1 Wednesday, 16
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.36 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario
8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
10 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 WITNESS: CIRIL RIBICIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
14 Q. Good morning, Dr. Ribicic. When we broke
15 yesterday, we were just going over some of the
16 significant developmental steps taken by the HVO on
17 July the 3rd of 1992, and there are three documents
18 that I would like you to take a look at in the HVO
19 binder. The first one is at tab 7, sir. It's the
20 decree on the armed forces of the HZ HB.
21 Now, Dr. Ribicic, this is one of the first
22 decrees that actually addresses the organisation of the
23 armed forces of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna;
24 is that correct?
25 A. That's correct, yes.
1 Q. Just a few items on this document, sir. If
2 you would turn to Article 17, it's true, is it not,
3 that the initial organisational structure of the armed
4 forces of the HVO, the military component of the HVO,
5 if you like, envisaged that the head of the defence
6 department would designate commands and staffs of the
7 armed forces; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And that the Department of Defence would
10 oversee the combat readiness of commands, staffs, and
11 institutions; is that right, sir?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. All right. The next article of significance,
14 and the last one relating to this document, is Article
15 29, sir. I believe that the translations that we
16 received from the Prosecution in the front of this
17 document, the English translations, are slightly
18 inaccurate. I'd just like you to confirm, sir, that
19 the supreme commander of the armed forces of the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna is actually the
21 president of the Community, that is, Mr. Mate Boban,
22 and not the president of the presidency; would you
23 agree with that?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. All right. The next document, sir -- we've
1 already addressed this yesterday, so I won't spend any
2 time on it -- is tab 9 --
3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
4 to be able to understand, I should like to ask the
5 witness, what is the difference between the president
6 of the Community and the president of the presidency?
7 You said that the president -- that the supreme
8 commander of the armed forces of the Croatian Community
9 of Herceg-Bosna is the president of the Community, who
10 is Mate Boban, and not the president of the
11 presidency. What is the precise difference between the
12 two, please? And who was the president of the
14 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, I think I can clear
15 that point up with a question or two to the witness.
16 Q. Let me put it to you, Dr. Ribicic, that as of
17 July the 3rd, 1992, the same day that the decree on the
18 armed forces was passed, we see a new amended decision
19 that basically sets out the legislative, executive, and
20 administrative structure of the HZ HB, and that was
21 tab 2 of the first volume of exhibits dealing with the
22 HZ HB; would you agree with that, sir?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. It's true, sir, that the presidency of the
25 HZ HB was actually the legislature of the Community;
1 isn't that correct?
2 A. Yes, that is correct, as of the 3rd of July
3 onwards. Up until the 3rd of July, 1992, Mr. Boban
4 performed only one function, and that was the function
5 of president of the presidency of the Croatian
6 Community of Herceg-Bosna. It was only as of the 3rd
7 of July that the new function was put into place, that
8 is to say, the president of the Croatian Community of
10 After that document, dating from the 3rd of
11 July onwards, Mr. Boban performed two functions
12 simultaneously; he was at the same time president of
13 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and president of
14 the presidency of the Croatian Community of
15 Herceg-Bosna. Some of the competencies he performed by
16 virtue of his first function and some by virtue of his
17 second function, and this division of competencies was
18 not always exactly and precisely defined. But the fact
19 remains that the function of supreme commander of the
20 armed forces of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
21 he did perform as president of the Croatian Community
22 of Herceg-Bosna.
23 Q. Thank you for that elucidation, and it is a
24 subtle one, Dr. Ribicic. But what you're saying, I
25 believe, is that up until July the 3rd, 1992, there was
1 simply a presidency consisting of all of the members of
2 the municipal bodies, and they elected a president of
3 the presidency, vice-presidents of the presidency, and
4 a secretary; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right, with the addition that you
6 keep emphasising the overall body, together with the 30
7 representatives -- made up of the 30 representatives of
8 the municipalities, whereas I focus on the separate
9 function. Especially at the time when the presidency
10 was not sitting, he had -- the president and the two
11 vice-presidents and the secretary of the presidency had
12 these functions.
13 Q. Yes, sir. But just so we're clear, as of
14 July the 3rd of 1992, you essentially had two bodies:
15 You had a president who, amongst his other functions,
16 was the supreme commander of the armed forces, pursuant
17 to the decree of the armed forces, as we've seen; is
18 that right?
19 A. That's right, yes.
20 Q. And then you had a presidency which, under
21 Article 7 of the amended decision, also passed on July
22 the 3rd, 1992, was the legislative body of the Croatian
23 Community of Herceg-Bosna, that is, the body that
24 actually passed the laws; is that correct?
25 A. That's correct. That was according to the
1 provisions. But yesterday I warned you that in certain
2 cases, it came about that the vice-president of the
3 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
4 would sign certain enactments as the deputy-president
5 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; that is,
6 performing the function which on paper in the normative
7 acts did not exist.
8 Q. All right. Let me just turn to two other
9 documents, sir. If you'd just turn to tab 8 on volume
10 2, a document that has already been introduced into
11 evidence as Exhibit D140/1. This was a decision on
12 ranks in the HVO --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
14 please, Mr. Sayers.
15 MR. SAYERS:
16 Q. Tab 8, Dr. Ribicic, on the big volume there.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You've seen this document before, I take it,
20 A. I have.
21 Q. This is a rank structure imposed on the
22 military arm of the HVO as of July the 3rd of 1992; is
23 that right?
24 A. That's right. Yes.
25 Q. And the last document in this series that I'd
1 like you to look at is tab 10, sir, a decision on
2 salaries and other remunerations for members of the
3 armed forces, passed on the same day, July 3rd, 1992.
4 The only article to which I'd like to draw
5 your attention is Article 5, dealing with the military
6 police. It says, sir, that: "Members of the military
7 police, being an integral part of the armed forces,
8 shall have the same rights as other members of the
9 armed forces." And that is consistent with your
10 understanding of the functioning of the military police
11 within the armed forces generally; is that correct,
13 A. Yes. That's correct as far as salaries and
14 other remuneration, but this particular decree and
15 decision refers to salaries alone.
16 Q. Now, let me just ask you to turn to tab 12,
17 which is an order signed by the commander of the
18 Central Bosnia HVO staff, Tihomir Blaskic, dealing with
19 certain organisational matters, and it's entered the
20 day after the July the 3rd, 1992 series of decrees
21 dealing with the armed forces. Have you ever seen this
22 document before?
23 A. No, I have never seen this order before, but
24 I looked at it yesterday because I had your documents
25 at my disposal.
1 Q. And would you agree, sir, that as of July of
2 1992, to the best of your knowledge, we see the first
3 stirrings, if you like, of military organisation, a
4 recognisable hierarchical chain of command evolving
5 within the military arm of the HVO?
6 A. Yes. That's right. Up until that moment,
7 the situation was such that it was not organised as a
8 separate structure, and only with that date did this
9 come about. My only limitation is something that I
10 mentioned several times before, is that even before
11 that date some documents were enacted and documents
12 signed that were not in keeping with these new
13 provisions governing structure, which are quite clear
15 Q. All right. Now, it's true, is it not, sir,
16 or do you know that the HVO was recognised as an
17 integral and component part of the armed forces of the
18 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in two separate
19 documents, one dated July the 21st, 1992, and entitled
20 "An Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation Between
21 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of
22 Croatia," signed by Dr. Tudjman, the president of the
23 Republic of Croatia, and Mr. Izetbegovic, the president
24 of the presidency of the Republic of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Are you familiar with that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. It's already been introduced into evidence,
4 Dr. Ribicic, as Exhibit D98/1. In the interests of
5 time, unless the Trial Chamber wishes, I won't put it
6 on the ELMO, but I'll read to you a section. Paragraph
7 6 of the document says: "The armed component of the
8 Croatia Defence Council, Hrvatsko Vijece Obrane, is an
9 integral part of the united armed forces of the
10 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Croatian Defence
11 Council will have its representatives in the joint
12 command of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Provisional civil authorities established in wartime
14 conditions within the scope of the Croatian Defence
15 Council will be made to conform as soon as possible,
16 with the constitutional juridical system of the
17 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina," and there are other
18 parts of that paragraph not material to my question.
19 But the question is, sir, that you were
20 aware, as of July 1992, that the president of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina had actually signed an international
22 document that recognised the HVO as a component of the
23 armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is
24 that right?
25 A. I'd like to emphasise, with regard to this
1 document, that in many aspects it is not in conformity
2 with the situation on the ground and the kind of policy
3 that was being waged by the HDZ and a portion of the
4 official policies of the Republic of Croatia that I
5 spoke about yesterday. So the signatories are
6 advocating a state of affairs which, according to my
7 conviction, would be the best possible one. But as I
8 say, this was not in keeping with the policy waged in
9 the opposite direction, nor did it correspond to the
10 situation on the ground.
11 Q. Very well, sir. Are you aware that the
12 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina actually enacted a
13 decree on the 6th of August, 1992, just a few days
14 after the agreement that I've just described, entitled
15 "A Decree with the Force of Law on Amendments to the
16 Decree with the Force of Law on the Armed Forces of the
17 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina"? Have you seen
18 that decree before?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And it's true that under Article 1 of that
21 decree, sir, that HVO forces would be an integral part
22 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina; is that not so?
23 A. That's right. Yes.
24 MR. SAYERS: For the trial court's
25 information, the exhibit number on that -- it's already
1 in evidence -- D4/1.
2 Q. Now, that brings us to the Constitutional
3 Court decision that you described, sir, September the
4 18th, 1992, passed by the Constitutional Court of
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let me just ask you, sir, that
6 the constitution that the Constitutional Court was
7 interpreting was actually the constitution of the
8 Socialist Federal Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was
9 it not?
10 A. Yes. The Constitutional Court had the
11 function of working according to the constitutional
12 provisions, on the basis of which it was
13 institutionalised itself. It was the constitution of
14 the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with all
15 the amendments that were enacted up until that moment.
16 Q. It's true, is it not, that the Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina itself had not, as of this time,
18 adopted its own constitution, had it, sir?
19 A. The Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
20 at the time, did have a constitution which, in many
21 respects, had already been amended, but at that
22 particular time, no amendments had yet been made to the
23 provision concerning the name of the republic itself.
24 Q. Just so that everyone is on the same
25 wavelength, we are talking about the constitution of
1 1972 [sic], adopted by the Socialist Federal Republic
2 of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that right?
3 A. I'm not sure that the translation was
4 correct, and the date mentioned was 1974. Is that
5 right: the Federal Republic? Is that what you're
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. Could you repeat the question? Maybe there
9 was a translation difficulty.
10 Q. Isn't it true, sir, that the constitution to
11 which you've alluded is the 1974 constitution adopted
12 by the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, part
13 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
14 A. Yes. It's true that it was the 1974
15 constitution which was adopted by the assembly of the
16 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which at the
17 time was one of the six republics making up the
18 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. But that
19 constitution was amended later on, and I should like to
20 warn you that, for example, in Slovenia, the provision
21 was amended as to the name of the republic itself, but
22 that is not the key change that had been made. The key
23 changes had been made earlier and referred to the
24 economic and political system, the possibility of a
25 multi-party competition and multi-party elections, and
1 so on and so forth. So that the constitution which was
2 in force in 1992 was fundamentally different from the
3 constitution that was adopted in 1974, and this was not
4 true in equal measure for the Slovenian and
5 Bosnia-Herzegovinian constitution, but in the case of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that constitution was fundamentally
8 Q. In your new country of Slovenia, though, sir,
9 you would agree that the country adopted its own
10 constitution following the declaration of independence
11 by your country in 1991; isn't that so?
12 A. Yes, that is so, but the fact remains that
13 the constitutional changes in Slovenia, not only before
14 it became independent and autonomous but also before
15 the first multi-party elections, wielded substantial
16 amendments to the constitution, so that we can no
17 longer call it the constitution of the Former Socialist
18 Republic of Slovenia, because, as I say, it was amended
19 in substance with a great deal of amendments. This was
20 not done in equal measure in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but
21 some vital changes of economic and political life were
22 adopted in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, before and after
23 the first multi-party elections took place.
24 Q. Well, let's just get down to the basics here,
25 Dr. Ribicic. It's true, is it not, that after Slovenia
1 declared independence, it adopted its own new
2 constitution; isn't that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. But we cannot compare
4 the 1974 constitution, which was also enacted in --
5 Q. Sorry to interrupt you, but that was a simple
6 question. The follow-on question is that
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, after the declaration of its
8 independence and at the time of the Constitutional
9 Court decision in September of 1992, had not adopted
10 its own brand new constitution, had it?
11 A. That is correct, yes. But the new
12 constitution does not change the 1974 constitution but
13 the situation which was prevalent at the time; that is
14 to say, the 1974 constitution was significantly amended
15 by the amendments, changed by the amendments, and that
16 is where the difference is.
17 Q. And the amendments you're talking about are
18 the 1988 amendments; isn't that right, sir?
19 A. In 1988, those amendments were enacted at a
20 federal level, amendments to the federal constitution,
21 which is no longer relevant here.
22 In 1989 and subsequently, other new
23 amendments were adopted, amendments to the republican
24 constitutions, which wielded a vital change in the
25 constitutional system of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well.
1 Q. Do you know whether any amendments were
2 adopted after March the 6th of 1992, sir?
3 A. No, I don't think they were.
4 Q. Very well. Let me proceed to the next
5 related subject on this and just a few short
7 In connection with the Constitutional Court
8 decision, it's true, is it not, that no notice was
9 given to the HZ HB authorities, as far as you know?
10 That's correct, isn't it, sir?
11 A. I don't think it is correct. I believe
12 notice was given in the Official Gazette, that it was
13 published in the Official Gazette of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and thereby notice of this was
15 given to all interested parties.
16 Q. Let me be more precise, Dr. Ribicic. Before
17 the decision was actually reached, you would agree with
18 me that no notice was given to the authorities of the
19 HZ HB that the proceedings had actually been
20 instituted; isn't that correct?
21 A. I have seen several documents where the
22 Constitutional Court addresses other bodies of the
23 republic -- and other bodies of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, referred to the Croatian Community
25 of Herceg-Bosna, with the request that all documents
1 enacted should be submitted to them, because the
2 government had made the decision that proceedings be
3 initiated before the Constitutional Court of
5 Q. The question was very simple, Dr. Ribicic.
6 You're not aware that any advanced notice was given or
7 any notice of any type was given by the Constitutional
8 Court to the authorities of the HZ HB that proceedings
9 to declare the HZ HB unconstitutional under the
10 constitution of the former socialist republic, no
11 notice of those proceedings was given to the HZ HB;
12 isn't that correct? As far as you know.
13 A. I know about the documents of the Justice
14 Ministry, and I think this was an internal document. I
15 know the public conclusions made by the Republic of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which adopted a clear stand that it
17 was a case of formation contrary to the constitution,
18 and clearly stated that because of that it would be
19 initiating proceedings before the Constitutional
20 Court. I have no information about any other direct
21 contacts between the Constitutional Court and the
22 organs of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Q. So you're not in a position to tell the Trial
24 Chamber that the authorities of the HZ HB were either
25 informed that such a judicial proceeding had been
1 instituted or that they were given an opportunity to
2 participate in the presentation of evidence or the
3 deliberations of the Constitutional Court; is that so,
5 A. The Constitutional Court instituted
6 proceedings upon its own initiative and the public was
7 informed about it. As for direct contacts, I'm only
8 aware of those contacts according to which the
9 Constitutional Court was requesting documents and acts
10 passed by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
11 I have a short document signed by the
12 president of the Constitutional Court of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr. Ismet Dautbasic, who -- and
14 this document was sent to the Croatian Community of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they tried to get documents
16 from the HDZ party, and in this letter, reference is
17 made that proceedings had been instituted regarding the
18 constitutionality issue. I'm not quite sure,
19 therefore, how the Constitutional Court gained
20 possession of those documents, but I assume they must
21 have received them from the authorities of the Croatian
22 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
23 Q. So you actually have no information that that
24 was so; is that right?
25 A. Yes, except for what I have just said. I
1 have no other documents.
2 Q. What was the date of that short document to
3 which you have just referred, sir, if you can tell?
4 A. I have two documents in front of me. One is
5 the 6th of August, 1992 and the other is the 31st of
6 August, 1992.
7 Q. Do you know where they were sent
9 A. They were sent to the Croatian Democratic
10 Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Q. Would that have been in Sarajevo, sir?
12 A. Yes, indeed, it was in Sarajevo. As far as I
13 know, the Constitutional Court tried in various ways to
14 get hold of those documents because they were aware
15 that they existed and that the Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna was functioning and functional, that those
17 acts had still not been published in the Official
18 Gazette which did not come out before September 1992.
19 That is why the Constitutional Court wanted to gain
20 possession of the original documents on the basis of
21 which it could rule and make progress with the
22 proceedings that it had instituted at its own
24 Q. You would agree with me that Sarajevo at this
25 time was surrounded by forces of the Bosnian Serb army
1 and cut off from the rest of the country; correct, sir?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. Do you know whether this request that was
4 sent apparently to the offices of the HDZ in Sarajevo
5 ever made its way to Mostar or to the Croatian
6 Community of Herceg-Bosna authorities, sir?
7 A. I know very well that what I have in front of
8 me cannot be sufficient for me to claim that the
9 authorities of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
10 received this request and participated in the
11 proceedings. I have mentioned it only as evidence that
12 the Constitutional Court did try to obtain those
14 Q. All right, sir. Two final documents to which
15 I'd like your attention drawn. Were you aware that
16 General Sefer Halilovic and Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic
17 signed an agreement on the 20th of April, 1993, which
18 was seven months, I believe, after the Constitutional
19 Court decision to which you've adverted, and paragraph
20 1 said: "The BiH army and HVO are both legal military
21 forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and are
22 treated equally."
23 MR. SAYERS: Just for the Trial Chamber's
24 information, that document has been marked as D24/1.
25 Q. Were you aware of that, sir?
1 A. No, I have not seen that document.
2 Q. Very well. One final document to which I'd
3 like to draw your attention, this has already been
4 admitted into evidence as Exhibit D27/1, is an
5 agreement that was reached between Mr. Alija
6 Izetbegovic and Mr. Mate Boban on April the 24th, 1993,
7 announced in Zagreb, and the final attachment to that
8 document is entitled, "Command Structure for the BiH
9 Army and the HVO," and that the first paragraph of that
10 document stated that "The BiH army and the HVO will
11 retain their separate identities and command
12 structures. Their functions will include all aspects
13 of personnel, logistics, administration, training,
14 morale, and identity." Were you aware of that, sir?
15 A. Generally speaking, I just know that there
16 were repeated efforts to regulate things in the way
17 envisaged by this document, and in fact I think that
18 would have been the best solution, in my opinion, from
19 the beginning, because then a war would not have broken
20 out. But I've not had occasion to study that document
22 Q. But would you agree, sir, that the president
23 of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is,
24 President Izetbegovic, actually signed a document seven
25 months after the Constitutional Court decision which
1 actually recognised the HVO as a legal, integral
2 component of the armed forces of the republic?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you, Dr. Ribicic. Let's just proceed
5 on chronologically. If you'd turn to tab 13 of the HVO
6 volume upon which you have your hands. Tab 13.
7 Were you aware that the presidency of the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna had held a meeting
9 at Grude on August the 14th of 1992 and that part of
10 the items under consideration were the consideration of
11 changes on the decree of the armed forces, changes to
12 the regulations on military discipline, and the
13 adoption of criminal law decrees?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, were you aware that Dr. Jadranko Prlic
16 was appointed president of the HVO of the HZ HB on that
17 day? And if you just turn to tab 14, that might help
19 A. Yes, I have that. That's right, on the
21 Q. If you turn to the next tab, tab 15,
22 Mr. Stipo Ivankovic of Odzak was appointed
23 vice-president of the HVO of the HZ HB; is that right,
25 A. That is right.
1 Q. If you just take a look at the next tab, it's
2 true, is it not, that the HVO adopted -- and I address
3 your attention specifically to the phraseology of this
4 decree, sir -- the HVO adopted a decree on the
5 application of the Criminal Code of the Republic of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Criminal Code of the
7 SFRY -- and this is important, I think -- "in time of
8 the immediate threat of war or time of war on the
9 territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
10 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna."
