1 Tuesday, 20
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.37 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 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you'd like to take a
12 seat. Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
14 Your Honour
15 WITNESS: ZORAN BUNTIC
16 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:
17 Q. Good morning, Mr. Buntic.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. Could you first of all just tell us your full
21 A. My name is Zoran Buntic.
22 Q. Mr. Buntic, you prepared this outline which
23 we have provided to the Trial Chamber and the opposite
24 bench but you have compiled also a different outline
25 which had about 100 paragraphs and 27 pages?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The outline which we have provided to the
3 Trial Chamber is a summary of your previous outline?
4 A. Yes, it only contains the essential elements
5 from the previous ones.
6 Q. From the more comprehensive outlines which
7 you have prepared, we have omitted all the parts which
8 the Trial Chamber has already had enough opportunity to
9 hear about the historical and political.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. This is the analytical part, the -- including
12 the legislature, legislation such as the constitution
13 and the defence law?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You are married, you have five children and
16 you are a lawyer?
17 A. Yes. And two of those are only 15 days old.
18 Q. You graduated in Ljubuski on statement in
19 courtroom in Bosnia-Herzegovina from high school and
20 you completed the school of law in Zagreb where you
21 graduated in 1978?
22 A. Yes, I graduated in 1978 and following that,
23 I worked in Citluk in three different companies in the
24 period between 1978 and 1988. Between 1989 and 1992
25 when the war broke out, I had my own law practice in
1 Citluk and after the war, I assumed new duties.
2 Q. Between 1990 and April 1992, you were a
3 member of the Croatian Democratic Party?
4 A. Yes, I was a member of the Croatian
5 Democratic Party between 1990 and 1992. I also should
6 point out that I was never a member of the HDZ either
7 the HDZ-BiH or the HDZ in Croatia.
8 Q. In the summer of 1991, the local municipal
9 assembly in Citluk appointed you as one of the members
10 of the Crisis Staff?
11 A. Yes, this was immediately following the
12 crisis after the tanks were stopped at Siroki Brijeg,
13 more precisely in Polog. And the crisis staffs were
14 set up everywhere in western Herzegovina, and I was a
15 member of the Crisis Staff in Citluk, and I was also
16 there as a member of -- as a representative of the
17 other political party.
18 Q. In addition to this duty as member of the
19 municipal Crisis Staff, between March and May 1991, you
20 were the deputy commander of the brigade of the
21 battalion which held the line?
22 A. Yes, I was deputy commander of this battalion
23 which was deployed in the Neretva River Valley.
24 Q. And that was an HVO battalion?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You were then asked to become a head of the
2 justice department in the newly formed civil HVO in
4 A. Yes, I had spoken to Mr. Mate Boban who came
5 to -- who had come to Citluk and offered me this
6 position and it is true that I was appointed by the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna to be the head of
8 justice department in the civilian HVO, but it is also
9 true that I never assumed this duty right away, but
10 rather stayed with my Brotnjo battalion until the 26th
11 of August until the area between Mostar and Stolac was
13 So I really only assumed the duty of head of
14 the justice department, I took it on -- after August
15 26th even though the appointment formally started on --
16 around the 15th.
17 Q. Mr. Buntic, if you can just wait a little bit
18 with your response because we need to have all your
19 answers interpreted.
20 And just one more question. Mr. Boban signed
21 the letter of appointment of you as the head of justice
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You were also a member of the personnel
25 commission of the HVO, and Mr. Dario Kordic was a
1 member, also a member of this commission. This
2 commission was established on 18 November 1991 [as
3 interpreted], and Dr. Jadranko Prlic, president of the
4 HVO, signed this decision?
5 A. As far as I can recall, the president of this
6 commission was Mr. Vladimir Soljic. I also am not
7 aware of the fact that this commission ever met. I'm
8 not aware of any decision that it ever adopted.
9 Q. Just one additional follow-up question. Your
10 department and other departments appointed deputies and
11 other officials independently or through this
13 A. This commission was never consulted, and as
14 far as the executive part of the HVO is concerned, the
15 heads of these departments were offered certain
16 proposals. They went to the HD HB meetings and they
17 would then confirm.
18 Q. Just one correction for the record. You
19 referred to 18 November 1992, and the record reflects
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And then in December 1993 you were elected
23 the president of the HR HB Judicial Council?
24 A. Yes. I was in this duty between December
25 1993 and August 1996, that is, until this body was
1 dissolved. And I continue to -- and now I have my own
2 law office in Mostar, Buntic & Associates.
3 Q. Very well. We will now move to your time
4 line and beginnings of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 First we will deal with the heading called "Prelude,"
6 paragraphs 9 and 10, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, there is no need
8 to deal with paragraphs 9 and 10, which are a matter of
9 history. You can deal briefly with paragraphs 11 and
10 12. Again, these are matters of history. There's no
11 need for any lengthy evidence on those. And move on,
12 if you would, to page 3 as quickly as you can.
13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
14 Your Honour. We will move swiftly.
15 Q. Mr. Buntic, a couple of questions regarding
16 the quiet occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, if we can
17 call it that way. After the beginning of the war in
18 Croatia and Slovenia, the JNA transferred or moved all
19 its arsenals from Slovenia and Croatia to
21 A. Yes. After the conclusion of the war in
22 Slovenia, all military equipment was moved to Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina, and then at the end of 1991 the JNA
24 moved out of Croatia and was strategically deployed in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And Sarajevo, as the capital of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, became cut off from the other
2 centres: Banja Luka, Tuzla, Mostar, Zenica. The
3 communications were cut off. And I would like to say
4 that this was a quiet occupation, whereby about 70 to
5 75 per cent of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina
6 was occupied.
7 Q. Mr. Buntic, Their Honours have heard a lot
8 about the events at Ravno. We will not dwell on it.
9 You pointed out in paragraph 12 that for you in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the war began in September 18,
11 1991, when the JNA captured the strategically important
12 Dubravska plateau in the municipality of Stolac, from
13 where the attacks were then launched on Ravno and
14 Zlatina and Dubrovnik?
15 A. Yes. Somewhere around the 18th.
16 JUDGE MAY: No need to go into this in
17 detail. Yes, let's move on.
18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you. A
19 couple of words on the political misunderstandings
20 towards the end of 1991.
21 Your Honours, we prepared a bundle of eight
22 documents which we will use in the examination of
23 Mr. Buntic, and I would like to tender them now and
24 then we will refer to them later.
25 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Buntic, I would just like to ask you a
4 couple of questions about this political
5 misunderstanding in 1991. After the constitutional
6 changes in July of 1990, the Bosnian Croats were in a
7 precarious condition, constitutionally speaking. They
8 had no possibility to adopt their own decisions because
9 a two-third majority was needed. So either alone or in
10 alliance with the Muslims, they were not able to affect
11 constitutional changes?
12 A. Yes. On the 31st of July, amendments to the
13 constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina were adopted,
14 and the constitutional changes were only possible if
15 two-thirds of the both houses of parliament voted for
16 it. And without two-thirds majority, no constitutional
17 changes could be adopted. And the constitution had to
18 be adopted at that time, because up until then there
19 was a single-party system, a communist system, and no
20 changes could be introduced, because the assembly could
21 not reach a two-thirds majority on any decision. That
22 is, the SDS blocked and obstructed both houses of the
23 BiH parliament. It also obstructed the work of the
24 assembly and the presidency.
25 Croats were in an especially awkward position
1 because they had no majority. They could not prevent
2 changes or effect changes. And even together with
3 other ethnic groups, they could not do so. That means
4 that short of consensus, they could not effect any
5 rights. Muslims or Serbs could do so, but Croats could
6 not do it, either alone or with Serbs or Croats. That
7 is --
8 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to interrupt you
9 Mr. Buntic, not out of discourtesy but as you will
10 appreciate, we've heard a very great deal of evidence
11 in the last 16 months in this trial and there is much
12 that we know about.
13 It's also important that witnesses just deal
14 as concisely as possible with the questions that they
15 are asked. So could you concentrate on the question
16 and then answer it as briefly as possible and we will
17 be able to finish your evidence, of course, more
18 quickly and you will be able to get away.
19 Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
21 Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Buntic, just as a reminder, in Tab 1 of
23 this bundle we have provided are the amendments which
24 we have just referred to. We need not go through them
25 individually; they speak for themselves.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Let's move on. This is the formation of the
3 ad hoc Crisis Staffs. According to the laws and
4 individual statutes in municipalities, it was provided
5 that in the case of immediate threat of war which may
6 result from an outside aggression, the municipal
7 assemblies would be dissolved, abandoned and their
8 roles would be taken over by the War Presidencies?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. However, in the specific case something else
11 happened, the occupation was conducted by the --
12 carried out by the JNA which at that time was the only
13 legal military organisation in the territory of the
14 former Yugoslavia. In other words, this was not a
15 foreign aggression but rather an aggression or an
16 occupation from within. In other words, you legally
17 speaking had no way of introducing these War
19 A. Despite the warning from the bench, I believe
20 that I need to make a --
21 JUDGE MAY: No, you will not digress,
22 Mr. Buntic. Let counsel ask you the questions and just
23 answer them, please. It's a matter for this Trial
24 Chamber to decide what is relevant and important here.
25 As you've heard, this case has been going on
1 a very long time. We've heard a very great deal of
2 evidence. Now, counsel knows what the issues are, and
3 he will ask you the relevant questions and could you
4 kindly confine your answers to the questions.
5 Mr. Naumovski, would you ask your question
7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Of course,
8 Your Honour.
9 Q. As I said, Mr. Buntic, provided that this was
10 not a foreign aggression but rather an internal
11 aggression, the attack was carried out by the JNA which
12 was supposed to have protected the population. Legally
13 speaking, there was no provision for introducing a War
14 Presidency so that you Croats and also Croats in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina established Crisis Staffs?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The municipal assemblies appointed the same
18 persons to the Crisis Staffs which would have been
19 appointed to the War Presidencies had they been able to
20 establish them?
21 A. In most cases that was so.
22 Q. And people from various political parties
23 took part in these staffs. In other words, all the
24 parliamentarian parties so to speak in --
25 A. Yes, and some people based on their position,
1 the president of the civilian protection, the president
2 of the municipal council then the president of the
3 municipal assembly.
4 Q. Regardless if these Crisis Staffs were
5 established or not, the basic duty, the basic
6 constitutional obligation of the municipality was to
7 protect, to defend its own territory.
8 A. Yes, this obligation issued both out of the
9 SFRY constitution and the Bosnian constitution and the
10 law of defence both federal and the republican, that
11 is, all these documents were provided for this.
12 Q. Some of these documents have been provided in
13 the Tab 8 of the bundle, especially the law on defence
14 of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is
15 that correct? This was provided in paragraph 8.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Through this internal aggression, there was a
18 split between the old legal system which existed and
19 the reality on the ground?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. That is the legal system which was still in
22 force at the time did not correspond to the reality of
23 what actually had happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. Yes, there was a split. According to some
25 constitutional provisions, I have to say that the armed
1 forces of the SFRY consisted of two components. One
2 was the JNA and the other was the Territorial Defence.
3 Part of the constitutional provisions obliged
4 people to serve with the JNA but there were also duties
5 to serve with the Territorial Defence and it -- and the
6 municipalities also were obliged to set up defences of
7 their own territories.
8 So the federal and republican constitutions
9 were now in collision as were the federal and
10 republican law of defence and it resulted in a general
11 legal chaos.
12 Q. Since you referred to the Territorial
13 Defence, the Territorial Defence in the territory of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina was, for the most, part disarmed
15 because the JNA took away the weapons which was legally
16 owned by the republic, that is, the state
18 A. Yes, if one component of the armed forces
19 disarmed the other component of the armed forces, it
20 took away weapons which legally belonged to the
21 municipalities and locally-based companies. It was
22 clear how it was all going to end; that is, the
23 attitude of the JNA towards its other component became
24 very clear.
25 Q. Just to conclude this topic, in short, the
1 Croats and Muslims in the summer of 1991 set up Crisis
2 Staffs and started to prepare against the aggression
3 which was inevitable?
4 A. I would say that this job was finished by
5 September where in all municipalities were Muslims and
6 Croats were in the majority.
7 Q. A while ago you mentioned that there was an
8 absolute real and legal chaos in the territory of the
9 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina primarily because there
10 the work of all hitherto legal authorities was blocked;
11 is that so?
12 A. It is common knowledge that on the 15th of
13 October 1992, the SDA [as interpreted] members left the
14 parliament and did not come back to it so that the
15 parliament of BH was completely blocked. And all the
16 same thing happened with the assembly because the Serb
17 representatives quit both the assembly and the
18 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina so that it was
19 impossible to convene sessions and take relevant
20 decisions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It means that all the
21 legal institutions of the state were blocked.
22 Q. And of course, we found this reflection not
23 only among the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina but the
24 overall legal life. This legal chaos, if I may call it
25 that, did not however end up in anarchy because ways
1 were sought to organise new institutions, different
2 institutions, which would organise life not only across
3 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina but primarily in the
4 individual municipality.
5 A. One could define this as disorder, disarray.
6 You cannot really call it anarchy. And when some
7 institutions were blocked, the people looked for other
8 institutions through which they could arrange civilian
9 life in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. I do not know if it was your slip of the
11 tongue or the problem here. It was obvious that the
12 members of the Serb Democratic Party left the
13 parliament. It is page 14 line 6.
14 A. And in the face of this unusual situation,
15 all the sides begin to form their social institutions,
16 that is HVO, then the Muslims formed the Patriotic
17 League and so on and so forth.
18 Q. Since the legitimate legal state institutions
19 were blocked in order to prevent general chaos in the
20 society, new institutions were formed to regulate
21 civilian life and ensure at least the minimum function
22 of civilian life?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. But the military part was also formed so as
25 to organise that duty, which is both, and the basic
1 territories because of the attacks by the JNA and part
2 of the SDS?
3 A. I have already said that the Crisis Staff,
4 that is, the military organisations were set up in
5 municipalities with Croat and Muslim majorities
6 sometime until the end of the -- September 1991.
7 Q. Yes. We can move on to the information of
8 the Croat Democratic Community of Herceg-Bosna, this is
9 paragraph 19, Your Honours.
10 The Chamber already knows, Mr. Buntic, that
11 the Croat Community Bosanska Posavina was formed and
12 then the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna was formed in
13 Grude in November 1991?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. This decision was then amended in the session
16 of the Presidency of the HZ HB on the 3rd of July,
18 A. Yes, there were some amendments.
19 Q. As head of the department for Justice and
20 Administration, you participated in the sessions of the
21 HZ HB and you were therefore present also at those
22 fundamental crucial sessions which took a series of
23 decisions and adopted various regulations?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. At this session of the HZ HB Presidency held
1 in July 1992, HZ HB was then set up as a kind of
2 regional government within the Republic of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina to resolve the problems that we
4 just -- that we spoke about a moment ago?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. So on one hand, its task was very briefly to
7 ensure the conditions for a defence against the
8 aggression and on the other, to ensure the minimum
9 organisation of the other part, the civilian part of
11 A. One needs to mention that between the 3rd of
12 April 1992 until the 26th of -- 20th of June 1992,
13 there was no electric power across Herzegovina, there
14 was no water, there was no telephone lines; that is,
15 they were cut off. There was food shortage, tremendous
16 inflation, and somebody had to regulate those matters
17 and ensure some minimal living conditions for those
18 people so that -- so as to avoid an exodus of people
19 from that area.
20 Q. The Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna began
21 ever more active as the central authority weakened.
22 The less efficient was the central government because
23 the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina was falling apart, the
24 more -- was the HDZ becoming more?
25 A. I should say until August of 1992, the Croat
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna passed almost no decisions
2 nor did the civilian part show any signs of particular
3 activity, and the institutions of the HZ HB began to be
4 more animated as of latter August 1992 onwards, rather,
5 after that session held on July 3rd when documents were
7 Q. Let us remind the Court it is the time when
8 the Bosnian Serb army is already holding about 70 per
9 cent of the territory of the then Bosnia-Herzegovina?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. During this evolution that you are talking
12 about, the evolution of the HZ HB in October, that is,
13 as of this session on the 17th of October, the things
14 were then completely separated, that is, the civilian
15 and the military part -- wing of the Croat Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna parted company, didn't they?
17 A. Yes. Perhaps it was -- no. It is not
18 perhaps. It is certainly a very unhappy choice of
19 name, because HVO was the term of the -- for the
20 military -- denoting military parts of the Croats
21 there. And it was also decided that the civilian part
22 of the HZ HB should be called the civilian HVO. But
23 one must tell one thing from the other. There was the
24 civilian part and its presidency, and we call it
25 conditionally, perhaps, the government or the executive
1 board of the Croats, that is, the presidency of the
2 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, which needs to be
3 distinguished from the Croat Defence Council, which was
4 the name of the units of the Croat Community of
6 Q. You, the Croats, in point of fact, by
7 organising yourselves, tried to preserve the rights
8 that you enjoyed also under the former constitution of
9 the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Those
10 rights were basically also the -- served as the basis
11 for your political programme?
12 A. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the state of three
13 peoples, and that is clearly defined in the
14 constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the Croat
15 Community of Herceg-Bosna, practically. There was an
16 attempt to ensure an equal constitutional position of
17 the status of Croats in the Republic of
19 Q. When the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna was
20 founded, it incorporated parts of 30 municipalities.
21 In this case, as you know, it is alleged that HZ HB
22 also incorporated some areas where the Croats of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina did not have the majority.
24 A. Correct. These are the territories of some
25 municipalities, but they are not whole municipalities.
1 The decision on the foundation of the HZ HB refers to
2 parts of some municipalities.
3 Q. At the time when you prepared the summary, we
4 discussed it because of the translation into English,
5 and this word, "parts of territories," could also --
6 can be called differently. Parts of territories, of
7 individual territories, that would make it more clear
8 to understand, isn't it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And it happened, and I believe we already had
11 an opportunity of telling that to Their Honours because
12 of the historical -- my colleague is also telling me
13 that I also have to slow down a little bit. Thank you
14 very much. Excuse me.
15 It happened because of the historical custom
16 of Serbs, if I may call it that, to organise
17 municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina so as to always
18 have Croats a minority in a municipality. So you gave
19 us the example of Ravno, which was 100 per cent Croat,
20 but because it was part of the municipality of
21 Trebinje, there were only about 4 per cent of Croats in
22 that municipality?
23 A. Yes. After the municipality of Ravno
24 was annexed to the municipality of Trebinje, then --
25 and their -- the percentage of the Croats was only 4
1 per cent, even though before this annexation the
2 municipality of Ravno had only 4 -- was a hundred per
3 cent Croat. There are many other such examples.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] We are both
5 being warned.
