1 Wednesday, 3 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.24 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon to everyone.
6 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Before we continue with the witness, Mr. Misetic, the Chamber
12 would like to deal with a few procedural matters.
13 Witness AG-20 was subpoenaed for the 5th of June, but we have no
14 indication yet whether the subpoena has been served and whether the
15 witness will come, because there may be other problems as well. Is there
16 any other witness for Friday to replace him?
17 MR. MISETIC: Unfortunately, Mr. President, the witness who is
18 scheduled for Monday could not change his plans to come earlier.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course, if we look at the history of -- of
20 the subpoena of witness AG-20 then we see that here and there, there are
21 some delays. Chamber tried to do its utmost best. But the first motion
22 was filed I think on 7th of May, and then it took a while to get it
23 complete. Because when it was complete on the 21st, the Chamber
24 immediately drafted the decision and intended to file it on the 22nd, but
25 then due to some practicalities in relation to the filing, it was finally
1 the attempt to have it electronically filed on the 21st failed and that
2 means that the final was effective on the 25th. But a lot of time was
3 lost in the beginning, and this might cause the type of delays we are
4 looking at now, and the Chamber may also not have been accurate in every
5 respect, filing on the 22nd failed. I don't know whether a lot could
6 have been done over that weekend. But, nevertheless, our filing should
7 have been perfect on that 22nd as well.
8 But now we are facing possible delays. We have to try at any
9 cost to avoid that gaps will exist.
10 For next week, there may be other uncertainties as well.
11 Witnesses AG-61.
12 MR. MISETIC: That is correct --
13 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... This will be another
15 MR. MISETIC: That is correct. We have two witnesses both
16 claiming health problem, Mr. President. We are in the process of trying
17 to confirm. I have received a message as to how to proceed with one of
18 the witnesses which I will do tomorrow.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. MISETIC: With respect to the other witness, we are waiting
21 for information from VWU so that we can it on to the Trial Chamber to
22 make an assessment as to whether a subpoena should be issued.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 MR. MISETIC: If not, in speaking to that witness, we would file
25 an immediate request for a videolink because he was willing to testify
1 via videolink and depending on how fast the Registry can set that up, we
2 would obviously proceed as fast as the Registry can get it done.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps if there's any chance that you would
4 need a videolink, try to get in touch with the Registry at the earliest
5 possibility because they will be able to tell you exactly what is needed.
6 Also, of course, depends on from where the videolink needs to be --
7 MR. MISETIC: One thought that has come to my mind, and I will
8 discusses it with my colleagues on behalf of the Prosecution during the
9 break, is the possibility given the anticipated length of time I think it
10 may take to get the witness's medical records in order. If the witness
11 has no objection to testifying via videolink to see whether the parties
12 might agree to that process just so we can maintain our schedule, but I
13 will discuss that with the Prosecution, and then obviously we'll consult
14 with the Chamber and see what the Chamber thinks about that.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yeah. And although it might not be easy, it -- it's
16 always good to have some replacement which can quickly move available. I
17 do see that that is not always easy. We really have to try to avoid any
18 loss of time in court.
19 Mr. Mikulicic.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour. I would like to report
21 technical difficulties. We have no B/C/S translation on the channel 5.
22 There is kind of mixed up French and B/C/S translation. So the accused
23 cannot follow the procedure.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The advantage is they're not speaking B/C/S
25 and French at the same time. But I also just noticed that we first get
1 some translation into B/C/S and then we get some translation in French.
2 I see this gesture in the booth, meaning, I don't know how to
3 resolve it.
4 Let's see. It looks very much as if the technicians are ...
5 MR. MIKULICIC: It seems to be all right now, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: It's all right now.
7 Then I don't know who did it, but thanks for fixing it.
8 Next item is we received filing of the Gotovina Defence's motion
9 to add two witness-related documents to its 65 ter list. When could we
10 expect a response from the Prosecution?
11 MR. HEDARALY: We can do it right now. We have no objection.
12 JUDGE ORIE: No objections. No objections from any of the other
13 Defence teams? It doesn't seem that my question has the full attention
14 of the Cermak Defence but ...
15 MR. KAY: I'm told no objection. I'm sorry, Your Honour. We
16 were just -- [Microphone not activated] -- technical matter between us.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see that. It's good to know, Mr. Kay, that
18 if you're told that there are no objections that that's what follows.
19 That's -- now the next question will be, who is telling you what to say.
20 Must be Ms. Higgins in this case.
21 Then the request is granted to add the two witness-related
22 documents to the 65 ter list.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber, as I said yesterday, has received a
25 copy of the non-disclosure agreement, which I do understand is an
1 agreement between all parties; that is, including all Defence teams.
2 We earlier said that we would have a look at the matter and that
3 it was most likely that the parties would file the agreement so that it
4 would be on the record. The Chamber has meanwhile looked at the
5 agreement and accepts the agreement. I add to this, that, in earlier
6 decisions, sometimes we find an obligation to keep a log of to whom
7 material is disclosed and when under one of the exceptions. We do not
8 find any agreement on that. And it might be a wise thing to consider
9 that it does not in any way invalidate the agreement as reached, but it
10 might, for the future, it might avoid any discussions at a later stage,
11 if such a log would be kept, and, of course, I'm now mainly looking at
12 the Prosecution.
13 So the Chamber accepts the agreement reached, suggests to the
14 parties to see whether it would be good to have an additional clause on
15 keeping a log on to whom material is disclosed. Therefore, the parties
16 are invited to file the agreement so that it's on the record. And I
17 further inform you that the interim decision on Defence requests to --
18 for order of non-disclosure for materials disclosed to the Prosecution
19 and co-defendants is not applicable because replaced by the present
20 agreement, which will be filed by the parties.
21 Any questions in relation to this?
22 Then the last issue is that on the 27th of May, there was a
23 reference in court in relation to the talks between you, Mr. Kehoe, and
24 Mr. Russo about expert reports. And I think you asked whether it would
25 be okay if it would be reported early this week to the Chamber.
1 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ORIE: We are in the midst of this week.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes. And I had a discussion initially with Mr. Russo
4 and with counsel about the dates and turning those over and the bulk of
5 those reports with -- discussed with Mr. Waespi will be turned over in
6 two weeks. And I do believe he found that satisfactory, which will give
7 the requisite period of time for the Prosecution to deal with those
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Waespi, you're in a position to confirm that, I
10 take it?
11 MR. WAESPI: That's correct.
12 JUDGE ORIE: So an agreement has been reached on the matter.
13 Mr. Waespi, you're the receiving party in this respect. If there
14 would be any problem, I think it would be incumbent upon you to inform
15 the Chamber that there are problems, but we do not expect anything in
16 view of the agreement you have reached with Mr. Kehoe.
17 I've got no further procedural matters on my list. If there are
18 none, then, I would like to ask Madam Usher to escort Mr. Lazarevic into
19 the courtroom.
20 Could I meanwhile, to the extent it is possible to make an
21 assessment at this moment, already inquire with the parties how much time
22 they would need for cross-examination or, as far as Defence is concerned,
23 let's say examination of Mr. Lazarevic.
24 MR. KAY: We have nothing, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Nothing.
1 Mr. Mikulicic.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: Probably nothing, Your Honour. If something,
3 that will be five to ten minutes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
6 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President. It's hard to estimate
7 it, but definitely we will be done today. I would say maybe two hours,
8 but that could vary significantly based on the witness's responses.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I can imagine that. Which also means that
10 there is a possibility that we could start with the next witness already
11 today. So there's no reason yet to --
12 MR. HEDARALY: We had discussed the matter with Mr. Kehoe, and he
13 is aware of that situation.
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, we have discussed, and I talked
15 to Mr. Hedaraly, we have the next witness who will be in the room after
16 the first break as opposed to having them sitting here all day, so ...
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 [The witness takes the stand]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Lazarevic.
20 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lazarevic, I would like to remind that the
22 solemn declaration that you gave yesterday at the beginning of your
23 testimony still binds you. That means that also today you are under an
24 obligation to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 Mr. Misetic will now continue his examination-in-chief.
1 Mr. Misetic, please proceed.
2 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 WITNESS: SLOBODAN LAZAREVIC [Resumed]
4 Examination by Mr. Misetic: [Continued]
5 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Lazarevic.
6 A. Good afternoon, sir.
7 Q. Let me right at the outset remind you of the ground rules again.
8 Both you and I, for the benefit of the interpreters and the court
9 reporter really need to slow our pace down and really need to enunciate
10 when we speak. So if I give you some hand signals sometimes, I'm not
11 trying to be rude just to remind you to help us with the court staff
13 A. That is clear.
14 Q. Thank you. Yesterday we left off with what happened after you
15 arrived in Serbia. And I would like to pick up there.
16 Can you tell us a little bit what happened -- you talk about
17 being arrested in Serbia. Can you describe the day you were arrested,
18 what happened and what events transpired?
19 A. It happened very, very fast after my arrival. Within two days
20 police arrived, regular police and asked me to come with them and go to
21 the station in the city, police station. I asked him why, said we don't
22 know, but they will tell you when you get there. I did get there, and I
23 had all my documents with me, which I presented there, and I think there
24 was a gentleman from DB in the corner in the office.
25 Q. DB meaning?
1 A. Drzavna Bezbednosti [phoen].
2 Q. Which is?
3 A. Secret police.
4 Q. Okay.
5 A. He looked at the papers, and gave a little note to the station
6 commander that said, Well, we don't really need this guy; he's not from
7 over there. So they let me.
8 Q. When you say, "he's not from over there ..."
9 A. Obviously he meant from RSK.
10 Q. And what happened next?
11 A. They released me. So I went home the same afternoon. Next
12 morning they came back again, but instead of taking me to this place
13 where I was, the day before they took me to another place and I stayed
14 there, even though I argued the same reason why I shouldn't be taken in.
15 Now, they couldn't care less, so I was placed on a bus with the
16 rest of the people from Krajina were there. It was like a gathering
17 centre, I guess. Approximately 2.000 of us there.
18 Q. The 2.000, what -- can you describe the 2.000?
19 A. 2.000, I can only assume that all 2.000 were the people who
20 actually were refugees from the RSK.
21 Q. Was it all men? Mixture of men and women?
22 A. No, men only.
23 Q. Okay. In the Milosevic case you described at page 12469, a huge
24 convoy of buses. Can you tell us how many buses there were?
25 A. On that particular afternoon when we left, there were 12 buses.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. 12 buses. No standing room. Everybody had their own seats, but
3 there were four police officers in escort on the bus.
4 Q. And where did the bus take you?
5 A. We had no idea until we actually arrived there. They never
6 stopped anywhere in between. They never offered any explanation where
7 are we going. And once it was dark, we saw little signs saying Dalj,
8 then we realized where we were going.
9 Q. Dalj being spelled?
10 A. D-a-l-j.
11 Q. And where is Dalj?
12 A. Eastern Slavonia.
13 Q. Can you tell us -- give us an approximation of the date we're
14 talking about?
15 A. I arrived home around 10th, should be around 12th of August.
16 Q. And when you arrived Dalj, what happened next?
17 A. We arrived there and it was total darkness. There were a lot of
18 shouting going on outside, fall out, fall out, fall out. As I was coming
19 off the bus - I was kind in the middle of bus - as I was coming off the
20 bus, somebody pulled me aside and said, Well, you're not there; you come
21 with me. And I couldn't even see in the dark who it was, but I coudl see
22 in front of me that people are being taken through a cauldron, like, you
24 Q. Through a ... ?
25 A. How do I explain this. When you have people lined up on either
1 side and you're supposed to run in between, but they're very close to you
2 and to themselves, like at arm length.
3 Q. Like a gauntlet?
4 A. Gauntlet. That's what I was try to say. I said cauldron which
5 is kind of witchcraft. Anyway, sorry about that. I mean gauntlet.
6 And they were really beaten as they were pushed through. There
7 were people there with batons.
8 Q. With?
9 A. Batons.
10 Q. Baton, okay.
11 A. Yeah. The gentleman who took me aside, took me straight to the
12 building. Once we were in the building I could see who it was. It was
13 one of the young Arkan's guys that I knew from Krajina. Apparently he
14 knew that I was not born over there, that I was born in Belgrade, so I
15 think he prevented from anything bad happening to me.
16 Q. Okay. What was the -- what was the place that you arrived at?
17 A. It was like a huge camp, a military camp.
18 Q. What was the purpose of the camp?
19 A. I did find that out about two days later. They are the masters
20 in the morning with lined up everybody in the yard, there was a lot of
21 shouting going on, a lot of verbal abuse, a lot of physical abuse by the
22 people running the camp, they were all Tigers, according to their badges
23 belonging to this infamous unit of Arkan.
24 So when I talked to some of the officers of this camp, they told
25 me they were there to be retrained and sent back to Croatia to fight.
1 Q. Okay. Approximately, if you can tell us, first, how long were
2 you in this camp?
3 A. Four to five days. I think on the fifth day they came and picked
4 me up and took me out.
5 Q. Do you know how long this camp was in existence?
6 A. No, sorry.
7 Q. Okay. Do you know how many men, roughly, were processed through
8 this camp?
9 A. My estimate of what I have seen, the buses coming in mornings and
10 evenings, anything between 6 to 8.000 men.
11 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I would like to play a short video
12 and ask, based on your answers here, whether some of the experiences
13 described herein are consistent with what you have just testified about,
14 in terms of your experiences.
15 Mr. Registrar, this is 1D1634.
16 [Video-clip played]
17 JUDGE ORIE: There may be a problem. I now hear French
18 translation which will then be processed into a French transcript. We
19 have -- I read the English, but it is not spoken English, which means
20 that the English transcript will be incomplete. One has to look at the
21 video to see what was said during this video-clip.
22 Is there any way that we get complete transcript which means that
23 the English booth would, of course, verify whether the English
24 translation we see is correct or at least to -- to translate the text
25 spoken so that we have a full English and a full French transcript?
1 Is that possible? Then I would like to --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, normally the practice was that the
3 interpreters received a written transcript in the booths which was the
4 reason why the English booth did not read the text from the screen since
5 we did not receive a hard copy.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You're perfectly right, that is the -- and I
7 see from here that someone now hands out a transcript. If the parties
8 could always take care that booths are provided with hard copies of the
10 THE INTERPRETER: We have a copy now. Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: You're perfectly right. I don't know where it got
12 stuck. Apparently it was nearby. So it must have been close.
13 Let's re-start so that we have a full transcript, although
14 perhaps the French twice.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. MISETIC: Can we just confirm that the French booth has the
17 transcript? It does, okay.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's start again.
19 [Video-clip played]
20 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
21 "Narrator: In Eastern Slavonia Arkan made his fortune on selling
22 scarce items on the black market, turning the area into his own private
23 state. In mid 1995, the police in Serbia arrested refugees and sent them
24 to Arkan's camp in Erdut.
25 "Milan: When I recall this I feel sick. The police arrested all
1 of us that were in the reception centre, put us on buses.
2 "Borislav Pelevic: It was a completely insane decision. People
3 were practically kidnapped; they were practically abducted.
4 "Dusan: When we arrived I didn't even know where I was going.
5 When we arrived in Erdut ...
6 "Milan: Heads were sticking out of the window, shaved heads, as
7 we were -- as we arrived they filed us in line.
8 "Dusan: When we handed all our documents and removed or clothes,
9 they removed our watches, necklaces, everything. No one was allowed to
10 keep anything, not a thing.
11 "Borislav Pelevic: The police escorted them to the RSK police,
12 and they assigned them to these recruitment centres. One of the centres
13 was our centre in Erdut. They were treated with maximum correctness.
