1 Monday, 16 June 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon
7 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
8 versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Today is Monday, the 16th of June, 2008. My greetings to the accused,
11 the Defence counsel, the OTP representatives as well as all the people
12 helping us out.
13 First all I'm going to read out an oral decision. It may be long
14 but I shall try to be swift. Oral decision on the filing by the Praljak
15 Defence of the expert report of Slobodan Jankovic.
16 On the 9th May, 2008, the Praljak Defence requested the Trial
17 Chamber leave to file two expert reports by Slobodan Jankovic titled:
18 Analysis of HVO artillery, HVO in the Mostar sector. Analysis of the
19 destruction of the old bridge on the basis of video recordings that are
20 available further to Rule 94 bis.
21 On the 27th of May, 2008, the Praljak Defence withdrew the report
22 entitled analysis of HVO artillery, Croatian Defence Council in their
23 Mostar Defence in its response of the 5th of June 2008, the Prosecution
24 opposed the filing of the report entitled analysis of the old bridge on
25 the basis of available video recordings and challenged the quality as an
1 expert of Mr. Slobodan Jankovic as well as th relevance of his
2 conclusions, his findings.
3 According to the Prosecution, their witness based his opinion
4 only on visual observation of the video recording of the destruction of
5 the old Mostar bridge. Furthermore, the Prosecution requested leave to
6 cross-examine the expert in question.
7 The Trial Chamber deliberated on this issue and first notices --
8 first notes, sorry that Mr. Slobodan Jankovic has already testified as a
9 Defence expert in the matter of ballistics in two prior cases in this
10 Tribunal. Furthermore, upon reading the expert report and the author's
11 CV, the Trial Chamber is of the view that Mr. Slobodan Jankovic is, on
12 first impression, fit to testify, is qualified to testify as an expert in
13 the matters he deals with in his report including in the analysis of
14 video recordings showing the destruction of the old Mostar bridge.
15 However, further to the Prosecution's application, the Trial
16 Chamber is of the view that Mr. Slobodan Jankovic will have to appear
17 before the Tribunal including for cross-examination purposes. The
18 Prosecution will then have the opportunity to challenge his quality and
19 qualifications as well as the validity and the relevance of his findings
20 as expressed in the expert report.
21 The Trial Chamber recalls that it is in light of the testimony of
22 Mr. Slobodan Jankovic after he has testified that the Trial Chamber will
23 rule on the report. According to the latest schedule, the witness should
24 testify from the 30th of June to the 3rd of July, 2008, as a Defence
25 expert for only the Praljak Defence.
1 Mr. Praljak's Defence will examine the witness for an hour. The
2 Trial Chamber decides that the cross-examination by the Prosecution will
3 last one hour and a half. For the other Defence teams, it will be 30
4 minutes. So, in a nutshell, the Praljak Defence will have one hour, and
5 the other Defence counsel for the other accused will have 30 minutes, the
6 Prosecutor will have an hour and 30 minutes.
7 The Trial Chamber will rule after all this as to the
8 admissibility of the expert report.
9 Very well, Mr. Karnavas, is your witness ready?
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, he is, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
11 Mr. President, good afternoon, Your Honours, yes, he is.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll have him
13 brought in, but I'll give Mr. Registrar the floor for a few IC numbers.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. Some parties have
15 submitted lists of documents to be tendered through Witness 1D-AA. The
16 list submitted by 1D shall be given Exhibit number IC 00804. The list of
17 submitted by the OTP shall be given Exhibit number IC 00805. And the
18 list submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit number IC 00806. Thank you,
19 Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Mr. Karnavas, we have five binders. When you want to use a
22 document, please also name the number for the binder in question.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 MR. KARNAVAS: All right. I'll try, Mr. President. And
25 everybody should have a list as well in the order in which, as you will
1 note, that it was passed around rather late, that was when we finished.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Good afternoon,
3 sir. Let me first check that you can hear me in your language. If it is
4 so, please tell me that you understand and hear me.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please state your first name,
7 surname and date of birth.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mile Akmadzic, the 1st of October,
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you had an opportunity to
11 testify before a court as to the events that took place in the former
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the second time.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell me when was the
15 first time, in which case it was?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 2000, it was the Kordic trial.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you a Defence or a
18 Prosecution witness then?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Defence.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I forgot to ask you one thing.
21 What is your current occupation or are you retired?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am retired.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please read out the
24 solemn declaration.
25 WITNESS: MILE AKMADZIC
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly swear that I will speak
3 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir. Please be
6 Some information, it won't be long because you have been a
7 witness already so you know how the proceedings are going to unfold.
8 First of all you will be asked questions by Mr. Prlic's counsel,
9 Mr. Karnavas. You must have met with him as part of the preparation for
10 this testimony. Mr. Karnavas is going to ask questions of you and submit
11 documents to you.
12 Once this is over, the OTP representative sitting on your
13 right-hand side is going to ask questions of you as part of the
14 cross-examination. The Prosecution will have the same amount of time as
15 the Defence for their questions. You have four Judges in front of you.
16 They, too, can ask questions. For purposes of efficiency, we usually ask
17 questions once the Defence and the Prosecutor have finished asking their
18 questions but it may be that when there is a special document that is
19 worthy of further questions in order not to go back to the documents
20 later on, the Judges may ask questions of you when the document is first
21 shown to you.
22 Try to be brief in your answers. If you fail to understand the
23 meaning of a question, do not hesitate, ask for some clarification from
24 the person asking you. If at any time during the hearing, you want to
25 have a break, for instance because you're not feeling well or so, don't
1 hesitate. We shall then have a break. We have breaks every 90 minutes,
2 usually for 20 minutes. Sometimes exceptionally so, 15 minutes.
3 So this is what I wanted to convey to you. Of course we are
4 available to you if you have any questions.
5 You have just made a solemn declaration, therefore from now on,
6 you are a witness of the Court of justice even if you are called by
7 Mr. Prlic's Defence. As such, from now on, you're not to have any
8 contact with Mr. Prlic's counsel since now that you have made the solemn
9 declaration, you are a witness of justice. This is also what I wanted to
10 tell you.
11 Mr. Karnavas, you have the floor unless there is -- yes,
12 Mr. Khan.
13 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, one very brief matter. I do see at page
14 5, line 10 of the transcript and perhaps so the witness is not taken by
15 surprise, of course after my learned friend, Mr. Karnavas has examined
16 the witness in chief, he will be cross-examined by the Defence prior to
17 the Prosecution. I'm grateful.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Absolutely, you are absolutely
19 right. I had forgotten about it. Once Mr. Karnavas has examined in
20 chief, the other lawyers representing the other five accused can also ask
21 questions of you as part of the cross-examination. Thank you, Mr. Khan,
22 for filling the gap there for me.
23 Mr. Karnavas, you may proceed.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. Again, good afternoon,
25 Mr. President, and Your Honour, Your Honours and everyone in and around
1 the court.
2 Examination by Mr. Karnavas:
3 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Akmadzic.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 Q. All right. First I'm going to go through your background rather
6 quickly. Unless there is any objections I'm going to be leading the
7 witness to his background. As I understand it, you told us already that
8 you were born in 1939, correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And after graduating high school in 1965, I believe you graduated
11 from the Sarajevo
12 that correct?
13 A. That's right.
14 Q. From approximately 1964 to 1978 you were working for, I believe,
15 it was a large company Energoinvest as a translator primarily responsible
16 for international matters?
17 A. As a translator, yes, in international matters.
18 Q. And then in 1978, as I understand it, you began working for the
19 Presidency of the then Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And as I understand it, you were an advisor on international
22 protocol; is that right?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. In 1982, you joined the organising committee for the 14th winter
25 Olympic games that were held in Sarajevo
1 A. Right.
2 Q. I take it you worked there up until the games and I believe the
3 games were in 1984 so that would have been for a couple of years;
5 A. That's right, until somewhere in mid-1984.
6 Q. And then in 1984, I believe you returned back to the Presidency
7 where you were -- you headed the international protocol sector until
8 about the beginning of 1990?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Then around February 1991 as I understand it, you were elected to
11 the office of the general secretary of the Presidency of the Socialist
12 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. Let me try to be a little more specific. It was in mid-1990 that
14 I was working with the office of the president of the Presidency and then
15 in February 1991, I was appointed secretary general of the Presidency.
16 Q. Okay. And you held that position, as I understand it, up until
17 the time when you were elected prime minister of what became the republic
18 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that would have been around November 10, 1992
19 correct, when you were elected prime minister?
20 A. That's right.
21 Q. And you held that position until about the end of -- sometime
22 towards the middle or end of August 1993; is that right?
23 A. That's right, almost until the very end of August.
24 Q. Okay. And we're going to go into some of that in greater detail,
25 but -- and let me just go back a little bit. As I understand it, in --
1 in November 14th, 1992, you were elected one of the vice-presidents of
2 the HDZ-BiH, that would have been -- correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So in other words, while you were holding that position within
5 the Presidency, you also had a particular position within the HDZ which
6 was a political party?
7 A. Yes, for a while.
8 Q. All right. The microphones pick up very well so you don't need
9 to shout, you know. And I understand you might be nervous so a little
10 water may help you calm down a little bit.
11 Then, as I understand it, at some point in -- I believe it was
12 December 10, 1993
13 Croatian Republic
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Then in early, I believe 1995, you were elected vice-president of
16 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
17 A. Yes, the government of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
18 Q. That would have been before, before the Dayton Peace Accords?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. Okay. Well let's go back a little bit now that I've covered in
21 rather general ways your background. At first I want to go into your
22 position of being secretary -- general secretary of the Presidency. For
23 those of us who are not aware of that position, could you please explain
24 a little bit what this position entailed?
25 A. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina comprised seven members
1 and the secretary general who was appointed by the Presidency directly.
2 This is a high-ranking administrative position and it is in charge of the
3 general functioning of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina within
4 the Presidency and outside the Presidency, as far as administrative
5 aspects of its work were concerned, this is a position that carries some
6 responsibility but is not of a political nature such as the positions
7 occupied by the members of the Presidency and this position does not call
8 for an appointment -- does not call for an election.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, I'm going to ask you to slow down a
10 little bit because everything is being translated and at this pace, I'm
11 afraid that they may not be able to keep up by the end of the afternoon
12 so if you could show down just a little bit, okay?
13 Now -- okay, good. Now, in your position as the general
14 secretary, did you have the authority or the power to vote along with the
15 presidents of the Presidency -- or the members of the Presidency?
16 A. I didn't have the power to vote, but I had the power to speak.
17 Q. All right. And as I understand it, and correct me if I am wrong,
18 with respect to -- the minutes of the meetings were being taken; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And was your position such that you would have been responsible
21 in part for those minutes or was somebody else responsible for it?
22 A. Minutes were taken by someone else. I would go through them and
23 at the next meeting of the Presidency, I would grant my approval.
24 Q. All right. Now you say you would grant your approval and how
25 would that approval be granted?
1 A. I would just go through them and when I realised that I could go
2 to a Presidency meeting then under the regulations at the next meeting of
3 the Presidency would approve and adopt the minutes or perhaps amend them.
4 Q. All right. Well, did the -- did the minutes themselves, once
5 they were approved, did they require to be signed by anyone in order to
6 demonstrate that they had been indeed looked at, reviewed, and approved?
7 A. The minutes were signed by the president and the secretary
9 Q. So that would have been you when you held that position?
10 A. That's right.
11 Q. Now, with respect to this Presidency, we heard a little bit about
12 it but again, since you were one of the, for lack a better term, one of
13 the insiders, could you please explain to us how did this Presidency
14 function? What were the responsibilities of this Presidency and its
16 A. As I said before, the Presidency comprised seven members elected
17 directly by the people. Once the Presidency had been established after
18 its first meeting, the president would be appointed. The president is
19 equal to the other members of the Presidency except for one thing, he
20 chairs the meetings and schedules the meetings of the Presidency and he
21 also signs any decisions taken by the Presidency.
22 Q. And we've heard this term before but I want to see whether you
23 can verify it. Is this known or -- yeah, is this known as a collective
25 A. Yes, the Presidency is a collective head of state primarily of
1 the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina when it was still part
3 Q. All right.
4 A. The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 Q. I know there was a president of the Presidency, was there a
6 position such as the vice-president of the Presidency?
7 A. There was no such thing as the vice-president of the Presidency
8 but when the president was abroad, somebody would always be appointed to
9 stand in for him.
10 Q. Okay. With respect to the military, was it the president who was
11 the commander in chief or was it this collective body?
12 A. The collective body, the Presidency as a whole, was the supreme
13 commander of the armed forces.
14 Q. All right. Now, let's leave the Presidency for a second and go
15 to the government itself because we know that you served as prime
16 minister. If you could tell always little bit, just very briefly, about
17 the relationships between, say, the Presidency and the government itself?
18 And when we speak of government, perhaps I should ask you first to
19 explain what is meant by government by your system or the system back
21 A. The government was one of the state bodies, one of the three
22 state bodies. There was the Presidency, the head state firstly;
23 secondly, the assembly as the legislative body and then the government as
24 the executive body. I'm talking about Bosnia and Herzegovina. The
25 legislative body of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that comprised presidents,
1 the vice-presidents and it also had a secretary.
2 Q. All right. Now going back to my earlier question as far as the
3 relation between the Presidency and the government, how did they interact
4 with one subordinate to the other, could you help us out here a little
6 A. Under the constitution and the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 each of those bodies had their own powers and areas which they were in
8 charge. Both of these bodies were bodies of the executive, the
9 Presidency was the head of state and the government ran -- governed
10 states in as far as any elements were concerned in relation to which it
11 was bound to so under the law that applied.
