1 Tuesday, 15
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.36 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning Your Honours.
6 Case number IT-95-14/2-T. The Prosecutor versus Dario
7 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, we discussed with the
10 Defence last night -- we discussed with the Defence
11 last night the timetabling of matters before the
12 Chamber, and we are agreed that a different order could
13 be usefully employed from that forecast yesterday for
14 the following reasons: First, it's really important,
15 if not vital, that we have a decision on the transcript
16 witnesses at the earliest possible moment. Because if
17 any other witnesses have to be called, we must be
18 putting steps in hand to get them here as quickly as
19 possible, particularly if there is any prospect of
20 using any part of next week.
21 Secondly, there is a witness who is a witness
22 from Bosnia, who is a woman, not in her first flush of
23 youth, and I think it's thought desirable, if we can,
24 to have her evidence taken ahead of Dr. Ribicic's
25 evidence. And I gather there is no objection to that
1 general rescheduling of matters, subject to the
2 Chamber's approval.
3 Dr. Ribicic would not, of course, then be
4 finished today, but that doesn't present a difficulty
5 for him. So, with your leave, maybe do that.
6 MR. STEIN: We have no problems with that.
7 We did ask the Prosecution, if they were going to
8 change the order, to send us the summaries by 8.00 last
9 night. As to the woman who was about to testify, that
10 summary arrived at our office at 10.30 in the evening,
11 after, mercifully, we were gone. And to be of much use
12 to us, we would like to have it well in advance.
13 Similarly, Dr. Ribicic's summary was given to
14 us this morning. There were corrections made to it.
15 Again, to be at all helpful, we need them well in
17 I would like to raise, if I may, two other
18 issues. First, yesterday I mentioned the Prosecution's
19 inconsistent position on Mr. Elford's resume. I would
20 like to know from the Prosecution if they are going to
21 give us his resume.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Would you slow down,
23 Mr. Stein, please.
24 MR. NICE: I don't think there has been any
1 JUDGE MAY: Let's not deal with this in a
2 confrontational way. Who is Mr. Elford?
3 MR. NICE: Mr. Elford is the person who --
4 let me start at the beginning. I have explained in
5 court that calling someone an expert is not going to
6 elevate him into that position. I've explained in
7 court what I know about his background. And apparently
8 that isn't sufficient for the Defence. He's a witness
9 who has produced a map, at the request of the Court.
10 He's what's called a military analyst here. He served
11 some time in the army.
12 JUDGE MAY: He can be cross-examined.
13 MR. NICE: He can be cross-examined on that.
14 MR. STEIN: With respect, sir, all you need
15 to do is read the report, and you will, and you'll
16 see it's beyond just a map. It's an analysis of a
17 variety --
18 JUDGE MAY: I think we -- it seems to me to
19 be far exceeding what is needed. We'll set it down for
21 MR. STEIN: Very good, sir. Would you also,
22 if it please the Court, the Prosecution has used in its
23 exhibits and a variety of requests a series of ECMM
24 reports. They have used them with various witnesses.
25 In this case they certainly do have a library, because
1 they were all requested from the ECMM, and given
2 subject to Rule 70. I tried to negotiate something
3 with Mr. Nice. We've been unable to do so. And this
4 is one of those instances where I think the doctrine of
5 completeness requires that all the ECMM documents in
6 the Prosecution's possession be turned over to us.
7 MR. NICE: It was matter I was going to raise
8 ex parte. There is no such thing as a doctrine of
9 completeness. This is a subtle way of the Defence
10 trying to get round the Rule for mutual disclosure.
11 They have avoided providing any documents themselves.
12 We provided every ECMM document that we are obliged to
13 provide by production of a witness or under Rule 68.
14 And we are constrained by Rule 70 in relation to the
15 balance. But I want to raise this matter, in any
16 event, as one of a number of matters to be raised ex
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, we'll do that. Yes,
19 are there any other matters to be dealt with now,
20 before we have the witness?
21 MR. NICE: Well, we were going to deal, if we
22 could, in advance, with the question of the transcripts
23 for the reasons that I advanced. We need to know if
24 any of these witnesses has to be called in order to put
25 matters in hand.
1 JUDGE MAY: Well, I am not in a position to
2 deal with that today. I need thoroughly to read the
4 MR. NICE: Yes. Can I --
5 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,
6 with regard to the transcript, we cannot -- of course
7 we cannot discuss the transcripts now. But there is
8 one thing, though, which came as a surprise to you, and
9 that is that we have before us such enormous quantity
10 of pages. I believe it was the figure of 6.000 pages
11 was mentioned. And I am not asking you to answer me
12 now, but I believe you should think about a method
13 which could be as follows: You should select from this
14 transcript those paragraphs which have most direct
15 bearing on the case which is before us, that is the
16 Kordic/Cerkez case. And even if you are producing the
17 whole transcript, again we have to deal only with those
18 parts which have a direct bearing on this case. That
19 would mean more practical access for the Defence to
20 this transcript, and it would also help them to deal
21 with it, in view of this huge mass of documents which
22 were shown to us yesterday.
23 I should like you to think about a method
24 which would allow you to produce them, while avoiding
25 at the same time the difficulties which have to do with
1 the huge and impressive mass of this transcript.
2 And also one should bear in mind that the
3 decision in the Aleksovski case should not be used
4 beyond certain particular circumstances. What it means
5 is that all the transcripts cannot be produced or taken
6 from one case to the other without particular
7 justification. The case, Aleksovski, has to do with
8 some particular circumstances and the decision was
9 taken in this regard. And those were exceptional and
10 particular circumstances.
11 And in view of all of that, I believe you
12 should reconsider your application to produce the
13 transcripts from one case to the other.
14 MR. NICE: Just to respond briefly to that.
15 The transcripts, as a method of abbreviating the time
16 that live evidence would take, is something strongly
17 advocated by the Chamber at earlier stages, and we have
18 been responsive to that.
19 Secondly, the possibility of using only
20 extracts from the transcripts is, indeed, an appealing
21 one and one with which we are entirely content.
22 Indeed, I had always envisaged, and still envisage, the
23 transcripts admitted will be, as it were, admitted
24 without there being necessarily any duty on the Judges
25 to read the transcript slavishly, or necessarily at
1 all, until referred to passages of the evidence in the
2 argument of the parties. We know, of course, that the
3 Judges have available to them staff who can further
4 assist them in the preparation of material. So we're
5 entirely happy with that as a general method of process
6 and would look forward to relying on the transcripts as
7 and when necessary in the course of our closing or
8 other arguments.
9 The only fly in that particular ointment is
10 that the Defence, particularly in relation to Blaskic,
11 say that it isn't appropriate to take the transcripts
12 in part and they have to be taken in whole. With that
13 view, we don't necessarily agree, but that's a problem
14 standing in the way of the course that Your Honour
16 As to the observation that there is, in some
17 way, the need to reconsider in general the quantity of
18 material we are putting in or seeking to put in by
19 transcript, we reject that, save for a few witnesses
20 who Mr. Scott and Mr. Lopez-Terres have been able to
21 consider can perhaps now be removed from the list, but
22 otherwise we reject that proposition.
23 I was going to say at some stage, and I'll
24 make the point now, there is at the moment, it appears,
25 an inclination in the Tribunal to exclude evidence and
1 to hold us responsible for the time the trial has
2 taken, but in due course, I must ensure that the
3 Tribunal recognises --
4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] But,
5 Mr. Nice, I thought I would say what I had to say and
6 then we would have to move to the witness, not to
7 launch a discussion. You said that you wanted to see
8 whether you can present to us these extracts. Please,
9 how is there a way in which we can present them as a
10 whole? Think about it, and then when the time comes,
11 we shall have a lengthy discussion about that. I do
12 not really want to go into a debate now. If you can
13 think about a method in order to improve on the
14 production of transcripts, then you will tell us and we
15 shall be discussing, when the time comes, how to do all
17 MR. NICE: Then to conclude at this stage
18 until the matter is more fully argued, the position is
19 we've had a response in schedule form from the Defence
20 which we've considered. To go through in court each
21 one of those objections would take a great deal of the
22 Court's time. It seems to us that the objections are
23 capable of being dealt -- sorry. The objections are
24 frequently generic, they can be dealt with
25 generically. What I would respectfully invite of the
1 Chamber is this: If it could find the time to consider
2 that schedule as a priority, we could address our
3 observations generically to it, and it might then be
4 possible for the matter to be ruled with attention to
5 particular witnesses as required. We will also,
6 Mr. Scott, Mr. Lopez-Terres, or I, be in a position to
7 indicate which witnesses we take the view we can
8 dispense with.
9 JUDGE MAY: The sooner we have that, the
10 better because it will save a great deal of time for
12 MR. NICE: I think Mr. Scott -- I can give
13 you the numbers or Mr. Scott can give you the numbers
14 straightaway, of the ones we are contingently -- we are
15 prepared to dispense with. Don't give the chart out
16 now. Using the original numbers, it's numbers 9, 13,
17 14, and 42.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
19 MR. NICE: If the Chamber could do that, we'd
20 be very grateful because it will assist us.
21 I don't believe this is too early, but may I
22 seek a short ex parte hearing. It's to deal with, I
23 think, about four topics, one of which was going to be
24 ECMM, and there are a couple of witnesses whose
25 attendance is the subject of methods of compulsion, and
1 we typically do deal with those ex parte, although I
2 know it's an inconvenience to do so.
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll find a convenient
4 time either today or tomorrow.
5 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
6 JUDGE MAY: Let me deal with something while
7 we're dealing with administrative matters, and that's
8 two dates:
9 Next Wednesday, the 23rd, will be a Chambers
10 afternoon. We shall not be sitting. I think that was
11 already scheduled in advance.
12 We have been considering the position between
13 the two cases, and in particular dealing with any
14 motion of no-case or judgement of acquittal. We've
15 come to the conclusion that an oral hearing on that may
16 be necessary for clarification of the submissions, and
17 we will schedule that for Thursday, the 30th of March,
18 at 9.30.
19 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. Mr. Scott is
20 going to be taking the next witness.
21 JUDGE MAY: We haven't got the summaries.
22 We've got the application but not the summaries.
23 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, there is a motion
24 for protective measures that should be dealt with,
25 obviously, in private session.
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
2 [Private session]
13 page 14130 redacted – in private session
13 page 14131 redacted – in private session
13 pages 14132 – 14161 redacted – in private session
18 --- Recess taken at 10.50 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.25 a.m.
20 [Open session]
21 [The witness entered court]
22 MS. SOMERS: Before the witness is sworn, may
23 I just bring to the Court's attention two -- three
24 items, actually. Two are my fault, as eyes are
25 failing. In the outline or the summary provided, on
1 page 2, in paragraph 6, the sentence which starts "The
2 Constitutional Court of BiH" should read "in
3 invalidating..." It is an important change and it is
4 my fault again; in proofing, I missed it. So it should
5 read, "The Constitutional Court of BiH in
6 invalidating ..." It is on page 2, it is point number
8 Then one other thing that my eyes missed. On
9 page 11, point number 57, it should read: "President
10 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna ..." The
11 parentheses indicate it is HZ HB, but this should be
12 clearer for the Court and for counsel, and I
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
16 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, there is one
17 person whose attendance should be mentioned on the
18 record. Ms. Andrea Matacic of the Office of the
19 Prosecutor has assisted in this preparation of this
20 matter. Thank you.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
1 WITNESS: CIRIL RIBICIC
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 Examined by Ms. Somers:
4 Q. Dr. Ribicic, would you state your full name,
5 date of birth, and place of birth.
6 A. My name is Ciril Ribicic. I was born in
7 Ljubljana on the 30th of June, 1947.
8 Q. And by nationality, you are?
9 A. By nationality, I am a Slovene and citizen of
10 the Republic of Slovenia.
11 Q. Would you indicate your educational degrees,
13 A. I graduated from the faculty of law. My M.A.
14 and Ph.D. was conducted at the faculty of law in
16 Q. Currently what is your occupation?
17 A. I am at the same time a member of the
18 Slovenia parliament and full professor of
19 constitutional law at the faculty of law in Ljubljana.
20 Q. What is your political party affiliation and
21 what was it in 1990?
22 A. I belonged to the League of Communists of
23 Slovenia which was a component part up until 1990 of
24 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. I now belong
25 to the Associated List of Social Democrats of Slovenia
1 which is a member of the Socialist International.
2 MS. SOMERS: I'd ask, please, that the audio
3 personnel show the video, which is Z2683.1.
4 Prior to the commencement, so the Court
5 knows, it is from the BBC's "The Death of Yugoslavia".
6 They are relevant clips pertaining to this witness.
7 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, we've never seen
8 this before. I wonder if we might have a transcript so
9 that we can follow what's being said.
10 JUDGE MAY: I doubt you can. Yes, let's go
12 [Videotape played]
13 MS. SOMERS: For His Honour Judge Bennouna,
14 this clip is available in French as well. We will
15 provide it and transcripts will be provided as well.
