Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 9353

 1                           Monday, 30 November 2009

 2                           [Defence Opening Statement]

 3                           [Open session]

 4                           [The accused entered court]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.

 6             JUDGE PARKER:  Mr. Djordjevic, is it convenient now to commence

 7     the opening address?  Thank you.

 8             MR. DJORDJEVIC:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 9             [Interpretation] Distinguished Trial Chamber, distinguished

10     colleagues, Prosecutors, all present today, the Defence will exercise its

11     right to shortly present the principal intentions of the Defence in the

12     procedure as it further unfolds.  Distinguished parties, we should like

13     to start this opening address by stressing that, as you know, we are

14     entering a stage of the procedure in which the Defence shall be

15     presenting its case without having previously exercised its rights

16     envisaged under Rule 98 bis.  Such a decision of the Defence is, in any

17     case, not based on the fact that we believe that the Prosecution in the

18     Prosecution case manage to prove that evidence on the guilt and role of

19     our defendant, Mr. Djordjevic, in the criminal offences that he is being

20     charged with indeed exist.  It is our view that, in presenting its case,

21     the Prosecution did not manage, even remotely, to prove many of the

22     allegations that the defendant is -- that the accused is being charged

23     with in the pre-trial motion, the indictment, and in the opening address

24     of the Prosecution.

25             During its case, the Prosecution offered a large number of pieces

Page 9354

 1     of evidence and documents by which it sought to substantiate their

 2     version of the events, but we believe that in no case did they even

 3     manage to approximate the standards which are necessary for a conviction,

 4     standards of -- the beyond-all-reasonable doubt standards.

 5             During the Defence case, we shall seek to show to you and to

 6     convince you that the Prosecution mistakenly interpreted documents, drew

 7     mistaken conclusions from the collected facts, and fully neglected

 8     reality and actual events, seeking to event -- seeking to prove

 9     non-existent criminal acts of our defendant.

10             We shall try, by way of witnesses and documents that we shall be

11     presenting, to assist this Trial Chamber to truly in the right way

12     understand all facts, circumstances, and events that have been referred

13     to in the Prosecution's indictment.  We shall seek to fully explain and

14     clarify the nature and the extent of the role of Mr. Djordjevic in all

15     the events that he is being charged with in the time that this indictment

16     refers to.

17             We are convinced that we shall manage to convince the

18     Trial Chamber, after having presented the Defence case, to

19     comprehensively perceive the general situation in Kosovo and Metohija and

20     in the Republic of Serbia in the indictment period, and, pursuant to all

21     of that, to bring a true, fair, and valid decision.

22             The Prosecution claims that Mr. Djordjevic participated in a

23     joint criminal enterprise in order to modify the ethnic structure in

24     Kosovo, and through criminal action to ensure Serbian control over Kosovo

25     as well as that the crimes in Kosovo were perpetrated with a view to the

Page 9355

 1     realisation of the objectives of this joint criminal enterprise.  In

 2     order to defend such grave and generalised accusations, the Prosecution,

 3     during the proceedings, sought in their way to interpret certain

 4     historical facts without taking into account the supreme piece of

 5     legislation of the FRY, which is the constitution, according to which the

 6     defence of the FRY is the right and duty of every citizen.  That was

 7     according to Article 63 of the then-applicable FRY constitution.

 8             And by simply confusing the issue, the efforts of a sovereign

 9     state to preserve security, peace, and law on its territory, the

10     integrity and sovereignty of the country - that is to say, not of another

11     sovereign state - as the allegations of the -- in the indictment would

12     have us believe.  Such an approach is methodologically erroneous and does

13     not correspond to the actual situation, and its result does not lead to

14     the execution of justice, which the Defence will seek to prove by

15     presenting its evidence.

16             The history of Serbia and of Kosovo and Metohija in Serbia are

17     two stories which, by their very nature, are indivisible; and we shall

18     try to bring expert witnesses that you will have the occasion to hear, so

19     as to make you more familiar with the historical aspect of the problems

20     which existed in Kosovo and Metohija, which have existed, and which will

21     continue to exist.

22             In their pre-trial submission, the Prosecution has a sentence

23     which is the cornerstone for not understanding the problem of

24     Kosovo and Metohija.  In paragraph 3, under (A), item (i), the historical

25     and political concept, the first sentence of it reads:

Page 9356

 1             "Although the Serbs were the minority population in Kosovo, many

 2     of them consider Kosovo an integral part of Serbia."

 3             You will have occasion to hear that precisely such a perception

 4     of things and problems was the cause of all the misfortunes in

 5     Kosovo and Metohija.  This is not where the erroneous conclusions end,

 6     but they have also been translated into grave accusations of the

 7     Prosecution which, in their opening remarks, state that:  [In English]

 8             "With the Kosovo problem, and they were determined not to yield

 9     Kosovo in spite of the will of the majority Kosovo Albanians."

10             [Interpretation] Confronted with such positions and accusations,

11     we are compelled to offer to this Trial Chamber a number of pieces of

12     evidence which will first and foremost point to the complexity of the

13     situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the area of the entire Serbia in the

14     1998/1999 period.

15             We believe it necessary for us to demonstrate to you here a small

16     part of what you will be hearing from the Defence witnesses during the

17     proceedings and which is associated with the political and historical

18     concept of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija.  You will hear that

19     Kosovo and Metohija does not border on Serbia, as claimed in the

20     indictment, but is its component, integral part; that the

21     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a sovereign state which had

22     sovereignty over its entire territory, so it could not have wanted to

23     establish the lasting authority over the province because, de jure and

24     de facto, such authority existed.

25             The Defence shall also prove that the results of the 1981 and

Page 9357

 1     1991 population censuses cannot be interpreted without regard to earlier

 2     censuses and commentaries about the changes in the number of Serbs

 3     because a totally distorted picture is obtained otherwise.

