1 Tuesday, 17 June 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor
9 versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Today is Tuesday, the 17th of June, 2008. Good afternoon, Witness. Good
12 afternoon to the accused, the Defence counsel and the OTP representatives
13 and all the people helping us including the interpreters.
14 Mr. Registrar, you have a few IT numbers for us don't you.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The OTP has submitted its
16 response to documents tendered by 1D and 3D through witness 1D AA the
17 list submitted by the OTP shall be given Exhibit number IC 00807 and IC
18 00808 respectively. Thank you, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Karnavas, you
20 may proceed for you to continue with the examination in chief.
21 WITNESS: MILE AKMADZIC [Resumed]
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon Mr. President, good afternoon, Your
23 Honours, good afternoon to everyone in and around the courtroom, good
24 afternoon, sir.
25 If I could get the usher to lower the ELMO. It's direct in my
1 line of sight.
2 Examination by Mr. Karnavas: [Continued]
3 Q. Now the next couple of documents deal with the friendship and
4 cooperation agreement so if I could direct your attention to 1D 01942,
5 that would be in binder 1, Your Honours.
6 Now, what I'm showing you sir dated 17 July 1992, it's from the
7 Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This would have
8 been a session the 145th Session. Do you recall whether you were
10 A. [No interpretation]
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I didn't get any translation.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Yes.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. And we see when we turn to the first page or number two, we see
15 that you are listed there as the Secretary-General. If we then -- as I
16 understand it, it was during this session where there was a discussion
17 concerning the forming of a delegation to go to the Republic of Croatia
18 and we see that as part of item 1 on page 3; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And we see that the delegation was going to be for the Presidency
21 or for BiH it was going to be Izetbegovic, Ljubic and Mr. Pelivan. So we
22 had somebody from the Presidency, somebody from the assembly, and
23 somebody from the government.
24 If we now go back to page number 2 under agenda we see section of
25 a delegation for the visit of the Republic of Croatia
1 talks. Do you see where it says "platform" sir? Under agenda, number
3 A. Yes, I see that.
4 Q. Now, if we go to the next document, 1D 01773. We see -- this is
5 in binder 1. We don't see a date, but it's titled "Platform for
6 regulating the relationship with the Republic of Croatia
7 Do you know, sir, whether, in fact this is the platform is being
8 discussed in the minutes of the meeting of 17 July 1992. Take a look at
9 it, please.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And if we focus on item number one, it says, "Cooperation in the
12 military and international field with the aim of defending Bosnia
14 A. According to the definition of the BH Presidency, it was the then
15 already former JNA, the Republic of Serbia
17 the Serbian Democratic Party.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, unless there are any questions from the Bench, I
19 will move on to the next segment. Very well. Okay.
20 Let's turn our attention now, this is with respect to
21 Dr. Jadranko Prlic and let's look at document 1D 02014. This is in
22 binder 1, Your Honours. 1D 02014. This is dated 5 October 1992 and I --
23 the subject matter is "Request for a share in the commodity loan provided
24 by Turkey
25 Defence Council of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, is writing to
1 the government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina concerning a
2 loan which would appear to be in the amount of 50 million American
3 dollars from Turkey
4 A. I see that.
5 Q. Do you know whether, in fact, there was a loan from Turkey for
6 that amount or to any other amount?
7 A. I'm not certain but I think there was a loan, yes.
8 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the next document, 1D 02685.
9 Binder 3, Your Honours. I apologise for having to shuffle back and
10 forth. 1D 02685. Do you have that document, sir?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Now, do you see that it's signed by the deputy prime minister
13 that was the gentleman you spoke of yesterday who was killed in the UN
14 armoured vehicle?
15 A. That's right. He was the deputy prime minister. I think that's
16 what his position was called officially, Hakija Turajlic.
17 Q. Now we saw Dr. Prlic's letter which was 5 October 1992 in the
18 previous document which was 1D 02014 and here in 1D 02685, on 17 October
19 1992 we have this gentleman indicating that:
20 "We have considered carefully your request of 5 October which we
21 received under number 29-22/S 92 referring to using a Turkish loan of US
22 $50 million." It goes on to say, "We hereby inform that you this loan
23 has still not been approved in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 However talks with Turkish official authorities about this matter have
25 been scheduled for the near future, of which you will be promptly
2 "We also wish to confirm the RBH government's firm decision to
3 use part of this loan, should it be approved, to cover the needs of the
4 armed conflict also in this area."
5 From this document, can we draw any conclusions, sir, concerning
6 the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its relationship towards the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
8 A. We can certainly draw a conclusion. Firstly, the government of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the answer.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: You need to slow down -- Mr. Akmadzic, none of
12 that was translated because you're speaking way too fast. So you need to
13 please slow down. I kindly -- I beg you to slow down.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We can draw the following
15 conclusion from this: The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 recognised the Croatian Defence Council. We can also draw another
17 conclusion. The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was willing to
18 grant financial assistance to the Croatian Defence Council.
19 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, if we look at the next -- yes?
20 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
21 I would like to clarify one issue with the witness, if possible.
22 It is a bit interesting to note that the very paragraph which you kindly
23 quoted, Mr. Karnavas, here we read that "We hereby inform you that this
24 loan has still not been approved in the Republic of Bosnia
1 [B/C/S spoken].
2 I'm not quite sure as far as this loan is concerned did it need
3 approval by the government of the Bosnia and Herzegovina because in a
4 way, in Dr. Prlic's letter, it is being referred to as a credit -- I mean
5 as a loan to be transmitted to the government from and by Turkey.
6 So then I would like to ask the witness what was the legal issue
7 here involved that the loan had to be approved by the government
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time, I wasn't prime
10 minister. However, based on what I know, the government of the Republic
11 of Bosnia and Herzegovina asked for a loan. Was Turkey
12 loan request, was the money to be received by the government of Bosnia
13 and Herzegovina
14 of that money to the Croatian Defence Council.
15 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, sorry, but following up
17 on Judge Prandler's question, I'd like to ask you this: I have the two
18 letters in front of me. In Dr. Prlic's letter, it is in English, but I'm
19 trying to translate that into French, he's asking that the Croatian
20 Defence Council receive or get a share of the loan by way of a third of
21 it. That's the letter by Dr. Prlic of the 5th of October, 1992.
22 In the response by Hakija Turajlic on the 17th of October 1992
23 in that very last paragraph precisely, he said this: The loan should
24 also be used to cover the needs of the armed conflict in this area. As
25 far as I can see, it's not very clear, is it? You could interpret any
1 which way. The answer does not say that the loan would be given to the
2 HVO but part of it, at least, will be used for the armed conflict but who
3 is going to get the money? That's not said in this paragraph, is it?
4 What do you think of it?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Even before this letter as well as
6 after it, there was an agreement that was not specified or written down
7 anywhere to the effect that all the means would be distributed to all
8 three parties in equal shares, 30 per cent, roughly speaking. Or there
9 would be two 50 per cent cuts as long as there were only two parties
11 I said yesterday that the three parties were the Serb party, the
12 Muslim party, and the Croat party. In this specific conflict at this
13 specific time, the two parties involved were the Croat and the Muslim. I
14 would like to provide an additional explanation. This is a loan in
15 goods, it is merely expressed here in monetary terms. This could
16 potentially have comprised both money and goods or either one of those
17 simply because it's not specified.
18 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Do you have a question, Judge Trechsel?
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, your last answer is in a way a
21 non-answer because you start off saying "This was a loan in goods ..."
22 and then you continue saying," ... but it could also have comprised both
23 money and goods or either of one of those." So what you are saying --
24 first you say it was in goods and not in money and in the end, you say it
25 could also have been entirely in money. Maybe you do not know more
1 specifically, that is quite possible and I would not blame you for that.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As we can tell from this letter and
3 the reply by Mr. Hakija Turajlic, the loan had not yet been approved. It
4 could, for example, have been $10 million in money or 40 million -- and
5 40 million in goods, goods that would have been used for the purposes of
6 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the benefit of the population. As
7 I said, I wasn't prime minister at the time this was going on.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So in fact, Witness, this is more or less
9 speculation, you do not know what it would have been, it had not been to
10 your own knowledge at that time specified what it would be; is that
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, that had not been
13 specified yet.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question because we
16 could devote hours to this issue, but I will go straight away to the core
17 of the matter. When you said it was not approved, did the loan have to
18 be approved by the government or by the parliamentary assembly in as it
19 was a loan and therefore it could have repercussions on the financial
20 balance of the financial bill which normally was to be adopted year by
21 year, so I guess that there would be changes or additions so that has to
22 be endorsed by parliament. Is that why you said that it had to be
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What we are looking at here is 1992
25 which can be seen as breaking down into two distinct parts. The first
1 part, the war had not been underway properly and the other part, and this
2 was about the war budget. In the first part, the budget was a regular
3 one based on what I know and I'm saying again I wasn't prime minister at
4 the time, these are amounts that were approved by decisions during the
5 war meaning there were two parties involved, the government of Bosnia
7 The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for this loan
8 but by this time, it had not yet received one from Turkey.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I'd like to point out that on 1D 02014
11 Dr. Jadranko Prlic's letter it quite clearly states in English "Commodity
12 loan of $50 million" a commodity loan which is why the gentleman answered
13 the way he did. Also I should point out that the purpose of us showing
14 this letter was not so much whether the loan was granted or not but
15 rather to establish that the government of BiH recognised the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna. That was the real essence of introducing this
18 Q. If we go on to the next document now sir, 1D 00898, binder 1.
19 Do you have it, sir?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. Now, we see at the bottom, we see first of all it's 17 November
22 1992, Sarajevo
23 November 17, I take it you were president of the government of RBiH?
24 A. Yes, for about a week by this time.
25 Q. Here, we have a decision by you -- by the government, you signing
1 it on behalf of the government as the president of it, to appoint and
2 authorize Dr. Jadranko Prlic the president of the Croatian Defence
3 Council to represent the government of the Republic of Bosnia
5 the RBiH staff for collection of the items to help the RBiH population to
7 Sir, was this a collective decision or was this your decision?
8 A. This was an official decision of the government of Bosnia and
10 Q. All right. And was this published in the Official Gazette so
11 everyone could see that this decision had indeed been issued by the
12 government of RBiH?
13 A. Yes and the entire procedure was implemented that this decision
15 Q. All right. Well, based on that answer let's look at 1D 02147, 1D
16 02147. Your Honours, I believe that would be right after the previous --
17 that would be in binder 1.
18 Do you have this, sir? Do you have this document?
19 A. Yes. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. And here we see the November 20th, 1992. At the
21 bottom, we see your name, again president of the government and here it
22 says "Powers" and this -- what is this document?
23 A. Pursuant to a decision of the BH government that we mentioned a
24 while ago, Dr. Prlic received this letter of authorisation. He was going
25 about his work and this is something that he had been allowed to do by
1 the government and he was to show this document to any appropriate bodies
2 who would then allow him to get on with his work.
3 Q. So if I understanding it correctly, you have the decision that
4 was taken and published and this an implementing instrument, a power of
5 attorney that then allows Dr. Jadranko Prlic to act on behalf of the
6 decision that has already been reached, is that what you're telling us?
7 A. Yes, he could take this decision and work both in Bosnia and
9 the most part was in Croatia
10 Q. All right. Now, we don't see a signature in the Croatian
11 version. I'm sure at least one of the Judges will probably be asking
12 themselves why there is no signature there and how can this be a valid
13 power of attorney and one to be acted upon if there is no signature by
14 the president of the government. Do you have an explanation, sir?
15 A. This document was issued by the government's administrative unit.
16 It was valid as long as one attached the government -- the appropriate
17 government decision with it.
18 Q. All right. If we could now then go on to -- yes.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, you may be going exactly where I'm
20 looking for, namely, we read in the last one paragraph that "these powers
21 shall become effective on the day when they are granted."
22 Now, the question was were they ever and on what day were they
23 granted? I thought that might be your next document because I have not
24 seen them all.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Karnavas, please.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you repeat what you said.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: As I said the other day -- last week, I believe,
3 that great minds think alike. I'm speaking about your mind of course not
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have my doubts.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. But if we could have an answer from the gentleman concerning that
9 A. The discrepancy is three days in terms of the dates this document
10 took effect as soon as it had been adopted, this last document not the
11 previous one. This takes effect on the 20th of November, 1992, this
12 letter of authorisation.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Witness, I'm not quite convinced.
14 The decision that we had previously was taken on the 17th of November and
15 this is three days later but the sentence I referred to refers to the
16 future " ... shall become effective on the day when they were granted."
17 So that cannot easily be three days ago. Otherwise he would have said
18 "... have become effective on the day the decision was taken."
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that I can remember quite
20 well that my lawyers had told me that it would be good for Mr. Prlic to
21 have this kind of letter of authorisation in addition to the decision.
22 It was my opinion that the decision would suffice. They did it the way
23 they did it. Dr. Prlic could not use the letter of authorisation before
24 he received it. That's simple logic. It is possible that he might have
25 used only the government decision.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Might I ask the interpreters to read the
2 sentence in question in -- well, to translate it? Maybe someone could
3 read them. I could not, I'm afraid. Perhaps the witness, could you read
4 the last but one paragraph? "Ovlascenje" is the first word, I suppose,
5 so the translators could give it to us in English. Maybe there is a
6 mistake in the translation.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will read it. "This letter of
8 authorisation shall take effect on the day when it is adopted."
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I think we'll leave it at that. I remain
10 perplexed, I must tell you. I'm sure your lawyer then was not
11 Mr. Karnavas but someone of a lesser quality.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: It could be also stylistic, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, if you allow me, I
14 would like to put two questions to you. This document is very important,
15 I think. Therefore, we should focus on its meaning. Here's a document
16 from the government, the date is the 20th of November, 1992. Upon
17 reading this document, we see that Dr. Prlic, who is the president of the
18 Croatian Defence Council is given an assignment. He's supposed to
19 represent the government Bosnia and Herzegovina in the territory of the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Therefore, this document has legal
21 repercussions. Indeed, Dr. Prlic is supposed to represent the government
22 with all that it entails.