11 You are aware that that decree had been
12 adopted; correct?
13 A. Yes. I have studied that document. It is
14 particularly interesting because it is not only a
15 matter of the application of the republican code but
16 also the federal criminal code which was taken over by
17 the republic. But I should like to point out that that
18 legislation was valid in the area we are referring to.
19 This decree, on the one hand, showed or
20 reflected the efforts of the Croatian Community of
21 Herceg-Bosna to decide, in a sovereign and independent
22 manner, which legislation will be implemented and which
23 will not on its territory.
24 The second point I should like to make is
25 when things are solved in this way -- and a similar
1 step was taken in Slovenia, that is, the takeover of
2 federal or republican laws -- that its contents are
3 thereby substantially changed, in the sense that that
4 criminal legislation acquires a new role. It is no
5 longer in the service of the defence of those states
6 for which it was adopted but in the defence of
7 institutions and citizens of states which are taking
8 over those regulations.
9 Q. Thank you, Dr. Ribicic. But there was only
10 one point that I wanted to address to your attention.
11 It's true, is it not, that as a temporary, expedient
12 measure, under wartime conditions, the HVO decided to
13 adopt the Criminal Code of the Republic of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, not any other state, as its
15 criminal law; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes. The period to which this decree
17 applies, I have always emphasised that they were laws
18 that were valid during the immediate threat of war or
19 time of war, even in the case of regulations that did
20 not have any direct links to the military situation,
21 such as, for instance, regulations concerning the
22 Automoto Association, or things like that.
23 Q. One final question on this decree,
24 Dr. Ribicic. You would agree, would you not, that the
25 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, had it wished,
1 certainly could have adopted, I suppose, the Criminal
2 Code of the Republic of Croatia, but it didn't, did it?
3 A. Yes, that is true.
4 Q. Very well, sir. Now, the next document to
5 which I would like to draw your attention is a separate
6 exhibit which I'd like to have handed out, and it's an
7 excerpt from the minutes of the meeting of Croatian
8 Defence Councils in municipalities of Central Bosnia on
9 the 22nd of September, 1992.
10 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
12 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
13 Q. I do not believe that we have a Croatian
14 original of this, Dr. Ribicic, so you will have to bear
15 with me as I translate this. There are only a couple
16 of provisions of this document that I want to draw to
17 your attention.
18 The first appears on the page that's stamped
19 on the bottom right-hand side "00320380," and let me
20 just read to you two entries. The first is in the
21 middle of the page, and it says: "Military HVO
22 authorities are asked to speed up the process of making
23 the military formations more professional, of
24 introducing order into military circles, and making the
25 military police professional. They should also put an
1 end to military war profiteers."
2 The second is two entries below that, and it
3 says: "Military HVO authorities are requested to
4 respect the prescribed procedure for arresting
5 individuals suspected of having committed illegal deeds
6 in order to protect the legal security of citizens."
7 Then the last part of this document to which
8 I'd like to draw your attention is on the last page,
9 sir, just three items up from the bottom, and it says:
10 "The Ministry of Defence of the HZ HB and the military
11 command are requested to issue regulations on military
12 jurisdiction in order to avoid a conflict of
13 jurisdiction between the military and the civilian
15 Let me just ask you, sir: It's right, isn't
16 it, that around this time, between July and October,
17 and this document is representative of this, you can
18 see the military organs of the armed forces of the HVO
19 coalescing, organising, becoming clearer, and
20 separating from the civilian organs of government;
21 would you agree with that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. All right, sir. Along those lines, I wonder
24 if I could now address the second seminal date which we
25 would submit exists in the legislative evolution and
1 military evolution of the HVO, which is October the
2 17th, 1992. Two matters of detail. Could you turn to
3 tab 18, sir. You were aware, I take it, that Kresimir
4 Zubak was appointed as the second vice-president of the
5 HVO on that date, October the 17th, 1992; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And then the next document chronicles the
8 appointment of the third vice-president of the HVO,
9 Mr. Anto Valenta; correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. All right, sir. Now, the next document is a
12 document that you've described in your report as a very
13 comprehensive document, the decree of the armed forces
14 of the HZ HB, tab 20, and it's also dated October the
15 17th, 1992. I just wanted to touch very lightly on
16 some salient features of this substantial decree, and
17 it needn't delay us too long.
18 Would you agree, sir, that under Article 9
19 and Article 10 of this extensive decree, it was the
20 defence department of the HZ HB that essentially
21 controls the armed forces, that was responsible for
22 drawing up defence plans, drawing up agreed policy, and
23 plans for use of the armed forces, as well as setting
24 up systems of leading and commanding the armed forces?
25 A. Yes, I have reviewed this document last night
1 again, and that is correct.
2 Q. Thank you very much, indeed, Dr. Ribicic. If
3 you would just turn to Article 11, I'd like you to
4 agree with me and assure the Trial Chamber that the
5 general staff would be founded by the defence
6 department and that the structure of the general staff
7 would be prescribed by this supreme commander, which we
8 now know is the president of the HZ HB "who shall
9 appoint the general staff leadership." You'd agree
10 with that, wouldn't you?
11 A. Yes, that is what is envisaged by the
12 provisions of Article 11, and the organisation of the
13 general staff is prescribed by the supreme commander.
14 Q. Thank you very much, sir. Could you just
15 turn to Article 25, and I'd just like you to agree that
16 political activity in the armed forces, including the
17 formation of parties and organisation of political
18 meetings and manifestations, was prohibited.
19 A. Yes, that is what it says, but it is another
20 matter what influence this had in practice, because the
21 composition of the presidency consisted of the leaders
22 of all branches of government and all military
23 authorities, and they all belonged to one and the same
24 party, the HDZ, so that this prohibition can be a
25 restriction. It is a normal provision contained in all
1 modern constitutional laws, but in this context it was
2 a limitation on the activity of other parties. All the
3 documents of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
4 specifically mentioned the important role and
5 significance of the Croatian Democratic Union, the
7 Q. I appreciate your views, Dr. Ribicic, but you
8 would agree that it was only in the context of the
9 army, the armed forces of the HZ HB, that political
10 activity was prohibited; right?
11 A. That is correct. But it is also correct that
12 the supreme commander was at the same time the
13 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
14 a member of the HDZ, which was a component part of the
15 HDZ of the Republic of Croatia.
16 Q. Thank you, sir. As you've just said, and if
17 you just turn to Article 29, you'll see that the
18 supreme commander of the HZ HB armed forces shall be
19 the president of the HZ HB, and that among his duties
20 was the duty to issue regulations on military
21 discipline and other instructions; you would agree with
22 that, right?
23 A. Yes, I agree with that.
24 Q. All right. And the final question in
25 connection with this document is Article 34, sir, which
1 provides that: "Commanders of the armed forces shall
2 be appointed and relieved of duty by the HZ HB
3 president, but that commanders of brigades and
4 high-ranking officers shall be appointed or replaced by
5 the head of the defence department or by commanders
6 appointed by him."
7 The head of the Defence department at the
8 time was Bruno Stojic; correct?
9 A. I'm not certain of the specific appointment
10 you mention, but your interpretation of Article 34 is
11 correct regarding the function of the president and the
12 Defence department.
13 Q. All right. And one final general question in
14 connection with this document. You would agree, would
15 you not, that the vice-president of the presidency,
16 either of them, had no power to appoint, to remove, or
17 to discipline Operative Zone commanders, brigade
18 commanders, or HVO soldiers under the decree on the
19 armed forces? Isn't that true?
20 A. If you're asking me from the point of the
21 regulations and the formal legal prescriptions, that is
22 right, but if you ask me from the standpoint of actual
23 and factual relations on the ground and in reality,
24 then the answer would not be that. I have seen that on
25 a number of occasions, generally speaking, and also in
1 specific cases to which this decree applies, that the
2 practice deviated significantly from the regulations.
3 The real influence of the vice-president of the
4 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
5 was something that can, with difficulty, be
6 corroborated by documents, but it is a fact that his
7 influence in practice was much greater than one would
8 think, on the basis of these regulations that we have
10 Q. You're not aware -- let's talk about
11 specifics here. You're not aware of any instance in
12 which either of the vice-presidents of the presidency
13 ever appointed an Operative Zone commander, a brigade
14 commander, or a soldier to any position, are you? Any
15 specific instance.
16 A. No, but I know of cases when he signed
17 certain documents as the vice-president of the Croatian
18 Community of Herceg-Bosna. Therefore, I am aware of
19 certain documents which he signed in that function.
20 Q. Yes, sir. And several of those documents
21 have been put before the Trial Chamber. But let me ask
22 you a second question. You're not aware of any
23 instance in which the vice-president or either of the
24 vice-presidents of the presidency ever removed an
25 Operative Zone commander or a brigade commander from
1 their duties, are you?
2 A. I'm not aware of any cases of appointments or
4 Q. And the same is true for instances of
5 disciplinary proceedings being instituted involving the
6 input of either of the presidents of the HZ HB
7 presidency? You're not aware of any such instance, are
9 A. You have mentioned these disciplinary
10 proceedings a number of times now and the question of
11 discipline. In that connection, I wanted to say that
12 all those measures, which are certainly positive,
13 especially those that you read from the decree, the aim
14 being the formation of an armed force which would be
15 disciplined and which would act in a military fashion,
16 but, unfortunately, that is no guarantee that no
17 deviations would occur. And when I reviewed the
18 overall regulations on violations of criminal and other
19 laws, I saw that those provisions define, with greater
20 clarity, acts which relate to military matters, whereas
21 other others --
22 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt, but the question was
23 simple, and we'll get on to the district military
24 prosecutor's office in just a minute. But the question
25 was: You're not aware of any specific instance in
1 which either of the vice-presidents of the presidency
2 of the HZ HB ever participated in any disciplinary
3 proceedings instituted against an Operative Zone
4 commander, a brigade commander, or a soldier, are you?
5 A. You interrupted me in the middle of a
6 sentence. I just wanted to finish my thought, that the
7 same did not apply to violations of humanitarian and
8 international law.
9 As for your question, I am not aware of any
10 such instances.
11 Q. Very well. Now, if you turn to the next tab,
12 sir, tab 21, it's a decree on the district military
13 prosecutor's offices in the territory of the HZ HB in
14 times of war or the immediate threat of war, and this
15 decree was also passed on the 17th of October, 1992.
16 I would just like to draw your attention to
17 Article 4. Unlike appointments to the military armed
18 forces, it's true, is it not, sir, that the district
19 military prosecutor and his deputies were, in fact, to
20 be appointed by the presidency of the HZ HB?
21 A. Yes. According to Article 4, the district
22 military prosecutor supervises the work of district
23 military prosecutor's officer, and he's accountable to
24 the presidency.
25 Q. Very well. So as of October 17th, 1992 and
1 thereafter, you would agree with me that the district
2 military prosecutor's office was responsible for
3 prosecuting the perpetrators of criminal acts falling
4 within the jurisdiction of the military courts;
5 correct, sir?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You would also agree that the district
8 military prosecutor's office was responsible for
9 undertaking necessary measures to uncover criminal acts
10 and to request investigations; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In fact, it was the duty of the district
13 military prosecutor's office to collect --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
15 Mr. Sayers, please.
16 MR. SAYERS:
17 Q. It was the duty of the district military
18 prosecutor's office to collect criminal complaints, and
19 that's specifically recited in Article 6. Is that
20 right, sir?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. All right. The next document in the bundle
23 that we've provided to the Trial Chamber and to you is
24 a document that has already been marked Exhibit Z341.3,
25 and it is tab 22 of this bundle. Just one very simple
1 document -- question on this document, sir.
2 This is the document dated November the 3rd,
3 1992 that sets up the home guard. Under Article 5, the
4 home guard is subordinated to the command of the
5 Operative Zones and to the general staff in the chain
6 of command; is that right?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. All right. Now, would you agree, sir, that
9 by October the 17th, 1992, we can see a situation in
10 which the civilian arm of the HVO and the military arm
11 has largely been organised and that they exist with
12 separate functions and separate competencies?
13 A. Yes. That is true.
14 Q. Just one final question along these lines,
15 and I'll touch on this very lightly. If you would just
16 turn to tab 25, sir. I don't know whether you've seen
17 this decree -- this order before, but it's an order
18 signed by Colonel Blaskic, the commander of the Central
19 Bosnia Operative Zone, setting up the command structure
20 and the reporting structure, if you like, for the
21 formation of that zone. Have you ever seen that
22 document before?
23 A. No. I saw it yesterday for the first time.
24 Q. All right, sir. And then, if you turn to
25 tab 27 and tab 26, you can see more orders issued by
1 Colonel Blaskic dealing with matters relating to
2 brigades and their municipalities, requests for names
3 of brigades, and then finally, in March of 1993,
4 there's a clarification on who precisely has the power
5 to dismiss brigade commanders and other high-ranking
6 officers. You saw those, I take it from your
7 testimony, Dr. Ribicic, for the first time yesterday?
8 A. Yesterday already I said that I was not a
9 military expert and that one of my conditions to
10 prepare my analysis was to confine myself to matters of
11 constitutional law. Therefore, the organisation, the
12 structure of the army, interested me only from the
13 point of view of the constitutional system, the
14 organisation and structuring of the Croatian Community
15 of Herceg-Bosna. I therefore cannot speak about
16 personnel solutions or any other military affairs in
17 any detail.
18 But what you have now set out to prove, that
19 is, that the supreme commander, who at the same time
20 was the president of the Croatian Community of
21 Herceg-Bosna, was the one who played a decisive and
22 crucial role, I can confirm that. But I must add an
23 aside, and I shall add it always, when this comes to
24 constitutional law rather than military matters. In
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, many things that happened in
1 practice were quite at odds with the things that were
2 prepared, written down, and which the latter, I mean,
3 were often done very professionally, but it was often
4 varies with the practice in real life.
5 Q. Dr. Ribicic, just one final question in
6 connection with the HVO bundle of documents, and I'd
7 like you to turn to tab 24. Were you familiar with the
8 decision dated November 18th, 1992, signed by the
9 president of the HVO, Dr. Jadranko Prlic, establishing
10 a personnel commission in the HVO and appointing five
11 people to sit on it?
12 A. Yes. I saw that and I went through that
13 decision yesterday.
14 Q. Would you agree, sir, that that is a
15 relatively insignificant commission in terms of the
16 overall institutions of government of the HVO and the
17 overall military institutions that we've just reviewed
18 in some detail?
19 A. I don't think I could really agree with you.
20 The sphere of personnel is invariably one of the most
21 important areas. It may look like it is not only the
22 formal but also the informal influence on the
23 appointment and the discharge of duties by very many
24 people, so that I couldn't really say that it was an
25 insignificant decision, but perhaps not as significant
1 as those mentioned in some other documents.
2 Q. All right, sir. In connection with the
3 testimony that you gave regarding citizenship issues --
4 actually, I didn't think you gave testimony on that,
5 but there was certainly quite a bit of attention to
6 that subject devoted in your report. Just two decrees
7 I'd like to bring to your attention and get your views
8 on these.
9 The first one is dated February the 26th,
10 1993, signed by Dr. Prlic, and it's entitled "A Degree
11 on Border Crossing and Traffic in the Border Area of
12 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna in Times of War
13 or the Immediate Threat of War."
14 This has already been marked as Exhibit
15 D20/1, and I'd just like to read to you Article 2,
16 sir. It says: "The border area shall consist of a
17 100-metre-wide belt encompassing parts of the territory
18 of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the
19 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, including the
20 mainland, rivers, lakes, and sea along the
22 Would you agree, sir, that this decree, in
23 February of 1993, recognises that the Croatian
24 Community of Herceg-Bosna exists on the territory or
25 within the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and
2 A. Yes. The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
3 emerged within the territory of the Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a former constituent republic of
5 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and,
6 territorial speaking, it could not be exempted from the
7 territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. But
8 when you relate it to my report, I need to say that I
9 interpreted all those documents in that same way when I
10 read them for the first time. But it is really brought
11 into question by those political attitudes which said
12 that in public, and politically, we shall always speak
13 that we are for an independent and sovereign
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but in practice we shall be working
15 towards the integration of Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna with the Republic of Croatia. So that
17 even though this may be the normative on the paper, and
18 it says very clearly it is within the boundaries of
19 Bosnia and it mentions the deep borders of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but what does it mean in real
21 life? If it is part of the Croatian policy and the
22 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, both worked towards
23 the integration, so then it becomes merely a formality
24 on the paper geared to concealing the real state of
1 Q. All right. In line with the testimony that
2 you just gave, sir, I would like to draw your attention
3 to another document which I'd like to have marked as an
4 exhibit, which is called "The Decree on the Application
5 of the Law on Movement and Residence of Foreigners on
6 the Territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
7 in the Event of War or an Immediate Threat of War."
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document will be marked
10 MR. SAYERS: All right.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could we have it on the
12 ELMO, please?
13 MR. SAYERS: I have one for the ELMO, as the
14 interpreters have requested.
15 Q. This document contains a number of
16 provisions, sir. Feel free to read them all if you
17 wish, but the only one which I would like to draw to
18 your attention is Article 2. If we could zoom in on
19 that, please, so that the interpreters can see it.
20 Isn't true, sir, that Article 2 of this
21 decree, addressing essentially movement and residence
22 of aliens, says that every person who is not a citizen
23 of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is, according
24 to this decree, a foreigner or an alien?
25 A. Yes. And from the point of view of legal
1 standard, that is not in dispute. But what happened to
2 those citizens of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 who were not of Croat ethnicity, what happened to them
4 in practice, that is a completely different matter.
5 And how the -- very many things would not have happened
6 if the members of the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna complied with this article. And by
8 "this," I mean transfers of people and so on and so
10 MR. SAYERS: I'm through with that document
11 and it can be removed from the ELMO.
12 Q. Sir, I told you that we were through with the
13 HVO binder, but I regret to say that there's just one
14 more tab to which I need to draw your attention,
15 tab 23, and it deals with the establishment of a
16 division of the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 in the territory of the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna in times of war or the immediate threat of
20 You have seen this document and it's referred
21 to in your report, sir, so there's no need to go
22 through it.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. But the fact of the matter is that the HZ HB
25 did not establish its own Supreme Court. What it tried
1 to do was to establish a department of the Supreme
2 Court of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Mostar;
4 A. Yes, except that this division was
5 autonomous. It was no longer a division as interpreted
6 by the regulations of Bosnia-Herzegovina; it was an
7 independent Supreme Court which was simply called the
8 division of the Supreme Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 That is how it emerged, but its organisation, the
10 staffing policy, and so on and so forth, were
11 determined and laid down by the bodies of the Croatian
12 Community of Herceg-Bosna and had nothing to do with
13 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time. Even
14 this word "division" is no longer mentioned
15 subsequently, when the Croatian Community became the
16 Croatian Republic.
17 Q. Sir, let's just take a look at that
18 contention that you made in light of Article 4 of the
19 decree here. It's true, is it not, that any citizen of
20 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina who's a lawyer and
21 who passed the judicial exam and who had five years of
22 experience working in the court or on legal matters in
23 other state bodies, as well as a lawyer who was a
24 prominent legal expert, could be appointed as a judge
25 in the division, and that he could be a Croat, Muslim,
1 or Serb, or any other ethnicity; isn't that right?
2 A. Formally speaking, that is true, but in
3 practice, this provision does not mean that -- does not
4 come to that. It is quite clear that all the leading
5 officers in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna were
6 reserved for Croats and, moreover, Croats who were
7 members of the HDZ. This holds true of the presidency
8 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. This also
9 holds true of the HVO and all other key positions. So
10 if this provision --
11 Q. Dr. Ribicic, and that's this: Isn't it true
12 that many judges in the high court in Travnik, Bosanski
13 Brod, Mostar, Odzak, Derventa, and Orasje were actually
14 Muslims and that they were appointed by the HZ HB to
15 serve in that capacity?
