1 Thursday, 17 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Today is Thursday, 17th July, 2008. I would like to greet the
12 accused, their Defence counsel, the OTP representatives, as well as
13 everybody assisting us.
14 I will first read out an oral decision on the sealing of
15 exhibit -- before I do so we need to move into private session because
16 this concerns an exhibit under seal.
17 [Private session]
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's bring the
11 witness in.
12 Mr. Stringer, you have used up almost four hours, so you still
13 have three hours and 15 minutes left.
14 We're still waiting for the witness, who must be on another
15 floor. Here he comes.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will now give the floor to
20 Mr. Stringer.
21 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon also to
22 Your Honours, counsel, all the parties and the people working in and
23 around the courtroom.
24 WITNESS: ZORAN BUNTIC [Resumed]
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer: [Continued]
2 Q. Good afternoon to you, sir, Mr. Buntic.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. When we finished our work yesterday we'd been talking about your
5 visit to Zagreb
6 September of 1992, and then I asked you a couple brief questions about
7 the constitutional court decision which was issued on the following day,
8 the 18th of September, 1992. So now I'd like to move ahead to the 17th
9 of October, 1992, which I think we'll agree was the date of the final
10 Presidency meeting, meeting of the Presidency of the Croatian Community
11 of Herceg-Bosna.
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. I know that there was a good deal of legislation that was
14 discussed and which was enacted or approved by the Presidency in its
15 session of 17 October 1992
16 talk to you about now is in your binder, it is, I think, in binder number
17 2, P 00684 -- I'm sorry, it's in binder 3.
18 And, Mr. Buntic, while that document is being located by all of
19 us, I think I said it, let me just make sure that we've established this.
20 As we look at this document which is one of the decisions or decrees
21 coming from the 17th of October Presidency meeting, is it true, sir, that
22 this is the last meeting of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of
23 Herceg-Bosna until, I believe, in August of 1993, at which time the
24 Presidency passed over its powers to the newly formed or established
25 House of Representatives of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
1 A. It is correct. I can confirm that.
2 Q. Now, looking at Exhibit P 00684, we have this as a decision on
3 amendments to the statutory decision on the provisional organization of
4 executive power and administration in the Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna, and I'm passing over using the word "area" or "territory."
6 I'm going to try to be a little more -- less controversial on that
7 subject today. I think the issue has gotten plenty of coverage in your
8 earlier testimony.
9 And looking at Article 1 of this decision, sir, it provides or
10 amends the previously -- the previous decisions establishing the
11 executive authority of the HVO, in that this provision provides that:
12 "In the exercise of its powers the HVO may or shall adopt decrees,
13 decisions, dispositions, and conclusions."
14 Do you see that?
15 A. Yes, I can see that. It is a decision to amend -- to amend and
16 to supplement -- well, we've already discussed this, that this decision
17 was amended by this one. That's what I talked about.
18 Q. That's right. And in Article 1 we see that definitions are given
19 to the various forms of -- I guess -- well, we see that there are
20 definitions that are given for the decree and a decision and a
21 disposition and a conclusion, all of which are different types of items
22 that can be now adopted by the HVO as part of its authority; correct?
23 A. That's correct. This Article does, indeed, regulate all this.
24 Q. And then in the second-to-last paragraph, just under the
25 paragraph on conclusion, it states: "'In cases not suffering delay, the
1 HVO shall adopt enactments falling been the competence of the Presidency
2 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, with the understanding that it
3 shall be duty-bound to submit these enactments for consent to the
4 Presidency of the HZ HB at the first session of the Presidency following
5 the adoption of such enactments.'"
6 Is it correct, Mr. Buntic, for us to conclude based on these
7 passages in Article 1 that what this document does essentially is to move
8 the legislative authority or the legislative function of the Presidency
9 across to the HVO HZ HB?
10 A. That's correct. You quoted this article correctly, but I would
11 like to stress that these are legal instruments that were passed in cases
12 where there could be no delays. So the purpose of those amendments was
13 to deal with situations that are urgent or emergency, and in such cases
14 the HVO could enact decisions and so on that were within the purview of
15 the Presidency.
16 Q. And in fact, in the months that followed the adoption of this
17 decision in October 1992, the HVO did in fact adopt and enact a rather
18 substantial body of decrees and decisions. Would you agree with me?
19 A. Yes, I agree with you, but if I may just make one point. These
20 are typical situations that occurred in the state of war or imminent
21 threat of war. The Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina passed a similar
22 decision, transferring some of its powers on the Presidency, so the
23 legislative transferred its powers to the executive body. The reason is
24 because the Presidency, in our case in the Assembly in the case of Bosnia
25 and Herzegovina
1 power to make decisions were vested now in smaller bodies that were not
2 so cumbersome. So that was the purpose, the objective, behind these
4 And I can confirm as far as the second part of your question is
5 concerned that a large body of regulations was adopted, as indicated
6 here, decrees, decisions, dispositions, conclusions, and so on. So I
7 believe what you say is correct.
8 Q. And I believe we saw at one phase of your direct examination that
9 at the very end of the tenure of the HVO at the time of the establishment
10 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, in fact all of the legislation
11 that had been adopted by the HVO was submitted to the Presidency, which
12 is then adopted probably as one of its final official acts. Is that
14 A. Yes, you are right, Mr. Prosecutor, and this piece of evidence
15 was shown here in court and it was admitted in my examination-in-chief.
16 Q. Now, would you agree with me, Mr. Buntic, that this particular
17 decree, decision, does not provide that any of the legislation or
18 enactments of the HVO is ever to be sent to the Presidency or to any of
19 the other bodies of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 A. I can confirm that, but at the same time I have to make a point.
21 All the regulations passed by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and
22 for all practical purposes both de jure and de facto were verified or
23 confirmed by the Washington
24 that they shall remain in force until they are replaced by federal
25 regulations dealing with that particular sphere. To my mind, this was a
1 verification on the part of the international community in an agreement
2 signed by all the sides in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the auspices of
3 the international community enshrined in the highest legal instrument in
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the constitution. All those regulations were
5 verified and confirmed, and both the Supreme Court and the
6 Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to make decisions
7 on the basis of the regulations that were passed by the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
9 Q. Okay. So it's your testimony then that, if I understand
10 correctly, first of all, none of the HVO legislation was sent to the
11 government or government bodies of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
12 but that, in your view, all of the HVO's enactments were subsequently
13 approved or accepted as part of the peace agreements, either the
15 A. This is correct, and I said that the signatories of those
16 agreements were the highest bodies of the Republic of Bosnia
18 United States of America were guarantors. So all those regulations were
19 de jure confirmed and re-affirmed, and de facto the Supreme and
20 Constitutional Courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina continue making its
21 decisions, basing them on those regulations.
22 Q. However, and just so we're clear, do we agree that the
23 Croatian Republic
24 the Washington Agreement and Dayton
25 of Herceg-Bosna did not survive and did not exist under the framework of
2 A. What you say is true, but I think it would be appropriate to add
3 that those regulations of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna were
4 applied at the same time and equally as the regulations stemming from the
5 former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia; and it is true what
6 you also say, that in accordance with the Washington and
7 Dayton Peace Agreements the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was not
8 established as such, it was part of the BH Federation. And in accordance
9 with the Dayton Accords, Bosnia and Herzegovina was a compound state that
10 comprised two entities, not three. One of the entities is the
11 Republika Srpska and the other is the Federation, the Bosnian-Croat
13 Q. Okay. So I just want to take a quick step back to recap how the
14 government or how governance in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
15 was organized, and from this period, on the 17th of August, 1992, until
16 August to October of 1993 when the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
17 declared. And I'm going to try to do this very briefly with a chart
18 because sometimes illustrations can be more helpful. I'm going to refer
19 to a chart that's in evidence as Exhibit P 09689, 9689, and I'm going to
20 use Sanction. We can all look at this in Sanction, although the witness
21 has the chart also in his binder and he can look at that in his binder
22 because I think that will have a translated version for him.
23 Mr. Buntic, I don't know how well you can even see this. Are you
24 able to see the chart? Let me --
25 A. I can see the chart, but I can't really read because the font is
1 too small.
2 Q. Okay. I put a square around the thing at the top and we can make
3 that bigger, it says Mate Boban, president of the HZ HB and supreme
4 commander. Okay. Now --
5 A. Yes, I can read what I have on my screen now. Thank you.
6 Q. Okay. And can we agree, sir, that during this period of time he
7 was president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and he was also
8 supreme commander of its armed forces?
9 A. He was the president of the HZ HB and the supreme commander of
10 the armed forces, but, Mr. Prosecutor, not of the state but of the
11 community. What I heard was of the state, and this was not a state, it
12 was a community.
13 Q. Okay. Well, in English I used the word "community," and so there
14 may have been some misinterpretation, but I meant the HZ HB.
15 Now, in addition, as you've testified about earlier, there was
16 for a time during the earlier phase, Mr. Boban was also the president of
17 the HVO, which was the executive branch, if you will.
18 A. That's correct. I explained about the period. I don't know if I
19 have to repeat what I said.
20 Q. No. And then he no longer was president of the HVO as from
21 August of 1992 when Mr. Prlic became president of the HVO?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Now, I'm going to move over to this part of the chart which
24 relates to the Presidency, and the language that you're seeing in English
25 and I'll read it to you so you can get it in Croatian, under it is from
1 the actual decree that we discussed earlier.
2 "HZ HB Presidency 'includes representatives of the Croatian
3 people either the top functionary in the municipal government or the
4 president of the municipal HVO.'"
5 So now, Mr. Buntic --
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, at this point, before he asks any
7 more questions I'm going to object to this line of questioning for the
8 following reasons. One, this should be translated for Mr. Buntic to look
9 at in its entirety. I understand the concept of piecemealing,
10 sectioning, dissecting, which can give an erroneous, global picture at
11 the end. So that's number one.
12 Number two, it should be translated for the gentleman. They had
13 ample time to have it translated.
14 MR. STRINGER: [Microphone not activated]
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Thirdly, it should be available to the gentleman
16 in a hard copy. So I would object to just going step by step in this
17 fashion because I do think it is inappropriate and it is taking advantage
18 of the witness.
19 MR. STRINGER: Well, Mr. President, I think the Trial Chamber's
20 in a better position to judge whether we're taking advantage of the
21 witness based on all of his testimony so far. It's my understanding that
22 he does have in hard copy the chart in front of him, it's available
23 certainly in the binders, as I'd indicated, and we can --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, this chart is in
25 English. Could you please indicate to the witness what are the titles in
1 this chart that you wish to see so that he can orientate himself in his
2 own language. Maybe it's not that complicated. So I propose that you
3 say, Here's the title, underneath you can read Mate Boban, that's what it
4 says in English, and so on and so forth, so as to enable the witness to
6 MR. KARNAVAS: I would also ask, Your Honour, to give the
7 gentleman an opportunity to study it because what's important is also the
8 lines because obviously what we're trying to establish here - that is,
9 the Prosecution - is some sort of command superior/subordinate
10 responsibility by having this chart. And I suggest that the witness have
11 an opportunity, and I would also ask where they're going to be pointing
12 to some sort of particular box where there is a hierarchy, that is,
13 superior/subordinate relationship, that there also be some documentation
14 tied into it to give the gentleman an opportunity to make sure that what
15 is being purported in this chart is also in line with any particular
16 legislation, that would be de jure, that is. De facto they can argue
17 whatever they want.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you can provide
19 additional information to the witness and tell him that as far as the
20 Prosecution is concerned this is the political and military chain of
21 command of the HZ HB, then the witness will tell you whether he agrees or
22 not with you.
23 MR. STRINGER: That's fine, Mr. President. Thank you.
24 Q. Mr. Buntic, I'm going to use the cursor here and I'll just show
25 you the areas that I'm going to ask you about and then you can look at
1 those on your version and we can just take it step by step. Here I've
2 got the -- I'm going to ask you about Mr. Boban which I've highlighted
3 there and you can see the same part on the chart in your language. We've
4 already covered him. I'm going to ask you about the Presidency, which
5 I've highlighted now, which is over on this side of your chart. And I'm
6 going to ask you about the HVO, which I've now highlighted here.
7 And so that's what I'm going to ask you about. I'm not going to
8 go into any of the other areas of the chart, and it's simply to try to
9 summarize, if we can, the different competencies of these three boxes, if
10 you will, during the period from October of 1992, the 17th of October,
11 until the establishment of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. So are
12 you able to follow along on your own version?
13 A. I can.
14 Q. Okay. So now I was asking you about the Presidency here, and
15 again just to -- just to confirm, the Presidency is the legislative
16 branch of governance in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
17 exclusively until the 17th of October, 1992?
18 A. Just a minor correction. I had already clarified this. We could
19 not call it a legislative body in the full sense of the word - I've
20 already spoken about this. The Presidency was the highest body of
21 control and issued regulations. We cannot call it a legislative body
22 because it hasn't enacted a single law.
23 Q. Okay. So it enacted legislation -- or it enacted regulations,
24 which I guess have different words under the decisions, decrees,
25 decisions, conclusions, et cetera. In your view, those are all forms of
1 regulations that were within the competency of the Presidency to issue?
2 A. Correct. Those are regulations enacted by the Presidency.
3 Q. And prior to the 17th of October, 1992, the HVO did not have
4 authority to enact decrees, decisions, conclusions, et cetera, only the
5 Presidency could do that; correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And then after the 17th of October, 1992, that authority to issue
8 decrees, decisions, enactments, et cetera, was given to the HVO HZ HB?
9 A. Correct. It's this decision of the 17th October, whereby these
10 powers were transferred to the HVO. And if -- those were decisions that
11 need to be taken urgently in situations that bore no delay.
