Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 7125

1 Tuesday, 17 March 1998

2 (2.30pm)

3 (The accused entered court)

4 (In closed session) [Confidentiality lifted by later order of the Chamber]

5 JUDGE JORDA: First, I want to say good

6 afternoon to the interpreters and ask me whether they

7 hear me? They do. We can continue.

8 Mr Harmon, the floor is yours. This is going

9 to be a busy week. We will try to organise a status

10 conference. You had some scheduling concerns. We will

11 try to do everything we can. The Trial Chamber has

12 other cases that it is hearing as well. I have a

13 status conference tomorrow in the Kordic case. There

14 are motions that were filed by the Defence, which

15 should not be discussed here. We have to review them.

16 All of this means that we have to try to keep speeding

17 up, as much as possible, the witnesses, but without

18 prejudice to the rights of the Defence or to the

19 Prosecution.

20 Mr Harmon, I now give you the floor to

21 continue the testimony of Mr Mesic.

22 MR. HARMON: Yes, if Mr Mesic could be brought

23 in, Mr President, I will continue.

24 JUDGE JORDA: Can I have the witness brought

25 in, please?

Page 7126

1 (The witness entered court)

2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Mesic, good afternoon. Are

3 you rested, are you feeling well?

4 A. Very well, thank you.

5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Mr Harmon.

6 STJEPAN MESIC (continued)

7 Examined by MR. HARMON (continued).

8 Q. Good afternoon, Mr Mesic. Let me first of

9 all ask you, could you describe to the judges when you

10 met Franjo Tudjman and could you describe your social

11 and professional relationship with him?

12 A. I had the honour to meet Franjo Tudjman

13 earlier -- that was in 1970 or before 1970, but this

14 was at Matica Hrvatska and we did not really associate

15 specifically at that time. I came to know him better

16 during the Croatian Spring, and even better

17 subsequently, after we returned from the prison -- we

18 would find ourselves in social circles which were --

19 which happened because of certain birthdays or some

20 other social occasions, because we could not call these

21 meetings political meetings, but we found ways to

22 meet. We were all leaders of the Croatian Spring, then

23 the generals who retired from the service in the former

24 JNA due to Croatian nationalism and in such circles

25 Franjo Tudjman would also be there very frequently.

Page 7127

1 I do not know what else you may be

2 interested, in that regard, in regard of our

3 association.

4 Q. Mr Mesic, as part of the Government both of

5 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in

6 Government in the Republic of Yugoslavia, did you have

7 contacts with Franjo Tudjman, and can you describe

8 those contacts, the frequency of contacts, the type,

9 the nature of those contacts, please?

10 A. During these occasions when we met, we would

11 discuss the topical events of that particular point in

12 time. We analysed the situation in the former

13 Yugoslavia, in Croatia, we analysed what was going on

14 in the world, and we would try to forecast what the

15 situation was going to look like, where it was going to

16 go and what we could do in that regard, and I need to

17 say, with respect to Franjo Tudjman, he always took

18 part in such discussions, but he was not easy to talk

19 with, because he did not very well tolerant the

20 differences in views. He was not a pleasant collocateur

21 -- he was very hard in his positions.

22 Q. Mr Mesic, during your contacts with President

23 Tudjman, did he ever express his views in respect of

24 Bosnia, and, if he did, could you tell the judges what

25 his views were?

Page 7128

1 A. I think that one can read on that in his

2 books, but, to put it succinctly, in these discussions

3 and elsewhere, and when speaking in public, his

4 position was that, after World War II, it was a big

5 mistake to have created Bosnia as a republic. He

6 believed that Bosnia should not have been structured in

7 such a way as a separate republic, but that, instead,

8 it should have been dealt with like Kosovo and

9 Vojvodina, which were annexed to Serbia. He thought

10 that the best course of action would have been for the

11 Bosniaks, given their origin, because it is believed

12 that they are for the most part Croats, so it would

13 have been best that Bosnia should have been annexed to

14 Croatia, but that some modality should have been found

15 in that respect, so Bosnia should have been associated

16 with Croatia.

17 Q. Were the views that he expressed to you about

18 the annexing of Bosnia to Croatia, were those long held

19 views, firmly held views?

20 A. I think that his initial positions were

21 really a critique of the Communist leadership, which

22 had allowed that Bosnia be created as a separate

23 entity, that is, a constituent part of Yugoslavia, so

24 at first, during our conversation, it did not come out

25 that this position should have been changed. Even

Page 7129

1 after Croatia became independent, this idea was not

2 really tabled about the restructuring of Bosnia and

3 Herzegovina. You could only glean that from certain

4 statements regarding the very strange shape of

5 Croatia. It was considered that this shape of Croatia,

6 which looks like a crescent -- it was considered that

7 certain parts are missing, but there were no serious

8 discussions in which way the position of Bosnia should

9 be changed. But, as time went by, and if Yugoslavia

10 was going to disappear and it was a multi-national

11 State, how Bosnia was going to survive as a

12 multi-national State. It was believed that it would be

13 very difficult to keep it alive and these were

14 positions that were then expressed publicly, but also

15 it was something that was discussed in inner circles as

16 well.

17 Q. In those discussions, both publicly and in

18 inner circles, did he express a view that parts of

19 Bosnia, historically, belonged to Croatia?

20 A. I believed that Tudjman's position was that

21 the best position for Croatia and for the entire area

22 was the solution from 1938, which was Banovina Croatia

23 and the borders of the Banovina were defined then.

24 However, this Banovina never really fully came alive,

25 because of the World War II -- the process was

Page 7130

1 interrupted and now, obviously, part of this Banovina

2 was now within the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

3 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. This was 1938 --

4 you mean 1938, right?

5 A. Yes, it was at that time that the Banovina

6 was created in 1938, but then World War II came and

7 Banovina never fully came alive. Then, after World War

8 II, Yugoslavia was recreated, but now not as a unitary

9 State but as a Federal State, which comprised Serbia,

10 Croatia and then Macedonia, Slovenia and Montenegro as

11 well and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 MR. HARMON: His views were the territory that

13 was comprised in the Banovina should be annexed to or

14 absorbed into Croatia; is that correct?

15 A. Yes, his position was that this would have

16 been logical, because there would have been fewer

17 conflicts this way.

18 Q. Now, did he ever express to you, either in

19 your discourse socially or in your business

20 communications, his views about Muslims in Bosnia, and

21 could you explain what those views were?

22 A. I believe that his positions are fairly well

23 known, that is, with respect to the Bosniak Muslims.

24 He thought that they were Croats by origin, that they

25 converted to Islam during the Turkish occupation.

Page 7131

1 However, as the situation developed, after the

2 independence of Croatia, I believe that there were some

3 unclear points. If they were Croats by origin, I think

4 that we should have cooperated more closely with them,

5 because we were both the victims of the same

6 aggression. However, later, the conflict broke out

7 between the Croats and Muslims, which was damaging to

8 these victims of the aggression.

9 Q. Did he ever express his views about Alija

10 Izetbegovic?

11 A. I am personally familiar with Alija

12 Izetbegovic because we both formed the Defence counsel

13 in the former system. I must say Alija Izetbegovic is

14 a wise man, but he is not a person who is skilled in

15 politics -- he is not a dominating person. He entered

16 politics -- he was catapulted into the politics.

17 I think that he did not have such clear ideas at first

18 and I think Franjo Tudjman was aware of this, so that

19 he could approach Alija Izetbegovic with more, how

20 shall I put it -- you know, he is a general, after all,

21 but he treated him in a way that is not really

22 appropriate -- he treated him as if he did not know

23 enough about politics, so he was a bit condescending to

24 him.

25 Q. And so General Tudjman essentially was -- let

Page 7132

1 me ask you a different question. Mr Mesic, President

2 Tudjman was in fact a former general in the JNA; is

3 that correct?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And what you are saying is that that tempered

6 his views towards Mr Izetbegovic?

7 A. I do not think that he had kind of moderate

8 views to Izetbegovic. I think that he may have

9 underestimated Alija Izetbegovic, because he did not

10 really appear to him as a politician. At first, maybe

11 he did not, but he was a smart man. He found himself

12 in this situation. He was elected to President of the

13 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina at a time when -- at

14 the height of the aggression against

15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He had no defence mechanisms at

16 his disposal, so that he may have made moves that were

17 incomprehensible to Tudjman, but on the other hand the

18 situation of Alija Izetbegovic was very difficult. To

19 me, it was really a situation that offered no good

20 solution.

21 Q. Mr Mesic, can you describe a meeting that

22 took place between President Tudjman and President

23 Milosevic -- that took place in 1991 at Karadordevo .

24 Can you tell the judges what you know about that

25 meeting and what the ramifications of that meeting were

Page 7133

1 in respect of Croatian policy toward Bosnia?

2 A. I think that this meeting at Karadordevo was

3 sort of a turning point -- when the policy was changed

4 -- the policy, when it was first believed that there

5 was no Bosnia without Croatia and vice versa, and after

6 this meeting, what was taken into account was the

7 initial successes of Serbia. I must say that this was

8 at first tolerated by the European entities and I think

9 that the observers may have perceived that Bosnia was

10 finished and that it was doomed and I think that it was

11 from this situation that Tudjman was drawing his

12 conclusions.

13 As far as the meeting at Karadordevo itself

14 is concerned, at that time I was a member of the

15 Presidency of Yugoslavia and, in discussions with Bora

16 Jovic, who was the Serb representative in the

17 Presidency in Yugoslavia, I said, "We in Croatia have

18 information that the Serb villages," that is, the

19 villages mostly populated by the Serbs "are being

20 armed; that they are being armed by the JNA" -- which

21 was becoming more and more Serb, because we must

22 bear in mind that Yugoslavia functioned and it had

23 three integrating factors. One was Tito and his

24 charisma; one was JNA; and one was the Communist League

25 -- the Communist Party that is. While these three

Page 7134

1 elements were around, Yugoslavia could functions fairly

2 successfully. Once Tito disappeared from the scene,

3 and after Milosevic destroyed the Communist Party,

4 which was Yugoslav but mostly dominated by the Serbs,

5 he then took control of the JNA so that the JNA became

6 dominated by Milosevic and put itself in his service.