 4             You will hear that the position of Kosovo and Metohija, according

 5     to the 1974 constitution, was interpreted in a generalised manner and

 6     erroneously, and that the prerogatives of the state of Yugoslavia and of

 7     the Republic of Serbia, especially in terms of their right to

 8     autonomously regulate internal relations, were totally disregarded.  And

 9     the arrangements envisaged in the constitutions and the constitutional

10     laws from 1948, 1953, and 1963 were totally forgotten and disregarded.

11             You will also learn that the constitutional reform from 1989 did

12     not constitute and cannot be reduced to just the deprivation of autonomy.

13     You will hear that the Republic of Serbia was regulated as the state of

14     all her citizens.  Namely, it was regulated upon the civic and not the

15     ethnic, the national principle.

16             We shall seek to explain that there cannot exist in official

17     resolutions of the Kosovo Albanians proclaiming Kosovo and Metohija an

18     equal and independent -- as equal and independent within the SFRY, nor

19     can official referendum be -- unofficial referenda be undertaken within a

20     sovereign state.

21             We shall explain that the programme of the

22     Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia for Kosovo and Metohija,

23     which was adopted by the SFRY Assembly in 1990, was negatively and

24     incorrectly presented.  We shall hear quite a lot about the nature of the

25     draft memorandum which was issued by the Serbian Academy of

Page 9358

 1     Arts and Sciences.

 2             We shall endeavour to show that the formulation of the

 3     Prosecution to the effect that the manner of the KLA group, which

 4     conducted operations against the forces of the FRY and Serbia, just

 5     cannot stand and the terrorists should be called their true name, the

 6     same name as given to them by some -- some great powers within that

 7     period and who, indeed, put them on the list of terrorist organisations.

 8             We shall try to explain that, in fact, the opposition of the

 9     then-Kosovo Albanian elite upon a purely national territorial instead of

10     a civil, democratic basis actually pushed and relocated that conflict

11     from a purely state legal terrain, which largely contributed to the

12     irradicalisation of the entire situation.

13             The year 1990, as one of the milestone years, is especially

14     relevant for understanding the Kosovo-Metohija problem.  That is a

15     year -- the year in which, upon the wave of major democratic changes

16     throughout the region, the first multi-party elections were held in all

17     the six former Yugoslav republics and when new republican constitutions

18     were adopted.  What made the elections in Serbia unique, not only within

19     Yugoslavia but within the entire mentioned region, is the fact that they

20     were boycotted by one ethnic group, the Kosovo Albanians, although just

21     like to all other peoples who lived in Serbia the new constitution

22     offered them absolute equality and statehood based on civil principles

23     throughout the territory of Serbia, not only on the territory of

24     Kosovo and Metohija.

25             The response of the Albanian political elite was the adoption of

Page 9359

 1     the declaration on the independence of Kosovo and the constitution of the

 2     Republic of Kosovo, which, from the standpoint of a sovereign state such

 3     as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was at the time, constituted an

 4     unconstitutional counter-security and criminal act.  Thus, instead of

 5     like the Hungarians, Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks, Ruthenians, the Muslims

 6     in Sandzak and other minorities in Vojvodina becoming a key factor in

 7     political life, and even weight on the scale is in the composition of the

 8     ruling majorities in the Republic of Serbia and to finally bring back

 9     their struggle into institutions and avail themselves of their new

10     constitutional position of absolute civic equality and equal sovereignty

11     throughout the territory of the Republic of Serbia, the -- and throughout

12     the entire territory of Yugoslavia on the basis of the territory -- of

13     the constitution of that state, the Kosovo Albanians opted for a path of

14     isolation, of national homogenisation, and radicalisation.

15             This course taken by the Kosovo Albanian elite actually

16     determined the entire further course of events in Kosovo and Metohija up

17     to these very days.  The boycotting -- their boycotting of the state

18     institutions of Serbia naturally led to a maximalisation [as interpreted]

19     of their demands because it was hard to find the modus vivendi with a

20     state, the institutions of which you formally do not recognise.  In this

21     way, the status of Kosovo and Metohija was definitely removed from state

22     legal positions from -- it became from a democratic question in the

23     context of the general democratisation in the post-Cold War world.  It

24     was pushed into the waters of a purely national conflict in which Kosovo

25     Albanian elites proceeded from the ever-more radical nationalist

Page 9360

 1     territorial dreams of a greater Albania.

 2             The consequences of such a conduct of the elites and the boycott

 3     of all state institutions and processes led to the majority of the

 4     Albanian population being forced to leave the state institutions in

 5     which, up to that point, they had normally worked or which they attended

 6     as students and pupils.

 7             THE INTERPRETER:  Would counsel please be asked to slow down a

 8     bit for the benefit of the interpreters.

 9             MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] You will hear from many

10     witnesses that the construction of the Prosecution in which, during 1990,

11     many schools in the Albanian language were closed down and where the

12     majority of ethnic Albanian professors were dismissed from the university

13     in Pristina is simply untellable and incorrect.

14             Witness will testify about the circumstances, how, in accordance

15     with the position of the Albanian political elites, not only the

16     elections and the referendum were boycotted but also all the other state

17     institutions and companies, namely, that the Kosovo Albanians formed a

18     parallel system of power or authority, education, and the health system

19     in which they functioned exclusively according to the national principle.

20             Such conduct was a way to boycott and confine themselves within

21     the national framework with clear separatist aspirations.  In the

22     meantime, state institutions and which was confirmed by many witnesses of

23     the Prosecution were completely open for all members of the ethnic

24     Kosovo Albanians.

25             We will have the opportunity to hear in -- the manner in which

Page 9361

 1     the unity within the ranks of Kosovo Albanians was secured, how methods

 2     of intimidation, blackmail, extortion, and killing were used in relation

 3     to the Albanians who were the loyal citizens of their state, the state of

 4     FRY.

 5             One of the ways or one of the things on which all will agree in

 6     this case is that in the period encompassed by the indictment, a large

 7     number of people left the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.  And already,

 8     in the next point, when we're talking about the causes why people left

 9     the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, the Defence and the Prosecution

10     have completely opposing stands.  The Prosecution claims that during the

11     presentation of their case they tried to prove that the movement of the

12     population in Kosovo and Metohija was a consequence of the violent or

13     forcible removal of the population by the forces of Serbia and the FRY

14     who did not even stop in certain moments from using the term "ethnic

15     cleansing."