12 Q. As I understand it, the government now had different various
13 ministries one of which was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; is that
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. As I understand it, prior to you becoming prime minister and even
17 thereafter, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was Haris Silajdzic; is that
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, if you could briefly explain to us the relationship between
21 the ministry and, say, the prime minister and the president -- president
22 of the Presidency. To whom would the minister be responsible and
23 accountable to?
24 A. The minister was responsible to the government and the prime
25 minister and the president of the Presidency is one of the members of
1 this collective body, the head of state. When invited by the Presidency,
2 his minister can also submit a report however answering any other
3 questions but as a matter of principle it goes through the prime
5 Q. Now, while you were there, not speaking prior to your being the
6 prime minister, could you please explain to the Trial Chamber how often
7 Mr. Silajdzic reported to you on his activity and we're going to talk a
8 little bit approximate it but if you could just tell us briefly about
9 that relationship?
10 A. Mr. Silajdzic, as foreign minister, spends a lot of time abroad.
11 He did not submit any reports to the prime minister or indeed the
12 government or indeed the Presidency. He only spoke to me once. He
13 wanted to talk about his time abroad, and I warned him on that occasion
14 that in the future, he should not travel abroad without obtaining
15 approval previously from the government or indeed without so to speak a
16 platform in terms of what he would be discussing there.
17 On his return to the country, he should inform me first and then
18 we would see together whether this was something for the government or
19 the Presidency to deal with. However, he failed to follow suit. He did
20 not comply with this decision of mine.
21 Q. All right. Well just to make sure that I understand it, because
22 I'm familiar with my system back in the States with the Secretary of
23 State, that's what we call the minister of foreign affairs, normally that
24 position is not a policy position; in other words, the minister would not
25 be designing and executing a particular policy of his or her own but
1 rather it would be the government's or the executive, whatever is the
2 executive authority would be setting the foreign policy with the minister
3 merely executing it or implementing it.
4 In that system of yours, could you please explain to us what was
5 the authority of the foreign minister to be going around having trips,
6 never reporting and God knows doing what during those trips while he was
7 outside the country?
8 A. Foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the time it
9 became an independent state, well, that is the time when actually Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina
11 post was called something else. He is on an equal footing with other
12 members of the government. He is not elected, an elected official, he is
13 appointed at the recommendation of the president by the assembly. And
14 since during the war the assembly could not be in session and he had
15 already been appointed, he was confirmed, he was reappointed by the
16 Presidency at my recommendation and the recommendation of the prime
17 minister. When the foreign minister is abroad in accordance with the law
18 on foreign affairs and in accordance with the discussions held with the
19 prime minister, the president and the platform of the government, he is
20 duty-bound to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina wherever it is that he
21 actually has to represent it.
22 Q. All right. Now, let me just sort of fast-forward all the way to
23 the end of our discussion and then we'll go back and sort of fill in the
24 pieces. From your CV, you were, from February 1991 until the -- until
25 August 1993, a member of -- working with the Presidency and thereafter
1 the prime minister and you would have been a member of the War Presidency
2 at the time. Can you please tell us, summarize for us, during that
3 period and even thereafter to your knowledge how was the Presidency
4 functioning as an institution considering that it did have -- you did
5 have a constitution and you had rules and regulations on how it was
6 supposed to function and the responsibilities and authorities each member
7 including the president of the Presidency.
8 A. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established on the
9 20th of December, 1990 that's when it was constituted. That's when the
10 president of the Presidency was elected, that was done at the first
11 session and the term of office was one year. That's when the rules
12 procedure of the first Presidency were also adopted and in accordance
13 with the rules of procedure, the term of office of the president of the
14 Presidency was one year; but after the expiry of this one year term of
15 office, it could be extended by another year, but that was the maximum
The -- there was another criterion that was applied in Bosnia
19 Presidency, the president of the assembly and the prime minister of the
20 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina were subject to rotation. In other
21 words, officials from the three constituent peoples were to be appointed
22 to those posts according to a system of rotation. The Presidency of
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina from the 20th of December, 1990, until the 20th of
24 December, 1991, functioned fully within the legislative framework in
25 place in accordance with the constitution and in accordance with the
1 rules of procedure of the Presidency.
2 At the first session, the presidents of -- or chairman of various
3 bodies of the Presidency were also appointed in addition to the president
4 of the Presidency. One of those bodies was in charge of defence issues.
5 It was headed ex officio by the president of the Presidency and the name
6 of this body was the defence council.
7 There was another body for the protection of the constitutional
8 order and a member of the Presidency was in charge of that body. The
9 third key body was the commission, the personnel commission in charge of
10 appointments within Bosnia and Herzegovina to various posts, in
11 particular, within the Presidency itself.
12 So these were the three key bodies. There were two other bodies
13 that were also within the purview of the Presidency such as the body that
14 was -- that dealt with decorations and awards and another one that dealt
15 with complaints, pardons, and there were perhaps some other working
16 bodies that I cannot remember now.
17 Each of those working bodies was headed by a member of the
18 Presidency or somebody else from the Presidency staff but they could also
19 come from other state institutions.
20 Q. All right. Now --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MR. KARNAVAS:
23 Q. Mr. Akmadzic, you indicated that up until one point, it was fully
24 functioning in accordance with the rules of procedure. Did there come a
25 time when it stopped functioning in a proper fashion and if so, to your
1 understanding, what were the reasons?
2 A. Apart from this aspect of the functioning of the Presidency which
3 was fully in accordance with the law, there was another stage in the
4 lifespan of the Presidency that we could describe as the prewar stage
5 because at that time, the Presidency was often in session, in constant
6 session, up until the 20th of December, 1992, and then the war broke out
7 and the Serb members of the Presidency left the Presidency. And then on
8 the 20th of December, 1992, the president of the Presidency,
9 Alija Izetbegovic, did not accept the constitutional provision and the
10 provision of the rules of procedure and refused to hand over his office
11 to another member of the Presidency that would thus become the president
12 and in accordance with the rotation principle, it was to be a Croat.
13 This disrupted the work of the Presidency. Instead of the Serb
14 members of the Presidency who had left the Presidency, now there were
15 other representatives of the Serb people who had not, however, been
16 elected. They had not won the election.
17 Q. Let me stop you here and let's go through the documents and let's
18 see if we can amplify on that.
19 If the usher could give him the documents, the first binder would
20 be fine and I will be referring to 1D 01408. We're going to go rather
21 quickly with some of these documents. This is a decision -- this is in
22 binder 1 for everybody, 1D 01408 it's 10 November 1992, we see a
23 decision, that's to elect you as prime minister; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Go to the next document, 1D 02873, 2873. That would be in binder
1 3. We've seen this before, Your Honours, with the previous witness but
2 that would be the very next document for you, sir. All your documents
3 are in order so 1D 02873. We see here this is dated 2 August 1993, I'm
4 fast forwarding and this is a letter which apparently you signed where
5 you indicated that you and other members, Franjo Boras and Mr. Lasic
6 were -- had decided not to take part in the work on the Presidency until
7 the offensive operation of the Muslim army against the Croat population
8 stopped. Do you recall that?
9 A. I remember this document. I signed it together with
10 Mr. Franjo Boras and with Mr. Miro Lasic who were members of the
11 Presidency and at that time, I was not a member of the Presidency. That
12 was the 2nd of August, 1993, I was an official of the Presidency.
13 Q. All right. You were the prime minister at the time, were you
15 A. Yes, I was. I was the prime minister and a member of the
16 Presidency in my capacity as the prime minister ex officio, in other
18 Q. Right. And that's because there was a War Presidency at the
19 time; is that correct?
20 A. Yes. At that time, and I failed to mention that in my previous
21 answers, there was this War Presidency which increased by three more
22 members the president of the government or the prime minister, the
23 speaker of the assembly, and the commander of the Territorial Defence of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina which existed at that time so ex officio as the
25 prime minister, I became a member of the War Presidency.
1 Q. Now, this letter, we don't need to spend too much time on it, but
2 were you resigning with this letter?
3 A. No. This letter was not tantamount to resignation, but it was a
4 warning to the Presidency that it should act in accordance with the law
5 pass decisions in accordance with the law and that as the supreme
6 commander of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina it should take
7 measures to put a stop to the fighting. In this case, it was the Croat
8 people that was being attacked.
9 Q. All right. And then if we look at the next document, which is 1D
10 02673, we see that -- and this is dated -- 2673, this is in binder 3,
11 Your Honours. This is dated 27 August 1993, and we see that the
12 president of the Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, is relieving you of your
13 duties; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, I was relieved from my duty as the prime minister and
15 automatically I was no longer a member of the Presidency and the
16 explanation as given here was because of the withdrawal of the Croatian
17 Democratic Union members from the state organs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
18 but in accordance with the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 president can be replaced in two ways. The first way is for him to
20 resign and the other one is for him to be held responsible for something
21 and then the appropriate procedure must be followed and proceedings must
22 be instituted.
23 Q. To your understanding, were appropriate proceedings followed in
24 this case?
25 A. No. This was done in contravention of the law and the rules that
1 applied in the Presidency and in the state as a whole.
2 Q. Before we go any further, could you explain to us your
3 relationship with Mr. Izetbegovic?
4 A. I welcomed Mr. Izetbegovic to the Presidency after the 1990
5 elections. I acquainted him with the situation in the Presidency and
6 with the manner in which the previous Presidency functioned.
7 Mr. Izetbegovic heard me and we had -- we were on good terms. We were
8 friends for a good portion of the time that we spent working together.
9 The president of the Presidency, Mr. Izetbegovic, after the war broke
10 out, embarked on something that we could call a parallel policy. He
11 would sometimes make decisions with the core of his associates who were
12 not actually members of the Presidency. I disagreed with this practice
13 and so did many others.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you. If we could look at now document 2D 00191, 2D
15 00191. This would be in binder 4, Your Honours. Again, I apologise for
16 not putting them in the order for everyone but ...
17 This is the very next document for you, sir, the very next
18 document. Just --
19 A. Mm-hm. Mm-hm.
20 Q. You can't go wrong.
21 Now, this is from the Balkan Odyssey by David Owen, and I'm going
22 to read an excerpt from it from page 52 and I want you to comment on it.
23 It's towards the middle of the page, Your Honours, and it says, and this
24 is what Lord Owen writes:
25 "When the Croat Mile Akmadzic was appointed as prime minister of
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina, he made a real effort to revive the collective
2 leadership of the Presidency. He went back to live in Sarajevo
3 his previous experience as pre-war secretary to the Presidency to try to
4 restore the authority of the Muslim-Croat coalition that had won the
5 referendum on independence which the Serbs boycotted. But by the end of
6 1992, it was becoming clear to all that he would fail and that power had
7 gone to a small group of Muslim ministers appointed by
8 President Izetbegovic and their nominee as vice-president, Ejup Ganic.
9 The collective Presidency as a democratic body with meaningful
10 representation from the three constituent nations was by the autumn of
11 1993 no longer a reality. The real decisions were made elsewhere. We
12 were in effect dealing with a Muslim government for a predominantly
13 Muslim population."
14 That's what Lord Owen wrote in his book concerning his experience
15 in dealing with the negotiations at the time. Would you agree with
16 Lord Owen?
17 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, just for the record I want to
18 make an objection to this form of questioning. This is nothing more than
19 a leading questioning disguised as reading the statement of someone who's
20 not in the courtroom. This exact same evidence could have been elicited
21 from the witness by non-leading questions: What were you doing at the
22 time? How did you find the functioning of the president? What were you
23 doing? Did you try to -- in a non-leading way, what you were you doing
24 to revive the work of the president, et cetera, et cetera. All of this
25 could have been properly elicited by non-leading questions which is the
1 proper method of proceeding on direct examination. Putting this text to
2 him and asking him whether he agrees with it is nothing more than a
3 rather somewhat clever way of asking a leading question. And the
4 Prosecution objects to it.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Two points. One this is the exact technique that
6 Mr. Stringer uses. In fact, I was rather amazed that he was able to get
7 away with it so I'm trying it; and I kind of like it.
8 Secondly, I did ask the predicate, if you go back to my previous
9 question, you had the witness, Mr. Akmadzic, recount how there was a
10 parallel or two-track approach, and he talked about Izetbegovic making
11 decisions with his close associates some of whom were not there. So in
12 the sense, the gentleman has already provided from his own experience the
14 Now we have Lord Owen validating it. I see nothing wrong with
15 that, and I don't think that I should be prevented from even asking
16 further questions concerning what Lord Owen has written about. So that
17 would be my response to the Prosecution on that one, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a moment, please. You
19 both are right. But if you want to be efficient, what happens? In
20 answer to a non-leading question, the witness said that he had been
21 removed from his position as prime minister. He explained the reasons
22 why that happened. Lord Owen wrote a book and confirms what has been
24 Mr. Karnavas could have said, well, let me submit this document
25 to you towards the middle of the page, there is a passage, could you read
1 it and tell me whether it corresponds or not to what you said earlier and
2 he would have said that's exactly what I said.
3 So objections based on common law principles, why not but if you
4 want to be efficient, it is better to go to the bottom of the matter.
5 Mr. Stringer is not here today. He used the same technique once. Very
7 Mr. Scott, you may say whatever you want but Lord Owen's book
8 seems to confirm what the witness said. If you want the Defence to spend
9 hours asking the witness whether he heard about Lord Owen, he would have
10 said yes. Do you know whether he wrote a book or not? The result would
11 be the same anyway.
12 Mr. Scott.
13 MR. SCOTT: Just to clarify, to the extent that Mr. -- I wasn't
14 necessarily in the courtroom and haven't been in the courtroom of course
15 at all times when Mr. Stringer has examined witnesses but my
16 understanding is that the -- any reference to Mr. Stringer using such a
17 method that was done during cross-examination and leading questions or
18 proper on what is bona fide as opposed to artificial cross-examination,
19 number one. It's a dramatically different rule in procedure and practice
20 as Mr. Karnavas knows under the common law system.