14 "Dusan: These people were pushed in the manner that they were
15 forced to bark like dogs. They had these small houses like kennels,
16 people were chained to them, and they were forced to bark like dogs.
17 "Milan: There was even first, I can say that people were being
18 shot in the leg, and also thanks to ... they sometimes fall between
19 themselves, and so they got him -- got to him.
20 "Dusan: Arkan said to us, he spoke to us and said, Listen up.
21 We all listened. Who wants to give me a blow-job? These were the words
22 with which Mr. Arkan spoke to us. We all stood there, nobody dared ask
23 anything, utter a single word."
24 MR. MISETIC: Stop. We'll stop the video right there.
25 JUDGE ORIE: I'm just wondering whether ... of course, the last
1 text on the screen is not included in, because I do not ...
2 Could you have a look at the transcript, Mr. Misetic, and see
3 whether --
4 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- we have the full portion.
6 MR. MISETIC: Yes. I believe that is complete, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then please proceed.
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, the camp in Erdut, is that the camp that you were
10 at as well?
11 A. I assume. I am not quite certain I was in one camp. I remember
12 seeing Dalj, but I don't remember seeing any other road signs.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. But according to this, there were several of those, so ...
15 Q. The treatment described in this video, is that consistent with
16 what you witnessed when you arrived one of Arkan's camps after
17 Operation Storm?
18 A. The gentleman with the hidden face?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. There's a portion where the former general of Arkan is speaking
21 to about being correctly treated; it is insane. It's a lie. The
22 gentleman who described the situation at the beginning, he is absolutely
23 correct. I went through that too.
24 Q. Okay.
25 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, we tender the clip into evidence.
1 MR. HEDARALY: We haven't seen the whole clip yet, it seems. So
2 we have no objection to the portion that has been shown yet. But as to
3 the portion we haven't seen, we obviously cannot express a portion.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any portion which is not played but which
5 you tender into evidence?
6 MR. MISETIC: I will tender up to this point, and I guess we'll
7 cut the the video from this point forward.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Then appear to be no objections against the portion
9 played. Can you please upload that limited portion because once that is
10 done, the Chamber would admitted that evidence.
11 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, that would be number?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1469, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, could you please inform us as soon as it has
15 been uploaded, the new version, either you, Mr. Misetic, or Mr. Registrar
16 so that a final decision can be taken.
17 Please proceed.
18 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, are you familiar, or did you participate in any
20 meetings where the International Committee of the Red Cross was present?
21 A. Quite a few, actually.
22 Q. Did you have any experience in situations where Croats living in
23 the Krajina wished to depart the Krajina and go into Croatian-held
25 A. That happened too.
1 Q. Okay. In the process of Croats leaving the Krajina to go to
2 Croatian-held territory, are you aware of the ICRC participating in some
3 of those transfers?
4 A. They were absolutely always a part of those exchanges. They were
5 really exchanges, but not a case of, I would assume, three Croat
6 nationals have expressed the wish to cross to the Croatian-held
7 territory, we just let it go. It was always the case, if we give you
8 three, you give us three. So in the instances when there was a multiple
9 exchanges like that, Red Cross was always there.
10 Q. Do you know if, prior to their departure from the Krajina if
11 Croats had to sign a form -- not had. If the Croats signed a form
12 indicating the voluntariness of their departure?
13 A. In every of the instances, there was exchange of people like
14 this. The members of the International Red Cross would take the people
15 aside from the group and speak to them, like without us being -- Serbs
16 being present there. What -- are they willingly going, or were they
17 pushed or forces or whatever? And in the end they would given a
18 documents to sign that they are willingly crossing.
19 Q. Okay. Who gave them the document to sign?
20 A. Somebody from the Red Cross.
21 Q. Okay.
22 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, have I no further questions. Thank
24 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Misetic.
25 Perhaps I have one follow-up question, the last questions.
1 These exchanges, as you said, what time-frame are we talking
3 THE WITNESS: Throughout the conflict.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Throughout the conflict, it is 1991 to 1995, not
5 after Operation Storm?
6 THE WITNESS: Not after, no.
7 JUDGE ORIE: No.
8 THE WITNESS: If I just can clarify this. I was member of
9 commission in the Sector North for exchange of people who are willing to
10 go leave, exchange of soldiers who died in a battle on either side, they
11 had to be exchanged as well. So I was kind of well familiar with the
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you tell us during that whole period of
14 approximately four years, how many in total, how many persons alive or,
15 as you said, sometime corpses of deceased persons would be involved in
16 this type of exchanges?
17 THE WITNESS: Several hundred.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Several hundred.
19 THE WITNESS: Yes.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
21 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I have no questions of the witness.
22 JUDGE ORIE: You have no questions.
23 Mr. Mikulicic.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: No questions as well, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: No questions from Mr. Mikulicic.
1 Mr. Hedaraly, are you ready to cross-examine Mr. Lazarevic?
2 MR. HEDARALY: I will be in a few seconds, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Lazarevic you will be cross-examined by
4 Mr. Hedaraly. Mr. Hedaraly is counsel for the Prosecution.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Hedaraly:
6 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Lazarevic.
7 A. Good afternoon, sir.
8 Q. Your area of responsibility was the 21st Corps; is that right?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. And your office was based in the command centre in Topusko.
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. During your time with the ARSK, you never moved to a different
13 command centre, did you?
14 A. The HQ itself did move, but my part of the office always remained
15 within Topusko.
16 Q. And you're a liaison officer for the 21st Corps; is that right?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. And you did not have any demand function at the headquarters of
19 the 21st Corps?
20 A. Absolutely none.
21 Q. And I will as well try to pause between your answers and my
22 question, and I will invite you to do the same, as Mr. Misetic did. And
23 hopefully we'll get some help along the way.
24 Now, can can you describe for the Court what was your area of
25 responsibility, the area of the 21st Corps?
1 A. I don't quite understand what you ask me.
2 Q. Geographically, what area did it encompass?
3 A. It is approximately 70 kilometres long and around 20 kilometres
4 wide. And goes from area of Slunj to Glina; that was the area of
5 responsibility of the 21st Corps. Consequently, that was my area of
7 Q. And that is entirely within Sector North?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. So north of Gracac municipality? Gracac being in Lika?
10 A. Yeah. That would be covered by Lika Corps.
11 Q. Okay. Because 21st Corps was a cordon corps; right?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. Which was with a different part than Lika or Dalmatia which was
14 the southern part of the Krajina?
15 A. Absolutely.
16 Q. Thanks. Now, your knowledge, everything that you have testified
17 about today both in your statement and yesterday and today is based on
18 your personal experiences and observations in that area; is that right?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. And during Operation Storm, you were in Topusko; is that right?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. Now you testified yesterday that during Operation Storm, you had
23 your hands full with what was happening in Sector North.
24 A. Absolutely.
25 Q. Did you receive any information at that time about what was
1 happening in Sector South?
2 A. Only unconfirmed reports.
3 Q. And what were these unconfirmed reports?
4 A. Knin is falling, army has withdrawn, the civilians leaving in
5 mass, that kind of things. But not -- again, I have to stress this, not
6 as an official report from the south.
7 Q. So you did not get any reports as to who was attacking where?
8 A. In detail I had only what was happening in Sector North.
9 Q. Did you have any information as to, in Sector South, what units
10 were defending which parts of the sector?
11 A. Unfortunately, no information.
12 Q. Did you have any communication with anyone from Sector South on
13 either the 4th or 5th of August?
14 A. After the 5th, no. No communication.
15 Q. And before the 5th, did you have communications with anyone from
16 Sector South?
17 A. When I said before this date to that date, what I'm trying to say
18 is before the attack, we had a regular communication on a daily basis.
19 After the attack has commenced, nothing.
20 Q. So as soon as Operation Storm started, you did not -- you did not
21 have any communication with anyone from Sector South; is that correct?
22 A. My last communication with the HQ of Knin was when I sent them a
23 telex about the pending attack the following morning.
24 Q. Okay. We'll get to that in a few minutes.
25 Now, there was some confusion yesterday and the Presiding Judge
1 asked you to clarify certain of your responses that you gave regarding
2 the Croatian flag flying over Knin castle, if you remember. And I was
3 re-reading that exchange. And I just want to make sure that your
4 testimony is as clear as possible.
5 So, first you said that you saw this on the television, and you
6 thought that this cannot be, and thought that it was typical Croatian
7 propaganda; is that right?
8 A. Was my belief at the time, yes.
9 Q. And at a later stage, you realized that that information was in
10 fact accurate?
11 A. That is correct too.
12 Q. Then you testified a little later in answer to the Presiding
13 Judge's question about the timing and you said: "By early afternoon" -
14 and that was the first day of the attack, the 4th - "we are finding that
15 Knin is no longer our capital city."
16 Now, at that time, were you referring to what you saw on TV which
17 was not -- which did you not believe, or the confirmed information that
18 you received later?
19 A. It is really both. By the time I saw the film by HRTV, which was
20 a Croatian radio television, soon after, the reports were started coming
21 in from the people that were actually there, those who were pulling out,
22 then Knin is history.
23 Q. I'm sorry. You just testified earlier that you did not have any
24 communication with anyone from Sector South after the attack started.
25 A. No, I didn't. By communication I mean being on a phone, being on
1 a radio, being on a telex machine. These are the people who are actually
2 going through Topusko telling us. They're not soldiers; they are
3 civilians who are leaving the sectors.
4 Q. And how did -- do you know how these people found out that Knin
5 had fallen?
6 A. Well, I didn't ask. I still considered this to be a rumour.
7 Q. Okay. But you received that information in the afternoon of the
8 first day of the operation?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, just for the witness' benefit, I think
11 the exchange actually goes a little bit deeper, and he --
12 MR. HEDARALY: I think I'm entitled to --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You're entitled to accurately summarize what
14 was said, and if there's any dispute about that, then it is usually
15 preferred to take the literal text so as to avoid whatever confusion.
16 MR. HEDARALY: Well, I was quoting from transcript reference
17 17953 at lines 18 and following, where it says: "By early afternoon,"
18 and it was established the lines above it, that is the first day of the
19 operation. "We are finding out that Knin is no longer our capital city."
20 And then I was trying to clarify that with the witness.
21 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President, I'm looking at 17954 where in
22 questioning with you, the witness said he wasn't -- he said, "It was
23 either very late that night or very early in the morning. The night of
24 the 4th."
25 And then you, Mr. President, said, "Or early in the morning of
1 the 5th."
2 And the witness said, "5th, yes, thank you."
3 MR. HEDARALY: And then I was trying to draw the distinction with
4 what he saw on television and what was confirmed, and that was my next
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, the witness has now at least heard all
7 of what was said, so to ask him to repeat doesn't make much sense.
8 Mr. Hedaraly, if you have further questions on the matter, the
9 witness is certainly now provided with the whole of his testimony
11 Please proceed.
12 MR. HEDARALY:
13 Q. Can you clarify for us the early afternoon, the early evening,
14 the next morning, the unconfirmed, the TV report, the confirmed
15 information later? Can you help us at all to sort this out?
16 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I ask that the question be rephrased.
17 I'm not sure what the question is.
18 MR. HEDARALY: I think the witness understood the question.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lazarevic, if it is clear to you what
20 Mr. Hedaraly would like to know, please answer the question. If it is
21 unclear --
22 THE WITNESS: Absolutely, it is clear to me.
23 JUDGE ORIE: It is clear to you. Then let's hear your answer.
24 Please proceed.
25 THE WITNESS: The only thing I really claim right now, a little
1 bit of confusion at the time, which is not surprising considering the
2 situation that we were under. I'll try to sort it out chronologically.
3 First, we saw the information on the TV. Later in the day, the
4 trickle of people started coming into Topusko saying that Knin has
5 fallen. Full confirmation of it is the following morning, early hours of
6 the morning, because suddenly there are more people coming from south.
7 That's about how it happened.
8 MR. HEDARALY:
9 Q. And this, the first step the TV and the people coming, that's the
10 first day of the operation?
11 A. It was late afternoon on first day.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 Now let's move a few days ahead, and you left the Krajina -
14 that's in your statement on page 29 - on the 9th of August. Is that
16 A. It was the morning, early hours of the morning when we left.
17 Q. Do you remember it was the 9th of August?
18 A. I would say, yes, 9th.
19 Q. That's the date in your statement. But it's around [Overlapping
20 speakers] ...
21 A. [Overlapping speakers] ... It's 9th, yes.
22 Q. And did you have any knowledge at that time about the convoy of
23 civilians leaving the southern portion of Sector South?
24 A. No. I think I made it perfectly clear that from day one we did
25 not have any communication even with the clothes -- or corps, which were
1 only -- like, our left flank, ten miles away; and our right flank,
2 another ten miles away. So we had no idea what was going on down there.
3 All we knew at the time was that we are surrounded.
4 Q. So you did not know anything about when, how, or why they were
6 A. Whom?
7 Q. The people from Sector South.
8 A. Well, apparently they leaving in front of incoming Croatian
9 forces. That's how I saw the thing. That's what I believed, anyway.
10 Q. But at the time you didn't have any of that information as to who
11 was leaving, why they were leave, when they were leaving?
12 A. No. Not precise information. Nobody came to me and said, Look,
13 I'm from Marshal Tito Street in Knin and I just left because Knin has
14 fallen, and stuff like that, no.
15 Q. So what is described in your statement about the refugee convoy
16 and what happened on the way, that's all what happened to you from
17 Sector North leaving, right?
18 A. Yes. They were earlier convoys who left the Sector North going
19 further south, straight into Bosnia. Along the border with the Bosnia
20 and they were under constant attack by the 5th Corps. That would happen
21 a second day of the attack, so when we came to decision to surrender and
22 try to arrange for us leave as peaceful as possible, we decided to walk
23 -- to go through Croatia, because we were absolutely certain that any
24 agreement we made with the Croatians would not be honoured by the
25 5th Corps because they are not part of this agreement.
1 Q. And you arrived in Belgrade the next day, on the 10th, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And that's when you saw the exits in the town blocked off by the
4 police and people told to go south?
5 A. Yeah. The reason why I went south is my wife's family lives
6 approximately 200 kilometres south from Belgrade. So that is a normal
7 route I would have taken anyway. It just happened to be the same one
8 that all the convoys are going through and being prevented from leaving.
9 Q. And this is all what you saw on the 10th of August?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, you don't know when this exits were blocked off, right?
12 A. I can only assume it happened the day that we crossed.
13 Q. So you have no information as to whether they were blocked off
14 before the 10th, when you saw them?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Are you aware that most of the civilians from Dalmatia and Gracac
17 and Lika left on the 4th and the 5th of August?
18 A. I did find out later on. But at the time, no, I wasn't aware.
19 Q. And are you aware that there were a number of witnesses who left
20 these areas who testified in this case that they went to Belgrade, after
21 Operation Storm?
22 A. Possible. I don't know.
23 Q. Do you know that there was a witness, and that is Witness 6, this
24 Chamber's information, who testified at P16, paragraph 23, that he
25 arrived Belgrade in the afternoon of the 5th and has been living there
1 ever since?
2 A. I'm not aware of that.
3 Q. Did you know that there was no mention in his testimony of being
4 forced to go down to Kosovo?
5 A. Again, I don't know.
6 Q. Do you know there's another witness, Dusan Sinobad, who him
7 arrived in Belgrade on the 6th, after spending a night in Banja Luka, and
8 similarly he never said anything about being forced to go to Kosovo?
9 A. What I'm saying is what happened on the 10th when I was going
10 through. What happened before, I have no idea.
11 Q. I understand. I won't go through each of the witnesses who
12 testified who now lives in Belgrade because obviously you're not aware of
13 that information.
