1 Monday, 11 June 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you kindly call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
9 versus Prlic et al. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.
11 Today is the 11th of June, 2007. I would like to greet the
12 representatives from the Prosecution, Defence counsel, and the accused,
13 and all the people who are assisting us in the courtroom. I shall first
14 of all give the floor to the registrar who has a few IC numbers to give
16 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you again, Your Honours. Several parties
17 have submitted lists of documents to be tendered through Witness Bo
18 Pellnas. The list submitted by OTP shall be given Exhibit number IC 597.
19 The list submitted by 1D shall be given Exhibit number IC 598. The list
20 submitted by 2D shall be given Exhibit number IC 599. The list submitted
21 by 3D shall be given Exhibit number IC 600. The list submitted by 4D
22 shall be given Exhibit number IC 601. And finally, the list submitted by
23 5D shall be given Exhibit number IC 602, Your Honours. Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.
25 We have a witness who is about to come into the courtroom. I
1 believe that this is part of a 92 ter procedure. The Prosecution has
2 given us a set of documents comprising, all in all, 25 documents that have
3 been admitted through this or tendered into evidence through this witness.
4 Three hours and a half have been planned to examine this witness. The
5 Defence teams will have six hours, as we have four days of hearing, and we
6 have shared it out as follows, subject to an agreement between the parties
7 which will be of a different nature. The breakdown would run as follows:
8 1D one hour, would have one hour; 2D would have one hour; 3D would have 45
9 minutes; 4D would have one hour and 15 minutes; 5D would have 45 minutes;
10 6D would have one hour and 15 minutes.
11 So much for the breakdown. This, of course, can be subject to any
12 change or agreement which you would like to reach.
13 The witness will address a number -- the issue of the people he
14 met as part of his activities, members of the 4th Corps. If there are no
15 further issues to be addressed, we shall ask the witness to be brought
16 into the courtroom.
17 I see, Mr. Karnavas, that you've turned to the Bench. Maybe you
18 would like to take the floor.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Very briefly, Your Honour. Mr. President and
20 Your Honours, good afternoon. Good afternoon to everyone. I must say,
21 having read the gentleman's statement very carefully, the one that he gave
22 in 2000, I'm going to be objecting that this statement come in as part of
23 the 92 ter for the following reasons: That if you look at it very
24 carefully, you will see that there are parts in the statement which are
25 nothing more than a compilation of documents that the gentleman
1 purportedly presented to the investigator and then somehow got into the --
2 into the statement, virtually verbatim, with the sort of -- and if you
3 read the statement, it would appear that the gentleman somehow is
4 commenting on -- on the documents, when in fact all it is is a rewrite of
5 the documents.
6 What's more troublesome to me is, for instance, just as an
7 example, on page 15, on page 15 you see that -- of the statement that he
8 gave on 16 of May 2000, which was also on 9 and 10 June, and it was signed
9 on 10 July 2000, so they met with the gentleman on several occasions, on
10 this page it's a virtual rendition of Exhibit P 00973, the contents of
11 which would appear to be rather legal in a sense, and the gentleman has no
12 legal background other than now being a -- he may have some contact with
13 the legal profession, but I don't see anything in his background at the
14 time, that is, that would enable this gentleman, one, to be able to
15 provide an opinion and to discuss the document as he has in the great
16 detail and to then opine as to what the document meant and for what
17 reasons it was generated. Therefore, there are parts in the statement
18 that I think were nothing more than implants by the Office of the
19 Prosecution, and if you look at the document, it was signed -- his
20 statement was signed on the very last day, 10 July 2000.
21 So it would appear that they met the gentleman on the 16th of May.
22 He may or may not have given him some documents at that point in time.
23 They then return on the 9th and 10 of June where they question him. The
24 OTP then left, drafted a statement, put all sorts of things in it as if it
25 were the gentleman's words, when it was nothing more than a rewrite of
1 certain exhibits, and then had him sign it.
2 Now, I have no objections to the gentleman testifying as to
3 matters for which he's qualified to testify about. I do object, however,
4 to a statement coming in where there -- where the majority of the
5 statement or great portion of the statement is nothing more than documents
6 that he had nothing to do with at the time, and that's my concern. And I
7 raise it at this point in time because the Prosecution may wish to
8 reconsider whether they want to have this witness come in as a 92 ter,
9 because I'm going to be objecting to him going into any of these areas.
10 And I also think it would be advisable, perhaps, to -- before we begin
11 questioning the gentleman on the substance to ask him how this statement
12 was generated. And I leave it to the Bench. I certainly would like to
13 have a crack at it, by way of voir diring the witness before he testifies,
14 that is once he's taken the oath. But I certainly would like to know how
15 this statement was generated, because it appears -- and again, if you just
16 look at -- just as an example and I don't mean to take up too much time,
17 but on page 16, he's talking about laws, and then what caught my fancy is
18 that at one point he says that one particular law is a lex specialis.
19 Now, when you look at the gentleman's background, how would he know that?
20 And then when I look at the document that he makes reference to, it's a
21 verbatim, verbatim, almost word-for-word. The only thing that -- that
22 changes is when they make the introduction as to what is contained in the
23 document, it would appear that the gentleman goes into a narrative, as if
24 these are his words and this is his analysis, when it's nothing more than
25 a rewrite of the documents.
1 Therefore, Your Honours, I strongly object -- I strongly object to
2 the introduction of the documents. I have no problems with the gentleman
3 testifying and his testimony should come in and the Judges should weigh
4 his testimony, but not this particular document and not any of his
5 opinions that are contained within the document unless, unless and I
6 underscore that, some foundation can be laid that the gentleman was
7 knowledgeable about those -- those topics at the time and he's able to
8 comment on them as opposed to presenting documents, and then the
9 Prosecution putting it and bundling it all together, making it look like
10 it's something that came from his particular mouth as a result of having
11 personal experience.
12 Thank you.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy.
14 MR. MURPHY: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, everyone
15 in the courtroom. I support the application that's been made by
16 Mr. Karnavas. I only add this: It seems to me that the Prosecution is
17 trying to get the witness to express a legal opinion which he's not only
18 unqualified to give but they're doing it, of course, without observing the
19 proper formalities for an expert witness under Rule 94 bis, and for those
20 reasons, Your Honour, there are certain parts of the witness's statement
21 that may be admissible. Clearly other parts are not. And it would be
22 really counter-productive to proceed with this witness as a 92 ter witness
23 when we may have to choose between different parts of the statement.
24 So for that reason, Your Honour, I would support what Mr. Karnavas
25 has said.
1 MR. STEWART: The Petkovic Defence also supports what our learned
2 friends have said. The more one looks into the statement, the more one
3 sees that quite substantial passages are subject to exactly the vice that
4 our learned friends indicate. It appears in some cases, for example, that
5 a document, because it happens to pass through this gentleman's hands as a
6 translator, then becomes a document on which he then expresses some expert
7 or quasi-expert view.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Ms. Gillett or Mr. Scott,
9 would you like to take the floor?
10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, good afternoon to you, Mr. President,
11 Your Honours, and everyone in the courtroom. Your Honour, I think much
12 too much is being made of this. What appears to have been the case is
13 it's not -- it's not the first time I've seen this happen, is that
14 sometimes when there is a lengthy interview and the investigator goes into
15 the field and there are a number of documents that are involved, what
16 apparently happened is a lot of the documents, rather than quote
17 extensively from the documents, a lot of documents were essentially
18 incorporated into the statement. I don't think there's any big mystery or
19 secret about that.
20 It would be -- apparently the difference would be, apparently,
21 that if all the documents could be attached to the statement and if he
22 could be asked to essentially go through and read the statement, go
23 through and read each document and then make comment or in this case, the
24 investigator in 2000, some years -- some many years ago prepared it in the
25 way that he or she did. I don't think there's anything sinister in it.
1 If on an individual item basis there is something that counsel
2 says, for instance, is a legal opinion then I think we can deal with that
3 as an individual issue.
4 I can respond further to any suggestion, unfortunate as they may
5 be, that this -- there is some sinister motive or trickery involved here
6 to get some evidence in that the Prosecution wouldn't think it could
7 otherwise get in. Frankly, it never even occurred to us. It was simply a
8 lengthy witness with a number of statements that we thought would be most
9 efficiently taken in this way.
10 All the documents that are referenced or the vast majority of them
11 are exhibits. They would be put to the witness in any event. So quite
12 frankly, I think this is a mountain out of a molehill. The preparation
13 has been done on the basis of -- that is a -- the preparation has been
14 done on the basis that it will be taken as a 92 ter and the time estimate
15 was done accordingly. If the Chamber changes its view, decides to take
16 the witness as a viva voce witness, then additional preparation will be
17 required and the time estimate will have to be changed.
18 This was announced last week, and it's unfortunate that it's
19 raised -- these comments are made just immediately previous to the witness
20 coming into the courtroom.
21 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I reassure Mr. Scott that certainly
22 there wasn't a suggestion of sinister motive or trickery --
23 MR. SCOTT: Well, there were by some.
24 MR. STEWART: Excuse me, Mr. Scott, it's a very good practice in
25 this courtroom, I think, if one of us stands up as time and one of us
1 speaks at a time, as I allowed you to do a moment ago. I absolutely do
2 not make and did not make any such suggestion, but what is, and the phrase
3 I would use, what is sleight of hand - it may be forensic sleight of
4 hand - is to try, in some way, to convert the issue between us into a
5 question, has there been trickery, has there been a sinister motive.
6 That's not the point. It's -- the question is whether evidence is
7 properly admissible or not, not whether there's been some sinister motive
8 or trickery which we do not assert.
9 MR. SCOTT: I apologise, Your Honour, for interrupting Mr.
10 Stewart. My apology to him. My point is this: Unfortunately, what so
11 often happens is a number of Defence counsel get up, some of them state
12 different positions, and the Prosecution, of course, responds and I
13 suppose sometimes generic, too generically. Perhaps I should identify
14 individual counsel. I don't think Mr. Stewart suggested that. I think
15 there was some suggestion to some degree by both Mr. Karnavas and
16 Mr. Murphy that the Prosecution was attempting to get evidence in, in some
17 way that otherwise would not be able to. So I stand corrected by Mr.
18 Stewart but my comments stand in general. Your Honour, first there's no
19 basis --
20 MR. STEWART: Excuse me.
21 MR. SCOTT: Now, I'm being interrupted.
22 MR. STEWART: All right, I accept that. Thank you.
23 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, this is -- this is a mountain out of a
24 molehill. This is a statement of the witness. Yes, documents have been
25 incorporated in some instances into the text of the statement. The
1 Court -- the Chamber can well distinguish that, if need be. This is
2 really -- this is really -- this is really a nothing issue, to be quite
4 MR. STEWART: Excuse me, I would just like to say though that what
5 Mr. Scott just said, "I don't think Mr. Stewart suggested that. I think
6 there was some suggestion by some degree by both Mr. Karnavas and
7 Mr. Murphy that the Prosecution was attempting to get evidence in that it
8 otherwise would not be able to do so." That suggestion I do make. I
9 don't make a suggestion of sinister motive or trickery. One needs to be
10 very precise about what is being said. I do associate myself with my
11 learned friends about that. I'm not sure that my learned friends made any
12 allegations of sinister motive or trickery. I certainly didn't hear it.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: My objections, Your Honour, is that the statement
14 should be of the -- of his own making. It should be his statement. It is
15 not his statement. What it is is the Prosecution has met with the
16 gentleman, then they went back and they put it together and they inserted
17 certain documents into the statement, and now they have the gentleman sign
18 it as if this was his statement. That's what I object to.
19 Now, I'm not suggesting that they can't get those documents in. I
20 am saying that certain documents, this particular witness is not competent
21 to testify about, and so because the gentleman hands the documents over
22 doesn't necessarily mean that he's competent to testify, and putting that
23 into the statement itself gives the appearance, rightly or wrongly, that
24 the gentleman is capable of testifying about the contents of the documents
25 and that's why I raised it. So they may wish to switch and just take viva
1 voce testimony and the documents can be introduced, and then we can fight
2 out what he can and cannot testify with respect to certain documents. But
3 if he's not competent, he's not competent.
4 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, all the documents are listed -- excuse
5 me. All the documents are known. I suggest this is no different than any
6 other witness. The counsel can question any individual document, put it
7 to the witness during cross-examination, and just like any other witness
8 that we deal with, if they put it to the witness and if they feel that
9 they can lay a foundation through the witness that the document shouldn't
10 be admitted to the witness, then of course they can file their objections
11 at the end of the examination. But again this is just -- this is -- this
12 is not a significant complaint.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have just spent 20 minutes
14 discussing this. Mr. Karnavas -- while Mr. Karnavas was speaking, I
15 looked at the written document, and I acknowledge as follows: The witness
16 was heard by Mr. Spork on the 16th of May in the year 2000. After that a
17 few weeks later, on the 10th of June 2000, and then a month later on the
18 10th of July, 2000. On the 10th of July, 2000, the person in signed the
19 statement, which is the 27-page statement, and he indicated that it had
20 been read out to him in his own language.
21 In the 26-page statement, we can see that 13 documents are
22 mentioned. The latter are referenced in his statement. And the written
23 statement is clearly based on these documents. After that, the documents
24 are to be found on page 25. We have a report which is dated the 9th of
25 March, 1994, and point 2, we have a copy of the president of Mostar, who
1 is sending a letter. So these 13 documents can be found in his written
3 After that the witness is heard again on the 18th of January,
4 2004. Not by Mr. Spork this time but by Ms. Egels, assisted by
5 Susan Tucker, and in his statement, which is a few pages long, he
6 addresses some of these issues which had already been addressed in the
7 previous written statement. And a while ago on the 15th of May, 2007,
8 he's heard again by Mr. Spork and in his 15th of May, 2007 statement
9 several documents are again mentioned. One, two, three, four, five, six,
10 seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 documents are mentioned. All these
11 documents are seemingly included in the binders in front us.
12 As far as I'm concerned, it seems that most of the statements are
13 based on the documents. Let remind you of Rule 92 ter (A)(iii). Let me
14 read it out to you. "The witness testifies that the written statement or
15 the statement taken during the interview replicates his -- what he has
16 said and he would see -- he would say the same if he were to be asked the
17 question again."
18 Even if the investigator has drafted a the statement, the witness
19 has re-read the statement, has authenticated it, and has signed it, and
20 has acknowledged it as truthful. This is how we stand.
21 The legal officer has just told me that we had the same problem
22 with Witness B1 when this procedure had been triggered. I think my
23 colleague on the -- my left-hand side wishes to say something.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not without understanding for the objections
25 of the Defence, because there are rules for the admission of documents,
1 and if documents are read to a witness and then appear in the transcript,
2 that, a little bit, gives the impression of sneaking them into our
4 Also, I think that there is a certain insecurity on how the
5 witness was brought to make the commenting declarations he made, but I
6 think that can easily be done here. Mr. Karnavas has already pointed out
7 he can be asked whether these were his comments or whether they were
8 suggested to him. There's also the possibility of cross-examination.
9 Mainly the documents, I think, will anyway be presented in the original by
10 the OTP, and I think it was useful to -- having drawn our attention to
11 this, and we will be very careful about it and are prepared certainly to
12 have what the witness will say today be decisive and not what is in the
14 I think -- can the Defence live with this?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Precisely. That's what exactly -- I wanted to
16 highlight and I wanted to be fair to the Prosecutor that I was going to
17 raise certain objections to the form of the statement.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: But I think that His Honour has hit the nail right
20 on the head. Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And can the Prosecution live with it?
22 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. I don't think -- as far as I know,
23 and it's actually Ms. Gillett's witness and I apologise for intervening.
24 As far as I know, all the exhibits that will be put to the witness are in
25 the bundle. They will be individually addressed by the witness. If the
1 Chamber finds at the end of the day it feels that there are some documents
2 that's quoted or referred to in the body of the statement that the Chamber
3 is uncomfortable with, we can certainly address that. It may not be the
4 best way to take a statement but that's the way the statement was taken in
5 2000, some seven years ago. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you -- usher, could you
7 bring the witness into the courtroom.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, the quote from Rule 92
9 ter: "The witness attests that the written statement or transcript
10 accurately reflects that witness' declaration and what the witness would
11 say if examined."
