1 Thursday, 8
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.50 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
9 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
10 and nothing but the truth.
11 WITNESS: SRECKO VUCINA
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a
15 Yes, Mr. Sayers, or Mr. Naumovski, I'm
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
18 Your Honour.
19 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:
20 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vucina.
21 A. Good morning.
22 Q. Could you please give your name and surname
23 to the Court?
24 A. I'm Srecko Vucina. I was born on the 25th of
25 July, 1950, in Mostar.
1 Q. Thank you. After having completed elementary
2 and secondary school, you entered university. You got
3 a degree in electrical engineering, didn't you? You're
4 an engineer now?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. As an electrical engineer, you worked for
7 some time at the Sokal factory in Mostar, and then
8 after that at a steam electric power plant at
9 Grabovica, and then at the Institute for Electric
10 Power, an advance planning and design unit at a steam
11 electric power plant named Neretva?
12 A. Yes. That's where I was when the war broke
14 Q. Mr. Vucina, we usually tell everyone to wait
15 for a few moments before they answer the questions that
16 are put, because all of this has to be interpreted into
17 the official languages of the court.
18 A. I do apologise.
19 Q. When the war broke out, you started working
20 for the Croat Defence Council, the HVO, in Mostar in
21 May 1992; is that right?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. During this first period, you worked in the
24 Information and Propaganda Department, the so-called
25 IPD, and also as the press spokesman for the HVO in
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. In October of 1992, you were appointed head
4 of the office of the president of the Croat Community
5 of Herceg-Bosna, by Mr. Mate Boban?
6 A. At his personal request. He knew that I
7 liked my own line of work, but he asked me to do this
8 at least for one year. And since this was wartime, I
9 did not do what I felt like doing, but like all others,
10 I did what I was asked to do.
11 Q. Furthermore, at the second general convention
12 of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
13 which was held in November 1992, you were appointed
14 president of the executive committee of the HDZ
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. By the way, after that convention, this
18 second general convention when Mr. Mate Boban was
19 elected president of Herceg-Bosna, tell me, please, at
20 this second convention was some different kind of
21 political platform adopted for the activity of the HDZ
22 in relation to the political platform that was in force
23 until this second convention? Did something
24 essentially change there?
25 A. Nothing, nothing in terms of the basic
1 principles and provisions. What was highlighted was
2 the importance of the Cutilliero Peace Plan and the
3 clearly defined positions of HDZ, vis-a-vis
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as a sovereign and independent,
5 internationally-recognised state.
6 Q. So we can say that simply this political
7 platform from this second general convention followed
8 the fundamental principles stemming from the previous
9 political platform; is that right?
10 A. Exactly. What was highlighted was the
11 importance of streamlining its activity in keeping with
12 the times.
13 Q. Thank you. Let us proceed.
14 As head of the office of the president of
15 HZ HB, you served throughout the existence of the Croat
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna until August 1993, when the
17 Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna was formed. And after
18 the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna was formed, you were
19 no longer in that position; right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. However, you remained vice-president of the
22 executive committee of the HDZ BH until 1994; is that
24 A. Right.
25 Q. During the war, the HDZ was not very active,
1 relatively speaking, and your work therefore focused on
2 what you did through the Croat Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna, that is to say, through the HVO and the
4 Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna; is that right?
5 A. Well, that's the way it was, for the most
6 part, except for the fact that there was very intensive
7 work among the entire infrastructure of the HDZ before
8 the first multi-party elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 in 1990, and also the intensive activities that were
10 carried out after Washington and during the
11 implementation of the general peace framework for
12 Bosnia from Dayton.
13 One may conclude that this political activity
14 was either at a local level, where the war conditions
15 allowed for this, that is to say, the scope was
16 limited, and from time to time the central bodies met.
17 That was mostly prior to certain talks at an
18 international level or, after that, in terms of
19 implementation of the provisions that were agreed at an
20 international level and that pertained to all
21 participants in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Q. So this normal political activity continued
23 only after the signing of the Washington Accords; is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. After the end of the war and after the
2 Washington Accords were signed, on the 10th of July,
3 1994, you were elected vice-president of the HDZ of
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina at the party's third convention;
5 is that right?
6 A. That's right.
7 Q. That is the convention where Mr. Dario Kordic
8 was elected president of the Croat Democratic Union of
9 Herceg-Bosna; is that right?
10 A. Yes. I think it was held in July 1994 in
12 Q. You remained in this post, the vice-president
13 of the HDZ of BH, until 1996, and then from 1996 until
14 1998, you served as the general secretary of the HDZ of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina; isn't that right?
16 A. Yes. At the insistence of many that I should
17 take over this post. I wanted to go back to my own
18 line of work as soon as possible though.
19 Q. This wish of yours to return to your
20 profession actually came true. Since 1998, you have
21 been working in Elektroprivreda, the electric utility
22 company of Herceg-Bosna, as the chief executive officer
23 of the department of development.
24 Elektroprivreda is the company that is
25 involved in the production and distribution of electric
1 power, and right now in the territory of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina there are three Elektroprivreda
3 companies; is that right?
4 A. Yes, that's right. And now I am director of
5 the development department and I have to add something
6 to this.
7 The company is also involved in the
8 transmission of electric power. It is true that there
9 are three such companies and certain legislation should
10 be passed at the level of all of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
11 this subject matter is going to be re-regulated.
12 Q. However, all three Elektroprivreda companies,
13 that is to say, of the Republika Srpksa Herceg-Bosna
14 and BiH, function legally according to regulations now
15 as well, don't they?
16 A. Absolutely. These two Elektroprivredas, that
17 is to say, of Herceg-Bosna and of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
18 and the territory of the Federation, Elektroprivreda,
19 the Republika Srpksa, the territory of Republika
21 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vucina, at present, you are
22 also serving your second term as a representative in
23 the parliament of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. To be more correct, in the House of
1 Representatives of the parliament?
2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your
3 Honours, we are going to be using only two documents
4 during the examination of this witness, so perhaps this
5 would be the right time to tender the first document.
6 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Vucina, until the document is prepared, a
10 few words about previous events in Mostar. The
11 Honorable Court had quite a few opportunities of
12 hearing about this; however, we have to state that in
13 April 1992, the JNA and the Bosnian Serb army launched
14 a major attack against Mostar; is that right?
15 A. Yes. In the southern parts of the Mostar
16 municipality, this had been intensified earlier on and
17 after certain provocations that took place within the
18 municipality of Mostar itself or, to be more precise,
19 the town of Mostar itself, I think it is important to
20 mention --
21 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Vucina, let me mention
22 the rules here. If counsel wants to emphasise
23 something, they can. But as you will appreciate, we
24 have heard a great deal of evidence in this case and we
25 want to concentrate on the essentials as far as the
1 case is concerned.
2 Yes, Mr. Naumovski, unless there's something
3 you want to mention about that attack, let's move on
4 through the paragraph.
5 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. At that point in time, in view of this
7 immediate threat of war or, as you said, this true
8 threat of war in the municipality or rather town of
9 Mostar, the authorities in the town of Mostar were
10 regulated in keeping with the regulations the town of
11 Mostar ceased to function, and before that a Crisis
12 Staff was established, a Crisis Staff of Mostar with
13 representatives of parliamentary parties on it and the
14 government in Mostar was supposed to be set up on that
15 basis; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, that is correct. That is correct.
17 Q. The representatives of the Crisis Staff were
18 Croats and Muslims, right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The document that you have in front of you,
21 could you please take a look at it. That is a document
22 dated the 29th of April, 1992. That is a decision that
23 was passed precisely by this joint body of Croats and
24 Muslims in Mostar, that is to say, the Crisis Staff,
25 and it relates to the defence of the town of Mostar.
1 Could you please tell the Honorable Trial
2 Chamber about it? Actually, the document is
3 self-explanatory, we don't have to read it out, but who
4 was entrusted with the defence of the town of Mostar?
5 A. The HVO and the municipal staff of Mostar and
6 the members of the Ministry of the Interior in central
8 Q. Paragraph three is perhaps interesting too.
9 It says that, "The Croat Defence Council shall consist
10 of members of Muslim and Croat peoples and the members
11 of other peoples and minorities who recognise the legal
12 authorities of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
13 profess allegiance to them," that is to say, allegiance
14 to the province of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Of course the Muslims were left the
17 possibility to set up their own armed units, so in a
18 way, agreement was reached as to what could follow upon
19 this date when the defence of the city started so all
20 possibilities were open; is that right?
21 A. Yes. However, it is important to mention
22 that they are all put under the single command of the
23 Croat Defence Council, the municipal headquarters of
24 Mostar, and as far as new defence formations are
25 concerned, after the 1st of May 1992, the command staff
1 shall be constituted on a basis of parity.
2 Q. Mr. Vucina, this document was personally
3 signed by the members of the Crisis Staff of both
4 peoples, the Croats and the Muslims; is that right, and
5 as far as you know, this document was adopted without a
6 dissenting vote?
7 A. Yes, and I know the persons who were members
8 of the Crisis Staff; the persons who signed this
9 document in their own hand.
10 Q. I would like us to go through this document
11 quickly, but I have to draw your attention to one
12 detail. There are several interesting details but I
13 think the last one is sufficient.
14 In paragraph 9, in section 9, at the very
15 end, that is, it says that everything that was agreed
16 upon concerning the defence of the town of Mostar and
17 the municipality of Mostar was actually temporary
18 because it says after cessation of hostilities, that
19 is, the liberation of the municipality of Mostar, and
20 the creation of conditions for the normal functioning
21 of legal authorities, all other questions will be
23 And now let me try to abbreviate it. But
24 taking into account the decisions passed by the legal
25 authorities of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So
1 perhaps I should not lead you with regard to this.
2 Do you agree with this statement that this
3 was actually a temporary provisional organisation of
4 life, work, and defence?
5 A. Right. As any other document during that
6 period of time, it always included -- I think it is
7 very important to point that out -- it always included
8 mention of the temporary status.
9 Q. Thank you. So at that time, when the two
10 peoples agreed that the HVO, who would be proclaimed
11 the force, were entrusted with the defence of Mostar,
12 you were its only military force which resisted the
13 aggression of the JNA and the army of Bosnian Serbs in
14 the area of Mostar, isn't it?
15 A. Indeed, and that is why this document was
16 adopted and why this task was entrusted to the Croat
17 Defense Council of the municipality of Mostar.
18 Q. Of course. This decision which the Crisis
19 Staff signed never questioned the legitimacy and the
20 relevance of the -- and the legality of the Republic of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, isn't it? That is the gist of this
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. When we said that Muslim Serb members of HVO
25 units in some of them, there were more of them in some
1 of them, there were less of them, you said in your
2 summary that some units had as many as 30 per cent of
3 Muslims among their ranks, isn't it?
4 A. Yes, depending on the place where such units
5 was formed and the ratios of the population in that
6 area, that is how it was, but there is no doubt that it
7 is quite accurate and that it held true of all those
8 places where we were together.
9 Q. And in addition to these, if I may call them
10 mixed HVO units, there was also another battalion, the
11 independent Muslim battalion, independent Mostar
12 battalion, which from the very beginning included only
14 A. Yes, and that was also pursuant to the
15 decision that we've just talked about.
16 Q. But in view of the higher level of
17 organisation of the HVO, it was the HVO which extended
18 all the assistance in armament, logistics, materiel,
19 and so on and so forth?
20 A. Yes. When it came to the needs of units,
22 Q. It was a very hard time for all the
23 inhabitants of Mostar because of the fierceful
24 aggression, and until July the HVO fought fiercely
25 along the Neretva Valley; you defended some 70
1 kilometres of the confrontation line with the army --
2 against the JNA and the army of Bosnian Serbs; is that
4 A. It is after some difficulties in May, in June
5 sometime at that time in the Neretva Valley from
6 Capljina to Mostar to Konjic, the front line was
7 established, over 70 kilometres long, and we were very
8 successfully fulfilling the tasks stipulated by the
9 decision and the mission was fulfilled except for some
10 hill features which had been taken previously by the
11 JNA and the forces of the army of Republika Srpksa.
12 Q. You're also aware -- that is, you have direct
13 knowledge of the fact that the HVO had already
14 liberated from the Serbs part of the municipality of
15 Konjic, taken the strategically-important village of
16 Bradina on the highway to Sarajevo, isn't it?
17 A. Yes. This was done by the HVO units in
19 Q. Tell me, were there any plans to help
20 Sarajevo through Hadzici, from the northern side?
21 A. I know and I had the opportunity of talking
22 to participants who used that direction and were also
23 acting in that direction, in a way. But I also know,
24 from my conversations with those individuals, that they
25 had received threats from Mr. Sefer Halilovic,
1 commander of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, if they
2 continued their actions.
3 Q. If I understand you properly, Sefer Halilovic
4 prohibited -- prevented the HVO --
5 JUDGE MAY: This is important evidence. It's
6 taking a very long time, and if we're to get through
7 both witnesses, we must move more quickly. But don't
9 You said that Mr. Halilovic had issued
10 threats. What were the threats?
11 A. According to what I could learn from
12 conversations with people who participated in it, the
13 threat was that there would be an armed conflict if the
14 HVO continued helping in the direction of Sarajevo.
15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] If I may, I
16 should like to move on.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Vucina, in the introductory part, we
20 already said what office you held as of October 1992.
21 That is, you were in the circle of people who
22 absolutely -- who were conversant with the situation on
23 the ground and were receiving first-hand information.
24 Tell us, you personally, did you realise really the
25 strategy of the Muslims from the information you were
1 receiving and judging by the moves that they were
2 making in late 1992?
3 A. From the beginning of 1992 to mid-1992, in
4 spite of some tensions and conflicts, one couldn't
5 really see -- one couldn't really glean the true
6 relations on the ground. It was only later that I, as
7 a member of the state commission, had the opportunity
8 to visit. And from the situation on the ground,
9 everything seemed to point at a possibility of
10 aggravation of these relations, that is, from conflicts
11 to open conflicts, in those areas which link the areas
12 of Central Bosnia with the south, that is, with the
13 south and the Neretva Valley.
14 Towards the end of the year in the areas of
15 the Rama, Uskoplje, the municipality of Konjic, the
16 conflicts reached such a degree, that was why the state
17 commission was set up with the consent of
18 Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban, and it was tasked with
19 visiting the ground and trying to improve the
20 relations. However, it was evident then that according
21 to what people from the ground were reporting to us,
22 that there was really a risk of open conflicts.
23 Q. Yes. And precisely because of such fears
24 because of what was happening on the ground, what did
25 you glean as the strategic goal? You have already
1 mentioned Central Bosnia. Perhaps you should state
2 that explicitly.
3 A. From conversations based on such reports, and
4 our insight on the ground, and other people who had
5 different tasks, it was concluded that there could be
6 attempts to take over control and conquer territories
7 in Central Bosnia, because there were very important
8 industrial facilities in that part, and especially
9 those facilities which even in the former Yugoslavia
10 were manufacturing equipment for the military, military
11 equipment, and there were also roads which linked all
12 those places. And in the Neretva Valley, in addition
13 to a very important military facility in Konjic, there
14 were also very important power-generating facilities
15 and transmission facilities. And the Neretva Valley,
16 as such, meant also a possible outlet to the seaside.
