1 Wednesday, 16 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.26 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
10 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Today is Wednesday,
12 July 16, 2008
13 the representatives of the OTP and to everyone assisting us, including
14 the interpreters. Today we'll proceed with the cross-examination
15 conducted by Mr. Stringer and I'm going to give him the floor
17 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon. Good
18 afternoon, Your Honours. Counsel. And all the other people who are in
19 and around the courtroom.
20 WITNESS: ZORAN BUNTIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Stringer: [Continued]
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buntic. When we concluded the proceedings
24 yesterday, we were talking about the wording and the language of
25 Article 2 of the amended decision on the establishment of
1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and particularly your interpretation
2 or your view regarding the territorial or geographic scope of the
3 Croatian community. Do you recall that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And if I understand your testimony correctly, it's your
6 assertion, sir, that Article 2 of the amended decision -- and perhaps in
7 fairness I should refer you back to the document, which is in binder
8 number 1 on your right-hand side, Exhibit P 00078. Directing your
9 attention to Article 2 of that decision, Mr. Buntic. It's my
10 understanding that your testimony is that the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna did not extend or was not intended to extend throughout the
12 entirety of all these municipalities but, rather, to just parts of those
13 municipalities. Is that a correct statement of your testimony?
14 A. I said that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna did not have
15 its borders. Throughout its existence, it never had any borders, and
16 Article 2 that we were discussing yesterday does not extend to cover the
17 entire territory of the municipalities listed here, but only "podrucje,"
18 areas of the municipalities listed here, but we explained the difference
19 between the contents of the terms "podrucje" and "teritorija" -- area or
20 territory and territory, respectively, and I don't know if we have to
21 revisit that at all.
22 Q. Well, I think we do. My first question is this. And I'm just
23 reading your last answer: Talking about areas of municipalities, let's
24 take one of these municipalities, for example, Gornji Vakuf. Are you
25 able to tell us, sir, what areas of Gornji Vakuf fell within the
1 jurisdiction or the area of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna? What
2 areas were in, what areas were out?
3 A. There was even a name that I'm now trying to recall, that was
4 under the control and jurisdiction of the HVO throughout the time that
5 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna existed, so, again, we are not
6 talking about the entire territory of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf
7 but just parts of this municipality, but to be quite frank, I can't
8 remember this at this moment, but I do know that throughout the time that
9 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was in existence, there existed
10 this part of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf, and that's what it was
11 called. I think that there are quite a few documents, other documents,
12 that can be used to ascertain the name but I'm sure that there was a
13 specific name for this part of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf.
14 Q. Okay. So Gornji Vakuf, then, was treated differently than
15 Skender Vakuf, for example, in which the drafters of this document, the
16 decree, in fact, identified specifically the region or the area of the
17 municipality that would apply; in other words, as we discussed yesterday,
18 for Skender Vakuf we have specifically identified a place called
19 Dobratici and similarly with Trebinje we have Ravno that's specifically
20 identified. Would you agree with me, sir, that this part of Gornji Vakuf
21 that you've just referred to is not specifically identified in this
23 A. Well, we've said about the parts of Gornji Vakuf, and as for
24 Skender Vakuf, the reason was that Dobratici used to be a separate
25 municipality. They had been constituted as a separate municipality and
1 the same goes for Ravno. So before the restructuring of the
2 municipalities in the former Yugoslavia
3 municipalities and that is why those areas are listed here in parentheses
4 and in the areas of the former municipality of Dobratici
5 municipality of Ravno, Croats were in the overwhelming majority. So they
6 are given here as an example, but I assume that the logic that applied
7 here was that Ravno and Dobratici used to be municipalities before the
8 municipalities were restructured in the former Yugoslavia.
9 Q. Okay. I've got a map of the municipality of Gornji Vakuf
10 are going to put it up on the screen. It's a map showing Gornji Vakuf in
11 terms of its ethnic breakdown. It's in evidence, Mr. President. This is
12 map number 24, Exhibit P 09276.
13 Now, do you see the map on the screen in front of you,
14 Mr. Buntic?
15 A. Not yet, no, I don't have it on my screen.
16 Q. Perhaps the usher can assist with that. And while we are doing
17 that, I know that, Mr. Buntic, I don't expect you to have the numbers in
18 your head, none of us do, but if I were to suggest to you that according
19 to the 1991 census, Gornji Vakuf had a Croatian population of 42.5 per
20 cent, a Muslim population of 55.8 per cent and a negligible Serb
21 population of 0.4 per cent, would you agree with me? Would you agree
22 with me that for purposes of our discussion, the Muslim population of
23 Gornji Vakuf was greater than the Croat -- the Croatian or the Croat
24 population of this municipality?
25 A. Yes. I can confirm that. And as you can see, there was not such
1 a great difference, and some parts of the Vakuf municipality, so parts of
2 or territories or areas of this municipalities had Bosniak majority,
3 while there were other settlements there where Croats were in the
4 majority. So we are talking about parts of the Vakuf municipality, and I
5 think that it indicates why the term "teritorij," territory of
6 municipality was not used but rather the term "podrucje," area or
7 territory. So those were the reasons, because we can see on this example
8 here that we have the municipality of Gornji Vakuf where there is a
9 relative majority of Bosniaks, but in some parts, areas, of this
10 municipality, there is a Croatian majority.
11 Q. And would you agree with me, sir, that based on the fact that the
12 red areas are indicated as Croatian areas or Croat areas, the green areas
13 are indicated as Bosniak or Muslim areas, that the population in
14 Gornji Vakuf was quite -- was quite interspersed, in other words, there
15 are pockets of Croat and pockets of Muslim habitation which are equally
16 distributed or interspersed throughout that municipality?
17 A. I'm sorry, that's not the way I see it. In the right-hand side
18 of this map, we can see 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13 Muslim settlements in a
19 compact territory. So there are parts of this municipality that are
20 inhabited almost exclusively by Muslims, Bosniaks, and now the question
21 is where are the 40 odd per cent Croats, 46 per cent Croats? They cannot
22 be just nowhere. And we can see an area in the lower corner which is
23 inhabited mostly by Bosniaks but in relative percentages, there were 40
24 something Croats there, so we can't say that the municipality of
25 Gornji Vakuf is Bosniak municipality because there is over 50 per cent of
1 them there. That is why the term "podrucje," area, was used because we
2 could not claim the whole territory of the municipality, but we could
3 claim, in light of the composition -- ethnic composition of the
4 population, parts of these municipality -- this municipality, and that's
5 where the HVO was established.
6 Q. Now, so if I understand you correctly, sir, you're telling us
7 that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, in Gornji Vakuf, extended to
8 the little red circles but not to the little green circles?
9 A. Well, that's the way it appears in the map shown here and as far
10 as I know, the actual situation was similar to the one depicted on this
11 map, so in a certain area or in the whole of the municipality of
12 Gornji Vakuf, up until the time when the Croat-Muslim conflicts broke
13 out, there was a joint defence and resistance to the JNA but once the
14 Bosniak-Croat conflict broke out --
15 Q. I'm not asking you about the conflict yet. I'm just asking about
16 the ethnic composition in 1991.
17 Would you agree with me, sir, that the ethnic composition of
18 Gornji Vakuf and numerous other municipalities of the Central Bosnia
19 region that were identified here in this decree on Article 2 were much
20 more mixed, in terms of their ethnicity, Bosniak and Croat, much more
21 mixed than, say, for example, the -- your municipality of Citluk
22 think was around 98 or 99 per cent Croat?
23 A. Well, these claims are correct, because if we know that if we are
24 talking about the municipalities in western Herzegovina, that in those
25 municipalities, we have between 95 up to 99 per cent of the Croatian
1 population there, which was not the case with the municipalities in
2 Central Bosnia
3 municipality did not have such a high majority in terms of relative
4 percentages in -- to the benefit of any one ethnic group.
5 Q. All right. One last question on the map. If a Croat lived in
6 one of the little green circles, would that person not be living in the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
8 A. Well, the way I see it, the way I interpret it, that might be the
10 Q. All right. I have a different exhibit I want to show you now.
11 It's resting on top of the binders next to you. It's marked 1D 02011.
12 And while that's being located for you, Mr. Buntic, let me just ask you a
13 couple of preliminary questions. Do you know Mr. Zoran Perkovic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And who is he?
16 A. Zoran Perkovic has a law degree, and before the war, he lived and
17 worked in Sarajevo
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, he was a candidate for the president of Bosnia and
20 that he worked in the Ministry of Justice or something like that. After
21 he left Sarajevo
22 Q. Thank you. In the summer of 1993, was he head of the commission
23 for regulations of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
24 A. It was the commission for regulations.
25 Q. Okay.
1 A. He was the president of the commission for regulations.
2 Q. If you turn to the last page of this document, you see the
3 signature and -- would this appear to be a report that he made on or
4 about the 13th of July, 1993?
5 A. Fine. I see that this is the report of the commission for
6 regulations, but as I've already indicated, I'm not an expert who could
7 claim with any authority whether this is Mr. Perkovic's signature or not,
8 so that would be a question for a handwriting expert, and I'm definitely
9 not one. Perkovic was the president of the commission for regulations of
10 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. That much is correct.
11 Q. We've seen a number of reports of other departments, and this
12 appears to be a report of his that is reporting on the activities of his
13 commission from the 1st -- from January until June of 1993. Do you see
14 that in the beginning of the report? On the first page of it.
15 A. Yes. I can see that this period is indicated in the subject
16 line, so that's January to June, 1993.
17 Q. What he's doing is giving a list of the activity of the
18 commission on the decrees that it wrote during that period and I want to
19 direct your attention to a couple of those. Looking at number 2 on the
20 list, that's a decree on application of the Law on Water Resources. You
21 see that?
22 A. I can see that.
23 Q. And does that make reference to the territory of the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna using the word "teritoriju"? Do you
25 see the word "teritoriju" there?
1 A. Yes, I can see that and this is obviously a deviation from the
2 definition that exists in the decision on the establishment of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Well, we cannot regulate elements
4 that are regulated by higher-ranking legal documents and instruments, so
5 we cannot amend what is regulated in legal instruments of a higher rank
6 in those by-laws or regulations that are over a lower level legally
7 speaking. I have already presented to you this decision and the
8 higher-ranking document in this case is the decision on the establishment
9 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
10 Q. Okay. Then would you agree with me, sir, that number 10 here
11 contains another deviation in that this decree on amendments to the
12 decree on application of the Criminal Code of Bosnia-Herzegovina also
13 makes reference to the territory of the Croatian Community of
14 Herceg-Bosna? That's a "yes" or "no" question. You see the word
15 "territory" there?
16 A. Yes, I can see that. Yes, and I can agree. The interpretation
17 and my understanding is the same as the one that I presented earlier.
18 Q. All right. Is that also true of number 11, Law on Health Care in
19 the territory of Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
20 A. Yes, I can see that and it's correct.
21 Q. And also number 13?
22 A. Yes, I can see that likewise.
23 Q. 18 and also 25 also make reference to the territory of
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
25 A. Yes, that is correct. But the other thing is correct too. There
1 are many regulations where no mention of this is made.
2 Q. And that was actually -- you anticipated my next question,
3 Mr. Buntic. It appears to me that the words -- the Serbo-Croatian words
4 "teritoriju" or the words "podrucje" appear interchangeably as though
5 there is no real distinction in the way that Mr. Perkovic is using those
6 words. Would you agree with me?
7 A. I can agree with you but I maintain what I've already said, and
8 if you want to prove that, I think that you should find a linguistic
9 expert to obtain from such a person an expert report about the meaning of
10 those words in the Croatian language. I told you what I know based on my
11 knowledge of everyday Croatian parlance. There is a difference between
12 those two terms.
13 Q. Okay. Now, the next exhibit, Mr. Buntic, you can put that one
14 aside, is the one that you looked at yesterday at the very beginning of
15 your testimony on cross-examination, 1D 01607. It's in the fourth
16 binder, and this is the minutes of the 37th Session of the
17 Croatian Defence Council.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. There is a
19 question from the Bench.
20 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Sorry, Mr. Stringer, because
21 you're about to move to a different document but I don't think we've
22 quite studied this document enough. Of course I can't speak the language
23 of the witness, but I have the text in front of me. You mentioned item
24 number 11, and here in B/C/S, I see the word "teritorij" whereas now if I
25 look at the English translation, I can't find that again. I find the
1 mention Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. So I have a suggestion to
2 make. I realise that you have not come to an agreement with the witness
3 with respect to the use of these words, so could we not ask the
4 interpreters to read out item 11 in B/C/S and then listen to their
5 interpretation, to see if their interpretation corresponds to the
6 translation in English we have in front of us? What would you say of
8 MR. STRINGER: I think it's --
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I'm talking about document
10 1D 02011.
11 MR. STRINGER: I think it's an excellent suggestion, Your Honour,
12 and perhaps we could just have the witness read the text itself and then
13 the interpreters in their booths could simply make their interpretation
14 for us.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: In all fairness, to be consistent, I think it
16 would be -- I don't want to waste anybody's time but if you go through
17 all of them, you will see that there is -- sometimes it's there,
18 sometimes it's another word, sometimes there is nothing there. So if we
19 are just going to cherry pick number 11, we should maybe look at number 4
20 or number 5 or may be look at number 6 as well. And I should also add,
21 for everyone's convenience, that Mr. Perkovic who drafted these laws will
22 be our very next witness. He may be the most appropriate witness to
23 answer all of these questions but I just throw that out.
24 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, my proposal would be to have the
25 witness read number 11 and we can have him read as many of these as you
1 wish. I think the point is, as I've indicated --
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, I believe we can do both
3 because we have the text in front of us and when Mr. Karnavas's next
4 witness comes to testify, we can ask him to give us his input on this
6 MR. STRINGER: Well, perhaps just to have some balance I'll
7 choose two, one of each, and if that's not sufficient for the
8 Trial Chamber or Mr. Karnavas, he can propose an additional one.
9 Q. Just going to number 11, Mr. Buntic, can you read the text of
10 number 11 for us in your language.
11 A. "Decree on the application of the Law on Health Care in the
12 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna."
