1 Tuesday, 9 April 2002
2 [The accused entered court]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, we want to know whether the both parties have
9 prepared lists for the documents. Yes?
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yes, we've prepared and
11 submitted a list of exhibits for today's witness.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Oh, for today's? I mean for
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we had submitted that
15 last week, the list that had to do with the witness Mr. Praljak.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Mr. Scott?
17 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President I have prepared what I can only say is a
18 draft. I -- it's right here in my hand but I wanted to proof it again
19 frankly before the next break if the Chamber would allow me.
20 JUDGE LIU: Of course, of course.
21 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.
22 JUDGE LIU: The problem is without the translation we could not
23 admit all those documents into evidence at this stage so I hope both
24 parties could submit their objections in written form concerning the other
25 side's documents tendered.
1 Mr. Krsnik, are you ready for your next witness?
2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Usher, would you please bring the witness in?
4 [The witness entered court]
5 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I can
7 hear you.
8 JUDGE LIU: Would you please take the solemn declaration, please?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 WITNESS: BOZO RAJIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE LIU: You may sit down, please.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
18 Examined by Mr. Krsnik:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness.
20 A. Good morning, Defence counsel.
21 Q. I know that this may be the first situation in which you have been
22 called as a witness to this Tribunal. Just relax. You'll get used to
23 this atmosphere. I will now give you a few instructions since we are
24 speaking the same language. You can check the terminal in front of you.
25 When the dot appears at the end of the sentence, it's a sign that it's the
1 end of a statement. Thank you.
2 A. Thank you.
3 Q. At the beginning, every witness is required to introduce himself.
4 Could you tell us where and when you were born, what education you have,
5 and where were you present in 1990, very briefly, please.
6 A. Your Honours, my name is Bozo Rajic, I was born on the 22nd of
7 July in 1943 in Kupres, Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'm married, a father of two
8 children, was never criminally punished and this is my first appearance
9 in front of this Tribunal. In the place in which I was born, I graduated
10 from the elementary school. I graduated in Bugojno from the economic,
11 technical secondary school. I became a graduate mechanical engineer in
12 the university of Stup. Before the war and after the war, I lived in
13 Kupres. I carried out all sorts of jobs and functions in the public
14 administration in financial, commercial affairs, et cetera.
15 Q. Could you tell me, until 1990, were you politically active?
16 A. Until the year 1990, I was not politically active in any way. I
17 was not a member of the then only political party, the League of
18 Communists of Yugoslavia.
19 Q. Why did you not become politically active? Did you not accept the
20 plan of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia?
21 A. There are many reasons. I'll try to focus on three. One, Marxism
22 as an ideology, as a view of life was in contradiction with my
23 understanding of the world relations between people and nations. The
24 second reason, Marxism, Marxism entailed membership in the League of
25 Communists, atheism -- very aggressive atheism was also entailed which is
1 in full disharmony with my Catholic upbringing and the third reason, the
2 Communist Party through its structure, its philosophy, and its internal
3 freedoms was stifling all sorts of creativity and I could not perform my
4 work without having the freedom of creative activity.
5 Q. Thank you. Were you activated in 1990 in political terms and if
6 you have become politically active at that time, within the framework of
7 which party and perhaps you could tell us in a few words how and where you
8 did it.
9 A. In 1990, the wave of democratic change also came to my father
10 land, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I decided to be a politically-active
11 person. First and foremost because I was convinced that every person with
12 democratic beliefs, a person who can help in creating life, can not remain
13 politically uncommitted and non-active. The reason to enter the party
14 which I opted for, the Croatian Democratic Community, was founded in my
15 political attitude towards the realities in which I was living, and my
16 desire for the realities to be improved.
17 Q. Could you tell us very briefly what functions, so as to inform the
18 Chamber very briefly about it, what were the functions that you were
19 performing in 1990 and onward?
20 A. In -- at that time, I performed a variety of functions, some of
21 them on a voluntary basis and others on a professional basis. In 1990, in
22 September, I was appointed chairman of the municipal committee of the
23 Croatian Democratic Community in Kupres. I was re-elected to the same
24 post at the beginning of 1992. After the war, and upon the occupation of
25 my town by the Serbian aggressor forces, I went to Montenegro first, to
1 Grude and then to Mostar. My first professional job that I was --
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
3 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. My apologies to Mr.
4 Krsnik and also to the witness, but a clarification. The English
5 translation that we are getting for the name of the organisation is
6 Croatian Democratic Community which is -- I want to make sure that I'm
7 understanding whether we are talking about the political party, the HDZ as
8 opposed to the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. It was my
9 understanding or belief that the English translation HDZ is Croatian
10 Democratic Union and if that's the party that we are talking about, I
11 think it would be of assistance to all of us.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, could you make some clarification for
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honours.
15 Q. You see, Witness, these translations are always a problem. Well
16 maybe not always a problem because the interpreters have a difficult job
17 to do. In fact, you spoke about a Croatian Democratic Union as a
18 political party that you were in fact the President of the municipal
19 committee of the HDZ. Could you please make it quite sure that
20 distinction is made between HDZ and HZHB?
21 A. Thank you, I will. So the first professional job that I took over
22 in the course of the war was assistant deputy commander of the defence
23 forces. I'm talking about the HZ HB of the Croatian Defence counsel. At
24 the end of 1992, I ceased performing this job and I was appointed Minister
25 of Defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I continued to perform
1 this function until the beginning of the summer in 1993, and then I was
2 appointed director general of the Herceg Bosnian press agency where I
3 performed my duty until the end of 1995. Then I was appointed Minister of
4 Reconstruction and Development in the government of the Herceg-Bosna
5 Republic of Herceg-Bosna and finally in January, 1996, I was appointed at
6 the assembly of the party, president of the Croatian Democratic Community
7 -- union, sorry, union, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I continued to perform
8 this function until May, 1996, and when my term of office expired, I did
9 not stand for re-election. I withdrew from political life. I remained a
10 member of HDZ without any political functions either in the party or in
11 the enforcement bodies of the HDZ. Thank you.
12 JUDGE LIU: Witness, I have to remind you that whatever you said
13 has to be translated into the other two languages. So take your time and
14 speak slowly. The interpreters had a difficult time to follow you.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I am
16 inexperienced in these matters.
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Rajic, I have to ask you again, here in the transcript it says
19 you were deputy commander of the HZ HB defence council. In fact, deputy
20 chief of the defence council. Is in fact this a military or a civilian
21 function? Could you describe for us this function?
22 A. In Croatian, the word "prestonic herda" [phoen] is below minister.
23 However, that department was responsible for defence-related matters. And
24 I was assistant head of the defence department.
25 Q. I'm sorry I have to interrupt you once again because the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 interpretation is wrong. Is it in Croatia or in Croatian language, the
3 A. I said, council in the Croatian language.
4 Q. Yes but we are sorry but what it says is in Croatia?
5 A. I believe I said all that is important regarding my activities
6 between 1998 --
7 Q. But was it a civilian or military duty; that was my last question
8 when you were the assistant head?
9 A. That was the defence department and I was one of the assistants
10 because there were a number of assistants.
11 THE INTERPRETER: And will the counsel also please break after the
12 witness's answer?
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Be so kind, Witness. Tell us what prompted you to join politics
15 or, rather, to become a member of the HDZ?
16 A. Of course, like everybody else, I had my political attitude
17 towards the most fundamental things in life. In the programme of the
18 Croat democratic union, I found three definitions which for me were of
19 outstanding importance. One, HDZ offered the reconciliation of the Croat
20 people, which, due to historical developments, notably in World War II,
21 was ideologically on two opposed sides and I knew that without
22 reconciliation, we stood no political chance and the HDZ was the only one
23 which offered that. The second definition in the programme was a clear
24 request to rearrange relations in the then state of Yugoslavia with a view
25 to much larger and fuller political and economic autonomy, degree of
1 autonomy of the republics without excluding the possibility of the
2 establishment of an independent Croat state. And the third reason, the
3 Croat democratic union was the only Croat party guaranteeing that it would
4 fight equally actively for the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 Q. Please, Mr. Rajic, and where did -- when did the establishment of
6 the HDZ in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina begin?
7 A. Well, it varied from municipality to municipality. In my
8 municipality, in Kupres, the party was established in early June, 1990.
9 In other municipalities I wouldn't know the details but be that as it may,
10 it was a time between April and September, 1990.
11 Q. Was there this party, I mean the HDZ autonomous, did it act
12 autonomously and in what areas?
13 A. May I remind you that at that time, there was a joint state called
14 Yugoslavia and that it was made of six republics and two autonomous
15 provinces. The HDZ was organised so as to be able to operate across the
16 state and it also did in the territory of two socialist republics, Croatia
17 and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 Q. Do you know whether other parties acted in the same manner, across
20 A. Yes. For instance, the party for democratic action, with its seat
21 in Sarajevo, and was active in Croatia and in Slovenia and in Serbia.
22 Q. Mr. Rajic, what were the principal definitions and programmatic
23 tasks of the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. Your Honours, I believe it is imperative to make -- to make an
25 explanation with regard to this answer. Namely, we who were carrying out
1 the programme of the democratic union of Bosnia-Herzegovina pursued goals
2 that were not very ambitious before the war. They were very modest,
3 that is, as measured with what would then happen during the war. Those
4 goals were the overthrow of the communist system, the establishment of a
5 democratic, pluralistic society, the transformation of nobodies, the
6 so-called socially-owned property into private property, promotion of
7 democracy, market, protection of human rights and freedoms, integration in
8 the western political and security system. I believe that these were
9 realistic expectations and they were not made of a maniac. However, the
10 war came and the war disrupted everything. And instead of peace time
11 goals, we had to look for solutions for what the war had brought about and
12 before it the imminent danger of war.
13 Q. Mr. Rajic, I was about to come to that. And tell us how was the
14 HDZ planning to regulate the relations? How was it planning to regulate
15 the relations within Bosnia-Herzegovina in its political programme? I
16 mean war and all the rest.
17 A. The Croat democratic union was well aware of the quality of the
18 territory in which it acted. We knew that Bosnia-Herzegovina was a
19 multi-ethnic community, that it has been one for centuries, but that there
20 was very seldom any equality in it. And that is why we thought that it
21 was imperative to organise Bosnia along democratic principles, starting
22 from a triconstitution says the witness and starting from the fact that in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina the constitutional basis was made of three equal
24 constituent peoples, Croats, Muslims, and Serbs. All our political
25 thinking respected the fact that there were three peoples who needed to be
1 ensured equal rights and equality of all citizens.