21 Secondly, Your Honour, with great respect to the time pressures
22 of this institution, not everything can be governed by efficiency. We
23 would have no other rules. There are rules that have to be followed,
24 yes, it would be proper -- it would be more efficient to put leading
25 questions to every witness; as a matter of fact, it would be more
1 efficient to do away with the witnesses and just let the lawyers talk,
2 but that's not our system. There are rules to be followed and we cannot
3 constantly appeal what's more efficient. Because if it's more efficient,
4 let's do away with everything, we don't need witnesses, we'll bring
5 books, we'll take turns reading from Lord Owen's book and we'll read that
6 and we don't need -- that's the most efficient of all so with great
7 respect to Mr. Karnavas, and to the Chamber, a constant appeals to
8 efficiency do not answer the questions of principle and the rule of law
9 in this institution or elsewhere and my objection stands, and we could
10 have proceeded a way that this could have been elicited by non-leading.
11 MR. STEWART: Excuse me, Your Honours, the Petkovic Defence would
12 wish to support Mr. Karnavas on this matter and we clearly have, although
13 this is clearly Mr. Karnavas's witness, we clearly have a direct vested
14 interest because such ground rules and practices are going to be
15 established in the course of Mr. Karnavas's case are likely to apply by
16 the same token throughout the Defence case. What we note is that
17 although Mr. Karnavas picked Mr. Stringer's examination as the example
18 today and studiously avoided any issue between himself and Mr. Scott
19 which we welcome and applaud, in fact, the technique was adopted
20 consistently throughout the Prosecution case because I recall, and I
21 wasn't even here at the very beginning of the trial; but I recall
22 numerous occasions particularly when a United Nations document and other
23 documents of that nature were put to witnesses and the witness was asked
24 after having quite a long passage put to him, is that consistent with
25 your recollection? Fundamentally that is absolutely no different at all
1 whether it's a passage from a book and so on and there was some objection
2 at times we did think it was carried to extremes but that technique was
3 adopted consistently throughout and what sauce for the goose is sauce or
4 all the ganders on this side of the court, Your Honours, and Mr. Karnavas
5 should be allowed to put questions in precisely that form.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask my colleagues
7 what they think of it.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber has
10 deliberated and states that at this stage of the examination in chief,
11 the counsel, based on documents or books is allowed to show references to
12 a witness by referring to the document and ask questions based on that.
13 Of course as to the probative value, the Trial Chamber will assess it in
14 the light of the types of questions raised.
15 Mr. Karnavas, please proceed.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. If we go on to the next
17 document -- I apologise.
18 Q. Mr. Akmadzic, you didn't answer. You owe us an answer, a
19 complete one.
20 A. First of all, affirmative. What Lord Owen said, this was true
21 although this was a compliment that he paid me, I would like to provide
22 another explanation. Lord Owen got this impression based on the
23 negotiations that we had at the international peace conference of the
24 former Yugoslavia
25 doesn't quite know what went on inside the Presidency but it's precisely
1 what Lord Owen said.
2 Mr. Izetbegovic specifically at this time in 1993 once his term
3 had expired and he stopped being president of the Presidency in a legal
4 sense, also under the rules of procedure, he in some way assumed the
5 function of head of state. He took decisions independently or within a
6 very small circle of people. He acted very much like this at the
7 international level and during international negotiations.
8 Q. If we go on to the next document, and it's 1D 00942. This would
9 be in binder 1, Your Honours. You will see that this is a platform for
10 the activities of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and this, if
11 we look at page 2, it says, it's 26 June 1992. Do you recognise this
12 document, sir?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, this says this is the document -- this is the platform for
15 the activities. And for those of us who don't understand or don't know
16 what a platform is, can you please tell us, what was this supposed to be?
17 A. This document was supposed to show and to specify how
18 negotiations should be held internationally, how Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 interests should be promoted. And also, how the Presidency should be
20 informed about this and how decisions should be taken of the Presidency
21 of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an institution and so is the country itself.
22 It represents all of its peoples, three constituent ones, specifically.
23 One of the representatives represented the remaining population that
24 didn't fall under the one those three ethnic groups. We called them
25 minorities, ethnic minorities or maybe those who refused to declare their
2 All those who went to negotiate on behalf of the Presidency had
3 to operate in keeping with the constitution and the Presidency's
5 Q. Now, if we look at under number one: What kind of Bosnia
7 read it, it says:
8 "The internal structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a
9 multi-national and multi-religious community, is based on regional and
10 local self-rule which recognises economic, cultural, historical, and
11 ethnic criteria. Local and regional self-rule cannot be in opposition to
12 the principles of territorial integrity and the unform functioning of
13 government in the whole of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
14 My question to you, sir, is: To your understanding what is this
15 platform, this part of the platform, what is it talking about? How can
16 we interpret this or understand this, I should say?
17 A. There are two ways of looking at this, if you ask me. The first
18 is the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 operating as a collective head of state and performs the function of the
20 head of state and it also applies to other central bodies of the state.
21 However, there is one thing that we mustn't forget, that is the interests
22 declared here in terms of local self-government and government
23 specifically in other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. All right. Now, let's go on to the next document.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a follow-up question so
1 that we don't have to go back to this document later on.
2 Witness, I was going to call you Mr. Prime Minister on account of
3 your previous position. It appears from the platform that there's a very
4 clear reference to local institutions, to local and regional self-rule.
5 From what I can read, it seems that local and regional self-rule would be
6 competent for economic, cultural, and ethnical criteria. This is a
7 document that was created on the 26th of June, 1992 at the Presidency of
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina. When reading it, as far as you can see, don't
9 you think that it shows that some kind of regional self-rule is
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 stages of its existence, had different kinds of local self-government.
13 The smallest unit was the local commune. A rung up the latter from that
14 was the municipality. Municipalities could join forces in order to form
15 associations of municipalities. This was based on a number of criteria
16 and some of them are noted here. However, what we did not find noted
17 here were communication criteria, geographic criteria and other criteria
18 as well.
19 Municipalities grouped together like that would normally be
20 called an association municipalities.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You seem to say that in
22 history, there had been associations of municipalities already. Do you
23 have a specific historic reference to that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm talking about back in the
25 socialist times and then after then; however, back in socialism, these
1 were called districts, counties.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question: When
3 municipalities met in Grude, it may be that the defence teams will go
4 back to this question, but when they met in Grude, in order to create the
5 Croatian Council which is later to become the Croatian Republic
6 Herceg-Bosna, is this the framework in which municipalities were going to
7 gather and create a structure of the type that we have with the Croatian
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think so. I'm not 100 per cent
10 certain, but I think what you're asking me about, Mr. President, is in
11 reference to the war, the community that was established during the war.
12 This decision invokes the provisions specified here. Nonetheless, its
13 primary purpose, if my understanding is correct, was not just linking up
14 but also creating the right conditions to defend Bosnia and Herzegovina
15 its sovereignty.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
17 Please proceed, Mr. Karnavas.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
19 Q. Now, if we go to the next document, P 00743, that's in binder 4,
20 Your Honour, P 00743, that's the next document, we see this is dated 14
21 December 1992, these are minutes from the HDZ 2nd General Convention and
22 you already told us that it was at 14 December when you were elected one
23 of the vice-presidents and we can see that in this document. If you look
24 on page 6, Your Honours, the pages are on the bottom right-hand corner we
25 see your name.
1 More importantly, I just wish to point out to the Court's
2 attention, perhaps you can comment that at this particular gathering, you
3 spoke and at least we have some minutes, this would be on page 5, Your
4 Honours, under number 13, we see your name, Mile Akmadzic, BiH prime
5 minister is proud to be is part of the Croatian nation, it says
6 "naciona," and then it says, "He asks for support to BiH government from
8 Sir, did they accurately recount what you had indicated that you
9 were asking HDZ to support the BiH government? And this is back in 14
10 December 1992? Was that your attitude at the time?
11 A. At the time or just before I had been appointed prime minister, I
12 sought the support of the Croatian democratic community of Bosnia
14 the state institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina but the HDZ was one of
15 the three winning parties in the elections along with the SDA and the
17 As a member that party, as a member of that ethnic group, I meant
18 to seek their support for the functioning of a government that I then
20 Q. All right. Now, if we go to the next document and that's 1D
21 02892 that's the very next document in the binder that's in binder 3,
22 Your Honours. 1D 02892, if you could look at it, sir, it's dated 28
23 January 1993. If we look at the second page, we see your name as the
24 president of the government, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 I wish to direct everyone's attention to the very last paragraph
1 of this document on page 1 and you state here, this is an address that
2 you made to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, this is a letter.
3 Now, do you recall sending this letter, sir?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. Now, in this letter, you say at the last paragraph on
6 the first page, "On the other hand, the representatives of the Muslim
7 people in BH do not yet have a understandable policy and insist on a
8 unitary Bosnia and Herzegovina that is impossible."
9 What do you mean by that, "a unitary Bosnia and Herzegovina
10 A. When I was appointed prime minister, the government platform said
11 that Bosnia and Herzegovina had to be decentralised state, only as such
12 could it go on existing, only as such could Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 possible. Any other kind of Bosnia and Herzegovina would have to be
14 based on a unitary organisation if its constituent peoples did not get
15 the respect they deserved, the country itself would have been impossible
16 to preserve. Something had to be done to keep this from happening. I
17 sent this letter to the Islamic conference, the secretary general in
18 person. I knew that Mr. Izetbegovic enjoyed a great deal of respect in
19 those circles, and that was why I sought their support.
20 Q. Okay. But when you say unitary organisation, just so we
21 understand, if you could just answer my question: What did you mean by
22 that? What's a "unitary organisation"?
23 A. Unitary means without extensive local self-government, without
24 state-run principles that we talked about then within the Vance-Owen Plan
25 and other plans on how Bosnia and Herzegovina should be organised. I'm
1 talking about a regional approach where there would be regions, provinces
2 or whatever we choose to call them and those would be established and
3 based on all the criteria that were being negotiated.
4 Q. All right. And in fact, if we go to page 2, in the middle of the
5 third line you say, "The Croatian people seek an independent BH
6 consisting of a number of provinces with a high degree democracy,
7 equality for all three peoples ..." that's what you're just telling us;
8 is that correct?
9 A. Absolutely. Absolutely. This is the position that we advocated
10 and this never changed throughout the war or throughout all the rounds of
11 international negotiations.
12 Q. And we see later on in the third paragraph in the middle of it,
13 you say:
14 "In the same sense, we ask you to positively influence the Muslim
15 leadership in BH to cooperate closer with the leadership of the Croatian
16 people in BH and with the Republic of Croatia
17 ally and is threatened by the same aggressor."
18 A. Yes, this was a time of war. We Croats did not walk out in the
19 Presidency, two Serb members of the Presidency as I said who had been
20 legally appointed did walk out. The Croat members of the Presidency and
21 me as the prime minister and a member of the War Presidency remained in
22 our positions. We were adamant that there should be international
23 recognition for Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that would reflect
24 interests of all of its three peoples not just the Muslim and the Serb
25 peoples but the Croat peoples but also the Serbs regardless of the fact
1 that this was an act of aggression. We asked the Islamic conference the
2 following intervention by Mr. Izetbegovic to accept these negotiations
3 and to accept any agreement reached.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this Islamic
5 conference, did it send you a reply to that letter of January 1993? Did
6 you receive an answer or not?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never got a response.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Another question, Witness. We have seen the
9 platform of the War Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina a short while
10 ago, and I wonder whether you could elaborate a bit on the relationship
11 between what you say here about the Muslim intentions and what is said in
12 the war platform which clearly does refer to self-government?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Self-government was defined quite
14 vaguely in the platform. We adopted the platform, nonetheless; however,
15 if you look at this document you have international negotiations and the
16 situation which dictated that we be as specific as possible, we had to be
17 specific about our desires. All of our three peoples wanted to be
18 specific about what sort a country we wanted and though international
19 negotiations at the time, we reached a conclusion at least we Croats did
20 and I don't think any of the other groups were far from our conclusions
21 that the best way to organise Bosnia and Herzegovina would be in terms of
22 provinces or on the basis of provinces. As soon as the 4th January 1993
23 we had signed all the constitutional principles for organising Bosnia
25 were the provinces and now we were adamant, and we explicitly sought that
1 the principles that were signed and accepted by all the three peoples,
2 the Serbs, the Croats and the Muslims that those principles now be
3 implemented in the way that --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the last part of
5 the witness's answer.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: You may need to repeat the last part your answer,
7 sir. You need to slow down a little bit.
8 JUDGE PRANDLER: Yes, if I may say the same request, which was
9 the last line mentioned by Mr. Karnavas that -- that I would like to ask
10 the witness to slow down and really to save the interpreters in a way
11 that they should follow you and be so kind to make pauses between your
12 answers and the -- I believe that it would be very useful. Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: May I continue? Okay.
15 Q. Now, the next document I just put in here just to highlight some
16 of the problems that might have come your way. This is 1D 02859, 1D
17 02859, this is a letter that is addressed to you. This is in binder 3,
18 Your Honours.
19 You may -- I'm told that there's a possibility that you may not
20 have it, 2589. If that's the case, I will skip it and go on to the next.
21 You don't have it? We do have copies, I'm told. Perhaps -- make
22 sure that the Prosecution has one too. Okay. Do you have the document,
23 1D 02859, sir?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. We see that it's addressed to you, sir. If we look at the third
1 page, we see that it's by a Dr. Josip Goluza. Did you know this
3 A. [No interpretation]
4 Q. I'm not getting an interpretation.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, if you look at -- who was this individual?
