1 Monday, 14 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Jadranko Prlic et al.
10 Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
12 Today is Monday, the 14th of July, 2008. Good afternoon to the
13 accused, to the Defence counsel, to Mr. Stringer and his assistants, and
14 good afternoon to everyone assisting us, among others the interpreters.
15 There are a number of issues that the Trial Chamber would like to
16 deal with, administrative matters.
17 First of all, by a motion of the 9th of July, 2008, Mr. Karnavas,
18 the Prosecution requested the Prlic Defence to provide additional
19 information to the 65 ter summary of Witness Borislav Puljic, who is
20 expected to testify shortly. Before issuing its decision on this, the
21 Trial Chamber would like to hear the submissions of the Prlic Defence.
22 Mr. Karnavas, can you please tell us whether you intend or not to
23 provide an additional summary?
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
25 Your Honours. Good afternoon to everyone in and around the courtroom.
1 At some point, we will try to provide them with some additional
2 information. I really don't understand what it is that they want, other
3 than what they already have, which is basically what he is going to
4 testify to, but we will try to provide some additional information.
5 That said, this particular individual, who was scheduled to be
6 the very last witness prior to our break, it would appear that it's a
7 virtual impossibility, if we really want to do justice with -- well, I
8 use that word loosely -- with the other witnesses because of the timing
9 purposes. It would appear that the current witness, Mr. Buntic, is
10 probably not going to finish until tomorrow at the earliest, perhaps,
11 after the first session on Wednesday. We then have the following
12 witness, Mr. Perkovic, who happens to be in town and ready to go, ready
13 to go. But even with us going on Friday, it would appear to me that --
14 and if he were to go on Friday, it would take Friday and probably all day
15 Monday to finish him.
16 Now, already we have scheduled Mr. Zuzul for Friday and Monday.
17 If you may recall, that was our first witness, and we were unable to
18 complete him.
19 It would be our proposal that at this point in time, to contact
20 Mr. Zuzul to see whether he can be available for Tuesday of next week, to
21 start Tuesday, and then have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for him, or
22 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday as the buffer, as opposed to starting with
23 Mr. Perkovic, putting him on ice while we deal with Mr. Zuzul. That way,
24 we don't want to inconvenience these people more than we are already
25 doing so. They're cooperating.
1 Now, the one technical problem is with Mr. Zuzul, of course, we
2 have no means of -- well, we're forbidden to communicate with him, and so
3 the question is: Can someone from the witness section communicate with
4 him or, with the Court's leave, I could -- or Ms. Tomanovic, contact
5 Mr. Zuzul strictly for the purpose of finding out whether it would be
6 possible for him to come on Tuesday as opposed to this Friday. And so --
7 and if he can't, of course, then we will -- Mr. Perkovic will simply have
8 to work around it. Mr. Perkovic does work for the Ministry of Foreign
9 Affairs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He is going to stay longer than he has
10 anticipated. Today he did contact his ministry to let them that it looks
11 like he's going to be longer here in The Hague than was expected, and the
12 Minister of Foreign Affairs was gracious enough to agree that he should
13 remain here as long as necessary, within reason, of course. Needless to
14 say, his family would like him back as soon as possible.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Mr. Karnavas, the best
16 solution would be for the Victims and Witnesses Section to call Mr. Zuzul
17 in the afternoon to ask him whether he could come to The Hague next
18 Tuesday; that will be done this afternoon at the earliest. Afterwards,
19 we'll complete -- or we'll add Mr. Perkovic after Mr. Zuzul. In other
20 words, Mr. Puljic will only come and testify at the end of August. We
21 won't be able to hear him before that, because for Mr. Zoran Perkovic,
22 you had provided for six hours of testimony, and six hours, you know that
23 it's about two days of hearing, at the minimum.
24 This afternoon, the Victims and Witnesses Section is going to get
25 in touch with Mr. Zuzul. If he tells us that he'll be here on Tuesday,
1 then our problem is solved, because we had told him to come on Friday,
2 but at the time we were not aware that we would be meeting with this
4 I'm sure that this provides an answer to the questions of
5 Mr. Stringer, who wanted to deal with the scheduling of the following
6 witnesses. Am I right, Mr. Stringer?
7 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Mr. President, I think it does assist us in
8 our own preparations.
9 As we understand it, and I think the name of the witness that's
10 appearing in the transcript is not correct. There are references to
11 Pusic, and I think it's a different -- Puljic. So it's our understanding
12 that Mr. Puljic will not appear until after -- sometime after the summer
13 recess. And that being the case, I think we can set aside for the time
14 being the sufficiency or insufficiency of the witness summary that's been
15 provided. The Prosecution position on that is contained in our
16 submission, and we can perhaps set that aside for now.
17 We can then assume that Mr. Puljic will not appear, and hopefully
18 Mr. Zuzul then will be available to be begin a cross-examination on
19 Tuesday of next week, which we could then take the remainder of next week
20 or -- I guess conditions would allow a full cross-examination without the
21 pressure of having another witness come after him, and so that is
22 acceptable as well to the Prosecution. And it also allows, I think, for
23 the potential that Mr. Buntic may continue a little bit longer than has
24 been previewed so far, simply because it seems that every day with him,
25 things tend to get a little longer, drawn out. It's my understanding
1 that the Prosecution has about seven hours or so for its
2 cross-examination, so I think that the proposal by Mr. Karnavas is one
3 that's acceptable, assuming in fact that Mr. Zuzul hopefully can then
4 become -- can come to begin his cross-examination on Tuesday of next
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, let me deal
7 again with the summary of Mr. Borislav Puljic.
8 There are three points that may seem a bit vague on the basis of
9 the summary you provided. Apparently he mentioned a crisis staff in
10 Mostar and ADA
11 this commission is. And the third point has to do with state-owned
12 companies in the field of reconstruction. So these three items could be
13 clarified, because they're slightly confusing.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: We will do that, we will do that. And as you --
15 when we do provide the additional information, Mr. President, you will
16 see that much of that is already in the evidence already. But we will
17 provide that so that there's no misunderstanding on any of those three
19 Thank you. And I should note that he's not going to be our very
20 first witness coming back from the break, and we do intend to provide --
21 we do intend to provide an updated list. So before the end of next week,
22 everybody will know our batting order, as it were.
23 MR. STRINGER: Just very briefly, Mr. President.
24 I know that the Trial Chamber is aware of our position. I think
25 it may be worth stating. Counsels' summaries are useful in that they
1 provide a list of topics, I think, which -- that the witness can be
2 expected to testify about. It's our position, based on the Rule and the
3 precedent, the decisions of other Trial Chambers, that in fact more is
4 required of a witness summary under the Rule, Rule 65, in that not only
5 are we entitled to a summary or a list of topics, but we're also entitled
6 to know what it is the witness is going to say. And of course that's
7 particularly true, in our view, when there's no witness statement. And
8 so that is our position. It's the position we've set out in our papers.
9 But, again, we understand that Mr. Puljic will not be testifying now for
10 some time.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last administrative
12 matter, to respond to the submissions made last week by Mr. Stewart.
13 In order to respond to the submissions made by Ms. Alaburic and
14 by Mr. Stewart, we'll read again paragraph 15 of the decision it issued
15 on the 29th of May, 2008, clarifying the decision adopting guidelines for
16 the presentation of Defence evidence.
17 This is what we stated in that decision, and that should respond
18 to the concerns expressed by Mr. Stewart. I'm going to read out this
19 very slowly.
20 The Chamber agrees that it is not always easy to distinguish
21 between a subject already discussed with a witness during the
22 examination-in-chief and a subject that could be qualified as new that
23 was discussed for the first time during cross-examination of the witness.
24 It might, indeed, be difficult to distinguish between the different
25 subjects that are discussed.
1 In order to make recording the time as clear as possible and
2 facilitate the work of the Court Deputy, the Trial Chamber invites the
3 cross-examining party to indicate, before the beginning of
4 cross-examination, the subjects it would like to discuss with the
5 witness, explaining the extent to which they were already discussed with
6 the witness during the examination-in-chief. The Chamber will decide
7 whether this is a new subject and deduct this time from the total time
8 allocated for the presentation of the case of the cross-examining party.
9 The Chamber will ask the Court Deputy to record this time
10 according to guideline 7, paragraph 21(c) of the decision of 24 April
11 2008. In other words, when counsel begins his or her cross-examination,
12 as will be the case later on with Ms. Alaburic, it's up to counsel to
13 tell us what matters -- what subjects will be dealt with during
14 cross-examination than that have already been dealt with during the
15 examination-in-chief led by Mr. Karnavas. Counsel, Ms. Alaburic, will
16 have to tell us which subjects she will deal with that have not been
17 raised during the examination-in-chief, and for these matters time will
18 be deducted from the time she was allocated for the presentation of her
19 Defence case.
20 In case of challenges or in case of what I would call borderline
21 subjects, it will be up to the Trial Chamber to tell the Court Deputy,
22 and of course that will be notified to the Defence, it will be up to the
23 Chamber to tell the Court Deputy how time should be allocated. In other
24 words, it's up to counsel to tell us at the beginning, well, the witness
25 dealt with items A, B, C and D, and "as part of my cross-examination, I
1 will be discussing items B, C or D, but I will also deal with a new
2 matter, and these are E, F, G, H," and so on and so forth, and we'll
3 understand immediately that these new items, E, F, and so on and so
4 forth, will be deducted from the item of the cross-examining counsel.
5 This is our response to Mr. Stewart, to give him additional
6 information and to reassure him as for allocation of time, but in the end
7 it's always up to the Trial Chamber to decide how time is allocated.
8 This, I recall, is something we outlined in our decision of 29th of May,
9 2008, and if all Defence counsel comply with this decision, we should not
10 have any problems.
11 Let me now deal with the time we have left. I believe that
12 Ms. Nozica has about 50 minutes left, 5-O, and then 4D will have one hour
13 and 30 minutes.
14 Ms. Nozica, good afternoon, again. You have the floor.
15 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I know I have another
16 50 minutes but according to yours --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm so fast that I completely
18 forgot our witness. And she made the same mistake so let's have the
19 witness brought in.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I think before the witness comes I
21 can say this. I know I have 50 minutes. I will enumerate the subjects I
22 want to cover with this witness, and I will ask the Trial Chamber if I
23 apply for another 50 minutes, to allow me to have them, to be deduced
24 from my total time. And all the subjects I'm going to be covering have
25 been raised in direct examination. One is, to begin with, the
1 Central Military Prison. Then I will move on to the subject of
2 appointment of prosecutors and judges in Military Courts and
3 Military Prosecutors Offices. After that, I will move on to the subject
4 of reporting in the military judiciary bodies, to be followed by the
5 subject of financing of military judiciary bodies, and then the subject
6 of military prisons; namely, who appointed wardens and who controlled
7 military prisons. And to end with, I would like to go very briefly with
8 the witness through certain provisions of the law on the military
9 criminal procedure, which should shed light on certain points that he was
10 examined on by Mrs. Tomasegovic-Tomic, and some subjects from my
11 cross-examination, so we shall see what the legislation at that time
13 I will be very economical in my use of time and will try to go
14 very quickly through anything that might appear as repetition. But still
15 I am in the hands of the witness, and I therefore hope that you will
16 grant me some tolerance if the examination is a bit lengthier, because
17 before us we have a witness who can give us information from the horse's
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness. I
21 hope you had a pleasant weekend, that it didn't -- it was not too long.
22 And I'm now going to give the floor to Ms. Nozica, who will proceed with
23 her cross-examination.
24 WITNESS: ZORAN BUNTIC [Resumed]
25 [The witness answered through interpreter]
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica: [Continued]
3 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic. I have already greeted everyone else
4 in the courtroom. Just to remind you briefly, we have LiveNote and it's
5 simple for us, but I need to remind you where we left off.
6 On Thursday, we were going through documents, and we have shown
7 how the Central Military Prison was established. We have shown that this
8 was done in order to transfer military prisoners and prisoners of war. I
9 will now ask you to look at a document in my binder, 1D 1976. Just tell
10 me when you have found it.
11 A. If it's a report, then I have found it.
12 Q. It is a report from the Department of Justice for the period
13 July to November, 1993. I will refer you to the last paragraph in
14 Croatian, and that's the penultimate paragraph in English, which says:
15 "In respect to the enforcement of criminal and misdemeanor
16 penalties, there was only the District Prison in Mostar in the territory
17 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna when the war began."
18 Mr. Buntic, you have already confirmed that this is correct?
19 A. Yes, correct.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just for the clarity of the record and
21 reliability, you have called document 1D 1976, and it's so recorded, but
22 it seems to me that we're dealing with document 1D 1797.
23 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, both the witness and I
24 have before us 1D -- 1D -- sorry, 1D 01976. It's a report from the
25 military -- from the Department of Justice for July to November. If
1 Your Honour does not have it, I can give you the English version. Thank
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'll take the opportunity to compliment you on
4 the way you have organised the documents here. I was still looking in
5 the back, and there -- that's why I didn't find it. I apologise to you
6 and at the same time thank you for having so nicely organised the
8 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Your praise
9 is always welcome.
10 Let us move on to the next sentence. It reads:
11 "However, during the reporting period, the location of the prison
12 building became the frontline and the prison could no longer serve its
13 purpose, which is why the inmates were relocated to the Heliodrom in
15 Mr. Buntic, if you would first confirm what is said in the
17 A. Yes, that's correct. The decision to establish the Central
18 Military Prison Heliodrom was made in the beginning of September, 1992,
19 and the civilian inmates of the Civilian District Prison in Mostar were
20 relocated to Heliodrom sometime between the 20th and the 30th September,
21 1992. I'm sorry, I meant military prisoners and prisoners of war. They
22 were transferred to Heliodrom between the 20th and 30th of September,
23 after the Central Military Prison for the Croatian Community of
24 Herceg-Bosna was set up.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, one quick question
1 about civilian prisoners. You are a lawyer, and you will have no problem
2 answering my question.
3 As for civilian prisoners, did they have to be detained after a
4 document had been issued, either a decision by a court, by an
5 investigating magistrate, or because they had to serve a sentence? In
6 other words, when we are talking about civilian prisoners, does it mean
7 that there was a paper -- a document stating that they were to be
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have already answered this
10 question, in part.