12 Q. Okay. But as we know, in reality what happened was that the HVO
13 enacted scores, perhaps hundreds of decrees, decisions, et cetera, in the
14 time that followed the 17th of October until the establishment of the
15 Croatian Republic
16 A. Correct, and all these regulations are described in that list
17 that has already been exhibited in this case during my earlier testimony.
18 Q. Is that the Narodni List you're referring to?
19 A. No, I meant the list of all exhibits --
20 Q. Okay. All right. Now, I mentioned the Narodni List. We know
21 that there was an Official Gazette of the Croatian Community of
22 Herceg-Bosna in which much but not all of the decisions and decrees were
23 published; correct?
24 A. I can agree that most of the decisions issued by the HVO were
1 Q. And it's my understanding that the HVO had the authority to
2 decide not to publish certain decisions or decrees for reasons of
3 security or if other justification existed?
4 A. Certainly, it was wartime. There were discussions about many
5 issues that were sensitive in nature, and publishing them during the war
6 would have provided information to the enemy about certain things that
7 were certainly not fit for the public. But there must have been other
8 reasons as well. For instance, it was considered that it was not
9 necessary to publish less important, minor regulations or decisions.
10 There may have been third reasons as well, but I know that there were
11 reasons why not all the decisions of the HVO were published.
12 Q. Okay. But a valid decree or decision of the HVO would still have
13 effect even if it wasn't published; is that true? It would still have
14 legal validity or validity under the rules that applied to HVO
16 A. Depending on the contents of the decision. In the final
17 provisions, the decision could have said that it enters into force on the
18 date of its issue, but the wording could also have been that it entered
19 into force on the day of its promulgation. So there were different
20 wordings with different legal effects.
21 Q. Okay. So just to finish off this issue then, we have from
22 October 17th, 1992
23 and administrative body in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna;
25 A. The HVO HZ HB was the highest executive and controlling body,
1 that is beyond dispute. But there was also the Presidency as the highest
2 legislative body that could meet every day and had the possibility to
3 accept or reject a decision made by the HVO.
4 Q. Right. But we've already established that the Presidency didn't
5 meet anymore until the end of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. So
6 in effect, it was the HVO that was the supreme executive and it was also
7 the only body that was issuing valid enactments, decrees, decisions, et
8 cetera, on behalf of the governance of the Croatian Community of
9 Herceg-Bosna. Isn't that true?
10 A. I cannot answer yes. I'd rather stand by my previous answer.
11 The supreme administrative body continued to be the Presidency of the
12 HZ HB, which could still meet every day and reject or render invalid any
13 decision made by the HVO. It had those powers and those powers follow
14 clearly from all decisions including this decision of the 18th October,
15 whereby the decision -- whereby the Presidency remains the supreme body
16 with the power of invalidating any decision made by the HVO. So I can't
17 accept that the HVO was the highest body of control and administration
18 because -- because the Presidency remained in that role, including by
19 virtue of the decision of the 17th October.
20 Q. Okay. Let me ask you then, setting aside the de jure function
21 and authorities then. In practice in terms of what actually happened for
22 about one year, from October of 1992 until about October 1993, the
23 Presidency did not meet. The HVO enacted decisions and decrees and the
24 Presidency did not nullify any of the decisions or decrees issued by the
25 HVO during that time. Can we agree on that?
1 A. I can say yes if you phrase it that way, but I stand by my
2 previous answer to the previous question as phrased.
3 Q. Now, also at the October 1992 Presidency meeting, this is when we
4 see the appointment of Messrs. Valenta, Zubak, and Ivanovic, I believe,
5 as vice-presidents of the HVO HZ HB; is that correct?
6 A. It's correct, but in interpretation I heard Jovanovic. It's not
7 Jovanovic, it's Ivanovic, with an I. Valenta, Zubak and Ivanovic.
8 Q. Thank you. And it's my understanding that those gentlemen were
9 selected at least in part on the basis of the fact that they were living
10 or came from other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina so that they could balance
11 out or fill out, if you will, from a geographic point of view the
12 composition of the HVO; Mr. Valenta being from Central Bosnia, Mr. Zubak
13 also being from -- certainly outside of western Herzegovina. Is that a
14 fair statement?
15 A. Not only outside of Herzegovina
16 area of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, because if we read
17 carefully the transcript of that session you will see that in that
18 session the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna --
19 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
20 Mr. Pusic doesn't seem to be feeling well. If you would allow him to
21 leave the courtroom temporarily.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No problem.
23 Do you want us to call a doctor?
24 Mr. Registrar, can you please ask the Tribunal's doctor to come
25 and see the accused.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue?
4 MR. STRINGER:
5 Q. You were indicating that I believe the composition of the
6 vice-presidents was not only from beyond western Herzegovina but was also
7 beyond the area of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna as well.
8 A. Correct, because we see from the rest of the record -- in fact we
9 will see at that session the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was
10 joined by the community of Usora from which Zubak came from, the
11 community Soli, and the community Bosnian Posavina, so areas that had not
12 been in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna until then and which
13 joined at that session. Accordingly, vice-presidents of the HVO were
14 appointed from various parts, various areas. Mr. Zubak from Usora,
15 Mr. Anto Valenta from the area of Travnik, and Mr. Ivanovic, I can't
16 remember this minute, perhaps it will come back in five minutes, I can't
17 remember the locality, so they were outside this of area, yes.
18 MR. STRINGER: I'm going to move on to another topic unless the
19 Trial Chamber has questions.
20 Q. Mr. Buntic, I want to direct you to the next exhibit now which is
21 one we've looked at already P 00303, which is in binder number 1. This
22 is the statutory decision on temporary organization of the executive
23 authority administration in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. This
24 is the decision of 3 July 1992
25 We looked at this already but now I want to ask you about some
1 other parts of this, specifically in Articles 13, 14, and 15. This
2 relates to the relationship between the HVO HZ HB and to the other
3 administrative bodies, specifically the municipal bodies. Now, in
4 Article 13 we see here that the HVO has the right and the duty to annul a
5 regulation passed by a department or administrative body which is
6 detrimental to the general interest or contravenes established policy.
7 Article 14 states that the HVO shall supervise the work of its
8 departments and municipal HVOs and that the HVO may use its supervisory
9 powers to annul or abolish individual legal acts passed by the bodies
10 referred to in the foregoing paragraph so that the HVO could annul or
11 abolish individual legal acts by its departments and also by municipal
13 And then Article 15 states that: "If a municipal HVO has passed
14 a decision or performed an act violating basic legal provisions of the
15 HZ HB, the HVO has the right and the duty to dissolve the said municipal
16 HVO ..."
17 At which time, if I can paraphrase, the mandate of any such HVO
18 members would be -- would cease to exist.
19 So the point of this, Mr. Buntic, is the following. Would you
20 agree with me, sir, that the HVO HZ HB did under its legislation or under
21 this decree, decision, have the authority to annul or to nullify
22 enactments coming from the municipal HVOs which it thought were
23 inappropriate or were unlawful?
24 A. From the provisions you have almost quoted from, faithfully
25 enough, it would seem to follow that the HVO had such powers, it had such
1 powers de jure. But it's questionable whether de facto it was able to
2 function like that, because as you know in the Presidency of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna there were representatives of
4 municipalities and the HVO was answerable to the Presidency as the
5 supreme body. It's true that the regulations stipulated that, but in
6 practice it couldn't function that way because it was precisely the
7 representatives of municipalities that sat on the Presidency, the supreme
8 body, were able to replace the HVO as a whole or in part or any of its
9 individual members and thus de facto disable the implementation of any
10 provision adopted by the HVO.
11 Q. And I was going to ask you about that. You mentioned this
12 earlier, this tension that existed in the legislation. It seems to me,
13 sir, that on a de facto level, the fact that the Presidency never met
14 anymore after the 17th of October, 1992, indicates to me, sir, that it
15 was in agreement with or certainly didn't have any serious dispute with
16 the legislation or the enactments, I should say, of the HVO. I mean, in
17 fact and from a de facto point of view, there doesn't seem to have been
18 any tension. Would you agree with me?
19 A. If you read the transcripts from that period carefully we can
20 find a series of cautions at HVO sessions, not only by one representative
21 but by many including the chairman, the president, indicating the need to
22 convene a session of the Presidency. So I wouldn't like it interpreted,
23 nor is it possible to interpret, that the HVO grabbed power that
24 rightfully belonged to the Presidency and that it was not in the HVO's
25 interests for the Presidency to convene. Because we've seen from a
1 number of records and conclusions made by the HVO that people warned of
2 this, they called for sessions of the Presidency, conclusions were
3 adopted that the Presidency should meet urgently, but the HVO could not
4 bring that about or convene the session of the Presidency itself.
5 Q. And we'll see that in the minutes, but my point actually is the
6 opposite. I agree with you. I've seen indications in the HVO minutes of
7 a wish or a desire that the Presidency would meet. What I don't see is
8 any indication that the Presidency felt the need to meet. And if that's
9 the case, it seems to me that there wasn't the tension that you describe
10 in which the HVO felt that the Presidency was unhappy or was disapproving
11 of the enactments.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, Mr. Buntic, before you answer.
13 The question is asking for the witness to speculate. Look at the
14 question quite carefully. How can Mr. Buntic say with any degree of
15 certainty what the Presidency - because we're talking about various
16 municipalities, not some monolithic entity - how could he possibly answer
17 that question? Now, if he wants to go municipality by municipality,
18 that's fine, but he's asking the gentleman to speculate based on his
19 theory that since they didn't meet ipso facto, they agreed with what the
20 HVO was doing, and so on and so forth. I think it calls for speculation,
21 he cannot possibly answer that question, and I don't think it's helpful
22 to the Trial Chamber.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, if the witness
24 can't answer the question, he's perfectly capable of telling us so. The
25 witness is a lawyer and let him answer the question. You get on your
1 feet as if the witness was completely illiterate, uneducated, but I
2 believe that he's perfectly capable of answering the question,
3 considering the senior position he held. He is perfectly aware of the
4 level of speculation entailed by a given question. If we had a farmer
5 from Arkansas
6 we're not dealing with a farmer from Arkansas here, we are dealing with
7 someone who held senior responsibilities, someone who is a lawyer just
8 like you are.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour --
10 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President --
11 MR. KARNAVAS: -- I take your point. It wasn't meant to be. I
13 obviously, but it does put him in a position where if he is combative
14 with the Prosecution, it gives the impression to the Trial Chamber that
15 he's being less than forthright. So he has a role to play and I have a
16 role to play, but I do take your point.
17 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like only to add, that although I agree
18 with the argumentation of our Presiding Judge, Judge Antonetti, at the
19 same time I have to tell you that I did meet a good number of Arkansas
20 farmers and they are really very nice and really very educated persons as
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I should have used the example
23 of a French farmer; we wouldn't have had any problem then.
24 Fine, Mr. Stringer, you may proceed.
25 MR. STRINGER: I'm not from Arkansas, Mr. President, I just want
1 you to know that.
2 Q. Mr. Buntic, I'm going to -- I'll state the question again. I
3 think it's, I may say, a fair question based on this tension as I've
4 described it in the legislation and which you've brought to the
5 Trial Chamber's attention. We agree that on paper the Presidency had a
6 position of supremacy in respect of the HVO. However, we also know that
7 after the 17th of October the Presidency didn't meet anymore and it
8 didn't nullify any of the enactments of the HVO. So it seems to me, sir,
9 that in practice the reality was that the tension you have described for
10 us did not exist. Can you comment on that? Was the Presidency, based on
11 what you know and what you saw, unhappy or disapproving of the enactments
12 and the work of the HVO?
13 A. I've already answered in part, by saying that the HVO had no
14 tools, no way to convene a session of the Presidency. I also said that
15 there were representatives of as many as 40 different localities sitting
16 on the Presidency at a later stage. I don't know the individual
17 positions of various members of the Presidency on the work of the HVO, it
18 would be pure guess-work. But one thing is certain, they had more than
19 one single opinion and they had different positions on the decisions of
20 the HVO in various municipalities. And there are indications that
21 certain municipalities did not follow the regulations enacted by the HVO
22 at all. They issued their own regulations which were completely contrary
23 to what the HVO described. There are a number of examples, and I believe
24 some of them are in the exhibits already shown. And if we were to make
25 an analysis, I believe you can find a lot of evidence that the
1 municipalities did not consistently implement the regulations enacted by
2 the HVO, they issued their own regulations that ran counter to the HVO
3 ones. I've said a lot about this, but this is all I can say.
4 Q. Isn't it also true, however, that the HVO HZ HB enacted decisions
5 nullifying municipal HVO legislation pursuant to this decision we've just
6 been looking at?
7 A. Well, the question is correct now. There were such examples. I
8 don't think there were that many. And I'm sure that there were many more
9 examples of municipalities passing decisions or regulations that were
10 contrary to the regulations enacted by the HVO, but the HVO did not annul
11 them or revoke them. So I think that now we have a full picture.
12 Q. Then let's move on to the next exhibit, which is P 00250, it
13 should be in the same binder, 250. This is the statutory decision on
14 municipal executive authority and municipal administration. This is one
15 of the earlier decrees. It's from 13 June 1992. Now, what this does,
16 Mr. Buntic, can we agree that, looking at Article 1, that this decision
17 provides that: "Executive authority falling within the rights and
18 obligations of the municipality shall be exercised by the municipal HVO"?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. And that: "The municipal HVO," looking at Article 2, "shall
21 consist of its president, heads of office, and other members who shall be
22 appointed and dismissed by the HVO HZ HB"?
23 A. That's correct, you can see that in Article 2.
24 Q. And just focusing on those two articles then, am I correct, sir,
25 that the gist of this decision is to say that things that -- the
1 competencies that were previously within the competency of the
2 municipality are now going to be executed at the municipality level by
3 the municipal HVO?
