1 Tuesday, 15 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
10 the Prosecutor versus Jadranko Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 Today is Tuesday, the 15th of July, 2008. Good afternoon to the
13 accused, to the Defence counsel, to the witness, the Prosecutor and his
14 associates, and all the people helping us out.
15 We are to continue with the cross-examination today.
16 Ms. Alaburic, you still have 47 minutes left.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, good afternoon to
18 you. Good afternoon to you, Mr. Buntic, and everyone else in the
19 courtroom. First of all, I would like to thank Their Honours for
20 accepting my suggestion that the witness have a look at the documents we
21 will be discussing today. I believe that it will help make the
22 proceedings more expeditious.
23 WITNESS: ZORAN BUNTIC [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic: [Continued]
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Buntic, we stopped yesterday when we were
2 discussing document 1D 1609. We left off discussing document 1D 1609,
3 minutes from the meeting of the civilian HVO held on the 26th of May,
4 1993. We can see that you attended the meeting. The first item on the
5 agenda was the analysis of the military -- or rather, the second item on
6 the agenda was the military and security situation, and we can see that
7 General Milivoj Petkovic was the one who briefed those present on the
8 military and security situation.
9 Do you recall the meeting and can you confirm the extent of the
11 A. Yes, I do recall the meeting held on the 26th of May. These are
12 the minutes from the meeting.
13 Q. Very well. Let us look at the end of the penultimate paragraph
14 of this section of the minutes under AD1, where it says that the head of
15 the defence department said: "In the past work of the HZ HB there has
16 not been enough effort in all the areas such as the assistance for
17 civilian, supply of humanitarian aid, and so on and so forth, all of
18 these were given within the jurisdiction of the defence department."
19 Mr. Buntic, can you confirm for us that these were affairs of a
20 civilian nature which were by circumstances, as the circumstances
21 dictated and contrary to the regulations, given to the purview of the
22 defence department?
23 A. When it comes to the care for the refugees, transportation,
24 material and technical equipment for the needs of a large number of
25 displaced persons who had by that time already started arriving in the
1 area, I believe that the defence department was in fact very much
2 burdened by these tasks which were of a civilian character. The Office
3 For the Displaced Persons and Refugees had not yet started attending its
4 duties in terms of care for refugees and displaced persons and I'm well
5 aware of the fact that these tasks fell within the purview of the defence
7 Q. Very well. The conclusions that follow in the text say that:
8 "Measures need to be taken in order to ensure continued payment of
9 salaries for soldiers."
10 Tell us, Mr. Buntic, do you have any knowledge about irregular
11 payment of salaries to soldiers?
12 A. Over the past days I talked about the fact that throughout 1992
13 and in part in 1993 the municipalities or the municipal HVOs were the
14 ones through which the HVO soldiers were paid their salaries. I believe
15 it was only maybe in February 1993 that the HVOs, municipal HVOs, got
16 their accounts to dispense their business. I believe that it was only in
17 early 1993. Therefore, all the finances in 1992 and the first three
18 months of 1993 went exclusively through municipalities and from
19 municipalities. Only at that point was the budget of the HZ HB in the
21 Q. Tell us, in the course of 1992 and 1993, were there situations
22 where soldiers hailing from the so-called more affluent municipalities of
23 western Herzegovina
24 high amounts, while at the same time soldiers of the HVO, for instance,
25 in Central Bosnia, had been without pay for months?
1 A. We even held meetings on the issue and some regulations were
2 passed for that particular issue. I know that not the affluent
3 municipalities, such as Tomislavgrad, but others which had a great many
4 of its inhabitants temporarily working abroad, for instance, in Germany
5 they paid funds to the accounts of the municipalities as aid. We know
6 that some municipalities were unable to fund those soldiers, and in
7 particular the municipalities in Central Bosnia were unable to pay their
8 salaries unlike the municipalities of Tomislav and Livno which received a
9 great deal of their funds from the sources I mentioned.
10 Q. Tell us, do you have any knowledge about such a situation having
11 some sort of bearing on the mood prevailing among the soldiers and their
13 A. Of course it had a bearing. If you have members of the same
14 army, some of whom received their salaries regularly and others receiving
15 none, then of course you will have these soldiers communicating and
16 interacting and becoming aware of soldiers, some of whom were receiving
17 salaries, others who were not; and of course those who were not became
18 discontented with the situation. There were situations where the
19 commanders had to deal with such situation as the front line.
20 Q. Mr. Buntic, let us look at document 1D 1667 now -- 1D 1167,
21 minutes from the HVO meeting, 28th of May, 1993. We can still see that
22 Mr. Prlic is still absent because of the obligations that required him to
23 be present in the transitional government. We look at item 3.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Can Madam Alaburic please repeat the title of
25 that particular item 3 and can the speakers please slow down.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can confirm. I was present
2 at this meeting and I believe that this was one of the two or three
3 meetings when Mr. Prlic -- which Prlic did not attend because he was
4 first appointed the prime minister elect who was supposed to form the
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. At the very end of the minutes it says that at the end of the
8 meeting support was expressed for the total of the defence effort of the
9 HVO staff. Can you confirm that this was the case?
10 A. Yes, but let me add something briefly.
11 Q. Mr. Buntic, please, since I'm working under time restraints, can
12 I ask you to leave any explanations for later, if necessary. Let's look
13 at P 2575 now. The document is already an exhibit. Minutes from the
14 meeting -- joint meeting of the civilian HVO of Herceg-Bosna and the HVO
15 of Mostar municipality held on the 31st of May, 1993. Those present are
16 not listed here and that's why I'm asking you whether you attended the
17 meeting or not.
18 A. I don't believe I did. As far as I remember, no.
19 Q. Then we'll skip that document. Let's go to the next document,
20 1D 1610, minutes from the meeting of the civilian HVO, the 10th of June,
21 1993. We see here that Mr. Jadranko Prlic again attended the meetings of
22 the civilian HVO and that you were there as well.
23 I'm interested in the second item of the agenda: The current
24 military and security situation in Central Bosnia. We see that the head
25 of the defence department briefed the present members of the civilian HVO
1 on the situation and suggested at the end that the Presidency of the HZ
2 HB be -- call a meeting and that a military council be set up comprising
3 seven to ten
4 at the meeting of the civilian HVO before such a proposal was formulated?
5 Was the situation alarming or did the events on the ground call for such
6 an urgent measure to be adopted?
7 A. Between February and June 1993 - and this is reflected probably
8 in the minutes relating to that period - one can see the difficulties
9 that the HVO of the HZ HB was faced with. I'm also referring to the
10 tasks within my purview. In other words, the conflicts between the
11 Bosniaks and Croats intensified, reached their peak in Central Bosnia
12 later on they spread on to Mostar and Herzegovina. In a nutshell, the
13 Muslim forces, through the BH army and the security services in Mostar
14 and Herzegovina
15 decree -- or rather, their objective of how the state structure should be
16 organized. They wanted to establish their own districts through a
17 military way. In that context Mr. Prlic was absent from the meetings in
18 order to try set up a government that was based on the agreement which
19 dictated the setting up of provinces. In other words, there was great
20 fighting resulting in large numbers of refugees and displaced persons
21 from these areas.
22 Q. Very well.
23 A. That's the extent of what I can tell you.
24 Q. Tell us, these proposals for the introduction of urgent measures
25 put forth by the head of the department, were they accepted, do you have
1 any -- were they implemented, do you have any knowledge of that?
2 A. No, they were not implemented. The Presidency did not meet after
3 this meeting and could therefore not have appointed such a council.
4 Q. Let us look at the following document, 1D 1669, minutes from the
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. Excuse me, Ms. Alaburic.
7 It would be interesting to know if you can say so why these
8 proposals were left unrealized.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It follows from the proposal put
10 forth by the head of the defence department that the Presidency should
11 meet and a council be set up due to the emergency situation prevailing in
12 the areas I referred to, and this is something that can be gleaned from
13 all these documents, i.e., the intensification of the conflicts.
14 However, the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna did not
15 meet and did not pass such a decision. Why not? Well, I find it hard to
16 explain. None of us were authorised or had the power to call a meeting
17 of the Presidency. We could only launch initiatives, which we did. But
18 you will see from the minutes that Mr. Zuljevic and I on several
19 occasions during the meetings of the HVO, as in this particular instance,
20 it was Stojic who asked that the Presidency should meet and take certain
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Buntic, could you tell us, who was the president of the
25 Presidency that you're talking about?
1 A. The president of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of
2 Herceg-Bosna throughout the period that it existed was Mate Boban.
3 Q. Fine. Could we now please look at the next document, that's
4 1D 1669, the minutes from the meeting of the civilian HVO dated the
5 5th of July. We can see from the list of the attendees that you were
6 present. Let's look at item 8 of the agenda, report on the military and
7 security situation in the HZ HB, and I would like to draw your attention
8 to the fact that this civilian HVO concluded regarding this item that at
9 the next session the military and security situation in the HZ HB should
10 be discussed at the next session and that the chief of the Main Staff
11 should be invited.
12 My question to you, Mr. Buntic, is: Do you remember this session
13 and could you please confirm whether the minutes are accurate?
14 A. Yes, I do remember and I can confirm that.
15 Q. And could you please tell us whether you know if the chief of the
16 Main Staff was indeed invited to the next session of the civilian HVO?
17 A. Yes, I do believe that this was the case, but I can't really
18 remember so I can't really make any claims to that effect. But I believe
19 that at one or two sessions of the HVO he was present, one or two. I
20 don't know whether it was the next one or any other session, but as far
21 as I can remember he did attend one or at most two of such sessions.
22 Q. Could we please look at the next document, that's 1D 1672, the
23 minutes from the meeting of the civilian HVO. The date is the 22nd of
24 July, 1993. We don't have a list of attendees, and that's why I want to
25 ask you whether you, Mr. Buntic, to the best of your knowledge did attend
1 this meeting?
2 A. This is the 22nd of July, 1993. I can't really be certain,
3 Madam, so we have to put some caveats in place here. I can't be certain
4 that I attended.
5 Q. Fine. And it follows from these meetings that the chief of the
6 Main Staff, General Milivoj Petkovic, my client, briefed the civilian HVO
7 about the military and security situation; and in accordance with the
8 minutes, that would be the second time that he attended those meetings of
9 the HVO. Does this refresh your recollection?
10 A. Well, I said even before that I know that he attended one or two
11 such sessions or meetings. I believe that one of those meetings was this
13 Q. Could we please now look at the next document, that's 4D 00471.
14 That's the conclusion from the meeting of the House of Representatives of
15 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna held on the 30th of September,
16 1993. What I would like you to help us understand, Mr. Buntic, is item 4
17 in these conclusions and I quote: "The supreme commander of the army of
18 the Croatian Republic
19 army of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
20 Croatian Republic
21 Republic of Herceg-Bosna
22 all the measures necessary to defend the Croatian people and its rights."
23 My question to you is this: To your knowledge, did the House of
24 Representatives have the power to issue such orders?
25 A. Well, I don't recall having attended this meeting of the House of
1 Representatives, but I do know that this document was passed and if we
2 look at the powers of the House of Representatives, it was empowered to
3 make decisions. So I think we can agree on that. But now, whether it
4 could order or issue commands or orders to anyone, that's a completely
5 different thing. So it could issue or make decisions, but to my mind,
6 orders are not the kind of documents or instruments that the House of
7 Representatives could pass. I am aware of these conclusions because I
8 came across it in my work. I know about its existence, and as you can --
9 as you said yourself, what you just noted follows from it.
10 Q. Fine. Mr. Buntic, now regardless of the name or title of a
11 decision, was the house of representatives empowered to make decisions
12 that would bind the four bodies to engage in some activities?
13 A. Well, yes. As I said before, decisions it could make, yes.
14 Q. Okay. Could we please look at the last document on this topic,
15 that's P 5799, it's already an exhibit. This is the -- these are the
16 minutes from an extraordinary meeting of the government. The date is the
17 9th of October, 1993. The only topic is the military and security
18 situation in Herceg-Bosna, and we can see from these introductory parts
19 that Generals Praljak and Petkovic and Mr. Stojic warn about the
20 detrimental -- possible detriment of the improper application of
21 regulations, arbitrary actions by some organs in some municipalities
22 which affect the morale of the soldiers and the combat-readiness of the
23 troops, and primarily because of the fact that the unified financial
24 system is not functioning which affects the equal financial status of all
25 the members of Herceg-Bosna army, armed forces.
1 Mr. Buntic, does this reflect what we have been talking about,
2 about this topic?
3 A. Yes, this is something that we discussed over the past days and
4 also today. You have the specific examples, the specific municipalities
5 that were, so to speak, more affluent, that had enough funds in the
6 budget to finance their troops, and this again affected other troops in
7 other municipalities which did not have those funds and this resulted in
8 an unequal status among the troops serving in the same armed forces. And
9 people talked and they were aware of the situation. And here obviously a
10 way out is sought to resolve the situation and to establish some kind of
11 order here.
12 Q. Let me now move on to the topic that has to do with the set of
13 documents marked with 3 in my binder, so if I run out of time I would
14 like to deal with this topic which is quite important to me and I will
15 devote any remaining time to the other topics then.
16 Could we please look at document P 00377. This is an exhibit.
17 This is an order issued by my client, Milivoj Petkovic, dated the 10th of
18 August, 1992, prohibiting the entry of armed formations into the areas of
19 responsibility and we can see that this order was issued to the military
20 unit in Citluk too. Could you please tell us, you were the deputy
21 commander of the military unit in Citluk, is that so, while you were in
22 the military HVO?
23 A. In August 1992 I was no longer the deputy commander, so this is
24 August 1992 --
25 Q. I am aware of that.
1 A. Yes. On the 15th of May I was already appointed the head of the
2 justice and general administration department, so before this.
3 Q. But on the basis of what you've told us so far and in your --
4 based on what you said in your testimony in the Kordic case, you did not
5 take over as the head of the defence department but you remained active
6 in the military HVO up until approximately the summer of 1992, and you
7 participated in the actions launched to liberate Mostar and
8 Dubravska Visoravan and Stolac?
9 A. Well, that was about the 20th or the 21st of June, 1992, that was
10 when I took over formally as the head.
