1 Thursday, 28 August 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T, the
10 Prosecutor versus Jadranko Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 On the last day of hearing, I wish to bid good morning to the
13 witness, the accused, the ladies and gentlemen of the counsel, all the
14 staff of the Office of the Prosecution, and all the persons assisting us.
15 We are going to complete this session with the continuation of the
16 cross-examination, after which Mr. Karnavas will have an occasion to
18 Yes, Mr. Praljak.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when the
20 witness completes his testimony, I hope a little time will be left over.
21 I would like to ask for permission to address the Court for about ten
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you, hoping
24 that we will have the time. If you wish to address the Chamber for
25 procedural matters, yes, but our priority is the witness. But we might
1 have the time for you.
2 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think
3 colleague Kovacic is not in the courtroom. I don't know what's
4 happening. He's not here, anyway.
5 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a colleague has gone to
6 see what's happening with Mr. Kovacic. If I may, I would also like to
7 leave the courtroom to check out and inform the Court.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, is your
9 intervention linked to the fact that Mr. Kovacic is not here or does it
10 have nothing to do with that?
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No, it has nothing to do
12 with that, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 Yes, please.
15 MR. IVERSON: Your Honours, Mr. Kovacic will be here shortly
16 under -- for reasons not under his control, he couldn't be here right at
17 the moment.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you. You can
19 take his place. You're not co-counsel?
20 Mr. Praljak, there's a problem. Your counsel is not present. Do
21 you believe that your defence can be ensured in the absence of your
22 lawyer or not?
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I believe that it is all
24 right and you may proceed, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, let me ask the same
1 question of my colleagues.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber shares your
4 opinion, so we are going to continue.
5 Mr. Stringer, you have the floor.
6 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President, good morning. Good
7 morning, Your Honours, Counsel, as well as all the other people around
8 the courtroom.
9 WITNESS: MARTIN RAGUZ
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer: [Continued]
12 Q. Good morning, Mr. Raguz.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. I'll complete the cross-examination today. Just a couple of
15 items I wanted to follow up on from yesterday.
16 First of all, you should have in one of the loose documents
17 that's on the table in front of you, one of the payroll lists or the pay
18 sheets that I showed you yesterday. It's Exhibit 4697. We looked at
19 this yesterday. Do you recall that?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. The question is this: Looking at the name, sir, it appears to me
22 that there were -- that the composition of the ODPR, at least the people
23 who were getting -- receiving payments, compensation, from ODPR, were
24 exclusively of Croatian -- Croat nationality. Is that true during the
25 time that you were there?
1 A. This document is from the month of September, and my name is not
2 on it, and I cannot say, judging by the names here, that all of them were
3 Croats. I'm not saying that they weren't, but I can't say. I don't know
4 some of the names. And that is why yesterday, Your Honours, I was not
5 able to confirm with precision that some of the employees who were
6 mentioned were on the payroll of the office, which I confirmed later on,
7 and I owe you and everyone else in the courtroom an apology. It was not
8 my intention to do this. I just came across these documents. I had
9 these documents yesterday, and I couldn't have full insight into them
10 when I spoke about them. It is quite clear that most of them were of
11 Croat nationality, but that was not a criterion, nor was that indicated
12 anywhere as being necessary.
13 Q. Okay. But in any event, ODPR was largely an organisation
14 composed of and, in fact, controlled by Croatian people; correct?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. You testified during the first day of your direct examination
17 about your time in Sarajevo
18 the government in Sarajevo
19 other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Correct?
20 A. I said that it was, to a high degree. Some people did leave here
21 and there, but they didn't do so to increase the influence of the
22 government throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, so that what I said is
23 correct, that that is how it operated.
24 Q. Now, we haven't seen any indication that I'm aware of, at least
25 from your testimony, that something like an Office of Displaced Persons
1 and Refugees for Bosnia and Herzegovina was able to function within the
2 areas controlled by the HVO. Is it true that there was no
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina ODPR that was operating within the same zones that
4 your office was operating?
5 A. Answering questions during my testimony, I confirmed the meetings
6 and the joint work of commissions that were held, that were formed by
7 representatives of two ministries and these agencies or the directorate,
8 as it was called, operated the Directorate for Humanitarian Aid and the
9 Directorate for Refugees in Sarajevo
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Croatia
11 of the Croatian Defence Council.
12 Q. In terms of the issue of accommodation and where to place
13 refugees arriving into these areas, your areas, is it true, sir, that
14 like the Croats, the Muslim refugees and displaced persons were
15 exclusively dependent upon the work of your office, ODPR, because there
16 was no equivalent Bosnia-Herzegovina authority to get involved in
17 accommodating those people in Western Herzegovina?
18 A. I think I've answered that question. We cooperated, exchanged
19 data, and worked. Logically, this was an area under the control of the
20 HVO at the time.
21 Q. And all of these refugees and displaced persons then would also
22 have been reliant on the individual authorities of the municipalities?
23 For example, if a refugee is in Ljubuski, you've been talking about the
24 role of the municipalities, a refugee in Ljubuski or Stolac, then, would
25 have to rely on the municipal authorities there in order to acquire
1 status and acquire accommodation and the things that come from being a
2 refugee or a displaced person?
3 A. To the greatest extent, it depended on the municipalities, but
4 everyone was involved, like international humanitarian organisations, who
5 had the monitoring, you could see from the reports, and also
6 organisations that directly provided humanitarian aid, and of course the
7 Office for Refugees, which was coordinating the overall efforts in the
8 territory under the HVO control, coordinated work with international
9 humanitarian organisations, and we also coordinated with the authorities
10 in Sarajevo
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zagreb, and with all other relevant
12 organisations. So there was a much broader network than one might
13 conclude from your questions.
14 Q. And just to pick up on something you've just said there about the
15 HVO, that is, the government, because you touched upon this in your
16 direct examination, as I understand it, the Office of Displaced Persons
17 and Refugees was independent of the individual departments of the HVO,
18 although it coordinated with them. Is that correct?
19 A. It was the Office of the Croatian Defence Council and later of
20 the government of the Croatian Republic
21 accordance with HVO decisions at meetings of the council and subsequently
22 of the government. And there are very precise definitions about this,
23 and that's all I can say about it. It's a question of legal terminology
24 used on the part of those who prepared these documents.
25 Q. And as a result or -- then, for me, I take it to mean that ODPR
1 itself was not a policy-making body; rather, its job was to implement or
2 to put into force policies of the HVO, itself, which was the executive
3 authority for Herceg-Bosna?
4 A. The Office for Refugees implemented the decisions and decrees
5 passed by the HVO, linked to questions of refugees, displaced, and
6 expelled persons, and this can be seen from the decrees on the foundation
7 of the office, and these decrees specify the responsibilities of the
9 Q. And then in respect of reporting, and I hope we have time today
10 to look at a few of the reports of ODPR, ODPR didn't report to the head
11 of one of the departments; rather, ODPR reported directly to the HVO
12 government; is that correct?
13 A. Mostly, yes.
14 Q. Yesterday, we were looking at a document, and some statements
15 were attributed to Darinko Tadic, in which, according to the person
16 writing the report, Mr. Tadic was making statements about the
17 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna assisting natural and historical
18 migrations of peoples. Do you recall when we talked about that?
19 A. I do recall that we talked about that, but I also remember that
20 there's no confirmation that that was said by Darinko Tadic. I do
21 remember that we discussed it, though.
22 Q. Do you know that Ante Valenta was a vice-president of the HVO
23 during this period of time?
24 A. I can't remember now, but probably, yes, probably you're right.
25 Q. He was from Vitez, is that true, or do you know?
1 A. From Central Bosnia, yes.
2 Q. Did you ever read any of the things he wrote about migration of
3 people from the various parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to achieve a
4 separation of the nationalities?
5 A. I haven't read his books.
6 Q. I'm going to ask you to look at one of the documents in the
7 binder now, which is 1D 01666. I think it would be in the second binder.
8 1666. And with the next few documents, Mr. Raguz, I'd like to talk to
9 you about the situation in Mostar just prior to and after the time you
11 Sir, this is a -- excuse me. These are the minutes of an HVO
12 meeting that occurred in Siroki Brijeg on the 17th of May, 1993, and
13 there is a reference down here to the Office of Expelled Persons and
14 Refugees that I want to direct you to. It's the third paragraph on the
15 first page at least of the English. It's the third paragraph of item 1,
16 in which it says that: "Support was expressed for the activities of the
17 Office for Expelled Persons and Refugees which has been active since the
18 first day civilians were relocated from Mostar to the former Military
19 Gymnasium and Heliodrom after the commencement of combat activities in
21 The question -- the first question, Mr. Raguz, is: Do you know
22 if, in fact, this is a reference to Muslim civilians who were relocated
23 or moved from the town of Mostar
24 location at the gymnasium, and were kept in detention there for a period
25 of days after the conflict of the 9th and 10th of May?
1 A. Mr. Prosecutor, these are minutes from a session of the Croatian
2 Defence Council held on the 17th of May, 1993, in Siroki Brijeg. All
3 I can say in this court, that at that time I wasn't in Bosnia-Herzegovina
4 at all, and I cannot comment because I do not have complete insight to be
5 able to give you a precise answer, even though it is stated here that --
6 how the war started, and there's reference to all civilians and not just
7 to Muslims, as far as I can see.
8 Q. Well, that was my question, but I think you've answered it. You
9 don't know about this, you don't know about civilians who were moved to
10 the Heliodrom?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object, Your Honour. Again, and I'm
12 going to be very quick on my feet today --
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you postpone this, because there's a
14 technical point.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mr. Karnavas.
16 Mr. Kovacic entered, but I didn't see him because I was studying
17 the document. So at the transcript, it is indicated that Mr. Kovacic
18 took his seat.
19 Mr. Karnavas, what did you want to say?
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, and welcome, Mr. Kovacic.
21 Your Honour, if you look at the answer and then if you look at
22 the follow-up question, the question assumes facts that are not in
23 evidence, that are twisting around the witness's testimony. I would
24 kindly appreciate if the Prosecutor either, one, listened, or, two,
25 stopped playing the gamesmanship that is being played here. I think it
1 is unfair to the witness. I think it is uncalled for in this sort of
2 institution when we're here to find the truth.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, the witness said
4 that he wasn't there on the 17th of May and he wasn't even in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I don't know where he was, but he wasn't there.
6 Therefore, it would appear from his answer that he cannot contribute
7 anything regarding this document, but you are still focusing on the
8 document, and this provoked the objection.
