General Slobodan Praljak claims Croatian president Stipe Mesic ‘perjured himself’ and ‘lied’ when he said in court that Tudjman and Milosevic had agreed to divide BH in Karadjordjevo in 1991

Slobodan Praljak svjedoči u svoju odbranuSlobodan Praljak svjedoči u svoju odbranu

In his evidence today, General Slobodan Praljak contended that Franjo Tudjman and Slobodan Milosevic didn’t agree to carve up Bosnia and Herzegovina in Karadjordjevo in 1991. According to Praljak, those who claim they did, including Croatian president Stjepan Mesic, are liars.

In his evidence at the Slobodan Milosevic trial in October 2002, Mesic said that Tudjman met with the Serbian president in Karadjordjevo on 25 March 1991 and boasted afterwards in front of his inner circle that he had agreed with Milosevic to carve up Bosnia. According to that plan, Croatia was to be given the part of BH within the 1939 Banovina borders and Cazin, Kladusa and Bihac; those territories were part of what Milosevic called ‘Turkish Croatia’.

‘Mesic lied and perjured himself’, Praljak said today, adding that the purpose of Mesic’s testimony was to get even with Tudjman politically. If Mesic really heard that there were some agreements to carve up BH in 1991, Praljak said, why didn’t he say that publicly? Instead, Mesic ‘launched the story only after he and Tudjman had a political row’.

Praljak does not contest that Tudjman and Milosevic met in Karadjordjevo but claims there were no secret talks about the division of BH. The story about the division of BH in Karadjordjevo was, in Praljak’s words, ‘invented’ in 1993 in order to ‘exert political pressure on Croatia’. The division didn’t suit Milosevic who wanted the whole of BH and Croatian territory up to the Virovitica-Karlobag line. Praljak corroborated this claim with quotations from a book The Time of Perjury authored by Miroslav Tudjman.

Mesic was not the only one Praljak labeled a liar: Croatian historian Dusan Bilandzic lied to, he claimed. In an interview for the magazine Nacional published in October 1996, Bilandzic confirmed that Tudjman appointed him to an expert team that talked about the division of BH with Serbian representatives. This claim was mentioned in the Blaskic judgment.

‘Bilandzic didn’t tell the truth in that interview’, Praljak said noting it was in fact ‘a confrontation of a bad historian and communist with his opponents’. According to Praljak, Bilandzic was sent to discuss the 1974 Constitution with the Serb representatives, not the division of BH.

On the other hand, Praljak tried to convince the judges that the talks about the inner organization of the state were misinterpreted as plans to carve up BH. Thus, Praljak argued, all peace agreements were interpreted by the public as ‘carve-ups’ and as time went by, it was added that Croatia and Serbia were carving up BH. As Praljak said, it was a lie planted by the Serbian intelligence to cause conflicts between Muslims and Croats.