11 Q. What I'm interested in is to your knowledge in the summer of
12 1992, in the municipalities that are listed here with the exception of
13 Mostar, was there a military unit of the BH army present there or of any
14 other Muslim army?
15 A. Well, I can say with some certainty -- with certainty that with
16 the exception of Mostar or perhaps also Capljina, there were none. I'm
17 not sure about Capljina so I can't be certain and rule out the
18 possibility that there might have been some unit that was manned by
19 Bosniaks exclusively, that I can't rule out but I can rule out this
20 possibility for all the other municipalities.
21 Q. Thank you. You told us about Mostar over the past two days, that
22 in the summer of 1992 in Mostar there was an independent battalion
23 operating there, it was a Muslim unit, Muslim army, but they operated
24 under the command of the HVO in Mostar and in fact they were part of some
25 kind of synchronised military armed force. Is that so?
1 A. Yes, I attended a number of meetings that were attended by the
2 then-commander of the defence of Mostar, Jasmin Jaganjac, he's a Muslim,
3 a Bosniak, and I was aware of the situation. I knew that in Mostar the
4 HVO and independent battalion were operating jointly, and the 4th Corps
5 of the BH army grew out of this independent battalion.
6 Q. Since this document was shown quite recently in the courtroom as
7 a document purporting to show that this was meant to prohibit the Bosniak
8 forces from entering those municipalities, so I would like us to look at
9 1D 1659, it was shown to you in your examination-in-chief, it was on
10 Tuesday. Now I would like to draw your attention to the portion of the
11 text --
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I just ask a little question with regard to
13 this order.
14 Can we take it then that the chief of the army had the power to
15 give orders to the municipalities? That's what you have here, an order
16 by the commander to the municipalities.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is August 1992. At that time
18 we already had the Main Staff in place and also staffs established in
19 operational zones. So at that time, yes, the Main Staff did exist, and I
20 don't think that this order pertains to the municipal armies or anything,
21 it pertains to the HVO. This is an order issued to HVO units.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If you allow me, Judge Trechsel, I
23 can ask a follow-up question to explain.
24 Q. Mr. Buntic, could you please tell us who is this order issued to,
25 who is it sent to? Who are the addressees?
1 A. Well, the addressees are listed on the right-hand side of this
2 document. You can see here, it says, To all the commands, to all the
3 commanders of the military police, and to all the commanders of the
4 civilian police.
5 Q. And from what we can see here where it says in the lower part to
6 be delivered to, what can we conclude based on that?
7 A. Well, the municipalities that this document should be delivered
8 to. So to all of those bodies in all of those municipalities, that's the
9 way I understand it.
10 Q. Yes. And if you allow me then to make a conclusion, that means
11 that this order was not sent to the municipalities, meaning the municipal
12 authorities, but it is sent to the military units and police forces in
13 those municipalities; is that so?
14 A. That's the way I see it and I think that it follows from this
16 Q. If His Honour Judge Trechsel is happy, can we move on to the next
17 document, that's 1D 1659, could we please look at page 9 of the minutes,
18 that would be page 7 in the English version. You can see here that the
19 head of the defence department made the following warning after the
20 signing of the Tudjman-Izetbegovic Agreement a meeting was held in
22 and it was agreed that the HOS should urgently take over the power from
23 HVO in the territories of Capljina, Ljubuski, and other municipalities.
24 The date for these minutes is the 14th of August, 1992.
25 Could you please tell us, Mr. Buntic, do you have any knowledge
1 about this information, that the HOS was supposed to take over power in
2 the municipalities of Ljubuski, Capljina, and others. These are some of
3 the municipalities listed in this order issued by my client,
4 General Milivoj Petkovic.
5 A. Well, I do know about this. I know about the tensions that
6 resulted in the municipalities of Ljubuski and Capljina, where in
7 particular in Ljubuski there was a threat of large-scale conflicts and
8 great casualties, because at that time there was an HOS unit in Ljubuski,
9 maybe 300 to 500 strong, and the conflicts threatened to break out in
10 those municipalities, in particular in Ljubuski. I know that a great
11 deal of effort was put in to calm those tensions down, to a lesser extent
12 in Capljina, but the worst conflicts threatened to break out in Ljubuski
13 so I know about that for this reason.
14 Q. Thank you very much. Let us go back to the topic that is marked
15 with 2 in your binder. These are criminal proceedings before courts.
16 You are an expert although you say that you're not an expert in criminal
17 law, but I'm sure that you will be able to give me answers to the
18 questions that I will ask you. First of all, a theoretical question, so
19 to speak. In criminal procedure law in the former Yugoslavia, was there
20 a distinction between the principle of legality and the principle of
21 opportunity in criminal prosecution?
22 A. Yes. The principle of legality meant the application of legal
23 norms as they are formulated, whereas the principle of opportunity, the
24 way I see it, is the principle whereby norms that represent all the
25 qualities or characteristics of criminal offence, if such a criminal
1 offence does not pose great danger to the society, then it is not treated
2 as a criminal offence, as a felony, but as a misdemeanour because we had
3 situations --
4 Q. If I can interrupt you since I remember quite well the
5 definitions from our textbooks and we are the same generation, that's not
6 how it is. The principle of legality would imply in criminal procedural
7 law of the former Yugoslavia
8 undertake criminal prosecution whenever there is enough evidence
9 indicating that a certain person perpetrated the criminal offence that
10 must be prosecuted ex officio. Is that correct?
11 A. Well, in criminal procedural law, yes. What I was trying to
12 explain earlier would have to do with substantive criminal law.
13 Q. Tell us, the Law on Criminal Procedure, which was a federal law
14 applied in all of the republics of the former Yugoslavia, did it apply
15 the principle of legality?
16 A. Yes, it was contained in the federal Law on Criminal Procedure of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina and later on by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
19 as we were able to see from the evidence adduced before this Tribunal
20 earlier on.
21 Q. Tell us, did this mean that according to the law the public
22 prosecutor was duty-bound to undertake criminal prosecution or certain
23 actions, not only on the basis of a criminal report but also on the basis
24 of any other relevant information to the effect that a certain individual
25 had committed a certain criminal offence?
1 A. As far as I can remember the definition from the Law on Criminal
2 Procedure, it stated approximately the following. Where a prosecutor
3 comes to learn in whatever way that a certain criminal offence has been
4 committed, he is duty-bound to take certain actions prescribed by the law
5 in order to ascertain whether a criminal offence has indeed been
6 committed; and if so, that the perpetrators thereof be punished.
7 Q. Almost a literal quotation. Mr. Buntic, for Their Honours who
8 are only now hearing about the criminal prosecution as practiced in the
9 former Yugoslavia
10 role of the bodies of the Ministry of the Interior in the criminal
12 A. The role was to detect criminal offences committed, the
13 perpetrators thereof, and to file criminal reports against the
14 perpetrators of criminal offences. Where the latter are not known, then
15 they have to take measures to identify the perpetrators. Based on an
16 order from the prosecutor, they were duty-bound to take certain actions
17 to gather information as required by the prosecutor, who in turn had his
18 duties and obligations prescribed by the law.
19 Q. Apart from that, all the state bodies and the officials in those
20 bodies, did they have the obligation to make sure that the crime scene be
21 secured and that all the evidence recovered at a crime scene be properly
23 A. All the office holders, even in municipalities, were duty-bound
24 by the criminal procedure law to report an offence if it had been
25 committed in the territory of their municipality. This was a duty also
1 held by everyone who came by that information, even if they worked in the
2 socially owned companies and so on and so forth.
3 Q. Since this answer is in full accordance with the Law on
4 Criminal Procedure, I do not see it fit to waste my time to show
5 Mr. Buntic the relevant provisions of the Law on Criminal Procedure.
6 However, I should like to draw Their Honours' attention to the fact that
7 what the witness has just said is contained in Articles 148, 151, 152,
8 154, 162, 163, and 164 of the law.
9 Mr. Buntic, let us see how these obligations were exercised
10 before military courts, in the military judiciary. I will put questions
11 to you, and if I will think that some of your answers are unclear, we
12 will see how the decree on the district military courts resolved the
13 matters. Tell us this: The obligation that we referred to as the
14 obligation of all the state bodies and the officials employed in them,
15 was it in a way translated in the -- into the decree on district military
16 courts as the obligation of the commanders of military units to preserve
17 all the traces, prevent the perpetrators from absconding, and take -- and
18 take all the other measures to ensure that prosecution be carried --
20 A. Of course.
21 Q. Let me just state that Article 27 of the decree on district
22 military courts regulates this. This is Exhibit P 00592, an exhibit
24 Tell us, Mr. Buntic, who discharged the role of the body of the
25 internal affairs before the military courts?
1 A. According to the decree, if the civilian police appeared before
2 civilian courts, then by that analogy the military police appeared before
3 the military courts. In most of the cases that we were able to see, the
4 criminal reports that ended up before the military courts was filed by
5 the military police. We were able to see that in some cases it was even
6 the military police of the BH army.
7 Q. Let us look at Article 25 of the decree on district military
8 courts, document P 592. In the penultimate paragraph it is stated that:
9 "The tasks of the organs of the interior shall be discharged by the
10 authorised persons of the security organs of the armed forces."
11 Tell us, Mr. Buntic, you mentioned military police. Were there
12 any other security organs or bodies within the armed forces?
13 A. To my knowledge, there was the security service in addition to
14 the military police. I believe that it was called SIS for short.
15 Q. Very well. Can we conclude on the basis of the decree that SIS
16 was also authorised to discharge the roles of the bodies of the internal
17 affairs before the military courts?
18 A. Yes, and this follows from Article 25 of the decree.
19 Q. Thank you for these answers. Let me just state that the Law on
20 Criminal Procedure is a document that was used yesterday during the
21 cross-examination led by Madam Senka Nozica under number 4D 01105.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Can I now ask to be told how much
23 time I have still have left, if any, so that I can organize my
24 examination for the next five or six minutes?
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask the registrar,
1 but it's probably not a lot of time.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Can I correct the transcript at
3 page 9 [as interpreted], line 22, I would like to talk with this witness
4 for a long time, but five or six months would be taking it a bit too far.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To stay here that long?
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: To get the record right, it was page 19, not
7 page 9.
8 MS. ALABURIC: 19, yes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've used one hour and 24
10 minutes, so if I'm not mistaken you have six minutes left.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Mr. Buntic, I should like to discuss with you events related to a
13 date that at least for the defence of General Petkovic is a crucial date
14 in the case, namely, the 13th of June -- the 30th of June, 1993
15 this date stand out as of any importance in the relations between Muslims
16 and Croats?
17 A. I'm trying right now to recall how the events unfolded from the
18 beginning of March onwards in 1993. Some conflicts broke out even
19 earlier on, at the end of 1992. However, the 30th of June is a date that
20 I cannot identify in terms of what happened on that day.
21 Q. Tell us, Mr. Buntic, did you ever hear that sometime in mid-1993
22 the HVO lost control over an area in eastern Mostar, to the north of
23 Tihomir Misic barracks, including the barracks itself, as a result of an
24 attack by the BH army and that Muslim soldiers of the HVO also took part
25 in the attack who simply changed sides overnight?
1 A. I'm familiar with these events. You've just reminded me of that
2 time. I'm -- wasn't sure whether this indeed happened on the 30th of
3 June. I am, however, aware of that event. There was a truce signed
4 earlier on between the Muslim and Croats sides in Mostar. As a result of
5 that, the Tihomir Misic barracks was earmarked for the HVO soldiers for
6 billeting the HVO soldiers, whereas the Muslims were supposed to be
7 billeted at the Konak barracks. I'm not sure about the name of the
8 barracks, however. I know that such an agreement was signed for the
9 respective armies to withdraw into the two barracks, the HVO forces into
10 the Tihomir Misic barracks and the BH army forces into the Konak
11 barracks - again, I'm not sure about the name.
12 Shortly afterwards, an attack was launched against the barracks
13 where, according to the agreement signed, the HVO soldiers were supposed
14 to be billeted. It was much talked about, this attack, in the context of
15 a part of the HVO members of Muslim ethnicity taking part in the attack
16 after having changed sides overnight. This was an attack from within, so
17 to speak, and the result was the loss of the Tihomir Misic barracks
18 located in -- on the eastern bank of the Neretva in the town of Mostar
19 Q. Tell us, Mr. Buntic, did -- had you ever heard before that point
20 that a resident would not be allowed to become a member of the HVO
21 because he was a Muslim or of Islamic religious affiliation and that any
22 sort of discrimination had been implored against the Muslim members of
23 the HVO, of the members of the HVO who had been members theretofore?
24 A. I can tell you with full responsibility that in the early days in
25 the 1992 the HVO was the only multi-ethnic military force in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Among the ranks of the HVO in Herzegovina, some 30
2 per cent of members were Muslims, Bosniaks.
3 Q. Thank you very much for your answers, Mr. Buntic.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my cross-examination
5 is completed.
6 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Buntic.
7 A. You're welcome.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I have a question I
9 would like to put to you with respect to the meeting of the
10 Croatian Defence Council or to the meetings, and we have all the minutes
11 of these meetings because most of the time you attended them. The
12 Defence counsel has just pointed out the fact that during these meetings
13 civilian matters were also dealt with, and we saw that General Petkovic
14 took the floor during these meetings to report on the situation. But
15 when you look closely at these minutes you realize that no military
16 operations plan is mentioned in relation to the movements of the enemy,
17 of the ABiH.
18 In your view, were there meetings where strictly military matters
19 were discussed, meetings that would have taken place somewhere else; and
20 if you know, can you tell us who attended these meetings?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember the precise
22 number, but I believe that there were over 50 meetings of the HVO, of the
23 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; and to the best of my recollection
24 the commander of the Main Staff, General Petkovic, attended perhaps one
25 or two of these meetings, as far as I can remember. And this normally
1 happened in situations where the military situation was quite complicated
2 and the attacks of the enemy side were looming, and that's why the
3 military representative would be invited to brief on the situation.