2 Q. And did the -- was the programme of the HDZ changed after the
3 establishment, so when you say you pursued the regulation of relations in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and my question relates to that.
5 A. Our principles never changed. We remained faithful to the option
6 that Bosnia-Herzegovina was the state of three peoples. But another
7 question was imposed on us when attempts to reorganise Yugoslavia failed,
8 how and where to place Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnic. As you know, we are not interested
10 in the political issues. What we want to know is the relations between
11 the three nationalities, the Croats, Muslims and Serbs, in the period of
12 1992 to 1993, in that area. And we are also curious to know how and in what
13 manner the witness was appointed as the defence minister at that time and
14 how the defence ministry was functioning at that period. We also want to
15 hear something about what happened in Mostar area during that period.
16 This is what we want to hear.
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, by all means, Your Honours.
18 However, -- well, I have to answer it. It is very difficult to understand
19 the relations between these three peoples unless you hear what were the
20 political platforms of these three peoples. It is difficult to understand
21 things that followed unless we make the introduction. And I tried to make
22 my questions as brief as possible so as to get the answer, that is, will
23 be as brief as possible and I shall now move to the developments in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina later on but you will see by the -- by what the witness
25 said that I've satisfied the criteria because with these witnesses not to
1 waste too much time in order to be able to cover as many topics as
2 possible, so I'm trying to do it --
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I'm just asking you to move on.
4 JUDGE CLARK: While we are on the history of the former
5 Yugoslavia, you said something very interesting, Mr. Rajic. You said that
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina had been multi-ethnic for centuries, but there was
7 little equality. Now, before you go on to deal with the area of conflicts
8 that we are concerned with, could you elucidate a little on that, that
9 there was little equality? Who was on top and who was on the bottom, and
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
12 Q. You heard the question of Her Honour. Will you answer it?
13 A. Yes, Your Honour. I shall be happy to answer to the best of my
15 For the past 500 years, Bosnia and Herzegovina has never lived
16 as a free state, as its peoples and citizens would like it to. Its
17 history unfortunately is the history of occupation, protectorates or
18 dictatorships. As of 1463, when Bosnia was conquered by the Ottoman
19 forces, that is the Turkish empire, until the arrival of Austro-Hungary.
20 JUDGE CLARK: Sorry. I didn't mean you to go back that far. All
21 I wanted you to deal with was the modern Yugoslavia, the modern former
22 Yugoslavia, say since the end of the Second World War but not -- we know
23 the history is very involved and fascinating but I just want to deal with
24 in your life time. Thank you, and I'm sorry for interrupting you.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I merely
1 wanted to make this detour to remind you that for the past 500 years,
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina was not -- has not been a free country. And as for the
3 relations among its peoples, in the state in which I lived until 1990,
4 from the formal point of view and legal point of view, they were equal,
5 but all of us who lived in Yugoslavia or more specifically in Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, know that it was a state where the Serbs dominated and the
7 state of the dictatorship of the communist oligarchy. For instance, the
8 constitutional -- the constitution laid it out that every people and every
9 individual had the right to use his own or its own language, but I know
10 and it is common knowledge that thousands of Croats in Yugoslavia and in
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina were brought to court because they had requested
12 the equality for their mother tongue. The same held true of the
13 representation in the most important bodies of state authority. The armed
14 forces, the police, the foreign service, the customs, banks, large
15 companies. They were all, by and large, controlled by Serbs. These are
16 facts which I know, which I experienced in my life.
17 JUDGE CLARK: Thank you very much. That's the first time anybody
18 has actually told us that very simple fact. I didn't know until you
19 started whether you were going to say the Muslims were in control or the
20 Serbs. Thank you. Mr. Krsnik, it's your witness now, sorry.
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, but you lead
22 me. Yes, sometimes I do veer off the topic and you bring me back to the
23 topic and thank you very much.
24 Q. Let us move faster forward, Mr. Rajic. Developments which ensued,
25 can you describe briefly the events of 1990, of 1990, 1991; what were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the demands for the political solution of the dominant peoples and then we
2 shall move on towards 1992.
3 A. Well, it is difficult to describe such a hard situation in a few
4 words but I will do my best. Therefore, I said that other peoples, except
5 the Serbs in Yugoslavia, wanted Yugoslavia to be organised as a
6 confederation and that the republics be granted more political and
7 economic room. The Serbs, lead by Serbia and Montenegro, and with the
8 clear support of the former Yugoslav People's Army, refused any form of
9 the establishment of equality of the republics and peoples. And when all
10 the attempts to arrive at a democratic solution failed, first the Slovenes
11 and then the Croats used their right to self-determination and voted for
12 their independence and sovereignty, whereupon the greater Serbian politics
13 responded with an open aggression, with a brutal aggression, which was
14 preceded by a fictitious war in Slovenia and in 1991, Croatia was
15 devastated, its cities burned, its population was expelled, and when the
16 international institutions tried to help, decisions were taken which were
17 good at first glance for the army to pull out from Slovenia and Croatia.
18 Q. Which army, excuse me?
19 A. The Yugoslav army.
20 Q. Well, you have to say it every time, please?
21 A. The Yugoslav army. However, it was bad and fateful that it pulled
22 out or rather moved house to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In parallel with
23 that, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serb Democratic Party performed
25 Q. Will you please explain what autonomisation means?
1 A. This is a procedure which the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina used to
2 proclaim Serb autonomous regions, in which their guiding principle was
3 that where there are 5 per cent of Serbs or where there is a Serb temple,
4 that is a church, then that is then -- that that then belongs to Serbs.
5 The Yugoslav army armed them openly and to us, the Croats in
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Croat democratic union, were quite clear that
7 aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina would ensue and that we had to do
8 something to protect the Croat people biologically against disappearance,
9 especially bearing in mind the fact that Slovenia and Croatia had become
10 autonomous, had split away from Yugoslavia. So, counsel, this is the
11 briefest possible explanation.
12 Q. Let us move on. What was the first act of aggression in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina and how were -- what was the attitude of other parties
14 towards this act and how did other parties react towards the aggression
15 against Croatia?
16 A. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, at that time, there were three relevant
17 political parties: The Serb Democratic Party, the party for democratic
18 action and the Croat democratic union. Of them, each one of them brought
19 together a number of [indiscernible] part of the representatives of its
20 people. The attitude of the Serb Democratic Party to the aggression
21 against Croatia was identical with the attitude of all other Serb parties
22 in the -- in rump Yugoslavia and that part of the Serbian political
23 leadership, which the Serb political leadership which organised the
24 insurgence in the Republic of Croatia. The Croat democratic union of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina deeply sympathised with the sufferings of that part of
1 the Croat people, which lived in the Republic of Croatia, and the Croats
2 volunteers -- I mean them amongst the Croats, went to help in the defence
3 of Croatia.
4 Q. You mean volunteers from the present Bosnia-Herzegovina, going to
5 the present Republic of Croatia, is it?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You have to bear this in mind. It is difficult to follow us who
8 know all about the events we experienced, unlike those who did not
9 experience them. So you have to be clear.
10 A. Thank you very much. So Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, those who
11 lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina, organised themselves in groups and went as
12 volunteers to help the defence of the Republic of Croatia against Serbia's
13 and Montenegro's aggression and the so-called Yugoslav People's Army.
14 Unfortunately, I cannot gloss over the fact in silence that the party for
15 democratic action, as the leading political force of the Muslims in Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina, had pursued an inconsistent policy waivering and giving
17 painful evidence with regard to the war in Croatia. When I say painful,
18 then I mean that it was painful for us, the Croats, for whom
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina is their homeland.
20 Q. Excuse me. What was this manifestation? How did it manifest
22 A. It is common knowledge that Mr. Izetbegovic, in his dual role,
23 lacked the President of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
24 president of the party for democratic action stated that the war
25 in Croatia, that is the aggression on Croatia is not our, meaning people
1 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, not our war. This was followed by a statement in
2 which Bosnia and Herzegovina -- in which the neutrality of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina was proclaimed in which he put it the Serbo-Croatian
4 war, the war between Serbs and Croats, which is completely inaccurate and
5 of questionable moral value, because it is common knowledge that that was
6 not the war between the Serbs and the Croats but the aggression against
7 Croats and their young state. And finally, the party for democratic
8 action -- neither the party for democratic action nor the authorities in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina did anything and nor did they react honourably, respond
10 honourably, after the first act of aggression against Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina, when the so-called JNA and the Serbia reservists attacked,
12 destroyed and burned down the Croat village of Ravno in the southeast of
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina and when the entire and exclusively Croat
14 population was driven out.
15 Q. Can we now see tapes number 1 and number 2?
16 [Videotape played]
17 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Lack of respect of ceasefire and new
18 mobilisations on both sides, both here and Bosnia and Herzegovina and on
19 the other side of the Sava and the Una are harbingers of more blood
20 shed. Our duty, the duty of the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina would be
21 to stop the bloodshed at all costs. However, as you could see, this was
22 not in our power, nor could this be done by others who are more powerful
23 so we cannot do this. What we can do is to refuse to participate in this
24 madness. This is why, starting with the sovereignty of the republic, the
25 views and stance of the Presidency and certainly interpreting the will of
1 a vast majority of the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I hereby proclaim
2 the neutrality of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Unfortunately today the time has
3 come for us to need more courage to save peace than to participate in war.
4 I would like to invite you to use this courage and to refuse to
5 participate in this war. Beware of the fact this is not our war. We know
6 what is our objective. This is not our army and they have to withdraw.
7 Behind Listica, the row of passenger cars, trucks, et cetera,
8 starts and continues all the way to Polog.
9 We will stay here until they come back. The citizens have doubts
10 as to the goodwill of the army, asking them why did you stop the tanks?
11 They responded why so many tanks? Why here? The commander repeats
12 yesterday's statement, we are moving towards the Bomisca Polje [phoen]
13 Area. He thanks the republics and the municipal officials for trying to
14 simmer down the situation. It turned out that the people at large do not
15 want to enter a conflict, be brought into a conflict. Throughout the
16 night, we had very good contacts and we went there without any incidents.
17 It's difficult to estimate the number of the people who have gathered
18 here, more and more people are coming in from the neighbouring villages,
19 from here the army can only retreat and cannot proceed forward.
20 It is for the third day that here in Polog, the army and the
21 people are on the same positions. Nobody is willing to move. We've today
22 heard that parachutists came to Vranica, around 1300 hours, Stjepan
23 Kljujic, Jure Pelivan, Alija Izetbegovic and others came here to persuade
24 the people to move and let the army through. You must have confidence in
25 me because I was in prison for nine years as a young person for three
1 years, and six years as an old man, I never wanted a pardon, and I cannot
2 betray you. I can assure you of that.