7 This is why out of their depots the Serb

8 population was being armed. I told Bora Jovic, the

9 Serb President in the Presidency, that we have this

10 information, that it was a suicidal policy on the part

11 of Serbs in Croatia as well as the Serbs overall and

12 that, in any ensuing conflict, they will lose the most,

13 because 10 per cent of the Serb population cannot

14 resist the 90 per cent, because then the Croats would

15 arm themselves and a catastrophe would ensue and the

16 most damage will befall the Serbs. I asked them what

17 did they want. He said that they were not interested

18 in the Serbs in Croatia, that they were our citizens,

19 that we could do whatever we wanted with them and that

20 they were also not interested in the Croatian

21 territories, that is the territories of the Croatian

22 State. I said, "Well, what are you interested in?" He

23 said then that they were interested in Serbia in

24 66 per cent of Bosnia. He said this used to be Serbia

25 and this will remain Serb.

Page 7135

1 Since they were not interested in Croatia,

2 that is the Croatian territory, or the Serbs in

3 Croatia, then I said, "Why do we not sit down? Why do

4 we not try to avoid a war? People are being armed and

5 everything and everything could blow up. There is no

6 need to shed blood if we can sit down and resolve

7 things at the table." He said that he agreed, but he

8 needed to talk to Slobodan Milosevic. I said

9 that I would talk to Tudjman and I said, "Why do not

10 the four of us sit down at the table and see what the

11 problems of the Serbs in Croatia were so that we could

12 resolve things without any armed conflict, because we

13 have an opportunity to do so".

14 I knew that there was such an opportunity,

15 because, as a Prime Minister in 1990, I attempted to

16 establish contacts with the representatives of the

17 municipalities where the population was Serb -- the

18 majority of the population was Serb, and at that time

19 all these representatives wanted to discuss, with the

20 exception of Milan Babic, who was the president of the

21 municipality in Knin. He was directly in contact with

22 Belgrade and he personally forbid this contact. But

23 I could see that people did want peaceful resolution of

24 the problem, and I also said that the Bosnian problem

25 should be resolved on an international level, that it

Page 7136

1 should be internationalised, that it should be resolved

2 through the UN, but that we should do everything to

3 avoid a war.

4 Since Slobodan Milosevic agreed to the

5 meeting and he said that we could meet anywhere,

6 State-side or abroad, then I went to Zagreb and

7 I talked to Franjo Tudjman and told him that these two

8 men were agreeable and was he agreeable that we should

9 all sit down and he said that he was. Then I expected

10 this call to see when we could organise this meeting.

11 However, Tudjman, at one point, told us that

12 he was going to go to Karadordevo alone -- this was on

13 30 March of 1991 -- that he wanted to see what they

14 wanted. I objected to Karadordevo, because Tito held

15 the 21st session there of the Communist Party and this

16 is when the Croatian Spring was broken, so I said, "We

17 should not go to this place because we have bad

18 memories relating to it". He said it did not matter

19 where we meet; it is more important to find out what

20 they wanted. Tudjman came back from Karadordevo that

21 same day and he told us that the army was not going to

22 attack us, that he had guarantees of Veljoko Kadijevic,

23 who was the Chief-of-Staff, and of Milosevic, and that

24 it would be difficult for Bosnia to survive, that we

25 could get borders of the Banovina.

Page 7137

1 Tudjman also said that Milosevic, sort of in

2 a gesture of largesse -- that Croatia could take

3 Cazin, Kladusa and Bihac, because this was the

4 so-called Turkish Croatia and the Serbs did not need

5 it. I thought Milosevic was really dolling out foreign

6 territories and I said this would end up in

7 catastrophe. I objected and this is why I was later

8 given a lot of grief for that, but then I also said

9 that there would be a short war in Slovenia, a longer

10 one in Croatia and that Bosnia would be awash in blood

11 and, unfortunately, I seem to have been right on all

12 these counts.

13 Q. Mr Mesic, from that day forward, did Croatian

14 policy vis-à-vis Bosnia change? Was there in fact a

15 dual policy then from Croatia towards Bosnia?

16 A. The Croatian public policy always proceeded

17 from the position that Bosnia was a State, that it was

18 unified, and that Croatia was the first to have

19 recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, in objective

20 terms, taking into account everything that happened

21 subsequently, when Milosevic created a Serb republic

22 within the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croats

23 formed the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, which

24 later became the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, it became

25 clear that this did not consolidate Bosnia-Herzegovina,

Page 7138

1 but, on the contrary, it undermined it, especially

2 since, after a certain period of time, Fikret Abdic

3 appeared on the scene and proclaimed the autonomy of

4 western Bosnia -- the area of Cazin, Kladusa and

5 Bihac.

6 Therefore, on the one hand, we had a public

7 expression of determination to support a unified Bosnia

8 on the part of Croatia, whereas, in fact, we were

9 following in Milosevic's footsteps, because of what

10 Milosevic had done, and this was fatal precisely for

11 the Croats, because, due to it, 850,000 Croats -- the

12 majority of 850,000 Croats have moved from

13 Bosnia-Herzegovina so that there are only about 350,000

14 left in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

15 Q. So, after President Tudjman returned from the

16 meeting at Karadordevo with President Milosevic, he

17 informed you that Bosnia would be partitioned --

18 partitioned between Croatia and partitioned between

19 Serbia; is that correct?

20 A. Roughly, from what he said, one could deduce

21 that Bosnia could not survive, that we would be given

22 the borders of the former Banovina plus Kladusa and

23 Bihac -- Cazin and Bihac. That was the conclusion that

24 could be drawn from what he said. Of course, nothing

25 was said to the effect that there was a written

Page 7139

1 document about it, or a written contract. That was not

2 mentioned.

3 Q. Mr Mesic, could you tell the judges about any

4 mapping commissions that were then set up between the

5 Serbs and the Croats to agree on the boundary lines of

6 a divided Bosnia?

7 A. I think that, at the time, there was no

8 debate about the Croat and Serb territories in

9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but there is no doubt that

10 something started to happen which was not revealed to

11 the public, namely, we were at war with Serbia, and, to

12 me, it seemed abnormal for Serb and Croatian

13 delegations to visit one another and especially during

14 those visits a debate to be conducted on the territory

15 of a third State, i.e., of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Reports

16 reached me that there were people assigned to dealing

17 with this problem of maps, geographical maps, to

18 delineate the areas of Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks.

19 On the Croatian side, several people

20 participated, but, after a couple of months, they would

21 give up the job, dissatisfied. Among them were

22 Professor Lerotic, Dusan Bilandzic and others, who

23 would abandon these talks, because they said, "This

24 simply cannot be done," because Bosnia-Herzegovina is

25 like a leopard skin -- the people are scattered

Page 7140

1 throughout the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so that

2 there is not a single locality that is ethnically pure,

3 except for parts of Herzegovina, which could be said as

4 being more or less purely Croatian -- even compared

5 with areas in Croatia, there are few that are so

6 ethnically pure as western Herzegovina is.

7 Q. Mr Mesic, could you describe a meeting that

8 took place in Graz between Mate Boban and Radovan

9 Karadzic, that meeting that took place on 6 May 1992 --

10 can you tell the judges about that meeting, and what

11 Mr Boban told you following that particular meeting?

12 A. At the time I was president of the executive

13 board of the HDZ, and I was not informed about that

14 meeting -- at least, I was not informed about it

15 beforehand, and I learned about it having taken place

16 quite by chance. For me, it was an absolute surprise,

17 because there was a conflict between the Croats in

18 Bosnia, and Karadzic -- because he was an exponent of

19 Milosevic, we were at conflict with Serb policy and

20 then suddenly such a meeting was held in Graz.

21 Therefore, some time later I learned about that meeting

22 and I asked Mate Boban what he could tell me about that

23 meeting. He said, "Not much -- not much was signed at

24 the meeting, but at least we now know that the Croats

25 and Serbs have cleared up all dilemmas and no disputed

Page 7141

1 issues remain. There is absolutely no further reason

2 for conflict between the Serbs and Croats in

3 Bosnia-Herzegovina."

4 After some time -- again I happened to be at

5 President Tudjman's -- he asked me to stay for lunch.

6 At that luncheon, in addition to representatives of

7 Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nikola Koljevic

8 appeared, too, who was at the time Vice-President of

9 the Serb Republic, and it so happened that he sat next

10 to me. We did not talk about Bosnia. He is a scholar

11 of Shakespeare, so we talked about Shakespeare; people

12 were shedding their blood in Bosnia-Herzegovina and he

13 spoke to me about Shakespeare.

14 Q. Mr Mesic, did you become aware after the

15 Karadordevo meeting and after the meeting in Graz that

16 cooperation between the Serbs and Croats in Bosnia was

17 in fact occurring? For example, did you learn about

18 the blockage of weapon supply to the siege of Sarajevo

19 by Bosnian Croats and did you learn about events

20 relating to Fikret Abdic's obtaining gasoline supplies

21 and supplying that to the Serbs and any other events

22 that would illustrate the increased cooperation between

23 the Serbs and the Croats in Bosnia? Could you describe

24 to those to the court, please?

25 A. As soon as the conflicts started between the

Page 7142

1 Muslims or the Bosniaks on the one side and the Croats

2 on the other, the assistance to the Bosnian army was

3 intercepted, because all that aid could only come from

4 Croatia. I must say that, at first, this cooperation

5 was good, but it worsened with time. I know a concrete

6 case, when -- he was not the imam of Zagreb, but I do

7 not exactly know his title -- anyway, Sefko Omerbasic

8 came to see me with a group of Muslims and said they

9 had collected weapons and sent it, escorted by the

10 Croatian army to Sarajevo, but that those weapons did

11 not reach Sarajevo but were detained in Busovaca and

12 that it was still in Busovaca, even the soldiers were

13 still there, and this had been done by Dario Kordic.

14 I called up Mate Boban and asked him to

15 intervene, to let this shipment pass, because

16 I realised that if Sarajevo is not defended, Bosnia

17 would fall, and then the survival of Croatia would be

18 in jeopardy.

19 Mate Boban told me that he could not exert

20 any influence over Dario Kordic, if he refused to do

21 that, and then I joked and said, "What should be done?"

22 He said, "Kill him". Following this joke, Tudjman

23 called me after a short time and asked me, "Did you

24 give instructions for Kordic to be killed?" I said,

25 "no, I was joking, but some pressure had to be brought

Page 7143

1 to bear on them. Both of them are in the HDZ. This

2 one is his superior so the problem has to be resolved".

3 How it was eventually resolved in concrete terms, I do

4 not know.

5 As for the gas or the petrol, I think that

6 Fikret Abdic had a double-track policy. One was his

7 communication with Croatia through which he could only

8 receive the goods that he purchased abroad, including

9 oil. What he did after that with the oil -- surely he

10 could not have consumed all that he purchased himself,

11 but at the same time he was cooperating with Belgrade

12 and he appeared at the same time in both Zagreb and in

13 Belgrade, and, finally, he established cooperation with

14 Karadzic and, together with his forces, he attacked

15 Bihac, when the very survival of Bihac was at risk,

16 which meant the survival of parts of Bosnia. And

17 I think that Croatia played a positive role in that

18 particular instance, and this part of Bosnia was saved.

