1 Monday, 10 February 2003
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Madam Registrar, could you call the
6 case, please?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Brdjanin, good morning to you. Can you
10 follow the proceedings in a language that you can understand?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning. Yes, I can. I
12 understand you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Appearances for the Prosecution?
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, Joanna Korner, Timothy Resch, who is
15 paying us a second visit, assisted by Denise Gustin, case manager. Good
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Good morning to you as well. And
18 appearances for Radoslav Brdjanin?
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Good morning, Your Honours. I'm John Ackerman, I'm
20 here with Milan Trbojevic and Marela Jevtovic and it's nice to be back.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Good morning to you. So, yes,
22 Ms. Korner?
23 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm going to ask to go into private
24 session in a moment just for one matter. But otherwise administratively,
25 Mr. Kirudja, as Your Honour was told, the United Nations gave us
1 permission that he could testify in open session as he testified in
2 Milosevic. We did actually stop the last witness from coming because even
3 if Mr. Kirudja finishes earlier than we anticipate, I would have thought
4 I'll be a day and a half roughly, I'm very bad on estimating how long it
5 takes to get through documents and Mr. Ackerman I understood told -- I've
6 forgotten what it was now but that he thought he would be about the same
7 amount of time if not two days. So given that the witness we had lined up
8 for Friday would have been from Prnjavor and would have gone into quite a
9 lot of the background, it was unlikely we could finish him in the one day.
10 So I don't know -- there may be administrative matters we can deal with on
11 the Friday if we have a spare day.
12 Your Honour, Having said that, may I go into private session very
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session, please.
15 [Private session]
12 Pages 14370 – redacted – private session.
12 Page 14371 – redacted – private session.
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher, Madam usher, could you please bring the
5 witness in? Thank you.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, sir.
8 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Welcome to this Tribunal. I know this is not the
10 first time you're giving evidence in this -- before this Tribunal so I'll
11 go straight to the point. Our rules require that you make a solemn
12 declaration, which is equivalent to an oath, to speak the truth in the
13 course of your testimony before you actually start giving testimony. So I
14 kindly ask you to stand up, take in your hand the text of the solemn
15 declaration and read it out loud and that will be your undertaking with
16 this Tribunal. Thank you.
17 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
18 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 WITNESS: CHARLES KIRUDJA.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. You may sit down. Ms. Korner
21 will be leading you in her examination-in-chief, and she will be followed
22 by Mr. Ackerman, who is the lead counsel for the Defence later on. Your
23 testimony is expected to last a few days but hopefully, if you stick to
24 the rule that you answer the question, the whole question and nothing but
25 the question, we should be over by Thursday at the latest.
1 Ms. Korner.
2 Examined by Ms. Korner:
3 Q. Mr. Kirudja, is your name Charles Kirudja?
4 A. It is.
5 Q. And for a number of years now, have you worked for the United
7 A. Yes, I have.
8 Q. Mr. Kirudja, before I deal with your background -- and I'm almost
9 certainly going to make the same mistake because you and I are both
10 speaking English, the temptation is for you to answer the question the
11 minute that I finish and it's sometimes necessary to have a break so that
12 it can be interpreted for the purposes of the accused in this case.
13 I think you started work for the United Nations in 1977?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Have you held positions related to development, economics and
16 internal UN budgetary and management matters?
17 A. All of that plus something else.
18 Q. And that is?
19 A. Peacekeeping operations.
20 Q. I want to come on, then, to those peacekeeping operations. In
21 1988, were you assigned to the UN humanitarian assistance mission for
23 A. Yes, indeed.
24 Q. And did you serve there as the chief of finance and
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. In 1992, did you start your service with the UN missions in the
3 former Yugoslavia, working with UNPROFOR?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And from April, 1992, until March of 1994, did you serve as chief
6 civil affairs officer?
7 A. I started as chief civil affairs officer for a couple of weeks and
8 it was standardised to civil affairs coordinator.
9 Q. And were you assigned to begin with to an area, one of the
10 protected areas, known as we'll see in the documents as an UNPA, to Sector
11 North, which was in Croatia?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And did you serve there from -- until 1994, after which you went
14 to Zagreb?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And then just to complete matters, from August of 1994 until June
17 of 1995, did you serve as the delegate for the special representative of
18 the Secretary-General to the government of the Federal Republic of
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And just to deal very briefly with your educational qualities --
22 qualifications, sorry, I think you were educated at the university of
23 Nairobi that you have a masters degree from York university in Toronto
24 and a doctorate from the university of Western Ontario?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, Mr. Kirudja, having gone through all of that, can I next deal
2 with your knowledge when you first went to Croatia of the conflict? Did
3 you hold any preconceived ideas about who or what had started the
5 A. I had no clue who or what had started what.
6 Q. So did you have any bias towards one side or the other when you
7 arrived in Croatia, namely either the Serbs or the Croatians or whatever?
8 A. None. I even got to know the difference between -- I didn't know
9 there were Serbs, Croats, I think there were Yugoslavs.
10 Q. Right. I think it's right that you arrived in Belgrade in early
11 April of 1992?
12 A. I think the 6th of April, I arrived in Belgrade.
13 Q. And pursuant to the Security Council resolutions, was the United
14 Nations stationed in four areas of Croatia?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And as you've already told us, you were assigned to the area
17 called Sector North?
18 A. I made a slight detour to getting there. I was first asked to
19 take a tour of Sector West.
20 Q. All right. Now, I think the first thing perhaps we ought to do is
21 to ask you to look at in fact two maps, one which you prepared for the
22 purposes of the case when you were testifying in the Milosevic case.
23 Could you have a look, please, at a map which was -- it says Exhibit 2 in
24 the Milosevic case but it's a black and white one. Perhaps we can have it
25 put on the ELMO. In a moment I'm going to show you a map, which is
1 perhaps slightly clearer, but I think you yourself drew the boundaries of
2 Sector North; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, and you note at the top of that exhibit there is the word
5 Q. Yes?
6 A. Important, because I did this from memory.
7 Q. All right. And we can see that it runs along the Croatian-Bosnian
8 border from roughly speaking Bosanska Dubica, which we can see to the
9 way -- map goes around, all the way down and the last bit really is going
10 off the map. Did it go a bit further than we could actually see on this
12 A. Yes. You mentioned the border between Croatia and Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina. It's important that you note that this is what you meant.
14 This is the internationally recognised border.
15 Q. Right.
16 A. That runs up to here, and continues this way, but the sector
17 itself doesn't go all of that part. It turns left this way and this
18 wasn't an international border, isn't an international border. We are now
19 inside Croatia. What is now the nation of Croatia. So this was a
20 confrontation line between the Serbs, who occupied inside this area, and
21 the rest of Croatia. So on this border, the Serbs faced Croatia -- on
22 this international -- on this confrontation line, the Serbs faced Croats.
23 On this side, they faced Muslims and from here the Serbs faced each other,
24 Serbs on this side, Serbs on that side.
25 Q. Right.
1 A. Last point, it goes down farther south, off the map.
2 Q. So if we just for the purposes of the transcript, where you said
3 Serbs faced each other, if you could just indicate that part again?
4 A. Yes. This is the municipality of Velika Kladusa runs up that way,
5 somewhere up to here, the municipality of Bosnia -- Dvor Na Una begins.
6 And this is -- from here roughly, around here, all the way this border the
7 Serbs faced each other in the municipality of Dvor and in the municipality
8 of Kostajnica they faced each other on both sides of that international
10 Q. And the part that you say was Muslim-held was?
11 A. This is the Velika Kladusa, Bihac, Bosanska Krupa, around here,
12 all of this area right here which we normally called Bihac pocket.
13 Q. All right.
14 A. I'm sorry, and the Serbs talking to us called Cazin region.
15 Q. And then I think you have indicated by a cross Topusko where were
16 you based?
17 A. This was our headquarters this is where the mission headquarters
18 in Sector North.
19 Q. All right. Thank you. Could that be made, please, Your Honours,
20 P1644? And we will just have a look, because it is slightly clearer,
21 although you didn't use -- draw -- a coloured map which is an extract.
22 Now that just I think it's a slightly clearer and we can see a bit more of
23 Bosnia on that. We can see Topusko marked -- with a mark just above the
24 letter B for Banija?
25 A. I beg your pardon?
1 Q. If you look -- it's written across -- if you see where Velika
2 Kladusa is?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And then I think we can see Topusko just above it?
5 A. Yeah, there it is, yes.
6 Q. And then we can see the two pockets, the two parts that you
7 marked, and on this map, we can see clearly Prijedor, Bosanski Novi,
8 Prijedor and then just to the edge of it Banja Luka. Were those names
9 that became familiar to you?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And can I just ask you: Do you yourself ever go over the border
12 into Bosnia and visit any of these places?
13 A. Yes. Particularly in the Bihac pocket.
14 Q. All right.
15 A. I meant -- by that I meant all of this area, this, this area.
16 Q. Yes. Did you ever get to Banja Luka?
17 A. No. I didn't have to -- I didn't need to do that.
18 Q. Right. Yes. Thank you very much.
19 MS. KORNER: That will be P1645, please, Your Honours.
20 Q. Now, you made a statement to the Office of the Prosecutor, you
21 made a couple, in fact, but the first statement was made, I think, over a
22 period in September of 1999. In order to make that statement, did you
23 look at reports prepared by you or persons who you had worked with?
24 A. The representatives of the Prosecutor's Office came into my office
25 in New York with a file.
1 Q. Right?
2 A. A folder -- file that surprised me that there were that many and
3 they were my documents, and they started to talk to me on the basis of
4 those documents and then building that statement themselves.
5 Q. Yes. In addition to that, were you also able to refresh your
6 memory about the events of 1991 and 1992 from notebooks that you yourself
7 had compiled about meetings that you had held and also incidents?
8 A. Yes. As we proceeded from that, it became necessary for me to
9 refer to those what you call diaries, they are my notes, really.
10 Q. And can you just tell Their Honours were these notes that you made
11 during the course of meetings or immediately after incidents that you
13 A. During the course of the meetings, as I listened, because I had to
14 have a translation, I had interpreters, it made it possible for me to talk
15 at the same time and write my own notes while what we were saying was
16 being translated so it was possible for me to write simultaneously as I
17 was conducting the meeting.
18 Q. Well, if necessary, Mr. Kirudja, I'm going to ask you to refresh
19 your memory from those notes which I think you've got with you today.
20 Now, can we go back to the beginning of your posting there? I'm sorry, I
21 said 1991. It's just 1992. You've already told us that before you went
22 to Sector North, you carried out a familiarisation tour of Sector West.
23 Can you just -- where was Sector West roughly?
24 A. Sector West is also referred to as Western Slavonia. It is -- in
25 this highway of brotherhood called -- somewhere midway between Sector
1 North and Sector East, more or less. Its headquarters was in Daruvar and
2 if you look at the road, the highway, it's more or less above Banja Luka
3 and the other areas that you showed in that map, somewhere above that
5 Q. The Court is actually I think already familiar with Western
6 Slavonia so you needn't explain. Were you then sent by the director of
7 civil affairs, a Mr. Cedric Thornberry to Sector North?
8 A. Yes, I received a cable while I was still in Sector West to
9 proceed to Sector North.
10 Q. Now, when you got to Sector North, what were your duties there?
11 A. Basically, as civil affairs coordinator, my overall
12 responsibilities was to ensure that the totality of the assets of the UN
13 are used as -- in full, as intended under the mandate and that included
14 advisory role to the military sector commander, who, as you would expect,
15 were from outside, unfamiliar with the way the UN does business so I had
16 that part of my responsibility in an advisory capacity to the sector
17 commander on the military side. And on the other side, on the civilian,
18 political side, I had the responsibility of course to see that the basic
19 plan, the Vance plan, that outlined the meetings -- outlined the
20 requirements of the mission was also properly implemented.
21 Q. That leads me to the next question: What was the Vance plan?
22 What was the intention of that plan?
23 A. The Vance plan, I can describe it in operational terms as having
24 three principal components. At the very start of the mission, the Vance
25 plan required that all armed units in that area of the United Nations
1 protected force or United Nations Protected Areas, where the United
2 Nations protective force was deployed, all armed units were to totally
3 demobilise, meaning the JNA and any other armed unit, they had to totally
4 demobilise and that would be followed, or rather Vance plan recognised
5 that there was a need for law and order to be kept, so it allowed for a
6 civil police, locally controlled and manned civil police, but the Vance
7 plan only allowed them to have side arms or light weapons, and thirdly,
8 the Vance plan did require that, as the mission progressed, conditions be
9 created both by the local authorities, as well as the UN, so that all the
10 people who had been displaced from there would voluntarily return to the
11 area, and therefore much of our civil side and political side requirements
12 was to make sure that that happened, that the conditions for voluntary
13 return of displaced persons were developed. That in summary were the
14 three elements, the Vance plan required.
15 Q. Now, when you got to Sector North in April of 1992, what was the
16 situation there? Was the plan going according to -- I was going to say
17 according to plan.
18 A. I understand. I understand what you meant. The conditions were
19 such that the plan was at zero stage. The plan hadn't started. There
20 were already -- there were still the presence of the JNA fully armed and
21 all other armed units in the area, if that's what you're driving at.
22 Q. Thank you. I am, yes. Rather badly phrased.
23 A. It's all right. I got it.
24 Q. So it was about to start when you got there. What did that mean
25 that you personally had to do?
1 A. As I said, operationally, the heaviest requirements on our agenda
2 was to meet with all the parties that were necessary to achieve a
3 demobilisation and they came in three parts for my purposes. On the one
4 part, I had of course the United Nations military side, the generals and
5 others from various contingents to deal with in order to make sure that
6 they understood that we now need to get the plan in motion. That on our
7 side. On the local Serbs and Croats side, there were the commanders on
8 the Serb side and the commanders on the Croatian side where they were
9 still facing each other militarily, complete with guns and tanks still
10 facing each other along confrontation line. So the first basic
11 requirement was to go all around wherever they were to begin meetings to
12 find who is who, who controls what and get going on now we are here, let's
13 get this over, let's get you to go back to wherever you came from, and
14 demobilise. That was the immediate requirement.
15 Q. You've said that the Serbs and Croats were still facing each other
16 along a confrontation line. What was the attitude of the warring parties
17 towards the intervention by the UN?
18 A. There was a different understanding of -- and that was important,
19 not -- we had to notice that very early, that there was different
20 interpretation, especially between the Serbs and the Croats, as to what
21 they expected us to do. So we come to them on the Serb side, we have maps
22 of -- showing where these United Nations protected area should be.