16             At the very opening of the Prosecution's case, in their opening

17     statement, the Prosecution stated that the trial, which began on that

18     day, was first of all about the deportation of a large number of

19     civilians from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.  After showing

20     disturbing images of refugees in columns, it was stated that it has to be

21     established why this exodus took place and who is responsible for it.  It

22     is precisely on these facts that the evidence that the Defence will

23     present will deal with.

24             Your Honours, we will have the opportunity to hear from witnesses

25     the Prosecution refers to as insiders and to see documents showing that

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 1     there was no plan of deportation, forcible expulsion, or the ethnic

 2     cleansing of Kosovo Albanians, nor were there any actions committed by

 3     the forces of Serbia and the FRY with that objective in mind.  Quite

 4     contrary to the assertions of the Prosecution, we will see and hear

 5     evidence indicating that members of the MUP and the VJ did take care to

 6     provide and offer protection to the civilians throughout the territory of

 7     Kosovo and Metohija.

 8             Supporting evidence that there was no -- any plan or any action

 9     aimed at the forcible expulsion of Kosovo Albanians, Your Honours, you

10     will hear evidence about other forces that were active in the territory

11     of Kosovo and Metohija during the period covered by the indictment and

12     due to whose actions many civilians left their homes.  We're primarily

13     thinking here about the KLA and NATO.  The atmosphere of fear and

14     violence which culminated at the beginning of the bombing of NATO had, as

15     its goal, to force the regular forces of Serbia and the FRY to leave the

16     territory of Kosovo and Metohija, namely, to withdraw from the territory

17     of their own country.

18             When presenting our evidence, you will see that the bombing by

19     the NATO forces was never approved by the United Nations, and this would

20     be a precondition to implement such an operation because otherwise we can

21     only speak about aggression against a sovereign country.  You will have

22     the opportunity to hear that those bombs that were so plentifully dropped

23     on the territory of the entire Serbia as well as the territory of

24     Kosovo and Metohija not only struck military targets but also columns of

25     refugees, schools, hospitals, and homes inhabited by civilians.  This was

Page 9363

 1     so-called collateral damage.

 2             You will have the opportunity to hear that bombs dropped by NATO

 3     on Serbia did not discriminate between Serbs and Albanians, between

 4     soldiers, policemen, or civilians.  Although we heard from witnesses who

 5     testified during the presentation of the Prosecution case that they were

 6     allegedly not afraid of the NATO bombing, you will have the opportunity

 7     also to hear witnesses who were scared indeed.

 8             The Prosecution claims that the most numerous abandonment of

 9     homes by Kosovo Albanians began after the bombing started in the week of

10     the 24th to the 30th of March, 1999.  The Defence will present evidence

11     that Kosovo and Metohija was not only being abandoned by Albanians but

12     also by Serbs, Turks, Roma, Goranians, and other citizens of Kosovo and

13     Metohija.  We will try to get answers to the questions of why other

14     ethnic groups were afraid when they were leaving Kosovo and Metohija.

15     We're going to emphasise the role of the propaganda war conducted by

16     members of the Albanian political elites together with the KLA and a part

17     of the international community.

18             You will hear testimony about people who were leaving

19     Kosovo and Metohija because they were familiar with the manner in which

20     the KLA dealt with Albanians who were described as loyal citizens of

21     Serbia.  The brutality with which this group treated citizens loyal to

22     the FRY was frightening and caused a lot of fear among the Albanian

23     population.

24             Of those who remained in Kosovo and Metohija, we will hear how

25     Albanian civilians were used by the KLA, sometimes as human shields;

Page 9364

 1     sometimes they were forcibly expelled from the village in order to create

 2     the impression of an exodus taking place, and this is something that the

 3     KLA commanders who appeared before you so far have already testified

 4     about.  In any case, during the Defence's presentation of their case, you

 5     will have the opportunity to hear about planned actions to move out the

 6     population by KLA members in order to create the impression of

 7     forcible expulsion and in order to create a humanitarian catastrophe,

 8     which, as a result, would provide support from the international public

 9     to the bombing by NATO forces.

10             A very important question about which many witnesses will

11     testify, that the Defence will bring to testify, will talk about the role

12     of terrorist groups and the KLA in the events in Kosovo and Metohija in

13     the period from 1990 to 1999.  In its opening statement, the Prosecution

14     accepts that members of the KLA did commit serious crimes against the

15     Serbian civilians, police, and other ethnic groups, as well as against

16     Albanians who were loyal to the Serbian state.  However, as they

17     continue, they stress that there is no grounds for any attempt by the

18     accused to justify the actions of forces in the field that were under his

19     command by committing similar attacks towards civilians of the other

20     side.

21             Again, we are substituting ideas here and reversing the facts in

22     order to deliberately interpret certain facts incorrectly.  The Defence

23     will explain, during the presentation of its case, that it is not

24     possible to bring into the same position the response to a provocation in

25     which on the one side you have regular forces of an internationally

Page 9365

 1     recognised state on its territory, and on the other side you have

 2     terrorists.  You cannot have these two sides in the same position.