16 A. This decree and -- I referred to the Supreme
17 Court. That is a division of the Supreme Court. I was
18 speaking about this in the Croat Community in
19 Herceg-Bosna. I do not exclude the possibility that
20 there were also some Muslim individuals, especially at
21 lower tiers, but it is quite clear that those were
22 Muslims who had embraced the programme of the Croatian
23 Community of Herceg-Bosna; that is, that they are
24 defending the Croat interests, the interests of the
25 whole Croat people, defending the historic Croat lands,
1 and so on and so forth. I do hope you will agree with
2 me that objectives defined in this manner cannot
3 encourage members of other ethnic groups to discharge
4 any key positions, any key functions in a community
5 which is organised along those lines. That is what I
7 Q. All right, sir. Now, you've given quite a
8 bit of testimony concerning your views as to the
9 ostensible objectives of the HDZ BiH.
10 MR. SAYERS: I'd like to have one more
11 exhibit marked, which is the minutes of the meeting of
12 the Second General Assembly of the HDZ BiH, held on
13 November the 14th, 1992 in Mostar. Thank you.
14 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
16 MR. SAYERS:
17 Q. Have you seen this document before,
18 Dr. Ribicic?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Let me just address your attention to
21 paragraph 18, which appears, at least in the English
22 version, using the Registry's numbering system, page
23 5576 and 5575, up at the top right-hand corner. The
24 OTP's numbering, I'm sorry.
25 Would you agree, sir, or does it affect your
1 opinion relating to the ostensible objectives that
2 you've concluded the HDZ had to read an address from
3 the president of the party, Mr. Boban, saying:
4 "Last year we established the Croatian
5 Community of Herceg-Bosna in BH, and with the very fact
6 of its establishment, we said that we were the only
7 Croats in BH," Bosnia-Herzegovina, "that BH was our
8 state, the state of the Croats that lived there, but
9 also the state of other peoples."
10 Were you aware that Mr. Boban had made
11 comments along these lines, sir, to the Second General
12 Assembly of the HDZ, other than from looking at this
13 document, which apparently you've not seen before?
14 A. I know about many statements in a similar
15 vein, but the public policy -- the policy of the
16 Croat -- the public policy of the Croatian Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna was aimed at a sovereign
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, even at a time when this
19 organisation was -- the HDZ's policy was led by
20 Mr. Kljuic.
21 However, yesterday I quoted Mr. Boban, who,
22 at a meeting in Zagreb one year before, said that the
23 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was formed so that
24 at a later date, and when so decided by the leadership
25 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna or the HDZ,
1 it could join the Republic of Croatia. So I agree that
2 what Mr. Boban says here is in line with what I think
3 is useful for Bosnia-Herzegovina and was in line with
4 the constitutional organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 at the time.
6 But I need to add, in order to understand
7 this, to understand why Serb autonomous provinces were
8 set up and the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was
9 formed, they were all formed as monoethnic communities,
10 and these communities, however, should continue as
11 multiethnic. So this is my objection. Of course, what
12 it says here, it is quite praiseworthy, but I'm not
13 sure that it was quite straightforward.
14 Q. It's true also, sir, that Mr. Boban goes on
15 to observe, and this is in the middle of page 5575 of
16 this exhibit, that "At this moment, this territory is
17 the home of not only the Croatian people but also of
18 250,000 Muslims, who owe their current freedom to the
19 Croatian people who paid for it with their blood and
20 their young lives."
21 So Mr. Boban is recognising that it's not
22 only Croats who live in the territory of the Croatian
23 Community of Herceg-Bosna but also a very significant
24 number of Muslims too; isn't that correct?
25 A. Yesterday, I already said that it meant the
1 incorporation of municipalities in the Croatian
2 Community of Herceg-Bosna in which -- in some of which
3 Croats did not have even a relative majority, let alone
4 an absolute majority, and I never claimed that only
5 Croats populated those municipalities.
6 If the views which you have just read out, if
7 those views had underpinned the formation of the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, then there would
9 have been no misunderstandings with the Muslims or the
10 war; they would have fought side by side against the
11 attempts to -- against attempts to partition
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina by Serb autonomous provinces.
13 So these views are quite positive, but they
14 run counter to what is said in the documents of the
15 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, notably those
16 documents which are the basis of that particular
17 Community. The decision on the foundation of that
18 Community says something else and especially does not
19 mention Muslims; and other peoples, you yourself have
20 pointed out, are mentioned for the first time at the
21 time when the HVO was founded, when it is said clearly
22 that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna will also
23 engage in the defence of other peoples, regardless of
24 who may attack them.
25 Q. Very well, sir. Have you ever spoken to
1 Mr. Boban yourself?
2 A. No, never.
3 Q. Have you ever discussed with anybody in the
4 leadership of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
5 what their real objectives were? Dr. Prlic, for
6 example, Mr. Akmadzic, Mr. Buntic, people like that?
7 A. As I was preparing my report, my opinion, I
8 talked to many people who I thought were familiar, were
9 conversant with the situation, and I asked 18 questions
10 of them. But needless to say, I confined myself to
11 questions of a constitutional law nature, and I had
12 several meetings. I was not looking for politicians or
13 political protagonists. I tried to establish contact
14 with professors and other professions. The only one in
15 this group who did hold a political position in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina was Mr. Kljuic. I did not meet him
17 on that occasion; he answered my questions in writing.
18 So I tried to work not only on the basis of
19 regulations and enactments, but also on the basis of
20 those discussions I had, of those interviews, in order
21 to get a better picture of what was really happening in
22 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And in
23 particular --
24 Q. Your answer is that you've not actually
25 spoken to any of the leaders of the Croatian Community
1 of Herceg-Bosna, but rather only to their political
2 opponents; right?
3 A. No, it is not. I sought interviews with
4 those who, in my view, were best qualified to speak
5 about it, who were familiar with the situation, and I
6 also said that I would not be quoting them in this
7 Tribunal without their permission, without their
9 But if the Court so desires, then we should
10 have to go into a closed session and then I would name
11 people that I spoke to. Most of them are Croats, if I
12 may put it that way, and at least one of them, at least
13 at a later stage, also held an important position in
15 Q. Did you ever speak to Dr. Prlic about what
16 was going on in the HVO? He was, after all, sir, the
17 president of the organisation, and who better than him
18 to give you views on what the objectives of the
19 organisation really were.
20 A. My opinion was the result of the study of
21 normative enactments, testimonies, interviews, and what
22 I read in various interviews and --
23 JUDGE MAY: Just a yes or no, Dr. Ribicic.
24 Did you speak to Dr. Prlic?
25 A. I apologise. The question was somewhat
1 broader. As for this question, no, I did not speak to
2 Mr. Prlic. But I beg the indulgence of the Court to
3 say this: I am ready to say who I spoke to in a closed
4 session because I --
5 JUDGE MAY: There's no need. I'm sure we
6 have your evidence and we don't need this kind of
8 Now, Mr. Sayers, do you have very much more?
9 It's now 11.
10 MR. SAYERS: One more question on this
11 document, and what I propose to do is to proceed to the
12 HR HB after the break, if that's acceptable to the
14 JUDGE MAY: I trust that's not going to take
15 too long.
16 MR. SAYERS: I would hope, Mr. President,
17 that I would be through by 12.
18 JUDGE MAY: I think you said an hour and a
19 half yesterday, but very well; ask the last question
20 about this document and then we'll break.
21 MR. SAYERS:
22 Q. If you turn to paragraph 23, Dr. Ribicic,
23 were you aware that there had been five vice-presidents
24 of the HDZ BiH elected on November the 14th, 1992, and
25 that Mr. Kordic was one of the five?
1 A. I was aware that Mr. Kordic held that
2 position, among others. I know I saw it in one
3 document or another, but I can't remember exactly which
4 one it was.
5 Q. Thank you very much, sir.
6 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now until half past
8 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11:36 a.m.
10 JUDGE MAY: If we can speed up, we will be
12 MR. SAYERS: I would like to speed up as much
13 as I can, Mr. President.
14 Q. I'd appreciate your cooperation,
15 Dr. Ribicic.
16 The next items I would like to address are
17 things about which you may or may not know a lot, the
18 Vance-Owen Plan and the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan. You
19 said you're not an expert in international law, sir.
20 A. Yes, that's right. I just know about it in
21 general terms and as far as it is linked up with the
22 decisions made by the Croatian Community of
24 Q. Have you taken the opportunity to review the
25 ten constitutional principles that were a prominent
1 feature of the Vance-Owen Plan?
2 A. Yes, I have seen those principles.
3 Q. And you would agree with me, sir, that one of
4 the principles was reaffirmation of the importance of
5 the concept of three constituent peoples; correct?
6 A. Yes, that is correct.
7 Q. In fact, sir, the Vance-Owen Plan
8 specifically envisaged that the Republic of Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina adopted a constitution which shall
10 recognise three constituent peoples. Would you agree
11 with that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. It's true, sir, that the Croat contingent led
14 by Mr. Mate Boban was the first of the three primary
15 constituent peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina to sign the
16 Vance-Owen Plan; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It's true also, sir, that the ten provinces
19 that were to be established under that plan were not to
20 have any international legal personality but, rather,
21 they were to be provinces which had democratically
22 elected governments; isn't that right?
23 A. Yes, that is right.
24 Q. Now, the Trial Chamber knows that the
25 Vance-Owen Plan fell into significant disrepair in
1 May of 1993, and after that, the next evolution of the
2 constitutional solutions for the problems of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina proposed by the International
4 Community was the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan. Are you
5 familiar with the constitutional agreements that are
6 part of the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. It would be fair to say, sir, that the
9 Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, as reported to the Security
10 Council on August the 6th of 1993 -- and this is
11 already in evidence, Mr. President, Exhibit D141/1 --
12 it would be fair to say that the principal feature of
13 this plan was three ethnic republics held together in a
14 loose union? Would that be correct, sir?
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. The name of each of the constituent republics
17 was going to be determined by the competent authorities
18 of that republic; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. All right. And indeed, the first article in
21 the constitutional agreement provided: "The union of
22 republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina is composed of
23 three constituent republics and encompasses three
24 constituent peoples, the Muslims, Serbs, and Croats, as
25 well as a group of other peoples."
1 You're familiar with that principle; right,
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And, sir, are you also familiar with Annex C
5 to the agreement -- which I would ask the usher to put
6 on the ELMO -- which provided the human rights
7 instruments incorporated into the constitutional
8 agreement? I don't know if you've ever seen this
9 document before, but if you'd just look at the item
10 that we've put as Annex C to the exhibit. Have you
11 ever read the human rights instruments incorporated
12 into the constitutional agreement before?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. All right. If you'd just leave that on the
15 ELMO, or could you turn to the preceding page, because
16 I'll have one question shortly about that.
17 One final question in connection with the
18 Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, sir, was this: It's true, is it
19 not, that you are aware that none of the three
20 constituent republics could withdraw from the union of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina without the prior agreement of all
22 of the republics? You were familiar with that
23 agreement, were you not?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All right. Now, if you would put before you
1 the -- I see you already have it. I'm going to skip by
2 the announcement of the founding of this republic, sir,
3 which is at tab 1, August the 28th, 1993, and I'd like
4 to address your attention to the founding decision,
5 which is found at tab 2.
6 This founding decision, sir, is signed by a
7 gentleman by the name of Perica Jukic, the president of
8 the House of Representatives; correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You have spoken to Mr. Jukic, have you?
11 A. No. But in this way you will know who I
12 talked to. If you go through the names one by one, the
13 people I didn't talk to, you will be deducing this.
14 Q. Let me just turn very quickly to a few
15 articles that I'd like to draw to your attention and to
16 that of the Trial Chamber. Article 5 first. The
17 authority in the republic was to be derived from the
18 people and shall belong to the people as a community of
19 free and equal citizens; correct? Yes? You have to --
20 is that correct or not?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. And one question that I forgot to ask, sir.
23 Would you agree that the HR HB was founded on
24 August the 28th, 1993, about three weeks after the
25 report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council
1 regarding the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan; correct?
2 A. Yes. I spoke about the links between the two
4 Q. All right. Article 6 provided that in this
5 new republic of constituent peoples, the Republic was
6 to be a parliamentary democracy, with legislative
7 authority to be exercised by the House of
8 Representatives; correct?
9 A. Yes. In this decision, the most important
10 changes, in my opinion, are in the preamble itself, as
11 the positive changes that I spoke about yesterday, and
12 the changes as in Article 11. But as a counterbalance,
13 you have the last two articles, that is to say,
14 Articles 11 and 12, where the emphasis is on continuity
15 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the
16 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna and as far as the
17 legal set-up is concerned and the realisation of the
18 basic functions of power and authority. So we have the
19 provision there that the function of a state authority,
20 according to the provisions of this decision, will be
21 performed by the bodies of government of the Croatian
22 Community of Herceg-Bosna, which means that the
23 functioning of the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, we have
24 the production of documents from the old system. And
25 it would be difficult to say that that old system meant
1 a division of power into legislative, administrative,
2 and other operative.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
4 Dr. Ribicic, it specifically provides that legislative
5 authority is to be exercised by the House of
6 Representatives. Would you agree with that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And executive authority is to be exercised by
9 the government; correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And judicial authority, of course, to be
12 exercised by the courts; right?
13 A. Yes. If we compare other documents and this
14 division of power and authority, what we can notice is
15 that the House of Representatives does have a somewhat
16 stronger function than in other European parliamentary
17 systems, from the British system onwards, and this
18 relates to the relationship between the House of
19 Representatives and the government.
20 Q. All right, sir. As you can see from
21 Article 7, the president of the government was to be
22 elected by the House of Representatives. That speaks
23 for itself. But other article I'd like to draw to your
24 attention is Article 8, which states specifically that
25 the president is the supreme commander of the armed
1 forces, and it is the president who appoints and
2 dismisses high-ranking military holders of office;
4 A. As far as Article 7 is concerned, let me
5 state that it is not usual in parliamentary systems,
6 but that it is the head of state who usually appoints
7 the government.
8 As far as Article 8 is concerned, it stresses
9 the function of the president of the republic for the
10 united functioning of all governmental bodies; that is
11 true, yes.
12 Q. That's basically a continuation of the same
13 principle that we saw enshrined in the armed forces
14 decree, Article 29, which provided that had the
15 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was
16 the supreme commander of the armed forces of the HVO;
18 A. Yes, that is correct. Because usually in the
19 countries of Europe, in formal terms, the president of
20 the republic in parliamentary systems is the commander
21 of the armed forces, but in practice, those functions
22 are largely formed by the government, whereas in
23 Herceg-Bosna, that function of the president of the
24 republic has been designed in stronger terms. So I can
25 say that the government was left on two sides by the
1 representative organs and by the head of state.
2 Q. All right. Could I ask you to turn to the
3 next tab, tab 3, which deals with a decision on
4 constituting the House of Representatives of this new
5 republic passed simultaneously with the basic
6 decision. This is also signed by Perica Jukic, I
7 believe, sir. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And Article 1 of this decree specifically
10 provides that it is the House of Representatives that
11 is the supreme representative body vested with
12 legislative power. Would you agree, sir, that the
13 House of Representatives assumed the functions that
14 were essentially performed by the presidency of the
15 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
16 A. That is only true up to a point. It assumed
17 the functions which relate to legislation and
18 legislative powers, and, in part, functions by which he
19 established and determined the cadre's composition and
20 steered the work of the government. The other
21 functions which the presidency of the Croatian
22 Community of Herceg-Bosna performed, executive
23 functions, the House of Representatives, those were not
24 assumed by him.
25 Q. Well, would you just turn to Article 19 of
1 this decision, sir? It specifically states that the
2 powers of the presidency of the Croatian Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna shall be assumed by the House of
4 Representatives, doesn't it?
5 A. Yes. That's what it says there and that is
6 one of the weaknesses of the system, because,
7 therefore, the House of Representatives had somewhat
8 broader competencies than is usual and customary in
9 parliamentary systems, whereas I was speaking about the
10 fact that he did not assume the executive functions
11 which the House of Representatives performs in the
12 first stages of existence of the Croatian Republic of
13 Herceg-Bosna, when it was the only body, and not only
14 the legislative body, when the presidency was the sole
15 body and not only a legislative body of that community.
16 Q. Dr. Ribicic, as a constitutional expert, you
17 would have to agree that it is not unusual for the
18 House of Representatives to be the repository of
19 legislative power in any polity, is it?
20 A. No. I didn't say that. Perhaps the
21 interpretation wasn't the right one. I did not
22 maintain anything of the kind. I only said, and I'll
23 say it again, that the House of Representatives assumed
24 legislative, or largely legislative, functions of the
25 former presidency of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna, and it did not take over those functions
2 which the presidency performed up until the 3rd of
3 July, 1992, while that presidency was the sole organ of
4 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and for as long
5 as, in formal terms, it was not proclaimed the House of
7 Q. In the new Croatian republic, sir, there was
8 the office of president, wasn't there?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. There was no office of vice-president, was
11 there, as there had been in the Croatian Community of
12 Herceg-Bosna; is that right?
13 A. That's right. Yes.
14 Q. Could I just skip past tabs 4 and 5, which
15 are appointments that speak for themselves. I'd like
16 you to turn to tab 6, please, which is the law on the
17 government of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
18 that was signed on September the 30th, 1993, by Perica
19 Jukic. Just a few articles I'd like to bring to your
21 Article 3, sir, specifically provides that
22 the government of this republic is expressly
23 responsible to the House of Representatives, correct,
24 or the Chamber of Deputies?
25 A. That is correct. Yes.
1 Q. The last article I want to draw to your
2 attention is Article 46, because it helps us peg the
3 date essentially when the civilian functions of the HVO
4 expired. It's true, is it not, sir, that as of
5 September the 30th, 1993, according to Article 46 of
6 the law of the government of this republic, the
7 departments of the HVO would continue their work as
8 ministries of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna;
10 A. Yes, that is correct. That shows the
11 continuity. But you have skipped over Article 4, which
12 speaks about relations between the Chamber of Deputies
13 and the government, and where it is stated that the
14 presidents are elected and relieved of duty by the
15 Prime Minister, which is unusual for parliamentary
16 systems, where they are appointed by the head of state
17 following proposals and candidates and nominations for
18 the post.
19 Q. Very well. Could I ask you to turn to tab 9,
20 sir, which is a declaration on the adoption of
21 documents on the protection and exercise of human
22 freedoms and rights, adopted on September the 30th,
23 1993, by the new republic.
24 You said, sir, I believe, in your opinion,
25 that to you this was one indicium of the conversion, if
1 you like, of the republic into an independent republic,
2 independent from the state or the Republic of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina; is that right?
4 A. I did not claim this with respect to
5 document 9, the declaration on the adoption of
6 documents on the protection and exercise of human
7 freedoms and rights, which I assessed positively, in
8 positive terms.
9 Q. Let me just ask you to agree, sir, that the
10 declaration that you see at tab 9 is precisely the same
11 as Annex C to the Owen-Stoltenberg agreement that we
12 have put on the ELMO. The same agreements are laid out
13 in precisely the same order. Would you agree with
15 A. Yes, I agree with that, but let me repeat
16 again that in my study, I say that the declaration is a
17 positive one, and that it is a pity that it was not
18 adopted earlier on, and that it shows a different
19 relationship of Herceg-Bosna towards the protection of
20 human rights and freedoms.
21 Q. All right. Two final questions of detail,
22 sir. If you would look, please, at tab 7 and tab 8.