16 Q. Dr. Ribicic, after you left the 14th party
17 congress in Belgrade, what did you, as a member of the
18 party, or if you were president of the party, what did
19 you do then on behalf of Slovenia?
20 A. Let me first say that this tape is important
21 because you can see that everything did not begin in
22 Bosnia --
23 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I apologise,
24 Dr. Ribicic. Could you tell us the exact date of the
25 scene that we have just witnessed on videotape for the
2 A. Yes. We left Belgrade on the 22nd of
3 January, 1990, at 22.30.
4 JUDGE MAY: Dr. Ribicic, you were asked by
5 counsel, after you left the party congress, what you
6 did then on behalf of Slovenia. You were going to
7 reply something to the effect of the tape being
8 important. Could you bear in mind, please, that we
9 have your statement, we also have a summary of it.
10 Time is not unlimited and counsel knows what the
11 matters are which are relevant, so we would be grateful
12 if you would concentrate, please, on just answering the
13 questions which she asks.
14 Yes, would you ask that again, please.
15 MS. SOMERS: Yes.
16 Q. Dr. Ribicic, following the departure of the
17 Slovene delegation from Belgrade, as is evidenced here,
18 what did you, in your role as, I believe, president of
19 the party at the time, do on behalf of Slovenia?
20 A. After my departure from Belgrade, when it was
21 clear that Yugoslavia would no longer exist, in
22 Slovenia, we'd organised ourselves to prepare a
23 plebiscite. In my conviction, the most important act
24 was the signing of an agreement on the part of all the
25 parliamentary political parties with regard to a
1 plebiscite, at which the citizens of Slovenia would
2 decide on their independence and the Republic's
3 independence. On behalf of my party, I signed that
5 Later on, I took part in the elaboration of a
6 new constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, which was
7 adopted after the Republic's independence in November
9 Q. Dr. Ribicic, the part that you took, did it
10 involve the actual drafting of the documents? Were you
11 involved at that level?
12 A. Yes, I was. I was President of a task force
13 which was entrusted with drafting the part of the
14 constitution relating to the government in the Republic
15 of Slovenia.
16 Q. Do you, in your current role as both a member
17 of parliament and as a professor of law, retain
18 contacts and favourable relations with persons,
19 including governmental persons, in Croatia, the
20 Republic of Croatia?
21 A. Yes, I do. I know most of the members of the
22 new Croatian government well, and I have maintained
23 contacts with some other representatives as well of the
24 government and authorities in Croatia up to the
1 Q. One of those persons, was that the Ivica
2 Racan who was depicted in the film we just saw, who is
3 now Prime Minister of Yugoslavia? I'm sorry, of
4 Croatia, excuse me. Strike that.
5 A. Yes, I met Mr. Ivica Racan many times in our
6 capacity as party presidents, because both of us led
7 parties which today are members of the Socialist
9 Q. Dr. Ribicic, turning to your report. If you
10 are handed now -- if the usher would be kind enough to
11 hand a copy of a document which has already been
12 tendered into evidence. It is Z27.2, which is the
13 founding document of Herceg-Bosna, as well as handing
14 you the volume which is essentially Volume 1 of Narodni
15 List. I'll ask you several questions. We will not be
16 long. But I'll ask you several questions about your
18 Your Honours, the Office of the Prosecutor
19 has provided a complete bound set of the Narodni List
20 to the Registry for the use of the Court. The Defence
21 has been provided with these documents, and they are
22 just for your own deliberations and use. Just so you
23 that know, some are translated, some are not, but the
24 Court may wish to have them throughout the pendency of
25 the case. Those are untranslated. The documents that
1 Dr. Ribicic will take a glance at is a pile of
2 documents from the first volume, which Ms. Bauer can
3 distribute, in English and in French as well. And also
4 the decision on Herceg-Bosna is in English and French
5 as well, although the Court has seen it.
6 Dr. Ribicic, looking at what is marked Z27.2,
7 which you have in the Croatian language. This document
8 is from the 18th of November, 1991, and it is the
9 foundational document on the creation of the Croatian
10 community of Herceg-Bosna. This document, as well as
11 the many provisions that are contained in Volume 1 of
12 Narodni List, all of which we do not need to address
13 today. But can you indicate, did these serve as part
14 of the basis of the analysis as to the nature of the
15 polity referred to as either HZ HB or HR-HB?
16 A. Yes. I started my analysis on the
17 establishment and functioning of the Croatian community
18 of Herceg-Bosna by reading those very documents.
19 Q. Dr. Ribicic, can you comment, once you began
20 the analysis, where would you start from in looking at
21 the nature of the polity of Herceg-Bosna? What
22 considerations would you assess?
23 A. When I saw this extensive material, I asked
24 myself which would be the theoretical basis for judging
25 what had taken place on the territory of Herceg-Bosna.
1 And I looked into textbooks and other books related to
2 the theory of statehood, and I concentrated my efforts
3 on the issue and elements, the minimum elements which
4 must be fulfilled, met, in order for us to be able to
5 speak about a state proper. And I found that there
6 were three classical elements, and that all,
7 practically all professors teaching the theory of
8 states, states in the world, and especially the
9 theoreticians who worked or are still working today at
10 the different faculties of law on the territory of the
11 former Yugoslavia, that is to say in Croatia, in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Slovenia, in Macedonia, that
13 they all looked at those elements.
14 The fourth element was the immediate sub --
15 into international law, and I took this from the book
16 by Dr. Pitamic, who was one of the founders of the
17 faculty of law in Ljublijana at which I work.
18 Q. Dr. Ribicic, the three classical provisions
19 of, as it were, emerging states, could you describe
20 them? And then we can discuss Dr. Pitamic's provision
21 about subordination to international law.
22 A. As I said, there are three basic elements
23 inherent in every state, and that is territory,
24 population, and a sovereign government, or effective
1 Q. When you say "effective government," do you
2 mean a government which is carrying out its own
3 policies as opposed to the policies of another
4 sovereign, which may be superior to it?
5 A. It is quite clear that we cannot speak about
6 a sovereign government, or effective government in
7 cases where it is not effective on its territory, and
8 especially if it is subordinated to some other state,
9 or if it is attempting to be successful on a territory
10 where some other authority is sovereign or effective.
11 Q. Could you, very briefly, discuss the
12 subordination to international law that Dr. Pitamic
13 referred to?
14 A. Dr. Leonid Pitamic in his book entitled "The
15 State" emphasises that sovereignty exists and that the
16 sovereign of states has become a relatively element in
17 each given state, because every sovereign state should
18 be subordinated to international law. And this
19 position is an interesting one, because it was
20 published in his book in the 1920s.
21 What is particularly emphasised by
22 Dr. Pitamic, and which was significant for my own
23 analysis of Herceg-Bosna, was the fact that he speaks
24 about immediate subordination to international law.
25 That is to say that we cannot speak about an
1 independent and sovereign state unless it were
2 immediately subordinated to international law.
3 Q. Excuse me, Dr. Ribicic. When you say
4 "immediately," do you mean directly?
5 A. I used the word direct subordination,
6 immediate subordination to international law.
7 Q. Thank you. Would this type of analysis also
8 be the type of analysis used in, for example, creating
9 or looking at the constitution of Slovenia, or Croatia,
10 or any other country?
11 A. Yes, this theoretical foundation would be
12 interesting in analysing the inception of every new
13 state, and especially the states that emerged in --
14 from the 1970s onwards in the last ten years.
15 Q. Having looked to see if these elements were
16 present in the enactments, that is in the official
17 written pronouncements that came from Herceg-Bosna, did
18 you find that all the elements were formally, at least
19 on paper, present in both HZ HB and/or HR-HB?
20 A. Yes, I did. That is to say, in the documents
21 which were published in the Narodni List, Official
22 Gazette, as the Official Gazette of the Croatian
23 community of Herceg-Bosna, all those four elements are
25 Q. Dr. Ribicic, when you undertake a
1 constitutional analysis, do you only, as a professor or
2 as an expert generally on statehood, do you generally
3 deal only with the de jure or on paper written
4 enactments, or do you consider other factors in your
6 A. It is quite clear that modern, legal theory
7 stems from normative acts, but it also must bear in
8 mind their implementation in practice, and how they are
9 realised in practice. And this is especially true for
10 a constitutional legal analysis, which cannot only stop
11 at an analysis of legal acts and enactments, but must
12 study how they are put into practice. And therefore it
13 differentiates, on the one hand, between the
14 constitution, as it has been envisaged and normativated
15 from the constitution that has been translated into
16 practical daily life.
17 Q. I would ask the --
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mrs. Somers,
19 if I have understood correctly, you have asked
20 questions concerning the Croatian community of
21 Herceg-Bosna, its characteristics in order to learn
22 whether it corresponds to the criteria of statehood,
23 that is to say the existence of a territory population
24 and effective government controlling that territory,
25 and that population, and its subordination and its
1 respect to international laws directly, and linked to
2 international law generally.
3 I should like to ask Dr. Ribicic now whether,
4 with respect to that last element, and to the whole,
5 what the links were between the communities of
6 Herceg-Bosna and the state of Croatia? Was this link
7 of direct subordination to international law also
8 realised there? All the more so because it was not
9 recognised by the states and, on the other hand,
10 whether the power, if it existed, this power existed in
11 Herceg-Bosna, and the community of Herceg-Bosna, was it
12 totally autonomous with respect to the state of
14 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, would you care for
15 Dr. Ribicic directly to answer those or to be answered
16 in the course of my additional questions? But if you'd
17 like to have it developed this way.
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I would like
19 him to answer directly, if he would.
20 Dr. Ribicic.
21 A. Your Honour, as far as the enactments are
22 concerned themselves, that is to say, the contents of
23 the Official Gazette as a document of the Croatian
24 Community of Herceg-Bosna, it would appear that all
25 these elements, including the fourth element, were
1 realised, implemented. But if we take into account the
2 different testimony of the participants, and I should
3 particularly like to stress the testimonies that were
4 important for me and that was those by participants
5 from the HDZ, for example, and most particularly
6 Mr. Stipe Mesic and Mr. Klujic, and if we take into
7 consideration the documents which I was able to read
8 through which testified to political meetings between
9 the leadership of the HDZ of Croatia and the HDZ in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, then we get a completely different
11 picture of the situation in general in Herceg-Bosna,
12 and this is particularly true with respect to the
13 fourth element.
14 From those testimonies and from that
15 material, it would appear, that is to say, two things
16 emerge: First, that in many respects the Croatian
17 Community of Herceg-Bosna was de facto subordinated to
18 the organs and bodies of the neighbouring state, that
19 is to say, the Republic of Croatia; second, that in
20 certain cases, even intentionally, normative acts were
21 used to mask that existing and actual state of
23 I would like to refer in this connection to a
24 discussion between Mr. Juric at a meeting in Zagreb,
25 held in Zagreb, where the top representatives of the
1 HDZ of Croatia and the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina met,
2 and I quote them in note number 2, and it reads: "At
3 the level of diplomacy, our political personages in
4 Sarajevo can continue to pledge that they are in favour
5 of a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina."
6 Something similar was stated before this
7 Tribunal by Witness Stjepan Kljuic, and I quote an
8 article in Slobodna Bosna when he said the following,
9 and I quote: "The plan was formally to advocate a
10 sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina, while in reality
11 doing quite the opposite, in other words, they worked
12 against it because they did not want it."
13 From these brief quotations, it emerges that
14 part of the normative acts of Herceg-Bosna were devised
15 to mask the real relationship that existed with the
16 Republic of Croatia.
17 MS. SOMERS: For the benefit of the Court,
18 the references to the meeting are already in evidence
19 under Z2717, which was the transcript of minutes of a
20 meeting that was introduced through Dr. Kljuic, and
21 there are a number of passages that are clearly
22 available in the record.
23 Q. Dr. Ribicic, are you then saying that there
24 were two levels on which an analysis had to be
25 conducted? Is it a two-track or two-tier approach?
1 A. Yes, and I noted down in my opinion that we
2 were, in fact, dealing with two stories, two different
3 stories, Bosnia and Herzegovina. One is the one
4 emerging from the normative acts and which demonstrates
5 the intention to form a new independent autonomous
6 state community, whereas the other stems from the
7 testimonies and different documents in existence which
8 speak of a high level of dependency of the
9 Bosnia-Herzegovinian organs and bodies -- I apologise,
10 the organs of Herceg-Bosna on the neighbouring Republic
11 of Croatia.
12 Perhaps the best example of this would be to
13 look at a quotation from the meeting that I mentioned,
14 on the 27th of December, 1991, that took place in
15 Zagreb, where President Tudjman, who was the chairman
16 of the meeting, spoke about issues such as customs,
17 tariffs, petrol, money matters, and borders, and we can
18 see that his positions were later on, so to speak,
19 translated; that is to say, they became the basis for
20 the adoption of the types of acts that the Croatian
21 Community of Herceg-Bosna enacted. Therefore, if we
22 were to base our analysis exclusively on the enactments
23 passed, it would appear that we were dealing with a
24 state community which was fully independent
25 and autonomous of Croatia.