17 Q. Right. In those plans to intercept -- to cut
18 those lines of communication between Herzegovina and
19 Central Bosnia, you remember that the JNA used to have
20 some plans, RAM I and RAM II, which said that some
21 parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina should simply be cut off
22 and separated, one from another?
23 A. Those who were more familiar with this, and
24 these are of course military, they -- that is how they
25 identified the problem, because quite a number of
1 officers, of commanding officers in the army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, came from amongst the ranks of
3 those who used to be officers in the JNA.
4 Q. According to the information that you had at
5 the time and your knowledge, was this plan still being
6 put through, not by the JNA but by somebody else now?
7 A. According to the information that we had and
8 what happened later, it was absolutely identified as
9 the operationalisation of plans RAM I and RAM II, but
10 now by the units of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Q. You have already mentioned Sarajevo and what
12 Sefer Halilovic told the HVO or, rather, his message to
13 the HVO. What was your conclusion about this? Why was
14 this being prevented, why was the assistance to
15 liberate Sarajevo being obstructed?
16 A. I do not know exactly what the reasons were,
17 except in that promotional part, because that is what
18 we did, except that it was necessary for the domestic
19 and international public to use the situation and very
20 heavy destruction for a situation to represent the
21 victims who remained in Sarajevo throughout these years
22 and were victims of bestial destruction and
24 Q. Tell us, please, in April 1992, do you have
25 any knowledge of that? Were there any proposals to set
1 up a joint HVO and BH army command in Central Bosnia?
2 A. Yes. There were reports about that, and I
3 learned about it from my conversations with colleagues
4 who took a direct part in it.
5 Q. Who proposed it, and was this joint command
6 set up?
7 A. I do not know who proposed it, except that I
8 know that Mr. Zarko Tole was the person authorised by
9 the Croat Defence Council, and I think that the army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was Dzemal Merdan who was the
11 person. Unfortunately, as far as I know from that
12 information and these conversations, it all ended in
13 the very questionable abduction of Mr. Tole in the area
14 of Bugojno, controlled by the army of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and his -- and many years of
16 imprisonment or perhaps a year's imprisonment for him
17 in prisons of the army of Republika Srpska.
18 Q. So was this joint command set up or not?
19 A. No, unfortunately not.
20 Q. Thank you. In view of your job, your duties
21 in Mostar, you also knew what were the needs of HVO
22 units in other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina; for
23 instance, in Sarajevo?
24 A. Yes. While we could communicate and while we
25 could see images, we could see that, but we exchanged
1 information. However, with time, with the escalation
2 of tensions in these lands, the same thing was
3 happening in Sarajevo and in Tuzla. And what happened
4 in Sarajevo is the HVO units were subjected to the army
5 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in Tuzla there was also
6 cooperation in the command of Bosnia -- it was under
7 the command of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the dignity of
8 the units was preserved.
9 According to persons who were members of that
10 brigade, in a very incorrect manner, in view of the HVO
11 casualties in the early days of the defence of
12 Sarajevo, and I will say -- and I'm putting it mildly
13 when I say that it was incorrect, they were put in
14 place -- in a situation to be subjected to the command
15 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There were
16 individuals who did not want to continue that, and they
17 simply left Sarajevo.
18 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to developments in
19 Mostar. Which was one of the early serious, grave
20 incidents in those relations between Croats and
22 A. At a political level, I would venture to say
23 it was a proclamation of Muslim intellectuals
24 requesting the withdrawal of representatives of the
25 Muslim people from the bodies of the provisional
1 authority in the municipality of Mostar. I think it
2 was in the summer.
3 Q. Yes. And what about other areas?
4 A. In other areas, I think it was very tense,
5 especially in early autumn when there was some of our
6 attempts, when some of our units who set off to
7 reinforce our units in Jajce were obstructed, however,
8 I think somewhere around Gornji Vakuf, so they did not
9 manage to get through and help in the defence of Jajce
11 Q. You know, and from what you told us already
12 about Muslim plans in Central Bosnia, what happened in
13 Central Bosnia in January 1993. Will you tell the
14 Court, according to information that you had, that
15 reached you, did part of these Muslim plans come true?
16 A. Those events coincided in time with the
17 adoption of the Vance-Owen Plan and were intensified,
18 and unfortunately from the municipality of Konjic to
19 the municipality of Fojnica and other municipalities of
20 Central Bosnia, open combat took place between the HVO
21 and the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, first in the
22 municipality of Konjic and then in those
23 municipalities. And naturally from one -- well, I
24 could say that it came as a surprise to the majority of
25 people who, until that moment, operated jointly and
1 fought together against their common enemy.
2 But the situation was rendered more complex
3 because over one million five hundred people were in a
4 small area, and many refugees, and this all resulted in
5 these tensions in addition to the events that were
6 already mentioned, and it all brought about this very
7 fierce combat. And this caused the conquest of those
8 areas which, until that time, we controlled as the
9 Croat Defence Council.
10 In part, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 succeeded; that is, it separated these areas from
12 Central Bosnia and especially those communication roads
13 which linked Central Bosnia with Herzegovina, that is,
14 the Neretva Valley.
15 Q. Very well, thank you. If I understand you
16 well, you were cut off in two directions in the
17 direction to the coast that is Herzegovina and the
18 Republic of Croatia and in this other direction in
19 Central Bosnia.
20 A. Yes, and it went on in April and May in the
21 Neretva Valley from Konjic to Jablanica.
22 Q. And it was intensified, I believe, in May?
23 A. Yes, in May it was also intensified it Mostar
24 itself. It went along the Neretva Valley and then
1 Q. Did you have more precise information about
2 this as to which part of the road between
3 municipalities in Central Bosnia was cut off as far as
4 the Croats were concerned, which parts of Central
5 Bosnia were cut off?
6 A. Yes, of course we knew about this. I think
7 that the communications between Busovaca and the
8 municipality of Kiseljak were cut off, then Fojnica as
9 a municipality, except in the higher part, high
10 altitude parts in the town as such, communications were
11 hampered between Travnik, Novi Travnik, and towards
12 that other side, at any rate. There were some parts of
13 municipalities that were involved but to be sure they
14 were split up.
15 Q. You mentioned --
16 JUDGE MAY: At this time, Mr. Vucina, you
17 were in Mostar; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE MAY: And so the evidence -- so we can
20 understand it -- the evidence you're giving us is based
21 on the reports which you received; is that right?
22 A. That's right.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes, thank you.
24 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you
25 Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Vucina, a few minutes ago you mentioned
2 that you were a member of the state commission that was
3 formed by Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban, this was
4 sometime in October 1992. Could you just tell us who
5 the members of this commission were and what the basic
6 objective of the commission was but just in two or
7 three words?
8 A. I shall try to be brief. In addition to
9 Mr. Boro Radic, there was myself on the Croat side
10 along with Mr. Camil Salihovic, Zijad Demirovic, and
11 Safet Orucevic. As far as the Muslim political
12 leadership with Mr. Arif Pasalic as a commander of the
13 core of the Bosnia-Herzegovina a person who enjoyed
14 uncontested authority both within his own
15 responsibility and beyond.
16 Our task was after the first conflicts, I
17 think, in Rama, to get immediate insight into the
18 situation to try to improve the situation to help those
19 who were needy and to take action in order to pacify
21 At the same time, we were in Gornji Vakuf.
22 There were tensions there as well. Actually at that
23 point in time, there weren't any conflicts there.
24 After that, we were in Novi Travnik.
25 There could be no production in a very
1 important factory because of these tensions. We had a
2 meeting with local leaders, that is to say, local
3 municipal leaders and local commanders.
4 At my insistence, we gave tasks to both
5 commanders, it had to do with the removal of some
6 checkpoints and also demining. Mines were placed so
7 that the workers could not get to the factory to work.
8 We were quite successful because we gave a deadline of
9 two to four hours to have the proper conditions created
10 so that was done and we left.
11 However, unfortunately, we found out later
12 that things were restored to the way they were before
13 that. We did not meet in any other area, we, as the
15 Q. Thank you. You have already mentioned the
16 most important facts related to January 1993 in line
17 with what you already said, that is to say, to divide
18 Central Bosnia from Herzegovina and that there were
19 several conflicts there.
20 How did things start, to the best of your
21 knowledge, in January 1993? Very briefly, please.
22 A. In the broader area of the municipality of
23 Konjic, especially those villages that were very
24 important in terms of dominating the road and also
25 those that are facing Fojnica, that is to say, the
1 areas of Central Bosnia vis-a-vis Herzegovina.
2 And then from there it moved on to the entire
3 area of the municipality of Konjic and after that, it
4 went on towards Jablanica and at the same time, war
5 operations started in the territory practically of all
6 municipalities in Central Bosnia one after the other,
7 not at the same time.
8 This was probably the tactics involved, that
9 is to say, to launch an attack and then to pacify the
10 situation, to bring in peacekeeping forces, to have
11 talks, negotiations so the intensity was not always the
13 Q. Tell me, these towns, municipalities that you
14 mentioned are all along this main road, so to speak,
15 between Central Bosnia and the sea, that is to say,
16 Herzegovina and then further on towards the Republic of
18 A. Yes, for the most part.
19 Q. Tell me something else, please. You already
20 talked about the strategic objectives of the Muslims so
21 let us not repeat that again but tell us in your own
22 words, tell the Trial Chamber in your own words what
23 happened in May 1993 in the area of Mostar and beyond.
24 Who attacked who? When did the attack take place? You
25 have the floor.
1 A. As a consequence of what happened in the
2 northern area, Konjic and Jablanica, the next
3 municipality was Mostar. Of course there were certain
4 events, certain phenomena that preceded all of this.
5 First of all, at a political level in terms
6 of certain requests that escalated in May 1993 turning
7 into an all out conflict. It is interesting that
8 within the Muslim core, first there were mutual
9 political tensions because very influential persons who
10 were from the very establishment of the SDA opposed to
11 any conflict between the Croats and the Muslims in the
12 Neretva River Valley.
13 Then there were some changes in these
14 political bodies, and then new persons were brought in
15 who were not part of the SDA leadership before.
16 Within the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
17 military part, the command structure involved, for the
18 most part, officers of the former JNA. Perhaps there
19 were some ambitions, growing ambitions to try to bring
20 about certain changes and conflicts always bearing in
21 mind the objective that was clearly stated in the
22 declarations of an institution called the Muslim
23 Council of Intellectuals which probably --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm waiting for the specific
25 answer to the question you posed: Who attacked who in
2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Vucina, I understand you wanted to tell
4 the Honorable Trial Chamber about the political events
5 that preceded this military action that took place on
6 the 9th of May or rather in May of 1993 but please,
7 could you give a brief answer to the question that I
9 Who attacked, when, and what happened in
11 A. Your Honours, I do apologise. I don't have
12 experience with this kind of work, but it is certainly
13 difficult to understand these events too. The conflict
14 broke out on the 9th of May 1993.
15 According to the information that was
16 accessible to us later, I don't know when others had
17 access to it. It was clear that such orders were
18 issued to the units of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 considerably earlier.
20 Q. Perhaps this is the right time for us to
21 tender our second piece of evidence, our second
22 document, and the last one in terms of examining this
24 While we're waiting for this document to be
25 distributed, the one that we're going to say a few
1 words about, Mr. Vucina, just before this attack, do
2 you have any immediate knowledge concerning the
3 behaviour of Muslims who worked in Mostar?
4 A. Partly, yes, in relation to the colleagues we
5 knew. Most of them wanted to get some kind of leave
6 and go to the Republic of Croatia.
7 Q. So that was before the attack?
8 A. Yes, correct.
9 Q. Tell me, please, have a look at this document
10 that is in front of you. That is a document -- perhaps
11 the time is right to give the document a number too.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, a number please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the
16 registrar, please.
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. This document, Mr. Vucina, is one that you
19 found in Mostar after these events, truth to tell, it
20 is dated the 19th of April, 1993.
21 [Technical difficulty]
22 THE INTERPRETER: The microphones are on. Is
23 there still a problem?
24 JUDGE MAY: [Microphone not activated]
25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Vucina, as I said, this document is dated
2 the 19th of April, 1993 and it is an order?
3 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear us? Can you
4 hear the English booth? The prosecutors seem to be
5 able to hear us, the bench can't.
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear us now?
8 MR. NICE: They're asking you if you can hear
10 JUDGE MAY: No. Whether you can hear it or
11 not, the technical problem requires attention. We'll
12 adjourn now for a quarter of an hour or take the break
13 now for a quarter of an hour.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.45 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.10 a.m.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, the position is
17 this: that as far as possible, the system has been put
18 right, but it may fail intermittently. There is a
19 technician here to resolve it promptly, but it may be
20 that there will be problems. We'll see how we get on.
21 Meanwhile, I propose that we sit late this
22 afternoon, if that's necessary, in order to try and
23 finish the witness, which means beyond 4.00. But I
24 understand that that may cause difficulties for the
25 interpreters. If that's right, could the interpreters
1 let the Registry know at lunchtime, and we'll make some
2 other arrangements.
3 Now, let's go on.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
5 Your Honours.
6 Q. Before the technical problems, we were
7 discussing this document, this order, and I said that
8 this was the order of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
9 that is, the 1st Mostar Brigade or, to be more precise,
10 the 41st Motorised Brigade. The date is 19th of April
11 of 1993.
12 The document is self-explanatory, but perhaps
13 if you would look at the heading, it says "Defence
14 Order". But to save time, I'd like to draw attention
15 to item 1 and then item 1.2. How do you understand
16 this, not only as a document, but also what happened in
17 May 1993 and after that in Mostar? What kind of an
18 order is this?
19 A. This is the cross-section of roads from the
20 south to the city; that is, Mostar Buna, Mostar Blagaj,
21 an important communication. That is 1.1.
22 Q. Sorry to cut in, but I was about to ask you:
23 From what these items refer to, is it an order for
24 defence or is it an order for something else? This is
25 my basic question. Let us not go into all these
1 details; communications, logistics, and so on.
2 A. So close -- they take the defence position
3 and so on and so forth. It is evident that this is
4 active defence, as it is called or, rather, offensive,
5 and taking of battle institutions and facilities in the
6 town itself which are along this communication,
7 south-north communication.
8 Q. This document is of the 19th of April, 1993.
9 In view of what truly began to happen as of the 9th of
10 May, 1993, did these things that happened -- are they
11 in line with this order for defence?
12 A. Mostly, yes, because it mentions here Mostar
13 Hotel, which was a vital facility which was taken, then
14 an attack on the Ministry of the Interior or, rather,
15 the police administration, in the immediate vicinity of
16 the surgery department, which he mentioned here, which
17 was also a vital facility which was to be taken in that
18 area, and also at operations between Semovac and
19 Bulevar, Dr. Safet Mujic Street. It is this line or
20 front line, it became known subsequently as Bulevar.
21 And they were mostly in that part, in the west part,
22 these operations were during the conflict.
23 Q. Mr. Vucina, this document was found after the
24 conflict broke out on the 9th of May, 1993, and, in
25 view of what you tell us happened in May, that it is
1 what is contained in this defence. So what do you
2 conclude from this? When was this operation planned?
3 A. Except that I see the date here, "19th of
4 April," that is less than a month or about a fortnight
5 before the moment when the conflict happened in Mostar.
