1 Wednesday, 28 May 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours, good morning everyone
8 in and around the courtroom, this is case number IT-04-74-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Today, is Wednesday, the 28th day of May, 2008, good morning to the
12 accused, to the Defence counsel and the Prosecutor and his assistants, to
13 the people helping us out.
14 We have to continue with the cross-examination today.
15 Mr. Prosecutor, you are may proceed.
16 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning and good
17 morning Your Honours and to counsel and everyone else in and around the
19 Before I continue with the cross-examination, Mr. President, I'd
20 like to bring the Trial Chamber's attention to a filing that was just
21 made this morning and I -- I owe an apology to the Trial Chamber because
22 this was -- it's obviously a very short submission, it relates to the
23 issue of the redirect and it was ready to be filed yesterday, and I
24 simply overlooked it. I forgot to make sure it got filed and so it
25 wasn't filed and so it's now been filed this morning and hard copies have
1 been provided to counsel as well.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You may proceed.
3 We have received the filing.
4 MR. STRINGER: Okay.
5 WITNESS: ZDRAVKO SANCEVIC [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer [Continued]
8 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ambassador.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. Yesterday we were speaking about the citizenship and the
11 constitution and I'd like to shift over a little bit now into a topic
12 that relates more broadly to the issue of Croatia's policy particularly
13 in respect of Bosnia-Herzegovina it's an area obviously that's been a
14 large part of your testimony so far in this case, and I'd like to start
15 at an earlier period, if I may, to ask you a few questions and going back
16 to -- in fact, some writings of President Tudjman from 1981 in a book
17 entitled "Nationalism in contemporary Europe" are you familiar and I can
18 direct to you an exhibit 1D 00401 which has a part of that book that I'd
19 like to ask you about, 00401, 1D.
20 I think the usher is going to be -- if I could ask the usher to
21 assist the witness with Mr. --
22 JUDGE PRANDLER: Mr. Stringer, I believe it would be very useful
23 if you do so actual the counsel would always indicate in which binder the
24 document is to be found.
25 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Your Honour. I will do my best. I'm not
1 sure exactly which binders necessarily the Defence Exhibits are in but
2 we'll do our best.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Binder 1. It's in binder 1 for the Defence but I
4 think -- I believe there should be blue binders. We tried to make it
5 easy for everybody.
6 MR. STRINGER: For what it's worth I'm being told that the
7 Defence Exhibits that are in the black binders have been rearranged so
8 that they are in strictly numerical order and so which ever works easiest
9 for the usher.
10 Q. Mr. Ambassador, then, do you have Exhibit 1D 00401 in front of
11 you there? It's a reference to Dr. Tudjman's book.
12 A. Since I haven't completed my answer yesterday to Their Honours
13 question in relation to the earlier document that was shown here, I'd
14 like to complete that, please.
15 His Honour Judge Prandler --
16 Q. If I could just interject and I do so -- I don't mean to be rude.
17 It's in fact my intention to bring you back to the transcript that
18 Judge Prandler was asking about yesterday. Judge Prandler, as he often
19 does, anticipated what I was going to do before I did it, and so if it's
20 acceptable to you, my preference would be to work through two other
21 documents and then we will come back to that same transcript which was
22 the transcript from December of 1991. Would that be acceptable?
23 A. That's quite all right, but I should like to finish the answer I
24 started giving yesterday and I believe that was quite an important topic.
25 This can take place whenever, now or when you go back to that issue
2 Q. Let's save that for later then, when we reach that part of the
4 So now if you could take the excerpt of Dr. Tudjman's book and I
5 can read just a few short passages that I'd like to ask you to comment
6 on. Are you familiar with this book by Dr. Tudjman?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And I'm looking at a passage that's found on page 113, this is
9 the English version, in which Dr. Tudjman writes -- he's writing about
10 how the Vojvodina having become a part of Serbia perhaps could be a model
11 or should have been a model for Bosnia-Herzegovina or parts of it
12 becoming a part of Croatia back in previous times.
13 He writes, "Furthermore, Bosnia and Herzegovina were historically
14 linked with Croatia and they together comprise an indivisible geographic
15 and economic entity. Bosnia and Herzegovina occupied the central part of
16 this whole separating southern Dalmatian from northern Pannonian Croatia.
17 The creation of a separate Bosnia and Herzegovina makes the territorial
18 and geographic position of Croatia extremely unnatural in an economic
19 sense and therefore in the broadest national-political sense, very
20 unfavourable for life and development and in the narrower administrative
21 sense unsuitable and disadvantageous."
22 Would you agree with me, sir, that even going back to 1981 some
23 10 or 12 years before this conflict, Dr. Tudjman's views were that Bosnia
24 and Croatia as a state entity was not suitable or was unnatural in
25 respect of the -- its position with Croatia?
1 A. This is not what Dr. Tudjman wanted to communicate here. He
2 emphasised the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the one hand, and
3 Croatia on the other in terms of territory and you can see easily on the
4 map, he's not talking about any sort of unification in terms of a state
5 or divisions, for that matter. He's indicating certain truths here and
6 he's talking about the fact that one part of Bosnia-Herzegovina was,
7 yes -- yes, go ahead.
8 Q. The truth was that his view was that based on its historical and
9 other links, that this separateness was unnatural and it was not
10 advantageous for Croatia, would you agree with me on that? Setting aside
11 whether he had any intentions or views about changing borders, would you
12 agree with me that his view was that this separateness was unnatural
13 based upon the historical and geographical links between the two
15 A. Yes, until the European Union came into play or emerged. Many of
16 the problems mentioned by Dr. Tudjman had been solved or will be solved
17 through the European Union. Borders are no longer a problem or the
18 problem of Bosnia being in the midst of Croatia. This is all resolved
19 through the European Union. I believe that one needs to make a
20 distinction between the views held by Dr. Tudjman before the European
21 Union became a reality, so to speak, because the European Union would
22 resolve all these.
23 Q. Very well. All right. So at least as of this time into 1981 and
24 up until the time of the European Union, you agree with me, then, that
25 Dr. Tudjman considered the separateness of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia
1 to be unnatural and not in the best interests of Croatia?
2 A. I would use the term "ties" rather than separateness because the
3 countries are in a way connected and drawn one toward the other.
4 Q. And he said, "... an individual geographic and economic
5 entity ..." do you share that view in terms of "Bosnia-Herzegovina and
6 Croatia as historically linked comprising an individual geographic and
7 economic entity"? Do you share that view?
8 A. Just casting a glance at the map will show that this is
10 Q. Now, I want to take you to another exhibit and again I'm going to
11 ask you, this is a little bit more in terms of background before we get
12 into more specific details on the policy, and the next exhibit is marked
13 P10402, that's a Prosecution Exhibit, 10402. While that's being located,
14 Mr. Ambassador, I'll tell you what it's about and it might make your --
15 just to keep us moving. We're looking at a lot of books in this -- in
16 the various examinations. Are you familiar with the book that was
17 written after the conflict by your former boss, the former minister for
18 foreign affairs, Mate Granic? Are you familiar with the book that he
20 A. Yes, I am.
21 Q. And there are some things that he's written in his book that I
22 wanted to direct your attention to and ask you to comment on as well.
23 And the first of those, we have an English excerpt of the book which is
24 limiting what I'm going to be talking about here. There is a section of
25 his book which you should have in front of you in the original language
1 under the heading "Gojko Susak" do you see that? You have that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, as you indicated yesterday, Mr. Susak, like yourself, was an
4 emigre, that is, he is someone who had been living outside of Croatia and
5 who returned to Croatia during the years of the war.
6 A. The point that needs to be made is that I didn't know of
7 Mr. Susak while he was abroad. We met for the first time during his
8 visit to Venezuela in 1990.
9 Q. Okay. And I'm not suggesting otherwise.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Stringer, could you tell us when this book
11 was published? I fail to see it.
12 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, I'm going to have to try to get that
13 answer for you because I don't have it --
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We'll do this later too?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I can be of assistance. I believe it was around
16 2006 keeping in mind that Dr. Granic is heavily involved in Croatian
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas. But I expect
19 Mr. Stringer to give us a precise answer.
20 MR. STRINGER: Yes, I will, Your Honour. We'll provide the
21 actual cover page as part of the exhibit, and I apologise for that.
22 Q. There's a reference here actually to the time when Mr. Susak held
23 the position that you took over from him which was the position of
24 Minister For Emigration or minister for the diaspora and here in this
25 first paragraph regarding Susak, he writes, "Mr. Susak was formerly the
1 Minister for Emigration but in reality, his main task was to collect
2 money for defence and facilitate the return for emigrants especially
3 former political emigrants." Do you see that passage?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now you just indicated that you met Mr. Granic, I believe, for
6 the first time when he came to Venezuela in 1990.
7 A. I'm sorry, I said that about Mr. Susak, not about Mr. Granic. I
8 came into contact with Mr. Susak for the first time when he came do
9 Venezuela in 1990 as the Minister For Emigration.
10 Q. Thank you. That was my mistake. When he came to Venezuela, was
11 one of the objectives to meet with you and try to encourage yourself to
12 return to Croatia to contribute to its defence?
13 A. Definitely not. At the time, I had no intention of going back to
14 Croatia. I decided to go back to Croatia when I saw that it had been
15 attacked, that aggression had been committed on Croatia. It had nothing
16 to do with Mr. Susak's visit.
17 Q. Okay. Now, I'm going to skip ahead a little bit to page 4 of the
18 English excerpt and direct you to a passage that relates to the time when
19 the Greguric government was dissolved. I don't know if you can find that
20 in the original language version there. And Granic writes "That the
21 Minister of Defence," who at this time was Susak:
22 "The minister of Defence became Tudjman's right-hand man in all
23 operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and he probably did not like the idea of
24 having to explain his moves to the ministers some of whom like Budisa and
25 Tomac were members of the opposition. His opposition to the Croatian
1 policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina cost Tomac the post of ambassador in
2 Slovenia which he had been promised."
3 Now, my question here Mr. Ambassador, is that then after Susak
4 became Minister of Defence and after the Greguric government was
5 dissolved, do you share the view, is it true that in fact Susak remained
6 Tudjman's right-hand man as Minister of Defence in respect of
8 A. First of all, I have to make a correction. The government of
9 Mr. Greguric was not dissolved, it was the democratic unity coalition
10 government which existed until the month of August, and I was a member of
11 that government. It was not dissolved, it was replaced by a new
12 government. The role that it had was that all the parties participating
13 in that government should stick together as long as the war lasted. When
14 the war ended and UNPROFOR forces arrived in Croatia, Dr. Tudjman
15 decided, as the president of the republic, and Mr. Greguric as the prime
16 minister that the government can be as such, as a coalition government
17 changed and it was not dissolution, not the term that you used.
18 Q. All right. In any event, then, when Mr. Susak was Minister of
19 Defence at this time, do you agree with Mr. Granic here when he indicates
20 that it was Susak as Minister of Defence who was Tudjman's right-hand man
21 in all operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina? I'm just asking whether you
22 agree with that or not?
23 A. No, I do not agree with that.
24 Q. Okay. And if you were in a --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one follow-up question, if
1 you don't mind.
2 Mr. Ambassador, the Prosecutor asked several questions regarding
3 the government, the Ministry for Emigration of which you were
4 responsible. I have a very and purely technical question. You were a
5 minister for a while before you became the ambassador of Croatia to
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina. When you were a minister, would President
7 Tudjman gather his ministers in official meetings with an agenda each
8 time and with every minister speaking? Was there a transcript or minutes
9 of the ministerial meeting? Is that the way it would work or did it work
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is how it worked. There were
12 three types of meetings: Government meetings, which included government
13 members only and was chaired by Prime Minister Greguric. Next, there
14 were government meetings chaired by Mr. Greguric and involving only some
15 of the major ministries, I wouldn't be able to tell you which those were
16 at the time. I attended government meetings when all of the government
17 ministers were there.
18 Finally, there was the third type of meeting which was chaired by
19 the president of the republic himself.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In government meetings chaired
21 by the prime minister, by Greguric, was there an agenda and were there
22 minutes of the government meeting?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I personally didn't see
24 there were any minutes. I came to that conclusion due to the fact that
25 when Mr. Greguric published a book about his activities during his term
1 of office while he was the prime minister of the government of democratic
2 unity in which all parties participated.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. During
4 these government meetings, was the defence minister present, and if he
5 attended these meetings, were military matters addressed at a
6 governmental level?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The government meetings were not
8 attended on many occasions by Mr. Susak because there were lots of things
9 going on relating to the defence of Croatia so instead of attending the
10 meetings personally, he would delegate his deputy, but I cannot tell you
11 exactly who stood in for Mr. Gojko Susak in these meetings. He did
12 attend, however, on a couple of occasions. It is well-known that
13 Mr. Gojko Susak is not a man of many words and he didn't take much part
14 in these exchanges.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about the prime minister,
16 did he not address military issues or did he consider that this was
17 within the remit of Mr. Susak, the defence minister together with
18 President Tudjman?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Look, Mr. Greguric was the war-time
20 prime minister of democratic unity and Mr. Susak was within his
21 jurisdiction. Normally, in government meetings, he would tackle defence
22 issues in Croatia. For example, once Dr. Greguric said that we, the
23 ministers, should go outside Zagreb into the field and see what was
24 happening there in order to get the better feeling of what this war was
25 about. What I mean to say is that Mr. Susak was subordinated to
1 Mr. Greguric just like me to President Tudjman because under this
2 constitutional system, both the President of the republic and the prime
3 minister had a lot to say.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: There's a correction that needs to be made that
5 Greguric is subordinate to -- Susak was subordinate to Greguric and
6 Tudjman - that's what I'm told - that the gentleman indicated, perhaps we
7 can clarify that point.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, could you please clarify
9 that point, Witness. We have a sentence that's not very clear. Can you
10 please clarify again what happened in terms of subordination.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Under the constitution, the
12 president of the republic had certain functions. The same applies to the
13 prime minister. And we, who were ministers in the government of
14 democratic union in which all parties participated equally were
15 subordinated first of all to the prime minister and then president of the
16 republic was above the prime minister. Therefore, to the president of
17 the republic as well.
18 For example, if he -- if Mr. Greguric could convene a government
19 meeting, we would attend. He was our subordinate. However, when we were
20 invited by President Tudjman he himself had certain duties, and he was in
21 charge of certain things related to the government.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: "He was our
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At one point, you said that it
25 was a semi presidential regime. This can be a source of confusion.
