         18       Q.   You held important positions.  What, in your

         19  opinion, was the main reason for the conflict of

         20  Muslims and Croats in the territory of

         21  Bosnia-Herzegovina?

         22       A.   Is this my opinion now?

         23       Q.   Yes, I would like your opinion.

         24       A.   I believe that Tudjman was impressed by the

         25  successes of Slobodan Milosevic in the breaking up of

Page 7210

          1  Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he was convinced that

          2  Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot survive, and he thought that

          3  a part where the majority of Croatian population lived

          4  could be structured as Croatian territory, which at

          5  some point could be annexed to Croatia and that a small

          6  Bosnia, a "little Bosnia", as he called it, would

          7  remain, which would be Muslim.  I see no other reason

          8  for -- I see no reasons why Muslims would attack

          9  Croatian positions.  I find it of little credibility,

         10  because Bosnia received all its assistance from

         11  Croatia, so for Bosnia -- Bosnia would then destroy the

         12  only way in which it was receiving assistance.  There

         13  is no logic in it.

         14       Q.   Very well.  What would be the logic of Croats

         15  supporting the Bosnian army and then going to fight it?

         16       A.   The estimate must have been that Bosnia would

         17  not survive and that Croatia should get its own part.

         18            MR. NOBILO:   Let me now read you something

         19  which you stated at some point.  I would then like to

         20  ask you whether you recall your statement and then

         21  I would like you to comment on it.  So, there is

         22  Vecernji List of 15 May 199 -- and you mentioned that

         23  Bosnia would receive from the west the status of

         24  ancillary -- for the interpreting booths, it is

         25  document number 4.  Let me repeat this.  There are

Page 7211

          1  documents in the French and English booths and in the

          2  top right corner there is number 4.  On page number 2

          3  of this document --

          4            MR. HARMON:  Excuse me, will a copy, or has a

          5  copy been made available to the Prosecutor of this

          6  particular document?  I find it somewhat difficult to

          7  follow the examination if there are copies in English

          8  provided to the booth but none provided to the

          9  Prosecutor's Office.

         10            MR. NOBILO:   Mr. President, I just wanted to

         11  speed up the process, because the Prosecutor does not

         12  speak Croatian.  If Mr. Mesic agrees that this is his

         13  statement, I believe it is not necessary to distribute

         14  it around the courtroom.  However, if the Trial Chamber

         15  finds it necessary, we have enough copies.  However,

         16  I will just use it now in support of my question.

         17            MR. HARMON:  Mr. President, I would request a

         18  copy.

         19            JUDGE JORDA:   I think, indeed, it would be

         20  better that copies should be given to the Prosecution.

         21  Nobody is reproaching you for providing copies to the

         22  booth.  On the contrary, that is a good idea, but the

         23  Prosecution would also like a copy.

         24            MR. HARMON:  It may also be appropriate to

         25  provide a copy of the article to the witness so he can

Page 7212

          1  review the article and put his comments in context.

          2            JUDGE JORDA:   Yes, I think so, for the

          3  purpose of identification.  Mr. Nobilo?

          4            MR. NOBILO:   Yes, but we are losing a lot of

          5  time in this way.  But we have a sufficient number of

          6  copies for everyone.

          7            Very well, Mr. Mesic --

          8            MR. HARMON:  Sorry to interrupt, counsel, but

          9  I have a copy in Croatian and not in English.  I assume

         10  there was a copy of this translated that was provided

         11  to the English booth.

         12            MR. NOBILO:   No, it does not exist.

         13            MR. HARMON:  I apologise.

         14            MR. NOBILO:   There is no translation.  I just

         15  provided it to the booths in order to make their work

         16  easier.  There is only a Croatian version.

         17            MR. HARMON:  Thank you.

         18            JUDGE JORDA:   We will have them tomorrow or

         19  the day after, the translations.

         20            Mr. Harmon, you will have the translations.

         21  For the moment we are going to trust the booths in an

         22  effort to speed up the debate.

         23            MR. NOBILO:   Mr. Mesic, will you please turn

         24  to page number 2 of this and look at the orange

         25  highlight of what I am going to read?  But I am going

Page 7213

          1  to just point you to the second question, that is, the

          2  second bullet at the bottom of the page.  It says:

          3            "The newest thing that the Croats from

          4  Bosnia-Herzegovina" -- and Croatia is mentioned as well

          5  -- "are accorded by the West a status of an ancillary

          6  aggressor and so the HVO units are also being called

          7  'paramilitaries'."

          8            Your answer is:

          9            "This, too, is part of the whole scenario.

         10  The guilt should be divided between Croatia and Serbia

         11  and alleviate the responsibility of Serbia, because

         12  here we have Croats guilty, too.  This needs to be

         13  decoded.  The Croats in Bosnia have to react right away

         14  and take those who are guilty to court and get rid of

         15  those who fell victims to the Serb trickery and who

         16  started cooperating with the Muslims."

         17            Before this second answer and question, there

         18  is another one, the first one.  The question is:

         19            "Why are the truces signed between Croats and

         20  Muslims not succeeding?"

         21            That was the question.  The answer is:

         22            "Conflicts are still being created, because

         23  the Serb aggressive army is still considerably

         24  stronger than the Croatian and Muslim armies in

         25  Bosnia-Herzegovina, because in those areas the

Page 7214

          1  front-lines cannot be moved.  It is clear then that

          2   `pushing' in the small area continues.  The only way

          3  out is for the world to go into action against the

          4  aggressor, against the Serb and Bosnian Serbs, who

          5  are still receiving assistance from Serbia, because

          6  what is going on now is just a show.  The West still

          7  does not understand these tricks."

          8            Mr. Mesic, let us first see whether this was

          9  your interview granted to Vecernji List and whether

         10  this is what you told the journalist?

         11       A.   Yes.

         12       Q.   You expressed the opinion here that the main

         13  culprit are the Serbs, who have pushed the Croats and

         14  Muslims within a small area, and, as a result of that,

         15  the conflict occurred between them.  Do you still

         16  believe in that?

         17       A.   It is true that they were elbowing each

         18  other, but I did not say who were the people involved,

         19  for I belong to the Croatian Democratic Union at the

         20  time, the Party in power at the time in Croatia, which

         21  on the one hand was collaborating and maintaining

         22  contact with the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, whereas

         23  on the other, we had a natural alliance with the second

         24  victim of aggression, and, clearly, I had to manoeuvre

         25  here in my second answer, when I said that cooperation

Page 7215

          1  with the Muslims needs to be achieved as soon as

          2  possible.  I am sure you have noticed that.

          3            Actually, through the Party and through the

          4  State mechanisms in Croatia, I was advocating until the

          5  end of 1993 cooperation with the Muslims, and an end to

          6  our suicidal cooperation with Milosevic, or, rather,

          7  the talks with Milosevic.  I kept insisting on the need

          8  for Croats and Muslims to be together so that one

          9  aggressor should be isolated so that the west would

         10  intervene sooner.