9 MR. STRINGER: Well, I accept, clearly, the witness's answer on
10 that, Mr. President, and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I guess the
11 follow-up question was going to be this, and if I can put it to him:
12 Q. At any later time after you arrived, did you become aware of any
13 role that ODPR played in respect of the civilians referred to here who
14 were relocated from Mostar to the Military Gymnasium and the Heliodrom?
15 At any later time, did you learn about any role of ODPR in that?
16 A. I've already said, and I will now be absolutely clear, regarding
17 the events in which I did not directly participate and where I'm not
18 present, I will refrain from answering these questions. I wasn't
19 answering the question a moment ago. I just said where I was. And I
20 answered a part of the minutes without giving any comments or providing
21 an answer.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry if I intervene. Witness, I think that
23 there's perhaps some sort of misconception. The question was: Did you,
24 at a later time, find out about what is alleged here? And this can be
25 answered by "yes" or "no," because at a later time you were in Mostar, of
1 course, and you had an important function there. So either later on you
2 were made aware of this or you were not, and I do not think that there is
3 anything improper in the question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say that I was aware of the
5 difficult humanitarian situation provoked by the events in Mostar. I
6 spoke about that yesterday, and I told the Prosecutor when I became aware
7 of that. This was at a meeting of the HVO, and there are minutes of that
8 meeting, when I arrived in the area, and through this official method I
9 learnt about it because I attended that meeting. But I didn't
10 characterize the events in the way the Prosecutor has done.
11 MR. STRINGER:
12 Q. Mr. Raguz, I'm going to skip ahead in my outline to go to the
13 document that you've referred to a few times now, which relates to the
14 time that you became aware of the issue of the camps, and I think that
15 that will give us a time-frame that we can work within. And that would
16 be P 03573, which is in the first binder, 3573.
17 You can take a moment to look this over, Mr. Raguz. I'll just
18 tell you it is minutes of the HVO meeting held on the 20th of July, 1993
19 The attendance indicates that you were present at this one, and item
20 number 2 on the agenda is a work group report concerning accommodation
21 conditions of the detainees in Capljina municipality. And I can ask you
22 some more questions about this, but would this be the time that you
23 became aware of the situation, at least in respect of detainees in
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. All right. Do you recall this meeting? Can you tell us, was it
2 held in Mostar, or Siroki Brijeg, or some other place?
3 A. I think it was held, as it says here, in Mostar.
4 Q. Okay. I don't see where it says "Mostar," but I'll take your
5 word for it.
6 A. It says: "Records from the 47th session of the HVO of the HZ-HB
7 held in July 1993 in Mostar." It says that exactly.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: In the original version, it says "Mostar."
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Stringer, the witness
10 is correct. The English version yet again is approximate.
11 MR. STRINGER: I'm going to add this to my list that I'm going to
12 talk to some people about after this cross-examination is completed,
13 I can assure you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Moving down to item 2, what's happening here, Mr. Raguz, and the
15 Trial Chamber has seen this -- this document before and has heard about
16 it from at least one other witness, what's happening here is you have
17 some people, Mr. Buntic, Mr. Tadic, Darinko Tadic, and Mr. Pusic
18 delivering a report on the situation concerning detainees, prisoners of
19 war and isolated individuals in Capljina, and this work group -- excuse
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. To
22 avoid confusion, Mr. Pusic wasn't at this session of the government.
23 MR. STRINGER: I think for our purposes today, it's not a
24 significant point, Mr. President. I can skip over that.
25 Q. In any event, Mr. Raguz, a report was delivered about a mission
1 or a fact-finding trip made down to Capljina, and the situation
2 concerning prisoners of war and isolated individuals, and then it was
3 proposed that some of those people be moved to other municipalities. And
4 do you recall at this meeting, sir, what you learned about the conditions
5 in the detention facility or facilities, the conditions of the detainees
6 in Capljina? What do you recall about that?
7 A. Well, I'm looking at these conclusions now, and I can remember
8 those conclusions. We can go through them together. We can go through
9 all of them together. There's nothing else for me to remember. Those
10 are the conclusions from the session.
11 Q. Do you remember what was said or reported about the conditions
12 that led to the conclusion that people should be moved?
13 A. I assume that the situation in which they were there was complex.
14 That's why we have these conclusions from the HVO.
15 Q. All right. So they were going to move prisoners because it was a
16 complex situation; is that your testimony?
17 A. Well, look, here it says: "See what the accommodation
18 possibilities are in the municipalities referred to for a certain number
19 of detainees from Capljina so that we can create the conditions in
20 Capljina for accommodation in accordance with international convention
22 So the HVO session analysed the situation, and this shows that
23 they acted responsibly and tried to find accommodation in accordance with
24 the criteria established in international conventions. This is why one
25 wanted to see the situation in municipalities Siroki Brijeg, Grude,
1 Posusje, Ljubuski, and the possibility of moving these individuals.
2 Q. So you don't recall specifically what was said about the
3 conditions at the time; you just remember that it was decided to move
4 people in order to improve the conditions?
5 A. I think these conclusions are clear enough and show what took
6 place at that session.
7 Q. Now, you were tasked to consider the possibility of moving some
8 of these people from Capljina into the Ljubuski municipality. That's
9 shown on conclusion number 3. Can you tell us briefly, sir, what, if
10 anything, you did to explore that possibility?
11 A. I think I did act, and the task I was assigned was also linked to
12 the tasks under 2 and 4, because all these tasks had to do with the
13 Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees. Under item 2, open a transit
14 centre in Ljubuski in cooperation with the UNHCR, and under 4, the office
15 should have more staff and should cooperate with the HQ and take all
16 measures to ensure that all expelled persons can be received.
17 Q. All right. So you anticipated my next question, which was this:
18 Then the issue of the transit centre is linked to the issue of where to
19 place some number of these detainees; correct?
20 A. No, no.
21 Q. Okay. So the --
22 A. The transit centre is related to individuals who want to leave
23 areas that are threatened by war. This could have to do with all areas.
24 That was for the case, and such a centre was later opened in October with
25 the assistance of international organisations. It was opened as a
1 reception centre.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues]... envisioned that prisoners
3 could be moved to a transit centre in Ljubuski, where then they would
4 leave from Bosnia-Herzegovina and move on to third countries? So I'm
5 talking about prisoners now, as opposed to people who were not in
7 A. No, this hadn't been planned. I didn't have such information or
8 such a task.
9 Q. Okay. So when you think of a transit centre to facilitate
10 movement to third countries, you're thinking about people who were not in
11 detention, people who just were living at home or were refugees and who
12 wanted to leave?
13 A. Refugees, displaced persons who came from areas affected by the
14 war. That's what it says, and that's how it was.
15 Q. Now, at this period of time, which is the third week of July
16 1993, you were at an HVO meeting, you're being informed about the
17 situation concerning prisoners in Capljina. Did you become aware that
18 there was a broader event taking place, that many hundreds or thousands
19 of Muslim men had been arrested and were placed in detention facilities
20 in different places?
21 A. As I have said, I had a general understanding of the entire
22 situation, the humanitarian elements and other elements. One of the
23 elements included or concerned the situation that those detainees were
25 Q. Because we know, and the Trial Chamber knows, that at the end of
1 June there was an offensive launched by the Armija of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 They captured a barracks in the northern part of Mostar, and that led to
3 an escalation of the conflict throughout Western Herzegovina. Are you
4 aware of that in terms of the background of what was happening at the
6 A. I know that over 20 HVO soldiers were killed in the barracks in
7 Mostar, and as a result a conflict broke out in Mostar. That was well
8 known to the public. I wasn't there at the time, but I should listen to
9 witnesses who were there and who could say something more relevant about
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes. The witness indicated that they were killed
13 in the barracks during their sleep. That wasn't translated perhaps
14 because the gentleman may be speaking rather fast, but perhaps he can
15 verify whether in fact he said that, because there is a difference, I
16 mean -- and I think this is something that Ms. Alaburic has continually
17 stressed, that this was an act of treachery.
18 MR. STRINGER:
19 Q. Do you want to say your answer again, Mr. Raguz, so that we can
20 get a correct translation?
21 A. I know that the conflict in Mostar started after HVO soldiers had
22 been killed in the barracks in Mostar. As far as I know, that was the
23 case. That happened at night, while they were sleeping.
24 Q. And that event, then, led to a decision or a policy --
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. I was having a
1 look at the English translation. It doesn't correspond to what I believe
2 I understood in French and to what the witness said. The 20 soldiers
3 were killed in their sleep. It says "at night," but at night there can
4 be combat. And soldiers killed at night, well, it's not the same thing
5 as being killed while sleeping, so it's necessary to be more precise.
6 Witness, as far as you know, these 20 soldiers, they were killed
7 while asleep or at night?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, while they were
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, now it's clear.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: How do you know this? What are your sources of
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Direct reports, other sources,
14 reports that appeared at the time in the local and international media.
15 As I have already said, I wasn't in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time.
16 I said that this is my information and that there are witnesses who can
17 testify about this. That's why I persisted in avoiding to describe these
18 events or give them a qualification of some kind.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.
20 MR. STRINGER:
21 Q. Mr. Raguz, in any event, that event then led to a situation in
22 which hundreds or thousands of Muslim men of military age were rounded up
23 and were placed in detention facilities throughout Western Herzegovina;
24 is that true, or do you know?
25 A. I think I've said this a number of times. I said when I came to
1 know about this and how. There's nothing I can add.
2 Q. So what you know, then, is indicated in the minutes of this HVO
3 meeting that we're looking at that occurred on the 20th of July?
4 A. It relates to the entire humanitarian situation and to the aspect
5 that you are referring to, the part of the humanitarian situation you are
6 referring to. I've already commented on that.
7 Q. Well, let me respectfully disagree. I've still got some
8 questions on this point. I know that you think that you've answered them
10 Well, let me just move to the next document. I think it will
11 make our work easier. Mr. President, it's a confidential document. If
12 we could please go into private session. It's P 0 --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
14 [Private session]
11 Pages 31530-31538 redacted. Private session.
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
8 MR. STRINGER:
9 Q. Okay. The next exhibit, Mr. Raguz, is P 03560, binder number 1.
10 3560. Mr. Raguz, this is minutes of the 46th session of the HVO, held on
11 the 19th of July, 1993, in Mostar. You're not present. Mr. Tadic is
12 present, however. And, sir, this is actually just one day prior to the
13 HVO meeting that you did attend that we talked about earlier. And just
14 one or two brief questions about this document.