1 Should we understand that the government enjoyed a certain degree of
2 autonomy with respect to the president or was it the case that the
3 government had no autonomy whatsoever because the regime was of a
4 presidential nature and because the president was the one who told the
5 prime minister and the ministers what they had to do?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. At the beginning, I said that
7 it was a coalition government in which all political parties
8 participated. Therefore, the role of the prime minister should have been
9 that of a -- should have been coordinated with all Croatian parties
10 because that was the time when all the Croatian parties pulled together
11 in order to defend Croatia from the Greater Serbian aggression. I don't
12 know if this is clear enough. My immediate boss was Dr. Greguric but
13 according to the constitution, Mr. Tudjman also had a say in these
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. So you are telling us
16 that this was a coalition government, that several political parties were
17 represented within the government, and this coalition government was
18 working under the authority of President Tudjman in full agreement. Is
19 that what you're trying to tell us?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is not what I said. I said
21 that my immediate boss, superior, was Dr. Greguric, the prime minister
22 and since all the political parties participated in this Croatian
23 government except for those who did not reach the threshold because these
24 were minor parties that did not have representatives in the parliament,
25 all the other parties took part in this democratic unity government,
1 wartime democratic unity government of Dr. Greguric and the participation
2 of Dr. Tudjman was partial.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, just a point of clarification. If we
4 listen closely to the Croatian, he's saying the president of the
5 government which is being translated as prime minister so as long as we
6 understand that prime minister is president of the government but that's
7 what the gentleman is indicating the correct terminology which is
8 president of the government as opposed to president of the state, but I
9 think we're using prime minister, but to me it doesn't make a difference
10 just as long as everybody understands.
11 MR. STRINGER: Well, I mean if this is a translation issue or an
12 interpretation issue, we'd like to hear it from the interpreters because
13 it's clearly an important issue and I appreciate counsel's clarification
14 but I just want to make sure that it's correct.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ambassador, according to
16 you, was Mr. Greguric the prime minister or the president of the
17 government? In your own language, how would you express that?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] President of the government.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. So we have the following
20 situation: Mr. Tudjman is the president of the republic and Mr. Greguric
21 is the president of the government. In other words, he has the position
22 of prime minister, he fulfills the duty of a prime minister or am I
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We do not have the term "prime
25 minister" in Croatian, the term we use is the president of the
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One final question before I
3 give back the floor to Mr. Stringer, but you understand that my questions
4 deal with very significant issues, that's why I keep asking question
5 after question. In your political system, are policies defined by the
6 government and by its president or are the policies of the country
7 defined and determined by the president of the republic?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It depends on the type of the
9 government, whether it was a single-party government, that is to say, the
10 most powerful party such as the HDZ, or if it was a coalition government
11 such as the one I was part in. In a coalition government, Dr. Greguric
12 had to put together all the aspects and inputs of the participating
13 parties in the government, major parties.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, if I understand
15 you correctly, that we have to make a distinction between the case where
16 you have a government made up of representatives of a single party and
17 the case where you have a coalition government. If I understand you
18 correctly when there is a single party in the government, the president
19 comes from the same party and they follow the same policies but when you
20 have a coalition government, this government defines the policies of the
21 country and the president of the republic has to follow this course. Is
22 that what you're explaining to us? Because you see so far, we've not
23 dealt with these issues but since you're here and you were part of the
24 government, you may help clarify this for us.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I try to be very clear because I
1 participated in a coalition government made up of all the parties during
2 the war and that is how I became a member of the government. At the
3 time, I wasn't a significant political figure. The point was to rally
4 together all the important personalities in order to make Croatia capable
5 of defending herself from the aggression.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are not answering my
7 question fully. When the coalition government would meet --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat the question?
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me repeat my question. I
10 wanted to know the following: What about if the coalition government
11 defined or decided on a policies -- if I understand, President Tudjman
12 could not go against that policy because the coalition government decided
13 on the policies. That's what I wanted to know. When you had this
14 coalition government with Mr. Greguric as a president, and when you
15 decided something, did Mr. Tudjman have to accept your decisions or was
16 Mr. Tudjman in a position to say, "Okay, that's your opinion but I have a
17 different view of the situation and I'm going to make the decision"?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me be specific in answering
19 your question. During the term of office of the coalition government, in
20 most cases or almost in all cases, Mr. Greguric was the one to make
21 decision based on the consensus among the parties. I hope I was clear
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you were very clear.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to ask maybe the same question in a
25 different way. Can you give us an example or more than one example where
1 Mr. Tudjman had an intention, a political intention which then the
2 government refused to follow so that in the end, the will of the
3 president was not realised in Croatian politics.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say that there were such
5 differences. You want me to give you specific examples. I would need
6 some time to think about the instances where there was no full consensus
7 or full understanding of the president of the government or the president
8 of the republics but I know that there were differences. Now, how these
9 differences were eventually resolved and ironed out, I cannot give you
10 any details in that respect because I was a member of the government and
11 Greguric was the main man in my view, and I never by passed him in order
12 to talk to Tudjman. The normal procedure was ...
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That goes beyond what --
14 Mr. Stringer, please go ahead.
15 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Just to follow up on a few questions, can you tell us,
17 Mr. Ambassador, what was the term, period of time in which the Greguric
18 government of democratic unity was in existence?
19 A. During the war, during the attack which means since August 1991
20 until August 1992.
21 Q. Now, in August of 1992 or approximately during that time, did the
22 elections take place that you referred to a few minutes ago?
23 A. I don't recall mentioning elections. I didn't say anything about
25 Q. I had used the word the Greguric government was dissolved and
1 you, I thought, indicated that it wasn't dissolved and that -- but that
2 it changed as a result of elections.
3 A. I didn't mention the word "election" but a new government came
4 and for the most part, it was made up of people from the HDZ and that was
5 the result of the elections because the HDZ was the most powerful
6 political party.
7 Q. So beginning in August of 1992, the structure was one that was
8 less of a coalition and more of a single-party government?
9 A. Yes, but as far as I can remember, there were always a few
10 ministers who were not members of the party.
11 Q. Like any system in which the government is largely a single-party
12 government of which the president is a member, the president of the
13 republic would have had enhanced powers, increased powers after the
14 election, after the change of government in August of 1992. Would you
15 agree with that?
16 A. Yes, I would agree with that but I would just like to add that
17 the government's policy was never solely Mr. Tudjman's policy, it was
18 under various influences especially with regards to the international
19 community and so on. In other words, the state policy was created -- we
20 keep talking about Tudjman. Tudjman was not a God. Tudjman was what he
21 was according to the constitution.
22 Q. Now -- and I think the point about influence and who was
23 influencing the president is an important one and I'd like to ask you
24 more about that. Moving down a little further in this passage from
25 Mr. Granic's book, Mr. Granic makes reference to a conversation that he
1 had with President Tudjman at the time that Tudjman offered him the post
2 of foreign minister.
3 And Granic says, "You will have complete freedom to choose your
4 assistants but we will have to talk about ambassadors. Do not forget
5 that according to the constitution, I am the only boss and that you have
6 to come to me for a problem because foreign affairs are not a matter for
7 government," he told me firmly.
8 Then he continues, he says, "He told me that we would especially
9 be discussing Bosnia and Herzegovina and then added, and this is a quote
10 attributed to President Tudjman, 'Mate, only Gojko Susak is in charge of
11 the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.'"
12 So then on this question of influence, isn't it true, Mr.
13 Ambassador, that it was Gojko Susak that was in the strongest position to
14 exert influence on President Tudjman in respect of his policy on
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina particularly the Croats there?
16 A. I'm doing my best to give you an answer but if I am not accurate
17 enough, I would kindly ask you to repeat certain portions of your
19 Gojko Susak was the minister of defence over the years. Why was
20 he the defence minister. Probably because either he was doing his job
21 properly or not, but let us not forget that Mr. Mate Granic was also in a
22 certain way the boss to him. So what Mr. Mate Granic is saying here ...
23 Q. Sorry for cutting you off and we do want your full answer but I'm
24 hoping that we can be a little more succinct. As defence minister,
25 wasn't Gojko Susak the person influencing and impacting most
1 President Tudjman's policies in respect of Bosnia-Herzegovina Croats and
2 I say that because we all know and accept that the situation in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina was one that impacted the defence interests of
4 Croatia. So I'm not making any negative inferences, I'm just asking you:
5 Wasn't it Gojko Susak as Minister of Defence who have been the position
6 most influential in terms of Dr. Tudjman in respect of Bosnia-Herzegovina
8 A. Let me be specific. There were some of us who had certain
9 influence on Dr. Tudjman apart from Mr. Susak. I, as a minister and not
10 only as a minister, but also as an ambassador later and a "dolje" of the
11 diplomatic corps in Bosnia-Herzegovina had to say certain things. It was
12 not just Mr. Susak.
13 Q. And I'm not suggesting that. But I am suggesting that it was
14 Susak who had the greatest influence. That seems to be what Mr. Granic
15 is saying here. Maybe you don't know. If you don't know the extent of
16 Mr. Susak's influence, you can say that.
17 A. No, I'm going to say this: In the context and the scenarios of
18 the events, it may have been the case that at certain points, someone had
19 a stronger inference or a weaker or lesser inference but there was no
20 exclusive inference coming from any quarters.
21 Q. I'm not asking you about exclusive influence, I'm asking simply
22 whether you agree with the proposition here that it was Susak excerpted
23 the most influence or who appeared to have the greatest responsibility in
24 terms of the Croats of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Wasn't he the most
25 influential among a number of people?
1 MR. KHAN: Well, the witness has answered it. He said that over
2 time, the person who has influence may change. It has been already
3 answered, in my view.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, on several
5 occasions, not just once, the witness stated that influence is a very
6 subjective thing and the witness stated that according to him, several
7 people were in a position to have an influence on Mr. Tudjman and that
8 Mr. Susak was not the only one in that position. That's what I thought I
9 understood listening to the witness. We may ask him to clarify that for
11 Witness, we do not want to be wasting any more time. Can you
12 please tell us the following: In your view, did Mr. Susak have some
13 influence on President Tudjman or did other people have an influence on
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] President Tudjman would listen to
16 many people in various meetings which can be seen from the transcripts.
17 Therefore, there were us who tried and participated in creating the
18 Croatian state policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 Have I been clear in this that this involved a number of people?
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Ambassador, I think you always
21 navigate around the question the Prosecutor asks you and that is: Here,
22 Mr. Granic says Susak had the main, not the only, the main, the strongest
23 influence. And the question is: Yes or no, do you agree? Yes or no?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me put it this way. In various
25 different periods of time --
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. This is not very polite but it's the
2 style of the Tribunal and in cross-examination, the counsel may ask a
3 question to which there is one or two or three or four questions as
4 Mr. Karnavas has many, many times recalled, yes, no, I don't know, I
5 don't remember. Could you please answer with one of these words?
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave,
7 just one intervention. With regard to many questions, we have tried to
8 suggest to the person putting questions to specify the time that the
9 question refers to. What I think the witness is saying is that at
10 different times, various people had different level of influence and if
11 you want to be more specific, and if you want to insist on Susak's
12 influence on Tudjman, could you please be more precise and specify the
13 time period.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, you should get
15 an answer to your question. It may relevant to explain when this
16 happened, the question of time because it could be "yes" for one period
17 and "no" for another. Could you specify your question based on the year.
18 MR. STRINGER:
19 Q. I'm speaking about the period after the -- beginning of August
20 1992 in which the primarily HDZ government took -- HDZ party took the
21 government and continuing through 1993. So approximately a year and a
22 half period, August of 1992 to -- through all of 1993. Isn't it true
23 that Susak was Mr. President Tudjman's right-hand man if I can put it
24 that way in terms of Bosnia-Herzegovina policy particularly Croats in
1 A. I would -- I have to say yes or no. Well, no.
2 Q. So you don't agree with the suggestion here by Mr. Granic that
3 Susak was the right-hand man or that he -- that he had the greatest
4 influence on Tudjman? Let me ask you why -- because you're an ambassador
5 toward the latter part of 1992 and then you went down to
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It just seems to me that Mr. Granic was in a greater
7 position to know what were the relative roles of the members of the
8 cabinet, Mr. Susak, Mr. Granic, himself, and the others. That's why I
9 say this?
10 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, is that a question?
11 MR. STRINGER: Well, that is the question.
12 Q. Isn't it true that Mr. Granic is in a better position to know.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. I
14 would like to put forth an observation. In order for the witness to be
15 able to answer the question, he would have to be familiar with the
16 relationship between Granic and Susak. In the HDZ government, they were
17 the two people who were working at cross-purposes and who confronted. I
18 just wanted to propose this comment by way of helping further clarify the
20 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I got an answer from the witness,
21 he denied my -- he did not agree with my assertion. I think I'll just
22 take that and move on to the next point. With your leave.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move on, yes.
24 Mr. Praljak, you're on your feet, why are you on your feet? The
25 Prosecutor is moving on to another subject.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I simply fail
2 to grasp the meaning of the word "influence." I don't understand the
3 term influence. Can somebody help me and clarify the meaning of the term
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, it is a word that
6 was used by the Prosecutor. When you call your own witnesses, you can
7 clarify the concept of influence. Well, your intervention is recorded in
8 the transcript, but it does not call for further comment.
9 Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.
10 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Mr. Ambassador, there's a following section that falls under the
12 heading "government of democratic union and BH," and I just want to take
13 you to one passage there in which Mr. Granic mentions Mr. Mate Boban. I
14 take it you know who Mate Boban is. I'm not sure if we've talked about
15 him yet?
16 A. I know.
17 Q. He says, "Boban was a very narrow-minded man full of hatred for
18 the Bosniaks. He supported Bosnian Serbs believing that he could enter
19 into an agreement with them regardless of the criminal policies of
20 Karadzic, Mladic and their assistants. It was clear to me that he was
21 the biggest obstacle to peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At meetings, he
22 never spoke about the Bosniaks or Muslims, but only used words like Turks
23 or 'balija' for Bosniaks."
24 These are very strong words, in my view, Mr. Ambassador and I'd
25 like to ask you to comment on that. First of all, as a preliminary
1 question, tell us how frequently or how regularly did you have dealings
2 yourself with Mate Boban?
3 A. Only once.
4 Q. Are you in a position to --
5 A. May I be allowed to explain, please? I already said that I
6 worked at the level of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was the -- in
7 charge of the Croatian policy vis-a-vis Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 Mate Boban and the issue surrounding him is the internal matter of Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina and obviously I did not come into contact with Mr. Boban;
10 but I did see him at some meetings and on one occasion, I explicitly at
11 President Tudjman's request, I went to see him and I can tell you when
12 that happened and why.
