1 Wednesday, 18th March 1998
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (In closed session) [Confidentiality lifted by later order of the Chamber]
5 JUDGE JORDA: Please, have the witness
6 brought in, Mr. Mesic. We are now in closed session,
7 I understand.
8 (The witness entered court)
9 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon, can you
10 hear me? Please be seated, and we will resume with the
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, it is your turn.
13 We were talking about translations, and I see here that
14 we have a translation in English and in French of the
16 STJEPAN MESIC (continued)
17 Cross-examination by MR. NOBILO (continued)
18 Q. Thank you, your Honour.
19 Good afternoon, Mr. Mesic. We have a
20 translation -- I do not know if the booth have the
21 appropriate translation, but, in order to refresh our
22 memories of the segment that we showed yesterday,
23 I would like the technical booth to take us back to
24 that fragment, that excerpt, and then we will look at
25 the transcript.
1 (Videotape played)
2 THE INTERPRETER: (Translating videotape).
3 Question: I must say that nobody was
4 looking for Mr. Kljujic's resignation.
5 (Videotape stopped)
6 MR. NOBILO: On page 2, we have the question
7 and a complete answer, so this was just to refresh our
8 memory of what happened yesterday. You said that
9 nobody asked for this resignation on that meeting; do
10 you still claim so?
11 A. Yes, I do, and I could not have said that
12 Tudjman asked for it. I think that we all have enough
13 logical minds to understand that.
14 Q. Very well. If Tudjman asked for it, why
15 could you not have said that he asked for it?
16 A. First of all, I was the secretary of the
17 Party and Tudjman was its President and he tasked me
18 with removing Mr. Kljujic and so this was done in secret
19 and I could not have stated it openly.
20 MR. NOBILO: So this was not completely true.
21 MR. HARMON: The only request I have is that
22 we proceed with a slight pause between the question and
23 the answer. The answer is overrunning the question and
24 it is hard to decipher which is the answer and which is
25 the question.
1 JUDGE RIAD: May I add that the interpreter
2 would say "question" and "answer"?
3 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the President has
4 nothing more to say. Everything has been said, so
5 please continue.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. We will try to move
7 a bit more slowly for the sake of interpretation.
8 Yesterday, Mr. Mesic, you mentioned a meeting
9 which was attended by Tudjman, you, Kostroman, Kordic,
10 when the referendum of Herzegovina was discussed. Was
11 this the referendum about the unity of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1 March 1992?
13 A. This was the referendum when it was supposed
14 to be decided whether Bosnia were going to go
16 Q. But as one unified State, and you agree with
17 me this was on 1 March 1992?
18 A. I could not tell you that.
19 Q. Was this after Karadordevo?
20 A. I could not say that with certainty.
21 Q. What was your function at the time of this
23 A. I am not entirely sure, but I believe I was
24 the President of the executive committee.
25 Q. Of the HDZ party?
1 A. Yes, the President of the executive board of
2 the HDZ party, I believe, but unfortunately, I would
3 have to consult my notes and I only have my memory
4 available to me here.
5 Q. Do you recall Valenta, what function did he
7 A. I must say that these people sort of
8 overlapped. Sometimes the entire Bosnian team, that is
9 the Bosnian HDZ team, was present there and sometimes
10 there were those who were also in positions in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina and sometimes it was in a reduced
12 number, so I cannot tell you who sat at which meetings,
13 at what time.
14 Q. At that time, you did not have any State
15 function, so we say that this was a Party meeting?
16 A. In 1992, but not all of 1992. I only held
17 Party positions, but until the end of 1991 I had both
18 the Party and -- I held both Party and State positions.
19 Q. So, correct me if I am wrong, if the meeting
20 was held in 1992, this would have been a Party meeting,
21 and not a State meeting?
22 A. That need not be the case. I would attend
23 all meetings if I happened to be around.
24 Q. Since these meetings are important and you
25 draw certain significant conclusions based on these, at
1 least significant to the Defence, I would like to
2 reconstruct some of these meetings when the Croats were
3 deciding whether they would participate in the
4 referendum on independence or not. Could you tell us
5 who participated and what was the topic of that
7 A. Such topics were not always discussed in open
8 meetings. Whether the Croats were participating in the
9 referendum was something that was discussed both in
10 broader and narrower circles. The idea that prevailed
11 was that people should not participate in the
12 referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Croatia, people
13 believed that they should participate in it.
14 Q. You did not understand me. I think that we
15 have completed our discussion on this meeting and the
16 referendum, but my question to you is: do you recall
17 any other meetings, any other topics where such people
18 like Kordic, Kostroman, Valenta, Boban, Tudjman and you
19 were present? So, another meeting, if you could tell
20 us when such other meeting took place, what was the
21 topic, where it took place, et cetera?
22 A. Let me tell you, any problem that concerned
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- the people from HDZ, that is,
24 from Bosnia, would come to President Tudjman for any
25 such meeting, so there were many such meetings. We
1 should consult documents to see how many there were.
2 The television recorded most of these meetings. Now,
3 as to what was discussed at any of these meetings, it
4 is too much to ask of me. All the problems that they
5 were facing in Bosnia, but also that were facing us,
6 were the topic of those conversations.
7 MR. NOBILO: I understand -- they came to
8 Tudjman and they talked about things, but I am asking
9 you about meetings that you attended. Could you recall
10 any specific meeting that you attended, what was
12 JUDGE JORDA: I think that we must make some
13 progress. If you have in mind a particular meeting, at
14 least that is my impression, why do you not ask the
15 witness, telling him what meeting you have in mind,
16 because if you do not have such a meeting in mind, then
17 there is no point. Either you have in mind a
18 particular meeting that you want the witness to speak
19 about, then it is up to you to say so: "Did you
20 participate in a meeting held on such and such a day?";
21 otherwise the witness has answered your question. This
22 way we are going to use up a lot of time.
23 MR. NOBILO: I understand you, Mr. President.
24 I do not have a specific meeting in mind, but I would
25 like to know what exactly does the witness recall,
1 because the witness offered his opinions on a number of
2 significant topics, but did not provide us with a
3 foundation with his opinions, so what I am trying to
4 find out is what the foundation is, because, for
5 instance --
6 JUDGE JORDA: In that case, he has answered
7 your question. He said many meetings and he said that
8 he participated and that certain leaders from
9 Herceg-Bosna were there. Otherwise I do not see how we
10 can persist in that direction. So, please rephrase
11 your question. If you are referring to a style of
12 meeting, then say so. I am not taking sides, of
13 course, with either side, I am the judge, but I do wish
14 to speed up the debate. Thank you.
15 MR. NOBILO: Very well.
16 Mr. Mesic, do you recall any meeting with
17 Tudjman attended by the Bosnian representatives where
18 some really significant affairs were being decided
19 upon, such as matters of war -- can you tell us who was
20 present, what was discussed and who said what at such
22 A. I believe that I was quite clear. In those
23 meetings the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
24 discussed, certainly and, also, the defence of certain
25 narrower areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but, listen,
1 these meetings sometimes did not have a real agenda.