1 Let me add that as far as relationships with
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina go, this difference between the two
3 approaches is not so marked, so much in evidence. So
4 as far as the relationship towards Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 goes, both in normative terms and in de facto terms,
6 Herceg-Bosna was becoming independent of the Republic
7 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Q. Dr. Ribicic, of the meeting to which you --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please,
10 Ms. Somers.
11 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry.
12 Q. The meeting to which you refer, at that
13 meeting, just to refresh our memories, what types of
14 persons were present at that meeting with Dr. Tudjman
15 in his office on the 27th of December, 1991?
16 A. According to the record, those were the
17 highest dignitaries of the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna, Bosnia-Herzegovina, both those who worked
19 in Sarajevo and those who worked in the Herceg-Bosna
20 territory; on the other hand, the highest standing
21 officials of the Croat Democratic Community of the
22 Republic of Croatia, who at that time were also
23 discharging the top-most state functions, duties, in
24 the Republic of Croatia.
25 Q. In other words, it was an HDZ meeting; is
1 that correct?
2 A. It was an HDZ meeting, but at the same time
3 the HDZ officials were at that time discharging the
4 most important duties, especially in Croatia, but also
5 in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Herceg-Bosna, so that that
6 was a meeting of officials from those two republics;
7 naturally, those who belonged to the Croat Democratic
9 Q. Were Dario Kordic and Mate Boban present at
10 that meeting and participants in that meeting?
11 A. Yes, they were active participants in that
13 MS. SOMERS: In order to give the benefit of
14 having in front of them some of the documents that were
15 referred to, we have translations as well as originals
16 of some of those provisions. They'd be Z341.6, Z341.7,
17 and I think there's a third one, Z341.9. They were
18 some of the provisions of customs, of the various types
19 of concerns that were raised in establishing the
20 enactments of Herceg-Bosna.
21 Q. Dr. Ribicic, do you have any opinion on the
22 basis of the choice of municipalities included in
24 A. Yes. Herceg-Bosna embraced 30
25 municipalities. When I looked at those municipalities
1 and then saw the advice of experts who know about this
2 more than I do, I established that all those
3 municipalities had different ethnic compositions, and
4 only some of those 30 municipalities did the Croats
5 represent a majority ethnic group. In others, Croats
6 had the relative majority, and in others again were a
7 minority. At the time, when a decision was taken to
8 set up the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, they did
9 not have the majority in a number of those
11 So I asked people who knew more about this
12 what might be the reason for the inclusion of those 30
13 municipalities, and most of the answers that I received
14 were that this was the territory which had made an
15 integral part of the Banovina of Croatia of 1939; that
16 is, that this was the territory which the Croats
17 believed had been unfairly lost as a result of World
18 War II. In other words, this was an attempt to restore
19 the Croat state within the boundaries that the Banovina
20 of Croatia had. Naturally, it could not be achieved
21 only by attaching the 30 municipalities, but also with
22 the attachment of some other territories.
23 Dr. Franjo Tudjman never stopped insisting on
24 the importance of the fact that the Banovina of Croatia
25 was mentioned in the preamble to the Croatian
1 constitution which is now in effect, and that is what
2 was also mentioned at the meeting that I already
3 mentioned, held on the 27th of December, 1991. In his
4 statement for Oslobodenje, Mate Boban related
5 Herceg-Bosna to -- and I'm quoting, "in putting the
6 banovina," I am quoting, "within the boundaries which
7 the Croat people had at the outset of World War II."
8 Dr. Zdravko Tomac speaks about this in his
9 latest book, "Crime Without Punishment." It is in
10 chapter 27 and it says, "Tomac believes," I'm
11 quoting, "that within the boundaries of the former
12 Banovina of Croatia, on the eve of World War II, that
13 Croatia's territory has been increased by Istru, Zadar,
14 the islands, and Medzimurje, and that that particular
15 territory was Tudjman's ideal."
16 I think that these are the reasons why those
17 30 municipalities were singled out, and also in the
18 documents of Herceg-Bosna, we read about the historical
19 lands and defence of Croat ethnic and historical
20 lands. So the formulation about historical lands also
21 seems to direct us, to point in the direction of the
22 Banovina of Croatia.
23 Q. Are you aware of any comments by the late
24 President Tudjman about the need for this territory for
25 the defence of Croatia, in terms of its physical shape
1 and its concerns with neighbouring potential
3 A. Yes. Late Dr. Tudjman referred to --
4 addressed this issue at that meeting, on the 27th of
5 December '91, saying that in the light of Croatia's
6 interests, it was important for Bosnia-Herzegovina to
7 join Croatia. And I shall quote his view. He says
8 that, "In the light of the Croat identity, the
9 territory and the organisation of the state in every
10 respect possible."
11 So my answer is in the affirmative, yes.
12 Q. I would ask the usher --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please,
14 Ms. Somers.
15 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the usher, please,
16 to present Z342.2; the document with a translation in
17 English at this time affixed. I hope we'll be able to
18 get a French one in due course.
19 Q. Dr. Ribicic, this document, which is
20 essentially a balance sheet or a financial document
21 that was taken from the Croatian Republic of
22 Herceg-Bosna, Ministry of Defence office in Mostar,
23 makes reference on one of the first pages, where you
24 see figures, it says a structure -- the financial
25 support of the structure support from 1/1/93 to
1 31/12/93. That is the page.
2 If you could look down the page, the second
3 half of the page where it says the amounts received in
4 Deutschemarks DM. Do you see a figure that refers to
5 monies coming from the Ministry of Defence of Republic
6 of Croatia in Zagreb?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And could you give the amount, please, for
9 that figure that came from the Republic of Croatia,
10 Ministry of Defence to the Republic of Herceg-Bosna,
11 Ministry of Defence?
12 A. 19.206 million German marks.
13 Q. I was looking, I think, at the 268.770. We
14 are looking at a different place, perhaps. You are
15 looking at the total. I am looking at the top figure
16 where it says, "Ministry of Defence of Republic of
18 A. Yes. I see. 268.770.000 German marks.
19 Q. Dr. Ribicic, turning now to the actual
20 position and functions of the presidency in
21 Herceg-Bosna. Looking first at the original decision
22 on the establishment of HZ HB, the Croatian Community
23 of Herceg-Bosna, back in 1991. Can you please discuss
24 some of your observations and conclusions about the
25 position and the functions of the presidency, and what
1 it is? It would help, I believe, to distribute Z341.2,
2 which I believe has previously -- I'm sorry, it has not
3 previously. It is translated. It is the Rules of
4 Procedure of the Presidency.
5 A. If one looks at the original decision on the
6 establishment of the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna, that is not the one of September, '92,
8 which was published in Narodni List in September, 1992,
9 but the decision taken at the meeting, when it was
10 decided to establish a Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna. And there one notes major discrepancies
12 as regards to the presidency.
13 Then also the original decision -- also it
14 comes from this original decision, that a presidency is
15 the only and the supreme authority, body of the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
17 Now, the wording which refers to the top
18 leadership of the community is in this regard of
19 particular import in the textbook on "The Theory of
20 States" by Vjekoslav Milicic, present professor of "The
21 Theory of States" at the faculty of law in Zagreb. It
22 is pointed out that in the Croatian language, and in
23 the Croatian theory of state, the term Vrhonistvo, the
24 top leadership, means the sovereignty of the state
25 authority. That is, it means the supreme, the top
1 sovereign power.
2 And from that point of view it is, therefore,
3 quite clear that, according to the original decision,
4 the presidency was conceived not only as the top most,
5 but also as the only authority, body of the newly
6 emerged polity.
7 Secondly, another thing which is considerably
8 at odds with the subsequent polity decision, relates to
9 the officials of that presidency. According to the
10 original decision, the presidency elects the president,
11 two vice-presidents and a secretary. That is,
12 according to the original decision, the Croatian
13 Community of Herceg-Bosna does not have the president
14 of the Croatian Community, and all they have are the
15 officials of the presidency, that is four members: The
16 president, two vice-presidents, and the secretary.
17 Q. Dr. Ribicic, just to clarify. Can you
18 describe what is the presidency? Because you drew a
19 distinction between a president and the presidency.
20 Can you elaborate a bit more, please?
21 A. The role of the president of the Croatian
22 Community of Herceg-Bosna appears only the decision on
23 the establishment published in September, '92. That
24 is, the original decision makes no mention of this. In
25 the early months of the community of Herceg-Bosna, it
1 did not have a president, a president who could be
2 called a head of state or the highest authority or
3 anything like it. It had presidency consisting of four
4 members, the most important of them, surely, being the
5 president, followed by his two vice-presidents and the
7 In some of the conclusions which were adopted
8 by the presidency subsequently, these officials were
9 empowered with representing the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna in different types of negotiations, talks
11 and political meetings.
12 Q. And where was the source of that
13 empowerment? Was it in the actual normative enactment,
14 or where does one observe the source of that
16 A. The decision itself, stipulating that the
17 presidency was the top-most leadership of the
18 community, determined which one was the most important
19 or, rather, the only authority in that community. As
20 for some special powers, we could read about that in
21 the record which I already mentioned repeatedly, and
22 which address a meeting of the presidency expanded,
23 held on the 23rd of December that year in Tomislavgrad.
24 The secretary of the presidency of the
25 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna read out the
1 conclusions of that meeting four days later in Zagreb.
2 And I can quote the conclusion listed in that record,
3 which addresses the officials in the presidency. So
4 this was the fourth conclusion of the meeting held in
5 Tomislavgrad. I am quoting:
6 "The President, Mr. Mate Boban;
7 vice-president's, Bozo Rajic and Dario Kordic; and the
8 secretary, Ignac Kostroman, are vested with full
9 authority to represent the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna at a meeting in Zagreb, on the 27th of
11 December, '91, and in records and in the future with
12 regard to the future programme activities of
13 Herceg-Bosna, and the Croat Democratic Union of
15 Even without that special decision, it would
16 have been quite clear that all the crucial functions at
17 the time between the meetings, at the times when the
18 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
19 did not sit, that in the interim periods all the duties
20 were discharged by the members of the presidency, that
21 is the president, two vice-presidents and the
23 Q. Dr. Ribicic, the four names which you just
24 enumerated: Boban, Kordic, Rajic, Bozo Rajic, and
25 Kostroman. Are those the four individuals who
1 comprised the presidency of Herceg-Bosna, to which you
2 have been referring?
3 A. No, the presidency had more members. The
4 presidency also comprised presidents from 13
5 municipalities, that is municipalities comprising the
6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Article 7 of the
7 original decision on the establishment on the Croatian
8 Community of Herceg-Bosna, it says that the top-most
9 leadership of the community is the presidency,
10 consisting of representatives of the Croat people in
11 municipal authorities; that all presidents of the
12 municipal boards of the Croat Democratic Union.
13 And paragraph 2 of the same article says that
14 the presidency elects the president, two
15 vice-presidents and the secretary. In other words, the
16 presidency had more members, but these were the four
17 functions which was singled out, which were specified.
18 Q. Those four individuals whose names I read,
19 along with the other members of the presidency,
20 comprise the entire presidency, as I understand it.
21 Dr. Ribicic, you mentioned --
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. -- that only the Croat people -- are you able
24 to comment on whether or not there was any inclusion of
25 other nationalities, or was the HZ HB a mono-national,
1 mono-party institution?
2 A. If we look at the reasoned opinion
3 underpinning this original decision, we can see that
4 the idea was that there should be a community --
5 JUDGE MAY: Let me interrupt. Where is the
6 witness reading from, please? It's not clear to me.
7 MS. SOMERS:
8 Q. Dr. Ribicic, these --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please,
10 Ms. Somers.
11 MS. SOMERS:
12 Q. Dr. Ribicic, these points are from a
13 combination of the statutes, the enactments of
14 Herceg-Bosna, as well as the minutes on the stenogram
15 of the meeting of 27 December. Is that correct?
16 A. What I have just quoted is from the recent
17 opinion of the original decision on the establishment
18 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
19 Q. Which is Z27.2, which the Court was given
21 Dr. Ribicic, are you aware of any empowerment
22 that was given by the Croatian Community, or by
23 Herceg-Bosna to President Franjo Tudjman with respect
24 to representing its interests?
25 A. Yes. At the meeting that I already
1 mentioned, the 23rd of December '91 in Tomislavgrad,
2 one of the conclusions addressed that matter, that is
3 it was concluded there that the president of the
4 Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, could
5 represent the interests of the Croatian Community of
7 Q. You have indicated -- excuse me.
8 A. May I quote the conclusion? It comes from
9 the same document.
10 JUDGE MAY: Unless it's -- counsel wants you
11 to, I think we've got the point.
12 MS. SOMERS: If the Court would have no
13 objection, it should be highlighted. I believe it
14 would be very beneficial to hear it. It's brief.
15 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Briefly.
16 MS. SOMERS:
17 Q. Very quickly, Dr. Ribicic, please.
18 A. It reads as follows: "The Croatian Community
19 of Herceg-Bosna fully authorises Dr. Franjo Tudjman as
20 the president of the Republic of Croatia and the
21 president of the Croat Democratic Union to represent
22 the interests of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
23 with the international factors, and in inter-party and
24 inter-republic negotiations about the definition of the
25 definitive boundaries of the Republic of Croatia."
