Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 22641

1 Wednesday, 12 July 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 10.33 a.m.

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I solemnly declare

7 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


9 [Witness answered through interpreter]

10 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, I'm sorry you were all kept waiting but

13 one of our members had a hospital appointment which took longer than

14 anticipated however we are now ready. What we'll do is sit now until

15 about quarter to 12.00, take a quarter of an hour break and then sit for

16 the rest of the morning. Yes.

17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

18 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:

19 Q. Mr. Puljic, would you please state your full name for the Trial

20 Chamber and your date of birth?

21 A. Your Honours, my name is Anto Puljic. I am from Kresevo in

22 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was born in 1958.

23 Q. We can go relatively quickly through your personal information.

24 In 1990, you became involved in the organising of a local branch of the

25 main Croat political party in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croat Democratic

Page 22642

1 Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Throughout 1991, we can say that you were an

2 active member of the HDZ-BiH; is that correct?

3 A. Yes. In my -- in 1990, it was still an illegal organisation and

4 the municipal board of the HDZ was founded in Kresevo at that time.

5 Q. In April 1992, you moved from Kresevo to Busovaca where you spent

6 about two months, and there you participated in the preparation of defence

7 against the threat of the Bosnian Serb army attack or the JNA attack?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Their honours have had an opportunity to hear about it but maybe

10 we can just restate it briefly. The Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina later

11 were organised into Croat Defence Council in order to protect themselves?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. During the initial stages in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the

14 HVO was a hybrid organisation?

15 A. I could say that the HVO was a nucleus of both the military

16 organisation and the civilian structure because the need of people in

17 those areas were real. So one had to organise the education of health

18 care and so on.

19 Q. In respect of that, in late spring and early summer 1992, you

20 organised supplies of food and other things which were directed towards

21 the defence; is that correct?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. After your short stay in Busovaca in June 1992, you returned to

24 your home town Kresevo and resumed work in the company called TAO until

25 the end of 1992?

Page 22643

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. In early January, 1993, president of the HVO executive,

3 Dr. Jadranko Prlic appointed you to the position of the chief of defence

4 administration in Travnik. You stayed in this position until the end of

5 the war, that is until June of 1994.

6 A. Yes. I requested to step down, and I sent this request in to the

7 minister of defence.

8 Q. We can come back to that later. But as a chief of defence

9 administration in Travnik, you worked on the recruitment of new soldiers,

10 mobilisation of people, acquisition of materials and equipment and so on;

11 is that correct?

12 A. Yes, that was the scope of work of the administration.

13 Q. Thank you. We can say a few words about the defence

14 administration in Travnik. Could you state for the Trial Chamber very

15 briefly what was the defence department in Travnik part of, and what were

16 the subordinate bodies over which you had authority?

17 A. The defence administration in Travnik operated as an

18 administrative body of the defence department in the territory of Central

19 Bosnia so it was a territorially administrative body of the defence

20 department.

21 Q. Perhaps we can clarify for the Trial Chamber, maybe just remind

22 them. The defence department was one of the departments within the

23 civilian segment of the HVO, some kind of a government headed by

24 Mr. Jadranko Prlic?

25 A. Yes, and this administration had jurisdiction over Central

Page 22644

1 Bosnia. Under it were municipal offices through which it carried out its

2 tasks as provided for by the decree on the armed forces. And let me

3 clarify further, with your permission.

4 Q. Go ahead, please.

5 A. This was something similar to the police administration within the

6 department of the interior. It operated in a similar fashion except that

7 we had our own tasks and the police department had their own scope of

8 activities.

9 Q. Very well. We just said that above you was the defence department

10 which was engaged in activities such as ministries usually do and you,

11 yourself, you coordinated the activities of offices in various

12 municipalities so you coordinated between the municipal offices and the

13 defence department?

14 A. Yes. I reported to the head of the defence department and after

15 it grew and developed into a full ministry, then I reported to the

16 minister of defence.

17 Q. At the time when you were the head of the defence administration

18 in Travnik, where was its -- where was the seat of the defence department?

19 A. It was in Mostar.

20 Q. And who was its head at that time?

21 A. It was Mr. Bruno Stojic.

22 Q. Tell me, the Travnik defence administration was superior to all

23 the municipal offices including all offices in the Lasva Valley: Travnik,

24 Novi Travnik, Busovaca and Vitez municipalities; is that correct?

25 A. Yes.

Page 22645

1 Q. You were the head of this defence administration throughout the

2 worst period, from January 1993 until the end of hostilities in 1994?

3 A. Yes.

4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] If I can ask the registry to

5 please show the witness Z696 for the witness. I have a copy so maybe we

6 can just lay it on the ELMO. It may be better.

7 Q. Mr. Puljic, in the middle of 1993 the war escalated in Central

8 Bosnia. Can you please first tell the Trial Chamber who attacked whom,

9 and who attacked whom in Zenica, more specifically, to your knowledge?

10 A. The attack was carried out by the so-called Army of Bosnia and

11 Herzegovina on the territory controlled by the HVO, and it attacked the

12 HVO forces.

13 Q. Did you at that time have any information about the events in

14 Zenica?

15 A. That was the time when Vitez was on fire and Zenica also. We had

16 very dramatic information arising from various sources about killings,

17 woundings, setting homes on fire.

18 Q. According to your information, how many Croats fled Zenica in

19 April?

20 A. The information that we received was that about 13.000 Croats were

21 on the move, trying to cross into the territory controlled by the HVO, in

22 two main directions. One was over Nako [phoen]. They were protected by

23 the Jure Francetic Brigade Battalion. So people were protected as they

24 were withdrawing and being evacuated to the areas where they felt more

25 safe. And the other was via Vjetrenica to the area of Cajdras, where

Page 22646

1 unfortunately elements of the Zenica Brigade were unable to effect a

2 breakthrough. So we had an unprotected civilian population there in the

3 area who remained surrounded.

4 Q. Speaking of the events in Cajdras, you will see on the monitor a

5 letter, a document which was tendered by the Prosecution, Z696. Do you

6 recall this document? Who drafted this document, and to whom was it sent?

7 A. I recall the letter very well, and the events of that time are

8 indelibly set in my memory. I wrote this as an appeal for assistance to

9 the Zenica Croats. I had sent it to the commander of the British

10 Battalion, I think it was Colonel Stewart; to Jean-Pierre Thebault, who

11 was with the EC monitors; and to the representatives of the International

12 Community. I wrote the letter because in these traumatic moments I

13 thought it necessary, because we had no power or we had no forces to help

14 the population, and we were unable to avert the catastrophe with which

15 this population was threatened. I wrote it and I signed it, but I thought

16 that it would be even more effective, and I added Mr. Dario Kordic's name

17 to it and Mr. Ignac Kostroman's signature because I considered myself new

18 in my position and not familiar enough to the people to whom I had

19 appealed.

20 Q. In this document your signature is in the left corner. Is that

21 your signature over the name?

22 A. Yes. And I can also see that I signed on behalf of Mr. Kostroman

23 and Mr. Kordic.

24 Q. There is a word "za," which is Croat for "on behalf of."

25 A. Yes. I didn't ask their permission to use their names, but

Page 22647

1 knowing them and knowing their moral principles and their attitudes, I

2 thought that they would have done the same if they were in the same

3 position. At that time I was in Vitez and I did not know whether they

4 were -- they were also sending similar letters out of Busovaca or

5 elsewhere. Our communications were cut off and the fighting was ongoing

6 around Vitez.

7 Q. If I understood you correctly, you didn't ask for their

8 permission, but rather you did it on your own initiative, for the reasons

9 you just explained.

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. A technical question now. This letter was drafted in the English

12 language, and you don't speak English. I assume that you had drafted it

13 in Croatian and then you had it translated.

14 A. Yes. I used the services of a young woman who spoke English and

15 who was available at the time.

16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] We can move on to paragraph 10,

17 Your Honours.

18 Q. The events in April and the attack of the ABiH against the HVO --

19 in fact, perhaps we could go a step back. When the BSA and JNA jointly

20 attacked Croats and Muslims, how many refugees from those areas of Bosnia

21 and Herzegovina occupied by the Serbs moved to Central Bosnia?

22 A. According to our estimates, about 100.000 Muslims alone came from

23 Western Bosnia, the so-called Bosnian Krajina, and the areas of Eastern

24 Bosnia along the Drina River.

25 Q. Militarily speaking, which lines did these refugees cross in order

Page 22648

1 to arrive in Central Bosnia?

2 A. We were holding the line at Jajce and Travnik, and that is where

3 the refugees from Western Bosnia came, so they had to cross the lines

4 operated by the HVO. Those arriving from Eastern Bosnia, from the right

5 flank, so to speak, and who were moving towards Mount Igman and Mount

6 Bjelasnica, that part of the front was also manned by the HVO around the

7 Lepenica Valley.

8 Q. Mr. Puljic, in that period you were an active member of the HDZ,

9 and later on you were professionally involved as the head of the defence

10 administration in Travnik. And throughout this period, from 1991 to 1993,

11 have you ever heard that within these provisional institutions that there

12 was any official or unofficial policy of persecution of Muslims in the

13 territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and later Croatian

14 Republic of Herceg-Bosna, in other words, in the territories under the

15 military control of the HVO?

16 A. There was no official policy, or unofficial policy, for that

17 matter. These areas were inhabited by local Muslims too. And the Muslim

18 refugees who arrived from Western and Eastern Bosnia, the demographic

19 structure was upset. An imbalance was created, and pressure. It was an

20 enormous pressure on the resources that we had. They were pushed to the

21 limit. Several families were staying in a single home. In such difficult

22 circumstances, we had problems with basic supplies. But there was no

23 official or unofficial policy, and even if I had known of such, I would

24 not have participated in it. It would have been insane to engage in

25 ethnic cleansing of those proportions, given the population -- the size of

Page 22649












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Page 22650

1 the population that was there. We are a small community, and it would

2 even be illogical for us to have pursued such measures.

3 Q. Mr. Puljic, you said that you felt enormous pressure on the

4 resources that you had. The influx of various groups, which could not be

5 fully controlled, did all that cause an increase in the crime rate, and

6 did it increase the lawlessness in the territories?

7 A. Yes. The situation changed significantly. People who had some

8 criminal tendencies and had criminal records also came with the refugees.

9 Of course, the local police force was facing enormous problems, and the

10 civilian HVO structures and the police tried to maintain law and order in

11 this chaotic situation. There were many incidents: murders and

12 robberies. The security situation deteriorated by this mass influx of

13 people, and these people were not properly documented and our police was

14 unable to track them.

15 Q. You said that the framework of social structure had just fallen

16 apart?

17 A. Yes, that central government in Sarajevo was cut off, and all the

18 institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina ground to a halt so we tried to raise

19 it from the ashes, so to speak, with the resources of personnel that we

20 had available.

21 Q. Talking about the crime, the looting and evictions and other

22 crime, was it one-sided or was it spread in all communities?

23 A. It was spread in all communities. It was difficult to say who was

24 the more of a victim, whether the Croat or the Muslim population. It

25 depended on where one was. Some criminal groups were operating not along

Page 22651

1 the ethnic lines, but they were interethnic. And later, the later

2 investigations revealed that.

3 Q. That is interesting that members of different ethnic groups would

4 make part of the same criminal group.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Perhaps the -- just one more question on that topic. This

7 criminal elements, the violence and acts of provocations, were all these

8 part of an orchestrated policy which was imposed by the leadership or not?

9 A. No, these criminal groups which were active in some areas such as

10 Sarajevo, Zenica, Banja Luka, only transferred to this other territory,

11 the free territory and continued with the same type of activities which

12 they had been engaged previously. This was not done by -- this was not

13 coordinated by any leadership either at the local or regional levels.

14 Q. We can move on to paragraph 12, Your Honours. Mr. Puljic, you

15 have already answered to a degree that the authorities had all ground to a

16 halt in view of the situation and all the operations, but tell us what

17 happened to the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a party. Did it remain

18 operational throughout 1992-1993 or was there an interruption in its

19 activities?

20 A. When the aggression broke out against Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992,

21 the HDZ froze its work, and I believe it was frozen throughout 1993, that

22 is, as of the latter half of 1992 and in -- throughout 1993.

23 Q. You were the head of the defence administration, in other words

24 you were a civilian you were not a military, but in view of your job, you

25 also knew the personnel, I do not mean personnel as personnel, but persons

Page 22652

1 who were performing different military duties.

2 Tell us, please, did you ever hear that in the HVO, there was

3 so-called polit commissars from the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina or, how

4 shall I call it, deputies responsible for political work that would

5 correspond with what existed in the former Soviet system as it is claimed

6 in this case?

7 A. No, I am not aware -- well, in every brigade, that is, when the

8 brigades were formed, in every brigade, there were departments, the IPD,

9 departments for information and propaganda. But those were never

10 influential people, people with weight, but rather men who, in the eyes of

11 the brigade commands, could perform such duties. I knew a large number of

12 those people because after all, the mobilisation was taking place through

13 our offices.

14 Q. Yes, yes, IPD services exist in other armies too, but would you

15 say then that this propounded in this case, is it tenable, that these

16 polit commissars existed in that they were people who had some commanding

17 role?

18 A. No, absolutely not. The commanding role in the brigade was played

19 only by brigade commanders or commanders of units. I wouldn't be aware of

20 anything like that in what you mention.

21 Q. As the head of the defence administration in Travnik, you covered

22 the territory of Central Bosnia, and that is also the territory covered,

23 roughly speaking, but the Central Bosnia Operative Zone headed by

24 Commander Tihomir Blaskic?

25 A. Quite so. Our areas of responsibility largely overlapped.

Page 22653

1 Q. And to round off this subject about so-called polit commissars,

2 did you ever hear that any HDZ representative at any level ever issued any

3 orders or commanded any unit in the area in which you were active?

4 A. In the area in which I worked, the commanding duties rested with

5 the commander of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, that is,

6 commander -- brigade commanders and other units subordinated to him. And

7 never -- and some political individuals never had any opportunity of

8 issuing orders because there was a very clear-cut system, a very clear

9 chain of command.

10 Q. So I suppose you never heard of any such case?

11 A. No, absolutely not.

12 Q. Thank you. Mr. Puljic, a couple of questions about Mr. Kordic.

13 You met him, I suppose, at that time when you began to prepare for the

14 defence against the army of Bosnian Serbs, rather, the JNA at the time, so

15 that was the period between 1990 onward?

16 A. Yes, early 1990, I should say, or sometimes we would meet at

17 meetings or at HDZ meetings. But then in 1991, as the situation, the

18 security of political situation began to deteriorate in

19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we then began to meet more often because we thought

20 that the gravity of the time required certain solutions, necessitated

21 solutions, and that is why we had to meet more often. And then during the

22 war, during the aggression, we met at meetings quite often so I can say

23 that I know Mr. Kordic quite well.