         11       Q.   But are you renouncing the allegation that

         12  the main cause of the Croatian/Muslim conflict is the

         13  fact that the Croats and Muslims were squeezed together

         14  on 30 per cent of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina

         15  and that it was a battle for territory?

         16       A.   Certainly that was one of the causes, a

         17  battle for territory, but the main cause is Serb

         18  aggression.  I still think that, but that does not

         19  amnesty anyone or pardon anyone for opening up a new

         20  front against one's ally.

         21            MR. NOBILO:  I will read to you an opinion you

         22  expressed to the editor of Globus -- we perhaps do not

         23  have to distribute it for the sake of expediency.

         24            MR. HARMON:  Again, Mr. President, I am

         25  prepared to sacrifice expediency for the ability to

Page 7216

          1  look at and analyse these documents in toto.  I would

          2  ask a copy be provided to Mr. Mesic as well, to give him

          3  an opportunity to put his comments in context.  I would

          4  make that request in respect of each document that

          5  Mr. Nobilo intends to quote.

          6            MR. HAYMAN:   Mr. President, that is fine.  My

          7  gracious -- very gracious colleague is handing these

          8  out.  I just note, when you ask a witness whether he

          9  remembers making a statement, there is no obligation to

         10  show him an article or a book or something, and there

         11  are lots of questions that have been posed in this

         12  trial, including by the Prosecution, incorporating

         13  material that they have in their vast archives which we

         14  do not have, we are never going to be given and they

         15  are never going to concede to give to us, so I urge

         16  caution with respect to any judgement passed on the

         17  Prosecutor's request which my colleague is graciously

         18  accommodating.

         19            JUDGE JORDA:   Just a moment, please.  Every

         20  time there is an agreement, I think one should support

         21  it.  After all, Mr. Hayman, we are not here to thank

         22  respectfully Mr. Nobilo.  I think we have to ensure

         23  equality of arms.  The witness first has to identify

         24  the article.  These are interviews, he is a politician,

         25  he granted a number of interviews.  He reads the papers

Page 7217

          1  and this will refresh his memory.  It seems to me quite

          2  normal for the Prosecutor to have the source and to be

          3  able to use his right of response.

          4            I do appeal to the goodwill of everyone and

          5  I think this is a necessary requirement for the

          6  cross-examination.

          7            Mr. Hayman, I see you want to add something

          8  and I shall gladly hear you.

          9            MR. HAYMAN:   Just to put in the record that

         10  when Prosecution witness after Prosecution witness

         11  testified, stating that they had refreshed their

         12  recollection prior to their testimony using the

         13  Cheshire regiment radio logs, using other documents of

         14  the Cheshire regiment in preparing their testimony,

         15  which had not been provided to the Defence and have

         16  never been provided to the Defence; the Defence asked

         17  for those and our request was denied.  I just want to

         18  put that in the record.  I think Mr. Nobilo is being

         19  very gracious, but there are difficult legal questions

         20  here.  Mr. Harmon's request -- if it is in the nature of

         21  a legal demand, there is no basis for it.

         22            JUDGE JORDA:   For the moment, it is not a

         23  legal request; it is a judicial request.  So that the

         24  debate can continue, I would ask Mr. Nobilo to continue

         25  with his cross-examination, allowing the witness to

Page 7218

          1  consult this article in the newspaper.  I do not think

          2  this is very complicated, and I think this is the best

          3  way to proceed.  So, please continue, Mr. Nobilo.

          4            MR. NOBILO:   Thank you, Mr. President.

          5            For the benefit of the interpreters, this is

          6  document number 2.  It is a copy of three pages of the

          7  Globus of 11 March 1992 [sic], and on page 2 it is

          8  indicated in yellow, and I will read the question and

          9  the answer.  The question:

         10            "In the late autumn of 1992, the first

         11  conflicts broke out between the Croats and the

         12  Muslims.  The Muslims accused the Croats, saying that

         13  Zagreb had provoked and planned the conflict, not

         14  perhaps the conflict but the end of negotiations."

         15            Your answer:

         16            "No, that cannot be true.  I took part in the

         17  work of the highest bodies of this State, and never,

         18  not for a moment did we plan a war with the Muslims.

         19  That never even occurred to us.  Whether an individual

         20  may have wished for such a conflict is another matter

         21  which needs to be looked into."

         22            So, my question on the basis of this

         23  quotation is:  first, is this what you said, and

         24  whether it is correct, and whether you still believe

         25  that?

Page 7219

          1       A.   Yes, I did say that.  Officially, a decision

          2  was never taken within the Croatian leadership to wage

          3  a war against the Muslims, and you saw the reservation

          4  I expressed, whether individuals wanted it, and this

          5  leads to the logical conclusion that maybe they did,

          6  and this is another question -- a separate question.

          7       Q.   But I am drawing your attention to the fact

          8  that you never said, "officially nobody took such a

          9  decision", but you said "never, not for a moment, did

         10  it ever occur to us to wage war against the Muslims",

         11  so you did not say there that no official decision was

         12  taken?

         13       A.   I am talking about us, which means meetings

         14  where I attended, so that I can assert for sure.  We

         15  did not plan a war against the Muslims at any meeting

         16  that I attended.

         17            JUDGE JORDA:   I am told that the date of the

         18  article is 1994 and not 1992, as indicated in the

         19  transcript.

         20            MR. NOBILO:   Document number 2 is dated

         21  11 March 1994.

         22            JUDGE JORDA:   Very well.  So apparently

         23  there was an error in the transcript, and this is

         24  rather important.

         25            MR. NOBILO:   Yes, indeed, 1994.

Page 7220

          1            To meet the request of my learned friend,

          2  I would ask the usher to give at least to the

          3  Prosecution and the witness, Mr. Mesic, the next

          4  newspaper article and, for the Registry and for the

          5  interpreters, this is document number 11.

          6            This is the Vecernji List, dated 1 October

          7  1993.  I will read what is marked in yellow and red.

          8  This is a quotation of your statement:

          9            "We said that the former JNA occupied about

         10  70 per cent of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

         11  even though Serbs account for only 33 per cent of the

         12  population.  The Muslims and Croats are crammed on

         13  30 per cent of the territory, so that this happened as

         14  it did.  Behind this lack of understanding is the fact

         15  that it suits many interests to have the blame shared,

         16  so that if both the Serbs and the Muslims and the

         17  Croats are to blame, then there is no sense in them

         18  interfering in the conflict."

         19            That is what you said on 1 October 1993.  So,

         20  my first question is:  do you remember this article and

         21  did you say this and, secondly, do you still today

         22  believe this?

         23       A.   I think that I have already answered a

         24  similar question that you have asked me.  It was my

         25  interest to achieve peace between the Croats and

Page 7221

          1  Muslims and not to look for culprits between them, but

          2  for them to act together and at the same time it was in

          3  our interest to isolate the Serb aggressor and to

          4  win over the international community against them.  So

          5  this was a ploy that I was able to use at the time,

          6  because I was a senior official of both the HDZ and the

          7  Croatian State and clearly I could not make any

          8  accusations against Croatia.

