Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 2671

1 Monday, 29 May 2006

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

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

5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call

6 the case, please.

7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Good

8 day to all. Case number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.

9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar. On

10 behalf of the Judges, I would like to greet everyone present in the

11 courtroom. And I would like to ask Mr. Scott to introduce his assistant

12 who is sitting to his left.

13 MR. SCOTT: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours. Joining

14 me in the courtroom today is Tonia Gillett, an attorney also with the OTP.

15 Thank you.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Scott.

17 I won't ask for the appearances for the Defence counsel as nothing

18 has changed.

19 Today on the 29th of May, 2006, we will be calling in a witness.

20 I'll now ask the usher to call the witness into the courtroom.

21 [The witness entered court]


23 [Witness answered through interpreter]

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. I would first

25 like to make sure that you are receiving the interpretation of what is

Page 2672

1 being said. If so, please say that you can understand what is being said.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you and I understand you.

3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before you take the solemn

4 declaration, could you please tell me your first and last names and your

5 date of birth.

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Milivoj Gagro. I was

7 born on the 2nd of June, 1940.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current profession?

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a pensioner.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, have you already testified

11 before an international or national court with regard to the events that

12 took place in your country in 1992, 1993, and 1994, or is this the first

13 time?

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time I appear

15 before the international court.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And have you already testified

17 before a national court?

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I haven't.

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The usher will show

20 you the slip of paper now.

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

22 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down

24 now.

25 Before I give the floor to the Prosecution for their

Page 2673

1 examination-in-chief, I would like to provide you with some information.

2 As you are aware, you have been called here as a witness for the

3 Prosecution. You will be testifying in the Prlic et al. case, as you're

4 well aware. First you'll have to answer questions put to you by the

5 Prosecution, whom you have met when being proofed for this hearing, and

6 once the examination-in-chief has been concluded, the Defence teams for

7 the accused, who are to your left, will conduct their cross-examination.

8 If the need arises and if the accused believe it is in the interest of

9 their defence, the accused may also put questions to you. The four Judges

10 sitting before you may also at any point in time put questions to you.

11 This is provided for in the Rules.

12 For example, in the Nuremberg trials, it was possible for the

13 Judges to put questions to the witness. Other international tribunals

14 have proceeded in this manner. You will notice that the questions put to

15 you can vary, depending on the party putting the question to you. The

16 Prosecution will put questions that will be phrased in neutral terms.

17 However, Defence counsel can put leading questions to you as a result of

18 which you can answer by saying either yes or no. As far as the Judges are

19 concerned, the nature of their questions is somewhat different. We are

20 trying to establish what the truth is, or we're trying to obtain certain

21 clarifications with regard to witness's testimony in the course of the

22 examination-in-chief or in the course of the cross-examination.

23 If you encounter any difficulties of any kind, please inform us of

24 the fact. You have taken the solemn declaration. You have sworn to speak

25 the truth, which means that you should not give false testimony, but you

Page 2674

1 are well aware of the fact.

2 In addition, every one and a half hours we will have a 20-minute

3 break. At about 1530 we will have a 20-minute break, and today it is

4 necessary to conclude by 7.00 p.m.

5 Without wasting any more time, I will now give the floor to the

6 Prosecution who will commence with their examination-in-chief.

7 Examination by Mr. Scott:

8 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Gagro.

9 A. Good afternoon.

10 Q. Sir, can you give us your date of birth, please.

11 A. 2nd of June, 1940.

12 Q. And I thought perhaps it was in the record, but in case it was

13 not, would you again state your full name for the record.

14 A. My name is Milivoj Gagro.

15 Q. And where were you born, sir?

16 A. I was born in Hodbine, which is near Mostar.

17 Q. And, sir, do you identify yourself as a Croat?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. I would like to briefly take you through some of your personal

20 background, both educational and professional background. If I understand

21 correctly, sir, you received a degree in civil engineering from the

22 University of Zagreb in 1969. Is that correct?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. And you served a period of military service with the JNA during

25 the approximate time 1967 to 1968; is that correct?

Page 2675

1 A. Yes, during that period of time.

2 Q. And upon receiving your -- upon being discharged from the JNA and

3 receiving your degree, you went to Mostar in approximately 1969, or

4 returned to Mostar.

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. And from approximately 1969 to 1990, you were employed at the

7 Institute of Urban Planning; is that correct?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. All right. That brings us up, then, to 1990. Around that time,

10 sir, did you become involved in political matters in the Mostar area,

11 1989, 1990?

12 A. It's difficult for me to specify what sort of political matters I

13 was involved in. Perhaps you could clarify your question and be more

14 precise.

15 Q. Did you become involved in a political party known as the Croatian

16 Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And in that capacity or as part of that -- as part of your

19 involvement in that party, did you run for the Mostar municipal -- for a

20 position or a seat in the Mostar Municipal Assembly in the multi-party

21 elections in December, 1990?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And were you successful in being elected to the Mostar Assembly?

24 A. Yes. I was on the HDZ list.

25 Q. Can you tell the Judges, do you recall approximately how many

Page 2676

1 seats comprise the Mostar Municipal Assembly as of that time, December,

2 1990?

3 A. The Assembly was supposed to elect 100 members.

4 Q. All right. And can you tell the Judges, of those 100 seats,

5 approximately how many seats did the HDZ party win as a result of those

6 elections?

7 A. At those first multi-party elections, the HDZ obtained 30 seats in

8 the Mostar Assembly.

9 Q. And you obtained one of those seats; is that correct?

10 A. One of those seats was mine.

11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: In the transcript on line 5 the answer is given

12 as, "The Assembly was supposed to elect 100 members." Is that correct or

13 is it to have 100 members?


15 Q. Mr. Gagro, did you hear the Judge's question, and could you

16 possibly clarify that?

17 A. According to the electoral programme, a hundred members of the

18 Assembly were supposed to be elected.

19 Q. If I can come at it this way, sir: Was the Municipal Assembly at

20 that time composed of approximately 100 seats or positions?

21 A. One hundred seats.

22 Q. All right. Now, sir, in addition to being elected as a member of

23 the Assembly at this time, did you then subsequently become, or as part of

24 this process become selected as the mayor of Mostar?

25 A. No. It was organised in a somewhat different manner at the time.

Page 2677

1 A president of the Assembly would be elected, president of the Municipal

2 Assembly, and in that capacity he had the competence of a mayor.

3 Q. All right. Well, please explain to the Judges in your own words

4 the process by which you became the mayor of Mostar in approximately 1990.

5 A. After the Assembly had been constituted, after the mandates had

6 been confirmed for the Mostar Municipal Assembly, at the first constituent

7 session the most senior member of the Assembly presided over the debates,

8 and there was an inter-party agreement, and the most senior member would

9 determine all the functions of importance for that Assembly. So at that

10 session of the Assembly, an HDZ member was proposed as the Assembly

11 president, and that was myself. There was a different representative

12 proposed for the SDS and for the SDA. They had the president of the

13 Executive Board elected. Those three positions were voted on, and all

14 three candidates were elected to those positions at that session.

15 Q. And as part of this election, who was allowed, then, to cast votes

16 for these three positions?

17 A. All 100 Assembly members.

18 Q. So all the -- all the members of the Assembly, whether they be

19 from the SDA, from the HDZ, from the SDS, or any other party, were allowed

20 to participate in this election; is that correct?

21 A. Yes. They all had the right to one vote.

22 Q. And, sir, can you tell the Judges, then, how long did you remain

23 in the position of mayor of Mostar?

24 A. I was appointed at that first session held towards the end of

25 1990, and I held that office until around the 15th of April, 1992.

Page 2678

1 Q. Now, sir, you've told us that you were a member of the HDZ party

2 at the time you were elected. Who was the president of the HDZ in Bosnia

3 and Herzegovina at the time of your election?

4 A. Mr. Stjepan Kljujic was.

5 Q. By the time of your election Mr. Perinovic had been replaced by

6 Mr. Kljujic?

7 A. Yes. Mr. Kljujic is someone I had never met before.

8 Q. Mr. Perinovic had been the first president of the party, of the

9 HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. And why had he been removed from that position?

12 A. Well, those who had a lot of influence in HDZ were informed that

13 this person wasn't a full Croat, and as a result he could not adequately

14 represent the HDZ.

15 Q. Can you tell the Judges if he was not "full Croat," what else was

16 he?

17 A. He was a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

18 Q. And what other ethnic group in Bosnia and Herzegovina had

19 Mr. Perinovic been identified with, which apparently caused him to lose

20 his position?

21 A. I don't know.

22 Q. Do you know how -- what process was followed in naming Stjepan

23 Kljujic as party president to replace Mr. Perinovic?

24 A. I don't know that either.

25 Q. And do you know approximately how long Mr. Kljujic remained as

Page 2679

1 president of the HDZ, or do you recall -- let me ask it this way, if it

2 assists you: Do you recall when approximately Mr. Kljujic ceased being

3 president of the party?

4 A. If my memory serves me well, that was towards the end of 1991, at

5 a party meeting held in Siroki Brijeg.

6 Q. Now, sir, there was a party of a similar name, the Croatian

7 Democratic Union in the Republic of Croatia -- excuse me, Republic of

8 Croatia; is that correct?

9 A. Yes. We called it the Sestrina Party; the Sister Party.

10 Q. And can you tell the Judges what relationship, if any, existed

11 between the HDZ party in Croatia and the HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 A. Yes, there was a relationship. There's no doubt about that.

13 Without their assistance, it would have been very difficult for the HDZ to

14 organise itself in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

15 Q. Who in the Croatian party, the HDZ, did -- did it appear to you

16 was most involved in dealings with the party in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

17 A. As far as I know, Mr. Susak was most involved.

18 Q. And Mr. Susak was the minister of defence of Croatia at that time?

19 A. I don't think so.

20 Q. All right. Did you have any dealings or meetings with Mr. Susak?

21 A. No.

22 Q. What do you know of the nature of the dealings or meetings,

23 communications between the party in Zagreb, that is the HDZ party in

24 Zagreb, and the HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

25 A. There were consultations.

Page 2680

1 Q. Sir, after you were elected as mayor of Mostar and through your in

2 the HDZ party, did you become aware of a difference in views between a

3 part of the party which may have been represented by Mr. Kljujic and

4 another part of the party represented perhaps by Mr. Boban, Mr. Kordic,

5 and people in that group?

6 A. Yes. This became obvious during a period of time that preceded

7 the outbreak of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

8 Q. Can you briefly describe to the Judges the basic differences of

9 positions or views between Mr. Kljujic on the one hand and Mr. Boban and

10 others on the other?

11 A. Well, the main difference was that those who lived in multi-ethnic

12 areas believed that it was necessary to support the idea of co-existence,

13 to nurture this idea, whereas in areas where only one ethnic group lived,

14 well, they thought that this was a secondary matter and they thought that

15 their objectives could be pursued without trying to reach agreements with

16 others.

17 Q. All right. You've identified two points of view. Can you tell us

18 which of those two points of view was held by Mr. Kljujic?

19 A. Yes. He was in favour for a single and indivisible Bosnia and

20 Herzegovina.

21 Q. And what view do you associate Mr. Boban with of the two views

22 that you mentioned a moment ago?

23 A. Well, he believed that many things or many ideas developed in

24 Sarajevo were not suitable to the area in which he lived.

25 Q. Well, what did -- what did Mr. Boban want to accomplish?

Page 2681

1 A. Well, some form of autonomy for the area in which the Croatian

2 population was in the majority.

3 Q. Now, during this time that you were a member of the HDZ and the

4 mayor of Mostar, did you observe that Mr. Kljujic and Mr. Boban came into

5 increasing conflict because of these different views?

6 A. Yes, absolutely. They would very rarely meet towards the end, and

7 when they tried to find a common language, it was very difficult. One

8 would try to find some other body that would be capable of reconciling the

9 varying positions that were irreconcilable.

10 Q. Given the division in the party, sir, can you tell the Judges, for

11 example, how would it be that if Mr. Boban hoped to accomplish a

12 particular objective or reach a particular decision, given the split in

13 the party, what sort of activities he would engage in?

14 A. Whoever was not ready to cooperate with him, well, such a person

15 would be eliminated or, rather, he would try to remove such a person from

16 the position that he held.

17 Q. And I ask you, sir, in terms of these positions that we've been

18 talking about for the last few minutes, where did you put yourself in the

19 time period 1990, 1991, 1992? What position did you hold?

20 A. Well, you see, I'm from Mostar, from a multi-ethnic area, and

21 co-existence was something that was valued. This has been the case

22 throughout history, and we could not support an idea according to which it

23 was necessary to establish divisions. At the time, those were my beliefs,

24 and I stand by those beliefs to this very day.

25 Q. Sir, let me direct your attention forward to a time in 1991. Did

Page 2682

1 you attend a meeting in Zagreb involving perhaps Mr. Tudjman and others to

2 discuss various policies and matters related to Bosnia and Herzegovina?

3 A. I only attended one meeting which was organised with the Bosnian

4 Croats, and I attended that meeting. That meeting was chaired by

5 Mr. Susak. Mr. Tudjman came at the end, just to say hello.

6 Q. And, sir, do you recall the approximate date of this meeting in

7 Zagreb?

8 A. It's difficult for me to remember the exact date now, but the

9 meeting might have been sometime in the summer.

10 Q. Of 1991.

11 A. Yes, 1991.

12 Q. And can you tell the Judges what was discussed at this meeting?

13 Well, first of all, can you tell us a bit more about how you came to be

14 actually invited to this meeting? What series of events led up to you

15 being invited to this meeting?

16 A. Well, a moment ago we were saying that our options were different

17 and that we had different views as to how the Croatian question in

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina ought to be solved.

19 Q. Yes, but tell me more about how you actually came to be invited to

20 this meeting.

21 A. Well, unfortunately, I was left out of an invitation to a meeting

22 of a group of Croatian leaders which was in Herzegovina, and then

23 subsequently they sent out an invitation and asked me to attend the

24 Bosnian group which had rallied in Zagreb one week later.

25 Q. Did you talk to Mr. Kljujic about these events and the scheduling

Page 2683

1 of the two meetings?