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, would you both
7 slow down, please.
8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Mr. Buntic,
9 will you please help me not to speed too much, because
10 the transcript will not be clear. And don't answer
11 immediately, until my question has been interpreted.
12 Q. It is not in the transcript now. It doesn't
13 have to be repeated. You agreed with me what I've just
14 said, only you explained it further, but I really do
15 not think we need to explain it particularly.
16 Mr. Buntic, the Croat Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna incorporated parts of 30 municipalities
18 with a Croat majority or in which one can organise
19 defence efficiently?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And there were those areas where you had the
22 majority or where you ranked the second in size?
23 A. I believe this was so in almost all the
25 Q. A few words about the evolution of the Croat
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna, even though we've already
2 said a word or two about that. When the Croat
3 Community of Herceg-Bosna was proclaimed on the 18th of
4 November, 1991, it was a political organisation created
5 to represent and protect, we could say so, the interest
6 of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. Yes, that is why it was founded.
8 Q. However, a few months later, the Croat
9 community was practically inactive for several months,
10 isn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. However, as we have already said, as the
13 central government weakened, so the internal
14 organisation of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna
15 grew. And during that evolution, first the Croat
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna, in April 1992, set up the
17 military organisation, that is, the military part of
18 the HVO?
19 A. Correct. On the 8th of April, 1992.
20 Q. Then in May, that is, 15 May 1992, the
21 civilian wing of the HVO was set up -- these are its
22 beginnings -- when some civilian functions were
23 gradually embarked upon.
24 A. As I have said already, provisional executive
25 authority was set up, that is, the executive part of
1 the presidency of the HZ HB, called the Croat Defence
3 Q. The meeting that was held on July 3rd, 1992,
4 in point of fact reorganised the civilian and the
5 military part, and following that the civilian wing
6 began to operate as a provisional wartime regional
7 authority under emergency conditions but within the
8 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 A. Yes, I would call it provisional executive
11 Q. Within the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
12 A. Yes, within the territory of the Republic of
14 Q. Tell us, please. I do not want to lead you
15 here, because there could be an objection. Was the
16 foundation of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna a
17 secret or was it publicised?
18 A. The founding of the Croat Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna was commented by both the president of the
20 HDZ at the time, Stjepan Kljuic, and then
21 vice-president of the HDZ Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Mate
22 Boban, a day or two after the foundation, and these
23 comments were published in the paper Oslobodenje on the
24 20 -- no. I think one or two days after its
1 Q. In the exhibit that we attached to your
2 summary, 2 and 3 include excerpts, fragments, from
3 articles referring to the foundation of the Croat
4 Community of Herceg-Bosna. These are articles from the
6 A. Yes, these are articles from the paper called
8 Q. So there was -- we can't even speak about
9 anything clandestine there. It was -- the founding of
10 HZ HB was quite open. At that time Oslobodenje was the
11 most widely read newspaper in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
12 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, at its session on the
13 28th of November, 1991, recognised the legitimacy of
14 both the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna and the Croat
15 Community of Bosanska Posavina; is that so?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And more than that, it also supported and
18 made the initiative for other organisations to be set
19 up in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. And it was also made possible for other
21 municipalities to join, if they wished to do so, the
22 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna.
23 Q. My colleague warns me of something in the
24 transcript. We said that the Croat Democratic Union of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina recognised the legitimacy of these
1 Croat communities that I've just talked about.
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. It's an imprecision in the transcript, so all
4 I wanted was to correct that.
5 So we are paragraph 29, the establishment of
6 the armed forces. You've already explained that in
7 part. And by and large, as the Court already knows,
8 the military part of the HVO was set up on the 8th of
9 April, 1992 as a provisional body, which then tried to
10 coordinate the activities of the existing defence
11 forces in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina formed
12 until -- by that time already. However, there was a
13 lack of coordination to bring them all together.
14 A. I have already pointed out that the municipal
15 Crisis Staff had been set up before that.
16 Q. Yes. When we spoke about this HVO, it was
17 set up only as a provisional organisation, having to do
18 with the war, with the imminent threat of war, isn't
20 A. I think that all the documents adopted by the
21 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna and the documents
22 adopted by the HVO, every one of these documents has
23 the wording to show that it is a document which is only
24 temporarily in force during the threat of war.
25 Q. In these territories in which it was formed,
1 the task of the HVO was to defend whom? Only the
2 Croats or all the citizens living there?
3 A. Not only was it its task; it also provided
4 that defence by and large.
5 Q. Excuse me. I don't understand you. All
6 citizens or only the Croats?
7 A. All citizens.
8 Q. So regardless of the ethnic, national,
9 whatever, religious, or other difference?
10 A. All without any difference.
11 Q. We've just mentioned the Territorial Defence;
12 however, we did not say why did you Croats -- in fact
13 were rather mistrustful of the Territorial Defence.
14 Perhaps now is the time to say something about that.
15 A. The commander of the Territorial Defence in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina was a Serb. I think his name was
17 Vasiljevic. And the paradox of the Territorial Defence
18 is testified to by the fact that all the armaments were
19 turned over to the other component, that is, the
20 Yugoslav People's Army, and the fact that from the
21 funds, from the resources of the Territorial Defence,
22 Commander Vasiljevic paid the salaries of those in
23 service who had occupied the state of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So that is, I believe, sufficient
25 reason not to trust the Territorial Defence.
1 Q. Moreover, I think that in the territory of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina it was common knowledge that the TO
3 was largely controlled by Serbs. That was the
4 additional reason for this lack of confidence.
5 A. I think that that was the structure
6 throughout the armed forces of the former Republic of
7 Yugoslavia, that the military personnel was structured
8 so that over 60 per cent of them were Serbs and
9 Montenegrins and all the others accounted for the rest
10 of that.
11 Q. Now, you have given us some of the reasons
12 for which you Croats believed that the TO could not
13 defend successfully, protect the interests of the Croat
14 people in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 A. Well, simply, the name was neither
16 appropriate nor adequate for the Croat people in
18 Q. It is not in dispute that the presidency of
19 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- the decision was
20 signed by the then-president, Alija Izetbegovic, that
21 it set up a new Territorial Defence on the 9th of
22 April, 1992?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. However, at that time the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina did not yet exist as such?
1 A. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
2 established only as late as the 6th of August, 1992.
3 Q. So what was the bulk of the forces at the
5 A. The bulk of the forces were units called
6 either Territorial Defence or the units called the
7 Muslim Patriotic League.
8 Q. So these components, especially the Patriotic
9 League, became the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that
11 A. The Territorial Defence of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Patriotic League, and the HVO,
13 by a decision of the presidents of Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 on the 6th of August, were proclaimed to be the legal
15 forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina defending the Republic of
17 Q. So we can say equal parts of the armed forces
18 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 A. Yes, correct.
20 Q. Let us dwell for a while on this organisation
21 of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna. The
22 organisation took place at the session of the
23 presidency of the HZ HB on the 3rd of July, 1992. The
24 session, therefore, brought about the reorganisation
25 and also introduced some temporary institutions which
1 were not in existence before that. For instance, you
2 set up new, if I may call it, supreme authority; you
3 introduced the title of the president of the Croat
4 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And at the same time the president of the
7 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna became the supreme
8 commander of the armed forces; is that so?
9 A. Yes, the supreme commander of all armed
11 Q. The Court already knows that both these
12 duties were discharged by Mate Boban. But tell us,
13 please: Did Mate Boban, as the president of the Croat
14 Community of Herceg-Bosna and the supreme commander,
15 have any vice-presidents, or is it that such a post did
16 not exist?
17 A. No, the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna never
18 had any vice-presidents. That post has to be
19 distinguished from the role of the president of the
20 Presidency of the HZ HB.
21 Q. Yes, that is my second question. One of the
22 decisions taken by the session on the 3rd of July 1992
23 was also the decision that the Presidency of the Croat
24 Community of Herceg-Bosna should grow into a fully
25 legislative body, if I may call it that, of the Croat
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna; is that so?
2 A. Yes, it was a body which adopted
4 Q. And the Presidency of the Croat Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna was headed by the president, and in this
6 case, it was also Mr. Mate Boban except that the
7 president of the Presidency of the Croat Community of
8 Herceg-Bosna had two vice-presidents; is that so?
9 A. It is anything that the vice-presidents were
10 then named, it was Mr. Dario Kordic, who is here, and
11 Mr. Bozo Rajic.
12 Q. The duty of the president of the Presidency,
13 and we have to emphasise the distinction between this
14 duty and the president of the Croat Community of
15 Herceg-Bosna so his duties were of parliamentary
16 nature, they were to translate into life the programme
17 of the Croat Democratic Union and so on and so forth,
18 isn't it?
19 A. I would say exclusively of a parliamentary
21 Q. You are familiar with the provisions of the
22 rules on the work of the Presidency adopted in October
23 1992; is that so?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. There are only two articles, the 15th and the
1 20th which briefly mention vice-presidents of the
2 Presidency of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna. Do
3 they have any other duties apart from those
4 parliamentary duties as we call them?
5 A. Pursuant to those rules, they have no other
7 Q. In other words, vice-presidents of the
8 president of the Presidency can substitute for the
9 president. They can convene meetings and do things
10 that have to do with the house rules and orders of the
12 A. Yes, they can substitute for the president in his
13 absence and they can help assist in preparation for the
14 meetings of the Presidency.
15 Q. I would like to refer to Exhibit D181/1
16 paragraph three in that regard, and the last question
17 Mr. Buntic in this paragraph three or heading three,
18 sorry. D181/1, Tab 3.
19 Does this position give any executive power
20 within the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Thank you. Paragraph 34. We're moving
23 along, Your Honours.
24 The Presidency met only two more times, we
25 are talking about the HZ HB Presidency. Once was on 14
1 August 1992 and 17 October 1992. Both times in order
2 to adopt significant legislation.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. In the session of 17 October 1992, the
5 Presidency of HZ HB transferred its legislative powers
6 or they delegated it in instances that cannot be
7 delayed -- I'm quoting you in paragraph 34 -- and to
8 this executive body only for the duration of the war;
9 is that correct?
10 A. Yes. And after 17 October, the Presidency of
11 HZ HB never passed any further legislation. The
12 legislation was then adopted by the executive branch,
13 that is, the HVO.
14 Q. Later -- earlier we talked about the session
15 of 3 July 1992, the Presidency was created, that was
16 the commander in chief of HVO, and I think you were
17 denied the opportunity to say that this is when the
18 main staff of the military HVO was established which
19 was subordinated to the Presidency -- which was the
20 commander in chief?
21 A. With this revised, amended provision, the
22 main staff was set up and the commander in chief, that
23 is, the president of the Croatian Community of
24 Herceg-Bosna was its superior commander.
25 Q. Mr. Buntic, with the internal Croatian
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna and initially we said all
2 this was done in order to organise the entire life in
3 Herceg-Bosna, we see that all these rules were
4 conformed to the BiH constitution and laws?
5 A. We tried to -- we tried to follow all the
6 legislation, the -- that is, of the Bosnian and even
7 the federal legislation insofar as it was possible.
8 Q. Amendment 42 of the BiH constitution adopted
9 on 21 April 1989, municipalities could join together
10 into a community of municipalities for certain purposes
11 or needs?
12 A. Yes. In addition to the constitution and the
13 law of defence, both allow the possibility for this
14 kind of joinder for the purpose of defence.
15 Q. In your outline in paragraph 36, you said
16 that the RBiH Presidency itself concluded that new
17 forms of governmental structures were needed outside
18 Sarajevo and it created certain regional governments or
19 districts, "Okruzi" in Croatian?
20 A. Yes, such districts were created for the
21 areas of Zenica, Tuzla and Bihac which was very similar
22 to the internal organisation of Croatian Community of
24 Q. So it was concluded that this was one of the
25 most effective ways to organise local territorial
2 A. There were no other possibilities because
3 Sarajevo was cut off from these other urban centres;
4 Mostar, Tuzla and Zenica, and because of the inability
5 to maintain physical communication between these
6 various regional centres.
7 Q. Referring to the evolution of this, the
8 president of the HVO executive after May 15, 1992 was
9 Mr. Jadranko Prlic?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Initially there was a single vice-president.
12 First it was Stipo Ivankovic, but in a session of 17
13 October 1992, the Presidency of the HZ HB appointed two
14 additional vice-presidents, Kresimir Zubak and Anto
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. A few comments, Mr. Buntic, on the detached
18 department of the RBiH in Mostar and, Your Honours,
19 this is paragraph 38. Their Honours know that in July
20 1992, Presidents Tudjman and Izetbegovic held a meeting
21 but after that meeting, you met with the RBiH Minister
22 of Justice; is that correct?
23 A. That was less than a month after -- following
24 that meeting.
25 Q. Could you tell the Trial Chamber what was the
1 purpose of this meeting, that is, as your -- as head of
2 the justice department of the HZ HB with the republican
3 Minister of Justice?
4 A. The purpose of the meeting was the
5 functioning of the judicial system in the conditions of
6 war and with Sarajevo being cut off from the other
7 centres, we were wondering how to set up the judicial
8 system within the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
9 we also talked about the detached department of the
10 RBiH Supreme Court in Mostar.
11 Q. This meeting did not result in any written
13 A. Yes, because at that time, the minister was
14 not authorised to sign any documents on the agreement
16 Q. But during the discussions you held, was it
17 agreed that it was absolutely necessary to set up
18 these -- the departments of the Supreme Court not only
19 in Mostar but in other towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina so
20 that the legal system, judicial system could operate at
22 A. The best proof is what the government of the
23 RBiH did, that is, its Presidency. Shortly thereafter,
24 detached departments were established in Bihac and
25 Tuzla because Sarajevo was cut off and so these
1 departments were established in Mostar and Tuzla and
3 Q. If I may remind you, there was one also
4 established in Zenica.
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. So these newly-established departments worked
7 on equal footing with the one in Sarajevo.
8 A. They were all departments of the RBiH Supreme
10 Q. Perhaps we can further clarify this issue.
11 The judges elected to the departments in Tuzla Bihac,
12 Mostar, and Zenica, to whom they were giving oath, to
13 what the representative of which body?
14 A. It would be the head of the district. If it
15 was in Tuzla, the president to the Tuzla district, and
16 if it was in Bihac, it was at the head of the Bihac
18 Q. And these districts were -- are the new
19 territorial units set up based on the model of the
20 HZ HB.
21 A. We can say only conditionally this was set up
22 by the HZ HB but it was similar, I would say.
23 Q. Just to conclude this topic both Croats and
24 Muslims in the territory which they controlled were
25 forced to establish such departments because they were
1 unable to communicate in Sarajevo where the republican
2 Supreme Court had its seat?
3 A. Yes, and that was the main reason why this
4 solution was offered because there was no other way to
5 implement the legal system.
6 Q. We can move on to the next topic, that is the
7 RBiH Constitutional Court decision on the
8 unconstitutionality of the HZ HB. Your Honours, we are
9 moving to paragraph 39.
10 Mr. Buntic, you are aware that there were
11 witnesses here who gave evidence that HZ HB was
12 proclaimed unconstitutional in a decision of 14
13 September 1992?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Could you tell me, as head of the HVO
16 department of justice, did you ever receive any notice
17 or were you ever offered an opportunity to take part in
18 these proceedings in this RBiH Constitutional Court?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Had you been notified and had you had an
21 opportunity to come to Sarajevo, would you have, in
22 this session, represented -- your side, that is, the
23 HZ HB as the head of its justice department?
24 A. Yes, had that been possible, that is, to come
25 to Sarajevo which I very much doubt was possible at the
2 Q. Can you tell me whether you or any other
3 official of the HVO ever received an official copy of
4 the decision of the RBiH Supreme Court?
5 A. No, we never received an invitation to take
6 part in this debate or the decision which was rendered
7 as a result of it.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] One moment,
9 Mr. Naumovski, please.
10 In relation to paragraph 39 with regard to
11 the Constitutional Court, I'd like to put the following
12 question to Mr. Buntic because, after all, he is an
13 experienced lawyer and he was the lawyer within the
14 civilian wing of the HVO.
15 Could it be that he never had the opportunity
16 to hear about the creation of a Constitutional Court
17 because a decision relating to the creation of a
18 Constitutional court could not to be compared with
19 secondary courts, usually such a decision will have
20 some major repercussions on political life. So does
21 that mean that he didn't hear of the decision being
23 A. It is correct that I had not heard that --
24 that had I not heard that such a decision has been
25 passed. I spent with Mr. Trnka in Neum, spent three
1 days discussing the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
2 he was a member of this body. I talked to the judicial
3 branch and this decision was never mentioned to me. I
4 had contacts with judges of the Supreme Court Drasko
5 Vuleta and Mirko Pogdanovic and no one ever told me
6 personally that such decision existed.
7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Sir, you
8 never received information from another source, have
9 you, it may be that these people didn't speak to you
10 directly, but have you heard about it from another
11 source just because it was public knowledge?
12 A. I heard about this decision in 1996.
13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In other
14 words, between 1992, yes, indeed, 1992, from the 14th
15 of September 1992 until 1996. So for four years you
16 never heard about it?
17 A. No.
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] That's very
19 surprising given that you were involved in legal
20 matters. Thank you.
21 A. You're welcome.
22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Buntic, perhaps we can take this a step
24 further based on what His Honour Judge Bennouna just
25 asked. Insofar as you know as the head of the justice
1 department, did anyone ever ask that this decision of
2 the Supreme Court be implemented?
3 A. I'm unaware of any such activity.
4 Q. In this context, the persons with whom you
5 later spoke not only did not tell you about this
6 decision but never asked you to have this decision
8 A. I said that I learned about this decision in
9 1996 when we were first in a position to receive
10 official gazettes from RBiH, and having received copies
11 of these -- of the official gazette, I learned about it
12 and I am sure that had anybody wanted it known that
13 this decision was adopted, that they would have
14 disseminated this information but I'm unaware of it.
15 Q. Having -- I would just like to refer to the
16 bundle, it is the pertinent portions of the
17 constitution and that is the provision of the
18 constitutional provisions and the rules of Supreme
19 Court of BiH with its amendments are in Tabs 6 and 7.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So these regulations regulate the issues
22 which we have just addressed?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Speaking of the judicial system, the
25 Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 confirmed certain decisions of the HVO on the
2 appointments of judges to courts within the Croatian
3 Community of Herceg-Bosna, that is, until this decision
4 of the unconstitutionality.
5 A. I believe that there were certain
6 confirmations adopted even after this decision.