4 A. Article 2 stipulates the structure of the municipal HVO, what it
5 comprises, not its jurisdiction. And I couldn't agree with you when you
6 say that Article 2 stipulates that the municipal HVOs shall take over
7 tasks that were within the purview of the municipalities, that does not
8 follow from this article. What follows from this article is the
9 structure of the municipal HVOs.
10 Q. Okay. Well, I'm -- let's look at Article 1 again then. Doesn't
11 this mean, sir, that the executive authority at the level of the
12 municipality is to be exercised by the municipal HVO?
13 A. Well, this question calls for a clarification of the first
14 article, Article 1. So we had the pre-war structure of the government
15 and municipality. When we looked at that, we saw that the government at
16 the municipal level consisted of the Municipal Assembly, which was the
17 highest administrative body in the municipality or the body of
18 governance. It passed various enactments, and in addition to the
19 Municipal Assembly, there was also the Executive Council of the
20 municipality which dealt with executive matters. So the executive body
21 was the Executive Council of the municipality, and we had this structure
22 in place in each and every municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 probably throughout Yugoslavia
24 Article 1 does not mean that the tasks from the purview of the
25 Municipal Assembly shall be taken over, but tasks from the purview of the
1 municipal Executive Council. So the municipal HVO, in the sense of
2 Article 1, actually replaces the Executive Council of the municipality,
3 not the Municipal Assembly.
4 Q. Well, it seems to me, sir, that Article 1 doesn't make such a
5 distinction, and that it in fact quite broadly and clearly states that:
6 "Executive authority falling within the rights and obligations of the
7 municipality shall be exercised by the municipal HVO."
8 It doesn't specify Municipal Assembly or Executive Council.
9 A. Well -- but it is quite obvious that we are talking about the
10 executive government because the second word you see "executive authority
11 that falls within the rights and obligations of the municipality ..." and
12 that means the Executive Council because executive authority, executive
13 matters, were dealt with by the Executive Council. And to my mind this
14 definition is quite clear. There are no dilemmas here. It's
15 uncontroversial. It is quite clear that we're talking about the tasks
16 related to the executive government in the municipality.
17 Q. Now, in June of 1992 when this decision was issued, I believe
18 that in your municipality of Citluk
19 by that point, but in fact you had something else called a Crisis Staff.
20 Is that true?
21 A. In June 1992, I think that the Municipal Assembly did function,
22 that it did meet; and as for the matters that fell within the
23 Executive Council of the Citluk municipality, those matters were dealt
24 with by the Citluk Crisis Staff. So the executive power or the executive
25 matters because the Municipal Assembly of the Citluk municipality was in
1 a position, had the power, to dissolve the Crisis Staff of Citluk. The
2 Assembly appointed members of the Crisis Staff and it could dissolve it
3 at any moment. So it functioned at that time, which does not mean that
4 the state of affairs prevailed in all the municipalities. It depended on
5 the extent to which they were embroiled in the war.
6 Q. So then it's your testimony, sir, that under this decision it was
7 the municipal HVOs that would then assume the authority or the
8 competencies exercised previously by the Executive Councils of the
9 various municipalities?
10 A. On the basis of Article 1 of this decision, this is the
11 conclusion that follows without any doubt.
12 Q. And these would be the municipalities listed in Article 2 of the
13 amended decision, or also the original decision, proclaiming the
14 establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; correct?
15 A. We've already said that. Municipalities or certain parts of
16 those municipalities, there has been quite a lot of discussion about that
17 yesterday, and other communities that joined the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna later.
19 Q. Now -- and I agree with you, we've heard plenty about this
20 already. Article 1 does not make a reference to parts of municipalities,
21 Croatian parts, Muslim parts. It simply says "the municipality." So
22 this is my question, because we know what your views are on this: Is it
23 possible that someone, say up in Gornji Vakuf or Kiseljak or Jablanica or
24 any of the other 30 municipalities that are listed in the original
25 decision, the decree, that someone up there in one of those
1 municipalities could just -- might interpret this as establishing
2 authority for the HVO to take executive control over the entire
3 municipality, not a part?
4 A. Well, we saw different cases. So if we want to go back to the
5 structure of military units, we talked about that, we said that in the
6 Mostar municipality in particular or throughout Herzegovina in the
7 initial area -- in the initial period there were 30 per cent Bosniaks in
8 the HVO units. We talked about the insignia and the emblems that those
9 soldiers wore. I failed to mention I guess something yesterday,
10 something that is quite important --
11 Q. Excuse me --
12 A. -- and that is that it was tolerated. Yes, you're excused.
13 Q. I apologise for not allowing you to finish, but I'm going to
14 insist that you stay with me in my questions. Counsel will have an
15 opportunity to ask you more questions on re-direct. I'm sure you'll
16 ultimately have an opportunity to say whatever it is you like, but I've
17 got to hold you to my questions. Like all the other attorneys, I've got
18 time limitations and so we've got to stay on topic.
19 So the question is this, and I'll put it a different way: Isn't
20 it true, sir, that throughout the many municipalities listed in Article 2
21 of the original decree establishing Herceg-Bosna, that this and other
22 legislation of the HVO was interpreted to mean or provide for a complete
23 take-over of the executive authority of the entire municipality? Isn't
24 that how it actually worked on the ground?
25 A. I don't understand the question.
1 Q. All right.
2 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, just one
3 explanation if you deem it to be of any use. I think that the witness
4 really cannot understand this question, and if I may indicate why.
5 That's because in Article 1 of this decision we're not talking about the
6 territory, area, or whatever of the municipality, but the rights and
7 obligations of the municipality which may be exercised over a small or
8 large area. And I think this is why the Prosecution and the witness
9 appear to be at odds. I'm -- I would be glad if I could really help you
10 with this explanation.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I thought it might be
12 an interpretation problem. Could you read out Article 1 in your
13 language. Could you read out Article 1 and this will be translated by
14 the interpreters.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, this is all about
16 my attitude towards the Prosecutor and his way of asking questions. And
17 if I may be given one minute to say something about that.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If you prefer, but I was
19 interested mostly in Article 1. What did you want to say, Witness?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I want to say that in the course of
21 my testimony here over 500 documents were shown to me containing over
22 5.000 pages. I was asked to provide short answers, and later on there
23 were objections criticising me why I failed to provide a full answer to
24 some questions. Today and yesterday I am often interrupted by the
25 Prosecution in the middle of my train of thought. I have the right to
1 protest against that. I am not opposed to the Prosecution asking
2 questions, but I have to protest against being interrupted in the middle
3 of my sentence. These are not yes or no questions.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 Could you please read out Article 1, and this will be deducted
6 from the time allocated to the Bench. Please go ahead.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Article 1: "Tasks pertaining to the executive authority within
9 the framework of the rights and obligations of the municipality shall be
10 carried out by the municipal Croatian Defence Council (hereafter: The
11 municipal HVO)."
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Suppose we have a municipality
13 predominantly inhabited by Muslims. According to this text would
14 municipal authority be delegated to the HVO?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, until the
16 Croat-Bosniak conflict broke out, there never had been any problems about
17 the area where the HVO was operating and the area where the Crisis Staffs
18 set up by the army or the Presidency or the Territorial Defence were set
19 up. So what I wanted to say, of the members that were in the HVO units,
20 it often happened that Bosniaks would wear the Croatian emblem and the
21 HVO patch on one sleeve and the lily on the other, wearing green berets
22 on their heads, and this was tolerated. It functioned well. There were
23 no problems. Problems occurred the moment when the BH army and the HVO
24 clashed. So in the initial period the recognition of the HVO or of
25 decisions passed by the HVO were never forced on anyone or any
1 municipality. The regulation stands here and it is completely
2 uncontroversial in its Article 1. It does not cover any territory, any
3 area, it does not pertain to any area.
4 And perhaps I should add that the Mostar municipality HVO had in
5 its ranks the equal proportion of Croats and Bosniaks. Such an agreement
6 was achieved at the level of the Mostar municipality between the SDA and
7 the HDZ. So the HVO performed tasks of the Executive Council with the
8 equal participation of Croats and Bosniaks 50/50. So I cannot really
9 give you a yes or no answer to what the Prosecution has asked me. I hope
10 that now you see why I asked for this clarification to be given.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The example of Mostar is
12 particularly welcome. So if it was 50/50 in Mostar, if there were as
13 many Croats as Bosniaks, we would have to look at the latest election
14 results. But now the Executive Council pursuant to this text is now in
15 the HVO's hands. So the Muslims play a certain role, but from then on
16 can they still play a role because in this text it is the HVO that is
17 mentioned? Here's my question.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this text again
19 pertains only to the executive body of the municipality. So the
20 Municipal Assembly in Mostar continued to function and its composition
21 was the same as it used to be before the war, and the executive tasks
22 were assumed by the HVO which had the equal representation of Croats and
23 Muslims 50/50. The situation was similar in other municipalities. In
24 some municipalities it was possible for Bosniaks to participate in the
25 HVO, in some municipalities it was not possible, and in those
1 municipalities the HVO functioned only in part of those municipalities.
2 This is how it functioned de facto, and this follows from this decision
3 because there's no mention of borders, territories, areas, this is only
4 about an executive body of the municipality in Article 1.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We're a bit back with something --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: -- you told us yesterday, Mr. Buntic. I would
8 like you to tell me who was -- what was the executive for the part of the
9 municipality which did not belong to the HVO?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was the Crisis Staff set up
11 by the Muslims. It was called the Staff, the Bosniaks called it the
12 Crisis Staff, and using the term "stab" and in the other part of the
13 municipality it was the Crisis "stozer." It is the Croatian word for
14 staff, and in most cases that's how it worked.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have just added something.
16 In a municipality if you have 50/50 or 40/60 in the Assembly -- never
17 mind. Pursuant to this text, the executive will be exercised by the HVO,
18 but you seem to state that the Bosniaks at their own level could also set
19 up their own Crisis Staff. So in that case we would have two structures
20 in parallel. Is that what you're saying?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour. That was
22 one of the possibilities, and it actually happened in real life. One
23 possibility was the 50/50 representation as it was in Mostar, another
24 possibility was to have the crisis "stab," staff, set up by Muslims in
25 part of the municipality and Croats would set up their own Crisis Staff
1 in the other part. And you have seen that in Tuzla and in Usora you had
2 such a situation with the crisis "stozer" in one part of the municipality
3 and the crisis "stab" in the other part of the municipality. And this
4 was what happened in actual fact, and those were the actual options.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand correctly, this
6 text only aims to organize the structure for the Croats and the HVO and
7 does not apply to the Muslims who have their own structure; is that so?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that you could interpret it
9 this way, but we have the example of Mostar where both parties
10 participated in the work of the same executive body. I think that there
11 were some other areas apart from Mostar where this is how it was, but I'm
12 sure about Mostar at any rate.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what happened in Citluk?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for Citluk, 90 -- 99 per cent,
15 something, of the population was Croats. So the HVO was structured to
16 reflect proportionately the composition of the population, and there were
17 some other examples where Bosniaks, Muslims, participated in the work of
18 the HVO. Just to give you an example, in the judiciary of Bosnia
20 although --
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters apologise, could the witness
22 please repeat the percentage.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 I'm looking at the clock, I think it might be time to have the
25 first break. It's 20 to 4.00. We'll have a 20-minute break.
1 --- Recess taken at 3.42 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are back in session.
4 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Mr. Buntic, just to stay with this Exhibit, P 00250, a little bit
6 longer, you were answering some questions of the Judges before the break.
7 And if I understood you correctly, you had indicated, if I can put it
8 this way, there were two possibilities for the municipalities. I suppose
9 one could --
10 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I do apologise. Before the question's
11 put, just before the adjournment the interpreters did state that they
12 didn't manage to get the translation, so perhaps -- it's page 32, lines
13 19 and 20. Perhaps that could be clarified before we go on to some new
14 substantive matter or further matter.
15 MR. STRINGER: That's right, Mr. President, and I meant to raise
16 that. I forgot.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, please proceed.
18 MR. STRINGER:
19 Q. Mr. Buntic, just before the break you were talking about the
20 percentages of participation. I'm looking at the transcript. You're
21 talking about where Bosniaks, Muslims, participated in the work of the
22 HVO. And then you were giving an example in the judiciary of Bosnia
24 Bosniak Muslims, but then there was a break and the interpreters
25 indicated that they were not, they did not pick up the percentage that
1 you had indicated there. So is it possible for you to just continue that
2 thought or restate what your testimony was about the level of
3 participation of Bosniak Muslims in the judiciary in Bosnia and
5 A. I said that participation was higher than 40 percentage, and at
6 any rate, it was higher than the relative proportion of Bosniaks in the
7 territory of HZ HB. I can use an example of the municipal court of
8 Mostar, where for the duration of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
9 there were eight judges, Bosniaks; four Croat judges; and one Serb. So
10 that was the composition of the municipal court. At the higher court in
11 Mostar there were eight Bosniaks, six Croats, and two Serbs, which tells
12 us that the Judges, too, continued to work in the courts of HZ HB. There
13 was no racial discrimination and there were no problems on that score
14 until the outbreak of the conflict.
15 Q. Now, getting back to this Exhibit, P 00250. If I understand your
16 testimony correctly, you indicate that there were two frameworks, if you
17 will, through which one could participate in the governance of a
18 municipality. One would have been through the municipal HVO framework,
19 where you indicated, I think, there was an alternative that was used in
20 some of the more Bosniak municipalities which was the Crisis Staff; is
21 that correct?
22 A. It's true that such possibilities de facto occurred and operated
23 on the ground. That was one option that existed de facto and was
24 implemented in the territory of the HZ HB, but also outside that area.
25 Q. I'm talking about within the HZ HB then. It sounds to me as
1 though we're talking about parallel authorities, if you will, existing
2 side by side, both of which are exerting jurisdiction or authority over
3 what is probably going to be the same territory. Was that the situation?