2 It was discussed -- when people would come from Bosnia,
3 certain topics were floated and I cannot really say
4 what was specifically discussed, but it was a dual
5 policy -- you know, officially we had recognised
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, officially we were for a unified
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but we also had another policy. We
8 established Herceg-Bosna, just as Milosevic had
9 established Republika Srpska, which was not supporting
10 the whole of Bosnia. They say about my going to
11 Sarajevo. How could I have gone to Sarajevo?
12 Q. So, you cannot recall any specific meetings,
13 very well, we will move on. One additional question
14 regarding the meetings: was there a decision ever
15 taken to start a war, to attack the Muslims, at
16 meetings that you attended?
17 A. I do not know of any such decision.
18 Q. You held important positions. What, in your
19 opinion, was the main reason for the conflict of
20 Muslims and Croats in the territory of
22 A. Is this my opinion now?
23 Q. Yes, I would like your opinion.
24 A. I believe that Tudjman was impressed by the
25 successes of Slobodan Milosevic in the breaking up of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he was convinced that
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot survive, and he thought that
3 a part where the majority of Croatian population lived
4 could be structured as Croatian territory, which at
5 some point could be annexed to Croatia and that a small
6 Bosnia, a "little Bosnia", as he called it, would
7 remain, which would be Muslim. I see no other reason
8 for -- I see no reasons why Muslims would attack
9 Croatian positions. I find it of little credibility,
10 because Bosnia received all its assistance from
11 Croatia, so for Bosnia -- Bosnia would then destroy the
12 only way in which it was receiving assistance. There
13 is no logic in it.
14 Q. Very well. What would be the logic of Croats
15 supporting the Bosnian army and then going to fight it?
16 A. The estimate must have been that Bosnia would
17 not survive and that Croatia should get its own part.
18 MR. NOBILO: Let me now read you something
19 which you stated at some point. I would then like to
20 ask you whether you recall your statement and then
21 I would like you to comment on it. So, there is
22 Vecernji List of 15 May 199 -- and you mentioned that
23 Bosnia would receive from the west the status of
24 ancillary -- for the interpreting booths, it is
25 document number 4. Let me repeat this. There are
1 documents in the French and English booths and in the
2 top right corner there is number 4. On page number 2
3 of this document --
4 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, will a copy, or has a
5 copy been made available to the Prosecutor of this
6 particular document? I find it somewhat difficult to
7 follow the examination if there are copies in English
8 provided to the booth but none provided to the
9 Prosecutor's Office.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I just wanted to
11 speed up the process, because the Prosecutor does not
12 speak Croatian. If Mr. Mesic agrees that this is his
13 statement, I believe it is not necessary to distribute
14 it around the courtroom. However, if the Trial Chamber
15 finds it necessary, we have enough copies. However,
16 I will just use it now in support of my question.
17 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I would request a
19 JUDGE JORDA: I think, indeed, it would be
20 better that copies should be given to the Prosecution.
21 Nobody is reproaching you for providing copies to the
22 booth. On the contrary, that is a good idea, but the
23 Prosecution would also like a copy.
24 MR. HARMON: It may also be appropriate to
25 provide a copy of the article to the witness so he can
1 review the article and put his comments in context.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I think so, for the
3 purpose of identification. Mr. Nobilo?
4 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but we are losing a lot of
5 time in this way. But we have a sufficient number of
6 copies for everyone.
7 Very well, Mr. Mesic --
8 MR. HARMON: Sorry to interrupt, counsel, but
9 I have a copy in Croatian and not in English. I assume
10 there was a copy of this translated that was provided
11 to the English booth.
12 MR. NOBILO: No, it does not exist.
13 MR. HARMON: I apologise.
14 MR. NOBILO: There is no translation. I just
15 provided it to the booths in order to make their work
16 easier. There is only a Croatian version.
17 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
18 JUDGE JORDA: We will have them tomorrow or
19 the day after, the translations.
20 Mr. Harmon, you will have the translations.
21 For the moment we are going to trust the booths in an
22 effort to speed up the debate.
23 MR. NOBILO: Mr. Mesic, will you please turn
24 to page number 2 of this and look at the orange
25 highlight of what I am going to read? But I am going
1 to just point you to the second question, that is, the
2 second bullet at the bottom of the page. It says:
3 "The newest thing that the Croats from
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina" -- and Croatia is mentioned as well
5 -- "are accorded by the West a status of an ancillary
6 aggressor and so the HVO units are also being called
8 Your answer is:
9 "This, too, is part of the whole scenario.
10 The guilt should be divided between Croatia and Serbia
11 and alleviate the responsibility of Serbia, because
12 here we have Croats guilty, too. This needs to be
13 decoded. The Croats in Bosnia have to react right away
14 and take those who are guilty to court and get rid of
15 those who fell victims to the Serb trickery and who
16 started cooperating with the Muslims."
17 Before this second answer and question, there
18 is another one, the first one. The question is:
19 "Why are the truces signed between Croats and
20 Muslims not succeeding?"
21 That was the question. The answer is:
22 "Conflicts are still being created, because
23 the Serb aggressive army is still considerably
24 stronger than the Croatian and Muslim armies in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, because in those areas the
1 front-lines cannot be moved. It is clear then that
2 `pushing' in the small area continues. The only way
3 out is for the world to go into action against the
4 aggressor, against the Serb and Bosnian Serbs, who
5 are still receiving assistance from Serbia, because
6 what is going on now is just a show. The West still
7 does not understand these tricks."
8 Mr. Mesic, let us first see whether this was
9 your interview granted to Vecernji List and whether
10 this is what you told the journalist?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You expressed the opinion here that the main
13 culprit are the Serbs, who have pushed the Croats and
14 Muslims within a small area, and, as a result of that,
15 the conflict occurred between them. Do you still
16 believe in that?
17 A. It is true that they were elbowing each
18 other, but I did not say who were the people involved,
19 for I belong to the Croatian Democratic Union at the
20 time, the Party in power at the time in Croatia, which
21 on the one hand was collaborating and maintaining
22 contact with the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, whereas
23 on the other, we had a natural alliance with the second
24 victim of aggression, and, clearly, I had to manoeuvre
25 here in my second answer, when I said that cooperation
1 with the Muslims needs to be achieved as soon as
2 possible. I am sure you have noticed that.
3 Actually, through the Party and through the
4 State mechanisms in Croatia, I was advocating until the
5 end of 1993 cooperation with the Muslims, and an end to
6 our suicidal cooperation with Milosevic, or, rather,
7 the talks with Milosevic. I kept insisting on the need
8 for Croats and Muslims to be together so that one
9 aggressor should be isolated so that the west would
10 intervene sooner.
11 Q. But are you renouncing the allegation that
12 the main cause of the Croatian/Muslim conflict is the
13 fact that the Croats and Muslims were squeezed together
14 on 30 per cent of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 and that it was a battle for territory?
16 A. Certainly that was one of the causes, a
17 battle for territory, but the main cause is Serb
18 aggression. I still think that, but that does not
19 amnesty anyone or pardon anyone for opening up a new
20 front against one's ally.