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. "In war or in times of an imminent threat of war."
15 Q. Now the other word we have been talking about, "podrucje," is
16 found in number 8. I can't read number 8. Perhaps that would be a
17 suitable one, if could you read number 8 out loud for us.
18 A. Number 8: "Decree on the application of the Law on
19 Regular Courts in the "podrucje," territory of the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna, in war or in time of an imminent threat of war or the state
21 of war."
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please read the portion again,
23 Mr. Witness.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Item 8, decree on the application
25 of the Law on Regular Courts in the "podrucje," territory, of the
1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, in time of an imminent threat of war
2 or state of war."
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I will repeat myself because I did this
4 yesterday already. Addressing the interpreters: You may have your own
5 Croatian and I'm not capable of discussing the issue, but we have
6 lengthily been told here that "podrucje" falls to be translated as area
7 rather than territory, and I would be grateful if you would try to comply
8 with this linguistic rule which, for the time, I think, can be called a
9 rule, linguistic rule, of this Chamber.
10 JUDGE PRANDLER: Without any intention of putting you argument of
11 yesterday because I do not wish to, but I believe that it is a question
12 of linguistic but also, in a way, not only linguistic but, of course, an
13 important political and judicial question. If my view, the two
14 terminology that is territory and area has been intermittently used,
15 sometimes in one way or in the other. If you take the document which we
16 are talking about and page 2 of the Croatian text, then you will see that
17 on page 2, item 12, here is "podrucje" [B/C/S spoken]. In item 13, it is
18 "teritoriju" [B/C/S spoken]. In number 14, it is again "podrucje." In
19 number 15, "podrucje." In number 16, "podrucje."
20 And then at the same time, in many other instances, you can check
21 otherwise that in the English text there is no -- neither territory nor
22 area but there is only said that community of -- the Croatian Community
23 of Herceg-Bosna. In my view, the interpreters here a bit acted
24 one-sidedly but it is up to them. But then again, we say that in -- I
25 admit that in most of these items, the expression is "podrucje" but
1 again, in item 18, it is [B/C/S spoken] Herceg-Bosna. In -- then again
2 19, 20, it is "podrucje." Now, 21 it speaks about [B/C/S spoken] so it
3 is about the borders. 22, it is "podrucje." 23, "podrucje." And also
4 24, and again, in 25, it is again "teritoriju" [B/C/S spoken].
5 So that is why, in my view, again without any opening of the
6 discussion on the terminology, I would say that that area and territory
7 has been used in most of the instances almost in identical way, identical
8 meaning, and I still believe that it is the situation. But I really also
9 believe that we shouldn't lose too much time on this terminology because
10 as we see it at that given time, the terminology was used in this way and
11 that way, and therefore I do not think that we should fear that we have
12 to find out the real -- I mean we can find out the real meaning of the
13 two expressions which are -- which are rather covering each other. So
14 thank you.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: For the sake of the record, Judge Prandler,
16 perhaps the witness could read out number 21 and we could get a
17 translation so the Judges can actually see what is being written on 21
18 because you see a third variant as well. And, again, we'll have the
19 author of these titles, and he can explain to us.
20 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, just for the record, I don't think this
21 is necessarily a pedantic point on the nomenclature that's used. I do
22 firstly applaud with the greatest respect Judge Trechsel's intervention
23 and comment about try to use as much precision as possible, but I don't
24 think this is a matter of simple linguistics. There are substantive
25 issues that may turn on the word used and what actually was in the mind
1 at the time when all of this was taking place. So, Your Honour, I'm sure
2 it wasn't intended by His Honour Judge Prandler to indicate a finding
3 prior to a close of the case. Of course, some clarification of course is
4 useful to all parties but this is very much a live issue and it's an
5 issue that could have significant import to the findings of the
6 Trial Chamber and evidence will be called on this matter as part of our
7 case. I think the constitutional expert that the Defence are calling as
8 a joint witness will speak to this issue as well. So I would emphasise
9 for the record that this is very much a live issue and one of
10 significance in our submission.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I say something
12 that might be helpful? While this discussion was going on yesterday and
13 today, I Googled the word "podrucje" and got 215 possible translations in
14 the English language. Some of them were phrases but the matches were
15 district, area, sector, domain, and so on and so forth. Yesterday, we
16 heard from His Honour the Presiding Judge that the solution in French was
17 similar to the one in Croatian. I uphold what my learned friend Mr. Khan
18 said. This might be a linguistic issue but it's also a legal issue.
19 It's a point of law. The witness gave his interpretation of the issue.
20 He was there and he knows what the intention on their part was. If the
21 Prosecution believes this to be insufficient or inadequate, then it is --
22 the burden lies on the Prosecution to lead evidence on that issue.
23 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may be
24 of assistance, the witness is here, counsel are here, and they can either
25 approve of what I'm saying or disprove it. When we say the territory of
1 the municipality of Citluk
2 the boundaries plotted into that book of the municipality of Citluk
3 there we can find what the territories, "teritorij." When we say
4 "podrucje," it doesn't have any boundaries or borders; it has not been
5 quantified. And when you say "podrucje" or area of Citluk, you do not
6 necessarily mean the entire territory. It can only be part of the
7 municipality which has not been defined anywhere.
8 The territory of a municipality is something that you will find
9 in the land registry books and when you put together ten areas, you will
10 have a territorial unit. That's why the term "podrucje" was used here
11 because nobody had the intention of plotting borders there. The lawyer
12 is here who had something to do with it and I have some land registry
13 knowledge. Territory is something that is plotted into maps. Territory
14 of a municipality. Whereas "podrucje," area, you can say, well, the area
15 of the Neretva River
16 area is.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, allow me,
19 please, I have been studying the Croatian language and dealing with it
20 professionally. Let's look at the historical use of the word
21 "teritorij." In all the manuals, textbooks and atlases, territory,
22 "teritorij" is always linked with states, the territory of France
23 territory of the United States of America. In the Croatian language,
24 "teritorij" is in terms of its substance always related to something that
25 is legally determined, such as a state, or a municipality.
1 "Podrucje" is used in the Croatian language to denote the area of
2 the euro or of Provence
3 is rather the cultural and civilization aspect. The area where Burgundy
4 is grown. It has a different substantially speaking meaning, whether we
5 talk about glaciers, whether we talk about a wine-growing area,
6 et cetera, et cetera. And "podrucje," an area, is a non-defined unit
7 whereas a territory is always linked with, for instance, a state, the
8 territory of a state, the territory inhabited by the French, the
9 territory inhabited by the Germans and so on and so forth. "Teritorij,"
10 territory, is a much clearer area which has borders, whereas "podrucje,"
11 an area, does not have borders and that's where the whole confusion stems
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Judge Trechsel has
14 a question.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It's interesting to hear this round of experts
16 from all sides on the Croat language. I think that the last speaker,
17 because this gets a character of a seminar, has spoken too fast and
18 everything was not set down in the record. Inter alia, I heard the
19 expression, the area of the euro, and that is think is something which
20 has borders and can be determined very clearly, but I think what we can
21 conclude is that linguistics, semantics, are important. They are one
22 element in the interpretation of legal texts but definitely not the only
23 one. And as for me, the Chamber is interested in what the actual
24 situation was, and I think we should concentrate on finding that out.
25 And in this respect, I would like to put a question to you,
1 Mr. Buntic, in relation with number 22 on our list. It is a title which
2 does not refer either to "podrucje" nor to "teritorij," but it's a decree
3 on introducing profit tax for legal entities in the Croatian Community of
4 Herceg-Bosna, and I take it that this means in the area of Herceg-Bosna,
5 as you say. Now, in Croatian, it's "podrucje." Even better, okay. Now,
6 Mr. Stringer has shown you a map of Gornji Vakuf, the community, and on
7 the map we have seen the town, in green, apparently a Muslim majority,
8 and you seem to have agreed that the green spots do not belong to the
9 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. That's the parts that are not
10 covered by this a bit vague expression of area.
11 Now, I suppose there were industrial enterprises, legal entities,
12 in the town of Gornji Vakuf. Were they exempted from profit tax? And if
13 so, how would this -- where would this have been regulated?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not aware of a single case
15 specifically speaking about income tax --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Profit tax.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- which was of them -- profit tax
18 ever being forcibly imposed on companies through decisions to that effect
19 issued by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna or through any other
20 methods. I'm not aware of a single such case. I'm referring to this
21 decree introducing profit tax for legal entities. Again we are talking
22 about "podrucje," an area, but I do stand by what I said, that wherever
23 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna issued decrees, the term of
24 "podrucje" was used much more frequently than "teritorij" but --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I'm stopping you because I don't want
1 to hear about words. I think there was a certain agreement that words do
2 not lead us anywhere. How about income taxes? Were income taxes paid in
3 the municipalities and/or in Herceg-Bosna?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Depending on the times,
5 Your Honour, I did say something about it yesterday. In the course of
6 1992, and most likely in the first half of 1993, none of it was paid --
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I do not need details, Mr. Buntic. You have
8 implicitly said that in principle, income taxes were levied although not
9 all the time. I'm interested in the levying of the taxes. Was a
10 distinction made of whether someone lived, I simplify, in a green
11 locality or in a red locality, in the sense that in a green locality,
12 which was not part of Herceg-Bosna, you did not have to pay income tax?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we had the head of the
14 finance department, and I ask you to acknowledge the fact, with all due
15 respect, that I did not have many dealings with financial matters, nor am
16 I competent to speak about that. I know very little about the payment of
17 taxes. I asked you to allow me to tell you what I know before you
18 interrupted me. I am doing my best, but this is something I really know
19 nothing of.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Judge Trechsel, the head of the finance department
21 will be coming here and he may be in a better position to give you a
22 precise answer to your question.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That may well be so but we have this witness who
24 has said a lot about this matter.
25 Mr. Buntic, was it at all of some relevance whether a town
1 belonged to the HVO or not, or was it completely irrelevant, did it make
2 no difference to people? Would you say you don't know either?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe I was quite clear on that
4 score as well. Wherever the HVO existed and was active in principle the
5 regulations of the HZ HB were applied. Where the HVO did not exist and
6 where there was no actual control in place, taxes were not levied through
7 any forcible methods. I'm not aware of that. And I mean forcibly by
8 employing the military to make sure that, let's say, Bosniak citizens pay
9 their taxes to the HZ HB.
10 I know that up until the second half of 1993, it was
11 predominantly the municipalities that made sure that the taxes were paid,
12 but as Mr. Karnavas said, the head of the finance department will be
13 testifying here soon and he is very familiar with financial issues. This
14 is not my profession, and this was probably the matter that I took least
15 account of throughout the existence of the HZ HB.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It seems to have escaped your attention,
17 Mr. Buntic, that in my last question, I did very expressly not refer to
18 taxes but other matters. But you were the Minister of Justice, and you
19 must have known where the laws applied and where they did not apply.
20 Now, how, if I at that time were, for a spurious reason, interested in
21 going to live somewhere in the area of Herceg-Bosna, how would I know
22 where the legislation applies and where it does not apply, within the
23 area concerned?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I must intervene
25 again. I don't know if it was interpreted to me correctly, the word
1 minister was used. I was not a Minister of any sort. I was head of the
2 Justice Department, head of the justice and general administration
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. I accept that that was your title but the
5 function was not really very different, but I apologise, I misspoke in
6 this respect. But even as a head of the department of justice, would you
7 not be expected to know where the law -- because we are talking about
8 law, are we not -- decrees, they are norms, binding norms, how did anyone
9 find out whether in one place it applied or not?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As head of the justice and general
11 administration department, in other words, as head of an executive body,
12 I was charged with the implementation of decrees and all other
13 regulations applicable to justice administration. When it came to these
14 decrees and lower-level regulations, this is an area that I'm fully
15 competent for and I can answer any question which has to do with that,
16 but please spare me the questions about how other departments applied
17 regulations from within their respective fields. In my view, every head
18 of office was responsible for the implementation of regulations falling
19 within his or her own purview. I do not wish to speculate because in
20 that case, I would not be speaking the truth. I'm not competent to speak
21 the truth about these matters simply because I don't have enough
22 knowledge about it.
23 We have the Trial Chamber here, we have the Prosecution, and I
24 believe that all the relevant persons can be called to testify about
25 their respective areas. I have been here for seven days now and I have
1 been answering questions from the Defence and the Prosecution about
2 everything that I knew.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sir, I did not invite you to speculate. I
4 didn't invite you to speak about other departments. You have now just
5 said you were responsible for the implementation of certain decrees. How
6 did you know where they were to be implemented and where they were not to
7 be implemented?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We had the defined purviews of --
9 or rather territories of municipal courts, district courts, the
10 department of the Supreme Court, district military courts. They were set
11 forth in the relevant regulations and legislation. The territories were
12 clearly defined and it was quite clear, under whose jurisdiction which
13 territory fell. These were the matters that fell within my competence,
14 but as for the decree on taxes and how it was implemented, I'm afraid to
15 err in that area. I have been testifying for seven days now about how
16 the decrees from the field of justice administration have been
17 implemented and I can continue doing so. I don't know about the other
18 areas, I'm afraid, and I don't want to either speculate or say something
19 that isn't true. That wouldn't be proper.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Let's stay, then, with what you know. There
21 were municipalities and the municipalities had a territory and there were
22 courts and so forth. Now, there must be areas where all that did not
23 apply because it did not belong to Herceg-Bosna, although it was on the
24 territory, but outside the area. That's what we are told. How did you
25 know where were the blank spots on the map?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For instance, I have already been
2 testifying about the municipal court in Mostar so I'll take that as an
3 illustration. It covered the areas of Mostar, Citluk and Nevesinje.
4 This is probably a typical example. The municipality of Nevesinje
5 under the control of the Army of Republika Srpska, Citluk was under the
6 control of the HVO, and Mostar was for a part of the time under the HVO
7 control and then subsequently it was split into two parts.