2 A. Yes, I did, because Mr. Kljujic attended that first meeting, and

3 he was surprised not to see me there, the meeting of the Herzegovina

4 Croats. And he objected and asked why I hadn't been invited, so they

5 invited me subsequently with the Bosnian group.

6 Q. During this conversation with Mr. Kljujic, did Mr. Kljujic tell

7 you about -- anything about another -- a second meeting that he had been

8 involved in after meeting with President Tudjman?

9 A. We didn't discuss that.

10 Q. And did you in fact then go to this second meeting, or the meeting

11 that you were invited to? Before that - sorry - were you given any

12 explanation to as to why -- did you ever ask him -- were you given any

13 explanation as to why you hadn't been invited to the first meeting?

14 A. Well, to Mr. Kljujic's reaction, the answer they gave him was that

15 they weren't able to find him -- find me. Sorry.

16 Q. And when you say Mr. Kljujic's reaction, they gave him -- "the

17 answer they gave him," who gave him that answer? Who is the "they"?

18 A. The representatives of the Herzegovacka group [phoen] who

19 organised the meeting in Zagreb. I think it was Mr. Maric who took it

20 upon himself to organise the meeting and to go to Zagreb.

21 Q. Do you recall or had you done anything during that time to make

22 yourself unavailable at this earlier time, during the first meeting that

23 you were not included in?

24 A. Well, not that I was unavailable. I assume - I can't be sure -

25 that they wanted to avoid me coming to Zagreb.

Page 2684

1 Q. Why would they want to avoid you, sir?

2 A. Well, we were talking about a moment ago and saying that in fact

3 my position and my attitude that Mostar must remain a multi-ethnic town,

4 that we should build it up that way, did not suit people who didn't think

5 like me.

6 Q. Now, when you did go to the second meeting, the one apparently you

7 said chaired by Mr. Susak, with President Tudjman coming in toward the

8 end, what was the nature or the topic of discussions -- excuse me, the

9 topics of discussion at that meeting?

10 A. Very serious topics, because it was already a period when a bloody

11 war was raging in Croatia, and we were almost certain that the same thing

12 awaited the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So it was under those

13 circumstances that we expected something to happen or, rather, that was

14 already going on in Croatia, because we understood the very grave

15 situation we were faced with, and an answer was being sought to the

16 question of how to protect Croatian citizens in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

17 Q. Did you make any proposal at that meeting about the creation of

18 something called a Community of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

19 A. No. Unfortunately, in my statement which was presented here, it

20 says that I said that I proposed that, but in fact what I said is this: I

21 said I supported it. I supported the idea of creating a Croatian

22 Community of Herceg-Bosna. I think that was a mistake in the translation.

23 Q. And what was your idea of this community that you supported at

24 that time? Would it be a -- would it have a government, or what was the

25 nature of this community association that you gave your support to?

Page 2685

1 A. Well, not a government or any separate organisation. Quite

2 simply, the Croats lived and still live today, unfortunately, dispersed

3 all over Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this great dispersion of the population

4 broke up a necessary continuity and communication among the Croats of

5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that is why we sought a solution. We looked into

6 the ways and means of solving certain vital issues for survival of the

7 Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I thought that that would be the best

8 solution, given the situation that we were facing.

9 Q. And were any concrete resolutions reached at this meeting in terms

10 of what would actually be done, what steps would be taken to accomplish

11 this?

12 A. No. As I have already repeated here and in my statement, too,

13 they were consultations that were held, and altogether we sought the best

14 solutions. And after the meeting, we were given the assignment of going

15 to implement the conclusions, and it was the duty and obligation of all

16 people that attended the meeting and anybody else who could help them in

17 implementing the decisions taken.

18 Q. Did you, sir, subsequently to this time attend a meeting in Grude

19 on about the 12th of November, 1991?

20 A. Yes, I did. And that was a meeting held to see how to give shape

21 to the solutions that we had agreed upon in Sarajevo.

22 MR. SCOTT: Could I ask the witness to be shown Exhibit P 00071.

23 Q. Can you see the document, sir?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Can you tell us what that document is, and does this relate to the

Page 2686

1 meeting that you just mentioned a moment ago on the 12th of November,

2 1991?

3 A. Yes, it does relate to that subject matter.

4 Q. Now, if I can ask -- direct your attention to the last page of

5 that document, which is a list of -- a page of signatures. And if you

6 have that, sir, if you can look at number 22. Is that your name and your

7 handwriting?

8 A. Yes, that is my name and my handwriting.

9 Q. Looking at that document, sir, if you look at the number --

10 signature number 1 or name number 1, can you tell us whose name that

11 appears to be? I direct your attention in particular out to the far right

12 end of that line.

13 A. Yes. That's Mate Boban.

14 Q. Just a couple of others by example. Number 14 is Dario Kordic?

15 A. Dario Kordic.

16 Q. And can you assist us, please, with who signed at number 18?

17 A. Topic.

18 Q. Now, when you look -- keeping that page in mind, sir, when you

19 signed that as number 22, when you signed that document, did you

20 understand that you were signing a document in the sense of giving your

21 endorsement or approval to something that had been said before this, or

22 what was your understanding of the document, of the page of which you put

23 your signature?

24 A. No. I think the matter is quite clear. At our meeting, which was

25 held quite late, the first thing we did was to write down the names of all

Page 2687

1 those present and sign that, give our signatures. Now, when discussing

2 how to define the conclusions that we had been preparing, well, there was

3 a long discussion about that, and it was said that we would give our

4 conclusions subsequently.

5 Q. And when did you first learn that something called "Conclusions"

6 had been apparently typed up and circulated or publicised?

7 A. Mr. Kljujic called me up the next day and asked me how I had

8 agreed to that kind of statement and to putting my signature to that kind

9 of thing. I was surprised and denied that my signature was placed after a

10 statement that had been read out which was attached to our signatures.

11 Q. Now, with that in mind, if I can direct your attention, with the

12 registry's assistance, back to the first page of the document and the

13 section that's numbered paragraph number 1.

14 First of all, sir, when you look at that, you see there are

15 references to two meetings in Zagreb, one on the 13th and one on the 20th

16 of June, 1991. Do you see that, sir?

17 A. Yes. That's okay.

18 Q. And does that assist you in putting a date on the meeting that you

19 told us about a few moments ago when you attended the meeting chaired by

20 Mr. Susak in Zagreb?

21 A. It says the 20th of June -- of -- yes, June, 1991.

22 Q. I'm not asking what it says so much, sir, but I'm saying does that

23 assist you in putting the date on the meeting that you attended in Zagreb

24 that you told us about a few minutes ago?

25 A. I think that's the right date.

Page 2688

1 Q. Now, let me direct your attention to the end of that paragraph,

2 that same paragraph in which the dates are mentioned, and it contains this

3 language: "These two regional communities have jointly and unanimously

4 decided that the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina must finally

5 carry out a decisive and active policy which should lead to the

6 realisation of our centuries old dream, a joint Croatian state."

7 Now, sir, going back to what you were saying a few moments ago,

8 did you -- had you endorsed and did you agree with that statement? Was

9 that your position, your personal position?

10 A. No.

11 Q. If I can direct your attention to paragraph numbered 2. Do you

12 also recall whether or not in this meeting there was discussion -- parts

13 of the leadership of the HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina which held a

14 different view, if you will?

15 A. Yes, absolutely. That was quite obvious. A different approach to

16 many who had taken part in the creation of decisions that were to govern

17 the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina later on.

18 Q. Concerning the persons being referenced in paragraph number 2, did

19 that include Mr. Kljujic?

20 A. Yes, Mr. Kljujic, and, I'll tell you, me too; yours truly.

21 Q. Sir, it was -- I think the evidence will show and there will

22 probably not be any dispute that about six days later, on the 18th of

23 November, 1991, the existence of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna

24 was declared. And did you attend the meeting at which that happened?

25 A. No, I did not.

Page 2689

1 Q. To your knowledge did Mr. Kljujic attend the meeting where the

2 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was declared?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Do you have any idea how it was that the -- how the particular

5 individuals that came to that meeting -- that did attend that meeting, how

6 they came to be invited or included whereas others were not?

7 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I object to the form of the question.

8 Simply because someone didn't attend does not mean that he wasn't invited,

9 and I think the question assumes a fact not in evidence.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Scott, would you

11 restate that.


13 Q. Well, sir, I'll ask you only if you have some information that can

14 assist us. Did you -- did you learn at the time or did you have any

15 understanding as to how it was that some people attended the meeting --

16 this particular meeting on the 18th of November, and those like Mr.

17 Kljujic and yourself who did not?

18 A. Well, I think -- I don't think they invited me, because I said

19 quite clearly that I didn't agree with that kind of conclusion and those

20 decisions and that Mr. Kljujic said the same thing.

21 Q. Can you tell the -- you mentioned this earlier, but can you tell

22 the Judges any more now about whether Mr. Kljujic was removed or withdrew

23 from the party Presidency around this time or following the declaration of

24 the existence of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?

25 A. I think that would be right, yes.

Page 2690

1 Q. And do you know from conversations or from your relationship with

2 Mr. Kljujic why he either was removed or took himself out of that position

3 at that time?

4 MR. KARNAVAS: Again I'm going to object. First we need a

5 clarification. Was he -- did he withdraw or was he removed? There are

6 two different concepts there. Then he can answer the following question.

7 But I think it's -- I don't want to say misleading, but it's confusing

8 later on when we try to figure out what exactly happened to Mr. Kljujic

9 based on this gentleman's understanding and memory, and of course his

10 prior statement that we all know what he said.

11 MR. SCOTT: I'll be happy, Your Honour, to rephrase it.

12 Q. Mr. Gagro, can you tell us your understanding of when Mr. Kljujic

13 ceased being actively -- at least actively the president of the HDZ party

14 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Do you know how that came about in general

15 terms? That is, was he fired by someone? Was he discharged? Did he

16 essentially withdraw himself from the position, or can you assist the

17 Judges in how that happened?

18 A. Yes. Well, everything culminated, the disagreements between Grude

19 and Sarajevo, and this was resolved by calling an expanded session of the

20 board of the Croatian Democratic Union, and that meeting, according to

21 Kljujic's interpretation, he said he didn't convene that. As party

22 president, he was the only one in the proper place to do so. But anyway,

23 he did go to the meeting, but although he was there physically, he didn't

24 want to chair the meeting or make the opening address, and that's when

25 they ran up against a serious problem of finding who was best placed to

Page 2691

1 declare the meeting open and present the agenda. A solution was found,

2 and the host, the president of the Municipal Assembly of Siroki Brijeg,

3 went up to the rostrum and invited Mr. Kljujic and Mr. Boban to take their

4 seats as the president and vice-president of the party. Both men agreed,

5 and they sat down to the table and the discussion began.

6 After that, Mr. Maric, from Grude, asked to take the floor, and in

7 his presentation he hurled a number of accusations and made a number

8 insinuations against Mr. Kljujic, who couldn't stand hearing this and

9 listening to it, and demonstrably got up and said, "No. I am going to

10 resign," and he left the meeting. So that is how Mr. Kljujic, declaring

11 his own will and in an angry tone to demonstrate his dissatisfaction, left

12 the meeting, which in my view, was the aim of the gentleman from Grude.

13 They wanted to provoke him so that he took precisely that step.

14 Q. All right. Sir, just before we get too much further along, just

15 so the record is clear, a moment ago you said, looking back at page 21,

16 around line 11, "... invited Mr. Kljujic and Mr. Boban to take their seats

17 as the president and vice-president..." Is it correct, sir, that at this

18 time Mr. Kljujic, as you've already indicated, was the party president and

19 Mr. Boban was the vice-president?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And, sir, I failed to ask you a moment ago when I asked you who

22 attended the meeting on the 18th of November, 1991, where the Croatian

23 Community of Herceg-Bosna was declared, I asked you if Mr. Kljujic

24 attended that meeting. You said no. I didn't -- I failed to ask you, do

25 you know whether Mr. Kljujic supported the establishment of the Croatian

Page 2692

1 Community of Herceg-Bosna as declared on the 18th of November?

2 A. Well, I can't say. I can't give you a yes or a no answer.

3 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, once Mr. Kljujic had taken this

4 step of indicating that he was willing to resign, was anyone named at that

5 time to replace Mr. Kljujic?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Did there come a time when someone named Milenko Brkic was named

8 or put in the position, at least, as acting president of the party?

9 A. No. In fact, he did not attend the meeting.

10 Q. Sorry, not president -- perhaps I misspoke. Not president of the

11 meeting, not presiding officer at the meeting, but in terms of the

12 political party of HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was Mr. Brkic subsequently

13 selected in some fashion to be acting president in place of Mr. Kljujic?

14 A. No. He was never even considered for the position.

15 Q. Do you know who took the position after Mr. Kljujic?

16 A. Yes. For a long time there was a vacuum in this process, and

17 eventually Professor Milenko Brkic was nominated, and he accepted to be

18 nominated. I believe that this was about a month or two after that

19 meeting.

20 Q. And do you know how long Mr. Brkic remained in that position,

21 approximately?

22 A. Three to four months.

23 Q. And do you know who followed Mr. Brkic as party president of the

24 HDZ-BiH?

25 A. I believe that Mr. Kordic assumed that position.

Page 2693

1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: There is a little break, it seems. There is one

2 point that I don't know whether I misunderstood or missed something. Did

3 you, Mr. Gagro, attend that meeting which Kljujic left? Were you there?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did attend it. I was there.

5 Actually, I was his host. He first came to Mostar to complain to me, then

6 I escorted him to that meeting, but he didn't say good-bye to me when he

7 left.


9 Q. Now, going to a different topic, sir. The city of Mostar, in your

10 -- in these various meetings and your involvement with the HDZ, do you

11 know that when the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was declared Mostar

12 was declared as the capital of Herceg-Bosna?

13 A. I think that it was.

14 Q. And do you recall any meetings with any other political officials

15 and anyone from the Serb side, if you will, the Serb ethnic group, who

16 ever expressed a view to you about Mostar being the Croatian capital?