21 MR. NOBILO: I will read to you an opinion you
22 expressed to the editor of Globus -- we perhaps do not
23 have to distribute it for the sake of expediency.
24 MR. HARMON: Again, Mr. President, I am
25 prepared to sacrifice expediency for the ability to
1 look at and analyse these documents in toto. I would
2 ask a copy be provided to Mr. Mesic as well, to give him
3 an opportunity to put his comments in context. I would
4 make that request in respect of each document that
5 Mr. Nobilo intends to quote.
6 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, that is fine. My
7 gracious -- very gracious colleague is handing these
8 out. I just note, when you ask a witness whether he
9 remembers making a statement, there is no obligation to
10 show him an article or a book or something, and there
11 are lots of questions that have been posed in this
12 trial, including by the Prosecution, incorporating
13 material that they have in their vast archives which we
14 do not have, we are never going to be given and they
15 are never going to concede to give to us, so I urge
16 caution with respect to any judgement passed on the
17 Prosecutor's request which my colleague is graciously
19 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. Every
20 time there is an agreement, I think one should support
21 it. After all, Mr. Hayman, we are not here to thank
22 respectfully Mr. Nobilo. I think we have to ensure
23 equality of arms. The witness first has to identify
24 the article. These are interviews, he is a politician,
25 he granted a number of interviews. He reads the papers
1 and this will refresh his memory. It seems to me quite
2 normal for the Prosecutor to have the source and to be
3 able to use his right of response.
4 I do appeal to the goodwill of everyone and
5 I think this is a necessary requirement for the
7 Mr. Hayman, I see you want to add something
8 and I shall gladly hear you.
9 MR. HAYMAN: Just to put in the record that
10 when Prosecution witness after Prosecution witness
11 testified, stating that they had refreshed their
12 recollection prior to their testimony using the
13 Cheshire regiment radio logs, using other documents of
14 the Cheshire regiment in preparing their testimony,
15 which had not been provided to the Defence and have
16 never been provided to the Defence; the Defence asked
17 for those and our request was denied. I just want to
18 put that in the record. I think Mr. Nobilo is being
19 very gracious, but there are difficult legal questions
20 here. Mr. Harmon's request -- if it is in the nature of
21 a legal demand, there is no basis for it.
22 JUDGE JORDA: For the moment, it is not a
23 legal request; it is a judicial request. So that the
24 debate can continue, I would ask Mr. Nobilo to continue
25 with his cross-examination, allowing the witness to
1 consult this article in the newspaper. I do not think
2 this is very complicated, and I think this is the best
3 way to proceed. So, please continue, Mr. Nobilo.
4 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 For the benefit of the interpreters, this is
6 document number 2. It is a copy of three pages of the
7 Globus of 11 March 1992 [sic], and on page 2 it is
8 indicated in yellow, and I will read the question and
9 the answer. The question:
10 "In the late autumn of 1992, the first
11 conflicts broke out between the Croats and the
12 Muslims. The Muslims accused the Croats, saying that
13 Zagreb had provoked and planned the conflict, not
14 perhaps the conflict but the end of negotiations."
15 Your answer:
16 "No, that cannot be true. I took part in the
17 work of the highest bodies of this State, and never,
18 not for a moment did we plan a war with the Muslims.
19 That never even occurred to us. Whether an individual
20 may have wished for such a conflict is another matter
21 which needs to be looked into."
22 So, my question on the basis of this
23 quotation is: first, is this what you said, and
24 whether it is correct, and whether you still believe
1 A. Yes, I did say that. Officially, a decision
2 was never taken within the Croatian leadership to wage
3 a war against the Muslims, and you saw the reservation
4 I expressed, whether individuals wanted it, and this
5 leads to the logical conclusion that maybe they did,
6 and this is another question -- a separate question.
7 Q. But I am drawing your attention to the fact
8 that you never said, "officially nobody took such a
9 decision", but you said "never, not for a moment, did
10 it ever occur to us to wage war against the Muslims",
11 so you did not say there that no official decision was
13 A. I am talking about us, which means meetings
14 where I attended, so that I can assert for sure. We
15 did not plan a war against the Muslims at any meeting
16 that I attended.
17 JUDGE JORDA: I am told that the date of the
18 article is 1994 and not 1992, as indicated in the
20 MR. NOBILO: Document number 2 is dated
21 11 March 1994.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. So apparently
23 there was an error in the transcript, and this is
24 rather important.
25 MR. NOBILO: Yes, indeed, 1994.
1 To meet the request of my learned friend,
2 I would ask the usher to give at least to the
3 Prosecution and the witness, Mr. Mesic, the next
4 newspaper article and, for the Registry and for the
5 interpreters, this is document number 11.
6 This is the Vecernji List, dated 1 October
7 1993. I will read what is marked in yellow and red.
8 This is a quotation of your statement:
9 "We said that the former JNA occupied about
10 70 per cent of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
11 even though Serbs account for only 33 per cent of the
12 population. The Muslims and Croats are crammed on
13 30 per cent of the territory, so that this happened as
14 it did. Behind this lack of understanding is the fact
15 that it suits many interests to have the blame shared,
16 so that if both the Serbs and the Muslims and the
17 Croats are to blame, then there is no sense in them
18 interfering in the conflict."
19 That is what you said on 1 October 1993. So,
20 my first question is: do you remember this article and
21 did you say this and, secondly, do you still today
22 believe this?
23 A. I think that I have already answered a
24 similar question that you have asked me. It was my
25 interest to achieve peace between the Croats and
1 Muslims and not to look for culprits between them, but
2 for them to act together and at the same time it was in
3 our interest to isolate the Serb aggressor and to
4 win over the international community against them. So
5 this was a ploy that I was able to use at the time,
6 because I was a senior official of both the HDZ and the
7 Croatian State and clearly I could not make any
8 accusations against Croatia.
9 Q. Did you say this (indicating)?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Will you tell us simply: is this true or not
12 (indicating), what is written here?
13 A. I will answer once again: it is true that
14 the Serbs had conquered 70 per cent of the territory;
15 it is true that the Croats and Muslims were squeezed on
16 30 per cent; and it is true that I sought an alliance
17 between the Croats and Muslims in order to isolate a
18 single aggressor, and in order that the international
19 community would react. As a senior State functionary
20 I was not able to say the Croats provoked the conflict
21 with the Muslims, for understandable reasons -- whether
22 I lacked courage or was waiting for some other
23 predictions of mine to come true and that is to gain a
24 critical mass, and this set in after the New Year of
25 1994 when I decided to form a Party, of which you, too,
1 were a member.
2 Q. At the founding assembly in support, I was
4 A. That is proof I pursued a good policy.
5 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but you are now saying
6 something else as compared to what you said then.
7 JUDGE JORDA: The International Tribunal is
8 not at all qualified to assess enrolment in various
9 Parties at any point. So, really, whether Mr. Nobilo
10 was a member or not of any Party has very little to do
11 with this. As we have all had a laugh, we can now
13 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I am an attorney and as such
14 I have to be apolitical.
15 You said that the Croatian community of
16 Herceg-Bosna was formed similarly to the formation of
17 Republika Srpska as a consequence of the agreement
18 between Tudjman and Milosevic in Karadordevo?
