1 Thursday, 4 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
7 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
10 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 Ms. Skare Ozbolt, I would like to remind you that the solemn
13 declaration that you gave yesterday at the beginning of your testimony
14 still binds you.
15 It seems that we have one technical problem.
16 Meanwhile, we can continue.
17 Mr. Kehoe, are you ready to continue your examination?
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
20 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 WITNESS: VESNA SKARE OZBOLT [Resumed]
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examination by Mr. Kehoe: [Continued]
24 Q. Good morning Ms. Ozbolt.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. Yesterday, Ms. Ozbolt, we finished off with you talking about
2 your work down in UN Sector South with various Krajina Serbs that were in
3 that area, encouraging them to stay. And I would like to turn a couple
4 of documents.
5 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'm sorry for the interruption, Your Honours.
6 I'm not sure that correctly characterizes. I believe the testimony was
7 encouraging those that remained in the UN compound, the families of
8 accused war criminals to stay.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. KEHOE: Your Honours, it was completely a lead-in to go to
11 the next topic, which we were going to. The record of what the witness
12 said speaks for itself. It was merely leading to get to the subject.
13 JUDGE ORIE: One second.
14 Yes, let's not -- put your next question to the witness.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
17 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, I would like to show you several forms that were not
18 discussed in your statement but have been part of the supplemental
19 information sheet.
20 Now, I would like to show you two Prosecutor documents. The
21 first one is P56.
22 MR. KEHOE: If we could look at that one.
23 Q. Take a look at this document, Ms. Ozbolt, and I'm going to show
24 you a just small variation, which is P57, and just ask you about both of
1 Preliminarily, are you familiar with this document?
2 A. I must admit that I'm not.
3 Q. Let's look at P57.
4 How about this document, ma'am?
5 A. I must admit that I don't recall this document.
6 Q. Now, do you recall documents where Serbs who were -- Krajina
7 Serbs who were leaving the area signed documents saying that they
8 voluntarily wanted to leave the Republic of Croatia
9 Do you recall that, ma'am?
10 A. You mean during the time that I was at the camp?
11 Q. Yes, ma'am.
12 A. Yes, they did sign a form given to them by the UN. However, that
13 was not part, and I didn't pay much attention to it, since on the
14 premises where we talked to these people, there were representatives of
15 UN and quite simply the procedure was first for them to talk to them,
16 then with me, then with the Assistant Minister Penic, and then again with
17 UN representatives.
18 So what they eventually decided was their own decision, and they
19 probably signed something similar to what we see here. But I have to say
20 that I don't remember these documents.
21 Q. Okay, ma'am. Did you have any discussions with the UN personnel
22 that were there as to why documents such as -- similar to this might have
23 been signed saying that we wanted to leave Croatia?
24 A. No. The UN probably wanted to have some kind of security for
25 themselves because their departure would have been part of the UN
1 procedure of escorting them.
2 Q. Now, yesterday you talked about Western Slavonia. Did you have
3 any information that the UN or any other international organisation had
4 used a similar form in Western Slavonia after Operation Flash?
5 A. I believe that they had their own ways of recording the people
6 who wished to leave Croatia
7 UN or rather peacekeeping forces.
8 Q. Let me shift topics with you, and I'd like to talk to you just a
9 little bit about one of the issues that you discussed briefly during your
10 opening comments yesterday. And can you correct me if I'm wrong, but I
11 believe yesterday - and I don't have the final transcript - you noted
12 there were 500.000 Croatian internally displaced people, as well as
13 300.000 refugees, for a total of approximately 800.000 individuals that
14 the Croatian government was taking care of. And turning to the 800.000,
15 I mean, where were these people being housed by the Republic of Croatia
16 A. Wherever they could. Most of them were accommodated on the sea
17 coast, in the hotels there. Some of them were also placed in hotels
18 inland because there was no other accommodation available.
19 They were also placed in homes or hotels, and those were the
20 people who were forced to leave their own homes. And that was a
21 situation that prevailed since 1991.
22 Q. And the individuals that you are saying were forced to leave
23 their homes, are you talking about Croatians that were forced out of the
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Explain to the Trial Chamber the burden on the Croatian resources
2 that these 800.000 internally displaced people and 300.000 -- excuse me,
3 500.000 internally displaced people and 300.000 refugees, what kind of
4 burden on Croatian resources these individuals presented?
5 A. First of all, I have to say, that the 300.000 had come from
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the 500.000 were internally displaced
8 They were given accommodation wherever it was possible, primarily
9 in the hotels that were vacant because, quite simply, there was no other
10 way of providing shelter for the people who were flowing in on a daily
11 basis because they were fleeing the terror, and they only had their basic
12 belongings with them.
13 Refugees were arriving in Zagreb almost every day in big columns
14 and convoys, buses, and in any way they could. The only way to provide
15 them with shelter back then in 1991 was in hotels. The refugees who had
16 relatives found shelter with them, but the majority of them sought some
17 kind of security and shelter from the government.
18 If you're asking me about the burden, that was a tremendous
19 burden because, in that way, Croatia
20 tourist resources, meaning hotels, bungalows, holiday resorts, et cetera,
21 which meant that there was no tourism; and, of course, as part of the
22 economy it died down completely.