1 That was this authorisation given, the powers
2 given to the president of the Republic of Croatia.
3 Q. An additional question about the presidency
4 and the role of the vice-president of the presidency.
5 Does it appear, from what you have just told the Court,
6 that there was any limitation on whether or not the
7 vice-president could act only in a legislative
8 capacity, or could the vice-president act in executive,
9 administrative or other capacity necessary to the
10 sovereignty or the sovereign running of Herceg-Bosna?
11 A. For the first time the acts of the Croatian
12 Community of Herceg-Bosna says that the presidency
13 representative body, but it is mentioned for the first
14 time in the amendments of the 3rd of July, '92, and
15 published in September, '92. In the original decision
16 it reads that the presidency is the top-most leadership
17 of the community. So we could say that this is a body
18 which discharges both representative functions, that is
19 the functions of the parliament, and the head of a
20 state, and the government.
21 From that point of view, the -- there are no
22 limitations, as far as the vice-presidents are
23 concerned, that they must only be vice-presidents of
24 the presidency as a representative body.
25 Q. Okay. However, at that initial period, they,
1 in effect, were the government? That is correct? I'm
2 sorry, I didn't hear your answer.
3 A. Yes, that is right. Even though I do not
4 have any documents which would relate to that early
5 period to know anything more about how things looked
6 like in practice.
7 Q. Are you able to address the position of
8 Herceg-Bosna in either its community or republic form,
9 with its relationship toward the organs and authority
10 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Was there any
11 pronouncement by Bosnia that indicates the overall
12 relationship of Herceg-Bosna to it, and it to
14 A. Briefly speaking, in the documents and Acts
15 adopted by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, at
16 the beginning it was the presidency, and later on the
17 HVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina in formal terms was present.
18 That meant that the name "Bosnia-Herzegovina" was to be
19 found on the heading on page 1 of the Official
20 Gazette. And that name was embossed and printed on
21 different other enactments and documents. So, formally
22 speaking, Bosnia-Herzegovina was present, whereas, from
23 the point of view of substance, this situation was
24 rather different. That is to say the substance of
25 those Acts shows that the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna does not stem from the constitutional and
2 legal provisions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but that it
3 creates its own separate, legal system.
4 This does not mean that in Herceg-Bosna the
5 provisions were not at all applied of the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It did not mean that. All it
7 meant was that those provisions and laws were applied
8 for which the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna had
9 decided itself to implement. And I can quote if you
10 deem necessary, several formulations from those
11 provisions which testify to the fact that on the
12 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna the
13 laws of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina were in
14 force only, unless otherwise prescribed. That is to
15 say only unless they were not in keeping with the law
16 and order establishment in the Croatian Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna. So that these provisions, the Croatian
18 Community of Herceg-Bosna demonstrated through these
19 provisions its sovereign right to make decisions as to
20 what laws would be applied on its own territory, and
21 what laws and provisions were not applicable.
22 Another example which shows the relationship
23 towards the provisions of Bosnia-Herzegovina was a
24 decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina which annulled all the most
1 important enactments, including the act on the
2 establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
3 itself, because those enactments were in opposition to
4 the constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
6 its organs went on working just as if those provisions
7 of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina did
8 not exist.
9 MS. SOMERS: The Registrar has been provided
10 with Z341.3, 341.4(a), 341.5(a) and 8(a) which were
11 various decrees that were, in fact, enacted by
12 Herceg-Bosna or which were borrowed -- selectively
13 borrowed with qualifications from Bosnia and
15 The Constitutional Court decision of the
16 Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina to which
17 Dr. Ribicic has referred is Z -- it's previously been
18 admitted into evidence and it is Z216.
19 Q. Dr. Ribicic, are you aware if the only
20 official invalidation of the pronouncements of
21 Herceg-Bosna came from the Constitutional Court, or did
22 the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina earlier react as
24 A. The Constitutional Court adopted this
25 decision only in September 1992, as far as I know,
1 because it had problems in reaching the acts and
2 enactments of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
3 But other organs, first of all, the Ministry for
4 Legislation, and later on the government of the
5 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, adopted the position
6 that the enactments passed in November 1991 were
7 counter-constitutional; especially the justice ministry
8 presented arguments for this view, as was done later on
9 by the decision of the Constitutional Court of
11 Of course, the positions taken by the
12 government and the ministry were not binding on the
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, as did the
14 Constitutional Court decision, which is binding for all
15 bodies on the territory of the Republic of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that decision, the
17 Constitutional Court states quite clearly that there is
18 no constitutional groundwork for the establishment of
19 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and that in
20 forming that community, nobody can refer to
21 intermunicipality cooperation, as was determined by the
22 constitution of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina that
23 was in force at the time.
24 Q. Dr. Ribicic, are you able to explain what you
25 meant in your paper by "SAO-isation," and how did this
1 affect the actions of Herceg-Bosna, "SAO-isation"? And
2 what is "SAO"?
3 A. SAO-isation is a concept which speaks of the
4 formation of Serbian autonomous regions which came into
5 being, which were formed in Croatia and in
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. What they were was activities on
7 the part of the political party, the SDS, which
8 established its own national regions, and it relied on
9 the provisions of the constitution relating to
10 intermunicipality cooperation for their establishment,
11 and especially economic grounds for the establishment
12 of these particular regions and communities.
13 When it came to the formation of regions of
14 this kind in the Republic of Croatia, the state organs
15 of that republic reacted very quickly. The
16 Constitutional Court and the Republic of Croatia
17 annulled the formation, invalidated the formation, of
18 regions of this kind, and I quote in my opinion a
19 decision which relates to the SAO, S-A-O, of northern
21 Q. Can you comment -- I'm sorry. Continue.
22 A. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian Autonomous
23 Regions began to be formed earlier on, before the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna came into being, and
25 this was an expression of political organisation on the
1 part of the Serbian people which was, at the same time,
2 linked up with the so-called silent occupation of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the part -- or silent aggression
4 of Bosnia-Herzegovina on the part of the Yugoslav
5 People's Army, and all the forces it withdrew from
6 Slovenia and Croatia were then concentrated into
8 That gave rise to a situation where
9 politically and militarily speaking the Serbs were in
10 control of two-thirds of the Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the idea of attaching this
12 part of Bosnia-Herzegovina to what was termed Greater
14 Q. Dr. Ribicic, can you comment --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
16 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry. I apologise.
17 Q. Can you comment, please, Dr. Ribicic, on the
18 significance of the SAO-isation on the territory of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina with respect to the recognition of
20 Bosnia's independence by Croats in the Republic of
21 Croatia, as well as enunciated in the documents of
23 A. The fact is that the SAO-isation of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina meant a silent or quiet aggression
25 on Bosnia-Herzegovina and that this gave rise to a
1 situation whereby a large portion of the territory, not
2 only the portion inhabited by Serbs but the area which
3 was also inhabited by the Muslims and Croats, was under
4 that invisible occupation. That is the reason for
5 which I write about this and my views, that for me, it
6 was quite clear that one of the reasons for the
7 establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
8 was precisely to set up a defence against this
10 It is quite another matter in what way this
11 could have been done effectively, how they could stand
12 up to this aggression effectively in practice, and one
13 possibility was to form the Croatian Communities; first
14 of all of, Posavina and then in Herceg-Bosna and
15 further afield.
16 The second possible option was to tread a
17 different path and not to follow the course started by
18 the SDS party, but rather to unite all forces willing
19 to defend the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina which
20 was the subject of occupation and aggression, the kind
21 that I mentioned a moment ago.
22 Q. I was asking additionally if the fact that
23 what you've called the silent invasion, if you are
24 considering it tantamount to the beginning of partition
25 or attempted partition of Bosnia, what effect that had
1 on the recognition by Herceg-Bosna, and the Croat
2 community generally, of an independent
4 A. When the SAO, Serbian Autonomous Regions,
5 were formed in Croatia, there was a decisive reaction
6 on the part of the authorities of the Republic of
7 Croatia against this. When the Croatian Community of
8 Herceg-Bosna appeared later on, what happened was that
9 part of the official Croatian authorities supported
10 that decision on the formation of Herceg-Bosna, and if
11 we take into account the assessments made with regard
12 to SAO-isation, then we can say that we were dealing
13 with military criteria; that is to say, the Croatian
14 authorities reacted in one way to the autonomous units
15 that emerged in the Republic of Croatia, and the
16 reactions to them were quite different to those, that
17 is to say, which formed the autonomous communities
18 which emerged in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 Q. The various preambles to the enactments
20 mention the relationship -- address the relationship of
21 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna to BiH, to
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina. There are references to "so long
23 as Bosnia remains unaffiliated with present or future
24 Yugoslavia or remains independent or is not
1 Can you comment on the timing of the
2 pronouncements, the enactments, relative to the already
3 undertaken SAO-isation. In other words, was there
4 already a partition in effect or an attempted
6 A. The attempt at partition began with the
7 SAO-isations and not the formation of the Croatian
8 Community of Herceg-Bosna, but this attempt was boosted
9 with the formation of the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna itself. If the representatives of the
11 Croatian people had decided otherwise, it might not
12 have come into being.
13 As far as Bosnia-Herzegovina is concerned, an
14 explanation of the decision to establish Herceg-Bosna
15 emphasises the fact that it was a question of defending
16 Croatian interests and Croatian territory but that the
17 Croatian people were defending the sovereignty of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, while others did not start
19 partitioning it.
20 There are differences there too between the
21 original decision taken and the decision which was
22 taken and published later on in the Official Gazette.
23 Q. I'm sorry. In other words, until others
24 started partitioning it, is that what you mean?
25 A. Yes. The formulation is as follows, and I
1 quote: "We strove for a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina,
2 but we always emphasised that we would do so up to the
3 point at which others begin to partition
5 If I were to quote Dr. Franjo Tudjman on that
6 question, from the meeting I already mentioned on the
7 27th of December, held in Zagreb, then he too spoke
8 about the fact that support to Bosnia-Herzegovina was
9 necessary, first and foremost, because the Republic of
10 Croatia was being jeopardised by the Republic of Serbia
11 with the formation of the SAO-Krajina region, and he
12 speaks about these efforts towards Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 in the past. I can quote his position --
14 JUDGE MAY: We must make some greater
15 progress, Ms. Somers.
16 MS. SOMERS: May I try to bring this just to
17 a point.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MS. SOMERS:
20 Q. Dr. Ribicic, may I ask you, can you conclude,
21 based on the timing that you have been discussing, that
22 at the time of the formation of Herceg-Bosna, in
23 effect, the partition which was a condition that would
24 not allow recognition had already come about and
25 therefore there was no intention to recognise an
1 independent Bosnia-Herzegovina, that the condition of
2 partition had begun; is that your conclusion?
3 A. The partition was never realised, but a
4 decision was taken to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina, to
5 partition it, and I'd like to emphasise that a decision
6 of this kind was not made by the Sabor or assembly of
7 the Republic of Croatia, or any other state organ, in
8 the sense of an official decision on partitioning or
9 attaching Herceg-Bosna to the Republic of Croatia. So
10 that is a decision taken by a portion of the political
11 leadership which was never officially voted in by the
12 Croatian Sabor or assembly.
13 Q. Moving on to what has become known as the
14 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, can you describe the
15 changes which occurred within the structures of
16 Herceg-Bosna when it reconstructed itself into the
17 republic, which would have been 28 November 1993,
18 taking into consideration what was happening in the
19 International Community at that time.
20 A. What happened there were five or six vital
21 changes. The first change was in the fact that it was
22 emphasised especially that Herceg-Bosna would remain
23 within the composition of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina; that is to say, there would no
25 longer be an option for independence and for it to be
1 part of the Republic of Croatia.
2 The second difference lay in the fact that
3 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna now called itself
4 a state community, which was not previously the case in
5 the documents of the Croatian Community of
7 The third difference lay in the fact that the
8 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna no longer referred to
9 the right of the Croatian people to self-determination
10 but relied on the inalienable rights of the Croatian
11 people as one of the constituent peoples of
13 The fourth difference lay in the fact that
14 special emphasis was laid on the fact that the Croatian
15 Community of Herceg-Bosna would realise its goals by
16 peaceful means.
17 The fifth difference referred to a respect
18 and importance of international enactments on human
19 rights and citizens rights. So the Croatian Republic
20 of Herceg-Bosna, in much broader terms and much clearer
21 terms than the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
22 emphasised the importance and application of the
23 provisions on international human and citizens rights.
24 Within that framework, later on, in a
25 separate document which is titled "The Declaration on
1 the Acceptance of Documents on the Protection and
2 Realisation of Human Rights," and in certain other
3 documents, "The Declaration on the House of
4 Representatives," on the 8th of February, 1994, it
5 emphasises the significance of this Tribunal as well.