24 Q. When the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna was founded Mr. Kordic

25 also discharged certain duties. Do you know what those duties in

Page 22654

1 Herceg-Bosna were?

2 A. When the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna was founded, Mr. Kordic

3 was elected one of two vice-presidents. The president was Mr. Mate Boban,

4 and vice-presidents, Mr. Dario Kordic and Mr. Bozo Rajic. I am aware of

5 his role and his activities in the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna.

6 Q. Where was the -- where were the headquarters of your office or

7 rather the Travnik defence administration in 1993?

8 A. In 1993, for security reasons, our seat was in Vitez. Basically

9 we were supposed to be in Travnik but because of the vicinity of the front

10 and the daily shelling of Travnik by the Bosnian Serb army from Vlasic and

11 Kumar, so that we decided that it would be better to move out and to all

12 intents and purposes, we worked from Vitez, that is, we had this detached

13 headquarters.

14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Naumovski, I'd

15 like to ask the following of the witness, could he help us understand the

16 situation better? He stated that there were the military commanders and

17 that they have nothing to do with the politicians. Could you tell us what

18 Mr. Mate Boban's role was? You've just mentioned him. He was the

19 president of the Herceg-Bosna community. What was his role at the

20 military level in relation to the HVO?

21 A. Mr. Mate Boban was the president of the Croat Community of

22 Herceg-Bosna and when the Croat Defence Council was founded, he became its

23 supreme commander. He was the supreme commander. Only he could issue

24 orders to the commander or rather to the main staff. And then the main

25 staff issued orders to units in Operative Zones, and one of those zones

Page 22655

1 was Central Bosnia.

2 I believe there were three Operative Zones, but I'm not sure

3 whether there were three or four. One was in Tomislavgrad, one was in

4 Mostar, I mean the seats, and I believe there was one in Posavina. I'm

5 not sure about that one. I'm not sure about the status. It could have

6 been -- because that did not fall within my field of jurisdiction and I

7 was not really interested in finding that out.

8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So this being so, could we say

9 that as far as Mr. Mate Boban was concerned, there was some confusion that

10 he had at the same time a political and a military power?

11 A. Well, he was the head of the Croat Defence Council until at some

12 point, the civilian wing, the civilian arm separated and then Mr. Jadranko

13 Prlic became the prime minister, and he remained the president of the

14 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna and the supreme commander of the armed

15 forces. I do not know, Your Honour, if I managed to explain it to you.

16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Well, my question was as

17 follows: I wanted to know whether it could be said about Mr. Mate Boban

18 that he had, at some point in time, a political and a military authority

19 or power.

20 A. Yes.

21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In that case what was the

22 vice-president role, namely the role of Mr. Kordic as such?

23 A. Mr. Kordic played a political role only, that is, the commander

24 over the Croat Defence Council rested with the president. That is what

25 the documents of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna say after the

Page 22656

1 aggression began against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr. Kordic did not have the

2 authority over the armed forces of the Croat Defence Council.

3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Well, aren't you aware that

4 military power or authority may have been delegated by Mr. Boban to

5 Mr. Kordic?

6 A. Such an authority was never transmitted, I mean, to command units,

7 nor did I have an opportunity to do so, nor do I know that Mr. Kordic ever

8 issued an order, nor would any commander ever comply with such an order.

9 Because only the commander of the Operative Zone could issue such orders,

10 that is, the person who at that particular moment held that office.

11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.

12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

13 Thank you, Your Honour.

14 Q. Mr. Puljic, perhaps we could mention another detail to clarify for

15 His Honour. Under the decree on the armed forces, the supreme commander

16 of the armed forces is the president as you have just told us.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And that degree does not mention deputies of the supreme

19 commander. Such office does not exist.

20 A. Absolutely not. I mean, in the decree on the armed forces,

21 there's not a single mention of that.

22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers reminds me it was

23 D172/1 [as interpreted], tabs 7 and 20, Defence Exhibit. 182/1. Thank

24 you.

25 Q. Mr. Puljic, I was about to ask you -- that is, you told us that

Page 22657

1 the headquarters of your administration had been relocated to Vitez.

2 Which building did you move into?

3 A. We were in the Vitez Hotel. We were there. A suite was placed at

4 our disposal. And for the duration of the war we were given yet another

5 small room, and that is where we organised the minimal work to enable us

6 to function, so that we could release as many people for the armed forces,

7 or rather for the command of individual brigades.

8 Q. As you went to work, day in and day out, you must have also seen

9 people who came to the seat of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. So

10 tell us: Did Mr. Kordic come to the Operative Zone often or not?

11 A. Mr. Kordic -- just a moment.

12 [Trial Chamber confers]

13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Yes.

14 A. I saw Mr. Kordic in the hotel from time to time, or rather

15 seldom. He would come to meetings of a broad nature to discuss perhaps

16 the security situation or political situation. At a particular point in

17 time, because the crisis in that area lasted from 1992 through 1993 and

18 even 1994, and that was the period of time when I used to meet him from

19 time to time, when meetings would be convened, because there was a

20 hall -- there was a conference hall in the hotel. There were facilities

21 there which would enable a number of people to attend, I mean people who

22 came from the political, that is, from the executive branch, and I would

23 attend them as the head of the administration, of the police

24 administration, and so on and so forth. That would be -- those were the

25 occasions when I met him.

Page 22658

1 Q. So if I can conclude from what you say, those were some special

2 occasions, that is, some joint meetings convened in the hotel.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Thank you. A while ago you answered Judge Bennouna that

5 Mr. Kordic did not make part of the chain of command and that he could not

6 issue any orders. But tell us: In those early days of organisation,

7 Mr. Kordic -- did Mr. Kordic play a certain role, say, in 1992, while

8 there was still fierce fighting going on around Jajce, and so on and so

9 forth? Do you remember any of his activities at that time?

10 A. Mr. Kordic's role, by and large, he was a local, a regional

11 politician, and he regularly made himself heard as the voice of the

12 people, and he followed the activities and operations in Central Bosnia,

13 and he would then become committed as a politician. And when we worked

14 clandestinely, he also tried to help and organise, as I did. But as for

15 the issue of any orders, no, he did not do any, because at that time there

16 were municipal staffs, so the chain of command went through municipal

17 staffs. I'm referring to the time before brigades were formed, so that he

18 did not have any command role at that time either.

19 What is, for instance, very typical of the Jajce front, because

20 the HVO members in Jajce were investing tremendous effort and tried to

21 reorganise the unit by bringing in units from other municipalities. And

22 since in the early days the results were very meager, because in 1992

23 everything was based on the principle of voluntarily -- everything was

24 based on volunteers, and people were not really applying to join. So that

25 Mr. Kordic joined in, called meetings, called upon the activists and

Page 22659












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Page 22660

1 municipal staffs and their associates, held press conferences. And in

2 different papers, municipal organs that we were starting at the time, he

3 wrote for them, so that of course people began to respond. More people

4 responded to our calls for volunteers, and that was how we could help

5 those who were fighting the defence in Jajce.

6 Q. So he encouraged people to volunteer; is that it?

7 A. Yes. Yes, that is precisely it.

8 Q. And in his political work, including what you just told us about,

9 did you ever hear Mr. Kordic voice any extremist or offensive, insulting

10 view about some other ethnic group or people, and I mean Muslims too?

11 A. I never heard him, nor do I think that Mr. Kordic ever said

12 anything like that, because we met at a time when we were losing sometimes

13 as many as 100 men a day in those conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But

14 even in those difficult times, that is, when we were on the defensive, he

15 never voiced any such view, either in conversations or in his public

16 addresses.

17 Q. Tell us, Mr. Puljic: In those early days initially, when

18 Mr. Kordic and you were involved in this initial organisation of the HVO,

19 you also did it as volunteers. And when each of you was responsible for

20 his particular aspect of work, did you or Mr. Kordic have any military

21 experience regarding the defence or anything?

22 A. As far as I know, Mr. Kordic did not have any kind of expertise

23 except regular service with the former JNA, and the same applies to me

24 too: no military expertise, so that I could not really become involved in

25 that segment.

Page 22661

1 Q. Right. But in those early days, you and Mr. Kordic were involved

2 in military matters exclusively, or were you involved in that other

3 segment which had to do with the initial organisation of the defence, that

4 is, logistics, et cetera?

5 A. Our field of -- our jurisdiction had to do only with the

6 logistics, that is, Mr. Kordic, in the segment of encouraging people to

7 join in, those who were -- who had expertise and knowledge and, shall I

8 say, courage to join in. That was in the logistics, absolutely, because I

9 personally -- a large part of activities in the segment for which I was

10 responsible would not have been able to carry out without support and

11 commitment to Mr. Kordic.

12 Q. Thank you. Mr. Puljic, the last topic, which is paragraph 16, is

13 the last subject that I wanted to ask you something about. As the chief

14 of the defence administration and defence offices subordinated to you, you

15 were involved in mobilisation; and you worked, as we have just said,

16 within the defence department of the HVO, with the seat in Mostar for a

17 while?

18 A. Yes. Yes. Subsequently, because of the combat operations in

19 Mostar, it was relocated to Citluk and Posusje.

20 Q. Yes. You know that some soldiers born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and

21 there were some Croats among them, but Muslims as well, served with the

22 Croatian army in the beginning, during the aggression of the JNA against

23 Croatia?

24 A. Yes, yes, I am aware of that. And I even knew quite a number of

25 those individuals, because there were among them neighbours of mine, so I

Page 22662

1 knew quite a number of those members.

2 Q. Is it true that some of those people who volunteered to defend the

3 Republic of Croatia against the aggression, that is, that some of those

4 men returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina when the war broke out in

5 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

6 A. My assessments say that over 85 per cent of those men returned and

7 joined the units of the Croat Defence Council to help, because they were

8 already lads with war experience, so that their help was precious. Their

9 status, what was their status in the Croatian army, we were not aware of

10 that. But with us there were members of the Croat Defence Council. They

11 reported individually. They did not come as a combat group, what we

12 call -- that is, groups of three; they reported individually. Whenever

13 they could, sometimes they were given leave or some -- at times simply

14 left their HV units and came.

15 Q. If I understand you well, you admitted those men in your ranks

16 because, after all, they were on your records, since their birthplaces

17 were in Bosnia-Herzegovina. You do not know what their status was in the

18 Republic of Croatia and you never went into it?

19 A. No, we did not go into it, because that was not within our

20 jurisdiction.

21 Q. Very well. Tell us: Throughout this time, throughout 1993 until

22 the spring of 1994, while you were the chief of the defence administration

23 in Travnik, in the territory in which you were active were there any

24 Croatian army units, or not?

25 A. There were no units. I have just said so. When those military

Page 22663

1 conscripts were coming back from Croatian units, they do not come to us as

2 organised or as combat groups; they came as individuals to us. So that

3 there were no units, not even of a combat group, which is usually three-

4 to five-men strong.

5 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Puljic.

6 Your Honours, I have no further questions in my

7 examination-in-chief. Thank you.

8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.

9 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

10 Q. Good morning, Mr. Puljic.

11 A. Good morning.

12 Q. I shall now ask you some questions on behalf of Mr. Mario Cerkez,

13 whom I represent in this case. We have just heard from you that in early

14 1993 you became the chief of the Travnik Defence Administration, with

15 headquarters in Vitez, in the Vitez Hotel, which also housed the

16 headquarters of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia; is that so?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Could you please, Mr. Puljic, look at a graph and comment on the

19 graph that I will show you.

20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] This is the graph which was used

21 in the Blaskic case, and it will help us to illustrate the subject that I

22 should like to address. [In English] And one can be put on the ELMO,

23 please.

24 THE REGISTRAR: This Defence Exhibit shall be marked D69/2.

25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]

Page 22664

1 Q. Mr. Puljic, here on this chart we see in the upper corner the mark

2 of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna. And to translate it into a more

3 understandable language for all of us, that means practically the

4 government of the HZ HB. The government has several departments, that is,

5 ministries, and one of them is the department, that is, the Ministry of

6 Defence, and you were one of the civil servants in that department; is

7 that so?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. So tell us: Which were the subdepartments of the defence

10 department? What was its structure, its layout?

11 A. To be quite frank, I wasn't quite aware of the organisational

12 layout of it. I was familiar with the civilian wing. But I don't quite

13 understand this chart. I do not think that this chart is complete, and it

14 can show only the chain of command. But otherwise, yes; yes, that is how

15 one could take this chart, as kind of a teaching aid.

16 Q. But within this Department of Defence, there was the civilian

17 segment, and you were part of this. So what did it do?

18 A. It did work having to do with recruitment, military records,

19 mobilisation, because mobilisation for certain things could be done by

20 this subdepartment. For instance, in case it came to some large complexes

21 or factories, and things -- and some major resources. I'm mentioning it

22 as an example.

23 Q. To make it quite clear, when you say "mobilisation," you mean that

24 some facilities which are civilian are placed under the management of

25 military units in case of a war or threat of war?

Page 22665

1 A. Yes. The role of this subdepartment for civilian issues is

2 mobilisation, that is, people mobilisation, and sending of -- posting of

3 people to units and assignment of facilities to units. That is what they

4 did.

5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, I'm going to interrupt. Can you tell

6 us, please, about this chart which you've produced? Where does it come

7 from, please, so that we can follow.

8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] This chart was used in the Blaskic

9 case, and its function in my questioning is really as an aid, just to

10 facilitate our understanding of what the witness is talking about. It

11 does not pretend to be an exact chart, but it can still be elucidated

12 through evidence.

13 JUDGE MAY: And who produced it in the Blaskic case?

14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] So far as I know, it was the

15 Defence for Mr. Blaskic.

16 JUDGE MAY: And can you help us as to the witness who produced

17 it?

18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, Your Honours, I

19 don't know that.

20 JUDGE MAY: No doubt it can be further elucidated. As far as this

21 witness is concerned, he cannot help with it.

22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I agree with you, Your Honours,

23 and I do not expect the witness to confirm the accuracy of this chart, but

24 I rather wanted to use it as a guide. And if I may, I only had two more

25 questions related to this chart. With your permission, I would still like

Page 22666

1 to ask them.


3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

4 Q. Mr. Puljic, only two additional questions in respect of this. If

5 you look at the left and right from the middle box which is called the

6 main headquarters or main staff, we see the SIS and the military police.

7 They are directly linked to the defence department, does that correspond

8 to what you knew?

9 A. When you asked me the first question, I am not entirely sure and I

10 am not entirely familiar with this functioning and at what stage it

11 functioned in this way.