23 People were, of course, jobless. Somebody had to provide support
24 for them, and throughout all these years, that was an enormous cost and
25 burden on the budget and on the government.
1 Q. Now, let us talk for a moment about the Croats who were displaced
2 from the Krajina. And the Trial Chamber has heard evidence that numerous
3 Croatian homes in the Krajina were destroyed between 1991 and 1995. And
4 you have talked about the peaceful reintegration policy and a part of
5 that policy was bringing displaced Croats back to the areas that they
6 were displaced from.
7 Now, during this period of time, however, the attempt was to
8 bring displaced people back to an area where their homes were, in fact --
9 had been destroyed; isn't that right?
10 A. Yes. There were attempts to return them, and the goal was to
11 restore the ratio of the population that had existed in 1991, before the
12 expulsion and before the outbreak of war.
13 Q. Now, post Operation Storm, you and the other officials in the
14 president's office -- did you?
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: Sorry, Mr. President, I think counsel got the
16 message which was to ask --
17 MR. KEHOE: I didn't get any message at all. You stood up in the
18 middle of my question, so I figured I would stop and let you have your
20 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you. I --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, let's first calm down, yes?
22 I come back to the first time Ms. Gustafson intervened. I let it
23 go, but of course she was right. You misrepresented what was said
24 yesterday that was talking with the family - -
25 MR. KEHOE: That's true.
1 JUDGE ORIE: -- of those who had remained and not what you told
2 the witness.
3 MR. KEHOE: It was merely a lead-in to what we were going into
4 those documents, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: It was not only leading, it was leading not -- it
6 was leading not accurately representing where you left off yesterday. I
7 let it go at the time.
8 Ms. Gustafson, at the same time, is well aware, I take it,
9 Ms. Gustafson, that going into details which do not really affect matters
10 should be limited to the necessary.
11 Let's continue.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, did you and other members in the president's office,
15 and this is after Storm, did you receive information about burning and
16 looting going on in the Krajina?
17 A. Yes. We received such reports.
18 Q. What was your reaction to that, Ms. Ozbolt?
19 A. My reaction was extremely negative. I was personally ashamed of
20 such a conduct. It was not only shameful, but we demanded that the
21 perpetrators be found and punished.
22 Q. Did you or did you have -- in addition to you, did you or any of
23 the people that you talked to in the president's office, had you expected
24 and planned for that type of conduct?
25 A. I have to say that such conduct was truly unexpected. We had
1 launched Operation Flash, that was conducted in an extremely good manner,
2 and it did not end up in such situations. And I must say that nobody
3 within the government had expected to see what took place after
4 Operation Storm.
5 I talked about this with the president. He was rather upset and
6 angry because of that. He even told me at one point that this was
7 actually a sabotage, because his efforts had been aimed, and I think that
8 was also a promise given to everyone that the military operation would be
9 completed swiftly and that we would proceed towards the continuation of
10 the process of reintegration.
11 Therefore, this kind of conduct was completely unexpected,
12 horrendous and it blemished the overall efforts made by the Croatian
14 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, when you were working as the assistant Chief of
15 Staff, did you ever see any actions by President Tudjman that indicated
16 to you that there either was a plan to burn and loot property in the
17 Krajina or to allow people to burn and loot property in the Krajina after
18 Operation Storm?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Now, when this happened, did the looting and the burning of Serb
21 homes, did that complicate or make difficult the re-sheltering of
22 Croatian internally displaced people who might have wanted to come back
23 to the Krajina?
24 MS. GUSTAFSON: Just an interruption. Again, I'd like to ask
25 that these questions be asked in a non-leading way.
1 Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, was it leading?
3 MR. KEHOE: No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ORIE: It was, Mr. Kehoe. Please reformulate your question
5 in a non-leading way.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Did it looting and burning complicate the plans for the Republic
8 of Croatia
9 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, that is a leading question.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's still leading, Mr. Kehoe.
11 You could ask what the effect was of the looting and burning on
12 the development and implementation of policy matters.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour.
15 Q. Taking His Honour's question and I re-ask it, hopefully, in the
16 same fashion that His Honour Judge Orie did.
17 What was the effect of the looting and burning on the
18 development and implementation of the policy matters for the Republic of
20 A. It had an adverse effect. No one in the government, in their
21 right mind, would condone the burning and the looting. The president
22 discussed this matter with the representatives and ambassadors from the
23 contact group. Also, this was done by the prime minister, the minister
24 of foreign affairs, the minister of the interior; but no one had expected
25 that that would occur.
1 I have to say that the reaction of all the parties who were
2 involved in this and who were in the leadership of the country, they were
3 shocked. Nobody stood to defend those who were involved in burning and
4 looting, and there were requests for them to be prosecuted.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We didn't hear the number
6 of the people prosecuted.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Interpreters could not hear the number you
8 apparently mentioned. Could you please --
9 THE WITNESS: 2.000 [Interpretation] 2.000.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, what impact, if any, did this burning and looting
12 have on housing of Croatian internally displaced people?
13 A. It was extremely foolhardy to set houses on fire, because, for
14 those people who were supposed to come back, it was difficult to find
15 accommodation precisely due to the burning.
16 In addition, it created confusion and difficulties, not to
17 mention the shame that we all felt.