15 What you can see, as you scan through this, Mr. Raguz, is this is
16 the meeting in which they arrive at the conclusion that they will send
17 that working group down to Capljina, who will look at the situation on
18 the prisoners and then report back. I know that you weren't present and
19 you were not aware in that working group. I'd like to direct your
20 attention, however, to item number 4 in the conclusions, which is on
21 page 5 of the English version, and what this conclusion says is that:
22 "The Staff for Organising and Coordinating the Care of Expelled Persons
23 and Refugees, in cooperation with the Office for Expelled Persons and
24 Refugees and the Defence Department, must secure conditions for civilians
25 leaving for third countries of their own free will to go unhindered."
1 Again, this being the 19th of July, Mr. Raguz, did you become
2 aware of or involved in work within the Office of Displaced Persons and
3 Refugees related to securing the conditions for civilians to leave and go
4 to third
5 or, again, is this something that was secondary to the other issue, which
6 was for you the humanitarian aid convoys?
7 A. I think it really was secondary. According to this decision, the
8 people leaving of their own free will, the people who expressed such a
9 wish to go to third countries, and we know that there were such cases and
10 that there was a procedure established by the office of the government of
12 a letter of guarantee from the third country. And there were people that
13 people really did wish to leave, to reunite to families or for other
14 reasons, so there were such cases. And this can be interpreted as
15 assistance to these people, and this mostly applied to refugees or
16 displaced persons or who had family members in exile and who wanted to
18 Q. Well, I'm going to digress for a minute. Let's talk about
19 Stolac, which in the papers we saw yesterday there was a rather dramatic
20 reduction, according to ODPR statistics, in the number of Muslim
21 residents in Stolac by October of 1993. Isn't it true, sir, that many
22 hundreds or a very large number, in fact, were not leaving voluntarily,
23 or if they were leaving voluntarily, it's because they wanted to leave
24 because they were being terrorized and persecuted and otherwise evicted
25 from the homes that they'd been living in?
1 A. I think that it is absolutely clear from all these events that
2 due to the suffering of war that we spoke about, people had to leave
3 their homes, and this didn't apply only to Stolac. We see that two and a
4 half million people moved. They didn't leave their homes because they
5 were doing well, but because there was a terrible war and a large-scale
6 exodus. And my entire testimony, in view of the fact that in various
7 time periods from Sarajevo
8 remind you that the next day after Srebrenica, I was in Tuzla to receive
9 those refugees, and I have to tell you --
10 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Srebrenica today, at least
11 not during my cross-examination, because it's not a part of this case.
12 It may be important to you as part of your personal experience, but I
13 want to bring you back to Stolac, which is the place you grew up, a place
14 in which some 40 per cent of the population was Muslim, and which was no
15 longer in Stolac, according to the figures of your office, by October of
17 Isn't it true, sir, that it was -- you talk about the war, but in
18 fact it was the HVO military and -- well, it was the HVO that forced the
19 Muslims, some 1.800 of them, out of Stolac, burned their homes, and
20 destroyed the mosques that they left behind during July and August of
21 1993? Don't you know about that? If you don't know, tell us.
22 A. I didn't say that I didn't know anything about it, but for two
23 days now you have been linking me to Stolac, and I didn't live there
24 since 1975. So that's 33 years ago. And yesterday, answering those
25 questions, I told you that I also had the status of a refugee and
1 expelled person, and together with my family I changed addresses 14
2 times. It's not fair. You can't take me back to the same point that
3 I've already discussed every day, as if I didn't have any feelings for
4 the problem of refugees. I had the greatest possible feelings for them,
5 the greatest possible feeling to help all people without any
6 discrimination, and I want to say that quite clearly, and you have
7 testimony to confirm this. And all the people I worked with in the
8 office, we were a service for assistance. I'm sorry.
9 Q. Tell me this, then: The policy of ODPR, as you understood it to
10 be, a Muslim family from Stolac that's evicted from their home, if they
11 come to ODPR wanting to have a transit visa so they can go through
13 a voluntary request?
14 A. As far as I know, these were mostly voluntary requests, as far as
15 I know.
16 Q. That's not quite answering my question. What are the criteria in
17 which your office used to determine what was voluntary? If someone's
18 ethnically cleansed, forcibly evicted from their home, and they want to
19 leave to go to Sweden
20 transit visa processing, is that a voluntary request to leave?
21 A. You see, we had a form, and every person would sign this request
22 form. And this departure was possible, I repeat - I've already said
23 this - only with a letter of guarantee from the country that the person
24 was going to, because that was the procedure, and the people had to go
25 via Croatia
1 of Croatia
2 either by the social welfare centres or by Red Cross bodies in the
3 municipalities, and then we did forward those requests to the office in
5 Q. Okay. Well, what about a Muslim prisoner in a camp? If a
6 prisoner gets the necessary paperwork, gets a transit visa from ODPR, and
7 moves out of Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to get out of the detention
8 camp, is that also a voluntary departure, in your view?
9 A. I believe that people wanted to leave to better and safer places
10 at that point in time.
11 Q. Better and safer than, for example, the detention camp at
13 A. Probably, yes. You asked me generally speaking, and I gave you a
14 generalised answer.
15 Q. The next exhibit is 1D 01672, which will be in binder 2.
16 Mr. Raguz, this is -- actually, while the usher is there, perhaps I could
17 ask the usher to pull the next exhibit out of binder 1, because they're
18 both sort of together. P 03092, we can have that one handy, because we
19 may need to refer to it.
20 Now, Mr. Raguz, this document is minutes of the HVO meeting held
21 on the 22nd of July, 1993
22 you attended on the 20th of July, in which you learned about the Capljina
23 prisoners. And I want to direct you to the paragraph that starts after
24 conclusion number 4. It's the top of page 2 of the English. And what
25 this says is that: "In connection with the decision on the Kakanj
1 municipality HVO to evacuate the Croatian population from its area to the
2 territory of HZ-HB, and the letter of the Konjic municipality HVO," and
3 this is the part I'm interested in here, "the staff on the organisation
4 and coordination of work in accommodating and caring for expelled persons
5 and refugees met and set out specific tasks which were presented by
6 Mr. K."
7 You may be able to make out the name there in the original
8 language version. Then it makes reference to the decision to agree to
9 evacuate and accommodate 6.000 to 7.000 Croats from Kakanj and about a
10 thousand from Konjic.
11 And then it says: "Pursuant to a decision of the Staff,
12 according to which the municipal representatives of the Office for
13 Expelled Persons and Refugees must submit information on the possibility
14 of accommodating newly-expelled persons, including accommodation in empty
15 and abandoned flats and houses in keeping with the regular procedure, the
16 recommendation to municipal HVO presidents was to assist representatives
17 in the Office -- representatives of the Office in gathering precise
18 information about accommodation facilities and actively participate in
19 organising accommodation and caring for newly-expelled persons."
20 Now, my first question, Mr. Raguz: There's a reference here to
21 something that's called, in English, anyway, "the staff on the
22 organisation and coordination of work." And then it refers, skipping
23 down a paragraph, to a decision of the staff. And if we could just set
24 that aside, and I want you to look at the next document, which might be
25 the staff that's being referred to here, which is P 03092.
1 So I could be wrong on this, but I'm hoping you can clear it up.
2 This is a decision. It's signed by Dr. Prlic on the 21st of June, 1993
3 It's a decision on establishing the headquarters for organising and work
4 coordination on caring for displaced persons and refugees, and it's
5 established that -- that headquarters is established by this decision, as
6 indicated in Article 1; Article 2 sets out the tasks or responsibilities
7 of this headquarters; and then Article 3 identifies the people who are
8 appointed to the headquarters, and you are one of those, together with
9 Mr. Zubak, Mr. Tadic and others.
10 So my question here, Mr. Raguz, is: This headquarters for
11 organising and work coordination on caring for displaced persons and
12 refugees, that is P 03092, is this the headquarters or the body that is
13 referred to in the minutes here?
14 A. I think so, yes.
15 Q. Okay. So on the 21st of June, you were appointed to this body,
16 and I guess the first question would be if you could tell the Trial
17 Chamber, please, how this headquarters related to the ODPR proper. What
18 was the relationship between the two? It seems to me that there's quite
19 a bit of overlap, but perhaps you could clarify that for us.
20 A. Because of the situation which had indeed escalated, the Croatian
21 Defence Council took this decision to set up these headquarters so as to
22 give guidance to the overall question of aid and to coordinate the work
23 of several institutions. So that is why the headquarters was set up, to
24 coordinate the work of all those who could provide assistance, and they
25 were appointed to this body.
1 And in Article 2 of the decision on the establishment of the
2 headquarters, I have to read it because it's very important, it directs
3 and coordinates - these are the tasks of the headquarters - the work of
4 bodies, organs, and services of the Croatian Defence Council, of the
5 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and municipality Croatian Defence
6 Councils which -- whose task is to care for displaced persons and
7 refugees, to coordinate activities in providing humanitarian aid to the
8 population, and to coordinate activities with the UNHCR, et cetera.
9 Q. And so the situation now is this, and you'll correct me if I'm
10 wrong: On the 22nd of July, 1993, in these HVO minutes, we have a
11 situation in which the HVO has a large number of Muslim people in
12 detention. You know about those people a little bit from having attended
13 the HVO meeting on the 20th of July. Indications in one of the documents
14 that we saw are that the HVO has too many Muslim prisoners on its hands
15 to be able to care for properly on its own.
16 At the same time now, we see that there are large numbers of
17 Croats who are inbound, who are coming in from these areas, Kakanj,
18 Konjic, et cetera, and it seems to me, sir, that this was a situation
19 that would have placed tremendous pressure on the HVO authorities, and on
20 the ODPR in particular, in terms of what to do with all these people,
21 Muslim and Croat. Is that a correct picture that I'm painting here of
22 the situation as of 22 July 1993
23 A. This situation, as I have said repeatedly, was extremely
24 difficult and complicated throughout the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
25 including the area under the control of the HVO. And you saw that the
1 HVO reviewed the overall situation at its regular meetings. We discussed
2 that a moment ago. And that body was above this headquarters.
3 MR. STRINGER: My last question, Mr. President, on this, and then
4 perhaps we could -- is it time to -- it's time to take the break?
