1 Monday, 1 September 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
11 Today is Monday, 1st of September, 2008, let me greet the
12 accused, the Defence counsel, Mr. Stringer and his assistants, as well as
13 the registrar, the usher, and everyone assisting us in this case.
14 I need to read out an oral ruling before I raise an
15 administrative matter. Oral ruling of 1st of September, 2008, related to
16 an application filed by the accused Praljak. At the hearing of 28 August
17 2008, accused Praljak requested the Trial Chamber to order the
18 Prosecution to disclose the documents it may have sent to the authorities
19 of the Republic of Croatia
20 part of its investigations with respect to Defence witnesses. The
21 Trial Chamber heard submissions on this matter, both by the Prosecution
22 and the various Defence teams.
23 The Trial Chamber recalls that under Rule 70(A) of the Rules of
24 Procedure and Evidence a party does not have to disclose reports,
25 memoranda, or other internal documents prepared in connection with the
1 investigation or preparation of the case. As a result, the Trial Chamber
2 decides to dismiss the application filed by Mr. Praljak.
3 One administrative matter now. As you see, Judge Prandler is not
4 with us today. He may join us tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or on
5 Thursday, but we don't know yet when he'll be back with us. Furthermore,
6 Judge Trechsel won't be able to sit with us on Thursday as of 12.30. As
7 a result, tomorrow if the Defence and the Prosecution do not object,
8 tomorrow we could have a hearing in the afternoon because I can be there.
9 So in other words, tomorrow morning we would have a hearing from 9.00 to
10 12.30. We would resume at 2.30 and sit until 7.00 p.m. On Wednesday we
11 could sit in the morning from 9.00 to 1.45, and if we need additional
12 time we could have a hearing on Thursday morning. This would allow
13 Mr. Karnavas to complete the examination-in-chief of the witness, the
14 Prosecution to complete the cross-examination, this would allow for
15 re-examination and examination by other Defence teams. That's the way
16 things stand. The Trial Chamber is in a position to organize an
17 additional hearing or sitting as early as tomorrow afternoon. We could
18 also have a hearing on Thursday, as I said, but in any case we would not
19 sit beyond 12.30.
20 Mr. Karnavas, you are at the helm here. Could you continue the
21 examination-in-chief tomorrow afternoon?
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon, Mr. President, good afternoon,
23 Your Honours, good afternoon to everyone in and around the courtroom. In
24 fact, I came here today to make such a proposal, in light of Judge
25 Trechsel's observation last Thursday that perhaps five hours would be --
1 for direct examination would make it rather difficult for us to complete
2 the entire testimony in the scheduled four days. So we think it would be
3 an excellent idea. In fact, I would even be prepared to go even on
4 Wednesday afternoon if necessary, and I'm sure that the Prosecution
5 should have no observations to that either since, you know,
6 cross-examination, I'm sure that they're prepared as it is, it wouldn't
7 make a difference.
8 So, yes, we are prepared and we look forward to that schedule.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. In any case, on
10 Wednesday afternoon I can't sit in this case because I'm sitting on
11 another case of -- of contempt, so I won't be able to sit on Wednesday
13 What about you, Mr. Stringer?
14 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, the Prosecution's prepared to
15 follow whatever schedule the Trial Chamber wants to proceed by this week;
16 we're ready.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. All right. So tomorrow
18 we'll start at 9.00, we'll have a break at 12.30 for everyone to be able
19 to have lunch, and then we'll resume at 2.15. On Wednesday we'll sit in
20 the morning, starting at 9.00, finishing at 1.45, and if need be we'll
21 also be sitting on Thursday morning.
22 Having said that, I'm now going to ask for the witness to be
23 brought in, but before that the registrar has a number of IC numbers to
25 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Some parties have submitted lists of documents to be tendered
2 through witness Raguz Martin. The list submitted by 1D shall be given
3 Exhibit Number IC 00835, the list submitted by the OTP shall be given
4 Exhibit Number IC 00836, and the list submitted by 4D shall be given
5 Exhibit Number IC 00837. Thank you, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me have a look at the
7 transcript to see that the figures are right. No, there's a mistake in
8 the transcript. We have 835, so we should have also 836 and 837, and not
9 856. Fine, Mr. Registrar, can you please confirm that it's 836 and not
11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The list submitted by the OTP
12 shall be given Exhibit Number IC 00836, and the list submitted by 4D
13 shall be given the Exhibit Number IC 00837.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 Let's have the witness brought in, please.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, before that, Your Honour, I did mention to
17 the registrar that I wanted to raise an issue that does not concern the
18 witness, so I would appreciate being given at least five minutes on that
19 matter. I will be brief, but I think it's terribly important.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go ahead.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
22 Well -- and we can either do it in open or in closed session,
23 although I don't intend to go into any specifics but this has to do with
24 General Praljak's observations or remarks at the conclusion of last
25 Thursday's hearing. And I believe it's my understanding that at this
1 point in time the Trial Chamber is seized with a matter, and it's seized
2 with a matter that must be dealt with and cannot be delayed for the
3 following reasons.
4 When -- as we all recall, General Praljak last week indicated
5 that he came to The Hague
6 believed would be a fair trial and as a consequence devoted all of his
7 energies in order to get a fair trial. He has pushed that at the
8 forefront of his agenda and has worked tirelessly as a result of his --
9 of this wish of his to make sure that he gets a fair trial. It has
10 become obvious to him, this is based on his observations, that for a
11 variety of reasons he's getting less of a trial than he had expected and
12 one that he does not think is particularly fair as far as he understands
13 how trials should go.
14 He also told us that prior to coming to The Hague it was -- he
15 had certain issue -- health issues which he has pushed aside throughout
16 this period because he wanted to give primacy to his case and to getting
17 the truth in this court as opposed to his health issues, which obviously
18 under normal circumstances any other individual would put at the
19 forefront as opposed to at the back end. Now, given his perception of
20 how the Trial Chamber -- how this trial is proceeding, he wishes to put
21 his health issues at the forefront and the trial to be put at the back
22 end. That's how I understand it.
23 It also -- I also was left with the impression that -- and we
24 appreciate the fact that he's delaying this decision until after this
25 week, that as of next week he will be making decisions as to when he will
1 be -- he will be making decisions as to when he feels appropriately well
2 to be in court and when not, and of course without any prior notice. We,
3 the Defence of Dr. Prlic, are extremely concerned because it would put in
4 jeopardy our Defence case.
5 It seems to me that the Trial Chamber, now being aware of this
6 health matter, has a responsibility to order a complete medical
7 examination. It cannot abdicate this function. It must do it. And --
8 for a couple of reasons. One, if there is an issue that ...
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 MR. KARNAVAS: We can go in closed session. I'm not going into
11 any particular issues, but we can go into closed session.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No, that was not what was at
13 stake, but my colleague has just told me that it's already done. As you
14 can very well imagine, we've been working since last Thursday and what
15 you've -- you are requesting has already been decided.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, it may have been decided but I have
17 witnesses that have committed part of their calendar, and it seems to me
18 that we're faced with three possibilities, and if we can be in closed
19 session I'm going to outline those possibilities.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's move into
21 private session.
22 [Private session]
11 Pages 31610-31617 redacted. Private session.
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.
15 Let's have the witness brought in and ask him to take the solemn
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
19 I hope that you can hear the translation of what I say in your
20 own language. I'll ask you to stand up. Could you give me your name,
21 family name, and date of birth.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Zoran Perkovic, I was
23 born on the 12th of January, 1961.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all the other
25 microphones be switched off please, we can't hear the witness. Thank
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
3 continues]... occupation or position?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a lawyer.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You work as a lawyer and what
6 are you, a specialist in law? What does it mean because a lawyer can
7 mean many things. What do you do exactly?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm assistant minister in the
9 foreign ministry of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I work on the international
10 affairs and consular affairs.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Have you already
12 been a witness before a national or international court on facts that
13 occurred in the former Yugoslavia
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I testified in 2000 in the Kordic
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And were you a Defence or a
18 Prosecution witness?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A Defence witness.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll now ask you to read the
21 solemn declaration.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
23 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You may sit down.
25 A very quick update, because you've already testified, you're a
1 lawyer, you know everything about the procedure, you know that you will
2 have to answer questions asked by Mr. Karnavas. After this first phase,
3 the Prosecutor sitting on your right-hand side, Mr. Stringer, will
4 cross-examine you. The other accused's counsels will, if necessary, also
5 be asking questions in their examinations-in-chief or their
6 cross-examinations. As to the Bench, there are usually four of us but
7 one is not here for the moment and the Judges will just be asking you
9 We have a very tight schedule because the Defence has planned
10 that the direct examination will take four hours. There are -- there is
11 the cross-examination, questions from other counsels, extra questions --
12 sorry, it's five hours, not four hours. And the Judges also have a busy
13 schedule, and we have scheduled an extra hearing tomorrow afternoon. So
14 tomorrow we'll be in session from 9.00 until 12.30, and we'll be resuming
15 at 2.15 tomorrow afternoon until 7.00 p.m., after which we'll have a
16 hearing on Wednesday from 9.00 until quarter to 2.00, and if necessary on
17 Thursday morning. So so much for your sake or the sake of your
19 You have stated that you would say the truth and the whole truth.
20 This is a solemn declaration which means that you're in the hands of the
21 justice now and you have no contact anymore with Mr. Karnavas or any
22 Defence counsel, and you don't have any contact with the Judges or with
23 the Prosecution for that matter.
24 We have breaks every hour and a half. If you should feel unwell,
25 please raise your hand so we can interrupt and break so that you can have
1 a rest. Please try and be accurate when answering the questions. If you
2 do not understand the question, don't hesitate to ask the one who asked
3 it to rephrase the question, and of course we are available if you have
4 anything you might require from the Chamber.
5 So this is what I had to tell you and without further ado I would
6 now like to give the floor to Mr. Karnavas who has prepared three binders
7 of documents.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes. Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good
9 afternoon, Your Honours, again, and the binders are set in the manner
10 which we intend to proceed at least today, so that should be somewhat
12 WITNESS: ZORAN PERKOVIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examination by Mr. Karnavas:
15 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. You told us that you're currently working with the Ministry of
18 Foreign Affairs. Could you please tell us how long you have been working
19 in that position, or for the ministry I should say?
20 A. I've been working with the ministry since 2000. I've been with
21 them for eight years. The first four years I was in Washington, D.C.
22 was the deputy BH ambassador to Washington, D.C.
24 have been assistant minister for international legal issues and consular
1 Q. All right. Now, I'm going to have to ask you to speak a little
2 slower. I think the interpreters would appreciate that, okay, and I'll
3 try to abide by the same rule.
4 Now, you told us that you are a lawyer. Could you please
5 describe to us very briefly, after graduating from law school what did
6 you -- what sort of work have you been doing?
7 A. It was in 1983 that I graduated from the Mostar Faculty of Law.
8 My first job was with the municipal authorities in Livno. Up until
9 1986 -- in 1986 I did my compulsory military service, and then up to 1988
10 I stayed in Livno working on that same job. In 1988 I was appointed
11 president of the then-conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 meant in professional terms that I had to move to Sarajevo and work
13 there. In practical terms, I have been in Sarajevo since 1998. I have
14 been living and working there. The first term I was given was a one-year
15 term, and after that in 1989 I moved to the Ministry of Justice and
16 administration of what used to be the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 that was still part of the former Yugoslavia
18 republican inspector for administrative issues.
19 Q. Please slow down, please. [Microphone not activated]
20 A. In 1989 I changed jobs, and I began working as a republican
21 inspector for administrative issues. I remained in that job until after
22 the first multi-party election in Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the
23 election I ran as a candidate for the social democratic party of Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Socio Democrats lost the election and that
1 included me, but I continued in the same job. At the time, I started
2 applying for a scholarship that was awarded by the Paris High
3 Administration school. The structure of the government in Bosnia and
5 emerged granted me their approval to go to Paris, or rather, I asked for
6 their approval to go to Paris
7 Mr. Stjepan Kljuic, who was then the president of the Croatian Democratic
9 said he was in no position to guarantee anyone a job. He spoke about the
10 so-called communist employees, former communist employees, and obviously
11 he implied that I was among those and he said that he would have to
12 review all the positions held by those people, which in practical terms
13 meant that I would have to give up my scholarship, the one I had already
14 been awarded.
15 It was three or four months later. The HDZ personnel committee,
16 or human resources committee, called me for an interview and asked me
17 whether I was willing to accept the post of assistant minister for
18 information, and this was part of that ministry. I had no idea what
19 exactly had changed over those three months. I assume the problem was
20 about Croats coming to work in Sarajevo
21 You were moving a rung up that particular ladder, which I accepted. I
22 remained in that position up until the beginning of the war, and for the
23 first month all the way up to late April 1992.
24 After that, sometime in late April or early May, I left Sarajevo
25 and spent the next three months outside up until August 1992, on about
1 16th -- the 16th or the 17th of August that year, I returned to Sarajevo
2 but another person had in the meantime been appointed to my position.