3 Thank you very much. Thank you very much. What I want to say is
4 I may make a mistake, I'm trying to judge things as a human being and I
5 believe that you should let the tanks through to allow the army to do
6 their job.
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I think this is where we can stop.
8 Thank you.
9 Q. Mr. Rajic, could you explain to the Chamber in what year, if you
10 can recall, this statement was made by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic about
11 neutrality, his statement, this is not our war? Well this is the first
12 question. What was the year the statement was made? Did you see the
13 programme yourself on TV?
14 A. Yes. I watched it on TV, in the news, and similar programmes,
15 broadcast by the television companies of Sarajevo and Zagreb and I think
16 that this statement was made towards the end of 1991, when the war broke
17 out in Croatia.
18 Q. Could you tell us, in this second part, Listica was mentioned.
19 What is the -- where is Listica, what is it? This second part of the tape
20 showed us the tanks and Listica was mentioned.
21 A. Listica is another name used for Siroki Brijeg and this took place
22 in the village of Polog on the road between Mostar and Siroki Brijeg, and
23 it happened in May, 1991.
24 Q. Have you ever heard that Listica is a Muslim name for Siroki
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. This is nonsense. Listica is the river that flows through Siroki
3 Q. I apologise for interrupting you. So you told us the year and the
4 place where it was made. What was the problem with the JNA tanks and why
5 did the people gather there to stop them?
6 A. Can my terminal be put on once again, please?
7 Q. Can you push button number 4?
8 A. Thank you. The events of May, 1991, in the village of Polog where
9 a row of tanks of the JNA were stopped by the Croatian people.
10 Unannounced, with uncovered barrels and with live ammunition, the row was
11 headed -- of tanks was heading towards a location and a destination that
12 nobody was sure about. There were two versions. According to the first,
13 they wanted to cross the Imotski and were aiming towards Split.
14 Q. Imotski and Split were in which country?
15 A. In the Republic of Croatia, towards the municipality of Kupres,
16 i.e., towards the place of my birth. People did not let the tanks through
17 without an explanation as to where they were heading and why.
18 Q. Did Alija Izetbegovic convince the people who gathered there and
19 was this the Croats who were there that he addressed and when these Alija,
20 Alija exclamations were made, was this by the Croatian people?
21 A. The municipality of Siroki Brijeg and its neighbouring
22 municipalities are territories with almost 100 per cent Croat population.
23 The people who gathered in front of the tanks were absolutely, exclusively
24 the Croats, and they manifested decent, good respect of the President of
25 the Presidency, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, and they manifested their respect
1 for him and trust in him. However, they still refused to let the army
3 Q. In the end, did the row of tanks get through after
4 Mr. Izetbegovic's statement and to your knowledge, what happened with
5 those tanks afterwards?
6 A. Yes. I'm familiar with that. People were convinced that they
7 were heading for drill and exercise to take place in the Kupresko Polje
8 field. They went on and stopped in the area around the Serbian villages
9 of Gornji and Donji Malovan in the municipality of Kupres. And this is
10 where they stayed until the beginning of the winter. Given the fact that
11 I lived there, I know that due to their presence, every access to the
12 forests there was blocked and that they fully armed the Serb population of
14 Q. Did they attack Kupres, and what happened in Kupres?
15 A. Not at that time. They did not attack it at that time.
16 Q. Yes. I understand.
17 A. However, the attack did take place on April 3, 1993, and after
18 fierce resistance, which together with the Muslims of Kupres, we waged,
19 the Serbian forces occupied Kupres on the night of April 6 to 7 in 1992.
20 Q. What about the Serb population?
21 A. The Serb population to the very last individual were expelled,
22 their properties were looted. Their houses and properties burnt down.
23 And what was not burned was later disassembled and taken away.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
25 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, and again apologies to
1 counsel and to the witness, I'm not certain whether we've got the record
2 correctly. The English translation indicates that the attack took place
3 on the 3rd of April, 1993, and then the next line down the Serbian forces
4 occupied Kupres on the night of April 6 to 7, 1992. So could we just be
5 precise in what year we are talking about, please?
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the first and the
8 second time, the witness said 1992. Perhaps the interpreters didn't hear
9 it well enough.
10 Q. Let me repeat the question, Witness. When was Kupres attacked for
11 the sake of the transcription, please? Was that in 1992 or in 1993?
12 A. Well, I hope that we understand the difference between the
13 beginning of the war and/or the attack, and the occupation of the town by
14 the Serbian army.
15 Q. Which year did this happen in?
16 A. 1992.
17 Q. So the attack on the 3rd and the 4th and occupation on the 6th and
18 the 7th?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Very well. Can you explain to us under what circumstances and how
21 the HZ HB was established, when it was established for what reasons, is
22 this a state, is it an association, what is HZ HB? Could you please
23 explain this to the Chamber?
24 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Krsnik, while we are talking about the
25 translation, it doesn't make sense what the witness has said in
1 translation, that the town of Kupres was occupied after joint resistance
2 and then all the Serb villagers were dismantled. It's the Serbs who --
3 let me see. The Serb population to the very last individual was expelled,
4 their properties were looted, their houses and properties burnt down.
5 Could that possibly be right?
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] We said non-Serbian population,
8 JUDGE CLARK: That makes sense because it didn't translate that
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Mrs. Pinter has been requested to
11 draw my attention to the transcript. I certainly am trying to focus upon
12 the examination of the witness. But I am aware of the fact that we have
13 to be very careful. I've noticed it the first time. I know that it's
14 difficult for the interpreters sometimes to interpret another language.
15 You know, even those of us who speak the same language sometimes are not
16 paying enough attention.
17 Q. So can you please slow down? Can you focus, Witness, because this
18 will also facilitate the work to our interpreters whose job is difficult?
19 And they are performing it with a desire towards a mutual satisfaction.
20 So we started with a question and how HZ HB was established, under what
21 circumstances, how, and then to explain to the Chamber was this a state?
22 Was this another community? What it was?
23 A. Earlier ago, answering one of your questions, I spoke about the
24 circumstances which led to the aggression against the Republic of
25 Croatia. And the announcement of a certain attack against
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina to ensue. While the Serb aggression was destroying
2 Croatia, the Serb Democratic Party in Bosnia-Herzegovina performed a
3 practical secession of about two-thirds of the state territory. It
4 provided weapons to the Serbian population and sent out clear threats that
5 through a war, Bosnia-Herzegovina will be affiliated with Yugoslavia.
6 Furthermore, I emphasised that the legal government of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina and the Presidency, through their indetermination and
8 indecisive policy, were not a source of confidence either. They were
9 playing around with the idea of a rump Yugoslavia, of an asymmetric model
10 of regulations of relationships which certainly only gave to further
11 concern and threat among the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who, under no
12 circumstances, wanted to stay in a Yugoslavia upon Slovenia's and
13 Croatia's secession from Yugoslavia.
14 We were aware of the severity of destructions in Croatia.
15 Thousands and thousands of people were expelled, homeless people, and the
16 final breakdown in the defences of Vukovar made it quite clear to us that
17 we have to do something on our own. As a witness of those times in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I must say, very sincerely, that I did not believe in
19 the ability of the legal authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to be able to
20 organise and efficiency resist an aggression.
21 Q. Mr. Rajic, I'll interrupt you here because I think this is the
22 time of the break.
23 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that I'm
24 right. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will resume at quarter to 11.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.16 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
3 JUDGE LIU: Bring the witness in, please.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Rajic, I have been requested once again by the interpreters to
6 observe this break between the end of one statement and the beginning of
7 another. I know that I'm the main culprit, much more than you. And we
8 will focus. And whenever you mention a concept, would you please be kind
9 enough to explain it to us?
10 Distinguished Mr. Rajic, so we discussed the causes for the
11 establishment of HZ HB. You told us in an introduction a few things about
12 it. Tell me now, whether the reason for the establishment of the HZ HB
13 was a search for the best model of self-organisation or was it something
15 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, I object to the leading
16 form of the question.
17 JUDGE LIU: You may put it another way.
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I apologise. I'll put it another
20 Q. Well, generally speaking, what were the foundations for the
21 establishment of the HZ HB, very briefly?
22 A. Yes. Earlier, I described the circumstances prevailing during the
23 war in Croatia, and about the atmosphere that was present in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we were fully aware
25 that the aggression against a part of the Croatian people living in the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Republic of Croatia will not stop there, and that the Croats and the
2 Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina will also soon be attacked by the same
3 aggressor. The Serbs had already withdrawn from the main authorities and
4 bodies of the legal authorities. The entire constitutional system of the
5 defence, through the institutions of the so-called Territorial Defence,
6 lost its reason to exist. Under these constitutional stipulations, we
7 were supposed to defend the country, which will attack us, because it had
8 already attacked the other republics. We were supposed to defend, on a
9 joint basis, Bosnia-Herzegovina, all its peoples, and all its citizens,
10 and yet we were a witness of an attack from within, preparations for an
11 attack from within by the Serbs. The authorities were not providing any
12 guarantees as to what would be the response to that, and this situation we
13 gathered on the 18th of November, 1991, the legally elected
14 representatives of the Croat people in the parliamentary bodies of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a purpose of seeking the best manner possible of
16 organising ourselves with the aim of defending the lives and the
17 territories of the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 This, Your Honours, has been the crux of our motives.
19 Q. Tell us, what could have been the alternative, had you not done
21 A. The alternative was horrible, massive deaths of people,
22 destructions, expulsions, possibly in a very black scenario even the
23 disappearance of the Croat nation in -- from the territories of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but it seems to me that I still owe you an answer to
25 an earlier -- to your earlier question.
1 Q. Go ahead.
2 A. Your question was whether the Croat community of Herceg-Bosna was
3 a state, an association, or something of a different kind. I'm one of the
4 participants of the very foundation and establishment of the HDZ and I'd
5 like to assure you, Your Honours, that the only motive that we had in
6 establishing it was the desire to establish a form which would prevent the
7 genocide of the Croatian people to take place in this country. No other
8 state was implied, although I know that there were subsequent attempts of
9 reinterpretation along these lines.
10 Q. Mr. Rajic, in the transcript, once again, we have instead of HZ
11 HB, HDZ. So I have to ask you, in connection with your answer earlier
12 ago, are you one of the founders of HDZ or HZ HB?