13 Q. Why don't you tell us that.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Stringer. I
15 have full respect for you but I must tell you this. I, myself, asked a
16 question of the witness. I asked him how many times he had met with
17 Mr. Boban and he answered. He said once.
18 You are asking the question again. So, that's one of two things.
19 Either he told me when he answered my question and then you have evidence
20 that he lied then or you sort of follow up on my sentence saying by
21 saying -- you said to the Presiding Judge that you met him once, could
22 you specify the circumstances. Because if you keep repeating the same
23 questions, asking the same questions, it's a waste of time. It's
24 useless. It's pointless.
25 MR. STRINGER: I apologise, Mr. President. I had -- I forgot
1 apparently now two things from yesterday, one was the filing and the
2 other was the question that you'd already asked of the witness. So with
3 your permission, if we could just recall that testimony that there was
4 one meeting, I think it does impact then on whatever opinions he might
5 have or comments he might have on the remarks of Mr. Granic here and with
6 your leave, Mr. President.
7 Q. Mr. Ambassador if I could just ask you to tell us what you can
8 about the meeting you had with Mr. Boban, where was it and when was it.
9 Tell us your impressions of him whether you agree with the
10 characterisation given by Mr. Granic.
11 A. I apologise. Please allow me to read what Mr. Granic said about
12 him. Can you please refer me to the page where I can find it.
13 Q. I can -- it is under the heading, there's a heading called
14 "Government of democratic union and BH"?
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It says that it's page 70 in the translation.
16 MR. STRINGER:
17 Q. Do you have that? Page 70. Do you see it?
18 A. In the translation? I don't have the translation before me. I
19 have it only in Croatian.
20 Q. Yes, well --
21 A. No, there is a translation as well. What page again, please?
22 Q. I thought -- you wanted to look at the Croatian.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In the Croatian, it is the last sentence on page
24 70. The last sentence of the Croatian version is, "Izmedzu nas nikada
25 nije ..."
1 MR. STRINGER:
2 Q. It begins with the words, "We were never close ..." I believe.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes.
4 MR. STRINGER:
5 Q. Then it begins, "Boban was a very narrow-minded man."
6 A. May I answer, please? With regard to the first part of this
7 statement of what Mr. Granic wrote that they were never close and they
8 advocated completely opposed positions, this is completely correct and I
9 witnessed that myself. However, when Mr. Granic portrays Boban in the
10 way he does, listen, I really never gave it much thought. I did not have
11 anything to do with defence. Granic was my boss and I listened to him
12 and I reported to him. I'm aware that there were conflicts between
13 Dr. Mate Granic and Mr. Susak. I'm aware of that. I wouldn't be able to
14 give you any details thereof.
15 Q. Just a clarification here. I think you just indicated that there
16 were conflicts between Dr. Granic and Mr. Susak and I was asking you
17 about Mr. Granic and Mr. Boban. I wasn't sure if you intended to address
18 that or ...
19 A. Granic and Boban? I don't know how much contact they had at all
20 because Granic worked through me. Granic was the Minister of Foreign
21 Affairs and I was his extended hand in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the
22 state level.
23 Q. Okay. Then is it fair to say that in general terms during the
24 period during which you were at the ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, you
25 did not concern yourself very much with Mr. Boban or with the leadership
1 of the HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. I would say that this is correct.
3 Q. You indicated yesterday, I believe, that you had some informal
4 discussions with Dr. Prlic about economics but the impression that you
5 did not have a lot of substantive dealings as well with Mr. Prlic?
6 MR. KARNAVAS: I object to word substantive, economics is a
7 substantive matter in the middle of the war when Dr. Prlic was involved
8 in setting up the economic infrastructure for the region, so I wouldn't
9 put it that it wasn't substantive.
10 MR. STRINGER: I just had the impression that -- and he can
11 clarify that the ambassador said that he had had some informal
12 discussions with Dr. Prlic about economics because it was an interesting
13 issue but these were not formal discussions. That's -- that was my
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Look, it depended on Dr. Prlic's
16 function. At one point, he had been elected as the prime minister of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina. When he was elected prime minister, then I could
18 and did have official contacts especially after the Washington Accords
19 when Dr. Prlic became the vice-president of the government and the
20 Minister of Defence of both the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and
21 the Federation. At such moments, I had official relations with Dr. Prlic
22 and I had discussions with him when I deemed that those were necessary
23 and I usually contacted him on economic matters because he was the person
24 in charge of all the economic matters.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Witness, allow me to
1 intervene because there's a problem of semantics. You said that
2 Mr. Prlic was the prime minister, so let's be specific here too. Was he
3 prime minister or was he president of the government, in your view? What
4 was he?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are two periods in question
6 here. The first one when he participated in the government of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina for a very short period of time. That was after the
8 Medjurgorje Accords on the 18th of -- I believe it was in August or
9 thereabouts during the peace mission undertaken by Dr. Tudjman that was a
10 very short period of time when he became the vice-president to be very
11 specific of -- the I apologise. I can't remember what his title was. He
12 was either president or vice-president of the government of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina and later on I remember this very well after the Washington
14 Accords for a long period of time, he was the vice-president of the
15 government and the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and
17 At that time, I could deal with him officially and talk to him
18 officially because I was the ambassador of Croatia before the government
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, with your leave one additional matter.
21 At page 26, my learned friend asked the witness to describe his meeting
22 with Mr. Boban. He wasn't actually given the opportunity to answer that
23 question. I just raise it because it was asked and it wasn't answered.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, it escapes me, but yes,
25 I'm sure Mr. Khan is right. The question was not answered.
1 MR. STRINGER: That's correct, Mr. President. I had actually
2 intended to bring the witness back to that.
3 Q. Before I do, just while we're talking about titles, is it true or
4 do you know if Dr. Prlic was the president of the HVO, the Croatian
5 Defence Council during 1993?
6 A. I know, I know this exactly.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, on the last answer, Witness, when you
8 said that Dr. Prlic was vice-president, I think, Minister of the Defence
9 in the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, could you tell us what
10 period of time you had in mind?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After the Washington Accords,
12 immediately after the Washington Accords. At that time, I participated
13 in the implementation of the Washington Accords in Sarajevo. I had a
14 very big role in that. The first meeting with Prlic was regarding
15 his ...
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. You've answered my question.
17 MR. STRINGER:
18 Q. And Mr. Boban was the president of the Croatian Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna during 1993 and 1992?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And Mr. Boban was also the leader of the HDZ party in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, wasn't he?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. He was the leader of the HDZ party in Bosnia because Dr. Tudjman,
25 as the leader of the party, had approved his taking that position. Is
1 that also correct?
2 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object -- I object to that. There's
3 no foundational question as to that. Is this -- is he putting this to
4 the witness?
5 MR. STRINGER: Yes.
6 Q. Isn't it true that Mr. Boban was president of the HDZ party in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina because he was approved for that position by
8 President Tudjman?
9 A. President Tudjman was the president of the HDZ in Croatia. The
10 HDZ of Bosnia and Herzegovina had a different structure and a different
11 trajectory. Mr. Tudjman was in a position to possibly suggest things to
12 them but he could not order them anything because they were a democratic
13 institution in which people in Bosnia and Herzegovina could elect people,
14 leaders, presidents. Several of them preceded Boban, several of them
15 followed Boban.
16 Q. The next exhibit is the one that Judge Prandler showed you
17 yesterday. It's one of the presidential transcripts P0089. If the usher
18 could assist with that one, I would be grateful.
19 Now, while that document's being located for you Mr. Ambassador,
20 just to recall, this is a transcript of a meeting that occurred in Zagreb
21 on the 27th of December, 1991. And as you indicated yesterday and we
22 know, you were not present at the meeting. I believe, however, that in
23 December 1991, you had just become the minister for the diaspora. Am I
24 correct on that?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Okay. All right. Now I just want to follow up with a couple
2 more questions on the passages that are in this transcript recognising
3 that you weren't present. 0089. And I'm going to direct you -- well let
4 me just -- to inform you while it's being located, this is a meeting in
5 which President Tudjman has accepted guests who are the -- from the HDZ
6 party delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina and that's who is present at
7 this meeting and there was a reference yesterday as you might recall to
8 Mr. Ignac Kostroman who was present. As well, there were other members
9 of the leadership of the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina who were also present
10 there, Mr. Boban --
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Incidentally while we're looking for these
12 documents, if he's going to be asked an opinion opine on something where
13 he wasn't attending, I do so based on and I ground my objection on the
14 basis that on a very similar situation where I had Dr. Zuzul here and I
15 was asking the question, Judge Trechsel, you objected on the grounds that
16 I was asking him to be an expert. Frankly, I took exception to your
17 observation but nonetheless, I think that it fits here as well so I don't
18 wish to debate the issue I think I respect you highly, I think we can
19 agree to disagree at some times, however, I think that is the same
20 situation we are faced here today.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Good point, Mr. Karnavas, I fully take that but
22 we have not heard the question yet so why don't we wait for the question.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may add
24 something that is very relevant with regard to Mr. Karnavas's objection
25 and your decision with this regard. If my learned friend from the
1 Prosecution is allowed to embark on the line of questioning that they
2 wish to put to the witness, then I would kindly ask to lay some
3 foundation for the questions in order to see whether the witness is in a
4 position to answer the questions.
5 We'd like to hear some basic elements as to what was happening in
6 Croatia in December 1991 and what was happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 at the same time because if we do not understand the context, if we don't
8 know what in real life was happening at the time, we cannot be objective
9 and we cannot provide an objective interpretation of any conversations
10 including this one. This conversation cannot be understood without the
11 context and the position that these people were in, their motives, why
12 they arrived in Croatia, what the international positions and
13 interventions were taking place at the time.
14 I believe it is absolutely pointless to embark on a discussion
15 especially in view of the fact the witness wasn't there if we do not
16 outline some landmarks, some benchmarks in order to describe the
17 situation. Nobody can understand the conversation without the context
18 and this is the objective remark.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, Mr. Karnavas
20 reminded us that there was an objection to this type of question by
21 Judge Trechsel with regard to a witness who did not have any knowledge
22 because he had not attended the meeting. Now, Mr. Karnavas is saying
23 that what's good for the goose a good for the gander, and he's absolutely
24 right in saying so.
25 Secondly, Mr. Kovacic raises other issues. He says that there
1 was a meeting between Mr. Tudjman and representatives from Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina, that the witness did not attend that meeting so how could he
3 be knowledgeable about the situation, about the context? And if he's
4 asked to comment on a situation that he has no control over, it might
5 well be that it is the wrong opinion.
6 Also, based on this presidential transcript that was used by
7 Judge Prandler when he put his question to the witness, the question
8 dealt with part of a paragraph. Now, I don't know what topic you want to
9 address. Now, if we want to avoid this type of problem, it would have
10 been preferable for you to say this during the examination in chief, this
11 topic was addressed.
12 Secondly, this topic is found again in paragraph so and so of
13 this transcript. Then you could have asked the witness, based on his
14 previous answer, whether he stuck to his opinion, whether he changed his
15 mind, or whether he was speaking to another topic.
16 You've got to, indeed, lay the foundations and we do not know
17 what you are trying to get at as part of your cross-examination, which
18 topics you want to raise.
19 So please proceed, we'll see.
20 MR. STRINGER: Thanks -- thank you, Mr. President. Just for the
21 record, I haven't asked any questions about the transcript yet I
22 appreciate everyone's guidance.
23 Perhaps it's a good time for the break before I begin.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, we're going to have a
25 break so you have 20 minutes to think it over, to prepare your question.
1 We shall resume in 20 minutes' time.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you may proceed.
5 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. For everyone's
6 information, we've also put this transcript, we've got several of them
7 loaded into the sanction programme and so our case manager Ms. Winner
8 here is going to be putting the relevant pages up on the screen in
9 sanction to assist us in following.
10 Q. Mr. Ambassador, this is the transcript that Judge Prandler took
11 you to yesterday and I want to ask you just a few questions about it and
12 then I'm going to ask you if you want to finish the answer that you
13 wanted to finish to the question from Judge Prandler yesterday.
14 Directing your attention to page 21 of the transcript, this is
15 the part you looked at yesterday, I believe.
16 A. The Croatian.
17 Q. The page -- in this binder, when I say page 21, that should
18 correspond also to the --
19 A. [In English] That's English.
20 Q. Also it should correspond in both languages, the page numbering
21 should be the same.
22 A. [In English] 21.
23 Q. 21, now, based on what you've told us already, to the extent that
24 this item refers to the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, and the
25 taking of a historic decision to establish the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna, which serves as a legal basis for entry of these
2 territories into the Republic of Croatia, if that was an objective of the
3 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, I take it you were not aware of that,
4 you did not know that. Is that true?
5 A. No, I didn't know that at the time because I wasn't dealing with
6 these matters, but I am aware of what's contained in this document.
7 Q. And then a similar question of item three here, to the extent
8 that the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna recognises the full
9 legitimacy of Dr. Franjo Tudjman as president of the Republic of Croatia
10 and president of the HDZ, recognises his legitimacy to promote the
11 interests of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosnia among both
12 international factors and et cetera, you can read it there, if that was
13 their position, if the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna recognised the
14 full legitimacy of Franjo Tudjman to do these things on its behalf, I
15 take it you were not aware of that, you did not know.
16 A. I knew that there was a tendency in that direction espoused by a
17 group of individuals, we can see the list of individuals there who made
18 their proposal. Now, whether the president of the Republic of Croatia
19 accepted that proposal or not is quite a different matter. He did not
20 accept that. I can tell you right away why not, because I spoke to
21 President Tudjman about this issue.
22 Q. Let me -- I want to move on and I don't want to cut you off. As
23 I've indicated, you can address Judge Prandler's question and add
24 whatever you like, but I'd like to move through the document so that we
25 can get to that point.
1 If you could go to page 25, item 15. And again, this is the same
2 documents which are a reflection of the minutes of the meeting of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Now, in item 15, this is calling
4 upon "Our deputies to the Bosnia-Herzegovina assembly from the territory
5 of Herceg-Bosna should follow instructions issued by Herceg-Bosna."
6 Now my question there is were you aware sir or did you know that
7 the Herceg-Bosna leadership were asserting the authority to issue
8 instructions to the deputies who were members of the Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 assembly at that time?
10 A. I wasn't aware of that until this moment.
11 Q. Okay. Now, if I could take you to page 33.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: I do object in the question. I didn't object
13 earlier, as far as asserting authority. This is an aspirational
14 document, it is suggested now they are imposing their authority I think
15 is two different things. I just mention that.