14 MR. HEDARALY: If I can have 65 ter 7248 on the screen, please.
15 The first page will be a cover page of a letter that we received
16 from the Government of Serbia.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Apparently there's a problem to get it on the
19 MR. HEDARALY: Mr. Registrar, if we can get the other
20 translation, please. We will get to this in a second. There are two
21 different translations for different portions of this document.
22 Actually, let's just stay there.
23 Q. Okay. Now that we have it, this is a letter we received from the
24 Government of Serbia on data regarding the people from the Krajina who
25 are now registered in -- their residence registered in Serbia. It says
1 that the data is incomplete because of the short-comings in the
2 record-keeping method. So bear in mind this is an incomplete
4 MR. HEDARALY: If we can go back to the other translation.
5 Now, just, Mr. President, so that everyone is aware, the original
6 is actually 600 and some pages and just lists everyone from 1 to 23595.
7 We obviously did not translate each of the entries, because -- the total
8 number was the concern. Similarly when we tender it, only the first and
9 the last page can be -- can be tendered.
10 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, my question for you is were aware that at least
11 23595 people who fled the Krajina after Storm had registered their
12 residence in Serbia?
13 A. No. I was not aware. Actually, I'm surprised looking at the
14 number it says 23595, and it is dated 7th. 7th of August?
15 Q. No, no, no. That's from 2007.
16 A. Oh, okay. Sorry, my bad.
17 Q. No problem.
18 MR. HEDARALY: If we can go to the original in B/C/S, please.
19 And think there is a technical issue in having both the B/C/S and the
20 English on the screen at the same time, so we'll just work one at a time.
21 Q. Now if we go to the second page of the B/C/S there. And this is
22 -- and the cover letter also includes this information, and I will read
23 it, but the translation is available.
24 That these are people who, as of 2007, were registered in refugee
25 camps in Serbia from the municipalities of Knin, Benkovac, Donji Lapac,
1 Gracac, Drnis, and Obrovac.
2 MR. HEDARALY: If we can go to the second page.
3 Q. And we see the second portion is people from those areas who are
4 in refugee centres in Kosovo.
5 Now, the total is 779. I've counted it, and the people in
6 refugee centres in Serbia total 725, and the ones in Kosovo total 54.
7 Were you aware of that, Mr. Lazarevic?
8 A. It appeared to be a much larger number to me when I was driving
9 through it.
10 Q. This is as of 2007. But still -- people still live in those
11 refugee camps in 2007, not in 1995.
12 A. Oh. I was not aware of that, no. But I'm seeing this, some of
13 these refugee centres are away from Belgrade, further south.
14 Q. Mm-hm. I understand.
15 MR. HEDARALY: So if I can tender this document, and I propose
16 only tendering the cover letter, these two pages, and then the first and
17 last page of the B/C/S, of the large 600-page documents, and then the
18 translations of the top lines on the first and last entries. And that is
19 already uploaded as 65 ter 7248A.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Any objections? Not only against the document but
21 also the way in which they are presented?
22 No objections.
23 Just for my information, Mr. Hedaraly, when we started with this
24 document, I looked in e-court and then I had -- you said different
25 translation of different portions, but apparently part of those e-court
1 documents. So I now see that what is on the e-court screen corresponds
2 with your abbreviated version, which is with the total of 779, whereas
3 the earlier ones with the As, et cetera, is --
4 MR. HEDARALY: Those are two separate documents that were
5 attached to the same cover letter. There was this two page documents
6 about collection centres, then there was a separate 600-and-some-page
7 document which is the people who registered their residence in Serbia.
8 So those are two separate tables.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Two separate tables. And you're now tendering the
10 cover letter?
11 MR. HEDARALY: The cover letter, yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And --
13 MR. HEDARALY: The first table about the collection centres, the
14 two pages.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 MR. HEDARALY: And then the last --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Two pages, the first ...
18 MR. HEDARALY: The first saying: collection centres in -- if we
19 go back to the B/C/S.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Because what we see now on our screen,
21 Abu Asad, Acimovic, that apparently is -- is that something you want to
23 MR. HEDARALY: Yes. If we can pull up 65 ter 7248A.
24 JUDGE ORIE: But that's a different document?
25 MR. HEDARALY: It's the same document. There -- there are three
1 documents in the same exhibit. There's the cover page, the cover letter.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MR. HEDARALY: Then there is the two-page document about
4 collection centres.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. HEDARALY: And then in the original, there is 600-page table
7 with 23.000 entries.
8 Now what I'm proposing to tender, and not to tender 600 pages, is
9 simply the first three pages, the cover letter and the two pages about
10 the collection centres. And only the first and last page of the 600-page
11 table so that we can see the first and last number. And that is uploaded
12 in the 65 ter number I have mentioned 7248A.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I now see it. The original is 686 pages,
14 including the cover letter. The translation is split up in two parts,
15 both dealing only with a limited portion of the original; one portion,
16 1 to 3 and then interrupted, and then finally ending at 23595; that is
17 the persons registered. And then the other portion of the translation
18 about the, as it said, collective centres.
19 MR. HEDARALY: That is correct.
20 JUDGE ORIE: In translation, one page, going from number 1 to 41;
21 and then collective centres, Kosovo and Metohija, 42 up till 51, total of
22 779 persons those centres.
23 MR. HEDARALY: Yes. And I apologise for not having clarified
24 that earlier, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Well, it's clear to me now.
1 So that this all together is one exhibit, and there are no
3 Mr. Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit P2534.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
6 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, I apologise for the little procedural delay we
8 have now and again.
9 Now, before Operation Storm, would you communicate with your
10 counterpart, the liaison officer for Sector South on a regular basis?
11 A. Not really. You're talking about the RSK?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. For example, the liaison officer of Sector South?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. No. Only if somebody happened, they would either influence the
16 situation down south or would affect Sector North, then we would get in
18 Q. For example, when you received the plans of attack, then you
19 communicated with them.
20 A. Absolutely.
21 Q. I want to talk a little bit about the recruitment of interpreters
22 about which you testified.
23 Now this idea of using interpreters to gain information from
24 internationals, whose idea was that?
25 A. I would like to think it was mine, but I might be wrong.
1 Q. Well, was it your idea or -- what did you mean by you'd like to
2 think that it was yours?
3 A. I implemented it.
4 Q. Okay. And you also testified yesterday that it was not limited
5 to interpreters but any person -- any local employed in the -- in the
6 workforce, with the internationals?
7 A. Any potential employee, yes.
8 Q. Now you testified yesterday that your belief was that the same
9 thing happened in Sector South, but you don't have any actual knowledge
10 of that. Isn't that correct?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. And you be the person giving them instructions to these
13 interpreters and cleaners or dishwashers, as you called them?
14 A. To the interpreters, yes, myself personally.
15 Q. What about to the other people that were employed? Would you
16 instruct them as wall as to what to do?
17 A. I think that would be done by the members of the police.
18 Q. Okay. And what would you tell these interpreters? What were
19 your instructions to them?
20 A. My instructions were very simple. Basically, since we are
21 covering a fairly large territory, there will be meetings on a daily
22 basis, whether it is Slunj, whether it's in Vojnic, whether it's
23 Vrginmost, which were of the, let's say, lesser importance meetings,
24 local character, things concerning only Topusko, for example, or things
25 concerning only Vrginmost. And those interpreters would attend those
1 meetings without me being present there. I would ask them to, at the end
2 of the meeting, prepare me the list of the people attending the meeting,
3 from all sides, the minutes of the meeting, and the brief description, if
4 anything was decided on a meeting, what it was. And to submit it to me
5 the very same evening.
6 Q. Did you instruct them to steal documents or take photographs or
7 anything like that?
8 A. No. No. These people were not professional in -- in spying
9 business, if you like.
10 Q. Did you instruct them to try and falsify the reports that
11 internationals were sending?
12 A. Absolutely not.
13 Q. Did you instruct them to talk to internationals and get them to
14 change their reports?
15 A. I don't think any of those people were aware of the reports were
16 being sent by the internationals to influence them in any way.
17 Q. So if I understood you correctly, their job was not to affect the
18 reporting but, rather, to tell you what was happening; is that correct?
19 A. Exactly.
20 Q. Now, let's talk briefly about this ECMM monitor, Bent Jenssen you
21 said in your statement that he showed you some of the reports that he was
22 sending; is that right?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. Would he show them to you on a regular basis or was it just a --
25 once in a while or occasional?
1 A. It wasn't a regular basis. It was not like he was reporting to
2 me daily what he was sending. But every now and then if something did
3 happen in the area that was of some relevance, he would come into his
4 office and, This is what I'm going to send.
5 I read it, without any suggestions, and he says, So are you going
6 to change this, or I like the way you wrote it, it was just accepted by
7 me as such.
8 Q. So you never told him what to write?
9 A. Absolutely not.
10 Q. Did you know any of the ECMM monitors that were in Sector South
11 in 1995?
12 A. No. Unless they were first in Sector North and then moved down
13 there. But I had never contacted anybody from south.
14 Q. Did you know any of the UNMOs that were in Sector South in 1995?
15 A. Again, the same thing. If they were originally deployed along
16 the border where I was, of course, I would know them. And if they
17 transferred down south, then I can say, Yes, I know this guy. Otherwise,
19 Q. And would the same be true as members of UNCIVPOL, of HRAT, or
20 any other international organisation?
21 A. Exactly the same position.
22 Q. Now, you testified yesterday, and I'll quote you exactly at
23 transcript page 17956, lines 1 to 4:
24 "Q. Did you sense any increased concern about a pending Croatian
1 "A. Nobody knew about the attack two days before it happened. I
2 found out two days before it happened."
3 Do you remember that?
4 A. Yeah.
5 Q. Now, in the Milosevic trial, which was also tendered here at
6 12452, you said the same thing, that Mr. Jenssen informed you about the
7 attack two days before. But you also stated that those plans contained,
8 and I'll quote, "every detail about the time, the strength, and the
9 direction of attack."
10 Just pause for the translation.
11 A. Yeah, that is correct. But I think I also clarified he did not
12 give me a document. It was narrated to me, and I wrote it down.
13 Q. Now, I just wanted to clarify in the Milosevic trial at that
14 page, you said that the attack started on the 5th, but just to so you
15 know, I think the parties are in agreement that Operation Storm actually
16 started on the 4th August, so that could have just been a mistake.
17 A. My omission. Because all I remembered was early in the morning.
18 Q. Can you please tell us what you mean by every detail of the
19 attack that you received?
20 A. Let us assume just for a moment that I'm in a conflict with
21 another country. To me a detailed information would be the time, I know
22 where they're going to attack, the strength of the enemy attack. So if
23 you tell me that 20.000 people fronting you, that is very important to
24 me. The direction of the attack is also very important. They are going
25 come from the direction of Karlovac, for example, heading for Tusilovic.
1 I would say, yes, that is very important. To me, that is a detailed
2 enough. You know whether there going to be consistent of the 1st Guards
3 Brigade, and this and that, to me, is irrelevant. I know the number is
4 going to be 20.000, I know they're going to come from this way, I better
5 do something about it. That's what I mean detailed.
6 Q. So did you have information about which units would attack where?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Just the time, the direction, and the strength?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. Okay. And you just said that this is oral information that he
11 brought to you two days before the attack?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So he did not have any documents with him. He just came to you
14 and said he had memorized this information and was saying it to you?
15 A. Basically this is what I remember, this is what is going to
17 Q. Now, these plans that he gave you orally, did they include any
18 detail about the attack on Sector South?
19 A. Absolutely no.
20 Q. Did you have any information about the attack on Sector South,
21 it's time, strength, or direction?
22 A. Again, no. The information he gave us to led to us believe that
23 the Croatian forces are going to join with the 5th corps behind us, and
24 that we're going to get caught in a pincher. So that, for us, was very,
25 very, important.
1 Q. And now you're talking about Sector North, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So you had no information whatsoever about the attack on
4 Sector South?
5 A. None whatsoever. I know it is shortcoming from direction of
6 Petrinja, so Banja Corps had to know about it. And I know it is coming
7 from a direction of Karlovac, which is important to us because it is it
8 our own AOR
9 very important.
10 Q. You also testified about the fear that the Serbs in the Krajina
11 had about the Croatian forces. Do you remember testifying about that?
12 A. Yes, on several occasions.
13 Q. And you have also testified that the Croatian army helped
14 creating the fear by situations like Medak pocket, Maslenica, and other
16 A. That is correct.
17 Q. And yesterday while discussing this flag over Knin castle, you
18 referred to Croatian propaganda. Would such propaganda also instill fear
19 in the Serbs in Sector North?
20 A. Absolutely. The radio waves were open completely between us and
21 them. You can listen to radio Osijek if you wanted to or radio Zagreb
22 while you're in RSK. So whatever is happening over there, we can be fed
23 with all sorts of things without being absolutely certain this is what is
25 Q. And did you hear any -- any public statements made by Croatians
1 that reinforced those fears?
2 A. Myself personally, no.
3 Q. Did you hear of any such public statements being made by
5 A. Now it's totally now fuzzy in my head. Whether I heard it or
6 somebody told me about it, the late president Tudjman said it was Krajina
7 without Serbs in it. That was not a secret; everybody knew that. But I
8 can't claim today 20 years ago whether I heard that on the TV, whether I
9 heard it from somebody who was present, I can't really say. But that
10 would be one of the things to me, very important.
11 Q. Are you familiar with the Spegelj tapes?
12 A. Done by the JNA or any other tapes?
13 Q. Well, the tapes that --
14 A. Tapes which I know about are done by the JNA, and that was before
15 it's conflict.
16 Q. Okay. I'm referring to tapes done during the conflict.
17 A. The ones which they screened on a local TV was the plan of what
18 the Croatian army is going do, or what is expected from them. And it's
19 recorded every JNA officer and kill him on the spot in the place where
20 they live, for example.
21 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, if we can get some foundation on what
22 tape during the conflict Mr. Hedaraly is referring to. I'm not aware of
23 any such tape.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, is this a suggestion you're willing
25 follow or ...
1 MR. HEDARALY: I would prefer not. I mean, we can ask the
2 witness what he just described what that --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if he perhaps would explain to us about these
4 tapes what they are, because that's not ...
5 MR. MISETIC: Just so we're clear, Mr. President, the witness
6 testified about JNA tapes before the conflict which we will concede the
7 point existed. If we're going into some other tapes involving
8 Mr. Spegelj during the conflict, then I think counsel has an obligation
9 to have a good faith basis to say that such tapes existed. Because I'm
10 just saying I'm unaware of it, and if he can help me out and tell me what
11 that is.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, as guidance from the Chamber, you are
13 invited to follow the suggestion of Mr. Misetic, primarily because
14 matters are not perfectly clear to the Chamber, at least not to me.
15 MR. HEDARALY: I can just ask the witness, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. HEDARALY:
18 Q. What you testified to that you heard about what was going to
19 happen, when did you hear that? You said it was screened on TV. Can you
20 give information as to what that was, that you saw --
21 A. You got me confused. Are we still talking about the Spegelj
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. Spegelj tapes were screened fairly regularly. Anytime they
25 wanted to create a bit of a panic and say, Well, this is what we're going
1 expect from them. This is it. These tapes are made prior to conflict,
2 you're correct. So I have not seen any tapes made after the actual
3 conflict has started.
4 Q. And they were not made, but were they played during the conflict?
5 A. They were played, yes.
6 Q. And they said that the Croatian authorities would slaughter the
7 Serbs in Knin, that it would kill the officers of the JNA, their wives,
8 and that this would be a general slaughter house.
9 Is that the general --
10 A. Basically that was the idea of the tapes.
11 Q. So the reality is that there was propaganda and fear on both
12 sides and fostered by both sides; is that right?