 3             The basic fact is:  First the commission of crimes and attacks by

 4     KLA terrorists brought about an atmosphere of fear and tension in the

 5     territory of Kosovo and Metohija.  The consequences of such conduct were

 6     also the needs of the civilians to seek shelter and refuge in the

 7     neighbouring countries.  Second, the basic duty of the security forces of

 8     the FRY was to protect its own citizens from terrorist acts and to ensure

 9     a normal life and the functioning of the constitutional order in the

10     entire territory of the FRY.  And thirdly, on the one side we had the

11     legitimate forces of a sovereign state, a member of the United Nations,

12     and on the other side, illegal armed forces of terrorists who were

13     fighting for the secession of a part of the territory of that same

14     sovereign state.

15             The Defence will pay special attention to the role of the KLA as

16     a terrorist organisation in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija and its

17     actions in relation to forces of the FRY and towards members of all

18     ethnic groups.  In that way, Your Honours, you will have the opportunity

19     to look at the essence of the KLA, which is that it was a terrorist

20     organisation that was acting against the constitutional order of a

21     sovereign and internationally recognised state, which was a member of the

22     United Nations.

23             Many witnesses will talk about the fear among the citizens of

24     Serbia who lived in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija as a result of

25     actions by the KLA.  They will also talk about the anti-terrorist actions

Page 9366

 1     conducted by the forces of Serbia and the FRY against members of the KLA

 2     in order to prevent terrorist actions in the territory of

 3     Kosovo and Metohija.

 4             Your Honours, today in 2009, the world, after September 11th,

 5     shows us how many governments of countries throughout the world are

 6     encountering problems of terrorism in their own territory and the way in

 7     which they are reacting to this.  The FRY is not an exception in that

 8     sense, and it reacted in the only possible way in such a situation.

 9             Witnesses are also going to speak about the trap being set for

10     the regular forces of Serbia and the FRY in the international community

11     by way of trying to present the conflict between the forces of law and

12     order of a sovereign state on the one side and terrorists on the other as

13     an armed conflict of two warring sides, which, in essence, this could

14     never be.

15             At this point, when we see that such countries such as the

16     United States and its allies are taking radical, forceful incursions on

17     territory of other countries in order to fight terrorism and to protect

18     their own citizens, the question of the actions of the state organs of

19     the FRY are even more topical and relevant.

20             Witnesses and documents that we will see are going to indicate

21     that the state organs of Serbia and the FRY from 1997 onwards were faced

22     with terrorism in its most serious form on their own territory, the area

23     of Kosovo and Metohija.  The main task of the MUP of the Republic

24     of Serbia was to undertake measures and ensure the security of all its

25     citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, throughout the entire territory

Page 9367

 1     of the Republic of Serbia.

 2             The measures taken by the state organs of Serbia and the FRY, as

 3     you will see and hear, were reasonable and aimed at resolving problems

 4     caused by this radical terrorist organisation.  The Prosecution also

 5     confused the issue here and interpreted facts incorrectly.  The attempt

 6     to show anti-terrorist actions against terrorists that had been proven to

 7     be at the Jashari compound as a crime is really a complete

 8     misrepresentation of what actually happened.  Witnesses will confirm that

 9     the anti-terrorist action against the terrorist stronghold at the Jashari

10     compound was undertaken due to a series of terrorist acts committed by

11     the group of Adem Jashari in the course of 1997 and 1998.

12             Shortly before the said anti-terrorist action, the terrorist

13     group of Adem Jashari carried out an attack on the police patrol on the

14     28th of February, 1998, in the village of Lapusnik, when four policemen

15     were killed and two wounded.  Shortly before the action was carried out,

16     there was another attack that was carried out against the police in which

17     one policeman lost his life.  The reaction of the security forces in

18     Serbia in terms of this case was implemented in accordance with the law

19     and with the intention of arresting terrorists.  A large number of

20     terrorists lost their lives as well as certain members of the Jashari

21     family who were putting up an armed resistance in this anti-terrorist

22     action.

23             We will see evidence about the quantity and the types of weaponry

24     that were confiscated during that action.  After the action was

25     completed, there was an investigation by the authorised court organs.  We

Page 9368

 1     will try to prove that until mid-1998, a large part of the territory of

 2     Kosovo and Metohija was under the control of the KLA terrorists.  The

 3     Trial Chamber will have the opportunity to see for itself that the

 4     anti-terrorist actions undertaken in order to unblock the Pec-Djakovica

 5     road in April and May 1998 were carried out in order to deblock that

 6     road.  These were vital roads, in order to function normally, and they

 7     were under the control of the KLA terrorists.

 8             We shall hear evidence about the unblocking of the Belacevac mine

 9     and the -- making it possible for the Obilic thermal power-plant to

10     operate, which provided electricity to the entire territory of the

11     Republic of Serbia.  In July 1998, there was fighting with the terrorists

12     in order to clear roads, to rout terrorist strongholds, and to take

13     territories which were under their control, Malisevo and other places.

14             Yet another attempt at confusing the issue is presenting the

15     anti-terrorist action in Racak on the 15th of January, 1999, as a crime

16     against civilians.  The Chamber will have occasion to familiarise

17     themselves with documents which shall prove that this was an

18     anti-terrorist action, which, before it began, was reported in accordance

19     with the relevant agreement through representatives of the

20     Kosovo Verification Mission in Kosovo and Metohija.

21             Documents -- pathologist documents, forensic documents, shall be

22     presented from which we shall see that in combat action it was KLA

23     members who lost their lives, that this was not a crime or a massacre, as

24     was portrayed in the international community, to the international

25     public.  We shall try to offer an explanation why the

Page 9369

 1     Kosovo Verification Mission chief William Walker had this motivation to

 2     actually send into the air this untruth.

 3             Distinguished Trial Chamber, you will hear that the police was

 4     constantly attacked by KLA members.  A large number of roads,

 5     communications, infrastructure, facilities of vital importance for the

 6     normal functioning and life of the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija were

 7     attacked and destroyed.  The question must be asked whether any state in

 8     the world would be so tolerant to terrorists in its territory.