16 MR. STRINGER:
17 Q. On page 33 there is a reference here to a statement that's being
18 made by President Tudjman. What he's doing, he's referencing here to and
19 I'll just read parts of it:
20 "And to create a statelet therefore out of the remaining part
21 around Sarajevo which mostly Muslims and some Croat Catholics would stay
22 which would resemble the small historical land of Bosnia. It would
23 therefore be a buffer zone in the demarcation of Serbia and Croatia and
24 in such conditions, it would have to rely on Croatia to a large extent."
25 Then continuing to the next paragraph. "From that viewpoint, not
1 even some cantonization with the continuing existence of Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina would mean for us the solution, which is the solution of
4 Then continuing to the next page, he says ...
5 A. What is the next page, please?
6 Q. 34. "It seems to me," feel free to follow along either on the
7 paper or on the screen, "It seems to me, therefore, that just as we have
8 taken advantage of this historic moment to establish an independent,
9 internationally recognised Croatia, I believe that it is time that we
10 take the opportunity to gather the Croatian people inside the widest
11 possible borders."
12 And just to finish that off, if you could go to page 106, just to
13 stay with that thought.
14 A. 106.
15 Q. Do you not have that in the Bosnian? It should be on the screen.
16 A. I do. I do.
17 Q. Okay. And this is during a discussion between President Tudjman
18 and Mr. Stjepan Kljuc who, at the time, was the leader of the HDZ party
19 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And the president says, "Kljuc let us not waste
20 time. We think not only I, the Croatian leadership in general thinks
21 that since becoming head of the HDZ, you have all in all done a good job.
22 I shall tell you, though, I shall repeat what I just said, that lately
23 you have become closer to Izetbegovic's policy regarding those
24 negotiations which we wanted. I have written down somewhere the date
25 when we discussed how talks should be held with both sides, and our aim,
1 our aim from the beginning, from the proclamation we issued, if you want,
2 was not to preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is today. Essentially,
3 this is not in the interests of Croatian policy, as Croatian policy would
4 in this way be permanently frustrated by the demographic and territorial
5 loss in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
6 "Therefore, we finally wanted and it was no accident that in the
7 preamble to the Croatian constitution, we also mentioned the banovina of
9 So Mr. Ambassador, having read those portions to you, recognising
10 that you were not present, isn't it possible that in fact based on these
11 discussions, President Tudjman's policy at least as of this time was in
12 fact to restore the banovina regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina and to make
13 those Croat regions?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection, calls for speculation. Isn't it
15 possible? Anything is possible, first of all. Also we need to put it
16 into context what is happening to the negotiations that are going on.
17 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President I object to the putting
18 the answer into the witness's mouth. That's what's happening here.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Nobody's putting any answers. There was an
20 objection by Mr. Kovacic. He wanted the context, the context in which
21 this is being held.
22 MR. STRINGER: We all know the context.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: The witness doesn't know the context. That's the
25 MR. STRINGER: I think the witness knows very well the context.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: He wasn't in situ that's the whole point.
2 MR. STRINGER: The witness was the minister of the diaspora for
3 Croatia at this time. Again, I think we're suggesting through objections
4 answers. It's a fair question, Mr. President. If this is what's being
5 said, did the witness know? Did this witness know if in fact this was
6 the policy.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, here we go. This is the policy. My
8 objection is this. He's being asked was this possible? Anything is
9 possible at the time it was possible that Bosnia-Herzegovina was going to
10 split. There were negotiations ongoing. So if we're going to be fair to
11 this gentleman, let's talk about all the negotiations, let's talk about
12 Izetbegovic's plan, what he was doing, while vis-a-vis working with
13 Milosevic because only in that context can he answer this question. He
14 wants to introduce this word "policy" because that's part of their theory
15 of the case. We're saying in the context, in the moment, at that period
16 of time. And we must recall that at that point, Bosnia-Herzegovina has
17 not been declared independent and we need to look at the entire
18 transcript that would suggest that this question, the gentleman should be
19 given the entire transcript to read the entire transcript and only then
20 to comment on these questions. It's unfair, it's out of context.
21 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President ...
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, recently, you
23 complained because you were not given enough time to ask additional
24 questions. Your demonstration is the best possible demonstration, it's
25 something you should have done as part of your redirect.
1 The Prosecution is putting a question to the witness. The
2 witness gives an answer. If you don't like that answer, then you can
3 deal with that in redirect. All the time spent on raising objections is
4 time that comes off the time for re-examination. Of course you don't
5 like that answer but now you are testifying in -- on behalf of the
6 witness. You are testifying.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Make a couple of things clear because you are
8 fundamentally flawed in your logic that redirect is based on whether we
9 have sufficient time or not. That is not the basis, that's not the
10 adversarial system, that is not the practice in any other court. And I
11 dare say that after all these years, I'm rather shocked that this is the
12 policy that has been adopted in this Trial Chamber with respect to my
13 defence. Not with the Prosecution, but my Defence. That's first and
15 Secondly, when you limit my time as you have, I ask for, I ask
16 for some 150 or 60 hours, when I only have a certain amount of time to do
17 a direct examination, and then you give me this answer well I should have
18 done this on my direct well then give me the time but you're asking me to
19 waive one right of the accused in order to benefit of the other. That is
20 fundamentally flawed and unfair and what I'm saying in this particular
21 instance, I have no objection to that question. However, it needs to be
22 put into context. You indicated based on what Mr. Kovacic had raised
23 that we need some context. This -- you're taking one sliver out of this
24 entire event and he's being asked: Is this a possibility? And then he
25 injected the word policy. Well let's put it into context. Let's look at
1 the entire events, let's look at what is the conclusion of this but let's
2 give the gentleman an opportunity to be fair and -- let's get to the
4 I can cherry pick all day long. That's not the position that
5 we've taken. And we've asked based on what Mr. Kovacic said, we want it
6 in context. Let's put it in context in the historical context and in the
7 context in which this discussion was being held. And I object to the
8 word "policy." That's something for you to decide not for the
9 Prosecution to keep claiming that there is a policy.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, if you look at the text that we
11 are dealing with, the word "Croatian policy" comes up twice immediately
12 after another towards the end of the first paragraph of page 106. And
13 all Mr. Stringer was doing was asking the witness: Did he know about
14 this, that this was held by Mr. Tudjman and he can say yes or no, but the
15 Chamber is very well aware that this is an excerpt and a single aspect
16 and it will -- it will evaluate this in as much context as we get and we
17 have a lot of time or -- and I think there was no question now of in any
18 way reducing the time for redirect. So I think Mr. Stringer you will
19 best continue now.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, particularly with this transcript, we
21 really will have a problem if I may switch to Croatian language, sorry.
22 [Interpretation] So far, based on the standards for the admission of
23 evidence you introduced, we have admitted -- we have had admitted pieces
24 of evidence numbering 1 to 2 pages which came from the presidential
25 transcripts. Now, specifically speaking of this particular transcript we
1 have before us, 1 to 2 pages of it will be admitted into evidence, I'm
2 speaking of this particular transcript which relates to the meeting of
3 the 27th of December, 1991. It has to be read throughout and none of the
4 facts contained in the transcript can be used for the purpose of, of
5 course, establishing the fact which is what you do as the Trial Chamber,
6 without having read the entire transcript from page 1 to the last page.
7 Only then can one really gain the full picture of what the meeting was
8 all about once you've read everything, you will be able to see that this
9 was a brainstorming session as is normally said in the western world.
10 Now, the Prosecutor is, as my learned friend put it, cherry-
11 picking certain segments out of this brainstorming session and on the
12 basis of this, it will be suggested to you, Your Honours, to render a
13 decision on the basis of that. This is just one out of the numerous such
14 instances and this is a crucially important one. I can tell you that all
15 of us here have been involved in the case for so long, even during the
16 pre-trial stage and we are thoroughly familiar with the transcript and we
17 all know that it is -- its implications are not what is being portrayed
18 here. It is not about the policy of Croatia back in 1991. We claim that
19 it is not and you will not be able to realise whether it is the case or
20 not because you will only be admitting two or three pages of it.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, I fully agree with
22 you. The only thing I wanted to say is this: The Prosecution or the
23 Prosecutor is putting his case. He puts a question, the witness answers
24 that question. All right. As far as you are concerned, as part of your
25 cross-examination or as part of the presentation of your own case,
1 through your own witness, you will be in a position to come back to that
2 question and tell the witness, this witness or another witness, "Well the
3 Prosecution asks such and such a question and receives such and such
4 answer but wasn't this taken out of context? Isn't this portion of the
5 transcript taken out of the context of the whole meeting?"
6 I think that's the proper way to proceed rather than get on your
7 feet and start shouting objections because what some of you not all of
8 you but what some of you seem to forget is that you're dealing with
9 professional judges and for the past two years, we've been working on
10 this case. We -- it's something that's on our mind 24/7. The Prosecutor
11 is doing his job as he sees fit. He receives an answer that may suit you
12 or not, but if you believe that some information has not been provided to
13 the Bench, then you will be free to provide this information but you do
14 not need to do so to raise objections. You will have the opportunity to
15 do it later.
16 Here, we are working in an adversarial system: One of the
17 parties puts his case, the other one its own case, and that's the way it
18 works. Here we are dealing with policies, the banovina is mentioned in
19 this text, it's also mentioned in the constitution as you are well aware,
20 and the Prosecution is entitled to put a question to the witness. We'll
21 see what the witness says. I have no idea what he's going to say.
22 He hasn't had time to answer, but you've already raised many
23 objections. Let's wait and see. You never know. The witness's answer
24 might be agreeable to you because you seem to think that the Judges are
25 silly and won't understand what it's all about.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Previous translation continues] ... pages of
2 this document are to be found on the e-court so everything is in fact
3 here. It's not just -- but Ms. Alaburic, you had another point.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you. I don't
5 have an objection to raise against Mr. Stringer's question. I would like
6 to draw your attention to one issue. I believe that the question
7 contains a premise that needs to be clarified. The question relates to
8 and I will be quoting a part of the transcript, to Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 as it is today.
10 I believe it would be very helpful to see what Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 was like in the month of December of 1991 because by then, Croatia and
12 Slovenia had already declared their independence, I belive that it is
13 important to define this before the witness is allowed to answer the
14 question because then there will be no misunderstanding upon hearing the
15 witness's answer.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you are
17 absolutely right. Thank you for your comment. But we are professional
18 judges and of course we've identified this problem and of course we know
19 that at the time, Bosnia and Herzegovina was not a member of the United
20 Nations. Of course I'm aware of that. You are dealing here with Judges
21 who are well aware of all these facts. The Prosecutor may have given
22 that additional piece of information but he may have assumed that we were
23 aware of the situation in December 1991. He knew that we were
24 knowledgeable about this.
25 Now, taking into account the various interventions by
1 Mr. Karnavas, Ms. Alaburic, Mr. Kovacic, and the Judges, you may proceed,
2 Mr. Stringer.
3 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. And for the record, I
4 think Judge Trechsel has already indicated, the entirety of this
5 transcript is already in evidence in this case and I'm putting the
6 Prosecution case to the witness. The word "policy" is an extensive
7 aspect of this witness's direct examination. The word "policy" is an
8 extensive part of this conversation. I recognise that the witness wasn't
9 present, but if things are being said and things are being done that the
10 witness does not know about, then that bears on his views in terms of
11 what the policy was or was not and that's what this is about,
12 Mr. President. I hope that it's clear.
13 Q. With respect, Mr. Ambassador, I am putting to you our case that
14 there were features of Croatian policy that you were not aware of.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Sorry for interrupting
16 you, Mr. Stringer, but this morning, I myself put a number of questions
17 to the witness. I asked him if there were minutes taken at these
18 meetings. As you can see, I had anticipated this issue and we received
19 an answer from the witness. I could also have asked him what happened
20 when the president of a republic received people from overseas. My
21 colleague doesn't seem to understand what I'm saying so I'm going to
23 In such cases, would there be press statement stating that
24 Mr. Tudjman has met X or Y and would there be reports in the press after
25 these meetings? And at the time, were you made aware of such meetings,
1 Witness? Because that's the way it happens everywhere in the world when
2 President Chavez meets X or Y, I suppose that you will have reports in
3 the press stating that Mr. Chavez met such and such person.
4 So at the time, in December 1991, were there reports about this
5 in the press and can we assume that anybody reading the newspapers or you
6 yourself would have been made aware of what had happened?
7 Yes, my fellow Judge wants to take the floor.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think we should not continue interrupting.
9 This is a phase where the Prosecutor carries out its cross-examination
10 and we should let him do his job.
11 Mr. Stringer, please.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like the witness to
13 answer my question, a very technical question that has nothing to do with
14 the cross-examination. My question is: Witness, when President Tudjman
15 would meet someone, was -- were there minutes taken? It's a very
16 straightforward question that can be put in relation to this particular
17 document but that -- to any document.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Minutes were taken of government
19 meetings. Now, I don't know whether minutes were made of the meetings
20 where Tudjman was present. As far as I know, the transcripts are the
21 result of some tape recordings that were then transcribed. What I can
22 tell you is that there existed official minutes made of government
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is not an answer to my
25 question. Yes, you're talking about government -- the government, but
1 what I'm interested in is what happened when the president would meet
2 other people.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think, I'm not quite sure because
4 that was the decision taken by the president himself, whether there
5 existed records of meetings or not when the transcripts were made or
6 better said, when the recordings were made, I noticed that there were
7 exchanges at the meeting. I didn't realise that there was anyone there
8 taking notes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Stringer, this
10 has now been clarified. You may proceed.
11 MR. STRINGER:
12 Q. Mr. Ambassador, it's been a while since we've spoken so let me go
13 back to the passages that I was reading to you before and I'm not going
14 to read it all again but it's President Tudjman talking about, at that
15 time, December of 1991, at least, "... not even some sort of
16 cantonization with a continuing existence of Bosnia-Herzegovina would
17 mean for us the solution which is the solution of demarcation." Then he
18 goes on and he makes reference to the banovina of 1939. "That this is
19 not in the interests of Croatian policy as Croatian policy would in this
20 way be permanently frustrated by the demographic and territorial loss in
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina." And then he makes reference then to the
22 preamble to the Croatian constitution and the bano or the banovina of
23 1939. So this is what I'm going to put to you and you can feel free to
24 agree or disagree with me but this is the views that we want your
25 evidence on.
1 Is it true that President Tudjman was at this time discussing the
2 possibility of restoring the banovina from 1939 which was lost during
3 World War II and doing so in order to accomplish a demarcation of --
4 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and to make that territory part of a
5 Greater Croatia or banovina as that territory was set out from 1939?
6 A. Nothing of what you just stated is true.
7 Q. All right. Well let's break it down then. Because we talked
8 about President Tudjman's book of 1991 in which he discussed the
9 unnatural aspect of Bosnia-Herzegovina in relation to Croatia. And in
10 his book he also made a reference to the banovina. So isn't it true,
11 then, that the events in Bosnia-Herzegovina for whatever reason, in his
12 view, favoured restoration of the banovina as something that would be in
13 the interests of the Croatian state. Do you disagree with me on that,
14 restoration of the banovina would not have been in the Croatian state
16 A. I definitely disagree. The Croatian banovina is a fact of the
17 past. I have not been referring to the Croatian banovina, you have.
