1 Monday, 7 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Jadranko Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Today is Monday, the 7th of July, 2008. Let me greet the
12 accused, the Defence counsel, the representatives of the OTP, and
13 everyone assisting us in this case. I'm going to give the floor to the
14 registrar who will give us two IC numbers.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. Some parties have
16 submitted lists of documents to be tendered through witness
17 Slobodan Jankovic. The list submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit
18 number IC 00823 and the list submitted by the OTP shall be given Exhibit
19 number IC 00824. Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
21 I would like us to move into private session for a little while,
23 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, before we move or as we're doing
24 so --
25 [Private session]
11 Pages 30230-30234 redacted. Private session.
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber would like to
1 know what Mr. Karnavas's position is with respect to the additional
2 information requested by the Prosecution for witnesses Zoran Buntic and
3 Zoran Perkovic. Mr. Karnavas, you know that the Prosecution filed a
4 motion in that respect and we'd like you -- we would like to have your
5 response immediately.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. I did provide them with
7 additional information that I received from the witness. I should note
8 that this witness testified in the Kordic case, he had prepared a
9 statement, they could not find the statement, they asked for it, we
10 provided it. We happened to have it. We provided it to the Prosecution,
11 the statement that was used in the Kordic case and upon which the direct
12 and cross-examination was conducted. I think we complied exactly with
13 what our obligations were. Mr. Buntic was a member of the executive
14 authority. He sat on during some meetings, he participated in certain
15 negotiations, all the information is provided, they have it, they've had
16 it, he's been cross-examined by them, I see no dilemma in what other
17 additional information.
18 As for Mr. Perkovic, I believe he has also testified before this
19 Tribunal, his testimony more or less is going to cover, I would say, the
20 same ground but similar ground. He was involved in the executive
21 authority, the HVO, to the extent of drafting the legislation,
22 participated in some meetings. I really don't see where the dilemma is.
23 Keep in mind, Mr. President, that these are not surprise
24 witnesses. They've questioned, for instance, Mr. Zubak, who has held a
25 particular position. The Prosecution chose for whatever reason not to
1 question anybody else -- well, they did question Mr. Raguz, Martin Raguz.
2 They had access to these people, they have the documents. We got the
3 disclosure material from them where Mr. Buntic's name appears in certain
4 meetings. So I don't see what we can provide them that they already do
5 not have.
6 We did learn late yesterday some additional information and based
7 on that information we provided that to them as expeditiously as we
8 could. It's a one-page additional information, but I don't think there
9 are going to be any surprises, Mr. President. If they had looked over
10 the documents that we proposed to use, these are documents that they're
11 very well familiar with. There's only one presidential transcript, he's
12 mentioned in that transcript, so again there's no dilemma.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
14 The Trial Chamber will now issue its ruling. It's slightly
15 longer than the previous decision. Oral ruling related to the
16 Prosecution motion requesting additional information with respect to
17 witnesses Zoran Buntic and Zoran Perkovic.
18 Considering the written motion filed by the Prosecution and the
19 oral submissions made by Mr. Karnavas today, on the 3rd of July, 2008,
20 the Prosecution filed a motion under seal requesting the Trial Chamber to
21 ask the Prlic Defence to supplement its 65 ter (G) summaries relating to
22 witnesses Zoran Buntic and Zoran Perkovic. The Trial Chamber notes that
23 the first witness, Zoran Buntic, is going to testify this afternoon. The
24 motion filed about that witness is, therefore, late.
25 Furthermore, the Trial Chamber notes that the Defence has
1 submitted or disclosed a witness statement dated 18th of June, 2000.
2 Read together with the 65 ter (G) summary, this statement is sufficiently
3 detailed to allow the Prosecution to prepare its cross-examination.
4 As regards witness Zoran Perkovic, the Trial Chamber notes that
5 it is stated in the 65 ter (G) summary that the witness will testify,
6 among other things, about the legal instruments adopted by the HVO, about
7 the comments he's alleged to have made whilst he was the advisor to the
8 president of the executive committee of the Livno municipality and about
9 his relationship with various members of the executive authority within
10 the HVO. This information is too vague to allow a proper preparation for
12 As a consequence, the Trial Chamber partially grants the motion
13 and requests the Defence of the accused Prlic to supplement its summary
14 and to specify in particular, first of all, what legal instruments the
15 witness is supposed to be testifying about; secondly, the names of the
16 persons the witness is supposed to have had conversations with as well as
17 the date and the place where these conversations took place; and thirdly,
18 the type of comments or submissions he made as an advisor in the Livno
20 The Trial Chamber wants this additional information to be
21 submitted on the 10th of July, 2008, at the latest.
22 So in other words, Mr. Karnavas, you just need to provide
23 additional information with respect of these three points.
24 Well, we're going to have the witness brought in now.
25 Just one thing, Mr. Karnavas, we've received your two binders and
1 thank you very much for that. Thank you very much also for having
2 specified what exhibits you will be using in dealing with your five
3 topics, the five topics you will examine the witness about. But as far
4 as I'm concerned, and I think that my colleagues share my view, as far as
5 I'm concerned I would find it very useful if you could tell us which
6 exhibits have not as yet been admitted into evidence. Because if you did
7 so, we would pay even more attention to these particular exhibits.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I know it's a lot of work I'm
10 requesting of you, but if you could do it we would be extremely grateful.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: We will try. I don't know if I can do it off the
12 top of my head at this moment, Mr. President, but we will try to get
13 something to you as expeditiously as possible.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I do have some lists over here, I'm told, for
16 Your Honours with the binders to help you figure out.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In the meantime and for the record, I want to
18 note that you have promised, Mr. Karnavas, to present to us large numbers
19 of documents in the order in which you would present them to the witness,
20 being aware ourselves, as yourself, that it would be laborious. I note
21 that you have not fulfilled your promise and I have to say that I regret
22 this because we will be going hence back and forth in these bundles as
23 the last time.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: My apologies. I -- well, I don't want to quibble
25 over words. I said I would make an attempt. We're doing everything we
1 possibly can. It's simply not easy finding additional staff in the
2 middle of the trial to do this work. We do have for your convenience,
3 Your Honour, a list of the exhibits where it also has which binder the
4 exhibit is in. I'll provide them to you right now. I believe one is for
5 the Prosecution.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
7 Witness, can you please stand. Can you give me your first name,
8 last name, and date of birth, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Zoran Buntic is my name. I was
10 born on the 29th of August, 1953, in Citluk.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Zoran Buntic, have you
12 already testified before an international or a domestic court; and if
13 that's the case, in which case have you testified?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I testified before
15 this Tribunal in the Kordic case in 2000.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you a Defence witness or a
17 Prosecution witness?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a Defence witness.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 I'm going to ask you to read the solemn declaration.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness. You may be
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Just one logistical
2 question. You're scheduled to testify for a number of days, but we may
3 not be able to complete your testimony this week. It's a possibility.
4 Would that be a problem, if you had to remain in The Hague until next
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have allocated sufficient time
7 for this testimony. I managed to postpone all the other things that I
8 was supposed to do at home, so I am at the disposal of the Court.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. We're very grateful to
10 you for this.
11 Let me give you some explanation about what -- how we're going to
12 proceed, but you've already testified here. So first you're going to
13 have to answer questions put to you by Mr. Karnavas, you've probably met
14 Mr. Karnavas before. Mr. Karnavas will also submit you a series of
15 documents whilst examining you.
16 After that, after this examination that's going to take quite a
17 lot of time, the other accused may decide to put questions to you as part
18 of their cross-examination. Following that, the Prosecutor, who is
19 sitting on your right, will conduct what we call the cross-examination in
20 this Tribunal. The four Judges sitting before you will most certainly
21 intervene and put questions to you.
22 We are dealing with a lot of documents here, and our questions
23 will probably have to do with these documents in order to avoid having to
24 come back to the documents later on, but it will all depend on how things
25 develop. Please try to be extremely specific when answering questions.
1 If you do not understand the meaning of a question, do not hesitate to
2 ask the one putting it to you to rephrase it. We have breaks every hour
3 and a half. We started half an hour ago, so our next break will be in an
4 hour's time. If at any time you feel unwell, tired, please notify us
5 immediately by raising your hand because you will soon realize that it's
6 quite tiring to spend hours answering questions.
7 The Trial Chamber is also here to answer any kind of question you
8 may like to ask of it.
9 This is a very general presentation of the way we are going to
10 deal with your examination. One last thing, you are now a witness of
11 Justice because you've taken the solemn declaration. From now on you are
12 therefore not supposed to have any contacts with the Defence. So when
13 you go back to your hotel room later this evening, you're not supposed to
14 have any contacts with the Defence or anyone else -- well, of course you
15 may call people at home to tell them how things are going and since
16 things are going to be going extremely well I'm sure you'll give them
17 this good news.
18 And now I'm going to give the floor to Mr. Karnavas.
19 Ms. Pinter.
20 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just for the witness,
21 as you know on the 4th of June, 2008, we filed a motion in relation to
22 Mr. Buntic with the intention of having his written statement admitted on
23 the basis of Rule 92 ter, and I would like the witness to be aware of it
24 so that it doesn't come as a surprise to him. Thank you.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, we are aware of it and
1 we'll deal with that after Mr. Karnavas's re-examination and if the
2 Prosecution wants to cross-examine on this written statement it will be
3 able to do so.
4 Mr. Karnavas, you have the floor.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you,
6 Your Honours.
7 WITNESS: ZORAN BUNTIC
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Examination by Mr. Karnavas:
10 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic.
11 A. Good afternoon.
12 Q. Before we go through some of the documents concerning your
13 testimony, I'm going to get a short narrative from you that might be of
14 some assistance and help us go through the documents as expeditiously as
15 possible. You told us you are a lawyer. Could you please tell us for
16 how long you have been practising and where?
17 A. I have been a lawyer since 1989, but I had interruptions in my
18 career as a lawyer mostly during the war when I held certain duties in
19 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and later on in the Croatian
20 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
21 Q. And what type of law do you practice?
22 A. Mostly economic, commercial law, and I am now undertaking
23 undergraduate studies in international law at the University of Mostar
24 Q. All right. Now, let's go right into the topic. You indicated
25 that you had participated in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
1 later on in the Croatian Republic
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas, just for precision
3 sake. The witness was translated as saying that he was doing
4 undergraduate studies. Having been a lawyer for a long time, I wonder
5 whether it's not rather graduate studies that he's --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: It is graduate
7 studies, yes.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, interpreters.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: And thank you, Judge Trechsel. And again, my
10 apologies for not being able to arrange the documents in order. We'll
11 keep trying.
12 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us in what capacity did
13 you initially begin working with the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
14 A. Pursuant to a decision of the Presidency of the Croatian
15 Community of Herceg-Bosna, as of the 15th of May, 1991, I was appointed
16 head of the department of justice and general administration in the
17 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. I think I should point out that I
18 didn't take up that duty on the 15th of May, 1991, but a month later,
19 that is, on the 26th, since when I carried out that duty for as long as
20 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna existed until the 28th of August,
21 1993, when the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
22 Q. All right. Now, you said you didn't take up your duties for
23 about a month. Is there a particular reason?
24 A. I think there was a justified reason. Between the 10th and the
25 15th of May, 1992, I was asked to accept that duty by Mr. Mate Boban and
1 Milan Lovric who was the mayor of Citluk municipality. And in the course
2 of my conversation with them I agreed to take up that duty, but I asked
3 that I remain at the post I was performing at the time which was deputy
4 commander of the defence of Citluk, that is, the national defence
5 detachment, until the action of the liberation of Mostar and the parts on
6 the east bank of the Neretva, Stolac, and Capljina municipality. That
7 action was being prepared at the time, so I asked that I remain at my
8 post until the action was finished, and they agreed to that which is why
9 I took up my new post only after the action was finished.
10 Q. [Microphone not activated]
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. KARNAVAS:
13 Q. I'm going to have to ask you to slow down a little bit because
14 everything is getting translated and you're going to have to be very
15 mindful that it takes some time.
16 Could you please tell us a little bit, going back some more,
17 about your position as the deputy commander. What exactly was that
18 position and what exactly were you doing?
19 A. On the 9th of May, 1991, the Crisis Staff of Citluk municipality
20 chose me to be a member of the Citluk municipality Crisis Staff. The
21 immediate occasion for that was the situation in Polak in Mostar
22 municipality, when a convoy of some 200 tanks and armoured personnel
23 carriers of the JNA was stopped. This convoy was on its way from Mostar
24 towards the Kupres plateau which is of strategic importance and which
25 separates western Herzegovina
1 this plateau it's possible to deploy all sorts of military operations in
2 the direction of the south towards all the municipalities in western
4 Board of the Citluk municipality held a session, and over the next two or
5 three days all the municipalities in that part of Herzegovina appointed
6 their Crisis Staffs. We were aware that these tanks would sooner or
7 later be used against us.