5 Q. In this third paragraph on page 2 of the minutes, this is the
6 minutes now, Mr. Raguz, not the -- this is 1D 01672. This is the other
7 document. This part here in which it indicates that this headquarters,
8 this body that you had been appointed to now, had made a decision and
9 that municipal representatives of the ODPR would submit information on
10 the possibility of accommodating newly-expelled persons, including
11 accommodation in empty and abandoned flats and houses. Is it true, sir,
12 that what we're seen here for the first time, at least in the documents
13 that I've got, the HVO starts looking at putting displaced persons and
14 refugees into abandoned flats and houses as opposed to collection
16 A. That is just one possibility, because it says here the
17 possibilities of receiving newly-expelled persons, including
18 accommodation, according to the prescribed procedure, and these people
19 were accommodated in several municipalities in collective centres, almost
20 half of them in collective centres in Croatia, these people that are
21 referred to here. This was one of the major humanitarian operations with
22 very serious consequences, where several thousand people were taken cared
23 for, and not only in abandoned apartments, but in collective centres in
24 several municipalities in Croatia
25 all other refugees. There was no distinction.
1 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I can take the break at this point,
2 if that's okay.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have no further questions
4 on this issue? According to our calculations, you have about 45 minutes
5 left, so please do your best to finish with the cross-examination after
6 the break.
7 We're going to have a 20-minute break now.
8 --- Recess taken at 10.36 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
11 Mr. Stringer.
12 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Mr. Raguz, the next exhibit is P 04863. It's in binder number 1.
14 And, Mr. Raguz, this is a report of the European Committee Monitoring
16 You would not have seen it at the time.
17 I want to direct your attention to -- excuse me, Mr. President.
18 I apologise. It's an ECMM document. I think we can talk about it
19 publicly. It just can't be shown on the monitors outside.
20 Mr. Raguz, I want to direct your attention to the second
21 paragraph of item number 2. There's a reference here to a meeting with a
22 Mr. Stjepan Krasic, who is the mayor of Citluk, and he's talking about
23 the situation in Citluk. Do you know that gentleman? Did you know him
24 at the time?
25 A. I know him, but at the time I'd only just arrived. But I do know
1 the man.
2 Q. And he's stating, according to this report, that in the last two
3 months the economy in his city is going down due to the total
4 mobilisation, refugee problem, and is preoccupying in the perspective of
5 winter, and then this report states as follows:
6 "Interesting is that the mayor admitted that the expel of Muslim
7 refugees out of the area of Citluk, Capljina, and Ljubuski to the areas
8 controlled by the BH army, which have taken place these last days, is due
9 to the need of room for more Croat refugees still coming in. So is that
10 a correct description of what was really happening down in these parts of
11 Western Herzegovina during these months, July, August, and September of
12 1993; Muslims were being moved out of their homes in order to make room
13 for Croats coming in from parts of Central Bosnia and elsewhere?
14 A. We have discussed this matter on a number of occasions already,
15 and all I can say is that moving out refugees and displaced persons was
16 directly linked to the entire area that had been affected by the war, and
17 I can't confirm your assessment that was for these reasons.
18 Q. When you spoke to representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor
19 back in April of 2005, you made a reference to the reports that were
20 being written during the conflict by Mr. Mazowiecki? Do you remember
21 Mr. Mazowiecki, he was a UN --
22 A. I remember him.
23 Q. And in your meeting or your interview with the Office of the
24 Prosecutor people, you indicated that at the time you became head of the
25 Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees, which I think was in December
1 of 1993, the beginning of December, you stated:
2 "I was trying to be informed of all the activities that
3 international organisations or internationals in general working at that
4 time. This was kind of my personal hygiene, to be informed about the
5 activities that were going on at that time, and I know the reports of
6 Mr. Mazowiecki were those that pushed all the sides in Bosnia and
8 situation and application of the humanitarian affairs. And certainly we
9 did act according to them. He played an important and significant role
10 in those activities."
11 Do you remember saying that? Is that the -- I guess the use and
12 the significance of those Mazowiecki reports to you at the time he became
13 the head of the ODPR?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Could we get a page reference to where --
15 MR. STRINGER: I apologise. Yes. This is the 7 April, 2005, and
16 it's at page 48, line 13.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Stringer, in respect for the person, it's
19 MR. STRINGER: I apologise, Your Honour; although, maybe I should
20 just say special rapporteur, because I'm still not clear that I can say
21 it as correctly as you just did.
22 Q. You indicated that at the time you became head of ODPR, you -- it
23 was your practice to review these reports of the special rapporteur and
24 that they, in fact, did have an impact on all the sides to improve the
25 situation. I want to ask you to look at those now, or one of them,
1 anyway, which is P 06697, which is in binder number 1. P 06697. With
2 the usher's assistance, perhaps you can find it.
3 Mr. Raguz, I'd like to direct you to paragraph 50 of this report,
4 which is at the bottom of page 9 of the English version, but if you'll go
5 to paragraph 50. Do you have that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Because paragraph 50 is just above the section that begins --
8 that I want to ask you some questions about, mass deportations and
9 violations of human rights by means of administrative measures in Western
11 1993, so it's made about ten days before the time you become deputy --
12 sorry, before the time you become the head of the ODPR. And I know it's
13 been a long time, Mr. Raguz. Are you able to tell us whether this is one
14 of the reports that you were referring to when you made your statement to
15 the OTP investigators?
16 A. I did give the statement that you quoted, and what I had in mind
17 was the general role Mr. Mazowiecki played and the statements or, rather,
18 reports he drafted. I can say that I became the head of the office on
19 the 1st of December. You linked this question to July, which is when I
20 just arrived. It concerns the Citluk municipality. It was in July that
21 I arrived, so we're dealing with a period when I was the head, and that's
22 how your question was phrased. It was on the 1st of December, 1993
23 you will see that at the time I had daily contact with all relevant
24 international organisations with regard to the situation throughout the
25 territory. There are reports of this, to this effect, and after a month
1 or two, together with Bosniak Muslim representatives, I worked in order
2 to find solutions to these problems and to the violations of
3 international humanitarian law and so on and so forth.
4 Q. I understand that is your evidence, Mr. Raguz. I just want to
5 direct you to some specific parts of this to ask you whether you were
6 aware that these were the things that the special rapporteur was
7 reporting right at about the time you became the head of ODPR. If you
8 could turn to paragraph 53. Here he writes about the eviction of Muslim
9 residents in Mostar began in June of 1993, and he continues on talking
10 about what was happening in Mostar. And the part of this paragraph that
11 I wanted to ask you about specifically is the last sentence, which reads:
12 "They were told that they were being evicted to make room for
13 Croats coming from Travnik. Forced evictions and transfers of the Muslim
14 population in Mostar were still being reported in October 1993."
15 So the question is: When you became the head of ODPR and began
16 reading Mr. Mazowiecki's reports, is this something that you became aware
17 of, his statement that, in fact, Muslims were being evicted from Mostar
18 and being told that, in fact, this was to make room for Croats coming
19 from Travnik?
20 A. I have already said when and how I came to know about the overall
21 situation and how difficult it was. I went into detail about this. But
22 it is a fact that refugees and expelled persons from Mostar were never
23 received in Mostar in an organized way. They were already in the
24 Republic of Croatia
25 correct to say that this was prepared in Mostar. These people from
1 Travnik, well, it was illogic [as interpreted], so there were over 20.000
2 Croats who lived there, and the majority of them went to Croatia or to
3 other countries. That was a lot earlier than this time period that is
4 being referred to here. So I cannot deny that I am familiar with the
5 fact that civilians suffered, were killed. We are familiar with how
6 difficult the humanitarian catastrophe was, and we did what was possible,
7 given the circumstances.
8 Q. I'm asking you something that's a bit more specific, which is
9 this, because I think by now we've seen it from a variety of different
10 sources: Isn't it true that there was a policy to move Muslims out in
11 order to bring and make room for Croats coming in; that Muslims were
12 targeted, in part, in order to make room for Croats who would be arriving
13 within your area of responsibility from Central Bosnia?
14 A. I reject that, if it's being referred to as a policy. This is
15 what I said yesterday, and I'll keep repeating that moving people
16 around -- the suffering of people, which was obvious on all sides. Well,
17 the suffering of Bosniaks and Muslims which you are referring to in this
18 case, is beyond dispute. And in Mostar, since this is what we are
19 talking about, we can see that at the time a significant number of
20 refugees didn't arrive from Travnik or other places, as is claimed here.
21 And there are indicators that we discussed yesterday that show that this
22 is a fact.
23 There are indicators that show that in Mostar, apart from moving
24 from the right to the left bank, over 25.000 Muslims, a huge number, were
25 expelled by the Bosnia
1 Serbs, and they were placed in Mostar. So these were huge numbers who
2 were moved, and the suffering was enormous.
3 Q. I want to change topics a little bit now and ask you to look at a
4 different document, which is in binder number 1, P 04283. This relates
5 to the movement of Muslims from the Ljubuski municipality. Mr. Raguz,
6 this is a report of the 4th brigade of the military police of Ljubuski,
7 dated 18th of August, 1993, and it relates to a practice I want to ask
8 you about. If you know about it, tell us about it. If you don't know
9 about it, you can tell us that as well, saying here that: "On the 17th
10 of August, the brigade military police worked with prisoners of Muslim
11 nationality who were in the military prison in Ljubuski and military
12 prison, West Mostar. All prisoners who produce the guarantee letters,
13 certificates issued by SIS, and criminal department proving they have no
14 criminal record are released as well as those who had the certificate
15 issued by the Defence Department. During the day, 24 prisoners who had
16 such documents were released, and they move out within 24 hours with
17 their family."
18 Now, if you could just look at one other one, which is P 04404,
19 and then I'll ask you a question. This one is dated three days later on
20 the 21st of August, 1993. P 04404. And this is a confirmation made by
21 the 4th Brigade Military Police regarding a person who was a prisoner at
22 the Heliodrom, and it says:
23 "Based on the order of the chief of military police, Valentin
24 Coric, all those having such affidavits should be released. The detainee
25 mentioned above is to be handed over to the brigade police Ljubuski
1 because that is where his family is, and his family has been ordered out
2 of Herzegovina
3 Now, my question, Mr. Raguz, is this: The families, the Muslim
4 families here who are leaving Ljubuski, as indicated in these documents,
5 the movement of those people, is that something that was -- that ODPR was
6 aware of or that it was otherwise responsible for? Did these people fall
7 within your competence, I guess is my question.
8 A. If we are discussing these documents, we were not involved in
9 this. These are reports.
