1 Tuesday, 21 May, 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 3.33 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 Naletilic and Martinovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, are you ready for your next witness?
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 JUDGE LIU: Your microphone, please.
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Microphone not activated].
12 JUDGE LIU: For the next witness there will be no protective
13 measures for the next witness?
14 MR. KRSNIK: No.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
16 [The witness entered court].
17 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness. Can you hear me? It seems
18 not. Good afternoon, Witness. Would you please make the solemn
19 declaration, please?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
21 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 WITNESS: IVAN BENDER
23 [Witness answered through interpreter].
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may sit down, please. You may sit
25 down, please. Can you hear me, Witness?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't hear the translation into
2 B/C/S, I'm sorry, I can't hear you.
3 JUDGE LIU: Can you hear me?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I can hear you.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Mr. Krsnik, you may proceed.
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
7 Can we lower the ELMO, please? Thank you.
8 JUDGE CLARK: You won't forget, Mr. Krsnik, to ask him to tell us
9 who he is?
10 Examined by Mr. Krsnik:
11 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Bender?
12 A. Good afternoon to you.
13 Q. I know there is your first time here, maybe even in your entire
14 life that you are in the courtroom?
15 A. Yes, I am for the first time in such a situation. I am very happy
16 to be -- I'm glad to be here and I hope I'll manage to find my bearings
18 Q. I'm going to give you just the basic instructions for a better
19 cooperation and for the better work and so that we can actually go quickly
20 through the subject that is we have envisaged for today's examination. In
21 front of you, there is a transcript on the screen.
22 A. Yes, I can see.
23 Q. Can you see the cursor that is moving? Since we are speaking the
24 same language, when the cursor stops, as it has just stopped now, then I
25 am going to ask you to start giving your answer.
1 A. I understand.
2 Q. There is no need to rush. Please take your time, the transcript
3 is a very important thing so the translation is very important, and the
4 interpreters really have a very hard job, they have to translate, convey
5 the message, not only the words. So let's start -- can you please first
6 introduce yourself to the Honours? First your first name, the last name
7 and then your short curriculum vitae until 1990 and then after that, very
8 briefly, all the offices that you held after 1990 and we will talk about
9 the subjects later on. So a few sentences, please.
10 A. I am Ivan Bender. I was born 3rd, January, 1947. My father was
11 Mate, my mother was Andica. I was born in Zelenikovac, in Neum
12 municipality in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I finished primary school in my
13 native village in the general area of Hutovo, then I finished classical
14 grammar school in Capljina and then after that --
15 Q. Can you slow down, please?
16 A. Then I finished the academy for education in Mostar. I have a
17 degree in mathematics and physics. That was in the 1967, and in 1986, I
18 graduated from the law school in Mostar. At the beginning of my career, I
19 worked as a mathematics teacher, a teacher of mathematics and physics and
20 then I was the principal of an elementary school. After that, I was the
21 President of the municipal conference of the Socialist Alliance in Neum
22 and I held two mandates, two, one-year mandates. After that, I was
23 director of the branch office of the business bank in Neum, with the first
24 multi-party elections in the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the first
25 multi-party elections, I was elected as the President of the municipal
1 assembly of Neum. That was in November of 1990. After that, for several
2 years, effectively until 1998, I held responsible offices in Neum
3 municipality. It is important to say that in the first multi-party
4 elections, I was elected with almost 100 per cent majority into the
5 municipal council as the representative of the municipal assembly of Neum,
6 so I was elected into the municipal council of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7 And I remained there for as long as this municipal council existed, and
8 functioned. After that, after the Washington and Dayton agreements and
9 the establishment of the Constituent Assembly of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I continued my mandate as a representative in the
11 constituent assembly. After the war, after the elections, I was elected
12 into the assembly of the county of Herzegovina and Neretva, and at the
13 same time, I was elected as a representative in the House of Peoples of
14 the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Parliament.
15 I would like to point out that during that -- in that period, I
16 also held the post of the President of the Group of Croatian
17 Representatives in the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so these were
18 the most important things, and if there is anything else you would like to
19 know, please ask.
20 Q. Something about the period between 1990 and what we are interested
21 in, we will come to that in a certain order. So I shall come back to that
22 period. Just briefly, did you held any offices in the HZ HB or HR HB?
23 A. Yes, I held most responsible offices in the legislative bodies,
24 both of HZ HB and HR HB. So the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
25 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
1 Q. Can you tell us just briefly what offices were those, just to
2 inform the Trial Chamber about the facts of your activities at the
3 beginning and later on, we will go into details?
4 A. Upon the establishment of the Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna -- upon the establishment of the Croatian Community of
6 Herceg-Bosna, I was a member of the Presidency of the Croatian Community
7 of Herceg-Bosna. After the establishment of the Croatian Republic of
8 Herceg-Bosna, for five or six months, I was the deputy president of the
9 Chamber of Representatives of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
10 After April, 1994, I was elected as a President of the Chamber of
11 Representatives, which was the legislative body of the parliament of the
12 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and that lasted until the moment -- as
13 long as the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna was functioning.
14 Q. Let me put the first question, Mr. Bender. Let's talk about your
15 political world -- work. Can you describe your political work? Were you
16 a member of any political party? We are talking about the period starting
17 with the year 1990.
18 A. At the beginning I would like to point out that until 1990, for
19 ten years, I was a member of the League of Communists of the Socialist
20 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. I was a member of the League of
21 Communists of Yugoslavia until 1989. With the beginning of multi-party
22 system in our area, I joined the committee for the establishment of the
23 Croatian Democratic Union for Neum municipality, and I was elected as the
24 first president of the municipal committee of the Croatian Democratic
25 Union in Neum, and I was its president in several mandates. At the same
1 time, I would like to point out that I was also elected to the -- to hold
2 most responsible offices in the Croatian Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 but we can go into detail on that -- this much for the time being.
4 Q. Can you just briefly tell us where Neum is and then during the
5 examination I'm going to give you the map of Bosnia and Herzegovina so
6 that Their Honours actually get an insight into the geographical position
7 of Neum.
8 A. For your information, I would like to say that Neum is the only
9 municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina which has exit [as interpreted] to
10 the Adriatic Sea. If you have a map in front of you, you would find it
11 difficult to locate it because it is the only municipality in the south of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 Q. What is your -- after the establishment of HZ HB what was your
14 position and did you have a role at the state level after the multi-party
16 A. After the multi-party elections, I became the -- a member of the
17 Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. At the same time,
18 at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I was a representative in the
19 Council of Municipalities in the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in
20 the Chamber of Municipalities in the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
21 Q. When did -- when was your mandate discontinued, why? And in what
22 year? So your mandates, can you tell us something about HZ HB, the
23 Washington period, the Dayton period, the post-Dayton period, so can you
24 tell us something about that? When was your mandate discontinued and
1 A. I am going to gladly answer this question but it will take
2 sometime because I have to answer all the questions that you have just put
4 Q. Just, if you could just tell us whether your mandate was
5 discontinued and what year and why? Because we will come back to that. I
6 just want an introduction into this general question.
7 A. So, I suppose we will clarify all of my functions and offices
8 during the examination, because I already said that I held several offices
9 in Neum in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, in the Croatian
10 Republic of Herceg-Bosna, at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
11 later on, in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. What is important,
12 what I would like to point out at the moment is that my mandate in the
13 legislative bodies of the -- in Bosnia and Herzegovina was discontinued in
14 1998. As a lawyer by profession, I must say that this was done in an
15 illegal and illegitimate way by the high commissioner and some bodies at
16 the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was removed from the list for the
17 assembly of the county -- of the county of Neretva and Herzegovina before
18 the elections in 1998, not because of my own mistakes and failures, but as
19 was written because the Croatian television, you understand the Croatian
20 television from Zagreb, from another state, in one of its programmes -- in
21 one of its programmes, promoted the Croatian HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
22 based on that, as a result of that, I could no longer hold an office in
23 the legislative body, although I was not responsible, but somebody, it was
24 somebody who took the right to do it on my behalf. So, if Your Honours
25 are interested in that, I can submit all the relevant documents.
1 Q. So this was an unilateral decision of the high commissioner for
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
3 A. Yes. Some bodies in the office of the high commissioner, not
4 himself personally.
5 Q. Can the high representative replace in the same way judges, those
6 who win in the elections? Who has given him the right to do that?
7 A. Formally and legally, he shouldn't do that, and he shouldn't be
8 allowed to do that. But somebody gave him the power, or he gave himself
9 the power to replace both the judges and the prosecutors, to remove the
10 people on the list, remove members of the Presidency, all sorts of things
11 that have nothing whatsoever to do with common sense.
12 Q. I would like to clarify just one thing. You mentioned the word
13 "federation." Can you say to this Court when was Bosnia and Herzegovina,
14 when did Bosnia and Herzegovina stop being a republic and what did it
15 consist of? You've mentioned the word "federation." When did Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina, by what document, stop being a republic and what did it
17 consist of?
18 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina as a republic functioned until the
19 multi-party elections and after that, but effectively after the referendum
20 on the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and by the -- when the
21 Serbs actually left Bosnia and Herzegovina and its institutions of
22 government, Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to function as a republic,
23 but with two peoples, because one people left. All the republican
24 structures. The Washington Agreement served to establish the Federation
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and after that, we cannot talk about the Republic
1 of Bosnia and Herzegovina any more.
2 Q. Has -- was this formalised by the Dayton agreement and what is the
3 name of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Dayton agreement?
