Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 27453

 1                           Monday, 5 May 2008

 2                           [Prlic Defence Opening Statement]

 3                           [Open session]

 4                           [The accused entered court]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the

 7     case.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good afternoon, Your Honours.  Good afternoon,

 9     everyone in and around the courtroom.  This is case number IT-04-74-T,

10     the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.  Thank you, Your Honours.

11             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Today's Monday, the

12     5th of May, 2008.  We are resuming the proceedings in this case.  I'd

13     like to greet the Prosecution, the Defence counsel, as well as the

14     accused, and I see that all the accused are with us today.

15             Before I give the floor to one of the parties if they wish to

16     raise an administrative matter, I would like to say the following:  This

17     week we'll have first of all an opening statement today, and for the

18     other three days this week we'll have a witness, a witness called by

19     Mr. Prlic's Defence, and the Prlic Defence told us that they needed five

20     hours to examine the witness in chief.  If two and a half hours are

21     allocated for the cross-examination of the other Defence counsel, that

22     would give a total of seven and a half hours for the Defence to start

23     with, plus five hours for the cross-examination by the Prosecution, and

24     in total that's 12 and a half hours without taking into account Judges'

25     questions or procedural matters.

Page 27454

 1             This week we'll finish on Thursday at 6.30, and therefore it is

 2     very likely that the witness will have to come back on Tuesday, the 13th

 3     of May, because the 12th of May is a Bank Holiday, unless, of course, the

 4     Prlic Defence uses less than five hours.  Of course, Mr. Karnavas is the

 5     only one who can tell us anything about this matter.

 6             Are you still requesting or planning to examine this witness for

 7     five hours, Mr. Karnavas?

 8             MR. KARNAVAS:  Good afternoon, Mr. President.  Good afternoon,

 9     Your Honours.  Good afternoon, everyone in and around the court.

10             As of this moment, the answer to that question is yes.  However,

11     and it is a big however, we are in the process of streamlining our

12     questioning and reducing the number of documents that we wanted to

13     introduce in order to achieve our objective within this week and not

14     having to bring the witness over for some other -- for some other day.

15     So we will do everything we possibly can.  We also might be able to speak

16     with some of our colleagues.  We understand some of them may not have any

17     questioning, in which case I think that we might be able to accommodate

18     everyone in this courtroom.  Thank you.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.  Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.

20             Do the representatives of the Prosecution have anything to say?

21             MR. SCOTT:  Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours.  No, we

22     have nothing at this time.  We'd just rather get started.  There may be

23     some matters tomorrow.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.  Thank you.

25             Mr. Karnavas, let me turn to you.  If I understand correctly,

Page 27455

 1     your client is going to make a statement.

 2             MR. KARNAVAS:  That is correct, Your Honour.  In keeping with the

 3     Trial Chamber's ruling with respect to the hours, we do understand the

 4     logistics that -- and the problems that the Court has.  However, we also

 5     had to make some adjustments of our own, and having consulted

 6     extensively, we have decided that Mr. Prlic would provide a statement in

 7     lieu of taking the stand and testifying, and that would save

 8     approximately one month of time.  But be that as it may, he is prepared.

 9     We believe the statement can be delivered today in its entirety if we

10     commence as quickly as possible.  Thank you.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Good morning, everybody.  Mr. Karnavas, I have a

12     question in this respect with some surprise.  I find here enormous

13     volumes of documents.  Now -- and they -- on the head of it, it says

14     statement of Jadranko Prlic.

15             MR. KARNAVAS:  Yes.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Now, I wonder procedurally how this comes in

17     because you're quite aware of the fact that this declaration of Mr. Prlic

18     will not be evidence in any way, and he cannot be cross-examined, of

19     course, and is it your idea to introduce documents on which the person

20     who introduces them cannot be cross-examined?  I would like you to

21     clarify your view on the procedural situation.  Thank you.

22             MR. KARNAVAS:  Yes.  If you -- very well.  The statement is

23     presented in a fashion in which he makes references to documents.  Some

24     are in evidence already, so that should answer your question.  If it is

25     in evidence, it is evidence.  The documents, that is.  Others may be

Page 27456

 1     coming into evidence through other witnesses.  I don't share your opinion

 2     that even an unsworn statement is not evidence.  It has less weight, but

 3     you may decide, and maybe that is your position, and we'll do the

 4     research, and now that we know that your position is that it is not

 5     evidence, we'll see what -- what the jurisprudence says exactly on that

 6     point.  It's my opinion it may have less weight.

 7             But of course we have been put in a position where we can't have

 8     our cake and eat it too.  We can't put on our full defence and meet the

 9     demands, the hourly demands, that have been put upon us.  Regrettably

10     that was a decision that was made by this Trial Chamber because, I

11     suspect, the completion strategy and the Security Council's need to close

12     this place down as quickly as possible.  So we're trying to accommodate.

13     But that's how these documents are being used, as references to the -- to

14     his particular statement.

15             I fully recognise that through his statement, through his

16     statement, and this is perhaps more to the -- to answer your question,

17     through his statement documents cannot come in.

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  That was the clarification I was

19     seeking there.

20             MR. KARNAVAS:  Okay.  Thank you very much.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  And I agree that the question of evidence is

22     open.  It's the mercy of the Chamber, I was tempted to say, but it's

23     certainly a matter of mercy but of appreciation, dutiful appreciation.

24             MR. KARNAVAS:  Very well.  And I do appreciate your concern.

25     Thank you very much, Judge Trechsel.

Page 27457

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.  In order for those who

 2     follow our proceedings to understand what's going on, I'm going to read

 3     paragraph (B) of Rule 84 bis of the Rules that states that:  "The Trial

 4     Chamber shall decide on the probative value of the statement, if any."

 5             Mr. Prlic, you have the floor.

 6             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.

 7     [Interpretation] Bearing in mind your decision on how much time the

 8     Defence is allowed to present our case, I have decided to offer this

 9     brief presentation.  For the most part, I was about to address all the

10     same issues during my own testimony.  Bearing in mind the fact that I am

11     taking the floor at the outset of the Defence case, I will be announcing

12     some of our theories which we will be elaborating on over the next weeks

13     through our evidence.  In order to save time, I will try to avoid

14     repeating what is already in the interview that I gave that the Chamber

15     has already admitted apart from maybe some sections that require further

16     elucidations.

17             What I'm trying to say at the outset is this:  There was no joint

18     criminal enterprise such as alleged by the OTP.  The intention that

19     guided me in my work was pure as driven snow.  I contributed to our

20     Defence, to organising civilian life, and to building up Bosnia and

21     Herzegovina or a possible Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I never committed any

22     crimes, nor did I encourage the commission of any crimes, nor am I aware

23     of the fact that any of the members of the provisional bodies of our

24     executive at the time were involved in anything like this.  Quite the

25     contrary, in fact.  We did everything to alleviate the consequences of

Page 27458

 1     war and destruction, and we took all the steps required to see the

 2     perpetrators of those crimes punished.

 3             As I said during my initial appearance four years ago, I'm not

 4     guilty under any of the counts of the indictment.  I sympathise with all

 5     the victims of this war.  I myself, after all, are in a way one of its

 6     victims.  As I said before, my defence, too, represents the victims.  My

 7     defence, too, wants to see those responsible punished.  In my

 8     presentation, I will take a chronological approach combining such

 9     information as I had at the time certain things were happening.  I will

10     also use additional information gleaned for the most part from the OTP's

11     evidence or from the evidence that will likely be used by one of the

12     other Defence teams.  This is something that I learned at a later stage.

13     This will give us a rounded-out picture of what happened.

14             When I spoke to the OTP, objectively speaking, I was in no

15     position to understand the overall picture such as I do now.  I will tell

16     you about Bosnia and Herzegovina such is as it was within the Yugoslav

17     Federation.  I will tell you about the multi-party elections.  I will

18     tell you about the national issue arising at the time as a fundamental

19     issue.  I will tell you about the winds of war in Slovenia and Croatia.

20     I will tell you about the chaos that prevailed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

21     I will tell you about the dilemma based at the time stay in Yugoslavia or

22     go our own way.  I will tell you about the then-existing administrative

23     system.  I will tell you about the formation of the Croatian communities

24     and the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.  I will tell you about the

25     setting up of the HVO and the provisional bodies of the executive

Page 27459

 1     government HZ HV.  I will tell you about the reasons for the Croatian

 2     Republic of Herceg-Bosna, the two have been set up.  I will till you

 3     about the clashes with the BH army in some of the free territory.  I will

 4     also tell you about war crimes.  I will tell you about my role prior to

 5     enduring the actual conflict.  I will also try to provide further

 6     elucidations in relation to my interview with the OTP that -- there are

 7     things that I didn't have a chance to say in relation to a total of 24

 8     different subjects that the OTP had served on me four months before the

 9     interview.

10             Finally, I will address my alleged role in the joint criminal

11     enterprise.  I will be using the indictment itself to deal with this

12     subject.

13             Your Honours, you are familiar with my personal details, with my

14     biography, with my background.  Thanks to all the jobs that I did in my

15     life, I can say that I was very familiar with the system as it was back

16     then.  I had been to every local commune in Mostar, to all of the

17     municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I had visited all the

18     most important collectives of the country.  I was at the head,

19     objectively speaking, of our social, economic transition.  In the formal

20     socialist federation, as someone who held a high office, I was familiar

21     with all forms of life.  I was familiar with the decision-taking process.

22     I was familiar with all the various aspects of life of that particular

23     society:  The young, the employment, import, export, monitoring issues,

24     defence-related issues, agriculture, the environment.

25             While I was chairman of the executive council of the

Page 27460

 1     municipality, Mostar had just exceeded the magical figure of 50.000

 2     employed.  The potential was fantastic.  I think this qualified me,

 3     relatively young as I was at the time, to become a member of the

 4     republican government.  We launched our reforms immediately, and I was

 5     the sub-president in charge of the economy.  As quickly as six months

 6     later, the last and most comprehensive programme of economic reform was

 7     launched.  The reforms were more or less similar to those launched by

 8     more or less all of the countries of south-east Europe, especially those

 9     that are today members of the European Union.  The government grew in

10     importance, and the party decreased in importance as did the Central

11     Committee Of the League of Communists as the only party at the time.

12     However, after the elections the parties grew in power again and the

13     state mechanism was weakened as a result.  In my opinion at least, this

14     was the one fundamental reason for the bloody break-up of the former

15     Yugoslavia that then ensued.

16             In order to understand the overall context and bearing in mind

17     the nature of the indictment, one must point out that in the former

18     Yugoslavia there were three levels of government, constitutionally

19     speaking:  The federation, the republics, and the municipalities.  All

20     three of those were termed socio-political units or communities or

21     states, if you like.  The municipalities were not bodies of local

22     government as they normally are in the countries of western democracy.

23     They were more like states.  They had indirect [Realtime transcript read

24     in error "incorrect"] taxes, they had certain judicial functions, and

25     they had their own internal affairs sector.  In the briefest possible

Page 27461

 1     terms, the civilian bodies were in charge of external policies, some of

 2     the judicial aspects, the relationships within the republics, the

 3     defence, the currency, the exchange rates, customs-related issues, and --

 4             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.  You can tell if you do not want to

 5     have this, but I see in the transcript on line 21 that you are quoted as

 6     saying that the municipalities had incorrect taxes.  I'm pretty sure you

 7     did not say that but I seem to have understood indirect taxes.

 8             THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] Indirect, yes.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  Do you mind if such corrections

10     or question --

11             THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] [Overlapping speakers] No,

12     no.  Just go ahead.  Thank you for your intervention.

13             [Interpretation] The socialist republics and the same thing

14     applied to the socialist republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina were on the

15     whole responsible for public enterprises and for pensions.  It was only

16     in Bosnia and Herzegovina that there was a republican pension fund from

17     which the money was paid to all the citizens.  Also, responsible for

18     taxes and for prices in the republic.  The republican institutions

19     financed education as a whole.  The Ministry of the Interior was in

20     charge of building and maintaining the major roads in charge of water

21     management, partly in charge of culture, as well, in charge of secondary

22     education and the health system.  The judiciary was in charge of various

23     inspection services.  The district TO staffs were part of the republican

24     financing system while municipal staffs were bank rolled by

25     municipalities.

Page 27462

 1             The health system was financed at republican level as well as

 2     secondary education.

 3             The chief regional institutions of Herzegovina, for example, in

 4     Mostar where the university -- the university, it was bank rolled by

 5     the -- a republican fund and the regional medical centre bank rolled by

 6     the regional health fund and partly by the republic itself.  The

 7     municipalities were in charge of some of the general administrative

 8     issues, the cadaster, property-related issues, planning, social

 9     activities, social protection, public utilities such as garbage disposal,

10     land-related issues, running towns, waterworks and sewage systems, some

11     of the judiciary, and inspections in most of these areas.

12             In 1990, we did some strengthening of the republican system.  We

13     started financing primary education because that was something that had

14     to be done under the constitution, and the objective was to give all

15     teachers the same sort of salary.  As for internal affairs,

16     municipalities bank rolled their own internal affairs, but they also paid

17     their contributions into the regional fund, which led to a paradox.

18     Salaries were smaller at these lower levels --

19             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Excuse me.  You have now for the second time

20     here used the term "regional."  Could you explain what regional as

21     opposed to federation, state, municipality, refers to, please?  Thank

22     you.

23             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  There are three levels as I already told -

24     Federation, republic, municipalities - but also intermediary institution

25     was established inside republic.  For instance, fund for finance of

Page 27463

 1     secondary education.  Then before they took all internal affairs, every

 2     municipality financed its own internal affairs, and contribution was

 3     proposed for every municipality to finance regional institution, and

 4     having in mind lack of financial discipline, some municipalities didn't

 5     provide money for that, and as the final effect we had the situation that

 6     regional chief and regional police had lower salaries than those in

 7     richer municipalities.  It was the reason why we took over the whole

 8     internal affairs in 1990, just to provide unical system of police or

 9     internal affairs as we used to call that.

10             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you very much.

11             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  And please feel free to ask for any necessary

12     explanation.

13             [Interpretation] The objective was to create -- to create a more

14     effective system of internal affairs to be maintained by the republican

15     system and especially in those situations that turned out to be more

16     complex as time was to show as soon as in 1991 the internal affairs

17     system was ruptured at the seams by the separation of the Serb

18     components, which soon led to the disintegration of the entire system.

19             Our goal was to create a republic that would be economically

20     strong, where the standards would be higher than those in the other

21     republics.  We wanted to stop being perceived as underdeveloped, and I

22     think we were on the right track.

23             The year is 1990.  The Berlin Wall had just fallen.  The reason

24     we remember this year, because early that year there was a lot of

25     optimism as far as the economy was concerned.  There was a programme by

Page 27464

 1     the federal government as normally happens with this type of programme,

 2     the results at the outset were excellent and very promising.  It had been

 3     prepared in secrecy, and I remember us preparing this programme in

 4     Belgrade in the last days of 1989.

 5             As a republic, we were prepared to carry a considerable burden

 6     because the prices of primary products and those were the dominant

 7     products in our -- in the structure of our economy such as, for example,

 8     the price of coal and the price of electricity.  However, the

 9     Federal Executive Council and what was later to be the federal government

10     or, rather, its president or chairman Ante Markovic buckled under the

11     pressure exerted by Slobodan Milosevic for reasons that I believe to have

12     been purely political.  This was late in 1990, in March, and -- and he

13     allowed the prices of energy sources to start soaring.

14             The whole thing soon began to be questioned, especially the fixed

15     currency exchange rate.  The issue of the economic disintegration, in my

16     opinion, is another fundamental reason apart from other issues such as

17     the never-resolved ethnic issues and other political issues.  I believe

18     our economy expert, the economy expert of my Defence team, will devote a

19     lot of his time to talking about these issues.

20             As far as the Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of

21     Bosnia and Herzegovina, we were already committed to a European way at

22     the time, and we were ahead of all the other socialist countries at the

23     time.  However, it was necessary to effect a number of the important

24     changes.  First of all, there needed to be a multi-party system.

25     Secondly, there needed to be a liberalization of our economy, including

Page 27465

 1     privatisation of state-owned property.  All of this under socially very

 2     difficult conditions.  What we faced at the time, especially I, was a

 3     series of strikes that occurred in this period.