10 Q. Were you aware of --
11 A. [No interpretation]
12 Q. Were you aware of a practice where prisoners, as indicated here,
13 could be released if they had possessed the necessary paperwork and
14 letters of guarantee, on the condition that they would leave Western
16 A. We knew that some people left in that way.
17 Q. Do you approve of that practice, sir, as the person who became
18 the head of the Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees?
19 A. At the time, I wasn't the head of the ODPR.
20 Q. As the deputy head of ODPR at that time, do you approve of that
22 A. We didn't deal with these issues in this manner, as I have said.
23 I cannot now say anything else. These are specific cases. I have told
24 you what the purpose was of the transit visas, and if they were to help
25 individuals and their families, and I believe that the majority of the
1 cases were such, Mr. Prosecutor. And if that is what their purpose was,
2 I can't say I was against this. And, likewise, if this was done on a
3 voluntary basis, at the personal request of the individuals concerned.
4 Q. Take a look at the next exhibit, which is 1D 00928, which is in
5 binder number 2. Mr. Raguz, this is 1D 00928, and this is a report
6 directed to the government of Croatian Republic
7 attention Dr. Jadranko Prlic, dated the 13th of October, 1993, and I
8 don't know if you can make out the signature at the bottom of it. It
9 appears to me to be Mr. Nevenko Herceg's signature, but are you able to
10 recognise the signature on the back of the document?
11 A. It's not very legible, but it looks like this. It's impossible
12 to be certain.
13 Q. I'd like to direct your attention to the fourth paragraph here,
14 which indicates in this report as follows:
15 "During August, with the maximum engagement of employed
16 commissioners, the transfer of displaced persons was completed from the
17 schools in Citluk, Ljubuski, and Posusje, to the private accommodation,
18 and in the same time," and then there's a word that the translators can't
19 read, "centers the number of accommodated persons decreased
21 And so my first question, sir, is: The reference here to
22 employed commissioners, are those the people who work as the commissioner
23 within the umbrella of the ODPR? These are the municipality
25 A. I think so, but I really can't read this, but I think that's the
1 case. This is illegible, completely illegible.
2 Q. Okay. Well, let me ask you this, then. We can set aside -- the
3 document aside, and I'll just ask you if you remember this or if you know
4 it, if the document -- if you can't read the document. Do you know,
5 Mr. Raguz, whether during this period of time the various authorities
6 dealing with displaced persons and refugees began actually moving those
7 persons out of collective centres, such as schools, and into private
8 accommodation, as is indicated here?
9 A. I think there were such cases, yes.
10 Q. Do you know whether the private accommodation that those people
11 moved into were, in fact, the homes that were empty because Muslims had
12 vacated Western Herzegovina, such as the Muslim families we saw a minute
13 ago in Ljubuski municipality?
14 A. Probably there were such homes, but I said this morning that it
15 was part of the duty of the headquarters to relocate people from schools
16 and other places that were overcrowded, that they had to respect the
17 procedure, and it was up to the municipality bodies. Of course, this was
18 done on a temporary basis, and you see here that from collective centres,
19 Croats were moved as well, not just to private accommodation but further
20 on to third countries. This was a period of vast numbers of incoming
21 refugees for which it was simply impossible to provide accommodation.
22 Q. And when you talk about the vast number of refugees, what you're
23 talking about, sir, is Croat refugees, because really that's the only
24 group that by this point was of concern to the ODPR; isn't that true?
25 A. It is not true that that was the only concern of the office.
1 Q. If you could look at P 03089, please, which is in the very front
2 of the first binder, I'm told. P 03089.
3 And while that's being found, Mr. Raguz: During your direct
4 testimony, counsel asked you about a different exhibit, 1D 01223, which
5 was -- or which is the decree law on abandoned apartments of the Republic
6 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I want to ask you about, I guess, the
7 analogous provision that existed within the territory of Herceg-Bosna.
8 Do you see that, sir? This is the decree on the use of abandoned
9 apartments. This is an HVO decree. It is signed by the president of the
10 HVO, Dr. Prlic, dated 6th July, 1993
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Were you familiar with this decree at the time you were acting as
13 deputy and then head of the ODPR?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And I'm running out of time, and so I'm going to try to move more
16 quickly. We'll see how it goes.
17 I'd like to direct your attention to Article 3 of this decree,
18 which indicates what is not an abandoned apartment. The first paragraph
19 indicates that:
20 "An apartment which has been abandoned by the holder of tenancy
21 rights with the family members ... due to the use of physical force and
22 the objective of ethnically cleansing the populace from a certain region
23 or achieving other objectives shall not be considered to have been
25 And then the next paragraph says: "An apartment which was
1 destroyed, torched, or whose tenants were in direct danger from wartime
2 activities, threats of murder, physical abuse, and so forth, shall not be
3 considered to have been abandoned."
4 And then the third paragraph states that the holder of tenancy
5 rights or the family member who reside together on a permanent basis have
6 recommenced using the apartment within seven days of the entry into force
7 of this decree, the apartment shall not be considered abandoned.
8 Now, we can go back and look at the decree you looked at during
9 your direct, that's the decree of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I can represent
10 to you that the first two paragraphs of this Article 3 are pretty much
11 the same, as far as I can tell, as between the Herceg-Bosna and the BH
12 law; that is, apartments that are abandoned because the people were
13 ethnically -- were -- had to leave due to the use of physical force, or
14 if their house was burned, essentially homes that had been abandoned
15 because of ethnic cleansing, if you will, is how I read it, those don't
16 become abandoned for purposes of the law. Is that a correct
17 understanding of the law that was on the books in Herceg-Bosna?
18 A. I think it is. I think it is, as far as I'm able to follow.
19 Q. Well, were you familiar with this particular provision at the
20 time you were associated with the ODPR?
21 A. I think I was, yes.
22 Q. My question is this: People like those Muslim families in
23 Ljubuski, who were detainees and they got the letters of guarantee, and
24 they were able to get out of the camp and leave Ljubuski within 24 hours,
25 would those homes qualify to be as abandoned homes or not abandoned under
1 this provision, in your view?
2 A. There's reference here to physical force and ethnic cleansing,
3 Article 3. So if there was physical force, then that apartment could not
4 be declared abandoned.
5 Q. Okay. So --
6 A. But in answer to your previous question regarding these
7 procedures, both the headquarters and the office, you saw the decisions,
8 instructed the municipalities to apply the prescribed procedures in all
9 the decisions that they passed.
10 Q. Okay. So, in other words, someone who gets a transit visa or
11 gets a letter of guarantee and is released from a camp to go home, can
12 pack up and leave, that does not -- that departure does not involve
13 physical force, and so therefore that home does not fall within the terms
14 of Article 3?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object to the form of the question.
16 I think there -- I mean, is this a hypothetical or is he trying to
17 restate the gentleman's answer? If it is the latter, I think it assumes
18 facts that are not in evidence and it certainly mischaracterizes the
19 gentleman's testimony. If it is a hypothetical, I would suggest put it
20 in the form of a hypothetical question. But I think there are a lot of
21 facts in this, and I think that we need to go and proceed with caution.
22 I understand a yes-or-no answer would be preferable because it suits the
23 Prosecution for their closing argument, but I think this -- these are
24 very complex matters, and I think the gentleman should be given an
25 opportunity to go step by step.
1 MR. STRINGER: I can ask it as a hypothetical, Mr. President, and
2 put it to the witness that way.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I understood that it was
4 a hypothetical. Everyone understood that it was on a hypothetical basis,
5 and the witness should answer in that way.
6 MR. STRINGER:
7 Q. Would you like me to ask the question again, Mr. Raguz, or do you
8 want to proceed?
9 A. Will you please do that, ask me the question again?
10 Q. Let's say that there's a Muslim family in Ljubuski, and they're
11 not displaced persons or refugees, they just live in Ljubuski. And
12 there's the father of the family is in a detention camp, an HVO camp at
13 Dretelj, and he and his family are able to acquire a letter of guarantee
14 that says they have a place to go live in a third country, for example,
16 have a criminal record and is otherwise qualified to be released on the
17 condition that he and his family leave their home in Ljubuski.
18 And so let's say that this man is released from the camp in
19 Dretelj on the basis of that paperwork. He goes to Ljubuski. He
20 collects his family, and they leave Ljubuski and they leave their home,
21 and they go perhaps pass through Croatia
22 question is this, whether in that situation, the house that they left
23 behind, is it abandoned or not abandoned, as those terms are found in
24 this decree?
25 A. Article 3 preconditions this with physical force or ethnic
1 cleansing, physical force with the aim of ethnic cleansing. That is what
2 Article 3 says. And if there was such physical force, it cannot be
3 considered an abandoned apartment, according to the provisions of this
4 article. That is my interpretation, and I can't say anything else.
5 Anything else would be an interpretation of something that is not written
6 in the law. I never denied that there were individual cases.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the question of the
8 Prosecutor is hypothetical, but there is a legal aspect.
9 This family from Ljubuski that is going to leave under the
10 conditions indicated by the Prosecutor, if the apartment is a social
11 property, because they had an apartment given by the municipality for
12 social reasons, he is leaving that apartment, and then does the
13 municipality have the right to give this apartment to someone else and
14 another legal category if the apartment was their own private property?
15 So could you make a distinction between these two situations, someone who
16 is occupying an apartment given by the municipality leaves, does the
17 municipality then have the right to give that socially-owned apartment to
18 someone else, including possibly a Croatian refugee or, if it is private
19 property, then can the municipality take that apartment away? Could you
20 answer or not as to these two different possibilities?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were several questions,
22 Mr. President, there, and certainly if the apartment is socially owned,
23 then the municipality did have the right, pursuant to these rules, to
24 give it to someone else and to determine which apartments are considered
25 abandoned. And that was the practice in all the municipalities in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it was up to the municipal bodies to assess the
2 duration of time within which abandoned apartments can be allotted to
3 others. And we have seen specific cases in the course of this trial, the
4 way in which individual municipalities reacted when it came to the
5 distribution of abandoned apartments. We saw some decisions about the
6 eviction of illegally -- flats that were illegally moved into. There was
7 quite a number of those, too. Some municipalities rescinded the status
8 of refugees and displaced persons so that temporarily-occupied apartments
9 could be restored to earlier owners, previous owners. And this article
10 talks of apartments, so that my answer can only be linked to apartments.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Just one point of clarification, Mr. President. I
12 assume when you said "give the apartment," what you meant was have the
13 apartment allocated for temporary usage, because that's what's in the
14 law. It's not giving away, as if they have -- you know, they're giving
15 away the property rights.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. To make the transcript
17 more precise, to give someone, one can give them the temporary use. It's
18 not a donation of such an apartment.