19 A. I do not know exactly what was agreed in
20 Karadordevo. All I know is what I was told about
21 Karadordevo. What the arrangements reached there were,
22 I do not know. I am only aware of the consequences.
23 Q. Very well. You have the Globus of 11 October
24 already and so has the Prosecution and the Registry.
25 Will you look at page 3 and at the end of that page you
1 will see marked in yellow your reply, and I quote:
2 "The Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
3 through Herceg-Bosna, acquired an elementary
4 territorial stronghold without which the negotiations
5 which led to the Bosnia Croat federation would not have
6 been possible. That was also the only raison díêtre of
7 Herceg-Bosna. Recall, however, the assembly
8 declaration, which clearly states that Herceg-Bosna is
9 only one of the forms of the realisation of the
10 sovereignty of the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. That
11 form no longer appears to be necessary."
12 The date is 11 March 1994. Did you say that?
13 A. I did, but I must explain what this refers
14 to. A declaration was adopted in the SABOR or the
15 Parliament which is referred to here and the HDZ
16 leadership required that Herceg-Bosna should be
17 described as the only form of the achievement of the
18 Croat sovereignty in Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, we
19 managed to state that it was only one of the forms, and
20 since Herceg-Bosna had already been formed, and as its
21 end was in sight, I no longer needed to attack
22 Herceg-Bosna, but, rather, resorted to this kind of
23 wording, because, at the time, I had still not decided
24 to break definitely with the HDZ leadership.
25 Q. Before delving into this issue in greater
1 detail, would you please look at another newspaper
2 which also refers to the existence and raison díêtre of
3 Herceg-Bosna. It is again an issue of Globus, dated 20
4 August 1993. It is document number 5 for the
6 Will you please look at the second page of
7 Globus of 20 August 1993, and I quote:
8 "Do you think that the policy of Herceg-Bosna
9 provoked the exodus of Croats from Central Bosnia?"
10 That is the question. And your answer:
11 "This is a trendy simplification, which is
12 lately being repeated too often in public.
13 Herceg-Bosna enabled, more than a year ago, the
14 survival of Bosnia as a State. It assisted the Muslims
15 to prepare for defence. Thanks to the good
16 organisation of the Croats, a good portion of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina survived and, when talking about the
18 conflict between Croats and Muslims and the exodus of
19 the Croats, the main cause of this is being neglected
20 -- the Serb aggression, which suppressed and squeezed
21 the Croats and Muslims within a too narrow space over
22 which they are now fighting.
23 I am confident that relations between Muslims
24 and Croats can be improved. A great deal of political
25 will is required for us to emerge from that conflict,
1 after which, after the end of the Muslim/Croat war, for
2 us to be able to negotiate on a more equal footing with
3 the real aggressor in Bosnia, with the Serbs."
4 So, this newspaper is dated 20 August 1993.
5 For the interests of authentication, I have to ask you,
6 is this your interview?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you still support this statement that
9 Herceg-Bosna assisted in halting the Serb attacks; the
10 Croats, being better organised, did they, as a result,
11 save Bosnia as a State?
12 A. My answer has to be worded slightly
13 differently, namely, as a high official of the HDZ, as
14 a senior functionary of the Croatian State but coming
15 from the ranks of the HDZ, the official policy of which
16 was in favour of the establishment of Herceg-Bosna --
17 at the time I had to use this Aesop-type language to
18 endorse the policy that was publicly inaugurated while
19 at the same time seeking peace with the Muslims and
20 resistance against the Serb aggression. That was my
21 aim in providing such an answer.
22 Q. I must put this more simply. The Trial
23 Chamber is interested in learning whether this was true
24 what you said then. Will you just simply tell us, was
25 it true or not?
1 A. It is not possible to answer in that way, was
2 it true or not. This was the HDZ truth, and the other
3 part of my reply is my truth and that is that we had to
4 form an alliance, as the victims of aggression.
5 Q. If I understand you well, whether you tell
6 the truth or not depended on the policy of the Party to
7 which you belonged at the time; is that so?
8 A. I was quite clear -- in the first part of my
9 response to the question of the journalist, I stated
10 virtually the official position of the Croatian
11 Democratic Union as my position, but that was the
12 policy of the HDZ, and then I go on to stress an
13 alliance among the victims of aggression and the
14 identification of the true aggressor, while calling on
15 the international community to act against that
17 Q. But what you said in the first part of your
18 answer as the policy of the HDZ, was that the truth?
19 A. It was not quite the truth, because it is a
20 fact that erroneous Croatian policy had resulted in the
21 majority of Croats seeking their fortune and happiness
22 in Croatia rather than in Bosnia-Herzegovina, precisely
23 because of that erroneous policy, and it is probably --
24 that is probably the reason why most of the Croats who
25 have moved out of Bosnia-Herzegovina are facing
1 problems, because the HDZ did not take part in the last
2 elections in the Serb republic. Why? Because if they
3 had, in many municipalities with a majority of Croatian
4 population, the Croats would have won and we would now
5 have our representatives, our town mayors and we would
6 have the chance of going back to those areas, but,
7 obviously, a game is still ongoing conducive to the
8 division of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. Let me not go on with these citations,
10 because there are many articles of this kind. Can we
11 conclude that you did not always tell the truth -- it
12 depended on the political objectives of the Party you
13 belonged to?
14 A. Only my wife believes that I always tell the
16 Q. Thank you for saying this in court. You said
17 that, in Bosnia, there was multi-ethnic co-existence.
18 Could you tell me whether Bosnia ever existed as a
19 State without being under the control of another power
20 -- when I say "ever", I am referring to the modern
21 age, in the past couple of hundred years -- or was it
22 always under the patronage or the rule of a foreign
24 A. Yes, if we look at the medieval Bosnia, it
25 was an independent State longer than Croatia.
1 Q. But, under the Hungarian empire?
2 A. Yes, but within its own borders.
3 Q. I am referring to the times when it was just
4 fully independent?
5 A. Well, it had its own kings -- kings that were
6 endorsed by the Popes -- and in my mind there is no
7 doubt, there is no question that it was independent.
8 Q. Well, it was under Hungarian rule, then the
9 Turkish rule and the Yugoslav rule?
10 A. That is all true.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo has had expert
12 witnesses talking about history. We are not here at a
13 meeting on political science, so please proceed to your
14 next question.
15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. This
16 was not really a very significant question. This was
17 just sort of an aside.