18 Tudjman has never talked to me about the Croatian banovina.
19 Q. Yesterday in your testimony, I believe you said that the
20 territory of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna had no borders; is
21 that what you said?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Were you aware that in the decree on the proclamation of the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, they identified a number of
25 municipalities within Bosnia-Herzegovina that were to serve as the
1 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
2 A. No. The founding document of the Croatian Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna mentions the areas where Croats were present. It doesn't
4 mention any borders or municipalities, for that matter. You had
5 municipalities where Croats were in a minority or in a majority or where
6 there was a half-half situation. The situation was quite unclear,
7 particularly in Bosnia where there was mixed population as opposed to
8 Herzegovina where there was a large area populated by Croats.
9 Q. So in your view, then, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna did
10 not extend to borders or municipalities per se?
11 A. No. On the contrary, there were attempts, as I said yesterday,
12 there were attempts to change the borders of certain municipalities in
13 order to make it easier for these people in order not to put one group in
14 a subordinate position vis-a-vis the other group.
15 Q. Before we move on now, I promised that we'd give you time to
16 answer Judge Prandler's question and so if you want to do that now, feel
17 free to do so. My only request, Mr. President, is if that time could be
18 assigned to the Trial Chamber and not to the Prosecution.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're absolutely right,
20 Mr. Stringer.
21 One a Judge puts a question, the answer given is not taken from
22 the time given to the party which is why sometimes Judges don't put
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to finish my answer to
25 Your Honours. The question was asked by one of the Judges about this
1 document. I would like to slightly correct what I said yesterday because
2 now it turns out that in a certain way I had something against
3 Mr. Kotroman. I was thinking about it overnight and I recalled that I
4 had met him, but I never had any particular discussions with him;
5 however, one of the Judges has warned me that this was not only the issue
6 pertaining to Mr. Kotroman but to an entire group of people who wanted to
7 see the unification of one part of Bosnia-Herzegovina with Croatia.
8 Yesterday, I mentioned that there were such aspirations and there
9 are such aspirations everywhere. For example, the Hungarians in
10 Slovakia, some of them would like to unify with Hungary. Also, the
11 Hungarians living in Subotica would like to be unified with Hungary.
12 The Serbs wish to be unified with Republika Srpska. Therefore
13 there are such aspiration and one such aspiration was expressed in this
14 document when these gentlemen expressed their wish that after many
15 centuries, they become again part of the Croatia as was the case in the
16 Middle Ages and they thought that would be a good idea to have this part
17 of Bosnia-Herzegovina; however, they could not be very accurate precisely
18 because the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna did not have borders, as I
19 said and as it is very clearly established on the document on the
20 establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
21 I discussed this issue with President Tudjman. The gentleman
22 from the Defence team mentioned, and I confirmed that I did have a few
23 meetings with President Tudjman at the time referred to by the Prosecutor
24 Stringer why was Tudjman opposed to the wishes of these people? I will
25 tell you now exactly what my discussion with President Tudjman was
1 regarding these wishes.
2 Number one, the Badinter Commission and let us not forget that
3 this commission was part of the mediation body that was acting on behalf
4 of the EU or rather European community at that time, and that refers to
5 not changing the borders.
6 MR. STRINGER: I apologise for accounting you off and if the
7 Trial Chamber wishes for you to continue, obviously you will be asked to
8 do that. I'm just mentioning now that my intention is actually to go to
9 some of the international agreements because you're starting to refer to
10 international agreements or negotiations such as the Badinter Commission.
11 So my proposal, if the Trial Chamber agrees is to move to the joint
12 statement of April 1993 rather than continue with, I think what is
13 possibly becoming a bit of an unwieldy --
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, this is the second time Mr. Stringer
15 cut off the witness. I don't mean to object but I believe he was
16 answering the Judge's question. Now if the Judge wishes to cut the
17 gentleman off, then it's up to the Judge. He may be satisfied with the
18 answer but I believe that the gentleman is entitled to provide a complete
19 answer. He's trying -- he's attempting to answer completely and I think
20 we should allow the witness to fully answer the question.
21 I realise that we have time constraints but I think out of
22 respect we should listen to him.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stringer.
24 Mr. Karnavas has just said that when a question is put by a Judge, well,
25 the witness answers the question. I feel that he answers the question
1 controlled by the Judge putting the question. I won't interfere.
2 When a Judge raises an issue it's not for me to say whether it's
3 a good or bad question, I don't have anything to say even if I don't
4 understand the questions at the times, but the witness answers based on
5 the Judge's question.
6 If you now intervene, this might be detrimental to the question
7 in it's completeness.
8 From what I understand, maybe I'm wrong but the witness wanted to
9 give more details about Mr. Kostroman compared to yesterday. That's what
10 I understood. I think it's best for him to finish and then you can go
11 back to the international agreements because you want to review them with
13 But Judge Prandler is the one controlling matters here.
14 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you. I'm of course aware of the time
15 factor and the time constraints as was mentioned by Mr. Karnavas, that is
16 number one.
17 Number two that yesterday when I asked the question, I prefaced
18 my question with the acknowledgment that of course the witness was not
19 there at that meeting which was when the issues were discussed according
20 to the presidential transcript. So my question was the following:
21 The -- since we spoke about the citizenship and we spoke about the
22 relevant provisions of the constitution of the Republic of Croatia and we
23 spoke about the situation of the naturalization and which gave very wide
24 latitude as far as the legislation is concerned to recognise as Croats
25 all those in the diaspora and elsewhere therefore I asked if that very
1 transcript where Mr. Ignac Kostroman as secretary of the HDZ at that
2 time, when he reported about the decisions taken by the governing board
3 to put it simply of the HDZ, all those relevant issues which you have
4 there on page 21 of -- 21 of the transcript, they are item 1, position to
5 item 2, item 3, et cetera, my question was if the witness, if
6 Ambassador Sancevic sees any linkage, a link of those issues which are --
7 which have been discussed there and raised there as well as the issues
8 which were related to the citizenship. In other words, somehow I believe
9 that was a euphoria among the Croats at that time that they belonged to
10 the same nation, they have to be treated, let's say it is my view at
11 least or it is my impression that like in Herceg-Bosna as well that now
12 it was a historical moment when their aspirations could be satisfied.
13 Both in terms of nationality, citizenship, and as far as the territorial
14 arrangements are concerned.
15 It was my impression that that is why I asked the question if
16 there was any linkage, any kind of joint common views expressed from the
17 official circles of Croatia at that time, that is President Tudjman and
18 the government as well as the participants of the HDZ leadership in
20 So my question is if the witness, if Ambassador Sancevic believes
21 that it was correct, my impression correct that there was certain
22 linkage, certain cooperation between the two parts of - let me put it
23 this way - of the Croatian nation?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can give you a specific answer to
25 your question. Before this transcript, the Badinter Commission had
1 established that no frontier can be changed in the eastern or
2 southeastern Europe, period. That was accepted by President Tudjman and
3 that is what we discussed. Therefore, it was an obligation to abide by
4 Badinter's decisions. There can be no change of borders. Therefore,
5 this wish, unfortunately, expressed by these gentlemen could not be
7 The second reason is you know that there was a Serbian so-called
8 republic in Croatia. If the gentleman from Bosnia-Herzegovina would join
9 Croatia, then the gentleman from the Serbian Republic of Krajina could
10 easily join Serbia. Therefore, that was the second argument against
11 Tudjman's acceptance or even giving any thought to any unification
12 between Herceg-Bosna and Croatia.
13 There's another reason pertaining to this issue. From the very
14 beginning, since there could be no change of borders and since
15 consequently there could be no joining or unification between any
16 parties, and since the chief argument of the state of Croatia was that
17 there could be no cessation of the republic of Serbian Krajina from
18 Croatia equally, there could be no unification between the republics --
19 sorry not to the republic but rather the Community of Herceg-Bosna and
21 Ever since then but even before that time when the Badinter
22 Commission had taken these decisions, the policy pursued by
23 President Tudjman, i.e., the Croatian state policy towards Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina was to preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina definitely as a
25 friendly state, et cetera. Because there was another thing. If the
1 greater Serbs managed to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina then we would have the
2 state of Serbia about 100 kilometres away from Zagreb. That was the
3 third argument put forward by President Tudjman and in my talks with him,
4 why the proposal made by people who wanted to see the unification could
5 not have been accepted.
6 From that point on, both President Tudjman and his government and
7 myself as the ambassador and the representative of the Croatian
8 government implementing the Croatian state policy towards Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina, we were all in favour of Bosnia and Herzegovina because we
10 saw it as the only solution, and we managed to persuade and to convince
11 the gentlemen who had wanted unification with Croatia that this would not
12 be in anyone's interest and that our official policy was -- meaning the
13 policy of the Croatian government and the Croatian state, was the
14 preservation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the protection of the Croatian
15 communities according to the constitution within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Hence, this permanent aspect -- Tudjman tried to persuade these
17 people by telling them: This is very well, gentlemen, that you wish to
18 see this that you are deriving arguments from the past but you have to
19 face the reality. You have to face the facts. Therefore, there can be
20 no possibility for this to become a reality. And President Tudjman
21 managed to convince the people around him. And I persuaded everybody
22 else in Bosnia and Herzegovina that we had to abide by the policy laid
23 down by the Badinter's Commission and to see which will be -- and to see
24 that that will be most beneficial for Croatia.
25 I don't know if I was too explicit in my answer but if you need
1 any further details, please do ask me.
2 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you very much, Ambassador Sancevic. Let
3 me also say that I have been interested in the issues and I appreciate
4 your answer because of the fact that personally, I am very much
5 interested as a Hungarian as you may know and since you referred to
6 instances when Hungarians around the present Hungary, I was also
7 interested in certain better solutions than exist nowadays and that is
8 why I asked the question yesterday when we spoke about the nationality
9 and the issue of the citizenship, et cetera.
10 I appreciate your answer. Thank you.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.
12 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Mr. Ambassador, then, I wanted to take you to the next exhibit
14 which is marked as P02088, and I believe this is one that you were shown
15 on your direct examination. It is in -- it will be in the Prosecution
16 binder, I believe. No, I'm sorry, Defence binder 2088. This is the
17 joint statement dated 24th of April, 1993. This was the one which makes
18 a reference to the Vance-Owen Peace Plan. It bears the signatures of
19 Mate Boban and Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and with President Tudjman as
20 witnessing the document.
21 Just to sort of set the context?
22 A. P05088.
23 Q. 2088.
24 A. [In English] DO5088.
25 Q. No, I'm sorry P as in Prosecution. 2088. It may be on the ELMO,
1 on the screen I'm not sure. Yes, it's also on the screen in front of
2 you, Mr. Ambassador.
3 A. [Interpretation] Please go ahead.
4 Q. I will set the context here. April of 1993, you are the Croatian
5 ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 A. Yes, I was.
7 Q. This document, the joint statement actually includes your name at
8 the beginning as a person who was part of the Croatian delegation?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And in terms of the context here, April 24th, 1993, we had only
11 about nine or ten days earlier seen some serious conflicts break out in
12 Central Bosnia between Croats and Muslims; do you recall that?
13 A. Between certain Croats and certain Muslims.
14 Q. Would you agree with me that there were military conflicts
15 between the HVO and the Muslim armed forces in Central Bosnia at that
17 A. Mr. Prosecutor, as the connoisseur of the situation, I must tell
18 you the following: There were various war lords there. There were
19 people who single-handedly did certain things because within these armed
20 forces, there were elements from the former Yugoslavia, there were
21 elements who had come from abroad, there were elements who at the time
22 existed or were emerging as military experts or commanders.
23 Let me just give you one example. I arrived in Croatia in 1991
24 as an ordinary private with the military book of the army of Venezuela
25 but in the meantime, I became a colonel. In other words, the situation
1 was fluctuating towards the local commander. Therefore, I am not in
2 favour of generalisations. I don't like to hear when somebody says that
3 the BH army was in conflict with the HVO. That was not the case
4 everywhere, but where did these things happen? These things happened
5 where you had extremists.
6 Q. Well let me try to be more specific on that because I think the
7 background here, there is a reason why this joint statement is being
8 issued, and I believe it has to do with the fact that the members of the
9 HVO units attached to the Central Bosnia Operative Zone which was based
10 in Vitez had armed conflicts with units attached to the 3rd Corps of the
11 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Would you agree with me on that point?
12 A. I would agree, but I wouldn't say all of them because even in
13 Central Bosnia, there were units that were not in conflict with each
14 other. Only the units that were run or under the supervision of
15 extremists were the ones who entered conflicts.
16 Q. Well, I mentioned Vitez in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone now,
17 do you know if that Central Bosnia Operative Zone was under the command
18 of a Mr. Tihomir Blaskic?
19 A. Sir, you are now taking me to the territory which is -- with
20 which I am not familiar with. I was not involved in the Defence. I was
21 a political representative. I was an ambassador. Therefore, now you're
22 asking me a question I don't know who started when and who the commander
23 was. I had the general idea of what was going on, but it's really absurd
24 for me to go into details.
25 It is true that I did make the maps made by Mr. Praljak, but you
1 will not find in those maps the names of the commanders because that was
2 not within my purview.
3 Q. You just said that the connoisseur of the situation, that was the
4 word that was given to me in English.
5 A. [In English] Could you repeat? Could you repeat?
6 Q. You had indicated that you were the connoisseur and so I thought
7 you were the ...
8 A. [Interpretation] Of the general situation, but I never got
9 involved in military matters because I didn't want to do that.
10 MR. STRINGER: Could I get an interpretation of the last ...
11 A. And I think that was a right thing to do.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One follow-up question.
13 Witness, you answered the question but I think there's something missing.
14 You were the ambassador. Normally speaking, you had a load of
15 information coming to you. I suppose so. I don't know. If something
16 happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, something reported by the
17 international media, would Mr. Granic or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
18 call you to ask you to send a report, a telegram on the said event? Did
19 that sort of thing happen or not?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it did happen that I regularly
21 sent my reports. They were very modest, very reduced because I at one
22 point realised that my diplomatic mail was being checked and that's when
23 I reduced my reports to five sentences, to a piece of paper, and the only
24 thing that you could see there was President Tudjman and Minister of
25 Foreign Affairs Mate Granic, three lines, five lines, that was all. What
1 mattered was the synthesis of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 In my reports, I never ever mentioned any details.
