Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 11148

1 Monday, 13 May 2002

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.

5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.

6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number

7 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletelic and Martinovic.

8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Naletelic? How are you feeling today?

9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the accused, please.

10 JUDGE LIU: Sorry, mike, please.

11 THE ACCUSED NALETILIC: [Interpretation] Not great, Mr. President.

12 JUDGE LIU: Well, we were sorry that you were not with us last

13 week. We all hope you a speedy recovery.

14 THE ACCUSED NALETILIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

15 [Trial Chamber confers]

16 JUDGE LIU: You may sit down, please.

17 Yes, Mr. Krsnik.

18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. With

19 your leave, there are two matters which I'd like to raise with the

20 Honourable Court. The first is the illness of my client. I'd like the

21 Chamber to order the Registry to remove from the list of expert witnesses

22 of cardiological and pulmonary diseases to appoint --

23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.

24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] to appoint a cardiologist and

25 pulmonary expert who would examine my client, write down his opinion and

Page 11149

1 submit it to the Chamber, because at the last examination, Your Honours, I

2 managed to visit my client on Friday, and all the coronary diseases have

3 been confirmed, or, rather, a major occlusion of blood vessels was

4 established, and with the angina pectoris and the pulmonary emphysema

5 [as interpreted] -- could produce fatal consequences.

6 As I have already said, my client does not feel very well today

7 either, but he is somehow managing because he does not wish to disrupt the

8 schedule. Such an independent opinion by an independent expert witness,

9 whether my client is up to following the hearing and participating

10 actively in it without imperilling his health, which is at present very --

11 in a very grave state. Such an opinion by such an expert witness, the

12 Chamber would take notice of the opinion of such expert witness.

13 The second matter I wish to raise with Your Honours, I'd like to

14 go into private session if possible, please.

15 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, as for your first request, I think this

16 Trial Chamber is waiting for the report from the doctor who did the

17 surgery of your client last week, and we will take your request into

18 consideration when we read those reports. Then we will make a decision

19 whether it is necessary for us to have an order to have an independent

20 expert to have your client examined.

21 Yes. We will go to the private session, please.

22 [Private session]

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15 [Open session]

16 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session.

17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr.Scott?

18 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, while we're waiting and we're

19 private session -- no, we're not in private session. We may or may not

20 need to. I'm is a little surprised given the time we were given a few

21 days ago to hear counsel say we could be finished three witnesses in four

22 days, which makes me wonder if the order or names of the witnesses has

23 changed. Perhaps he could advise who these three witnesses are.

24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik. Would you be kind enough to reaffirm

25 what the witnesses are this week?

Page 11155

1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] They will all be testifying in open

2 session following the order as I have submitted. What I -- [In English]

3 Everything is expected of -- [Interpretation] It all depends on the

4 cross-examination.

5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.

6 [The witness entered court]

7 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, sorry, given the changes that have

8 already occurred, I would still like to have the three names confirmed,

9 please.

10 JUDGE LIU: Yes.

11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there are no changes at

12 all. The only change that happened was due to the witness's sickness.

13 Otherwise, there are absolutely no changes. The witnesses are here,

14 Mr. Kovac, Mr. Galsnovic, Mr. Bender, right according to the sequence we

15 submitted two weeks ago that we planned to do this week.

16 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness.

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.

18 JUDGE LIU: Would you please make the solemn declaration?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.

22 WITNESS: MILAN KOVAC

23 [Witness answered through interpreter]

24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik. You may proceed.

25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

Page 11156

1 Examined by Mr. Krsnik:

2 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.

3 A. Good afternoon.

4 Q. Two short remarks before we start to try to make our work easier

5 and use your time better. We speak the same language, and I will

6 therefore ask you to wait for the end of my question. And you have a

7 monitor in front of you. Can you see it? Do you see it? This black dot

8 that moves, when it stops, that will mean that the transcript is finished

9 and that you can start your answer, especially bearing in mind that we

10 have interpretation into two languages, English and French.

11 A. I see.

12 Q. Thank you very much for your cooperation and understanding, and

13 let us start.

14 Witness, first we need you to introduce yourself to the Court. So

15 will you please briefly tell us what was your curriculum vitae up to 1990,

16 and then briefly tell us all the positions that you held between 1990 and

17 today.

18 A. I am Milan Kovac, I was born in 1953 in Posusje,

19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I completed my primary and secondary education

20 there. In 1972, I enrolled in the faculty of economics in Zagreb. I

21 graduated in 1978. After that, I found a job and I worked for a trading

22 company until 1990. In 1989, I took part in the establishment of the

23 Croat Democratic Union, because until then I was not a member of the

24 Communist Party of Croatia. And at the founding convention on the 17th of

25 June, 1989, I was elected to the Executive Board of the Croat Democratic

Page 11157

1 Union and its chief treasurer, and thereby I became a member of the

2 Presidency of the Croat Democratic Union.

3 In the elections of 1990, the first democratic elections in

4 Croatia, I was elected to the Croat state diet. In the diet, I was

5 elected the chairman of the board for administrative affairs, and I headed

6 that board until the end of 1992, when I was once again in the second

7 elections. I was elected to the Croatian state diet. At that time, until

8 1995, I was a member of the foreign affairs board.

9 In 1995, in the third elections, once again on the list of the

10 Croat Democratic Union, I was elected to the Croatian state diet. I was a

11 member of the board for human rights and national minorities and the board

12 for emigration -- or immigration. Excuse me.

13 In 1997, I became a Minister in the government of the Republic of

14 Croatia, responsible for privatisation until 1999, when this ministry was

15 abolished, and I became a Minister in the Republic of Croatia, responsible

16 for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until the 3rd of January 2001, the fourth

17 parliamentary elections, when on the list for the Croat democratic union

18 for emigration, I headed the list and was for the fourth time elected to

19 the Croatian state diet with over 90 per cent of votes. Then when I was

20 in the diet I was elected to chair the board for immigration, and that is

21 the position which I still hold in the Croatian diet.

22 Q. Mr. Kovac, since you are one of the founders of the HDZ, can you

23 tell the Court, what was the programme of the party? What were its

24 principal determinants and where it was founded?

25 A. Once we realised that the Communist Party systems in Eastern

Page 11158

1 Europe were caving in both political and economically, after in the lands

2 of the former Yugoslavia, things happened which for us in Croatia

3 necessitated a commitment and organisation of the first democratic

4 elections. The Executive Board headed by the late President Tudjman

5 decided to form a party after -- for several months in Croatia, before we

6 were founded, four or five political parties have already been -- were

7 already -- had already been established with a clear programme.

8 We were witness to -- during those days and weeks in the lands of

9 the former Yugoslavia, we were witness how the Greater Serbian policy

10 headed by Milosevic settled scores with democratic authorities in a

11 non-democratic manner in KOS where they had removed their lawful

12 leadership, then in another province, in Vojvodina, then in Montenegro.

13 And a campaign against Croatia and Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina was under

14 preparation.

15 The then-Croatian political leadership in Zagreb did not react,

16 and it was called "Croat silence." And one needed to speak out clearly

17 and warn people of the dangers and perils looming ahead.

18 Q. When you said the political leadership then, whom did you mean?

19 A. It was the Communist Party of Croatia, the leadership of the

20 Communist Party of Croatia.

21 Q. Witness, of course try to be as concise as possible. The

22 Honourable Court cannot follow all these events like you and I can. So

23 please explain the ideas that you speak about.

24 A. I understand. The founding of the Croatian Democratic Union, the

25 basis, there were three basis; namely that the former Yugoslavia had to

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Page 11160

1 undergo democratisation, that a multi-party system had been introduced as

2 well as multi-party elections, with the publication would acquire greater

3 authority. The authority was to be decentralised and where we should have

4 embarked upon a co-federal setup, state setup in the former Yugoslavia.

5 Secondly, the Republic of Croatia, as well as all the other

6 republics which comprised the former Yugoslavia, would have to secede to

7 embrace a multi-party system, a market economy, because we were witnesses

8 of a collapse, economic collapse throughout Yugoslavia in all the

9 republics of the former Yugoslavia.

10 And then the creation of closer ties between the Croats living in

11 Croatia and millions of Croats living throughout the world, which due to

12 political and economic reasons, were fleeing from Croatia, Bosnia and

13 Herzegovina, and other areas to other countries in order to be able to

14 live a normal life.

15 These were the basic concepts of the Croatian Democratic Union and

16 with which it required a plebiscitary support of the entire Croatian

17 nation.

18 And fourth, speedy secession of the other former Yugoslav

19 republication likes to the European integrations and NATO.

20 Q. And in which areas was it established in the former Yugoslavia?

21 A. The Croatian Democratic Union was set up in all areas where Croats

22 lived in that common state, primarily in the republic of Croatia. It was

23 registered with the court in Zagreb. It was founded in Bosnia-Herzegovina

24 and registered with the court of Sarajevo. It was founded in Australia

25 and the United States, wherever there were big colonies of the Croatian

Page 11161

1 nation.

2 Q. What was the attitude of the Croatian Democratic Union and its

3 views concerning the relations with the other former republics of

4 Yugoslavia? And a sub-question, an auxiliary one, if I may, whether in

5 that programme of it, did it have a plan for an independent state,

6 democratic State of Croatia and its attitude towards also the other

7 nations of the former Yugoslavia in that sense?

8 A. The Croatian Democratic Union, in its programme, clearly expressed

9 its position concerning the relationship between the Republic of Croatia

10 vis-a-vis the other former republics that there would be the respect of

11 the 1974 Constitution which enabled all the republics self-determination

12 up to complete and full secession.

13 We considered the basic principle was the inviolability of the

14 republican borders, and on that basis the Republic of Croatia demanded its

15 recognition, which it also received from the international community on

16 the 15th of January, 1992. And so it means the same rights to all the

17 republics on the -- based on the principle of the Avnoj borders which were

18 determined after the Second World War.

19 Q. When you're speaking of the Avnoj border, the internal borders

20 dividing internally the Yugoslav territory, the republican borders.

21 Q. As you have already answered that the Croat Democratic Union had a

22 plebiscitary support and it had a majority in the diet in the Republic of

23 Croatia.

24 I apologise, Mr. Kovac, two of my questions entered the transcript

25 without your answers. The first question was whether this was the

Page 11162

1 division of territories and determination of republican borders within

2 Yugoslavia.

3 A. Yes, within Yugoslavia.

4 Q. And question now, the second question which we began, so the HDZ

5 had a majority in the Croatian diet of the Republic of Croatia. Does that

6 mean that HDZ also was implementing its policy through the diet? We could

7 speak of the first elections, 1992, and the second elections 1992, 1995.

8 A. I didn't quite understand your question. Did the --

9 Q. Does it mean -- does it mean that only the HDZ was implementing

10 the policy through the diet?

11 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, I also don't understand your

12 question. It's a difficult one. Try to rephrase it.

13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I will simplify it, Your Honour.

14 Q. How a decision passed, decisions of national interest in the

15 national diet? Was it based on the will of the HDZ or did also other

16 parties participate in these decision-makings?

17 A. All the major decisions of national importance for the state, for

18 the nation, and for the citizens of Croatia were passed on the basis of

19 consensus of all the parliamentary parties.