17 A. Well, yes. This was already a stage when roadblocks were being

18 erected. Everyone was showing their force and demonstrating their

19 dissatisfaction, and whenever people wished to sever communications, I

20 wrote, they did so very easily according to the fashion of the so-called

21 log revolution. So such an untenable state with such roadblocks featuring

22 required a solution. Mr. Koljevic came to visit us in Mostar,

23 Mr. Koljevic, a representative of the Serbs on behalf of Mr. Karadzic, and

24 so we tried to find a way out of this situation.

25 Q. Can I just ask if you know what Mr. Koljevic's position -- you

Page 2694

1 said he represented Mr. Karadzic. Do you know what Mr. Koljevic's

2 position was at that time?

3 A. That is a difficult question. I cannot answer that question.

4 Q. All right. Go ahead, though, with your answer. I apologise for

5 interrupting you. What did Mr. Koljevic say about this?

6 A. As a matter of fact, the situation generally required us to find a

7 final solution to put an end to the agony which had befallen

8 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We sought to find such solutions as would be

9 satisfactory for all the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina without a

10 conflict erupting, and at a certain point he said, "Well, here, look here,

11 we Serbs are really for Mostar to be in Croatia."

12 Q. And do you recall approximately when this meeting occurred or this

13 conversation occurred with Mr. Koljevic?

14 A. Well, it might have taken place in November or December. We were

15 deep into autumn, I remember.

16 Q. And which year, sir?

17 A. It was 1991. It was 1991. The Titograd Uzice Corps had already

18 been -- was already present in Mostar at that time.

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise for

21 interrupting you, but there is an error in the transcript, so can we

22 please clarify this. It's line 24 -- page 24, line 19. The witness said

23 that Koljevic told him that the Serbs agreed for Mostar to be a Croatian

24 town, whereas the transcript says that they agreed -- that the Serbs

25 agreed that Mostar should be in Croatia, in the State of Croatia instead

Page 2695

1 of saying that it be Croatian. There's a significance difference there.

2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Could you perhaps clarify

3 that.

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're asking me? What he said was

5 that the Serbs didn't have anything against Mostar being Croatian. And

6 let me add to that the Croats -- the Croatian centre.


8 Q. Sir, by the time we get to this point, you've just said this was

9 approximately in November, December, 1991, had JNA and the Serb forces

10 come into the Mostar area in a substantial way in approximately September,

11 1991?

12 A. Yes. They came on the 19th of September in 1991, under the

13 designation the Titograd Uzice Corps. Replying to our question why they

14 were there, they said they were there to prevent inter-ethnic conflicts in

15 Mostar.

16 Q. And by the time we get into approximately March of 1992, what

17 positions did the Serbs hold or the JNA hold in the Mostar area?

18 A. 1993, you said?

19 Q. I'm sorry. In the spring or late winter, spring of 1992; March,

20 April of 1992, what positions or line did they hold in the Mostar area?

21 A. If you let me explain the real reason for the arrival of this

22 corps, then I'd have to say this: Slovenia had already gone through the

23 conflicts in Slovenia, whereas a bloody war was raging in Croatia. All

24 the forces of the JNA could pull out from Slovenia and partly from

25 Croatia. It did not withdraw to Serbia and Montenegro but actually

Page 2696

1 deployed them in their locations around Mostar. They had elaborated a

2 definite tactic as to how to secure their positions, and most tragically,

3 from those positions they heavily shelled Croatia as well. So that the

4 reaction of the local populace was to actually consider them an occupying

5 force and an enemy that was actually tearing -- razing to the ground

6 Croatian soil. And that is the source of this conflict which later then

7 escalated into this horrendous tragedy that we had to go through.

8 First, initially they sought to defend their airports and their

9 barracks on a wide front, but as matters developed or, rather, escalated

10 in the negative direction, they kept spreading so that they actually

11 oversaw the positions towards Citluk, towards Siroki Brijeg, towards

12 Zitomislici, and other parts around Mostar, so they had control of that

13 area. We were already then under a complete blockade and the only road

14 allowing for an exit from the city was in the direction of --

15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the toponym.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This actually sowed an enormous

17 degree of discord amongst the ethnic communities in Mostar.

18 MR. SCOTT: I note the interpreter is having some difficulty, and

19 one of Mr. Gagro's microphones is not on, it appears. Maybe if someone

20 could assist him. There it is.

21 Q. All right. Now, during this time, sir, the Serbs, the JNA forces

22 being in Herzegovina, sometime during that period was something called the

23 Mostar Crisis Staff created?

24 A. Yes, it was. According to the statute of the Municipal Assembly

25 of Mostar, in the event of the imminent threat of war and when legal

Page 2697

1 authorities are unable to properly function, all the powers of the legal

2 authorities are then vested into a single organisation, a single house, as

3 it were, which is to say they are rallied within a Crisis Staff which then

4 decides on all spheres of life and activity.

5 Q. And can you tell the Judges approximately, sir, when the Crisis

6 Staff was established in Mostar of which you were a part?

7 A. I believe that it was already sometime mid-March that we had to

8 relocate ourselves, to withdraw from our civilian work posts into an

9 atomic shelter which ensured the security of the operation of our Crisis

10 Staff.

11 Q. And do you mark that time as the time when the Crisis Staff had

12 been established, or referring you to again, you said on the 19th of

13 September, I believe, is when the JNA -- 1991, is when the JNA came into

14 the Mostar region. Let me ask you again: Do you recall approximately

15 when the Crisis Staff was first established?

16 A. I believe that I recall the time more or less exactly. It might

17 have been a month before that or a month later. Perhaps it was in

18 February, but at any rate, it was after -- in late 1991 and early 1992

19 that matters culminated to such an extent that it was impossible to

20 normally live and work in Mostar.

21 Q. And how was the Crisis Staff, the Mostar Crisis Staff comprised?

22 Who made up this Crisis Staff? Not necessarily particular individuals,

23 although you're free to give names if you like, but how was it established

24 and what people, what positions were created?

25 A. The Crisis Staff had a number of staff. I don't know how -- on

Page 2698

1 what basis that was defined, but according to the positions as deputies,

2 the Croats got four places on the Crisis Staff, the Muslims three, and the

3 Serbs two places, and these vacancies were filled with such a number.

4 They were filled up on the principle of the participation, the share of

5 the individual respective parties in the Municipal Assembly.

6 Q. And what was your position on the Crisis Staff? Were you the head

7 of the staff?

8 A. Yes. I remained at the helm of the Crisis Staff.

9 Q. And can you tell the Judges, please, a little bit more about what

10 the function of the Crisis Staff was. What sort of activities or efforts

11 did the Crisis Staff engage in during this time?

12 A. In that chaotic situation, basically, and as far as realistically

13 possible, we strove to make the situation as painless for the people as

14 possible. As we saw that there were -- the destruction of the city lay in

15 store, the first task that we wanted to address was to get the sufficient

16 number of bags and to organise shelters in the housing units where the

17 people were living.

18 The second task that we carried out was to ensure regular supplies

19 of basic necessities for the populace.

20 And thirdly, also to ensure a semblance of peace, because under

21 such abnormal circumstances, of course, lawlessness was rife, and people

22 pursued their own selfish interests in such a context. So we tried to

23 carry out these duties through our individual activities, and it

24 functioned for a period of time. We were satisfied during that period to

25 have been able to actually properly deal with the major problems that we

Page 2699

1 were faced with.

2 Q. At the same time, did the Mostar Municipal Assembly, the body that

3 you had first been elected to in 1990, did the Municipal Assembly continue

4 to meet and function during this time?

5 A. No. I only know that there have been a plan to hold one meeting

6 of that Municipal Assembly, to convene it for a meeting, but since the

7 conditions did not permit, no such meeting was convened.

8 MR. SCOTT: Can I ask the registry to please display to the

9 witness and in the courtroom Exhibit P 00135.

10 We can stop now, Your Honour, or whichever.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll stop now and

12 we'll resume at five to four.

13 --- Recess taken at 3.37 p.m.

14 --- On resuming at 3.57 p.m.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Scott.


17 Q. Mr. Gagro, right before the break I was about to ask the registry

18 to please display to you Exhibit P 00135. Do you have that, sir?

19 A. Yes, I do. Yes. Yes. I see it well.

20 Q. And is this a document dated the 12th of March, 1992, by which you

21 called a meeting of the Mostar Municipal Assembly, calling a meeting for

22 the 16th of March, 1992?

23 A. Yes, it is, but obviously it lacks my signature. In fact, this

24 meeting was not held.

25 Q. The seal that is on the document, on the Croatian language

Page 2700

1 original, is that the -- that is the seal of your office, as far as you

2 can recognise it?

3 A. Yes, it is.

4 Q. In the agenda item number 2, the first item, you talk about

5 resigning of members of the Mostar municipality Executive Board. Is there

6 anything that you can remember and tell the Judges about what that was

7 about? What members were resigning and, if you recall, why?

8 A. Under the circumstances I described before: The SDS, the Serbs'

9 party, decided to recall its members from the Executive Board, so there

10 remained vacancies which they had occupied before, and we wanted to fill

11 those vacancies with other people, and that was to be discussed at the

12 Municipal Assembly session and a decision adopted on the matter.

13 Q. And let me ask you a similar question about the second item under

14 agenda item 2, resigning of chiefs of security service centres. What was

15 happening in that regard?

16 A. Also to fill the posts made vacant by people who had withdrawn.

17 But in fact, in this case their leadership asked them to withdraw from the

18 organs of authority of the city of Mostar, from the government of the city

19 of Mostar.

20 If you allow me, perhaps I could relate a detail that is of some

21 interest.

22 Savo Zimonjic was my vice-president on behalf of the SDS. Once he

23 told me that he had been invited to their staff, and they asked him,

24 "Savo, will you opt for them or for us?" Unfortunately, that was the

25 policy the SDS pursued in Mostar, and that was the manner in which these

Page 2701

1 people were recalled from the government organs in Mostar.

2 Q. Now, going back to the Crisis Staff, as opposed to the Municipal

3 Assembly which is reflected on this particular document, going back to the

4 points of view that we were discussing earlier this afternoon and the

5 difference between Mr. Kljujic on the one hand and Mr. Boban on the other,

6 can you tell the Judges whether the views of the Mostar Crisis Staff at

7 this time, that is in March, April, 1992, did they coincide more with your

8 views and Mr. Kljujic's views, or did they coincide with Mr. Boban's


10 A. They didn't coincide with Boban's views or with Kljujic's views.

11 We defined matters on the basis of our own ideas, on the basis of the

12 ideas we had with regard to how the town and our local commune should

13 function.

14 Q. Can you tell the Judges, around this time in April of 1992, was

15 the Croatian Defence Council, or HVO, established?

16 A. Could you specify the time you are referring to.

17 Q. April of 1992.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And can you recall, sir, approximately, just in general, how did

20 you become aware of the establishment of the HVO? How did its existence

21 first come to your attention?

22 A. We were in contact with people who were responsible for the

23 defence of the town. After some time had passed -- or, rather, first we

24 called our own defence forces the defence forces for the town of Mostar.

25 And then after some time had passed, after a short period of time, those

Page 2702

1 forces were renamed the HVO.

2 Q. Did you learn at some time that some structure had been

3 established that was similar to the Crisis Staff other than the military

4 forces as you just described them?

5 A. No.

6 MR. SCOTT: If I could ask the witness to please be shown Exhibit

7 P 00157.

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This previous document ...


10 Q. Sir, if you have that document, if I could direct your attention

11 to the -- I believe it would be the sixth paragraph of that document

12 starting with the words -- starting with the word "Reminding ..." If you

13 could please find that. Do you have that, sir?

14 A. Ah, yes.

15 Q. That paragraph states: "Reminding that at the time the term used

16 for such organisations was Crisis Staffs, Boban said that, 'Actually,

17 nothing new has been created. It is just the renaming of the former

18 Crisis Staffs, giving them a new adequate Croatian designation.'"

19 Were you informed any time around that time - that is the first

20 half of April 1992 - that the Mostar Crisis Staff, of which you were the

21 head, had been renamed the HVO?

22 A. No.

23 Q. I direct your attention next to Exhibit P 00180. If you have

24 that, sir, can you tell the Judges what that is as you understand it.

25 A. Given the undefined situation that Mostar was in, given the

Page 2703

1 ambiguous situation it was in, it was necessary to determine who the

2 aggressor was and who represented the defence, and this is a way in which

3 we wanted to determine the roles all the parties were playing. We wanted

4 to determine who the aggressor was if the defence was represented by the

5 defence forces of Mostar.

6 Q. And, sir, this is a document -- or a decision dated the 29th of

7 April, 1992. And if you will look at the version that you have in front

8 of you, does it bear your name and signature?

9 A. Yes. You can see it quite clearly.

10 Q. Can you tell us, when you signed this document about the 29th of

11 April, 1992, what did you understand the thrust of this document to be?

12 What did it -- what did it -- what powers or direction did it give to the

13 HVO armed forces?

14 A. Well, I think that the document is quite clear about the purpose

15 of this decision. We had been attacked, and we were looking for a way to

16 defend ourselves. All the forces that were available were forces that we

17 tried to avail ourselves of. We tried to organise them to defend Mostar,

18 which was in a very difficult position. In item I, we said that the

19 Yugoslav People's Army and other paramilitary formations acting together

20 with it were declared as enemy forces and an occupying formation in the

21 territory of the municipality of Mostar.

22 Q. When you say in section -- Article number II, "The Croat Defence

23 Council municipal headquarters Mostar," who did you understand to be or

24 how was that body comprised as of the 29th of April, 1992?

25 A. Well, the only forces that we had for the defence of the town.

Page 2704

1 Q. What did you understand about the continued role of the Mostar

2 Crisis Staff and the Mostar Municipal Assembly under this agreement or

3 decision?

4 A. The role was clearly defined. It was to defend the town and to

5 liberate the town from those who were attacking it.

6 Q. Let me restate my question, and listen, please. I'm not asking

7 now about the role of the HVO specifically. What was the role, the role

8 envisaged of the Mostar Crisis Staff and the Mostar Municipal Assembly

9 under this decision?

10 A. Well, I'll repeat this: They have two tasks; to prevent the

11 aggressor from taking control of Mostar and, if possible, to expel these

12 forces from Mostar, to liberate the town. So the aggressor was to be

13 driven out of Mostar, and this was the exclusive military task of the

14 military formation that we had in the town of Mostar.