7 A. This individual was an assistant minister. He was in charge of
8 economic relations. He was also in charge of the functioning of pressure
10 Q. Okay. Now if we look at number 2, I'm just going to highlight a
11 couple of points. Now as I understand, it's translated that he was in
12 charge of the functioning of pressure groups. That's what has been
13 translated. Is that what you meant "pressure groups" or are you speaking
14 of logistic centres?
15 A. Logistics centres.
16 Q. Now, if you just relax, sir, I will point you to the document.
17 Just relax a little bit. If you look at paragraph 2, it says:
18 "Humanitarian aid arriving from abroad from various donors is
19 under no control. Logistic centres which are currently in the process of
20 establishment, should restore order especially in the control of and
21 distribution of humanitarian aid."
22 If we go to paragraph 3, it says:
23 "Donors of humanitarian aid both in the country and abroad are
24 known in most cases, however, donations of financial assistance are
25 unknown. The government has opened 12 accounts around Europe to which
1 financial means should be paid. I claim with full responsibility that
2 these funds are not on those accounts, except for $440.000 US dollars
3 sent to the office of the government of the republic of BiH
4 selling goods ..." and it goes on.
5 Sir, I guess my question is were you aware of these problems and
6 why do we have these problems and perhaps you could tell us when -- when
7 was this sent to you or to your office?
8 A. This was actually handed over to me when I travelled to Zagreb
9 once. I submitted this to the government because I had been involved in
10 negotiations all the time for this to be decided. This is a result of
11 work that was parallel with the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 Logistics centres were opened, aid continued to arrive. This wasn't
13 fully state-controlled.
14 Q. I'm just going to stop you. Why was there such chaos when you
15 look at this document, it's very clear that money is disappearing, goods
16 are not being controlled. Who is at fault? Why are these problems
17 occurring? And this is while you're the prime minister of the
19 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. I wanted to give
20 Mr. Karnavas a fair chance to ask follow-up questions so I stayed in my
21 seat, but I would still like to get the answer to the question of
22 approximate date or time because again the Chamber knows it makes a
23 dramatic deference as to when we are talking about. I do note that in
24 paragraph 3 of the letter, it makes reference to the president of the
25 government at that time being Mr. Pelivan and I believe that Mr. Pelivan
1 stopped being the prime minister or president of the government sometime
2 in October 1992. If that assists the witness or the Chamber but perhaps
3 Mr. Karnavas could ask additional questions on the time of this or date
4 of this letter. Thank you.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: It hadn't escaped me.
6 Q. You were prime minister, as you indicated, from November 10th,
7 1992 to approximately the end of August 1993. Do you know about when
8 this was sent to your office?
9 A. This letter was sent to my office early 1993. I was prime
10 minister and there was this one report that I think is about the period
11 of Mr. Jure Pelivan.
12 Q. All right. We'll go on to the next document, 1D 02869. That's
13 in binder 3, Your Honours. 1D 02869. That's the very next document.
14 It's dated 17 July 1993
15 is a letter or a statement and a meeting of prime ministers of the
16 Central European Initiative in Budapest
17 recognise this document, sir?
18 A. Yes, this is my document.
19 Q. Okay. And what was the event, very briefly?
20 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a member of the Central European
21 Initiative, it's a group of about ten countries from central Europe
22 the Balkans for the most part. They were holding a meeting with prime
23 ministers and foreign ministers involved. This was at Budapest
24 this time, the 17th of July, 1993.
25 Q. All right. Now, if you go to page 3, we look at the first -- the
1 paragraph in the middle of the page. Towards the latter part of that
2 paragraph, you state:
3 "It is possible for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a decentralised
4 state made up of several constituent units with a free flow of people,
5 goods and capital over its entire territory."
6 Was that your position then as you were stating it?
7 A. That was precisely my position and that's the position that I
8 presented at the Central European Initiative. I sought their support and
9 I received their support in principle. Other prime ministers presented
10 such views. This meeting was attended by Mr. Silajdzic too, the foreign
11 minister. He, himself, agreed with this view.
12 Q. All right. Now, as I understand it, you participated in several
13 of the peace initiatives; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Of all the peace initiatives that you were involved in and you
16 were aware of, which of the ones -- which of all of them did you find
17 most acceptable for Bosnia and Herzegovina?
18 A. Since I was on good terms with Mr. Izetbegovic, regardless of the
19 fact that I opposed his term of office as the president after the 20th of
20 December, 1992, I told him and that was the position that I presented in
21 various international forums that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a state of
22 three constituent peoples with equal status, a state that is not Serbian,
23 not Croat, not Muslim, but a state that belongs to all those ethnic
24 communities, it was a Serb, Muslim and Croat state, could continue to
25 exist as a decentralised state and that the best kind of system for it
1 was the system that was reached at the Geneva negotiations held under the
2 auspices of the International Conference For the Former Yugoslavia.
3 The co-chairmen of the steering committee were Cyrus Vance as a
4 representative of the United Nations and Lord Owen as a representatives
5 of the European Union or community.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: All right. We'll take a break, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have the break now and
8 resume at ten past 4.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you may proceed.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Sir, if we could go on to the next document, 1D 02884. That
14 would be in binder number 3, Your Honours. Do you have it, sir?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And it's dated July 20th, 1993
17 page, there is a stamp and your name and the signature. Is that your
18 signature, sir?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And apparently this seems to be a letter to the editor where you
21 are explaining that -- that you felt compelled, I guess, to explain
22 certain issues that were being reported at the time. Do you stand behind
23 what you indicated in this particular letter, sir?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. All right. Now, on page 2, very quickly, I don't have time to go
1 through the entire letter, but on page 2 at the second to last paragraph,
2 penultimate, I guess if you want to use the farcy word, "Bosnian
3 government opposes sanctions against Croatia
4 be a deathnell for Bosnia
5 Now, you say Bosnian government opposes sanctions against
7 prime minister as I understand it?
8 A. Yes, I was the prime minister. Sanctions would not have been
9 good for Bosnia and Herzegovina since Bosnia and Herzegovina
10 two-fourths of its borders with Croatia
11 conflicts, its political and economic and human ties with Croatia were
12 very strong. To impose sanctions on Croatia would in fact reflect on
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina too. It would have repercussions, it would be
14 tantamount to imposing sanctions on Bosnia and Herzegovina and that was
15 not in its interest, definitely.
16 Q. All right. Now, just let me touch on another issue. We've heard
17 testimony here and we've seen documents --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have the document here on
19 the screen. On page 2, first paragraph, this is what you seem to say,
20 sir, you claim that the incidents or the clashes that oppose the two
21 armies seem to be the result of the international community's implicit
22 support for Serb genocide against Bosnian Muslims. Could you tell us
23 what you meant by that? By reading that sentence, I'm under the
24 impression that the state of war in your country would be due to the
25 Serbs who were committing a genocide against the Muslims. Am I right in
1 saying that or is your interpretation different from what I just said?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At any rate, the war in my country
3 was the result of an aggression by Serbia and the army of Yugoslavia
4 Yugoslav people's army and of Montenegro
5 Presidency --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you mention clashes
7 between the two armies, do you mean the HVO and the BiH army?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in this case I'm talking about
9 the HVO and the BH army but this conflict was the result of the
10 aggression that I mentioned and even before this conflict, the thing that
11 we discussed at the Presidency and the government actually came about,
12 the aggression in particular in eastern Bosnia where there was no HVO for
13 all intents and purposes.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE PRANDLER: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas, I would like to have a
16 follow-up question. The witness just mentioned that -- and I quote from
17 the very last paragraph there:
18 "We discussed at the Presidency and the government and actually
19 came about that the aggression in particular in eastern Bosnia
20 there was no HVO ..." et cetera.
21 Now my question is the following very briefly, that this July
22 20th letter which you sent to the New York Times, was it in a way agreed
23 upon by the War Presidency and did you discuss this kind of statements of
24 political nature, of course, very important to us with the Presidency or
25 with President Izetbegovic? So it is my question if you have held a
1 position formulated in a way jointly with the War Presidency. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Presidency of Bosnia
5 The war was defined as follows: The war in Bosnia and
7 Serbian Montenegro at that time or rather that was the federal republic
8 of Yugoslavia
9 at the beginning it still existed at this time it did not exist anymore
10 and the internal paramilitary forces organized by the Serbian Democratic
11 Party and by the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This aggression
12 was aimed at Bosnia and Herzegovina and there were cases of genocide in
13 eastern Bosnia
14 aggression throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This
15 aggression indirectly led to the conflict between the Croatian Defence
16 Council and the BH army because the areas that Croats and Muslims were
17 left with were reduced, in particular, in Central Bosnia and in
19 Central Bosnia
20 Given this imbalance in the ethnic composition, the shifts in the
21 ethnic composition first we saw those sporadic clashes which then
22 escalated into large-scale conflict but we never used the term "war" to
23 describe them.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have two technical questions. The first one
25 refers to the fact that this is a government document where normally one
1 takes all the pains to write them properly. And it appears to me that
2 the date on top of the letter has been amended, that it was typed "1992"
3 and someone then by hand changed the 2 to a 3.
4 Now, can you comment on this?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was just a typo. I made this
6 correction by hand because on the 20th of July, 1992 I was not the prime
7 minister at all.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You were not the prime minister but you signed
9 as -- or you used at least the letterhead -- the letterhead of the prime
10 minister and made the letter appear as the letter of the prime minister?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: No, Your Honour, he indicated that he corrected it
12 to 1993 --
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Because on July 20, 1992 he was not -- yes.
14 That is -- yeah.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: If you look at the second page, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I see.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: And then there is a letter attached to it that
18 says July 20, 1993
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I just wanted to make it clear. The second
20 question is was this letter printed? Did it appear in the New York
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, we didn't receive
23 New York Times on a regular basis, so I can't really tell you that. I
24 hope it was published but I cannot confirm that.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And later on, you never tried to find out? I
1 mean you must have had personnel and there are search machines, at least
2 later on. I can imagine that you had other business to worry about. I'm
3 just curious.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, in late August 1993,
5 I was removed from office. The Muslim element in the Bosnian authorities
6 took over control of everything. I found it difficult to obtain my own
7 personnel file.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] While we're still talking about
10 this document, on the 23rd of July, the diplomat who is a member of your
11 permanent mission in New York
12 Times. Since your letter was not directly sent to the New York Times, it
13 first went via your embassy. If it went via your embassy, your embassy
14 mentions that you're one of the Croatian members of the Presidency which
15 means that it is your country that is involved, not only you as a Croat
16 because the representation of your country officially sends this letter
17 to the New York Times. Am I right in saying that? Am I right in drawing
18 that conclusion?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are indeed right, Your Honour.
20 The permanent mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina in New York had its
21 permanent representative or ambassador who was a Muslim, Mr. Sacirbey.
22 There was some other personnel too, people who worked in the embassy
23 including Mr. Miles Raguz. He was an American born in Bosnia and
25 I asked him to forward this letter on my behalf and that's what he did.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well. Perhaps we'll get back to some of the
3 content on that letter later on but let's move on to the next document,
4 1D 02906, 2906, this is the very next document.
5 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Mr. President, I was again waiting to see
6 if there would be further questions on the document. Before we pass on
7 to the next document, I only observe for Judge Prandler's benefit and
8 Judge Prandler can decide, of course, for himself whether he wants to
9 persist in his question but there was no answer to the question about
10 whether the letter was produced jointly with other members of the
11 Presidency. I can certainly come back to it in cross-examination but
12 Judge Prandler, I don't believe you received an answer.
13 JUDGE PRANDLER: Actually, I confirmed the situation but since my
14 question was followed by my fellow Judge's questions, I didn't wish to
15 have something, a kind of follow-up on my question itself, but that is
16 indeed an important issue if the War Presidency knew about the letter
17 itself and it is not only about this letter frankly, but my question is
18 in general, if there was a kind of day-to-day coordination and
19 cooperation between the War Presidency and of course the prime minister's
20 office, that is the witness's office involved on those questions of
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately not. There was no
23 daily coordination. It was very difficult to live in Sarajevo. That was
24 the first problem. There was another problem. I, and some other
25 Presidency members, were constantly involved in peace talks about Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina
3 were being held. So it was impossible to have this kind of
4 communication. That is why we, the Croats, proposed that the Presidency,
5 in accordance with the regulation in force in Bosnia and Herzegovina
6 should leave Sarajevo
7 war and there was a proposal for it to move to Livno because there were
8 secure premises there that existed from the time of the Yugoslav People's
9 Army. Mr. Izetbegovic rejected this proposal and he rejected the
10 proposal to have a corridor linking Sarajevo
11 or the rest of the state although Sarajevo was completely besieged, it
12 was under siege.
13 We travelled to the airport in armoured personnel carriers, UN
14 vehicles, and then we would leave on humanitarian relief flights. My
15 deputy, Hakija Turajlic a Muslim, was killed en route from the airport to
17 minister. He was killed in the armoured vehicle.
18 Your Honours, for the better part of the war, we in Sarajevo
19 not have any electricity. We didn't have water. We didn't have any food
20 or heating. We couldn't leave our homes. And in general, the living
21 conditions were harsh. People would bury their children in front of
22 their own houses.
23 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you. Continue, Mr. Karnavas.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. I have another follow-up question on
25 that but first just because you did mention this individual, your
1 deputy --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
3 Witness, you are very upset. Would you like us to have a short
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it's not necessary. I think we
6 can move on.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 MR. KARNAVAS:
9 Q. Just to -- and I hate to go back to this issue about your deputy
10 because you indicated that he was killed in the armoured vehicle. This
11 was Hakija Turajlic. He was actually pulled out of the vehicle even
12 though he was under UN protection, the UN in a sense allowed the
13 gentleman to be killed. They didn't protect him as they should have,
14 isn't that a fact?