19 Q. Mr Mesic, can you inform the judges what

20 President Tudjman's view and what Slobodan Milosevic's

21 view was in respect of shifting populations and what

22 impact that would have on the division of Bosnia?

23 A. Since I was Belgrade and had occasion to meet

24 with Slobodan Milosevic quite a number of times,

25 I think I can say, with objectivity,

Page 7144

1 that I comprehended his policy. I realised what it was

2 he wanted. Actually, when he was withholding the

3 autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina, he proceeded from the

4 position that Serbia must be unified, that it must not

5 consist of three parts, and, in doing so, he was also

6 undermining Yugoslavia, because, as I said yesterday,

7 he was not interested in any kind of Yugoslavia,

8 federal or confederal.

9 This can be corroborated by the fact that we,

10 in Croatia and Slovenia, had proposed a confederal

11 model for a limited time of 3 to 5 years to see how it

12 would work and if it worked, we could go on together.

13 If not, we would part ways, but things would be decided

14 similarly to the Czechs and the Slovaks. Milosevic

15 obviously wanted something else. We see now the

16 results of his policy. He wanted a greater Serbia, he

17 wanted to extend the borders, and to take advantage of

18 the collapse of Yugoslavia, to extend the borders of

19 Serbia. However, his model included a policy of

20 genocide, because he not only wanted a greater Serbia,

21 but he wanted a purely Serb Serbia, and that is why his

22 squadrons of death destroyed and killed everything they

23 came across. They destroyed Catholic churches, Muslim

24 mosques -- they simply wanted to erase all traces of

25 other ethnic groups having lived in the areas through

Page 7145

1 which his armies passed.

2 The world was rather tolerant towards this

3 policy of Milosevic's, and I assume that Tudjman drew

4 the conclusion from this that the world wanted a

5 division of Bosnia-Herzegovina and he obviously played

6 the card of expanding his own borders, because he

7 stated on a number of occasions that what we were

8 holding by force of arms, when the war ended, sooner or

9 later, it would belong to us.

10 He was not very explicit. He did not say

11 that this would be Croatia. He said it would be

12 "ours". This could be interpreted as being Croatia,

13 or Croatian territory over which the Croats would have

14 certain privileges or priority. So, I think this is up

15 to us to make our own conclusions, because he was not

16 quite explicit.

17 We can see what was really wanted from Hrvoje

18 Sarinic, who was chief of cabinet of President Tudjman,

19 who said in public that he went to meet with Milosevic

20 13 times, that he travelled to Belgrade while we were

21 waging war -- a fierce war against the Serbs and he

22 said that Serbia must emerge from the war as the small

23 greater Serbia; in other words, the maximum ambitions

24 of Serbia would not come true, but that what one could

25 expect and what would be normal is for Serbia to make

Page 7146

1 some territorial gains after this war.

2 Therefore, if it was acceptable that, at the

3 expense of a third party, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia

4 should emerge enlarged in terms of territory, how then

5 could it be assumed that a little of that territory

6 would not belong to Croatia as well?

7 Q. Did Franjo Tudjman also believe that, by

8 shifting populations from the areas that had been

9 allotted to it following the Karadordevo meeting, that

10 that would benefit Croatia by dividing Bosnia?

11 A. Since, as I have said, Bosnia and Herzegovina

12 is rather like a leopard skin in terms of population,

13 with the exception of a few enclaves, it was difficult

14 to establish ethnically pure territories and probably

15 that was why Milosevic's genocidal policy was to

16 cleanse areas, and people fled as soon as villages were

17 torched and towns and people killed -- after all,

18 hundreds of thousands of people were killed, so,

19 clearly, this provoked fear, even among the people who

20 had still not been swept up by the war.

21 I remember an expression that was widely in

22 use after the Vance-Owen Plan, which established the

23 boundaries of the cantons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a

24 term that became current was "humane resettlement". It

25 is not a good idea for people to suffer and to tolerate

Page 7147

1 this destruction -- it would be better for the people

2 to be allowed to move towards their ethnic centres --

3 on the one hand there was Sarajevo, on the second

4 Mostar, the third Banja Luka, but from today's optics,

5 there is no such thing as humane resettlement. It is

6 only a milder term for genocide, in fact.

7 Q. Did you hear those discussions about the

8 humanitarian resettlement of population personally and

9 did you hear those -- that expression used by President

10 Tudjman in discussions with Dario Kordic, in

11 discussions with Mate Boban, Anto Valenta, Ignac

12 Kostroman and others from Herceg-Bosna?

13 A. Yes, because when talking to these gentlemen

14 that you mentioned and when Tudjman used the

15 term "humane resettlement", in explaining it, he said

16 that this was to avoid suffering, to put an end to the

17 killing, to put an end to the destruction, so that

18 people should be given a chance to deal with the

19 problem themselves, to swap houses among themselves

20 and, actually, to end the war. But, ultimately, this

21 led to division.

22 Q. Mr Mesic, I would like to turn your attention

23 now to the creation of Herceg-Bosna, which was

24 proclaimed on 18 November 1991. Did you have occasion

25 to see excerpts from the Narodni lists and other

Page 7148

1 decisions from Herceg-Bosna, which vested the HVO with

2 the executive power in the municipalities in which they

3 were located?

4 A. Yes. I somehow gained possession of these

5 decisions that you are referring to. Those decisions

6 were worded in such a way as to indicate the abolition

7 of the legally elected authorities at the previous

8 elections in the towns and municipalities and, instead,

9 deputies were appointed by the HVO. I asked Mate

10 Boban, who was the most senior among the Croats in

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time, I said that this was

12 not legitimate, that it was not lawful, that the HVO

13 could not abolish legally elected bodies, but the

14 legally elected bodies could potentially set up some

15 sort of institutions which might assist in the defence

16 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

17 Of course, those decisions never made any

18 mention of Bosnia-Herzegovina but rather of Croatian

19 lands, and I asked them what had prompted them to pass

20 such decisions which are rather like a putsch, like a

21 coup, they were not legal or legitimate. He said,

22 "Look here, these were done by the most qualified

23 lawyers, Vice Vukojevic from Zagreb, Smiljko Sokol, a

24 university professor, and as regards the wording and

25 the legal grounds, everything is absolutely above

Page 7149

1 board, and do not worry, we will not make a mistake".

2 As I was not satisfied with this answer,

3 I asked President Tudjman whether he had seen these

4 decisions that were being passed by these people in

5 Herzegovina and he said that he had been informed about

6 them. I repeated to him what the problem was. I was

7 saying that, "Illegal organs were substituting for

8 legal organs". He said that he agreed with me. After

9 that, I tried to learn whether any changes took place,

10 since he said he agreed with me, but no changes were

11 made.

12 True, due to certain operations taken by Vice

13 Vukojevic, who was a member of Parliament, in my

14 Parliament, I insisted several times with him that his

15 status be cleared up, because he was one of the

16 mediators in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then Tudjman said,

17 "Leave it -- as far as Bosnia is concerned, all the

18 civilian affairs are under the control of Vice

19 Vukojevic and the military affairs by Gojko Susak the

20 Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia."

21 Q. As a result of those decisions that you saw,

22 Mr Mesic, what happened to the borders between Bosnia

23 and Croatia -- did they exist or did they cease to

24 exist, in your view?

25 A. I do not know whether even now that border is

Page 7150

1 fully established. For a time, it did not exist at all

2 -- it was an open border, and of course economically

3 this was harmful for us, but the areas which were under

4 the control of the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council,

5 our currency was in use, as an established currency,

6 and the whole legal system was a replica of the

7 Croatian legal system, so that one could not cross the

8 border without any formalities at all. That border did

9 not exist and, as far as I hear now, it is being

10 established, but I am not familiar with the real state

11 of affairs today.

12 Q. Mr Mesic, when you talked to Mr Boban about

13 the putsch, as you described it, did Mr Tudjman agree

14 with the decision to place HVO officials in authority

15 over elected officials in Bosnia?

16 A. I must say that President Tudjman agreed with

17 my opinion. He said that I was right, but he also said

18 that I should not interfere with Bosnian affairs any

19 longer, but that other people would be in charge of

20 that.

21 Q. Would it be fair to say, in your opinion,

22 Mr Mesic, that the leaders of Herceg-Bosna took their

23 political direction from the leadership in Croatia?

24 A. I think, and I can assert with certainty,

25 that the Croatian Democratic Union of

Page 7151

1 Bosnia-Herzegovina was under the total leader of the

2 HVO leadership in Zagreb, because any decision that

3 needed to be made within the framework of the HDZ of

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina had first to be established in

5 Zagreb and any observer of the Croatian TV programme at

6 the time could see that HDZ representatives would come

7 to Zagreb every couple of days to talk with the

8 President of the HDZ of Croatia.

9 Afterwards, when the Republic of Herceg-Bosna

10 was formed, representatives of the Croatian Republic

11 would come, but they were the same people, and now, now

12 that the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna no longer

13 exists formally, representatives of the Croatian people

14 come to Zagreb for instructions.

15 I can concede that, during those discussions,

16 it is possible to have a conflict of opinion, but since

17 I do not participate in them, and I am familiar what

18 the situation was before, it is my view that all they

19 do is come to collect instructions.

20 Q. Mr Mesic, let me ask you to go back to the

21 time when Herceg-Bosna existed initially in Bosnia.

22 You have testified that you saw certain leaders from

23 that entity, Mate Boban, Dario Kordic, Valenta,

24 Kostroman and others come to Zagreb --

25 A. Kostroman, yes.

Page 7152

1 Q. -- come to Croatia and meet with President

2 Tudjman. Where did they meet with him?

3 A. All of those who came to see President

4 Tudjman go to the presidential palace. It is always

5 like that.

6 Q. And would the meetings that occurred between

7 President Tudjman and the people I have just mentioned,

8 Boban, Kordic, Valenta, Kostroman and others be

9 recorded in appointment books kept in the presidential

10 palace?

11 A. I can describe how these meetings are held.

12 First of all, each meeting is recorded, every meeting

13 is recorded -- is registered with the secretariat and

14 then everything is recorded on the tape and President

15 Tudjman also makes his own notes about the contents of

16 some major meetings.

17 We were always warned that other meetings

18 were being taped and that everybody who was speaking

19 should introduce themselves so that the person who is

20 taking down minutes later would be able to identify

21 each of the speakers.