8 I think it must be mentioned that as regards the composition of
9 the Citluk municipality Crisis Staff, it corresponded to the provisions
10 of the Law on All People's Defence and the Statute of Citluk municipality
11 because the president of the municipality, the president of the
12 Executive Council of Citluk municipality, the Chief of Staff of the
13 Territorial Defence, the chief of police, and the chief of the civil
14 defence or civilian protection entered the staff ex officio as well as a
15 number of others, including myself who were elected to that Crisis Staff.
16 After this, on the 19th of September, 1991, the Crisis Staff
17 chose me to be the commander of the defence of Citluk, that is, the
18 commander of the All People's Defence of Citluk. This was the first
19 armed unit to offer armed resistance to the JNA in Citluk --
20 Q. Let me stop you here and I want to -- we'll go step by step.
21 First, can you tell us was this the old Territorial Defence?
22 A. No. That was not the old Territorial Defence because at that
23 point in time neither I nor anyone else in the Crisis Staff was able to
24 win over the fighters of the All People's Defence to fight under that
25 name or of the national defence, to fight under that name. The name of
1 the Territorial Defence was compromised by some previous events. I'm
2 primarily referring to the hand-over of all the weapons of the
3 Territorial Defence to the JNA, and these were handed over by the
4 Territorial Defence staff with its headquarters in Sarajevo which was
5 headed by a Serb. To make the paradox even greater, the
6 Territorial Defence staff of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina even paid
7 salaries to the Territorial Defence units which were occupying and
8 conquering eastern Herzegovina
9 cooperating with it, thus occupying two-thirds of Bosnia-Herzegovina --
10 Q. Let me stop you again because some of this detail we don't need,
11 some of it is important. Where did you find the weapons, then, if the
12 TOs, the Territorial Defences, had turned over the weapons to the JNA?
13 Were you able to -- where were you able to locate weapons in Citluk?
14 A. We had two sources, the first was the fact that in Citluk there
15 were four or five companies which had brave and courageous managing
16 directors who refused to hand over weapons to the Territorial Defence
17 after the Territorial Defence staff issued the order that all weapons be
18 handed over to the JNA, so that was one source.
19 Another source was that the Ministry of the Interior of the
20 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina gave us 400 new semiautomatic rifles. I
21 think they did their utmost, or rather, Mr. Stojic who was then the
22 deputy of the interior minister and Mr. Alija Delimustafic signed the
23 order that these weapons be allocated to the defence of Citluk, that was
24 400 semiautomatic rifles and the other 400 we obtained from the first
25 source I mentioned.
1 Q. All right. And again I'm going to caution you to kindly speak a
2 little slower because, as the evening -- as the afternoon wears off, it's
3 going to become very difficult for the translation.
4 You indicated that some managing directors did not turn over
5 their weapons. For those of us who don't know how the
6 Territorial Defence worked in the All People's Defence, how is it that
7 managing directors of enterprises had weapons? Just very briefly so that
8 we have a better understanding.
9 A. The concept of All People's Defence, as it was then called in
11 that one of these was the JNA and the other one was the
12 Territorial Defence. The weapons of the Territorial Defence were not
13 owned by the Territorial Defence staff but were bought by socially owned
14 enterprises in Bosnia-Herzegovina and state institutions. Every company
15 had its defence plan and the weapons needed to implement that defence
16 plan. The plan existed in every socially owned company or enterprise in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina and all over Yugoslavia
18 All People's Defence implied these two components.
19 It should be pointed out that command of the JNA fell within the
20 competency of the Presidency of Yugoslavia and the General Staff of
22 republican Territorial Defence staff and the municipalities. I think
23 that in this case we need to mention that the municipality issued orders
24 to the Territorial Defence if the territory of the municipality was
25 attacked. This was not only their right but also their obligation
1 pursuant to the Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina and pursuant to the
2 Law on All People's Defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, unless there are any questions from
4 the Bench on this issue, I'm going to ask you about your position, your
5 initial position, with the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Since
6 there are no questions, if you could just kindly explain to us your
7 initial position, just give us a description of what it was, what exactly
8 you did.
9 A. I've already said that I took up the duty of head of the
10 department of justice and general administration in the Croatian Defence
11 Council of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna sometime around the
12 20th of June, 1992. The Croatian Defence Council was the executive body
13 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, or rather, the executive body
14 of its Presidency. It consisted of the president of the Croatian Defence
15 Council and six departments, some of which had their subdepartments. It
16 might be necessary to mention that this was a civilian body dealing with
17 civilian affairs within the scope of the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna and it was envisioned as the executive organ of the
19 Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. It consisted of
20 the defence department, the defence of interior -- the department of
21 interior affairs, the department of finance, the department of justice
22 and general administration, the department of the economy which had
23 several subdepartments, and the department of social affairs which also
24 had several subdepartments --
25 Q. All right --
1 A. When I took up my duty as head of the department of justice and
2 general administration, some documents were handed over to me of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, including the decision on the
4 establishing of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna dated the 18th of
5 November, 1991; the decision on the founding of the Croatian Defence
6 Council dated the 8th of April, 1992; the statutory decision on the
7 organization of the executive branch of government of Herceg-Bosna; and
8 the statutory decision on municipal government and administration of
9 Herceg-Bosna; and the decision on my appointment. These were the
10 documents that were handed to me on the day I took up my duty as head of
11 the department.
12 Q. All right. Before we go into more details, just if we could
13 clarify a couple of points so we are all on the same page as we go along.
14 First of all, you said that this was a civilian body. You indicated that
15 it was an executive body of the Presidency. So if you could explain to
16 us what was the Presidency and what was the relationship between this
17 executive body and the Presidency?
18 A. The Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
19 consisted of persons who -- well, those persons who established the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna on the 18th of November, 1991
21 Pursuant to the decision on the establishment of the Croatian Community
22 of Herceg-Bosna, these were the first people in the municipalities
23 entering into the community of Herceg-Bosna and the highest-ranking
24 official -- and/or the highest-ranking official of the HDZ in each
25 municipality. I think that at that point the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna included 30 municipalities which had their representatives
2 in the Presidency.
3 The Presidency was envisaged as the highest administrative organ,
4 the highest organ of government in the Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna -- rather, it was the body which enacted regulations. I
6 think it would be an exaggeration to say it was a legislative body
7 because it never passed a single law. It did issue regulations, but it
8 never enacted anything that had the form of a law. One might say that it
9 was the highest body of government authorised to pass regulations, while
10 the Croatian Defence Council was the executive body of the Presidency.
11 It should be mentioned here - and I don't know to what extent
12 this has already been clarified before the Court - that a distinction
13 should be drawn between the Croatian Defence Council, which included
14 armed units and armed forces, and this executive body.
15 Q. Okay. Now, again, I want to clarify a couple of points. You
16 said that this was the highest body in this -- in the Croatian Community
17 of Herceg-Bosna. What was -- how would you describe the
18 interrelationship between the HVO, the executive authority, and the
19 Presidency? What sort of interaction did it have both legally and
21 A. I think that this interrelationship was not very different from
22 the relationships that existed in the municipalities up to that point.
23 If one draws a parallel, the Presidency was what the Municipal Assembly
24 used to be, while the HVO was basically its executive body performing
25 similar functions and having similar competences as the municipal
1 Executive Council used to have. I don't know whether I can find a better
2 example to illustrate this, but to the best of my knowledge this
3 functioned in a very similar manner, just as the Municipal Assembly used
4 to elect the members of the Executive Council; in this case, the
5 Presidency appointed members of the Croatian Defence Council, the HVO,
6 who had the task and the duty of implementing the regulations enacted by
7 the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
8 Q. All right. Now, earlier you mentioned HDZ and just for
9 housekeeping purposes were you a member of HDZ at the time?
10 A. No, neither then nor before nor afterwards was I a member either
11 of the HDZ of the Republic of Croatia
12 At the time I was appointed, I don't think the president of the HVO,
13 Jadranko Prlic, was a member of the HDZ either and neither was the
14 minister of finance, Neven Tomic.
15 Q. All right. Now, you indicated that you had been approached by
16 Mate Boban. We've heard his name around here quite a bit. If you can
17 describe what was his position or positions?
18 A. At the time I took up the post we've been discussing, Mr. Boban
19 was the president of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna and the president of the HVO. Until the beginning of July,
21 I think it was the 3rd of July when the next session of the Presidency of
22 the HZ HB was held, and I think that at that point he had a high-ranking
23 post in the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'm not sure whether he was the
24 vice-president, but I do think that he was in the Presidency of the HDZ
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Q. Now, if you could describe to us the difference between being the
2 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna versus being the
3 president of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
4 A. I think that this is a traditional model. The president of the
5 Presidency meant that Mr. Boban was the first among equals. The
6 Presidency was a legislative body, and as the president of the
7 Presidency, unlike the other members of the Presidency, he presided over
8 the sessions, was able to convene sessions of the Presidency, and that
9 was his duty in the Presidency. He had two deputies, two vice-presidents
10 as president of the Presidency.
11 As president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, which as
12 a rule is an executive post, he was -- he had neither a deputy nor
13 vice-presidents and in that function he was the commander of the armed
14 forces of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that is, the entire
15 military arm of the HVO.
16 Q. All right. Just to make some comparisons here because we
17 heard -- we've heard testimony concerning how the Presidency at the state
18 level functioned and we've learned - and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I
19 misstate any facts - that all the members of the Presidency were equal
20 and that the president of the Presidency, that would be
21 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, was first among equals but had no more voting
22 power than the others. Could you please tell us within the Presidency of
23 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna what were Mr. Boban's powers
24 versus the other members of the Presidency? In other words, was he first
25 among equals or did he have -- did he enjoy additional powers, that is,
1 within the Presidency?
2 A. I have to draw a distinction in relation to periods of time. I
3 think in the first period which lasted from the 8th of April, 1992
4 the 3rd, or rather, the 15th of August, 1992, Mr. Boban held the post of
5 president of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
6 the president of the HVO. That was the period from the 8th of April,
7 1992, until the 15th or the 14th of August, 1992, when the Presidency
8 appointed Mr. Prlic to the duty of president of the HVO.
9 Q. All right --
10 A. Also, in the period after the amendments to the decision on the
11 establishment of the HZ HB, that is, the 3rd of July, 1992, Mr. Boban
12 also held the duty of the president of the HZ HB and the commander of the
13 armed forces of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
14 Q. All right. Let's talk about that period then.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm listening very
16 carefully to your testimony and it's extremely complex. It's very
17 difficult to actually understand how things were working at the time, and
18 if I'm mistaken please tell me so immediately. From what I understand,
19 from the 8th of April, 1992, to the 15th of August, 1992
20 the president of the Presidency and president of the HVO; but you added
21 that Mr. Prlic became president of the HVO and that at that point in time
22 Mr. Boban became president of the Croatian Community, whilst at the same
23 time being the commander of the HVO.
24 Can you please try and shed some light on this point because from
25 an outside observer's point of view, it's quite complex. Can you explain
1 that again for us, please.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I shall try. According to the
3 decision on the establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
4 that was passed on the 18th of November, 1991, Mr. Boban was president of
5 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, president of the Presidency,
6 rather, of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and that was one of the
7 positions he held.
8 On the 8th of April, 1992, the Presidency of the Croatian
9 Community of Herceg-Bosna passed a decision on the establishment of the
10 HVO. Both de facto and de jure, Mr. Mate Boban carried out the duties of
11 president of the HVO on the basis of this decision all the way up to the
12 15th -- no, the 14th of August, I think, 1992. And as for the civilian
13 part of the HVO, Mr. Jadranko Prlic was elected president of the civilian
14 part of the HVO.
15 In the meantime, on the 3rd of July, 1992, the Presidency of the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna amended the decision on the
17 establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and for the first
18 time -- the position of president of the Croatian Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna was introduced for the very first time. This was an
20 executive body, and at the same time, this was the supreme commander of
21 the armed forces.
22 I don't know if I clarified the situation now.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you have. So if I
24 understand correctly, up until the 14th of August, 1992, Mr. Boban was
25 the president both when it came to the military part and the civilian
1 part of the HVO, and on the 14th of August, 1992, the civilian part of
2 the organization came to be under the responsibility of Mr. Prlic. Is
3 that what you're telling us?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]...