18 Mr. Mesic, you talked about the Banovina and
19 Tudjman's criticism of the Banovina. I think what you
20 wanted to say there did not quite enter the
21 transcript. When Tudjman criticised the history, that
22 is, when he criticised the decision of Tito and the
23 Communists in 1945 to make Bosnia a separate republic,
24 did he stop at criticism of the historical decisions,
25 let us say, of 1945, or of the Banovina, or did he say,
1 "Now, in 1991, we need to create Banovina of Croatia
2 and we need to break up Bosnia"? When you were
3 discussing the issues on Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is,
4 I am referring to the period before the independence of
5 Croatia, that is, in the 80s, did he criticise the
6 decisions of Marshal Tito, or did he continue to
7 advocate the break-up of Bosnia and the creation of
9 A. I think that I was quite clear on this.
10 According to him, the Banovina was a great achievement,
11 but there were certain parts that were still not
12 included there, so he thought that this was a great
13 achievement, but not a complete one, so that is why he
14 criticised Vlatko Marcic, who was responsible for this
16 The other thing was the creation of the
17 federal States after World War II. His view was that
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina should not have been created; that
19 Bosnia should have been annexed to Croatia just as
20 Kosovo and Vojvodina were annexed to Serbia and this is
21 what he repeated now.
22 I do not know if you read recently the
23 materials of his last congress of the HDZ -- this was
24 last month -- he again accused the Croatian Communists
25 on issues of the borders and Bosnia and he accuses them
1 of having the wrong positions on that. He repeats this
3 However, after Karadordevo, after all these
4 negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic, who was our
5 aggressor, we saw what his Chief-of-Staff says, and his
6 Chief-of-Staff is his spokesman, that is Hrvoje
7 Sarinic. He says that Serbia has to come out of this
8 war as a "small greater Serbia", which means that, if
9 Serbia is given certain territorial concessions, it is
10 very logical to conclude that, behind it, some other
11 aspirations may be hiding. I am not going to try to go
12 very deeply into this topic, but there were two
13 policies -- there was one that was public, with which
14 I agreed, and there was a side policy, which led the
15 Croats into the conflict with the Muslims, which
16 resulted in great casualties and we are still climbing
17 out of that.
18 Q. I would like to ask you to give me very
19 succinct answers to a series of questions. Karadordevo
20 took place in 1991. If Tudjman and Milosevic achieved
21 an agreement in 1991, how do you explain that, after
22 Karadordevo, the war actually started, that Vukovar and
23 Dubrovnik were attacked, that the Croats lost
24 Posavina, that Jajce fell. So, the greatest fighting
25 between the Serbs and Croats happened after Karadordevo
1 and Karadordevo supposedly resulted in agreement. How
2 do you explain this?
3 A. I can only repeat what Tudjman said after he
4 came back from Karadordevo. I do not know what they
5 agreed on. I was very clear on what he said. If you
6 ask me my opinion, that is something completely
7 different. My opinion is that Tudjman was in conflict
8 with Milosevic over Croatia, even though I can say that
9 Serbs were tricked by Milosevic, because, when faced
10 with a real choice, he proved that he did not care
11 about the Serbs. He just promised them that all Serbs
12 would live in the same State, but he was cheating
13 them. He needed the Serbs as a detonator so that he
14 would transfer the war into Bosnia.
15 When Bora Jovic told me that they were not
16 interested in Croatian Serbs, that they were not
17 interested in Croatian territories, that we could
18 impale the Serbs for all they know, because they were
19 our citizens -- all they were interested in was the
20 66 per cent of Bosnia, and this is what they would
21 take. That was Serbia and that is going to be Serb
22 and that would remain Serb -- that is how he put
24 So, for him, the real issue was the division
25 of Bosnia and he needed Croats to detonate the whole
1 situation. Tudjman drew certain conclusions on that
2 basis. Whether he believed Milosevic that he had no
3 aspirations towards the Croatian territory -- maybe he
4 believed that at some day this will be levelled out,
5 but, in Bosnia, some strange situations took place.
6 For instance, Mate Boban, after Graz, stated that Serbs
7 and Croats had no unresolved issues left in
9 There are great unresolved issues between
10 Serbs and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, precisely
11 because Serb aggression took place and it left the
12 consequences that it did. To then say that we have no
13 unresolved issues, to me, was disastrous and, in the
14 end, Tudjman said of Boban that he was the only person
15 who understood his policy.
16 Q. You did not answer directly? Are you saying
17 that the JNA did not attack Vukovar?
18 A. I was actually the commander-in-chief of this
19 army. Yes, it did attack Vukovar, it attacked it
20 fiercely. The army was in the function of Serbs, but
21 the army was looking for someone who was going to
22 finance it. The army -- the top -- went to Milosevic
23 because they felt threatened -- if Slovenia, Croatia,
24 Bosnia, Macedonia, fell off, who was going to supply
25 this huge army? It was the fifth largest army in
1 Europe and the army was looking for the largest
2 possible territory that would be left under Milosevic's
3 control at the end of the day. Throughout the period
4 when I was in Belgrade, no general ever came to talk to
6 I went to talk to Kadijevic several times,
7 but they never came. However, they were in daily touch
8 with Milosevic and he had control over the army. That
9 means Slobodan Milosevic wanted to expand the borders
10 of greater Serbia and the army assisted him in that.
11 This is why they were attacking the territories that
12 they believed that Milosevic could preserve within this
13 greater Serbia, so they were involved in the same job,
14 but their interests were different.
15 Q. But, you said that Tudjman came back from
16 Karadordevo and he said first the army is not going to
17 attack you. "I agreed with Milosevic, they wanted a
18 certain percentage of Bosnia, but, after that, the army
19 attacks." So, had the agreement been reached; did they
20 not break it -- the army attacked fiercely, not just
21 Croatia? You know that the real war started then,
22 Dubrovnik and Vukovar are attacked but also Posavina
23 and Jajce fell at that time, so these areas fell to the
24 Serbs. How does that dovetail with the agreement?
25 A. That means that they did not abide by the
2 Q. Thank you.
3 You held high State offices. I am just going
4 to read you the titles of certain documents and of
5 certain decisions of the leadership of Croatia in
6 respect of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I would just like you to
7 confirm whether such things happened. I know that this
8 is hard to all keep in your mind, but maybe you will be
9 able to recall it and it will be important in deciding
10 things on what happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 First, regarding the referendum on the
12 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina of 1 March 1992, on
13 6 April 1992 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 proclaimed its independence and the next day, on
15 7 April 1992, the Republic of Croatia, by the decision
16 of President Franjo Tudjman, was one of the first
17 States to have recognised the integrity and the
18 sovereignty and independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is
19 that true?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. On 8 July 1992 a joint statement between the
22 Presidents of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, Franjo
23 Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic was signed in Helsinki;
24 do you recall that Helsinki joint statement?
25 A. I do not exactly but I believe it could have
2 Q. On 19 July 1992, the Presidency of the
3 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted a decision on
4 establishment of the provisional office of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Croatia?
6 A. I believe, yes, it did happen, but I do not
7 recall the date.
8 Q. On 21 July 1992, in Zagreb, an agreement was
9 signed between the Republic of Croatia and
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the establishment of diplomatic
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. On 23 September 1992 the participants of the
14 London conference signed in New York an annex to the
15 agreement on friendship and cooperation between the
16 Presidents Tudjman and Izetbegovic?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. On 29 September 1992, the ambassador,
19 Dr. Sancevic was appointed ambassador to Croatia?
20 A. Yes, and his seat was in Zagreb. Also, let
21 me just add he later left.