6 Q. I'm not sure whether the transcript says it
7 correctly. Did you say explicitly who attacked whom in
8 May 1993 in Mostar?
9 A. Well, in the early hours of the morning,
10 there were some horrific detonations in broader areas,
11 and they came as a surprise to many people. At this
12 moment, according to this order, evidently an attack
13 had -- there was a strike in some parts against the
14 units of the Croat Defence Council and in this area, so
15 it must have been all linked together.
16 Q. Very well. But just briefly, who attacked
17 whom, so that the Court has a clear picture?
18 A. The units, according to this order, the units
19 attacked in these places and at these points in the
20 town, the units which were in this area. Therefore the
21 units of the Ministry of the Interior and the units of
22 the Croat Defence Council were attacked by units of the
23 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 Q. Thank you. At the time when you were engaged
25 in fierce fighting with the units of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a large influx of refugees arrived
2 in Mostar. Could you tell us, roughly how many
3 refugees did arrive in Mostar?
4 A. According to information gathered by those
5 services who took care of the refugees, the number
6 fluctuated. Sometimes there were 18.000, sometimes
7 there were over 20.000. But whatever the case, there
8 were always more than 15.000. And many people were
9 warning that it is very near the front line and
10 according to -- and under the international rule, we
11 should not accommodate them anywhere near there. But
12 we had no choice.
13 Those were mostly people from the areas of
14 East Herzegovina, from Gacko, Nevesinje, Bileca, and
15 parts of the municipality of Mostar, along the eastern
16 boundaries of the municipality of Mostar, and we simply
17 had no other choice but to accommodate them either in
18 the centre in various accommodation areas -- it was
19 very difficult, conditions were very hard -- and some
20 were with their relatives.
21 Q. Sorry to cut in. I do have to cut in from
22 time to time because I should like us to move on as
23 quickly as possible.
24 What ethnic group did the majority of these
25 refugees belong to?
1 A. Predominantly Muslim, the Muslim people, and
2 part of the area of the Croat people who were from the
3 village of Jesenica in the south and from this village
4 of Vranjevici, that is, for 1992.
5 Q. Tell us, this influx of several thousand
6 Muslim refugees to the area of the town of Mostar, did
7 it perhaps disrupt the ethnic balance on the west side
8 of the town?
9 A. Very significantly.
10 Q. You told us that you tried to care for them
11 as much as possible, but did you happen to see where
12 some of these Muslim refugees were put up,
14 A. Well, at first, while the town was still
15 shelled, it was very difficult to think about where to
16 accommodate them nor was it possible. We tried to do
17 that where there were some kitchen facilities.
18 Subsequently we saw some people were trying
19 or thought politically or differently about that; that
20 they should be put, these people, in strategically
21 important places, for instance, in the southern part of
22 Mostar along the highway or the hostel which was west
23 of Mostar, that is, in some places. And then this
24 showed that it was not only the humanitarian part but
25 also something else.
1 Q. That is, it was planned elsewhere, is that
2 what you're trying to say?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. You have just told the Court that
5 a part of the SDA became a radical, that some other
6 people came to head that party. Tell us, you must know
7 that because they are people whom you knew. Did some
8 Muslims, members of the Party for Democratic Action,
9 because of the radicalisation of the views of the SDA,
10 leave that party?
11 A. It needs to be pointed out that a number of
12 people, honorable local people, that is, Mostar-born
13 and in a broader area, especially in the land of
14 Herzegovina, were against any tensions, let alone
15 conflicts between the Muslim and the Croat people.
16 I can and I think it is difficult --
17 mentioning Dr. Ismet Hadziosmanovic, Dr. Hadzi
18 Huseinovic from Konjic, all of them from the very
19 beginning were founding fathers of the party and also
20 had some other friends in the SDA who, within this
21 political leadership, were qualified in a manner which
22 was not correct because they did not want a conflict.
23 Some of them were relieved of their duties,
24 some left it of their own will and they embarked on
25 founding another party which was mostly concentrated in
1 the Neretva Valley, that is, the Muslim Democratic
2 Party. Dr. Hamica Muftic was one of its presidents,
3 and it brought together people who worked in the
4 agencies of the provisional executive during the
5 conflicts, after the conflicts, and now, and my
6 respects to them.
7 Q. Yes, thank you. You did mention some names
8 in your summary. Mr. Zulfo Robovic, Mr. Edin Omeragic,
9 was there, Zlatko Udovicic, so they were the members of
10 this newly formed Muslim Democratic Party that was
11 active in Mostar; is that so?
12 A. Quite. And were amongst the most prominent
13 members of the Party for Democratic Action before that.
14 Q. Yes, very well, thank you. Now that you
15 mention it, you say that some of them also held some
16 offices. You mention in your summary the office of
17 Mr. Zulfo Robovic. What did he subsequently become in
18 the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
19 A. After the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan and the
20 foundation of the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna, he
21 was the minister for reconstruction and development in
22 the government of the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
23 Q. Very well, thank you. All those people that
24 we have just mentioned are Muslims, just to remind the
25 Court, isn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. We can move on to paragraph 16, Your
3 Honours. Then there was this cease-fire agreement
4 between Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban in May 1993 and
5 after that, you knew how the situation was developing
6 regarding the military action in the Neretva Valley.
7 What was the conclusion according to you, of the army
8 of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did the fight going on in that
9 part or not?
10 A. That meeting took place in Medjurgorje, I
11 believe, with the moderation of international peace
13 After that, the intensity of these clashes
14 was not as high and it was beginning to calm down,
15 because it was obvious that there was no possibility or
16 a chance to militarily make a break through towards the
17 western part of the municipality and in -- and then
18 deep into the Neretva Valley towards the coast.
19 Q. Tell us, please, did this agreement result in
20 the conclusion of peace and cease-fire in other parts
21 of Bosnia-Herzegovina or not? What was the situation
22 in Central Bosnia for instance?
23 A. It was to be a comprehensive agreement and it
24 was supposed to cover all areas. Unfortunately, as
25 many others before it, they were not particularly
1 effective and limited. In Central Bosnia, fighting was
2 even more intensive, it even escalated, but it began to
3 abate sometime on the eve or right before the
4 Washington Accords.
5 Q. We can move on because we are under the
6 pressure of time, so let us try to make as much
7 progress as we can.
8 In this case a great deal was said about
9 Mr. Kordic having the rank of a colonel. Tell us,
10 please, do you have any knowledge as to the
11 circumstances, how and when was this rank conferred
12 upon Mr. Kordic?
13 A. Not only that I have knowledge about this, I
14 directly participated in this. Of course alongside
15 Mr. Bozo Rajic on an occasion, we even had telephone
16 conversation with Mr. Kordic who informed us we talked
17 about who was doing what, and then he informed us about
18 his participation in some talks which I think were
19 taking place at the Butmir airport, and about the
20 general position about all those involved in the
21 negotiations and his personal status.
22 Mr. Rajic and I then, on the basis of some
23 experience in World War II, and I don't know if
24 somebody perhaps prompted us to do that, but there was
25 some examples when the President of the United States
1 of America would authorise somebody who was a civilian,
2 not as a military person, to have some status in those
3 talks. So on the basis of this, Mr. Bozo Rajic and I
4 personally, I think, proposed that his position in
5 these talks vis-a-vis others in those talks should be
6 accorded some weight, and I think that after this
7 conversation with us, Mr. Boban with him resolved that
8 in a conversation with him.
9 And in this regard, I do not know whether
10 Mr. Boban -- at least I do not know, and I cannot know
11 with certainty they did procedures such as did exist
12 under the regulations should be when they are published
13 in official gazettes, because it was within the
14 competence of the president of the Croat Community of
16 Q. Will you please slow down because we are
17 making the job of the interpreters very difficult.
18 So if as I understand you, it was an oral
19 decision of Mr. Boban, not a written decision?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And tell us, did Mr. Kordic have any military
22 training, any military training, any military
23 knowledge, any expertise in this?
24 A. Knowing what faculty he graduated from and
25 what is accessible to me, I think that Mr. Kordic had
1 absolutely no skills, no training, no qualifications in
2 that sense, nor is he a professional soldier. So that
3 in this regard, I do not think that he nor could he be
4 in any chain of command or any other activities in this
5 sense except this honorary title.
6 Q. You tell us that Mr. Boban took this oral
7 decision. You never saw in writing anything and that,
8 in itself, means that it was never published by the
9 official gazette or anything like that.
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. Tell us, these negotiations of the mixed
12 working group in Sarajevo, since the participants were
13 persons with certain ranks, it would seem that they
14 were simply military negotiations in the military
15 sense. Do you know what they were negotiating about?
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, if you could make
17 your questions shorter, we would get on. Also if you
18 put less leading material in it.
19 Why was it necessary to give him a rank,
20 Mr. Vucina?
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Mr. Vucina
22 you have heard the Honourable Judge put his question.
23 A. Your Honour, I'm going to mention this
24 example because as we talked to him, we concluded that
25 in relation to a certain composition already existed
1 there, his position in these talks would be stronger
2 and different if we were to use, at least, that was our
3 assumption, some experience that existed during the
4 Second World War and if we conferred an honorary rank
5 upon him.
6 That is the only reason why we then assessed
7 that that would be useful.
8 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'm going to
9 belatedly object to the characterisation and the
10 speculation about the practises during the Second World
11 War. This is complete speculation. There's no basis
12 for that.
13 JUDGE MAY: You can ask about that, Mr.
15 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.
16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
17 Q. A brief question, Mr. Vucina. What was
18 discussed at these meetings that Mr. Kordic attended;
19 do you know, the talks that were attended by Mr. Kordic
20 as honorary colonel?
21 A. Not really, except for his brief
22 communication with us on the phone. I think it was
23 certain directions and the opening of certain routes
24 that was discussed. I would qualify this as general
25 purpose matters rather than something very specialised.
1 Q. You say "specialised".
2 A. Well, in that sense, I mean it's not that it
3 was something exclusively military. I think that it
4 was of general significance for the functioning of
6 Q. Thank you. For a considerable amount of
7 time, you closely worked with Mr. Mate Boban. While
8 you were his chief of office, you had maximum insight
9 into his work.
10 Mr. Kordic as one of the two vice-presidents
11 of the Presidency of Herceg-Bosna, did he have true
12 power? Did he have true authority to issue orders, to
13 plan things, et cetera or was this done by someone
15 A. According to the decrees, the regulations
16 that governed everything, the only person who had real
17 authority was the president of Herceg-Bosna. There was
18 not even an institution that would regulate what would
19 go on in the case of his absence.
20 In that period, according to the regulations
21 that he drew upon, especially in terms of
22 responsibility and then also in terms of powers, all of
23 this was in the hands of the president. He signed
24 documents and generally speaking everything else that
25 is within that framework, all of that was within his
2 Q. Thank you. Irrespective of legislation,
3 irrespective of legislation that gave powers to the
4 president of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna
5 Mr. Mate Boban, I would like to ask you, not only from
6 a legal point of view but also from the point of view
7 of life itself, the way things actually were, in whose
8 hands was power, the power to decide really and truly?
9 A. As far as I know, bearing in mind the style
10 of the president and his decisiveness in terms of
11 taking over responsibility and functioning and also
12 taking into account how everything worked in that
13 situation, especially being given communications during
14 wartime, there is no doubt that this was taken by him
15 only and that he was the one who made all the major
16 decisions and had major responsibility.
17 Q. Tell me, please, in terms of your immediate
18 knowledge and experience, did Mr. Kordic belong to this
19 group of persons who were the very top with President
20 Boban when decisions were made. Was he a person who
21 Mr. Boban would consult in terms of major decisions?
22 A. In terms of his very own system of work and
23 as far as this military part is concerned, the only
24 person who came there in terms of his office and in
25 terms of his style of work was Mr. Bruno Stojic, the
1 head of the defence department, and also the chief of
2 general staff. I doubt that anyone else was involved
3 in consultations let alone decision making.
4 Q. You attended some of these talks. You are
5 familiar with the telephone conversations between
6 Mr. Boban and Mr. Kordic, of course, while there was
7 still a telephone line. What could they have talked
8 about? What did Mr. Boban talk about to Mr. Kordic?
9 A. Of course I don't know the number; it is hard
10 to say, but I think that this took place from time to
11 time. As a rule, this would happen when Mr. Boban, the
12 president, would come from some international talks or
13 when he was preparing these international talks. They
14 wanted to have information exchanged or, rather, to get
15 information from Mr. Kordic about the situation on the
16 ground, perhaps, when the situation would allow that.
17 That is, in the sense of political
18 judgements, immediate information, and also carrying
19 out what was assumed as an obligation during these
20 international talks so it is only with regard to those
22 Q. As for the organisation of administration,
23 civilian government in Herceg-Bosna, who did Mr. Boban
24 communicate with if he did communicate with anyone?
25 A. In terms of the rules governing the
1 functioning of temporary civilian authorities, he
2 regularly communicated with Dr. Prlic, perhaps with
3 Mr. Anto Valenta as well, who was in the relocated
4 office of the civilian authority of HVO in Central
5 Bosnia. From time to time, he would talk to certain
6 ministers with regard to particular matters, because I
7 know that they would come to his office and they would
8 be there, and possibly he talked individually to some
9 of these persons who carried out these duties.
10 Q. One more question related to the work of the
11 Presidency of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna. Did
12 this body meet more often, less often? Did this body
13 have a significant role in reaching fundamental
14 decisions such as those that were passed at that time?
15 A. From the time when I took this over at the
16 request of Mr. Boban, and it's very important to take
17 that into account, that is, October 1992 onwards and
18 until the establishment of the Croat Republic of
19 Herceg-Bosna, that is what the circumstances were.
20 There were war operations going on. It was very
21 difficult to get people together. Perhaps there were
22 some other kind of consultations in some other ways,
23 but very seldom. I don't think that there were very
24 many opportunities, if any, when this body would meet.
25 I mean the impossibility of circumstances
1 made this the way it was. Mr. Boban had to take over
2 additional responsibility in terms of his very
3 functioning as president.
4 Q. In addition to what you said a few minutes
5 ago, that Mr. Kordic took part in the work of this
6 joint military group in Sarajevo, do you know, from the
7 information that you received -- and, after all, you
8 were at such a level that you did receive quite a bit
9 of information -- did you ever hear of Mr. Kordic
10 taking part in negotiations at some local, regional, or
11 international level? Had you ever heard of anything
12 like that?
13 A. In the period that this refers to, that is to
14 say, the period when I held this particular post, as
15 far as I know, at least in terms of immediate contacts
16 with him and in terms of reports, I don't think that at
17 any one of these levels he participated in any
19 As for other things, I know about other
20 persons who took part in that, but I think that he, as
21 a person, did not accept it during this brief part when
22 he conducted these talks at the Butmir Airport, which
23 is what you mentioned.
24 Q. Could you please tell the Honourable Trial
25 Chamber what Mr. Kordic did, what his political task
1 was in terms of these international plans; for example,
2 the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan or some other plan? It's all
3 the same.
4 A. Unlike most of us who had these party duties,
5 he had a particularly difficult role to play, for the
6 reason that he was one of the vice-presidents of the
7 party and he was from -- he was the most prominent
8 person, in nominal terms, from that part.
9 And as far as the peace agreement is
10 concerned, he had to familiarise part of the persons
11 involved with the obligations that stemmed from the
12 plan in terms of our cooperation, cooperativeness, and
13 the implementation of these plans. And I must admit
14 that they were increasingly difficult for us and
15 increasingly difficult to accept.