4 A. The talks about the organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 continued in Dayton, and as it was written in all the Dayton documents,
6 there is no Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina without the republic, the word "republic" unfortunately, some
8 representatives and some bodies have continued to abuse the name
9 "republic." Although Your Honours, I have to repeat that after the
10 Dayton agreement, what exists is Bosnia and Herzegovina without the
11 addition of "republic" and its organisation will be determined by the
12 peoples residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 Q. And just briefly, how is Bosnia and Herzegovina divided and how
14 has it lived since 1995?
15 A. We -- it makes us angry when people say "Bosna." Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina lives and functions and please let us not aggravate the
17 witness by saying just "Bosna."
18 Q. I'm sorry, it was my mistake.
19 A. Since Dayton, since 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been divided
20 into two parts. It has been divided into the Federation of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, mostly inhabited by Croats and Muslims, who will later on
22 call themselves Bosniaks. The other part of Bosnia and Herzegovina is
23 Republika Srpska. Imagine the name [as interpreted], Republika Srpska,
24 which actually accounts for 49 per cent of the territory of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina. All the -- according to the 1991 census, Serbs were --
1 accounted for only 30 per cent of the total population of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I have to emphasise and I have to repeat, that Croats
3 accounted for 17.5 per cent of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
4 and that Muslims, i.e. Bosniaks, accounted for some 44 per cent of the
5 population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that pursuant to the Dayton
6 Accord, they now have only 51 per cent of the territory of Bosnia and
8 Q. And this has been internationally recognised?
9 A. Yes. It has been recognised as such. I don't believe it is fair,
10 it is just, it is not a solution that will satisfy Croats, Muslims or
11 Serbs at the end of the day.
12 Q. You owe me another answer. How -- did you stop engaging in
13 politics in 1989? What was the sanction?
14 A. I was removed from the list and I cannot hold any legislative or
15 executive posts in the state structures of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Q. So you've been denied your civil rights?
17 A. Why, of course, because if one may not be elected and represent
18 his people, then it means that that man has been denied his civil rights.
19 Q. Very good. And let me ask you the last introductory question.
20 Was the HZ HB throughout 1993 and in 1994, were you there when it acted?
21 A. We, on the basis of our estimates and our decisions, we decided to
22 freeze the work of the HZ HB at that time because we thought that under
23 wartime conditions, our Croat Democratic Union should not function. So it
24 froze its activity temporarily, but it did not cease to exist.
25 Q. For the interpretation the transcript says, I asked you about the
1 Croat Democratic Union and the transcript says HZ HB?
2 A. No, I have to make a correction. I'm referring to the freezing of
3 the activity of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Now I'd like to ask you, but very briefly, we are now moving to
5 those things which the Defence believes that your knowledge could be very
6 useful for the Defence. So the first question: When was the HDZ formed
7 in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, what was the platform of the party
8 that you belonged to? But very briefly, because the Chamber has already
9 heard a great deal from other witnesses.
10 A. The preparations for the establishment of the Croat Democratic
11 Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina started sometime in late 1989 and early 1990.
12 The convention of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
13 organised in August, 1990, and at that time, we also elected a leadership
14 of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Now, if you wish to
15 know more, I can go into details or about presidents of the Croat
16 Democratic Union or rather about the composition of its leadership.
17 Q. But generally speaking, what was your programme, in general
19 A. As regards the programme of the Croat Democratic Union of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is common knowledge, because it was written very
21 clearly, because the population of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the public at
22 large have been informed about it. According to our -- in our programme
23 we first say what was our view of the former state of Yugoslavia, and we
24 said that we saw it as a community that is a confederation of republics.
25 Unfortunately, it did not come true and you know what kind of war was
1 waged down there, and we can talk about that later. And as for
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina itself, we saw it as a decentralised multi-ethnic
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 Q. And what about its organisation, what did the programme say about
5 the organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 A. We said that --
7 Q. Slow down, please. Please slow down.
8 A. It should be a decentralised community of three peoples, Croats,
9 Serbs and Muslims, who later on came to be called Bosniaks, and we would
10 discuss and agree on its organisation, because there were different
11 proposals and a number of initiatives.
12 Q. And did you -- did you intend to operationalise it by military
14 A. No. We could not do that. How could we? Since we had no army.
15 We were planning to do it politically, using democratic means, conducting
16 talks and in agreement with the Serbs and the Muslims.
17 Q. And did you at that time submit any reports on the work of the HDZ
18 of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the HDZ of Croatia?
19 A. We never submitted reports on the work of the Croat Democratic
20 Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the HDZ in Croatia.
21 Q. Very well. And did the programme of the HDZ of BH, was it
22 defined? Was it written down by the HDZ of Croatia?
23 A. Well, we get very angry when we hear questions like that, because
24 we think that in the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had all the bodies, we
25 had our leadership, we had our programmes, we adopted whatever decisions
1 were necessary, and we reported to and accounted to only our people, that
2 is the membership of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 Q. And the question of the internal organisation of the Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, what about, according to the HDZ programme, was it
5 specified and who did that?
6 A. All the programmes, all the decisions of the Croat Democratic
7 Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina were taken by us in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or
8 rather, it was our bodies who did that.
9 Q. Well, you see, Mr. Bender, the Prosecutor of the Tribunal alleges
10 that the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina had in its programme, included in its
11 programme, a plan to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina and create areas jointly
12 with Croatia, within the boundaries, says the Prosecutor, of the
13 banovina. Is that true?
14 A. No, that is not true and it is not correct. All our acts, all our
15 documents, clearly speak of Bosnia and Herzegovina and our future in
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our subsequent Croat Community Herceg-Bosna, that
17 is Croat Republic Herceg-Bosna, is part and parcel of Bosnia and
19 Q. Mr. Bender, I will now show you Prosecutor's Exhibit P899. You
20 are a teacher. Are you familiar with this map from the past?
21 A. Yes, of course. During my education, I learned about the plans of
22 the Banovina Hrvatska, but it had nothing to do with the plans of the
23 Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. Very well, very well. That is not what I had in mind. Not right
25 now. What I wanted to ask you was when was Yugoslavia divided like this?
1 Do you know that? And what was this division of Yugoslavia, subdivision
2 of Yugoslavia called? How long was it in force?
3 A. Well, that was during World War II, sometime it was done sometime
4 in 1939, 1940, and those were plans of some other people, of some other
5 generations, not those that we are talking about.
6 Q. Do you know if there were republics or banovinas at the time, I
7 mean in the territory of the then kingdom of Yugoslavia?
8 A. I know that there were banovinas, no republics.
9 Q. And do you know what was the name of the banovina which is light
10 red, which is coloured light red?
11 A. I think it was called Vrbas Banovina but I'm not quite sure
12 because I can't see it all that well, with its seat in Banja Luka.
13 Q. Will you now please be so kind as to take the pointer, will you
14 show the -- Their Honours where Neum is? Perhaps this is a good
15 opportunity to do that. On the map. If you need glasses, please do.
16 A. Yes. I shall be happy to. Neum is here on the map, and it says
17 here, so it's quite near the Neretva, on the Adriatic coast, in this gulf
18 here, as I am pointing, and it is the only Bosnia-Herzegovinian
19 municipality with an outlet to the sea.
20 Q. Now I will show you another map, which is marked P3.4. The
21 Prosecutor alleges that the HZ HB overlaps with this banovina. Will you
22 compare the two maps and tell us if that allegation is true and which are
23 these areas, and may I warn you, the yellow line is the border of the
24 HZ HB as affirmed by the Prosecutor. These are maps made by the
25 Prosecutor's Office.
1 A. As a founding father or one of the founding fathers of the Croat
2 Community Herceg-Bosna, I must say that what is marked here in yellow is
3 not the territory which was part of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna.
4 Q. Will you take the pointer and explain what was part of HZ HB and
5 which wasn't, which were the municipalities?
6 A. If we start from the south, municipality of Neum was part and is
7 part of the Croat community and Croat Republic Herceg-Bosna. Likewise,
8 Capljina, Citluk, Ljubuski, Listica, that is Siroki Brijeg, then Grude,
9 Posusje, Duvno, which says, that is what it says here, but it is
10 Tomislavgrad. Then Livno, Prozor, that is Rama, also part of the
11 municipality of Trebinje inhabited most mostly by Croats. The
12 municipality of Ravno, which is this area that I'm pointing at. It also
13 belongs to the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna. Then the major part of the
14 Stolac municipality inhabited by Croats mostly and some Bosniaks. It is
15 also part of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna.
16 Q. Just a moment. Since we are talking about Stolac, the Prosecutor
17 alleges that the majority of the population there are Muslims, that is
18 Bosniaks. So, how could it then become part of the HZ HB? Could you
19 explain that?
20 A. I shall be happy to do that, because it depends on which census
21 you take into account. Under the 1991 census in the territory of the
22 whole municipality of Stolac, the Muslims were the majority, accounting
23 for some 44 per cent. There were some 33, 34 per cent of Croats. And the
24 rest were Serbs. However, the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna -- into the
25 Croat Community Herceg-Bosna was integrated that part of the Stolac
1 municipality where the Croats had the majority, not the whole of the
3 Q. So you mean that the HZ HB incorporated parts of municipalities
4 rather than entire territories of the municipalities?
5 A. That's right, parts of the municipalities of Stolac and I've
6 already said part of the municipality of Trebinje. Then parts of some
7 other municipalities in central Bosnia and we can talk about that later.
8 Q. And this -- the part around the Sava River, did it also become
9 part of the HZ HB? I don't see it here in the map.