13 A. I'm the founder of both, but in my last answer, I emphasised that
14 I am one of the founders of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna, which
15 happened on the 18th of November in 1991, at Grude.
16 Q. Mr. Rajic, at that time, what was the legal and statutory position
17 of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
18 A. At that time, in those months, Bosnia-Herzegovina was still the
19 socialist republic, as part of the Socialist Federal Republic of
21 Q. Did it ask for independence? Did it get independence, so that we
22 could define it as a sovereign entity?
23 A. No. At that period, Croatia and Slovenia had already voted for
24 their independence.
25 Q. I apologise for interrupting you. Were they also recognised as
1 such by the international community?
2 A. That is what I was going to say. It was announced that they would
3 be recognised, these two states, but they had not been recognised as yet.
4 While Bosnia-Herzegovina had not undertaken a single step or measure
5 following the provisions of the constitution, to exercise its right to
6 become an independent and autonomous state.
7 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, there is no dispute on those facts.
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Let us now proceed to specific questions concerning HZ HB, and let
10 me ask you what territory does HZ HB cover and to whom does its authority
12 A. The Croat community of Herceg-Bosna covers the territories of the
13 municipalities of central and southern Bosnia, 30 of them, and six in
14 northern Bosnia, which is usually referred to as the Posavina. But I wish
15 to emphasise that we are referring to the territories of the
16 municipalities and not the municipalities in their entirety.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
18 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, again, Mr. President. I think it's very
19 important that the record be precise in terms of the names of the various
20 organisations, entities, et cetera. Now, on line ten of page 27, the
21 translation is a reference to the Croat community of Herceg Bosnia and I
22 think it should be Croat or Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna which is an
23 important distinction in my view and certainly is one that ought to be
24 made consistently in the record to distinguish between the HZ HB Croatian
25 Community of Herceg-Bosna and some other territory of Bosnia or the
1 Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina. It may be insignificant to some but for
2 me and for the record I think is an important point that the English
3 transcript always correctly identify these entities with precision and so
4 I'm asking if we could clarify that, make sure again we are talking about
5 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, there should be some consistency in using
7 of the terms. Maybe, Mr. Krsnik, you could make some clarification for
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honours. But
10 the transcript is always -- the transcript always follows the sentences
11 said by the witness, but I will now try to clarify it.
12 Q. You just heard the objection raised by our learned friends. Can
13 you please clear the matter up?
14 A. Yes, of course. The Croat community Herceg-Bosna is not a party,
15 but an organisational form which brought together Croats and their
16 activities in a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a view to preparing
17 the defence, and it always includes the inverse form of the name of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Because we first have the word Herceg and then Bosna
19 in the second place. And I think that is how you can easily tell it apart
20 from the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a
21 political party on the turf of the entire Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Q. And did all the parties and people outside parties participate in
23 the establishment of the HZ HB bodies in its organisation and so on and so
25 A. The Croat community Herceg-Bosna, as I understand it, and the
1 terms of its acts, is the -- an initiative of all the Croats in Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina, a comprehensive initiative, an all round initiative of
3 Croats, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to organise themselves against -- in the
4 face of the law make aggression and to sustain the vital functions
5 of the people's life, until such time when an integral and stable state
6 could begin to operate.
7 Q. Tell us, what was the attitude towards the Muslims in the HZ HB?
8 A. Our attitude towards the Muslims, not only the Croat community
9 Herceg-Bosna but also towards the Muslims in general, was sincere,
10 friendly, and based on -- and cooperative. We knew that the aggressor had
11 intended for us the same fates, the same fate, and that only if we were
12 together, we stood a chance.
13 Q. And what -- will you tell me if I put it to you, that in this
14 courtroom, we had witnesses who belonged to the Muslim people and who said
15 here that they had been discriminated against, fired from their jobs, from
16 their schools, universities, from work. What would you say to that?
17 A. In the name of the truth, one can -- there is only one possible
18 answer, that is not true. There may have been some individual excesses
19 but I do not know of any such examples from those pre-war days. What I
20 can attest to before this Honourable Court is that with the Muslims in
21 almost all the areas where we lived in mixed communities, we cooperated to
22 the maximum possible extent in our preparations of the defence and that
23 numerous Muslims worked at universities, schools, courts, and later on,
24 including in the Main Staff of the Croat Defence Council, and there was a
25 large number of them who fought in Croat units, that is in the Croat
1 Defence Council.
2 As for the jobs, one must realise that there was a war
3 on, that the enemy was laying [indiscernible] everything and that includes
4 economy, and that people went to defend their homes, their families, their
5 people, that factories closed down, and that everybody lost their jobs
6 regardless of their religious, ethnic or political affiliation and to make
7 the truth complete, I must say that the situation was quite the reverse.
8 In the areas where the Muslims constituted a majority, and it is quite
9 natural that a larger share in all the offices is allotted to the majority
10 people on both sides.
11 Q. Tell us, now, the distinction between the HZ HB and the HDZ, as a
12 political party. Are there any constant features in their political
13 thinking, if you know anything about that?
14 A. Yes, although life is dynamic and although everything is subject
15 to change. And so is the politics subject to change, because of the
16 changed conditions. So this also applied to the politics of the Croat
17 Democratic Union and the practice of the Croat community Herceg-Bosna.
18 There are, however, two constant features which remained unchanged ever
19 since day one and to this day, and I believe that will also hold true of
20 the future. First, we believed that peace was superseded every other
21 interest and we tried to pursue that political ideal. Regrettably, we did
22 not succeed in that, or at least not enough.
23 And the second principle, which I personally respect very much, is
24 that in Bosnia-Herzegovina, then, now, and in any future, the relations
25 must be based on absolutely equal rights and identical solutions for all
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 three peoples. These, sir, are political constants.
2 Q. And the issue regarding staying in Yugoslavia or the rump
4 A. Yes. That is, I say, a derived question -- a derivative question
5 and this situation which emerged, and that is why I pointed out
6 the differences between the pre-war and war objectives of my party. We
7 wanted Yugoslavia to be reorganised into a democratic state, community,
8 with much looser ties as regards the central authority, but the Serbs
9 refused it by offering the majority, as reflected in the principle "one
10 citizen-one vote." We considered this unacceptable in a multi-ethnic
11 state. When the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia gained
12 their independence, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and their
13 vanguard, the party, that is, the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, took a very firm position. Bosnia and Herzegovina should not
15 and may not remain within the rump Yugoslavia under clear Serb
17 Q. Very well, Mr. Rajic. Thank you for these answers. Let us move
18 on. Tell us what do you know about Tudjman, Izetbegovic agreement on the
19 20th of July, 1991? I will ask the usher. [In English] This is Exhibit
21 [Interpretation] Witness, I don't know if you've read it. Are you
22 familiar with this agreement?
23 A. Yes, I am.
24 Q. What is it about? What is it about? What was it that was agreed
1 A. I'm aware of this agreement, of the 21st of July, sir, not the
3 Q. I'm sorry, it was my mistake?
4 A. Of 1991, I've known about it before. This is not the first time
5 that I see it but now it has refreshed three details, and I believe it is
6 important to point them out before this Honourable Court.
7 First, measures of joint defence were agreed upon, and I deem it
8 of utmost importance for the further development of events and relations.
9 Secondly, the Croat Defence Council, as the armed force of the
10 defence of the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was recognised as a
11 lawful formation, jointly with the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, serving
12 the defence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity.
13 And thirdly, under item 1 of this agreement, it is established
14 that the two republics agree that in the -- that the future state order of
15 the -- of Bosnia-Herzegovina will be governed by the principle of equal
16 rights of the three constituent peoples, Muslims, Croats and Serbs, and
17 the constitutional order will be founded on the constituent entities and
18 which, when established, meaning constituent units, when establishing the
19 constituent units, note will be taken, and I have to warn you of the order
20 of words, ethnic, historical, cultural, economic, transportation and other
22 Q. Tell us, who took part in the defence of the lands of the Republic
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992?
24 A. These are two completely, fully lawful, fully legal, armed
25 formations, bringing together, to an overwhelming degree, representatives
1 of two peoples. The army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina made
2 predominantly of representatives of the Muslim people, and the Croat
3 Defence Council, likewise made predominantly of members of the Croat
4 people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Needless to say, along side them, the
5 police forces are also fighting as linked with these two organisations --
6 with these two formations, and they also incorporate members of other
7 peoples, ethnic minorities, and even Serbs. But also individual groups of
9 Q. And which were these groups of volunteers, in the HVO, that is the
10 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
11 A. I have already spoken how, at the time of the aggression against
12 the Republic of Croatia, many Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
13 diaspora the world over, went of their own will to assist the defence of
14 the Republic of Croatia, and they joined the local army and police
15 formations. When Bosnia-Herzegovina was attacked, many of them, a vast
16 majority, who had left Bosnia and Herzegovina, went back to defend their
17 homes, their families, their Croat people, and their homeland, Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina. On the other hand, based on the principles of solidarity,
19 compassion and sympathy with the Muslim people in Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 and its army, the Muslim people and their army were helped by members of
21 different peoples from different parts of the world, and in particular,
22 from Islamic countries, and it is very important to emphasise that in the
23 early stages of the war, that is the aggression against
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, neither the Bosniaks, that is later on the Bosniaks,
25 now the Muslims, nor the Croats had no difficulty with that. Quite the
2 Q. You mean that view changed subsequently?
3 A. Yes, unfortunately. Yes, unfortunately. Those views changed
4 radically later on and certain political representatives of the Muslim
5 people in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the media connected to them endeavoured
6 and some are doing it to this day, to -- in view of the fact that the HVO
7 incorporated volunteers, some of whom had come from Croatia, they tried on
8 the basis of that to build up an accusation of the Republic of Croatia's
9 involvement in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. Mr. Rajic, we have to speed up this and let us move to another
11 topic and I want to ask you about the referendum, and my question to you
12 is what was your attitude to the referendum and what was its outcome? Let
13 us tell the Court something about those issues.
14 A. Counsel, sir, I apologise if I'm slowing down this trial. You and
15 Their Honours may do something to speed it up. I have already said
16 earlier, and may I remind you of this, that for the Croat people in Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina, following the independence of Slovenia and Croatia, that
18 to stay in Yugoslavia was absolutely unacceptable for them. In the steps
19 of this option, the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina led by the Croat
20 Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in an overwhelming majority of
21 them participated in the referendum on the independence and sovereignty of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and only for the sake of illustration, I need to say
23 that the percentage of those who voted in the referendum, that is the
24 percentage of Croats, as against the percentage of Muslims who voted in
25 the referendum, was incomparably higher in favour of the former, of
1 the Croats. And one other fact which is the material, the substantive
2 truth. Alongside the well known view of the Serbs, without the votes of
3 the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina would be --
4 would not be able to achieve its sovereignty and independence in any way.