18 Q. Can you explain to us what difficulties, if any, it presented to
19 the Republic of Croatia
20 A. At the time when Operation Storm was in the planning phase, I
21 said that we wanted to find a peaceful solution to the very end.
22 However, since this was rejected by Martic's government, a military
23 operation was launched with the intention of conducting it for a very
24 short period of time, and that it would be followed by as quick
25 restoration of normal life as possible. That was our plan.
1 Therefore, there was no plan to go into looting or setting fire
2 on houses following Operation Storm, because it was totally unreasonable.
3 Q. My question for you is that the impact on the Republic of
5 on the international political level.
6 A. It was an adverse impact because nobody would condone looting and
8 Q. Let me move on -- we have talked about this property destruction
9 issue and then I want to address one last issue with you concerning the
10 temporary takeover of property.
11 Are you familiar with the law in the Republic of Croatia
12 temporary takeover of property?
13 A. Yes, I am.
14 Q. Now -- and I want you to, in your answer to explain your --
15 your -- in your testimony with respect to confiscation and sequestration,
16 did this law allow the Croatian government to confiscate property that
17 was abandoned by the Krajina Serbs who had left the area? Did it allow
19 A. Oftentimes, especially representatives of the government and
20 minister for the reconstruction and development had, as their task, the
21 need to explain that the law at no cost allowed the confiscation of
22 property because private property is protected in Croatia under the law.
23 Following Operation Storm, as well as Operation Flash, certain
24 individuals decided to leave the Republic of Croatia, and, in doing so,
25 left their property behind, precisely in order to make sure that the
1 properties did not remain deserted and thus open to possible attempts at
2 looting or burning; and while, at the same time, we had large numbers of
3 refugees whose accommodation in hotels became untenable. The government
4 enacted this sort of law which was of temporary character - and I
5 highlight it was of temporary character - whereby these refugees would be
6 put up on a temporary basis in such abandoned homes. And the refugees to
7 be given that accommodation largely came from Bosnia-Herzegovina,
8 although some were from Croatia
9 were reconstructed or rebuilt, or until such time as the refugees from
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina would be able to go back to their homes in
12 Q. Now, with regard to this law, was there a requirement that Serbs
13 who left -- was there a requirement that those individuals sell that
14 property to the Croatian government?
15 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
16 MS. GUSTAFSON: Once again, I object to the leading.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, isn't a -- aren't you leading to whether
18 or not selling was an issue. Could you ask it in such a way that,
19 whether there were any requirements, if you would leave the property.
20 MR. KEHOE: Sure.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Turning our attention to this property and potential sales of
24 this property, were there any requirements concerning that sale?
25 A. The question includes the term "requirement." There was no such
1 requirement. There was a possibility for those who did not wish to
2 return to Croatia
3 Government of Croatia
4 In agreement with representatives of the international community,
5 an agency was set up for the sale of real estate, which sold and bought
6 such properties, or, better put, it bought such properties off.
7 Such an agency was also set up in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I
8 believe the same was true for Serbia
9 individuals who no longer wished to live in their earlier or previous
10 places of residence. In this way, the Government of the Republic of
12 paying up money.
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I might have one moment.
14 [Defence counsel confer]
15 [Prosecution counsel confer]
16 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I have no further questions of this
18 Thank you, Mr. Ozbolt.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
20 Mr. Kay, do you have any questions for the witness.
21 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: I find out whether you will examine or
23 cross-examination her.
24 Ms. Ozbolt, you will now be examined by Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay is
25 counsel for Mr. Cermak.
1 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Kay
3 Q. Ms. Ozbolt --
4 MS. GUSTAFSON: I really apologise for the interruption. I just
5 want to inform the Court that we're having technical difficulties. The
6 compter here is dead. We're not able to release our cross-examination
7 documents. At the moment, we're working on it, and we'll get them as
8 soon as possible. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: If you need the assistance of any technicians then
10 please inform the Registry so that they can assist you.
11 Mr. Kay, are you not bothered by the lack of computer assistance.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. KAY: It is probably a help rather than a hindrance,
14 Your Honour.
15 Q. Ms. Ozbolt, we know that Operation Storm started on the 4th of
16 August of 1995. When did you first know that that military operation was
17 going to take place?
18 A. It's a difficult question, requiring a very specific answer.
19 Since, throughout that time, I was within the chain -- the flow of
20 communication, we knew that an operation would ensue should the
21 negotiations in Geneva
22 If you're asking me if I knew of it, yes, I did.
23 Q. And so there came a moment, did there, when information came to
24 you that the military operation was -- was going to go forward. Would
25 that have been the day before the 4th of August, something like that?
1 A. Yes. Something like that.
2 Q. And would it be right to say that then certain plans involving
3 military, Ministry of Interior, other government agencies, started going
4 forward from that date?
5 A. Probably. Although I was not privy to these plans.
6 Q. And in relation to Mr. Cermak, would it be right to say that
7 before the 4th of August and Operation Storm started, that his name and
8 he had not featured in any of that flow of information concerning the
10 A. No, it did not. He was not mentioned. He was a businessman at
11 the time, deeply immersed in his business.
12 Q. And just looking at him during that period, as you've described
13 him, a businessman, would it be right to say that for a couple of years
14 he had been outside political life. He hadn't been involved in politics?