15 A. He was killed in front of the UN, that was UNPROFOR, an armed
16 force. They were forced to open the vehicle, and I think that he was
17 killed inside the vehicle but as they looked on. I was not in Sarajevo
18 at the time. He stood in for me. Had I been in Sarajevo, perhaps I
19 would have been the one to see off the Turkish foreign minister.
20 Q. Who was it, to your knowledge, that killed the gentleman?
21 A. I never did find out. It was at the checkpoint located between
22 the airport and the city of Sarajevo
23 and that's where he was killed.
24 Q. All right. Now, going back to His Honour's question and because
25 this is a rather important point, were you, being a member of the War
1 Presidency, also being the prime minister at the time, were you required
2 to get permission from the Presidency itself in order to submit letters
3 such as you did to the editor of the New York Times?
4 A. No, you have to look at this letter as an interview, and I did
5 not require the permission of the Presidency for an interview because as
6 the prime minister, I indeed did not require such a permission. I
7 couldn't give an interview to the New York Times and that's why I sent
8 this letter to them.
9 Q. All right. Let me stop you again. Mr. Izetbegovic who was the
10 president of the Presidency, do you know whether he held meetings, made
11 statements, wrote articles or letters, in the same way; in other words,
12 without getting permission of the Presidency itself?
13 A. Yes, he communicated with the public in political sense and also
14 in public relations sense. So this should be construed as a PR exercise,
15 this was not a political statement before the United Nations where you
16 would have to get the positions of the others, this was my personal view
17 and Mr. Izetbegovic himself at major international meetings presented his
18 own views as the head of state. He did not speak as the president of the
19 Presidency and in fact his term of office as the president of the
20 Presidency had already expired at that time.
21 Q. All right. Now, very quickly, I just want to address the next
22 three documents. 1D 02906. This is in binder 3, Your Honours. That's
23 the very next document. This is a -- it's titled "Ministry of inter-
24 republic cooperation and international relations." And if we look at the
25 second page, it says Mostar, November 18, 1993. Sir, do you recognise
1 this document?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. All right. And just in covering your background we spoke at some
4 point that you were a member of the government of the Croatian Republic
5 of Herceg-Bosna. As I understand it, and we'll see a document coming up
6 with it, you at one point were appointed as minister for interrelations;
7 is that correct? Interrelations cooperation and international relations?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, you have misspoken but they have
10 taken you verbally. You are speaking of interrelations cooperation and
11 it should be interregional, I think.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Inter-republic, inter-republic cooperation, yes.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You have it on line 13 and -- well then I
14 have --
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I apologise.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That's okay.
17 Q. What is this document, if you recall?
18 A. After the Croatian Republic
19 accordance or rather in the course of international negotiations, in
20 accordance with the so-called Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, the Croatian
21 republic of Herceg-Bosna was set up and it had its ministries. One of
22 the ministries was the ministry for inter-republic cooperation which
23 means the cooperation between the three republics in Bosnia and
25 means was international negotiations.
1 This document for all intents and purposes is a programme for the
2 work of this ministry within the government. As you can see, this is a
3 ministry for inter-republic cooperation, it is not a foreign ministry and
4 this means that the -- this shows that the Croatian Republic
5 Herceg-Bosna was not a state, it was a republic within a sovereign state
6 and in accordance with this plan that was being negotiated at the
7 international level it was supposed to be one of the three constituent
8 units of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you. And if we look at the next document, 1D 01958.
10 1D 01958. That was -- that's in binder 1, Your Honours. You will see
11 that at the very top, we have a number which is 115, at the bottom is --
12 you see number 1, and I am told, Your Honours, that this should be a
13 translation correction on the document it just should be "ministry for
14 inter-republican cooperation" as opposed "to the ministry." Sir, do you
15 recognise this document?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. And it would appear and I have a good-faith basis for this but it
18 would appear that this is part of a larger document. Do you recall when
19 it would have been generated?
20 A. It was generated at the time when this ministry existed and
21 operated and at the time when it submitted reports on its work. This
22 government, like any other government, required its bodies to submit
23 reports on their work in order to be able to ascertain that they were
24 working in accordance with the rules and regulations.
25 Q. Thank you. If we go to the next document, 1D 02871 and I
1 apologise, this is in binder 3, Your Honours. I apologise for moving
2 quickly but we have a lot of documents to go through. This is more of a
3 housekeeping matter. 1D 02871.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I still have to come back to the
5 previous document.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could you give the date, please.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: That was the problem. I asked for the date and it
9 would have been ...
10 Q. Do you know what year? We know that in 1993 -- we know in 1993
11 that you would have been appointed as the minister for inter-republic
12 relation; is that correct?
13 A. I don't have the date here, and I can't be certain but I think
14 this document was drafted sometime early in 1994.
15 Q. All right. And if you go to the next document, 1D 02871. And we
16 see that this is dated 16 February 1994
17 decision to proclaim members to the presidential consul. If we look at
18 number 9, we see your name and of course number 6, we see
19 Dr. Jadranko Prlic.
20 Very quickly, even though we'll get to it later on, could you
21 please tell us what was the presidential council of the Croatian republic
22 of Herceg-Bosna?
23 A. The presidential council has two stages, one was during
24 Mate Boban and the other after his departure. When the presidential
25 council took over the function of the collective president of the
1 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. In this specific case, this was the
2 first time it was established in this composition and there was a total
3 of two, one was to follow.
4 Q. All right. Now, we're going to go to another set of documents,
5 again dealing with you primarily with the period you were engaged in some
6 of the negotiations. If you just take it easy, it's the very next
7 document, 1D 02308. It's in binder 1, Your Honours. If you just look
8 through that document. Okay. Here it's dated 2 February 1993 and it's
9 to the permanent mission of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. You
10 see your name at the bottom of it; is that correct? It notes that you
11 were to attend --
12 A. Yes, I see it.
13 Q. It says that you will be attending a session of the Security
14 Council of which the political structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina
15 be discussed.
16 Did you go to New York
17 A. I did.
18 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the next document ...
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. I'm sorry,
20 Mr. Karnavas, because I have just discovered that the Security Council, a
21 meeting was scheduled at which the prime minister -- to which the prime
22 minister is going to go and part of the delegation, well, we have
23 Mate Boban.
24 Sir, I mean I've just seen this for the first time by reading
25 this document, everything is so complicated that you learn new things
1 every day. So there was a meeting of the Security Council and you were
2 the prime minister. As such, you must have been present, but was
3 Mr. Mate Boban part of the delegation for Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 seated next to you or not?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I didn't go to the
6 Security Council meeting that I was supposed to go to. There were talks
7 at the Security Council building, international talks. Also under the
8 aegis of the international conference.
9 Mr. Boban was then recognised as the head of the delegation of
10 one of the three parties to these negotiations. Three parties were
11 recognised, the Muslim, the Croat and the Serb. The delegations, the
12 respective delegations were headed by Mate Boban, Radovan Karadzic, and
13 Alija Izetbegovic. It was often the case that Izetbegovic was treated
14 and seen as the delegation of the government, whereas in actual fact, he
15 was this on behalf of one of the constituent people of B and H. However,
16 it was I who was supposed to give a speech at the Security Council but I
17 didn't because that decision was challenged.
18 I never got a specific response as to why this happened. I think
19 eventually it was Mr. Silajdzic who took the floor as foreign minister.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you were not able to take
21 the floor?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, I wasn't. However, I
23 had a chance to see the secretary general of the UN, Boutros-Ghali, who
24 received me in the presence of Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance. There was an
25 official meeting in the UN building itself I tabled my views and the
1 position of my government and my peoples about the way that Bosnia
3 lot of understanding for this. He even wrote about this in his book
4 entitled, "The US-UN Saga."
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Hopefully we'll ask some questions that will shed
7 some more light on this trip. If we look at the next document, 1D 02891.
8 This is the very next document for you, sir, and it says itinerary, Prime
9 Minister H.E. Mile Akmadzic, that's you; correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And this was your itinerary for February 5, 1993 and we can see
12 for yourselves that you were to meet with various individuals; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Were you there meeting with them as a member of the Croat
15 delegation or were you there as a member of the -- as the Prime Minister
16 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and by virtue of your position, a member of the
17 War Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
18 A. I would say both. In this specific case, it's difficult to
19 distinguish because these are representatives of the countries that were
20 members of the Security Council.
21 Q. Okay. But I guess I'm asking you specifically, were you there as
22 the prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina because -- or are you there
23 as a Croat representing the Croatian interests or the Croatian peoples of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina or both?
25 A. I would say both. Neither can be ruled out.
1 Q. All right. And then of course along with this document we also
2 see your itinerary for February 10, 1993 where you are to meet with
3 various ambassadors.
4 If we go on to the next document, 1D 02890.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, I don't know
6 whether you were going to deal with this. Since I don't know, I'm
7 asking. In this document, we see your itinerary for meetings. I see
8 that you were even to meet the ambassador for France, the one for China
9 the ambassador for Russia
10 interesting is the first page. It seems that you are together with
11 Mate Boban.
12 Look at the first page. So did Mr. Mate Boban accompany you
13 throughout these visits?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why not?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were two reasons. The first
17 being Mate Boban was not there in any sort of formal capacity that would
18 allow him to talk to their ambassadors. The other reason being he had
19 led the talks by this time. This was an interval between the two rounds
20 of talks. This was a period of several days during which the talks were
21 not continuing and we were now waiting for the talks to resume.
22 Mate Boban flew back to Europe
23 someone in Germany
25 MR. KARNAVAS:
1 Q. Now, when you say that in between talks, you're speaking of the
2 negotiations that were ongoing with Mr. Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen.
3 A. Precisely.
4 Q. All right. If we go on to the next document now, 1D 02890, this
5 seems to be a press release and this would be in binder 3, Your Honours.
6 It's dated February 8, 1993
7 lists what you were up to, what you were doing.
8 If we look at the third to the last paragraph, you say that, "In
9 his capacity as a member of the Croatian delegation from the Republic of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Akmadzic stated that the Croats have accepted
11 the Vance-Owen Plan as a painful compromise that all three parties should
12 accept and as the only realistic hope for ending the bloodshed."
13 Was that a correct statement, sir?
14 A. Yes, this is in reference to the 8th of February which is when I
15 was received by Boutros-Ghali.
16 Q. All right. If we look at the next document, 1D 02888, which is a
17 Security Council report or letter -- I'm sorry, it's a letter to. This
18 is in binder 3, Your Honours. 1D 02888, it's the very next document,
20 You see that this is a letter being delivered, it's your letter
21 being delivered by Mr. Sacirbey who was the permanent representative of
22 Bosnia Herzegovina at the time in New York and if we look at the next
24 And you say in paragraph 2:
25 "The Bosnian Croat side is also a part of the government of the
1 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian government cannot be
2 identified solely with Bosnian Muslims."
3 You go on to say, "When considering the issue of internal
4 political settlement of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we must
5 recognise three different constituencies..."
6 Then at the very last paragraph, you say, "It is misleading and
7 unfair to Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina that the Bosnian government
8 side, in your reports, refers exclusively to Bosnian Muslims."
9 Now, could you explain that so we understand that a little bit?
10 A. First of all, we were facing a great amount of difficulty -- we
11 still are, in fact. In order to be able to say that Bosna is just not
12 Bosna, Bosna is Bosnia and Herzegovina. Or is it a good idea to say
13 Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Serbs or Bosnian Muslims because you also have
15 Secondly, the international community, in a manner of speaking,
16 for most of the negotiations, accepted Izetbegovic as the president of
17 the Presidency of all the three ethnic groups and as such, someone who
18 was a legitimate representative at those negotiations regardless of the
19 fact that there was a decision by the Presidency that whenever we talked
20 to a foreign country, we should appoint a delegation to speak on behalf
21 of all ethnic groups and whenever there were talks about the internal
22 organisational model for Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of the
23 presence of the co-chairman of the international peace conference or
24 indeed anybody else, the talks should be between the three peoples
25 because the state belongs to them and they all have equal rights.
1 In a way, I'm here expressing my displeasure. I seek and I plead
2 that the Croat representatives who still are -- who have every intention
3 of remaining in the government of -- in the Presidency of Bosnia and
5 I'm not here referring to the Serb representatives because they left the
6 Presidency and the government, those who had been elected.
7 Q. Let me interrupt you here because we're going to see more
8 documents that may clarify this issue as well.
9 Now, if we look at the next document, Your Honour, this is sort
10 of dove tails the previous document, it's 1D 02889 in here this would be
11 the official letters that were sent that refer to the earlier document
12 and that's your signature; correct? In the next document, the one that
13 I'm just showing you 1D 02889?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now look at the next document after that, 1D 02848, 2848. That's
16 binder number 3, Your Honours. We see this letter is dated February 24
17 if we look at the second page, we see your name. Is that your signature,
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And this is directed to Senator Biden who at the time was the
21 chairman of the European Affairs Subcommittee of the US senate foreign
22 affairs committee, a well-known senator.
23 Here you seem to be sending him letter and I'm going to read
24 parts of it. Towards the last part of the first sentence you say:
25 "I wish to advise you that Mr. Silajdzic's testimony as a whole
1 did not represent fully the position of the government of Bosnia and
3 You then go on to say:
4 "The position was established in its November programme by
5 consensus in the government and the Presidency functioning as parliament
6 as set forth in this programme, the government fully supports the
7 international conference on the former Yugoslavia though co-chairman of
8 the steering committee, Mr. Cyrus R. Vance and Lord David Owen and their
9 pursuit of the negotiated solution to the crisis in Bosnia and
11 our view, a just peace includes one, the return of all refugees and
12 displaced persons who wish to return to their homes; two, the
13 establishment of an international criminal Tribunal to try those accused
14 of war crimes. Three, non-recognition of changes achieved by aggression
15 including ethnic cleansing; and four, payment of reparations to those who
16 were damaged as a result of the war."