12 Q. Very well, then, Mr. Puljic, we will not pursue this any further.

13 We're moving on to the next topic.

14 You told us that the defence departments which were in

15 municipalities also were for recruitment and filling in the complements of

16 units. You may be aware that Mr. Mario Cerkez -- and the Trial Chamber

17 knows -- is aware of this -- was appointed the commander of Vitez Brigade

18 by an order of General Blaskic sometime in March of 1993. Do you know

19 this and do you know that immediately before this appointment, the Vitez

20 Brigade was established?

21 A. I had to know these things because the Operative Zone commands

22 asked of us to provide personnel for the newly-established brigade, and I

23 needed to know by virtue of my job what -- so that I could issue specific

24 orders to my associates and to my subordinates in the office.

25 Q. Very well. And we're talking about end of March 1993. You had an

Page 22667

1 insight into the Vitez Brigade and its manpower.

2 A. The Vitez Brigade had the strength of one battalion, I think about

3 600 men, because it was to be like a field brigade whose full strength

4 would have been 2.000 men. But given the population and the situation, we

5 could not expect that, but 500 to 600 men is what we had. That would have

6 been the commanding staff, communications and all the structure that was

7 in place.

8 Q. Given the numbers, such a brigade, theoretically speaking, would

9 have had to number some 2.000 men as its full complement and it was only

10 filled to the size of 500, 600 men which meant about 25 to 30 per cent of

11 its full theoretical complement?

12 A. Yes, mathematically speaking, I think your estimate is about

13 right.

14 Q. In your experience in peace time circumstances, how much time

15 would be needed to fill such a unit and bring it to its full level?

16 A. I think that the activities involving that would have taken about

17 three to four months. If you started out with the establishment logs and

18 went all the way, it would take about that long.

19 Q. I understand. In your evidence, you said that starting in 1992

20 and on, the HVO held the positions facing Bosnian Serbs and other forces

21 who attacked Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that the assistance for this defence

22 was coming from all municipalities who were affected. Are you aware that

23 assistance was also coming from the Vitez municipality?

24 A. The two months that I spent in Busovaca in 1992 is what I can

25 speak to. And then in 1993, while I was in my duty, I know that the Vitez

Page 22668

1 units were also involved in those tasks.

2 Q. Can you confirm that in one shift, about 70 to 100 men were sent

3 from Vitez to the front lines?

4 A. I did not know about the formation and the size of manpower, and

5 it was not my role to know how many members of each specific unit were

6 being sent to the front lines. Some of it we could gauge from the

7 logistics that were required.

8 Q. But in your estimate, if you know?

9 A. I really cannot be very accurate there.

10 Q. Very well, then, Mr. Puljic. But do you know that on the very day

11 of 16 April when there was combustion in Vitez and surroundings that one

12 of such units was left stranded in the area of Turbe?

13 A. I know that because we did not know the fate of that unit. I

14 think it could have been the size of a platoon if my recollection is

15 correct on this.

16 Q. Mr. Puljic, when you came in the position which you then carried

17 out for a while and that was in the forward post in Vitez, I assume that

18 you also cooperated closely with Marijan Skopljak?

19 A. Yes, Marijan Skopljak was my point person in Vitez. He was the

20 head of the Vitez office and of course I had to deal with him.

21 Q. So he was the person who worked on these activities for the

22 military needs such as recruitment mobilisation and so on?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Marijan Skopljak, in October of 1993, was removed from his duties;

25 is that correct?

Page 22669












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 22670

1 A. Yes. In 1993 from the establishment of the office, he showed

2 certain weaknesses in the organisational work and even stepped outside of

3 the scope of his work. We were not happy with his performance, we asked

4 the minister to replace him and he was then replaced.

5 Q. What happened after his dismissal, who was put in his position?

6 A. Given the weaknesses at that time, Mr. Stipo Zigonjic, who was

7 also part of that structure was not promoted. We had a problem. We

8 discussed what we should do. I talked to General Blaskic and we asked

9 that the Vitez Brigade take over part of that job.

10 We wanted them to do that in the interim period, but it dragged on

11 for two months and only in December was the new head appointed. And since

12 the Vitez Brigade, through the cooperation with -- which we had with them

13 showed that it had a very good personnel and we were -- we asked them to

14 take over that system of carrying out these duties. And General Blaskic

15 gave an order to Mr. Cerkez and I also, as a head of the district of the

16 defence administration, gave my own order to the office to have them carry

17 out those jobs.

18 Q. In other words, did the situation force you to mingle the military

19 and the civilian aspects of the -- that work?

20 A. Yes.

21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] This may be perhaps a good moment

22 to break for the morning break, Your Honour.

23 JUDGE MAY: How much longer do you anticipate being,

24 Mr. Mikulicic?

25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] No more than ten minutes.

Page 22671

1 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now until five to.

2 --- Recess taken at 11.47 a.m.

3 --- On resuming at 12.02 p.m.

4 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.

5 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

6 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Puljic, before the adjournment, we were

7 talking about the situation that you described, the dismissal of Marijan

8 Skopljak and that is what resulted in the overlapping of military and

9 civilian structures. I should like to ask you to look at a document which

10 concerns Mr. Pero Skopljak.

11 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nodded.

12 Q. And I should like to ask you to comment on it.

13 THE REGISTRAR: This document shall be numbered Defence exhibit

14 D70/2.

15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]

16 Q. Mr. Puljic, you see that document. It says Department of Defence,

17 then it says defence administration Vitez. It is a decision authorising

18 Mr. Pero Skopljak to perform, be in charge of the duties relative to -- I

19 don't know -- and so on and so forth, and negotiations with the

20 international organisations.

21 The document was issued by Anto Valenta who was a civil servant

22 and co-signed by Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, the commander of the Operative

23 Zone. Is that one of the examples of what we just talked about?

24 A. All I can say is this: Mr. Blaskic had to give his consent so

25 that Mr. Skopljak could be taken into account because then many civilians,

Page 22672

1 that is, many men who were for exchange, whether there were any unit

2 members, I'm not sure and I cannot comment about that, but I know about

3 civilians had to go into areas where they were accommodated, sheltered

4 from combat activities. Because you see at that date, at that time, Vitez

5 is up in flames, and slowly, a front line is being established. And now

6 one has to see what can one do with civilians who, because of combat

7 operations, had to seek shelter.

8 I believe it was the cinema in the Croat centre in Vitez and

9 several places where the conditions were satisfactory. So Mr. Skopljak

10 needed to have the consent of Mr. Blaskic so the certain commanders could

11 then comply with this.

12 This paper originated, if I may add, it just happened to be

13 written on the letterhead of the defence department because Mr. Skopljak's

14 office was not yet being established because things did not function at

15 the time just to explain that there was no overlapping of jurisdiction.

16 Q. I see. But Mr. Pero Skopljak was a civilian, and that is

17 unquestionable.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And he was appointed to coordinate various public activities and

20 he also took care of the prisoners of war at the time?

21 A. Yes, that is so.

22 Q. Thank you. A while ago, Mr. Puljic, you mentioned that this

23 document originated at a time when Vitez was up in flames, as you put it.

24 We know that the attack on Vitez happened on the 16th of April, 1993. You

25 have told us that from -- you told us whether the units were all in full

Page 22673

1 strength, and we realise that they were far from it. So the situation

2 required -- made additional mobilisation necessary. Could you tell us if

3 the commander of the Operative Zone Central Bosnia, Colonel Blaskic, on

4 the 16th of April, in the afternoon hours, ordered and requested

5 supplementary mobilisation.

6 A. I already told you that we had the determined the dynamics of

7 activities, of how the brigade should be replenished, and this decree also

8 made the time schedule. But since there was this attack on Vitez, since

9 war happened, then of course we had to cut down the intervals in which

10 mobilisation would be conducted so as to somehow respond to this threat

11 posed to the area of responsibility of the Vitez Brigade. I can confirm

12 it. I mean, he really was in a situation where he had to request

13 supplementary mobilisation; that is that those activities which had been

14 agreed upon earlier should be cut short and finished as quickly as

15 possible; if possible, within one hour.

16 Q. I see. But we're referring to the 16th of April?

17 A. Oh, yes, absolutely.

18 Q. Mr. Puljic, in your department, or rather in your office, there

19 was also the so-called wartime production. That was one of the segments?

20 A. Yes. But a correction. I have to make a correction. I was the

21 head of the Defence Administration.

22 Q. Yes. Sorry, my mistake. Will you please explain to us in a

23 couple of sentences: What does the term "wartime production" mean?

24 A. After the stock was taken of the situation in the end of June, or

25 rather in early May, the political and security situation that was under

Page 22674

1 consideration at that time brought to light the fact that not all

2 resources were used for the -- to meet the needs of the defence war:

3 Industrial capacities in Travnik, free part of Novi Travnik and Busovaca.

4 And the situation required from us to put it all under one umbrella, under

5 one system, so as not to disperse the energy. And at one of the meetings

6 I was ordered -- that is, I was issued instructions -- I was instructed to

7 conceive the system of administration; and I did that and I made a

8 proposal, and that was submitted to Mr. Stojic and he approved it.

9 Q. I see. So this wartime production was organised within the

10 Defence Department. No. Defence Administration, sorry. Defence

11 Administration. And it was yet another civilian segment?

12 A. Absolutely, absolutely, a civilian segment.

13 Q. Even though, at the end of the story, it was to serve armed

14 forces?

15 A. True, yes, but this involved also things that were made,

16 manufactured for hospitals, for health centres, for the population, and

17 everything. But what we needed to do was to focus the energy, because

18 there was a crisis within the area, and we had to do it and use the

19 available resources more rationally.

20 Q. And then you appointed your assistant to supervise this?

21 A. Yes. That was Mr. Marko Lujic, called Markesa, who was

22 responsible for the civilian production.

23 Q. And to sum it up, then, so he was your assistant for wartime

24 production, that is, a civilian who did that?

25 A. Yes.

Page 22675

1 Q. Mr. Puljic, you, by definition, spent the worst moments of it all

2 in Vitez. You communicated with many people, and I also suppose that you

3 communicated with Mr. Cerkez; is that correct?

4 A. Yes, and repeatedly so, because one of the matters of work I

5 adopted was to talk directly to commanders of individual units who were

6 within the field of competence of the Defence Department; that is, to

7 provide the logistics, to receive the information, of course, from heads

8 of those offices, but also to have the feedback information from those

9 units, so that Mr. Cerkez and I and his associates met quite often to

10 discuss the replenishments and so on and so forth.

11 Q. I see. In your contacts with Mr. Cerkez, did you ever hear him

12 advocate, promote discrimination of other ethnic groups or speak about

13 other ethnic groups, and I mean Muslims in particular, to belittle them,

14 to insult them, and things like that?

15 A. No, I never heard anything like it, nor is that how I understood

16 his mental frame. I do not think he would have ever been able to. You

17 understand. And I also know, among other things, that he had to take care

18 about the safety of a Muslim woman who I believe was a midwife in Vitez.

19 This is just an example, and there is a number of such examples.

20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Puljic.

21 Your Honours, I have no further questions.

22 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

23 Q. Mr. Puljic, I've got a number of questions to ask you. Let's just

24 start off with some general things, please. Your tasks were entirely

25 civilian, is that correct; there was nothing military about what you did?

Page 22676

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And you answered to whom?

3 A. I answered to the chief of the Department of Defence, and later

4 the minister of the Ministry of Defence, once the government of the Herceg

5 Republic -- of the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna was established.

6 Q. So -- right. The next thing is: The HVO Main Staff -- and I'm

7 simply looking at a document that was shown to you, although you didn't

8 seem to know much about it. But the HVO Main Staff is a military body and

9 is also a part of the Department of Defence; is that right?

10 A. No. It is not part of the Defence Department. It could be done

11 vertically through the Defence Department. But in terms of its functions,

12 it accounted to -- it was answerable to the president of the Croat

13 Community of Herceg-Bosna.

14 Q. But certainly the HVO Main Staff, as this diagram, 69/2, if it

15 remains an exhibit, shows, the HV --

16 [Trial Chamber confers]

17 MR. NICE:

18 Q. The HVO Main Staff was the body that commanders of Operative Zones

19 1 and 2 answered to?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. So there's no doubt about HVO Main Staff being a military body?

22 A. Main Staff of the Croat Defence Council was definitely a military

23 body, and it looked after individual units within the field of its

24 competence.

25 Q. I'm trying to understand how your work, which was plainly closely

Page 22677

1 related to military matters, would be integrated with the military matters

2 themselves. From what you've told us, and correct me if I've got it

3 wrong, you've got to go right the way up to the level of Department of

4 Defence before you can find someone who has responsibility for both your

5 civilian side and the Main Staff military side. Is that really correct?

6 A. Your Honours, I'm afraid that I wasn't understood very well. The

7 Main Staff was responsible only for subordinated units, that is, military

8 formations of the Croat Defence Council.

9 Q. Yes. But if you, as --

10 A. And if I may --

11 Q. Of course.

12 A. Will you please allow me to finish. And the ministry, that is,

13 the Defence Department, had several segments, including a civilian

14 segment, and I -- and that was the segment that I worked in. And it was

15 responsible for the mobilisation, military records, recruitment, and so

16 on.

17 Q. I don't think I did misunderstand you. If we think of the thing

18 conceptually, it's only at the level of the Ministry of Defence -- or the

19 Department of Defence, whatever it is -- that you have someone to whom

20 both your non-military side and the military side are both answerable.

21 That's correct, isn't it?

22 A. I was -- in my segment of work, I accounted [as interpreted] the

23 minister, or rather -- that is, head of the Defence Department,

24 subsequently the minister, and to me were accountable the subordinate

25 groups, that is, heads of defence departments -- defence offices. They

Page 22678

1 could not communicate with the minister directly --

2 Q. No, no.

3 A. -- without my authorisation.

4 Q. Because you tell us there's this complete separation between civil

5 and military departments, it presumably wouldn't be correct for your

6 department to be communicating directly with the military departments

7 locally, would it? You wouldn't be able to do that without the approval

8 of the Department of Defence.

9 A. The decree regulating the competence of the Defence Department and

10 the rules of work and competence of all segments of the Defence Department

11 are clearly defined, so that we -- with regard to units, that is, brigades

12 in the area of responsibility of this administration, there was no chain

13 of command, so to speak; the cooperation was horizontal. That is, we were

14 to send them men, resources, vehicles, facilities, so on and so forth,

15 which they requested from us.

16 Q. So that at the local level, your civilian wing and the military

17 wing were in fact entirely integrated; you dealt with them directly.

18 A. Hierarchically, not down the chain of command. But our role was

19 to turn over men and materiel to the units, and that would be the end of

20 our activities. And as for the troops and resources who had been turned

21 over to the units, then those units became responsible for them.

22 Q. All right. One other very general point at this stage. We know

23 that the Main Staff was a military organisation. What's a forward command

24 post? Can you just enlighten us, please.