6 Q. Dr. Ribicic, within --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MS. SOMERS:
9 Q. -- within the International Community, there
10 was coming about something known as the
11 Owen-Stoltenberg Agreement which contemplated a union
12 of the three republics. Is that one of the factors
13 that you had observed as being written into the
14 legislation of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
15 A. I am not an expert in international law, but
16 I was able to note that some things coincided; that is
17 to say, the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, on the one hand,
18 coincided with formulations that were made with the
19 establishment of the Croatian community of
20 Herceg-Bosna. That is to say the union of the three
21 republics is present in a similar formulation in this
22 plan and in the documents relating to the Croatian
23 community of Herceg-Bosna itself.
24 Furthermore, in literature, I found -- I came
25 across views and opinions testifying to the fact that
1 before this particular Owen-Stoltenberg Plan was
2 elaborated, attempts were being made in practice on the
3 ground to prepare the way for the realisation of this
5 So I can confirm, yes, that in my opinion the
6 activities of the International Community were geared
7 towards effecting a change in the attitude of the
8 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna.
9 Q. The Registrar has received, for distribution,
10 some of the laws which were referred to by Dr. Ribicic
11 as Z1345.2(a), 1345.3(a), 1345.6(a), and then the
12 actual -- 1345.7(a) and 1364 -- I'm sorry, 1464.6(a).
13 They have been incorporated and referred to through a
14 summary that Dr. Ribicic had.
15 Dr. Ribicic, one quick question about the
16 nature of the selective use of laws. During the
17 existence of Herceg-Bosna's community, there appeared
18 some aspect about the temporariness or in time of war
19 only. Did this type of qualification or limitation
20 tend to appear on the laws of the Republic of
21 Herceg-Bosna, or did you observe a more permanent
23 A. Yes, I can notice certain differences, but I
24 should like to stress that during the time of the
25 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, that particular
1 formulation, that is to say that certain provisions
2 relate to wartime and the imminent danger of war, that
3 they had relative values. And if we look at the
4 substance of those provisions, and the provisions
5 enacted by the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, they
6 were not of the kind that would relate only to
7 questions which arose due to the danger and threat of
8 war, but it was without any time limits and regulated
9 many questions which did not have anything to do with
10 war, or the threat of war.
11 So that is what I know about the enactments
12 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mrs. Somers,
14 I think that we should wind up our deliberations before
15 the break, and that we should concentrate on aspects --
16 we are not dealing with constitutional theory, but
17 focus on aspects which concern us, simple questions
18 which concern this case; constitutional aspects, of
19 course, having a bearing on our case.
20 So please try and abbreviate without entering
21 into the general realms of deliberations.
22 MS. SOMERS: I was going to ask the Court's
23 advice. There are a few points simply on the changes
24 of the governmental structure of the Republic of
25 Herceg-Bosna. Would the Court want me to wait till
1 after the lunch break? There are probably five or six
2 questions now that are important.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. And anything else that you
4 want to deal with, briefly, on the summary, Ms. Somers,
5 you are free to do that. If you would like to look at
6 it over the break.
7 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I was not in Court
8 yesterday, and I was informed by Mr. Nice that the
9 Defence has indicated they are accepting, essentially,
10 the provisions of the summary. If Mr. Nice could
11 elaborate on that.
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't imagine they are
13 accepting it. They are prepared to accept it as the
14 evidence in chief, which is what I had suggested.
15 MS. SOMERS: That's fine. Thank you.
16 JUDGE MAY: But any matters you want to
17 elaborate, feel free to do so. But we'll try and move
18 on to the cross-examination.
19 I wonder if the Registrar would again raise
20 the question of the heat in this room, which is
21 already, despite not being the adjournment, which is
22 still more than it should be.
23 THE REGISTRAR: I'll raise it with our
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. And see if something can be
1 done about it before we come back this afternoon. Or
2 we shall go to Courtroom 2 again.
3 Dr. Ribicic, could you come back, please, at
4 half past 2, to get on with your evidence. Could
5 you remember not to speak to anybody about it during
6 the course of your evidence, and don't let anybody
7 speak to you about it until it's over. Thank you very
8 much. Half past 2 then.
9 --- Luncheon recess taken at 10 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.38 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Ms. Somers.
3 MS. SOMERS:
4 Q. Dr. Ribicic, as you indicated in your report,
5 the presidency created the HVO, the Croatian Defence
6 Council, on 8 April 1992, as the supreme body
7 responsible for the defence of the Croatian people in
8 Herceg-Bosna, based on its powers that the presidency
9 gave itself to appoint the executive and military
11 Can you comment, please, briefly on the
12 relationship of the presidency and the HVO particularly
13 with respect to enactments or orders of the HVO,
14 whether or not they were subordinate to and subject to
15 veto by the presidency.
16 A. The HVO of the Croatian Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna was subordinated to the presidency of the
18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and this also holds
19 true of municipal HVOs, that is, the HVOs formed in
20 municipalities. The situation, however, radically
21 changed when the HVO of the Croatian Community of
22 Herceg-Bosna became operational. The thing is that the
23 HVO enjoyed a position which could be compared with the
24 position of a government.
25 So, as I said, it was subordinated to the
1 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
2 but in practice it discharged an executive function
3 quite independently, and some of the acts adopted by
4 the HVO could be said to contain some elements of
5 legislative power. The question of supervision over
6 the work of municipal HVOs was also regulated
8 Q. Then in response to my question about veto
9 power by the presidency over enactments of the HVO, the
10 presidency did -- or the HVO was accountable and
11 subordinate to the presidency?
12 A. Well, yes, quite, and the HVO of the Croatian
13 Community of Herceg-Bosna also had supervisory powers
14 over municipal HVOs; that is, it could invalidate or
15 abolish their acts and even disband municipal HVOs.
16 Q. Dr. Ribicic --
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
18 Ms. Somers. I should like to ask Dr. Ribicic, in
19 relation not to the right of veto but whether the
20 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
21 could issue instructions and orders to the HVO command;
22 that is, positive instructions, because a veto is
23 something negative, not to do something. I'm asking
24 whether the presidency of the Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna could issue instructions and orders to the
2 A. The HVO was accountable to the presidency of
3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and could
4 receive instructions for its work. So my answer is
5 yes, the presidency could issue binding guidelines,
6 binding instructions, to the HVO, the Croatian
7 Community of Herceg-Bosna. In other words, the HVO was
8 bound to comply with these instructions, with these
10 MS. SOMERS: Before I ask my next question,
11 may I take the opportunity to mention that this entire
12 report is Exhibit Z2811, and I wanted to make sure that
13 gets on the record.
14 Q. Dr. Ribicic, under HR HB, the republic, did
15 the presidency continue to exist as a concept?
16 A. No. In the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, the
17 functions of the presidency were transferred to the
18 House of Representatives of the Croatian Republic of
19 Herceg-Bosna. In a way, this is a discrepancy with
20 other decisions and acts in effect in the Croatian
21 Republic of Herceg-Bosna which lay an emphasis on the
22 parliamentary organisation of that republic; that is,
23 by transferring the functions from the presidency of
24 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna to the House of
25 Representatives of the Croatian Republic of
1 Herceg-Bosna, thereby this -- no, sorry, not the House
2 of Representatives, but House of Deputies, and thereby
3 it was vested with somewhat stronger authority than a
4 parliamentary body that other systems might have.
5 Q. The supreme body of executive power, which
6 has been called in your report the Vlada, that supreme
7 power then becomes vested in a legislative body?
8 A. I believe we can talk about the continuity
9 between the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the
10 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, meaning the
11 functions of some bodies of the Croatian Community of
12 Herceg-Bosna were transferred to new bodies, to new
13 agencies of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and
14 this does not apply only to the transfer of powers to
15 the Chamber of Deputies, but also from the HVO to the
16 government, and the function of the president of the
17 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna to the president of
18 the republic.
19 Moreover, until the election of new bodies,
20 these state functions were discharged by the bodies of
21 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. So this was a
22 transitory solution pending the election of the new
23 bodies and organs, so that the former bodies of the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna discharged new
25 functions, with new names, as bodies of the Croatian
1 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
2 Q. Just to clarify some of those transitions
3 from the community to the republic, your paper
4 indicates that the HVO actually became the government
5 or the Vlada, and that means that the HVO or the Vlada
6 was now [Realtime transcript read in error "not"]
7 accountable to the Chamber of Deputies or House of
8 Representatives, which is another term we have used; is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes, it is. Just as, prior to that, the HVO
11 was accountable to the presidency.
12 Q. You have suggested in your paper that the
13 republic strengthened the position of the head of
14 state, that is, the president of the republic. Can you
15 comment, please, who was that president of the republic
16 and indicate briefly how you see the position as
18 A. Initially, as I have just said, the Croatian
19 Community of Herceg-Bosna did not have the position of
20 head of state. Later on, it was discharged by the
21 president of the presidency of the Croatian Community
22 of Herceg-Bosna, that is, as of July 1992 onward.
23 But with the emergence of the Republic of
24 Herceg-Bosna, the president of the republic acquired a
25 new title; that is, he was no longer the president of
1 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, he was now
2 titled "President of the Republic," emphasising,
3 therefore, his importance. And since the Croatian
4 Republic of Herceg-Bosna had proclaimed itself a state
5 community, a state, we can now say, indeed, that the
6 president of the republic had become the head of state
7 of that particular state community, which can be
8 likened to the head of state.
9 MS. SOMERS: My colleague asked me to point
10 out to the stenographers that line 20 should indicate
11 that "the HVO or Vlada is now accountable," instead of
12 reading "not accountable."
13 Q. Pursuant to that answer, Dr. Ribicic, I would
14 ask you to take a look at a document which has been
15 marked as Prosecution Exhibit Z1464.7, which I'd ask
16 the Registrar please to take it as being shown for the
17 first time. Sadly, we have only at this time the
18 English translation, as well as the B/C/S. I hope to
19 get a French one very soon.
20 Dr. Ribicic, in December of '93, which is
21 again addressed in your paper, the president of HR HB
22 passed a decision establishing the presidential
23 council. The document which you have in front of you,
24 which is dated 17 February 1994, is a Narodni List,
25 "Fundamental decision on the modification of the
1 amendment of the fundamental decision on the creation
2 and Proclamation of the Croatian Republic of
4 Turning your attention to Article --
5 particular attention to Article 8(a), as well as
6 generally the nature of the incremental powers given.
7 Can you please comment on what additional powers,
8 perhaps extraordinary powers, were given to the
9 presidential council, and generally comment on its
10 function and importance.
11 A. Yes. The House of Deputies, pursuant to
12 Article 8(a), follows and coordinates political,
13 strategic and in defence affairs, and in emergency
14 situations discharges the rights and duties of the
15 presidents of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
16 These last things fall out of line with other
17 parliamentary and systems, or, rather, constitutional
18 systems in other European parliamentary systems.
19 Namely, if we take the Republic of Croatia as an
20 example, or the Republic of Slovenia. When the
21 president of the republic is enabled to discharge his
22 functions, then, both in Slovenia and in Croatia, these
23 functions may be discharged by the president of the
24 parliament, that is of the High Chamber. That is in
25 emergency situations the Chamber of Deputies discharges
1 the rights and duties of the president of the Croatian
2 Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and these powers are very,
3 very broad. And, as I said, goes beyond the usual such
5 Q. Dr. Ribicic, returning to the status of
6 Herceg-Bosna with regard to Croatia. Your footnote,
7 140 in your paper, which is translated into English in
8 your paper, bears a comment by Mate Boban. And I
9 wonder if you could comment on that footnote, please.
10 If it would facilitate for the Court, we also
11 have taken copies from the original document of Z2717,
12 which has been previously tendered, but it might help,
13 just for looking at the full quote.
14 A. Yes, I can. This is a fragment of Mate
15 Boban's intervention or, rather, one of the
16 introductory speeches at a meeting in Zagreb held on
17 the 27th of December '91. Mate Boban said, and I shall
18 quote only the last part of his statement, and he says
19 that this area, that is of the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna, should be proclaimed an independent Croat
21 territory and joined to the state of Croatia, but at a
22 time and at the moment when the Croatian top
23 leadership, which our people applies for trust in,
24 decides that the right moment had come. The end of the
1 So this is a quotation which shows that, in
2 Mate Boban's view, and at that moment, he was
3 discharging the functions of the president of the
4 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
5 hat the motive for the establishment of the Croatian
6 Community of Herceg-Bosna rested with the joining --
7 its integration with the territory of the Republic of
8 Croatia, and that the Croatian leadership, that is the
9 agencies of the Republic of Croatia, will decide that
10 the right moment has come.
11 So this was an interpretation by Mr. Boban.
12 Perhaps more important is the decision read at the same
13 meeting by the secretary of the Croatian Community of
14 Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Ignac Kostroman. That decision was
15 taken on the 23rd of December, '91, and read:
16 "The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
17 confirms once again the aspiration of whole Croat
18 people of Herceg-Bosna as expressed on the 18th, 12th
19 '91 at Grude, which passed a historic decision on the
20 establishment of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,
21 constituting the legal framework, the legal basis for
22 the integration of new territories with the Republic of
24 So, this was a decision of an extended
25 meeting of the presidency of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna, explicitly stating that the establishment
2 of that community served as the legal basis for the
3 integration of this territory with the neighbouring
5 Q. Dr. Ribicic, your footnote 204, which is the
6 very last footnote of your paper, quotes Hrvoje
7 Sarinic. The translation of the quote is available,
8 because it is in the translated footnote. The actual
9 original document from Mr. Sarinic's book has been
10 labelled as Z2811.1. If the Court would simply like to
11 see what the nature of the source is.