17 You go on to say:
18 "The government has also determined that Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 can be politically arranged as a decentralised state. The proposals
20 concerning establishment of provinces are an acceptable solution if not
21 based only on ethnic principles, but rather on a combination of ethnic,
22 geographic, historic, economic, and other principles developed through
23 negotiations. Our programme includes full equality for the three peoples
24 of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Croats, Muslims, and Serbs, as recognised by
25 the constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
1 I'm going to skip a little bit. Then if you look at the middle
2 of the second paragraph in the second page, it says, "I therefore ask you
3 to keep in mind that the testimony of Mr. Silajdzic on the current stage
4 of the Vance-Owen talks and on the national history of Bosnia and
6 government and not of the government as a whole."
7 Then the following paragraph, just the last sentence because we
8 can read it later on, you say:
9 "Like Mr. Silajdzic, Mr. Izetbegovic does not speak for the
10 Presidency as a whole with respect to the current stage of the Vance-Owen
11 talks but only as one Muslim member of the Presidency."
12 Now, Mr. Akmadzic, can you please explain to us what exactly are
13 you trying to explain to Senator Biden in this letter? And please keep
14 it brief because I have some other documents that relate to this.
15 A. Much the same as in this letter. At the meeting with all the
16 countries in the Security Council, I was adamant that international
17 tribunal for war crimes should be established. Mr. Silajdzic went to the
18 talks and he saw Mr. Biden without having notified me. I myself was in
19 New York
20 and in terms of protocol, this was unfair and not done by the book.
21 Thirdly, I received a report from Mr. Silajdzic's talks. They
22 called these testimonies, actually, Mr. Silajdzic's testimony in
24 indeed did it tally with the platform adopted by the Presidency of Bosnia
25 and Herzegovina
1 What I wanted to achieve by this was to draw Senator Biden's
2 attention to the fact that the political circumstances in Bosnia and
4 all the three parties, all the three peoples in B and H to be guaranteed
5 equal rights.
6 Q. Let me stop you there. At this point in the negotiations, is
7 Silajdzic and Izetbegovic on board with the Vance-Owen Peace Plan or are
8 they pursuing another course?
9 A. It was precisely at this time in New York in the UN building that
10 we were discussing the Vance-Owen Plan. Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Karadzic
11 are still in Geneva
12 principles there and they, in principle, agreed to the military, the
13 terms of the military agreement too. What remained was to determine the
14 borders of the provinces and to set up an interim government which is
15 like a transitional government. We were still very much negotiating at
16 this time.
17 Nonetheless, Mr. Izetbegovic did everything he could to postpone
18 the adoption of this agreement which he was eventually forced to adopt
19 but he never complied with it.
20 Q. Let me stop you there. With respect to Mr. Silajdzic, what was
21 it that when he testified before the subcommittee that you found to be
22 not to be in keeping with the position that was being -- that was the
23 position of the Presidency or the War Presidency?
24 A. Well, based on the report that I received, it was clear that he
25 was not willing to agree to the negotiations plan. He was still sticking
1 to a unitary Bosnia and Herzegovina. This unitary Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 meant what he and Mr. Izetbegovic normally referred to as one man, one
3 vote. Given that kind of situation, the Muslim majority would be able to
4 outvote both the Serbs and the Croats. This is one of the reasons, to
5 begin with, that Yugoslavia
6 Q. All right. Let's look at now the next document which is 1D
7 02847. 1D 02847.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Karnavas, this is one sentence
9 that I would like the witness to comment on, it is on page 61 lines 16 to
10 18 where you said, sir, "Mr. Izetbegovic did everything he could to
11 postpone the adoption of this agreement," and I think we're talking of
12 the Vance-Owen Peace Plan which he was eventually forced to accept, I
13 think, but never complied with it.
14 What did you mean that he was forced to accept or adopt?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't mean that in a physical
16 way, this was the course that the negotiations took. He eventually
17 accepted this agreement and we signed it on the 25th March in New York
18 but then again he stated his conditions. He accepted the plan, but he
19 stated a number of conditions. Despite this, he never allowed to
20 eventually see this plan implemented.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sir, I suppose you are aware of and conversant
22 with the distinction between signature of an international treaty and
23 ratification. Am I correct in assuming that this is very, very obvious
24 to you?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm not surprised. I'm sorry for asking such a
2 silly question but it's the style of this interrogation. I learn it from
3 the parties.
4 Now, the next question is: Did Izetbegovic ever ratify -- the
5 Muslim side in any way ratify the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's difficult to talk about the
7 textbook style ratification which is something done by parliament. There
8 was no parliament at the time. Nevertheless, as far as the Presidency
9 was concerned, the Vance-Owen Plan was seen and accepted as one of the
10 possible solutions to the internal structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 The third party, the Serb party back in New York refused to sign
12 the plan. They were all right with the principles, they were all right
13 with the provinces, as far as I remember, but they weren't all right with
14 the interim government.
15 Despite this, and when I say "pressure" I mean pressure exerted
16 by the international community, they signed the plan as a whole in Athens
17 on the 2nd of May, 1993
18 should okay this. Their parliament met in Pale several days later, this
19 is a town near Sarajevo
20 parliament refused saying that only a referendum could decide an issue
21 such as this.
22 We asked that the Croats and the Muslims continue to pursue this
23 plan regardless of any or no involvement by the third party to the extent
24 possible. Despite this, the plan was never truly implemented.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I must insist a bit. I don't know whether you
1 are a lawyer -- I am, of course.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Please -- with this being a bit -- splitting
4 hairs, perhaps. You said "it was never complied with," but a previous
5 question would be whether legally Izetbegovic was bound by the plan,
6 whether he was under a legal -- in your view, under a legal obligation to
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to try and explain this to
9 you, Your Honours. At the solemn ceremony to mark the signing of the
10 agreement in the UN building in New York, all three parties were
11 represented. The Croat side signed everything. The Muslim side signed
12 everything and submitted a paper to the co-chairman, the paper dealt for
13 the most part with the third side, the Serb side, where they sought some
14 military elements to be met, but I am not an expert for that.
15 As I said, the Serb side refused to sign the plan at that time
16 but earlier, as I have already indicated, they did sign the principles in
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much. Excuse me, please,
19 Mr. Karnavas.
20 MR. KARNAVAS:
21 Q. Yeah, let me continue with this, Mr. Akmadzic. You indicated at
22 one point -- sir, just relax for a second. Don't worry about the
23 documents, have a sip of water.
24 You indicated at one point Karadzic signed in Athens but then
25 took the matter before the Republika Srpska parliament and it was voted
1 down; correct? That's what you indicated to us earlier.
2 A. I testify on the basis of the reports that I received.
3 Unfortunately, I was not in Athens
4 at all.
5 Q. No, earlier today just a few moments ago you told us that one of
6 the -- that Karadzic, though he signed it, they then took the matter
7 before the parliament in Pale, I believe it was, at the time where it
8 went to vote; correct?
9 A. [No interpretation]
10 Q. Now, at that point in time for the three territories for the
11 non-Republika Srpska territories that existed in Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 it's a fact that there was no assembly, correct, because we had a War
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. And we heard testimony and correct me if I am wrong, that the War
16 Presidency in a sense took on powers that the assembly had.
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. Okay. So based on His Honour's question, it would appear that if
19 the president of the Presidency signed on behalf of Bosnia and
21 by the Presidency itself.
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. All right. Now, do you recall whether the Vance-Owen Peace Plan,
24 any one them, ever went before the Presidency in order -- was it ever
25 tabled for the Presidency to consider?
1 A. I don't recall it having been tabled in its entirety the way it
2 had been agreed upon.
3 Q. Now, getting back -- during the peace negotiations because you
4 were involved and we've heard testimony before, but can you tell us
5 whether the negotiators, when we were dealing with three different
6 nations, the Croat nation, the Muslim nation, the Serb nation, all Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina
8 Owen and who are they looking to to negotiate an agreement between the
9 three nations?
10 A. Those were the representatives of the three peoples. In Geneva
11 we had three rooms, one if one, there was Izetbegovic --
12 Q. Okay. Okay. Tell me -- okay, go ahead. Go ahead.
13 A. The second was Karadzic and the third was Boban. Since there was
14 no agreement about names of the three sides and then Lord Owen and Vance,
15 or Lord Owen and Stoltenberg decided to deal with it in this manner, to
16 have representatives of three peoples and three names.
17 Q. All right. Now, we're going to get to this and we will see
18 documentation but it appears from your letter here that when it comes to
19 Izetbegovic, he's being looked at as the representative of Bosnia
21 that one of the things that you're complaining about?
22 A. Yes, absolutely.
23 Q. All right. Now, and we'll get to some more -- we'll look at this
24 again. But if you look at the next document, 1D 02847 and this is a
25 statement sent out by Senator Biden, well-known to -- that's in binder 3,
1 Your Honours, well-known to those of us from the United States, a rather
2 loquacious senator and we see here from the very first paragraph, he
4 "One week ago, the European affairs subcommittee held a day-long
5 hearing on the subject of American policy in Bosnia. In the course of
6 that day, the subcommittee met with the foreign minister of Bosnia
7 Dr. Harris Silajdzic, partly in private and partly in a public meeting."
8 Let's stop right here. At this point in time, were you in the
9 United States for Senator Biden to have met with you, you being the prime
10 minister, Silajdzic being a member of your government?
11 A. I was in New York
12 Biden was in a position to know that I was in New York, and that I was
13 the prime minister.
14 Q. Did you know, did you ever hear from Mr. Silajdzic, Dr. Silajdzic
15 what exactly he spoke with Senator Biden privately, were you privy to
16 that, did Mr. Silajdzic ever brief the Presidency, the War Presidency or
17 you as the prime minister?
18 A. No, he did not notify me, but I received reports about the talks,
19 some kind of a transcript in shorthand; and I heard that Mr. Silajdzic
20 had deep and sentimental relations with or in the office of Senator Biden
21 but I cannot indeed confirm that this was the fact.
22 Q. You're talking about his secretary?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. Now we go on to the third paragraph, you say:
25 "Yesterday, I received a letter from the prime minister of Bosnia
1 Mr. Mile Akmadzic who is a Bosnian Croatian member of the Bosnian
2 Presidency. The essence of Mr. Akmadzic's letter, which I will make a
3 part of the record of last Thursday's proceedings was to affirm that
4 neither President Izetbegovic nor Foreign Minister Silajdzic is
5 authorised to speak for the Presidency of Bosnia."
6 That was the letter that we just saw; correct? Mr. Akmadzic, you
7 know, if --
8 A. Yes, if they're talking not as part of the platform.
9 Q. All right. Now, it goes on to say, "It is impossible to discern
10 all that may lie behind such a letter." In other words, he's questioning
11 what is the motive.
12 "But it is not difficult to discern one possible effect, which is
13 to undermine the credibility of the very government of which Mr. Akmadzic
14 is a part and to enhance the perception that the Bosnian people, the
15 Bosnian problem is a three-way civil war among equally culpable and
16 hopelessly divided factions rather than a Milosevic-sponsored war of
17 aggression against a nation-state recognised by the United Nations.
18 Now, is that what you were trying to do undermine the credibility
19 of the very government of which you were a member of or was it the other
20 way around in other words was it Silajdzic is what you were arguing
22 A. I think that Senator Biden --
23 [Technical difficulty]
24 MR. SCOTT: If the interpreter can tell me when she is ready, so
25 I can ...
1 Your Honour, I object to the form of the questions. This is all
2 leading. Okay, tell me when you are ready, please. It's been going on
3 for sometime but I'm going -- finally I'm going to object to it. It is
4 all argumentative and leading.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, please proceed.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. Now, Mr. Akmadzic, was the purpose of your letter to undermine
8 the credibility of the government and to enhance some sort of a
9 perception of a three-way civil war, was that the purpose of your letter?
10 MR. SCOTT: Object to leading, Your Honour. That's what I just
11 objected to.
12 Mr. Karnavas is testifying.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're prompting the
15 witness, Mr. Karnavas.
16 MR. KARNAVAS:
17 Q. We see, Senator Biden's response. Could you please comment on
18 this response and feel free to comment about the credibility of the
19 response and the gentleman's understanding of your letter.
20 MR. SCOTT: Can we also instruct the witness --
21 MR. KARNAVAS: No I'm instructing him, it's an open-ended
22 question. I'm doing the same technique that Mr. Scott did now obviously
23 this testimony is hurting him, but this is the same technique that he's
25 MR. SCOTT: First of all, Your Honour, it's not at all the same
1 technique that I've used and if I've used it I've use it on
2 cross-examination not opening -- not direct and -- just to be clear, this
3 isn't hurting me at all or the Prosecution case at all, it's all simply
4 entertaining, but it takes us nowhere.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Karnavas. At
6 the beginning on line 3 of page 69, you said well you can see the reply
7 of Senator Biden, can you make a comment. Please let the witness reply
8 and that will be enough.
9 Witness, go ahead.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we've seen my letter. Under
11 oath, I confirm once again that my objective and the objective of my
12 associates was to bolster the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 not to undermine it in any way. The government was undermined by those
14 who took for themselves the functions that they did not have. It was
15 undermined by Mr. Izetbegovic who did not relinquish his office as the
16 president of the Presidency to a Croat representative as he was bound to
17 by the law, and in the letter or indeed anywhere else, I never mentioned
18 that the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a civil war.