25 A. The command post is a military term, so the terminology -- for the

Page 22679












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 22680

1 purpose of some combat operations, the chief of the Main Staff is

2 relocated, or the commander of the Operative Zone, or commander -- that

3 is, from their regular seat, when -- because of the vicinity of the front

4 line, and he then moves closer to his area of responsibility, from which

5 he runs individual operations, whether it be combats or something else.

6 And we also used this term even though -- not in our official

7 correspondence, but even the administration was -- had also been

8 relocated; that is, our seat was in Travnik, but we worked and lived in

9 Vitez all the time because of the situation on the front line.

10 Q. At the very beginning of matters you've told us about, namely, the

11 setting up of the Community of Herceg-Bosna -- first of all, setting up of

12 the political party, HDZ, you were actually quite a central player there,

13 weren't you? You were a main board member; is that right?

14 A. I was not a member. I was in a municipal organisation in Kresevo.

15 Q. Now, Kresevo, incidentally, is that where Kostroman comes from?

16 A. Yes, Mr. Kostroman comes from Kresevo.

17 Q. Were you a friend of his?

18 A. We knew each other. We worked together in the same company.

19 Q. All right, that's fine, thank you. I'm not going to take the

20 witness to them but --

21 A. Excuse me, may I finish? May I finish?

22 JUDGE MAY: Unless it's relevant, Mr. Puljic. As you will

23 understand, we are very short of time. Now, if you want to say something

24 that is relevant about Mr. Kostroman, you can, but could you keep your

25 answers, on the whole, as short as possible.

Page 22681

1 A. Thank you, Your Honour.


3 Q. I'm not going to take the witness to it. But it's right, isn't

4 it, that you were present in those early meetings in July of 1991 in

5 Busovaca and Vitez where the party was set up?

6 A. What period of time do you have in mind? I'm sorry, I didn't

7 quite understand.

8 Q. July 1991 and then again in January of 1992 you were present at

9 the meetings.

10 A. The HDZ was founded in 1990. And Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna

11 is a territorial organisation, it is not a political organisation. So it

12 is a segment. It covered an area of interest and its purpose was to

13 resolve certain matters that had arisen at that time. I was a member of

14 the municipal board of Kresevo so I was at the meeting as a representative

15 of Kresevo.

16 Q. All right. Let's just turn, briefly, to Mr. Kordic since he was

17 also at those meetings. You tell us that he wasn't doing anything

18 military, but what actually was he doing?

19 A. Mr. Kordic and other people who attended those meetings in view of

20 the crisis which was in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the political and every other

21 crisis, we had to discuss and think as serious and responsible men what

22 were we to do under the circumstances so those were political meetings --

23 Q. My question probably wasn't helpful. It's my fault not yours.

24 Right from the beginning, and right until 1994, I want to have a thumbnail

25 sketch of what Mr. Kordic was doing, and let me just narrow the question

Page 22682

1 for you in this way: Once you had your job, you had a specific function

2 to do. You had lots of letters to write and orders to make, and whatever

3 else and so on. People who have a ministry to run, they have a portfolio

4 of functions to perform and so on. We can see what they had to do.

5 Now, what, please, did Mr. Kordic do between 1992, say, and 1994?

6 What was his job?

7 A. Mr. Kordic was our regional leader, political leader. He grew up

8 from the people as the voice of the people. He followed all the

9 developments in Central Bosnia in particular, but also in

10 Bosnia-Herzegovina and even on a broader area, and communicated. And as

11 the voice of the people, he endeavored to marshal the energy and to work

12 politically because those were very difficult times. He was trying to

13 calm down the situation and also. So this was his field of competence.

14 Q. He was effectively, the region's political leader; correct?

15 A. Quite so. He was well -- how shall we put it -- perhaps the

16 popular tribune. The people's tribune whom people trusted and who

17 articulated very well the needs of the people at the moment.

18 Q. Now, you remember His Honour Judge Bennouna asked you a question

19 about Mr. Boban and so on. Forget the formalities of the documents that

20 may have come into existence. Is the reality of the history, and we can

21 deal with this quite shortly, that Mr. Kordic was either Mr. Boban's

22 practical deputy in your region or, alternatively, he was, as it were,

23 Mr. Boban, himself, in your region. What do you say to those two

24 possibilities?

25 A. I don't think I really got what you meant. Could you please

Page 22683

1 repeat the question? It's very broad and I didn't really get it?

2 Q. Was he -- first of all, was he the practical, the real deputy of

3 Boban in your region?

4 A. Mr. Kordic, after his admission to the Croat Community of

5 Herceg-Bosna, he was one of its vice-presidents.

6 Q. I know, and I've asked you, please, to forget about all the bits

7 of paper and the rules and the regulations and to tell us in real terms

8 what he was. Was he, for all practical purposes, Boban's deputy in your

9 region?

10 A. He could not be Boban's deputy. He was the vice-president and the

11 first, the leading political individual there. He could only act in the

12 field of politics, and that is the field that he acted within.

13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Nice. I'd like to

14 ask this of the witness following the question and the answer.

15 Now, what does it entail, in your view, to be a vice-president?

16 What does it entail to be a vice-president regarding Mr. Kordic? What

17 does that mean being a vice-president? Does it have a substance?

18 A. Your Honours, the substance of Mr. Kordic's work is of political

19 nature, that is, no activity neither through the executive power structure

20 nor through the military segment. Mr. Kordic had no competencies nor did

21 Mr. Bozo Rajic. I am not referring to the rules, I am talking about real

22 life. That is how it was in real life. That is my experience, and that

23 is what I see it.

24 MR. NICE:

25 Q. The first answer, of course, was to take us back to the rules and

Page 22684

1 regulations but it's right, isn't it, that the role of, I think you

2 described him as "tribune" is in no way allowed for in the rules of

3 Herceg-Bosna or the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, is it?

4 A. I didn't quite understand. Can you please repeat your question?

5 Q. Well, you describe Mr. Kordic's role in translation the word

6 "tribune" was used, and I'm suggesting to you that that role that you

7 articulated for us is, itself, in no way identified or established in the

8 rules.

9 A. You said that.

10 Q. Are you saying that Mr. Kordic's role in various things he did is

11 actually fully identified in the rules and regulations of Herceg-Bosna?

12 A. He was vice-president and he was only active in political affairs

13 as a leader, as a political leader. He was active as such in that area.

14 I hope that now I clarified sufficiently the position.

15 Q. I still don't actually have a picture of what it was he was

16 doing. I'll come back to that in a minute, but just confirm for us,

17 please, he was a man young enough to be in the forces himself. He was of

18 military age; correct?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Once the war in full started, what -- can we have a picture, what

21 was he doing all day long? He wasn't sending letters. He wasn't

22 receiving letters very much. What was he doing all day long?

23 A. Listen, Mr. Kordic, as a politician was receiving delegations, I

24 assume. At least on the occasions when I was there, delegations from

25 municipalities of Central Bosnia, people talked to him, and we all

Page 22685

1 analysed situations, the security. He tried to be politically active in

2 calming down the situation in Central Bosnia.

3 Q. But presumably if anybody came to him with a military problem,

4 he'd have to say, "Not me, go somewhere else." Is that right? Is that

5 what you're telling us?

6 A. I don't know if anybody came to him with any military problems.

7 I'm not aware of that.

8 Q. But he wouldn't have any power to deal with them in any event,

9 would he?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. Thank you. Do you know why he was surrounded by armed military

12 men? Do you know why that happened?

13 A. I explained the security situation, I previously talked about

14 that. With the influx of about -- over 100.000 refugees, and with them

15 came people who were potential criminals, there were murderers. The

16 situation in the area had worsened significantly and he -- as a political

17 leader, I think that it's normal anywhere in the world that politicians

18 have security details, let alone in the critical times such as the one

19 when Mr. Kordic was active.

20 Q. I'm going to deal with documents chronologically, but in light of

21 one of your answers, to His Honour Judge Bennouna, I'm going to take one

22 document out of sequence.

23 It's still your position, is it, that he never operated in any way

24 as Boban's deputy, anything of that sort?

25 A. He could have only been involved in things as a political figure.

Page 22686












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Page 22687

1 And as specific tasks are concerned, if Mr. Boban talked to Mr. Kordic, I

2 don't know about that. I was not in a position to have any knowledge of

3 that.

4 Q. Shall we look, please, at Exhibit 1208, the original coming your

5 way. You see now this is a document dated the 20th of September 1993. If

6 we look at the original just to check it, it's got your name and it's got

7 your signature. If we come back to the body of the document if you'd be

8 good enough to follow it in the original while we just summarise it in

9 reading it in English.

10 It's a document that's an order about conscripts conforming

11 compulsory work at a factory. Conscripts securing the plant, about the

12 premises and plants of that factory to be sealed in the presence of the

13 factory's security commander. That order to enter into force and the

14 commander of the Viteska Brigade, the head of the Novi Travnik defence

15 office to be responsible for its execution.

16 Now what are you going to say, this is a civilian matter or a

17 military matter or both?

18 A. I have to be more comprehensive in answering this question, with

19 the Chamber's permission. We had established a department for military

20 production and we had started it. We looked in the personnel, and looked

21 at the situation, the terrain, the security situation, and it was

22 determined that we had to engage in these activities which are purely

23 civilian.

24 The defence office's work was, at that time, already discharged by

25 the Vitez Brigade, and we sent this as information and an order. It was

Page 22688

1 sent to the defence offices.

2 Q. All right.

3 A. I know this document very well.

4 Q. What I'm interested in is what is on the signature page? You told

5 us what a forward command post is so we know. Kordic is signing now as

6 the head of the forward command post of the office of the president of the

7 republic. What is that, if it isn't the de facto deputy to the president,

8 please?

9 A. I don't know. I use this from the media. It was never done

10 officially.

11 Q. I'm so sorry, I don't understand.

12 A. In the official correspondence. This would never appear with this

13 heading, but at that time, the forward post of the office of the president

14 was used. It doesn't mean that it was correctly used.

15 Q. You said something about --

16 A. And the reason, if I can just add, the reason why I named these

17 individuals was to reinforce the implementation of this order because I

18 was not sure that without them, I would be able to enforce it.

19 Q. You said something about using this from the media and I wanted

20 you to clarify that so that we can understand what you were doing.

21 A. You see there were press conferences where Mr. Kordic spoke, and

22 that was covered in the local media because we had a media blockade at the

23 time so each municipality had their own media outlets. And so I may have

24 picked it up somewhere in passing. After all, this is -- this doesn't

25 have any stamp of his or anything.

Page 22689

1 Q. It seems to have been signed by him, Mr. Puljic.

2 A. Yes, he did sign it. I asked for his signature so that I would

3 get -- so that this order would have a greater authority and see this is

4 going to the civilian sector. This is the SPS plant.

5 Q. So that I can understand what you're saying and so that I've got

6 it clear, you are saying you put down a title that you knew to be false

7 and Mr. Kordic signed it when it was manifestly false, or did you put down

8 a title that was manifestly true?

9 A. I think that when Mr. Kordic was signing this, I'm not sure that

10 he had that title. But he didn't pay, in fact -- yes, I think that you

11 used a good word there. Because he was, without a doubt, a political

12 leader and nobody would have paid any attention, nor was it significant to

13 anyone what his position was as quoted there.

14 Q. Were you about to say that he didn't pay any attention to what he

15 signed and then changed your mind about that?

16 A. No, no, no. I did not change my mind. His name was what was

17 important, and the authority that it carried at that time.

18 Q. Well, let's look at Exhibit 1209 just very quickly. The same day,

19 this order deals with activities specified in Article 14 on the armed

20 forces about things that had been entrusted to the Vitez Brigade. It

21 deals with employees of the Vitez defence office reporting immediately to

22 the commander of the Vitez Brigade for deployment. It says that the chief

23 of the office shall turn over the affairs and documentation to the

24 commander of the Vitez Brigade. It then says that the Vitez Brigade shall

25 discharge the affairs of the defence office.

Page 22690

1 So shall we say this is, at the very least, mixed military and

2 civilian topics?

3 A. This is a conclusion that you drew. That is not what I said, but

4 when asked by Counsel Naumovski, sorry, Counsel Mikulicic, I pointed out

5 the circumstances under which we produced such a document in assessing the

6 overall situation and the weaknesses of the Vitez office.

7 Q. But the point again and very quickly and I'm going to move on now,

8 Kordic, by the way, he's signing as a colonel on both occasions, he's

9 signs as the forward command post for the president because he was a

10 military man, and in the same way that Boban was commander in chief of the

11 forces, he was reflecting his authority as a person with command over the

12 forces; correct?

13 A. No, you drew an absolutely wrong conclusion. Mr. Kordic was a

14 politician, a political figure, and he never could issue an order to a

15 unit. Even here, he did not issue an order. It was my order as the head

16 of the defence administration.

17 JUDGE MAY: Just help us, Mr. Puljic, what was the forward command

18 post of the office of the president of the Republic?

19 A. I cannot explain that. When I mentioned the forward command post,

20 I was referring to the forward command posts of the Main Staff, the

21 district headquarters, or local headquarters, operative zones, but I

22 cannot tell you about this one, Your Honour.

23 JUDGE MAY: What had you intended to mean?

24 A. My intention was for Mr. Kordic, given the circumstances under

25 which this order was sent to the defence offices. Because there was also

Page 22691

1 an order of the Operative Zone command, Tihomir Blaskic. In coordination

2 with me, he issued an order to the Vitez Brigade commander to take over

3 those duties, because the life couldn't stop; we needed to have the flow

4 of personnel and materiel. So we had to move these activities to the

5 Vitez Brigade until we appointed a new head of the defence office, and our

6 assessment was that we were not going to be able to do that very fast.

7 And we needed personnel and we needed materiel, equipment, every day, on a

8 daily basis.

9 Given the overall political situation in Vitez municipality at the

10 time, the political insecurity situation, we thought that he could be --

11 that he could agree. So I asked Mr. Valenta Kostroman and Kordic to also

12 lend their support, because I thought that it would be reinforced. But I

13 was the one who issued it. I'm the one who was responsible for its

14 implementation and answerable to the minister. I don't know to what

15 extent I was able to assist you, Your Honour.

16 MR. NICE:

17 Q. A final question on this topic, although I shall return to it in

18 another setting at the appropriate place in the chronology. But a final

19 question, with a single word answer, if you can help us. Are you saying

20 it was your idea alone to use this title and that you simply made it up;

21 yes or no?

22 A. I cannot answer it in that way. Somewhere in the media I picked

23 up this and I adopted it. Now, why the media presented it that way, I

24 don't know, and I never thought about it.