 4             The issue of property is something that is important to keep in

 5     mind in order, for example, to understand how flats were used, especially

 6     those that were believed to be socially owned.  Those were often owned by

 7     a company, an enterprise, and a flat was then assigned to one of their

 8     workers.  This is something we must bear in mind when we consider such

 9     problems as abandoned flats.

10             There was unity in the Executive Council of Bosnia and

11     Herzegovina.  For example, the decision, because of the debt of the

12     federation towards us, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as of October 1990, Bosnia

13     should stop paying contributions into the federal fund was unanimously

14     accepted.  All of the Serb members of the Executive Council voted in

15     favour of this decision.  The decision was then ratified early in 1991 at

16     a meeting that I chaired.  This is Defence document 1D 02226.

17             This was a clear measure to confirm that we were committed to the

18     defence of the interest of the republic and its sovereignty vis-a-vis the

19     dominant role of the federal authorities, but that was a message, too, to

20     the other republics that we were committed to defending the interests of

21     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It is a rather well-known fact that the basic

22     reason for the break-up of Yugoslavia was the emergence of the Serbian

23     nationalism and the changes that Serbia introduced to restrict the routes

24     of its autonomous provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina, and the Republic of

25     Montenegro, which was -- which had repercussions for the balance of the

Page 27466

 1     functioning of the federation causing the other republics and other

 2     ethnic groups to respond.

 3             I recall a meeting of the presidents of the governments of the

 4     republics and provinces with the Federal Executive Council in late 1990

 5     where the economic policy measures for 1991 were debated.  I interrupted

 6     the presentation by the Executive Council chairman Ante Markovic telling

 7     him that it didn't make any sense unless Serbia agreed to pay back the

 8     money, because it had already carried out the monetary coup.  It

 9     literally stole from all of us several billions of dinars.  That was

10     possible in the monetary system of Yugoslavia as it was at the time.  The

11     other entities, not only the National Bank of Yugoslavia, could actually

12     issue money.

13             I reaffirmed this view before our council and also in public in

14     early January 1991, again defending the economic interests of Bosnia and

15     Herzegovina.  This is also in evidence.  The Exhibit number is 1D 002232.

16             In 1990 inflation and lack of trust came back, and the elections

17     in the republics and the failure to call the elections at the federal

18     level brought into question not only its functioning but also the

19     operation of the unified economic area.

20             Let me now say something briefly about the 1990 elections and the

21     establishment of the new concept of power and government.

22             When the law on citizens' associations was amended, new parties

23     could be set up, but any attempts to organise on ethnic basis was

24     prohibited.  That was the position taken by the Executive Council, but we

25     had to amend that because the Constitutional Court forced us to revise

Page 27467

 1     this decision.  This decision can be found in document 1D 01615.  It is

 2     important, because it shows the debate that -- before the constitutional

 3     court which is indicative of the essence of the conflict about the

 4     constitutional system in the country.

 5             Since according to the indictment the HDZ is part of the alleged

 6     joint criminal enterprise, it is interesting to note that in our view the

 7     HDZ was the loudest advocate of the sovereignty of Bosnia and

 8     Herzegovina, much more so than any other party.  In its political

 9     platform, it stressed that it favoured the mutual understanding and

10     co-existence of Croats, Muslims, and Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and

11     other ethnic communities, and it is also in favour of Bosnia and

12     Herzegovina joining the European Community.  The document is 1D 02699.

13             At the elections in November 1990, the national parties won.

14     They were all part of a coalition that aimed to fight against Communism,

15     but in my view Communism had already defeated itself.  Apart from the

16     three national parties, the two parties that garnered the most votes were

17     former Communist, the SDP, the reformists, a party led by Ante Markovic,

18     the Federal Executive Council chairman.  Those were parties that operated

19     on the broader region -- in the broader region, not only Bosnia and

20     HerzegovinaYugoslavia still functioned at that time.

21             I didn't want to take part in the elections.  I did what I had

22     announced I would do in early 1990.  Those who came to power, in light of

23     their position and the fact that they had access to the media should not

24     participate in the elections, but it was our task to create the most

25     favourable conditions possible to ensure that after more than half a

Page 27468

 1     century the first elections could be as democratic and as free as

 2     possible.

 3             I wanted to go back to Mostar, because I had already been

 4     appointed the CEO of Apro Herzegovina.  That's where my family lived, my

 5     relatives, and my wife's family.  I would like to share my personal view

 6     with you.

 7             I believed that Yugoslavia could survive but on different -- on a

 8     different basis, but the Serbian political leadership did not like that.

 9     At the time when I was politically active, Yugoslavia was unlike the

10     other socialist countries.  There was freedom of movement.  There was

11     freedom of speech.  Economic liberalism was growing.

12             Since I was a member of a number of cabinets, more than 14 in my

13     time, I can say that the deputies in the Assembly at that time were much

14     more demanding than was the case after the multi-party system was

15     introduced.

16             We did the hand-over of the executive power to the new

17     government, to Mr. Pelivan in early 1991.  I believe that Mr. Pelivan

18     will appear in this court and to testify.  But the new government did not

19     rule in accordance with the rule of law but applying the principles of

20     ethnic division, tripartite ethnic division in all the functions and at

21     all levels.  The result was a complete atrophy of the economic and

22     political system.

23             I will not be talking about the break-up of Yugoslavia.  It's

24     been dealt with before.  The first war that resulted was the one in

25     Slovenia, followed by the war in Croatia.

Page 27469

 1             I think at that for the purpose of this trial it is enough to

 2     look at the minutes of the highest bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina which

 3     have for the most part been tendered into evidence by the Prosecution.

 4     Aid is organised by Croatia.  Volunteers are sent, Croats and Muslims

 5     alike.

 6             I was in Mostar.  I was still the CEO of Apro Holding.  I taught

 7     at the faculty, and I took part in drafting a number of studies related

 8     to the transformation of the economic system in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 9     We had the whole of Yugoslavia as our market.  We had two companies

10     operating both in Zagreb and in Belgrade.

11             The demands made at the HDZ meetings, you can see that from the

12     minutes that were made public and were published by the media.  So the

13     demands are made to stop using the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina to

14     launch attacks on Croatia.  I cannot say whether this was done with the

15     acquiescence of the people in the government, but the perception that

16     existed was that the republic was not doing anything or was not doing

17     enough to prevent the aggression against Croatia from the BiH territory.

18     Bosnia and Herzegovina was no longer neutral.  It became a participant in

19     this war, all the more so because the Territorial Defence units from that

20     republic participated in this war, those recruited from areas with a

21     Serbian majority, of course.

22             We can still hear the words of Alija Izetbegovic:  "This is not

23     our war."  Regardless of the context in which this statement was made, it

24     marked the tacit approval for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be used as a base

25     to launch attacks on Croatia.

Page 27470

 1             As we heard in the testimony by Stjepan Kljuic in this courtroom,

 2     the transcript is at page 4017 and 4021, the ostensible neutrality of

 3     Izetbegovic in the war in Croatia was a position that was taken without

 4     consulting the legal organs of Bosnia and Herzegovina contrary to the

 5     constitutional obligations.

 6             As the president of this provisional government organisation the

 7     HVO, I couldn't make any decisions independently.  I could only make

 8     decisions within the framework of this collective body.  The same thing

 9     went for Izetbegovic or for anybody else who was part of this collective

10     body.

11             So these were all the topics that were discussed in the media at

12     the time, and it was widely debated by all of us.

13             Throughout this trial it is very important to take into account

14     the context.  For instance, Croats feared that an agreement would be

15     reached by Serbs and Muslims.  The war in Croatia had already affected

16     areas with a Croatian majority, particularly in the western and

17     north-western areas and in Ravno, a village in Herzegovina.  When the JNA

18     and the paramilitary forces launched an action, the forces that in

19     September occupied Herzegovina and Mostar, I myself saw all that.  The

20     response of the authorities was very mild and not specific enough.

21             The documents from the sessions of the BiH HDZ that I was not

22     aware at the time except for the information that was published in the

23     media, this was not something that I was aware of at the time when I was

24     interviewed by the Prosecution, very clearly shows what the Croatian --

25     Croat politicians were doing at that time and how the Croatian

Page 27471

 1     communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina came to be established, eight of

 2     them with some 80 municipalities, the -- those who went on to become the

 3     Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.  The objectives were quite different

 4     to those that are being imputed in the indictment.

 5             Those minutes point the way as we tried to find an answer how

 6     those communities actually functioned.  And here I would like to refer

 7     Your Honours to Prosecution Exhibits 41, 47, 50, 58, 60.

 8             The HDZ Presidency at its session of the 26th of August denounces

 9     the using of the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina for

10     launching of terrorist attacks by the military and the volunteers against

11     the Republic of Croatia.  Prosecution Exhibit P51.

12             At the same time, the state organs in the republic is slowly

13     ceasing to function.  The divisions, the rifts become ever deeper.  By

14     mid-1991, the representatives of the government in Sarajevo admit that

15     they no longer control the situation in the whole territory.  This was a

16     fact that was general knowledge.

17             I'm presenting this because the Prosecution has failed to show

18     the context that would make it possible to understand what is actually

19     going on.  This was presented -- the picture that was presented by

20     Mr. Tomljanovich was quite biased.  I am aware, Your Honours, that you do

21     not want to dwell on details from the past and you're right, but we have

22     to follow the injunction by historian Huising that we have to view all

23     the events and all the statements in order to be able to see what options

24     were available at any given time.  This is the only correct approach that

25     this Chamber should adopt in evaluating all the evidence, including the

Page 27472

 1     presidential transcripts that I will now very briefly mention.

 2             I participated at a certain number of talks with

 3     President Tudjman, once in 1992 in September, twice in 1993 in November.

 4     For the most part those meetings took place after the period relevant for

 5     the indictment.

 6             I was not aware of the fact those talks were being taped.  There

 7     are, of course, parts of those conversations that are inaccurate.  In

 8     some cases the speakers are misidentified or are not identified at all.

 9     Those transcripts make interesting reading for historians, of course, but

10     also for anyone who wants to study the context.

11             Tudjman was a historian, and he wanted to keep a record of

12     everything he was doing and everything he was talking about.  Opinions as

13     to the method he applied differ.

14             We now have excerpts from those conversations in front of us,

15     before the court, a criminal court.  For the Prosecution, they prove that

16     there was a joint criminal enterprise.  As far as my defence is

17     concerned, they prove that there was no joint criminal enterprise.

18     Transcripts cannot be used from the position of hindsight and in attempt

19     to fit them into some kind of narrative or by performing selective cut

20     and paste.  We have to look at them in the context of at least two

21     elements, the situation in the field at the time and the international

22     negotiations that were going on at the time.

23             In its decision on motion under Rule 98 bis, the Chamber mentions

24     that it is said in P6454, dated the 5th of November, 1993, that Mostar

25     had all assets to be the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Well,

Page 27473

 1     this was envisaged by the international plan about the union of the three

 2     republics that was being negotiated under the auspices of the UN and the

 3     European Community.  The last witness in the Prosecution case brought

 4     with him documents indicating that the Muslim party was ready to accept

 5     Mostar as the capital of Herceg-Bosna, one of the three republics in the

 6     union of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 7             Tudjman was aware, or at least this is what we can see from the

 8     transcripts, that the international community would play the decisive

 9     role in this crisis.  He was also aware of the fact that the basic

10     factors in the crisis -- generating the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina

11     were Serbs and Muslims, not Croats, and that is why maintaining their

12     position as the population with the smallest number was the most complex

13     one.

14             The transcripts show several constant elements.  Even when the

15     attacks of the BH army on Croats and the HVO were at their fiercest,

16     Tudjman still advocated full cooperation with the Muslims.  He also

17     signed a secret agreement with Izetbegovic on confederation, but on the

18     16th of September, 1993, Izetbegovic in turn signs an agreement with the

19     Serbs allowing them to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina two years later,

20     provided that the Muslim republic gains [Realtime transcript read in

21     error "against"] the international recognition in accordance with the

22     proposal of the Republic of Bosnia that this Chamber had an opportunity

23     to see in the course of this trial.

24             In reading all the transcripts, I could see that the constant

25     element in Tudjman's talks was to stop the war at any cost.  The defence

Page 27474

 1     of the fundamental rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a

 2     following element which is a constant.

 3             JUDGE PRANDLER:  I'm sorry to interrupt you.  Since your

 4     statement is of course for me at least a very important one, I would like

 5     to say that there is an important mistake in the transcript in -- in

 6     page -- sorry, 15, I believe, that it says that the -- provided that the

 7     Muslim republic against the international recognition.  You said that the

 8     Muslim republic gains the international recognition in accordance with

 9     the proposal of the Republic of Bosnia, et cetera.  So I would like to

10     make a comment here that since you -- you would like to finish, of

11     course, in time, you are talking a bit quickly, and it is important that

12     the transcript should be a correct one, and therefore I would advise you

13     to slow down a bit for -- for the translation.  Thank you.

14             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  Thank you, Judge Prandler, for the --

15             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone for the speaker, please.

16             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  I said that those agreement allow Serbian

17     Republic to live and that in national recognition would remain on Muslim

18     republic or Bosnia republic.  This document was introduced before this

19     case.  Thank you.

20             [Interpretation] The Defence of the fundamental rights of Croats

21     in Bosnia-Herzegovina was the next element, and most convincingly, the

22     most important element that pervades -- pervaded all of the conversations

23     was to ensure the territorial and legal sovereignty of Croatia within the

24     internationally-recognised borders and obviously the protection of these

25     borders.

Page 27475

 1             In 1994, the Joint Command of the HVO and the BiH army took off

 2     the ground, and in cooperation with the modernised Croatian army,

 3     conditions were put in place for the Dayton Accords to be signed once the

 4     largest part of Bosnia and Herzegovina was freed, and I witnessed those

 5     events as the minister of defence of the Republic of Bosnia and

 6     Herzegovina at the time.  These are my impressions after having read all

 7     the transcripts, and I'm sure that the Defence witnesses, including

 8     Miomir Zuzul and Mile Akmadzic, will certainly speak about these

 9     transcripts.

10             In an interview which is the Prosecution Exhibit 9078, I said

11     that an important project of both Croats and Muslims in Herzegovina

12     emotionally was to join these parts to -- with Croatia after Yugoslavia

13     was dissolved.  The opinions of Croats have not changed in the meantime

14     according to many polls.  The state borders that established Bosnia and

15     Herzegovina divided the members of the same people who had spent

16     centuries living in the same state.

17             In the meantime, the differences in the standards became deeper

18     after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, bearing in mind the high level of

19     development of the Republic of Croatia.  The events and the developments

20     in the first half of 1992 completely skipped in the Prosecution case.

21     One should say only briefly that Bosnia and Herzegovina was recognised as

22     an independent state owing to primarily the support of the HDZ to Bosnia

23     and Herzegovina and Croats in that state.

24             The available documentation points to the fact that the

25     international community basically had two pre-conditions in order to

Page 27476

 1     recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The first one was to the hold a

 2     referendum which was requested by Badinter's commission.  Another

 3     condition was an agreement on the internal regulation of a relationship

 4     within Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This is proved by a joint American and

 5     European Community declaration under recognition of Yugoslav republics

 6     dated 10 March 1992.

 7             This Trial Chamber is already familiar with the statement on the

 8     principle of the constitutional organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

 9     dated 18 March, which was adopted by the three sides or the three peoples

10     living in the state.  The witnesses will speak about these principles,

11     i.e., they will say that constitutional units have the right, and I

12     quote:  "To pass regulations and manage the issues of importance for

13     constitutional units such as the administration of services and officers

14     of these units, the expropriation of property for public use, the

15     cadaster, the protection from fire, Chambers of commerce, companies,

16     savings houses and credit institutions.  Furthermore, social protection,

17     education, police, trade."