5 Q. Let us try to move on faster. Tell us, what preceded the war on a
6 broader scale after the referendum? Perhaps we can also proceed to the
7 topic of widespread war but limit ourselves to the Muslims and the Croats?
8 A. Yes, but you will allow me, Your Honours, at least a small detour
9 without which it is very difficult to answer this question. Now, as I see
10 things, and on the basis of my experience, the war between Muslims and
11 Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina was generated by the injustice towards
12 these two peoples done by the Serb aggressors with inactive measures by
13 the international community, on the one hand, and disagreements between
14 the representatives of the two peoples concerned, concerning a model of an
15 internal organisation and order in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Q. Allow me to interrupt you. Tell me, in this Court, we often heard
17 that this also had to do with the referendum, the so-called Livno issue,
18 on the eve of all these events. The Livno issue concerning the question
19 which the voters had to decide about at the referendum. Could you explain
20 us this? Because other witnesses have testified to these circumstances
21 and we are interested in your opinion. The Prosecutor tried to allege
22 that the HDZ wanted a different question to be put at the referendum which
23 would lead to a secession.
24 A. No, no. This claim is not correct, is not true, and for everybody
25 to understand what this is all about, I shall repeat something. The
1 Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in their entirety, almost 100 per cent of
2 them, were in favour of the independence and autonomy of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, which would have no political and/or legal ties whatsoever
4 with the then-rump or any other future Yugoslavia. However, the fact that
5 we were in favour of a sovereign, democratic and independent Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina did not imply, and I know that it doesn't imply it even today,
7 that the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina would accept any type of Bosnia
8 and Herzegovina. We believed before the referendum that it was very
9 important indeed for the sake of the future of that country, and for the
10 sake of relations between Muslims and Croats, at the very referendum, to
11 resolve the question of the future of the country and its internal
12 structure and system.
13 This is why we were not happy with the fact that the question put
14 at the referendum adopted by the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina as such,
15 and in favour of which voted also the representatives of the Croat people
16 in their entirety, did not define and determine the internal contents of
17 this common state. This is why, on the 9th of February, 1992, in Livno, a
18 meeting was held of the central committee of the Croat Democratic Union of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, during which it was decided that an attempt be made to
20 change, to correct, the question to be put at the referendum so that it
21 provide an answer, also to this question, as to what will be the internal
22 structure and system of this state.
23 This Livno question, it is usually referred to as such, was
24 approximately as follows: Are you in favour of a sovereign and
25 independent Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state community of three
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 sovereign and constituent peoples with equal rights, namely of Croats,
2 Muslims and Serbs, organised within their ethnic territories, in brackets,
3 cantons? Unfortunately, this additional definition of a state was not
4 adopted under the need to save Bosnia and Herzegovina and to prevent its
5 further existence within Yugoslavia, we appealed to the people to vote at
6 the referendum. We voted in favour of its independence. We are conscious
7 of major uncertainties that still had to be clarified.
8 This is why, Your Honours, it is my belief, and I put it to you
9 that this question was not, nor could it be, a question in the function of
10 any disintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the contrary, it had to
11 serve as additional binding force and substance of the new state. And
12 later, the non-acceptance of fair discussions concerning this question by
13 the representatives of Bosnian Muslims had become one of the causes of
14 war, not the single one but one of them.
15 Q. Let us go back to the question, what preceded a wide-spread war
16 between Croats and Muslims so that we can continue along these lines?
17 Very briefly, please.
18 A. Very briefly, given the differences and diversities described,
19 certain local officials wanted to set up a system the way they understood
20 it and saw it. And certain minor conflicts arose at the level of
21 incidents. On three occasions, in Prozor, in Gornji Vakuf and in Travnik
22 -- Novi Travnik, I am familiar with this because I was a participant in
23 mixed Croat-Muslim delegations that went into the field towards the end of
24 1992 with the aim of stopping these conflicts and unblocking the roads and
25 other transportation lines. Widespread war has a wider explanation.
1 Q. Can we then say something about the generators of those conflicts,
2 as you see them?
3 A. This entire gamut of possibilities is something that I will try to
4 narrow down into two theses or, rather, statements. The first one is the
5 following. When the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, within the aggression by
6 the JNA, by Serbia and Montenegro, and with an active role played by
7 already-separated Serbs within Bosnia-Herzegovina, expelled and ethnically
8 cleansed people from large territories in eastern and parts of western
9 Bosnia, a flood of hundreds of thousands of Muslims was pushed against,
10 literally pushed against, a very small territory basically along the
11 valleys of the rivers Bosna, Lasva, Vrbas and Neretva. Although a large
12 number of these misfortunate people, as refugees, found their shelters in
13 the Republic of Croatia and in a variety of west European countries,
14 nonetheless, a vast majority of them were congested in this area, together
15 with the local indigenous Muslims and Croats. Roughly speaking, about 70
16 per cent of the population of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time were living
17 very closely together in slightly more than one-third of the territory of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. A new category, psychological new category developed,
19 which I myself usually referred to as the density of life. The balance,
20 in terms of ethnic structure that had existed, was significantly
21 disrupted. People felt anxious and lost. I'm primarily referring to the
22 Muslims but I'm also talking about Croats.
23 Unfortunately the international community did not give a great
24 deal of hope to anybody. It behaved in a pragmatic manner. It led us to
25 believe that it either cannot or is not willing to stop the Serb military
1 machine, and that it recognised the result of the war, the genocide and
2 ethnic cleansing. Given this psychological atmosphere, people in this
3 territory -- as this is my profound belief -- more out of desperation than
4 for any other reason, started to fight for the remaining living space.
5 This is the first fact that generated the war, and I'll very
6 briefly now touch upon the second one. I spoke about it before.
7 The lack of agreement between the representatives of Muslims and
8 Croats concerning the system and structure, internal system and structure
9 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in due course became an ever-more prominent
10 cause of war. Muslims insisted on a civic model of a state, which in a
11 multi-ethnic community practically would imply the demand for a
12 predominant position, not acceptable to a people with a smaller number of
13 members, such as Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Croats, on the other hand,
14 insisted that Bosnia and Herzegovina internally be regulated as a complex
15 state mechanism whereby it was not important at all whether this
16 complexity is the result of the fact that there were republics, cantons,
17 provinces or something similar.
18 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Rajic. I didn't want to interrupt you
19 with subquestions but then you answered them in advance and corroborated
20 your statements before. We are now entering the year 1993 and the first
21 question would be: What is the relationship between HZ HB towards the
22 peace initiatives or all the measures and steps undertaken by the
23 international community? What were the peace initiatives very briefly?
24 Can you describe it to us, which will enable me to skip some of the
25 shorter questions. It will, however, enlighten us, both the Chamber and
1 everybody else.
2 A. Thank you very much. So I said it before, I have to repeat it
3 time and again, because there is no other way to put these facts through.
4 The Croats of Bosnia-Herzegovina were the smallest people in terms of
5 their numbers. Dispersed in a strategically adverse territory, of all the
6 peoples, we could suffer the most due to a war, because our forces were
7 the smallest in number. Therefore, our genuine option was a peace. Very
8 often, to the detriment of justice, which eventually turned out to be the
10 We accepted and embraced all peace offers and initiatives made by
11 the international community's representatives, from Cutilheiro's Plan
12 onward, to the Vance-Owen Plan, the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, to the accords
13 of Washington and Dayton, with very clear understanding, Your Honours,
14 that I myself personally, just like a vast majority of Croats living in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, were and remain to be fully aware of the fact that all
16 these plans were and remain to be far from justice and equity, but we
17 accepted them instead of war. Unfortunately, the representatives of the
18 other two peoples did not follow or did not sufficiently follow the same
20 Q. Does -- did particularly the Cutilheiro Plan cause harm to the
21 alliance of Serbs and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to your knowledge?
22 Did the Muslims sign this agreement and, to your knowledge, what happened
23 onward? What happened with this plan?
24 A. Unfortunately, there were many situations in which Croats and
25 Muslims embraced the respective peace initiatives and offers. The Muslim
1 political leadership subsequently, however, abandoned them. This was also
2 the situation in connection with the Cutilheiro Plan. I'm convinced that
3 the acceptance of the Cutilheiro Plan by these two peoples could have been
4 an absolute guarantee for the fact that there would be no conflict between
5 the two nations.
6 Q. Which two peoples?
7 A. Croats and Muslims.
8 Q. Are you saying that there would be no such conflict between them?
9 A. It would be unfeasible.
10 Q. And the move was made by?
11 A. Mr. Izetbegovic, the representative of the Muslim people.
12 Q. Very briefly, the Vance-Owen Plan and the negotiations in Geneva,
13 did anything specific happen in this context?
14 A. I apologise for speeding up. Something similar happened. Both
15 Croats and Muslims accepted the Vance-Owen Plan in Geneva as a solution
16 which would organise Bosnia and Herzegovina in ten national provinces, of
17 which, in terms of numbers, each people would get three but not the same
18 territory-wise, apart from the tenth province, number seven, which is the
19 Sarajevo province, for which a special status had been foreseen.
20 Something which is perhaps remotely similar to a district. However, as I
21 said before, unfortunately, Muslims once again abandoned a plan they had
22 already adopted before.
23 Q. In the first moment when they accepted the plan, what was the
24 atmosphere among the Croats and did this have any reflection upon your
25 personal fate? In other words, when did you become the Minister of
1 Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina and whether this was a base, a foundation,
2 for the Vance-Owen Plan and the negotiations in Geneva?
3 A. It's a very complex question. However, I'll start at the end of
4 your question. My arrival to the position of the Minister of Defence of
5 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is not linked to the Vance-Owen Plan.
6 I came to this position before. In November, 1992, I was requested to
7 accept this office, which frankly speaking, I didn't know either its scope
8 or its possibilities. However, I assumed this position because down in
9 my soul, I made an oath to the Croat people of Bosnia-Herzegovina and when
10 there is a war, you cannot reject any position and duty, apart from
11 something that every human being must reject, which is a crime.
12 Sir, the explanation was the following. The Muslim side has
13 seriously criticised the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina because of the fact
14 that they had not assumed those posts of ministers and other official
15 positions that the Croats were awarded to on the basis of the election
16 results, because once the Serbs left us and decided to opt for their own
17 side and waged an aggression, if the Croats too would fail to join the
18 government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the legitimacy of the
19 government concerned would hardly be able to become sustainable.