12 But I ask you to comment on that footnote.
13 And please indicate who Hrvoje Sarinic was, and what,
14 if anything, his role may have been in the aspects of
15 the division of Bosnia, particularly with
17 A. According to the book quoted in this
18 footnote, and that is Hrvoje Sarinic's book, "All my
19 secret negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic between
20 1993 and 1995," Mr. Sarinic was a man picked out by
21 Mr. Slobodan Milosevic, picked out by selected --
22 excuse me. Selected by Dr. Tudjman to establish the
23 first contacts with Mr. Slobodan Milosevic. And the
24 whole book is about his encounters with Milosevic.
25 And this fragment refers to Mr. Slobodan
1 Milosevic's attitude toward the Croatian Community of
2 Herceg-Bosna. So this is not the opinion of the author
3 of the book, but, rather, his interpretation of
4 Mr. Milosevic's words, who says that with Republika
5 Srpska he has solved 90 percent of the Serb national
6 question, and adds, quoting, "In the same way that
7 Tudjman resolved the national issue of Croatia with
8 Herceg-Bosna, I have nothing against a union of three
9 peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but it cannot last long,
10 because nobody wants that union."
11 This is important, because the acceptance of
12 the union of three sovereign republics, and even those
13 compromised solutions which were arrived at later, can
14 all be viewed as a provisional solution which is, of
15 necessity, short-lived. And thus Serbia and, in
16 Slobodan Milosevic's view, in the long run Croatia
17 will, like Serbia, achieve its long-term interest and
18 manage to partition Bosnia.
19 Q. Just to clarify, this is Hrvoje Sarinic, who
20 was the chef de cabinet of President Tudjman; is that
22 A. It is.
23 Q. Dr. Tudjman, with Herceg-Bosna having, as you
24 have indicated in your paper, done almost everything
25 de jure to divorce itself from Bosnia and Herzegovina,
1 and to integrate into Croatia, based on your analysis
2 that you have referred to at the very beginning of your
3 testimony, using your two-storey or two-level approach,
4 can you conclude, or do you have any conclusions as to
5 whether or not the effective governance, the aspect of
6 effective governance, one of the essential components
7 of statehood was met, where it has been demonstrated
8 that the policies carried out by Herceg-Bosna, with the
9 policies of another sovereign, that is the Republic of
11 A. When I began my testimony, I said that my
12 analysis was based on normative acts adopted by the
13 presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
14 And it was only later that I read material and
15 testimonies about the so-called second storey about
16 Herceg-Bosna, from which the subordination of the
17 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna to the neighbouring
18 state transpires.
19 I must say that the record of the meeting
20 held in Belgrade on the 27th December, '91 --
21 Q. Was that Belgrade or Zagreb?
22 A. Zagreb. Zagreb. I'm sorry. Sorry, the
23 meeting was in Zagreb. So the 27th December '91, in
24 Zagreb. That document has helped me decisively to
25 forming my view that this second storey became -- has
1 become more important than the first one. All that I
2 said about the elements which a state must comply with,
3 must have, if it is to be considered an independent and
4 sovereign state, and especially the fourth component,
5 and that is direct subordination to international law,
6 all this loses its significance when we are confronted
7 with the truth. That at some political meetings,
8 instructions were issued and guidelines were issued,
9 which were then translated into life in subsequent --
10 in subsequently adopted regulations of the Croatian
11 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
12 Q. And the particular cogent parts of the
13 document to which you are referring, have been
14 reinforced by other documents and other sources of
15 information, which you have received?
16 A. Yes, that's correct. The testimony I feel to
17 be very significant coming from individuals who had
18 direct, high positions, held high positions in the HDZ
19 of Croatia and the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I
20 have already mentioned two of them, two names,
21 Mr. Stipe Mesic is one, and Mr. Kljuic the other.
22 Q. And your reference to Mr. Mesic is from
23 newspaper articles; that is correct?
24 A. Yes. I mentioned both of these individuals
25 on the basis of the newspaper article that appeared,
1 although in the case of Mr. Stjepan Kljuic, this
2 newspaper article taken from Feral Tribune relates to
3 the testimony before this Tribunal in The Hague. And
4 the same is true for Mesic's interview in the Globus
5 newspaper. So these are both newspaper articles, but
6 relate to their testimony before this Tribunal.
7 Q. Thank you very much. At this time, nothing
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
10 Q. Dr. Ribicic, good afternoon. My name is
11 Steven Sayers --
12 A. Good afternoon.
13 Q. -- and I am one of the attorneys representing
14 Mr. Kordic.
15 The meeting that you referred to during a
16 large part of your testimony today, the meeting that
17 occurred on December the 27th, 1991, in Zagreb, that
18 was actually three months before the Republic of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina was even founded; isn't that right?
20 A. No, that meeting took place on the 27th of
21 December, 1991, while the forming -- while the
22 formation of the community of Herceg-Bosna was on the
23 18th of February, the same year. November the same
24 year. So that was about 40 days later, after the
25 establishment of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna, in actual fact.
2 Q. Dr. Ribicic, I don't know whether you
3 misheard me, but let me repeat my question. Isn't it
4 true that the meeting that you referred to in Zagreb in
5 December of 1991 occurred three months before the
6 foundation of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
7 which I believe was founded on March the 6th, 1992.
8 That's correct, isn't it?
9 A. I apologise. I thought you were speaking
10 about the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. But it
11 is not true that the Republic of Herceg-Bosna --
12 Herceg-Bosna was formed at the time you mentioned. So
13 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was formed, was
14 established on the 18th of November, 1991. The
15 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna was formed much
16 later, that is to say on the 28th of August, 1993, not
17 in the spring of 1992.
18 Q. Dr. Ribicic, do you know when the Republic of
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent country was
20 founded; yes or no?
21 A. The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was one of
22 the republics of the former Federal Republic of
24 Q. When did it become independent and change its
25 status from that of a Socialist Federal Republic of
1 Yugoslavia to becoming the Republic of Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina, sir?
3 A. The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina became an
4 independent and autonomous state with the
5 disintegration of the former Yugoslav Federation.
6 Q. Let me see if I can help you, sir. Let me
7 show you a document that I'd like to have marked as the
8 next exhibit.
9 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
11 MR. SAYERS:
12 Q. Now, sir, isn't it true that on March the
13 6th, 1992, following the referendum on the question of
14 independence, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
16 A. Yes, that is correct.
17 Q. And that, sir, is about three months after
18 the December 1991 meeting in Zagreb, about which we've
19 heard so much today; correct?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. So this Zagreb meeting that you've talked
22 about occurred in a context where the independent
23 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina didn't even exist;
24 isn't that right?
25 A. You could put it that way, yes.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, isn't it true, sir, that no
2 law or decree was ever passed in the HZ HB or HR HB
3 that ever limited the voting rights of any persons or
4 any groups, that you've seen?
5 A. No, there are no such express provisions
6 limiting this.
7 Q. Very well. Now, there are equally no
8 restrictions on the number of political parties that
9 can exist either in the HZ HB or the HR HB; would you
10 agree with that, sir?
11 A. That is correct, but those parties could not
12 be represented in the organs of the Croatian Community
13 of Herceg-Bosna because, by virtue of its name and the
14 way in which it was formed, it was exclusively reserved
15 for Croatian representatives; that is to say, the
16 representatives of the Croatian people, which is
17 expressly stipulated in the organs of the Croatian
18 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
19 Q. Well, we'll look at that in just a minute as
20 we go through some of the decrees. Just for your
21 information, Dr. Ribicic, and for the Trial Chamber's
22 information, here's what I would propose to do: I have
23 prepared three volumes; two of them are pretty short,
24 one of them is a little longer. The first volume is
25 the constitutive documents of the HZ HB; the second
1 volume are documents relating to the HVO; the third
2 volume of documents relates to the founding and
3 functioning of the HR HB, which was founded, as you
4 say, on the 28th of August, 1993.
5 MR. SAYERS: With the Trial Chamber's
6 permission, I would like to distribute those right
7 now. I believe copies have already been given to the
8 Prosecution and to counsel for Mr. Cerkez, and to the
9 translators, obviously.
10 Q. It looks like a daunting amount of paperwork,
11 Dr. Ribicic, but actually we're going to touch very
12 lightly on some of these documents, and what I propose
13 to do is to go through them in a chronological fashion
14 so that everybody has a good sense of how these --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
16 Mr. Sayers, please.
17 MR. SAYERS:
18 Q. -- everyone has a good sense of how these
19 institutions evolved and what they did, and equally
20 important, who performed what function in each of these
22 MR. SAYERS: My apologies to the Trial
23 Chamber for inundating it with yet more paperwork, but
24 each of these volumes is arranged chronologically and I
25 think that you will see that we can go through the
1 documents in fairly short order and in, hopefully, a
2 logical way.
3 If we can get the Defence exhibit numbers,
4 please. The HZ HB first, the HVO second, and HR HB
6 THE REGISTRAR: D181/1, D182/1, and D183/1.
7 MR. SAYERS: If the witness could be given
8 the three volumes, that would be helpful. Thank you.
9 Q. Now, Dr. Ribicic, the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna, the HZ HB, was founded the same day or
11 the day after the fall of Vukovar in the Republic of
12 Croatia; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. That was on November the 18th, 1991, as you
15 said; correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. If you would turn, sir, to the first volume,
18 the one that says "HZ HB" on the spine, one of the
19 smaller volumes. Yes, that's right, the one beneath
20 that, I think. There we go, that's the one.
21 You were shown a document that was marked
22 Exhibit Z27.2, and it's a founding decision. There are
23 two versions of it, but in the first version, you were
24 also read the following, and it's at page 1649, up on
25 the top right-hand corner for the Trial Chamber's
1 reference, it says:
2 "We Croats of Bosnia-Herzegovina, through
3 our Croatian Democratic Union and through our elected
4 government representatives in this Republic, have
5 supported a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina, but we have
6 always emphasised that we shall do so only until others
7 start dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina."
8 That was part of the founding decision,
9 wasn't it, Dr. Ribicic?
10 A. That's right.
11 Q. But once again, as we know, this was before
12 the independent Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina had
13 actually been founded; correct?
14 A. Yes, but Bosnia-Herzegovina as a republic
15 existed previously, so there wasn't a legal void at
16 that particular time. Quite clearly, it no longer
17 existed in the federal form that Yugoslavia existed,
18 but Bosnia-Herzegovina existed with its constitutional
19 and legal order.
20 Q. Quite so, sir. But if you take a look at
21 Article 5 of the November the 18th, 1991 decision, the
22 HZ HB stated that it would respect the democratically
23 elected government of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina "as long as Bosnia-Herzegovina
25 remains an independent state in relation to former or
1 any future Yugoslavia."
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You'd have to agree, sir, wouldn't you, that
4 as of the date that the HZ HB was founded, in November
5 of 1991, the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its
6 constituent peoples was absolutely up in the air, it
7 was a thing that was unknown, uncertain; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, just taking a look, sir, at the
10 constitutive document, which is tab 1 of this volume,
11 Article 7 of this document stated that the "Supreme
12 authority of the Community shall be the Presidency
13 which comprises the most senior representatives of the
14 Croatian people in the municipal authority or
15 Presidents of the Croatian Democratic Union Municipal
16 Boards"; right?
17 A. That's right.
18 Q. You gave some testimony about the presidency,
19 and I think we'll see that the concept evolves, but the
20 presidency initially consisted, therefore, of at least
21 30 individuals, did it not? At least one
22 representative from each of the component
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. Then it was the presidency, this
1 agglomeration of at least 30 representatives, who would
2 proceed to elect the president, two deputy-presidents,
3 and a secretary; correct?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. In this early document, sir, there's no --
6 actually, let me rephrase the question. In this early
7 document, it's a fairly embryonic, evolutionary, dare
8 we say, rather simple document that does not actually
9 provide for a legislature, does it?
10 A. Yes. The legislature was this component of
11 representatives from the 30 municipalities.
12 Q. If we're going to apply governmental
13 analogies to this particular document, Dr. Ribicic,
14 would you agree that the supreme authority would mean
15 that the presidency was endowed with basically
16 legislative, executive, and administrative power;
18 A. Right, and I said that in my report.
19 Q. Yes. All mixed and jumbled together in one
20 entity; correct?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. You would agree with me, sir, that over the
23 ensuing years, those functions gradually became
24 separate and distinct; the legislative power evolved
25 into a separately identifiable set of provisions, the
1 same was true of the executive authority, and the same
2 was true of the administrative authority; wouldn't you
3 agree with that?