4 The civilian HVO which we discussed in the course of the day in
5 terms of the civilian -- being a civilian body of the HZ HB did not have
6 the power to issue orders which had to do with operational activities of
7 the army. We said that in accordance with the regulations of the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and de facto, such powers were vested
9 with the supreme commander of the armed forces of the HZ HB, Mate Boban,
10 as the president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and that these
11 powers of his stemmed from the regulations but they also existed de
12 facto. He was the immediate superior of the -- to the Main Staff. He
13 could issue orders to the Main Staff, which in turn could forward these
14 orders to the commanders of the operational staffs and so on and so
15 forth. Let me not go into the military structure because in June 1992 I
16 did not take part in these activities and I should not like to speak
17 about the structure of the army after the 20th of June, 1992. But I
18 believe this was the chain of command that existed in reality.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does this mean that for all
20 military issues, military operations, deployment of forces on the ground,
21 military strategies or defence or -- defensive or offensive actions,
22 there were other meetings held by Mr. Boban and the military without you
23 or Mr. Prlic or the civilian HVO taking part?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, what I can say with
25 100 per cent certainty is that I myself never attended any such meetings.
1 I said that after the 20th of June, 1992, that was the case. I can
2 speculate or assume, but I cannot tell you anything else apart from what
3 I've already told you. But I believe things did unfold as they were
4 regulated by the decree, and I also know that Boban would not allow
5 anyone else to exercise command over the army because he was the supreme
6 commander. I know, Your Honour, that there existed some units that
7 neither Boban nor the Main Staff were able to put under their control,
8 and I know that there were conflicts because of that, a number of
9 incidents that threatened to escalate into large-scale conflicts that
10 would have major consequences. I don't know whether this was the thrust
11 of your question, but I'm aware of those incidents.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you're not quite
13 answering my question. Let me take an example. On the 10th of June,
14 1993, there was a meeting that started at 11.00. Prlic, Zubak, Stojic,
15 you, Tadic, Maric, Didjic [phoen], Kelcic [phoen], and Soljic attended.
16 I named all the participants. Mr. Stojic reported on the military
17 situation to all the participants, this situation being serious. Very
18 well, you can imagine Mr. Stojic reporting on it.
19 The participants of the meeting must have asked themselves, given
20 the seriousness of the situation, how they could face it, militarily
21 speaking. Did they have enough forces to resist the ABiH offensive, what
22 were they going to do, what kind of strategy were they going to adopt,
23 and so on and so forth. This does not appear in the minutes, so a
24 logical Cartesian mind is bound to conclude or infer that that must have
25 happened somewhere else, there must have been other meetings with other
1 participants that are going to work out the strategic and military issues
2 for defensive or offensive purposes. That's what I want to know. As far
3 as you know, were there other meetings held by Mr. Boban with the
4 relevant military individuals dealing with these operations, otherwise
5 the impression one gets is that it's your -- everything was settled in
6 your meetings.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as you said yourself,
8 a sane mind would have to draw this conclusion and my knowledge is based
9 on my stay in the army, and at that time decisions were made in such a
10 way. Meetings were held with the Main Staff, they were attended by
11 Boban, and in operational sense, orders were issued at that level, at the
12 meetings that were attended by Mr. Boban, the commander of the
13 Main Staff, and the commanders of the zones, for the most part. So when
14 we're talking about operational activities of the armed forces, I'm
15 saying that on the basis of my experience, my service in the army. And
16 after the 20th of June, I no longer attended those meetings. But I do
17 have this experience to draw on up until that date.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Buntic, I would like to ask you a question
20 which may be a bit theoretical and does not relate to what we've heard
21 today immediately. But I remember having seen a decree on the
22 establishment or law, a draft law, on the establishment of districts and
23 we've been told that that was never materialised, those districts were
24 not in fact created. On the other hand, as far as the organization of
25 the judiciary is concerned, we have heard that there existed district
1 courts. I would be grateful if you could explain what the district in
2 district courts refers to.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, this issue was discussed, and
4 we probably have to now go back to the very beginning, the point of
5 origin, and that would be the meeting between the two presidents, Tudjman
6 and Izetbegovic, in Medjugorje where some agreements were reached and I
7 think that this document is in the possession of this Court. I assume
8 that it has already been admitted into evidence and that I should not now
9 discuss it at length. But one of the provisions of this agreement
10 stipulated that obligations would be undertaken to bring in line the
11 regulations of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna with those of the
12 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I think that one of the items of
13 this agreement was to that effect.
14 I also testified here that the decree on the establishment of
15 courts dated the 3rd of July was suspended -- its publication was
16 suspended, it was never actually published and it was never actually
17 implemented in practice. After that I had talks with the justice
18 minister of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina -- or rather, the
19 deputy minister, not the minister but his deputy, that was so officially
20 but in actual fact he was the minister, where we tried to find ways to
21 establish a judicial system that would be able to function.
22 So I can now say that at the beginning of our talks there was
23 complete rejection of our proposals for the judicial system in Bosnia
25 developments you will see that the model that was finally applied was the
1 one that me and Mr. Halilagic actually agreed on. So on the basis of the
2 agreement of the two heads of state and the agreement between Buntic and
3 Halilagic, this was done in this matter. And because the Supreme Court
4 could not operate in its seat, the Presidency made this decision to set
5 up and relocated departments of the Supreme Court for the area of Bihac,
7 will serve by way of an example and also the relocated department of the
8 state public prosecutor's office.
9 So we wanted to set up a judicial system that could function in
10 practice, because it was quite obvious that legal remedies cannot go to
11 and from the Supreme Court in Sarajevo
12 is as far as the Supreme Court and the public prosecutor's office is
13 concerned. That is why district military courts were set up. As you
14 could see, we had four such district military courts, the one in Mostar,
15 the district court in Livno, the district court in Bosanski Brod which
16 could not operate there which is why it was physically located in Orasje,
17 and the district military court in Travnik.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much. Thank you. That's ...
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It may be good to have a break
20 before the cross-examination by the Prosecution.
21 Ms. Alaburic, the issue of the 30th of June, 1993, was a new
22 topic that had not been dealt with during examination-in-chief. The
23 Trial Chamber will therefore look into the issue of the time allocated.
24 Well, it's best to have the break now, a 20-minute break, and
25 then -- unless you want to say something now, Mr. Stringer? Yes.
1 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. I just wanted through
2 the Trial Chamber to ask the Defence teams one question while we're all
3 here together that would be of assistance to the Prosecution on an
4 unrelated matter. There's a pending interlocutory appeal that relates to
5 the issue of potential contact between an accused and his counsel during
6 the time that an accused may be testifying. And the Prosecution is in
7 the process of preparing its response because two of the accused have --
8 I'm sorry, the Prosecution's filed its appeal. Two of the accused have
9 filed responses. It would help us if we knew if additional accused were
10 intending to join or file responses so that we could build into our
11 timing the possibility of filing a single, joint reply to all of the
12 accused. And so while everyone's here together, I wanted to ask that of
13 all the Defence teams, whether anyone else is intending to file a
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
16 Your Honours. Good afternoon, to everyone in and around the courtroom.
17 We have no intentions of either joining or replying in particular. I
18 think the Court made its decision, the Prosecution is entitled to appeal,
19 and that's that.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. That's 1D.
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. My
23 reply would be the same as that of my colleague Mr. Karnavas.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] 5D -- well, first 3D.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. The
1 Prosecution mentioned that two Defence teams have filed such motions to
2 save time, that was the Defence of General Petkovic and the Defence of
3 General Praljak, so we have already filed responses.
4 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon,
5 Your Honours. We do not intend to file any response.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And 6D.
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we will not be
8 filing any responses.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If you allow me, Your Honours,
10 just one explanation regarding the topic of the 30th of June, 1993
11 would like to draw your attention to the fact that this date is related
12 to documents that were shown to this witness in the examination-in-chief,
13 that's the minutes from the meetings of the civilian HVO held on the 19th
14 and the 20th of July, 1993, that pertain to taking care of persons
15 detained in the municipality of Capljina
16 started as a result of the events of the 30th of June, so my short and
17 simple question had to do with all the topics related to detention
18 centres that were raised in the examination-in-chief. Thank you very
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber will examine
21 this very carefully.
22 Well, you've received your answers, Mr. Stringer, there's not
23 going to be any other filing but for the two that have already been done.
24 We shall break for 20 minutes and we shall resume around ten to 4.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 3.31 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.55 p.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before give the floor to
3 Mr. Stringer, I'd like to say that the Trial Chamber discussed the issue
4 whether the 30th of June was going to be a new topic. Well, the
5 Trial Chamber deems it is and it adds that it's not because a subject is
6 mentioned in a document that it allows a Defence counsel as part of the
7 cross-examination to deal with the topic. Cross-examination only goes to
8 topics that have been previously dealt with during the hearing, the
9 testimony of a witness. Therefore, the time devoted to the 30th of June
10 is going to be regarded as a new topic.
11 Mr. Stringer, you may proceed. You have several hours at your
12 disposal. You may proceed.
13 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, could I ask how much time I do
14 have. I'm under the assumption that it's at least seven hours for
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, based on my calculations
17 you had seven hours and 15 minutes. You see, I sleep with my calculator.
18 It's very complicated indeed.
19 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic. My name is Douglas Stringer, I'm an
22 attorney with the Prosecution, I'll be asking you questions. You should
23 have -- in your area there are four binders that constitute, hopefully,
24 the universe of documents that I'll be referring you to during the course
25 of your cross-examination. And before we get into the real meat of your
1 testimony, I want to go to one more preliminary matter and I want to ask
2 you to take the fourth binder, binder number 4. All of the exhibits
3 marked with a D, the Defence exhibits, are in the -- I believe the last
5 Mr. Buntic, if you could turn to 1D 01184, please, 1184. 1184 --
6 A. I can't find it.
7 MR. STRINGER: Could the usher please assist. Thank you. Binder
8 number 4. 1D 01184.
9 Q. Mr. Buntic, these were shown to you during the cross-examination
10 that was conducted by Ms. Nozica, I believe, counsel for Mr. Stojic. Do
11 you recognise these are the minutes of the 35th Session of the HVO held
12 on the 9th of April, 1993
13 A. I can confirm that.
14 Q. And your testimony yesterday was that these on page 5 at least of
15 the English version, the minutes were erroneous in that there was an
16 indication that individuals had been appointed at the proposal of the HVO
17 department of justice and general administration. Do you recall that
18 testimony about this being erroneous minutes?
19 A. I do recall that, and I said yesterday that we had had a proposal
20 from Orasje --
21 Q. Okay. Actually --
22 A. -- with --
23 Q. -- and I don't mean to be rude, but my question relates less to
24 the substance of the proposal and more to the procedure involved in the
25 making -- in the adoption of the minutes. And so if I could just ask
1 you, then, to set that document aside for the moment, that being
2 1D 01184, which are the -- as you say the erroneous minutes. And now if
3 you could go to a different document which is in binder 3 which is
4 P 02181.
5 MR. STRINGER: And while we're going there, Mr. President, I can
6 assure you that once we get into the flow of things we'll be moving
7 fairly consistently through the binders without jumping around very much,
8 but ...
9 Q. Now, Mr. Buntic, you were not shown this document previously
10 during the course of your testimony. Would you agree with me that this
11 is an invitation or an announcement issued by the president of the HVO,
12 Dr. Jadranko Prlic, that relates to convening or summoning the
13 37th Session of the HVO and scheduling that meeting for the 5th of May,
15 A. I have now looked at the document and I think that this is also a
16 document that originated from the HVO. I can see that this meeting is
17 announced and that an agenda was put forward. I can see that it is the
18 4th of May, 1993, but I can't see that this meeting was really held --
19 Q. Okay, well, if you'll allow me --
20 A. -- or that any --
21 Q. If you'll allow me I'll try to take you there. The question
22 simply is this: Whether this appears to be -- did you receive in your
23 capacity as head of the department of justice and administration, did you
24 receive documents like this from Dr. Prlic in his capacity as president
25 of the HVO that essentially informed the department heads of the date of
1 the next HVO meeting, indicating what the agenda would be, and so forth?
2 This was a very -- a fairly common procedure, announcements on the -- an
3 upcoming HVO session?
4 A. Yes, you're right. Usually a couple of days before a meeting we
5 would receive the materials for the meeting with the proposed agenda. As
6 you could see from the minutes, it would happen often that the agenda
7 would be supplemented, amended --
8 Q. Okay --
9 A. -- this was probably physically done by the HVO secretary.
10 Q. Okay. And so then here we have a notice dated the 4th of May
11 informing the members of the HVO of a meeting, the 37th Session that
12 would be held on the 5th of May. And documents like this were issued, I
13 believe, pursuant to the rules of procedure of the HVO HZ HB; is that
15 A. I think that was the case. I think I did explain about the way
16 that the documents were forwarded and how this whole thing functioned.
17 Q. All right. Now, item number 1 on this proposed agenda relates to
18 the draft minutes of the 35th and 36th HVO Sessions. Do you see that?
19 If you can just indicate yes or no and I'll ask you some more about that.
20 A. It would follow from this.
21 Q. And then turning to the end of the document, the last paragraph,
22 Dr. Prlic indicates that this document is then accompanied by the report
23 of the 35th and 36th Sessions so that you and the others would have an
24 opportunity to review those minutes before, actually, the commencement of
25 the 37th Session; is that also correct?
1 A. That's correct. That was the usual practice.
2 Q. Okay. So the previous exhibit, 1D 01184, you don't have to look
3 at it but the minutes of the 35th Session, it appears that those were
4 provided to you in advance of the 37th HVO Session that was held or to be
5 held on the 5th of May, 1993; correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And I'm raising this because this relates to a question that was
8 put to you yesterday by Judge Mindua about the possibility or the
9 opportunity for approval or correction of the minutes. Now, if I could
10 just send you back to the other binder, the fourth binder there, for one
11 final document on this subject.