15 Q. Did this decision remove the Mostar Municipal Assembly and remove

16 the Mostar Crisis Staff from the civilian or executive administrative

17 authority in Mostar?

18 A. Do you mean did we quite simply extinguish ourselves? No, we

19 didn't.

20 Q. Well, let me -- let me give you a specific example. If I can

21 direct your attention to -- excuse me -- Article number VII. If you'll

22 find that, please. And in the first sentence of Article VII, it says

23 that: "The HVO shall coordinate with the municipal Crisis Staff." How

24 were you going -- how was the municipal Crisis Staff, the Mostar Crisis

25 Staff, going to coordinate with the HVO?

Page 2705

1 A. Well, we had to approve their activities. They couldn't act

2 without being subject to the control of the civilian authorities. They

3 had to be subordinated to the civilian authorities, whatever form these

4 authorities took. At the time, it was the Crisis Staff of the Mostar

5 Municipal Assembly.

6 Q. If I can ask you to look at the second sentence of Article VII:

7 "The questions of common interest shall be resolved at joint sessions of

8 the Crisis headquarters of the Assembly and the Croat Defence Council."

9 Do you recall any time in April or May, 1992, sir, when there was any

10 joint session of the Mostar Crisis Staff or Municipal Assembly and the

11 HVO?

12 A. No.

13 Q. On Article VIII, if I can direct your attention to Article VIII,

14 please. It indicates that: "The Crisis headquarters -- or Crisis Staff

15 of the municipality of Mostar shall establish as soon as possible the

16 temporary Executive Council, which will ensure the functioning of the

17 government bodies."

18 Did the -- either the Municipal Assembly or the Mostar Crisis

19 Staff ever have an opportunity to establish these executive government

20 bodies following this decision on the 29th of April, 1992?

21 A. That was what we ardently desired. We wanted to return to some

22 kind of a normal life, but everything escalated and we were unable to

23 establish some sort of departments that would function as -- or, rather,

24 represent the civilian local authorities.

25 Q. Sir, you told us a few minutes ago that the Serb members of these

Page 2706

1 bodies had been resigning or withdrawing from these bodies as of the end

2 of April, early part of May, 1992. Were the Muslim members, the Muslim

3 representatives on these bodies still participating in these bodies at

4 that time?

5 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me. There's just -- I think there's a need

6 to put a more precise question to the witness when he talks about

7 "bodies." "Bodies" has a wide meaning. Is he referring to departments,

8 or is he referring to an Assembly? Because we have a Crisis Staff of the

9 Assembly, of the Municipal Assembly, not to be confused with Crisis Staff

10 and Municipal Assembly and now we're talking about "bodies." So perhaps

11 we could have a more precise question so the witness can precisely give us

12 his answer. Thank you.

13 MR. SCOTT: Very well.

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Scott, please put

15 precise questions to the witness.


17 Q. Mr. Gagro, at the time of this decision, which is dated and signed

18 by you about the 29th of April, 1992, were there still active members of

19 the Mostar Municipal Assembly who were Muslim?

20 A. Are you referring to the Crisis Staff? Could you please clarify

21 this for me.

22 Q. My question was the Mostar Municipal Assembly. If it will assist

23 you, perhaps you can direct your attention back to -- if I can have the

24 usher's assistance to direct the witness to Exhibit P 00135.

25 Do you have that document, sir? You have it, sir?

Page 2707

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, can you tell us, when you called this meeting -- when you

3 sent this invitation for a meeting on the 12th of March, 1992, did some of

4 the people that you invited include Muslims?

5 A. I think one has to say that the meeting wasn't held. We invited

6 all those from the valid list of Assembly members. I don't know who was

7 present, who could have responded to the invitation, et cetera, because

8 this session was simply not held.

9 Q. Sir, my question was not whether the session was held. You sent

10 an invitation. You sent a call to a meeting. Did your call to the

11 meeting including the Muslim members of the Municipal Assembly?

12 A. It was -- they were -- invitations were sent out to all the

13 members. No one was forgotten. No Serbs, no Muslims, no Croats were

14 forgotten, nor was anyone else who participated in the town Assembly. So

15 a hundred invitations were sent out to the addresses of the members of the

16 Assembly, the addresses that had been registered.

17 Q. Now, let me go -- direct your attention now specifically to the

18 Mostar Crisis Staff. As of late April, 1992, and May, 1992, did the

19 Mostar Crisis Staff at that time still include among its membership

20 persons who were Muslim?

21 A. Yes. They remained in the Crisis Staff until the end and they

22 took part in the Crisis Staff's activities.

23 Q. Can I direct your attention, please, to Exhibit P 00190. Do you

24 have that, sir?

25 A. Yes.

Page 2708

1 Q. Did you learn around this time, the 7th of May, 1992, that the HVO

2 had formed something called the Special Purpose Council of the Mostar

3 Municipal Staff?

4 A. I can see that it says "Confidential" here, but I've never seen

5 this document before.

6 Q. Did you understand that some other body had been set up to take

7 the place of the Mostar Crisis Staff as of early May, 1992?

8 A. No one informed us of the existence of such a new body that would

9 take over the role of the Crisis Staff.

10 Q. Perhaps you can assist us with this, sir: If this body was going

11 to be involved in governing or administering Mostar, how could it be that

12 its composition would remain confidential?

13 A. I really don't know. Perhaps there was a communications problem.

14 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I

15 think that the witness has said he's never seen this document before, and

16 I therefore think that there is no purpose if one tries to discuss the

17 document now.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Scott, the witness

19 can't recognise this document. He's told us that this is the first time

20 he's seen it.

21 MR. SCOTT: My question wasn't about the document any longer.

22 What the witness said was he was never informed of there being some other

23 body set up to essentially fulfil the role of the Crisis Staff, and my

24 question is simply: How could such a governing body function if it

25 remained confidential? It's nothing to do with whether he's seen this

Page 2709

1 document or not.

2 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, Your Honour, I'm going to object to the form

3 of the question. I didn't object earlier but, again, there is some sort

4 of a suggestion, it assumes a fact not in evidence that this body actually

5 supplanted the Crisis Staff. And I guess if we would just go back to a

6 traditional way of doing direct examination: Who, what, where, why, how,

7 and explain, we won't run into those problems. But I think that the

8 question, the way it's phrased, it assumes a fact not in evidence that

9 somehow this document demonstrates that a body was set up to supplant the

10 Crisis Staff. I don't see that from the document, but I think the

11 gentleman should be asked questions if in fact something happened to the

12 Crisis Staff, and he can tell us, he can give a narrative.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll put the question to the

14 witness myself.

15 Sir, the Prosecution has shown you document P 190, according to

16 which the HVO established a different body. Initially you said that you

17 were completely ignorant of the establishment of such a body, or

18 completely unaware of such a body. With regard to the Defence's

19 objection, how could you explain the fact that a different structure, a

20 different body was created behind your back without your being aware of

21 it? If you have just found out about this today, what could you tell us

22 about the matter to provide us with an explanation? How would you have

23 experienced such a thing at the time?

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, reading through some of the

25 tasks that have been listed here, I could say that these tasks could have

Page 2710

1 been of assistance to the town's Crisis Staff. These tasks would have

2 been welcomed. And it's not something I would perceive as being something

3 done behind my back.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If this was to assist you, why

5 weren't you informed of the fact?

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's a problem I can't

7 solve. I can't answer that question. Why was it confidential? Why

8 wasn't the Crisis Staff informed of this fact? Why didn't the Crisis

9 Staff verify this decision?

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you don't see how one could

11 explain the fact that this body was not one that you were informed of, and

12 the members of the Crisis Staff were simply not informed of the existence

13 of this body, although you said that it was for a good cause.

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I can't provide an explanation.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, please proceed.

16 MR. SCOTT: If I can ask the witness to be shown next Exhibit

17 P 00199.

18 Q. Sir, is this a document dated the 10th of May, 1992, by Mate Boban

19 and Janko Bobetko, appointing various people to the Mostar Crisis --

20 excuse me, Mostar Municipal Staff, I believe it's described here.

21 A. Well, obviously I never received this document either. And so

22 that is something that bypassed our control, obviously.

23 Q. Sir, you were still the democratically elected mayor of Mostar.

24 You were still, as Mr. President has just indicated, you were still the

25 head of the Mostar Crisis Staff. How could it be if this body was set up

Page 2711

1 without you knowing about it?

2 A. I really can't say. I have no answer to that.

3 Q. Looking at the second -- well, maybe on the first page of your

4 document, but looking at the names at the bottom of the document, did you

5 know that Janko Bobetko was a general or head of the Croatian army, the

6 Republic of Croatia army?

7 A. No. We never accepted that nor approved it, and as far as I'm

8 concerned, this is very disconcerting. I have no comment to make.

9 Q. Well, why would a general in the Croatian army be signing a

10 document appointing members of the Mostar Municipal Staff?

11 A. I really don't know.

12 MR. SCOTT: Could I ask that the witness please be shown

13 Exhibit --

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Before we go on

15 to look at the next exhibit, sir, let's imagine that the 10th of May,

16 1992, was the date when you learnt - you in your capacity of president of

17 the Crisis Staff - that a Croatian general was signing a document putting

18 into place a structure in the municipality of Mostar. What would you have

19 done if you had learnt about this on the 10th of May, 1992? What would

20 have been your reaction, and what would you have done, faced with that

21 situation?

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only thing that I could have

23 done was this: To ask for an explanation why and in what way this came

24 about, why this document was passed and why it was signed by the people

25 who signed it, who are the signatories at the bottom.

Page 2712

1 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, if you could direct the witness's --

2 to the attention that this is in regard to the Croatian Defence Council of

3 Mostar, not anything to do with the Crisis Staff. And I think that's an

4 important distinction that needs to be brought out during this discussion,

5 that that's what we're talking about, the Croatian Defence Council, and it

6 talks about the Mostar Municipal Staff of the Croatian Defence Council.

7 There is a distinction which is perhaps why the gentleman wasn't brought

8 into the picture, but perhaps some questions with respect to this might

9 help.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Scott, please

11 continue.


13 Q. Sir, just to follow up on counsel's question, as of this time in

14 late April, early May, 1992, we've talked this afternoon there was the

15 Mostar Municipal Assembly, that was a body that dated back to at least

16 1990; is that correct?

17 A. Are you asking me?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. The answer is yes, it did exist.

20 Q. And we've discussed this afternoon something called the Mostar

21 Crisis Staff, which I -- correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you've

22 indicated was established sometime after the JNA forces arrived in the

23 Mostar region on approximately the 19th of September, 1991. Is that

24 correct?

25 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't believe that's the answer to the question,

Page 2713

1 Your Honour. I don't believe the gentleman indicated that back in 1991

2 the Crisis Staff was established. So perhaps we can get a clear date from

3 the witness himself when it was established, because it's my understanding

4 that the Crisis Staff derives from the Municipal Assembly and that the

5 Assembly ceases to function as an Assembly once you have the Crisis Staff

6 in place. Because there is a crisis, hence you can't have a hundred

7 people managing the business of a municipality.

8 MR. SCOTT: I appreciate Mr. Karnavas's testimony, Your Honour,

9 but if the witness could assist us. I believe he indicated earlier this

10 afternoon that he could not put a precise date on it so I simply left it

11 as open-ended as I could because I think -- I believe the transcript will

12 show that it was sometime after the JNA forces arrived. If he can be more

13 precise, I'm happy for the witness to be more precise on when the Crisis

14 Staff was established.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Now, with respect to the

16 objection made by the Defence whether the Crisis Staff was substituted at

17 the Municipal Assembly or by the Municipal Assembly, did the Crisis Staff

18 replace the Municipal Assembly, in fact? You're nodding your head, but

19 let's hear your answer.

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it did. It took over the role,

21 the leading role. I've said that several times, but I'll repeat it again

22 since you insist: The Crisis Staff did take over the role.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in order to assure

24 Mr. Karnavas, when was that exactly? What date? What did the Crisis

25 Staff replace the Municipal Assembly in the traditional line of work it

Page 2714

1 did?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I hope I'll satisfy

3 Mr. Karnavas with my answer: Let me say the 15th of February.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Of what year?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1992.

6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We've clarified that

7 point now.

8 MR. SCOTT: With that clarification, sir -- let me ask that the

9 witness please be shown Exhibit P 00209.

10 Q. And as soon as you have that, sir, can you tell the Judges what

11 that document is, as far as you know.

12 A. Could you zoom in, please, so I can see it, see the whole

13 document. Or zoom out. Yes, I have seen this document. And this

14 document -- or, rather, it's an order from Mr. Jadran Topic where he is

15 relieving of duty the Crisis Staff of Mostar municipality.

16 Q. Did you have any information at the time, sir, that is in --

17 around the 15th of May, 1992, on what authority and on what legal basis

18 Mr. Topic, Jadran Topic, purported to dissolve the Mostar Crisis Staff?

19 A. I don't think there was any legal foundation.

20 Q. If I can direct your attention to paragraph numbered 3 under the

21 order. It says: "Until the government referred to in paragraph 2 of this

22 order is formed, the Special Purpose Council of the Mostar Municipal Staff

23 of the Croatian Defence Council shall administer the entire functioning of

24 the city and care for its citizens."

25 Now, with that in mind, could I please ask the registry to go back

Page 2715

1 and display Exhibit number P 00190.

2 My question to you now, sir, is we looked at this document

3 earlier, but when you received the order dated the 15th of May relieving

4 you and disbanding the Mostar Crisis Staff, did you understand that this

5 Special Purpose Council essentially took over your function?

6 A. I didn't know about this document. It was a confidential

7 document, the decision to establish the Special Purpose Council, that is.

8 And I didn't know that it would be taking over the task of the Crisis

9 Staff. I would have preferred it if they told me that loud and clear.

10 Q. Sir, can you tell the Judges in your own words, why do you

11 understand or believe that you were removed as the mayor of Mostar?

12 A. Well, probably there were people who were far more capable of

13 doing the job, of taking over the function of managing the town than I

14 was, in the position I was in.

15 Q. Did anyone tell you that, sir? Did anyone come and meet with you

16 and tell you that you were being relieved on that basis?