 9             We shall also seek to offer an answer to the question why the KLA

10     was on the list of terrorist organisations of the majority of the

11     countries of the world.  But, nevertheless, a representative of a major

12     power envoy Richard Holbrooke had his picture taken with those very same

13     terrorists and actually promoted their importance by drawing the

14     attention of the international public to them.

15             All the reasons which we have adduced so far point to the need

16     for us to fully clarify the role of the KLA in the subject events during

17     this trial, but primarily so as to understand the problem of terrorism

18     which existed at that juncture.  The Defence believes that it will manage

19     to prove how complex an organisation this was and how much effort and

20     endeavour was required in order to put an end to the incessant assaults

21     of the KLA on the security forces and on the citizens of

22     Kosovo and Metohija.

23             In the course of 1999, members of the KLA were facing defeat in

24     the area of Kosovo and Metohija.  According to testimonies that we have

25     already had occasion to hear, by taking shelter on the territory of the

Page 9370

 1     state of Albania and assisted by its state structure as well as by NATO,

 2     they regrouped and constituted a force which launched a land offensive in

 3     the Kosare border post area in combat actions called Strela, Arrow,

 4     1 and 2, and, thus, they launched their land offensive against the FRY.

 5     That will be evidence showing how a terrorist organisation supported by

 6     specific international factors became the striking fist of an

 7     international military organisation.

 8             As quite rightly presented by the Prosecution in their opening

 9     address, the Ministry of the Interior is authorised under Serbian laws to

10     protect human lives, the security of people and property, and to maintain

11     law and order.  In order for us to comprehend all the complexity of the

12     measures undertaken, we have to try and perceive the cause, the root of

13     these problems.  At the same time, while it was fighting with terrorists

14     and preparing itself for the beginning of the NATO air campaign - air and

15     land attack, in fact - we shall also present all the efforts that were

16     being undertaken by the representatives of the highest organs of Serbia

17     and the FRY in seeking to strike a compromise and make it possible --

18     make substantial autonomy of the territory of Kosovo and Metohija

19     possible, but without it at the same time meaning jeopardy to the

20     sovereignty and a step towards -- of the state and a step towards the

21     secession and the dependence [as interpreted] of this part of FRY

22     territory.

23             The historical and political aspect of which is contained in the

24     Prosecution's pre-trial brief reflects a unilateral view of historical

25     facts which were offered in the testimonies by the witnesses Merovci,

Page 9371

 1     Rugova, and Surroi who are part of the political elite and which

 2     advocates certain positions and who have largely contributed to

 3     everything that has happened in the area of Kosovo and Metohija.

 4             You heard at the beginning of my address today we give a short

 5     review of the historical political concept which will be presented by the

 6     Defence's experts.  At any rate, history has always more than one face,

 7     and facts can be interpreted in more than one way.

 8             Distinguished Chamber, we shall try to present international

 9     negotiations in the course of the years 1998 and 1999, which officially

10     have for their objective the preservation of the integrity of the FRY.

11     Many will testify that only the negotiators for Serbia and the FRY

12     actually endeavoured to obtain, to achieve such integrity.  The desire of

13     the highest leadership of Serbia and of the FRY was for all its

14     inhabitants to remain in the area of Kosovo and Metohija and to try and

15     find a compromised solution which would in certain measure reconcile the

16     desires of all the ethnic groups.

17             There will be word about attempts to peacefully resolve the

18     problems which were never successfully completed.  We shall offer

19     explanations also associated with the 1998 October Agreement which the

20     representatives of the FRY accepted in order to -- for the conflicts with

21     the terrorists in the area of Kosovo and Metohija to cease.

22             We shall also talk about the fact that our forces withdrew from

23     many positions and locations that they had previously put under their

24     control and that the KLA members abused that to repossess the lost

25     positions, even a larger chunk of territory than they had previously

Page 9372

 1     covered.  These positions they would, in 1999, abundantly use to launch

 2     attacks against members of Serbia's and FRY's security forces as well as

 3     civilians.

 4             We shall in particular emphasise the fact that Serbia and the FRY

 5     fulfilled absolutely all their obligations undertaken under the

 6     October Agreement but remain isolated in so doing.  We shall also talk

 7     about something which everybody knows about, namely, the failure of the

 8     Rambouillet negotiations.  Witnesses will explain how the entire draft

 9     agreement in Rambouillet was never presented to the Serbian side; namely,

10     it was never presented in its entirety.

11             The Trial Chamber will hear that the delegation of Serbia and of

12     the FRY headed by Professor Dr. Ratko Markovic had a mandate to achieve a

13     compromised solution in order to resolve the crisis.  That team was

14     assisted by experts from the diplomatic field, field of law, and other

15     areas, who were supposed to secure the reaching of an agreement at the

16     negotiations in Rambouillet.

17             We shall also point to the words of the

18     then-State Secretary of the US Administration Madam Madeleine Albright,

19     who, in describing this conference, stated as its key factor this:

20             "We deliberately placed a scale a bit too high, referring by so

21     saying to the position of the delegation of Serbia and the FRY and the

22     conditions which hardly any sovereign state could accept under honourable

23     conditions."

24             Certain witnesses will explain that the supreme state organs and

25     the highest officials of Serbia and the FRY actually persevered in their

Page 9373

 1     intention for a peaceful political solution to the problem of Kosovo and

 2     Metohija to be found.  These efforts were constant also during 1998 and

 3     1999, and they also include the Milutinovic-Rugova Agreement, which

 4     foresaw the possibility of an establishment of an interim provisional

 5     Kosovo and Metohija government as part of the legal institutions of the

 6     system.

 7             The next very important aspect of the indictment to which the

 8     Defence will be devoting full attention in presenting its case is to

 9     rebut the arguments of the Prosecution to the effect that there existed a

10     joint criminal enterprise and that Mr. Vlastimir Djordjevic was part of

11     that so-called joint criminal enterprise, namely, that as assistant

12     minister of the Ministry of the Interior, the head of the state security

13     department, and a member of the collegium of the MUP, and allegedly also

14     as a member of the Joint Command, he commanded, managed, directed, and in

15     other ways exercised effective authority over all state security

16     department units and units subordinated to him in Kosovo and Metohija,

17     which participated in the commission of the crimes that the accused is

18     being charged with in this indictment.