20 I wonder whether Your Honours do have the data and information

21 that in 1991, despite the absolute two-third majority the HDZ had in the

22 national diet, a government of national unity was formed which included

23 and encompassed all parliamentary party.

24 Q. My next question would be, and that is why I raised this previous

25 question, whether the HDZ had in its programme also as a goal annexation

Page 11163

1 of any part of any republic of the former Yugoslavia. And here, this

2 would be the question: Any part of any republic of the former

3 Yugoslavia?

4 A. No. No, never. All programmes of HDZ and declarations which were

5 passed at the highest fora of the party are accessible, are public.

6 They were and are public, and it can be seen. But the position of the HDZ

7 was concerning this issue. Never did any official of the HDZ in the party

8 or in the government did ever express such a position. We adhered to

9 legality. We respected the republican borders, the inviolability of the

10 borders.

11 Q. You were -- you did cooperate with the late President Tudjman?

12 A. At the beginning when we were founding the HDZ, we were in a

13 practically everyday contact. Later when he became president of the

14 republic, we did contact on the basis of the functions we had, to the

15 extent that we needed. I think, believe I was close to President Tudjman.

16 Q. Did you and did he personally express views concerning annexation

17 of other areas? I mean in a private suggestion outside the official

18 policy framework.

19 A. No, truly never. He was only persistent, and he demanded that the

20 Croatian people living in other republics, in Bosnia and Herzegovina as

21 the constituent and sovereign nation together with Serbs and Bosniaks,

22 that they have the same rights within the borders of Bosnia and

23 Herzegovina. Then for the Croatian nation living in Serbia, in Vojvodina,

24 that they have the rights of a national minority, as was the case in

25 Kosovo. In Janjevo, there was an enclave, a Croatian enclave, which due to

Page 11164

1 the events, past events, they had to be transferred because there was a

2 danger, a possible threat of genocide against them.

3 Q. Could you explain to Their Honours how the Croatian diet

4 functions? What does the parliament consist of and how does it function?

5 A. In 1990, we -- it was -- we had three Chambers. And this was a

6 relic from the communist system. It was the Chamber of Associated

7 Labour. I don't know how that can be translated. Then of municipalities,

8 and the socio-political Chamber. With the passing of the new constitution

9 in 1990, that model was replaced with the Chamber of Representatives in

10 the diet, and in 1993, with the regionalisation of Croatia into counties,

11 we had an additional Chamber which was then introduced, the Chamber of

12 Counties. So we had two Chambers. And from the year 2000 onwards, the

13 new authorities have suppressed that one, the second Chamber of the

14 Counties, and we only have the house -- the Chamber of Representatives

15 today.

16 Q. Do you remember in which month of 1993 the senate or the Chamber

17 of Counties?

18 A. I think it was in May 1993. It was in spring. It was then that

19 also elections were held for the senate, for the Chamber of Counties.

20 Q. First question: Were you a representative at the constituent

21 assembly of the diet when the constitution was passed?

22 A. Yes. Yes, I was.

23 Q. Are you aware of the contents of the articles of the

24 constitution?

25 A. As far as a deputy has to be acquainted with the constitution, I

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1 think I am quite well acquainted with it.

2 Q. Does the constitution prescribe what are the decisions which have

3 to be taken by both and approved by both Chambers of the diet?

4 A. One of the fundamental questions was -- which had to be approved

5 by both Chambers was the regional setup, the regional organisation of the

6 Republic of Croatia, the ratification of international agreements,

7 association, disassociation of the republic. Then if the army is to be

8 sent to other countries, that was within the competent of the parliament,

9 and approval had to be gained from both chambers.

10 Q. When you mentioned the sending of the army to another country,

11 that is in case of declaration of war, in that situation?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. However, we will come to that issue a bit later. We would be

14 interested if you could explain to this Chamber primarily whether the

15 Republic of Croatia had a particular relationship, a special relationship

16 with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and if so, why?

17 A. The Republic of Croatia did have a particular special attitude

18 towards Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also stems from the constitution of

19 the Republic of Croatia, where it states that the Republic of Croatia must

20 care for its compatriots wherever they live.

21 Q. I apologise. Could you explain? Why did the -- in the

22 constituent assembly -- in the constitution did the parliament adopt this

23 article, and could you say something about the diaspora, the Croatian

24 diaspora and how many people went abroad?

25 A. According to the latest assessment it's hard to determine the

Page 11167

1 exact number, but some authoritative institutions have submitted

2 information that Croats living outside the borders of Croatia amount to 3

3 to 4 million. And that is approximately as much -- as many as today live

4 in the Republic of Croatia itself.

5 Q. Yes. I -- you can continue. I just wanted to explain to this

6 Chamber the reasons of this provision.

7 A. With this, I did not mean that the Croatia people living in Bosnia

8 and Herzegovina represented a part of the diaspora. That is a nation

9 living there for the past thousands of years in that area of Bosnia and

10 Herzegovina, a nation according to all constitutions and provisions has

11 the same right or should have the same right as the other two nations

12 living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are constituent nations, that they

13 enjoy equal rights, are on equal footing and sovereignty which is

14 described in the latest agreement which was resolving the problems of

15 Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely the Dayton Accord.

16 The Republic of Croatia and the leadership of Croatia always

17 endeavoured that the Croatian nation attains these rights in Bosnia and

18 Herzegovina, always considering and taking as a starting point that Bosnia

19 and Herzegovina must be an independent, free, unified country with an

20 internal organisational setup which would correspond to the needs of all

21 three nations. In view of the fact also that politically the Republic of

22 Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they have a close transportation

23 links, overlapping transportation links. There's the entire network of

24 infrastructure. It's normal for the Republic of Croatia to see, and it's

25 in her interest to have a stable Bosnia and Herzegovina, because if Bosnia

Page 11168

1 and Herzegovina are unstable, Croatia cannot be stable either.

2 Q. Mr. Kovac, as a deputy in the diet of the Republic of Croatia, did

3 you attend all the important sessions of the diet? I'm stressing

4 important sessions because I know you couldn't have attended all of them.

5 A. I am one of the deputies who had the fewest -- who was absent the

6 fewest times from the sessions in the diet. And this refers to the entire

7 period of the past 12 years. I attended all of the most important

8 sessions where important and decisive decisions, upon for the fate of the

9 country, were passed.

10 Q. Did the diet ever pass a decision that Croatia was at war with

11 Bosnia and Herzegovina?

12 A. No, it never passed such a decision. Only in the diet a

13 discussion was held concerning the crisis which existed in Bosnia and

14 Herzegovina after the aggression of the Yugoslav army and the occupation

15 of Bosnia and Herzegovina by that army and the Serbian forces in Bosnia

16 and Herzegovina. And later, a discussion was held because of the conflict

17 which erupted between Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and how

18 to stop it. Because also of the great number of Croatian refugees in the

19 Republic of Croatia, we already had to take in a million refugees from

20 Bosnia and Herzegovina also. It means that every fourth inhabitant of

21 Croatia was either a refugee or -- so we insisted that these conflicts be

22 stopped as soon as possible in Bosnia and Herzegovina in view of this

23 situation.

24 Q. Did the diet ever get or take notice of the fact that

25 Bosnia-Herzegovina has proclaimed for on the Republic of Croatia

Page 11169

1 [As interpreted]?

2 A. I am not aware of such -- Bosnia and Herzegovina's decision. At

3 that time, I was a member of the foreign affairs board of the diet. We

4 never received an official note or warning by Bosnia-Herzegovina that

5 allegedly Croatia has committed aggression or was trying to occupy parts

6 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

7 Q. Precisely. That was to be my next question.

8 So did Bosnia and Herzegovina in any way whatsoever declare to the

9 Republic of Croatia that it considered itself at war with Croatia and that

10 it held that Croatia had undertaken a partial occupation of Bosnia and

11 Herzegovina?

12 A. No, never.

13 Q. Did Croatia occupy parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

14 A. No, it never. It never committed any aggression towards

15 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

16 Q. Were diplomatic relations maintained between Croatia and

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, 1993 onward?

18 A. After the referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the independence of

19 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the 1st of March, 1992, when the Croat people voted

20 for the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina --

21 Q. We'll come to that. Let's talk about these diplomatic relations

22 if you would be so kind. When were they established and so on?

23 A. The Republic of Croatia was one of the first countries to

24 recognise Bosnia-Herzegovina.

25 Q. Was the first or one of the first?

Page 11170

1 A. I believe it was the first and the first to --

2 JUDGE LIU: We have some problems with the channels. Is there --

3 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] The French booth is asking that the

4 second witness's microphone be switched on, please.

5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Can we proceed?

6 Q. Now, will you please be so kind as to tell us? We were saying

7 that the Republic of Croatia was the first one to recognise Bosnia and

8 Herzegovina. Is that so?

9 A. And the first one to send its ambassador to Sarajevo. It

10 established its consular offices in Tuzla, Bihac, and Mostar, and was in

11 permanent communication with the Bosnia and Herzegovinian authorities

12 through various state organisations, through embassies and consular

13 offices.

14 Q. And which are these authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992,

15 1993?

16 A. The Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina elected to the parliament

17 in Sarajevo its representatives, and they took part in the exercise of

18 power in Sarajevo. They elected their member to the Presidency,

19 participated in the deliberations of the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

20 At that time, the authorities in the Republic of Croatia communicated with

21 the official representatives of the Bosnian and Croat people in Sarajevo,

22 because we know that in late 1991, the representatives of the Serb people

23 in the parliament quit the parliament and founded the parliament of

24 Republika Srpska after the referendum conducted in late 1991.

25 Q. And how was it in 1993? Which are the official authorities in

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Page 11172

1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, say, from the middle and through the latter half? Who

2 did you communicate with in your -- during your official visits or talks

3 or just communication?

4 A. At that time, I was not part of the executive, and I -- but I do

5 know that the government of the Republic of Croatia, through its

6 activities endeavoured to establish contact both with representatives of

7 the Croat and the Bosniak peoples in Sarajevo. However, after the

8 conflict in 1993 with the Muslim army and the Croat defence council, as

9 far as I can remember, the Croat representatives in the Sarajevo

10 authorities refused to continue in that joint government, and it gave rise

11 to problems in the communication between Zagreb and Sarajevo.

12 I remember how Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, who said about himself that

13 he was the president of the Presidency, even if a Rump Presidency of

14 Bosnia-Herzegovina [As interpreted], was often received by Mr. Tudjman in

15 Zagreb, and they talked there about the solution of these problems which

16 have occurred because the cooperation was blocked and because the Croat

17 people had decided not to participate under such -- in government

18 institutions under those conditions.

19 Q. Do you personally know or were you present when Mr. Alija

20 Izetbegovic was accepted, was received as the head of state or

21 representative of a people? How was he treated when he came on state

22 visits or, rather, during talks with President Tudjman that his government

23 or any other diplomatic communication?

24 A. He was received as the representative of the Muslim people, as a

25 member of the Party of Democratic Action. The biggest Muslim organisation

Page 11173

1 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Because he -- that is what he was, a

2 representative of the Muslim people. As the Croat people in

3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we know why, founded the Croat Community of

4 Herceg-Bosna, later on Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna, because of the

5 policy pursued at the time by the Muslim leadership in Sarajevo.