3 About three months later, meaning sometime in December that year, early
4 in December that year, I again left Sarajevo and then very briefly after
5 that I became a member of the committee for laws and regulations of the
6 Croatian Defence Council of Croatia's Herceg-Bosna community.
7 Q. Okay. Before we go into that part of your career, let's cover a
8 couple of points that you've already mentioned. You spoke of Mr. Kljuic,
9 who indicated or who had viewed you as being a so-called communist. Now,
10 you indicated that at one point you had a position with the youth
11 organization. Was that part of the socialist youth organization -- or
12 what was that all about? What position -- or what did that position
14 A. Under the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina
15 to apply even throughout the war, there were five socio-political
16 organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of those was the youth or
17 association or organization, the conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina
18 youth. Its primary task was to in a way coordinate all these activities
19 or be in charge of all these activities among Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 young, although in a way it had its own delegates to the then-BH
21 parliament. And although in terms of its role it was involved in issues
22 to do with government at the republican level and also at lower levels
23 throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. All right. And what position did you hold in this youth
25 organization for that one-year period that you indicated?
1 A. I had a one-year term and I was president of this youth
2 association for a year.
3 Q. All right. Then you spoke of being a republican inspector for
4 administrative issues. If you could just briefly tell us what exactly
5 was that position about?
6 A. It was part of the justice ministry of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7 There was this inspectorate, as we called it, for administration-related
8 issues. Its primary task was to exercise internal supervision in
9 administrative matters, supervising the actions of lower-level
10 authorities and making sure that everything was being done by the book or
11 under the law. Requests would be submitted or appeals by citizens from
12 all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. We would deal with those. Prevention
13 was another task that we had also in relation to the work of the
14 municipal authorities, and that applied also to all the republican
15 administrative organs, at least in and as far as their work actually had
16 to do with administration.
17 In other words, our powers included this, we were to check
18 whether people were appointed to their posts, for example, by the book,
19 if everything was done in keeping with the law, whether people were
20 sufficiently qualified for certain positions they were appointed to,
21 whether they had appropriate backgrounds in terms of education, whether
22 in their work they kept in keeping with the laws and prescriptions,
23 whether they were observing dead-lines, and we also had the power to
24 impose disciplinary penalties or monetary penalties. Sometimes if there
25 were particularly serious violations we had the power to suspend a state
1 employee, a civil servant, for a period of up to two months, anyone who
2 was found to be in violation of some law other.
3 Q. All right. And did you just cover one particular area in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina or did you cover the entire territory, you
6 A. In principle, the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We
7 were in charge of Bosnia and Herzegovina's entire territory. Later on
8 the inspection as a body was re-shuffled, reorganized, and we had some of
9 our colleagues working in smaller provincial centres outside of Sarajevo
10 such as Mostar, Tuzla
11 charge of the entire territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and our powers
12 applied throughout its territory.
13 Q. All right. Now, you also mentioned Mr. Kljuic, and we had an
14 opportunity to hear from Mr. Kljuic here in court and he repeatedly
15 stressed both on direct and cross-examination that he had been a
16 well-known dissident in the former Yugoslavia
17 elections. Now, you've told us that you lived in Sarajevo, this would
18 have been at least two or three years prior to those elections.
19 Obviously you're from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Can you please tell us whether
20 you had ever heard of Mr. Kljuic being a dissident, let alone a
21 well-known dissident, and of course I'm asking the question because it
22 goes to his credibility as a witness.
23 A. Well, you see, as far as I know, Mr. Kljuic was never a member of
24 the League of Communists. Maybe it follows for him from that that he was
25 a dissident, but in that case there were over 3 million of those in
2 League of Communists was a dissident. Therefore, I can hardly accept
3 this theory of Mr. Kljuic being any sort of dissident at all, especially
4 not a political one. Maybe he was more of an amateur sports dissident.
5 Q. All right. Now, you also indicated that after the elections you
6 were offered a position as assistant minister of -- for administration.
7 Could you please tell us exactly what sort of tasks were you carrying out
8 in that capacity? What sort of work were you doing?
9 A. The assistant minister for administration heads an organizational
10 unit of the Ministry of Justice and Administration. This unit numbered
11 between 25 and 30 persons, and their job in essence was to monitor the
12 overall work and functioning of administrative bodies throughout Bosnia
13 and Herzegovina
14 in order to bring about improvements in the work of the administration,
15 such as, for example, the Law on Administration or perhaps some other
17 Further, our job was to draft and prepare all sorts of bulletins
18 containing information relevant for the work of Bosnia's government,
19 which comprised also issues to do with the work of the administration.
20 We had to improve our -- the efficiency of the entire system in dealing
21 with the pending cases and so on and so forth. The job in my sector was
22 quite varied. Essentially, it was about our success rates in terms of
23 how well the administrative system throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina
24 doing its work.
25 Q. All right. We'll speak more about that and about Sarajevo
1 little bit, but just to fast-forward you indicated at some point you
2 began working for the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And as I
3 understand it, this is a leading question but this will be covered
4 through your direct, that you continued working when the Croatian
5 Community became the Croatian Republic
6 A. Yes, that is true.
7 Q. And could you tell us more or less the month and year, when you
8 began working for the Croatian Community all the way until when you
9 stopped working, for instance, for the Croatian Republic
10 so we have a pretty good framework of the time you were with or working
11 in those -- with those bodies.
12 A. As for the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, I worked for them
13 at two different times, so to speak, the first period was brief, between
14 mid-July and mid-August, roughly speaking, 1992. The other time was
15 between early December 1992 and my return to Sarajevo to work there as
16 deputy minister. That was in the last BH government or cabinet. I was
17 deputy minister for justice and administration, and this occurred in
19 Q. Okay. Now -- so that would be after the Washington Agreement, is
20 that what you're telling us?
21 A. That's right. Some months after the Washington Agreement.
22 Q. Okay. And before we cover what exactly you did between, say,
23 December 1992 and when you went back to Sarajevo
24 Washington Agreement, could you tell us what sort of work have you done
25 post-Washington Agreement, after you went to Sarajevo, so the Judges can
1 have an indication of what you've been doing from 1994. We do know
2 2000-plus you've been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So from 1994
3 to 2000 what sort of work have you been doing?
4 A. Between 1994 and the first multi-party election in Bosnia and
6 was a position in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina's cabinet.
7 After the first multi-party election, sometime in 1995, I think in the
8 second half of 1995 and up to 2000, I worked as chef de cabinet for the
9 president of the BH Federation.
10 Q. All right. And one quick question regarding your political
11 activity, you did tell us that during the first free elections you ran
12 with the liberal party I believe. But since then, all the way up until
13 now, have you belonged to a particular political party? And we're most
14 specifically interested between the critical periods of the indictment,
15 1991 and 1994.
16 A. I was a candidate of the Social Democratic Party, the SDP --
17 Q. Sorry --
18 A. -- that was the presidential election. After the elections, up
19 until 1992, I remained with that party, I remained a member. When the
20 war broke out, I found myself in an area that first was not affected, and
21 my involvement with the party subsided. Ever since that time, I have not
22 been a member of any other political party in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Q. Thank you. My apologies for associating you with the liberal
24 party. All right. Now, if we go back to your position with the Croatian
25 Community and then later on the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
1 could kindly tell us in a few words what sort of work were you involved
3 A. My first encounter with people from the Croatian Community of
4 Herceg-Bosna in Bosnia and Herzegovina occurred in 1992, more
5 specifically July 1992. I was there with a specific task, the task being
6 to speak to Mr. Zoran Buntic, who was head of the justice department of
7 the Croatian Herceg-Bosna community, HVO, the objective being to find the
8 most effective solution on how to get the justice system in the area up
9 and running. I had been dispatched from Livno. It wasn't for my own
10 reasons that I was there, so to speak, and this was my mission. That's
11 why I had been dispatched from Livno. The thing is, over in Livno we had
12 been facing a very serious problem, a murder of two persons committed by
13 a foreigner. The issue was to organize a trial for this foreigner. So
14 that was my remit and that is why I was off to speak to Mr. Buntic. As a
15 professional lawyer I was aware of the fact that in order to have any
16 kind of trial at all we first had to make sure that there was legality
17 and legitimacy on the part of whatever institution was to stage, to
18 organize, that trial.
19 When I arrived in Herzegovina
20 where the department was headquartered at the time, at least
21 provisionally, I met Mr. Buntic, was introduced to Mr. Buntic, and to
22 some other colleagues of his who worked in that same department. I told
23 him what the reasons were for my presence there and what we were expected
24 to do. He said they were hard at work at it already. But then he asked
25 if he could take advantage of my presence there, given my experience with
1 administration generally speaking, and asked if I could give them a hand
2 with certain regulations that had to do with organizing the
3 administrative system. I said I didn't mind myself, unless of course my
4 superiors over in Livno opposed this. I had these talks with them, with
5 my superiors, I obtained their approval, and I was off again to Siroki
6 Brijeg. In practical terms, I spent the next month working with those
7 people over there, and my job for the most part had to do with passing
8 certain regulations for the HVO's administration.
9 Q. Let me stop you here, and before we pick up on that story, first
10 of all, you said that you were dispatched from Livno and then you talked
11 about superiors. How is it that you had any superiors in Livno if you
12 had left Sarajevo
13 assistant minister for administration, how all of a sudden is it that you
14 have superiors in Livno? If you could just briefly tell us about that.
15 A. In formal and legal terms, I retained my residence in Livno, that
16 is still the case. So in -- on my ID card I have this residence
17 registered, and I was registered as a military conscript in Livno. The
18 moment I showed up in Livno, in light of the fact that I was a military
19 conscript, I was under the military obligation, I reported to the
20 recruitment office and I was given my wartime assignment as it is called
21 by the administrative or in the administrative organs of the Livno
22 municipality. So in terms of my wartime assignment upon my return to
23 Livno, I worked for a while in the administrative organs as an advisor to
24 the president of the executive board of the Livno municipality.
25 Q. All right. The next question was -- that I have is that you
1 indicated that you were asked that in Livno municipality they were
2 confronted with a particular dilemma, how to organize a trial, and I'm
3 sure the Trial Chamber's wondering why would this be a dilemma since, you
4 know, prior to this period surely there should have been judicial organs
5 working in and about Livno courts and what have you. How is it that all
6 of a sudden now they're trying -- there is this dilemma on how to
7 organize a proper trial?
8 A. In accordance with the Law on Courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 that was in force at that time, the basic courts, such as the court in
10 Livno, did not have jurisdiction over serious crimes such as double
11 murder, which was the case here. When such crimes were at issue in
12 accordance with the Law on Courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the superior
13 courts had jurisdiction. To be quite specific, it was the superior court
14 in Mostar that had jurisdiction in Livno. So the basic court in Livno
15 simply did not have any legal basis to prosecute or to try those people,
16 to prosecute those suspects.
17 Q. All right. Well, forgive me for asking sort of a simplistic
18 question, but why not just ship those two individuals to Mostar and say,
19 Here you are, you have jurisdiction in light of the gravity of the
20 offence, and try them? Would that not have been sort an easy solution as
21 opposed to sending you to Mostar to see how to solve this dilemma or was
22 that one of the options?
23 A. At the time it was impossible to do so for purely practical
24 reasons, in light of the military operations that were ongoing in Mostar
25 and around Mostar and in light of the fact that at that time the superior
1 court in Mostar was not functioning at all.
2 Q. All right. Now, you mentioned Mr. Buntic and you indicated that
3 Mr. Buntic recognised in you certain qualities and abilities and wanted
4 to take advantage of them, and I guess from your answer that followed was
5 that you were assisted in the drafting of certain legal instruments.
6 What, if any, experience did you have prior to this that would give
7 Mr. Buntic the impression that you could actually draft legislation?
8 A. Before the war, when I was the assistant minister in the Ministry
9 of Justice and Administration, I was involved in the drafting of the
10 republican law on the jurisdiction or purview of various organs and also
11 the law on the amendments of the law on state administration and several
12 other ordinances, or rather, laws, such as the law on certification of
13 handwriting and copies. I was directly involved in drafting laws that
14 were within the purview of my ministry and the sector that was -- that I
15 was in charge of. And Mr. Buntic was aware of that because some people
16 who were there, some people that he knew, knew that I had been doing this
17 job, this kind of work.
18 Q. All right. Now, I interrupted you just as you told us what you
19 had done during that first stint of working for the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna. Could you now pick up the rest of the narrative as to when
21 you recommenced working for the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; and
22 if it's important for the narrative for you to tell us what you did in
23 the interim, please do so.
24 A. In July 1992 we were trying, or rather, I and my colleagues were
25 trying to deal with this problem of delegating the jurisdiction,
1 referring cases to other courts. And by happenstance in this period, a
2 colleague of mine came to Siroki Brijeg, he was from the Ministry of
3 Justice and Administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At that time he
4 was the assistant minister of justice, his name was Jusuf Halilagic, and
5 I and Mr. Buntic spoke to him about this problem, quite naturally. And
6 we reached the conclusion that the best solution would be to amend the
7 Law on Courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to set up a department or a
8 division of the Supreme Court in Mostar and to change the subject matter
9 jurisdiction of the courts in such a way that it be adapted to the
10 wartime situation as it was. And since this proposal was tabled, and
11 Mr. Halilagic agreed with the proposal because he was able to see with
12 his own eyes what the situation was like on the ground, and he suggested
13 that it would be a good idea to go to Sarajevo and to put in motion the
14 procedure to amend the existing laws, the Law on Courts of Bosnia and
16 And it was agreed with Mr. Buntic that on the 16th of August I
17 should go to Sarajevo
18 an UNPROFOR plane together with the -- with Mr. Pelivan, the BH prime
19 minister, at the time he was simply going back from Sarajevo. I think
20 that he had also been in Herzegovina
21 him this idea, and in this informal conversation he supported it. But
22 once I got to Sarajevo
23 Administration, my ministry, and I encountered Mr. Ranko Nikolic, the
24 minister himself, he was my superior, and he had been appointed to this
25 position as a candidate of the Serbian Democratic Party. I believe that
1 he was the only minister from the SDS to remain in Sarajevo after the war
2 broke out. And I presented this whole idea to Mr. Nikolic, and he gave
3 me his full attention, and I think that he fully understood the motives
4 behind this request. And at one point, since we were alone, he told me,
5 Zoran, this is not a bad idea at all but I do not have the power to push
6 this through. And he suggested I should talk to some other people,
7 primarily Mr. Sejo Hadziacic -- Dautbasic, rather, Sead Dautbasic. At
8 the time he was the head of the legislation office -- and since I knew
9 him I went to see Mr. Dautbasic and again I presented this proposal to
10 him. He told me to come back in a couple of days, that he would look
11 into it, and it lasted for 15 or 20 days.