8 You're asking me now how it was implemented. Well, I could do
9 whatever I wanted, but to try and implement the law on regular courts in
10 the area of the Nevesinje municipality would have been a folly. I could
11 not have done that. Who was I or the other two or three associates
12 working with me to go there and try and coax them or force them into
13 accepting the fact that we would now be adjudicating their cases? This
14 was not the way I could have done. I did what was realistically
15 possible. I gave you one example that I believe is quite characteristic.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Was Nevesinje on the part of Herceg-Bosna?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was not --
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Then it's not in the area and not in the
19 territory. We are only interested in places which were in the supposed
20 territory but not in the area. And I think I'll leave it at that but it
21 seems that you have not given us any source where it would have been
22 possible to look up in a book, in a register, and say this belongs to the
23 area and that does not belong to the area. Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome. Can I now please
25 answer? It is true, however, it's also true, that Nevesinje was part of
1 the territory under the jurisdiction of the municipal court in Mostar and
2 we took over that part of the law as our own.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, further to the
4 questions that were put but still something different, we know that
5 Zoran Perkovic will come and testify here. Therefore we will be able to
6 put all relevant questions to him. However, if I correctly understand
7 how the system worked, how those decrees worked, it seems that the
8 commission for regulations which was led by Mr. Perkovic was established
9 and started functioning or functioned between January and June 1993.
10 Based on Mr. Perkovic's report, and we will ask him for some
11 explanation on that report, he states in that report that they had some
12 difficulties to work because there was a president, Mr. Perkovic, and
13 three members in that commission. Among those three members, two were
14 nominated to be -- to become members of the Supreme Court so there were
15 four at the beginning but only two in the end worked. So they ran into
16 difficulties. However, I see that in that commission, there were two
17 legal entities, because those people were nominated to become members of
18 the Supreme Court. From that moment onwards, people who were working on
19 the decrees were supposed to be specialists.
20 Afterwards there was one president and two members. When I found
21 out how this commission was composed, I wondered what the composition
22 was. According to your knowledge, were there Croats and Muslims who were
23 part of this commission or were there only Croats or only Muslims, or was
24 it a mixed composition? How was the commission made up? Because this
25 commission played an important role, it gave advice and contributed to
1 the drafting of texts, we will ask Mr. Perkovic about that. So in
2 coordination with various departments they worked together and afterwards
3 those decrees were supposed to be signed by Mr. Boban.
4 Then at the department level, there was the implementation of
5 those decrees. You managed to implement some of those decrees, including
6 those on the courts. You implemented those decrees. But it seems that
7 most of the job was done by that commission. As far as you know, was
8 this a multi-ethnic commission? Were the members of the commission the
9 ones to whom we should put those questions?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree, but I want to highlight
11 the following thing. The Muslim Vahid Vlahovic [phoen] was in the
12 initial period on the commission. Perkovic was appointed only later on.
13 Now, throughout the existence of the HZ HB, the commission had members of
14 Bosniak Muslim and Croat ethnicities. So the presidents also changed.
15 First there was Vlahovic and then Perkovic and throughout that period as
16 members, both the Bosniaks and Croats were represented. If Mr. Perkovic
17 is due to appear as a witness here, then he will provide you with
18 evidence that will be more authentic than what I can give you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this
20 clarification. This is very relevant, because now we know that this was
21 a mixed commission, with Croat and Muslim members. But you were in
22 charge of the department of administration and justice, and you
23 implemented these regulations. You were not the one who drafted them.
24 You implemented them.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct. The regulations
1 that pertained to the judicial system, I was duty-bound to implement them
2 as the head of the department. To be more specific or to simplify
3 matters it was my task to set up a functioning judicial system, a
4 functioning judiciary, so that it could function as a whole. So all the
5 regulations that pertained to that area, it was my duty to implement them
6 and to make sure that the civilian judiciary could function properly and
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One final question: In the
9 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 same lines as what happens in other states. So I'd like to know whether
11 this was a judicial control of decrees. If a decree was found to be
12 going against the law, against the constitution, was there a mechanism in
13 place to challenge this decree on a legal basis?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes. There was an
15 institution, both the republican and the federal court, constitutional
16 court, and there was this possibility. Whoever considered that a
17 regulation or a bylaw was contrary to the constitution or any provisions
18 thereof were contrary to the federal constitution, they could lodge a
19 complaint before the federal constitutional court of Yugoslavia; and if
20 they thought that it was contrary to the constitution of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, then a complaint could be lodged before the
22 constitutional court of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So the constitutional court
23 was part of the control mechanism that verified whether all the legal
24 acts, any regulations or by-laws or even statutes of the companies were
25 in line with the constitution.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if I understand correctly,
2 the decree could be challenged, thanks to a judicial mechanism. Let me
3 repeat my question because it has not been translated. If I understand
4 correctly, it was possible to challenge decrees, anyone was able to do
5 so, anyone believing that the decree was illegal. There was a mechanism
6 in place to allow for these decrees to be challenged?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, did not at one point the constitutional
9 court made a ruling about the legality of the foundation of HZ HB?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That is correct, Your Honour,
11 but I would like to note here that I learned about this decision as late
12 as in 1996.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I do not want to challenge this, but how big are
14 the chances that the court, a court, and you have not spoken unless I
15 have misunderstood of another constitutional court, that a constitutional
16 court would declare a decree as lawful if it's the decree of an entity
17 which itself, rightly or wrongly, the court has declared not to be a
18 lawful entity? I see Mr. Karnavas would like to answer the question. I
19 put the question to the witness and I don't think it's an unfair
21 MR. KARNAVAS: It's a very fair question. But what is unfair, no
22 disrespect to the Bench, is putting tremendous time constraints on me
23 that I cannot go into issues only for the Bench, then, to take over
24 before the Prosecution even does his cross-examination. These are very
25 legitimate questions.
1 The problem I have is either I choose to put in documents or
2 discuss issues. And you put me in a position where effectively, I'm
3 being ineffective to my client because I don't have time to develop these
4 issues and now you're asking these questions when I should have asked
5 them but I had no time. But I agree with you and I invite to you look at
6 the Kordic trial transcript because that issue was covered extensively
7 through this gentleman. But I just wish to put my marker on, again,
8 because at the conclusion of today's hearing, I want five minutes to
9 renew my request for additional time to put on my case based on what I'm
10 seeing here today. These are legitimate questions, you're entitled to
11 ask them but I should be asking them but I don't have the time.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I plead guilty. I've been a bit excessive this
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Those are good questions. No, these are good
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That doesn't mean that I have to put them.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, now these issues
18 have been raised, not to mention only matters of semantics or judicial or
19 legal matters. Well, you will be able to raise these issues with your
20 following witness because considering the position of the -- your next
21 witness, you will be perfectly entitled to answer any questions you might
22 have about this. And if it's not the case, then you may deal with these
23 matters with another witness. There is always this possibility. You
24 can't, with one witness, deal with everything. You have to pick and
25 choose. The Bench also has a lot of questions it could ask the witness,
1 but we try to control ourselves. We try to only go to the heart of the
2 matter, because otherwise we would need weeks, months, and we don't have
3 that time. Mr. Stringer?
4 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. I think I can inform
5 that you virtually all the issues that have been touched upon in the last
6 half an hour or so are in my outline. I am intending to raise them as
7 part of the cross-examination. What I'd like to do before the break is
8 perhaps try to finish off, if possible, this last issue on the
9 territorial aspect.
10 Q. And I believe, Mr. Buntic, in front of you --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stringer, you just said
12 that the matters we have raised are part of the outline -- of your
13 outline. If you had given us your outline, then we would have seen that
14 you intended to put these questions to the witness and we may have
15 decided not to put the questions to the witness ourselves, but we had no
17 MR. STRINGER: I understand, Mr. President. I know that's how it
18 works. In a perfect world, I could give you my outline in advance but
19 that would indicate that I'm probably more organised than I really am.
20 Cross-examination, I think, requires a bit more spontaneity because you
21 don't ultimately know what the questions are going to be until you hear
22 the direct examination, until you hear the witness give you his answers,
23 and so I actually -- I have a plan but it's probably not something that
24 would be of use to you in advance.
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: But, Mr. Stringer, you're not listening to our
1 good questions and afterwards you invent that you had them in your plan
2 and were going to put them yourself, do you?
3 MR. STRINGER: That's not true because you're going to see the
4 documents in the binders that relate to those questions.
5 Q. Mr. Buntic, I think that you should have in front of you one of
6 the first exhibits that I showed you yesterday, which is 1D 01607,
7 minutes of the HVO Presidency meeting of 5 May 1993. Do you see that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And this was the document I showed you yesterday in which you and
10 the others had approved the minutes of the earlier meeting of the 35th
11 session, which you had said were erroneous. Do you recall that being the
13 A. Yes. I do.
14 Q. Okay. Very quickly, just turning to the agenda here that's
15 proposed by Dr. Prlic for this, the 37th session of the HVO, would you
16 agree with me, Mr. Buntic, that there are references, numerous
17 references, in this document to the territory, "teritoriju," of the
18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna? I'm looking at items 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
19 8, of the agenda, as well as item 2 on the next page. And then again
20 it's references to the territory of Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
21 found in items A and B under item 3. So again, I don't intend to cite
22 them all but would you agree with me, sir, that this document makes
23 numerous references to territory of the Croatian Community of
24 Herceg-Bosna? It's a yes-or-no question.
25 A. I cannot give you a yes or no as my answer.
1 Q. The question is do you see the word territory, "teritoriju," in
2 that document, in these places that I've indicated? Do you see the word
4 A. Yes, I see this word, but the proper question would be to list
5 all the documents passed by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
6 then ascertain in how many of those documents one word is used and in how
7 many the other is used. And as I've already explained, if the term
8 territory was used, it was used in contravention of the decision on the
9 establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, so it was used
10 because -- but it was illegal, unlawful, because it was contrary to the
11 terminology used in the decision on the establishment of the
12 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
13 Q. The next exhibit I'd like to direct you to is in binder number 4.
14 It is 1D 02253. 2253. Earlier in your testimony, you told us about the
15 Croatian community in Teslic, which is in, I believe, north-central
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and there was some text in there, I think you looked
17 at this exhibit during your direct examination, there was some text in
18 there that I found interesting. Could you read for us, sir, the very
19 first paragraph of this document, just read it out loud in your language?
20 A. "Article 1: The following administrative offices shall be
21 formed to deal with administrative affairs in the 'podrucje,' area or
22 territory of the Croatian part of the municipality."
23 Q. Okay, you just read Article 1. Which as you've indicated makes
24 reference to the Croatian part. I wanted also, actually, for you to read
25 the very first passage beginning with the words, "Pursuant to the
1 statutory decision," which appear just under the date.
2 A. Fine. Yes. I received interpretation to read Article 1 and you
3 want me to read the preamble. "Pursuant to the statutory decision on the
4 temporary establishment of the executive government and administration in
5 the 'podrucje,' area or territory, of the Croatian part of the Teslic
6 municipality, the Teslic HVO, Teslic Komusina HVO hereby issues the
8 Q. Okay. So now we see in the preamble and also in Article 1 that
9 the people who wrote this document expressly, explicitly, indicated that
10 the area covered by this decision was the Croatian part of the
11 municipality, the Croatian part. So this is my question: Isn't it true,
12 Mr. Buntic, that had you and the others who wrote that amended decision
13 establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, if you had wanted to
14 indicate in Article 2 that it applied only to the Croatian parts of those
15 municipalities, you could very easily have done so just like the people
16 who wrote this decision in Teslic?
17 A. It is quite apparent that in the decision on the establishment of
18 the HZ HB, and in this decision, the explicit term that is used is
19 "podrucje." So no fundamental act speaks about the territory but --
20 "teritorij" but only about "podrucje." So these are fundamental legal
21 instruments and all the other legal acts or instruments have to be in
22 line with them, because they are of a lesser rank legally speaking.
23 Q. And this document, it refers explicitly to the Croatian part,
24 "podrucje Hrvatskog" [phoen] whereas your decision does not refer to the
25 Croatian part of those municipalities, correct?
1 A. I do accept this difference.
2 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, now is a good time for the break.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to break for 20
5 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to
8 Mr. Stringer, I would like to turn to Mr. Karnavas. With respect to the
9 following witnesses, we are currently in the following situation. The
10 Prosecutor will probably complete the cross-examination of the witness
11 tomorrow. I do not know how long it will take for you to put your
12 additional questions for re-examination. Then we have Mr. Kovacic who
13 requested six hours for Mr. Perkovic plus three hours for the other
14 Defence counsel, six hours for cross-examination by the Prosecution, that
15 is a total of 15 hours. In other words, next week we can't possibly
16 complete the testimony of Mr. Perkovic because Mr. Zuzul is scheduled to
17 come back on Tuesday, and unless I'm mistaken, he should be
18 cross-examined during five hours.
19 So as things stand now, we may start with Mr. Perkovic on Friday,
20 then we would continue with him on Monday, then we would have Mr. Zuzul
21 because we asked him to come on Tuesday. Then we would resume
22 Mr. Perkovic's testimony and if we can't complete it, then Mr. Perkovic
23 will have to come back in August after recess because I see no way of us
24 being able to complete his examination or his testimony, but you may have
25 some -- something to add to this, some light to shed on this. You may be
1 able to reassure us, Mr. Karnavas.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I wish I could reassure you, Your Honours.
3 I can tell you that I am rather dumbstruck at the fact that here we have
4 this gentleman here for such a long time on the stand and yet we are
5 nowhere near finishing him. I understand the Bench has lots of
6 questions. My colleagues on this side took their time as well and asked
7 for additional time. Be that as it may, we are running into a problem.
8 Now, Mr. Perkovic is -- works for the Ministry of
9 Foreign Affairs. He's not some junior clerk. We have been -- he's
10 been -- he holds very important positions, and the Minister of
11 Foreign Affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina has been kind enough and gracious
12 enough to extend his stay here next week, part of next week, because of
13 the importance of this case. However, now I must say that I don't see
14 how I can do both Mr. Perkovic and at the same time bring back Mr. Zuzul
15 if we are going to continue at this pace.