7 Q. I would like to refer you to Tabs 4 and 5 of
8 the exhibit we have introduced. One is a decision of
9 the Presidency of the 23rd of August of the election of
10 judges of the military -- district military courts and
11 somewhere in the middle, there are -- there is a list
12 of judges appointed to the district military court in
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. And the decision in Tab 5 is a decision of
16 the RBiH Presidency of 7 September 1992, and in Roman
17 numeral VIII paragraph, there are appointments of the
18 judges in the higher court in Mostar; is that correct?
19 A. That is correct.
20 Q. Very well, thank you. Just in conclusion,
21 were these judges elected or appointed to positions in
22 courts of the HZ HB confirmed by the Presidency of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Mr. Buntic, as an experienced legal expert
1 and lawyer, I think that you would be the right person
2 to know and ask this, even to date, the federation
3 courts still apply and implement the regulations
4 adopted by the HZ HB.
5 A. Precisely, all regulations of the Croatian Community of
6 Herceg-Bosna/HZH-B/ are being applied which have not been replaced
7 by federal regulations. So all the regulations adopted by the HZH-B
8 are treated equally to the regulations adopted by the BH
9 Republic. So the supreme court does not make any distinction
10 between the laws which had been passed by the HZ HB and the ones
11 which were adopted by the Federation.
12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] The witness
13 is a lawyer. He might be in a position to explain why
14 such legislation, such laws, are being applied, because
15 it often happens that law is applied in order to avoid
16 a legal vacuum. Until such law can be replaced by another
17 type of legislation, this often happens. There are even
18 cases when independent states keep applying, for instance,
19 colonial legislation, in order to avoid a legal vacuum.
20 But that doesn't mean, by doing so, that they do admit
21 or acknowledge a colonisation. However, they do apply
22 colonial rules or laws because they want to avoid a legal
23 vacuum. Is it here the purpose -- do you want to avoid
24 some kind of legal vacuum, and was it done in order to
25 -- by applying the previous legislation to Herceg-Bosna?
1 A. It is correct that Herceg-Bosna implemented
2 the regulations both of the Federal Republic of
3 Yugoslavia and the regulations of the Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina. But in the areas where it had
5 jurisdiction which were affected by the war, it had to
6 legislate there. And even to date, even as we are
7 meeting today, if no new federal legislation had been
8 introduced, there is still old laws that are being
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] You are not
11 answering my question, Mr. Buntic. My question was:
12 They are applied, there are in force these laws of
13 Herceg-Bosna in order to avoid a legal vacuum; is that
14 the reason? That was my question.
15 A. That is correct.
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Buntic, can you please tell us whether
19 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that is, the
20 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, were ever supposed
21 to be internationally recognised entities?
22 A. No.
23 Q. From the very beginning of the establishment
24 of the HZ HB, what did the basic documents all refer
25 to? What supreme authority was to be recognised?
1 A. In all -- all documents adopted by the HZ HB
2 always stipulated that these were provisional documents
3 in the conditions of war, that it is an entity that is
4 going to persist so long as there was the war or
5 immediate threat of war. It never had an ambition to
6 become an independent state and never asked for it.
7 Q. And whose supreme authority was to be
9 A. That of the Republic of Bosnia and
11 Q. Can you tell me now: The Croats in Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina, and all other citizens of the HZ HB,
13 were they citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina or were
14 they citizens of the Croatian Community of
15 Herceg-Bosna, as was sometimes -- it was sometimes
16 contended here?
17 A. There is no document that reflects that
18 position of the HZ HB.
19 Q. In other words, you were all only the
20 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. Were there any official border crossings
23 between the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the
24 areas controlled by the Muslims?
25 A. No. There were no official border crossings,
1 and this is also reflected in all the documents adopted
2 by the HZ HB.
3 Q. I have a feeling that we have made good
4 progress, but perhaps we can fit in another few
5 questions. This is paragraphs 45, 46, relations
6 between the Republic of Croatia and the HZ HB.
7 As Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you ever
8 consider the constitution of the Republic of Croatia as
9 your supreme law?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Could such a law have any legal force in the
12 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Were other parts of the legal system of the
15 Republic of Croatia -- and I refer to the supreme court
16 and other bodies -- have any influence on the legal
17 system within Bosnia and Herzegovina?
18 A. No.
19 Q. You were the head of the justice department
20 until 28 August 1993, until the Croatian Republic of
21 Herceg-Bosna was established. Can you tell me whether
22 the HZ HB in that period ever applied, implemented, any
23 piece of legislation of the Croatian Republic?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did you have any meetings with any officials
1 from the justice department of Croatia with whom you
2 discussed the legislation in HZ HB?
3 A. I never met with the head of the justice
4 department of the Republic of Croatia, either
5 officially or unofficially.
6 Q. And later on, when in December 1993 you
7 became -- you assumed your new duty, did you, in your
8 new position, have any meetings or contacts with
9 representatives of the judiciary of the Republic of
11 A. No. I never officially or unofficially met
12 with the president of the judicial council of the
13 Republic of Croatia.
14 Q. And the last question from this -- on this
15 topic. As the head of the justice department, did you
16 ever receive any orders or suggestions from the
17 Republic of Croatia what you should do in your job?
18 A. If we never met, then I never could have
19 received any such orders or suggestions.
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour,
21 this may be a good moment to take a break before we go
22 on to the next topic.
23 JUDGE MAY: It's 11.00. We'll adjourn now.
24 Mr. Buntic, would you remember in this
25 adjournment, and any others there may be, not to speak
1 to anybody about your evidence until it's over, and
2 that does include members of the Defence team. Could
3 you be back, please, at half past 11.00.
4 THE WITNESS: Very well.
5 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.34 a.m.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
9 Your Honours. Your Honours, we've reached paragraph
11 Q. Mr. Buntic, we can continue. Tell us,
12 please: Was there any policy, plan, law, regulation,
13 anything in the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna or the
14 HVO which would expose any ethnic group to any kind of
15 persecution or discrimination?
16 A. I do not know of any such plan. I know that
17 there was no such regulation.
18 Q. In view of the duty that you discharged, you
19 practically socialised with all the people who meant
20 something in the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna; is
21 that so?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Had there existed any secret or real plan
24 about some systematic persecution or discrimination,
25 persecution or discrimination of Muslims, of others, of
1 non-Croats, wouldn't you know about that, either
2 officially or from contacts with people who took the
3 most important decisions in the Croat Community of
5 A. I would have known, had it existed.
6 Q. Had such a plan existed, would you ever have
7 been a person to put such plans through?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Tell us, please: Was the objective of the
10 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna the creation of any
11 ethnically homogeneous territory?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Was it, at any decision-making level that you
14 attended, either in the HVO government or anything, was
15 there ever any mention about resettlements within the
16 HZ HB of any people?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Tell us, please, if in the Croat Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna there was a plan or was -- or did it
20 happen in practice that Muslims were excluded from
21 government at any level?
22 A. No.
23 Q. So if I understand you well, there was no
24 plan to create a monoethnic state, in inverted commas,
25 "state," of course.
1 A. No.
2 Q. You mentioned an interesting fact in your
3 summary in paragraph 48 whereas there was some clashes
4 between the HVO and the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
5 some parts of Bosnia, in Tuzla, Bihac and other places,
6 in other places, they fought jointly against the
7 aggressor, that is, the army of Bosnian Serbs?
8 A. Yes, even that.
9 Q. You told us a while ago that there was no
10 discrimination of Muslims by the authorities but you
11 also meant the judiciary, didn't you?
12 A. In the first place in the sector for which I
13 was responsible.
14 Q. A certain number of judges were Muslims, even
15 Serbs and even some other peoples not counting Croats,
16 of course, were also judges and presidents of courts in
17 courts which operated in the Croat Community of
19 A. In Mostar, there was quite a number of --
20 there was a larger number of judges of Muslim ethnicity
21 than Croat judges.
22 Q. In paragraph 49 you give us some examples,
23 for instance, Mr. Semir Puzic was a judge and also the
24 president of this department detachment of the Supreme
25 Court in Mostar?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And Enes Memic was the president of the
3 military court in Mostar?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you also quoted the example of Mrs. Ziba
6 Nozic who was the president of the municipal court in
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And all told, even your deputy, Aid Glavovic
10 was a Muslim and he was responsible for the punishment
11 policy. So without going any further, these are the
12 examples for which you draw the conclusion that there
13 was no discrimination against Muslims?
14 A. Correct. In addition to these Bosniaks
15 mentioned here, the Serbs who had stayed back in Mostar
16 and had been judges before that continued as such so
17 nobody was dismissed from his office of the judge
18 because of his ethnic background.
19 Q. Of course since some Serb judges and other
20 people left, quit, left the areas of the HZ HB, there
21 were a number of vacancies in the judiciary?
22 A. Yes, by and large because until 1991, these
23 places were held by people of Serb ethnicity. In
24 Mostar and in Herzegovina, Serbs had a
25 disproportionately large number of posts compared with
1 the number of the population of that ethnicity living
2 in the region and, naturally, when a large number of
3 those judges left, one had to fill those vacancies.
4 Q. And you did that by -- after, of course,
5 people applied for these posts for the Croat
6 applicants, you requested some consent of the civilian
7 HVO and for the Muslims, you requested the consent of
8 the Muslim side, didn't you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And it was after such consents were given
11 that you decided on the appointment of those applicants
12 to different posts as judges?
13 A. Well, the proposal then went to the
14 Presidency of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna and
15 the Presidency was the one which appointed judges.
16 Q. And the last part in this part of your
17 examination, and these are the official positions and
18 powers of Dario Kordic.
19 We have practically touched upon both of his
20 duties but let us just clarify it. In the Croat
21 Community of Herceg-Bosna according to your knowledge,
22 as you told us, he held two posts?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. First, he was the vice-president of the
25 Presidency of Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna; is that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. We do not have to repeat the difference
4 between the president of the Croat Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna and the president of the Presidency of
6 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna as indicated in
7 paragraph 51A. Perhaps just in one word, the duties,
8 the powers of the vice-president of the Presidency of
9 the HZ HB were of parliamentary nature as we have
10 already said.
11 A. Yes, we have already said that.
12 Q. And together with you as one of the five
13 members, Mr. Dario Kordic was a member of the personnel
14 commission of the HVO?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. You have already told us that this commission
17 never sat in practice, and that you don't know of any
18 decisions that it took.
19 A. I cannot recall a single meeting of that
21 Q. Tell us, please, as the vice-president of the
22 Presidency of Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, was
23 Mr. Kordic also one of numerous members of the
24 legislative body, that is the Presidency of the Croat
25 Community of Herceg-Bosna which was the decision-making
1 body as we have already said?
2 A. Yes, he was a member of the Presidency and
3 one of the vice-presidents of the Presidency.
4 Q. And to explain to Their Honours, prior to the
5 adoption of those fundamental rules and regulations, it
6 was until the 17th of October 1992?
7 A. Indeed, after that date, the Presidency did
8 not adopt regulations.
9 Q. Tell us, please, if Mr. Kordic, as a
10 vice-president of the Presidency of the Croat Community
11 of Herceg-Bosna as one of the members of this
12 legislative body, did he have any powers to intervene
13 in military matters, in judicial cases or any other
14 walk of life? Did he have any such powers as a member
15 of these bodies?
16 A. No.
17 Q. We have already said that the president of
18 the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mate Boban, did
19 not have his deputy as such.
20 A. Correct, he did not.
21 Q. It is paragraph 53 where you said that it is
22 important to emphasise which office Mr. Kordic did not
23 hold. So Mr. Kordic was the vice-president of the
24 Presidency of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna but
25 not the vice-president to the president of the Croat
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
2 A. Correct. The president of the Croat
3 Community of Herceg-Bosna did not have a deputy.
4 Q. As the head of the department for justice,
5 did you ever hear in these sessions of this body of the
6 HVO or in your private contacts with various
7 individuals, did you ever hear that Mr. Kordic held any
8 military duty or position or a role?
9 A. I know that Mr. Kordic was not a member of
10 the main staff. Also, I never heard that he was a
11 member of the operative staff for Central Bosnia,
12 military, I mean.
13 Q. Yes, I understand. But did you ever hear
14 that regardless of the fact that he was not a member of
15 these bodies that you mentioned, did you ever hear that
16 he discharged any military function in any capacity
18 A. I have already said that he was not a member
19 of any of these staffs. Likewise, in the executive
20 part, Mr. Kordic did not participate, so he did not
21 participate in the executive bodies.
22 Q. Perhaps just one more question in this
23 regard. Did Mr. Kordic ever participate in the design
24 of the strategic policy during the life of Croat
25 Community of Herceg-Bosna except as a member of that
1 body which was responsible for the adoption of
3 A. I did not hear about any such activity of
5 Q. Tell us, please, we are talking about these
6 relations and relationships. Did Mr. Kordic, as the
7 vice-president of the Presidency of the Croat Community
8 of Herceg-Bosna, was he superior to the president of
9 the HVO, Dr. Jadranko Prlic, either de juro de facto?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Was he your superior as one of the heads of
12 the departments of that government as it is
13 colloquially called?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did Mr. Kordic have any duty in that
16 executive body Croat Defence counsel?
17 A. No. He was a member of this commission, and
18 we have already noted that it never met.
19 Q. And this leads us to one of our final
20 questions. Did he ever, to your knowledge, participate
21 in decision-making at the highest level, I mean, in the
22 highest ranking institutions of the Croats in
24 A. Except in the Presidency that we have already
25 spoken about, he did not take part in government
1 sessions or any executive bodies, that is, I do not
2 know that he attended any such meetings of the HVO.
3 I'm referring to the executive part.
4 Q. We have already told Their Honours that the
5 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna was increasingly
6 developing its organisation with the weakening of the
7 central authority and that, I guess, means that in
8 cooperation of ever larger people in the territory
9 covered by Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. Within that context, did the office which
12 Mr. Kordic held until 28th of August, 1993, that is,
13 vice-president or deputy of the president of the
14 Presidency of the HZ HB, did his role increase or
15 decrease in view of the increase of the number of
17 A. In relation to the executive part and all
18 that that we talked about, no, I think it was -- that
19 it decreased.
20 Q. And perhaps my last question, Mr. Buntic, you
21 have already told Their Honours that neither the Croat
22 Community of Herceg-Bosna nor the Croat Republic of
23 Herceg-Bosna were to become independent entities but
24 only parts of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Since you were the head of the department of
2 justice in those hard critical county times, as you
3 told us, in the territory of the Croat Community of
4 Herceg-Bosna, you, as you told us, enforced a whole
5 range of laws in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 which were already in effect for some time?
7 A. Yes. In practical terms, all the laws of the
8 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the
9 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina remained in force except
10 that we made some amendments as to the terms and
11 similar things in view of the circumstances that
13 Q. And my last question: You have already told
14 us the decisions that you took in the Croat Community
15 of Herceg-Bosna referred to its provisional nature
16 within the system of the Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 A. Indeed, all these regulations say that there
18 are provisional documents in force during the threat of
19 war and the imminent danger of war, and that they make
20 part of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Q. And my last question: The enforcement of
22 laws adopted by the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, its
23 decisions and so on so forth, is also an example
24 testifying to the fact that you Croats recognise the
25 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 A. I think this means direct recognition of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina because the courts enforced the laws
3 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and also of the Federal Republic
4 of Yugoslavia, those that were in force, yes.
5 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you
6 Mr. Buntic I have no further questions. Thank you,
7 Your Honours.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if
9 I may, just one or two questions.
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
11 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic. My name is
12 Kovacic and I represent the accused Mario Cerkez. We
13 have not had an opportunity to meet before with you.
14 I would like to ask you, since we have you
15 here as an expert, would you agree, Mr. Buntic, with a
16 general statement that the municipalities within the
17 organisation of -- within the administrative
18 significance item of the Socialist Federal Republic of
19 Yugoslavia played an important role in the organisation
20 of government in the SFRY?
21 A. In the beginning, I tried to point out that
22 detail, that is, the federal constitution, the
23 constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of
24 Yugoslavia, and the constitution of the Republic of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the national defence law, the
1 federal one, and the republic law on national defence,
2 not only authorised the municipalities but also bind
3 the municipalities to take certain defence measures in
4 case of attack of war and even run, organise the
5 Territorial Defence as a segment of all the national
6 defence so it wasn't only the right, it was also a
8 Also the national defence law envisages a
9 possibility of setting up a community of municipalities
10 for a more efficient defence against any aggressor.
11 Q. So in other words, in matters of defence, not
12 only in other segments of life, in SFRY at the time,
13 before the disintegration of the state, municipalities
14 were an important link in this system; we can agree
15 about that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Buntic, just one more question to try to
18 clarify one matter for those present here. Would you
19 agree with me when I say that when the legal vacuum set
20 in, when the central government of the Republic of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina fell through after it proclaimed its
22 independence, but because of the -- because of the
23 circumstances, of the conditions, it simply could not
24 exercise its power because of the chaotic relations,
25 because the whole system fell through. Following the
1 Serb aggression, you told us today they took 70 per
2 cent of the territory. When did the municipality then
3 become -- the key moment which managed to maintain some
4 kind of order?
5 A. I'd say that of all the official, lawful,
6 legitimate bodies of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- I have
7 already said that all the official, lawful, legitimate
8 bodies of Bosnia-Herzegovina were blocked because the
9 Serb Democratic Party quit those bodies. They simply
10 could not take any valid decisions. They could not
11 comply with the legal duties with regard to defence.
12 So that only some of the municipalities complied with
13 their legal and constitutional duties; not only rights,
14 but also their duties. And in fact, that was the only
15 way to preserve the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a
16 state, or rather the remaining 30 per cent of its
18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you
19 very much, Witness Buntic. I have no further
21 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:
22 Q. Mr. Buntic, the tab number 5 which you
23 presented, and as evidencing appointments of persons to
24 the judiciary in Mostar, confirmed by President
25 Izetbegovic, the date on that is what date? What is
1 the date of that Sluzbeni List, which is the Bosnian
2 official gazette? Would you tell me, please?
3 A. I cannot remember, but I know that some
4 appointments in military and civilian courts were
6 Q. Permit me, please, then, just to tell you
7 that what you have presented us shows a date of Friday,
8 18 September 1992. You yourself saw this particular
9 document. You were aware of these appointments, having
10 seen the document; is that correct?
11 A. No, I did not learn it in this way, because
12 at that time we did not have any communication with
13 Sarajevo, nor could we get the official gazette from
14 Sarajevo. It was physically impossible.
15 Q. Then how did you learn it?
16 A. I learnt it at a later date.
17 Q. How much later?
18 A. Well, say, in 1994, maybe 1995.
19 Q. I just wanted to point out and ask you if you
20 had read the same -- or if you had been aware that in
21 that very same Sluzbeni List, the very same official
22 gazette which has been tendered into evidence here as
23 Z216, if it's before everyone, the very same Sluzbeni
24 List of 18 September 1992 announces the decision of the
25 Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which,
1 as I indicated, has been brought before this Court
2 already in evidence.