11 As we have read, the time when I assumed my position, the
12 District Prison in Mostar was the only prison facility where all
13 prisoners had to be held, where sentences meted out by final sentences
14 were served by all inmates in this prison. That's in Ricina Street, just
15 behind the building of the Higher Court in Mostar, so it was a civilian
17 I also said that as a result of the circumstances that arose as a
18 result of the aggression and the occupation of Mostar by the
19 Yugoslav People's Army, this prison also held prisoners of all
20 categories, all that the former JNA had taken prisoner and later the HVO
21 and the BH Army, that is, the independent 4th Corps. All these people
22 were held in this prison. And I have already mentioned that through my
23 contacts with the president of the Higher Court in Mostar, who
24 familiarised me with the situation, I responded immediately by writing a
25 letter to the Department of Defence, with a request --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a second, Witness. You
2 haven't answered my question. As you can imagine, my question was very
4 We would like to know the following: When the prisoner is a
5 civilian, does he or she have to be detained pursuant to a judicial
6 decision? It is a simple question.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If it was a civilian, then he could
8 be held in that prison only based on a final judgement made by the
9 competent court. All the other prisoners held there were held there with
10 no legal grounds, and that is why the request was made to adapt or find
11 other premises where that category of prisoners could be transferred.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In case a civilian is in
13 custody without any judicial decision, what is the situation?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is a situation where the
15 civilian should have properly been released, and I did ask for all such
16 persons to be released.
17 At that time, the warden was -- just a moment. It will come back
18 in a moment, hopefully. But the first time, and I'm talking about the
19 period after September, the first time that the warden failed to act upon
20 a final legal decision, the president of the Higher Court informed me the
21 Department of Justice and General Administration started legal
22 proceedings and relieved the warden, Pero Nikolic, I remember now, of his
23 duties as warden, and immediately notified the civilian police thereof.
24 I'm talking about the regimen and the procedure that prevailed at that
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Mr. Buntic, right now, in response to the question by
4 Judge Antonetti, you answered that within the jurisdiction of the
5 civilian courts, civilian prisoners were those who were convicted. I'm
6 going to ask you were there also those who were remanded in custody,
7 against whom proceedings were underway and the judge decided they would
8 be remanded in custody, pending judgement?
9 A. There are two different things. One category are convicts who
10 have been sentenced by a judgement that was rendered and made final, and
11 the others were remanded in custody, awaiting judgement.
12 Q. So there were both convicts and those who were remanded in
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Let's go one step further. Both these groups were transferred to
16 Heliodrom. You confirmed that already. Just tell me when.
17 A. If we are talking about this category, they were transferred to
18 Heliodrom only in May 1993, after a conflict broke out between Bosniaks
19 and Croats in Mostar. That could have been between the 10th and 15th
21 Q. All right. Mr. Buntic, who had control or jurisdiction over
22 those persons who had been transferred from the civilian prison, from the
23 District Prison in Ricina to Heliodrom? Who was supposed to supervise
24 the detention of these people?
25 A. If we are talking about the period after May 1993, if we are
1 talking about the Central Military Prison in Heliodrom, a special
2 civilian section was set up, and that civilian section was still
3 supervised by the warden of the civilian prison. I think it was
4 Pero Nikolic.
5 Q. If I understand you correctly, Pero Nikolic was a warden of a
6 special section in Heliodrom, where civilians were held.
7 A. I think so.
8 Q. Let us look at the next paragraph, which is very interesting.
9 Just give us your very brief comments.
10 Let's note first that from May 1993 onwards, Heliodrom holds
11 prisoners of war, members of the HVO or, more precisely, persons under
12 the jurisdiction of military judicial bodies, and civilians, that is,
13 persons under the jurisdiction of civilian judiciary bodies; am I right?
14 A. You are right, but I would like to add that jurisdiction over
15 civilians who were convicted by final decisions of civilian courts were
16 there, and there were also people who were in custody.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a second. You are
18 talking too fast. Could you speak a little slower, please.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Previous translation continues]... to say, and
20 you are also overlapping. You should make a little pause. As you are
21 talking the same language, of course you naturally answer immediately,
22 but it causes difficulty for the interpreters.
23 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will bear that in
25 Q. In the next paragraph, we read:
1 "Due to war operations and for reasons linked to other purposes
2 of these buildings, they were anything but buildings for holding convicts
3 and prisoners. Only through acts of self-initiative and decisions of
4 unauthorised bodies, they were converted into penitential centres without
5 any supervision by higher authorities."
6 THE INTERPRETER: They were turned into detention centres.
8 MR. NOZICA:
9 Q. Can you clarify what you meant by this paragraph? But please,
10 Mr. Buntic, be very concise and brief, because I have very little time.
11 A. I think the sentence is self-explanatory, because from what my
12 prior evidence showed, it is well known that on these locations, in these
13 centres or prisons, there happened to be a large number of people who
14 were not held there on the basis of any judgement of a competent court or
15 even a decision on remand in custody by investigating judges. I did not
16 see any justification for that, except in the case of prisoners of war
17 who could be held there without any final judgement for a while.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I take advantage of the break, with your
20 You have indicated, unless I misunderstood, that you were of the
21 opinion that these prisoners, without title, should be released, but
22 apparently they were not released. Now, who was deciding against you?
23 You were the Minister of Justice and you said you had the ultimate
24 authority. How come that you did not simply make an order, ministerial
25 order, prisoners without title are to be released immediately, full stop,
1 signed "Buntic"?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge Trechsel, you're quite right.
3 When it comes to the civilian department of the Heliodrom Prison, I had
4 jurisdiction over that section. I visited the civilian section of the
5 Heliodrom Prison, and having observed certain irregularities, I did as
6 much as I described to you. We launched disciplinary proceedings against
7 the warden, who was subsequently removed.
8 As for the military section of the prison, I had no jurisdiction
9 over it whatsoever and was unable to take any measures in that respect.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Buntic, it's okay to take disciplinary
11 proceedings against the warden. My question was a slightly different
13 If someone is held without title, that's unlawful deprivation of
14 liberty and unlawful imprisonment, and the person ought to be immediately
15 released. You have not said that they were released, and you have not
16 said why not. You only said that -- or I seem to have understood you
17 that you thought they should be released.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Following my visit to the civilian
19 department of Heliodrom, all the persons held there without final
20 decisions to that effect were released. There weren't many of them in
21 that department. I believe there were only two or three. I'm referring
22 to what happened during my visit and to what I was able to observe there.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
25 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Buntic, this is also for the benefit of the Judges. There is
2 P3350, a document in the binder, which under item 12 confirms precisely
3 what you've just said; namely, that civilians were transferred to
4 Heliodrom. We will not, therefore, deal with this point any longer.
5 Let us move on to a new topic, i.e., the appointment of
6 individuals to various judicial posts, in particular in the military
7 judiciary body and the Supreme Court and Prosecutor's Office of the
8 HZ-HB. I hope we shall be able to go through this quickly.
9 You said that the Defence Department was responsible, in terms of
10 organisation, personnel and finances, for military courts and military
11 prosecutors' offices. On the issue of appointments, Mr. Buntic, are you
12 able to tell us who, in addition to the head of the Defence Department,
13 nominated military prosecutors and judges in the relevant time period,
14 those who were able to adjudicate cases before military courts?
15 A. In addition to the Defence Department, nominations for military
16 judges and military prosecutors' office lay within the jurisdiction of
17 the Department of Justice and General Administration as well. One has to
18 distinguish between two time periods. The period following the 3 of
19 July, 1992, decree whereby the Department of Justice and
20 General Administration was to be responsible for that, but this one, as
21 we said, was not applied. According to the 17th of October, 1992,
22 decree, however, the Defence Department was supposed to do that.
23 I said that regardless of the fact that the Defence Department
24 was given this jurisdiction, it was the Department for Justice and
25 General Administration which mostly nominated these individuals, because
1 this particular department had a great deal of information on the persons
2 eligible for military judges and military prosecutors' offices,
3 particularly so because judges were quite in short supply at the time.
4 For these reasons, it was the Department for Justice and
5 General Administration that put forth most of the nominations for these
6 posts, many more than the Defence Department.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Buntic. I felt compelled to clarify this because
8 you were shown document 1D 1898. We can see it in e-court. I haven't
9 prepared it in the binder. This is the nomination of the head of the
10 Defence Department, Mr. Stojic, dated the 16th of January. This is a
11 proposal for the HZ-HB Presidency, for the election of judges and
12 judge-jurors in the District Court in -- since we haven't dealt with
13 this, I -- that's why I'm asking you this question.
14 A. Can I just correct you? I think you said the candidates -- well,
15 what it says here, it's judges and judge-jurors of the District
16 Military Court
18 Q. Thank you very much. You're right. That's quite clear now.
19 Let's go quickly through the document -- through the documents.
20 The first one is 1D 1179. As far as I know, you have seen all these
21 documents, and we can only confirm that this is the period before the
22 decree was adopted. The date is the 20th of September, 1992.
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Pages 4 of both versions are the ones where we have the nominees.
25 You've already said, however, that these were the nominees prior to the
1 issuance of the decree; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. The next document is P00559, P00559. You were also shown this
4 document on direct examination, and this document predates the issuance
5 of the decree as well, does it not?
6 A. I don't see the date.
7 Q. The 7th of October, 1992.
8 A. That's correct. These were nominations accepted by the
9 Presidency of the session of the 17th October. I believe that these were
10 discussed at the same session of the 17th of October, when the decree was
12 Q. Mr. Buntic, does the same apply to the following document,
13 1D 2001, that these were also proposals subsequently accepted at the
14 meeting of the HZ-HB Presidency? The document I'm referring to you is
15 the next one in your binder.
16 A. All the proposals put forth prior to the 17th of October, 1992
17 were considered at the meeting of the Presidency held on the 17th of
18 October and adopted as such. I have this one proposal for the election
19 of the judges that was sent to the SDA in Mostar. I don't know if this
20 is the one you're referring to.
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. It is quite clear, on the basis of this document, that these
23 were -- that some of the judges for district courts were nominated by the
24 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the very documents, as well as the
25 subsequent decisions published in the Official Gazette of the Socialist
1 Republic of Herzegovina
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina recognised the district military courts of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna that they even went on to nominate
4 certain judges of solely Muslim ethnicity into these courts. In other
5 words, the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina accepted that other judges of
6 Croat ethnicity would be nominated by the relevant bodies of the HZ-HB.
7 Judging from the names of the judges, it is quite obvious that they are
9 As for this document, I sent this document to the Party of
10 Democratic Action in Mostar in order to nominate judges -- or, rather,
11 the judges for misdemeanors in Mostar, the president of the Lower Court
12 in Mostar and the president of the District Military Court in Mostar.
13 My apologies, however. I believe it is necessary to add that all
14 these discussions and contacts were the result of the Tudjman-Izetbegovic
15 agreement signed in Medjugorje on the 21st of July, 1992, and my
16 conversations with Mr. Jusuf Halilagic, who was Deputy Minister of
17 Justice of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time.
18 Q. Mr. Buntic, this explanation you provided to us is very precious
19 for us. However, I believe that you've already said this during the
20 examination-in-chief. I do not want to cover ground that has already
21 been covered. What I want is for you to confirm that this document is
22 part of the preparatory activities for the sessions of the Presidency
23 where a large number of prosecutors and judges were elected. Is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Let us look at that particular meeting of the Presidency briefly.
2 That's page 12 of your text and page 13 of the English version. There,
3 you propose these decrees at this fifth meeting, decrees which have to do
4 with the military judiciary; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. At page 1, 2D 1262 -- thank you for that caution, document
7 2D 1262. Let me just state for the benefit of the Judges and the
8 Prosecution, there was an error in the translation of this document, and
9 you should have received the appropriate translation of this document
10 separately. I hope you have it, but it is not in the binder. It was
11 sent out separately.
12 Mr. Buntic, on page 1 we can see that you attended the meeting,
13 which was only logical, and I omitted to say that. On behalf of the
14 Department for Defence, Mr. Bozo Rajic was present; in other words, Mr.
15 Stojic was not there. Can we confirm that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Please look at page 17 of the Croatian version and page 19 of the
18 English version.
19 I'm told that it should state, in the transcript, that the
20 document bears the following number: 2D 1262. That is fine.
21 Under 19, the document lists the nominations for appointments.
22 Pages 17 of the Croatian and 19 of the English versions contain the names
23 of judges and prosecutors whom you appointed at this fifth meeting of the
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Mr. Buntic, can you tell Their Honours briefly in what way these
2 proposals reached you, although this becomes quite evident while -- when
3 one reads the discussions of the various attendees of this meeting? Tell
4 us, what was the standard procedure? How did these proposals reach you?
5 A. We gathered proposals from municipalities and through the Party
6 of Democratic Action and the Croatian Democratic Union. First we sought
7 proposals from these two political parties which had won 90 per cent or
8 more than 90 per cent of votes of the electorate. We were pressed for
9 time. We had to gather information and approvals in order to be able to
10 see these nominations through.
11 As one can see from this document, we asked for the SDA to send
12 in their proposals for judges and prosecutors of Bosniak ethnicity.
13 Proposals were also sought from the municipal HDZ bodies for the judges
14 of Croat ethnicity.
15 Thereafter, discussions were held with Mr. Stojic or his deputy,
16 Mr. Bozo Rajic, in order for us to be able to formulate proposals that
17 would then be forwarded to the Presidency meetings. This was the
18 customary procedure in place.
19 Q. Do you agree with me that since the Presidency did not meet
20 regularly, following this particular Presidency meeting it was mostly the
21 HVO that formulated these proposals?
22 A. Correct. After the 17th of October, 1992, the Presidency did not
23 meet anymore, and the decisions on appointments of judges and prosecutors
24 were made by the HVO of the HZ-HB.
25 Q. Mr. Buntic, I will skip several documents now.
1 P00590, which is precisely the decree on district military
2 prosecutors' offices in the territory of the HZ-HB, passed on the 17th of
3 October, where under item 7 it reads that district military prosecutors
4 and their deputies shall be appointed by the Presidency of the HZ-HB on
5 proposals from the head of the Defence Department?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. The next document is P00592. It's a decree on district military
8 courts in the territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. I'll
9 just recall for the transcript that this is an exhibit, but P00587 is an
10 exhibit under the same number.
11 In para 20, it also says the judges and judge-jurors of the
12 district military courts shall be appointed and relieved by the
13 Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and the proposal of
14 the chief of the Defence Department?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. The next document is P00589, a decree establishing the section of
17 the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the territory of the
18 HZ-HB. In Article 8, it says that it is the Presidency that makes
19 appointments based on proposals by the chief of the Defence Department?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And, finally, the decree establishing the section of the
22 Republican Public Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. In Article 4 it
24 says that deputies to the public prosecutor shall be appointed by the
25 Presidency of the HZ-HB, following proposals of the chief of the Defence
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. It's document P00594.
4 Mr. Buntic, to avoid going through all these documents in the
5 binder individually, one by one, can we note that they confirm that the
6 military -- that the Department of Justice mostly appointed judges,
7 prosecutors and deputies? Can you just tell us, is that true of the last
8 two decrees; namely, the appointment of judges to the section of the
9 Supreme Court and appointments of deputies to the public prosecutor? Is
10 it again the Department of Justice that approached the HVO with its
11 proposals and nominations?