4 A. I have to repeat again that the Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna did not have borders. Its territory was not defined. All
6 the time it was called a locality, an area, and that's how it was defined
7 in the decision to establish it. But I also described how it worked in
8 reality, that there were various options, various possibilities in
9 various municipalities, we had different structures. I said it was
10 correct that in principle it worked that way in the area of a certain
11 mixed municipality Bosniak/Croat. The HVO operated in one part of that
12 municipality's territory, whereas in another part of that territory there
13 was a Crisis Staff or the municipal War Presidency, depending on how the
14 other side called it. In practice different names were used, and today
15 speaking about it, it's hard to find one single uniform name because in
16 the documents we've seen we see that in some places it was called the
17 Territorial Defence Staff, in other places it was called the
18 Crisis Staff, in some places it was called the War Presidency, in yet
19 others it was called the HVO.
20 Q. Okay --
21 A. Please allow me to finish --
22 Q. I think you have given a full and sufficient answer if I may say
23 so, Mr. Buntic. The picture you paint, if I may say so, sounds rather
24 harmonious, a picture in which the various executive authorities in the
25 various municipalities all operate simultaneously within what everyone
1 apparently understands to be his own defined area of jurisdiction and
2 that there were no clashes or disputes about which authority could
3 actually legitimately claim to exercise authority over a given area.
4 Isn't that how it really was, there was tremendous tension as time went
5 on between HVO municipal authorities on the one hand and other Muslim or
6 Crisis Staff authorities on the other?
7 A. That's correct. After a while that state of affairs through a
8 natural course of things led to a conflict. The conflict between Croats
9 and Bosniaks occurred when the Muslim or the Bosniak side, using the Army
10 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and security services, tried forcibly with its
11 army and its police to implement the decree on districts, that's
12 something that the Bosniak side accepted as its own arrangement. After
13 the Vance-Owen Plan which was accepted by both sides, the Croats and
14 Bosniaks accepted the provinces as defined in the Vance-Owen Plan which
15 were not the same as districts, that is when the conflict occurred, when
16 each side tried to impose their own arrangements. The Croats -- you're
17 interrupting me again.
18 Q. Well, I asked you whether there was conflict or whether there was
19 harmony. I didn't ask you, sir, with respect, to give us your views on
20 what was the event which triggered the conflict. Can we agree that there
21 was tension or is it your testimony there was harmony? I'm not asking
22 you about the conflict.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave, if I
24 may. I believe the Prosecution, or rather, my learned friend came to the
25 crucial issue, the most important issue of all, and now when the witness
1 wants to give a complete answer he is not allowed to do so. We are not
2 going to learn the whole story or at least Mr. Karnavas will have to do
3 an extensive re-direct. I believe this witness should be allowed to
4 fully explain his theory.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the problem is that the
6 Prosecutor has been allocated a certain amount of time, he has his own
7 case, his own strategy, he's prepared a number of questions, and he's
8 trying to control the answers of the witness as far as possible. As part
9 of re-direct you may decide to come back to the issue of harmony or
10 tension, but what the Prosecutor was trying to find out is whether there
11 was tension or harmony or not. And the answer we got is that there was
12 no harmony.
13 Now, of course we could spend hours trying to identify the cause
14 of this lack of harmony.
15 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I based my
17 intervention primarily on the question as it was asked, and the question
18 precisely sought the answer that the witness provided. The first part of
19 the answer is strictly within the question; and the second part of the
20 answer, when the witness started to elaborate why it was so, like: Is it
21 white? Yes, it is white because ... and that's the point where the
22 Prosecution no longer finds it convenient to let the witness continue.
23 One of the most important characteristic of your guidance is that you
24 gave some lenience. We did not stick to the strict common-law system.
25 As long as the witness is answering the question, and I believe he is, he
1 should be allowed to complete.
2 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President --
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry.
4 Mr. Kovacic, I can remember that the style when the witnesses
5 were brought by the Prosecution, and I can very well imagine how the
6 Defence would have reacted if in their cross-examination they would have
7 had advice from the Prosecutor which questions they should ask and what
8 answers they should wait for. I think this is now cross-examination, and
9 I'm sure the Prosecution, Mr. Stringer, has some plan and I don't think
10 it is for the witness or for the Defence to make him depart from that.
11 There is a period of re-direct when the Defence can straighten all this
12 out. But we have heard this witness and he has a tendency to give very
13 long and copious answers. And I think Mr. Stringer has been patient on
14 the whole and we should leave him continue now.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] That's precisely the point: The
16 Prosecution has its plan. Of course they have their plan, at least I do
17 hope so and I expect of a colleague of this rank to have a plan. And it
18 is a part of that plan to refuse a no answer, not to allow a no answer.
19 I did not in any way influence the phrasing of the question. The
20 question was asked, the answer was given, and I got to my feet only after
21 the witness was interrupted. So it never crossed my mind to suggest to
22 my learned friend how to ask the question. He formulated the question
23 the way he wanted to, and the question calls for this answer. But let us
24 go back to the examination.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you may proceed.
1 If the Judges feel that we need to explore that issue further, we'll do
2 so. As you have seen previously, sometimes questions are asked by the
3 Bench and these questions suit neither the Defence nor the Prosecution
4 because we believe that a given matter should be explored further. Yes,
5 of course about the harmony or lack of harmony, we could try to identify
6 the reasons for this, the cause for this. But that may take quite a lot
7 of time. So it probably best to leave it at that.
8 So please proceed, Mr. Stringer.
9 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. I will. I intervene
10 after some 10 or 12 lines of the answer because I think the witness
11 actually did answer my question very succinctly at the very beginning.
12 He agreed with me, he said: "That's correct." Now, he went on to talk
13 about how that led to the war and who, in his view, was responsible for
14 starting the war. I do believe that was beyond the scope of my question
15 and that's why I intervened when I did.
16 Q. Mr. Buntic, let me just pass over to the next topic and I'm going
17 to direct you to Exhibit P 00449, which is in binder number 2.
18 Mr. Buntic, I believe you testified about this document before.
19 I think I can correctly state that it would have fallen within -- it was
20 among the various decrees that you were involved in in your capacity as
21 head of the justice department. This is the decree on application of the
22 criminal code of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and also the criminal
23 code of the former Yugoslavia
25 name for a decree. If I understand correctly, this is the decree by
1 which the criminal codes of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the former
3 Herceg-Bosna; is that correct?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. My question on this is as follows. This decree is dated the 14th
6 of August, 1992, it becomes effective on the date of its publication --
7 I'm sorry, I believe it -- yes, it becomes effective on the same day as
8 its enactment. On what day did the criminal code of the Republic of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina no longer apply in Herceg-Bosna, such that it was
10 necessary for this criminal code to be positively enacted into law? I
11 can try to restate that because I may not have asked it very clearly.
12 Here is a decree that says the criminal code of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina applies in Herceg-Bosna beginning today, 14th of
14 October, 1992. That suggests to me that there was a time, say on the
15 13th of August, when the criminal code of Bosnia-Herzegovina did not
16 apply, otherwise why would it be necessary to enact such a decree. So
17 tell us, when did the criminal code of Bosnia-Herzegovina stop applying
18 in Herceg-Bosna?
19 A. The answer is never. The criminal code of the Republic of Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina
21 applied in the territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and
22 we can see from this decree that only one provision of that law, of that
23 code, was modified; namely, the monetary amounts that were denoted in
24 Yugoslav dinars were converted into a different currency. Nothing else
25 was changed in the criminal codes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is,
2 this little intervention and I've already explained why this single
3 intervention was made.
4 Q. Well, it seems to me, sir, there would not have been a need to
5 take this over, as you say, if it remained in effect throughout. It
6 seems self-evident to me that the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 so why is it necessary to take this over?
8 A. For the same reason that the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 adopted the criminal code of Yugoslavia
10 Q. Well, I think the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina adopt the
12 me put that to you. It seems to me that this decision or this decree
13 implies that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna thinks it is a new
14 form of entity such that it is necessary to adopt or to accede to other
15 forms of legislation that had previously applied in the territory.
16 A. This wording was used in the enactment of all regulations, in
17 cases when an intervention was needed in existing regulations, the
18 regulation was first taken over in its entirety and then a modification
19 was made to only that part which needed to be modified. So I don't see
20 anything special about this decree compared to any other decree or the
21 technique applied throughout the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
22 There is nothing peculiar about this decree that would not be found in
23 any other decree. I've told you already that this was done the way it
24 was, and I said why.
25 Q. Just one last point on this one. You indicated yesterday, I
1 believe, that after April of 1992 the Official Gazettes of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina were not available to you unless somebody was able to
3 smuggle them out of Sarajevo
4 the legislation of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 So my question is whether on the 14th of August, 1992, on the date this
6 decree was enacted you and others in Herceg-Bosna did have, in fact,
7 access at least to these parts of the Official Gazette of
9 A. There is a claim in your question that I cannot accept. I did
10 not say that they were smuggled out. That's the interpretation that I
11 received. I don't know what interpretation the others received, but
12 that's not what I said. I don't know whether this is a
13 misinterpretation. I said unless somebody managed to get a copy of the
14 Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina by one means or another. I
15 think that in this specific case Mr. Zoran Perkovic, who managed to get
16 out of Sarajevo
17 republican justice ministry as an assistant, he managed to bring with him
18 a certain number of copies of the Official Gazette. He was aware as a
19 lawyer of the importance of the Official Gazette, so sometime in July or
20 I don't know when, it must have been the end of July, he managed to leave
22 certain number of copies of the Official Gazette of the Republic of
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. Okay. So if you said April of 1992 yesterday, sir, would we
25 change that then to move that forward to June, July, August of 1992?
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection, Your Honour. This is beyond the scope
2 of any decency in asking a question --
3 MR. STRINGER: I object to that, Mr. President.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: No, no, he says "so." He's trying to draw a
5 conclusion. He can save that for his closing argument. He indicated
6 that Mr. Perkovic, who was about to testify this week, had managed to go
7 to Sarajevo
8 with him he brought the Official Gazettes. When Mr. Perkovic comes here
9 he will testify to that trip and he will testify as to the details and
10 he's the one that was drafting the legislation. So the conclusion that
11 is being drawn here, one, is false; and two, is improper. And I will
12 stand up and I will object to these sort of tactics.
13 MR. STRINGER: This is cross-examination.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: No.
15 MR. STRINGER: The witness testified that he didn't have access
16 to the Official Gazettes after April of 1992. I've shown him the
17 document, it's dated August of 1992 and makes explicit reference to the
18 Official Gazettes of Bosnia-Herzegovina, at least from June of 1992. I
19 asked the witness if he wanted to modify his testimony on the basis of
20 having seen this document. It's entirely appropriate to bring this
21 inconsistency to the witness's attention and to offer him the opportunity
22 to modify his testimony. That's what I've done.
23 MR. KHAN: Well, Your Honour, I don't want to drag things out.
24 Of course my learned friend is perfectly entitled to put fair
25 cross-examination and I know he's endeavouring to do that. However,
1 perhaps it would be useful to have recourse to yesterday's transcript and
2 I may be wrong, but it is my recollection that perhaps a distinction was
3 drawn between the official means of receiving the Official Gazette and an
4 ad hoc arrangement whereby the odd copy may get into the hands of the
5 witness or get into the hands of the area concerned. So, Your Honour, I
6 think --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe the witness can shed some
8 light on that matter.
9 Witness, yesterday I asked you a question about that. You stated
10 that the Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina could not arrive in
11 Mostar because of the situation and so on and so forth. We have here a
12 document signed by Mr. Boban dated 14 August 1992. Mention is made of
13 Official Gazette 3/92. There must be an explanation that you can
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I provided an explanation, and I
16 maintain what I said yesterday, every word. It is true that after
17 April 1992 we were not able to receive the Official Gazette of the
18 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina by official courier or mail. The only
19 exception was when somebody was able to bring it using different means,
20 and this is what happened in this case. There was this person who
21 brought with him just a certain number of copies of the Official Gazette.
22 So I still stand by what I said yesterday and what I said now, and there
23 is no contradiction.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.
1 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Mr. Buntic, if you could turn to the next exhibit, please, it's
3 P 01760, 1760. And this is an -- also a decree related to the
4 application of the criminal law and also the Law on Criminal Procedure, I
5 believe. And this one is signed by Mr. Prlic on the 18th of March, 1993
6 and appears to have been published on the 31st of March, 1993. And a
7 couple of questions just about this one. The -- a number of the articles
8 in this decree relate to changing the numbers in various parts of the
9 criminal codes. Can we correctly assume that these are references to
10 fines, that is, monetary penalties, that are found throughout the
11 criminal code that would apply in the case of certain criminal
12 violations? I'm looking at Article 2 and thereafter.
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. And the changes in the numbers are rather dramatic. Just looking
15 at item number 1 under Article 2, it's changing 200 into the number of
16 12.000, 50.000 is changed to the number of 3 million. Is this a
17 reflection of the inflation that was taking place and its impact on the
18 Croatian dinar at this period of time, in March of 1993?
19 A. It was not inflation that affected only the Croatian dinar. It
20 was a galloping, hyperinflation that affected both the Yugoslav dinar --
21 or rather, the situation was the most serious for the Yugoslav dinar and
22 less serious for the Croatian dinar. But it did affect both currencies.
23 I think that in 1989 the inflation rate was 11.000 per cent. It was on
24 the average 1 or 2 per cent a day. Financial experts will be talking
25 about that, but there was hyperinflation of the Yugoslav dinar and
1 substantial inflation for the Croatian dinar, and this is why the figures
2 were higher. So we're talking about millions and this seems like a huge
3 amount. I know that this was not the case, but we should best leave this
4 for the financial experts. They can make an estimate as to the relative
5 value in euros. But I couldn't give you a valuation to tell you how much
6 it was worth in euros.