22 Q. When the hostilities died down?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Dr. Sancevic was the first foreign diplomat to
25 give his credential to President Izetbegovic in
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. On 12 February 1993, in a letter of
4 Dr. Tudjman to Mr. Izetbegovic -- in fact, this was an
5 answer to a letter of 6 November and he agrees to the
6 establishment of economic relations between the two
7 States. There was agreement in New York between the
8 Muslims -- Dr. Izetbegovic, Silajdzic and Mr. Boban and
9 Mr. Akmadzic on future constitutional arrangements of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, between the Muslim and Croatian
12 A. I do not recall this, but if you say so.
13 Q. On 25 March 1993 Mr. Izetbegovic signed the
14 Vance-Owen Plan regarding the maps, and it is
15 entitled "The Agreement on Provisional Arrangements of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina" -- do you recall that?
17 A. I believe they did sign that.
18 Q. On 27 March 1993, a joint statement was
19 signed on close cooperation between the Republic of
20 Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was between
21 Dr. Tudjman and Mr. Izetbegovic -- during the visit of
22 Dr. Silajdzic to the President of Croatia, Dr. Franjo
23 Tudjman. Do you recall this?
24 A. No, I do not recall that.
25 Q. On 2 May 1993, a meeting was held in Athens
1 on the final peace arrangements for Bosnia-Herzegovina;
2 do you recall that?
3 A. I do recall the Athens meeting but not the
5 Q. Here is a document of 11 May 1993, 9th
6 session of the Council for Defence and Security, and
7 the renewed hostilities between the Croatian units and
8 the Bosnian units were discussed, because the Republic
9 of Croatia is mentioned by foreign sources as being
10 also involved, and the positions of the Republic of
11 Croatia are stated as follows. First:
12 1. Immediate cessation of hostilities because
13 it is harmful to both sides.
14 2. Implement the Vance-Owen Plan as soon as
15 possible, wherever it is viable.
16 3. In the agreement, a joint command is
17 defined between the Croatian and Muslim armed forces.
18 4. The council denies the rumours that there
19 are units of regular Croatian armies involved and a
20 mission of goodwill is set up and Mr. Izetbegovic and
21 Mr. Akmadzic -- it is proposed by these two gentlemen
22 that a meeting take place, which would be attended by
23 Mr. Tudjman; do you recall this meeting of May 1993?
24 A. Yes, I do recall it specifically, because it
25 related to the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan.
1 Fortunately, the Serbs did not sign that plan, because
2 it is one of the big reasons of the great suffering on
3 both the Croat and Muslim sides. You see that the
4 pressure was exerted so that this plan be implemented
5 as soon as possible, which would mean the territorial
6 division of all three ethnic groups, which would have
7 condoned the ethnic cleansing that had taken place.
8 Q. And here is something that relates directly
9 to you. This is 10 June 1993 in Zagreb:
10 "President of the Parliament of the Republic
11 of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesic, and Josip Manolic
12 received a 6-member delegation of the people from
13 Travnik" -- that is in Central Bosnia -- "and the
14 topics included the assistance to the Croats in Central
15 Bosnia, defence of the Lasva River valley, the
16 quietening down of the conflict, asking for protection
17 of the Muslim refugees in Croatia. Mesic and
18 Izetbegovic talked on the phone and Mr. Izetbegovic
19 arrived in Zagreb that same day."
20 Can you add anything to that?
21 A. No, just what is written there. I have
22 nothing to add to that.
23 Q. Do you recall that Mr. Semso Tankovic -- he is
24 the President of the SDA in Croatia -- on 10 June 1993,
25 in Zagreb, sent a open letter to Alija Izetbegovic and
1 Mate Boban, asking of them to openly talk in Geneva
2 about joint fighting against the real aggressor and
3 also against the ethnic cleansing in Muslim Capljina
4 and also of Croats in the Lasva River valley. Do you
5 remember this open letter of Mr. Tankovic?
6 A. I do recall he intervened publicly on several
7 occasions and I accept the possibility that this could
8 have been one of those.
9 Q. Very well. Just one more item; 13 June 1993
10 -- a document in Geneva relating to the cessation of
11 hostilities between the Croats and Muslims; do you
12 recall that?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Any more questions, Mr. Nobilo.
15 MR. NOBILO: I do, Mr. President. This was
16 rounding up one subject, so I do not know what your
17 plans are.
18 JUDGE JORDA: If my colleagues agree, I was
19 going to propose that we have a 15-minute break for the
20 interpreters and everyone else to have a rest and then
21 to proceed until 7 or quarter to 7. So we will have a
22 break now and resume at quarter past 6.
24 (A short break)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you may continue,
2 Mr. Nobilo.
3 MR. NOBILO: Yes, thank you,
4 Mr. President.
5 Mr. Mesic, would you agree with me if I say
6 all the armaments throughout the war that reached the
7 BiH army reached it from Croatia or passing through
8 Croatian territory? Virtually all of it?
9 A. I would not quite agree, because most of the
10 weapons were captured by the BiH army from the hands of
11 the aggressor and a part of it certainly reached them
12 via Croatia.
13 Q. Can we rephrase the question? The part that
14 it did not capture?
15 A. Yes, it could have only reached them via
17 Q. Humanitarian aid, both to the people of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as the BiH army in terms of
19 food, as they were not manufacturing anything, did all
20 the humanitarian aid also come through Croatia?
21 A. Yes, it came through Croatia, and through
22 those parts under the control of the HVO. But I must
23 make a reservation, namely, I attended quite a number
24 of discussions that we had with foreign States sending
25 aid, and we always negotiated a share that had to be
1 left for us -- both of the humanitarian aid and the
2 weapons, Croatia always kept a part for itself.
3 Q. But, with the approval of the Croatian
4 Government -- the Croatian Government gave approval for
5 everything that went to Bosnia?
6 A. Yes, but it took a share for itself.
7 Q. The refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina, let us
8 look at the Muslims: can we say that quite a number of
9 them were accommodated and fed in Croatia, even during
10 the Croatian/Muslim war?
11 A. Yes, yes. I must say again another
12 reservation -- a highly respected official of Croatia
13 said at the time, "We must make their life so
14 unbearable that they will want to leave".
15 Q. But that was not a statement by President
17 A. No, it was not.
18 Q. Do you know that in the hospitals of Split
19 the wounded were treated, both belonging to the BiH
20 army and the HVO?
21 A. I am not aware of the details but I know they
22 were treated in our hospitals.
23 MR. NOBILO: I will ask the usher to
24 distribute another article, please. For the
25 interpreters, it will be document number 10.
1 Mr. Mesic, this was your interview with the
2 Hercegovacki Tjednik or weekly. Unfortunately, this
3 weekly does not carry a date, but, under "(a)" marked
4 in yellow, the question is:
5 "What is the position of official Croatia and
6 the HDZ towards Bosnia-Herzegovina?"