13 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I'm going to object. The witness
14 needs to be asked - I think he indicated it, but to the extent it was
15 unclear - who was playing the Spegelj tapes and for what purpose.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Well --
17 MR. MISETIC: I think the witness indicated who was playing the
18 tapes. So he can't say both sides unless he has established --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Unless we're not just talking about these tapes, but
20 talking about a wider propaganda machine on both sides. That's at least
21 what I understood.
22 MR. HEDARALY: Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please specify in your question exactly,
24 if you say both sides and propaganda, what the kind of propaganda exactly
25 was, so as to say that they were broadcast by this and by this party,
1 with similar content of things to be expected or different content, so
2 that we get more than just a yes or no on a question which is lacking
3 sufficient precision.
4 MR. HEDARALY:
5 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, are you aware of any propaganda by the Croatian
6 side about what would happen to the Serbs in the Krajina?
7 A. During the time of the conflict?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. No. You have to realize for the first year and a half we had no
10 power; we had no electricity. I was living by a tiny little bulb like
11 that that was connected to the battery of my car. So we had no
12 possibility of watching TV or listening to the radio or reading the daily
13 news or anything like that, no.
14 Q. And you testified yesterday that that fear was also created or,
15 at least, entertained, in part, by the actions of the Croatian forces in
16 other military operations.
17 Is that right?
18 A. That is correct. And I add, I'll give you a perfect example when
19 they are screening Croatian parliament, there's going to be a gentleman
20 come up on the stage and he goes with the -- he raises his right fist and
21 says "za dom spremni." If you are a Serb, it makes you feel very uneasy.
22 Q. Can you just please say what you mean "za dom spremni" in
23 English, just for the transcript?
24 A. You can't even try to translate that. It's "za dom spremni,"
25 ready for the homeland. That would be as close as I can come. But it
1 was a typical salute of the Ustashas during the World War II.
2 Q. And is that why it would make Serbs feel uneasy?
3 A. Absolutely. My own side, if they wanted to increase a bit of
4 attention and say, Well, we can't live with them, they would just refer
5 to 1945 -- back to 1945. This is what happened to you then. What do you
6 expect from them today? And they would come up with a little video of,
7 you know, of filming the areas which were recently under attack by the
8 Croatian forces, like Medak pocket, scorched earth, everything is dead,
9 chicken, pigs, people, nothing is moving.
10 Q. And was that, as far as you are aware, are these things that
11 actually happened, or were they just made up by the RSK?
12 A. No. They did happen. There's sufficient evidence of things that
13 happened in -- in Maslenica by the international community reported.
14 There's sufficient documentation supported -- gathered by the Canadian
15 army which was in -- in area of Medak pocket at the time. That's film
16 footage, there are documents, statements.
17 Q. And all of these contributed to the fear that the Serbs had of
18 the Croatian forces?
19 A. Reinforced fear, I can say. Not create something new.
20 Q. Mm-hm.
21 A. All you had to is just light up a little fire under something
22 that is already there, lurking in a corner somewhere. So just do a
23 little -- emphasise it a bit and then bring it back to life again.
24 MR. HEDARALY: Mr. President, now would be a good time for a
1 JUDGE ORIE: It is a good time for a break.
2 We will resume at ten minutes past 4.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Just very briefly, I do understand that the portion
6 of the video that was played and which has received D1469, has now been
7 uploaded in e-court.
8 Mr. Registrar, you would not contradict the Defence in this
9 respect, would you? No? You're nodding no.
10 That means that D1469 is admitted into evidence.
11 Any further progress in relation to the evidence, in relation to
12 possible videolink? I think you would --
13 MR. MISETIC: My apologies, Your Honour, that fell off the --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Fell off the agenda.
15 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, your agendas during the breaks are most likely
17 as busy as ours are.
18 Okay. No news there. Next break?
19 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 MR. MISETIC: And may -- I was reminded that I failed to do
22 something yesterday. We used the organigram with the witness yesterday,
23 and failed to tender it. So if Mr. Hedaraly wouldn't mind if I could
24 just tender this. It's 65 ter 1D2685.
25 MR. HEDARALY: I don't mind if Mr. Misetic tenders it now. And I
1 will not object to it either.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, that would be?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1470, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
5 Mr. Hedaraly, are you ready to continue?
6 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, you were asked questions yesterday about the
8 St. Vitus Day parade in June 1995, I believe, end of June 1995?
9 A. Yes, sir.
10 Q. And some of the weapons on display then came from Republika
11 Srpska and were sent there back after the parade. Is that right?
12 A. That is correct.
13 MR. HEDARALY: If I can have 65 ter 7250, please, on the screen.
14 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, you're going to see on your screen, two pictures,
15 two photographs, of yourself that were part of the series of photographs
16 that you had provided to the Office of the Prosecutor when you gave your
18 The first one is referenced at paragraph 8 -- picture number 18
19 at page 35 of your statement, and you said, This is a French captain who
20 spoke fluent Serbian. His parents were Serbs, but he was born in France,
21 and you state that you are there wearing a British uniform.
22 MR. HEDARALY: If we go to the next page, next photograph.
23 Q. And that is at paragraph -- well, item number 78 at page 40 of
24 your statement. This time you're there in a French uniform on the day
25 the RSK army gave its first pledge at Petrova Gora to a nobody.
1 I just want to ask you, why were you wearing different uniforms,
2 a French uniform, a British uniform, what was the idea behind this?
3 A. Vanity. I look good in it. But if you look at both photographs,
4 you'll find out that the British uniform and the French uniform carry the
5 insignia of the RSK on it.
6 Q. And is that something that you would do regularly in the course
7 of your assignments or when you would meet with people to wear uniforms
8 of different nationalities?
9 A. It was -- with me it was on a regular basis, yes.
10 Q. And what other uniforms would you wear?
11 A. I had a Polish uniform, I had a Dutch uniform.
12 Q. And you wear all of these on a regular basis. Would you just --
13 whatever you felt like in the morning?
14 A. Switch them around, yes, whichever was clean the next day.
15 Q. Okay.
16 A. I had a JNA uniform, too, but it looked ridiculous. Ah, the
18 Q. I want to briefly talk to you about the four peace conferences
19 that you attended. And now there were tow in Geneva, one in Vienna, one
20 in Norway; is that correct?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. The first one was on 16 June 1993 in Geneva?
23 A. I assume you have the right date.
24 Q. I'm relying on your testimony in the Milosevic case --
25 A. Yes. Yes, it was.
1 Q. And just for the record, it's at 12401, lines 22 to 25 there.
2 And the next one was on -- all of these are from the transcript
3 in Milosevic, just so I tell you what I'm relying on.
4 A. Okay. Because then I had actual passport in front of me, so I
5 read the dates.
6 Q. And yet you testified yesterday that everything that you
7 testified to in Milosevic was the truth; right?
8 A. Absolutely.
9 Q. So the next one was on 16 July 1993 in Geneva. Then shortly
10 thereafter, 20 to 22nd July, 1993, in Vienna, and the last one was
11 12th September, 1993, in Norway.
12 Is that generally also consistent with your memory?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, references to the Milosevic transcript
15 would be accompanied by an observation, if they were not in evidence from
16 what I -- not to say that it's illegal to do that, but the reference you
17 just made is to a portion which is not in evidence.
18 MR. HEDARALY: [Overlapping speakers] ... Your Honour, I don't
19 need to tender it. I simply want the dates to be here, so --
20 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... No, no. I'm not
21 inviting you, but just for us to know whether we can verify it, yes or
22 not, in the evidence.
23 MR. HEDARALY: That is correct, it is not in the evidence, those
24 portions. I can refer to each of the references to each of the dates,
25 but since --
1 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that if there are any problems with that
2 that we would hear from the Defence.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you.
5 Q. So the first one, 16 June, the last was 12th September, 1993. So
6 when you testified about these negotiations between the RSK and Croatia,
7 these are meetings and events surrounding these meetings that you
8 attended; right?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. And that's in the period of roughly three months, June to
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And by the time Operation Storm started, it had been roughly two
14 years since had you attended a peace negotiation; correct?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. So you are not aware of any details about the negotiations in
17 Geneva on the 3rd of August, 1995?
18 A. No.
19 Q. You don't --
20 A. No, no. I wasn't part of it.
21 Q. I was just pausing because of the translation. I was not
22 suggesting that your answer was not complete.
23 A. Okay.
24 Q. So you don't know -- you didn't know at the time the details of
25 what was negotiated, who accepted what, or who refused what, and so on;
2 A. Correct.
3 MR. HEDARALY: Just a moment, Your Honour.
4 Your Honour, if I can tender 65 ter 7250, and I will then
5 complete -- that will conclude my cross-examination, the two photographs.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE ORIE: No objections.
8 Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit P2535.
10 JUDGE ORIE: P2535 is admitted into evidence.
11 Mr. Lazarevic, there are two matters I'd like to briefly address.
12 The first is the lapse of time between you were informed about
13 the attack by Mr. Jenssen and the commencement of the attack. In the
14 Milosevic case, you testified, and I will read it to you:
15 "The operation itself started on the morning of August the 5th,"
16 which, at least the parties here say it's the 4th, "however, we have been
17 inferred about a pending attack two days prior in every detail about the
18 time, the strength, and the direction of the attack."
19 And you then said you learned this through your connections with
21 Mr. Misetic, where you said that the name of Mr. Bent Jenssen was
22 mentioned in the Milosevic trial on that page, it's not, but --
23 MR. HEDARALY: It is in the statement, though, which is in
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes, but Mr. Misetic specifically said, we find
1 -- but let's try to focus on my question.
2 Yesterday you testified that it was the day before the attack
3 that you learned about it, not two days prior to the attack.
4 Now, which one is the correct version?
5 THE WITNESS: I had enough time to read my statements at a later
6 stage and kind of go through my memory, and it was absolutely the day
7 before the attack.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes.
9 So what you said in your statement and your testimony here in
10 court overrules what you said as a witness in the Milosevic trial. You
11 -- that then was a mistake.
12 THE WITNESS: It was my memory then.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 THE WITNESS: And obviously I made a mistake. It was done
15 willingly. I mean, no ulterior motives to it. I would like to remind
16 Your Honour that there were five days of my life which are absolutely
17 terrifying and confusing at the time. Making a mistake of, did it happen
18 early afternoon or early morning next today, to me, is one and the same,
19 for simple reason, I only remember being day or night. I don't remember
20 the dates anymore.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. No, I'm not -- it's just you attested to both
22 -- to your statement and to the transcript, so, therefore, I consider
23 that important to establish what --
24 THE WITNESS: Sorry for interrupting you. I thought
25 [indiscernible] was present when Jenssen was giving that information me.
1 And she is absolutely certain it was the day before the attack which
2 confirmed my doubts maybe I have the wrong date.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for that answer.
4 Now finally the Chamber was a bit confused about the testimony
5 about what was played, and what was not played, and what instilled fear,
6 what tapes were played.
7 Let me take you back to a part of what you told us today.
8 You told about -- I think about tapes from a Croatian origin
9 where you said:
10 "These tapes are made prior to conflict, you're correct, so I
11 have not seen any tapes made after the actual conflict had started."
12 And then a question was put to you:
13 "And they were not made but they were played during the
15 And then you said: "They were played, yes."
16 Now, later in your testimony you said that you had no electricity
17 and you couldn't watch television at all. That's a bit -- a puzzle for
18 me, where, on the one hand, you said they were played, and they were made
19 prior to the conflict; they were played also after the conflict had
20 started. But you're unable to watch television.
21 Could you explain.
22 THE WITNESS: There is a period of time in RSK where we did not
23 have power. We got power about 18 months after I arrived on the ground.
24 So anything that happened in those 18 months, it was televised or placed
25 on radio, I have no idea or knowledge because I just couldn't see it.
1 After that period, once we got the TV back -- and it was mostly
2 the HRT
3 JUDGE ORIE: And could you tell me exactly what point in time you
4 are talking about when you got the electricity back?
5 THE WITNESS: I came in -- I came in in 1991.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 THE WITNESS: So the UN came in early 1992, so it would be
8 halfway down the road, so, let's say, June/July 1992.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So when you were referring to the conflict,
10 you were referring to, you said not seen any tapes made after the actual
11 conflict has started. Are you talking about Operation Storm or the
12 conflict in its entirety?
13 THE WITNESS: I'm talking about the conflict in its entirety. So
14 I'm covering the period of time that I was this Topusko, from 1991 to
15 August 1995. For the first 18 months of that period, we did not have
16 electricity. Eighteen months later, yes, we did. In that entire period
17 of time, there were no Croatian tapes played on the TV that I have seen.
18 But I did see tapes which are kind of reruns of the things that happened
19 prior to the conflict, the Spegelj tapes, for example, they were made
20 much earlier than when the conflict happened. And the ones which I have
21 seen that were made later than the conflict would be the Medak pocket
22 tapes, which were televised on Canadian television, somebody got a tape
23 out and gave it to us, so we played it on our television as well. Things
24 like that.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, let me try to understand the gist of your
1 answers given to Mr. Hedaraly also in relation to your statement and your
2 testimony earlier.
3 Did I understand you well when you said that both from the Serb
4 side and from the Croatian side there was broadcasts, television, which,
5 from both sides, depicted the situation you could expect, which was not a
6 good one, so that both the Serb side and the Croatian side, whether we
7 call it propaganda, not, but at least televised programmes which were of
8 a kind that you could get scared about what would happen once the Croats
9 would be in power again?
10 Is that well understood or not? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
11 I'm trying to understand the gist.
12 THE WITNESS: There is a distinction here. I don't think I have
13 ever said that the Croatian or the Serbian side had a programme on the TV
14 in relation to what will happen if Krajina falls. That would be from the
15 Serbian side, not the Croatian side.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 THE WITNESS: So everything they had it on a tape from Croatian
18 parliament, it was chosen to be shown on Banja Luka TV, so we can see it.
19 And that would be the one that we can -- didn't feel too good about it.
20 So it was a selective programming from the Serbian TV, not the
21 Croatian TV. It might have happened in Croatia at certain period of time
22 and they would take out of context and screen it for us.
23 JUDGE ORIE: So Serbian TV depicted a situation of horror,
24 suggesting that this is what you could expect.
25 THE WITNESS: You're absolutely right.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Whereas the Croatian television you said showed --
2 THE WITNESS: We didn't watch it.
3 JUDGE ORIE: You didn't watch it.
4 THE WITNESS: No.
5 JUDGE ORIE: No. So it came from one side only.
6 But you said a second ago, let me just ...
7 The Serbs would show what happened in Croatian parliament.
8 THE WITNESS: Correct.
9 JUDGE ORIE: So it was entirely from the Serb side that the
10 public was informed about the disastrous events that one could expect
11 once the Croats would be in power again.
12 THE WITNESS: Yes, to make it more clear, there was a live
13 broadcast on Croatian TV, sitting of a parliament. And you got this guy
14 coming up with the Ustasha salute. It would be taken over by Serbian,
15 made into short film, and shown on our TV, not the whole sitting of the
16 parliament all day long, just this session. And they would kind of
17 reinforce what they are saying, that nothing good would come out of it.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And that was mainly because they selected
19 those portions, whereas, although you didn't watch Croatian television,
20 that if you would have watched it, it would have just been a moment and
21 not focussed propaganda but just a moment in parliamentary events.
22 THE WITNESS: Exactly, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. And I wanted to verify whether I
24 understood, and I apparently did not understand your testimony well, so
25 that's -- that was a good exercise.
1 Thank you for those answers.
2 Any need to put further questions to Mr. Lazarevic?
3 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President just a few questions.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
5 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
6 Re-examination by Mr. Misetic:
7 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, you were asked about what happened when you got to
8 Serbia and people being directed to Kosovo. Let me just ask you,
9 obviously you testified in the Milosevic trial. Are you aware of the
10 testimony of Milan Babic on the same point that you were making,
11 regarding direction of Krajina Serb refugees to Kosovo?