12 MR. STRINGER: I'm sorry, it's the binder that's on the table
14 Q. Now, if you would turn to 1D 1607. Sir, if you could look this
15 over and tell us, does this appear to be the minutes, then, of the
16 37th Session of the HVO held on the 5th of May, 1993?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And you were present at this session?
19 A. Yes, I can see that I was.
20 Q. And item number 1 on the agenda was the minutes of the 35th and
21 36th Sessions; correct?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. And then turning the page, at least in the English version, item
24 number 1 indicates that there were no remarks to the presented minutes of
25 the 35th and 36th Sessions and that they were then unanimously adopted.
1 Do you see that?
2 A. Yes, I can see that and it is indeed correct.
3 Q. So that at least in respect of these minutes of the 35th, I know
4 you said they were erroneous but you did have an opportunity to review
5 them; and at the time that you could have changed them you did not change
6 them. Correct?
7 A. That's correct and that's what I confirmed yesterday.
8 Q. And the procedure related to the approval of minutes of previous
9 sessions, is this the same procedure that applied in general to all the
10 minutes, they would be distributed in advance and then voted upon for
11 approval unless there were objections to them?
12 A. That's correct, that was the usual practice.
13 Q. Okay. Now, if you could put that binder aside, Mr. Buntic, I'm
14 going to take you now to the first binder.
15 MR. STRINGER: I think we'll be staying in this binder for the
16 time being.
17 Q. Before I direct you to any specific documents in there,
18 Mr. Buntic, I want to ask you just a few questions about your background
19 and very early time of your association with the structures and the
20 leadership of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
21 Now, I understand that originally you called Citluk, the
22 municipality of Citluk, as your home, that's where you were raised; is
23 that correct?
24 A. That's correct, yes. I was born there, that's where I grew up,
25 and I spent most of my life in Citluk except for the time of my studies.
1 I studied in Zagreb
2 Q. And on your return then from Zagreb to Citluk you established a
3 law office, and if I understand correctly, you're not really a criminal
4 law practitioner and have not been in the past. Your resume or your area
5 of expertise relates more to the criminal [sic] law. Is that a correct
7 A. Well, neither of these statements is correct. I graduated in
8 1978 in Zagreb
9 companies in Citluk. That was up until 1989 when I launched my own law
10 office in Citluk. And from that time until the war I worked as an
12 And the second claim is not correct because I think that I've
13 already stated before this Court that I specialize in commercial and
14 trade law and that 90 per cent of the cases that I did as a lawyer
15 pertained to this area and that in my practice I may have dealt with only
16 one or two criminal cases, but those were not any major or famous cases.
17 I think you could term them insignificant. And I have also testified
18 before this Court that I don't consider myself to be an expert in
19 criminal law.
20 Q. I thought that was my question, but I may have said it unclearly.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You have, in fact, misspoken and you said that
22 he was a specialist in criminal law, so that's what the record and my
23 memory say, line 22 on page 35.
24 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Yes, it was my understanding that your specialty is commercial
1 law or civil law and not criminal law; is that correct? Just so we've
2 got it.
3 A. Yes, you've got it right now, Mr. Prosecutor.
4 Q. Now, turning to the period of the beginning of the conflict in
5 the former Yugoslavia
6 beginning in 1991 and then further on into 1992, you were not a member of
7 the HDZ political party, that's -- I believe that was your testimony at
8 least in the Kordic case?
9 A. That's correct. In addition to that, I also said that I had
10 never been a member either of the League of Communists of the former
12 Q. You were, however, a member of a different party called the
13 Croatian Democratic Party; is that correct?
14 A. That's correct. At the first democratic multi-party elections in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as the representative of the Croatian Democratic
16 Party for Citluk and as such I was on that ticket and was elected into
17 the Municipal Assembly of Citluk with another member of the
18 Croatian Democratic Party. In a word, we got two seats in the
19 Citluk Municipal Assembly.
20 Q. And if I understand correctly, General Praljak who I believe you
21 also knew at the time of the conflict in 1992, General Praljak was also a
22 member of the Croatian Democratic Party?
23 A. That's correct. I knew General Praljak from my days as a
24 student. We remained very good friends, we also had family ties.
25 General Praljak is my son's godfather and I believe it only proper that I
1 should state it here.
2 Q. You also were acquainted from the early days of your youth, as I
3 understand it, with Mr. Mate Boban, who then later was the president of
4 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; is that correct?
5 A. That's absolutely not correct. I got to know the late Mate Boban
6 perhaps in 1990 when we were contemplating the idea of setting up a
7 political party in Herzegovina
8 Herzegovinian Democratic Party. I was in charge of most of the
9 activities revolving around the launching of this party, and Mr. Boban
10 attended some of these meetings which is where we met.
11 Q. And then in May of 1992, as I understand it, it was Mr. Boban who
12 offered you the position of head of the justice department in what was at
13 the time being formed, that is, the structures of the Croatian Community
14 of Herceg-Bosna?
15 A. Correct. That was between the 10th and the 15th of May, 1992.
16 The meeting was also attended by the then-president of the Citluk
17 municipality, Milan Lovric.
18 Q. And then as I understand it, you didn't actually assume the
19 position of head of the justice department until later, after the
20 successful operation against the units of the JNA, end of June 1992?
21 A. That's correct. I said that it was either on the 20th or on the
22 21st of June, 1992, that was when I took up my duties in actual fact.
23 Q. Earlier in your testimony in this case you indicated that you had
24 been elected to the Crisis Staff in the Citluk municipality and that the
25 Crisis Staff corresponded to the Law on All People's Defence and the Law
1 of Citluk municipality. Do you recall saying that?
2 A. I do. It is true that on the critical day when the tanks of the
3 Yugoslav Army were stopped at Polog near Mostar, an emergency meeting of
4 the Executive Council of the municipality of Citluk
5 Crisis Staff was set up. It is true that I said that individuals were
6 appointed to that Crisis Staff in accordance with the Law on All People's
7 Defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I can repeat that by
8 virtue of the duties that they discharged, these included the president
9 of the municipality, the president of the Executive Council of the
10 municipality, chief of the staff of the Territorial Defence of Citluk,
11 the chief of police of the municipality of Citluk
12 civilian protection staff --
13 Q. All right --
14 A. -- and these were individuals - please let me finish my
15 sentence - who in accordance with the Law on All People's Defence and in
16 accordance with the statute of the Citluk municipality had to become
17 members of the War Presidency which would be set up in times of war and
18 in times of an imminent threat of war. It is also true -- please let me
19 finish - that other members --
20 Q. And I apologise for cutting across you like this, but you're
21 actually giving us a great deal more detail than I need and I think what
22 the Trial Chamber requires, and if the Trial Chamber wants more
23 information I'm sure they will ask you.
24 My simple question is this: You were on the Crisis Staff and you
25 considered the Crisis Staff at the time to be the legally constituted
1 body and municipal body in Citluk based on the law; is that correct?
2 A. I was on the Crisis Staff. This was the Executive Council, and
3 that was later on confirmed by the Municipal Assembly which had appointed
4 me to the Crisis Staff. I do believe that it was fully in accordance
5 with the Law on All People's Defence and the statute of the Citluk
7 Q. Okay. And I read in your Kordic -- your testimony in the Kordic
8 case that during this period, we're talking roughly about 1991 and into
9 1992, Muslims and Croats throughout other areas also set up Crisis Staffs
10 in their own municipalities?
11 A. Correct. I believe that in the area of western Herzegovina all
12 the municipalities set up their own respective Crisis Staffs between 9
13 and the 15th of May. I also believe that shortly afterwards other
14 municipalities in Herzegovina
15 similar or -- principle or the principle that was identical to the one
16 used in Citluk.
17 Q. Okay.
18 A. For the rest, I do not know.
19 Q. If I could direct you to an exhibit in the binder, that is
20 P 00070, P 70. It should be one of the tabbed documents at the
21 beginning. And I don't know whether you've seen this document before,
22 Mr. Buntic, or not. You indicated that you had a discussion with
23 Mate Boban in November of 1992 about becoming the head of the justice
24 department. Is that pretty much your first contact or involvement in any
25 conversations related to the establishment of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna or its governmental organization?
2 A. To be quite frank, this is the first time I see this document. I
3 said that I was in contact with Boban in 1990. I think this is the first
4 time I see this document. I haven't read it, I don't know the substance
5 of it, but I see it for the first time.
6 Q. Let's go through it and I'll ask you a couple of questions about
7 it, recognising that you have not seen it before but also recognising
8 that you had some discussions with Mr. Boban during this period of time.
9 This document is called: "The conclusions of a joint meeting of the
11 was held in November of 1991, on the 12th. And there are a number of
12 conclusions that then are spelled out in the document, and if I could
13 direct your attention to paragraph 1 under the heading of conclusions.
14 You'll see that one conclusion is that: "The Croatian people in this
15 region and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina still support the unanimously
16 accepted orientation and conclusions adopted in agreements with
17 President Dr. Franjo Tudjman on 13 and 20 of June, 1991, in Zagreb."
18 And then the passage continues on making reference to other
19 meetings and conclusions throughout other -- the fall of 1991. And then
20 culminating in a statement that says: "These two regional communities
21 have unanimously decided that the Croatian people in Bosnia and
23 will realize our eternal dream, a common Croatian state."
24 And then it continues with the reference to proclamation of a
25 Croatian Banovina in Bosnia-Herzegovina and holding of a referendum on
1 joining the Republic of Croatia
2 So now my question to you, Mr. Buntic, is -- I guess my first
3 question on this is whether based on your conversations with Mr. Boban
4 during this period of time, whether you were aware of these conclusions
5 and objectives of the individuals represented or referred to in this
7 A. I've already said that I haven't seen the document before. You
8 should also know that at the time, that is, in November 1991, Boban and I
9 were political opponents. He belonged to one party, I belonged to
10 another. I don't believe that Boban would exchange with me any political
11 views or try to take up a common political position with me because at
12 the time he was a member of the HDZ.
13 Q. All right. And at some subsequent time then, after you became
14 associated with the HVO as the head of the justice department, did
15 Mr. Boban or any of the other leadership of Herceg-Bosna share with you
16 any aspirations, any objectives, related to the establishment of a
17 Croatian Banovina for the ultimate connection or linking of these
18 territories to Croatia
19 A. No. I've already testified before this Tribunal as to the
20 documents that were handed to me on the 20th or the 21st of June when I
21 took up my position of head of the justice and general administration
22 department, and I stand by what I said fully.
23 Q. And would you agree with me, sir, that if that was in fact a
24 policy during this period of time, November 1991, if that was a policy of
25 the Croatian democratic -- I'm sorry, the HDZ in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you
1 would not have known of that policy because you were not a member of the
3 A. I believe that what you said is correct. In 1991 we were
4 political opponents and it is not proper to ask of me to interpret the
5 conclusions or views held by the Croatian Democratic Union in 1991. I
6 don't think it will be proper of me to do that. We were political
8 Q. The next exhibit in your binder --
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, just a technical question,
10 Mr. Buntic. This document speaks of the "Croatian regional community."
11 Are you conversant with this expression, with this term?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honour. If
13 you're referring to the heading of the document, what is mentioned here
14 is the Herzegovina
15 Therefore, this is something that preceded the setting up of the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. However, do not expect me to
17 interpret documents which were drafted by other parties at the time, and
18 it would not be correct of me to interpret their views.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I absolutely accept that. I was only a bit
20 intrigued by this term, and contrary to what you assume, I did not quote
21 from the title but from the beginning of the conclusion number 1. That
22 is where you read "Croatian regional community." But thank you for your
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am particularly
25 opposed to the use of this document. If you look at the original
1 document, the upper left-hand corner reads "transcription of a copy." I
2 don't think this is merely an issue of semantics. As a lawyer, I cannot
3 even begin to imagine what a transcription of a copy might mean. What I
4 can conceive of is that the original is absent. If you look at the next
5 page you have allegedly three signatories, the court reporter and
6 purportedly also Mate Boban, but none of them signed the document. It is
7 quite odd that the conclusions from such a meeting would not be signed by
8 anyone. If it is a transcription, it is customary practice in our parts
9 to put the abbreviation VR, meaning as signed. So this doesn't fit with
10 the customary practice that I'm familiar with.
11 Now, if we look at the heading there are two communities there,
12 the Herzegovina
13 then the Croatian Democratic Union
14 from this case and other cases, I have never seen a similar document.
15 Alternatively, the Prosecutor should provide a foundation testifying to
16 its authenticity.
17 Let me also state, Your Honours, that as you were able to see
18 with a great many documents, this document does not bear the stamp of the
19 Croatian state archives, as many others did.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, you seem to be
21 challenging the written decision by the -- of the Chamber by which it
22 admitted this document on the 11th of December, 2007. Unless I'm
23 mistaken, this document was admitted into evidence.
24 Is that correct, Mr. Stringer? I was about to ask you where this
25 document came from, but now I see that this document was admitted. I
1 can't remember it because we've admitted thousands of documents, but
2 Mr. Kovacic probably challenged the admission and the Trial Chamber
3 issued a ruling that will be given to me by the Chamber's Legal Officer
4 within a few seconds.
5 Am I correct, Mr. Stringer? The Trial Chamber decided to admit
6 this document following a written motion.
7 MR. STRINGER: That's correct, Mr. President. The document is in
8 evidence already, it's been admitted, as you've indicated, by a written
9 decision of the Trial Chamber. That's number one. I can also say that
10 I'm going to be going to another document that I think will also further
11 lend weight to this particular document in terms of its reliability and
12 probative value. So, I mean, if Mr. Kovacic wants to take the stand, I
13 can cross-examine him about the document because he's testifying about it
14 based on his experience here and elsewhere in other cases. I don't think
15 it's very helpful, particularly in respect of a document that's already
16 in evidence. But I can go to another exhibit, which I'm going to do,
17 which I think is going to further support this particular exhibit.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I only want to
19 reserve the right to make a subsequent filing if necessary. As I can see
20 from the description of the document, the document was admitted into
21 evidence pursuant to one of your decisions on a motion filed by the
22 Prosecutor for the admission of evidence. I didn't have occasion to go
23 through our responses, but I'm sure that we opposed the admission of such
24 a document, although I cannot be positive about it. Even if the document
25 is admitted, I can object to it again based on the elements that I
1 mentioned, that is, I don't see that it is authentic. We can present the
2 relevant evidence later on. It is now in evidence. We can challenge it
3 and then it will be up to you to weigh the probative value thereof.