12 [The witness entered court]
13 WITNESS: ZLATAN BULJKO
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. Let me
16 make sure you understand the translation --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand you fully.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I would like you to
19 stand so that you can take the solemn declaration. For the purpose of the
20 transcript, could you give me your first name, family name and date of
21 birth, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Zlatan Buljko. I was born on the
23 19th of July, 1954, in Gorazde, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. What is your current
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At present, I'm working as a
2 consultant on a project to reform the local government in
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, have you already testified
5 before an International Tribunal or a national court about events that
6 unfolded in your country, or is it the first time you come to testify?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before an international court, the
8 first time, but I testified in Mostar, in the case of Romeo Blazevic, with
9 respect to my expulsion on the 9th of May, 1993. That is the only case
10 which relates to the situation that took place in western -- in
11 Eastern Mostar.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the case you have just
13 mentioned, which was tried before the tribunal in Mostar, was this a
14 criminal procedure or civil procedure?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it was a criminal procedure.
16 I'm not quite sure, though.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Romeo Blazevic, was he
18 convicted or wasn't he?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, he was not convicted. I think
20 that the proceedings are either still ongoing, or that the outcome was
21 positive as far as he was concerned.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you testify before a Bench
23 or before an investigating judge?
24 Let me repeat my question. When you testified before the tribunal
25 in Mostar, were there judges, a prosecutor, and attorneys and
1 Mr. Blazevic, or did you investigate before an investigating judge, when
2 there was only one judge?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the first case; before a
4 judge, a prosecutor, attorneys, and the accused.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I would like you to
6 read the text of the solemn declaration, please.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit.
10 So first let me give you some explanations regarding the four days
11 of hearing that have been set aside regarding your testimony. You might
12 be surprised by the difference between this proceeding and what happened
13 in Mostar.
14 In -- for this proceed -- proceeding, you'll first answer
15 questions that will put to you by the representative of the Prosecution
16 which I'm sure you've met. She will ask you a number of questions and she
17 will also show you a number of documents. And after that phase, which
18 will take some time, counsel for Defence, which are on your left, and you
19 see that there's a great number of them, and possibly the accused, will
20 start asking questions in turn. It will be the cross-examination phase.
21 The three Judges on the Bench can ask a question to you at any
22 time during the procedure. However, we'd rather now wait for all
23 questions during the examination phase and the cross-examination phase be
24 over before we actually put questions, unless there's a document that's
25 been presented, because if there's a document being presented on screen,
1 we'd rather ask the questions right away in order to make sure that we
2 don't disturb the proceedings.
3 So please try and be extremely specific in the answers you give.
4 If you don't understand a question, don't hesitate to ask for a
5 reformulation of the question.
6 There will be a break every hour and a half. These are 20-minute
7 breaks. If at any time you feel ill or you feel uncomfortable for any
8 reason, please say so and we can immediately stop the proceedings.
9 So this is how the hearing is going to be held. If you have a
10 question to put to a Judge, you can do so.
11 I will now give the floor to Prosecution for this 92 ter
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No questions. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour, and good afternoon.
16 Examination by Ms. Gillett:
17 MS. GILLETT: As Your Honour already knows, this witness is being
18 called pursuant to the procedure under Rule 92 ter, and as has become the
19 practice in this court, a summary of that witness's evidence is read into
20 the record purely as a matter of the public record, before I commence the
21 admission of the statement procedure and then go on to ask the further
23 For the benefit of the Court, this summary is entirely based on
24 the Rule 65 ter description that was submitted by the Prosecution along
25 with this witness. It is a little bit of a lengthy summary as one might
1 expect, given that this witness has provided one very lengthy statement
2 and two other somewhat shorter statements.
3 The summary commences as follows: The witness gives information
4 about the political background in the Mostar region from 1990 onwards;
5 The creation of the HZ HB in 1991; the establishment of the HOS and the
6 HVO; the hand-over of power by the SDA to the HDZ in Mostar in 1992 and
7 the consequences thereof; the takeover by the HVO of the civilian police
8 structures in Mostar and the consequences thereof in 1993; the various
9 laws passed by the HZ HB HVO in order to short-circuit the laws of Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina.
11 In June 1992, the witness, together with other Bosnian Muslim
12 employees, was fired from his job at a Mostar company that only kept
13 Bosnian Croats employed. In April 1993, the witness became the
14 interpreter for Arif Pasalic, commander of the ABiH 4th Corps, and he
15 attended most of the negotiations between the HVO, the ABiH, and the
16 international organisations in the Mostar area between April and the end
17 of June of 1993. He confirms that during that time, Berislav Pusic was
18 part of most of these meetings. He gives information about the breakout
19 of the conflict between HVO and ABiH in Mostar in April 1993.
20 On the 9th of May, 1993, the witness was evicted from his
21 apartment by HVO soldiers after having to hand over all valuables. He was
22 expelled together with other Bosnian Muslim neighbours to East Mostar.
23 That day he also witnessed the shelling of East Mostar and heard the
24 speech given by Jadran Topic on the radio.
25 On the 12th of May, 1993, the witness was part of a negotiation
1 meeting where Milivoj Petkovic was representing the HVO and signed an
2 agreement on the cessation of hostilities. He explains the content of
3 that agreement and its improper implementation. The witness gives
4 information about other agreements between the HVO and the ABiH that were
5 not respected, such as the 19th of May, 1993 agreement on the UN civil
6 police monitors, and the 25th of May, 1993, and 8th of June, 1993,
7 agreements on the realisation of the agreement about the cessation of
9 At the end of June 1993, the witness was appointed by
10 General Arif Pasalic to re-establish civilian authorities and institutions
11 in East Mostar and to coordinate humanitarian activities. The witness
12 describes the process, started by the East Mostar War Presidency,
13 attempting to list the Bosnian Muslim prisoners held in HVO detention
14 centres. He explains that such lists were handed over to the HVO during
15 negotiation meetings and more specifically to Berislav Pusic.
16 On the 24th of August, 1993, he was part of the ABiH team that
17 negotiated with the HVO the entrance of the first humanitarian convoy into
18 East Mostar. He gives information about the involvement of Bruno Stojic
19 in these negotiations and the content of the negotiations, as well as the
20 agreement reached.
21 The witness describes the difficulties linked to the access of
22 humanitarian -- access of humanitarian aid to East Mostar due to the
23 blockade by the HVO. He also describes the unbearable living conditions
24 for civilians in East Mostar.
25 The witness describes medical evacuations from East Mostar in
1 September and November 1993, and the HVO shelling of the East Mostar war
3 In September 1993, the witness was appointed head of the office
4 for displaced persons and refugees for the Herzegovina area by the
5 president of the Mostar War Presidency. He gives detailed information
6 about the high influx of displaced and expelled Muslims into East Mostar
7 and reports about the ethnic cleansing of the municipalities of Mostar,
8 Stolac, Capljina, Ljubuski by the HVO since April 1993. He explains how
9 he heard on numerous occasions that Bosnian Muslims were either expelled
10 to ABiH-controlled territory or to third countries by the HVO. He gives
11 information about the involvement of the Republic of Croatia in these
13 That ends the 65 ter description of the evidence contained in the
14 witness's statements, the three of them. I'll now commence the admission
15 of the statement procedure.
16 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buljko. Mr. Buljko, do you remember being
17 interviewed on several occasions by the Office of the Prosecutor of this
19 A. Yes, I remember.
20 Q. Do you recall that that was on the 16th of May, the 9th and 10th
21 of June and the 10th of July in 2000?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And then again on the 18th of January 2004?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And lastly, on the 15th of May, 2007?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. On each of those occasions did you answer the questions that were
3 asked of you truthfully?
4 A. Yes, my answers were truthful.
5 Q. And did you also do so voluntarily?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, at the end of the interview process in 2000, on the 10th of
8 July, also in 2004, on the 18th of January, 2004, and the 15th of May,
9 2007, do you recall the statements being read back to you in your own
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And do you also recall signing each of the statements on each of
13 those occasions, confirming that they were true to the best of your
14 knowledge and recollection?
15 A. Yes. I signed them and I initialed each and every page.
16 MS. GILLETT: Could a hard copy of each of the three statements
17 that are Exhibits 10069, 10070 and 10071 be placed in front of the
18 Witness? Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Buljko, have you had the opportunity to re-read these
20 statements prior to coming into court?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, by looking at the statements in front of you, and I believe
23 it's the English versions of the statements, are you able to confirm that
24 those are your initials on each of the pages of the English version of all
25 three statements?
1 A. Yes. These are my initials.
2 Q. And is your signature on the last page of the statement, all three
3 of the statements?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. If I were to ask you questions today about the subject matters
6 contained in these written statements, would your answers be reflected by
7 the contents of those statements?
8 A. Yes. Yes. They are a reflection of that, but they require some
9 additional explanations too.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Buljko, having re-read these statements in your own
11 language, I believe you mentioned there was one correction at least that
12 you wanted to make, and that was on page 3 of the English -- sorry, page
13 20 of the B/C/S version of the 2000 statement and page 13 of the English
14 version. It was a matter of translation. Are you able to find those two
15 pages, page 13 of the English and page 20 of the B/C/S, and explain what
16 it is you wanted to correct?
17 A. Let me just find it. The structure of the sentence wasn't right,
18 so I had an objection. I cannot find my way here. Is it really page 20?
19 Q. It's page 20 of the B/C/S version, and it's halfway down the page.
20 The paragraph just above where it says "Vladislav Pogarcic."
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Perhaps the Madam Prosecutor can lead the witness
22 since they've already had this conversation. So there's no sense in going
23 through this kabuki dance. Just read it to him and we can go through it.
24 MS. GILLETT: I'll do my best to lead the witness. Actually in
25 B/C/S, and so as far as sentence structure is concerned, I'm somewhat lost
1 but it was the English version I understand, you are in agreement,
2 Mr. Buljko, with the English version that reads, "because it took till
3 1994 before all needed International Organisations were able to actually
4 start their aid programs in East Mostar."
5 But in the B/C/S version, I believe you had a correction after it
6 reads, "zato sto sve potrebne medjunarodne organizacije", you wish to
7 correct to read --
8 A. Yes, yes, I found it. I have found it. Just a moment, please.
9 What it says here the international organisations were able to monitor the
10 situation in East Mostar because it took till 1994, yes, because
11 international organisations were -- before all needed international
12 organisations were able to actually start their aid programmes in East
13 Mostar, till 1994.
14 Q. I think that --
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour perhaps the gentleman, since he
16 supposedly speaks English and was a translator and obviously would know
17 English grammar, I would suspect, perhaps he could just tell us in English
18 how it should be corrected in the English, since the Court is going to be
19 dealing with the English and not the B/C/S version.
20 MS. GILLETT: This is the problem, Your Honour. The witness's
21 correction was not in the English. He was happy with the English version.
22 He was concerned that the B/C/S version sentence structure reflected the
23 English structure correctly.
24 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
25 MS. GILLETT: And so it's almost impossible for us to understand in
1 English the correction. It's a matter of sentence structure in the B/C/S
2 and I have to respect that the witness wished to make this correction.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, please -- yes, Witness.
4 In the B/C/S text, which is a translation from the English, what's the
5 problem? Could you tell us exactly what you want corrected?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This second part of the sentence
7 towards the end of the paragraph, it should say because all the way up to
8 1994, up to 1994, this period had to elapse before all necessary
9 international organisations were in a position actually to start their own
10 programmes of aid in Mostar, in East Mostar. That's what I meant.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think this -- this is a bit Platonic, Witness,
12 because we are working in English; the transcript is in English. The
13 judgement will be in French, but we'll only read English as a basis for
14 it. So I -- with all respect, and I highly respect your wish to have
15 precision all around, if the English version is okay with you, I think the
16 rest is a bit an excess of perfectionism. Thank you anyway.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's fine.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but unless the B/C/S
19 version did not say the same thing as the English version. Some of our
20 accused do not understand English, and they're fully entitled to
21 understand in their own language what the document actually states.
22 So on this point, could you tell us exactly what the difference
23 was in the original B/C/S version and the new B/C/S version that you have
24 just told us?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for the English version, it is
1 quite accurate. What needs to be adjusted is the translation from English
2 into B/C/S.
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I be of assistance?
4 Can we ask the witness to read out for us what it is that he wrote in
5 English and then our interpreters will interpret that and then we will
6 understand what he's trying to say.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So what is the page in B/C/S, in
9 the B/C/S version? Could you tell us exactly what is the page and what is
10 the paragraph involved?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Page 20. The paragraph is one, two,
12 three, four; it's the fourth paragraph. The first sentence -- the first
13 sentence is all right. So it's the second sentence. It was: "It became
14 obvious that he was not supportive of the idea that the international
15 organisations were able to monitor the situation in East Mostar." That's
16 all right. "Because it took till 1994," that is to say that that period
17 had to elapse, "before all needed international organisations were able to
18 actually start their aid programmes in East Mostar."
19 That's it. That is my interpretation.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Ms. Nozica's satisfied.
21 I think we can pursue.
22 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Now, Witness, having --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] She's not satisfied. She's up.
25 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's not a question of
1 my satisfaction, but at least, I have understood, I think, what the
2 witness is trying to say.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understood also. Ms. Gillett,
4 you have the floor now.
5 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Buljko, having made that correction, do you stand by the
7 contents of these three statements as being true to the best of your
8 knowledge and recollection?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, staying with the statement of 10th of July, 2000, your first
11 statement, effectively, if I can call it that way, you mention at page 3
12 of the 2000 statement that because of the threat of war in Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina, the Bosnian Croats established, for defence purposes, their
14 own HOS forces, commanded by a Bosnian Croat named Blaz Kraljevic.
15 When was this H-O-S, HOS, established?
16 A. The armed section of the HOS was established sometime in the
17 beginning of 1991, and there were three stages involved. The first stage
18 was that they had their armed forces that were independent. Then they
19 coordinated with the HVO and then they were completely subordinated to the
20 HVO after the killing of Blaz Kraljevic on the 12th of August 1992 in the
21 hamlet of Glamuzine near Krusevo. Then on the 28th of August it was
22 subordinated when Mr. Ante Prkacin and Mr. Mate Boban signed this
23 subordination to the HVO.
24 Q. Moving on to page 4 of the English version of your statement and
25 page 6 of the B/C/S version, the paragraph that relates to a temporary
1 agreement between the SDA and HDZ whereby the SDA transferred all
2 political power in the Mostar municipality to the HDZ. At that time, do
3 you know who was in charge of the HDZ and who was in charge of the HVO,
4 that time being, as you mention in your statement, the 27th of April,
6 A. As for the HDZ, after Milivoj Gagro, as far as I can remember it
7 was Mr. Bruno Stojic. And after him in Mostar, it was Jadranko Topic. As
8 for the SDA as I've already stated here, Ismet Hadziosmanovic.
9 Q. So on the 27th of April, 1992, the date mentioned in your
10 statement who was in charge of the HDZ after the three persons that you've
12 A. I think it was Mr. Stojic.
13 Q. Now, in that same paragraph, this agreement, you mention this
14 agreement was the HDZ HVO was allowed to make all military decisions in
15 relation to the defence of Mostar. Do you know who was responsible for
16 making such decisions?
17 A. In view of the fact that cooperation between the SDA and the HDZ
18 went on for a while, was not interrupted, as for the HDZ in Mostar, well,
19 again I'm saying I think it's Mr. Stojic. In that period.
20 Q. Do you also know by what process those decisions were taken?
21 A. I cannot say much about that because I was not involved in such
22 processes. Decision-making processes, that is.