12 A. No. No, I'm not aware of it.
13 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, this is at -- we've tendered this as
14 92 quater testimony of Mr. Babic and is, for the record, transcript page
15 13263 to 64 in the Milosevic trial. And it is Mr. Babic's conversation
16 with Mr. Milosevic.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
18 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I think -- I think that is
19 quite leading, and it is also a matter of -- the point that I made was
20 that he didn't have any knowledge.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just -- I heard one question, are you aware
22 of the testimony of Milan Babic? And then in a rather -- the reference
23 to the content of it is, I would say, relatively neutral. The answer
24 was, No, I'm not aware of it. Now Mr. Misetic says, just for the Court's
25 information, this is where I refer to. I didn't hear any further
1 question -- I don't know whether there's any question following, so
2 leading here ...
3 MR. HEDARALY: Well, to the extent he is going to read something
4 that the witness is not aware of and then ask him then --
5 JUDGE ORIE: I don't know whether Mr. Misetic is going to read
6 it. He did not announce that -- yes -- yet.
7 Do you want to read that?
8 MR. MISETIC: No, I will not read it, if he doesn't know anything
9 it. However --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that is what I expected, yes.
11 MR. MISETIC: -- I'm a limited confused because Mr. Hedaraly says
12 he only asked him what he knew about it. I don't know -- I assume from
13 his questioning on that point that this is now a point in dispute between
14 the Defence and the Prosecution. And I wish to point out the position of
15 the Prosecution in the Milosevic case on this point.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, should we do that in the presence of the
17 witness, or should we do that at an -- [Overlapping speakers] ...
18 MR. HEDARALY: That was the point.
19 MR. MISETIC: [Overlapping speakers] ... Hence why I was going to
20 move on and not put anymore questions --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's what I expected you would do, but
22 Mr. Hedaraly has apparently some other expectations.
23 Let's proceed.
24 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly will be happy, and you do what you
1 intended to do anyhow.
2 Please proceed.
3 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Now you were asked a few questions about the interpreters and
5 whether they could affect the reporting of the ECMM and the UN. And I
6 wanted to bring you back to page 10 of your 1999 statement. And if I
7 could hand you again a copy of your 1999 statement.
8 It's page 10 at the top. You say:
9 "Our sole objective was to obstruct the work of the ECMM, and
10 later of the UN. We did everything to keep them from finding out the
11 truth, and we repeatedly supplied them with misinformation. It was
12 amazing to us how often they believed what we were saying. But if you
13 keep repeating the same lies again and again, it seems as if anyone would
14 eventually conclude that it must be true, that no one could lie so often
15 and so consistently."
16 My question to you is: When you were supplying them with
17 misinformation, was it your intent that they report that misinformation?
18 A. Absolutely.
19 Q. Do you know if in fact the UN and the ECMM would then report your
20 misinformation on?
21 A. I don't know.
22 Q. Okay. Do you have any -- did you ever encounter a situation
23 where they contested or disputed the misinformation you were giving them?
24 A. Did I ever contested it?
25 Q. No, that you provided them misinformation, and they challenged
1 your account?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. And what would happen in those instances?
4 A. I assume they wouldn't use it.
5 Q. In instances where they didn't challenge the misinformation that
6 you had provided them, what would you assume?
7 A. That they would use it to a certain extent.
8 Q. Okay. You were asked about the information that Mr. Jenssen had
9 provided you, and you said that it was information about the attack in
10 Sector North. Yet you provided that information to the Knin HQ. Why did
11 you forward information about an attack in Sector North to the Knin HQ?
12 A. Military structure requested it. This is your HQ. This is my
13 army. My sector is going to be attacked. My commanding officer is sound
14 asleep. I'm sending it to the HQ instead of him sending. But HQ need to
16 Q. Okay. On this issue of the Spegelj tapes, you had indicated to
17 Mr. Hedaraly that they were produced by the JNA.
18 Can you explain what you know about this?
19 A. I can't really place the date. It was absolutely before the
20 conflict. I think Slovenia was still in -- in Socialist Federal Republic
21 of Yugoslavia. The military section of KOS had followed Spegelj and made
22 some secret tapes of his meetings, and I think it was screened on the
23 Croatian TV as well. So it was not something that was done in Belgrade
24 and just for benefit of Belgrade. It was done for the benefit of all of
25 Yugoslavia at the time. So everybody had a chance to look at it, listen
1 it, they even had a subtitle in the case you missed what was said. But
2 if I to put a date on it, I would say at least a year before anything
3 really bad happened in Yugoslavia.
4 Q. Do you know what the Croatian position was on the authenticity of
5 that KOS tape?
6 A. They argued a point that it's all made up.
7 Q. Okay. Thank you --
8 A. But whoever -- okay.
9 Q. Sorry. Thank you very much, Mr. Lazarevic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lazarevic, this concludes your evidence in this
11 court, unless Mr. Hedaraly would --
12 MR. HEDARALY: I was just wondering whether we should let the
13 witness finish his last answer as he started saying a few words and then
14 was stopped. I was struggling with his last answer.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, so you would like to know the whole of his
17 Mr. Lazarevic, I'll read to you what is on the transcript as last
18 question and answer.
19 The question was:
20 "Do you know what the Croatian position was on the authenticity
21 of that KOS tape?
22 You then said:
23 "They argued a point that it's all made up," that it was all made
24 up, I understand.
25 And then you continued to say: "But whoever ..." and then you
1 were stopped.
2 What did you want to add to the answer you gave?
3 THE WITNESS: Everybody else thought they are the genuine tapes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So it was only the Croatians who thought it
5 was a fraud, and you say others --
6 THE WITNESS: To us, at the time, it was no surprise that the
7 Croatian authorities would deny that those tapes are genuine. Rest of
8 us, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonian, Bosnia looked at it, no, it is
9 genuine tape, kind of fits with the profile of a new budding Croatia.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for completing that answer.
11 Then this concludes your testimony, Mr. Lazarevic. I'd like to
12 thank you very much for coming to The Hague and to answer the questions
13 that were put to you by the parties and by the Bench, and I wish you a
14 safe trip home again.
15 You are excused.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, is the Gotovina Defence ready to call
19 it's next witness?
20 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, we are.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, no protective measures.
22 MR. KEHOE: No, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And your next witness will be Ms. Vesna Skare
24 Ozbolt; is that correct?
25 MR. KEHOE: That's correct.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we will have to wait until the usher
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon. Can you hear me in a language you
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Before you give evidence in this Court, the Rules of
8 Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn declaration that you
9 will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth.
10 The text is now handed out to you by Madam Usher. May I invite
11 to you make that solemn declaration.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
13 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please be seated.
15 Ms. Skare Ozbolt, you will first be examined by Mr. Kehoe.
16 Mr. Kehoe is counsel for Mr. Gotovina.
17 You may proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 WITNESS: VESNA SKARE OZBOLT
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Examination by Mr. Kehoe
22 Q. Good afternoon. We have met and talked before. I'd like to
23 first address the statement that you provided. And with the assistance
24 of the usher if I could give a hard copy to the witness, I would
25 appreciate it. And for the record this is 65 ter 1D2686.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I have to ask you some questions with regard to that.
3 Now, do you recall meeting with the members of the Gotovina
4 Defence team on the 3rd of October, 2007, as reflected in the front of
5 that sheet. Yes?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... signing that document --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. On 13 June 2008?
10 A. I do remember.
11 Q. Now, as we go through this and just looking at this document can
12 you just state your full name for the record.
13 A. My full name is Vesna Skare Ozbolt.
14 Q. Now, just Ms. Skare Ozbolt, just looking at the statement that's
15 before you, you have -- have you had a chance to look through that
16 document before you came in here today?
17 A. Yes. And I do have a small correction to make at point 10.
18 Q. Could you tell the Trial Chamber what that correction is.
19 A. It's the word "stablisation," under paragraph 10. The term
20 normalisation would more accurately reflect what I meant to say.
21 Q. With the exception of this one clarification, Ms. Skare Ozbolt,
22 would the rest of the document accurately reflect what you told the
23 members of the Gotovina Defence team at the time?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And --
1 A. Precisely.
2 Q. And if I asked the same questions that are detailed in that
3 statement, would you give the same answers, with the exception of the one
4 clarification that you made?
5 A. Yes, I would give the same answers.
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, Your Honours, at this time we'll offer
7 into evidence 65 ter 1D2686 into evidence.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
9 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Registrar, that would be number?
11 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1471, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: D1471 is admitted into evidence.
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I did in fact discuss the summary with
14 the witness prior to coming in here today, so she is aware of the purpose
15 of that summary. If I may, with Your Honours permission, just read that
16 briefly now.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
18 MR. KEHOE: As of 20 January 1995, Vesna Skare Ozbolt was the
19 assistant Chief of Staff of the office of the president of the Republic
20 of Croatia. Ms. Ozbolt participated in negotiations on behalf of the
21 Republic of Croatia with representatives of Serb authorities in attempts
22 to achieve the peaceful reintegration of the so-called Republic of Serb
23 Krajina. These negotiations included negotiations in Geneva on
24 3 August 1995.
25 Ms. Ozbolt will testify that Croatia's goal was always the
1 peaceful reintegration of its sovereign territory and that had the
2 representatives of the so-called Republic of Serb Krajina in Geneva
3 accepted Croatia's proposal, Operation Storm would not have commenced on
4 4 August 1995. Rather, a peaceful reintegration would have occurred
5 similar to the process later undertaken with the peaceful reintegration
6 of Eastern Slavonia.
7 Ms. Ozbolt will also testify that the fact that the United States
8 Ambassador Peter Galbraith had obtained Milan Babic's acceptance of the
9 Z-4 plan while the negotiations in Geneva were ongoing was irrelevant,
10 because Dr. Babic, at that time, was in no position to implement the
12 Ms. Ozbolt will further testify that it was not Croatia's intent
13 to remove the Serbs from the occupied territories in the Krajina and that
14 she personally received numerous instructions to take all means to ensure
15 that as many Serbs as possible remained in Croatia.
16 That would be the basic summary of the testimony. With
17 Your Honours' permission, if I could proceed.
18 JUDGE ORIE: You may proceed.
19 MS. GUSTAFSON: I apologise for interrupting, Your Honour.
20 A. I understand that the summaries have no evidentiary value, but I
21 would have taken issue with some of the characterizes of what was in that
22 statement based on the summary, and I just want to put that on the
24 Thank you.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I think it was good practice that the summaries
1 would be sent to the other parties to see whether there would be any
2 objection to the way in which the statements would be summarized.
3 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, that didn't happen through the entire
4 Prosecution case.
5 JUDGE ORIE: I never -- I'm --
6 MR. KEHOE: And I did object about it on several occasions. When
7 summaries were given, I objected to how it was framed, and --
8 JUDGE ORIE: I always thought that that was in view of what was
9 -- had been sent. Then I -- if this -- then I'm perhaps confusing the
10 practice in other cases where we resolved these matters by inviting the
11 parties to share the content of the summary in advance so that if there
12 would be any problems that it could be resolved between the parties
13 primarily, and if I'm wrong, Mr. Kehoe, then I have done great injustice
14 to the Defence.
15 MR. KEHOE: It's -- I'm just pointing out how we have been
16 practicing to date. What we have provided, of course, and the
17 Prosecution has provided us, and we did the same, is to the extent that
18 there are additions, some deviations concerning what is in the 92 ter
19 statement, we provide a supplemental sheet to counsel.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the Chamber is aware of that the proofing notes
21 or -- we will find another moment to see -- if this was a once incident,
22 then, of course, we shouldn't pay too much attention to it. But if this
23 would be a repeating issue, then of course, we would have to find a more
24 satisfactory solution for it.
25 Ms. Skare Ozbolt, let's move on and not waste your time, I'm not
1 saying our time, but not waste your time with, at this moment, further
2 exploring this matter.
3 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, basically in your statement we are talking events
6 that took place from 1994 and 1995 while you were working in the Croatian
7 government. But can you give the Trial Chamber an idea of your
8 experience beginning in 1991, your experiences and what jobs you held
9 while you were in working for the Republic of Croatia.
10 A. In 1991, I became advisor to the president of the republic for
11 public relations, which post I held up until sometime in 1994, when, for
12 a short period of time, I was his Chief of Staff of the office, and then,
13 rather, chef de cabinet, and then subsequently assistant to the Chief of
14 Staff of the office where I was charged with relations with
15 representatives of the occupied territories in Croatia and with missions
16 of representatives of the United Nations representation offices present
17 in Croatia.
18 When the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia commenced, I
19 was on behalf of the president of the republic, charged together with the
20 head of mission of the UN, UNTAES, Jacques-Paul Klein with the process of
21 reintegration itself.
22 In 1997, I held the position, which was called the president of
23 the national committee for confidence restoration and reconciliation
24 between the Serbs and Croats. These are all the positions I held. And
25 in addition to these, I was advisor to the president of the republic for
1 political matters up until 1999.
2 Q. And the president that you're talking about throughout all this
3 is President Franjo Tudjman.
4 A. I'm referring to the president of the republic,
5 Dr. Franjo Tudjman, yes.
6 Q. You mentioned a few moments ago that you took over the position
7 of the assistant Chief of Staff to the president. And I'd like to show
8 you a document that is 65 ter 1D2608.
9 MR. KEHOE: If I can just put that on the screen.
10 Q. If you could take a look at this, Ms. Ozbolt.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Just -- do you recognise this, ma'am?
13 A. I do.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and what is it?
15 A. This is the decision appointing myself to the position of the
16 assistant Chief of Staff of the office of the president of the republic.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and this is 30 January 1995?
18 A. Probably, yes.
19 Q. You see it's in the left -- it's the lower left-hand corner?
20 A. Yes, can I see it.
21 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time, we'll offer into evidence
22 65 ter 1D2608.
23 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1472.
1 JUDGE ORIE: D1472 is admitted into evidence.
2 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
3 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, your statement, and I'm talking specifically where
5 you discuss in paragraphs 2, 4, and 5, you discuss your experiences
6 concerning negotiations with the Krajina Serbs concerning the
8 Now, when did you first begin to negotiate with the Krajina Serbs
9 concerning some type of resolution to the issue that was -- had formed
10 the Republic of Serb Krajina. When did you begin?
11 A. I must admit, that the process was embarked upon far earlier.
12 Back in 1991, as early as 1991, I visited the Knin area on two occasions
13 and talked to the then representatives of authority there.
14 Subsequently, in the capacity of the assistant to the Chief of
15 Staff of the office, I negotiated, together with the Chief of Staff, the
16 opening up of roads, particularly in the area of Western Slavonia, and at
17 a later date, in the area of eastern -- of Eastern Slavonia as well.
18 Q. Now, we are -- in your statement, you talk about the negotiations
19 in 1995. And you just noted for us, there were negotiations prior to
21 Throughout all these negotiations was there a -- some fundamental
22 negotiating positions that the Republic of Croatia had with regard to the
23 Republic of Serb Krajina?
24 A. The negotiations were ongoing, as of 1991, and gathered pace in
25 late 1994, when certain specific and tangible results were obtained. The
1 so-called economic agreement was signed between Borislav Mikelic, as a
2 representative of the so-called government of the SAO Krajina, and Hrvoje
4 Thereafter, negotiations continued about the issue of opening up
5 of roads in Western Slavonia; whereas, the agreement I referred to
6 earlier was signed in late 1994. The objective of the agreement was to
7 ensure that the railway lines and the highway leading from Zagreb towards
8 Eastern Slavonia be opened up, as well as the oil pipeline traversing the
10 Another goal was to ensure the opening up of the roads leading to
11 southern Croatia.