16 Q. And what was his role on the ground?
17 A. Since communication was at that time relevant
18 to that part only, there were possibilities for him, as
19 vice-president. Perhaps he would have been in Mostar
21 Q. Who explained to the citizens of Central
22 Bosnia the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan which, as you have
23 been saying, was not very favourable for the Croats?
24 JUDGE MAY: Let me interrupt. Mr. Vucina,
25 you were asked what Mr. Kordic's political task was.
1 Now, I don't think you really answered that question.
2 Could you tell us what his task was? Or if you don't
3 know, just say so.
4 A. Thank you, Your Honour, for giving me this
5 opportunity to explain this fully. It would be a pity
6 to miss out on the most important things.
7 His task was, in very difficult
8 circumstances, as far as the Croat people and their
9 political leadership in Central Bosnia notably are
10 concerned, to have them accept the peace plan which,
11 after territories were taken, was difficult to accept
12 for us in general and especially for Croats in Central
13 Bosnia. Without his role in this, there would have
14 been big tensions, and I doubt that it would have been
15 accepted as the offered plan.
16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
17 Q. You said "territories that were taken." What
18 territories are you referring to? Or, rather, you did
19 not say who took these territories.
20 A. From January 1993, from the Vance-Owen Plan
21 to the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan in the war in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is the army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina that took them.
24 Q. Thank you. We can proceed now.
25 You mentioned the Vance-Owen Plan. Now, in
1 your opinion, did that plan affect the deepening of the
2 Croat-Muslim conflict in Central Bosnia?
3 A. This is my point of view and I'm expressing
4 it now. In addition to the aggression that expelled
5 over half a million Croats and Muslims from areas that
6 were under Serb control on to less than 30 per cent of
7 the territory that we held together, this plan, I
8 believe, is one of the causes for the events that
10 Q. But why? Tell me, please.
11 A. Because, according to the information
12 received from the ground, it was obvious that some
13 local people and also the political leadership of the
14 Muslim people were not in favour of accepting this
15 plan, it seems to me mainly because the area of Central
16 Bosnia, according to that plan, in nominal terms, were
17 called a Croat majority province.
18 Q. Very well, thank you. Mr. Vucina, tell me,
19 you took part in the nomination or, rather, the
20 presentation of proposals concerning persons that would
21 have certain positions in these provinces. We are now
22 talking about Province 10 in Central Bosnia, and its
23 capital would have been Travnik. Who was supposed to
24 be governor? What was the Croat proposal for governor
25 of that province?
1 A. Vlado Santic from Bugojno.
2 Q. I'm sorry, I don't know this person. I
3 didn't understand what you said. Did you say "Vlado"?
4 A. Oh, I do apologise. Mr. Soljic. Sorry,
5 Soljic. Vlado Santic was nominated for the Bihac
6 canton. Mr. Soljic from Bugojno, who, in the bodies of
7 the temporary government until that conflict, he had
8 certain duties. He was the one who was proposed to be
9 governor of this province from the Croat side, because
10 according to this plan, it was the Croats who were
11 supposed to appoint the governor of this province.
12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
13 this is Document 1997.1 [as interpreted]. This is a
14 document that was signed or written by Mr. Vucina. The
15 number is not right. Z977.1.
16 Q. One more question, Mr. Vucina. Do you know
17 whether Mr. Kordic had any duties in the government of
18 this Province 10?
19 A. In accordance with this agreement, we
20 nominated a certain number of persons for certain
21 positions within government. Mr. Kordic was among
22 them. I don't know whether there was any special
23 preference involved, but I think that he was one of the
24 persons nominated from the five who were nominated.
25 Q. Thank you. You spoke about the Croat
1 Republic of Herceg-Bosna. Just one sentence. Why was
2 it founded, on the basis of what plan?
3 A. The Owen-Stoltenberg Plan. I think this was
4 sometime during the summer of 1993; July, August. It
5 envisaged the internal establishment of Central Bosnia
6 based on the union of three republics.
7 In order to carry out this peace plan -- we
8 had hoped and wished that that had happened with the
9 previous ones as well -- the Croat Republic of
10 Herceg-Bosna was founded.
11 Q. I do apologise, but I wanted to ask you
12 something else. The parliament of the Croat Republic
13 of Herceg-Bosna was established as well. Who were the
14 members of this parliament?
15 A. Well, when this was established, then,
16 according to the solutions proposed, there were
17 supposed to be legislative bodies as well.
18 We always made an effort to ensure,
19 especially in this, the legality and legitimacy of the
20 persons who were involved there on the basis of the
21 election results of 1990. As a rule, this was our
23 Exceptionally, we would add to these persons
24 Mr. Kordic, for instance, and some other persons who,
25 in temporary, provisional government bodies, carried
1 out these duties in certain areas because perhaps the
2 representatives from those municipalities had either
3 been killed, or were missing, or we simply didn't know
4 of their fate.
5 Q. Thank you. Since you mentioned Mr. Kordic,
6 and this is basically the section that we are dealing
7 with in relation to Mr. Kordic, have you ever heard,
8 through your contacts with him and as you followed the
9 public media, et cetera, did you ever hear Mr. Kordic
10 say anything derogatory or anything bad about other
11 peoples as an entire people, including Muslims as the
12 entire people?
13 A. Knowing him as a person, knowing his level of
14 education, knowing his profile, knowing his sincerity,
15 his devotion to family, his culture, if someone was to
16 tell me that that was possible, I would say it was
17 impossible. Even during the most violent conflict, if
18 we ever had the opportunity to talk to him on the
19 telephone, et cetera, I never heard anything like that.
20 Q. When you spoke about Mr. Kordic -- you said a
21 few minutes ago but I'm going to ask you expressly
22 right now -- did you ever hear of Mr. Kordic having any
23 direct military responsibilities, that he issued
24 military orders at any level?
25 A. In that period during which I worked in the
1 office of the president, I did not have the opportunity
2 to see or hear, then or after that, that Mr. Kordic
3 issued a military order or that he ordered any military
4 unit, from the smallest unit onwards.
5 Q. You said to the Honourable Court a few
6 minutes ago what the authority of the president of the
7 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, later the Croat
8 Republic of Herceg-Bosna, was. You also mentioned
9 another civilian person, and that is the head of the
10 Defence Department, the minister, conditionally
11 speaking, in the HVO government while the Croat
12 Community of Herceg-Bosna functioned. Since you were
13 close to Mr. Boban, if Mr. Boban discussed military
14 matters, who did he discuss them with?
15 A. As a rule, with Mr. Stojic, because he held
16 that position. According to the regulations in force,
17 this was part of his duties and responsibilities, to
18 communicate with the president, and also his role was
19 to communicate with the General Staff. Apart from
20 that, officially or in any other way, I don't think
21 that Mr. Boban talked to anyone, least of all about the
22 implementation of obligations that are based on
23 regulations and are related to the establishment of the
24 military forces of the Croat Defence Council.
25 Q. Mr. Vucina, you are the right person and the
1 only person one can ask that. You were very close to
2 Mr. Boban at that time. You knew who came to see him
3 in his office, whom he called, who called him. That
4 was your duty, as the head of his office.
5 Did you ever hear, ever hear, Mr. Kordic in
6 any situation discuss military matters with Mr. Boban
7 or that Mr. Boban, outside these military structures,
8 issued military orders to anybody else?
9 A. Well, say I was one of the persons close to
10 him -- of course there were others -- but knowing
11 directly the work of Mr. President, and his readiness
12 to assume responsibilities and duties, and his style of
13 work, and the impossibility to communicate with
14 Mr. Kordic except possibly by telephone at times, I
15 doubt that it was ever possible for them to talk about
16 this in any sense, and let alone anything about that.
17 Q. Let us move a step forward. Did you ever
18 hear Mr. Boban discuss with any other person, that is,
19 outside military structures, military operations or
20 about military operations and so on and so forth?
21 A. No, no. His was a responsible style, a
22 resolute style, and he liked to observe the
23 procedures. He observed the legislation, and he went
24 by that. His communication was to Mr. Stojic in the
25 Ministry of Defence and the Main Staff.
1 Q. Very well, thank you. Unfortunately, we have
2 to move on because we're under pressure of time.
3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Paragraph 25,
4 Your Honours.
5 Q. You have heard the assertion repeated in this
6 case that your institutions, the institutions of Croats
7 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HZ HB and the HR HB, in
8 point of fact excluded other people from positions of
9 power, that they were monoethnic. Is that true, in
10 your view?
11 A. I am sorry to hear that there are such
12 qualifications. I can say it clearly and
13 unambiguously -- not only myself but documents and
14 Official Gazettes can show and document not only our
15 theoretical option but our operationalisation -- that
16 in different state agencies, bodies of power, all the
17 offices in institutions of executive branches of power,
18 and in hospitals and universities, schools, even during
19 the fiercest of conflicts we had in 1991/1992 with the
20 JNA and at the same time when we had conflicts with the
21 army -- between the BH army and the HVO, never.
22 Q. Yes, I also have to wait for the
23 interpretation. So, in a word, in a nutshell, to try
24 to cut it shorter and not spend too much time on it,
25 you were very highly ranked, you are next to
1 Mr. Boban. Did you ever hear, officially or
2 unofficially, any discrimination referred to?
3 A. Absolutely not. And more than that, I can
4 confirm his lasting readiness. I was a witness to his
5 conversation, that is he asked me to establish contact
6 with him with Mr. Camil Salihovic, a prominent lawyer,
7 and other individuals. And he offered them to take
8 over duties in the executive branches of power and not
9 the opposite to that such as there is qualification
10 that that might be his intent, and especially not the
11 policy and especially not the programme.
12 In no session of a body that I attended as
13 either the head of his office or a member of his
14 cabinet or in any capacity, I absolutely vowed safe for
15 whatever I participated in this. It was never said in
16 any of these talks.
17 Q. You mentioned Mr. Camil Salihovic and he is a
18 Muslim and prominent lawyer. He was also offered the
19 post of the head of the Department of Justice,
20 something like the ministry before this office was
21 taken by Mr. Zoran Buntic?
22 A. Yes, as far as I know, and subsequently at
23 another ministry which I think has to do with
24 administration, something like that but not only to
25 him, to other people as well.
1 Q. You said that in Mostar at the time in the
2 HVO, there were not only Muslim soldiers. Let me ask
3 you, were there any Muslim officers in the HVO?
4 A. Yes. My commander of the municipal staff of
5 Mostar was Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac and I was his assistant
6 for political and information affairs. We cooperated
7 very well. It was an honour for me to be associated to
8 him. He commanded actions for the liberation of Mostar
9 in 1992 and we stayed close friends until the end.
10 This is only one of the examples in my
11 vicinity, if I can find such examples, from Posavina to
12 Tuzla to all other areas including what they call
13 exclusively Croat areas, that is, Tomislavgrad, Livno,
14 and so on and so forth.
15 Q. Very well thank you. We are moving to
16 paragraph 26, Your Honours.
17 As I said, you were indeed in a position to
18 have an insight into the work of Mr. Boban and his
19 office and you were one of those individuals who could
20 absolutely and directly observe the policy pursuit.
21 Tell us, did you ever hear within the institutions of
22 the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, Croat Defense
23 Council, that is the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina
24 subsequently, naturally, the HR HB, did anyone ever
25 mention officially or unofficially, publicly or
1 secretly, any policy of persecution or ethnic cleansing
2 of non-Croats from the lands of the Croat Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna, notably the Muslims?
4 A. I have already said and I want to repeat that
5 in the bodies in which I participated officially,
6 nobody absolutely ever mentioned, let alone talk, about
7 the adoption of a position which would be the official
8 policy in the sense that we were talking about. There
9 wasn't even a hint of that let alone operationalisation
10 of it. Not only with regard to the Muslims not only
11 with the Serbs, or members of any other people.
12 And if we made some major omissions regarding
13 the -- some events, a great example, in 1992 is no
14 doubt during the war against the JNA, the army of
15 Bosnian Serbs, there was not a single expulsion of a
16 Serb or a member of any other people took place.
17 Q. Very well. This is, as a matter of fact, a
18 curious situation. I believe you will agree with me.
19 On the one hand, there was a conflict between Muslims
20 and Croats and you told Their Honours where and in some
21 other areas, you told us in Bihac and elsewhere, you
22 forged together against the army of Bosnian Serbs.
23 That was a fact.
24 A. I was happy to be able to point out that fact
25 before this august court that not only in Bihac the
1 same held true of Posavina, the same held true of the
2 area of Tuzla which, in itself, says that the problem
3 of the overcrowding of refugees, one and the other
4 peoples and some of us, through international
5 negotiations, could have been the cause for our
6 confrontation regarding the territorialisation of the
7 lands where these conflicts took place and this relates
8 to Central Bosnia and the Neretva Valley.
9 Q. And in this regard, the expulsions, in
10 inverted commas, which we are talking about,
11 Mr. Vucina, did you ever discharge any duty, any --
12 have any power in Croat institutions in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Are you aware of any plan for the
14 expulsion of non-Croats from the territories of the
15 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna? Did you ever hear of
16 anything like that?
17 A. As a man, a practising believer, an
18 intellectual, absolutely never. Not only that, it was
19 really a tremendous pleasure for me whether the vast
20 majority of people, Croats and others, who in one way
21 or the other were involved in institutions of executive
22 branch in culture, education or any other institution,
23 not any one was -- or the whole Croat people or any one
24 of us would never do -- would never show any propensity
25 for saying things like that.
1 Q. Thank you. Very well, we are now going to
2 paragraph 27. We have already talked about that. You
3 told us that Mr. Kordic phoned Mr. Boban about the
4 international negotiations and then Mr. Kordic
5 discharged his political duty and explained the
6 international plans in his area, that is, in the area
7 in which he could be active in view of the wartime
9 I suppose there was also mention about the
10 Vance-Owen or Owen-Stoltenberg Plan or the Washington
12 A. Yes. It is difficult now to explain in so
13 many words the situation because there were different
14 conditions for Croats in different parts of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina following different international
16 agreements and even if many think that the Vance-Owen
17 Plan was an acceptable one, nevertheless, needs to
18 remind that many Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina were left
19 outside of those areas.
20 Although we all believe that the Croat
21 Republic of Herceg-Bosna as defined by the
22 Owen-Stoltenberg Plan was such as one of three
23 republics with the ethnic prefix, but the majority was
24 also against it because some areas were excluded and it
25 was particularly difficult when, in peace talks, one
1 would see that some areas which had been lost through
2 war had become an integral part of the offered peace
4 From Vance-Owen to Owen-Stoltenberg,
5 Owen-Stoltenberg to Washington, and then especially
6 Vienna Agreement, and then if you compare the maps,
7 then you will see that of the 28 per cent of the
8 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Vance-Owen Plans,
9 we've come down to a 25 in Owen-Stoltenberg's Plan, to
10 some then 11 per cent in Washington, to only 8 per cent
11 after the Vienna Accords, and that was only that much
12 of the area that was defined as a Croat majority area,
13 so it was very difficult to implement what was our task
14 to implement.
15 And in -- we approached all the negotiations
16 in good faith and President Boban signed it all and we
17 were ready to put it all through.