5 Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As of the 14th of August, 1992
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
9 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, in the English
10 transcript we did not get the witness's answer to your question at line
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Then I will put my question
13 again because it's a very important question.
14 I asked you whether until the 14th of August, 1992, Mr. Boban,
15 who was the president of the Presidency of the Croatian Community -- I
16 asked whether he was president both of the military and the civilian
17 organization and I asked whether as of the 14th of August, 1992,
18 Mr. Prlic became responsible for the civilian part of the organization.
19 Is that what you're telling us?
20 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues]...
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] One more question --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: No answer from the witness. The witness has to
24 wait. There's no answer in the transcript, so if he could answer again
25 Mr. President's question.
1 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, sorry, I think Mr. Karnavas and I
2 agree. I think we're both in a position to audibly hear the witness
3 answer but it's not appearing in the transcript.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, can you please repeat
5 what you've just said because on two occasions the interpreters or the
6 court reporter were not in a position to record your answer. Would you
7 like me to put the question to you one third time?
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps we can save a
9 minute. On both occasions it was recorded yes, that is correct, but it
10 was recorded with a bit of a delay. Now we see it on page 28, line 15,
11 after Judge Trechsel started, again that is what happened, but it's the
12 same thing that happened before that. So it was recorded.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At line 15 we read, "That's
14 correct." So that's the answer you gave to my question; in other words,
15 Mr. Prlic was then in charge of the civilian part of the organization as
16 of the 14th of August, 1992
17 of the organization, he remained in that position?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is correct.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I would like you to specify
20 something and to provide an additional piece of information. Line 23,
21 page 26, you mentioned the HZ HB, I believe, and you said that it was
22 established on the 18th of November, 1991. And you -- did you say that
23 Mr. Boban was the president of that organization? Did you say that he
24 was the president of the Presidency of that community?
25 And further on, line 9, page 27, you said that in the meantime on
1 the 3rd of July, 1992, the Presidency, not the Presidency of the
2 Presidency, but the Presidency amended its decision related to the
3 establishment of the HZ HB and that for the first time the position of
4 president of the HZ HB was established. So there is a clear difference
5 between the president of the Presidency on the one hand and the president
6 on the other hand. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is correct.
8 MR. KARNAVAS:
9 Q. Okay. Now that we have that cleared up a little bit let's talk
10 about the executive authority, the executive of the HVO, when you were
11 there in your department. Can you kindly tell us concretely what the HVO
12 was responsible for. We know it's a civilian organ, but can you be a
13 little bit more detailed about it?
14 A. The powers of the HVO as the executive civilian organ were
15 elaborated in a statutory decision on executive and legislative authority
16 in the HZ HB. It was further amended by a decision which I believe was
17 also adopted in August 1992, I think at that session held on the 14th of
18 August, 1992. The responsibilities of each and every department were
19 described therein as far as the civilian part of the HVO is concerned.
20 That is to say that the HVO that I'm talking about in accordance with the
21 rules that were in force of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and de
22 facto was the executive organ that carried out executive duties within
23 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
24 Q. All right. In your department specifically, could you please
25 tell us what you were engaged in. What sort of work did you carry out
1 while you were holding the position of being the head of the -- that
2 particular department, which I believe was the judiciary administration?
3 A. The department for justice and general administration for the
4 most part was supposed to secure the necessary conditions for the
5 functioning of regular courts -- rather, civilian courts that were in the
6 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
7 Q. All right. Well, if we just take that answer and work with it a
8 little bit. Prior to the establishment of the Croatian Community of
9 Herceg-Bosna there existed civilian courts. Why would it be necessary at
10 this point to do anything with those courts? One would assume that they
11 were functioning quite well.
12 A. I think that certain facts have to be borne in mind. If we look
13 at the date of establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
14 that was established on the 18th of November, 1991, and the actual
15 beginning of its work that was on the 8th of April, 1992, it is evident
16 that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna within that period of time
17 practically had no activity whatsoever. Its activities started only on
18 the 8th -- sorry, I misspoke, from the 8th of April, 1992
19 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina an all-out war broke out, if I can put it
20 that way. That is when all the central organs of Bosnia-Herzegovina
21 remained surrounded and isolated from the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 When I say that, I mean all the organs of the Republic of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is to say, its Assembly, its government, and its
24 Presidency. As they were isolated from the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 they could no longer carry out their duties as envisaged by the
1 constitution and other laws. That means that they did not have any
2 factual possibilities to command the armed forces and defend the country.
3 Also, they could not govern the country from a civilian point of view.
4 So after the 8th of April, 1992, there was no traffic with
6 so on. Likewise, there was no possibility of getting to Sarajevo or for
7 having the decisions of these state bodies submitted to the areas that
8 were outside Sarajevo
9 had to regulate certain matters on our own. Also, had we not defended
10 our country, this part of the country would have been occupied very
11 quickly too. Perhaps I could put it this way: It would have been handed
12 over to the occupier or aggressor.
13 I also believe it is necessary to point out that in the beginning
14 of May, 1992, the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina passed a decree
15 annulling some of the regulations of the former Yugoslavia and certain
16 legal voids were created. These voids had to be filled. When I say
17 this, I'm primarily referring to military courts and military
18 prosecutor's offices, because the Yugoslav regulations pertaining to this
19 subject matter had been annulled by a decision of the Presidency and new
20 ones hadn't been passed yet.
21 Q. All right. Let me ask a follow-up question. You said you had to
22 regulate certain matters, and I'm certain that the Trial Chamber would
23 like to know because we heard some questions from some so-called experts
24 about certain regulations that were taken. Did the Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna - and in particular, did your work - involve in creating a
1 new legal structure or court structure in that area?
2 A. I have to point out that different options were considered.
3 Q. All right.
4 A. Finally, what was accepted was that the Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna accepts all federal and republican regulations. That was
6 the overriding principle except for the part where it was necessary to
7 intervene so that the newly created circumstances could be regulated by
8 legal regulations. That is to say --
9 Q. Let me stop you here. Where was it necessary to intervene?
10 A. Specifically in the field of justice and general administration
11 we had to intervene, as I have already said, in terms of establishing
12 military courts and military prosecutor's offices. As regards the
13 civilian part of the judicial system, we had to intervene by establishing
14 a body which could make decisions in terms of legal remedies against
15 second-instance decisions; namely, the Supreme Court of the Republic of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina was in Sarajevo
17 Appeals or reviews of judicial proceedings of the second instance
18 could not be filed with the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so
19 as to have them make a decision. Therefore, the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna established a division or a department, I don't know how
21 this is going to be interpreted into the English language, it was perhaps
22 a unit, a chamber, of the supreme republican court. So it was not a
23 court of its own, it was just a unit of the Supreme Court of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina with its seat in Mostar. Also, there was an office of
25 the republican prosecutor's office, again with its seat in Mostar. The
1 same went for the misdemeanours court that decided at second-instance
2 level on legal remedies, that is to say, they were above the municipal
3 misdemeanours courts.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, one point of
5 clarification, please. Dates are very important here. 6th of April,
6 1992, the European Community and the United States recognised
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina; 22nd of May, 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes a
8 member of the United Nations. If I put myself in the shoes of a judge in
9 Mostar who was dealing with divorce proceedings or civilian law
10 proceedings, before that date of the 6th of April, that judge was a judge
11 of the former Yugoslavia
12 and Herzegovina
13 judge became a judge of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but at the same time the
14 Croatian Community established its own legal and judicial system. You
15 carried out very high-level duties in that specific area, and as such can
16 you answer the following question. Did the judges not try to obstruct
17 that development? Because in the space of a very short time they were
18 placed under different authorities, first under the authority of
20 the Croatian council. Did it happen very smoothly or were there any
21 problems to your knowledge?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that we did
23 not understand each other very well. When I'm saying this, I'm referring
24 to civilian courts in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna did not establish a single court of its own, a single
1 civilian court; rather, what was fully taken over was the republican law
2 on regular courts. Thereby, the organization of civilian courts was not
3 changed at all through a decision or a decree or any other document
4 passed by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. By way of
5 clarification, in Bosnia-Herzegovina there were municipal courts, or
6 basic courts as they were called at the time; at second instance there
7 were higher courts; and at third instance there was the Supreme Court of
8 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Therefore, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna did not
10 establish single new court or did it in any way infringe upon the
11 existing organization that was established by the Law on Regular Courts
12 in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. When I speak of regular courts I
13 don't know how the interpretation sounds, but I'm referring to civilian
14 courts. So in that area no new courts were established, with the
15 exception that I referred to a few moments ago, and that is that just a
16 division or unit of the Supreme Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
17 established in Mostar.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine, but I'm thinking of a
19 prosecutor, for example, a prosecutor who works under the orders of the
20 justice minister. This prosecutor suddenly found himself under your
21 authority, so obviously there was a change in the chain of command,
22 wasn't there?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no. There were no changes
24 within the hierarchy. The first-instance courts were still there, the
25 higher courts of second instance, and the Supreme Court of the Republic
1 of Bosnia-Herzegovina that had its own division or unit in Mostar. I
2 believe that it is necessary to point out that the other side, that is to
3 say, the Bosniak side, after these conflicts broke out in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina established districts, namely, Zenica, Tuzla
5 Bihac. Likewise, in these districts divisions or units of the Supreme
6 Court of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina were established for the same
7 reasons that applied in Mostar. As I've already said, legal remedies in
8 terms of second-instance decisions physically could not reach Sarajevo
9 and the Supreme Court could not decide on the matter because Sarajevo
11 If I understood you correctly, in addition to this question of
12 organizational nature you asked me about the regulations that the courts
13 applied. What was accepted in principle by the Republic of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina was also accepted by the Croatian Community of
15 Herceg-Bosna. It applied all the federal regulations of Yugoslavia
16 unless they were declared null and void, so in principle all the
17 regulations of the former Yugoslavia
18 they were declared null and void by a separate decree. Also republican
19 regulations were applied, those that were in force, and from the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna it was only the regulations that were
21 passed by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna itself.
22 I don't know whether I've clarified the matter in this way.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. As far as I'm concerned, I think you
25 I would like to ask a very simple question for clarification for
1 the record. I think I know the answer. When in the interpretation I
2 hear speaking of civil courts, in my understanding it could mean one of
3 two things: Civil as opposed to criminal and civil as opposed to
4 military, and I think it's the latter that you have in mind.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, as opposed to military courts.
6 So when referring to civilian courts I wasn't referring to the
7 distinction between civil and criminal courts, but I was referring to the
8 distinction between regular and military courts.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much. I thought so but I thought
10 it might be useful to have it in the record. Thank you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is now time to
13 take the break. I think we all need a rest given how difficult this is,
14 so 20-minute break.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 4.13 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you have the
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
20 Your Honours, during the break -- while we were speaking, I
21 should say, in court during the first session, we re-did the exhibit list
22 that we gave you to assist you with what you had earlier asked us to do.
23 We presented additional -- new copies to the gentleman assisting us here
24 in court, and you will see that there's a column and where it says
25 exhibits that has been admitted. If there's nothing designated there, it
1 means it has not been admitted yet. So that should assist Your Honours
2 in knowing which documents are already in. I hope that's of some
4 Q. Now, if I could continue where we left off. You were talking
5 about the judiciary, and you told us that it wasn't a new court system.
6 Could you please tell us whether the judges that were already occupying
7 the positions or the court staff or the prosecutions office or what have
8 you, were they replaced?
9 A. Well, it's hard for me to answer this question directly. I think
10 I need to clarify the situation a little. After Mostar was
11 liberated - and Mostar is the capital of Herzegovina - our problem was
12 that a large number of judges who were of Serb ethnicity left along with
13 the JNA. The Court is probably not aware of the fact that before the war
14 broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina most of the judges in that area were of
15 Serb ethnicity, and compared to the share of Serbs in the general
16 population there was a very large share of judges of Serb ethnicity.
17 After most of these left Mostar, we were faced with the problem of how to
18 find judges to fill the vacancies in the courts. We had to respond
19 promptly so that the basic court in Mostar and the higher court in Mostar
20 could continue to function. We also had to establish and put into
21 operation military courts as well as establishing the Supreme Court
22 department and the republican prosecutors office department; and to do
23 all this, we needed a large number of new judges.
24 It must be pointed out that the building of the Mostar municipal
25 court was completely destroyed by the JNA, it burnt down along with all
1 the documentation of the municipal court in Mostar. We had to react
2 quickly. As I have already said, we had no possibility of contacting the
3 Ministry of Justice in Sarajevo
4 which, as is well known, was not in session at the time. We simply had
5 to fill the vacancies in the regular courts, the civilian courts, and
6 also establish military courts, military prosecutors offices, and find
7 judges for the military courts.