7 Your answer:
8 "Our position was always a principled one and
9 that is that borders should not be changed."
10 Is that true, that you said this?
11 A. That was the official policy.
12 Q. So you did grant this interview; is that
14 A. I do not even know that this journal exists.
15 I certainly did not authenticate it, but if you could
16 give me a minute, I would have to read it through to
17 see what it is about.
18 MR. NOBILO: It was in the early stage when
19 the discussion about the referendum was still ongoing.
20 JUDGE RIAD: I would like to know the date of
21 this statement.
22 MR. NOBILO: Unfortunately, I do not have the
23 date -- unfortunately, I do not have the date, but it
24 is the beginning of 1992, because the subject under
25 discussion is the referendum on independence of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Unfortunately, the date is not
2 indicated on this copy.
3 My first question would be: was this an
4 interview granted by you.
5 MR. HARMON: The witness said he needed to
6 look at this document to familiarise himself with it,
7 to determine if in fact he had given this interview.
8 Mr. Nobilo proceeded with the question before the
9 witness had time to complete reviewing the document.
10 I would ask he be permitted to complete reviewing the
11 document before the question is asked.
12 JUDGE JORDA: That was an inadvertence on
13 the part of Mr. Nobilo. I must repeat the question of
14 Judge Riad -- I think the only way for us to proceed is
15 to have the date, or for the witness to authenticate
17 A. To be quite frank, I am not even aware of the
18 existence of this newspaper, the Hercegovacki Tjednik,
19 but I probably do not remember the journal, but judging
20 by these answers, it is possible that I had a
21 conversation with a journalist, but whether it was
22 correctly published, I cannot say, because I do not
23 recall the magazine itself.
24 MR. NOBILO: Can I ask you then: did you
25 promise journalists in those days, in 1992, that this
1 was your position?
2 A. Our position was always a principled one,
3 that the borders should not be changed. I always
4 repeated that borders should not be changed.
5 Q. Thank you. As for the next question, would
6 your answer be something like this? The question is,
7 the last column on the second page and, finally, a
8 question linked to Bosnia-Herzegovina:
9 "Will Croatia recognise an independent and
10 sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina?"
11 Your answer:
12 "Bosnia-Herzegovina has still not asked for
13 recognition, but after this referendum and if it does
14 ask for recognition, Croatia will adopt a principled
15 position and be among the first to recognise
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent and sovereign
18 Was this a position that you upheld in those
20 A. Yes, that is my position, that if
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina asks for recognition, that
22 recognition should be granted.
23 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that the aim of
24 President Tudjman's going to Karadordevo was to avoid
25 war -- was that the intention behind the scheduling of
1 that meeting?
2 A. I do not know what his intention was. I do
3 not know what my intention was when I arranged the
5 Q. And what was it?
6 A. I think I already said that, but I can repeat
8 Q. Yes, very briefly, what was the meaning of
9 that meeting, in your opinion?
10 A. My objection to the Serb representative in
11 the presidency of Yugoslavia, Bora Jovic, was that they
12 were pursuing a suicidal policy, that the Serbs were
13 being armed by JNA barracks, that the Croats would arm
14 themselves as well and that an explosion occur, as a
15 result of which the Serbs would suffer the greatest
16 damage, and I asked him why they were pursuing such a
17 policy; were they interested in Croatian territories,
18 or in the Serbs of Croatia? He said that they had no
19 pretentions towards Croat territory, or the Serbs in
20 Croatia. He said we were free to do what we wanted
21 with them, because they were our citizens, that they
22 were interested in 66 per cent of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
23 and that is what they would take, and I proposed that
24 Tudjman and myself, and Jovic and Milosevic on the
25 other side should sit at a table and try to deal with
1 the problems raised by the Serbs in Croatia, to come to
2 a negotiated settlement and to avoid a war.
3 As for the Bosnian problem, it should be
4 internationalised -- that was my position and, when
5 Milosevic agreed to meet anywhere in the country or
6 abroad with us, I made the same proposal to Tudjman and
7 Tudjman agreed.
8 However, the two of them arranged the
9 meeting, and both Bora Jovic on the Serb side and
10 myself on the Croatian were excluded from further
12 Q. Yes, but briefly, can we say what the aim of
13 the meeting was; it was to avoid war?
14 A. When he left, he said, "I am going to see
15 what they want."
16 Q. Why did not Hrvoje Sarinic go with Tudjman to
17 that meeting?
18 A. Hrvoje Sarinic was the chief of cabinet -- he
19 is not a politician.
20 Q. But in Croatia he is considered to be number
22 A. Some people may consider him that, but I do
23 not consider him a politician at all. He is chief of
24 cabinet of the office, so head of his secretarial
25 office, one might say.
1 Q. Yes, but which concentrates all the power in
3 A. Yes, he was not elected by anyone, so he has
4 no legitimacy to sign anything on behalf of Croatia and
5 I do admit that he is making such signatures, but that
6 is not legitimate.
7 Q. So you agree that Hrvoje Sarinic signed a
8 number of key documents for Croatia?
9 A. Yes, that is true, but he is only chief of
10 cabinet of President Tudjman.
11 Q. Let us proceed. Let us go on to a member of
12 the academy, Bilandjic, and the group of experts on
13 maps. Can you tell us exactly what you know about
14 those groups? What was their assignment? Were you
15 present at any of the meetings held by Bilandjic and
16 his group of experts? Did Bilandjic tell you anything
17 about it, or any of the participants? You made some
18 allegations, but I would like to know who you talked to
19 you and who conveyed to you what was discussed at those
20 meetings where maps were drawn?
21 A. Work on the maps started after the agreement
22 in Karadordevo. Smilja Avramo, a university professor
23 and adviser to Slobodan Milosevic, came to Zagreb and
24 Hrvoje Sarinic and some others -- after all, this was
25 in secret -- they went to Belgrade. They certainly
1 discussed maps. Experts were engaged, university
2 professors, specialising in that science, and they were
3 invited -- I would meet them, but I did not participate
4 in those talks, because, after all, this had a dose of
5 confidentiality, but I knew that they were working on
7 I knew that Professor Lerotic was working on
8 the maps, I knew he stopped working on them, he
9 abandoned the job. I knew this because Professor
10 Bilandjic also told me that. Now, whether they could
11 speak in public about those maps, I do not know, but he
12 told me, and later on, he made the statement for the
13 media, he said, "While I was drawing the maps, Tudjman
14 liked me," so you can read this in the media.
15 Q. But you keep saying, "I knew this and I knew
16 that," but apart from what Bilandjic told you do you
17 know anything else and if you do know anything else,
18 would you give us a source, who told you and what?
19 A. Everybody was talking about maps, but among
20 the people I talked to, nobody said that he had
21 attended a meeting devoted to this. The reports would
22 come to us second-hand, because it was not logical for
23 us to be waging war against Slobodan Milosevic while at
24 the same time advising -- receiving her adviser in
25 Zagreb and discussing maps with her. Obviously, this
1 had to be done in secret.