19 Throughout the negotiations, I said that it was an aggression and
20 in my testimony, I presented the view of the Presidency not my own view
21 and I also testified that this aggression engender the conflict between
22 Muslims and Croats. Senator Biden obviously did not understand that and
23 he did not talk to me. He didn't even summon me to talk to me.
24 Q. All right. Now, I won't go on anymore about this letter but
25 let's look at 1D 02849, it's in binder 3 and along with that, Your
1 Honours, you may want to get ready for 2851, which is the next document.
2 Sir, if you could look at 2849, 1D 02849, we see now it's
3 February 28, 1993
4 look at page 2 where you try to explain to him the purpose of your
5 letter, obviously having seen his statement titled "A question concerning
6 the Bosnian government."
7 We look at paragraph number 2, you say: "The purpose of my
8 letter was to advise you about the position of the government of the
9 republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina with respect to the Vance-Owen Peace
10 talks which is often confused with the position of the Muslim part of the
12 Sir, let's stop here. At that point in time, what was the
13 position of the Muslim part of the government concerning the Vance-Owen
14 Peace Plan?
15 A. I spoke about that. It was the position of the Muslim government
16 not only vis-a-vis the Vance-Owen Plan but in general, that Bosnia
18 unitary state, this latter term being a somewhat harsher political term
19 than the one they actually used.
20 Q. If you look at the last part of this paragraph, you say:
21 "While the government as a whole supports Vance-Owen peace
22 process, there is no single position of the government on the current
23 stage of the Vance-Owen talks. Each of the three negotiating parties has
24 its own position on the proposal as it currently stands."
25 Was that a true statement, sir?
1 A. It is a true statement because the government and the Presidency
2 consisted of three peoples that could not reach a full agreement.
3 Q. Then if you go on to the next paragraph, you say:
4 "I also advised you that the mandate of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic as
5 President of the Presidency had expired. This is to demonstrate the
6 immediate need for the international community to assist, not only in
7 protecting Bosnia and Herzegovina's sovereignty and territorial integrity
8 but also in assuring that the country is governed in accordance with its
9 democratic and constitutional principles."
10 Do you stand by this statement, sir?
11 A. Yes, I stand by that statement.
12 Q. And before we take the break because I see we are about time for
13 it if we look at 1D 02581 [sic], the following in your binder and 3 also
14 for the Judges, this is March 1, 1993
15 this letter on to Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who is The Secretary-General so
16 at least he would know what you are communicating with Mr. Biden;
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry, a correction in the transcript, page 4 --
19 as I see it, line 14, it's not 2518 [sic] but --
20 MR. KARNAVAS: 2851, I stand corrected.
21 Q. If we look at 2850, the very last document, it seems that you
22 address also Al Gore who is vice-president of the United States?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. And I don't want to lead you because we're going to get a
25 reaction but can you tell us why was it was necessary for you to write a
1 letter in addition to Biden who had this very important position and was
2 meeting privately with the foreign minister by his own accounts, that is,
3 and why was it necessary for you then to also pass on those letters to
4 Boutros Boutros-Ghali and to Al Gore?
5 A. I wanted to inform the international community or the key players
6 in the international community about the political situation in Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina
8 and I sought support from the United Nations and primarily from the
9 United States of America. I was in New York
10 the negotiations and to lend their support to the Vance-Owen Plan and to
11 lend their support to our political positions that Bosnia and Herzegovina
12 should be decentralised state with three constituent peoples and that it
13 would be a major disaster for it to lose this character.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Perhaps this may be a good time, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will resume at
16 6.00 p.m.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.41 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 6.03 p.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing's resumed. Let's
20 move into private session for a few seconds, Mr. Registrar.
21 [Private session]
11 Page 29392 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: I'm sorry, counsel, Your Honours, we're back in
5 open session.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. Just one housekeeping matter. You did serve as ambassador for
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Dayton Peace Accords; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. When and where?
11 A. I served as an ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was the
12 ambassador to Macedonia
13 Q. Thank you very much. Now, let's go to another set of document
14 and we'll start off with 1D 01192, that's in binder 1 ...
15 Is that a no?
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It's missing, at least in mine.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: 1192 is ...
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: 1192 is here.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. All right.
20 Q. Now, we saw earlier going back to what was referenced by
21 Lord Owen in his book where we drew an objection but where Lord Owen was
22 commenting about how this was becoming more of a Muslim government
23 predominantly -- for predominantly Muslim population. So now I want to
24 look at several sets of documents and perhaps get you to comment on.
25 Looking at this document, we see a report and it would -- do you
1 recognise this, first of all?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. Okay. And it would appear that there are a list of names of
4 individuals who are to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina; is that correct?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. Am I correct in assuming that they are not ambassadors per se,
7 but nonetheless, they are going to be engaging in -- for lack of a better
8 term -- diplomatic relations on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina; is that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, if we look at the names, are these not names that are
12 predominantly Muslim?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. All right. So, if we --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, it's a little
16 leading, isn't it?
17 MR. KARNAVAS: It is leading but I'm trying to save some time but
18 if it's obvious. Okay. I'll go down, let's look at Germany, I admit, I
19 was caught out. I guess I get a yellow card.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Maybe I can loosen that by asking a question. I
21 see here Ministry of the Interior and if one looks at the contents, it
22 would rather be something for the ministry of foreign affairs, and I
23 wonder whether "Ministarstvo Poslova" is correctly translated with
24 interior affairs. I think Ms. Tomanovic was shaking her head.
25 MR. KARNAVAS:
1 Q. Sir, if you look at the B/C/S version, it says -- where it says
2 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, could you please -- could you please
3 look at the title. Which ministry is this coming from?
4 A. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
5 Q. Okay. So it should be -- thank you, Judge Trechsel. So if you
6 look at Germany
7 A. I think he is a Muslim but I can't be certain.
8 Q. What about France
9 A. A Muslim.
10 Q. What about Belgium
11 A. A Muslim -- a Muslim. A Muslim, yes.
12 Q. Great Britain?
13 A. Also Muslim.
14 Q. And Russia
15 A. A Muslim. A Muslim. A Muslim. A Muslim.
16 Q. What about Tunisia
17 A. A Muslim.
18 Q. Let me stop you there. Why would it be necessary to send
19 somebody to be a representatives of the PLO keeping in mind now this is
20 1992, I believe?
21 A. I think in Tunisia
22 their own representatives there once upon a time, and then it was a
23 convenient idea Bosnia and Herzegovina to be in charge of Tunisia
24 PLO at the same time.
25 JUDGE PRANDLER: May I help you out, Mr. Karnavas, saying that
1 the PLO has been recognised by a number of countries before 1990 and also
2 mainly of course by the former socialist countries but other countries as
3 well, so that is why I believe that the decision was taken. I think of
4 course what the witness said that in certain countries there would be a
5 number of refugees and that is why it was a additionally necessity to do
6 so. Thank you.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: And I also thought at that point in time in
8 history, I believe, Yasser Arafat had moved his headquarters over to
10 to lead, so now I'm giving the evidence as my learned colleague is
11 informing me.
12 Q. Then we go into what about for United Arab Emirates?
13 A. Not a Muslim.
14 Q. Then we have Iran
15 A. Muslim.
16 Q. And I think we get the gist of this.
17 If you were to look at some of the other names, can you tell us
18 how many approximately of these names do not appear to be Muslim names?
19 A. I haven't actually calculated this, but I believe it would be a
20 very low percentage.
21 Q. Now we see that there is a list on page 2 where it says:
22 "The following persons have been appointed personal
23 representatives of the President of the Presidency of the Republic of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina." And we see US, Sacirbey; Germany
1 First of all, why was it necessary for the President of the
2 Presidency to have personal representatives?
3 A. Only he knows. There was no political need for this. Mostly
4 these are his friends.
5 Q. All right. Okay. Sounds good enough. If we go further down, it
6 says, "The President of the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia
8 following persons to collect humanitarian aid on behalf of the Republic
9 of Bosnia and Herzegovina." Was this a decision that was made by the
10 Presidency or is this a personal decision made by the President of the
11 Presidency, if you know?
12 A. I don't, but I never came across a Presidency decision like that.
13 Q. All right. Was the president of the Presidency authorised to
14 make such authorisation, in other words, to make such appointments to
15 these individuals to act on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina without
16 getting either authorisation or clearance or without consulting at least
17 other members of the Presidency?
18 A. Under the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 rules governing the work of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 would not have the power to do that.
21 Q. All right. Do you know being a member of the War Presidency at
22 the time and the prime minister, do you know how much aid was collected
23 from these various countries? In other words, was there some sort of an
24 accounting so there would be a transparent process as to how much money
25 was actually collected from Saudi Arabia or the united Arab Emirates or
2 A. I don't know and it's very difficult to get this sort of
3 information. I don't think there is any information available. Each of
4 the countries perhaps have some information, but I'm not sure about that
6 Q. Do you know of this aid collected, of this aid collected,
7 assuming aid was collected, we don't know whether Saudi Arabia would have
8 allowed some of its petrol dollars to make its way to Bosnia and
10 municipalities especially those municipalities where non-Muslims or
11 predominantly non-Muslims were residing?
12 A. Virtually nothing. There was an agreement at the beginning with
13 the government of the Presidency that humanitarian aid should be
14 distributed in three parts. This worked for a while, it's very difficult
15 to distribute in three parts in ideal shares, this worked for a time and
16 then it didn't work anymore. I know there was petrol and all sorts of
17 different -- and then Bosnia and Herzegovina survived based on this and
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the last part of
20 the witness's answer because he trailed off. Thank you.
21 MR. KARNAVAS:
22 Q. You need to slow down, Mr. Akmadzic, you need to slow down; and
23 we didn't get the last part of your answer and every word you say is
25 A. I can't talk about the shipments that arrived from those
1 countries, but I know that the aid was substantial and that's what made
2 it possible for Bosnia and Herzegovina to get by, to survive.
3 Q. All right. Now, let's go to the next document, 1D 024 --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, perhaps it's also interesting to
5 look at the next page where it says "The president of the government of
6 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina authorise the persons to collect
7 humanitarian aid." Was that a decision, Witness, that you have taken,
8 Mr. Akmadzic?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The date here is the 21st of June,
10 1992. I wasn't prime minister at the time.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Any other comment on the fact that
12 you say the president was not competent to do that. Would the president
13 of the government have been competent?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not he either. When I was
15 prime minister, as I was no economist myself, I put my deputy in charge
16 of economic matters. The deputy that I mentioned when I was telling you
17 about how he was killed on the way back from the airport but he didn't do
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well. Okay.
21 Q. And if we go on to the next document, 1D 02431, sticking with the
22 same theme that we've been with. Binder number 2, Your Honours, for you,
23 but that's the next document for you, Mr. Akmadzic. We see here this is
24 dated 16 October 1992
25 "In accordance with the agreement on friendship and cooperation
1 between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia
2 persons are appointed to the commission for coordinating military
3 activities on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
4 Of those three names, are any of them -- well, of what
5 nationality are they? Put it that way.
6 A. All Muslims, based on their names. One of these might be
7 non-declared or declared as a Yugoslav but just by looking at their
8 names, I would normally assume that all these persons are Muslims.
9 Q. Forgive me for asking this question but can we assume that there
10 was no credible, reliable competent Croat to have filled any of those
11 positions at the time?
12 A. When it came to appointments, I must tell the Trial Chamber that
13 I talked to Alija Izetbegovic about this. I warned him that appointments
14 to various positions of Muslims alone in the judiciary in diplomacy in
15 situations such as this one and then he said, we'll think about this at
16 some later stage and things will remain what they are for the time being.
17 Q. I need you to slow down because this is important testimony, and
18 I can't lead you but I'm going to look at this answer and it would appear
19 to me that Izetbegovic was making appointments of a particular nation and
20 then he was telling you that later on at some point they would deal with
21 that issue. Is that what you're telling us?
22 A. That's right. Specifically I'm talking about Muslims. Most of
23 the appointment were appointments of Muslims. I then cautioned him for
24 warned him about this and he said, "Now is not the time to keep in mind
25 the equality between the peoples. This is something that we'll be
1 considering at a later stage."
2 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the next document, 1D 02870.
3 That's in binder 3, Your Honours. 1D 02870. If we look at that, this
4 document. Here again we see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we see a
5 list of names, do we not, sir?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And in looking at these names, if you could look through the
8 document itself because there is some -- there's several pages to this
9 document including, as I understand it, there is one titled "Some
10 examples of nepotism in the diplomatic consular network of the Republic
11 of Bosnia and Herzegovina." Do you see that, sir?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, can you comment on this document and can you tell us of the
14 diplomatic corps, the foreign ministry was -- it is supposed to be
15 representing the official policy of the Presidency of Bosnia and
17 the SDA -
18 MR. SCOTT: Sorry, Your Honour, but when is it going to stop? I
19 mean it's just constant commentary and argument by Mr. Karnavas, there
20 appear to be no rules about questioning in this courtroom. Leading
21 questions, suggesting answers, argumentation, Mr. Karnavas testifying.
22 There's a very simple way to proceed and it's been done in common law
23 systems for the last several hundred years; it's no secret. You ask
24 open, non-leading questions and the lawyers do it every day in common law
25 systems and Mr. Karnavas seems incapable of asking one. I'm sorry but
1 enough is enough.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: It pains me to hear these comments from Mr. Scott,
3 it really does because I'm being facetious because I've laid a
4 foundation. We're building on this. We've already seen that the
5 gentleman has indicated and in any event.
6 Q. Sir, could you look at this document and could you tell us these
7 names, and these are names of the foreign ministry of the -- of which of
8 the three nations do they most predominantly represent?
9 A. If you look at the first document, it's Mustafa Bijedic, who was
10 a Bosnian ambassador to Geneva
11 a list of all ambassadors in foreign countries.