10 A. The municipalities of Odzak, Bosanski Samac, Orasje, Bosanski
11 Brod, parts of the municipalities of Brcko, Modrica and Derventa were also
12 part of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna. It is important to explain that
13 the municipality of Zepce is incorporated in the Croat Community
14 Herceg-Bosna and here a number of municipalities here are not part of the
15 Croat Community Herceg-Bosna. For instance Fojnica, then the major part
16 of the municipality of Travnik, and as for the municipality of Skender
17 Vakuf, only a part of it, the municipality of Dobratici which was
18 recognised later on and which exist in the Federation of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina too. And to sum it up, what is in yellow here is not a
20 true boundary of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna because it encompasses
21 territories which are not parts of the Herceg-Bosna and it excludes some
22 municipalities which are part of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna. And I
23 need to repeat the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna and this territory here
24 have nothing to do with the Banovina Hrvatska. If you compare these two
25 maps, you can see it for yourselves very easily.
1 Q. Very well. Let us leave those maps aside. Tell me, please, can
2 you bring the ELMO down? The Prosecution also alleges that the Republic
3 of Croatia took decisions for the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina and also laid
4 down the policy of the HDZ in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Is that true?
5 A. No, that is not true. And I wish to tell you and the Prosecutor
6 and Their Honours to say, I want to wish to tell them very clearly that in
7 the Croat community -- in the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had all the
8 necessary organs. We took our decisions independently, and our programmes
9 too. And what is very important, we are neither under aged nor are we
10 half-witted. We are an organised community of intellectuals, of capable
11 people, of people perfectly up to deciding on their own fate.
12 Q. Now who could be the member -- who could become a member of the
13 HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
14 A. Their Honours and the Prosecutor and you personally can easily see
15 it from our documents. You can easily see who could become a member of
16 the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but let me clarify this. One -- a member
17 of the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina could be any person of age, embracing
18 the -- adhering to the programme, to the statute of the party and signing
19 the application form. In confirmation of that.
20 Q. Were there any Muslims, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbs in the ranks
21 of the HDZ in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 A. Yes. True, not a large number of Serbs who were members of the
23 Croat Democratic Union. And as for the Muslims, there were quite a number
24 of them who were members of the Croat Democratic Union of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had on our, in our Presidency, that is the supreme
1 body of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were also
2 two Muslims. One was vice-president and another was a member of the
3 Presidency. These are Habid Hodzic and Nusret Sisic and a number of them
4 were members.
5 Q. Will you please be so kind as to repeat those two names very
6 slowly so that the interpreters can interpret them?
7 A. Could I also see the text on the screen again because I've lot the
8 transcript and I cannot follow. The vice-president of the Croat
9 Democratic Union, that is one of the vice-presidents, was a Muslim Habid
10 Hodzic from Sarajevo. A member of the Presidency was Nusret Sisic, I also
11 think he comes from somewhere around Sarajevo but I'm not quite
13 Q. Mr. Bender, did the HDZ, that is HZ HB later on, as an association
14 of all the parties with -- well, I'll put it this way -- with the Croat
15 prefix, did they all aspire to an ethnically pure territory or perhaps did
16 the programme say so?
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
18 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I'm going to object to the leading on
19 these kinds of questions. He can ask what the programme is but I let it
20 pass up until now but we are having continuously leading questions to the
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, it's certainly a leading question, Mr. Krsnik.
23 You have to pose your question another way.
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Well, I wouldn't say that I asked
25 many leading questions. That is what my learned friend thinks, but let me
1 rephrase it.
2 Q. I'll ask you this: The Prosecutor alleges that the HZ HB, that is
3 the HDZ, wanted an ethnically pure territory in Herzegovina so that it
4 could annex it to the Republic of Croatia?
5 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Mr. President, I don't think that corrects
6 the problem. I also object to this form of putting to the witness what
7 the Prosecution alleges. I think it's an improper form of questioning.
8 Counsel can ask open-ended fact questions. "What was the programme at the
9 relevant time of the party?" But the question just put in fact, I think
10 respectfully, is worse than the former question. It's argumentative.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, rephrase your question.
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, by all means, Your Honours. I
13 thought that it would be better to move faster. We all know what the
14 Prosecutor is out to establish. I thought it was simply speed matters
15 up. But never mind.
16 JUDGE LIU: [Previous translation continues] ... what the
17 Prosecution said before, just rephrase your question.
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honours. I
19 thought it would be much easier but as you say.
20 Q. In 1990, 1991, then in 1992, 1992, and then in 1993, the programme
21 of the HDZ, HZ HB, HR HB, briefly, did the objectives laid down in the
22 programmes of these bodies reflect an aspiration to acquire territory
23 which would be taken out from Bosnia-Herzegovina, a wish or a reality, to
24 take out something from Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Krsnik.
1 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Well, I really don't know how to word
3 JUDGE CLARK: [Previous translation continues] ... same question
4 in many different ways. What we want you to do is pose a different
5 question. What I might suggest to you what you might ask if it's
6 convenient for you and if accords with your plan, if you might ask this
7 witness first to tell us briefly what the HDZ platform was in 1989-90, did
8 it change, as you develop, and then ask us what the platform of the HZ HB
9 was. But ask them in different questions, not all rolled up.
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I always
11 accept your suggestions.
12 Q. Well, you've heard, Mr. Bender, so let us move on to the first
13 question. So the HDZ platform, did it change over time?
14 A. From the foundation of the Croat Democratic Union of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we've had our programmes, our platforms and our
16 documents, and never, not a single body, not a single act, not a single
17 document, did we ever mention any ethnically pure lands in
19 Q. And what about the HZ HB platform and did it change with time?
21 A. From the outset, from its inception, from the foundation of the
22 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, and later on, during the period of the
23 Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna, we had our documents, our plans, our
24 platforms, which were based on the programme of the Croat Democratic Union
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They did not change, but they were developed, they
1 were improved, they were amended but the basic concept remained the same.
2 Q. Very well, then what was the political solution for
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, if we look at the HDZ views, let's say from the
4 beginning of 1992 onward?
5 A. Your Honours, and the others present here probably know that as
6 for the internal organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were several
7 plans. The Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina accepted all
8 these plans because we expected a peaceful solution for Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina. Unfortunately, others did not want the same and to be more
10 specific, those were Serbs and Muslims.
11 Q. Excuse me for the interruption. I did not have in mind the
12 international peace talks, just the position of HDZ on Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 starting with 1992 onwards. What was the position of HDZ with regard to
14 the organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
15 A. I told you at the beginning, and I'm going to repeat it, that HDZ
16 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in its platforms, outlined and wrote that --
17 that it wanted a decentralised, multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, a
18 community of three constitutive and sovereign people, Serbs, Croats and
19 Bosniaks. And as for the specific organisation, we will talk about it, we
20 will agree, at the competent bodies, the competent bodies of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina will agree on that.
22 Q. Did -- were these positions confirmed by the Croatian people and
23 if they were, when was it and by what act?
24 A. All of our acts that were passed by us confirmed this and most
25 specifically by the preparations and by the organisation of the referendum
1 on 29 February and 1st March of 1992.
2 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Krsnik, forgive me for interrupting, could you
3 ask your witness if the platform of the HDZ at the beginning, which wanted
4 a decentralised country with three constitutive and sovereign people,
5 sorry, was it intended that they would live in a multi-ethnic society or
6 when he talks about constitutive and sovereign peoples were they to be
7 separated? Isn't that the issue?
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Bender, I believe you've heard the question. Could you please
11 A. I will gladly do that. I said, and I will repeat, and I will
12 prove that by an example, I'm going to show you how we saw
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina and what solutions we sought for Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina. According to our platform and according to our wishes and
15 proposals, Bosnia-Herzegovina was -- we saw it as a decentralised Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina, but a community, multi-ethnical community of three
17 peoples living side by side, together. Let me just clarify that on an
18 example. If a father has a farm and three sons, during his life it will
19 be good if the father agrees with his sons, where each of them will live
20 and how. So to give each of his sons a part of the farm that will belong
21 to him. And if the father doesn't do that, the father being an authority
22 in this case, it is certain that the lives of the three sons will not be
23 good because they will quarrel with each other. But if the father says
24 exactly what belongs to each of the -- his sons, they will be able to live
25 together as good friends and real, genuine brothers, without any
1 arguments, without any problems.
2 Q. Maybe this is a difference in the two languages. You said side by
3 side, together. What is the meaning of multi-ethnic? Is it together
4 mixed in one village or one city? Can you explain the notion of
6 A. Obviously I said in my -- at the beginning of -- we are talking
7 about multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the area of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina will be composed in the following way: Where there is a
9 majority of Serbs, a majority of Croats, and a majority of Muslims, and in
10 between there will be the three peoples living together. Let me try and
11 avoid any ambiguity. So, wherever Croats make a majority, there will also
12 be Muslims and Bosniaks and Serbs likewise, in the areas where Serbs are a
13 majority, and the same goes for the areas where Bosniaks account for a
14 majority, and all of them will enjoy the same rights, the same civil
16 Q. We stopped at the referendum. That was the last thing we said.
17 Why referendum? Who was it who imposed the referendum? Do you know? And
18 what was the result of the referendum?