18             Every constitutional unit has the right to maintain relationships

19     with others and organise their own institutions.  That is why a series of

20     negotiations took place under the auspices of the European Union, and the

21     Portuguese diplomat Jose Cutileiro was engaged all with a view to

22     arriving at a mutually-adopted principles of the future organisation of

23     Bosnia and Herzegovina before the formal recognition of Bosnia and

24     Herzegovina.

25             What I'm saying is this:  Since I was a member of the government

Page 27477

 1     prior to these events, that in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the former

 2     Yugoslavia there was no single element that would protect the rights of

 3     different peoples, because that part of the care was in the hands of the

 4     Communist Party, and the Communist Party was the one that guaranteed the

 5     rights to all the different peoples, and there were no articles in the

 6     constitution of either Yugoslavia or Bosnia and Herzegovina that would

 7     guarantee those rights.

 8             This information that those were two pre-conditions for

 9     recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina is corroborated by documents, by

10     witness statements, as well as my information that I had at the time and

11     the contacts that I had in the United States of America at the time.  All

12     the proposals of constitutional solutions for Bosnia and Herzegovina

13     proposed during international conferences started from the qualification

14     of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a union of peoples.  Within the context of

15     peace talks, let me just announce my defence will deal with the issue of

16     the alleged agreement in Graz, the issue of the Serb and Croat division

17     of Bosnia and Herzegovina that this Trial Chamber mentions in the

18     decision pursuant to Rule 98 bis, transcript page 28215.

19             The witnesses and the evidence will show that this meeting was

20     held on the recommendation of international mediators.  Nothing was

21     agreed at that meeting.  On the contrary, the Croatian side offered to

22     the others that all the sticking issues should be resolved by an

23     international arbitration.  A similar meeting was held between Croats and

24     Muslims within the same week in Split.

25             In addition to numerous newspaper articles, I will also present

Page 27478

 1     evidence Prosecution number 9526 and 1D 00525.  I'm using the word

 2     "Muslims" rather than the word "Bosniaks," because the word "Bosniak" was

 3     adopted when the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted in

 4     March 1994, so when using the word "Muslim" I am not implying anything.

 5     I'm just trying to put things straight.

 6             The available documentation shows that both Croatian communities

 7     that were established, both Herceg-Bosna and Bosnian Posavina in November

 8     1991, were dormant, were not active until the general attack of the JNA

 9     and the Serb formations in March and particularly at the beginning of

10     April 1992 after the international recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

11             The decision on the establishment of the Croatian Defence Council

12     as a defence army was passed on the 8th of April 1992.  At that time, as

13     Mr. Tomljanovich, a member of the OTP, there was no army of Bosnia and

14     Herzegovina.  This is page 6818 of the transcript.

15             Mate Boban signed this decision as the president of the HVO and

16     the HZ HB.  He himself explained to the general public the reasons why

17     the army had been established, and he emphasised that the process leading

18     to the establishment of the Crisis Staffs in the municipalities and their

19     regional linking had led to the establishment of the HVO staff.  Talking

20     about the relationship with the other armed forces that were defending

21     the country, he said, "We expect the continuation of the negotiations on

22     the constitutional order of the -- of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  At the moment

23     when we're sure that the constitutional order as envisaged by the general

24     principles on -- of the conference of BiH will become a fact, that's when

25     we can start negotiation -- negotiations with the other forces in BH."

Page 27479

 1     This is P 157.

 2             In his book, the Prosecution witness Cupina on page 160 says that

 3     before the HVO was established Boban -- Boban had proposed in Sarajevo

 4     that a decision should be reached about the establishment of the

 5     Croatian-Muslim or Muslim-Croatian Defence council.  Obviously, this was

 6     not accepted by the Sarajevo authorities, and these authorities as we

 7     have heard from the -- Stjepan Kljuic, the head of the BH army, admitted

 8     themselves that they could not do much about the defence of the state.

 9             Before the formal establishment of the HVO as an army on the 8th

10     of April, across Bosnia and Herzegovina a network of smaller or bigger

11     units had been established, and these units had already been engaged in

12     defence activities.  Obviously I did not have that information at the

13     time.

14             When the first military to defend Bosnia and Herzegovina was

15     established, in paragraph 25 of this indictment, the Prosecution thinks

16     that this was the first step in the joint criminal enterprise.  The

17     members of these -- of the -- this military enjoy the same status as the

18     members of the other component of the army, the BiH army, in the free

19     territory of that state.  They still enjoy the same benefits and received

20     the same remuneration from the state as invalids.  They have been

21     decorated, and they enjoy the same rights in the privatisation of social

22     assets.

23             If you follow the context of the establishment of the Croatian

24     Community and the Presidency as its principle body of administration,

25     then one can see that eight months after the establishment one can notice

Page 27480

 1     a change in the decision on the establishment that was included on the

 2     3rd of July, 1992.  The Presidency became the legal body of the HZ HB and

 3     incorporated members such as the municipal presidents of the HVO, and I

 4     could witness that at the session on the 14th of August.

 5             When I looked at that decision, and not only that one but also

 6     others that were published in Official Gazettes number 1 and 2, my first

 7     impression was rather disappointing, primarily with regard to their legal

 8     quality and regulation as a whole.  To be honest, these -- this was more

 9     an improvisation than an announcement of a more serious enterprise.

10             The amendment, Article 8, envisaged that the presidents --

11     Presidency would establish the executive and the legislative parts of the

12     body.  We cannot look at that without any context what actually happened

13     within the eight months leading to that period.

14             What happened was this:  First of all, war in Croatia was at a

15     standstill.

16             Second of all, there was no clear outline as to the future

17     organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

18             Third of all, there had been a series of talks under the auspices

19     of the Croatian -- European Community, and the principles were adopted

20     from Cutileiro's plan dated 18 March about the future organisation of

21     Bosnia and Herzegovina.

22             Fourthly, Bosnia and Herzegovina, owing to the support of Croats

23     and the HDZ, had been recognised internationally after the referendum.

24             Fifthly, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was waging in all

25     parts of the country, and as was pointed out in the decision on martial

Page 27481

 1     law which was passed on the 20th of June, 1992, by the Presidency of

 2     Bosnia and Herzegovina, by that time 70 per cent of the territory had

 3     been occupied by the Serbs and the non-Serb population had been expelled.

 4             Sixthly, the Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and

 5     Herzegovina had been dissolved after it met for the last time on the 26th

 6     of January when a decision was passed to hold the referendum, and the

 7     government of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was no

 8     longer functioning, and it did not have any influence outside Sarajevo or

 9     virtually no influence because Sarajevo was completely encircled, and

10     several witnesses have already spoken about that.

11             Seventh, municipalities adopted a majority of the functions of

12     the former Yugoslav federal government, which imposed a need to

13     coordinate their activities, and I will speak about that briefly in --

14     later.

15             HVO had already defended significant parts of Bosnia and

16     Herzegovina where they had been established; for example, in Herzegovina,

17     Central Bosnia, and Posavina.

18             And the ninth thing that I would like to mention, there was a

19     more pronounced lack of willingness to give the HVO an equal status as an

20     armed unit in the defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The witnesses and

21     evidence will speak about that.

22             The very independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina required an

23     enormous effort in terms of passing new regulations and taking over the

24     functions formerly held by Yugoslavia.  Since this actually never

25     happened apart from a formal hand-over in terms of certain laws simply

Page 27482

 1     because the administration at the time did not allow for anything like

 2     that to be adopted, the entire system simply collapsed in all its key

 3     features.  This particularly applies to the financial system.  There was

 4     a shortage of currency in the country's economy.  As soon as April, bills

 5     stopped being paid, especially those that used to be covered by

 6     republican funds.

 7             I for one can say that the republic of Herceg-Bosna never adopted

 8     a formal constitution severing its links with Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It

 9     never adopted a statute to begin with which would have been a

10     precondition for registering this new country or indeed any form of

11     citizens' association, bird-watchers, music lovers, what have you.  It

12     always respected its own sovereignty.  Whenever the name was used, HZ HB,

13     we would always highlight the name of which it was a part, the Republic

14     of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

15             What I'm trying to say it this, and this might be the key message

16     of this introduction, is that the implementation and preservation of the

17     constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not go down the chain

18     of the state authorities because that never actually worked.  Rather, it

19     was a grassroots phenomenon.  The existing communal system was

20     strengthened and so were the institutions and powers of certain

21     municipalities that were part of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,

22     the objective being to meet the constitutional obligations of each and

23     every citizen and each and every municipality across the country, this

24     being the defence of the country.

25             In the summer of 1992, when the municipalities took over most of

Page 27483

 1     the attributes of the state, there was a need for coordination in their

 2     work.  That's what we were told at the time, and that, too, was my

 3     interpretation.  This led to the establishment of a provisional body of

 4     government.  I will try to briefly explain what it was like, how it

 5     worked, who the members were, what it succeeded in doing at least in

 6     part, what it was responsible for, and what it was not responsible for.

 7             The first statutory decision on the setting up of the executive

 8     was adopted on the 15th of May.  However, it took over a year to organise

 9     and properly set up this body, and this is shown by the decision on the

10     nomination and establishment published by the Official Gazette.  In some

11     OTP documents, we see that this statutory decision mentioned a lot the

12     one of the 15th of May, but they omitted one particular provision.

13     Article 2 reads, and I quote:  "The president of the HZ HB is the

14     president of the HVO."  The ERN number for this document is 006889378938.

15             In the indictment, the Prosecutor defines the HVO as the one

16     major defence body and body of the executive, although these are two

17     entirely different bodies and terms.  Even the most perfunctory look at

18     both of these statutory decisions.  The 15th of May one and the 3rd of

19     July one defines the HVO as the body of executive government and

20     administration throughout the HZ HB, which at the very outset tells us

21     this is an entirely new body in relation to the HVO as an armed force,

22     and this is something that I had mentioned when speaking about the

23     decision to set up the HVO dated the 8th of April, 1992.

24             The statutory decision tells us that the HVO of the HZ HB is a

25     provisional body which will continue to perform its function until proper

Page 27484

 1     executive authorities are set up, which leaves perfectly clear that this

 2     was a provisional body.  It also tells us that members of the HVO, this

 3     provisional body of executive government, were jointly responsible for

 4     any decisions taken by the Croatian Defence Council, and each of those

 5     members are personally responsible for their own areas of work.  This

 6     was, after all, the conclusion drawn also by Professor Ribicic at 14333

 7     of the transcript in the Blaskic case.  [In English] "The HVO as a whole

 8     and every individual member of the HVO accountable for the work to the

 9     Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna."

10             [Interpretation] The taking over of certain functions was a

11     matter of necessity.  This was needed in order to overcome the growing

12     chaos.  The links to the existing government in Sarajevo were essential.

13     It was precisely the representatives of the HDZ in that government.  The

14     country that set up the HZ HB lent legitimacy to those bodies, and that

15     sort of legitimacy was necessary for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be able to

16     continue to function as internationally-recognised subjects to begin

17     with.

18             The first statutory decision actually creates the possibility for

19     a president of the HZ HB.  The president remains the president of the

20     Presidency of the HZ HB.  He's in charge of the army and the executive.

21     He signs all decisions in his capacity as the president of the HZ HB and

22     the president of the HVO.

23             Furthermore, it is necessary to point out that this division of

24     power at the level of the Presidency of the HZ HB, a body where the

25     mayors of all the municipalities that are represented, the basic

Page 27485

 1     intention was to stay within the bounds of the constitution of the

 2     republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 3             There was no division of power which, after all, was typical of

 4     the entire Yugoslav system based, as it was, on the unity of power.

 5     Here, we encounter a rudimentary form of power, and we cannot talk of

 6     division but rather of distribution of power.  The system being what it

 7     was and being as provisional as it was, the Presidency of the HZ HB was

 8     the legislative body, and the HVO was a provisional body of the civilian

 9     government which on the 14th of August, 1992, in an operational sense

10     became the civilian executive body.  The Presidency of the HZ HB is at

11     the apex.  Power streams down from them to the municipalities, which then

12     coordinate all joint activities.  A link is thus established between the

13     sections and the Presidencies where presidents of the municipal HVO

14     branches are represented.

15             That is my understanding of these documents, documents that were

16     poor from a legal standpoint, yet they are useful for us to describe how

17     the bodies actually worked in reality.  One thing that is not defined,

18     for example, are the tasks and powers of this provisional executive

19     organ, the HVO, which had been the case before with the executive boards

20     of the municipal assemblies or, rather, the Executive Board of Bosnia and

21     Herzegovina's Assembly.

22             At the close of my presentation, I will be addressing documents

23     adopted by the Presidency, by the HVO, the HZ HB, in the light of Article

24     17 -- count 17 of the indictment.  However, it is important to point out

25     as early as now that the legislation -- a look at the legislation at the

Page 27486

 1     very outset tells us that only minimal changes were introduced of the

 2     existing republican legislation, and this was needed for the regulations

 3     to be applied at all.  All this legislation containing thousands of laws

 4     continue to apply.  Changes were only introduced to some of those because

 5     that was the only way they could have made sense.  For example, this was

 6     necessary in order to have the criminal provisions in a situation where

 7     there was no domestic currency and none to be used.  The Presidency then

 8     adopted a decision to set up public enterprises, public companies as

 9     early as July 1992, but they weren't set up before later on.  The railway

10     system and the roads in 1993, the radio in March 1993.

11             If we read the indictment, we see that the Presidency of the

12     HZ HB made two decisions on taking over JNA and SSNO property, SSNO

13     meaning Federal Secretariat for All People's Defence.  Prior to those

14     decisions, however, most of the municipalities had adopted these very

15     same decisions.

16             Talking of property and particularly various views on how

17     abandoned flats were to be used, a particular example of discrimination

18     in this field would be the way this was dealt with by the federal

19     government.

20             Jablanica municipality, for example, seized not just the money of

21     the occupiers but also of all the users from municipal territory.  The

22     JNA facilities were taken over by Tuzla municipality, the JNA flats by

23     Travnik municipality and Mostar municipality.  Three months after this

24     same decision adopted, as well, by its own municipal president, Livno

25     took the same decision to seize and requisition the property of the

Page 27487

 1     occupying force for municipal purposes.  It is quite obvious that the

 2     municipalities had the -- the requisite power, and the decision taken by

 3     the HZ HB was an attempt to coordinate.

 4             Now for a brief digression about my job back in 1992, having been

 5     appointed president of the HVO HZ HB on the 14th of August.

 6             When the war in Croatia broke out, we who were working in the

 7     economy were facing increasing problems.  Road traffic was being

 8     disrupted, and the situation was becoming more and more difficult.  I

 9     didn't know most of the people in the HDZ at the time, but I tried to

10     stay in touch with people in the republican government.  This was, after

11     all, part of my job as the CO of a cooperation with 14 major shareholders

12     and about 4.000 employees.  I do believe that the Honourable Chamber will

13     be receiving documentation on the company that I was running at the time.

14             As I had announced -- as I have announced already, 1990, my

15     commitment was to an independent Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Early 1992, I said

16     this loud and clear in a special TV show on TV Sarajevo.  This is 1D

17     02074.  It's part of the evidence in this case already.

18             The position that I put forward at the time was crystal clear.

19     In order to survive, Bosnia and Herzegovina must be both as near as

20     possible and as far as possible from Serbia and Croatia and must try to

21     have symmetric relations with these two.  I had a historic opportunity

22     eight years later after a series of interstate agreements with Croatia to

23     endorse this with my own signature in Belgrade.  This was about the

24     diplomatic relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and this

25     finally re-established this new order in our part of the world.

Page 27488

 1             Jure Pelivan, who was prime minister at the time and I believe is

 2     due to appear in this courtroom, asked me to agree for him to appoint me

 3     national governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina's republic bank.  Early in

 4     1991 I accepted this, but only in a very provisional basis and only in

 5     order to be the one to issue the first currency ever used in this new

 6     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It had become clear to me that without being

 7     successful in protecting our sovereignty in terms of our currency, any

 8     other objective in terms of our economy would have been lost.

 9             I followed the procedure of the Assembly and saw the need to act

10     urgently.  Therefore, I embarked on this project as soon as possible.  I

11     even made a visit to Croatia's national bank in order to familiarise

12     myself with the procedures that they used when they first -- first

13     started issuing their own money.