25 Q. There is one supplementary question. We've heard a lot about the

Page 22692

1 titles Mr. Kordic used, and you'll, I hope, take it from me that within

2 the general time period that we're referring to, he's gone by the title of

3 Vice-President of the Republic, and he's also gone by the title of

4 Vice-President of Herceg-Bosna, and indeed vice-president of the party.

5 Why didn't you use one of those three titles if you wanted to give him --

6 or if you wanted to give his signature particular authority? Perfectly

7 available titles. Why not?

8 A. These events should be looked at in the light of how the media

9 were presenting it at the time.

10 MR. NICE: I see. Your Honour, I'm going to go back to an earlier

11 period and I'm going to take you through certain documents, I hope quite

12 quickly. If you'll just give me a minute.

13 Q. But before I do, there's one other thing I've got to say. Your

14 job started when? In December of 1992, was it? I'll check.

15 A. December of 1993, if you are referring to the position of the head

16 of the Defence Administration.

17 Q. All right. Who gave you or who appointed you to that job?

18 A. I was appointed by Dr. Jadranka Prlic, as the Prime Minister of

19 the HVO government, the civilian HVO. He appointed me through a decision.

20 Q. Was Mr. Kordic one of those who was also instrumental in

21 appointing you to your job?

22 A. I don't know, and I cannot recall the exact procedure of

23 nomination, how it went, because before my appointment I had been in

24 Kresevo.

25 MR. NICE: Exhibit 346, I think, please. Sorry, 345.

Page 22693

1 I just want to see a few documents to have your comments on them.

2 Q. So that we have the picture, this is a document that is proposing

3 appointments for the chiefs of the defence office, and the recommendation

4 comes by Mr. Kordic, as Vice-President of HDZ BiH. And we can see that

5 you've stamped and signed the document. What's his role in all that,

6 please?

7 A. That was the procedure which was in force at that time.

8 Mr. Kordic just signed it, but without a stamp, because it was stamped by

9 the municipal board of HDZ and by the municipal office in Travnik.

10 Q. But he signed this document, which is recommending, or proposing,

11 the Chiefs of Staff of the defence office?

12 A. That is just a proposal, and the head of the Defence Department

13 could accept it or not. Any proposal of mine, also he had full right to

14 accept or not accept. That was his right as the head of the Defence

15 Department and later Defence Ministry.

16 MR. NICE: A similar document, Exhibit 346. I shan't produce it.

17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, as far as timing is concerned, we'll adjourn

18 at 5 past. We will return at 2.40. We cannot sit beyond 5 past 4:00, at

19 the latest.

20 MR. NICE: I'll be done within that period of time. As the

21 Chamber will have foreseen, I've got a number of documents that this

22 witness, whose name appears on many documents -- to put to him, but that's

23 basically all I have to deal with.

24 JUDGE MAY: If, then, you could find a convenient moment about 5

25 past 1.00.

Page 22694

1 MR. NICE: Certainly. Your Honours, just give me a minute.

2 365, please.

3 Q. It may be that I shouldn't have troubled you with this document,

4 but it's there before you. We'll deal with it shortly. This is a

5 document of yours on the 16th of January of 1993. It certainly -- it

6 reveals what sort of activities you were engaged in. This is a question

7 of preparing lists of military conscripts who have left the municipality

8 since 1992. And what we can see is that in January of 1993 -- I remember

9 why I wanted to put it to you, or ask you to deal with it.

10 A. Let me just look at it.

11 Q. You were putting, or attempting to put, very considerable pressure

12 on conscripts to return to the homeland and to defend the homeland, to

13 register by the 22nd of February, warned through the media that they would

14 be considered deserters if they failed to return and that they'd lose

15 their properties. Do you remember sending this order?

16 A. I have to tell you that the document in front of me, the signature

17 is mine, but the front is very poorly legible. I have to say that the --

18 in 1992 the war -- state of war was declared, and all military conscripts

19 had to comply with the provisions of that state. So that was not

20 pressure; that was part of my task.

21 Q. Who particularly gave you this instruction at the time? Can you

22 recall?

23 A. I could only have received the instruction from the Defence

24 Department --

25 Q. Because --

Page 22695












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 22696

1 A. -- and based on regulations which regulated this issue.

2 Q. Because by the 16th of January, although there had been incidents,

3 there was no, in any sense, full-scale battle with the Muslims by this

4 stage, was there?

5 A. But we had areas which had been occupied by the BSA and the JNA in

6 1992. And in order to -- and the administration was established in

7 January 1993, and we had to see what the situation was. We had to gain an

8 insight and overview of what it was. About 50 per cent of the potential

9 recruits had left. The crisis in the former Yugoslavia, the economic

10 crisis, had started in the 1980s, so people were leaving the areas. And

11 then the years of 1991 --

12 Q. Can I just ask you this: Was there, in fact, an expectation in

13 the early or mid-part of January that you would be needing forces because

14 you may be in conflict with the Muslims?

15 A. No. We did not have such estimates and we did not have such

16 expectations.

17 Q. In January 1993 you were where? In Travnik or --

18 A. As I mentioned, the office was in Vitez, from the time of the

19 establishment, and I was involved in getting all the personnel. At first

20 the administration consisted of myself and a seal which I kept in my

21 pocket --

22 Q. Again I'm going to --

23 A. So I really have no fill the positions in order to carry out the

24 task.

25 Q. My last question, perhaps, before the break, if that's convenient

Page 22697

1 to the Court, is this: On the 20th of January things happened in

2 neighbouring Busovaca, didn't they?

3 A. Yes. There was an aggression on Busovaca and Kiseljak. At that

4 time, that weekend, I spent in Kresevo with my family, which I did on a

5 regular basis. And then I was cut off there, and I believe that I was

6 only able to get back to Vitez in March. And meanwhile I was able to

7 carry out my duties in Kacuni and Bilalovac and later in Kiseljak.

8 Q. In January, on the 20th of January, attacks were made by the HVO

9 on the Muslim interests in Busovaca, all as a result, it would appear, of

10 an incident at a checkpoint in Kacuni. Do you accept that summary of

11 events that I've just put to you?

12 A. No. Incidents were happening continuously throughout the area.

13 We would have to go all the way back to 1992, because in 1992 we lost

14 Ivica Stojak, our commander in Travnik.

15 Q. Do you accept the summary I've just put to you as for Busovaca on

16 the 20th of January, 1993, please, Mr. Puljic? Do you accept that

17 summary?

18 A. No, I don't.

19 Q. You see, I've drawn it --

20 A. I don't accept it as such because I don't know enough about the

21 situation there. And to the extent that I know it, the events started

22 much earlier. Incidents were going on throughout that period, and the

23 specific event I'm not familiar with.

24 JUDGE MAY: That might be a convenient moment.

25 Mr. Puljic, would you remember during the adjournment not to speak

Page 22698

1 to anybody about your evidence until it's over, and that does include the

2 members of the Defence team. Could you be back, please, at 2.40.

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

4 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.06 p.m.






















Page 22699

1 --- On resuming at 2.45 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.


4 Q. Mr. Puljic, I'm trying to get a full picture of matters that you

5 can help us with. We've got some constraints on time so I'm going to deal

6 with some documents very briefly. First of all, 551.1 and 551.2. As

7 they're coming to you these are documents for the 18th of March of 1993.

8 Do you accept that at that time, there were an increasing number

9 of incidents involving criminal and destructive activity by individuals in

10 HVO uniforms and that as a result of that, you reminded brigade commanders

11 of their duty to deal with criminal behaviour by conscripts. Do you

12 accept that?

13 A. I have to see the document and comment only then.

14 Q. Have a look at both the documents briefly, 551.1 sent at 8.00 in

15 the morning to the defence offices of various municipalities, all right?

16 Then if you'd like, I think just look at the heading of that or cast your

17 eyes down it.

18 A. Excuse me, but can you help me? What item did you have in mind?

19 Q. The whole document. It's not very difficult. It's got a headline

20 and it says, "Instructions on how to treat conscripts who act in a

21 destructive and criminal matter." It says there is an increasing number

22 of criminal behaviour and it then reminds people how to discipline such

23 conscripts.

24 A. This document is an instruction to chiefs of offices saying that

25 those members of the brigades who are demobilised for improper behaviour

Page 22700

1 should be assigned to work; that is, that they should not be relieved of

2 their duties in the war, but that they have to be separated because their

3 conduct is dangerous, some individuals.

4 Q. [Microphone not activated] ...reports on what you were doing, you

5 sent this half an hour later to Mr. Valenta and various other people. All

6 right. Just look at that and then we can move on to the next document.

7 Thank you, very much.

8 The next document very briefly, 604.3 for the 5th of April. One

9 of the things I'm going to be suggesting to you generally this afternoon,

10 Mr. Puljic, is that there was, in reality, an almost independent part of

11 Herceg-Bosna in your region. Its regional controller was Mr. Kordic, and

12 that civilian and military matters were all integrated. I would be

13 grateful if you'd have in mind that that is the suggestion, one of the

14 suggestions I'm putting to you so that you can deal with it.

15 This document is a 5th of April invitation, the Chamber won't

16 remember, I shouldn't think, but -- I needn't trouble you with that. This

17 document is an invitation by you to the chiefs of various municipal

18 offices requiring their attendance at a 9th of April seminar and again,

19 the topic of discussion included the establishment of defence offices but

20 it also included organisation of the Central Bosnia zone armed forces.

21 Now, doesn't this again reflect close integration of what you say

22 is the civil side of the defence office and the armed forces themselves?

23 Simple point and then we'll move on.

24 A. This document was not sent to different people, but to chiefs of

25 municipal defence offices who were within the field of competence of the

Page 22701

1 administration which I headed. The subject of the workshop was an order,

2 if you remember, which I issued in March about the replenishment of units,

3 mobilisation of men and replenishment of units. So I wanted them to

4 report to me about what they had done regarding their regular duties which

5 had to be complied with by that time.

6 So this is -- this was it. How many men had been sent and

7 mobilised on the basis of the -- pursuant to my previous instructions. I

8 think that I issued those instructions sometime in mid-March.

9 Q. Well, that document, again, is one we've seen before. It's the

10 8th of April. It's document 631. It's a big meeting that was held in

11 Travnik on Maundy Thursday, the 8th of April, I think. The first page

12 reveals with a steering committee of Kordic and others attended by,

13 amongst other people, yourself, we can see you towards the top of the

14 second page and there are only three quick points I want you to make about

15 this meeting.

16 First of all, do you remember the meeting?

17 A. I do remember the meeting because, among other things, it

18 considered the political and security situation in Central Bosnia. That

19 was the subject. It was a very broad meeting of political but also of the

20 executive nature of the HVO. And I attended it in my capacity as the head

21 of the administration at which we presented our ideas and our

22 understanding of some of the topical problems at the time.

23 Q. The third page in the English version, in the Croatian version

24 probably the third page as well under heading, "Excused Absence," it's

25 just a tiny point but we can see, this connects to something we've heard

Page 22702












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 22703

1 recently, it's actually on the second page in the Croatian version.

2 It says that the representatives from Kiseljak and Kresevo were

3 excused absence because of barricades set up by Muslims in Bilalovac and

4 Kacuni. I remind the Judges that this is the 8th of April of 1993. If we

5 go on to the next page -- well, first of all, do you remember that, the

6 existence of barricades at Kacuni?

7 A. I remember it very well, because after the conflict in January,

8 that is, open aggression against Kiseljak and Busovaca, there was -- the

9 communications were blocked and so that between Kiseljak and Busovaca,

10 there was no -- I remember it very well because I simply couldn't get

11 home.

12 Q. Just since you've had the lunchtime to think about it, you can

13 remember the open aggression, you say, against Busovaca and Kiseljak.

14 Have you been able to recall, over the luncheon adjournment, the open

15 aggression by the Croats against the Muslims in Busovaca or is that still

16 lost to your memory?

17 A. This thing in Busovaca, well, you can see, you've just shown me

18 the document showing that there were incidents, and we were taking certain

19 actions in order to put an end to those incidents. It wasn't an open

20 aggression. There was uncontrolled behaviour of some members of the HVO

21 and throughout that process, not only this document specifically, but

22 there were a number of measures that were taken and other brigades were

23 taken -- taking certain disciplinary measures. But from what I learned

24 that they were not bound to inform me.

25 But since they were relieving some men of the duties in their

Page 22704

1 brigades, then we were faced with the problem and so we issued the

2 instructions in April that those men should be placed at the labour

3 obligations, and weapons were taken away from them and so on and so

4 forth. That is the weapons that belonged to the brigades. I don't know.

5 Q. The fourth page in the English, the third page in the Croatian,

6 paragraph 5. You were at the meeting. It says this: That the meeting

7 decided to give full support to Mr. Mate Boban for his superhuman efforts

8 in resolving the historical destiny of the Croatian people. Was that

9 destiny to live in an enlarged Croatian state, please? Is that what you

10 understood by "the historical destiny of the Croatian people"?

11 A. No. The Bosnia-Herzegovinian crisis had been internationalised,

12 and in 1992 talks had already begun about the solution to the

13 Bosnia-Herzegovinian crisis. So I think this concerns -- this is about

14 the support lent to Mr. Boban during the negotiations with the

15 International Community, that is, the negotiations which comprised all

16 three ethnic communities from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

17 Q. Passing over the next paragraph, I observe, just so the Chamber

18 won't overlook it, that operation of HVO bodies includes a requirement for

19 proportionally to include Muslims. But then we come to military

20 organisation, and just note this, please, if you would. Under military

21 organisation it says this:

22 "Military authorities have to work as much as possible on

23 strengthening the military organisation and full readiness for the defence

24 of Croatian territory, and individuals must be appointed to key posts

25 after consultation with the HDZ."

Page 22705

1 Well, now, please help us, Mr. Puljic. You were a member of the

2 HDZ, you were a member of the defence office, you knew about the army.

3 It's right, isn't it, that the party, the civil side and the army, were

4 all inextricably linked, as this little passage gives away.

5 A. That is your opinion. My opinion is quite different. It is

6 natural to seek the ablest personnel for different duties, regardless of

7 whether one is talking about the military or the civilian part of life.

8 One always looks for the best players.

9 Q. Very well.

10 A. That is natural.

11 Q. I don't mean to interrupt you. The party, we know, established

12 the community, the community established the HVO, all without a vote.

13 You've now got the military part, as you would say, of the HVO. Why has

14 the political party got to be consulted about military appointments if

15 there isn't, in reality, a single body running things? Help me.

16 A. The party did not appoint personnel at all, but it could be

17 consulted about certain nominations. But it does not mean that these

18 proposals -- that is, if party people proposed somebody, it was not who

19 appointed them. The brigade commanders, the commander of the Operative

20 Zone, did not have to go by the opinion of the HDZ.

21 Q. Finally, on page 7 of the English, and I think it will be the last

22 page of the Croatian, which I'm going to summarise. There was a

23 discussion at this meeting with representatives of Vares and Kakanj. And

24 if we pick it up at the foot of the page in English and after the names

25 listed, please, Mr. Puljic.