23 According to the Vance plan, the Vance plan had named opstinas that
24 translates loosely as municipalities, that was the subject of this
25 conflict. They were named in the Vance plan. And those named opstinas
1 comprised either Sector North, Sector East, Sector West, as they were
2 known during the federal Yugoslavia before the conflict. On the Croatian
3 side they interpreted that mean if an opstina is named as part of the
4 sector, then the sector's edge would be defined by the civil boundaries
5 that comprised each opstina at the edge or the way in the rough map that
6 you saw me trace a few minutes ago. And their maps showed that is where
7 you should be deployed as the UN up to the edge of that opstina. The Serb
8 side had a different interpretation of that. They had waged a war and
9 brought it to -- up to where they stopped. There was a reason why they
10 stopped where they stopped, and that is where the confrontation line was.
11 So their map will show the edge of the United Nations Protected Area will
12 correspond to where the confrontation line was, and the difference between
13 those interpretations was immediately an issue and later became known as
14 the pink zones, a subject of a separate United Nations Security Council
16 Q. Now, in respect of the disengagement of the JNA from Croatia, who
17 were you dealing with? Who was the general in charge?
18 A. On the Croatian side? On the Croatian side it was a lot more
19 extended and there was a commission for UNPROFOR and that commission for
20 UNPROFOR had both military and civilian components. On the headquarters
21 side very early we had a couple of generals that we dealt with, General
22 Stolnik was one of them, General Cesnjaj was one of them, and at the top
23 of that commission was Dr. Ramljak, the deputy Prime Minister. On the
24 ground, there were different generals because they had organised
25 themselves into different operational zones. In my sector, ranging all
1 the way from commanders located in Sisak, Karlovac, even in Rijeka, had to
2 go to Rijeka because some of the military that controlled the western
3 corner of that sector were based there.
4 Q. What about from the Serb side? Who was the military leader that
5 you were dealing with?
6 A. It was much easier for the Serb side because the entire sector,
7 Sector North, came under the 10th corps of the previous JNA, and it was
8 commanded by General Spiro Nikovic who was based in Bihac.
9 Q. You said that the previous JNA. When you arrived, was it still
10 the JNA?
11 A. It was still the JNA, pardon me for the use of that language, it
12 was still the JNA when we arrived and they were JNA commanders.
13 Q. Now, your mandate was for the sector in Croatia, Sector North. At
14 that stage, in April of 1992, was there any operational mandate for
16 A. No.
17 Q. And at that stage, when you first arrived, had it been foreseen
18 that there was a problem in Bosnia or likely to be a problem in Bosnia?
19 A. When we arrived in retrospect now I can say so, the UN was
20 mistaken. I didn't know we were mistaken when we arrived but we had a
21 premise, we operated on a premise that later proved to be incorrect, that
22 the entire BH would be more peaceful, there was no evident at that time
23 signs of trouble and so even from our headquarters, the structure of the
24 mission was done with the assumption that there would be peaceful
25 circumstances prevailing in Bosnia. To that effect, the headquarters of
1 the mission was supposed to be in Sarajevo, even if the centres where we
2 discussed, the headquarters of the mission was Sarajevo, and the logistics
3 battalions that would serve the missions were to be located in Banja Luka,
4 both the French and the Finnish battalions were supposed to be, and they
5 initially were in Banja Luka.
6 Q. And let's just jump ahead for a moment. Did the Finnish and
7 French battalions remain in Banja Luka?
8 A. Of course not. Very soon they found it wasn't feasible for them
9 to be there.
10 Q. Now, I want to ask you now about your dealings with the Serb
11 side. What impression did you get about what the objective of the Serbs
13 A. In terms of the sector where we were or overall or?
14 Q. Let's deal with it in stages. First of all, in terms of the
15 sector where you were.
16 A. Like I was saying earlier they had each a misunderstanding of what
17 was going to happen, not only as I explained earlier as regards where the
18 border should be, for the Serbs, they had also the impression that we
19 literally were going to relieve them in their fox holes and I'm not
20 exaggerating on that, when we went in the first meetings, the colonels
21 came over and told the general, okay where are your men coming to relieve
22 mine in the fox holes? So they were surprised when the general told them
23 no one is relieving you from the fox holes, you're leaving the fox holes
24 and getting demobilised and there should be a status quo, no fighting
25 here, no one needs to be relieved. So that was the first surprise that
1 they had. That the UN was not coming designed to fight anyone or to be
2 facing any hostile forces. That was a major learning experience for the
3 Serbs, as they got to know why we were there.
4 Q. All right. So that's on the -- now, what about as far as you
5 could tell from your conversations with Serb leaders, what was their
6 general idea that was going to happen?
7 A. I think I understand maybe. We were then of course listening
8 particularly on the civilian side of the Serb leadership, each opstina had
9 a mayor which was permitted under the Vance plan, and we would hear them
10 very often repeat something pretty early to us that became a focus for me
11 and I heard it repeated. We, the Serbs said early and often, we are
12 convinced we are never going to be able to live together again with
13 non-Serbs. The sooner you, as the UN, understood that, the better there
14 will be for the peace in these areas. We now intend never to live
15 together again with anybody else. You asked me earlier if I knew the
16 Serbs or Croats or whatever the Muslims were, that's when these
17 differences began to register with me, and I said, "What do you mean
18 you're not going to live together with non-Serbs again and you want to
19 live in one country together only for Serbs?" And that's when they began
20 to talk about why they were fighting who and the territory that they had.
21 Specifically, the territory that we were deployed in would be part of that
22 one country that the Serbs wanted to live in. Now, there was no -- a
23 little bit of a non-sequitur for me if you say you're going to live in the
24 same country and as you saw in the map we are only in an United Nations
25 Protected Area, there is an implication that this is bigger than the
1 United Nations Protected Area, where else do you want this country to be?
2 Q. Now, the Serbs that you were talking to, first of all, were all
3 these Croatian Serbs or were there Bosnian Serbs as well at this stage?
4 A. Frankly made no difference to me.
5 Q. All right. Let's put it this way. The people you were meeting
6 were who? Obviously General Ninkovic you've spoken to us about. Who else
7 were you dealing with at this stage, April 1992?
8 A. On the Serb side?
9 Q. Yes, not names, just generally.
10 A. Okay. It is probably clearer to mention that while the entire
11 sector came under the 10th corps, it was divided, subdivided, if you like
12 into operational zones, each with commanders of their own, and Sector
13 North had two divisions or rather three divisions. There was on the
14 western side of it the Kordun operational zone. That was commanded by a
15 Colonel by the name of Cedo Bulat. On the Banija side not Banja like you
16 spell Banja Luka, Banija side. B-A-N-I-J-A, Banija. This operational
17 zone was at that time commanded by General Rakovic, and there was on the
18 southern tip on the map which I also mentioned went off your map, formed
19 an operational zone called Lika. It was smaller and it was headquartered
20 off my sector in Kornica [phoen]. So there were these commanders in these
21 areas that I had to deal with.
22 Q. Were you also dealing with politicians, local politicians?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You said that what was -- what you were hearing was that we Serbs
25 cannot live with other nationalities. And that they wanted to live in one
1 state. Was the term Greater Serbia ever used?
2 A. No. If it appears in my testimony, it probably appears under
3 quotes because we are talking retrospectively.
4 Q. Right.
5 A. So at that stage it's more accurate, I heard more often one state
6 rather than Greater Serbia, more or less like we are going to -- we would
7 like to live only among ourselves as Serbian nation.
8 Q. Right. Now, the withdrawal that was supposed to be taking place,
9 I want to deal with this quite shortly, but what was happening in respect
10 of the demilitarisation of that particular zone?
11 A. Now, to go back on, we would say to the commander at that time
12 General Nikovic, we need a schedule, and an identification of the units,
13 weapons, and the schedule about when you will demilitarise this particular
14 sector, we did get that schedule within the weeks of April, May, somewhere
15 around there, that schedule, and General Nikovic did outline all the units
16 that were to be demobilised, and the weapons. But he did also explain --
17 during the course of that, he did also give us an idea noticing we are
18 strangers here to give us an idea of what was happening and why, and he
19 mentioned certain things that still at that time didn't get lost to us, as
20 important. He said we have a new reality, things like that, new reality
21 happening in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. We are going to
22 demobilise from this area. Our headquarters in Belgrade has decided that
23 as we demobilise, all command officers that run the JNA who were not born
24 in these areas where we are now will have to leave these areas and the
25 command of whatever is left here will be in the hands of Serbs who were
1 born there, either in the area where we were or other areas across in
2 Bosnia that were still under his command. But he also went on to say,
3 when we are all done, from what used to be the former Yugoslavia, will
4 arise seven countries and he proceeded to name them.
5 Q. I'm going to ask you to look at a couple of reports that you made
6 about this. First of all, could you have a look at a report dated the
7 30th of April? The document number is document number 12 -- 2. Can we
8 just check? No, no, no, no. It's the document -- it's document 2 which
9 should be the -- it should be the fourth document -- right. Can I just
10 check before we -- yes, I think it's much easier if I check before you
11 take it up. Yes, that's it. Thank you.
12 The reports that you wrote, would that be on a weekly basis or on
13 a daily basis?
14 A. They had a variety. This particular one, for example, would be of
15 the category where I would write an immediate report for that day, after
16 the meeting, because it would be something I wanted reported immediately.
17 Q. Right.
18 A. And then at the end of the week, I would also write what was a
19 generalised situational report that was freer in framework but more of a
20 raw understanding for that week. So there were that category of reports.
21 Q. And this particular report, was that a special report, because of
22 this meeting that you'd had?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In addition to that, did you make notes of this meeting in your
25 what I'm going to call your diary?
1 A. In other words my diaries were the basis of compiling the report.
2 They are related that way.
3 Q. Well, I'm going to ask you if you can find that part because I
4 think you may need it in respect of some of the conversations. Now, --
5 A. This report is on 30th April.
6 Q. That's right.
7 A. All right.
8 Q. And I think as we'll see it related to a meeting on the 29th.
9 A. Thank you for that. Yes.
10 Q. Now if we look at first of all, the report, it states that it's --
11 there was a meeting with General -- I think it should be Ninkovic although
12 it says Nikovic?
13 A. No, from the early days I always referred to him in his presence
14 as Nikovic. If I was in error he was very kind to me and let that error
16 Q. It was a meeting in Bihac and then you listed in your report the
17 issues of political and civil affairs interest. And that you recorded in
18 paragraph 2 that "General Ninkovic announced that as of the day before,
19 there was a new Yugoslavia comprising the republics of Serbia and
20 Montenegro." And he said he would continue as a general and soldier of
21 his new country. "This development while posing some political problems
22 of uncertainty also may pose some new practical problems, particularly in
23 Serbian Krajina and in Bosnia, clearly the JNA does not belong in the area
24 after the new political reality."
25 Can I ask two questions please on that paragraph? What was the
1 practical problems that you foresaw in the Serbian Krajina? And by
2 Serbian Krajina were you talking about that part that was on the Croatian
3 side or the Bosnian side?
4 A. A clarification, as I respond to your question. Among the new
5 countries that were to arise from the former Yugoslavia that he proceeded
6 to name was what he called the Republic of Serbian Krajina. All the
7 others remained as named as the constituent republic, Slovenia, Croatia,
8 Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he added Republic of Serbian
10 Q. Right.
11 A. At that time, you realise that that was a problem of a practical
12 nature because first, where was this Serbian Krajina going to be? If it
13 was inside the UNPAs, we have a problem because under the Vance plan,
14 there were no recognised authorities that overarched the opstinas, there
15 was not to be an overall government that connected these opstinas. Under
16 the Vance plan, the highest authority in each location was the civil
17 government of the opstina comprising the mayor and the chief of police and
18 police armed with the light weapons. There was no overarching authority
19 like a government of Serbian Krajina, that would pose a problem.
20 Q. All right. So can we just recap so that we understand because I
21 think this comes from your notebook rather than the report. He told you
22 that of the republics of Serbia and Montenegro -- the new Yugoslavia, and
23 then what did he actually go on to say? Could you read just what your
24 note says?
25 A. Yes. There will be six countries out of the former Yugoslavia,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 I'm sorry I said seven. My note says six countries and they are named, he
2 named as follows: Slovenia, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, what
3 was Serbia and Montenegro, Serbian Krajina, Macedonia and Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina, which he did not characterise any more than that.
5 Q. Right. Now, just for a moment, we look at what you report to --
6 A. Excuse me one more thing he said on the note, and I quote, "The
7 government agreement with Republic of Yugoslavia, what UNPROFOR agrees
8 with the Belgrade will apply to the Republic of Serbian Krajina."
9 Q. Right. And what did you understand him to be saying there? As a
10 matter of political reality, what did that mean?
11 A. This was his serving notice that since in that meeting, bear in
12 mind we are discussing about demobilisation and what to do, it was his
13 reassurance to us that what we agree in these meetings, I'm an officer of
14 the JNA, I report to Belgrade, it will apply to this area you are which is
15 the Serbian Republic of Krajina. That's what he meant.
16 Q. You already I think mentioned that, and you referred to it in the
17 second paragraph of your report, one of the options in consideration is
18 that all JNA officers and personnel not born in Serbian Krajina or
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina will be advised to leave for the new Yugoslavia, thus
20 all soldiers born in this region will be left behind with all necessary
21 equipment and weapons as a counterbalance to the Croatians who are now
22 strengthening their position.
23 And I think you already mentioned that. Now, the rest of this
24 report, I think, is concerned about the mechanics, was it not, of how they
25 were going to -- how the JNA was going to withdraw?
1 A. Exactly.
2 Q. And could you just look, please, at the last paragraph of that
3 report which begins, "The recent emergence of a newly fortified militia is
4 hard not to notice. Former military vehicles have been repainted from
5 green to blue. The colours of the present police force -- sorry, the
6 colours of the present police force. Many of the militiamen have begun to
7 support -- sorry, sport new blue uniforms and appear to be deployed along
8 the front line. The JNA side seems to be taking advantage of the Vance
9 plan which apparently excludes police units from those that must be
10 demobilised and their weapons put in storage."
11 The significance of this being what?
12 A. Serve notice to my headquarters, there is a loophole in the Vance
13 plan, and that loophole, the Serbs are -- have already begun to notice the
14 outlines that they were going to exploit that loophole to make the
15 demobilisation of the forces difficult to achieve, and since they were
16 allowed to keep a police force, they would now transform what is
17 essentially a fighting -- a military fighting unit into, for the purposes
18 of satisfying the Vance plan, into a police force which is only a police
19 force in name, because it has the fighting capability of a military
20 force. That is the implication.
21 Q. In other words, the police force was being, as you say here, was
22 being given military vehicles. Was it also being provided with arms?