20 Understanding the gist of the problem, I accepted the nominations to this
21 post, even though I did not know either where I would have my office, what
22 I would do, what my powers would be, without an office, without a seal,
23 without a salary, and without any material powers. In other words, I was
24 fully aware of the fact that I'm entering or assuming a position which has
25 a very high-ringing name but which however practically has no meaning.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Witness, I will now submit to you Exhibit D1/90. Before that,
2 however, let me tell you that in this Court, we heard some witnesses who
3 said that you gave an order which was an ultimatum to the Army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina or the Muslim people, and that perhaps because of this
5 order, the war spread between these two peoples. How can you answer my
6 question or my -- what I have just put to you?
7 A. Sir, I am very grateful to you indeed for your putting this
8 question to me in this Court. I have now entered a situation where I can
9 speak about it, which nobody asked me to explain before.
10 Your Honours, may I please be allowed to explain this document,
11 which many people at home tried to abuse against me? It has to do with
12 me, my person, my integrity, and my post.
13 Q. Witness, with your permission, earlier ago, you said that nobody
14 invited you to do so before. Have you ever, over the last seven years,
15 been in one way or another contacted by the representatives of the
17 A. No, by nobody.
18 Q. Thank you. Sorry for this question.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours we are now opening up a
20 new chapter. We are approaching another break. I think I can finish the
21 line of these questions within the next 40 minutes and since the time of
22 the break is coming, I don't want to disrupt the schedule. I apologise,
23 Your Honours.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, we will have our break and after that,
25 we will hear your explanation on those documents.
1 We will rise until 12.30.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.00 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.35 p.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I merely wish to apologise for this
7 delay. I have some problems with the tapes and I simply had to make an
8 additional check. My apologies.
9 JUDGE LIU: I have to remind you that we have to move faster.
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have reached the
11 last section of the examination. We are about to enter the final stage.
12 Q. Mr. Rajic, we had -- I showed you your order. So will you please
13 authenticate the document. Who signed it, the date and tell us all that
14 you know about this document, alongside your explanation. And the
15 document is D1/90.
16 A. Sir, could you please repeat your question to me? The question
17 that you asked me before the break, because I'm afraid I haven't
18 remembered -- I don't remember all the elements of that question.
19 Q. Yes, of course. My last question before the break was the
20 following, Witness: That we heard witnesses in this courtroom who
21 testified here that this order of yours was an ultimatum and as such that
22 even -- and this is my arbitrary interpretation -- that perhaps this order
23 conduced to broader-scale conflicts and I said: What do you have to say
24 to that? What explanations can you offer? What occasioned this order?
25 What kind of an order is it? And then to identify the document, that is
1 give us the date there. Now, do you understand what I'm driving at now?
2 So there are several questions because I see that you are giving us
3 concise answers and I believe you will be able to answer it faster in this
5 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Krsnik, I read that document over the break and
6 now I may be wrong about this but when we were referring to a document
7 which was called the ultimatum last week, when -- sorry, when we had a
8 witness giving evidence, I thought it was a document which was described
9 as 216 which looks similar but the content and the tone are quite
10 different. When we were talking about the ultimatum, I don't believe it
11 was this document. It looks very similar but if you look -- sorry, if you
12 look at the binder that we received originally from the Defence in the
13 witness's binder, and then it ultimately wasn't used at Exhibit 216. I
14 think you'll agree with me that the tone of that document is slightly
15 different. So maybe it would be better, unless I'm wrong about this, for
16 you to just ask this witness to deal with the document without calling it
17 an ultimatum because it isn't quite fair.
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, by all means, Your Honour. I
19 said one witness, and it was a protected witness, and off the top of my
20 head, I don't know -- Witness O. He said, referring to this particular
21 order, you're quite right about all the rest. They called the joint
22 statement which I showed yesterday the ultimatum but the different
23 documents which different witnesses referred to as ultimatums and among
24 other things, this particular order was called an ultimatum by Witness O,
25 and I am asking questions about Mr. Rajic and his personality so that is
1 it. But you are absolutely right as far as everything else is concerned.
2 JUDGE CLARK: I thought you were talking about the more recent
3 past. And I thought my goodness nobody could object to the tone of this
4 document because it's so gentle but then I didn't remember that from last
5 week. So you've put my mind at rest. Thank you.
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Well, Witness?
8 A. Your Honours, when I answered questions about how I became the
9 Minister of Defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I said that I
10 accepted the post, the duty, as a task, manifesting the togetherness of
11 the Croats and Muslims, fully aware of all the limitations of that duty
12 under those conditions. It is my task, therefore, -- it was my task,
13 therefore, to carry out a very specific and very difficult duty. In
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were three armies. Each one of them had its
15 military and civilian command. I did not exercise any command authority
16 over any one of them, either in real terms or in legal terms. Because of
17 the siege of Sarajevo and the horrible situation there, I could not go to
18 Sarajevo, and I tried to perform a part of my duties as much as it was
19 possible while being in Mostar. Needless to say, I could not communicate
20 with the army of Bosnian Serbs, nor did they want to communicate with
22 I maintained contact with these other two armies, the Army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, chiefly through its chief, the Chief of the Main
24 Staff, Mr. Sefer Halilovic, and with the Croat defence council, chiefly
25 through the Chief of the Main Staff, Mr. Milivoj Petkovic. The most that
1 I could do, and that fortunately I even succeeded in doing at times, was
2 to secure the passage for armament transports or other gear or medical
3 supplies and food, intended for Muslims and the interior of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina in general. Because from time to time, these
5 deliveries, these convoys, encountered severe -- serious difficulties.
6 So, for instance, I was rather successful in interceding between the
7 commands of these two armies, ensuring an unobstructed passage of diverse
8 humanitarian convoys, and considerably above that level, I could not do
9 anything much above that particular level of activity.
10 And now I'll go back to the subject, to the order. To begin with,
11 let us identify this order. It is a document which I personally drew up
12 and its number is 01/93. It is dated 16th of January, 1993, and which I
13 signed in my own hand, notifying the relevant institutions in Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, more closely listed in the left corner of the order. As one
15 can see, the order has no seal because I never had one. How did this
16 order come about? Needless to say, I kept -- I watched, I observed, all
17 the peace processes, including the Geneva talks. I learned -- and I was
18 very happy to learn -- that the Vance-Owen Plan had been accepted, the
19 plan referring to the organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in ten ethnic
20 provinces, about which more was already said about, and I was confident
21 that the acceptance of that agreement and its initialing by
22 representatives of the Croats and Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that it
23 constituted a beautiful basis for the further defence and efforts aimed at
24 the liberation of the country with joint forces. If the Serb side, during
25 the time given it to think about it, refused the agreement.
1 Perhaps my enthusiasm, my exhilaration with this act and the
2 acceptance of peace, was overemphatic and perhaps I thought that I could
3 do more than what I had described as my field of jurisdiction, but in the
4 best of faith, as it says in the preamble to this order, and with a view
5 to establishing peace throughout the -- in the whole territory of the
6 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to protect the citizens and their
7 property, I ordered, first, and this came as no accident, I ordered first
8 the units of the Croat Defence Council, because I'm a Croat occupying that
9 post. These units at that moment were in the territories of provinces 1,
10 5 and 9, and which, by the Geneva agreement, had been proclaimed Muslim
11 provinces, and it was said that these units should be attached or place
12 themselves under the command of the Main Staff of the Army of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And in particular, I wish to underline this fact that
14 this is the first item in my order and I will come back to it when
15 answering the third part of your question.
16 The same thing, that was ordered in -- under item 1 to the Croat
17 Defence Council was also ordered to the army of the -- of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, that is it was ordered that its forces, in the provinces 3, 8
19 and 10, proclaimed Croat provinces by that agreement, that they should be
20 placed under the command of the Main Staff of the Croat Defence Council.
21 Under item 3, just as explicitly and with the same intent, I ordered the
22 Army of Republika Srpska to withdraw with all the men and materiel to
23 provinces 2, 4 and 6 which the Geneva agreement had proclaimed Serb
25 Under item 4, all units, that is of the first, the second and the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 third, all units are ordered -- that are -- all units that are in the
2 territory of province 7, for which a special status had been envisaged,
3 that I ordered them to put an end to all hostilities without delay.
4 I ordered that -- under item 5, it says that this order shall
5 remain effective with regard to all previous items until final agreement
6 is reached, signed -- I mean these agreements, and a new order on the
7 operationalisation of the Geneva peace agreement. Under the category of
8 responsibility, my order says only this. Item 6, responsible to me for
9 the implementation of this order are, and the names are listed of
10 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic, Colonel Sefer Halilovic, and Colonel General
11 Ratko Mladic. The deadline, the 20th of January, 1993, by 2400 hours.
12 And item 8, I bind the commanders of the units to submit to me daily
13 reports by 2000 hours.
14 So this is the content of this order, which I issued in line with
15 the powers vested in me, faithful to my firm option to support peace
16 efforts, and as a Croat official, at that moment in time, to legitimise
17 the statehood of Bosnia-Herzegovina and finally, counsel, if I may, I
18 will now touch -- address the third part of your question which may be of
19 major importance because in this courtroom was said and I do not know
20 that, that this order might sound like an ultimatum.
21 Your Honours, you have a document, and you have heard, just as
22 others in this courtroom have heard, I do not see a single word, a single
23 letter, which could look like an ultimatum. Nor did I have any
24 instruments, any tools, to apply pressure, and as I understand it, there
25 is no ultimatum without coercion. Now, reminding of what I already said,
1 I go back to item 1. Regardless of what was said in this courtroom, I
2 know that some people in my country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
3 particularly some of the media of Muslim provenance, I mean, political
4 provenance, manipulated this order in a very dangerous way, reading into
5 it a meaning which it does not have and attributing to it effects which it
6 never pursued, and presenting my personality in an adverse light.
7 It is important to say that all these speculations and all these
8 reinterpretations have always omitted the -- all the items of this
9 agreement with the exception of item 2. They always and invariably
10 analyse the content of item 2 and draw their conclusions from it whilst
11 glossing over everything else in silence, which I deem impermissible.
12 Q. Will you look at the second page of this order? And it shows who
13 it is to be delivered to. Will you inform the Court about this and
14 explain who was this order delivered to, apart from the three armies which
15 you --
16 A. Well, in addition to the three armies to whom this order was
17 delivered, the delivered [sic] was also forwarded to the Presidency of the
18 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the government of the republic of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, UNPROFOR with the terms of reference with the mandate
20 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the European Union mission in the Republic of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and for the archives, of course.