19             Thus, it is to this question that the Defence will be devoting

20     particular attention, and it shall endeavour to offer to the

21     Trial Chamber answers in respect of each aspect that Vlastimir Djordjevic

22     is being charged with in the sense of the modus operandi of his

23     participation in the alleged joint criminal enterprise.

24             The Defence will proceed from two points of departure in dealing

25     with this problem.  The first one is to offer evidence that, in the

Page 9374

 1     course of 1998 and 1999, in Serbia and in the FRY, there existed no group

 2     of people, the objective of whom was to form a body or a system of

 3     command, the aim of which would be widespread and systematic action aimed

 4     at expulsing Albanians from Kosovo, destroying their property, their

 5     personal papers, their places of worship, or at maltreating or killing

 6     them.  There did not exist any pattern of conduct which was aimed at

 7     achieving this kind of objectives.

 8             The highest political officials from Kosovo and Metohija and from

 9     Serbia in those years will be taking the stand to testify that these are

10     blanket accusations and that they are not grounded in documents.  We

11     shall offer evidence which will fully clarify the role, the function, and

12     the importance of the organs which some call the Joint Command.  We shall

13     also explain how it came to be called that and from which source that

14     name came.  We shall present evidence as to the role of that coordinating

15     body between state organs in Kosovo and Metohija in 1991.  We shall shed

16     light on the need to exchange important information between members of

17     the army, the police, first and foremost, as well as with economic

18     entities and political structures.

19             The Trial Chamber will have occasion to hear -- will have the

20     opportunity to hear that probably the more appropriate designation for

21     this body would be joint coordinating body rather than Joint Command.

22     Such a designation would much more aptly reflect the nature and role of

23     this body, in view of the fact that its exclusive intention was to

24     exchange information between different state and political structure and

25     to coordinate actions.

Page 9375

 1             The Defence will also wish to point out that this body did

 2     absolutely not have any possibility of issuing orders or of commanding.

 3     Certain witnesses will testify that meetings of this body were held in

 4     keeping with the situation and needs and that in certain circumstances

 5     they were held daily because the need existed for information to be

 6     exchanged daily and for activities to be coordinated daily as well.  They

 7     will also confirm that this body stopped operating in October 1998 after

 8     the global plan for the implementation of anti-terrorist activities had

 9     been fully implemented.  In the course of 1999, there were no meetings of

10     this body.  By this nature, this coordinating body, which some call the

11     Joint Command, did not have the authority to issue orders or to exercise

12     any kind of influence or any independent state organisation.  This body

13     did not have the authority to issue orders to the army of the FRY or to

14     the MUP of the Republic of Serbia and certainly not to the political

15     structures of Serbia and the FRY.

16             When we talk about this segment of our rebuttal of the existence

17     of a joint criminal enterprises, we shall also explain the role of organs

18     envisaged under the constitution such as a Supreme Defence Council and

19     the provisional Executive Council.  We shall explain how these bodies

20     functioned, who made them up, what was in their composition, and what

21     their tasks and objectives were.  We will offer evidence about the

22     forming of the provisional Executive Council in 1998, the responsibility

23     it had before the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, as well as

24     its ambit of work that had nothing to do with any kind of combat

25     activities.  We're going to bring witnesses and among them we will have

Page 9376

 1     the president and members of the provisional Executive Council for

 2     Kosovo and Metohija.

 3             On the other hand, in order to deny allegations in the indictment

 4     about the membership of Vlastimir Djordjevic in the so-called joint

 5     criminal enterprise, the Defence will provide testimony and evidence that

 6     are going to offer another aspect of the whole matter and will cover the

 7     following questions:  According to the Law on Internal Affairs and the

 8     regulation on the internal organisation of MUP, what was the authority of

 9     the minister of the interior?  What was the authority, according to the

10     same laws, of the deputy minister of the interior, how many deputies

11     there were, and to whom were they accountable?  According to the same

12     laws and regulations, what was the authority of the chief of the public

13     security department?  Who comprised the MUP collegium?  Which collegiums

14     existed?  Who headed them and in which manner was information exchanged

15     and what type of information was exchanged?  Who and in what manner --

16     who commanded and in what manner was this command carried out over the

17     units of the public security department, and how were these units

18     reporting back to him and in -- on which circumstances?

19             The Ministry of the Interior issued a decision on the

20     16th of June, 1998, about the formation of a staff in order to combat

21     terrorism in the area of Kosovo and Metohija.  What were the powers of

22     this staff for combatting terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija and how it was

23     directly subordinated to the minister and had to report back personally

24     to the minister?  The effective control of the staff to combat terrorism

25     in Kosovo and Metohija over the forces of MUP in the territory of

Page 9377

 1     Kosovo and Metohija pursuant to the minister's decision.

 2             The Trial Chamber will be presented with evidence confirming that

 3     anti-terrorist activity in the course of 1998 was approved and planned at

 4     the state level and that it was not directed against the Albanian

 5     civilian population in Kosovo and Metohija or any other civilian

 6     population, but its goal was to free up the roads, neutralise the actions

 7     of terrorists, find and release kidnapped citizens, establish public law

 8     and order, and provide safety and security of all persons and their

 9     property in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

10             The participation of Vlastimir Djordjevic in these anti-terrorist

11     actions is something that witnesses will talk about.  And they will

12     confirm that in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija from the 1980s until

13     June 1999 there were different MUP staffs whose tasks were to manage the

14     forces of MUP in Kosovo and Metohija.  The activities of KLA terrorists

15     was less pronounced and consisted of individual incidents in the period

16     from 1997 and early 1998.  In accordance with that, the staff of the MUP

17     in Kosovo was quite small and prepared to respond to less-demanding

18     operations of a local nature.  While carrying out any more complex

19     anti-terrorist actions in the Kosovo and Metohija territory in

20     early 1998, special departmental staffs were also formed in order to

21     carry out and organise such actions.  We're talking here about the

22     anti-terrorist action in the village of Donji Prekaz and also the action

23     to unblock the Pec-Djakovica road, which was of an anti-terrorist nature.