19 A. Their Honours and all the other present probably know what
20 happened at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, in the
21 area of the former Eastern Bloc. The Soviet Union collapsed. The Berlin
22 Wall fell. The former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia could
23 no longer exist in its previous form. The Republic of Slovenia and the
24 Republic of Croatia gained their independence. In Bosnia and Herzegovina,
25 we started thinking about how to proceed, how to go on. Obviously, we had
1 to reach an agreement, an agreement between Croats, Serbs and Muslims,
2 i.e. Bosniaks, about the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the
3 republican parliament, that is the Chamber of Municipalities and the
4 Chamber of Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we discussed this issue on
5 several occasions. And more specifically at a session on 24, 25 and 26
6 January, 1992, we discussed the issue of the future of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, and we defined the question that we would put to the
8 population of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We wanted to ask them where they
9 saw Bosnia and Herzegovina, whether they saw Bosnia-Herzegovina in -- as
10 part of the Republic of Yugoslavia without Slovenia and Croatia, or
11 whether they saw it as an independent state. Croats said very clearly
12 that they wanted Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent state. The same
13 position was given by Muslims. And Serbs wanted Bosnia and Herzegovina to
14 be part of Yugoslavia at all costs. The referendum on the future of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina was organised on the 29th February and 1st of
16 March, 1992. The participants in the referendum were only Croats and
17 Muslims, whereas the Serbs boycotted the referendum so they did not vote
18 in the referendum.
19 The turnout of Croats and the response was over 90 per cent, I
20 think it was 98 per cent of Croats voted in favour of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina as an independent state, whereas Muslims played a bit of a
22 tactical game, I would say, because over 60 -- what over 60 per cent of
23 Muslims voted for Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent state.
24 Q. Mr. Bender, you still owe me an answer to the question whether
25 this referendum was imposed by somebody, whether somebody said that the
1 referendum had to take place.
2 A. Who would it be to actually impose that? Who would actually
3 impose this issue to be discussed? I said very clearly that in -- at the
4 parliament of our republic, we --
5 Q. I'm sorry, I don't think we understood each other. There has been
6 a misunderstanding. If the referendum had not taken place, would Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina have become an independent state, without this
8 referendum? Do you know anything about Badinter Commission?
9 A. Of course, I know everything about that commission. I know
10 exactly what it did. If the referendum had not taken place and if the
11 response had not been the way it was, Bosnia and Herzegovina would
12 remain -- would have remained a part of Yugoslavia. You can see from the
13 turnout and the response given at the referendum that Croats actually
14 deserve most credit for the independent Bosnia-Herzegovina. Without
15 Croats, Bosnia and Herzegovina would not exist as an independent state.
16 Q. Do you know anything about the "Livno Issue," and what is the
17 connection of this issue with the referendum?
18 A. I said that in the parliament of our republic, we defined the
19 question that would be put at the referendum, and this question was
20 submitted to parliamentary parties for their consideration and for them to
21 prepare the referendum. The Croatian Democratic Union, at its meeting
22 held in Livno at the beginning of February, considered the proposal for
23 the question to be put at the referendum, and defined its counterproposal
24 which differed somewhat from the proposal defined at the assembly of the
25 republic. And it submitted this counterproposal to the institutions of
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina for their consideration.
2 Q. Please tell me, did you have a list of members of HDZ of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Do you know who its members were? I'm asking this
4 just -- let me rephrase the question. Was Mladen Naletilic, who is my
5 client, was he a member of HDZ of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 A. Their Honours probably know that every serious party has a
7 membership list, a list of members that belong to this party. At that
8 time, I was a vice-president of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina, and I -- I could access all the documents. I also could
10 access a list of members of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina. Your client, Mr. Mladen Naletilic, Tuta, has never been a
12 member of HDZ, i.e. he was not on our list, so he's not a member.
13 Q. Have you ever seen him at any of your meetings, either of HDZ or
14 HZ HB or HR HB?
15 A. I have not seen your client in any of the bodies of HDZ, HZ HB,
16 HR HB. So personally I have never seen Mr. Mladen Naletilic in any of
17 these meetings of any of these bodies.
18 Q. Let me go back to the "Livno Issue." I wanted to actually bring
19 each subject to an end. That's why I asked you about my client. Have you
20 ever received an answer, i.e. have you received the answer to the
21 counterproposal put forth by HDZ to the republican body? Have you ever
22 received the answer from that body? Was your proposal accepted or not,
23 and who was it who decided whether it would be accepted or not?
24 A. I said that at our meeting in Livno, the Croatian Democratic Union
25 of Bosnia and Herzegovina defined its proposal of the question to be put
1 at the referendum, which differed somewhat from the proposal defined at
2 the end of January at the assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We never
3 received an answer to our proposal, i.e. to our letter, but at that time,
4 the leadership of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
5 we decided that despite the fact that we did not fully agree with the
6 question to be put at the referendum, that we will still invite the
7 Croatian people to come to the referendum and to vote for an independent
8 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. And finally, what was the difference between the proposal, between
10 the question that was finally put at the referendum and the proposal of
11 the Croatian Democratic Union? So what was the difference?
12 A. I do not have the exact wording of the question that we defined in
13 Livno, but I did have it, and I still have it at home. So, the Croatian
14 Democratic Union wanted to put the question in addition to the question
15 about the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as per our proposal, the
16 proposal of the HDZ of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we also wanted to raise the
17 issue of the internal organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina once it
18 gained its independence.
19 Q. According to your knowledge, did anybody opt for an Unitarian
20 solution for Bosnia and Herzegovina? If yes, who was it and what would
21 such an organisation meant for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
22 A. At that time, what -- one could tell from the platform and the
23 appearances of Muslim representatives, one could tell, and one could
24 conclude, that they wanted a centralised civil Bosnia and Herzegovina,
25 which was not convenient, which Croats did not find convenient at all,
1 because Croats are the least numerous people in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
2 and if Bosnia and Herzegovina was not organised in the way proposed by us,
3 if it was a centralised state of a civil type, based on the principle
4 "one person, one vote" in its entire territory, Croats would always lose
5 in every election. So we wanted that the total number of Croats accounted
6 for one vote as the total number of Bosniaks and that the two peoples
7 agreed on the organisation of their state to the mutual satisfaction of
8 both Croats and Muslims. So the same would be -- for example this would
9 be the case if the Netherlands and Germany would make one state and each
10 people would have one vote, and we know what the ratio of the respective
11 populations are.
12 Q. Let us move on to HZ HB and HR HB. What were the reasons for the
13 inception of the HZ HB?
14 A. The reasons for the inception of the Croatian Community of
15 Herceg-Bosna were -- there were several reasons, and some of them, the
16 most important reasons, were defined in our document on the constitution
17 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
18 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Bender, do you mind if I ask you a question now
19 instead of the end, because when it's at the end sometimes we are very
20 caught for time and so on. If I'm to follow your political thesis, you
21 wanted a Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to be made up of three constituent
22 and equal peoples, but that each -- each of the areas which made up Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina were to be determined by the majority ethnic group. So
24 the Serbs would be in the area where they dominated, which is the north
25 and east of the country, the Croats would be in a separate area in the
1 southwest of the country and the Bosniaks would be in the middle. Isn't
2 that right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't agree with that, because
4 we did not want a Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 JUDGE CLARK: What did you want then?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We wanted Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 organised on the principle, on the same principles as Belgium, as
8 Switzerland, and you can see that it functions well, both in Belgium and
9 in Switzerland. We wanted cantonal organisation of Bosnia and
11 JUDGE CLARK: And the cantons would be determined according to the
12 ethnic groups, isn't that right, the majority groups would form certain
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This would not be a condition. We
15 said, and we wrote down that we wanted multi-ethnical counties, i.e.
16 cantons, but obviously with the majority population, because that's the
17 way the population is composed in this area.
18 JUDGE CLARK: Well, what naturally follows from there, and what
19 logically follows is that when a canton is formed to accommodate the
20 dominant ethnic group, the situation forever more will be that the other
21 two ethnic groups will never win a majority in an election, just exactly
22 what you were objecting to in relation to the former republic. I want to
23 you think about that, because it's time for a break. And maybe you can
24 convince me that my empirical deductions are false.
25 JUDGE LIU: It's time for a break. We will resume at 5.30.
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 --- Recess taken at 4.59 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 5.33 p.m.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Witness, are you ready to answer Judge -- Judge
4 Clark's question?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am quite ready to answer the
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I hope that Her Honour will agree
9 with me when I say that Switzerland and Belgium are well organised states
10 which come across no problems in their functioning. If we organise
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina along those same principles, then at the level of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we shall be -- we shall be organising those bodies and
13 those institutions which a state needs. However, the composition of those
14 bodies must be -- of course, multi-ethnic, Croats, Serbs and Muslims who
15 rotate and who take decisions by consensus. No, not by majority of
16 votes. All that is not related to the state takes place in counties, that
17 is cantons, which are again multi-ethnic, but with a majority Croats or
18 Muslims, that is Bosniak, population, and it can be -- it lends itself to
19 good organisation and good consultations and everything can work in good
20 order. We in the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we also had another
21 proposal for Bosnia-Herzegovina and its structuring. And that was an
22 union of three republics, of a Croat republic, Muslim republic and Serb
23 republic, and it could also be organised, I'm sure, very well and it will
24 function smoothly. But I need to point out that the current organisation
25 of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not the best because some peoples are
1 privileged. I wonder why can the Serbs have and must -- and why must they
2 have their own state, Republika Srpska, and the Croats cannot and are not
3 supposed to. In the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are chiefly
4 Croats and Bosniaks, and unless we decentralise the federation, made of
5 parts which we call counties, and the ratio in the federation is about one
6 to six, that is one Croat to six Muslims, that is Bosniaks, and if we
7 adopt the principle "one man, one vote," then the Croats will never have
8 their representatives.
9 JUDGE CLARK: But Mr. Bender, didn't -- in the first multi-party
10 elections, didn't the Croats have a very good representation in Sarajevo?
11 Didn't they succeed in almost obtaining a majority relative to their
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are right. In the Federation of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had the Chamber of Peoples, which could prevent --
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. No, no, no. Judge Clark was asking about the first elections,
17 that was the elections in 1990, 1991.