23 Q. Now, in relation to your job at Apro, A-p-r-o,, you were fired on
24 the 25th of June, 1992, as mentioned at page 5 of the English version of
25 your statement and page 6 of the B/C/S version, and you say you believe
1 that this was because you are Muslim, as there were no Bosnian Croats that
2 were fired, although that was not the official reason given to you.
3 Now, out of the total of 28 employees that you say worked there,
4 how many of these employees were actually retained?
5 A. Ten were retained. Out of the ten employees, two were Bosnian
6 Muslims who were retained. Well, one person was kept on account of
7 bookkeeping, and there was this other person who was kept there because we
8 did quite a bit of work there with imported goods, and we had duty-free
9 shops, and in storerooms there were a lot of products left, and this
10 Bosnian Muslim was in charge of the inventories. I think that is the
11 reason why they were retained, in order to know what the financial
12 situation in the company was.
13 Q. Why do you believe that you were fired because you were a Muslim?
14 A. Well, it wasn't only me that was fired. My colleagues, the Serbs,
15 had already left Mostar, so that left the Croats and the Muslims.
16 However, in the work that I was doing, or rather the reason I was given
17 was for economic reasons. That's why they said I was let go. But if you
18 knew the situation in Mostar during those days and later on, I know that
19 the majority of Bosnian Muslims lost their jobs and that they were not
20 able to find employment. Some of them did stay on, but a very small
22 Q. Turning to the bottom of page 6 of the --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Witness, please.
24 I have a question about something. You seem to be a rather learned man.
25 You have been to university. You speak French, English, Italian, and
1 Russian, and you are conversant in a number of foreign languages.
2 On looking at your answers, you seem to fully understand the
3 questions that are being put to you. So I would like to get back to the
4 question of the time you were fired. On page 3 of the English version,
5 you mention that you were not really told why you were fired, and you were
6 told that you were fired for economic reasons. You must have had a
7 contract nonetheless, and in your country contracts are governed by law,
8 and if you are fired without no reason whatsoever, can you not turn to the
9 law and seize the judge in charge of those matters? It would be, of
10 course, part of labour law.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In view of the situation in Mostar
12 and the fact that the law was not respected and that institutions of that
13 kind did not exist, I don't know who I could contact. I know what my
14 rights were, but we had contracts which were not short-term contracts,
15 one, two, three years, as they are today. We had contracts for an
16 unspecified period of time which provided us with a certain amount of
17 security. They meant that we could earn our living and that we were
18 secure in our jobs, but at that point there was nobody that I could
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were fired in 1992.
21 Everything collapsed. Were there no judges? Was nothing working any
22 more? What was the situation?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would be more or less the case.
24 For questions of that kind there was what we called courts of associated
25 labour. So the system was quite different at the time. But in Mostar
1 after the events that took place during that period of time and after the
2 Serb forces had withdrawn, the situation was chaotic, to be quite frank.
3 So that I really don't know who I could have contacted at that point in
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I just wanted to be of some assistance to the Trial
6 Chamber. On page 1 he indicates that at that point in time he was a sales
7 manager, and I guess he was engaged in import/export. In line with your
8 questions, perhaps you should ask the gentleman whether he was able to
9 carry out his functions at that period of time, and of course, you know,
10 it might also be relevant whether he was there the entire time, from the
11 time that the Serb aggression began or whether he was absent and not
12 around, and therefore perhaps that might also have been one of the
14 In other words, one, the company wasn't functioning, due to his
15 particular position; and two, he had been absent because he was out of the
16 country for two months, and perhaps whether he raised that with any labour
17 union or labour court or what have you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, as far as the reasons are
19 concerned, the reasons why you were fired, according to Defence counsel
20 you were working for a company that was involved in import and export.
21 Given the situation at the time and that the Serbs had withdrawn and the
22 war was on, maybe the -- this company was not operating as it should and
23 you were not there yourself. What can you say to this?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that the company could have
25 continued operating because it had enough food supplies and goods supplies
1 which it sold in its retail shops. So the possibility did exist for
2 economic activities to be continued.
3 Now, it was true that I was absent for a certain amount of time.
4 However, the director who was there before the gentleman I mention in my
5 statement authorised me to go and take my family to safety. I had a small
6 child, and my child was just one year old, and I had to take my family out
7 of the chaos that reigned in Mostar. And he said that I could come back
8 whenever I wished. I did come back, but he was replaced.
9 Now, on the basis of the agreement of the 27th of April that I
10 mention between the SDA and the HDZ he personally told me, he said to me,
11 "Zlatan, I'm not the director here any more. I don't know what's going
12 to happen in the future." And when Mr. Bracic whom I also mention as
13 being somebody -- as the man who took over, that is to say who received
14 authorisation from the HDZ to be the director, he then began to implement
15 his own policy, probably the policy that was imposed upon him, and the
16 result of that was that I was dismissed. Not only me but my other
17 colleagues too. I was told that I don't have to come to work any more.
18 So I think I've made myself quite clear. As I said, I was
19 authorised to take my family out of Mostar as thousands of other Mostar
20 families did at the time, and I state that in my statement, and I was
21 authorised to return because I thought my job would be waiting for me when
22 I came back. However, that did not happen.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Buljko, moving to the bottom of page 6 of the B/C/S version of
1 your statement, and it's about halfway down page 5 of the English version,
2 you state that the HVO stopped supplying the ABiH. What did the HVO stop
3 supplying the ABiH?
4 A. When I joined the BH army -- or, actually, that followed. My
5 joining up followed after the food supplies and medical supplies came into
6 ABiH. That is to say, in July, a logistical unit was formed of the
7 Independent Mostar Brigade as it was called at the time, and later became
8 known as the Mostar Brigade, and afterwards the 41st famous -- famed
9 Mostar Brigade.
10 Now, my friends, most of them didn't have jobs either. They
11 informed me that they needed somebody to help them out who had experience
12 with commercial jobs in order to set up a logistical unit for the
13 supply -- food -- for food supplies and medical supplies. And so around
14 the 23rd of August, I joined the Mostar Brigade and was a member of the
15 logistics of the Mostar Brigade. And the condition for that was -- or the
16 reason for that was because food and medicines had stopped coming in, had
17 stopped being sent in by the HVO.
18 Q. And do you know who took the decision to stop the supply of the
19 food and medicines coming in?
20 A. At the time I was not in the BH army. All I know is that my
21 friends told me that that was the reason. But they didn't give me the
22 names of the people who were in charge of things like that.
23 Q. Do you know on what level such decision was taken, whether it was
24 on a local level or it was on a larger level than that?
25 A. I think it was at a local level.
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think this was pure
2 speculation. The witness started off by saying that he didn't know where
3 the decision was made and then he was asked again at local or a higher
4 level, and then he said he thought it was a local level. That is
5 speculation. Or perhaps he should be asked on what grounds, since he's
6 already given his answer.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I be allowed to reply?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Kindly answer the question,
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was asked -- the first question
11 was who the people were involved. I said I did not know, that I wasn't
12 told. Then the second question was the following: I was asked at what
13 level, was it at the level of Mostar or was it further afield. I said it
14 was the local level, which means at the level of Mostar. So I think these
15 were two separate questions.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: That's not the issue whether they were two separate
17 questions. Obviously there were two separate questions. But if he didn't
18 know the first one, he is called to speculate on the second one, or at
19 least --
20 MS. GILLETT: No.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: -- his answer is speculative at best. Now, if he
22 can demonstrate exactly how he knows, with a document, a name, a date, a
23 place, something, fine, otherwise I think we get the point. It's
25 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, perhaps if I could be permitted to ask
1 my follow-up question which was to ask why the witness thinks it was on
2 the local level, in order that it maybe put to rest whether or not it is
3 purely speculative or if there is some basis for the witness saying this.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: But asking him to think. "Does he know," that's
5 the predicate. Does he know for a fact. If he doesn't know, then I think
6 anything other than that calls for speculation.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you said that a
8 decision was taken at a particular level. Are you speculating, or do you
9 know at what level such a decision was taken?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It did not happen in other parts of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina as it did in Mostar. I know everything was okay in
12 Sarajevo and Tuzla, but this is what happened in Mostar.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's no answer. The
14 witness did not answer your question.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, when you answer the
16 Prosecutor's question, when you say at what level the decision was taken,
17 what enables you to say this with a degree of certainty or not? Is it
18 that you have knowledge of this? Do you know who the decision-makers
19 were, or are you just assuming this?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no knowledge as to who made
21 the decision. I said earlier on that I was called upon to join the
22 Independent Mostar Brigade, that I was told a logistic unit was being set
23 up because the HVO had stopped sending supplies of food and medicines to
24 the international -- Independent Mostar Battalion.
25 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Buljko, in your capacity as member of the logistical unit of
2 the ABiH, officially becoming a member as you did on the 23rd of August,
3 1992, what did you wear in that capacity?
4 A. I mostly wore civilian clothing since there weren't enough
5 uniforms to go around. The uniforms were issued to soldiers first of all,
6 those who were up at the front lines. And the logistical unit received
7 uniforms, I think it was in the spring of 1993, and that's when I was
8 issued a uniform, too, but I only wore it to attend meetings of our
9 logistical unit.
10 Q. Still on page 5 of the English version of the statement, but page
11 7 of the B/C/S version, you state that you went to Zagreb to try to get
12 financial resources for the ABiH salaries. Why did you go to Zagreb to do
14 A. The electrical industry of Bosnia-Herzegovina was issued something
15 authorised by the BH government, and according to this agreement the
16 electrical industry of Bosnia-Herzegovina was to abide by the agreement
17 that was signed between the electrical industry and the government with
18 respect to financial resources, but the electrical industry of Croatia
19 never signed the agreement and the money was never paid out as had been
21 Now, the reason for that was that the Republic of Croatia bought
22 electricity. It still needs to buy electricity and there are certain
23 agreements that need to be respected which involve payment, payment for
24 electricity used.
25 Q. What was the connection to the payment of the ABiH salaries?
1 A. It was a decision taken by the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this is a complicated
3 question. I would like to sum it up for you, and correct me if I'm wrong.
4 According to what you've told us, the Republic of Croatia buys
5 electricity from the company Elektroprivreda. From what I understood,
6 there are certain -- there are bonds that are issued, but the ABiH
7 soldiers need to be paid, and Sarajevo and the government of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina has told the ABiH that to get paid, the Republic of
9 Croatia needed to redeem the bonds. In other words, the bonds needed to
10 be redeemed in order to get electricity.
11 This is rather complicated, but from what you've said I think this
12 is what I understood.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Members of the BH army were not
14 paid, and in my statement I said that many Bosnian Muslims joined the HVO
15 for two reasons. One, because it was better equipped; and second, because
16 they received regular salaries. But the members of the BH army did not.
17 So during that period of time covering several months these costs had to
18 be covered, and how this was to be done was on the basis of this decision
19 and these bonds.
20 I know it's a complex question and has to do with the situation of
21 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I don't know who it was on behalf of the BH
22 army, but I see that for the Elektroprivreda or electrical industry of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina it was the director who signed the agreement, and at
24 that time the director of the Croatian electrical industry or
25 Elektroprivreda Hrvatska was supposed to sign.
1 MS. GILLETT:
2 Q. Mr. Buljko, bottom of page 5 of the English version of the
3 statement and the top of page 8 of the B/C/S version of your statement,
4 still with the 2000 statement. You talk about working as an interpreter
5 for Arif Pasalic and attending most of the negotiation meetings between
6 ABiH and HVO and international organisations in the Mostar area.
7 What was the extent of your role at these meetings?
8 A. I was always invited by Mr. Arif Pasalic or others, other
9 participants in the negotiations, to help them if the need arose. As many
10 international institutions and UN organisations, UNPROFOR and so on and so
11 forth, ECMM, took part. They attended these meetings. So I was called
12 upon to assist, and I would go when invited.
13 Later on, I went to represent the civilian authorities and the
14 civilian police as well and representatives of the international
15 community. But in this case, he asked me to go because he knew I spoke
16 foreign languages. And he trusted me when it came to the translation and
17 interpretation. He knew that it would be done properly.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you're not very
19 accurate. A Judge would like to understand what part you played.
20 I have the feeling that you played two parts. A, you were an
21 interpreter because you are conversant in foreign languages, in English
22 certainly, and you then translate for Mr. Pasalic or the ABiH
24 It seems to me, according to what you said, that there's a second
25 part that you play. On line 25 of page 35, you say that you represent the
1 civil authorities, and you quote, as an example, the police, for instance.
2 So you can't be an interpreter or negotiator all in one. Were you
3 deemed both at the same time?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I interpreted for the needs of the
5 civilian police when they had negotiations with UN CIVPOL or with the
6 military observers from the United Nations. So I wasn't only interpreting
7 for Mr. Pasalic but for other institutions as well -- or, rather, for all
8 the institutions in Eastern Mostar at the time.
9 My role later on -- well, I was invited to attend the meetings and
10 to interpret, but I of course did other work as well, and this is what I
11 want to tell you. Since I was a member of the 41st famed Motorised
12 Brigade, whose commander was the late Midhad Hujdur, nicknamed Hujka, who
13 was killed, Mr. Pasalic asked for authorisation from my commander, that is
14 to say, from Mr. Midhad Hujdur, nicknamed Hujka, to go and allow me to
15 attend these meeting with him and to interpret for him. So I had to obey
16 and comply. And the negotiations that we mentioned a moment ago, at those
17 negotiations I was the interpreter, and I interpreted for most of the
18 negotiations conducted in Mostar at that period.
19 And I would like to emphasise the following the negotiations
20 didn't last all day every day, so I worked as much as they needed me. I
21 would go with the representatives of the BH army or the commission for
22 prisoner exchange and so on and so forth, and then I would go back to my
23 own job and carry on doing that when I didn't need to interpret, and I
24 told you what that other job was.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My question was a very precise
1 question, and you don't answer it in a precise manner.
2 During the negotiations did you have full powers to negotiate?
3 According to the answer you gave us, you seem to be saying that you were
4 there to play the part of an interpreter, but as far as the 41st Brigade
5 is concerned, there must have been an officer there who was representing
6 the 41st Brigade. You were not the 41st Brigade representative during
7 these negotiations, were you?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right. I wasn't a
9 representative of the brigade. I was just the interpreter at the
10 negotiations, and I did not have any military authorisation or competence
11 to negotiate. So as we say, I was in the rear, as are all interpreters,
12 in the background.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Well, at least that
14 is an accurate answer.
15 MS. GILLETT:
16 Q. Mr. Buljko, at these meetings that you attended whereby
17 international organisations, ABiH and HVO, were participating in the
18 Mostar area, who would attend to represent the ABiH?
19 A. The negotiations, well, Mr. Arif Pasalic, Suad Cupina,
20 Mr. Alija Alikadic later on, Mr. Dziho. Those were the individuals who
21 conducted the negotiations on behalf of the BH army. But depending on the
22 topic under discussion, there were other people, too, and they held
23 certain positions in the army or in the civilian authorities.
24 Q. Those people you've mentioned, in terms of their hierarchy what
25 was their authority or ability to take decisions at the negotiations?
1 A. As far as I know, on behalf of the BH army the decisions were
2 taken by -- or, rather, the decisions that were made at these meetings
4 The representatives representing the army or the civilian
5 authorities were able to make decisions during the negotiations, except
6 under certain circumstances where they had to refer back to some other
7 authority, consult some other authority. If it was at the commission for
8 prisoner exchange, for example, or the exchange of the bodies of persons
9 who had been killed, they had to consult the War Presidency.
10 Q. Equally --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett, we're going to have
12 a break now because it's a quarter to 4.00, and we shall have a 20-minute
13 break and resume at five minutes past 4.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 4.07 p.m.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Prosecution can resume.
17 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Buljko, just before the break I'd asked you about who would
19 attend as a representative from the ABiH and a few further questions from
20 that. The question I now ask you is in relation to those meetings that
21 you attended, who would attend as a representative from the HVO?