6 Q. We shall come to those things that you personally know because you

7 had personally had a hand in it later on, but now I'd like to round off

8 the subject of the Croatian diet.

9 And my last question concerning diplomatic relations in 1992,

10 1993. That is the time that you talked about. Were the diplomatic

11 relations ever broken?

12 A. Officially, no, never. But they were fraught with difficulties,

13 and the communication with Sarajevo was difficult right up to this

14 conclusion of the Washington Agreement when -- in 1994 when the joint

15 institutions of the Bosniak and Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina

16 were established.

17 Q. Will you please tell the Chamber who drew up, who was the author

18 of the Croatian policy? Was it the president? Was it the diet, or was it

19 the HDZ?

20 A. Well, the policy was drawn up in accordance with the constitution

21 of Croatia which laid down the terms of reference of different branches of

22 power. The executive, legislative, and judiciary. In that system, the --

23 President Tudjman had certain powers. The parliament had its powers. The

24 government also had its powers. All the key issues and problems and

25 decisions were taken by the diet of the Republic of Croatia. Naturally,

Page 11174

1 both the president and the government had exercised their powers specified

2 by the constitution and statute which authorised them to take individual

3 decisions.

4 The HDZ, as the largest party in the parliament throughout those

5 ten years, adopted its guidelines, its platforms, its declarations. It

6 was done by the party bodies, and the convention -- and the party

7 conventions which adopted decisions and decided on the manner of the

8 functioning of the state in all aspects. And then naturally the executive

9 and the legislative power, where the HDZ had the majority, it then drafted

10 the projected -- the policy for the years to come.

11 Q. And Mr. Kovac, I think this will be my last question before the

12 break. Could President Tudjman can independent decisions about, for

13 instance, sending Croatian troops to some other independent state?

14 A. No. No, he could not do it. The constitution would not allow it,

15 and he did not do that. Only the Croatian diet can decide to send the

16 troops to any other foreign state.

17 Q. I will tell you that it is alleged here not only that President

18 Tudjman had ordered that but that he also occupied parts of

19 Bosnia-Herzegovina with a view to annexing those parts of the territory to

20 the Republic of Croatia. What will you say to that?

21 A. If it is claimed here, I don't think it is claimed in good faith,

22 nor is it true. President Tudjman never sent any troops to any other

23 state. Had he done that, the Croatian diet would have known it and

24 stopped such decision from being operationalised. But in his programme

25 as an historian, as an outstanding politician privately or publicly did

Page 11175

1 President Tudjman ever talk about the annexation or occupation of parts of

2 other states, because to my mind it would be crazy to say when your

3 country is occupied, when one-third of your country is under occupation

4 and the one who has occupied wants it to change republican borders and

5 annex that part of the Republic of Croatia to Serbia, to then advocate the

6 petitioning or the occupation of a neighbouring state where -- and the

7 sacred principle governing President Tudjman was the one on the basis of

8 which Croatia was recognised by the international community. That was

9 the inviolability of the republican borders in the state of Yugoslavia.

10 Q. And my last question before the break. Gentlemen from the

11 Prosecution claim that the Croatian had its state agents in

12 Bosnia-Herzegovina who carried that out. What will you say to that?

13 Agents, that is coordinators.

14 A. I have to say that this is the first time I hear anything like

15 that. The Republic of Croatia had its embassy, its consulate, in the

16 republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, through which it pursued its policy and

17 cooperated with Bosnia-Herzegovina as with all the other states.

18 And I must say I am pretty taken aback by the statement that there

19 are some agents or coordinators who would be working apart from the system

20 of government. That did not exist.

21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe it is now

22 time for the break.

23 JUDGE LIU: We will resume at 4.00.

24 --- Recess taken at 3.34 p.m.

25 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.

Page 11176

1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.

2 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Krsnik, I want to apologise for being late. I

3 was reading something and was in another world. I'm sorry.

4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm so impressed by the

5 way you treat us. Thank you very much.

6 Q. Mr. Kovac, I'd like to round off the subject, so my last question

7 will be: Did the Croatian national diet, that is both chambers of the

8 diet, ever take a decision to send military formations of the Republic of

9 Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina so that they would participate on the

10 Croat side, on the side of Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the

11 conflict or war against Muslims and their armed component, that is the

12 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

13 A. No, never. Our parliament never discussed it, and it never took a

14 decision to send the troops to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

15 Q. And my final question: Can anyone do it without the diet?

16 A. No. Nobody can do it because the constitution lays down the

17 duties of the diet.

18 Q. And had some unit of the Croatian army illegally entered Bosnia

19 and Herzegovina, would that be sanctioned in the Republic of Croatia as

20 undermining the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia?

21 A. Yes. Yes, it would have been done, and we did that at the time of

22 the aggression of the Yugoslav people's army and Montenegro and Serbia

23 against the Republic of Croatia.

24 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Krsnik, that response doesn't make sense. He's

25 saying they did undermine the constitution, so it doesn't make sense. So I

Page 11177

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Page 11178

1 think it needs clarification

2 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation].

3 Q. We have to take care of the transcript, Witness, and indeed your

4 answer was interpreted somewhat vaguely. Let us clear it up. Would the

5 legislature of the Republic of Croatia sanction, I mean courts, the

6 prosecutor's office, investigating bodies, would they sanction unlawful

7 conduct, for instance if a unit of the Croatian army arbitrarily, on its

8 own, went to Bosnia-Herzegovina?

9 A. Oh, yes, no doubt.

10 Q. This is what the transcript says, and I want us to clarify. What

11 did you mean when you said that Croatia sanctioned -- adopted sanctions

12 against, punished, in the case of aggression of the Yugoslav People's

13 Army, Montenegro and Serbia against the Republic of Croatia? What did you

14 mean when you said that?

15 A. I understood that you asked me what -- if and what Republic of

16 Croatia would do if foreign troops entered the territory of the Republic

17 of Croatia.

18 Q. Oh, I'm sorry. Well, then, so what did it do? What did the

19 Republic of Croatia do?

20 A. The Croatian national diet proclaim the aggression of the Yugoslav

21 People's Army, Montenegro and Serbia against Republic of Croatia and

22 notified all the international institutions, the United Nations,

23 international associations, and all the other states of the world.

24 Q. I'm sorry. Now I understand. I hope we've clarified the

25 transcript. Both questions I asked had to do with Bosnia-Herzegovina, and

Page 11179

1 that matter I think we've cleared up, so we can move on.

2 What do you personally know about the referendum conducted in

3 Bosnia-Herzegovina in February 1992?

4 A. I know about the referendum in Bosnia and Herzegovina because as a

5 member in -- of the Croatian national diet, I was elected with another ten

6 MPs to be one of the international parliamentarians monitoring the

7 referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

8 On the 29th of February and the 1st of March, I was present in the

9 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina together with Italian, Spanish, German,

10 and other parliamentarians, and we supervised the conduct of the

11 referendum.

12 Q. And do you know the outcome? Do you know the results?

13 A. In Sarajevo, I was designated to be together with Italian and

14 Belgian, I believe, parliamentarians in Central Bosnia, in the

15 municipality of Prozor, in several places where the referendum was

16 conducted, and we were to submit a report to the leader of the

17 parliamentarian mission in Sarajevo after the referendum. The referendum

18 was in order in those places where we were because the Croats constituted

19 a majority in those places where we were present. And when we returned to

20 Sarajevo, we reported about our work and our observations, and the final

21 result of the referendum is common knowledge. The Croat people en masse

22 responded, and 96 per cent of the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina of Croat

23 ethnicity voted in the affirmative. About 68 per cent of the Bosniaks

24 likewise. And as far as I know, the Serbs did not take part in the

25 referendum. In late 1991, they had their own referendum on the

Page 11180

1 establishment of Republika Srpska and its joining the rest of Yugoslavia.

2 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] What do you mean by

3 "participation?" Do you mean they voted for independence or they didn't

4 come out of the house? I didn't quite understand well the percentages.

5 And you say you participate, not participate. Does that mean that

6 somebody did not come out of his house to vote or that they voted in some

7 other way? What do you mean by that?

8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]

9 Q. Witness, you've heard the question of Her Honour. What do you

10 answer?

11 A. I meant that the Croat people came out and supported the

12 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is they voted for. Ninety-six

13 per cent voted for. The Muslim people voted. Sixty-eight per cent voted

14 for and the Serb people did not participate in the referendum.

15 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] Thank you. I've got it now.

16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]

17 Q. Mr. Kovac, as an observer or through the HDZ, did you know what

18 was the referendum question and whether the HDZ had different question,

19 the so-called "Livno question," which is here shown in a different light?

20 Do you know anything about that, the so-called "Livno question"?

21 A. I don't know the details because I was not in Livno. So I have

22 no way of knowing. But I learned from the media that the Croat

23 representatives and the leadership of the Croat people in Livno requested

24 that the question already defined the internal organisation of Bosnia and

25 Herzegovina. Some thought that they wanted a unit in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Page 11181

1 as before. Others wanted to have the internal organisation of Bosnia and

2 Herzegovina regulated, needless to say, within the borders of

3 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

4 Q. Right. If I understand you correctly, you mean that the

5 representatives of the Croat people in Bosnia wanted not only to vote for

6 the independence but also to have a question which would encompass the

7 future internal organisation of Bosnia and of Herzegovina, is that it?

8 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, we understand the witness told us he was

9 not there. All the information he told us was from the media. So we

10 cannot get anywhere. So drop this question, please.

11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Right you are, Your Honour. Thank

12 you.

13 Q. We will focus on Croatia in 1993, and my first question will be

14 whether in the state diet there was a discussion on Bosnia and

15 Herzegovina, namely -- in other words, when did the conflicts begin among

16 Muslims and Croats, and whether you are aware how many agreements had been

17 signed by the Muslim element in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian

18 state and how many peace accords?

19 A. After the outbreaks of conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina between

20 the Croats and the Bosniaks, the Croatian diet did discuss -- did devote

21 some time to this subject and discuss it. And after the report submitted

22 to the parliament, submitted by the government, the Croatian diet then

23 also adopted, passed resolution. I believe it was in April 1993 and --

24 where it chose members. It appointed a delegation imposed of all members

25 of parties present in the parliament and then assigned them to go to

Page 11182

1 Bosnia and Herzegovina. We described this as mission -- a goodwill

2 mission.

3 They were to go to find out what the situation was, what were the

4 causes of the conflict, to speak to both parties on both sides. And they

5 were trusted to try to find a way of overcoming the conflict and finding a

6 resolution, a peaceful resolution to this conflict.

7 After that visit, we in the diet received the report of that

8 delegation, their, also, findings --

9 Q. Excuse me.

10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have ID305, which

11 hasn't been translated. And I will not discuss it; however, the witness

12 can describe it. And once it is translated, I will submit it as a Defence

13 Exhibit.

14 Q. And my first question will be: This document that you're seeing

15 now, was this the parliamentary mission? Who was a member of the mission,

16 where did they go, what month and what year?

17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Bos.

18 MR. BOS: I have no objection to using this document, but at least

19 if we can get a copy of the Bosnian version or the version in

20 Serbo-Croatian, because we don't have anything.

21 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, Mr. Krsnik. You are obliged to furnish in

22 document no matter in what kind of language, to the Prosecution.