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Am I right, Your Honour?
19 A. As for the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the situation in
20 1990-91, the Croats were not protected, because the decisions were taken
21 differently. They were taken in the Chamber of municipalities and the
22 Chamber of citizens. That is there were no ethnic elements, Croats, Serbs
23 and Muslims, and moreover, you could see that the Serbs wanted
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina to stay on in rump Yugoslavia and that the Muslims
25 wanted a civil state where they could constitute a majority and take
1 decisions in their own interest.
2 JUDGE CLARK: Can I take it, Mr. Bender, that there is no
3 proportionate "PR" in your country? Proportionate representation?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're right. There isn't. After
5 Dayton, for a while, we had rather well-organised chambers of peoples of
6 Croats and Bosniaks in the federation, which adopted all the crucial
7 decisions or could prevent the adoption of wrong decisions, damaging
8 decisions, but after the later decisions of the high representatives that
9 I have already referred to, these chambers of peoples, that is Croats and
10 Bosniaks, now have been organised in a different way, and I will take the
11 liberty of informing Their Honours that the house in the parliament of the
12 Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina which is to be made of 30 Croats and 30
13 Bosniaks, and a certain number of others, this Chamber now has only 14
14 Croats and some say that it is a sufficient quorum for the Chamber to take
15 decisions, and I believe, Your Honour, that you know that 14 can never be
16 a majority of 14, and it shouldn't take any decisions, yet, it does take
17 such decisions. And now you see.
18 JUDGE CLARK: I think Judge Diarra has some questions and also
19 when I'm talking about PR, I'm not talking about representation in the
20 parliament but how one votes, not one man one vote but that you have a
21 choice and suppose you have ten candidates for one seat, that the
22 electorate, the voter votes in order of his choice, one, two, three, four,
23 five, six, seven, so that the first -- it has to be more than one seater.
24 So that if the first person has a surplus, his votes are divided it's
25 the way it operates in Malta and Ireland, and it works very well for small
1 parties, or else one party would always be in majority, it is a
2 complicated and probably highly sophisticated democratic process. Might
3 be a little difficult for a new country.
4 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] Mr. Krsnik, I am sorry that I am
5 interrupting your examination-in-chief but this is very important for the
6 continuation of the examination. The witness quoted the examples of
7 Switzerland and Belgium, and this I'm afraid has led to a certain
8 confusion because I do not think that Switzerland and Belgium function all
9 that well, because of their administrative subdivision, it has to do with
10 the principles governing life, that is the Swiss nationality is cultivated
11 and the Belgian nationality is cultivated, the identity cards there does
12 not say that somebody comes from -- that one is a German Swiss or
13 something else and all the citizens vote for the best, for the most
14 brilliant for the most efficient and the most honest nominee rather than,
15 for instance, a Roman Swiss because of that. No, they do not vote for
16 somebody because he comes from this or that part of Switzerland but
17 because he's the best and because he can best address the problems of the
18 society, where as in your case it is the difference which is cultivated.
19 Before one becomes a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina, one is a Croat and
20 that's what you're cultivating and when it comes to elected people, I
21 think then one Croat then -- then it is that the Croat must always elect
22 a Croat. That is what I believe that I have understood during your
23 examination and I do not think that if we quote the examples of
24 Switzerland and Belgium, we shall not be able to move ahead because we
25 know how things function in those countries. Thank you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that Bosnia-Herzegovina can
2 and should be organised along lines similar to Swiss or Belgian lines. I
3 didn't say identically, but one needs to point out that in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are three peoples. I repeat, three peoples,
5 Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks. And that Bosnia-Herzegovina needs to be
6 organised as a state so as to keep all the three peoples satisfied.
7 Otherwise, the prospects of Bosnia-Herzegovina are not good, but I hope
8 you will agree with me that the Croat will always trust most Croats, a
9 Serb will always trust a Serb best, and a Bosniak will always place his
10 greatest trust in a Bosniak, even though at the level of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we have a Presidency made of Croats, a Serb and
12 Bosniaks, who talk amongst themselves and always take decisions by
13 consensus, of all the three. They rotate as the Presidents of that body,
14 and you can see how it can function well. But if we allowed two to
15 outvote a third one, then there is no future in that. What happened last
16 time in the elections of Bosnia and Herzegovina, what happened is that a
17 Serb and a Bosniak elected a Croat as the Prime Minister, the President of
18 the Council of Ministers, bypassing the will of the Croats. Now,
19 gentlemen, think for yourselves. Is it the future? Are these the
20 prospects? Does this lead to the solution of the matter?
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
22 Q. You mean against the will of the Croat constituency?
23 A. Yes, because the Croats were prevented from electing their own
24 representative. Specifically, I can clarify this. The Croat people
25 proposed Martin Raguz as the President of the council of ministers, that
1 is the Prime Minister. The Serbs and the Bosniaks did not go along with
2 that nomination. They nominated therefore, that is the Serb and the
3 Bosniak proposed Bozo Matic, a Croat, to the post of the Prime Minister.
4 Now, gentlemen, may a Serb and a Bosniak elect a Croat who will be
5 representing Croats? I do not think that it can be so anywhere in the
6 civilised world.
7 Q. Now that you've started the discussion, I must say that my concept
8 was slightly different, but Her Honour, Judge Diarra now encouraged me to
9 ask. What were the plans of the international community? Were they
10 identical with these proposals? Could you explain Cutilheiro, Vance-Owen,
11 or Owen-Stoltenberg's plan, but briefly, if you're familiar with them?
12 What did they propose?
13 A. International community had many proposals and solutions for
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cutilheiro's plan was good and the Croats
15 accepted it. Also the Vance-Owen and Owen-Stoltenberg's plan, the Croats
16 accepted them. But unfortunately, the Serbs did not. Likewise,
17 representatives of the Muslims, that is Bosniaks, were playing tactical
18 games and would say one thing today and two or three days later they would
19 say something else, would sign or wouldn't sign, or rather would sign them
20 today and tomorrow say that they had not signed them. We also had some
21 proposals about provinces and at long last, this thing with first
22 Washington and then Dayton happened.
23 Q. Excuse me. Under the Cutilheiro's plan, but just in one sentence
24 please, what was Bosnia to be divided?
25 A. I must correct you, don't ever mention Bosnia to me. Always say
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 Q. Yes, you are quite right because I corrected others. So I
3 apologise, but, well, you know.
4 A. This plan referred to the organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an
5 union of three republics.
6 Q. The first plan, Cutilheiro's?
7 A. It was the organisation of subdivision of Bosnia-Herzegovina into
9 Q. And what about the Vance-Owen Plan?
10 A. I've already said it. For a while in the beginning, there was an
11 union of three republics, then again the Croats accepted all those plans
12 but others failed to do that and so people continued to seek other
13 solutions, and at long last, these solutions came up that were presented
14 in Washington, that is Dayton.
15 Q. And then today, how has Bosnia been subdivided?
16 A. Well, unfortunately, I need to say that Bosnia-Herzegovina was
17 divided by another, not by the Croat people, and organised it
18 asymmetrically in two parts, the Republika Srpska, with the predominant
19 Serb population, and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the
20 predominant Bosniak and Croat population.
21 Q. Very well. Now tell me, which were the main reasons for the
22 establishment of the HZ HB?
23 A. To understand the reasons behind the establishment of the Croat
24 Community Herceg-Bosna, we need to be familiar with the situation in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina and around Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time. The
1 Honourable Court and others who are present, I believe, know that the
2 Serbs, Montenegrins and the so-called JNA started an open war with a view
3 to conquering and subjugating first Slovenia and then Croatia. We in
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina realised what was in store for us because we are
5 the nearest to Serbia, that is Montenegro. We dare not just sit and wait
6 for this aggressor to catch us unawares, to kill our wives, our children,
7 and us if we are there unprepared. The map shows clearly the position of
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbs, Montenegrins and the so-called JNA, in
9 the war -- well, they attacked with all the resources available, East
10 Croatia, that is Slavonia, in the north, then in the South Dubrovnik and
11 the south of Croatia were also shelled from the territories and from all
12 sides. The problems relative to Zadar, Knin and Karlovac are self-evident
13 because the war threatened there and threatened to split Croatia into
14 several parts.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, would you please answer the question in
16 one sentence, please? If the Defence counsel needs more information, he
17 will ask you the follow-up questions.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll try to be brief. In two
19 sentences. It is obvious that the war is being prepared because Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina because the Serbs, Montenegrins and the JNA want to occupy
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina and keep it within rump Yugoslavia. The lawful
22 representatives of Bosnia-Herzegovina or specifically Mr. Alija
23 Izetbegovic, at the time when the Serbs attack our inhabited place, Ravno,
24 says, "This is not our war." But he's the President of the Presidency of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He even declares that he will invite the JNA to
1 defend Bosnia and Herzegovina, and what we, the Croats, had to do at a
2 time like that, to create a body and get ready for the defence, and this
3 was the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna.
4 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. And what was the position of citizens in the territory of the
6 HZ HB?
7 A. The citizens in the territory of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna
8 enjoyed equal rights but also had equal duties.
9 Q. Do you have any knowledge of possible expulsion of people, of
10 dismissal of people from their jobs or any discrimination against
11 individuals based on racial, ethnic or any other grounds? What was the
12 situation in schools? Namely we've heard here in this courtroom that
13 there was discrimination, that people lost their jobs only because they
14 were Muslims, for instance.