          9       Q.   Did you say this (indicating)?

         10       A.   Yes.

         11       Q.   Will you tell us simply:  is this true or not

         12  (indicating), what is written here?

         13       A.   I will answer once again:  it is true that

         14  the Serbs had conquered 70 per cent of the territory;

         15  it is true that the Croats and Muslims were squeezed on

         16  30 per cent; and it is true that I sought an alliance

         17  between the Croats and Muslims in order to isolate a

         18  single aggressor, and in order that the international

         19  community would react.  As a senior State functionary

         20  I was not able to say the Croats provoked the conflict

         21  with the Muslims, for understandable reasons -- whether

         22  I lacked courage or was waiting for some other

         23  predictions of mine to come true and that is to gain a

         24  critical mass, and this set in after the New Year of

         25  1994 when I decided to form a Party, of which you, too,

Page 7222

          1  were a member.

          2       Q.   At the founding assembly in support, I was

          3  there?

          4       A.   That is proof I pursued a good policy.

          5            MR. NOBILO:  Yes, but you are now saying

          6  something else as compared to what you said then.

          7            JUDGE JORDA:   The International Tribunal is

          8  not at all qualified to assess enrolment in various

          9  Parties at any point.  So, really, whether Mr. Nobilo

         10  was a member or not of any Party has very little to do

         11  with this.  As we have all had a laugh, we can now

         12  continue.

         13            MR. NOBILO:  Yes, I am an attorney and as such

         14  I have to be apolitical.

         15            You said that the Croatian community of

         16  Herceg-Bosna was formed similarly to the formation of

         17  Republika Srpska as a consequence of the agreement

         18  between Tudjman and Milosevic in Karadordevo?

         19       A.   I do not know exactly what was agreed in

         20  Karadordevo.  All I know is what I was told about

         21  Karadordevo.  What the arrangements reached there were,

         22  I do not know.  I am only aware of the consequences.

         23       Q.   Very well.  You have the Globus of 11 October

         24  already and so has the Prosecution and the Registry.

         25  Will you look at page 3 and at the end of that page you

Page 7223

          1  will see marked in yellow your reply, and I quote:

          2            "The Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina,

          3  through Herceg-Bosna, acquired an elementary

          4  territorial stronghold without which the negotiations

          5  which led to the Bosnia Croat federation would not have

          6  been possible.  That was also the only raison d’être of

          7  Herceg-Bosna.  Recall, however, the assembly

          8  declaration, which clearly states that Herceg-Bosna is

          9  only one of the forms of the realisation of the

         10  sovereignty of the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  That

         11  form no longer appears to be necessary."

         12            The date is 11 March 1994.  Did you say that?

         13       A.   I did, but I must explain what this refers

         14  to.  A declaration was adopted in the SABOR or the

         15  Parliament which is referred to here and the HDZ

         16  leadership required that Herceg-Bosna should be

         17  described as the only form of the achievement of the

         18  Croat sovereignty in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  However, we

         19  managed to state that it was only one of the forms, and

         20  since Herceg-Bosna had already been formed, and as its

         21  end was in sight, I no longer needed to attack

         22  Herceg-Bosna, but, rather, resorted to this kind of

         23  wording, because, at the time, I had still not decided

         24  to break definitely with the HDZ leadership.

         25       Q.   Before delving into this issue in greater

Page 7224

          1  detail, would you please look at another newspaper

          2  which also refers to the existence and raison d’être of

          3  Herceg-Bosna.  It is again an issue of Globus, dated 20

          4  August 1993.  It is document number 5 for the

          5  interpreters.

          6            Will you please look at the second page of

          7  Globus of 20 August 1993, and I quote:

          8            "Do you think that the policy of Herceg-Bosna

          9  provoked the exodus of Croats from Central Bosnia?"

         10            That is the question.  And your answer:

         11            "This is a trendy simplification, which is

         12  lately being repeated too often in public.

         13  Herceg-Bosna enabled, more than a year ago, the

         14  survival of Bosnia as a State.  It assisted the Muslims

         15  to prepare for defence.  Thanks to the good

         16  organisation of the Croats, a good portion of

         17  Bosnia-Herzegovina survived and, when talking about the

         18  conflict between Croats and Muslims and the exodus of

         19  the Croats, the main cause of this is being neglected

         20  -- the Serb aggression, which suppressed and squeezed

         21  the Croats and Muslims within a too narrow space over

         22  which they are now fighting.

         23            I am confident that relations between Muslims

         24  and Croats can be improved.  A great deal of political

         25  will is required for us to emerge from that conflict,

Page 7225

          1  after which, after the end of the Muslim/Croat war, for

          2  us to be able to negotiate on a more equal footing with

          3  the real aggressor in Bosnia, with the Serbs."

          4            So, this newspaper is dated 20 August 1993.

          5  For the interests of authentication, I have to ask you,

          6  is this your interview?

          7       A.   Yes.

          8       Q.   Do you still support this statement that

          9  Herceg-Bosna assisted in halting the Serb attacks; the

         10  Croats, being better organised, did they, as a result,

         11  save Bosnia as a State?

         12       A.   My answer has to be worded slightly

         13  differently, namely, as a high official of the HDZ, as

         14  a senior functionary of the Croatian State but coming

         15  from the ranks of the HDZ, the official policy of which

         16  was in favour of the establishment of Herceg-Bosna --

         17  at the time I had to use this Aesop-type language to

         18  endorse the policy that was publicly inaugurated while

         19  at the same time seeking peace with the Muslims and

         20  resistance against the Serb aggression.  That was my

         21  aim in providing such an answer.

         22       Q.   I must put this more simply.  The Trial

         23  Chamber is interested in learning whether this was true

         24  what you said then.  Will you just simply tell us, was

         25  it true or not?

Page 7226

          1       A.   It is not possible to answer in that way, was

          2  it true or not.  This was the HDZ truth, and the other

          3  part of my reply is my truth and that is that we had to

          4  form an alliance, as the victims of aggression.

          5       Q.   If I understand you well, whether you tell

          6  the truth or not depended on the policy of the Party to

          7  which you belonged at the time; is that so?

          8       A.   I was quite clear -- in the first part of my

          9  response to the question of the journalist, I stated

         10  virtually the official position of the Croatian

         11  Democratic Union as my position, but that was the

         12  policy of the HDZ, and then I go on to stress an

         13  alliance among the victims of aggression and the

         14  identification of the true aggressor, while calling on

         15  the international community to act against that

         16  aggressor.

         17       Q.   But what you said in the first part of your

         18  answer as the policy of the HDZ, was that the truth?