12 I had several conversations with various people in the
13 administration and I was able to ascertain that there was no intention to
14 actually accept this proposal, there was no wish to actually enact those
15 amendments. So after about 20 days that I spent in various efforts to
16 actually push this through I simply gave up.
17 In the meantime another person was appointed to the position that
18 I used to hold, so I practically had no work to do in Sarajevo
19 jobless. And because of the war I remained there for a month and a half
20 or two because I couldn't leave Sarajevo
21 get out without any -- and I did not have any duty or any post.
22 Q. Okay. Before we talk about you getting out, because eventually
23 we know that you do get out, Mr. Nikolic, was he actually the minister of
24 justice and administration?
25 A. Yes. He was the minister of justice and administration
1 throughout that time, but it was my impression that upon my return to
3 was just a formal thing. He had no power to do anything, to change
5 Q. All right. But at least he was a Serb, so if you're going to
6 have a front man and you can say that you have a Serb in a position, this
7 would be a very visible position; correct?
8 A. I could agree with you, yes.
9 Q. Okay. Now, you mentioned this other individual, and I believe he
10 was in the legislative services, the legislation office you indicated.
11 Now, is the legislation office above the Ministry of Justice and
12 Administration? Is it within? Is it parallel? Could you please explain
13 to the Trial Chamber because obviously here's a minister directing you to
14 this particular individual, so at least we can see de facto where the
15 powers really lie in this system.
16 A. The legislation office is an organ of the BH government in charge
17 of the issues of harmonization of various pieces of legislation, and the
18 person that headed this office at that time was Mr. Sead Dautbasic, and
19 even before the war broke out he held this position in the legislation
21 Q. All right. My question is more specific. Is that office above
22 the ministry? Is it parallel? Or is it something that we can't really
23 compare? Would it be comparing apples and oranges, or bananas?
24 A. Under the laws in force at the time, he was not subordinate to
25 the ministry, and not only that, in accordance with the law on the
1 jurisdiction and purview of ministries, any issues that had to do with
2 the amendments to the law within the purview of justice, that was
3 something that the Ministry of Justice dealt with.
4 Q. Okay. On line -- I believe it's 14, page 33, the translation
5 says that he was not subordinate to the ministry, and my colleague here,
6 Ms. Suzana Tomanovic, indicates that you indicated that he was not
7 superior to the ministry. Which of the two?
8 A. Well, he was not superior to the Ministry of Justice and
9 Administration. He was fully independent from the Ministry of Justice
10 and Administration. So he was neither superior nor subordinate to the
11 Ministry of Justice.
12 Q. Okay. And maybe you can help me out here also. We see you have
13 the minister of justice and administration who thinks it's a good idea.
14 You also told us that on the way back to Sarajevo you had an opportunity
15 to pitch this idea to the president of the government, Jure Pelivan, so
16 obviously he thought this was a good idea. Did you ever go back to him
17 to see whether he would push -- in light of his position whether he could
18 push this concept forward in light of the -- what was necessary on the
19 ground back in Mostar and Livno?
20 A. Well, I did not discuss this again with Mr. Pelivan again for two
21 reasons. The first, it is not the common practice for the assistant
22 minister to talk to the prime minister about these issues; the minister
23 should do it, that's the usual practice. And secondly, there was a very
24 clear procedure in place and it had to be complied with when it came to
25 proposing certain pieces of legislation. It always had to go through the
1 person who was or the organ that was in charge of this law. In this case
2 it was Ministry of Justice. So approval had to be obtained from the
3 minister of justice and administration, and that -- and then this
4 minister had to initiate the procedure for -- to amend the law. And he
5 told me that he simply couldn't do it, not that he didn't want to do it,
6 he said that he simply couldn't do it.
7 Q. All right. And I'm going to ask you whether this office, this
8 legislation office -- because we're going to discuss your testimony later
9 on, you were involved in similar activities, albeit for the Croatian
10 Community and later the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, but did this
11 particular office, legislation office, then -- and perhaps even today, is
12 it such that has the ability or mandate to make policy decisions? What
13 exactly does this legislation office do? Because here -- and the reason
14 I'm asking the question is you have a minister referring you to that
15 office, so I'm sure the Trial Chamber would be interested to know whether
16 this office is the one that sets the policy or has the capacity of making
17 policy decisions.
18 A. Well, in essence then and today, this office is an expert body.
19 People with law degrees sit there and it is their job to check various
20 proposals for various laws and other pieces of legislation that are sent
21 to the government, the executive body, of Bosnia and Herzegovina
22 case from a legal point of view, they have to check it from a legal point
23 of view. So if you take as a starting point the fact that not all
24 ministers are lawyers, lawyers are in the minority, it is the task of
25 this office to deal with this handicap by providing an expert opinion,
1 reports, expert reports, when -- in the process of enacting certain laws,
2 proposing certain laws. And the prime minister and the government are
3 trying then to take into account the opinion provided by this office when
4 the final decision is made on a certain piece of legislation.
5 Q. And of course -- I mean, in light of your answer it would appear
6 this would -- this would assist in making sure that the legislation is
7 harmonized and consistent with the highest law of the land especially,
8 the constitution; correct?
9 A. In essence, yes, this is the task of this office, to check
10 whether all pieces of legislation are in line with the highest law of the
12 Q. All right. And if I understand -- if I understand your
13 experience with the Croatian Community and later the Croatian Republic
14 Herceg-Bosna from meeting with you and looking at -- and preparing you to
15 testify here today, while you were with the Croatian Community and the
16 Croatian Republic
17 working in a similar capacity or in a similar office, that is, an office
18 dealing with -- as an expert service for legislative matters; correct?
19 A. Yes, that's true.
20 Q. All right. And I'm going to ask one final question before we
21 start with the documents and of course before we get to the documents I
22 would be asking the Trial Chamber to take our afternoon break. But if
23 you could please tell us, with respect to administrative matters, over
24 the course of your career since graduating from law school, how many
25 years have you spent?
1 A. I have been working for 22 years in administration, practically
2 without any breaks, and I think that I worked in every conceivable
3 position in administration apart from the position of the minister.
4 Q. Thank you very much.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, I think this would be a good time
6 for us to take the break.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed. We are going to
8 have a 20-minute break.
9 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.11 p.m.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. We can resume.
12 You have the floor, Mr. Karnavas.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
14 We'll begin with the documents.
15 Q. So you have your documents in front of you, Mr. Perkovic, and
16 we're going to start with the first topic. We've divided them into
17 topics. The first one deals with HZ HB 1991. The first one is 2D 00594
18 and we'll be discussing this in conjunction with the following document
19 in this chapter which is P 00079. So let's look at the first document,
20 2D 00594, we see that it's dated November 21, 1991, and if you look --
21 MR. KARNAVAS: If you flip the page, Your Honours.
22 Q. -- and, Mr. Perkovic, you see that there is an opinion. And if
23 we go to the -- this is opinion regarding the adoption of the decision on
24 implementation of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, a decision by
25 Croatian Community Bosnia
1 third paragraph, that's what we're going to focus on. The middle of the
2 second paragraph, it does indicate that these two decisions were not
3 reached according to procedure specified for creation of sociopolitical
4 communities, neither they contain any regulations which could produce any
5 kind of legal effects such as implementation of the institutions of the
6 authority because they lack elements of the government institutions.
7 Then if we go to the last paragraph it says: "At the same time,
8 Government determined that these materials should not have been
9 discussed, and they should not have been placed on the conference docket,
10 because this is about organization of the party and its operations."
11 My first question is: Sir, do you recognise this document; and
12 if so, how do you recognise it and could you please give us some details?
13 A. Yes, I am familiar with this document primarily because I
14 personally took part in drafting this opinion for the Government of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina together with a colleague of mine from the BH
16 parliament, his name is Mile Kudic. He has a law degree, too, and he was
17 the president of the legislative commission in the parliament, and the
18 minister in the BH government, Mr. Miro Lasic, sought this opinion from
19 me and Mr. Kudic. He summoned us to his office, and he said that in --
20 he said that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna had been established
21 in Herzegovina
22 game, that this was not a serious thing to do, and he wanted us to
23 produce an opinion that would be used as a basis for invalidating this
25 So we were given this task to do it and we were given 24 hours to
1 do it. We were told to go back to his office the next morning, and that
2 was the first time that we actually saw the decisions establishing the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the Croatian Community of Bosnian
4 Posavina, and having analysed these two decisions we concluded that there
5 was no basis for any procedure of the evaluation of the constitutionality
6 of these two decisions establishing those two communities for the reasons
7 that are specified in this opinion, because there are no elements of
8 institutions of government in those two decisions.
9 Q. All right.
10 A. And after we drafted this opinion, we did it in writing, and once
11 we submitted this to Minister Lasic, I suppose that through my ministry,
12 the Ministry of Justice and Administration, this issue was raised at
13 the -- at a session of the BH government and the government reached the
14 conclusion that is contained in this document.
15 Q. All right. If we go down to the next document related to this
16 document, P 00079, we've seen this document before in this courtroom,
17 it's a decision on establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
18 It's dated 18 November 1991
19 this is all about, but my focus is primarily on Article 2 and
20 specifically where it talks about "the territories of the following
21 municipalities ..."
22 We have the word "territories" in English and this was a
23 discussion that we had before in this courtroom. Perhaps first of all
24 you could look at the Croatian version and tell us whether we see the
25 word "territories," and if you could tell us exactly based on your
1 experience what exactly is being conveyed here because at issue, at least
2 consistent with prior questioning, was whether we're talking about a
3 certain boundary or we're talking about areas. So if you could help us
4 out here.
5 A. You see, in our legal system lawyers draw a distinction between
6 "territory" and "area." People who don't have a background in law might
7 take these two terms that are entirely synonymous, but if you go to the
8 law encyclopedia, the one that came out in Belgrade, territory is defined
9 as an area over which a sovereign government exercises power. It is
10 quite clear in the decision on the establishment of the Croatian
11 Community of Herceg-Bosna and -- that there were no elements of
12 government contained. It is definitely clear that here we are looking at
13 an area, and there is this idea that this community should function or be
14 active throughout this area.
15 Q. All right. Now, we're going to switch on to the next topic
16 which --
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes. And I think, Your Honours, this would be a
18 good time as we go from topic to topic, because I believe you may have
19 lots of questions. So, please, I invite you, ask your questions as we go
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much, and you were certainly
22 awaiting this as we have had long discussions on this issue earlier on.
23 Mr. Perkovic, we are interested in this distinction between
24 "territory" on the one hand and "area" on the other hand. And we have
25 been told by another witness that as far as surface is concerned there is
1 a difference, that territory covers a certain surface, whereas area does
2 not really cover a surface which is delineated but vaguely refers to
3 certain parts of a surface of the earth that is delineated.
4 Now, you seem to give a different differentiations by saying that
5 if you have a territory that means that there's a government, and if you
6 say "area" it means that there is no governmental element attached.
7 Could you perhaps elaborate a little bit about the notion as you
8 understand it. And it's -- of course area is the problematic notion,
9 whereas we're all agreed on what a territory is it seems.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm talking about the legal and
11 non-legal ways to understand this notion or concept. As for the legal
12 way of looking at this, that's what I said, territory is an area over
13 which a sovereign government exercises power, a sovereign state. I
14 can't, however, rule out the possibility that in everyday parlance, both
15 in my country or perhaps another country, the terms are often used
16 interchangeably. This especially applies to persons not involved in the
17 practice of law, who don't have a legal background. I can't rule out the
18 possibility that people should use these two interchangeably.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not quite sure whether I got much further.
20 If you take a map and you have on the map these various municipalities,
21 they are -- each municipality is within a line drawn and after the line
22 comes the next municipality. Now, if you speak of the area of the
23 municipality, is that sort of an abstract in the sense that you say it is
24 this field, this part of the surface of the earth, but independent of
25 whether there is a government or not, whether it is political or not, it
1 is what is given on the earth notwithstanding any legal organization? Is
2 that the way you explain the term "area"?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may, when I spoke
4 about the legal view as opposed to a layman's view, there is something
5 else that occurred to me, another parallel or comparison, analogy, if you
6 like. We lawyers draw a distinction between overrule and refuse, for
7 example. A layman would use these two terms or expressions
8 interchangeably, overrule and refuse or throw out. It is very important
9 to note this distinction and what that might imply to a lawyer or else to
10 a non-lawyer, a layman.