12 A. It is obvious from these signatures that it is the Department of
13 Defence that was responsible for appointments, and it is mainly the
14 Department of Justice and General Administration that did that, which is
15 why I gave the evidence I gave.
16 So before this Court and under oath, I stated that if there had
17 been any violations by judges, violations punishable under the Statute of
18 this Tribunal, only the judges, themselves, can be held responsible for
19 them, and I personally can be held, but certainly not the accused in this
20 case. And I gave the reasons why any of these accused can be said to
21 have made any violations; because they supported and contributed to the
22 work of the courts to the best of their ability, and if there had been
23 any interference and tampering with the work of the courts, then such
24 interference did not come from any of the accused, but, if at all, from
25 third parties who have been already convicted by valid judgements of this
2 Q. Mr. Buntic, could you just please look at the last document in
3 this binder, named "Appointments." That's 1D 1612. Tell me when you
4 find it.
5 A. Can you repeat the number, please?
6 Q. 1D 1612. That's just before the tab 3. You can see it on the
8 You have said that after 28th August, you were no longer head of
9 the Justice Department?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. Since I see that you attended this session of the 28th October
12 1993, and you made certain nominations for the positions of judges and
13 prosecutors - that's page 4 in Croatian, page 3 in English, but for now
14 it doesn't matter - you've already confirmed it's correct, can you just
15 explain what, in your view, does it mean that from August, 28th of
16 August, 1993, you were no longer the head of the Department of Justice,
17 but you still attended sessions, nevertheless?
18 A. It was a transition period from the day when the
19 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna ceased to exist and the
20 Croatian Republic Herceg-Bosna came into being. I believe that in the
21 transition provisions, it was envisaged that the HVO continue to act as
22 the government, pending the formation of the government of the
23 Croatian Republic
24 Since this was a package of laws concerning the judiciary, and
25 especially the bill on the judicial council, of whom I later became the
1 head, I attended this session, and I attended it also because I
2 participated in the drafting of all these laws, together with Mr. Zubak,
3 who at this time or perhaps a bit later became Minister of Justice, when
4 the Cabinet was formed in the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
5 Q. Mr. Buntic, I understand you well, but do you believe that in
6 this period from 28th August until the new government was elected, you
7 had a kind of technical mandate?
8 A. You can put it that way as well. That's a valid interpretation.
9 Q. Do you mean that since you are appearing as a lawyer here and as
10 a witness, and I cannot testify myself, do you think it is a position
11 shared by other heads of departments who were not elected to the
12 government of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
13 A. Yes, all those who were heads of departments in the HVO, after
14 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna ceased to exist, they continued to
15 work with a technical mandate until the day when the government of the
16 Croatian Republic Herceg-Bosna was elected. I believe that candidates --
17 nominees for ministers were known already in September 1992 [as
19 Q. Mr. Buntic, I'd like to move on to the next subject that I hope
20 we can deal with rather quickly; namely, reporting, reports from district
21 military courts and district military prosecutors' offices.
22 From the legislation we enumerated earlier governing this area,
23 we saw that it was the responsibility of the Defence Department to submit
24 these reports to the Presidency of the HZ-HB. Prior to your becoming
25 head of the Justice Department, was it a practice or did you, as head of
1 the Department of Justice, together with the Defence Department, did you
2 make it a practice to submit aggregated reports?
3 A. As you can see from these reports and minutes and legislation,
4 there were various situations. Reports on the work of courts was
5 sometimes submitted to the Defence Department, sometimes to the Justice
6 Department, in some cases to both. After that, aggregated reports were
7 made and submitted to the HVO.
8 In this document which appears first in section 3, there is an
9 attempt to clarify this issue by instructing misdemeanor courts, military
10 courts and military prosecutors' offices to submit their reports to the
11 competent body, because what happened was that members of the Presidency
12 who were heads of municipalities required the Justice Department to
13 submit to them reports on the work of misdemeanor courts. We have
14 already clarified this here. Misdemeanor courts were established by
15 municipalities. They were financed by municipalities. Municipalities
16 appointed judges -- that is, magistrates in misdemeanor courts, and it
17 all worked on the level of municipalities.
18 However, an absurd situation occurred where they wanted -- they,
19 municipalities, wanted the Justice Department to submit to them reports
20 on the work of courts which they, themselves, established and which were
21 responsible to them and financed by them. So these were some of the
22 absurd situations that we faced.
23 We were responsible. We were appointed by the Presidency. We
24 were answerable to the Presidency. They made the requests and demands
25 they made, and this issue is clarified here. At least there is an
1 attempt to clarify it. We gathered reports, and then, through the higher
2 misdemeanor courts, we unified them in order to make some statistics.
3 But there still occurred some absurd situations when we were asked to
4 provide reports on the work of bodies that they formed, they financed,
5 that answered to them, et cetera.
6 Q. For the record and for the benefit of the Trial Chamber and
7 everyone in the courtroom, you were commenting on the first document,
8 that is, 1D 2004, just so we know what we are talking about?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. Can I just guide you with my questions -- in fact, not "may I,"
11 but I have to; it's my duty. And if I omit something, you will draw my
13 Have you ever seen, Mr. Buntic, the Defence Department, in the
14 annual report to the government, or in any other report, did it ever
15 summarise reports of the military courts and the military public
16 prosecutors' offices and submitted them to the HVO?
17 A. Not for the duration of the HZ-HB.
18 Q. All right. The next document is a report that I'm not going to
19 show to you, but for the Trial Chamber I wish to say that it's P04699.
20 It is already an exhibit, and on page 47 you provide, among other things,
21 the report on the establishment of district courts and prosecutors'
23 I'd like to ask you now: In your direct examination, you said
24 that the judiciary actually started to work sometime in mid-1993. I'd
25 like to ask you to look at the next two documents, P1842 and -- that's
1 the first report from the District Military Prosecutors' Office in
2 Mostar, and you said correctly from the 10th of April, 1993
3 available to you and to the Defence Department. It's the report of the
4 first trimester.
5 Can we conclude that even in this shortened capacity, it
6 operated, and in that period they received criminal reports, as we read
7 in the first two paragraphs?
8 A. I think I need to correct you on one point.
9 I did not say that the military judiciary bodies started working
10 in the summer 1993. I believe I said a few days ago that district
11 military courts started to operate and moved into their new premises
12 sometime in the beginning of March, in the spring of 1993. That applies
13 to military courts. Prosecutors' offices started to operate in end 1992,
14 which is obvious from this document.
15 But I fully appreciate the shortness of your time, and I would
16 still like to point out one thing.
17 This report partly answers the question asked a day or two ago by
18 His Honour Judge Trechsel, when he asked me for information about the
19 number of crimes against unknown -- that is, committed by unknown
20 perpetrators, and the ratio of such crimes to the total. This report
21 contains this information, and I am kindly asking you to read this
22 report, because by reading it, we'll find out a lot about the work of the
23 District Military Prosecutors' Office, if it can go against the time of
24 the Trial Chamber, if that's possible.
25 Q. If you believe that is important and if you believe it is
1 important to the question of Judge Trechsel, you can do it against my
2 time. We're talking about P1842; correct? Just tell us which page, what
3 are you referring to?
4 A. Page 1. It's the report on the work of the District Military
5 Prosecutors' Office, Mostar, for the first three months of 1993, and it
6 says that this prosecutor's office received a total of 114 criminal
7 reports against 1.447 adults, 1 criminal report against four minors, and
8 6 criminal reports against perpetrators unknown. So we have a certain
9 number of criminal reports against unidentified perpetrators.
10 Out of the total criminal reports filed against adults, the
11 military police of the HVO filed 92 criminal reports, the Department of
12 Internal Affairs 18 criminal reports, the military police of the BH Army,
13 the 4th Corps filed three criminal reports, whereas citizens filed one
14 criminal report. In 20 cases, this prosecutor's office rejected the
15 criminal report, in parentheses, which amounts to 17 per cent of the
16 total number of reports filed, parenthesis closed, against 23 persons, in
17 parentheses, 1.9 per cent of the total number of reports of persons
18 against whom reports were made, parentheses closed.
19 And I would only like to add this is a report of the then
20 District Public Prosecutor, Mr. Mladen Jurisic, who currently occupies
21 the highest judicial position in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he's the president
22 of the highest judicial council, and he has gone through vetting by the
23 independent, International Judicial Commission and the services in
25 Q. Mr. Buntic, thank you for the information. In this report -- but
1 of particular interest are the criminal reports filed by the military
2 police, and please look at that paragraph where it says that three such
3 criminal reports were filed, and another document --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. If you allow me,
5 let's stay with P1842. Look in your own language at the last paragraph
6 on page 1. It seems that the military prosecutor indicated that out of
7 the 1.302 individuals that were prosecuted, apparently there were 31
8 individuals that were prosecuted for crimes against humanity or crimes in
9 international law. Are you aware of the fact that there were
10 prosecutions for crimes against humanity, against obviously servicemen,
11 because the military prosecutor is competent for military individuals?
12 It would be interesting to know whether or how this number of 31
13 individuals is broken down and for what crimes against humanity. Was
14 your attention drawn to this number of 31 individuals?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have already said
16 the extent of what I know about it. This is a criminal report filed
17 before the prosecutors' office for the case called Uborak, where some 80
18 dead bodies were recovered, and this was an act committed by the JNA.
19 The 31 individuals listed in the criminal report went away with the
20 Yugoslav Army. They were out of reach and the proceedings were at an
21 impasse. One could not proceed prosecuting these individuals.
22 To the best of my knowledge, this particular reference has to do
23 with that case, where there was a large number of victims, and a criminal
24 report was filed based on the charges of violations of international law.
25 That's the extent of my knowledge about it.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So these are JNA numbers, but
2 does this mean that the military prosecutor -- of course, if Mr. Jurisic
3 was to come, we could ask him directly, but does that mean that the
4 military prosecutor never charged for crimes against humanity in files
5 regarding soldiers who may have committed crimes with a connotation of
6 crimes against humanity or against international law?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As is quite evident from this
8 document, there were such attempts on the part of the prosecutor to issue
9 indictments for such crimes. However, Your Honour, I have to draw your
10 attention to something I've mentioned before.
11 The prosecutors' office became operational at the end of 1992 or
12 in early 1993. Already in the month of May, there was an outbreak of the
13 conflict between Muslims and Croats. The prosecutors' office were able
14 to function smoothly for some five months and courts for some two to
15 three months only. At that point, all these institutions were deprived
16 of their facilities and case files were destroyed. And I'm referring to
17 the month of May of 1993. We have a number of documents indicating the
18 efforts that they made. However, in my view, the times did not allow
19 them to do more.
20 You know when this particular Tribunal was set up and when the
21 first judgement was rendered. These were very complex crimes, entailing
22 proceedings lasting up to three years in order for a proper judgement to
23 be rendered. We have to bear in mind that this Tribunal had the
24 United Nations' backing, a large budget, and the backing of this
25 beautiful country, and it had this beautiful building at its disposal,
1 and yet several years had to pass before the first judgement could be
2 rendered for the crimes against humanity.
3 We did not have the expertise that this particular Tribunal
4 enjoys. We did not have the necessary documentation. We did not have
5 the necessary exchanges of expertise. The persons who were involved in
6 that did their best. You saw that the prosecutors' offices did issue
7 indictments, and the courts did pass judgements. However, on charges for
8 crimes against humanity, which are very complex cases, which carry a
9 great burden of proof, in the cases where the perpetrators were out of
10 reach, you know that even to this day Karadzic and Mladic remain out of
11 reach of this Tribunal. What were the resources we had our disposal?
12 Very few and far between.
13 You will see, from this particular report, that there were cases
14 of physical assault and harassment of judges by paramilitary formations
15 of both the BH Army and the HVO. They worked under very difficult
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to see a document.
18 Ms. Nozica might speak to it later, 2D 506. I might be ahead of her, but
19 this is to follow up on what you've just said.
20 In July, the military prosecutor made another report on
21 statistical activities. We know because we have in the indictment the
22 issue of prisoners disappearing from the Vranica building in May. How is
23 it that this case could not be registered or recorded in this July report
24 of the military prosecutor?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From what I'm able to see here, the
1 first report relates to the first three months of work, that is to say,
2 from the months of January through March, whereas the second report
3 refers to the period through to the 9th of July, covering the first half
4 of the year. I may have missed your reference. I'm not sure what you're
5 referring to, but two different time periods are referred to here.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 Ms. Nozica.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel.
9 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Your Honours, I note the time. I would like to finish this
11 document and the related area.
12 Q. We have another brief that reached you and your department, and
13 that's something that you can confirm; is that right?
14 A. I'm not sure which document you're referring to.
15 Q. 2D 506. I'm referring to the document Judge Antonetti drew your
16 attention to, the one that you said referred to the first half of the
17 year; that's to say, the 1st of January through to the 30th of June.
18 Let's look at the criminal reports filed by the military police of the
19 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There were four such criminal reports.
20 Mr. Buntic, can you confirm that in this period of time, the
21 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina filed criminal reports to the
22 District Prosecutors' Office in Mostar?
23 A. It is quite evident that these reports are referred to in both of
24 these reports.
25 Q. Yes. The first one referred to three such criminal reports and
1 the second one to four?
2 A. Yes. We were able to see that criminal reports mostly arrived
3 from the military police, some from the civilian MUP, and some from
4 members of the armed forces.
5 Q. If the Army of the BH, in the report period, believed that crimes
6 were committed against its members, it would only be logical for it to
7 have filed or posit criminal reports to the Military Prosecutors' Office
8 and they would consequently be covered by this report, would they not?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I would like to stop here and resume
11 after the break. I still have several brief areas I want to cover.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will have a
13 20-minute break now.
14 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 4.11 p.m.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
17 Ms. Nozica, you have the floor.
18 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Before I continue, I'd like to say two things.
20 First of all, by mistake, on page 27, line 7, we have "1992"
21 instead of "1993," and I would like to draw the attention of the
22 Trial Chamber that according to my calculation, I've used up 95 minutes
23 that you have allocated to me, but I would like your leave to finish my
24 cross-examination, and the time that starts to run now you are to deduct
25 from the time allocated to Mr. Stojic's Defence.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
2 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Q. Mr. Buntic, let us move to the subject of financing now, the
4 financing of the military judiciary, and let me recall again that the
5 basis -- the foundation for these questions now is your statement that
6 the Defence Department was responsible, in terms of organisation, staff
7 and finance, for the military judiciary.
8 I would like you to tell us, to the best of your recollection,
9 how district military courts and district military prosecutors' offices
10 were financed at the time when you were head of the Justice Department,
11 if you remember.