22 A. Slavko Puljic, Tihomir Maric were there on behalf of the HVO, then
23 Mr. Pusic attended most of these meetings as far as I can remember. That
24 would be about it for the period when I was present at the negotiations.
1 Q. And, again, as I asked you in relation to the ABiH, as far as the
2 HVO is concerned, out of the persons that you just mentioned who
3 represented the HVO at these meetings, in terms of their hierarchy what
4 authority did they have to take decisions during those negotiations,
5 during those meetings that you attended?
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. Unless a foundation is laid, it's
7 speculative. She needs to lay a foundation.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Ibrisimovic.
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, thank you very
10 much. If we are still talking about the 2000 statement as we are, I
11 think, then this would be something new because it didn't really exist in
12 the statement, the question of authority, responsibilities, powers.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett. Ms. Gillett.
14 MS. GILLETT:
15 Q. Mr. Buljko, you've mentioned three persons, I think it was, who
16 attended the meetings as representatives of the HVO. What positions did
17 they hold?
18 A. They had military and civilian positions. However, I think that
19 they could not make any decisions at these negotiations.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, please, Ms. Gillett
21 should have asked a question and she's not asking it, so I will put to
23 When you had these meetings ABiH and HVO, were they sitting around
24 a table and you as an interpreter you were next to them or behind them?
25 Can you tell us exactly how it was organised? Was it extremely formal?
1 Did you have an agenda? Was anyone chairing the meeting?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the most part the meetings were
3 chaired by representatives of the international community, whereas the
4 delegations of the armija and the HVO sat on their respective sides. So
5 these were formal meetings. I sat near the representative of the army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina or a representative who would be conducting the
7 negotiations. In the period after that, that is.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. So were you sitting next
9 to them or behind them?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Next to them.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett.
12 MS. GILLETT:
13 Q. Mr. Buljko, at the meetings that you attended at which Mr. Pusic
14 also attended, what position did Mr. Pusic hold at that time?
15 A. Mr. Pusic was then the representative of the civilian authorities,
16 if I understood things correctly. However, as far as I know, he was a
17 member of the negotiating team. I don't know what his exact position was.
18 Q. Do you know whether his position was a high or a low or a middling
19 ranking position?
20 A. A low position, I think, a low-ranking position.
21 Q. Do you know what authority Mr. Pusic had to make any decisions at
22 the meetings you attended?
23 A. As far as I know, Mr. Pusic could not make any decisions at the
24 meetings. He could, for example, collect lists of prisoners, wounded
25 persons, and so on, but specifically at meetings he could not make any
2 Q. At those meetings that you attended, do you know who on the HVO
3 side made the decisions?
4 A. In my assessment these would have to be higher structures of the
5 HVO or the HDZ at the time.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, we know what an
7 international meeting is like. There will be the international
8 representative, and then on both sides of the table you will have the HVO
9 on one side and the ABiH on the other side. The international
10 representative is chairing and will open the meeting, and of course will
11 give the floor to HVO and to the ABiH, and normally in this kind of
12 meeting the one taking the floor is the higher level, you know. It's not
13 the lower-level person that's going to take the floor.
14 So in this configuration, would Mr. Pusic speak first, or would he
15 take the floor after other HVO members have spoken?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said who the main
17 representatives were in that period at the negotiations. Mr. Pusic spoke
18 very little. He would always speak later.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it wasn't him who was taking
20 the decisions for the HVO. It was the other HVO representatives that
21 would be making the decisions.
22 Earlier you gave us names of HVO members. Could you state them
23 again, those who were also present in addition to Mr. Pusic?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said Slavko Puljic, and
25 Tihomir Maric in the period that we are discussing.
1 MS. GILLETT:
2 Q. At the meetings that you attended when Mr. Pusic was present, who
3 else apart from Mr. Pusic would be present from the HVO?
4 A. At the initial meetings, that is to say, after the 9th of May when
5 the conflict broke out, at the negotiations I saw Mr. Petkovic. I would
6 see Jadranko Topic as well, who during the first negotiations we had in
7 this building that is in the street of Ante Zujanica, he threw out of the
8 entire negotiating team of the international community, of the BH army, of
9 the HVO, everybody. Then some other persons appeared who had some
10 different kind of authority, but I cannot recall exactly what that was.
11 Q. From your attendance at these meetings, do -- do you know which of
12 the HVO representatives present at the meeting was taking the decisions
13 that were made?
14 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I'm going to intervene at this point.
15 The witness has testified that he was present at these meetings as an
16 interpreter on behalf of the ABiH side. How can it possibly be
17 appropriate to ask him about the inner workings of the HVO negotiating
18 team? Your Honour, this is not the right witness for these questions, and
19 I object to this whole line of questioning as calling for speculation.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. But what I'm interested
21 in is how it all worked. So for example, when there was a topic X that
22 was to be discussed, there were discussions between the two sides. And
23 when finishing the meeting on this topic, I guess that the representative
24 of the international community would give the floor either to the
25 representative of the HVO or of ABiH to know exactly what their final
1 stand would be. And you were there, so you probably heard all this. And
2 we're talking about any topic. You know, X topic, and any meeting.
3 As far as you recollect, was there a representative of HVO that
4 would end the meeting stating the final position of HVO, and the same on
5 the ABiH side?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, exactly the way you put
7 it, that would be the structure of these meetings. There were
8 discussions, there were talks, and then some conclusions were reached in a
9 working version, so to speak, and then after both sides accommodated their
10 views, then the representatives of both sides would sign the ultimate
11 agreement. Then I said it was the BH army and the HVO, and I said who the
12 representatives were for the HVO, Tihomir Maric and Slavko Puljic in that
13 period, and on behalf of the BH army, Arif Pasalic and Suad Cupina.
14 MS. GILLETT:
15 Q. Mr. Buljko, turning now to --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MS. GILLETT:
18 Q. Mr. Buljko, turning now to page 6 of the English version of your
19 2000 statement and page 8 of the B/C/S version, you mention the conflict
20 between the HVO and ABiH in the Mostar municipality on the 17th of April,
21 1993. I'd like you, if you will, to take a look at Exhibit 2043.
22 A. I don't have that exhibit in front of me.
23 Q. Sorry. Thank you.
24 A. I have it. I have it. 2043.
25 Q. We can see that this is a letter of protest signed by Mr. Pasalic
1 to the European Union and UNPROFOR stating the need to address the protest
2 due to the reference of a high-ranking officer of the Croatian army,
3 Slobodan Praljak, in the HVO Main Staff since April 1993, and that he
4 conducts and commands the HVO units, which is against the international
6 What do you know about this, Mr. Buljko?
7 A. This is the first time I see this document. In that period, that
8 is to say after the 17th of April, there were certain negotiations, and
9 what I know is the following: In the Regional Board of the SDA in Mostar
10 where Mr. Zijad Demirovic was, in the group of people that included
11 Arif Pasalic and Midhad Hujdur, nicknamed Hujka, I think that there were
12 one or two people who came to this Regional Board and that's where I saw
13 Mr. Praljak sitting at the table, whereas Mr. Demirovic was standing. I
14 didn't go into any kind of conversation with Mr. Praljak. I know that he
15 exchanged a few words with Hujka and with Mr. Pasalic.
16 Now, whether that was the reason for this protest addressed to the
17 international forces by Mr. Pasalic, that I don't know. I did see
18 Mr. Praljak sitting there, though, at the regional SDA board in Mostar.
19 This was the period that this protest refers to.
20 Q. And from that experience that you have just recited, do you know
21 in what capacity Mr. Praljak was sitting at this meeting?
22 A. Well, I would not say that it was a formal meeting. As I've
23 already said, I came with this group of people that I have already
24 referred to, and this was very brief. Mr. Pasalic, Hujka, and I were on
25 our feet, so it wasn't that any kind of formal talks were held.
1 Q. Once again, my question is do you know what capacity Mr. Praljak
2 was there in at this meeting, or informal gathering, if you wish to put it
3 that way?
4 A. Well, I don't know. I don't know. Perhaps it just happened by
6 Q. On the same page of your witness statement from 2000, page 6 of
7 the English and 8 of the B/C/S, you describe a meeting that was organised
8 by a Swedish UNPROFOR general between the HVO and ABiH in order it achieve
9 a cease-fire. Do you recall the name of that Swedish UNPROFOR general?
10 A. I think it was Mr. Bo Pellnas.
11 Q. And what was the date of this meeting?
12 A. Around the 20th of April, something like that. Perhaps a bit
13 earlier. I can't remember.
14 Q. Is this -- the meeting that was organised, were you involved in
15 this meeting?
16 A. Yes. I took part in these negotiations. I think it had to do
17 with withdrawal from the Mostar Hotel. That is to say, of units of the
18 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think there were a few more meetings, but
19 Mirza Lakisic, my colleague, attended these other meetings. So as for
20 this specific one, I was there.
21 Q. And who attended at that meeting on behalf of the ABiH?
22 A. Well, Mr. Pasalic. I mean, he was in charge as far as the army of
23 the BH is concerned.
24 Q. And who attended on behalf of the HVO?
25 A. Well, I remember Mr. Tihomir Maric, but I think as far as the
1 military structures are concerned, well, what I can remember now is --
2 well, that. I think it was Lazic.
3 Q. Now, turning to page 6 of the English and page 9 of B/C/S
4 statement regarding the HVO offensive that you describe on the 17th of
5 April, 1993, could you now turn to Exhibit 2227.
6 You see this is a letter from the 4th Corps to the president of
7 the republic of BiH mentioning the tense situation in Mostar, people being
8 abused in the wider area of Stolac and Capljina, Mostar being blocked on
9 all sides by the HV and HVO forces so that Serbs and Muslims couldn't
10 leave, and Mostar basically being one huge detention camp for the Muslim
12 What do you know about this letter?
13 A. This is the first time I see this letter. However, as far as the
14 situation is concerned, I think it was described well.
15 Q. On what --
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour. Your Honour, if I may. Excuse me.
17 The purpose of proofing a witness is to go through the documents
18 and go through their statement. I assume that they proofed this witness.
19 And during the proofing session they must have shown the gentleman these
20 documents. Maybe not. Maybe he doesn't recall it. Maybe he's just
21 nervous and he's just unable to remember. But it would seem to me that
22 now we're going -- we're showing him -- we're showing him documents that
23 he's never seen before, therefore, how can he comment on them?
24 I just fail to see. If we go back a couple of questions earlier,
25 she asked him some questions on who was there. In the statement it's very
1 clear. She says Pasalic, and then as far as -- and then Maric for the
2 HVO. And then the gentleman also then says he thinks it was Lazic. I let
3 it go, but if I were doing the direct, I mean, I wouldn't want to be
4 impeaching my own witness, but it seems to me either they haven't met and
5 they haven't proofed or the gentleman is just making things up. And I
6 would suggest at this point that no documents are shown to the witness
7 unless he knows of them, because she can ask him what was the situation in
8 Mostar at that period of time, and then we have his impression. But if
9 they're trying to get this document in, and I would dare say use the word
10 that was used earlier by -- you know, sneak it in, I don't think this is
11 the vehicle, the appropriate manner in doing so.
12 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I just observe Your Honour that it
13 was 18 seconds between this witness being asked what he knew about this
14 document and him saying, having acknowledged that he'd never seen it
15 before, that it described the situation well. It's a document that goes
16 on to a second page. This -- supporting Mr. Karnavas's observation, this
17 cannot be the right way to adduce evidence on these matters.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett, this document, this
19 2227, during the proofing session did you go through this document with
20 the witness? Did you work on the contents? Did the witness say, "Yes,
21 this letter corresponds to the situation at the time"? Or is it the first
22 time that he's actually seen the document? Mr. Karnavas seems to be
23 hinting at that.
24 So has he seen this document previously? Could you please shed
25 some light on this?
1 MS. GILLETT: Certainly, Your Honour, and it is no surprise that
2 Mr. Karnavas is hinting at this to me.
3 Yes, I went through this document with the witness in the proofing
4 session. Yes, we worked on the contents. Yes, the witness did say that
5 this letter corresponds to the situation at the time. And no, this is not
6 the first time that he is actually seeing the document. And I believe
7 that answers all the questions that Your Honour put in the above
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, either maybe there is -- I misheard
10 it or maybe Ms. Gillett misheard it, but I believe I heard the gentleman
11 say that this is the first time that he's seen this document. And if
12 indeed this is the first time, then what she just said, that it isn't the
13 first time is contrary to what he said.
14 Now, either -- maybe there was a mistranslation, maybe I'm just
15 too tired and I didn't hear it right, but I thought I heard that this was
16 the first time.
17 MS. GILLETT: He certainly did say that, Your Honour, and I think
18 it is simply a question of a misunderstanding on the part of the witness.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Wait a second, hold on. Now she's testifying. How
20 did she know that this was a misunderstanding on the part of the witness?
21 Is she clairvoyant? Let's ask the witness.
22 MS. GILLETT: It's fairly obvious to me what's going on, knowing
23 the situation as I do.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett, nothing is really
25 that obvious here and you're here to establish facts and the reality of
1 what is being said.
2 Witness, please, have you seen this document? Did you see it
3 yesterday or this morning with Ms. Gillett? Have you seen this document
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw this document here in
6 The Hague. When I said I was seeing it for the first time, what I meant
7 was that I hadn't seen it when it was compiled, that is to say on the 8th
8 of May, 1993, that I hadn't seen the document then.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: If this was shown to him for the very first time
10 when he came to The Hague by Ms. Gillett, then I don't think it's
11 appropriate to elicit testimony from the gentleman, because obviously he
12 didn't know anything about the document before. And we thank him for
13 being honest enough to tell us that this is the very first time, and
14 perhaps he can tell us which other documents he's seeing for the very
15 first time which the Prosecution wishes to adduce at this point.
16 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I just add this: The -- I --
17 when -- when counsel is examining and the witness says something like
18 this, that it's the first time, which obviously, as understood, is going
19 to lead to enormous misunderstanding because it's not so, I do suggest
20 with respect that counsel ought then in the course of examination to make
21 sure, as skilfully and as quickly as possible, that such a
22 misunderstanding is cleared up so that everybody knows. So I do suggest.
23 I apologise to Ms. Gillett and I don't wish to tell her how to do the job,
24 though I once was her head of chambers in London that a question like that
25 would help.
1 MR. SCOTT: Well, Your Honour, many times in my -- I don't know in
2 the last few minutes that this is necessarily true although I think it is,
3 but many times because of the interventions of the counsel, Prosecution
4 counsel is not allowed to get to that step. There is an immediate
5 objection before counsel can go to the next question or ask a clarifying
6 question. Further, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone in this courtroom
7 at this point, including the Judges, that sometimes the witnesses become
8 confused in the courtroom, sometimes there are translation issues. I've
9 even known some of the Judges to be mistranslated and for us to hear one
10 thing and the witness to have said something else.
11 Now, come on. Let's have a little realism here. Now, my counsel,
12 my colleague should have the chance to clarify the question, and the
13 witness should be given a chance too. That is very stressful situation
14 for everyone, including many of these witnesses, and that also shouldn't
15 come as a surprise to anyone in the courtroom.
16 Further, further, before Judge Trechsel intervenes, further, it
17 doesn't follow at all, it doesn't follow at all, that just because a
18 witness is shown an exhibit for the first time during proofing that the
19 witness can't comment on it. The witness may have been very much involved
20 in the events reflected in the content of the document. The fact that he
21 didn't see the document before, has nothing to do with the propriety of
22 putting that document to the witness. The witness may see a document for
23 the first time and say, Yes, in fact, I was at that very meeting and
24 that's exactly what happened. So the fact that it's shown to the witness
25 for the first time has no bearing whatsoever on the propriety of putting
1 that exhibit to the witness.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Defence counsel.
3 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm troubled
4 by another situation, and that is that if this is the first time that the
5 witness has seen the document in The Hague and if he's commenting on the
6 document to my learned friend of the Prosecution, I'm surprised that we
7 didn't get the document, because it's an addition to the statement.