11 When we look at this definition, it is not just about parts of
12 municipalities, but there is one thing that is essential. When we talk
13 of an area what we must bear in mind is the clearly defined status of the
14 boundaries, and then starting out with this basic premise that this
15 decision reflects, it is supposed to be a Croatian community which in
16 this case means an area predominantly populated by Croats, but they then
17 use this area or live in it together with other groups, needless to say.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm trying to approximate, so I will put to you
19 a statement to see whether you can agree or disagree. An area is a
20 vague, geographically vague, concept which comprises parts of a
21 municipality where other parts of a municipality, while belonging to the
22 territory of the municipality would not belong to the area of the
23 municipality. Would you agree to this?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I could, yes, although even
25 in your definition the area is limited, if nothing else, by the
1 boundaries of a given municipality, for example.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, is it -- is it so limited, the area, by
3 the limits of the municipality?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You see, if you have a municipality
5 the boundaries are already defined. If we talk about the area belonging
6 to a municipality, this is an area that can never extend beyond those
7 boundaries. This is something that refers to the area inside those
8 boundaries. The coincidence might be 100 per cent in terms of a total
9 overlap, but the area can also be smaller than the total territory of a
10 given municipality.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Now, if we speak, let's say, of the
12 municipality of Prozor, the area of Prozor or Rama, how do I know which
13 parts of Prozor Rama belong to the area but not to the territory or --
14 but the opposite I think is not possible, territory but not area. You've
15 said that it cannot be more. The area can only be less than -- how do I
16 know which surface belongs to the area and which does not?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We have this basic decision to
18 establish this community, and this is my understanding of it. It does
19 not purport to provide a final answer in this decision as to the size or
20 dimensions of a given municipality, for example, Rama, which is the
21 example that you are using, the area that it should cover or the area
22 that this municipality should comprise. It is, therefore, my view that
23 this is not really an issue to be dealt with by this decision because all
24 the decision is trying to do is to provide some principles on how the
25 community should be established, which of course doesn't rule out the
1 possibility that we should have other documents, other agreements,
2 specifying this boundary issue, so to speak, on what the exact boundaries
3 would be for this area .
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And in your view, is this document, a legal
5 document, to be understood as a lawyer or is it -- is it a layman's
6 document? And if the latter were your answer, what would the
7 consequences be with regard to the difference between area and territory?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Given the time at which it was
9 adopted, I see this document first and foremost as a political document.
10 This was a political platform at the time expressed by the Croats of
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina, or at least most of them.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I go back to the beginning of your answer,
13 one could then draw the conclusion that perhaps the term "area" here is
14 not used in a technical sense as distinguished from territory. Do you
15 regard this as a possible interpretation?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Again, I believe this to be a
17 political decision first and foremost. Its main purpose is this, we have
18 areas predominantly populated by Croats, ethnic Croats, and these areas
19 are now to be organized within the framework of this community. This is
20 not about the detail of this deal. It doesn't deal directly with the
21 question of overlap between area and municipality. It simply doesn't go
22 into that.
23 I think the persons who came up with this decision at the time
24 simply did not have the intention of once and for all defining the
25 territory or the area covered by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
1 in any textbook sense of the word, nor do I believe that the Croatian
2 Community of Herceg-Bosna was envisaged by this decision as a political
3 or social community with firmly set boundaries. That was not the idea,
4 at least not at the time this decision was passed.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I think my colleague Mindua wants
6 also to ask.
7 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness, I wanted to ask a
8 question after your last statement. I think you have answered but for
9 the sake of clarity I still would like to put my question. If I got it
10 right, according to you a territory is an area in which the sovereignty
11 of a state is exerted; therefore, a territory implies very clear
12 boundaries. Am I correct?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. And as to
15 area, if I got it right, it is a portion of land in which a community is
16 established and this portion of space is not clearly established so it's
17 likely to change after a while, it can be after a week, one, several
18 months, a year, several years, without any legal decision setting the
19 boundaries of that particular area being required. Is that right?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is precisely what eventually
21 happened when several different Croatian communities joined the Croatian
22 Community of Herceg-Bosna. At the time this decision was adopted, the
23 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was not the only Croatian community
24 around, there were several of those with entirely undefined or unclear,
25 perhaps, boundaries. At various stages some of these communities would
1 simply cease to exist and instead join the Croatian --
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. This is what
3 I had understood.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, these two documents
5 admitted to you by Mr. Karnavas are important, and the three Judges are
6 asking questions precisely because they have understood the relevance of
7 those documents and had the fourth Judge been here he certainly would
8 also have asked a question. So I'm going to very quickly summarize the
10 On the 18th of November, 1991, the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna was established; it is defined in Article 1, Article 2,
12 Article 3, and following. According to what you told us, after this the
13 government became concerned about the establishment of this Croatian
14 community. Any government, of course, is entitled to be concerned with
15 the establishment of such a community, any government in power. And if I
16 got it right - but correct me if I'm wrong - at that time you were a
17 lawyer and you had been asked to write an expert legal advice on the
18 establishment of this Croatian community regarding the compliance with
19 the constitution. So you and another colleague drafted for Mr. Pelivan's
20 government an opinion in which, if we understood you rightly, you state
21 that this Croatian community is not a government institution, it deals --
22 because the text deals with the establishment of a community which deals
23 with matters relevant to Croatians living in those different
24 municipalities. And if I understood you correctly, your conclusion and
25 your colleague's conclusion - I forgot the name of your colleague who
1 helped you draft this opinion - but you conclude that the establishment
2 of that Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna is legal. And the
3 constitutional court will overrule this decision, as you know.
4 And what I'm interested in beyond the legal issue we all fully
5 understand and on which the Judges will have to state when they
6 deliberate, but what I'm interested in is the following. You have
7 drafted this opinion and I wanted to know if there has been or if there
8 ever was a debate within the government and is there any written record
9 of that debate within the government? Did some members of the government
10 agree with your opinion or did some other members say, Well, this is a
11 coup, this is an illegal action, we have to put an end to this, and in
12 order to do so we have to refer the matter to the constitutional court?
13 So after your opinion was drafted, are you aware of any debate
14 having taken place and are there any written records of that debate
15 before the matter was referred to the constitutional court?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, when I
17 say we drafted an opinion, I and this particular colleague of mine, did
18 this. We simply drafted an opinion, but this opinion had to follow the
19 same procedure for it to be tabled at a session of the BH government,
20 just as any other document. It had to go through several rounds of
21 government commissions in order to be presented at a session by the
22 appropriate minister. I was just an assistant minister and I wasn't
23 present at these sessions. There must have been some sort of debate,
24 there must have been questions that were raised and possibly answered by
25 whoever tabled the proposal or the draft; and as a result of all that, we
1 received this conclusion. I can't say because I wasn't there. There
2 must have been a debate but I don't know what its nature was. I do know
3 one thing for certain, though, there was a clearly defined and prescribed
4 procedure for any document to be tabled or presented at a meeting of the
5 government and the same procedure applied to this document. It had to go
6 through all the steps in this process to get there.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. A final question and
8 then I'll give the floor to my colleague.
9 In law sometimes you have to work on the basis of comparisons or
10 hypotheses to understand things. Let's say that today, this is September
11 the 1st, 2008, say that in the current Federation some people would like
12 to establish a regional entity as defined in Article 1 of that decision
13 and decide to establish a community X, Y, or Z to deal with political,
14 cultural, and economic aspects. Would it be possible for such a plan to
15 be adopted today considering the -- also in line -- can it be in line
16 with the constitution?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In a legal sense we have a
18 community today in Bosnia and Herzegovina called the Croatian Community
19 of Herceg-Bosna, it deals with cultural aspects and to some extent also
20 aspects to do with the economy. We promote the interests of Croats in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina. My answer is this: Today, being what the -- the
22 laws being what they are, this would be doable and feasible in a legal
23 sense without changing the substance, roughly speaking, of the decision
24 in front of us. This community today has a defined area throughout which
25 it carries out its plans, activities, and forth.
1 As far as I know, no one remains in Bosnia-Herzegovina who would
2 challenge the legitimacy of its existence or activities.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Excuse me if I seem insistent. It
4 is a rare treat here to have a witness who is a lawyer, also politically
5 experienced, so we try to take advantage of your presence.
6 First I would like to point to what you have just said. You have
7 declared that there is the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna today in
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is one part of the Federation if I'm not
9 quite wrong. And then you said: "We promote the interests of
10 Croats ..."
11 Now, you have told us, I think, that you work in the BiH Ministry
12 of Foreign Affairs. Do you also have a function in the Community or was
13 it just your feeling that let's you say "we promote"? Or are you -- you
14 are from -- I suppose you are from that Community?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may interject, Your Honour, as I understand
16 it he did not use the word "we," it was mistranslated. So that's my
17 understanding -- he said "they," this is from Suzana Tomanovic who
18 obviously speaks the language.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm most grateful and I'm not surprised in the
20 least because also with the speed of it it's quite understandable.
21 The second point may also have to do with the translation
22 because, Mr. Perkovic, you have spoken of the area of the Community as
23 today. Am I wrong in supposing that actually today there can be no
24 dispute that there is also a territory of the Croatian Community of
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me try to answer your first
2 question --
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, following the intervention of
4 Mr. Karnavas, I have -- I withdraw it. It has become without object
5 because there was a problem with the translation. I thought you had said
6 something which you have not said at all, so the basis of my question
7 falls away. It is only the second one that is still on the table.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I just ask you to repeat your
9 second question, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Of course, of course. I understand that this --
11 that I may be a bit confusing.
12 You have spoken now of today's organization of Bosnia and
14 constituted by a Federation, a part of which again is the Croatian
15 Community of Herceg-Bosna. And you have spoken of the area of that
16 community, and I was putting it to you that today it would be correct to
17 speak of the territory. Perhaps again the translation has not been
18 entirely precise.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think this is precisely what
20 we're talking about, mistranslations. In the Federation of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina we don't have the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
22 in this sense, not in the sense that we're talking about it. It is not a
23 form of organizing a government in any of the territories in Bosnia
25 context. I was trying to answer the question posed by the President as
1 to whether it would be possible today to establish today the Croatian
2 Community of Herceg-Bosna or some other community like that. I said not
3 only would it be possible but as a matter of fact we have the Croatian
4 Community of Herceg-Bosna as a non-governmental cultural association of
5 citizens that is active throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. In terms of
6 promoting cultural, the economic, and the linguistic interests, as well
7 as other interests, of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Let me then go back once more to document number
9 P 00079, it is the founding document of the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna. It starts off on the second line by mentioning the
11 democratically elected representatives who enter into this agreement.
12 Now, these democratically elected representatives are elected per
13 municipality, not per any areas. How can they be understood to represent
14 anything other than what they have been elected to represent, namely, the
15 municipality, full stop, or the territory that the municipality has?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Under the Constitution of Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina
18 the democratically elected representatives of all three peoples, they
19 were elected on two bases, into two chambers of the BH parliament. One
20 basis was the elections within the municipalities, so they were municipal
21 representatives in the chamber of municipalities; the second basis was
22 the election from a party ticket valid throughout the territory of Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina
24 electoral unit, and they were elected into the second chamber of the BH
25 parliament. So we had representatives, democratically elected
1 representatives, who were elected on the first multi-party election into
2 the BH parliament on either of those two bases.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. This is certainly interested and
4 corrected. This does not answer my question at all, but I will not
5 insist now. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I would like you to
7 read out in your own language Article 1 of Exhibit P 00079, the decision
8 establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Please read out
9 Article 1 very slowly.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna shall be established as a political, cultural, economical,
12 and areal whole."
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Microphone not activated]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I've asked you to read out this
15 article because I was wondering if there was not an error, a slight
16 mistake, in the English translation. Because if we go beyond this debate
17 with respect to the area or the territory, there is something else I have
18 in mind, it's the matter of this or the question of this entity, this
19 political, cultural, economic, regional, or territorial entity. If we
20 think about it, the actual problem here or the actual issue was that the
21 Croats wanted to create a political, cultural, economic entity, and also
22 a regional or territorial entity; that was the heart of the matter. And
23 at the basis of all of this you find this concept of entity, and by
24 definition there is no -- there are no boundaries to an entity.
25 What do you have to respond to this? If we look at Article 1, is
1 this an article that means -- that aims at creating a political,
2 cultural, regional entity? And here we are not talking about territory
3 or area, we are talking about this concept of entity.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, now that we're discussing
5 this issue, it is my opinion that in the context of that time there had
6 to be coordination of certain political, cultural, or economic activities
7 as part of this unified operation, and the fact that this really was
8 justified can be seen from the fact that in the constitution of the BH
9 Federation, Croats and other peoples, other constituent peoples, have
10 this opportunity. The constitution makes it possible for Croats and
11 other peoples to set up an association of cantons or counties where they
12 are in the majority in order to promote the very same goals that are
13 stated in this decision. So not only was there an opportunity to do so
14 then, but legally speaking under the federal constitution this is still
15 at the disposal of constituent peoples in the BH Federation, so both the
16 Bosniak, the Serbian, and the Croat people have this opportunity at their
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
19 We've spent a lot of time on this issue but I believe that it was
21 Mr. Karnavas, you have the floor.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. I just want to touch on a couple of things that came out of this
24 series of questions. You did indicate that today that the Croatian
25 Community, as it exists, it exists throughout BiH, not just in the
1 Federation; correct?
2 A. Yes, it exists as a cultural association of the Croatian people.
3 Q. And for those of us who are familiar with BiH, you have Croats,
4 for instance, in Banja Luka which is the heartland of the Republika
5 Srpska; you have Croats in the Posavina and the Brcko district, for
6 instance, right, and they would all be part of this Croatian community
7 based on what you told us. Correct?
