14. 09. 2009.

Defense Expert: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Herceg Bosna are one and
the same thing

THE HAGUE– Croatian historian and independent presidential candidate
Josip Jurcevic is giving evidence in the defense of General Slobodan
Praljak. Jurcevic drafted an expert report focused among other things
on the relationship between Croatia and BH from 1991 to 1995. In
Jurcevic’s view, the names Bosnia and Herzegovina and Herceg Bosna
have the same meaning and this is how the use of both names should be interpreted in the HVO documents.

The trial of the former Bosnian Croat leaders continues with the
evidence of Croatian historian Josip Jurcevic. Jurcevic was asked by
Slobodan Praljak’s defense to draft an expert analysis focused among
other things on the relationship between theRepublic of Croatia and BH
from 1991 to 1995. In his replies to questions put by Praljak’s lawyer
Bozidar Kovacevic the witness highlighted the key findings in his
analysis, which do not diverge from earlier arguments set forth by the
defense: Croatia didn’t have any territorial aspirations towards BH,
it supported BH’s independence. Herceg Bosna was not a ‘state within a state’ and Bosnian Croats fought only for their rights as a
constituent people in BH.

Jurcevic among other things confirmed the argument proffered by the
defense of the former Herceg Bosna leaders that the terms Bosnia and
Herzegovina and Herceg Bosna had the same meaning and this is how it
should be interpreted when it was used in various documents produced
by the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna. Jurcevic added that until
the 90’s the term Herceg Bosnia was used as a shorthand term for the Republic of BH .

Through Jurcevic’s testimony, Praljak’s defense is trying to contest
the existence of the joint criminal enterprise headed by Croatian
president Franjo Tudjman. As alleged in the indictment, the joint
criminal enterprise was aimed at annexing parts of the BH territory to
neighboring Croatia to achieve the borders of the 1939 Banovina.

In the first half of 1992, Jurcevic worked in the Department of
Information and Psychological Operations in the RH Ministry of
Defense. Jurcevic’s superior was the accused Praljak, who served as an
assistant defense minister in Gojko Susak’s ministry. Jurcevic
currently works at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb .

Jurcevic is also an independent candidate at the upcoming Croatian
presidential elections. If elected president Jurcevic will be the
second Croatian head of state to give evidence in The Hague . The
current president Stjepan Mesic appeared as a witness three times
before the Tribunal, always as a prosecution witness. Mesic testified twice as an ordinary politician, in 1998 at the trials of Tihomir Blaskic and Slavko Dokmanovic. In 2002, Mesic testified as the head of state in the case against Slobodan Milosevic.
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