18 Q. There was a mistake. You said 17 point
19 something of the Owen-Stoltenberg, but it was 18 per
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And let us try to bring your testimony to a
23 close -- your testimony in chief to a close. The
24 implementation of the Washington Agreement, that is the
25 period of time when Mr. Kordic had already become the
1 president of the Croat Democratic Union of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. What was his role in this? Did he
3 take part in talks with the SDA and so on and so
5 A. As the protagonist of the political power in
6 the Croat Democratic Union now, this is a completely
7 different, more important role. As the president of
8 the Croat Democratic Union, he bore additional
9 responsibility because we were a serious political
11 To implement what had been signed at the
12 international level, he spared no efforts to conduct
13 the negotiations to create the atmosphere to do
14 whatever was in his power to have the Washington
15 Agreement implemented. And I am witness, because I was
16 one of his associates as one of the vice-presidents and
17 I therefore participated as a rule in all the talks
18 between the HDZ and SDA which Mr. Kordic conducted.
19 In terms of the implementation of the
20 Washington Agreement, from Mostar to Vranica to
21 Sarajevo which was still being shelled by the Serbs,
22 and other areas, he did it with dedication because it
23 was necessary to agree under the constitutional
24 provisions and the provisions. In the international
25 negotiations and agreements, one had to determine that
1 the shares, the proportion, the ratios and so forth,
2 and he spared no effort in doing this.
3 There were some objectives why, on the other
4 side, it was not the president of the SDA to conduct
5 the negotiations to be his counterpart.
6 We almost put an ultimatum that the other --
7 that Mr. Kordic as the president would appoint one of
8 us, the vice-presidents, to conduct these negotiations,
9 but he refused to do that and he conducted all these
10 negotiations personally.
11 Q. Very well, thank you very much.
12 In paragraph 28, which is the last paragraph
13 in your summary, you speak about Vienna negotiations,
14 that is, that before the Vienna agreements, a large
15 group of some 80 Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina went to
16 Zagreb and met President Tudjman. You were present
17 there. My question is: Was Mr. Kordic present there
19 A. As far as I know he was not and I think he is
20 a person who would be noticed especially as I know that
21 from the area of Central Bosnia on behalf of the Croats
22 first and foremost, it was Mr. Lozancic who did that.
23 Had Mr. Kordic been there, no doubt he would be
24 speaking on his behalf.
25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you
1 very much, Mr. Vucina. This is the end of our
2 examination. Thank you, your honours.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] No questions,
4 Your Honour.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Scott:
6 Q. Good afternoon Mr. Vucina, my name is Kenneth
7 Scott. I'm one of the attorneys representing the
9 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Scott. I would like to
10 say hello to you too.
11 Q. Sir, according to what you've told us today,
12 you were the head of Mr. Boban's office of the
13 president for the entire existence of the Croatian
14 Community of Herceg-Bosna, is that correct, until
15 sometime in approximately 1993?
16 A. Well, from the moment I was appointed until,
17 as you say, I was transferred to the Croat Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna, that is to say, not from the very moment
19 when the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was founded
20 which was the 18th of November 1991.
21 Q. You are right, sir. Let me correct myself.
22 From the time that you were appointed you continued in
23 that position until the end of the community, that is,
24 until it was transformed to the Croatian Republic of
25 Herceg-Bosna in approximately August of 1993; is that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In this position, I think in one paragraph of
4 your statement, sir, you characterise your role or
5 position of essentially for all practical purposes,
6 Mr. Boban's Chief of Staff; is that correct?
7 A. I think that it is very difficult to compare
8 English and Croatian. We say the head of office. It
9 is very hard for me to translate this into the mental
10 pattern of the English language.
11 Q. All right, sir. Well, you have the English
12 version in front of you, and I'm not going to belabour
13 this, but in the English translation, paragraph 26 of
14 your summary, you say you were in effect, Mr. Boban's
15 "Chief of Staff".
16 Perhaps it can be placed on the ELMO and
17 would be the easiest way of referring to it.
18 Is that correct, sir?
19 A. I assume that it relates to the same thing.
20 The operative part of the office that did what was
21 needed for him, I imagine, yes.
22 Q. Is it correct then, sir, for the Court to
23 understand that with Mr. Boban being deceased, that you
24 were the highest official in his office and the highest
25 living representative of Mr. Boban. Would that be fair
1 to say?
2 A. After he died; is that what you said? I'm
4 Q. During this time, sir, perhaps I should -- I
5 didn't say it clearly enough for you. You were the
6 person, during this time, during which at least in the
7 English translation of your statement, it's -- you are
8 characterised as the Chief of Staff. You were the
9 number one person closest to Mr. Boban on a day-to-day
10 basis; isn't that correct?
11 A. Yes. Yes, within my own rights and
13 Q. Well, let me ask you very directly. Was
14 there anyone else in Mr. Boban's office who had a
15 higher position in his office or more direct or regular
16 access to Mr. Boban than you?
17 A. Well, it depends on the questions that were
18 being discussed. If it was the executive branch, then
19 it was the representative of the executive branch. If
20 it was defence, then it was the head of the defence
21 department, and if it was the interior, then it was
22 head of the office of the interior.
23 Q. Sir, I am talking about the office of the
24 president. Was there anyone else in the immediate
25 office of the president who was -- who had a higher
1 position or was closer to Mr. Boban than you. It's a
2 very simple question.
3 A. The answer is simple also. Not in those
4 areas where I did not have rights and
6 Q. Very well, sir. Before you took this
7 position, you worked in the information and propaganda
8 department; is that correct?
9 A. Of the municipal staff of Mostar, yes.
10 Q. And what -- what was your functions there?
11 What did you actually do on a day-to-day basis?
12 A. It is a wide scope. There is a wide range of
13 responsibilities that I had, because the war made it
14 necessary to do different things, communication with
15 various persons, but this was important. I was
16 assistant commander for information within the
17 municipal staff of Mostar, that is of Mr. Jasmin
18 Jaganjac and at the same time it was the press
19 spokesman for the HVO in Mostar.
20 That is to say, that there were regular
21 day-to-day communications with the members of the press
22 externally while, internally, vis-a-vis certain
23 colleagues that carried out these activities in various
24 units, there was information about their cultural and
25 other needs.
1 In due time, it turned out to be necessary to
2 create various divisions that would take care of the
3 disabled, of the families of the killed. So these
4 activities were expanded considerably.
5 Q. Sir, I'm going to interrupt you because we do
6 have to move on. When you say you were the spokesman
7 for the HVO in Mostar, do you mean you were the
8 spokesman in Mostar for the entire HVO organisation or
9 are you suggesting, just so it's clear, you were only
10 the local spokesperson?
11 A. The entire HVO that relates to Mostar, that
12 is the Mostar HVO. Not the HVO that was in other
14 Q. If we were to assume for these purposes
15 simply to make the point that the HVO headquarters in
16 Mostar was something like a national government of what
17 was called Herceg-Bosna, were you the spokesman on
18 the -- of the national government?
19 A. No, because this was set up later. I imagine
20 I understand you. I think it was the duty that was
21 later held by Mr. Bozo Rajic.
22 Q. In a few months after having this position in
23 the Information and Propaganda Department, then you
24 moved to become the head of Mr. Boban's office; is that
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And sir, can you tell the Court, you were
3 trained and had been previously employed as an
4 electrical engineer. What qualifications caused you to
5 become Mr. Boban's Chief of Staff?
6 A. If he were alive, it would have been a
7 question for him. I don't know. I spoke as the press
8 spokesman, and on the basis of my other activities, he
9 probably decided to ask me to take over this post for a
10 short period of time. I am not qualified to make
11 public pronouncements on my own qualifications.
12 Q. You were close to Mr. Boban politically,
13 weren't you, very close, and that's why he chose you as
14 his Chief of Staff?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you ever, at any time, in your experience
17 with Mr. Boban, disagree with Mr. Boban on any matter
18 of the goals of Herceg-Bosna or on the strategy or
19 policy or practices of Herceg-Bosna or the HVO?
20 A. Allow me, sir, to say that, politically, this
21 was after the convention, whereas this appointment was
22 before the convention, so my political appointment was
23 after the convention. As for the provisions of the
24 Croatian Democratic Union, the basic principles, I
25 didn't disagree with anything on that matter.
1 But as far as certain day-to-day matters are
2 concerned, he was happy to discuss them and he was even
3 happy to engage in dialogue that involved opposition
4 and that is the kind of dialogue we would have.
5 Q. Sir, let me repeat my question. Did you ever
6 disagree with Mr. Boban on any matter of the goals or
7 strategy or policy of the government of Herceg-Bosna as
8 related, for instance, to the prosecution of the war?
9 A. First of all, one cannot say that he produced
10 war, so I cannot face that. If there was a strategy of
11 persecution that was pronounced, I certainly would have
12 opposed that, but that was not his policy.
13 Q. And by the way, sir, where were you during
14 this time? Were your offices throughout the time we've
15 talked about today in Mostar or were you at any time in
17 A. The office of the president was in Mostar.
18 That is where I resided. Daily, weekly, or whenever
19 necessary, I would go with him, if he was not in
20 Mostar, to wherever his relocated office was. As a
21 rule absolutely, the seat of his office was in Mostar.
22 Q. And is that, sir, where you in fact spent
23 most of your time from 1992 through 1994, in Mostar?
24 A. Because the office was there? I don't
25 understand your question. I am sorry, sir.
1 Q. It has nothing to do, sir, with the location
2 of the office. Did you spend most of your time in
3 Mostar during 1992 through 1994?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Then sometime after this, you became the
6 president of the executive committee of the HDZ-BiH
7 from approximately the 14th of November, 1992, until
8 1994; is that correct?
9 A. That's right, yes.
10 Q. Where did that position place you in terms of
11 the party hierarchy? That was an extremely high and
12 senior position in the party, wasn't it?
13 A. According to the statute, yes, I was
14 president of the executive operative body of the party
15 of the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Q. And how did you come to that position? Were
17 you elected in some fashion or were you named to that
18 post by Mr. Boban?
19 A. According to the statute of the party, the
20 convention of the party elects its central body, and
21 then that body elects the president of the executive
22 body, and that is how I was elected. As president of
23 the executive body, I proposed members of the executive
24 body to the membership, and that is what I did in
25 accordance with the statute of the party.
1 Q. And then did you hold that post at the same
2 time that you were also one of the vice-presidents of
3 the HDZ-BiH party?
4 A. No. In the period from 1992 onwards, I was
5 president of the executive council and, after that,
6 vice-president of the executive council, so that was
7 probably it. And from 1994 to 1996, I was
8 vice-president of the Croat Democratic Union.
9 Q. And you've said in your direct testimony that
10 you are currently serving your second term in the
11 parliament, if you will, of the Federation government;
12 is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And which political party, if you will, do
15 you represent in that government?
16 A. At the elections that were held now, I was on
17 the list of the Croat Democratic Union.
18 Q. The HDZ; is that correct?
19 A. Of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 Q. Sir, have you had any military training or
22 A. No, except for the fact that I did my
23 compulsory military service when the time came after I
24 graduated from university. Otherwise, I have no such
1 Q. And very briefly, sir, just tell us, what
2 year was that that you served -- fulfilled your
3 compulsory military service?
4 A. 1976, when I graduated from university.
5 Q. In the role that you've told us about so far
6 this morning, was it your position -- did you have any
7 military roles? Did the work you did for Mr. Boban, as
8 his Chief of Staff, have any military dimension?
9 A. No, absolutely not. I only did that part
10 when I was assistant commander for Information and
11 Propaganda in the municipality office staff in Mostar.
12 JUDGE MAY: That would be a convenient
14 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour, that's fine.
15 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn until
16 half past 2.00.
17 Mr. Vucina, don't speak to anybody about your
18 evidence during the break, and don't let anybody speak
19 to you about it until it's over, and that does include
20 members of the Defence team. Would you be back,
21 please, at half past 2.00.
22 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Scott, I'm told that, in
3 fact, the interpreters or someone will be required
4 elsewhere at 4.00 so we can't sit beyond 4.00.
5 MR. SCOTT: All right, Your Honour. Thank
6 you, Your Honour. I'll do my best. I have to say that
7 the Court -- I'm sure the Court must understand given
8 the testimony this morning by this witness, he is a
9 virtually unique witness in terms of his position with
10 Mr. Boban, and you can expect that there is substantial
11 material. But having said that, I will certainly go as
12 quickly as I can.
13 Q. Sir, how many -- well, just to bring us back
14 to where we were. I had asked you if your positions,
15 you told us about before the recess, if any of those
16 involved a military dimension and you had indicated
17 your answer I believe was no, they did not. Let me ask
18 you, sir, how many military orders did you see while
19 you were the head of the office of the president?
20 A. Not a single military order because it was
21 not within my field of work, so I did not see any
22 coming from the Main Staff since the coordination was
23 ensured by the head of the Department of Defence to the
24 president of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna,
25 Mr. Boban.
1 Q. And tell me, sir, how many military strategy
2 meetings did you attend?
3 A. Not one military strategic meeting because
4 that was not within my field of work.
5 Q. Did you attend any meetings about tactical
6 planning, military operations?
7 A. No.
8 Q. In paragraph five of your statement, sir, you
9 say -- forgive me, I may have the wrong reference. Let
10 me ask you a question, and in the translation, I will
11 try to find the reference.
12 You indicate in your statement, I believe,
13 sir, that there was a particular order that something
14 was either an order or characterisation that something
15 was couched as a defensive action in a deceptive way
16 but in reality, it was, in your view, it was something
17 offensive. Do you recall that?
18 A. You mean this morning, it concerned the order
19 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, if you can give me a
21 moment. I apologise. My notes have the wrong
22 paragraph. All right. Thank you, Mr. Nice.
23 Q. Paragraph 13, sir, the last line starting on
24 the bottom of that page, "We found the Muslim order
25 dated April 19th, 1993 which is couched as a defensive
1 order but indicates planning for offensive actions
2 against Mostar." Did you see that order, sir?
3 A. The one that was shown today, yes, but much
4 later, a long time after the events, and it is
5 accessible to many.
6 Q. And approximately when do you remember seeing
7 this order?
8 A. Much later.
9 Q. Well, approximately?
10 A. A year and more after -- a year and more
12 Q. Who showed it to you?
13 A. I do not know who it was, but it was
14 accessible in very many documentation offices.
15 Q. On what basis do you conclude that it was
16 couched as a defensive order but indicates planning for
17 offensive action?
18 A. This morning, under item 1 or 1.2, it says
19 explicitly that after the taking of positions,
20 offensive actions had to be taken towards some
21 positions and from that, it was easy to conclude what I
22 said "active defence", as it is said.
23 Q. Sir, you've told us today that your last
24 military service was in 1976. Your jobs have no
25 military dimension. You said you did not see a single
1 military order during this time, not a single order,
2 and yet you've come to court and indicate to us that
3 you have the ability to make a judgement that a
4 military order that was couched as a defensive, in your
5 view, really was offensive.
6 Now, sir, how can you say that?
7 A. On the basis of things that happened on that
8 day and those days in Mostar. It is quite evident, it
9 is quite contrary to what is said here on the basis of
10 events in which I participated.
11 Q. Sir, someone told you or characterised this
12 order to you, didn't they? You reached this conclusion
13 based on what someone has told you or suggested to
15 A. As we talked about the organisation of Mostar
16 after Dayton, then one of the problems was the
17 organisation of the central area. I participated in
18 those talks. It was highly indicative that some of the
19 proposals of the other sides were along these positions
20 which are indicated in these orders so I cannot see any
21 precedent here.