16 Frankly, I don't mind if we spend two weeks with any particular
17 witness or with all the other witnesses. For me it doesn't make a
18 difference. I just -- for planning purposes, however, it does cause me a
19 problem. And I should note that during the Prosecution's case, we wanted
20 witnesses to be in The Hague
21 accommodated because of course the witnesses have their own particular
22 schedules and we can't force people to stay here longer than they want to
24 I need to do some thinking. I certainly don't want to put on
25 Mr. Perkovic only to bring him back. I can tell you witnesses are not
1 happy when they are here for a long time waiting. I can also tell you,
2 and I don't think that the Judges fully appreciate this, that every day I
3 have to get ready, which means every day I get up at 4.00 to get ready
4 and it's like I'm getting ready for a race that I never get to run. And
5 there is the adrenalin rush and then there is the adrenalin rush down and
6 every day I'm having to re-prepare and I can tell you, it is exhausting.
7 I'm not complaining I'm just telling you how this works for those of us
8 who really take this job seriously.
9 I will just need to do the numbers and see whether we can do
10 Mr. Perkovic. I certainly don't want to start him only to bring him back
11 again because, one, it gives the Prosecution more time to dig up stuff
12 and I understand that they do actively do that and that's their -- I
13 would do the same thing. That's number 1. Number 2, I don't want to
14 inconvenience the gentleman any more than I have to.
15 With respect to Mr. Zuzul, I don't think that we could again call
16 him up and say, you know, how is your schedule in the fall? So I will
17 have an answer for the Court -- tomorrow is what, Thursday? Thursday. I
18 can have a -- I'll have to meet with the next witness, Mr. Perkovic, and
19 ask him and see what his -- how accommodating he can be. I can certainly
20 tell you that it's not a comfortable feeling having to tell a witness
21 this kind of bad news. So any way, but I will do my very best and I will
23 We have 120, 130 documents approximately. We are trying to
24 narrow them down. We thought we might be able to do the gentleman in
25 four or five hours. It's almost impossible, especially when I hear the
1 questions from the Bench and the questions are legitimate questions.
2 These are important questions. These are issues that I think should have
3 been raised a year and a half ago but they weren't. Now we are raising
4 them. So I don't want to short change Dr. Prlic. I don't want to rush
5 through this but I will have to get back to you Your Honours tomorrow
6 because I just don't want to make a snap decision. We don't do this, I
7 have to consult with Ms. Tomanovic, she's the backbone of the Defence
8 team even though you probably don't notice it and I don't make decisions
9 without consulting with Ms. Tomanovic. And, of course, I have to consult
10 with Dr. Prlic who also is very engaged in assisting in his own defence.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Karnavas, with
12 respect to Mr. Zuzul, as you know he's scheduled to arrive on Sunday by
13 plane. If we decide to postpone his testimony to August and September,
14 we should notify him immediately because he's probably packing at this
15 very minute. It's Wednesday today. If we tell him that we are going to
16 postpone his cross-examination to August or September, we have to notify
17 him immediately because he probably has commitments or he may go on
18 vacation in September. So if you decide that Mr. Zuzul is not going to
19 come back next week, he should be notified as quickly as possible.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree with you. And my preference would be to
21 deal with Mr. Zuzul now that he's already set the time aside, but perhaps
22 I can get back to you after the break. I don't want to make any rash
23 decisions at this point in time so we will either decide to postpone
24 Mr. Zuzul, if he's accommodating, if he's able to accommodate us, that
25 is, otherwise we will take him. And then I will have to deal with
1 Mr. Perkovic and see whether we either are going to postpone him until
2 after the break or truncate it. I don't know at this point in time and I
3 don't want to be in a position where I make a decision, I make a promise
4 and then I don't keep it. We are very deliberate in our approach,
5 extremely deliberate. We spend a lot of time putting this case together.
6 It may not show it but we have. And I just need to do the numbers, I
7 need to look at the documents, I need to consult with my team, and so at
8 least with Mr. Zuzul let me have until the next break to try to figure
9 something out.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, just one
12 additional explanation since we are now trying to agree how we are going
13 to work until the beginning of our summer recess. When we are talking
14 about Mr. Zuzul I have had the feeling that we only keep in mind the
15 cross-examination for the -- by the Prosecution, and let me remind you
16 that the Petkovic Defence already started its cross-examination, that we
17 were ceded time by other Defence teams and according to my records, we
18 have slightly less than two hours left. I can try to cut down my
19 cross-examination as much as possible in order to contribute to the
20 expeditiousness of our dealings with this witness but please bear in mind
21 that the Petkovic Defence has to cross-examine too.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I may have overheard
24 this or, rather, not heard this but please keep in mind that once
25 Mr. Buntic is done as the Defence witness called by Prlic, we will have
1 some more time for him.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. That's why I asked the
3 question. Okay, Mr. Buntic, how are you? Are you all right? Because
4 two weeks, that's quite a long period of time, isn't it?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Fine.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have the floor,
7 Mr. Stringer.
8 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Just to follow up on
9 the last discussion, it's not that it is a major factor, I think the
10 Prosecution's view would be that if we were able to finish the testimony
11 of Mr. Zuzul before the summer break so that he doesn't have to come back
12 later, that would be preferable to having him extend out a longer period
13 of time in order to accommodate Mr. Perkovic. So, again, we understand
14 all of the scheduling difficulties that counsel is encountering but I
15 think we certainly would like to finish off the one witness who is
16 already begun his testimony before we begin another witness.
17 Q. Mr. Buntic, just a quick question and it doesn't relate to a
18 document, although if you want to go back to the amended decision
19 establishing Herceg-Bosna, you can go look at that, but we have been
20 talking about Article 2, which has the listing of the municipalities and
21 I understand that you were not involved in the drafting of the original
22 decision from November of 1991 on the establishment of Herceg-Bosna. You
23 were involved in drafting the amended decision. What do you know about
24 the selection of the municipalities that are listed in Article 2?
25 A. What was the criterion for the decision to list those
1 municipalities in Article 2, the areas of those municipalities? I cannot
2 tell you with any certainty but on the basis of the criteria or, rather,
3 the structure of those municipalities, I think that these are the
4 municipalities where Croats are in the relative majority or at least the
5 second-largest population there. So if you analyse those municipalities,
6 if you analyse the ethnic composition of the population there, I think
7 that these were the criteria, so I cannot really be 100 per cent certain,
8 but I can say with some degree of certainty that this was the criterion.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Before the next question, Mr. President, if
10 Ms. Tomanovic could be excused from the courtroom to sort of take care of
11 some technical issues regarding the last matter.
12 MR. STRINGER:
13 Q. Mr. Buntic, are you familiar with the concept of what we all call
14 the Croatian Banovina, the area that was formed in 1939?
15 A. I think that I do have some knowledge of that, but I will also
16 like to state before this Trial Chamber that the Croatian Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna was not -- did not cover the same area as the
18 Croatian Banovina, as you can see from this document, the last document
19 that we looked at. I don't want to go into any other documents but the
20 last document we had, the decision establishing the departments for the
21 Teslic Komusina municipality. The second example would be Usora, the
22 third example would be the Croatian Community of Soli, so Zepce, areas
23 that were nowhere near close to the borders of the Croatian Banovina.
24 Not only were they not part of the banovina, they were also not close to
1 Q. Well, I understand that those areas up in the north and the east
2 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Soli, Teslic, Posavina, those did not fall within
3 the territory or the area of the 1939 banovina, but I'm not talking about
4 those. I'm talking about the municipalities listed in Article 2 of the
5 decision establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. I'm not
6 talking about any of the other Croatian communities. Herceg-Bosna, is it
7 true, sir, that the selection of those municipalities was related or
8 based significantly on the territory of the Croatian Banovina of 1939?
9 A. No.
10 Q. All right. The next document that I want to direct you to is in
11 binder number 1. It's Exhibit P 00289. And just to introduce the
12 document, we are -- we started with, and we are still looking at a couple
13 of the documents that come from the Presidency meeting that occurred on
14 the 3rd of July, 1992, and this is another of the decrees that was issued
15 during the course of the Presidency meeting that occurred on 3 July of
16 1992. So do you have that document in front of you, the decree on armed
17 forces of the HZ HB?
18 A. I found it.
19 Q. And were you involved in drafting this document?
20 A. As part of the group drafting this document, yes.
21 Q. All right. Now, a couple questions about various parts of this.
22 Directing your attention to Article 1, well, first of all, let me ask you
23 this: This decree on armed forces, was this document intended to
24 regulate the organisation of the military side or the armed side of the
1 A. Yes, you're right.
2 Q. And in Article 1, it provides that the decree regulates the
3 rights and the duties of citizens and competencies of the
4 Croatian Defence Council, administrative bodies and legal entities and
5 defending the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the
6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Now if you skip down to Article 3
7 you'll see another reference to territorial integrity of the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And the concept or the term is used
9 elsewhere in this document. But let me just ask you -- I'm looking at
10 Article 36 as well, although you don't have to -- you don't have to look
11 at Article 36, if you'll accept my representation.
12 Now, Judge Trechsel asked you a couple of questions getting to
13 the issue of the legislation of Herceg-Bosna and what parts of the
14 territories or the areas the legislation would apply to. My question is
15 an analogous question and that's this: Based on your description of the
16 territory or the area of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, it seems
17 to me, sir, that the military component of the HVO would not know or
18 would have difficulty even in knowing what territory it's supposed to be
19 fighting for and defending. Would you agree with me, sir? Based on your
20 definition of territory?
21 A. I would, in part. However, at the same time, I stated before
22 this Tribunal that municipal staffs and municipal HVOs were set up. In
23 other words, these were organisational units of the Croatian Defence
24 Council in certain areas of municipalities. Where the HVO was
25 established for the area of the entire municipality or for an area of the
1 municipality where Croats were the predominant population, those areas
2 were considered areas of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
3 regardless of whether they were included in or listed in Article 2 of the
4 decision establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, because
5 based on the evidence led before this Tribunal, it is quite evident and
6 clear that there existed areas of municipalities which were not listed in
7 the decision establishing the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, but
8 which at a later date, joined the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
9 Let me remind you and this Honourable Trial Chamber that
10 Article 252 of the constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which imposes not
11 only the right but also the duty and the obligation of every people and
12 every member of ethnicity to defend the territorial integrity and
13 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In other words, it is not only a
14 constitutional right but also an obligation on the part of every people
15 to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina and its territorial integrity. The HVO,
16 according to that constitutional -- it had to comply with the
17 constitution. This was a provision of the constitution which was an
18 obligation on the part of the citizens. It was a constitutional norm,
19 not some inexistent law. And the most -- or the strictest of penalties
20 were prescribed for its violation.
21 Q. And as you said in your direct testimony, sir, this obligation
22 under the constitution of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina applied at
23 the municipal level, correct? Municipalities had an obligation?
24 A. The municipalities had, but also every people and every ethnic
1 Q. All right.
2 A. They had the duty, not only the right, to do so.
3 Q. So the obligation and the unit was at the municipal level, not at
4 the parts of the municipal level, correct?
5 A. Correct. Once again, though, I'm invoking Article 252 of the
6 constitution where such an obligation is laid out on the part of the
7 people as such, not only citizens. Article 252 of the constitution of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina is very precise and clear in its terms.
9 Q. Would you agree with me, sir, that this decree on armed forces
10 that we are looking at makes no such distinction as between
11 municipalities or parts of municipalities?
12 A. I would agree with you, yes.
13 Q. And going back to that map we looked at a little while ago of the
14 ethnic composition in Gornji Vakuf, now, again, just from the military
15 aspect, what parts of this municipality were covered or subject to the
16 terms of this decree on armed forces?
17 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I'm afraid I might make a mistake by delineating
18 the areas where there were Bosniak or Croat individuals or armies. For
19 instance, I couldn't recall a moment ago what the situation was in
20 Gornji Vakuf. I believe that the HVO was in Uskoplje. I couldn't
21 remember the name of the village before. So I dare not draw the line
22 separating the areas controlled by the HVO on the one side and the
23 BH Army or the Muslim side on the other. I believe that the Tribunal
24 will have an opportunity to hear witnesses on this matter.
25 I placed myself at the disposal of this Tribunal and of the
1 Prosecution to answer all the questions about the army for the period
2 while I was a member of the army, until the 20th of June 1992, and to
3 answer all the questions about the fighting and the conflicts in that
4 area until the 20th of June, 1992. Beyond that, I am afraid I could only
5 provide answers that could be prejudicial or detrimental to either side.
6 Q. Well, is it your testimony, then, sir, that the terms of this
7 decree on armed forces only applied to the territories held by the HVO?
8 A. In principle, there was no possibility in reality to have it
9 apply in other areas. We could have written whatever we wanted, but the
10 fact of the matter is that one has jurisdiction over the part of an area
11 where one is able to exercise one's powers, where such powers cannot be
12 exercised or enforced, you have no jurisdiction in that area, regardless
13 of what the regulations might say.
14 Q. All right. Article 3 also makes reference to the citizens of the
15 Croatian community?
16 JUDGE PRANDLER: [Microphone not activated]
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for His Honour.
18 JUDGE PRANDLER: I believe it is only a question of translation
19 that the witness mentioned that I placed -- and I quote, "I placed myself
20 at the disposal of this Tribunal and of the Prosecution to answer all the
21 questions about the army for the period while I was a member of the army,
22 until the 20th of June 1992." And then it is continued. I wonder if is
23 it correct that you were a member of the army until 20th of June, 1992?
24 It is what you have said, because I believe you left the army before
25 that, but I'm not sure. I'm just asking.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I answered that
2 question already, and I believe I was quite clear at the time. My formal
3 appointment to the post of the head of the justice and general
4 administration department took effect on the 15th of May, 1992. I also
5 said at the time that I requested that I be allowed to discharge my
6 military duty until such time as the Lipanjski Zora action was completed,
7 because I had already taken part in the preparation of the action. This
8 is the action where Mostar, Stolac and a large part of Herzegovina was
9 liberated. The action ended sometime around the 20th of June at which
10 time I reported for my duty as head of the justice and general
11 administration department.