14             I can say that I had the project ready by now.  I had talked to

15     people from the commission of the Assembly of the federal Republic of

16     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  However, Muharem Cero, the chairman of that

17     commission told me just before the vote in the Assembly told me that a

18     telegram had arrived that the consensus to go ahead with my appointment

19     had be withdrawn.  I was to learn later on that someone back in Mostar's

20     HDZ was not happy with my appointment.  The currency was never issued and

21     as the months to follow were to show, the whole economy collapsed.

22             MR. KARNAVAS:  Perhaps this would be a good place to take a

23     break.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're right.  We've been

25     sitting for an hour and a half.  We're going to break for 20 minutes.

Page 27489

 1                           --- Recess taken at 3.42 p.m.

 2                           --- On resuming at 4.11 p.m.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing's resumed.

 4     Mr. Prlic, you have the floor.

 5             THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President and

 6     Your Honours.

 7             In early March, after the referendum was held and without having

 8     any inkling that the situation could escalate, I went to the USA.  I was

 9     invited by the American government through Ambassador Warren Zimmermann

10     to participate in a study trip.  The theme was market economy, US

11     approach.  That's where I met the first US ambassador to BiH.

12             I came back from the USA and stepped right into the war.  I could

13     have stayed there.  I could have now been an expert had I stayed in

14     Washington, but my place was in my country, in my town.

15             I came to Mostar after a couple of days, sometime around the 10th

16     of April, 1992, after a long trip by way of Belgrade where I landed from

17     New York together with the football players of Velez, a Mostar club, who

18     played their last Premiership game in Yugoslavia as it existed at the

19     time, in Subotica.

20             I approached Mostar from the eastern side and I saw the cannon

21     batteries shelling Mostar.  My family had already left town and my eldest

22     daughter stopped attending school.  The school was no longer opened.  I

23     tried to salvage at least some of the production lines in the holding

24     companies.

25             Mostar was completely besieged and it was shelled all the time.

Page 27490

 1     I was a member of the Territorial Defence Staff before the war.  That was

 2     my wartime assignment.  All conscripts had those assignments.  I reported

 3     on duty, but it did not function.  The Territorial Defence itself broke

 4     down as had all other state institutions.

 5             Neven Tomic put me in contact with the HVO.  The HVO had already

 6     set up its units.  I became a volunteer.  I was issued a uniform and a

 7     rifle.  We were committed to defending the town where I had gone through

 8     everything.  This is where I went to school.  This is where I fell in

 9     love.  This is where I had my friends, my family, my job, my university.

10     I was really thankful to the people who had realised that there would be

11     war and who had prepared for it.  I didn't know that that would come to

12     pass.

13             Somebody bought this uniform.  He gave money for this uniform and

14     the rifle.  The uniforms and the rifles that we paid by making

15     contributions from our salaries were now in the possession of the JNA

16     that had positions in the hills around the town.

17             After that, as a member of the HVO, of the military, I was

18     appointed to the council for special purposes.  That was Puljic [Realtime

19     transcript read in error, "Pusic"] and Tomic's idea.  It was a group of

20     younger people mostly with a business background, managers from

21     well-known companies who wanted to use the means that still remained in

22     those companies and to put their business connections outside of Bosnia

23     and Herzegovina to some use, to help mount a defence and to organise

24     life.  It was obvious that there was no executive government in the town,

25     and all of us expected that once the government was set up we had great

Page 27491

 1     expectations from this government.  The government was set up by the two

 2     parties that had won in the elections, the SDA and the HDZ.

 3             Things did improve.  The new authorities wanted us to submit

 4     reports.  I submitted one such report in June when the HVO liberated

 5     Mostar about the situation in the Apro Herzegovina companies.  The

 6     document number is 1D 02390.  At that time, nobody received any salaries.

 7     We heard that some remuneration was handed out in some municipalities, in

 8     particular to soldiers.

 9             Check-points were set up at the municipality borders.  In

10     addition to controlling passengers, the trade was also controlled.

11             The most accurate characterisation would be that every

12     municipality assume the functions from the other levels of government

13     that existed in the former Yugoslavia, the federation and the republics,

14     and this resulted in an even greater chaos.  There was this need to

15     coordinate their work because the government in Sarajevo simply did not

16     have any influence over what was going on in the field.  This was

17     confirmed through my contacts with the people I knew who were in the

18     government.  Sometime up until mid-May it was still possible to remain in

19     telephone contact with Sarajevo.

20             The agreement on the friendship and cooperation between Bosnia

21     and Croatia dated the 21st of July, which was widely publicised, meant

22     that there were no controversial issues between Muslims and Croats.

23     That's the way I and my friends understood it.  The HVO was accepted as

24     an armed force on an equal footing, and the civilian authorities were

25     supposed to be brought in line with the internal organisation of Bosnia

Page 27492

 1     and Herzegovina in accordance with the basic concept of the three

 2     constituent units.  That's Prosecution Exhibit P 339.

 3             As I explained in my interview, at the second meeting with Boban

 4     in the summer of 1992, and I have to note here that I had not known Boban

 5     before the war, I was offered to do the thing that I could do best, where

 6     I could make the biggest contribution, to try and set up some kind of

 7     coordination with the municipalities and the government of the republic

 8     in order to prevent the growing chaos in the organisation of the civilian

 9     life in the society.

10             I accepted this task to assist in coordinating certain measures

11     to be taken by the municipalities in order to establish the unified

12     economic area.  Each and every patriot would do the same.  We were

13     brought up in the system of All Peoples Defence where everybody was

14     supposed to make their contribution within one's abilities.  Legally,

15     this obligation applied to everyone between the ages of 16 and 60, but

16     even younger people were supposed to contribute.  We were all brought up

17     with the idea that we should do that to defend our country.

18             Boban was quite clear.  He told me, "Do whatever you can do in

19     the civilian area," but as I've pointed out in the interview, he said,

20     "You have nothing to do with the military and the police."  And he kept

21     his word.

22             In the Official Gazette and in the minutes from the session of

23     the HZ HB Presidency of the 14th of August, my appointment as the head of

24     the finance department is mentioned.  The date is the 15th of May, 1992.

25             As I said in the interview, I was told about that immediately

Page 27493

 1     before the session, the session where I was appointed the presidents --

 2     the president, so that I never did perform this function at all.  There

 3     are Defence exhibits that will prove that, but generally speaking, when I

 4     assume a post I tend to leave my mark.

 5             So from the 14th of August onwards, it is possible to follow how

 6     the provisional executive government functioned and what my role was.

 7     The nature and the contents of the HVO HZ HB that I described as

 8     provisional in my interview to the Prosecution, and noting that it

 9     operated within the framework of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

10     was defined by certain documents, the statutory decision on the

11     provisional structure of the executive government and administration.

12     That's a document of the 3rd of July.  The amendments are contained in

13     document P 00684, and special emphasis should be placed on Articles 20

14     and 22.

15             The second is the decree on the structuring and purview of

16     departments and commissions.  That's Exhibit 1D 00001, Articles 30

17     through 37.

18             The third is the Rules Of Procedure of the HVO HZ HB, Prosecution

19     Exhibit P 09539, and in particular, the work as reflected in the minutes

20     of the sessions of the HVO HZ HB, they have all been admitted into

21     evidence as Prosecution exhibits, although unfortunately no witness was

22     called to actually talk about them.

23             The fifth reference are issues of the Official Gazette of the

24     HZ HB which show in a completely transparent manner what HVO HZ HB

25     actually did but also what it did not do.

Page 27494

 1             I would like to say first of all that this organ was a collective

 2     organ.  It was set up eight months after my appointment, cannot be

 3     considered a cabinet, a government, either de jure or de facto, contrary

 4     to what Prosecution witness Tomljanovich claimed.

 5             In our area the term "government" does not appear before the

 6     '90s.  Before that you had Executive Boards or councils of the assemblies

 7     or secretariats and ministers, but the Assembly was the key organ because

 8     there was no division of government.  The term "prime minister" appears

 9     for the first time in the federation constitution of 1994.  This

10     constitution was drafted under the US auspices.  So in our region we had

11     never had a political system that would be based on the role of the prime

12     minister such as, for instance, is the case in the United Kingdom, so

13     that this constant stressing of the term "prime minister" does not have

14     any basis, either formally or in any kind of essence.

15             The body that I was a member of did its work in sessions and this

16     was based on the rules of -- Rules of Procedure.  This was based on the

17     statutory decision on the provisional structure of the executive

18     government.  In Article 16 it is stated:  "The HVO shall operate in

19     sessions."  And in paragraph 4 of the same article it is indicated that

20     the HVO shall determine in greater detail its internal structure and

21     other issues in its Rules of Procedure.  So the only form in which HVO

22     HZ HB was active was by having those sessions.  Defence witnesses will

23     show that this manner of functioning of the executive organs in the

24     administration organs was actually taken over from the existing system of

25     state administration in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Page 27495

 1     and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and municipalities operated

 2     according to the same principle, for instance, Tuzla, Siroki Brijeg, or

 3     the Executive Board of the Mostar municipality while I was the president

 4     in 1998.  We will be tendering those documents.

 5             The fact that this was a typical document of this kind, Rules of

 6     Procedure regulating the work of a collective organ is confirmed by the

 7     Rules of Procedure on the work of the Presidency of the HZ HB, which is

 8     identical in the way it regulates the work mutatis mutandis.  Of course

 9     the word HVO -- the acronym HVO is replaced by the Presidency of the

10     HZ HB and the bodies of the HVO become members of the HZ HB Presidency.

11             Speaking about the Rules of Procedure I would like to add that

12     the provisional organ of the executive government never set up its work

13     programme which would be obligatory for its departments and

14     sub-departments.  Only obligations towards the collective organ were

15     determined.  The bodies had their own independent programmes.  So a

16     document that would be entitled, The Programme of Activities of the HVO

17     HZ HB does not exist.  We did not pass such a document because we merely

18     responded to situations.  We did not have any initiative.  We didn't

19     manage anything.  The first work programme was drafted by the government

20     of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.  It was adopted by the House of

21     Representatives of the HR HB in 1994, and this is a completely different

22     topic.

23             The role of the president in the executive government organ is

24     identical to that of any president in any collective organ including the

25     parliament.  This person is supposed to prepare and chair the sessions,

Page 27496

 1     has only one vote, as do all the other members.  In urgent cases

 2     decisions can be made on the basis of individual opinions stated by HVO

 3     members without them being discussed at the session, but at the first

 4     following session the contents of the decision are adopted for the

 5     record.

 6             The documents that are published in Official Gazette indicate

 7     that in the initial period Mate Boban did have right of sovereignty and

 8     did pass regulations and other documents even when there was no clear

 9     legal basis signing the decrees as "the president," the president of the

10     HZ HB or both, the president of the HVO and the HZ HB.

11             It arises from these short remarks, first of all, the HVO as an

12     armed force was established on the 8th of April, 1992.  Its mission was

13     clear, and I quote:  "To look after the defence of the Croatian people as

14     well as of all the other peoples in the community when they come under

15     attack by anybody," which points to the fact that this was exclusively a

16     military organisation.

17             The second HVO, which was charged with executive power by a

18     statutory decision issued on the 15th of May was a formally new body, and

19     that's why I quote the HVO is established, is used.  At that time the HVO

20     was both the executive and the administrative power of the HZ HVO with

21     original authority and the pronounced powers of the presidents, and this

22     HVO existed up to the 14th of August, 1992.  After the 14th of August,

23     1992, the HVO HZ HB lost some of its authorities and competencies and

24     there was no significant influence of the president.  We can arrive at

25     this conclusion if we compare the original statutory decision on the

Page 27497

 1     interim organisation of power and the subsequent amendments and

 2     supplements in Article 18 as well as with the corresponding provisions of

 3     the book of rules of the work of the HVO and other fundamental documents

 4     that were issued after the 14th of August, 1992.

 5             This Trial Chamber has been informed that a possibility was given

 6     to adopt documents from the purview of the Presidency of the HZ HB in

 7     situations that did not allow for procrastination, which means that under

 8     the circumstances of war or exceptional situation it could adopt

 9     documents from its competencies, but that body at the following session

10     of the legislative body had to confirm those decisions, and this is

11     something that Professor Ivetic has spoken about before this

12     Trial Chamber.

13             Obviously, all the decisions that were based on the

14     aforementioned authority and which were passed pursuant to that authority

15     were actually the decisions of the Presidency of the HVO HZ HB.

16             Now this is about de jure, and now on to the facts.

17             After the 14th of August, the newly appointed minister of

18     finances and I returned to Mostar in my car that was later on seized by a

19     brigade.  We did not have any room to work in.  We did not have any

20     equipment.  We did not have any staff, and we did not have any clear

21     guidelines to govern us in our activity.

22             We sat ourselves down at two computers and we started preparing

23     and drafting financial regulations based on the Yugoslavia and Bosnia and

24     Herzegovina and municipal decisions.  At that moment I believe that this

25     was the most important activity that might help us to overcome the chaos

Page 27498

 1     that ruled at the time.

 2             The most important source of income at the time when the economy

 3     had stopped functioning were the donations of our citizens who worked

 4     abroad.  Through their municipalities they were -- they funded our work.

 5     Every municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina had a decision that

 6     regulated those donations.  That's why we prepared documents to regulate

 7     those donations and to channel them for the defence of Bosnia and

 8     Herzegovina.  We thought that this was only logical.  We did not want

 9     these funds to be dissipated across various municipalities.

10             For example, rich municipalities which were not on the front

11     lines would give salaries to their soldiers, whereas the municipalities

12     who did not have foreign workers and which were located on the front

13     line, such as Mostar or Stolac, or perhaps municipalities in

14     Central Bosnia, could not give their soldiers anything.  They could not

15     provide for them.

16             However, when we prepared the -- this regulation, the

17     municipalities that had significant income rebelled against that

18     regulation.  Boba called me and asked me to withdraw that document.  We

19     adopted it only in March 1993, but again all the funds were distributed

20     across the municipalities.  They did not go to Herceg-Bosna.  The only

21     thing that we managed to define was to have the same amount for everybody

22     who worked abroad and who wanted to give donations.

23             At the very outset I realised what would be the difficulties that

24     we would face in an attempt to coordinate even the most obvious or most

25     trivial things, and this is what showed me what I would have to do to

Page 27499

 1     reach a win-win strategy.  We adopted a standard routine of work in

 2     sessions as had been envisaged.  Maybe I should say -- add to that that

 3     there were no secret sessions.  There were no secret documents which I

 4     believe is interesting bearing in mind that we had to work under war

 5     conditions.

 6             The temporary body of executive power tried to regulate issues in

 7     a number of areas in order to prevent the escalation of chaos, which

 8     means that the temporary body of power did not have the defined

 9     competencies from the outset.  Instead of that, the situation always

10     imposed new issues that had to be dealt with and regulated.  Initiatives

11     arrived from various institutions that those issues should be regulated.

12     For example, from the institution for education, from the automotive

13     clubs and similar situations.  The minutes which served as Prosecutor's

14     exhibits testified to the way we worked.  For example, at the 7th session

15     that was held on the 14th October 1992, my words were recorded -- when we

16     analyzed the work of the HZ HB during the two months showed that a lot

17     has been regulated but not very much has been implemented.

18             The break-up of Yugoslavia and interruption of all the

19     telecommunication traffic and other links with the republican bodies and

20     the self-organisation with a view to defending the state from aggression

21     over the past period the municipalities had taken over the role of the

22     state, especially in financial terms.  That is why today we're faced with

23     some instances in which the municipalities behave as the state.  It is

24     necessary to appoint people regardless of their ethnic background, be it

25     a Muslim or a Croat, and when they're appointed it should be pointed out

Page 27500

 1     that their appointment is temporary.

 2             People who arrive from the municipalities will have food and

 3     lodgings provided for in the pensioners' home where my office was located

 4     at the time.  This is Prosecution Exhibit P 578.

 5             I knew that the municipalities were independent in the previous

 6     system as well, but I could not even imagine that the activities were so

 7     developed until the moment when we were able to obtain the Official

 8     Gazettes of a significant number of municipalities in Bosnia and

 9     Herzegovina which showed that the municipalities would proclaim the

10     aggressor, that they would engage in a mobilisation of people much

11     earlier than the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina had done that.