7 Q. Okay. I'll accept that. If I could direct your attention to
8 Article 1, there are a few more references to the Official Gazette of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which I think the name of it is the Sluzbeni list if
10 I'm not mistaken. Do you see a reference to the Sluzbeni list of RBiH
11 number 6/92, dated the 15th of June, 1992, and then there's another
12 reference to one that's dated the 1st of August, 1992. Then I'm moving
13 down about six or seven lines. There's a reference to Sluzbeni list
14 RBiH, again 15th of June, 1992, another one dated 12th of July, 1992.
15 Now, this is March of 1993 that Dr. Prlic is signing this decree.
16 Would that indicate that in March of 1993 you and the others who were
17 drafting the legislation had access to the Sluzbeni List of the
18 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 A. No, not at that time except in the way that I described yesterday
20 and today.
21 Q. Could I ask you to turn to the next exhibit, Mr. Buntic, it's
22 P 00589. 00589.
23 It is in binder number 3, and this is the decree on establishing
24 an office of the Supreme Court on the territory of the Croatian Community
25 of Herceg-Bosna. I think I can safely use the word "territory" because
1 that's the word that appears in the original language version. P 00589.
2 Mr. Buntic, you've talked a lot already about the establishment
3 of this office of the Supreme Court, and I've just got a couple of
4 questions for you on this topic and this decree. If I could direct
5 you -- first of all, you were involved in drafting this decree or in
6 writing it?
7 A. I think yes.
8 Q. Okay. If you would look at Article 5, this provides that: "The
9 president and the judges of the office are to be elected by the
10 Presidency of the HZ HB upon recommendation of the head of the department
11 of defence of the HVO HZ HB."
12 And we can see at the bottom that this decree is dated the 17th
13 of October, 1992. So we know that after this day the Presidency of the
14 HZ HB didn't meet anymore, and so can we correctly assume then that the
15 authority to elect the presidents -- sorry, the president and judges of
16 this office of the Supreme Court, that the authority to elect those
17 passed from the Presidency to the HVO itself, or that in fact that
18 authority was exercised by the HVO?
19 A. Again, I'm not sure about the interpretation --
20 Q. I can try to --
21 A. -- because -- or translation.
22 Q. I'll rephrase. This says that it's the Presidency who elects the
23 president and judges of the court. Do we agree on that?
24 A. That's correct. That is correct.
25 Q. And we agree that after this day, 17 October 1992, the Presidency
1 of Herceg-Bosna didn't meet anymore, at least not for about a year?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. So that in practice when it came time to elect judges to this
4 office of the Supreme Court, was that done by the HVO HZ HB instead of
5 the Presidency?
6 A. Some of the appointments were done by the HVO of the HZ HB.
7 Q. And what body made the other appointments? I'm talking about
8 this particular court, the Supreme Court office.
9 A. I think -- well, I'm not sure. Let me get back to what I said.
10 We did not receive the Official Gazette of the Republic of Bosnia
12 the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, some of the appointments.
13 Q. All right. And if I understand correctly from your testimony
14 earlier, and I know it related to judges in general, I had the impression
15 that it -- despite what's said in Article 5 here about the department of
16 defence being responsible to recommend judges, that in practice it turned
17 out to be the department of justice that did that more often just because
18 of its own knowledge of judges, lawyers, and their legal qualifications.
19 Is that a -- roughly a correct understanding of how it turned out?
20 A. That's correct, yes.
21 Q. Now, Article 6 states that before taking up the duties of judge
22 at this office of the Supreme Court, which is going to be in Mostar I
23 believe, that these judges must make a solemn declaration in the presence
24 of the president of the HZ HB and that it's the president of HZ HB who
25 determines the text of the solemn declaration.
1 Do you know whether, in fact, the judges who were selected or
2 elected in fact did take this oath in front of Mr. Boban?
3 A. All newly appointed judges that were not judges before the war
4 and who were appointed to new posts by the decisions of the HZ HB had to
5 take an oath or a solemn declaration because this is the usual practice.
6 Any judge before the appointment, before taking up his duties or her
7 duties, must take an oath. So we have to differentiate here between the
8 judges who had been appointed to those posts before the war and whose
9 post did not change, they remained where they had been before the war,
10 they were not under an obligation to --
11 Q. Excuse me. And I hate to cut you off, but my question actually,
12 I think, was a much simpler one which was simply whether -- do you know
13 whether, in fact, the judges who were selected or elected did in fact
14 take the oath before Mr. Boban? Did that happen? That's all I'm asking.
15 A. Newly appointed judges did.
16 Q. Okay. Was this just for the Supreme Court or was it for some of
17 the other courts you talked about as well, the district courts, district
18 military courts? All the new judges took an oath?
19 A. Well, if you had allowed me to continue my answer there would
20 have been no need for your question. I wanted to give you an answer to
21 that question. Yes, all newly appointed judges who were appointed by
22 decisions of the body of the HZ HB to judicial duties had to take this
24 Q. Okay. Now, at an earlier part of your testimony, I think on
25 direct examination, you indicated that the HZ HB did not establish any
1 new courts, no new civilian courts. Rather, it just took over the
2 republican law on regular courts. Is that a correct statement of your
4 A. Well, that's correct but with an addendum. I said that with
5 the -- in addition to the office of the Supreme Court and the regular
6 courts, and we left aside the military courts which were newly
8 Q. So this is my question. For this Supreme Court office, why was
9 it necessary then for Mr. Boban to determine text of what would be a new
10 oath if, in fact, it's going to be the same court? It seems to me that
11 the same oath would apply.
12 A. Well, these were newly appointed judges. The earlier oath read
13 that they should comply with the constitution and the laws of the
14 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia
15 applicable. It was impossible for them to take an oath that they would
16 comply with the constitution and the laws of their enemy, the aggressor,
17 the occupier -- well, that was not realistic to expect them to take this
18 oath, and I expect that you will see why this was not possible,
19 Mr. Prosecutor.
20 Q. The judges who were appointed here by the HVO, did they have a
21 duty to apply the decisions, enactments, and decrees that were being
22 issued by the HVO?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, the next exhibit is P 0059 -- oh.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Stringer, I would like to ask a question to
1 the witness.
2 I see a certain lack of logic, in the fact that on the one hand
3 you said that judges who had been judges in the former Socialist Federal
4 Republic of Yugoslavia
5 were accepted as judges to continue in their office although they had, as
6 you put it, sworn loyalty to the arch enemy, whereas the new ones had to
7 swear a distinctly different oath. Why did not every judge have to pass
8 a new oath with new allegiance to the entity he was now serving?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, as you can see from the
10 documents, or rather, the regulations, the second option was accepted.
11 The reasons were that it was considered that if a judge remains in the
12 post that they occupied before, that they didn't have to take an oath
13 again because they had already made the oath on the occasion of assuming
14 the post. But when a person is appointed to a post of a judge for the
15 first time, even in accordance with the laws that were previously in
16 force could not assume the duties of a judge without taking an oath. I'm
17 just explaining to you what the thinking was at the time and why this
18 solution was selected, because in accordance with the laws that were
19 previously in force the judges could not assume their duties without
20 taking an oath first.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
22 MR. STRINGER:
23 Q. Mr. Buntic, the next exhibit is P 00589, and it should -- should
24 be quite close to the one that --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Microphone not activated]
1 MR. STRINGER: Oh, I apologise.
2 Q. I should say 00594, so that should just be right behind the one
3 we've just discussed. 594. Mr. Buntic, this is the decree on
4 establishing the public prosecutor's office on the territory of the
5 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and again I think I'm safe to say it
6 that way in English because I see the word "teritoriju" in the original
7 language version.
8 Now, in Article 2 of this document we see that the department of
9 the public prosecutor must have at least two deputy republican public
10 prosecutors, of whom one shall be in charge. And then Article 3 sets out
11 the qualifications, I think. Article 4 indicates that it's the
12 Presidency of the HZ HB which will appoint the deputies of the republican
13 public -- excuse me, republican public prosecutor's office at the
14 proposal of the head of the defence department.
15 So would it be correct for me, sir, to suggest that it's a
16 similar situation that we saw with the judges on the Supreme Court, that
17 again because this is the 17th of October, 1992, what happened in
18 practice was that the justice department proposed the deputy prosecutors
19 because perhaps it was more in a better position to do so rather than the
20 defence department, and that also it was the HVO HZ HB who actually
21 approved the prosecutors instead of the Presidency? And if you don't
22 remember, I'll accept that.
23 A. Well, I do remember and I think that your question is properly
24 asked and I can give you an answer and that's yes.
25 Q. Okay. Article 6, then, now refers to the taking of a formal oath
1 by the deputies of the republican public prosecutor's office, they take a
2 formal oath before the president of the HZ HB. And again, here it's the
3 Presidency that shall determine the text of the formal oath.
4 Now, my question here is perhaps a little bit similar to the one
5 that was just asked by Judge Trechsel. It appears to me that in order to
6 be qualified or a candidate to be one of these two deputies republican
7 public prosecutors, you have to already be a deputy republican public
8 prosecutor, which implies to me that you've already taken an oath
9 sufficient to discharge your duties as a public prosecutor. So the
10 question is: Why would it be necessary now to take another oath, a
11 different oath?
12 A. None of the elected deputy public prosecutors had been in those
13 posts before. Both were newly appointed and in accordance with the -- my
14 previous answer I actually repeat the same thing. If those were newly
15 appointed persons, be they prosecutors or judges, they had to take an
16 oath before taking their office.
17 Q. And it was -- why wouldn't they ask to take the same oath as a
18 republican public prosecutor would have taken in Sarajevo or in Tuzla
19 in Bihac, or was everybody taking different oaths?
20 A. I have no clue what it was like in Tuzla or in Bihac or in
22 that is, if somebody managed to bring from Sarajevo one of those
23 Official Gazettes, that was the only way. There was no other way.
24 Sometimes, as I said, we managed to get hold of a number of
25 Official Gazettes but not by mail. Not only we didn't receive them, the
1 courts didn't receive them, nobody did --
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Buntic, I think we've heard a lot about the
3 Official Gazette. Maybe the question of the Prosecutor can be clarified.
4 I'll try that. You said someone who is new to the post must pass an
5 oath. Is someone new to a post when he passes from a lower level of the
6 same profession to a higher level so that someone who had served his at
7 least five years in accordance with Article 3 on a lower public
8 prosecutor's office when he is appointed deputy, that is considered a new
9 job and he's considered to be new for that level, as a -- let's say a
10 municipal judge who is appointed to a district court would then also have
11 a new post, be regarded as someone who is new to this post. Would
12 that -- does that strike you as a correct interpretation?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, and what you say,
14 Your Honour, is correct. In every change of duty from a lower level to a
15 higher level or if a person did not serve before that in the prosecutor's
16 office or in the court at all, he had to take an oath because he was
17 assuming a new duty, that was the criteria, assuming a new duty. If he
18 had been working as a higher court judge until then, first he had to be
19 relieved from that duty and then by virtue of a decision appointing him
20 judge to the Supreme Court he could assume a new duty. The same applied
21 to prosecutors. If a prosecutor worked on the district level and then
22 was appointed deputy republic prosecutor, he was automatically relieved
23 from his previous duty and had to take an oath to assume his new one.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, according to this
25 document, the new judge or the new prosecutor has to take an oath or make
1 a statement before the president of the HZ HB. To your knowledge, would
2 a prosecutor or a judge from Zenica take an oath before President
3 Alija Izetbegovic at the time? Talking about the area controlled by the
4 ABiH, would you say that judges took the oath in that area as well and
5 before whom did they do so?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't think so. I
7 don't think they were even able to because the judges from a division of
8 the Supreme Court in Tuzla
9 separated. It was physically impossible for them to take an oath before
10 President Alija Izetbegovic, and this provision that we have in our
11 decree had its equivalent in the regulations enacted by districts,
12 Zenica, Bihac, and Tuzla
13 were made at the proposal of the defence department because it was
14 considered to be a state of war and it was considered that these were
15 temporary divisions to operate provisionally, and appointments were made
16 by the decision of a president of a district. And this was all a result
17 of agreements and my discussions with Mr. Halilagic, whereby similar or
18 identical arrangements were offered for the duration of the state of war,
19 as on the level of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The districts
20 had similar arrangements to those in Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question: How many
22 lawyers were there in Herzegovina
23 ballpark figure? There was at least one, yourself, but how many were
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very few, Your Honour, certainly
1 not enough to meet our needs at the time. And I believe it has to be
2 emphasized that just before the war in Mostar, in the municipal court,
3 and in the higher court there were only eight Croat judges working. I
4 had been entrusted with a task of creating 11 judicial institutions, and
5 I had only eight Croats at my disposal. This speaks eloquently of my
7 To use the example of Tomislavgrad municipal court, throughout
8 the HZ HB it had only one judge; in another place there were only two
9 judges. We had great problems filling the vacancies in Livno. Slightly
10 better was the situation in Bosnian Posavina, where we managed to
11 establish a full complement of civilian courts, the municipal, the
12 higher, the military courts, but in this area of Herzegovina --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but you have not answered
14 my question. When you have courts, you need judges and you appointed a
15 number of judges. But for these judges to do their work you need
16 lawyers, defence counsel. How many of these were there?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In light of what I said before, the
18 scarcity of judges, we were forced to mobilise lawyers in order to be
19 able to fill vacancies in courts, and somehow, somehow, create
20 preconditions for the judiciary to operate at all. So we filled
21 vacancies simply by mobilising lawyers, there was no other way.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now things are much
24 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Mr. Buntic, the next exhibit is P 00 -- I'm sorry, P 01137, 1137,
1 it's in binder 3. As usual, the President has anticipated my next
2 question before I even got to it. Mr. Buntic, these are minutes of the
3 18th Session of the HVO held on the 15th of January, 1993. Is that the
4 document that you have?