12 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. Buntic, it was then my fault that
13 I didn't remember exactly about the month. Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
15 MR. STRINGER:
16 Q. Mr. Buntic, I wanted to ask you about the reference here to
17 citizens of Herceg-Bosna. Who were the citizens? Were they the people
18 living in the green dots, the red dots, or all the dots? Were they the
19 people living within the entirety of a municipality or just a part of a
21 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I believe we are running in circles because you
22 keep coming back to the questions the answers to which I believe I've
23 already given. You can put hundreds of questions to me and I will give
24 you the same answers hundreds of times, the same or similar answers. I
25 told you that I am not able to draw the borders of Herceg-Bosna for you
1 and tell you that these were the borders of Herceg-Bosna, when
2 Herceg-Bosna did not have any borders and they did not exist. I cannot
3 do that because they simply did not exist. I find this quite
4 unbelievable, frankly. Borders did not exist and I was quite clear on
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Perhaps there may be some misunderstanding. If
7 Mr. Buntic could read in Croatian what Article 3 starts to say because as
8 I'm told, it doesn't say citizens. It says residents. And I do believe
9 that there is a distinct -- this is what I'm told by Ms. Tomanovic but I
10 think there is a -- well, I mean, this is her language. So ... but if
11 Mr. Buntic could read it that might clear up some of the misunderstanding
12 that's going on right now.
13 MR. STRINGER:
14 Q. Mr. Buntic, would you read the first sentence of Article 3 out
15 loud in your language, please?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We don't have the text on
17 our screens.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Every citizen of the HZ HB shall
19 have the duty to protect and defend the independence and territorial
20 integrity of the HZ HB and in particular" --
21 MR. STRINGER:
22 Q. Okay. And just would you read the first sentence of Article 4?
23 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies but let me not
24 testify. Can the witness state the difference between the word
25 "gradjanin" and "stanovnik"? "Gradjanin," citizen, and "stanovnik,"
1 resident, or between "drzavljanin," national, and "stanovnik," resident.
2 MR. STRINGER: Before the witness does that, Mr. President, I'm
3 going to object. We've got highly skilled, professional people
4 interpreting for us in the booth who have done this in this case, who
5 have translated the documents in this case for years. They are the ones
6 who decide what are the words. It's not counsel and it's not the
7 witness, and I'm sure Mr. Buntic as someone who has organised courts
8 would agree. It's not the witnesses and the parties who decide what are
9 the words. It's the professionals in the booths. We are getting the
10 words from them and no one else. And I think we have to accept that even
11 if we don't like the words that we get.
12 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies, I have to object to
13 what the Prosecutor just said. I have to object because with all due
14 respect for the interpreters, they are not lawyers. Words are of utmost
15 importance to us lawyers. The legal meaning of the word "drzavljanin"
16 and "gradjanin" in my language is different. There is a large difference
17 in legal terms. I'm not saying that the interpreters are poor
18 interpreters but this can be of utmost importance for us lawyers.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic?
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I really would like to refrain from
21 testifying but I have to give my full support to what my learned friend
22 has just said. All due credit to the interpreters but they are not
23 lawyers. We know what the legal meaning of certain words is. In the
24 Croatian language, if this regulation wanted to refer to the word
25 "drzavljanin," national, then they would have used that word. They used
1 a different word, which has broader meaning and includes residents among
2 other things. Our legalese does not speak of -- [In English] citizenship
3 then there is a specific term, legal term "drzavljanin." This term is
4 not used here. Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: What does the term mean, then? I mean, Witness,
6 can you explain this?
7 MR. KOVACIC: I can.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, no. I think you're not the witness. I'm
9 sorry, I still know the difference although it's getting late.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, could you provide us
11 with an answer? Because in French, because the French language is very
12 subtle. A citizen and a resident is not the same, so how would you
13 define the word "gradjanin" as mentioned in Article 3?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there is a very
15 material difference. The word "gradjanin" has a far broader meaning, and
16 scope. For instance, in the Croatian language, if we say "gradjanin,"
17 that can mean a person who lives in a certain town. "Gradjanin" can also
18 mean a member or a resident of a municipality. "Gradjanin" is a broad
19 term used in -- as part of the phrase "svi gradjanin," "all gradjani,"
20 meaning the community at large, whereas the term "drzavljanin" is a
21 purely legal term. It has its legal meaning, which denotes a member who
22 has the citizenship of a certain state. So this is a strictly legal
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please spell the
25 word -- the second word that you used, which denotes that it is a legal
1 term applying to a national -- the national of a state?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] D-r-z-a-v-l-j-a-n-i-n. I don't
3 know if I have to repeat what I said about that word. In legal terms,
4 this word denotes a member of a state.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's use an example. If you
6 have a Japanese living in Citluk, that individual would be qualified as a
7 "gradjanin," right? We agree on that, don't we?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If a Japanese lives in Citluk, then
9 that individual would be "gradjanin" of Citluk but "drzavljanin" of
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. And he would be liable to military
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In practice, nobody has ever
14 compelled a Japanese, not even a Bosniak or a Serb, to serve in the HVO.
15 I'm not aware of a single such case. But I am aware of -- and I know
16 of -- numerous volunteers of both Serb and Muslim ethnicities who joined
17 the HVO units.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We are not talking about volunteers. We are
19 talking about a legislative text and what it means and we are not talking
20 about borders either. I think we have been a bit led astray. I don't
21 know what this difference in terms means. But we have legislation which
22 is the basis for a duty to do military service. And you have told us
23 that even between Citluk and Ljubuski they were jealous and only people
24 from their own municipality were called to do military service. Do you
25 agree? Do you agree?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree, and this is the way things
2 worked for a long time while the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
3 existed. The mobilisation was organised by each and every municipality
4 on their own initiative and they had their own commands, respective
5 commands. This decree was intended to organise things differently, to
6 set up a joint staff which would be able to command over all these
7 armies. Such a possibility had not existed before this decree was
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think the Prosecutor should go on and perhaps
10 ask the question again because the answer was to a question that was not
12 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Let me try to ask a similar question. I'm going to try to avoid
14 terminology that is subject to confusion or dispute. Setting aside the
15 word citizen or resident, and setting aside whether or not the
16 legislation was applied or implemented, I want to talk about the
17 intention of this legislation, and to whom it applied. Did the decree on
18 armed forces apply to Muslims living in Herceg-Bosna?
19 A. By virtue of the definition contained in the decree, yes.
20 Q. All right.
21 A. The decree speaks of citizens, not of ethnicities or anything
22 else. If we interpret it the way it was written, and as it is, then the
23 answer is yes.
24 Q. All right. So it applies to Muslims living in Herceg-Bosna. But
25 as you've indicated, Herceg-Bosna here, as you're using the term, applies
1 only to Croatian or Croat areas within municipalities, correct?
2 A. That's correct, and I did speak along those lines.
3 Q. Okay. So again, going back to Gornji Vakuf as an example, a
4 Muslim who is living in a red circle is subject to the decree on armed
5 forces, but a Croat who is living in a green circle is not subject to the
6 decree on armed forces? Is that your testimony, sir?
7 A. I didn't state anything of the sort. This is a new question and
8 a new topic. I have so far given no answer on that matter. This is
9 something new. I said what the contents of the decree are, the way it
10 has been written. I told you that I cannot speak about Gornji Vakuf,
11 where the fighting was, where Croats lived or where Bosniaks lived. You
12 have the map in front of you. I cannot speak to that. I cannot speak in
13 terms of green and red dots.
14 What would have happened had we not issued the decree? Why don't
15 you answer -- why don't you put that question? The Defence did not put
16 that question. Why don't you? What would have happened had we not
17 issued this decree? The entire Bosnia-Herzegovina would have been
18 occupied and everything would have fallen through. We have prevented the
19 aggression in part of the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 question would answer many of the questions you have, not the one you put
21 to me.
22 Q. Well, perhaps you and I have different views of what's relevant
23 and important to the Trial Chamber. I'm entitled to ask my questions to
24 you, and as a witness it's your duty, sir, to answer them. And with
25 respect, sir, it's not you who decides what I'm to ask or it's not for
1 you to decide what's relevant. Can we agree on that?
2 A. I agree but it is my right to provide an answer and many times
3 you bereave me of that right. You interrupt me and then you go back to
4 what you never allowed me to answer. So, this has happened a number of
5 times, Mr. Prosecutor.
6 Q. Well, you were the head of the department of justice and general
7 administration for Herceg-Bosna, you were present at the Presidency
8 meeting on the 3rd of July, 1992, you told us that you were involved in
9 drafting this document?
10 A. That's correct. That's correct.
11 Q. And yet, sir, it seems to me that you cannot tell us who fell
12 under the terms of this order, who were the people that it applied to.
13 A. To the "gradjani" of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
14 Mr. Prosecutor, this is what it says in this document.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may take the opportunity just to mention one
16 thing, Mr. Perkovic has indicated that he cannot be available all next
17 week, and therefore, I think it would be best to make arrangements for
18 the gentleman to leave tomorrow. It might be good to contact the Witness
19 and Victims Section so they can make arrangements for the gentleman to
21 Having said that, I know that the other gentleman who is about to
22 testify on Monday, he's coming in on Sunday, but I believe he's flying
23 over the Atlantic
24 know we scheduled all day but if it's at all possible it might be more
25 prudent to start in the afternoon because I do know that it's a lengthy
1 flight and taking the stand, being under oath, being under pressure, and
2 then, of course, we do have all the way until Thursday so there'll be
3 plenty of time. But that's something for the Trial Chamber to consider
4 with respect to Mr. Zuzul, but I would most respectfully request for
5 Mr. Perkovic to be allowed to go and arrangements to be made for his
6 departure tomorrow.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right, so your wish is for
8 Mr. Perkovic to go now and he will come back here at a later date, that
9 you will organise with him. Then we won't be sitting on Monday morning
10 to hear Mr. Zuzul. Of course, he will be jet-lagged. I can understand
11 that very well. And we'll start in the afternoon on Monday. I'm going
12 to turn to the registrar to ask him to get in touch immediately with the
13 Victims and Witnesses Unit for Mr. Perkovic to be able to go home very
15 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
17 MR. STRINGER: If I could just to make sure I understand, we
18 understand correctly, Mr. Perkovic will be leaving, he'll come back at
19 another time. Mr. Zuzul will begin his testimony on Monday afternoon and
20 after he's finished his testimony next week, then we will be on summer
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Absolutely. And that won't be
23 too soon.
24 MR. STRINGER:
25 Q. Mr. Buntic, if I could ask you to turn to Article 11 of this
1 decree on armed forces, one quick question: There is a reference here to
2 the General Staff as being established within the Defence department. Do
3 you see that?
4 A. Well, I can't see this in Article 1. I do apologise. I don't
5 know what Article you are referring to. I got interpretation -- the
6 interpretation I got indicated that you want me to look at Article 1 and
7 you probably meant another Article.
8 Q. Article 11.
9 A. Fine. That's the interpretation I got now. Article 11 would
10 read as follows: "For the --"
11 Q. It's okay. You don't have to read it. If you can just take a
12 look and tell us there is a reference to the General Staff being
13 established within the Defence department. Do you see that?
14 A. That would appear to be the case, if we look at this Article.
15 Q. Okay. Do you recall that was the case that the General Staff of
16 the military side of the HVO was within the jurisdiction of the Defence
18 A. Not in practice. This decree was amended by the decree on the
19 armed forces of the 17th of October, 1992, which means that it was in
20 force for a very short time only and I would say that it was implemented
21 to a small extent because it was quite soon amended or supplanted by the
22 other decree of the 17th of October, 1992, but I can say that the
23 Main Staff never functioned in practice as part of the Defence
25 Q. If you could turn to Exhibit P 00303, which should be in the same
1 binder. Again, Mr. Buntic, this is another decision from the Presidency
2 meeting of 3 July 1992
3 establishment of the HVO as this executive body. Would you agree with
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. Okay. So just to sort of recap where we are in terms of the
7 organisation of the governmental structures of Herceg-Bosna, this
8 document now indicates that the HVO is the supreme executive and
9 administrative body in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, correct?
10 A. That's correct, that's correct, yes.
11 Q. I'm looking at Article 7 now, on the composition of the HVO of
12 the HZ HB, that it's to be comprised of a president, vice-presidents,
13 department heads and others. Do you see that?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. Okay. Am I -- is it correct, sir, that at this particular point
16 in time, July of 1992, we did not have vice-presidents, either of the HVO
17 or of the Presidency? The vice-presidents of the HVO came later in
19 A. That's correct. We only got the president after the session of
20 the 14th of August, 1992, and the vice-presidents after the session of
21 the 17th of October, 1992.
22 Q. Okay. And again, just to take a quick step back, Mr. Boban is
23 still, at this point in time, the president of the Croatian Community of
24 Herceg-Bosna, he is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of
25 Herceg-Bosna, and at this time he's also president of the HVO, correct?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. All right. Now if I could direct your attention to Article 9 of
3 this document, regarding the HVO, let me ask you first, Mr. Buntic, were
4 you involved in drafting the amendment of the initial decision on the
5 establishment of the HVO? Were you involved in the drafting of this
7 A. I was not involved in the drafting of this document, but as I've
8 already said, I was given this document on the first day when I assumed
9 my duties so that was around about the 20th of June. So this document
10 was then handed to me.
11 Q. Now, Article 9 here states that the HVO president shall be in
12 charge of the work of the HVO and shall be held accountable for it. Do
13 you see that?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Now, yesterday I asked you, we were looking at the initial
16 decision establishing the HVO, and that other decision had a reference to
17 the collective nature or collective responsibility of members of the HVO.
18 Do you recall that?
19 A. I think it involved both the individual and the collective. We
20 can look at the document, but I think that's how it was defined.
21 Q. Okay. And in this document, it appears that there is a shift or
22 a change in the language indicating here that the president is
23 accountable for the work of the HVO, there is no reference to a
24 collective aspect, would you agree with me?
25 A. In Article 9, yes, that's correct. The contents of Article 9 are
1 as you've just presented them.
