1 Friday, 18 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-04-74-T, The Prosecutor versus Prlic
11 et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Today is Friday, July 18, 2008.
14 First of all, good morning to the witness. Good morning also to
15 the accused, the Defence counsel, and Mr. Stringer, as well as all the
16 other representatives of the OTP, as well as everyone assisting us in
17 this case.
18 Today, we are going to complete the cross-examination of the
19 witness. According to the numbers I have here, you have 38 minutes left,
20 Mr. Stringer.
21 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Good morning. Good morning, Your Honours, Counsel. Good
23 morning, Mr. Buntic.
24 WITNESS: ZORAN BUNTIC [Resumed]
25 [The witness answered through interpreter]
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer: [Continued]
3 Q. When we finished yesterday, we were talking about a report which
4 you wrote in August of 1993, in which you made reference to Muslims
5 having been removed from their addresses or were not otherwise available
6 for service of summons. Do you recall that?
7 A. I do.
8 Q. Now, I'd like to show you another exhibit. This is P02802, which
9 I believe is in the third binder. 2802, binder number 3.
10 It appears, Mr. Buntic, that you can see it on the screen, and so
11 while the usher is assisting us in locating the document -- okay, we've
12 got it now.
13 This is not one of your reports, Mr. Buntic. This is an activity
14 report by a member of the military police, the commander of the 1st
15 Company of the 3rd Battalion. This is a daily report for the 15th of
16 June, 1993.
17 I want to direct your attention, sir, to the last paragraph of
18 the document, in which this gentleman, Mr. Mate Anicic states:
19 "No criminal acts or incidents were notified yesterday, only the
20 ethnically cleansing of the town of persons of Muslim nationality was
22 Then he goes on to indicate that the perpetrators of this were
23 members of the 4th Battalion and members of the ATG Baja Kraljevic.
24 My question for you, sir, is: Isn't it true that there was a
25 regular activity involving ethnic cleansing of Muslims from the west side
1 of Mostar during this period, June and afterwards, throughout the summer
2 and fall of 1993?
3 A. Regular ethnic cleansing, well, this is the first time I'm
4 hearing of such a term, so I can't answer affirmatively. That's one.
5 Second, I'm seeing this report for the first time, and I have to
6 add that never, in the course of my work in the Justice and
7 General Administration Department have I ever received a report from the
8 Intelligence Service, SIS, the military police, the civilian police, or
9 any other agency regarding this.
10 Q. So, sir, if this sort of activity was occurring in West Mostar
11 are we to understand that you, as the head of the Justice Department, did
12 not know about it?
13 A. I stand by what I said. I have never received from the civilian
14 MUP, or the military police, or the Intelligence Service either a verbal
15 or a written report.
16 Q. Well, my question now is a different one. Did you, in your
17 capacity as head of the Department of Justice, did you know about this
18 practice, did you know about these activities, did you learn about it
19 from a different source?
20 A. I could have known as much as was reported in newspapers or
21 inasmuch as it was discussed at government sessions, that is, HVO
23 Q. Did you work in West Mostar during this period of time?
24 A. This is the 16th of June. I'm not sure that HVO sessions were
25 held at that time in Mostar. I believe they were held, a part of them,
1 in Siroki Brijeg, but certainly not the address where the headquarters
2 used to be, that is, the building of the Arrow [phoen] Hotel, where the
3 HVO was based at this time. I think that was the case, but I can't be
4 sure. This is the 16th of June. I believe we worked in different
5 buildings that were more distant from the frontline, or perhaps it was
6 Bijeli Brijeg.
7 Q. Yesterday, we looked at a document written by Mr. Maric, who was
8 with the Mostar Military District Court. He indicated that during this
9 first half, I believe, of 1993, the priority was to institute proceedings
10 in respect of Muslim aggression. We've also looked at your reports on
11 the operations of the courts during this period of time.
12 Is it true, sir, that the ethnically cleansing of Muslims from
13 West Mostar during this period was not a priority of the courts
14 established by you under the auspices of the HVO?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I object to the form of the question. It assumes
16 that there was ethnic cleansing. He can put it in another fashion. We
17 have a report over here, what the gentleman said. That's his version of
18 the events. He hasn't testified. Now, if he wants to put it
19 differently, that's fine, but the way it's stated, as if it's a fact, and
20 I object to the form of the question.
21 MR. STRINGER: I think it's a fair question, Mr. President.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: It isn't a fair question. It was a battle zone.
23 That's the problem, and unfortunately Mr. Stringer hasn't been here
24 throughout the trial to hear all of the evidence and what was happening
25 in Mostar. That's the problem.
1 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, that's an outrageously naive
2 comment to make, if I could say so.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please put your question
5 MR. STRINGER:
6 Q. Isn't it true, sir, that the conduct referred to in this report
7 you're looking at, the ethnical cleansing of the town from persons of
8 Muslim nationality, was not a priority of the courts established under
9 your Department of Justice?
10 A. You have before you a document, don't you, a document from the
11 president of a court? We discussed that issue yesterday. I believe I've
12 answered this question. The president of the court determines the
13 priorities of the court, and he compiled and submitted his report about
14 that. What I was able to do in this connection was to inform a section
15 of the Supreme Court and demand an inspection of the work of these
17 I'm telling you what was in my powers. Other possibilities for
18 me to intervene in the work of the courts did not exist.
19 Q. All right. The next exhibit, unless there is a question about
20 that one from the Bench, the next exhibit is P03571. This is not in a
21 binder, I don't think. It's one of the loose ones that we were just
22 distributing today.
23 Mr. Buntic, you were shown this document during your
24 cross-examination by counsel for Mr. Coric, and this is a report or a
25 document, I should say, dated the 19th of July, 1993. It's over the
1 signature of Mr. Valentin Coric, and what this document is doing is
2 relieving four members of the military police of duty, relieving them of
3 duty on founded suspicion that they had committed rape, finding that this
4 conduct was detrimental to the military police, sentencing them to
5 military detention of 30 days.
6 Do you recall seeing this document?
7 A. I believe we have in one of the binders that we have reviewed
8 over the past few days, something like this.
9 Q. You were talking about various cases and prosecutions that were
10 occurring in the courts, as reflected in the court registers that you
11 were looking at. Do you recall that?
12 A. I recall that.
13 Q. Okay. The next exhibit is P03536, which is in your binder.
14 I think it's in the same binder, 3536.
15 And while that's being found for you, Mr. Buntic, the question is
16 this: The gentlemen who are referred to in this previous exhibit, 3571,
17 Mr. Knezevic, Pazin Coric, Mario Coric, and Mario Busic, were you aware,
18 sir, at the time they committed this rape, or alleged crime, they were
19 the security team for Mr. Prlic, who was the president of the HVO at that
21 A. I did not know that.
22 Q. And do you see that in P03536?
23 A. It seems to follow from this document.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, if the insinuation is that the
25 30-day sentence was as a result of Dr. Prlic or that Dr. Prlic condoned
1 this conduct, I suggest we see other documentation to that, because the
2 insinuation, I take it, at some point, was that Dr. Prlic was responsible
3 for the 30 days --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Karnavas. It seems to me you're
5 getting up to plead in the middle of the interrogation.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: No, I'm --
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You don't have to. It's not for anyone to
8 interrupt to point out, to make suppositions to -- okay what's the
9 relevancy, what's the relevancy of this is?
10 MR. KARNAVAS: What's the relevancy to this?
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, we'll see, wait.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: No, I'm asking what the relevancy. I'm objecting
13 on the grounds of relevancy. I don't have to wait. He's got to respond.
14 Why is it relevant?
15 MR. STRINGER: I'll respond, Mr. President, if you think it's
16 necessary for me to say why we think this is relevant. I think it's
17 quite evident why it's relevant.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Let's hear why it's relevant? If the insinuation
19 is that Dr. Prlic was responsible for the 30-day sentence, let's hear it.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is the relevance,
21 Mr. Stringer?
22 MR. STRINGER: As the witness has indicated, he looked at the
23 previous exhibit on his direct examination. It was shown to him by
24 counsel for Mr. Coric evidently to show that the Croats and members of
25 the HVO were being prosecuted for committing crimes. It seems to us to
1 be manifestly relevant if in fact members of the military police,
2 committing rape, are, in fact, at the same time members of the security
3 team for the president of the HVO, so that's the relevance of it.
4 I think it shows a pattern or a culture within the HVO that is of high
5 relevance in the Court's deliberations.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: And that's exactly what I'm looking at. I don't
7 have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why it was being shown by
8 counsel for Mr. Coric. First of all it's not that they were being
9 prosecuted, but Mr. Coric is clearing showing outrage at the low
10 sentence, clearly in his state of mind as someone who takes law
11 enforcement seriously. That's number one.
12 Number 2, you will see Dr. Prlic is not being addressed or not
13 being copied with any of this.
14 And, 3, it's a far stretch to insinuate that because these people
15 are assigned to Dr. Prlic, that somehow he's related either to the rapes,
16 which is what insinuation is or a to low sentence. It's pure sleaziness,
17 in my opinion, and doesn't belong in this courtroom.
18 Now, if he can tie it up without speculation, fine, but where's
19 the proof? And that's why I objected to relevance. And it's not
20 speech-making, Your Honour. It is a proper objection. What is the
22 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, a proper objection.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [No microphone]
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC-TOMIC: [Interpretation] I would just like to say
25 that a misunderstanding occurred in reading this document P03571. I
1 don't know whether it's necessary for me to read it because the Judges
2 can read it for themselves. The sentence of 30 days, as we can see from
3 the document, relates solely to the disciplinary proceedings, and that is
4 the maximum sentence -- maximum punishment for a disciplinary infraction.
5 In the last sentence before the concluding paragraph, we read
6 that the whole case was transferred to the military prosecutor, so we
7 don't know what sentence was meted out to them ultimately in the criminal
8 proceedings, but it is obvious that a separate trial was held for rape.