5 A. I have it.
6 Q. Now, the president of the HVO, Dr. Prlic, was there; you were
7 there; Mr. Valenta was there; others. I would like to direct your
8 attention to item number 2, which is on page -- begins on page 2 at the
9 bottom and it continues over to page 3. Because it actually relates to a
10 draft provision on the implementation of the Law on the Legal Profession
11 in the HZ HB. You proposed an amendment to Article 8 which related to
12 the attorneys registered in the directory of the bar association of HZ
13 HB, then Mr. Zubak proposed an additional amendment. And I don't have
14 the final version of the decision here, but he's proposing an amendment
15 that is adopted that indicates that the words "with the approval of the
16 HVO HZ HB" are to be inserted into the text after the word "attorney."
17 This suggests to me, sir, that the HVO HZ HB regulated the
18 practice of law within the area or the territory of the HZ HB. Is that
20 A. That's true. The bar of HZ HB was established and it was later
21 included and recognised by the bar association at the international
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, everything that is
24 related to attorneys or lawyers I find interesting, as you can very well
25 imagine. You just said something that I find very significant. You said
1 that the bar association of the HZ HB was recognised internationally.
2 Who or what are you referring to exactly?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I mean the international bar
4 association. Of course I don't have the document with me, but if the
5 Court requires it I can submit it later. The document testifying to the
6 recognition of the bar association of the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna, that is, the document whereby it becomes a member of the
8 international bar association.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
10 MR. STRINGER:
11 Q. We've been talking about the courts that you were involved in
12 organizing, and I wanted to ask you, then, in order to be a lawyer and to
13 practice in these courts that you've been testifying about in
14 Herceg-Bosna, would one have to be a member of the Herceg-Bosna bar
15 association in order to get rights of audience?
16 A. No, that's not correct.
17 Q. Okay. Now, if you could move on to item 7 in the same document,
18 this is page 5 of the English, item 7. There are references to a number
19 of proposals, and the one I want to ask you about is the third proposal
20 there, that's made at the head of the judiciary and general
21 administration department. There's a reference to Mr. Aid Gla vovic,
22 attorney from Mostar. He's relieved of his post of the regulations
23 commission. Mr. Zoran Perkovic then replaces Mr. Glavovic on the
24 regulations commission. And then you move down a few lines to number 2
25 and you'll see that Mr. Aid Glavovic now is appointed as assistant head
1 of the sector for the implementation of criminal violations and
2 sanctions. Do you see that?
3 A. I see that.
4 Q. And I believe you testified about Mr. Glavovic already in your
5 direct testimony. He was an attorney from Mostar, as it's indicated
6 here. He was a Muslim. And I believe at one point he was acting in the
7 capacity as your deputy, if I state that correctly.
8 A. Everything is correct except that he was a deputy. He was an
9 assistant for the enforcement of criminal and misdemeanour sections. My
10 deputy was Karlo Sesar.
11 Q. And then continuing on the with the document there's a reference
12 to a proposal by you, I take it, that's adopted and this is on the
13 appointment and relieving from duty judges and public prosecutors in the
14 various courts. And so we see that you were involved again in proposing
15 and the HVO then is adopting decisions with respect to the appointments
16 of judges and prosecutors.
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And then it continues that: "In order for the appointed judges
19 and public prosecutors to commence work, it is necessary to draft the
20 text of the oath and to agree upon the exact date and place of taking the
21 oath with the president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
22 Mr. Mate Boban, by the end of the forthcoming week."
23 So do you know or do you recall, Mr. Buntic, if ultimately the
24 text of the oath that's referred to here was agreed upon or was adopted
25 by the HVO?
1 A. Correct. As you have seen, the text of the oath was determined
2 by the president of the HZ HB and without his consent it couldn't be
3 done. And as you can see, it was done in agreement with Mate Boban
4 because that was his responsibility and the date of the taking of the
5 oath had to be also agreed with him because it was taken before the
6 president of the HZ HB, I'm talking about newly appointed judges.
7 Q. Now, the next exhibit is P 01264, 1264. I think it's just a few
8 documents below. Now, these are minutes of the HVO meeting held just a
9 week later. The last exhibit was 15th of January, 1993. This is one
10 week later on the 22nd of January, 1993, again you're present at this HVO
11 meeting with the others who are indicated there. And if I could direct
12 you, Mr. Buntic, to item number 2, then, in the text of the minutes. We
13 see here an indication that one of the various proposed oaths was
14 actually adopted by the HVO, and then the text of the oath is actually
15 set out in the minutes. Do you see that?
16 A. I can see that.
17 Q. And I'll just read it.
18 "Formal oath" -- actually, maybe it's better or safer. Why don't
19 you read us the text as you see it in the original language document.
20 A. Yes.
21 "Solemn declaration.
22 "I hereby declare that I will observe the constitution in my
23 work, the laws, and other positive regulations, that with diligent work I
24 will protect the interests and the state system of the Croatian Community
25 of Herceg-Bosna and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that I
1 will perform my duty and tasks conscientiously.
2 "As God as my witness."
3 Q. Do you know, Mr. Buntic, whether this is the actual text of the
4 oath that was administered to the judges as you've indicated took place?
5 A. As you can see from the minutes, three variants were on the
6 table; this is the one that was adopted and this is the text of the
7 solemn oath given by judges before they assumed their role as judges.
8 Q. Now, is it possible, sir, that a person who's a Muslim would be
9 reluctant to swear this oath, as its written particularly with the
10 reference to God, "Bog" in your language, as it's written there?
11 A. I have spoken about it already before this Court. It was agreed
12 previously that instead of saying "God" they would say "Allah" and
13 everything else was the same. There was no problem with that.
14 Q. The next document is P 0 --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, what about the Muslim
16 judges? You said there were some Muslim judges, so when they took the
17 oath they said "Allah." Is that correct?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time of the federal
20 republic when the oath was taken, was any reference made to a God? I
21 don't believe it was the case, but was there such a reference?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whoever would mention him would end
23 up in prison the same day.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But what about a judge who
25 would be an atheist?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nobody made any problem about that
2 either. He could keep silent about that. We had some Croat judges and
3 Bosniak judges taking oaths, as well as atheists, and it was said that no
4 problem would be made about this, no fuss, but some sort of oath had to
5 be taken. Originally three variants were proposed, this one was adopted.
6 This one was adopted without making any problem about this, but
7 no problem was made either if somebody didn't take an oath at all; they
8 still continued in their positions. But this was a customary procedure,
9 in many other countries as well. We had to have some sort of text.
10 Three versions were on the table, but no fuss was made if somebody said
11 "Allah" instead of "God" or if they said nothing at all or even if they
12 did not come to take the solemn oath at all. None of the judges was
13 dismissed for that reason. They continued in their office as if nothing
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
16 MR. STRINGER:
17 Q. Now we're talking about judges here, the text of the judges, but
18 it's true, isn't it, that others were required to take oaths, either the
19 prosecutors as we've seen, and others such as members of your department,
20 the justice and general administration department. Were employees and
21 workers within the HVO also required to take oaths?
22 A. As I have said before, prosecutors were required to do it but I
23 don't know whether it was required of any other employee in my division,
24 in my department.
25 Q. Now, if you would turn --
1 A. I'm not denying but this would be the first time I hear of it.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, perhaps he could restate his answer.
3 I'm told that he's indicated something other than what was translated.
4 Perhaps he wasn't heard properly, but if he could repeat his answer.
5 MR. STRINGER:
6 Q. Can you give us that answer again, please, Mr. Buntic.
7 A. Of prosecutors and judges who were newly appointed it was
8 required to take a solemn oath, as was customary. But I do not know of a
9 single example that any official in any employment department would be
10 required to do the same. I don't know of any such case.
11 Q. We've -- you've mentioned and I've mentioned also now
12 Mr. Aid Glavovic. Is it true, sir, that in fact he resigned this
13 position as deputy in the justice department because he declined to take
14 an oath?
15 A. That Aid Glavovic had to take an oath, that's lunacy. I don't
16 know that he was required or that he was obliged to take an oath. Of
17 course it is your right to take -- to ask any question that comes to your
18 mind, but this is -- it's inadmissible and it didn't exist, simply.
19 Q. So you don't know if he resigned rather than take an oath?
20 A. According to what I know, Aid Glavovic was appointed my
21 assistant. He was a correct person. He used to work in the commission
22 for regulations. On the 15th of January, he was appointed the assistant
23 for the enforcement of criminal and misdemeanour sanctions. For a while
24 after that he performed his duty. As far as I know, because of the
25 family reasons, at least that's what Karlo told me, he was the assistant
1 for judiciary because of an illness in his family. I think it was his
2 brother. He resigned. I really can't recall now until what time he
3 worked, but it was for a while after his appointment.
4 Q. All right. If you would turn to P 0335 --
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Stringer, maybe I'm again stepping on your
6 path, but a question you can certainly answer, Mr. Buntic. Did you,
7 yourself, when you were appointed head of the department and took that
8 office, did you pass an oath?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I did not and I don't think
10 that any other head did.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
12 MR. STRINGER:
13 Q. The next exhibit is P 03350, same binder. Mr. Buntic, do you
14 recognise this as a work report that you made that sets out the work of
15 the department of justice and general administration from the period of
16 1 January to 31 June 1993
17 A. Yes, I do recognise it.
18 Q. Okay. Paragraph 1 right at the beginning of it makes a reference
19 to Aid Glavovic having been relieved of his duties and having been
20 replaced by Mr. Dragan Barbaric. Do you see that?
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. Now, you don't indicate here when he was relieved of his duties.
23 Do you recall when that took place?
24 A. Well, I've already indicated that I cannot remember when it was,
25 and I told you why. First of all, the information I received from my
1 deputy was that because of an illness in his family Mr. Glavovic was not
2 at work. So the time when he stopped coming to work is different from
3 the time when he was relieved of his duties. It was probably at a later
4 date. I cannot be very specific here, but I think that Mr. Barbaric was
5 not appointed before June or -- well, late May or early June as the
6 assistant, and that may have been -- well, first you had to relieve
7 Mr. Glavovic and then appoint Mr. Barbaric, and I think that this
8 procedure whereby Mr. Glavovic was relieved of his duties and
9 Mr. Dragan Barbaric appointed in his place, I think it was in late May or
10 early June.
11 Q. Okay. Mr. Buntic, the next exhibit, although I'm not -- you can
12 look at it if you want. I'm not going to require you to do so, but I'm
13 just going to put this to you and you can comment. I'm looking at
14 P 10517, which is going to be in the fourth binder. And while that's
15 being found, Mr. Buntic, representatives of my office interviewed
16 Mr. Glavovic back in the year 2000 after you testified in the Kordic
17 case. And he gave us a witness statement, and in the witness statement
18 which he signed he states that the main reason why he decided to quit his
19 work with the department of justice and administration of the HZ HB was
20 his disagreement with their policy of requiring an oath of allegiance
21 from their employees. This is the second paragraph page 3 of the English
22 version. He said: "The oath was to be taken for the HZ HB, not the
23 legitimate authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
24 He said the oath was compulsory and that since he considered
25 himself a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina he refused to take the oath. He
1 gave the names of two other Muslim employees of the department of justice
2 who also left the department on this question. He states that the
3 oath-taking ceremony took place on the 22nd of January, 1993, which is
4 the same date as the minutes that we just saw in which the oath -- the
5 text of the oath for judges was approved. And he said this oath ceremony
6 was presided over by Mr. Prlic. And so I'm just telling you that, I'm
7 putting it to you, isn't that true that what really happened in respect
8 of Mr. Glavovic, he left the department of justice because he declined to
9 take a compulsory oath?
10 A. It is true that my assistant, Glavovic, at one point was no
11 longer working in the department, but everything else is incorrect. It
12 is not correct that he was asked to make any kind of declaration because
13 no head and no assistant to the head was ever asked to make such a
14 declaration. As you can see, there were ten dozen of them and nobody was
15 asked to do that. The same goes for my assistant Mr. Glavovic, and it is
16 absolutely incorrect that Mr. Semir Puzic and Mr. Jugo Mahmut were also
17 officials in the judiciary because they were judges in the division of
18 the Supreme Court and evidence has been called before this Tribunal. We
19 have decisions appointing them to the division or office of the Supreme
20 Court, both of them.
21 Now, I don't know how you were able to obtain this statement from
22 Aid, but Aid Glavovic would never sign such a statement with all his wits
23 about him. He is a fair and correct person, and in order to sign such a
24 statement he must have been under duress. There must have been threats
25 involved. I don't know what threats were used, but this is definitely
1 not correct and this is definitely not accurate, this statement.
2 Q. Are you aware, sir --
3 MR. STRINGER: This is my last question on this, Mr. President.
4 Q. Are you aware, sir, that Mr. Glavovic and his family were
5 expelled from their home in west Mostar on the 9th of May, 1993, they had
6 to flee over to the east side of the river, where they were still living
7 in 2002 at the time he gave this statement? Do you know that's what
8 became of him and his family?
9 A. I know that. I spoke to Aid after that. He told me about that.
10 I'm really sorry this happened, but as I've already said my deputy was
11 also captured in this action on the 9th of May, Karlo Sesar, he's a
12 Croat. He's not a Muslim at all.
13 MR. STRINGER: No further questions on this, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 20 to 6.00.
15 We'll have a 20-minute break.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.40 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
19 Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.
20 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Mr. Buntic, I can direct you to the next exhibit, which is
22 1D 01978 which is in binder number 4. I think the next several documents
23 are in this binder number 4. I'm going to stay a little bit longer with
24 the courts and the prosecutors, as I was asking you about before the
25 break. You indicated in your direct testimony that at various times
1 reports were made. You made reports, you were forwarding reports, I
2 think, of others on the work of these -- the various courts, civilian and
3 district military courts. And do you recognise this exhibit, 1978, as a
4 report made by the president of the district military court in Mostar,
5 Mr. Maric, dated the 8th of July, 1993?
6 A. I think that's okay.
7 Q. And it relates, looking at the very first sentence, to the first
8 half of 1993 as the reporting period, and I want to -- go ahead, sorry.