8 So in -- he couldn't have referred to it if he's seeing it for the
9 first time now, whereas he's commenting on how the document came into
10 being. And I think we should have been informed about that because
11 obviously my learned friend Ms. Gillett is aware of that and informed
12 about it.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett, while several
14 people were on their feet I was looking a document which I have in front
15 of me. As I read fast, it doesn't take me long to understand.
16 In this letter, Mr. Pasalic is writing to the president of the
17 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Mr. Izetbegovic, undoubtedly, to
18 mention a number of facts. On the face of it, there seem to be some 20
19 facts mentioned in this letter.
20 So, was he aware of the 20 facts? Was he aware of some of the
21 facts? Ms. Gillett, before mentioning the letter, you could have asked
22 him detailed questions about one or other events. For instance, there
23 were artillery shots in Donja Mahala, in the southern part of Mostar, and
24 so on and so forth. Does he know this? Does he not know this? There is
25 a curfew at 8.00 on the 7th of May. Members of the 4th Corps were
1 captured and released on the same day. A number of facts, a number of
2 facts are mentioned in this letter. Does he know all of the facts or does
3 he know some of the facts? Which of the facts are contained in his
4 written statement, because this document should establish a connection
5 with the written statement.
6 My colleague would also like to say something as a follow-up.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. In fact, I think we are accumulating issues
8 here without -- without them being addressed.
9 I think that the point made by Mr. Stewart is quite a reasonable
10 point. I think it would be helpful if the Prosecutor would draw the
11 attention on the -- of the Court to the realities when a witness says that
12 he saw the document for the first time. And this is the third document
13 that he has said this, and before you have not said that. So Mr. Scott's
14 objection that you did not get the time to do it is not -- is not really
15 founded. I think it's a small matter. I quite agree with Mr. Scott that
16 we have had many, many times witnesses testifying on documents they had
17 not seen before proofing, before being in contact with the OTP, and we
18 have rules on this, and normally, I think that should not be a special
20 I think you could proceed now, Ms. Gillett.
21 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Witness, on page 9 of the B/C/S version of your statement and page
23 6 of the English version, you speak about events on the 9th of May, 1993,
24 saying that you were woken up by HVO soldiers wearing black uniforms.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett, I'm a little bit
1 lost. The document which has been -- just been discussed, and we've
2 wasted 10 minutes on this, is what occurred on the 8th -- on the 8th of
3 May and the days prior to that. You're now moving on to the 9th of May.
4 Are you moving on to another topic?
5 MS. GILLETT: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In that case, all right. Please
8 MS. GILLETT:
9 Q. Page 9 of the B/C/S, as I said, page 6 of the English, 9th of May.
10 Mr. Buljko, you say that you were woken up by HVO soldiers wearing black
11 uniforms. What --
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What colour was the HVO uniform at the time?
14 A. They were uniforms, camouflage military uniforms as we referred to
15 them, but the individual who threw me out of my flat and woke me up at
16 5.00 a.m. was wearing a black uniform, which might have looked like a HOS,
17 H-O-S, uniform. Well, it was some officer in charge of throwing people
18 out, probably because he had been trained to do so.
19 Now, who he actually belonged to, whether Tuta, Stela or the HVO,
20 or whatever, I don't know, but he belonged to one of those units who were
21 in charge of throwing people out be the 9th of May at 5.00 a.m. Thousands
22 of Bosnian Muslims were evicted and I was thrown out in my pyjamas with
23 nothing on my feet. We were rounded up in front of the building. They
24 referred to us in derogatory terms. They called us balijas, and I don't
25 think they even knew what balija meant. Perhaps they'd heard from each
1 other. People called each other balijas. But anyway, we were rounded up
2 in front of our buildings, all of our groups in front of the entrance to
3 each building, and we had to obey their orders. We had to crouch, to
4 kneel down, and wait and see what would happen to us.
5 When I crouched down, I saw soldiers around my building without
6 any insignia whatsoever on their uniforms. So I didn't know whether they
7 were soldiers of the Croatian army or the HVO or whatever. And they had
8 RPGs and were standing round my building. And I wondered why they had
9 these RPGs and why they were cocking them at unarmed civilians. And later
10 on, I saw that two or three entrances away from my entrance, they'd
11 already started killing the civilians.
12 The previous night, on the 8th of May, and I was living at
13 Balinovac at the time or Vucja Jazbina as it was called, the Fox's Lair,
14 and I was a witness to all these events. So that night on the 8th of May,
15 thousands of vehicles from Siroki Brijeg or Listica, as it used to be
16 called, arrived in Mostar and looking at all this from my window, I
17 wondered where all those cars were going. And then there was a restaurant
18 near my building and I saw that soldiers were gathering together by that
19 restaurant, that they were drinking and I knew that something was going to
20 happen. And knowing of the tensions that prevailed during those days, it
21 was quite clear to me that what was to happen was going to happen, and
22 after they rounded us up, this group of people who was a -- the group that
23 was the first to be evicted from their flats --
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you speak a little bit slower, less fast,
25 because the interpreters are -- they are coping still, but one feels that
1 they are hard pressed. Thank you.
2 MS. GILLETT:
3 Q. Mr. Buljko, getting to that point, you mention then in your
4 statement, talking about your forcible eviction on the 9th of May, page 6
5 still of the English and 9 of the B/C/S, you mention other Muslims being
6 forced to go in the opposite direction to the one that you went in, being
7 led to the stadium, the Stadion. What was this Stadion?
8 A. It's the city stadium. So when we went to Semovac with this first
9 group of people, we were told to go there. I saw a lot of people who had
10 been evicted from the high-rise building, and there are some 60 residences
11 in each of the high-rise buildings times the number of family members
12 would make it 200 inhabitants from just one high-rise, and there were
13 seven or eight of them. It was Franjevacka Ulica and had a different name
14 previously, so the residents from the Matija Gubac Street were moving
15 towards the city Stadion. And they told us, the friends that I saw along
16 the way, moving towards the direction of the city Stadion, said they had
17 been ordered to rally at the Stadion.
18 However, I passed by that same street, and luckily it's a flat
19 street, so I reached Semovac and rushed across to that part at Semovac,
20 well, there were business buildings and my company was located there, the
21 one that threw me out. Anyway, when I crossed this area I had to stop
22 twice because I heard some shots coming from some PAM weapons firing
23 above, somewhere at Hum or Panjevina. That's the area that I passed by.
24 So I had to run across and my heart was pounding. I was never as afraid
25 as I was at that moment. I thought that the PAMs were shooting at me and
1 a lot of elderly people who could barely walk crossed over to Semovac that
2 day, but the shelling started very soon, as well, of East Mostar --
3 Q. Mr. Buljko, sorry to interrupt you. If I could ask you, do you
4 know what happened to the people that were taken to the Stadion?
5 A. According to what the people told me and what my mother and sister
6 told me, my mother was 73 years old at the time, and she was also taken
7 off to the Stadion from another part of town, from the avenue. She went
8 to the city Stadion, and she told me what was happening there and what
9 happened at Heliodrom when she was incarcerated there. So I heard this
10 from my mother and from my sister. I have the exact information. I know
11 how many people were held at the city stadium and how many were taken to
12 Heliodrom. So that's as regards my family.
13 Now, as to other witnesses, I had thousands of statements from
14 people who were forcibly evicted and displaced within Mostar and who told
15 me how they were taken out of their flats and where they found themselves
16 afterwards. They found themselves in the concentration camps as we called
17 them, the HVO concentration camps.
18 Q. Mr. Buljko, how did you come to have thousands of statements from
19 people who were forcibly evicted and displaced in Mostar? How did you get
20 that information?
21 A. Our civilian police force collected the statements, collected
22 statements from most of the displaced persons and the refugees who were
23 there during that period of time, who arrived in June and July 1992. And
24 what happened was that all these people had lost their property. So this
25 lost property was reported as you do everywhere, in the West and in the
1 East. You report lost property.
2 Q. How did you come to be in possession of the statements that
3 civilian police force had collected?
4 A. In my capacity as coordinator for humanitarian activities, and
5 also in my capacity in the Department for Displaced Persons and Refugees
6 in Herzegovina, without Konjic and Jablanica, I'm referring to displaced
7 persons from the Mostar area, as well as Capljina, Stolac, Ljubuski, and
8 so on, who were in East Mostar at the time, I had personal contacts with
9 those people. I came into contact with them personally. And I talked to
10 them, and they told me their stories. They told me what had happened to
11 them from the 9th of May onwards.
12 And secondly, the statements that I mentioned, well, our police
13 force summarised them because I cooperated with the civilian police in
14 order to resolve the situation and the problems that displaced persons and
15 refugees had. I mean, the persons who were in Mostar at the time.
16 Q. Mr. Buljko, we'll come back a little bit later on to your role as
17 the coordinator for displaced persons and refugees.
18 Turning to page 7 of the English statement and 10 of the B/C/S
19 statement. You --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. A point
21 of clarification. I'm interrupting now because otherwise we might forget
22 about it.
23 I was quite struck by the fact you mentioned that on the 8th of
24 May, there were thousands of cars seemingly that had reached Mostar, and
25 on the 8th of May you seemed to have seen a lot of soldiers around in
1 bars, so you thought that something was afoot. That's the first time,
2 because we have been hearing witnesses here for the past year on the
3 question of Mostar, it's the first time that I hear a great number of cars
4 reached Mostar. Are you sure that on the 8th of May you saw a great many
5 cars entering Mostar?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, what I said is the
7 truth. I lived in Balinovac in a building which overlooks the road
8 leading from the cemetery, the olive grove cemetery to Siroki Brijeg, and
9 from my window that night, late at night on the 8th of May, I saw
10 thousands of car lights, cars coming into Mostar.
11 And as for the soldiers, they had already taken their -- taken
12 control of the restaurant belonging to Jusa Dizdarevic. They had evicted
13 his family before that and the man hasn't visited his restaurant to that
14 day. So they'd already taken over that restaurant late on the 8th of May.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So these cars, you saw thousands
17 of lights from these cars. Where were these cars coming from?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the direction of Siroki Brijeg.
19 From Western Herzegovina.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 8th of May and this is in
21 your statement. If I don't put you the question I am not doing my job
22 properly, and as I have every intention of doing my job very well, I'm
23 going to put the question to you.
24 On page 6, you say -- you mention the SpaBat, and you say that on
25 the 8th of May, according to what you think, you say, "I believe they had
1 left their positions in Mostar to move 20 kilometres away," and you say
2 that you didn't know why they had repositioned their camps.
3 If you have mentioned this, I assume you witnessed this with your
4 own eyes. Why, according to you, did the SpaBat leave Mostar on the 8th
5 of May?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. I saw them withdraw,
7 because I didn't see them in Mostar that day, so they must have withdrawn.
8 That's why I say I believe, because I didn't know what was going to happen
9 the following day.
10 Now, when the conflict began on the 9th of May, they were not in
11 Mostar. Perhaps they were on the surrounding hills. I don't know that.
12 That's just an assumption on my part. But later on from the statements
13 that the representatives of the international community made, I learnt
14 from what they said, I learnt that they had withdrawn to their camp in
15 Medjugorje which is some 20 kilometres away from Mostar. And then later
16 on they appeared in the Mostar area, some five or six or four or five days
17 later. I'm not quite sure.
18 So the Spanish Battalion left the civilians of Mostar. The
19 Spanish Battalion did not accomplish its assignment. And it was UNPROFOR,
20 the protection forces, that's what it was supposed to be. It was cowardly
21 of them to leave Mostar at that point in time, and they appeared later on
22 after the international community had exerted pressure on them to return.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is my last question now on
24 the 8th and 9th of May. On the 8th of May you were still the official
25 interpreter of Mr. Pasalic at the international meetings he attended; is
1 that right?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't see Mr. Pasalic on the 8th.
3 He wasn't there then. I don't think he was in Mostar then. At least I
4 didn't see him on the eve of the 9th of May, as far as I remember. And I
5 don't think he was in Mostar. Later on I heard that he was held
6 somewhere, but I don't know. I didn't discuss it with him.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You belonged to the
8 41st Brigade, didn't you? Where was the camp of the 41st Brigade?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Pasalic was the commander of the
10 4th Corps of the BH army. I was a member of the 41st famed Motorised
11 Brigade which had a logistical unit in the Vranica building which is where
12 the command of the 4th Corps was located. So we were in the cellar and
13 they were, I think, on the ground floor, or a mezzanine floor of the
14 Vranica building. So in another part. Whereas the BH army units were in
15 South Camp. They were in the Mostar Hotel prior to that and in some other
16 buildings, but that was mostly where the units of the 41st famed Motorised
17 Brigade were located.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On the 8th of May did you go
19 into the Vranica building to see your colleagues and your friends? On the
20 8th of May did you enter the building, the Vranica building?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 8th of May, I was with a
22 colleague of mine who was cleaning up his house. He was restoring his
23 house. So I didn't appear on the 8th of May in the Vranica building, but
24 I was there on the 7th of May, and I know that people were doing shift
25 work and duty work, that is to say, members of the BH army at that time.
1 They were on duty in the Vranica building. But specifically on the 8th of
2 May, I did not appear on those premises.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I can imagine the following
4 military situation: The ABiH, the 41st Motorised Brigade receives an
5 order to attack the HVO on the 9th or the 8th of May. If there had been
6 such an order, would you yourself been prepared to take up an assignment?
7 And you would have been mobilised, as you were, in the Vranica building.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me say something first of all,
9 something about the attack of the brigade or the corps of the BH army.
10 Well, there can be no mention of an attack, because the army and corps in
11 Mostar had very little materiel and equipment. So they couldn't stand up
12 to the much mightier force that came into Mostar, the Croatian army and
13 the Croatian Defence Council. So this assumption --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let him answer the question.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- is untenable.
16 Now, as far as whether I would have been there -- whether I was
17 there, well, I would have been in the Vranica building had I been on
18 assignment there, but --
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I just wanted to make one observation.
20 First, the gentleman obviously is speaking to his audience in Mostar, and
21 maybe too, because he's a consultant, maybe he's promoting himself. I
22 would appreciate if he would simply answer your questions. Your questions
23 are very precise, and I think that the gentleman is playing games.
24 You understand me, sir. So please just answer the questions and
25 we'll get along fine.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. My question was the
2 following: If there had been an attack, you would have been present. So
3 answer in two stages -- you answered in two stages. You said ABiH didn't
4 have time to react. But if there had been an order, you would have been
5 present and not, you know, doing something else somewhere else.
6 So what about General Pasalic? Where was he on May 8?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was not in Mostar.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you had no idea where he
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, there was -- there was a response to
12 the question that was not recorded, or it was not in the transcript. What
13 was the first answer you gave to the President when he asked you whether
14 you would have been present at the -- at the HQ if there had been a plan
15 to attack? Did you say yes or no or something else?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The planned attack by the BH army?
17 Well, as far as I understood it --
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The hypothetical. If assuming that there was
19 such a plan, would you have been at the office?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett, you can proceed.
23 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Buljko, turning to page 7 of the English version of your
25 statement and page 10 of the B/C/S.
1 You mention a meeting between the HVO, the main representative of
2 whom being Mr. Petkovic, and the ABiH, the main representative being
3 Mr. Halilovic, and attend by UNPROFOR Lieutenant-General Morillon and
4 Ambassador Thebault with the purpose of agreeing on the cessation of
5 hostilities in BiH. Did you attend this meeting?
6 A. I was not present at that meeting.
7 Q. Now, that being your answer, we see in your statement that you
8 then go on to give a number of details about the agreement, so my question
9 to you is: How did you come to know of these details that you describe in
10 your statement?
11 A. On the 25th of May, we had negotiations on the realisation of the
12 agreement on cessation of hostilities. In the meantime, in this
13 delegation consisting of Lieutenant-General Philippe Morillon,
14 representative of UNPROFOR, and Sefer Halilovic, commander of the army of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, who had come to Mostar to inform the representatives
16 of the military authorities, that is to say the 4th Corps and the
17 41st glorious Brigade on the agreement reached, I got hold of this
18 document that was provided in order to know what was discussed and what
19 was dealt with at the meeting of the HVO and the ABiH on the 12th of May.