9 The whole document was not read out until the end, and a misunderstanding
10 occurred. The relevant piece is the case was given over to the military
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Absolutely right, absolutely right. I suggest
13 that Mr. Karnavas look at the paper properly before shouting into the
15 You spoke about the sentence and an outrage of Mr. Coric. I
16 don't know where you get that from. Here, what we read -- please let me
17 finish. What we read is that Mr. Coric sent it on to the public
18 prosecutor, because --
19 MR. KARNAVAS: It's an outrage.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, do you know how things like these
21 are handled? There is a military disciplinary procedure and there's a
22 criminal procedure, and that's what happened here and it's perfectly all
23 right. This document does not give any ground for any irritation or on
24 anybody else's part. You anticipate, and I don't think that's helpful to
25 the work of the Court, Mr. Karnavas.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: First of all, in Blaskic, this matter was held
2 nicely as far as the maximum being 30 days. That's number one.
3 Number two, the insinuation is that these people because they are
4 assigned to Dr. Prlic, Dr. Prlic has condoned this, that's the
5 insinuation, and that's what I object to on the ground of relevance.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
7 MR. STRINGER: [Previous translation continues] ...
8 Mr. President, Mr. Karnavas has made his closing argument with respect to
9 the document. I'm sure he'll make it again next year, but I think on the
10 basis of the direct -- or the cross-examination of this witness by
11 counsel for Mr. Coric, it's appropriate for the Trial Chamber to have the
12 whole story or the rest of the story, more facts about this particular
13 group of individuals, and that was the point of this -- of showing the
14 witness P03536, which I should add is already in evidence.
15 Q. Now, Mr. Buntic, in the time that's left, I want to talk to you a
16 bit about some of the detention facilities that you've made reference to;
17 prisons, detention facilities, whatever you want to call it. And I think
18 we're going to have to go back into binder number 1 for P00292. P00292.
19 It may be that we can just deal with this one on the screen,
20 Mr. Buntic. This is one of the earlier documents, 3 July 1992,
21 recognising, of course, that this is just after the successful operation
22 in Mostar and Western Herzegovina, which resulted in pushing the JNA out
23 of parts of this region. It's a decree on the treatment of persons who
24 were captured in armed fighting. It indicates that the head -- I'm
25 looking at Article 2, the head of the Justice and Administration
1 Department, in cooperation with the head of the Defence Department and
2 head of the Interior, shall designate the locations where prisoners shall
3 be kept in accordance with the aforementioned Convention, which is a
4 reference to the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. And in
5 Article three, the Defence Department shall be in charge of the
6 facilities referred to in this decree.
7 So, again, recognising this goes back to the earlier period
8 before the conflict between the Muslims and the Croats, it appears to me,
9 sir, would you agree, that Justice, Defence and Interior also all played
10 a role together in identifying locations where prisoners of war would be
11 held, and then the Defence Department had the further responsibility of
12 being in charge of those facilities once they were identified?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. And is that -- is that essentially how the breakdown or the
15 division of responsibility remained throughout the following months,
16 1992-1993, after the conflict between the Croats and the Muslims broke
17 out; that is, Interior playing a role in identification or finding
18 locations where prisons could be, but that Defence Department retains
19 responsibility for administering those facilities?
20 A. This decree has not been changed or supplemented. It remained in
21 this form until the end of the existence of the HZ-HB.
22 Q. Now, the next exhibit is P00452, which I think is in binder
23 number 2. Mr. Buntic, this is a decision dated the 3rd of September,
24 1992, so it's about three months after the decree we just saw. It is a
25 decision of the head of the Defence Department, Mr. Bruno Stojic, and
1 what's happening here is the establishment of the Central Military Prison
2 for the HZ-HB to be located at the Heliodrom barracks outside of Mostar,
3 appointing Mr. Pusic, Mile Pusic, as the warden. And then in the
4 statement of reasons, indicating that this facility was found or -- to be
5 used at the proposal of the head of the Legal and Administrative
6 Department, which I take is you.
7 So -- and I know you testified about this in your direct
8 examination, about the procedures and preparation that went into setting
9 up the Heliodrom to be a place where prisoners of war could be held. So
10 would you agree with me, sir, that as indicated here, the Heliodrom
11 facility was identified as a location to hold prisoners of war, based at
12 least in part on the input received from you at the Department of
14 A. I would not agree with that. If you read carefully this
15 statement of reasons, the proposal of the Justice and
16 General Administration Department was to separate civilian prisoners who
17 were serving their sentences pursuant to legal and final decisions of the
18 competent court from the prisoners of war who were held at that time in
19 the civilian prison in Mostar at Ricina Street. So as it follows from
20 this statement of reasons, the proposal of the Justice Department was to
21 separate these two groups. It was not the proposal of the Justice and
22 General Administration Department to set up a central military prison at
23 Heliodrom. That location was not chosen or proposed by the Justice
24 Department. The Justice Department did not propose the location at all
25 for the military prison.
1 Q. I'll accept that, that distinction that you're making.
2 If I could move you, unless there's a question about this
3 document, to the next exhibit, P02972. I'm going to move ahead now to
4 the period after the conflict began between the Croats and the Muslims.
5 Binder 3. So we're moving ahead.
6 And while the document is being found, Mr. Buntic, just a few
8 Do I understand correctly that the position of the Department of
9 Justice was that military prisoners, that is, prisoners of war, should be
10 held separately or detained separately from people who were in detention,
11 having been convicted of crimes in the civilian courts?
12 A. That's correct, so persons who were in prison or who were
13 supposed to be in prison, pursuant to decisions of the regular courts,
14 were put in the district prison in Mostar on Ricina Street. It existed
15 before, and we had no other institution where prison sentences could be
16 served, prison sentences imposed by civilian courts.
17 This prison, as I've already indicated, was under the direct
18 jurisdiction of the president of the Higher Court, and it was the only
19 institution that was within the jurisdiction or under the jurisdiction of
20 civilian courts, and it was supervised by civilian courts. There was no
21 other institution.
22 Q. Okay. Now, you have in front of you Exhibit P02972. This is a
23 subject of a request dated the 26th of June, 1993, and it's a request
24 directed to the Central Prison in Mostar, for Mr. Mile Puljic, commander
25 of the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Brigade, and he's urgently requesting 20
1 prisoners, to have them perform works in the 1st Sector at the
2 demarcation line on the Ricina Street, indicating that the 2nd Battalion
3 would provide transportation and security.
4 First question is, sir: Were you aware -- did you have any
5 knowledge of the use of prisoners from the Central Prison, Mostar, to
6 perform labour in the confrontation zone during the course of the
7 conflict between the Muslims and the Croats?
8 A. We received two or three submissions in the Justice Department to
9 the effect that the detainees or prisoners were taken out of the prison,
10 and we responded promptly. A letter was signed to the governors and
11 other institutions where we protested, and we insisted -- it was insisted
12 that any such practice should stop.
13 Q. All right. So I take it, then, that indicates that you would
14 condemn or would not approve of the use of prisoners to perform labour in
15 this way.
16 A. In those letters that we sent, this practice was condemned.
17 Q. Now, one last question, because at least my English translation
18 is a bit vague. This is a request directed to the Central Prison,
19 Mostar. Looking at this, can you tell you specifically are we talking
20 about a civilian prison that was under the jurisdiction of the Justice
21 Department, or are we talking about the military investigative prison
22 facility at the Heliodrom?
23 A. The information that we received pertained to the persons who
24 were at Heliodrom. The protest that we received and that prompted the
25 Justice and General Administration Department to issue those letters
1 protesting against this practice.
2 Q. Okay. And again just so that we're clear, are we talking about
3 people who were in custody of the HVO military police; military
5 A. I don't want to speculate about that, about who put them there,
6 how they were housed there at that location, because I've already
7 indicated I don't have any reliable information about that; and I never
8 received any documents from any official bodies that might have reported
9 this to me. I categorically claim that the MUP, the military police and
10 the SIS never informed me about that. If you find any such document, I'm
11 perfectly ready to remain here in detention.
12 Q. The next exhibit is P02679, 2679.
13 And while that's being located, Mr. Buntic, this is a document
14 dated the 8th of June, 1993, over the signature of Dr. Jadranko Prlic,
15 and it's a decision to set up the county military prison and the county
16 prison for the areas of Capljina, Neum, Ljubuski and Ravno
17 municipalities, and setting up this at Gabela, and then indicating at the
18 third paragraph that the decision comes into effect immediately.
19 I believe, sir, that you saw this or looked at this in your
20 direct examination. You indicated, correct me if I'm wrong, that you had
21 never seen this before. Is that correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. So if Dr. Prlic had, in fact, issued this decision to set up this
24 prison facility in Gabela, you were not aware of it?
25 A. I was not, and I added that I don't recall that this decision was
1 ever made at the sessions of the HVO. But if you remind me by putting to
2 me the minutes from the session where it was actually made, I might be
3 able to remember, but I really can't remember any such decision being
4 made at any of the sessions of the HVO.
5 Q. Now, you spoke earlier about Gabela and also Dretelj, which I'll
6 ask you about, and I want to make sure I understand correctly. Is it
7 your testimony, sir, that the prison in Gabela was a misdemeanor prison
8 that was under the jurisdiction of the municipal authorities exclusively?
9 A. As you've seen, there are decisions made by the Capljina
10 municipality to set up this prison where misdemeanor sentences were to be
11 served, and as you could see, the persons remanded in custody were also
12 to be put there, and this was a military facility. It was as early as in
13 March 1993, and I am aware of this decision made by the Capljina
14 municipality. I saw it before. It was published in the Official Gazette
15 in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and as such, I knew about it.
16 Q. Prisoners -- let me ask you this. Is it possible that there are
17 more than one prison facility that we're talking about in Gabela, one
18 that was the misdemeanor prison run by the municipality authorities, and
19 a different facility that was run by the HVO military?
20 A. This scenario is possible.
21 Q. Okay. Could you look at the next exhibit, please, P10190.
22 10190, which is in the fourth binder. This is a certificate. It's
23 signed by a gentleman named Ante Prlic, who I don't think you know,
24 Mr. Buntic. It's dated the 22nd of August, 1993. And in this
25 certificate, Mr. Prlic, who is a member of the military police, is
1 submitting the certificate, requesting the release from detention of all
2 Muslims who are in possession of letters of guarantee. He's actually
3 referring to an order issued by the head of the military police,
4 Valentin Coric, that these prisoners, whose names appear on the document,
5 who are in Gabela Military Prison have to be delivered to the Ljubuski
6 military police pursuant to the fact that their families are in Ljubuski
7 and they got expulsion from Herzegovina
8 Were you aware, sir, of any practice whereby prisoners were being
9 released from the Gabela Military Prison on the condition that they
10 possessed letters of guarantee, that they would move to third countries?