23 A. This point, two things were happening. We are trying to identify
24 the arms for the purposes of a requirement of the Vance plan, that they be
25 decommissioned, all these armaments that were there after demobilisation
1 of personnel, they were to be put in storage under a two lock system,
2 UNPROFOR and the local authorities would have a key and you needed double
3 for that purposes. So at this moment, the weapons, while we are trying to
4 identify them the purposes of decommissioning, we are also noticing that
5 they are being redistributed and being put to use but under the police.
6 That's what it means.
7 Q. Right. Now, finally on this meeting, did you raise with the
8 general the problems of, as it were, refugees in Karlovac?
9 A. Yes. I had been called to the Croatian side. There was a
10 football, a soccer field in Karlovac, because there is an another football
11 field matter, I don't want to confuse your train of thought with, they had
12 gathered in Karlovac a lot of people and they wanted to go across the
13 sector into Bihac pocket and they had stated to me, -- I went there
14 physically to see them. They had all vehicles some with the licence
15 plates in Austria and other distant places from Croatia and they were
16 Muslims, those who spoke to me, and -- the majority of them and they want
17 go back to the Bihac pocket and would I make it possible for them through
18 the sector to Bihac pocket? And I said to General Nikovic as much. These
19 people wanted to do that.
20 Q. And what was his response to that?
21 A. General Nikovic was given to colourful language and so he said,
22 "Well, if they come here, we will give them a concert."
23 Q. I think you got a note in your diary about this. Can you just
24 tell us what his exact words were?
25 A. What date, I'm sorry?
1 Q. 29th again, it's the same meeting?
2 A. Okay. He said -- as soon as I explained what I say to you, I
3 wrote his response was, "I want to tell you never, we will not allow that.
4 They say they are Muslims. They are not. They are trained in Austria,
5 Germany, to fight. We will prepare a concert for them."
6 Q. You had seen the people. Did they strike you, from your
7 conversations with them, as people who were trained fighters, who wanted
8 to go into Bosnia?
9 A. Hard to say by looking at them, because they were in all regard
10 civilians in civil clothes but if you look at them as human beings and ask
11 are they capable of suddenly putting military uniforms, are they able
12 bodied and all of that, the answer of course would be they are healthy,
13 they are normal and that would be --
14 Q. Were they just single men or were they families?
15 A. These were mostly men.
16 Q. All right. Now, that was that meeting. Did the process that you
17 referred to, this handing over of weapons and military vehicles to the
18 police, continue?
19 A. This process continued in terms of what we on our military side
20 wanted, and we were expecting the schedule that General Nikovic had put
21 out to be executed on the Serb side. It wasn't completely because by
22 10th of May, around 10th of May, I notice in my report somewhere the date
23 might be not quite in my original but my notes tells me it was around the
24 10th of May, General Nikovic when we went to see him gave us what we
25 considered a bomb shell. "I'm no longer in command."
1 Q. I think we are going to look at that later on. All right. Now, I
2 think you recorded, is this correct, one other incident involving as it
3 were the first persons you'd met who left Bosnia on the 30th of April,
4 when you noted down a particular car.
5 A. Yes, oh, yes. That family. It was the first, to our surprise,
6 indication that all was not well, both in the sector as well as in Bosnia,
7 when a family arrived in distress and it arrived in -- that family arrived
8 in Sector North to hostile reception by the Serbs. That's how it got to
9 our notice. A man, a woman and a child. If that's what you mean.
10 Q. Yes. Did you make a note about this in your diary?
11 A. Yes. Because we then set out to protect them from the harassment
12 that immediately started on the Serb authorities, the family was known as
13 the Cakar family. I remember after looking at the notes just this week,
14 they had a car registered in Neuchatel in Switzerland. The particulars I
15 took on their travelling documents, passport and what have you, also
16 indicated that the husband of this family was of a Turkish origin. The
17 wife was of a local, was a -- born in Bosanski Novi, and they had gone to
18 Bosanski Novi, either to visit or something, and they were coming out of
19 there in distress.
20 Q. And the distress was caused by what?
21 A. They were not going to talk to me as much at that stage about
22 Bosanski Novi. What they were concerned with was the fact that the local
23 Serbs in Sector North wanted them to kind of leave the car there or move
24 out of there and they felt literally insecure. I for one didn't
25 understand it because we are there, it is an UN place, there is nobody
1 fighting up to that moment and I wondered why the chiefs of police in
2 Vojnic, where they had landed were harassing them.
3 Q. All right. And in fact, were you obliged to employ the UN civil
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Outside their hotel room?
7 A. Indeed. I called the chief of civil police, a Danish, by the
8 name, Kai Vittrup, and he went into action and all night posted guards in
9 their hotel and made arrangements for the next day that we would evacuate
10 them in a kind of protection, we sandwiched their cars between ours and we
11 got them out into Karlovac.
12 Q. I want to move then please next to a meeting on the 4th of May,
13 which again I think you recorded in your diary. Oh, yes, I'm sorry, Your
14 Honour, may I make document 2 Exhibit P1646? That's the one of the 30th
15 of April.
16 A. You say the 4th of May?
17 Q. 4th of May, when I think you had another meeting with General
19 A. All right. Yes, I note that.
20 Q. And again, was this a meeting really about the boundaries?
21 A. This was a continuation of the issue of who -- identification of
22 what unit had to be demobilised and what schedule was there for the -- for
23 that to happen.
24 Q. Now, did you record in your diary something about General
25 Ninkovic's mood?
1 A. Yes. While we came to talk about that subject, the one I
2 mentioned about demobilisation, and for my record he had given us the
3 dates -- just a minute. Usually my notes have a lot of things on them so
4 it takes sometime to locate a particular subject. I beg your pardon.
5 You're talking about his mood?
6 Q. Yes. I think did you record that he was in a bad mood and he gave
7 you an explanation, I think, for it?
8 A. I know about that. I knew he was in a bad mood and I knew why.
9 I'm trying to find out whether it was on the 4th of May or not, simply
10 that's all.
11 Q. It could be the 5th?
12 A. That's all I'm trying to find. I know the mood and why. I'm just
13 trying to figure out whether it was May or not on the particular meeting.
14 Anyway, whatever date it is I can tell you what it was.
15 Q. If you can recall it tell us what he told you?
16 A. He was particularly in a bad mood because, as a soldier, he
17 followed everything, and around a few days before that meeting, there was
18 a reported in the news event in Sarajevo resulting to the death of certain
19 of his colleagues and he knew them personally and he was quite upset about
21 Q. Now, did he mention anything about any projected unrest or
22 aggression in the Krajina area? You may need to find your note on this.
23 A. Unless -- at least, more specific about that, about the unrest,
24 more specificity about that.
25 Q. See if you can find in your note --
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour if there is no objection I can lead this
2 from his statement. Unless there is an objection.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Have you any objection, Mr. Ackerman?
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, I basically have an objection to
5 everything that's been going on since 9.00 because we are dealing with
6 Croatia which has nothing to do with this indictment and I don't know why
7 we are spending all this time in Croatia. It seems totally irrelevant.
8 But within that context, if the Court believes we should go forward with
9 Croatia, then I don't have any objection to what Ms. Korner proposes.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Korner?
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honour this is the background and the build up.
12 This part is indistinguishable, April, May, from what is Bosanski Novi was
13 right on the border and that's why it's linked in with it.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead. You have our authorisation to lead on
15 this on this matter and on this matter only.
16 MS. KORNER: Thank you very much.
17 Q. Did -- I think he came and as you say, he explained about what he
18 described as JNA soldiers being massacred in Sarajevo. And did he also
19 tell you that he had some information that the other side wants to commit
20 some type of aggression on the Krajina sometime before the 15th of May?
21 A. Yes, yes. And it was always something hinted. This is not even
22 new. In the other report, you mentioned and you saw quoted that we had to
23 leave some weapons because there will be future attacks. So this was just
24 illustrating a point made over and over again as a ground why they were
25 going to leave certain weapons around.
1 Q. All right. Now, also, at that meeting, did he tell you that that
2 morning, Yugoslavia had called its citizens to leave JNA units in Bosnia
3 and to return to the Yugoslav territory?
4 A. Yes. This is the 5th of May meeting?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right. And did he explain that according to him, the JNA will
8 not have any influence in Bosnia from now on?
9 A. Exactly.
10 Q. That there were only a few officers, some 13, in the JNA that
11 remain in Croatia and Bosnia who were from Yugoslavia. All the others are
12 Bosnian Serbs or Krajina Serbs?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Those officers and soldiers not from Bosnia or Croatia will be
15 sent back to Yugoslavia. Serbian forces in Bosnia will thus establish
16 their own military and arms and weapons in Bosnia, will be in the hands of
17 the local Serbs under the new system.
18 A. Yeah, you're reading my notes, I can see that.
19 Q. I'm reading from your statement but that's clearly from your
21 A. Yes, I can see that.
22 Q. And then he finally ends up by saying when all of this happens,
23 80 per cent of Bosnian territory will be under the control of Serbian
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And I think he also added 93 per cent of the 10th corps of the JNA
2 are local Serbs of Krajina?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. And did he go on to say, and I think we can deal with this quite
5 briefly, that the JNA has problems because some local units do not want to
6 give up their weapons?
7 A. This was important, even on that -- and you might see it related
8 to other things. Here he is a soldier who had agreed to do what the
9 United Nations requested of him, but it was clear he was himself subject
10 to opposition for doing that, for the schedule and the means by which he
11 wanted to demobilise. He was, fair to say, facing resistance for that.
12 Q. And facing resistance from whom, did you understand?
13 A. It wasn't clear until much later when he had left and that was
14 clear that there was something called Territorial Defence forces that
15 wanted to do something different from what he had in mind.
16 Q. Now, if we can then deal, I think briefly, on the 10th of May you
17 had this meeting with him and is that when he told you that he was being
18 retired and that the temporary commander in Sector North would be General
20 A. That is precisely the point. Here, the schedule that he had put
21 out was to be completed by, when you are talking I already saw the dates
22 in my notes was to be completed by the 23rd of May. On the 10th of May,
23 he announces that he is retired, he's been retired, while he was scheduled
24 to meet with us to complete this. Now, that doesn't stand to reason. If
25 you are going to demobilise, if you're a soldier, you have two weeks and
1 as a schedule. It doesn't stand to reason that you will be terminated
2 three weeks before you wind down an operation. That's why I said there
3 was resistance to what he was doing.
4 Q. All right. Now, next, and this is now we see how events developed
5 over the border. Could you have a look, please, at a document which is
6 document 4? Can you just tell us what that is, the type of document,
8 A. This is a daily situation report from -- from our headquarters,
9 and they made a military -- military side as opposed to my civilian side,
10 they would make a daily situation report. This is one of -- one such
12 Q. And is that dated the -- it's quite difficult to tell but is it
13 the 8th of May or 11th of May?
14 A. No it's 11th -- 23rd -- what is this?
15 Q. It's quite difficult to work out but in any event can we just --
16 A. No. It's the time, the military they also put a date and the
17 hour, 2300 hours.
18 Q. Right.
19 A. Right.
20 Q. So it's the 11th of May at 2300 hours?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Right?
23 A. Right.
24 Q. And can we look at under item 2(B), the chief of police in Dvor
25 and gives the grid reference, Mr. Nikola Bjelac reported to DanCon, is
1 that the Danish battalion?
2 A. No, Danish contingent.
3 Q. Contingent, sorry. Danish contingent, that Serbians in militia
4 uniform had crossed to Dvor to disarm all Muslim militia in Bosanski
5 Novi. Can you remember now, was that the first time that you became aware
6 of potential problems involving Bosanski Novi?
7 A. I can't be sure it's the first time, and it underscores a point I
8 made earlier when I was describing that map when I said Serbs faced each
9 other across the border, whether it was in the Croatian side or Bosanski
10 Novi and I also mentioned that border was nominal, it really didn't matter
11 at all when they faced each other and this report is underscoring that
12 they would cross over from one side to the other routinely.
13 Q. Right. And then just very briefly, because this is another area
14 that's of interest in this trial, under 3, continuing affairs, situation
15 concerning DanCon vehicles in Bosanska Krupa unchanged. Just very
16 briefly, Mr. Kirudja, what did that refer to?
17 A. You wouldn't know too much about that one line because that one
18 line was an issue that occurred back when the Nambiar had come visiting
19 the sector, when he was leaving, he was escorted by a military convoy. At
20 the head of that convoy was DanCon vehicles, military vehicles, a Danish
21 [unintelligible] issue. As soon as they were going home to Bosanska
22 Kostajnica, across on the other side of Bosnia, their vehicles were, the
23 convoy was stopped and their vehicles were taken by force by the Serbs and
24 they were always trying to trace where those vehicles were going, and they
25 kept this matter going until much later, they traced those vehicles
1 painted blue under the police in Bosanska Krupa.
2 Q. All right. And just so the Court understands, Nambiar, was that
3 General Nambiar?
4 A. Yes, Satish Nambiar, he had come to visit our sector and that's
5 when the sequence of events I described occurred.
6 MS. KORNER: All right. Your Honour, may that please be made
7 Exhibit P1647?
8 Q. Now, I want to move then next to -- well, Your Honour, in fact
9 that may be a -- because I'm moving to another meeting?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: So we will have.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: May I just raise a matter before you rise?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour I would like to request that -- that
14 copies be made of these diaries and notebooks that the witness is
15 referring to and furnished to the Defence and I'm a bit distressed that
16 hasn't happened already. They should have been translated I would think
17 because my client will not be able to assist me in looking at them at this
19 JUDGE AGIUS: These are otherwise privileged documents,
20 Mr. Ackerman.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, this is totally unfair, they are
22 not privileged to the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor gets to sit with the
23 witness and go through those and pick out the parts of those diaries that
24 are helpful to the Prosecutor's case and I don't get to look at them or
25 the parts that might be helpful to my case.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: They are privileged documents, Mr. Ackerman.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: They are not privileged if they are using them in
3 court. Once they bring them in court, then they should be available to
4 both sides.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: What's being made use of in court doesn't remain
6 privileged because it's being made use of in court but the rest which is
7 not being made use of in court remains privileged.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: I object very strongly to these being used without
9 them being furnished to the Defence.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: If you want a ruling, file a proper motion and we
11 will decide it.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: It's completely unfair.
13 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, perhaps the witness can leave and I'll
14 deal with the situation very briefly. We needn't have this discussion in
15 front of the witness but I think we an ought to deal with that.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: 25 minute break.