4 As for what my learned friend said about me testifying, I
5 dissociate myself from what he said. I am not testifying at all. I'm
6 merely stating the elements which to me, an experienced lawyer, indicate
7 that the document is not authentic. And if this is the case, then it is
8 up to the party presenting that piece of evidence to prove its
9 authenticity. And if we will be having a discussion on this, I will make
10 a written filing on that matter.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's proceed.
12 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Mr. Buntic, the next document is P 00081. It's in the same
14 binder. Now, do you recognise this, sir, as the original decision on
15 establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna dated the 18th of
16 November, 1991?
17 A. I have a decision to set up the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna under that number, the decision as it was published in the
19 Official Gazette of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. In other
20 words, it's not the text -- we had two texts here, one before the
21 Tribunal and the other that was passed on the 18th of November, 1992, and
22 we had this decision on the establishment of the Croatian Community of
23 Herceg-Bosna which was amended by virtue of the 3rd of July decision of
24 the Presidency. In other words, the -- what I have is the decision of --
25 as it was published in the Official Gazette following these amendments.
1 I don't know if this is true for you as well, if you have that document.
2 Q. Well, let's break it down. Can we agree that there are two
3 decisions on the establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
4 the original decision and then the amended decision that was passed
5 during the Presidency meeting in July of 1992?
6 A. I agree.
7 Q. Okay. And it's my belief or it's my hope anyway that what you
8 should have in front of you is the initial decision, that's the first
9 decision not the amended one. Do you have that?
10 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies. There must be a
11 misunderstanding here because I know that in e-court under that number in
12 the English version we have the original decision, whereas in the B/C/S
13 we have the 3rd of July decision, so that both the witness and the
14 Prosecutor are right.
15 MR. STRINGER: I appreciate the clarification. Perhaps what I
16 could do -- I don't know what the -- well, let's do this.
17 Q. Let me come back to this one. We will get the correct
18 Serbo-Croatian version of this document and come back to it, Mr. Buntic,
19 because I don't want, obviously, to ask you about it without it being in
20 front of you.
21 So let's move on for the time being to the next document which is
22 P 00152 --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, I'm a bit confused because the
24 document here in the binder in Croatian bears also the date of the 18th
25 November 1991. Would the amended version of July be dated in the
1 introductory paragraph 18 November 1991
2 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, the Croatian version only
3 refers to the fact that the original decision was passed on the 18th of
4 November and but that it was amended on the 3rd of July and that now the
5 consolidated text was being published. If you want, the witness can read
6 the preamble of the decision he has in front of him and then you'll see
7 where the difference lies.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Please, yes.
9 Would you read in Croatian the first paragraph.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The decision" --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think you should start -- you should start on
12 the top of the page with [B/C/S spoken].
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I started reading the preamble,
14 which in my view solves the question that was put, Your Honour. The
15 question was put about the 18th of November and the 3rd of July, which is
16 why I started reading the part of the preamble which sheds light on that
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have before me a document which has a number
19 at the bottom and the number is 00299117. Do you have the same document?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have this document
21 in front of me on the screen, but in the binder, as I've already
22 indicated, I have a different document.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Perhaps the usher can assist you.
24 MR. STRINGER: We can provide the witness with a hard copy of
25 the -- okay. That clarifies it. He's not in the correct document.
1 Q. Okay. 00081.
2 A. Yes, it's fine. Now I have in front of me the original dated the
3 18th of November, 1991, and it begins with the words: "On the basis of
4 the freely expressed will of the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 they are democratically ..."
6 So that would be the first document, and if you allow me to
7 provide an explanation by way of answer to His Honour's question --
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you --
9 MR. STRINGER:
10 Q. No, I think we --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think that is quite all right. We have now
12 identified the document and that was all I was wondering about. Thank
14 Mr. Stringer.
15 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Buntic, I wanted to then ask you if you would for us read the
17 first sentence of Article 2, just read it in your language, please.
18 A. Article 2: "The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna shall
19 comprise the territories of the following municipalities: Jajce,
20 Kresevo, Busovaca" --
21 Q. Thank you. You don't need to read out the names of the
23 I want to now skip down to Article 7 because this relates to the
24 organization or the governmental structures of Herceg-Bosna, and this
25 indicates that: "The supreme authority of the Community," the Croatian
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna, "shall be the Presidency ..."
2 And my question is this: You indicated earlier in your testimony
3 that really throughout the entire period -- well, I'll ask you. Is it
4 true that from this period, in November 1991 continuing through 1992 and
5 1993, the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was a
6 single-party Presidency, that is, it was a party -- it was a Presidency
7 constituted by an -- exclusively by members of the Croatian Democratic
8 Union party?
9 A. This follows from the heading of this document, or rather, the
10 preamble that speaks about the democratically elected representatives of
11 the Croatian people elected as such into the Assembly of Bosnia and
14 seat in the Assembly of the republic. So we're talking about the
15 representatives elected by the Croatian people who were at the same time
16 all members of the Croatian Democratic Union.
17 Q. Okay. So in order to be on the Presidency one had to be a member
18 of the Croatian Democratic Union
19 A. Well, as far as I know, one had to be elected. So the criterion
20 is not membership of the Croatian Democratic Union; the criterion is that
21 these people had to have been elected into the bodies, those bodies. So
22 the key term here is "elected representatives of the Croatian people,"
23 not members of the Croatian Democratic Union. So the key language here
24 is "democratically elected," not the HDZ.
25 Q. And these democratic elections occurred when? Tell us when they
1 occurred and where.
2 A. In late 1990, the first democratic elections were held in Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina
4 Q. So it was on the basis of those elections that then the
5 membership or the same results of that election, if you will, were the
6 basis of membership then in the Presidency of Herceg-Bosna?
7 A. Well, I presented my interpretation or my view of the preamble of
8 this decision, where it says the democratically elected representatives.
9 Q. Now, getting back to my original question on this, is it true
10 that throughout the remainder of 1991, 1992, and 1993, all members of the
11 Presidency were members of the Croatian Democratic Union; correct or
13 A. Well, I'm not sure but I think there were some representatives in
14 the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna who were not
15 members of the Croatian Democratic Union. As far as I know, the
16 representative from the Vares municipality was a member of the Party of
17 Democratic Movement, and I think there were some other Presidency members
18 who were co-opted at a later stage and who were there as members of the
19 HZ HB Presidency; I can't now recall their names. I think that there was
20 this man from Vares, he participated in the meetings, and I know that he
21 was a member of the SDP. There were some other examples of that nature
22 but I can't recall them. So it was not a single-party body.
23 Q. So you're changing your testimony from earlier in which you said
24 that it's a single-party Presidency? I can refer you to the relevant
25 part of your testimony if you like.
1 A. Well, I can confirm that now. When it was established pursuant
2 to this fundamental document, that was the case. But then I added that
3 some members had been co-opted at a later stage and that they had
4 participated in the work, I think it was Petar Ravlija, I can't recall,
5 but at any rate it was a representative from Vares and I know that there
6 was a man from the SDP. So he was co-opted at a later stage. He did not
7 participate in the work of the Presidency right at the beginning, but I
8 can confirm, as I have before, that all the founding members were members
9 of the HDZ, but later on some other members of the Presidency joined in
10 and they were not members of the HDZ.
11 Q. These other members of the Presidency, did they join in before or
12 after the 17th of October, 1992, which was the last time the Presidency
14 A. I think it was even before that.
15 Q. So if in fact they are members of the Presidency, presumably
16 their names would be evident on the minutes of the Presidency meetings
17 that occurred during these times in 1992?
18 A. I think it would be good to look at the minutes from the meeting
19 of the Presidency dated the 17th of October, 1992, held in Travnik where
20 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was joined by other communities,
21 Bosnian Posavina, Central Bosnia --
22 Q. All right --
23 A. -- the Soli community, where representatives or members of those
24 communities were co-opted and became members of the Presidency.
25 Unfortunately, after that time the Presidency never met again, but I
1 think you can see from the minutes who were the signatories and who
2 attended that meeting or that session on the 17th of October, 1992
3 Q. And we will be going over the minutes of the meetings, both on
4 the 17th of October and also the July meeting as well. So we will get to
6 Now the next document I would like to show you, Mr. Buntic, is
7 P 00152, it's behind the tab called 152 in your binder. Now, we've just
8 been looking at the initial establishment of Herceg-Bosna dated 18th of
9 November, 1991. This document follows a little bit after that, making
10 reference to an emergency session of the Presidency on the 8th of April,
11 1992, and this decision, if you have it, is the decision on the creation
12 of the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council. Do you see that?
13 A. Yes, it is correct and I've already stated before this Court that
14 this is one of the documents that was handed to me on the 20th of June
15 when I took over my duty, and I can confirm that this is one of those
16 documents and I have it here in front of me.
17 Q. All right. And in this document the HVO was named to be the
18 supreme defence body of the Croatian people in the Croatian Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, your quotation from Article 1 was correct.
21 Q. All right. And at all times throughout the remainder of 1992 and
22 1993, the HVO remained the supreme defence body of the Croatian people in
23 the HZ HB; is that correct?
24 A. Correct. But I don't think that we should now embark upon an
25 analysis of the civilian and military segments because this was not at
1 issue then.
2 Q. Okay. We're going to get there as well. The next document is
3 P 00206, 206 in your binder. Now, Mr. Buntic, this appears to be about
4 five weeks after the decision establishing the HVO as the supreme defence
5 body. This is a decision dated the 15th of May, 1992, which relates to
6 the provisional establishment of the executive authority, executive
7 authority, and administration in the territory of Herceg-Bosna. And is
8 it true, sir, that then this document indicates or provides that the HVO
9 now shall carry out the duties of the executive authority in the
10 territory of Herceg-Bosna?
11 A. That's correct, but I have to say that the armed forces of the
12 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna operated under the same title or name,
13 so it should be noted here, this difference, it would be proper to do so.
14 Q. Okay. For those of us who weren't there, though, for us to read
15 this, would you agree with me that one could logically conclude based on
16 the documents that as of this time, the 15th of May, 1992, both supreme
17 defence authority and executive authority was vested in the same body
18 called the HVO? You need to give an audible answer so we can get it in
19 the record.
20 A. Yes, I can agree with you on that, and that's what I've already
21 stated before this Tribunal, that this is how it worked until the
22 regulations were changed, until the establishment of the Croatian Defence
23 Council as the executive civilian body that got its president at the
24 session of the 14th of August, 1992.
25 Q. Okay. Now, on Article 3 of this document, P 00206, we again see
1 that -- an indication that the Presidency has a position of supremacy in
2 that the HVO is to report to the Presidency; correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. And then continuing, this indicates that: "The president of the
5 HVO and the vice-presidents, the heads of departments, shall all -- shall
6 be collectively responsible for the decisions adopted by the HVO."
7 Did that remain so throughout 1992 and 1993, that is, collective
8 responsibility of the HVO and its members for the decisions taken by the
10 A. I think that portions of Article 3 were amended pursuant to the
11 decision on the establishment of the Croatian Defence Council, but before
12 this decision was issued, Article 3 was in force in full, as it stands
13 here in this decision.
14 Q. And we will get to the subsequent decision amending this, so I
15 will take you to that in a few minutes. My last question on this
16 document, Mr. Buntic, is in Article 7, which is the article that
17 identifies or sets out the specific departments, the administrative
18 departments, of the HVO. And what I found interesting here was that
19 there was no justice department provided. There's a department of
20 general administration, but there's no reference to a justice department.
21 And I just was sort of curious about that then, because we will see that
22 in fact a department of justice and general administration was
23 established in the subsequent amendment, and I take that that's because
24 during this intervening period you then became the head and took up your
25 responsibilities as head of that department. Would you just comment on
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise to you
3 and to my colleague, Mr. Stringer, but I think that this is a case of
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I say something? I'm not sure,
6 Mr. Prosecutor, that we are indeed talking about the same document. The
7 document that I have in front of me, it's in Croatian, statutory decision
8 dated the 18th of November, 1991. In Article 7 it stipulates that there
9 should be department of justice and general administration and other
10 departments. So to my mind this is a correct transcription or a copy of
11 the original statutory decision, and I had the opportunity to see it in
12 the original. And Article 7 here envisages the department of justice and
13 general administration. I don't know how this is translated into
14 English. My English is not good enough for me to be able to verify that,
15 but perhaps the registry and the Prosecution and the Defence might check
16 whether this is the same document, or perhaps we're talking about
17 incomplete or incorrect translation.
18 MR. STRINGER:
19 Q. Okay. So then your -- if I understand correctly, your
20 understanding -- your testimony then is that there was indeed a
21 department or -- a department of justice and general administration
22 within the HVO from its very inception?
23 A. That's correct, and that follows from the document that I have in
24 front of me, that you handed to me, the Prosecution handed this document
25 to me.
1 Q. All right. Now, the next document -- actually, it's not a
2 document. Mr. Buntic, I'm just going to ask you to set aside the binder
3 for a minute because we're going to watch a little bit of video footage.
4 I'm going to ask you some questions about the Presidency meeting that
5 occurred in July of 1992, I believe it was the 3rd of July. And you were
6 shown this video footage during the Kordic case, which was a long time
7 ago, but my understanding was that you believed this was footage showing
8 a part of the Presidency meeting that took place in July of 1992. This
9 is P 10518. It's about one and a half minutes, one and one-half minutes
10 in length. It's not very lengthy, Mr. President.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The necessity for bringing certain
13 regulations or filling legal voids that developed with decision of organs
14 or bodies of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina has shown itself.