19 Mr. Stringer, you need to conclude soon.
20 MR. STRINGER: And I will do that. I'm going to do that,
21 Mr. President. I'm almost there. I think I may have got just three or
22 for more documents, at most.
23 Q. The next exhibit, Mr. Raguz, is P 05626, binder 1. 5626. Sir,
24 this is a document dated the 4th of October, 1993. It is on the
25 letterhead of the HVO Mostar Municipality Office for Refugees and
1 Displaced Persons, Mostar Commission. And going to the end of it, it's
2 signed by someone by the name of Biljana Nikic.
3 Do you know, Mr. Raguz, was Ms. Nikic the ODPR commissioner
4 appointed by the Mostar municipality to work on these issues of refugees
5 and displaced persons?
6 A. I think she was.
7 Q. Do you know her or did you know her at the time?
8 A. At the time, no, but later when I took over the office. I may
9 have known her even then, but I did meet her.
10 Q. And this is a document she's addressing to various bodies, such
11 as the Criminal Military Police Department, Mostar Centre, the SIS
12 centre, Internal Affairs Department, Mostar Municipality HVO, and the
13 Exchange Department. Do you know what the Exchange Department is that's
14 referred to there? Is that the Office for Exchange of Persons?
15 A. It just says "the Department for Exchange." I really can't say,
16 because it doesn't say anything else.
17 Q. All right. What's happening here is Ms. Nikic is requesting that
18 these bodies check up on the political, material, and criminal
19 responsibility of five persons whose names appear on the document, and
20 this is with the purpose of issuing transit visas for the Republic of
22 level of the commissioners, the ODPR commissioners were doing this; that
23 is, they were processing issuance of transit visas, and in part to do
24 that, they were communicating with other HVO bodies to check up on the
25 suitability of people or the eligibility of people to obtain a transit
2 A. I've already said that they did collect individual requests, that
3 this was done by municipal bodies, and I don't exclude the possibility of
4 them communicating how, when, and to what extent. That was up to them to
5 assess, so this was probably such a situation.
6 Q. Now, there are -- the first three people in this one have the
7 same family name, Dzinovic, if I've said it correctly. They appear to
8 live at the same place, number 38. One of them appears to be a rather
9 old man born in 1935. Number 2 appears to be a woman born in 1950. And
10 then the third one appears to be someone who was at the time 12 years
11 old, Ernest Dzinovic. Assuming these people were civilians, then, was
12 ODPR involved then in processing transit visas for Muslim civilians or
13 any civilians?
14 A. I said that the municipal bodies collected individual requests.
15 Q. Okay. And then number 4 is someone named Ibro Maric, and he's
16 born in 1961. It's got his address there, too. I'm assuming it's in
17 Mostar. Do you know -- because he's a man -- a Muslim man of military
18 age at this point in time, and I'm wondering, do you know did the ODPR
19 commissioners also process transit visas for Muslim prisoners?
20 A. I don't exclude such a possibility. I really don't know. One
21 would need to look into each individual case, and this is a specific case
22 with five persons named. And the request is to check them out, and I
23 don't exclude that this did happen from time to time.
24 Before I came to testify here, I was checked out by all
25 intelligence services. I don't know on whose instructions. The
1 intelligence agency of Bosnia-Herzegovina checked out my background with
2 all the courts in Bosnia-Herzegovina to see whether I have any suspicious
3 records before I came here. So this is for your information, Your
4 Honours. I don't know on whose instructions this was done. And my whole
5 life will pass with such checkings. This is a specific case from which I
6 cannot draw any conclusions about the practice.
7 Q. The next document is P 04794. 4794. And this is just the last
8 couple of questions on the issue of the humanitarian aid convoys, which I
9 know you haven't talked about it as much as you would have liked, I know
10 it was largely the main thing you were responsible for.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: In light of Mr. Raguz's last comment, might it be
12 appropriate for us to determine whether it was the OTP that made such
13 requests, because it's rather odd to hear that witnesses that are
14 appearing for the Defence are having their background checked by secret
15 intelligence agencies related to Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly when
16 our witnesses are politicians or have very responsible positions. It
17 seemed to me to be rather important.
18 MR. STRINGER: We can take -- if we could take this up later.
19 I'm just about at the end of my cross-examination, Mr. President. I'm
20 happy to entertain the issue, but maybe we could just finish.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Continue, please, with
22 the cross-examination.
23 MR. STRINGER:
24 Q. Mr. Raguz, a couple of questions on humanitarian aid and the
25 convoys, because I know that you were very involved in that, and you've
1 showed us the many -- the records of the many convoys that were moving
2 throughout the region and the HVO territory.
3 Would you agree with me, sir, that movement of convoys throughout
4 the HVO-held territories was always going to be dependent upon the
5 cooperation/facilitation of the HVO armed forces? It was dependent upon
6 the HVO armed forces?
7 A. I really don't fully understand your question. Could you
8 rephrase it, please?
9 Q. Well --
10 A. I can explain how the convoys passed, and I have explained that
12 Q. My question is this: In order to physically move from one
13 location to another throughout the HVO-held territory during this
14 conflict, time of conflict, convoys would have to pass through
15 check-points manned by the HVO military personnel, for example, and would
16 have to get approval of the HVO military in order to move around these
17 territories? That's simply the question.
18 A. All I can say, that convoys moved in accordance with established
19 procedures and routes, and of course sometimes this depended on the
20 situation on the ground and the war operations. We saw that from the
21 reports of the UNHCR and UNPROFOR, that what happened frequently, not
22 just at individual check-points but throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 that convoys couldn't pass through because of the fighting and they were
24 turned back. But --
25 Q. I've just got a little bit of time left, and so I need to cut you
2 Looking at this document, and you're talking about the
3 established procedures, this is an order that's issued by Mr. Zarko Tole,
4 dated the 4th of September, 1993, and what he's ordering is that on the
5 following day, the 5th of September, movements of UN, UNHCR, and UNPROFOR
6 at the military police check-points in your area of responsibility,
7 especially toward Vranica, saying: "Stop them, stop all movements, and
8 all movements towards Jablanica is to be prevented. These activities are
9 to be carried out until 1500 hours.
10 And then he continues at point number 2: "It is to be done so as
11 to appear as self-willedness of policemen at the check-points and as if
12 we were doing everything to let them through."
13 Item 3: "After 1500 hours, allow further movements as if nothing
15 Is this a practice that you encountered in your capacity as the
16 deputy and then the head of the ODPR, convoys being held up at
17 check-points for reasons that aren't clear? Perhaps you thought the
18 arrangements had been made, and then all of a sudden things don't
19 actually work out the way you had hoped?
20 A. That was absolutely not the practice. I see this document for
21 the first time. And after three hours on that same day, passage was
22 allowed, we see from this document, the Court was also able to see how
23 much aid and how many convoys passed through within a short period of
24 time and how much aid arrived with the assistance of the Office for
25 Refugees and Displaced Persons. This was the largest quantity that came
1 along ground routes, and we received a great deal of gratitude for this.
2 I'm not saying that occasionally these convoys were not held up, because
3 we know what was going on.
4 Q. The document that you looked at yesterday, I believe, on -- that
5 listed all the convoys was 3D 00921, and we've given you a copy of that.
6 It's in the Defence binder, but we have additional copies to --
7 A. I've got it.
8 Q. This is the -- this is the sheet that has all the listings, and
9 I'm just very briefly, my only real question on this, Mr. Raguz, was --
10 and it was noted by the President, actually, that going through this,
11 you'll see a lot of convoys going to Zenica and Sarajevo, and I'm looking
12 at the month of September 1993, October 1993. There are some convoys,
13 I'm seeing, going into Bugojno in this period, Jablanica, Tuzla
14 one to Kakanj on the 10th of October, 1993. And this continues on.
15 We're seeing on page -- the ERN number is 0365-3937, there are convoys in
16 here to Mostar. But, again, as was pointed out, a lot of convoys to
18 And then at the page that ends with the digits 3938, the tally
19 comes to an end on the 2nd of December, 1993. Do you see that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And then if you turn the page, it starts -- it's -- we go back to
22 June, it appears, and then we see a lot of other convoys, and these are
23 going to places like Grude, Citluk, Mostar, Posusje, Prozor, Bugojno, and
24 again as we go through these pages, it seems to me that there are a
25 greater number of convoys here that are going to places within Western
2 you agree with me on that?
3 A. No, because you have collective information here on the amount of
4 aid that was transported to areas under the control of the Armija and of
5 the HVO. The information is very precise, because each request included
6 certain things. I have to finish my answer, because you asked me about
7 this, and this is what I want to say.
8 Through these convoys that the ODPR dealt with, over two-thirds
9 of the aid went to Sarajevo
10 the ABiH, and they passed through areas under the control of the HVO.
11 Q. Is it --
12 A. All the convoys are on record. That's a good thing. And that
13 remains so for posterity.
14 Q. Is it possible that it was the relief organisations that are
15 indicated here that were making their determinations as to where aid was
16 needed the most? In other words, is it possible that aid was needed more
17 in Zenica or Sarajevo
18 Ljubuski or Medjugorje, for example, where there was no significant
19 military activity during this period of time?
20 A. When explaining the procedure for the convoys that had passed
21 through, I had already said that humanitarian organisations autonomously
22 decided on the final destination for the delivery of aid, and I said that
23 this was their responsibility. We never told them to deliver it to one
24 destination, not to another. We had no individual requests to make.
25 Q. The last exhibit and the last question, Mr. Raguz, is P 03394.
1 It's in binder number 1.
2 During your direct examination, you referred to a report on the
3 work of the ODPR. I think the one you referred to on direct was a
4 different one, but I just have one question about this one. This one's
5 dated the 12th of July, 1993, so it's early during the time of your
6 association with ODPR?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And it's not numbered, or at least the version I have is not
9 numbered, so I'll try to just walk you through to the part I'm interested
10 in. I'm looking at the bottom of page 2 of the English version, where it
11 begins: "On March 11, 1993
12 method of work of the office were adopted." Do you see that, Mr. Raguz?
13 A. I'm looking for that, Mr. Prosecutor. On the second page --
14 Q. It may be -- it begins with the words: "On 11 March ..."
15 A. It's the first page in my version.
16 Q. Okay, all right. And is that a reference to the rules on the
17 work of the ODPR that were made by Mr. Tadic?