23 According to your knowledge -- well, have you spoken about it to
24 Mr. Izetbegovic because this document, for a lawyer, means that you
25 acknowledge explicitly the role played by the Croatian Defence Council in
1 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So did you tell Mr. Izetbegovic
2 about it?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said yesterday that in Bosnia
5 assembly, the Presidency, and the government. And those three
6 institutions had their powers in accordance with the constitution. This
7 decision on this kind of representation pertains to the government, not
8 the Presidency. It is based on the previous recognition of the Croatian
9 Defence Council. I did inform President Izetbegovic about that, but I
10 did not table this at the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have
11 to say here -- but this is something that I'm not sure about -- that in
12 this regard, President Izetbegovic told me, or perhaps it was at that
13 time that 1 million German marks had been transferred to the Croatian
14 Defence Council by way of assistance.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I have another
16 question to put to you. A while ago you said that these powers shall
17 become effective on the day when they are granted. We are therefore
18 under the impression that this document was supposed to be published
19 officially. That was mentioned by the lawyer. Therefore, was this
20 document ever published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Bosnia
21 and Herzegovina
22 say -- to know, sorry.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot confirm that but I can
24 confirm that the decision itself was published. I'm not a lawyer and I
25 cannot really see any substantial difference between the two documents,
1 and I think, it is my belief that the first document was the basic
2 document and it was published in the Official Gazette and that in and of
3 itself, it could be effective, but I may not be right in that.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If there is a document
5 published in the Official Gazette about the HVO, there are consequences
6 from a legal standpoint, that means that you somehow acknowledge the
7 existence of this entity. The government or the president acknowledges
8 the existence of that entity. If there is no publication, it means that
9 there is a de facto entity, but if there is an official document
10 mentioning the HVO and indicating that the HVO is playing a role in the
11 Republic, a lawyer is entitled to assume that this entity is acknowledged
12 by the government in power. But you said that you couldn't give any
13 answer about this document which is 1D 02147. But you said that another
14 document was published.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The other document, the basic
16 document was published and it contains -- it is couched in the same terms
17 as this document here, the other document.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As for this basic document,
19 maybe Mr. Karnavas has it, but I do not have it right here.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I believe the gentleman -- I may be
21 mistaken is speaking about 1D 00898 which is the decision, if we look at
22 the very last line, it says, "This decision shall be published in the
23 Official Gazette of RBiH." So -- and having worked there I know that it
24 takes sometime from the moment a decision is made until the actual
25 official publication because it comes out on a monthly basis, but I don't
1 know what the procedure was back then but this is what this document says
2 now whether it was indeed published or not, we -- it is our understanding
3 what we are presenting you is from the Official Gazette, that is the
4 decision 1D 00898 is actually a copy from the Official Gazette that was
5 published at the time.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: The next document is 1D 01945. This is in binder
8 1, Your Honours.
9 Q. Sir, this is a -- if we look at this, you see that it is signed
10 by Dr. Jadranko Prlic. It is dated 12 December 1992 and it's titled
11 "Protest" or that's the subject matter. We see at the very -- sir, the
12 very next document. There's no need for you to read -- going through the
13 entire binder it's just the very next document, 1D 01945. Okay. All
14 right. Good.
15 Now, if we look at the very first paragraph, we can see your name
16 there it says, I'll just read part of it -- I'll read the paragraph:
17 "The immediate cause of our address to the Presidency and the
18 government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the document of
19 the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command of the armed forces, Mr. Sefer
20 Halilovic, but the underlying reasons are diverse and do not" it says in
21 English "do not knew" they are not known, apparently is what it says in
23 "We urge you, Mr. Akmadzic, to have the government and
24 Presidency discuss this protest of ours and to have this two high-ranking
25 bodies of the BH state respond to it in clear terms."
1 Now, in the second paragraph, we see Dr. Jadranko Prlic stating
2 toward the middle of it:
3 "We are as unrelenting in favour of preserving the BH statehood
4 as we are committed to the idea that the state in its internal
5 organisation must match the interests of the Croat people residing within
6 it. In this respect, we genuinely accept the solutions for the internal
7 organisation of the BH offered by the European Community namely for a BH
8 as a compound state community of three constitutive peoples, Croats
9 Muslims Serbs composed of three constitutive units formed and organised
10 on the basis of the already accepted principles from ethnic to sacral
12 Anyway, if we go on to the next page, there seems to be a
13 complaint that Halilovic is making certain statements and it actually
14 starts from the bottom of the previous page, Your Honours, last part of
15 the paragraph, it says:
16 "There were talks held along those lines on several occasions
17 about cooperation between HVO units and BH army about the status of the
18 areas which had been defended or liberated, about the Croatian Community
19 of Herceg-Bosna and the HVO as a form of provisional executive authority
20 in the region until such time as a final solution was found. We received
21 assurances that the official bodies of the BH government and Presidency
22 accepted and acknowledged the actual state of affairs, the role and the
23 contribution of the Croat people in defending the home land. However,
24 almost as a rule in the aftermath of such talks and accords high-ranking
25 officials from top political state or military leadership always publicly
1 refute these agreements and planned cooperation. We can no longer be
2 regarded or treated as happenstance but rather unfortunately as
3 duplicitous political activity which directly works to the detriment of
4 the BH as a state, its survival and the interests of the Croat and Muslim
6 Sir, do you recall receiving this protest letter from
7 Dr. Jadranko Prlic?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell us, if you know, what was at the bottom of this
10 complaint? I mean in the very first paragraph he mentions
11 Sefer Halilovic who was, at the time, the head of the ABiH army and also
12 the founder of the Patriotic League when it was secretly founded, we know
13 that. But do you know what exactly Dr. Jadranko Prlic was complaining
15 A. First of all, I would like to say that I did submit this document
16 to the Presidency too. That it was considered by the Presidency but no
17 specific conclusions were made. Dr. Prlic is here protesting on behalf
18 of the Croatian Defence Council and the Croatian people in Bosnia
20 he's also protesting against the use of the term "so-called Croatian
21 Defence Council" by Mr. Halilovic whereas the Bosnian authorities had
22 already accepted the Croatian Defence Council as a constituent element of
23 the armed forces.
24 Dr. Prlic goes on to say that international negotiations have to
25 be accepted as do the plans for the restructuring of the state of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina
3 Q. If I can direct your attention to the next document, 1D 02663.
4 1D 02663. That's in binder 2, Your Honours. This is the 182nd Session
5 of the Presidency held on December 26th, 1992.
6 Do you have it, sir?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, I don't know exactly in which page in the B/C/S version, but
9 if we look at -- in the English version at the top of the page, Your
10 Honours, it would be 01806416. That's the ERN number. 6416 if you just
11 look at the first four digits, that would be sufficient.
12 Do you have that, sir? Perhaps you may want to follow the
13 English version, it might be -- usher, could we have your assistance?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Okay. 6416 are the last four digits, and we would kindly ask the
16 usher to assist us as much as possible.
17 A. Yes, I found it.
18 Q. Thank you. We see over here your name Mile Akmadzic and you say:
19 "I would say that it would be good if Mr. Jadranko Prlic on
20 behalf of the Croatian Defence Council and Herceg-Bosna sent a letter to
21 the government and the Presidency, we have put it on the agenda of the
22 government as Mr. Sefer was absent."
23 Then you go on.
24 So I don't want to go into exactly what transpired because we can
25 read it all for ourselves and you did indicate that nothing happened, no
1 resolution occurred, but is this what you were telling us earlier? That
2 you brought this matter to the attention of the Presidency? Was it at
3 this session?
4 A. Yes, it was at that session.
5 Q. We see, if we turn a couple of pages, we see Mr. Halilovic's
6 name, and can we assume that Mr. Halilovic was present at the time?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, as an aside, there's another issue that might be worth
9 noting because there is this issue that has been -- that is part of the
10 indictment known as the "Croatisation" and one of the elements is the use
11 of the Croatian language. Now, if I could direct your attention to the
12 pages 01806433, the last four digits are 6433.
13 Let me -- just look at the top right hand -- okay. Now, let me
14 just ask -- we're going to be talking -- I'm going to focus your
15 attention on this Mr. Campara but before that, let me ask a question. Do
16 you recall whether it was at this session that the issue of language came
18 A. Yes, the issue of language was raised at this session, and I did
19 take part in the debate.
20 Q. Now, we know yesterday -- from yesterday that you graduated from
21 the Sarajevo University
22 that you were fully aware of -- fully conversant in Bosnian-Herzegovinian
23 languages, whatever languages were used at the time, could you please
24 tell us was there a language called Bosnian or Bosniak at that time?
25 A. No. At that time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the official usage
1 was the following -- or rather the official language was Croatian or
2 Serbian and the people generally abbreviated that and this was general
3 practice in schools, too, to Serbo-Croatian and -- or Croato-Serbian.
4 The Bosnian language did not exist.
5 Q. All right. Let's look and see what was going on at the
6 Presidency session where Izetbegovic was present on this particular
7 occasion, and again we're talking about December 26th, 1992. We have
8 Mr. Campara who says:
9 "Article 4 says in the republic of BiH
10 language is Serbo-Croatian or Croat-Serbian language with Ijekavian
12 He then goes on to say: "And we same to the opinion that such
13 formulation can no longer be there especially because there is no Bosnian
14 language there et cetera and the openly possibility will be and the
15 Presidency can give the initiative now and based on this that the matter
16 should go to the commission for constitutional matters so that this
17 provision is made void for the period during the war and until a new
18 constitution is passed. Then this provision will no longer exist, and
19 the language of all nations will be in use."
20 At which point further down, you say, "Which language will we be
21 speaking by then?"
22 Campara says: "Then you will speak Serbo-Croatian, Croatian,
23 Serbian, Bosnian. The decree will say the President Izetbegovic in the
24 meantime, we must be silent a bit." And I take it that was a joke. Is
25 that correct?
1 A. It was a joke.
2 Q. Right. Ganic says, "They say that we should add -- we should
3 just as Bosnian among the other -- these permanent combinations.
4 Campara: "We cannot do that."
5 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. Pejanovic: "We will speak as we speak, and we will probably call
8 our language Bosnian language and other languages as required by the
9 nations that live here. As this really is not an urgent matter, it
10 should be concluded that that will be solved in the regular procedure of
11 passing a new constitution, which I hope will be passed soon."
12 Then you say: "I agree that we should do that. However, it will
13 be difficult to give the language a name. First of all, the language
14 used by Vuk Karadzic and Ljudevit Gaj, who were creators of the Croatian
15 and Serbian languages is Herzegovinian." That should be clear and of
16 course there is some laughter there.
17 Campara further down says, "Mr. President, I propose that you
18 should give initiative to the assembly commission for constitutional
19 matters to consider this request."
20 And here is what Alija Izetbegovic says at the time who is also
21 president of the SDA, head of the largest Muslim party in Bosnia and
23 "This is not a bad proposal, so that people cannot say that we
24 did not react. Let us say that this should be given to the commission
25 for constitutional matters of the assembly. As Churchill said: 'If you
1 want that an issue is never solved without anybody's responsibility, give
2 it to some commission.' Very well, it is all right. I think this is a
3 proposal. Let the commission consider it. Therefore, the matter has
4 been sent to the commission for constitutional matters."
5 Sir, you were present when this discussion took place. Why was
6 it necessary to have this discussion?
7 A. Well, it was a debate about language. I think you left out what
8 Mr. Pejanovic said, that's in line 3 on this page. When I said that this
9 language was actually the language from Herzegovina, and Mr. Pejanovic
10 said, "It is still best preserved there."
11 Q. And what does that mean?
12 A. That means that Vuk Karadzic, the father of the Serbian language
13 and Ljudevit Gaj, the father of the Croatian language if we can put it
14 that way and we can in a sense, in mid-19th century took language spoken
15 in Herzegovina
16 also language in eastern Bosnia
17 time, Croatian writers and Vuk Karadzic himself used the Ekavian variant
18 as indicated here; and this whole debate is actually about what the
19 language in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be called, given that it was now
20 an independent sovereign state with three constituent peoples.
21 Q. If we go on to the next page this is what you say and I think
22 this might be relevant to this whole discussion.
23 Akmadzic: "One thing should be borne in mind that every nation
24 has the right to give its language its own name. And then the question
25 is can it be called after something else. In any case, every nation that
1 speaks a certain language has a right to give it its own name. Austrians
2 and Americans have never exercised that right."
3 Then we hear from Izetbegovic: "One can call his language
4 whatever he wants. We should not ban that. We will probably say that
5 one can call the language we speak whatever he wants: Serbian, Croatian,
6 Bosnian. Let them call it whatever they want. Of course, there are
7 other repercussions here. It needs to be stated in graduation
8 certificates which language it is, a mother tongue. Very well. This
9 issue is forwarded to the commission."
10 Now, from this exchange and from what Izetbegovic is saying, can
11 you draw any conclusions as far as making distinctions between the
12 languages people are speaking?
13 A. So, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were three constituent
14 peoples, and they all spoke as they liked. At this time, the language
15 was called Serbian or Croatian, Serbo-Croatian or Croato-Serbian. The
16 third people had not yet decided what they would call theirs. Now, they
17 are voicing an ambition for a third segment to be added to this one
18 language, the Bosnian segment making it effectively a total of three
19 languages. We Croats were always advocating equal rights for all the
20 groups in every way.
21 Q. Let me stop you there. Are we talking about an entirely
22 different language with different grammar, different pronunciations,
23 different vocabulary or as the saying goes, a rose is a rose by any other
25 A. We are looking at three varieties of the same language, if you
1 like. Everybody understands everybody else. Nevertheless, each of the
2 peoples had the right to call their language whatever they liked. That
3 is why back in Washington
4 call themselves Bosniaks. Each of the peoples had the right to call
5 their language whatever they liked. That was why back in Washington, we
6 had agreed that the Bosniaks would be allowed to call their language
7 Bosnian or Bosniak. Bosniak as opposed to Bosnian, and Bosnian is the
8 term being used frequently here because Bosnian is all the three
9 groups -- all the three groups were Bosnians, plus people from
11 As for the Muslims, we made it possible for them to refer to
12 their people as Bosniak as well as the language, Bosniak.