3 MR. STRINGER:
4 Q. So -- and that's just in context. The joint statement, then, is
5 being issued in the wake of a fairly serious military conflict that had
6 taken place in Central Bosnia; is that true?
7 A. Yes. Yes.
8 Q. And we have Lord Owen is directly involved in this joint
9 statement. I take it, then, that there was fairly intense international
10 pressure on the HVO or the Bosnian Croats, if you will, and the Bosnian
11 Muslims to reach some sort of an agreement to diffuse the situation.
12 Would you agree with me on that?
13 A. I would agree that that was the goal of one part of the
14 international community. There was no complete consensus on the part of
15 the international community. I can tell you that some even showed that
16 they were in favour of the Greater Serbian side.
17 Q. You know, I think you might be referring to something that we
18 read in your book. I know that you've written in your book, and you've
19 been fairly critical of certain members of the international community
20 along the lines that you've just mentioned, that is, that certain powers
21 in the international realm, in fact, favoured, in your view, a conflict
22 between the Croats and Muslims because that would enhance or would
23 facilitate the Greater Serbia. Is that your view?
24 A. What I wrote, and I'm here to tell the truth and nothing but the
25 truth, and I adhere by that truth. What I wrote has been written and
1 that is why at least in my book, I have evidence for that.
2 Q. Let me take a few moments to explore that with you,
3 Mr. Ambassador while we're on it. I'm going to jump ahead in my outline
4 so it's going to take me just a moment to find the document.
5 Well, let me just come back to it because I'm not ready to go
6 there and I don't want to take more time. Yesterday Judge Trechsel in
7 the context of this and the Medjurgorje Agreement that followed on the
8 18th of May, Judge Trechsel asked whether, in your view, the parties had
9 an equal attitude in respect of these agreements. I believe that's the
10 word he used.
11 I would like to explore with you, since you were a party to these
12 negotiations, in any event, whether, in fact, there was disagreement on
13 the Croatian side and the Muslim side about what these various agreements
14 actually meant and how they would be implemented.
15 So now if you could set aside that document which is the joint
16 declaration, I'd like to take you to another one of the presidential
17 transcripts that's marked as P02059 and this one we have in sanction as
18 well so if the usher can help you get the document, Mr. Ambassador, we
19 can also put the transcript on the screen for you. P02059 and this will
20 be in the Prosecution binders.
21 This is an interesting one, Mr. Ambassador, and again I recognise
22 it's not one where it appears you were present - I could be wrong - but
23 it's a transcript of a meeting that occurred that same night of 24 April
24 1993 just before this joint declaration was issued because if you go back
25 to the joint declaration, and you don't have to do it but on the second
1 page -- or I'm sorry, the final page, you see that it was actually issued
2 on the 25th of April, 1993 at quarter before 1.00 in the morning.
3 Now, this transcript is in fact the transcript of a meeting with
4 Tudjman, Mr. Izetbegovic, and also Lord Owen and this is actually the
5 transcript of the discussion that precedes the issuance of that joint
7 So getting back to the question, the interpretation of the
8 parties and whether the parties shared the same views, there are some
9 comments and there are some remarks in here that are made that I would
10 like to direct you to and see if you can comment on that.
11 That starts on page -- I'm sorry, page 11 of the transcript which
12 will be the same in both languages because this is early in the meeting
13 and each of the parties makes sort of an opening presentation. These are
14 some of the things that President Izetbegovic says. I'm going to move
15 now actually to page 12, which is the next page. This is what he says,
16 they're talking about the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
17 "Our impression is that the HVO and the Republic of Croatia do
18 not want the Vance-Owen Plan as it stands." This is Izetbegovic talking.
19 He says, "First of all, we accepted this plan because we thought that
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina could not contain some exclusively ethnic and
21 national territories because it is a mixed country."
22 Then he says, skipping one line, "Judging by the HVO actions,
23 they understood this plan in a completely different manner. Despite the
24 fact that, under the mediation of Mr. Vance and Mr. Owen, we have signed
25 a document, an agreement, whose first item explicitly says that the
1 provinces are not national territories of any one of the peoples who
2 cannot lay claim to it only for themselves. If we have signed this ..."
3 he says.
4 Then skipping down a couple of lines, he says, "In other words,
5 Herceg-Bosna as a state entity, as a type of state entity, could not
6 exist after the signing of the Vance-Owen Plan."
7 Then the next line he says that, "During talks with Mr. Owen, I
8 heard several times that this was only a temporary solution until the
9 problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina was solved, that Herceg-Bosna was a
10 temporary solution until some other solution was found."
11 So I've got some more passages but just based on that, this is my
12 question: You testified yesterday that Mr. Izetbegovic unreservedly
13 signed the Vance-Owen Peace Plan and my question to you is whether, in
14 fact, he had strong reservations and those were the kinds of reservations
15 that he's expressing here about the way in which the Vance-Owen Peace
16 Plan is being interpreted by the HVO?
17 A. Look, as far as the Vance-Owen Plan is concerned, the Republic of
18 Croatia gave its full support to the original text of the plan
19 irrespective of whether it was about the constitutional organisation or
20 the internal division. In other words, if the final text of the
21 Vance-Owen Plan had been accepted as it was proposed, the division would
22 have been the same as was proposed by Mr. Vance and Mr. Owen.
23 Mr. Izetbegovic and his associates accepted gladly the aspects of
24 the constitutional organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina but they did
25 not agree with the provinces or the internal division as it was
1 envisaged. However, at one point, Mr. Izetbegovic signed every single
2 thing and then later on, he had second thoughts especially with regard to
3 the geographical division and he was against that so that at one point,
4 not only the Greater Serbs never accepted the Vance-Owen Plan, but also
5 Izetbegovic had his objections to the Vance-Owen Plan.
6 Croatia, on the other hand, never had any objections but rather
7 gave its full support to the Vance-Owen Plan.
8 Q. Setting aside Croatia, the Republic of Croatia, let's talk about
9 the HVO and the Herceg-Bosna people and their interpretation of the
10 Vance-Owen Plan because that's what I think President Izetbegovic is
11 referring to here and he's reporting this to President Tudjman and as
12 someone who was involved in the various discussions and negotiations,
13 would you agree with me that these were problems that Mr. Izetbegovic was
14 expressing that, in fact, there were problems with the way that the HVO
15 was implementing the Vance-Owen Plan, that there were disagreements about
16 what the plan means and how it should be implemented and that was really
17 the cause of the problems at this time?
18 A. Look, their situations with regard to the implementation of the
19 Vance-Owen Plan were they could not agree. But when Mr. Izetbegovic put
20 his signature on the Vance-Owen Plan, he accepted it at that moment.
21 Later on, he gave up on the plan and that was the reason and the
22 situation which led to the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan which was an amendment
23 to the original plan and the second plan was the so-called union of the
25 I would also like to mention that Mr. Izetbegovic, whom I knew
1 very well and had frequent exchanges of thoughts with him and I could
2 even say this, we were friends. Mr. Izetbegovic was always occupied with
3 the unitarian Bosnia and Herzegovina and all the plans of the
4 international community.
5 Q. I will ask you about the unitarian Bosnia and Herzegovina so as I
6 take it I'm looking at the transcript, with regard to the implementation
7 of Vance-Owen it appears to me you were saying there were situations with
8 regard to the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan where they could not
9 agree, the parties had differences about how the plan should be
10 implemented; is that correct?
11 A. To be very specific, there were problems with regard to the
12 command post in Central Bosnia. There were disagreements as to where the
13 Croatian HVO commander was supposed to be, in which province, and also
14 where the commander of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was supposed to be
15 located. And there was a bit of a tug of war with regard to who is going
16 to be the boss of all bosses.
17 Q. Okay. Let me just continue with another passage. Page 15 where
18 Izetbegovic is saying:
19 "There would have been no conflict if Mr. Boban, instead of
20 sending troops to Travnik or to Vitez, had called on Mostar residents to
21 organise and participate with him in government in accordance with the
22 Vance-Owen Plan. There would have been no conflict had they called on
23 Muslims to participate in government, as envisaged by the Vance-Owen
24 Plan, if this had been the first step. They would have been more than
25 happy to accept, because a large number of people do not participate in
1 government, professors do not want to hold classes, judges do not want to
2 go to courts, policemen do not want to join in, because everywhere they
3 are told they have to accept and write an application to Herceg-Bosna,
4 and they want to establish a Mostar province."
5 He says, "We have accepted the Mostar province, but we have not
6 accepted the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. We have accepted the
7 Vance-Owen Plan, because it envisages provinces and does not envisage a
8 Croatian Herceg-Bosna, because Mostar is not and will never be only
9 Croatian. You can terrorise Mostar for years but you will never rule
10 over it."
11 "So we can govern there jointly. Mostar cannot be governed only
12 by the Croatian people."
13 That's what Izetbegovic is saying on the night of the 24th of
14 April. Now, this, again, gets into interpretation of the Vance-Owen and
15 my question based on this one is whether, on the Croat side, the HVO
16 side, whether the HVO or Herceg-Bosna interpretation was that in certain
17 provinces under Vance-Owen, the Croats would govern exclusively and that
18 what Izetbegovic is saying here is that he does not accept that view,
19 they want to govern jointly in Mostar. Is that basically the problem
20 here, the conflict. The Croats have a view of territorial exclusivity in
21 terms of governance whereas the Muslims see something has more joint in
22 these territories under the Vance-Owen Plan?
23 A. Look, the reflection of the Vance-Owen Plan can be found on the
24 18th of August 1993 when people were elected in various provinces and
25 they all agreed.
1 Q. As of this time, I'm asking now about August -- I'm sorry, April
2 1993, at this time -- right -- there were disagreements on two sides and
3 I'm not even asking you to take a side. I'm simply asking you as someone
4 who was involved, isn't it true that the Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian
5 Croats had strongly different opinions and views in terms of how the
6 Vance-Owen Plan should be implemented on the ground?
7 A. No, sir, I don't agree with you. You keep on generalising
8 things. Bosnian-Herzegovinian Croats, Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims.
9 Some Bosnian-Herzegovinian Croats and some Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims
10 could not agree but there were others such was Mr. Prlic and others who
11 were always prone to agreeing.
12 Q. Well let's talk about the individuals who signed the joint
13 statement, that is Mr. Izetbegovic on the Muslim side and Mr. Boban on
14 the Croat side.
15 A. The page ...
16 Q. This goes back to the -- this is the joint statement which is the
17 document itself. I can just simply -- if you will accept my
18 representation that it was signed by Mr. Boban and Mr. Izetbegovic on
19 behalf of those two and what I'm asking is in terms of the Izetbegovic
20 faction and the Boban faction, there was real disagreement about how the
21 Vance-Owen Plan was to be implement in April of 1993.
22 A. I would say the following: There was a period of time when they
23 agreed with regard to the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan.
24 Whatever Mr. Alija Izetbegovic signed, an agreement could be reached
25 there. However, the situation was very fluid. At any given moment,
1 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic would again revert or rather go back to his old
2 phases of the unitarian rather than federal Republic of Croatia and then
3 when he reverted to that, then obviously the Vance-Owen Plan started
4 falling apart in a certain way and this finally led to Owen-Stoltenberg
5 Plan which was an attempt to win over the Greater Serbian side and also
6 an attempt to satisfy the Muslim side, although none of the plans gave up
7 on the federal organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 MR. STRINGER: And I can assure you we will go to the issue of
9 the unitary Bosnia and Herzegovina as I've indicated, I'm not quite there
10 yet in my outline, but we will definitely asking your views on that.
11 I think it might be -- I'm being told we have 10 minutes,
12 Mr. President, or is it time for the break now?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise -- excuse me --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ten more minutes, please.
15 MR. STRINGER: We're going to go for another ten minutes and then
16 take a break. Is that okay with you?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you say your
18 positions. I represented the Croatian state policy vis-a-vis Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina. Those were not my positions. Please do not use those
20 words. Just a while ago, you said, "Let's hear your positions" what does
21 it mean my positions? I represented the state of Croatia and I followed
22 an official policy, the official policy of the Republic of Croatia
23 vis-a-vis the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And I must add today
24 that --
25 MR. STRINGER:
1 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt. I think I was just indicating that we're
2 going to be asking for your testimony or your evidence on that. I
3 recognise that you're distinguished between your personal views and your
4 views that were expressed on behalf of the official policy but I'm just
5 talking in general terms about your evidence and your testimony.
6 Now, that's the joint declaration and it was issued just minutes
7 after this discussion that we've been referring to. In the next event,
8 the next big event, if you will, actually there are a number because
9 things are happening quickly, in May of 1993 I take it you are aware,
10 sir, that -- on the 9th of May, 1993, then, a pretty large conflict, a
11 fierce conflict broke out in the town of Mostar between, again, on one
12 side forces of the HVO and forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina on
13 the other.
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Okay. That was the 9th, 10th of May and then you move forward
16 about nine days, then, to the 18th of May which is the Medjurgorje
17 Agreement that I will be asking you about. But in the meantime, there
18 was just one -- there was one document I wanted to show you to get your
19 testimony about and that's Exhibit P09602. This is in the Prosecution
20 binder. It might also be on the screen in front of you, Mr. Ambassador.
21 This is a document that I expect you have not seen but as someone who was
22 a diplomat, an ambassador, I want to ask your views about this letter.
23 If you want to take a moment to read it, that's fine. It's
24 called a note verbal, it's dated the 6th of May, 1993.
25 A. Yes, I can see two pages and I've not read them.
1 Q. It's called a "note verbal" it's been issued by the office of
2 Mr. Mate Boban and you can see at the bottom of the second page it's
3 being directed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Security
4 Council and other countries. If you want to take a moment to read the
5 entire letter, you can otherwise I can just go over it with you together
7 In this letter, Mr. Boban makes a reference to a meeting, a joint
8 session of the political bodies of the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 and the Presidency of the HDZ for Bosnia-Herzegovina. This joint session
10 that was held in Citluk on the 29th of April chaired by Mr. Boban a
11 Mr. Franjo Boras as president as well, as well as a Mr. Mile Akmadzic.
12 Do you know those gentlemen, Mr. Boras or Mr. Akmadzic?
13 A. I know Mr. Franjo Boras. I know Mr. Miho Lasic because he was my
14 minister in the embassy of the Republic of Croatia and I also know
15 Mr. Akmadzic because when Mr. Akmadzic was the prime minister, I asked
16 for his permission to allow the Croatian troops then to
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina and he granted that permission.