12 A. Military courts and military prosecutors' offices, if I remember
13 well, were financed from the budget of the Croatian Community of
14 Herceg-Bosna, from the funds allocated to the Defence Department. The
15 uniforms, the logistics, the inventory, furnishings, equipment, and even
16 buildings were provided by the Defence Department, by requisitioning,
17 among other things, the law school building in Mostar, and the students
18 were transferred to another location. That's how we had to make do.
19 Q. If you can remember, how were the salaries financed, when there
20 was enough financing, for the judges and prosecutors in military courts
21 and prosecutors' offices?
22 A. As far as I know, from the budget of the Croatian Community of
23 Herceg-Bosna, through the Defence Department, as far as I know.
24 Q. Let us look at document 1D 1180. It's the 41st session of HVO of
25 the 9th of December, 1992. And if we can look at the last paragraph of
1 these minutes, both in Croatian and in English. It says:
2 "At the proposal of the Department of Justice and
3 General Administration, the decision was made to allocate the amount of
4 5.000.000 Croatian dinars for the requirements of civilian, basic and
5 higher courts and prosecutors' offices, as well as the amount of
6 1.476.000 for the requirements of the military court and the military
7 prosecutors' office. Hereby your request from the HVO to allocate these
8 funds for the military court and the military prosecutors' office."
9 Do you remember that?
10 A. I believe I have spoken about this already, and I believe these
11 funds were needed for the renovation and adaptation of the building of
12 the former Court and Associated Labour for the needs of the
13 Municipal Court, that is, the civilian court. And in that building, in
14 addition to the Municipal Court, there was also the higher prosecutors'
15 office, civilian prosecutors' office, and the higher military
16 prosecutors' office.
17 Q. Just a minute. You told me a moment ago that the
18 Defence Department was in charge, in tactical terms, for the renovation
19 of buildings and the supply of equipment, and now you're telling me that
20 you are requesting funds from the HVO precisely for this technical aspect
21 for military court and the military prosecutors' office? Just tell me
22 "yes" or "no."
23 A. I told you what I remember. In principle, the Department of
24 Justice and General Administration did not finance either the military
25 court or the military prosecutors' office, nor did these funds go through
1 the Justice Department. I told you what I meant. You can see from here,
2 5.000.000 for civilian judiciary and just 1.476.000, and that could have
3 been needed for the building of the court of the -- of Associated Labour
4 which housed all these three bodies. And we are talking about end 1992.
5 Q. Let us look at 1D 2210. It's the next one in the binder. This
6 is a document sent to the government of the HVO HZ-HB, the
7 Justice Department, personally to Zoran Buntic. It is sent by the
8 District Military Court in Travnik and the District Military
9 Prosecutors' Office in Travnik. The signature below is the signature of
10 the prosecutor and the president of the Court. It follows from this that
11 they want you to pay out salaries for March, April, May, and June for the
12 president of the Court, the judges and the administrative staff, as well
13 as the prosecutor and his staff and administration.
14 Do you remember this request, that it was sent to you?
15 A. I remember that it was sent, but I don't think these salaries
16 came from the Department of Justice and General Administration. Yes, the
17 request was sent, but I don't think the salaries went through the -- were
18 paid out through our department.
19 Q. It follows from this letter that they are owed salaries for
20 March, April, May, and June. Do you know how they were financed before
21 these months?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. Mr. Buntic, have you had occasion to see the final account of the
24 Defence Department for 1993?
25 A. No, ma'am.
1 Q. Have you seen a single document during your term of office from
2 which it would follow that the Defence Department financed military
3 judicial bodies?
4 A. I didn't, but I also didn't see any documents stating that the
5 Justice Department financed them.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. Welcome.
8 Q. To sum up this first segment, on the basis of what you said
9 before this Court, namely, that the military and judiciary were,
10 organisationally, in terms of staff and financially, linked to the
11 Defence Department, is it the case on the basis of the documents I've
12 shown you that you can confirm that in terms of staff, it was not
13 exclusively relying on the Defence Department; can you confirm that?
14 A. I already have, several times.
15 Q. On the basis of the documents shown you, can you confirm that the
16 Defence Department did not finance military courts and military
17 prosecutors' offices, either, I'm saying on the basis of the documents
18 I've shown you?
19 A. I told you, I can neither confirm nor deny.
20 Q. I'd like to move to the last series of questions relating to
21 prisons, appointments --
22 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Ms. Nozica. I would
23 like to put a question to the witness. It is possible that I
24 misunderstood what he said, but maybe he can help me out.
25 In response to a question posed by Ms. Nozica, who was asking you
1 whether you could remember, on the basis of the documents available to
2 you, if it was the Defence Department that financed the military courts,
3 the district courts and the prosecutors' office, you answered, "No," and
4 you couldn't remember, either, that this was done through the
5 Justice Department. Therefore, could you tell us who was financing those
6 courts as well as the prosecutors' office?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have said that I
8 believe the financing came from the budget of the Croatian Community of
9 Herceg-Bosna, through the Defence Department. I said I believed that was
10 so. I said -- I don't know if it's on the record -- that I hadn't seen a
11 single document that could confirm what I've said. So I wasn't saying
12 that on the basis of documents or on the basis of legislation. On the
13 basis of documents, I said I haven't seen a single document of that kind.
14 I don't know how it was recorded, but that's what I said. So what I have
15 said I said on the basis of the legislation that prevailed and on the
16 basis of my belief that it was so, but I made a reservation, saying that
17 I can't claim I have seen a document to that effect. That was the thrust
18 of my answer. I don't know how it was conveyed to you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I thank you very much. That is
20 what was recorded in the transcript.
21 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 I would like to move to a new subject now, the topic of military
23 prisons. I want us to be very, very precise.
24 Q. I'm not going to examine you on centres for prisoners of war but
25 on military prisons. Let us go back to a document you've seen before,
1 1D 2004, the first in that chapter.
2 In item 15 of this document, that's page 4 in Croatian -- have
3 you found it? You say the following:
4 "During the war, the District Military Prison and the
5 District Civilian Prisons in Busovaca, in Orasje, were established, and
6 wardens were appointed for them. Also established was the
7 District Prison in Mostar and the District Military Prison and the
8 District Civilian Prison in Gabela. We emphasise that the supervision
9 over the work and conditions in the District Prison is provided by the
10 president of the Higher Court, whereas the supervision of the work and
11 conditions in military prisons is provided by the Defence Department."
12 That was the text, and now I will ask you several questions, one
13 by one, about this paragraph, which is very important.
14 You already said you were surprised there's no signature, but
15 first of all, confirm what I've read.
16 A. I've told you before that I wrote this document myself, and I
17 stand by that answer. It's not signed, that's true.
18 Q. Mr. Buntic, can you remember who established the
19 District Military Prison and the District Civilian Prison in Orasje and
20 who -- and at whose proposal appointed the wardens?
21 MR. STRINGER: [Previous translation continues]... the question
22 is irrelevant, Mr. President, as Orasje is beyond the scope of the
24 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave, I
25 wish to show something that may be important to the whole picture. If
1 you acknowledge this observation, I would like to emphasise especially
2 the second sentence, which says:
3 "We emphasise that the supervision over the work and conditions
4 in the District Prison is provided by the president of the Higher Court
5 whereas the supervision over the work and conditions in military prisons
6 is provided by the Defence Department."
7 As far as the district prisons in the indictment are concerned,
8 if we want to know who supervised and controlled them, it is important to
9 show the entire picture. If you allow me, I would like to continue.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
11 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Can you remember, Witness, who established the District Military
13 Prison and the District Civilian Prison in Orasje and who appointed the
15 A. If I can remember well, we received a proposal from
16 Bosanska Posavina for the district military and district civilian prisons
17 in Orasje, and the HVO passed a decision to establish the district
18 military and district civilian prisons in Orasje. I believe there was a
19 proposal for the appointment of the wardens which came from
20 Bosanska Posavina, that is, Orasje, and the decision was made along those
21 lines by the HVO of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
22 Q. I'll skip the District Prison in Busovaca. How about the one in
23 Mostar that was a civilian prison? It is not important to our story.
24 A. Yes, no decision needed to be made because it existed already.
25 Q. The District Military Prison and the District Civilian Prison in
1 Gabela, do you remember who established them and who passed the decision
2 to establish this prison and appoint the wardens?
3 A. I've already answered this question. I do not remember that the
4 HVO made such a decision, and I do not remember that it was promulgated
5 in the Official Gazette of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
6 Q. All right. As for what you said, which is important, namely, the
7 supervision over the district civilian and military prisons, I would like
8 us to follow the sequence and look at the next document, which is P0 --
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Ms. Nozica, but I would like to ask
10 the witness a question about this document, and I hope I'm not repeating
11 a question someone else has put before.
12 I would like to know how come that you, the Minister of Justice
13 and Administration, file a report on the Military Prosecutors' Office and
14 district military courts. I had assumed that you had said that they were
15 separated; the military jurisdiction is under the Minister of Defence and
16 the civilian jurisdiction is under the Ministry of Justice and
17 General Administration. Then I failed to understand why you would even
18 bother to file a report with such a title and contents.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that the issue is
20 clarified in the first items of this report or, namely, in item 1. The
21 events took their own course, as item 1 clearly states. I observe that
22 the -- that a report on the work of the department is sought which
23 normally does not submit reports. However, acknowledging the intention
24 and the wish to introduce as much order in the state of affairs, and
25 honouring the conclusions from the working meeting, what is meant here is
1 the meeting of the HVO, the department submits a report on the judiciary
2 for the aforementioned period. It is quite evident from this that the
3 HVO of the HZ-HB ordered the Justice Department to produce a report on
4 the work of all the courts and prosecutors' offices, regardless of their
5 civilian or military nature.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I take cognizance of your explanations.
7 I'm still a bit puzzled, because in other situations when the question
8 was how the situation in prisons were, you were very strict in respecting
9 the limits of your competencies, as you told us, and I fail -- I frankly
10 fail to see how you improve order by reporting on something which is not
11 within your competencies. But, I mean, you have given an answer.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, Your Honour. I've
13 explained why, but it was precisely for this reason that I made this
14 statement, and I stand by it fully. If there was something unlawful or
15 incriminating in the work of courts and prosecutors' offices, for
16 precisely those reasons I assume upon myself all the responsibility and I
17 invite the Prosecutor before this Tribunal to issue an indictment against
18 me where there are grounds for it, because where it comes to the work of
19 the courts, I can be the sole responsible individual for the period we're
20 discussing up until the 28th of August, 1993.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just to be sure I understand you correctly, you
22 say you take all responsibility also for the military jurisdiction?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the work of both military and
24 civilian courts, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, you may proceed.
2 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have to go back to
3 the question you put. Mr. Buntic quoted the first sentence, where he
5 "We note that a report is sought from a department to which such
6 reports are not submitted."
7 We looked a moment ago at a report, which is document P1842, and
8 another document, 2D 00506. These were reports on the work of the
9 District Military Prosecutors' Office in Mostar for the first three
10 months and for the first half of the year. As we can see, the reports
11 were submitted both to you and to the Defence Department.
12 Q. Can you confirm that?
13 A. I've already done that, I've already confirmed that.
14 Q. I'm going back to that issue, because there might be some
15 confusion about the party to whom the reports were delivered to, and
16 that's the document 1D 2004.
17 Let's look at another document, P3350. This is another report
18 which you signed, which you made on the work of the Justice Department,
19 and that's from the 1st of January, 1993, until the 31st of June. Let us
20 look at item 11, where you confirm precisely what you've mentioned now;
21 the establishment of the district prisons. Can you confirm that?
22 A. Yes, I can confirm that.
23 Q. Let us look at the following document, 1D 1184. That's the next
24 document in the binder. These are minutes from the 35th meeting of the
25 HVO, held on the 9th of April, 1993; page 5 of the Croatian version and
1 the last paragraph of the last page of the English version, which says:
2 "At the proposal of the Department of Justice and
3 General Administration of the HVO HZ-HB, as warden of the Military and
4 Civilian District Prison in Orasje, Ilija Benkovic is appointed, and for
5 the warden of the District Prison in Mostar, Pero Nikolic."
6 Can you confirm that this is precisely the situation that you
7 recalled, and that is that in Orasje, the proposal went through the
8 Justice Department to Orasje and that's how the appointment was made?
9 A. I described precisely what happened. The proposal arrived from
10 Posavina, from Orasje.
11 Q. Mr. Buntic, thank you. We have all of that in the transcript.
12 Let me just say that this document confirms the situation.
13 A. No, I'm not confirming your question. It does not confirm your
15 Q. Very well. Tell me what is wrong in the question I put to you
16 and what the actual state of affairs was.
17 A. What is erroneous is that the proposal came from the
18 Justice Department or that I sent the proposal. I said who the proposal
19 came from and answered the question.
20 Q. Mr. Buntic, there is no need to be incensed about it. I merely
21 read out what the minutes said.
22 A. The minutes are erroneous.
23 Q. Very well. Let us look at the following document, 1D 1105. This
24 is a document approving the appointment of the prison staff for convicts
25 of misdemeanor and criminal offences, dated the 2nd of March, 1993
1 signed by the president of the Croatian Defence Council, Pero Markovic.
2 You were shown the document during the examination-in-chief, and you said
3 that this referred to the serving of sentences for misdemeanor offences
4 and that it went -- and that it fell within the jurisdiction of the
5 municipal HVO organs?
6 A. Correct. In accordance with the law on the serving of criminal
7 and misdemeanor sentences, municipalities can set up prisons for the
8 serving of such sentences, and this was the case in Capljina, where the
9 municipality set up a prison for precisely such sentences.
10 Q. Mr. Buntic, I went back to this document for a very important
11 word which is contained in the heading, which says: "... granting
12 permission to the misdemeanors prison and the detention facility."
13 Can you confirm that detention falls within criminal sanctions,
14 or can you confirm for us that it was only a judge of either a regular
15 civilian or military court could order detention?
16 A. As far as I know, a misdemeanors magistrate would not be able to
17 order detention. He could do so in a summary procedure, ordering
18 detention as an urgent measure, but I don't believe that a summary
19 procedure would include detention. It would include the immediate
20 rendering of the judgement and the holding in custody of the person
21 convicted. I don't believe that the misdemeanors court could do this.
22 Q. Can it follow from this particular document that what was
23 referred to was only a detention facility and not a place where
24 misdemeanor sanctions were served?
25 A. Yes, one could interpret it that way.
1 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President.