13 Q. Let's move on to the next document and we'll go back to what we
14 were earlier discussing before we went off on that little frolic. 1D
15 02077, this is the next document in your binder, this would be in binder
16 1 and this is dated 9 October 1992
17 is this publication published?
18 A. This is published in Sarajevo
19 Q. All right. It says here the subject "Izetbegovic's press
20 conference in Mostar and his views of the Muslim-Croatian relations."
21 I'm not going to read the entire article but just focus your attention on
22 the last two paragraphs of page 1, it says:
23 "He also announced that soon members of a coordination committee
24 would be appointed to coordinate military operations between Croatia
25 BH against the joint Serbian-Montenegrin aggressor. Members have already
1 been appointed by the Croatian side and the BH side has agreed that two
2 representatives of the BH army and one HVO representative should be
3 appointed from their side. The HVO will appoint its representative in a
4 day or two to the BH army will immediately follow suit."
5 Now, here we're talking about relations between Croatia
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina; correct?
7 A. What is being discussed here is relations between the Croat
8 people and the Muslim people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 Q. Okay. The segment that I read -- just follow me?
10 A. [English] Excuse me.
11 Q. Step by step, we'll get there. What I read, this is -- we're
12 talking about Croatia
13 A. [Interpretation] My apologies, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 and their relations.
15 Q. Okay. Now we go to the next one, next paragraph:
16 "Izetbegovic stated that soon a single command of the armed
17 forces of BH would be established consisting of the leaders of the BH
18 army and the HVO. The president of the BH Presidency described the
19 establishment of the Council of Muslims of Herzegovina as an
20 understandable reaction to what the Croatian side had done, but an
21 unacceptable path towards the resolution of the problems of BH and an
22 unacceptable path for the Muslims in BH to take."
23 So, it seems from this aspect what conclusion can we draw?
24 Because he talks about a single command of the armed forces and then he
25 talks about BH army and HVO.
1 A. What he's talking about here is also the relations between
3 he's talking about the relations between the BH army and the Croatian
4 Defence Council which together make up the armed forces of BH. He's
5 talking about cooperation, about appointments to these two segments of
6 the armed forces of BH.
7 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the very last paragraph, it says:
8 "Yesterday, Alija Izetbegovic held talked with the president of
9 the HVO of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna Dr. Jadranko Prlic,
10 prime minister of the war government of Mostar, Jadranko Topic, and so on
11 and so forth. And if we look at the photograph in the picture, this is
12 the original version. I know it's kind of tough to look at but you
13 recognise the faces. Do you see who is along with Mr. Izetbegovic, can
14 you recognise that individual? Pardon?
15 JUDGE PRANDLER: We don't have the photograph. At least I do not
16 have it.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: This is the Croatian -- the B/C/S version.
18 I can lead the witness, Your Honour. I didn't --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think this is Jadranko Prlic.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: That's correct. That was when he had more hair, I
21 think. Okay. If we could go on to the -- we're all going south in that
22 direction, some sooner than others.
23 Q. Okay. If we could go on to the next topic. This deals with
24 logistics centres. Yesterday you indicated that logistics centres had
25 been set up and I very quickly want to go through some documents with you
1 to establish that. If we could look at 1D 01145, all of these documents,
2 Your Honours, are in binder 5 -- binder 1.
3 Here we see a decision to appoint the director of the logistics
4 centre in Ploce and this is Mr. Raguz; correct? Correct? And he's a
5 Croat as I understand it.
6 A. Indeed.
7 Q. Okay. If we go on to the next one, 1D 01146. This is for
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Okay. The next is 1D 01147, this is for Split, a Munib Karavdic?
12 A. Karavdic.
13 Q. And he's a Muslim?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And the next one is 1D 01403. This is to appoint an acting head
16 of the department for economic affairs and humanitarian aid at the
17 embassy of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Croatia and this
18 would be a Dr. Josip Goluza and I think that was the gentleman we saw the
19 letter from yesterday, the protest?
20 A. Yes, Dr. Josip Goluza, a Croat. He was government's office in
22 Q. Yes. And speaking of that very quickly, if you could inform us
23 when you say the government's office in Zagreb, could you please explain
24 what that office was all about?
25 A. When the war first began, as soon as April 1992, Croatia and
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina first reached an agreement that internationally
2 and for diplomatic purposes, they would be aiding one another. Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina
4 government did. The office continued to operate until the BH embassy was
5 first established in Zagreb
7 Q. All right. Thank you. We'll go on to the next document, 1D
8 01287. This is a decision to appoint a director for the logistics centre
9 in Ploce and here we see a Salko Handzic; correct?
10 A. Indeed.
11 Q. And the next decision is 1D 01301 where we see -- this is a
12 decision dismissing Mr. Raguz, the one that we saw earlier on; correct?
13 This is April 29, 1993
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Now, if we look at 1D 02292, 1D 02292, and of course it will not
16 fail to escape the attention of the Judges that we not see a seal or
17 signature here, but we do see that this is a summary, at least what it's
18 translated, it says this is a summary of deliveries to the army of BH and
19 the Croatian Defence Council as per requests of the Ministry of Defence
20 of the republic of BH
21 Visoko logistics centre.
22 Now, do you know anything about this document? Can you comment
23 on it?
24 A. What I can confirm is that there was a logistics centre in
25 Visoko, the distance between Visoko and Sarajevo being about 40
1 kilometres. This centre provided supplies mostly for the BH army.
2 Q. All right. Now, if we look at the next document 1D 01282, this
3 is a decision to establish logistics centres to provide supplies to the
4 inhabitants of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and we see Visoko.
5 Of course, if we see the date on this is 10 May whereas the previous
6 document was 25 January 1993
7 logistics centre or do centres exist -- were there two types, one for
8 armaments and another one for supplies, if you know, supplies for
9 inhabitants, that is.
10 A. The first centre that we mentioned in Visoko was a military
11 logistics centre. The others were for the citizens.
12 Q. And one last document in this -- for this topic and that's 1D
13 01302. We see this is a decision to establish the logistics centre for
14 humanitarian aid in the territory of the Republic of Croatia
15 is 29 April 1993
16 why it was necessary to establish a logistics centre for humanitarian aid
17 in Croatia
18 A. Well, as I said, most of the shared border between Bosnia
20 throughout the war and in peacetime, Bosnia and Herzegovina was getting
21 most of its supplies from Croatia
22 centres were set up in Croatia
23 is from there that humanitarian aid and other kinds of aid was arriving
24 to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the most part.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, I'm about to go into another topic
1 that's going to take much longer than say ten minutes so perhaps -- oh,
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas. We have
4 just reviewed a series of decisions. In each of them, for instance, we
5 don't need to look at them, no need to repeat them but in each of them,
6 it is said that the decision will enter into effect when it is published
7 in the Official Gazette. I'd like to know one thing: Can the witness
8 confirm that in this time of conflict, the Official Gazette was still
9 being published and that the said decisions were indeed promulgated
10 further to the law, in keeping with the law?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These decisions were published in
12 keeping with the law that applied at the time. The Official Gazette was
13 published in a minimal form. Some of the decisions took immediate
14 effect. These particular ones took effect as soon as they were published
15 in the Official Gazette.
16 The decisions that, for reasons of time, or because of the need
17 for an urgent implementation could not be published in the Official
18 Gazette took immediate effect. Sometimes some decisions were meant to be
19 published at a later stage in the Official Gazette.
20 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's best to have a break now,
22 then you can start with a new topic. 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.36 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.03 p.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour, Mr. President.
2 Q. Okay. The next topic we're going to talk about, Mr. Akmadzic,
3 deals with the issue of districts, the "okrug." So if you could look at
4 1D 00509, binder 1 for Your Honours.
5 Do you have it, sir? Do you have this document?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And this is a -- it says it's 13 August 1992 and it's a decree
8 with the power of law on establishment of work and work of districts.
9 Were you familiar with this decree back then?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And could you please explain a little bit to the Trial Chamber,
12 so we can have an understanding, of what this decree is about?
13 A. The 13th of August, 1992 is a time when the war was in full swing
14 and Sarajevo
16 a permanent basis with the local authorities throughout the republic.
17 For this reason, the BH Presidency, acting as an assembly, adopted a
18 decision -- or rather passed a decree to establish a number of districts,
19 a total of ten, I believe, including the city of Sarajevo itself.
20 Q. All right. Now, you were a member -- were you a member of this
21 Presidency or War Presidency, I guess by this point. Were you a member
22 of it at the time?
23 A. I was the Secretary-General at the time, I wasn't a member of the
25 Q. Now, do you have an opinion whether this is a -- this decree,
1 whether it's within the constitution of the then RBiH?
2 A. The Presidency Bosnia and Herzegovina deemed that it was
3 necessary to set up these districts although it was by no means certain
4 that this was a constitutional move because the constitution did not
5 provide for the establishment of such districts. Any amendments -- no
6 amendments to the constitution can be introduced by either the Presidency
7 or the assembly.
8 Q. All right. Now, if we look at Article 8, that might help us a
9 little bit because here, it talks about the rights and duties of the
10 district. Were these functions that are under Article 8, were these the
11 functions of the municipalities?
12 A. These were not the functions of the municipalities and even
13 previously, especially when it came to mobilisation, municipalities were
14 involved but only as far as they cooperated with the central authorities.
15 Q. All right. Now, let's look at -- let's leave this decree for now
16 and let look at the next document 1D 02418, 1D 02418. That's binder
17 number 2, Your Honours. We saw that the decree was passed on 13 August
18 1992. This is now a letter dated 31 January 1993 and it's signed by
19 Izetbegovic for the BH SDA. So it would appear that Mr. Izetbegovic is
20 sending this on behalf of his party and it says at the top, "In
21 accordance with the principles of the constitutional and legal order
22 of --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Would you mind reading slowly, thank you.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: "In accordance with the principles of the
25 constitutional and legal order of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted in
2 SDA, I hereby fully" I underscore that "fully authorise the president of
3 the SDA regional board for Herzegovina
4 team of experts to be sent -- to be set up -- by the SDA regional board
5 for Herzegovina
6 cooperation with the representatives of the Croatian people and to
7 finalise this task in terms of constitutional, legal, political personnel
8 and functional completion of Mostar province."
9 The last paragraph says, "In keeping with this authorisation, the
10 president of the SDA regional board for Herzegovina and the board itself
11 are obliged to ensure democratic unity of the SDA in Herzegovina in the
12 performance of this task."
13 So here we are several months after the passage of the decree,
14 Izetbegovic now is sending this authorisation for the province of Mostar
15 Q. And my question is: Is there some contradiction between the
16 decree which was supposed to establish these districts setting aside the
17 issue of whether this was constitutional or not and this authorisation to
18 his party to cooperate with the Croats in the establishment of the
19 province of Mostar.
20 A. I think the president, Mr. Izetbegovic, here is not
21 distinguishing between the role of the president of the Presidency and
22 the president of the Party for Democratic Action. He, in his capacity as
23 party president, has certain powers but he doesn't have in his capacity
24 as party president such powers as belong to state bodies. There is
25 another thing that I would like to point out in this context. The 31st
1 of January, 1993. This is a time after the Geneva talks on the internal
2 organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a way, President Izetbegovic
3 is trying to remain in keeping with the instructions that were issued in
5 way, he is seeking cooperation with the Croats. I suppose that also
6 means the Croatian Defence Council.
7 Q. Now, if we look at the original version, we see that there is a
8 signature. Can you tell us to any degree of certainty whether, in fact,
9 this is Mr. Izetbegovic's signature?
10 A. I can say that, and I can be completely sure about it because I
11 know his signature well, and I know him well. This is Mr. Izetbegovic's
13 Q. All right. Well let look and see what happens a month or so
14 later. 1D 02565, 1D 02565. And that's in binder number 2, Your Honour.
15 Here we have a letter dated March 3, 1993
16 Mr. Demirovic from a Professor Dr. Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, and, of course,
17 attached to it we see that there is a letter to Mr. Pasalic who is the
18 commander of the 4th Corps of the ABiH and at the bottom we also see that
19 this is supposed to be copied to Dr. Jadranko Prlic which we also see on
20 the very first page. "Please forward attached materials to Mr. Prlic
21 after you make copies of all materials for your use."
22 Now, if we look at page number 2 to Pasalic, it says here, and
23 this is from the vice-president of the government sending a letter to the
24 commander of the army of BiH, he says:
25 "We are sending you the conclusion of the government of the
1 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the urgent implementation of
2 activities with the aim of setting up of Mostar and Livno districts."
3 Now let's just stop there. Is this in keeping the Mostar Livno
4 districts, is this in keeping with the previous document that we saw
5 signed by the president of the Presidency who was also the president of
6 the SDA, Alija Izetbegovic, dated 31 January 1993 where he was asking for
7 the regional board to help set up the Mostar province?
8 A. Well it is not in keeping because we are talking about the
9 districts and here we are talking about the implementation of a plan that
10 came from the international community. The provinces were there in the
11 Vance-Owen Plan and the districts were contained in the decision of the
12 Presidency that we have had the opportunity to see.
13 Q. All right. And if you were if look at, for instance, if we look
14 at the very last page of this letter before we get to the list of
15 delegates, we see that it says:
16 "As far as the ministry is informed, so far there has been no
17 formal reply or opinion received from Mr. Mate Boban. Therefore, the
18 Ministry of Defence again starts the initiative that the Mostar and Livno
19 districts are put into function and it proposed to the government of RBiH
20 that it forwards to the Presidency of RBiH in accordance with Articles 56
21 and 60 of the Decree Law, the draft decision."
22 Let me ask you this -- did you find that section, sir, this is
23 the letter dated February 25th, 1993, setting up the Mostar Livno
24 districts and it's signed by Munib Bisic.