23 Both of these deal with nominations to two separate
24 commissions of the House of Representatives, one on
25 election and nomination to the House of Representatives
1 or Chamber of Deputies, and one dealing with a
2 commission on appointments -- sorry -- the other one
3 dealing with the committee on internal and foreign
4 policy and national security of the House of
6 On September the 30th, 1993, Mr. Kordic was
7 appointed as the president of the first commission;
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Five
11 other members in that commission; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The second commission to which Mr. Kordic was
14 appointed by Perica Jukic was -- consisted of ten
15 members, of whom he was one but not the president;
17 A. There were ten members and a president, and
18 he was one of the members. In my opinion, the
19 commission --
20 Q. Thank you. The next thing I'd like you to
21 take a look at is tab 10, which is the appointments to
22 the government of the Croatian Community of
23 Herceg-Bosna. You're familiar with this document, are
24 you not?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Mr. Prlic, the president of the HVO, was
2 appointed to be the Prime Minister of the government;
4 A. Right.
5 Q. And Mr. Kordic was not a member of the
6 government of the republic, was he, sir?
7 A. [No audible response]
8 Q. All right. The next document I'd like you to
9 look at, sir, is tab 11, which is a decision on
10 adopting the presidential council of the republic.
11 There are nine separate members appointed to this
12 council, whose function was to monitor strategic,
13 political, and defence issues, and to coordinate the
14 activities of the republic's executive bodies;
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Forgive me for going back to one of the
18 earlier questions, sir. I asked you whether Mr. Kordic
19 was a member of the government of the republic, and I
20 put it to you that he was not on November the 20th,
21 1993; that is true, is it not?
22 A. Mr. Kordic was not a member of the
23 government, no.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, insofar as the presidential
25 council is concerned, sir, there were nine members,
1 including Lieutenant-General Ante Roso, and Mr. Kordic
2 was not one of the nine members, was he?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. All right. The next document I would like to
5 draw to your attention is tab 12. It's true, is it
6 not, sir, that Mr. Ivan Bender was appointed as the
7 chairman of the House of Representatives on February
8 the 17th, 1994?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. All right. The two vice-presidents were
11 appointed on the same day, Mr. Kordic being one and
12 Mr. Santic being the other, if you would just consult
13 tab 13; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The same day sir, in the last tab, you will
16 see that new appointments were made to the presidential
17 commission, 11 separate members, and Mr. Kordic was not
18 one of them, was he?
19 A. That's right.
20 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much, indeed,
21 Mr. President. No further questions.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,
24 Mr. President.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
1 Q. Good day, Mr. Ribicic. My name is Goran
2 Mikulicic, I'm an attorney from Zagreb, and in this
3 case, I represent the second accused, Mario Cerkez,
4 together with Mr. Kovacic. I shall not take as long as
5 my colleague Mr. Sayers, and I shall focus on two
6 topics only.
7 I should like to remind you, Mr. Ribicic,
8 that during your testimony, in the introduction and in
9 your written finding, you spoke about the attributes of
10 state, and then you listed that the attributes of a
11 state are territory, population, a sovereign
12 government, and, according to some legal theoreticians,
13 subordination to international law; that is correct, is
14 it not?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. If we were, in observance of this position,
17 to apply it to the emergence of the Republic of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was recognised by the
19 International Community on the 6th of April, 1992 as a
20 sovereign republic, would you agree with me that at
21 that point in time, the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina did
22 not fully control its territory, in view of the
23 formation of the autonomous regions organised by the
24 Serbs in Bosnia, or occupied by them?
25 A. That is true. At first, it did not control
1 the part of its territory where the autonomous regions
2 were formed, and afterwards, after the formation of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, it did not control
4 that part of its territory either.
5 Q. So if we focus on the 6th of April, 1992,
6 when the International Community recognised
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a sovereign state, you would
8 agree with me that that was more an expression of the
9 political will of the International Community than a
10 matter of international legality, taking into account
11 these attributes of a state that you have referred to?
12 A. Yes. That was an expression of the desire
13 that it should be so and an expression of support to a
14 unified and sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereas the
15 situation in reality was such that two-thirds of the
16 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was occupied, in a
17 sense, or rather in a situation of tacit aggression.
18 Q. You will also agree that the capital of the
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in which all the state
20 institutions were based was surrounded by the Serb army
21 and under siege.
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. I assume that we will agree, Dr. Ribicic,
24 that all these circumstances that we have referred to
25 actually prevented the normal functioning of the state
1 authority of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 Q. When speaking about the Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we have in mind the three
5 constituent peoples: the Serbs, Muslims, and Croats
6 living in the area. Is it right, Dr. Ribicic, that all
7 three peoples in the territory of the Republic of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina actually have their own specific
9 culture, language, and symbols to which they are
10 emotionally attached?
11 A. Yes, that is a fact.
12 Q. However, if we were to view one of these
13 three entities, that is, the Croatian entity in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we note that it is not homogeneous
15 in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or rather that
16 the Croats are living in groups in the Posavina area,
17 bordering on Croatia; in Central Bosnia; and in
18 Herzegovina, on the southern border with Croatia; is
19 that correct?
20 A. Yes, and in other towns.
21 Q. Would you then agree with me that it is not
22 necessary for these three main groups of Croats in the
23 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- they could have had
24 different objectives and goals?
25 A. In the debates about this, how to act, which
1 you described well, Mr. Mikulicic, views differed
2 completely between the Croats living and working in
3 Sarajevo and in other towns, as compared to the
4 proposals as to how things should be done made by those
5 Croats living in the part of Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 bordering on the Republic of Croatia.
7 Q. Thank you. If we were now to focus on the
8 area of Central Bosnia, that is, the municipalities of
9 Vitez, Busovaca, Novi Travnik, and Kiseljak, would you
10 agree with me that this was a kind of enclave of Croats
11 entirely surrounded by majority Muslim entities or
13 A. Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but
14 essentially it is true for the situation at the time,
15 when the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was
17 Q. Are you aware, Dr. Ribicic, that after the
18 Serb aggression in Bosnia-Herzegovina, about 120,000
19 Muslims fled and came to the area of Central Bosnia
20 where they didn't used to live, provoking an imbalance
21 in the ethnic composition, as compared to the situation
22 before the war?
23 A. I know that the policies of the SDS and the
24 formation of Serb autonomous regions was the cause of
25 this resettlement of other peoples from those areas.
1 So the situation must have been difficult in that
2 smaller part of Bosnia-Herzegovina which was not under
3 this tacit occupation.
4 Q. Allow me, Dr. Ribicic, to remind you of
5 documents shown to you yesterday, P27.2, the decision
6 on the establishment of the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna, dated the 18th of November, in Grude.
8 You remember that document. The 18th of November,
9 1991, in Grude. Do you remember it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You told us, Dr. Ribicic, that
12 representatives of the municipalities were present and
13 that they actually signed this decision on the
14 establishment of the HZ HB.
15 Do you know, Dr. Ribicic, that representing
16 Vitez municipality was the town mayor, Ivan Santic, who
17 refused to sign that document, and that this was done
18 later on, instead of him, by Anto Valenta? Are you
19 aware of that fact?
20 A. Yes, I am aware of the first part of what you
21 said, that the representative of Vitez municipality did
22 not vote in favour of this decision, and I was not
23 aware of the second part of your statement.
24 Q. Yes, but you knew that Mr. Valenta was a
25 political official of the HDZ, and later the
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You were speaking a moment ago, Dr. Ribicic,
4 about the various peace plans whereby the International
5 Community tried to influence a settlement to the
6 conflict in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Mention was made of the Vance-Owen Plan, the
8 Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, the Washington and, later,
9 Dayton Agreements.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How would you describe the influence of the
12 International Community on developments in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina? If you could tell us briefly.
14 A. In my finding, I referred to that briefly, in
15 a number of places in my report, that that influence
16 was certainly quite considerable. Various authors
17 studying these matters have different views as to the
18 extent of that influence. I certainly favourably view
19 that part of the activities of the International
20 Community directed towards international recognition of
21 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 As for the subsequent plans and activities of
23 the International Community, in many respects, it
24 emerged that views among the representatives of the
25 most powerful nations in the world differed so that the
1 influence of their activity varied, in the sense that
2 frequently they did not know how to tackle the problem,
3 and also frequently it appeared as if they were somehow
4 agreeing or accepting the establishment of
5 ethnically homogenous entities within
7 Q. Would you agree with the statement that, on
8 the one hand, there was an undisputed influence of the
9 International Community but which was not homogeneous,
10 and, on the other hand, the entities representing the
11 constituent peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina did not react
12 homogeneously to those proposals?
13 A. Yes, I think that is correct. In fact, I
14 think they misinterpreted frequently the International
15 Community's advocacy of homogeneous ethnic entities
16 within Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 Q. Thank you. I should now like us to comment
18 on the relationship between two states: on the one
19 hand, between the state of the Republic of Croatia,
20 and, on the other, the state of the Republic of
22 You said, and we know, that
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina was recognised on the 6th of April,
24 1992 as a sovereign state by the International
25 Community. Do you know that on the very next day, on
1 the 7th of April, the Republic of Croatia recognised
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a sovereign state?
3 A. Yes, I know that. The late President Franjo
4 Tudjman emphasised this repeatedly. I think the last
5 time was when he was in Sarajevo at a press conference,
6 when he mentioned all the positive elements of
7 Croatia's official support to sovereign
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Among others, he mentioned that
9 element, and I included all those elements in my expert
11 Q. Thank you. You also know, I assume,
12 Mr. Ribicic, that after that, diplomatic relations were
13 established between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina at
14 an ambassadorial level, that the Croatian ambassador
15 came to Sarajevo, along the well-known tunnel under the
17 A. I was not aware of the tunnel, but I know
18 that ambassadors were exchanged.
19 Q. I assume, Dr. Ribicic, that you also know,
20 and evidence has been tendered, D30/2 and D31/2, that
21 in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, there was an embassy
22 of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the moment it was founded to
23 this day.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you also know that attached to that
1 embassy throughout that period, there was a military
2 representative office of the BH army with departments
3 in Zagreb and Split?
4 A. I was not aware of that.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I'm just
6 drawing the attention of the Chamber to the fact that
7 I'm referring to Exhibit D31/2, which has already been
9 Q. I assume, Mr. Ribicic, that you also know
10 that in the period we're referring to, the Republic of
11 Croatia cared for about 450,000 refugees from
13 A. Yes, I know that such aid was extended,
14 though it is another matter why so many refugees
15 crossed the borders and how that could have been
16 prevented in Herceg-Bosna itself and throughout
18 Q. You also know, Dr. Ribicic, I assume, that a
19 large number of patients and wounded from
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina were treated by the Republic of
21 Croatia in its medical institutions, especially in
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Dr. Ribicic, do you also know that on the
25 basis of an agreement between the Republic of Croatia
1 and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the possibility
2 was introduced of dual citizenship for citizens of
3 these two states?
4 A. Yes, I know that, and I also know that many
5 Muslims, even before the beginning of the war, had been
6 granted Croatian citizenship, although they were at the
7 same time citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Q. Dr. Ribicic, do you know of an example when
9 the Croatian parliament, the Sabor, or the government,
10 while the conflict was ongoing in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
11 adopted a law or any legislation which would
12 discriminate towards the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 by, shall I say, confiscating their property,
14 prohibition on movement, or in any other way
15 discriminating against the citizens of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina who happened to be in the Republic
17 of Croatia?
18 A. No, I am not aware of that. On the
19 contrary. I pointed out in my written opinion that the
20 supreme bodies of the Republic of Croatia officially
21 supported the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina; that
22 Croats were advised at a referendum to vote for the
23 sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina; that the Republic of
24 Croatia was the first to recognise the Republic of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina; that it exchanged ambassadors with
1 it; that weapons for the struggle against aggression
2 and other military aid came, in the first place, from
3 Croatia, and so on. And I have listed all those
4 positive elements of official policy headed by the
5 Croatian assembly.
6 Q. I see. Fully acknowledging all these
7 circumstances that we have just described,
8 uninterrupted diplomatic relations, the existence of a
9 military representative office of the BH army in
10 Zagreb, the absence of any discriminatory law towards
11 citizens of that state, care for the refugees and the
12 wounded, delivery of humanitarian aid, continuous,
13 uninterrupted contact between political and state
14 representatives between the two countries, in your
15 view, in the period we're discussing, that is, the
16 period from 1992 to 1994, between these two states, the
17 Republic of Croatia and the Republic of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was there a war on at the state
20 A. Taking into consideration what the Republic
21 of Croatia did officially and in public, and the
22 decisions it passed in the Croatian Assembly, one could
23 describe those relations as good neighbourly relations
24 between two states. But judging by what part of the
25 leadership of the republic was doing --
1 Q. I'm sorry for interrupting you. I'm asking
2 you, at the state level and in formal legal terms. On
3 the ground is another matter.
4 A. I was not thinking of the ground, I was
5 thinking of the activities of the state leadership of
6 the Republic of Croatia and only that part of the
7 leadership which were members of the HDZ, those
8 activities were in complete contradiction with this
9 official public state policy. So if we take the
10 assembly decisions, we get a completely different
11 impression than if we take into consideration the
12 political developments where the mentioned part of the
13 Croatian leadership was actually working for a long
14 time on the annexation of a part of Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 and a division of that republic.
16 Q. Dr. Ribicic, this was before the referendum
17 on the sovereignty of the Republic of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, if you're referring to the meeting
19 of the 27th of November in 1992 in Zagreb.
20 A. That is only one of those meetings. There
21 were meetings before that and after that, and
22 activities which were in direct contradiction with the
23 official state policy of the Republic of Croatia
24 towards neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Q. Thank you, Dr. Ribicic.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] That ends my
3 MS. SOMERS: I would like to ask, in order to
4 get on with most of it, if we could have a brief
5 private session for the first question that I would
6 like to raise on redirect, and then the rest, of
7 course, will be open session. It pertains to the --
8 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
9 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
10 [Private session]
13 Page 14336 redacted – in private session
13 Page 14337 redacted – in private session
13 Page 14338 redacted – in private session
13 Page 14339 redacted – in private session
3 [Open session]
4 MS. SOMERS:
5 Q. Dr. Ribicic, I'm going to ask that the usher
6 distribute to you -- there are three documents which I
7 would like to raise. I apologise; there is no
8 translation. These, of course, were taken in response
9 to what was raised on cross, and there are groups of
10 three for, I believe, a significant number of people.
11 The question was asked of you, Dr. Ribicic,
12 concerning whether or not the representatives of the
13 Croat communities were on notice about the
14 Constitutional Court action to be taken by the court in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. You made reference to certain
16 documents. Would you turn, please, to the document
17 that will be presented to you, that will have the HDZ
18 BiH letterhead on it.
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Ms. Somers,
20 while we are dealing with this constitutional problem
21 since yesterday, and we've been with it. It's
22 practically the second day of discussion here. But our
23 objective here is not to make a study about these
24 constitutional matters in detail, as I said yesterday.
25 Unfortunately, the cross-examination also started going
1 into detail and into all this documentation, which
2 really has no direct bearing on our case. So will you
3 please try to cut your re-examination shorter and try
4 to focus really on the matter at hand; that is, the
5 analysis of the constitutionalities in this particular
6 case and not constitutionalities as such. We're not
7 here to discuss the constitutional processes involving
8 Herceg-Bosna or anywhere else.
9 MS. SOMERS: Yes, of course, Your Honour.
10 The point -- if I may just tender the point to the
11 court was that there is -- this is a response to the
12 court, signed by Ivan Markovic, the general secretary
13 of the party, HDZ BiH, indicating essentially that they
14 have -- that their own government is being formed and
15 is pretty much putting off the entire issue of need to
16 address this, and I can certainly provide later for the
17 Court's consideration, but I would ask that the
18 documents go in. They are relevant.
19 Q. Moving on, yesterday there was a question
20 raised to you about whether or not --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Would you slow down,
22 Ms. Somers, please.
23 MS. SOMERS: Terribly sorry.
24 Q. Yesterday there was a question raised as to
25 whether or not there was any discussion about the
1 actual division of Bosnia-Herzegovina prior to the
2 documents of Herceg-Bosna. Are you aware of
3 Karadjordjevo occurring in March 1991? Do you know
4 what that represented?
5 A. Yes. I've heard about a meeting in
6 Karadjordjevo, a meeting between late President Franjo
7 Tudjman and Slobodan Milosevic. A great deal has been
8 written about it. There are very many statements about
9 that, and one of the testimonies about it which set out
10 to put -- to bring together in one place all the echoes
11 with which this meeting had and those opinions. So I
12 can give no opinion of my own as to what went on in
13 Karadjordjevo. All that I know is second-hand.
14 But immediately after that meeting, in the
15 wake of that meeting, I heard from colleagues in
16 Croatia that that is where the talks about the
17 partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina commenced, at the
18 initiative of Slobodan Milosevic.
19 Q. And Franjo Tudjman was present. Thank you
20 very much.
21 MS. SOMERS: I'd ask the Court to look at and
22 distribute very briefly to Dr. Ribicic Z35.1, which is
23 an opinion of the Badinter Commission.
24 Q. And I would ask Dr. Ribicic, very briefly,
25 because you raised this earlier, to comment on what was
1 asked on 20 November; two days after the founding of
2 Herceg-Bosna, of the Croatian Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna, what was the issue that was raised by
4 Lord Carrington for the conference on Yugoslavia, and
5 the significance, in your testimony?
6 A. Insofar as Badinter's commission is
7 concerned, it -- I did understand you well. You are
8 speaking about the Badinter Commission, are you?
9 Q. Yes, the Badinter Commission. And this
10 particular opinion, the opinion number -- the opinion
11 that is present in front of you, the issue about
12 boundaries. If you could comment on that which
13 concerns Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 A. As regards Badinter's commission, it
15 consisted of the highest representatives of
16 constitutional courts of some western countries. And
17 it was of great consequence, not only for
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina but also for other republics --
19 Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia -- because it
20 addressed the dissolution of Yugoslavia rather than the
21 secession of some of the republics.
22 Now, insofar as Bosnia-Herzegovina is
23 concerned, Serbia raised the question whether they -- a
24 same principle could be applied to --
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Ms. Somers.
1 I am sorry, Mr. Ribicic.
2 Here you have an opinion of the Badinter
3 Commission. Would you please ask a specific question
4 of the witness? Don't ask him about Badinter's
5 commission in general, because that is not the subject
6 of this expert opinion. Ask him a direct question.
7 What do you want to hear from him about this opinion,
8 which is an opinion which we know and which addresses
9 the problems of international law. Which aspect of it
10 do you want answered?
11 You cannot ask such open-ended questions,
12 because we can talk about Badinter's commission for the
13 next four or five hours and so forth. There is a great
14 deal of literature about that commission, and I'm sure
15 you're aware of that.
16 MS. SOMERS: Of course.
17 Q. The question that was raised, if could you
18 indicate what is in quotation marks under the paragraph
19 starting "On November 20th, 1991," what is the question
20 is actually addressed?
21 A. It addressed the question of boundaries
22 between republics and recognising the boundaries
23 between republics, including the boundaries of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as internationally recognised
1 Q. Thank you. Dr. Ribicic, there was a
2 discussion during cross-examination about an agreement
3 between, among others, Boban and Izetbegovic in Zagreb
4 about the HVO status. I would ask -- it is marked, I
5 believe -- I hope it has been tendered -- as Z2416, but
6 I ask that it be put on the ELMO for one particular
7 point to be raised, and it is the second page of the
8 exhibit which I will need to get back, of course. Yes,
9 second page of it.
10 If you could take a quick look. At whose
11 behest -- who was present at that meeting in Zagreb?
12 There is a list of names, and it is significant that
13 you indicate who is there, please.
14 No, the second page. I'm sorry. The next
15 page. Correct.
16 At the meeting invoked in Zagreb, could you
17 just kindly indicate --
18 A. According to this document, the meeting was
19 attended by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, Mr. Mate Boban,
20 Mr. Franjo Tudjman, the Ambassador Peter Hall,
21 Ambassador Herbert Auken [phoen], Pater Arans [phoen].
22 Q. You can stop there. And at the head of it,
23 Lord David Owen, the same person who was involved in
24 the Owen-Stoltenberg and the Vance-Owen Plans. Thank
25 you very much.