8 I should point out that my department, the department of justice
9 and general administration, had within its purview the regular or
10 civilian courts while the military courts were mostly under the
11 jurisdiction of the Department of Defence. This was not a novel situation
12 because in the former Yugoslavia
13 linked to military personnel and were established according to military
14 districts. Military judges and military prosecutors were not civilians,
15 in other words, but were military personnel. The military courts were
16 located in the headquarters of the army districts. They conduct the
17 trials in military buildings wearing military uniforms and belonged to
18 the JNA. These were all members of the JNA, in other words, who held
19 certain ranks as such.
20 We established a similar structure of military courts in the
21 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I, I have two more general questions which
23 are very separate, actually. The first question relates to the
24 attribution of the organisation of the judiciary in the former Federal
25 Republic of Yugoslavia
1 was it a matter of the states, as it is, for instance, in Switzerland
2 where it's a matter of the cantons. And the second question: Is that of
3 the position of the prosecutor's office vis-a-vis the Ministry of
4 Justice? Is there a line of command or is there a certain degree of
5 independence of the public prosecutor?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll try to answer your second
7 question first. The Prosecutor's offices, according to the judicial
8 system of the former Yugoslavia
9 prosecutors offices - were independent in their work. They were
10 independent state organs carrying out their jobs pursuant to the
11 constitution and the laws and they were independent bodies.
12 Could you please repeat your first question because I'm not sure
13 I understood it correctly.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I'll gladly do. Sorry if I was not
15 clear enough.
16 In a federation like the former Republic of Yugoslavia
17 competencies are divided between the federation and the different
18 constituent parts, like Serbia
19 the organization of the judiciary, organization of courts, naming of
20 judges, and so forth, was that a matter within the competency of the
21 Federation or was it a matter of the entities of Croatia,
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I understand your
25 In each of the republics of the former Yugoslavia the judiciary
1 was organized on three levels. There were basic or municipal courts,
2 their names varied from republic to republic, either basic or municipal
3 courts; then there were higher or district courts, in some republics they
4 were called higher courts, in others they were called district courts;
5 and there was a Supreme Court in each of the republics; and there was
6 also a federal Supreme Court which had certain competencies in cases
7 where federal laws or the federal constitution had been violated. In
8 addition to these three levels in each of the republics, there was a
9 federal constitutional court with its seat in Belgrade. I'm now
10 referring to regular or civilian courts, not the military courts.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. This is certainly helpful. It is
12 not exactly what my question was. Who elected the judges? Were they
13 elected or named by Croatian, I take just this example, Croatian or
14 federal authorities? Were they paid by the Croatian budget or by the
15 federal budget?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we're not talking about
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The municipal or basic courts were elected by the
19 Municipal Assemblies and funded from the municipal budgets. I'm
20 referring to the judiciary and the system that existed in the former
22 funded from the budget of the municipality where they had their
23 jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of the republic and the republican
24 prosecutor's office were founded by each republic; the judges were
25 appointed by the republican assembly of the republic in question, and
1 they were paid from the republican budget. The judges of the federal
2 court of Yugoslavia
3 They were elected by the Assembly of Yugoslavia and they were funded from
4 the federal budget.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much. That answers my question.
6 I'm -- excuse me, Mr. Karnavas.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: That's fine.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one question.
9 Witness, you said something, you mentioned something, it's the
10 first time that I hear it since the five years that I've been here and I
11 think that it is quite important. You said that the prosecutor's office
12 is independent, whereas we believed that the prosecutor has his place in
13 a hierarchy, but you said the prosecutor's office is independent. So on
14 the basis of what you said, I will describe a case to you and you will
15 give me a solution to the problem.
16 Let's imagine that in Mostar there were people, individuals, you
17 don't know exactly who they are, but, for example, they break into
18 someone's home, they commit robbery, they also abuse people, mistreat
19 them, an investigation is carried out by the civilian police, perhaps
20 also the military police who might imagine that some military is
21 involved, we don't know, and all this is handed over to the civil
22 prosecutor. If the civil prosecutor is independent and does nothing,
23 does not follow-up on this case, would it be a situation that might have
24 arisen or would it be impossible, could it not happen?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, any situation is possible.
1 When I say they're independent in their work, under the law they're
2 independent bodies. The then-Law on Criminal Procedure prescribed that
3 the prosecutor's office, whenever it learns that a crime has been
4 committed is duty-bound to initiate proceedings in order to establish
5 whether the crime actually was committed; and if so, to take measures to
6 detect the perpetrator of the crime. I'm not sure whether I've quoted
7 the legal provision verbatim, but that was its intent, its gist. And by
8 way of its other instruments, if we're referring to the civilian
9 prosecutor's office, through the civilian police they could ask for
10 additional information and through the police collect additional
12 Unlike Anglo-Saxon law and the current criminal procedure in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the prosecutor's offices at the time did not conduct
14 investigations. It was the investigating court, through the
15 investigating judge, which would carry out an investigation; and only
16 after that, after the results of the investigative procedure, showed that
17 there was sufficient elements in order to bring an indictment against a
18 certain person could the prosecutor's office issue an indictment. Under
19 the present criminal law of Bosnia-Herzegovina the prosecutor's office
20 can, in fact, conduct its own investigation independently.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but at the time if an
22 investigation was carried out and the investigating judge did nothing, or
23 rather, if the prosecutor did not then draft an indictment would a
24 superior authority be able to do something in that case?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The responsibility in any case
1 existed. Everyone was accountable for their work, so what other
2 organizations or organs of government could do would be to dismiss that
3 particular judge or fail to re-appoint him at the end of his term of
4 office. At that time there was a four-year term of office, unlike today
5 when judges are elected for life. So these were the two instruments that
6 were available. One would be to dismiss the judge, which happened very
7 rarely or never in the former Yugoslavia
8 examples; and the other instrument would be not to re-appoint a judge or
9 a prosecutor after the expiry of his or her four-year term of office if
10 they had not carried out their duties properly.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, as is the case with this
13 Very well.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm --
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. All right.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: As we are in this field now, it seems -- first
17 of all, I think we must distinguish prosecutors and judges. To dismiss a
18 judge is something very delicate indeed, and I mean I'm only limiting my
19 question to prosecutors. If a prosecutor refuses to prosecute, are there
20 any remedies, for instance, for a victim, be it a remedy to a
21 hierarchical superior of the prosecutor or to a court?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In principle, pursuant to the
23 regulations then in force, he could apply directly to the higher-ranking
24 prosecutor. If there are omissions or failures in the work of the
25 municipal prosecutor, a victim or damaged party could complain to the
1 higher prosecutor, the district prosecutor or the higher prosecutor. And
2 if he was still not satisfied and had a complaint against the district
3 prosecutor, he could then apply for help to the republican prosecutor,
4 the prosecutor at republic level, who was able to institute certain
5 disciplinary procedures against those prosecutors who were below him in
6 the hierarchy and probably propose the dismissal of such a prosecutor.
7 This would not happen often, or he could use this other instrument and
8 not re-appoint the prosecutor in question. This happened more often.
9 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. You put a
10 very specific question. I think I could deal with this in
11 cross-examination, but I feel now is a good time to clarify this point.
12 I think it would be a good idea for the witness to explain whether the
13 damaged party or the victim, if the prosecutor fails to institute
14 criminal proceedings, can continue the criminal procedure before a court.
15 I think that is important in answering His Honour's question, whether the
16 victim could himself institute a criminal procedure.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In certain cases this legal
18 possibility did exist and it was used in practice, both in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for those
22 You have the floor, Mr. Karnavas.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Perhaps my learned colleague should
24 not assume that because I'm not from the area I don't know the system and
25 they could wait for their turn, but we do appreciate their assistance.
1 Q. Now, if you could -- picking up where Judge Trechsel had left off
2 earlier concerning appointments, and you gave us a full explanation of
3 how appointments were filled. Could you please tell us, because you
4 indicated earlier that there were some vacancies as a result of the
5 conflict, if you could please tell us how those vacancies were filled in
6 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
7 A. In the regular or civilian courts, judges and prosecutors were
8 appointed pursuant to the regulations of the HZ HB by the Presidency of
9 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna at the proposal of the head of the
10 department, or rather, the department of justice and general
11 administration. The procedure of appointment itself in the
12 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was such that the department of
13 justice and general administration would ask for proposals and opinions,
14 and if they were dealing with a municipal court they would ask that from
15 the municipality; if they were dealing with a higher court, they would
16 ask for opinions from several municipalities. After collecting these
17 opinions and proposals from the municipalities, a proposal would be sent
18 to the president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and -- or
19 rather, the Presidency --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- and the Presidency would then
22 carry out the appointment, they would appoint the judges and the
23 prosecutors. A similar procedure was in place for the appointment of
24 judges and prosecutors in the military courts and military prosecutor's
25 offices, but the proposal to the Presidency of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna would be sent by the head of the defence department or the
2 defence department.
3 MR. KARNAVAS:
4 Q. Okay. Thank you. So it would be the Presidency and not the
6 A. Yes, the Presidency.
7 Q. Okay.
8 A. I apologise if I misspoke.
9 Q. All right. Now, a couple more questions before we leave this
10 area. To your understanding was anyone relieved of his duty because of
11 their ethnicity?
12 A. I categorically state before this Court that in the
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna such a case never happened. On the
14 contrary, all the judges of Serbian ethnicity who remained in the area of
15 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, who did not leave the area
16 together with the JNA, continued at their posts performing the duties
17 they had performed up to that point or they were even promoted. Not a
18 single one of them was demoted and sent to a lower-level instance.
19 In the structure of the civilian courts in the Croatian Community
20 of Herceg-Bosna there was a large number of Bosniak Muslims carrying out
21 these duties, more Muslims than Croats in fact, although the Croats were
22 in the majority in the area. For example, I can say that the president
23 of the municipal court in Mostar was Mrs. Ziba Nozic, a Muslim or
24 Bosniak. Throughout this period the president of the military court was
25 a Muslim, Enes Memic; and for a while the president of the department of
1 the Supreme Court was, I think, Samir Huzic.
2 Q. All right. One final question and then we'll get into the
3 documents. We know - and I'm going to fast-forward in history - we know
4 at some point there was a creation of the Federation as a result of the
5 Washington Agreement and then we had the Dayton Agreement afterwards
6 bringing everything to an end, that is, the war. Can you tell us whether
7 decisions that were taken by the courts, including the branch of the
8 Supreme Court that was set up in Mostar, were they ever challenged and
9 any of the decisions overturned on the basis that these courts either,
10 one, were not properly constituted; or were not functioning within the
11 framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of the Bosnia-Herzegovinian legal
13 A. No. I'm not aware of a single instance of this kind.
14 Q. Okay. Unless there are any other questions from the Bench --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 You mentioned, and it's the first time that we have heard this,
17 that when the JNA left, Serb judges also left their positions. As far as
18 you know, in what proportion? 20, 30, 40, 50 per cent? How many judges
19 left and because they left caused a situation that must have been
20 problematic? Do you have any figures for us?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When referring to the overall
22 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, I think it was
23 between 15 and 20, a certain number remained at their duties and they
24 continued acting as judges.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say 15 to 20, do you mean
1 15 to 20 judges or 15 to 20 per cent?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Between 15 and 20 per cent,
3 referring to the entire territory of the Croatian Community of
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. Okay. Now we're going to start with going through some of the
8 documents, and I will need the assistance of the usher, I will need the
9 assistance of the usher, to give the binder to Mr. Buntic. We appreciate
10 that. And I'm going to begin by just going over some of -- very quickly
11 the documents establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And
12 perhaps before we even start with the very first document you can give us
13 a brief description or definition of what you believe the
14 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was.
15 A. I would be speculating if I said it was something different from
16 what was defined in Article 1, that is to say that it was a
17 socio-political community which as a political, cultural, and economic
18 regional entity is defined in Article 1.
19 Q. Let me stop you here. Everybody knows -- let's look at document
20 P 00079, that's the document that you're referring to, P 000 --
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. -- 79. So this is --
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Okay. All right. Now, was this -- if you look at -- let's look
25 at the next document which is very similar but perhaps more complete, and
1 that's 1D 00488, this is a decision on establishing the
2 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And I'm making reference to this
3 because there were other attached documents to this.
4 If you could look at Article 2 and could you please explain to us
5 or give us the -- comment on that particular article.
6 A. The first or the second one? I think they're identical, so I
7 think it's one and the same thing. It doesn't really matter where we're
8 going to read it from, I mean from what document. I think --
9 Q. 1D -- you need -- Mr. Buntic, you will have to look at the
10 document that I'm referring to so that we have a clear record. It's
11 1D 00488, that's the document we will be on. It's the second document.