25 A. Yes, I found it.
1 Q. Okay. Munib Bisic, who is he to start with?
2 A. He was the assistant defence minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 in the Defence Ministry.
4 Q. Why would the Defence Ministry be asking the -- be taking the
5 initiative in setting up the Mostar and Livno district? Keeping in mind
6 that we also have a civilian government? Do you have an explanation?
7 A. I never discussed this with Mr. Munib Bisic, but I assume that it
8 was this other military segment, that's one thing. But another thing
9 that I wanted to say is that I don't think that it was his job. I don't
10 think that he should have done that.
11 Q. All right. Well yesterday when we began our discussion, we
12 looked at what Lord Owen had indicated where he had said in his book that
13 at some point, the Muslim -- the Presidency, in fact, was a Muslim
14 Presidency for the Muslims, and it was more or less run by his close
16 At this point in time in history, is the Presidency functioning
17 in the manner in which it should have functioned based on the
19 A. The Presidency should have functioned on the basis of the
20 constitution but as of the 20th December, 1992, in its own constitutive
21 sense, the Presidency no longer functioned fully in accordance with the
22 constitution and the same goes for the period that we are now talking
24 Q. All right. Now, in looking at the previous document which was
25 dated January 31, 1993 you were able to tell us a little bit about what
1 was happening at the negotiating tables with the internationals. Can you
2 help us out a little bit, early March 1993, what is happening with the
3 negotiating process, the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
4 A. Well, in early March 1993, the negotiations on the peace
5 agreement for Bosnia
6 already well underway. As I said yesterday, in March, the two sides, the
7 Muslim and the Croat side had already signed the Vance-Owen Plan. We
8 agreed about the provinces based on this plan, the number of those
9 provinces and their delineation, conditionally speaking, their borders.
10 Q. All right. We'll get back to that. Now let's look at the next
11 document which is 1D 01972. This in binder 1, Your Honours, 1D 01972.
12 And we don't seem to have a date, it says 1993 on it. It's addressed to
13 Lagumdzija, as I understand, at the time, he was the vice-president of
14 the government; is that correct?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. And we see at the last page, this is from Dr. Jadranko Prlic
17 although we don't have a signature. Have you had a chance to look at
18 this document, sir?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And if we look at the very first line, it talks about, it says:
21 "In your letter without number of 3 March 1993, you informed me
22 of the conclusions of the government ..." and so on and so forth.
23 From reading the document, did it appear to you that this
24 document here, 1D 01972 is in connection to the document that we've just
25 looked at 1D 02418, that is -- I mean 1D 02565?
1 A. Yes, they are linked.
2 Q. And do you have an opinion as to what Dr. Jadranko Prlic is
3 conveying here? Particularly where he talks about in paragraph 4, where
4 he says:
5 "The foundation of Mostar and Livno districts has not been
6 regulated either by the current constitution or the Republic of Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina
8 delegations at the peace negotiations in Geneva and Washington
9 JUDGE MINDUA: Geneva
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm sorry, you are absolutely right. I don't know
11 where Washington
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think that in this
13 document, Mr. Prlic is warning the Muslim side in Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 in this case, it's Mr. Lagumdzija who is the prime minister, that they
15 should comply with the international agreements, the constitution, and
16 the laws. That they should comply with what the Muslim and Croat
17 representatives had signed during the international negotiations and this
18 is something that he actually was not doing at the time. And he also
19 notes here that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna is a temporary
20 entity and that once the negotiations came into effect, it would be
21 changed, accordingly.
22 MR. KARNAVAS:
23 Q. All right. But more concretely, because we can read what
24 Dr. Jadranko Prlic is trying to convey, but can you give us a sense, from
25 your own opinion, having been the president of the government where
1 Dr. Jadranko Prlic is stating for instance, in the second to last
3 "Since your proposal is not based on the existing constitution of
4 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the signed constitutional
5 principles on the future constitutional order of the Republic of Bosnia
6 and Herzegovina
7 keeping with the peace negotiations."
8 I want your opinion, sir, not what Dr. Jadranko Prlic is stating,
9 but what do you think?
10 A. I think first of all that Mr. Jadranko Prlic is right when he is
11 issuing this warning to the competent authorities that all the elements
12 both in the constitution and in the international negotiations should be
13 abided by as should the elements in the agreements reached by the two
14 peoples. This letter, however, Mr. Lagumdzija's letter was sent without
15 my knowledge and had I known about it, I would not have approved it.
16 Q. All right. Let's go on to the next topic. This deals with
17 January 1993. It may appear that I'm going in and out of periods but
18 the -- I have arranged the direct in a topical fashion, and I can assure
19 the Trial Chamber that in the end, it will make some sense.
20 If we look at the next document, 1D 01314. 1D 01314. That would
21 be in the next binder so if we could have the assistance of the usher.
22 The next binder, binder number 2. Number 1 for you, Your Honours. Have
23 some pity on the documents, sir. Okay. 1D 01314. This is from the
24 Security Council and it's dated 6 January 1993.
First, let me ask you, were you at the negotiations in Geneva
1 that time, sir?
2 A. I did attend negotiations in Geneva but perhaps at this time --
3 yes, I was at the negotiations in Geneva.
4 Q. If you were to look at annex 1, we would see, and this is
5 something that I will ask you to comment on, if we go to annex 1 which is
6 on page 6. In this instance, it's on the top left-hand side, annex 1, do
7 you have it, sir?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. We see: Bosnian Croat, Mate Boban, Mile Akmadzic and then
10 Commander Milivoje Petkovic. And then we see: Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, commander in chief Sefer Halilovic,
12 Kasim Trnka and Hajrudin Somun. And then we see that there is also a
13 list of Bosnian Serbs, Karadzic, Mladic, Buha, Lukic, Plavsic.
14 Sir, yesterday you talked a little bit about this, but I believe
15 you tried to explain this concept to no avail, that is, to Senator Biden
16 but when we look at Bosnia and Herzegovina, could you please explain to
17 the Trial Chamber what your objection was?
18 A. I objected saying that Bosnia and Herzegovina should be
19 represented by representatives of the three peoples or a delegation that
20 would comprise members of all three peoples. In this specific case, as
21 you can see, we have delegations from the three parties that are taking
22 part in the negotiations, the Croat party. The second one that is led by
23 Izetbegovic is the Muslim party. The third one is the Serb party. And
24 those negotiations were also attended by the delegations of the Federal
25 Republic of Yugoslavia
1 Q. Let me just ask this question and it may be a silly question but
2 did you ever complain because it would appear here that at least from
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have all Muslims. And it would appear that
4 you have the government versus two of the nations negotiating as opposed
5 to the three nations, one of which is cloaked under the caption "Bosnia
6 and Herzegovina
7 acting on behalf of the state as opposed to acting on behalf of its
9 A. I have to note here for the benefit of the Honourable Trial
10 Chamber that before that, we had discussed this in Sarajevo at a meeting
11 of the Presidency and that at my insistence, the Presidency agreed that
12 abroad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as I said yesterday, can be represented
13 by a delegation comprising members of all three peoples. And if the
14 issue at hand was the internal organisation of the state, then the three
15 peoples should talk to each other and they should all three have their
17 In this specific case, regardless of the fact that I was the
18 prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I was a member of the
19 delegation of Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina as is indicated here.
20 This delegation was led by Mr. Mate Boban. I was not in the delegation
21 headed by Alija Izetbegovic.
22 Had we talked about Bosnia and Herzegovina's relations with some
23 other international players, then I would be sitting there side by side
24 with Mr. Izetbegovic and there would be a Serb representative or Serb
25 representatives, indeed, as had been agreed by the Presidency of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina
2 So I objected in Geneva
3 I demanded to have this corrected and the co-chairmen agreed with me and
4 with the explanation that I proffered, but quite often, Alija Izetbegovic
5 and his Muslim associates continued to be seen and recognised as the
6 delegation, the government delegation in the international context. The
7 delegation -- this delegation was considered to be equal.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the last part
9 of the answer.
10 A. I could confirm this by the fact that the three parties signed
11 this agreement. That was an agreement, an internal agreement between the
12 three of them. It was not signed by one representative on behalf of
13 everybody else.
14 MR. KARNAVAS:
15 Q. Just very quickly here, under Bosnia and Herzegovina we know what
16 Alija Izetbegovic is we know Haris Silajdzic, we know Halilovic. Kasim
17 Trnka, who was he?
18 A. Kasim Trnka was a judge of the Constitutional Court for a while,
19 I cannot confirm and remember whether he was a judge of the
20 Constitutional Court
21 Q. What about the other gentleman, Somun?
22 A. Mr. Somun worked in the BH Presidency as an advisor and later on
23 he was appointed ambassador to Turkey
24 Q. So of those listed -- and I know this is purely for the record
25 but of those listed under Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is five of them,
1 how many nations are been represented?
2 A. All five people are Muslim.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Let's go on to the next document --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, I would like to remain for a moment
5 with this situation and be clear of what you have in mind, sir.
6 These were negotiations mainly between the constituent narod of
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina and they were three. Now, you complain that the
8 Muslim section appears here under the title of "Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 and I can accept that. Formally, it makes sense. But if one looks at
10 the substance, would one not have to say that there ought to have been
11 four delegations, namely one of each narod and one which would have been
12 sort of a father or parent delegation that would have represented Bosnia
13 and Herzegovina
14 Now, would that -- is that a realistic -- is that a realistic
15 proposition? Do you -- could you imagine how this would have looked in
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to say here what was
18 discussed and what was concluded at a meeting of the Presidency, and
19 means that the three peoples or rather the representatives of the three
20 peoples would conduct internal talks, they would talk to each other, and
21 then after that, the Presidency as a whole, the Presidency which also
22 consisted or should have consisted of representatives of several peoples
23 would adopt those documents if they were fit to be adopted or if they
24 were acceptable.
25 So the first remark I want to say is that representatives of only
1 one people were put under the header of "Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 could have been considered a formal issue but given the war, it became a
3 substantive issue.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay, if I could --
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I did not know if it was the end of the answer.
6 Is it the end your answer?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is the end of my answer. I
8 hope it's clear.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It does not exactly respond to my question, but
10 I will leave it at that. Thank you.
11 MR. KARNAVAS:
12 Q. Let me pick up on this a little bit, Mr. Akmadzic. First of all,
13 you said that this could have been a formal issue but then it turned out
14 to be a substantive issue. You say that on page 44, I believe it's line
15 9 and 10 and 11. What do you mean by a substantive issue?
16 No, no, it's not in the document. Mr. Akmadzic. Mr. Akmadzic,
17 please listen to my question. I'll direct you to a page. I was
18 referring to the transcript here. You indicated that the Muslim party
19 being put under the banner of Bosnia and Herzegovina could have been a
20 formal issue, but it turned out to be a substantive issue. What did you
21 mean by that?
22 A. By that, I meant that if it were just a technical error, then
23 it's a formal issue, a technical issue. But if we take into account that
24 we're talking about three constituent people with equal status and that
25 this kept on cropping up, this was not the only instance, then it became
1 a substantive issue.
2 Q. All right. Now, let me go back to a question that was asked of
3 you and I would ask you to please answer it directly. And the question
4 that was posed that, okay, you have three different nations so you can
5 have three different parties, each nation would have its representatives
6 but then perhaps there should be a fourth group that would represent the
7 state itself.
8 So would that have been better, number one? And number two,
9 would it have been possible under the circumstances as they existed back
10 then? And I believe I caught the essence of the question.
11 A. I think that the end result would be the same. The Presidency of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina comprises two plus two plus two plus one members,
13 the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina could not reach an agreement on
14 vital issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina because the Serb side wanted
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain part of Yugoslavia
16 Q. Let me interrupt you here and kindly listen to my question. The
17 question was: Was it possible, under the circumstances back then, for
18 the Presidency, acting on behalf of the state, to have a delegation
19 there? So you would have a Muslim delegation, a Croat delegation, a Serb
20 delegation, and a BH delegation? Was it possible under the
22 A. It wasn't.
23 Q. All right. Could -- there was an issue as far as that being,
24 perhaps, the parent delegation. Well what about the international
25 community, could that have been seen as sort of a parent delegation with
1 the three constituent parties doing the negotiating? Or was that what
2 the international community was doing, acting as the parent delegation,
3 sort of trying to get the three parties to sit in a room and hammer out
4 an agreement?
5 A. There was no talk of a solution like that, introduce a fourth
6 party. Nobody mentioned this at the negotiations. Talking of the parent
7 delegation, in the sense of someone coordinating between the various
8 parties, and those would have been the chairmen not the peace conference.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'll go along the
10 question put by counsel and also the question put by my colleague, my
11 fellow Judge.
12 So there was this conference in Geneva with the three constituent
13 peoples, Serbs, the Croats, and the Muslims. They each can have their
14 own delegation, that's one thing. However, as was pointed out by my
15 fellow Judge, could it not be envisaged also to have a fourth delegation
16 which could have been the Presidency of BH itself being made up of
17 representatives of each nation together with the then prime minister and
18 possibly a couple more personalities. So you would have had four
19 components, all this being conducted by the then president,
20 Mr. Izetbegovic.
21 Was that sort of thing not possible? If it was not possible, why
22 was it not? Because you were part of it. You were inside it. We
23 were -- we are outside. We can't be in the know of things but you can.
24 And we know, though, how things work. Was it possible, doable, or not?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I must point out that the talks
1 were organized by the cochair men, Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance. The talks
2 of the three peoples were something that they proposed and they had our
3 agreement for this; however, the honourable Trial Chamber is asking a
4 question here and I think the response might be the following: Often,
5 not this time in Geneva
6 meetings that that ran parallel to the talks that were in progress. One
7 could say on the one hand you had three delegations having talks under
8 the leadership of the co-chairmen and on the other hand, there was an
9 extended Presidency normally not including any military representatives
10 because they had their own separate talks and they were discussing
11 similar issues, both domestically and abroad.