         19       A.   It was not quite the truth, because it is a

         20  fact that erroneous Croatian policy had resulted in the

         21  majority of Croats seeking their fortune and happiness

         22  in Croatia rather than in Bosnia-Herzegovina, precisely

         23  because of that erroneous policy, and it is probably --

         24  that is probably the reason why most of the Croats who

         25  have moved out of Bosnia-Herzegovina are facing

Page 7227

          1  problems, because the HDZ did not take part in the last

          2  elections in the Serb republic.  Why?  Because if they

          3  had, in many municipalities with a majority of Croatian

          4  population, the Croats would have won and we would now

          5  have our representatives, our town mayors and we would

          6  have the chance of going back to those areas, but,

          7  obviously, a game is still ongoing conducive to the

          8  division of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

          9       Q.   Let me not go on with these citations,

         10  because there are many articles of this kind.  Can we

         11  conclude that you did not always tell the truth -- it

         12  depended on the political objectives of the Party you

         13  belonged to?

         14       A.   Only my wife believes that I always tell the

         15  truth.

         16       Q.   Thank you for saying this in court.  You said

         17  that, in Bosnia, there was multi-ethnic co-existence.

         18  Could you tell me whether Bosnia ever existed as a

         19  State without being under the control of another power

         20  -- when I say "ever", I am referring to the modern

         21  age, in the past couple of hundred years -- or was it

         22  always under the patronage or the rule of a foreign

         23  power?

         24       A.   Yes, if we look at the medieval Bosnia, it

         25  was an independent State longer than Croatia.

Page 7228

          1       Q.   But, under the Hungarian empire?

          2       A.   Yes, but within its own borders.

          3       Q.   I am referring to the times when it was just

          4  fully independent?

          5       A.   Well, it had its own kings -- kings that were

          6  endorsed by the Popes -- and in my mind there is no

          7  doubt, there is no question that it was independent.

          8       Q.   Well, it was under Hungarian rule, then the

          9  Turkish rule and the Yugoslav rule?

         10       A.   That is all true.

         11            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr. Nobilo has had expert

         12  witnesses talking about history.  We are not here at a

         13  meeting on political science, so please proceed to your

         14  next question.

         15            MR. NOBILO:  Thank you, Mr. President.  This

         16  was not really a very significant question.  This was

         17  just sort of an aside.

         18            Mr. Mesic, you talked about the Banovina and

         19  Tudjman's criticism of the Banovina.  I think what you

         20  wanted to say there did not quite enter the

         21  transcript.  When Tudjman criticised the history, that

         22  is, when he criticised the decision of Tito and the

         23  Communists in 1945 to make Bosnia a separate republic,

         24  did he stop at criticism of the historical decisions,

         25  let us say, of 1945, or of the Banovina, or did he say,

Page 7229

          1  "Now, in 1991, we need to create Banovina of Croatia

          2  and we need to break up Bosnia"?  When you were

          3  discussing the issues on Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is,

          4  I am referring to the period before the independence of

          5  Croatia, that is, in the 80s, did he criticise the

          6  decisions of Marshal Tito, or did he continue to

          7  advocate the break-up of Bosnia and the creation of

          8  Banovina?

          9       A.   I think that I was quite clear on this.

         10  According to him, the Banovina was a great achievement,

         11  but there were certain parts that were still not

         12  included there, so he thought that this was a great

         13  achievement, but not a complete one, so that is why he

         14  criticised Vlatko Marcic, who was responsible for this

         15  decision.

         16            The other thing was the creation of the

         17  federal States after World War II.  His view was that

         18  Bosnia-Herzegovina should not have been created; that

         19  Bosnia should have been annexed to Croatia just as

         20  Kosovo and Vojvodina were annexed to Serbia and this is

         21  what he repeated now.

         22            I do not know if you read recently the

         23  materials of his last congress of the HDZ -- this was

         24  last month -- he again accused the Croatian Communists

         25  on issues of the borders and Bosnia and he accuses them

Page 7230

          1  of having the wrong positions on that.  He repeats this

          2  now.

          3            However, after Karadordevo, after all these

          4  negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic, who was our

          5  aggressor, we saw what his Chief-of-Staff says, and his

          6  Chief-of-Staff is his spokesman, that is Hrvoje

          7  Sarinic.  He says that Serbia has to come out of this

          8  war as a "small greater Serbia", which means that, if

          9  Serbia is given certain territorial concessions, it is

         10  very logical to conclude that, behind it, some other

         11  aspirations may be hiding.  I am not going to try to go

         12  very deeply into this topic, but there were two

         13  policies -- there was one that was public, with which

         14  I agreed, and there was a side policy, which led the

         15  Croats into the conflict with the Muslims, which

         16  resulted in great casualties and we are still climbing

         17  out of that.

         18       Q.   I would like to ask you to give me very

         19  succinct answers to a series of questions.  Karadordevo

         20  took place in 1991.  If Tudjman and Milosevic achieved

         21  an agreement in 1991, how do you explain that, after

         22  Karadordevo, the war actually started, that Vukovar and

         23  Dubrovnik were attacked, that the Croats lost

         24  Posavina, that Jajce fell.  So, the greatest fighting

         25  between the Serbs and Croats happened after Karadordevo

Page 7231

          1  and Karadordevo supposedly resulted in agreement.  How

          2  do you explain this?

          3       A.   I can only repeat what Tudjman said after he

          4  came back from Karadordevo.  I do not know what they

          5  agreed on.  I was very clear on what he said.  If you

          6  ask me my opinion, that is something completely

          7  different.  My opinion is that Tudjman was in conflict

          8  with Milosevic over Croatia, even though I can say that

          9  Serbs were tricked by Milosevic, because, when faced

         10  with a real choice, he proved that he did not care

         11  about the Serbs.  He just promised them that all Serbs

         12  would live in the same State, but he was cheating

         13  them.  He needed the Serbs as a detonator so that he

         14  would transfer the war into Bosnia.

         15            When Bora Jovic told me that they were not

         16  interested in Croatian Serbs, that they were not

         17  interested in Croatian territories, that we could

         18  impale the Serbs for all they know, because they were

         19  our citizens -- all they were interested in was the

         20  66 per cent of Bosnia, and this is what they would

         21  take.  That was Serbia and that is going to be Serb

         22  and that would remain Serb -- that is how he put

         23  it.

         24            So, for him, the real issue was the division

         25  of Bosnia and he needed Croats to detonate the whole

Page 7232

          1  situation.  Tudjman drew certain conclusions on that

          2  basis.  Whether he believed Milosevic that he had no

          3  aspirations towards the Croatian territory -- maybe he

          4  believed that at some day this will be levelled out,

          5  but, in Bosnia, some strange situations took place.

          6  For instance, Mate Boban, after Graz, stated that Serbs

          7  and Croats had no unresolved issues left in

          8  Bosnia-Herzegovina.

          9            There are great unresolved issues between

         10  Serbs and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, precisely

         11  because Serb aggression took place and it left the

         12  consequences that it did.  To then say that we have no

         13  unresolved issues, to me, was disastrous and, in the

         14  end, Tudjman said of Boban that he was the only person

         15  who understood his policy.