11 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor, and this document is -- this is the first
12 time that I see this document, just as I have never seen the previous
14 Q. Are you aware of a decision issued by Mr. Prlic on the 22nd of
15 December, 1993, to close the Gabela Prison facility?
16 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, and this decision was published in the
17 Official Gazette of the Croatian Community or, rather, the Republic, as
18 it was styled now, of Herceg-Bosna.
19 MR. STRINGER: Okay, thank you.
20 If I could have a moment, Your Honour, I'm trying to consolidate
21 here in order to meet the time limitation.
22 Q. Mr. Buntic, could you please now turn to P03201. 3201, which is
23 probably in binder 3.
24 MS. TOMASEGOVIC-TOMIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
25 Your Honour, I didn't want to intervene earlier. Perhaps I
1 should have a couple of minutes earlier.
2 The witness was talking about the detailed -- the witness was not
3 asked about the specific situations in the Capljina municipality prisons
4 in the direct examination, but he was only asked about the work of one
5 commission -- or, rather, not the work of one commission, but they're
6 going to the municipality. And at that time the witness said the only
7 thing he knew about the fact that prisoners were kept or isolated persons
8 were held in the municipality of Capljina
9 received from the president of the municipality in Capljina, as far as
10 I can remember.
11 Today, he told us a couple of minutes ago that he might be able
12 to say something, but that he may be guessing that there may have been
13 something in Gabela apart from the detention facility, something that
14 would be under the control of the military wing. That's the way the
15 question was phrased.
16 I would like to know, in light of the documents that the
17 Prosecution is trying to put forward, and there is another document
18 coming and we insist that this is forgery, I would like the Prosecution
19 to establish some kind of foundation to see whether he would be asking
20 the witness about what he knows or what he might only speculate or guess
21 about, because on the basis of what he told us about what he knew about
22 the events in Capljina, he told us that he -- the only things that he
23 knew about the situation in Capljina were the situations that he was told
24 about by the head of the municipality.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation]
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to say that the
2 Petkovic Defence joins in with the Coric Defence.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The objections are
4 now in the record.
5 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. This next do you, 3201, Mr. Buntic, you have it in front of you.
7 It's dated the 5th of July, 1993, and it's written by someone named
8 Obradovic, and he's directing this to the warden of a number of prisons,
9 Gabela, Dretelj, Heliodrom and Ljubuski. And my question, sir, is
10 whether you know that, in fact, in each of those locations there was a
11 central military investigative prison that fell within the jurisdiction
12 of the military police of the Defence Department.
13 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I've already answered this question, and let me
14 clarify what I said a moment ago.
15 I said that this possibilities could not be ruled out. I did not
16 insinuate anything else. I said -- that's what I said, quote/unquote, so
17 I really don't know -- I didn't know how it was. I told you all I knew
18 about Dretelj and Gabela, on the basis of everything that was published
19 in the Official Gazette in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, the
20 decision that was made, that was published there. It's had its name, its
21 full name, and I said quite specifically what it contained.
22 And then I commented that I could not rule out that other things
23 were happening, but that I cannot know anything about that. This order,
24 this document, as well as the previous two documents, I have not seen
25 them before, truly; so it is really difficult for me to comment on it.
1 I think that you should bear this in mind. It's been 17 years, and now I
2 first -- I see documents for the first time and I'm asked to comment on
3 them. I don't think it's really fair.
4 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I did not intervene before the
5 witness gave his answer, and I did not want to affect his answer in any
6 way, but I would just like to intervene as regards the Prosecution
7 question, because the Prosecution is imputing that those prisons were
8 under the auspices of the Defence Department, and I would like to note
9 that this witness was asked directly under whose jurisdiction military
10 prisons were, and he did not say that they were under the military police
11 that was part of the Defence Department, so I think that this is a
12 construct that is trying to impute things to the witness so that he could
13 give his answer in this sense.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.
15 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 I think I can move on from this particular part of it.
17 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I do apologise. Just for the record, of
18 course, page 19, line 15, the last intervention was made by Ms. Nozica.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 You have five minutes left. Please move ahead.
21 MR. STRINGER: Very well, Mr. President. If I could just have
22 one minute.
23 Q. If I could direct you, sir, to Exhibit P03560, 3560. This is
24 minutes of the 46th session of the HVO, held on the 19th of July, 1993
25 in Mostar. You were present, as well as other members of the HVO HZ-HB.
1 Do you have that document, sir?
2 A. Yes, I have it in front of me.
3 Q. Okay. Now, this is July 19th, 1993
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. And I'm looking at item 7, which states here that after a
6 discussion of the request by the HVO of the Capljina municipality to
7 relocate prisoners, and a discussion of the status and accommodation of
8 conditions of prisoners and prisons, persons in isolation, with the aim
9 of improving accomodation, et cetera, unanimous approval was given to the
10 following conclusions. And this conclusion was to secure accommodation
11 conditions that were in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. If the
12 existing accommodation conditions are not satisfactory, the head of the
13 Justice and General Administration, in coordination with the Defence
14 Department, shall designate new sites. And then continuing on, this is
15 the working group.
16 Now, you talked about this working group, and as I understand it,
17 sir, what you did in response to this was to go down and talk to the
18 municipality officials in Capljina and get information from them. Is
19 that correct?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. It seems to me, sir, that you were not in a position to determine
22 whether the existing accommodation conditions were satisfactory if, in
23 fact, you never went to the camp itself. Would you agree with me?
24 A. We did this on the demand of the Capljina municipality, and the
25 conclusions of the HVO, I said that we visited the Capljina municipality,
1 the president who was there with all his office heads. They told us the
2 figures about the number of people who were there, the surface area of
3 the premises, and all the problems that they had encountered. I said
4 that I had refused to go there, and I gave my reasons, because I didn't
5 think that I had any jurisdiction; and I did not have powers to go there.
6 Those institutions, those facilities, were not under the control
7 of the civilian judiciary, the civilian courts, which is why I did not
8 have any powers to enter them at all. We received information, and on
9 the basis of this information we drafted proposals for the HVO. The
10 proposal was that on the basis of the information we obtained in the
11 Capljina municipality, to release half of the people immediately and to
12 relocate the other half to facilities which would provide better
14 And this is why another group was set up, as you can see on the
15 next page, to check out the situation in other municipalities.
16 Q. And would your answer be the same if I asked you if you ever went
17 to other prisons, such as the Heliodrom facility, where prisoners of war
18 or Muslim prisoners were being held, there was a central investigative
19 military prison in Ljubuski? Do you about any of those?
20 A. I've already stated before this Tribunal that I visited Heliodrom
21 only once, that it happened some time in June, late May or the first half
22 of June, that I -- that the civilian prison was moved from Ricina Ulica
23 to Heliodrom, and I gave the reason for that, that's because the prison
24 in Ricina was at the frontline, that those people should be relocated
25 from there. There was no other possibility but to set up a division of
1 the civilian prison, which is where we moved some 20-odd civilian
2 prisoners who were put in a special section at Heliodrom. I went there,
3 I visited those people. There were only two people there who were not in
4 the civilian division, two people who did not have final decisions, so
5 that they could be there pursuant to final decisions. And I asked
6 immediately, from the warden, to release them. So that was the only time
7 I went to Heliodrom.
8 Q. My last question, then, is this: Are you aware, sir, that large
9 numbers of Muslim civilians were arrested and placed in detention at the
10 Heliodrom facility during the 9th, 10th and 11th of May, 1993?
11 A. I knew this information, but I said that I had not received this
12 information from any official institutions. I heard about it, that --
13 rumours from the press, from what people were talking about in the
14 street, from conversations with my friends, my colleagues, general
15 public. But I repeat once again, apart from what was discussed at
16 government sessions, I did not receive any official confirmation of that,
17 and there is no document from those institutions. And as I've already
18 told you, if you manage to find a single document from those
19 institutions, you can just put me in prison right here.
20 Q. Okay. So that if that happened, it was not within the
21 jurisdiction of the Department of Justice?
22 A. I didn't understand your question.
23 Q. If a large number of Muslim civilians were rounded up and placed
24 in detention in the Heliodrom on the 9th, 10th and 11th of May, 1993,
25 such an operation or an activity would not have fallen within the
1 competence of the Department of Justice; is that correct?
2 A. They would have been, had they been brought to the civilian
3 prison in Ricina Street in Mostar.
4 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, sir.
5 No further questions, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Stringer.
7 Any redirect?
8 MR. KARNAVAS: We do have some redirect, Your Honours, and it
9 would take me approximately five minutes to set up. We are rather
10 organised. If we could take an early break at this point. I don't
11 anticipate it being very long.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll have the
13 break now. That's no problem.
14 For once, we have some time available. We'll have a 20-minute
15 break now.
16 --- Recess taken at 9.56 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.20 a.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 We will have the redirect now. The Chamber recalls, for the
20 record, the time spent on redirect is deducted from the general time
21 allocated to the Defence.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, and for the record we
23 are fully aware of that, and we appreciate the reminder anyway.
24 What we have prepared for you is a special binder. We actually
25 have put it in order. You also have a sheet that tracks along the
1 various chapters. I must caution Your Honours not to expect this on each
2 and every occasion, because it -- we just happened to have some time to
3 put this together. But, in any event, we hope to make it more efficient.
4 We'll go through the first part.
5 Re-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
6 Q. Mr. Buntic, again good morning. I just have a few question and I
7 want to ask you to clarify some points in the testimony, and the first
8 one I want to go to, it's in reference to a question that was asked by
9 Judge Trechsel, if you may recall, and this was back on 10 July 2008.
10 For the record, the portion of the testimony goes from
11 pages 30575 all the way to 30586, though what is really pertinent is the
12 question from Judge Trechsel on 30585, and this has to do with,
13 Mr. Buntic, where you were discussing the fact that you had been assigned
14 to look -- to Citluk to see whether the municipality -- bless, you
15 Judge Trechsel -- to see whether the municipality could provide some
16 alternative facilities for those who were detained. So do you recall
17 that exchange, Mr. Buntic?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. And a question was posed to you, and I'm not sure whether you
20 heard it right or whether you misunderstood the question. It was rather
21 concrete. Judge Trechsel asked you whether the government had a
22 possibility to expropriate property when it was needed for the purpose of
23 the whole of the HVO. Now, you had indicated, prior to that, about
24 property that belonged to the SFRY or the Yugoslav Army, so that the
25 government or the HVO could take that at its disposal. But the question
1 posed to you by Judge Trechsel, as I understood it, had to do with
2 expropriating property within a municipality for the purposes of the HVO.