2 I haven't objected yet, I don't believe, to the many leading
3 questions that have been put to the witness during the course of this
4 examination, whether we call it a direct or a cross, but this is in fact
5 a direct examination, in that it is intended to lead evidence that's
6 favourable. It's not undermining the witness's credibility or to attempt
7 to deal with alleged incriminating issues that were led by counsel for
8 Mr. Prlic on the direct.
9 So just so we're clear again, and I've said it previously last
10 week in respect of the examination that was conducted by counsel for
11 Mr. Coric, and I just want to put that out there again for the
12 Trial Chamber, we've gone very far afield from what was led in the direct
13 examination. Sure, the direct examination touched on detention
14 facilities, but we have now and consistently been at a level of detail
15 that is such that it can only really barely be classified as direct
17 Counsel's putting on her case. She's using her time to do it,
18 and she's certainly doing her job in that respect, but let's just be fair
19 about what's happening here. These are documents provided to the
20 Prosecution the other day, on Thursday. We're well beyond, really, the
21 scope of the direct, and I think that in this situation, leading
22 questions are extremely unfair. And at the very least, I want to point
23 out that the leading questions and the answers that they generate should
24 very definitely be given a reduced probative value by the Trial Chamber.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What do you say, Ms. Nozica?
1 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me respond by
2 saying that this is pure cross-examination. The document was shown to
3 the witness, and the witness answered the question to the best of his
5 When it comes to leading questions, I am within cross-examination
6 and completely in keeping with the Rules.
7 Let me stress that I am now using up the time allocated to the
8 Defence of Mr. Stojic, and I was merely putting questions to the witness
9 on the subjects raised in the examination-in-chief. There was one
10 subject that went beyond that scope, and as you can see, most of the
11 documents are marked "1D," therefore documents that were used in the
13 It is very important to me, and it was rightly put by the
14 Prosecutor, that I find answers to these questions very important, and I
15 would not like to have any technical impediment, such as putting of
16 improper questions to the witness, to get in the way of my examination,
17 so please caution me about it.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Nozica, you're telling us
19 that since the documents were tackled during the direct examination, you
20 are in cross-examination, this is no new topic; however, you do agree to
21 that time being taken out of your overall time because you went over the
22 time that was allocated? Have I summarised your position well?
23 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are absolutely
24 right. This is cross-examination, but regardless of the fact that this
25 is cross-examination, it is deducted from the time allocated to
1 Mr. Stojic.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Put your question again,
4 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Buntic, if you look at the detail I've drawn your attention
6 to, can you tell us whether this involves the employment of staff for a
7 prison where individuals serve misdemeanor sentences or is it also a
8 facility where individuals are remanded into custody by order of the HVO?
9 A. I've already said that this particular decision was in keeping
10 with the municipal regulations. However, this is also a detention and a
11 facility in Capljina, so the HVO went beyond the scope of their powers.
12 As I've already said, they overstepped the powers granted by the law to
13 the Capljina local authorities. But the decision is as it is. It says
14 "for the serving of misdemeanor sentences," and the Capljina barracks are
16 Q. Are you familiar with the first name on the list there,
17 Bosko Previsic? Do you know whether he was perhaps hired in some other
18 prison in the HZ-HB?
19 A. I believe that indeed he was.
20 Q. You can't remember where that was, can you?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Let us look at another document concerning the control over the
23 prisons. We are talking about the establishment and supervisional
24 control over military prisons, and we are referring back to the report of
25 yours, where you said that the supervision of work and state of affairs
1 in prisons is done by the Defence Department.
2 A. If this is what it reads, then it's a mistake. It should fall
3 within the purview of the president of the District Military Court
4 this is indeed what is written there, then it's a mistake.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 A. When it comes to prisons. Now, when it comes to the venues
7 holding prisoners of war, that's where the Defence Department would have
8 jurisdiction. Now, where it comes to -- when it comes to prisons, it's
9 the president of the District Court and the warden of the prison who have
10 those responsibilities.
11 Q. Then it must have been a slip or an error on your part in
12 drafting the report.
13 Let us look at the next document, 1D 1797. This is a report from
14 the District Military Court in Mostar, submitted to the Defence ministry,
15 government, administration of the military police and the crime
16 department. Let's look at the first sentence. What does the president
17 of the District Military Court say? On the 6th of November, 1993, the
18 president of the Mostar District Military Court, pursuant to Article 205
19 of the ZKP, performed an inspection of detainees at the VIZ in Ljubuski.
20 Mr. Buntic, we've seen this document before. Can you confirm
21 that this is precisely the situation where you said that the supervision
22 of the military court lay within the hands of the president of the court
23 with territorial jurisdiction and the warden of the prison?
24 A. This confirms my statement that I made immediately before looking
25 at this document.
1 Q. Can we look at another document, 2D 1412. This is a document
2 sent to the Justice Department, to the Department of Justice and
3 Administration, and to the commander of the OZ Central Bosnia,
4 Colonel Blaskic, sent by the District Prison Kaonik-Busovaca, signed by
5 the warden of the prison.
6 In this letter, the warden of the prison, and undoubtedly it's
7 the district military prison, says that for safety and legality of the
8 functioning, the person responsible is the warden, which is only logical.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Item 2 says treatment of imprisoned individuals in the section
11 for custody before trial of the District Military Prison is under the
12 responsibility of the warden of the District Military Prison and under
13 the supervision of the president of the District Military Court in Vitez;
14 is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Under the administration of the director and under the
17 supervision of the Department for Justice and General Administration of
18 the HZ-HB. So in the third category, we have convicts. Do you agree?
19 A. No. The District Military Prison could no way have been under
20 the jurisdiction of the Justice and General Administration Department.
21 This is a proposal of Zlatko Aleksovski. He is just proposing something.
22 It is not an official decision.
23 Q. Mr. Buntic, according to the legislation that prevailed, and I
24 mean primarily the decree on district military courts, who was in charge
25 and under what legislation were sentences served? We are now moving into
1 subjects that I haven't prepared for, but I'm asking you: Military men
2 who were convicted by competent military courts, under whose jurisdiction
3 did they serve sentences?
4 A. This matter is governed by Article 30 through Article 35 of the
5 Decree on District Military Courts of the Croatian Community of
6 Herceg-Bosna of the 17th October 1992.
7 Q. Please answer me. Do you know under whose jurisdiction were
8 convicts? Who was responsible for them when they were serving their
9 sentences? We have the decree. Just answer my question. Nothing is
10 problematic with the document. It's already an exhibit. We can all
11 analyse it. Who had jurisdiction, in your opinion?
12 A. Who?
13 Q. Persons who were legally convicted and who were convicted by
14 district military courts and who are serving sentences.
15 A. I've already said that they were under the supervision of the
16 president of the District Military Court and the warden or the
17 administrator of the prison.
18 Q. Thank you very much for that answer.
19 Now, in conclusion, I will avail myself of your presence in the
20 courtroom, Mr. Buntic, to establish certain provisions in the Law on
21 Criminal Procedure, an issue that was raised during your direct
22 examination, and I hope you can be of assistance to the Trial Chamber in
23 explaining how it was stipulated in the period we are discussing.
24 You have a large document in front of you. It's not in the
25 binder. It's a separate document. I think it was given to you.
1 Could the usher please assist Mr. Buntic, if necessary. I'm
2 speaking of the document 4D 01105, and that's the Law on
3 Criminal Procedure.
4 Mr. Buntic, can you confirm that it was precisely this law of the
5 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina that was taken over from -- that was
6 taken over by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and applied in this
8 A. It's the Penal Code not of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina but
9 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslav that was taken over, as such,
10 by virtue of the republic decree and further taken over by the
11 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and applied in the territory of the
12 HZ-HB. So it was originally a federal law on criminal procedure of the
13 SFRY that was applied in the territory of HZ-HB.
14 Q. You explained very nicely these steps. So after the Republic of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina was internationally recognised, this law was taken
16 over, and then it was further taken over by the HZ-HB, and it was applied
17 by the HZ-HB in full; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. When we were talking about continued prosecution, I want to
20 emphasise certain points.
21 Please look at Article 60 [as interpreted]. Can you look at
22 Article 6 very quickly. I know you can do it, as a lawyer. It governs
23 precisely the area you talked about.
24 In every case when the public prosecutor finds there are no
25 grounds for prosecution, the prosecutor informs the injured party that
1 they can continue prosecution themselves?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. In paragraph 3, a situation is described when the public
4 prosecutor renounces the indictment, and in that case the injured party
5 may adhere to the indictment or issue a new indictment. You've mentioned
6 that, too.
7 A. Yes, that's paragraph 3.
8 Q. Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 further elaborate the rights of the injured
9 party when he finds that the public prosecutor gave up on the case or
10 when he died, so it protects basically all the rights of the injured
12 A. Yes. They enable the injured party to continue with the
13 prosecution, regardless of the prosecutor's decision to abandon.
14 Q. You are also familiar with the current legislation in Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina and the Law on Criminal Procedure; am I right?
16 A. I'm not a specialist.
17 Q. Can you at least answer this question, if you know: Does the
18 injured party still have these same rights when the new law has been
19 adopted by the highest standards?
20 A. Under the new Penal Code in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the rights of
21 the injured party are considerably reduced, compared to the arrangements
22 in the Law on Criminal Procedure that we are looking at and that was
23 applied in HZ-HB, correct.
24 Q. Mrs. Tomasegovic-Tomic showed you one document that I'm not going
25 back to, but I'm just going to just remind you it was the decision
1 whereby the prosecutor abandons the prosecution. It's page -- it's
2 5D 4175, the first page, and the prosecutor there invokes Article 180 [as
3 interpreted]. Can you look at Article 180 [as interpreted]?
4 The legal recourse. It says the investigating judge shall
5 terminate the investigation when the public prosecutor informs him that
6 he abandoned the prosecution. And it says that the investigating judge
7 shall inform the injured party of dismissal of the investigation within
8 eight days.
9 Was it really like that in practice?
10 A. Correct, and I believe that's the arrangement that was cited by
11 the Coric Defence, yes, relative to the document 5D 04175.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, it's Article 170, not
14 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
15 Q. I have been told that on page 56, line 16, the article mentioned
16 should be "170" instead of "180."
17 Let us now look at Article 181 of this law that deals with the
18 questions asked by the Trial Chamber; namely, what can the injured party
19 do if no action is taken on the criminal report in which he or she is the
20 injured party? This article says:
21 "The parties and the injured parties may always file a complaint
22 with the president of the court before which proceedings are being
23 conducted because of procrastination or other irregularities in the
24 course of the investigation. The president of the court shall
25 investigate the allegations in the complaint, and if the proponent has so
1 requested, shall inform him of what action has been taken."
2 This seems to confirm what you have said, Mr. Buntic; namely, the
3 parties, too, the prosecution and the defence and even the injured
4 parties themselves, have the right to address the president of the court
5 whenever they believe that their rights are infringed upon due to undue
7 A. Yes, I believe I said that complaints were possible against the
8 work of the prosecutor, even, and such complaints were to be addressed to
9 the higher prosecutor.
10 Q. I just want to confirm with these provisions which you said;
11 namely, that they are grounded in this law.
12 Let us now look at Article 205. It's a provision governing the
13 issue of supervision over courts -- over prisons, sorry, and inmates.
14 Have you found it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. It says:
17 "Supervision over prisoners in custody shall be exercised by the
18 president of the court who is authorised to do so."
19 Para 2 stipulates in which way this is to be done, and para 3
20 states that the president of the court shall do so possibly in
21 cooperation with the public prosecutor. That's what you said when we
22 were talking about supervision over military prisons?
23 A. Yes, this confirms all the evidence I've given on this subject;
24 namely, that presidents of courts, if we are talking about military
25 courts, provide supervision, and when civilian prisons are concerned, it
1 is the presidents of civilian courts. If I had made a slip of the
2 tongue, it was just a slip of the tongue. These things happen.
3 Q. Of course, of course. That is why I am here to establish what is
4 correct and what is not, and we have all these documents in evidence.
5 And the last article I want to deal with is 346.
6 One of the Judges asked you about the legal qualification of the
7 Act cited in the criminal report or the decision to carry out an
8 investigation, to issue an indictment and judgement. Article 346 states
9 that the judgement may only refer to the person who is indicted, which is
10 logical, and only to the act cited in the indictment and in the trial,
11 and para 2 says the Court shall not be bound by the recommendations of
12 the Prosecutor concerning the legal qualification of the Act.
13 Mr. Buntic, it is unequivocal that the Court was authorised to
14 qualify the act the way they saw fit, based on the description given in
15 the indictment?
16 A. Yes. It had to be made on the basis of the description in the
17 indictment which was prepared by the Prosecution, but it was the Court
18 that decided on the legal qualification.
19 Q. Mr. Buntic, His Honour Judge Antonetti asked you about the filing
20 of criminal reports for war crimes. I know that criminal law is not your
21 primary field of expertise, but you do have certain knowledge.
22 Do you remember that under the Penal Code prevailing at the time,
23 war crimes encompassed rapes and thefts and forced removal for performing
24 forced labour; all these were elements of the crime of war crime, in
25 fact, during the state of war in the conditions specified?
1 A. Yes, they were stipulated by the law as crimes. To the extent I
2 remember the Penal Code of the SFRY and the Penal Code of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, they did not qualify these acts as war crimes. The
4 police filed criminal reports about what they observed, and they were not
5 required to compile that report including qualification. The police had
6 to file a criminal report based on what they knew, saying that a crime
7 had occurred. A criminal report never had to be a formal document.
8 Q. That's precisely what I'm trying to say. If the criminal report,
9 itself, did not contain a legal qualification, and even the indictment
10 sometimes didn't, the Court was certainly not bound to follow that legal
12 I have no further questions. I thank the Trial Chamber for the
13 additional time given me. I have no further questions.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Nozica. I
15 believe my fellow Judge wants to put a question.
16 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honours, but it
17 is my turn before Madam Alaburic. I announced a short cross-examination
18 of some 10 to 15 minutes and a couple of questions. The
19 cross-examination will have to do with what Mr. Buntic said --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
21 Judge Mindua has a few questions.
22 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Sorry, Counsel, I had asked for
23 the floor before you started.
24 Witness, I have a question for you. Indeed, when I read page 47
25 of the transcript, at line 9, I was a little nonplussed with regard to
1 the minutes that were written during meetings, during HVO meetings. Let
2 me be more specific.
3 Regarding -- I'm looking for the document number. One moment,
4 please -- 1D 1184, we looked at it a few minutes ago. This is a proposal
5 for appointment of a warden, including the Mostar Prison warden, and you
6 opposed Ms. Nozica's question. You said that these minutes were
7 erroneous. Therefore, I'm asking you how the minutes were taken. They
8 were HVO meetings, and more specifically the meeting of the 35th session.
9 Was it recorded, which were the means available to the participants,
10 including you, because you mentioned as one of them which were the means
11 at your disposal, in order to check the minutes? For instance, at the
12 following meeting, did you have the minutes available to approve them,
13 oppose them, or possibly amend them?