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. Directing you to the first sentence of the third paragraph, it
11 states as follows: "The Court's priority task is to institute
12 proceedings for crimes resulting from the Muslim aggression.
13 Subsequently, proceedings have been instituted against the commander and
14 other members of Muslim units from Mostar and other places for the crime
15 of armed rebellion under Article 124 ...of the criminal code ...of the
16 former Yugoslavia
17 And then it continues with the specification of additional
18 crimes. Then I'm going to move down a few more lines to the reference to
19 the crime of instigating an aggressive war under Article 152 of the
20 Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia
21 Now, first of all, here this being 8th of July, 1993, is it your
22 recollection, sir, as indicated in this report that the priority of
23 courts in this period -- or this particular court, I should say, was to
24 institute proceedings for crimes related to Muslim aggression, as it's
25 written here?
1 A. Well, this is the opinion, as you can see from this, of a
2 president of a court, it is his report. I don't recall -- or in fact I
3 can state quite categorically that I did not issue any such orders making
4 this a priority. Now, whether the president received any such orders
5 from anyone else, I don't know that. Perhaps this is just his
6 independent opinion. So I can state quite categorically that no such
7 order or instruction was ever issued by me.
8 Q. Now, would you agree with me, sir, that the reference here to the
9 crime of armed rebellion, for me, sir, that implies a crime in which a
10 state is a victim; that is, it's a crime that is directed against a
11 state. And so the reference here to armed rebellion, isn't that, sir,
12 being instituted as a proceeding based on armed rebellion against the
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
14 A. Well, I can only assume but -- or speculate what the president of
15 this court thought when he wrote this report. I cannot give you any
16 reliable testimony on this. I don't think it would be proper for me to
17 speculate as to what the president of this court thought when he drafted
18 this report. It is his report, it was submitted as such, forwarded. His
19 views are presented in it, his opinions, and it is not up to me to
20 comment it now, to comment it then, I never did comment. I never
21 interfered with the independence of the courts or their decision-making.
22 So I think that this follows from a number of my acts and documents that
23 I drafted at the time. The decisions of the court, I as head of the
24 department could not comment on those decisions and I did not.
25 Q. Now then at the end of this paragraph this investigation for
1 instigating an aggressive war, would you agree with me, sir, that the
2 crime of aggression or aggressive war also implies actions taken against
3 a state?
4 A. I cannot agree with you that I should now try to divine what the
5 president of the court thought. You have the document in front of you.
6 It's a document drafted by the president of the district military court,
7 so please don't ask me to comment on the court decisions. Because in
8 principle, I always advocated the view that nobody should comment it. It
9 was my opinion at the time. I expressed it in a number of documents and
10 I confirm it here before this Tribunal. I don't want to change it in any
12 Q. The president of the court, Mr. Maric, was he approved by the
13 HVO HZ HB to this position?
14 A. It is correct. He was elected the president of the district
15 military court after Mr. Enes Memic resigned, I believe, and then
16 Mr. Velimir Maric was appointed. I do know that.
17 Q. And is it fair to say that in appointing Mr. Maric to this
18 position the HVO was satisfied of his legal qualifications in order to
19 take this position?
20 A. I think that Mr. Velimir Maric has a law degree and that he has
21 appropriate education that would enable him to perform the duties of a
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Before we get to the next question, Your Honour,
24 just -- I didn't object because I thought that the gentleman was entitled
25 to his answers, but I do object to the Prosecution's interpretation on
1 the law, what is meant by the crime of aggression as being against a
2 state or armed rebellion.
3 It would have been interesting to have asked Mr. Buntic what
4 happened on, I believe, the late part of June. This may -- we all know,
5 that must be -- I mean, you laugh, but being killed in your sleep is not
6 a joking matter, Your Honour. I don't -- I'm sure that the victims of
7 those -- of that aggression by their mates was not a laughing matter and
8 maybe that's the armed rebellion that's being referred to. If the
9 Prosecutor had known the facts maybe he would have put that question to
10 the gentleman and ask him what happened on that particular evening. In
11 other ways, Ms. Alaburic refers to it as a treacherous act. We can term
12 it in various different ways.
13 What I do object are the Prosecution's characterizations these
14 crimes, as they're related here, go against the state, therefore trying
15 to imply that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was posing as a
16 state. In keeping with my objection, I would invite the Trial Chamber to
17 look at these articles that are being referenced because I think that's
18 what the judge is looking at, and I do agree with Mr. Buntic because I
19 did notice a particular facial expression that he is being asked to
20 divine what this gentleman meant. If the Prosecution wishes, they can
21 call this person as a witness.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, I agree with your last point, I
23 had the same reaction, we should look at the paragraph, at the article of
24 the law to see what it is. I apologise if I showed signs of a certain
25 hilarity, it was only because some time ago one of your colleagues
1 advised the Prosecutor what questions he should ask and I commented on
2 that and the same thing happening again. Repetition is, as Mr. Praljak
3 certainly knows very well, an element of comedy. So I couldn't help it.
4 I'm sorry.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm not trying to give advice. I would have told
6 the gentleman that had he listened, for instance, to my first -- to my
7 own direct examination, it would not have been necessary to spend a half
8 an hour on the oath. The gentleman was very clear. I try not to give
9 this particular Prosecutor advice because I'm sure he's more experienced
10 than I am.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I remain neutral on that.
12 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Stringer, again.
13 I would like to say the following, and it is of course not a testimony,
14 but since the -- since Mr. Karnavas raised the issue of the aggression
15 and since I have been dealing with international public law for now for a
16 few decades, I am able to say -- I hope at least that the -- according to
17 the definition which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1974 on the
18 case of aggression, it is -- of course it could be established that
19 aggression is being committed or could be committed against a state or a
20 kind of state entity or a government entity, et cetera, because otherwise
21 it wouldn't have the crime to be committed. If it were only against
22 certain population, it would have been already genocide or anything else
23 in terms of international humanitarian law. So it is my comment on this
24 matter, but again I say that I do not want to go into a theoretical
25 debate on the terms of aggression, but it is according to my knowledge I
1 would be able to say. Thank you.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you very much, Judge Prandler, but as you
3 aptly pointed out, you have a few decades of experience in dealing with
4 this area and I don't think that we can presume that somebody in Mostar
5 may have the experience that you've had in dealing with the matter.
6 That's why terms sometimes are being used perhaps in a very sloppy
7 manner. I don't know. I think the articles would give us greater
8 guidance, but I do take your point and I appreciate your observation.
9 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
10 MR. STRINGER:
11 Q. Mr. Buntic, continuing with this document, I'm going to direct
12 your attention to the second-to-the-last paragraph which is at the top of
13 page 2 of the English version. Actually, I'll just start with the last
14 sentence on the previous page beginning with this statement: "Basic
15 prerequisite for the court to work successfully is unity. During the
16 previous period there was no unity in the district military court in
18 "The circumstances were such that there were two political
19 factions, HZ HB and the former BH. This resulted in an absurd situation
20 where a part of the court implemented the general policy of the other
21 political authorities, which is contrary to the one which established the
22 court. A logical consequence of the situation is organizational
23 problems ..."
24 Now, Mr. Buntic, in your direct examination I believe it was this
25 document that you referred to in which you indicated that the Muslim
1 judges only showed up at the court on payday. And my question is this:
2 Isn't it a fact that Muslim judges were declining or were reluctant to
3 participate in the activities of the court because they were called upon
4 to implement HZ HB policy and not the policy of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
5 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I do apologise and I don't want to
6 disrupt my learned friend, but perhaps in relation to the representation
7 that's just been put now by way of cross-examination, my learned friend
8 can refer to the exact transcript regarding what the witness actually
9 said regarding the Muslim judges and payday. I think perhaps it's not
10 exactly -- it wasn't exactly put in the manner that my learned friend has
11 attributed to the witness right now. So perhaps the reference to the
12 transcript would be useful.
13 MR. STRINGER: I don't have it, Mr. President. I can come back
14 to it. I'm happy to do that.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe that Mr. Khan is
16 right. According to what I remember - but I might be wrong - the witness
17 stated that those judges would come on payday only without being there
18 for the remainder of the time. That's all he said. Maybe we could have
19 a look at the transcript, otherwise maybe the witness can tell us again
20 what he stated earlier.
21 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I think your recollection is the
22 same as mine. If I expressed it differently, it wasn't my intent to do
24 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, of course there wasn't an intent. I'm
25 not alleging any such thing against my learned friend. I have great
1 respect for him. All I'm saying is I think that there was, for my
2 recollection, some dispute. My recollection may be faulty, my learned
3 friend's may be faulty. In light of that ambiguity, I would ask that the
4 actual portion of the transcript be put to the witness.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Perhaps there is an easier way.
6 Mr. Buntic, do you recall what you said in this respect? Maybe
7 you remember better than we do?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember what I said, but if it
9 was recorded differently in the transcript. I thought some, I didn't say
10 all of them, would only show up on payday. So this was not in reference
11 to all the judges but only some judges, and I still stand by that. I
12 don't know whether the Prosecutor is going to ask the question again or
13 to answer the question that was already asked.
14 I don't know if you've completed your question, Mr. Prosecutor.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.
16 MR. STRINGER: We'll find the quote, Mr. President. And I'm
17 looking -- we have it. I'm looking at page 30488 of the transcript.
18 Q. And you're describing this document, Mr. Buntic, it's a report of
19 the district military court which was supposed to submit its reports to
20 both the department of defence and the department of justice. You said:
21 "I assume the responsibility for the work of all the judges in the
22 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna but do not take responsibility for the
23 work of the judges appointed by the Presidency of the Republic of
25 You said: "The reason why is that these judges appeared in court
1 only once a month when it was payday and we see that from this report."
2 That's the top of 30488. So I'll take you back to my question
3 referring to the text that I read earlier, which is this: Isn't it true,
4 sir, that the judges, the Muslims judges or those appointed by the
5 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 of the HVO as indicated by Mr. Maric on this report --
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Again I'm going to object. Now he's mixing it up.
8 Now he's saying the Muslim judges or those appointed by the Republic of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Now, earlier he doesn't make any distinction.
10 Somehow the Prosecutor is trying to show -- establish that Mr. Buntic is
11 prejudiced or at least he's made some allegations against Muslim judges
12 vis-a-vis other judges. He said those that were appointed by the
13 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Now, Mr. Buntic never said that those
14 judges were all Muslim, nor did he say that those judges that would show
15 up once were only Muslim. So I would expect the gentleman to put his
16 question forthrightly. What exactly is he trying to say? But if he's
17 going to quote from a text, he better quote accurately or I'm going to
18 keep objecting.
19 MR. STRINGER:
20 Q. Mr. Buntic, judges - and I'll quote the text here that were --
21 well, there were two political factions according to Mr. Maric here, the
22 HZ HB faction and the faction of the former Bosnia-Herzegovina. My
23 question is this, sir: You're making reference to judges appointed by
24 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Isn't it a fact, sir, that they
25 didn't participate in the court because they were opposed to implementing
1 the policy that's referred here -- by Mr. Maric, the general policy of
2 the HZ HB?
3 A. My answer is the same as it -- as the one that I gave you before.
4 I was thinking about the persons appointed by the Presidency of Bosnia
5 and Herzegovina
6 persons did very little work in the courts where they were appointed, and
7 as you can see from this report - because my answer had to do with this
8 report - the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina had appointed three
9 judges to the district military court. It is true that all three judges
10 appointed by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina were Bosniaks, and
11 it was up to the HZ HB organs to appoint others.
12 It is visible from this report that after the conflict, the war
13 broke out between Bosniaks and Croats in Mostar, that those judges no
14 longer came to work, no longer performed their jobs. I can agree with
15 that part, and I think that it corresponded to the actual situation,
16 state of affairs, in Mostar. So after the war broke out, the judges
17 appointed by the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina no
18 longer came to work and they did not perform their tasks in court. But I
19 still maintain that what I said can in no way apply to all the other
20 judges of the Muslim ethnicity.
21 Q. In fact, Mr. Buntic, what you've just said is inconsistent with
22 the last paragraph of this report of Mr. Maric in which he states that:
23 "After the combat operations in Mostar on 9 May 1993, complete unity of
24 the court was established in a short time. All organizational and
25 personnel problems are taken in stride, without any major problems in
1 spite of the war."
2 So in fact isn't that really what happened, in that after the war
3 broke out the judges who were not supportive of HZ HB policy were removed
4 from the court and were replaced by judges who were supportive of HZ HB
6 A. Nobody was removed from the court, by no decision of any organ or
7 body of the HZ HB. Some people left their jobs, the post which they were
8 appointed by a decision of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 voluntarily. They did so of their own will.
10 Q. The next exhibit is 1D 0 --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Stringer, sorry, I have a question still
12 with regard to this report. There is something that puzzles me a bit.
13 The first sentence quoted by Mr. Stringer on the first page in the third
14 paragraph says that: "The courts" -- and I quote: "The court's priority
15 task is to institute proceedings for crimes ..." et cetera.
16 Now, I'm a bit puzzled. Normally it is not the task of the court
17 to institute proceedings. Could you explain this language? I guess that
18 there is an explanation, but I will -- would like you to give it.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot, Your Honour. I've
20 already said that this was the position taken by the president of this
21 court. I can share it or not share it, that's a completely different
22 matter. But this is a report by the president of the district military
23 court in Mostar and it was written --
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: No, I'm sorry, I fully disagree. This is not an
25 opinion or something. This is a report, and it starts out saying that:
1 "The court's priority task is to institute proceedings ..."