3 And Judge Trechsel will correct me if I'm wrong on that.
4 So I want to give you an opportunity now to answer that question.
5 Was it possible for the government to expropriate property that belonged
6 to the municipality? And if so, what would be the legal procedure in
7 doing so, unless it was able to just simply snatch it and use it upon
8 immediate request?
9 A. As I have said before, in practice the HVO did not make any
10 decisions that would expropriate property belonging to SFRY or JNA. As
11 for expropriation of property, in principle, that was done by
12 municipalities, because they could -- in fact, the headquarters of the
13 Territorial Defence could expropriate property. As for Citluk
14 municipality, I know that for that purpose, Citluk municipality had
15 already requisitioned the primary and secondary schools in Citluk to put
16 up refugees from Central Bosnia and Eastern Bosnia. I know that from
17 speaking to the president of the municipality about the accommodation of
18 these persons in Citluk municipality.
19 It is probably also known that Medjugorje resort was also
20 expropriated for the purposes of the SFOR. So everything that the Citluk
21 municipality was able to put at anyone's disposal was already taken up.
22 In this resort, Kompas Medjugorje, UNPROFOR, later SFOR was accommodated,
23 and the school building accommodated refugees from Eastern and Central
25 Q. Now that we know a municipality could expropriate property
1 belonging to the municipality or within its municipality, but my
2 question, and I believe Judge Trechsel's question, had to do with the HVO
3 HZ-HB being able to go into a municipality and expropriate. Was this
4 some sort of a legal procedure that you would have to go through before
5 the HVO HZ-HB, you know, the executive authority, could take hold of a
6 property and use it?
7 A. Under the regulations that we had, we did not have such
8 possibilities, nor do I know that a case like that happened in practice,
9 apart from the property that I said was the property of the Yugoslav
10 People's Army and the SFRY.
11 Q. Thank you. I believe that answers the question or clarifies the
13 The next section I want to refer to parts of the transcript,
14 I've -- I'll identify them for everyone and for the record we will be
15 looking at pages -- where it starts the discussion on 30654 to 30662.
16 This would be on the 14th of July, 2008, when you spoke. And this
17 area -- this topic deals with the supervision and control of the various
18 detention facilities and military prison facilities. You talked a little
19 about it today, but I want to give you an opportunity to further develop
20 that, consistent with your testimony that you gave us here today.
21 And let me preface my question to make sure that I understand it.
22 It is your testimony that when it came to facilities that housed
23 prisoners of war, those were not under your jurisdiction?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Now, and again if I understand you correctly, where someone had
1 gone through an investigative process or was going through an
2 investigative process, or was even in trial or sentenced, they -- those
3 facilities were different, first of all, than facilities that housed
4 prisoners of war, and, two, the presidents -- the respective presidents
5 of the court that had jurisdiction were responsible for visiting those
6 prisons and looking after the well-being to make sure that those
7 detainees, prisoners, were being properly cared for; is that correct?
8 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. I'm going to object to
9 leading questions on this redirect examination.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm asking if he verifies that that is his
11 testimony, so I'm not leading him into anything that he hasn't said.
12 MR. STRINGER: Well, I think, again, it's a leading question. We
13 can clearly say that. And asking him to verify his evidence by putting
14 propositions to him is simply leading.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, can you please
16 rephrase your question.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I will do it another way, Your Honour.
18 Q. On the transcript, you are asked by counsel, Ms. Nozica, a
19 question, and you said that:
20 "Now, when it comes to the venues holding prisoners of war,
21 that's where the Defence Department would have jurisdiction. Now, when
22 it comes to -- when it comes to prisons, it's the president of the
23 District Court and the warden of the prisons who have those facilities."
24 And I'm quoting from page 30655, lines 6 through 10.
25 Do you recall saying that, sir, and do you stand by that?
1 A. I recall saying that, and I stand by that answer.
2 Q. All right. And then at some point you were pressed, and on
3 page 30657 you indicated that we could find the answers in Articles 30 to
4 35 of the Decree on the District Military Courts of the
5 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna on the 17th October, 1992
6 recall that?
7 A. I do, because that chapter of the Decree on District Military
8 Courts regulates the issue of serving sentences under decisions of
9 district military courts.
10 Q. All right. And now before we go into the actual documents, on
11 page 30661, you were asked to look at Article 205 of the -- and this
12 would have been 4D01105. That would be the Law on Criminal Procedure,
13 Article 205, and a portion was read to you. And you don't have to look
14 at it yet. We're going to go through this step by step. I just want to
15 make sure that we have the foundation, since we received an objection
16 that somehow I was leading you.
17 It says here, on line 12, "It's a provision governing the issue
18 of supervision over courts, over prisons -- sorry, and inmates."
19 And then there's a quote where it says:
20 "Supervision over prisoners in custody shall be exercised by the
21 president of the court who's authorised to do so."
22 And then you answer:
23 "Yes, this confirms all the evidence I have given on the subject;
24 namely, the presidents of the court, if we're talking about military
25 courts, provide supervision, and when civilian persons are concerned,
1 it's the president of civilian courts."
2 And that's -- as I understand it, that is your position.
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. When we're talking about these military prisons, again to make
6 sure that everybody's crystal clear, we're not referring to places that
7 are housing prisoners of war, but rather these district military prisons;
9 A. Correct. In this case, we're talking about persons held in a
10 military prison pursuant to decisions of the District Military Court
11 Q. Okay, thank you. Now, and then you pointed out -- you were
12 pointed -- you were shown a document, and you can look at it very quickly
13 if you wish, and that is 2D 1412, and this was a document that was
14 generated by the warden of the District Military Prison,
15 Slavko Aleksovski, and you pointed out quite clearly that this was merely
16 his proposition and nothing more than that; correct?
17 A. Correct. It's a proposal, as we can see from the reception
18 stamp, that was sent to HVO Busovaca on the 30th of July, 1993, and it
19 was indeed received. It's a proposal, therefore, from Central Bosnia,
20 where the HVO was based in Central Bosnia.
21 Q. All right. Now, let's go through some of the jurisprudence
22 rather quickly.
23 If we look at 4D 1105, that's in your binder, that's the Law on
24 Criminal Proceedings. And you were referenced to Article 205. And for
25 Your Honours, that would be on page 60 in the English version. If you
1 could find that.
2 And if you look at the bottom of the page, Mr. Buntic, it might
3 be easier for you to find it under 4D 231089 are the last digits on the
4 bottom of the page.
5 So, Your Honours, if we could go back one page to page 59, just
6 so we see the heading of this topic of articles, we see that it says:
7 "Procedure with persons in pre-trial custody."
8 I underscore "pre-trial custody." So now we know what 205, this
9 section, is in, and we see -- and I'm going to read not just the first
10 article, point 1, but also point 2:
11 "Surveillance over prisoners in custody shall be exercised by the
12 president of the court who's authorised to do so.
13 2. The president of the court or judge, whom he designates, must
14 visit persons in custody at least once a week and should it be deemed
15 necessary, inform himself when the warden and guards are not present, as
16 to how the persons in custody are being fed, how their other needs are
17 being met, and how they're being treated. The president or judge whom he
18 designates must take the steps necessary to correct irregularities noted
19 in the visit to the prison. The investigating judge may not be the judge
21 3. The public prosecutor may also be present during the visit
22 referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article.
23 4. The president of the court and the investigating judge may
24 visit all persons in custody at any time, may talk to them, and may
25 receive complaints from them."
1 Now, let me go back, having read this. This was shown to you --
2 part of it was shown to you -- part of Article 205 was shown to you,
3 hence why I asked the question initially before I drew the objection.
4 Could you please tell us what exactly Article 205 is requiring
5 the president of the court or the judge whom he designates to do?
6 A. If I am required to give a brief answer, he is asked to supervise
7 the prison in his jurisdiction.
8 Q. And can we conclude, based on this reading of this, that when
9 somebody is in custody during the pre-trial phase, that there is an
10 obligation, at least by the judge, to visit the prison?
11 MR. STRINGER: Objection, Mr. President. Again it's a leading
12 question. We all have the text, and it's not clear that the witness
13 really can shed any more light on what it says or what his own
14 interpretation of it is.
15 MR. KARNAVAS:
16 Q. We know what the practice is, Mr. Buntic, or what the practice
17 was based on Article 205. For those who haven't practiced or are
18 unacquainted with the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina or the former
20 This is when somebody's under the decision of an investigative
21 judge, being investigated. Could you please tell us, are there any
22 obligations to look after the well-being of those being detained while
23 they're being investigated, and by whom?
24 A. That's correct. I can say that before the war, in practice,
25 things worked as they were prescribed to work by virtue of this law.
1 Q. One final question. With respect to this, just to make sure I
2 understand, if somebody is being detained as a prisoner of war in another
3 detention facility, as you've indicated they would have to be, under
4 Article 205 would a judge or prosecutor be under an obligation to monitor
5 the well-being of those individuals?
6 A. No, because that obligation does not follow either from this law
7 or from the decrees enacted by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
8 Q. If they had no obligation, could you tell us whether they could
9 have, nonetheless, if they wanted to; in other words, show up, show their
10 credentials as being a member of the judiciary? Could they then have
11 used that as a basis for having access to such a facility?
12 A. I'm not sure they would have been able to gain access.
13 Q. All right. Now, let's look at the next document, and this is
14 P00592, P00592. I'm going to show you a set of documents, and then at
15 some point we'll have to double back, perhaps, to answer another question
16 that was raised yesterday on these documents, but for a different reason.