12 A. Thank you. Article 2 reads as follows: "The Croatian Community
13 of Herceg-Bosna shall be composed of the areas of the municipalities of
14 Jajce, Kresevo, Busovaca, Vitez, Novi
15 Fojnica, Livno, Kupres, Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf," --
16 Q. Okay, Mr. Buntic, we have it in front of us so there's no need to
17 read. If you could explain to us. You said in the areas. Was this
18 supposed to be a carving up of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 MR. STRINGER: Objection, Mr. President, I believe the question
20 is leading. It's a direct suggesting an answer.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase.
22 Q. Look at Article 1 and then look at Article 2.
23 A. I think that it is characteristic, as far as Article 2 is
24 concerned, to note that areas of municipalities are referred to. When
25 areas of municipalities are referred to I'm not sure how this expression,
1 areas, could be translated into the English language. But it is certain
2 that in the Croatian language this expression, area, does not denote, or
3 rather, is not identical to the word territory. In the Croatian language
4 these are two different expressions involving different contents.
5 Therefore, there is no reference to territories of municipalities
6 in this decision; what is referred to are the areas of the
7 municipalities. In my view, as translated into English, it should be
8 parts of municipalities, that is how it should read, which is confirmed
9 by the designations that are in parenthesis. After Skender Vakuf there
10 is Dobratici in parenthesis, for instance. And after Trebinje in
11 parenthesis it says Ravno.
12 Q. All right. We'll move on to the next document, P 00152, P 00152.
13 We see it's dated April 1992 and it's titled: "Decision on the creation
14 of the Croatian Defence Council."
15 A. This is a document that I already talked about in my previous
16 remarks. On the basis of this document it is obvious that what is being
17 established is the Croatian Defence Council as the supreme defence body
18 of the Croatian people in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, also
19 that its task is to protect the Croatian people as well as other peoples
20 in this community when they're attacked from anyone, by anyone.
21 Q. Now, before we leave this document I'm sure it hasn't escaped
22 anyone's notice that on Article 2 it talks about a sovereign space of the
23 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Do you have an explanation for that?
24 Could you comment on it?
25 A. I think -- it's not that I think, I'm sure. Bosnia-Herzegovina,
1 according to its constitution, is defined as a state of three constituent
2 peoples; thereby, in accordance with the Constitution of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, sovereignty is derived from the people and belongs to
4 the people.
5 Q. All right.
6 A. I have no other explanation, and that is why Article 2 reads as
7 it does.
8 Q. All right. Now, did you take any -- did you participate in the
9 drafting of that instrument, if you recall?
10 A. No, because this is one of the documents that were handed over to
11 me when I took over my duties on the 26th, that is to say that I came
12 across this document that had already been there.
13 Q. All right. Now, if we look to the next document --
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could I --
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I would like to come back to
17 Article 2. We have here I think -- or it seems to me the third reference
18 to something geographical, to extension. We had territory, which was we
19 were told an incorrect translation of something that should be area; and
20 here we have space, which is not territory, not area, and I would like to
21 know what space here refers to.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The expression "prostor" is the
23 third similar expression that is used in the Croatian language and it's
24 much closer to the term "podrucje" than the word territory, "teritori."
25 I'm not a linguist to be able to give a precise definition of all three
1 of them respectively, but what I presented here is my own view, or
2 rather, the meaning of these expressions that are used in everyday
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I'm not saying that this has become
5 very clear to me, but I -- I mean, you give the answers that you can
6 give, of course, and you cannot be expected to do anything else. So
7 that's fine, thank you.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you for that question, Judge Trechsel.
9 Q. If we look at the next document, P 00155, P 00155, dated 10 April
10 1992, and it says: "Command." This is another document, I take it, that
11 preceded your posting?
12 A. As for this document, I found out about it perhaps on the 11th or
13 12th of April, 1992, while I was deputy commander of the defence of
14 Citluk, that is to say, while I was still in the military units, so
15 before I became head of the department for justice and general
16 administration. I think it is necessary to note here that up until the
17 10th of April, 1992, every municipality had its own armed units. In the
18 municipality of Citluk specifically they were called the detachment of
19 national defence, in Ljubusko they were called something different, in
20 yet other municipalities different names and so on. So, on the 10th of
21 April, 1992, different units functioned under different names and under
22 the command of municipal Crisis Staffs. At the time, in the
23 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna there were units called HOS that were
24 operating as well.
25 I've already pointed out that as for the members of the national
1 defence of Citluk I could not win them over so as to have them fight
2 under the name of national defence [as interpreted]. I've already
3 presented the reasons for this. So I'm aware of the specific document
4 and have been so since the 11th or 12th of April, 1992.
5 Q. Let me stop you here. We're not talking about the national
6 defence, as was noted on line -- I believe it's 19, but I believe we're
7 talking about the Territorial Defence and that's what you were referring
8 to during the first session; correct?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. All right. And basically the comments that you gave us earlier
11 concerning how the Territorial Defence had been discredited, we can see
12 that in this particular document?
13 A. This document also refers to some examples as to how the
14 Territorial Defence that existed up until then had compromised itself.
15 Also, it says that this name could not motivate people to fight under
16 that name. As we can see in this order, what was ordered was a single
17 designation and a single name for all the armed forces of the
18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
19 Q. All right. I think that helps us.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: We have another question.
21 JUDGE PRANDLER: Mr. Karnavas, I'm sorry to interrupt you.
22 Concerning this document which we are now talking about that is P 005 --
23 P 00155, and in that one, the second paragraph of that "Command" starts
24 with the following sentence, and I quote: "The Decision of the
25 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the BH Territorial Defence, also
1 of 8 April 1992
2 at this moment. Since the beginning of the attack on the Croatian people
3 that same Presidency has been silent in respect of crimes against the
5 Now, my question would be directed to the witness, if he would be
6 able to remind us about that decision of the Presidency of Bosnia and
8 now, but since it was, I believe, the major -- one of the major motives
9 and arguments why the command of the HVO was come to life and
10 established, that is why I believe that it would be worthwhile to recall
11 what kind of decision of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 represented a kind of rash decision, why was it considered as a needless
13 and useless document to rely upon it? So it is my question.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that the Presidency itself
15 gave the best answer to this question. Soon after this date they changed
16 the name of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is to say that
17 soon after this the Presidency itself gave up on the name
18 Territorial Defence and started calling its armed forces the Army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is my opinion that this happened for the reasons
20 that I already mentioned, namely, that this name had been compromised due
21 to the activities of the Territorial Defence.
22 JUDGE PRANDLER: Well, although I would like to see the text
23 itself, but since it is not being possible then I thank you for your
24 answer. Thank you.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: It is in the e-court, that document, and we did
2 discuss it extensively with -- I believe when Mr. Akmadzic was here. So
3 it is 1D 01219, so if Your Honour wishes to look at it and then further
4 question Mr. Buntic, we could pull it up and make it available to
5 everybody. I don't have it physically with me, but it's 1D 01219.
6 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas. Thank you.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
8 Q. All right. If we could go on to the next document, and that is
9 1D 00899, 1D 00899. This is a document dated 15 May 1992, it's a
10 statutory decision. If you could look at it. Do you have it, sir?
11 A. [No interpretation]
12 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not understand the witness.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. You do have it, sir?
15 A. I have it in front of me, that is to say -- well, has the
16 question already been put or --
17 Q. No. First, do you have it? I like to do things step by step.
18 So -- okay, now that you have it, can you please explain to us what this
19 document is. What is this statutory decision dated May 15, 1992? And of
20 course, in providing the answer to that, perhaps you can explain to us in
21 the preamble where it talks about 18 November 1991.
22 A. As for this document, I've already said that this is one of the
23 documents that were handed over to me when I in fact took over my duties
24 of head of the department for justice and general administration of the
25 HZ HB. I'm aware of this document, it is a statutory decision, and it
1 has to do - and I underline this - the provisional establishment of
2 executive government and administration in the territory of HZ HB
3 Article 1 what is defined are the powers and duties of the
4 Croatian Defence Council, and it says that the HVO shall be in charge of
5 carrying out executive duties in the territory of HZ HB
6 Article 2 states that members of the Croatian Defence Council
7 shall be elected by the Presidency of the HZ HB at the proposal of the
8 president of the Croatian Defence Council.
9 Q. All right. Now, let me stop you here so we go to Article 3, and
10 again I want to go step by step. It says here that: "The Croatian
11 Defence Council shall report to the Presidency ..."
12 What did you understand that to mean? Was that -- because later
13 on we see that it is -- that it has collective -- they're collectively
14 responsible for decisions adopted. So can you comment on that.
15 A. Article 3, in my opinion, prescribes what was envisaged in
16 classical terms, that the executive is always responsible to the
17 legislation that elected them. It is correct that in paragraph 2 it says
18 that members of the Croatian Defence Council, or rather, the president,
19 vice-presidents, heads of departments, and other members of the
20 Croatian Defence Council are jointly responsible for the decisions passed
21 by the Croatian Defence Council and that in particular they are
22 responsible for their area of work.
23 Q. Okay. Let me stop you here. Well, how do we interpret this?
24 Because where I come from you don't have a collective executive body.
25 There usually is somebody who is at the top. So first of all, when it
1 says here president, vice-president, heads of department, and other
2 members shall collectively be responsible for decisions, what does that
3 mean? If a decision has to be made, how is a decision made by this
4 collective body? Who votes? And then whose decision is it?
5 A. In this specific case as far as the HVO of the HZ HB is
6 concerned, decisions were passed by majority vote of all the members of
7 the HVO.
8 Q. Now, would that also include -- let me stop you. Would that
9 include department heads and other members, so they would all vote?
10 A. All heads of departments had the right to vote at sessions and
11 also the heads of the subdepartments. Again, I'm going back to the
12 following: Decisions were made by majority vote and decisions were
13 signed by the president of the Croatian Defence Council.
14 Q. All right. Now, let me stop you here. Whose decision was it?
15 Because you said it was signed by the president and we need to clarify
16 this point because of certain testimony and certain positions taken by
17 the Office of the Prosecution. So whose decision was it now that we know
18 that it was the president who signed the decision after it was
19 collectively voted upon?
20 A. In this case these were decisions of the HVO as a collective
22 Q. All right. We'll move on to the next document, 1D 00174, very
23 quickly --
24 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, counsel, for the interruption.
25 Mr. President, just for the record I noticed with the last
1 exhibit 1D 00899, which I think according to the Defence list is not in
2 evidence, but in -- the same document is in evidence as P 00206 and that
3 version's accompanied by an official translation as well as opposed to
4 the unofficial translation with this one. And so just for the record it
5 may be of use to all.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, whether it's official or unofficial, we're
7 willing to have both of them re-examined, Your Honour. There's an
8 obvious reason why we insist on certain matters being translated --
9 certain documents being retranslated in order to recalibrate the
10 translation, but I take the gentleman's point. We appreciate his
11 observation. We take to heart what he has in mind and we would ask that
12 in such instances that both translations be -- undergo further scrutiny.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Before we're leaving the previous documents, I
14 would like to ask the witness.
15 Who are or who were the other members? It is a very unspecific
16 term. Who were they?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This article, Article number 3,
18 only lists the offices involved. As for the departments, I mentioned
19 which ones existed, but I'm prepared to repeat that. In the Croatian
20 Defence Council --
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I think it was Article 2 where you
22 also have the reference to other members, and we have come on it before,
23 and they are other, I think, than the heads of department. It is heads
24 of departments and other. So I'm only interested in the others. Who are
25 the other members?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What is meant here are the heads of
2 subdepartments because we've already said that departments of economic
3 and social affairs had several subdepartments. Right now I cannot recall
4 each and every one of them, but I do know that there were several of
5 them. Furthermore, the HVO had its commissions as well as certain
6 offices that it established.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you tell me how many they were all in all?
8 How many people constituted the HVO in the sense of Article 2, paragraph
9 1, of this statutory decision?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said I wasn't sure how many
11 subdepartments there were, so I would have to speculate to answer that
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you give an approximate answer? Were they
14 20? 30? 15? 100?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that in the department of
16 the economy - and I'm speculating now - there were three, four, or five
17 subdepartments and the same number in the social affairs, maybe three
18 subdepartments of that department. I know there were subdepartments of
19 health, of education, of social welfare, and so on. But if I had to give
20 you a precise number and the precise names of these subdepartments, I'm
21 afraid I would be wrong. We will see that from a document adopted at a
22 session of the Presidency in August, the 14th of August. I think that
23 document lists the departments and subdepartments and their competencies,
24 so probably there is a document on the basis of which this can be
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: And, Judge Trechsel, we will provide a concrete
3 and accurate answer to that question perhaps through the next witness as
4 well. We do take note of the importance of that question.