8 A. Yes. The area where the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna is
9 active today as a cultural association of the Croatian people is the
10 whole area of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 Q. All right. You were asked one other question with respect to the
12 preamble of P 00079. Without dwelling on it too much, it was highlighted
13 that it says the "democratically elected representatives." Now, during
14 the -- this was the first -- as I understand it, first free election as
15 it were - there had been prior elections - though this was considered, at
16 least by modern times, as the first free election in Bosnia-Herzegovina
17 that had occurred; right? Okay --
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Now -- and as I understand it, and we've heard testimony that the
20 will of the people -- as it was expressed in the voting booth, was
21 primarily based on -- or the breakdown was based on nationality. In
22 other words, Serbs voted for SDS, which was the predominant Serbian
23 party; Muslims voted for SDA, which was the predominant Muslim party; and
24 then the Croats voted predominantly for HDZ, which was -- that was their
25 predominant Croat party; is that correct?
1 A. That's correct, yes.
2 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I would like to raise the fact that
3 Mr. Karnavas has now been having two leading questions and I -- on this
4 topic, and I hope he can refrain from asking leading questions.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I did preface that we covered this in the
6 past, and of course I was leading because this is already in the
7 evidence. I'm not stating facts that are not in evidence, but I'll take
8 the warning as a warning. Very well.
9 Q. And as I understand it, could you please explain very briefly
10 again because this series of questions derives from questions that came
11 from the Bench. I'm only stating that because of the time issue, Your
12 Honours, if you could please tell us based on these elections at the
13 local level how was the power-sharing distributed among the parties?
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Karnavas, the
15 time you are spending -- you are using now will be deducted from your
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I understand, but I'm only making -- I'm only
18 making the point, Your Honours, that at times very relevant questions
19 come from the Bench that do require me to follow-up. I understand the
20 Court's ruling; however, you know, I am persistent in some ways and I at
21 least want to make sure that everybody's on board with my position.
22 Q. Be that as it may, if you could please tell us at the local
23 level, because I think this may in part address some of the issues
24 regarding these democratically elected concept, at the local -- based on
25 these elections how were -- was the power-sharing distributed?
1 A. At the local level after the elections there was a division of
2 power based on an agreement reached by the parties that had won the
3 elections, in this case there were three ethnic-based parties, the HDZ,
4 the Serbian Democratic Party, and the Democratic Action Party, wherever
5 at the local level the three parties had participated in the elections.
6 But there were some municipalities, such as Grude, for instance, where
7 only one party actually set up its government because the other parties
8 did not participate in the elections at the local level at all.
9 Q. Okay. We're going to move on. If we go on to the next chapter
10 which deals with statutory decisions, and that's how we've titled it, and
11 of course this will tie in to your previous testimony concerning your
12 involvement initially on with Livno. The first document is 1D 00155, and
13 of course I'll be discussing in conjunction with this document 1D 00899
14 and P 00250. So we'll start with these initially. If you look at 1D
15 00155, it's a decision to create the Croatian Defence Council dated 8
16 April 1992, and we see that it was published in the Official Gazette,
17 this is known as the Narodni List, on September 1992.
18 Do you recognise this document, sir, and if so when was the first
19 time that you saw it?
20 A. Yes, I do recognise this document, and the first time that I saw
21 it was perhaps sometime in early July 1992 in Livno.
22 Q. Okay. Now, if we look at Article 2 going back to the previous
23 discussions that we've had, territory areas and what have you, in Article
24 2 we see that it notes: "Its objective shall be to take care of the
25 sovereign space of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and to protect
1 the Croatian people as well as other peoples in the Community that are
2 attacked by the aggressor."
3 So here we have sort of this new term "sovereign space," but then
4 goes back to "the Community." Can you kind of help us out here a little
5 bit. What -- I understand you didn't draft it, but how is it -- how do
6 you interpret this in light of how it's phrased in Croatian?
7 A. Well, it is important to bear in mind that almost a year elapsed
8 between this document and the previous one, and some serious events
9 occurred, the war broke out and there was an aggression on this area.
10 And in essence, this is a response to this aggression, this document I
11 mean, because it is stated here that the sovereignty of this area will be
12 defended and that the Croatian people and other peoples living in this
13 area that has -- had come under an attack, together with Croats, would be
14 defended. So this is an expression of the willingness and readiness to
15 defend the sovereignty of this area against an aggression, the aggression
16 on the part of this party which is trying to take over this area in an
17 aggressive manner, through aggression and violence.
18 Q. Okay. Now, if we look at the next document, 1D 00899, this is
19 dated 15 May 1992
20 provisional - and I emphasize that, provisional - establishment of the
21 executive authority and administration in the territory of the HZ HB, and
22 here I see we have that word, "territory." And if you look at very
23 briefly it talks about Article 1 we see: "... shall carry out the
24 duties of the executive authority ..." this is the Croatian Defence
25 Council, and I guess we would refer to it as HVO HZ HB to make the
1 distinction with the military aspect.
2 And Article 2 we see: "The Croatian Defence Council shall
3 consist ..." and we see that it has a Presidency and the heads of
4 departments. And I don't want to dwell on this too much, but we then
5 see -- the last page we see Mr. Mate Boban who is the president. Do you
6 recall seeing this document?
7 A. I saw this document and several other documents in Livno. It was
8 given to me for my inspection. That was in the context of a radio show
9 where the president of the Executive Board of the Livno municipality was
10 supposed to comment on it.
11 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] May I intervene just very
12 briefly since we're now talking about this whole territory and area
13 issue. Could Mr. Karnavas please look at the Croatian translation
14 because there is mention of the word "territory" in the English
15 translation, whereas in the Croatian version the word used is "area,"
16 "podrucju." If you look at what it says under the statutory decision, in
17 the Croatian version it says "in the area" and in the English version it
18 says "in the territory." I hope my intervention was premature, but I
19 think it's important at any rate.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: We appreciate the intervention. I was hoping, I
21 was hoping, and I'll underscore that again, that the witness having the
22 Croatian version would have picked up on that. But that's why I stressed
23 that we saw the word "territory."
24 Q. So, sir -- because this issue is going to come up again, I
25 guarantee you that. So if you look at the title and if you could please
1 read the title to us so that we at least -- going back where it says
2 "statutory decision" --
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you read the rest of it. What does it say? This is 1D
6 A. It says here in the title that this is a statutory decision on
7 the provisional structure of the executive government and administration
8 in the territory of HZ HB
9 Q. Does it use the word "territory" there?
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Microphone not activated]
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in the Croatian version the
12 word that is used is "podrucju," area.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. Now, what's the word in Croatian? I don't know how it's used by
15 the Serbs or by the Bosniaks, but is this such a word as "territory"; and
16 if so, what would that be?
17 A. Yes -- well, in Croatian there is a word "teritorij," territory,
18 and I tried to explain that, but if you want me to I can do it again.
19 Q. I just want to make sure the Judges know that there are those two
20 words because, you know, some things get lost in translation and I just
21 want to make sure when we're talking about area we're not using the word
22 territory, at least not when it's being translated.
23 Okay. Now, you said that you looked at this as a part of a
24 packet of other documents for a radio show, was the other document, the
25 next one, P 00250, which was a statutory decision on municipal executive
1 authority and municipal administration, is that the other document that
2 you were given at the time?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. Okay. And of course we see that this is 13 June 1992, and we see
5 that Mr. Boban's name -- and he's president of the HVO and, and, the HZ
6 HB. So can we conclude, knowing that it's leading but it's all already
7 in the evidence, can we conclude that at this point Mate Boban is wearing
8 two hats, at least as it appears in this particular document?
9 A. We can conclude that at that time Mr. Boban held three functions.
10 He was the president of the HZ HB, he was the president of the Presidency
11 of the HZ HB, and he was the president of the HVO HZ HB.
12 Q. All right. And at the time were you able to recognise that when
13 you reviewed these documents for that radio show?
14 A. Well, on the basis of the documents that I had, of course I was
15 able to see that there are several functions held by a single person.
16 Q. Okay. Now, let's talk about that radio show, let's be brief,
17 let's be concrete. What exactly were you asked to do and what in fact
18 did you do ?
19 A. I was asked to go on a local radio and to try and explain this
20 new structure, the new institutions that were set up, the municipal HVOs,
21 the relationship with the HVO HZ HB, and the manner in which those new
22 bodies were supposed to function. And in preparation for this radio
23 programme I tried to do a quick analysis to assist me, and I saw some
24 illogical points in all those decisions and I spoke about them in this
25 radio show and I criticised them because I felt that they were not making
1 this whole system function all that well.
2 Q. All right. Let's just look at just very briefly Article 6, for
3 instance, this might help us a little bit. It says: "The HZ HB HVO
4 shall supervise the legality of the municipal HVO's work."
5 And of course at this point in time we have Mate Boban who is the
6 president of the HZ HB HVO; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And you also indicated that he was the president of the
9 Presidency of the HZ HB, and could you please tell us who was sitting --
10 who made up the Presidency of the HZ HB?
11 A. In accordance with this decision, the Presidency of the HZ HB
12 comprised leaders of the municipal Croatian Defence Councils, the
13 highest-ranking officials from the ranks of the Croatian people in the
14 municipalities that were not headed by persons of Croat ethnic
16 Q. All right. And in the organizational chart structure, was the HZ
17 HB above or below -- the Presidency, that is, of the HVO? Which one was
18 above, the HZ HB Presidency or the HVO, which of the two?
19 A. Well, it's hard to say that if you have a single person
20 performing both the functions of the president of the HVO and the
21 president of the Presidency. But formally speaking, the decisions of the
22 HVO were at a lower level than the decisions of the Presidency of the HZ
23 HB. So the HVO was at a lower level than the Presidency.
24 But it is important to note here that in the first stage we're
25 talking about several functions held by the same person, so it is
1 difficult to speak about any conflicts because there were no conflicts
2 between various persons. At that time it was completely immaterial, in
3 my view, whether Mr. Boban signed the decision as the president of the
4 Presidency or as the president of the HVO in terms of its implementation
5 or its significance.
6 Q. And that's because he held all these different positions of
7 authority and power?
8 A. Yes. At that time, yes, that was the case.
9 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the next document which is
10 P 00302, and this is a decision on establishing the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna and of course we look at the second page. Here it's signed
12 by the president of the HZ HB, Mate Boban, the date is the 18 of
13 November, 1991, although in the preamble it makes reference to 3 July
14 1992. And of course there are a couple of things that I would like to
15 discuss. Under reasons, Roman numeral I, if we look at the third
16 paragraph we see the word "unitary state" that -- we see the -- and under
17 the reasons they define the concept of a unitary state unacceptable.
18 In your opinion, what is a unitary -- what is a unitary form of
19 government, the one that's being referred to here?
20 A. Unitary government in my opinion is the kind of government that
21 does not take into account the fact that there is a multi-ethnic
22 community and some specific features of such a multi-ethnic community
23 when decisions are made, key decisions, within the purview of the state
24 or at any level of government. If we're talking about the unitary model
25 as far as the Croatian people and the Croatian government is concerned at
1 that time, the concept of establishing government in Bosnia and
3 internal concept, the concept that does not take into account those
4 specific features of a multi-ethnic community that was in existence in
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the needs to express the specific interests of
6 this multi-ethnic community through reaching a consensus about key
8 Q. All right. And just -- and I know that we probably shouldn't be
9 worried too much about this, but today, you living in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
10 working there and what have you, is this concept of this unitary model of
11 government, is that acceptable today or is it still an issue?
12 A. At the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state there are
13 appropriate instruments in place, mechanisms in place, to protect the
14 national interests of each and every constituent people. At the level of
15 the Federation as one of the entities comprising Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 it is a majority opinion of the Croat people and the Croatian political
17 parties that there is no mechanism in place that would protect the
18 national interests of the Croatian people in an effective manner. Quite
19 often at the federal government and in the federal parliament Croat
20 representatives are out-voted.
21 Q. All right. Or, to put it another way, their representatives are
22 actually voted in by the Bosniaks as opposed to -- in other words,
23 another constituent nation controls the destiny as to who is going to be
24 the Croat leadership at the Presidency or at other levels; correct?
25 A. Recent experience has shown that the election so of a
1 representative of the Croat people into the Presidency did not reflect
2 the political will of the Croat people. I don't want to speculate who
3 voted which way because the ballot was a secret one, but it is quite
4 obvious that in the municipalities where Croats have the vast majority,
5 the electoral results do point to this.
6 Q. All right. Now, if we look to Article 7, just to dwell on this a
7 little bit of this document, and we're still on P 00302, we see that the
8 supreme authority is vested first and foremost in the president of the
9 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and then it says to "the Presidency
10 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna ..."
11 And then we see, as you indicated earlier, that: "The Presidency
12 shall be the legislative body of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna."
13 And if we go to Article 8 which ties in primarily with your
14 previous answers: "The Presidency of the Community shall appoint the
15 executive and administrative bodies of authority of the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna."
17 Now, focusing on these two articles it would appear, at least at
18 this point in time, that Mate Boban is the supreme authority; is that
20 A. In practical terms what you say is right.
21 Q. All right. Now, again it -- just to drive this point home, lest
22 there be any misconceptions or misunderstandings, if we look at Article 8
23 and then go back to the previous document we spoke of, that is, P 00250,
24 okay. And of course Article 2 we see in that particular document that
25 the municipal HVO shall consist of the president's and so on and so
1 forth. And then we go to Article 6 and then we see "... the HZ HB HVO
2 shall supervise the legality of the municipal HVO work."