2 Q. Okay. And now, as you've just indicated, it was at the following
3 session in August of 1992 that Mr. Prlic, then, was appointed to be the
4 president of the HVO?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. And then just to get a head a little bit in the subsequent, the
7 final meeting of the Presidency, in October, 17th of October, 1992,
8 Mr. Valenta and Mr. Zubak and one other individual, I think Mr. Ivankovic
9 were appointed to be the vice-presidents of the HVO?
10 A. That's correct. They were appointed as vice-presidents.
11 Mr. Valenta in principle operated as the head of the HVO for
12 Central Bosnia
13 Q. Okay. Would you agree with me, sir, that Article 9 here applies
14 and governs the work of the HVO from this point on the 3rd of July, 1992,
15 until the end of the Croatian Community in August of 1993, when the
16 Croatian Community became the Croatian Republic
17 A. I have to apologise for something. This document that I have in
18 front of me is the document dated the 3rd of July, 1992.
19 Q. Correct.
20 A. Is that the one? But I have to say that at first, when I was
21 shown this document, I thought it was the decision of the 15th of May,
22 and that's why I said that it was handed to me.
23 Q. All right.
24 A. This document dated the 3rd of July, and it is quite apparent
25 that this is the document that we are talking about, so what I said
1 before, it could not be handed to me on the 20th of June because it bears
2 the date of the 3rd of July.
3 Q. Right. So -- I understand that. Are you telling us that this is
4 one of the decrees that you were involved in drafting as part of the
5 Presidency meeting of 3 July 1992
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. All right. And would you agree with me, sir, that this document,
8 to the extent it describes or establishes powers and competencies and a
9 system of organisation to the HVO HZ HB, that this is the document that
10 applies to the HVO until the HVO essentially passes on its authorities to
11 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
12 A. I think that we will have another document regulating the
13 internal structure or organisation of the Croatian Defence Council, and I
14 think that this document should be seen in the context of that document.
15 And that those two documents regulate the jurisdiction and the purview of
16 the Croatian Defence Council and of its departments. So it is not only
17 this document. There are two documents that have to be looked at, the
18 interrelation between the two.
19 Q. Okay. I'm going to be asking you about a couple of other
20 documents which relate to the municipal authorities and also the rules of
21 procedure of the HVO. Are those the documents that you're referring to?
22 A. I think its title is the decision on the structure of the HVO and
23 its departments.
24 Q. Okay. Just quickly turning to Article 20 here of this document,
25 the amended decision on the HVO of the 3rd of July, 1992, this document
1 in item number 6, Article 20, refers to your department, the department
2 of justice and administration?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. Now, the next document that I'd like to show you, I believe, is
5 in binder 4. It's Exhibit number 1D 02261. And the usher will assist
6 you in getting to that one. This was one of the decisions that came from
7 one of the other Croatian communities that you talked about in your
8 direct testimony. This is the statutory decision to establish the
9 Croatian Defence Council of the Croatian Community of Bosanska Posavina.
10 Do you have that document?
11 A. Yes, I do. I have it in front of me.
12 Q. And what caught my eye in this one is part of Article 2 which
13 explicitly states that the Croatian Defence Council is to comprise
14 members of the Presidency of the HZBP, presidents of Crisis Staffs of the
15 municipalities that join, and then a representative of the Muslim people
16 from each municipality and also representatives of legal and legitimate
17 organs of civilian authority of the community.
18 Would you agree with me, sir, that this is a significant
19 difference from the structure of the Presidency of the Croatian Community
20 of Herceg-Bosna in that this instrument explicitly provides that there
21 must be a representative of the Muslim people from each municipality as
22 part of the HVO for the Bosanska Posavina whereas there is no such
23 requirement for the Presidency of Herceg-Bosna?
24 A. I can agree with you. In my testimony before this Trial Chamber,
25 when I was shown this decision, I don't know whether this was recorded in
1 the transcript, and in what way, but I think I stated that I considered
2 those solutions to be much better and more fortunate than the solutions
3 contained in the statutory decision or, rather, the decision to establish
4 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. This was a much broader and
5 clearer and more precise document, and I think that this orientation of
6 the Croatian Community of Bosnian Posavina, also in terms of its internal
7 structure, opted for some better and more fortunate solutions.
8 Q. Okay. That's an interesting point you raise, Mr. Buntic, because
9 I haven't really asked you, you know, your views today versus the views
10 or the intentions as they appear in the documents that were being written
11 back in July of 1992. And we could go back to the decree on armed forces
12 and you can look at it, if you want to, but maybe it's not necessary.
13 I'll just put my question to you and then you can look at the document
14 again if you want.
15 I'm looking at Article 43 of that initial or that decree on armed
16 forces from July of 1992, which provides that the armed forces of
17 Herceg-Bosna have their flag, and this Article specified that the flag
18 was to be the historic tri-colour Croatian flag of red, white and blue,
19 and the historic coat of arms which I think we all would recognise as the
20 very sort of classic or emblematic symbol of Croatia or of Croatian
21 people. My question is whether in retrospect or even at the time you
22 think that a Muslim person in Herceg-Bosna might have had difficulty
23 joining a military organisation which had that as its flag? Don't you
24 think such a flag is a bit provocative under the circumstances?
25 A. Now you asked me a mile-long question and I guess you want me to
1 give you a "yes" or "no" answer. That's not the way I can answer your
3 And now I'm asking you: How did every Croat in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina feel when the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, at its
5 session on the 4th of -- 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th of May, 1992,
6 invited the occupying force, the Yugoslav People's Army, to intervene in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina and to protect the Croat and the Bosnian people in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina? By that time it had already occupied large areas of
9 the country. I have this document in my bag. They were fighting under
10 the Yugoslav flag. Could I get any Croat to fight under that flag, the
11 Yugoslav flag? That's not true.
12 The coat of arms is an emblem that is used to designate all
13 Croats throughout the world, not only -- it is not only an emblem of the
14 Republic of Croatia
15 mark that made it different from that used in Croatia. Bosniaks could no
16 longer fight under the Yugoslav flag. Every country, every armed force,
17 has its insignia, and the HVO had its insignia.
18 Nobody is trying to hide the fact that the HVO was a
19 predominantly Croatian force, but there were 30 per cent Muslims,
20 Bosniaks, who were fighting under this emblem, under this flag, until the
21 Croat-Bosniak conflicts broke out. Up until that very moment. But the
22 Bosniaks and Croats did not want to fight under the Yugoslav flag and
23 globe could make them do that, to fight under -- bearing those insignia
24 including the five-point star. They did not want to take part in that.
25 They did not want to fight.
1 Q. Well, my question relates to the choice of that particular
2 emblem. I'm not going to argue with you about your apparent -- your
3 rejection of the Yugoslav flag. My question is more in terms of the
4 choice of the Croatian emblem and whether that implies a rejection or a
5 discouragement of non-Croat people from joining the HVO and participating
6 in the organisation and the functioning of Herceg-Bosna?
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, please.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: It's been asked and it's been answered and you
10 have to look at the period and the time when we are talking about. And I
11 think it's necessary to move on. I think Mr. Stringer got his answer.
12 We could be here for the next hour discussing the same matter. But
13 Mr. Buntic was very clear. We were not going to get Croats or Muslims to
14 fight under the Serbian or the Yugoslav flag while the Yugoslav army was
15 occupying one-third of the country.
16 MR. STRINGER: I've accepted that.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: He's been asked and it's been answered. You also
18 indicated 30 per cent, 30 per cent, not 1, not 2, not 10, not 20, 30 per
19 cent of the HVO were Muslim. Obviously, they felt comfortable. What
20 Mr. Stringer fails to ask is what about the Green Berets, what about the
21 Patriotic League, what about the Muslim army? They had their own units.
22 So let's put it into perspective. Let's be fair, let's move on.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I believe that the witness
24 wanted to add something. Yes, witness?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to answer this question.
1 So, Mr. Prosecutor, real life and practice provided answers to your
2 question, and the facts and real life situations show that the 30 per
3 cent Bosniak Muslims were in the HVO ranks. So practice showed that they
4 fought, that they wanted to fight. These are facts, not some
5 fabrications on my part, real-life facts.
6 MR. STRINGER:
7 Q. Very well. The next exhibit is in binder number 1. It's
8 P 00391. And Mr. Buntic, while those -- while that document is being
9 found for you, let me just tell you what this is about. We are moving on
10 now to the Presidency meeting of the 14th of August, 1992. And I'm going
11 to be giving you a document which your version does not appear to be a
12 complete one, so I'm just going to tell you that right off the bat.
13 Sorry, it's binder 2. I apologise.
14 Mr. Buntic, you'll see it starts at page 9 but if you go to the
15 end of the document, I think you'll find sufficient indications there
16 that these are the minutes of the Presidency -- or part of the minutes of
17 the Presidency meeting of the 14th of August, 1992.
18 A. It's fine. I believe that that's the document. It's the minutes
19 from the meeting of the 17th of October or ...
20 Q. I'm sorry, I have this as the minutes of the 14 August 1992. If
21 you look at the second-to-the-last page, this is 391, if you see the
22 signature page, if you keep turning pages forward to the signature page
23 at the end, if you look at the top -- no, I think you had it already, if
24 you go back one more -- if you look at the top you'll see a date there.
25 A. Fine. I can see the 14th of August and the signature below.
1 Q. Okay. Now, this appears to be signatures of all the people who
2 attended this particular Presidency meeting in August.
3 A. I think that these are the signatures of the persons listed here
4 who attended the meeting.
5 Q. Okay. So these would be people who had come from throughout
6 various regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina down to Grude to attend this
7 Presidency meeting, correct?
8 A. I think that the first column lists municipalities, the second
9 the first and last names of the persons who represented these
10 municipalities and attended the meeting on behalf of these
11 municipalities, whereas the third column has the signature whereby the
12 persons certify their attendance of the meeting. We can see, on the next
13 page, that in addition to these individuals who represented the 29
14 municipalities, there are also signatures of other attendees of this
16 Q. Okay. Now, I'm seeing at this meeting you had some gentlemen who
17 came from Sarajevo
18 is that correct? Do you see that?
19 A. Yes. I do.
20 Q. Okay. Now, I would just -- we have covered a lot of what I had
21 intended to ask you about in this document already. If I could just
22 direct you to item 14, items 12, 13, 14 in the minutes, which I believe
23 is at page 12 of your version, the original-language version. First of
24 all, we had a lot of -- it's my understanding, sir, that there are a
25 number of decrees and legislation that was passed or enacted at this
1 Presidency meeting. Is that -- do you agree with me on that?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. Okay. And then in these particular items that I've directed you
4 to, items 12 and 13, we are seeing that you are proposing a decree on
5 application of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 and also the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia in the territory of
7 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Do you see that?
8 A. I do. But it doesn't say "teritorij." Rather, it says "Ter."
9 Q. Okay. And then you're also proposing a decree on the application
10 of the Law on Court Fees. My question, and it's similar to the ones that
11 have been asked before, the Criminal Codes that you proposed and which
12 were enacted, those which in fact adopted the legislation of the
13 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 people living in the territory or the area of Herceg-Bosna or only to
15 certain people? How did people know, I guess is my question, how would
16 one know what law he's subject to if he finds himself living in one of
17 the municipalities of Herceg-Bosna?
18 A. What you're asking me now is to tell you about the application of
19 the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia
20 application of the Criminal Code of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you're asking
21 me which territory it's applicable to, do you not? The Criminal Code of
22 the SFRY was applicable throughout the territory of the former
24 The Criminal Code of Bosnia
25 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 the areas under the control of the BH Army. In other words, across the
2 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, without any exceptions, and please allow
3 me to finish my answer.
4 Had I written in this decree that this is applicable to Croats, I
5 would most probably be accused of being an individual adopting
6 discriminatory regulations. Had I written that it applied to Muslims
7 only, the same thing would happen. I did not use the term "drzavljanin"
8 because this does not apply to "drzavljanin." The HZ HB did not have
9 "drzavljanin," nationals. I didn't say that it's applicable only to
10 Croats or only to Muslims because it would be discriminatory. The term
11 opted for was "gradjani" and it was applied across the territory of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina because we adopted it as such and applied it as such.
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think it's time for the
15 break. Can we have the break now, Mr. Stringer?
16 MR. STRINGER: Yes, that's fine with me, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll have a
18 20-minute break.
19 --- Recess taken at 5.40 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 6.02 p.m.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Stringer, we
22 have an hour left. You have used up 3 hours and 13 [Realtime transcript
23 read in error "30"] minutes.
24 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There is a mistake in the
1 transcript. I said 3 hours and 13 minutes, 1-3, not 30.
2 MR. STRINGER:
3 Q. Mr. Buntic, you have in front of you Exhibit -- don't have it in
4 front of me -- it's the minutes of the meeting of the 14th of August,
6 I don't think you need to go to it in the document, there is a
7 reference in this document then to the appointment of Dr. Jadranko Prlic
8 to be the president of the HVO, is that what occurred also at this
9 Presidency meeting in August of 1992?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. He had been in the position of minister or head of the finance
12 department and at that point, then, he was relieved of his duties in the
13 finance department and assumed the position as president of the HVO?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And did he remain in that position, then, for the remainder of
16 the time that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was in existence?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. All right. Now, the next Presidency meeting that occurred after
19 this one on the 14th of August took place in October, on the 17th of
20 October, 1992. Do you recall that?
21 A. That's correct too.
22 Q. And I'm going to ask you about that meeting and the Presidency
23 but before we do that I'm going to ask you if you recall going to Zagreb
24 on the 17th or on or about the 17th of September, 1992, you and others
25 from Bosnia-Herzegovina, going to Zagreb and meeting with
1 President Tudjman in the presidential palace there?
2 A. Yes. Including the extended delegation that accompanied the
4 Q. And in your binder, and I'm going to refer to -- this is a
5 presidential transcript, Mr. President, but I'm going to refer to the
6 Defence version of it because it has additional translation. That's
7 1D 02366, which is in binder number 4. Just a couple of questions about
8 this meeting in Zagreb
9 You testified about this transcript earlier in your direct
10 examination, I believe. I think you indicated that you were not aware
11 that the meeting was being tape recorded.