         16       Q.   You did not answer directly?  Are you saying

         17  that the JNA did not attack Vukovar?

         18       A.   I was actually the commander-in-chief of this

         19  army.  Yes, it did attack Vukovar, it attacked it

         20  fiercely.  The army was in the function of Serbs, but

         21  the army was looking for someone who was going to

         22  finance it.  The army -- the top -- went to Milosevic

         23  because they felt threatened -- if Slovenia, Croatia,

         24  Bosnia, Macedonia, fell off, who was going to supply

         25  this huge army?  It was the fifth largest army in

Page 7233

          1  Europe and the army was looking for the largest

          2  possible territory that would be left under Milosevic's

          3  control at the end of the day.  Throughout the period

          4  when I was in Belgrade, no general ever came to talk to

          5  me.

          6            I went to talk to Kadijevic several times,

          7  but they never came.  However, they were in daily touch

          8  with Milosevic and he had control over the army.  That

          9  means Slobodan Milosevic wanted to expand the borders

         10  of greater Serbia and the army assisted him in that.

         11  This is why they were attacking the territories that

         12  they believed that Milosevic could preserve within this

         13  greater Serbia, so they were involved in the same job,

         14  but their interests were different.

         15       Q.   But, you said that Tudjman came back from

         16  Karadordevo and he said first the army is not going to

         17  attack you.  "I agreed with Milosevic, they wanted a

         18  certain percentage of Bosnia, but, after that, the army

         19  attacks."  So, had the agreement been reached; did they

         20  not break it -- the army attacked fiercely, not just

         21  Croatia?  You know that the real war started then,

         22  Dubrovnik and Vukovar are attacked but also Posavina

         23  and Jajce fell at that time, so these areas fell to the

         24  Serbs.  How does that dovetail with the agreement?

         25       A.   That means that they did not abide by the

Page 7234

          1  agreement.

          2       Q.   Thank you.

          3            You held high State offices.  I am just going

          4  to read you the titles of certain documents and of

          5  certain decisions of the leadership of Croatia in

          6  respect of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I would just like you to

          7  confirm whether such things happened.  I know that this

          8  is hard to all keep in your mind, but maybe you will be

          9  able to recall it and it will be important in deciding

         10  things on what happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         11            First, regarding the referendum on the

         12  independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina of 1 March 1992, on

         13  6 April 1992 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina

         14  proclaimed its independence and the next day, on

         15  7 April 1992, the Republic of Croatia, by the decision

         16  of President Franjo Tudjman, was one of the first

         17  States to have recognised the integrity and the

         18  sovereignty and independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is

         19  that true?

         20       A.   Yes.

         21       Q.   On 8 July 1992 a joint statement between the

         22  Presidents of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, Franjo

         23  Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic was signed in Helsinki;

         24  do you recall that Helsinki joint statement?

         25       A.   I do not exactly but I believe it could have

Page 7235

          1  happened.

          2       Q.   On 19 July 1992, the Presidency of the

          3  Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted a decision on

          4  establishment of the provisional office of

          5  Bosnia-Herzegovina in Croatia?

          6       A.   I believe, yes, it did happen, but I do not

          7  recall the date.

          8       Q.   On 21 July 1992, in Zagreb, an agreement was

          9  signed between the Republic of Croatia and

         10  Bosnia-Herzegovina on the establishment of diplomatic

         11  relations?

         12       A.   Yes.

         13       Q.   On 23 September 1992 the participants of the

         14  London conference signed in New York an annex to the

         15  agreement on friendship and cooperation between the

         16  Presidents Tudjman and Izetbegovic?

         17       A.   Correct.

         18       Q.   On 29 September 1992, the ambassador,

         19  Dr. Sancevic was appointed ambassador to Croatia?

         20       A.   Yes, and his seat was in Zagreb.  Also, let

         21  me just add he later left.

         22       Q.   When the hostilities died down?

         23       A.   Yes.

         24       Q.   Dr. Sancevic was the first foreign diplomat to

         25  give his credential to President Izetbegovic in

Page 7236

          1  Sarajevo?

          2       A.   Yes.

          3       Q.   On 12 February 1993, in a letter of

          4  Dr. Tudjman to Mr. Izetbegovic -- in fact, this was an

          5  answer to a letter of 6 November and he agrees to the

          6  establishment of economic relations between the two

          7  States.  There was agreement in New York between the

          8  Muslims -- Dr. Izetbegovic, Silajdzic and Mr. Boban and

          9  Mr. Akmadzic on future constitutional arrangements of

         10  Bosnia-Herzegovina, between the Muslim and Croatian

         11  populations?

         12       A.   I do not recall this, but if you say so.

         13       Q.   On 25 March 1993 Mr. Izetbegovic signed the

         14  Vance-Owen Plan regarding the maps, and it is

         15  entitled "The Agreement on Provisional Arrangements of

         16  Bosnia-Herzegovina" -- do you recall that?

         17       A.   I believe they did sign that.

         18       Q.   On 27 March 1993, a joint statement was

         19  signed on close cooperation between the Republic of

         20  Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  This was between

         21  Dr. Tudjman and Mr. Izetbegovic -- during the visit of

         22  Dr. Silajdzic to the President of Croatia, Dr. Franjo

         23  Tudjman.  Do you recall this?

         24       A.   No, I do not recall that.

         25       Q.   On 2 May 1993, a meeting was held in Athens

Page 7237

          1  on the final peace arrangements for Bosnia-Herzegovina;

          2  do you recall that?

          3       A.   I do recall the Athens meeting but not the

          4  contents.

          5       Q.   Here is a document of 11 May 1993, 9th

          6  session of the Council for Defence and Security, and

          7  the renewed hostilities between the Croatian units and

          8  the Bosnian units were discussed, because the Republic

          9  of Croatia is mentioned by foreign sources as being

         10  also involved, and the positions of the Republic of

         11  Croatia are stated as follows.  First:

         12            1. Immediate cessation of hostilities because

         13  it is harmful to both sides.

         14            2.  Implement the Vance-Owen Plan as soon as

         15  possible, wherever it is viable.

         16            3.  In the agreement, a joint command is

         17  defined between the Croatian and Muslim armed forces.

         18            4.  The council denies the rumours that there

         19  are units of regular Croatian armies involved and a

         20  mission of goodwill is set up and Mr. Izetbegovic and

         21  Mr. Akmadzic -- it is proposed by these two gentlemen

         22  that a meeting take place, which would be attended by

         23  Mr. Tudjman; do you recall this meeting of May 1993?

         24       A.   Yes, I do recall it specifically, because it

         25  related to the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan.

Page 7238

          1  Fortunately, the Serbs did not sign that plan, because

          2  it is one of the big reasons of the great suffering on

          3  both the Croat and Muslim sides.  You see that the

          4  pressure was exerted so that this plan be implemented

          5  as soon as possible, which would mean the territorial

          6  division of all three ethnic groups, which would have

          7  condoned the ethnic cleansing that had taken place.