18 A. Probably, the rules of the internal organisation.
19 Q. Okay. And then moving forward, the next paragraph says -- starts
20 off with the words: "Having set up an analysis department at the end of
21 March ..." Do you see that?
22 A. Which page is that? Page 2?
23 Q. It's probably page 2 for you:
24 "Having set up an analysis department --"
25 A. Yes, I found it.
1 Q. We're still not quite yet to the part I want to ask you about,
2 but this is the best way to bring you there. The next paragraph begins
3 with the words: "Before the department for the collection distribution
4 and selection of humanitarian aid (mid-March 1993)."
5 Do you see that?
6 A. I found it.
7 Q. And then the next paragraph begins with the words: "One of the
8 greatest problems that this department has faced has been the problem of
9 shipping aid (through a lack of funds) --"
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. " ... [Previous translation continues]... difficulties in the
12 convoys and the shipments."
13 The next paragraph begins with the discussion of -- it says: "At
14 this office's initiative, a decision on controlling the influx of
15 humanitarian aid in HZ-HB was adopted."
16 Do you see that? Okay. And then finally it brings us to the
17 paragraph I wanted to ask you about. It says: "This office has
18 established good cooperation with the HVO Main Staff logistics in Grude,
19 and we donated to them substantial amounts of various items, and we
20 organised joint convoys for Central Bosnia and other hazardous areas
21 (example: the last convoy to Konjic and Zepce)."
22 The question is this, Mr. Raguz, was it ODPR's policy to donate
23 humanitarian goods or any of the goods that it had for distribution to
24 refugees and displaced persons, did it donate those types of goods, in
25 fact, to the HVO Main Staff, or do you know?
1 A. This was at the beginning of my arrival. I said that I had
2 established quite clear procedures, transparent procedures, and I don't
3 think that we can say that these were the general policies. I wouldn't
4 exclude such cases, but while I was there, it wasn't a policy, nor did
5 anyone ask me to pursue such a policy.
6 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, sir.
7 Mr. President, I have no further questions.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you have now
9 completed your cross-examination. As far as Mr. Karnavas' request is
10 concerned, is there anything you would like to say?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
13 In light of what was covered on cross-examination and the direct
14 examination, we feel that you could not benefit any more from any
15 redirect, so there will not be any redirect examination. And we want to
16 thank Mr. Raguz for coming here and giving his evidence, and we wish him
17 the best of luck and a safe trip back home.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 Mr. Stringer, you said that you would answer Mr. Karnavas'
20 question about the investigations into the witness. I give you the floor
21 if you want to answer that question. It's for you to decide.
22 MR. STRINGER: I can look into it, if Your Honour -- or if the
23 Trial Chamber wishes me to do so. I don't have a ready answer at this
24 point. We certainly don't have a policy of -- along the lines as has
25 been suggested, and certainly it's not our policy to do anything to
1 discourage people from coming.
2 You know, on the other hand, I think it's clear, and I can say
3 this, any witness who comes here, we are interested to know if any
4 witness has a criminal background. It's a very normal, at least where I
5 come from, practice to try to ascertain whether a person, a witness, has
6 a criminal background, because that's a factor that can affect their
7 credibility as a witness. And so if a background check has been
8 requested on that basis, it's quite possible that that's taken place.
9 But, again, I think it's part of a normal procedure on checking about a
10 witness to see whether there's a crime in his background that would
11 affect his credibility as a witness.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, that doesn't quite answer my question. Are
13 background checks being made? It seems like we're waffling here. I find
14 it incredibly difficult to swallow that the senior trial lawyer in this
15 case would not know whether background checks were requested of all the
16 Defence witnesses. I know for a fact that our very first witness was
17 checked, and it seems that it's not just asking the local authorities
18 whether they have on their computer something, but engaging -- it would
19 appear that part of this process are secret services being engaged to
20 snooping around. And I think this has serious implications concerning
21 some of our witnesses, because if you have a situation, as you have today
22 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where still, albeit peaceful, it is precarious and
23 politics there is somewhat of a blood sport, I think that these sorts of
24 checks by secret agencies tend to have a chilling effect.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, I've listened
1 carefully to what you have said, and it's quite logical that when a
2 witness appears, the Prosecution checks to see whether he has a criminal
3 record, and he then asks the local OTP whether Mr. X had a criminal past,
4 had anything to do with the police or the legal system. There's nothing
5 to object there. But Mr. Karnavas has raised another matter that I have
6 just found out about. Has the OTP launched an investigation into the
7 gentleman's past, that concerns all the aspects of his past, fiscal past,
8 private/political past; were the secret services involved in this? So
9 this is the issue that Mr. Karnavas has raised.
10 MR. STRINGER: No, that's absolutely not correct, Mr. President.
11 It's the practice with every witness, whatever country they come from.
12 So with this witness, if he's coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina, we -- the
13 normal course, because I can't say for sure what is the specific
14 procedure that was used here, I can tell you the normal course would be
15 to request of Federation authorities to check to see whether any given
16 witness has a criminal record. In addition to that, of course, we do
17 things like Google searches, and that's how we found Mr. Raguz' CV on the
18 internet on the European Parliament web site.
19 So we absolutely check witnesses. We do it ourselves, and we
20 also make requests of the national authorities who have access to the
21 relevant information on criminal background. There is certainly no
22 intention or request to do anything more in terms of prying or inquiring
23 into the private lives of witnesses. I think Mr. Karnavas has so far
24 managed to assemble a quite impressive array of witnesses to come here as
25 part of his case in chief. I'm surprised to hear if there's been any
1 chilling, because actually virtually all of the people that he's called
2 have been rather high profile and well known.
3 And so we check criminal backgrounds. We do it by requesting
4 assistance from national authorities, which is our right to do and which
5 is the procedure that's provided under the Statute of the Tribunal, and I
6 want to assure the Trial Chamber, Mr. Karnavas, as well as the witness
7 himself that there is no intention on the part of the Prosecution to
8 cross the line or make any effort to do anything that goes beyond the
9 normal type of investigation that would be done for any witness.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 Ms. Nozica first of all.
12 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I was waiting to see whether
13 Mr. Karnavas would address this issue. As he hasn't, I would like to add
14 something that's very important.
15 We have no reason to believe the Prosecution is working in the
16 way described, that he requests information for witnesses that might have
17 to do with a possible criminal record, but I would like to point out the
18 danger of such requests. When such requests arrive, when the state
19 organs and certain services in Bosnia-Herzegovina receive such requests,
20 they can be abused by those services. I believe that this is a problem
21 that occurred in the case of this witness. Unfortunately, Bosnia and
23 it's more sophisticated. When this request comes for the Defence witness
24 in the Prlic case, it can be abused by the secret services under the
25 control of the Bosniak side, perhaps, and in such cases investigations
1 can be conducted, and these investigations result in scaring the
2 witnesses or discouraging the witnesses, or perhaps discouraging them
3 from testifying here about things they are familiar with.
4 I didn't say this just to inform the Chamber about the fact, but
5 also because I believe that it would be good if, when the Prosecution
6 makes such requests, it also informs the extent to which they are asking
7 for information, the scope of their requests, so that they do not abuse
8 the Prosecution request and act in a way that might be detrimental to
9 this Tribunal and to this case.
10 Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you are on your
12 feet. Is this because you want to spend your ten minutes on saying
13 something or do you want to react to what has just been said?
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I want to react to what
15 has been said, because I know of an investigation conducted by the
16 special services in my case, but I would like the following question to
17 be put to the Prosecution.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If this is done correctly,
19 then it's a written request to the bodies concerned, please do
20 such-and-such a thing in accordance with such-and-such a law.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Would the Judge please ask
22 the Prosecution whether he could show the documents that were legally
23 sent to the bodies of Croatia
24 done orally? And to a large extent, this is how the Prosecution works in
25 cooperation with all intelligence services, and this scares witnesses and
1 creates chaos. If you have such documents that show that you made
2 such-and-such a request to such-and-such a witness, could you show them
3 to the Chamber?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, I believe that
5 when you had contact with the local authorities, or when you have contact
6 with them, you submit written requests to them, or is it done over the
8 MR. STRINGER: Well, if I could just make a couple of general
9 observations, because there seems to be an assumption that's floating
10 around now that whatever background checks are done is actually
11 interfering with the Defence's ability to call witnesses. There is no
12 proof of that, that I'm aware of, certainly. Certainly, none has been
13 put out here. And as I indicated, I think that what we've seen so far of
14 the Defence is to the contrary. That's number 1.
15 Secondly, I'd be rather surprised to learn that the Defence
16 teams, for their part, have not done their own background checking on the
17 witnesses called by the Prosecution case in chief. It's expected,
18 I think, and I'd be surprised if the Defence had not done the same thing
20 In respect of Bosnia-Herzegovina, certainly because of the
21 situation there, there is the potential for abuse, but in this respect
22 I think it cuts both ways, and it's just the reality that the Prosecution
23 and the Defence have to deal with when dealing with authorities of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Croatia
25 upon the local authorities for a variety of things, and this is one of
1 them. But on this, the Prosecution is on an equal footing with the
2 Defence. They can make the checks. They have to consult with the local
3 authorities as well, and just -- and there is an equal potential for
4 abuse when they check Prosecution witnesses. So there's no disparity
6 I'm not prepared, Mr. President, to get into the specifics of the
7 methods that we've used to conduct our background investigations or to
8 seek the assistance of the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and nor
9 would I expect the Defence to share that information with the
10 Prosecution, so I'm not prepared to go into that at this time beyond
11 saying that the Prosecution's office deals always on a formal level with
12 the authorities of all states, including Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, there's been a request by
14 Mr. Praljak as to whether there is an abuse of process. I mean, that's
15 how I see it. I try to be rather measured. I purposely avoided getting
16 into the discussion that Ms. Nozica got into, not because I wasn't aware
17 of it but because I didn't want to inject politics, but such is the case
18 in Bosnia-Herzegovina that here we have, for instance, my client, clearly
19 a rising star within Croatian politics in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Here we
20 have a witness who is a rising star of one of the major political parties
21 representing the Croat nation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We have
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina which essentially, for all intents and purposes, while
23 on the ground it doesn't look like Iraq, the politics are nonetheless are
24 very much the same. You have three different nations that are having the
25 same discussions today as they were having back in 1991. That is
1 essentially what is happening. So if, for instance, a request is made,
2 and if one of the intelligence agencies pursues a particular request and
3 has the ability to abuse the process, what it can essentially do is
4 neutralise -- is neutralise certain political players back there and, of
5 course, affect the lives of the individuals that are being tried here
7 We know for a fact how intelligence agencies work. Many of them
8 work through means of disinformation. We are not suggesting that the
9 Prosecution has engaged in anything unlawful, but what we are saying is
10 that perhaps when the Prosecution makes such a request, that it needs to
11 be made in a narrow fashion. Thus far, we don't know how that request is
12 being made; hence, Mr. Praljak indicated we would like to see if it is in
13 writing, what exactly is being asked.