1 Moving on. I would ask -- it is -- this has
2 not been -- this has been tendered previously by the
3 Defence. It is the statutory decision on the temporary
4 organisation of executive authority and administration
5 in the territory of the Croatian Community of
6 Herceg-Bosna. It is an HVO binder, tab 2, and just for
7 convenience -- if you have it handy, fine; if not, I'd
8 be happy to have you put it on the ELMO. It is an
9 important point. HVO binder, tab 2.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Article 3. And indicate, please, to whom is
12 the HVO and every other member accountable in all
13 instances? To whom?
14 A. The HVO, as a whole, and every individual
15 member of the HVO are accountable for the work to the
16 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
17 Q. Thank you. And this, of course, is dealt
18 with as well in your paper.
19 And Article 6, same page. Could you read
20 Article 6, please, briefly?
21 A. Yes. "The HVO shall regulate the activities,
22 structure, operational framework, and powers of its
23 departments, in accordance with the relations passed by
24 the presidency."
25 It is quite clear that the HVO was set up
1 pursuant to the decision of the presidency of Croatian
2 Community of Herceg-Bosna, and which also adopted a
3 relevant decision and, therefore, it was responsible
4 for its work to the presidency.
5 Q. Thank you very much. The issue of whether or
6 not Herceg-Bosna could have chosen to use the existing
7 criminal codes of Croatia or of Bosnia. I would like
8 to ask --
9 MS. SOMERS: Sadly, we have only one copy,
10 because it was -- in response, but if you would put it
11 on the ELMO, please.
12 Q. You were asked about the Criminal Code of
14 MS. SOMERS: If the usher would please put
15 that on the ELMO.
16 Q. Looking at that document, Dr. Ribicic, are
17 you able -- which is about the Criminal Code in
18 Croatia, are you able to indicate whether or not there
19 was continuity from the SFRY's Criminal Code, taken by
20 the Republic of Croatia, similar to what was done in
22 A. I already answered the Defence's question
23 about it, what it meant to take over the Criminal Code
24 of the Federal state. The same holds true of the
25 Republic of Croatia, that in the Republic of Croatia,
1 in an identical manner, to cover the Federal Criminal
2 Code, like the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And
3 I think the Defence said something else, that in
4 addition to the Federal Criminal Code, it was also
5 possible to take over the Republican Criminal Code,
6 notably, the Croatian. Nevertheless, they took over
7 the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I believe
8 that was the Defence's question.
9 Now, what does this -- what does it mean to
10 take over a law? Well, the law that we have here shows
11 that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna treated the
12 federal and republican legislature in a similar way as
13 the Republic of Croatia; that is, as if it were one of
14 the republics of the former Federation.
15 Q. Fine. Thank you. Dr. Ribicic, you had begun
16 to comment on certain aspects of the criminal law which
17 I think are significant. You were interrupted during
18 cross-examination. You mentioned -- you seemed to
19 suggest there were certain deficiencies in the criminal
20 law as incorporated into the HR HB legislation with
21 regard to International Humanitarian Law. Would you
22 comment, please, on that?
23 A. Yes. Thank you for this question. What I
24 was about to say was that in principle, Herceg-Bosna,
25 rather early in the day and in rather general terms,
1 singled out the importance of International
2 Humanitarian Law, but that it did not find its
3 operationalisation in other legal enactments of the
4 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, unlike other
5 criminal offences and disciplinary measures --
6 disciplinary offences in the HVO ranks and so on and so
8 That is what I tried to say, was
9 International Humanitarian Law remained a kind of
10 general commitment, whilst, on the other hand, there
11 were very strict sanctions, down to the death penalty,
12 relating to those offences which covered the
13 non-compliance with orders, failure to carry out the
14 orders of superior officers, and so on and so forth.
15 And that is how we see the discrepancy, the true
16 importance attached to humanitarian law and the other
17 one, because now both things are treated with the same
19 In my report, I relied on a document which is
20 called an obligatory instruction, which was a kind of
21 guideline requesting rigorous punishment for failure to
22 carry out orders and for other criminal offences, and
23 completely forgot about International Humanitarian Law.
24 Q. Dr. Ribicic, briefly, there was also a
25 comment made about minority rights which, of course,
1 you've covered in your report on page 14. But can you
2 indicate whether or not the absence of explicitly
3 discriminatory provisions is terribly significant in
4 this type of order? I think you began to address it
5 and were cut off.
6 A. When this comes to the protection of
7 minorities, it is not enough to talk about the equality
8 of all citizens in general terms. The provisions such
9 as we come across in the documents of the Republic of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina and, in particular, in a document
11 called "the Declaration of the House of Representatives
12 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna," which
13 addresses the equality of all, irrespective of their
14 ethnicity or other elements, such provisions are
15 lacking in the document -- similar documents of
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. As for the
17 equality, that is, the national equality of non-Croat
18 citizens, there I must say that the acts of the
19 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna cannot stand a
20 serious test.
21 If we juxtapose them with the then effective
22 constitutional and legal acts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
23 Croatia or Slovenia perhaps, then we can see that even
24 in that domain, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
25 fell short of the criteria which were in effect in
1 other republics emerging from the former Yugoslavia,
2 which I just mentioned.
3 Q. Thank you, Dr. Ribicic. Just in response to
4 a point raised on cross which you have addressed in
5 your paper but should be brought to the further
6 attention of the Court. It's already Exhibit 341.5A;
7 it is on the district military courts. I would just
8 ask you to indicate -- if the usher would be kind
9 enough to put it on the ELMO.
10 It would be looking at the first paragraph,
11 which would be at the attachment you have, broj sest,
12 strana tri, on the page that would end in 00860157.
13 Can you indicate, please, what body appointed the
14 judges. Who establishes the district military courts
15 and who appoints the judges?
16 A. Judges are elected and removed by the
17 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
18 and they made the solemn declaration before the
19 president and other members of the presidency of the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. This is one of the
21 places where there is no clear-cut distinction between
22 the duties of the president of the Croatian Community
23 of Herceg-Bosna and the president of the presidency of
24 that Community. Because, in a manner of speaking, it
25 is not logical to make one's solemn declaration before
1 some other member of the presidency, as the president
2 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was a
3 separate function.
4 Evidently, there is inconsistency here, that
5 this function is likened, or at least a sort of
6 equality is drawn between the president of the Croatian
7 Community of Herceg-Bosna and the president of the
8 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
9 Q. Would you look at the same document, Article
10 20. Look at Article 20. It's fine if you can read
11 it. As to the process of selection, please, where it
12 says that the president --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The appointment of judges is by whom? The
15 appointment of judges is by whom?
16 A. Judges are appointed by the presidency of the
17 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna upon the nomination
18 or proposal of a person heading the defence department
19 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that is, the
21 Q. Thank you. Dr. Ribicic, you addressed the
22 issue of the assets of the JNA which were located in
23 the municipalities of HZ HB but nonetheless on the
24 territory of the sovereign state of
1 Can you comment on what happened to those
2 assets in terms of Bosnia receiving them; do you know?
3 Was there a provision in these legislative enactments
4 for Bosnia to receive any of the assets, or do they
5 only go to one entity?
6 A. In a nutshell, when the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna took over those assets, there is not a
8 word mentioning the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 MS. SOMERS: Just so that the Court will have
10 it, that is Z341.10, and the summary reflects what is
11 the content. If we can just make it an exhibit. Thank
13 Q. Dr. Ribicic, the human rights provisions that
14 were discussed, including the statement that the
15 current freedoms of the Muslims are owed to the Croat
16 community, was September of 1993, as we were shown.
17 Are you aware of a massacre that occurred in October
18 1993 in Vares called Stupni Do? Are you aware of it?
19 A. No. No, I'm not.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 MS. SOMERS: Give me one second to make sure
22 I haven't missed anything, Your Honours.
23 Q. The issue of referendum was raised yesterday
24 where the Defence indicated that some 90-something per
25 cent of the Croat community voted at the referendum,
1 and I would like to ask -- it is previously marked as
2 Z48, if the usher could put it quickly on the ELMO, and
3 I would be asking you to look at the conclusions.
4 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Somers, you're coming to an
5 end, I trust.
6 MS. SOMERS: I'm trying to wind down. That's
7 why I want to get as focused as I can quickly.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, you've got until
10 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
11 Q. Dr. Ribicic, it's not on the ELMO, but if you
12 could just indicate, please, what the comments are --
13 it is a document signed by Mate Boban, and what is his
14 comment about the European Community's assurances
15 concerning the referendum, and what does he tell the
16 Croat people to do?
17 A. Under 2, "Press Releases," we have Mate
18 Boban's signature and that of the secretary of the
19 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
20 Ignac Kostroman, and it says: "So far, some
21 communications to the president on behalf of the
22 unauthorised persons has caused major perplexity among
23 the Croat people as regards the official --"
24 Q. Excuse me. I'm sorry. There is a provision
25 which discusses the representations of the European
1 Community and the referendum. If could you find that,
2 please. I'm afraid you have my copy, so I cannot
3 direct you to it.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could the interpreters have
5 either the text on the ELMO or ask the witness to speak
6 slower, to read it slower.
7 A. Oh, yes, it is the beginning of this press
8 release, and this is what it says: "The assurances
9 given by the European Community manifested in earlier
10 discussions, as well as in yesterday's EC Conference on
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, indicate that the result of the
12 forthcoming referendum would not prejudge the future
13 constitutional structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This
14 does not bring into question the fundamental principles
15 of the conclusions of the HDZ BiH Main Board in Livno,
16 which will still guard the sovereignty of the Croat
17 people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, both within their
18 ethnically established geographical areas and
19 everywhere else in Bosnia-Herzegovina."
20 Yes. What this means is that the Croatian
21 Democratic Union, prior to the referendum, wanted to
22 make its official stand clear, and this official
23 position was that the referendum would not prevent an
24 autonomous organisation of the Croat people and its
25 independence within the future Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 MS. SOMERS:
2 Q. Dr. Ribicic, if I were to present to you sort
3 of a little genealogy, would it be fair and correct to
4 say that the HVO was born of the HZ HB which was born
5 of the HDZ?
6 A. When one analyses various normative acts,
7 then one can glean that, especially from the original
8 decision on the establishment of the Croatian Community
9 of Herceg-Bosna.
10 As for other documents, that is, various
11 testimonies, statements, or articles in the press, or
12 meetings, the links that exist between the HDZ,
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and the HVO, or the
14 link that exists between the HDZ in Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 and the HDZ in the Republic of Croatia, can better
16 be -- are more evident in those other documents; that
17 is, the normative acts do not give us sufficient
18 information to indicate that the Croatian Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna served the Republic of Croatia. However,
20 this does transpire from other documents.
21 JUDGE MAY: Is the answer no?
22 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, perhaps my question
23 wasn't clear.
24 A. My answer is no, insofar as normative acts
25 are concerned, and the answer is yes, insofar as all
1 other documents are concerned.
2 Q. One final point, if you are able to answer
3 this, Dr. Ribicic, from some of the inferences drawn
4 during cross. In the systems of the former Yugoslavia,
5 indeed, in block countries, are you familiar with a
6 concept called a political officer in the military?
7 And if you are familiar, can you comment on the role of
8 that political officer and the type of authority he or
9 she might have?
10 A. There are different theories, different
11 practices, and I'm not really conversant with the
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE MAY: Dr. Ribicic, thank you for coming
16 to the International Criminal Tribunal to give your
17 evidence. You are now released and free to go.
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
19 JUDGE MAY: There is one matter I want to
20 deal with administratively when the witness has left.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, you have another
23 witness here, I take it.
24 MR. NICE: We have a total of three more
25 witnesses this week; two are here and available this
1 afternoon, each of them is short. They will not
2 exhaust the available court sitting time for the week,
3 and each of them can be available today -- well, two of
4 them can be available today or tomorrow, at your
6 JUDGE MAY: I had in mind that we ought to
7 deal, if possible, with the transcripts as soon as we
9 MR. NICE: Yes.
10 JUDGE MAY: Now, would it be convenient to
11 make a start with the transcripts after the adjournment
12 and see how we get on with that? The witness can be
13 here tomorrow, can he or she?
14 MR. NICE: Both witnesses, I do believe, can
15 be here tomorrow, and I don't believe either of them
16 has any pressing personal concerns to get their
17 evidence over with quickly. I better just check that
18 with Mr. Lopez-Terres. He's been dealing with one of
20 [Prosecution counsel confer]
21 MR. NICE: They've both been told they're
22 likely to testify today, so to some extent, they've got
23 themselves ready. But I don't think they fall into the
24 category, for example, of the last witness, whose
25 personal circumstances I might have pressed hard. I'm
1 sure they can both be persuaded to come tomorrow. I
2 know Mr. Lopez-Terres has difficulties tomorrow
3 morning, but I'll get round those so that he's able to
4 take the witness.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE MAY: How long would one of the
7 witnesses be?
8 MR. NICE: Mr. Lopez-Terres considers his
9 witness will be 40 minutes in chief, and there may be
10 very limited cross-examination. It's a village
12 JUDGE MAY: Let's take that witness then, if
13 she is ready, and then we will deal with the
15 MR. NICE: There's also the Defence Pre-Trial
17 JUDGE MAY: Exactly, so the earlier we start
18 on that, the better. An encouragement, I hope, to the
20 Twenty-five to three.
21 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.05 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.38 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
5 WITNESS: ISMET HALILOVIC
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
8 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
10 Examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
11 Q. You are indeed Mr. Ismet Halilovic, born in
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You're an engineer at the Bratstvo factory in
15 Novi Travnik, where you live?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You specialised in industrial machinery?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Mr. Halilovic, in the course of October 1992,
20 when the second conflict was ongoing in Novi Travnik,
21 is it true that three soldiers belonging to the HVO
22 forces came to your apartment?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. At the time, you were living in the lower
25 part of the town, known as Bare?
1 A. Yes, that is where I lived.
2 Q. Could you show us, briefly, on the map that I
3 am going to give you, the position of your building?
4 This is Z1960, exhibit.
5 A. I think I can.
6 Q. Could you show us where you were living at
7 the time, that is, in October 1992, in the lower part
8 of the town?
9 A. I lived here [indicates], and later in 1993 I
10 left to this part of town, where I live now
11 [indicates]. The street is called Kalinska.
12 Q. Since you've shown us already, let me
13 repeat: You lived first in Bare, and then in January
14 1993 you moved to go to the upper part of the town,
15 known as Kalinska.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Those three soldiers which
18 appeared at your place, they threatened you with
19 weapons and said that they were looking for a sniper?
20 A. Yes. I think that was their excuse.
21 Q. As far as you knew, were there one or several
22 snipers in your building or in the part of town that
23 you lived in?
24 A. As far as I know, in that area there were no
25 snipers at the time.
1 Q. You have already told us that you considered
2 this to be an excuse, a pretext.
3 A. Yes. That is what I believe it was.
4 Q. When they came to your place, they uttered
5 insults at your expense?
6 A. Yes. Those were customary insults of
7 Muslims, using various curses. I don't know if it's
8 necessary for me to repeat them now.
9 Q. Perhaps that won't be useful. Then they
10 searched your apartment, didn't they?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In the course of the search, they found a
13 7.65 pistol, which you lawfully had in your possession
14 for several years and for which you had a permit?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Two days later, after this visit, three other
17 HVO soldiers, one of whom was in black uniform, the
18 other two in camouflage uniform, all armed with guns,
19 came again to your building?
20 A. Yes. That was again during that conflict or,
21 rather, the very next day. They came demanding that
22 the Muslims or, rather, balijas, as they called us, who
23 had garages in the building should come out.
24 Q. So you obeyed, and you came out, together
25 with other neighbours from the building, in front of
1 your garage?
2 A. Yes. Because a solder was standing next to
3 my garage, asking whose garage it was, and I answered
4 that it was mine. Then they demanded the keys. One of
5 them took the car, and the other one went with me to
6 take my driving licence. We went upstairs. He pointed
7 the gun at me. I was looking for it, but I couldn't
8 find it. And then they went downstairs and the three
9 of them went off with my car.
10 Q. Did one of the soldiers tell you which
11 village he came from?
12 A. Yes. I tried to see who he was. I said that
13 he seemed familiar, and he said, "No, you can't know
14 me, sir. I'm an Ustashe from Rankovici."
15 Q. And Rankovici is a village close to Novi
16 Travnik, is it not?
17 A. Yes, next to Novi Travnik, and it is part of
18 Novi Travnik municipality.
19 Q. You were informed, when your car was taken,
20 that other Muslims were victims of the same kind of
21 procedure by the HVO?
22 A. Yes. As far as I know, it was not just my
23 car that was driven off but many others that they could
24 get their hands on. They would take away not only cars
25 but other objects that they considered to be important
1 for them at the time.
2 Q. I think that one of your neighbours and two
3 colleagues from work had their cars stolen in the same
5 A. Yes. When I was making my statement, I
6 remembered that Mr. Mustafa Velatovac and Mr. Ratko
7 Vujovic had told me that their cars were taken away in
8 the same way, as well as Suljo Krnjic's, who also was a
9 neighbour of mine. So his car was taken. Later on I
10 learned of many other cases, but I just remembered
12 Q. You have just told us that your car and the
13 cars of these people were taken away. Was it a theft
14 or a requisitioning?
15 A. In my view it was theft, because if it was to
16 be used for military purposes, then as far as I know,
17 some kind of document should have been provided so that
18 later on I could claim it back. But as they gave us no
19 certificates, no papers, I consider it to be theft,
20 plain and simple.
21 Q. Shortly after this theft, you met by chance,
22 I think, Mr. Marinko Marelja, a local influential Croat
23 in Travnik municipality and who owned the Grand cafe.
24 You met him in front of this cafe. Could you tell us
25 briefly the gist of your conversation?
1 A. I knew Mr. Marinko Marelja from before,
2 because he was living in Novi Travnik. He was the
3 owner of this Cafe Grand, which I used to visit
4 frequently, and we knew each other.
5 Passing by the Grand cafe, Mr. Marinko
6 Marelja came by, and I said, rather in passing, whether
7 he could help me trace my car, because I knew that he
8 had influence over these people. I knew that he was a
9 former policeman, and since we knew one another, I
10 tried to regain possession of my car with his
11 assistance. However, he answered, "Never mind your
12 car, Cuna. Better move to Kalinska. Brothers are
13 brothers, and it's better if they separate, and this
14 town will be divided into the upper and lower part of
15 Novi Travnik."
16 Q. When he told us [sic] that the town would be
17 divided, he meant by the Croats of Novi Travnik?
18 A. As the Serbs had already left, he must have
19 meant the Croats.
20 Q. Your vehicle was ultimately found by a cousin
21 and you were able to regain possession of it, so we
22 don't need to go into the details of that.
23 A. Yes. A couple of days later, I managed to
24 find my car, thanks to a relative of mine who
25 recognised it, and I got my car back. Not thanks to
1 the soldiers or anyone else but thanks to this relative
2 of mine.
3 Q. So your cousin took the car away from the
4 person, the soldier, who was driving it by force?
5 A. No, I wouldn't call it by force, but he's a
6 big man. This was in Travnik, they were outside their
7 own territory, and as they didn't have the documents
8 for the car, he considered this to be theft too, and so
9 they gave up the car quite easily.
10 Q. In the course of December 1992 and January
11 1993, the Muslims living in the same area as you were
12 given ultimatums to have to abandon this district by
13 phone calls or by HVO soldiers who appeared at their
15 A. Yes, there were many such instances in
16 December and January. Many people were intimidated.
17 Soldiers would come with socks over their heads, so I
18 don't know who they were, and they were inflicting
19 terror on the people to force the people out, again
20 giving the reason that this would be a Croatian town.
21 Q. During these visits or phone calls, threats
22 were uttered, death threats.
23 A. I'm not sure that there were death threats,
24 but there were words to the effect, "You must leave
25 within 24 hours or you'll see what will happen to you,"
1 and words to that effect.