12 A. That's correct. I testified to that. I was also shown the
13 document. I talked about my discussions at the meeting. It is also true
14 that I didn't know that a transcript was being made and that the meeting
15 was being tape recorded.
16 Q. Now, the heading of this document, and the first opening comments
17 of President Tudjman that are found on the first page, indicate that this
18 is -- it's a meeting of a somewhat political nature in that it involves
19 the leadership or the representatives of the HDZ party,
20 Croatian Democratic Union, but also involves members such as yourself of
21 the Croatian Democratic Party, if I put that correctly.
22 A. I think that that's roughly the case, although the introductory
23 part was not quoted fully but that's the general gist.
24 Q. I guess the point is that these are delegations of political
25 parties as opposed to delegations of a different state. That's my --
1 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, [Interpretation] My apologies, I'd
2 better turn to Croatian. I believe that the translation of the first
3 paragraph where the president greets those attendees is quite wrong
4 because in the English, as my learned friend rightly mentioned, HDH, the
5 Croatian Democratic Community is also mentioned. Something is wrong
6 there. But in the Croatian text there is -- or, rather, there is the
7 Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, but no other party is mentioned. Whereas
8 in the English language it seems as if the representatives of two parties
9 were being introduced here. I'm not sure, though. We would have to look
10 into that.
11 MR. STRINGER: I don't think it's important to my questions,
12 Mr. President.
13 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise
14 but I do believe this is important because otherwise my learned friend
15 would not have said in his question that representatives of the political
16 parties gathered here. I can read this again in Croatian and the
17 interpreters can interpret the first sentence below the headline,
18 "Minutes." So that we avoid any confusion.
19 So it says, "Minutes from the meeting of the state and political
20 leadership of Croatia
21 of Croatia
22 and Croat representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, held in Zagreb
23 the 17th of September, 1992." It is quite clear that there is just one
24 political party and that Croat representatives are mentioned, and not
25 other parties. And the same is true for the following paragraph below
1 the word "president."
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Please
4 MR. STRINGER:
5 Q. Mr. Buntic, I'd like to direct you to the part of the transcript
6 that includes your own comments which I believe are found on page 33 of
7 your version, page 16 of the English. 16. And you begin to speak,
8 Mr. Buntic, here, and I mentioned this yesterday. This is --
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry, Mr. Stringer, could you assist us? My
10 copy here jumps from 13 to 21. And at 21 is then 21 out of 100 whereas
11 the first 13 pages do not refer to out of 100.
12 MR. STRINGER: Well, what's happened here is we've had -- Defence
13 have gotten translations of passages which were not translated previously
14 and those are inserted among the existing translations.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: If you go after page 30, Your Honour, you'll find
16 that after page 30 you have page 14 inserted and then 15 and 16. So
17 first go to page 30, it will take you then to page 14.
18 MR. STRINGER: It may be more useful or in addition I'm just
19 looking at the very -- the Bates number at the bottom which appears to be
20 continuous, 1D 52-1090 --
21 MR. KARNAVAS: That's correct, that's correct.
22 MR. STRINGER: -- is the page I'm referring to in the English
23 version. 1090.
24 Q. Mr. Buntic, I asked you about this yesterday. The language in
25 the preamble, in the amended decision on establishing Herceg-Bosna, that
1 passage about the unacceptability of a unitary state in a multi-ethnic
2 society, and it seems to me that again we are finding those very same
3 words here, you're again expressing the view that -- if I can interpret
4 it correctly, that you do not accept or do not approve of a unitary
5 principle as applied to a multi-ethnic community. Is that a correct
7 A. That's correct. However, the introductory part of your question
8 is not correct, and I kindly ask the Trial Chamber to allow me to rectify
9 it. I have never said that I am against a multi-ethnic society. This
10 is, however, what follows from the first part of your question.
11 Everything that is written here, and everything I said, is something that
12 I still maintain. However, I'm not going to stand by something that
13 you're trying to impute to me in your question.
14 It is true that I said that I was against a unitary state system
15 in which there are multi-ethnic societies. This is something that
16 comes -- stems from the Bosnia-Herzegovinian constitution, the SFRY
17 constitution, the UN charter, and many other documents. I do stand by
18 what I said here but do not impute to me or let me go so far as to say
19 that you're trying to put words that I never uttered into my mouth.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Buntic, there must be a problem in
21 interpretation because the English makes it quite clear that the
22 Prosecutor did not in any way impute any such opinion to you. So you can
23 be assured that nothing like that can be read from the transcript. It
24 must be a problem of translation or understanding.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies. That was the
1 interpretation I received. I don't know if that was the case with the
2 others who were listening to Croatian interpretation.
3 MR. STRINGER:
4 Q. Yes, Mr. Buntic, I'm not suggesting that you're opposed to a
5 multi-ethnic society. I am suggesting based on the text here, and I
6 think you've confirmed it, that you believe that the unitary state model
7 is not an appropriate model or is not the best model to apply to a
8 multi-ethnic society. Is that a correct statement of your view?
9 A. Now your question is correct and I can answer with a yes.
10 Q. Okay. Turning the page of the English version, and I'm not sure
11 if it's on the next page of your version, Mr. Buntic, I'm skipping down
12 to a paragraph in which you say that: "In addition to this, well-known
13 facts which can easily be calculated by using statistics, the decreasing
14 number of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, such as it was, because of the
15 large number of Croats who have moved out and also because of the Muslims
16 moving into Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as it is, and the fact of the
17 establishment of an Independent State
19 that the percentage of the Croats moving out because now they have their
20 own state to which they would go, and the Muslims from Sandzak and Kosovo
21 moving in would at least double."
22 And then you go on to talk about configuring Bosnia-Herzegovina
23 as a complex state.
24 And I just want to ask you about your statement there,
25 Mr. Buntic, because I recognise that you have the view that that unitary
1 state model does not work for a multi-ethnic society, am I correct that
2 that view which you hold is based upon the demographic composition of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina and perhaps the trends that you're referring to here
4 in which Croats may be on the move out or that their numbers are
5 diminishing whereas the numbers of the Bosniak or Muslim population are
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, you are right. However, I am right as well,
8 unfortunately. Allow me to finish my answer. If you read carefully the
9 minutes from the meetings of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, dating
10 from the period immediately preceding this one, you will see that the HVO
11 charged me with -- along with Mr. Markotic, who was a demographer by
12 profession, to make an analysis of the trends in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We
13 went back a hundred years and we looked at the more recent period. On
14 the basis of the data thus gathered, we were supposed to submit a report
15 to the HVO. I contacted Professor Dr. Markotic, a demographer, who
16 studied that issue.
17 Now, why did I say unfortunately I was right? I have
18 documentation, some of it even in my bag, showing that there are 300.000
19 fewer Croats than there were in 1993. This is the information published
20 also in the -- in Bosnia-Herzegovina by an international agency.
21 Therefore, some 40 -- the total number of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 has fallen by 40 per cent compared to 1991, whereas, in the part -- if we
23 look at all the censuses that were conducted in the past 100 years, every
24 subsequent census recorded a fewer number of Croats. In other words,
25 this becomes a sort of a tenet or a rule, and the HZ HB had to formulate
1 a policy on the basis of that.
2 Unfortunately, all the events transpiring in Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 led to the fact that 300.000 Croats were either driven out, killed or
4 left Bosnia-Herzegovina of their own free will because, as I said here as
5 well, the fact that the Republic of Croatia
6 something that would result in the number of Croats being reduced three
7 times due to emigration, unfortunately. Something that I said at the
8 time that unless Croats had their own area, I will not use the term
9 territory --
10 Q. In fact, I've read the minutes of the HVO meetings in which you
11 and Mr. Markotic were given the responsibility of preparing the
12 demographic reports, and I will be showing those to you. I do have them
13 prepared and we will be looking at those. I am aware of that. And so I
14 apologise for cutting you off but I can do that with the assurance that
15 you will have the minutes in front of you and we'll give you a full
16 opportunity to talk about the demographic issue. For the moment, though,
17 I think that you've given us enough on the subject to allow me to ask the
18 next question or two that I have in respect of the transcript here.
19 Given the view, your findings, that over time the Croatian
20 population of Bosnia-Herzegovina is diminishing, am I correct in
21 suggesting, sir, that your own view, in terms of an appropriate model of
22 governance in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is one in which any of the groups,
23 Croat, Muslim, Serb, should have an area in which it can govern itself?
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, there needs to be a precision. They
25 are not groups, they are constituent nations and there lies the issue
1 with Mr. Buntic's previous answer, because we are not talking about a
2 minority, a national minority, we are talking about a constituent nation
3 so I would ask that my learned colleague refer to them as constituent
4 nations and not as groups.
5 MR. STRINGER: No, I'm happy to do that, Mr. President. I think
6 we all need to know what constituent means because we hear the word a
8 MR. KARNAVAS: It's in the constitution. It's in the
9 constitution, we should refer to the constitution. It's always been
10 there. Has been there, still is.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
12 MR. STRINGER:
13 Q. Given that the Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina were a
14 constituent nation, given the demographic trends in which their numbers
15 were diminishing, is it your view that the Croatian people should have
16 had an area that they could govern themselves so that they wouldn't have
17 to be worried about being outvoted all the time by another group, by
18 another constituent nation?
19 A. That's correct. I answered such questions in the course of my
20 evidence, and I entirely stand by what I said so far. Let me only
21 clarify something that I started explaining but was then interrupted. I
22 still maintain my view. However, I cannot speak about what other people
23 thought or wanted.
24 What I can say is that to the Presidency of the HVO, and its
25 leadership, all the peace plans proposed by the international community
1 were acceptable. Through its decisions, the Presidency clearly expressed
2 its views. These were views held by the official bodies of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. As you were able to see, I expressed
4 my opinion on several occasions which does not mean that this opinion was
5 shared by the entire Presidency and the official bodies. It was mine.
6 And I stand by it. The official opinions and views were expressed
7 through official documents and were manifested as such.
8 Q. Now, continuing on in the transcript, in your comments you
9 continue -- I'm looking at the top of the following page, 18 or the page
10 which ends in the numbers 1092. You state, "Further I will present my
11 view of Bosnia and Herzegovina which, as I say, is also contested." So
12 I -- you're being candid or you are conceding that your views are not
13 shared by all.
14 "I hold that regardless of the international recognition of the
15 state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is not a state but a state which is
16 only just coming into being. When I say coming into being, I explain it
17 by the fact that it is partly occupied, that its government bodies and I
18 primarily mean the assembly do not function, do not exist. If we know
19 that what makes a state are territory and jurisdiction, i.e., authority
20 over a particular territory, then we can easily conclude that at the
21 moment, Bosnia and Herzegovina does not exist as a sovereign state in
22 most of its territory."
23 Now, the Trial Chamber knows that large parts of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina were occupied by the JNA during this period of time.
25 The Trial Chamber also knows about the inability or as the -- the
1 constraints that were in effect in terms of the central government in
3 the assembly, so we don't need to talk about that.
4 My question, then, is as follows: Given that state of affairs as
5 you describe here regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina, was it your view then
6 that that situation was one in which, provided an opportunity for the
7 Croatian people to make a space for itself as a constituent nation which
8 it could govern? If there was a void in governance based on the
9 conditions, that you and others perhaps proposed to fill that void by
10 creating a constituent unit of the Croatian people in territory which
11 Croatian people would govern?
12 A. For the most part, your question is correct or proper, with the
13 exception of the part where you say that the Croatian people would
14 govern. So, yes, but I would just like to clarify one thing that is used
15 in various expressions and terms.
16 This shows an effort, an effort to bring Bosnia-Herzegovina
17 together, not to divide it, because it was broken apart, 70 per cent of
18 it was occupied, it was under the power of the enemy, of the enemy armed
19 force. It didn't function in 70 per cent of its territory. Its bodies
20 were not functioning, the assembly was not functioning, the government
21 was not functioning. The Presidency, well, we've already said,
22 Izetbegovic had three or four terms of office whereas under the law he
23 could only have two. So the government bodies of Bosnia-Herzegovina
24 functioned in 10 per cent or so of its territory. So all the efforts
25 were not to divide the country but to bring it back together, to put it
1 together again on the basis of this constitutional structure.
2 So this was not a division. This was putting things back
3 together, because 70 per cent was already gone. It was in the hands of
4 the occupying force. And we have seen, I told you what the Presidency of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina was doing while this occupation was taking place,
6 while there were those fierce attacks. The Presidency officially invited
7 the Yugoslav People's Army, the occupying force, to intervene. So
8 something had to be done and parts of the territory of that state had to
9 be saved.
10 I have told you what the Presidency was doing. I can give you
11 the transcript from a session of the Presidency, in April, the
12 Yugoslav People's Army is called upon to intervene in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 The enemy armed forces.
14 Q. As I've indicated the Trial Chamber has heard a great deal of
15 evidence about those events and I don't think we need to take time to
16 talk about them so much now. I'm simply asking you what in your view was
17 the appropriate response and how it impacted the way in which
18 Herceg-Bosna was being organised.
19 Now, getting back to the transcript I'd like to skip ahead a few
20 pages because in this meeting, you did something that I thought was
21 rather courageous, given that you're attending a meeting of the -- with
22 the president of Croatia
23 Croatian Democratic Union for Croatia
24 other members of the Croatian Democratic Party both for Croatia
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, even though you weren't one yourself, because at the
1 end of your comments you criticize the HDZ leadership for its failure to
2 propose a platform earlier. And I'm looking at page 20 of the English
4 You can skip ahead, Mr. Buntic, if you can follow along with me,
5 I'm going to move ahead a few pages to the part where the president says,
6 "Wait, let Mr. Buntic finish. And then you may ask to speak." And what
7 you'll see is just in the preceding paragraph, that's you talking, and
8 you say, "As for not having had a platform until now, I think that
9 somebody else is responsible for that and now I must say what hurt me
10 deeply as a Croat. It hurt me that six or eight months ago while
11 discussing the platforms of the SDS and the SDA, the communists,
12 reformists, the assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina never presented its own
13 platform." Then there is an interjection. And President Tudjman allows
14 you to finish speaking and we then pass to a statement by
15 Mr. Vlado Pandzic on the following page. Do you see that?
16 A. I've found it, and Mr. Prosecutor, this is an integral part of
17 Mr. Zoran Buntic's character. That's just who I am.
18 Q. I'll accept that. What Mr. Pandzic says is this. He says,
19 "Right at the start I would refute Mr. Buntic's words. The HDZ platform
20 was agreed on, clear, articulated with the headquarters in Zagreb
21 think that you are also familiar with it, Mr. President. So I have to
22 refute this in order to avoid further misunderstanding."