5 Unfortunately, I must confess that did escape me.
6 Q. Anyway, 1D 00174, just very quickly. Here we see that this is a
7 decision of your appointment and the date is 15 May 1992, and I take it
8 this is a correct document, you stand by it; correct.
9 A. Yes, correct. That's the document. It was also handed over to
10 me when I took up my duties.
11 Q. All right. If we look at the next document, P 00250, P 00250,
12 this is a statutory decision on municipal executive authority and
13 municipal administration. And we see that this is dated 13 June 1992,
14 and it might be interesting for the Trial Chamber to some extent.
15 Without going through the document in detail, I wish to point out
16 specifically Article 6 where it says: "The HZ HB HVO shall supervise the
17 legality of the municipal HVO work."
18 And it then goes on to say: "... shall instruct the municipal
19 HVO in the field of its competence."
20 If you can tell us, what was the intention of Article 6, if you
21 know, and more importantly, realistically how was this -- how could
22 one -- how could the HZ HB HVO implement Article 6, given the realities
23 of the situation at the time?
24 A. I think that first of all one should go back to the situation
25 that existed before the 15th or 13th of June, 1992. We have to go back
1 to the time from the establishment of the Croatian Community of
2 Herceg-Bosna and the time when conflicts broke out all over
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. At that time, both defence and civilian life had to
4 function. At a time of total isolation when all the central organs of
5 government were cut off, the Assembly, the government, and the
6 Presidency, someone had to take over the organization of civilian life in
7 that area and someone had to defend the country. In particular cases
8 this was done by the municipalities. Each municipality adopted its own
9 regulations. I can't say what number of such regulations were adopted by
10 the municipalities, but it's a fact that in that time, in that period of
11 time, the municipalities had to regulate all military and civilian
12 matters and that a vast number of regulations were adopted in each
13 municipality. The municipality simply had to deal with the newly
14 emerging situation, the situation that had just come into being. Let me
15 give you an example.
16 As the commander of the defence of Citluk, people frequently
17 asked me to whom they should pay their taxes. They were unable to pay
18 their federal taxes because the public accountancy service was not
19 functioning in relation to Yugoslavia
20 function within Bosnia-Herzegovina. And that's just one example. The
21 municipalities had to adopt regulations in the areas of finance, health,
22 education, and so on. Payments were not functioning, traffic
23 communications were not functioning, railroads, and so on. So the
24 municipalities simply had to adopt a large number of regulations to deal
25 with the situation. The purpose of this article was to achieve something
1 close to unity, or at least to attempt to harmonize this vast number of
2 regulations adopted in the meantime. To what extent this could really be
3 done is another question. It was a long-term process that the
4 Croatian Defence Council had to deal with throughout the period from its
5 founding until it ceased to exist. It was not easy to regulate all these
7 Q. All right.
8 JUDGE PRANDLER: Excuse me.
9 I would like to ask one or two questions because I believe this
10 decision is a very important one. If we take Article 2, then of course
11 it says that: "The municipal HVO shall consist of its president, heads
12 of office, and other members who shall be appointed and dismissed by the
13 Croatian Defence Council of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna."
14 And also Article 7 which says that: "Administrative affairs that
15 fall within the rights and duties of the municipality shall be conducted
16 by administrative offices." And again: "The administrative offices
17 shall be established by decision of the municipal HVO, with the exception
18 of the Defence Office and the Interior."
19 Now, my question is the following: As you know, until that very
20 date, which is date 15 May 1992
21 executive authorities and administrations throughout the territory, and
22 here you do not find anything which would say what would happen to those
23 who had been dismissed. And therefore, I would like to ask you to give
24 us some advice on that matter because, of course, the -- if somebody was
25 dismissed, either from the municipal council or from the administration,
1 no doubt that it entailed an important issue of leaving, of, I don't
2 know, some payment, et cetera. So it is my question how this statutory
3 decision was implemented in that particular time?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, first, to the best of my
5 memory there was Article 2. Just as the structure of the HVO was
6 organized at the HZ HB level, the municipal HVOs were organized in a
7 similar way, they consisted of the president, the heads, unlike the HVO
8 of the HZ HB where there were departments, in this decision they are
9 called offices or bureaus. And there are similar definitions. I think
10 that this part is clear.
11 As regards the second question, why not the heads of the bureaus
12 of defence and of interior affairs, this is inherited from the previous
13 system; because in the former system of the former Yugoslavia in the
14 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the offices of defence and of the
15 interior of the municipality, they did not have the authority to appoint
16 their heads but according to the previous system and previous regulations
17 this was done by the republican organs. So these departments under the
18 previous system were not within the competence of the municipality. In
19 my opinion, this is simply taken over, copied, by analogy from the
20 previous system.
21 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you for the answer. As a matter of fact,
22 frankly, the thrust of my second question was not about the -- these two
23 exceptions, that is defence and office of the interior, because I --
24 finally I read this structure as it has been also before. But my major
25 question was about the fate of those who could have been, should have
1 been, may have been dismissed and -- because we -- let us not close our
2 eyes over the fact that it was the situation of a rather confrontational
3 time and I'm sure that many of the people working with the administration
4 they were not all Croats, they were Muslims, they were Serbs, if they
5 remained there at all. And it is my question: Was there any legal
6 remedy for some of the people who had been dismissed there at that time,
7 what happened to them? It is very -- really, it is my question.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If someone considered that their
9 rights had been violated, they had several options. One was to appeal
10 against a decision or document, to institute an administrative procedure,
11 to appeal against it if this had to do with state organs. If they were
12 dismissed from a job in a company, in an enterprise, they could institute
13 a proceedings before a court of associated labour or before a general
14 court. So they could enter into labour litigation.
15 If they were dismissed as a result of a crime or if they felt
16 that their dismissal was the result of a crime, they could file a
17 criminal report against the person responsible.
18 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you very much. Thank you.
19 MR. KARNAVAS:
20 Q. Perhaps at this point in time, given the questioning that is
21 coming on this particular document, it might be good to describe to us a
22 little bit about the municipalities and their relationship with the HVO,
23 the executive authority, and, of course, the role they played within the
24 Presidency. So starting off with the municipalities, how dependent or
25 independent were the municipalities at that point in time? And we're
1 asking for very concrete answers because we have to move along rather
3 A. We are talking about the 13th of July -- June --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- 1992, the time when this
6 decision was adopted. At that point in time there were literally no
7 other structures of government or authority, apart from those functioning
8 within the municipalities, either at the federal level or at the
9 republican level. At that point in time the institutions of the
10 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna had not been established either.
11 There was no one who could carry out executive business. Only the
12 municipalities were functioning on the 13th of June, 1992
13 that time we didn't have the civilian HVO, it wasn't complete. This
14 would only occur on the 14th or the 15th of August.
15 MR. KARNAVAS:
16 Q. All right. Now, earlier on I asked you about the Presidency.
17 From the municipality level, who was sitting on the Presidency, that is,
18 the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
19 A. The Presidency of the HZ HB by virtue of its position, or rather,
20 ex officio it included the top persons in the municipal government or the
21 HVO. So the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
22 consisted of the highest-ranking official in the municipality or the
23 president of the municipal HVO; that is, the highest administrative body
24 in the -- consisted of the representatives of the municipalities which
25 were part of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
1 Q. All right. So in this -- so to be very concrete we're talking
2 about the president of the municipality; correct?
3 A. The president or the chief, depending on the name used in that
4 particular municipality, the mayor.
5 Q. All right. And you also indicated that this collective body,
6 this Presidency that was made up of the presidents, including others that
7 is, but made up of the presidents of the municipalities or the chief
8 persons in the municipalities sat above the HVO, this executive organ?
9 A. Correct. At any point the Presidency could dismiss any
10 individual member of the HVO as well as the HVO as a whole if it was not
11 satisfied with its work. Had it been dissatisfied with the work of the
12 entire HVO, it would have dismissed them all but any point it would also
13 dismiss any single member of the HVO.
14 Q. Which brings me back to Article 6 and tell us whether you see
15 some sort of a collision. Because it says here: "The HZ HB HVO shall
16 supervise the legality of the municipal HVO work" and "... instruct the
17 municipal HVOs in the field of its competence."
18 How can you supervise the legality of a body that sits above you
19 especially when they have the power to dismiss you, as you've just
20 indicated? Do you see that conundrum or am I mistaken?
21 A. That's clear to me. It's very hard for someone appointing and
22 dismissing you, someone who at any point can dismiss you, for you to tell
23 them they have to do something. In practice, both de facto and de jure,
24 it is an illogical situation; that's true. But that's how it was.
25 Q. All right.
1 A. It was difficult, in my opinion, to expect that the HVO might
2 dismiss the president or mayor of a municipality while at the same time
3 it was responsible for its work to the presidents of the municipalities
4 or the presidents of the municipal HVOs. But that's the situation
5 prescribed by this decision; it's illogical, true, that's what the
6 situation was; it caused numerous problems in practice, but the decision
7 is what it is.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's time for our second break
9 then we'll have an hour left.
10 So we'll have a 20-minute break unless you wanted to ask one
11 question right away, Mr. Karnavas, do you have one last question?
12 MR. KARNAVAS: No, I don't have any other -- no, Your Honour. I
13 think this is a good time, good time.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So we take a
15 20-minute break.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.37 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 5.57 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
19 Mr. Karnavas, you have the floor.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
21 Q. Now we're going to switch to another topic and this is related to
22 events -- legislation, that came out around 3 July 1992 and we'll start
23 with 1D 01670, 1D 01670.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: And Your Honours will see that in the English
25 version it says that there was a meeting held on 3 July 1993, that should
1 read 1992.
2 Q. Have you found the document, sir?
3 A. Yes, I have it before me. It's correct that this is dated the
4 3rd of July, 1992, rather than 1993, these minutes.
5 Q. All right. Now -- and I take it -- if we go through it we see
6 your name and I take it it would be correct to say that you attended this
7 particular meeting of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of
8 Herceg-Bosna; correct?
9 A. Yes, correct, I was present.
10 Q. All right. Now, we see that on paragraph number 8 there is a
11 discussion from a gentleman by the name of Blago Artukovic from Zenica
12 and then you give a response, I just point that out. I'm not going to
13 ask any questions on this, although the Trial Chamber may have a question
14 or two. I'm more interested in Roman numeral II, that would be on the
15 following page, for us it would be page 5.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I hope I'm not too obnoxious, Mr. Karnavas, but
17 it says in this document that there is a list of the attendants which is
18 an integral part of it and which is -- so the document says attached, but
19 I do not have it and I do not think it would be entirely without
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree with you, and surely you can appreciate
22 the fact that if I had it I really would want to share it with you.
23 However, this is all I have and I apologise. But I'll keep looking for
24 that. But perhaps --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: -- we could ask the gentleman if he recalls, and
2 he might be able to give us some names, if that would be of some
3 assistance, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I -- actually, I don't think so. I would have
5 liked to have seen the total. It might have assisted also with the
6 previous question with other matters, but ...
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Right. Okay.
8 Q. Now, going to Roman numeral II: "Decision amending the decision
9 on establishment of HZ HB."
10 And here you are, you're commented -- you're commenting that --
11 you give the reasons, the objectives, behind the drafting of the
12 decision, that is, of the amendment. Can you explain that a little bit
13 to us?
14 A. It's correct that I attended this meeting, or rather, this
15 session of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that
16 at this session I took part in the discussion, that I explained to the
17 members of the Presidency the reasons and the purpose of certain
18 regulations adopted at this meeting of the Presidency. I recall that
19 several regulations were adopted and that one of the most important
20 regulations was the decision on the establishment of the HZ HB. On that
21 day at that session this decision was amended. When I say that, I'm
22 referring primarily to Article 7 of the decision --
23 Q. Okay. We're going to get to it step by step. I got to -- let's
24 deal with this document first, and I don't mean to cut you off or to be
25 aggressive, but there is a procedure and we need to keep it rather tight.
1 Now, if we go on to Roman numeral VII, you comment again about
2 the decree on seizure of the occupier's property and its transfer to HZ
3 HB ownership, and again you provide some sort of an explanation. We're
4 going to see those documents, but can you comment a little bit about
6 A. I think I can. I think that items 6 and 7 are very similar,
7 these are two very similar decrees. One is the decree on seizure of the
8 property of the former JNA on the -- and the SSNO on the territory of the
9 HZ HB. With respect to this decree, I consider that the purpose of this
10 decree was primarily to protect the property abandoned by the JNA and
11 taken by the HVO in armed clashes with the JNA.