17 A. Unfortunately, no, they didn't. It might have been better if they

18 had the wisdom to come and tell me and say, "Thank you for your work so

19 far, but as of today we're going to appoint somebody else to replace you."

20 But they didn't do that. They didn't make that human gesture, which I

21 might have accepted as an elegant gesture and a solution that we would all

22 agree to.

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but on the 15th of May we

24 have this decision which you have in front of you, which you're looking

25 at, and I assume that you had an office in the mayor's building, you had a

Page 2716

1 secretary, you had a telephone. On the 16th of May you were in your

2 office. On the 17th and 18th of May -- or did they prevent you from going

3 to your office and replace you? You can tell us exactly what happened

4 after the 15th of May. Did you stay at home? What did you do? Did you

5 go to your office? What?

6 A. Not only that, we were all there together in a very nice office,

7 very nice premises which used to be the rectorate of the university in

8 Mostar, and we used it during that period as a place from which the Crisis

9 Staff functioned so that, up until this decision was taken, we worked

10 quite normally in that premises. Without any warning whatsoever, I came

11 to the door that morning, the door was locked, and I was told that we no

12 longer had access to the building. And that's how the role of the Crisis

13 Staff ended; very abruptly. And after that I stayed at home.

14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but at the time there was

15 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was there not?

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You didn't inform Sarajevo, the

18 authorities, of what had happened in Mostar?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, as to communication

20 with Sarajevo, communicating with Sarajevo, I had to go to the radio hams

21 if I wanted to communicate with Sarajevo and tell them that I was alive

22 and well. Everything else was down. All the other communication systems

23 were down.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in Mostar on the 15th of

25 May, 1992, were there any representatives of international organisations

Page 2717

1 such as the international press, foreign journalists? Did you have the

2 possibility of alerting the international community in any way of what was

3 happening?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, at that time point in

5 time, no. No communication whatsoever. No visits. Before there were the

6 heavy clashes and the whole town was aflame, I don't know whether you can

7 imagine what the atmosphere was like. But never mind. Let me try and go

8 back to that period of time. I'm not going to go back to that period time

9 because I find it difficult to talk about it.

10 Anyway, all attempts in any way did not bear fruit. They weren't

11 considered to be reasonable, because everybody in their own heads had

12 their own concept for a solution, and everyone tried to impose his own

13 solution as being the best. Some people put the carrot before the donkey,

14 others resorted to the stick. But whatever the situation, it was a

15 chaotic situation, a nightmare, and you didn't have any way of doing

16 anything to deal with it.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Scott, please

18 continue.


20 Q. Just to follow up on the President's question, did you have on any

21 occasion, either shortly or any time after your removal, to communicate

22 this information to Mr. Kljujic or to any other senior party officials in

23 the HDZ-BiH?

24 A. Everything was quite clear after the decision. Everybody knew

25 what had happened in Mostar and how the situation was transformed

Page 2718

1 overnight. And I have to add that the Bosniak side had nothing against

2 doing things differently than they had been functioning -- than the way

3 they had been functioning. And later on -- or one year later they had

4 some provisional government which functioned in one way or another.

5 MR. SCOTT: Let me ask the witness be shown Exhibit P 00219.

6 Q. And as soon as you have that, sir, let me ask you did you see that

7 document around this time, involving the establishment of various

8 departments of the HVO municipal government?

9 A. Well, I have to say that when they shut the door in my face, shut

10 the door to my office, I made no further attempts to deal with the problem

11 that was a continuous one. And I might have even felt relieved of the

12 heavy burden that I otherwise felt my job to involve.

13 Q. Very well. Can I ask your -- excuse me.

14 MR. SCOTT: Can I ask the registry to show you now Exhibit P

15 00221.

16 Q. I would ask you, sir, first of all, again, did you around this

17 time have the opportunity to see the appointment of various individuals to

18 the positions in the HVO municipal government?

19 A. No, I haven't seen this document.

20 Q. I'll nonetheless direct your attention to it for a moment, sir.

21 Is it correct that, looking at this document, the person listed as number

22 3, Mumin Isic, was a Muslim?

23 A. Yes. He's a Bosniak today.

24 Q. And person number -- the person listed as number 5, Senad Kazazic,

25 is that person a Muslim, or a Bosniak by today's terminology?

Page 2719

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Sejo Maslo, number 6, also a Muslim of Bosnia?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Number 8, Hamdija Jahic, also a Muslim or a Bosniak?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And Mr. Jaganjac, person listed as 12, a Muslim; correct?

7 A. Well, he's not from Mostar, but I have met him so I can say that

8 he's a Bosniak, too, yes, a Muslim.

9 Q. Now, of these five Muslims that are listed on this document

10 P 00221, had any of those Muslims been Muslims that were on the Mostar

11 Crisis Staff at the time that it was disbanded?

12 A. No.

13 Q. In connection, then, with the implementation of these various

14 decisions --

15 A. Just a moment. I have to correct myself. I do apologise. I made

16 a mistake. I don't know whether Viktor Stojkic was. I'm not quite sure.

17 So it's possible that Viktor Stojkic was involved in the Crisis Staff.

18 Not directly as a member of the Crisis Staff but in the name of the

19 police, as a participant in the functioning of the Crisis Staff.

20 Q. Is Mr. Stojkic a Muslim or Croat?

21 A. Ah, yes. You were referring to Muslims. I do apologise. Well,

22 it's my mistake again.

23 Q. Sir, in reference to the 20 -- the decision dated the 29th of

24 April, 1992, and the decision by Mr. Topic on the 15th of May, 1992,

25 disbanding the Mostar Crisis Staff, can you tell us during these events

Page 2720

1 what role, if any, the HVO military police played.

2 A. We didn't have that notion and concept in our communications. The

3 military police was something that we did not hear of at that point in

4 time. All I can say is this: According to the principles in crisis

5 situations, the regular police force and its structures would activate

6 their reserve force, and they would join the existing police structures

7 and then work together in unison as such.

8 Q. Prior to the time that it was disbanded, did the Mostar Crisis

9 Staff have anything called military police?

10 A. No.

11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You didn't have any military

12 police, but did you have any authority over the civilian police?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. And the gentleman that I

14 mentioned a moment ago was the head of the military police.

15 MR. SCOTT: I'm sorry, I think there may have been an error.

16 Q. The head of the military police or the head of the civilian

17 police, Mr. Gagro? The transcript says the person you mentioned a moment

18 ago was the head of the military police.

19 A. No. He was the head of the police of Mostar in peacetime, and as

20 such he was -- he became a member of the Crisis Staff to deal with

21 internal affairs.

22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But with your permission, I'd

23 like to go back to the 15th of May. You discovered that your office was

24 closed, the key was taken away. Why didn't you go and see the civilian

25 police to ask them to help you in the situation? Now you're smiling. Is

Page 2721

1 that because that was impossible, because the head of the civilian police

2 would have been on the opposite side, on the other side? Is that it?

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, but because that representative

4 of the police force was with me in that same office. So I had no need to

5 call him up. He was already there, and he understood the whole situation,

6 but quite obviously his authority wasn't strong enough to change anything.

7 He couldn't change matters that were defined by that decision.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, please proceed.


10 Q. And just so the record is clear, sir, the person that you've been

11 referring to in the last few minutes as the head of the civilian police,

12 that was Viktor Stojkic; is that correct?

13 A. That's right, yes.

14 MR. SCOTT: Now, unless any of the Judges have any questions on

15 this particular series of questions, I'm moving forward to another topic.

16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. I would like to know a bit more precisely

17 what your reaction to this situation is. Obviously now there is a long

18 temporal distance. You are telling us this with a voice as if it was an

19 operetta, but I suppose it was not. Did you expect this to happen? Did

20 you expect to find your office shut to you one day?

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it was highly probable.

22 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may be of assistance, Your Honour. If we can

23 go back and have the gentleman look at the preamble and maybe comment

24 based on the question that you just posed. The preamble - I have a clean

25 copy so he can read it if necessary - and perhaps that might help you with

Page 2722

1 further questions on this particular matter because I think he was never

2 given the opportunity to talk about the period which --

3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. This was in later May, and the decision,

4 the document we're talking about, has a preamble which refers to, I

5 quote: "The statutory decision on the establishment of temporary

6 executive power and administration in the territory of the HZ-BH, Croatian

7 Community of Herceg-Bosna, the president of the municipal HVO hereby

8 proposes the following decision." I wonder whether actually "proposes" is

9 a very adequate translation.

10 So were you aware that an alternative, concurrent executive power

11 had been established or declared or assumed or whatever you want to call

12 it?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I was not. I was not made aware

14 of the existence of any such document by way of any communication methods

15 nor was any hint of any such document made.

16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So you were then practically operating in May in

17 an informational vacuum. You didn't have an idea of what was happening.

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely no idea. As I said a

19 while ago, we were living a bit a chaotic situation which perhaps is hard

20 to imagine for people who did not experience that situation themselves.

21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So I still find it a bit difficult to visualise

22 this. You went, up to the 15th May, you went to your office and "governed

23 the city," where in fact there was no power left to you. Did you not

24 realise this, or did you not seriously attempt to govern the -- the

25 affairs of the town? Can you -- can you explain a bit.

Page 2723

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that you actually

2 comprehended this in the right way. We were aware of the fact that the

3 defence forces that were defending the city and seeking to organise life

4 in the city were not cooperating with the Crisis Staff, and that was the

5 result of the -- this decision of theirs which was presented here.

6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here you can see a person, a man

8 proposing his own self as candidate for president, nominating his own

9 self.

10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not quite clear to what you are referring

11 now.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you take a look at this decision,

13 it is signed by Mr. Jadran Topic, who actually nominated himself, under

14 number 1, as Jadran Topic, president.

15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.

16 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, just for a point of clarification, I

17 was referring to actually the decision of May 15th where there is an

18 extensive preamble. That's the -- that's the preamble that I believe if

19 the gentleman was to be -- to look at, not this document, but I believe

20 it's 209, where it has -- but the copy was illegible. That preamble sets

21 out exactly the chaotic situation, I believe. Perhaps he could comment at

22 this point, or we can clear it up on cross-examination, it doesn't matter.

23 It would have been the other document, May 15th.

24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have taken a lot of time now, and I suggest

25 that you take it up in cross.

Page 2724

1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.


3 Q. Sir, just for the record, for clarification on the record, in

4 reference to a question put by Judge Trechsel a moment ago, when you're

5 talking about Mr. Topic appointing -- or excuse me, proposing or

6 recommending himself as president, you're talking about Exhibit P 00221?

7 Do you still have that?


9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.


11 Q. Very well. Let me ask you this about Mr. Topic at this point:

12 How was it that Mr. Topic was put in this position as president of the

13 Mostar HVO? You were democratically elected in 1990. How was Mr. Topic

14 put in this position, as far as you know?

15 A. Where he was an alternative to me. So whenever people could not

16 -- when I couldn't see eye-to-eye to people and their stances, they would

17 resolve their matters and take up matters with him. He was always there

18 for them.

19 Q. Well, let me -- hopefully, perhaps it will be the last question on

20 this topic and we'll move forward, I know we've taken a lot of time, but

21 if the witness could be shown again Exhibit P 00119.

22 Did you learn around this time, sir, independent of the -- based

23 on the document or independent of the document - I only point the

24 courtroom to the document as a point of reference - did you learn around

25 this time that Jadranko Topic had been appointed the president of the

Page 2725

1 Mostar HVO by Mate Boban and Janko Bobetko? Did you learn that at the

2 time that you were still the mayor of Mostar?

3 A. No, I didn't.

4 Q. Moving on, then, sir, was it -- can you tell the Judges, was it in

5 approximately June of 1992 that the JNA and Serb forces left the Mostar --

6 at least, the city of Mostar and immediate surrounding area?

7 A. I'd rather say that they fled the area, not left. But when they

8 left, they withdrew to positions from which they could control the entire

9 city. These are high elevations all around it which are -- which

10 predominantly oversaw the zone of Nevesinje, which was -- which had a

11 majority Serbian -- Serb population.

12 Q. Sir, can you tell the Judges when the Serbs and the JNA forces

13 left the city of Mostar, was this done as a result of fighting, the taking

14 up of arms by the HVO, including the Muslims against them, or did they

15 depart the town, more or less depart -- as you said a moment ago, fled the

16 town?

17 A. I believe that they could feel the danger, and they were aware of

18 the fact that they could not remain on those positions, so that they

19 actually withdrew from those positions a bit willy and a bit nilly.

20 Q. Did you have any knowledge or information at the time that the

21 Serbs withdrew from the city of Mostar based on an agreement between the

22 Croats and Serbs as opposed to being forced out of Mostar by military

23 action?

24 A. No, I had no such information.

25 Q. Had you heard during this time period -- we're now again -- we've

Page 2726

1 been talking about April, May, of 1992. In your position as mayor of

2 Mostar, had you heard anything about the Graz Agreement?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Were you aware that the Croats and the Serbs had been engaged in

5 negotiations between themselves around this time? Did that come to your

6 attention?

7 A. No, it didn't.

8 Q. When the JNA forces left Mostar, the city of Mostar, what happened

9 to the Serb civilians in the city of Mostar?

10 A. They withdrew from Mostar for the most part. Some of the

11 intelligentsia from among the Serbs in Mostar remained in Mostar.

12 Q. Well, can you give the Judges some estimate, please, in terms of

13 the total Serb population in Mostar as of early June -- early, mid-June,

14 1992, what percentage of the Serb population left Mostar at that time?

15 A. I should, if you'll allow me, like to use this opportunity to

16 describe why Mostar was a multi-ethnic milieu. According to the 1990

17 census, 34 were Muslims, 33 were Croats, and 18 per cent were Serbs in

18 Mostar, and 15 per cent were the others. At the time of the conflict and

19 the withdrawal of the JNA, I suppose not more than 2 to 3 per cent of

20 Serbs remained in Mostar.

21 Q. Can you tell the Judges, please, what happened to the Serb

22 Orthodox cathedral or church in Mostar after the JNA forces left the city.

23 A. Regrettably, I myself witnessed this uncivilised act. It was

24 destroyed. First it was set on fire, and then, after an interval of a day

25 or two, the rest of the remaining walls were razed to the ground. I

Page 2727

1 believe that not to have been a civilised act, something that our official

2 authorities in Mostar should be proud of.