20 It was very important, because it gave some hope, primarily in terms of
21 releasing civilians who were detained in prisons and with regard to
22 further activities.
23 So I got a hold of this document which was no secret to the
24 mentioned gentlemen, has to say Brigadier Budakovic and Mr. Midhad Hujdur,
25 Hujka, who attended the meeting then.
1 Q. Could you take a look at Exhibit 2352. What is this document?
2 A. This is the document of the 12th of May, the agreement on a
3 cessation of hostilities in Bosnia-Herzegovina concluded between
4 General Milivoj Petkovic and General Sefer Halilovic in the presence of
5 Lieutenant-General Philippe Morillon, and the representative of ECMM, that
6 is, Jean-Pierre Thebault.
7 Q. Now, on the same page of your statement that I mentioned
8 previously, page 7 of the English and page 10 of the B/C/S, and in
9 relation to this exhibit that I've just shown you, 2352, you mention in
10 your statement -- you provide further information as to compliance or lack
11 thereof with this agreement. Where did you get that information from?
12 A. Specifically these are articles of the agreement on the cessation
13 of hostilities that were in force at that point in time. Freedom of
14 movement. I have already said -- yes, well, a reference is made to those
15 two roads, but as for any kind of realisation, that did not actually take
16 place. It was only the southern route that was used for bringing
17 humanitarian aid. The northern one never was used. As for Article 2 --
18 Q. Mr. Buljko, where did you get that information from? How did you
19 know that that did not take place? You just mention in relation to
20 Article 1, that it did not take place. How do you know this?
21 A. Well, because we were not receiving humanitarian aid from the
22 beginning of the conflict, the 9th of May, all the way up to the 25th of
23 August. I knew that at that point in time. There was no aid coming in.
24 That is what I knew. So that was number one.
25 Number two, I was glad that the battalion finally returned to
1 Mostar, and I said that here as well. I said that that was favourable
2 regarding this agreement on the cessation of hostilities. And I said that
3 I saw the Spanish Battalion sometime around the 13th or 14th of May.
4 I already said that the armed forces regrouped. In some places
5 they withdrew, but that was also temporary.
6 As for the release of prisoners, I said that there were 20 Bosnian
7 Croats who were detained by the ABiH, but we knew that there were tens of
8 thousands of Bosnian Muslims at the Heliodrom. And I knew that not all
9 persons from the Heliodrom were released in that period of time. Or let
10 me be more specific. First the elderly and infirm were released, like my
11 mother. She was released -- among the first people who were released.
12 Also the ill people were released. Then slowly others were being released
13 as well. However, the Heliodrom still remained -- or, rather, not all
14 prisoners were released at the time as was agreed in this agreement.
15 As for displaced persons --
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I do apologise for
17 interrupting, but I think that this will be a useful intervention for all
18 of us. The witness told us that as for this agreement, he learned of it
19 on the 25th of May, 1993, when the meeting was held, and that at that
20 point in time the gentlemen provided information on this agreement that
21 was reached on the 12th of May.
22 So now I would kindly ask when the witness is telling us about the
23 realisation or the lack thereof of some articles of the agreement from the
24 12th of May, could he tell us from what point of view or, rather, from
25 what date he is speaking about the realisation or non-realisation of this
1 agreement, because if he's talking about the 25th of May, that is going to
2 be one thing, and it's going to be quite different if he's talking about
3 the 15th of May. So if you could kindly clarify that for us. Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps you did not hear me right.
5 I said that this happened when Lieutenant-General Morillon and
6 Mr. Sefer Halilovic came to the command of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
7 where I attended part of the talks, where the agreement was brought but on
8 the 25th of May, of course the document was provided yet again because
9 what is referred to is realisation of the agreement, this agreement that
10 we are talking about. As for --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. Perhaps you have not quite understood
12 the question of the lawyer, Ms. Alaburic. The question is you are now
13 telling us that the agreement of the 12th May was not complied with. Do
14 you say so on the basis of your recollection of the situation, let us say,
15 on the 15th of May, or do you tell us this in your recollection of the
16 25th of May or some other date? It's really a question of a date. I hope
17 I correctly repeated your question.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour,
19 Judge Trechsel.
20 I would just like to point out, Witness, that what you said here
21 was, if I understood you correctly, that you did not attend the meeting on
22 the 12th of May where the agreement was adopted, the one that we're
23 discussing now. Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're right. I was not present on
25 the 12th, but I was present when Mr. Morillon was there, Mr. Sefer
1 Halilovic, and on the 25th of May. As for the comments I made, they
2 pertain in part from the period from the 25th of May, and in part, to what
3 I said referred to the return of displaced persons and that pertained to
4 my statement of the year 2000. They had not even returned then, and not
5 everybody had returned on the -- in the year 2000, either. I got my
6 property back in 2000, mid-2000. I made my statement in 2000. So part of
7 it has to do with the period up to the 25th of May, and there's yet
8 another part that pertains to what had not been implemented even 10 years
9 after that.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
11 Please continue, Ms. Gillett.
12 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Buljko, in relation to what you say about implementation of
14 this agreement, do you know who was responsible for implementing the
16 A. Well, the signatories are responsible for implementing the
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I do apologise, but
19 in view of this question, I think it would be fair to the witness and to
20 the Trial Chamber to ask the witness whether he knows on the basis of what
21 this agreement was reached in the first place, because two days earlier
22 on, there were statements made by Mate Boban and Alija Izetbegovic, the
23 top people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the 10th of May, 1993. So that would
24 be a full answer to the question. Thank you.
25 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, perhaps some of these questions could
1 be saved for cross-examination.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think you're quite right. Please continue.
3 MS. GILLETT:
4 Q. Now, moving on, you mentioned further in your statement an
5 agreement on the deployment of the UN civil police monitors to the Mostar
6 area on the 19th of May, 1993, and you mention that at page 8 of the
7 English version of the statement and page 11 of the B/C/S version.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How did you come by this agreement?
10 A. Through UN CIVPOL, through their representative, and the
11 representatives of our police, because I attended -- or, rather,
12 interpreted meetings between the UN CIVPOL and the civilian police at the
14 Q. Do you recall when those meetings were?
15 A. Sometime after the 20th of May -- or, rather, the 19th of May, in
17 Q. And do you recall who attended those meetings?
18 A. The representatives of our civilian police, I think it was
19 Mr. Ramo Maslesa, Mr. Adnan Jusufbegovic and Mr. Zuljevic who were members
20 of the civilian police anyway.
21 Q. Could you take a look at Exhibit 2460, please. What is this
23 A. This has to do with the mandate of the civilian police of the UN
24 for the Mostar area. That is to say, their deployment in the area of
25 Mostar from the 19th of May, 1993.
1 Q. And once again you relay information in your statement on the
2 implementation of this agreement at page 8 of the English and 11 and 12 of
3 the B/C/S. Now, regarding this information that you relay on
4 implementation, you have numbered points in your statement 1 to 6. How
5 did you find out about these points that you've numbered 1 to 6 regarding
6 implementation of the agreement?
7 A. I'll start from the end. Article 6, they did not manage to assist
8 the efforts of humanitarian aid agencies to enter Mostar due to the
9 blockade of the HVO. That's true.
10 We insisted. We asked, we beseeched the international community,
11 all the representatives and, you see here, even the civilian police, to
12 help the people who had come without clothing, without footwear, without
13 money to the then Eastern Mostar.
14 I made a statement and said that after three or four months, on
15 the 25th of August -- well, we'll get to that subject too. The first
16 convoy of humanitarian aid arrived for 55.000 inhabitants of East Mostar.
17 That is number 6.
18 As for the other points, according to the talks held with the
19 representatives of the civilian police of the UN and our civilian police,
20 they said that up to a certain degree they could supervise the activities
21 of the local police. The joint patrols were not possible because it was
22 dangerous for the representatives of the UN civilian police. That's true.
23 There was terrible fighting going on then. There was shelling. Mostar
24 was being shelled. So it was impossible to patrol, that's true. And it
25 is also true that from time to time there were independent patrols when
1 this was made possible by the situation in town.
2 Q. Mr. Buljko, do you remember names of any of the representatives
3 that you held talks with from the UN civilian police or indeed the -- your
4 own civilian police?
5 A. I've already mentioned our civilian police representatives, and I
6 remember Mr. Albert Benabou who was a representative of the UN civilian
7 police in our area. And there were other people there, too, but I think
8 that Mr. Benabou was the key person in that period of time.
9 Q. Once again from the meetings and discussions whereby you learnt of
10 this agreement, are you able to say, do you know who was responsible for
11 the implementation of this agreement?
12 A. Are you referring to the agreement of the 19th of May concerning
13 the civilian police? Do I understand you correctly?
14 Q. Yes, Mr. Buljko, that's right.
15 A. As for the implementation as regards the civilian police, I know
16 it was Ramo Maslesa. And in the HVO -- now, was it Mr. Valentin Coric?
17 If this has to do with the civilian police, it has to do with people who
18 were in charge on behalf of the civilian police to implement this
19 agreement together with the UN CIVPOL police.
20 Q. Now, turning to the agreement on the 25th of May, 1993, that you
21 mention at page 8 of the English version of the statement and page 12 of
22 the B/C/S version. Were you present for the negotiations with respect to
23 this agreement?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Could you turn to Exhibit 02 -- sorry, 2512. 2512.
1 A. Yes. Realisation of the agreement on cessation of hostilities
2 between General Petkovic and General Sefer Halilovic, the 12th of May,
4 Q. Now, once again in your statement at the same page as previously
5 mentioned, 8 of the English and 12 of the B/C/S, you comment on the
6 outcome of this agreement. How did you come to know of the outcome of
7 this agreement?
8 A. 25th of May, 1993. What was requested was the release of all
9 civilians who were in prison.
10 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I do
11 apologise, but I don't know if the witness is now reading or if he's
12 talking about an agreement that he saw earlier on, because two minutes ago
13 he said that he is looking a document that was signed by Mr. Petkovic and
14 Mr. Halilovic. However, we have the document of the 25th of May in front
15 of us, and now we have an agreement in front of us that was signed by
16 completely different people as negotiators. I really don't know what he's
17 talking about now, and I don't know whether the witness is aware of what
18 document he's looking at. I think Ms. Gillett has to look at this.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that this had to do with the
20 realisation of the agreement signed on the 12th of May, whereas this is
21 the 25th of May, 1993. And that is precisely what I wish to comment upon
22 or to explain the comments that I gave in my statement for the Honourable
23 Trial Chamber.
24 Now, should I go on?
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It's your Witness, Ms. Gillett.
1 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, thank you. Sadly, not usually me who
2 decides, but I'd be grateful to the witness if he would proceed.
3 Q. Mr. Buljko, you were about to explain in relation to this
4 Exhibit 2512.
5 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, could we have some direction? I think
6 the witness is unclear as to what it is he's being asked to say about this
7 agreement, and frankly, so am I. I think one of the problems we've had
8 throughout this case is that we seem to always be -- have the second
9 eleven playing here. I mean, we have an interpreter commenting on the
10 contents and implementation of a very fundamental document. It's hard to
11 understand, but at least perhaps Ms. Gillett could make it clear to the
12 witness what we expect to get from it.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Ms. Gillett, ask him first
14 whether he was present when the agreement was signed, whether he saw the
15 documents being signed, what the parties said, whether there was
16 difficulties in reaching an agreement and so forth. I think this document
17 has already been tendered. We already have seen all these documents.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The document has been
19 admitted, not tendered.
20 MS. GILLETT:
21 Q. Mr. Buljko, in relation to this Exhibit 2512, were you present as
22 part of the negotiating team in relation to this agreement?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Yeah. I mean -- I think -- now the question is
25 whether he was there as part of the negotiating team. He was there to
1 translate. He was there to exchange -- you know, as a conduit, you know,
2 from one language to the next, not to negotiate, and that's what the
3 problem is that was raised and has been raised. He's not in a position.
4 I know the gentleman would like to be able to comment but he was just
5 there translating. And now asking him about who was supposed to be
6 implementing and what were the results, this can be achieved by getting a
7 narration from the gentleman. If he was there in situ, what did he see?
8 What did he observe?
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I will have the feeling
10 that we are beating about the bush a little bit without achieving
12 On the 25th of May there is a meeting which is being held together
13 with Mr. Petkovic and Mr. Halilovic, and there are two high-ranking
14 members of the international community, General Morillon and the
15 Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault.
16 So on the ABiH side there is Mr. Pusic and Mr. Pasalic and also
17 other members whose names are mentioned.
18 So you were an interpreter at the time the document was signed.
19 You said you were there, but before they signed was there a speech? Do
20 you remember what positions they held? Were there any difficulties that
21 were raised, given that you were a witness? You could hear what was going
22 on. Did the things run smoothly? Was it easy to sign the document or
23 were there any hiccups even though you yourself were not party to the
24 negotiation of this document?
25 Ms. Alaburic, [No interpretation]
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise, but
2 the question contains something that does not fully reflect what it was
3 that was going on. On the 25th of May, 1993, a meeting was not held that
4 was attended by Generals Petkovic and Halilovic. Rather, this meeting on
5 the 25th of May was held between Mr. Puljic and Mr. Pasalic, and the
6 meeting was held in order to see how the agreement would be implemented.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Quite right. You are quite
8 right. The meeting of the 25th of May was the implementation of the 12th
9 of May. In other words, the people whose name are mentioned in the
10 document, which is about to be signed on the HVO side by Pusic [as
11 interpreted] and Maric and the ABiH side signed by Pasalic and Cupina. So
12 at this meeting on the 25th of May do you remember whether the
13 participants raised any difficulties? Were there any problems and so on
14 and so forth, or did everybody sign without question anything --
15 questioning anything whatsoever?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic.
17 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. President. I
18 don't wish to interrupt either you or the witness, but I think there's
19 just a mistake in the transcript because the signatory was not Mr. Pusic
20 but Mr. Puljic, which we can see from the document, LJ.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, could you answer the
22 question, please?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this negotiating team
24 signed something that was very significant at that point in time, and what
25 we were concerned about most was that all the civilians should be allowed
1 to go home.
2 Now, furthermore, I know that they were allowed to go home because
3 I know that people did in fact go home, both on the west bank and the east
4 bank at that short period of time.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you're not answering the
6 question. I'm not interested to know whether this document is an
7 important document or not. I would like to know how this meeting of the
8 25th of May unfolded. Perhaps one of the negotiators said it was
9 important. That is my question. I don't want your opinion on the matter.
10 I would like to know what you heard from what the negotiators.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as this document is
12 concerned, the talks were difficult. However, they did bear fruit. And I
13 don't think there were any major outstanding problems for which this
14 document could not be signed. And the situation proved that, after the
15 signing of this agreement reached between the two negotiating parties.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have a tendency to give us
17 your point of view when we're talking about events that involve other
18 people. I didn't ask you what you thought about it. I asked you whether
19 there were any difficulties during that meeting, whether the document was
20 signed without any problems. This is my question.