22 Q. Now, is it during one or more meetings that

23 you heard President Tudjman say, "What we hold with

24 weapons will be ours"?

25 A. Yes, I said this to several of those

Page 7153

1 meetings. Of course, the discussion was also about

2 where the Croatian forces were, what areas they were

3 in. However, whether the President meant that this was

4 going to be Croatia or this was going to be Croatian

5 lands in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was no analysis of

6 that. It was just said, "This was going to be ours",

7 but what he actually meant by those words, I really do

8 not know.

9 Q. Did you hear President Tudjman utter those

10 words to the leaders of Herceg-Bosna in the context of

11 discussions with the Vance-Owen peace plan?

12 A. It was precisely around this time that these

13 discussions took place, because the proposition of the

14 Croatian side was to implement this agreement --

15 actually, this plan -- the Vance-Owen Plan -- as soon

16 as possible, because it suited the Croats. However, it

17 was still not signed by the Serbs, and later --

18 actually it was signed eventually, but it was never

19 ratified by the Croatian assembly, so that the plan

20 fell through.

21 However, the Croatian side in

22 Bosnia-Herzegovina enthusiastically supported the

23 implementation of this plan.

24 Q. Let me ask you your opinion, Mr Mesic: In

25 your opinion, would it be fair to say that the leaders

Page 7154

1 from Herceg-Bosna, that is, Mate Boban, Dario Kordic,

2 Valenta, Kostroman, and the military leaders of that

3 entity Herceg-Bosna became instruments of implementing

4 the policies of President Tudjman in Bosnia,

5 particularly the policy to divide Bosnia?

6 MR. HAYMAN: Compound, your Honour, and

7 vague. If more clear, express terms could be used. We

8 have been hearing about political leaders and now

9 counsel wants to lump presumably every military leader

10 in Herceg-Bosna into one group. I would ask that the

11 question be clear and be broken down so we can have a

12 fuller response by the witness.

13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, objection sustained. It

14 was a very broad question. We see what you are trying

15 to get, but try to do this in a different way.

16 MR. HARMON: Let me ask you this question,

17 Mr Mesic: in your opinion, is it fair to say that the

18 political leaders who I have identified, that is,

19 Boban, Kordic, Valenta, Kostroman and others, became,

20 in your opinion, instruments of implementing the policy

21 of President Tudjman to divide Bosnia?

22 A. In fact, in the final analysis, it was really

23 on the Bosnia policy that I parted ways with President

24 Tudjman. I had other objections, too. It was about

25 centralisation of power at all levels, the

Page 7155

1 centralisation of finances, the transformation of the

2 so-called social property -- all these were issues

3 which I parted ways with Tudjman's policies, but

4 I think that Bosnia was really the dot over the "i", if

5 you will, because I believe that Bosnia could not be

6 divided, and it was this insistence on the division on

7 the ethnic purity of Bosnia, the insistence on

8 resettlement of the Muslim population from all towns --

9 from many towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- I thought that

10 was a mistaken policy and I believe that those who

11 implemented such a policy were really the instruments

12 of a misguided Croatian policy in that regard.

13 MR. HARMON: And did you believe that Kordic

14 and Boban and Valenta and Kostroman were the

15 instruments by which that policy of dividing Bosnia was

16 implemented?

17 JUDGE JORDA: Is this a different question?

18 It is a different question?

19 A. Yes, in a certain way, I had good relations

20 with Mate Boban -- not with the others. I only met

21 them during the official meetings, and he told me --

22 every time I met him I gave him my objections about

23 this policy towards the Muslims, because I believed

24 that we had a single aggressor in Bosnia-Herzegovina

25 and that we will receive international support if the

Page 7156

1 international community understands that there is a

2 single aggressor, that that is Serbia, that this was

3 not a civil war, and later the growing tensions and

4 later the conflict with the Muslims really played into

5 the hands of the Serb politics, or the Milosevic

6 politics. I then asked him what was his politics.

7 Then he said he had none himself, that he was really

8 implementing the policies of Zagreb and that he only

9 trusted Franjo Tudjman.

10 MR. HARMON: Mate Boban was

11 the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces in

12 Herceg-Bosna; is that not correct?

13 A. Yes, that is correct -- this was so in legal

14 terms -- this was the case in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

15 Q. And the policies of Mate Boban were

16 implemented in Herceg-Bosna by military force; is that

17 correct?

18 MR. HAYMAN: Could we have a foundation -- a

19 foundation for the answer? How does he know? Was he

20 there, was he briefed? Could we just have a foundation

21 for this, and some specificivity as to Central Bosnia

22 as opposed to just referring to Bosnia-Herzegovina --

23 where?

24 JUDGE JORDA: We are not going to ask

25 questions about every question asked, but I would like

Page 7157

1 Mr Harmon to be specific in this question. Ask your

2 question differently, Mr Harmon.

3 MR. HARMON: Were the policies of Mate Boban

4 implemented through the use of military force?

5 A. Since Mate Boban was the President of the

6 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, he had the supreme

7 political authority. He represented Bosnia-Herzegovina

8 and obviously he was responsible for all the bodies of

9 authority that were established in Herceg-Bosna,

10 including the military ones.

11 Q. Did you ever hear of a single military leader

12 in the HVO disagreeing with the principles and the

13 policies of Mate Boban?

14 A. I did not meet these people, or, if I did,

15 this would be in some joint meetings and I never talked

16 to them, except with those who were in the Croatian

17 army and who were going to Herceg-Bosna, that is to

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I talked quite a bit with Slobodan

19 Praljak and we could not come to agreement over this

20 major issue, because he believed that no communal life

21 could be preserved with the Muslims and that these two

22 ethnic groups should go each their own ways and

23 I talked to some others, who went to Bosnia -- to

24 Herceg-Bosna, but these were just casual meetings, sort

25 of in passing. I had no official contacts with these

Page 7158

1 persons.

2 Q. Let me turn your attention, Mr Mesic, to the

3 situation of dual citizenship and the situation of

4 people who were citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina

5 being able to be members of the Croatian Parliament, or

6 the SABOR. Could you explain to the judges the laws

7 I referred to, when they were promulgated and what

8 their effect was on the sovereignty of Bosnia and

9 Herzegovina?

10 A. At any rate, I was part of the opposition

11 politicians in Croatia who were against the election

12 rule where citizens of other States could also

13 participate, because I thought that only those Croats

14 from Diaspora could take part in elections who happened

15 to find themselves abroad at the time. As far as the

16 citizen law, the electoral system allows all Croatian

17 citizens to vote for the Croatian Parliament, and then

18 the law provides that all Croats of -- all persons of

19 Croatian origins could become citizens, with some

20 provisions which were -- conditions that were easy to

21 fulfil.

22 There were 12 representatives in the

23 Parliament, so about 10 per cent of the representatives

24 in the Parliament came from Diaspora and it was clear

25 that these Croats were Diaspora who have nothing to do

Page 7159

1 with the Croatian State -- they did not pay any taxes

2 -- it was clear that these were dominated for the most

3 part by the HDZ, and so it was clear to me that this

4 was sort of an abuse of the elections, because the

5 Party that controls those 10 per cent of the vote

6 clearly has a 10 per cent advantage coming into an

7 election, and obviously it was something that the

8 Opposition fought against.

9 However, it is clear that the HDZ has an

10 advantage here -- they have a monopoly -- they had a

11 monopoly, so they passed this law. But in terms of

12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it had a devastating influence

13 there, because what it did there, it oriented the

14 Croats in Bosnia towards Croatia, rather than directed

15 them to look for their happiness and future in the

16 State where they were born, and where they lived with

17 other people with whom they should look for

18 co-existence.

19 I also spoke to the representatives of

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo, because I went there as

21 well several times. They said that they did not want

22 to exacerbate that problem, because they were getting

23 all their assistance through Croatia, and so they did

24 not want to undermine this kind of situation.

25 Q. As a result of that law that permitted people

Page 7160

1 from abroad to be elected to the Croatian Parliament,

2 were there members of the SABOR who were also involved

3 in the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were

4 officers in the HVO?

5 A. I think that several of these prominent

6 members of the HDZ who took part in the Government of

7 the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the State of

8 Bosnia-Herzegovina are legally members of the Croatian

9 Parliament, so at the same time they are members of the

10 Croatian Parliament and the one in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

11 However, it is not easy for me to sort of estimate what

12 the level of their involvement over there was.

13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Harmon, we might now take a

14 20-minute break and then resume at 10 after.

15 (3.50pm)

16 (A short break)

17 (4.17pm)

18 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Have

19 the accused brought in.

20 (The accused entered court)

21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Harmon, until 5.30.

22 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr President.

23 Mr Mesic, you were President of the SABOR,

24 which was the Croatian Parliament, from the end of 1992

25 until through 1993; is that correct?

Page 7161

1 A. Correct.

2 Q. While you were President of the SABOR, during

3 that time, were members of the SABOR, who were from

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, also members of the HVO and of

5 Herceg-Bosna?

6 A. I never officially received any information

7 from any representative that they were members of the

8 HVO. However, I saw some people on television,

9 including Vice Vukojevic and Ivan Tolj, wearing the HVO

10 uniforms. I think there was a physician involved as

11 well, but I think he was only involved in medical

12 affairs.

13 Q. Can you describe a conversation that you had

14 with Vice Vukojevic?

15 A. Since I was interested in the events in

16 Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the final analysis the

17 defence of Croatia depended on what was happening in

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so, in that light, I called Vice

19 Vukojevic. He was born in Herzegovina. I asked him

20 what was actually going on there, expecting to hear a

21 common defence was being established there. However,

22 to my surprise, he said that it was impossible to work

23 with Muslims, that there were conflicts in Prozor -- so

24 much so, that they loaded them up on a truck. I said,

25 "How many Croats were killed?" "None." "How many were

Page 7162

1 wounded?" "None." I said, "What did you do? You just

2 shot summarily people who were tied up?" I threw him

3 out of the office and we never met after that.

4 Q. Vice Vukojevic, did he representative himself

5 to you as being a member of the HVO, or did you ever

6 see him in a uniform belonging to the HVO while he was

7 a member of the SABOR?

8 A. Only on television. I saw him only on

9 television in uniform and he publicly said that he was

10 a brigadier of the HVO. I do not know who appointed

11 him to that position, but throughout this time he was

12 also in the Croatian Parliament -- he never said that

13 he was going to resign from that post in order to

14 assume another one elsewhere.

15 Q. Mr Mesic, who was Ivan Tolj and what rank did

16 he tell you he had in the HVO?