3 Q. Do you know under whose command the forces were which destroyed

4 the Orthodox church?

5 MR. KARNAVAS: Object to the form of the question. It suggests

6 that a particular force destroyed it. He can ask who destroyed it as

7 opposed to leading and insinuating.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The proper way to put the

9 question would be to ask, "In your opinion or according to the information

10 you have, who destroyed this Orthodox church?"


12 Q. Mr. Gagro, who do you understand destroyed the Orthodox church

13 after the JNA forces left Mostar in June of 1992?

14 A. I cannot give you an answer to that, not an exact one.

15 Q. Well, what do you mean by "exact"?

16 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, I object. Now we're asking the witness to

17 speculate.

18 MR. SCOTT: No.

19 MR. KARNAVAS: He either knows or he doesn't know.

20 MR. SCOTT: He may have a perfectly good answer, Your Honour, but

21 unfortunately, unless I have a dialogue with the witness, I can't

22 understand what he means by "exact" or "not exact."

23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll put the question to the

24 witness myself.

25 There's an Orthodox church in your town, a church which was

Page 2728

1 apparently destroyed. Who did that? People who lived in Mostar, people

2 from the outside? In your opinion, who is responsible? Or perhaps you

3 don't know. But if one is the mayor of a town, it's a little surprising

4 if the mayor isn't aware of what's happening in his town.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you see, it is obviously hard

6 to get to the bottom of the problem, because at the moment the JNA left

7 the Mostar area, the immediate vicinity of the city, it had about 30 per

8 cent more inhabitants than otherwise, than normally, because of the large

9 influx of people into Mostar from all over the area, from the war-torn,

10 war-ridden areas. So there was a huge crowd of refugees and other people

11 coming to -- into the city. So it was very difficult to have an overall

12 overview of the conduct of all those people.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but that doesn't answer my

14 question as to who destroyed the Orthodox church. You seem to be

15 suggesting that refugees were responsible for that act. Is that what you

16 are saying?

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. This is not what I'm

18 suggesting. But the situation in which we found ourselves was hard to

19 control. And one thing was certain, however: Whoever did that had to

20 have explosives, because it was blown up by explosives and it was finished

21 off by explosives. So that is the truth. Now, who did it and how and

22 what particular explosives were used, this is something that I cannot say

23 with certainty or confirm within my testimony.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Carry on, Mr. Scott.


Page 2729

1 Q. Sir, if I could just inquire further. When you say you don't know

2 or you don't know exactly, are you talking about you don't know the

3 particular individuals --

4 MR. KARNAVAS: Same objection, Your Honour. Same objection. Now

5 we're going to give him a smorgasbord of choices from which to pick. He

6 doesn't know, he doesn't know.

7 MR. SCOTT: That's not correct, Your Honour. This witness has

8 never said he didn't know. He said he didn't know exactly. I don't know

9 if that means he doesn't know the name of the individual who lit the fuse,

10 or if he doesn't know the group, or if he doesn't know -- as you said,

11 refugees. I'm just asking for more precise information from the witness,

12 Your Honour. We don't know what he means by "exactly." If his question

13 -- if his answer is, "I don't know the names of the individuals who

14 did it," that's one thing.

15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Please continue,

16 Mr. Scott.


18 Q. Sir, if you can assist us, please. You've heard the dialogue,

19 you've heard the objections of Defence counsel, you've heard the Judge's

20 questions. Can you provide us any more assistance? When you say you

21 don't know exactly who destroyed the Serbian church, the Serb Orthodox

22 church, can you tell us anything more? You said you saw it at one point.

23 Can you tell us anything more about who was involved in destroying it?

24 A. Yes. I was an eyewitness but from a distance, as it were. I was

25 not an onlooker. I wasn't watching as an onlooker. But the fact is that

Page 2730

1 this was carried out at the time when there were no Serb force and this

2 was an act that I did not approve of. It would, therefore, be good to say

3 -- I should like to stress that -- that the city of Mostar never

4 accepted, never countenanced what had been done to the Serbs.

5 Q. Well, sir, are you saying you as the mayor, the person who had

6 just been relieved as mayor of Mostar, didn't countenance that, or how do

7 you know about the position of Mr. Topic and others?

8 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object to that question as well, Your

9 Honour. Now we're suggesting that Mr. Topic was behind the blowing up of

10 a church. I think it's highly suggestive and it's highly improper.

11 MR. SCOTT: That's not correct, Your Honour. He just said -- the

12 witness said -- the answer is the city of Mostar never accepted or

13 countenanced that this had been done. Now we spent all afternoon with

14 this witness telling us that by June, 1992, it was the Mostar HVO which

15 had control of the city government. That's -- I haven't suggested

16 anything other than what the witness has told us all afternoon.

17 MR. KARNAVAS: "The city of Mostar" does not mean city government.

18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. As far as I'm

19 concerned now, but I believe that my colleagues share my opinion, at this

20 point in time we know that the Orthodox church was destroyed, but the

21 witness says he doesn't know who did it. He says one should know who

22 brought the explosives. It could have been the Serbs, the Muslims. It

23 could have been the HVO, it could have been refugees or outsiders. We

24 have no information about this. Everything else is just a matter of

25 speculation.

Page 2731

1 Please continue.

2 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President.

3 Q. Changing topics, Mr. Gagro, did you ever hear of an organisation

4 during this -- the time that you were mayor in 1991, 1992, named HOS,

5 H-O-S?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can you tell the Judges what that was -- were -- excuse me, yes,

8 what the HOS was.

9 A. In the multi-party system of Bosnia-Herzegovina, various parties

10 were established and one of them was the HSP, which within its programme

11 and composition had defined how to act under a defence position, defence

12 conditions, and they established their defence forces and they were the

13 H-O-S, the HOS. I think that's the abbreviation. They were military

14 forces which acted through a particular party.

15 Q. It may assist the Judges in the future, sir, if you can -- when

16 you refer to this party organisation as the HSP, can you tell us what HSP

17 stood for?

18 A. The HSP is the Croatian Party of Rights. One of the oldest

19 parties that was ever formed in Croatia.

20 Q. And what was the relationship, if any, between -- strike that.

21 What was the position or policy of HOS toward Muslims being members of

22 HOS, or cooperation with Muslims?

23 A. Since the HDZ controlled the HVO to all intents and purposes,

24 which acted within defence structures in the Mostar area and further

25 afield, the HSP also established and formed its own forces, and they were

Page 2732

1 called HOS, and they, too, had ambitions and were ready to defend their

2 thresholds. However, unfortunately those programmes were -- well, there

3 was a discrepancy between the two, and they were acting each along their

4 own courses, which were divergent.

5 Now, your question as to whether HOS and the HVO acted along the

6 same lines as a coalition or something like that. I think we can say

7 quite openly and frankly that when General Kraljevic arrived in Ljubuski,

8 he rallied the HOS forces and there was great sympathy for it, and many

9 Croats who respected the HSP traditions intensively lobbied in support of

10 HOS, of the HOS in our area. However, at one point in time they rather

11 overstepped the boundaries of acceptability by those who were objectively

12 stronger in the area, and what happened was there was a serious parting of

13 ways as to how this knot should be resolved, Gordian knot between the HVO

14 and HOS, their misunderstanding. Unfortunately, this general, General

15 Kraljevic, who was the commander of HOS in Herzegovina, had a vision of

16 his own. It was to cooperate with the Muslims and act jointly with the

17 Muslims. And at one point in time he came to Mostar to talk to the

18 leaders of the SDA, and on his way back to Ljubuski, he and his group of

19 nine escorts were liquidated, and that's where the story ended, all this

20 story about HOS and the HVO.

21 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I note the time. The courtroom clock

22 seems to have stopped. I don't know if that's some sort of signal or not,

23 but it seems to be five-twenty -- almost 5.30.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Looking at my watch, which

25 is working, it's 5.25. So we're going to stop there, have a break, and

Page 2733

1 resume at about ten to six.

2 --- Recess taken at 5.28 p.m.

3 --- On resuming at 5.51 p.m.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.


6 Q. Mr. Gagro, before the break you -- you had indicated on page 62,

7 starting at line 6, you said: Concerning the HVO and HOS,

8 "unfortunately, those programmes were -- well, there was a discrepancy

9 between the two, and they were acting each other along their own courses,

10 which were divergent." And then you went on with another narrative before

11 we could ask you this question: In what ways or how were the courses of

12 the HVO and HOS divergent or discrepant?

13 A. The main difference was that the HVO believed itself to be the

14 only military force active in the territory where the Croats lived,

15 whereas the HOS wanted to take over that role. So initially they

16 prevailed in Ljubuski, and they could have taken over the main defence

17 role in Capljina, et cetera. So this was the main problem, as a result of

18 which those two organisations, those two bodies didn't see eye-to-eye.

19 Q. Were they in competition with each other?

20 A. Well, one could say so.

21 Q. And what happened to the HOS after Mr. Kraljevic was killed?

22 A. Well, then they started lobbying their other leaders then, and

23 some of them join the HVO willingly, others were forced to join them.

24 They were then integrated within the defence force, and they acted in a

25 joint manner.

Page 2734

1 Q. Sir, moving completely further ahead to 1993, I would like to

2 direct your attention to the period of April and May of 1993. Where were

3 you living at that time?

4 A. Before the war, during the war, and after the war I lived in my

5 flat in Mostar.

6 Q. And I believe you indicated earlier that that was in what we call

7 West Mostar.

8 A. Yes. In a central part of Mostar. I could even say in the elite

9 part of the town.

10 Q. And approximately how far was your residence from the Bulevar and

11 what became the confrontation line between the HVO and the ABiH?

12 A. At, well, between 4 and 500 metres as the crow flies.

13 Q. What did you observe happening along the Bulevar in April of 1993?

14 A. What did I observe. Well, at the time after the JNA had withdrawn

15 from Mostar and after temporary authority had been established in Mostar,

16 life got back to normal, in a certain sense, and people could communicate

17 with each other. There were no obstacles to such communication. If it

18 was necessary for us to go to the left bank, we'd do so. Only the old

19 bridge remained intact, so this is the bridge we used to cross over to the

20 other side. So it was possible to communicate with the others. However,

21 prior to the conflict that broke out between the Bosniaks and the Croats,

22 immediately prior to that conflict you could see that there were opposing

23 forces that were not fighting each other, but each night one side would

24 stand on one side of the Bulevar and the other side would stand on the

25 other side. And this was a sort of stalemate. And they would remain

Page 2735

1 present at those sites until the morning, and in the morning they would

2 simply withdraw as if nothing had happened. It was a little odd, but I

3 can say for certain that that continued for perhaps a week. They were on

4 opposite sides. I can't really tell you how they held their weapons, but

5 they had taken up position at the Bulevar, and one of the parties was on

6 one of the sides and the other on the other side.

7 Q. Did you learn around this time that the HVO had made any demands

8 concerning the location of an ABiH army unit in West Mostar?

9 A. I didn't learn anything about demands or ultimatums of any kind,

10 but in part of the town that hadn't been affected by the lines I heard

11 that there had been some explosions. In part of the town where there were

12 no lines, there was some explosions. In the afternoon, about 5.00, this

13 could be heard. Later, we found out that a group from the HVO had

14 attacked the BH army's headquarters.

15 Q. Was this -- was this the headquarters that was located in the

16 Vranica building?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And I'd like to direct your attention specifically to the 9th and

19 10th of May, 1993, sir. And can you tell us what happened on those days,

20 what you saw on those days.

21 A. Well, shooting broke out. That's all I could see. A conflict

22 between the HVO and the ABiH broke out.

23 Q. Did you have any -- on the 9th of May, 1993, did you have any

24 Muslim neighbours?

25 A. Yes.

Page 2736

1 Q. What happened to them?

2 A. They stayed on, but several days later - I can't say when exactly

3 - some forces checked who was living in those flats, and those who were

4 not of Croat ethnicity had to leave their flats.

5 Q. Did you ever know or have any dealings with a man named Dario

6 Kordic?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And given the discussion that we had earlier today about the

9 Kljujic group on the one hand and the Boban group on the other, in which

10 of those two groups would you put Mr. Kordic?

11 A. Well, while there was -- while there were harmonious relationships

12 in the HDZ, Kordic didn't have particular position, or perhaps his

13 position was not enviable because he didn't have a job. And after some

14 time had passed, Mr. Jerko Doko, as the minister of defence of

15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, told me that he had solved his problem and that he had

16 appointed him to a position so that he could act within institutions that

17 were responsible for defence in the area he lived in.

18 Q. What did you observe of the relationship between Mr. Boban and

19 Mr. Kordic?

20 A. Kordic was a very cooperative man, and when it was necessary to

21 find solutions to certain problems, he was very active. He tried to

22 impose some of his own ideas through those activities, but at the time it

23 was already noticeable that he had opted to support Mr. Boban.

24 Q. Did you know, sir, prior to the conflict that we've talked about

25 today, did you know Jadranko Prlic?

Page 2737

1 A. Yes, of course. A prominent citizen of Mostar and a much

2 respected man.

3 Q. Was he as a youth the head of something called the Youth

4 Organisation?

5 A. He was at the head of everything.

6 Q. What was the Youth Organisation?

7 A. These are nice memories for those who lived at the time. If

8 communists had everything under their control, then it was necessary to

9 allow someone to have some liberty so that that person could participate

10 in active life. We had a lot of young organisation -- youth

11 organisations, a lot of pioneer organisations, many such bodies. These

12 were sort of ornaments that one could find attached to the Communist Party

13 in Yugoslavia.

14 Q. Do you know what sort of education Mr. Prlic received in terms of

15 a degree?

16 A. I know that he was a professor at the faculty of economy at the

17 university in -- in Mostar. I'm not sure whether that's the case now.

18 Q. Can you tell us, from your knowledge, sir, during this time -- or

19 even prior to this time, perhaps it was in the 1980s or the 1970s, what

20 was the Socialist Union?