24             When top state organs in 1998 adopted a plan to combat terrorism

25     in Kosovo and Metohija, Minister of the Interior Vlajko Stojiljkovic,

Page 9378

 1     issued a decision on the 16th of June, 1998, establishing the mandate,

 2     composition, and the responsibilities of the MUP staff for combatting

 3     terrorism on the territory of the autonomous province of

 4     Kosovo and Metohija.  The minister decided that other than appointing as

 5     the head of the staff, General Sreten Lukic, and appointing members of

 6     the staff, which included members of the public and the state security

 7     sectors, he also decided to attach the chiefs of the secretariats of the

 8     internal affairs and also of the centres and departments of the public

 9     security department in Kosovo and Metohija to be part of that staff.

10             The task of the newly formed staff was to plan, organise, and

11     conduct the work and engagement of the organisational units of the

12     ministry as well as those units that were sent and attached to the units

13     assigned to combat terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija.  We will also see,

14     from the documents attached, that the task of the staff was also to plan,

15     direct, organise, and coordinate the work of the organisational units of

16     the ministry in Kosovo and Metohija in the execution of more complex

17     security assignments.  In the said decision of the 16th of June, 1998, it

18     is said that for their work, the work of the staff and for the security

19     situation, which is included among the tasks of the staff, the head of

20     the staff is accountable and is to report directly to the minister, and

21     he is to inform him about all security-related events, the measures

22     conducted, and the results of the measures taken.

23             With the decision of the 16th of June, 1998, the minister decided

24     that all earlier decisions on forming the MUP staff and the decision on

25     establishing the composition of the MUP staff ceased to apply.  The

Page 9379

 1     minister had the authority to make such a decision pursuant to the

 2     Law on Internal Affairs and other regulations.  This decision was the

 3     only possible way to proceed because the staff coordinated the work of

 4     both of the MUP departments, and only the minister could have adopted

 5     such a decision and could regulate in this manner the work and the

 6     responsibilities of the formed organ at the level of the entire MUP.

 7             The Defence will present evidence which will indisputably

 8     indicate that Vlastimir Djordjevic never reported to or informed any

 9     state organ about the situation, plans, and tasks related to

10     anti-terrorist activities in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija; and

11     he, as chief of the public security sector, never referred any reports

12     from anyone about the plans, organisation, and implementation of

13     anti-terrorist actions in Kosovo and Metohija in the course of 1999 or,

14     rather, the time-period that is relevant to this indictment.

15             We will hear witnesses who will confirm that Vlastimir Djordjevic

16     spent the following period of time in Kosovo and Metohija, that is, from

17     July 1998 until early October 1998; and they will also talk about the

18     role of Vlastimir Djordjevic in Kosovo and Metohija during these three

19     months of 1998.  In that period, the plan to combat terrorism in

20     Kosovo and Metohija was adopted.  It was implemented, and this plan was

21     adopted by the state leadership, and it corresponded to the plan which

22     was adopted by the Army of Yugoslavia.  And the MUP of the

23     Republic of Serbia participated in the implementation of this plan.

24             The Trial Chamber will have the opportunity to hear why and when

25     Vlastimir Djordjevic attended meetings of the so-called Joint Command

Page 9380

 1     together with other deputy and assistant ministers which were sent to

 2     Kosovo and Metohija by the minister.  They were asked to attend by the

 3     Minister of Internal Affairs, Vlajko Stojiljkovic, and their role in

 4     these meetings was to inform the other members of that body about the

 5     activities of the MUP and to receive information in return from other

 6     state structures about the current situation in Kosovo.

 7             During the same period, he was also carrying out his regular

 8     duties as chief of the Public Security Service -- public security

 9     department.  Further, witnesses will testify about their contacts with

10     Vlastimir Djordjevic during the period covered by the indictment.  These

11     witnesses will testify about his professionalism, his integrity, and his

12     proper and correct conduct.  Written evidence will confirm that he never

13     demonstrated any intolerance or hatred and did not want anything other

14     than to protect Kosovo and Metohija and to serve his people, people of

15     all ethnicities, as it was his duty to do.

16             The Trial Chamber will hear numerous evidence about his attempts

17     to protect civilians in Kosovo and Metohija.  They will also hear how

18     Kosovo Albanians could not accept the concern and care of Serbia and the

19     FRY even when it was offered, because they had been taught to believe

20     that they were their enemies.

21             As for minutes from meetings, all in all, there are very few

22     records which can be found and ascribed to Mr. Djordjevic.  However,

23     don't believe that because there is an absence of comments by

24     Mr. Djordjevic, this would indicate that he shirked from his

25     responsibilities.  Accusations that he implemented any type of policy of

Page 9381

 1     ethnic cleansing are absurd, and it is equally inconceivable that he

 2     would tolerate such things.

 3             The Defence will show how the Prosecution erroneously understood

 4     the role of the deputy minister of the interior at that time and will

 5     summon witnesses to explain what was the structure of the system for

 6     reporting and issuing orders, in particular which steps had to be

 7     previously taken before Mr. Djordjevic would be able to react according

 8     to the legal authorities that his duties had.

 9             The Defence plans to call many witnesses, former policemen and

10     soldiers, who will be able to testify about the actual internal structure

11     and functioning of the forces of the FRY.  They will also testify about

12     the flow of information and the content of the information that were

13     available to the police stations, the organs of internal affairs, the

14     secretariats of internal affairs, and the staff of the

15     Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as the functioning and structure of

16     reserve police detachments.