12 Q. All right.
13 A. I think it should be pointed out in this respect that this is
14 socially owned property which cannot be said to be somebody's ownership.
15 The concept of socially owned property is sui generis a concept difficult
16 to explain to anyone who did not participate or work in the legal system
17 of the former Yugoslavia
18 to be nobody's property or everybody's property or common property.
19 That's how this term, socially owned property, was translated in everyday
20 speech. It should also be pointed out that all the property which was
21 socially owned rather than owned by the JNA and which consisted in
22 movable items, such as ships, aeroplanes, helicopters, rocket systems,
23 engineering installations, infantry weapons, artillery weapons, that all
24 this was taken by the JNA as if it belonged to them, although it was the
25 property of all the citizens of the former Yugoslavia. This same
1 property was used by the JNA to perpetrate aggression against
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina and to occupy Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 These decrees enacted by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
4 meant that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna took this property for
5 its own. It could not take over the property on behalf of a third party,
6 that was not possible, so it took ownership of the property on its own
7 account. And ultimately, this property was subject to the succession of
8 the former Yugoslavia
9 Q. All right. If I move on now to --
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry, Mr. Karnavas, but this is --
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: -- I think not quite unimportant or
14 MR. KARNAVAS: No, no, that's fine.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: With regard to the other proposed decrees, the
16 minutes say they were unanimously adopted. Number 7, Roman VII does not
17 have such a mention. Does that mean that it was not adopted or is it a
18 mistake in the minutes?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that all the decrees were
20 passed unanimously.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Is this -- Judge Trechsel, are you referring to
22 the decree on public companies?
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: No, I'm referring to the decree on seizure of
24 the occupier's property, but I'm prepared to take the witness's word that
25 they were adopted and must then assume that the minutes are not
1 completely reliable.
2 MR. KARNAVAS:
3 Q. Okay. If we could -- if we could go on now to number IX, this is
4 dealing with the decree on organization, work, and purview of the
5 judiciary. We see your name, and if we skim over it we see that you talk
6 about a legal vacuum being created as a result of BH Republic having
7 adopted a decree on the non-application of federal regulations. And then
8 you go on to explain other matters.
9 Now, without going into any great detail, do you stand by what
10 you indicated to us today and what's indicated here in the meeting, in
11 the minutes?
12 A. I stand by that, and I think that the -- this is the decree of
13 the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina dated the 2nd of May, 1992. In
14 respect of military courts and military prosecutor's offices, there was a
15 legal void which needed to be filled. I believe that it is also
16 important to point out that this decree was never carried out in
17 practice. It was not published in the Official Gazette of the HZ HB, and
18 therefore practically it never came into force.
19 Q. All right.
20 A. It was passed, or rather, what was passed was a new decree
21 regulating this matter, and this happened at a Presidency session on the
22 17th of October, 1992.
23 Q. Okay. We'll get to that. We'll get to that, I promise you.
24 Okay. If we go on to the next document, P 00 --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
1 Witness, I'm looking at the deliberations and the discussions
2 related to the adoption of these decrees, and the impression you get as
3 an outsider is that a true democratic debate and discussion has been
4 going on between all the present members of this assembly or meeting, and
5 Mr. Boban is just one speaker amongst others and that the adoption of
6 this -- these decrees on a collective basis is something that creates a
7 commitment for everyone. Would we be wrong in concluding that?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the basis of the minutes one may
9 conclude that the decree was not challenged in any way and there were no
10 proposals to amend it. As for this decree that we are discussing
11 specifically right now about military district courts, there was no
12 debate on it and it was unanimously adopted as such. The fact remains
13 that at sessions of the Presidency there weren't any debates in terms of
14 what one could expect in a regular parliament in the Assembly of a state
15 or a regional community. The reasons for that were probably many-fold.
16 One of these reasons is probably the fact that the structure of the
17 Presidency of the HZ HB was a single-party one. I think that in the
18 structure of the Presidency there weren't any members of any other party.
19 I'm not sure whether that was the case, even if there were some I'm sure
20 they were few and far between.
21 Practically, we had a one-party Presidency.
22 As I said, we did not have a classical opposition that would lend
23 itself to debate, challenges, and so on, what an opposition usually does
24 in terms of having different views.
25 You asked me about the participants and their discussions. Yes,
1 they did discuss different issues. Perhaps what is characteristic is
2 what we will find on page 2, I believe, of the minutes. Mijo Tokic from
3 Tomislavgrad takes the floor, that is page 2, paragraph 4 of the minutes.
4 I'm saying this in relation to the question that I put a few moments ago
5 because we will see here that Mr. Mijo Tokic, who is the head of the
6 municipality of Tomislavgrad, says the Kupres front and Rama are fully
7 supported by the municipality of Tomislavgrad
8 they -- or rather, the Tomislavgrad municipality pays for all the defence
9 expenses for Kupres and Rama.
10 So what we discussed a few minutes ago is derived from this,
11 namely, that municipalities tried to make do on their own and often they
12 were compelled to finance even the needs of other municipalities. I
13 think that that is clearly derived from these remarks of Mr. Mijo Tokic
14 from Tomislavgrad, but this was a question that was raised previously and
15 I do apologise for referring to it now because it really had to do with
16 our previous topic.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you may proceed.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Now, if we go on to the next document, P 00302, P 00302, this is
20 a decision on establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and if
21 we look at the end of the document we see Mostar, 18 November 1991; if we
22 look at the top of the page of the first page we see September 1992; and
23 of course if we look in the preamble it says that the said decision of
24 18 November 1991
25 perhaps you might be able to help us out very briefly so we can clarify
1 this matter before I focus everyone's attention to a more important
2 matter which would be covered in Article 7.
3 A. This has to do with a technical matter as well. It is not being
4 contested that the decision on the establishment of HZ HB was made on the
5 18th of November, 1991. At that time the Croatian Community of
6 Herceg-Bosna did not have its Official Gazette, it could not have made
7 this public officially. This was made public, but not officially, as can
8 be seen here. It was amended on the 3rd of July, 1992, and that is
9 something that I have already discussed, its amendments on the 3rd of
10 July, 1992.
11 In Official Gazette number 1 from September 1992 it was published
12 in its integral form, that is to say, including all the amendments.
13 Q. Okay. That's fine. Now, before we go to Article 7 if there are
14 any questions from the Bench concerning Roman numeral I, reasons,
15 otherwise I'll -- which is the preamble in a sense or the reasons for the
16 establishment. If there are no questions, I'll move on to Article 7.
17 If we look at Article 7, it says here: "Extreme authority shall
18 be vested in the following:
19 "1. The President of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna ..."
20 Then you have: "2. The Presidency of the Croatian Community of
21 Herceg-Bosna which shall consist of representatives of the Croatian
22 people in the municipal bodies of authority, the senior official thereof
23 or the presidents of the municipal Croatian Defence Council."
24 And I take it this is what you were telling us earlier that --
25 when you said that Mr. Boban became the president of the
1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, this is what -- you were talking
2 about this versus his other function which was president of the
3 Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; correct?
4 A. It is correct. I think that I have already answered this
5 question when it was put to me by the President of the Chamber. It says
6 here that this decision introduces for the first time the position of the
7 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna as a single,
8 independent entity that had not existed up until the 3rd of July, 1992.
9 Q. Okay. I think -- that's fine. That will help us. And just for
10 clarification purposes, because you mentioned earlier that at one point
11 Mr. Mate Boban was also president of the HVO, if we could go back very
12 quickly - and I must apologise to everyone for not dealing with this
13 earlier - if we look at 1D 00174 which was the decision on your
14 appointment, we see Mate Boban president of the HVO and HZ HB. So at
15 this point, at least when he's appointing you, May 15, 1992, it seems
16 that he's wearing both hats, president of the HVO, president of the
17 HZ HB, and I guess a third hat which would be the Presidency, not to
18 mention the hat that he would have been wearing as the head of the HDZ.
19 Is that correct?
20 A. Correct. I have already answered that question; namely, all the
21 way up until the 14th or 15th of August Mate Boban held all of these
23 Q. All right. Okay. We can -- we'll move along because that's been
24 established. If we go on to the next document P 00424, and we don't need
25 to dwell on them unless there are questions from the Bench because we
1 covered -- we focused our attention on certain matters in the minutes of
2 the meeting that took place on 3 July 1992. Here this document, P 00424,
3 we see that this is the decree on transferring resources of the JNA.
4 This is the article that was being referenced to in the minutes of the
5 meeting; is that correct? This is the decree, I should say.
6 A. I think I've already said that; however, it is explained here in
7 Article 1. The first sentence of Article 1 says: "Socially owned
8 resources ..." also in paragraph 2 where it says specifically: "Socially
9 owned resources ..."
10 This just clarifies the answer I have already provided, namely,
11 that this has to do with resources that are socially owned.
12 Q. Thank you. Now let's look at the next document, P 09553 --
13 MR. KARNAVAS: And incidentally, Your Honours, if I'm moving too
14 fast and you wish to ask a question, please just stop me.
15 Q. P 09553. This is an order on the taking over of assets of the
16 JNA, and we see at the bottom -- now, if we look at -- if you could
17 please read the title in Croatian because in English it says: "Order."
18 How would you -- could you just read the title of this legal instrument.
19 A. It says "decree" in both of the documents that I have in front of
21 Q. Okay. And we're speaking about P 09553, that's the document that
22 I'm on right now.
23 A. Correct, correct.
24 Q. Okay. All right. And this is about taking over the assets of
25 the JNA, and that's what you told us about earlier, the explanation that
1 you gave us; correct?
2 A. That is correct.
3 Q. All right. Again, we go on to the next document, 1D 001 --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The signature, it says: "Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna Presidency" and then: "President Mate Boban." So
6 Mate Boban was the president of the Presidency and had the legislative
7 function too.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Is that posed to me, Your Honour?
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well -- no, no, I was looking at you --
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I'd be more than happy to answer that question.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Is this a question that's put to
13 I think that you have perceived the situation as it was in
14 reality; namely, we said that from November when the HZ HB was
15 established, Mr. Boban was president of the Presidency of the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna. Also, we said that on the 8th of April, 1992
17 he also assumed the position of president of the HVO.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We cannot hear the speaker
19 due to background noise.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Also, he had a third capacity, that
21 is to say, that of the president of the Croatian Community of
22 Herceg-Bosna and supreme commander of the armed forces of the HVO.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
24 MR. KARNAVAS:
25 Q. All right. Now if we go on to the next document, 1D 00161, we
1 see that this is a decree on the confiscation of property of the occupier
2 and transfer of ownership of the property of the occupier, and at the
3 bottom we see president of the HVO and HZ HB Mate Boban. It's dated
4 3 July 1992
5 discussed during the minutes of the meeting that we saw; correct?
6 A. It is correct that that is one of the regulations that was passed
7 then; however, perhaps it may be important to note that if certain
8 resources were being taken over it only pertains to Article 1 (a),
9 organization of the bodies of the former federation, that is to say,
11 from categories (b), (c), and (d) respectively. That is to say, that I
12 personally do not know about a single case of property being taken over
13 from enterprises whose seats were in Serbia
14 persons who were from Serbia
15 Q. All right. Thank you. If we go on to the next document,
16 P 002 --
17 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm sorry to ask again a question about that
18 particular document, that is 1D 00161. The -- which is important decree
19 on the confiscation of the property of the occupier and transfer of
20 ownership of the property of the occupier to the Croatian Community.
21 Now, in that decree in itself I do not see the very explanation
22 who the occupier was and what kind of property should be meant on the --
23 in accordance with this decree. So of course we all know that that had
24 been the JNA attack that at that time people spoke JNA and Chetniks, et
25 cetera. But I believe that in a legal document of this important order
1 and the consequences of it, then probably one would expect a kind of
2 definition about the occupier.
3 So my question is, to you, that -- do you think that the occupier
4 as such was already an accepted legal entity, a determination, and do you
5 think that this -- the implementation of this decree would have caused
6 any problem as far as the very impression which kind of property should
7 be confiscated from the occupier or it was very clear to whom this decree
8 was concerned to?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The names of the aggressors and
10 occupiers of Bosnia-Herzegovina had already been defined by the decision
11 of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina on the proclamation of a state of
12 war on the 25th -- or rather, on the 26th in 1992. In the preamble of
13 this decision it is stated that aggressors against Bosnia-Herzegovina are
14 the Yugoslav People's Army; the units of the SDS, the Serb army; and I
15 think that a reference was made there to paramilitary units arriving from
16 the Republic of Serbia
17 referred to and also the Yugoslav People's Army was referred to.