Page 22706

1 "The views and the political opinion of Boban were conveyed, and

2 the representatives of Vares and Kakanj gave their full support and thanks

3 to President Boban and the delegation for their attempts to restore the

4 two municipalities to the borders of the Croatian province."

5 What's meant by "Croatian province," please?

6 A. The negotiations -- I think this is Vance-Owen Plan

7 negotiations -- when the municipalities Vares and Kakanj found themselves

8 outside the municipalities with a Croat majority. They were here in a

9 minority. But those negotiations had not come to an end. Because as far

10 as I can remember, the Croat side did sign these papers, but they had not

11 come to an end. And this is how one should interpret this, as an attempt

12 at a further effort. What if the plan does not go through? Because in

13 the past we had a number of negotiations and plans which we accepted, but

14 they never went through.

15 Q. And --

16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, could you give me the exhibit number,

17 please.

18 MR. NICE: Yes, of course. 631 for this exhibit. I'm so sorry.

19 JUDGE MAY: And the reference to the military organisation, which

20 page?

21 MR. NICE: It comes on page 4 and it's at the foot of the page.

22 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

23 Would the registrar please come and have a word.

24 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]

25 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

Page 22707












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Page 22708


2 Q. As we part from this document, which we can see on the last page

3 is signed by Mr. Kordic as Colonel Kordic, and on this occasion as

4 vice-president of the party, can you help at all with why he's signing

5 himself as Colonel?

6 A. Excuse me. I don't understand the question.

7 Q. Sorry.

8 A. Could you please repeat it.

9 Q. Of course. On the last page you'll see that Mr. Kordic has signed

10 "Pukovnik," Colonel. Can you help? Maybe you can't. Why is he signing

11 as Colonel, especially when he's just there for the party? Do you see

12 what I mean?

13 A. Sir, since tripartite talks were organised in Sarajevo under the

14 umbrella of UNPROFOR, I believe it was all organised and run by General

15 Morillon, and those talks were taking place at the airport in Sarajevo.

16 In the beginning Mr. Kordic did not attend at those negotiations, but then

17 he was given a role and participated in those negotiations. And I believe

18 this was just a nominal function, because he was never in the command of

19 any unit nor in the chain of command, so that this was merely a title,

20 simply because of the problems with communications in late 1992 and early

21 1993. Because of the aggravated security situation, officers of the Main

22 Staff could not attend these talks.

23 Q. You seem to have been at pains to make out that he genuinely was a

24 politician and had no desire really to be in any way military. Even

25 assuming that what you say by way of the purpose for the title is correct,

Page 22709

1 which I don't accept, the limited purpose of the title, why on earth

2 should he be using it now? Those meetings were all over, the Sarajevo

3 meetings. Why stick with the title "Colonel" unless this was a way of

4 reflecting his real power in the region? Can you help us?

5 A. I do not think that the purpose of this signature -- that could

6 not be the purpose of the signature, because Mr. Kordic could not order

7 anything to be executed at that time. He had no authority regarding the

8 command of the armed forces. I do not know why this is indicated in this

9 paper, because I did not take part in wording this document.

10 Q. You'd accept, I suppose, would you, that it must be a different

11 thing for somebody to sign himself as a colonel over a political job

12 title; it's a different thing, isn't it, for that than, for example,

13 signing himself a colonel in respect of the Operative Zone for Central

14 Bosnia. You'd say there was a difference, would you?

15 A. From what I know about the armed forces, if somebody was a

16 commander at a certain level, then it would mean that his order was

17 carried out.

18 Q. I haven't got time to explore that anymore. The next document,

19 653.3, please, 14th of April. Here you are. Civil only side of the

20 defence office. The document dated the 14th of April, signed by you, and

21 stamped. And it goes to the chief of Vitez, Skopljak.

22 "Following a tour of inspection of the Vitez Brigade, we were

23 warned that the brigade has not been brought up to strength. Since all

24 the deadlines for completion of the task contained in an order have

25 expired, we're advising you to complete the task by the 22nd of April."

Page 22710












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Page 22711

1 Is that really a civil instruction? It looks a bit military, it

2 may be thought.

3 A. This absolutely is a civilian instruction, and it was defined when

4 this task was to be completed. But after the tour of inspection in the

5 Vitez Brigade, conducted by the operations on command, we intervened and

6 we said that the task should be done as first set up.

7 Q. Very well. We come to the incidents at Ahmici. Do you know

8 anything about those?

9 A. What I can say about it is that I was not directly informed about

10 the events in Ahmici. I think that I was only informed about it two days

11 after it happened. And I gave certain tasks to the defence office, that

12 is, for the clearing of terrain to do the proper burials. I didn't

13 realise what the proportions of these things were, and it was not within

14 the scope of my job anyway.

15 Q. I dare say, but when did you discover what happened?

16 A. I did not discover. I received information.

17 Q. When did you receive information?

18 A. I was advised. Through the media.

19 Q. Here you are, head of the defence office, with all the little

20 defence offices -- not little -- all the other defence offices subordinate

21 to you, close to Kordic and everybody else, and are you really telling us

22 that you never found out directly anything about what happened at Ahmici,

23 a hundred people killed and all that sort of thing? You never found out?

24 A. I talk about the first information I received. That was from the

25 media. And the responsibility of the defence office, that was within the

Page 22712

1 front. We were not competent for the troops. They were under no

2 obligation to report to us, those who were in that zone of responsibility

3 where that happened.

4 Q. Well, I'm going to pass from this but I will just give you one

5 chance. Some people will think it was the topic of interest at some stage

6 and that people would want to ask. Did you ever ask to find out what

7 happened?

8 A. Of course as a human being and as a person with some

9 responsibility, I was interested, and after I received the first

10 information -- but I never received any official reports. I tried to get

11 information at the Operative Zone and the civilian protection when it was

12 able to enter the area. That is the defence office because do not forget,

13 there was fighting going on in that area for two or three days so they

14 couldn't get in.

15 Q. Can you help us and the Chamber and the Judges and so on. Can you

16 help us please with who did the massacre? Just tell us.

17 A. I cannot because I don't know -- even to date, I don't know and I

18 never had access to the official information who -- which units were

19 there. I never had the duty and the obligation to know which units were

20 responsible for which zone of operation.

21 Q. Fine, if that's your answer, next question. Can we look at,

22 please, Exhibit 2812A.

23 This is for the 17th of April, you see this is just after Ahmici

24 and it's a document that comes to you from Gavro Maric. And it's on the

25 ELMO. We can see a little bit about it.

Page 22713

1 It's for your attention and it says this, "We sent a report

2 yesterday," so that would have been the 16th, "in which we informed you of

3 two soldiers from Vitez killed in the conflict with Muslim forces. Last

4 night, 16 April at 8.30 in the evening another was brought in, here are

5 the names." There are three names. There is obviously something wrong

6 with the years of birth, because even if the two at 1970 could possibly be

7 accurate as they could be in 1993, the one in 1997 is plainly mistyped.

8 So -- or something wrong about that but never mind. Then it goes on to

9 say, since the Busovaca municipality --

10 A. It is possible. I think that just one figure was added. It is

11 possible that it was 1971.

12 Q. Thank you. "Since the Busovaca municipality has no conditions for

13 preserving bodies of the deceased for longer periods, we ask you to inform

14 the command and organs of the Vitez municipality since we weren't able to

15 get in touch."

16 Now, two or three things. First, what this document is revealing

17 is that soldiers from Vitez had been found in some way dead or taken dead

18 to Busovaca; correct?

19 A. It probably is correct because the person probably would not have

20 reported the deaths.

21 Q. Second thing is: We see that there is no complaint, there is no

22 outrage in this report about how these men died, just simply records that

23 we died in a conflict with the Muslim forces. Do you now recall, since

24 there was apparently a discussion the night before, do you recall where

25 these men died, please?

Page 22714












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Page 22715

1 A. I don't know, nor can I glean from the report at what part of the

2 front they were killed. All I could do was ask the chief of defence

3 office to see what he could do, and he said he would deal with it the next

4 day and I presume that he dealt with it on the basis of this document, but

5 I do not remember the specific situation. At that time, there was a lot

6 of those killed. Civilians were getting killed and the situation was

7 chaotic.

8 Q. My position is this on the 16th of April, the HVO mounted an

9 attack, and in the course of that, some of its soldiers got killed and the

10 tone of in document fits with that, you see?

11 A. First of all, I don't know where these soldiers were killed, at

12 what front line. That's number one, I don't know. And second, we were

13 attacked and I don't know whether they were killed at Ahmici or some other

14 part of the front, I don't know, because the front around Vitez was about

15 70 kilometres long. But I cannot see from this report, and it wasn't my

16 duty to know what part of the front line someone was killed at.

17 Q. Thank you. The next document I want you to reconsider very

18 briefly is 696. This is the document where you -- I will just remind the

19 Chamber of it, this is where you used Mr. Kordic's name, Mr. Kostroman's

20 name without their consent. They had no part in this document at all; is

21 that what you're saying?

22 A. Absolutely. That is what I stated previously. But we can agree

23 about this document. If -- especially if you considered their attitudes,

24 their humanism and their human qualities.

25 Q. Of course I understand. And you are writing here to Colonel

Page 22716

1 Stewart who is a stranger to your -- the intricacies of your organisation;

2 would that be correct? He wouldn't know one way or another whether it

3 would be likely for Mr. Kordic or Mr. Kostroman to sign this document so

4 he would be happy to see your names there; would that be fair?

5 A. I never had an opportunity to meet Mr. Stewart, and I didn't have

6 contacts with the international organisations and their representatives,

7 but we were -- in the situation where there were combat operations going

8 on, and I just try to protect the civilians. That is the import and that

9 is the -- that was the aim of this document. I never had an opportunity

10 to talk with Colonel Stewart personally.

11 Q. Is part of what you were doing at the time on orders and on behalf

12 of others? Was part of what you were doing exaggerating the Croat

13 suffering because it was already known that there had been unacceptable

14 behaviour at Ahmici? Is that part of what was going on?

15 A. Let me see the date here, 17 April. I had information, reports

16 that large numbers of civilians from Zenica was on the move. Also we had

17 a lot of people on the move in the municipality of Vitez so it was a

18 general confusion. I did not have information on Ahmici. Had I had, I

19 would have undertaken certain steps --

20 Q. Finally --

21 A. -- within my -- the scope of my job, obviously.

22 Q. Finally, would you accept that it would be one thing to use

23 Mr. Kordic's name when you are writing to a British battalion officer

24 without Kordic's consent. It would, of course, be an entirely different

25 thing to use Kordic's name or Kostroman's when writing to some senior

Page 22717












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Page 22718

1 member of the HVO or the HDZ?

2 A. I didn't quite understand.

3 Q. If you didn't understand I'll repeat it again. You couldn't

4 possibly justify using Mr. Kordic's name without his consent if you were

5 going to write to Mr. Boban, for example, you couldn't possibly justify

6 doing that, could you?

7 A. I did not need to send such letters. If the situation dictated

8 that, I would have written a similar letter to Mr. Boban if the situation

9 was such that the protection was needed for the population regardless of

10 their ethnic background.

11 Q. There would be no way of -- you couldn't justify borrowing

12 Kordic's name when writing to Kordic's immediate superior, could you,

13 without Kordic's consent. It would be terribly embarrassing because Boban

14 would say to him, "I've just got your letter," and he'd say, "What

15 letter?" You couldn't possibly justify that, could you?

16 A. Again, let me repeat, I would have written such letter to

17 Mr. Boban, and I believe that one such letter was sent by me to Mr. Boban.

18 Q. You understand the point that's coming. Exhibit 697, please.

19 Indeed you did, on the same day, write to -- in fact, Mr. Petkovic, Boban,

20 Stojic and others in similar terms and you signed for Kordic and for

21 Kostroman. There's the letter. The translation can go on the ELMO.

22 Similar terms following the massacre, organised evacuation, circular

23 defence.

24 You signed the letter, again, for all three. You did it with

25 their consent as you well know.

Page 22719

1 A. No. I did not ask their consent for this letter either. The

2 communications were cut off.

3 Q. Where were they, Mr. Kordic and Mr. Kostroman on the day after

4 Ahmici?

5 A. I know that they were not in Vitez, and I know that they were

6 headquartered in Busovaca so I assume that they were there. I know that

7 they couldn't have come to Vitez because of the fighting that was going on

8 in the area and the communications were cut off.

9 Q. Did they communicate with you and tell you to send this letter, in

10 particular, Mr. Kordic?

11 A. No.

12 Q. You see I'm going to suggest that this was part of planned defence

13 by the HVO to what it knew was coming by way of adverse comments,

14 understating it, adverse views once Ahmici was discovered. Do you accept

15 that? This was all part of defensive reaction by the HVO.

16 A. Absolutely not.

17 Q. You say -- it's not a document of yours, I'll just identify for it

18 for its number, 701.1. Did you know, at the time on the 17th of April,

19 somebody named Tomic? Did you know somebody called Tomic was asserting

20 that UNPROFOR was siding with Muslim forces and opening fire on Croatian

21 houses? Did you know that sort of disinformation was being circulated?

22 A. I hear that for the first time.

23 Q. Thank you.

24 A. You said that there was a document, can I see it?

25 Q. Certainly you can see it but it's not yours. It's 701.1.

Page 22720

1 A. If it's not my document then perhaps --

2 Q. You'll see --

3 A. This is from the Operative Zone command. I had nothing to do with

4 them. That was part of the armed forces.

5 Q. Thank you. Incidentally, were you aware, and this is another

6 document that you can look at if you'd like, it comes from Blaskic but

7 it's not yours. The document is 702. Were you aware that at the same

8 day, the 17th of April, although Blaskic was complaining of Croats in

9 Zenica suffering at Muslim hands, he was also saying that all of today's

10 attacks had been repelled and the enemy had been crushed. Were you aware

11 of that and was it true?

12 A. I don't know because I did -- I was not in the possession of

13 information regarding the situation of our forces on the front line.

14 During this confusion, Mr. Blaskic was at his command post, and I didn't

15 ask any information from him and he was not under any obligation to send

16 any to me.

17 Q. Well, we'll come now, please, to the 2nd of June, Exhibit 1009.

18 This is a document addressed to you. It comes from Colonel Kordic,

19 vice-president of the community dated the 2nd of June, and it's a

20 decision. What it says is this: "In compliance with a verbal agreement

21 in Novi Travnik, the defence office will allocate these are forcibly taken

22 vehicles as follows and one to Stjepan Tomasevic, one to the Novi Travnik

23 HVO, and the third to the 4th Military Police Battalion." That shows, as

24 clear as can be, that Kordic had authority with all branches of the

25 military, doesn't it? He could allocate, seize resources between

Page 22721

1 competing claimants.