17             The Defence will also present evidence on how the structure of

18     authority at the top operated at the top of the pyramid, the essence of

19     the subordinate relationship of Mr. Vlastimir Djordjevic in relation to

20     the then-Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic, and how that applied to the

21     directives the minister issued.  We will pay special attention to the

22     role and actions of Vlastimir Djordjevic for the period covered by the

23     indictment and for the acts that he's charged with in that indictment,

24     and that is the period of 1999.  We will also cover his powers as chief

25     of the public security department during the bombing.

Page 9382

 1             The Trial Chamber will have the opportunity to establish, having

 2     in mind the extensive destruction caused by the NATO bombing in Serbia,

 3     how Vlastimir Djordjevic had to act in order to carry out measures to

 4     quickly alleviate the consequences of such bombing in the territory of

 5     Serbia proper and Vojvodina.  This, first of all, implied effective

 6     actions by the MUP organs as well as coordinating their work with other

 7     authorised organs, first of all the urgent response of fire-fighting and

 8     medical emergency teams and other teams to locations where there was

 9     destruction from the bombing, as well as other services who would be able

10     to provide help to the victims, carry out the investigation, and document

11     the effects of the bombing.

12             Disruption in communication made the execution of alleged

13     assignments even more complex and required the fast reaction in the

14     territory of the entire republic.  Throughout the period of the war, the

15     seat of the MUP and the RJB was in Belgrade; the locations of those

16     headquarters had to change constantly because of the bombing.

17             The regular security duties in all organisational units were

18     carried out upon a uniform basis and reports on security situations and

19     the events which he received on a daily basis did not contain information

20     and data on anti-terrorist actions in the area of KiM,

21     Kosovo and Metohija.  The Defence shall prove that the accused,

22     Vlastimir Djordjevic, did not participate in the planning, organising of

23     work, and the directing with organisational units attached and dispatched

24     police units which were there to counter terrorism in the area of the

25     autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija nor in the execution of

Page 9383

 1     complex security tasks.

 2             The Defence shall prove that the accused, Vlastimir Djordjevic,

 3     did not have effective control over police units which participated in

 4     the defence of the country in Kosovo and Metohija.  The Defence shall

 5     prove that the accused, Vlastimir Djordjevic, did not participate in the

 6     planning and organising of the transportation of bodies from

 7     Kosovo and Metohija in 1999.

 8             As regards the Yugoslav Army, the Defence shall also call

 9     witnesses who will show that, just like the MUP, neither the VJ nor the

10     General Staff of the VJ ever had a plan or an order which supported the

11     forcible expulsion of or terror over the population of the

12     Kosovo Albanians in the area of the autonomous province of

13     Kosovo and Metohija.

14             You will have the opportunity to hear that the Yugoslav Army was

15     extremely focused on taking measures to prepare itself for the land and

16     air aggression on the territory of the FRY and the declaration of a state

17     of war, just as any other state would have done in order to retain

18     fragile peace in its country and demonstrate a legitimate concern for its

19     citizens.

20             The combat operations were exclusively of an anti-terrorist

21     nature, they were aimed at terrorist groups, mostly the KLA.  When the

22     NATO air campaign began, the purpose of the combat operations of our

23     forces was also to defend the country from the attacks of NATO forces.

24             The Defence shall also demonstrate the kind of cooperation that

25     the Ministry of the Interior had with the Kosovo Verification Mission and

Page 9384

 1     other international organisations on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija

 2     all within good faith.

 3             US President Harry Truman once said:

 4             "It is understanding that makes it possible for us to have peace.

 5     When we understand the views of the other and when he understands ours,

 6     then we can sit down and we can work out our differences."

 7             The point of this conflict is that no such understanding ever

 8     took place.  It is the mistake of many sides that they fail to comprehend

 9     why this conflict arose in the first place; and we are not talking only

10     of the different positions of the Serbs and of the Kosovo Albanians at

11     the table in Rambouillet, but about those of all and every group which

12     was involved in this conflict, starting with NATO up to the world media.

13             It will be perceived, distinguished Chamber, during the

14     presentation of the Defence case as well as in the concluding remarks

15     that, notwithstanding, there do exist different ways to actually identify

16     and perceive the fragments and pieces of this conflict.

17             Vlastimir Djordjevic, this man sitting here today, wished for no

18     evil at all.  And as we are going to call him, as we do call him as our

19     first witness, you shall hear that from him personally.  Just as for any

20     witness, it is difficult for an accused to come forward and to be the

21     subject of examination.  But he knows that the trial -- that the august

22     Trial Chamber, in view of its intellectual curiosity on the path of

23     establishing the facts and the truth, will want to hear him.  And he

24     knows that he's capable of giving you the truth.  He knows that he is

25     able to demonstrate to you that there were no deliberate ill will or

Page 9385

 1     acceptance of any plan that would actually corroborate these accusations

 2     against him.  Leaving aside any apprehensions or fear of utmost

 3     importance for him is for the truth to be put on record.  He's making

 4     himself available to the Court in order to assist in such comprehension.

 5     He believes that by fully comprehending his position, his conduct, and

 6     his acts, the Trial Chamber will have the whole truth.  Whether, in his

 7     acts, he bears also responsibility is something for this Chamber to weigh

 8     and decide.

 9             Hoping that that will be so and justice will be done, we thank

10     you for the attention that you have given us today.  Thank you.

11             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you very much, Mr. Djordjevic.

12                           [Trial Chamber confers]

13             JUDGE PARKER:  Having heard the opening remarks of the Defence,

14     the Chamber will now adjourn to resume tomorrow morning at 9.00 to

15     commence hearing the Defence evidence.  We thank you for your assistance

16     today.  We now adjourn.

17                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.36 p.m.,

18                           to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 1st day of

19                           December, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.