4 A. That's right, sir.
5 Q. Indeed, and I'm sure you've seen these
6 documents, and if you haven't, we'll take a look at
7 them as we go through this, initially, the military
8 aspects of the community and the civilian aspects of
9 the community, if we are to use those two terms, they
10 were also mixed together, weren't they? In other
11 words, there was no separation of military and civilian
12 functions; isn't that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. But as the embryonic community evolved, the
15 civilian functions did separate out from the military
16 functions, didn't they, sir?
17 A. Yes, that's right. I didn't deal with that
18 question so much, but that is what happened. I focused
19 on the development of the organs of legislation and the
20 executive and administrative ones and functions, and to
21 a lesser extent, the separation between the civilian
22 and military power and authority.
23 Q. Yes, sir, and we will go through that in a
24 little bit more detail at the appropriate time, as we
25 proceed through these documents chronologically.
1 But just starting out in November of 1991,
2 it's true that Mr. Boban was elected the president of
3 the presidency; correct?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. That Mr. Kordic and Mr. Bozo Rajic were
6 elected deputy-presidents of the presidency; is that
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. And, finally, Mr. Ignac Kostroman was elected
10 the secretary of the presidency; yes?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, I think you said that the powers and
13 functions of this nascent presidency, if you like, were
14 not specifically defined in the constitutive documents,
15 the early ones; isn't that right?
16 A. Yes, that is right.
17 Q. All right. The next period I would like to
18 draw your attention to is April the 8th of 1992, the
19 date that the HVO was actually founded. The HVO was
20 founded on the same day that the presidency of the
21 republic, sir, issued a declaration of an imminent
22 threat of war; isn't that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. It's also correct that this new republic was
25 born under the imminent threat of war, and that
1 imminent threat came to fruition within weeks of the
2 founding of the republic, when Neum was attacked,
3 Mostar was attacked, and ultimately when Sarajevo was
4 surrounded and besieged by the assembled forces of the
5 Bosnian Serb Army; that's accurate to say, is it not?
6 A. It is. The defence from the aggression is
7 one of the causes or one of the reasons for the
8 establishment of Herceg-Bosna.
9 MR. SAYERS: I would just draw the Trial
10 Chamber's attention to Exhibit D17.1/1, which is the
11 decree declaring an imminent threat of war.
12 Q. It was Mr. Boban, sir, that actually signed
13 the decision to create the HVO, the Croatian Defence
14 Council, in Mostar on April the 8th, was it not?
15 A. Yes, he signed it as the president of the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and also as the
17 president of the HVO.
18 Q. All right. If you would turn, sir, to tab 1
19 of the thicker volume of documents, you'll see that
20 there is a copy of that decision.
21 I have tried in each case to put the Croatian
22 original at the back of the exhibit, sir, and the
23 English translation at the front.
24 As you can see, Mr. Boban signs as president
25 of the HVO and HZ HB; correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You gave some testimony earlier this morning
3 to the effect that the HVO was established as the
4 supreme defence body of the Croatian people in the HZ
5 HB, and we can see that from Article 1; correct?
6 A. Yes, it is the organ with executive powers,
7 and I compared that to the function of government.
8 Q. But, sir, Article 2 of this decision provides
9 that its objective is not only to defend the
10 sovereignty of territories in the HZ HB and to protect
11 the Croatian people, but it also goes on to say, "as
12 well as other peoples in this community attacked by an
13 aggressor," doesn't it?
14 A. Yes. Yes, that is true, and I quote this in
15 expounding my position, and the fact is that for the
16 first time, that is to say, on the 8th of April, 1992,
17 for the first time, we have this particular formulation
18 appearing. But this formulation did not satisfy some,
19 shall I say, normal constitutional and legal criteria
20 for systems, and I'd like to draw your attention to the
21 fact that here, the members of other nations, that is
22 to say, other peoples, were placed as second rate. So
23 we have a type of document before this particular
24 document which speak of the defence of the Croatian
25 people and Croatian historical territory, and here for
1 the first time we see that they are there to defend
2 other peoples in this community attacked by an
4 So I must caution that this particular
5 formulation came in rather late in the day, and,
6 secondly, that it was mentioned and brought up in a way
7 where it places these other peoples in a second-rate
8 position, or second class position.
9 Thirdly, I would like to revert to my third
10 warning, and that is it is one thing, what is set down
11 on paper, in black and white, and quite another thing
12 what is implemented in practice.
13 Q. Dr. Ribicic, there is no question that the
14 HVO was founded in emergency wartime conditions, is
16 A. No. That's right.
17 Q. And it's not surprising, sir, that it took
18 some time for the organisation of this body to, how
19 shall we say, coalesce and mature; isn't that correct?
20 A. That is not in dispute either.
21 Q. Okay, it is not. It is also not in dispute,
22 Dr. Ribicic, that between the foundation of the HZ HB
23 on November the 18th, 1991 and the creation of the HVO
24 on April the 8th, 1992, the HZ HB did not adopt or pass
25 one single act or decree; isn't that correct?
1 A. In the translation I heard that it did not
2 pass any act or decree. Well, yes, that is correct.
3 Q. In fact, the only acts or decrees ever passed
4 by the HZ HB, if you like, were passed through the HVO,
5 weren't they, after April the 8th of 1992?
6 A. Yes, before the presidency of the Croatian
7 Community of Herceg-Bosna enacted different, that is
8 brought in different conclusions and decisions, and
9 amended the decision to establish the Croatian
10 Community of Herceg-Bosna, it also enacted this
11 decision on the formation of the HVO. And other
12 decisions were made as well, including the decision as
13 to who would be entrusted with the representation of
14 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that is to say
15 the functionaries of the presidency of the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna and to Dr. Tudjman himself,
17 as president of the Republic of Croatia and president
18 of the HDZ of Croatia. And he was entrusted with
19 representing Herceg-Bosna in international agreements.
20 Q. Sorry to interrupt you, Dr. Ribicic, but the
21 question was very simple, and it will help us get along
22 and finish up with your testimony a lot more quickly if
23 you just answer the question that's asked.
24 The question was: The only acts or decrees
25 ever passed by the HZ HB were passed through the HVO
1 after April the 8th of 1992. And that's true, isn't
3 A. Yes, Mr. Sayers. But you are telling your
4 own story, and you just want me to say "yes," because
5 all the questions have been written in such a way that
6 they require a "yes" answer. But I thought it was the
7 point of hearing the testimony, not for you to tell
8 your own story and giving me the right just to say
10 JUDGE MAY: Dr. Ribicic, it's the judges who
11 control the proceedings here. If the questions are
12 unfair, we will say so, and we'll stop them. Counsel
13 is asking the questions, as he is entitled to. Now, if
14 there is a "yes" or "no" answer, it would enable us to
15 get on more quickly if would you give it, if what he is
16 saying right or not. Don't trouble about his purpose.
17 That doesn't matter. What we want is your evidence.
18 If there are any questions which need
19 clarification, then your counsel -- prosecuting counsel
20 will have the opportunity of re-examining at the end of
21 your evidence, and indeed the judges can ask for
23 But we'll get along more quickly if you just
24 answer "yes" or "no," if a question is capable of being
25 answered in those terms.
1 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much indeed,
2 Mr. President.
3 Q. Dr. Ribicic, please don't mistake my
4 questions as demonstrating any lack of courtesy towards
5 you. I don't intend that. If the questions that I ask
6 you to agree with are not accurate, please feel free to
7 disagree and tell us what the facts are upon which my
8 error proceeds. And I'd appreciate that.
9 Let's just go forward with respect to the
10 HVO, and the evolutionary nature of this institution.
11 As far as I could track it, sir, the next
12 major stage in the coalescence of the HVO as a
13 government body occurs on May the 15th of 1992, with
14 the passage of a statutory decision on the temporary
15 organisation of executive authority and administration
16 in the territory of the HZ HB. And I think that you
17 can find that at Tab 2 of the document.
18 It's true, is it not, that the HVO, according
19 to Article 2 of the document, was explicitly
20 established as a temporary body in wartime?
21 A. Yes, that is true.
22 Q. And the intention was that the HVO would
23 always give way to government containing traditional
24 legislative, executive and administrative organs, once
25 that could actually be done, once conditions in society
1 permitted the establishment of such a regular
2 government. Would you agree with that?
3 A. You can't find that in this statutory
4 decision. But it often happened that under wartime
5 conditions some bodies emerge, and then they gradually
6 develop and transfer their powers to some other bodies.
7 Q. You are aware that the HVO formally ceased to
8 exist when its ministries were folded into the HR-HB
9 government on September the 30th, 1993. Is that
10 correct, sir?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. So you would agree that the HVO was initially
13 established as a temporary regional government,
14 established under emergency conditions in wartime, when
15 the government itself, the central government, wasn't
16 working, and that it was established, essentially, by
17 force of necessity, wouldn't you?
18 JUDGE MAY: Well, now, that question involved
19 an assumption, and it also involved a series of
21 MR. SAYERS: Let me see if I can break it
22 down, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE MAY: Rather than asking the witness
24 whether he would agree, it may be simpler to ask him,
25 if it was established as a temporary regional
1 government, established under emergency conditions in
2 wartime. In fact, I'll ask the witness that question.
3 MR. SAYERS: Very well.
4 JUDGE MAY: Dr. Ribicic, you heard the
5 question. What is the answer to that?
6 A. My answer is that one can refer to the HVO as
7 a provisional government of the Croatian Community of
8 Herceg-Bosna, but I do have some trouble with the term
9 "regional government." From the point of view of the
10 then Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovinia, that was not a
11 regional community, that is a community founded in the
12 republic's territory proper. But in view of its
13 ambitions, to either become a republic within a new
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and federation, or join the
15 neighbouring Republic of Croatia, in view of that, I
16 could hardly agree with the term "regional
18 Q. Very well, Dr. Ribicic. Let's go on to some
19 more prosaic matters. Could I turn your attention to
20 Article 7 of the temporary organisation statutory
22 It's true, is it not, that the HVO was to be
23 comprised of a president, vice-presidents, without
24 specifying a number, department heads, and other
25 members; correct?
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. And it's also true that the presidency of the
3 HZ HB would appoint and dismiss other members at the
4 proposal of the HVO president. Correct, sir?
5 A. Yes, at the proposal of the HVO president.
7 Q. And as of this date, May the 15th, I believe,
8 1992, it was Mr. Boban who was performing double duty,
9 if you like, as the president of the HVO and the
10 president of the presidency of the HZ HB; is that
11 right, sir?
12 A. Yes, that is right.
13 Q. And under Article 9 of this decision, the HVO
14 president would be in charge of the work of the HVO,
15 would be held accountable for it, and, amongst other
16 things, the HVO president would sign all official HVO
17 documents. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. All right. Now, as we know, sir, from this
20 statutory decision, you can see from Article 1 that the
21 HVO is gradually evolving and now its set up as the
22 supreme executive and administrative body in the
23 territory of the HZ HB; correct?
24 A. Yes, that is correct. But what it means is
25 that the presidency, until the founding of the HVO,
1 discharged those executive functions by and large
2 through its president, the two vice-presidents and the
3 secretary of the presidents, or the presidency. I
4 agree that as of this moment, that is as of May 15th
5 onward, some of these functions are transferred from
6 the presidency to the HVO.
7 Q. Yes, sir. And would you agree also that
8 since we now have the HVO performing executive and
9 administrative functions, you could reach a legitimate
10 inference that the presidency of the HZ HB, as we've
11 previously described it, 30-odd people or more, that
12 body represented, if we are using the governmental
13 analogy, the legislature of the community. Would you
14 agree with that?
15 A. As of the founding of the HVO onward, the
16 presidency, and in July a formal decision was taken to
17 this effect, it became the representative body. But
18 until then, various functions, especially the executive
19 functions, could not be discharged by the plenum, that
20 is not all the 30 municipal mayors. And the principal
21 powers, the principal duties, rested with the four
22 officials, the president, the two vice-presidents, and
23 the secretary of the presidency, because this
24 presidency as a body did not meet often.
25 Q. All right. Without belabouring that point,
1 as of this date, May the 15th of 1992, there is no
2 question that the military components of the HVO and
3 the civilian governmental components of it were still
4 all mixed up into one, all jumbled up into one; isn't
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And, as I understand it, sir, there were to
8 be six ministry or six departments, finance being one,
9 defence being another, justice being another. Let's
10 just confine our attention to those three. That's
11 correct, is it not?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you are aware that Dr. Jadranka Prlic was
14 appointed the head of the Department of Finance,
15 initially, on May the 15th, 1993; is that right?
16 A. I am not sure. I did not see this. I never
17 saw the document saying that Mr. Prlic headed the
18 finance department. But it is quite true that there
19 was six departments.
20 Q. Let me suggest to you that Mr. Prlic was
21 indeed initially appointed the head of the Department
22 of Finance and, for example, Dr. Zoran Buntic was
23 appointed as the head of the Department of Justice and
24 general administration. Does that ring a familiar
25 bell, sir, or do you just not know that information?
1 A. I do not know the staff, the personnel, the
2 names of people who headed those departments. I only
3 know of the names of these departments. And that is
4 what I can comment on.