23 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] We've already submitted it.

24 JUDGE LIU: I see. Is there any indication --

25 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] It is the report of the parliamentary

Page 11183

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Page 11184

1 mission of the state diet which visited Mostar at the beginning of May

2 1993.

3 MR. BOS: My apologies. I have this here. It's numbered 304.

4 MR. KRSNIK: 304, yes.

5 MR. BOS: You said 305. That's why I was confused.

6 THE REGISTRAR: The number is 305. It was inadvertently marked by

7 the Defence as 326, and a direction was made before court began today.

8 So.

9 MR. BOS: I have a copy of this document.

10 JUDGE LIU: You have a copy. Thank you.

11 Please continue.

12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you.

13 Q. Could you inform this Chamber? Maybe you could also read out

14 parts of the document. The interpreters will be able to help us. Maybe

15 you could inform the -- this Chamber on this document, the contents of

16 this document.

17 A. I have already mentioned that the Croatian parliament took a

18 unanimous decision to send a mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina, to visit

19 Kiseljak, Busovaca, Travnik. They would then talk with the

20 representatives of the Croatian people as well as of the Muslim people in

21 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then to report back to the Croatian diet, to

22 the Croatian parliament what they have found out, what are the causes of

23 the conflict, and how to resolve the conflict.

24 Q. Did they visit Mostar? On which date did the delegation arrive

25 and when did it leave Mostar?

Page 11185

1 A. The delegation visited Medjugorje on the 30th of April. It had a

2 meeting with the authorities of the HVO, then with medical military staff

3 and their representatives. Then on the 1st of May, they had a meeting

4 with the representatives -- with the representatives of the authorities of

5 Tuzla and north-eastern Bosnia. On the same day, they had a meeting at

6 10.00 with the president of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milo

7 Akmadzic and Milo Boras, who was a member of the BH Presidency. Then at

8 1.00 p.m., a meeting with the regional representatives of the regional

9 board of HDZ for Herzegovina.

10 However, on the next day, they were to go and move into Bosnia, to

11 travel to Bosnia. The international forces informed them that they could

12 not ensure their safe passage so that that visit -- that part of visit

13 was -- did not take place to those cities and towns in central and

14 northern Bosnia.

15 Q. Who were the members of that delegation?

16 A. The delegation consisted of Drago Krpina from HDZ, who was also

17 the leader of that mission. Mato Arlovic from the Social Democratic

18 Party, SDP, who is also today still a deputy, as well as Mr. Krpina.

19 Mato Arlovic is today the vice-president of the Croatian parliament, and

20 he is originally from the Social Democratic Party. Then Ivica Vrkic,

21 the Croatian People's Party, HNS; Mr. Mirko Madjor from the Croatian

22 Farmers Party, HSS; then the deputy president of HSLS, Mr. Velimir

23 Terzic. He was the deputy of the head of the mission. Unfortunately, he

24 is deceased now. And Vera Stanic from HDZ. She also passed away last

25 year. And Mr. Branimir Pasecky from HDZ also.

Page 11186

1 Q. The question. I'm asking you whether Mr. Secks and Mr. Sanader,

2 in April or May of 1993, were they present in any delegation which would

3 visit Herzegovina or Mostar or these places, or Medjugorje in the

4 negotiations with the SDA?

5 A. After this visit, which yielded no results and the conflict

6 continued, the clashes continued, we attempted once again to send a party

7 delegation to talk with the SDA representatives, and I believe that was in

8 Medjugorje, where the meeting in fact was held.

9 Q. Do you remember the month?

10 A. It was either May or June. It was the spring of 1993. And except

11 for these two persons, I don't know who else were members of that mission,

12 but I do know that the meeting took place. I believe at the time also in

13 Medjugorje, a meeting was held with the international representatives,

14 Mr. Stoltenberg, and that also President Tudjman, at the invitation of the

15 international community, was present, as well as Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.

16 Also at the invitation of the international community, where an attempt

17 was made to try to find the ways and means of stopping the fighting.

18 Q. We have heard a witness testify. You've described this

19 parliamentary delegations which went there, the first one, the second one

20 in Medjugorje. We have heard that they -- that they have come to order

21 HDZ and HVO and SDA to order what they are to do, particularly, Mr. Seks

22 and Mr. Senada were mentioned?

23 A. I don't think that's possible that as deputies in the national

24 diet that they go and issue orders in Bosnia-Herzegovina to tell Croatian

25 people there what to do. I wasn't present, however, but I do know they

Page 11187

1 asked that at any price the conflict be stopped because at the time,

2 Croatia, as I have mentioned before, was facing economic collapse. It was

3 blocked in all areas where every day thousands upon thousands of refugees

4 were coming in.

5 Q. Did you receive the reports from the -- these delegations? Did

6 you discuss it? Did you draw any conclusions on the basis of these

7 reports as the Croatian parliament?

8 A. The first one was a delegation of the parliament. The second one

9 was a party delegation where you had talks between HDZ and SDA from Bosnia

10 and Herzegovina, which were meeting there in Medjugorje.

11 Q. And the parliament, did it discuss this?

12 A. They did submit a report. Then these conclusions were considered,

13 and we required of the government to do everything that is possible

14 together with the international community in order to scale down and to

15 conclude this conflict.

16 Q. Did the parliament vote for and earmark special funds in the

17 budget in order to assist Muslims as refugees in Croatia and for Muslims

18 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, be it in clothing, also weapons, for purchasing

19 aid for these Muslims? That I'm asking for the year 1993 and 1994.

20 A. The budget was adopted, and items were also earmarked for

21 humanitarian aid. Regardless, irrespective if the refugees were Muslims,

22 Croatians or Hungarians. No distinction was drawn between the people who

23 were banished, who were refugees. It was a very important item. Because

24 at a certain point we had up to 1 million refugees flowing and coming into

25 the Republic of Croatia.

Page 11188

1 As far as the aid to Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina is

2 concerned, and weapons, the Republic of Croatia, as you know, had been

3 disarmed by the Yugoslav People's Army in 1990. It collected the weapons

4 of the Territorial Defence. It collected these arms and later it

5 distributed them in the occupied areas of Croatia. It didn't have many

6 possibilities, as an occupied country which is exposed to aggression, to

7 allocate funds for the arming either of Muslims or Croats in Bosnia and

8 Herzegovina.

9 I was not a soldier. I -- the weapons came in with volunteers who

10 were living in Croatia and are still living in Croatia, some 500.000 of

11 them. These are 500 Croats who were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and

12 moved to Croatia after the ceasefire. They came as volunteers, went to

13 Bosnia and Herzegovina to defend their towns and their villages, to defend

14 it against occupation.

15 Q. Did you personally go to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Under what conditions and under what circumstances and why?

18 A. Knowing what is in store for the Croatian people in Bosnia and

19 Herzegovina and what is being prepared by the greater Serbian aggression

20 in 1992 and after the massacre in Vukovar, other towns in Croatia where

21 even today we are still discovering mass graves. Up till now, 134 mass

22 graves have been discovered, mass graves where corpses of Croats were put

23 in.

24 After the massacre of Muslims in Bijeljina and Eastern Bosnia, we

25 knew of the plan of the so-called "Yugoslav People's Army" and of the

Page 11189

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Page 11190

1 Serbian units. It burnt land which -- and this plan referred to

2 Herzegovina and that the same had to be carried out as in eastern Croatia

3 and some other areas. And as my mother and my brothers lived and still

4 live in Herzegovina, I went, my own free will, to see what is happening,

5 to determine what is happening and to see how to help in order to prevent

6 the worst from happening, namely, occupation, murder, and eviction of

7 Croats from this area of Herzegovina.

8 Q. Only of Croats?

9 A. I'm speaking of Croats, because in my town only Croats live.

10 Q. And otherwise?

11 A. And otherwise, all of those and Muslims and Croats and others who

12 are of a different ethnicity were taken care of both in Herzegovina as

13 well as in the Republic of Croatia.

14 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge of the reasons of the conflict

15 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the HVO in 1993?

16 A. I do have some personal knowledge. I believe it is also the

17 truth. Can I -- do you allow me to spend a minute or two?

18 Namely, after the occupation of a part of Croatia, arms, weapons,

19 were withdrawn from Slovenia and from the free part of Croatia towards

20 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this was done by the JNA, which at the time

21 was totally transformed and became the Serbian army. And after the

22 proclamation at the end of 1991 of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and

23 Herzegovina. Then after the eviction and the expelling of the Muslim

24 people from Bijeljina and Foca --

25 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Bos.

Page 11191

1 MR. BOS: I'm just wondering if the witness has this knowledge out

2 of his experience at the time he was in Bosnia-Herzegovina, because if

3 not, I don't think that this witness should testify on this issue.

4 JUDGE LIU: Well, yes. We also have the same wondering here.

5 Witness, we want to hear the testimonies of what you have seen and

6 what you have heard during that period. So would you please tell us

7 whether it is your personal experience at the time you were in Bosnia and

8 Herzegovina?

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I visited repeatedly Bosnia and

10 Herzegovina at that time, and my knowledge is coming from the people who

11 participated in the defence, and it's based on the reports which were

12 coming in daily concerning the events taking place in certain areas. And

13 I intended to give you an assessment, because my opinion concerning -- I

14 intended to give you a political opinion of the conflict between Muslims

15 and Croats in that area.

16 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]

17 Q. I apologise. Witness, we are interested whether you participated

18 in negotiations, whether you are -- have observed the conflict. We will

19 skip -- we have some five or six more questions which I would like to

20 clarify, because I believe they concern your personal knowledge.

21 The first question is what do you personally know about the

22 establishment of the HZ HB and reasons behind it?

23 A. After the Serbs formed the Krajinas in Bosnia and Herzegovina in

24 1991, and they were later on incorporated in Republika Srpska in 1991, and

25 after the Muslims formed the Patriotic League as their military component

Page 11192

1 in 1993 and called it the Muslim armed forces, the Croat people could do

2 nothing but to try and organise its forces in its territories because

3 there was no common army. There was the Yugoslav People's Army, which had

4 sided with one people, and the system simply stopped functioning in any

5 respect, from payments, domestic currency, national legal tender, and all

6 the other determinants which enable normal functions of municipalities and

7 citizens in that area. There was no other way without but to form a

8 community, a framework in which they tried to organise life insofar as it

9 was possible under the conditions.

10 When the war broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991, when the

11 Serbian army destroyed Croat villages in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the

12 Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina lived from Ravno on, they did not get

13 support from Sarajevo. Moreover, Alija Izetbegovic said that it was not

14 his war, and in Trebinje, a Muslim representative, Zulfikarpasic,

15 Karadzic, Krajisnik, Vucurevic delivered speeches together for joint

16 rallies, and for the camera, Mr. Vucurevic, head of Trebinje, in 1991 said

17 that east Herzegovina will become an integral part of Yugoslavia with the

18 capital in Dubrovnik. Would you believe that? And I wonder what else --

19 what else could the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina expect and what

20 could they do? So.

21 Q. Excuse me. No, no, no. Finish your sentence. What were you

22 going to say?