17 A. I do not know what rank he held in the HVO.

18 He was a general in the Croatian army. He was in

19 charge of political affairs -- he ran the political

20 affairs in the Croatian army and he said he had the

21 same job in the HVO, but he was also a member of the

22 Lower House of the Croatian Parliament.

23 Q. Mr Mesic, what is your conclusion as to the

24 effect that this kind of representation in the SABOR

25 had, that is, allowing people who were from Bosnia and

Page 7163

1 Herzegovina to be members of the SABOR -- what effect

2 did that have on the independence of Bosnia and

3 Herzegovina?

4 A. I am convinced that this led to destruction

5 -- if Croats were looking for their place in Croatia,

6 they were not going to defend Bosnia-Herzegovina, they

7 were not going to advocate the unity of

8 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I thought that it was a policy

9 that was detrimental to Bosnia-Herzegovina and

10 I thought that it hurt Croatia as well. I have always

11 believed, and I do so now, that, had it not been for

12 the Washington and Dayton Accords, that it is

13 questionable whether, with the fall of Bosnia, Croatia

14 itself could have survived.

15 Q. Now, while you were in the SABOR, did you

16 send a commission down to Mostar to investigate into

17 tensions -- I am sorry, into the events and the

18 tensions that were rising between the Bosnian Muslims

19 and the Bosnian Croats?

20 A. Different information, different news was

21 reaching me as to what was going on in

22 Bosnia-Herzegovina. For instance, in Mostar, and in

23 order to get to the real information, I sent a

24 delegation of our Parliament to Bosnia-Herzegovina,

25 with a special visit to Mostar in order to find out

Page 7164

1 what was really going on there, and it was led by Drago

2 Krpina. Upon their return, they were very

3 disappointed, they were very depressed -- they said the

4 place was going to blow up, that a large number of

5 Muslims of the villages surrounding Mostar left those

6 villages, and those were mostly the Muslims who had

7 fled the Serb terror, and they came to this area and

8 that changed the complexion, the demographic complexion

9 of Mostar, that this was upsetting the balance there,

10 and that the leadership of the HVO was very concerned,

11 because if such a large number of Muslims stayed in the

12 area, they had feared that the conflict may arise from

13 it and then later on television I saw that some people

14 were leaving Mostar, moving out. The television showed

15 columns of people leaving Mostar. I do not know where

16 they were headed. Some were transported in trucks.

17 I also do not know where.

18 I asked Drago Krpina to inform President

19 Tudjman about what was actually going on there, but

20 I do not know what he actually did about it.

21 Q. Now, did in fact conflict break out between

22 the Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats?

23 A. Yes. A fierce conflict broke out, of

24 terrible proportions, so that a part of Mostar now

25 looks like Hiroshima. After the fighting, the city was

Page 7165

1 divided. In principle the city was divided in an

2 artificial way, and great efforts are being invested in

3 order to establish an homogenous community, that the

4 people there are Mostar citizens regardless of which

5 ethnic origins they are of.

6 There was even an old bridge there, which was

7 a symbol of the city, which was destroyed. This bridge

8 was built during the Turkish rule, but it was a symbol

9 of binding of people, because it was a symbol of

10 tolerance; the Turkish engineers designed this bridge,

11 but it was built by the Croat workers with stone which

12 was brought from Croatia. So, it was symbolic, the

13 destruction of this bridge, which strategically meant

14 nothing, and this was the justification for its

15 destruction. I think that the policy was such that it

16 wanted to destroy all bridges between the ethnic groups

17 in Bosnia, to divide them as soon as possible, and to

18 keep them as separate as possible.

19 Q. Which side of the conflict destroyed the

20 Mostar bridge?

21 A. It is difficult for me to say who destroyed

22 it, because I do not have personal knowledge of who did

23 it, but I have information that this bridge -- that the

24 destruction of the bridge was planned from the Croatian

25 side. However, who issued the order, I do not know.

Page 7166

1 There were different accounts in the public, but I do

2 not think that the investigation of that was ever

3 completed.

4 However, objectively speaking, the Bosniak

5 side had the least interest in destroying it. There

6 are acts of provocation -- there are all kinds of thing

7 in the war. An objective investigation would probably

8 yield results.

9 Q. In your opinion, Mr Mesic, was it logical for

10 the Muslims to have started the Bosnian/Croat conflict?

11 A. Since I, too, am some kind of a general of

12 the Croatian army, true, I attended military school for

13 officers in reserve a long time ago, but I see no logic

14 there, regardless of what the various sides allege.

15 The Bosniaks were absolutely inferior in relation to

16 our common aggressor and that is Serbia and its army.

17 By the time when the Muslims had vast casualties, when

18 more than 100,000 people were killed, and then for them

19 to open up a new front and to narrow down the

20 manoeuvring space that they had seems strange.

21 First of all, they could get logistics from

22 Croatia and, if they open up a front against the

23 Croats, there is no assistance for them -- nor is there

24 any chance for Bosnia to be saved. That is why it is

25 unconvincing for me to claim -- it has no ground to

Page 7167

1 claim that the Muslims started that war.

2 However, it was harmful equally to the Croats

3 and Muslims, and fortunately the Washington agreement

4 came, and the Dayton Accords were signed which halted

5 that war; but, to heal the effects of that war will

6 take a long time yet.

7 Q. Mr Mesic, during that war, did Croatia

8 provide material assistance to the HVO?

9 A. Since the policy was that the HVO was

10 defending Croatian interests and Croatian areas in

11 Bosnia and Herzegovina -- because you must listen to

12 the statements made by the leaders of Herceg-Bosna,

13 they always spoke about Croatian lands, they never

14 spoke about Bosnia-Herzegovina and this is something

15 that bothered me in particular, so, clearly, Croatia

16 did assist them and this was no secret. The only

17 secret is how that assistance was organised. I was the

18 President of the Parliament and I am familiar with the

19 Croatian budget and there never was an item referring

20 to assistance to Herceg-Bosna, nor was mention of

21 Herceg-Bosna ever made in any way, but Josip Manolic,

22 who abandoned the HDZ together with me, and he was in

23 charge of all the intelligence services in Croatia, he

24 stated in public, addressing the international and

25 domestic public opinion, and he told me in person, that

Page 7168

1 Croatia had spent 1 million German marks per day on

2 assisting all the structures in Herceg-Bosna and that

3 certainly means the HVO included, because, from where

4 else would the HVO receive logistic support if not from

5 Croatia. I think there is no secret there.

6 I assume that the assistance came from the

7 Defence Ministry to the Defence Ministry of

8 Herceg-Bosna, the Ministry of the Interior to the

9 Ministry of Interior of Herceg-Bosna. That is probably

10 how that assistance was run, but I cannot explicitly

11 allege how much was spent on this assistance, nor how

12 it was actually channelled.

13 Q. In your opinion, Mr Mesic, would the

14 ministries that you have just described have kept

15 records and maintained records of the assistance that

16 it provided to the HVO?

17 A. I have never seen any such document, but

18 anyone who has control of any funds must have some kind

19 of control mechanism over the spending of those funds.

20 Therefore, this must exist somewhere in the

21 documentation of any ministry, including the Ministry

22 of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence. All

23 I know is that an audit was carried out in most

24 ministries, except in the most sensitive segment, where

25 it has not been completed, so that neither the public

Page 7169

1 nor the Parliament have been fully familiarised with

2 the audit carried out of the operations of the Ministry

3 of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior and the

4 Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

5 Q. Mr Mesic, between 1992 and 1994, for purposes

6 of this question, were Croatian troops and Croatian

7 police in Bosnia?

8 A. You see, I can claim, with certainty, that

9 the Croatian army could not legally go to

10 Bosnia-Herzegovina for the very reason that, for the

11 use of the Croatian army outside the borders of

12 Croatia, a decision of the Croatian SABOR was

13 required. No such decision existed. If it did,

14 I would have known about it, but whether any units were

15 there, whether they were used in Bosnia-Herzegovina,

16 that is a different matter. There was an agreement

17 between President Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic during

18 the Serb attack on parts of Dubrovnik and

19 surrounding area. An agreement was reached where a

20 part of the Croatian army defended the hinterland of

21 Dubrovnik and entered the territory of

22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but that was in agreement with the

23 Bosnian President.

24 However, due to the post I held, I was often

25 exposed in the media, I often appeared on radio and

Page 7170

1 television. People asked me questions to the effect

2 whether our troops were in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

3 I said that I had requested a report from the Defence

4 Ministry about it and that the answer I received -- an

5 explicit answer was that there was no Croatian troops

6 on the territory of any other country, including the

7 country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. But soldiers did come

8 to me who were discharged because they refused to go to

9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Their parents would come to see

10 me, too, for the same reasons, but officially, I was

11 always told that if any Croatian soldier did go there,

12 he went there as a volunteer.

13 Q. So, Mr Mesic, is your answer that there were

14 or there were not Croatian troops in Bosnia between

15 1992 and 1994?

16 A. I believe there were, but if they were, they

17 were not there legally.

18 Q. Were those troops involved in the conflict

19 between the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats?

20 A. Since after the outbreak of the conflict

21 between the Croats on the one side and the Muslims on

22 the other, a certain shift was made to the detriment of

23 the Croats, I received information that some aid was

24 given in the form of volunteers to halt the Bosnian

25 offensive. Whether these were real volunteers, what

Page 7171

1 kind of units were used -- that is something that

2 I never investigated myself.

3 Q. Now, to your knowledge, Mr Mesic, did the

4 Croatian army personnel, who were in Bosnia, suffer

5 casualties, and would there be records of those

6 casualties?

7 A. As in any normal administration, there should

8 be some kind of a record, especially about human

9 casualties, so if Croatian soldiers died there, then

10 there must be a document to that effect, because the

11 families need to regulate their benefits. If soldiers

12 were wounded, again, their disability benefits needed

13 to be regulated. But it is a fact that in our press

14 there was a lot of vagueness and, whenever somebody was

15 killed, the report said where he was killed and where

16 he fought for Croatia, but, for a certain number of

17 casualties, the term used for some in the papers

18 was "fell for their homeland" and I was told that this

19 phrase was used for those who fell in Bosnia. But

20 I must admit that I did not investigate this in any

21 detail, either.

22 Q. Mr Mesic, did any of the soldiers who came to

23 you directly inform you that, while serving in Bosnia,

24 they wore patches that said "HV" but they had been

25 instructed to remove those patches and replace them

Page 7172

1 with patches identifying them as members of the HVO?