21 A. Well, so that one didn't have the impression that it was only the

22 communists who were in charge of all policies in the former Yugoslavia,

23 the communists found an elegant compromise which didn't pose a threat to

24 them. One could say that the society was a democratic one, and this

25 Socialist Union was counterpart to the communists, and all working people

Page 2738

1 and citizens of Yugoslavia were part of this union.

2 Q. To your knowledge, was Mr. Prlic part of the Socialist Union?

3 A. Well, yes. I was too. And that was Prlic's first step towards

4 his future political career that subsequently ensued.

5 Q. Do you know that Mr. Prlic worked for, not only that he was a

6 member but that he worked professionally for the Socialist Union?

7 A. I'm not sure, but perhaps for a short period of time he was

8 professionally engaged in the Socialist Union in the town of Mostar.

9 Q. What was the Executive Council for Mostar?

10 A. What was it? Well, a body that in fact implemented the decisions

11 taken by the town Assembly. One says -- one calls it the Executive Board.

12 It implements the conclusions and decisions taken by the town Assembly.

13 Q. Was Mr. Prlic ever the president of the Executive Council for

14 Mostar?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And when was that, approximately?

17 A. When was that? Well, one year before the last multi-party

18 elections that were held, because for one year Prlic was the deputy

19 president -- the deputy Prime Minister of the BH government, and he left

20 his position within the Executive Board and became deputy to Mr. --

21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter isn't sure he heard the name

22 correctly.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So this is one year after the

24 elections that were held in 1990.


Page 2739

1 Q. Mr. Gagro, could you assist the interpreters, please, by restating

2 the name, if you did, of -- you said that Mr. Prlic was the deputy to

3 Mr. Somebody. Can you repeat the name, please.

4 A. Perhaps I was in a hurry. I wanted to clarify everything in one

5 sentence. Mr. Prlic, after he had been appointed as president of the

6 Executive Board of the Mostar Municipal Assembly remained in that position

7 for about one year. Mr. Prlic can correct me if I'm mistaken, but that's

8 my assessment, although, given all the time that has passed, it's

9 difficult for me to be precise.

10 After having held that position, he was elected as the Deputy

11 Prime Minister of the Executive Board of the Assembly of Bosnia and

12 Herzegovina. That's what it was called at the time.

13 Q. And do you know approximately how long he remained in that

14 position?

15 A. Well, I assume it was for about one year.

16 Q. And was Mr. Prlic working in Mostar when you -- during the time

17 that you were mayor of Mostar?

18 A. No. When I was elected, we met. I was invited to a discussion in

19 Sarajevo. He still held the position of Deputy Prime Minister of Bosnia

20 and Herzegovina. He had the responsibility to transfer power to the new

21 authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina because Mr. Pad [as interpreted] had

22 already left his position as Prime Minister of the government of

23 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

24 Q. During the time that you were in Mostar, were you familiar with

25 the fact that Mr. Prlic worked for a time apparently with a company

Page 2740

1 apparently called Hepok?

2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry if I interrupt, but you were actually

3 starting out asking for the name of the Prime Minister to whom Mr. Prlic

4 was deputy. The name has just again not been understood by the

5 interpreter, and perhaps we should get it.

6 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you very much.

7 Q. Mr. Gagro, we're going to try again. Can you please very clearly

8 state the name of this Prime Minister, if I understand correctly, that

9 Mr. Prlic worked for or with for a time.

10 A. I assume his name was Gojko, his first name, but his surname was

11 Ubiparip. This could be translated as someone who killed a horse. That

12 would be one possible translation of his family name.

13 Q. Well, that's certainly more information than we had before. All

14 right, sir, let me go back to the question about Hepok, unless Judge

15 Trechsel has another question.

16 Let me ask you about this company called Hepok. Do you know for a

17 time whether Mr. Prlic was employed with this company?

18 A. At the end of his term of office in the former government of

19 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Prlic remained without a job. He returned to

20 Mostar and found work in Apro. I think that's an abbreviation. I don't

21 know what the full name is. This is a system that included many fields of

22 activity in the town of Mostar.

23 Q. Were you familiar with a company named Hepok; and, if so, what

24 kind of a company was that? What business was it engaged in?

25 A. Hepok had vineyards and similar facilities, facilities for

Page 2741

1 producing wine and many other facilities.

2 Q. Do you know what other lines of business this other company Apro

3 was -- A-p-r-o, was that like a parent company to Hepok?

4 A. That's correct. Apro had various fields of activities, and it

5 acted as one company that unified all these various fields of activities.

6 Q. And, sir, can you tell the Judges, what position did Mr. Prlic

7 hold during this time at this company Apro, or A-p-r-o?

8 A. I don't know. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but perhaps he was the

9 director of that company, the chairman. I'm not sure if this is correct,

10 though.

11 Q. Do you know if there ever came a time when Mr. Prlic was nominated

12 or recommended for a position on the National Bank of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

13 A. Yes, because I was an active participant in that matter.

14 Q. Will you tell the Judges, please, what happened in that regard.

15 And perhaps, first of all, you can tell us, was Mr. Prlic ultimately

16 successful in being placed in that position as -- would it be the governor

17 or a governor of the National Bank?

18 A. Unfortunately, we didn't succeed. I'll tell you how he was put

19 forward as a candidate and why he wasn't accepted as our candidate for the

20 governor of the bank of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21 At the initiative of the Prime Minister, the Croatian Prime

22 Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a Croatian candidate was demanded for the

23 position of the governor of the bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was

24 for the Croats to put forward such a candidate. There were lengthy

25 discussions about that, and as suggested by Mr. Jure Pelivan, who was the

Page 2742

1 Prime Minister, Mr. Jadranko Prlic was proposed as a candidate. Knowing

2 Mr. Prlic and his professional and organisational skills, knowing his

3 qualifications, we were very happy to accept him as a candidate, but when

4 designating this person, and this is a matter for the Assembly of

5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were certain misunderstandings and he was

6 withdrawn as a candidate.

7 Q. What led to him -- you said there were certain misunderstandings.

8 Tell us what those misunderstandings were.

9 A. Well, yes, I can tell you. An explanation would require more

10 time. I don't want to tire the listeners, but I'll tell you.

11 Every party, in its statute, has set procedure for selecting

12 candidates for certain positions, the position that a candidate is being

13 put forward for. Unfortunately, as is usually the case where we come

14 from, everything was decided at the last minute, and when a formal -- when

15 a candidate had to be put to the Assembly formally for adoption, it turned

16 out that nobody had a very serious candidate to put forward. And finally,

17 when Mr. Kljujic came to see us in Mostar, Mr. Pelivan came, too, and said

18 that we had to put an end once and for all to this undefined candidacy,

19 because it was a vital post for the functioning of the organs of power and

20 authority in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had to have a candidate, they say.

21 And then we said that the HDZ of Mostar was behind Jadranko Prlic.

22 Mr. Kljujic wasn't delighted with the name of this candidate, and the

23 explanation he gave was that the HDZ would not put forward anybody as

24 candidate who was not a member of the HDZ. However, we insisted. We

25 said, "Let's drop the formalities. Let's put this man forward and elect

Page 2743

1 him, because he was a key figure and should be used to help solve the

2 country's problems." And Kljujic was left in the minority, and he said,

3 "All right. I won't insist upon you not putting Prlic forward as a

4 candidate." He would remain from voting.

5 So Mr. Prlic was put forward by us as a candidate. He went

6 through the entire procedure to the commission for appointments that

7 Mr. Prlic should be elected candidate. Mr. Prlic went through the

8 commission proceedings and everything was on the table, ready for the

9 meeting that was supposed to be held that day. And then -- well, I can

10 say that Boban learnt about this, the name of this candidate, and he was

11 opposed to it. And he started insisting that we should explain how it

12 came about that we put Mr. Prlic forward was a candidate for that post.

13 And finally it turned out that it didn't pass through the HDZ branch in

14 Mostar and their meeting, that the procedure wasn't adhered to, and that

15 therefore his candidacy could not be accepted. So then it was through

16 their request that this proposal was withdrawn from the parliament of

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

18 Q. As a member of the HDZ, did you have any involvement in Mr. Boban

19 subsequently appointing Mr. Prlic as the head of the finance department of

20 the HVO or Herceg-Bosna?

21 A. I had no information about that, nor, to be quite frank, was I

22 delighted with Prlic's involvement along those lines. Well, let's leave

23 that. That's my own personal opinion. I won't expound it.

24 Q. Well, I'm going to have to ask you, sir, in light of what you've

25 just said in the courtroom, is why were you not delighted with Mr. Prlic's

Page 2744

1 involvement?

2 A. Because all of us considered Prlic to be a man who was -- a man

3 who had skills and was a good craftsman but didn't have sympathies for the

4 HDZ. So this was a bit of a disillusionment that he had decided to

5 involve himself in a programme which was led by Mate Boban.

6 MR. SCOTT: If I can just consult my colleague, Your Honour.

7 [Prosecution counsel confer]

8 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. We have no further questions

9 for Mr. Gagro, and we thank the witness. Thank you.

10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is 6.25. We have

11 half an hour to go before 7.00.

12 Mr. Kovacic, are you starting the cross-examination?

13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. But before I do

14 so, I'd like to allow my client, Mr. Praljak, to say something. He said

15 he would take up not more than 15 minutes, and then I would like to

16 resume. Thank you.

17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. After that, I'm

18 going to ask the registrar to tell us how much time the Prosecution had,

19 how much time they used up. But anyway, Mr. Praljak, go ahead.

20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

21 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:

22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Gagro, I'm Praljak. Good afternoon to you.

23 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Praljak, to you, too.

24 Q. I would like to clarify certain points relating to the spring and

25 beginning of summer, 1992.

Page 2745

1 A. Go ahead, ask me.

2 Q. In 1991, as you said, the Yugoslav People's Army arrived and the

3 paramilitaries to Mostar.

4 A. Let me just put you right. Perhaps I made a slip of the tongue.

5 I used the concept of the Yugoslav army.

6 Q. Very well. Anyway, they come to Mostar, and there was a wave of

7 20.000 refugees coming before them; is that correct?

8 A. Yes, that is correct.

9 Q. Thank you. They then took over the military structures,

10 three-quarters of the area around Mostar. That is to say the hills and

11 the town; is that correct?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. At that time in Mostar, the command of what we call forces, was he

14 Mr. Berak [as interpreted]? Was the commander of what we refer to as

15 forces?

16 A. Yes. Well, he wasn't in the Mostar area.

17 Q. You mean he was further afield?

18 A. Yes, further afield.

19 Q. Mr. Perak, was --

20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Scott.

21 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, can we just -- what forces? "We just

22 call forces." Which forces with which organisation or which side or

23 party, please.

24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Let's hear who the forces

25 are. Could you be more precise?

Page 2746

1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]

2 Q. The Yugoslav People's Army and the Chetniks occupied Mostar and

3 the surrounding hills; is that correct?

4 A. I can say that officially speaking it was the Titograd Uzice Corps

5 that arrived in Mostar. That was what it was officially. Otherwise -- or

6 that's what the Yugoslav army said. Now, who was in the composition of

7 that force, I can't say.

8 Q. Thank you. So as we were saying, those forces, the Uzice forces

9 or whatever, we're going to refer to them as forces, the forces of the

10 Yugoslav People's Army, occupied Mostar, did they not, and that -- all the

11 surrounding hills?

12 A. Well, that's not quite correct. They arrived in that first wave,

13 that is to say on the 19th of September. They arrived, they reached

14 Mostar, and they were armed to the teeth, but they entered in the region

15 of the airport, the Heliodrom, and the North Camp.

16 Q. Yes, that's right. After that they occupied the hills on the

17 right bank of the Neretva River towards Citluk and in-depth towards Siroki

18 Brijeg; is that right?

19 A. Yes. That was a process that evolved over a certain period of

20 time.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, as I have very little time, I'm going to try and

22 get through my questions a little quicker. Thank you for your answers

23 anyway so far.

24 Now, did they on a daily basis bomb Mostar using heavy weaponry,

25 heavy guns, heavy artillery in the spring of 1992?

Page 2747

1 A. Yes. At the time when they started -- or let me put it this way

2 quite simply: When the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina started, they launched

3 destructive attacks on Mostar.

4 Q. Thank you. Mr. Perak -- Berak [as interpreted], the commander at

5 that time, before my arrival, before I came to be the commander, did he

6 issue an order at one point according to which the forces in Mostar should

7 leave the Mostar area and withdraw towards the west and leave the entire

8 area of Mostar to the forces of the Uzice Corps?

9 A. I don't know about that. I don't know.

10 Q. Thank you. If it is seen that Mr. Perak issued an order of that

11 kind, would it not be strange that you as the president of the Crisis

12 Staff did not know about an order of that kind? Wouldn't that be a bit

13 strange?

14 A. Yes, it would be a bit strange, as far as I'm concerned.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, is it correct that after that the Serb forces

16 took Stolac and the Dubrava plateau, and on the 15th of May expelled from

17 the eastern banks of the river Neretva to the right bank of the Neretva

18 all or almost all of the population, both Muslims and Croats?

19 A. That is true, but I have to say that those same forces had

20 previously conducted a massacre against the Croatian village of Ravno.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, this expulsion on the 15th of May in Mostar, did

22 it take place on exactly the same day when you --

23 A. It's a coincidence.

24 Q. I see, a coincidence. Thank you. How many people arrived on the

25 left bank from the east bank? How many more people were expelled by this

Page 2748

1 Uzice Chetnik force?

2 A. Well, nobody was allowed to stay there. And if they did, they

3 fared badly.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, how many bridges in that short period of time

5 were destroyed along the Neretva River from North Mostar to Capljina?

6 A. All of them except the old bridge.

7 Q. Thank you. Do you happen to know who and in what way armed the

8 people who voluntarily put their names forward to defend their houses in

9 the Capljina-Mostar area? Who supplied them with weapons and how?

10 A. Well, mostly they purchased the weapons themselves.

11 Q. Thank you. So were these volunteer units? Did anybody conduct a

12 mobilisation before that?

13 A. No. We referred to them as village guards, village watches.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, how many such groups were there in the town of

15 Mostar during the material period? That is to say April, 1992.

16 A. Everybody capable of carrying a rifle rose up to defend their

17 homes.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, do you know what functioned in Mostar at that

19 point in time? Let's look at the bank, the waterworks system,

20 electricity, arms, ammunition, supplies generally. Were they all

21 functioning? Financial institutions? Banks, I've already said. Was that

22 almost entirely destroyed?