15 Instead of a Law on Armed Forces or a Law on All People's Defence, an
16 order was issued on the armed forces of the Croat Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna and the decision on the rights and obligations of members of
18 the Croatian Defence Council, a decree on the assumption of ownership of
19 the JNA and SSNO logistics in the territory of the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna, a decree on the transfer of ownership of property of the
21 occupier, and a decree on public reparations.
22 "With the bringing of these regulations as well as other
23 regulations that the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
24 has passed, the conditions for the normal functioning and other aspects
25 of life have been created."
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The sound quality was
2 really very bad.
3 MR. STRINGER:
4 Q. Okay. I don't have any questions for you about that, Mr. Buntic,
5 other than just to ask you: Do you recognise that as footage of the time
6 during the period of the 3 July 1992
7 A. It's correct, it's my image and my voice. I think that this is a
8 press conference that followed immediately after the session of the
9 Presidency of the 3rd of June, or rather, July 1992.
10 Q. Where did that Presidency meeting take place?
11 A. In the hotel in Grude.
12 Q. And I think we saw some images on there. Mr. Boban was present.
13 I recognised Dario Kordic as another one of the people who were present.
14 So it's fair to say that the Presidency was fairly fully constituted or
15 present at this particular meeting in July of 1992?
16 A. Well, I'm not sure if all the members were there. I know that
17 the large majority of the members of the Presidency were there, and it is
18 true, you were able to recognise those people. I saw the late Boban. I
19 recognised Dario Kordic and some other members of the Presidency -- well,
20 I don't know them but what you just said is true, Boban and Kordic were
22 Q. Okay. And now at this particular Presidency meeting it strikes
23 me as being a fairly important one. Would you agree with me?
24 A. I think there were a total of five sessions of the Presidency of
25 the HZ HB, and to my mind all of them were equally important because
1 major decisions were issued at each of those sessions for the first of
2 all survival, or rather, first of all for the establishment and later on
3 for the functioning of the Croatian Community. So I think that each and
4 every one of them was important.
5 Q. One of the decisions adopted at this Presidency meeting was the
6 decision to amend and amending the decision on the establishment of the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; is that true?
8 A. It is true. This is the document that we've just mentioned, so
9 the basic decision of the 18th of November, 1992, was amended at the
10 session and the text, the integral version of the text, was then
11 published in the Official Gazette of the Croatian Community of
13 Q. Now, this is July of 1992, and as I understand from your
14 testimony, by this point you were actually involved as a member of the
15 HVO. You had assumed your position as head of the justice department by
16 this time; is that correct?
17 A. That's correct. As I've just noted, some 10 or 12 days before
18 that, as I said I assumed my duties on the 20th or the 21st of July -- of
19 June, and this is the 3rd of July, so that was about 10 or 12 days after
20 I assumed my duties at the post.
21 Q. Were you personally involved in drafting the amendments to this
23 A. It is true that I participated in the drafting of the amendments
24 to those decisions.
25 Q. And I want to ask you, first of all, about some words that appear
1 in the preamble or the reasons in this decision, this amended decision,
2 establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. This is P 00078,
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. Let me go back to
5 the video footage. I have two related questions, they're not major but
6 they might be interesting, I think. I note, first of all, that there is
7 a big meeting table with basically only men. How is it that there was
8 not even one woman?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honour, well, a
10 meeting would probably be a much more pleasant and nicer occasion had
11 that been the case, but as we could see the founding members of the
12 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, those who established it on the 18th
13 of November, were all men and also the secretary of the Presidency was
14 also a man. I think his name was Zeljko Galic. I don't recall who kept
15 the minutes, but yes, of course, the picture would have been that much
16 nicer had there been any women there, in the frame at least.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. On that footage, but
18 things go very quickly, we see this meeting room, this large meeting room
19 with people dressed in civilian clothes and we see a few individuals
20 dressed in military clothes. But I noted that there was a second table.
21 There were two tables, probably the most prominent people were sitting at
22 the main table, and next to that table there was another table probably
23 for the assistants of the others. Can you confirm that? Can you confirm
24 that on top of these leading officials of the HVO there were at these
25 meetings -- this meeting their assistants, their secretaries, what have
1 you, who were sitting at this second table. Is that what we see on the
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if we went back to the
4 footage now I would probably recognise some of the individuals. Judging
5 from what I was able to see at that moment, I believe that sitting at one
6 of the tables were journalists, the ones we were able to see in civilian
7 clothes. I think I saw two journalists among them. What we saw was a
8 brief information intended for the general public after the Presidency
9 meeting. And as you saw, I was authorised to give a statement.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The best is probably to view
11 the footage again. It may prove significant because we have here the
12 names of the people who attended that meeting, but we may identify other
13 people. So I'd like us to view this footage again, to play the video
14 again, because I didn't get the impression that these people were
16 [Videotape played]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We see you, you're holding a
18 press conference, and here we have this frame where we see the main table
19 and a table next to it. We see it here with someone turning his back to
20 us. Would that be the journalists sitting at this particular table?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's precisely what I was
22 referring to a moment ago. I think that sitting at the table which is on
23 the right-hand side as we're looking at the video there were journalists
24 who attended the Presidency meeting on the 3rd of July. We can continue
25 playing the footage, and perhaps I might recognise someone. But I
1 believe that the individuals seated at the table on the right-hand side
2 are journalists.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I put the question: Does one not see right
4 of the head of the person with a blue -- man with a blue sweater or
5 something, a microphone? It looks to me a bit like a microphone on a
6 socle and that would then not fit with the hypothesis that these are
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I wasn't sure but that
9 I thought that they were journalists because I know that journalists were
10 present. When I was looking at the footage as it was played a moment
11 ago, I believed that I recognised one of the journalists. His name is
12 Blasko, I can't recall his family name at this time. He was a
13 correspondent of the Croatian television, I believe. The other time when
14 we were watching a clip I recognised him. And I said that I was certain
15 that I saw some journalists -- well, in fact, I saw him but I am sure
16 that there were others too. Perhaps his name was Blasko Raguz.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we can finish playing the
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is not my intention
21 to testify, but what Judge Trechsel saw is something that I thought I saw
22 and my colleagues confirm it, it was a bottle, testifying again to the
23 presence of men only, otherwise there might not have been a bottle there.
24 At any rate, we believe it is a bottle, not a microphone.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's continue with the
2 [Videotape played]
3 THE WITNESS: Yes, this is Mate Boban.
4 [Videotape played]
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I can't identify
6 this individual at that moment. I dare not speculate. I wouldn't want
7 to make a mistake.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. For the record I would
9 like to specify that at some point in the video we saw people shopping,
10 going shopping, and paying with bank notes. I don't know if these were
11 Croatian dinars, Deutschemarks, or whatever -- no, but we saw bank notes.
12 Let's proceed.
13 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 I'm being told it may be time for a break. I could continue, we
15 could break now; as you wish.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll break for 20 minutes.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.25 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.49 p.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. We are back in session.
20 Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.
21 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Mr. Buntic, you should have in front of you Exhibit P 00078,
23 which is the amended decision of 3 July 1992 on the establishment of the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Do you see that?
25 A. I do.
1 Q. And just before the break I had asked you, and you had indicated
2 yes, that you were involved in drafting some of the language in this
3 decision, although you did not indicate which parts you were involved
4 with. I take it you were involved in the drafting of this document?
5 A. I have confirmed that.
6 Q. Now, I want to direct your attention to one part of the preamble,
7 the third paragraph of the preamble, which begins with the words:
8 "Pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia
10 And it continues on with various recitations. There's a
11 reference to the inexhaustive right of peoples to self-determination and
12 sovereignty, including the right to association. And this is the part I
13 want to ask you about: "And pursuant to the unacceptability of the
14 unitary state model and multi-ethnic societies, the Croat people ..." and
15 then it continues on to indicate "... shall establish the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna."
17 This passage: "Pursuant to the unacceptability of the unitary
18 state model and multi-ethnic societies ..."
19 I'm going to take you to one or two other documents in a few
20 moments, but let me just ask you, sir, those words there, are those your
21 words? Is that a reflection of your input into this part of the
23 A. I think that the third paragraph should be looked at in the
24 context of the entirety of the document and not isolated. The third
25 paragraph is somewhat longer and contains other statements as well. It
1 is true that I was a member of the working group that drafted this --
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm -- would you perhaps look again at the -- or
3 remember the question. The question was whether you had drafted these
4 words, not whether this was a long paragraph or what it meant or what the
5 context was, but just whether you had drafted it and that can be answered
6 by yes or no.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot answer with a
8 yes or no because I said that I participated in the group which drafted
9 this document; in other words, I was not working on it on my own. I said
10 that I was a member of the group which prepared the text, and as you
11 know, the Presidency decided to adopt this decision with the text as it
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Thank you.
14 MR. STRINGER:
15 Q. Let me take you to a different document and then I'll bring you
16 back to this. In the fourth binder, number 4, 1D 01670, if the usher
17 could assist. The fourth binder, 1D 01670. Mr. Buntic, this document is
18 the minutes of this Presidency meeting of the 2nd of July, 1993. And if
19 you go through this document you will see that item number 2 relates to
20 the decision amending the decision on the establishment of the
21 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And -- actually, just to back up a
22 little bit, I'm looking at the fourth page of the English version. The
23 minutes are reporting the statements of various members and people who
24 are present, and item number 8 relates to a statement by
25 Mr. Blago Artukovic. And then underneath that there's a reference to a
1 statement of you, Mr. Buntic. And Mr. Artukovic had said that the SDA
2 and their leaders -- do you have that part of the document in front of
3 you, Mr. Buntic?
4 A. No, but I do remember that.
5 Q. Okay. If you find on page -- I'll take you to page -- the
6 relevant page of the Serbo-Croatian version, it's the -- begins at the
7 bottom of a page that ends with the letter -- the number 0455. Do you
8 see 1D 32-0455, the bottom left -- right-hand corner?
9 A. I've found it.
10 Q. Okay. So Mr. Artukovic begins speaking, and then on the next
11 page there is a reference with your name and that's the part I'm going to
12 ask you about now. Mr. Artukovic says that the SDA and their leaders
13 were advocating a unitary Bosnia-Herzegovina known as a civic one and
14 would not renounce that principle. And he said the people were
15 inadequately informed of the work and the organization of the HVO and the
16 HZ HB. And then at this point you said that in reference to his comments
17 that you, Mr. Buntic, "explained that nowhere in the world was there a
18 state which was at once unitary and multi-ethnic. The HZ HB endorsed
19 this principle and any other manner of work and organization would merely
20 be an experiment such as the former SFRY," the Socialist Federal Republic
21 of Yugoslavia
22 So that's what made me ask you a couple of minutes ago, whether
23 these words which somehow found their way into the preamble of the
24 amended decision actually were your words because you seem to be saying
25 just that very same thing here as reflected in the minutes, the view that
1 a unitary state model and a multi-ethnic society is unacceptable. So
2 I'll ask you then again. Those words to the extent they're found in the
3 preamble of the amended decision, are those your words? Did you write
4 that or did you introduce those words into the preamble with the
5 approval, obviously, of the membership of the Presidency?
6 A. Your Honours, I think that the minutes correctly reflect what I
7 said at the time, that is, the views reflected in the transcript were
8 mine and were accurately reported. I also said that I participated in
9 the group which developed the amendments to the decision establishing the
10 HZ HB. The views contained in the minutes were mine and were correctly
12 Q. All right. And just a couple questions about your views on that,
13 sir. Is it your view or was it your view at this time -- well, let me
14 ask you this: In terms of a unitary state, what do you mean by that? By
15 that do you mean a state in which, as we say, there is one man/one vote?
16 A. I did mean that, but I also had in mind the multi-ethnic
17 communities such as exist in the world. There are many confederal states
18 or multi-ethnic communities which have confederal or a federal system.
19 As I stated here, I wasn't aware of a single case anywhere in the world
20 where a multi-ethnic community would be organized on the unitary
21 principle or it can be translated into the principle of one man/one vote.
22 We know that Slobodan Milosevic advocated this principle and
23 stood by it firmly. In my view, this was the reason why the former
25 community which could not work on that principle. The Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina is also a multi-ethnic community, and as such -- and
2 it was defined as such in Article 1 of its constitution.
3 Since we had had the experience of the multi-ethnic Yugoslavia
4 having been broken up which there were attempts to organize on that
5 principle of one man/one vote, I believed that this principle would not
6 be appropriate for the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna as a
7 multi-ethnic community. In my view, the future Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina that had only just been internationally recognised,
9 could not be organized based on that principle. This was also consistent
10 with the views expressed by the Badinter Commission, views which had
11 already been made public by that time.
12 This was, therefore, based on the constitution of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the opinions of the Badinter Commission, on the
14 international documents prescribing the rights of peoples. I stand by
15 the views I held at the time, and they are correctly reflected in the
17 Q. All right.
18 A. Let me just qualify the fact that I wasn't the only one drafting
19 the preamble; it was drafted by a group of people.
20 Q. At the time of this amended decision in July of 1992, is it true,
21 sir, that the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was in fact a unitary
22 state consisting of a multi-ethnic society or population?
23 A. As I've already said, in its constitution Bosnia-Herzegovina was
24 defined as a state of the Bosniak people, the Serb people, and the Croat
25 people; therefore, as a state of three constituent peoples. What was
1 said here was based on those same principles, and I kindly ask you to
2 allow me to add something. In my testimony in the Kordic case, on the
3 issue of these constitutional principles I made a statement that
4 covered --
5 Q. Excuse me --
6 A. -- 22 pages -- please allow me to finish.
7 Q. I apologise, but I can't allow you to finish. The Trial Chamber
8 doesn't have -- we know about your previous testimony, but we're
9 interested in your evidence as you sit here today. We can submit your
10 Kordic testimony if the Trial Chamber wants it, but you've got to ask --
11 or you've got to answer the questions that I'm asking you here today
12 rather than the answers that you gave in the Kordic trial. This is -- I
13 think it's a simple question, it's certainly intended to be one.