12 Therefore, the Presidency did not have its own delegation.
13 Rather, it travelled in it's entirety to these talks and held these
14 talks. They talked, for example, to the European Union delegation in
16 Presidency so decided.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 Please proceed, Mr. Karnavas. I hope this -- my question was not
19 an obstacle on your way.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: No, it wasn't, but let me just ask one follow-up
22 Q. Sir, yesterday -- yesterday, you said at some point that
23 Izetbegovic would meet privately with his associates and would act as if
24 he were the head of the state as opposed to first among equals in this
25 collective body called the Presidency.
1 My question is: Given the fact that Mr. Izetbegovic was first
2 the head of his own party, the president of the SDA, and given the way he
3 was acting and behaving, in closed doors with his associates, and
4 promoting himself as the head of a state, how possible would it have been
5 to put together a credible, viable, realistic, trustworthy delegation
6 from the Presidency that would act as an honest broker on behalf of the
7 state of Bosnia and Herzegovina under those circumstances?
8 A. This wasn't possible in practical terms. I suppose this was also
9 the reason why this never came to be.
10 Q. And my characterisation and the way Mr. Izetbegovic was behaving,
11 was that correct or incorrect at this point in time, in other words, in
12 the history of the Presidency while you were serving there? We're
13 talking January 1993?
14 A. You're right. Even when decisions were passed by the Presidency,
15 Mr. Izetbegovic would run counter to this and do something else. I'm not
16 saying that this was the case every single time, but it was known to have
18 Q. All right. Let's go on to the next --
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I think this was a rather crucial
20 moment, these talks in Geneva
21 Mr. Akmadzic, you were also there. Did Izetbegovic in these
22 negotiations claim and/or acquire a special status because of his formal
23 position as president of the Presidency or president of the War
24 Presidency, whatever? Or was he dealt with like the Croat or the Serb
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The co-chairmen who were in charge
2 of these negotiations were very fair in the way they controlled the
3 negotiations. However, in a purely ceremonial sense, President
4 Izetbegovic took precedence over other people in terms of accommodation,
5 in terms of seating arrangements during the talks. Regardless of this as
6 the thee delegations, I think we all had the same treatment during the
7 actual talks.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, admittedly for
10 somebody who is a lay person or who is not from your country, it is very
11 hard to understand the concept of Presidency. Indeed, in western
12 democracies, the Presidency is always embodied by the head of state. But
13 listening to you, one does understand that for you, this Presidency or
14 Mr. Izetbegovic did not have the mandate to negotiate on his own, because
15 he was a part of the Presidency and that there were at least three
16 components, and it was not up to him to decide for everybody. But if I
17 put myself in the shoes of the negotiators, Lord Owen or others, did they
18 understand that well, as far as you could see? Did they understand that
19 in fact, Mr. Izetbegovic was one among others and not the head of state
20 as that position is understood in England and France
21 Could it be that there was a confusion that you may have
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that Lord Owen and
24 Mr. Cyrus Vance understood our situation. They gained an understanding
25 of the situation through ongoing negotiations. They were deeply involved
1 in the talks and they knew about everything both good and bad that was
2 going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They travelled to Sarajevo
3 as other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They realised how complex the
4 entire situation was regardless of the fact that in their own countries,
5 the state apparatus was very much unlike the one in Bosnia. You have a
6 country with three constituent people such as Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 And this country produces, in a way, this complex situation where you
8 have a head of state like that, a collective head of state where everyone
9 is represented. There is even a slot or a position in that collective
10 body that belonged to the so-called "others" in other words not one of
11 the three major groups.
12 The Vance-Owen Peace Plan takes into account this group defined
13 as "others" in any situation where this was an open possibility. When I
14 say "others" I mean those not declaring themselves as Croats, Muslims, or
15 Serbs. There are various ethnicities in Bosnia, Montenegrins, Jews,
16 Yugoslavs, who remained, as we say, non-declared and so on and so forth.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Please proceed,
18 Mr. Karnavas.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. Okay. We'll have to move along. I hope my follow-up questions
21 were not counted against me. P 01158. I just thought I'd throw that in,
22 try it sneak it in, you know. Binder number 4, Your Honours. P 01158.
23 This is a -- we've seen this before, this is a presidential transcript
24 dated 15 January 1993
25 English, that is, on the right-hand corner on page 40, for instance, we
1 see your name so we know -- it would appear, at least, that you were
2 present at the time; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. Now, I don't want to go into too much into this because we
5 don't have time but can you -- does everybody have it? Okay.
6 If you could tell us by and large what the nature of the
7 conversation was on this particular occasion 15 January 1993.
8 A. I recall that we were just back from Geneva. We concluded that
9 the talks in Geneva
10 New York
11 president of the Republic of Croatia
12 Q. All right. Just very briefly, if we look at see what you're
13 saying on page 40, you say:
14 "Thank you for allowing me to express an opinion. Namely as far
15 as the functioning of the government in the entire territory of Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina
17 administration is worse for the Croats than the situation for the Muslims
18 in Mostar mentioned by Mr. Izetbegovic."
19 "I will give you just a few facts."
20 "In the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I think there are
21 15 posts for senior government posts. Only one Croat has been taken on
22 board since the latest elections, apart from me as the Secretary-General
23 and he would have been dismissed if it hadn't been for my intervention.
24 The situation is similar in the government of the Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 and in the assembly. Several of our people have been dismissed, relieved
1 of their duties for unknown reasons."
2 "I really must say that in the government of Bosnia and
4 the Croats have a very symbolic role."
5 "I would add that it seems to me, and I think it is true, but I
6 do not want to say it's 100 per cent, that the Croats, with the approval
7 by the Croatian Democratic Union have so far appointed only one diplomat,
8 and it's the lady who does the organisation for us in the embassy in
10 without consultation with us and without the knowledge of the Croatian
11 Democratic Union ..." et cetera.
12 I want to pick up on something else. I think that the whole
13 problem of relations lies in this.
14 Then further down you say - I'll skip a couple paragraphs - you
16 "Then I think you must urgently start implementing what has been
17 proposed today to form a new government that would function according to
18 a legal principle, a principle of agreement where all three peoples will
19 participate or take part."
20 Now, let's see what Mr. Izetbegovic says. He says, "I cannot
21 tell you now how much of this is right or how much is not. I think
22 precisely because there are a number of facts --
23 THE INTERPRETER: We don't have the text.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I apologise. This is on page 42. He says:
25 "I think precisely because there are a number of facts, it would
1 be good if you could help us, as I said, to start up a body to help us in
2 this transitional period until all of this, until all of this is
3 established altogether."
4 Q. Now, my question to you, sir, is this: How is it possible that
5 Alija Izetbegovic would not know that he doesn't have Croats in the
6 government when you were able to tell us -- to tell him at the time? Is
7 that possible?
8 A. It was possible. Mr. Izetbegovic paid little attention to what I
9 was saying about the ethnic breakdown in relation to those positions. He
10 was talking about other things and his general modus operandi was to
11 simply to postpone things whenever possible.
12 Q. You missed -- the essence of my question was this: You said that
13 there are 15 posts for even senior government posts, and there's only one
14 Croat. Is it possible that Izetbegovic would not have known that fact?
15 A. Mr. Izetbegovic was aware of the fact, and he was about to
16 dismiss that particular Croat. He didn't on account my intervention.
17 Q. All right. So the next part -- his answer is: "It would be good
18 if you could help us set up a body in this transitional period."
19 Now, you were asking for action to be taken. Concretely, was it
20 necessary to set up a -- to have the internationals, Lord Owen, and
21 Cyrus Vance help to set up a body to make appointments? Was that
23 A. It wasn't. We could have done this ourselves. Regardless,
24 Mr. Izetbegovic was not willing to take that course of action. His
25 statement was just in order to leave President Tudjman was the impression
1 that he was willing rather than to actually do anything specific about
3 Q. All right. Now let's go on to the next document, 1D 01512 [sic],
4 1512. That's in binder 1. Binder 1. Do you have the document, sir? 1D
6 A. I see 21.
7 Q. 21, that's right. You're absolutely right. That's what I meant
8 to say. 1521, I apologise to everybody, I --
9 Now, if we look at the original version, on the second page, we
10 see it's Mostar and it seems to have a date, January 18, 1993. I want
11 you to look at the signatures because one of them, there seems to be your
12 name and there's a signature below it and then there is some handwriting
13 where it says Boban underneath that. Under your name, whose signature is
15 A. Mine. And Mr. Boban signed the letter and the PS.
16 Q. All right. Now, could you please explain to us what this letter
17 is about?
18 A. In this letter, we are warning Mr. Izetbegovic that we should
19 deal with our mutual problems without going to the Security Council. We
20 were always saying that we were partners, friends, and that we wanted
22 Q. All right. But with respect to a decision that had been issued
23 on January 15th by the executive authority in the Croatian Community of
24 Herceg-Bosna dealing with the issue of subordination that's been
25 characterized as an ultimatum, were you aware of that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And could you please explain to us, given that you were in Geneva
3 and given that you were in Zagreb
4 time? Because afterwards, you send this letter as well.
5 A. Back in Geneva
6 As I said yesterday, all the parties accepted the principles along which
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina would be organised. We agreed on the provinces,
8 we reached a military agreement which defined how exactly the military
9 forces would withdraw to their open provinces. We also agreed that the
10 plan should take effect as soon as possible because we had also agreed a
11 cease-fire. Based on this and following a proposal by Mr. Boban, orders
12 were issued.
13 Q. All right, then -- go ahead. I'm sorry. Go ahead, finish.
14 A. These orders addressed two elements: One being resubordination,
15 the other being the establishment of a joint command. The purpose and
16 objective of this was not resubordination itself, this was just an
17 intermediary measure necessary in order to be able to set up a joint
18 command. Do you want me to go on explaining this?
19 Q. That would be fine.
20 Now if we go to the next document 1D 00820. That's in binder 1,
21 Your Honours. This is dated 20 January 1993. And if you look at the
22 original, it's very difficult to read but at the top, it says
23 Intercontinental, that's a hotel in Zagreb, is it not?
24 A. Indeed.
25 Q. If you look at the bottom, there appears to be the name, a
1 signature. Do you recognise the name and the signature?
2 A. Yes, it's the late Mr. Boban's signature.
3 Q. All right. Thank you. I think we have discussed this before
4 so -- well, were you aware that this had been sent off?
5 A. In principle, Boban was sharing information with me to the extent
6 possible. In this specific case, I'm not quite sure because it was
7 precisely on that day, the 20th of January, 1993, because of some
8 problems that had arisen in relation to the letter that we mentioned a
9 while ago, that Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance called me, Boras and
10 Miro Lasic. We travelled to Sarajevo
11 the Muslims the issue of the emerging clashes in Donji Vakuf. Another
12 objective was to allay the tensions and to diffuse the situation that
13 then came about as a result of that letter.
14 Q. Just very quickly if we can look at two documents. 1D 073 --
15 2730, 1D 02730, binder 3. This is a letter -- this is a publication
16 Vecernji List, call for peaceful resolution of the conflict and it seems
17 to be "Contents of a letter sent by Mate Boban and Mile Akmadzic to Alija
18 Izetbegovic calling for disputed matters to be discussed at a joint
19 meeting and not before the UN Security Council."
20 Do you recall sending this letter off, sir?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Does this publication accurately reflect what the contents of the
23 letter were to Mr. Izetbegovic?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. If we look on to the next document, 1D 02729, binder 3,
1 Your Honours. Same publication. This is dated 22 January 1993. This is
2 an interview with Mate Boban and Mile Akmadzic. This is in Zagreb.
3 If we look to page 2, it says, "Truce with Muslims" and here it
5 "The prime minister of BH Mile Akmadzic spoke about the talks
6 held in Sarajevo
7 feelings about equality of nations in BH even before the talks began
8 since they agreed to admit to the negotiations two members of the
9 Presidency, Mr. Boras and Mr. Lasic only after an hour of hard persuasion
10 by the Croatian side and the co- chairmen of the Geneva conference."
11 Did that occur, sir?
12 A. Yes. And I can provide an explanation.
13 Q. Well, I would like an explanation why, if they are two members of
14 the Presidency -- and you have the co-chairmen there and you're trying to
15 resolve a situation, why Izetbegovic or the Muslim side was preventing
16 these two gentlemen from participating in the negotiation process.
17 A. We went to Sarajevo
18 Cyrus Vance. It was very difficult to organise that because we had to
19 travel on huge cargo planes that were used to transport humanitarian
20 relief supplies. We arrived in Sarajevo
21 he wanted to discuss those problems that had cropped up only with me, not
22 with Mr. Boras and Mr. Lasic. I refused and I said we were all members
23 of the Presidency and that we were all equal as such, but Mr. Izetbegovic
24 was still reluctant because he thought that it would be easiest for him
25 to reach an agreement with me because of our -- the nature of our
1 relationship and Izetbegovic agreed for this joint meeting attended by
2 everyone to be held at the insistence of the co-chairmen and in the end,
3 the meeting was held.
4 Q. All right. Now, later on in this interview, you say -- or I'm
5 sorry first Mr. Boban then you:
6 "Asked if the Croats still believed that Alija Izetbegovic was
7 the legitimate president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Boban said that
8 he is the president of the Presidency, the first among several equal
9 members and that in accordance with the constitution, his second mandate
10 had ended."
11 Is that true? Has his mandate ended by then?
12 A. As I have already noted in this courtroom, his term of office
13 expired on the 20th of December, 1992.
14 Q. And why did he refuse to give up the position of the president of
15 the Presidency and simply not just take a seat as one of the members?
16 A. I think that it is necessary to apprise the Trial Chamber of the
17 following: On the 20th of December, 1991, when the first term of office
18 expired for Mr. Izetbegovic, at the session of the Presidency it was
19 possible to extend his term of office under the law and the rules of
20 procedure, Fikret Abdic and two Serb representatives, Mr. Koljevic and
21 Mrs. Plavsic voted against this extension. The Croatian side could have
22 joined them but two of our Presidency members voted in favour of
23 Izetbegovic's term of office being extended. This, despite the fact that
24 in accordance with the rotation system that I have already described on
25 the basis of the ethnic background of the Presidency members, we were
1 supposed to hold the Presidency after Mr. Izetbegovic.