23 A. Well, I can't say that it was all entirely destroyed. We did

24 manage to save something, some of that, and the town -- or, rather, the

25 municipality had 126.000 inhabitants, after all.

Page 2749

1 Q. Thank you. Now, when we look at Mostar itself at that point in

2 time, and we're talking about the 15th of May, you couldn't take the road

3 to Capljina and down to the coast. You couldn't go to Stolac by road.

4 You couldn't go to Nevesinje by road. You couldn't go to Jablanica and

5 Sarajevo by road. You couldn't go towards Citluk by road, and you

6 couldn't go to Siroki Brijeg by road. Is that correct?

7 A. Correct.

8 Q. Was there only one road that was passable, that you could go to

9 Mostar -- to and from Mostar on that one road?

10 A. Yes, I've already said that.

11 Q. Thank you. Now, that one road, was it covered by the artillery of

12 the Serb forces?

13 A. Unfortunately, yes, it was, and I think that about 15 people lost

14 their lives. Fifteen Mostar citizens were killed.

15 Q. And that was the only road that supplies could come into Mostar;

16 what we ate, what we used to shoot with, and everything else that the town

17 needed, that the 126.000 inhabitants of the town needed?

18 A. Yes, that's absolutely right. It was a very great problem.

19 Q. Let me repeat: So every day during that period of time the Serbs

20 were shooting at the town. There were wounded and there were dead.

21 A. Yes, that's right. Excuse me, but I'd like to define that by

22 saying there was general chaos, general chaos reigned.

23 Q. Yes, chaos. And as you say in the document we looked at here, we

24 had anarchy, anarchy and terrorism. Would that be correct?

25 A. Well, in a certain form, yes. But I think as far as terrorism is

Page 2750

1 concerned, we can't take terrorism as being the right concept in this

2 context.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, do you know that during that period of time I

4 myself was the commander of that part of the battlefield, from Capljina to

5 the northern stretches of Mostar?

6 A. Well, I think we met, came across each other on one occasion.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, do you know that already in the month of April,

8 1992, people were getting ready to leave the western part of Herzegovina -

9 Citluk, Medjugorje, Capljina - because they were afraid of the danger that

10 loomed and the poor state of the forces of the Croatian Defence Council,

11 their lack of organisation? Do you know about that?

12 A. Yes, but I would doubt that. We weren't that prone to fear in

13 order to run away.

14 Q. Now, do you know that each municipality dug trenches right in

15 front of their municipal boundaries?

16 A. Well, when we spoke a moment ago, we asked the HVO and certain

17 municipalities to establish communications so as to organise things in a

18 simpler manner.

19 Q. Do you think that it was simple, given that brief space of time,

20 to link up and organise all those forces with all the problems that

21 existed, that you know were in existence, for them to be able to in the

22 month of June be ready, first of all to expel the Serb forces from the

23 right bank of the Neretva River and then, some ten days later on, a long

24 way from Mostar both towards Stolac and Northern Mostar? Would that have

25 been easy?

Page 2751

1 A. Not at all easy, no.

2 Q. When we say the Serbs left - we say that quite often - I'm sure

3 you can appreciate my sentiments here, how many lives did that cost our

4 soldiers, the fact that the Serbs left and to reach that goal?

5 A. I'm sure he know that better than me.

6 Q. Can we therefore consider, judging by the number of dead and

7 wounded, the casualties we had on our side and that the opposite side had

8 as well, that this form of conflict and clash by a military clash of two

9 military formations --

10 A. I'm not following you. I didn't understand what you meant there.

11 Q. If we have dead and wounded on both sides, casualties on both

12 sides and fatalities on both sides, can we call this a military conflict

13 and not, just strolling, the Serbs left or went?

14 A. I don't know who used that verb "left" or "went." I don't use

15 that term.

16 Q. Thank you. Just a few more brief questions. You said that

17 Mr. Perinovic was replaced, and then rumour had it that that was because

18 there was a Serb in his family, a Serb family member. But Mr. Kljujic was

19 replaced as well, and he had no Serbs in his family. And then there was

20 Brkic and some others.

21 Now, can we therefore consider that Perinovic was not replaced for

22 that particular reason?

23 A. Well, I can't go into that. Objectively speaking, it was very

24 early on, and it was a rumour that went round when I was active.

25 Q. Thank you. Now a private question. Was the sole remaining bridge

Page 2752

1 across the Neretva River the old bridge?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Now, when the Serbs were expelled, was it protected?

4 A. Yes, it was.

5 Q. Do you know who was in charge in the heat of battle of the job of

6 protecting the old bridge?

7 A. No.

8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to

9 Mr. Kovacic, with respect to the questions that were asked, I'd like to

10 ask the witness: You said you met Mr. Praljak on one occasion. Do you

11 remember when that was? When did you meet him?

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I assume -- it's difficult for

13 me to pinpoint the exact time, whether I had already been replaced or not,

14 I can't be sure about that, but I do know that Mr. Praljak invited me for

15 talks. We had courteous talks. He said that he respected the legally

16 elected organs in Mostar and that he had appointed a man whom we referred

17 to as a liaison officer. Unfortunately, that liaison officer never

18 appeared in our Crisis Staff.

19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We have another

20 question for you.

21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I would

22 just like to clarify something. Mr. Praljak had put a question to you and

23 asked you whether you knew who had protected the old bridge in Mostar. I

24 didn't quite understand your answer. Did you know who was protecting the

25 bridge or not? Was the bridge still intact when the Serbian troops

Page 2753

1 withdrew?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The old bridge was in a fairly

3 good state when the Serbian forces were driven out of Mostar.

4 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] And were there troops or was there

5 a group that protected this bridge or was it just left intact without

6 their engagement?

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, look, in the fight -- in the

8 conflict between the JNA and the units defending the town, everyone moved

9 over to the left side, and everyone participated in escorting those

10 gentlemen into the hills. And afterwards, well, I don't know who stayed

11 on to protect and defend that bridge which was the only bridge that linked

12 the left and the right side of the Neretva River.

13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.

14 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:

15 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Gagro, my name is Mr. Kovacic. I'm

16 Defence counsel for Mr. Praljak. There are a few other questions I'd like

17 to put to you.

18 Since we're discussing the old bridge, let me put another question

19 to you about it. You said quite clearly that the bridge was in a fairly

20 good state but it had been damaged. Could this damage be seen with a

21 naked eye or was an expert required to see such damage?

22 A. Well, it was possible to see the damage to the armour, to the

23 protection for the bridge.

24 Q. Do you know what the cause of that damage was?

25 A. Well, it's obvious: Our forces had already taken up position

Page 2754

1 around the old bridge, and that was the only link between the two sides,

2 and Serbian forces shelled that position because they knew that forces

3 would assemble there and that was the only point at which it was possible

4 to cross from one side of the town to the other.

5 Q. So does this mean that the old bridge was damaged by the Serbian

6 forces, by the Serbian artillery when the Croats and Muslims under the HVO

7 organisation launched an offensive against the Serbian forces?

8 A. Well, look, I have to correct you because I do know that,

9 unfortunately, my colleague was killed on the bridge as a result of a

10 mortar shell. It wasn't easy for the Serbs who had withdrawn to their

11 positions to use guns and other artillery to target such a bridge, so they

12 used mortars.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Was there any damage prior to that battle?

14 A. Well, if you're asking me about peacetime, well, you know that the

15 old bridge in Mostar is one of the oldest bridges. It's existed for over

16 400 years. And it had been slightly damaged because of exposure to the

17 weather, the rain. So it had been repaired.

18 Q. I wasn't very precise. You started talking about the history of

19 the bridge.

20 A. I'm sorry. I didn't know what you were asking me about.

21 Q. My question concerned the time prior to when the bridge was

22 damaged as a result of conflicts. But when the Serbs were in control of

23 the town and when there was shooting, was the bridge damaged on that

24 occasion?

25 A. Well, that's possible, but it wasn't that visible.

Page 2755

1 Q. Very well. Thank you. At the beginning of your testimony, page

2 9, line 19 of the transcript, you mentioned the establishment of the HDZ,

3 and you mentioned the sister relationship between the BH HDZ and the HDZ

4 in Croatia. You and I know what is at stake, but let's try to clarify

5 this for others who are not that familiar with the situation. Do you

6 remember when the HDZ was established in Croatia for the first time? I

7 know you can't mention dates.

8 A. In 1989. I know quite a few details about that.

9 Q. Very good. The HDZ was established in 1989 in Zagreb, and at the

10 time there were no conflicts and Yugoslavia was the Socialist Federative

11 Republic of Yugoslavia and was still in existence. It was still

12 functioning properly.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And other peoples and political groups at the time started

15 founding the first free parties in the former Yugoslavia; is that correct?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And the SDA was established at that time in Sarajevo.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Bearing in mind the period of time, those parties acted within

20 Yugoslavia. The HDZ didn't have to restrict its activities to Croatia.

21 A. Well, that was the idea.

22 Q. Would you agree that its political force was most felt in Croatia

23 because that's where the Croats lived, however, it was active in other

24 parts of the former Yugoslavia?

25 A. That's correct.

Page 2756

1 Q. Are you aware of the fact that towards the end of 1989 and at the

2 beginning of 1990 the HDZ established its branches in other European

3 countries?

4 A. I don't know about that.

5 Q. You have never heard about that?

6 A. Yes, but I don't know the details.

7 Q. But you do agree that such branches existed?

8 A. Yes, I do.

9 Q. You said that you were aware of the fact that the HDZ had been

10 established. When was it established in the Republic of Bosnia and

11 Herzegovina?

12 A. It was certainly before the first multi-party elections were held.

13 Q. At the time that Yugoslavia was still in existence?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. At that time - and we're still referring to the same territory

16 regardless of the existence of republics - at that time was there formal,

17 legal distinction to be made between the HDZ in Bosnia and Herzegovina and

18 the HDZ in Zagreb?

19 A. I think that that's how they wanted to organise things.

20 Q. Can you explain that?

21 A. All the HDZ in Croatia became active in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

22 It was believed that republics were zones in which Croats in

23 Bosnia-Herzegovina had their interests and Croats in Croatia had their own

24 interests. So as to avoid any overlapping, the tendency was for the HDZ

25 in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be organised on principles that would enable

Page 2757

1 this body to develop its political platform independently and in a way

2 that it thought was most appropriate.

3 Q. Thank you. With regard to this explanation, is that why you say

4 that these parties were sister parties? Is that based on that assessment?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Since you were a politically active man at that time, could one

7 say that the SDA was also present not only in Bosnia-Herzegovina but in

8 Croatia, too, since there were many Bosniaks, or at the time Muslims, in

9 Croatia?

10 A. I assume that it was in their interest to act in that way so as to

11 assemble their own people, to have them support a programme that they

12 supported, but I didn't really follow that.

13 Q. I'm -- I know that you are not informed of the details. This took

14 place 16 years ago.

15 A. Yes. And this was the very beginning of these events, and we

16 didn't all intensively follow the establishment of new political parties.

17 This was something new for the citizens of the former Yugoslavia.

18 Q. That's correct. But I think that your answer implies the

19 following: Do you remember that the SDA also had branches of its own that

20 were active in Croatia? I'm asking you this for the sake of the

21 transcript.

22 A. Yes, they did have such branches.

23 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I would ask for instruction. Actually

24 -- I'm sorry. I'm supposed to speak Croatian.

25 [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I could

Page 2758

1 move on to another subject now, but I think it would be best if we proceed

2 in a different manner. I'd like to show the witness some photographs, so

3 perhaps it would be best to stop here and continue tomorrow morning.

4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's almost 7.00

5 p.m. now. As far as the time you have tomorrow is concerned, according to

6 the calculations made, the Prosecution has used up 2 hours and 44 minutes.

7 The Judges took up the remaining time when putting questions to the

8 witness. So in theory, the Defence should have the same amount of time.

9 That means around three hours.

10 Last week I asked you to discuss the matter among yourselves. I

11 don't know what you have decided with regard to this witness. Could you

12 tell me how much time you will need. Mr. Karnavas.

13 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. I believe that we

14 should be able to manage our time within the three-hour period, give or

15 take a minute or two. Having said that, can we then assume that the

16 witness that's to follow, that we are to be ready tomorrow afternoon,

17 since we're going to -- I understand we're going to start at 4.00. Should

18 we be ready to cross-examine the following witness that was supposed to

19 return, because he should be back. My preference would be to go ahead and

20 continue and use up the time, so ...

21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Scott, the witness who

22 will be coming back, I thought he would be coming back on Wednesday.

23 Tomorrow it's Tuesday. Mr. Scott, do you have any information you could

24 provide us with?

25 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, no. As you know, we're prohibited from

Page 2759

1 talking to the witness so we've had absolutely no communication with

2 Mr. Smajkic, so I have no idea what his plans are.

3 MR. KARNAVAS: Perhaps we could make an inquiry. I'm sure that he

4 would be travelling tomorrow. If he's here around noon or so, that would

5 give him sufficient time and we can just go ahead. I don't see the reason

6 to wait until Wednesday to commence with that.

7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll resume

8 tomorrow at 9.00. As you know, we'll stop at half past twelve tomorrow.

9 We will then have a break until 4.00 p.m. because the Judges have a

10 Plenary to attend, and we will then resume at 4.00 p.m. tomorrow and work

11 until 7.00 p.m. Things will be a lot clearer tomorrow.

12 The registrar has also reminded me of something that's unclear in

13 the English transcript. He's drawn my attention to the fact that there's

14 something that's unclear in the transcript. Mr. Registrar, could we go

15 into private session? Fortunately, I still have my reflexes.

16 [Private session]

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 2760

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 [Open session]

14 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're back in open session,

15 Mr. President.

16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 7.00 p.m. The

17 clock has disappeared. I hope the registrar will provide us with a clock

18 tomorrow, a Swiss one, I hope, thank you, and I'll see you all tomorrow at

19 9.00 a.m.

20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.,

21 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 30th day

22 of May, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.