15 A. The last time he engaged in politics, was, I believe, as a
16 minister of energy and industry. So he was a member of the government,
17 charged with energy industry, and ship-building industry, I believe.
18 This was some time in 1993, roughly.
19 Q. Thank you. We know that he was appointed by President Tudjman on
20 the 5th of August to be the garrison commander of -- of Knin. When did
21 you first hear that General Cermak was being considered for a position in
22 relation to Knin?
23 A. Well, roughly at that same time. The idea was, as I've already
24 said, to bring the military operation to its end as soon as possible and
25 to start restoring the communications system and to revitalise the entire
2 The president wanted to find an adequate person for the job. He
3 was looking for a businessman of the sort who would be able to have the
4 entire matter up and running quite soon, and his choice was Cermak.
5 Q. Would it be right to say, then, that at that time, the idea came
6 about that something would have to be done in relation to Knin, if it was
7 liberated, to enable its reintegration and reconstruction inside Croatia
8 A. I think that I said yesterday that the Croatian government felt
9 that it was in dire straits when it came to the economic situation and
10 that the situation was untenable.
11 The military situation was a condition sine qua non, however it
12 had to be done with as soon as possible in order to start revitalising
13 the economy and life in general. However, there was a great deal to be
14 done there since the Republic of Serbian Krajina was in total disarray.
15 The only structure working there at the time was the military. The
16 schools, the health system, and the economy, the latter, practically
17 non-existent, did not function at all.
18 The southern parts of Croatia
19 which posed a serious economic problem.
20 The third problem were refugees whom the government could no
21 longer sustain under the circumstances.
22 All of these matters called for a swift action. It was necessary
23 to start revitalising the entire country as soon as possible. That was
24 the objective.
25 Q. Was it known then that since 1991, when the Republika Srpska
1 Krajina established itself in Knin and the surrounding area, that there
2 had been no investment, no development, no going forward in terms of
3 living conditions?
4 A. Yes, correct. Nobody would invest in a -- a war-affected area of
5 high risk. Croatia
6 enormous problem of the tourists stayed away, investors steered clear of
8 Q. We know that there was the government's trustee for Knin, a man
9 called Mr. Petar Pasic. Were you familiar with his name and his
11 A. Yes. By virtue of its authority, the government appointed
12 commissioners or trustees to such areas who were supposed to be
13 constantly in touch with the government and carry out all the decisions
14 issued by the government and addressing the relevant areas covered by
16 Q. And would those responsibilities have been involving the
17 government's trustee, providing conditions to ensure an economic revival,
18 getting the town working, and the normalisation of life in Knin? Would
19 that have been one of the responsibilities and tasks of such a person?
20 A. Yes. That would have been the responsibility of such a person.
21 Although, the problems prevalent in Knin went far beyond the abilities
22 and possibilities vested with Pasic as a trustee.
23 Q. Would it be right to say that one of the purposes of sending
24 Mr. Cermak to Knin would have been for him to help support and work with
25 Mr. Pasic in his tasks?
1 A. Mr. Pasic was a government official. Mr. Cermak was an erstwhile
2 minister, a retired general, and a businessman. He had very high
3 organisation skills.
4 The idea and the message behind Cermak's appointment to Knin was
5 to place emphasis on reconstruction, economic revival, restoration of
6 communication, and, in general, normalisation of life.
7 If you will allow me to continue, we had a similar situation in
8 Western Slavonia, where, in addition to the trustee, other individuals
9 were appointed there as coordinators, as it were, who could assist in the
10 whole process. The same idea was applied to the Knin area.
11 However, these same individuals who were engaged in
12 Western Slavonia could simply not be spared from Western Slavonia in
13 order for them to be dispatch to the south because there remained a great
14 deal of work to be done in Western Slavonia
16 Q. Is it right that he was also known as someone who was an expert
17 in logistics and organisation of projects from his experiences of working
18 as a minister from 1991 until 1993?
19 A. As I said, he was known to be a rather good organiser. Since he
20 covered a field which was largely that of the economy, he was the ideal
21 person for the job. He also had that military background of generalship
22 behind him, and, to put it simply, it was a good combination.
23 Q. Would it be right to say that in making this appointment, there
24 was no intention of President Tudjman to make Mr. Cermak the commander of
25 the police, the civil police in the region?
1 A. You see, if President Tudjman wanted to appoint a civilian
2 policeman, he would have done so. The emphasis was placed on the need
3 for an individual to be appointed to that job who could bring about the
4 normalisation of life there.
5 There were no intentions of introducing any sort of a military
6 regime, particularly in view of the delicate situation that obtained
7 there, and in view of the fact that the message that had been sent across
8 to the population there had, throughout that time been, We want you to
9 remain here and be integrated into the Croatian system. The appointment
10 of a military person or a policeman of any sort would have come across as
11 some sort of duress or oppression, which was not the goal.
12 Q. Would it be right to say, then, that President Tudjman did not
13 send Mr. Cermak down there to be in command of a military regime of the
15 A. Yes. That was not his objective; that's right.
16 Q. We know from evidence in the case that the international
17 community were based in an UNCRO camp in Knin, and that at the time of
18 the liberation of Knin, a large number of the Serbian and Croatian
19 population had gathered in that place.
20 Did that event cause any problems, so far as you know, in
21 relation to the plan and strategy of the government, or the president,
22 for that matter?