22 Q. I'm going to interrupt you, sir, because of
23 time. You did not answer my question.
24 I put it to you, sir, this entire
25 conclusion -- this entire statement in paragraph 13 of
1 your statement is just simply something that someone
2 else has told you or suggested to you, isn't it?
3 A. That was my judgement too.
4 Q. And can you tell me, sir, how does one couch
5 an offensive order as a defensive order? Just tell us
6 how you would do that. If one of us wanted to do that,
7 tell us how we would.
8 A. I cannot tell you, because I did not write
9 that order. Presumably, if the one who asked that were
10 alive, he would perhaps be qualified to interpret it.
11 Q. Sir, I want to ask you some questions about
12 your preparing to come here today.
13 When were you first contacted by anyone
14 representing Mr. Kordic or the Defence team?
15 A. I think it was right before Christmas
16 holidays last year, and the second time was during
17 Easter this year. And when I was asked to come here, I
18 saw a statement which was the product of this
19 cooperation, and I had some minor corrections regarding
20 the text, and that was all.
21 Q. This statement was different than the one
22 that you've signed and tendered to court, the 11-page
23 statement that you've signed? This is some other
25 A. No. No, not at all, not in things that
2 Q. Well, was there a different statement? I'm
3 not asking whether the differences matter or not. Was
4 there some prior statement by you, before this
5 statement was prepared, which has not been provided to
6 the Prosecutor?
7 A. No, no.
8 Q. And who contacted you, sir? Don't tell me
9 what they said necessarily, but just tell me who
10 contacted you about coming here to testify?
11 A. The lawyers representing here the Defence of
12 the accused.
13 Q. And who was that, specifically?
14 A. Mr. Mitko.
15 Q. Did you ever meet -- in the course of
16 preparing to come here to testify, sir, have you ever
17 met with any person who you understood to be a
18 representative, or official, or some agents of the
19 government of the Republic of Croatia?
20 A. No, not once.
21 Q. And have you ever met with any such person or
22 representative, official, or agent associated with the
23 Bosnian Croat part of the Federation of Bosnia and
25 A. No, not at all.
1 Q. Sir, your testimony before the Court is that
2 no representatives of the Bosnian Croat Intelligence
3 Service have ever shown you documents or provided --
4 done anything to prepare you for your testimony?
5 A. I guarantee.
6 Q. Have you reviewed any documents in preparing
7 your statement or making statements to the Defence at
8 any time?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Sir, both your summary and the testimony
11 you've given today in some respects is quite detailed.
12 Are you suggesting to us this was all based on memory
13 and that at no time, since first being contacted by the
14 Defence before Christmas last year, you've never
15 reviewed a single document to prepare to testify?
16 A. Yes. Based on my recollection and my
18 MR. SCOTT: Let me ask the usher to please
19 hand you Exhibit D278/1 from this morning. Perhaps in
20 the interests of time, Mr. Usher, you could put it on
21 the ELMO and we could all look at it at the same time.
22 Q. Sir, you were shown this document this
23 morning. Is today the first day -- first time you've
24 ever seen that document?
25 A. This is a translation of the order that this
1 morning we had an opportunity of seeing in the Bosnian
3 Q. Well, I apologise if you don't have the
4 original-language version in front of you. It should
5 be available to you there. If it is, if you want to
6 check, you certainly may do so.
7 Let me repeat my question. Is this the first
8 day -- the first time you ever saw that document?
9 A. No. As I have said, I saw it much earlier,
10 but a year and a half later, roughly, after it was
11 written. This is a document that you can come across
12 in Mostar with many people.
13 Q. And the other exhibit that you were shown
14 this morning -- you were only shown two -- had you ever
15 seen that document before today? And the usher can
16 show you, if he would, please.
17 A. This is an official document which was
18 carried by the Official Gazette of the municipality of
19 Mostar, and it was also carried by the press in 1992.
20 So it is accessible to the public and, therefore, to
22 Q. All right, I understand all that. Had you
23 actually seen the document before today?
24 A. Yes, 1992 is when I saw it.
25 Q. Very well. At any time since 1993, sir, are
1 you aware or have you been aware of an HVO archive or
2 archives where documents like this and other documents
3 are kept?
4 A. If you mean this document, the one before me
5 now, it is accessible to the public.
6 The archive of the civilian authority of the
7 provisional executive power of the HVO existed in the
8 place of their residence, that is, in Mostar.
9 The archive of the military structures, that
10 is something I know nothing about. I do not know where
11 it was kept or where it is.
12 As for archives in general for
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we tried to organise it and define
14 the documents that should be there. Unfortunately, we
15 failed to create an archive as exists in many orderly
17 Q. Well, the archive you just mentioned of the
18 civilian authority and the provisional executive power
19 of the HVO existed in the place of their residence,
20 that is, in Mostar, you said. When was the first --
21 excuse me, when was the last time you had access to
22 that archive?
23 A. I did not have any access to that archive at
24 all; it was the archive of the provisional executive
1 Q. Do you know where that archive is located
2 today, sir?
3 A. I am not now a part of any structure as apart
4 from being a member of parliament, so I have no
5 knowledge about that at all. I am only an engineer
7 Q. Sir, you are a member of the federation of
8 parliament representing the HDZ party or affiliated
9 with that party. Have you ever been made aware of the
10 fact that this institution, that is the Tribunal, has
11 been seeking such an archive or documents from an
12 archive for a number of years?
13 Has that ever come up in discussions with you
14 or in the course of your official duties or
16 A. Yes, from the press insofar as it was
17 accessible to everybody. Apart from that, there was no
18 reason because I belong to no structures after I
19 finished my work in the bodies of the political
20 authority. I had no other responsibilities except that
21 we could hear in the media that certain documentation
22 was being sought related to all these cases of
23 relevance to this Honorable Tribunal.
24 Q. And you really can't help us, sir, by giving
25 us any idea where that archive may be located today?
1 A. I declare, under oath, that I cannot.
2 Q. Sir, how many times did you have any direct
3 face-to-face dealings with Dario Kordic?
4 A. In 1992, I think it was a visit of theirs
5 while there was still some communication, we had a
6 meeting in Mostar. It was not an official meeting.
7 After a considerable period of time, we met finally and
8 after that we went to Mr. Rajic and ended up at a
9 private dinner.
10 In 1993, I think the first time I saw him was
11 when he and many others following the Owen-Stoltenberg
12 Plan could, and I think we met in Grude at that time
13 when a decision was taken to found the Croat Republic
14 of Herceg-Bosna. Meanwhile while the telephones were
15 in order, we would hear from each other.
16 Q. Sir, I'm going to cut you off. I'll get to
17 the telephone in due course, but you've told us that
18 you may have had two or three -- in the course of 1992
19 or 1993, you might have had two or three direct
20 dealings in person with Mr. Kordic?
21 A. I think. I think so, yes.
22 Q. And at the Grude meetings where the Croatian
23 Republic of Herceg-Bosna was declared, did you actually
24 interact with him there or did you know that he was
25 just one of a large number of people who happened to be
1 there at the same time?
2 A. There was a conversation at the table --
3 there were two or three of us -- and after that, there
4 was a general meeting, that is, when we first saw and
5 talked and after that there was a general meeting.
6 Q. And now going to your next point, and
7 approximately can you tell us how many times you talked
8 to Mr. Kordic on the telephone or any other sort of
9 wire communication; radio, telephone, what have you?
10 How many times did you speak to him?
11 A. It is difficult to say. I'm doing my best to
12 remember, but it depended on the opportunity when we
13 could communicate by telephone. It would sometimes be
14 once a week, sometimes once a month.
15 When the radio links operated, that is when
16 the so-called packet system worked, then the reports
17 were communicated regularly in so far as the time
18 permitted. So this is roughly for the period between
19 1993 and the time when we met personally in Grude when
20 the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna was founded.
21 Q. Sir, nobody is going to blame you for not
22 having an exact number in mind, but can you give us an
23 approximation of how many times you spoke to Mr. Kordic
24 in this manner; a dozen times, two dozen times, 50
1 A. Well, somewhere in between, around 20, I
2 think, thereabouts as for the telephone part.
3 Q. That was for all of 1992 and 1993?
4 A. No, not 1992. In 1992, late 1992 and part of
5 1993 until August, that is.
6 Q. All right. What were the nature of the
7 reports that you received, you say you received
8 reports, what kind of reports were these?
9 A. Well, mostly about the situation in different
10 areas, needs of the population, events which took
11 place, combat operations, effects and of other nature.
12 Q. Were you seeing military reports?
13 A. No, not in the military sense, because they
14 have their own procedure, but as a result of military
15 operations and what had happened, it was not a military
16 person who wrote those reports. That was not my line.
17 Q. Sir, let's not get -- well, whether they were
18 military reports or not, were they reports that
19 conveyed military information?
20 A. Not military information, but the results,
21 the upshot of military happenings, military information
22 wasn't coming to us, that is, to me personally.
23 Q. And were these reports that you were
24 receiving from Mr. Kordic?
25 A. About the situation in relation to the areas,
1 among other people, yes, from him. About his need to
2 intercede with some other institutions, yes, we would
3 forward that. Yes.
4 Q. And these included, you've said a few minutes
5 ago, from time to time, the outcome or the aftermath of
6 military operations; is that what you're telling us?
7 A. Yes, things that had happened. For instance,
8 loss of an area, the effects of that, accommodation of
9 people, and everything else that would result from
10 those military happenings.
11 Q. And you received such reports from Dario
13 A. Alongside his signature, there were other
14 people. Alongside his reports, there were also other
15 people, because Mr. Kordic was related to one area.
16 And we also received reports from other areas, mostly
17 Central Bosnia from Herzegovina and wherever there were
18 combat operations, their results, the situation, and
19 relations that existed under those conditions. So not
20 only from that area.
21 Q. Sir, Mr. Kordic was Mr. Boban's principal
22 contact in Central Bosnia, wasn't he?
23 A. One of the principal ones in the political
24 sense and for some judgements, yes, one could accept
25 that, but not the only one in the sense of overall
1 observations, but not in the sense of the military,
2 because in the military, he was not that at all because
3 there was a specific chain of command which was in
4 conformity with the Croat Defense Council depending on
5 its organisation and it was in effect for everybody.
6 Q. And -- well tell us, sir, what political
7 official or leader in Central Bosnia did Mr. Boban hear
8 from more than Mr. Kordic?
9 A. Mr. Boban had his method and his working
10 practice in his daily contact with people who had the
11 opportunity to come or to travel. He would meet with
12 them and discuss many aspects and many subjects.
13 His style of work included this practice. He
14 went there; we opposed it. It was his practice to
15 receive almost everybody. This is a very broad range
16 of people.
17 Q. Sir, I'm going to interrupt you again. My
18 question is -- I'll just simply read it back to you.
19 What political official or leader in Central Bosnia did
20 Mr. Boban hear from more than Mr. Kordic?
21 A. If you mean in quantifying terms, it is
22 difficult to compare, but with regard to his
23 possibilities or his accessibility, every president of
24 the provisional executive authority in municipal
25 council or every president of a municipal HDZ who had
1 the opportunity to come could see him.
2 There were people who were involved in
3 humanitarian affairs; they also met with him. There
4 were people who were engaged in some church affairs or
5 duties; they also were in contact with him.
6 Q. I take it that your answer to the Court is
7 that you could not tell the Court any political leader
8 or official who had more contact in Central Bosnia --
9 from Central Bosnia, excuse me, with Mr. Boban than
10 Mr. Kordic. You can't tell the Court that.
11 A. No, I cannot affirm that it was only
12 Mr. Kordic. I can claim the contrary, that many people
14 Q. Very well, sir. Let's move on.
15 How many times did you hear Mr. Kordic speak,
16 in terms of public speaking, either live, on
17 television, on the radio; how many times did you
18 actually hear him speak?
19 A. While I was the spokesman, and that was the
20 beginning of 1992, I think that at that time Mr. Kordic
21 had a regular practice, because that was the custom, to
22 have such press conferences in Central Bosnia. The
23 fragments of it would be transmitted by television
24 screens or radio, and that was the only occasion that I
25 had of hearing him addressing the public.
1 Q. How many times; once, twice?
2 A. I suppose -- I should say more than that.
3 Q. Well, ten? Please help us, sir. The Court
4 will accept -- it doesn't have to be a precise answer,
5 but give us some idea of how many times.
6 A. No, no, no, I -- those press conferences were
7 at times -- at regular intervals when the circumstances
8 would allow it, but not less than once a month;
9 sometimes more often.
10 Q. Sir, you haven't answered my question. My
11 question to you is not how often the press conferences
13 My question is: How many times did you see
14 or hear Mr. Kordic speak in public, either live, or on
15 the radio, or television, or what have you?
16 A. Yes. On how many occasions on television, I
17 really cannot give you the number. But if it was on
18 television, I had the opportunity of seeing it and
19 hearing it, what the television transmitted.
20 Q. Sir, you're not going to answer my question
21 that --
22 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Scott, I don't think we
23 can follow this much further.
24 MR. SCOTT: Very well, sir.
25 Q. Mr. Vucina, between June of 1992 to
1 approximately March of 1994, can you tell the Court,
2 how many times were you in Central Bosnia?
3 A. Until 1994, after the hostilities ended, that
4 was the first time I went to Central Bosnia. We were
5 in Vitez to establish electoral assemblies, the
6 municipal organisation of the HDZ, and that was the
7 first opportunity -- that was the first time that I
8 went to Central Bosnia personally, physically, when the
9 hostilities ended.
10 Q. And approximately when in 1994?
11 A. I think this was in the period of the summer
12 or, rather, it was the end of the spring or beginning
13 of summer. I know that I wore a loud suit, for sure.
14 Q. You were not in Central Bosnia, sir, at any
15 time in 1992 or 1993?
16 A. 1992, yes. I said this morning, at the end
17 of 1992 I was on a commission, a state commission that
18 was appointed by Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban, and we
19 were in Novi Travnik.
20 Q. All right, in Travnik. Okay. And was that
21 the only time in 1992?
22 A. I think that that was the only time, except
23 for the time when I went north to Usora. This was a
24 visit that I paid with friends, to some of our people
25 who were up there, but it was no official visit.
1 Q. All right. And I take it, then, you've never
2 been to a headquarters facility at a location known as
3 Tisovac. You were never at Tisovac, were you?
4 A. No, not a single one of those places,
5 especially not where there were combat operations.
6 Q. Were you ever at offices that may have been
7 used by Mr. Kordic from time to time in the PTT
8 building in Busovaca? Were you ever at his offices
10 A. Not at the PTT, but I slept in another
11 building which was a motel or whatever when I was in
12 Travnik. I spent the night there. He was busy, he had
13 other matters to attend to, and he did not spend the
14 night there at all in that particular motel. Only the
15 janitor was there. I don't know exactly what the name
16 of this place is.
17 Q. This is in Busovaca, and when was that?
18 A. When we had that mission as a state
19 delegation, after that, in Travnik, I spent the night
21 Q. Sir, the same trip that you were in Travnik,
22 you were also in Busovaca, in 1992; is that right, sir?
23 A. I spent that night there. I came there
24 around 1.00, and we went further on in the morning.