2 So Mr. Izetbegovic's term of office was extended for another year
3 precisely because of the Croat vote. And then one year later, he could
4 no longer remain on that position under the law and in light of our
5 votes, and the explanation that he proffered was that the army would not
6 allow him to step down. I asked him this, and this is what he said to me
7 openly: We Croats had the option of leaving the Presidency or taking it
8 and neither option was favourable for us because we wanted to keep Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina
10 Q. All right. Thank you.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas. As we are now talking
12 about legitimacy of the Presidency. Another witness, sir, has raised an
13 issue by stating that at this time, what we had in Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 was a War Presidency and not a normal Presidency.
15 Now, I see here again in the documents, one doesn't come upon the
16 title War Presidency, it says Presidency all the time. In your view,
17 does that constitute an element of illegality or is it a formality
18 without further weight?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In accordance with the
20 constitution, the only body that existed at the time was the War
21 Presidency. We often left the "war" out in order to make things simpler,
22 this attribute. Another reason was that if the Presidency did not
23 discuss military matters, then the prevailing opinion was that a military
24 representative was not so important but it is true that it was a War
25 Presidency that was set up after the state of war was declared.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Mr. Karnavas. I would
3 like to follow up on the question put by Judge Trechsel.
4 Witness, on several occasions, we heard witnesses indicate that
5 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there was a Presidency which was assuming the
6 function of head of state and this constituted the Presidency and not --
7 it was not only the president of the Presidency but the whole Presidency.
8 So the Presidency was supposed to be at the head of the military and not
9 the president of the Presidency, therefore, if the mandate of the
10 president of the Presidency had expired, I would like to ask a practical
11 question. What was foreseen in your system to prevent usurpers to assume
12 the functions of the Presidency knowing that the president of the
13 Presidency was a primus inter pares, a first among equals and that he had
14 no powers.
15 In a nutshell, I would like to know if the military, for
16 instance, the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina could not act according to
17 the principles of law instead of following some usurper?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whether this issue
19 will be raised again in the course of my testimony, but I would like to
20 say at this point that the president of the Presidency did usurp power.
21 He did consider himself to be the Supreme Commander and not the
22 Presidency which was, in fact, the collective Supreme Commander.
23 The BH army did react in writing, in fact, to a letter sent by
24 Mr. Fikret Abdic. I'm referring to Mr. Delic, who went on to become the
25 chief of the General Staff and in that letter, it is stated that
1 Alija Izetbegovic's decisions will be complied with regardless of
2 everything else. And this letter was disseminated in the ranks of the BH
3 army and Mr. Fikret Abdic protested against that at the Presidency
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well. And I just wanted to let the Trial
7 Chamber know that we do have those minutes of the meeting with Mr. Abdic
8 complaining, so we will get to that.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll have a
10 20-minute break.
11 --- Recess taken at 5.30 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 5.50 p.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Okay, Mr. Akmadzic, we have about an hour and ten minutes to go
16 today. If I could -- we're going to move to another subject, primarily
17 dealing with the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, the signing of it, that is. So
18 if we could look at 1D 02852. Binder 3, Your Honours. 1D 02582 and I'm
19 going to ask that you keep your answers rather short, we're going to move
20 rather quickly.
21 Do you see this document, sir?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And if we look at -- we see that the date is 3 March 1993, a date
24 that we've seen before in another case, another document.
25 If we look at paragraph number 3, it says:
1 "The Security Council demands that the leaders of all the parties
2 to the conflict in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina remain fully
3 engaged in New York
4 steering committee of the international conference on the former
6 Sir, were you in New York
7 be fully engaged as was requested by the Security Council, by the
8 President of the Security Council?
9 A. Yes, fully.
10 Q. All right. Now if you go to the next document, 1D 02853. Binder
11 3, Your Honours. Again this is 3 March 1993. We see similar to a
12 document that we saw yesterday, this is a letter from Mr. Sacirbey who is
13 the ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN at the time. And it
14 says here, "I have the honour to present to you the agreement signed on 3
15 March 1993 and it says Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Mate Boban,
16 and Akmadzic."
17 If we go to the next -- if we turn to page -- we see the annex
18 and this is the agreement.
19 Now, sir, in the agreement it calls for nine members of an
20 interim Presidency but the nine members of the interim Presidency shall
21 designate one member to serve as the president of the Presidency.
22 Well first of all, was this agreement ever acted upon?
23 A. This agreement was signed before the Vance-Owen Peace Plan was
24 signed finally, and this agreement was never implemented.
25 Q. All right. And if we look at paragraph number 9, it says, that:
1 "All parties have submitted the following six names to serve on
2 the interim Presidency, Fikret Abdic, Mile Akmadzic, Franjo Boras,
3 Ejup Ganic, Alija Izetbegovic and Miro Lasic." And I take it the other
4 three would have been Serb representatives; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. If we look at 1D 02903, this is in binder 3, Your Honours, we
7 actually see the agreement and if we look at the last page dated March 3,
8 1993 we see several signatures. Can you confirm to us that this is your
9 signature under your name?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. All right.
12 A. And I can confirm that for other signatures too.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you very much. You read my mind. 1D 01193, that's
14 the very next document. This is in binder 1, Your Honours. If we look
15 at this document, it's dated --
16 JUDGE PRANDLER: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas, I know that time is
17 money but please give us at least half a minute to find the document and
18 to then react to your questions. Thank you.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I wish time was money though, but I take your
20 point. Okay. Do we all have the document? Okay. Good.
21 Q. This -- we see here, this is dated 16 March 1993 and it says here
22 at the very top: "The War Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina at a
23 joint meeting held on 14 March 1993
24 the BH government, a number of deputies in the BH Assembly from seven
25 political parties and it lists them, a large number of religious,
1 cultural and public figures representing the city of Sarajevo after a
2 broad discussion about the progress and achievements of the peace
3 negotiations on BH in Geneva
4 taken by BH government on 11 March 1993
5 My first question is: Were you involved in this deliberation
6 where these conclusions were allegedly adopted?
7 A. I was not involved in the Presidency, but I was involved in the
8 part that pertained to New York
9 Q. We're talking about this document, these conclusions here. Were
10 you part of the preamble to the conclusions stated: The War Presidency
11 and a joint meeting held on 14th of March. Did you participate at that
12 meeting, sir?
13 A. No.
14 Q. All right. Now, just let's look at the second page and see,
15 because I find it rather curious that religious leaders, the War
16 Presidency, members of the government, members of the political parties
17 would state, for instance, at the very -- on 3.9, where it says:
18 "An implementation of the programme which clearly defined the
19 mechanisms, forces and schedule deadlines must be an integral part of the
20 peace plan. This particularly refers to A, cease-fire; two, withdrawal
21 of heavy weapons; and 3, withdraw of Chetnik forces from the part of the
22 occupied territories in compliance ..." and then the following, the very
23 last paragraph, it says:
24 "If the Chetnik delegation does not sign the peace package in its
25 entirety, our delegation will again submit a request to the Security
1 Council for a partial and immediate lifting of the embargo on imposed
2 arms of BiH." And it's signed by Izetbegovic and it's dated 14 March
4 Now, the word Chetnik in this Chetnik delegation?
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Karnavas, I wonder whether you
6 would not like to give a basis for the witness to comment this document
7 because he was not present there, he did not say that he had ever seen
8 it. He only said that he was involved in New York so I think you're a
9 bit in the air.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Judge Trechsel, if I would be given enough leeway
11 to ask a question and then if you think that the question is out of order
12 or is not relevant or is calling for speculation or is beyond the
13 knowledge of the witness to answer, I would gladly withdraw the question.
14 But my question is with respect to Chetniks. It's like calling -- it's a
15 very pejorative term, and I'm sure that the gentleman living in Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina
17 calling Croats Ustasha and I can go on and on and on.
18 Q. My point was this: Would -- if you're trying to get somebody at
19 the negotiating table like the Serbs, do you call them Chetniks? Because
20 we're talking about the Chetnik delegation, and this clearly demonstrates
21 Mr. Izetbegovic's frame of mind. That's my opinion but I'm asking the
22 gentleman, this term back then was this appropriate to use?
23 MR. SCOTT: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I failed -- I swore today I
24 was not going to get on my feet. That one I just can't let go by.
25 We don't need a witness here. Mr. Karnavas can ask the questions
1 and give the answers at the same time. This is my opinion. And he's
2 just -- if anyone is listening to the questions, if the Judges might
3 intervene occasionally when the question is inappropriate, it would be
4 helpful, and I did not want to get on my feet today, I thought I just
5 won't say anything; but this is ridiculous. Look at the question.
6 Mr. Karnavas himself says that's my opinion and then asks the witness if
7 he agrees. This is totally absurd.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Put your question,
9 Mr. Karnavas.
10 MR. KARNAVAS:
11 Q. By referring to the Chetnik delegation, I know you weren't there,
12 but who are they referring to?
13 A. I thank the Trial Chamber for allowing me to speak my mind on
14 this. The word "Chetnik" is used here. It is 100 per cent certain that
15 this word would never have been used had I been at that meeting. This is
16 a term of abuse. It's something about the Chetniks from World War II,
17 given our mutual relation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the words Chetnik
18 and Ustasha are acceptable in street talk but certainly not at meetings
19 of the Presidency and certainly this is not something that can ever be
20 endorsed as signed by the president of the Presidency, the supreme body
21 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So much about the use of the word Chetnik.
22 Should there be any further questions about this subject, I'm
23 perfectly willing to answer them.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me tie in with what
25 Mr. Karnavas was saying and I was thinking the same.
1 When you find this term in a document of this type, what does
2 that say of the person who signed the document?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The person who signed this document
4 is here resorting to a term of abuse to show his or her disagreement with
5 a party. In this case, I, too agree, that there were a number of Serb
6 paramilitary units that referred to themselves as Chetniks.
7 Nevertheless, as I said today, each people have the right to call
8 themselves whatever they like. It is certainly not our place to come up
9 with a name for them or for any other group, especially not a name that
10 they themselves would find less than acceptable.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
12 Q. Now, I'm going to ask one more question. You saw the agreement,
13 we saw the letter from Sacirbey. Now let's look at this conclusion. I
14 know you weren't present but we see that under paragraph 3 it says, "The
15 Vance-Owen Peace Plan for BH basically considered as acceptable provided
16 the necessary amendment are made to it particularly the following ..."
17 and my question was knowing that you weren't there, but you were there at
18 the negotiations, you were there when the agreement was signed, were
19 these conditions part of the agreement when the agreement was signed?
20 A. I must say that what we see here is an extended Presidency
21 meeting. Yesterday, I said that the Presidency had the right to invite
22 anyone to one of its meetings. In this case, the number of political
23 parties were invited, the Presidency wanted to hear them out. The
24 Presidency wanted to hear the position of those assembly delegates who
25 were able to come to the meeting. They wanted to hear the political
2 What follows from this is that the Presidency in its most
3 amplified composition as a head of state, as the assembly, and as the War
4 Presidency, accepted the Vance-Owen Plan under these conditions that we
5 see here. When the Vance-Owen Plan was signed, President Izetbegovic
6 submitted to the co-chairmen the conditions elaborated on here.
7 Q. Mr. Akmadzic, let me just focus you on my question because I have
8 very limited time, very, very limited time. Were these conditions part
9 of the agreement?
10 A. No, these terms were not part of the --
11 MR. SCOTT: Wouldn't the --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Scott, please.
13 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, you know, Your Honour, the document, the
14 Court has the actual peace agreement signed and put in the UN record and
15 I think that's a far better answer what the terms of the agreement are
16 than what this witness may recall today, and the conditions are in the
17 document. If the Chamber reads it you will see the conditions. Thank
19 MR. KARNAVAS:
20 Q. Setting aside the document, sir, were these conditions negotiated
21 upon during the negotiations prior to the signing of the agreement?
22 A. Yes, they were negotiated, but they weren't agreed.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just now one question that comes up. In point
25 3.4, "It is here stated that the provinces should not be ethnic areas."
1 Is that included in what you say was not part of the Vance-Owen Peace
2 Plan. Do you think that's in contrast with the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
3 It's at the bottom of the page in the English text.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Indeed. There is one thing that I
5 would like to point out. The provinces under the Vance-Owen Plan were
6 envisaged in such a way as to meet to the greatest extent possible the
7 criteria that I defined yesterday. One of these was the ethnic criterion
8 but there were others too. Despite this, the provinces would not bear
9 ethnic names. They would be designated depending on their capital.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: So I don't know -- I not have yet a precise
11 answer. This point, saying that the provinces are not ethnic areas, is
12 that compatible with the Vance-Owen Peace Plan in your view or is that
13 something which, as you have generally said of these conditions, is not
14 in accordance with the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is in keeping with the
16 Vance-Owen Peace Plan or rather with the nine principles adopted in
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
19 MR. KARNAVAS:
20 Q. All right. Now, just -- this is a follow-up question to make
21 sure because I don't want to mislead anybody or for the Trial Chamber to
22 believe that you have misled them. Are all these conditions consistent
23 with what was agreed at ...
24 A. Yes, with the following proviso: Mr. Izetbegovic talked about
25 this military body, the Serb side that he describes as the Chetnik side,
1 he submitted this on a separate sheet of paper, and it wasn't part of the
2 Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
3 Q. Now, in Geneva
4 Chetnik delegation? Is that -- did they have a placard there, Chetnik
5 delegation, Karadzic and what have you?