2 Q. You yourself didn't receive any such threats,
3 but you took the threats received by others very
5 A. Yes. Many realised this and left before me.
6 Unfortunately, I didn't immediately. But this could be
7 felt in the air, as our people are prone to say, that
8 we needed to leave.
9 Q. Among the persons who were threatened was one
10 of your colleagues from work.
11 A. Yes. Dzenana Bubric, I said that, and I
12 recalled just then her name. But there were others,
13 and I can't remember exactly all the names of those
14 people, but many left under threat. I cannot say that
15 I did so because I was not threatened, but if I may, I
16 should like to explain why I decided to leave.
17 Q. Yes, please do that.
18 A. I had a large number of colleagues at work
19 who were Croats, and when this person came up to me,
20 with whom I eventually exchanged apartments, to ask me
21 if I wanted to exchange with him, I was still hesitant;
22 however, I asked another colleague of mine, who is
23 younger than me and whom I had helped a great deal at
24 work and I thought I could count on his sincerity, his
25 name was Mr. Blazen Kovac, and I asked him, "Blazen,
1 please tell me, what is the situation, and should I
2 really exchange apartments and move to the upper part
3 of town?" His answer was, "Cuna, judging by what I
4 have heard and what I do know, you would be better off
5 if you left." He didn't tell me specifically what he
6 had heard, but he simply informed me in this way that I
7 should leave, and that is what I did. I went to the
8 upper part of town at the end of January 1993.
9 Q. A little while later, on the Sunday, the 7th
10 of February, 1993, you decided to take back some bags
11 to a former neighbour and to collect some things from
12 your former garage.
13 A. Yes. I moved on the 31st of January, and
14 seven days later, that is, the 7th of February, with my
15 daughter and two sons of my brother's, I collected bags
16 which I had borrowed from my former neighbours when
17 moving. I wanted to give those bags back, and I
18 thought at the same time I could collect a few small
19 belongings from my garage. This happened on the 7th of
21 THE INTERPRETER: January. I'm sorry. The
22 witness said "January".
23 A. Shall I continue?
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation];.
25 Q. What happened in the Petar Mecava Street on
1 your way?
2 A. I gave the bags back and I dropped in at my
3 neighbour's, Pocrnjak, I had a cup of coffee with him,
4 and I took a small wheelbarrow, intending to transport
5 those things to the new apartment.
6 In the meantime, my brother came, and since
7 he had a garage too and he wanted to take some things
8 out too, we took a trailer and we loaded some stuff on
9 that trailer and headed off towards the upper part of
11 In the Petar Mecava Street, we were
12 intercepted by three HVO soldiers who asked us, first
13 of all, "Where are you going?" Without any second
14 thought, I said, "We're going to Kalinska, we're taking
15 some things with us." "And what are your names?" When
16 we gave them our names, Ismet and Izet, the swearing
17 started, they cursed our balija mothers. "What have
18 you been waiting for? Why didn't you leave earlier
19 on?" and then he cocked his automatic rifle and put the
20 barrel in my mouth.
21 I still wasn't aware of the situation that my
22 brother, the children, and I were in, but in view of
23 the presence of the children, I thought surely they
24 couldn't do something bad to us, and this was daytime,
25 about 1.30 in the afternoon. After all, it's daytime,
1 it's in the centre of town. He cocked his gun and
2 said, "You can see it's loaded," and he said, "Unload
3 those things from the trailer so we can see what's in
5 So I started taking things down, and he then
6 said, "Hurry up. Hurry up," And he found a small axe,
7 and he asked, "What's this?" and I said, "It's a small
8 axe." He waved with it, turning the blunt side to hit
9 me with it, and he hit me in the chest. I sort of
10 stumbled, and when he saw I was still on my feet, since
11 the axe fell out of his hand as he did this, he turned
12 his gun around and hit me here [indicates], between the
13 eyebrows, and you can still see the scar. I fell on my
14 knees, I was covered in blood, and I simply asked him,
15 "Young man, why are you doing this?" and without any
16 hesitation, from a distance of about three metres, he
17 shot at me, and ...
18 Q. Could you show us where you were shot?
19 A. It was a bullet which hit me -- the entry
20 wound was in the neck, and here [indicates]. The exit
21 wound was on the front side of my neck. The exit wound
22 is slightly larger.
23 Q. And you lost consciousness as a result.
24 A. Yes, I lost consciousness, and then when I
25 came to, I somehow managed to stand up, with blood all
1 over me. I didn't know where I was, what had
2 happened. At that moment, two HVO policemen, because
3 they were not far away -- some 20 metres also was a
4 police station, behind that building -- they gave me
5 signs to hurry up and to come close to them.
6 I approached them and I went into their
7 premises asking for help, thinking to give me something
8 at least to bandage my wound, but the answer they gave
9 me was that they had no bandages. Then I asked them to
10 give me a lift to the emergency aid, and they said they
11 had no petrol, so that I had to come out into the
12 street again. At that moment, a Golf was passing by,
13 and I stopped in the middle of the street, and I guess
14 people, when saw me all bloody, they stopped, picked me
15 up, and took me to Travnik.
16 Q. Did you see whether the soldier, the one who
17 pointed his rifle at you and shot, did he have any
18 particular insignia, any badges?
19 A. Yes. That fellow that fired at me, I learned
20 his name. His name was Ivica Mlakic. He had the
21 letter "U" on his cap, and he never even hesitated to
22 mention that he belonged to the Ustashe. I think he
23 was very proud of the fact.
24 Q. And you -- your impression was that those
25 soldiers or some other soldiers were there drunk or
1 perhaps slightly intoxicated?
2 A. Well, I can't say whether somebody's drunk.
3 I mean, if he can pick up first a small axe, then the
4 rifle, and quite consciously ill-treat somebody, I
5 don't know. Of course, I didn't give them a breathing
6 test, so I don't know, but I really --
7 Q. Is it true that one of the soldiers, before
8 that shot was fired, that he tried to intervene?
9 A. Yes, I [sic] tried. He was a fair-haired
10 hair [sic], and he was Josip Marko. He was the son of
11 the father who worked nearby, and he tried to stop this
12 Mlakic, to stop him from ill-treating us, but he simply
13 pushed him away and would not let him stop him.
14 Q. And since he lost consciousness, you could
15 not see what happened to your brother, to Izet, but you
16 received information about the circumstances of his
17 death from their own children, didn't you?
18 A. Yes. I learned that from the children and
19 many other people who knew me. And very many other
20 people in Travnik knew me; they told me later on what
21 had happened. But the children, of course, were on the
23 At the moment when he fired at me and I fell
24 in the street, and my brother also thought that I had
25 been killed, and they must have thought that too, that
1 I was dead. And he then simply cried out, "You've
2 killed my brother." I'm sorry.
3 Q. [No translation]
4 A. And at that moment that man fired at him too,
5 in his stomach, and when he saw that he was still
6 alive, he came close to him and fired another bullet in
7 his forehead.
8 Q. Your brother Izet was 40 when that happened,
9 wasn't he?
10 A. Yes. He was born in 1953.
11 Q. He had three children and worked for a
12 humanitarian organisation?
13 A. Yes. He had three children. Yes. At that
14 time he worked for Merhamet, and apart from Merhamet he
15 was also active in the Red Cross in the municipality.
16 It was set up to help people with food and other
17 humanitarian relief, and he was active in that because
18 he was not a soldier. Both of us were in civilian
19 clothes. Throughout that period of time I was under
20 work obligation, so I wasn't taking any military part
21 in anything as a soldier, nor did my brother.
22 Q. You have already addressed that subject,
23 Mr. Halilovic. While you were in hospital, other HVO
24 soldiers, who were guarded by Susa, who was in the same
25 hospital, and you were asked to reveal the identity of
1 these soldiers, of these three soldiers.
2 A. Yes. While I was in the hospital after a
3 traffic accident, he was there too. I believe he was a
4 H-O-S commander, a HOS commander. He was called Susa,
5 and he was in the hospital unconscious, and there were
6 always four or five of his men there guarding him.
7 Those fellows also came from somewhere around Novi
8 Travnik, from Rankovici, Bucici. And they had heard
9 about the case, about the incident, and they came to me
10 and they gave me the names of those people, of the
11 people who had done that.
12 Q. And those three soldiers, Mlakic, Milanovic,
13 and Miletic, they, according to what you were told,
14 came from the village of Rankovici, did they?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you know if they belonged to the Novi
17 Travnik HVO Brigade?
18 A. Yes. Later on I learnt that Ivica Kambic was
19 their commander, and I knew him well, because he also
20 lived in the village of Novi Travnik. So they belonged
21 to that Novi Travnik unit of the HVO.
22 Q. I should now like to show you three
23 documents, which are all medical documents.
24 Mr. Halilovic, do you recognise these documents? Were
25 they documents which were issued you at that time, on
1 the 3rd of March, 1993, at the time of your
3 This is Z520.1, 520.2, and 604.2.
4 A. Yes. The document Z604.2 is the document
5 that I was admitted to the hospital, rather, the
6 discharge document which says what are the findings and
7 where I had received wounds.
8 The second document was issued by a
9 neuropsychiatrist, and it shows that vertebra 1 was
10 injured, and that I also -- and that -- and there was a
11 numbness of my neck and in the back of my head and in
12 the shoulder.
13 And the third document, 604.1, is the
14 document that I was issued --
15 Q. No, no. We shall come to that. We shall
16 come to that. We have not yet come to that particular
17 document. Yes, you have it before you, but we have not
18 come to it yet.
19 Are you still suffering the effects of these
21 A. Yes, of course. My left arm is still numb.
22 I feel this numbness in my neck and my head. And
23 because my vertebra was damaged, of course I feel
24 that. Needless to say, whenever the weather changes, I
25 am in severe pain.
1 Q. The end of February 1993, you were called by
2 a judge called Percinlic, who was a judge with the
3 military court in Travnik, an HVO judge?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you made a statement. You made a
6 statement about how you had been victimised. You made
7 a statement before the judge.
8 A. Yes. I was summoned to the military court in
9 Travnik. Zeljko Percinlic was the judge there, and I
10 made a statement.
11 Q. Later in April 1993, you were issued with a
12 document from that particular military court, and
13 saying that against Josip Milanovic, against whom the
14 investigation was conducted, he had been detained.
15 A. Yes. That was this, Z604.1, whereby I was
16 informed that an investigation has been launched
17 against Josip -- against Ivica Mlakic. However, I was
18 not satisfied with this, because the other two were
19 exempt from any criminal investigation.
20 So I called the Prosecutor and said that I
21 would file an appeal. However, I had no opportunity to
22 do so, because shortly after that the conflict broke
23 out in Travnik between the armija and the HVO, so that
24 it has remained unresolved to this day and nobody was
25 called to account.
1 Q. To your knowledge, the name of Ivica -- the
2 person called Ivica Mlakic still lives in the locality
3 of Rankovici, doesn't he?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And somewhat later, but in 1993, that is, in
6 October or November 1993, the building in which you
7 lived at the time was hit by a shell, and it caused
8 several -- some -- the death of about a dozen
10 A. Yes. I had just come back from work. I was
11 having lunch, and I was in the kitchen, and that is in
12 the front part of the building, when I felt a very
13 powerful detonation. At that same moment, I went out
14 to the back part where my bedroom was, and I saw smoke
15 and I heard screams of people.
16 At that moment, I could not see any people
17 downstairs because of this thick smoke, but I went
18 downstairs because this shell had hit the flat of my
19 brother's wife. I just went down to see how had the
20 children and she fared and whether there were any
21 injured there. And then people went down to carry away
22 the wounded. I believe that some 10 or maybe 11 people
23 were killed on that occasion.
24 While I was cleaning the flat, my brother's
25 flat, I found a shrapnel of the shell and I saw "128"
1 written on it. To my knowledge, because I work in the
2 military industry, it was a shrapnel of a
3 128-millimetre shell. I think, that is, it is my
4 opinion, but not only my opinion, that that shell had
5 been fired by the HVO, because if you look how -- where
6 the building faces and where the shell came from, I
7 believe it was the HVO. I do not know if anybody went
8 out to find the facts. This is only my opinion.
9 Q. You believe that the shell could have been
10 fired from the direction of Rankovici?
11 A. Yes. Yes, because it could have only come
12 from that direction. That is how I see it.
13 Q. Were there any military facilities near your
15 A. No.
16 Q. Were there any Croat families living in that
17 area or in that building?
18 A. No.
19 Q. And again, during the same period of time,
20 you could see that the snipers were regularly firing at
21 the civilian population, and you could see that as you
22 went to work and back from work daily?
23 A. Yes. Because I was under a labour
24 obligation, I would leave my flat to go to the factory
25 every morning, and we would take a shortcut through the
1 wood. But there were quite a number of places where we
2 had to run across because the snipers never stopped
3 firing from the location of Relay, of the transmitter,
4 which is on a hill immediately above the fire brigade
5 station above Novi Travnik, where the transmitter used
6 to be before. That's why we call it that. And
7 throughout the conflict, snipers fired at us and other
8 civilians, and those of us who went to comply with the
9 labour obligations and other civilians.
10 Q. And you know that at least three persons died
11 as a result of these sniper shots.
12 A. Yes. I already mentioned. Many more
13 people -- there were many more casualties and
14 lethalities [sic]. I knew Redzib Sivro, because I knew
15 him well, and Nazif Kopcic, because I knew him. They
16 were all people who worked for Bratstvo. And I also
17 knew my friend's wife who was killed in her flat,
18 because the bullet simply went through the glass, hit
19 her, and killed her there and then. Those are people
20 whose names I remember at the moment, but there were
21 quite a number of both -- of people who were wounded
22 and killed, all from those positions held at Relay, at
23 the former transmitter station site.
24 Q. Thank you Mr. Halilovic.
25 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
1 Mr. President, I have no further questions.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
4 Your Honour.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
6 Q. Mr. Halilovic, allow me to introduce myself.
7 I'm Mitko Naumovski, a lawyer from Zagreb, and I'm one
8 of the counsel for the accused Kordic.
9 I'll ask you a few questions, but I must say
10 something before I begin. Because we speak the same
11 language and we can understand one another as soon as
12 we have uttered a thought, will you please pause a
13 little after you've heard my question so as to give
14 time to the interpreters to interpret my questions. I
15 believe my questions will not take long.
16 The first very short subject is the first day
17 of the conflict in October 1992, when three soldiers,
18 as you say, came and searched your apartment. When
19 they came, they asked you if you had any weapons,
20 didn't they?
21 A. No. They asked me if I had a sniper weapon
22 or a rifle. They came using as an excuse that a sniper
23 was firing from that building, so they were looking for
24 a sniper.
25 Q. Perhaps I will jog your memory if I tell you
1 what you told the investigators in November 1998.
2 First page, third paragraph: "The soldiers asked me if
3 I had any weapons, and I said no," and then you added,
4 as an afterthought, what weapons you had in mind, but a
5 sniper weapon is not mentioned anywhere. You mentioned
6 a sniper weapon today for the first time.
7 A. Well, I did not think that anybody should
8 seize a pistol for which I had a license. It is a
9 pistol 7.65. I had a permit for it. And the statement
10 which I gave them, that is what I said: They came and
11 said as a pretext that a sniper was firing from that
12 building, and I said I did not have any weapon of that
14 Q. Right. That was my introductory question, if
15 I may call it that. Let us now move on to the second
16 incident when your car was seized. You already
17 described the car and how it was taken away from you;
18 there is no need to go back to it, but we agree that
19 the car was given back to you, don't we?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. A couple of questions that have to do with
22 residents in the Novi Travnik municipality. Can we
23 agree, Mr. Halilovic, that as early as September 1992,
24 in particular, some 4,000 or 5,000 Muslims arrived in
25 Novi Travnik, driven away by Serbs from the areas that
1 they had taken?
2 A. Yes; that is, I don't know how many of them,
3 but they came.
4 Q. I should say it was a few thousand of them.
5 A. No, I do not think they were that many.
6 Q. Very well. But we agree that they came to
7 Novi Travnik. A certain number, never mind how many of
8 them, came to Novi Travnik.
9 A. Yes, and they mostly were accommodated in
10 villages, in private houses.
11 Q. Can we agree also that some of those people
12 who were not accommodated in villages were bringing
13 major pressure to bear on the inhabitants of the upper
14 part of town to move out of their flats? And by this,
15 I mean, in the first place, the Kalinska Street.
16 A. What inhabitants do you mean?
17 Q. Well, Croats, in this case.
18 A. I don't know of any such case.
19 Q. If I understood you well, you exchanged a
20 flat with a Croat who used to live on that very street,
21 on Kalinska Street.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that Croat suggested to you to exchange
24 flats, didn't he?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You have to give me an answer because of the
3 A. Yes. Yes, but may I explain it slowly?
4 Q. Do we agree that your colleague at work, this
5 Croat, asked you to exchange flats? He must have had
6 reason for that.
7 A. Well, he must have been better informed than
8 I was.
9 Q. But would you know anything more specific
10 about reasons for which he wanted to exchange flats?
11 Did any of the Croats with whom you worked, they must
12 have told you that they were suffering some
13 unpleasantness in that part of the town -- well, that
14 same gentleman.
15 A. That same gentleman, Mladen Dujmuscic, he
16 worked with me, and he never -- and that can be
17 ascertained because I live in his flat now -- never, he
18 never -- throughout that period, nobody attacked him or
19 said a bad word to him. The then commander, Refik
20 Lendo, and I can give you the name of a man that I
21 know, and that is Mr. Boro Miletic, his wife is a
22 Croat, and he told him when he -- when Boro asked him,
23 he replied, "Boro, as for departure, you can stay here,
24 and I'll even give you a soldier to take care of you."
25 So there was no coercion by anyone, at least not that I
1 know of.
2 Q. But that Boro Miletic, he wasn't a Croat, was
4 A. His wife was a Croat and he was a Serb.
5 Q. But perhaps you know those people, I might
6 give you those names, I mean, people who suffered
7 various things in Kalinska. For instance, a lawyer,
8 Ivan Grubesic, was attacked there. You must have heard
9 of him because he was not a known figure in Novi
11 A. Yes, I've heard about him.
12 Q. Then Marka Savkovic, and so forth, Danilo
13 Lukovic; there are quite a number of people who were
14 told by TO members to move out, something similar to
15 what you say happened in the lower part of town.
16 A. Yes. I know Mr. Grubesic, but to be quite
17 honest, I don't know if he went through anything like
18 that. And as for Mladen Dujmuscic, I'm positive that
19 he never experienced anything like that.
20 Q. Well, do we agree that he asked you to
21 exchange flats and that you agreed in the end and that
22 you did, in fact, exchange your flat for his, to wind
23 this story up.
24 A. Yes, he did ask me, because our flat was the
25 same size.
1 Q. Well, we're not interested in those details.
2 They're not important anymore. Thank you.
3 You mentioned a moment ago the talk with
4 Marelja and said something to the following effect.
5 You said: "Well, even brothers get divided up, so we
6 can split up too in this town and live in two parts,"
7 and from this I can conclude that if there are two
8 parts, one would be the Croatian sector and the other
9 would be the Muslim sector; is that correct?
10 A. Well, I don't know what Mr. Marelja had in
11 mind; I just know what he said.
12 Q. Well, let me put the question to you in a
13 different way. Tell us, please, what the situation was
14 like before the signing of the Washington Agreement.
15 Was the town divided? We don't have to speak about
16 actual borders and where it was divided. I'm talking
17 about 1994.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. We agree then. Thank you.
20 I have several questions to ask you with
21 regard to what happened to you on the 7th of February,
22 but I'll be brief. If I understood you correctly, the
23 person who shot at you and your brother was Ivica
24 Mlakic, Marijan's son from Rankovici; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Could you please give us a clear answer so
2 that the interpreters can hear you.