17 MS. KORNER: All right. Would Your Honour just -- if the witness
18 is allowed to leave now and Your Honour just remains while I very quickly
19 deal with this.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Kirudja --
21 THE WITNESS: May I take my privileged documents with me?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, sir.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, this issue came up in the Milosevic case
25 as well, and His Excellency Judge May made a clear ruling that these were
1 his privileged documents. However it became clear to me when I looked at
2 the statement and I looked at the reports that he must have been relying
3 on the notebook for the purposes of making the statement. I don't think
4 we can make inquiries of him there should be any objection to Mr. Ackerman
5 having copies of the relevant entries on which he based his statement but
6 I think he'd have to show cause why he's entitled to look at any other
7 part of what is the witness's confidential diary.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: The fact is that what is privileged remains
9 privileged. I do understand that it's most uncomfortable and in a way
10 difficult to digest but the fact remains that these are privileged
12 MS. KORNER: I think he's entitled, Mr. Ackerman I'm not going to
13 object to that. Mr. Ackerman is certainly entitled to look at or have
14 copies of the pages which he's used to refer to to make the statement but
15 I don't think he's entitled to plough through the rest of it because he's
16 an UN employee and these are UN governmental affairs.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, it appears to me, and if I'm
18 wrong, Ms. Korner can correct me, but it appears to me that this witness
19 has basically made these documents available to the Prosecutor and persons
20 who work for the Prosecutor so that they could pick out those parts of
21 them that they think are important so he waived the privilege with regard
22 to the Prosecutor and people who work for the Prosecutor but asserts the
23 privilege with regard to the Defence and people who work for the Defence.
24 I don't think that's fair. And I don't think it's proper. I don't think
25 it can be done. Once he waves it with regard to any party in this case,
1 then if seems to me the documents are -- should be made available to all
2 parties in the case. One party should not have that kind of a totally
3 unfair, unwarranted advantage.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: But you are assuming that he has made available the
5 entirety of those diaries. I'm not assuming anything unless someone
6 comes forward and tells me, yes, I just handed these diaries to the
7 Prosecution so that they could go through the entire entries and decide
8 for themselves what was relevant and what was not.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: I believe that to be true. I believe if you
10 inquire of the Prosecutor you'll find out that that's true, not that he
11 handed them to them but that they went through them with him together and
12 they were able to look at every page if they wanted to.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: And in any case if that happened that is covered by
14 the rules while the rules do not cover the right of the Defence to claim
15 copies of those privileged documents, once they remain privileged. You
16 are of course perfectly entitled to ask the witness later on whether he
17 has particularly -- particular entries in his diary relating to this and
18 this and that and that, but it will still depend on him whether he wants
19 to give you that information, because the document remains privileged.
20 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, as with all these witnesses, as Your
21 Honour knows originally, this was all going to be in closed session
22 because of the background. Your Honour, I can say that Mr. Kirudja, when
23 I went through the statement, had his diaries in front of him and I asked,
24 can you check in your diaries where this comes from in your statement? As
25 Your Honour will see the statement was taken in 1999. Neither person who
1 works who took the statement works with us any longer so I don't know how
2 it came to be taken but I can certainly say that is what happened when I
3 spoke to him before the -- before he came to give evidence but Your
4 Honours, I'm certainly -- Mr. Ackerman wants him to check his diary to see
5 if there is any entry in relation to anything Mr. Ackerman is interested
6 in, he will but I don't think Mr. Ackerman can just fish through the
7 diaries to see if there is anything that may be of interest.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. 25 minute break, which means we start at
10 --- Recess taken at 10.34 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
12 MS. KORNER: Your Honour just before the witness is brought back
13 in again.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Korner.
15 MS. KORNER: Can we just go for a moment to private session.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go to private session for a while.
17 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open -- no, we are still in private
12 session. We are in open session now. All right.
13 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, the other thing I've noticed and it may
14 be a bit difficult because there is no B/C/S version of course, those in
15 the public gallery, and we have the odd person here, none of the documents
16 are going up on the ELMO so that the gallery doesn't know what on earth
17 anybody is talking about. I'm not sure whether we've got -- have we got
18 any spare ones? Anyhow --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: We can make available one of our three copies.
20 MS. KORNER: I just noticed of course that we had some people here
21 this morning because there is only one English version --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I appreciate that. We can make available and we can
23 share, all right? We will do that, Ms. Korner.
24 MS. KORNER: Thank you very much, Your Honour. I think we can
25 use -- of course Ms. Gustin has a copy so we can use ours.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Korner?
4 MS. KORNER:
5 Q. Mr. Kirudja, I want to move now, please, to mid-May, the 19th of
6 May. I think you had a meeting at the request of the community of Bihac,
7 and subsequently, I think you prepared or one of your staff prepared a
8 report on that. So could you have a look, now, please, at document which
9 was number 5 but it's actually sorry, P1658? It's already been placed
10 into the bundle.
11 Now, Your Honour, there has been a slight hiccup on this, as
12 usual, I'm afraid, which is my fault entirely. In the bundle we only have
13 the first two pages of that report or the cover sheet. The actual
14 document itself is considerably longer. It contained a report dated the
15 20th of May, as well as the -- and it didn't go into the Novi bundle
16 because it wasn't specifically referable to Novi but the original document
17 produced by Mr. Kirudja had quite a lengthy report. Now I don't know
18 whether Your Honours had Mr. Kirudja's documents. You didn't. All
19 right. Can I perhaps for the moment put this in with it on the ELMO?
20 Mr. Kirudja can see it coming up and we will make sure there are copies
21 availability after the next break. I think Mr. Ackerman who did get the
22 original Kirudja document, the report dated Sector North 20th of May,
23 1992, do you have that?
24 A. Yes, this is the one in my handwriting.
25 Q. Yes, don't worry about that there's another report Mr. Kirudja,
1 which I'm afraid...
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Well it looks like I may only have the same, the
4 first two pages. There is a couple of additional pages here but they seem
5 to be different print, different numbering and but also seems to be 20
6 May. I don't know.
7 MS. KORNER: All right. Your Honour, they are -- Mr. Ackerman got
8 the whole bundle of disclosures from Mr. Kirudja I don't know how long ago
9 whenever we disclosed the documents, for the moment, 25th of June, 2001.
10 But can I put this on the ELMO and then I'll arrange for copies to be
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Go ahead.
13 MS. KORNER: Thank you. Then usher, can you put -- I'm going to
14 have to look at it on the ELMO as well.
15 Q. Mr. Kirudja, it's going to go on the ELMO, and if you can --
16 perhaps actually can I have mine back for a moment and we will put this
17 one on. Thank you.
18 This report which runs to three pages, I'm sorry, usher, could we
19 go to the third page and just look at the signature for a moment on the
21 It's signed by a gentleman named Paolo Raffone deputy chief civil
22 affairs office, was he one of your subordinates?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. All right. Now can we go to the first page, please? If we just
25 pull it down, yeah. It's dated the 20th of May, 1992, subject, note on
1 the situation in the Bihac area, border of Bosnia with Sector North, and
2 its possible influence on Sector North political analysis.
3 Geographic and ethnic outlook, it describes the Bihac area and
4 then says, "The majority of the 250.000 inhabitants of the Bihac area are
5 mainly Muslims. Bihac 66.6 per cent, Cazin 97.6 and then Bosanska Krupa,
6 74.5. No ethnic Serbs are reported to live in this area." Then it deals
7 with the infrastructures and then if we look at the political analysis, if
8 you pull it up for a moment, please, usher, a bit further up, sorry, thank
9 you. "The representatives of the Bihac community explained that their
10 major commercial partner was the Republic of Croatia. Nowadays they feel
11 that Croats and Muslims can fight together against the common enemy, the
12 Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. As a matter of fact, this area has remained
13 quite calm compared with the rest of BH. New developments could be
14 envisaged following the rapid worsening of the living conditions. Many
15 persons identify emotionally, the Serbs as the only cause of their
16 difficulties. For this reason, factions and groups could oppose
17 themselves to the Serbs in the RSK as well as BH." And then I'm going to
18 summarise this: You -- Mr. Raffone explained the reason for this feeling
19 about the Serbs, including the withdrawal of the JNA from the area has
20 also contributed to stress or resentments against the ethnic Serbs.
21 Then can we go to the next page, please?
22 Where Mr. Raffone noted that as a matter of fact, the area was
23 suffering a very strict blockade in all directions. It is very rare to
24 meet commercial trucks in the streets. The authorities of this area
25 recognise openly that their region is encircled and that they suffer a
1 blockade. The authorities in the RSK do not have the same attitude. I
2 would like to underline that both areas suffer -- I think that must be
3 from the same scarcity of supplies and both are blockaded.
4 Then he -- Mr. Raffone identified the interests undertaking the
5 present blockade. Croatia had no interest in taking any action in the
6 about Bihac region, the majority of Croats living there have already
7 fled. These Muslims are fresh forces to join against the Serbs in BH.
8 And the majority of them could join the Green Berets, in Sarajevo.
9 Can I pause there for a moment, please, Mr. Kirudja, the term
10 Green Berets, was that a term that you were familiar with?
11 A. No.
12 Q. And then there was further about Croatia. And then this: "Serbia
13 initially tried to open a way [corridor] in northern BH to join the Serb
14 enclaves [the historical Greater Serbia!]." This concept of a corridor,
15 was that something that by the 20th of May, you were familiar with?
16 A. This was the beginning of it because the Serbs who were also in
17 the sector needed to or often would make trips outside of the sector and
18 many of them would tell me we are going to Belgrade, and this corridor
19 became part of their lexicon very early.
20 Q. All right. And so what -- when you say became part of the
21 lexicon, was that something that was being mentioned to you?
22 A. Yes, we spoke of it as a matter of fact.
23 Q. All right. And then it goes on to -- the report, the
24 establishment of the UNMOs and the understanding of this plan by some
25 countries contributed to prevent the final attack. Serbia is appearing
1 cooperative withdrawing the JNA Serbs from the area. And then the
2 resignation of 38 high officers by -- in the JNA could demonstrate that
3 the plan as it was originally conceived has been abandoned by the Serbian
4 leadership. The strategic importance of the area is still considered by
5 Serbia. As a matter of fact, once the majority of Muslims will flee from
6 the northern part of BH towards the south, Serbia might be compensated
7 with these territories, creating a sanitary corridor around the BH
8 Muslims. And brackets, the SRK, I imagine should be the RSK, and Serbia
9 might be reunited.
10 And then I think it deals with humanitarian aid.
11 Now, at this stage, 20th of May, when this report was written, was
12 it becoming evident that there was going to be some kind of problem in
13 respect of these, as it were now, ethnic areas, the Muslims in Bihac and
14 the Serbs on the other side?
15 A. Yes, it's the intent of the report was precisely that. I tasked
16 them, as I mentioned earlier, at this moment I was extremely occupied with
17 military matters of disengagement between different parties. Yes, it
18 became clear that that pocket was going to be a major, major concern of
19 ours and we wanted to know as much as we needed to know. And so I tasked
20 him and some other people working with our military to produce a -- such a
21 background report that also was informative and indicative of things that
22 we were already noticing.
23 Q. All right. Now can we look, please, at the document we do all
24 have copied, which was your covering sheet to this report, dated the 26th
25 of May? And it's headed, "Subject, potential refugees displaced persons
1 at Bos Novi, Bosanski Novi. UNPROFOR has been informed that up to
2 5.000 persons in the area of Bosanski Novi may be attempting to get out of
3 the area, to destinations outside of Bosnia. Main conveyor of the
4 information is Mr. Pasic, the mayor of Bosanski Novi. According to
5 third-hand information, all 5.000 are Muslims who have been promised by
6 Serbs that they could be guaranteed a safe passage through the UNPA and to
7 designations in Germany and Austria. They are said to be tired of war, in
8 quotes, and want to leave voluntarily, also in quotes. Will appreciate if
9 UNHCR could assist in obtaining accurate and first-hand information on the
10 story. UNPROFOR would also be grateful for advice and cooperation with
11 UNHCR on handling the issue. We have indications that this story may have
12 other political ramifications. And your earliest action are most
14 Was -- this was addressed to whom?
15 A. This was addressed to the headquarters of UNHCR in Zagreb to our
16 liaison office in Banja Luka, as I remember saying to you we had a
17 presence at that time.
18 Q. Yes?
19 A. And my reporting boss, Mr. Thornberry.
20 Q. Right. Now, how had this information come to you, directly from
22 A. The indicative paragraph there is paragraph 2, according to
23 third-hand information. By that, I mean, look at that date, 26th of May,
24 by then, it is a reference to a meeting I had in Dvor with the mayor of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Right.
2 A. And that is the mayor of Dvor in the course of my regular other
3 meetings that I mentioned, that stops my agenda and says, "I have a
4 request to make of you." My colleague, the mayor of Bosanski Novi, has
5 informed me there will be these 5.000 people and they would like to make
6 of you certain requests be made. At that moment, I characterised that
7 information to him as third-hand, because it is the mayor of Bosanski
8 Novi, a Serb, reporting what he discussed with the mayor of Bosanski Novi
9 [sic] another Serb, about Muslims who wanted to leave. That is the
10 meaning of third-hand.
11 Q. Right. Now, did you make a note again in your notebook of this
12 meeting that you held on the 26th of May?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you may need to refresh your memory from that?
15 A. Just a minute, please. Yes, I have it. It was about 1500 hours
16 in Dvor.
17 Q. So you've mentioned the mayor of Dvor, and I don't think we need
18 to go through the list of people but were there other people also present
19 at the meeting?
20 A. No. This was purely inside my sector. We were there for some
21 Vance plan business and so the mayor says to me -- well, there were other
22 people in terms of UN.
23 Q. That's what I mean, sorry, yes, there were other people in terms
24 of the UN?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And then the mayor of Dvor spoke to you, did he, about this matter
2 from the mayor of Bosanski Novi?
3 A. Yes, in a process of making two requests to me.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour just to get the transcript correct,
7 page 48, line 19.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Says he spoke to the mayor of Bosanski Novi, a
10 Serb, who spoke to the mayor of Bosanski Novi, another Serb. I think he
11 meant to say or maybe did say that Dvor, the second one was the mayor of
12 Dvor, not both mayor of Bosanski Novi.
13 MS. KORNER: That's right.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
15 MS. KORNER: I agree. It's just an error.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Couldn't have been two mayors of Bosanski Novi or
17 one person with a split personality.
18 THE WITNESS: You're right, I meant there were two individuals,
20 JUDGE AGIUS: For a moment I thought it was a case of
22 THE WITNESS: No it was in the context of putting in the context
23 the meaning of third-hand.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you, Mr. Kirudja.
25 MS. KORNER:
1 Q. Now, the mayor told you that the mayor of Dvor let's get this
2 straight told you that the mayor of Bosanski Novi wanted passage through
3 the Krajina for Muslims on route to I think you said Austria and Germany.