6 A. No, as can be gleaned from all these documents, they were one of
7 the parties to these talks, and they described themselves as the Serb
9 Q. All right. Well I know how they would -- they described
10 themselves but Mr. Akmadzic, and I want you to be very clear on this,
11 were they being referred to by others, did Izetbegovic ever say, for
12 instance: Here come the Chetniks. Glad to see, you
13 Mr. Chetnik Karadzic, were they referred to as Chetnik, not what the
14 Serbs referred to themselves.
15 A. This was a term of abuse that was sometimes used, but this is not
16 a term that you can apply to a delegation, an official delegation so
17 Izetbegovic never employed this term whenever the situation was formal.
18 Q. All right. 1D 02885. Binder 3. Now, this is from Slobodna
19 Dalmacija, this is on unconstitutional decisions, this is an article.
20 Have you seen this article, sir?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And what is this article referring to? Focus on number 3,
23 paragraph number 3.
24 A. Decisions were being passed in the absence of Croatian
25 representatives at meetings of the Presidency or other kinds of meetings.
1 Q. All right.
2 A. This is not a lone examples, these examples in fact are bounded
3 at the time.
4 Q. Mr. Akmadzic, do you know whether this is in connection with the
5 conclusion which we just saw? Because if you look at under paragraph
6 number 3:
7 "As announced by the Croat representatives today, they concluded
8 at their meeting in Zagreb
9 people who is a member of the Presidency or the government of B & H
10 participated in the work of that session nor did any of them concent to
11 the decisions and conclusions adopted in that session.'"
12 Is that correct?
13 A. That's correct but in the sense of ethnic equality and not in the
14 sense of the text that we just looked at.
15 Q. All right. I guess, Mr. Akmadzic, maybe it's late in the day and
16 I don't want to spend too much time. Sir, were any Croats at that
17 meeting to your knowledge that voted on the conclusions subsequent to the
18 signing of the agreement any Croat members of the Presidency?
19 A. No, none of those Croats who were officially members of the
20 Presidency or of the government. Maybe there were other parties that
21 were invited.
22 Q. All right. We go to 1D 02908. Binder 3, Your Honours.
23 MR. SCOTT: Just so the record is clear, Your Honour, in case
24 Mr. Karnavas wants to follow-up on it course there's been no indication
25 of why it was those Croat members were not there. Of course the Chamber
1 may recall previous --
2 MR. KARNAVAS: That's for cross-examination, Your Honour. That's
3 for cross-examination.
4 MR. SCOTT: I'm just doing what Mr. Karnavas frequently does,
5 Your Honour. Thank you.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I'm glad to see that he's picked up a few
8 Q. If we could look at 1D 02908. This is a report to the
9 Secretary-General on the activities of the international conference. If
10 we could just look at -- on page 11, you'll see page 11 on the top
11 right-hand corner in English, and it talks about interim provincial
12 governments, and this may assist also in answering in part the question
13 that was asked earlier of you.
14 Does this reflect, sir, what was being envisaged as far as the
15 interim provincial arrangements? You see under D, interim provincial
17 A. Yes, this is envisaged in the Vance-Owen Plan.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. If we go to the next document, P 02088. This
19 is in binder 4, Your Honours. This is the joint statement. We've seen
20 it before. Do you have it, sir?
21 A. Yes. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. I'll just wait for Judges to locate the document. If you
23 look at page 3, do you recognise those signatures? In the English
24 version, sir? Never mind. If you have the document -- sir?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. All right. Now it says here, April 24, 1993, Alija Izetbegovic
2 and Mate Boban, that there was a meeting and there is a joint statement.
3 It says here under 1, "In accordance with the agreement between Mr. Alija
4 Izetbegovic, Mr. Haris Silajdzic, Mate Boban, Mile Akmadzic, concluded on
5 March 3, 1993
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Okay. Is that with or without the preconditions or I should say
9 the conditions that were -- were subsequently signed by Izetbegovic?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Okay. Now, we see here on the next paragraph, still under number
12 one, that the coordination body will work under the implementation of the
13 Vance-Owen Peace Plan to the extent possible. Was the coordination body
14 ever formed for that purpose?
15 A. The coordination body was formed, but it never got off the
17 Q. All right. If we look at two very quick documents, I don't know
18 whether you will be able to assist us, 1D 0 --
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry if I may come back to your first
20 question, namely as to the signature. For my part, I do not see any
21 signature of our witness, and I wonder whether he has an explanation as
22 he's mentioned at the beginning.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Either is for Silajdzic, Your Honour.
24 Q. If you could look at the document, sir, you see there's only
25 signatures of Boban, Izetbegovic, Tudjman is witnessed and, of course,
1 why is your signature not there since this is in accordance to an
2 agreement that you and the others reached on March 3 but obviously if we
3 look at the preamble it talks about a meeting between Izetbegovic and
4 Mate Boban.
5 A. I attended this meeting but that didn't mean that I signed
6 anything. This was signed by the Croat representative, by the Muslim
7 representative, and by the witness, and that is sufficient.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, there's a small
9 mystery here, looking at this document, but you might be able to lift it.
10 There was a meeting on the 24th of April between Izetbegovic and
11 Mate Boban. By the look of the document, it seems as though it had been
12 organized by Lord Owen and Mr. Tudjman. And we find out that there are
13 many ambassadors that are there, Okun and others. Mate Boban and
14 Izetbegovic signed the document and all of a sudden, we see that Tudjman
15 was there as a witness and he signed too. So I ask myself: Why didn't
16 Lord Owen sign as well? Do you have an explanation for that? Can you
17 shed some light on this? Why didn't he sign as well?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a document about an
19 agreement between the two parties. Lord Owen was a mediator. If he
20 signed this, he may have signed it as a witness; however, at the meeting,
21 it was agreed that both parties should sign.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've just said that he could
23 have signed so Tudjman signed but he didn't, and this is what I fail to
24 understand but never mind.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, if any further explanation is
1 required, neither Lord Owen nor Cyrus Vance ever signed any this kind of
2 document, I mean bilateral agreements not even as witnesses although the
3 meetings were held under their aegis.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Now, if we look at the next couple of documents, we'll conclude
6 this topic. 1D 01443, binder 1. If we look at the original version, we
7 see a signature there. We see the name of Alija Izetbegovic. Can you
8 confirm that that is indeed his signature?
9 A. Yes, this is Mr. Izetbegovic's signature.
10 Q. We don't have a date. We don't have a date. But -- if we look
11 at the very first sentence, it says, "As our two sides have signed the
12 Vance-Owen Plan, I suggest we start implementing it to the extent
13 possible at this moment."
14 And I underscore for the Trial Chamber to note "to the extent
15 possible" language that was used in the agreement.
16 And it says:
17 "In my opinion, that would eliminate the danger of continued
18 conflict between the army of BiH and HVO and the contribute to the
19 restoration of the damaged confidence among the good-willed people in the
20 free territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
21 And in the very last sentence he says, "I am looking forward to
22 your positive response." Before I ask you to comment on this document, I
23 want to refer you to the next document which is 1D 02832, and that would
24 be in binder 3, Your Honours, 1D 02832. This is dated 10 May 1993. Can
25 you tell us whether indeed that is Mr. Boban's signature, sir? Do you
1 recognise it?
2 A. Yes, this is Mr. Boban's signature.
3 Q. Here, it indicates, "My positive reply --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Please read slowly.
5 MR. KARNAVAS:
6 Q. It says:
7 "My positive reply to your memorandum of 10 May 1993 in which you
8 proposed the start of implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan to the extent
9 to which it is possible" that phrase keeps cropping up again, "at the
10 moment in its obligation stemming from the joint session signed on 25
11 April 1993." And it goes on.
12 Mr. Boban then says in the second paragraph:
13 "Unfortunately, the feedback information is negative because your
14 people are not accepting it. I personally believe that you must grant
15 the same powers to all legitimate politicians from your people because
16 they mostly cite lack of authority when denying the offered agreements."
17 Then he says "I also propose that you immediately set a date for
18 a meeting of the coordinating body founded on the basis of the joint
20 You were in situ at the time. Do you know what Mr. Boban is
21 talking about when he was replying to Mr. Izetbegovic?
22 A. Mr. Boban replies here that he is willing to cooperate in every
23 way. Nevertheless, he has misgivings about whether Mr. Izetbegovic
24 issued appropriate orders to local military and civilian authorities. If
25 indeed he had, they were certainly not complying with them. He is again
1 pleading with Mr. Izetbegovic to see to it that the orders were followed.
2 Mr. Boban also wishes that the coordinating body would start operating
3 because at this point it still wasn't. Its role was to work on behalf of
4 the Presidency, and it had to do certain jobs under the terms of the
6 Q. All right. Now, we'll move on to another section. This is
7 beginning more or less with May 1993. We see P 02254, binder 4. P
8 02254. This is a note by the President of the Security Council. Please
9 look at it. We've seen this document before.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. If you look at -- and we're going to see a couple of documents
12 together so I'll just read the appropriate paragraph and then move to the
13 next document. Under paragraph number 3 says:
14 "The Security Council strongly condemns this major military
15 offensive launched by Bosnian Croat paramilitary units which is totally
16 inconsistent with the signature of the peace plan for the Republic of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Bosnian Croat party."
18 Now, let's leave this document and go on to the next document, 1D
19 02093. 2096, I apologise, 2096, it is in binder 1. This is dated 11 May
20 1993. So one day later. And if we look at the very last page, we see
21 your name and further down we see a seal and a signature. Is that your
22 signature, sir?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. All right. And this letter -- did you draft this letter?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And it's addressed to a Mr. Vorontsov, and he was the President
2 of the Security Council; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What was the purpose for drafting this letter?
5 A. The purpose of this letter was to notify the Security Council and
6 the President of the Security Council that great difficulties had cropped
7 up in the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan and that the BH army
8 forces continued to attack the Croatian units and Croats, and I asked for
9 his intervention.
10 Q. All right. Look at paragraph number 3, you also seem to be
11 trying to convey a message. You say, "The statement's description of the
12 Croatian Defence Council (HVO) as 'Bosnian Croat paramilitary units'
13 misconstrues the role of the HVO. HVO is a legitimate army recognised by
14 the government and the Presidency ..." and it's very difficult to read
15 the rest.
16 A. Yes, that is my response to an earlier document, to the document
17 that we saw earlier where an attack by Croatian forces is being
18 condemned, and they are being labelled paramilitaries; and I wanted to
19 notify the President of the Security Council that those were not
20 paramilitary Croat forces at all but a recognised element of the armed
21 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like to ask the following:
23 Mr. Karnavas, you also a few moments ago asked the witness to look at the
24 document 1D 02254 which was just now referred to again by the witness and
25 it is a Security Council document in the binder 4. That is true that in
1 the third paragraph of that document, which was issued by the President
2 of the Security Council, so it is not a decision of the Council but
3 nevertheless it has significance of its own since it was issued on behalf
4 of the Council by its President. And indeed, the third paragraph refers
5 to Bosnian Croat paramilitary units, and it continues to say that these
6 are attacks against the areas of Mostar, Jablanica and Dreznica.
7 Now, my question is since the -- since this letter -- this
8 statement rather of the President was issued on the 10th of May 1993, and
9 since we recall that the fightings in Mostar broke out, if I remember
10 correctly, on the 9th of May then I wonder if the witness could tell us
11 that was it a kind of outcome of the fighting which broke out in Mostar
12 mainly, and of course in other areas as well, and what is his reaction, I
13 mean the witness' reaction to it as far as the President's statement made
14 on behalf of the Security Council? If it was about Mostar mainly or
15 about other matters as well. Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think this is what we call
17 the presidential statement. It is a very important document. As we
18 said, this is not a resolution of the Security Council but only of the
19 President and in this specific case, he is referring to the new
20 developments in the situation in Mostar, the new developments from the
21 day before, and he insists that this should stop and my -- in my
22 response, I noted that these were not paramilitary forces; and I've
23 already explained to you, Your Honours, that we Croats in Bosnia
25 should have an equal status in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a constituent
1 and sovereign people, that our armed forces had been recognised as such,
2 but it was our problem that we didn't have our embassies, and we didn't
3 have public relations. We didn't have our lobbyists and Bosnian side had
4 all of that, the Bosnian Muslim side, that's what I'm talking about.
5 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you. Since the registrar has drawn my
6 attention to the fact that I might have misquoted the document, therefore
7 I again I would like to say that I referred to the document 2254, 2254.
8 That was the one which also had been mentioned by Mr. Karnavas.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: It's P 0, P 0 as opposed to 1D. It's P 0 meaning
10 it's a Prosecution document.
11 JUDGE PRANDLER: Yes, but here on that document I have already on
12 that document 1D 02254.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, since my fellow Judge
15 spoke about this document, I would like to put a follow-up question to
16 you. This document is dated 10th of May. You know that on the 9th May,
17 some instance took place in Mostar. In this document, mention is also
18 made of events that took place during the month of April 1993. The
19 Security Council also made a statement about that. But in this
20 particular document, mention is made of paramilitary units. You were
21 informed about that, and we saw in that other previously shown document,
22 you reminded that the HVO was a recognised army in Bosnia and
24 military actions or actions by paramilitary units but isn't there a
25 problem here?
1 In response to the President of the Security Council, did you
2 think that your letter was enough? And I have in mind document 1D 02096.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were no Croat, and when I say
4 Croat, I mean the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croat forces
5 apart from the Croatian Defence Council. These were the Bosnian Croat
6 paramilitary units. It's a reference to the Croatian Defence Council and
7 my protest, if I may call it that, had to do with the fact that our armed
8 forces, the Croatian Defence Council, were recognised, were legal. They
9 were not paramilitary forces.
10 The second point, in accordance with the reports that I had
11 received from the ground, the Croatian Defence Council had not initiated
12 military operations in Mostar on the 9th of May.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. Just a point of clarification because on line -- on page 80, line
15 20, I believe, it says, "those were the Bosnian Croat paramilitary units"
16 and my colleague tells me that she heard you say "those words." Which of
17 the two did you say? That they were or you were referring to the quote
18 "those words."
19 A. I mentioned that as a quote, and I said it in English.
20 Q. All right. And you did indicate as a follow-up to the questions
21 raised by the Judges, you indicated that there was no lobby or public
22 relations, and it's rather curious that here it is May 10th and the
23 incident happened on May 9th, a day earlier and now you have the
24 President of the Security Council issuing this -- this note calling the
25 HVO Bosnian Croat paramilitary units and more or less fixing blame on one
1 side of the conflict.