3 And now we see Article 8 in P 00302, it is these - and correct me
4 if I'm wrong - it is these presidents of the municipal HVOs that indeed
5 as a collective body appoint the members of the executive and
6 administrative bodies which they supposedly are to supervise the ones
7 that appointed them and that can dismiss them; is that correct?
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. Stringer can object if he feels that he needs
9 to object for his colleague, I have no objections for that, but again
10 these are all facts that are well established either through this
11 gentleman's testimony or through previous testimony.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with your statement. That
13 was precisely what I was criticising, the fact that there is no clear
14 hierarchy in terms of lower- and higher-ranking institutions. This
15 concept implies that presidents of the municipal councils of the HV were
16 members of the Presidency, and then according to this same logic you have
17 a complete system in which everyone answers to everyone else, but
18 essentially no one answers to anyone else. And if you have an authority
19 like that it can't go on working efficiently, and those were the examples
20 that I provided. There should be clear hierarchy in terms of government
21 institutions from the municipal level all the way up to HZ HB.
22 MR. KARNAVAS:
23 Q. All right, if we go on to the next document, 1D 00156, this is a
24 document, again we've seen this one here in this courtroom, it's dated 3
25 July 1992. And of course if we look at the trans -- I'm going to read
1 the English version and you tell me if it's correct because I know that
2 you know some English. It says here: "On the temporary" -- this is a:
3 "Statutory decision on the temporary organization and executive authority
4 and administration in the territory of the Croatian Community of
6 Which word is used in Croatian, territory or the other word which
7 means area?
8 A. Area, as in the previous decisions.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, if we look at Article 9 I think -- because you
10 might be able to help us out a little bit on this one, we've seen this
11 article before, we've heard testimony to that effect because -- but
12 perhaps you might be able to assist us. It says here: "The HVO
13 president shall be in charge of the work of the HVO and shall be held
14 accountable for it, he shall ensure the unity of the political and
15 administrative activities of the HVO, cooperate with other bodies and
16 organizations of the HZ HB, and direct the activities of the HVO as a
17 whole and its members as individuals."
18 Let me begin by asking you first: Was this a collective body
19 that took decisions as a collective or was this the sort of body where
20 the president, for instance, as in many institutions in the West, is
21 above everyone and has veto powers or has the ability to issue decisions
22 irrespective of the will of the rest of the members of the executive?
23 A. I don't think it's questionable that the HVO of the Croatian
24 Community of Herceg-Bosna was a collective body. You can see that based
25 on a number of documents, the way they took their decisions. The HVO
1 needs to convene in order to reach a decision by a majority vote, and
2 then the fact that in the document you cite, Article 12 says that each
3 member of the HVO has the right to resign. There is no provision saying
4 that a resignation submitted by the president means a resignation for the
5 HVO as a whole, and this is the way all democratic governments the world
6 over are organized. It is clear based on this that the Croatian Defence
7 Council is working as a collective organ of executive government in these
9 Q. All right. Now, because of time we won't discuss any other
10 issues, although the Judges may have some questions on this. But the
11 last document in this area is P 00684, P 00684, dated 17 October 1992,
12 and this is a decision on the amendment of the statutory decision on the
13 provisional organization of the executive power and so on. So this is a
14 decision to amend the one that we just saw. And of course we've seen
15 this one before, just very briefly for the Court's convenience, Article 1
16 talks about that it can exercise its power to adopt decrees, decisions,
17 dispositions, and conclusions.
18 We see the different definitions. And then we see that it says:
19 "'In cases of suffering -- in cases not suffering delay, the HVO shall
20 adopt enactments falling within the competence of the Presidency of the
21 HZ HB.'"
22 And then of course if we look at the very last paragraph in this
23 article it says: "'The enactments indicated in the preceding paragraph
24 shall be enforced as of the day of their adoption...'"
25 And of course this is of some importance. This is of some
1 importance. So if you could please tell us what exactly is being said
2 here and how should the Judges understand it?
3 A. These basic decision empowering the Presidency of the Croatian
4 community of Herceg-Bosna to adopt normative laws and decrees because of
5 the war situation that was gaining complexity the fact was that members
6 of the Presidency from all corners of Bosnia-Herzegovina, this amendment
7 to the decision empowers members of the Croatian Defence Council in case
8 of deferral to pass norms and laws that would be under the authority of
9 the Presidency of the HZ HB, and then it goes on to state that the HVO
10 must as soon as the conditions are in place submit these documents for
11 approval to the Presidency. Should there be no approval, the laws can no
12 longer be applied. This is about the powers of the members of the
13 Presidency of the HZ HB that are temporarily transferred to the Croatian
14 Defence Council.
15 Q. All right. And again I'm going to have to caution you to speak a
16 little bit slower. First, keeping in mind your answer that you just gave
17 us, if we can go back to the previous document, 1D 00156, and I would
18 like you to focus on Article 18 and I'm doing this although I believe
19 we've already dealt with this issue. I think it's best to sort of hit
20 the nail again on the head until it comes out the other end, as it were.
21 Here we see in 1D 00156 Article 18, it says: "The HVO shall
22 issue decrees, decisions, and conclusions to regulate economic and other
23 relations in the territory of the HZ HB."
24 Do you see that, sir?
25 A. [No interpretation]
1 Q. Can we conclude from looking at this particular article that
2 irrespective of the decision of 17 October 1992, there are provisions,
3 earlier provisions, that would allow, at least in this limited area, area
4 regulating economic and other relations, that grant the HVO the authority
5 to issue decrees, decisions, and conclusions?
6 A. In a formal and legal sense that is the case, although the fact
7 is we have four different levels of decisions here. Before the
8 Presidency transferred these powers, the HVO could not pass any decrees.
9 Decisions and conclusions, yes, but not decree laws, not before it was
10 empowered to do that by the Presidency.
11 Q. Okay. And if we can go -- just one last sort of housekeeping
12 matter with this P 00684. Again, if we look at the -- where it says
13 "decision on amendment" -- in the title itself, we see the word
14 "territory," is that what is reflected in the Croatian version, is it
15 territory or that other word that we used for -- that denotes area?
16 A. This applies to all the documents including the one that we are
17 now talking about. The word is "area" in the original Croatian version
18 of the text.
19 Q. I'm not pronouncing it because I would like to have it come from
20 the witness's mouth lest there be any complaints that I'm leading him.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: For the record, Mr. Karnavas, in the Article 18
22 you have just referred to we find "territory" but in the original it's
23 also "podrucju."
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I could spend my entire six hours dealing with
25 this issue, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You don't have to, we help you. We help you,
2 you see.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I know, I know. Okay. This was not a request for
4 additional time.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, if I may, Article 18 in the
6 original Croatian also reads "area," not "territory."
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I think Mr. Karnavas
8 is going to proceed to another topic. So I would like to ask a question
9 which in my view is relevant, as indeed all questions I'm going to ask.
10 I would like you to refer to document 1D 00155, it's the third
11 document in the binder. In the preamble of that document, Mr. Karnavas
12 didn't talk about the preamble just before the decision. It's a document
13 dated April the 8th, 1992. Can you see the preamble.
14 Now, I'm going to put the following to you and you will tell me
15 what you think of it. It is a very complicated issue that of the HVO and
16 the Community of Herceg-Bosna was going to spend -- I was going to say
17 hundreds of hours -- at least a lot of time with many witnesses, and you
18 seem to be an appropriate witness to deal with this matter because you
19 have been following closely the drafting of several legal texts. And as
20 a lawyer perhaps you're in better position to answer substance questions.
21 When looking at that document of November the 18th, 1992,
22 establishing the Croatian Defence Council, there is an explanation for
23 the establishment of that community in the preamble, which in English is
24 entitled "reasons."
25 It is stated that pursuant to the constitution the Croatians,
1 which are a constitutive people, like the Serbs and the Muslims, deem it
2 necessary to establish the Croatian Community of Herceg or Herceg-Bosna.
3 This is what you can see these reasons, and reading this paragraph or
4 these reasons, I don't know if everyone shares my point of view, but
5 those who drafted this text think that the 18th of November, legal text
6 is consistent with the constitution, we can say pursuant to the
7 constitution -- so the establishment of that Croatian community takes
8 place because the Croatians within Bosnia-Herzegovina have the impression
9 that their rights are not upheld or respected. And then you have that
10 document of April 18th, 1992
11 April, and the reasons of the preamble is also very interesting because I
12 have a feeling, but I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that the
13 situation has significantly deteriorated because of the Serbian
14 aggressor, as indicated, but also in the preamble or in the reasons it is
15 also stated that the Croatians are no longer protected because of the
16 legal authority has an ability, which is serve the Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, to secure that protection, to provide that
18 protection, and is also indicated that there is a disintegration,
19 disintegration of the state which can easily be understood and because of
20 that the HVO is to be established.
21 So the situation has obviously deteriorated, hence the HVO is
22 being established in a context which is very different from November.
23 We're talking about a situation in which the Croatians are -- the Croats
24 are no longer protected because under -- according to this text at least
25 there is no more state.
1 So on the basis of your experience, because at the time you were
2 there, I was not there at the time that this was of course -- was
3 thinking about these issue, but according to you in April 1992 has there
4 or was there a deteriorated situation which leads Croats from Bosnia
5 go one step ahead and establish the HVO because they have to defend
6 themselves? So what do you respond?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My answer, Mr. President, is a very
8 simple one. Precisely on the day the decision was adopted, what occurred
9 was a disaster for the Croats in Kupres municipality and Kupresko Polje.
10 Over 150 Croats were killed over those two days in the area. The only
11 assistance came from some volunteers who went there and helped those
12 people, but no legal institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 up for those people in any way at all. I think it is a tragedy that so
14 many people died, and I think that tragedy alone lends sufficient
15 legitimacy to the Croatian leaders in Bosnia and allows them to conclude
16 that the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at least in
17 Croat-populated areas, had broken down.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we conclude that the
19 establishment of the HVO happened for security-related reasons. You
20 mentioned Kupres but there may have been other municipalities where
21 attacks took place. The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina was not present
22 anymore, it was not providing security for its citizens, and is that the
23 reason why the HVO was established? Would I be mistaken in concluding
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You see, several months prior to
1 this decision a similar tragedy struck the Croats in Trebinje
2 municipality, a village called Ravno. The Croat representatives appealed
3 to the republican bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take some action,
4 because at the time the tragedy struck Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 been involved in the war in any way. This was yet another negative
6 experience and the conclusion simply suggested itself.
7 There is another thing that was very important. The experience
8 of Kupres and of Ravno showed that areas and municipalities populated by
9 Croats could not stand up for themselves and defend themselves on their
10 own. There was in practical terms a threat that each of these
11 municipalities would be devoured one by one, as the Kupres example showed
12 in no uncertain terms. It was the only logical conclusion that the
13 defence forces should be united. What that meant in practical terms is
14 this: There had to be some joint bodies to coordinate the defence
15 activities. It would have been impossible to defend together in an
16 effective manner unless you had some sort of an HQ that would coordinate
17 all these defensive activities and unite them all under a shared
18 objective or under a common objective.
19 That is my interpretation of the establishment of the Croatian
20 Defence Council. This was a necessity at a time of war, and the idea was
21 perfectly legitimate, to protect the lives and interests of one of the
22 constituent ethnic groups, peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 MR. KHAN: Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Khan.
25 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I'm much obliged. It's an interesting
1 answer, but I do note that at page 72, lines 10 and 11, a clear question
2 is put by Your Honour, "The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 present anymore, it was not providing security for its citizens, and is
4 that the reason why the HVO was established? Would I be mistaken in
5 concluding that?"
6 I wonder if the witness can give a yes or no answer to that
7 rather straightforward question for the record.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness, you were there in
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 1992 at the time, was there still a state
10 in a position to guarantee the security of its citizens, or was there no
11 more state in that position and is that the reason why some citizens
12 decide -- Croatian citizens decided to set up the HVO? Can you please
13 provide a very straightforward answer to this question because my
14 question was very specific and Mr. Khan has just reminded us of that.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Unfortunately, there was no
16 state, there were no institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 establishment of the HVO is something that I see as a necessity, an
18 alternative to this absence of state institutions that might have
19 guaranteed an appropriate defence.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry if I come back to a linguistic issue.
21 Here in the preamble we find again the word "territory," but in the
22 Croatian we find neither "territory" nor "podrucju," but "prostor" or
23 "prostori." How would that fall to be translated?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You see, "prostor" also includes
25 whatever is above the ground, the air in this case. This is a possible
1 interpretation. If you have enemy aircraft flying at an altitude of
2 maybe 1 or even 5 metres that lends legitimacy to this, you defend that
3 space, if you like. So this isn't just the ground, the area, it is also
4 the air-space. So if you say "prostor," that includes both, and perhaps
5 also to some degree what is under the ground.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We need to have a break now.
8 We'll resume at five past 6.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 6.08 p.m.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you have the
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. Unless there are any
14 other questions from the Bench, we'll move on to the next topic. And
15 this is -- and I've titled this functioning on -- Functioning of HVO HZ
17 Q. And, Mr. Perkovic, I'm going to ask you to be as precise and as
18 direct as you can in your answers and rather short. And I'm very
19 grateful to Mr. Khan's intervention. So please listen to my question and
20 please answer it as directly as you can, especially other questions from
21 others as well.