12     They organised public companies in the areas of telecommunication and

13     electricity supply.  They had taken over the proceeds of Yugoslavia and

14     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  They introduced new tender.  They had taken over

15     authority of banks and the financial institutions.  They also established

16     bodies and appointed people in the judiciary.  They defined the rights of

17     movement of people, the accommodation of refugees, and so on and so

18     forth.

19             For example, all the municipalities had adopted decisions on a

20     ban to receive refugees.  We would have tens of decisions in the

21     municipalities such as Mostar, Capljina, Tuzla, Maglaj, Jablanica, Siroki

22     Brijeg, Posusje, Gornji Vakuf, Uskoplje, regardless of the national

23     composition.  Also, Livno and Posusje as well as Orasje, the entire free

24     territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I'm talking about the areas that

25     were not occupied by the JNA, i.e., the Serb army.

Page 27501

 1             Your Honours, a question may be raised at this moment as to

 2     whether by introducing these measures the municipalities had violated the

 3     constitution, especially bearing in mind that it was about -- that those

 4     decisions were about their defence.

 5             The constitutional obligation of the municipalities and the

 6     spirit of the constitution was to organise the defence, and you have to

 7     bear that in mind.  That was the objective that all the municipalities

 8     had in mind, and their intentions were good.  They improvised.  They were

 9     not consistent in passing their decisions, but the municipalities that

10     had organised their defence and that had undertaken other measures had

11     actually complied with their constitutional obligation to defend their

12     country, those municipalities that didn't do anything and waited for

13     somebody else to do that, for example, the Socialist Federal Republic of

14     Yugoslavia that had actually attacked Bosnia and Herzegovina, or that

15     they -- or that had waited for the measures of the central government

16     which only on the 20th of June, 1992, proclaimed martial law did not

17     comply with their constitutional obligation.  This was just an expression

18     of the approach to All Peoples Defence which was deeply enrooted into the

19     tradition of my people.

20             One of the presidential transcript speaks about a reception on

21     the occasion of 125th anniversary of Home Guards Movement.  The All

22     Peoples Defence was a system in which every citizen, every institution --

23     I hope that Mr. -- Judge Trechsel will not hold it against me if I say

24     that this was very similar to the system in Switzerland, was obliged to

25     defend their country, and nobody, nobody had the right to sign defeat.

Page 27502

 1     And under the law, everybody was duty-bound to prepare defence plans, but

 2     this time the aggressor was not a NATO or an eastern bloc country, and

 3     this had been what -- the thing that we had prepared for.  It was

 4     actually the army that was supposed to defend the country from the

 5     outside aggressor.

 6             However, regardless of the success of the municipalities in

 7     taking over the functions of the state, new chaos was created.  The

 8     municipalities on the front line had more problems and less funds to deal

 9     with those problems.  Check-points were established.  There was no

10     tender.  There was no payment transactions, and this was the main problem

11     that I had to deal with in professional terms, to put it that way.  No

12     modern society can be organised if payment transactions are not in place.

13     Without payment transactions, there is no normal life.  In order for the

14     system to function, for example, if, for example, the members of the

15     Trial Chamber wanted to use their credit card for any transaction,

16     several pre-conditions have to be set in place.  First, there has to be

17     tender; B, there has to be a bank where your account is held; and C, the

18     telecommunication system has to function in order to implement your order

19     or your payment transaction.  None of these elements in Bosnia and

20     Herzegovina functioned at the time.  There was nothing.

21             And now before I start talking about particular areas, let me say

22     something about my first encounter with President Tudjman, which happened

23     on the 17th of September, 1992.  Document number is 1D 02366, and this is

24     a transcript that has been fully translated at the request of my Defence.

25     The transcript points to the complexity of this situation at the time,

Page 27503

 1     and reading the transcript you can see that the Croatian leadership was

 2     committed to defending Bosnia and Herzegovina and building Bosnia and

 3     Herzegovina as a modern state that would take into account the interests

 4     of all the three constituent peoples.  Also, there was a commitment to

 5     achieve peace in the shortest possible period of time in keeping with the

 6     propositions of the London conference.

 7             During that encounter, I spoke about the goals of organising

 8     civilian authorities.  I mentioned the publication of the Official

 9     Gazette that just appeared --

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry for interrupting you,

11     Mr. Prlic.  You've just quoted from the transcript of your first meeting

12     with President Tudjman.  You're giving us the number, 1D 02366.  I'm now

13     looking at the documents, and I can't find that particular document.  Is

14     there a mistake somewhere?

15             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  I suppose it is mistake, because I don't

16     think that you make mistake, Mr. President.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, because your meeting with

18     President Tudjman is indeed very interesting, and we should have that

19     document.

20             Mr. Karnavas.

21             MR. KARNAVAS:  Yes, Mr. President.  I think we're going to be

22     able to correct this -- this error.  As I understand it, we didn't want

23     to put in too many documents, but we will -- it is 1D 02366.  That's my

24     understanding.  But we will be able to provide you with that -- with --

25     through a witness we'll be able to provide you with the exact part of

Page 27504

 1     that presidential transcript.

 2             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  May I continue?

 3             [Interpretation] I'm mentioning the Official Gazette but also the

 4     willingness to gather members of all the nationalities that would, and I

 5     quote:  "Will join those who are well organised, who wanted to introduce

 6     peace and order in a certain area."  And of course I also mentioned a

 7     very clear political goal of the Croats, at least the way I understood

 8     it, and I quote:  "It was clear to me from the moment I have joined the

 9     whole thing and from the moment I've been in this position, and this is

10     the establishment and organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in keeping

11     with the principles of European Community.  In other words, the

12     establishment of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the form of three national

13     units.  I believe that Croats will find this in their favour, but the

14     criterion should not be only the national composition of the population."

15             My words are also about defence from the Serb aggression, and I

16     said that we managed to by and large defend the Croatian area save for

17     the Croatian Bosnian Posavina.  "I believe that in this circle people I

18     can say that we will not have any of the territory where we do not walk,

19     and we have not entered a single Serb village.  We don't need a single

20     Serb village."

21             At that time and today, I have respected Bosnia and Herzegovina

22     and looked at it as a state of three peoples.  The Serbian people are

23     citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they constitute one-third of the

24     total population, and at every moment their rights have to be protected.

25     Why should we try and conquer the Serbian villages?  Should we do that in

Page 27505

 1     order to expel the population which is a normal result of war operations?

 2     No.  I was against that.

 3             On that occasion, I handed over a letter to the representatives

 4     of the Croatian government and said to them, again I'm quoting myself:

 5     "We must talk about the number of issues that are exceptionally important

 6     for the functioning of the civilian authorities starting with the issue

 7     of customs which make it practically impossible for our companies to sell

 8     their goods to Croatia.  We have to talk about border crossings, about

 9     commodity reserves, about the movement of goods, about border controls.

10     We have to discuss all these issues that are central to the lives of

11     people inhabiting this area."

12             These are obviously issues that the coordination of the civilian

13     authorities must resolve in coordination with the appropriate services in

14     Croatia.  This is primarily about border-related issues, and I'm here

15     referring to the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia,

16     especially where those municipalities are concerned who were committed to

17     coordinating a number of their duties and obligations at the level of

18     Herceg-Bosna as a community.

19             Your Honours, this was the first fully functioning state border

20     between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the newly recognised state.

21             If there is no cooperation, how can we define border crossings?

22     How can we set up crews on both sides?  How can we have border police?

23     How can we have customs?  If after every 100 years there was a people

24     living in a country and different parts and areas where these people

25     lived were now divided by these -- this border.  So we were making an

Page 27506

 1     enormous effort there to keep the whole thing working.

 2             Please allow me to reflect on several very important areas

 3     mentioned also by the OTP, areas which they believed to be instruments of

 4     the joint criminal enterprise.  Again, what we need is a context.  This

 5     is something that I will not necessarily keep coming back to.

 6             Talking about finances, we can't discuss this without asking some

 7     questions, such as what was the currency that existed both in real and in

 8     purely formal terms?  What was the currency that was actually being used?

 9     Were duties and taxes paid based on the customs earnings and to whom?

10     What about the banks?  Was it possible to make transfers from Bosnia and

11     Herzegovina and send money abroad and vice versa for that matter?  Were

12     pensions being paid?  What about the salaries of educational workers?

13     What about police officers who were or were not receiving salaries and

14     from whom?  Who was providing salaries for those working in the

15     judiciary, specifically judges and prosecutors?

16             The financial laws that we had prepared immediately before we

17     were appointed were adopted on the 28th of August, 1992, at a HZ HB

18     session.  What is particularly noteworthy is that these were published in

19     the Official Gazette number 3, and that was marked as having been issued

20     in August 1992.  If the Chamber cares to have a look, Official Gazette 1

21     and 2 date back to September 1992.

22             It is quite obvious that the first to be published were these

23     financial regulations, and those were then followed by -- by all the

24     fundamental decisions on the establishment and functioning of the

25     Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.  This shows you in no uncertain terms

Page 27507

 1     what the priorities were of the HVO and the HZ HB, as well as the

 2     provisional body of the executive.

 3             As far as the possibilities for the functioning of -- of payment

 4     transactions without a currency to call our own, this was a technical

 5     solution, and I'm saying this as a professor.  Bearing in mind the fact

 6     that most the foreign trade was with the Republic of Croatia, this would

 7     be a prime example of an optimum currency area.

 8             Most of the refugees were staying in Croatia at the time who were

 9     also using Croatia's currency.  The regulations were changed, and this

10     was mostly about criminal provisions, something being paid in dinars, in

11     Croatian kuna and German marks later on, and that's what it took for

12     these regulations to start making sense.  Formally speaking, at the time

13     the official currency used in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the Yugoslav

14     dinar, yet this same Yugoslavia had adopted a decision for this currency

15     to be withdrawn from circulation.

16             Believe me, monetary history had hardly seen a situation as

17     absurd as this occur.

18             The indictment talks about the import of goods from the Republic

19     of Croatia bearing a special EU certificate with evidencing costs being

20     covered.  However, we must quote another reciprocal decision taken at the

21     same session, which is also in evidence by the OTP, 5733.  I quote:  "The

22     proposed decision on exporting goods to the Republic of Croatia for

23     companies and other legal and real entities in the HZ HB."

24             This is obviously something that is reciprocal; the introduction

25     of free trade, if you like.  Those areas had never grown under that sort

Page 27508

 1     of burden before, and that is the sort of situation that prevails as we

 2     speak.  Not just between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but, rather,

 3     throughout south-eastern Europe.  This also applies to countries that are

 4     members of the EU.

 5             This opened a possibility for the economy to prosper in Bosnia

 6     and Herzegovina, leaving us in a position to export our goods to better

 7     advantage to our nearest neighbouring market, which was the Republic of

 8     Croatia, by using the certificate issued by the Chamber of Commerce.

 9             As the Chamber has already heard, at the beginning the duties and

10     taxes were paid through non-resident accounts in Croatia itself.  The

11     opening of those accounts occurred pursuant to an inter-republican

12     agreement between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This agreement was

13     reached in February 1992.  The document number is 1D 01768.

14             We've seen a number of such accounts that were being opened at

15     the time, and some of these were held by bodies of Bosnia and

16     Herzegovina's government and a number of players of Bosnia and

17     Herzegovina's economy.  This was the only way to survive, and it went on

18     like that until the spring of 1993.  We finally had the right conditions

19     in Bosnia for proper transactions within the borders of Bosnia and

20     Herzegovina, and that was when an order was issued to close those

21     non-residential accounts for the most part in Croatia but to some extent,

22     also, in neighbouring Slovenia.

23             We have heard suggestions by the OTP that the decree on payments

24     being made in Croatian dinars in the HZ HB was a de facto introduction of

25     the Croatian currency as one that was to be used in the HZ HB.  The

Page 27509

 1     Defence will show by adducing evidence that this is simply not true.

 2     Provisions 2 and 3 of that decree say that the payment transaction

 3     institute should be used to open sub-accounts and not accounts in

 4     Croatian dinars bearing the -- bearing a number 1 marked in the first

 5     codex from left.  Ordinal number 1 marked as RIR.  This is Prosecution

 6     Exhibit 447.  All the accounts with the Payments and Transactions

 7     Institute were to start with a 0, which meant that the initial accounts

 8     could only still be expressed in terms of the domestic currency, the

 9     Yugoslav dinar or, rather, the Bosnia and Herzegovina dinar.  Therefore,

10     over this entire period the Bosnia and Herzegovina dinar remained the

11     official currency.

12             As for the opening of these sub-accounts, this was only the very

13     first step in order to have proper transactions in Bosnia and

14     Herzegovina, without which no financial fiscal or legal system could have

15     been envisaged.  It was earlier on that most of the municipalities had

16     already introduced the Croatian dinar as a parallel currency.  We shall

17     be tendering a lot of documents in order to show this.

18             As a provisional body of executive government, we accepted the

19     first shipment of BH dinars as a legal currency.  We tried using it.  The

20     Prosecutor mentioned the support that was sent to municipalities in

21     Central Bosnia and new dinars.  This was a decision that was taken in

22     November 1992.  Prosecution Exhibits 1063 and 1D 2127.

23             Nonetheless, the BH dinar could never really get off the ground

24     properly as a currency that would really be used and widely accepted, and

25     this sort of situation prevailed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Page 27510

 1             As I mentioned before, these non-residential accounts were being

 2     used until the conditions were in place for banks to start operating in

 3     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Prior to that time, there had been no banks at

 4     all.  These new banks were now set up in keeping with the regulations

 5     defined by the National Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Appropriate

 6     amounts were paid that were required for registration.  The amounts were

 7     paid in BH dinar.  Licenses were issued, as is customary in all of the

 8     world's modern states.  Document number is 1D 01765.

 9             Other measures were taken such as the introduction of the optical

10     cable in order to get the telecommunications system up and running again.

11     This made transactions possible now, and this was the single key element

12     of the economic improvement that was to follow regardless of the

13     consequences of war in HVO-controlled territory, but also in other areas

14     of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The World Bank and the International Monetary

15     Fund have carried out a number of studies showing this beyond doubt.

16             And now something about the defence areas.  There was a provision

17     in the armed forces regulating each citizen's duty to contribute to the

18     defence, and the way in which this is done is almost identical to that

19     found in the Yugoslav law on All Peoples Defence.  This provisional organ

20     of executive government had no role in commanding the armed forces.  This

21     is shown by the provision on the armed forces, but also by the decision

22     on the fundamental structure of the defence department defining clearly

23     the structure of the department but also defining the responsibilities of

24     all its components as well as the role of the Supreme Commander of the

25     armed forces who was also the person who issued this decision.

Page 27511

 1             It must be noted that there is no mention anywhere of the HVO

 2     HZ HB in this decision, and the first decision bears the date of the 15th

 3     of September, 1992, which at that time was clearly already representing a

 4     civilian organ of the new provisional executive government.

 5             Chapter 9 of this decision has already been addressed here, and

 6     this is about the responsibility of the HVO's Main Staff.  A position was

 7     defined in relation to the defence department, mostly in terms of

 8     administrative issues, while the question of command and the use of

 9     forces was directly linked to the Supreme Commander, the president of the

10     HZ HB.

11             This paragraph, as is only to be expected, determines the chain

12     of command that existed in the armed forces.  One thing that must be

13     noted, however, is that there is no mention there of the HVO HZ HB as a

14     provisional body of executive government.  This is Prosecution Exhibit P

15     589.

16             There will be Defence witnesses appearing to tell us what sort of

17     information they were receiving at the time regarding the military

18     situation on the ground and how that sort of information was reaching the

19     HVO.  Other Defence witnesses will be able to confirm that the HVO was

20     not giving orders to the military component of the HVO, to the HVO's

21     military units or its military police.  The HVO HZ HB played no formal

22     role in commanding the armed forces.  That is why the provision on the

23     armed forces was amended in October 1992.

24             We don't come across a single case of this being done before

25     these changes if we look at all the documents available to us.  I'm still

Page 27512

 1     talking about the same provision.  It abolishes the possibility for the

 2     Supreme Commander to hand over certain duties in terms of commanding the

 3     armed forces to a provisional body of government.  It is quite clear that

 4     through these changes the HVO HZ HB loses any jurisdiction that it may

 5     have had prior to my appointment as president of the provisional body of

 6     executive government on the 14th of August.  These changes were perfectly

 7     in keeping with the HVO being defined as a provisional body of executive

 8     government regarding civilian issues.