2 To your knowledge, do you know whether the Security Council did
3 any investigation within that 24-hour period or less to find out what had
4 occurred and as a result they were drafting this conclusion?
5 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, I move to strike from the
6 record Mr. Karnavas's comments on page 81, line 10 through 16. I will
7 just start doing this because nothing seems to stop Mr. Karnavas from
8 continuing making these characterizations, arguments, and so whenever he
9 does it I'll just stand up and ask for it to be stricken from the record
10 that's just nothing but argument from Mr. Karnavas. The Chamber should
11 stop it but if the Chamber doesn't then I will ask that it be stricken
12 from the record every time it happens.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may, Your Honour, because I'm holding my
14 powder dry. The gentleman indicated in his own words to a question posed
15 by Judge Prandler, I believe that they didn't have a lobby for public
16 relations. That is a fact in evidence now. The technique is called
17 looping. I'm entitled to use those facts as part of my next question.
18 Secondly, we see May 10th, Mr. President, you indicated the
19 incident that occurred on May 9th. These again are facts in evidence,
20 facts that were put to the witness.
21 So when you look at my question, those lines that supposedly he
22 wishes to strike which you cannot strike from this record, it's an
23 impossibility, but be that as it may, these are already predicates that
24 came out from the words of the witness or from the -- Your Honours based
25 on previous testimony. They are facts in evidence. So this is the
1 prelude to my question and I'm asking how is it a day later that they
2 come up with this? What if anything does he know about a report or an
3 investigation? Perfectly legit and I don't see anything wrong with that
4 question. I'm really puzzled.
5 MR. SCOTT: Well it's very clear, Your Honour, Mr. Karnavas can
6 call the technique whatever he wants, he can call it looping or he can
7 call it loopy; but the fact of the matter is he said, Isn't it curious,
8 as an example he goes on to say, Isn't it curious, now we've lost it off
9 the page in real time, but isn't it curious and all this commentary it's
10 rather curious that here it is, May 10th, et cetera, et cetera, there's
11 no reason for this. And you simply put a question.
12 As I said yesterday and as I'll just keep saying I guess until I
13 get tired of saying it, you ask the witness questions open-ended
14 questions, you don't engage in commentary, you don't argue your case, you
15 just ask open-ended questions and it's not necessary for Mr. Karnavas to
16 continuously argue his case and characterise the evidence. It's not
17 proper and the Chamber should stop it.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: If the word curious is offensive, I will rephrase.
19 Q. How is it possible, how is it possible that within less than 24
20 hours the President of the Security Council would be issuing this note
21 with these characterizations and these findings?
22 MR. SCOTT: Does the witness have any foundation for how the
23 witness knows how the President of the Security Council issued this
24 within 24 hours? What is the foundation for this witness being able to
25 answer this that question? Which again is part of the problem. It calls
1 for pure speculation. Mr. Karnavas, it's gone on long enough today,
2 should be stopped.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll go about it another way.
4 Q. Do you know whether UNPROFOR or ECMM observers in situ that were
5 able to, the degree of certainty, scientific certainty determine who was
6 responsible, who initiated the aggression, who was involved and which
8 MR. SCOTT: Where does the word scientific certainty come into
9 it? Where is that a requirement anywhere? The Chamber knows the
10 evidence. The Chamber's heard from the international observers who were
11 there on the ground on the day in question including the Spanish
12 battalion, so it isn't necessary for Mr. Karnavas to again argue his case
13 instead of just simply putting fair questions to the witness.
14 This witness has, there's no knowledge, has indicated no
15 knowledge of any of these matters. He wasn't in Mostar. Whether he
16 knows anything about it whatsoever.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'll move on. I'll move on.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I find it -- I must say, it troubles me that the
20 members of the Bench are not putting a stop to this sort of --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a second. I disagree with
22 what Mr. Scott said but on the other hand, he is right in saying that you
23 used the word "curious" and then you withdrew it afterwards. You started
24 putting the question again, Mr. Scott intervened once again. He asked
25 what the foundations were for this question. Did the witness know what
1 happened on the 9th of May? Well, you could have asked the witness
2 whether he knew when sending his letter to the President of the Security
3 Council what had happened in Mostar on the 9th of May. Maybe that's what
4 was missing.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: You're probably right, Mr. President.
6 Unfortunately, I'm dealing with a time issue. I'll move on. 1D 02728.
7 This is a letter dated -- this is in binder 3. This is a -- dated 13 May
8 1993 and it says "Content of a letter sent by BH prime minister
9 Mile Akmadzic to the UN Security Council denouncing what he considers to
10 be an erroneous portrayal of the Croatian side in the Muslim-Croat
11 conflict in Bosnia
12 Sir, you have the original version or copy it. Does this
13 accurately reflect what you sent and what was eventually published in
14 this particular publication?
15 A. Yes. This is what I said and this is what I thought.
16 Q. All right. We'll move on to the next topic. This is dealing
17 with Medjugorje. And very quickly, we know that there was an agreement
18 that was reached on 18 May 1993
19 could look at 1D 02404, binder 2. First of all, were you present in
20 Medjugorje when this agreement was reached?
21 A. Yes, I was in Medjugorje.
22 Q. All right. Now, if you look at the bottom of the first page of
23 1D 02404, it talks about coordinating bodies or coordinating body. We
24 see your name. It says, "It has been confirmed that the following
25 persons shall make up the coordinating body as agreed in Zagreb." Yet
1 one more agreement. Mate Boban, Mile Akmadzic, Franjo Boras,
2 Alija Izetbegovic, Ejup Ganic, Fikret Abdic, and then we see that there
3 is a central government on paragraph Roman numeral 5 where you are
4 featured there and then further down it says it has been agreed that
5 Mr. Prlic shall be the prime minister.
6 Now, I'm more interested in the coordinating body. Did it ever
7 meet, did it ever act on the agreement, to your knowledge?
8 A. First of all, on the 18th of May, 1993, when, as it's indicated
9 here, an agreement was reached in Medjugorje and this meeting was
10 attended by all the major figures, the co-chairmen, President Tudjman,
11 the Croat and the Bosniak party and issues discussed were the
12 implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan and other issues that were of
13 importance at the time including the conflict that had broken out on the
14 9th of May in Mostar.
15 Q. All right. That's fine. My question was very brief. Did the
16 coordinating body meet as such and did it do anything that it was
17 supposed to do based on the agreement?
18 A. The coordination body never met.
19 Q. All right. We're going to skip a few documents, and I'm going to
20 go to 1D 02037. I'm going to ask Your Honours to keep that agreement in
21 mind, 18th of May, 1993 in mind. This is 1D 02037, binder 1. This is
22 from Lord Owen's book. Very quickly, this is -- if we look at what is
23 page 196, the second to last paragraph, it says -- it's 186, it says, and
24 I'll read slowly:
25 "A crucial factor in my decision was Douglas Hurd's insistence on
1 sends his deputy Douglas Hogg out to spend two and a half hours with me
2 over lunch in Geneva
3 of the foreign office." And then it goes on.
4 Then if we go to the next page, it says here towards the middle
5 of the -- or the first part of the right-hand side, it says:
6 "Douglas Hogg wanted me to admit that the Vance-Owen Peace Plan
7 was dead. I concede that had it could only be carried forward by Europe
8 ready to take a full burden of military implementation without the US but
9 with the eastern Europeans."
10 My first question is, sir, did you know at that time, May 26th,
11 as of that date, that certain European powers such as England
12 were trying to get Mr. Owen to concede that the Vance-Owen Peace Plan was
13 dead? And I'm asking you while you are undergoing all these efforts to
14 implement this plan, were you made aware of it at the time?
15 A. Unfortunately not. It was only later that Lord Owen told me in a
16 conversation in Geneva
17 Vance-Owen Plan, he told me: Mr. Akmadzic, the Vance-Owen Plan is dead.
18 Q. Okay. I want to go to the next document --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MR. KARNAVAS:
21 Q. I want to go to the next document and we will end with this. 1D
22 02914. Binder 4, Your Honours. 1D 02914. If you could look at it,
23 please. This is from a book by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, "Unvanquished, a
24 US-UN Saga." Now, you are familiar with this book, are you not, sir?
25 A. Yes, I know about the book.
1 Q. Let's flip to page 68, the last part of the paragraph. I will
2 begin reading and go on to the next page:
3 "As a presidential candidate, Clinton had called for multilateral
4 military action in Bosnia
6 administration quickly threw up barriers against effective action.
7 Cyrus Vance felt certain that the United States would accept the peace
8 plan that he and Owen had negotiated."
I'll skip a few lines. He then goes on, "The new Clinton
10 seemed to want to have little to do with him" meaning Vance, "and even
11 less to do with David Owen."
12 "Worse, the chances of peace were being thrown away, as Clinton
13 and Christopher, using strong language, attacked the Vance-Owen Plan as
14 appeasement of the Serbs. They were wrong. The plan delineated a
15 ten-province structure that would reflect all groups fairly,
16 reconstituting Bosnia
18 I'll skip a few lines.
19 "All this effort was tossed aside Clinton and Christopher who
20 declared that the United States would come up with its own peace plan.
21 They called for lifting the embargo on arms for Bosnia. They said they
22 wanted air strikes against the Serbs, though they knew that France
23 Britton and Russia
24 'level the playing field ' to the benefit of the Muslims as the United
25 States claimed it would; instead, as Owen said, it would create a
1 'killing field.'"
2 I will skip a few lines towards the end of the page.
3 "Vance and Owen came to my office on February 2, 1993. The
4 previous evening, Vance had met with Christopher to brief him on the
5 Vance-Owen Peace Plan. Though the EC had just announced its full and
6 unequivocal support for the plan, Christopher seemed skeptical and
7 negative. The Serbs had agreed to it, but the Bosnian Muslims were the
8 holdouts largely because the negative attitude of the incoming Clinton
9 team had convinced them that the United States would give them a better
10 deal." I'll skip a few lines.
11 It says then:
12 "I decided to issue a report to the Security Council immediately
13 urging acceptance of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan. On February 8, Vance,
14 Owen and I met with Bosnian Croat leader Mile Akmadzic prime minister of
16 and Herzegovina
17 to it but war. In our view, we cannot finish a war successfully, and
18 victory for any side is not in prospect.' But in Washington, Bosnian
19 Foreign Minister Haris Silajdzic was not encouraged to accept the plan US
20 opposition had dealt the Vance-Owen Plan a severe setback, if not a death
22 Then I won't go on.
23 Mr. Akmadzic, did you have this conversation with
24 Boutros Boutros-Ghali as he recalls and did you state those words that he
25 has -- that he attributes to you?
1 A. Yes, I remember when I was received by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the
2 co-chairmen were present, that was on the 8th February 1993 in the UN
3 palace. On that occasion, I was introduced to -- or rather I told
4 Boutros Boutros-Ghali together to the co-chairmen about the developments
5 in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I said for the most part the
6 words that you can read here, and I would stand by most of what I said on
7 that occasion even today.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Let me conclude by asking this. It
9 says here, this is on page 71:
10 "Asked to explain what the United States intended, former
11 Secretary of State Lawrence
12 States wanted to reduce the 43 per cent of the territory that the
13 Vance-Owen Plan gave the Serbs. It would take two and a half more years
14 of bloody war and war crimes before the United States at Dayton
15 give the Serbs 49 per cent. David Owen later declared that if 'if George
16 Bush had won the American elections then the war in Bosnia would have
17 been over long ago.'" Is that a correct assessment given what was being
18 negotiated at the Vance-Owen Peace Plan or was being envisaged and what
19 ultimately ended up ...
20 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, I object to this. How can
21 this witness possibly answer that question whether this was an assessment
22 by Boutros Boutros-Ghali or President Clinton or Joseph Biden. I mean
23 this is absurd, and the question is objectionable, it should be
MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, it is very clear that at Dayton
1 were maps and there was sophisticated mechanisms in order to make sure
2 with precision how much of the territory would be given to each side.
3 MR. SCOTT: Then Mr. Karnavas can present the maps then that's a
4 better record than what this witness knows nothing about.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: The gentleman was at the -- negotiated at the
6 Vance-Owen Peace Plan. He was also as we heard involved throughout this
7 process. Clearly he would be able to tell us whether the Vance-Owen
8 Peace Plan provided more or less land to, say, the Muslims and the Croats
9 versus what they ultimately got at Dayton
10 half more years of fighting and the thousands of deaths, I think anyone
11 who visits Bosnia
12 So sir could you answer the question?
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It might be a question calling
14 for speculation but can you answer it?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honours. I would
16 like to make the following statement here: There was the Cutileiro Plan
17 that was accepted by Croats and Serbs, but was rejected by the Muslims.
18 There was the Vance-Owen Plan that was accepted by Muslims and Croats and
19 then rejected by Serbs then accepted by Serbs and rejected by Serbs.
20 There was the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan that was accepted by Serbs
21 and Croats and rejected by Muslims. There was the Washington Plan that
22 was signed by Croat and Muslims and it follows from what I've just said
23 that Croats accepted all the plans because what they cared about was
24 peace. There was the Dayton Agreement that the Croats signed albeit
25 under pressure and since you are asking me for my assessment, my
1 assessment is that it will result in a lot of problems in Bosnia and
3 the status of an equal -- of the equal people because many Croats were
4 killed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2 per cent of all the Croats were
5 wounded in the war and that's a very high percentage.
6 But at any rate, this assessment here stands.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, there might be a technical
8 problem but that will be settled tomorrow. My apologies to the
9 interpreters. We are nearly 7 minutes past the usual time. We'll try to
10 make it better next time. We shall reconvene tomorrow at 2.15. Unless
11 I'm mistaken you must have some 45 minutes left, Mr. Karnavas. So count
12 on three-quarters of an hour tomorrow, and then we'll have the other
14 Thank you, see you tomorrow.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.07 p.m.
16 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 18th day of
17 June, 2008 at 2.15 p.m.