23 He continues, "We emphasise this strongly and clearly. The
24 Croatian people must be sovereign in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its
25 territories must be sovereign and the Croatian people must never again be
1 'equal to other ethnic groups,' as it used to be said in
3 Then he continues on, I'm skipping a paragraph. "However, I
4 would return to what our goals are, following from this platform. We
5 have talked about security and securing Croatian territories and the
6 sovereignty of Croatian territories as well as the Croatian people in all
7 of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
8 Then he continues, "Today we can talk about what is possible to
9 achieve and what we have been emphasizing all the time." I'm going to
10 skip a few words, "I think, and now I will state my personal opinion,
11 that it is possible to achieve what has been -- what was discussed, that
12 the Croatian territories, bearing in mind what the Croatian Banovina
13 included, but we also said that we would take care to secure the Croatian
14 corridors as well. These are the areas where many Croats live and
15 sovereignty should be emphasised there, at least in the form of a
16 Croatian municipality" and I'm going to stop there. He continues talking
17 about Croatian constitutive units in which Croatian population would be
18 in the majority.
19 Now, Mr. Buntic, my question is this: Is it -- am I correct,
20 then, to understand here that what is the objective of the HDZ party as
21 being described by Mr. Pandzic is the establishment of Croatian
22 territory, sovereign Croatian territory, where it's governed by Croatian
24 A. Well, as you could see, I cannot confirm everything that you
25 said. But here, this man, Vlado Pandzic is saying those things. He
1 mentions the Croatian Banovina, so this was part of the reasons why I had
2 conflicts with him, because my opinions differed from his. But, yes, I
3 still maintain what I said. It is correct, despite what he is saying,
4 that the platform was never presented. I'm not going to say in public
5 but at the assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it should have been
6 dealt with, because it voted on proposals of the SDA and the SDS but it
7 never voted on the proposals of the HDZ in the assembly. That was the
8 relevant place, that's where it was supposed to be debated.
9 And this was the gist of my criticism to the then leadership of
10 the HDZ. Well, regardless of the fact that President Boban and President
11 Tudjman were there and other officials. I said this is the way I am, I
12 presented my opinion, it was my opinion at the time, and it has remained
13 unchanged. It is still my opinion and I still stand behind everything
14 that I said. And as you can see, I clashed with the people who presented
15 different views, despite the fact that all of them were in the HDZ, I was
16 probably the only non-party partisan person there. I may be wrong there,
17 so I do at apologise in advance, maybe there were other people who were
18 not members of the HDZ there.
19 Q. It seems to me in one respect you agree with the views expressed
20 by Mr. Pandzic here in that the Croatian people must be sovereign in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, its territories must be sovereign and the Croatian
22 people must never again be equal to other groups which as I take it to be
23 a rejection again of this unitary state model. Isn't it your view as
25 A. It is correct. That was my opinion then, and it is still my
1 opinion and I never deviated from it. I confirmed this on a number of
2 occasions in this courtroom.
3 Q. Okay.
4 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise,
5 Your Honours, but perhaps there is a -- again some communication problem
6 that has to do with interpretation or translation. I don't know whether
7 the witness has the Croatian version of this text in front of him but in
8 the Croatian version of this text that is being quoted, where Mr. Pandzic
9 is being quoted in the second paragraph, the words "equal to other
10 peoples" is in inverted commas and I think it really changes the meaning.
11 I think that the witness should look at it and then try to recall
12 what this is all about. I don't know whether there are the inverted
13 commas in the English version -- yes, yes, they are in inverted commas
14 and it this has not been stressed and this is very important because
15 perhaps the witness might explain to us what it means in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina when you put the word "equal" in inverted commas from
17 the perspective of the Croatian people at that time. Thank you very
19 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, the inverted commas are in both
20 texts. I just don't think it's productive to have a committee of people
21 interjecting comments on how questioning should take place. I read it, I
22 indicated when I read it that there was a quotation mark. The text was
23 in front of the witness as he followed along so it seems rather pointless
24 to me to make such an intervention.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I will ask counsel the
1 following question: In the B/C/S version, where -- on which page can we
2 find those inverted commas?
3 Witness, you told us that you didn't know that the meeting was
4 recorded so there was a recording system in place for the whole meeting,
5 maybe there was a tape recorder or something. The meeting is recorded.
6 And then some clerk, some typist, transcribes what has been said. So how
7 did the secretary insert inverted commas? How come? This is a mystery
8 to me. Can you provide us with an explanation?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, well, I would find it
10 really hard to explain how somebody who typed up this transcript or who
11 did the transcription on the basis of the audio recording, how this whole
12 technology worked, but -- that I don't know. But I can tell you what I
13 do know, and what I do know for a fact is that it is true, again let me
14 remind you I can tell you things about what I said, and my words that are
15 recorded in the transcript, it is true that most of my words, my
16 thoughts, are recorded verbatim in the transcript, but it is also true
17 that not all of the things that I said are recorded. I know that for a
19 Now, as to what happened to the other participants in the
20 discussion, whether what they were saying is recorded verbatim or not, I
21 cannot testify to that, because that I don't know. And as to how this
22 was done in terms of technology and the methodology, how the audio
23 recordings were transformed into the hard copy that we have in front of
24 us, I'm afraid that I could lead you astray in this if I were to
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak attended those
2 meetings. Maybe he can shed some light on that matter.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] When you're saying
4 something, when you come to the part that you want to put in inverted
5 comma, every speaker would say, "in inverted commas." And then the
6 words, "in inverted commas" were not recorded in the transcript but the
7 inverted commas were placed around the portion of the text that was
8 supposed to be in inverted commas. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. That could be an
10 explanation, indeed.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, on this page 38, I have looked for a --
12 for the word, "teritorij" which I did not find. I find "prostor." Would
13 that be an equivalent and how would that fall to be translated? I hope
14 I'm not stepping on your toes, Mr. Stringer.
15 MR. STRINGER: No, not at all, Your Honour.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see this. Your Honour,
17 the word used here is "prostor," space or area.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
19 MR. STRINGER:
20 Q. Okay. So Mr. Buntic, now, as I understand it, then, you held the
21 view, it's a view expressed by Mr. Pandzic here in relation to a
22 sovereign area or space that's governed by Croatian people. That was the
23 objective, that was the aspiration. Do we agree on that?
24 A. Again, well, I can't answer this question if you're talking about
25 an area where the Croatian people enjoyed the sovereignty, I never said
1 that this area would be ruled or governed exclusively by the Croatian
2 people. So please do not impute this to me. That was not said. In that
3 area, the Croatian people should have a majority in the area of this
4 constituent unit and there are no proposals that would be different from
5 other solutions that were presented in the Yugoslav constitution because
6 every republic in the former Yugoslavia had the main people but also
7 other peoples living there. And the participation in the government
8 would be commensurate to their participation in the overall number.
9 We know that Serbia was divided, that the Republic of Serbia had
10 two autonomous provinces, that there was a certain number of delegates
11 from Vojvodina and from Kosovo who participated in the work of the
12 central bodies of the government of Serbia, and in other republics, in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in principle, it functioned in this way. The
14 executive bodies were set up in such a way that each people was
15 represented by one person. And we were now at a stage where it was being
16 sought and, as I said, we did not encounter this in our practice, that a
17 multi-ethnic community would be set up as a unitary state based on the
18 principle of one man/one vote. This is my opinion. I don't have to
19 clarify that any further.
20 This was an unacceptable principle that resulted in the war in
21 Yugoslavia and we all know that this principle was advocated by Milosevic
22 and that he got himself in conflict with all the other republics because
23 he advocated this principle and this is why Yugoslavia broke up.
24 Dissolution resulted from that, and the bloody war and all the other
25 consequences of the war. The final result being the collapse of that
1 state because this principle, one man/one vote, a unitary civil state,
2 was being imposed.
3 I think that I clarified everything. I also presented my own
4 views, my own opinions, but I agreed with all the decisions, I accepted
5 all the decisions, that were taken by the elected representatives of the
6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, when they accepted the
7 Cutileiro Plan, the Vance-Owen Plan, so whenever -- when I participated
8 in the executive body, that was duty-bound to implement what the
9 authorised bodies accepted and signed. And now we are talking about our
10 opinions, and this is my opinion, and it is accurately recorded here.
11 Q. And I'm simply asking your opinion, what were your views, and as
12 I understand it, then, your view, your opinion, I used the word
13 governance, that was a word that you did not accept, Croatian or Croat
14 governance. You came back and said a majority. So then do I take it
15 that what -- your view was that there should be an area in which Croatian
16 people would be in the majority, I take it also an area in which Muslim
17 people could be in the majority and another area in which the Serbian
18 people could be in the majority. Is that your view of an acceptable
19 model of governance within the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. All right. The next exhibit --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Stringer. I
23 wouldn't like to put a question to the witness but to Mr. Stringer. A
24 while ago I heard what the witness said regarding the transcript. He
25 stated that the transcript reflected what he said but that some of the
1 things he said did not appear in the transcript. Therefore, the
2 transcript does not reflect fully what was said during that meeting. The
3 Trial Chamber admitted a few transcripts, as you well know, and therefore
4 I have this question in mind. When you asked the Croatian authorities to
5 disclose the presidential transcripts, were you given the audiotapes too?
6 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, this is an area in which I feel as
7 though I'm probably not the best person to answer the Trial Chamber's
8 questions on the acquisition of these materials from the Croatian
9 government. So I think just to be on the safe side, I should seek out
10 the information to make sure I give the right answers to the
11 Trial Chamber.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may be of
13 assistance, to answer this question, instead of my colleague, I know that
14 those transcripts were obtained by the Prosecution and were disclosed to
15 the Defence teams and this whole process started in the summer of 2000,
16 and then it proceeded slowly from there. But as regards the technology,
17 how the recordings were made, there are three witnesses who testified
18 about that in the Kordic case so if you're interested in it, you can ask
19 for that proprio motu. And it also follows from the testimony in the
20 Kordic case that the audio recordings do not exist. This was the topic
21 of the testimony, and the Prosecution called those witnesses. So it's
22 very easy to obtain this, and I don't think that the Defence has any
23 interest in doing that now.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please let us know whenever
1 MR. STRINGER: We will do that, Mr. President.
2 Q. Witness, the next document on my list, I don't know if it's
3 necessary for you to look at it, but perhaps, it's in the binder,
4 P 00476. This is in the binder number 2. And this was already the
5 subject of, I think, a question from Judge Trechsel earlier today. This
6 is the constitutional court decision of the Republic of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And you've indicated that you weren't aware of this
8 or you hadn't seen this decision and so I don't think there is very much
9 for me to ask you about it. If I understand correctly, sir, you did not
10 become aware of this decision until some years after it was issued?
11 A. It's correct, Your Honours, although in the meantime I talked to
12 some of the Judges on the constitutional court who issued this decision
13 or took part in making this decision, and they never informed me about
14 its existence, they never handed it to me. To be quite specific, I said
15 that in December 1992, between the 19th and the 23rd of December, I spoke
16 in Neum with a judge of this Court, Kasim Trnka. At the time he was in
17 fact the president of the Court, and he never told me about this
18 decision, about its very existence.
19 Q. Okay. And the judge of the Court whom you spoke with, excuse me,
20 in Neum in December, he was a judge based in Sarajevo then, with the
21 constitutional court?
22 A. I'm not sure where he was from, but let us assume that he was
23 from Sarajevo, that he lived in Sarajevo, because he was a judge of the
24 constitutional court of Bosnia-Herzegovina that had its seat in Sarajevo
25 Q. And I know you were asked about this issue when you testified in
1 the Kordic case and it was my understanding that you didn't see this
2 decision until later because you were not in a position to be receiving
3 the Official Gazettes of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. Because I think in the decision that you have in front of you,
7 you have the version that is -- actually forms a part of the
8 Official Gazettes and so you were not receiving those during this period?
9 A. No, and we couldn't have.
10 Q. And is that because of the --
11 A. It was physically impossible.
12 Q. Because of the situation in Sarajevo, that it was under siege, if
13 you will, by the forces of the JNA?
14 A. You're right.
15 Q. Are you able to tell us, can you recall, when you -- when it was
16 no longer possible to physically receive the Official Gazettes of
18 A. After the 4th or the 5th of April, 1992, or immediately after
19 that day, we were no longer able to receive the Official Gazette of the
20 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. If it did happen, then it happened
21 because somebody was able to get out of Sarajevo by some channels and was
22 able to bring a couple of copies of the Official Gazette with him or her.
23 So there was this possibility. I know that it did happen from time to
24 time, but officially, by mail, it was not possible to receive the
25 Official Gazette of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, is it time for the break or the
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I just have one
4 very brief follow-up question. I understand very well what the situation
5 was, but given the importance of that decision, a lawyer in Sarajevo
6 could have made a phone call in order to say that the constitutional
7 court had issued an important decision. Was there no telephone
8 communication between Sarajevo
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, no. There was no
10 telephone communication, no mail. Now, I can't really say with full
11 certainty that there was not some kind of dedicated military line of
12 communication using field telephones, but official phones and mail were
13 not working because all the telephone exchanges were destroyed.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It is now 7.00 p.m.
15 We need to adjourn. I inform the Prosecution that it has used up four
16 hours. It would be good if you could finish tomorrow, so that on Friday,
17 we can have redirect and maybe questions put by the other Defence teams.
18 Therefore, the witness will be able to go. Otherwise, he will have to
19 stay some three weeks.
20 Witness, we shall reconvene tomorrow at quarter past 2.00.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.
22 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 17th of July,
23 2008, at 2.15 p.m.