14 Isn't it true that Bosnia-Herzegovina at this time was a
15 multi-ethnic society based upon a unitary state model?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. All right. And so, what we're seeing is a rejection of the
18 fundamental way in which the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina was organized
19 in -- as of July of 1992, that model was not acceptable to you and the
20 others who wrote and adopted this amended decision; correct?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Now, is it true then that what you - and I'll use what we call
23 the royal you, if I may - you and the other leaders of Herceg-Bosna who
24 were writing this, what you wanted was rather a territory, a unit that
25 was governed by Croatian people?
1 A. First and foremost, Mr. Prosecutor, the decision establishing the
2 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, or rather, the Croatian Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna was not set up on state territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
4 because at the time of the establishment of the Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina did not exist. The
6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was set up in the territory of what
7 was at the time the dissolving Yugoslavia.
8 Q. Sorry --
9 A. That was the opinion of, number one, the Badinter Commission --
10 Q. I don't think you're answering my question, sir, with respect.
11 This is my question, I'm asking about now July of 1992. We've
12 established that you and your colleagues writing this decision rejected
13 or would not accept -- do not accept the unitary state model for
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'll ask you an open-ended question. What is it
15 that you wanted? Tell us, what did you want instead?
16 A. We advocated a Bosnia-Herzegovina as a compound state of three
17 constituent peoples which would have mechanisms aimed at protecting the
18 rights of all three constituent peoples. As you are well aware, the
19 Croatian negotiating delegation accepted all the three models for the
20 resolution of the BH crisis offered by the international community. All
21 of the models offered were based on the principles I have referred to and
22 the principles that I was in favour of, that the state should be
23 organized as a community of all the three constituent peoples. Already
24 at that time a unitary model of Bosnia-Herzegovina was unacceptable to
25 all of us.
1 Q. Then you wanted a model in which there would be three constituent
2 units, if I may use the word, a Muslim unit, a Serb unit, and a Croatian
3 or a Croat unit, is that correct, all within the territory of
5 A. Not at all times [Realtime transcript read in error "At all
6 times"]. As is well-known, the Cutileiro Plan was not based on the three
7 territorial units, nor was the Vance-Owen Plan - please let me
8 finish - in the drafting of which I also participated because it was not
9 based on the three constituent units. The Owen-Stoltenberg Plan was
10 based on the three constituent units. The Washington Agreement was based
11 on two constituent units as well as the Dayton Accords, that is to say,
12 they were based on two constituent units. Therefore, Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 was organized as a compound state of two constituent units.
14 Q. All right. But I'm just asking: What did you want? I'm not
15 interested in what the international community wanted or was proposing.
16 I'm simply asking you to tell us what you wanted, and specifically did
17 you want there to be three constituent units or entities within Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina
19 A. I was very precise and said that the Croat side had accepted all
20 the plans offered it. Now, what somebody intended to do or wished to do
21 within one's own territory is something that I cannot gauge. I can only
22 tell you the views that were expressed. Now, what somebody intended to
23 do or thought of doing is something that my profession doesn't allow me
24 to speculate on. I said that all the international plans for
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina offered by the international community to resolve the
1 Bosnian-Herzegovinian crisis were accepted.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: If I could just say -- just to correct the record
3 not to intervene, on page 70, line 18, the gentleman indicated, "Not at
4 all times." It doesn't reflect that in the record, so perhaps that could
5 be clarified. That was the response to the question, "Not at all times."
6 That is what my colleague heard, in English that is what I heard, but
7 that wasn't reflected. Thank you.
8 MR. STRINGER:
9 Q. Well, the time I'm interested in is the 3rd of July, 1992, and I
10 think that you're actually extremely well-qualified and positioned,
11 Mr. Buntic, to tell us what it was that the leadership of Herceg-Bosna
12 wanted. At this time when it was rejecting the unitary state model for
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you want to have a Croatian entity or a unit in
14 which there was a territory that would be governed by the Croatian
15 people, and equally so, other territories and units that could be
16 governed by the Muslims for their part and the Serbs as well? Isn't that
17 what you wanted, that the people should have their own space, the three
19 A. Mr. Prosecutor, you're a lawyer by profession, as am I. In my
20 earlier answer I said that I don't know and am not allowed to say what
21 somebody thought or wanted. I can only speak about the deeds, and I did
22 speak about it. All the peace plans were accepted. These are facts.
23 That's something I can talk about. If I talked about what somebody
24 wanted or thought, I would enter into a realm of conjecture and surmise,
25 which I don't believe is relevant to this case. Besides, I don't
1 consider myself competent to speak about these matters; they rather fall
2 into the field of psychology and not law.
3 Q. All right.
4 A. With all due respect, I prefer talking about facts and deeds
5 rather than thoughts or wishes of individuals.
6 Q. When you testified in the Kordic case, Mr. Buntic, you did -- you
7 were more willing to express at least your personal view at that time.
8 Looking at page 21123 of the Kordic transcript, and this is what you were
9 asked. This is the question from the Prosecutor to you in that case.
"Q. The one point I wanted to ask: The division of Bosnia
11 three ethnic groups, as it were, under Owen-Stoltenberg, that is not
12 substantially different, is it, from the basic cantonal division of the
13 party, the Croatian Democratic Party, I believe, that you were
14 initially -- or that you were a member of. In other words, the three
15 divided ethnic groups was pretty much the pattern that you saw as
16 appropriate for Bosnia
17 And your answer to that question was: "If you're asking me for
18 my personal position, I still believe that this was the best plan for
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina, yes."
20 So is that your view, sir, and I'll ask you your personal view
21 then since you're not comfortable speaking about the views of the
22 Herceg-Bosna leadership, was it your own view that the three
23 nationalities, if you will, should be separated and divided within
25 A. Again in your question there is a trap which prevents me from
1 giving you a yes or no answer. So it was not about the division of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that's why I can't give you a yes or no answer.
3 We're talking about the way in which Bosnia and Herzegovina was to be
4 structured on the basis of the principle with three constituent peoples.
5 And I maintain what I said in the Kordic case, but again I presented my
6 own views, my own position, not views or positions of other peoples. So
7 I'm fully consistent in what I'm saying. I'm saying the same thing that
8 I said in the Kordic case, and I still think, I still hold, that this was
9 the best plan for Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is my opinion. That's my
11 Q. And just so we're talking -- just to we're clear, I want to make
12 it absolutely clear then what it is that you're expressing as your
13 personal view. You're saying that three divided ethnic groups --
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object to the question.
15 I don't need to hear the rest of it.
16 Excuse me, sir.
17 I don't need to hear the rest of it. This has been asked and
18 it's been answered. Now since he doesn't like it, he's trying to twist
19 and turn and formulate a question or put words into the witness's mouth.
20 Might I remind the Trial Chamber that it was the international community
21 that came up with the plans. Are we indicting the international
22 community? If so, let's put them in in the indictment; if not, let's
23 move on. I think it's been asked and it's been answered.
24 MR. STRINGER: Well, Mr. President, I disagree. I don't think
25 I'm getting a straight answer or a sufficient answer on this, and I just
1 think it's necessary for the record to be clear what it is the witness
2 said. If he wants to talk about a plan, that's great; if he wants to --
3 I'm asking him his personal view --
4 Q. Whether in your own personal view ethnic separation, ethnic
5 division among the three groups, was the best solution for
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, because that's what I read your testimony as in the
7 Kordic case. We can all look at the transcript and read it for
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, if he wants the entire transcript of the
10 Kordic case to be admitted, we have no objections. In fact, we fully
11 appreciate it having it been admitted. Now, how many times does he need
12 to ask the question? He's been asked it, he answered it. He's never
13 indicated anything about separation. He's talking about the internal
14 division inside Bosnia-Herzegovina on a political basis so that three
15 constituent nations can live among themselves and enjoy equal status and
16 equal rights. He said that over and over again.
17 MR. STRINGER: We can tender the transcript, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the Prosecutor is
19 asking you for your personal view on the issue of ethnic separation into
20 three groups. He's asking you for your personal opinion. Please state
21 it, it's not that complicated. Were you in favour of it or against it?
22 Is that a mistake in the transcript? You're bound to have a personal
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is my opinion that
25 I did present my views quite accurately and with some precision. So it
1 is my opinion that the internal organization of Bosnia-Herzegovina with
2 the three constituent units was the best solution or is the best solution
3 for Bosnia and Herzegovina. I cannot accept or I cannot even answer a
4 question that has to do with the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 because we're not talking about the division, we're talking about the
6 internal organization. So I think that I was quite clear and precise in
7 my answer when I said that it was my opinion, my position, that
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina should be set up on the basis of three constituent
9 units. That's what I advocated. I wasn't talking about the division, so
10 I cannot accept this imposition in the form of a question about the
11 division when all I'm talking about is the internal organization. I
12 don't know if I have made myself clear.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] He's answered the question. In
14 his view, the organization had to take into account the existence of
15 these three ethnic groups.
16 That's what you said, isn't it?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
18 MR. STRINGER:
19 Q. And so within the intact borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because
20 I'm not talking about a division of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I'm talking about
21 the way in which it's organized within its borders, this is my
22 question --
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think, Mr. Stringer, I think this question now
24 really was answered.
25 MR. STRINGER: Very well, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The President asked and that answer I think
2 really settles it.
3 MR. STRINGER: Very well, Your Honour. I'll move on.
4 Q. Okay, Mr. Buntic, if you could go back to the binder that's on
5 the bottom, back to the amended decision establishing Herceg-Bosna. And
6 if I could direct you, sir, to Article 2. If I could just ask you again
7 to read the first passage -- read Article 2 up until the beginning of the
8 list of municipalities.
9 A. Article 2: "The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna shall
10 comprise the territories of the municipalities ..."
11 I don't know if you wanted me to go on or to stop here where the
12 names of the municipalities are listed.
13 Q. No, that's fine because we can all read the names of the
14 municipalities. Now, my first question is: As from the first decision
15 in November of 1991 to now this amended decision in July of 1992, do you
16 know if there was any changes made to the listing of municipalities
17 that's found here or did that listing remain the same?
18 A. As far as I can recall, the list remained the same until the 17th
19 of October, 1992, when some other communities joined this community,
20 Posavina, Soli --
21 Q. Okay --
22 A. -- and Usora, I think.
23 Q. Okay. But within the initial Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
24 there was no change?
25 A. No.
1 Q. And the listing of municipalities here we have two that are
2 unique in that there is some brackets or parenthesis that is after them.
3 For example, Skender Vakuf, there's a reference to Dobratici and then at
4 the end for the municipality of Trebinje
5 And as I understand it, those two municipalities are unique in that the
6 parts of those municipalities that's referred to are only those specific
7 parts, that is, for Skender Vakuf it's only the Dobratici area that is a
8 part of the Croatian Community and not the entirety of the municipality
9 of Skender Vakuf; is that correct?
10 A. I think that this is correct, but I think that we need to note
11 here that in paragraph 1 of this article we're talking about the
12 territories of the municipalities. I want to stress that the term
13 territory is not the same as the term territory, "podrucje" and
14 "teritorija." These two terms have different meanings in Croatian, in
15 everyday language. If you're talking about the territory of a
16 municipality, you're talking about the overall area, "podrucje," of a
17 municipality. And if you're talking about "podrucje," area, then it does
18 not mean the entire territory of the municipality.
19 So in Croatian language these two terms have a different meaning.
20 I gave you the meanings in everyday parlance, but I think that I've
21 already explained that I'm not a linguist and I couldn't give you an
22 expert opinion. But I presented the view as to what those terms mean in
23 everyday language in Croatian. Now, I don't know how one should
24 translate that into English. I don't know whether the translation into
25 English has been correct, but I've explained to you what those terms mean
1 in everyday Croatian language and parlance.
2 Q. All right. Well, let's --
3 MR. STRINGER: With your permission, Mr. President, I'd like to
4 put up a map that is in evidence that indicates the ethnic composition of
5 the municipalities not just of Herceg-Bosna but of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
6 its entirety.
7 Q. Do you see the map on the screen in front of you, Mr. Buntic?
8 A. Yes, I can see it.
9 Q. Okay. And I can tell you that if you can see the blue border
10 that runs throughout the middle sections of the map and then the blue
11 border again that runs across the north-eastern section, those are
12 representing the borders of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
13 the border of the Croatian Community of the Posavina in the north-eastern
14 part. So that's what the blue borders relate to. And I'm going to ask
15 you about the areas within the borders of Herceg-Bosna.
16 Would you agree with me, sir, that within the territory or the
17 municipalities that are listed in Article 2 of this decision there is a
18 great deal of ethnic diversity?
19 A. Well, there is great ethnic diversity, but I think that in the
20 areas as they are indicated here, the Croatian people would be in the
21 majority, that's one thing; and I think that there's no need to trick me
22 by showing me those borders because it's nothing but a trick. The
23 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna never published or shown a map that
24 would show the borders of the Croatian Community. So if you want me to
25 confirm this map in this sense, I cannot do it because the
1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna did not have its borders.
2 Q. Well, isn't it true, sir, that the Croatian Community of
3 Herceg-Bosna, as it says in this decision, it consisted of or comprised
4 these municipalities?
5 A. Let me be quite specific and tell you what the decision says.
6 Areas, "podrucje," of these municipalities, not the overall, the total
7 territory of those municipalities. I can't give you a different answer.
8 If anyone else can, let them do that, but I cannot and indeed no other
9 answer can be derived from this text.
10 Q. All right. So then it's your testimony, sir, that the territory,
11 if you will, the space - I'm trying to use a neutral word - of the
12 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna only extended to parts of these
13 municipalities but not these municipalities in their entirety?