2 A. Yes. This was told to me by several people,

3 that the task of all those going to Bosnia was to

4 remove the insignia of the Croatian army.

5 Q. Can you tell the judges what you know about

6 the issue of joint commands, that is, commands between

7 the Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats, and what

8 the view of Zagreb was in respect of that issue?

9 A. At the beginning of the aggression, clearly,

10 the whole Yugoslavia army sided with the Serbs,

11 together with all its logistic equipment and this part

12 was under the control of Karadzic, or, rather, Karadzic

13 was just the instrument -- the main planner and

14 operator was Slobodan Milosevic.

15 As regards the Bosnian army, it was partly

16 all Bosnian, because 13 per cent of the members were

17 Serbs and, also, there were Croats from other parts of

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, especially from Sarajevo in that

19 army. It is also well known that, in the HVO itself,

20 there were quite a number of Muslims, so that some

21 units in the Sava River valley were predominantly

22 Muslim even though they belonged to the HVO.

23 One must ask whether it is possible to wage a

24 war against an aggressor if there is no unified command

25 and the Bosnians insisted that there should be a joint

Page 7173

1 command, because that was the only way to decide

2 tactically and operationally about certain military

3 operations.

4 The Croatian side agreed with this joint

5 command, which would mean that both the HVO and the

6 Bosnian army would be represented according to the

7 share of the population, so that the term "united

8 command" was never used, and without that, it is

9 difficult to score any military victories.

10 Q. Mr Mesic, what was the relationship between

11 the Croatian army and the officers in command positions

12 in the HVO? Can you tell the court whether members of

13 the Croatian army went to the HVO, served in command

14 positions and then returned back to the Croatian army

15 and can you identify, by name, those individuals?

16 A. Professionally, that was not part of my

17 competencies. I was primus interpares -- I was the

18 speaker of Parliament, but certainly, I had more

19 information than many other people. Obviously, it was

20 possible for me to obtain some more detailed

21 information, but this information was also available to

22 the public, so that there was this fluctuation --

23 Milivoj Petkovic, Ante Roso, Slobodan Praljak, General

24 Tolj -- they were for a time in the HVO, then again in

25 the Croatian army. Whether each time they regulated

Page 7174

1 their relationship every time they went and came back,

2 I did not try to establish.

3 But one could see that, within a short period

4 of time, they changed their positions. They were for

5 some time in the HVO, then again in the Croatian army,

6 but how this was regulated, I do not know.

7 Q. Let me return to the issue of joint

8 commands. I have been asked by one of my colleagues to

9 clarify one point, Mr Mesic. Did Zagreb reject joint

10 commands, or did they accept the principle of joint

11 commands?

12 A. Zagreb was in favour of a joint command, but

13 not in favour of a unified command.

14 Q. Let me turn next to the issue of Ahmici and

15 ask you, Mr Mesic, first of all, had you heard of the

16 events that occurred in Ahmici in April of 1993 and, if

17 you had heard of those events, did you make an enquiry

18 as to whether or not any investigation had been

19 conducted into the massacre at Ahmici?

20 A. At the time, the time you mention, I was on

21 an official trip with the Croatian parliamentary

22 delegation, and, while on that trip, I learned of the

23 events in Ahmici. When I came back, I learned about

24 the various brutalities that occurred -- the

25 atrocities, that great crimes were committed, of which

Page 7175

1 even children were victims, and certainly, as a Croat,

2 I was not glad to see Croats committing crimes, and,

3 deep down, I had hoped that the Croats had not done

4 it. I asked Mate Boban who I met shortly after that

5 whether he knew anything about it. He said that all

6 those events had been provoked by a British officer,

7 and that they had established something, but not

8 sufficient information about it.

9 Then I asked, what had they ascertained and

10 who had committed the crime? He said they had firm

11 evidence that this was committed by people wearing

12 black uniforms. Then I asked him, "But then you did

13 not understand me, Mate, I did not ask what colour

14 uniforms they wore, but who was wearing those

15 uniforms". His reply was, "That, we have not

16 established and they could have been Serbs". Knowing

17 this part of the country, I knew that Serbs could not

18 appear there, and that it was obvious either that he

19 himself did not know, or that he was not telling the

20 truth.

21 Q. Since then, Mr Mesic, have you heard whether

22 anybody has been prosecuted by the Bosnian Croat

23 officials for the massacres at Ahmici?

24 A. No, I have not heard of that.

25 Q. Have you heard whether anybody has been

Page 7176

1 disciplined, or was disciplined in the HVO for the war

2 crimes that were committed in Ahmici?

3 A. My work was such that such a report would not

4 reach me through official channels, but I never learned

5 anything to that effect privately, either.

6 MR. HARMON: Mr Mesic, thank you very much for

7 your testimony.

8 I have no additional questions.

9 Mr President, I have concluded my direct examination.

10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr Harmon. I turn

11 now to the Defence. I do not know who is going to be

12 the cross-examiner -- it is Mr Nobilo -- yes, we spoke

13 about it yesterday.

14 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO:

15 MR. NOBILO: Very well, thank you,

16 Mr President.

17 Good afternoon, Mr Mesic. During the

18 examination-in-chief, we heard the positions you held.

19 Among others, the most important, if I am not mistaken,

20 was that you were President of SFRY, or member of the

21 Presidency of SFRY, Prime Minister of Croatia, Speaker

22 of Parliament, and Secretary-General of the Party.

23 Will you tell me, after leaving the HDZ, did you

24 participate in the elections within another Party?

25 A. Yes. After leaving the HDZ, I participated

Page 7177

1 in the formation of the Independents Democrats of

2 Croatia, which was joined by 11 former members of the

3 HDZ. After some time, as members of this Party, we

4 joined the HNS, and I am now Vice-President of the HNS,

5 but, due to circumstances, HND continues to exist

6 headed by Josip Manolic, but I do not know what their

7 membership is.

8 Q. But while you were President of the HND, did

9 you participate in any elections as an individual or as

10 a member of a Party on a list?

11 A. Yes, I was elected to the municipal assembly

12 of Zagreb.

13 Q. Did you compete for Parliament, for President

14 of State, or something else?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Did your Party compete to join the

17 Parliament, HND?

18 A. Yes, and we won one seat.

19 Q. What share of the votes did you win?

20 A. I do not know.

21 Q. You said that the HDZ is an obstacle to

22 democracy, that there is no democratic decision-making,

23 there is a single Party attitude, that they have

24 plundered property through transformation, that they

25 are nationalists, et cetera. Could you tell me, when

Page 7178

1 did HDZ develop these characteristics?

2 A. I think after the agreement in Karadordevo --

3 this destructive policy began.

4 Q. And when did that take place?

5 A. 30 March 1991.

6 Q. So that Party has all these negative

7 characteristics as of 1991; and when did you leave it?

8 A. I left it in 1993. Franjo Tudjman asked me

9 to withdraw from the Parliament, because he could not

10 reach any agreement with Slobodan Milosevic, because

11 I had said somewhere that the Serbs themselves would

12 hang him on Terazije Square in Belgrade. By then,

13 I was already in deep conflict with official policy,

14 together with my friends, who abandoned the Party with

15 me. As you know, a step in politics is not taken just

16 like that, but when conditions mature, so that my

17 departure from the HDZ did not take place suddenly, but

18 when I felt that I had a chance of winning greater

19 support from the public -- rather than just leaving the

20 Party and ending my career without achieving anything,

21 due to which I had left the Party anyway.

22 Q. So, when did you leave the Party and form the

23 HND?

24 A. This was somewhere in April 1994. But the

25 talks regarding my departure from the HDZ lasted a long

Page 7179

1 time.

2 Q. How long?

3 A. Ever since the agreement in Karadordevo.

4 Q. In the meantime, you held the highest

5 positions in the HDZ. Do you consider yourself to be

6 partly responsible for the way the Party developed and

7 what it did in Croatia?

8 A. Yes, I do shoulder part of the blame and

9 I must admit, as the public knows, that throughout that

10 period I advocated a policy of a unified and integral

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I struggled for a maximum

12 degree of democracy in Croatia.

13 Q. Apart from the replacement of Kljujic, did

14 you ever participate in the work of any other body of

15 the HDZ for Bosnia-Herzegovina?

16 A. I attended another meeting in Sarajevo when

17 the question of the election of Kljujic arose, after

18 Mr Perinovic resigned, but I do not recall the exact

19 date.

20 Q. Do you remember when Kljujic was replaced?

21 A. In 1992, because then I was President of the

22 executive board of the HDZ, but I do not know exactly.

23 Q. Was it in the first half of 1992, can you

24 remember that?

25 A. It could have been.

Page 7180

1 Q. Please correct me if I did not understand you

2 well. After the second half of 1992 and the

3 replacement of Kljujic, you did not take an active part

4 in the work of the bodies of the HDZ in

5 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

6 A. No, I never participated in the work of those

7 bodies. I could merely follow what was happening

8 there, up to a point.

9 Q. Very well. In that case, I will correct

10 myself. After Kljujic was replaced, you no longer

11 followed directly the work of any body of the HDZ in

12 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

13 A. I did follow it, but I did not participate in

14 the work of those bodies. I did follow, because I had

15 a certain position in Zagreb. I was a member of the

16 Presidency of the HDZ and the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina

17 was not formally -- it was formally a separate Party

18 but all decisions were taken by the HDZ leadership in

19 Zagreb regarding what needed to be done in

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21 Q. But did you attend meetings of the HDZ of

22 Bosnia-Herzegovina bodies after that, did you go to

23 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

24 A. No. They came to Zagreb. The whole HDZ of

25 Bosnia-Herzegovina came to Zagreb.

Page 7181

1 Q. About the visits to Zagreb, at what sessions

2 and talks between Tudjman and the key figures of the

3 HDZ for Bosnia-Herzegovina did you attend?

4 A. It is difficult for me to say, because I do

5 not know how many such meetings were held -- after

6 I demonstrated my difference with the Croatian policy

7 towards Bosnia-Herzegovina, I was not invited to those

8 meetings. But, if I happened to be at President

9 Tudjman's and people from Bosnia-Herzegovina came, or

10 rather from Herceg-Bosna or from the HDZ of

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, then I would stay on and attend

12 those meetings.

13 Q. Can you give us an example -- what meeting,

14 when it was held, who was present, what was discussed?

15 A. You see, we would have to look at the TV and

16 press reports. There was at least one meeting every

17 month, so that they appeared on television more often

18 than our own announcers.

19 Q. My question is, regarding you, which meetings

20 did you attend, when, who was present, and what was

21 discussed?