2 A. I wouldn't agree with you.

3 Q. What else does it show?

4 A. I can only understand this decision as information, and I think

5 that these allocations were already -- had already been carried out and

6 this is just as a follow-up, this information. To me, I perceive this

7 more as information not as an order.

8 Q. Who else made the decision as it is headed if it wasn't

9 Mr. Kordic, please, in respect of, I remind you, Stjepan Tomasevic, Novi

10 Travnik and the 4th Military Police Battalion. Who else was it? Who else

11 had authority over all three?

12 A. I explained the process of mobilisation. In their -- the brigades

13 went to those who were in -- competent for their zone of responsibility so

14 that in Novi Travnik, they went to the Novi Travnik defence office. In

15 Vitez, the Vitez defence office and so on, and they would be then given

16 whatever was available to that office at that time.

17 Q. It's a simple question and then I'm going to move on: Who, as a

18 single person, who had authority over those three groups if not

19 Mr. Kordic? Can you name anyone else; yes or no?

20 A. In mobilisation, there wasn't a single person. I was responsible

21 for the mobilisation not only those three municipalities, but including

22 those three municipalities.

23 Q. Thank you very much. Exhibit 1135, example of Kordic's control

24 over you. This is the 2nd of July, and in his office of vice -- in his

25 office as -- he signs "Vice-President of the Office of the President of

Page 22722

1 HR HB." Note that, please. A different title: Vice-President of the

2 Office of the President of the Republic of Herceg-Bosna. Now, the

3 president of Herceg-Bosna had military authority, and he's now signing as

4 vice-president. And the order is about conscripts and new recruits and

5 training courses. That's not a civilian order; that's a military order,

6 isn't it? Yes or no?

7 A. This is a civilian order. This concerns the enrollment of people

8 in military registers, their recruitment, and their dispatch for military

9 training. Because this is the young generation, and in times of crisis we

10 could also engage people of that age group. If you look at the decree,

11 then you will understand why this is so. This is not a military order;

12 this is a civilian order, because it is addressed to the Defence

13 Administration.

14 Q. Well, then I'm going to suggest that actually what you're talking

15 is frankly nonsense. But perhaps you'll help us with this and answer that

16 suggestion of mine as well. Why is he now signing as Vice-President of

17 the Office of the President?

18 A. Well, listen, that is something that I don't know. It

19 skipped -- I received this letter from them. I cannot explain that. But

20 under the decree of the armed forces, this is the president. So perhaps

21 because the communications with Mr. Boban were cut off and the decision

22 had to be taken, because we were faced with a shortage of men in the units

23 and we had to carry out additional mobilisation. [Indiscernible] -- that

24 document on the basis of which we could do it, so regular sending of

25 recruits for training, that is normally done under peacetime conditions,

Page 22723

1 and not to mention the situation in which we were.

2 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I can see the time, so I'm pruning a

3 number of documents. I may come back to them, but probably not. If

4 you'll just give me a minute, I'll be able to sort my thinking out.

5 Q. 1198.3, the 9th of September. This is a document coming to you

6 from Colonel Blaskic.

7 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]


9 Q. This document is dated the 9th of September, Blaskic to you,

10 informing you that the following members of the Vitezovi Special Purpose

11 Unit are to be put at the disposal of the Travnik Defence Administration

12 in the Vitez forward command post, and the men are all listed. That

13 means, doesn't it, that they're to be put at the disposal of the Vitez

14 Brigade, is that right, or have I got it wrong?

15 A. No. This came from the Operational Zone Central Bosnia, that is,

16 Colonel Blaskic, and he informs me which military conscripts had been

17 relieved of duty in Vitezovi and tells us what municipalities they come

18 from so that I could make a list and give it to the heads of defence

19 offices in Travnik, Vitez --

20 Q. These soldiers would then have been working --

21 A. -- and also those who were from Zenica, because they were under

22 the defence office in Vitez; that is, because they were now available,

23 that they should be sent to brigades which were short of men.

24 Q. Thank you.

25 A. For instance, in Travnik, there were two brigades.

Page 22724

1 Q. Regular interchange of troops --

2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.


4 Q. Regular interchange of troops between special patrol units --

5 special units and other units; correct?

6 A. No. These are military conscripts. They were relieved, had no

7 duties in their units. So they are placed at the disposal of the defence

8 office, and the defence office decide where it will assign them to. I

9 cannot see from this whether they were under disciplinary proceedings or

10 something. This could be labour obligation for these men. But since they

11 all seem to be of young age, possibly they were to be sent to some other

12 units. So this was sending men from units to civilians. And may I

13 finish?

14 Q. That's all I want. Thank you very much.

15 Z1253. We've already looked at documents in September, where

16 Kordic was given the title of head of the forward command post of the

17 president. This is another document. This time it goes from you to the

18 defence minister himself, your supreme boss. It encloses some orders and

19 it just simply says this:

20 "The above orders were issued by the head of the Travnik Defence

21 Administration, Mr. Anto Puljic, with the approval of the following ..."

22 Starting in reverse order, Valenta. He's there as his HVO position;

23 Kostroman, his position of Secretary-General of the Republic, as it was

24 called; and then Colonel Dario Kordic, head of the forward command post of

25 the office of the HR HB president.

Page 22725

1 You typed it, or you had it typed, and you signed it. What did

2 you mean by it?

3 A. In my explanation to your earlier question, I told you about this

4 order. This was the information that I was sending to Mr. Bruno Stojic,

5 defence minister of HR HB, about the defence office in Vitez. And I also

6 pointed out here that, as it was shown in the media, I put the title next

7 to Mr. Kordic's name. I do not know if he ever used it when he

8 corresponded with me in official correspondence. I simply used what was

9 being used in the media at the time, because -- at press conferences and

10 so on and so forth. So this wasn't formal. And this document was written

11 by me, or rather I signed it.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please explain what is the IZM forward command

13 post of which Colonel Kordic was the head.

14 MR. NICE:

15 Q. Can you answer the Judge's question, please. What was the IZM,

16 please? I think it actually is forward command post. I think its

17 expansion is forward command post.

18 A. This acronym, it was used mostly in the units of the Croat Defence

19 Council, Main Staff, commander of the Operational Zone, brigade commander,

20 and that is commander in a certain area of responsibility. And I think in

21 this communication, as it was always in the media, then somebody used the

22 IZM. And I told about that to Mr. Kordic, but I do not think he

23 discharged that duty, because he did not have that command authority.

24 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Microphone not activated]

25 A. An order could be issued only by the commander within the armed

Page 22726

1 forces, or rather our Main Staff. And everybody has common knowledge who

2 he received the orders from, that is, the chief of the Main Staff. I

3 hope, Your Honour, that you are satisfied with this answer.

4 JUDGE ROBINSON: I wanted to know if the command post, is that the

5 military command, military command post?

6 A. No, no. No, no, no. By no means. By no means. Not in this

7 case. I really wouldn't know either. Let me tell you, it was in the

8 media all the time: forward command post, certain commanders of military

9 units, and then somebody used simply in the media "forward command post"

10 for Mr. Kordic. But Mr. Kordic couldn't have it, because all the

11 institutions worked in accordance with the system.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.

13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Puljic, but it is

14 you who signed this document. This is not something that was done in the

15 media. So you approved that title, forward command post. You signed this

16 document. How could it be, then? How could you use it in the document?

17 I'm asking you, Mr. Puljic.

18 A. I've just -- I'm saying I simply used it because it was in the

19 media already, because I never received it in any official document from

20 Mr. Kordic that he discharged that duty. But I'm saying as it was always

21 in the media and then I wrote the order and the previous document, the

22 document which preceded this one, and because of which I was sending the

23 report to the minister, then I simply put it because of what the media

24 said, as media put it. But that was not his official office, because I

25 did not receive any official document, so I cannot say. If somebody made

Page 22727












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Page 22728

1 an omission, then the omission was mine, not Mr. Kordic's. And this

2 document was written and I approved it and it was signed by my deputy.

3 But I stand by this document. I am the person responsible for this

4 document.


6 Q. Let me be blunt. The account you're giving is untrue, and you're

7 giving it in order to try and protect Kordic, as is revealed by the fact,

8 if you like, that this document itself is headed "military secret". These

9 are military matters, and you know it perfectly well.

10 A. Your Honours, in the defence department, we had not only rules on

11 job distribution, but also we had some rules on the protection of the

12 confidentiality of documents. And we behaved accordingly. That was how

13 we recorded the documents in the books and also ex officio we had to put

14 defence up there in order to protect the confidentiality of these

15 documents. Because after all, there was war and war activities.

16 Q. Look briefly at 1290 which is dated the 9th of November. A small

17 point. It's headed, "Military Secret" dated the 9th of November, about

18 evacuation of inhabitants and it's signed by you. It deals with

19 Kiseljak. You sent it, quite specifically, to the office of the

20 vice-president of the Republic, Mr. Dario Kordic, personally. He was the

21 vice-president and he was, for practical purposes, in your region, the

22 authority; correct?

23 A. This document was the result of the difficult situation and

24 developments in Vares, because a huge number of refugees had arrived in

25 Kiseljak and some were still on their way there from Vares through Ilijas

Page 22729

1 to Kiseljak. And in this letter I am asking to provide accommodation for

2 people who were on the run, to ensure their safest possible evacuation.

3 Because in the dramatic situation the head of the office --

4 Q. I'm so pressed for time, I'm going to have to cut you short,

5 because I've only got another ten minutes and I've got some important

6 documents to put to you that you must deal with. I want to know simply an

7 answer to this question. You sent it to Mr. Kordic as vice-president of

8 the Republic because that's what he was. And I'd like you, while you're

9 thinking about this question, to look at 1316. It will save some time.

10 This is an assignment proposal of a military nature, somebody who was a

11 corporal being proposed for another job, and it comes from three people,

12 one of whom is Mr. Kordic, again signing as vice-president of the

13 Republic.

14 A. Mr. Kordic, it says here, but I'm not really sure if at that time

15 he was -- he held the office of the vice-president. But I put his name in

16 this document and I wrote this document and explained why. But he didn't

17 have it. I repeat: He had the political role, but none in the executive

18 power nor civilian nor the military one. And the document that you show

19 to me is my proposal for the assignment of my deputy, Ljubomir Jurcic,

20 to -- and his assignment to a job in the Ministry of Defence. And I'm

21 asking Mr. Dario Kordic and Mr. Kostroman to give their opinion of him,

22 and they signed it. This is a proposal to the defence minister --

23 Q. All right. Thank you.

24 A. -- for a job in the ministry.

25 Q. And you can't explain why he signed as vice-president of the

Page 22730

1 republic, can you?

2 A. Not at this moment, because it was in the media always and I'm not

3 sure that he was the vice-president of the republic. I know that he was

4 the vice-president of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna but not of the

5 Croat republic.

6 Q. 1317.1, this is a very short document. It doesn't relate to

7 Mr. Kordic. It's a document signed by you on the 27th of November. I

8 just want to know, please, whether this was standard behaviour and

9 performance. You requested 300 tonnes of coal under the guise of

10 humanitarian assistance to organise the production of gun powder and

11 rocket fuel. Which humanitarian group did you persuade to provide you

12 with this coal; can you remember?

13 A. I was not trying to talk anyone into anything. I sent this

14 document saying that we needed this coal, not only as industrial fuel but

15 in Vitez, there was a factory and the boiler room was also used to heat

16 the town because this is winter and we needed heating.

17 Q. It says, "under the guise of humanitarian assistance." Which

18 humanitarian organisation did you attempt to persuade to provide you with

19 this coal, please?

20 A. Me? None.

21 Q. Right.

22 A. But I wasn't trying to persuade them about it because that was not

23 my task.

24 Q. One thing we know, because you've confirmed it this morning, is

25 that the main staff is a military organisation. So I'd like you to look

Page 22731

1 at some documents, and because we are so pressed for time I may have to

2 ask you to look at them very quickly.

3 1357.2, please first. Once the documents are in, their content

4 can be the subject of argument at later stages in the trial. 14th of

5 January 1994, you sign and send a letter to, amongst others, Mr. Kordic in

6 his capacity as assistant chief of the main staff.

7 Do you see that document?

8 A. I do have the document. We organised a system of communications.

9 Let me just explain. Until that time, we were using the communications

10 system of the Operative Zone Central Bosnia to send our documents.

11 Meanwhile, we managed to obtain the equipment and established our system

12 of communications, and here I inform that the civilian segment and that

13 was the custom and the practice to send government documents to be sent

14 through this particular system.

15 Q. I'm sorry --

16 A. That was the practice.

17 Q. You answered me this morning, maybe when you didn't know what I

18 was going to be asking you later, but you made it quite plain that the

19 main staff was an exclusively military body. No ifs and buts, Mr. Puljic,

20 that's what you told me.

21 Now, let's look at another document, and this one is 1363. Can we

22 have that? You can have them all, as far as I'm concerned. 25th of

23 January, 1994. This is to do with gun powder production and it goes to

24 Sliskovic and it goes to the assistant chief to the main staff of the

25 armed forces of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Dario Kordic.

Page 22732

1 Would you like to look next, please, at 1363.1? There's a

2 shortage of time. This is dated the 26th of January, 1994. It's a

3 document signed by you to be delivered to the assistant chief of the main

4 staff, Colonel Dario Kordic. And indeed, it says that, "Based on an oral

5 request from Colonel Dario Kordic," you've appointed a working group.

6 Keeping those documents before you, we'll go to 1365.2, please.

7 Dated the 2nd of February of 1994. It goes to the chief of the political

8 administration of defence, Kostroman, and to the assistant chief of the

9 main staff of the armed forces, Dario Kordic. And it's to do with the

10 opinion on the creation of the Zenica defence office.

11 1369, please. The 9th of February, 1994. The content I'm not

12 particularly concerned with. It comes from you, and it says at the top,

13 hand over to the assistant chief of the general staff, the main staff of

14 the armed forces, Colonel Dario Kordic personally in Busovaca.

15 Z1371, please. This time, it's a document coming from Blaskic so

16 it's not just by you, it's signed by him. And it's dated the 11th of

17 February, but we see in the order on the first page in the English, and we

18 can see the same thing in the first page towards the top in the Croatian

19 this: "On the 9th of February at 1500 hours, a meeting was held in the

20 military district command with the following participants: Colonel Dario

21 Kordic, assistant chief of the HVO main staff," and others.

22 And then finally on this topic, 1388.1, and after this, I only

23 have two documents to do, and I think I've got -- well, the Court has only

24 until ten past four. This is the 1st of March of 1994 and it goes from

25 you. It's to do with helicopter access. "Attention the assistant chief

Page 22733

1 of the general staff HR HB, the main staff of the armed forces, Colonel

2 Dario Kordic in Busovaca."

3 Right. Those are your documents save for the one from Blaskic

4 which simply fits with yours. Can you tell me please, why he's addressed

5 in an absolutely clear military capacity?