17 And I am told, Your Honours, that the translation should actually
18 read more like: "The Decree on Executing Criminal and Misdemeanor
19 Sanctions." At least that's what --
20 [Defence counsel confer]
21 MR. KARNAVAS:
22 Q. Now, if you could look at Article 30, this is in P00592. Look at
23 Article 30, and it says here:
24 "Sentences pronounced by the district military courts and in the
25 case of appeals by the High Court or Supreme Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
1 shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of the Decree on the
2 Application of the Law on Sentencing and Fines under an Imminent Threat
3 of War or in Times of War, and we see it's in reference to the
4 Official Gazette of the Republic of BH
5 Have you had a chance to read Article 30, sir?
6 A. Correct, and it's correctly quoted.
7 Q. All right. And could you tell us what exactly Article 30 is
8 telling us here?
9 A. Basically, it says that sentences and fines are in imposed in
10 keeping with the legislation and regulations of the Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 that have been in place, and certain exceptions are cited with regard to
12 military courts that had just been established.
13 Q. All right. If you look at 1D 02909, 1D 02909 --
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas. I would just like to
15 be sure what the term "imposed" here means. I have the feeling that it
16 means meted out sentences measured pronounced. It does not refer to
17 execution. And I would like, Mr. Buntic, for you to tell me, is that the
18 correct understanding, that this speaks of how the court commute --
19 figure out what sentence they will pronounce?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When it says "meted out," the term
21 in Croatian is "izrecene." The term "final court decision" or
22 "judgement" could not be used because there was a possibility that
23 according to a decision of an investigating judge, a person is remanded
24 in custody, so the remand in custody could have followed from a decision.
25 So we could not say "enforcement of final judgements."
1 Instead, there is reference to sanctions meted out, and
2 "sanctions" is a broader term than "sentence," literally punishment, and
3 that is the term that was used in the federal Law in the Enforcement of
4 Criminal and Misdemeanour Sanctions and in the Republic law of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina that was later taken over by the regulatory documents
6 of HZ-HB.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just to be sure, Mr. Buntic, sentence imposed is
8 what the judge reads out at the end of the trial, together with the
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Izreka" can also be translated as
11 disposition of a decision.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. Well, this line of questioning begs me to ask the question: When
15 we look at this Article 30, are we to assume that we need to look at this
16 Law on Sentencing and Fines Under Imminent Threat of War that's in the BH
17 Official Gazette? That's what's being applied, is it not, Mr. Buntic?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. And so we're going to cover this again, but so here is an
20 example, for instance, where no changes, at least in Article 30, are made
21 to republic law, but rather it is just being taken over, and under
22 Article 30 that law must be applied?
23 A. Correct, and that follows from Article 30.
24 Q. All right. Now, if we look at that law, and we have 1D 02909 --
25 and by way of an explanation, Your Honours, you will see that this is
1 from the Official Gazette of the Socialist Republic
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I must apologise for not having time to translate
3 certain documents, but we did go on-line, and we did have what was
4 actually adopted, as we can see from the Official Gazette on 15 June
5 1992. And we can put it on the ELMO, but perhaps I could ask one
7 Sir, in looking at this Official Gazette copy of this law, is
8 this what we're referring to in Article 30, The Law on Executing Criminal
9 and Misdemeanor Sanctions?
10 A. Well, if we compare this law and the issue of the
11 Official Gazette where it was published, we will see that it's indeed the
12 law taken over by this decree of HZ-HB.
13 Q. And lest there be any misunderstandings, Your Honours, and again
14 with the greatest of apologies, if we could just put on the ELMO two
15 documents just to -- and the gentleman can read, and we can have a
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. I'm a bit confused, Mr. Buntic,
18 because we have just had an article which refers to the sentencing, to an
19 act of the court, and now we have before us a law on the execution of
20 sentence, which is a completely different method that in time comes once
21 the sentence has been imposed. Also, I do not see that this law here
22 refers to times of war and emergency. Well, I think both counsel want to
23 explain --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to explain this,
1 because once again it's an issue of translation again.
2 In Article 30 of the previous document, the name of the law was
3 mis-translated. If the witness should read Article 30, para 1, you will
4 see that it is the one -- the same law.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I was going to present these two documents, which
6 may assist.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
8 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours. If I may
9 intervene, I'm really a little bit confused and I would like to seek some
11 Article 30 reads about the decree law on the application of the
12 law on the enforcement of criminal and misdemeanor sanctions during the
13 an imminent threat of war; but in front of us we only have the Criminal
14 Law on the enforcement of criminal and misdemeanor sanctions that applied
15 in peacetime. I allow for the possibility that it may be the same law,
16 but I am a little bit confused, and that is why I support and endorse
17 what you've just said.
18 MR. KARNAVAS:
19 Q. If we could look at the first -- what's on the ELMO, Mr. Buntic,
20 because if we look at Article 30, you'll see what is being referenced,
21 and you'll actually see the Official Gazette. And of course I wanted to
22 make sure that -- you see the highlighted portion, 115. Could you read
23 out that title? That might help us out here.
24 A. "115. Decree law on the application of the law on the
25 enforcement of criminal and misdemeanor sanctions during an imminent
1 threat of war or state of war."
2 Q. Thank you. Now, if we could go to the next document, if we
3 could --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I remain confused, because this is not what we
5 have on document -- on the document 1D 02909, and I don't know how --
6 where the number 115 comes in, because I don't find any reference to that
8 MR. KARNAVAS: This is an Official -- this is a copy of the front
9 page of the Official Gazette. Judge Trechsel, I don't mean to be
10 disputatious today, I really don't. I know we got off on the wrong foot.
11 But if I would be allowed to at least finish what I'm trying to do, and
12 then if you're still confused, ask me questions. But right now, it gives
13 the impression that somehow, you know, we're either terribly unorganised
14 here or, you know -- you know, we just don't know what we're doing. And
15 I do think that we have a certain system. We're trying to help you. You
16 can see we've spent all night preparing, and I would beg you to let me
17 finish this portion and then ask all the questions you want. But let me
18 just finish, because I think it might become clearer. I had the same
19 questions last night, myself.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I only try to understand step by step, and now
21 I'm jumping at your invitation, and I'm hoping we'll land softly.
22 Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
24 Q. Now, if we could look at the next document, Mr. Buntic, okay,
25 because we're trying to figure out all of this, and maybe you could help
1 us out. What does this read? What law are we looking at? And we could
2 probably start with the date above.
3 A. It follows from this that -- well, let me read the full title:
4 "Decree law on the application of the law on enforcement of criminal and
5 misdemeanor sanctions in an imminent threat of war or state of war." We
6 can see the heading, the header. It's: "Monday, the 15th of June, 1992
8 Q. Now, just look -- now let's go back. Let's go to 1D 02909. And
9 we might have it wrong, but I'm trying to figure this out.
10 If we look at 1D 02909, we see this law is on executing criminal
11 and misdemeanor sanctions. Now, my question is: When we're talking
12 about Article 30, are we -- is Article 30 referring to this law from the
13 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina which was taken over by the
14 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 A. That's correct, it is one and the same law. And as we have seen,
16 it was adopted by a decree on the adoption of this law that we saw as the
17 previous document.
18 Q. And as I understand it --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MR. KARNAVAS:
21 Q. I'm going to get to the technique that's used in BiH in a moment.
22 Now, if we look at just Article 1, that's all I want to point to
23 the Judges' attention at this point and we'll move on, it says:
24 "Article 1. Sanctions, security measures and other measures
25 pronounced in a criminal proceedings as well as misdemeanor sanctions and
1 security measures pronounced in misdemeanor proceedings. Further on
2 (sanctions) shall be in accordance with this law if not regulated
3 differently in a special law in the organisation and work of the
4 correctional facilities and penitentiaries, further on penal correction
5 organisations shall hereby be defined."
6 From Article 1, can you please explain to us, in simple terms,
7 what exactly is it saying?
8 A. Well, it is difficult for me to add anything to this article.
9 I think that it speaks for itself. It is quite clear, and it confirms
10 everything that we have been saying, because the terminology used here is
11 the terminology used in the decree on district military courts of the
12 HZ-HB, and it is merely specified here what sanctions, forms of
13 punishment, security measures and other measures.
14 All this could be subsumed under one and the same term, and that
15 is "sanctions," because it says "other measures imposed" or "pronounced,"
16 "izrecene," it's the same term that is used in the decree of the HZ-HB,
17 and it goes on to say "in criminal proceedings and in misdemeanor
18 proceedings," talking about misdemeanor sanctions, "and protective
19 measures shall be enforced in accordance with the provisions of this law,
20 if not regulated differently in a special law."
21 And it goes on to say: "... and the organisation and work of
22 correctional facilities and penitentiaries," correctional facilities were
23 mostly used for minors, for juveniles, "shall hereby be defined."
24 I don't know if that's what you wanted me to explain, but that's
25 what I thought it might be.
1 Q. Fine, and again this is for clarifying your testimony.
2 And now I want to go to P03350, and this is a work report from 1
3 January 1993 to 31 June 1993
4 on page 3 in the English version. And I want to give you an opportunity
5 to explain to us a little bit, keeping in mind what we have just
7 You indicate on point 13:
8 "Our contacts --"
9 Or it's indicated. I don't know if it's being indicated by --
11 "Our contacts with the prison wardens and commanders are almost
12 nonexistent, so that we do not have information about the condition of
13 people being held there on the basis of decisions issued by judicial
15 Now, you're making this reference to what is being talked about
16 above. You go on to say:
17 "Accepting the complexity of the situation and not wishing to
18 interfere in defence work, we request complete information on the number
19 of persons being held in prison and that we supervise the work of the
20 prison, at least in the part that relates to the above-mentioned
22 They know you go on to say:
23 "There are a certain number of cases when wardens and commanders
24 do not adhere to court rulings. There is no justification for such
1 Now, earlier you told us that a judge, for instance who had to
2 supervise, based on 205, had an obligation with respect to military
3 district prisons, if it was a military matter -- a military court or
4 judge, or in civilian prisons, but here it would appear -- I mean, you
5 indicated to us that that same judge would not have an obligation and
6 most likely could not have access to prisoners of war so could you please
7 explain to us, in point 13, what exactly are you trying to say in your
8 report, because I do believe it might give the Court in guidance.
9 A. Well, I think that what is stated in item 13 is quite
10 comprehensible and clear. The only thing that perhaps begs some
11 clarification is this part where it says "at least as far as the persons
12 named above are concerned."