21 So had the document been drafted prior to the meeting? Had it
22 already been printed out and the negotiators only had to sign it?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that the negotiations were
24 lengthy, and ultimately this agreement was arrived at, and that the two
25 parties signed it. So what preceded was the procedure of negotiation in
1 order to reach agreement along with assistance.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're telling us that it
3 took a long time, but what time did the meeting start? At what time did
4 it end? At what time did people sign?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't remember the exact
6 time. A lot of time has elapsed and the meetings were usually in the
7 morning at 10.00 or 11.00, and they would conclude depending on the
8 circumstances, depending on the topics under discussion, whether they were
9 difficult discussions, difficult issues to resolve.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But as you remember, there was
11 Peter Espensen and Nigel Milverton, two representatives of the
12 international community. Did they take part, did they intervene, did they
13 state their positions, or were they people who just signed? And were
14 these two people chairing the meeting or not?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The international community, the
16 witnesses, mostly chaired. Now, the HVO and the BH army negotiated at
17 those meetings. They discussed the issues, and I think that this is a
18 joint document compiled on the basis of negotiations between both sides
19 along with the assistance or testimony from Mr. Milverton and the other
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you say, I believe, that
22 this was the outcome of the negotiations. So you did not attend the
23 negotiations. You didn't witness the negotiations.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was witness to the negotiations in
25 my capacity of interpreting for the representatives of the BH army.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question before we have
2 a break. You tell us that you were an interpreter. During the
3 negotiation process, did you translate for both sides, the positions put
4 forward by Mr. Pasalic and Mr. Pusic, or did you translate the positions
5 of the representatives of the international community? Did you translate
6 all of this?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mostly I translated what was said by
8 the BH army representatives. On rare occasions, I interpreted for
9 everyone, including the HVO and what the witnesses testifying said about
10 the agreement.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Another question that the
12 Prosecution should have put to you right from the outset, what about the
13 HVO? Did they have their own interpreter, because the HVO might not have
14 trusted you. Did they come along with their own interpreter? If you were
15 the ABiH interpreter, did the HVO also have their own interpreter?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think that there were some
17 young ladies that appeared at the meetings. I don't know if they were
18 official interpreters or whether they accompanied somebody attending, but
19 anyway, there were people there translating for the HVO.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's a quarter to.
21 We shall have a 20-minute break.
22 --- Recess taken at 5.42 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 6.05 p.m.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett, you may resume.
25 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Buljko, just to finish with this exhibit that we were looking
2 at prior to the break, Exhibit 2512, once again at the -- at the meeting
3 that you attended with respect to these negotiations, what, if anything,
4 was discussed as regards implementation?
5 A. Yes, with respect to the cessation of hostilities and the
6 agreement was signed between the BH army, General Sefer Halilovic signed;
7 for the HVO General Milivoj Petkovic. It was the 12th of May, 2005. No,
8 what I meant to say was 1993.
9 Q. In relation to the exhibit that we see in front of us, 2512, what
10 was discussed as far as this is concerned, this document?
11 A. We discussed the release of civilians from the camp, and that
12 anybody who wished to cross from the left to the right bank need to sign,
13 and that buses would be provided. I was involved after this meeting in
14 the procedure. We had a list of civilians who wished to cross over from
15 the west bank, the Djacki Dom, and we had a list of civilians in a
16 facility near the Razvitak department store. And I helped out, and I went
17 with the buses on those two days. I think that's how long it lasted.
18 That is to say, after the 25th of May. So it was towards the end of May.
19 I went to both sides with the buses. So I went to the Djacki Dom and
20 helped out there, helped the civilians there, and were given lists of
21 names by the HVO representatives. And I was also at the Razvitak
22 department store helping them, civilians, and was given lists of their
23 names, and then I went with them across to the right bank.
24 Q. Moving on to page 9 of the English version of your statement and
25 13 of the B/C/S version. You mention here another agreement from the 8th
1 of June, 1993.
2 A. That was the further implementation of the agreement on a
3 cessation to the hostilities, and that was signed between
4 Generals Milivoj Petkovic and Sefer Halilovic on the 12th of May. And the
5 meeting was attended by Mr. Pasalic and Mr. Puljic, Slavko Puljic.
6 Q. Did you attend this particular meeting in relation to the 8th of
7 June, 1993, agreement?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Could you take a look at Exhibit 2680. What is this document?
10 A. This is another agreement in a series, which was a little more
11 voluminous than the previous one, a little more detailed, and it looked
12 into the problems of expelled persons.
13 Q. Just to hold you there for a moment in the interests of clarity.
14 When you say this is another agreement in a series, are you saying -- what
15 do you mean by that? Are you saying it is different to the agreement that
16 you reference on page 9 of your statement, or is it one and the same as
17 the agreement mentioned on page 9 of your statement as being the 8th of
18 June, 1993?
19 A. This is the continuation of the negotiations and the agreement
20 reached on the 8th of June, 1993, which is much broader in scope. A lot
21 of the same issues, like the previous one on the 25th of May, but much
22 broader in scope and going in-depth, especially with respect to the
23 problems facing the civilian population. That's what I meant.
24 Q. Now, you say that you were at this meeting. In your statement you
25 also comment on the outcome of the agreement that was reached at that
1 meeting. How do you know what the outcome of the agreement was?
2 A. As this had to do with displaced civilians mostly, refugees, and
3 questions of humanitarian aid, already at that time I had been given
4 certain assignments, that is to say, to coordinate humanitarian activities
5 faced with that situation, and I was well-informed, especially with
6 respect to the humanitarian situation and the civilian population in
7 East Mostar.
8 I know that some of the points mentioned in this agreement that
9 was reached on the 8th of June, 1993, did not -- were not carried out or
10 implemented, because I know that a commission was never set up to assess
11 the damages. And as far as the prisoners or detainees was concerned, not
12 all the prisons that existed at that time under HVO control were allowed
13 to be visited. Some were; some weren't. I heard that later from
14 witnesses, too, people who had been incarcerated and who told me about
15 this. They said that they never saw anybody come to them from the
16 international community, from the International Red Cross committee or
17 whatever. They might have gone to visit later. So they never came into
18 contact with them.
19 Q. From your attendance at the meeting in relation to this agreement,
20 do you know who was responsible for implementation of the agreement?
21 A. There are 12 points here --
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. Objection, Your Honour.
23 Hold on, sir.
24 The question was rather precise. It calls for a yes or no, and
25 then he can answer. So if we could get the answer first and then if he
1 wishes to expand I'm sure Madam Prosecutor would know exactly what
2 questions to ask.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Absolutely.
4 Witness, answer the question. The question was who was in charge
5 of implementing the agreement, and you're saying there are 12 points.
6 That's your answer. But before giving us that kind of answer, tell us who
7 was in charge of implementing the agreement.
8 MR. STEWART: Sorry, with respect, Your Honour, the question was
9 does he know. It is a prior question, and Your Honour's question may then
10 be the next question depending upon what the witness's answer is to that
11 prior question. That's the one to which Mr. Karnavas was correctly
12 suggesting there could be a simple yes or no.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
14 So, Witness, please answer.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The question -- to answer
16 Mr. Karnavas's question, yes, I was aware.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: [Previous translation continues] No, the question
18 was the Prosecution's question, and answer the Prosecution's question.
19 You're not here to do your work for Mostar. This is not a political
21 This is what I object to.
22 MS. GILLETT: There's absolutely no basis for that.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: There's no reason to -- he answered, in fact,
24 Ms. Gillett's question because you had insisted that it should be
25 answered, and it was the same answer. So there's no reason to complain.
1 So your answer, Mr. Witness, you have said, yes, you knew who
2 was -- or you know who was responsible for the implementation. Correct?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that is correct. Not
4 only the signatories, Arif Pasalic and Slavko Puljic, but here it was a
5 question of very serious subjects and issues, and it had to do with
6 East Mostar in 1993. So in all the structures, both the BH army and the
7 HVO, there were individuals who were in charge of certain questions,
8 certain fields. We knew who was in charge of displaced persons, for
9 example, and who was in charge of others.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
11 continues] ... But let's not waste any time. I've noted the following:
12 The -- this agreement of June 8 is number two, but when I look at the
13 B/C/S version, I don't see a signature on the HVO side. So in the end
14 this agreement seemed not to have been signed by HVO, and there's no
15 mention of international witnesses. In the document number one there were
16 international witnesses, but here the box for international witnesses is
17 empty. So did the agreement actually exist?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The version that I have, you can see
19 that you have some things written in hand. This is Mr. Suad Cupina's
20 handwriting. And he also attended the meeting but did not sign this
21 particular agreement. It was just signed by Mr. Arif Pasalic. So this
22 agreement was reached, with the amendments introduced in writing,
23 handwritten amendments.
24 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, just for the sake of clarity, unless
25 I'm mistaken as to Your Honour's point, the signatures at the bottom of
1 the B/C/S version are neither signatures from the HVO nor from the ABiH.
2 Your Honour may note the date of the 10th of July, 2000, and a signature
3 above that. I'm not sure whether that was the signature to which
4 Your Honour was referring.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you're saying that
6 Mr. Cupina signed, but I have no document bearing his signature. The
7 document that you handed over seems to be a document that you had with
8 you, but it's only the copy of another document that had been signed by
9 Mr. Cupina. The document we have here bears -- does not bear the
10 signature of Mr. Cupina.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I said that I received
12 this version from Mr. Suad Cupina, who attended the negotiations, but he
13 didn't sign. It was Mr. Slavko Puljic and Mr. Arif Pasalic who signed.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if we don't have the authentic one,
15 and he got it from Mr. Cupina, whose character is -- has come into
16 question, I don't see any point in going into this document any longer. I
17 just -- and when was it that he received this document from Mr. Cupina?
18 And it's just -- we seem to be going in circles. Either he was there or
19 he wasn't. If he was there, he would have been able to -- to obtain the
20 document, and he would be able to tell us. But if you look at the
21 document, obviously it doesn't comport with what he's telling us. Then
22 later on he gets it from Cupina. Was Cupina also there? In what
24 I just think we're getting too -- we're trying to get too much out
25 of this particular witness. The documents can come in through some other
1 witness but not through this gentleman.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
3 Witness, you're saying that Mr. Cupina gave you this document.
4 When did he give you this document?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 8th of June, 1993, when the
6 negotiations were completed. And that was the first version without the
7 additions written in hand. And I received a version that was the final
8 version and which the two parties signed with the additions that were
9 introduced in handwriting.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. But to your knowledge,
11 this document, you say it's the final draft, but to your knowledge was
12 this document, this final draft signed by everyone? And you saw them sign
13 the documents?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is the final version with
15 the corrections, and this document was signed.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I would object to this document coming
17 in, or I would object to this gentleman talking about this document.
18 Obviously he had plenty of time in 2002 to search for and look for and --
19 from 2000, to provide this document. Obviously Mr. Cupina is his friend.
20 He could certainly get the document, or from one of the negotiators, but I
21 don't think -- first of all, we don't know whether this was the final
22 version. We have no signatures. There's nothing here other than what
23 he's telling us. And I dare say his word alone is insufficient.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is why I took the floor, to
25 state that we also have -- we have document number two. Document number
1 one is signed but, document number two bears no signature. So if it has
2 been signed, there must be another copy someplace with the signatures.
3 Ms. Gillett --
4 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, I -- I --
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may just add a word, I'm sorry. There seem
6 to have been witnesses, Messrs. Morillon and Thebault, but is there any
7 reason why they're not mentioned where there is a space for witnesses?
8 Why is this blank? Is there any explanation?
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I would like the witness to answer
11 this question.
12 Do you have an explanation, Witness, as to why on this document
13 the names of the witnesses are not where the space is open for these
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the simple reason that this is
16 the final working version, which then went out to be typed and was then
17 signed, and then the witnesses were added.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I'm sorry. Ms. Alaburic.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, all I wanted to do was
22 to say that Mr. Morillon and Mr. Thebault were mentioned in the text
23 because they were the co-signatories of an agreement of the 12th of May,
24 1993, which it does indeed say in the introductory paragraph.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please resume, Ms. Gillett.
1 MS. GILLETT:
2 Q. Mr. Buljko, you had mentioned some time ago now that you were
3 aware of who was responsible for the implementation of this agreement, but
4 I don't believe, if I remember correctly, that you were given the
5 opportunity to mention any names, if you're able to recall any names of
6 the -- of persons who you were aware were responsible for implementation
7 of this agreement. So are you able to provide any names of persons that
8 were responsible for the implementation of this agreement? I believe you
9 also had stated that it wasn't just the signatories.
10 A. That's right. It wasn't the signatories. It was people who were
11 put in charge of certain questions to which the agreement refers, signed
12 by the negotiating team, the team for implementation, the agreement that
13 we mentioned quite a few times already. And I want to say that as far as
14 the refugees and displaced persons are concerned, they agreed that each
15 side on their side, that is to say the HVO and the BH army, would, through
16 their own services and offices, implement what was written in the
18 Now, as far as food was concerned --
19 Q. Just to pause there briefly, Mr. Buljko. You mention it was
20 agreed that each side, the HVO and the BH army, would, through their own
21 services and offices, implement what was written in the agreement. Do you
22 know of the names of any individuals that were in charge for doing this?
23 A. As far as the BH army is concerned, I do know that for a fact.
24 But as far as the HVO is concerned, well, there were services and offices
25 and departments dealing with humanitarian issues. As far as theft was
1 concerned or looting, I said that the commission was never established.
2 Q. You just mentioned refugees and displaced persons previously. Do
3 you know who was responsible for that particular area from the HVO side?
4 A. I can't remember just now. It's rather complex. It will probably
5 come to me in time.
6 Q. Now, as far as the other areas involved in the agreement were
7 concerned, do you have any names of the individuals who were responsible
8 for the other areas that were involved in the agreement?
9 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President. I didn't want to
10 intervene before, but this is the situation that we had earlier on when
11 you said, Don't let the witness leave the court and then have the witness
12 shown documents and so on.
13 Mr. Cupina was here. He could have asked him about the document,
14 and now they're trying, through this witness, to clear the situation up.
15 So my objection is if Mr. Cupina is here, he could have explained
16 everything with respect to this agreement to us.
17 MS. GILLETT: I'm sorry, Your Honour, but the witness is also
18 present at a meeting regarding this agreement. He's also in a position,
19 not the same position, but in a position to be able to provide some
20 information on the agreement, and it is up to the Prosecution what they
21 wish to ask the witness in that respect. Not every witness gives the same
22 information, although the same documents are able to be used with
23 different witnesses.
24 Q. Now, Witness, on page 11 of the English version of your statement
25 and page 16 of the B/C/S version, you mention a request by Alija Alikadic
1 that urge the local communities to collect and submit complete personal
2 data in relation to certain issues that you number at 1 to 4 of that same
3 page -- same pages that I've mentioned.
4 Could you turn to Exhibit 4102. And is this the same document
5 that you reference in your statement and indeed that you hand over to the
6 Office of the Prosecutor?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, you detail in your statement at that same page how you came
9 to be in possession of this request when you were appointed the head of
10 the Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees for Herzegovina. On what
11 date were you appointed the head of Office for Displaced Persons and
12 Refugees for Herzegovina?
13 A. I was appointed on the 23rd of September. However, as I've
14 already said, I was involved with the civilian authorities on the
15 territory of the then East Mostar the end of June. So already by July, we
16 were establishing civilian authorities, and I was involved in humanitarian
17 matters. So in a way this had to do with that field of work even before
18 the 23rd of September, my appointment. And also, we collected information
19 about detainees, prisoners, displaced persons, displaced persons living in
20 territory controlled by the BH army, and persons who were wounded during
21 the war operations.
22 Q. Sir, on what date did you get a copy of this request?
23 A. I got it on the same day, the 11th of August, 1993.
24 Q. Now, you mention in your statement that you became responsible for
25 the follow-up to this request, and you touched on that just now. I don't
1 propose to go into further detail exactly because it's covered in the
2 statement. However, leading on from that, can you turn to Exhibits --
3 Exhibit 4888.
4 Can you describe what this is, what this document is?
5 A. This is a series of documents that local communes in the then
6 East Mostar had compiled on the basis of the requests that we discussed a
7 few moments ago, namely the 11th of August, 1993. In view of the fact
8 that the situation was extremely difficult, we didn't have any electricity
9 or basic living conditions, some local communes had a typewriter, others
10 did not. Most of the documents were written in hand, and they deal with
11 these four questions -- or, rather, these four requests for collecting
12 information about the persons that the document of the 11th of August
13 refers to.
14 So all the local communes that existed in Mostar then submitted to
15 me information that was supposed to be stored on computer hard disks. On
16 the basis of that, four lists were compiled on the basis of that request.