14 Do you understand my question, because you said that the document
15 was erroneous.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm quite certain
17 that in the course of my examination, we presented, as evidence, this
18 proposal which came from Orasje. I can't recall the number of the
19 document, but I'm sure that it was adduced as evidence during my
21 This was not my proposal or a proposal I sent. The proposal came
22 from Orasje and was placed, as such, as an item on the agenda. As is
23 well known, the district civilian and district military prisons were
24 established as one in Orasje, although -- one, although with separate
25 departments. The document which came from Orasje and which included a
1 nomination for the warden of the prison became an item of the agenda and
2 was adopted by the HVO. I said that the error consisted in the fact that
3 it was not my proposal. The proposal arrived as it was in writing from
4 Orasje, after it had been formulated in Posavina.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] And since then, have you not had
6 an opportunity to read the minutes and possibly to ask for them to be
7 amended, because we know you were the head of that department?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had that opportunity, and I most
9 likely missed it.
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, in your answer, and I wish to test the
12 interpretation and the record, you said something that struck me. You
13 said you spoke of -- "I am quite certain that in the course of my
14 examination, we presented as evidence this proposal." This sounds very
15 much like an identification with the Defence. Did you say that and did
16 you mean it?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that I had the document
18 before me in the days of my testimony which had been sent from Orasje,
19 containing nominations for the warden - that was Ilija Benkovic. The
20 minutes have accurate information, but as I have said --
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Witness. No doubt I have badly
22 expressed myself, because you are not answering at all the question that
23 I put.
24 I am speaking of your words on line 5 of page 61, where you spoke
25 of your examination and then said: "... we presented as evidence this
1 proposal." "We presented," who do you mean, "we presented as evidence";
2 the evidence here that you were presenting together with the Defence or
3 something else? I just want clarity.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I meant the entire Tribunal. I'm
5 sorry if I made a mistake. I meant this particular Tribunal.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Judge Trechsel, my colleague tells me that
8 she heard that the gentleman indicated that it was presented, not "we
9 presented," and again -- so -- and certainly, I mean, if you want to pose
10 the question whether he's our -- identifies with Dr. Prlic, go ahead. I
11 mean, they're not closely related. But, I mean, I think what he said was
12 "it was presented."
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, you very directly answered my
14 question, and this is exactly what I wanted to provoke a possibility to
15 clarify any error in the translation.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: But I'm listening to you in English, and I can
17 understand your English, and I think your English is being translated
18 into B/C/S --
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That's possible. Of course, it's a constant
20 danger, as we all know who work with translations, and I'm sure it will
21 be verified and rectified. But this was the purpose of the question.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: And I think it was a good question.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will now give
24 the floor to the Praljak Defence.
25 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
1 My cross-examination will have to do with a part of the
2 examination-in-chief of Mr. Buntic recorded on pages 30245, lines 2 to 6.
3 That's the transcript of the 7th of July. That's a portion from the very
4 start of Mr. Buntic's testimony, speaking of his engagement in the
5 military HVO, in the Crisis Staff as it was at the time, and its
6 participation in the liberation of Mostar and parts of the municipalities
7 of Capljina and Mostar in 1992, between the months of April and June of
8 1992. These are the issues on which I will put questions to Mr. Buntic,
9 since this is cross-examination, after all.
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Pinter:
11 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic.
12 A. Good afternoon.
13 Q. In your evidence, you said that you were the deputy commander of
14 the battalion. Can you tell us who was the commander of the battalion?
15 A. At the time, the late Pero Pehar was the commander of the
16 battalion, of the Citluk Battalion.
17 Q. Was the Citluk Battalion -- my apologies, Your Honour. Yes, I
18 will be mindful. We have everything on the record. Fine.
19 Did the Citluk Battalion have subunits or were these individuals
20 originally from the area of Citluk, from that municipality, and what was
21 its title?
22 A. The title was "Brotnjo Battalion." It had six companies from the
23 territory of the Municipality of Citluk
24 sabotage detachment, an anti-aircraft platoon, a signals platoon,
25 technical platoon. At any rate, all of its members hailed from the area
1 of Citluk Municipality
2 Q. Can you remember the names of the company commanders, at least
3 some of them?
4 A. I believe I can. The commander of the 1st Company was
5 Mr. Blago Pehar. The commander of the 2nd was Tonco Juric. The
6 commander of the 3rd was Mladen Sevo. The commander of the 4th was
7 Coric. I can't remember the first name at the moment. The commander of
8 the 5th was, I believe, Mr. Planinic. And the commander of the 6th was,
9 I believe, Zjelko Ostojic. That was the Medjugorje-Bijakovici Company.
10 The commander of the Anti-Aircraft Company was Zdenko Bozic. The
11 commander of the Anti-Sabotage Detachment was Mr. Valentin Coric.
12 Q. Thank you very much. I see your memory serves you well. Did the
13 Brotnjo Battalion take part in the actions aimed at liberating Mostar or,
14 rather, the surgeon areas of Capljina, Stolac, in the area of the
15 Dubrovnik Plateau, in the area of 1992, let me add?
16 A. It participated in an action called "Lipanjska Zora," which was
17 launched in the night between the 6th and the 7th of June, by engaging
18 two of its companies, the Anti-Sabotage Detachment and one volunteer
19 company which had been specially prepared for that action and was
20 composed of volunteers from all companies. The strength was of some 200
21 to 240 men.
22 Q. Did you personally take part in that action?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know if Zjelko Ostojic participated in the action?
25 A. Yes, Zjelko Ostojic, the commander of the Bijakovici-Medjugorje
1 Company also took part in the action.
2 Q. Let us go back from the month of June to the month of April of
3 1992. We had occasion here to hear a witness in a document 3D 00595,
4 which is already in evidence. For the sake of time, let me just ask you
5 this: Do you have any knowledge about the refugees from the
6 Dubrovnik Plateau, from the town of Stolac
7 Stolac, Pocitelj, back in 1992, the month of April; and if so, can you
8 tell us what it is that you know?
9 A. I think this was in the month of April and early May 1993.
10 Q. You mean 1992?
11 A. Yes, sorry, 1992. I'm afraid that the fatigue is getting the
12 better of me. I believe that Their Honours know what the strategic
13 importance of the Dubrovnik Plateau was, which covered parts of the
14 municipalities of Stolac, Capljina and Mostar, and the eastern bank of
15 the Neretva.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Witness. Is that
17 the Dubrovnik
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Dubrovski -- Dubrava Plateau,
19 sorry, yes. It comes from the name of "Dubrava."
20 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Yes, I see "Dubrovnik
22 A. As was probably said already, between the 18th and the 19th of
23 September, the JNA deployed a large contingent of its forces there and
24 captured the plateau. In the subsequent month or so, it chased away all
25 the Croats from the area and continued its breakthrough toward Dubrovnik
1 or, rather, towards Slano with one wing of its forces, and the other wing
2 of its forces went towards Mostar and the Heliodrom airport, where they
3 landed. In the following couple of days, they captured the entire
4 municipality of Mostar and deployed their forces on the boundaries of the
5 municipality of Mostar. And I believe that Their Honours are aware of
6 the fact that the Mostar municipality borders with the Citluk
8 In the months of April and May of 1992, the JNA forced out of the
9 area all of the Bosniaks, too. Thus, the situation was such that on the
10 left bank of the Neretva River
11 that had been driven away from the area by the JNA. This called for an
12 urgent intervention on our part.
13 A meeting was held of the Command Staff for the Eastern Zone.
14 Mr. Praljak was headquartered in Citluk at the time. Urgent orders were
15 issued for a makeshift bridge to be constructed across the Neretva in
16 order for us to take in the Bosniaks. All of that was organised in the
17 course of the night, and we started receiving these tens of thousands of
18 persons who were driven out.
19 On that bank -- rather, that bank of the River Neretva was under
20 the control of my 6th Company, the Bijakovici-Medjugorje Company, the
21 commander of which was Zjelko Ostojic. The order was issued for the
22 population to be received and for accommodation to be found for them. As
23 a result, the civilian protection was issued with the orders to put these
24 people up somewhere.
25 I know that subsequently, this was organised in the following
1 way: Those individuals who wanted to join our ranks and join our
2 struggle to take control over the Dubrava Plateau again were given that
3 opportunity. Others were put up in the elite hotel resort of Kompas
4 which could receive 400 individuals. Two more private homes were set
5 aside for that same purpose, and some 400 to 500 Bosniak Muslims declared
6 themselves willing to stay there and join our fight to wrest the Dubrava
7 plateau from the JNA control. Those who wished to stay there -- or,
8 rather, those who wished to leave, including women, children and the
9 elderly, were given that possibility.
10 In the night between the 6th and the 7th of June, we set out in
11 the -- set out and launched the action of -- that I've mentioned before,
12 Lipanjska Zora. My company was in such a state that I believed I ought
13 to march ahead of them.
14 It is true that on the 7th of June, we liberated a section of the
15 eastern bank of the Neretva, the area of Sevac Njive, where we had
16 previously had great losses in our companies. The first one to my right
17 got killed and three of them to my left were seriously wounded. Now, why
18 did I survive is something I find difficult to explain today, but this is
19 the way things happened.
20 Q. Thank you for this answer. Those civilians, those over 10.000
21 civilians that were transferred, were they Croats, or were they
22 Croat Bosniaks, or were they all civilians who were unable to stay?
23 A. I believe over 90 per cent were Bosniak Muslims, because Croats
24 had been expelled from that area before that. And out of those whom we
25 put up in this resort, Kompas Medjugorje, I know that we've given them
1 uniforms and weapons, and we even trained them militarily. All this was
2 done so that we could recover the Dubrava Plateau together. I believe
3 that those 300, 400 people who were put up in Kompas Medjugorje Resort
4 later formed the Bregova [phoen] Brigade, composed primarily of the
5 Bosniak Muslims.
6 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Buntic. My
7 cross-examination is complete.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I think the best
9 would be to have the break now.
10 I would like to inform Mr. Karnavas that in the afternoon, the
11 Witness and Victims Unit informed us that Witness Zuzul will arrive on
12 Monday evening, which means that he can be cross-examined on Tuesday.
13 We will now have a 20-minute break.
14 --- Recess taken at 5.34 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 5.55 p.m.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, Witness Zuzul will
17 arrive on Sunday evening, not on Monday.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
19 I would like to make a correction to the transcript. I said that
20 Witness Zuzul would arrive on Sunday, and not on Monday; line 23,
21 page 68. Witness Zuzul will arrive on Sunday and not on Monday.
22 Ms. Alaburic.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to everyone in the
24 courtroom. Good afternoon, Judges. Good afternoon, my learned friends.
25 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
1 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. Before I announce the subject of my
2 cross-examination, Mr. Buntic, I would like us to tell the Trial Chamber
3 if we have seen each other before ever, if we have ever discussed the
4 case at all.
5 A. No, we have never seen each other before. We have never
6 discussed anything.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Now, briefly about the topics of
8 my cross-examination, which I believe are completely linked to direct
9 examination. First of all, we'll have some clarifications --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters kindly ask for all extra
11 microphones in the courtroom to be switched off. We cannot hear
12 Mrs. Alaburic.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] -- then we have to deal with the
14 actions of the government, that is, the civilian authorities, with regard
15 to the defence of Bosnia
16 tell me that the first topic I mentioned is not recorded, so I will start
17 from the beginning, announcing the subjects of my cross-examination,
18 which I believe are completely reliant upon direct examination.
19 First we will make some clarifications with regard to the actions
20 of the civilian HVO, that is, the government. Then I will try to discuss
21 with the witness the activities of the civilian HVO, that is, the
22 government, in affairs related to the defence of Herceg-Bosna. This will
23 be followed by a brief clarification of topics related to the Law on
24 Criminal Procedure and Criminal Prosecution, and this will be followed by
25 a brief clarification about military units that were in the territory of
1 Citluk and adjacent municipality in the summer of 1992. After that, if
2 any time is left and if I conclude that it is still necessary after the
3 answers Mr. Buntic gives me, I will ask a few questions about exchanges
4 of prisoners and detention centres.
5 Q. So, Mr. Buntic, a few clarifications about the actions of the
6 civilian HVO, that is, the government.
7 You have already explained that from the day the
8 Croatian Republic
9 1993, the HVO continued to operate as the government. And then you
10 explained the role of the HVO as a ministry.
11 A. I cannot quite confirm this, in this language. In the
12 transitional period between HZ-HB and the establishment of the Government
13 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
14 technical mandate. But from the day the Croatian Republic Herceg-Bosna
15 appointed its own government, the ministers, too, were appointed. I
16 cannot say with the same powers, because the powers were different.
17 Q. We'll get to that. I want to read to you from the document that
18 we have discussed in direct examination. It is not prepared in my set of
19 documents. It's the decision to establish the Croatian Republic
20 Herceg-Bosna. It's document 1D 1677. Article 12 of this document states
21 that the functions of state authorities, including appointments, shall be
22 vested in the bodies of government of the Croatian Republic
24 A. Yes, that's what I meant to say.
25 Q. From that day onwards, we have seen numerous documents, and we
1 will see many more, which the civilian HVO again signs as the government,
2 and certain sections of the HVO sign as ministries. That is indeed how
3 the bodies signed in that transitional period starting in August, in end
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. In August 1993, did there occur any change in the scope of work
7 of the government, that is, ministries, compared to the period prior to
9 A. I've already said that under this provisional provision, pending
10 the appointment of the Government of the Republic of Herceg-Bosna
11 HVO continued to discharge functions that had been prescribed for the
12 HZ-HB, with the same powers and with those limitations.
13 Q. In November 1993, the government is formed under the decision to
14 establish the Croatian Republic Herceg-Bosna; is that correct?
15 A. It is correct, with the proviso, as I've said before, that the
16 names of the future ministers, the ministers to be, were already known in
17 September 1992 [as interpreted].
18 Q. Tell us, Mr. Buntic, in November 1993 or perhaps earlier, did
19 there occur any changes in the legislation governing the scope of work of
20 the government and individual ministries?
21 A. No, not that I remember. The regulations of the HZ-HB continued
22 to be observed until new regulations of the Croatian Republic
24 Q. Now I want to explain to the Trial Chamber certain details about
25 the promulgation of legislation in the Official Gazette.
1 In the former Yugoslavia
2 association of municipalities and republics and provinces to promulgate
3 their legislation in some official gazette?
4 A. Yes. I believe I've said this already. From the basic
5 administrative unit, municipality, autonomous province, republic, and up
6 to the federal state, everyone was duty-bound to make public, in
7 official gazettes, the legislation they passed.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I'm waiting for the record. Can I
9 just say the last part of the sentence "from the municipality to the
10 federal level" is not recorded. And let me use this opportunity to
11 correct page 72, line 3. The year is 1993, not 1992.