12 Q. Please so down, please because this is valuable information
13 otherwise I have to lead you.
14 A. So Mustafa Bijedic signed this. He was the BH ambassador to
16 submit to me a list of BH ambassadors abroad. He submitted this document
17 to me. If you look at this at page 1 specifically, you can see that
18 these are Muslims alone.
19 Q. All right. Let's move on to the next --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 MR. KARNAVAS:
22 Q. The Court can look at the rest of the document, we need to move
23 along a bit. Let's look at some concrete examples, here, 1D 01276 binder
24 1 for Your Honours, this is a decision, it's 22 January 1993, we see this
25 is a decision to appoint an ambassador to the Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Republic of Turkey
3 A. Hajrudin Somun is a Muslim.
4 Q. Move on to the next document, 1D 01297, binder one again and this
5 is January 22nd, 1993
6 Silajdzic. From what nation?
7 A. Sadzida Silajdzic, she's a Muslim lady. Or as they say today, a
9 Q. We mean no disrespect by using that term.
10 1D 01348. This is a decision to Iran, binder 1. Omer Behmen?
11 A. Muslim.
12 Q. 1D 01347, 11 February, 1993. This is a decision to appoint,
13 binder 1, decision to appoint the director of the agency of the Republic
14 of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the reception and distribution of
15 humanitarian aid. This individual Aziz Sunje?
16 A. Aziz Sunje, a Muslim.
17 Q. Apologies for my pronunciations. 1D 01307, binder number 1, this
18 is appointing an ambassador to Tunisia
19 A. Nerkez Arkihodzic [phoen] a Muslim.
20 Q. Then we go to 1D 01310, binder 1, this is a decision to appoint
21 consul to the consulate of R BiH in Milan
22 A. Muhamed Kresevljakovic, Muslim.
23 Q. Thank you. That concludes that topic, Your Honours, unless there
24 are any questions, I will move on to the next topic.
25 Okay. Now, sir, we're going to go on to another topic and we're
1 going to be dealing with the Presidency and I'm going -- we're going to
2 be looking at the minutes of the meeting. I'm sorry. I apologise.
3 We're going to the London
4 going to 1D 02438, this is in binder 2. The first couple documents I
5 will sort of segue into that topic so just bear with me.
6 This document here is dated 21 May 1992. You see your name at
7 the bottom, Mr. Akmadzic, and along with it in this document, we also see
8 in English a letter dated the 20th of March by Mr. -- right, exactly.
9 Then there is another one by a Mr. Cutileiro.
10 Could you please comment on this? Why was it necessary for you
11 to send a letter to Mr. Susak enclosing letters from Cutileiro and
12 Pinheiro addressed to Izetbegovic and this was -- you were asking for
13 Mr. Brkic to be informed of this. Why was it necessary?
14 A. At the time, and this is the 21st of May, 1992, I was
15 secretary-general of the Presidency. Mr. Brkic was not in Sarajevo
16 just asked that the same text that Mr. Izetbegovic had received be sent
17 to Mr. Brkic for the negotiations.
18 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the one document that's dated 20th
19 March, 1992 that's addressed to, it says, "Dear Mr. President" and you
20 can see at that it is addressed to Alija Izetbegovic, the third
21 paragraph, it says, "Let me reiterate to you that the only solution to
22 the problems Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in proceeding at once with the
23 constitutional talks in order to reach a final agreement." Then it goes
25 Can you comment on what Mr. Izetbegovic's position was at the
1 time -- yeah, comment on that and then we're going to see what Cutileiro
2 is saying.
3 A. At the time this was -- these so-called one of the plans. The
4 first one was Cutileiro and then Carrington. The Cutileiro plan was
5 about a decentralised Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had a number of
6 components. I'm not going into that now though. The general framework
7 for that plan, however, was accepted by both the Serb and the Croat
8 sides. Mr. Izetbegovic, however, refused it, turned it down.
9 Q. All right. Let's look at the following document and this is from
10 Mr. Cutileiro and this is dated actually the day earlier, 19th May,
11 second paragraph it says, "I'm aware of the difficulties, but I cannot
12 agree that they are reasons for a postponement, and I do ask you to
13 reconsider your position for the following reasons ..."
14 Then the next paragraph, he says:
15 "I did not reconvene the talks lightly. As you know, the council
16 of the ministers of the EC, the United Nations Secretary General and the
17 United Nations Security Council from urged us to get on with our work
18 with the utmost urgency" and then later on they're pleading that he would
19 make it to Lisbon
20 Do you know why Mr. Izetbegovic was being begged, essentially, my
21 word not theirs, but cajoled, whatever you want to call it to attend the
23 A. Mr. Izetbegovic refused to have talks to the extent that he
24 could, talks about Bosnia and Herzegovina that was not a unitary state.
25 Again, he tried but Cutileiro was warning him about communication
1 difficulties and he said that talks should be arranged and organised.
2 Q. All right. If we go to the next document, 1D 02564, binder 2 for
3 Your Honours. This is dated 17 August 1992 and it appears to be
4 addressed to Mr. Boban and it's from Lord Carrington. Now, given your
5 position at the time, were you aware that Mr. Carrington was having
6 dealings with Mr. Boban and, if so, in what capacity was Mr. Boban
7 dealing with Mr. Carrington? I guess he would be Lord Carrington, I
8 apologise to the gentleman.
9 A. Yes, Lord Carrington. Mr. Boban was the representative of Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina
12 Q. It appears that he's being invited, Mr. Boban that is, to the
14 "If you are planning to be in London
15 A. Mr. Boban was invited to the London conference, he was there, but
16 not in any official capacity. There was an official delegation of Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina
18 member of that delegation.
19 Q. Who else were members of that delegation?
20 A. The delegation was headed by Mr. Izetbegovic. There was myself,
21 and I couldn't tell you who the others were.
22 Q. All right. And at that time, who was the president of HDZ, if
23 you recall?
24 A. At that time, Mr. Mate Boban was the president of the HDZ. [In
25 English] No, excuse me, maybe not yet. Mm-hm.
1 Q. Who preceded him?
2 A. [Interpretation] it was Mr. Brkic. It was Mr. Brkic at that
3 time, but I can't really confirm that with 100 per cent certainty because
4 Mr. Boban was appointed the vice-president and that was in November.
5 Q. Now, if we look at the next document, 1D 02454, this is in binder
6 2, this is the secretariat of the conference on Yugoslavia dated August
7 24, 1992. And this is by Boban. And here, he indicates with this:
8 "I confirm that the Croatian delegation will attend the London
9 Conference. I will be but myself plus translator and we will alive at
11 Did you see Mr. Boban there?
12 A. Mr. Boban did attend the London Conference but not in an official
13 capacity. He was not there in the BH delegation.
14 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the next document, 1D 01312, we've
15 seen some of these documents before but this is just to -- this is in
16 binder 1, Your Honours. And I'm going to be directing your attention,
17 sir, to page number 13. If you look at the English version, it might be
18 easier. Page 13, where it talks about the structure of the state.
19 Mr. Usher if we could get your assistance. At the very top of
20 the page, you will see in English it has page numbers, 13, page 13 and
21 you will see number 2, "Structure of the state." And it has the basic
23 Now, without going into this document too much, could you please
24 tell us, to your understanding, what was the structure of the state
25 being -- what was under consideration at the time?
1 A. The organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was under
2 consideration. We used various terms, the structure of Bosnia
4 Q. Okay. Let me go on paragraph 34 it says:
5 "It was recognised from the beginning that the views of the three
6 parties diverged widely on the structure of the future Bosnia and
8 unitary state, arranged into a number of regions possessing merely
9 administrative functions."
10 What party advocated that position, sir?
11 A. The Muslim side advocated purely administrative functions and as
12 for an organisation of a sovereign state with the decentralised system,
13 this was what the Croat side advocated.
14 Q. Let me go step by step. You need to answer my questions. It
16 "One of the parties initially advocated a centralised, unitary
17 state arranged into a number of regions possessing merely administrative
19 So my question was: Who advocated this position, which party?
20 A. The Muslim party.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, we go on.
22 "Another party considered that the country should be divided into
23 three independent states respectively for the Muslims, Serbs and Croat
24 peoples with each of the three states having its own international legal
25 personality, which states might form a loose confederation for the
1 purpose of coordinating certain of their activities."
2 Which of the three parties advocated this position?
3 A. The Serb party.
4 Q. Then, it says, "The third party supported a middle position."
5 That would leave the Croats; correct?
6 A. Yes, that is correct.
7 Q. Now, if we go to paragraph number 37 it says:
8 "The co-chairmen also recognised, however, that a centralised
9 state would not be accepted by at least two of the principal
10 ethnic/confessional groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina since it would not
11 protect their interests in the wake of the bloody civil strive that now
12 sunders the country."
13 Going into the next page on paragraph 38:
14 "Consequently, the cochairman believe that the only viable and
15 stable solution that does not acquiesce in already accomplished ethnic
16 cleansing and is further internationally unacceptable practices appears
17 to be the establishment of a decentralised state. This would mean a
18 state in which many of the principal functions, especially those directly
19 affecting persons, would be carried out by a number of autonomous
20 provinces. The central government, in turn, would have only those
21 minimal responsibilities that are necessary for a state to function as
22 such, and to carry out its responsibilities as a member of the
23 international community. The proposed decentralisation also appears to
24 reflect the wish of all the parties as indicated by their responses to
25 the questionnaire on the distribution of governmental responsibilities
1 mentioned in paragraph 32 above."
2 Now, my question to you, Mr. Akmadzic, is this: Paragraph 38 as
3 is stated, which of the three parties advocated this position, that is,
4 of a decentralised state?
5 A. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, as I have already said, there were
6 three parties. The Serb and the Muslim parties were at the opposing
7 sides and the Croat side throughout the negotiations was insisting on
8 what we call compromised solution, that is to say, a decentralised state
9 of all peoples where three constituent peoples are recognised as such and
10 are recognised as equal. We considered that such a state would be viable
11 both in the future and at that time.
12 Q. All right. Now, did the Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 they look at any particular model as an example of how potentially Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina
15 A. We studied several models. I personally went to Austria and I
16 spoke to Mr. Mok, I was accompanied by Mr. Kljuic, the HDZ president. We
17 talked to Switzerland
18 conclusion that for us, the best model would be a state that would not be
19 divided into three ethnicity-based parts but a state composed of a number
20 of provinces or cantons based on a variety of principles: Historical,
21 geographical, communication, economic principles, educational principles,
22 and so on. It was our view that a federation with a majority ethnic
23 group would lead to its prevalence and on a smaller -- on the part of a
24 smaller nation, it would lead to cessation and it would not be possible.
25 That's why we advocated this policy, a decentralised, regionalized joint
2 The Vance-Owen Plan was the best solution for us.
3 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the next document, 1D 02456,
4 binder 2 for Your Honours. 1D 02456, this is dated 21 October 1992 and
5 we see at the top of it, it says, "Sixth draft." Do you see it, sir? It
6 says "Possible constitutional structure for BiH."
7 A. Yes, I can see that.
8 Q. Now, obviously there must have been a first, a second, a third a
9 fourth and a fifth draft preceding this one. Can you please explain to
10 us what was going on?
11 A. This is the result of negotiations, a result indicating what
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina should look like and here, it is envisaged that it
13 would be an internationally-recognised state within its
14 internationally-recognised borders. The borders would be the same as the
15 ones in the Yugoslav times, but it would be a state that would be divided
16 into a number of provinces and a state that would be decentralised.
17 Q. All right. Look at 1D 02883, 2883. That's in binder 3, Your
18 Honours. 1D 02883. This is the next document for you, sir. And if we
19 look at the Croatian version and look at the last page, is that your
21 A. Yes, it is my signature.
22 Q. If we look at the -- there's something else that's written, 1992
23 and it appears to be of a darker colour. We may get a question as to
24 what's it doing there because it would appear that it says, "October
25 1992." And that's handwritten. That's the translation of it. Is that
2 A. Yes, the October 1992, this is something that I added later on.
3 As far as I can recall, I prepared this material for a working group at
4 the Presidency, and it was my position as to how Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 should be organised or set up.
6 Now, I can't recall whether that was the time or perhaps this may
7 have happened earlier but that was my position. It was also the position
8 of the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in this initial period of
10 Q. All right. To the best of your knowledge, as I understand it,
11 this would have been drafted in October 1992, on or about.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In other words, I just want to make sure that we're very clear,
14 it wasn't drafted in preparation for your testimony here today or for
15 another testimony in years past, but this was done at the time; correct?
16 A. It was done at the time but I -- perhaps I didn't sign it on that
17 day. Maybe I did it some other day.
18 Q. All right. And lastly, this document, does it reflect -- does it
19 accurately reflect your position then, that is the position that you held
20 at the time?
21 A. These were my thoughts about a viable Bosnia and Herzegovina
22 they correspond, for the most part, with what we advocated at the
24 MR. KARNAVAS: All right. Your Honours, that would conclude this
25 segment, and I don't have enough time to go into the next. I know we're
1 about four minutes shy of 7.00 and the interpreters have been working
2 very hard today in light of everybody speaking rather quickly. So
3 perhaps we could end a little early.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think we will adjourn the
5 hearing at 7.00. You used up 2 hours and 30 minutes, approximately,
6 Mr. Karnavas, which means that you still have 3 hours and 30 minutes.
7 Maybe we will finish tomorrow. I certainly hope so. And then we will
8 have another two days for the rest.
9 Witness, like I said earlier, you will have to come back tomorrow
10 afternoon. We will be sitting in the afternoon which means that our
11 hearings start at quarter past 2.00. We will see you then.
12 It's almost 7.00 p.m.
13 meet again tomorrow afternoon.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.
15 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day June,
16 2008, at 2.15 p.m.