18 Q. When was that by the way?
19 A. That was before the new liberation of Dubrovnik, President
20 Tudjman had informed me that -- the coastal area around Dubrovnik would
21 be returned. Dubrovnik was, at the time, besieged and the Croatian
22 troops were on their way to liberate Dubrovnik. I wrote a letter to
23 Mr. Akmadzic who, at the time, was the prime minister of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, and I asked for his permission for the Croatian troops to be
25 allowed to enter a part of Herzegovina because in that narrow area of the
1 former Dubrovnik republic, it was absolutely impossible to realize or
2 carry out some military operations because the area was so small and
3 narrow and Mr. Akmadzic in agreement with Mr. Izetbegovic granted us
4 permission for Croatian troops to be allowed to enter the territory of
6 Q. And Mr. Lasic, when was he the minister in the Croatian embassy?
7 Do you know what period of time he was there? You said he was your
8 minister, I believe.
9 A. Yes, that's what I said.
10 Q. And what period of time did he act?
11 A. At the moment when I left for Sarajevo after the Washington
12 Accords, I opened an embassy which was much bigger than the one in
13 Medjurgorje because this was a very big and major embassy that was to
14 work on the implementation of the Washington Accords. I needed an
15 assistant. I needed somebody who was familiar with the situation in
16 Sarajevo and so on and so forth, and I asked for Mr. Miho Lasic to be
17 assigned to the embassy.
18 Q. Thank you. Just getting back to this letter which is the Boban
19 "note verbal" that went to the UN Secretary -General and to the others,
20 what this is is sort of an announcement that after consideration these
21 following conclusions were decided and announced. What this says is that
22 the legitimate and legal representatives of the Croat people in the
23 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, number one, they deny -- do you see
24 paragraph one there?
25 A. Yes, I can see that.
1 Q. That the legitimate and legal representatives of the Croat people
2 in Bosnia and Herzegovina: "Deny legal validity of all decisions of the
3 Presidency and government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 rendered without the participation of the elected representatives of the
5 Croat people."
6 This is number two, "Deny legitimacy for all diplomatic and
7 consular representatives of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 Thirdly, "They deny legitimacy and legality to newly-elected
10 officials from the ranks of the Croat people in bodies of the republic's
11 government without the confirmation of the Presidency of the HDZ for
13 And finally, they "Deny legality of representation and
14 legitimization of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and in the function of the
15 president of the Presidency of the R BiH." That Izetbegovic is
16 considered only as a representative of the Muslims.
17 Now, I know that you haven't seen this before but as an
18 ambassador and someone who was a politician at the time, this coming
19 about 12 days after the issuance of the joint declaration, right, in
20 which the parties are going to attempt to implement together the terms of
21 the Vance-Owen Plan and to go forward peacefully after the conflicts in
22 Central Bosnia, it seems to me, Mr. Ambassador, that issuing a letter
23 like this and sending it to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
24 as well as all the embassies of the countries where Bosnia-Herzegovina
25 has an embassy that would seem to me to be counter-productive in the
1 extreme and would in fact hinder efforts of the parties to work together.
2 My question is whether you agree with me whether you can comment on the
3 impact such a letter would have in the climate that existed at the time
4 of the joint statement?
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me Mr. Ambassador, before we hear that,
6 obviously there is a space in time, and I think we need to draw the
7 attention to the gentleman with respect to paragraph number one because I
8 think it's important to put it into context. The question is: Are
9 there -- are there Croatian representatives -- this is the Presidency --
10 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, I'm going to object to
11 putting the answer in the witness's mouth. This witness --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Would the two speakers please not overlap.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: It's a trick question, assuming that the
14 government --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Your microphone phone is off. Mr. Karnavas's
16 microphone is off.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Assuming that the Presidency was properly
18 functioning, I can -- I see the question as being proper but we have to
19 look at what transpired in the meantime. If that -- if we're not dealing
20 with a different government then obviously it calls into question the --
21 the legitimacy of that government and therefore, his question is
22 improper. That's the whole point.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Wouldn't the witness know this and include it in
24 his answer? I think you're referring to the reason behind number one and
25 the justification for it and wouldn't that be something that the witness
1 would be perfectly able to comment on?
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, if you could switch off your mike. Now, I
3 would agree with you presumably if we had some foundation. We're
4 presuming that the gentleman knows what was happening in Sarajevo at the
5 time keeping in mind that this is -- this is in May. He was roving at
6 the time. So there is some -- there are some facts that require some --
7 that's what -- I'm trying to be fair, I'm not trying to obstruct.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Would you turn off your microphone, please.
9 I have no other conception of your intervention. I'm sure
10 Mr. Stringer will ...
11 MR. STRINGER: The witness -- you know, there are some witnesses
12 who, I think, are pretty not susceptible to trick questions and my
13 impression is that this is one. The gentleman was a Croatian ambassador
14 to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He can read the letter. He's read the letter.
15 He knows what the situation was in Sarajevo at the time.
16 I've asked him, in his capacity as a diplomat, what impact, if
17 any, such language like this would have on the parties' attempts at
18 reconciliation. I think it's a fair question and I expect that he will
19 take into account the context at the time that the letter was written.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to underline once again that
21 my relationships were with the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I
22 never interfered with the internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina but
23 as far as concerned Mr. Boban and what he writes, these are his ideas. I
24 had nothing whatsoever to do with them, I'm not defending them, I'm not
25 attacking them. Mr. Boban wrote what he did and it's a fact. I do not
1 wish to provide any comment on something that I wasn't involved in, that
2 I did not have a specific insight into.
3 I said, didn't I, that I had contact with Mr. Boban only once,
4 that I visited him only once.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to have a break, a
6 20-minute break.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 12.57 p.m.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, I believe you
10 want to seek clarification regarding filings and Mr. Kovacic too.
11 Mr. Stringer.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I asked for two
13 minutes only and my learned friend agreed. The Praljak Defence made a
14 filing called Slobodan Praljak's notice regarding his intent to tender 1D
15 AA statement pursuant to Rule 92 ter yesterday afternoon. [In English]
16 like one hour ago and we discovered that there was one error
17 inadvertently, pages from 42304 were added to that submission -- this
18 material and those pages starting with 42304 up to the last page which is
19 42292 are actually not needed in that submission. We will file in
20 writing that corrigendum during the afternoon; however, I wanted that the
21 other parties which might read that saving their time. Thank you so
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Mr. Ambassador the last round of questions had to do with the
1 period of April 1993 and the issuance of the joint statement on the 24th.
2 The next sort of topic or time frame I'd like to ask you about is the
3 period of the Medjurgorje Agreement that was dated the 18th of May 1993
4 and again just to set the context in the sense of the Medjurgorje
5 agreement, you indicated I think just before the break that you were
6 aware of a strong conflict that broke out in Mostar on the 9th of May
7 between the HV [sic] and the Armija Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. I didn't say that. I said that a conflict broke out between some
9 units of the BH army and some units of the HVO, not all of them.
10 Q. The record indicates page 76, line 13, if I said HV, I meant to
11 say HVO.
12 Where were you when the conflict broke out in Mostar on the 9th
13 of May?
14 A. I was a roving ambassador at the time based in Neum.
15 Q. So are you saying it's likely that you were in Neum or that --
16 can you tell us? Do you recall where you were? If you don't recall,
17 that's fine.
18 A. I was either in Neum where the Mostar University was housed in
19 the same hotel or I was on one of my travels in the free territory of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in other words, I never entered the territory
21 controlled by the Greater Serbia aggressor.
22 Q. Did you at some point learn in any detail about the events that
23 had taken place in Mostar at the time, the ABiH, for example, had
24 headquarters in west Mostar that was captured by the HVO. I'm just
25 trying to get an idea of the level of your knowledge of the incident
2 A. I recall reading about some of the events that occurred I also
3 recall that I was on one of my travels around about that time and that I
4 came across Mr. Prlic who, to my recollection, showed to me the process
5 of rebuilding the bridges in Mostar. Do not forget that the Serbs had
6 destroyed all the bridges in Mostar.
7 Then there was an American unit there providing services free of
8 charge, reconstructing bridges in Mostar and I recall our conversation
9 there in Mostar. I don't think our conversation had anything to do with
10 the conflicts themselves. We spoke only of the positive matters as to
11 what could be done in Mostar to make it operational, to help it
12 reconstruct the bridges and so on.
13 Q. Did you go to Mostar during those days --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. During those days, the 9th, 10th or 11th of May?
16 A. I predominantly travelled in three directions. I took one route
17 across western Herzegovina in the direction of Livno. That was one
19 Q. Sorry to cut you off. I'm asking you specifically about the 9th,
20 10th, 11th of May. Did you go to Mostar town personally during those
21 three days at all?
22 A. I don't think I was over those three days. I'm merely telling
23 you what it is that I remember, and I remember that roughly at the time I
24 travelled in three directions, one toward Livno, the other one toward
25 Central Bosnia, and the third toward Mostar.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, the conversation you had with Dr. Prlic you just
2 referred to about the bridges, was that during the first part of May or
3 did that conversation take place at a different time?
4 A. I can't set an exact date on that, I don't remember, but I
5 believe it was roughly in the early days of my tenure as the roving
7 Q. Okay. So this would have been during possibly 1992 or the first
8 part of 1993?
9 A. The first part of 1993.
10 Q. Now, getting back to Mostar around the 9th/10th of May, did you
11 become aware at some point that as part of the events there, a large
12 number of Muslims from the Mostar area had been taken out and were being
13 held at a place called the Heliodrom facility that was south of the city?
14 A. I think that all of us came to know about this through the New
15 York Times. Since this was the source of information we had, I
16 immediately conveyed the information to my superior, Mr. Granic, who in
17 turn informed Tudjman and so on.
18 Q. Now, counsel on your direct examination, excuse me, he took me to
19 the Medjurgorje Agreement and I don't need to ask you more questions
20 about the agreement itself but like I did with the joint statement from
21 April, I'd like to ask you a couple questions, perhaps, if you can shed
22 light on some of the discussions and the positions that were being taken
23 in the background during the negotiations between the parties.
24 On that point, if you would look to a different exhibit, P02441,
25 it's in the Prosecution binder. P02441. I think they can put it on the
1 screen also, Mr. Ambassador.
2 A. Yes, go ahead, please.
3 Q. Okay. Now, this is a document that you haven't seen before, it's
4 a UN report, a United Nations report about the meeting that occurred on
5 the 18th of May between the parties which led to the Medjurgorje
6 Agreement. And I know that you are not indicated here as a participant
7 in this particular meeting, although it was my recollection from
8 yesterday that you did participate in some of the discussions related to
9 the Medjurgorje Agreement; is that correct?
10 A. I was in Medjurgorje. I was in Split before that. All of that
11 being within President Tudjman's action for peace. On the 18th of May,
12 the first part of the day was spent in Split at a meeting comprising
13 various representatives of the international community, there was the
14 Russian foreign minister, I can't recall his name. Then there was
15 Mr. Petersen as the ...
16 Q. At this point, we don't need to know all the participants in the
17 Split meeting, if you weren't there, but I just wanted to make sure that
18 you are a person who can tell us --
19 A. I was there.
20 Q. I'm sorry, you were there. You were not at the Medjurgorje
21 meeting that's referred to in this document.
22 A. I attended both meetings.
23 Q. All right. I stand corrected. Then in terms of this exhibit,
24 2441, on the second page, there is a reference to Mr. Petersen, who was
25 talking and what he says is, among other things, is that on behalf of the
1 international community, he was reiterating a strong support of the
2 council of ministers to the Vance-Owen Plan and he alluded to the shock
3 and dismay in Europe over recent events which had not only threatened the
4 hopes of Bosnia but it also affected Croatia's relations with Europe.
5 My question there, sir, is this: Isn't it true that at this
6 time, the international view, the world view was that Croatia did bear
7 some involvement or responsibility for the events that had taken place in
8 Mostar during the 9th and 10th of May by virtue of its association with
9 the HVO?
10 A. In its relations toward Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia -- or let
11 me put it this way. The views held by representatives of the
12 international community were divided. Not all of them held the same view
13 such as the one expressed by Mr. Petersen. It was due to Mr. Petersen's
14 views that President Tudjman wanted to have Mr. Petersen and all the
15 other important international players both in Split and in Medjurgorje.
16 What was at stake was to salvage the Vance-Owen proposal.
17 Q. And for whatever reason, there was a lot of pressure on Croatia
18 in order to make that happen in the wake of the events in Mostar on the
19 9th and 10th of May.
20 A. Some of the representatives of the international community
21 grasped what was going on, especially the tendencies to create an Islamic
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina and there were others who ...
23 Q. I'm sorry to cut you off but I was simply asking whether you
24 recall whether there was a lot of pressure on Croatia in order to make
25 the Vance-Owen Plan work. Do you recall, yes or no, whether there was
1 pressure on Croatia to use its influence?
2 A. There was pressure on Croatia but not in relation to the
3 Vance-Owen Plan since Croatia had been supporting it all along. Aren't I
4 right in saying that?
5 Q. Okay. If you'll turn the page, there's another passage I want to
6 ask you some questions about. What's happening here on the next page of
7 this, there's a paragraph that begins with the words, "President
8 Izetbegovic and is says, "President Izetbegovic agreed that the political
9 and military situations were closely related and that there was also
10 agreement that the Vance-Owen Peace Plan be implemented." Here we're
11 getting to this issue of implementation and what does that mean.
12 "He suggested therefore the parties start out from where they
13 were in agreement and recommended the formation of the provinces and
14 their authorities be a priority, the problem of Mostar having arisen due
15 to the denial of participation of Muslims in the local authority."
16 Now -- and then it continues:
17 "However, it would be necessary for Mr. Boban to publicly and
18 clearly admit that the republic of Herceg-Bosnia no longer existed and
19 that the formed provinces could not be considered national territories or
20 the exclusive right of any one peoples."
21 So on that point, I'm just trying to recapture the positions of
22 the parties and your views on that based on your own involvement. We
23 looked at the transcript earlier from April 24th and Mr. Izetbegovic was
24 saying that Herceg-Bosna can't exist under Vance-Owen. And that the
25 Vance-Owen provinces cannot be the exclusive territory of any one party.
1 Do you recall or can you say whether, in fact, he was expressing
2 the same views then as part of the Medjurgorje negotiations? Because it
3 appears to me that according to this report, he's saying the same thing
4 in May that he was saying in April.