25 Q. Very well. In paragraph 11, sir, you mention
1 Prozor. Let me submit to you, sir, that there was an
2 unprovoked HVO attack on Muslims in the Prozor area on
3 the 22nd and 23rd of October of 1992, and you were
4 personally present in that area a couple of days after
5 the attack, were you not?
6 A. I'm not sure that it was April. This is the
7 spring of 1992, and I think that it was in October.
8 That is when we, the commission, were there in that
10 Q. If I said "April", it's my mistake. I don't
11 think I did, if you look at the transcript.
12 But in any event, were you in the area of
13 Prozor in October of 1992 within a few days of an HVO
14 attack in that area?
15 A. As the delegation of the state commission, we
16 were there, the representatives of the Muslim and of
17 the Croats, with the assignment that we were given by
18 Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban. We were there on an
19 official meeting.
20 Q. Sir, there was an HV -- Croatian army general
21 named Praljak who was also in Prozor at the same time,
22 wasn't he?
23 A. Mr. Praljak was not at that meeting. Mr. --
24 Colonel Siljeg was there on the HVO side, and on the BH
25 army side, Mr. Arif Pasalic.
1 Q. Sir, did it ever come to your attention that
2 Colonel or General -- excuse me, that General Praljak
3 himself was stunned by the devastation that had been
4 carried out against the Muslims and Muslim property in
5 Prozor at that time?
6 A. Although I personally know General Praljak,
7 because he's a colleague of mine, he also has a degree
8 in electrical engineering. I did not have the
9 opportunity of talking to him then. Knowing his
10 intellect and his culture, I do not preclude the
11 possibility of him having reacted the way you put it.
12 Q. In fact, there were Croatian army forces
13 involved -- that is, of the Republic of Croatia that
14 were involved in the attack on Prozor, weren't there?
15 A. Absolutely, I have no idea about anything
16 like that. I really doubt it.
17 Q. Do you know of an HV brigade called the
19 A. That is a celebrated brigade of the Croat
20 army. They fought in the Dubrovnik area and liberated
21 Dubrovnik in 1992.
22 Q. Sir, do you have any basis to tell this Court
23 that the Tigers were not involved in the attack on
24 Prozor in October 1992?
25 A. According to what I can know, I think that I
1 can be quite confident of that. And judging by how the
2 Tigers fight, it is quite sure that it was that brigade
3 that managed to liberate Dubrovnik with such great
4 sacrifice, and I really doubt it -- I really doubt that
5 they would have been involved in that kind of thing.
6 Q. All right, sir. I'm going to move on. But
7 the answer is you don't know; is that correct?
8 A. You can interpret it that way. But judging
9 by what the commission ascertained, I never heard
10 Mr. Arif Pasalic ask, and he is a competent person, at
11 least. He never asked Mr. Siljeg or anybody else, any
12 other participant; nor did he accuse anyone of having
13 those units that you are mentioning present there.
14 That is relevant for me, because that is how General
15 Pasalic spoke.
16 Q. In the course of your close association with
17 Mr. Boban, did you ever hear the view expressed that it
18 was extremely important to President Franjo Tudjman of
19 the Republic of Croatia that the defence industries in
20 Central Bosnia be maintained under Croat control?
21 A. No, not a single time, and I don't think it
22 was that important for some kind of Croatian military
24 Q. You don't recall any conversations between
25 Mr. Boban and Mr. Tudjman where Mr. Tudjman talked
1 about the explosives factory in Vitez and wanting to
2 keep that under Croat control?
3 A. No. I doubt that they would have dealt in
4 matters like that.
5 Q. You testified about Mostar, sir. Isn't it
6 true that the HVO first disarmed the Muslims in East
7 Mostar and then attacked them in April and May of 1993?
8 A. If such a statement was
9 true, there could not have been a war there. Had
10 anybody been disarmed, there would have been no one to
11 wage war against or with.
12 Q. My question, sir, is: Isn't it true that it
13 was the HVO who attacked Mostar then? Let's put the
14 disarming, if you like, to the side. Wasn't it the HVO
15 which initiated the offensive against Mostar in April
16 and May 1993?
17 A. The units of the HVO held the front line
18 which borders on the boundary of the Mostar
19 municipality on the east against the Serbs throughout
20 this time.
21 Q. We'll go on and come back to that, perhaps.
22 In paragraph 13 you say in Mostar in particular, the
23 May 1993 conflict was set against a back drop of
24 political conflict inspired by Safet Orucevic and,
25 forgive my pronunciation, and Zijad Demirovic. If you
1 want to look at your statement you can, but that's the
2 statement that you make. That the May 1993 conflict
3 was started as a result of political conflict. Do you
4 recall that?
5 A. Yes, yes. It says so in the statement, yes.
6 Q. And in the statement you also made the point
7 of saying that Mr. Demirovic had been, at one point, a
8 prisoner in the same prison with Izetbegovic in the old
9 Yugoslavia, do you see that?
10 A. No, not Mr. Demirovic, Mr. Safet Orucevic,
11 and that was a lot earlier. It was before 1990, before
12 the war, because of certain criminal offences, as far
13 as I know, so he was not a political prisoner.
14 Q. What's -- what was the point in including
15 that in your statement if you can just help us. Why
16 did you even comment at all that he was in prison with
17 Mr. Izetbegovic at some point?
18 A. Their close encounters probably date back to
19 that time and he has held high positions in the SDA.
20 From the beginning and before the aggression
21 was carried out in 1991, he closely cooperated with the
22 Croats on this common defence, later on this role
24 Q. Sir, are you talking about the conflict that
25 you say was started as -- against a backdrop of
1 political conflict, this the fighting between the HVO
2 and the Muslims in Mostar around May of 1993 just to
3 make sure we're talk being the same point in time?
5 A. Yes. First of all, this conflict occurred
6 within the SDA, within a core of their own, amongst
7 themselves, and this had other reflections also. The
8 only legitimate president of the SDA there was replaced
9 then and Mr. Demirovic took a certain position at
10 regional level, at the regional committee of the SDA,
11 and Mr. Safet Orucevic, I think, was in the municipal
12 organisation of the SDA, and then after that, there
13 were certain political tensions and political conflicts
14 with the Croats.
15 Q. What conflict inspired the fighting? I want
16 you to explain to the Court that the political conflict
17 inspired the fighting in Mostar.
18 A. It contributed to the overall situation that
19 speeded up these developments. However, this occurred
20 in an area that was to the north, Konjic and Jablanica,
21 and this is a broader context than that that I referred
22 to today that had to do, perhaps, with their
23 aspirations to reach the Adriatic Sea.
24 Q. Sir, it's your statement that these two
25 Muslim men, these were political figures; is that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Your position is that these two political men
4 caused the conflict in Mostar. Is that your
6 A. To be more precise, they speeded it up. Not
7 only them, not them exclusively, of course.
8 Q. So you would agree with us, sir, that, in
9 fact, politicians do cause and sometimes direct
10 fighting. Isn't that true?
11 A. Perhaps I would rather agree with the fact
12 that they can contribute a great deal to creating a
13 climate in order to avoid fighting.
14 Q. Well, let me ask you the opposite of that.
15 Can they also -- would you also agree with the fact
16 that they can contribute a great deal to creating a
17 climate that promotes and causes fighting?
18 A. Yes, I would agree, and there were possibly
19 quite a few events and examples at local levels where
20 some people managed, through their own efforts, to
21 prevent conflicts from breaking out. Also, with the
22 opposite kind of activity, they could have provoked
23 conflicts which then actually happened.
24 Q. And these politicians could cause fighting
25 whether or not they had a military title or not,
1 couldn't they?
2 A. I'm not quite sure that they are indeed that
3 powerful. In some situations, I deem it more expedient
4 to think that some high officers had greater ambitions
5 than those that the situation actually allowed for.
6 Q. All right. Sir, what you've told us today,
7 if I can summarise, about the attack on Mostar, is that
8 you believe that a conflict broke out sometime around
9 the 9th of May. Sometime after that, you saw an order
10 that suggested to you that the ABiH had initiated the
11 attack. That's your testimony, isn't it?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Other than that testimony, then, sir, do you
14 have any specific knowledge or information that you can
15 provide the Court, that you can assist the Court with
16 that would conflict with high-level assessments by both
17 the ECMM and UNPROFOR, very clear assessments that the
18 HVO was -- it was the HVO who launched the attack on
19 Mostar in May of 1993, the 9th of May?
20 A. I do not have any specific information,
21 especially not that which you are suggesting, and you
22 are saying that the reports of some international
23 organisations were, as you put it, but I really am not
24 aware of that.
25 Q. Well, I wasn't asking you necessarily to
1 agree with me. The Court, the Judges will recall the
2 evidence. I am simply asking you, do you have any
3 information or evidence that you can supply to the
4 Court that will contradict that?
5 A. With every ounce of goodwill, no.
6 Q. Paragraph 13 of your statement, can you tell
7 the Court who were these hard line, as you called them,
8 hard-line Muslim fundamentalists that were placed in
10 A. Those who, in certain moments towards the end
11 of 1992, tried to replace the persons who were legally
12 elected within the SDA in Konjic, Rama, Mostar and whom
13 we found in different areas when we were there as
14 members of the commission.
15 In their presentations, they simply showed a
16 lack of tolerance. Their rhetoric was very aggressive
17 and they extended messages that are not really fit for
18 this Honorable Court where I am testifying today.
19 It was quite obvious on TV and there are
20 recordings about such areas and their leaders.
21 Q. Sir, in the interests of time, I'm only going
22 to ask this to you once. I'd ask you to please answer
23 it directly, and then I will move on in any event.
24 Can you name one of these so-called hard-line
25 Muslim fundamentalists? Just name one for us.
1 A. It would be difficult for me to give you the
2 name but I can give you the surname, his last name is
3 Topcic from Gornji Vakuf. He was present at a meeting
4 of the commission, the joint commission when we had
5 that meeting in Rama.
6 Q. And you would consider this man to be a
7 "hard-line Muslim fundamentalist"?
8 A. On the basis of the way he spoke then. On
9 the basis of what he did before and after those events,
10 and equally so because the office of the high
11 representative took away his mandate. Over this past
12 year, he cannot hold any post in the municipal
13 authorities in the Uskoplje and Gornji Vakuf now, and
14 there are probably reasons why they resorted to such a
16 Q. Very well. I told you I'd move on, and I
18 In paragraph 25, you say there were Muslim
19 commanders in the HVO. Let me ask you again, can you
20 name any of these Muslim commanders who were in the
22 A. Yes, with pride, my own commander, Jasmin
23 Jaganjac, commander of the municipal staff of Mostar.
24 Q. Well, you've mentioned him, and wasn't it his
25 view that it was the HVO who had initiated the attack
1 on Gornji Vakuf? Your own superior, the man you just
2 named, it was his view that the HVO initiated the
3 conflict in Gornji Vakuf. Do you recall that?
4 A. No, not at all. I doubt this.
5 Q. Apart from any other man, can you name any of
6 the other Muslim commanders in the HVO units?
7 A. High-ranking Colonel Adem, he was from
8 Posavina, lost a son in the BH army attacks on Mostar.
9 Q. He was in Posavina?
10 A. He was born in Posavina, but he was in Mostar
11 and later continued as a HVO officer in Posavina.
12 Himzo Azrajic in the Ministry of the Interior units.
13 Q. In Mostar or --
14 A. There were a number of captains --
15 Q. Sir, I appreciate you're trying to answer the
16 question I've ask you, but if you would allow me to ask
17 you then, when you name these individuals, what unit --
18 what particular unit were they in or what area of
19 Bosnia, if you recall? If you can't recall the unit,
20 what area of Bosnia were they assigned to?
21 A. Who? The [inaudible] I mentioned, I know
22 them as members of Croat Defence Council units in
23 Mostar. Apart from that, I am sure they have identity
24 cards and documentation, and they can give you the
25 entire structure of the units per area, the -- and
1 chains of command and so forth. I only mentioned a few
2 people with high military ranks, those who are
4 Q. And these men, were they involved in fighting
5 against the Serbs or were they involved in fighting
6 against the Muslims?
7 A. They did not leave the units of the Croat
8 Defence Council throughout the period, except that
9 Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac, I think on the basis of an
10 agreement between Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban, was
11 appointed to the joint command, to its coordinating
12 body, and had its office in Sarajevo. I think that it
13 testifies to his abilities, his moral virtues, and his
14 option for cooperation between the HVO and the army of
16 Q. In the interests of time, sir, we'll move
18 In paragraph 15, you mention something called
19 the MDS. Can you tell the Court, is that the same
20 thing as the Croat-Muslim Democratic Party?
21 A. Yes, yes, one in Zagreb -- I think it was up
22 there -- and the other one was founded and functioned
23 under the rules which at that time were provisionally
24 in effect in the area of Herceg-Bosna. They were
25 independent, insofar as the organisation of their
1 statutes are concerned. It was organised and
2 registered in the area of its activities.
3 Q. Did you know a man associated with that party
4 named Mohamed Zuljic?
5 A. Could he be from Orasje perhaps?
6 Q. Sorry, sir, I can't tell you that right at
7 the moment.
8 A. I'd be happy to cooperate. I know a
9 person -- I don't know his name. He came from
10 Posavina, but he was there. He has sort of a dark
11 complexion, but I'm afraid of mixing up and wrongly
12 identifying somebody.
13 But if I may or if you need it, Armin Pohara
14 was another person, Dr. Hamica Alic was another
15 person. There were very many eminent intellectuals who
17 JUDGE MAY: You'll have to move on.
18 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. Let me just
19 ask you -- if I can ask that you allow me one more
20 question, Your Honour.
21 Q. Was that party, the Croat-Muslim Democratic
22 Party, ever called simply the Muslim Democratic Party,
23 or wasn't it always the Croat-Muslim Democratic Party?
24 A. One of its names, the one you mention, it was
25 originally which was founded and operated in the
1 Republic of Croatia. Here in the area of Mostar and
2 its broader area, it was the Muslim Democratic Party,
3 the president of which was Dr. Hamica Alic.
4 MR. SCOTT: If the Court will allow me just
5 to clarify, and it's the last question on the issue.
6 Q. Wasn't this a group, sir, of in fact Croat
7 people by ethnicity, Croat people who practised the
8 Muslim or Islamic faith?
9 A. One could rightfully say that about those who
10 were in Zagreb. As for those who were active in Mostar
11 and broader areas, one could not say that exactly.
12 They were and are what they say they are and what they
13 were, and I think they are clearly identified by their
14 ethnicity. Contrary to what has just been said, they
15 are not Croats of Muslim faith.
16 Q. I'll move on, sir.
17 In paragraph 4 of your statement, is it truly
18 your position, sir, that the Bosnian Muslim forces
19 stopped the HVO from relieving Sarajevo, or is that
20 your evidence? Perhaps you didn't say that at all.
21 A. Excuse me?
22 Q. You're correct, sir. I apologise.
23 In your statement, in paragraph 4 there is
24 the statement, and I'm not quoting it at the moment --
25 you can certainly have it in front of you -- but it's
1 to the effect that the Bosnian Muslims or the army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina stopped or prevented the HVO from
3 relieving Sarajevo. It's at the very end of
4 paragraph 4. Is that your testimony or not?
5 A. If I may be allowed, I believe you mention a
7 Q. Go ahead.
8 A. I think you mentioned the name of the
9 commander, Mr. Sefer Halilovic.