 9             The decision on the methodology to be applied when drafting

10     defence plans is something that has to do with the general notion of All

11     Peoples Defence and social self-protection.  Each socio-political

12     community from the federation to the municipality, each legal subject, a

13     company, for example, a bank -- a bank, a local commune, a school, all of

14     those needed a defence plan, and these defence plans, of course, had a

15     civilian character, and no use of the armed forces was implied.

16             That sort of inertia went on in the BH republican legislation.

17     I'm referring to Articles 109 through 112 of the Law On Defence.

18             When looking at the framework of measures that were being taken

19     in the HZ HB in terms of security and fighting crime, the important ones

20     are those that have to do with internal affairs and with the judiciary

21     and general administration.

22             When it comes to the judiciary, and this is confirmed by the

23     report, the goal was to activate the work of the courts and also to

24     establish the system of military judiciary, and that's why the initial

25     provisions were drafted.  In the former system, the overall judicial

Page 27513

 1     system was completely separated from the military judiciary, which was

 2     within the system of the Yugoslav People's Defence.

 3             During the tradition processes towards democratic systems, and

 4     one should bear in mind that the JNA was proclaimed an officially

 5     aggressor, interventions were necessary.

 6             The second objective problem which necessitated changes and

 7     interventions in the judiciary system was this:  There was no single

 8     judiciary proceedings that could be completed and become valid if there

 9     was no third instance with the right of hearing appeals.  Bearing in mind

10     that Sarajevo was cut off, the departments of the Supreme Court were

11     established as well as the department of the republican prosecution,

12     which was a common practice that was later on applied in the districts.

13             The Defence will show that a political consensus for this system

14     was achieved between the HZ HB and the SDA and that the staff in the

15     judiciary could be appointed in that way.

16             We also tried to introduce particular operative programmes in

17     order to fight crime, and this implies what is important within the

18     context of this Tribunal are war crimes amongst other things.  The

19     documents of the Prosecution speak that on the 22nd of March, 1993, the

20     vice-president Zubak reported about the application of the programme in

21     practice.  He also stated that numerous successes had been achieved in

22     the campaign, and he also added that there is a lot more room for

23     improvement, and this improvement could be achieved if we engaged some

24     well-equipped experts.  This is Prosecution Exhibit P 1703.

25             At a special session on the 11th of August, 1993, 21 conclusions

Page 27514

 1     were passed which represented a legal and organisational framework for

 2     the HZ HB to be established on the fundaments of legality.  This is

 3     document P 4111.

 4             A special coordination body was established, and I was one of its

 5     members.  This body tried to launch a number of activities that are

 6     illustrated by the documents.  The conclusions which were passed reveal

 7     the intention of the HVO HZ HB to deal with crime and to curb it, but

 8     it -- it also arises from these conclusions that the objective force lies

 9     in the Presidency of the HZ HB and in the municipalities.  That's why as

10     the necessary prerequisite, if we wanted to achieve any success, was to

11     ask for the political support of the Presidency of the HZ HB and the

12     Executive Board of the HDZ.  Without their support, we could not embark

13     on such a demanding programme.

14             Because of the information that we received from the

15     international community, we included on our agenda at the session of the

16     18th of August the following:  In order to protect property and lives of

17     Muslims in Ljubusko, measures and activities should be taken to curb

18     irresponsible behaviour of the individuals and groups.  This is Exhibit

19     number 4276.

20             There's another interesting remark, and I quote:  "Within the

21     area of jurisdiction, we should build the policy in order to institute

22     stricter punishments for the perpetrators of aggravated crimes."

23             These tasks which were defined by members of the interim bodies

24     of executive power may be followed through the reports of various

25     prosecutors' offices and the courts in the Department Of Judiciary and

Page 27515

 1     House Of Representatives, which was established ten days later.

 2             Allowing to the position of its representatives, it took over the

 3     leading position in this type of programme.  I'm referring to documents

 4     1D 02371, 1D 02368.

 5             For example, the government drafted a report on the situation of

 6     crime and evaluated the situation and measures that were taken and

 7     presented that report to the House of Representatives of the HR HB in

 8     December 1993.  Document number is 1D 01977.

 9             Before that, on the 18th of September, 1993, I sent a letter to

10     the Supreme Commander and the president of the House Of Representatives

11     containing proposals as to what should be done in order to overcome the

12     state of chaos that we were facing at that time.  People who were members

13     of the coordination board were all unique in adopting the same position.

14     Document number is 1D 01813.

15             We established a commission to establish war crimes whose task

16     was to investigate any type of potential war crimes committed in the

17     territory of Herceg-Bosna regardless of the perpetrator and regardless of

18     the victim.  This commission cooperated with the local prosecutor's

19     office as has been envisaged by the document on its foundation.

20             Such an early reference to the Tribunal, even before the Tribunal

21     was actually established, speaks of the willingness of the HVO HZ HB to

22     support its establishment and willingness to help it to process all forms

23     of war crimes, which is also corroborated by a letter to the first

24     Prosecutor of this Tribunal, Mr. Goldstone.  The document number is 1D

25     02007.

Page 27516

 1             Regardless of the establishment of the federation, the government

 2     of the HR HB launched Operation Spider in June 1994, which involved all

 3     the competent ministries as well as some of the task forces from the

 4     Republic of Croatia in order to apprehend and process all the

 5     perpetrators of all the crimes that had been recorded up to then.

 6             The members of this Trial Chamber has already seen that the

 7     competent bodies recorded all the crimes during the war, and based on

 8     those records this wide-reaching action had been launched.

 9             In a document that I signed on behalf of the government, it says

10     as follows and I quote:  "The purpose of this action is to -- for the

11     action to last over a long period of time and to combine operative

12     prevention, repressive, and crime prevention measures and apprehend all

13     those people for which there is a reasonable suspicion that they had

14     committed crimes."  These people had to be processed, investigated, and

15     taken to justice.  The document number is 1D 01249.

16             The witnesses in this courtroom has already spoken about the

17     results of this action, and there will be more to talk about the success

18     of this action.

19             The responsibility for processing the crimes committed during the

20     war was taken over by the judiciary of the federation and later on Bosnia

21     and Herzegovina as an independent part of the tripartite division of

22     power in whose establishment I participated as a member of government

23     [Indiscernible].

24             I also want to mention the Law on Amnesty which does not

25     exculpate those who committed war crimes but what needs to be said at

Page 27517

 1     this moment is this:  On the 18th of February, 1996, the so-called

 2     Rome Agreement was signed and I witnessed that.  I was in Rome at the

 3     time.  This agreement establishes the rules of the road which defined how

 4     can local courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina process war crimes.  According

 5     to the rules of the road, as the agreement would become to be known,

 6     local courts can try war crimes only with a prior consent of the

 7     International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

 8             If this is maybe the time for our next break, I am just embarking

 9     on a new chapter in my presentation.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.  We're going to break for

11     20 minutes.  We'll resume at 20 to 6.00.

12                           --- Recess taken at 5.22 p.m.

13                           --- On resuming at 5.45 p.m.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.  The hearing is resumed.

15             Mr. Prlic, you have the floor.

16             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Just to make one

17     mistake in transcript that was asked by lawyer of Mr. Pusic.  On page 37,

18     line 25, it should be written Puljic, not Pusic.  I mentioned the name

19     Puljic.

20             [Interpretation] During the break I tried to reduce to a certain

21     extent my presentation, but I don't think I will be able to finish today.

22             A few words about refugees.  I believe that the indictment is a

23     simplification of the problem of the humanitarian issue on status and

24     care of refugees and displaced persons.  The decision on refugees which

25     was passed towards the end of 1992 by the HZ HB was an attempt to

Page 27518

 1     introduce a system into this issue.  It transpires from the text of the

 2     decision that it is not discriminatory, although it referred to a very

 3     well-defined territory of the HZ HB.

 4             The body that I was a member of forbade during the war any

 5     transfer of assets in order to prevent any transactions under duress.

 6     The office for refugees was a very small organisation.  It had only 12

 7     members of staff and did not have funds for work, and as we heard, there

 8     were over a hundred thousand refugees in our small territory.

 9             MR. KARNAVAS:  I apologise for the interruption.  Normally I

10     would not interrupt but my colleague insists on me interrupting because

11     of the gravity of the error that is being -- that is on the text over

12     here.  It was "not a well-defined" as opposed to "well-defined."  There

13     is a big difference to that.  We would appreciate if perhaps Mr. Prlic

14     would slow down, articulate, so that the translators would then properly

15     translate this, but this is an error that I must correct.  It's on page

16     65, line 7.  Thank you.

17             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.

18             [Interpretation] We're talking about a very small body.  Towards

19     the end of June, the temporary body of authorities appointed a body that

20     would look after the refugees.  As it transpires from the documents, this

21     was established due to the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in order

22     to, I quote, "coordinate the work of the various bodies that were dealing

23     with refugees."

24             At the peak of the humanitarian crisis in July 1993, the

25     HVO HZ HB passed the following conclusions:  Take all the possible

Page 27519

 1     measures in order to protect the civilian population within the zones of

 2     war operations in which new refugees and displaced persons arriving into

 3     the territory of the HZ HB should be taken into account -- should be

 4     taken into account.

 5             The headquarters for the organisation and coordination of the

 6     work of the bodies looking after refugees and displaced persons are

 7     duty-bound to arrange their departure to third countries.  The work --

 8     working group of the office for refugees and displaced persons should

 9     continue contacts with the government of the Republic of Croatia with a

10     view to the efficiently dealing with the problem of accommodation and

11     transit of refugees from the territory of HZ HB, establish contacts with

12     the UNHCR with the view to opening the transit centre for the refugees in

13     the territory of HZ HB.  That would be under the auspices of this

14     international organisation.  And finally, inform the ministry of the

15     foreign affairs of the Republic of Croatia with the issue.

16             The document is number P 3560.

17             All these conclusions are -- apply across the board to the

18     citizens, to the civilians and there is no reference to any particular

19     ethnic group that would be allowed to leave the area of war operations.

20     And it is only within this context that all the other conclusions had to

21     be reviewed.

22             In order to provide for the protection of civilians, it is only

23     logical to establish contacts with the UNHCR and the office for refugees

24     of the only country to which the refugees could go to, and that was the

25     Republic of Croatia.

Page 27520

 1             Members of the Trial Chamber, at that time of the 19 members of

 2     my family in Mostar, only the two of us remained living in Mostar.

 3             Some of the witnesses from the international community mentioned

 4     the issue of the transit centre which was indeed opened with their

 5     assistance.  The report on the work of the office for refugees and

 6     displaced persons from early 1994 indicates that in October 1993 a

 7     transit centre had been opened.  It was mentioned by several witnesses

 8     from international organisations.  Thanks to their support it was opened

 9     in biggest hotel in Ljubuski, and it is stressed in this Prosecution

10     exhibit, 6324, several thousand people were housed there before they left

11     for third countries.  For the most part those were Croats and not, as one

12     could conclude from some of the testimonies before this Court, that the

13     initiative to set up the transit centre was in fact to serve the purpose

14     of ethnically cleansing the Muslims.

15             When we're talking about the passage of humanitarian convoys it

16     is important to mention in this context the agreement on the free passage

17     of convoys, but also some other humanitarian issues.  That was signed on

18     our initiative by the HVO HZ HB and the government of the Republic of

19     Bosnia and Herzegovina in Makarska, in the Republic of Croatia, on the

20     8th of July, 1993.  This agreement envisages for the cooperation and

21     organisation of humanitarian aid convoys, and there were some teething

22     troubles related to the adopting of certain protocols.  It functioned

23     more or less well as is indicated in the reports originating from the

24     office.

25             The purpose of the protocol was to avoid any arbitrary decisions

Page 27521

 1     and to impose quite specific rules, and it is quite clearly defined by

 2     international law what humanitarian aid is.  Cigarettes cannot be

 3     considered as humanitarian aid if they are subject to taxation.

 4             This -- there was a body that included representatives of the

 5     international community, and they themselves stressed that the protocol

 6     at the time solved all the problems, a way in which the items on the

 7     humanitarian convoys was also defined, and it served to ensure that

 8     humanitarian aid is distributed.  Prosecution Exhibit P 3346.

 9             There were no examples of convoy with international aid setting

10     off and then being stopped or of convoys not being approved by the

11     Herceg-Bosna bodies.

12             Now as regards the transparency of the work and the so-called

13     Croatisation I will leave aside.  I will let the witnesses say something

14     about that.

15             Let me now say something about the relationship between the HVO

16     HZ HB and the Presidency of the HZ HB.

17             The relationship between those two bodies is quite clearly

18     defined by their respective Rules of Procedure.  We in the executive body

19     as professionals wanted to have transparent relations.  The minutes

20     mention what one of our future witnesses will say -- will say,

21     Zoran Buntic, the head of the judiciary and general administration

22     department where he says, and I quote:  "The proposal is made for the

23     Presidency to meet more often and that the respective competencies of the

24     HVO and the Presidency be clearly defined by the Presidency."  That's

25     P 00534.

Page 27522

 1             The 7th session in October 1992, I quote:  "It is necessary to

 2     provide political support from the Presidency of the HZ HB in order to

 3     establish a unified system of customs and tax on the whole territory of

 4     the HZ HB.  That's P 00578.

 5             The character of the relationship defines the needs to report to

 6     the departments and to the provisional bodies or, rather, that those

 7     departments and those provisional bodies should report to those who

 8     appointed them, the presidents of the municipalities who were members of

 9     the Presidency of the HZ HB.

10             If you look -- if you cast a cursory look at all the reports, it

11     is obvious that at first few pages the work at the sessions of the HVO

12     HZ HB are described.  We're talking about Prosecution Exhibits P 04611,

13     P 04735.

14             It is obvious that this is a report filed by the HVO as a

15     collective organ and the departments that is meant for the Presidency of

16     the HZ HB, because there is no need for the members to report to each

17     other, and this is stressed at the session of the HVO HZ HB.  Let me

18     quote:  "After all the reports on the -- on the work of the HVO HZ HB for

19     the period between the 1st of January, 1993, until the 30th of June,

20     1993, are completed, they will be submitted to the Presidency of the

21     HZ HB."  This is Exhibit P 04220.

22             The Defence witnesses will provide explanations to the

23     Trial Chamber about the conclusions of the HVO HZ HB that were sent to

24     the Presidency of the HZ HB on the 13th of July, 1993.  That's document

25     P 03413, where due to the situation that HVO HZ HB was informed about,

Page 27523

 1     another proposal is made to Mr. Mate Boban to call an urgent meeting of

 2     the Presidency of the HZ HB, the Presidency of the HDZ, and the

 3     presidents of the Municipal Boards of the HDZ in order to organise the

 4     defence.  Those conclusions were passed a month before that, on the 15th

 5     of June, 1993.  That's document 1D 01668.

 6             After the -- the provisional organ was notified about the attacks

 7     by the BH army on Travnik, Kiseljak, Vitez, Kakanj, and the persecution

 8     that Croats in Zenica, Sarajevo, and other places where they were in a

 9     minority faced.

10             Apparently the institutions that had the authority and that could

11     do something in this area failed to do what was in their power.  The

12     situation deteriorated.  In particular after a BH army attack in the

13     wider Mostar area on the 30th of June, 1993, and the attack on Fojnica

14     with the fighting continuing in the Central Bosnia area.  And we were

15     prompted to resubmit the conclusions of the 15th of June once again,

16     hoping that the institutions, the competent institutions, would do what

17     we were not empowered to decide.

18             The presidential transcript dated the 10th of November, 1993,

19     where the composition of the future government of the HR HB is discussed,

20     I speak about my visit to Banja Luka, and I quote:  "I was with Komarica

21     on Saturday evening.  It is consolidated.  It is a little bit better for

22     the Croats.  They're not being mobilised anymore, but -- and some other

23     agencies - illegible - they have to do work obligation but this cannot be

24     prevented.  They're picking apples, and that is better than if they have

25     to go to serve in the army."  That's Prosecution Exhibit P 06581.