18 Also what is noted in this decision on the declaration of a state
19 of war is that two-thirds of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 already been occupied so the aggressors were named, the occupiers were
21 named, also the fact that two-thirds of the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 were already occupied. As for this decree, if you're asking me about my
23 opinion then, just like the decision on the establishment of the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, it reminds one very, very much of the
25 decisions that were made by the Partisan Liberation Movement during the
1 Second World War. Like the people's committees during the Second World
2 War unified all branches of government, the executive, the legislative,
3 and the judiciary, I think that the HZ HB used this as an example to
4 bring all three together. However, we do have to realize that the
5 antifascist council of the national liberation of Yugoslavia made this
6 kind of decision at its second session when property was confiscated from
7 the occupiers and those who collaborated with the occupiers.
8 The members of the Presidency, since they were well-versed in
9 history, seemingly paid more attention to history than to law in both
10 cases, like the decision on the establishment of the HZ HB in its
11 original decision does not invoke the constitution or law on the basis of
12 which it was adopted, although there were strong constitutional
13 foundations for the establishment of the Croatian Community of
14 Herceg-Bosna, this is lacking; however, there is this historical
15 dimension, just like in this case there is the decision of the
16 antifascist council of the national liberation of Yugoslavia, on the
17 confiscation of the property of the aggressor and their collaborators.
18 When I'm saying this, I'm actually referring to what I thought was a
19 decisive factor at that point in time, namely, why this decree was
20 passed, or rather, this decision to establish the HZ HB.
21 JUDGE PRANDLER: I thank you for the explanation. My only
22 remaining question is as follows.
23 If I understood well what you have explained to us, this
24 particular decree may be related to the legal entities of the previously
25 JNA and "Chetniks" property and it was not related to an "average"
1 citizen of the given territory, that is, Herceg-Bosna every citizen of
2 Serbian origin. It is my question and, frankly, that is why I ask the
3 question if the very lack of definition wouldn't result in certain, let
4 us be frank, injustices or actions which were directed against the
5 ordinary citizens of the territory concerned.
6 If it is not very clear, let me repeat. Couldn't it be possible
7 that upon the application of this decree not only those who had been
8 responsible for the aggression and their properties were confiscated, but
9 also average citizens of that time Herzegovina of Serbian origin who
10 lived at that very territory?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you for this
12 question. I think that I understand it and I think that I have answered
13 it only in part. Yes, this was passed and published in the
14 Official Gazette of the HZ HB; however, I also said that I was not aware
15 of a single case in which property was taken away in accordance with this
16 decree from any citizen of Serb ethnicity who was a citizen of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro
18 property of the Yugoslav People's Army and the federal secretariat of
19 national defence. As a rule, it primarily consisted of barracks, that is
20 to say, military facilities that the Yugoslav People's Army had left or
21 the HVO took these barracks in combat with the Yugoslav People's Army.
22 When saying this, I mean that in practice I'm not aware of a single case
23 in which on the basis of this decree the property of any citizen was
24 taken away by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
25 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. Buntic.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a decree that foresees
2 the confiscation of property can be legally justified when it relates to
3 confiscating property belonging to an entity such as the JNA that is
4 being dismantled, that is leaving, someone might as well occupy the
5 barracks. But as my colleague said, let's take the case of the average
6 Serb citizen, I don't know if this existed but let's say a hairdresser, a
7 Serb hairdresser in Mostar, the JNA leaves for its own reasons and for
8 his own reason he decides to leave as well. What would become of his
9 apartment and hair salon? They could be confiscated, but was there a
10 process of compensation and was it foreseen that they could be given back
11 to him?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not defending the meaning of
13 this decree. I'm not claiming that it's fair or reasonable. So from
14 that point of view I think that in its paragraphs (b), (c), and (d), as
15 I've already said, it is not justified and that it does not contain a
16 reasonable justification for the passing of such a decree in 1 (b), (c),
17 and (d). However, also I pointed out what the reasons were for passing
18 such a decision. I have to point out once again that as a lawyer I
19 cannot justify the point of (b), (c), and (d) in this decree.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you know, after the
21 Dayton Accords, were there -- was there any litigation involving people
22 whose property was seized? Were there trials, legal proceedings? Or
23 were there no problems of this type?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I did not clarify
25 sufficiently. When I say property owned by physical persons or natural
1 persons, I'm referring to property in the traditional sense, as
2 understood by us lawyers. There were violations in this respect, there
3 was occupation of abandoned flats which were not privately owned but
4 socially owned. After the JNA abandoned Mostar, a large number of empty
5 military flats remained which were socially owned, but there were also
6 flats inhabited by citizens of Serb ethnicity but these flats were
7 socially owned. These citizens did have tenancy rights. I don't know
8 whether I need to clarify what ownership means as opposed to tenancy
9 rights in a socially owned flat.
10 I also wish to mention that the legal provisions then in force
11 governing the subject matter of socially owned flats envisioned that if a
12 socially owned flat was abandoned and not lived in for longer than six
13 months, tenancy rights would be forfeit because they were not equal to
14 property rights.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, as far as I'm
16 concerned with regard to socially owned property I don't see any problem
17 at first glance. My question relates to private property of a Serb who
18 has his own small flat because he bought this flat or perhaps inherited
19 it and he decides to leave, and then someone else occupies his flat.
20 That's the problem that I'm contemplating. Was this a widespread
21 phenomenon or was it really marginal?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There may have been isolated
23 instances of that on a personal level, but I'm not aware of a single case
24 where the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna or the Croatian
25 Defence Council adopted any decision whereby private property would be
1 taken over into the ownership of the Croatian community or of the HVO.
2 Your Honours, I'm not aware of a single such instance throughout
3 the war period.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 Mr. Karnavas.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Where a lot of problems did arise
7 was where flats were abandoned which were socially owned and tenancy
8 rights were enjoyed by citizens of Serb ethnicity. There were quite a
9 few problems, but the HZ HB did not take ownership of these flats unless
10 they were military flats. Military flats were a separate category in
11 item (a), and that did happen, taking over flats belonging -- flats used
12 by the former JNA and so-called SSNO, and that's under item (a),
13 Article 1, item (a).
14 MR. KARNAVAS:
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: And, Your Honours, at some point we will -- not
17 with this witness but perhaps with another one, we will go over the law
18 on the use of abandoned properties. You will see the measures that were
19 taken which will become very clear.
20 Q. If we go on to the next document, P 00292, P 00292. Again, this
21 is 3 July 1992
22 armed fighting, and of course in Article 1 we see that they are to be
23 accorded the protections under the Geneva Convention relative to the
24 treatment of prisoners of war. And then Article 2, it says here, and
25 this is where I want you to comment on, it says: "The Head of the
1 Justice and Administration Department, in cooperation with the Head of
2 the Defence Department and the Head of the Department of Interior shall
3 designate the locations where prisoners shall be kept, in accordance with
4 the provisions of the aforementioned Convention of Article 1 of this
6 And of course if you look at Article -- before I pose my
7 question, if we look at Article 3 it says: "The Defence Department shall
8 be in charge of the facilities ..." and that's a rather straightforward
9 article, but nonetheless in Article 2 it says that you along with the
10 other heads are to designate that location. Can you give us an
11 explanation exactly, you know, how was this particular article to be
12 implemented and how was it, in fact, implemented to your knowledge.
13 A. Correct. This is a decree adopted on the 3rd of July also at the
14 Presidency session we've already mentioned, and what I can say -- in
15 1992. And what I can say about this decree is that in any war, including
16 this one, there were prisoners of war. I don't think it's possible to
17 wage war without having prisoners of war. I also think it was necessary
18 to adopt a regulation governing this issue.
19 Article 1 clearly states that the Geneva Conventions apply to
20 persons who are captured, and Article 2 prescribes how locations will be
21 designated where prisoners of war will be kept, whereas Article 3
22 specifies who is to be in charge of these facilities so that the justice
23 and administration department in cooperation with the defence department
24 and the department of the interior shall deal with these issues. And
25 Article 3 provides that the defence department shall be in charge of the
1 facilities. The decree I think is clear and I've already stated its
3 Q. All right. Well, to the extent that we have Article 2, can you
4 please explain to us to what extent were you engaged in -- along with the
5 other two department heads in trying to designate locations where
6 prisoners would be kept, prisoners of war, pursuant to this particular
7 decree which was signed by Mate Boban on 3 July 1992.
8 A. Well, this needs a brief clarification. On the entire territory
9 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that is, the 30 municipalities
10 mentioned in the decree on the establishment of the HZ HB, there was not
11 a single facility used for people serving prison sentences. The only
12 thing we had at that time was the district investigative or a remand
13 prison in Mostar. It was attached to the higher court in Mostar. It was
14 not an establishment where sentences could be served, but a remand prison
15 for persons under investigation. Immediately after taking up my duty as
16 head of the department of justice and general administration, I talked to
17 the governor of this establishment in Mostar and he informed me of the
18 situation in the district prison in Mostar, where apart from persons
19 serving prison sentences there was also a certain number of prisoners of
20 war who were in the prison without any court decision having been issued.
21 And of course this had to be dealt with.
22 Soon after that --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to stop you right
24 there because we have a procedural motion to discuss. The Prosecution --
25 but it's an important question so I think we will come back to it
1 tomorrow, Mr. Karnavas will come back to this question tomorrow.
2 So, Witness, I will ask the usher to escort you out of the room
3 and I would ask you to come back tomorrow morning at 9.00 for our hearing
4 that will take place in the morning. So I'm not sure who would like to
5 take the floor first, the Prosecution or ...
6 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Yes, this is, for
7 counsel and everyone else, it's unrelated to this witness. It relates to
8 a witness from last week, Professor Jankovic. And we'd been asked to
9 make sure that the record reflects that the -- the submission that was
10 filed last Friday by the Prosecution which was our objections to the
11 documents tendered by the Praljak Defence to the exhibits they were
12 tendering through Professor Jankovic, we filed a document, a written
13 filing, objecting to those and it had some documents attached to an
15 [The witness stands down]
16 MR. STRINGER: And it was filed normally, as the Trial Chamber
17 knows, these are handled strictly by the IC document procedure that's
18 been in place, but this one we thought was a little bit unusual because
19 we had a couple of arguments to make and some documents to attach to it.
20 So we made it into a real filing which we filed on Friday. We made that
21 filing before the registrar had officially assigned an IC number to the
22 submission of exhibits by the Praljak Defence. And so for the record the
23 filing of the Prosecution from last Friday objecting to the Jankovic --
24 or some -- to some of the Jankovic exhibits, not all of them, is, in
25 fact, applying to the Defence exhibits which are tendered via IC number
1 823-3D. So apparently it created a little bit of procedural confusion.
2 We made the filing early so that counsel could read it over the weekend
3 and make a response if he wanted to. The time-frame on the submissions
4 and the responses on tendering exhibits is rather short, and so we went
5 ahead and filed the document even though it had not yet been officially
6 tendered by the Praljak Defence.
7 So again just to clarify, the Prosecution filing on the Jankovic
8 exhibits that was made last Friday applies to the IC number 823-3D
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my colleague has
11 explained what this is about. We feel it needs to be placed clearly on
12 record. As my colleague said, on the 3rd of July, the Defence of
13 General Praljak submitted the usual IC list, expecting it to be received
14 today and to be allocated a number, as we've been doing for the past two
15 years; but for the reasons he stated which I fully take into account, the
16 Prosecutor responded on the 4th of July, the very next day, before the IC
17 list became a formal document because it hadn't yet been given a number.
18 So I carefully re-read your decision of the 4th of April simply to be on
19 the safe side, as that decision in paragraph 32 mentions dead-lines and
20 other interpretations are possible, so to be on the safe side I felt it
21 was better for me to respond within 24 hours which I did. And this
22 filing was also received as was the filing mentioned by my learned
23 friend. Both filings, I think I can say, have to do with the IC number
24 823 given today, so that is the position of the Prosecutor and the
25 response to your decision guide-line 8. We both understand that we
1 should not respond to such submissions until the IC list is given a
2 number. That's the crux of the matter. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for
4 clarifying this issue, both the Prosecution and the Defence. So we
5 understand that the problem relates to -- or the filing, rather, relates
6 to IC number 823.
7 It is now 7.00. Mr. Karnavas, you have used up almost two hours,
8 1 hour, 59 minutes and a few seconds but I'll let you have those seconds,
9 but almost two hours. We meet tomorrow morning at 9.00. Have a very
10 good evening.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.
12 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 8th day of
13 July, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.