22 Q. I will now show you a document marked ID D1/92. And my question
23 is -- have a look at the document first. Did anyone from the Muslim or
24 Serb side, did anyone ever respond to that order which you had issued?
25 But first, I must ask you whenever you get a document will you please read
1 out the date of the order regardless of who the author is, merely for
2 identification purposes. So in front of you you have a document marked ID
4 A. Yes, I remember this document. It has number 129-1 of the 10th of
5 February, 1993, presumably by Packet communication. It was sent by the
6 chief of the supreme command of the armed forces of the Republic of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Sefer Halilovic.
8 Q. First, if I may interrupt you, it says here, armed forces. Was he
9 indeed the Chief of the Main Staff of the armed forces of the Republic of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did -- was he the commander of all the three armies?
11 A. No, of course, he was not the commander of all the three armies.
12 And whether this title tallies with the reality and the content, I'd
13 rather not even comment on it. However, the notification which
14 Mr. Halilovic sends to my attention does not refer to the order we just
15 talked about. In this text, he informs -- he notifies me about the
16 execution of another order that I issued on the 9th of February, 1993, and
17 says that he has carried it out in full. And this was an order which --
18 in which it -- which requested free passage for some convoys through the
19 territory controlled by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, I
20 see here something else. Mr. Halilovic, in the second part of this
21 notification, says, "Hopeful that you will come to the capital city of
22 Sarajevo as soon as possible so that we could jointly solve all the
23 questions of dispute between the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina and the HVO." And now I'm drawing your attention to what
25 follows, "Including those concerning the establishment of joint
1 commands." And of course, that please receive best regards and so on and
2 so forth.
3 So he here unequivocally voices the readiness to carry out that
4 part of my order which refers to attachment or to the reattachment.
5 Q. Do you mean that he then obeyed, complied with some of your orders
6 and some he didn't, that he behaved quite autonomously?
7 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. I object to the form of
8 the question as leading.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may put it another way, Mr. Krsnik.
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
11 Q. How would you assess Mr. Halilovic's conduct in relation to you,
12 to your office as such, to your orders?
13 A. He demonstrated respect for my person, and for the office that I
14 held, and as far as I can remember, he was the only one in the political
15 and military top leadership of the Muslim people in Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 who communicated with me by telephone as a rule, but who very selectively
17 treated what I asked him to do. For instance, I asked him that the
18 armament and materiel which he was receiving during those months via
19 Mostar, Konjic and further out, that he does not send this armament and
20 gear to Visoko but to the highly vulnerable areas in central Bosnia.
21 Q. But excuse me. Can you please explain to the Judges why not
23 A. Because there was no fighting in Visoko. I also asked him at a
24 critical point in time, to redirect the forces concentrated in a broader
25 area of Zenica - I'm referring to the forcers of the Army of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina - to redirect them towards Srebrenica, Zepa, Gorazde,
2 which, needless to say, he did not do. And to conclude, he carried out
3 those orders he received from me or suggestions which did not make part of
4 the operative activity of the army.
5 Q. Mr. Rajic, I will now show you a document marked P214. And
6 perhaps -- do you have the Croatian text?
7 A. I do.
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] And usher, please, P215, if you can,
9 straight away, P215 can we have it here too so the witness can --
10 Q. Now, let us first look at this document, P214. Will you please
11 read the date to us and the signature so that we can identify the
13 A. The document shows clearly that this is a decision of the Croat
14 Defence Council of the 15th of January, 1993, signed by, as it looks like
15 it, president of the HVO, the HZ HB, Dr. Jadranko Prlic. And the second
16 document, bearing the same date.
17 Q. And this is the document P215.
18 A. Is in the form of an order but it is not signed and has no seal,
19 and it suggests that it could be a document of the Croat Defence Council,
20 of the defence department, and its chief, Mr. Bruno Stojic, which could
21 hardly be accepted as authentic.
22 Q. To begin with, it says president of the HVO, HZ HB. Can you tell
23 us, in two or three sentences, just when did the HVO come into being, what
24 all that you know about the HVO but very briefly because we do not have
25 much time. What was the HVO, basically?
1 A. The HVO is a concept which signifies the executive civilian
2 authority in those lands of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna which were
3 successfully defended against and then liberated in the course of further
4 fighting. But the same name is borne by the military component of the
5 Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina as its armed force, which the -- which
6 was the first one to rise in the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. And one other document I will show you, if you could comment on
8 it? It is P274. Now that you look at it, but first you have to see it
9 and look at its last page, because that is where -- it was said in this
10 courtroom that this was, well, another proof, and this is somewhere down
11 in the middle. Have you found it?
12 A. Yes, I see that.
13 Q. This is another proof of ultimatum and if you can see this
14 newspaper is dated 5th April, I think, and you can see in the top left.
15 A. Yeah, well, I can't really see it properly.
16 Q. Have you ever heard of this newspaper? Do you know what kind of a
17 newspaper is it?
18 A. No. I never was even aware of its existence, never saw it, but I
19 could look to see what it says here.
20 Q. Yes, please do read it.
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is document P274.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I can say is this is a pamphlet,
24 the propaganda pamphlet of the greater Serbia forces whose interest was to
25 instigate and to further deepen the conflicts between Croats and Muslims,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 and that this pamphlet, in terms of its facts, is entirely incorrect,
2 which can be illustrated through the following. They speak about the HVO
3 setting an April 15 deadline for Alija Izetbegovic to sign a joint
4 communique, et cetera, et cetera. This is a nonsensical statement. It's
5 an unfounded statement.
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
7 Q. After -- thank you, Mr. Usher. Following this document, did you
8 start with any other activities? When did you leave the position, upon
9 whose decision? I mean the position of the Minister of Defence of the
10 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 A. Following this order, I finally and beyond any doubt understood
12 that my role was only for the sake of some trimmings and that no military
13 component in Bosnia-Herzegovina needs a Minister of Defence, that
14 everybody have got their command system and structure and that each or any
15 Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not only unwanted but
16 also impossible. And when speculations with ill-intents were made with
17 regard to the spirit of my decision, that is my order, first in my mind,
18 and then in real terms, I withdrew from this post because the Presidency
19 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in its famous invalid structure, incomplete
20 structure, proclaimed my order to be an act adopted by a person without
21 the necessary authority to do so. However, I'd like to draw your
22 attention to the fact that through this act, in no way was the substance
23 of the order questioned or brought into question. And at the beginning of
24 the summer, I unfortunately do not recall which was the exact date, the
25 Presidency relieved me of my duties. Very soon afterwards, I assumed the
1 post of the manager of the Herceg-Bosna press agency, HB-1, with its
2 headquarters in Medjugorje, and that was my departure from the army or
3 military affairs of all sorts.
4 Q. Could you tell us the month and the year when you ceased
5 performing your duties?
6 A. It was the month of July, 1993.
7 Q. For the sake of the transcript, earlier ago, when you were
8 referring to the order, you were referring to your own order, weren't you,
9 and not the other two that I showed to you?
10 A. I have nothing to do with other people's orders. In moral,
11 ethical and other terms, I can only stand by what I had done.
12 Q. Well, this is for the sake of the transcript.
13 A. Thank you very much. Am I allowed to say another sentence?
14 Whatever may be the interpretation and understanding of this order, in
15 front of the -- this Tribunal, I'd like to declare that if there is
16 anything that I can be proud of in connection with the war in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, then I am proud of the fact that I never killed
18 anyone, imprisoned anyone, expelled anyone, or deprived anyone of their
19 rights, and I am proud of the fact that I tried to do what was impossible
20 at that time, namely to merge the political and the military interests of
21 Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, against a common enemy.
22 However, today, I can be happy to know that the army of the federation
23 literally has now been functioning in a manner which I ordered them to do
24 nine years ago. Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Rajic, did you participate in the peaceful initiatives by the
1 international community or president Franjo Tudjman in your capacity of a
2 Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as you have described it in
3 May and June of 1993?
4 A. I do not know, sir, whether we have the same thing in mind.
5 Q. Well, how many peace agreements and their genesis you participated
6 in to resolve the whole situation, and I'm specifically referring to May
7 and June, 1993?
8 A. To avoid any confusion, I participated in no single session of the
9 international community concerning the peace effort. However, I was
10 involved in some other circumstances. I was a member of the mixed
11 missions, trying to halt the initial conflict in Prozor, Gornji Vakuf,
12 Novi Travnik and other areas. If you are referring to a specific meeting
13 held in Medjugorje in -- on May 18, 1993, and chaired by Lord Owen, then I
14 can tell you that I was a participant in this meeting.
15 Q. I would now like to request our kind technical service to show us
16 the last tape.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
18 MR. STRINGER: Just a question, whether this tape has an exhibit
19 number, please, if we could know what the exhibit number of this is or
20 will be?
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] It's ID D/93. 1/93.
23 [Videotape played]
24 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Only if the Russians went to Belgrade
25 to convince Serbs which in Mostar the Croats and Muslims tried to convince
1 each other. The representatives of the Croat people participated at the
2 meeting suggested by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo
3 Tudjman, furthermore in this meeting, there were present also Lord Owen
4 and Mr. Stoltenberg, General Whalgren, the delegation led by
5 President Tudjman consisted also of the Minister of Defence, Gojko Susak,
6 Mr. Franjo Greguric, the Muslim delegation is composed of Mr. Alija
7 Izetbegovic, Ejup Ganic, Rusir Mahmutcehajic, Haris Silajdzic and Sefer
8 Halilovic. In Medjugorje, president Franjo Tudjman first greeted the
9 representatives of HZ HB, led by Mr. Mate Boban. Present were also,
10 Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Brana Kvesic and other members of
11 the coordinating body, Franjo Boras, Mile Ahmadzic, Minister of Defence,
12 Bozo Rajic.
13 Soon after his arrival, President Tudjman starting this mission of
14 peace and goodwill said, I quote, "I was the one who insisted that this
15 meeting be convened in Mostar. However, since we could not go to Mostar,
16 we will start our talks here in Medjugorje, in order to eliminate all
17 causes and reasons of clashes between Croats and Muslims to be able to
18 establish that a violation of the Vance-Owen Plan was committed in this
19 territory." After that, and escorted by the UNPROFOR delegation vehicles,
20 the delegations left to the headquarters of the Spanish Battalion, where,
21 while you are looking at this, the meeting is still going on. Lord Owen
22 was asked by the journalists to briefly comment yesterday's statements
23 made by Karadzic, that his, namely Owen's plan, is dead. Smiling, he just
24 waived with his hand.