22 A. Representatives of Herceg-Bosna, or of the

23 HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, would come frequently, in a

24 group, whose members were announced -- Mate Boban,

25 Lasic, Boras, Kostroman, Dario Kordic -- I do not know

Page 7182

1 all their names -- they would all come for counsel from

2 the presidential palace.

3 Q. But you are not answering my question.

4 I have understood that these people came to Zagreb, but

5 my question is: were you in attendance at any of those

6 meetings? If you were, could you describe it for us --

7 when the meeting was held, what you discussed? I am

8 asking you about the meetings that you participated in?

9 A. If you had asked me that question earlier on,

10 I would have looked through my notes to tell you which

11 meetings I attended. Whenever I happened to be in the

12 presidential palace, I would attend that meeting,

13 regardless whether I was invited or not. Sometimes

14 I was invited, sometimes I happened to be there.

15 Q. Could you describe any one of those meetings

16 and place it in a time frame?

17 A. I do not know how many times I have to repeat

18 it at least once a month.

19 Q. And you attended each one of those?

20 A. I have answered that question, too.

21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Mesic, Mr Mesic, Mr Nobilo

22 is very clear -- you can answer as you wish, but

23 I think that the question was very clear. You said

24 that you participated in those meetings. He asked you

25 for a example of those meetings and what happened at

Page 7183

1 those meetings. You can or cannot, you want to or you

2 do not want to, but you cannot simply say, "I have

3 already answered the question". I think you have not

4 answered the question. Maybe you cannot answer that.

5 That is not my problem.

6 A. No, no, I can answer that question. I think

7 that I was quite explicit. The HDZ of

8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, their political leadership would

9 come to meetings with the HDZ political leadership of

10 Croatia. The meetings were attended by the people

11 whose names I have listed, as well as by members of the

12 Presidency of the HDZ of Croatia. I did not note down

13 the dates of those meetings. As for what was

14 discussed, first, when the referendum was discussed --

15 if you want an example, I will give you some examples.

16 When the referendum was discussed, the

17 referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina, when a decision had

18 to be taken whether the Croats should support an

19 independent Bosnia-Herzegovina or whether they should

20 not participate in the referendum, because the Serbs

21 had already decided not to participate in the

22 referendum, I must say that the representatives of the

23 HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina were against the Croats

24 participating in that referendum, and this decision of

25 theirs was supported by President Tudjman and the

Page 7184

1 majority of the HDZ in Zagreb, or, rather, the Croatian

2 HDZ.

3 I had quite a lot of trouble to persuade both

4 Tudjman and HDZ members that, if the Croats did not

5 participate in the referendum, and if the Serbs did not

6 participate, the referendum would not succeed and

7 Bosnia-Herzegovina would remain part of Yugoslavia and

8 only after that was that decision changed.

9 At what meeting this happened, I cannot tell

10 you exactly, but, whenever any key decision was taken,

11 there was always a previous meeting of the HDZ of

12 Croatia, and of Bosnia-Herzegovina. When the

13 Vance-Owen Plan was about to be implemented, even

14 though it had not been signed by the Serbs or approved

15 by their assembly, at one such meeting it was agreed

16 that the Vance-Owen Plan should immediately begin to be

17 implemented, because it was in the interests of

18 Croatia, because it completed, it rounded off Croatian

19 territory.

20 MR. NOBILO: You cited an example of the

21 referendum and when the implementation of the

22 Vance-Owen Plan was contemplated; were you present

23 there as well?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Until when were you invited to these

Page 7185

1 meetings, can you place it in time?

2 A. I was invited less and less frequently and

3 sometimes I would just simply see on television that a

4 certain meeting was held. So, I would say, up until

5 about the end of 1993 -- after that, not any longer.

6 Q. So, you were invited during the Muslim Croat

7 conflict. Was there ever a decision adopted to start

8 to wage a war against the Muslims there?

9 A. No, formally such a decision was never

10 adopted.

11 Q. I am not speaking about formally -- were you

12 present on such occasion?

13 A. There was no formal decision adopted, but it

14 is very clear that such a decision was implemented.

15 Q. I am speaking -- it is very clear that the

16 war came about, but I do not know if it was the formal

17 decision or not, but was such a decision ever adopted?

18 A. No, such a decision was never adopted.

19 Q. So you were in the HDZ leadership during the

20 Muslim Croat conflict. Was there ever a decision

21 reached to ethnically cleanse the Muslim population in

22 the territories controlled by the Croats and the HVO?

23 A. I must tell you that there was discussion in

24 such meetings about the situation in certain

25 municipalities and I was sitting next to Pero Markovic,

Page 7186

1 the mayor of Capljina, at one of such meetings.

2 I asked him, "What is the situation like between the

3 Muslims and Croats in your city?" He said, "There is no

4 situation in our place -- we have no Muslims left,

5 because we just cleansed them all."

6 Q. He said that of Capljina. Was ever a

7 decision taken in these meetings to go into the ethnic

8 cleansing of Muslims from certain regions -- to burn

9 down their houses; was there such a decision taken?

10 A. Such a decision was implemented, and if you

11 will recall, in the Croatian Parliament, a

12 representative who visited these territories controlled

13 by the Croatian army, that is the HVO, stated that he

14 was surprised by the misinformation that seeped into

15 the public. For instance, that a mosque was burned

16 down in Livno and he said, "I was in this mosque and

17 I can tell you that it was not burned down and I chased

18 out some sheep and some goats from this mosque

19 personally, because I could not see that they would be

20 in a place of worship, so I could tell, if sheep and

21 goats were there, people could not have attended it."

22 Q. Mr Mesic, I would like you to answer my

23 questions directly -- the way it is appropriate for

24 this institution. I asked you a direct question: when

25 people from the BHDZ would come to these meetings, was

Page 7187

1 there ever a decision taken to ethnically cleanse the

2 territories controlled by the HVO. Have you heard of a

3 decision, were you present there, did you take part in

4 such decision taking?

5 A. No, I was not and such a decision was not

6 formally taken.

7 Q. The English -- the translation says that it

8 was not formally taken, such a decision, but did you

9 hear that somebody informally said, "Let us do this, we

10 will not put it down as a decision". Was that -- did

11 that happen at one of the meetings with Tudjman?

12 A. Since representatives from various parts of

13 Bosnia-Herzegovina came to these meetings, where

14 obviously there were movements of the Muslim

15 population, and let us set aside things that were

16 happening in Mostar, it was clear to me that somehow

17 such policies were implemented, sort of by way of

18 sidelines, but officially it was always held that

19 Bosnia consisted of three constituent populations, and

20 so on -- let me not go into all the details.

21 Q. These meetings were not public meetings --

22 these were internal meetings. The contents of such

23 meetings were not revealed except what was decided to

24 be publicised, but what I am asking you is did somebody

25 say, like Tudjman, "Let us go and cleanse the Muslims

Page 7188

1 from the Travnik territory", for instance. Did you

2 hear some such thing?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Did the Muslim leaders come to Zagreb

5 frequently?

6 A. Yes, it was only through Zagreb that they

7 could reach the rest of the world.

8 Q. So, you saw them around there frequently?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You characterised Perinovic, Kljujic and

11 Brkic as persons who advocated the whole and unified

12 Bosnia?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. How do you explain the fact that Tudjman and

15 you said that he had a significant if not paramount

16 influence in Bosnia -- how did he agree that such

17 persons would be elected to the positions that they

18 were?

19 A. I guess they did not want to implement the

20 policies that were asked of them, and so at first, for

21 Perinovic they said that his ancestors were Serb, so he

22 was not to be trusted and then Kljujic, that he was

23 married to a Muslim, and that he was going to implement

24 Alija Izetbegovic policies, and for Brkic, he was too

25 moderate and also was not fully acceptable for the

Page 7189

1 realisation of the Croatian policies in Bosnia, and so

2 they arrived at Mate Boban, for whom Tudjman said he

3 was the only person who understands his policy in

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

5 Q. Very well. These are all the reasons why to

6 relieve someone of the duties, but how come that

7 Tudjman accepted appointments of three separate persons

8 who are not implementing his policies -- how do you

9 explain that?

10 A. I have tried to explain that Tudjman's policy

11 towards Bosnia also shifted in time; from the time when

12 he also was advocating the unified Bosnia up until

13 Karadordevo -- after that he evolves in a certain way

14 because he was convinced that Milosevic would succeed

15 in breaking up Bosnia and that it would benefit him.

16 Q. Very well. We will now move on to the

17 replacement of Kljujic. In the examination-in-chief

18 you said, "I was put in charge of relieving Kljujic on

19 behalf of the HVO." This was a meeting of the

20 executive board; could you have effected his removal

21 without his own will?

22 A. I think I could not, because at that time the

23 faction which advocated the unified Bosnia and

24 Herzegovina prevailed.

25 Q. You said that you came from Zagreb in order

Page 7190

1 to remove Kljujic. I would like to play a videotape,

2 so please can we play it? This is videotape number 1.

3 It is very short.

4 I would also ask the interpreter to

5 interpret, if they can -- if not, I would like to

6 replay it in order to get most of it.

7 (Videotape played)

8 THE INTERPRETER: (translating videotape).

9 "Question: What is it about the division of

10 Bosnia-Herzegovina? I do not know about the meeting in

11 Siroki Brijeg, but you said Bosnia-Herzegovina has to

12 stay whole, not only because the international

13 community wants it but it is also in the interests of

14 Croats in Bosnia?

15 Answer: We always had the policy that the

16 borders were inviolable, that they cannot be changed.

17 This concerns Croatia as well as the other countries.

18 However, I must say that the leadership of

19 Bosnia-Herzegovina waited too long, that the moment of

20 decision was when Croatia decided to go alone, because

21 it is the best way to protect its own interests when it

22 was clear that Serbia is not accepting the confederal

23 concept proposed by Slovenia and Croatia, for all units

24 of the former Yugoslavia. I think that the BH was

25 late. I think that it was because the SDA leadership

Page 7191

1 believed that they could eschew this pressure, that

2 there would be no war. Now we see that Bosnia is

3 occupied; there is the largest concentration of

4 soldiers in Europe and equipment right now, and it is

5 very difficult now for Bosnia to achieve what Croatia

6 and Slovenia have already achieved. So I believe that

7 this referendum is a bit too late. But, as the saying

8 says, it is better late than never, and so I think that

9 it should go ahead, so that Bosnia should become

10 independent so that the Serb army would leave the

11 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and so that the

12 Bosniak can proceed on its own independent way, and all

13 the advantages which it has with close cooperation with

14 Croatia can come to be."

15 (Videotape stopped)

16 MR. NOBILO: Please can we play the second

17 segment?