5 A. I will put it this way: In May in Medjurgorje, there existed a
6 consensus between Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to
7 follow the Vance-Owen Plan. Now, there were always some minor problems
8 when it came to the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan, everybody
9 wanted grist to their own will, and I believe that Alija Izetbegovic
10 admitted at the time that they were in agreement, meaning him with
11 Tudjman, that the Vance-Owen Plan had to be implemented.
12 Q. Well, and I think we all accept that everyone was signing
13 agreements and saying that the Vance-Owen Plan should be implemented. On
14 that, Mr. Ambassador, we can agree.
15 I'm trying to go behind that. Let me put it to you this way:
16 When Izetbegovic says that under Vance-Owen, Herceg-Bosna cannot exist,
17 was there agreement on that point?
18 A. The Vance-Owen Plan envisaged provinces. The idea was that
19 provinces should be set up and automatically, through the implementation
20 of the Vance-Owen Plan, the provinces would be set up and Herceg-Bosna,
21 the way it, in fact, existed at the time was supposed to adjust to the
22 newly arisen situation.
23 Q. Well, under the Vance-Owen Plan, Mr. Ambassador, isn't it true
24 that there were cantons and they were all given numbers and that the maps
25 that the Vance-Owen Plan and the ones that were signed by Mr. Izetbegovic
1 and Mr. Boban made no reference to Herceg-Bosna. Can we agree on that
2 point? There were numbers, if you will ...
3 A. There were cantons and their numbers.
4 Q. Okay. And so Mr. Izetbegovic was taking the position that the
5 Bosnian -- that the Boban faction, if you will, they had to repudiate
6 Herceg-Bosna; isn't that true?
7 A. I think that's quite clear, it was quite clearly formulated in
8 the Vance-Owen Plan which Croatia supported and endorsed.
9 Q. All right. Are you familiar, do you know, if Mr. Boban and his
10 faction ever repudiated Herceg-Bosna?
11 A. The fact of the matter was quite different. The Vance-Owen Plan
12 failed -- can you allow me to --
13 Q. Sorry, if I could ask you to just answer my question and then you
14 can make the point that you wanted to make, the question is: Do you know
15 if Mr. Boban and his faction ever repudiated Herceg-Bosna? Do you know?
16 A. By virtue of accepting the Vance-Owen Plan, it became inevitable.
17 Q. Okay.
18 A. Previously, I said that what had to be done was to adapt
19 Herceg-Bosna to the Vance-Owen Plan which ultimately fell through not
20 because of the Muslim-Croat side but because of the Serb side which he
21 refused to accept the plan.
22 Q. Well, let me ask this part of it and this makes reference to the
23 next few words, setting aside the words or the name Herceg-Bosna, didn't
24 the Boban faction -- weren't they advancing a concept of Vance-Owen that
25 was based upon territories being the exclusive right of one people? And
1 again we see Izetbegovic is complaining about that, "... provinces could
2 not be considered national territories or the exclusive right any one
3 people." Didn't the Boban faction consider the Croatian territories or
4 provinces to be national territories for themselves, that is for Croats
6 A. No, definitely not. Under the Vance-Owen Plan, the envisaged
7 provinces were determined largely in such a way that there was one side
8 which had a predominant majority. The Vance-Owen Plan did not provide
9 for any exclusive provinces. I repeat that the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna did not have any borders. It was the Vance-Owen Plan that
11 determined borders in terms of provinces.
12 Q. One last question on this document. The next sentence regarding
13 the Medjurgorje agreement indicates that or what Izetbegovic was saying
14 was that, "The meeting should not end without first resolving the issue
15 of the civilians still detained in Mostar." That's the last sentence of
16 that paragraph. Do you recall whether 9 days after the 9th of May, that
17 is on the 18th, Muslims were still being detained at the Heliodrom
18 facility, for example, south of Mostar. Did you go to the Heliodrom?
19 A. I wasn't at the Heliodrom, I was at Dretelj, with
20 Mr. Mato Granic.
21 Q. That was in September 1993, that was later.
22 A. Whatever the date, I don't recall it specifically, I was with
23 Mr. Mato Granic and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
24 Q. And I've got some questions about that a little bit later. The
25 next exhibit, Mr. Ambassador, is P -- yes, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Ambassador, I have a
2 technical question to put to you. We have a transcript of the meeting of
3 the 18th of May 1993 between President Tudjman, President Izetbegovic and
4 Mr. Mate Boban. I reviewed very closely the list of participants to that
5 meeting, and I couldn't find your name. I'm quite surprised to see that
6 the ambassador of the Republic of Croatia did not attend the meeting when
7 we see that the president of a republic is there and I also noticed that
8 the minister in charge of foreign affairs is not present either.
9 Do you know why you did not attend the meeting or is it so that
10 you attended the meeting but your name, for some reason, does not appear
11 on the list?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not present at the meeting
13 and I don't remember why. There must have been an important reason why I
14 wasn't there.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
16 MR. STRINGER:
17 Q. Mr. Ambassador, the next exhibit is P10398. It's in the
18 Prosecution binder. While that one is being located, in your direct
19 examination this week, you talked about various speeches that were given
20 by President Tudjman and how they reflected the policy of the Republic of
21 Croatia. This is a report about the speech that President Tudjman gave
22 in Siroki Brijeg on the 20th of May, 1993, two days after the Medjurgorje
24 As I understand it, you accompanied President Tudjman to Siroki
25 Brijeg on that day.
1 A. Correct. I accompanied President Tudjman.
2 Q. And Mr. Boban was present as well, I understand?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. I think from what I've seen, President Tudjman and not in this
5 order but President Tudjman spoke, Mr. Boban spoke at some point,
6 Mr. Susak spoke, and I think in addition, you spoke, yourself, that is
7 speaking to the crowd that had assembled?
8 A. It was customary for the president of the republic not to be
9 followed by anyone, that he should be the last but I asked to be allowed
10 to deliver a speech, and the speech I delivered was a pacifist one. I
11 don't have its text but I tried to underscore that the war had to be
12 brought to a stop, that that was in the interest of all and in
13 particular, of course, of the Republic of Croatia because the entire
14 south of Croatia had an interest in the end of the war, what with tourism
15 and everything else.
16 Q. Well, I can assure you that we --
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Let me just interject for a second. If we're
18 going to use this document, a more fuller translation was provided by the
19 Defence, I am told that at least in the very first page there is a
20 section missing so I would refer, I would ask very kindly to use 1D02932,
21 that was the Defence translation. I don't know whether Mr. Stringer is
22 aware of that but it's the same document but it's a more fuller
23 translation. That's only if he's going to go to the document.
24 MR. STRINGER: Well I am going to go to the document. What I
25 have in my hand is a translation. Let me propose this, Mr. President,
1 let's put them both together because I have something that's called a
2 translation that was done by the CLSS, so I'm not sure what's meant by
3 fuller and I don't have the document in front of me. Could I just --
4 MR. KARNAVAS: I can put the very first page on it -- on the ELMO
5 and we can all see that at least you had see that there is a paragraph
6 that's missing completely. This is the first page.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, let's do so.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: We can look at also the original version, the
9 Croatian version.
10 MR. STRINGER: We've got actually a larger copy of the Croatian
11 version that's been blown up for the witness in case he wants to read
12 directly from that.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I can provide the part that is missing in the
14 original version. I have no objection to the use of the document as long
15 as it -- perhaps we can just refer the gentleman to the original
16 document, that might save us sometime but --
17 MR. STRINGER: Well he's got the original document. That's what
18 I'm intending to do and maybe overnight we can put the two translations
19 together and make sure that it's all there.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: That's fine. That's fine.
21 MR. STRINGER:
22 Q. You've been wanting to talk about unitary state and so this
23 is where now I had intended to ask you some questions about that -- I'm
24 referring Mr. Ambassador, I'm going to refer to a part of the speech in
25 which President Tudjman says the following, in the beginning of the
1 paragraph, it says, in his speech, President Tudjman also touched on. If
2 you see those words in the original language, you'll see where I'm going.
3 That's the paragraph. Then there is a quote attributed to President
5 "In BiH, we have encountered a policy which has not been fully in
6 accordance with Croatian interests. Part of the Muslim leadership
7 believed that BiH could be developed as a unitary state in which they
8 promised civil rights and civil freedoms but the Croatian people has
9 enough experience with the entire former Yugoslavia in which the entire
10 Croatian people was ostensibly promised such civil rights and freedoms
11 which were used just as a screen for the oppression of the Croatian
13 Then he continues, "Therefore, Croatia is interested in such a
14 state set-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina if it is to survive in which the
15 Croatian people in it are sovereign, that in areas in which it is a
16 majority, there should be no other except Croatian rule."
17 Then he goes on to talk about the Croats living here, that is in
18 Siroki Brijeg, have the right to dual citizenship because you are an
19 integral part of the Croatian people and because the existence of the
20 Croatian state depends on your existence here."
21 So it seems to me, Mr. Ambassador, that this passage sort of lays
22 out very succinctly the differing policies, if you will. On the BH side,
23 the policy is of a unitary state and on the Croatian side, the policy is
24 of a state set-up in which Croatian people in Bosnia are sovereign and
25 that where they are a majority, there is no other except Croatian rule.
1 So my question to you is this: Isn't it true that
2 President Tudjman was expressing the Croatian policy correctly on the
3 20th of May, 1993, when he said that in those places where Croatian
4 people are the majority, they should have Croatian rule?
5 A. What would you like me to say to you? What do you want of me?
6 Q. In your direct examination, you commented on various speeches and
7 whether they were a reflection of the Croatian policy. So my question is
8 whether this statement is also a reflection of the Croatian policy at
9 that time?
10 A. The Croatian state policy, and I reiterated that and described
11 what it was on a couple of occasions, so the Croatian state policy
12 vis-a-vis Bosnia-Herzegovina was in compliance with the constitution of
13 the Republic of Croatia. The Croatian policy was based on friendship and
14 mutual assistance between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croatian state policy provided support to the
16 international community which was seeking federalisation of Bosnia and
18 Therefore, what you just mentioned that some Croats were in
19 favour of the sort of unitary state, yes, there were such Croats, but
20 those were the people in Sarajevo and elsewhere in Bosnia; however, the
21 greatest majority was with the international community on this issue. I
22 mentioned Ahtisaari, Vance-Owen Plan, Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, Cutileiro's
23 plan, the contact group plan. All these plans favoured federalisation of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina and this is mirrored in what President Tudjman said
25 here. He didn't say anything different from what had already been laid
1 down as permanent ground of the Croatian state policy towards
3 Q. So just so we're clear, then, the Croatian state policy was that
4 for parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina in which Croats were the majority, there
5 should be no other except Croatian rule. That was the official Croatian
7 A. That's not true. And please allow me to say a few words about
8 federations. There are various federations. There are the so-called
9 symmetrical and asymmetrical federations. Yugoslavia was an asymmetrical
10 federation in which there was only one who was in charge of everything.
11 The same could have happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina. For that reason, the
12 Croatian state policy was in favour of federation and it supported all
13 the proposals in that direction.
14 However, this federation was supposed to be a symmetrical one of
15 the Swiss type. In other words, every constituent people would have
16 equal rights. It shouldn't be a federation which one community would be
17 dominating the rest. That would be an asymmetrical federation.
18 President Tudjman was in favour of a symmetrical federation
19 composed of three constituent peoples with equal rights within the
21 Q. All right. Within the Croatian or the Croat part of the
22 federation then, it's the Croatian people and no other who would rule.
23 That's the policy?
24 A. That is completely untrue. You haven't grasped the gist of what
25 I was saying. Speaking of federation, you always have minorities within
1 such a structure and these minorities need to be protected. Therefore,
2 there was never any mention of having something exclusively. Probably in
3 areas where there were 90 per cent of Croats, they would probably have
4 pretty complete rule but as the percentages in different municipalities
5 varied, this implies that everyone had equal rights, Croats, Serbs and
6 Bosniak Muslims.
7 MR. KHAN: I do apologise to my learned friend. Your Honour, of
8 course it's a matter for my learned friend how he conducts
9 cross-examination, but there has been an awful lot of testimony given by
10 this witness as to the policy of the Croatian government. Now, if my
11 learned friend states that the speech given on the 20th of May is
12 inconsistent, well that should be put clearly and directly to the witness
13 to comment on but otherwise, he has spent quite a considerable amount of
14 time describing the policy; and I do suggest to my learned friend that if
15 it's said that this statement, this speech of President Tudjman is
16 inconsistent, that should be very squarely put to the witness to comment
18 MR. STRINGER: It's our view, Mr. President, that the speech
19 perfectly encapsulates Croatian policy in respect to the issues of
20 sovereignty of the Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
21 exclusivity of Croatian rule in areas where Croats are a majority which
22 is what's being said.
23 MR. KHAN: Your Honour.
24 MR. STRINGER: That's what I'm asking the witness to comment on.
25 MR. KHAN: Well, Your Honour, the difficulty of course is, and I
1 won't waste too much time, but my learned friend is seeking to view a
2 speech of two or three pages as a microcosm summary of the policy of the
3 Republic of Croatia. Of course a number of transcripts and documents
4 have been gone through which are before Your Honours and the witness has
5 already stated very clearly describing all the sources why he states his
6 opinion that the policy of his government is what was stated. If this
7 says something that was different, I think it can be very easily dealt
8 with rather than beating around the bush. That's my only comment, Your
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Perhaps one can soften the conflict a bit.
11 President Tudjman is reported as having said here that the "Croatian
12 parts should be under no other except Croatian rule." That means that
13 the Croatian nationals in that area would form the government that put
14 all this in question marks. It does not mean that there should be no
15 rights for all non-Croats living in these provinces. So this is not
16 tantamount to saying that it should be a dictatorial rule in complete
17 neglect and denial of fundamental rights to those that would not be
18 Croats in the Croat areas.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, can you answer?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Medjurgorje Agreement itself
21 and what followed immediately thereafter which is the appointment of
22 Mr. Prlic as the president of the government and the distribution in
23 various cantons, the numbers of Croats and Muslims et cetera with regard
24 to three provinces, the conclusion was made to distribute the presence of
25 the Croats and the Muslims and the Serbs and if there were any other
1 ethnic groups in towns, so I think that this is so transparent that what
2 we have here is a proportional distribution of offices in various
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, we need to stop
5 here because there is another hearing in this courtroom at quarter past
6 2.00 and I'm sitting on that particular trial as well.
7 Tomorrow, you may proceed with that particular topic because you
8 have some time left. I will ask the registrar to tell me exactly how
9 much time you have left. Unless I'm mistaken, it's about an hour -- but
10 let me give you the exact figure. You have used 3 hours and 6 minutes.
11 You have 54 minutes left, give or take six minutes I had given you the
12 time you had left when I said you had about an hour left.
13 We'll reconvene tomorrow morning at 9.00.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
15 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 29th day of May,
16 2008, at 9.00 a.m.