2 Now, you were the chief of the department of justice, you were
3 responsible for courts, and you, I think, should know in your position
4 what the task of a court is. And to me the task of a court normally is
5 not that, to institute proceedings.
6 I see Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic wants to intervene.
7 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I would like to assist,
8 that's one of the things that I'm perhaps not so familiar with. I'm not
9 familiar with the Swiss judiciary, but I am familiar with the Croatian
10 judiciary and the Croatian Law on Criminal Procedure which was adopted --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Previous translation continues]... are you the
12 witness now or an expert under oath?
13 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I
14 merely wanted to tell you what the term "to institute" means. In our
15 criminal procedure that doesn't mean filing a criminal report because
16 under our Law on Criminal Procedure, the criminal proceedings are not
17 instituted at the moment when criminal report is filed. That's what I
18 wanted to say. I think that we have this law on the record, but I just
19 wanted to tell you at one -- at what point criminal proceedings start.
20 That's not at the moment when the criminal report is filed. I'm not
21 going to say what's the document instituting criminal proceedings because
22 this gentleman is a lawyer and he can tell us that, but this is just a
23 technical legal matter.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this report seems to
25 be a report from the president of the military court. This is not a
1 civilian court. This is a report coming from a military court. Do you
2 agree with this?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. And there is a
5 difference between a civilian judge and a military judge. A civilian
6 judge is "more independent" than a military judge or am I mistaken?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the regulations that were in
8 force, that were applied, that's what follows, that civilian courts are
9 independent in their work, whereas the organization and structure of
10 military courts was somewhat different, both during the times of the
11 former Yugoslavia
12 status of military prosecutor's offices and the courts and that all was
13 adopted by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HZ HB.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This military judge has
15 prepared this report, but based on his own area which is to deal with
16 military-type crimes, desertions, rebellions. Here we have a report that
17 deals with crimes committed within the military jurisdiction, and as far
18 as I understand - but you will correct me if I'm wrong - the proceedings
19 are instigated by the military prosecutor based on reports prepared by
20 the military police.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's how it should have been
22 according to the regulations that were in force in the territory of the
23 HZ HB, but as for the priorities in work on cases, the president of the
24 court decided that. I'm not saying anything new. We know that from
25 prior practice. The president of the court, depending on the workload
1 and the type of cases, decides on what the priorities were going to be.
2 It doesn't mean that in some other court a different president wouldn't
3 decide otherwise. That's why I said, this is the opinion of this
4 president of the court on the priorities of that court. I also said that
5 he never received any instructions from me as to priorities. It is in
6 the discretion of the president to set out priorities.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But since he was presiding over
8 military-type cases, were you in a position to give instructions to him
9 or did it have nothing to do with you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not give any instructions,
11 and according to regulations I was not able to give any. It was up to
12 the president, and I said I gave presidents no instructions. It is up to
13 the president to decide what the priorities are going to be at a given
14 moment. That is within his authority. All the powers in that sense are
15 vested in the president, and he decided on that independently. And it
16 doesn't mean necessarily that some other court didn't have different
17 priorities. To interfere with that part of the work, in my eyes, would
18 have been interference with the work of the court.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: A linguistic question, Mr. Buntic, because we
20 have insisted a lot on the words. In Croatian does "institute
21 proceedings" and "decide on priorities" mean the same thing?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it does not. But
23 whether it is just a slip or the actual opinion and position of this
24 president is not up to me to decide or make any statements about.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
1 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Mr. Buntic, the next exhibit is 1D 01974, and this is a report
3 that you made on the work of the courts, district courts, military courts
4 for Mostar and Livno municipalities dated the 5th of August, 1993
5 you have that document?
6 A. I have it.
7 Q. And so in this report what you're reporting on are statistics,
8 the activities of the district court in Mostar, district military
9 prosecutor Mostar, district court Livno, district military prosecutor
10 Livno, also Travnik district military court. And I see that in the first
11 section on the district court in Mostar you indicate in your report that
12 for the first quarter, 1993, most requests to conduct an investigation
13 pertain to Serbs from the territory of the municipalities of Capljina,
14 Stolac, Neum, and Mostar for the crime of serving in an enemy army, while
15 in the second quarter the situation changed considerably following the
16 armed aggression of the Muslim army on units in the HVO, namely, in the
17 aforementioned period, a large number of reports were received by members
18 of the Muslim army for the following crimes: Armed rebellion, genocide,
19 war crimes against civilians, war crimes against prisoners of war, war
20 crimes against the sick and wounded and then instigating an aggressive
21 war. And then you continue in your report you're providing statistics on
22 the cases, making reference to the K numbers that you described for us
23 during your cross-examination by counsel for Mr. Coric.
24 You go on to describe or to report on statistics for the district
25 military prosecutor's office in Mostar at the bottom of page 2 of the
1 English version. These are reports of -- well, let me ask you. At the
2 top of the table there's an indication that there were 652 reports that
3 were received, and those reports indicated or reported crimes alleged to
4 have been committed by 2.691 people. Is that a correct interpretation,
5 652 reports of crimes that pertained to 2.691 alleged criminals or
7 A. This is a compound question. This is an aggregated report made
8 up of all the reports filed by courts --
9 Q. Right --
10 A. -- anything else than the figures provided by courts, it would be
11 wrong to say anything about that. All we can do is do the math.
12 Q. All right. Well --
13 A. Those are all the reports from all the courts in that area. You
14 can tell me that I did the math wrong, you can hold that against me, but
15 anything else --
16 Q. No, I -- excuse me --
17 A. The qualifications given and denominations of various acts are
18 just taken over from those reports.
19 Q. Well, I understand that you're simply forwarding on the reports
20 that you're receiving from the courts. We understand that. However,
21 sir, this is your report. It appears over your signature. I think it's
22 fair for us to assume that a gentleman holding the position that you held
23 at the time, that you knew what you were talking about when you reported
24 about the reports of armed rebellion or the reports of aggressive war. I
25 mean, you knew or you must have had some idea what those crimes involved
1 at the time you made this report; correct?
2 A. That's correct. However, it is not correct that I was able to
3 change the qualifications assigned by the courts, and it's not a report.
4 It's just information. I could not modify the qualification of a crime.
5 I copied it as it was written in the report by the court. I didn't sign
6 it, actually it's my deputy who signed but it's the same thing. Neither
7 he nor I were able to change the legal qualification given by the court.
8 Q. I understand that --
9 A. Just as I can't change the legal qualifications you assign to a
10 certain crime. You should be fair.
11 Q. Well, if you'll allow me, sir, I'm not suggesting that you could
12 have changed these qualifications. I'm not suggesting that in the least.
13 I'm simply asking you what you were talking about or what your
14 understanding of armed rebellion and aggressive war was when you reported
15 these investigations.
16 A. I have stated already, this is not a report. This is a piece of
17 information, that's one. Two, this is not my opinion. This is
18 information provided by courts and legal qualifications assigned by
19 courts. Now you're asking me why didn't I change the qualifications
20 assigned by the courts, well, who would I have been to do that? The
21 question arises: Who would I have to be.
22 Q. Let's move to the next document, Mr. Buntic, 1D 02004. Now, this
23 is a document, I believe, issued by you on the following day, the 6th of
24 August, 1993. And again, I recognise you're just reporting on the
25 information that you're receiving from the other courts referred to in
1 this document. This appears to be your report on the work of municipal
2 misdemeanour courts, district military prosecutor's offices, district
3 military courts in the HZ HB for the period 1 January 1993 to 6 August
4 1993; is that correct? Do you have that document, sir?
5 A. That's correct, but I want to say this --
6 Q. Excuse me. I get to ask the questions. We'll make time for you
7 to make a statement, but only after I've had my time to ask you my
8 questions, sir. In this report I am going to refer you to item number 3,
9 and, again, I understand that you're simply reporting or repeating the
10 information that's come to you from the various courts. In the second
11 paragraph under item 3, you're reporting on the information from the
12 municipal court for misdemeanours in Livno. Do you see that?
13 "Municipal court for misdemeanours in Livno did not receive a
14 single request from the defence office ..."
15 Do you see that part?
16 A. I do.
17 Q. And then this paragraph continues down. There's a reference to
18 the municipal court for misdemeanours in Tomislavgrad. Continuing down,
19 there's a reference to the municipal court for misdemeanours in Citluk.
20 And then about halfway through the paragraph there's a reference to the
21 municipal court for misdemeanours in Mostar. Do you see that?
22 "... Mostar received from the defence department -- the defence office
23 318 requests ..." Do you see that text?
24 A. I did, I do.
25 Q. And so just to make sure, we're talking about the Mostar
1 municipal court for misdemeanours, and you're talking about the president
2 of the court. And I take it, sir, the president of that court was your
3 source of information here on the activities of this court. He stated
4 that: "A large number of cases could not be completed due to the parties
5 being beyond reach because some of the reports concerned persons of
6 Muslim ethnicity for whom confirmations issued by the army of BH are
7 recognised according to the official letter of the defence office ..."
8 And then you say in your report that: "He," the president of the
9 court, " ...pointed out the fact that a large number of Muslims had been
10 taken away from their current addresses so it was impossible to serve
12 Do you see that?
13 A. I do.
14 Q. Now, this is the 6th of August, 1993. At this period in time,
15 Mr. Buntic, is it correct that hundreds of Muslims throughout western
17 in Mostar but in other municipalities as well. And the men, the Muslim
18 men of military age were being taken to camps?
19 A. Croats, too, were removed.
20 Q. My question is a different one, isn't it? I'm asking you whether
21 hundreds of Muslims were being evicted from their homes and their flats
22 throughout the Mostar region at this period of time?
23 A. That's your question and this is my answer.
24 Q. Well, I'm waiting for your answer. I think it's a yes or a no or
25 an I don't know.
1 A. I've answered as I answered. It's true that both Croats and
2 Muslims were removed, but it's not true that only Muslims were being
4 Q. All right. So when the reference in this paragraph is to large
5 numbers of Muslims being taken away, that's a reference, isn't it, sir,
6 to them being taken away by the HVO and put in camps or otherwise being
7 driven away from their homes?
8 A. Similarly, it is believed that those Croats who were removed were
9 taken away by the BH army, and it's equally true that it is considered in
10 relation to the Muslims who were removed that they were taken away by the
11 HVO and other Croat units in that area. But you can't ask a lop-sided
12 question like that.
13 Q. All right.
14 A. These things happened on both sides.
15 Q. And that's the reason why the process, the legal procedures that
16 are being referred to here, weren't working. Muslims, as he's saying
17 here, he's talking about Muslims. He's not talking about Croats. The
18 president of the court's talking about Muslims who can't be served with
19 the papers because they've been taken away; correct?
20 A. This is taken from the higher court of misdemeanours in Mostar,
21 but I stand by my answer, namely, that the situation was similar on both
23 Q. Well, does that make it legitimate on either side? Is that what
24 you're suggesting?
25 A. I'm not suggesting that, Mr. Prosecutor, by no means. I'm just
1 stating the facts that we all knew, all of us who were from that area,
2 and you cannot just say one-sidedly that Muslims were being removed
3 without mentioning that Croats were being removed too. They were removed
4 just before and during the conflict, but throughout the war 5.000 Muslims
5 continued to live in the Croat-controlled area, whereas only 74 Croats
6 continued throughout the war to live in the Muslim-controlled area. And
7 now it is up to the Court to make a judgement as to who was responsible
8 for more removals of people, not you. It is up to the Court to decide.
9 Q. The next document that -- it's actually not in --
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, I'm sorry, Mr. Stringer, but my
11 attention is drawn to all sorts of things.
12 Mr. Buntic, in the large paragraph on the second page we read
13 that: "The municipal court for misdemeanours in Tomislavgrad received
14 333 misdemeanour reports ..."
15 And the end of the next line: " ...all the cases were archived
16 based on the decision of the municipal HVO."
17 Now, I would like to know how this is to be interpreted, but it
18 looks as if the executive of the municipality interfered with the work of
19 the local municipal court, which was perhaps ever so happy to have less
20 work but that is not the issue here.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is obvious, Your Honour, because
22 it followed from this report that the municipal HVO instructed the
23 president of the court to act on these cases as he did act. If we look
24 at that report that came from the higher court for misdemeanours which
25 informs us that it was the way it was done in Tomislavgrad and we only
1 received information that this was happening. I think this is consistent
2 with the information received from the municipal misdemeanours court in
3 Tomislavgrad. Yes, it does follow that somebody from the HVO gave those
4 instructions to the president of the court, but you have to bear in mind
5 that municipal misdemeanour courts were courts established by the
6 municipality. The municipality appoints the judge, the judge is
7 answerable to the municipality, and the court is financed from the
8 municipal budget. So not a single body of the HZ HB had jurisdiction
9 over municipal misdemeanour courts.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I let that stand.
11 Excuse me, Mr. Stringer.
12 MR. STRINGER: Now, Mr. President, I'm at a bit of a breaking
13 point here. I know it's a few minutes early, but it might be better in
14 the long run if we could break for the evening now rather than moving
15 into the next topic.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 Mr. Stringer, how much time do you need tomorrow to complete?
18 MR. STRINGER: I think as much time as I have remaining and
19 possibly some more.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The registrar will tell us how
21 much time you have left. I'll tell you precisely, but I believe it's
22 around one hour.
23 I'm being told that you've used six hours and 37 minutes. You
24 had been granted seven hours and 15 minutes. In other words, you have
25 less than an hour left.
1 Witness, as you know, you will return here tomorrow morning at
2 9.00 a.m.
3 able, since we start in the morning, we should be able to complete your
4 testimony in the morning as well.
5 I wish you all a pleasant evening and we'll meet again in this
6 courtroom tomorrow morning at 9.00 a.m.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.56 p.m.
8 to be reconvened on Friday, the 18th day of
9 July, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.