15 A. I feel I must deny such statements. Whoever may be making them.
16 I repeat I am a member of the Presidency of the Croat Community
17 Herceg-Bosna, as the legislative body, all citizens enjoyed the same
18 rights and same duties. Many of them lost their jobs because the war is
19 in the offing [as interpreted] and the war is starting. Some of the
20 schools went on working and some didn't.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes?
22 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Mr. President, just a point of
23 clarification, the witness several times has testified, unless it's a
24 translation issue which is one reason I'm asking, that he is -- he says,
25 "I am a member of the Presidency of the Croatian Community Herceg-Bosna."
1 Is he saying that in the present tense or is he saying he was in 1993? I
2 think it's important to an understanding of his testimony.
3 JUDGE LIU: I think it's a problem of translation. Mr. Krsnik,
4 you may clarify this issue for us, asking some specific questions to this
6 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honours. If the
7 witness says, "I was," then this is the past tense. And he keeps saying,
8 "I was." And then it must be with the interpretation.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it must be clear. If I'm
10 referring to the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna that is how it was at that
11 time. Today, of course, the situation is different.
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Tell us, was the HZ HB the product of your intentions? When I say
14 "your" I mean the founding fathers of the HZ HB, to create a state within
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina? First, who were the founders of the HZ HB?
16 A. I believe that your -- Their Honours and all the others present
17 here today have had the opportunity to see the decision on the foundation
18 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. 30 legally elected
19 representatives of municipalities from Bosnia-Herzegovina incepted the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
21 Q. Was that contrary to the then constitution of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina, the then --
23 A. I repeat, the situation was such that we had to organise ourselves
24 in order to defend ourselves. We are talking about our lives, about
25 defending our lives. The central organs of Bosnia and Herzegovina stopped
1 functioning. The then president, Alija Izetbegovic, you heard his
2 statements, and we, as the legally elected representatives of the Croatian
3 people and others inhabiting the areas of these municipalities, i.e. other
4 peoples, acted in that way in order to prepare ourselves to defend
5 ourselves from Serbs, Montenegrins and the so-called JNA.
6 Q. You did not reply to my question. Was that in breach of the
7 constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina when it comes to the defence of the
8 state? I'm talking about the then constitution.
9 A. I repeat, at the time the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
10 had stopped functioning. Bosnia and Herzegovina should have acted on its
11 duties and obligations and prepare itself for the defence.
12 Q. Was the intention of the founders of the 30 municipalities to
13 create a state within the state?
14 A. I already said, and I would like to repeat that, that we did not
15 want to organise a state within the state. We wanted to organise a
16 community that would be organised and that would defend itself from the
17 aggressor that attacked Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. And what money was used to incept HZ HB?
19 A. In the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, we had several
20 currencies, we used several currencies. My people and me personally
21 preferred a German mark, and that was the currency that we used the most,
22 and in addition to the German mark, we also used American dollar, Croatian
23 dinar, and then kuna -- Croatian kuna.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, witness, I believe the question asked by the
25 Defence counsel is the source of those moneys. Where did you get those
1 moneys to incept HZ HB?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand. The money for the
3 Defence and for the normal functioning of life in the area of HZ HB was
4 provided from our own sources down there. A lot of funds came from our
5 people living abroad. So those who at the time lived in Europe, in the
6 United States of America, and so on and so forth. And some of the money
7 we also raised from our people living in the Republic of Croatia, so the
8 immigrants living in the Republic of Croatia.
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Did you have your own bank so to say, a central or a state bank,
11 central bank like every other country does?
12 A. We have never had. We never had a central bank, a state bank,
13 because we did not want the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and
14 subsequently the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna be a state in the
15 state, God forbid, an independent state.
16 Q. So, you were saying that it was just a temporary form of
17 organisation until the final agreement on the permanent organisation. I'm
18 going to rephrase it.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
20 MR. SCOTT: I object to leading, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You give the answer in your question.
22 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Did HZ HB have a time of existence, a limited time of existence?
24 A. Yes, all our documents say that HZ HB and HR HB were just
25 temporary organisations and that they will last for as long as we reach an
1 agreement on the future organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 Q. Did Zagreb, when I say Zagreb I mean the Republic of Croatia, did
3 the leadership of the Republic of Croatia dictate your decisions, the
4 decisions that would be passed in the HZ HB?
5 A. I'm going to repeat what I've already said. All the decisions in
6 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the Croatian Republic of
7 Herceg-Bosna were taken and passed independently by our bodies, so nobody
8 from the Republic of Croatia could influence or indeed did influence the
9 decisions that we made.
10 Q. Can you tell us about the beginnings of HVO? When was it incepted
11 and what was its relationship with the HZ HB? Can you give us your views
12 in order to help the Honourable Court clarify some of the issues?
13 A. I believe that the Honourable Court knows and if they don't know
14 they should know, that the is HVO consists of two parts, two independent,
15 separate parts. One is the Croatian Defence Council, as the military
16 component, and the other is the Croatian Military Council, as the
17 executive body of the government in the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna. The decision on the establishment of the civilian part was
19 made by the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the
20 decision on the establishment of the military part, i.e. the army of the
21 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was made by our late president,
22 Mr. Mate Boban. That was on the 8th of April, 1992.
23 Q. And which body had the approximate status of a parliament, i.e.
24 the legislature, in the HZ HB.
25 Q. In the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, the legislative body
1 was the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the
2 executive part of the government was the Croatian Defence Council. The
3 civilian part of the Croatian Defence Council. We are talking about the
4 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the things are different in the
5 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
6 Q. Can you just briefly tell us what the differences were?
7 A. Towards the end of August, 1993, when the Croatian Republic of
8 Herceg-Bosna was established, we had a president of the Croatian Republic
9 of Herceg-Bosna, we also had the Chamber of Representatives, and I was its
10 president, while it functioned as the legislative part of the government,
11 and we also had the government of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,
12 as the executive part of the government, and we also organised the
13 judiciary and it -- all of these were temporary bodies which was
14 subsequently confirmed.
15 Q. Do you personally know that the laws you passed, both in HZ HB and
16 as well as in HR HB, that they received international confirmation?
17 A. All the laws and decisions that were made and passed by us were
18 passed as temporary documents and because of the goal that I have already
19 mentioned, during the functioning of both the HZ HB and HR HB, we did not
20 ask for the international recognition of these institutions, but the
21 international community, however tacitly, recognised them because it
22 invited our representatives to the negotiations dealing with the future
23 organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and after the Dayton agreement, the
24 parliament of the federation passed a certain -- a piece of legislation
25 whereby it confirmed all the decisions and acts that had been passed by
1 the competent bodies of the HR HB and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
2 as a Muslim -- as the Muslim part which had functioned at that time.
3 Q. The laws that you passed in HZ HB, HR HB, are they still in effect
5 A. They are no longer in effect because after the Dayton agreement,
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and
7 the Republika Srpska were incepted and they now function based on the laws
8 and other decisions which have been passed, but I repeat that the laws and
9 all the other acts passed within the system of the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna and HR HB have been conferred by the competent bodies of the
11 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 Q. Mr. Bender, who are the armed forces of the Republic of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Can you tell us, if you know that?
14 A. Everybody knows, and I know it as well, as one of the leaders of
15 HZ HB and HR HB, that the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina are the Croatian Defence Council and the Army of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina, and that's what Muslims called their own Muslim armed forces,
18 which has been confirmed in a number of meetings and by a number of
19 documents. I believe that the Honourable Court is familiar with the
20 Izetbegovic-Tudjman agreement which regulates these things in writing.
21 Q. Which agreement are you referring to? Because we have seen a
22 number of them?
23 A. That's the agreement on friendship and cooperation dating from
24 July 1992.
25 Q. We apologise on behalf of Mrs. Pinter, she did not hear because
1 she does not have her headphones on. Yes. The Court is familiar with
2 this agreement so I am not going to dwell upon it any longer. Do you
3 personally know -- do you have any knowledge about the political views of
4 Alija Izetbegovic? Have you had any contacts, personal contacts with
5 him? What were his views of the entire situation?
6 A. During this -- all this time, we met in a number of meetings. I
7 personally know, and I hope that the Honourable Court and all the other
8 present here today also know, that Alija Izetbegovic, in 1983, was one of
9 the founders of the Islam Declaration -- Islamic Declaration, which
10 provided for the organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina on the principles of
11 an Islamic state, and it was exactly for this document that he had to
12 serve a prison sentence in Foca. I know that he was there for a long
13 time. The platform of the Party of Democratic Action officially promoted
14 a civil Bosnia and Herzegovina, and secretly, what was being done was
15 organising an Islamic state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. Did you have any personal meetings with him? Were you a member of
17 the delegation in political negotiations? As for example the signing of
18 various agreements, starting with this agreement on friendship and
19 cooperation and others?
20 A. Mr. Izetbegovic and myself did not meet eyeball-to-eyeball, as one
21 may say, but we were both members of some delegations, and we participated
22 in negotiations, and as for this agreement dating from July, 1992, I did
23 not participate in that particular meeting but I participated in a number
24 of other meetings.
25 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge about the so-called
1 negotiations in Graz, in Austria? Do you know what happened there?
2 A. I know. I know because the representatives of the Croatian people
3 who were there conveyed the message at the meetings of the competent
4 bodies, I'm talking about Mr. Boras and Mr. Boban who told us that they --
5 that the discussion was about the future organisation of Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, because they were supposed -- there should have been meetings
7 between Boban and Karadzic, Boban and Izetbegovic and Boban and Karadzic
8 or the three of them were supposed to meet all together, but as far as I
9 know, and as I was informed from those who were there, Mr. Izetbegovic
10 refused to meet Karadzic and that's why the negotiations fell through.