2 Q. But what do you know about those meetings?
3 Did anyone tell you anything about them, or are you
4 just assuming things?
5 A. You do not have to make any assumptions.
6 Read what Hrvoje Sarinic said. He said he met with
7 Milosevic 13 times during the war and they reviewed a
8 wide range of issues. Can you imagine, during the
9 Second World War, Churchill meeting with Hitler, or
10 their chiefs of cabinet meeting and discussing
11 political issues and doing that 13 times on top of
13 Q. Did not the international community encourage
14 such negotiations as a means of ending the war? Give
15 me an exact answer to my question: do you know the
16 contents of the meetings between Smilja Avramo, Sarinic
17 and Bilandjic? What were they doing, what kind of
18 maps? How do you know that?
19 A. Because Bilandjic told me that he was working
20 on maps.
21 Q. Yes, but what kind of maps?
22 A. Maps whereby the Croats and the Muslims and
23 the Bosniaks would be grouped together so that a
24 territorial division would be made, but, after all,
25 both you and I watched in January 1994 meetings between
1 representatives of Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in
2 Geneva, and, when they were sitting around a map,
3 Franjo Tudjman, Karadzic, Boban and Milosevic were
4 standing to the side and they were reviewing these
5 maps, what would belong to whom without the Muslims.
6 I correct myself -- only the Serbs and Croats
7 were present, the Muslims were not there. This was in
8 January 1994. This was broadcast on television. I was
9 flabbergasted because I understood what this meant.
10 Q. Was that not part of the international
11 negotiations, the bilateral talks within international
13 A. Certainly, even the international community
14 is not without blame. I am absolutely convinced that
15 Lord Owen was endeavouring to break up
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina and I do not think I forgive him.
17 He is one of the culprits, too, that all this happened.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, can we focus the
19 debate a little bit? I would like the witness to face
20 the judges, because after all, he is talking to the
21 judges. It is up to them to draw any conclusions from
22 this and also, Mr. Nobilo, could you focus your
23 questions? We are talking about maps, about meetings.
24 The witness is an important politician of his country.
25 He cannot tell you everything that he participated in,
1 so please continue.
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I am
3 trying to be as precise as I can in my questions.
4 Can we conclude that you do not have any
5 first-hand knowledge of what they were drawing; you did
6 not attend those meetings and you did not discuss with
7 anyone in detail what they were doing?
8 A. The majority of people coming from
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina brought maps with them, coloured in
10 various colours -- parts that were supposed to become
11 Croat, parts Serb, parts Muslim, and I must say
12 that some parliamentarians like Ivan Milas showed me
13 maps they were working on, but who was working on them,
14 when they were working on them, what kind of meetings
15 they were having, I did not know. I just knew they were
16 working on maps which was supposed to territorially
17 divide the area.
18 That was, for me, a problem, that a country,
19 which was like a leopard skin, that attempts were being
20 made to divide it up so as to group the various ethnic
22 Q. So, this was in line with the Vance-Owen maps
23 and all the other maps?
24 A. Yes, only, as I said, there were many people
25 to blame.
1 MR. NOBILO: I come to Graz, the
2 Boban/Karadzic meeting -- you mentioned it in a
3 negative context. Could I ask the usher for his
4 assistance, to give you a copy of another interview,
5 this time from Novi List.
6 Please have a look at it -- whether you
7 remember it. It is 14 May 1992, it is the Rijeka Novi
8 List, first and second page.
9 It is document number 8 for the
10 interpreters. Will you look on page 1 and a part of
11 the question:
12 "I am interested, after all, what your view
13 is of the Karadzic and Boban talks."
14 And your answer in 1992 was:
15 "If the talks were to result in an end of the
16 war, and the shifting of the problem to the negotiating
17 table, it would be positive. In that case
18 international mechanisms could be included, and a
19 political settlement might be achieved. Therefore, if
20 peace were to be achieved thereby, it would be
21 acceptable for me. Of course, peace cannot be achieved
22 unless everyone is satisfied."
23 So, two standard questions. First, was this
24 an interview granted by you?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Secondly, did you say this?
2 A. Yes, but I think it is quite clear from this
3 what I meant. From this, one cannot see that I was
4 aware of the meeting -- I just said if such a meeting
5 were to be held, and, also, the last sentence, when
6 I said "everyone has to be satisfied", I am implying
7 the Muslims, because I said "peace can be achieved only
8 if all are satisfied" and that means that we cannot
9 have just the Serbs and Croats negotiating with the
10 Muslims being excluded.
11 Q. But, here, in this statement, in the
12 newspaper, you assess those talks as positive, because
13 peace is established by means of them?
14 A. That is not correct. I am talking in the
15 conditional -- if such talks were to be conducted.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you have your
17 opinion, the witness has answered your question, he has
18 given you his arguments and you cannot insist further
19 in that direction.
20 The witness said that he has used the word
21 "if", so it means that he was not aware at the time
22 that such a meeting had been held.
23 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, I was just referring
24 to earlier statements made by the witness.
25 JUDGE JORDA: When do you intend to complete
1 your cross-examination, how much more time do you need,
2 Mr. Nobilo? In view of the interpreters, your
3 colleagues and everyone else, we need to organise
5 MR. NOBILO: I need an hour -- within an hour,
6 I would be done.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, in that case,
8 I think we are going to adjourn. We are going to
9 resume work tomorrow at quarter past 2. (Pause).
10 I contacted my colleagues and the legal counsel of the
11 Trial Chamber. In view of the situation with the other
12 trials, it is conditional still that we may be able to
13 begin tomorrow at 11 o'clock in the morning -- the
14 three judges are ready. You know that, in the
15 afternoon, we will have an ex parte meeting with the
16 Defence, we may have another witness, so this is
17 slightly improvising but I want to hear your opinion,
18 both from the Prosecution and counsel for the Defence.
19 We are ready to be here tomorrow at 11 o'clock. What
20 do you think, Mr. Harmon?
21 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, we would accept
22 willingly to start at 11 o'clock. I have highlighted a
23 problem with another witness, who must testify tomorrow
24 at a certain time, and I would appreciate being able to
25 conclude his testimony tomorrow, and I would be very
1 grateful if the court could start at 11 o'clock so
2 Mr. Mesic could also have some time to gather his
3 energies; he will be testifying in another case on
4 Friday as well.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I know that, and we, too,
6 would like -- we have to hear the Defence ex parte, if
7 possible, tomorrow afternoon. If not, I know I can
8 count on the spirit of synthesis, but you know that we
9 have nothing to hide, that these ex parte meetings have
10 very important missions for the administration of
11 justice, and we would like the Defence to tell us, as
12 the Prosecution has done, to give us their arguments.
13 I know that we cannot hear Mr. Mesic on Friday
14 morning, because he is required in another case, so
15 that we will have Friday afternoon. In any event, the
16 judges are ready, and they will be here fully armed as
17 of tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock. Perhaps the
18 expression is not a very good one that I used, but,
19 anyway, we will now adjourn.
20 (At 6.52pm the hearing adjourned until
21 Thursday, 19 March 1998, at 11am)