5 Q. Just a matter of detail, sir. I don't think
6 it's particularly important, and I believe I may have
7 misspoken. Outline 11, the year 1993 is obviously in
8 error. It should be 1992 we are talking about.
9 Now, sir, the next document I'd like to draw
10 your attention to is the next tab, Tab 3. This is a
11 statutory decision on the municipal executive authority
12 and municipal administrations. This decree, sir, was
13 adopted just a week before the Republic of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, or just a month before, rather -- I'm
15 sorry, one week before the republic issued a formal
16 declaration that a state of actual war existed in the
17 republic. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes, this statutory decision was taken on the
19 15th of March, '92.
20 Q. And under Article 2, insofar as the municipal
21 governmental authorities were concerned, each municipal
22 HVO would consist of a president and other of its
23 members who shall be appointed or dismissed by the
24 HZ HB's HVO; correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So just to use an example of relevance in
2 this particular case. For the municipalities of Vitez
3 and Busovaca, as of June the 13th, 1992, the president
4 of the municipal HVO's in both of those cities would be
5 appointed by the HVO in Mostar; is that right, sir?
6 A. Yes, until that time the functions in the
7 municipalities were discharged by municipal assemblies
8 and their executive bodies. And the HVO then
9 supplanted them.
10 Q. All right. Proceeding chronologically along,
11 sir. One week later, you are aware that the republic
12 actually declared a state of war; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And just for the Trial Chamber's information,
15 that document has already been marked as D17/1.2.
16 Let me turn to two dates, sir, which I would
17 suggest to you are watersheds in the evolution of the
18 HVO and in the gradual separation of the military from
19 the civilian functions in that organisation. And the
20 first date is July the 3rd of 1992.
21 You would agree with me, Dr. Ribicic, and you
22 would tell the Trial Chamber, that that was the first
23 date upon which any significant volume of decrees was
24 passed, adopted by the HVO; is that right?
25 A. Yes. And the decision on the founding of the
1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was amended then,
2 and that was also when a number of documents were
3 adopted, which were then published at a later date,
4 that is in September.
5 Q. Thank you, doctor. But there is no question
6 that on July the 3rd, a very significant number of
7 organisational, governmental steps, or
8 quasi-governmental steps were taken for the first time
9 by the HVO; is that right?
10 A. Changes.
11 Q. Right. A few examples would suffice. For
12 example, taking over the materials of the JNA, a decree
13 was passed to that effect; a decree on public
14 enterprises; decrees dealing with primary and secondary
15 education, things of that variety. Would you agree,
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In addition, sir, there was the first of a
19 number of decrees that dealt with criminal law, this
20 one being the enforcement of the law on misdemeanours.
21 If you turn to Tab 6 of this volume, you can see it.
22 Would it be right, sir, that in order to be a judge in
23 the HZ HB, according to Article 7 of this enforcement
24 of the law on misdemeanours, one had merely to be a
25 citizen of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina; is
1 that right?
2 A. Yes, that is true.
3 Q. One of the other appointments made on July
4 the 3rd, sir, was the appointment of Bruno Stojic to be
5 the head of the Department of Defence. Were you aware
6 of that?
7 A. No. No. I don't know about these personnel
8 matters, but I do believe it's true.
9 Q. Very well.
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
11 I think that your cross-examination should really be
12 limited to things that were covered by the
13 examination-in-chief. This is the testimony of an
14 expert about certain institutions, such as the Croatian
15 Community of Herceg-Bosna, but you are not going back
16 into the history and go through all the text which had
17 to do -- I mean, with various Croat public figures and
18 things. We are talking -- this is the testimony about
19 the institutional framework, what were the
20 institutions, what were the relationships amongst them,
21 and so on and so forth. And if you focus on that, that
22 would be of great help to us.
23 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour. I will try to
24 do precisely that.
25 Q. This date, sir, July the 3rd, 1992, saw, for
1 the first time, the adoption of rules on military
2 discipline that govern the HVO military forces. And
3 that can be found at Tab 9. Would you agree with that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right.
6 A. Yes, I agree.
7 Q. One final question on this subject. If you
8 take a look at Tab 4, sir, there is a decision made
9 that the Narodni List becomes the Official Gazette of
10 the HZ HB. Do you see that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And it's true that that list, basically,
13 published all of the official actions of the HVO and
14 the HZ HB thereafter; is that correct? Or at least
15 until, to be more accurate, at least until the
16 establishment of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna
17 in August of 1993?
18 A. Yes, except that these decisions are
19 published with delay. The first decisions were
20 published only as late as September, not in November,
21 when Herceg-Bosna was founded, nor later, nor even on
22 the 3rd of July, when new decisions were taken. It was
23 all published subsequently in the Official Gazette of
24 Herceg-Bosna, that is the Narodni List.
25 Q. Yes, sir. I think we are agreed on that.
1 Now, you averted to an amended decision relating to the
2 constitution or the make-up of the HZ HB that occurred
3 on July the 3rd of 1993. And if you take a look at the
4 slim volume again, the one that says HZ HB on the
5 spine. I put that under Tab 2.
6 A. Yes, I've found it.
7 Q. All right. In the restated elaboration of
8 the reasons for the establishment of this community,
9 and this is a few months after the establishment of the
10 independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can
11 see in the prefatory language, at the end of the first
12 paragraph, that one of the reasons is because "... at
13 these difficult moments in their history, when the last
14 communist army of Europe united with the Chetniks is
15 endangering the existence of the Croatian people and
16 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina ..." and then it
17 goes on to say that the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic
18 Union, and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina have
19 supported a sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20 There was no question, sir, that Croats in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina did support an independent Bosnia
22 and Herzegovina; in fact, I believe of the people that
23 voted, as we've seen from the first document that you
24 were shown today, 99,44 percent of the people that
25 elected to participate in the referendum voted in
1 favour of the establishment of an independent Republic
2 of Bosnia and Herzegovina; isn't that right?
3 A. As for the outcome of the referendum, that is
4 right. Evidently, people, and I mean members of all
5 three ethnicities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, did vote for
6 an integral and sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
7 that was what the bodies of the Republic of Croatia
8 were also advocating. But I cannot say that they were
9 really doing it to defend the sovereignty and integrity
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I already said in my testimony
11 today, there are a number of documents, some material
12 that that was not the case.
13 But this formulation about reasons, this
14 writing about the reasons for the founding is better
15 than the one founding the recent opinion behind the
16 original decision of November 1991. Of course, it is
17 hard for me to say whether this is a matter of tactics
18 or a changed attitude towards Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 However, I do feel that it is rather a matter of
20 tactics, in view of all the documents and testimonies
21 already referred to today, when I said that, of course,
22 in public we speak about our support to the sovereignty
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and yet work against it or,
24 rather, for its partitioning and annexation of that
25 part of the territory to the Republic of Croatia.
1 Q. Doctor, could I turn your attention to
2 Article 7 of this amended decision, and this effected a
3 change in the governments of the HZ HB, did it not? I
4 think you've said that.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. It established, in effect, two separate
7 organs of supreme executive power, or actually one
8 organ of supreme executive power and one organ of
9 legislative power.
10 First, you see Article 7(1) deals with the
11 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna;
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And that would be Mate Boban throughout the
15 existence of the HZ HB, from this point forward;
17 A. Yes, because as of that moment, Mate Boban
18 became the president of the Croatian Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna, whereas until that moment, he was the
20 president of the presidency of that same community.
21 Q. Yes, sir. It's important to distinguish
22 these two concepts. The presidency of the HZ HB
23 basically lasted from the very date of the foundation
24 of the Community until the foundation of the Croatian
25 Republic of Herceg-Bosna; you'd agree with that,
1 wouldn't you?
2 A. Yes, I would.
3 Q. And the president only existed as of July the
4 3rd, 1993 forward.
5 A. Yes, that is correct. Until that moment,
6 there was the presidency, but evidently not all the
7 members of the presidency were in an equal manner, that
8 is, discharged the function that was taken over by the
10 One cannot say that until that moment, until
11 the 3rd of July, this function was discharged by Mate
12 Boban, as the president of the presidency, until he
13 became the president of the Community. Of course, he
14 was one, and presumably one of the most important
15 members of the presidency. But it's quite evident that
16 the two vice-presidents and the secretary of the
17 presidency also played very important roles, whereas
18 other members of the presidency simply attended its
19 sessions from time to time.
20 Q. But I think you say in your report, and I
21 think that's right, Dr. Ribicic, that the functions of
22 a vice-president of the presidency diminished in
23 importance after July the 3rd of 1992, and that was
24 because the presidency essentially became a
25 legislature; in fact, Article 7 specifically says that;
2 A. Yes, for two reasons: because the presidency
3 had grown into a legislative body and, secondly,
4 because a new function was set up, that is, the
5 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
6 From then on, formally speaking, from the point of view
7 of the system, the vice-president of the presidency was
8 merely the vice-president of the presidency of the
9 legislative body, rather than the vice-president of a
10 body which was discharging the functions of the head of
12 But I also must say that there are documents
13 which I know of and which show that some
14 vice-presidents signed some documents as
15 vice-presidents of the Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna, even though this was later, that is,
17 after the 3rd of July, 1992.
18 Q. But as of July the 3rd of 1992, it's true, is
19 it not, that the presidency became the legislative body
20 of the HZ HB, and, indeed, the presidency was
21 responsible for the appointment of executive and
22 administrative bodies of authority in the HZ HB, and
23 that's exactly what Article 8 says; correct?
24 A. That is correct. If we now compare the
25 situation with the modern parliamentary systems in
1 Europe, then we could say that the presidency played a
2 stronger role than a parliament has in modern European
3 parliamentary systems, in modern European states; that
4 is, a lesser autonomy of the HVO than is the case with
5 the governments of modern European states.
6 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, the second date to
7 which I want to draw your attention is October the
8 17th, 1992, and that's also a seminal date, at least
9 from the Defence's perspective, in the development of
10 the institutions of the HVO.
11 One of the documents adopted on that date is
12 the third document in that file that you have in front
13 of you, sir. No, the one you've just put aside.
14 Dr. Ribicic, the one -- yes. Tab number 3.
15 This is the document that prescribes the code
16 of practice on the work of the presidency of the HZ HB,
17 and I think that you were shown a copy of this document
18 that was marked Exhibit Z341.2A. Just a few questions
19 that I have in connection with this, sir. Could you
20 turn to Article 20.
21 A. Yes, I've found it.
22 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, that the
23 position of vice-president of the presidency, as of
24 this date, October the 17th, 1992, was essentially a
25 position that was endowed with purely parliamentary
1 powers; powers, for example, to limit individual
2 addresses at sessions of the presidency, to deny the
3 same person the right to speak repeatedly about the
4 same issue, to interrupt an address, and things of that
6 A. Yes. These are functions normally discharged
7 by the president of the parliament or the speaker of
8 the parliament.
9 Q. Very well. Now, we can put aside this thin
10 document because I'm finished with that.
11 JUDGE MAY: It's now 4, Mr. Sayers, I
12 see. How much longer do you anticipate you will be?
13 MR. SAYERS: I have a 56-page outline and I'm
14 now at page 25, so we're making good progress, Your
15 Honour. I would anticipate that we should be
16 through -- it won't take longer than tomorrow morning.
17 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We've got another
18 witness lined up; is that right?
19 MR. NICE: Yes. I think we've got witnesses
20 to take us through tomorrow and Thursday. There may
21 possibly be a short hiatus because of the time of
22 arrival of one or more of them.
23 JUDGE MAY: We have to discuss the
24 transcripts as soon as possible.
25 MR. NICE: Yes.
1 JUDGE MAY: We have tomorrow the pre-Defence
2 conference; however, we will deal with the matter set
3 out in the Rules. I think we arranged it for half past
4 four. It may be convenient to deal with that at an
5 appropriate moment during the afternoon, when we've
6 finished some of the evidence.
7 MR. NICE: And possibly a short ex parte, if
8 it's possible to organise one.
9 JUDGE MAY: Tomorrow?
10 MR. NICE: Well, sooner rather than later
11 because it --
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes. How long do you anticipate
13 that being?
14 MR. NICE: Fifteen minutes, I should think.
15 JUDGE MAY: Well, the most convenient time
16 would be after everything else, I suppose.
17 MR. NICE: Yes.
18 JUDGE MAY: Let me hand something down to the
19 registrar, please.
20 MR. STEIN: May it please the Court. We have
21 an ex parte application as well that can we heard any
22 time; I suspect it will take five minutes.
23 JUDGE MAY: If it's a motion which you've
24 sent in recently --
25 MR. STEIN: Yes.
1 JUDGE MAY: -- there is an answer on its
3 MR. STEIN: I couldn't ask for more.
4 JUDGE MAY: Dr. Ribicic, I'm afraid we
5 haven't finished your evidence, and so would you please
6 come back tomorrow morning, when we will conclude. If
7 you'd be here, please, at half past nine.
8 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
10 4.05 p.m., to be reconvened on
11 Wednesday, the 16th day of February,
12 2000, at 9.30 a.m.