          8       Q.   And here is something that relates directly

          9  to you.  This is 10 June 1993 in Zagreb:

         10            "President of the Parliament of the Republic

         11  of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesic, and Josip Manolic

         12  received a 6-member delegation of the people from

         13  Travnik" -- that is in Central Bosnia -- "and the

         14  topics included the assistance to the Croats in Central

         15  Bosnia, defence of the Lasva River valley, the

         16  quietening down of the conflict, asking for protection

         17  of the Muslim refugees in Croatia.  Mesic and

         18  Izetbegovic talked on the phone and Mr. Izetbegovic

         19  arrived in Zagreb that same day."

         20            Can you add anything to that?

         21       A.   No, just what is written there.  I have

         22  nothing to add to that.

         23       Q.   Do you recall that Mr. Semso Tankovic -- he is

         24  the President of the SDA in Croatia -- on 10 June 1993,

         25  in Zagreb, sent a open letter to Alija Izetbegovic and

Page 7239

          1  Mate Boban, asking of them to openly talk in Geneva

          2  about joint fighting against the real aggressor and

          3  also against the ethnic cleansing in Muslim Capljina

          4  and also of Croats in the Lasva River valley. Do you

          5  remember this open letter of Mr. Tankovic?

          6       A.   I do recall he intervened publicly on several

          7  occasions and I accept the possibility that this could

          8  have been one of those.

          9       Q.   Very well.  Just one more item; 13 June 1993

         10  -- a document in Geneva relating to the cessation of

         11  hostilities between the Croats and Muslims; do you

         12  recall that?

         13       A.   Yes.

         14            JUDGE JORDA:   Any more questions, Mr. Nobilo.

         15            MR. NOBILO:   I do, Mr. President.  This was

         16  rounding up one subject, so I do not know what your

         17  plans are.

         18            JUDGE JORDA:   If my colleagues agree, I was

         19  going to propose that we have a 15-minute break for the

         20  interpreters and everyone else to have a rest and then

         21  to proceed until 7 or quarter to 7.  So we will have a

         22  break now and resume at quarter past 6.

         23            (5.55pm)

         24                    (A short break)

         25            (6.25pm).

Page 7240

          1            JUDGE JORDA:  Yes, you may continue,

          2  Mr. Nobilo.

          3                MR. NOBILO:   Yes, thank you,

          4  Mr. President.

          5            Mr. Mesic, would you agree with me if I say

          6  all the armaments throughout the war that reached the

          7  BiH army reached it from Croatia or passing through

          8  Croatian territory?  Virtually all of it?

          9       A.   I would not quite agree, because most of the

         10  weapons were captured by the BiH army from the hands of

         11  the aggressor and a part of it certainly reached them

         12  via Croatia.

         13       Q.   Can we rephrase the question?  The part that

         14  it did not capture?

         15       A.   Yes, it could have only reached them via

         16  Croatia.

         17       Q.   Humanitarian aid, both to the people of

         18  Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as the BiH army in terms of

         19  food, as they were not manufacturing anything, did all

         20  the humanitarian aid also come through Croatia?

         21       A.   Yes, it came through Croatia, and through

         22  those parts under the control of the HVO.  But I must

         23  make a reservation, namely, I attended quite a number

         24  of discussions that we had with foreign States sending

         25  aid, and we always negotiated a share that had to be

Page 7241

          1  left for us -- both of the humanitarian aid and the

          2  weapons, Croatia always kept a part for itself.

          3       Q.   But, with the approval of the Croatian

          4  Government -- the Croatian Government gave approval for

          5  everything that went to Bosnia?

          6       A.   Yes, but it took a share for itself.

          7       Q.   The refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina, let us

          8  look at the Muslims:  can we say that quite a number of

          9  them were accommodated and fed in Croatia, even during

         10  the Croatian/Muslim war?

         11       A.   Yes, yes.  I must say again another

         12  reservation -- a highly respected official of Croatia

         13  said at the time, "We must make their life so

         14  unbearable that they will want to leave".

         15       Q.   But that was not a statement by President

         16  Tudjman?

         17       A.   No, it was not.

         18       Q.   Do you know that in the hospitals of Split

         19  the wounded were treated, both belonging to the BiH

         20  army and the HVO?

         21       A.   I am not aware of the details but I know they

         22  were treated in our hospitals.

         23            MR. NOBILO:  I will ask the usher to

         24  distribute another article, please.  For the

         25  interpreters, it will be document number 10.

Page 7242

          1            Mr. Mesic, this was your interview with the

          2  Hercegovacki Tjednik or weekly.  Unfortunately, this

          3  weekly does not carry a date, but, under "(a)" marked

          4  in yellow, the question is:

          5            "What is the position of official Croatia and

          6  the HDZ towards Bosnia-Herzegovina?"

          7            Your answer:

          8            "Our position was always a principled one and

          9  that is that borders should not be changed."

         10            Is that true, that you said this?

         11       A.   That was the official policy.

         12       Q.   So you did grant this interview; is that

         13  correct?

         14       A.   I do not even know that this journal exists.

         15  I certainly did not authenticate it, but if you could

         16  give me a minute, I would have to read it through to

         17  see what it is about.

         18            MR. NOBILO:  It was in the early stage when

         19  the discussion about the referendum was still ongoing.

         20            JUDGE RIAD:  I would like to know the date of

         21  this statement.

         22            MR. NOBILO:   Unfortunately, I do not have the

         23  date -- unfortunately, I do not have the date, but it

         24  is the beginning of 1992, because the subject under

         25  discussion is the referendum on independence of

Page 7243

          1  Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Unfortunately, the date is not

          2  indicated on this copy.

          3            My first question would be:  was this an

          4  interview granted by you.

          5            MR. HARMON:  The witness said he needed to

          6  look at this document to familiarise himself with it,

          7  to determine if in fact he had given this interview.

          8  Mr. Nobilo proceeded with the question before the

          9  witness had time to complete reviewing the document.

         10  I would ask he be permitted to complete reviewing the

         11  document before the question is asked.

         12            JUDGE JORDA:   That was an inadvertence on

         13  the part of Mr. Nobilo.  I must repeat the question of

         14  Judge Riad -- I think the only way for us to proceed is

         15  to have the date, or for the witness to authenticate

         16  it?

         17       A.   To be quite frank, I am not even aware of the

         18  existence of this newspaper, the Hercegovacki Tjednik,

         19  but I probably do not remember the journal, but judging

         20  by these answers, it is possible that I had a

         21  conversation with a journalist, but whether it was

         22  correctly published, I cannot say, because I do not

         23  recall the magazine itself.

         24            MR. NOBILO:   Can I ask you then:  did you

         25  promise journalists in those days, in 1992, that this

Page 7244

          1  was your position?

          2       A.   Our position was always a principled one,

          3  that the borders should not be changed. I always

          4  repeated that borders should not be changed.