23 A. And they created this Croat community of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I've

24 read their statute, their programme of work. It is no special state

25 within a state. It is a temporary, that is what it says a provisional

Page 11193

1 institution pending the end of hostilities and the new order in

2 Bosnia-Herzegovina to organise, to help, to care for life in that area.

3 Q. And to round off this subject with my final question and then we

4 shall move on to my last couple of questions. Can you agree with the

5 allegation, namely with the following allegation: Namely, the Prosecution

6 here claims that the HZ HB and then HR HB was under the auspices of the

7 Republic of Croatia with a view to joining the Republic of Croatia. What

8 can you say about that?

9 And let me complete this question. It is also alleged ethnically

10 cleansed, meaning non-Croats.

11 A. The HZ HB is defined by the statute on the establishment of the

12 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna. The Republic of Croatia did not consider

13 that organisation, that institution its ward, because the representatives

14 who represented the Croat community Herceg-Bosna did not come from one

15 political party but, rather, from all the political parties of the Croat

16 people founded in Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is an institution which

17 represented the entire Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They took

18 their decisions autonomously, independently, not having to do anything

19 with Republic of Croatia, except that I was present as a guest at some of

20 the conventions of the HZ HB, but it represented all the representatives

21 elected to the parliament, to the municipal boards elected by the people,

22 and we were there as guests without participating in their deliberations,

23 without decision making powers, without any persuasion, I repeat merely as

24 guests from the Republic of Croatia. And that that ethnically cleansed

25 territory would then be annexed to Croatia?

Page 11194

1 Well, to ethnically cleanse, this is my opinion. I take it that

2 is Muslims who are meant, that is cleansing Muslims from

3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Well, Muslims and Croats are -- worked together in

4 1993 in the Croat Defence Council. They waged war against one aggressor,

5 and when they wouldn't be arming their future adversaries if they were

6 planning to cleanse them from the territory some time.

7 Throughout that time in Mostar, on the west bank, there were ten

8 thousand Muslims living. And as far as I know, only about 100 or so

9 Croats remained on the east bank. There was no ethnic cleansing, nor was

10 that the policy of either the HZ HB and let alone the policy of the

11 Croatian state and the Croatian leadership.

12 Q. I'm asking you because you have been a member of the Croatian diet

13 from the very first day and I'm telling you what the Prosecution is

14 alleging in this case. Of course they have to prove it yet. But you as a

15 representative, as a MP, do you think that anyone could take such a

16 decision apart from the Croatian diet, I mean about the annexation or

17 anything else? Let me just complete this and round this off.

18 So did the Croatian national diet ever deliver it or can anyone

19 apart from the Croatian national diet take a decision on such

20 annexations?

21 A. The Croatian national diet never discussed it. No political party

22 in Croatian has something like that in its programme, be it left or right

23 or centrist party. These are insinuations. There were no public,

24 private, secret meetings rarely that would promote such an aspiration to

25 annex an adjacent part of the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Croatia, even

Page 11195

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1 though the latest report that I've read, Mr. Jacques Klein in Sarajevo

2 said recently that Alija Izetbegovic had been offering to President

3 Tudjman a part of Bosnia, but President Tudjman, of course, refused it as

4 unfair, as unfeasible, as unacceptable because it would do away with his

5 well-known position on the recognition of former republics based on their

6 recognised borders and Croatian won recognition for that position.

7 Q. Right. Let us move on to our last topic, and may I ask Mrs. --

8 The registrar, that is to give to the usher D1/328 and D1/329. They've

9 both been translated into English. That is what I promised Judge Clark

10 before this witness. We have translated all the laws on archives on the

11 confidentiality and all the other laws. There are three or four of them,

12 and especially those that you will see.

13 Now they have to do with the archives, archives left behind late

14 President Franjo Tudjman.

15 Mr. Kovac, are these the laws which were passed by the Croatian

16 national diet?

17 A. Yes, they are.

18 Q. Only briefly, basically because the document speaks for itself,

19 which are the laws? Just a sentence or two.

20 A. The law on the archives -- just let me see. On the protection of

21 the confidentiality of information.

22 Q. Since you were one of those who passed this law, do you know how

23 the archives, how the documents are kept in view of the national security

24 in the Croatian state, for how long they are to be kept under seal and

25 under what conditions they may be disclosed to third persons?

Page 11197

1 A. Any use and storing of archival material or documents of national

2 interest, of state interest, all such documents are kept pursuant to

3 articles of this law on the archives passed by the Croatian diet in 1996.

4 And before that, the laws which were taken over from the former state were

5 in force to avoid a legal rancor. It is clearly specified how documents

6 are stored in the state archive of the Republic of Croatia, who may have

7 access to it, who may use it and how, and in particular, the archives, as

8 specified in Article 20 of the law on archival documents in archives,

9 which specifies that the archives containing data relative to the defence

10 and international relations matters of --

11 Q. Yes. Just do go on but slowly, please.

12 A. And in particular Article 20, which -- the latter part of which I

13 will quote, which now specifies which of the materials, which are the

14 documents of national or state interest and how they are disposed of and

15 how they are stored.

16 Q. You don't have to do that because everybody has this law before

17 him. It's been translated and the document speaks for itself. So let us

18 not waste time. I merely wanted to ask you briefly: Are you familiar

19 with this document? Because after all, you're a member of the

20 legislature. For how many years are they placed under seal?

21 A. Thirty years. Nobody can take out or use such documents. And the

22 law also specifies how -- prescribes the procedure in which one may use it

23 and how, but only subject to the approval of the government and the diet

24 or, rather, the board for national security of the Croatian national

25 diet.

Page 11198

1 Q. You see there are all sorts of documents here which are claimed to

2 have come from the Zagreb archives, but we'll come to another topic. And

3 it also seethes with what was termed here presidential transcripts, that

4 is allegedly transcript that were done in the president's office. But

5 that is another subject.

6 Does the official confidentiality law or archives specify how such

7 a document may get to this Court? Not the Court, the Prosecutor?

8 A. Yes, the law prescribes how these documents can be taken out.

9 Q. Tell me, does the president of the state, if he does not act in

10 accordance with this law, violate this law and, therefore, may be called

11 to account? I mean, if the president of the State of Croatia, is this law

12 binding on him as on everybody else?

13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Bos.

14 MR. BOS: Excuse me. I'm just reading this question. Does the

15 official confidentiality law specify how this document gets to this Court

16 and the answer is yes, but can we be more specific as to which law says so

17 or which article? I think that's important.

18 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Krsnik, you might rephrase your question.

19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]

20 Q. We are now talking about two laws, the archives law and the

21 official -- and confidentiality law. And my question is whether the

22 president of the state violates the same law if he does not behave in

23 accordance with those laws.

24 A. Well, the citizens of every state, and the same goes for the

25 president, must abide by the law.

Page 11199

1 Q. Now, let us look at D1/301, 302, 303, and 323. And as we are

2 waiting for them, let me ask you, did the diet discuss or did they talk

3 about the records kept in the office of the -- of the president of the

4 republic, which are known here as presidential transcripts? Did they

5 discuss it and what decisions were taken?

6 A. Yes. The diet -- the diet did discuss it. And on the basis of

7 that, the law was amended, the archives law and confidentiality law was

8 amended, and the diet empowered the government of the Republic of Croatia

9 to adopt a special decree to regulate the use of the documents emanating

10 from President Tudjman's office.

11 Q. And what was the decision taken by the government?

12 A. May I read the decision of the government?

13 MR. BOS: Just to clarify this, because I'm mixed up with all the

14 different exhibit numbers. So --

15 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Krsnik, could you please mention when

16 documents bear a number so that we can follow you.

17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I think it is 302, because the

18 numbering was changed at about five to eleven in consultation with

19 Madam Registrar. I believe this is Exhibit 302.

20 MR. BOS: What was the old number? Because that doesn't help me.

21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] 321, D1/321 it says on the document.

22 And right after that is document 322 to which I will come next, and then

23 323. These are the three laws that we shall be talking about.

24 Q. Now, Witness, let's look at the first document which is marked, as

25 you can see, 321. This is the old number. Are you familiar with this

Page 11200

1 decision? What year does it date to, and what did it set out to regulate?

2 A. Three?

3 Q. 321 it says down at the bottom. It is decree on the way and

4 procedure to be required.

5 A. Yes. This is the decision of the government of the Republic of

6 Croatia. It was taken on the 16th of December, 1999. And I was a

7 Minister in that cabinet, and I know why such a decision was taken on the

8 way and procedure to be applied to the selection and setting aside of

9 recordings or documents produced under the activity of Dr. Franjo

10 Tudjman.

11 Following the president's death in 1999, the Croatian media began

12 to carry documents from the president's office which were, incidentally,

13 not authentic and those which were -- and those who were mentioned in

14 those transcripts filed suits against those who disclosed those documents

15 to the public without due authority.

16 The government of the Republic of Croatia, therefore, passed this

17 decision to regulate and prescribe in which way we'll file and store the

18 documents and who may have access to these archives. The president's

19 office was made responsible for the implementation of this decision.

20 You have it before you, so I will not quote from it.

21 After the elections on the 3rd of January, 2000, after the

22 presidential elections in the beginning of 2000, media continued to carry

23 documents from the president's office, violating the confidentiality law

24 and the archives law.

25 Q. And which was the main problem? You said something about "in the

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Page 11202

1 beginning." Did the government take this decision because the

2 authenticity had not been established?

3 A. One of the reasons was the non-authenticity of the documents as

4 publicly shown in the statements and in court of those who figured in

5 those so-called transcripts.

6 Q. Did the diet's board -- about the parliamentary boards discuss

7 this?

8 A. Correct. The national security board and the other boards

9 concerned discussed the problem which caused the indignation of the

10 Croatian public. And as to the diet's proposal, the government, the newly

11 elected government, on the 11th of January, 2001, adopted the decision.

12 Q. Are we talking now about document 323?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And what was the decision of that government, the current

15 government?

16 A. Yes. This government, on the 11th of January, after the

17 parliamentary discussion and after its discussion by the boards, the

18 government of the Republic of Croatia was made responsible for taking a

19 decision which we have before us on the taking over and use of the

20 documentation produced under the activity of Dr. Franjo Tudjman in his

21 capacity as president of Croatia, and this was signed by Mr. Goran

22 Granic.

23 Q. Are these documents being placed unseal and does this document

24 question the authenticity?

25 A. The government of the Republic of Croatia is not called upon to

Page 11203

1 establish the authenticity of the documents under this decision, as it

2 transpires clearly from item 2 of this decision. And for how many years

3 are these documents, alleged presidential transcripts, placed unseal?

4 A. These -- this is regulated by the archives and confidentiality

5 laws.

6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Oh, yes. I see. Your Honours, is

7 this time for a break? And we have a judge of the supreme court from my

8 state who is now listening, so I'm struck by stage fright. But I have two

9 questions, I believe, and then I'll be finishing.

10 JUDGE LIU: Well, if you only have two questions, why not continue

11 to finish these two questions? After that, we will have our break.

12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Very well.

13 Q. Right. So, Mr. Kovac, before I finish, I have two short

14 questions. One of the documents which we did not address so far, and it's

15 old number 320. Will you tell Their Honours, 320, old number, will you

16 explain to the Chamber, what does this declaration mean? Was it adopted

17 by the diet, why, and when?