6 A. I was writing to Mr. Kordic because, as a politician, he wanted to

7 receive the information about everything that happened. But all those

8 extraordinary situations that I thought he should be informed, I simply

9 sent him those letters to inform him. And on the other hand, I just say,

10 as for the title, I used what is in the media. I do not know that he was

11 not -- I do not know that he ever issued any order as the assistant chief

12 of the main staff.

13 So that I do not know that -- I do not know that he could issue

14 orders to any unit, nor would it ever be carried out. And after all,

15 Mr. Kordic -- Mr. Kordic became the president of the HDZ and otherwise, he

16 would have been continued normally as Blaskic in the main -- through the

17 main staff had he been a soldier.

18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Puljic, you were an official of this organisation

19 in charge of the defence administration department. You were writing to

20 your superiors or, indeed, to Mr. Kordic himself. And do you really say

21 that you were using a title which you had seen in the media? Why would

22 you do such a thing?

23 A. Your Honours, that is what I'm saying. I mean in the office which

24 I held I was never notified officially that Mr. Kordic had been appointed,

25 nor was I told about appointments in the main staff or the defence

Page 22734

1 ministry except insofar as the service for which I was responsible was

2 concerned.

3 Besides, the communications were cut off, and the first time I

4 could talk -- seven, no ten months after I was appointed, I met my

5 minister for defence because of the communications problem, I simply

6 couldn't meet anyone. So I'm talking about the communication problems we

7 had at the time.

8 JUDGE MAY: So you used the title which you had seen in the media;

9 is that what we are to believe?

10 A. Your Honours, I came here to tell the truth and this is what I

11 did, how I lived, and what I lived through.

12 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. We haven't had those exhibits unless they

13 are previously exhibited.

14 MR. NICE: Yes, I think they have mostly been previously

15 exhibited, and I have been distributing the new ones as they've come

16 along.

17 Q. You do realise, Mr. Puljic, that this is the second title you've

18 picked up from the press, you're saying, not just one, two titles that you

19 are simply borrowing from the media; is that really your account?

20 A. I've just said so.

21 Q. Which media?

22 A. Media which were accessible to us at the time; local television,

23 local press.

24 Q. So may we take it then that the local press, on your account, was

25 describing him as the deputy president or was describing him as the deputy

Page 22735

1 head of the main staff and they were never corrected and they just carried

2 on using these incorrect terms. Is that really your position?

3 A. No, I couldn't really keep up with the media because of my daily

4 obligations, but what I could see on those occasion when I had opportunity

5 to follow the media, that was what they said.

6 Q. At the most three, probably only two other documents. The first

7 one, 327.1, we go back in time. The reality, Mr. Puljic, is that you owe

8 a lot to Mr. Kordic because, indeed, he got you your job. It's on the

9 18th of December 1992, which is incorrect, it should be the 28th. It's

10 been translated at speed and in error.

11 The recommendation that Anto Puljic should take his job as the

12 chief of the office of defence having taken active part in the work of the

13 HVO for the first days of the war, having been a founding member of the

14 HDZ, and having held the office as president in Kresevo, should have this

15 job. And there you were, you were put up for it by vice-president of the

16 HZ HB and the HVO, Colonel Dario Kordic, along with Blaskic and

17 Kostroman. Do you remember that now?

18 A. This morning I said that I was not familiar with the procedure of

19 my appointment, rather how I was suggested or nominated. And I'm happy to

20 see this document now.

21 Q. Were you aware that in -- on the 7th of October of 1993 when you

22 were away from the area, there was a meeting where efforts were made to

23 unseat you, to remove you from your position? Mr. Vidak, in particular,

24 was concerned to get you out of your post; do you remember that?

25 A. I do remember, yes. I was informed about it, and I did see the

Page 22736












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Page 22737

1 minutes.

2 Q. Was it Kordic who kept you your job on that occasion?

3 A. I think it was kept for me by the defence minister because if he

4 thought that I should have been removed, then he would have removed me

5 regardless of what Mr. Kordic's opinion might have been.

6 Q. The very last document out of order. I just want your comment on

7 1189.1. It's a document of yours. It's out of sequence. 1st of

8 September 1993. I just want your comment on this. It fits with an

9 earlier question I asked you.

10 It says this, "The Croatian people in the Croatian Republic of

11 Herceg-Bosna are waging a defence war that has been imposed on them by the

12 enemy. The enemy of the Croatian people is anybody who threatens their

13 existence and the territorial integrity of their state." Which state?

14 A. Bosnia-Herzegovina.

15 Q. Or was it the smaller state or was it the state of Croatia itself

16 of which you were primarily concerned?

17 A. No. We were primarily concerned about Bosnia-Herzegovina because

18 you may have noticed that all the documents that I wrote had above the

19 letterhead Bosnia-Herzegovina and all the seals that they used, and these

20 documents also bore Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21 MR. NICE: Thank you, and I apologise for the briskness of the

22 pace I've had to move at.

23 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

24 Your Honours, I have even less time at my disposal, but I will really try

25 to -- not to go beyond a couple of questions.

Page 22738

1 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:

2 Q. Mr. Puljic, there was mention about the titles that you used when

3 you -- which titles you added to the name of Mr. Kordic. The Prosecutor

4 says two, and it seems to me that there were three titles in these

5 documents that we were showing you. Their Honours also asked you what

6 does "IZM" mean and you gave us your view. However, the second word which

7 is next to it is not said and it says IZM office or chancellery and

8 "kancelarija" or "chancellery," it means office, doesn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Was the word "chancellery" used to describe the military command

11 or not?

12 A. No.

13 Q. So when we say "chancellery," it means office?

14 A. Absolutely.

15 Q. Which part of the government is called chancellery?

16 A. Well, it can be minister's office or prime minister and so on.

17 Q. Or to put it this way, the word "chancellery" or "office," do they

18 exist in military or civilian branches of power?

19 A. Only in civilian branches of power.

20 Q. You spoke about a forward command post, your office was also

21 relocated, that is, it was not a command post. It was simply a forward

22 post; is that what you said?

23 A. Yes, that is what I said this morning in my testimony.

24 Q. So it was relocated because you did not work in Travnik. You

25 worked from another town, from Vitez, didn't you?

Page 22739

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So when one says "relocated", it does not mean command.

3 A. That is what I am trying to explain to Their Honours. Yes,

4 relocated, that is what it means. But this "IZM", I don't know about the

5 terminology but the word that has been used was relocated.

6 Q. Tell the Court, where was Mr. Kordic's, that is Mr. Kostroman's

7 office? Where were they located?

8 A. They were located in Busovaca on the premises of Ivancica, a lodge

9 in Tisovac.

10 Q. And was there a military command there or an office or a

11 chancellery as we have just said?

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: I want to make sure I understand the point you

13 are making about the reference to "kancelarija". I have here Z1253 and I

14 can see in the Croatian the reference to kancelarija after IZM. Is this

15 your case that what is referred to here is a civilian office and not a

16 military office?

17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Absolutely, you are absolutely

18 right, Your Honour, because this "IZM" means "relocated post". It does

19 not mean a "relocated command post". As Mr. Puljic just said, he was head

20 of the defence administration in Travnik, but he did not work in the town

21 of Travnik but in a relocated place in Vitez. I believe he told us so

22 this morning. And he was not with the military command, he was in the

23 civilian wing of the government.

24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.

25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

Page 22740












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Page 22741

1 Q. And just one thing. I believe there was a certain

2 misunderstanding here, and I will explain where it was. Tell us, please:

3 When were you appointed head of the Travnik Defence Administration?

4 A. In early January 1993, and I was relieved of that office in June,

5 at my request, in 1994.

6 Q. And for the record, I'm saying because on page 46, line 16, it

7 says that you were there from November 1993, when asked by the Prosecutor,

8 but I think that was an error.

9 A. No. It could have been a proposal for my -- it could have been a

10 proposal for my appointment, could have been -- could have happened in

11 December.

12 Q. Z1090. It here says, and perhaps -- this is perhaps not quite

13 precise: Mr. Puljic said the office of the deputy president relocated,

14 and you say Mr. Dario Kordic [as interpreted]. So you're writing to him

15 as a political figure. And then in the text you say -- you speak about

16 refugees from Vares, in the last paragraph: "Will you please take

17 political and all other measures to resolve the status of refugees." Is

18 that what you wanted to explain the honour [as interpreted], why you were

19 sending it to those persons?

20 A. Yes, absolutely.

21 Q. And I have to be very quick. Z345. This document you are

22 proposing to your superior to appoint a certain person to the office of

23 the head of the defence office in Travnik. And here some men are listed,

24 and consent given by, and you list certain names, and Mr. Kordic

25 included.

Page 22742

1 A. This was a practice we followed when proposing, when nominating

2 individual people.

3 Q. So the question is: Mr. Ivica Markovic, was he being proposed for

4 a civilian or for a military post?

5 A. Civilian, because the head of the civilian administration is a

6 civilian.

7 Q. Thank you. And I suppose the same applies to Z1209, where they

8 agree to your text regarding two developments in Vitez, both Ignac

9 Kostroman and Valenta, and Mr. Kordic.

10 A. May I just see the document?

11 Q. Z1209.

12 A. But I suppose that's it.

13 Q. What are these offices, civilian or military? The defence

14 offices, what are they?

15 A. Civilian. Civilian, absolutely.

16 Q. This is the document Z1208. If you don't have it, don't look for

17 it, because I think we've -- you've told us a great deal about this

18 already, so there is no need to go into it. But this is only a consent.

19 1208. And it again means consent [as interpreted]. What does that mean?

20 A. I emphasise that this order to -- if I had a lesser political

21 climate -- and the Prosecutor has just shown records -- in assessing the

22 situation and the reaction that this order might provoke. Because in view

23 of the general developments, and that is why I sought this consent. I am

24 responsible, and I was the person who could put it through. But that was

25 the only reason why I sought it. But when I seek support --

Page 22743












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Page 22744

1 Q. Who are the officials that you seek support from?

2 A. From amongst those who are in the Lasva Valley.

3 Q. That is, do you seek the support the civilians or the military?

4 A. Civilians, absolutely.

5 Q. Thank you. Many documents were shown, various letters that you

6 write to Mr. Kordic. Some pertain to technical documentation, some

7 concern the establishment of the defence office in Zenica, and so on and

8 so forth. Now, the question is: In your view, are these military

9 matters, in the strict sense of the word, or is this a different kind of

10 content in these documents?

11 A. Since Mr. Kordic was a man of politics, I asked for his opinion,

12 his view, because meaning whether the political moment is opportune, is

13 convenient, to go into certain activities.

14 Q. My last question to you, Mr. Puljic. There was talk about

15 different titles that you used when writing to Mr. Kordic. Did you ever

16 hear that by the end of the war, that is, spring of 1994, did Mr. Kordic

17 discharge any duty in the Main Staff of the HVO in Mostar?

18 A. Mr. Kordic never discharged any duty in the Main Staff.

19 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Puljic. Thank

20 you.

21 [Trial Chamber confers]

22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Puljic, that concludes your evidence. Thank you

23 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.

24 We'll adjourn now until --

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

Page 22745

1 MR. NICE: Two housekeeping matters, as they're described.

2 First -- I'll just wait for the witness to withdraw. I know the Chamber

3 is pressed for time.

4 [The witness withdrew]

5 MR. NICE: I shan't be here on Monday and Tuesday, but I've made

6 arrangements, both with those who will be conducting the case for the

7 Prosecution and with the Defence, that if the witness Petkovic comes, he

8 won't be called till Wednesday, although we'd be grateful for his summary,

9 which must have been prepared, because he was going to be the first

10 witness, I think, originally, as the Chamber will recall. We'd be

11 grateful for his summary, draft or otherwise, immediately.

12 The second point is that there's affidavits outstanding. Now,

13 we've prepared our usual document. There were four affidavits we objected

14 to. We don't make any particular points in relation to two. But if they

15 can be put off generally till next Wednesday. Of course, if other

16 witnesses have to be called, they'll have to be deposed in the Cerkez

17 case, but that would probably have had to happen in any event. So if

18 you're content for the matter to be put off until my return next

19 Wednesday, I'd be very grateful.

20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll do that. Let us have, please, the

21 document, then, so we can --

22 MR. NICE: The grounds for objection for the first two haven't

23 been articulated particularly, but the matters that are covered have been.

24 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Mr. Sayers, if you could send your usual

25 batting order to us, we'd be grateful. We have not dealt with the

Page 22746

1 affidavits, but we will next Wednesday, or whenever is convenient after

2 that. We have to deal with the transcripts. We also have to deal with

3 your outstanding exhibits next week. Are you in a position to tell us how

4 many witnesses you're going to call or is that still a matter which is in

5 doubt?

6 MR. SAYERS: We're confident that Witness DK can be completed on

7 Monday morning. We're relatively confident that the second witness will

8 be, (redacted). We're less confident that -- our third

9 witness will be Colonel Marinko Palavra. I'm afraid we're even less

10 confident of that, that our last witness will indeed testify live as

11 opposed to by transcript.

12 JUDGE MAY: We'll certainly have work for Monday and probably

13 Tuesday.

14 MR. SAYERS: Yes.

15 JUDGE MAY: Wednesday we can either have a witness or we'll go

16 into the legal argument. It might be helpful if you would prepare

17 something, even if it's oral, but a paper, as to exactly what's in your

18 exhibits. I mean, I don't want a detailed breakdown.

19 MR. SAYERS: Yes. What we propose to do is this, in a nutshell,

20 Mr. President. We're going to file a document which lists all of the

21 exhibits that we've introduced so far. Then we'll file a summary of each

22 of the individual binders that we've submitted to Trial Chambers, which

23 lets you know what's in there. There are going to be two more volumes

24 which will be submitted. I regret to say that we came across about a

25 roomful of UNPROFOR documents which we had to go through over the course

Page 22747

1 of the last week, and we've culled about I think two binders full of

2 UNPROFOR documents. But I can't imagine that there's going to be any

3 objection to those. And those will be filed, as I said, Thursday or

4 Friday. But you should have an index of all of the binders and that

5 should make it fairly easy to analyse their contents.

6 JUDGE MAY: Good. We'll sit again on Monday, half past 9.00.

7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned 4.25 p.m., to be

8 reconvened on Monday the 17th day of July, 2000, at

9 9.30 a.m.