23 A. If you can be more specific in your question as to what sort of
24 problem it could pose. There were several hundred individuals in that
25 camp who found shelter in the UN camp. The UN requested our assistance
1 in the resolution of the situation, which we provided.
2 That was the first time I went to Knin. General Cermak was
3 there. I think we went to the camp together. I stayed behind, and he
4 left, returning thereafter perhaps, I don't remember. We resolved the
5 situation, at any rate.
6 Q. You've told us that Mr. Cermak's job was the normalisation of
7 life. Was he also given the task of liaising, on behalf of the Croatian
8 government, with the UNCRO commander and internationals based at that
10 A. Look, at this moment, I can really not give you specifics what
11 his powers were. Unfortunately, what we -- or, rather, the president
12 entrusted Mr. Cermak with, such a model does not exist anywhere in the
14 If you're asking me about his powers, he was, in a way, a
15 landless knight; I would put it that way. He held a position of a
16 coordinator and the area of his competence was unknown.
17 If you're asking me about liaising with UNCRO representatives, he
18 to communicate with him. Somebody had to go there and solve those
19 problems. Whether that was within his powers or not, he was quite simply
20 forced to solve the problems that they came up with to him on a daily
22 Q. Was it ever predicted that the UNCRO camp in Knin would present
23 itself as a problem for the future planning of what was to happen in
25 A. Can you please clarify the question? I don't understand it.
1 Q. Was it predicted in those days of the 4th/5th of August, that the
2 relationships with UNCRO and the people in the camp was something that
3 would present a problem as between the UN and Croatia?
4 A. No. The problem arose when the UN said that those people refused
5 to leave the camp and that that was creating logistical problems for
7 Q. Would it be right to say that the Croatian side - the Croatian
8 government and its organisations - viewed this area as being their
9 sovereign territory that they had liberated, belonging to them --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. -- and that the internationals, now on their territory, were not
12 there with the same authority that they had previously had, and with the
13 same role?
14 A. Well, the UN authority remained unchanged. However, Croatia
15 restored its authorities there, and the UN was there to assist this
17 I would put it this way: Something that should have been done
18 under the auspices of UN, and later UNCRO, was actually achieved by the
19 government itself. Let me remind you that the goal of the UN
20 peacekeeping mission was not only to stop the war but also to effect
21 demilitarisation and launch the restoration of normal life, which
22 involved the return of refugees and revival of the whole area. These
23 were the UN tasks, according to the UN resolutions.
24 However, since this did not happen, Croatia introduced its
25 authority on its own, but the UN remained there and helped the things
1 being put in order.
2 Q. Can we go now to an exhibit in the case. It's Exhibit D28. And
3 it's the agreement that was signed between Mr. Akashi and Mr. Sarinic on
4 the 6th of August, 1995.
5 MR. KAY: If we just produce that on the screen, please.
6 Q. Can you see that, Ms. Ozbolt?
7 A. Yes, I can.
8 Q. And is this a document that you're familiar with?
9 A. Yes, I am.
10 Q. And were you aware of it being signed at the time by Mr. Sarinic
11 and Mr. Akashi?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And we can see what the terms of the agreement concern. And in
14 relation to particular issues, we know that, under paragraph 3, that
15 there is an section which, "Croatia
16 inhabitants of the Republic of Croatia
17 peacefully in the areas over which Croatian authority is exercised."
19 those who don't want to stay in Croatia
20 violation of international criminal law. And in the event of any such
21 departures, Croatia
22 and coordinate in departures from -- from the region.
23 Are you able to help us with a little bit of the background
24 concerning this document and this paragraph in particular?
25 A. Therefore, anyone who wished to leave Croatia within the
1 organisation and under supervision of UNCRO would apply to them. They
2 would probably have to fill out a form that we had seen earlier today,
3 and they would be escorted out of Croatia
4 Q. In making this agreement, Mr. Sarinic and Mr. Akashi, were they
5 both aware at the time that because these --
6 MR. KAY: Excuse me.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
8 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'd just like that ask for foundation to be made
9 as to the knowledge of the state of mind of Mr. Sarinic and Mr. Akashi at
10 the time.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay --
12 MR. KAY: Yes.
13 JUDGE ORIE: -- you follow that suggestion?
14 MR. KAY: I can, and I accept it and --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
16 MR. KAY: -- will deal with it.
17 Q. Do you know why -- well, you have answered that already. Well,
18 I'll ask this again.
19 Do you know why this paragraph was inserted into the agreement by
20 both parties?
21 A. Because particularly some of the people who were in the camp that
22 we mentioned before actually wanted to leave Croatia.
23 Q. This agreement applies to --
24 MS. GUSTAFSON: I apologise, Your Honour. I'm not sure that
25 foundation was really laid by that question.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Well, we haven't heard the follow-up question,
2 so ...
3 MR. KAY: I'm -- I must say I'm at a loss to know why we're
4 getting these objections because this is obviously a key issue in the
5 case and involves the anticipated departure of people from the Croatian
6 territory as envisaged by Mr. Akashi on behalf of the United Nations. We
7 know that he was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and
8 Mr. Sarinic, who was the advisor to President Tudjman and head of his
10 JUDGE ORIE: You may proceed with your line of questioning.
11 MR. KAY: Thank you.
12 Q. We see that this document applies to Sector North and
13 Sector South. How much information was there at the time that you were
14 aware of of the scale of people who wanted to leave Croatia at that time?