18 A. After long deliberations in the Croatian public, media, and

19 beyond, which never stopped asking whether the patriotic war in the

20 Republic of Croatia was a liberation war, was it a war of aggression,

21 whether the Republic of Croatia in the 1990s had launched an aggression

22 against other state, whether it set out to occupy another state, and so

23 two years ago the Croatian national diet, in the year 2000 included in its

24 agenda the problems and the definition of truth about the Croatian policy

25 in the 1990s and the character of the war, the nature of war in Croatia

Page 11204

1 and the attitude of Croatia towards other republics. Unanimously, all the

2 parliamentary parties in the Croatian diet adopted this declaration by

3 consensus, which is of great importance for this Court, because it defines

4 the Republic of Croatia, its attitude towards primarily Bosnia and

5 Herzegovina, because I hear that even here in this Tribunal, in the

6 indictments, gentlemen who are sitting here and others are being told that

7 Croatia had committed an aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina, that it

8 wanted to annex parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Republic of Croatia.

9 So the diet unanimously voted for this declaration which says that the

10 Republic of Croatia, which the just defensive and liberation war rather

11 than aggressive war, a war of conquest against anyone in which it defended

12 its territory against the -- again the Serbian aggression within its

13 internationally recognised borders. I repeat, by consensus and

14 unanimously.

15 MR. BOS: Excuse me. Could we just have the date of this

16 document, please?

17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] You heard the question.

18 JUDGE LIU: [Previous translation continues] ... Am I right?

19 MR. KRSNIK: Yes, you are right, Your Honour.

20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kovac, who would have to -- and what would be

21 the procedure if I, as counsel for Defence, if I asked to see the

22 transcripts from the president's office, which by this government's

23 decision of 1999 and then repeated in 2001 and the laws, what would be the

24 procedure to follow? Could I gain access to them, and what would I have

25 to do in order to gain access to them? And I suppose the same procedure

Page 11205

1 would applied to the Prosecutor.

2 A. You could gain access to them if you follow the procedure based on

3 law and decisions of the government of the Republic of Croatia in 1999 and

4 2001.

5 Q. Are you aware that the Prosecutor of this Tribunal requested the

6 permission of the Croatian national diet concerning the transcripts from

7 the president's office and whether he got such a permission from the

8 either the government or the Croatian national diet? Because I put it to

9 you that here presidential transcripts are being used and claims are made

10 that they're authentic. They are here. Are you aware of that at all?

11 A. If that is true, if it is true that there are transcript here in

12 this Court, then I can claim under full responsibility that they are

13 not -- that they have not got here in a lawful manner because the diet or

14 the parliamentary board responsible for security never discussed nor

15 permitted any use of these documents or these archives.

16 Q. Are we therefore talking about illegal documents?

17 A. Well, if they got here without respecting the procedure prescribed

18 by law and decisions of the government, then they obviously are here

19 illegally and unlawfully.

20 Q. And what about their authenticity? Can one even speak about their

21 authenticity?

22 A. From what I know, after the publication in Croatian media --

23 Q. No, no, no. Forget that.

24 A. No. I don't think that they're authentic. I don't think they are

25 reliable. And I'm surprised to hear that they could find their way to The

Page 11206

1 Hague Tribunal, because they are documents under a very strict procedure

2 concerning their storage and use.

3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours. I

4 have no further questions.

5 Thank you, Witness, that you have come. And now the Prosecution

6 will cross-examine you.

7 JUDGE LIU: Is there any direct examination from Mr. Seric?

8 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] No thank you. My learned colleague

9 Krsnik has already exhausted all the questions.

10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Mr. Bos, are you going to talk

11 about a procedural matter --

12 MR. BOS: Yes.

13 JUDGE LIU: Or you will begin your cross-examination.

14 MR. BOS: No, I have not be beginning my cross-examination. I

15 will be using one of the presidential transcripts in my cross-examination,

16 so I think the witness could look at it and prepare himself.

17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Usher could you please furnish that

18 document?

19 MR. BOS: It's PT 12.

20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Could also the Defence receive a

21 copy of that document so that we could get acquainted with it during the

22 break? If it's not already in the transcripts which we have already

23 received.

24 MR. BOS: It's one of the transcripts you've already received.

25 It's PT 12.

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1 JUDGE LIU: At this moment we have to break now. We will resume

2 at 6.00.

3 --- Recess taken at 5.26 p.m.

4 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.

5 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Bos, according to the document -- yes?

6 MR. BOS: Yes?

7 JUDGE LIU: Do you have the B/C/S translations for those

8 documents? For instance, the documents --

9 MR. BOS: No, Your Honour. And the Defence was making us aware of

10 this as well. Of the press articles, I am afraid I don't have

11 translations, but I'm going to translate a few sentences from these press

12 articles and if it's translated, I think that should be sufficient.

13 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I'll let you try to see how far you could go.

14 Yes? Yes, Mr. Krsnik?

15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, PT12, the exhibit, it

16 says that the sources are the Zagreb archives, the presidential

17 transcripts. It's not true, and it's not correct, because the source is

18 not the Zagreb archives. I don't know why the Prosecutor has placed this

19 in front of you, because they were witnesses who stated in front of you

20 that the transcripts arrived here and how they arrived and the origin, the

21 source, is not the Zagreb archives.

22 JUDGE LIU: I think this is just an indication where this comes

23 from. Do you have any different views?

24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] No. No, Your Honours. Yes, Your

25 Honours. We were all present when the presidential transcripts were being

Page 11209

1 submitted, and we know that they were coming -- that there were the

2 witnesses of the Prosecution, and they did not come from the Zagreb

3 archive. It was something that was being proved by the Prosecutor here.

4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Bos, could you give us an explanation on

5 that?

6 MR. BOS: Well, Your Honours, if it needs to be more specific, we

7 could also say the presidential palace. It's true what the Defence says,

8 that we heard evidence of Mr. Marco Prelec on this, and it's clear on the

9 basis of that evidence where these presidential transcripts came from.

10 JUDGE LIU: Let's hear the cross-examination first and later on we

11 will judge from the evidence presented by both parties. Yes, Mr. Bos, you

12 may proceed.

13 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.

14 Cross-examined by Mr. Bos:

15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Kovac?

16 A. Good afternoon.

17 Q. My name is Roeland Bos and I represent the Office of the

18 Prosecutor, and I will ask you some questions in the cross-examination.

19 The first issue I'd like to discuss is where the Defence left off his

20 direct examination which concerns the release of the presidential

21 transcripts.

22 Now, Mr. Kovac, isn't it true that the issue of the release of

23 these transcripts to the public was an issue that came about after the

24 death of President Tudjman in December 1999 and at the time that

25 President Stipe Mesic took over the Presidency?

Page 11210

1 A. Your Honours, as a deputy in the Croatian diet, because it is now

2 the first time that I have proof that these documents, these transcripts

3 have arrived here to The Hague, may I ask a question? The Prosecution,

4 who submitted to them the document? Your Honour, namely --

5 JUDGE LIU: [Previous translation continues] ...

6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] The witness wish us to say that as he

7 is duty-bound by the law, he is in fact a member of the MP, and would need

8 the approval of the parliament to speak on this issue.

9 JUDGE LIU: Well --

10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] He cannot speak of something which is

11 considered confidential and is under seal for the next 30, 40 years, and

12 to disclose it here. He has to ask the approval of the parliament,

13 because he would place himself in a position where he could be under

14 law -- bound by the law to face the law for committing this omission.

15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, I think you cited a wrong example to

16 raise these objections. The Prosecution has just asked a very simple

17 question, which I believe is common knowledge in a sense. It has got

18 nothing to do with the contents of this transcript. It has nothing to do

19 with the confidentiality of this document. It's a very simple question.

20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour. I agree with

21 that concerning the question which has been raised, but the witness does

22 not know that he is not allowed to raise a question and to direct a

23 question to the Prosecution. But of course he can, and he should answer

24 this question which was raised to him and directed to him, the simple

25 question.

Page 11211

1 JUDGE LIU: Well, in your direct examination, Mr. Krsnik, you

2 asked about the questions in this direction. So I believe the Prosecution

3 also have the right to cross-examine this witness concerning those

4 presidential transcripts.

5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I only asked questions concerning the

6 legislation, the relevant legislation, and nothing else.

7 JUDGE LIU: Well, let us hear how the witness is going to answer

8 this question.

9 Witness, if you have some question concerning the questions asked

10 by the Prosecutor, you may raise it.

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can of course answer

12 that question, but I wanted raise the question which was raised by the

13 Defence counsel Krsnik, because by the laws of the Republic of Croatia,

14 they are documents that are considered to be an official secret. And in

15 order to disclose a document or discuss it publicly, you -- one must

16 remove this classification, and this can be done only by the diet, by the

17 Croatian parliament.

18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, the question asked by the Prosecution

19 has nothing to do with the contents of those transcripts. He said:

20 "Isn't that true that the issues of the release of those transcripts to

21 the public was an issue that came about after the death of President

22 Tudjman in December, 1999?"

23 Yes. That's a very simple question.

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. And I can answer that

25 question. And I said a few hours ago, I stated it, that at the end of the

Page 11212

1 1999 in the press, illegally, there came a disclosure of these documents,

2 of these archives, and that is why the government of whose I was a

3 Minister adopted a decision, a decree on the use of this, the archives of

4 the president. And it was classified, classified as far as President

5 Tudjman as the president of the republic, President Tudjman as the

6 president of the HDZ and his private archives, archives of a private

7 nature. And it's clear also which documents have to be preserved and how

8 they can be released and used and what is the prescribed procedure.

9 Transcripts have indeed been published, and from our -- on the basis our

10 knowledge, we know that they were not authentic, and that is why the

11 decision of the government to prevent this.

12 MR. BOS:

13 Q. Witness -- Mr. Kovac, you just said that the presidential archives

14 which were kept by Tudjman were his private archives. Is that correct?

15 Is that your statement?

16 A. They were not the archives themselves but the contents of that --

17 those archives were also documents of a private nature.

18 Q. Well, that's something different than a private archive.

19 A. Yes. It wasn't a private archive but archive material which was

20 of a personal nature and which was to be handed over to his family if the

21 family requested so.

22 Q. All right. Well, I'll leave this topic for now. Let's move on.

23 So you've stated that in fact you are aware that presidential

24 transcripts were issued to the public and that that was the reason why

25 several -- that was why the parliament issued decrees, several decrees on

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Page 11214

1 these.

2 Now, let me show you some exhibits which were articles which were

3 issued in the public on this issue, and these -- I'm going to forewarn,

4 these exhibits are in English, but I will read out the content to you so

5 that it can be translated into B/C/S.

6 MR. BOS: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 876.01 and 876.02?

7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?

8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we are -- apply the

9 same identical rules, and the Defence has worked on this and made an

10 effort, and the article also has to be translated, and the article has to

11 be a presentation of it in total. How is the witness to know from which

12 article this was taken, where was it published, if nothing has been

13 translated?

14 In addition to that, Your Honours, you remember that in our case,

15 for my witnesses, the articles, press articles were not important and that

16 we had to skip it.