3 A. Yes. Ivica Mlakic was there.
4 Q. I do not want to attach greater importance to
5 that detail than it deserves, but when you spoke a
6 moment ago, you said that you couldn't see whether the
7 soldiers were drunk or not. That was a question put to
8 you by the Prosecutor. Is that right? Do you remember
9 saying that?
10 A. Well, I don't know what people mean by
12 Q. Well, I'll tell you what you told the
13 investigators. You said that the soldiers appeared to
14 be drunk.
15 A. Well, they probably appeared to be drunk, if
16 I said that, but whether they were actually drunk, I
17 cannot say.
18 Q. Very well. Thank you. But you agree that
19 you made that statement. I don't want to insist upon
20 the degree or details.
21 Today you spoke about the court proceedings
22 that took place later on, and from the documents that I
23 have come by, I find that at the end of February 1993,
24 you were interviewed by this same judge, Percinlic, in
25 February 1993, that was.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you have the statement that you gave on
3 that occasion?
4 A. No, I do not. It is with Mr. Percinlic.
5 Q. In view of the fact that you were
6 interrogated as the plaintiff, you knew the crime that
7 had been committed and who the proceedings were started
9 A. Yes, I did know.
10 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
11 I should like to tender two documents into evidence,
12 and they can be assigned the same number with points 1
13 and 2, if you agree, of course.
14 Q. Mr. Halilovic, it is important for you to
15 look at the Croatian version of the text. So
16 underneath the English text, you have the Croatian, the
17 document you're now holding in your left hand.
18 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be numbered
19 D187/1 and D188/1.
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Q. So, as I say, you have the Croatian version
22 at the back. Look at page 1, please; that will be
24 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
25 this is a request for an investigation to be conducted,
1 and it was a request made by the district prosecutor in
2 Travnik. With regard to this request, Mr. Halilovic
3 was interviewed as a witness and as the plaintiff.
4 Q. From this document, Mr. Halilovic, it would
5 emerge that the proceedings were taken against the
6 first suspect, Ivica Mlakic, and Josip Milanovic; is
7 that correct?
8 A. Yes. The proceedings were initiated but
9 never brought to a close.
10 Q. Thank you. After the investigation was
11 completed, and that was according to the law of the
12 former Yugoslavia, you were sent this document; it is
13 document Z604.1, and from this document, we see that
14 the judge is informing you, against one of these
15 individuals, that is to say, Milanovic, that he stopped
16 all further investigation, and that Ivica Mlakic was
17 accused of the crime he committed.
18 The final sentence is instruction to you as
19 the plaintiff, telling you that you have the right to
20 ask for an additional investigation or to file a charge
21 against Josip Milanovic for that same criminal act, and
22 you are given a deadline provided for by law, and the
23 deadline was eight days; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, that is correct, but I was never able to
25 take them up on that.
1 Q. But you had the chance of bringing charges
2 against Milanovic; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. Take a look at the other
5 document, please, the one on your right-hand side. The
6 original is in Croatian.
7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] The other
8 document, Your Honours, is an indictment of the
9 military courts in Travnik, which is sent to the
10 district court in Travnik, against Ivica Mlakic for
11 committing the crime at the expense of Mr. Halilovic
12 and his late brother. In the former Yugoslavia, this
13 was qualified as an attempt to kill a number of
14 individuals. One individual was, in fact, killed,
15 whereas the other one received serious bodily injury,
16 so this was an attempt -- an act of killing attempted
17 by several individuals, and Ivica Mlakic was accused of
18 that crime.
19 Q. Take a look at page 1 of the document, and it
20 was precisely with respect to the act that was
21 committed as you described it.
22 A. Yes, I can see that.
23 Q. Mr. Halilovic, in your statement to the
24 investigators, you said that nobody was taken into
25 custody because of the crime that had been committed,
1 and I can read that portion of the statement to you.
2 A. I had reasons for saying that, because that
3 same Mr. Mlakic, who killed my brother and wounded me,
4 ten days later was seen in the lower part of town.
5 That was the piece of information that I received, and
6 the information was correct.
7 Q. But you didn't see him personally, did you?
8 A. No, I couldn't recognise him even to this
9 day, because I didn't know him.
10 Q. Now, why am I saying this to you? I'm saying
11 this because ten days later he could not be on the
12 road, because from this indictment, and please read the
13 first paragraph on page 1, you have basic data about
14 the individual, and it states that he was in custody
15 from the 7th of February, 1993, whereas the indictment
16 was written later on. Do you agree that he was in
17 prison at the time?
18 A. Sir, I agree with you, but I told
19 Mr. Jurcevic the same thing, because he also said that
20 this individual was in prison, whereas I was able to
21 tell him that he was not actually in prison but was
22 located in the lower part of town somewhere, and that
23 is something that I know for a fact.
24 Q. Yes, but you didn't see him personally, did
25 you? You heard this from someone else. It was what we
1 like to call rumours, or hearsay.
2 A. Well, I didn't see him, and I couldn't see
3 him, because I didn't know him.
4 Q. Thank you. I have just one more question,
5 perhaps, and I apologise, but could you just tell me
6 one detail with regard to the indictment, that you were
7 interviewed as a witness in this proceedings, and that
8 is contained on page 3 of the document; is that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. Now I have two questions, brief
12 ones. Do you agree with me that the Serbs, and I'm
13 thinking of the army, the Serbian soldiers, that they
14 shelled Novi Travnik from time to time?
15 A. Yes, they did shell it on two occasions, and
16 they shelled the Bratstvo factory twice.
17 Q. But did anybody else shell it, apart from the
19 A. No. As far as I know, no.
20 Q. You spoke about the shell that hit your
21 house, and you said that you were able to ascertain its
22 calibre. Do you have any knowledge of weaponry, in
23 view of the fact that you worked at the Bratstvo
24 plant? Was it a VBR calibre?
25 A. Well, perhaps it was a VBR or a light
1 rocket-launcher, perhaps.
2 Q. Yes. Today you said -- that is to say, I
3 understood you to have made a conclusion that the shell
4 had come from the direction and positions held by the
5 HVO, but I can conclude from that that you don't
6 actually -- you're not actually sure where the shell
7 came from, which direction, if it was this VBR-type
9 A. Sir, I am quite certain of the direction it
10 came from, but of course I cannot claim that. There
11 are experts who can do that for me.
12 Q. Thank you. I have one further question. You
13 talked about snipers.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know where the high-rise in the town
16 is, where the 9th and 10th floors were burnt, one of
17 those three sky-rise buildings that exist in town?
18 A. Yes, there are four of them.
19 Q. That's right, there are four, but one of them
20 had two of its top floors burnt?
21 A. One had been burnt down completely.
22 Q. Yes, perhaps that's the one. Do you agree
23 that some time after October 1992, it was from this
24 particular high-rise that the snipers attacked Croats in
1 A. I cannot say. I was not a member of the
3 Q. But it is impossible that you never heard
4 about any cases of Croats being hit by snipers in Novi
6 A. Well, I've been living in Novi Travnik for 45
7 years, and I only visited the lower part of town once
8 after the events that took place.
9 Q. What you want to tell me is that you have no
10 information on that.
11 A. Yes. I want to say that I have no contact
12 whatsoever with the lower part of town.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Halilovic.
14 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] And thank
15 you, Your Honours, for your patience. I have completed
16 my questioning.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, we don't have any
18 questions of this witness.
19 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] A question
20 to the witness, if I may, just one.
21 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
22 Q. Mr. Halilovic, the two documents shown to you
23 today were Exhibits D1181 and D1187/1, coming from the
24 military court in Travnik. Did you ever have that
25 document in your hands?
1 A. No.
2 Q. You were, indeed, the victim in these
3 proceedings instituted.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you had no knowledge of these documents?
6 A. No, I didn't see those documents at all.
7 Q. Are they public documents or part of the
8 judicial proceedings?
9 A. I cannot straightaway say whether this is
10 correct or what this is. I just said, on the basis of
11 what I see, I cannot tell you immediately, in one
12 minute, whether this is what you say it is. I don't
14 Q. I'm not asking you to pronounce yourself on
15 the authenticity of this document, I'm just asking
16 whether other persons have the access to these
17 documents, excepting those involved.
18 A. I was never shown this document.
19 Q. Do you know how the accused Dario Kordic may
20 have gained possession of this document when it had
21 nothing to do with him?
22 A. I don't know. I tried to get hold of such
23 documents from the military court of the HVO, because I
24 have a friend working in court, but there were no
1 Q. You saw the indictment today and the requests
2 for the institution of an investigation into the
3 event. Do you know whether there was a condemnation of
4 Ivica Mlakic for murder and attempted murder? Was he
6 A. As far as I know, and that is what I told
7 Mr. Naumovski, that that young man, Ivica Mlakic, was
8 free ten days later. As far as I know and the
9 information I have, he was never indicted. He was
10 never charged.
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank you,
12 Mr. President. I have no further questions.
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Halilovic, that concludes
14 your evidence. Thank you for coming to the
15 International Tribunal to give it. You are released.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you too, and I wish you
17 every success in your work.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 MR. NICE: It's a matter of some concern to
20 us, particularly Mr. Lopez-Terres, who is familiar with
21 the judicial system, how these documents come from what
22 should apparently be a judicial system, not available
23 to the public.
24 JUDGE MAY: No doubt some inquiries can be
25 made or something.
1 Mr. Nice, it's 10 to 4. I don't think
2 there's going to be time to deal with much in the way
3 of transcripts. It seems sensible to deal with the
4 pre-Defence conference today. We've got two witnesses
5 left; is that right?
6 MR. NICE: Yes. And I don't think it will be
7 a problem dealing with them and all the administrative
8 matters this week. Perhaps if the first witness can be
9 taken tomorrow morning. He's very short.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
11 MR. NICE: And then we can perhaps turn to
12 administrative matters thereafter.
13 There's one matter I've got to report on. It
14 probably should be in a very short private session, if
15 we could have that. I'm asked to make -- report by the
16 Victims and Witnesses Unit, so I do.
17 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, I propose to deal
13 with the pre-Defence conference now, unless there are
14 any other matters to be dealt with immediately.
15 MR. NICE: There may be one or matter I want
16 to raise at the end, and there is one topic I want to
17 be heard on in relation to the pre-Defence conference,
18 but I'll wait my turn.
19 JUDGE MAY: Turning to Rule 73 ter in its
20 original form, which we've been operating under as far
21 as this case is concerned, the Rule requires us, prior
22 to the commencement by the defence of its case to hold,
23 or we may hold, rather, a conference in which to order
24 to Defence, before the commencement of its case but
25 after the close of the case for the prosecution, to
1 file the following: admissions and a statement of
2 other matters which aren't in dispute; a statement of
3 contested matters of fact and law; a list of witnesses
4 the Defence intends to call, with the name and
5 pseudonym of each, a summary of the facts on which each
6 will testify, the points in the indictment as to which
7 each will testify, and the estimated length of time
8 required for each; a list of exhibits Defence intends
9 to offer, stating, where possible, whether the
10 Prosecutor has any objection as to authenticity.
11 Now, the position is this: The Defence is
12 due to begin its case, at the moment, on the 10th of
13 April. Clearly, these matters should be in hand before
14 then. I can't remember offhand what the final date we
15 decided on for the Prosecution to produce all its
16 witnesses was, but I think it was three weeks before
17 the trial. There have been several since.
18 MR. NICE: Five weeks, I believe.
19 JUDGE MAY: Five weeks.
20 MR. STEIN: I believe the last day for the
21 Prosecution's case is 10 March.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I'm talking about at what
23 stage before the Prosecution put its case on it was
24 obliged to produce its witness statements.
25 MR. STEIN: Actually, may it please the
1 Court. I anticipated we might be discussing that and
2 seeking some parity. Your Honours' scheduling order of
3 22 March 1999 lays that all out, and if you don't have
4 it at the ready, I can supply it to you.
5 I believe, pursuant to that scheduling order,
6 and I seek some parity with it, the Prosecution was
7 obligated, six days before the start of our case on
8 April 12th, to supply us with one-half of their witness
9 summaries and the remaining summaries 15 days after
10 that, by April 27. And the Prosecution was obligated,
11 12 days before the start of the case on April 12th, to
12 supply the Defence with a list of witnesses for the
13 first six weeks of trial, that date being March 31,
14 1999. Then, of course, we have a rolling, two-week
15 list of witnesses.
16 Along those lines, if it may please the
17 Court, and given the parameters of the Court's --
18 JUDGE MAY: Pausing there. You say
19 "parity." They were obliged to produce the material,
20 the supporting material for the indictment at an
21 earlier stage. So they had made some disclosure before
22 any of this.
23 MR. STEIN: That's true, but it rubs salt
24 into the wounds with respect to that issue, sir. The
25 supporting material for the indictment and the ultimate
1 material that we're trying are two different sets of
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's hear what your
4 proposals are.
5 MR. STEIN: What I propose, Your Honour, is
6 that assuming the evidence closes on the 10th of March,
7 our motion for judgement of acquittal would be due on
8 March 17. I would propose first that even should the
9 Prosecution end its case a day or two or even a week
10 earlier, that date be a firm date, March 17, for the
11 filing of our motion for judgement of acquittal. I
12 seek that because it gives us some certainty to plan
13 our work and to allocate tasks.
14 I would propose that the Prosecution be given
15 until March 24, 7 days, to reply to our motion for
16 judgement of acquittal. Argument has been scheduled
17 for March 30. That would give all of us time to
18 consume the Prosecution's answer and study the various
20 JUDGE MAY: Well, pausing there. I know what
21 your application is, but if the Prosecution were to
22 finish earlier, I think the Rules would oblige you to
23 produce your motion within a week. I'll be reminded if
24 I'm wrong.
25 MR. STEIN: I think it's Rule 98, Your
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. STEIN: May I ask this, then. This is a
4 slight bend, and I acknowledge that. We could, of
5 course, file a one or two-page pro forma motion for
6 judgement of acquittal, followed up by really the meat
7 of what we intend to say in our brief. So should the
8 Prosecution close its case, say, March 1, we certainly
9 can file a pro forma motion for judgement of acquittal
10 within the time contemplated by the Rule, but we would
11 ask for leave and an extension to file our full set of
12 papers by March 17, if not before.
13 JUDGE MAY: We'll certainly consider that.
14 What we're looking for, speaking for myself, is not a
15 detailed brief; it is a skeleton which sets out the
16 argument and, where need be, the references, so we can
17 follow the argument. That's the important thing.
18 MR. STEIN: Yes. Well, I'll carry that back
19 to the brief writer and writers and make that known.
20 We propose further that that document will
21 fairly and articulately set out contested issues of law
22 and fact and, consequently, I think moot out any need
23 under 73(A) to more fully set those matters out.
24 We therefore would ask the Court that on
25 March 30, we supply the Prosecution with our witness
1 list and our exhibit list; and on April 4, supply the
2 Prosecution with the witness summaries for the first
3 six weeks of trial; and by April 25, the second half of
4 that list. And these are approximately the same time,
5 given the weekends and disparities in the calendar,
6 that the Prosecution gave the Defence.
7 JUDGE MAY: At some stage, the Trial Chamber
8 will want to go through these witnesses to decide how
9 many really need be called and how many can be dealt
10 with in other ways.
11 MR. STEIN: Yes. Of course, again, just
12 thinking ahead, the motion for judgement of acquittal
13 we put great weight on and great faith, and your
14 decision in that regard, presumptively being made
15 before we start our case, will chart everyone's course
16 in that regard.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You say that you will
18 provide the witness list and the exhibit list on the
19 30th of March. On the 4th of April the witness
20 summaries for the first six weeks; the 25th of April,
21 second half of list. What does that mean?
22 MR. STEIN: What I meant, actually, Judge, is
23 we would divide the summaries. The first half of the
24 witness list would be summarised and then the next half
25 summarised thereafter on April 25. And that first half
1 wouldn't be just alphabetical; it will be the people
2 who will be testifying in the first six weeks.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. So by the 25th of April,
4 you would have completed everything.
5 MR. STEIN: Yes.
6 JUDGE MAY: And we'll know what it is, the
7 scope of your case.
8 MR. STEIN: Yes, sir.
9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, anything you want to
11 MR. NICE: Yes. Quite a lot. As to equality
12 of means or arms, it has to be borne in mind -- there
13 should be borne in mind, first, that the resources of
14 the parties are worth having in mind. We now know the
15 degree of assistance supplied to the Defence by the
16 State of Croatia and by the Croatian part of the
17 republic. We know a lot else about their resources.
18 They have very considerable resources indeed.
19 We have some resources but, of course, we
20 have duties, both in relation to our relations to the
21 parties who assist us and also in relation to the
22 position of adverse material; that is to say,
23 favourable material to the other side.
24 Second, we have provided, years ago, the vast
25 majority of the material in the original confirming
1 material. A great deal of material was provided
2 thereafter, and it's not just summaries; it's full
3 statements. Exhibits were provided along the way,
4 some, more, of course, later, and then all statements,
5 apart from those that were provided in respect of
6 late-noticed witnesses, were provided before trial.
7 JUDGE MAY: Some people would say you're
8 lucky to be getting these statements. It's not a
9 provision which some of us are used to, the Prosecution
10 get the statements.
11 MR. NICE: I respectfully say that would be
12 to instinctively incorporate into these proceedings
13 what may apply elsewhere but doesn't apply here, where
14 there is supposed to be equality of arms or means. So
15 that the position is that the Defence start off in a
16 vastly favourable position and that the Court should
17 attempt to redress that in balance to some degree by
18 making strict orders at this juncture.
19 What sort of summaries should be provided?
20 We apparently won't be provided with witness
21 statements. This is a case where there's been no
22 voluntary disclosure of any kind.
23 In our respectful submission, the decision
24 in -- yes. There's a Mostar case where decisions have
25 already been made that the summaries to be served, as I
1 am informed -- I haven't yet seen the order -- are to
2 be as least as detailed as the sorts of summaries that
3 we've been providing, and that, in our respectful
4 submission, is what should be provided, and at this
5 stage. There is no reason not to. There is every
6 reason why that should be done, and even then the
7 position will not remotely match that which is provided
8 by the Prosecution.
9 The Chamber will know that I have been making
10 this point for some time, and that I made the point
11 with reinforced emphasis when the degree of assistance
12 available to the Defence became known.
13 Further, provision of summaries in that
14 degree of detail will both enable the Chamber to
15 exercise its discretion or judgement in relation to the
16 number of witnesses to be called, and will, I hope,
17 enable me to decide which witnesses it isn't necessary
18 to trouble attending at court, for unlike the Defence,
19 I will have absolutely no hesitation in allowing
20 statements or summaries to be placed before the Chamber
21 uncontested where there is no contest. Not, of course,
22 something that's been an approach by the Defence, to my
23 considerable concern. But there is every reason,
24 within these Rules, both the present Rules and, I
25 suppose, the amended Rules insofar as they reflect the
1 spirit of the institution, there is every reason for
2 73(B) order to be to the effect that before the
3 commencement of its case, there should be filed a
4 summary of the facts on which each witness will
5 testify. No grounds for it being postponed until some
6 date after the start of the Defence case.
7 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Nice, we have been,
8 with the Prosecution, understanding to this extent:
9 that you have frequently made the point that it is
10 difficult for you to predict precisely which witnesses
11 you can have. Orders were made at the very beginning
12 of the case requiring witnesses to be notified by -- I
13 forget what the last day was, but I think perhaps the
14 25th of May. I will be reminded. We have been dealing
15 with applications in January and February of this year
16 and, therefore, I think that the same sort of
17 understanding, and I put it that way, neutrally, must
18 be applied to the Defence.
19 MR. NICE: I don't disagree. But, again, the
20 Chamber mustn't confuse one issue with the other.
21 Applications you've been dealing with in respect of
22 late-noticed witnesses is different entirely from the
23 position about witnesses of whom the Defence already
24 are aware and whom they already intend to call.