15 A. I have to say that I was not aware of the number of the people
16 who wished to leave Croatia
18 who didn't want to live in Croatia
19 occasion that their departure would be coordinated with the UN. And, for
20 that reason, we have this clause in this agreement.
21 Q. Thank you. And the issue, then, of those who had committed
22 crimes, did you -- are you able to inform the Court as to what you knew
23 about that issue and why it was asserted inside this agreement?
24 A. A provision was inserted in this agreement for those who want --
25 were allowed to leave, with the exception of those who were in breach of
1 international criminal law, i.e., those who had committed war crimes.
2 Q. Do you know what preparations the Croatian government was taking
3 at that time to deal with any such suspects or people accused of war
4 crimes who they believed were part of that population who might want to
5 leave Croatia
6 issue? The Court is aware of the background concerning events in 1991
7 and onwards, in general terms.
8 A. Those who had committed crimes in the areas of Sector South and
9 Sector North were identified. Their names were known. The witnesses who
10 had fled the area, or were expelled from it, testified to that in court.
11 There were trials conducted against the people who were believed to have
12 committed war crimes. Their names, the events, and the witnesses were
13 known to the courts, and it was the courts who had them on their wanted
14 lists. And precisely for that reason, of their being on either the
15 wanted lists or because they were already subject to legal proceedings,
16 or, if they were already convicted in absentia, is the reason for this
17 provision to be included in this agreement, meaning that these people had
18 to be brought to justice.
19 Q. So was this a matter, then, at that time that was with the
20 Ministry of Justice?
21 A. The Ministry of Justice was only a body that transmitted the
22 request that came either from the state prosecutor or directly from the
23 courts, and they conveyed these requests to UNCRO at that time.
24 Q. So there were lists of -- of suspects, is that right, who were
25 people who had been named before the Croatian justice system. Is that
1 the situation at that time?
2 A. Yes. The Ministry of Justice had a list of people that were
3 sought by the judiciary.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, if you would allow me to seek some
6 MR. KAY: Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: You were talking about persons tried in absentia,
8 so, therefore, convicted persons. When Mr. Kay asked you a follow-up
9 question, he asked you whether there, therefore, were lists of suspects.
10 Of course, suspects and convicted persons is not the same.
11 And in your answer you said, "The Ministry of Justice had a list
12 of people that were sought by the judiciary."
13 Now that could be both, I take it, accused and those already
15 Could you give us an impression about the number of persons that
16 were convicted for war crimes? As I understand from you, most of them
17 would be tried in absentia. But could you give us the impression of the
18 number of people that were tried already for those crimes?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that the list that the
20 ministry had were the lists of people who were in different stages of
21 prosecution or proceedings and that were wanted. Those who were
22 convicted were given a possibility, given that they had been tried and
23 convicted in absentia, to be retried.
24 I cannot recall exactly at the moment how many of those were on
25 the list of the people against whom final judgements were passed, but I
1 think there were about 40-ish people or there about. I cannot give you
2 the exact number.
3 JUDGE ORIE: 40.
4 THE WITNESS: Something like that, yeah.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Something like that. For the Krajina only or in
6 Sector North or south?
7 THE WITNESS: Krajina only.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Krajina only.
9 Now, how long was the list of those who were suspected and,
10 therefore, sought by the prosecutorial services?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The lists of suspects was quite a
12 long one, and it encompassed the whole country. It consisted of over 400
13 names of the people who were wanted on suspicion that had -- they had
14 perpetrated crimes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Crimes or war crimes?
16 THE WITNESS: Crimes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Crimes.
18 THE WITNESS: Crimes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Because the exception says international criminal
20 law. That's, of course, not every crime.
21 Would that -- may I make the question more specific. Would that
22 include being a member of an armed force, which was an illegal armed
23 force? That is to say, that it occupied the territory of Croatia
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. This does not include
25 participation in an armed rebellion or possession of weapons, because
1 amnesty was declared for these kind of felonies on four occasions
2 throughout this period.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 MR. KAY: Your Honour, a correction must be made because
5 Your Honour is dealing with matters. It was 4.000 not 400.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Oh. Then I either misunderstood or --
7 MR. KAY: It was a mistranslation as I am instructed.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Is that -- you said 4.000 the long list of suspects?
9 Yes. That is it then now clear --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Now I come back to my question. You said this
12 included crime, not necessarily war crimes. Is that -- I asked you
13 crimes or war crimes. Your answer was crimes.
14 Do you know how many of them were suspected of having committed
15 war crimes?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I honestly don't know the exact
17 number. This list that contained over 4.000 names included those who
18 committed murders that were not qualified as war crimes. Therefore, this
19 number did not include minor criminal offences but, rather, really
20 serious crimes or a suspicion of serious crimes. How many of them were
21 actually accused of war crimes is difficult for me to say.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those answers.
23 Mr. Kay, please proceed.
24 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Can we look at a document now, Exhibit P388. It's a letter dated
1 the 8th of August, 1995, sent by General Cermak to General Forand, and so
2 two days after the Akashi/Sarinic agreement. And if we just have a look
3 at this letter.