17 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, at the very beginning, I mentioned

18 the issue of the translation, and we also raised that those documents have

19 not been translated into B/C/S. But since they are from the media and are

20 very short articles, we will see how far the Prosecution will go, and then

21 we will decide whether we could admit it or not.

22 Yes, Mr. Bos.

23 MR. BOS: Your Honour, I'm just going to quote a few lines from

24 each article, and I think in this case media articles are relevant to the

25 point I want to make.

Page 11215

1 So maybe we can place Exhibit 876.01 on the ELMO so everyone can

2 see the text that I want to read out.

3 Q. Witness, this is an article which was issued in the Independent,

4 in the English newspaper in London, on the 1st of November, 2000. The

5 head of the article reads -- maybe we can put it on the ELMO. Exhibit

6 876.01. This is the wrong one.

7 Mr. Kovac, do you speak English or do I need to read it out and

8 translate it for you?

9 A. I do not speak English, and I need a translation. It has to be

10 read out to me.

11 Q. As I was saying, this is an article in the Independent on the 1st

12 of November, 2000, and the head of the article is as follows: "The

13 Tudjman tapes: Secret recordings link dead dictator to Bosnia crimes.

14 Transcripts from Croatian leader's own archive reveal his role in war

15 atrocities and how he stole 1 billion pounds from his own people."

16 And then we if we go to the sentence which is particularly

17 relevant for me. It's the third paragraph of the article, and I'll read

18 it out. This discusses the Tudjman tapes, and it says: "The recordings

19 came to light after Croatia's new president, Stipe Mesic, gave Channel 4

20 News for use unprecedented access to the 100 tapes and 17.000 transcripts

21 stored at the palace."

22 "According to President Mesic, Tudjman was convinced that his was

23 a historic and Messianic control: This is why he wanted everything to be

24 on record ... Because he thought it would be important to history."

25 And if you move down two paragraphs, I want to read out:

Page 11216

1 "President Mesic has now handed copies of the transcripts to the war

2 crimes Tribunal at The Hague." Witness, would these be articles that we

3 could also read in the Croatian newspapers in the year 2000?

4 A. Such statements of the press concerning President Tudjman as a

5 dictator speaks more of those who wrote these articles. President Tudjman

6 was no dictator. He was a member of the national liberation struggle

7 1941, 1945 in Croatia, a democratically elected in the party as well as in

8 the country. It was --

9 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, please concentrate on the question

10 asked by the Prosecutor. We are not talking about what kind of person

11 Mr. Tudjman was. We're talking about the media.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The media in Croatia also took over

13 such articles and printed them in their -- in their respective media in

14 Croatia.

15 MR. BOS:

16 Q. So is it then not true that you were aware in the year 2000 that

17 some of these transcripts were also handed over to the Office of the

18 Prosecutor as it was reported in this newspaper article?

19 A. We couldn't believe that what was printed by the -- such media,

20 and that is why in the parliament, immediately in the beginning of the

21 year 2000, began a debate to determine whether this is true or not, and

22 that is why that coalition government also drafted a law on the -- in

23 January of 2001 concerning the use of these transcripts. And I -- when I

24 return from this Tribunal, I will, in the parliament, ask for a committee

25 to be appointed to investigate how these transcripts arrived to The Hague

Page 11217

1 and everybody who was involved in this will be also responsible, will be

2 found accountable. And the cases, it could be even the president of the

3 republic.

4 Q. Just reading the transcript and I just want to clarify it. On

5 page 85, line 9, the witness says -- you've stated the following: "The

6 media in Croatia also took over such articles and printed them out." Are

7 you now referring to articles or presidential transcripts? It's a bit

8 unclear to me. I don't know if it's a matter of translation.

9 A. I'm sorry. The question isn't clear to me.

10 Q. Well, in your answer, you said that the media in Croatia also took

11 over such articles. What do you refer to by "such articles"? Do you

12 refer to the presidential transcripts?

13 A. I was thinking of the style of writing, of the press, and that the

14 Croatian media also printed such statements and also such text, but we

15 could not believe that the transcripts from the presidential office were

16 being sent to The Hague or anywhere else without the necessary procedure,

17 and that is why the government reacted, passed a decree how this material

18 should be handled.

19 Q. Let me give you one more example of a press article which is

20 Exhibit 876.02. And I'll again read out the relevant part which is on the

21 second page of that exhibit, which is the --

22 Mr. Kovac, this is an article again in the foreign article in the

23 Independent News, and it is dated from the 27th of November, 2000, and the

24 title of the argument -- of the article is "Leaving the Balkans Behind,"

25 and the authors of the article are Paul Hockenos and Drago Hedl.

Page 11218

1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I find it that the

2 cross-examination, but this has been removed from the -- downloaded from

3 the Internet. Does such paper exist? Does it exist at all? Do you have

4 a copy of this paper? Could the Defence find and we could -- in order

5 that we could discuss further the media, media for which we determine that

6 it has no probative value? Where was this, from the Internet? Whose

7 website is it? Whose web page?

8 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, we don't believe there's any difference

9 between a newspaper article and an article on the Internet. Actually,

10 it's the same. We are in the twenty-first century.

11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honours, but not the

12 website after single organisation. They can imitate pages from papers on

13 that site.

14 JUDGE LIU: Well -- well --

15 MR. BOS: I think all the sources of this article are mentioned in

16 this article as well so I don't see what the issue is. If counsel insists

17 we can get the original article, but I don't see what difference it makes.

18 JUDGE LIU: You can proceed, and if there is an important

19 difference in this article, we need the original one.

20 MR. BOS: Very well.

21 Q. Witness, let me read out the sentence in this article which I want

22 to put to you and which is on the second page, and it reads as follows:

23 "Almost daily revelations splashed across the front pages have brought to

24 light the daunting excesses of an autocratic regime steeped in corruption,

25 covert operations, unabashed nepotism and cloak-and-dagger plots. The

Page 11219

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Page 11220

1 Lion's share of compromising documents and transcripts are faxed straight

2 to the media from the office of the new president, Stipe Mesic, in a

3 transparent strategy to discredit the old regime - now the

4 opposition - and buy time for still vaguely conceived reforms."

5 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Bos, excuse me. Surely your cross-examination

6 can be a little more cogent and closer to the point rather than quoting

7 from articles from the Internet. Why don't you just put your position to

8 this witness and just say there are hundreds if not thousands of articles

9 written all over the world, some valid, some invalid, in relation to a

10 continuous drip feed of revelations from the presidential transcripts?

11 Don't quote from the article. Just go and do your cross-examination.

12 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.

13 Q. Mr. Kovac, isn't it true that there were many articles written

14 about the revelations of these transcripts and the content of these

15 transcripts were also discussed in these articles?

16 A. Yes, because those people in the -- people whose names were

17 mentioned have brought suits against journalists and papers because of the

18 publication of their names and against the person who released those

19 transcripts. I believe the Court will establish who unlawfully gave those

20 documents to the press and the journalists. And that is why I should not

21 come as a surprise, when you know if you look at the press, there are so

22 many suits brought against the press and journalists because they set out

23 to discredit public figures, and the same is happening in Croatia. People

24 are bringing suits against -- for the illegal release of these documents

25 to the media. And by these people are concerned are proving now that

Page 11221

1 these documents are forgeries and inauthentic.

2 JUDGE CLARK: Can I ask a question at this stage? If the

3 documents inauthentic and forgeries, why is the government going through

4 so much to protect them?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Croatian government is not

6 protecting it. And the government's decision of January 2001, item 2,

7 says that a government will not be establishing the authenticity of these

8 documents. I believe that the diet of the Republic of Croatia, through an

9 inquiry commission and with the board for national security, will

10 establish, after what I've seen, that the transcripts indeed, such as

11 these, have got here and that, I, as a member of the Croatian diet, who

12 is -- which decides on the removal of classification of confidentiality,

13 know nothing about it. It was not deliberated. It was not on the

14 national security board or discussed at a session of the Croatian diet.

15 But those whom I mention and said that they had brought suit against

16 newspapers for publishing these inauthentic transcripts, because people

17 know best what they said and what these transcripts say. And I believe

18 that they will succeed in proving, even by way of -- in court, that they

19 reached the public in an unlawful manner and that they're inauthentic.

20 JUDGE CLARK: Do you think that the government will establish the

21 authenticity or otherwise of these documents by locking them up for 30

22 years or 70 years or a hundred years? Do you think that will help the

23 international community to establish whether the Tudjman tapes or genuine

24 or forgeries?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there hasn't been a

Page 11222

1 state in the history of humankind, ever since the institution of a

2 democratic state has come into being, which has seen things happening

3 which we see happening today in Croatia. From the very text of this

4 article, the current president of state says, and the journalist writes,

5 that he will unmask or I don't know what word he used against the former

6 regime. The question is not with the regime or the government. What is

7 important in the state, national interest. There is a legal procedure

8 which specifies how these documents can get to this table here.

9 JUDGE CLARK: You're not answering my question. You're fudging

10 the issue. But let's carry on. All I want to say is what we have heard

11 from you and other witnesses, President Tudjman died in 1999. The new

12 government under President Mesic came to office in early 2000. The

13 documents were the subject of international comment, debate, otherwise for

14 almost a full year before you say this law was passed. So during the year

15 2000 a lot happened in relation to those presidential transcripts,

16 including their arrival here at The Hague. The law was passed in 2001,

17 and as far as I know, most law is not retrospective. However, we'll move

18 on. There is an issue we're going to hear a lot of witnesses on and a

19 lot of debate, but the Tribunal has the transcripts, and we've considered

20 the transcripts, and many witnesses who have appeared here for the

21 Prosecution and the Defence, especially the Defence, have admitted that

22 yes, they knew that their conversations were taped and that some of the

23 transcripts are what they said and sometimes they said they don't reflect

24 what they said, but for the most part those witnesses have said that they

25 were aware that their conversations were being taped quite openly. There

Page 11223

1 were microphones at the desk. So there is no issue but that conversation

2 were taped and recorded and transcribed.

3 Now, how -- whether every single word is accurate is an issue

4 we're going to have to decide. We're into the going to debate that now.

5 But tapes are with us. We've considered them. We've read them. We can

6 refer to them. We can move on from is there. You do what you have to do

7 in Croatia when you go home, but the tapes are here with the Tribunal.

8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Krsnik.

9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honour.

10 Judge Clark, with your leave, we do not have the tapes. We never got any

11 tapes through the Prosecution. This is just paper, which has not been

12 corroborated by anything. No tape. There are no tapes. The Prosecutor

13 has already said that there were no tapes.

14 Thirdly, we are talking about lawful, legal procedure of the law

15 in 1999. Had the Prosecutor requested it, he should have -- he would have

16 turned to the government, the government would have authorised, and it

17 would have been done properly. That is what I say, there is a legal

18 procedure. The Prosecutor applies, the government goes through it, turns

19 to international security board, talks to people were you there, were you

20 not, did you say this or not, and then they give the transcript to the

21 Prosecutor. We have the constitutional law on cooperation with the

22 Tribunal and all those other laws, and this is what we're talking about.

23 All the rest is not in dispute.

24 JUDGE CLARK: Sorry, Mr. Krsnik. I said the word tape. I should

25 have used transcripts. We have what are the transcripts. Tapes,

Page 11224

1 transcripts I'm using them synonymously. But what is the point of going

2 on with this debate because the year 2000 the transcripts arrived at the

3 Tribunal, in the year 2001, the law was passed. So we're going round and

4 round in circles and achieving nothing.