3 At the time you learned of these
4 appointments, were you also informed about the same
5 Sluzbeni List having this particular item?
6 A. No. I've already said in my previous
7 evidence that I received various issues of the official
8 gazette of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina sometime
9 in 1996. And I learnt about the appointments of the
10 Judges when they were -- when they received the
11 documents to that effect. The decision of the
12 Constitutional Court, whether it had been served on
13 anyone, I do not know. Not to me. And I already told
14 you how I learnt about it.
15 Q. Oslobodenje has also been presented by you,
16 at least an article in Oslobodenje. Did you read about
17 the decision which was published in its entirety, in
18 its entirety, in Oslobodenje?
19 A. You should distinguish between the different
20 periods. The period of 1992, the October of 1992
21 period, was not a period when copies of Oslobodenje
22 could be distributed outside of Sarajevo. It couldn't
23 have been read outside of Sarajevo.
24 Q. This Court had had a faxed copy sent to --
25 has in evidence a fax copy that was sent. Perhaps your
1 correct personal delivery may or may not have been
2 difficult. Did you have a fax machine?
3 A. Yes, in my office I did have a fax machine.
4 Q. And you did not receive a copy of anything,
5 so much as an announcement about this decision, whether
6 it was Oslobodenje, a summary from Sluzbeni List, at
7 the time it was handed down?
8 A. No.
9 Q. How, then, would the persons whose names
10 appear as being confirmed in Sluzbeni List to the bench
11 in Mostar have learned about their confirmation, which
12 was only published in Sluzbeni List?
13 A. I said that the decisions on appointment are
14 being delivered to the individual judges, as well as
15 published in the official gazette. They are simply
16 delivered to them, and I think that the same practice
17 is also in force here.
18 Q. Perhaps I'm not understanding you. If a
19 judge in Mostar can have a decision delivered to him or
20 her from Sarajevo, or a Sluzbeni List delivered, why
21 could you not have gotten the same medium afforded to
22 you? It's just not clear.
23 A. I'm also not clear on what period you're
24 referring to. I'm talking about the decisions
25 delivered to the judges in 1994 and 1995, after
1 Sarajevo was unblocked. And also I said that as a
2 private lawyer, I ordered all the back issues of the
3 official gazette in 1996, and I received them, and from
4 those official gazettes I learned about the decision of
5 the Supreme Court.
6 Q. No, no. I'm talking not about back
7 editions. I'm talking about judges who would have
8 needed to know that they were appointed or removed in
9 September of 1992. How did those persons know that
10 they could continue on the bench? What you've provided
11 shows a number of appointments and a number of
12 resignations. How would they have known about this,
13 which was emanating from Sarajevo?
14 A. I'm not sure that we're talking about the
15 same period. I'm talking about 1994, 1995, and
16 obviously you're referring to 1992.
17 Q. The entire question has revolved around
18 several items which were published in the very same
19 Sluzbeni List of 18 September 1992, and only that time
20 period at this point. How would these persons have
21 learned about their careers and decisions which
22 affected their careers if you didn't know about
23 decisions that affected your career? It's just not
25 A. I'm not clear about it either, because if I
1 say that they learned about these decisions in 1994,
2 you are -- you seem to want me to say that I knew about
3 it in 1992, so I don't know what we're talking about.
4 Q. Well, I'm really not sure that you can --
5 we're probably not going to get very far on this, but I
6 find another point in this document, the Sluzbeni List,
7 about the appointments that are confirmed by President
8 Izetbegovic. The courts in Mostar, the high courts,
9 were in existence already. These were courts that had
10 been part of the legal structure of the Republic of
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina. That's correct, isn't it?
12 A. Correct. That is correct.
13 Q. And therefore, what President Alija
14 Izetbegovic is doing in this Sluzbeni List is
15 confirming appointments on territory that he still
16 deems to be his sovereign territory; isn't that
17 correct? It has nothing whatsoever to do with anything
18 selected by Herceg-Bosna, nothing.
19 A. I don't know what Mr. Izetbegovic had in mind
21 Q. In your ordering the back editions of Narodni
22 List, did you check through the November 1992 Narodni
23 List to realise that the first judicial appointments,
24 the very first judicial appointments made by anyone in
25 Herceg-Bosna were in November 1992, not September 1992,
1 or not earlier?
2 A. No.
3 Q. No, you didn't check, or no, you don't know?
4 A. There are several questions involved here, so
5 let's break them down. One of the judges in the higher
6 court or military district court in Mostar did not work
7 because they had been appointed by Mr. Alija
8 Izetbegovic. They worked and they were appointed on
9 the basis of decisions of the presidency of the HZ HB.
10 And whether President Izetbegovic confirmed them or not
11 would be something that they only learned subsequently,
12 like I did. That's one thing.
13 The presidency of the HZ HB did also appoint
14 judges prior to November 1992. These were appointments
15 of judges to regular courts but not to the military
16 courts, because the decision of the military courts was
17 only adopted on 17 October 1992, and the appointments
18 of judges to the military courts could only have taken
19 place after that, after they were set up.
20 Q. Perhaps you're not understanding my
21 question. My point is that the only things that are
22 published about appointments in Narodni List show after
23 November 1992 for regular judicial positions. Not
24 military ones; regular ones. That's point one.
25 The second one is: These courts existed and
1 President Izetbegovic was doing that which was his
2 legal and elected right to do. He was appointing
3 persons, was he not, to exist in courts?
4 A. I already said: I cannot know what President
5 Izetbegovic had in his mind. What he thought, I have
6 no idea. We know what he did, which is in the
7 documents that we had in front. No, I do not
9 Q. Let me ask you this: Where is the document
10 that shows these appointments come from Herceg-Bosna?
11 You were able to produce this document. Where is the
12 document from the country to which you belong?
13 A. If that is necessary, I don't think that
14 there is any problem to it being delivered. I think it
15 was published in the official gazette of HZ HB. It's
16 all in there.
17 Q. Okay. Perhaps it can be brought at some
18 point later. That would be fine. Thank you.
19 The political party to which you belonged,
20 I'd like to just discuss it for a moment to make sure
21 that it is quite clear that it is not related to the
22 HDZ. It, in fact, was the Croatian Democratic Party.
23 And who was the principal founder of that party,
25 A. The president of this party was another
1 colleague of mine, Mr. Tomislav Zelic, from Ljubuski.
2 Q. And the original party, can you give a little
3 bit of background about its platform, please?
4 A. The political platform of the party was the
5 modern integral Bosnia-Herzegovina, which would be
6 organised in a decentralised way. Since three
7 different people lived there, it was to be organised
8 into three cantons or three republics or three
9 regions. That was, in essence, the programme or the
10 platform of the party.
11 Q. Who was Marko Veselica?
12 A. Marko Veselica was the president of the
13 Croatian Democratic Party which was established and
14 which is active in the Republic of Croatia. But the
15 Croatian Democratic Party was separately organised in
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had its own organisation
17 and its own president, who was Mr. Tomislav Zelic.
18 Q. And this was the party at one time, was it
19 not, of General Slobodan Praljak?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. This party has been viewed as more
22 conservative, to use a conservative word, more to the
23 right, than the HZ HB. What was it that attracted you
24 to this type of party, to that platform?
25 A. That is your opinion, not mine.
1 Q. The issues on family and boundaries were
2 central issues on the platform of the party; population
3 control, issues like that. Was that something that you
4 were concerned about?
5 A. I didn't understand the question.
6 Q. One of the central issues on the platform of
7 this party was centrality of family and population
8 control. This is described, essentially, in a book of
9 parties in Croatia. It is taken from a book from
10 Zagreb. Can you comment on why that would be
11 attractive to you?
12 A. For me, the family is the highest good that a
13 man can ever produce.
14 Q. And population control?
15 JUDGE MAY: I'm not sure we're being helped
16 in this case by hearing the witness' views on that.
17 MS. SOMERS:
18 Q. May I move on to one other thing. The three
19 cantons that you discussed, they were based on ethnic
20 divisions were they not, ethnic divisions?
21 A. No.
22 Q. What were they based on?
23 A. They were based on the constitution of the
24 former Yugoslavia and the constitution of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, both constitutions provide for
1 certain rights and some of certain experiences.
2 The federal Yugoslavia consisted of six
3 republics and had six constituent groups, and Bosnia
4 was -- had three ethnic groups and it should be divided
5 into three cantons.
6 It never says anywhere that those three
7 cantons should have been monoethnic. You will never
8 find such provisions.
9 Q. You made a comment about regionalisation
10 of -- the term was regionalisation of some of the
11 municipalities. You indicated that it occurred in
12 1992. I just want to ask you if you are familiar with
13 information that came to this court through document
14 Z12 which is a document dated 23 August 1991.
15 In this document, Mr. Buntic, is the first
16 evidence of regionalisation of the municipalities which
17 were ultimately to be formed into HZ HB. Were you
18 unaware of this?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Can you explain then why you gave a date of
22 A. Here in this document, I don't see the year.
23 I see the date 23 August, and also it states that this
24 is a document produced by the Presidency of HDZ. And
25 as I was not a member of that party, I was not in a
1 position to know what their views were, and I don't see
2 the year. The copy that -- in the copy that I have in
3 front of me, the year is not legible.
4 Q. I do apologise for the quality of the copy.
5 The English translation which was made from a proper
6 copy does indicate 1991, and the very opening
7 paragraph, if you note, does refer 6th of August 1991.
8 So although you were not a member of the
9 HDZ-BiH, you claim, can you tell me, please, how Mate
10 Boban approached you to occupy such a high position?
11 What was your relationship with Mate Boban that he
12 would approach you?
13 A. When I gave evidence, I said that in the
14 period between April and June, I was the deputy
15 commander of the Brotnjo battalion. This is a unit
16 that held the front line against the Yugoslav People's
17 Army, the Serbian army from the 20th of December, 1991,
18 until the 6th of June, 1992. The Serbian army, that
19 is, the JNA and the Serbian troops were never able to
20 break through that line that -- this was one of the
21 first -- the first units established in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this was an unit which was
23 actively involved in the liberation of areas east of
24 the Neretva River in the operations between 6th and
25 25th of June, and I was the -- I came out of that
1 campaign as a successful military commander.
2 Q. Is that an answer to my question? Is that
3 why Boban approached you because you were a successful
4 military commander? What about your legal skills?
5 A. I was an equally successful lawyer in the
6 period between 1989 and 1992 with a law office which
7 still has five lawyers and six administrative staff
8 working for it.
9 Q. Did you know Mate Boban before you were given
10 this position?
11 A. We would meet in Citluk because at the time,
12 I'd say between February 1992 and February 1993, the
13 HVO command was mostly in Citluk because of the
14 position of Citluk, the proximity to Mostar, at
15 somewhere between the end of January and the latter
16 part of June 1992. So we would meet in Citluk.
17 Q. Perhaps if you could answer how you met him
18 initially, it would be helpful. Did you know him
19 socially, personally, are you related?
20 A. No. We had not known each other before nor
21 are we related in any way.
22 Q. Would you describe, please, how you were
23 contacted for this position?
24 A. I cannot recollect exactly, but it was a few
25 days before the 15th of May, I think it was the evening
1 we met in the Citluk municipal building at a meeting
2 which was attended by Milan Lovric the then president
3 of the Citluk municipality. In addition to him, Vinko
4 Juricic, he is the president of the Crisis Staff, was
6 They called me sometime after 8.00 at night.
7 I was in the Brotnjo battalion command at the time.
8 They called me up and they talked to me about the
9 establishment of the civilian HZ HB, an executive body
10 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and would I
11 accept the position of the head of the justice
12 department, that was their first offer, or to become
13 the secretary of HZ HB, that was the second offer.
14 That is how I was approached.
15 I told them that I would accept it but that I
16 will remain in my position until the end of the
17 operations which were in progress, it was called the
18 "June dawn" which included the liberation of the
19 municipalities of Stolac and Ston, and I remained with
20 my military duties until the end of the operations and
21 only assumed the duties of the head of justice
22 department after the operations were finished on the
23 20th of June, 1992.
24 Q. That was your choice was it not to defer
25 taking up the new position. You could have gone if you
1 wanted to, could you not have?
2 A. I could have assumed the position on the 15
3 May, but I, as I said, I chose to remain in my position
4 at the time until the 20th of June. That is in my
5 military position.
6 Q. You could have remained a soldier, could you
7 not have, and also assumed this position? You simply
8 chose to stay at a front, did you not?
9 A. Yes. I remained on the front line as a
10 soldier until the 20th of June, 1992.
11 Q. Your comment about a discussion you had with
12 Judge Trnka of the Constitutional Court of
14 A. Yeah.
15 Q. What is --
16 A. Yes, I did mention it.
17 Q. Would it be common practice, for example, if
18 you were meeting with a judge, a judge of a very
19 esteemed body like the Constitutional Court, to break
20 into a discussion about decisions that had been handed
21 down by that court?
22 Do you think a judge should take the
23 initiative to tell you who, as a lawyer, should be
24 informed about decisions that his or her court has
25 rendered? Is that how you practice law in Mostar?
1 A. I don't understand the question. A judge in
2 a high position, why is the head of the justice
3 department on a lower position? I don't know if you
4 confused the hierarchy here.
5 The fact is that in the period of the 20th to
6 24th December, 1992, I worked with him on the
7 development of the Vance-Owen Plan provisions and over
8 the period of three days. He just didn't find it
9 necessary to talk to me about this decision. I don't
10 know whether it was his duty, but the duty of the court
11 was to invite the parties to a discussion, and then
12 following this debate, to deliver to them the
14 Q. That's a separate question. My question is:
15 Why would you expect a judge to talk to you about a
16 decision he has already handed down?
17 A. I told you that I hadn't even expected --
18 these copies of these decisions should have been
19 delivered through the mail system, and this was not
20 done or at least I am not aware of it having been done.
21 Q. You mentioned early in your testimony that it
22 was your opinion that the Croats were getting a bit of
23 a, as it were, a raw or unfair deal because of their
24 numbers in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they were always
25 doomed in your opinion, to be outvoted.
1 Why did you not push for an alliance with the
2 Muslims with whom the Croats and Muslims could have
3 outvoted the Serbs on virtually any issue? What
4 stopped you? What was the problem?
5 A. We were prevented by the constitution and the
6 constitutional provisions which I quoted for you, that
7 is, Muslims and Croats together did not have a
8 two-third majority so they could not effect any
9 constitutional changes if the constitution is what you
10 are referring to.
11 Q. Well, I'm referring to the usual practice of
12 coalitions and when there were joint presidencies and
13 joint bodies, coalitions were the rule not the
14 exception, and things could move. Why was it so
15 difficult at that time? Why was your idea of a remedy
16 to simply go out and set up a separate government?
17 A. That idea never existed. The Croatian
18 representatives in the BiH parliament advocated the
19 preservation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the BiH
20 parliament could adopt no decision because Muslims and
21 Croats could not produce a two-third majority so they
22 could not effect any constitutional changes, and the
23 Serbian representatives, as I stated previously,
24 boycotted it, not only the work of the parliament but
25 also of the government and the Presidency of the
1 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina by separating themselves
2 out of those bodies.
3 Q. Are you then suggesting that for all time,
4 the Serbs got whatever they wanted, it was virtually
5 impossible for any act or legislative action to be
6 passed because of this? Did this persist for all
7 40-something years of the existence of the SFRY? Is
8 this possible?
9 A. We're not talking about the SFRY. I think
10 we're talking about Bosnia-Herzegovina here and the
11 constitution of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
12 position of Croats in the Republic of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think that that is what we are
14 talking about.
15 Q. [Microphone not activated] ... was this very
16 short-lived institution, having just got its
17 independence -- perhaps you can explain what was
18 different in the way things -- very briefly because the
19 court has had a fair bit of evidence about the history,
20 but in terms of legislative success and legislative
21 enactments, is there historically a record of great
22 dissatisfaction by the Croats about this process?
23 A. There is a major discontent of the Croats
24 with the status in the former Yugoslavia, that is true.
25 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me for just a moment.
1 Q. Did every law require two-thirds majority or
2 was it just the law on changing borders that was
3 required, that required a two-thirds majority? Can you
4 explain, please?
5 A. Don't talk to me about the change of
6 borders. There was no mention of the change of
7 borders. It was the change of the constitution.
8 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Buntic, may I stop you for a
9 moment please. I have questions I'd like to ask you,
10 and if you don't know the answer, I'd be grateful if
11 you'd just tell me, but I'd like to get the answer to
12 my question.
13 A. Thank you. Please do ask your question.
14 Q. My question was, did every piece of
15 legislation require a two-thirds majority or was it
16 just legislation on the changing of borders in the
17 republic? If you could help us with that I would be
18 very grateful.
19 A. To change any constitutional provision, I am
20 talking about constitution, not about laws. Perhaps
21 it's the interpretation, excuse me. I heard you talk
22 about laws and I talk about the constitution. To
23 change any constitutional provision, a two-thirds
24 majority was required.
25 The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
1 defined as the Communist and Socialist Republic in
2 which the League of Communists was the only party and
3 the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina could not change
4 that provision because it did not have a two-thirds
6 Q. Was there no attempt to assist
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina in its reformation of its system?
8 Was it so optimal to pull away, abandon a country, a
9 government of which you had been a part, you yourself,
10 and that's part one? And so that I don't confuse you,
11 and forgive me for making it a long question, but you
12 yourself suggested that there was changes as of April 9
13 in the structure of the Territorial Defence, I mean,
14 there was an attempt to deal with the need to change.
15 Why did your particular group of people make
16 a decision not to go along with the government of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Can you explain this, please?
18 A. Because it was not physically possible.
19 Q. Explain.
20 A. I, in Mostar, could not go to Sarajevo. I
21 physically had no access to Sarajevo. Physically,
22 literally, Sarajevo was a city under siege which the
23 Yugoslav People's Army kept under siege, and you could
24 not enter Sarajevo. I couldn't go to Sarajevo.
25 Q. So you are suggesting that the municipalities
1 which were part of Herceg-Bosna would be justified in
2 this type of separation because they were cut off
3 physically from Sarajevo. Is that what I'm
5 A. That's what I was saying all the time, that
6 there was no physical communication of any centre with
7 Sarajevo, not Mostar alone, but Bosniaks for the same
8 reason set up districts of Zenica, Tuzla and Bihac so
9 that those districts would take over decision-making in
10 various matters and organisation of life in these
11 territories, because the government in Sarajevo could
12 not physically communicate with those parts of the
14 Q. Now, what about Kiseljak which was part of
15 Herceg-Bosna, and where BH command was based. They had
16 communication with the government in Sarajevo. They
17 had fairly regular meetings with the government in
18 Sarajevo. Why is it that one municipality of HZ HB was
19 able to communicate other than physical distance?