12 Q. Tell me, Mr. Buntic, relative to this duty to promulgate
13 legislation, was it the same for enterprises and other entities, even if
14 they published their rules on a board?
15 A. All companies or legal persons, until 1989, all of them were
16 socially owned. They were duty-bound to publish their general documents,
17 their statutes, their rules of procedure, their self-management
18 agreements and social compacts, and they did so on advertising boards or
19 their internal gazettes. Organisations usually had their own internal
21 Q. Mr. Buntic, now in view of all that we have already said, could
22 we agree also with the conclusion that the fact that one territorial
23 community publishes its regulations in an official gazette is no proof
24 that that territorial unit is a state?
25 A. By no means. We have already seen that even municipalities had
1 their own official gazettes, and the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
2 is an association of municipalities. And the public nature and
3 transparency of work required that all regulations and new rules be
4 published in an official gazette.
5 Q. Could you now tell the Trial Chamber whether municipality in the
6 former Yugoslavia
7 which was a kind of legislative body, they had executive councils as
8 executive bodies, and within their purview they had the right to appoint
9 judges of local courts or misdemeanor courts?
10 A. That's correct. The organisation of municipal authority was
11 structured in such a way that municipalities had their Assembly as the
12 highest body of administration, the body that passed laws that were
13 within the purview of the municipality. They had their own executive
14 councils, which practically enforced the legislation passed by the
15 Assembly. Municipalities selected and appointed judges for misdemeanor
16 courts and municipal civilian courts, that is, first-instance courts.
17 They had the right to elect and relieve judges, and they had the duty to
18 finance municipal courts, regardless of whether they were misdemeanor
19 courts or regular first-instance courts.
20 Q. This division into the legislative, executive and judicial
21 authority, was it -- did it apply to other levels of authority;
22 autonomous provinces, republics, et cetera?
23 A. It is true that the internal structure of bodies of government
24 was copied from the highest level, the federal state, to the lowest
25 level, the municipality.
1 Q. Now, in view of what has been said, could we agree with the
2 following conclusion --
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: After hearing your answer, I would like to ask a
4 question. But, please, I did not want to interrupt.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But Ms. Alaburic should state
6 what her conclusion is first.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. The interruption now has happened,
8 and I have a very, very elementary question. We hear the word
9 "misdemeanor" repeated again and again. Could you tell the Chamber, what
10 is the definition of a misdemeanor as opposed to, what, a crime, or a
11 felony, or a contravention?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to the law on minor
13 offences or misdemeanors, misdemeanors were acts of lesser or
14 insignificant danger to the society or acts which resulted in minor
15 consequences. Usually, in practice, traffic violations that did not
16 cause any grave consequence, such as great material damage, fatality or
17 serious bodily injury were treated as a misdemeanor. A serious car
18 accident would be a crime if it resulted in a fatality, in serious
19 material damage and serious bodily injury. All the rest were
20 misdemeanors. That included speeding, which was the most frequent form
21 of traffic violation; that is, in the field of traffic.
22 Also, all the legislation in the former Yugoslavia, including
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina, stipulated which acts were misdemeanors in a
24 certain category, and the sentences that could be meted out. Sixty days
25 imprisonment was the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor, and there were
1 also fines envisaged.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much. That's a very precise
3 answer, and I now know where we are. Thank you very much.
4 Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] We will return to our territorial
6 units now.
7 Q. After what we've said, my proposed conclusion that I want you to
8 agree with or not is this: The fact that one territorial unit has a kind
9 of legislative, a kind of executive and a kind of judicial authority, is
10 no proof that that territorial unit is a state?
11 A. I absolutely agree, because these are not the constitutive
12 elements of a state. I don't think this Court needs an explanation on
13 what the elements of a state are.
14 Q. No need to explain. Over the past few days --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I do have a
16 question. Thanks to Ms. Alaburic, I have become cognizant of something
17 very interesting.
18 Through her questions, she elicited from you that judges of basic
19 courts were elected by their municipalities. I did not know that. This
20 is something new to me. In the federal system, that's how things worked.
21 Automatically, judges of basic courts were elected by the municipalities.
22 This is the federal system; is that so?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that is the way it was
24 in every municipality in the former Yugoslavia
25 was a possibility that several municipalities had a common basic court.
1 Such was the example of the Basic Court in Mostar. The Basic Court in
2 Mostar was established for three municipalities; the Mostar municipality,
3 Nevesinje municipality and Citluk municipality. In that Basic Court in
4 Mostar, judges were elected in agreement with all three municipalities
5 and financed by all three municipalities proportionately to their
6 respective populations. That's how it worked in principle. There
7 existed some exceptions. That's why it was called "Basic Court" and not
8 a municipal court, because there was a possibility that several
9 municipalities share the same basic court.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Buntic, over the past days, on several occasions you said
13 that defence had been a priority on several occasions, so that both the
14 civilian and military police forces were engaged in combat activities
15 because the priority was to defend the territory of Herceg-Bosna from
16 attacks by either armies. Do you recall that part of your testimony?
17 A. That's correct, and I, as the commander of the defence for
18 Citluk, used the reserve force of the civilian police in order to cover
19 several sections of the frontline which were not fully covered because of
20 exhaustion. We even had certain cases where we were attacked by toxic
21 warheads. For that reason, the civilian police had to sometimes be
22 engaged along the frontline, and this was true even more so for the
23 military police, which was engaged even more.
24 Q. Did the civilian HVO, in other words, the government, take care
25 of the interests of the defence of Herceg-Bosna in its work?
1 A. Throughout the war and for as long as there was an immediate
2 threat of war, the most immediate objective was to defend the part of the
3 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. When my friend Karnavas showed you document P00559, which is the
5 minutes from the 6th meeting of the HVO, held on the 7th of October,
6 1992, where, among other things, the organisation of courts was
7 discussed, too. At that time, there were two versions which were put
8 forth as a proposal, and His Honour Judge Trechsel had a question to put
9 to that. There was an explanation provided along with the second version
10 or variant which proposed the setting up of a system which would be
11 outside of the judiciary system of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The explanation
12 was, I quote: "What is at risk is the complete collapse of the defence
13 exercise because of the non-functioning of the courts."
14 My question to you is: Did the HVO or the government, while
15 organising the judiciary, take into account the interests of the defence
16 of Herceg-Bosna?
17 A. In the documents I had before me, which were tendered by the
18 Stojic Defence, included, I believe, minutes wherein a discontentment of
19 the head of the Defence Department was expressed because judges had not
20 been previously elected for military courts. I believe that that
21 criticism was quite justified.
22 The two versions or variants we referred to earlier, I believe I
23 explained extensively. Version number 2 was proposed earlier on.
24 However, after the Tudjman-Izetbegovic agreement in Medjugorje, dated the
25 21st of July, we, and I mean the deputy -- or, rather, the justice
1 minister and I agreed and issued a decree on district military courts,
2 district military prosecutors' offices, departments of the Supreme Court,
3 and Republican prosecutors' office, because those had been harmonised
4 with the relevant legislation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 Q. Tell us, was the establishment of the Military Prosecutors'
6 Office also in the service of the defence of Herceg-Bosna?
7 A. Correct. Something that happens in all times of war is
8 desertion, abandonment of posts, impossibility to mobilise fresh forces,
9 and whatever normally happens in other parts of the world also happened
10 in that region, and it had to be regulated in some way. We said that the
11 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina had already placed out of force the
12 federal law on military courts and military prosecutors' offices, and
13 that particular area had to be regulated in some way. We discussed
14 various versions or variants, but I believe it is quite clear which of
15 these we opted for ultimately.
16 Q. One of the topics you referred to included the financing of
17 military units. On the first day of your examination-in-chief, you
18 testified about how military units were organised at the municipal level
19 and financed by municipalities. Do you recall that?
20 A. That's true. It was solely on that principle that the matters
21 worked, especially in the early days.
22 Q. Since this problem existed of the fact that the system governing
23 military forces was disorganized is not something that we encountered for
24 the first time. Can you tell us now, as a member of the government,
25 whether the decentralised system of financing helped strengthen the
1 position of municipalities and municipal authorities in some way, in the
2 way they were able to control the actions of local military units?
3 A. That's true --
4 MR. STRINGER: Just a precision, Mr. President. If we could get
5 an idea now of the time-frame that the witness is talking about, because
6 I personally would like to know or to be clear exactly on the time-frame
7 that he's discussing at this point, what year, what period.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm referring to the
9 entire period. That's why I didn't specify any time-frame. I'm talking
10 about the period in which military units were established at the level of
12 In the set of documents I prepared, you will find minutes from
13 the month of October 1993, where Messrs. Stojic, Praljak and Petkovic, at
14 a government meeting, tried to draw everybody's attention to the problem
15 of financing military units locally, which made effective control over
16 them impossible and created additional problems. We will come to that
17 later, but my question right now relates to the period of 1992 and up to
18 and until the month of October 1993. As for the rest, I will be
19 specifying time-frames as needed.
20 Q. Mr. Buntic, what remains in the record of your answer is:
21 "That's true." Can you please resume giving your answer?
22 A. For illustration's sake, I will give you an example from my
23 personal experience.
24 I was the commander of the defence of Citluk at the time when the
25 municipality of Citluk was defending itself on its own. We had the
1 Yugoslav People's Army on the southern boundaries of the municipality of
2 Mostar and, in other words, on the northern boundaries of the
3 municipality of Citluk. That was the situation that prevailed until the
4 end of 1991, when due to the situation that I was faced with, that's to
5 say, my soldiers were exhausted, there were very many wounded and the
6 state of affairs in the units in general was very difficult, I was forced
7 to resign. We were able to see -- and let me now be precise -- that
8 evidence was presented before this Tribunal whereby the municipality of
9 Ljubuski issued a decision, and this was our neighbouring southern
10 municipality, which strictly forbade any of its soldiers to leave the
11 municipality. So while the municipality of Citluk
12 under the burden, the adjacent municipality of Ljubuski
13 in force which banned any of its soldiers from leaving that municipality.
14 Q. Mr. Buntic, we will be talking about the decentralised system of
15 municipalities a bit later. I would like to focus on the issue of
16 financing now.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Let me correct an error at
18 page 80, line 15. The year was not 1991, but 1992. We are referring to
19 the year 1992 and 1993, up until the month of October, and the issue of
20 financing military units.
21 Q. In a nutshell, Mr. Buntic, can we conclude that there was local
22 financing --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Alaburic, I think the witness said "1991,"
24 so you should perhaps not yourself testify, but ask him whether it was
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm merely saying
2 what my learned friend here wrote down for me, and I'm sure that this is
3 true because my other colleagues were motioning to me that this was the
4 case. But we can check.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It may be, Ms. Alaburic, but your learned
6 colleague isn't the witness either.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let us not waste any
8 more time on this. We can resolve the matter in the following way.
9 Q. Mr. Buntic, you were telling us how you were at the Command of
10 Citluk, and you said that this was the situation that prevailed until the
11 end of 1991: You were faced with a situation where your soldiers were
12 exhausted and so on and so forth. Since I really have no direct
13 knowledge about you misspeaking or not, were you referring to 1991 or
15 A. 1991.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I was merely
17 relaying another's observation of an apparent mistake.
18 Q. Let us go back to what I'm actually interested in, which is the
19 financing of the military units in 1992 and 1993, until the month of
20 October 1993, to be more precise.
21 Can we conclude in a sentence whether there was local financing
22 and whether this helped strengthen the influence of the local authorities
23 on the leadership of the local brigades?
24 A. I'm sure and positive that until the autumn of 1992, the
25 municipal HVOs, in other words, the armies, were financed solely from the
1 municipal funds. Thereafter -- well, let me tell you first that I'm not
2 an individual who knew any of the budgetary details of the municipalities
3 or of the HVO. I wasn't interested in that. But until the autumn of
4 1992, they were solely financed from municipal funds. I do not consider
5 myself competent to speak of what the finances were like thereafter.
6 Q. Very well. We will be discussing that when we come to the issue
7 of the government meetings which you, too, attended.
8 Let me go back to a more complex set of questions which have to
9 do with -- more directly with the defence. I see that you have received
10 my set of documents, and I believe Their Honours have them as well. Let
11 me just make this remark about the way the documents were sorted, and
12 they were sorted out in the order in which I intend to put them to the
13 witness. If I at any point decide to skip any of the documents, I will
14 say so.
15 The first document you have before you, Mr. Buntic, is 4D 00819,
16 which is already in evidence. This is a Decree on the Armed Forces, the
17 consolidated text from the month of October 1992. I'm interested in
18 Article 9. I direct your attention to Article 9, which sets out the
19 tasks of the Croatian Defence Council in the defence of Herceg-Bosna. It
20 is not my intention to read all nine of the items, but I kindly ask you
21 to cast your eye on them and tell us if, to your knowledge, these were
22 indeed the issues that fell within the purview of the civilian HVO,
23 that's to say, Government of Herceg-Bosna.
24 A. This article sets out the purview. Therefore, I do confirm that
25 this was the decree adopted on the 17th of October, 1992 -- or, rather,
1 it wasn't passed, but it was amended and, as such, promulgated in the
2 Official Gazette of the HZ-HB.
3 Q. Can you tell us, did the civilian HVO or, in other words,
4 government discharge the affairs from within its purview or not?
5 A. I believe that it did to the extent it was able to.
6 Q. Tell us, did the reports on the work of the civilian HVO, i.e.,
7 the government, contain a report on the work of the Main Staff of the
9 A. I'm not sure.
10 Q. Very well. Let us quickly go through several minutes and other
11 documents from the meetings of the civilian HVO, i.e., the government,
12 which were dedicated to the military situation, political and military
13 and security-related situation, in the territory of the HZ-HB.
14 The first document we have in that set is one that you commented
15 upon by saying that it was correct. That's P1227. For that reason, I
16 will skip the document. I don't need it for my question.
17 However, my question will have to do with the following document;
18 namely, P1324, minutes from the meeting of the HVO on the 27th of
19 January, 1993. You're not listed as having attended the meeting, but if
20 you attended the following meeting, when the minutes were verified, you
21 might be familiar with what was going on at that meeting.
22 Did you ever see the minutes from the 27th of January, 1993,
24 A. I'm not sure. As the minutes clearly show, I did not attend the
25 meeting. I think I was abroad on business. That was the 27th of
1 January, 1993, and I believe that my business trip lasted some 15 days,
2 although I can't be positive about it.
3 Q. We will skip that document as well.
4 Let's look at P1511, minutes dated the 18th of February, and you
5 attended the meeting. Item 8 of the agenda, discussion on unauthorised
6 mobilisation of conscripts, and a requisitioning of business premises and
7 materiel and technical equipment from the BH Army. Tell us, Mr. Buntic,
8 do you recall this issue being discussed?