5 MR. KRSNIK: No, no, no. [Interpretation] No, no. The law was

6 passed in 1999, Your Honour. 1999. Excuse me. This is another law, the

7 one ever 2001, which strictly prescribes how this should be proceeded.

8 JUDGE LIU: We think in the proceedings we are going to hear what

9 the witness has to tell us, not the Defence counsel. You may raise some

10 objections if you do not agree with the Prosecution's question, but let

11 the Prosecution go on with his cross-examination at this moment.

12 MR. BOS:

13 Q. Mr. Kovac, wouldn't you agree that it was president Stipe Mesic

14 himself who released these transcripts to the public and also to the

15 Office of the Prosecutor, and wouldn't you agree that he released these

16 transcripts because he was of the opinion that these transcripts neither

17 had military nor state secrets and that there was a political reason to

18 issue these transcripts publicly to show that Croatia did not function as

19 a law-based state under President Tudjman?

20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?

21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] There the question and whatever

22 answer would call for speculation.

23 JUDGE LIU: Well, let us hear what the witness is going to answer

24 this question. He may know, and he may not.

25 Yes, Witness, you may answer that question.

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Page 11226

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] President Mesic did make some

2 statements that he would offer for inspection the transcripts, even though

3 we warned him as MPs and as parties that it was not a lawful way to

4 follow, that there was a procedure. And had he followed the procedure as

5 prescribed by law on archives on the confidentiality law that we had here

6 today, and had he observed the decision of the government of December

7 1999, then the current government would not have taken the decision that

8 it did in January 2001, because the government and the office for

9 cooperation with The Hague Tribunal is attached to it has realised that

10 this was not the lawful way and that one had to do as the government

11 decided in early 2001, which is biding on the president of the republic

12 and everyone in the Republic of Croatia.

13 MR. BOS:

14 Q. I will repeat my question and I'll be a bit shorter in my question

15 this time. Isn't it true that President Mesic issued some of these

16 transcripts to the public, to the media and that he had a reason to do

17 so?

18 A. President Mesic never said that he gave it to the media -- gave

19 them to the media directly but that he -- that he did not know how the

20 media came by those transcripts. But he never gave them directly to the

21 media. And through the media and in the diet, we raised the question why

22 did the president of the republic give the transcripts to the media, and

23 his answer was that he did not and that he himself did not know how the

24 journalists had come by those transcripts.

25 MR. BOS: May the witness now be shown Exhibit 876.3? And could

Page 11227

1 you put it on the ELMO, please?

2 Q. Mr. Kovac, this is an article from a Croatian newspaper, from the

3 Hina, dated 29 November 2000, and the header of the article is "Mesic:

4 Issuing of transcripts from president's office had political effect."

5 Now, I want to read out two paragraphs to you which are the second

6 and the third paragraph. No, the third and the fourth paragraph from the

7 top.

8 MR. BOS: And Mr. Usher, if we could move the transcript -- yes.

9 Thank you.

10 Q. Okay. It states as follows: "In reply to questions by reporters,

11 Mesic said the issuing of transcripts of talks held by the late President

12 Franjo Tudjman in his office would cease when interest for them subsided."

13 And then he continues: "The transcripts are neither a military

14 nor state secret, and their issuing has had a political effect which

15 showed that Croatia did not function as a law-based state, he asserted."

16 "The transcripts have shown that decisions were made where they

17 should have not been made, Mesic stressed."

18 Isn't that a clear message from Mesic that he in fact did release

19 these transcripts to the public?

20 A. Unfortunately, I have to say here that President Mesic --

21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] My apologies. Your Honours, how do

22 we know that President Mesic did say this? How do we know this and what

23 is this Prosecutor's postulate?

24 JUDGE LIU: The question is not whether you know it or not. The

25 question is whether the witness knows it or not. If the witness's answer

Page 11228

1 is no, that is the end of this issue. But if you want the testimony

2 before the Tribunal, I believe it's possible to produce those transcripts

3 in this Tribunal.

4 Yes. Witness, you may answer the question.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During the last two years, I have

6 read many statements by our president, Mr. Mesic, and they were of --

7 inconsistent. And that is why the Croat people are very indignant about

8 this behaviour, because one -- on within occasion he says he gives the

9 transcripts, on another occasion he says he doesn't give them out. I'm

10 sorry I have to say this about my president, but I'm sworn to tell the

11 truth and I am telling the truth.

12 MR. BOS:

13 Q. Now, Witness, would you not agree that because many of these

14 transcripts and the content of these transcripts were in the public domain

15 that it's a little bit water under the bridge now to withdraw these

16 presidential transcripts as evidence in these proceedings because the

17 documents should have been kept in the state archive?

18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.

19 MR. KRSNIK: [In English] This is a legal question.

20 [Interpretation] The Prosecution cannot discuss it with the witness.

21 Which transcripts is the question out of 17.000, since you mentioned the

22 media. Which are the transcripts which have been published? The media

23 published three or four, not 17.000. And no knows how many of them there

24 are and which are and which are not.

25 Your Honours, let's understand. The diet discussed it before the

Page 11229

1 whole world, and the present witness testified, and he said he did not

2 give those transcripts. He said it before the whole Croatian nation. We

3 cannot behave like small children here before this Court. I'm sorry, but

4 I think --

5 JUDGE LIU: Well, you could make some objections to the questions

6 put by the Prosecution, but you cannot answer the question by yourself,

7 Mr. Krsnik. Here we are going to hear --

8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] My objection is that it is a legal

9 matter and that the witness cannot answer it because he's not a legal

10 expert. That is my objection.

11 JUDGE LIU: I don't think this is a legal question at this

12 moment. Maybe Mr Prosecutor, you could phrase -- rephrase your

13 question. Your question is a little bit complicated.

14 MR. BOS: I could shorten the question.

15 Q. Witness, do you agree that many of these transcripts were released

16 in the public and you also know that many of these transcripts were issued

17 to the Office of the Prosecutor. Wouldn't you agree now that it didn't

18 make sense to withdraw these transcripts from the proceedings here because

19 they should have been kept in the state archives? It's too late. These

20 transcripts have already been issued to the public as well.

21 A. The first question, no. Not many transcripts have been published

22 in Croatia. Some have, depending on political developments and which

23 political figures were suitable to have their names dragged through the

24 newspapers and so on and so forth. I cannot go into it whether these

25 transcripts are sufficient proof for any indictment. I am not a lawyer.

Page 11230

1 I'm not a legal expert. But, I, as a member of the Croatian diet for the

2 past 12 years of the independence of the Croatian state, now I know that

3 rules and laws have been broken, those rules and laws that deal with this

4 matter, and that the procedure regarding the release of this material was

5 not observed.

6 Now, whether it is too late to withdraw them as the part of the

7 indictment, it is not up to me to say whether it is too late or not. Mine

8 is to speak about the legal procedure. But from what I do know and what

9 lawyers in the Republic of Croatia say, and they have spoken out on many

10 occasions in relation to this matter, these transcripts -- and they say

11 that these transcripts are not authentic, and what you have given me to

12 read, during the break I did read it. I wanted to see which persons

13 were present at the meeting. And there are some names that I've never

14 heard of in my life. And I have existed in the political life of Croatia

15 for the past 12 years. And that one detail already shows me that these

16 documents are not authentic.

17 Q. Let me just ask one final question on this. Isn't it true that

18 many of the HDZ officials are very much afraid that -- of the content of

19 these transcripts and that that's the reason why they don't want to have

20 it revealed?

21 A. No. I do not think that anyone is too scared, but we are a state

22 of the rule of law. We want to have the rule of law, and we therefore

23 request that laws of the Republic of Croatia be complied with.

24 Q. All right. Well, let's look at the law then, unless we want to

25 break there. It's a new topic. I don't know if we -- if you want -- if

Page 11231

1 you want me to continue for another five minutes, Your Honour or should I

2 start with a new topic?

3 JUDGE LIU: Well, since we still have five minutes, you may go

4 on.

5 MR. BOS: Very well. Could the witness be shown --

6 JUDGE CLARK: Just before you start a new subject can I have the

7 translation of a word and perhaps the witness can help us. It's a

8 document that was called Exhibit D1/323. It's your exhibit, Mr. Krsnik.

9 And I have the English translation and the original Croatian text is at

10 the back. If you look at paragraph Roman numeral II and you look at the

11 second line which says in English "Exceptionally," which I suppose would

12 translate "In special circumstances, particular recordings and documents

13 may be admitted for insight. That insight, should that be translated as

14 research is that that sometimes in special circumstances the archives of

15 Franjo Tudjman can be submitted for research upon prior approval of the

16 government of Croatia." It's translated as "insight" which is not a word

17 that I would associate with the meaning of research.

18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, we'll hear what the witness is going

19 to answer this question, not you.

20 MR. KRSNIK: Yes. I -- [Interpretation] Yes, but I can't find

21 what Her Honour has read out. I can't find it. I do have document 323,

22 Roman II, and I'm looking at the Croatian text, Roman II, paragraph 1.

23 JUDGE CLARK: [Previous translation continues] ... odrenji.

24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] In -- "as an exception, certain

25 concrete recordings and documents may be offered for inspection only

Page 11232

1 subject to the approval of the government of the Republic of Croatia."

2 That is the text of the Croatian law.

3 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, I warned you before. I think Judge Clark

4 is asking a question to this witness since this witness is one of the

5 makers of this law.

6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] But it's a document. It's -- these

7 are laws which were published in Narodni Novi in the official Gazette.

8 You're not going examine the witness about a public text. It is a public

9 matter. Because what Judge Clark read out did not say here so I was

10 confused.

11 JUDGE CLARK: I want to ask this witness as one of the drafters

12 whose intimately involved with this. Does that paragraph mean that a bona

13 fide researcher or archivist or historian could with prior approval gain

14 access to the documents?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If the documents are kept in the

16 archive, in the archives of the Republic of Croatia, then there is a

17 procedure prescribed specifying that the Minister of Culture, at the

18 request of the director of the archives, may authorise the use of these

19 documents. I do not know -- I cannot quote the article because I do not

20 know it by heart, but I think that is the gist of it.

21 JUDGE CLARK: It's near enough to accept that it says the

22 government of Croatia, but can you tell me of your own knowledge, sir, do

23 you know if anybody is conducting any bona fide research as an archivist

24 or an historian into these transcripts?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I do not know.

Page 11233

1 JUDGE CLARK: So it could be happening, but you don't know of it?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it could be, but I'm simply not

3 aware of it.

4 JUDGE CLARK: Thank you.

5 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm afraid we have to stop here. It's almost

6 7.00. Witness, I have to remind you as I do with other witnesses, during

7 your stay in The Hague you're under oath, so do not talk to anybody about

8 your testimony, and do not let anybody talk to you about it.

9 We will resume tomorrow afternoon.

10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,

11 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 14th day of May,

12 2002, at 2.15 p.m.

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