20 What's the difference? Kiseljak is what, 20 minutes
21 on -- from Sarajevo?
22 A. Yes. I don't know, I do not know how
23 somebody in Kiseljak communicated with somebody in
24 Sarajevo. Yes, it's true, it's about 30 kilometres
25 away from Sarajevo. They are very near. How they
1 communicated, I don't know. I have no knowledge of
3 Q. The personnel commission that you were
4 referring to in point four of your summary, it was a de
5 jure on paper commission, was it not?
6 A. I think that there is a decision on the
7 establishment of the commission so it did exist de jure
8 but I do not remember that it ever meant in position.
9 Q. So de facto it really was nothing, but de
10 jure it existed. Is that a fair statement?
11 A. My statement is that I do not recall it
12 convening any meeting and nominating anyone to any
13 duty. So that is my statement.
14 Q. Why then was it put on paper? What was the
15 purpose in enacting it? What was the purpose of the
17 A. Why was the decision taken? I suppose one
18 could explain it for a long time. Perhaps their
19 presidency and government often debated why was this
20 person appointed, why not that one; why two individuals
21 from this one municipality, not from another one. And
22 so perhaps it occurred to somebody that a personnel
23 commission should be set up which then ought to take
24 care of an equitable number of heads or deputies or
25 whatever from all the municipalities. I suppose that
1 was the purpose of the commission. Its chairman was
2 Mr. Soljic. And the chairman convened some meetings
3 under its statute. If the chairman does not convene
4 such a meeting, then the commission simply does not
6 Q. Can you then indicate to the Court -- because
7 we were presented by both the Defence and by the
8 Prosecution with a large number of legislation enacted
9 by the Herceg-Bosna government. Can you tell us,
10 please, which were real, which were actual ones that we
11 should believe had a purpose and which were window
12 dressing? In other words, there were a lot of de jure
13 ones. How many of the ones that we know about would
14 also have no real -- I know you don't know what we know
15 about, but how many of the named official commissions
16 and positions are really meaningless and, in fact, have
17 a de facto side to them? Can you help us with that?
18 A. I don't really think I'd help you, because it
19 would probably require -- and when I say this, I mean
20 regulations, why did some regulations take root and why
21 others didn't. It is easy to speak now why was
22 something applied there and why wasn't, but think back
23 to those times when there was no electricity, no
24 telephones, when schools were closed down, where court
25 did not work, when court buildings were destroyed. Go
1 back to that time. It is not the time when 20
2 politicians would sit down and spend half a year
3 discussing an act to be passed or not to be passed. It
4 was a time when you had to take decisions on the spur
5 of the moment because the next day it would be simply
6 too late.
7 Q. That time period would have been -- I think
8 you said it was up to June or so in 1992, right? I
9 think that's what your original testimony was: up to
10 about June 1992?
11 A. No, I wouldn't put it that way. The war
12 ended on the 22nd of December, 1995. Officially, on
13 the 22nd of December, 1995 is when the end of the state
14 of war was proclaimed in the Republic of
16 Q. We're talking about conditions. I believe
17 you earlier referred to conditions in Herzegovina, and
18 you gave -- I'm sure I could ask to have it read back,
19 if need be, but I'm confident it was a June 1992 or so
20 date that things were really difficult. Do you confirm
21 that or is there another date you'd prefer giving?
22 A. Yes, true. I remember that the most
23 difficult period was between the 3rd of April and the
24 20th of June. That was the hardest time of all.
25 Q. And I think you mentioned that there was no
1 electricity and that nothing was working.
2 MS. SOMERS: I wonder if I could ask for a
3 video, a very brief video, to be shown. There is a
4 transcript available. I'm sorry. It is Z163.2,
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] This is --
8 However, life denies them. In the territory of the
9 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, life is more or less
10 normal. There is buying and selling and trading in
11 cars and televisions and stoves and refrigerators.
12 But to explain this, one has to explain what
13 is the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna. It was
14 established on the 18th of November. In Article 1 it
15 says that it is a political, cultural, economic and
16 territorial entity, so not a new state. But by the
17 recommendation of those [indiscernible] organised units
18 of the Croat people. The latest decisions from Grude
19 following the same lines.
20 It has become necessary to take individual
21 regulations, that is, to fill in legal voids occurred
22 by virtue of the decision of the authorities and bodies
23 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These are the laws on national
24 defence, and this decision, regulation, was taken on
25 the armed forces of the Croat Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna, the decision on rights and duties of
2 members of the Croat Defence Council, decision of the
3 takeover of the resources of the JNA, a decree on the
4 transfer of ownership of property of the occupier and
5 the decree on public enterprises. The adoption of
6 these regulations and other regulations taken by the
7 presidency of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna
8 created the conditions for the normal unfolding of
9 other forms of life.
10 MS. SOMERS: First of all, I must apologise.
11 This copy quality is not good and the original that I
12 had seen is much, much better. You were much younger,
13 Mr. Buntic, in that picture. But if I can ask you --
14 A. Yes, true.
15 MS. SOMERS: The date on the newspaper -- if
16 the audio people could possibly, just so we can date
17 this, zoom back, I would appreciate it. Is it possible
18 to go back to the frame where the newspaper -- very
19 close up. It should read, I believe, the 7th or the
20 11th of July, 1992, and it's a Herzegovinian
21 newspaper. Is it doable?
22 Also in this video -- yes. Let's see if we
23 can zoom up. We were able to do it yesterday. I don't
24 know if we're able to do it today. Right over in the
25 corner. I'm so sorry that it's bad quality. I can
1 bring a later one in. I don't know if there's any way
2 to actually get it to stop moving, but it does
3 indicate --
4 JUDGE MAY: Well, if there's any dispute
5 about this, it can be resolved.
6 MS. SOMERS: Thank you. I'm terribly sorry
7 about this quality.
8 Q. The currency that is shown as well is the
9 Croatian dinar. Can you tell from that picture? Is it
10 the Croatian dinar that's being exchanged? Were you
11 able to observe that? The meeting that you were at was
12 a meeting that was also attended by -- we saw Dario
13 Kordic, and although I know that the video is terrible,
14 Mate Boban was there. Were you able to observe that?
15 Did you see Mr. Boban in the picture as well? Yes.
16 Anto Valenta. And what was the purpose of that
17 particular meeting in July of 1992?
18 JUDGE MAY: I thought it was 1993, according
19 to the transcript. The date given is 1993.
20 MS. SOMERS: It should be a year earlier.
21 They're referring to a time a year earlier. July of
22 1993 would have been probably --
23 JUDGE MAY: Somebody should have a look at
24 this over the adjournment and we will see if that's
25 correct. Perhaps the Defence could have a look too,
1 Mr. Naumovski.
2 MS. SOMERS: The date is incorrectly done.
3 If the Court would permit me, I will try to get this
4 corrected hereafter. I think it's an important piece
5 of footage to see, and I'll get this corrected. It
6 should be 1992, and we'll have to zoom in a bit.
7 Q. Only one point. If you're able to tell the
8 Court what type of meeting that was and what it was you
9 were discussing, I would be grateful.
10 A. Well, it's eight years since, so I cannot say
11 with certainty, but I think it was the meeting of the
12 presidency of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna which
13 adopted the regulations that are mentioned. So a
14 decree on the armed forces and regulations that are
15 mentioned here. I believe it was the meeting of the
16 presidency of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna at
17 Grude, in the hotel in Grude. I think that was the
18 meeting and this was the -- these were some comments on
19 the regulations adopted by that meeting. I think
20 that's what it was about. So possibly, very likely,
21 this is the tape of that meeting of the presidency of
22 the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna on the 3rd of July.
23 MS. SOMERS: The translation that I have
24 indicates that was established on 18 November of last
25 year, so that would have been 1991. So this is, in
1 fact, 1992, and I will clear this up to the Court. My
3 Q. One of the points that was very strong was
4 the suggestion that things were pretty good there, that
5 things were running normally. Was there a difference
6 among various municipalities in Herzegovina? I mean,
7 Grude is close to -- they're all close to each other;
8 is that correct?
9 A. I was referring to the period which preceded
10 this one, so between April 1992, early April 1992, and
11 June, end of June, 20th of June. And I said that in
12 those areas, and I'm referring to the whole
13 Herzegovina, there was no electricity, no water, no
15 After the liberation of Mostar and Stolac,
16 and it ended on the 20th of June, during those 20, or
17 perhaps even 10 days, after that we already had
18 electricity, we had water, and telephones too. So that
19 the progress -- schools were closed until the 20th of
20 June. All the civilians had been evacuated. Towns
21 were empty. There wasn't a single civilian in any
22 Herzegovinian town, because they were all shelled.
23 They were all subjected to horrible artillery attacks.
24 So there were towns without any civilians. In
25 Herzegovina you couldn't find a man in civilian
1 clothes. And that period ended on the 20th of June.
2 After the liberation of a large territory,
3 after the repulsion of the Yugoslav People's Army to
4 some 20 kilometres east of the Neretva, the civilian
5 life began to return. Somebody had to organise the
6 beginning of work of schools; somebody had to give
7 salaries to professors, to teachers, to soldiers, to
8 the -- because the government in Sarajevo could not do
9 that, physically; not because they didn't want to, but
10 they simply could not. How to organise that life? How
11 can children go to school?
12 Q. I don't want to put you in any disadvantage
13 and I will make every effort to get the corrected date
14 to indicate that it, in fact, is July of 1992, if for
15 just a moment you will accept that. Is it possible
16 that within a two-month period of time there could be
17 such a, as it were, a blooming in the desert, that
18 things could be in such good condition as was shown in
19 this video? This was -- I believe it was Radio -- or
20 I'm sorry. If I can just ask the source of it. It was
21 broadcast, though, I believe, from HTV. It's an HTV
22 broadcast, Croatian TV broadcast.
23 A. I don't know. From this perspective I
24 suppose it is very difficult to imagine certain
25 situations; for me, for you, and for the Court, I
1 suppose. In June, after two months of hell, I went on
2 an official visit to Split and I saw lights and saw hot
3 water. You don't know what that means. And so now
4 probably it's very difficult to speak about that from
5 this perspective. Even in those -- if we in those 20
6 days managed to set up civilian life, if we made some
7 progress, if people came back, if civilians came back,
8 if dozens of thousands of people could go back to their
9 Siroki Brijeg, to their Ljubuski, to their Stolac, to
10 their Mostar, dozens of thousands of people, isn't that
11 a major step forward? For me it is, a tremendous step
12 forward, a tremendous progress. If children could
13 start school, that to me is a tremendous progress. If
14 to you that's not a progress and if you don't see any
15 progress in it, then I'm sorry; I'm sorry I came here.
16 JUDGE MAY: Now, there's no need to talk to
17 counsel in that way, Mr. Buntic.
18 Yes, let's move on now.
19 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
21 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Somers, we shall adjourn
22 shortly. We have to take a slightly longer than normal
23 lunch break. We'll come back at 2.45 and we shall then
24 go on till 4.15. And I must ask you to bring the
25 examination to a close before then.
1 MS. SOMERS: Of course I will.
2 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Five more minutes
4 MS. SOMERS: Yes. Thank you very much.
5 Q. There was a description in your summary of
6 Herceg-Bosna and also the Patriotic League as a social
7 institution. I believe it would have been point 17 and
8 18. Can you please explain that? If you could clarify
9 how the government of Herceg-Bosna could be considered
10 a social institution, given the types of institutions
11 that were set up, it might clarify things for us. Can
12 you explain the term, perhaps?
13 A. What else could it be? In my evidence, I
14 already mentioned the number of constitutional
15 provisions and laws, emphasising the duty of citizens,
16 that they had to organise themselves and defend in case
17 of occupation of the country. So that is one part
18 relative to the defence of the country. And the duty
19 of every municipality, by statute, to organise, to
20 mobilise TO units from its territory and defend its
22 On the other hand, if we have military units
23 which do not have civilian control, how do you imagine
24 that situation? How can you have troops without
25 civilian control, and unless you have official state
1 institutions which are not blocked, which can work, and
2 which can control those troops? The Bosniaks did the
3 same thing. They set up their Crisis Staff through the
4 Muslim Patriotic League and through the HVO.
5 Q. Are you suggesting that there was a necessity
6 to establish a complete set of parallel institutions,
7 which is, in fact, what happened, based on all the
8 legislation we have seen, as a response to difficulties
9 being experienced by the central government? Was that
10 the perceived remedy, in your mind?
11 A. No. And I've already testified about that
12 too. The matter is as follows: If you have the
13 possibility to -- if it is possible for the legal,
14 legitimate civilian authorities to operate, then it's
15 all right; if not, then it's anarchy. And any
16 situation is better than anarchy. The civilian life
17 needs to be organised.
18 Q. Are you suggesting that institutions which
19 are set up by essentially a coup or a putsch are better
20 than anarchy? Is that your point?
21 A. I don't see why you claim that these
22 organisations were set up by a putsch. They are fully
23 constitutional, legal, and lawful categories. Madam,
24 take the constitution of the Federation of Yugoslavia,
25 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Take the federal
1 law, national defence, take the Republican national
2 defence law, study them, and then you will see that
3 these are no putschs, that this is simply compliance
4 with the duties and rights prescribed by the
5 constitution. Study the constitution. The
6 all-national defence is chapter 7 in the federal
7 constitution and chapter 6 in the Republican
8 constitution, so study well those provisions, see what
9 are the duties of municipalities, what they're bound to
10 do in case of aggression and occupation. Do study that
11 properly, and then you won't be talking about illegal
12 actions, about putschs, about coup d'etat, and so on
13 and so forth. Study the law.
14 JUDGE MAY: You are not to make speeches.
15 You may well disagree with counsel, but, Mr. Buntic,
16 would you remember that you're giving evidence to the
18 If you simply answer the questions, we will
19 get on more quickly. If you disagree that it was a
20 coup or putschs, you can do so firmly, but you must do
21 so courteously, and also in as few words as possible.
22 Yes, I think we will adjourn now. 2.45, please.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.50 p.m.
2 MS. SOMERS:
3 Q. Mr. Buntic in relation to the relationship of
4 HZ or HR HB to the Republic of Croatia, you indicated
5 that insofar as you were concerned, you had no dealings
6 directly with any Croatian or Republic of Croatia legal
8 Are you aware of the intricate nature of the
9 relationship between the Republic of Croatia and
10 Herceg-Bosna, be it the community or the republic, that
11 was set forth very clearly in a document which this
12 Court has seen and only part of which I will ask to
13 have shown to you.
14 The number is Z2717 and will only be a very,
15 very small part of it. The English would only be from
16 pages 11 through 17 and if the Croatian is difficult to
17 access I would be happy to give the usher my copy. The
18 Croatian would be 5/1 through 6/3. To make it easier,
19 I shall just quickly but hopefully comprehensively read
20 to you when Ignac Kostroman refers to a meeting.
21 Now this meeting, Mr. Buntic, is a stenogram
22 taken from a meeting in President Tudjman's office in
23 Zagreb held on the 27th of December 1991. Among the
24 attendees were Mate Boban, Dario Kordic and a number of
25 other people whose names you probably will recognise.
1 The particular portion is a reference by
2 Mr. Kostroman as secretary both of the Croatian
3 Community of Herceg-Bosna and administrative secretary
4 of the Croatian Democratic Union of BiH. The points
5 that I want to ask for your familiarity with are a
6 reference first of all to a meeting in Tomislavgrad
7 held 23 December 1991, the minutes of which were read
8 at this meeting of 27 December.
9 Turning two pages to page 13 in the English,
10 which would be item two in both English and Croatian,
11 item two, point two, Mr. Kostroman reads from the
12 minutes which, by the way, were signed off by Mate
13 Boban, Bozo Rajic and Dario Kordic. He reads as
14 follows, "The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna has
15 once again confirmed the will of the entire Croatian
16 people of Herceg-Bosna expressed on 18 November 1991 in
17 Grude taking the historic decision to establish the
18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna which serves as a
19 legal basis for the entry of these territories into the
20 Republic of Croatia."
21 The next point I'd like to raise is in item
22 three. "The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
23 recognises the full legitimacy of Dr. Franjo Tudjman as
24 president of the Republic of Croatia and president of
25 the Croatian Democratic Union to promote the interests
1 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna both among
2 international factors and during interparty and
3 inter-republic agreements on the establishment of the
4 final borders of the Republic of Croatia. The Croatian
5 Community of Herceg-Bosna endorses the Croatian union
6 of Bosanska Posavina in taking the same decision on
7 behalf of the community."
8 If you would go down to item four,
9 please. "President Mate Boban, vice-presidents Bozo
10 Rajic and Dario Kordic and secretary Ignac Kostroman
11 are here by authorised to represent with the full
12 legitimacy the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna at
13 the meeting in Zagreb on 27 December 1991 (also in the
14 future regarding further activities of Herceg-Bosna and
15 the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and
17 If you would please go to item 10 in the
18 English, it is page 15. "The legitimacy of Alija
19 Izetbegovic, president of Bosnia and Herzegovina to
20 represent the Croatian people in public is hereby
21 revoked because his recent actions or lack of them have
22 facilitated and supported the Serbian army's attempts
23 at establishing BH military training ground for the
24 attack against the Republic of Croatia.
25 Acting on behalf of the HDZ, the Croatian
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna would not have given its
2 consent for the extension of Alija Izetbegovic's term
3 of office as president of the BH Presidency had there
4 been regular personnel or personal consultations with
5 the party."
6 If you turn to the line just above item
7 14: "On the same day, the Presidency of the BH HDZ made
8 official both Croatian communities." Item 14, "All
9 Crisis Staffs of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
10 are ordered to increase the defence readiness of the
11 Croatian people immediately because of the imminence of
12 war in our territory. Crisis Staffs must remain in
13 constant contact with the Crisis Staffs of the Croatian
14 Community of Herceg-Bosna and obey their instructions
15 and orders."
16 And then the last portion is simply the
17 signature which would be in English on page 17 below
18 item 19 signed by Mate Boban and vice-presidents Bozo
19 Rajic and Dario Kordic.
20 This particular document makes it very clear
21 that the HDZ and, by extension, the HDZ BiH, controls,
22 creates, runs Herceg-Bosna. Was this --
23 JUDGE MAY: That's the first question.
24 Before you ask the witness anything else, you'd better
25 see if he agrees with that or not.