14 A. That would be a more correct interpretation. So not the total,
15 overall territory of those municipalities, but just some areas in those
17 Q. This document, however, doesn't give us any indication of which
18 areas would then fall within the territory or the jurisdiction of
19 Herceg-Bosna with the exception of Trebinje and Skender Vakuf; isn't that
21 A. What is indicated in Article 2 of the decision is correct, and I
22 can't really interpret it in any other way nor is it possible to give it
23 any other interpretation that would be in the spirit of the Croatian
24 language. So we're talking about the areas of the municipalities listed
25 here, not the territories. You see Ravno and Trebinje and Dobratici
1 listed here, and I can give you an explanation as to why but it is not
2 necessary. If you want me to do so, I can do that.
3 Q. No, I think we know about that. I don't think it's necessary for
4 you to give an explanation on those too.
5 MR. STRINGER: For the record, Mr. President, we're on map 9
6 which is part of Exhibit P 09276.
7 Q. Let me move on to just another part of this document, Mr. Buntic,
8 Article 7 which relates to the organization, if you will, of the
9 governing bodies of Herceg-Bosna. You see here that the president of the
10 Croatian -- we're talking about the supreme authority vested first in the
11 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, we know that was
12 Mr. Boban who was the Commander-in-Chief as well; correct?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. And then there's a reference: "... or also vested in the
15 Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna which shall consist
16 of representatives of the Croatian people in the municipal bodies of
17 authority, the senior official thereof, or the presidents of the
18 municipal Croatian Defence Council."
19 And then it goes on to say that: "The Presidency then ... would
20 be the legislative body of the HZ HB."
21 Do you see that?
22 A. That's correct. You quoted this part of Article 7 correctly.
23 Q. And then just on to Article 8, it's the Presidency, then, that
24 shall appoint the executive and administrative bodies?
25 A. Yes, I can confirm, that's correct.
1 Q. And would we agree that this is a reference, then, to the HVO,
2 which is the executive part of the leadership or governance of
4 A. Yes, you're right, Mr. Prosecutor, because the civilian HVO was
5 established after this amended decision was passed as an executive body
6 of the Presidency.
7 Q. Now, getting back up to Article 7 on the Presidency, is it true,
8 sir, that only Croatian people could be a member of the Presidency of
10 A. That's not correct because the wording here did not exclude other
11 possibilities, because presidents of the municipal HVO, so I'm talking
12 about paragraph 2 that you've just read, the Presidency of the
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna which shall consist of representatives
14 of the Croatian people in the municipal authorities which would confirm
15 your argument or presidents of the Croatian Defence Council who need not
16 be Croats. They could come from other ethnic groups.
17 So the way it is worded, it does not exclude the possibility that
18 non-Croats could participate.
19 Q. Is it true, though, in fact that there were no Muslim members of
20 the Presidency and there were no Muslims who were presidents of the
21 municipal HVOs during 1992 and up until August of 1993 when the
22 Croatian Community changed into the Croatian republic?
23 A. The first part of your question or your argument I can confirm,
24 but not the second part. So I'm not sure, and I think that there were
25 some examples where Bosniaks were presidents of the HVO. I'm not sure,
1 but there were such cases. We saw here some evidence called before this
2 Court, including a document from the Stolac municipality to the
3 Republic of Croatia
4 not sure whether this document was drafted or signed by the
5 representative or the president of the HVO or the Party of
6 Democratic Action. So I can't give you an answer to the second part of
7 your question.
8 So it was possible that somebody -- that non-Croats could be
9 presidents of the HVO. Now, whether this was so in practice, I don't
10 know, but it was possible.
11 Q. Moving you back to Article 1 of this decision, Mr. Buntic, if you
12 could just explain this in light of your previous remarks about the
13 municipalities or parts of municipalities that were falling within the
14 HZ HB. Article 1 indicates that: "The HZ HB shall be established as a
15 political, cultural, economic, and territorial whole."
16 Now, that's how the linguists give it to me in English. Clearly
17 I don't know how now hear it in your language, but that certainly would
18 imply, sir, that there is a territorial aspect to this entity called
19 Herceg-Bosna. Isn't that true, there was a territory, a physical land,
20 territory, of Herceg-Bosna?
21 A. Well, it couldn't just hang there up in the air. Once again let
22 me remind you, we're not talking about territories we're talking about
24 Q. So --
25 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like to say and ask the witness that
1 even if the two Croatian words are, let's say, different as far as the
2 territory and the space or whatever are concerned, but I really believe
3 that the witness cannot claim that it cannot be -- in a way it cannot be
4 determined as far as the territorial entity is concerned and we all know
5 that there was a territorial entity which was later on called the
6 Croatian Republic
7 that when we saw previous documents it was a very categorical reference
8 that this Croatian entity has a territorial meaning as well. I do not
9 have it before me, but I believe that before the break we had this
10 document to be shown and you spoke about it.
11 So therefore I would like to ask you that: Do you claim that
12 there was no territorial integral part of the Croatian territory of first
13 the HDZ and later on, of course, the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
14 Do you agree with this or would you like to say that because of the two
15 expressions in Croatian you claim that there is not a single territorial
16 entity which was called as Herceg-Bosna or the territory of the HDZ.
17 That is my question.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as is quite
19 well-known every community must be based on some area or territory. I
20 don't think there should be any misunderstandings about that. There is a
21 misunderstanding between the question asked by the Prosecution and my
22 answers and it is this. There was an area that was the area of the
23 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, but this did not include
24 municipalities with their total territories. What this term meant was
25 just parts of those municipalities. So it could refer to the overall
1 territory of the municipalities of Citluk, Tomislavgrad, and Ljubuski,
2 and parts of some other municipalities because the term "podrucje," area,
3 does not necessarily mean that this was an entire territory of this
4 municipality. But the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, I'm not
5 denying that it had the area. It covered a certain area, but it never
6 had borders because they were never established.
7 So you cannot talk about the territory of the Croatian Community
8 of Herceg-Bosna and it would not be proper for me to talk about something
9 that never existed, that never was. And if we're talking about the
10 Croatian Community, later on Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, which
11 never had its borders defined, it was always indicated that this would be
12 established once an international agreement was in place. So that is why
13 it is not correct to speak about the territory because territories imply
14 borders, and here we're using the terms area, not territory of
15 municipalities. I don't know if I have been clear.
16 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you for your answer, but frankly it is not
17 very clear, I mean your answer. Of course I do not find now, in a matter
18 of one minute or two, those documents and laws which you have promulgated
19 and which also called for, for example, for the establishment of kind of
20 border inspections and -- including of course the military units there
21 and also for the customs and other services. If I am mistaken, I stand
22 to be corrected. But as far as I know, there were indeed some units,
23 administrative units, which had been established for that very purpose,
24 especially because of the vulnerability of your border. So therefore, I
25 cannot accept that there was not at all a kind of territorial entity
1 which would have been called as Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna or
2 later on the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
3 But let us not have a seminar here but the -- and the --
4 Mr. Stringer can proceed. Thank you.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may, Your Honour, just to lodge an objection.
6 I mean, it would appear with all due respect, Judge Prandler, that, one,
7 you have formulated an opinion prior to the close of the evidence and
8 that, one, you're calling this an entity likening it to the
9 Republika Srpska. That troubles me.
10 Number two, you're calling this the territory of HDZ
11 page 84, line 1, because you equated that this is the Croatian community
12 or territory of HDZ
13 have some personal views which you bring to court and somehow they get
14 creeped into your questions, such as the one you've just indicated, that
15 you happen to have knowledge.
16 Having said that, it could be that things are being lost in
17 translation, since I do know that English is your second language or
18 third or fourth because I do know that you speak many languages. But I
19 do wish to point out that we haven't heard all the evidence and the
20 gentleman has indicated that we're talking about areas, areas of
21 course -- when he said to the Prosecutor that it's not hanging up in the
22 air. But I think to equate the HD -- the Croatian Community of
23 Herceg-Bosna as a territory of HDZ
24 Republika Srpska, which clearly had stated it goals as what it was
25 attempting to do, which is break away from Bosnia-Herzegovina, we're
1 talking about two different things.
2 It would seem at this stage - and I say this with all due
3 respect - it would appear that you are of the opinion midway through the
4 trial that there is a para-state, a state within a state. In other
5 words, you have bought into the Prosecution's case prior to hearing all
6 of the evidence, and I do wish to give -- I would like for the record
7 some clarification. And perhaps I'm being rude by asking for such
8 clarification, I don't mean to be. I know that at times I have been less
9 than appropriate in this courtroom, I acknowledge that, you know, but I
10 think, with all due respect, I'm entitled to vent these issues to make
11 sure that perhaps it is just your way of expressing yourself as opposed
12 to holding fixed views of which then we are in somewhat of a conundrum.
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas. I don't want to have a
15 very long discussion here, but I definitely refuse your qualification --
16 your characterization of my question and my statement in a way which was
17 not a statement but a question explaining my question to the witness.
18 And what I refuse was that -- and I quote here, I believe it is 14: "In
19 other words, you have bought into the Prosecution's case prior to hearing
20 all of the evidence ..."
21 I definitely refuse this characterization which is hurting my
22 independence as Judge, and it was not -- my slightest indication was not
23 this one and therefore I refuse it. At the same time, I still -- I said
24 I stand to be corrected. If you may prove that there was nothing which
25 was in a way similar to kind of territorial arrangements and we have to
1 look into all the documents and I'm sure that this issue can be settled
2 and it was not pending in the air like Mohamed's coffin, it is not -- I'm
3 sorry, I don't want to disturb anybody's religious feelings, but there
4 was a territory that was an entity and nobody could tell me that this
5 entity did not exist and nobody can tell me that this territory, however
6 you call it, that it was not in a way a kind of tangible case there. It
7 is quite a different question how to -- what kind of legal consequences
8 you draw upon it.
9 But again I say what is my major problem here is that there was
10 certain technical sense something which could be -- which could have been
11 called as territory, that is number one. Number two, I refuse to be
12 characterized that I was bought in by the Prosecution. I refuse it and I
13 thank you, Mr. Karnavas, for your very -- in a way, your statement. As
14 you know, we are not at all enemies to each other. We are -- first of
15 all, we are here Judges. You are there as a Defence, and therefore I
16 would like to say that my question had been concentrated on the
17 clarification of the territorial issue, nothing else. Thank you.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: And, Your Honour, I meant no offence. I think if
19 we go back to where we started, it was when Mr. Buntic was shown the map
20 and Mr. Buntic refused to be tied in to the borders of that particular
21 map. And there may be parts that I agree with what you've indicated, but
22 I think Mr. Buntic was rather clear as far as what he believed when he
23 was shown the map. Now, I'll leave it at that, Your Honours. I simply
24 did not mean to be offensive in any way.
25 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you.
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] May I, Your Honours?
2 I also wish to express my concern with regard to some parts of
3 what Judge Prandler said. I will focus on some issues. The witness has
4 been telling us what he knows about the establishment of the
5 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Those of us who speak the language
6 of the decision clearly see the difference between the terms "podrucje,"
7 area, and "teritorija," territory. The witness can speak about what the
8 intentions of those who drafted the decision were, because had they
9 wanted to write "territory," they would have been done so.
10 Now, the matter that causes concern is what Judge Prandler says,
11 that a great deal of evidence has been led about the borders and customs.
12 As far as I know, not a single piece of evidence was led -- the evidence
13 was led about the borders and customs between the HZ HB and the
14 Republic of Croatia
15 of the HZ HB to become a separate entity because it would not have
16 created that border with Croatia
17 I do believe that this matter has not been cleared up or
18 clarified and I hope that we shall have the opportunity to do so in the
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask you,
22 Judge Antonetti, to put this question: Which territory did the HVO have
23 in Sarajevo
24 Thank you.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, before my fellow Judge
1 intervened I was about to ask you a question myself and it probably would
2 have solved everything. Unfortunately, my fellow Judge was quicker on
3 the mark. My question is very straightforward. Please read out in your
4 own language Article 1 of this document. The interpreters will therefore
5 translate exactly what is written there in your language under Article 1.
6 Please turn to the text of the document in your language and please read
7 out Article 1 very slowly.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Article 1: "The Croatian Community
9 of Herceg-Bosna shall be established as a political, cultural, economic,
10 and territorial whole."
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes, "podrucne."
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you want me to give you
13 additional explanation, I will; if not, I will stop here.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me to interrupt, but I want to address
15 the interpreters. We have the word "podrucne" at the end of the first --
16 yeah, "podrucne," and we have been told many times that territory,
17 territorial was not a correct translation but that it must be area. Or
18 have I got it wrong? I would really invite you to -- or tend to state if
19 you do not agree with these linguistic questions, but I think we should
20 avoid unnecessary difficulties.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Once again my fellow Judge went
22 much faster than I did. Let me tell you what I heard from the French
23 booth. This is what the interpreter translated and I think this is very
24 significant. Here's what he said:
25 "The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna is created as a
1 political, cultural, economic, and regional whole."
2 That's what the interpreter, the French interpreter, translated.
3 It's not exactly the same in English because in English reference is made
4 to a whole here and not to territories or anything. So I'd like to turn
5 to -- or I'd like to ask the following question. With respect to the
6 word "podrucne," could you please tell us what that word means in your
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For example --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm asking the question to the
11 Can you please define the word "podrucne," what does it mean?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For example, Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 as a state had a single territory but several areas. We can speak about
14 the area of Herzegovina
16 territory has several areas, that's what I'm talking about, the meaning
17 in the Croatian language.
18 When we're talking about the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
19 and with reference to the map that was shown earlier on, some of the
20 communities that joined the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna are not
21 visible on that map, that's the Soli community from the Tuzla area,
22 Usora, which was also a separate area, not a contiguous area. And, for
23 instance, Zepce, it was also dislocated. We are not talking about
24 contiguous territory, we're talking about areas. I don't know how
25 precise I can be in explaining this, but by trying to present the
1 difference through examples.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. If necessary the CLSS
3 could translate Article 1 for us.
4 It's 7.00 p.m.
5 we'll conclude the testimony of the witness tomorrow. We'll have to
6 continue on Thursday.
7 You still have some time to spend in The Hague, Witness.
8 It's 7.00 p.m.
9 at a quarter past 2.00.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.
11 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 16th day of
12 July, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.