11 Q. Do you know that after this Graz meeting, that there was a meeting
12 between the -- any Croatian delegation and Mr. Izetbegovic?
13 A. There are even documents corroborating that fact that Izetbegovic
14 and Boban did meet, and talked about cooperation and unfortunately,
15 Mr. Izetbegovic said one thing and did the other.
16 Q. And these negotiations were organised based on which international
17 plan, do you know?
18 A. I -- at the moment, I can't remember off my head [as interpreted].
19 There were a number of such plans and I don't know exactly which plan
20 was the basis of this particular meeting.
21 Q. Do you personally know -- are you familiar with a joint statement
22 dating from April, 1993, issued by Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban?
23 A. Yes, I'm familiar with the statement. I have that paper. And as
24 far as I understand, both Mr. Boban and Mr. Izetbegovic signed this
25 document and we would only be so lucky if this document has been followed
1 through, because the situation today would be different.
2 Q. Mr. Izetbegovic denied ever having ever signed this document, and
3 he has sent a letter to this effect to the Honourable Court.
4 A. I don't know what Mr. Izetbegovic claims, but this wouldn't
5 surprise me coming from him. My information, according to my information,
6 both Mr. Izetbegovic -- Mr. Izetbegovic also signed this document, but
7 Mr. Izetbegovic had been known to deny things that he has done.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes?
9 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, could we ask for the basis of this
10 information we have absolutely no foundation for this except a bald
11 assertion -- [Microphone not activated] basis for knowing Mr. Izetbegovic
12 signed this [Microphone not activated].
13 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honours, I'm going to
14 show the document to Mr. Bender and can I please ask Madam Registrar to
15 help us with the document PP271? And can you please verify that this is a
16 document that we have mentioned and give us the basis for your assertion?
17 How do you know that Mr. Izetbegovic signed?
18 JUDGE CLARK: This witness has already told us that he didn't
19 actually know what was being discussed, he doesn't remember. [Microphone
20 not activated] What credibility can be attached to what he's going to say
21 about Mr. Izetbegovic. [Microphone not activated] He's made it quite
22 clear what he thinks about Mr. Izetbegovic so we can move on. It's not
23 going to help us to prove anything. [Microphone not activated]
24 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I accept every
25 intervention of yours, but I believe that there may have been a
1 misunderstanding here because Mr. Bender, without seeing the document, he
2 told us that he has personal knowledge about the things which were signed
3 and now I have faced him with a document. He said that he did not know
4 what plan was the basis of the negotiations between Boban-Karadzic,
5 Boban-Izetbegovic. He said that he didn't know what plan was the basis of
6 those negotiations but he didn't say about this document that he didn't
7 know anything about it.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, [Microphone not activated] He said I don't know
9 what Mr. Izetbegovic claims.
10 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] That was to my question whether he
11 knows. I don't know, I don't know whether it has been interpreted well.
12 I haven't been following the translation. I said that Mr. Izetbegovic
13 denied ever having signed this document by a letter to this Court. And
14 then Mr. Bender says, "I don't know what Mr. Izetbegovic knows or doesn't
15 know. I know what I know."
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did indeed say that I don't know
17 what plan was the base of the negotiations, there were a number of such
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
20 Q. We have to speak slowly because the translation is very important
21 here so let's all speak slowly.
22 A. I also said that I know that after the negotiations in Graz, that
23 there were further talks which resulted in this joint statement. And
24 we -- we were informed about this document at the meetings of our bodies
25 in the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna by Mr. Boban and Mr. Boras. I
1 agree with this statement and I repeat we should only be so lucky if this
2 statement has been followed through. It hasn't been followed through by
3 the Muslim people, i.e. by its leader, Alija Izetbegovic.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, the question is, "do you know whether
5 Mr. Izetbegovic has signed this document or not?" From your personal
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know because that -- we heard that
8 from Mr. Boban and Mr. Boras that Mr. Izetbegovic had signed this
9 document. Personally, I wasn't there, but we were told that by Mr. Boras
10 and Mr. Boban. I hope that the Honourable Court has the document which
11 corroborates this.
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Bender, can you please tell me do you know how many
14 inhabitants who were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina live in the Republic
15 of Croatia, how many people who were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina live
16 in Croatia?
17 A. The exact number is not known but according to our estimates, the
18 estimates of the people residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina think that over
19 500.000 people originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina nowadays live in
20 the Republic of Croatia.
21 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge if in the early days of the
22 aggression against Croatia and vice versa? They went to Croatia,
23 volunteers went to Croatia and then went back? And I mean volunteers from
24 the ranks of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina and vice versa?
25 A. I know well about this, again there are assessments only, because
1 there are no accurate figures. When the aggression of the Serbs,
2 Montenegrins and so-called JNA against Croatia started, our estimates say
3 that over 50.000 volunteers from Bosnia-Herzegovina went to defend the
4 Republic of Croatia, that is their relatives, brothers and others, in the
5 Republic of Croatia. In the same vein, some people, when the situation in
6 Croatia calmed down, and when the war was activated in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
7 that is in late 1992, early 1993 and later, some men went back to Bosnia
8 and Herzegovina to defend their homes, their hearths, their wives and
9 children and so on and so forth. Our estimates speak of several tens of
10 thousands of those who went back from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 Q. And what was the attitude of Muslims, that is Bosniaks, to the
12 organisation of the defence?
13 A. Could I have the interpretation so that we can follow? No, I
14 don't have the text on the screen. I'd like to have the Croatian
16 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] I have a question. Did you say the
17 relations of -- between the Muslims or did you say the attitude to the
18 defence? The French interpreter spoke about the relations. I'm asking
19 whether your question was about the attitude of Muslims towards the
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] My exact question was, Your Honour,
22 "what was the attitude of the Bosniaks, Muslims, towards the organisation
23 of the defence, the organisation of the defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
24 I mean? " And we expect the witness to tell us something about this.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the early days of the aggression
1 against Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the Croat Defence Council suffered
2 the worst blows, suffered the brunt of the attack, both Croats and Muslims
3 were in the HVO and an occasional Serb, too. That is, we defended -- we
4 organised the defence together, but we felt, because that was the
5 information we received from our commanders, that is we who were in the
6 politics, received that kind of information, that the Muslims were engaged
7 in tactical games when it came to the organisation of the defence. And
8 later on, it was confirmed, because they had got ready to take us by
9 surprise and betray us. When I say, "us," I mean the Croat Defence
11 Q. We will come to that later on. We may belabour that point. Tell
12 me, do you have any personal knowledge about the assistance lent to
13 Bosniaks, Muslims: weapons, food, refugees?
14 A. Why, of course. After all, I am one of the principal men of the
15 Croat people in that part of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so
16 in the beginning of the war in the -- towards the end of 1992 and in the
17 beginning of 1993, the -- an overwhelming part of the assistance came
18 from -- came by and large through Croatia and the Croat Community
20 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Bender, but I must interrupt you. Your answers
21 are -- we are getting your answers in the present tense. My colleague now
22 warns me. When you said that you were one of the leading men, which
23 period of time did you have in mind?
24 A. I thought that we had cleared it up, but I must warn you that the
25 transcript reflects what you are saying, so I have to have this
1 correction. I can hear your Croatian and my colleague is following it in
3 A. All that I'm saying I'm saying about the time when the Croat
4 community and Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna functioned. It was then.
5 Q. Thank you very much. But you know we must correctly transconvey
6 your words because the transcript said, "I am," that is that you are?
7 A. No, I believe you understand what I'm saying. Let us avoid the
8 misunderstandings, there should not be any.
9 Q. Sorry for this interruption. Let us move on.
10 A. I said that we collected and distributed the humanitarian aid,
11 armaments and the rest, that it went through Croatia and through the Croat
12 community Herceg-Bosna, but we also had information that the Muslim side
13 was also getting assistance and weapons through other channels too, from
14 the Islamic world.
15 Q. Right. Now we move on to a different subject. That is the
16 relations with the Bosniaks, Muslims, and my first question in this regard
17 would be as follows. Could you describe to -- for the Honourable Court,
18 or rather can you tell us what do you know about the relations between the
19 Croats and the Muslims? And I'm referring to 1992 and 1993. But first
20 let us --
21 A. Well, I said that in the early days of this war, and that is the
22 end of 1991 and beginning of 1992, and for a large part of 1992, and even
23 through part of 1993, Muslim -- Croats and Muslims were together. But in
24 some areas, already as early as the end of 1992, and especially in the
25 beginning of 1993, and in mid-1993, the Muslim side began to provoke
1 incidents and killings of Croats, and as of May, 1993 onward, open attacks
2 of the Muslim forces on Croats and the Croat lands. I know about
3 incidents and murders of Croats in Konjic, Busovaca, in Mostar lands, and
4 also this Honourable Court must know that in May and June, "Armija" of the
5 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is what they called them, that is
6 the Muslim armed forces launched an open attack on the Croat Defence
7 Council and the population of Mosta. Followed by the conquest of the
8 north camp in Mostar, and in early July, 1993, it was also followed
9 by the murder of -- or by the killing of 18 Croats, members of the Croat
10 Defence Council, on the Dubrav Plateau which is the area between Stolic,
11 Neum, Capljina and Mostar. Similar incidents also happened in other lands
12 across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 Q. Tell me, as a matter of fact, I was about to ask you, because we
14 need to somehow get to this unfortunate 1993, or rather May of that year,
15 I thought that perhaps you could explain to the Honourable Court a little
16 bit about the relations which existed in 1992 and why did this conflict
17 happen? Why did we now have these attacks? Why? Don't you think --
18 could you perhaps shed some light for the Honourable Court on these
19 events? Of course about telling us only what you know. For instance, you
20 mentioned Konjic.