13 Those are persons that were in those prisons on the basis of
14 decisions issued by judicial organs, as indicated in the previous item,
15 so the Justice Department sought information or sought to be granted
16 access to the information about the status of the persons -- civilian
17 persons put in Heliodrom detention facility, at least those who were
18 there pursuant to final decisions of the judicial organs and who were
19 there, as we've already heard, because the Ricina Street prison was at
20 the frontline and had to be moved to the special civilian division of the
21 District Military Prison at Heliodrom.
22 So if any clarification was needed, it was for this one. As for
23 the rest, I think it is quite clear, the meaning of item 13.
24 Q. One final point. Did the law provide for prisoners of war to be
25 mixed up with regular prisoners or convicted individuals, or were they to
1 be kept separated?
2 A. They were supposed to be housed in separate facilities, so
3 prisoners of war were to be housed in separate facilities separate from
4 the facilities -- prison facilities which housed persons who were there
5 pursuant to the sanctions imposed on them in criminal proceedings, or if
6 we're talking about misdemeanor proceedings, then there were special
7 institutions in place for serving misdemeanor sanctions. So the law
8 envisaged those options.
9 Q. All right, thank you. Now, by way of example, let's look at 1D
10 01797. 1D 01797. You may have looked at this before. And this is dated
11 8 November 1993
12 Ljubuski Military Remand Prison, and here we see, for instance,
13 paragraph 1:
14 "On 6 November 1993, the president of the Mostar District
15 Military Court
16 Procedure adopted by the Decree, performed an inspection of detainees at
17 VIZ in Ljubuski.
18 "On this occasion, it was established that the detainees are
19 being adequately fed and supplied with other needs, and that treatment of
20 the detainees is in accordance with the Code."
21 And then the president goes on to say:
22 "The president of the Mostar District Military Court spoke
23 personally with the number of detainees, without the presence of
24 overseers or guards."
25 And then there's a reference to a person named Daka, aka Daka of
1 Ljubuski, who was not in custody, although an in-camera decision had been
2 passed that it extended the accused's detention, and apparently he was
3 released without authorisation.
4 Based on this document, making reference to Article 205, we have
5 a district military court, we have the Mostar District Military -- the
6 president of that court visiting, speaks of detainees at a military --
7 being kept at a military remand prison, is this making reference to POWs
8 or is this making reference to prisoners that are in the process of
9 being -- that are in the criminal proceedings, to put it in a general
11 A. The abbreviation used here, "VIZ," this should be the military
12 investigative prison or military remand prison, but -- so this is not an
13 institute where people serve their sentences, but where they're remanded
14 in custody before their trial. At least that would follow from this
15 document, where the president of the District Military Court
16 inspect and run some checks on the situation in the prison and then
17 drafted a report on this visit, invoking Article 205 that gives him such
18 powers. I don't know whether this is sufficient, but what I can see from
19 this document would lead me to this conclusion.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So that we do not get too far away, Mr. Buntic,
21 we had Article 205 of that code. Here we have a report of an inspection.
22 This is an application of 205. Have I understood this correctly?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The president invokes Article 205
24 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the ZKP, and we can see that he is
25 drafting his report, and we can see who the report is sent to, the report
1 containing his observations.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. The previous document, we've seen
3 your report with that paragraph 13. Does this concern the same? Is this
4 also in connection with Article 205? You remember, you complain there on
5 scarce contacts with prison wardens and commanders. Does that concern
6 also the area covered by Article 205?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't say that this was under
8 Article 205 of the Law on Criminal Procedure, because Article 205 of the
9 Law on Criminal Procedure deals with the rights and obligations of the
10 presidents of the courts in relation to their legal powers to enforce
11 various sanctions, so we're talking about the powers of the court
12 presidents, and the powers of the Justice Department would not follow --
13 would not stem from this article.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Maybe there is an error somewhere. I would put
15 it to you that Article 205 exactly does not deal with the execution of
16 sanctions, but with deprivation of liberty within the frame of criminal
17 procedure as detention on remand, detention of persons who are still
18 presumed to be innocent. So there is categorical differences between one
19 and the other. Would you disagree?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with you. I had a better
21 look, and I can agree with you that -- I have already said that you can
22 see, from the very name of this institution, that it is a remand
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. Buntic.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
1 Q. Just as an aside, since we're on these --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 MR. KARNAVAS:
4 Q. Just as an aside, since we're on these documents, yesterday, on
5 page 41, you were asked a question; and I'll read it because it's short,
6 and you gave an answer, and this had to do with the taking over of
7 legislation, of laws, from the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And the
8 question was:
9 "Well, I think the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted the
11 let's put it -- let me put that to you. It seems to me that this
12 decision or this decree implies that the Croatian Community of
13 Herceg-Bosna thinks it is a new form of entity, such that it is necessary
14 to adopt or cede to another form of legislation that has previously
15 applied in the territory?"
16 Now, your answer was:
17 "This warding was used in enactment of all regulations and cases
18 when and intervention was needed in existing regulations. The regulation
19 was first taken over in its entirety and then a modification was made to
20 only that part which needed to be modified. So I don't see anything
21 special with this decree, compared with other decrees, or the technique
22 applied throughout the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. There's
23 nothing peculiar about this decree that would not have been in any other
24 decree. I've told you already that this was done the way it was, and I
25 said why."
1 Now, as a perfect example of what you were trying to convey to us
2 yesterday, by serendipity, the law that we just looked at, if you look at
3 Article 30; and we don't have to spend too much time, it made reference
4 to a law that was passed by the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina that it
5 had actually taken over from the Socialist Republic
6 Article 30 we don't see that any changes were necessary -- were made;
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. All right. And the ones that -- where changes were made, the
10 ones that you were pointing out, the ones that -- the changes that we
11 actually did see dealt with the fines and the monetary value that had to
12 be -- the currency and the value of the fines, but the rest of the laws
13 remained intact as they were; correct?
14 A. Correct. They could have stipulated that the feathers of the
15 paradise bird would be the next legal tender, but we couldn't catch the
16 paradise bird.
17 Q. If we move on to my next topic, this has to do with statutory
18 decisions, and I'm going to reference you and reference everyone to parts
19 of the transcript from 16 July 2008
20 giving you the entire bundle, so you'll have context. And you were
21 questioned about a document under a "P" number, P00303, and we have also
22 translated it as 1D 00156. We prefer our translation, but it doesn't --
23 for our purposes, it doesn't make much of a difference.
24 Now, you were pointed to Article 9 in this particular document,
25 303, and again it doesn't make a difference whether you look at P00303 or
1 1D 00156, but if we look at Article 9, you were asked a question about
2 that article, and you said -- a question was being posed: "And in this
3 document --" this is on line 15, Your Honour, page 55:
4 "Okay. And in this document, there appears to be a change or a
5 shift in the language indicating here that the president is accountable
6 for the work of the HVO. There is no reference to collective aspect;
7 would you agree with me?"
8 And your answer was:
9 "In Article 9, yes, that's correct. The contents of Article 9
10 are as you just presented them."
11 Question: "Okay. And now as you've just indicated, it was at
12 the following session of August 1992 that Mr. Prlic was then appointed to
13 be the president of the HVO?"
14 And you said it was correct.
15 Then on page 56, you're asked again about Article 9. This is on
16 line 7:
17 "Okay. Would you agree with me, sir, that Article 9 here applies
18 and governs the work of the HVO from this point on, 3rd of July, 1992,
19 until the end of the Croatian Community in August 1993, when the Croatian
20 Community became the Republic -- the Croatian Republic
21 At that point, you say:
22 "I have to apologise for something. This document that I have in
23 front of me is a document dated 3rd of July, 1992."
24 You then go on, on page 57, and this is what I -- we will
25 discuss, where you say -- it goes:
1 "Now, you realise that you were referring to another document?"
2 You say:
3 "I think that we have another document regulating the internal
4 structure or organisation of the Croatian Defence Council, and I think
5 that this document should be seen in the context of that document,"
6 meaning 303 should be seen in the context of the other document:
7 "And that those two documents regulate the jurisdiction and the
8 purview of the Croatian Defence Council and of its departments. So it's
9 not only this document; there are two documents that have to be looked
10 at, the interrelation between the two."
11 Now, do you recall giving that corrected answer, Mr. Buntic?
12 A. That's correct. I said this is not the only regulation
13 stipulating the powers of the HVO; that it needs to be viewed instead in
14 correlation with the earlier decision of the 15th of May.
15 And I said I thought from the start that's the document we were
16 dealing with. And also in correlation with the amendments and decision
17 of the 17th of October, 1992. So these would be the documents that form
18 the framework for the powers, responsibility and structure of the HVO,
19 because we have seen there are different periods and different documents,
20 and in those different periods the rights and obligations and the
21 structure of the HVO differed, and the internal organisation and the
22 responsibilities and powers of the HVO had to be viewed in the context of
23 all these documents.
24 That's what I meant to say. I don't know exactly what was
25 recorded, but that was my idea.
1 Q. If we look at 1D 00001. This is our first document for the
2 Defence. This is a decree on the organisation and responsibilities of
3 the departments and commissions of the Croatian Defence Council of the
4 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And if we look at the last page,
5 we'll see that it's dated 14 August 1992
6 and HZ-HB, Mate Boban.
7 When you were referring to another document that regulates --
8 sorry, I'll use your correct language -- regulating the internal
9 structure or organisation of the Croatian Defence Council, were you
10 referring to this document, Mr. Buntic?
11 A. Among others.
12 Q. All right. And so if we want to interpret Article 9, for
13 instance, in a proper context, then we would have to look at this
14 particular decree; is that your position, based on the answer that you
15 gave to the Prosecutor?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. All right. I believe we've covered that issue. We'll move on to
18 the next topic.
19 The next topic deals with transfer of power. That's what we've
20 called it, actually. And first let me go to -- direct everybody's
21 attention to the transcript of 17 July 2008, page 13, and here you are
22 asked a question, and we need some clarification. Hopefully you might be
23 able to assist the Trial Chamber. You were asked by the Prosecutor:
24 "And prior to the 17th of October, 1992, the HVO did not have
25 authority to enact decrees, decisions, conclusions, et cetera. Only the
1 Presidency could do that; correct?"
2 Answer: "Correct."
3 "And then after the 17th of October in 1992 that authority to
4 issue decrees, decisions, enactments, et cetera, was given to the HVO
6 Answer: "Correct. It's this decision of the 17th October
7 whereby these powers were transferred to the HVO, and if those were
8 decisions, they needed to be taken urgently in situations that bore no
11 "Okay. But as we know, in reality what happened was that the HVO
12 enacted scores, perhaps hundreds of decrees, decisions, et cetera, in the
13 time that followed the 17th of October until the establishment of the
14 Croatian Republic
16 "Correct, and all these regulations are described in that list
17 that has already been exhibited in this case during my earlier
19 And, of course, all of this, this exchange, had to deal with --
20 dealt with, for the record, the P00684.