Page 27524

 1             The purpose of my visit to Banja Luka, and I was invited by

 2     Bishop Komarica, was to make it possible for Croats not to be called up

 3     to serve in the Serbian army, which at that time was the basic reason

 4     they quoted when they wanted to leave this area.  So the purpose of my

 5     visit was to ensure that Croats will continue to reside in those parts of

 6     Bosnia and Herzegovina which could never become part of the HR HB, which

 7     is contrary to the Prosecution allegation about the interest that Croats

 8     might have in moving into areas that are defined as areas with Croatian

 9     majority.

10             It is ironic that in one of the courtrooms of this Tribunal a

11     judgement was delivered about the events that led to the mass exodus of

12     Croats, more than 100.000 of them.  The military commander of this area

13     was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, yet in another

14     courtroom this mass exodus is actually reverse ethnic cleansing that

15     Croats are responsible for.  For areas that in the very same indictment

16     are not only described or defined as the goal of the Croatian political

17     leadership but areas from which non-Croats were supposed to be expelled.

18     Where is the logic in that?

19             Even a cursory glance at the Official Gazettes show that they

20     contained a large number of appointments that I signed.  The character of

21     these decisions -- of these decisions, the decision-making at the

22     sessions, this is something that I explained to a certain extent, but I

23     would like to say now that the body that I chaired and in whose work I

24     participated wanted to achieve full equality in ethnic terms with the

25     Muslim people.  Had there been a political agreement between the SDA and

Page 27525

 1     the HDZ -- or, rather, the fact that this agreement existed can be seen

 2     from a letter from the SDA to the Electricity Distribution Board of --

 3     where protocol that was signed is mentioned and appointments -- and

 4     appointments are mentioned, and let me quote:  "The appointed

 5     representatives of the SDA are authorised to take and to perform tasks

 6     and to take up duties and to continue work on constituting the work and

 7     the tasks within the framework of the provisional organisation of the HZ

 8     Herceg-Bosna."  That's 1D 1560.

 9             Yet another example, the payroll for May 1993 for hydroelectric

10     plant in Rama.  The largest employer in Prozor municipality.  We have

11     some crime base issues, indicates that judging by the names among the 49

12     employees at least 20 are Muslim.  That's 1D 01991, or a quote from the

13     report on the work of the department for judiciary and public

14     administration for 1992.

15             After getting the approval by the municipal HVO for the

16     candidates of Croatian -- from the Croatian ethnic community and the

17     approval of the Regional Board of the SDA for the candidates of the

18     Muslim -- from the Muslim ethnic background and in light of the

19     conclusions from the session of the Presidency of the 17th of October,

20     1992, the proposal for the decision on the appointment was drafted, and

21     then the names follow.  It is clear that the SDA agreed with the

22     proposals.

23             Defence documents will show that, for instance, of the eight

24     judges elected to the Supreme Court in Mostar, three are Muslims.  That's

25     1D 2124.  Again, 8 of the 13 judges in the Mostar court were Muslims, as

Page 27526

 1     were more than 50 per cent of the employees as shown by document

 2     1D 02381.

 3             The Official Gazettes indicate that the director of the

 4     Vodoprivreda company was Dzemal Cosic.  The deputy director of the public

 5     auditing service is Jusuf Skaljic, as shown as P 00672.  Or let us go

 6     back to the sessions.  P 824.  Members of the commission for regulations

 7     Aid Glavovic, as the chairman, Damjan Vlasic, Ante Bijuk, Mahmut Jugo.

 8     They are members of the commission.  While members of the management

 9     board of the post and telecommunications public company are Ilija Kozul,

10     Enes Santic from Mostar, Verenko Cubela from Livno, Branko Colak from

11     Siroki Brijeg, and Enes Sehic from Novi Travnik.  So two out of five are

12     Muslims.

13             In December 1992, that's from the minutes of the session, you can

14     see my words, I asked the heads of all the departments and

15     sub-departments to draft proposals for the appointments of persons of

16     Muslim ethnic background for one of the following sessions of the HVO

17     HZ HB.  That's document P 921.

18             In mid-January 1993, again at the session, it is said, I quote:

19     "The bodies and services of the HVO HZ HB should submit the participation

20     of Muslims in the management of the bodies, organs, and administrative

21     organisations of the HZ HB during the day."  That's document 1D 818.

22             Now allow me to say a few words about our relations with the

23     government in Sarajevo.  I can say that our relations were quite correct.

24     Most of the members of the government actually was in the free territory

25     so that we were able to meet quite often.  Jure Pelivan, the president,

Page 27527

 1     Zarko Primorac who will testify as the Finance Minister.  Muhamed Logo,

 2     his deputy, Tomislav Kristicevic, transport minister.

 3     Alija Delimustafic, minister of the interior, and other members of the

 4     cabinet, Valde Jahic, Muratovic, Raguz, to name but a few, would come to

 5     visit us and we talked about arranging some joint activities.  We took

 6     part in programmes on TV and on radio.

 7             As for Avdom Camparom, the secretary of the Assembly of the

 8     Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I made arrangements with him to

 9     organise the session -- a session of the Assembly in Mostar.  The

10     provisional organ at the very beginning of its operation took the

11     following stand:  All the documents passed by the HVO HZ HB should

12     co-exist with the regulations of the republic or the regulations of the

13     republic should be complied with wherever possible, which clearly shows

14     the view this organ took towards the institutions of the republic.

15     That's Prosecution Exhibit P 00543.

16             The provisions were very clear about the level of responsibility

17     about everything, and that also applies to cooperation with the

18     institutions of the republic.  Article 7 of the decree on the structure

19     and remit of the departments and commissions says these bodies should

20     work with the republican bodies in preparing the laws defining the

21     policies of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also to prepare

22     other laws and regulations of a more general nature whenever these are in

23     relation to the equal status enjoyed by all the constituent ethnic groups

24     in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

25             At the start of my activity, just after my appointment, I

Page 27528

 1     received the conclusions of the HVO HZ HB, and I sent a letter to the

 2     government in Sarajevo explaining the need to act but also our

 3     willingness for the situation to return to normal.  I quote:  "Please

 4     find attached the regulations passed by the body -- the provisional body

 5     of executive government, the HVO, the objective being to normalise living

 6     conditions and to get the legal system in the liberated areas fully

 7     operational again."

 8             If you look at these, it will become perfectly clear that we

 9     tried to remain perfectly in keeping and consistent with the republican

10     provisions and regulations.  The circumstances surrounding this were

11     difficult.  There was a war on.  There was a lot of destruction,

12     disruptions to traffic and telecommunications, lack of assistance or

13     support by the republican organs.  It was necessary to take action and to

14     define certain rules and pass certain laws with a view to overcoming this

15     state of chaos and overall anarchy that had come about as a result of the

16     war.  The document number is 1D 01558.

17             So we submitted to the republican government all the laws that we

18     passed as a provisional body.

19             In the autumn of 1992, I was authorised by the government to act

20     on behalf of the government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

21     and this is document 1D 2147, when it came to cooperation with

22     international organisations especially as concerned shipments of

23     humanitarian aid.  I was also authorised to coordinate any measures

24     between the government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the

25     one hand and the HVO HZ HB on the other -- or, rather, and I'm quoting

Page 27529

 1     the decision itself:  "To be involved in making appropriate financial

 2     arrangements regarding any defence activities."

 3             It is against this background that one must interpret measures

 4     that were taken in relation to the office for military production, for

 5     example.  Bearing my power in mind, I tried to make sure that the

 6     regulations passed by the HZ HB were fully consistent internally,

 7     provisional as they were and temporary.  I also permanently took into

 8     account the fact that they should be -- that they should remain within

 9     the framework of the legal system that prevailed in the Republic of

10     Bosnia and Herzegovina.  For the most part these were legal regulations

11     that we adopted, and we tried not to ever go into any issues that would

12     require, so to speak, a higher level of democratic legitimacy such as,

13     for example, property, relations, organizing elections, and such like.

14             Needless to say, I worked within the powers that I had.  I tried

15     to help.  I tried to help get civilian life organised, and I had tried to

16     ease the difficulties faced by all of our citizens.  Despite my other

17     duties and commitments, I travelled abroad.  I worked with the office for

18     refugees of the Republic of Croatia in a bid to secure humanitarian aid

19     from this country that happened to be the single most important donor of

20     humanitarian aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I think witnesses will

21     address this issue.

22             Another thing that mattered were productive relations with the

23     government in Sarajevo.  A letter has already been tendered that shows

24     how the meeting came about, the much-debated meeting dated the 18th of

25     April, 1993, and this was a meeting referred to by a number of witnesses.

Page 27530

 1     The date on this letter is the 2nd of April, 1993.  1D 0194.  It was a

 2     letter to the head of the ECMM offering coordination for the talks.

 3             In this letter I proposed the following subjects for discussion,

 4     which was within my powers:  The production, distribution of electricity;

 5     maintenance of roads through liberated areas; putting a stop to all forms

 6     of illegal activity; smuggling; and humanitarian aid; reconstruction of

 7     schools and taking care of other forms of education; taking care of

 8     retired persons; and putting up refugees and making sure they're

 9     returned.

10             The start of the clashes in mid-April, as we heard confirmed by a

11     number of witnesses, changed the agenda of the 18th of April, 1993,

12     meeting organised by ECMM.  The meeting was attended by a member of the

13     Presidency of the republic, Franjo Boras, as well as Ejup Ganic and

14     General Petkovic.

15             As a member of the transitional government of the republic of

16     Bosnia and Herzegovina, I was pushing for specific steps to be taken as

17     quickly as possible.  In a bid to achieve that, I wrote a letter to the

18     RBH government in May 1993.  I quote:  "As the deadlines are very short

19     for these activities, I think it would be useful if you could immediately

20     prepare appropriate documents for the hand-over itself."  The document

21     number is 1D 1598.

22             This continuity of various activities is also demonstrated by the

23     minutes of the first meeting of the government of Herceg-Bosna and the

24     Sarajevo government.  This meeting was held in my office in Mostar on the

25     6th of April, 1994.  No representatives of the international community

Page 27531

 1     were present, yet we managed to agree a number of practical steps much

 2     like those that I had been proposing in April the previous year.

 3     Representatives of both sides agreed on the way the customs bodies should

 4     function, the return of refugees, reconstruction of the electricity

 5     system and the energy system, and a number of infrastructural moves in

 6     Mostar itself.  The document number is 1D 1953.

 7             We met on a number of other occasions, as well, including a visit

 8     to Sarajevo in March and in April 1994.  Needless to say, we dealt with

 9     those issues jointly at a later stage, bearing in mind the fact that I

10     had become president of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina or,

11     rather, the deputy prime minister of the federation as of June 1994.

12     Most of the ministers from Herceg-Bosna's government became members of

13     the republican or Federal Cabinet.

14             This is where I'd like to move on to another issue, and this is

15     something that has been discussed a great deal in this courtroom.  This

16     is an issue that features very prominently in the indictment itself, the

17     so-called 15 January ultimatum.  The 15th of January, 1993, of course.

18             The Chamber knows exactly which document I'm talking about.  That

19     is why I wish to point one thing out at the very outset.  This decision,

20     the way I understood it then, 15 years ago, and I can confirm this now,

21     was no ultimatum.  It was never discussed.  It was never even considered

22     as any form of ultimatum, and that certainly wasn't how it was signed,

23     neither was it meant to be taken as an ultimatum.

24             If we put the decision into perspective, if you know what sort of

25     information was available to us at the time, it is easy to understand

Page 27532

 1     that the objective of this decision was to set up a Joint Command of the

 2     HVO and the BH army.  As far as I remember, all of us back in early 1993

 3     believed, especially taking into account the developments that followed

 4     the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, as well as the

 5     kind of information that we were receiving at the time, that the war was

 6     over.  This might strike one as naive from our present standpoint.

 7     Nonetheless, I do remember that at the -- a meeting of this provisional

 8     executive body of government, many of us were saying that the war was now

 9     over, or at least that it would soon be over, and we started thinking

10     about how to get our companies up and running again, how to create jobs

11     for soldiers who would in the meantime have been demobilised.  A decision

12     was drafted and adopted pursuant to a request of the head of the Croatian

13     delegation of those international talks, Mr. Boban, the president of the

14     Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, who was also the head of the

15     negotiating team.

16             No one at the time had any reason to doubt the accuracy of

17     Mr. Boban's information on such agreement as has been reached.  Likewise,

18     there was no reason to go and review Mr. Boban's instructions to the

19     effect that we should take a decision to reflect both the letter and the

20     spirit of that agreement.

21             Why doubt his honesty?  Why challenge his instructions?  After

22     all, he was perfectly authorised to issue such instructions.  They wanted

23     us to draft and issue a decision that for all practical intents will have

24     been tantamount to implementation of the peace proposal.  Of course, the

25     decision called for avoidance of any conflict between the HVO and the BH

Page 27533

 1     army in free territory.

 2             Your Honours, we must bear in mind the fact that the BH army and

 3     the HVO were components of a joint armed force.  This is specifically

 4     shown in the order on lifting the blockade of Sarajevo city issued by the

 5     president of the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

 6     Alija Izetbegovic, on the 16th of October, 1992.

 7             Item 1 of this order reads, and I quote:  "The armed forces of

 8     Bosnia and Herzegovina (the BH army and the HVO) will immediately start

 9     preparing actions to lift the blockade of Sarajevo city by military

10     means."  1D 02432.

11             Unfortunately, tensions soon escalated between the two armed

12     forces in the same territory despite best efforts on both parts and the

13     good faith shown on both sides to find an appropriate solution.  This was

14     the reason that as we have witnessed during the Prosecution case

15     throughout the war and well before the clashes between those units broke

16     out there had been permanent and ongoing efforts to find a pattern based

17     on which to organise a Joint Command of the HVO and the BH army, a

18     pattern that would have been deemed acceptable by both parties.

19             There was some degree of success in this respect in the autumn of

20     1992 on the eve of the fall of Jajce.

21             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prlic, let me interrupt

22     you.  You quoted this document which seems very important to me, 1D 2032.

23     It is an order signed by Izetbegovic about the siege of Sarajevo.  I have

24     the document in front of me.  It was not translated.  I therefore do not

25     have the English translation.  In the binder we have the B/C/S version

Page 27534

 1     but no English translation, whilst this document may be extremely

 2     important.

 3             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  Mr. President, I think that the number 2432,

 4     but I'm not so sure that -- I said 2432.

 5             MR. KARNAVAS:  In any event, Your Honour, all of these documents

 6     will be made available through witnesses in the appropriate languages in

 7     due time.  Thank you.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Let's wait and see.

 9             THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] At that press conference

10     members of the new command took part, Officer Jasmin Jaganac, General

11     Ante Prkacin, the commander of the 1st Mostar Brigade Arif Pasalic, as

12     well as the commander of the District Staff commander here of Zenica

13     Dzemal Merdan, 1D 1424.

14             The information about partial implementation of Vance-Owen Plan

15     arrived on the 15th of January in the afternoon.  That morning we held a

16     regular session.  On that day, we were informed that a meeting had been

17     held in Zagreb between Mate Boban; Alija Izetbegovic, the president of

18     the Republic of Croatia; Franjo Tudjman; and the co-chairpersons of the

19     conference for the former Yugoslavia, so it was only logical to find a

20     link between these events.  Document number is P 1146.

21             The fact that it was believed about this decision that it was

22     based on the information that the agreement had been reached may be seen

23     in the preamble, and I quote:  "In keeping with the agreements reached so

24     far and signed at the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia

25     (in the Geneva agreements)."  Document number P 1146.

Page 27535

 1             Although it is very difficult to be absolutely certain about

 2     everything, when writing this decision we had in our mind the whole

 3     context of international agreements starting with Cutileiro's plan about

 4     establishing three constituent units in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the

 5     conclusion of the London conference, the joint proposal of the SDA and

 6     the HDZ about the organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which later on

 7     gave the foundation for the Vance-Owen Plan, up to the first

 8     comprehensive Vance-Owen Peace Agreement.  Let us not forget that the

 9     draft of the constitutional organisation for Bosnia and Herzegovina which

10     was drafted by the working group of the Geneva conference for the former

11     Yugoslavia was adopted by the Security Council of the United Nations on

12     the 16th of November, 1992.  The document number is P 752.

