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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
24 Kosovo and Metohija.
25 The response of the Albanian political elite was the adoption of
1 the declaration on the independence of Kosovo and the constitution of the
2 Republic of Kosovo
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
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
12 the entire territory of Yugoslavia
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
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
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
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
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
8 in the next point, when we're talking about the causes why people left
9 the territory of Kosovo
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
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
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
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
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
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
24 Kosovo and Metohija not only struck military targets but also columns of
25 refugees, schools, hospitals, and homes inhabited by civilians. This was
1 so-called collateral damage.
2 You will have the opportunity to hear that bombs dropped by NATO
3 on Serbia
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
22 the FRY was frightening and caused a lot of fear among the Albanian
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;
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
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
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
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
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
25 actions by the KLA. They will also talk about the anti-terrorist actions
1 conducted by the forces of Serbia
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
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
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
25 citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, throughout the entire territory
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
1 state of Albania
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
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
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,
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
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
1 covered. These positions they would, in 1999, abundantly use to launch
2 attacks against members of Serbia
4 We shall in particular emphasise the fact that Serbia
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
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
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
24 Certain witnesses will explain that the supreme state organs and
25 the highest officials of Serbia
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
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
1 course of 1998 and 1999, in Serbia
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
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.
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
15 structures of Serbia
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
24 The Trial Chamber will have the opportunity to hear why and when
25 Vlastimir Djordjevic attended meetings of the so-called Joint Command
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
1 other international organisations on the territory of Kosovo
2 all within good faith.
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
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.