21 Now, I want to look at -- we'll go back to P00303, if we could,
22 and -- or 1D 00156. It doesn't make a difference. If you could find
23 that document, sir.
24 And I would like to direct the Trial Chamber's attention, because
25 it may have escaped their attention - few things do, but this may
1 have - Article 18. Article 18, this is 3 July 1992. This is before any
3 Article 18 reads as follows, and help me out if I mis-read it:
4 "The HVO shall issue decrees, decisions and conclusions to
5 regulate economic and other relations in the territory of the HZ-HB."
6 Do you see that, Mr. Buntic? I know it's been a long time since
7 you've actually had to read these documents, but it's there, isn't it?
8 A. I see that.
9 Q. And from here, it would -- we could conclude that perhaps you
10 erred when you indicated that it wasn't until the decision on amending
11 the statutory decision, and that was -- as we discussed earlier, that was
12 P00684, and of course we all have to understand that, one, your health is
13 not the best and that you are tired as well from giving evidence; but
14 would it be fair to say, sir, that even prior to the amendment, the HVO
15 had the capacity to issue decrees, decisions and conclusions not only for
16 matters to regulate economic relations, but other relations as well;
18 A. It's evident from this article. It refers -- it states
19 explicitly that the HVO shall issue decrees, decisions, conclusions,
20 et cetera, and in keeping with this Article 18 of the 3rd of July, 1992,
21 HVO did have such powers and was able to issue such regulations.
22 Q. All right. Well, by way of a vignette or two as an example, if
23 we could look at 1D 00015. This is dated September 1992, and here is a
24 directive, and this has to do with -- we see at the end that we see your
25 name, head of the department, "Zoran Buntic," and we see that this is a
1 directive on making storage, using and keeping of record stamps.
2 Correct? So here we have this is sort of -- go ahead.
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. All right. Let's move on to the next topic. This has to do with
5 districts, the [indiscernible] or whatever you want to call it, because I
6 believe you were in the process of giving an answer and you were
7 interrupted. And so I want to make sure that you have an opportunity to
8 fully complete what you were trying to convey to us when you were
9 interrupted, and for that I'm going to refer to the transcript from 17
10 July 2008, page 34 to, actually, 36. Initially, you were being
11 questioned concerning -- you were shown a document, P00250 --
12 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me. Counsel, I apologise for the
14 Mr. President, I have noticed that one of the accused has left
15 the courtroom. Perhaps the record should reflect that.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Praljak has left the
17 courtroom for an urgent reason. He'll come back.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: All right. I'm in my own little world at this
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. Could you open a window and let out the
21 number of the document you are using?
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Right now, I was looking at page 34 of the
23 transcript, Your Honour, from yesterday.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Yeah. We haven't got to the document, but we
2 Q. You were asked a question about in the various municipalities
3 where you had, you indicated that HVO would be operating and at the same
4 time, for the Muslims, there would either be a crisis staff, a war
5 presidency, it came under various different names, and then at some point
6 you were asked by the Prosecutor:
7 "Well, that sounds like a very harmonious process."
8 And you indicated, in a sense, that, well, it was until at some
9 point, and you say, and this is on page 36:
10 "After a while, that state of affairs, through a natural course
11 of things, led to a conflict. The conflict between Croats and Bosniaks
12 occurred, and the Muslims or the Bosniak side, using the Army of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina and its securities services, tried forcibly with its
14 army and police to implement the degree on districts. That's something
15 that the Bosniak side accepted as its own arrangement. After the
16 Vance-Owen Plan that was accepted by both sides, the Croats and Bosniaks
17 accepted the provinces as defined in the Vance-Owen Plan which were not
18 the same as districts. That is when the conflict occurred, when each
19 side tried to impose their own arrangements --"
20 And then you were interrupted.
21 Do you recall that exchange, Mr. Buntic?
22 A. I do.
23 Q. All right. I must apologise for not having a Croatian version of
24 this agreement, but we have seen it before. It's 1D 02903. That's for
1 But were you aware that an agreement had been signed concerning
2 the Vance-Owen principles - there were nine constitutional
3 principles -and this was dated March 3, 1993; and it was signed by
4 Alija Izetbegovic, Mate Boban, Haris Silajdzic, and Mile Akmadzic. Were
5 you aware of that agreement, sir?
6 A. I was aware.
7 Q. And is that what you were referring to when you said they had
8 accepted the provinces based on the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
9 A. I was referring to this agreement.
10 Q. Okay, thank you. And I believe we can move on to the next
11 document, and that would be 1D 01182. 1D 01182. These are minutes from
12 27 February 1993
13 the English version is page 2, and it's item number 4. We see it says:
14 "It was stated that illegitimate decisions have been adopted for
15 a long time in the Republic of BH
16 and Croatian ministers have not participated in their adoptions. For
17 these reasons, the HVO and the Croatian people do not recognise the
18 decisions of the incomplete government of BH. One of the reasons for the
19 HVO's position is the recent letter sent by Minister of Energy, Mining
20 and Industry in the Republic of BH
21 and signed by Interior Minister, Jusuf Pusina, and chief of the BH OS
22 Main Staff, Sefer Halilovic and addressed to the commander of the BH, 4th
23 Corps, in Mostar. This letter contains obvious elements of a classic
24 coup d'etat, because it uses a harmless (economic) heading to ask their
25 military units to form new organs of civilian government and appoint
1 management staff and enterprises."
2 Now, is this what you were indicating yesterday when you indicate
3 at some point they were trying to impose these districts?
4 A. I was interrupted at the moment when I was about to utter a word
5 that I see was not recorded; namely, that an attempt was made to do it in
6 a forcible, armed fashion. I was interrupted, so these words did not
7 enter the record yesterday.
8 We see the document now. We have had other documents before us
9 that were exhibited, from which it is evident that Minister Mahmutcehajic
10 and Sefer Halilovic, a military commander, sent a letter to Arif Pasalic,
11 commander of the 4th Corps, and the security service, that is, the
12 police, instructing them to implement forcible military measures to
13 establish the district of Mostar; and all this is happening just after
14 the highest representatives of both the Croat and the Bosniak peoples had
15 signed an agreement that implies a different organisation according to
16 the Vance-Owen Plan of provinces accepted by both sides, those provinces
17 being very different from the districts that they tried to impose. Of
18 course it had to lead to a conflict.
19 We are all lawyers here in the courtroom, and we all know what a
20 signed document by highest representatives of both communities should
21 mean. Instead, we see that a pretty insignificant minister from that
22 government and a military commander are sending orders to the army and
23 the police to use military ways to establish a certain state organisation
24 that runs counter to the highest enactments signed by the highest
25 authorised representatives of both communities. Of course it had to lead
1 to a conflict.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: All right, thank you. And, Your Honours, I'm
3 going to skip the documents that actually go to this topic, which are 1D
4 02565, P01661, 1D 01972, 1D 0059 [sic]. They have been discussed before,
5 and we will discuss them again in this context, but to just move on to
6 the very last topic, and it deals with mobilisation. And this is sort of
7 more of a vignette than anything else.
8 Q. You were asked yesterday by Judge Antonetti on page 56 -- he
10 "Yes, but you have not answered my question. When you have
11 court, you need judges, and you appointed a number of judges. But for
12 these judges to do their work, you need lawyers, defence counsel. How
13 many of these were there?"
14 And you indicated -- you said:
15 "In light of what I said before, the scarcity of judges, we were
16 forced to mobilise lawyers in order to be able to full vacancies" or
17 "fill vacancies in courts and somehow create preconditions for the
18 judiciary to operate at all, so we fill vacancies simply by mobilising
19 lawyers. There was no other way."
20 Do you recall giving that answer, Mr. Buntic? You recall giving
21 that answer, do you not? Sorry.
22 A. I did give such an answer. I am just not sure that it was
23 properly recorded, because now in interpretation, I heard the word
24 "lawyers," whereas I used the word "advocates." I was talking about
25 attorneys, advocates. They were forced to mobilise one number of the
1 attorneys or advocates needed. Perhaps there was a mis-interpretation
2 either yesterday or today.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: With the Court's leave, I'll ask you a leading
5 Q. When we're talking about advocates, we're talking about folks who
6 have actually taken the Bar, versus what is referred to in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina as graduated lawyers, someone who has gone through law
8 school and may be practicing law, but not with a Bar license, and they
9 don't usually have audience in court? I'm told there's a wrong
11 A. [No verbal response]
12 Q. Mr. Buntic, to save some time, what's the difference between an
13 advocate and a lawyer?
14 A. A lawyer in the former Yugoslavia
16 person with a law degree to become a judge, a prosecutor, or a litigating
17 attorney, in addition to a law degree, they had to have certain
18 experience in legal jobs and to take the Bar exam. And after that, more
19 practice was needed, one or two years, usually two years, in order to be
20 able to open a law office and acquire the status of an advocate.
21 So an advocate was a person who had these prior qualifications
22 and was registered as a person practicing law and advocacy, that is,
24 Q. All right. I'm going back to the question that was posed to you
25 by Judge Antonetti. Let's look at 1D 02341 as an example of the
1 conditions under which the judiciary operated in some places. 1D 02341.
2 We see that this is the Stolac Lower Court. It's to the HZ HVO
3 Department of Judiciary and General Administration, and I'll read
4 portions of it, of this report. It says:
5 "Judges who are appointed to the court in early 1993, after the
6 court moved to Capljina because of the war. A large number of materials,
7 land registers and active case files were salvaged from Stolac. None of
8 the former employees remained with the court, and after some time the
9 former president of the court also left the court, and the only two
10 judges, with no other personnel, have been working over the past period.
11 A large number of pending prewar cases were found in the court, and a
12 record listing of the cases is currently being made."