12 The agreement signed at the time was regarded as a very positive
13 one, in our view. However, it did not take hold because the
14 representatives of the SAO Krajina did not honour it. The person who
15 signed the agreement on their side, Borislav Mikelic, experienced a great
16 deal of trouble for having signed the agreement to begin with.
17 The highway which was opened at the time was shut down again
18 since it was the subject of numerous incidents. Thus, up until the
19 commencement of Operation Flash, there were certainly around 90 incidents
20 observed along that particular highway. When it became evident that the
21 negotiations made no sense and once we have exhausted all our options, on
22 the 1st of May, Operation Flash commenced.
23 Q. Let me take you back even before Operation Flash, and I would
24 like to direct to you paragraph 2 in your statement, and I believe it's
25 the fourth sentence in paragraph 2, where you say that:
1 "The Republic of Croatia's goals in these negotiations was the
2 peaceful reintegration of the so-called Krajina into the Republic of
4 Now --
5 A. Yes, precisely so. That was the goal, and that was the way by
6 which we wanted to reintegrate not only the territory involved but also
7 the individuals residing in the area; that's to say, the Serbs.
8 Our goal was to restore the territory back to the constitutional
9 order of the Republic of Croatia through peaceful means, to ensure that
10 the Serb population residing in the area stayed there and was
11 reintegrated into the society, and to have the population that had been
12 previously expelled from the territory return. Our intention was to
13 embark on a -- on the process with peaceful means, since the purpose was
14 to put a stop to all the effects that the war had inflicted on the area.
15 Q. So correct me if I'm wrong, but peaceful reintegration, the Serbs
16 would stay in the Krajina and the Croatian population that had been
17 expelled after 1991 would come back.
18 A. Of course.
19 Q. How long in your -- I'm sorry.
20 A. Yes, precisely. This was in fact the initial agreement that the
21 Croatian government signed in 1992, when the first peace plan was signed,
22 that was the Vance Plan, when the first peacekeeping forces arrived in
23 Croatia. This was precisely the objective, to stop the war and to ensure
24 a gradual -- a reintegration of the territory into the constitutional
25 system of the Republic of Croatia and the reintegration of the population
1 into Croatian society.
2 Q. So, you noted for us just now, I believe, that this was the first
3 -- the peaceful reintegration was the first plan beginning in 1992. Did
4 the plan for peaceful reintegration stay in effect up until Geneva on the
5 3rd of August, 1995?
6 A. It did. However, there was a serious problem, which was that the
7 UN peace mission did not fulfil the task it had been sent there to begin
8 with. It did fulfil its primary task of putting a stop to hostilities,
9 but it did not fulfil the other tasks, the second being the
10 demilitarization of the area, and the third task being the return of the
11 population and normalization of life. This was something that the UN
12 failed to do through its mission there which was called UNPROFOR.
13 Ultimately for this reason, all the steps had to be taken which
14 were eventually taken. I would, however, like to point out that
15 following Operation Flash that when the highway was opened, the Croatian
16 government allowed free passage of trucks from the direction of Serbia
17 toward Sector South; that's to say, toward the Knin area, and allowed a
18 free flow of supplies that ensured normal life for them. Every day
19 trucks passed along the highway that the Croatian police checked for
20 possible weapons, and subsequently allowed them to continue their journey
22 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Skare Ozbolt, may I invite you to take a breath
23 every now and then, which would allow our transcribers and interpreters
24 to take a breath every now and then.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, thank you.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
2 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you for you guidance.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, let's take this in a little bit more chronological
6 order. And you mentioned that UNPROFOR -- or the view of Republic of
7 Croatia is that UNPROFOR did not complete its tasks successfully. And
8 thereafter, after their mission stopped or was not renewed by the
9 Republic of Croatia, another mission was signed with the Republic of
10 Croatia and the UN called UNCRO. Isn't that right?
11 A. That's right. As I said, the UNPROFOR mission performed
12 excellently at the start by stopping the war. However, its subsequent
13 performance was that of a peacekeeper, rather than a peacemaker. It did
14 not put into effect the demilitarization and did not ensure the return of
15 the displaced persons. This was a serious problem, despite the fact that
16 the Security Council resolutions which were passed in the meantime were
17 useful for Croatia because they kept reaffirming Croatia within its state
19 However, the years went by, and the status quo remained. This
20 was quite hard for Croatia to endure, since, at the time, Croatia was
21 blocked and cut off into at least three parts; namely, the southern part,
22 the direction toward Dalmatia, where the area around Knin was occupied,
23 made it impossible for that region to function at all. Likewise, the
24 eastern part of Croatia was severed from the central part of the country.
25 In economic terms, Croatia was unable to function this way in the
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... stop you right there. And
3 let's see if we can take some of these issues, and we'll get into these
4 issues that you're talking about as we go through some of documents.
5 Now you noted that UNPROFOR then became UNCRO. And this was the
6 latter part of 1994, going into the earlier part of 1995, was it not?
7 A. That is correct.
8 Q. Now, during -- when they moved -- when Croatia moved from
9 UNPROFOR to UNCRO, did the position of the Republic of Croatia for
10 negotiating through a peaceful reintegration of the RSK, did that change,
11 when they went from --
12 A. No, no. This never changed. It remained the same. The only
13 thing that changed were international representatives, with whom we
14 worked together.
15 Q. Let me show you a presidential transcript for a meeting held at
16 the palace that you attended on 11 January 1995, and that would be 65 ter
17 1D261 -- excuse me, 1D2613. Let me just show the cover page first and
18 then we can turn to individual pages. Just scroll that down.
19 As you can see this is 11 January 1995. You are present at this
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I would like to turn to page 14 in the English, and I do believe
23 it's the same page in the Croatian.
24 MR. KEHOE: And, Mr. President, this is a discussion of a letter
25 that goes on at some length that discusses the transition from -- from
1 UNPROFOR to UNCRO, and it lays out this correspondence going to the
2 Security Council and the Secretary-General by the Republic of Croatia,
3 and they're reading through this letter.
4 And if we can turn to the paragraph beginning -- the first full
5 paragraph, beginning with: "Croatia showed ..."
6 Q. This is, I do believe it's the president speaking at this time,
7 President Tudjman, he is speaking at this time. He notes that reading
8 this letter:
9 "Croatia showed and proved the highest degree of the goodwill,
10 wish for cooperation, and self-control in the last two, for us, very
11 difficult years. Croatia even accepted significant changes of the
12 Vance Plan, for example, about the establishment of the pink zones and
13 blue lines. The latter ones are part of the Zagreb cease-fire agreement
14 from 28 March -- from the 28 March, which has been violated severely.
15 The most obviously by the coordinated offensive and aggression on Bihac
16 by the Serbs from the occupied Croatian areas. The economical" -- should
17 be economic, of course. "The economical agreement was signed on
18 2 December 1994, and it should be seen as another obvious example of
19 Croatia's readiness to accept the process of peaceful reintegration of
20 the occupied areas."
21 Now we refer there, Ms. Ozbolt, to the economic agreement of
22 2 December 1994. Is that the agreement that you were discussing
24 A. Yes, that's precisely the agreement that I referred to in my
25 opening statement here today.
1 Q. And that agreement was the discussion about opening roads,
2 railways, and other transit routes; is that right?
3 A. That's right. Precisely so.
4 Q. And economically, at this juncture, why was that so important to
5 the Republic of Croatia, the opening of roads, railways and highways?
6 A. That was extremely important for the Republic of Croatia because,
7 practically, Croatia was unable to function as a whole. The southern
8 part of Dalmatia was completely cut off from Croatia, for example, the
9 area of Dubrovnik and Split were totally severed. The communications
10 were extremely difficult to maintain. The eastern part of Croatia, from
11 Osijek onwards was totally occupied and integrated into Yugoslavia.
12 To put it simply, that was a bread basket. However, there was no
13 agricultural activity there. In economic terms, Croatia was stagnating
14 and could not develop in a normal way. This agreement was extremely
15 important. You have to know that at that time Croatia had about half a
16 million of its own refugees who had been expelled from the occupied
17 areas, from the Knin area and Eastern Slavonia. It had also had more
18 than 300.000 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina that they took care of
19 on a daily basis. So put together, that amounted to more than 800.000
20 people to be supported by four and a half a million inhabitants of
21 Croatia. That was absolutely and completely difficult to sustain, and
22 precisely the initiative to conclude this economic agreement that would
23 lead to opening up of roads and other communication lines was of pivotal
24 important for Croatia. And I have to admit that we imagined that things
25 would improved after the signing of this economic agreement. However,
1 this never materialised because, as I said, the signatory no economic
2 agreement, immediately after he had signed it, was removed from the
3 office. I'm talking about Borislav Mikelic, the prime minister of
4 SAO Krajina.
5 Q. This was the prime minister of the Republic of Serb Krajina?
6 A. Yes. Yes.
7 Q. So let us continue with this transcript, if we can.
8 MR. KEHOE: If we can turn to page 16 of this transcript, and
9 we're not going read the whole thing, because it is quite extensive. But
10 if we could just highlight a few points --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, before we do that, could you find
12 somewhere in the next five, up to ten minutes, a moment suitable for a
13 break, because you apparently want to --
14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is as good as time as any, if
15 Your Honour wants to --
16 JUDGE ORIE: This is it as good a time as any.
17 Then we will have a break and resume at quarter to 6.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 5.25 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, I'm also looking at Mr. Misetic, who,
21 during the last break had forgotten something which he may not have
22 forgotten this break.
23 MR. KEHOE: He probably did.
24 JUDGE ORIE: You know him better.
25 Any news?
1 MR. MISETIC: Yes, this time I remembered.
2 Mr. Hedaraly and I have spoken, and in principle, the -- based on
3 the information I relayed to him which we received from VWU, the
4 Prosecution doesn't have any objection. Obviously there is a subpoena
5 issue here as well, so we're trying to work out the timing with the
6 Registrar to see when is the earliest opportunity we could get to do a
7 videolink with the witness.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 MR. MISETIC: But we will file a motion seeking a videolink with
10 the Chamber.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the Chamber will then --
12 MR. HEDARALY: And just to put on the record that it is correct
13 that we would not object a motion for videolink for that witness.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If Mr. Misetic says so, Mr. Hedaraly, then you
15 can refrain from seeking confirmation, but for completeness sake, it's
16 good that you confirm it.
17 Mr. Kehoe, you may proceed. The Chamber, during the break,
18 wondered whether you could guide the witness to find the appropriate
19 level of detail of what is not exactly the core of this case.
20 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour. I understand.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, if we can stay with this transcript of this meeting
24 on the 11th of January of 1995 and turn to page 16, and just one last
25 matter on this. Now I believe it is page 16 in the B/C/S version as
1 well. Should be about two pages up. That's right. Yeah.
2 If we can direct our attention to the bottom of the English
3 version. And I believe it's probably -- I'm not sure where it is on the
4 B/C/S, but nevertheless, again the president reading the letter saying:
5 "Your Excellency, the expiration of UNPROFOR's mandate does not
6 mean the end of negotiations. On the contrary, it should give new
7 incentive for successful completion. The Republic of Croatia stays
8 faithful to its peaceful politics and the peaceful reintegration of its
9 territories. And it still offers to all Serbs ... a cultural autonomy
10 and the highest degree of local autonomy in those districts where Serbs
11 are a majority, according to the population census before the war."
12 Ms. Ozbolt, just briefly, could you -- I'm going to direct you to
13 two issues in that, and -- on that quote, and one, is the cultural
14 autonomy and -- for Serbs as well as -- and two is the highest degree of
15 local autonomy in those districts where Serbs were a majority before the
17 Briefly, can you explain what that means for the purposes of this
19 A. It means what the government of the Republic of Croatia, way back
20 in 1991, and the Croatian parliament adopted, and that was the
21 constitutional law on the rights of national minorities, granting the
22 Serbian ethnic community in Croatia and guaranteeing them the highest
23 degree of cultural economy, and, as well as local autonomy, wherever the
24 Serbs constituted a majority.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... was that part of the plan of
1 the Republic of Croatia for peaceful reintegration?
2 A. Of course, given that this law was adopted in 1991 by the
3 Croatian parliament, it was in force throughout the whole period,
4 throughout the whole time.
5 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time, we will to offer into
6 evidence 65 ter 1D2613.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1473.
10 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, I want to direct your attention to the Z-4 plan.
13 And, briefly, can you tell us what the Z-4 plan is, who presented this
14 plan, and what was the position of the Croatian authorities and the Serb
15 authorities with respect to the Z-4 plan?
16 A. As far as my memory serves me, the Z-4 plan came as a proposal
17 from the contact group, or the so-called the four ambassadors, meaning
18 the US ambassador, the Russian ambassador, the French ambassador, and the
19 German ambassador, including the two co-chairmen of the Geneva
21 The Z-4 plan took into consideration, or, rather, envisaged the
22 proposal that granted an extremely high degree of rights to the Serbian
23 ethnic community; that is to say, to the Serbs from the occupied area.
24 It also granted them practically something that no other European
25 practice recognised at the time. This plan was drawn up sometime in late
1 1994 and was presented to us thereabouts the same time to us, and that is
2 to say, to the Croatian government and the president. It was also
3 presented to the Serbian side as well, in Knin.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... was essentially this plan,
5 that Z-4 plan contemplated that there would be a state within a state,
6 that the Republic of Serbian Krajina would be a state within the Republic
7 of Croatia? Is that right?
8 A. Well, the Z-4 plan practically allowed for a possibility for the
9 SAO Krajina to generally become a state within a state.
10 Why do I say that? Because it envisaged the that the SAO Krajina
11 would have its president of the state, its prime minister, its
12 parliament, its own currency, its own emblems, like the flag and things
13 like that, and that was absolutely unacceptable.
14 So, when the ambassadors brought this plan to the president's
15 office and showed it to him, it was, indeed, I have to admit, rather
16 shocking to us. The president did not reject the plan, but he did not
17 accept it either. He just took note of it.
18 We analysed it at the time to a certain extent, and apart from
19 these, let's call them political dimensions, these propositions were
20 totally unacceptable.
21 There was a thesis about demilitarization of this area, which was
22 something completely incredible and impossible to accept. It meant that
23 the Z-4 plan envisaged for demilitarization of SAO Krajina to commence
24 three years after the date of the signing of the -- the agreement on Z-4
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... let me stop --
2 A. And that it would be completed within two years which meant, in
3 total, within five years after the signing of Z-4 plan.
4 That would mean that sometime in 2000 --
5 Q. Let me stop you right there.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I invited Mr. Kehoe to find the right level of
7 detail. If he interrupts you, that is not because you're not telling
8 interesting things but because is he following the guidance of the
10 Would you please -- this is as you'll understand not a political
11 debate in which you would just ignore perhaps someone interrupting you.
12 That's for good reasons.
13 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Now, with regard to the plan, you said that the president took
16 note of it.
17 Was the Republic of Croatia willing to use the Z-4 plan as a
18 basis for beginning negotiations or negotiating with the Serb -- or the
19 Republic of Serb Krajina?
20 A. Yes. As I said, the president neither accepted nor rejected the
21 plan. And had the representatives of the Krajina Serbs accepted it, that
22 would have been a starting point for negotiations.
23 Q. What was the reaction of the Serb authorities?
24 A. They rejected them straight away.
25 Q. Let us move ahead to the time-period prior to Operation Flash and
1 directing your attention to paragraphs 2 and 3.
2 You continued to negotiate with the Serb authorities prior to
3 Operation Flash, did you not?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And was the purpose of these negotiations regarding
6 Operation Flash the reopening of the road going through that area?
7 A. Yes. The sole reason was the opening of the highway and the
8 railway line along the same routes, because the road and the railway line
9 were shut off again.