          5       Q.   Thank you.  As for the next question, would

          6  your answer be something like this?  The question is,

          7  the last column on the second page and, finally, a

          8  question linked to Bosnia-Herzegovina:

          9            "Will Croatia recognise an independent and

         10  sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina?"

         11            Your answer:

         12            "Bosnia-Herzegovina has still not asked for

         13  recognition, but after this referendum and if it does

         14  ask for recognition, Croatia will adopt a principled

         15  position and be among the first to recognise

         16  Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent and sovereign

         17  State."

         18            Was this a position that you upheld in those

         19  days?

         20       A.   Yes, that is my position, that if

         21  Bosnia-Herzegovina asks for recognition, that

         22  recognition should be granted.

         23       Q.   Thank you.  Is it correct that the aim of

         24  President Tudjman's going to Karadordevo was to avoid

         25  war -- was that the intention behind the scheduling of

Page 7245

          1  that meeting?

          2       A.   I do not know what his intention was.  I do

          3  not know what my intention was when I arranged the

          4  meeting.

          5       Q.   And what was it?

          6       A.   I think I already said that, but I can repeat

          7  it.

          8       Q.   Yes, very briefly, what was the meaning of

          9  that meeting, in your opinion?

         10       A.   My objection to the Serb representative in

         11  the presidency of Yugoslavia, Bora Jovic, was that they

         12  were pursuing a suicidal policy, that the Serbs were

         13  being armed by JNA barracks, that the Croats would arm

         14  themselves as well and that an explosion occur, as a

         15  result of which the Serbs would suffer the greatest

         16  damage, and I asked him why they were pursuing such a

         17  policy; were they interested in Croatian territories,

         18  or in the Serbs of Croatia?  He said that they had no

         19  pretentions towards Croat territory, or the Serbs in

         20  Croatia.  He said we were free to do what we wanted

         21  with them, because they were our citizens, that they

         22  were interested in 66 per cent of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

         23  and that is what they would take, and I proposed that

         24  Tudjman and myself, and Jovic and Milosevic on the

         25  other side should sit at a table and try to deal with

Page 7246

          1  the problems raised by the Serbs in Croatia, to come to

          2  a negotiated settlement and to avoid a war.

          3            As for the Bosnian problem, it should be

          4  internationalised -- that was my position and, when

          5  Milosevic agreed to meet anywhere in the country or

          6  abroad with us, I made the same proposal to Tudjman and

          7  Tudjman agreed.

          8            However, the two of them arranged the

          9  meeting, and both Bora Jovic on the Serb side and

         10  myself on the Croatian were excluded from further

         11  arrangements.

         12       Q.   Yes, but briefly, can we say what the aim of

         13  the meeting was; it was to avoid war?

         14       A.   When he left, he said, "I am going to see

         15  what they want."

         16       Q.   Why did not Hrvoje Sarinic go with Tudjman to

         17  that meeting?

         18       A.   Hrvoje Sarinic was the chief of cabinet -- he

         19  is not a politician.

         20       Q.   But in Croatia he is considered to be number

         21  three?

         22       A.   Some people may consider him that, but I do

         23  not consider him a politician at all.  He is chief of

         24  cabinet of the office, so head of his secretarial

         25  office, one might say.

Page 7247

          1       Q.   Yes, but which concentrates all the power in

          2  Croatia?

          3       A.   Yes, he was not elected by anyone, so he has

          4  no legitimacy to sign anything on behalf of Croatia and

          5  I do admit that he is making such signatures, but that

          6  is not legitimate.

          7       Q.   So you agree that Hrvoje Sarinic signed a

          8  number of key documents for Croatia?

          9       A.   Yes, that is true, but he is only chief of

         10  cabinet of President Tudjman.

         11       Q.   Let us proceed.  Let us go on to a member of

         12  the academy, Bilandjic, and the group of experts on

         13  maps.  Can you tell us exactly what you know about

         14  those groups?  What was their assignment?  Were you

         15  present at any of the meetings held by Bilandjic and

         16  his group of experts?  Did Bilandjic tell you anything

         17  about it, or any of the participants?  You made some

         18  allegations, but I would like to know who you talked to

         19  you and who conveyed to you what was discussed at those

         20  meetings where maps were drawn?

         21       A.   Work on the maps started after the agreement

         22  in Karadordevo.  Smilja Avramo, a university professor

         23  and adviser to Slobodan Milosevic, came to Zagreb and

         24  Hrvoje Sarinic and some others -- after all, this was

         25  in secret -- they went to Belgrade.  They certainly

Page 7248

          1  discussed maps.  Experts were engaged, university

          2  professors, specialising in that science, and they were

          3  invited -- I would meet them, but I did not participate

          4  in those talks, because, after all, this had a dose of

          5  confidentiality, but I knew that they were working on

          6  them.

          7            I knew that Professor Lerotic was working on

          8  the maps, I knew he stopped working on them, he

          9  abandoned the job.  I knew this because Professor

         10  Bilandjic also told me that.  Now, whether they could

         11  speak in public about those maps, I do not know, but he

         12  told me, and later on, he made the statement for the

         13  media, he said, "While I was drawing the maps, Tudjman

         14  liked me," so you can read this in the media.

         15       Q.   But you keep saying, "I knew this and I knew

         16  that," but apart from what Bilandjic told you do you

         17  know anything else and if you do know anything else,

         18  would you give us a source, who told you and what?

         19       A.   Everybody was talking about maps, but among

         20  the people I talked to, nobody said that he had

         21  attended a meeting devoted to this.  The reports would

         22  come to us second-hand, because it was not logical for

         23  us to be waging war against Slobodan Milosevic while at

         24  the same time advising -- receiving her adviser in

         25  Zagreb and discussing maps with her.  Obviously, this

Page 7249

          1  had to be done in secret.

          2       Q.   But what do you know about those meetings?

          3  Did anyone tell you anything about them, or are you

          4  just assuming things?

          5       A.   You do not have to make any assumptions.

          6  Read what Hrvoje Sarinic said.  He said he met with

          7  Milosevic 13 times during the war and they reviewed a

          8  wide range of issues.  Can you imagine, during the

          9  Second World War, Churchill meeting with Hitler, or

         10  their chiefs of cabinet meeting and discussing

         11  political issues and doing that 13 times on top of

         12  everything?

         13       Q.   Did not the international community encourage

         14  such negotiations as a means of ending the war?  Give

         15  me an exact answer to my question:  do you know the

         16  contents of the meetings between Smilja Avramo, Sarinic

         17  and Bilandjic?  What were they doing, what kind of

         18  maps?  How do you know that?

         19       A.   Because Bilandjic told me that he was working

         20  on maps.

         21       Q.   Yes, but what kind of maps?

         22       A.   Maps whereby the Croats and the Muslims and

         23  the Bosniaks would be grouped together so that a

         24  territorial division would be made, but, after all,

         25  both you and I watched in January 1994 meetings between

Page 7250

          1  representatives of Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in

          2  Geneva, and, when they were sitting around a map,

          3  Franjo Tudjman, Karadzic, Boban and Milosevic were

          4  standing to the side and they were reviewing these

          5  maps, what would belong to whom without the Muslims.