17 As you can see, quite a bit of this information is rather
18 exhaustive: Date of birth, father's name, where the said person was at
19 that point in time when the document was written.
20 I see here a document dated the 8th of September, 1993. It was
21 compiled by Sadeta Ahmetovic from the Carina local commune. So this is an
22 addendum to the list she had provided previously. So you can see that
23 Mr. Salih Golos, son of Ibre, born in 1938, was in the Heliodrom from the
24 30th of July, 1993. Then Mr. Tinjak Ahmet, born in '44 from Hodbine was
25 in Dretelj from the 1st of July, 1993, and so on and so forth.
1 So I have handed this over to the Honourable Trial Chamber. There
2 are many original documents that came from local communes, from the people
3 who were in charge of collecting such data.
4 The process was a rather lengthy one and could not have been
5 completed in the requested period, the period requested in the letter,
6 that is, but I think that we did manage to obtain some finalised lists of
7 these categories of the population who were in these four situations at
8 that point in time, August and September 1993.
9 Q. Now, in relation to these lists, Mr. Buljko, you state -- in the
10 statement you mention that according to you -- this is at page 11 of the
11 English and 17 of the B/C/S. According to you, the lists are about
12 99 per cent accurate. Why is it that you say that?
13 A. I say that because probably somewhere there are some overlapping
14 names. Later on, when we got this in the electronic version, the computer
15 came up with this. I think there were very few. This involves 15.000,
16 20.000, 30.000 people. I can't even remember the exact figure, but
17 probably if you take, say, 1 per cent of that figure there must have been
18 erroneous information that was entered at that moment, and also it may
19 happen, say, that relatives from Blagaj would report a particular case and
20 that relatives who were south of Mostar, that is to say, in Blagaj, said
21 one thing whereas relatives elsewhere who did not communicate with the
22 Blagaj relatives because there were no telephones lines that were
23 operating then, they could not communicate. So it may happen that, say,
24 1 per cent was not -- well, the rest is certainly correct, except for,
25 say, 1 per cent.
1 Q. Now, moving on to the 24th of August, 1993. Still page 11 of the
2 English version of your statement and 17 of the B/C/S version, where you
3 state in the last paragraph of the English version that you were a member
4 of the ABiH delegation negotiating with the HVO to allow the first
5 humanitarian aid convoy to enter Mostar since the beginning of the
6 conflict in Mostar between the HVO and the ABiH in May. And you say you
7 made handwritten notes of the negotiation meeting. Could you take a look
8 at Exhibit 4479.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What is this document?
11 A. Yes. This is a document, well, it's my notes, actually, before it
12 was agreed to have a cease-fire and an exchange of the dead, and it was
13 the first time that humanitarian aid came to East Mostar.
14 Q. In what capacity did you attend this meeting?
15 A. Well, in terms of coordinating humanitarian aid and activities,
16 and also as an interpreter because Mr. Albert Benabou was present at these
17 meetings, and other representatives of the international community like
18 Mr. Jerry Hume on behalf of the UNHCR. So this was my duty to help, that
19 after I write down what was agreed, I draft a working version of this
20 document, that I type it out and that this working draft be approved and
21 be sent to the Spanish Battalion that was deployed in Jablanica with a
22 view to preparing this operation of the exchange of dead bodies and the
23 arrival of the first convoy with humanitarian aid into East Mostar.
24 Q. As you mention that -- the working draft that was to be sent to
25 the Spanish Battalion, can you take a look at Exhibit 4480. What is that?
1 A. Yes. This is a document stemming from the previous one. I typed
2 it out as the final document, and then it was sent on to the
3 Spanish Battalion of UNPROFOR in Jablanica confirming the agreement of the
4 24th of August between the ABiH and the HVO through UNPROFOR.
5 Q. Now, in relation to that meeting on the 24th of August, 1993, from
6 which you took notes that you then transformed into this draft, you
7 mention some internationals that were present at that meeting. Who was
8 present from the ABiH?
9 A. On behalf of the ABiH Mr. Sulejman Budakovic, as well as
10 Mr. Alija Alikadic. So they were the main persons at that moment.
11 Q. And who was present from the HVO side?
12 A. On the HVO side, discussions were held through the UN civilian
13 police, Mr. Benabou. I think that at that moment it was Mr. Bruno Stojic.
14 Q. Now, Witness, perhaps I can refer you --
15 MR. KARNAVAS: If we could have a clarification, a point of
16 clarification. On document 4480, I see that it says one of two pages, but
17 at the top it has 7 circled. And if my memory serves me correctly, it
18 would appear that this comes -- this was generated by someone else,
19 perhaps by SpatBat [sic] or someone else, but I don't see how it jibes
20 with number 7 in the circle at the top and at the bottom it says 1 of 2.
21 So perhaps we could have an explanation from the gentleman who obviously
22 would know about this.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about the 7, but this
24 is for sure the document that I typed out and was sent to the Spanish
25 Battalion. It was sent to the Spanish Battalion by way of radio
1 communication or other channels of communication or -- or through
2 international representatives, but this is what had been agreed upon, and
3 it was supposed to be conveyed to the Spanish Battalion. Now, in what way
4 I cannot tell you for sure now. However, on the basis of this that is
5 written here, what happened happened on the 25th of August.
6 MS. GILLETT:
7 Q. Now, Mr. Buljko, you just told us that you think that it was
8 Bruno Stojic who was present at the meeting. Perhaps I could refer you to
9 the top of page 12 of the English version of your statement --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Petkovic, I hadn't seen you.
11 You have the floor.
12 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just wished
13 to have this witness clarify a very important question. Why was it sent
14 to the Spanish Battalion in Jablanica? He drafted this document and sent
15 it to Jablanica. What is important is the role of the Spanish Battalion
16 in Jablanica in view of the convoy that was going to Mostar. Thank you.
17 MS. GILLETT: I'm sorry, Your Honour, is this not a question
18 that's more appropriate for cross-examination rather than in the middle of
19 the Prosecution's direct?
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I think this is a question
21 that needs to be put during the cross-examination, but as we will not come
22 back to this, why was this document sent to the Spanish Battalion in
23 Jablanica? It could have been sent elsewhere, couldn't it? Could you
24 explain this to us?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know about that. What
1 was said that this should be sent to the UNPROFOR Spanish Battalion in
2 Jablanica. The negotiating parties, maybe Mr. Albert Benabou, who was an
3 intermediary, and the others, they probably knew why this was being sent
4 to the Spanish Battalion in Jablanica. I don't know. I really don't
5 know. At that time I didn't pay any attention. I had just focused on
6 having the humanitarian aid brought in, and whether it was sent to
7 Jablanica, Medjugorje, Sarajevo or Zagreb, I really wasn't interested in
8 that. What mattered was that they get prepared as a battalion that did
9 have this duty of securing this convoy that was supposed to arrive at the
10 agreed place.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, it's Mr. Benabou
12 who told you to write in "Jablanica." You didn't write that, did you?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I was taking notes, as I said,
14 and I wrote "Jablanica," as I was told to do. They got the working
15 version that I had typed out. They looked at it, and they gave it to me
16 for amendments, and this is the final version. Had they told me to change
17 Jablanica to Medjugorje, I would have done that.
18 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you allow me, I am a
19 bit confused by what the witness is saying. Can we find out at all who
20 the signatory of this document is, because as the witness put it, it seems
21 that he was told to write this, but as far as I can see, it's the War
22 Presidency of Mostar and the 4th Corps and the commission for exchanges
23 that is submitting this. So that is one negotiating party. This is not a
24 record that was sent on behalf of the international observers. Let's see
25 who the signatory of this document is. That is what is confusing. Was
1 this sent one-sidedly or did someone from the international community ask
2 for this?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was sent through the commission
4 for exchanges, but this was a confirmed agreement by way of UNPROFOR as
5 stated here about the agreement between the army of the BH and the HVO
6 through UNPROFOR. Mr. Albert Benabou coordinated on behalf of the
7 civilian police of the UN.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In paragraph 7, we can see that
9 the witnesses are Cedric Thornberry, UNPROFOR Colonel Morales from the
10 Spanish Battalion, and from the HCR Mr. Jerry Hume, and Cedric Thornberry,
11 UNPROFOR civil affairs. So the three people mentioned in paragraph 7 are
12 people who were aware of the content of the document.
13 A. Yes, Your Honour. They were fully aware of each and every second
14 of the negotiations taking place on the 24th of August, and it had started
15 even a bit before that. But it is the 24th of August, 1993, that is
16 important, when a final agreement was reached. So you have it stated
17 there explicitly the names and surnames of the representatives of the
18 international community who testified that there was an agreement between
19 the ABiH and the HVO on the 24th.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Does the witness know that
23 Colonel Morales was the commander of the Spanish Battalion Medjugorje?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] How can he sign something
1 and send that to Jablanica where he just had a small unit?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He testified to the agreement here
3 reached between the ABiH and the HVO.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 MS. GILLETT: I'm very grateful to my case manager who can perhaps
6 assist in answering Mr. Karnavas's query about the number 7 that was noted
7 as being at the top of this particular document to which we are referring
8 as Exhibit 4480. You might note from the witness's statement at page 13
9 of the English version of the statement, I am afraid I haven't been able
10 to look up where it is in the B/C/S version but I think it should be
11 somewhere around page 17 or 18, it does say that the copy of the message
12 is indexed under number 7 on the listing of handed over documents, and it
13 appears that when the witness handed these documents over to the
14 Prosecution during the taking of the statement that the documents were
15 numbered and, indeed, the documents are listed at the back of the very
16 same witness statement, the statement from 2000, and the Chamber may note
17 that this particular, as it now is, exhibit, appears at item 7, and it was
18 attached to the statement at one stage in its existence as being number 7
19 and that is why number 7 then appears at the top of both the English and
20 the B/C/S versions. It was obviously something that the Office of the
21 Prosecutor added in the interests of being able to track the document as
22 it was attached to the statement at the time it was taken and handed over.
23 I hope that clarifies matters.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: It does. I thank Madam Prosecutor for that. But
25 it says here "English translation." Was this document translated by the
1 gentleman? Did he send a B/C/S version or did he send an English version?
2 Because the English translation, it's rather unclear. The other thing
3 perhaps the gentleman could answer why are there -- there's no mention as
4 to who was it on behalf of the HVO who made this agreement. There's
5 nothing as to who attended. He's got the names of foreigners but there's
6 nobody on behalf of the parties who entered into this agreement and why
7 weren't they included?
8 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour may recall that I was in the process of
9 asking the witness who attended on behalf of the ABiH and on behalf of the
10 HVO, and I believe the witness gave answers to those questions which I'm
11 still not finished in dealing with. I appreciate that their names are not
12 on this agreement. Perhaps that can be a question that I may also ask the
13 witness if I'm given the opportunity.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So please finish.
15 MS. GILLETT:
16 Q. Prior to asking the question as to why the names of HVO and ABiH
17 representatives present at the meeting are not contained on this document,
18 I need to clarify a point that I've been trying to clarify for 15 minutes
19 now. If I can refer the witness back to his answer when I asked who was
20 present as a representative for the HVO.
21 Mr. Buljko, you mentioned that you thought it was Bruno Stojic.
22 If I can refer you to your statement from 2000. At the top of page 12 of
23 your statement you say: "Even though Bruno Stojic was not present during
24 the meeting and the negotiations..." I wonder if you're able to clarify
25 then the discrepancy between those two statements.
1 A. As for humanitarian convoys entering Mostar, two certificates were
3 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours. Your Honours, now I
4 really have to say that the witness should answer the question if at all
5 possible. My learned friend put a specific question, and the witness is
6 supposed to answer the question rather than provide a description.
7 It says that Mr. Stojic -- in his statement it says that
8 Mr. Stojic was not at the meeting, and today he said that he was. He
9 should really start answering questions, otherwise we'll go on forever in
10 this way and it's not in our interest.
11 MS. GILLETT:
12 Q. We will get, obviously not this evening, but we will get some more
13 substance regarding that, but my question, perhaps it's my fault for not
14 explaining it correctly.
15 You said earlier this evening that Mr. Bruno Stojic was present on
16 behalf of the HVO during the negotiations and yet at page 12 of the
17 English version of your statement you say even -- and I'm quoting from
18 your statement now: "Even though Bruno Stojic was not present during the
19 meeting ..." So I'm asking you, was he present at the meeting or was he
20 not present at the meeting, because you appear to have given two different
21 answers to that question as to whether he was present at the meeting.
22 A. Well, the army and the HVO reached an agreement through their
23 representatives. As for the arrival of the humanitarian convoy --
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, we cannot go on like this. You have a
25 clear question, and it calls for an answer, yes or no. Was Mr. Stojic
1 present when this agreement was concluded or was he not? It's not a third
2 thing. It's either yes or no, and you should only give yes or no for an
3 answer, please.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Stojic had to give his approval
5 for the humanitarian convoy, so he was asked --
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. We are not here having a normal
7 conversation under -- under friendly people talking to each other this and
8 that. This is a formal process, proceedings according to rules in which a
9 witness, even if it is unpleasant, sometimes is asked to say yes or no and
10 nothing else, just yes or no.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. He was present. Mr. Stojic was present at
13 these negotiations.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he was present at these
15 negotiations for the entrance of the humanitarian -- the entry of the
16 humanitarian convoy.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Gillett.
18 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Then my follow-up question has to be to you, Mr. Buljko, why do
20 you say at the top of page 12 of your statement: "Even though Bruno
21 Stojic was not present during the meeting and negotiations ..." Why do
22 you say that in your statement if, in fact, he was present at the meeting?
23 Why do you say he was not in your statement?
24 A. He was present with the international community in negotiations
25 for the entrance of the convoy.
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do respect the efforts
2 being made by my learned colleague, but if the witness was present and
3 kept notes at this meeting then that's all the Prosecutor is asking him,
4 whether at the meeting which he attended Bruno Stojic was present. All
5 the rest is by the by, and I'm sure we'll get to that in due course. But
6 what is being asked is whether he was at the meeting at which the witness
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have 15 seconds, Mr. Witness.
9 Page 11 in your statement you're explaining that the HVO delegation and
10 the ABiH delegation met at the Mostar airport, and you add that
11 Mr. Benabou had been appointed mediator. So we have a meeting with
12 Mr. Benabou, and at the Mostar airport, we have the two delegations. But
13 it continues on on page 12, and you state: "Even though Bruno Stojic was
14 not present, he approved," which is why we have a question.
15 Was Mr. Stojic present at the airport, yes or no?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the best of my knowledge, yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, what, he was there? Yes,
18 he was not there?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to what they told me, yes,
20 he was.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According what you said, but did
23 you see him with your own eyes? Yes or no?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I tried to explain the situation to
25 you a moment ago briefly. The message went off to the Spanish Battalion,
1 and it was compiled on the basis of the agreement between the HVO and BH
2 army at their negotiating -- at their negotiations. This was written in
3 the War Presidency as a follow-up to that, and I wrote it on the basis of
4 what I was told by the negotiating parties. The discussions took place
5 through telecommunication means as well, that is to say with the various
6 devices, the radio station and things like that. That's what they used.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Anyway, it's time to adjourn.
8 We'll continue tomorrow, and overnight we will go and see what Mr. Benabou
9 actually said. It is five after 7.00.
10 Mr. Karnavas, you have something to add.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Just very briefly. Tomorrow perhaps you can warn
12 the gentleman of the consequences for perjury. I think it's important.
13 Thank you.
14 MS. GILLETT: I'm sorry, I don't think there is a basis for that
15 assertion. I think, you know, whatever is happening here is clearly
16 confusion at this state, and I think it's a little bit pre-emptive to jump
17 to the conclusion that there is any malice or bad faith involved.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I was going to say that exactly.
19 So, please, sir, come back for the hearing tomorrow at 2.15.
20 Until then, please meet with no one, neither from Prosecution or from
21 Defence or from the Bench. And we will now meet at 2.15 tomorrow.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.04 p.m.
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 12th day
24 of June, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.