1 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry, Judge. I will.
2 Q. That being the position that appears to be
3 evident from the passages which I have read, is this
4 consistent with your understanding of the purpose for
5 which Herceg-Bosna was created?
6 A. No.
7 Q. How does your understanding differ?
8 A. I have presented my views as regards all
9 official documents of the HZ HB, the acts and
10 regulations that it adopted, as well as in all other
11 documents the legally elected organs of the Republic of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina are recognised, and the HZ HB, all
13 its bodies, its presidency and other bodies, advocated
14 the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but with a
15 provision to change and adapt certain provisions, to
16 find a solution which would include all three ethnic
17 groups, regardless of whether these would be three
18 provinces, three cantons, or three republics. Those
19 were the solutions which can be found in all legal
20 official documents.
21 I cannot comment on this document. I was not
22 present at this meeting, as you can see from the
23 signatories, and I was not present at any HDZ session.
24 I don't think that I am the appropriate witness to
25 comment on any decisions taken by the HDZ, because I
1 was never present at any of their sessions.
2 Q. As a high-ranking official of Herceg-Bosna,
3 the question becomes: Was there an agenda, perhaps, of
4 which you were not aware? You have indicated, earlier
5 this morning, that that which is de jure is not always
6 that which is de facto. Is it possible, Mr. Buntic,
7 that you did not know the underlying goals of the state
8 to which you had given allegiance? Is that possible,
9 given what you have just seen?
10 A. I only saw excerpts from a document. Since I
11 was not in the meetings, since I have not been shown
12 the entire document, I cannot comment on parts of it.
13 I don't think that I'm the appropriate witness to do
14 so. I don't have the entire document; I only have
15 excerpts which are pulled out of context, and I never
16 attended the meeting.
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Indeed.
18 However, a question could be put to the witness. The
19 following could be asked of Mr. Buntic: Since you say
20 that you are unable to comment on what has just been
21 read out, you could at least tell us how you react, in
22 the face of what you had stated earlier on. I think
23 this is what is being required of you. You came with a
24 certain amount of statements which were very direct,
25 straightforward, and devoid of nuances as to
1 Herceg-Bosna, as to its role and its creation and
2 objectives, and you are now being given a document and
3 you are being told this is what has been stated. So
4 you are being asked to react, because, after all, you
5 came here to testify. And you're not just testifying
6 in one way; you are here to testify and tell the
8 A. My response to this document -- if I
9 understood you correctly, two questions were asked.
10 First of all, did I know about this document. The
11 answer to that question is no, I did not know about
13 The second question is what is my attitude,
14 what is my position to what you have just read to me.
15 And I can tell you that again I did not know about this
16 and such a document never appeared in any of the
17 sessions that I did attend. So this was never an
18 official policy of any body of which I was a member,
19 that is, either of the HVO or the HZ HB.
20 MS. SOMERS:
21 Q. In other words, no de jure pronouncement came
22 to your attention on this matter? Do I understand you
23 correctly: No de jure pronouncement came to your
24 attention on the facts contained in these passages?
25 A. I was talking about the documents compiled by
1 the presidency and the HVO as the executive body of the
2 HZ HB.
3 Q. Assuming the accuracy of what Ignac Kostroman
4 has written here, does it shock you that so much power
5 is given, for example, to Dario Kordic, to act well
6 beyond the capacity of a legislator? Does that
7 surprise you, as a lawyer, as someone who deals in de
8 jure information, de jure practice?
9 A. Again, this is a document produced by a party
10 over which I had no influence, of which I was not a
11 member, and whose meetings I never attended. So I have
12 to come back to that. I can comment on the documents
13 adopted by the -- produced by the presidency of the
14 HZ HB and by the executive bodies of the HZ HB, but,
15 please, I cannot make any comments on the party
16 politics, party meetings, and documents which I had no
17 access to. And I never had access to this document
18 before, and I think that I have commented on my
19 position on this document already.
20 Q. I would like to ask you for a point of
21 clarification. We accept that you were not a member of
22 the HDZ. You were, however, a very high-ranking
23 official of the entity which was created and run by the
24 HDZ, albeit you were not a member; that is accepted.
25 Does it concern you to know that this was the agenda of
1 a body of which you were a very high official? That is
2 my sole question. If you can answer it, fine; if you
3 can't, we'll move on.
4 A. I can answer the question. In a community,
5 in a region -- we're not going to talk about a state --
6 there can be one, five, ten, fifteen different parties,
7 and whatever transpires in a meeting of a party does
8 not amount to a document of a region or state or some
9 such entity.
10 Q. You were, however, present at a meeting of
11 Herceg-Bosna on the 29th of April 1993, I'm sorry, I
12 just want to get the number of it. Sorry for fumbling,
13 I had it in my hand. It's Z846, please.
14 This meeting, if everyone has it, was held in
15 Citluk on the 29th of April 1993. Your name is listed
16 as being a participant and, in fact, the persons who
17 summarised the highlights of the meeting have
18 attributed to you on page four of the English
19 translation paragraph. May I ask you, please, several
20 questions about this meeting.
21 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness find the
23 MS. SOMERS: Certainly. Let me see if I can
24 find it for you in Croatian.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could interpreters have a
1 copy, please?
2 MS. SOMERS: Yes, I would be happy to give
3 the interpreters my copy if we could put my copy on the
5 Has the witness been able to get to the
6 Croatian edition okay?
7 JUDGE MAY: Can we have it on the ELMO? What
8 page in the English is it?
9 MS. SOMERS: In the English, please, page
10 two. Mr. Bruno Stojic is speaking.
11 JUDGE MAY: Has the witness got it? Have you
12 got the passage?
13 MS. SOMERS:
14 Q. Where Mr. Stojic is speaking under
15 Mr. Boras. First one comment that Mr. Stojic makes and
16 he is speaking as one who is -- is he based in
17 Herzegovina during the time period of 1992 to 1994? Is
18 he at all times in Herzegovina?
19 A. Mr. Stojic?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Stojic is saying, "All reports from the
23 field indicate that Muslims have not accepted the
24 statement." Now the statement is referred to above.
25 He then goes on to specify that they are
1 attacking Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak, Konjic, et
2 cetera. They are carrying out ethnic cleansing and a
3 lot of allegations are following. My question is: How
4 is Mr. Stojic, who is situated in the field, I'm sorry,
5 situated in Herzegovina able to get these reports from
6 the field? How does information manage to make its way
7 back to him in Herzegovina yet it's more difficult for
8 other people to get it in Herzegovina? Could you
9 explain that or help us understand that?
10 A. I will try. I believe that the military
11 headquarters, that is, the defence department had
12 separate communications systems, field telephones or
13 something that I'm not familiar with. But I know that
14 the military did have their own communication system
15 which sometimes works, sometimes did not work. I think
16 that the defence department at that period which is the
17 period between 1992 and 1994 was better informed than
18 other HVO departments, so there. But in what way...
19 Q. Accepting that, would not matters of great
20 import that were received successfully by the defence
21 department be communicated to the other ministries or
22 departments of Herceg-Bosna, would it not be expected
23 that if they got a piece of hot news that was important
24 to the functioning or existence of Herceg-Bosna that it
25 would be communicated? Would that be a logical
2 A. Correct. This was one of the ways for the
3 defence department to transmit information it had and,
4 as you can see, the head of the defence department
5 informed the meeting, the question here. And the
6 ministry of defence occasionally did issue or --
7 reports to the executive branch, the HVO on the
8 political and other situation in the territories.
9 Q. Recently when your colleague or your
10 subordinate, Mr. Perkovic, was here, the Court heard
11 evidence on the fact that from Busovaca, a dispatch
12 about the creation of Herceg-Bosna found its way into
13 the official file of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina. Would that dispatch from Busovaca
15 logically also have made its way up to Herzegovina?
16 A. It depends on the period you are referring
18 Q. July 1992.
19 A. July 1992, yes, it was possible.
20 Q. Moving on, a Mr. Ivan Saric, also on page
21 two, speaks below Mr. Boban.
22 JUDGE MAY: Could we have that on the ELMO,
24 MS. SOMERS: It's on page two Mr. Usher and
25 it's the passage where Mr. Ivan Saric is speaking.
1 Q. Could you tell us if you know if it is Saric,
2 or do you know? I may have a bad translation.
3 A. Yes, Mr. Ivan Saric was a medical doctor. He
4 is a physician by profession. I'm not sure, but I
5 believe he was the assistant head for health services
6 or something like that.
7 Q. And what was his role in a political
8 meeting? Was he a representative also, a municipal
10 A. I don't think he was a representative of
11 Tomislavgrad from where he originally came, but I
12 believe that he was present at a meeting because of his
13 influence in the health care affairs. That is what he
14 specialised in in the HZ HB.
15 Q. Would you have any idea why he then might be
16 commenting as follows: "What we succeed in defending
17 with the military will be ours."
18 A. Well, isn't it like that in every war? Isn't
19 it like that in every war?
20 Q. Then he was participating in this meeting in
21 somewhat of a political capacity, that would be fair to
22 infer from the comment? You were at the meeting,
23 perhaps you could enlighten us.
24 A. As you can see, this meeting was not a
25 meeting of the Presidency but of a broader circle of
1 persons. I cannot recall it now, but evidently this
2 was not the meeting of the Presidency. Perhaps it was
3 an extended meeting to -- which brought together
4 various officials but it is difficult for me to say, it
5 was eight years ago.
6 It is difficult to remember but I can I think
7 that there were quite a number of people who were
8 members of the Presidency and a number of people who
9 were HDZ officials. But what the meeting was extended
10 with, I don't know. Evidently there were more people
11 here than in the Presidency or that part of the HVO.
12 Evidently, there was a larger number of people than
13 their number.
14 Q. One of the persons at the meeting was
15 Mr. Anto Valenta, whom you know. I believe you also
16 served on a commission with him, but I will ask you
17 that in a moment. But if you'd look, the English would
18 be page three.
19 Mr. Valenta is speaking of events in Travnik
20 and Vitez commenting that, "The Muslims are against the
21 HZ HB, the Vance-Owen Plan and the Croats. The Muslims
22 have opted for war. It is necessary to postpone the
23 conflict with the Muslims, to wait for the decision of
24 the UN Security Council, to wait for the reaction of
25 America regarding the Serbs. Warned about the gravity
1 and strength of the Muslim attack from Zenica on Vitez
2 and Busovaca."
3 At that meeting, why was Valenta indicating
4 that the conflict was within the control of certain
5 persons within the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
6 that they, in fact, could control when a conflict would
7 erupt? Do you recall any further discussion about that
8 point? It's an interesting point, is it not?
9 A. I didn't quite get what you are driving at.
10 If you are referring to this text here in Mr. Anto
11 Valenta, as far as I can see, he issues a warning here
12 to all those present at the meeting that the areas
13 mentioned here, Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca are absolutely
14 encircled, that they are fully encircled. That is what
15 he is warning about, as far as I can gather from this
17 Q. Perhaps you can help me understand my reading
18 of it and maybe I'm wrong is that there is an element
19 of control over when the conflict with the Muslims will
20 end or begin, rather, and that element of control lies
21 in the hands of some people at that meeting. That was
22 my point. Have I misread that?
23 A. I did not understand it in the same way as
24 you did.
25 Q. Okay.
1 Your comments are on page 4, and you're
2 after, I believe, Mr. Bozo Rajic's comments. It's page
3 4 of the English. You are recorded as having said: Is
4 of the opinion that many mistakes were made, first of
5 all, regarding Muslim and Croatian refugees, with
6 various consequences. You are quoted as -- or you are
7 noted as having said that units will carry out part of
8 the job, wherever necessary -- Central Bosnia,
9 Konjic -- but you ask: How are we to retain the
10 territory and manage it? You are thinking that a
11 ceasefire must be arranged and negotiations held at
12 once. You think that it is necessary to continue and
13 intensify military, defensive preparations. You think
14 that we, meaning the body gathered there, I presume,
15 have to work specifically on the evacuation of the
16 Croatian people in an organised manner from Zenica, as
17 well as from other areas toward Travnik and Vitez, the
18 Croatian provinces. You think that it is necessary to
19 demand the recall of all foreign diplomats for whose
20 presence we, I presume meaning the people at that
21 meeting, or HZ HB, have not given our approval. You
22 think that it is necessary to take an inventory of
23 staff and that it is necessary to procure qualified
24 staff to implement the Vance-Owen Plan. You think that
25 this demands more aggressive, consistent, and better
1 quality propaganda in HZ HB, RBH and the world.
2 Could you comment, first of all, on the
3 evacuation of the Croatian people. From where did you
4 see the need to evacuate? When it says, "from Zenica
5 as well as from other areas," which other areas were
6 you referring to?
7 A. This needs to be viewed in the light of the
8 fact that this meeting took place two or three days --
9 that is, in the wake of my visit to Central Bosnia.
10 Zubak, Zuljevic and I went there together. We tried to
11 tour Central Bosnia. We went up there, we took stock
12 of the situation. We were using SFOR vehicles. And we
13 barely escaped with our lives there, because fire was
14 opened on these vehicles in Konjic. And this is not
15 the first time; it was the second time to open fire on
16 places where I was. That is an answer to the question
17 why I never went to Sarajevo. When I was living in
18 Sarajevo, fire was opened on a helicopter. And when we
19 were coming from this tour, fire was opened on the
20 vehicle that -- the SFOR vehicle that we were using.
21 So we came to Zenica, I believe the St. Elijah
22 church, because that was the only place we could get
23 there. All 13 parish priests had been driven into the
24 church. The president of the HDZ Zenica had been
25 detained. We received the report that 30 people had
1 been killed and 500 of them were in a camp in a mine.
2 We talked in Zenica how to treat those people
3 and whether those areas could be defended, that is,
4 whether Zenica could be defended. Having drawn my
5 lesson after all that happened, after the fall of
6 Jajce, when all the Croats displaced from -- after the
7 fall of Jajce ended up in hotels on the Adriatic,
8 rather than in Central Bosnia, where they should have
9 stayed and defended it, and I recommended to avoid that
10 happening with Zenica. And if they were expelled from
11 Zenica, not to marshal them towards the Adriatic or
12 other countries, but to keep them in those
13 territories. And that is why Travnik or Novi Travnik
14 were mentioned as the closest places where these people
15 should be kept. Women, children, and all those who
16 were not able-bodied, thank God, should have been sent
17 to other areas, but able-bodied men are not sent abroad
18 when there's a war going on.
19 Q. However -- and thank you for the explanation,
20 but can you tell me, please: It says "from other
22 A. You're welcome.
23 Q. It appears that there was not yet a need to
24 evacuate. Am I correct from this? This was an
25 anticipation on your part. You were thinking ahead at
1 this point in time, which was, oh, 13 days after --
2 A. Attack.
3 Q. There was already or you were anticipating
5 A. There was already a concrete danger. The
6 HDZ -- the Zenica HDZ president was detained two or
7 three days before that. His escorts were killed a
8 couple of days before that, men who were escorting
9 him. We received the report that some 500 men were in
10 a camp in a mine and that there were already 30 people
11 dead. After that, we could only expect an attack. I
12 don't know what else could one expect.
13 I believe that Zubak also spoke about that,
14 because he headed the team which went to Central
15 Bosnia. I don't know whether in this report which I
16 have in front of me there is also Zubak's report. Can
17 we please look at it, because he led the delegation; he
18 was the head of the team which went to Central Bosnia.
19 Q. What was the date of your trip to Central
20 Bosnia, please?
21 A. I told you, I cannot really remember after
22 all the time, but it was on the eve of that session.
23 Could it have been two or three days, I can't really
24 remember, but it was right before this meeting. It was
25 right before this meeting, a couple of days before it.
1 That is all I can say.
2 Q. A point of reference, perhaps. Was it before
3 or after the HVO massacre at Ahmici in Vitez?
4 JUDGE MAY: That is a matter of controversy.
5 Was it before or after the 16th of April, 1993?
6 A. I think it was after that. That's what the
7 date seems to indicate.
8 MS. SOMERS:
9 Q. While you, as a high-ranking official of
10 HZ HB, were travelling in Central Bosnia, was there a
11 discussion about what had happened at Ahmici, any
12 version of the story, whether A attacked B or B
13 attacked A? Was it discussed in the group in which you
14 were travelling or with anyone with whom you met in
15 Central Bosnia?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What was the nature of the discussion, if you
18 can help us, please?
19 A. The discussion -- we condemned it in the
20 discussion. We went there all together. As I said,
21 Mr. Zubak, Mr. Zuljevic, and myself. And Mr. Zubak was
22 at the head of the delegation. And we knew that that
23 indeed happened, that is, there was a conflict and that
24 the outcome of that conflict was a large number of
25 civilian casualties. I will repeat here what I said
1 then, that I was sorry about that. I'm sorry for every
2 civilian. I'm sorry for every man who dies in a war,
3 in particular if it is a civilian or a helpless and
4 defenceless individual.
5 Q. Did you, as a person grounded in the law,
6 feel the need to have this matter investigated?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you take any measures toward that end?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What did you do?
11 A. Yes, yes, yes. During that visit I also went
12 to the courthouse and the prosecutor's office in
13 Vitez. I spoke to the prosecutor there, saying that
14 all the legally prescribed measures should be taken by
15 the prosecutor's office in order to investigate all the
16 circumstances and effects of what happened, that is, to
17 investigate all the consequences of the Ahmici event.
18 I spoke to the prosecutor -- let me just think. The
19 name, the prosecutor's name escapes me, but it was the
20 prosecutor in the military prosecutor's office, and he
21 had his seat in Vitez. I'm trying to remember the
22 name, but it simply escapes me now.
23 Q. Do you recall what representations were made
24 to you by that prosecutor about what he or she would
1 A. The prosecutor knows what he's supposed to
2 do. I suppose he knew what was within the realm of
3 possibility, that is, to request a report from the
4 military police, the police was to investigate all the
5 circumstances, and then report to the military
6 Prosecutor and then he would know how to act upon it.
7 Q. Is it fair to assume that you asked to be
8 kept informed about the progress of this investigation
9 as you were clearly concerned about it?
10 A. I wasn't the only one who was concerned about
11 it. Others were concerned about it. That is, all
12 three of us who were there were very much concerned
13 about the incident and we requested that it be analysed
14 and clarified, and I was the one who went to the
15 military Prosecutor's office in Vitez and talked about
17 Q. Did you have any further correspondence or
18 communication with that prosecutor about the
19 investigation from that point until today?