22 All right. 1D 02749. This is dated 8 October 1992. We see it's
23 a request for the submission of a work programme, and we see that it is
24 signed by president of the HVO HZ HB, Dr. Jadranko Prlic, and we see that
25 it's sent off to the various heads of departments. Now, can you --
1 you've had a chance to look at this. What if anything can you conclude
2 from this particular document in light of the previous documents that we
3 have reviewed here in court today?
4 A. The president of the HVO wants the head of the department and the
5 head of the commission to submit a proposal of the activities they intend
6 to take within their purview for the period specified herein. So in
7 essence, it is necessary to establish what the activities of the
8 departments and offices are going to be in this time-period.
9 Q. All right. Who makes that determination, is it the president --
10 is the president directing them what they should be doing or is it up to
11 the heads of department to figure out what it is that they would be
12 doing? And the reason I'm asking is if we call -- if you recall the
13 Article 9 and the -- in the document 1D 00156, so here I'm trying to tie
14 this in to give sort of a concrete example how we may be able to later on
15 at some point interpret Article 9.
16 A. Every head of the department or the chairman of the commission
17 for regulations had to submit a plan of activities for the time-period,
18 his concept of the activities for the relevant time-period.
19 Q. All right. 1D 01881, and we see that again this is signed by
20 Dr. Jadranko Prlic, dated 20 November 1992
21 page. A couple of things I want to point out. First, on number 4 it
22 says: "Prior to adopting the Rules, the heads of the departments shall
23 obtain the opinion of the Regulations Commission and the Finance
24 Department, as well as the approval of the HVO of the HZ HB."
25 Who headed the regulation commission and what was that commission
2 A. At that time, the head of the commission for regulations were
3 Mr. Vahid Vlahovic [phoen], an attorney-at-law from Mostar, and the
4 purpose of this commission for regulations was to ensure the
5 harmonization of the legislation and other legal instruments passed by
6 bodies and institutions of the HZ HB, and it had yet another task, to
7 participate in the drafting of some legislation because there was a
8 shortage of personnel in the ministry.
9 Q. All right. If we look at item number 9 it talks about:
10 "Inspectorates shall be formed to carry out inspectoral supervision
11 within the competence of the administrative body." Were these
12 inspectorates ever appointed and did this activity ever take place to
13 your understanding?
14 A. Unfortunately, primarily because there were not enough experts at
15 the time, the inspectorates were not set up at the time while HZ HB was
16 in existence, although as we can see there was a legal basis for their
18 Q. And if we look at item number 14 we see that the vice-president
19 of the HVO, Mr. Zubak, is appointed coordinator for matters related to
20 the internal organization of the bodies and services of the HVO HZ HB.
21 If you could please comment and tell us what exactly Mr. Zubak is being
22 appointed to.
23 A. Well, this document envisages that the regulations on internal
24 structure will determine the internal structure of each body, each
25 department, of the HVO HZ HB. In essence, it means that this act
1 stipulates the necessary number of employees and the manner in which each
2 institution is going to be set up. It is quite obvious that at that time
3 the role of Mr. Zubak in this context was to coordinate the activities of
4 various departments, taking into account or making sure that when each of
5 these regulations is being implemented that it is done in the same
6 manner, taking into account the pace at which work needs to be done so
7 that it will all -- it should all be implemented within a reasonable
8 time, and to reach compromise when, for instance, the opinions of the
9 heads of the departments and the ministry differed as to the number of
10 personnel needed. And the ministry approved this in light of the funds
11 available for the payroll, to meet the payroll, of all the employees in
12 each of the departments.
13 Q. All right. You used the word "ministry." At this point we're
14 talking about departments, and as lawyers we need to be as precise as
15 possible. Ministries may be -- come down the road, so I'm going to be a
16 stickler for that. So I kindly ask you to use the proper terminology
17 when we talk about departments. Now --
18 A. I apologise, yes, it was a slip of the tongue.
19 Q. You'll just get a yellow card at this point.
20 Now, the next -- first of all, Mr. Zubak, did he play an
21 important role within the HVO HZ HB; and if so, could you kind of tell us
22 overall, and I know that he's not the main topic of our discussion, but
23 just to introduce this gentleman to the Trial Chamber. What role did
24 Mr. Zubak play, overall that is?
25 A. Mr. Zubak was appointed to the post of the vice-president of the
1 Croatian Defence Council of Herceg-Bosna. As far as I can recall, he was
2 one of the two vice-presidents who were -- that were envisaged, and in
3 accordance with our legal tradition in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in
4 accordance with his qualifications and skills, he was an appropriate
5 person to be appointed to that post because of his lengthy experience in
6 administration and the fact that he had a law degree. So he could really
7 do this job, the job that was outside of the economic sphere, the part of
8 the job that had to do with administration proper.
9 Q. All right. And before we leave this particular document and in
10 light of the other documents that we have seen, are there any differences
11 that you can see between this sort of system, looking at some of the
12 documents, of course, and the system that existed prior to the elections,
13 as far as procedure and as far as the vision of -- you know, the
14 establishment of collective bodies, governance, and what have you?
15 A. In essence, the system is almost identical and this document in a
16 way replicates the documents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regulating the
17 internal structure of institutions and bodies of government in BH, the
18 ordinance on the internal organization, which is the basic document
19 containing provisions to that effect, the organizational units within
20 each department have virtually identical names, the inspectorate and
21 sections, divisions, and departments. They are terms that were in use in
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina at that time.
23 Q. At that time --
24 A. -- in legal parlance.
25 Q. Thank you. If we go on to the next document, 1D 01181, and this
1 is just for illustrative purposes because we will see other such
2 documents. We see that these are minutes of meeting -- of the 25th
3 meeting, for instance, dated 11 February 1993 for the Croatian Community
4 of Herceg-Bosna. And we see that you are present, we can see that at the
5 very top. And just, again for illustrative purposes, if we turn to item
6 3, which would be on page 2 in the English version, it talks about a
7 draft decree on the application of the Law on Employment. And then it
8 says, the second paragraph: "The proposed decree was adopted
9 unanimously, including the following remarks and amendments made by the
10 HVO HZ HB Regulation Commission ..."
11 Can you explain that a little bit to us? What is being said
13 A. This was the job of the commission for regulations, providing
14 opinions, suggestions, and proposals regarding some certain legal acts
15 that were submitted to it. Departments and other institutions were bound
16 to submit those before the sessions of the HVO HZ HB so that those
17 remarks could be made, taken into consideration, and perhaps built into
18 the final text before the sessions. In this case this was not done
19 because the heads of the departments sometimes insisted on submitting the
20 text of a decision or another act directly to the HVO HZ HB at the
21 session, and then I had to intervene directly and to seek amendments of a
22 certain text right there. And I have to say that in some instances at my
23 insistence the president of the HVO, especially if this could be delayed,
24 the enactment of those legal acts was delayed in order to comply with the
25 requisite procedure.
1 Q. All right. Now, before we discuss what the requisite procedure
2 was at that time, you told us earlier on during our very first session
3 that right after the election when you had been appointed, I believe --
4 was it assistant in the Ministry of Administration, that you were -- you
5 held a position where you were involved in the drafting of legislation.
6 And I would -- I think we could all benefit if you could kindly tell us
7 the process and the different filters that a piece of legislation would
8 go through. And the reason I'm asking this is because I want to see the
9 difference between what was done then, what was done here, especially
10 since sometimes we tend to look at these legislations -- these pieces of
11 legislation thinking that perhaps all the mechanisms might have been in
12 place so -- and that everything should be harmonised as they should be
13 before adopted.
14 So let's start off with: How would a piece of legislation be
15 drafted and the filters that it would go through before it actually would
16 come into force?
17 A. At the level of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina this
18 procedure was much more complex than it was in Herceg-Bosna. In
20 material, a draft of a legal act, was drafted -- was put together by the
21 relevant ministry. This act -- this document was then submitted to the
22 BH government, to the government commissions to be more specific, because
23 there were three commissions at the level of the BH government. In most
24 cases all three of them considered and discussed a legal document of this
1 After that, after it was discussed, it was resubmitted to the
2 relevant ministry which took into consideration all the remarks and then
3 redrafted the document. This legal document or act was then submitted to
4 the government and the government discussed it at its session and then it
5 took the form of a bill, which was then submitted by the government to
6 the parliament. First it was considered by the relevant parliamentary
7 commissions, which then amended it, if necessary, and then it was
8 resubmitted to the government which incorporated all the amendments. And
9 once this bill was amended in this manner, it was then resubmitted to the
10 parliament which then enacted it. And the representatives in the
11 parliament had an opportunity to propose amendments to certain provisions
12 in the law.
13 Once the law was passed or enacted it was submitted to the
14 office -- the legislation office, which then compared the version of the
15 law with the one that was printed out, and it was then submitted by this
16 office to the Official Gazette where it was published. So this was the
17 procedure at the level of the republic.
18 When we're talking about the way in which provisional legal acts
19 in HZ HB were passed, particularly decree laws, in that period, the
20 period while HZ HB was in existence, we had only one level between the
21 department that drafted this legal document and the HVO that passed it.
22 That was the commission for regulations.
23 Q. All right. Two questions. The first question is: So if we do
24 compare the two, how many layers or filters would a draft go at the
25 republic level and how many layers or filters would it go through at the
1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
2 A. At the level of the republic there were seven filters if I
3 counted them correctly, and at the level of the HZ HB there was only one
5 Q. All right. Now, you describe this method and the procedure at
6 the republic level. Was that before the war and was that, as well,
7 during the war, or did things change?
8 A. The procedure that I described is the procedure that was in place
9 before the war -- and in fact it is the procedure that exists today. But
10 I have to remind you that during the war the BH parliament did not
11 function and that it transferred its powers to another organ, the
12 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So that it is quite clear that the
13 part of the procedure that took place before the parliament, it could not
14 be done because the parliament was not in session.
15 Q. All right. If we go now to the next document very quickly, I
16 think we're through with that -- the last one, 1D 00190, and of course 1D
17 00193, both of these documents if we just look at them very quickly we
18 see that they're both dated 6 January 1993
19 Dr. Jadranko Prlic. The first one is a decision on the appointment of a
20 Kemal Sabovic. He's appointed the deputy head of department of interior,
21 and then we see Mr. Omica Zukic [phoen], that's in 1D 00193, he's
22 appointed as assistant to the head of department of interior as -- for
23 analysis, information system, and publishing.
24 Now, can you comment on these two documents very briefly, sir?
25 A. Yes, these are documents that show that in the -- that persons of
1 non-Croat ethnic background are appointed to positions in the bodies of
2 HVO HZ HB. We have two persons here of Bosniak ethnicity. I have to say
3 here, I want to say, that in the period -- in this period these were not
4 the only institutions, there was a number of institutions whose personnel
5 was multi-ethnic, particularly at level of the municipalities, the
6 municipal HVO and administration, but in several new institutions of the
7 HZ HB, including the commission that I was in, the commission for
8 regulations, included personnel who were not of Croat ethnic background.
9 Q. All right. And if you could tell us very briefly, if you know --
10 [French on English channel]
11 MR. KARNAVAS:
12 Q. -- who proposed the appointments of deputies or assistants in
13 departments, if you recall.
14 A. As far as I know, the department assistants -- department --
15 assistants to the department heads were recommended by the department
16 heads, but I'm not sure about the deputies, I think they were also
17 recommended by the department heads but I'm not sure.
18 Q. All right --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you've just something
20 to which I thought Mr. Karnavas would have responded immediately. When
21 you said that in the regulatory commission in which you were, there were
22 also other nationalities than Croats. Could you tell us how many people
23 made up that commission and what was the ethnic composition?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992 at the time when I became
25 part of the commission, there were three Croats and two Bosniaks in the
1 commission. Later on, in early 1993 all those people, apart from me,
2 left for other jobs. So we had a new composition with three lawyers, two
3 Croats, myself and another female colleague, and there was a third
4 colleague, a female colleague, a Bosniak.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Unless there are any other questions on this
6 topic, I will move on to the next topic which are -- I've titled this
7 Petkovic's drafts.
8 Q. So again to give a sampling of what you were involved. The first
9 document is 1D 0001, and this is a decree on the organization and
10 responsibilities of the departments and commissions of the Croatian
11 Defence Council. We see it's dated 14 August 1992, and we'll start off
12 with this particular document. And first of all, if you could tell us
13 the difference between a department and a commission. Under Article 3 we
14 see it describes a department and a commission, and if you could tell us
15 what was the difference.
16 A. A department is an independent administrative organ headed by an
17 individual who makes decisions and represents this organ. A commission
18 is a collegiate body.
19 Q. All right. Now, if we look at Article 7 it says here in the very
20 first line that: "The department and commissions of the HVO shall
21 cooperate with the republican bodies in the preparation of acts which
22 conform -- confirm the policy of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
23 the preparation of laws and other regulations ..." and it goes on.
24 And so my question is -- did this in fact take place? Did the
25 HVO cooperate with republican bodies; and if so, can you give us an
1 example? Mind you, this is now August 1992.
2 A. I wrote a draft of this decree during my first stay in
4 organs of the HZ HB were provisional in nature, as I've already
5 indicated, they were there to defend that area against the aggression.