21 A. Well, yes. The Court ought to know, and I will explain why the
22 early incidents happened and later on the open attack of the members of
23 the Muslim armed forces, that is the army of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the Croat Defence Council. This was actually the
25 struggle over territories, because the Serbs had already occupied a part
1 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expelled Croats and especially the Bosniaks,
2 because they were the majority, from East Bosnian lands, and those
3 refugees came to this remnant of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And when there are
4 too many people in one area, then naturally there begins this struggle for
5 that area, the struggle for survival, the "Lebensraum" and the Muslims
6 must have thought that the lands which they had lost to the Serbs, that
7 they could make up for them by taking over the lands where the Croats were
8 the majority. And that is why these incidents and conflicts happened in
9 Konjic and in Busovaca and later on in Rama, in Mostar, and so on and so
10 forth. This is the struggle for space, the struggle for existence. And I
11 must point out that we, in the politics, received information from our
12 members of the Croat Defence Council that -- that the Muslims were piling
13 up the humanitarian aid and weapons, getting ready for something, and we
14 had -- and we also received information about some meetings between SDA
15 representatives in Zenica -- of SDA representatives in Zenica, where they
16 were getting ready to occupy the lands from Konjic downstream the Neretva,
17 that is through Jablanica, Stolac, Capljina, and the most important thing,
18 gaining access to the sea. Because, I believe the Honourable Court knows,
19 there was a document about the plans of the SDA and Alija Izetbegovic
20 about the foundation of an Islamic state, with the outlet to the sea and
21 the outlet to the Sava. And I repeat, especially the access to the sea
22 and the municipality of Neum have over 90 per cent of Croat population.
23 And all -- and we knew about all those plans.
24 Q. Mr. Bender, what is the foundation for these claims? Because we
25 heard testimonies here, and that is what international representatives
1 were saying, that all the Croat officials, I do not know whether your name
2 came up specifically, but the testimonies that we heard here in this
3 courtroom, they all sang the same song we just heard, but that it was not
5 MR. SCOTT: Sorry, could Mr. Krsnik be a bit clear on what "song"
6 we are talking about?
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you have to clarify this for us.
8 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I apologise. I used -- I did not
9 mean a song, I meant everybody danced to the same tune. I did not mean a
10 song sung, actually sung.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Scott?
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I used the words that Sir Martin
13 Garrod used.
14 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I didn't mean a real song either. I'd
15 like to know what the question was to the witness about what policy and
16 practice that all these international witnesses came in and according to
17 Mr. Krsnik say. That's what I'd like to know.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik, we got a little bit confused by your
19 question. I think you have to clear it up.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I apologise to the interpreters and
21 the -- and Your Honours if I caused some confusion. At that time I used
22 the same words that Sir Martin Garrod used and I don't remember anybody
23 being taken aback by them. That is what he said, that is the Croat
24 representatives always sang the same song, about the creation of an
25 Islamic state and the Muslim outlet to the sea. Those were his words.
1 And as I, fortunately or unfortunately, have a good memory, I simply used
2 the same terminology. And asked this witness whether that was indeed so,
3 or was there any foundation for that?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I must repeat to the Honourable
5 Court what I already said, because I have sworn to tell the truth, and all
6 that I'm saying is true. If the Honourable Court does not have certain
7 documents which would corroborate my -- what I'm saying, I can supply them
8 either for -- either to the counsel or to the Prosecutor or to the Court,
9 and then you will be able to see that what I'm saying is the truth and the
10 whole truth.
11 JUDGE CLARK: Mr. Bender I was just about to ask you in fact what
12 happened to all these documents and plans that you are aware of in the
13 HVO? Where are they kept? Where have they been and what was the system
14 of storing and cataloging and archiving such historical documents?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, as a lawyer and as a
16 protagonist of the legislative function, I know well the laws which are in
17 force and which regulate the matter. However, unfortunately, some of
18 these documents have, by some channels unknown to me, reached the
19 Prosecutor's Office, that is this Tribunal. We need to check therefore,
20 that is somebody either made a mistake or misused his office.
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Bender, that is not what Her Honour asked you. Her Honour
23 asked you where was the documentation kept? Because we badly need
24 authentic documents. For instance, where is the archive of the HDZ of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did I guess what you meant, Your Honour?
1 A. The archive of the HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the archive of the
2 House of Representatives of the HDZ is kept in our lands. However, some
3 of the documents unfortunately travelled by some other channels. Some of
4 military documents and some others, I don't know which, but the HDZ
5 documentation and the documentation of the legislative body is kept as
7 Q. And is it accessible to the Office of the Prosecutor or the
8 Defence at any time?
9 A. Anyone who is interested to learn about it may get to see those
10 documents in the prescribed, lawful manner.
11 Q. Well, you see, we once again have problems with the
12 interpretation. Or I'm sorry, I know that we -- our interpreters are
13 great, but maybe because you're too fast, it does not say - that is of our
14 country and you finished. I know what you said but you have to say which
15 country you meant.
16 A. I always am referring to Bosnia and Herzegovina as my state and my
17 homeland. That is quite clear. So nobody should draw any other
19 Q. But yes, we need to be cautious, you know, because somebody might
20 draw a different conclusion if the meaning of what you said is
21 misinterpreted. Because, you know, I am curious too, and I'm grateful to
22 Judge Clark, but she encouraged me to ask you something which I didn't
23 intend to ask you, but I will now. Who is the owner of documents which
24 relate to the HVO and HDZ of Bosnia-Herzegovina yet are in Zagreb? We
25 have come to call them here Zagreb archives or Zagreb evidence. Whose
1 documentation is it? Who is its owner?
2 A. The owner of the documentation of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna
3 and the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and the Croat Defence Council is
4 the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 And these documents had to be kept in the archives in the territory of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7 Q. And do you know how did they get to Zagreb and did you ever, as
8 representatives of the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you ever go
9 through this documentation? Do you have any idea what is called -- what
10 is it that is called here the Zagreb archive? Has anyone informed you
11 about that? Did you discuss it in the parliament of the Federation of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina about this?
13 MR. SCOTT: I think there are nine or ten questions in there.
14 Could we possibly have one question at a time and not leading.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
16 JUDGE CLARK: And I'm still asking very basic questions to which
17 we didn't get the answer. Surely, it's terribly important to you as
18 defence council to be in possession of these remarkable documents which
19 your witness -- your witness -- is telling us about and when I ask him
20 about the documents, he goes on and answers something that has nothing to
21 do with the question. Now, it's hard for you to cross-examine your own
22 witness, so I'll ask him the questions, if you don't mind.
23 Mr. Bender, you have said on a number of occasions that you in
24 your position, as a very important person in the Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna, I think you said you were one of the vice-presidents, if not
1 the vice-president to the Presidency, you said that, "We knew about
2 plans," on a number of occasions. First of all, can I ask you what you
3 mean by "we"?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I talk about this plan and used
5 word "we," we in the Croat community -- community Herceg-Bosna, we in the
6 Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna and we in the Croat Democratic Union of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina. By this, I mean the leadership of these institutions.
8 The small circle of the leadership because we received information from
9 our representatives and our agencies, let me put it quite bluntly.
10 JUDGE CLARK: Did you receive information deriving from
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Why, naturally. Every information
13 must have some provenance, be it a document or a minutes or a note made at
14 a meeting, during talks.
15 JUDGE CLARK: Well, Mr. Bender, for instance, if you say, "We saw
16 plans for a Muslim attack and we were aware that the Muslims were storing
17 humanitarian aid and weapons," what was the source of that particular
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First, specifically concerning the
20 information which has to do with the armaments and the stockpiling of
21 armaments by the Muslims, the source of this information is conversations
22 with our commanders in the Croat Defence Council, who had noticed that all
23 the weapons and ammunition distributed to the Muslims and Croats to fight
24 the Serbs, was not being used, that part of the humanitarian relief was
25 not being distributed amongst the soldiers, but stored somewhere.
1 JUDGE CLARK: I'm not asking you, sir, about the contents of your
2 information. I'm asking you about the source. Specifically, you said
3 that, "We had all those plans." And you referred to various places. Do
4 you mean you had documents or were you talking about conversations which
5 you had with people?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said some documents
7 specifically -- well, for instance, referred to this meeting in Zenica,
8 about the preparation of the aggression against the Neretva valley. There
9 is a document and it can be made available to the Honourable Court. There
10 are documents which confirm murders in the territories of Konjic and
11 Busovaca, there are also relevant police authorities.
12 JUDGE CLARK: I'm talking about plans, not events or incidents.
13 I'm talking about plans, because you gave very specific evidence about
14 plans and documents which you had, and then I said, you know, and in fact,
15 Mr. Krsnik said, "the defence might like to have those documents," and
16 indeed, I don't blame him for that. But I would ask you, Mr. Bender, what
17 was the system that was utilised in the HVO for receiving documents,
18 storing them, cataloging them, and archiving them? I asked you that ten
19 minutes ago. And perhaps, as it's 7.00, and we have certain arrangements
20 with the interpreters that they finish at 7.00, we can deal with it
21 tomorrow morning. And you'll be able to think about the answer.
22 MR. KRSNIK: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, I have to warn you, as I did other
24 witnesses, that during your stay in The Hague, you are still under the
25 oath, so do not talk to anybody about your testimony and do not let
1 anybody talk to you about it. Do you understand that?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do. No problem. I'll be in my
3 hotel room.
4 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. We'll resume tomorrow
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
7 7.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
8 the 22nd day of May, 2002, at 2.15 p.m.