18 MR. HARMON: The only request I have is if

19 counsel could identify the dates of these film clips it

20 would be helpful to me and to the court, and perhaps to

21 the witness.

22 JUDGE JORDA: I think that Mr Nobilo has to

23 give all the information -- the identifying elements.

24 MR. NOBILO: We are going to try to ask

25 Mr Mesic -- this was a "Picture on Picture" programme

Page 7192

1 -- this is when you came back from Siroki Brijeg after

2 the removal of Kljujic. Do you remember this

3 interview?

4 A. I do, but I do not recall the date.

5 Q. But do you accept that this was immediately

6 after the removal of Kljujic?

7 A. No. I do recall the broadcast, but I do not

8 know the date.

9 Q. Can you recall the date when Kljujic was

10 relieved of his duty?

11 A. No.

12 MR. NOBILO: Unfortunately, Mr President, we

13 cannot give you the exact date. This is one day after

14 Kljujic was relieved of his duty in Siroki Brijeg.

15 Maybe subsequently we will be able to provide a date.

16 Please, the next segment.

17 (Videotape played)

18 THE INTERPRETER: (translating videotape).

19 "Not only the sovereignty of people as people

20 but also the sovereignty of a territory, because if the

21 SDS claims that the sovereignty extends to where only

22 5 per cent of Serbs live, that is an imperial policy as

23 dictated by Milosevic, which is something that Karadzic

24 only implements -- he is a small puppet.

25 However, Croatian people cannot just react to

Page 7193

1 challenges -- it has to spell out its own position,

2 both in the entire Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the

3 territory that it occupies.

4 Question: Speaking about Milosevic and

5 Karadzic, oftentimes the parallel is made between

6 Kljujic and the congressional leadership, and they say

7 he had to leave because he would not implement?

8 Answer: No, nobody says that he had to

9 resign. It was at the very end of the discussion that

10 he decided to resign. Nobody asked for him to step

11 down. We are a Croatian community, so we are

12 democratic."

13 (Videotape stopped)

14 MR. NOBILO: With respect to the first

15 segment, were you at the time expressing the position

16 of the Croatian Democratic Union?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So these were not just your own personal

19 views, but also the positions of the Party you belong

20 to?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You told us here that your task was to

23 replace Kljujic, but on Croatian television you said

24 that nobody replaced Kljujic. There is a slight

25 difference between those two statements?

Page 7194

1 A. No, there is no difference. You did not

2 understand me. No-one, at the meeting, required the

3 dismissal of Kljujic at that meeting, and I came with

4 Tudjman's instructions to have him removed.

5 Q. So somebody did ask for his removal?

6 A. At the meeting, no-one did, but I came with

7 Tudjman's request for him to be removed. What do you

8 think -- do you think I could have said on television

9 I went there with instructions to remove Kljujic?

10 Q. Does that mean that you do not always tell

11 the truth?

12 A. No, but at the time I could not have said

13 that, because political circumstances would not allow

14 it. I always tell the truth, but if the pressure is

15 such as it was at the time, then I could not go into

16 the details. Political considerations would not allow

17 me to do that.

18 Q. So, if I understood you well -- please

19 correct me -- depending on whether you will go into all

20 the details or not, the complete truth or part of the

21 truth, depends on political circumstances?

22 A. Clearly, at the time, as the executive

23 secretary of the Party, I could not state for the

24 benefit of the public that President Tudjman required

25 the removal of Kljujic, but I did tell Kljujic that in

Page 7195

1 confidence -- I told him -- and you can check -- "my

2 task is first to persuade you to resign" and he said,

3 "Is this the explicit request of Tudjman?" I said,

4 "Yes, explicitly", but I added, "I see that people

5 here support you, that it is not possible to replace

6 you here, maybe only a third would vote in favour of

7 that, so I will go back to Zagreb and say that you won

8 the support of the meeting and what will happen after

9 that, we will see".

10 However, even after this -- first he said he

11 was sick, and then he said that he believed that

12 Tudjman could remove him in one way or another and then

13 he left, he went to Sarajevo.

14 Q. One further question: if political

15 circumstances affected your decision to speak the whole

16 truth or not, what about the political circumstances

17 today -- how do they affect your testimony?

18 A. You are wrong. This was not a question of

19 the truth -- I told the truth. No-one at the meeting

20 there -- there -- will you please repeat what I am

21 saying -- no-one over there asked for Kljujic to

22 resign, so will you repeat that. I said "over there"

23 and nobody asked me whether Tudjman had asked for his

24 replacement, so it was not my duty to say even that it

25 was Tudjman's request.

Page 7196

1 Q. In any event, what we saw now, these two

2 clips, was that indeed an interview with you -- did you

3 indeed say what you said on television?

4 A. Was that me?

5 Q. Are those your words?

6 A. Surely I can recognise myself, counsel.

7 Q. But we need to authenticate the evidence and

8 that is why I have to ask you.

9 A. Yes, I did recognise myself in this clip.

10 MR. NOBILO: So could please the Registrar

11 have these tapes translated and of course that is our

12 next Defence exhibit. Could you please give us a

13 number?

14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Harmon, we will consider

15 these have been identified by the witness.

16 MR. HARMON: Yes, Mr President. The only

17 thing is I renew my request that a date on this tape be

18 provided to the Prosecutor's Office. Second of all,

19 Mr President, I would request that any transcript of

20 this tape, fully translated, in English, be provided to

21 the Prosecutor's Office before Mr Mesic retires from

22 his testimony, so if there are any discrepancies

23 between the translation and the tape, I would have an

24 opportunity to ask Mr Mesic about the substance of that

25 tape. I do not understand the tape, I rely on the

Page 7197

1 interpreters, but I would like to have hard copy in

2 front of me and I would like to be able to review it

3 with Mr Mesic, if the occasion requires so.

4 MR NOBILO: We do not object if Mr Mesic is

5 going to stay for a while, but if the Registry is

6 unable to do that quickly, there should be no problems

7 in calling the witness to come back.

8 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps tomorrow morning when

9 there is no hearing, it could be translated. It seems

10 rather long and it seems legitimate for the Prosecutor

11 to want to have translations but he can use it for his

12 right to re-examination. Although, of course, we do

13 compliment the interpreters on their work, but I think

14 that a written text in English would be good. I do not

15 dare ask for one in French, but at least one in

16 English.

17 THE REGISTRAR: We will take care of that.

18 We will take care of getting a translation for tomorrow

19 afternoon.

20 JUDGE JORDA: We are going to break and we

21 will start at 3 o'clock, because at 2.00 or 2.30 there

22 is a status conference for a different case. I see

23 Mr Harmon has another question. We do agree about the

24 identification. I think it can only be identified once

25 -- identified totally once we know what was the date

Page 7198

1 of that interview.

2 THE REGISTRAR: This is D98.

3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Harmon?

4 MR HARMON: The other request I have, if

5 counsel is going to use documents that are in the

6 Croatian language, and then provide them to me, they

7 are of little utility for me because I cannot read

8 them. If he has some documents he intends to introduce

9 and show this witness during his cross-examination,

10 I request that he submit those to the translation

11 department so they can be translated into English, and

12 when he submits a copy to me, I can read it, the

13 translation, and I can use it effectively.

14 MR NOBILO: Mr President, we have had this

15 kind of discussion many times. We have a lot of

16 documents. Mr Mesic is a public figure. All the

17 things he said here, he said earlier on, we claim in a

18 different way. We agree, but in that case, we must

19 suspend the cross-examination until everything is

20 translated, and then call back Mr Mesic, or, in order

21 to save time, we will proceed in the way we have so

22 far. I do not intend to produce whole pages or whole

23 articles, but only passages and in that way we can

24 expedite the proceedings.

25 MR HARMON: I do not intend to be

Page 7199

1 presumptuous in telling the Defence how to proceed with

2 its case. Quite clearly, they have had Mr Mesic's

3 testimony for a considerable period of time. They have

4 had it since 6 May. They have prepared this

5 examination by collecting these documents which are

6 relevant. I do not ask the court to suspend the

7 testimony of Mr Mesic, but perhaps efforts could be

8 taken at this late juncture to submit those to

9 translation so that the translation section can

10 provide, or make efforts to provide those documents to

11 me. They have had a clear eye on what questions they

12 intend to use and what documents they intend to use to

13 impeach, or attempt to impeach Mr Mesic's testimony.

14 It comes as no surprise -- they are not operating in

15 the dark on these. My request is, if they do not have

16 English translations at present, that they submit those

17 documents, which they clearly know and intend to use,

18 and introduce as exhibits in the cross-examination of

19 Mr Mesic, to the translation services and that the

20 translation services make maximal efforts to provide

21 translations of those copies to us.

22 I might add, Mr President, that the

23 Prosecutor's Office also endeavours to provide to both

24 the court and the Defence translations in English and

25 French, in advance of using the documents.

Page 7200

1 MR HAYMAN: If I may speak on behalf of my

2 colleague? We strongly object to the Prosecutor

3 telling us, the Defence, how we should prioritise our

4 work in our requests of the translation unit. As a

5 side bar, ex parte, we will tell the court how many

6 documents we have pending with the translation unit to

7 be translated, that we are waiting for. I am not going

8 to state that publicly. I can say Mr Nobilo has been

9 gathering these items, including during the testimony

10 -- he was out photocopying minutes before the

11 testimony. We react to the testimony and we gather

12 material.

13 Quite frankly, this is not the Prosecutor's

14 prerogative. He can translate everything we produce.

15 This is his witness. He can bring him back, but he is

16 not in a position to unilaterally impose these burdens

17 and requirements on us.

18 JUDGE JORDA: First of all, the Prosecution

19 is not imposing anything -- just as the Defence is not

20 imposing anything -- not one on the other. The

21 Tribunal decides. We have already decided what we will

22 do with the video. If any other documents need to be

23 provided to the translation, that should be done. We

24 are pleased with the interpretation of the interpreters

25 here, and in case not all of the documents are

Page 7201

1 translated, you can use the interpretation of those

2 that have been interpreted. If that is not enough, of

3 course then Mr Mesic would be brought back. But let us

4 not make an incident out of something where there

5 should not be.

6 I recall once again that if your presiding

7 judge were to interrupt each time -- every moment of

8 the proceedings when there was not a translation, we

9 would have a lot of interruptions. Everybody has to do

10 their best. We will now suspend this hearing and

11 resume tomorrow at 3 o'clock.

12 (5.30pm)

13 (The matter adjourned until Wednesday,

14 18th March 1998 at 3pm)

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