9 A. As the document shows, I attended the meeting. However, the
10 lapse of time took its toll. I can't remember everything that was
11 entered into the minutes, I really cannot. But if you can jog my
12 memory --
13 Q. Please look at item 8. Do you recall that part of the
14 discussion, and do you recall anything that would be of importance to us
15 and which would have to do with the implementation of the regulation
16 concerning the mobilisation of conscripts?
17 A. With the best of will, I can't.
18 Q. All right. Document 1D 1182, 27th of February, 1993, an interim
19 session with just one item on the agenda, "Security and military
20 situation." It's the territory of Central Bosnia. There are a number of
21 curious observations here, but we can focus on item 3, which says: "It
22 is considered to be important, in order to increase the efficiency of our
23 common struggle against the aggressor and to improve the development of
24 Croat-Muslim relations, to form a Main Staff and to relieve of his duties
25 Sefer Halilovic, to make changes in the Main Staff of the BH Army."
1 Do you remember this?
2 A. I remember this issue was discussed, and I also remember why.
3 There was information that the person mentioned here, a high-ranking
4 officer of the former Counter-intelligence Service of the
5 Yugoslav People's Army, was infiltrated as such first into the
6 Patriotic League and then into the top echelon of the Army of
8 Q. Thank you for this clarification. Let's move on to P1627 . It's
9 a note from a working meeting held on 8 March 1993. I repeat the name of
10 the -- the number of the document, P01627.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Everything is so fast, let's
12 go back to what you have just said, Witness.
13 If I understand properly what you said, unless I'm wrong -- if
14 I'm wrong, please correct me straight away -- Halilovic was an officer of
15 the Yugoslav service and who had to infiltrate the Patriotic League, and
16 that's why he had a senior rank in the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 This is the Halilovic you were talking about?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's about Sefer Halilovic,
19 Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And is this the reason why in
21 this document it is asked that his position should be terminated?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct, because we had information
23 that the Counter-Intelligence Service, through its officers who had been
24 infiltrated into the top echelon of the BH Army, is trying to provoke
25 conflicts between Bosniaks and Croats. And to corroborate this theory of
1 mine, I will show you a proof. I'll show you evidence from my bag.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Don't show the evidence, but
3 what is it?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's an exclusive interview given
5 to "Slobodna Bosna" magazine by the commander of the BH Army or, rather,
6 its first commander of the Territorial Defence, listing all the officers
7 of the Counter-Intelligence Service of the Yugoslav Army who had, as
8 such, been infiltrated into the top echelon of the BH Army.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Buntic, we were talking about document 1182. Let's move on
12 to the next document, P1627. It's a meeting from -- it's a note from a
13 working meeting of the 8th of March, 1993, discussing tasks for the
14 period to follow. And in item 2(a), it states:
15 "Establish better cooperation with military units and strengthen
16 military commands in Central Bosnia."
17 Can you confirm?
18 A. This is the 8th of March, the spring of 1993, a time when
19 Croat-Bosniak conflicts were already beginning in Central Bosnia. Not
20 long after this, I visited Central Bosnia. I saw the situation with my
21 own eyes, but I know that already then tensions were high in the area of
22 Gornji Vakuf and in all Central Bosnia, Vitez, Busovaca, et cetera, and
23 the first incidents were occurring between the BH Army and the HVO.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Buntic, so its task in item 2(b) of this document.
25 Let us look at another document, 1D 1664. It's a record from a
1 HVO session of the 19th April 1993. You attended. Topic number 1 was
2 reviewing the military and security situation in the Croatian Community
3 of Herceg-Bosna. The HVO instructs the Defence Department and the
4 Main Staff to take all military mobilisation measures with a view to
5 protecting Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
6 Do you remember this order of the HVO to the Defence Department
7 and the Main Staff?
8 A. This is 19 April, when the conflict already intensified. And as
9 we see, HVO is ordering military mobilisation measures, not specific
10 military action but mobilisation measures; in other words, to carry out a
12 Q. Just one clarification. There's no dispute that the civilian
13 HVO, that is, the government, did not issue orders for specific military
14 operations; is that so?
15 A. Yes, but it was able to pass decisions and documents related to
16 mobilisation. Every municipality could do that much.
17 Q. Conclusion number 2 is that all the bodies and services of the
18 HVO of HZ-HB are required to take every possible step in order to defend
20 A. That confirms what I've said before; that is, that the first and
21 foremost objective and the very raison d'etre of the Croatian Community
22 of Herceg-Bosna was to defend this territory.
23 Q. Item 3 gives full support to the measures taken and the overall
24 common action of the commands of the HVO, the military and civilian
25 police forces, and the Main Staff of the HVO. Do you remember, was that
1 really so?
2 A. Well, this is praise given probably for the work done by then and
3 the success achieved by then that was real.
4 Q. All right. The next document is P2124. It's signed by
5 Mr. Jadranko Prlic as president of the HVO. He refers to the HVO session
6 of the 24 April 1993
7 working group, including you, which will visit the war-torn area and
8 establish the state of affairs, and, depending on that, suggest specific
9 measures to be taken.
10 Do you remember how this working group was established?
11 A. I do. I remember also that this group did accomplish its
12 mission. We visited Central Bosnia and most of the municipalities in
13 Central Bosnia
14 details that we learned and that we saw during that trip across
15 Central Bosnia
16 Q. No need. Let us look at the next document, 1D 1666. These are
17 minutes of the 17 May 1993
18 the military and security situation. This time there is mention of
19 conflicts in Mostar on the 9th of May and about an attack by Muslim
20 forces against HVO barracks, Tihomir Misic, in Mostar on the 9th of May,
21 1993. Do you have any knowledge about this attack on the 9th of May,
23 A. I know that there were skirmishes in Mostar, that from the 9th of
24 May onwards the conflict intensified. But how exactly it started, I did
25 not have enough information about that. I didn't know anything other
1 than what was discussed at Cabinet sessions. I had no other source of
3 Q. In the second paragraph of item 1, there is mention of the
4 HVO Commission for Exchanging Prisoners. Tell me, the HVO had such a
5 commission back in 1992; correct?
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, you're about to
7 raise a new topic. I'll go back to the 9th of May, because we have spent
8 some hundreds of hours on the issue of the 9th of May. There is still a
9 lot to say about this topic.
10 Where were you on the 9th of May, Witness?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in Citluk, and early in the
12 morning I went to work from Citluk to Mostar, and I was stopped somewhere
13 at a place we called Kobilovaca. It's a kind of pass when you start
14 descending from Citluk towards Mostar. There were military policemen
15 standing on the road, and I was informed that there were skirmishes in
16 Mostar and that I shouldn't go in. They did not say, in so many words,
17 that they forbid me to go any further, but they warned me that the
18 conflict had escalated and that it is inadvisable to go to Mostar, after
19 which I returned home.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Where were you on the 8th of
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 8th May, again I think I was in
23 Mostar, at work, until about 3.00 p.m. And after 3.00 p.m., I commuted
24 every day from Mostar back home in my own car.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Here is my third and final
1 answer [as interpreted] to you: Had the HVO launched an attack against
2 places held by the ABiH in Mostar? Was it within your purview to be
3 associated with a general plan by the HVO against Muslim forces, or would
4 you not have been involved because you were not supposed to intervene, it
5 was not within your remit?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll tell you about an event which
7 was typical.
8 On that day, 9 of May, HVO arrested my deputy in Mostar.
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the name.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] ... which indicates that neither he
11 nor I had no prior knowledge of this.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will you please indicate the
13 name of your deputy, because it was not heard by the interpreter.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My deputy, Karlo Sesar, who was in
15 the neighbouring building next to the boundary where the skirmishes were
16 happening, in the hotbed of the conflict itself.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your deputy was your right
18 hand or was he an assistant? Was your deputy the number 2?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was my deputy, my right hand,
20 not assistant. In addition to him, I had two assistants, but he was not
21 an assistant. He was a deputy.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the HVO took him prisoner;
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that he was in the adjacent
25 building, a building right on the border where the fighting was going on.
1 And as such, he was removed from that area, from that territory. He just
2 happened to be in the heart of the conflict. He was completely
3 unprepared. He had no inkling of what was to come. He had no clue that
4 a conflict could occur that day. So he was removed from that territory
5 not in order to be arrested or detained. He was just taken away from
6 that area from his apartment. He even lived in the next building. He
7 lived there, resided there.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Tell us, Mr. Buntic, in the last paragraph of page 1, there is
11 mention of the removal of civilians. Are you familiar with the fact that
12 on that day, the 9th of May, 1993, the civilians who resided in the
13 war-struck areas, those of Muslim ethnicity, had been taken away and put
14 up for a period of some ten days to two weeks in the location of
15 Heliodrom, and that this had been done for their own safety?
16 A. As I said, my very deputy was removed -- taken out of the area
17 where there were conflicts. I said that I was in Citluk on that day and
18 that whatever I knew, I heard from the mass media, and I was only able to
19 obtain official information at the next meeting of the HVO.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Alaburic, I must say the last question that
21 you put was not only leading, it went beyond leading, because you implied
22 a legal qualification which you just took because it seems to suit you,
23 as you said that they were -- they were put away for their protection.
24 And that, I think, is not a correct way to ask the questions. You must
25 ask whether they were taken, and then you must ask whether he knew for
1 what purpose. That's for the next time.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you for your
3 guidance. Let me just tell you that I do not believe that I made a
4 mistake. My question had to do with the third paragraph of the minutes
5 from the government meeting, and the minutes mention the removal of the
6 civilians. And if you look at the end of the paragraph, it says there
7 that they were taken out of the bounds of the town for their own safety's
8 sake. So my question related to the conclusions contained in the minutes
9 from this government meeting, and not to any position that I may advance.
10 I hope that this explanation satisfies your -- the issue you
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Alaburic, I'm certainly not accusing you of
13 trying to play tricks. I still think that it's not a very good question,
14 but I absolutely accept your explanation.
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 Q. Let us look at the next document, Mr. Buntic, document 1D 1608,
17 minutes from the HVO meeting held on the 24th of May, 1993. From the
18 list of those in attendance, we see that you were there, but Mr. Prlic
19 was absent.
20 My first question is: Was this the first of the three meetings
21 of the HVO you mentioned which Mr. Prlic did not attend after he was
22 appointed president of the transitional government according to the
23 Vance-Owen Plan?
24 A. To the best of my recollection, that would be the first or one of
25 the three meetings Mr. Prlic did not chair.
1 Q. What I'm interested, of course -- what I'm interested in, of
2 course, is the discussion on the military and security situation. If we
3 look at the last paragraph of the minutes, we can see that at the end of
4 the meeting, the conclusion about all of the activities of the HVO were
5 issued. Do you recall these conclusions?
6 A. I attended the meeting, and I can confirm that these minutes do
7 indeed come from that meeting.
8 Q. Do you recall the government making a conclusion calling upon the
9 chief of the Main Staff to come and report on the military and security
11 A. Yes. I believe that this occurred at this very meeting.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] We still have time left for the
13 next minutes, unless we don't have that time, I can continue tomorrow.
14 Thank you.
15 Mr. President, I only have one request of you --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think that it is better to
17 reconvene tomorrow. We still have 30 seconds left today. It is better
18 to resume the hearing tomorrow.
19 Mr. Alaburic, you wanted to put a final question?
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I fully
21 understand and agree that we should continue tomorrow.
22 However, I should like the witness to be allowed to take the
23 documents I prepared along with him, because we will be working on them
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 Yes, Mr. Stringer.
2 MR. STRINGER: I object to that, Mr. President. This is
3 cross-examination, and I think that the manner in which this examination
4 and the others are being led is such that it's not appropriate for
5 witnesses to be sent home with documents.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will consult my fellow
7 Judges on that issue.
8 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before you decide on
9 the matter, let me just tell you that one protected witness, whose name I
10 therefore cannot utter in the courtroom, and who is very important for my
11 client, was able to take along all the documents prepared for him by the
12 Defence for Mr. Petkovic. We were all in agreement about it. We wanted
13 him to be fully familiar with the documents we would be discussing the
14 following day. Nobody opposed that, and this was the basis on which we
15 proceeded in our cross-examination. This was a Prosecution witness who
16 was heard in the month of November of last year.
17 Thank you.
18 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, first of all, you know, this is yet
19 another surprise. No one raised this with the Prosecution previously, so
20 this is completely coming to us from out of the blue, as we say.
21 I don't know about prior precedent. I don't know about other
22 witnesses. What I know is that this is not appropriate to raise at the
23 very end of the day, when a stack of papers has been dropped on the
24 Prosecution at about the same moment it's being dropped on the witness.
25 If we're going to establish a precedent of sending all the witnesses back
1 to their hotels with the documents, it's something that could have been
2 done much more frequently or in earlier stages of the trial. There
3 certainly could have been times when the Prosecution could have availed
4 itself of a procedure. But to raise it now and, frankly, to not extend
5 the courtesy of at least giving the Prosecution some advance notice of
6 their intention to make this request, we oppose it.
7 This is not how this trial has been run. It hasn't been run in
8 this way in the last year, and we oppose it.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we move into
10 private session for a moment?
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. What did you want to
13 say, Ms. Alaburic.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we move into
15 private session for a moment, and I will give you the full name of the
16 witness. Therefore, it will become obvious that this was not a
17 precedent, my proposal.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move into private
20 One moment. This is about a protected witness. In other words,
21 the witness should not be aware -- made aware of the name of this
22 witness. That's a problem.
23 Well, we know there's a protected witness. No need to give his
24 name. The Judges are going to discuss it straight away.
25 THE REGISTRAR: I should mention that on record we are now in
1 private session.
2 [Private session]
11 Page 30701 redacted. Private session.
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In open session, the
3 Trial Chamber reminds Ms. Alaburic that she should have warned us of
4 this, at least at the beginning of the hearing, and not at 1915, which
5 forces the interpreters to work an extra 15 minutes, and we are very
6 sorry to have been faced with this issue at this time of the day.
7 The Trial Chamber also deems that most of the documents can be
8 broken down into two main parts. There are texts that the witness is
9 supposed to know and meetings which he attended. As such, there is no
10 particular reason why he should not be allowed to see the documents, be
11 it only to refresh his memory or for him to be more efficient.
12 This decision is not going to be a precedent. Of course, this is
13 a decision on a case-by-case basis. The Trial Chamber is therefore going
14 to ask the usher or the Registrar to give the binder to the witness so
15 that he can inspect it tonight and tomorrow morning, since we're going to
16 reconvene tomorrow at 2.15.
17 The hearing stands adjourned.
Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.14 p.m.
19 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 15th day
20 of July, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.