20 A. From that moment, I did communicate with the
21 prosecutor. On about two occasions I called him by
22 telephone so as far as we could do that and, he told me
23 that he had ordered the military police to investigate
24 all the circumstances of that case and that he had not
25 received the report from the military police.
1 Q. As of today's date, have you ever received
2 any report or gotten word from that prosecutor or any
3 successor prosecutor that the investigation was done
4 with some result, if you know?
5 A. No. I did not receive any report.
6 Q. One other point on here that I would ask you
7 to clarify -- well, your comment or the comment that is
8 attributed to you about recalling all foreign
9 diplomats, why would the approval of apparently the
10 officials of Herceg-Bosna be necessary for foreign
11 diplomats to function, can you explain that, please,
12 quickly I think because we are time conscious but...
13 A. I don't really. Perhaps we're talking at
14 cross-purposes, they are not permanent diplomats, it's
15 Bosnia-Herzegovinian diplomats in the world. There
16 wasn't a single Croat amongst all the diplomats in the
17 diplomatic core of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is what it
18 means. Because here we are talking all the time what
19 the Croat side has to do regarding the implementation
20 of the Vance-Owen Plan signed by Bosniaks and Croats,
21 and that certain measures need to be taken in terms of
22 the personnel policy, because we have to set up the
23 government to set up the parliament, and to have a
24 joint government. So have not two, but perhaps 200 or
25 350 men.
1 And in the diplomatic missions at the time,
2 there wasn't a single Croat representing in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So Bosnia-Herzegovina outside to
4 the world was represented by one people only, and that
5 is not the state of one people, it is the state of
6 three peoples.
7 And here so we're saying what the
8 diplomatic -- what can be achieved by -- through
9 diplomatic channels and the consequences of that
10 because the world was receiving the information of one
11 side only because the other side could not send out any
12 information whatsoever.
13 Q. Just so I understand, if Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 as an integral sovereign nation composed of three
15 constituent peoples has, as its representative, a
16 Muslim or a Croat or a Serb, that Muslim, Croat or Serb
17 could not represent the interests of the Croat people?
18 A. How could he if he's at war? Can you, when
19 you are in a war, represent your enemy, represent his
20 interests? It simply won't wash.
21 Q. You made a point earlier about the
22 relationship of Herceg-Bosna to Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina and you have suggested over and over again
24 that, in fact, that Herceg-Bosna was a part of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Can I ask you then, would it be a
1 ludicrous assumption, if that were the case, then that
2 Alija Izetbegovic would be considered a commander in
3 chief of, let's say, the HVO and that Mate Boban could
4 be considered a commander in chief of the ABiH if, in
5 fact, they were an integral country?
6 What would the influence of two separate
7 leaders be over the opposite army, a parallel hostile
8 army if, in fact, as it were as you represented it to
10 A. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, we know what the
11 situation was. We've already talked about it. We are
12 talking about the situation when all three sides are in
13 a conflict. Why -- how can I conceive that Alija
14 Izetbegovic is the supreme commander of the HVO for a
15 year and then that Mate Boban takes over. That would
16 have been quite logical to me. Not because it's
17 logical but because it is so prescribed by the
19 The constitution prescribes that the supreme
20 commander, that the president of the Presidency rotates
21 every year, however, the constitution was violated and
22 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic stayed in that position for three
23 years. He could have held that post for one year.
24 Q. I'd like to ask the usher show, just for a
25 brief review, a document Z1385.1. It is in English
1 only because it came in English only. It was sent
2 initially in English only.
3 What you have before you is a document which
4 was sent to Brigadier Ramsey, Chief of Staff, UN
5 command in February of 1994, 22nd of February, 1994.
6 The content of it is partially relevant. What I'd like
7 to ask you about, because it comes under, although it
8 appears not to be the signature of Dario Kordic, it is
9 on behalf of Dario Kordic by a person whose name I have
10 difficulty discerning.
11 The way it was sent, it perhaps was a --
12 simply typed up in somewhat halting English, but it
13 refers to an incident in Busovaca which Zoran Maric
14 from Busovaca municipality was charged to handle and
15 which Mr. Kordic apparently thought fit to intervene
16 and it is the ending on the last page that I'd like to
17 ask you about.
18 Again, it was sent to Ramsey. There was no
19 comment, apparently it was just accepted and is signed
20 off as vice-president of the Herceg-Bosna Bosnia
21 parliament and assistant to the chief of staff HVO HQ
22 command of Herceg-Bosna with a Travnik seal, Department
23 of Defence.
24 Is it common in your practice particularly as
25 a legislative overseer to see someone use a legislative
1 title on a document sent directly to the
2 highest-ranking military person in the International
3 Community, arguably, the content which is fairly petty
4 but indicates a great deal of knowledge but on the
5 ground matters. Is the ending, the salutation, the
6 signing off common? Have you seen that before?
7 A. If you mean the seal, then, yes, but the
8 signature here, I can hardly say anything. I'm not
9 really sure what Mr. Kordic's signature is. I couldn't
10 testify expertly about this. I do not think this is
11 his signature. And the titles --
12 Q. [Microphone not activated]... his signature.
13 It appears that someone signed on his behalf, but it
14 came out under his name and it was delivered to BH
16 The question is simply the way it is signed
17 off with a title which, on a de jure basis, would seem
18 bizarre. I think Perhaps I'm wrong, please correct
19 me. Have you seen this before?
20 A. Well, it's not common, it's not common.
21 Q. Z341.11, please. This document is in both
22 English and Croatian, I believe. Is there a Croatian
23 edition, the Croatian will be provided through Narodni
25 Quickly, if I may, this is a -- from Narodni
1 List of September of 1992 it's a first issue and this
2 concerns the statutory decision on the temporary
3 organisation of executive authority and administration
4 in the territory of the Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna. I would like to ask you to look at
6 Article 3, please. "The HVO and the HZ HB and every
7 HVO member are accountable to the Presidency of the
8 HZ HB."
9 Are you familiar with this provision?
10 A. I am.
11 Q. My question to you is: Earlier you indicated
12 that Mr. Prlic would have been higher than Mr. Kordic.
13 Mr. Prlic, however, was an officer of the HVO only,
14 Mr. Kordic was a member of the Presidency.
15 As a lawyer, do you see it perhaps
16 differently if you look at this revision that as a
17 member of the Presidency, Mr. Prlic would have been
18 subordinate to -- as an HVO official, Mr. Prlic would
19 have been accountable to Mr. Kordic as a member of the
20 Presidency. Would that be how legal people in HZ HB
21 would look at that?
22 A. Well, de jure you may be right, but I know in
23 England about Tony Blair, I do not know any member of
24 parliament from the United Kingdom. I don't know any
25 one of them.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. That the HVO is accountable to the
3 Presidency, but there are some 50 men who decide in
4 sessions, none of them can take any individual
6 Q. In another case, a related case, there was
7 testimony that was given that a Smiljko Sagolj, who was
8 President Tudjman's legal advisor, if I am correct, in
9 fact, drafted these provisions. Are you familiar with
10 or are you aware of that? Do you know that?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Thank you. We'll move on to the next
13 document so we can finish. This would be Z2318. And I
14 think it's comprised of two documents, it should be --
15 it was originally part of Z1345.1 just so that the
16 registry knows and it was not tendered at that time but
17 it was part of the -- it should be -- it is from March
18 1993, it is in Narodni List.
19 This concerns, and I ask you this because
20 perhaps you didn't have this in front of you when you
21 were looking at the points 44 in your summary in
22 discussing border crossing, and if you didn't have
23 these things it maybe skipped your mind.
24 But, in fact, Article 6 of the March document
25 which talks about it is a decree on border crossing and
1 in the border area of the Croatian Community of
2 Herceg-Bosna in times of war or the immediate threat of
3 war. Do you recall this legislation generally as a --
4 as de jure legislation? Have you found it? If not I
5 can give you my copy. It's in Croatian.
6 A. I haven't. Is this document titled decree.
7 Q. Let's see, yes, it's translated as decree.
8 It's Uredbu?
9 A. Uredbu in Croatian.
10 Q. Are you familiar with this?
11 A. There is a number of decrees relating to
12 these matters. Would you have a more specific --
13 Q. My question is: Are you familiar, I'm sure
14 you can't hold in your mind everything, but are you
15 familiar with the border crossing decrees, and when you
16 wrote your summary, had this simply skipped your mind?
17 It would be page 122 if that will help you, 122, number
18 6, March 1993.
19 A. I am not aware of official border crossing
20 within the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina if this is
21 what you were referring to.
22 Q. But you accept that this is, in fact,
23 legislation of Herceg-Bosna. Article 7, just below the
24 paragraph to which I was referring, and actually I'd
25 like to ask you one quick question. On Article 6
1 before we move on, "Local border crossing are crossings
2 used by citizens of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 in order to sojourn in a certain zone of the
4 neighbouring state or by the citizens of the
5 neighbouring state for crossing the state border in
6 order to sojourn in a certain zone of the HZ HB."
7 Is my reading of two separate, as it were,
8 entities, HZ HB and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 incorrect as set forth here? There seems to be a
10 reference to two separate entities. Have you found
12 A. No, not yet, not yet. I am trying to find
13 it. I'd like to -- I would like to, if you can help
15 MS. SOMERS: Mr. Usher, I would be happy to
16 give you my copy first six and seven. They are circled
17 in pencil, and I'd like to move on as quickly as I can,
19 Q. I've circled it for you, Mr. Buntic.
20 Have you been able to read it through,
21 Mr. Buntic?
22 A. So far as I can see, this is in reference of
23 the border crossings of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
24 only the border area is here defined, and the rules
25 within the border zone.
1 Q. Did you draft this? Did you draft this?
2 A. No.
3 Q. If you would look, please --
4 A. These are decrees from the jurisdiction of
5 the Ministry of Finances.
6 Q. Looking at Article 12, which would be --
7 MS. SOMERS: Mr. Usher, if you don't have it,
8 I can give it to you right now in Croatian, to make it
10 Q. I shall read it quickly. "Citizens of the
11 RBiH carrying weapons and ammunition into or out of the
12 HZ HB shall report the weapons and ammunition to the
13 border police or the military police at the state
14 border. Authorisation from the relevant administrative
15 body of the HVO HZ HB shall be required when carrying
16 weapons and ammunition across the border. If the
17 weapons and ammunition from the foregoing," et cetera,
18 et cetera.
19 Do you recall this provision, again on
20 matters concerning borders? Does this refresh your
21 memory a bit on it? Just "yes" or "no" is fine, so I
22 don't hold you up in this.
23 A. These are regulations from the area of
24 finance, and I wasn't interested in that. But I think
25 it refers to the border crossings into Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina, and it refers to the confiscation of
2 weapons. This is a routine matter done at any border
3 crossing. I don't know why it would be any different
4 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Perhaps I'm not fully
5 focused, but I don't know why.
6 Q. So the view is that it's another state.
7 Moving on, please, Z2321. Because you've
8 indicated you don't have as much familiarity with the
9 financial aspects, I simply will ask you a quick
11 MS. SOMERS: And if the usher would like my
12 Croatian edition, I'm glad to give it.
13 A. I think I found it.
14 Q. Okay. Otherwise you're more than welcome to
16 My question to you is: This April 1993
17 section of Narodni List discusses essentially special
18 legislation dealing with the import of goods from the
19 Republic of Croatia. No other state appears to have
20 any special legislation, but it does talk about
21 Republic of Croatia. Are you familiar with this? Did
22 you have anything whatsoever to do with the drafting of
23 this, or was there any discussion about the special
24 status for Croatia with the territory of Herceg-Bosna?
25 A. Yes. We discussed it in the meetings of the
1 government, the HVO. Not once, but on several
2 occasions. It is a fact that the goods imported from
3 Croatia had special status, as did the goods imported
4 from the Republic of Macedonia. I think that it only
5 had a 1 per cent duty. I don't see why this is so
6 special. The government did debate this, and I
7 remember the debate. Croatia and Macedonia had a
8 special status.
9 Q. And is Macedonia indicated in the legislation
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina? I only saw Croatia. Did I miss
12 A. I believe that it is mentioned. Perhaps if
13 you peruse the document.
14 Q. Z414.1. Mr. Buntic, this particular document
15 is a document which is simply based on an instruction,
16 as it were, that came under your hand. And because I
17 do not have it in English, I will not ask certainly for
18 it to be admitted, but it's a document I would just ask
19 the usher to give to you, which talks about seals and
20 stamps, official stamps and seals of Herceg-Bosna, just
21 to show the witness, because this particular 414.1
22 appears to be based on his dealings with seals, coats
23 of arms.
24 Looking at 414.1, how often did you have
25 to -- first of all, do you recognise this decision
1 affecting the school in Bugojno or affecting these
2 particular areas, among them the school and then
3 Bugojno? Is this something you recall?
4 A. I don't know what the school in Bugojno
5 means. I see that this is a decision on the
6 manufacture of the seal, with the coat of arms, yes.
7 It was issued by the Department of Justice. I did sign
8 it. And yes, this document is a document that I
9 personally signed and that falls within the
10 jurisdiction of the Justice Department. But I don't
11 know what was the reference to the school in Bugojno
12 all about.
13 Q. I don't think it has any particular
14 significance. It's more that there is a special seal
15 that existed for the Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna. And the particular instruction that you
17 have in front of you -- which I don't think the Court
18 would necessarily be interested in, but perhaps I can
19 have it translated, if so -- indicates that there is a
20 format, a description, a legal description of the seal,
21 and that it, in fact, sounds very much of that which is
22 used in Croatia, just by description. Is that fair to
23 say? A coat of arms that bear a certain resemblance to
24 certain Croat coats of arms, or the Croat coat of
25 arms. It seems to be listed there. Is that a fair --
1 okay. Thank you.
2 I'd like to ask you about three bits of
3 legislation. It's part of Exhibit Z1464.4 from Narodni
4 List of February 1994, and if it is not -- it's in --
5 it is a -- yes. It concerns, if the usher could show
6 it to you -- I don't know. Was it distributed as part
7 of the -- okay. Does everyone else have it?
8 My question: There is a section on page
9 323B, the decision appointing Zlatko Aleksovski from
10 Zenica. It says a graduate, I believe sociologist, and
11 he's appointed as the director of the detention centre
12 in Busovaca. Now, this legislation from Herceg-Bosna
13 is quite specific about persons appointed to camps or
14 detention centres and location. Was this typical of
15 the practice in Herceg-Bosna as to specify names and
16 particular camp locations? This would be Kaonik,
17 presumably, in Busovaca. This Court has had a lot of
18 evidence, so we don't need to get into the details of
19 Kaonik, but just -- is it typical to list the
20 appointment in this way?
21 A. This is the way how they were supposed to be
23 Q. On the issue of camps in the territory of
24 Herceg-Bosna, there is a second document that is behind
25 it. It is a -- it is some commentary by persons from
1 this Tribunal, made from interviews, investigative
2 interviews, with Mate Boban, the late Mate Boban, and
3 with Valentin Coric. Mr. Coric, on what is marked as
4 page 8 of this four-page document -- it's 5, 6, 7,
5 8 -- comments that -- he mentions you, and he says:
6 "There are laws governing all these offices
7 and their functions. A representative of the division
8 of public -- presumably public administration and of
9 justice is Zoran Buntic. You can find him by the
11 What was the heliport? Was that in Mostar?
12 Is that where your office was? Was it in Mostar?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Was Mr. Coric incorrect about the location of
15 your office when he talked to the Tribunal?
16 A. The office, that is, the official premises
17 and the offices of the Justice Department and
18 administration, were for a period of time in the Ero
19 Hotel, and then the School of Machine Engineering. I
20 don't know the exact number, but in one of those two
21 locations. That is where the Justice and General
22 Administration Department was always operating from,
23 either the Hotel Ero or the School of Machine
25 Q. Were you at all times, from at least mid-1992
1 all the way through, let's say, the end of 1993, very
2 early 1994 and February of 1994, were you at all times
3 physically in an office in Mostar?
4 A. That is correct. Physically I was in the
5 office in Mostar. And again, it was one of the two
6 locations which I have just mentioned, either the Hotel
7 Ero or the institute of the School of Machine or
8 Mechanical Engineering.
9 Q. Can you indicate very quickly how far the
10 Hotel Ero or the other location where you may have had
11 an office would be from the helidrome, the actual
12 heliport? Just kilometres, if you can give an
14 A. Seven or eight kilometres.
15 Q. Looking at a document which is labelled from
16 May 1994, it would be also a Narodni List. I just want
17 to ask you a quick question about it. It's page 682 of
18 number 18. It's a decision and it talks about some
19 decisions of the Presidential Council of HR HB. It
20 indicates that there's kind of a -- it looks like an
21 expert panel or commission that was formed, and you
22 were a member. It says: Zoran Buntic and Anto
23 Valenta. Is that correct? Do you recall serving on
24 this particular council or committee? And this was on
25 cantonal demarcations, boundaries, borders of cantons;
1 is that correct?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. There is a document -- sorry. Pardon me one
4 minute -- from an ECMM report, which is also part of
5 a -- dated 26 February 1994. There appears the number
6 R0133 -- I'm sorry -- 0131113. It is only in English,
7 but I do want to ask you very quickly, where there is a
9 "According to Zoran Buntic, president of the
10 Court Council of HR CR HB, the CR HB representatives on
11 the Working Group Mostar has created another Working
13 Then it goes on, and then the comment is:
14 "Mr. Buntic stated he does not understand
15 why the map suggested by Pellnas ..." That must be Bo
16 Pellnas, is that correct, Mr. Bo Pellnas? "... differs
17 so much from the Owen-Stoltenberg plan, as the latter
18 considered Mostar as the CR, or HR HB capital."
19 Could you comment on that. You supported and
20 worked on Owen-Stoltenberg, did you not? You favoured
21 that plan?
22 A. I said that we participated -- I think that
23 in my examination-in-chief -- we did take part in it,
24 and these are the people listed there. Anto Markotic
25 [phoen] and Anto Valenta were there representing the
1 Croatian side; Moca Borogovac, Mr. Trnka, and a third
2 gentleman representing the Muslim side. We were
3 working on the organisation of provinces further to the
4 Vance-Owen Plan, and also the constitutional -- basic
5 constitutional provisions based on the Vance-Owen
6 Plan. After the adoption of the Stoltenberg Plan --
7 that is, both Croats and Muslims accepted the
8 Vance-Owen Plan, and the Stoltenberg Plan was accepted
9 by the Croatian and Serbian sides and rejected by the
10 Muslim side. And I need to point out that the Croatian
11 side was the only side who accepted all the plans put
12 forward by the International Community.
13 Q. But neither worked, neither came into being?
14 A. I don't see that the HZ HB is to be faulted
15 for that, either myself or Dario Kordic, who was there,
16 who was sitting there.