4 A. Right.
5 Q. Did he tell you what they, the Dvor authorities, had decided to
7 A. I want to underscore, he told me we, we collectively, had agreed
8 this was what we want to happen, meaning he in Dvor and his counterpart in
9 Bosanski Novi, and he said because we want these 5.000 people to pass
10 through, I want to make two requests of you, not whether or not we are
11 decided but these two requests had nothing to do with that, is, we have
12 agreed and we want you to do these two things.
13 Q. And what were the two things that they wanted you to do?
14 A. First, and I quote, "We want the whole thing filmed by
15 international TV and ensure that the convoy passes through Krajina with
16 full safety. Second, we would like UNPROFOR and the Red Cross to take
17 care of the whole convoy in transit through Krajina."
18 Q. What was your response to this? You generally, the UN.
19 A. The first thing for me was what is -- I already characterised that
20 as third hand in my -- in my understanding of it. So that my first
21 reaction was we are in a different jurisdiction, we are in Sector North,
22 part of Croatia, you are the mayor, yes, it is Serb-controlled but a
23 different jurisdiction nevertheless. You are now saying to me that you
24 have agreed, you the mayor of Dvor, have agreed with another mayor across
25 the international border that you will have these 5.000 people getting out
1 of here and through the sector. The first idea of course, something wrong
2 with it. So and I said, and again, at that time, I had no opinions one
3 way or another, I had to maintain diplomatic relations with him. All I
4 said is hint to him something is not right about this.
5 Q. Did you tell him how this would be regarded by the international
7 A. Exactly. The moment he said now he also said at that meeting,
8 this, Mr. Kirudja, should understand these people are leaving voluntarily.
9 That's the first clue to me. And I say explain to me who are these
10 people? They are Muslims. And I said to him, where they coming from?
11 They are coming from such and such a location, we can get that in details
12 later: And I said in other words they are in their homes? Yes. How do
13 ordinary people voluntarily leave their comfort of their homes and go to
14 far away places? That didn't seem to add up. And that's when he realised
15 that I'm not buying the premise of the story. So he started now
16 explaining to me things to help me get over that initial incredulity.
17 Q. Can you tell us what he explained to you?
18 A. First these people are leaving because they did not want to
19 fight. They are people who do not want to fight. I said fight who? And
20 they say first we had offered to have them leave that area, Bosanski Novi,
21 to central Bosnia, in places like Zenica, and they refused, he explained.
22 Again, why do you want them to leave their homes, I insisted. And began
23 now bottom line was, we have a new reality, he said to me. And I said
24 what? We have a government of Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 First time I ever heard about that. And I said, and? And the people,
1 these people, would not swear allegiance to that government. And that was
2 as far as at that day I wanted to take the issue, and those were the
3 elements that began to build on my mind, and that what explains why that
4 voluntarily in my written memo is between quotes. There were elements
5 telling me, now it doesn't look voluntary.
6 Q. Now, you said that the -- these people, the -- who voluntarily
7 wanted to leave, had -- would not swear allegiance to that government.
8 Was that the government, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia or to a lower
9 level, to Bosanski Novi?
10 A. The detail of all that didn't come on that meeting. I want to
12 Q. Right?
13 A. The elements that came in that initial meeting was they do not
14 want to fight for Mr. Izetbegovic army, his words. Secondly, we have a
15 government of Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and they don't
16 want to fight, don't want to swear allegiance to this government.
17 Q. Now, did you ask how the mayor of Dvor could speak on behalf of --
18 or he and his counterpart in Novi could speak on behalf of the Muslim
20 A. Exactly. That was the element that I wanted to underscore to him,
21 that you are here now talking to me as a Serb. I remember my exact
22 language was to flatter him, I told him usually you sound to me as a
23 foreigner very convincing when you are explaining to me about Serbs, about
24 their plight, about what concerns you as Serbs. Now, you're telling me
25 about what concerns Muslims indirectly through another Serb mayor in
1 Bosanski Novi. That doesn't sound to me very, very authentic. And at
2 that moment, he realised that I wasn't buying this story and since we were
3 meeting just outside his office, someone or him, I think it is him maybe
4 some other person runs into the mayor's office and the next thing I know
5 is he is holding a telephone and saying to me, here is the mayor of
6 Bosanski Novi, if you want to talk to him if you don't believe us he will
7 tell him himself.
8 Q. Did you speak to the mayor of Bosanski Novi?
9 A. No, not at that moment. My instincts was to try to discourage
10 that story. I really did not want to deal with that story at that moment
11 and I thought by not agreeing to talk to the mayor of Bosanski Novi, this
12 thing that looked very badly thought in at that initial moment it looked
13 like something they were not serious about, if I don't talk to him it will
14 go away so I don't want to talk to him.
15 Q. Did you tell -- and I should perhaps ask you, what was the name of
16 the mayor of Dvor, do you remember?
17 A. Oh, yeah, yeah, Jugoslav Borojevic.
18 Q. Did you explain to Mr. Borojevic what the international community
19 would think of this evacuation of 5.000 people?
20 A. Again, at this moment I gave him a hint, this is not going well
21 with us. I didn't want to go into all that details, all I wanted to serve
22 notice to him at that point, I'm not really going along these lines. So
23 in this initial meeting I only gave him a hint that I am not buying the
25 Q. And what was it that led you in your own words not to buy the
1 story? What struck you as odd?
2 A. The fact that he is speaking for the Muslims, and he is talking in
3 terms of we are being kind to them, we are being -- we are trying to get
4 to be sure that we ensure their safety, except he's telling me we are also
5 organising them to leave their homes, those two things don't add up.
6 Q. Right. Now, as a result, you wrote that report, I mean that note
7 that we can see, in fact I think the same day; is that correct?
8 A. Right.
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour then I'm moving on so may that report --
10 that part of the report, the two pages, is P1658 already. May I ask that
11 the extra bit which we now do have copies available be separately
12 exhibited, well actually, no, Your Honour, that's what I'm asking. I
13 wonder if it can be exhibited as P1658-1 because it's part of the same
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
16 MS. KORNER: And there are now copies available. Don't worry, in
17 English anyhow, the translation is yet to arrive.
18 Q. Now, as you've explained, you declined to speak to the mayor of
19 Bosanski Novi but the following day, on the 27th of May, did -- was a
20 meeting held with the mayor of Bosanski Novi and somebody from UNHCR? I
21 think we can help you look at please --
22 A. Yes, I know the details I can tell you right away.
23 Q. Wait I'm going to give you the document for a moment?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Ms. Korner, going back some months to
25 UNHCR, is this person that could be named or is he a person that -- whose
1 name ought to be protected?
2 MS. KORNER: Well, can we go into private session for a moment,
3 Your Honour?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes exactly. Let's go into private session for a
5 while, please.
6 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: 1660. We are in open session now. And as agreed,
2 Mr. Kirudja, you will not refer to this person by his name but just refer
3 to this person as the representative of the other UN organisation. That's
5 THE WITNESS: Excuse me --
6 MS. KORNER: Sorry we are going to get the document, I hope,
8 Q. Now, the first document, Mr. Kirudja, I think, again, is your
9 cover sheet headed, "Subject, 5.000 inhabitants of Bosanski Novi" and then
10 further to my message please find the attached four-page memorandum from
11 the UN organisation representative. And then I think we see the cover
12 from the gentleman, the cover letter from the gentleman who conducted the
13 meeting, and then we come to the actual report itself. Now, I think it's
14 right that you weren't actually present at this meeting but you saw the
15 report before obviously before it was submitted by you; is that correct?
16 A. Okay. To get this clear, this report, the author of this report,
17 from UNHCR is the one I shall refer to as the representative of the UNHCR,
18 the author of this report.
19 Q. Yeah.
20 A. Thank you for that clarification. Now, you also mentioned a
21 meeting and you said that I wasn't in it. What meeting are you referring
22 to specifically.
23 Q. If you look at the report of the meeting on the -- it's headed May
24 the 28th but I think as we'll see later it was the 27th of May?
25 A. Oh, this report.
1 Q. Yeah?
2 A. Okay.
3 Q. You weren't present at that meeting, were you?
4 A. He actually mentions my name that I was there in the first
5 paragraph inside.
6 Q. Hmm. All right. In that case, you definitely were there. Sorry,
7 I must be in error in my note. All right. The report begins with a
8 background how it came to your attention?
9 A. Right.
10 Q. And then in paragraph 2, in the morning of the 28th of May, the
11 mayor of Bosanski Novi, Mr. Radomir Pasic, and a member of the executive
12 council, Mr. Rade, arrived at the headquarters in Topusko for further
13 discussion on the matter. And then it goes on to say that the gentleman
14 who wrote the report had been invited to participate in the meeting. Now,
15 can I just ask you -- did -- were you at the meeting?
16 A. Right. A little correction on the report of this gentleman and
17 also to place it in context, where we were, what he was. We were in my
18 office in Topusko. The date is not quite as he says. It was on 27th.
19 The day after my meeting in Dvor. The one we spoke to you about.
20 Immediately the day after. Thirdly, this gentleman was stationed inside
21 my office at my request from UNHCR very early, earlier on in April, I went
22 to Zagreb and knowing the importance of refugees and the way the UN
23 handles it, it was understood that we needed a resident representative of
24 UNHCR in my office. Therefore, in all meetings where the issue of
25 refugees were, I will just say go and get that gentleman immediately into
1 the meeting.
2 Q. Right. You're absolutely right, it's my error you were at this
3 meeting. It's a later one I got muddled with because I think you also; is
4 that right, made a note of that meeting in your diary?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can we look, first of all, at what's contained in this actual
7 written report? Summary paragraph 3, summary and present status, the
8 request from Bosanski Novi essentially was a proposal that their police
9 and the Krajina police would escort the group of 5.000 to the border of
10 Croatia from where UNPROFOR should take over and escort the group to the
11 border of Slovenia. Members of the group were then expected to proceed to
12 Austria and Germany.
13 The report goes on that we informed the Bosanski Novi
14 representatives of various difficulties which the project raised in
15 relation to the mandates of UNPROFOR and UNHCR. And with some
16 difficulties we persuaded them of the need to speak with direct
17 spokespersons of the group to ascertain their view.
18 Two things: What was the difficulty that the project raised in
19 relation to the mandates?
20 A. This gentleman has a way of saying what I just said earlier in
21 simple terms. The United Nations does not create refugees. We don't
22 participate in the creation of refugees. We are trying to help them once
23 they have been displaced but we wouldn't be in good stead with our mandate
24 to participate in that process.
25 Q. And then secondly, the need to speak with direct spokespersons,
1 was that again referring to the need to speak to representatives of the
3 A. Exactly. If somebody is going to speak to me about 5.000, I need
4 to know how connected they are to that 5.000 group.
5 Q. Right. Then I'll leave out the rest of this paragraph because it
6 was effectively a discussion about the difficulties, and then 6, the
7 situation, Mr. Rade, who did most of the talking for the visitors,
8 explained that the majority of the population in Bosanski Novi is Serb, 60
9 per cent, and 33.5 per cent Muslim. The latter totalling some 13.000
10 pounds -- 13.000. Out of this group some 5.000 felt insecure and had
11 addressed the authorities, mayor and police, for assistance to leave. And
12 there was reportedly a convoy of 5.000 which would like to go to Austria
13 and Germany where they had relatives.
14 In order to help they had agreed for the Bosanski Novi police to
15 escort them to the Croatia boundary. Then the Novi authorities had
16 suggested to them to go to other parts of BH with a Muslim majority but
17 they had refused, being afraid to be mobilised, and for the same reason,
18 they did not wish to enter Croatia alone.
19 Pausing there for a moment, did you make a note in your diary of
20 this meeting, of the words that Mr. Pasic actually used when dealing
21 with -- they didn't want to join the BiH Army and that they also didn't
22 want to join the Croatian army? If you'd like to have a look at your
23 entry, please, for that date, the 27th?
24 A. Yes, I do, and as you read that text from this gentleman, it
25 tracks pretty much my own notes.
1 Q. Right. And then what did Mr. Pasic say about the Muslims
2 declining to go to the other Muslim areas?
3 A. The language I recorded in that regard says, "We suggested they go
4 to central Bosnia where Muslims are majority." I'm reading my notes now,
5 if they sound like the other text, it's as it should be. And I'm reading
6 from my notes. "We suggested they go to central Bosnia where Muslims are
7 majority, but they refused. They just want to go out of the fighting
8 zones. They do not want to fight at all. They also have fear of Croatian
9 authorities. They might be mobilised into the Croatian army. Our
10 solution was for them to go to central Bosnia, since they refused that
11 solution, we feel sorry and want to fulfil their wish." That is where --
12 as I wrote the notes it didn't sound genuine to me. At that moment, that
13 was not a genuine statement. I wanted to probe it further.
14 Q. All right. Now, exactly. You say you didn't -- it didn't sound
15 genuine. So what did you go on to say?
16 A. Because remember, again, I want to put in context, this is how it
17 flowed. I'm the person that they wanted to see in the meeting. I'm on a
18 listening mode and also a talking mode while writing my notes. So that
19 certain sequence of my text here would leave out what I said because I
20 can't write and say at the same time and what the response was.
21 Q. Right.
22 A. So at that stage, when I heard what I just wrote down, what I just
23 read out, that there were -- we feel sorry and want to fulfil their wish,
24 underscoring we want to fulfil their wish, I wanted to probe that where
25 they what did you do and what caused them to want to go, and the answer
1 was, in part, they were still in their houses, meaning the Muslims, and
2 the other was a small -- they had a small convoy gathered in one place.
3 At further probing, that it can't be that people want to leave their homes
4 where they are security spontaneously, that's when I got an answer from
5 the mayor Pasic that I quoted and it reads, "I admit that the Muslims have
6 been under pressure of armed Serb irregulars."
7 Q. What did you understand by that reply?
8 A. It considered to me what I thought all along, this is not a
9 voluntary wish for the Muslims, and the Serbs are not fulfilling the wish
10 of the Muslims.
11 Q. And by the use of the term "Serbian irregulars" what did you
12 understand by that?
13 A. At this moment, I just let it pass only understanding it's his way
14 of saying don't look at me as the one who is causing this. It's somebody
15 else. That's all I took it at that moment.
16 Q. Did he explain to you at this stage that this pressure included
17 shelling villages?
18 A. Yes. Later on, as I said, I started probing this matter in
19 greater details and my notes show a sequence. He went out to tell me a
20 story beginning with how they formed their Serbian Republic, how they
21 requested allegiance to come from Muslims, how they give them a date from
22 which they were to either sign an allegiance and demobilise Muslims from
23 these villages. When they refused to demobilise and brought dummy guns
24 and all that, a long, long story.
25 Q. Let's take it from your notes, I think, please?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You've mentioned the Serbian irregulars?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And after that, did he give you the names of two Muslim
5 spokespersons apparently?