4 Q. General Cermak was asking for a list of the refugees in the camp
5 so that he could address their problems and see that passes are issued to
6 all who want to leave the camp and go on living in the area of Knin.
7 Just looking at that, was there an issue that those people who
8 had been in the RSK and were now under Croatian sovereignty were required
9 to have some sort of identification papers and to register as Croatian
10 nationals, if they were to be Croatian citizens?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The letter says we will provide conditions of normal life for
13 them together with UNCRO, draw up a list of women, children, and persons
14 older than 60 who may leave the camp unimpededly; and if they do not wish
15 to return to the liberated areas, but want transport to Bosnia or Serbia
16 we shall provide that as well.
17 And then the next paragraph: It is necessary to make a list of
18 men aged between 18 and 60 who will have to be interviewed by the
19 representatives of the civilian police of the Republic of Croatia
20 cooperation with your people. They will be provided with health care,
21 access by the Red Cross, and other humanitarian organisations. All those
22 who have not committed any crimes against the Republic of Croatia
23 allowed to go back to Knin, while those who do not want this will be
24 given transport to Bosnia
25 the judicial authorities of the Republic of Croatia
1 give me this list at once so that we can together settle the problems
2 that have arisen.
3 Having seen that letter now, have you ever seen that letter
5 A. It is possible that I have.
6 Q. All right. It's --
7 A. I'm sorry, it's been a long time ago.
8 Q. It's just the issues in the letter, and --
9 A. Well, that was the context.
10 Q. Yes. If we look at that paragraph about the list of the men whom
11 General Cermak said were to be interviewed by the civilian police as well
12 as the international people, and then the issue of any crimes, that any
13 may have been committed; this letter written by General Cermak, do you
14 know if that was a measure taken by him acting on behalf of the Ministry
15 of Justice, in relation to this matter?
16 A. Well, that was probably requested of him by the Ministry of
17 Justice, since the Ministry of Justice was in possession of the names of
18 people who were wanted by the judiciary and the courts.
19 Q. Was it the case, then, that Croatia wanted to sort this matter
20 out quickly in relation to any suspects or any who may have been
21 convicted who were inside the UNCRO camp taking shelter?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. You, as we've seen from the papers, were eventually dealing with
24 this matter with an assistant minister for justice, a Mr. Tomislav Penic;
25 is that right?
1 A. I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand. Yes, yes.
2 I did not discuss this issue with Mr. Tomislav Penic. We came
3 across this issue in the president's office when Mr. Akashi drew our
4 attention to it. It seemed difficult to solve the problem and, at that
5 point, we got involved in that. Ultimately, I went down to the camp,
6 together with Mr. Penic. We talked to the families of these individuals
7 and provided them assurances.
8 Q. If I can just cut you short there as we will be going into that a
9 little bit later on. And it is just one last question which will then be
10 appropriate for the break, with Your Honours' leave.
11 Had Mr. Penic been dealing with this matter before you on behalf
12 of the Ministry of Justice and as it became more and more of a problem
13 between the UN and Croatia
14 brought in?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. KAY: Your Honour, that is a convenient moment for the break.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, could you give us an indication of how much
18 time you would still need.
19 MR. KAY: Two hours, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Two hours.
21 Mr. Mikulicic.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I will probably need only 15
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
25 Ms. Gustafson.
1 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, I anticipate needing quite a bit of
2 time in cross. Approximately four to five hours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I write everything down.
4 We'll have a break, and we will resume at 11.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.
7 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber has considered the time needed by the
8 parties. The Chamber is of the opinion that it should be possible to
9 finish the testimony of this witness this week. That is, today and
11 For those purposes, Mr. Kay, you asked for another two hours.
12 You'll have that next session even if that would be a bit of an extended
13 session, which gives you one hour, 35; one hour, 40, approximately. Try
14 to squeeze in your question.
15 Then, Mr. Mikulicic, you get the 15 minutes that you ask for.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I'm sorry to interrupt. If I could
17 be of any assistance, in the meantime I rescheduled, and I'll have no
18 questions on that witness. So my 15 minutes is on disposal to other
19 Defences and to the Prosecution office.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, I suggest that you take a relatively long
21 session with the assistance of interpreters and transcriber but certainly
22 not more than one hour and 45 minutes.
23 Then, Ms. Gustafson would you have the remaining time this
24 morning and two sessions tomorrow, which brings you to approximately
25 three and a half hours then. A little bit over three and a half hours.
1 We would then have the third session for tomorrow for Judges's questions
2 and re-examination.
3 That is the schedule on which we will work, which I may also make
4 clear to you, Ms. Ozbolt, that we expect to finish tomorrow at a quarter
5 to 2.00.
6 Please proceed, Mr. Kay.
7 MR. KAY: Just checking the clock and see if I can beat the
9 I'll skip a few documents then.
10 Let's turn to 65 ter 1D2614.
11 Q. This is a document that just in English, Ms. Skare Ozbolt, but
12 that I believe you're able to read English because I think you will
13 recognise some -- the document.
14 This has not been translated into Croatian, Your Honour. It is
15 not a language of the Tribunal as Your Honour knows, so it is just the
16 English document.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If all the Defence teams and accused agree
18 with having it only available in English, then, of course, we can
19 proceed. If not, then, of course, we would insist on having a
21 MR. KEHOE: We certainly agree, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
23 Mr. Mikulicic.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: We agree as well, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. KAY: Thank you.