17 Q. Thank you. The one point that I wanted to
18 ask: The division of Bosnia into three ethnic groups,
19 as it were, under Owen-Stoltenberg, that is not
20 substantially different, is it, from the basic cantonal
21 division of the party, the Croatian Democratic Party, I
22 believe, that you were initially -- or that you were a
23 member of. In other words, the three divided ethnic
24 groups was pretty much the pattern that you saw as
25 appropriate for Bosnia; is that correct?
1 A. If you're asking me for my personal position,
2 I still believe that this was the best plan for Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina, yes.
4 Q. And because we have four minutes, I want to
5 just ask you: The post-Washington and, to some degree,
6 post-Dayton, although it is not in our time frame of
7 aspects of Herceg-Bosna, there is an Exhibit Z2821. I
8 wanted to ask for your comment on it. And then there
9 will be one last document after that and then we are
11 This document is only in English because it
12 was a document from the United Nations mission in
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina which, from time to time,
14 selects interviews or open-source material that it
15 considers relevant to its mission. And from Slobodna
16 Bosna, of 26 January 1997, Kresimir Zubak was
17 interviewed, and the point about which I'd like to ask
18 you is on page three. Several questions are put to
19 Mr. Zubak and there is a paragraph which begins, "A few
20 days after the RBiH government ceased to function,"
21 meaning as part of a federation, "we passed the
22 decision to dissolve the HB government and its
23 ministries, but some other institutions and services
24 have remained simply because we have not built these
25 institutions and legislation in those fields at the
1 federal level."
2 And then it goes on to say, "As to the second
3 question, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,"
4 meaning post-Dayton, "does not have state features as
5 HR HB had -- police, army, financial, and customs --
6 all of which have been transferred to the Federation."
7 Bearing that in mind that there was an
8 abolition dissolution of the Herceg-Bosna structures
9 required under both Washington and Dayton, I would ask
10 you to turn -- or I would like to ask you about an
11 allegation that was made about a Dayton violation that
12 institutions in Herceg-Bosna were violating the ban on
13 a customs policy. Are you familiar with --
14 JUDGE MAY: I'm afraid I'm not following it,
15 and I think your time is up.
16 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
17 Q. May I finish that question simply by
18 asking you to comment briefly on what the arrangements
19 were for the abolition, the dissolution of the
20 Herceg-Bosna institutions, so the Court can know that.
21 A. The House of Representatives, and we're
22 talking -- we're now referring to the HR HB, not the
23 HZ HB. After the Dayton Accords adopted the decisions
24 to transfer some of its authority to the Federation of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, some to the Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HZ HB, which had been
2 established on 18 November 1991, ceased to exist and
3 had no more jurisdiction, and the new HZ HB was
4 re-established as a cultural and social association,
5 but this was only in 1995 or later.
6 After the Washington and Dayton Accords, the
7 House of Representatives transferred its powers
8 partially to the Federation, partly to the central --
9 to the Republic, and partly to the cantons.
10 Q. So if there was a ban on any kind of customs
11 activity by HZ HB and it were found to have been
12 passed, it would be a violation. That would be a fair
13 assessment, legally?
14 A. I don't -- in 1995, 1996 there was no HZ HB;
15 it didn't exist. HZ HB existed until 1993. It ceased
16 to exist in 1993, when the Croatian Republic of
17 Herceg-Bosna -- that was on the 28th of August 1993.
18 So I don't know where the reference to HZ HB comes
19 from. Perhaps it's the newly formed HZ HB, but it has
20 no jurisdiction over any customs policies.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I think we have the point.
22 Yes, thank you, Ms. Somers.
23 Yes, Mr. Naumovski. Any questions?
24 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Very briefly,
25 Your Honours.
1 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
2 Q. Mr. Buntic, several times a question was
3 asked how Bosnia was to be divided into three
4 republics, three cantons, and so on and so forth, but
5 Owen-Stoltenberg Plan and other plans all said that
6 Bosnia consisted of cantons, that is, union of three
7 republics, or some other way; is that correct?
8 A. All plans for Bosnia-Herzegovina offered
9 different solutions for Bosnia-Herzegovina, starting
10 from Cutilliero's plan, which was the first one. It
11 presumed a different internal structure of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina than the unitarian one through
13 Vance-Owen Plan, Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, Washington,
14 Dayton Agreements, which means that all the agreements
15 which were signed, which were not signed, which were
16 accepted and not accepted, and finally the Dayton and
17 Washington Agreements did not divide Bosnia up; they
18 simply offered a different solutions for its internal
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. The question was
21 asked about borders. We spent a lot of time on this,
22 and in your summary, paragraph 44, the -- [Technical
24 JUDGE MAY: We are getting the French
25 translation. Mr. Naumovski, can you -- you were going
1 to ask a question about borders. Would you ask it
2 again, briefly, please.
3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Yes, very
4 briefly, Your Honour. Is it all right now?
5 Q. Mr. Buntic, you told the Court explicitly
6 that there were no official border crossings between
7 the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna and the territories
8 which were controlled by the Muslims. Is that so? Is
9 that correct?
10 A. Correct. I do not know of any border
11 crossing official or any other within the Republic of
13 Q. The decision on border crossing which was
14 shown you, you tell us, refers to border crossing
15 between the state, between states, the Republic of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia; is that
18 A. It is, and in other parts, that decree
19 mentions the citizens of the Republic of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the state of
22 Q. Just one detail. A part of the territory of
23 the HZ HB is the border area of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the border crossing between
25 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Republic of
1 Croatia are; is that so?
2 A. Yes. It is in the narrow border belt towards
3 the Republic of Croatia. For the most part, it has its
4 longest border with the Republic of Croatia.
5 Q. We can move on. Z414.1, it's the seals and
6 the description of the seals. A while ago you were
7 asked about the Croatian coat of arms, which, we can
8 agree, there is only one historical Croatian coat of
9 arms, not several.
10 A. True, for the time being.
11 Q. Now, it also says the text of the seal needs
12 to be first, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
13 first line, and then Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna,
14 and then whatever other text.
15 A. Correct. As in all the other documents.
16 Q. So this is what you said during your morning
17 testimony about the -- about HZ HB being a part of the
18 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 A. Correct, as confirmed by the seals.
20 Q. Mr. Anto Valenta was mentioned today. Now,
21 just one side question. You must be following the
22 events in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Do you know that
23 Mr. Anto Valenta is still a member of the border
24 commission of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, regulations
25 of borders with neighbours?
1 A. Yes, I believe he is with Mr. Obradovic.
2 Q. Thank you. A great deal was said today about
3 the document that you didn't really have an opportunity
4 to read through, and you believe that it is a document
5 of the HDZ, it is a document of December 1991. So my
6 question is: Were there different political options
7 prior to the referendum held on the 29th of February,
8 1st of March, 1992 [as interpreted], among the members
9 of all three peoples?
10 A. One should probably say that in 1990 or 1991,
11 all three peoples were discussing all possible options
12 of the structuring of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
13 possibilities of its survival, all three peoples
14 discussed these matters, not only one people, all three
15 peoples discussed it. And I believe that should be
16 placed within this integration of Yugoslavia, all three
17 peoples were thinking about that future and the future
18 organisation on the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
19 different options were on the table.
20 Q. Simply a correction for the transcript, the
21 referendum took place in 1992 rather than 1991, as it
22 says here. So my question is: At the time when this
23 document Z2721.1, when it was made during those
24 discussions, that is, during that meeting
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina was not an independent state, was
2 A. No.
3 Q. Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time was still,
4 legally speaking, a part of Yugoslavia which was
5 falling apart, which was disappearing?
6 A. In formal legal terms, yes, it was a part of
8 Q. Document Z846 it is a meeting in Citluk. The
9 transcript shows that from Central Bosnia was -- that
10 Central Bosnia was represented by Ivica Santic from
11 Vitez, Pero Krizanac from Travnik, and Mr. Anto
13 Will you agree with me that Mr. Dario Kordic
14 did not represent Central Bosnia at the meeting as far
15 as you can remember?
16 A. I cannot remember if he was there, really. I
17 don't remember. If he was present, I don't remember.
18 I don't think so. I think he wasn't. I don't remember
19 it was too long ago.
20 Q. Right, that's logical, but the minutes speak
21 for themselves. You also mentioned the investigation
22 or rather your conversation with the prosecutor I will
23 give you the name so perhaps that will jog your memory
24 if that was the gentleman?
25 A. I believe his first name was Marinko, but I
1 can't remember his last name.
2 Q. Marinko Juncevic [phoen], isn't it?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Very well,
5 thank you. Your Honours, I think that that will be
6 all, thank you very much, thank you for your patience.
7 Thank you, Mr. Buntic.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Buntic, that concludes your
9 evidence. Thank you for coming to the Tribunal to give
10 it, you are free to go.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. NICE: May I now raise a couple of
13 matters after the witness is gone.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
15 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I also have a
16 matter, a 20-second matter, an application to add one
17 witness to our list.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 MR. NICE: There is one witness listed for
21 tomorrow, the first expert, Jankovic, is listed for
22 Thursday. I made preparations to deal with him on
23 Thursday, and I wouldn't be in a position to deal with
24 him tomorrow. We may, therefore, run out of evidence
25 tomorrow because tomorrow's witness won't be very
2 Second point, if I am fortunate enough to be
3 assisted by an expert on Thursday, and the same applies
4 next week, by experts next week, may they sit in court,
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
9 MR. NICE: The next point, I have now a
10 report from the Dutch laboratory about the audio tape.
11 It's a wider report than simply to deal with where the
12 tape's been. It's a very comprehensive report and
13 deals with more comprehensively than did Koenig, the
14 Defence expert report, so I'm proposing to serve that
15 today notwithstanding the fact that I wouldn't have to
16 serve the balance of it. Maybe we could deal with the
17 tape tomorrow if we otherwise don't have evidence to
18 deal with.
19 JUDGE MAY: We'll see how we get on.
20 MR. NICE: On Thursday's second witness is a
21 witness called Cavara who had been an affidavit
22 witness. I didn't notice at the time we discussed him
23 for reasons that I can explain, but he's never been on
24 the Defence witness list. That came about in this way,
25 if you recall, the first time we drew to your attention
1 that there was an affidavit witness who was not on
2 their list, although we'd had to face opposition to any
3 additions to the list, the Chamber decided that for
4 affidavit witnesses, the list maybe didn't apply.
5 Cavara comes in as an affidavit witness and
6 the Chamber's decision was that he shouldn't be giving
7 evidence via affidavit, but it's still technically the
8 case that he isn't a witness who's been added to the
9 list. So that may be something that can be dealt with
10 by Mr. Sayers.
11 Not for this afternoon, but perhaps for
12 tomorrow again, if we run out of evidence, the witness
13 Dr. Pavlovic is, I think, due to come next week, and
14 although the Chamber made a clear decision about
15 whether he could give evidence as an affidavit witness,
16 it invited the Defence to consider carefully whether he
17 was going to be admissible for other reasons, and it
18 may be, I don't know, it may be it's not possible but
19 it may be possible to deal with that as an argument
20 before the witness travels here tomorrow and perhaps
21 they'd like to think about that. And in the same way,
22 please, we now only have notification of witnesses up
23 to the end of next week so we are now well short of a
24 fortnight for witnesses. I hope you may have, please,
25 a list of which witnesses are coming the week after
1 next because our minimum entitlement is for two weeks
2 of witnesses.
3 Thank you.
4 MR. SAYERS: Responding to the last point
5 first, Mr. President. Of course, I think we've been
6 giving batting orders of every Wednesday for the two
7 weeks in advance of that, and that's what we will try
8 to do. I believe that the Prosecution has been
9 notified of the witnesses for this week and for next
10 week, and tomorrow I'll try to alert them as to the
11 witnesses for the week after that, and I don't
12 anticipate a problem in doing that.
13 With respect to Dr. Pavlovic, we have
14 considered the position. We have looked at the
15 documents, and our conclusion is that he is basically
16 simply being produced to authenticate documents. He's
17 not being produced as an expert. He wasn't the
18 personal physician for Mr. Cicak, who is the witness at
19 issue; he simply sat on the work fitness assessment
20 panel to make the decision that he should retire.
21 JUDGE MAY: It may be sensible, though, if
22 there is an argument that his evidence is inadmissible,
23 that we hear it before he starts. So if there is a
24 convenient moment tomorrow, we'll do that, and we'll
25 also hear about the tape insofar as we can.
1 MR. SAYERS: If this is an extensive, report
2 I'd like to consider it. And if I can respond
3 tomorrow, then I certainly will, Mr. President, but if
4 it's an extremely extensive report, we would appreciate
5 a little bit of leniency in that regard.
6 Tracking down the list, Mr. Cavara, obviously
7 we're in the Court's hands. The Court required him to
8 attend to testify in person. He's prepared to do that.
9 We've made arrangements for him in the last few days,
10 and he will be here -- I believe he's actually arriving
11 tonight. So he will be here to be prepared in our
12 office tomorrow afternoon and, if possible, if we run
13 out of evidence.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll hear him.
15 MR. SAYERS: Very well. And then the
16 application that I mentioned is for a witness who'd
17 last, in my estimation, about 15 minutes. His name is
18 Ivo Marusic, and he will talk about the document that
19 was introduced by the Prosecution in the
20 cross-examination of Major-General Filipovic in our
21 case and others.
22 He is a gentleman who signed, as a chief of
23 the Busovaca defence office, an award for Mr. Kordic,
24 the order of King Petr Kresimir IV, with sash and
25 morning star, and since that issue has been raised in
1 our case, we would appreciate leave to add him to our
2 witness list.
3 Obviously, he's not going to affect the
4 estimate that we've given to the Court regarding when
5 our case may be over. In fact, if I might, I'd just
6 like to update the Court.
7 JUDGE MAY: Just on the matter of the award
8 of the order, that's the sort of matter which I could
9 have thought could be dealt with by agreement. If
10 there's a statement from the witness or something of
11 the sort, perhaps you might serve that, save the
12 witness coming to say something which I can't believe
13 there's going to be very much dispute about.
14 MR. SAYERS: I would have thought not, and I
15 will try to --
16 JUDGE MAY: See if you can resolve it in that
17 way, yes.
18 MR. SAYERS: In connection with the closure
19 of the case for Mr. Kordic, we are presently thinking
20 that it would be closed during the week of July 17th.
21 It might trickle over to the first day or two of the
22 week after that, but I don't think so. I think it's
23 the week of July 17th.
24 JUDGE MAY: So far you've been on target, so
25 it's likely that you will remain there.
1 MR. SAYERS: I believe we will.
2 JUDGE MAY: Unless anything untoward
3 happens. Talking of which, you have put in an
4 application, which I'll deal with in this way, relating
5 to evidence on the week of July 10th.
6 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
7 JUDGE MAY: We will grant it for the 11th and
8 12th. That does mean that you've got to get through
9 four witnesses?
10 MR. SAYERS: I don't think that will be a
11 problem. There are two witnesses that are very short.
12 They are in the nature of people that were
13 incarcerated. One, I believe, was -- one's
14 incarcerated in the music school. We hoped we could
15 bring him earlier, but that didn't work out. The
16 second witness talks about the discrete incident in the
17 Kacuni checkpoint and was present when two people were
18 killed at that checkpoint.
19 The third person is the last of the so-called
20 national case witnesses. Mr. Zuljevic, his testimony
21 will be very short. And the fourth person is the
22 person that the Court indicated it would wish to attend
23 in person or to testify live, Mr. Stipac, and I would
24 not anticipate that his testimony will be all that
1 Now, I'll also say that we're not sure that
2 we can get Mr. Stipac there because he's relatively
3 infirm and aged, but we'll do our best.
4 JUDGE MAY: Certainly for the 11th and, if
5 necessary, finishing on the 12th.
6 MR. SAYERS: Yes. I would not anticipate
7 that that would be a problem getting all four
8 finished. We've been fairly expeditious, I think, in
9 direct, and we will continue to be so.
10 JUDGE MAY: Dealing with the witnesses, if
11 you finish July 17th, the Friday is the 21st; that
12 would leave two weeks before the recess beginning on
13 July 24th.
14 MR. SAYERS: That's why I wanted to bring it
15 to the Court's attention, so we could have Mr. Cerkez
16 start to put on his case immediately.
17 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, yes.
18 I think, Mr. Nice, we've heard from you. I'm
19 sorry. Of course, we'll hear from you again. It's
20 Mr. Kovacic's turn.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I
22 do not really know if it's wise to take the floor now,
23 because we are pressed for time. I could do it easily
24 tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But since you
25 mentioned the calendar and the planning, I would have
1 to follow up on that, but I do not know whether you
2 think it -- would it suit you now or perhaps some other
3 day this week?
4 JUDGE MAY: It is getting on, but if you
5 would have in mind that it seems that we'll be calling
6 on you to start your case on the 24th of July. But if
7 there's something you want to raise about that, do so
8 at a convenient moment; it may be tomorrow.
9 MR. KOVACIC: I will be very short tomorrow,
10 probably three or four minutes. Since we raised that
11 issue two weeks ago, I guess, I did some job and now I
12 have some answers.
13 JUDGE MAY: We'll hear about it later, then.
14 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
15 MR. NICE: I was simply going to say it's now
16 obvious that, of course, the defence for Kordic knows
17 the witnesses not only for the 10th of July but
18 probably the witnesses right up to the end of case.
19 We never provided less than six weeks, and I
20 think as recently as November we provided the batting
21 list up to the end of the case. In fact, it would
22 assist us to have longer than the bare minimum for two
23 weeks, and there's no reason why we shouldn't have,
24 frankly, the whole list, and we'd ask the Court to
25 order accordingly.
1 JUDGE MAY: We'll have that in mind. One
2 final matter about the calendar. We have provisionally
3 listed another case for the 4th of November. At the
4 moment -- it may be possible to deal with the matter in
5 another way, but at the moment we would have in mind to
6 finish the evidence in this case before then.
7 We will discuss this in due course and allow
8 representations, but it may be sensible to have a break
9 while we hear the -- as much as we can of the other
10 case, a month or so. During that time, parties would
11 be expected to get their final representations ready,
12 and then in the run-up to Christmas we would hear any
13 final evidence, rebuttal case, rejoinder, and hear
14 final submissions.
15 I mention that that, at the moment, is the
16 sort of programme we have in mind.
17 MR. NICE: Very well, thank you.
18 JUDGE MAY: We'll hear submissions, if need
19 be. Yes, half past nine tomorrow.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
21 at 4.38 p.m., to be reconvened on
22 Wednesday, the 21st day of June, 2000,
23 at 9.30 a.m.