          6            I correct myself -- only the Serbs and Croats

          7  were present, the Muslims were not there.  This was in

          8  January 1994.  This was broadcast on television.  I was

          9  flabbergasted because I understood what this meant.

         10       Q.   Was that not part of the international

         11  negotiations, the bilateral talks within international

         12  frameworks?

         13       A.   Certainly, even the international community

         14  is not without blame.  I am absolutely convinced that

         15  Lord Owen was endeavouring to break up

         16  Bosnia-Herzegovina and I do not think I forgive him.

         17  He is one of the culprits, too, that all this happened.

         18            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr. Nobilo, can we focus the

         19  debate a little bit?  I would like the witness to face

         20  the judges, because after all, he is talking to the

         21  judges.  It is up to them to draw any conclusions from

         22  this and also, Mr. Nobilo, could you focus your

         23  questions?  We are talking about maps, about meetings.

         24  The witness is an important politician of his country.

         25  He cannot tell you everything that he participated in,

Page 7251

          1  so please continue.

          2            MR. NOBILO:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I am

          3  trying to be as precise as I can in my questions.

          4            Can we conclude that you do not have any

          5  first-hand knowledge of what they were drawing; you did

          6  not attend those meetings and you did not discuss with

          7  anyone in detail what they were doing?

          8       A.   The majority of people coming from

          9  Bosnia-Herzegovina brought maps with them, coloured in

         10  various colours -- parts that were supposed to become

         11  Croat, parts Serb, parts Muslim, and I must say

         12  that some parliamentarians like Ivan Milas showed me

         13  maps they were working on, but who was working on them,

         14  when they were working on them, what kind of meetings

         15  they were having, I did not know. I just knew they were

         16  working on maps which was supposed to territorially

         17  divide the area.

         18            That was, for me, a problem, that a country,

         19  which was like a leopard skin, that attempts were being

         20  made to divide it up so as to group the various ethnic

         21  populations.

         22       Q.   So, this was in line with the Vance-Owen maps

         23  and all the other maps?

         24       A.   Yes, only, as I said, there were many people

         25  to blame.

Page 7252

          1            MR. NOBILO:  I come to Graz, the

          2  Boban/Karadzic meeting -- you mentioned it in a

          3  negative context.  Could I ask the usher for his

          4  assistance, to give you a copy of another interview,

          5  this time from Novi List.

          6            Please have a look at it -- whether you

          7  remember it.  It is 14 May 1992, it is the Rijeka Novi

          8  List, first and second page.

          9            It is document number 8 for the

         10  interpreters.  Will you look on page 1 and a part of

         11  the question:

         12            "I am interested, after all, what your view

         13  is of the Karadzic and Boban talks."

         14            And your answer in 1992 was:

         15            "If the talks were to result in an end of the

         16  war, and the shifting of the problem to the negotiating

         17  table, it would be positive.  In that case

         18  international mechanisms could be included, and a

         19  political settlement might be achieved.  Therefore, if

         20  peace were to be achieved thereby, it would be

         21  acceptable for me.  Of course, peace cannot be achieved

         22  unless everyone is satisfied."

         23            So, two standard questions.  First, was this

         24  an interview granted by you?

         25       A.   Yes.

Page 7253

          1       Q.   Secondly, did you say this?

          2       A.   Yes, but I think it is quite clear from this

          3  what I meant.  From this, one cannot see that I was

          4  aware of the meeting -- I just said if such a meeting

          5  were to be held, and, also, the last sentence, when

          6  I said "everyone has to be satisfied", I am implying

          7  the Muslims, because I said "peace can be achieved only

          8  if all are satisfied" and that means that we cannot

          9  have just the Serbs and Croats negotiating with the

         10  Muslims being excluded.

         11       Q.   But, here, in this statement, in the

         12  newspaper, you assess those talks as positive, because

         13  peace is established by means of them?

         14       A.   That is not correct.  I am talking in the

         15  conditional -- if such talks were to be conducted.

         16            JUDGE JORDA:   Mr. Nobilo, you have your

         17  opinion, the witness has answered your question, he has

         18  given you his arguments and you cannot insist further

         19  in that direction.

         20            The witness said that he has used the word

         21   "if", so it means that he was not aware at the time

         22  that such a meeting had been held.

         23            MR. NOBILO:  Thank you, I was just referring

         24  to earlier statements made by the witness.

         25            JUDGE JORDA:   When do you intend to complete

Page 7254

          1  your cross-examination, how much more time do you need,

          2  Mr. Nobilo?  In view of the interpreters, your

          3  colleagues and everyone else, we need to organise

          4  ourselves.

          5            MR. NOBILO:  I need an hour -- within an hour,

          6  I would be done.

          7            JUDGE JORDA:   Very well, in that case,

          8  I think we are going to adjourn.  We are going to

          9  resume work tomorrow at quarter past 2. (Pause).

         10  I contacted my colleagues and the legal counsel of the

         11  Trial Chamber.  In view of the situation with the other

         12  trials, it is conditional still that we may be able to

         13  begin tomorrow at 11 o'clock in the morning -- the

         14  three judges are ready.  You know that, in the

         15  afternoon, we will have an ex parte meeting with the

         16  Defence, we may have another witness, so this is

         17  slightly improvising but I want to hear your opinion,

         18  both from the Prosecution and counsel for the Defence.

         19  We are ready to be here tomorrow at 11 o'clock.  What

         20  do you think, Mr. Harmon?

         21            MR. HARMON:  Mr. President, we would accept

         22  willingly to start at 11 o'clock.  I have highlighted a

         23  problem with another witness, who must testify tomorrow

         24  at a certain time, and I would appreciate being able to

         25  conclude his testimony tomorrow, and I would be very

Page 7255

          1  grateful if the court could start at 11 o'clock so

          2  Mr. Mesic could also have some time to gather his

          3  energies; he will be testifying in another case on

          4  Friday as well.

          5            JUDGE JORDA:   I know that, and we, too,

          6  would like -- we have to hear the Defence ex parte, if

          7  possible, tomorrow afternoon.  If not, I know I can

          8  count on the spirit of synthesis, but you know that we

          9  have nothing to hide, that these ex parte meetings have

         10  very important missions for the administration of

         11  justice, and we would like the Defence to tell us, as

         12  the Prosecution has done, to give us their arguments.

         13            I know that we cannot hear Mr. Mesic on Friday

         14  morning, because he is required in another case, so

         15  that we will have Friday afternoon.  In any event, the

         16  judges are ready, and they will be here fully armed as

         17  of tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.  Perhaps the

         18  expression is not a very good one that I used, but,

         19  anyway, we will now adjourn.

         20           (At 6.52pm the hearing adjourned until

         21           Thursday, 19 March 1998, at 11am)