6 A. At this moment, remember he had come again to try to help me clear
7 my incredulity, he still didn't have a Muslims around but later on he did
8 bring two Muslims not at this stage.
9 Q. In that case, let's take it from your note. You told us he gave
10 you a long account?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you tell us what he said?
13 A. Yes, the elements of that account boiled down as follows: The
14 authority of Bosanska Krajina - that's a reference, a Serbian reference to
15 that area, of that - have decided that all armed troops should be
16 disarmed. We proceeded to carry out this decision this way, meaning he
17 was ordered by someone else under the authority quote Bosanska Krajina,
18 and they all people who were not Serbs part of that government and were
19 armed were to be disarmed, and they went on as follows. We held meetings
20 of the SDS, Serbian party, and the SDA, the Muslims. Secondly --
21 Q. I'm sorry, pause there for a moment. Did he give a date for that?
22 A. The date of the meeting.
23 Q. The date of the meetings of the SDS and the --
24 A. No, that one I don't have it on my notes.
25 Q. All right. Next?
1 A. But second one, we held a meeting between 6 to 8th of May, I'm not
2 sure it's the same as in point one but I see it as a bullet point 2 in my
3 notes, and agreed all paramilitary groups should be disarmed in the
4 municipality and set a deadline that the disarmament would be May 11th.
5 Then we discussed a schedule of disarmament village by village. All
6 settled for 9 to 10th of May. By then we would be expecting a
7 disarmament. Third, SDS openly said at a meeting that they still -- no,
8 SDA, SDA, openly said at the meeting that they still had arms. No arms
9 were collected. The SDA being the Muslim side of these discussions. So
10 all 5.000 come from the villages that did not disarm. So we are now -- I
11 get clear, better and better, that all these 5.000 were Muslims who did
12 not want to comply with these things that he is describing to me.
13 Q. That's what he was telling you, that they refused to disarm?
14 A. Yes. The deadline was 11th of May. There were some provocations
15 from the Muslims. We had information that they did not take seriously our
16 request for disarmament. They brought a bag full of empty shells and five
17 wooden rifles.
18 Q. Right. So he's told you that apparently --
19 A. Late that night, they detected a military police patrol in the
20 Blagaj village. This is the village where the group is gathered.
21 Q. When you say "they" who did you understand him -- this is what he
22 was telling you?
23 A. This is all still Mayor Pasic talking.
24 Q. Right. So by they had detected a patrol who they, the Serbs?
25 A. They the Serbs, right.
1 Q. And then they detected this patrol in the village of Blagaj?
2 A. M'hm.
3 Q. And did he say anything else?
4 A. That's where the 5.000 were gathered. And he said this region is
5 under the authority of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina since
6 May the 10th when the police control -- patrol was attacked, the conflict
7 in the region began. Legal authorities forced the response against the
8 Muslims and because of this, therefore now we are in this situation where
9 these 5.000 people need to get out of here.
10 Q. Now, did he give you a further description of what had happened to
11 the Muslims or how the Serbs had dealt with them?
12 A. Yeah. He went on to tell me some of the people have left their
13 houses and have taken a few belongings, security was being provided by the
14 army and police of the Serbian Republic.
15 Q. Did he talk about Serbs giving any help to Muslims?
16 A. Some, yes, he said some were being helped by the Muslims and being
17 protected in some homes, yes, he did.
18 Q. Did he tell you that anyone had been hurt?
19 A. No, I think he went out of his way to tell me at this moment that
20 no one has -- nobody was being harmed at that moment, nobody was being
21 hurt at that moment.
22 Q. In this explanation did he tell you that by the response he was
23 talking about the shelling of villages containing men, women and children
24 which had forced these people to flee?
25 A. At this moment, I wanted to understand my purpose of questioning
1 him had delivered what I wanted so at this moment, I had been satisfied
2 and he had admitted this is not a voluntary movement and that's really
3 what I wanted to be clear. He understood that I understood and he did
4 concede that was the purpose of my questioning him.
5 Q. If, however, he had indicated that this had been by means of
6 shelling the villages with artillery, would you have made a note of that,
7 do you think?
8 A. Yes, if I had questioned him further than that, I would have noted
10 Q. All right. Okay. If we go back for a moment then to the report
11 written by your colleague, we see at the top of the second page that
12 within the last 15 to 20 days, the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina had
13 also reached Bosanski Novi and there had been a certain amount of pressure
14 from uncontrolled Serbian groups.
15 A. What page is this, paragraph.
16 Q. It's paragraph second paragraph on the second page?
17 A. He numbered his paragraphs, if you can go straight --
18 Q. It's part of paragraph?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Paragraph 4.
20 THE WITNESS: It's part of paragraph 4.
21 MS. KORNER:
22 Q. Well, yes, he's misnumbered it but it should be 4, clearly, Your
23 Honour, it's the end of paragraph 4?
24 A. Yes, I see that.
25 Q. And then clarifying questions effectively this covers the same
1 ground as you covered in your note. Some are still in their houses, while
2 others from three villages had formed a convoy in the village of Blagaj
3 and according to the average Muslim village in the area, Muslim village in
4 area, 5.000 would correspond to the depopulation of some ten villages.
5 Members of the convoy, women, children, and men, had only taken with them
6 what they could carry. Some houses said to have been damaged. Most
7 supposed to belong to the Muslim party, and then again this question of
8 protection taking into Serbian houses. Security at Blagaj said to be
9 provided by the civil police and military police of the army of Serbian
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. These entities were formed by Serbians only since the
11 Muslims had refused to sign a loyalty oath and accordingly voluntarily
12 withdrew from service. And then in paragraph 6, we see again your
13 colleague noting what you've just described to us, and then at the bottom
14 of the page, we explained to the interlocutors that we had difficulties in
15 understanding why a group of pacifists would not give up their arms and
16 were informed that all 5.000 came from villages that did not disarm.
17 So the point that -- that both of you were making was that you
18 didn't understand if these were people who didn't want to fight in armies,
19 why they didn't disarmed?
20 A. You see, I'm the one that was questioning them and my colleague
21 basically was reporting what he heard from me.
22 Q. I see, right?
23 A. And what I wanted to know from the mayor was, if they don't want
24 to fight, and then they don't want to disarm, you can see those are two
25 contradictory points. You tell me on the one hand they don't want to
1 fight and then you tell me on the other hand they don't want to disarm,
2 clearly something has to give. Why do you think it's so? And I have
3 written note of his answer to that.
4 Q. If you had -- I was going to ask you. Could you tell us what he
6 A. And he said and I quote, "The Muslims are not true pacifists,
7 it's more a question of military weakness. They are afraid of revenge
8 where they are a minority. Serbs minority in those areas were exposed to
9 all kinds of atrocities by Muslims. Due to Izetbegovic's politics, they
10 do not want to go in central Bosnia where they may be mobilised." So in
11 other words, I understood that to mean that because they are weak in
12 militarily, they really are not pacifists, they really can't stay here
13 because we know if they were stronger they would fight. That's all he's
15 Q. Did you get the feeling as a result of what Mr. Pasic was saying
16 that this movement of 5.000 was likely to be the last?
17 A. No. And in fact that was my chief concerned. That's why I wanted
18 the representatives of the UNHCR and ICRC to be there because this was
19 just the beginning of something bigger and a point you made earlier, we
20 are talking about 5.000 people gathered in Blagaj. By the Mayor Pasic
21 himself informs me there were 13.000 people making up the population of
22 that village, 13.000, and the majority were Muslim so if he is saying
23 5.000 have to go with this explanation, you don't need to be a rocket
24 scientist to know that the rest of them will have to go too and that
25 bothered me if you start it you're going to get a flood of people coming
1 from there. We already been given the percentages of Muslims making up a
2 village like Bosanska Krupa, the majority one, so I'm being served notice
3 this is round one.
4 Q. All right. You said 13.000 in the village. You meant in the
5 municipality, I think?
6 A. No, no, no, village of Blagaj.
7 Q. I think if you look at back at -- if you look at paragraph 6 --
8 what is numbered paragraph 6 but should be 4, the 13.000 I think referred
9 to the population this Muslim population of Bosanski Novi?
10 A. That is my colleague talking. I'm looking at my own notes.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. And I'm saying that the Muslim population of 13.000 in total have
13 asked local authorities for protection.
14 Q. All right. So as far as you can see, this is opening the -- or
15 attempting to open the floodgates and you said you required your
16 colleagues from the other relief organisations to be there. What was your
17 final response to Mr. Pasic about what you were prepared to do?
18 A. It was clear and my colleagues on UNHCR whose docket of
19 responsibilities would reflect is with all due respect to you as mayor we
20 are not going to really go along with this. This is not something we are
21 willing to do.
22 Q. And what did Mr. Pasic -- what was his reaction when you told him
23 you weren't going to go along with this?
24 A. It was funny because at that moment he decided that to ask me who
25 my boss is, if I'm not going to accept it, he said Mr. Kirudja who is your
1 boss so that -- it's obvious that you don't understand what the issues are
2 so can you tell us who your boss is so we can go and talk to him.
3 Q. Now at the bottom of the note of the meeting made my your
4 colleague, there is a reference to -- this is at paragraph 9 -- obviously
5 quoting you throughout the meeting we insisted on learning of the
6 situation directly from the representatives of the group. And after much
7 hesitation, two were named. And then we see the names of the gentlemen.
8 It says president of the Muslim national organisation -- should that be
9 SDA? I think it looks like SDR?
10 A. No that should be SDA my colleague made an error there.
11 Q. Right. The claimed originator of the wish to move. And then
12 another one. We also asked for representatives of local NGOs, we would be
13 able to talk with those persons if they could come to Dvor. And then in
14 discussing the right of the representatives to speak with us directly, and
15 participate in informing them of the situation and in decisions relating
16 to them, CAC, and that's you, I think, is it not?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. Was blunt in saying we should stop pretending that the persons
19 were leaving voluntarily.
20 A. Right.
21 Q. It was admitted by the representatives if we met with these
22 persons directly we would hear that they did not want to leave.
23 A. That's precisely -- and that was the intention of my meeting to
24 lay to rest that repeated thing that they are moving voluntarily. I
25 wanted that to be laid to rest at that point.
1 Q. And so was that at that stage how the matter was left?
2 A. It was. And I also note that those two representatives you read
3 item 2 were already in the meeting of -- of the date that is shown here,
4 and in subsequent meetings later, you may see references to others with
5 different names.
6 Q. Right.
7 A. Right.
8 Q. Okay. Well, thank you. We can leave that document now which I
9 think is already exhibited.
10 And can we move next to a document dated the 6th of June? It's
11 Exhibit P1662. Actually, I'm sorry, in time, I'm sorry, can I have
12 document please, P1661 first? I'm so sorry because that's first in time.
13 And then 662.
14 Q. Now, this report, I think was signed not by -- or was forwarded
15 not by you but also -- but by your subordinate, Mr. Raffone; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It's got writing on the top, is that your writing?
19 A. No, none of this is my writing.
20 Q. None of this is your writing?
21 A. Right.
22 Q. All right. Can you -- it's quite difficult to read. I don't know
23 whether -- you may be more familiar with your colleague's writing, it
24 would be important for what is it UNHCR to resume its activities?
25 A. Activities, yes.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. And the next word?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Interruption was due --
3 THE WITNESS: Yes.
4 MS. KORNER:
5 Q. To the fact that they could only reach...
6 A. Me.
7 Q. Me -- is it our side?
8 A. Yeah.
9 Q. No that can't be right, one side, the Serbs, yes, thank you,
10 however, it seems now feasible to reach something or other areas, Muslim
11 areas, such as Bihac. All right can we just look then at the report that
12 Mr. Raffone forwarded, 6th of June, 1992, but -- is the date of this one
13 but it says phone call from the mayor -- I'm sorry, I'll start that again,
14 "Subject, potential Muslim refugees from BH. A, phone call from the mayor
15 of Banja Luka. On the 1st of June, 1992, the mayor of Banja Luka, Mr.
16 Kupresanin, called the civil affairs office in Sector North. He conveyed
17 some information concerning the Muslims refugee -- the Muslim refugees
18 flow that might originate from his area towards Croatia passing through
19 the crossing points in Dvor and Karlovac. The mayor's information can be
20 summarised as follows: The mayors of Bosanski Novi, Prijedor, Kljuc,
21 Dubica, Sanski Most and the one in Banja Luka had contacts about the
22 situation of the Muslim population in the area." Now the next sentence
23 has gone completely haywire but it's something like the Muslim population
24 something or other it looks like?
25 A. Fears.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Fears persecution.
2 MS. KORNER: Ah, that's no better?
3 A. From the Serb militia.
4 Q. "From the Serb militia in the area. No more food or medical
5 supplies are available for the Muslim population. The Muslim population
6 do not trust the Serb local authorities which have enforced a one-sided
7 disarmament in the area. The Muslims have tried to enter the
8 Croatian-controlled town of Travnik but were not allowed to. And then the
9 mayor estimates that some 15.000 persons have already left their normal
10 place of residence, moving towards Dvor and some more 15.000 might follow
11 in a short time. The mayor launched an appeal to UNPROFOR and the western
12 countries to find a way to protect the Muslim civil population and deliver
13 urgently -- urgent humanitarian aid in the area."
14 Now, was this a phone call that you had taken or that Mr. Raffone
15 had taken?
16 A. This was a phone call taken by Mr. Raffone.
17 Q. Right. And just -- presume -- did you speak Serbo-Croat?
18 A. Myself?
19 Q. Yes, or Mr. Raffone speak either of you speak Serbo-Croat?
20 A. Not that -- you learned a phrase here and there by the fly but we
21 were totally at the mercy of our interpreters.
22 Q. I was going to ask?
23 A. Right.
24 Q. Who provided your interpreters?
25 A. We had several local people employed in our office, enough to do
1 that for every officer.
2 Q. All right. And so the fact that this gentleman is described as
3 the mayor of Banja Luka would have been what the interpreter interpreted
4 to Mr. Raffone?
5 A. Yeah, they were not meeting face to face and as far as I know we
6 had never been to Banja Luka. I never sent Mr. Raffone there so he
7 wouldn't be speaking of personal knowledge of the man up to that time when
8 he received the call.
9 Q. All right. And then we see humanitarian concern, and it deals
10 with effectively what was -- is described as humanitarian emergency need
11 in Bihac?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Then if we go over the page please to political issues, "The
14 problem of the Muslim enclave in the Bihac area is a key element for
15 understanding of the political issues presented by the Serb authorities in
16 Knin and its links with the so-called Serbian Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. As a matter of fact, the Muslim enclave has been
18 encircled by a large territory controlled by Serbs, north and west by
19 Sector North, south and east by SRBH. And the Serb authorities in the
20 areas around the Muslim enclave are sending messages to UNPROFOR to
21 highlight the danger that might occur if a massive exodus of Muslims
22 begins." And then there are certain -- deals with -- perhaps I should
23 read the whole thing.