13             Would it be too much to believe at the time that the

14     international community had finally helped us to draft a peace agreement

15     that would be easy to implement?  I don't think so.  Especially bearing

16     in mind the vast quantity of time and energy that was spent by everybody

17     who participated in these negotiations.  The purpose of the decision

18     which says in article 4 clearly, and I quote:  "The temporary and valid

19     up to the moment when the Geneva agreements on the organisation of Bosnia

20     and Herzegovina and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina is signed," and this

21     should never have been implemented by force.

22             As far as what I was thinking at the time, I would like to draw

23     your attention to my words that were recorded by CNN, and I quote my own

24     words:  "Mr. Prlic said that the HVO would not do anything in order to

25     implement the decision sent to units in BH with the deadline on the 20th

Page 27536

 1     of January by force."  Document number P 1215.

 2             As one can easily see, the decision was delivered to the

 3     government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the department of defence.

 4     This was an issue that had been resolved apparently, and this was an

 5     integral solution aimed at achieving peace.  One has to bear in mind that

 6     Vance-Owen Peace Agreement envisaged a lot of Croats in the prevaces [As

 7     interpreted] where the Croats did not constitute a majority before and

 8     where about 20.000 soldiers of the HVO fought in the war.  During the

 9     same transition period, these same soldiers should have been under the

10     command of the BH army, and they accepted that.

11             As far as the nature of the decision is concerned as reported by

12     ECMM at a joint meeting organised in order to resolve any possible

13     misunderstandings, and I quote:  "With regard to the decision of the HVO

14     itself to take over the direct control over all the troops that still

15     remain in its territory up to the 28th of January, him," meaning Prlic,

16     "regrets deeply that the agreement on creating the joint command between

17     BiH army and the HVO failed after five or six months of negotiations.

18     Still this decision --"

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  Can the counsel of

20     Dr. Prlic check the figures in English because in the interpretation I

21     get in French where we have direct interpretation from B/C/S into French,

22     I often don't have the same figures.  For instance, line 25, page 92 [As

23     interpreted], I heard 1.212.  I see 1215 in English.  Page 83, line 14, I

24     have 28th of January and I heard 20th of January in French.  Please check

25     because we might find it very difficult to locate the documents later.

Page 27537

 1             MR. KARNAVAS:  Thank you, Mr. President.  First and foremost,

 2     this is a written text which is has been provided to the translation

 3     booths in Croatian of course.  That's number one.  Number two, there are

 4     several in the 10s, perhaps even in the 20s of errors that have occurred.

 5     We haven't stopped to correct each and every one of them.  We will be

 6     going over the text, and we will insist on a correction on every one of

 7     these, and that goes for the numbers as well.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Please proceed,

 9     Mr. Prlic.

10             THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] According to his words, and

11     I'm still being quoted, "The commander of BiH agreed with this decision,

12     and this is nothing but a direct consequence of the document that was

13     signed by Boban in Geneva.  In reality, he emphasised that this decision

14     would not lead to any major changes because, for example, in Mostar the

15     1st Brigade of BiH is already under the command of the HVO."  The same

16     document, P 1215 is the number of the document.

17             Documents in this case has -- have already shown, and the

18     witnesses of the Defence will confirm that the conflict in Gornji Vakuf

19     started much earlier than the 15th of January, much before that.  The

20     time does not allow me to provide all the details of the events that

21     ensued.  However, one shouldn't even say that the whole situation was

22     overcome in the spirit of peace forming, and again I would like to draw

23     your attention to the same document of the ECMM dated 19th January, and I

24     quote.

25             MR. KARNAVAS:  Your Honour, it should read that it -- one should

Page 27538

 1     say, line 19.  In other words, it's axiomatic.  It's absolutely certain

 2     that this situation was resolved in overcoming this situation, that is in

 3     the spirit of peace and cooperation, and I would urge, I would urge, I

 4     would urge Dr. Prlic to please slow down, enunciate, pause.

 5             THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] I quote:  "After a minor

 6     misunderstanding and an exchange of letters, letters enclosed and copies

 7     between the government of Herceg-Bosna, Prlic, and the Presidency of BiH,

 8     Prlic requested for a meeting to be organised as soon as possible between

 9     Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban in Split.  Such a meeting is necessary

10     because many issues have to be clarified and resolved particularly in

11     this time of uncertainty which was created by the new developments in

12     Geneva."

13             I would like to say at this moment one more thing that is very

14     interesting in this context.  I have read a publication, the

15     International Conference For The Former Yugoslavia, the official

16     documents which has about 1.630 pages altogether and which contains the

17     reports of the co-chairpersons, the Secretary-General of the United

18     Nations, and I have also read the so-called career reports by the

19     representatives of the European Community in these negotiations, which

20     were submitted with the book and later withdrawn.

21             There was no single place in which I could find a reference to

22     the so-called ultimatum in January 1993.  What I did find, however,

23     amongst other things, with regard to the negotiations which took place in

24     that month, was this that I'm going to quote in English from page 727:

25     [In English] "In that time the Croats signed all elements of the peace

Page 27539

 1     package proposed by the co-chairmen and that international community,"

 2     again quoting, "continuously support the peace package and invite other

 3     two sides to sign the whole peace package so that its implementation

 4     might start as soon as possible in order to finish the war."

 5             [Interpretation] At the end, I would conclude this issue -- this

 6     issue by saying that the decision on the withdrawal of the decision dated

 7     15 January 1993 was passed when it was proven that there was no common

 8     willingness of the Croatian Muslim leaderships to implement it.  For

 9     example, the president of the HZ HB, Boban, in keeping with his

10     competencies ordered that the decision be suspended in the same manner he

11     had decided for the decision to be passed.  We saw the letter written in

12     his own hand on the paper of the hotel intercontinental in Zagreb.  Mate

13     Boban wrote, and I quote:  "I order you that in the course of the day you

14     schedule an interim meeting of the HVO HZ HB and change or amend item

15     number 5," document number 1D 0820.

16             MR. KARNAVAS:  Mr. President, with the Court's indulgence, if

17     Mr. Prlic could read that last paragraph again slowly.  For instance,

18     there is no word, "for example."  There isn't -- that wasn't uttered.

19     It's not in the text.  I know because my colleague instructs me that it

20     isn't, and I am familiar with the text as well.  Because the point is

21     that Dr. Prlic is trying to make here is just as Mr. Boban had ordered

22     the decision to be drafted and issued, Mr. Boban again, given his

23     responsibilities and authorities, orders to have it withdrawn or put on

24     ice, as it were.  So if Dr. Prlic could read that again, because those

25     are his words, not my words, and what I say is not evidence, but what he

Page 27540

 1     says can be used as evidence, whatever weight the Trial Chamber wishes to

 2     give.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  If I may add an observation.  I'm not quite sure

 4     whether Mr. Prlic actually wanted to speak of a Croatian Muslim

 5     leadership on line 6 of page 86.  That's rather surprising.

 6             MR. KARNAVAS:  Well, I think the intention was that the

 7     leaderships of the Croats and the Muslims could not find the common

 8     ground, the willingness to go forward as we saw because it makes sense we

 9     see that the Croats as one -- one said, they always had a pen in their

10     pocket ready to sign all these agreements, and in fact we see

11     continuously the Croats signing agreement after agreement after agreement

12     after agreement where Izetbegovic says one thing in the morning and

13     another thing in the evening.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] In short, Mr. Karnavas, there's

15     a hyphen missing.

16             MR. KARNAVAS:  Probably.  Probably, but I think the point is, the

17     point that we're trying to drive at is that the Croats are constantly

18     signing, the others are being cajoled to go ahead, and Dr. Prlic is

19     saying there seems to be a lack of willingness, which is a generous way

20     of putting the Muslims don't want to go forward, but nonetheless, you

21     know, the person who issued the decision, which is Boban, you know, is

22     the one that now is also ordering them to withdraw it, hence who has the

23     power, who has the responsibility.  Thank you.

24             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think the best thing to do is

25     for you to read that sentence you quoted again, but do it slowly, and

Page 27541

 1     also for the transcript, I see my name line 11.  For once I didn't say

 2     anything.  So it's Judge Trechsel, not me.

 3             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  I don't know really what is the problem.

 4     Mr. Karnavas speaks so fast that everything is possible to be translated.

 5     I delivered 1.000 speeches, and I haven't spoke so slowly in my life, and

 6     there is problem in that.  So I am going to repeat once again.

 7             [Interpretation] "At the end I would like to conclude about this

 8     issue that decision to withdraw the decision issued on the 15th of

 9     January was issued because it had been shown that there was no

10     willingness on the part of the Croatian and Muslim leaderships to

11     implement it."

12             So the president of the HZ HB, Mr. Boban, in keeping with his

13     competencies, ordered for the decision to be suspended in the same way he

14     had ordered the decision to be issued.  We saw a letter written in his

15     own hand on the letterheaded paper of the Intercontinental Hotel in

16     Zagreb.  Mate Boban, the president of the HZ HB, wrote, I quote:  "I

17     order you to schedule an interim meeting of the HVO HZ HB in the course

18     of the day and change or amend item number 5."  Document number 1D 0820.

19             And as we have already seen, the executive power did exactly what

20     Mr. Boban had ordered it to do and what Mr. Izetbegovic wanted.

21             Immediately after that, both document number P 1329 signed the

22     statement on the immediate stop of conflict.  It is well known, and this

23     Trial Chamber is aware of the fact that in March the Muslim side signed

24     the integral package of Vance-Owen Plan.  In that month we, however,

25     received a request from the government in Sarajevo to organise or

Page 27542

 1     establish districts in the territories of Mostar and Livno that bore no

 2     resemblance to the areas about which an agreement had already existed at

 3     least between the Muslim and the Croat sides within the framework of

 4     Vance-Owen Plan.

 5             Subsequently the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina also passed a

 6     decision on the implementation of that plan regardless of the fact that a

 7     bilateral implementation of the plan had been agreed.  On the ground

 8     decisions are being implemented or at least attempts are being made to

 9     implement decision on the establishment of districts, which is really a

10     two-faced policy.  At the same time, the HVO HZ HB at its session held on

11     the 3rd of April, 1993, adopted a programme of measures intended to

12     implement Vance-Owen Plan, which was a very complex task, a very tall

13     order.

14             Later on, the federation of Bosniak and Croats was implemented

15     with the help of the international community over a period of almost five

16     years.  These conclusions very clearly say that the HVO HZ HB and the

17     President Mate Boban was present at the session, was ready to dissolve

18     Herceg-Bosna.  And as for the interim bodies of the executive bodies,

19     they were willing to transform into the provinces as envisaged by that

20     peace agreement.  So those who tried to implement districts and at the

21     same time signed agreements on the implementation of Vance-Owen Plan were

22     engaged in two-faced policies.

23             The Prosecution is trying to establish a link between the session

24     of the provisional organ of the executive government of the 3rd of April

25     with the outbreak of the conflict, and there is no basis for this link.

Page 27543

 1     Whoever accepts a peace plan, whoever is ready to disband the provisional

 2     institutions that had been established, the party whose forces are

 3     several times smaller than those of the other side will not engage in

 4     conflict, would not start the conflict.

 5             Defence witnesses will show that there is no causal link between

 6     the 3rd of April meeting and the beginning of the conflict in April.  To

 7     a certain extent, the joint communique about the Croat-Muslim relations

 8     speaks to that.  On the 24th of April, this communique was presented

 9     after talks in Zagreb by Izetbegovic and Mate Boban where they say that

10     all the misunderstandings in the relations between the Croat and Muslim

11     peoples should be resolved using political means, that there is no reason

12     for any conflicts.  All units are given orders to cease hostilities, to

13     release the prisoners, and to determine the responsibility and the

14     intentions of the formations and units for the outbreak of the

15     hostilities.  That's P 2088.

16             I cannot now cover the whole time line in this overview, but in

17     my opinion, as our session draws to a close, I would like to say that

18     perhaps the last effort to prevent the conflict was the implementation of

19     the conclusions from the Medjugorje meeting on the 18th of May where

20     specific deadlines were set for the bilateral implementation of the

21     Vance-Owen Plan, which contrary to the Prosecution's allegations was not

22     dead by early May.

23             As the prime minister elect of the new government with the

24     support of both parties, I really tried to do everything I could to set

25     up the joint government and the Joint Command, being in charge of the

Page 27544

 1     provisional organ -- or, rather, the vice-president Kresimir Zubak took

 2     over as the head of the provisional organ, and I took my new duties.  I

 3     even set up a back-up seat of the government should it ever happen that

 4     Sarajevo could not perform this function, but my efforts were in vain

 5     because the BH army launched the attack on Travnik and then on Kakanj,

 6     which resulted in the expulsion of between 25.000 and 30.000 Croats from

 7     those municipalities.

 8             In its decision under Rule 98 bis, the Chamber mentioned the

 9     declaration that I and Mr. Stojic made in October 1993 when the BH army

10     launched its attack on Mostar.  It's a Prosecution exhibit.  Let me

11     quote:  "This morning at 4.45, a Muslim offensive was launched in order

12     to capture the entire urban area.  On that occasion, the speech by the

13     4th Corps commander Arif Pasalic was broadcast over the local radio,

14     radio Mostar, where he said to the citizens of Mostar, Muslims, honest

15     Croats, and loyal Serbs."  End of quote.  Which is probably the kind of

16     Bosnia and Herzegovina that the Muslim side fought, at least was paying

17     lip-service to it, the Muslim side or the BH army.

18             Addressing the HVO, Pasalic mentions the disgraceful defeat you

19     suffered this morning, and he says, I quote:  "The people -- to the

20     people, to the citizens of Mostar, understand that this is the judgement

21     day, the day when you have to start fighting.  I call upon every citizen

22     able to bear a rifle or to throw a rock to kill the Ustasha villains

23     because there can be no co-existence with the Ustashas.  Only Muslims can

24     live here with the honest Croats and loyal Serbs."

25             Such a fierce speech was rare in the history of Bosnia and

Page 27545

 1     Herzegovina.  This was the only time that I felt real fear, and I spent

 2     the years of war in the -- in Mostar and in besieged Sarajevo, the two

 3     hot spots, and I entered Sarajevo at least 30 times through the makeshift

 4     tunnel that had been dug under the airport runway.  As a rule, every time

 5     we got in or out we were under enemy fire.

 6             The Prlic-Stojic communique was public.  It was published in the

 7     media.  It calls upon Croats from the municipalities in Herzegovina to

 8     resist the aggression, and as can be seen from the declaration by the

 9     4th Corps commander, we can see from this declaration the true intentions

10     of the BH army.

11             This Chamber has already seen that on the very same day the

12     Muslim party -- parties reacted condemning this aggression from the joint

13     communique of the Muslim Democratic Party and the SDA - that's from

14     documents 2D 028 and 1D 1910 - and the president of the government of

15     Bosnia and Herzegovina informed the Secretary-General of the United

16     Nations about this attack, urging him to take every measure necessary to

17     prevent further aggression against the Croat people and the Croat areas

18     in Bosnia-Herzegovina and to ensure that the peace negotiations under

19     your auspices should continue.

20             In this memo the Secretary-General -- just 30 seconds.  In this

21     memo, the Secretary-General says, I quote:  "After the aggression in

22     Central Bosnia, this is a renewed attempt by the Muslim army to use

23     military force to occupy the provinces that under the Vance-Owen Plan are

24     considered Croat provinces," and that's document 1D 2309, and that would

25     be all for today.

Page 27546

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  Mr. Prlic, how much

 2     more time would you need to finish?

 3             THE ACCUSED PRLIC:  I think that I need first session, almost

 4     first session.  I'm going to try to do it in an hour, but I'm not so

 5     sure.  But for sure in first session tomorrow.  It was very slow.  I

 6     tried to, but ...

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, you were slow because of

 8     Mr. Karnavas.

 9             Well, we shall finish for today.  We shall resume tomorrow, as

10     you know, at 2.15.  Thank you.

11                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.04 p.m.,

12                           to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day

13                           of May, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.