25 It also has to be borne in mind that the
1 whole business of preparing Defence witnesses is
2 different from preparing Prosecution, to a significant
3 extent. We have to prepare cases, or the investigators
4 have to prepare cases or topics, and the witnesses are
5 the subjects of statements that are taken; then there's
6 a collection of witnesses identified for a particular
7 case and so on, the material is served, the witness
8 list is prepared, and so on. First the summary, then
9 the fuller summary.
10 The Defence are, of course, to a significant
11 extent, bound to be being responsive to what's been
12 served and what the Prosecution case is. So when they
13 see a witness, they will be seeing a witness in
14 relation to this case and no doubt taking a witness
15 statement that relates to this case.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,
18 each one has his own style, but now you're engaging in
19 explanations of the past. Couldn't you concentrate on
20 the points proposed by the Defence, and very briefly
21 so, because this is not the time to engage in a debate
22 on the equality of arms, et cetera, on the way in which
23 things were conducted, the differences between the
24 Prosecution and the Defence, things that we know. We
25 are here, we are professional Judges, and we don't need
1 for you to explain to us the differences between the
2 Prosecution and the Defence. After all, we have to
3 concentrate on the points which will take us forward.
4 There's a timetable that has been suggested, some very
5 precise points. If you're not in agreement, tell us;
6 if you agree, that's fine. So let's try and move on,
7 please, without too much discussion.
8 MR. NICE: I was dealing, first of all, with
9 the Presiding Judge's concern about matters of history,
10 and, indeed, I had been looking forward, and I still
11 am, and I make the point, that for this case to be
12 properly and fully litigated, the earlier notice I
13 receive, or we receive, by way of full summaries of the
14 Defence witness statements, the better; the better for
15 efficiency, the better for the prospects of relieving
16 witnesses the duty of attending, and, frankly, the more
17 in line with the equality of means which the Judges of
18 this Court have plainly intended to operate by the
19 broadly parallel provisions of the two parts of Rule
20 73. That's the reason I referred to it, because it
21 affects the position and answers the point the
22 Presiding Judge was concerned about at the beginning.
23 So we would invite you to say, first of all,
24 that there should be no particular concession in
25 relation to the service of any motion to acquit, and I
1 can say no more than has already fallen from the lips
2 of the Presiding Judge.
3 I've made the point about the summary of the
4 facts and, no doubt, Mr. Lopez-Terres, who's been
5 trying to track down the precise terms of the order,
6 will be able to deal with that, if not by today, by
7 tomorrow. But we couldn't find the relevant people
8 today or, indeed, yesterday, but it should be at least
9 as full as our summaries, and they should, in our
10 respectful submission, all be provided before the time
11 when the case starts. In that way, we will be able to
12 deal with the first witness and subsequent witnesses
13 properly and fully.
14 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Stein, the point about the summaries.
16 MR. STEIN: Yes, sir.
17 JUDGE MAY: I have had experience in this
18 Tribunal of summaries which are worthless, not in this
19 case, but three lines. Entirely useless. Now, I had
20 not understood that you would have engaged or, I might
21 say, Mr. Kovacic, in that sort of activity. You would
22 provide proper summaries of what it is the witness is
23 going to say.
24 MR. STEIN: Yes, Your Honour. Let me be
25 clear, because the word "summary," "summary,"
1 and "summary" seems to be used in different contexts,
2 and I must trace back to where we started, I'm afraid.
3 The Prosecution's original summaries were
4 just as you described, three lines. The Court
5 instructed the Prosecution to amplify on those
6 summaries, and they were amplified to a paragraph or
7 more. We now have, as part of our experiment, daily
8 summaries, complete -- 40, 50 paragraphs; six, seven
9 pages -- given to us, as we've pointed out, regularly,
10 an hour or, at best, an evening before the witness
11 arrives. It is my intent that when we file our
12 summaries with the Court, for them to be a page or
13 less, so the Court knows what the witness is going to
14 say, to what part of the indictment his testimony is
15 focused, and the other requirements of 73. Not a book;
16 one page or less.
17 That is different from the experiment we have
18 used consistently in this case, and we will, when the
19 witness comes to The Hague, as the Prosecution has,
20 talk to the witness in our final session with the
21 witness, detail the specific paragraphs and points that
22 he or she will testify, and serve up, within the time
23 period allotted between the Victims and Witnesses Unit
24 getting the witness to The Hague and his or her
25 appearance in court, as the Prosecution has, a more
1 detailed "summary". It's really not a summary; it's
2 really an offer of proof, if you will, and that's the
3 process we intend to use.
4 So the Court will certainly have a roadmap
5 into what our case is, the Prosecution will have the
6 same roadmap that it gave us, and we will, in turn,
7 when the witness is actually here in The Hague, be able
8 to give far more than a roadmap; it will be a detailed
9 account, and the Court can or the Prosecution can
10 direct us and the witness to focus on paragraphs 1
11 through 6, as we have throughout the trial. If the
12 Prosecution concedes paragraphs 7 through 12, there
13 will be no questions, or perfunctory questions, and we
14 will proceed as we have throughout these proceedings.
15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Kovacic.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour. If I
18 may speak Croatian, it will be a little bit easier for
20 [Interpretation] First of all, my learned
21 friend from the Prosecution made a comparison of the
22 resources available to the Defence. I don't know
23 exactly what he refers to, and I find it rather
24 confusing, because the Chamber has, in accordance with
25 an earlier decision, filings from the Defence naming
1 the members of the Cerkez Defence team, and I think
2 there is no need for me to tell the Prosecution how
3 strong or weak I am, because the Court has the
4 necessary information.
5 In any event, we're a very modest Defence
6 team, as you know, and these deadlines that the Kordic
7 Defence has mentioned is something that I'm unable to
8 meet, I simply cannot, primarily because the
9 Prosecution -- and I think -- I'd like to be wrong, but
10 I think it did so for tactical reasons - that as of
11 mid-December last year to the present, and this is
12 obviously continuing, it has literally buried us with
13 documents. So actually we have suspended the other
14 activities in preparation of the defence which we had
15 started when we saw what the Prosecution case was, but
16 we have had to suspend those activities.
17 Secondly --
18 JUDGE MAY: There is a point, in fact, here.
19 Who is going to go first? Is the Kordic Defence going
20 to go first and then finish, and then is the Cerkez
21 Defence going to go? That is a fair point. Mr. Kordic
22 is first on the indictment, isn't he, so in the normal
23 course of events, he would go first.
24 MR. STEIN: Yes, and we contemplate going
25 first, to be quite candid, although I did facetiously
1 flip a coin and ...
2 JUDGE MAY: So, in fact, just thinking aloud
3 about this, if you are ready for, say, the first six
4 weeks or so, that would give the Cerkez Defence
6 MR. STEIN: Well, you will recall, Your
7 Honour, I actually asked for more time as well, but we
8 will comply with Your Honour's order and be ready on
9 April 10.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, whatever day it is.
11 But, on the other hand, Mr. Kovacic, you've
12 got to comply with the Rules.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If I may, I
14 shall try and convey our understanding of the Rules.
15 Regarding this subject that you have just
16 raised, who comes first, I must tell you that I was
17 just going to ask you for some guidelines as to how we
18 will organise things technically, because it would
19 appear there is no standard in this Tribunal, when we
20 have several accused and several Defenses, and I think
21 theoretically we can go successively or in parallel.
22 If you give us some instructions in that regard, that
23 would, of course, be helpful for us. Because if we're
24 talking about two separate defenses, then the Kordic
25 case should begin within the time limits you have set,
1 they will complete their case, and then I will begin.
2 Of course, this could be treated differently too.
3 We did discuss this question amongst
4 ourselves, the two Defence teams, and it seems to me --
5 actually, we still haven't definitely defined it
6 because we don't know what the position of Your Honours
7 is. But if I can put it bluntly, regarding the general
8 allegations, the background, the environment --
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Could you just wait one
11 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Certainly, sir.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE MAY: The registrar, please.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, we've been
16 considering the position, and we think broadly what
17 should happen is that the Kordic Defence should put its
18 case on first and complete it before the Cerkez Defence
19 starts, that's in terms of orderliness. But it may be
20 that during the course of that order, things will
21 change. I have in mind avoiding duplication of
22 evidence, and I hope that you are combining with
23 counsel for Mr. Kordic as far as possible to avoid
25 MR. STEIN: That's why, frankly, Your Honour,
1 it would be immensely helpful if the Cerkez Defence, at
2 least on a preliminary level, files its witness list,
3 expected documents, at the same time we do,
4 preliminarily, their defence going on substantially
5 after ours, so that we can actually look at each
6 others' -- we will certainly be meeting before then --
7 and cross off and eliminate.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, you heard what
10 Mr. Stein says. What do you have to say about that?
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Of course, that
12 sounds well from the standpoint of practicality, but
13 I'm not sure that I will be able to respect the time
15 But if I may add, Your Honour, to be the
16 second Defence has its advantages and disadvantages.
17 In this case, if we are going to go successively, as
18 you have indicated, this alternative, then it is
19 certainly not in our interest, and I can promise you
20 that, that we have no interest in repeating the
21 evidence, because I believe that we all accept the old
22 maxim of criminal law, beneficio cohesiones, if I may
23 caricature things.
24 If the Kordic Defence brings some good
25 evidence, which I consider to be relevant for me, rest
1 assured that I will not repeat that same evidence, and
2 of course in my argument, I will refer to that
3 evidence, and surely I have that right. I don't think
4 that there can be any doubt that if the Cerkez Defence
5 does the same thing, then this applies both ways;
6 there's no dilemma about it.
7 But if I may go back to my main point. We
8 know more now, and that is that this Chamber is at
9 least opening the possibility for one Defence case to
10 follow the other, so we'd have a little more time. We
11 will, of course, in line with what Mr. Stein has said,
12 try and keep track of what they're doing, but I can't
13 be held accountable for that.
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,
15 can you tell us, bearing in mind all the arguments that
16 you have presented, the more limited, smaller team that
17 you have, could you tell us when you could submit your
18 own list of witnesses and your own summaries, could you
19 tell us that? Even if it is a little later, but not
20 too much later, because, of course, we have to know in
21 advance what is your own list of witnesses and your
22 summaries so as to see how the defence should be
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] To be quite
25 frank with you, Your Honour, I can give you a very
1 rough approximation which will not mean much to you.
2 Why? Because the case has still not been completed for
3 us, and especially if we proceed one after another.
4 May I use an example. We frequently had
5 witnesses who were cross-examined, and you always asked
6 me "How much time do you need?" and I said quite
7 sincerely that I didn't know, because I didn't know
8 whether questions on my list would be asked by my
9 colleague. All of us lawyers often borrow from one
10 another, and he asked many of my own questions; often,
11 he did not. You are familiar with the case, just as I
12 am. There are parts in which the interests of the two
13 Defences quite coincide and there are other parts where
14 our positions are different.
15 If I were to try to give you a rough
16 estimate --
17 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] -- may I just
19 have a few more words.
20 JUDGE MAY: Well, you're going to give us a
21 rough estimate, yes, but nothing else because we have
22 to move on.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] My rough
24 estimate, on the assumption that the Kordic Defence has
25 presented evidence regarding all the background
1 issues - international armed conflict; the question of
2 sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or, rather, the
3 question whether the state fulfils the prerogatives of
4 authority; that is, the reasons for the foundation and
5 existence of the HZ HB; the question of isolation of
6 Central Bosnia, general things like that - and if I
7 consider the Kordic Defence to have done a good job in
8 that area, then I think we could reduce the number to
9 some 50 to 70 witnesses.
10 JUDGE MAY: Fifty to seventy? After a
11 hundred witnesses for the other accused? If there are
12 a hundred witnesses, which was the figure we heard at
13 one stage, as I recollect, from Mr. Stein - I'll be
14 corrected if I'm wrong - you're not proposing to call
15 another 50 to 70, are you?
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it
17 is very difficult to estimate because I don't know to
18 what extent we will coincide, except in this area that
19 I have just mentioned.
20 If he, with his witnesses, the other Defence,
21 proffers evidence in a satisfactory manner, and if I am
22 left simply with Vitez and the front line - I'm
23 simplifying things, of course - and a few minor events
24 in Vitez, then, of course, the number will be more
25 restricted, but I can't do any better than that.
1 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,
2 what is your approximate date? That is all the more
3 reason for you to give us a list of witnesses and
4 summaries so that we can make our own assessment,
5 because, as you can imagine, this trial must be ended
6 within a reasonable time frame.
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I think two
8 things are needed for realistic planning. To begin
9 with, the Prosecution must complete its case, or we
10 must know these are the Prosecution witnesses, these
11 are the transcripts which are admitted and which are
12 not and how many of them, and then Kordic's defence.
13 If we proceed in the manner you suggested, that first
14 Kordic's Defence presents its tentative list. Then I
15 will say, "Yes. Right. So I do not need this, that,
16 and so on and so forth." And after that, if I decide
17 that --
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] But how long --
19 how long after the submission of the list by of Kordic,
20 how long will it then take you to prepare your list?
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I think not
22 more than 10 days. But not the summaries, though.
23 That would be difficult.
24 I should like to add two minor things also.
25 First, as for the summaries, if I may suggest the
1 following: When we're preparing the list of witnesses
2 with summaries, why can't we merely outline the
3 subject, the matter on which the witness is to
4 testify? Because on the basis of that, Your Honours
5 can decide whether that particular witness is relevant
6 or not. So all we say is in one sentence: This
7 witness will testify about, say, conflict in Old Vitez,
8 in Stari Vitez, in April 1993, and nothing else.
9 JUDGE MAY: No. That's insufficient, because
10 that's not going to give either the Prosecution or the
11 Court a notion of what they're going to say, and more
12 precision is necessary in order to explain what it is
13 about a particular subject that the witness is going to
14 say. That is the important part.
15 Mr. Kovacic, we'll consider things.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Just one
17 thing. Just one brief matter, and I do apologise.
18 In the light of what you said, that we would
19 have a conference under Rule 73 ter, judging by what
20 you said in the beginning, Mr. President, you
21 presumably mean 73 ter of July 1999. But meanwhile,
22 there was yet another revision in November, but I know
23 that you're referring to the one of July.
24 JUDGE MAY: I said we were going to proceed
25 on the old Rules, which seem to apply to this case.
1 There is no Pre-Trial Judge, which is what that Rule,
2 the newer version, has in mind and anticipates.
3 Yes, Mr. Nice.
4 MR. NICE: Only two things arising from
5 what's been said about the summaries. I've made my
6 argument. There is, in fact, nothing to stop the
7 service of statements if the Defence so choose. There
8 is no need for the thing to be boiled down. If they
9 want to serve the statements, they can serve the
10 statements, and then we will be in a position to decide
11 whether to agree that they should be read, and the
12 Chamber will be in a proper position to deal with the
13 list. The form of summaries proposed by either
14 defendant will simply not enable us to allow material
15 to be read and will not enable us to avoid the
16 attendance of witnesses.
17 Ms. Verhaag has arrived and is able to point
18 us to the source where we should be able to give you
19 the precedent of an order made in another Chamber. It
20 may be as I've described it; who knows. It may not be,
21 because what you're told along a corridor is not always
22 as reliable as seeing the actual document. What I've
23 been told is what I've explained to you, and I'd like
24 you to have the chance to consider that if we can find
25 it first. I think that's really all I need say on that
2 MR. STEIN: For the Court's edification,
3 there is no witness statement in our possession. We
4 don't do the work the way they do. We don't send
5 investigators into the field armed with tape recorders
6 and typewriters to take formal statements. There is no
7 such thing.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE MAY: As far as the motion for
10 judgement of acquittal is concerned, the Rules apply,
11 and we'll certainly consider the application made by
12 the Defence, provided there is a proper motion put in.
13 By a "proper motion," I mean it doesn't have to be
14 vastly detailed, but it has to indicate what the point
15 is in each case, and we would allow such a motion to be
16 put in if the seven days is longer than was
17 anticipated, with the thing ending on the --
18 Prosecution ending on the 10th of March.
19 The Prosecution, if we haven't said so, will
20 have seven days to reply, and on the 30th of March
21 we'll have an oral hearing.
22 And working on the basis that the brief
23 provided by the Defence will set out the contested
24 matters, and what is admitted, if anything, we propose
25 to allow the application by the Kordic Defence, that
1 they should set their case out in the way which they
2 propose, with the dates which they propose. It must be
3 understood that the summaries are sufficient for the
4 Court to grasp what it is that the witness will testify
6 As far as the Cerkez Defence is concerned, we
7 think balancing the resources which we appreciate are
8 at their disposal, but also having regard to what the
9 Rules require, that the fairest way of dealing with
10 that Defence is to order the various items to be dealt
11 with 14 days after the Kordic Defence. So the order
12 will apply to them mutatis mutandis, as the Latinists
13 say, 14 days later.
14 We are of the view that this courtroom is no
15 longer tolerable for sitting in, so we're going to
16 move, and Courtroom I will be available tomorrow.
17 Anything else? It's now 25 to 5, and I think
18 it's --
19 MR. STEIN: Two points for the Court to
20 consider. The first, most important, I believe, to the
21 smooth running of the case, is the order of
22 cross-examination of the Kordic witnesses that we put
23 on. I presume the Prosecution will cross-examine
24 first. There appears to be a disagreement within this
25 courthouse as to whether the other defendant gets to
1 cross-examine at all.
2 JUDGE MAY: I would have presumed otherwise,
3 that Mr. Cerkez would cross-examine first, then the
5 MR. STEIN: Well, that, I guess, needs to --
6 JUDGE MAY: Then you re-examine, of course.
7 MR. STEIN: That part I was aware of, just
8 who goes first.
9 The next issue, Your Honours, is the issue of
10 the opening statement. We will make our opening
11 statement, of course, on April 10. I don't believe, if
12 I understand the Court's position, that the Cerkez
13 Defence will go after us, although perhaps you have in
14 mind that they will make their opening next.
15 Perhaps --
16 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps we could think about
18 MR. STEIN: All right. From time to time,
19 Your Honours, taking a lead from my learned colleague
20 in the Prosecution, we will be presenting to the Court
21 creative ideas to shorten this trial, but I won't
22 burden the Court with any of those now.
23 MR. NICE: I meant to mention earlier, I've
24 once been -- been one other case in this place, and
25 there the Defence read 73(B)(iii)(a) as allowing them
1 to list their witnesses by pseudonym. The matter then
2 had to be readdressed so that they were compelled to
3 give the witnesses by name, save, of course, where
4 there's a protected witness.
5 JUDGE MAY: The name.
6 MR. NICE: The other thing that I desire to
7 say -- I'm sorry, it's -- well, I think we've got the
8 possibility of an ex parte hearing, but it looks like
9 not tonight. I hope it can be tomorrow.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Find a convenient time. I
11 mean, it may be before the luncheon adjournment. The
12 difficulty is that we all have to rise and the tapes
13 have to be changed.
14 MR. NICE: I understand. The other thing
15 that I was going to mention at some stage, and I really
16 must mention it now because I may want to refer to this
17 in another setting tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow
18 evening, where not all the parties here will have even
19 ears to hear, and it's this: We've had three village
20 witnesses this week. I've noted the cross-examination
21 following on from the complete refusal to admit
22 anything in this case, despite documents served two
23 years ago and more, and summaries served two years ago
24 and more. I've noticed the distress caused to at least
25 one of those witnesses, and I venture, respectfully, to
1 draw to the Court's attention that this approach to
2 having everything proved, which has been the clarion
3 call of the Defence, not only leads to inefficiency, in
4 my respectful submission, making the approach we
5 proposed, as I saw Judge Robinson was to say in a
6 speech at Leiden University, something that would, had
7 it been possible to accept it, the greatest, most
8 effective improvement in procedure, were it possible,
9 which we quite respect wasn't possible, but that method
10 would also have saved distress to witnesses, and I
11 regret what's happened this week.
12 JUDGE MAY: You called the witnesses,
13 Mr. Nice.
14 MR. NICE: We had to.
15 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
17 at 4.42 p.m. to be reconvened on
18 Thursday, the 17th day of February, 2000
19 at 9:30 a.m.