24 "In fact these messages have been conveyed to civil affairs
25 officers by local authorities in Sector North as well as by the local
1 authorities in BH. All messages are warning that the exodus of Muslims
2 towards Sector North could provoke tensions amongst the Serb population
3 and that UNPROFOR should provide assistance to them in order to guarantee
4 their security in the UNPA. The displaced Muslim community appears to
5 have become a pawn in the hands of the Serb communities in the UNPAs and
6 BH. Other armed Muslim elements and Croatian armed units -- I'm sorry,
7 pawn in the hands of them. And some earlier signals of this have been
8 observed during conversations with local authorities in the UNPA and
9 in Croatia."
10 When you referred to the Bihac enclave, were you referring not
11 just to Bihac itself but the other parts that you pointed out?
12 A. Indeed. And if you permit me, this report, you can see was
13 released by my -- under my signature.
14 Q. Yes?
15 A. The timing is also June. We have been there already the shape of
16 the things to come and present at that time was complete. We referred to
17 that area at times as Bihac pocket, a pocket is indicative of enclose. We
18 used the word as an enclave to again signal the total area being
19 surrounded, that area with a population of 250.000 to 300.000 people in
20 that area. It is useful to bear in mind, later on that understanding
21 became complete, even at the headquarters of the UN when Bihac became one
22 of those enclaves of protected areas, it was named along Srebrenica and
23 others as an UN protected zone so this was building towards that
24 understanding, and the shape of that understanding had already
25 materialised at that point.
1 Q. Yes. Thank you. You can leave that and then please now go to
2 Exhibit P1662.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, Ms. Korner, let's go into private session for
4 a while.
5 MS. KORNER: Certainly.
6 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you, I take note of that.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, we are in open session now.
20 MS. KORNER:
21 Q. Now, this is a report also dated the 6th of June and if we go,
22 please, to the subject matter of the memorandum that was enclosed, have
23 you got that? It's been copied on the other side, right. The subject
24 being displaced persons from Bosanski Novi referred to in yesterday's
25 military sit-rep. The duty officer at DanCon and I think later on we'll
1 see that sit-rep in a collection of documents, in Kostajnica, informed
2 the -- informed you, Mr. Kirudja, I think, over the telephone that the
3 1900 hours sit-rep will report as follows, about the 350 displaced persons
4 reported to have been gathered in a football field in Bosanski Novi. The
5 350 persons were seen to be loaded on to buses to unknown destination in
6 Bosnia. They are no longer at the football stadium. DanCon had no
7 knowledge of who was loading the person into buses. At no time did they
8 cross the River Una into the UNPA, i.e. into Dvor or the surrounding
9 area. Is that why the conclusion was drawn that they had gone somewhere
10 in Bosnia with these 350 people?
11 A. Yes, but also it is again like the purpose of all these memos is
12 to inform and clarify things going on at my own headquarters.
13 Q. Right.
14 A. This memo was responding to something coming from headquarters
15 tell us where they are going, what are they doing, something like that,
16 and I'm giving -- I'm trying to clarify things my own headquarters wanted
17 to know.
18 Q. Right. Then comment, the Bosnian border with the UNPA has very
19 rapidly become a flash point for both displaced persons and what local
20 authorities on this side call terrorist infiltrators, in inverted commas,
21 the trouble sports run from Bihac, Cazin, Bosanska Krupa, Bosanski Novi,
22 Velika Kladusa, Prijedor, and Banja Luka, all within Bosnia. When
23 the --
24 A. That's my boss, my boss's deputy.
25 Q. Right. Telephoned about this subject, the civil affairs office
1 was in the process of preparing a message to UNHCR in Zagreb on a letter
2 from the President of the Bihac district assembly, assessed to the SC?
3 A. Sector command.
4 Q. On a matter that could result in similar displacement of mostly
5 Muslim population. Further, a second message in progress is about a
6 telephone call from the mayor of Banja Luka conveying a similar message
7 about Muslim refugees originating from along the flash points named. And
8 I trust the forthcoming messages will help to clarify what is going on
9 along the border. We have looked at that message. Now, where were you
10 getting the information that -- the trouble spots that you named there, in
11 particular, Prijedor and Banja Luka?
12 A. Again, if you look at the chronology, there were previous reports
13 beginning with the very first one you put into evident this morning of a
14 woman coming from Bosanski Novi. I just -- stream and bits of information
15 that is being reported of people escaping in various numbers at varying
16 times. Each time, as you notice that each time we met these people, in
17 the process of giving them humanitarian assistance, we would debrief
18 them. What is it is causing to you leave your homes? Where are you
19 going? Who is behind what you report to be a problem? So -- and the
20 town's name, the places, the circumstances, were building up and these
21 towns that we have named kept on cropping from different individuals and
22 the different circumstances. And that's how it is summarised as these are
23 the flash points.
24 Q. And finally on this document, was this the first time you'd heard
25 of this football field in Bosanski Novi, apparently containing some kind
1 of detainees there?
2 A. No, as reported in the document in front of me, it is not the
3 first time. This is the first time the headquarters, my own headquarters
4 is focusing on this story.
5 Q. Right, okay. I'm sorry, yes, you'd obviously been informed that
6 day but had there been any mention of people being kept in a football
7 field before around this period, the 6th of June?
8 A. I'm not sure that -- if I have the date of the flash point report
10 Q. We will see that at a later --
11 A. That is the date when the matter came to my attention.
12 Q. Fine, thank you, Mr. Kirudja, that's all I ask you about that
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I'm going to move on to the next report
15 so perhaps that would be a convenient moment for the break.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: That's perfect. We will have a 25-minute break.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.27 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.59 p.m.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Korner? We wait -- where is the witness?
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Korner?
22 MS. KORNER:
23 Q. Mr. Kirudja, I've had a pleading message, it was more of an order
24 from the interpreters please to leave a pause between the question and
25 answer over the break so I'm going to try and if you can try as well to
1 pause after I've asked the question before you answer?
2 A. My apologies to the interpreters.
3 Q. It's not you. It's me, I can assure you. Could you be handed
4 now, please the document this was marked P1666? This, Mr. Kirudja, was a
5 report that you forwarded on the 9th of June, again in respect of this
6 issue of those 5.000 Muslims, and the second page, I think, is a note, and
7 it's a report that you received from UNHCR. And again we needn't trouble
8 with the names of the people involved. Dated -- it looks like the 5th of
9 June and it says that the Zagreb office was today visited by two
10 gentlemen, I don't think again we need their names, who came to provide
11 further information on the situation of the 5.000 Muslims in Bosanski
12 Novi, and the present note supplements my report of the 29th of May,
13 1992. Both visitors are originally from Bosanski Novi. It describes the
14 circumstances of these visitors -- I might as well -- Mr. Cehajic was a
15 retired migrant worker in Slovenia but he had gone back to Bosanski Novi
16 and managed to escape when the convoy was formed. And then it described
17 the escape route.
18 "He confirmed that the disarmament of the Muslim villages had
19 taken place. He was in the village of Suhaca and had been the first one
20 to lay down arms. When they had done that, some Serbian territorial
21 military moved in, together with Krajina police, and told them to leave
22 the houses. The houses were searched while the villagers waited in the
23 field for five to six hours. After the search, they were allowed back and
24 told they would be all right. However, a few days after, the first
25 shelling started, a grenade landed in his yard. Shelling was by cannons
1 and mortars from neighbouring Serb villages. The informant did not know
2 of any agreement on disarmament, had not been involved, nor had he
3 knowledge of any symbolic denouncement of an agreement." The writer of
4 this report clearly was dealing with a the matters that had been said to
5 you at that meeting. "He noted that no Serb had been killed in this area.
6 Serbian villages had not been disarmed. Rather helicopters had come in
7 with supplies from Banja Luka and Knin."
8 Paragraph 5. "On the 23rd of May, 1992, the villages of Donji
9 Agici, Gornji Agici, and Hozici was burned, presumably were burned, on
10 Sunday, the 24th of May, a big convoy was formed from six villages.
11 Peoples felt compelled to flee because their villages were destroyed. In
12 his village, Suhaca, the fires had been started on the edges of the
13 village to frighten people out. He had also seen Hozici on fire. He had
14 heard reports on the destruction of other villages and believed the
15 process to be going on. The convoy had formed in two groups and he did
16 not know how far the first one had gone. The main convoy was stopped in
17 Blagaj by persons in Serbian military uniforms, just like JNA, and Serb
18 paramilitary groups. From symbols on their uniform, it was deduced that
19 they should be under control of the Serbian Democratic Party and Mayor
20 Pajic. That presumably should be Pasic. The Serbs at Blagaj had wanted
21 to mobilise both men and women, supposedly the convoy had also been
22 promised free passage in order to clean the area."
23 And then he managed to escape on the 24th of May. "Conditions in
24 Blagaj believed to be bad and with no food, the informant had managed to
25 make some telephone contacts. The Cazin crisis board did not know
1 anything of the convoy. No press and media is allowed into the territory.
2 On the 1st of June, he heard from Bosanska Dubica that Suhaca and Hozici
3 were on fire and that there had been massacres in those two villages, 52
5 "I mentioned the two names given to us as spokespersons for the
6 group, those are the one that is were in that report, they were believed
7 to be imprisoned or kept with the men as hostages in the school in
8 Blagaj. This information had come over the telephone from Sisak from some
9 men who had escaped. Mr. Izet Muhamed -- I had trouble with this earlier,
10 Muhamedagic was named as the contact person in the letter from the 1st of
11 June but it is not known where he is. Action desired: The two visitors
12 differed somewhat in what they hoped to be done. It was common ground
13 that they would like someone to go to the area and to see what was going
14 on. There was no armed conflict in the area which on surface is calm.
15 They would like to see an intervention to free the Muslims and get them to
16 a safe area in their homes or somewhere else. And that the other
17 gentleman was explicit in preferring the last option at least for women
18 and children. He believed family members in Croatia and Slovenia could
19 help take care of them."
20 When you got this, Mr. Kirudja, did you consider this was an
21 important amount of information you were being given?
22 A. Yes. And as you can see, he had addressed it first party as is
23 headquarters reporting office and to me because of where he was operating
25 Q. Yeah?
1 A. An office of UNPROFOR. The importance I attached to and therefore
2 while he could send his own report directly to his headquarters, I needed
3 to at the same time send his report to my own headquarters, in the
4 process, as is evident from the paragraphs you have read, it would
5 collaborate already a pattern of information from other sources already
6 conveyed to my headquarters.
7 Q. All right. Now, in fact, I think I have by an error missed a
8 report that I'd like you to look at, please. In fact we have to go back
9 in time. Could you look, please, at a document that was number 13 of the
10 documents? I'm sorry, yes, it's going to -- don't worry, I've forgotten,
11 it's included in a later bundle but I think you're going to need it at
12 this stage to follow the story chronologically. Could you have a look,
13 please, at P1669? Now, that contains as we'll see later on, but that
14 contains a number of documents that you -- because you bundled together
15 everything that had been dealt with on this topic. Usher if you could
16 give it to me, I'll find the one that I want the witness to look at.
17 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, this is the document -- if you -- it's
18 got fax numbers at the top, if you notice, and it's P -- it's the 15th
19 page on the fax. It's an UNPROFOR, United Nations protections force in
20 Yugoslavia, and this goes back to what Mr. Kirudja was saying.
21 THE WITNESS: This is a document addressed to me.
22 MS. KORNER:
23 Q. That's right?
24 A. Right.
25 Q. Dated the 6th of June from Mr. Thornberry?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And it says, "Please investigate immediately and in coordination
3 with CIVPOL and advise urgently on the following: The 6th of June sit-rep
4 indicates that one of Dan patrols, Danish patrols, I suppose, observed 100
5 women and children being brought into stadium with their heads covered
6 with clothes and carrying plastic bags with ten armed persons guarding
7 stadium. CIVPOL here will be giving instructions to their personnel."
8 Did you yourself write something on that document?
9 A. Yes. On the left side of that document, it was a note which had
10 the effect of causing the civil police units in the sector to begin to
11 investigate on the subject what they knew, what they could find out. That
12 was the intent and purpose of that note to the left.
13 Q. Can you just read what it says? CIVPOL chief of op?
14 A. Yes, undertake to instruct the completion -- the station chief,
15 Kostajnica, this morning at Vojnic to investigate -- to investigate the
16 report -- the report, all have to complete tomorrow a.m.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Will have complete.
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, in other words I wanted them to undertake the
19 reported requested by Mr. Thornberry and give me their findings by the
20 next morning.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
22 MS. KORNER: Right.
23 Q. Now, if you go, please, then, to the next document, which I think
24 you'll find on the back of it, which is a report dated the 8th of June,
25 signed by yourself?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Investigative report on the displaced people observed in Bosanski
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Reference your subject message dated the 6th of June, as indicated
6 in an earlier message, the people observed as being held in the stadium at
7 Bosanski Novi have been relocated elsewhere in Bosnia. A CIVPOL report
8 from Dvor will be dispatched. Then you describe where Bosanski Novi is,
9 and the story appearing in the DanCon sit-rep was observed from Dvor, what
10 they think they saw seems to be the tip of a political iceberg. And then
11 you talk about the meeting with yourself and the mayor of Dvor but you
12 draw your own conclusions from it because you said, "It became clear from
13 the meeting that the mayor of Bosanski Novi, Mr. Pasic, and the mayor of
14 Dvor, Mr. Borojevic were acting in a common cause to the following
15 effect: A, cause a massive evacuation under the guise of humanitarian
16 assistance of some 5.000 residents of Bosanski Novi as discussed in
17 greater detail below. And talk UNPROFOR into accepting responsibility for
18 the transit of the 5.000 people through the UNPA and out to Slovenia. In
19 the process, the two mayors would contact their receptive governments, in
20 inverted commas who would arrange for the presence of international TV
21 coverage of the voluntary, inverted commas, and humanitarian, inverted
22 commas, evacuation of pacifists inverted commas Muslims, destination
23 Germany and Austria."
24 Then you describe the meeting on the 27th of May you
25 concluded that the mayor had collaborated in the Serbian Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina and was acting on their behalf and as you already told
2 us admitted -- he admitted that the Muslims were not really leaving
3 voluntarily but were under duress from Serbian armed irregulars.