25 President Tudjman, the representative of -- was asked by the
1 representative of the newly established radio of Herceg-Bosna to make a
2 statement, upon which he very briefly said that he welcomed the
3 Herzegovina people and of course both men and women. The meeting was held
4 behind closed doors, as we have learned now. Lord Owen opened the meeting
5 and thanked first President Tudjman, who was the initiator of it. Upon
6 that, upon -- and on the proposal by Lord Owen, the chief of the Main
7 Staff of HVO, Milivoj Petkovic and the commander of the Muslim unit, Sefer
8 Halilovic, exchanged their views of the Croatian Muslim conflict. General
9 Petrovic emphasised that the main cause of the conflict were the -- was
10 the fact that the Muslim units continued with their war effort in Konjic
11 and Jablanica, upon which it spread to Mostar. General Halilovic
12 continued and said that the HVO instigated and caused the clashes.
13 Once again, after so many similar situations before, he outlined
14 that it is inadmissible for UNPROFOR to allow the Croatian -- the entry of
15 the army into Croat villages of Konjic, village of Konjic, which however
16 nobody had confirmed so far. Mate Boban, president of HZ HB, first
17 reminded everyone that with Izetbegovic, he had already signed five or six
18 agreements, and drew the attention of Lord Owen to the fact that
19 yesterday, Izetbegovic despite his signing in Zagreb ordered the HVO --
20 sorry, stated in reference to HVO that it is an unlawful body and
21 emphasised that Boban through his policy from the very beginning, has thus
22 become the prime cause of the conflict. He also emphasised that the
23 Croats are full ready to apply the signed Vance-Owen Plan as a
24 prerequisite of peace. He also continued by saying -- sorry, Izetbegovic
25 replied by saying that the HVO, I quote, "To a certain extent is
1 considered by him a lawful body. However, he thought that HZ HB is an
2 entirely unlawful body and this is the fundamental cause of conflict."
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Stop there, please.
4 Q. Mr. Rajic, I'd like to thank the technical service. This was the
5 last tape that I'll need today.
6 Mr. Rajic, did you take part in this meeting? Was this account
7 correct and true, that we had seen and what can you tell us what actually
8 happened in Medjugorje?
9 A. This report, in terms of facts, is true. I will not go into other
10 details. At this meeting, a major effort indeed was made on the part of
11 the international community's representatives, Messrs. Owen and
12 Stoltenberg, as well as Presidents Tudjman and Izetbegovic, Boban and
13 others, to stop the clashes between the Muslims and the Croats, to
14 recognise the common interests, and in that sense, I think this was a fair
16 Q. Could you tell us that indeed, Mr. Izetbegovic at that time after
17 all the agreements et cetera, still claimed that HVO was not a legal and
18 lawful formation?
19 MR. STRINGER: I object to the form of the question as leading,
20 Mr. President.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, put it another way.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. So my first question was whether this TV broadcast is a fair
24 coverage. You said yes. Well, have you recognised yourself on the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Well, let's put it this way: What do you know -- what was the
3 stand and the attitude of the Muslim delegations in the course of these
5 A. Its stand and position was something we experienced before. The
6 Croats are to be blamed for the conflicts. They are not to be blamed.
7 They are but victims. And they are rather reluctant to speak about the
8 Croats as victims. In poetic terms, everybody was in favour of common
9 effort, together with us.
10 Q. And the attitude towards the HZ HB?
11 A. The Croat Community Herceg-Bosna, for the Muslim political
12 leadership, including Mr. Izetbegovic, was a joker topic, a trump topic.
13 Whenever it was necessary to shift the burden of responsibility upon the
14 Croat side, this trump card would be taken out of the sleeve, in terms of
15 unlawfulness, illegitimacy, suspicious aims, lack of cooperation
16 and so on and so forth. I myself noticed a detail which is quite contrary
17 to what was laid down in the agreement on friendship and cooperation
18 between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 Q. The Zagreb agreement and all other agreements, are you familiar
20 with those?
21 A. This is what I'm talking about, the agreement from the 21st of
22 July. This is -- it says there that HVO is a lawful and legal defence
23 unit of HZ HB before -- immediately prior to the meeting in Medjugorje.
24 However, Mr. Izetbegovic, in its totality contested the legality of the
25 HVO. And I believe that you have noticed on this tape that at the meeting
1 itself, Mr. Izetbegovic said "partially unlawful." Those were his words,
2 which is fully inconsistent.
3 Q. In the course of this meeting, was an agreement reached to pay a
4 visit to the camps?
5 A. Yes. I was appointed, together with some other gentlemen, Jusuf
6 Pusin, minister of the home office of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
7 ethnic background, Muslim, then Franjo Boras, member of the Presidency of
8 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And some other officers and
9 officials, to go to a camp called Heliodrom in the southern section of
10 Mostar. This was a painful experience for me. It was my first and
11 fortunately the last encounter with the camps. We spent very short time
12 there, upon having been transferred there by UNPROFOR's personal carrier
13 vehicles, APCs, and we communicated, conveyed to the prisoners the best
14 news for them, that they would be released, and that the camp would be
15 closed down. Of course, I myself did not see the entire camp because we
16 divided into two more subgroups, we were divided. I was in one wing of
17 the building only, and I talked to some of the prisoners. What I was able
18 to see were exclusively men of age.
19 Q. Were they released, indeed?
20 A. Yes. Soon afterwards, all prisoners were gradually released.
21 Some of them were transferred to special accommodation facilities in the
22 Republic of Croatia so that they can recuperate, both in physical and
23 mental terms, and fortunately, the camps were closed down then. At least
24 those that had existed on the Croatian side.
25 Q. Were you allowed to pay a visit to the camps in the east -- on the
1 eastern section of Mostar?
2 A. No. Unfortunately, it was established that the conditions were
3 not given to cross to the eastern side of Mostar, and the question
4 remained open as to which was the true reason for us being prevented to
5 pay a visit to those prisoners as well.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, could we ask the witness what is the date, month
7 and year of his visit to Heliodrom in Mostar?
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honours.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I was speaking about
10 it at great length but it was probably lost. I was referring to May 18,
11 1993. On the very day on which the Medjugorje meeting also took place.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. When you said the camps on the eastern side, who was detained
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
18 MR. STRINGER: On this point, Mr. President it's not yet clear to
19 me that it's been established that the witness has any knowledge about
20 camps on the east side and I'd ask that before counsel puts this question,
21 whether we could in fact determine the witness's personal knowledge of the
22 existence of camps on the east side, whether he went to any, whether he
23 saw prisoners, et cetera, at any time.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, you may ask the questions to
25 establish that.
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, well, I do not know in
2 connection with translation, whether whatever was mentioned here was
3 faithfully reflected in the English language. The meeting was convened by
4 the international community, they had the report in front of them, and
5 they decided that a visit be paid to both camps. I think that everything
6 is clear. Having said that, the witness emphasised that they were allowed
7 to pay a visit to Heliodrom. As to the east side, where there were camps
8 with Croats imprisoned there, the witness made his explanation as to why
9 they had not paid a visit to these camps, and I really do not see what is
10 the point of contention here. It seems to me that whenever using the
11 character and letter M and when the Prosecutor is going to jump up, then I
12 do not know who is playing the role of whom.
13 JUDGE LIU: No, Mr. Krsnik, don't be so personalised of these
14 questions. Just follow the order by this Trial Chamber. Ask some
15 questions about the prisoners. Yes, you may continue.
16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Q. Well, to finish, I only have one question with which I will finish
18 today's examination. Were you allowed to have an access to the camps in
19 -- on the east side of Mostar, very briefly, yes or no? And did the
20 international community receive a report, just as it had received a report
21 about Heliodrom? In this joint, mixed Muslim-Bosnian committee that was
22 appointed to go there.
23 A. Well, to avoid any confusion, at the meeting in Medjugorje, camps
24 in which Muslims kept Croat detainees were discussed. Maybe I had not
25 emphasised this before, but I have done it now. In addition, I also said
1 that I never paid a visit to any other camp, but I also know it from
2 reliable sources, that there existed camps in which -- which were opened
3 by Muslims in Mostar, Jablanica, Kolinica, Mostar, Zenica, in which
4 Croats were detained. And I would like to repeat, we were not allowed to,
5 at the same time, pay a visit to the detained Croats on the east side of
7 JUDGE CLARK: Could I ask you to put a specific question to this
8 witness? When you talk about these reports at Medjugorje, are you talking
9 of written reports?
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Witness, were there any written reports? And did you, as the
12 mixed commission, in writing, submit a report to the international
13 community, orally or how, upon your return?
14 A. No. It was not our task to draft written reports. We were a
15 voice of encouragement. This is the best way I can put it.
16 JUDGE CLARK: Sorry. Perhaps I asked the question a lot is
17 frequently lost in translation but I understood -- you see the transcript
18 of the videotape was going pretty rapidly. We were watching pictures, and
19 also trying to follow the tape. It is being suggested that at the meeting
20 there were various matters discussed and there were reports of the
21 existence of prisoner of war camps or detention centres. Was there a
22 written report describing the existence of the Heliodrom and also
23 describing the existence of a camp operated by Muslims where Croat
24 soldiers were kept in at that meeting in Medjugorje, and if there is such
25 a report, I'm sure the Prosecution can get hold of it. It would be a
1 public document. So was there a written report of the existence of a
2 Muslim camp at that time?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I took part in the plenary part of
4 the meeting and I heard discussion about it. I did not see any written
5 report about it. Maybe there were some, but I did not see any. But that
6 was the subject of discussion.
7 JUDGE CLARK: Specifically, that there was a location which housed
8 a camp operated by the Muslim forces?
9 A. In the city of Mostar, it was usually called camps on the east
10 side. That was a collective name for a number of prisons which
11 fortunately I never saw, nor have I a way of knowing their individual
13 JUDGE CLARK: Thank you very much.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I really have only one
16 last question, if you want us to break off now, then I will leave it for
17 tomorrow or today but I really have just one final topic which will not
18 take more than ten minutes, 15.
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, do you mean -- do you mean that you
20 are approaching to the end of your direct examination?
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 JUDGE LIU: Let me consult with the Registrar.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 Well, Mr. Krsnik, we have been advised that there is another trial
25 using this courtroom, so we have to be out of this room punctually on
1 time. So I'm afraid we have to come back tomorrow morning on the direct
2 examination. And I've been asked to ask everybody to bring all your
3 documents out of this courtroom. We will rise until tomorrow morning.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
5 1.46 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday the 10th
6 day of March, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.