10 Q. Now, you noted for us previously that the Serbs refused to open
11 up that road; is that right?
12 A. More precisely, they signed this economic agreement which
13 envisaged the opening of the, road; but within the next few months, they
14 kept shutting it off.
15 Q. And was it because of them shutting that road off that
16 Operation Flash went forward in the first few days of May 1995?
17 A. That's right. That was precisely the reason, because there were
18 ongoing incidents happening on the road, and the road was impassable and
19 it eventually led to Operation Flash.
20 Q. Now, after Operation Flash took place, was there any effort on
21 the part of the Republic of Croatia to expel the remaining Serb
22 population from Western Slavonia?
23 A. No. There was no policy directed or aimed at any kind of
25 At the time, we were holding talks with Veljko Dzakula the
1 representative of Serbs, and the majority of Serbs around him remained in
2 Western Slavonia. Part of the population did leave, however, because
3 they quite simply did not want to live in Croatia any longer.
4 Q. So if you would point to a purpose for Operation Flash, would
5 that purpose be economic reasons --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Ms. Gustafson.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: Sorry, I just ask that question to be asked in a
8 non-leading way.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. KEHOE: No problem.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. Was the reason for Operation Flash economic reasons, Ms. Ozbolt,
14 to open up that road?
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: That just as leading as it --
17 MR. KEHOE: It was, Your Lord, I stand corrected.
18 JUDGE ORIE: No, Mr. Kehoe, you know that.
19 Mr. Kehoe, Ms. Ozbolt, wanted to ask you what the purpose of
20 Operation Flash was. That was the question he had on his mind.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I answered this several times. We
22 solely had economic reasons on our mind. That is, to open up the road,
23 to open up the railway line, and to establish other lines of
24 communications towards the eastern part of the country.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Now, Ms. Ozbolt, you mentioned during -- or prior to the break
2 that after Operation Flash, the Republic of Croatia allowed the Serbs to
3 bring supplies from Eastern Slavonia into the Krajina; is that correct?
4 A. All this was happening in the aftermath of Operation Flash, and
5 after Croatia regained full control of the road. All the traffic that
6 travelled along this road from Serbia towards Krajina went unhindered.
7 Croatia did nothing stop it, but we did check it for weapons.
8 Q. How do you know that these trucks were checked? How do you
9 personally know?
10 A. I know about that personally because every morning I received
11 reports on my desk about the contents of these lorries. These were
12 detailed reports sent to me by the ministry of the interior, and, on the
13 basis of that, I saw that a large number of lorries carrying food and
14 other staple supplies were travelling from Serbia towards Krajina.
15 Q. And when you say "other staple supplies," what are you talking
16 about, other than food?
17 A. Well, there were car tires, footwear, clothes, household items,
18 also oil, fuel oil was transported.
19 So that was more or less what these -- the cargo that these
20 lorries carried.
21 Q. Now, after Operation Flash and prior to Geneva, were there
22 negotiations between the Republic of Croatia and international officials
23 to continue to resolve the matter concerning the peaceful reintegration
24 of the Republic of Serb Krajina?
25 A. I have to admit, that there were talks going on, on a daily basis
1 about how to proceed with the -- the reintegration, particularly of the
2 area around Knin. That was very difficult at the time because one felt
3 that there was a rift in the Krajina leadership, so, at one point in
4 time, we really didn't know who to negotiate with. In other words, we
5 didn't have, let's call it a moderate negotiator, such as Borislav
6 Mikelic used to be. Milan Babic, at the time, took over the leadership
7 of the government, but in a way, this disunity was pretty prominent among
9 Q. Well, as we move through July, and I would like to show you a
10 couple of letters and move towards the latter part of July prior to
11 conference in Geneva, and I would like to show you first a letter to
12 President Tudjman dated the 30th of July, and this is 65 ter 1D2716.
13 And I would like to talk you to about some of these documents as
14 we begin to move towards Geneva, or the Geneva talks on 3 August.
15 Unfortunately, we only have this in English, I do believe. Yeah.
16 And I do believe that the witness does in fact read English.
17 JUDGE ORIE: You do.
18 THE WITNESS: Yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Because the beliefs of Mr. Kehoe are important. But
20 we'd rather verify with you. You read English? Yes.
21 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can read in English, yes. Thank you.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, you are familiar with this letter, aren't you?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. And let us turn -- there are various locations on the
1 second page, where the demands of the RSK are set forth. And let us
2 review the response that was given to this letter, and that would be --
3 MR. KEHOE: At this time, Your Honour, we'd like to offer into
4 evidence 65 ter 1D2716.
5 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
7 Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1474.
9 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, I'd like to turn to the actual response of the
12 Republic of Croatia, which is 65 ter 1D2710.
13 MR. KEHOE: And, Mr. President, there is a Croatian -- actually
14 the original is in Croatian. The copy that we have is in English, the
16 Q. Now, Ms. Ozbolt, as the assistant Chief of Staff, you had a hand
17 in drafting this, did you not?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. And you obviously recognise the final version of this.
20 MR. KEHOE: If we can turn to the second page that has the
21 president's signature.
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time, we'll offer 65 ter 1D2710
24 into evidence.
25 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That's Exhibit D1475, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
4 MR. KEHOE: With the assistance of the Registrar, if we could
5 just go back to the first page on the bottom in paragraph 5.
6 Q. And it reads that:
7 "Such proposals are not a basis for peaceful reintegration and do
8 not consist of a reply to any of the conditions which I laid out during
9 the discussions [sic] that you and I had on Saturday, 29 July 1995, when
10 I specifically stated that the negotiations on peaceful reintegration of
11 the Croatian Serbs from the occupied areas can commence under the
12 following conditions ..."
13 MR. KEHOE: If we can turn to the next page, please.
14 Paragraph (a), just refusal to deal with Mr. Martic who was -- had been
15 indicted at that point. But paragraph (b) talks about the negotiations
16 for an oil pipeline; (c), again talking about communications, opening of
17 all communications in the railway. And these are the economic terms that
18 the Republic of Croatia were interested in, were they not?
19 A. Yes, that's correct. These were the economic conditions that
20 existed throughout the whole period from the economic agreement and seven
21 months later in this letter.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... And if I can just go to the
23 last is -- discuss the implementation of the constitution of the Republic
24 of Croatia.
25 Now, was that part and parcel of the reintegration plans of
1 reinstituting the constitutional order in the area?
2 A. Yes. I already said in my introductory note that throughout this
3 whole period on the right of the Serbian ethnic community was binding for
4 anyone since 1991 up to date.
5 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, let's move ahead to Geneva which is the 3rd of
6 August, 1995.
7 You were part of the negotiation team that went to Geneva to meet
8 with international representatives and also representatives from the
9 Republic of Serb Krajina, is that right, and you note that during the
10 course of your statement.
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. Now just elaborate on this a little bit. You went to Geneva as
13 part of a team. And how did this meeting in Geneva come about?
14 A. The letter we looked at a moment ago was one of the things that
15 prompted it. The letter expressed anger on the part of the Croatian
16 authorities about the fact that the UN forces did not deploy closer to
17 the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Croatia and Serbia, which they
18 were bound to do under the Security Council resolution, the relevant
19 Security Council resolution.
20 Nevertheless, after sending this caution to Mr. Akashi, we
21 continued engaging in negotiations and accepted the proposal by
22 Thorvald Stoltenberg to hold negotiations in Geneva. There were
23 representatives of the SAO Krajina there, as well as our delegation.
24 Q. And who was heading up the delegation from the Republic of Serb
1 A. I think it was General Novakovic who did. However, the person
2 who was in charge seemed to be Mr. Prijic.
3 Q. And that would be the individual, Ilija Prijic that --
4 A. Ilija Prijic, yes.
5 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, that, then, Your Honours, that's in
6 paragraph 4 of the statement.
7 Q. Now, just going through these negotiations, when you got there,
8 can you just explain how the negotiations with Mr. Stoltenberg took
9 place. Were you all together? Were you in separate rooms? How did it
10 take place? And how did it ultimately resolve?
11 A. At the outset, we held what was called a plenary session; it was
12 a very brief one. Thereafter, we had individual conversations,
13 discussions, between representatives of the international community,
14 first with our side, and then with theirs. This went on for several
16 The Croatian delegation arrived at these negotiations with one
17 open question only: Was peaceful reintegration into the constitutional
18 and legal order of the Republic of Croatia going to be accepted?
19 This, because all the efforts invested on our part hitherto had
20 fallen through simply due to the reason that the Serbian side kept
21 refusing it.
22 Q. Ultimately, did you meet face to face with the Serbian side and
23 pose a question to them? And, if you did, what was that question?
24 A. Yes. Finally we saw that as time went by, we never really got
25 the chance of having a meeting with them and putting a question to them
1 directly as to whether they would accept the proposal or not. I told the
2 international representative, Mr. Stoltenberg, that the two delegations
3 should be allowed to sit together and talk. He agreed to this proposal
4 of mine very reluctantly --
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
6 A. [Previous translation continues] ... but, nevertheless, he
7 agreed. We sat down at a table together; that's to say, the two
8 delegations and the international mediators. We asked if they would
9 agree to a reintegration into the Croatian territory and the Croatian
10 state system, to which their answer was a clear no.
11 Q. When you went to Geneva, had you and the delegation been
12 empowered to enter a -- enter into negotiations and execute an agreement
13 with the Krajina Serbs if they were willing to peacefully reintegrate
14 into Croatia? Were you empowered to do that by the president and the
16 A. In the earlier letter, the president himself listed all the
17 requests we had. Had they agreed to our proposals, we would absolutely
18 have all the necessary powers. Negotiations were supposed to continue in
19 Knin and in Zagreb, in order to put into concrete terms the proposals
20 that we had set forth.
21 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, let me turn your attention to paragraph -- to
22 paragraph 7 of your statement and the last sentence.
23 "A yes in Geneva by the Serbs would have meant the implementation
24 of the same model of peaceful reintegration as was implemented in Eastern
1 What do you mean by that, ma'am?
2 A. Precisely what I said. In the aftermath of Operation Storm, I
3 was charged with the reintegration of Western Slavonia on the Croatian
4 side. This meant the reintegration of the territory, the reintegration
5 of the population residing there. This implied the demilitarization of
6 the area, the return of the Croats, and, finally, reconciliation between
7 the Croats and the Serbs.
8 Q. I'm not sure if we can look on -- I'm not sure if that is correct
9 or what the translation is, but you noted that in the aftermath of
10 Operation Storm, I was charged with the reintegration of Western Slavonia
11 on the Croatian side.
12 Is that correct, ma'am? It's on the screen. That's what you --
13 was it Western Slavonia or Eastern Slavonia?
14 A. Eastern Slavonia.
15 Q. Okay. Ms. Ozbolt, if the Serbs had agreed to peaceful
16 reintegration in Geneva, would Operation Storm have nonetheless gone
17 forward on the 4th of August, 1995?
18 A. It would probably have not.
19 Q. It was issue that came forward at this time by
20 Ambassador Galbraith, who had noted that the Z-4 plan had been accepted
21 on some level by Milan Babic. Did that influence the position of the
22 Republic of Croatia at any point during these negotiations?
23 A. You see, Milan Babic was in Belgrade. Between him and
24 Milan Martic, who was the president of the SAO Krajina at the time, there
25 were disagreements. What -- did the fact that Milan Babic agreed to the
1 Z-4 plan mean when the Serbs in Knin rejected it? It meant nothing.
2 Q. So I take it after the rejection for the terms that you put
3 forward with the Serbs in Geneva, the negotiations ended; is that
5 A. Absolutely. That was when negotiations ended. However, they
6 resumed in the aftermath of Operation Storm, and the negotiations that
7 were resumed at the time had to do with Eastern Slavonia.
8 Q. And let us just move ahead. And in paragraph 8 of your statement
9 after you left the negotiations, your delegation called President Tudjman
10 and advised him that the negotiations were not successful.
11 Do you see that in paragraph 8? Actually, it's in 7 and 8.
12 Excuse me.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now let me just show you a series of intercepts, and I know you
15 you were not a part of these. These are intercepts that were provided by
16 the Office of the Prosecutor.
17 MR. KEHOE: And if I can just get the --
18 Q. They are 65 ter 1D2707. And there's a series of three intercepts
19 one at 8.50 between Mr. Martic and Mr. Prijic, one at 1223, and one at
20 1442. And this is on the 3rd of August, 1995. And in the interests of
21 time, I would just like to discuss with you the last call --
22 MR. KEHOE: And if I can just consult with ...
23 [Defence counsel confer]
24 MR. KEHOE: On the sequence, this should be page 7 in the English
25 and page 4 in the B/C/S.
1 Q. And the MM is Milan Martic. Obviously the IP is Ilija Prijic.
2 "Martic: Hi, Ico. Are you done?
3 "Mr. Prijic: No, it's still going on. We have a big problem
4 regarding the outcome of the situation. It is not favourable to us.
5 I'll lay it out to you and you can ...
6 "Martic: Yes, yes.
7 "Prijic: It says on the basis of the ... agreement. Croatian
8 government's delegation and the Serb representatives of the authorities
9 in Knin. It was decided to cease all hostilities and military operations
10 on Friday at noon. The following was decided on the basis of the
12 1. That the pipeline opens on May 7th -- Monday, the
13 7 August 1995, in accordance with the agreement of 9 December 1994.
14 "Martic: That's it?
15 "Prijic: That's it, unless technical reasons prevented it. A
16 meeting on the pipeline -- meeting on the pipeline for Petrinja would be
17 held in Pleso on August 8th.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, you are reading.
19 MR. KEHOE: I understand. I will go as quickly -- as slowly as
21 "Martic: That is also out of the question.
22 "Prijic: Number 2: The meeting would be held on Friday at
23 Venzei on August 8th [sic] in Knin to set the modes of opening and
24 controlling the railway from Zagreb to Split via Knin.
25 "Milan Martic: God forbid.
1 "Third, to move towards including the political issue of Serb
2 Krajina, basing the talks on the Z-4 plan.
3 "Milan Martic: Neither that."
4 Q. Now, recognising that you were not part of these telephone
5 discussions ...
6 Recognizing that you were not part of these telephone
7 discussions, this discussion where all these proposals are refused, that,
8 based on your testimony, was consistent with what you experienced in
9 Geneva, wasn't it?
10 A. Yes, this is the first time I'm seeing this, but I would
11 certainly not have been surprised by this conversation. It in fact
12 confirms what I have already said. You can see that Martic refused to
13 agree to anything, including the Z-4 plan, which Babic agreed to on that
14 same day. This goes to show that there was no will to take -- for the
15 things to take turn for the better.
16 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
18 MS. GUSTAFSON: Sorry for the interruption, Your Honour. I just
19 -- there has been a lot of leading, I haven't objected -- I've objected
20 once. But now that we're moving into more central matters, I ask that
21 would be less leading.
22 Thank you.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, the message is clear.
24 Please proceed.
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. At this time, we will offer into
1 evidence 65 ter 1D2707.
2 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1476.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Now, obviously the issue of Operation Storm did in fact take
8 place at -- on the 4th of August, 1995. And I'm interested in your
9 discussion that you had in the sentence in paragraph 7, where you noted
10 that, "A yes" -- this is the last sentence again in paragraph 7 that I
11 just referred to.
12 "A yes in Geneva by the Serbs would have meant the implementation
13 of the same model of peaceful reintegration as was implemented in Eastern
15 Now, you also note prior in that paragraph, just one sentence
16 above, again in paragraph 7:
17 "During the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, when I
18 would receive information that the Serbs wanted to leave a certain area,
19 I would personally go to the area in order to negotiate with them in
20 order for them to remain in the area."