4 And again, then you set out what you already told us.
5 Just want to check my note on something else.
6 Yes. Now, thank you. Can you be handed, please, Exhibit P1664?
7 A. Could you, counsel, allow me a comment on this?
8 Q. I'm so sorry, Mr. Kirudja, I thought we had dealt with it?
9 A. No. If it would help the Court. I would like the Court to
10 note -- I knew you spoke about the importance of my notes. This document
11 will illustrate a point I made and applies generally. My notes were
12 always intended to be reproduced in content into the official document
13 that I wrote. As you can see yourself and the testimony when I was
14 reading the notes, that pretty much the complete of what was in the notes
15 in this official report.
16 Q. Yeah.
17 A. So you shouldn't conclude there is anything else left in my notes
18 of importance that you haven't got in either the official notes or in
19 testimony, and that applies in general, as far as my notes are concerned.
20 MS. KORNER: Thank you. Mr. Ackerman is delighted to hear that,
21 I'm sure. Yes.
22 Q. Now can we look, please, at the document all around this was
23 clearly a time of great activity, dated the 8th of June again, and you
24 sent a further message to your headquarters. A memorandum dated the 8th
25 of June, subject, appeal for humanitarian help to 250.000 Muslims from the
1 President of the Bihac district assembly. And you describe the letter
2 which you also attach, and in the second paragraph, you describe you
3 attached the letter, "As you may have seen from two messages to our
4 headquarters in Belgrade copied to you, the situation on the border
5 between the UNPA and BH has rapidly become a flash point for displaced
6 persons as well as attacks and counterattacks by armed units. We are
7 aware of UNHCR's decision to suspend operations in BH." And then you
8 describe the conversation you had with ICRC as well, who also suspended
9 their operations. "In the absence of both UNHCR and ICRC from the areas
10 in question, UNPROFOR is the only address for the local people in
11 distress. And as you know, UNPROFOR has neither the money, the means, nor
12 the mandate to respond to such humanitarian crisis in the making." And
13 there is an appeal to the other organisations to reconsider. Bihac is a
14 largely Muslim enclave. It is encircled in all directions by Serbian
15 controlled territories. The area around Bihac could be self-supporting if
16 some ways of communication could be opened to allow the transit of
17 supplies and external trade. And then you talk about the humanitarian
18 help required and finally end up by saying this: "Recent events in the
19 area of Bosanski Novi should sound an alarm to international humanitarian
21 By this stage, at the beginning of June, what was the influx of
22 refugees like?
23 A. You would call it, if I may use a weather metaphor, it started
24 with a drizzle and was becoming a torrent.
25 Q. And was that from all areas of BH?
1 A. You would particularly be more accurate to say there was already
2 flash points in the areas named, the towns mentioned constantly, Bosanski
3 Novi, Bosanska Krupa, Prijedor, Kljuc, Sanski Most, and the rest of those
4 areas, they seemed to have been the focal points of where whatever was
5 causing these refugees to come seems to be focused on.
6 Q. Thank you. That's all I want to ask you about that report. I
7 want to move now please to a meeting that you had on the 13th of June with
8 a Mr. Junic, the deputy mayor of Dvor and other people. Now, on this
9 occasion, I think you'll need to consult your diary about this because I
10 think the issue of the football field was raised.
11 A. June 13?
12 Q. June the 13th.
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. And there was a meeting, I think there were a number of issues
15 discussed but could you find the part of your note where the football
16 field was raised by the deputy mayor?
17 MS. KORNER: Your Honours this is page 22 of the statement.
18 THE WITNESS: Yes. It was a meeting covering a lengthy
19 discussions in various matters, at the end of which the mayor focused on
20 the issue of the people gathered or being made to gather at that football
22 MS. KORNER:
23 Q. Can you tell us what you recorded was discussed?
24 A. Just as well I read it aloud what my note says. The fact was that
25 there were people brought into the football field. Their houses were
1 searched while they were in the field. When their houses had been
2 searched, those whose houses did not have weapons were allowed to go
3 back. Some resisted during the transport to the football field. They
4 were arrested. They were the same who had weapons in their houses. Those
5 in houses were those who voluntarily wanted to fight for the Serbian
6 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, they were taken by buses to Banja
7 Luka. When they arrived, the local authorities did not let them in and
8 returned them to Bosanski Novi. The Banja Luka authorities said they will
9 request them to come back when they needed them. At the moment, they are
10 free and in their own houses. This problem will persist, says the mayor,
11 until the next round when a draft into the army of Serbian Republic of
13 Q. Is that the end of your note?
14 A. That's the first part of the paragraph I was listening to.
15 Q. All right.
16 A. I myself said something, then he responds.
17 Q. Can you tell us what you said?
18 A. See, at that moment, you realise again I was always required,
19 being an official of United Nations, to establish a basis of why something
20 is being brought up to me. Once again, this is the deputy mayor of Dvor.
21 He is talking to me in great detail about things in Bosanski Novi, outside
22 the jurisdiction of where he is mayor, so I must have reminded him again
23 of the oddity of him talking to me about this. Of course by then I began
24 to concede that the Serbs in Bosanski Dvor made no difference as to
25 whether their government, their so-called government, was in part of
1 Croatia or extended across the boundary. So I asked him a number of
2 questions and he said okay, we will pass them all back to the mayor of
3 Bosanski Novi and he will respond to you.
4 Q. That was the question I was going to ask. Did he explain why he
5 was raising the deputy mayor of Dvor, I think it was a Mr. Junic, was
6 raising the problem of the football field people?
7 A. As I said to you earlier, counsel, when you asked me, it's at the
8 end of a number of issues raised all around, touching on all kinds of
9 directions, and it triggered the issue of the football field.
10 Q. Right.
11 A. Right.
12 Q. Okay. All right. So he told you that he was going to pass the
13 questions you had?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. -- back to Mr. Pasic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. All right. Thank you. Now can we look, please, at the next
18 report in time that you wrote, dated the 16th of June, Exhibit 1668?
19 Entitled humanitarian disaster in the making in Bihac and along the Bosnia
21 The first paragraph stated that "The humanitarian situation in
22 Bihac is rapidly deteriorating. There was a meeting on the 1st of June at
23 the request of the UNMOs and the mayor of Bihac. Armed elements in the
24 area terrorised the population on both sides of the border, a stream of
25 vindictive killings, forced mass movement of persons and other horrible
1 reprisals have been reported to UNPROFOR. And the only independent source
2 of information on the area is the UNMOs base in Bihac." I read this out
3 on a number of occasions. Can you just explain to the court just in case
4 we have not mentioned this what an UNMO was?
5 A. A very -- a very uniquely United Nations concept of dealing with
6 issues of mandate as well as the reality of areas where we are operating.
7 As you noticed, the major forces, that means fighting forces of the UN
8 battalions, contingents, were fully deployed inside the United Nations
9 Protected Areas, meaning where the Security Council had issued a mandate
10 for the deployment of those forces. But the reality was such that even if
11 you formed a border or confrontation line, there were effectively spilling
12 over areas where you are said not to have a mandate, meaning outside those
13 boundaries. The UN was organised therefore with the concurrence of all
14 the parties in the conflict to allow United Nations Military Observers to
15 be based and located outside areas otherwise you would claim we have no
17 Q. Right.
18 A. That's the importance and meaning of saying UNMO's. In that case
19 they were located in Bihac which is outside the UNPA and in Velika
20 Kladusa, just for the record.
21 Q. Then, as we already saw, you said that the ICRC and UNHCR had
22 temporarily suspended their operations. Three, an immediate humanitarian
23 relief operation in Bihac has become a necessity to aid the residents,
24 most of whom are Muslims, out of the desperate conditions. Such an
25 operation would have to be organised taking into account that the Bihac
1 area is presently nearly impossible to supply with overland convoys from
2 Sarajevo or Zagreb unless the latter are escorted by heavy armed units.
3 And then you go on to describe the alternative methods of supply,
4 I suppose, plus some killings that had taken place in Dvor and an area
5 near Velika Kladusa. And then -- yes, you say, in Cazin, the local TDF
6 authorities, that's the Territorial Defence forces, I take it -- claim
7 Muslims axed 40 Serbians to death in the last two days. None of these
8 stories have been verified by independent sources. They seem however to
9 be part of a concerted action by Serbian leaders on both sides of the
10 border to isolate the Muslims in the area.
11 And then you go on to describe the difficulties of relief,
12 describe the town of Bihac, the fact that the Serbs had left it and
13 controlled the main road, and that Bihac had been shelled and Muslim
14 villages evacuated or liberated by Serbian forces. And therefore, and I
15 imagine this was your concern particularly, the number of displaced
16 persons and refugees is dramatically increasing.
17 Paragraph 6, the Serbs appear to be intent on demilitarising the
18 Muslims in the area. Rumours of forced displacements and summary
19 executions are slowly reaching outsiders. Political talks were going on
20 until the 6th of June, 1992 between the leaders of the SDS and the SDA and
21 since then, the Serbs have reportedly suspended participation in the talks
22 with the Muslims. The SDS president, Mr. Bjelac reportedly prepared a
23 document in consultation with the Serbian authorities in Banja Luka to be
24 forwarded to the Muslim authorities in Bihac. And the UNMOs interpret
25 this text as an ultimatum to the town of Bihac. Basically the document
1 dictates conditions to the Muslims giving the option of a soft border or a
2 hard border.
3 Before we go on to the next part, we are going to see other
4 references to Serbian authorities in Banja Luka. You never went to Banja
5 Luka but how much did what was the authorities in Banja Luka appear to
6 impact on the people you were dealing with?
7 A. Remember, mine was a much broader interaction from the military
8 side to the humanitarian side, we had to look at this whole issue, moving
9 as fast as it was moving. One of the things I kept track of,
10 meticulously, is this changes in the military command of the Serbs and
11 where they moved and where they were in the sector and outside, there was
12 rapidly moving scenario. In Knin, also in particular, and by this time I
13 believe, and I'm not sure the details are clear to my mind, I believe
14 certain command, certain exchange of command, of military, between Banja
15 Luka and Knin, I believe may have been the general who used to command --
16 have command in first Krajina, based in Banja Luka, be moved in Knin and
17 so forth. So the role of Banja Luka was something we took care of
18 watching. Secondly, you talked to me about the corridor. That corridor,
19 one of the point of that corridor is Banja Luka, a central point, where
20 not only you have to pass through but most people stop there for a day or
21 two, coming from the sector into Belgrade. So that was part of the reason
22 we paid attention to Banja Luka.
23 Q. Right. And then the report goes on about an ultimatum received
24 by -- from Muslim leaders. Is that right? 14th of June, the TDF
25 commander informed the sector commander and yourself that an ultimatum was
1 received from the Muslim leaders telling all Muslims living in Kordun to
2 pick up their stuff and return to Bosnia. I take it that should be "to"?
3 A. Again, please?
4 Q. If you look at paragraph 8?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The TDF commander informed the sector commander and the CAC,
7 that's yourself, that an ultimatum was received "from" Muslim leaders in
8 the villages, and you name them, both in Cazin, telling all Muslims living
9 in Kordun to pick up their stuff and return to Bosnia.
10 A. Yes. It's correct the way it's stated.
11 Q. From was it? So Muslims were saying to other Muslims go back to
13 A. That's what the Serbs were saying to me.
14 Q. I see, all right?
15 A. The Serbs were saying to me we have received a Muslim ultimatum
16 and that was a summary of a bigger story as always in these reports are.
17 Q. Yeah?
18 A. I haven't spoken to you in detail about that. It is -- a certain
19 in the border village of Kordun commanded by the Serb, there were a number
20 of Muslims living there quietly.
21 Q. Don't worry because in fact that's out of the area we are
22 interested in, that's fine, Mr. Kirudja?
23 THE INTERPRETER: Please do not overlap.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Korner and Mr. Kirudja, we have only about seven
25 minutes left but I've been reminded to remind you not to overlap.
1 THE WITNESS: Once again my apologies.
2 MS. KORNER: It isn't your fault, Mr. Kirudja, believe you, it's
3 me, the trouble is as I say that I'm not listening through the ear phones.
4 Q. Paragraph 9 stories coming from Bihac and the surrounding Bosnia
5 opstinas of Kradusla, Cazin, Bosanski Novi and Bosanska Krupa, thus paint
6 a gloomy picture similar to the one in Sarajevo and Mostar. There are
7 fears that behind the border, the mountains and the forests, unspeakable
8 atrocities may be unfolding. This message is sent in the hope that an
9 alert could be relayed to the authorities with the competence to begin to
10 address the problem before it is too late for the desperate people in the
11 area. Such an action could begin with a relief operation for Bihac and a
12 return of ICRC and UNHCR.
13 You were clearly trying to impress the urgent need for help to
14 these areas.
15 Just very briefly, was there some kind of problem that you were
16 trying to address with this particular report?
17 A. Yes. One, both a substance as the report itself says a
18 humanitarian disaster in the making, self-evident as you read out. There
19 was an internal problem in my reporting structure that I was also trying
20 to -- to address, and that is they actually had ordered me to stop telling
21 them about these stories. My own headquarters, arguing that there was no
22 mandate for to us deal with it. And that this activity from our side of
23 the United Nations Protected Area, there was a clear misunderstanding
24 in headquarters that we were spending too much time worrying about this.
25 It was a mistake, and that I didn't want to persist at headquarters.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Right. Yes. Thank you.
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I'm going to move to a major bundle of
3 reports now so I think it's probably better that that's left until
4 Tuesday -- Wednesday.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Wednesday.
6 MS. KORNER: Yes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Kirudja, I suppose, has been made aware that
8 tomorrow we will not be sitting --
9 MS. KORNER: He's an UN employee, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly. We will be having an UN holiday, on the
11 occasion of the hajj so we will all meet again on Wednesday morning at
12 9.00, this same courtroom. All right?
13 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Anything else, Mr. Ackerman? I take it you
15 will be providing us with your response on the expert?
16 MR. ACKERMAN: I assume you're talking about that major issue.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: I talked to one of your staff people on Friday and
19 said that I would try to get it in this week but you'll recall this
20 morning I said that I was running up against some time problems and I'll
21 do the best I can.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Please do.
23 MR. ACKERMAN: I'll get it to you as quickly as I can, Your
24 Honour. It's quite an undertaking.
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I think if this refers to Mr. Brown, I
1 think more important is for us to know whether we need to call these
2 witnesses so Mr. Brown is not likely to testify until, if Your Honours
3 allow him, I'd say at the earliest after Easter.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So that could wait, Mr. Ackerman, that could wait
5 another week, and in the meantime you would give priority to what
6 Ms. Korner has just referred to.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: I don't know what she means with to know whether we
8 need to call these witnesses.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think --
10 MS. KORNER: The Rule 92.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: What I mentioned earlier on in private session this
12 morning, the two motions, Donji Vakuf and the other one.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Now I know what you're talking about.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right? Okay. Thank you.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 1.43 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
17 the 12th day of February, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.