6 To my view, it was more than logical to stipulate this kind of a solution
7 in Article 7, to state here, in other words, that the departments and the
8 commissions of the HZ HB shall cooperate with the republican organs and
9 so on and so forth because I thought that the organs and institutions of
10 the HZ HB were regional institutions in that area performing that
11 specific function to defend this area against the aggression.
12 I have to say that this draft was tabled at the Presidency of the
13 HZ HB, and when I asked Mr. Buntic whether there were any objections or
14 remarks, he said that it was accepted and adopted unanimously, that there
15 were no objections to it. And I also want to say that throughout the
16 war, while the Croatian Community, and later the Croatian Republic
17 Herceg-Bosna were in existence, that there was contact between the
18 republican institutions in Sarajevo
19 institutions of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
20 I personally was in contact with these people several times, even
21 at the time when the Croat-Muslim, Croat-Bosniak conflict was at its --
22 at the highest level.
23 Q. All right. Now, the second paragraph compels me to ask you a
24 question on this because it has come up before, and I don't want to skip
25 it, though perhaps the Judges will be asking it at their time. It says:
1 "Departments and commissions of the HVO shall cooperate with
2 administrative bodies of other states in the question of common interest,
3 exchanging experience and knowledge, and engaging in other forms of
5 And of course any time we see "other states" we have a heightened
6 sense of alertness here because it may give the impression that now the
7 HVO -- HZ HB is going to be interacting at an international level with
8 other states. So could you please comment on this.
9 A. The reality of life in that time called for this paragraph,
10 dictated that this paragraph be included. It is no secret that the units
11 of the Croatian Defence Council and the Croat people in general did
12 receive substantial assistance, financial assistance, material assistance
13 from the Republic of Croatia
14 And this paragraph in fact gives legitimacy to the institutions and
15 bodies of the HVO, making it legal for them to cooperate with other
16 bodies, bodies of other states, not only with other bodies of the HVO but
17 with other institutions and bodies that were willing to provide
19 I have to remind you now that the Croatian people in
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina received substantial assistance from the Croatian
21 diaspora, so there had to be contacts with the state authorities in those
22 countries. In particular, when it came to exporting and importing those
23 goods, particularly, for instance, medical supplies and all other kinds
24 of assistance to the region.
25 Q. All right. I'm going to move on to the next document unless
1 there are questions from the Bench. One --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I have a short question.
3 Earlier on you said that you had contacts with representatives from the
4 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 of the same things in Sarajevo
6 by telephone, mail, and did you actually also meet with them?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I already spoke about that one time
8 I got in touch with my colleague, assistant minister of justice,
9 Mr. Halilagic who I met. The other time I was in touch with one of my
10 colleagues was early 1993, it may have been March 1993, I met with
11 Mr. Niaz Skenderovic who was the assistant minister of interior of Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina
13 what constituted the fiercest clashes between the Croats and the
14 Bosniaks. I met in Medjugorje with a member of the BH Presidency who
15 arrived there to see me, Mr. Ivo Komsic. He wanted to see me, and he
16 wanted to try to talk me into returning to Sarajevo since there was a
17 vacant post in the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina that was meant
18 for a Croat, and I was the next in line based on the election results.
19 Mr. Komsic, as far as I know, is a member of the Supreme Command
20 of the BH army, and as a member of the BH Presidency, spent some time in
21 the area without encountering any particular problems and without any
22 special security system in place, and he spent maybe a total of one or
23 two days in the area.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These three contact persons you
25 sought, did they see you as people working in total -- in a total illegal
1 situation or did they view you as their counterparts, something that
2 would expect having a counterpart -- in other words, what was their
3 attitude? Were they hostile? Did they work in a spirit of cooperation
4 or were they just neutral towards you?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my personal experience, the
6 contacts were, to say the least, cordial. Those persons came to this
7 area, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. I noticed absolutely no
8 animosity on their part, although of course they knew where I worked and
9 what my job was. Our talks were perfectly normal, although there is an
10 important fact that I must point out. It was the nature of my work, and
11 I was working with the regulation commission at the time, I was probably
12 among the people who had the least contacts of that nature, people
13 working across the various departments were probably encountering more
14 opportunities to meet all sorts of people working with the BH
15 administration. My own experience, based on these contacts, was very
16 positive and satisfying in every way.
17 MR. KARNAVAS:
18 Q. And picking up from that question, were others having contacts or
19 were you the only one that was having contacts at the republic level or
20 those who were in Sarajevo
22 A. As far as I know, I don't have my records with me here, needless
23 to say, but as far as I know most of the heads of other departments
24 enjoyed contacts like these with their counterparts from the Sarajevo
1 Q. All right. I'm going to move through a series of documents.
2 Hopefully we're going to conclude this chapter tonight, and the first
3 document is 1D 00014 and it's a decree on stamps. One may say, Well,
4 what does that have to do with the events here? However, we need to make
5 sure that we fully understand the concept of a stamp or a seal.
6 And so, can you please tell us how seals or stamps were used and
7 what significance did they play?
8 A. Seals are relatively important in our legal tradition, the legal
9 tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other former Yugoslav republics.
10 Quite simply, the local population was used to believing that no serious
11 legal document would lack a seal or a stamp as well as a signature.
12 There would always have to be a stamp by the appropriate institution,
13 belonging to the appropriate institution, and that is why this decree was
14 important to us because here we defined the procedure for this, what a
15 stamp or a seal should look like, a stamp or a seal used by the
16 institutions of the HZ HB.
17 Q. All right. Well, let me just phrase it slightly differently. In
18 light of what you just told us, should the Trial Chamber draw any
19 conclusions that simply because seals were used, and the whole concept
20 was introduced by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that somehow
21 the use of the seal is indicative of the Croatian Community of
22 Herceg-Bosna of being some sort of an entity, a para-state, a state
23 within a states, something that is outside Bosnia-Herzegovina -- or at
24 least attempting to be outside?
25 A. I think it is nothing but logical to draw such a conclusion. I
1 have explained to you what the main motive was, the main reason, for
2 these stamps to be made. I do have to say that the Croatian Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna saw itself as a state or some sort of a state, or rather,
4 had it seen itself as some sort of a state, then the name of this decree
5 would have been somewhat different because in our legal tradition, in the
6 legal tradition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are laws on stamps, stamps
7 containing what we refer to as the state's coat of arms, and then there's
8 a procedure in place relating to these stamps.
9 In this decree we're not discussing any stamp or seal containing
10 the coat of arms in Bosnia-Herzegovina, although Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 actually had a coat of arms. We are simply talking about the fact that
12 there are appropriate institutions that prove the authenticity of their
13 documents in addition to the signature of whoever is in charge by putting
14 a stamp on these same documents. This is first and foremost a question
15 of our legal tradition. This tradition is still alive and well. We live
16 in an electronic age and we are encountering serious problems in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina in terms of communicating by e-mail or passing
18 documents and laws by e-mail because the population still wants to see
19 hard copies with stamps on them.
20 Q. Okay. And if I -- just for technical purposes, you begin the
21 answer, at least it's been translated as such based on my question: "I
22 think it is nothing but logical to draw such a conclusion." In English
23 that would mean that it is logical to draw the conclusion of which -- and
24 as I see the rest of your answer, I believe what you're attempting to say
25 that it is not logical to draw such a conclusion, the one that I was
1 referring to in my question. Is that correct?
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Does everybody see that, Your Honours?
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, there is something I
4 have seen which I want you to clarify because this may have consequences.
5 We have understood that people like to have a document with seals. This
6 is the case for all countries of the world; it is nothing specific to
7 your country. But if that is something -- it may be a lapse of the
8 tongue or something else, but I heard you say that the Croats considered
9 themselves as a state, does that mean that they considered Herceg-Bosna
10 as a state or was it an entity within the state that was the Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Could you clarify this, please?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right. I said this, in keeping
13 with this tradition, the population expected the organs of government
14 performing the functions of the government, regardless of the level
15 involved, to endorse their laws and documents by stamping them in
16 addition to having a signature there, the signature of whoever represents
17 these authorities in terms of signing the laws or documents. Needless to
18 say, no conclusion can be based or drawn based on this, and that is why I
19 was saying that this is something that brings to mind a state, because
20 all the organs of government in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the municipal ones,
21 the republican ones, have a stamp. It doesn't mean that when this decree
22 on stamps was adopted the intention was to display such an interest in a
23 way that would be similar to the way of a state or a para-state.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Perkovic, the passage concerned at lines 10
25 and following of page 90 are indeed a bit confusing when one reads the
1 whole paragraph or the first half of it. A possibility to interpret what
2 you said or are recorded as having said, "I think it is nothing but
3 logical to draw such a conclusion." That was a quotation. Could that be
4 understood or did you want to say it would be logical, it would be
5 logical, to conclude in that way but in fact the conclusion would be
7 I see Ms. Tomanovic is shaking her head.
8 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Microphone not activated]
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You had no translation.
10 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm just trying to say, I would
11 like to ask Mr. Perkovic again to slow down with his answers because the
12 interpreters, they're obviously encountering a lot of difficulty
13 interpreting him. The entire answer does not make sense to you; it only
14 made sense to us who understand the language. Maybe Your Honour,
15 Mr. Antonetti, should re-ask that particular --
16 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters can't hear Ms. Tomanovic.
17 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Page 90, lines 10 through 25 --
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters couldn't hear Ms. Tomanovic on
19 account of the background noise. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to try and rephrase
21 the question. When a -- so a document with a stamp as defined in this
22 decree would be considered logical to have a stamp next to the signature
23 or - and listen very carefully to my question - or did he think that this
24 document had been issued by a state which was Herceg-Bosna?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will try to simplify this for my
1 answer to the greatest extent possible in order to put my point across.
2 We have the decree on stamps. It provides for the right for the
3 institutions of Herceg-Bosna to use a stamp. That stamp in terms of its
4 form or physical appearance never refers to Herceg-Bosna as a state, the
5 Republic of Herceg-Bosna as a state. In keeping with our tradition it
6 cannot be concluded that the possession of a stamp by any institution by
7 default implies an association with a state organ or a state.
8 I think I have been very clear now.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In my view, this was very
11 Another question. We've gone through thousands of documents,
12 myriads of documents, of all nature, of all kinds, some of them signed by
13 Mr. Prlic and by others. Now, there was conflict, there was a war going
14 on, military actions taking place. Now, from the outside, in our
15 position as Judges, we are wondering how it could have been possible in
16 such situations to take the time to sign a document. Earlier on we
17 reviewed a document appointing two people and -- to two commissions,
18 where there was -- when there was a crisis. Was it to do with
19 bureaucracy, with the tradition in your country, or was the situation
20 such that it was possible to process this heap of documents?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in relation to the total
22 number of normative acts in the legal system of a community or a country,
23 the number of acts that were adopted over this period of duration,
24 practically four years, may not be relatively great. I would like to
25 remind you that those acts were adopted that at the time were believed to
1 be necessary. A series of very important laws were never passed by
2 Herceg-Bosna; rather, they were simply taken over directly by Bosnia
4 such as, for example, the Law on Inheritance or the Law on Binding
5 Relations or the Law on Family and so on and so forth. These are all
6 systematic laws in a country, and they were directly applied throughout
7 the HZ HB, or rather, HZ HR HB, and this applied throughout the period of
8 time that I'm talking about. Obviously this was about taking over those
9 regulations, or rather, adopting those regulations that were believed to
10 be absolutely necessary with no more than a modicum of potential in terms
11 of human resources or financial means.
12 I told you about my commission, it was a commission comprising
13 three members and we had a typewriter that was hardly in good working
14 order and the room was no more than 5 square metres, the room that we had
15 to work, it was under such conditions that these institutions had to
16 perform their work. They probably would have never started drafting any
17 regulations that weren't in one way or another deemed necessary in terms
18 of organizing daily life in the area. For example, a child goes through
19 the first four years of elementary school, and then you want to issue
20 this child with a certificate on successful completion of the first four
21 years, the programme, what stamp are you going to use in order to certify
22 this for the benefit of this child? Two young people want to get
23 married. As proof of their marriage you would like to be able to issue a
24 marriage certificate. How will you prove that the marriage is valid and
25 how are they going to prove this in the future unless the marriage is
1 actually certified in such a way? Nevertheless, it is the republican --
2 the regulations of Bosnia-Herzegovina that set forth this obligation to
3 certify these documents. There, there are a series of such examples from
4 daily life about the need for this procedure to be prescribed, how stamps
5 are made, and this can't just boil down to some sections of the HVO,
6 departments of the HVO, or institutions, state authorities in the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for your answer.
9 It's already past the time -- Mr. Karnavas.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I just have one question for Judge Trechsel. If
11 his question was -- if he's satisfied with the question -- you had a
12 question to the gentleman. If you're satisfied, or do I need to worry
13 about it overnight and revisit the issue. There's a great deal of
14 anxious --
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Let's both worry overnight.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, okay, if you're insufficient with the
17 answer, please ask the question.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think I leave it at that. I have not now been
19 impatiently waiting for that answer. So I must confess that I have let
20 myself be drawn along with the course of the proceedings, and I would
21 not -- if I want to come back to it, I will do so.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Thank you. Then I guess we'll see each
23 other at 9.00 in the morning.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 Witness, you are to appear before us again tomorrow at 9.00 a.m.
1 we'll have a break around half past 12.00 for us to be able to have lunch
2 and we'll resume in the afternoon. Have a pleasant evening.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.04 p.m.
4 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 2nd day of
5 September, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.