14 Might I also say that at the beginning of this Tribunal, the life
15 of this Tribunal back in 1993, it is a well-known fact that one of the
16 agencies for one of the nations was working directly inside the Office of
17 the Prosecution. That is a fact. If you also look at who has been
18 indicted and who has not been indicted, we don't see Mr. Izetbegovic, we
19 never saw him here, we didn't see Mr. Ganic, or Silajdzic, or others.
20 They were investigated, they were worked, but they're not here. And so
21 what we're worried is that these sorts of requests, benign as they may
22 seem to be, have a very nefarious and dark nature to them, one that has
23 far more implications for the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina politics. And
24 all we're asking for is, one, the request be made in a very narrow
25 fashion and, two, that such requests that have been made be provided to
1 the Trial Chamber. Obviously, we cannot control, neither you, nor the
2 Prosecution, what is done on that end, but we think that with some gentle
3 prodding from the Tribunal, such requests that the Prosecution is
4 concerned about can be made in such a way that perhaps it might be able
5 to alleviate some of the problems. But I find it very difficult to
6 swallow when the Prosecution says, "Well, the Defence hasn't been
7 impacted." Yes, the witness did arrive, but, however, the witness also
8 knew that he was intensely being investigated, and it could have gone the
9 other way around. And how do I then come back and say, "Well, here are
10 the reasons"?
11 So it is having a chilling effect, albeit indirectly at this
12 point. I'm not suggesting that I have lost any witnesses thus far, but
13 there were other witnesses that I might have had for other reasons. So
14 all we're asking for is one, narrow scope; two, for the Prosecution to
15 come clean. We're entitled to this information. It also begs the
16 question: Have they done this with their own witnesses, especially with
17 some of the internationals that we believed worked for some of the
18 intelligence agencies.
19 Thank you.
20 JUDGE PRANDLER: I would like to say a few words without any
21 attempt to stop the discussion. I didn't want to stop, actually,
22 Mr. Karnavas about his final statement here.
23 Really, I believe that now the discussion went beyond the scope
24 of the original intentions, and it is now -- I feel that it would have
25 been better if the statements would have been done within a kind of
1 closed meeting, because somehow -- allowing for transparency, definitely,
2 but some of the statements or allegations or whatever, they went beyond
3 what I inferred was the original purpose. The original purpose was if
4 the Prosecution asks for any kind of checking, as far as the background
5 of the witness or witnesses concerned, and this I understand that it is
6 an important question and one which could be raised, but now speaking
7 about intelligence agencies, et cetera, I really believe it is now beyond
8 our competence here, at least for the time being, and especially not
9 within a meeting of a sitting in -- and not in a closed meeting, so I
10 would like to ask that this issue should be closed now. We have heard
11 the Prosecution, we have heard, of course, the Defence, and I believe
12 that the issue could be closed.
13 Thank you.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] If I may, I fully appreciate what
16 Your Honour has said. It would be quite logical for me not to have
17 anything to add after what he has said, but I would like to say, because
18 this may be addressed to me because I raised issues that were not
19 referred to at the beginning, I would like us to check the transcript,
20 because the witness said that he was being investigated by secret
21 services, and this has prompted me to rise and to say this. So I'm
22 referring to what I've just said. It is a danger. When official bodies
23 are doing checkups, then there is no danger, and I think everything I
24 said, as far as I'm concerned, can be said in open session.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I abide by my request that
2 it is necessary for the Prosecution to show the exact wording of the
3 written requests addressed to the bodies of either Bosnia-Herzegovina or
5 otherwise this is for a public session. People who need to testify are
6 trembling down there because of open attacks by various secret services.
7 It is for the public, for the public to hear that they are free
8 individuals, that threats made does not diminish from their ability to
9 freely and bravely and sincerely testify in this court.
10 If the Prosecution doesn't have those papers, let them tell us in
12 As for the Prosecutor's statement and explanation, as far as I'm
13 concerned, it is an insult for a peptogenous virus.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, we are going to
15 discuss this question, whether your request should have a response from
16 the Prosecution or not, so the Judges will deliberate on the issue this
18 Witness, my understanding was at the beginning that you wanted to
19 make a statement. Is this statement linked to this or is it something
20 else, because the Judges do not appreciate statements except at the end
21 of the testimony.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, only if the examination is
23 over, I wanted to add two or three sentiments.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but when it's over, you
25 don't say anything except thank you to the Judges. If it is to thank the
1 Judges, then it is okay, but if it is to say something else, there is a
2 risk of opening a new debate, which is something that we don't want.
3 As far as I'm concerned and on behalf of my colleagues I wish to
4 thank you for coming to testify on behalf of the Defence of Mr. Prlic,
5 and I wish you a safe journey home and success in the continuation of
6 your professional and political activities. That is all I have to say
7 about this, and I wish to ask the usher to escort you out of the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wish to thank you, too, as the
10 President to the members of the Trial Chamber, the Defence of the
11 accused, the Prosecution, and the accused for the possibility of saying
12 in this courtroom my views of what the situation was like at the most
13 difficult moments for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thank you once again.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may leave now.
15 [The witness withdrew]
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer.
17 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 I would like to just have one brief opportunity to respond to
19 some of the comments that were made on this last point, if in fact the
20 Trial Chamber is going to deliberate on this any further. I think I'd
21 like at least for the Trial Chamber to know what the Prosecution position
22 is in respect of any further deliberations.
23 It's our view, Mr. President, that the Office of the Prosecutor
24 is an independent body at this Tribunal. As a party to these
25 proceedings, it's entitled to conduct its own investigation of witnesses,
1 as is the Defence. With respect, it's our position that it's not within
2 the domain of the Trial Chamber to order the Prosecution to disclose or
3 to produce its request for assistance or the work product that it makes
4 in conducting what is legitimate background investigation, particularly
5 where there's been no showing whatsoever of any impropriety. We've heard
6 a lot of words from counsel and the accused himself, but there's no
7 showing whatsoever.
8 The witness indicated he was aware he'd been checked, but in fact
9 he's come. I can say with absolute certainty that the Prosecution's
10 fully aware of the pressures and the concerns that witnesses have to deal
11 with when coming here, because there's certainly a good number of
12 Prosecution witnesses from Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Croatia, or
13 internationals as well who to this day carry a lot of fear of these
14 gentlemen and the HVO and the repercussions of their coming here, and
15 they also know the situation that exists politically down in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So these are risks that all the witnesses run. And
17 there are witnesses that were not heard during the Prosecution case
18 because of these concerns, and that may be true of the Defence as well.
19 But on this, we're on equal footing.
20 But in any event, Mr. President, I think I just wanted to make
21 that clear that -- what the Prosecution position is on this issue, and I
22 appreciate you giving me the opportunity to do that.
23 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, with your leave, I did stand earlier and
24 sat down to my chair again when His Honour Judge Prandler was making his
25 remarks and giving guidance to the Trial Chamber.
1 I do agree, in part, with what my learned friend has just said.
2 Matters are, to some degree, speculative until there is a showing that
3 the administration of justice has been thwarted or otherwise imperiled,
4 but I don't accept for one moment that the overall superintendence of the
5 Trial Chamber takes a back seat under the alter of prosecutorial
6 independence. Of course, independence of the Prosecution is there. They
7 are, as a separate organ of the Court, the Prosecutor is independent, but
8 that does not give any Prosecutor cart blanche to do whatever they want.
9 We know from proceedings in this court, in this Tribunal, as well
10 as of course the Lubanga proceedings and the stay there, that a trial
11 chamber does have its obligation to police the system so as to ensure
12 that the Statute and the Rules are fully enforced.
13 Now, this is academic to some degree, but of course if it is
14 shown that an action of the Prosecutor -- if it's shown that an action of
15 a Prosecutor has a chilling effect so as to bring the administration of
16 justice into disrepute or to otherwise obstruct the truth-finding
17 exercise, that is the highest and most fundamental responsibility for
18 which this Tribunal was established. Of course, prosecutorial
19 independence cannot trump Your Honours' oath of office to ensure justice
20 in this case.
21 I think the issue became somewhat emotive, as my learned leader
22 mentioned, because of the use of intelligence services. For my part, I
23 have no problem for one moment for the Prosecution contacting the police
24 services of any state to make a background check of any witness. That's
25 normal. I don't see anything objectionable in that at all. Police
1 services, of course, have records based upon evidence of criminality, and
2 often evidence of a conviction. Counsel even, in some courts, in the
3 ICC, have to disclose if they have previous convictions before they got
4 on the list. I have no problem with that. But intelligence services, of
5 course, have been a perennial problem in many systems about having
6 oversight and superintendence. They deal not just in fact, but in
7 speculation, innuendo, and other aspects, and I think in part one of the
8 reasons why this became a live issue, and it may be completely
9 speculative, it may have been something that the witness believed which
10 has not been proved, but it's because of the mention of intelligence
11 services, in highly partisan and highly politicised environments, as
12 opposed to the legitimate police enforcement mechanisms of the state,
13 which are the police services, and I think that is a matter that perhaps,
14 whilst this matter is being raised now, that the Prosecution may consider
15 as a matter of their own internal policies. I think there is a real
16 difference between the two.
17 Your Honour, those are my remarks in response, but if there is a
18 showing, if there is a showing, of course, my primary submission must be
19 that there is nothing that would enable Your Honours or persuade Your
20 Honours to step aside and abdicate your fundamental responsibility to
21 ensure justice.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 Mr. Praljak, you wanted to intervene?
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will take
25 a bit of time, but in view of the sensitivity of the issue, could we go
1 into private session, please?
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, the question
3 raised regarding intelligence services is closed, because the Judges will
4 discuss it and deliberate about it. I give you the floor now for the
5 purpose of your intervention. You want us to go into private session,
6 fine, we'll go into private session.
7 Mr. Registrar.
8 [Private session]
11 Pages 31589-31602 redacted. Private session.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.
17 to be reconvened on Monday, the 1st day of September,
18 2008, at 2.15 p.m.