10 Q. All right. Be that as it may, sir, my
11 question stands. Is it really your testimony or not,
12 because it's in your statement, sir, but it was not in
13 your testimony this morning.
14 JUDGE MAY: As a matter of fact, it was.
15 MR. SCOTT: It was, Your Honour?
16 JUDGE MAY: It was in the testimony this
17 morning. The witness expressed that view in terms, and
18 I was going to ask him what his evidence for it was.
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps, Mr. Vucina, you would
21 deal with that.
22 A. I'm most grateful, Your Honours.
23 According to the direct testimony of the
24 commander who led those units, General Batlak, and now
25 I'm saying a Croat of Muslim faith, he personally told
1 me that from Mr. Sefer Halilovic, he had received not
2 only a message, but according to his testimony, he
3 claims that that message was in writing. According to
4 him, I think that a form of that threat was, "If you
5 pass through here, there will be blood."
6 Your Honours, I also need to mention the
7 following: That person was a general, an honourable
8 man for full cooperation between the Croat and Muslim
9 people, and I believe a year ago he passed away. But I
10 declare under oath before this Honourable Court that I
11 personally heard the statement of such an honourable
13 MR. SCOTT: I appreciate the Court's
14 correction. We were not clear that it had, in fact,
15 been the testimony. But I certainly accept the Court's
16 view, and that my question, in any event, was the
18 Q. Was that the only basis for your testimony to
19 that effect, sir, this statement that was apparently
20 made to you by this one individual?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And so the record is clear, this is reference
23 to an event in June. We all know Sarajevo was under
24 siege for a long time. This particular incident you're
25 telling us about was in June of 1992; is that correct?
1 A. Correct. While there was still a chance, had
2 there been any goodwill, a great deal could have been
3 done to de-block Sarajevo, and that is why such an
4 order or such a warning comes as a surprise, that the
5 units led by General Batlak should not advance towards
7 Q. Just one more point on that and then we'll
8 move on.
9 Do you know -- be very specific, please, with
10 the Court, if you can, was it the statement that was
11 attributed to Mr. Halilovic that if the HVO forces
12 moved in the direction of Sarajevo, perhaps towards
13 some other objective, perhaps towards some other
14 important Croat position, that they would be stopped?
15 Are you sure that he said, "If you attempt to relieve
16 Sarajevo, you will be stopped"?
17 A. Before this Honourable Court, I state that
18 what I heard from the honourable man, General Batlak,
19 was authentically conveyed by me here.
20 Q. Very well. You've testified that there were
21 some 14.000 refugees coming from somewhere. In
22 paragraph 14 of your summary, it is said there were
23 14.000 of them. If you want to look at your statement,
24 that's fine with me.
25 A. Yes, I know, and I said that that figure was
1 even larger. But that was the minimum, that was, which
2 refers to the scope and gravity of these events and
3 happenings, the problems with refugees at the same time
4 500 metres away, as the crow flies, from the front
5 line. That was a major burden. Yes, please.
6 Q. The question was, sir: Where were these
7 refugees from, where were they coming from?
8 A. From the areas of the municipalities of
9 Gacko, East Herzegovina, occupied and expelled and
10 chased away by the army of JNA, Republika Srpska; area
11 of Bileca; likewise East Herzegovina, expelled by those
12 same units; areas of Nevesinje; likewise --
13 Q. I'm sorry --
14 A. -- areas of a part of the municipality of
15 Mostar. Roughly, it's a village on the very front
16 line; likewise to the town itself, and part from
17 southern parts of the municipality of Mostar,
18 south-eastern parts, who were expelled at the very
19 beginning of combat operations towards the town of
21 Q. The point is, sir, all these refugees came --
22 were people or citizens, if you will, of the Republic
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or at least the vast majority of
24 them, weren't they?
25 A. Almost all, I think.
1 Q. And the Croats in the area around Mostar and
2 in Central Bosnia, all or most of them were citizens of
3 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were they not?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Both of these groups, at least at that time,
6 both spoke essentially the same language, didn't they?
7 A. You are very well aware that language is one
8 of the chief features of a people. Yes, we could
9 understand one another, but those are two languages. I
10 cannot deny the right of the Muslim people to have
11 their language, because they want it so and it is their
12 constitutional right.
13 Q. Sir, are you saying that we can see, then,
14 that both these groups of people, the refugees and the
15 people in the area in which they were coming, were
16 citizens of the same country, they spoke essentially
17 the same or similar languages? You agree in your
18 statement, in fact, "We agreed to take care of many of
19 them, and that was done." Do you see that in paragraph
20 14 of your statement, sir?
21 A. Yes, I see that with great effort, and I wish
22 to express my great satisfaction that we succeeded in
24 Q. Let me ask you, sir, in your statement you
25 say: "The ethnic balance was destroyed." My question
1 to you, sir, is: So what? Why was ethnic balance
3 A. My answer to that is probably the ensuing
5 Q. Well, that wasn't my question to you, sir.
6 You said in paragraph 14: "The ethnic balance on the
7 west bank of Mostar was destroyed just as the ethnic
8 balance in Central Bosnia was being destroyed." These
9 were all citizens of the same country, sir. What is
10 the point of saying that? Why have you told this Court
11 that the ethnic balance was destroyed? Why is that
12 even significant?
13 A. They were citizens of the state of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina in those places through which there
15 had been chased away in their places there were the
16 citizens of the municipality of Gacko, citizens of the
17 municipality of Bileca, citizens of the municipality of
18 Trebinje, citizens of the municipality of Nevesinje,
19 and so on and so forth. Why were they expelled? They
20 were the citizens of this state. That is my answer.
21 Q. You say in paragraph six that it was clear
22 that the Muslims had made a strategic judgement to
23 commit their many fighting forces to reducing those
24 portions of Central Bosnia that were under Croat
25 control. Do you recall that?
1 A. Yes, I remember that and I stand by that.
2 Q. Sir, my question to you is: Weren't the
3 Croats doing the same thing in many respects, that is
4 to reduce the portions of the country called
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, reduce the portions of that country
6 that were under Muslim control?
7 A. I don't think the interpretation is all
9 Q. I'll say it again and perhaps the translation
10 will be -- if you think there is a problem it will come
11 through differently.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Wasn't that being done, I think you're right,
14 there may be a portion -- were not the Croats, sir,
15 doing the same thing in seeking to reduce the portion
16 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina that was under
17 Muslim control?
18 A. Such as, for instance?
19 Q. Well, sir, that's my question. Were not the
20 Muslims --
21 A. That is my answer.
22 Q. I'm sorry.
23 A. Me too.
24 Q. I'll try one more.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Scott, I don't think we're
1 going to get much further with this. Let's move on.
2 MR. SCOTT: Very well.
3 Q. Sir, is it, you say that the Muslims were not
4 satisfied with the land allocated to them under the
5 Vance-Owen Plan. My question to you sir is: Why
6 should they have been satisfied? Do you recall that in
7 fact in many municipalities that were the majority
8 Muslim were being included within the Croat provinces
9 under the plan?
10 A. I never claimed that they could be
11 satisfied. I do not deny the right to be
12 dissatisfied. It is an absolute political right and
13 responsibility of their leadership to what they -- to
14 the proposal they made except I think that negotiations
15 had to be conducted and conducted and conducted rather
16 than wage war. And that is what I think generally of
17 the overall internal organisation of
19 But I do not think that the only
20 responsibility was between these two parties because
21 this deplorable war between victims because both --
22 both peoples are the victims of a horrible military
23 operation of the Yugoslav People's Army which was not
24 that and, of course, very well equipped army of the
25 Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Q. Sir, I'm trying not to interrupt you any more
2 than necessary, but there's --
3 A. I apologise.
4 Q. Isn't it correct, sir, that under the
5 Vance-Owen Plan, if you recall, as the number one or
6 Chief of Staff to Mr. Boban, if you know, that under
7 that plan, the Bosnian Croats who were approximately 17
8 per cent of the population would be given 28 per cent
9 of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 A. Yes, it is correct, but it is also correct
11 that there were 31 Serbs and they were accorded 49 per
12 cent of the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. Meaning then from those two facts that it was
14 the Muslims who were the biggest losers under the
15 Vance-Owen Plan, correct?
16 A. I think they and we too. But if we talked
17 about nuances then, I think it's quite evident that the
18 Muslims were most affected by the Vance-Owen Plan.
19 Q. Let me turn to a completely different
20 subject, sir, and that is the issue of -- forgive me,
21 Your Honour, just keep my notes straight. That's the
22 issue of Mr. Kordic being given this title of colonel.
23 You say in your statement and you've
24 testified today that you were, yourself, directly
25 involved in the events leading or -- leading to or
1 involving the creation of this title or rank of colonel
2 given to Mr. Kordic; is that correct?
3 A. Correct, alongside Mr. Bozo Rajic, yes.
4 Q. And what do you recall being told? You said
5 you had a conversation with Mr. Kordic personally.
6 What do you recall being told about this UNPROFOR
7 requirement that the participants in the military --
8 the mixed military working group had to have military
10 A. I did not speak about the requirements nor do
11 I know anything about requirements. But during the
12 conversation, we realised that it was necessary, in
13 such a broad group, to have certain weight and that it
14 would be best to have such an honourary title so as to
15 command respect in these talks. That is the only
17 Q. Well, sir, you say in paragraph 17, you say
18 he was given the rank so he could attend a mixed
19 military working group in Sarajevo and the way you've
20 stated there, sir, that rank was a pre-requisite for
21 someone before he could participate in those meetings?
22 A. I doubt that that is what I stated, and
23 particularly that that was some kind of a condition for
24 participation in talks, and such interpretation of my
25 statement, now it is not like that.
1 Q. All right. Well, we'll leave the statement.
2 It speaks for itself. I won't belabour it for the
3 moment. But you understood that for some reason,
4 someone, Mr. Kordic wanted to be given a rank of
5 colonel and you and Mr. Boban and Mr. Stojic were --
6 made a decision that yes, in fact, we will call
7 Mr. Kordic a colonel; is that right?
8 A. I think it was based on our conversations
9 between me and Mr. Bozo Rajic's that there was such a
10 request. I can't really remember that nor am I sure
11 that there was such a request.
12 Q. Well, you say, sir, you've told us that you
13 were personally involved. This was not something that
14 you heard about but this is something that you had
15 hands-on involvement in; is that correct?
16 A. It is. We judged that it was necessary.
17 Q. You judged that it was necessary, all right.
18 And then what did you personally do to make this
19 happen, that he would be given this rank of colonel?
20 A. Mr. Bozo Rajic was due to contact
21 Mr. President as one of the vice-presidents and said
22 that we were recommending Mr. President to do
23 accordingly, and that is all.
24 Q. Well, this mixed military working group
25 process, these series of meetings, this was very
1 important, wasn't it?
2 A. I'm not fully informed about it so even with
3 the best of will, I cannot really say, but it was
4 important, with regard to what they were doing, in the
5 sense of the functioning of life in those areas in
7 One should no doubt appreciate the efforts
8 made by that group and results which I believe they
9 achieved in that regard. That was a major effort of
10 the police forces and --
11 Q. My only question was this was something
12 significant, this wasn't something trivial, was it?
13 A. I am not a person who can say yes or no, but
14 if one looks at the results, it is quite obvious that
15 for life that existed in those areas, it was important
16 to function every day, so the answer is yes. I doubt
17 that there was another group which was as important for
18 the functioning of life under the wartime conditions.
19 Q. And as part of that or all of that group's
20 business, it was military business, wasn't it? That's
21 why it was called the mixed military working group.
22 A. I did not take part it in, and apart from
23 what I have said, I did not take part in its work
24 directly so that I cannot really judge whether it was
25 exclusively but I do not think that it was exclusively
1 military, because if it were, there would have been one
2 of the commanders from the Main Staff.
3 As it was the case in some other talks, when
4 General Petkovic personally conducted the talks.
5 Q. Mr. Vucina, you were -- Mr. Boban, you've
6 told us, was the commander in chief; is that correct?
7 A. Correct. That was according to the
8 organisation of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna,
10 Q. So Mr. Boban had complete authority by his
11 own hand to name anyone to a high military position or
12 rank; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, by standard and especially in the case
14 of high ranks, he had the sole competence to accord
15 ranks. Sometimes the head of a department would
16 nominate somebody and the president would then decide
18 Q. Mr. Boban could confer military power on
19 whoever he wanted to, couldn't he?
20 A. [Previous translation continues] ... in the
21 conditions required by the regulations on the
22 organisation of the Croat Defense Council for the
23 active part. For instance, he could not do it in the
24 active part, confer them on me who had no
25 qualifications or someone else so someone would tell
1 between active officers and others.
2 Q. You went on this morning for some time and
3 this early afternoon that Mr. Boban had almost extreme
4 exhaustive authority. In fact, in some respects, your
5 testimony would indicate that he was the only person
6 who had authority. Is it correct that, in fact,
7 Mr. Boban could confer military authority on anyone he
8 chose to confer it on?
9 A. As I said this morning, what I said in my
10 summary and I confirm that with regard to the powers,
11 competencies, and the authority of Mr. Boban, yes.
12 Q. And you said in paragraph 23, he was clearly
13 the supreme commanders of the armed forces he exercised
14 that authority by appointing people and signing the
15 necessary documents.
16 So, sir, if Mr. Boban wanted to confer
17 military power on Mr. Kordic, he could do so at any
18 time, couldn't he?
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Scott, it's a few minutes to
21 4.00 and it's time for us to adjourn.
22 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour, as the Court
23 may have the sense of I apologise but can I not
24 complete this afternoon.
25 JUDGE MAY: Would you look to do it please in
1 a quarter of an hour or so tomorrow morning?
2 MR. SCOTT: I'll try.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Because we have a lot to
4 get through tomorrow. What we shall do is this, we'll
5 sit at 9.00 to deal with the matters of law when Judge
6 Bennouna will be present. So we won't start on the
7 witness, I would anticipate before half past nine.
8 What we haven't got or I haven't seen is the
9 Prosecution's submissions about the witness, and also
10 about the affidavits and I would be grateful to have
12 MR. NICE: The submissions about the witness
13 were distributed informally yesterday notwithstanding
14 the fact that they were filed yesterday afternoon and
15 early in the afternoon.
16 JUDGE MAY: They haven't found their way to
17 us. It's most important that we have them. I gather
18 there are no informal copies. It may be helpful if we
19 could have some informal copies.
20 MR. NICE: I think your legal officer
21 probably has them, but we'll sort it out with her in
22 any event.
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, we have must have them
25 MR. NICE: As for the affidavits, as soon as
1 the document is ready, I'll make it available.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, in fairness to
4 Mr. Nice, he did distribute a copy of his submission to
5 us yesterday and we've prepared a response to that
6 which I have here for the Court's information.
7 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you had alike to hand it
9 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MAY: Well, Judge Robinson apparently
12 has the Prosecution's submissions. He has the
13 advantage over me.
14 Mr. Vucina, would you be back, please,
15 tomorrow morning at half past nine to conclude your
16 evidence? We have, in fact, some other administrative
17 matters and legal matters to deal with first, but we'll
18 try and get to your evidence as soon after half past
19 nine as possible. So if you would be back then,
21 We'll sit at 9.00 tomorrow morning.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
23 at 4.02 p.m., to be reconvened on
24 Friday, the 9th day of June, 2000, at
25 9 a.m.