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... my initial question for you
23 on that is: Why were you going to Eastern Slavonia and encouraging the
24 Serbs to stay?
25 A. Because I was charged with that duty, to follow the peaceful
1 reintegration on behalf of the president of the Republic. I had a clear
2 mandate and a clear picture of what needed to be done. There was
3 provocation and intimidation of the Serb population in Eastern Slavonia.
4 During such incidents, entire villages wanted to pack up and leave. In
5 such situations, my associate for Eastern Slavonia and I would get in a
6 car and go down there to Eastern Slavonia to talk them out of leaving and
7 to make sure that they stayed. We wanted to dispel these perceptions of
8 fear and we were successful in doing so.
9 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, on 93, line 6 and 7, you note that I -- "... because
10 I was charged with that duty to follow the peaceful reintegration on
11 behalf of the president of the Republic." Who gave that you charge to
12 work on the peaceful reintegration? Who assigned you to this role?
13 A. The president of the Republic. He appointed me to that position.
14 Q. And formally what was that position that you held?
15 A. Formally, yeah.
16 Q. No, what was the name of the position?
17 A. Initially as an advisor to the president of the Republic, I
18 followed the reintegration process. Then, he appointed me the president
19 of the national committee for confidence restoration and reconciliation
20 between the Croats and the Serbs.
21 Q. Now, you continued to work on the reintegration in Eastern
22 Slavonia for a significant period of time, did you not?
23 A. Yes, from the moment the Erdut Agreement was signed, which was in
24 November of 1995, through to the end of the UNTAES mandate which was the
25 15th of January, 1998.
1 I must admit that I continued performing these duties throughout
2 1999, since that job was only formally ended on the 15th of January,
3 1998. The duties of dealing with people and their problems continued
5 In other words, my duties did not end with the departure of the
7 Q. Let me bring up a document which is a 65 ter 1D2605, and it's a
8 -- notes by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Croatia.
9 It is in both Croatian and English, and it is notes referring to the
10 visit of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Mr. Max -
11 Your Honour, you're going to have to -- I don't want to mispronounce a
12 Dutch name. It will come up in a second - van der Stoel on 19 to
13 21 March 1997.
14 MR. KEHOE: Is that correct pronunciation, Mr. President? I know
15 it's Dutch, but --
16 JUDGE ORIE: 95 per cent.
17 MR. KEHOE: That's good.
18 Q. You know this gentleman, do you not, Ms. Ozbolt?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay. And I -- you are in fact -- if we can flip to paragraph 6
21 on page 2, your name is listed as being part of the delegation who met
22 him. And I would like to just briefly go into a couple of matters. And
23 when you were dealing with Mr. van der Stoel, what were you dealing?
24 What were the negotiations about, and what were you doing?
25 A. I normally informed representatives of the international
1 community of all our dealings. It was especially important to work
2 toward the reintegration of the people. The issue of Croatia reaching
3 its border was not the sole issue; the issue was how to approach the
4 people and how to make sure that they stayed there and lived with others.
5 The territory was occupied by [indiscernible] Serbs, Serbs that had --
6 who had lived there previously; in other words, indigenous Serbs. And
7 then Serbs who had arrived there from the area of Knin, as well as by the
8 Serbs who had come from Yugoslavia, or Bosnia-Herzegovina, or
9 Republika Srpska.
10 The issue of how to make sure that the Croats were -- would
11 return into the area was quite a complex one. It was difficult to deal
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I'll stop you there,
14 Ms. Ozbolt, and just say, you know, with regard to these efforts, let me
15 just go back to this document and ask you to take -- if we can go back to
16 the first page. And look in paragraph 3, about midway through right
17 after the brackets, it notes that --
18 MR. KEHOE: If we can go to the prior page on the English as
19 well. Thank you.
20 Q. In the paragraph that notes that -- it's in the bold:
21 "In the reports that followed, Mr. van der Stoel very positively
22 assessed the efforts and constructiveness of Croatian in finding the
23 solutions for the full implementation of peaceful reintegration."
24 MR. KEHOE: If we could turn to the next page, the end of
25 paragraph 4, on page 2.
1 Again, quoting Mr. van der Stoel, the last sentence in
2 paragraph 4:
3 "In conclusion he pointed out that he believes that the Croatian
4 government truly wants the Serbs to stay, and that is acting in
5 accordance with international standards."
6 Now you noted before that these are the efforts -- or that you
7 received this mandate from President Tudjman. And then just going back
8 to your statement, that's consistent, is it not, with paragraph 7 in the
9 middle, or where you say towards the top, that:
10 "President Tudjman had no intention to expel the Serbs because he
11 knew that Croatia could not be an ethnically pure state. And according
12 to my opinion, had the president wanted to ethnically cleanse Croatia, he
13 would have done it during Operation Flash in Western Slavonia. I
14 personally received numerous instructions that all means needed to be
15 taken in order to ensure that as many Serbs as possible remained."
16 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
17 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, the question is confusing, compound,
18 and leading. I'd ask Mr. Kehoe to rephrase and break it up and ask it in
19 a non-leading way.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, you accept that invitation?
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. I will ask you, was -- quite simply, Ms. Ozbolt, did you ever
23 hear President Tudjman express --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
25 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'm not exactly sure what will the question will
1 be, but it sounds like a leading one to me.
2 MR. KEHOE: How is that a leading question? Did you ever hear --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, it depends on what follows. I'm not saying
4 so, Ms. Ozbolt, would you please wait a while before answering the
5 question, so that the Chamber can convince itself that it is not a
6 leading question.
7 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, did you ever hear President Tudjman express that he
10 wanted to expel the Serb population from the Krajina?
11 A. No. I never heard him utter such a sentence, nor did I ever see
12 such decisions being taken.
13 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, you were President Tudjman's assistant Chief of
14 Staff. Would it have been possible or feasible for President Tudjman to
15 have a plan to expel the Serb population from the Krajina and you not to
16 know about it?
17 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
18 MS. GUSTAFSON: For a question like this, I would ask that some
19 foundation to be laid as to the nature of the relationship.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but asking about possibilities, Mr. Kehoe, is
21 usually a -- you can ask whether -- but what is possible and what's not
22 is not possible, asks for a judgement rather than for facts.
23 MR. KEHOE: I understand.
24 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, how many days a week did you see President Tudjman?
25 A. Every day.
1 Q. How many hours a day were you working with him and working around
2 his office?
3 A. It's difficult to say how many hours a day. Sometimes a few
4 hours; sometimes less; sometimes I would see him only during a working
5 lunch. It all depended on the particular situation.
6 Q. Did you assist President Tudjman in the execution of his orders
7 when he was telling people in the government what they should and should
8 not do?
9 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, that's -- very vague question.
10 MR. KEHOE: You want to lay a foundation, there's a foundation.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just re-read the question.
12 "Did you assist President Tudjman in the execution of his orders
13 when he was telling people in the government what they should and should
14 not do?"
15 Are you asking whether the witness was involved in enforcing such
16 orders? I must admit that the question is -- is not clear to me. But
17 sometimes if the witness considers the question clear enough, then could
18 you please tell us how you understand the question to be -- what you
19 understand the question to be.
20 If you would not be able to do that, we'll invite Mr. Kehoe to
21 rephrase it.
22 So could you please tell us how you understand.
23 THE WITNESS: Maybe to -- [Interpretation] Yes, maybe this
24 question should be rephrased, given that I didn't understand it fully
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, then there's too many people in this
2 courtroom who do not understand the question.
3 Mr. Kehoe.
4 MR. KEHOE: I stand as a bad question, Judge.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
6 MR. KEHOE: Did you help President Tudjman on a daily basis doing
7 his work in the office?
8 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, can these questions please be asked
9 in a non-leading way.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Could we try to cut this short.
11 I understand from your position and what is usually understood to
12 be such a position that you had a very close working relationship with
13 President Tudjman in which you shared a lot -- where you were informed
14 about many, many things, if not all, he was working on. Is that --
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour -- [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
16 Concerning reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, I was really tasked with
17 very specific tasks. We exchanged information and I also executed his
18 decisions relating to reintegration of Eastern Slavonia.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 Mr. Kehoe, what the chances are that something was still not
21 known to the witness is a matter of assessing the totality of the
22 evidence. The witness could not tell us what Mr. Tudjman did not share
23 with her because that apparently is -- seems to be the issue. You say,
24 You would have known, wouldn't you?
25 MR. KEHOE: You would have known. If he had --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, ask a husband about his wife or wife
2 about a husband, who are living together the whole of the day, are
3 sharing a lot of things, it nevertheless sometimes happens to make -- to
4 make an assessment on whether that was the case, yes or no, depends on a
5 lot of things. And perhaps it's -- the issue seems clear to the Chamber
6 what your apparent position is that it is almost unmanageable that
7 Ms. Ozbolt would not have known certain things is clear to us as well.
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, sir.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Now, that appears to be the point, where
10 Ms. Gustafson still may have her own views on the matter. The matter is
11 clear, and unless you have the 1000-dollar question --
12 MR. KEHOE: I don't, Judge.
13 JUDGE ORIE: -- which finally gives us the clue to the answer
14 would gladly hear that question. If not, please move on.
15 MR. KEHOE: I do have the question, Mr. President, so that was --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
17 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
18 Q. Let us move somewhat back chronologically, if we can --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask one simple question. I have to -- the
20 Podunavlje area, could you tell me where that is. Because that's what
21 Mr. Van der Stoel talks about in the end of paragraph 4 of this memo.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the area in the eastern part
23 of Croatia, in the UNTAES, or UN terminology, that was referred to as
24 Sector East.
25 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, I don't know if I did this right. I do
1 not think I did, but if I can offer into evidence 65 ter 1D2605.
2 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1477.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, I'd like to take you back just a bit into
8 September of 1995. If I could direct your attention to that time-frame.
9 And you participated in meeting with Krajina Serbs in the UN camp in
10 Sector South, did you not?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. And what was your role in going down and meeting with these
13 individuals, and approximately when was it, in September?
14 A. This took place sometime mid-September, if I remember correctly.
15 I went down there at the request of Mr. Akashi to assist in clearing up
16 or resolving the situation that occurred in the camp, which is the fact
17 that several hundreds of Serbs barricaded themselves within the compound
18 of that camp, and they didn't want to leave it. Some of these people
19 were wanted by the Ministry of Justice and the Croatian courts. And a
20 problem arose there that had to be resolved.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I want to show you two
23 MR. KEHOE: If can I bring up 1D26 -- 65 ter 1D2616.
24 Q. This is a letter from Mr. Harston, dated 9 September 1995, and in
25 the first sentence:
1 "This letter going to you following the meeting between
2 Mr. Akashi and Mr. Sarinic this morning, I understand that it was agreed
3 that charge sheets pertaining to 35 of the people in Knin compound will
4 be delivered shortly to the UN Sector South headquarters."
5 If we can turn to another document which is D638, which is your
6 response of September 11th, 1995.
7 MR. KEHOE: We're going to put both of them, yeah.
8 Because we're moving into that, Your Honour, if I could just move
9 into evidence 65 ter 1D2616.
10 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
12 Mr. Registrar.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1478.
14 MR. KAY: We believe it could be D637 already. Exhibit D637.
15 MR. KEHOE: Thank you counsel. If it is, it's my mistake. 637?
16 JUDGE ORIE: We'll check that, and up to that moment not decide
17 on ...
18 MR. KEHOE: My apologies, Mr. President.
19 Thank you, counsel.
20 Q. I'm interested in your response which is D638, which, of course,
21 the sequence makes that perfectly logical.
22 This is your response, and going to the second paragraph:
23 "As a reply to your last sentence specifying that the suspects in
24 the UNCRO camp should be delivered a charge sheet in the presence of
25 legal counsel, we owe you a clarification of the Law of the procedure
1 procedure of the Republic of Croatia."
2 Going to the next paragraph, the last sentence:
3 "The charge sheet or indictment is issued only after the
4 investigation has been complete."
5 Now, Ms. Ozbolt, there was a serious lack of understanding on the
6 part of the UN staff as to how the Republic of Croatia legal system
7 worked. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes, it is. I must admit, I somewhat lost patience with
9 Mr. Harston at that time, who failed to study the European law, and that
10 created a problem, unnecessarily, which was later on resolved.
11 Q. Now --
12 A. And Mr. Akashi somehow intervened and mediated in finding a
13 resolution to this problem, if I remember correctly.
14 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, when you went down to the camp in mid-September of
15 1995, did you meet with various of the Krajina Serbs that were in there,
16 and did you talk to them about staying or leaving Croatia?
17 A. Well, this is how it was. I want things to be completely clear.
18 I went to the camp, because that had been agreed between Akashi,
19 President Sarinic, and myself. So I went down there and talked to those
20 people there.
21 I was supposed to try and persuade them to stay, particularly the
22 families whose male members were supposed to be taken before courts and
23 against whom investigations were launched within the Croatian legal
24 system. I was accompanied by the -- the assistant minister of justice.
25 Q. And what did you tell them about remaining about Croatia, if
2 A. What did I tell them?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. I actually talked to each and every one of them and with their
5 families. I told them that their safety was absolutely guaranteed in
6 Croatia, that they should go back home, that the people who were subject
7 to criminal proceedings would receive complete and full legal assistance,
8 if they were not able to afford a lawyer, and if they were convicted
9 in absentia, that the proceedings would be renewed or that the re-trials
10 would be conducted. And I tried to dissuade them from leaving.
11 Some of them decided immediately that they would stay; whereas,
12 the others declared that they would remain -- would not remain under any
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, I'm looking at the clock. I'm not asking
15 whether this is a suitable moment. But this is the time.
16 MR. KEHOE: I understand.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us indication as --
18 MR. KEHOE: I have two brief areas, Mr. President. I should be
19 done in half an hour tomorrow morning.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 MR. KEHOE: To the extent that that runs over my time, I would
22 beg the Court 's indulgence with some objections that were just asked to
23 get through some of these matters.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Well, to make the picture complete, some
25 repetitious --
1 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Your Honour, and I apologise.
2 JUDGE ORIE: -- and some level of detail would add to the
3 explanation on why you went over the time.
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: At the same time, there's no other witness waiting
6 from what I understand. So, therefore, it is less dramatic as it would
7 be under other circumstances.
8 Ms. Ozbolt, we would like to see you back tomorrow at 9.00 in the
9 morning in another courtroom, Courtroom I. But before you leave this
10 courtroom I would like to instruct you that you should it not speak with
11 anyone about your testimony, whether the testimony already given today,
12 or whether the testimony still to be given tomorrow.
13 For the parties --
14 Yes, Mr. Hedaraly.
15 MR. HEDARALY: I'm really sorry, but it's Courtroom III tomorrow.
16 JUDGE ORIE: It's Courtroom III, yes. Then the the infallible
17 Registrar did not make a mistake. I read it wrongly, although my reading
18 was strongly suggested by what he put down on paper, although which was
19 not on his mind.
20 I can inform the parties about this one exhibit. It seems to be
21 a different version of the same document, the letter of the 9th of
22 September. 2D03-0071 seems to the one you're referring to which has a
23 fax cover page. And then although the fax cover page says 1 out of 2,
24 two other pages are following, so it should be 1 out of 3. And that
25 appears to be perhaps the letter that was sent rather than the one that
1 was received. It looks a bit different from what I could see. Perhaps,
2 Mr. Kehoe, you could consider whether the one version is any better than
3 the one already in evidence.
4 We adjourn, and we resume tomorrow, 9.00 in the morning.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.03 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 4th day of June,
7 2009, at 9.00 a.m.