13 This I point out to the Judges of this honourable Tribunal:
14 "The two judges are frequently engaged on the frontline in
15 Stolac. Despite these conditions, in spite of the work of the two
16 judges, the court has in this period carried out the following:"
17 And we see what they have done.
18 Mr. Buntic, to your knowledge, is this a fair and accurate
19 representation of what was happening in the Stolac Lower Court?
20 A. When we're talking about the Lower Court in Stolac, I am aware of
21 what was going on there. We know what happened there first.
22 First, the Yugoslav Army entered the Stolac area, expelled and
23 made it impossible for anyone to work there, and then in June, late June
24 1992, conditions were once again in place for the institutions to start
25 working again after Stolac was liberated. A year later, Croat-Bosniak
1 conflicts break out in the same area, so the court was in a position to
2 be able to operate normally for maybe seven or eight months; and in that
3 period of maybe six or seven months we can see what work was done. They
4 did over a hundred -- 132 on-site investigations. We can see that
5 efforts were made to make it operational again, but as we said, a year
6 after they started working again, or some ten months later, they had to
7 relocate again and open the court in Capljina because of the
8 Croat-Bosniak conflicts.
9 The situation was similar in other areas that were affected by
10 the war. We may have had just a couple of municipalities where municipal
11 courts were able to work normally and without any disruptions, such as
12 the court in Ljubuski, which is why we had only two judges working there,
13 or why we set up the court in Tomislav Grad which throughout the
14 existence of the HB HZ there was only one judge working there, because we
15 had to deploy our personnel in other areas, civil courts, military
16 courts, and to keep the whole judicial system functioning in some way.
17 We made efforts, but we didn't have enough personnel. And as you
18 can see, we had to mobilise some of the attorneys at law. But there were
19 enough attorneys at law to defend their clients in civil lawsuits and
20 criminal proceedings. That's what I didn't say yesterday. But I think
21 that about half of the attorneys at law who had their own law offices
22 were able to continue with their practice, but we had to mobilise the
23 remaining half in order to keep the courts functioning at all.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. Buntic, I want to thank you very, very much.
25 I have no further question, and I want to apologise for misrepresenting
1 to you that you would be here for a few days. I should have said "a few
2 weeks." But I believe that the Trial Chamber has benefitted immensely
3 from your presence here, and I wish you the best in your future
4 endeavours. Thank you.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to break now.
6 After the break, Mr. Praljak's Defence will intervene as part of the
7 92 ter procedure, and Mr. Kovacic, I believe you asked for 20 minutes.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour. My
9 colleague, Nika Pinter, will examine.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We have a
11 20-minute break.
12 --- Recess taken at 11.55 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.15 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're back in session.
15 Ms. Pinter, you have the floor.
16 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Good afternoon to everyone in the courtroom.
18 Examination by Ms. Pinter:
19 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic.
20 A. Good afternoon.
21 Q. In front of you, you have a document bearing the number 3D 03216.
22 Is this the statement that you gave at the request of General Praljak's
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you give this statement voluntarily, to the best of your
1 knowledge and recollection, and is it accurate?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now I would like to ask you to give us some additional
4 clarification at page 2 of your statement.
5 In the English version, I sign the relevant part of the statement
6 that -- underlined the relevant parts of the statement, where you said
7 that you tendered your irrevocable resignation. And I want to ask you
8 why you did that.
9 A. I gave some reasons why I tendered this resignation irrevocably
10 in my testimony. That was because of the fact between the 9th and 19th
11 of September, 1991, and the beginning of April 1992, the Citluk
12 municipality was in a situation to defend itself alone. It stood against
13 the Yugoslav Army that was massed on the northern borders of the Citluk
14 municipality. The Brotnjo Battalion fighters were exhausted, fatigued.
15 They had suffered casualties. They had wounded and killed. The
16 neighbouring municipality of Ljubuski
17 majority, as we saw from the documents, had an order in place that none
18 of its citizens of military age should leave the municipality.
19 I brought this to the attention of people in Citluk and in
20 Ljubuski, and I also brought it to the attention of Mate Boban, who at
21 that time spent more time in Citluk than in Grude, because the fighting
22 was going on in Citluk, at its northern borders, and if this line were to
23 be broken, the JNA would be able to link up with the barracks in
24 Capljina. And as far as they were concerned, their war would be over in
1 the reservists had on them, that we found later, indicating that the
2 Mostar municipality and parts of the municipality of Capljina
3 in, annexed to Montenegro
4 So we did have this information, we were aware of it, and despite
5 all those warnings, demands and talks, nobody came to our aid. And in
6 this situation, which was absurd and impermissible, I tendered my
7 irrevocable resignation not only to the post of the commander of the
8 defence of Citluk but to all the posts that I had been appointed. I was
9 a broken man, and I went home.
10 And then on the 10th or the 9th of April, my old friend and good
11 acquaintance from my student days found me then, Mr. Praljak. Well, I
12 described all that already. I described our conversation in the
13 statement. I don't know if it's necessary for me to go through it again.
14 Q. No, thank you, it's not necessary. I would now like to ask you:
15 What was your assessment of General Praljak's behaviour and the manner in
16 which he approached you, precisely because you were such good friends?
17 A. At that time, it was not a friendly conversation. It was a
18 resolute military conversation between a soldier who had already seen
19 action in Croatia
20 were like, a person who could understand me from the military point of
21 view, and this was a man who spoke to me using clear typical military
22 language, letting me know that this was war and there were no
23 resignations in war, that there were wartime assignments in war, there
24 were commanders and orders that must be obeyed.
25 After that, we worked together well as soldiers. And before that
1 and after that, we were friends, but at that time, at the time of this
2 conversation, it was a purely military conversation.
3 Q. Thank you very much. My last question: Could you explain to the
4 Judges what your intentions and objectives were when you joined the HVO,
5 both the civilian and the military components?
6 A. At that time, there was no other way to fight the enemy. The JNA
7 had occupied 30 per cent -- or, rather, 70 per cent of the country. I
8 have already said -- I don't know how clear I was, because I was
9 interrupted when I wanted to address this topic. The Presidency of the
10 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 until the 8th of April, 1992, saw at the time when the enemy had already
12 occupied 70 per cent of the country, the Presidency invited the Yugoslav
13 People's Army to intervene in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 In other words, they invited it in to occupy the remaining
15 30 per cent of the territory. And then the Prosecutor after that asked
16 me why we opted for the insignia that we took, why were we not called the
17 BH Army, why did we not place ourselves under the command of the
18 Presidency? What Presidency? The Presidency that invites the JNA to
19 intervene and occupy the remaining 30 per cent of the territory? We had
20 to find some insignia, some emblems that people would be willing to fight
21 under and to fight -- to oppose the JNA, and there was no other
22 possibility for putting together all the municipalities, to organise
23 them, to make it clear to them that they had to fight under the same
24 flag, under the same emblem.
25 We did not have any other option, because I explained to you how
1 municipalities acted. I think this was a very good example.
2 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
3 Your Honours, this concludes my examination-in-chief, and I would
4 like this statement that bears the number 3D 03216 to be admitted into
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This exhibit is admitted --
8 or, rather, we will issue a decision later on that matter.
9 Do other Defence teams have questions to ask?
10 Yes, Ms. Alaburic.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It seems no one has questions
13 to put.
14 Regarding cross-examination by the Prosecution with respect to
15 that document --
16 MR. STRINGER: I'm just going to have one question for the
18 But before that, I just wanted to note for the record that we had
19 previously been provided with the French language version of the 92 ter
20 statement of this witness. It was filed with the Registry. And just for
21 the record, I noted that the first part of paragraph 2 indicates that the
22 witness is referring to mid-April 1999, and so that's clearly a typo,
23 because in the original language and in the English, it refers to 1992.
24 But knowing that the Trial Chamber works on the French, I just thought I
25 would make that clarification.
1 And then my only question for Mr. Buntic on this is to ask
2 whether during this period of time, 1991, whether he knows -- and 1992,
3 whether he knows if General Praljak held a position within the Ministry
4 of Defence for the Republic of Croatia
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know that. I don't know
6 what position he held in the Republic of Croatia
7 knew that he did hold some positions in the Republic of Croatia
8 can't give you the exact dates because I don't know that.
9 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, sir.
10 No further questions, Mr. President.
11 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm a little bit
12 confused now, because as far as I know, we provided this statement in
13 B/C/S and in English. I don't know anything about the French
14 translation. In fact, I am caught by surprise by it.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have in front of me the
16 translation into English of that document. Very well.
17 Witness, your testimony is now over. It's been very long. You
18 stayed for over two weeks, and I was very much afraid that you might stay
19 another week. Luckily, it wasn't so.
20 On behalf of my fellow Judges, I'd like to thank you, and I wish
21 you a safe journey back home. I wish you all the best in your future
22 endeavours as an attorney-at-law. Thank you very much.
23 Could Madam Usher escort you out of the courtroom.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I be given 15
25 minutes? That should be sufficient.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, sir. We don't want
2 witnesses to make lengthy statements afterwards. You came here to answer
3 to the questions put to you. We allowed you to make one statement, but
4 no need to go further than that. It is -- you're not entitled to do so.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that case, I would like to thank
6 the Trial Chamber for calling me here and making it possible for me to
7 talk about the facts that I know of; and I will be happy if my testimony
8 contributes to the establishment of truth and the reaching of a just
9 decision in this case.
10 Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
12 Mr. Registrar, could we move into private session, because I'd
13 like to deliver a short oral decision in private session.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: I'm sorry, Your Honours. We're back in open
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We are now in open
15 Regarding next week, so that everything is clear, I inform you
16 that we will have Witness Zuzul. He will come here to be cross-examined.
17 He will be heard as of Monday, quarter past 2.00.
18 As far as I remember, the Defence will be allocated two hours and
19 one minute -- well, let's say two hours. Then the Prosecutor will have
20 five hours at his disposal. Unless there are objections, delays or
21 problems of any kind, in principle, we should be able to finish on
22 Tuesday or Wednesday with his testimony. It could be Thursday as well.
23 It all depends.
24 This is what I wanted to inform you about.
25 Are there administrative issues to be raised from the Defence? I
1 see not. From the Prosecution? Not.
2 I wish you all a nice weekend. We shall reconvene on Monday at
3 quarter past 2.00.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.35 p.m.
5 to be reconvened on Monday, the 21st day of
6 July, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.