3 Q. Do you recognise this document, Ms. Skare Ozbolt? It's addressed
4 to you on the 2nd of September, 1995?
5 A. Yes, I do recognise the document.
6 Q. We see some handwriting on the document. Is that your
8 A. No, not at all.
9 Q. Do you know whose handwriting that is?
10 A. I have no idea.
11 Q. If we just look at the content of the letter, it's from
12 Mr. Harston of the United Nations, and he had spoken to you the day
13 before, and we see that he is recommending agreement with regard to the
14 displaced people in the UN compound. And he says that charges and
15 supporting evidence for 62 persons should be made available, that there
16 should be a meeting to discuss each case on an individual basis. On the
17 basis of those discussions, the UN will be prepared to release those
18 listed to the Croatian authorities, and then he puts a number of
19 conditions. We see the words "okay" written down the side.
20 MR. KAY: Let's turn to page 2. I won't go through all the
21 detail. To ensure proper identification of individuals, and if there is
22 any disagreement on the conditions that it should be referred to the
23 ICTY. And then he makes suggestions concerning the immediate departure
24 for those who are not among the 62 listed persons.
25 Q. First of all, then, looking at this letter from Mr. Harston, were
1 there problems in the way that he had addressed this issue on behalf of
2 the UN, as far as the Government of Croatia was concerned?
3 A. I think that is an answer to this letter of Mr. Harston's that I
5 Q. There is. Would you like to turn to that now?
6 A. It wouldn't be a bad idea.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. KAY: Your Honour, may this document be entered into
9 evidence. There is an version, I believe, of it already, but without the
10 handwriting on. And Your Honour may recollect we had this similar issue
11 yesterday with a previously presented document.
12 The handwriting might actually be informative of the issue as
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Although if we do not know who wrote it, then
15 it hardly adds that it appears that one person on this world seems to be
16 okay with some matters. And someone is struggling apparently with what a
17 summons and what an indictment is.
18 But what does it add, Mr. Kay, to our knowledge? Or does it add
19 to confusion on who that one person might have been.
20 MR. KAY: Well, it shows that there was an issue within the
21 Government of Croatia
22 Honour knows that there is a criticism from the Croatian side about the
23 lack of comprehension of the Croatian system by the international lawyer.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Therefore, then, this and that's the underlying
25 suggestion --
1 MR. KAY: Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: -- or assumption, that this is a copy of the letter
3 which is found within Croatian government circles --
4 MR. KAY: Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- and not coming from any other source. Is that
6 how I have to understand?
7 MR. KAY: Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Because then it makes sense what you say. If we do
9 not have such an assumption, then it could have been any legal clerk.
10 MR. KAY: We're not sure. I obtained this copy from
11 Mr. Harston's statement disclosed in the proceedings. That's why it is
12 marked JH/2.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, any observation as far as admission
14 into evidence is concerned?
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: There's no objection, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Then ...
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar the number for this document would
19 be ...
20 There appear to be too many microphones open. Could ...
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1479.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Is admitted into evidence. The Chamber would
23 appreciate receiving information as to where this document originates
24 from, not who drafted it, but where this copy with this handwriting was
1 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'll look into it at the break, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. KAY: Thank you.
5 Q. Exhibit D634, which is the letter you were referring to,
6 Ms. Ozbolt. It is dated the 4th of September, 1995, written by you and
7 about the draft UNCRO agreement. It was sent to you, sorry. Got my
8 documents misplaced. Sent to you. And it concerns information from a
9 professor Vukas and Muljacic, an assistant minister in the foreign
10 ministry. And it's about the draft UNCRO agreement, and this legal
11 opinion was sent to you.
12 Is that right? Did you receive this document?
13 A. Yes, I did. And I recognise it. That's correct.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, could I assist.
16 MR. KAY: Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I see that the interpretation had problems with the
18 expansion SOFA. SOFA is a brief for a status of forces agreement, as far
19 as I'm aware of from my legal background.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. KAY: Thank you.
22 Q. In relation to the issue being dealt with by you, was there not
23 only conflict concerning the system of Croatian law versus any other form
24 of law, as well as the issue of validity in international law, concerning
25 rights and obligations in dealing with these people?
1 A. That's correct. I told Mr. Harston that we would be absolutely
2 adhering to all the provisions of international law. However,
3 Mr. Harston had only just arrived and was not familiar with the subject
4 matter he was charged with, which created a certain degree of nervousness
5 both on our side and in Mr. Akashi's office. Due to his lack of adequate
6 knowledge, the whole process lasts longer than it should have.
7 Q. There was eventually another letter written to you on the 9th of
8 September, Exhibit D637. I won't look at that. But to save time, we'll
9 look at a letter with you that you wrote, Exhibit D638, as the Court is
10 familiar with the background, having seen these documents before. And
11 let us skip a stage and go to the letter written by you, Exhibit D638.
12 This was a letter written on the 11th of September?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. And you refer to a letter of the 9th of September. And, again,
15 it concerns issues of the protocol that was to be applied as between the
16 UN and the Croatian authorities for dealing with these people whom the
17 Croatian justice system wanted to deal with.
18 We can see an explanation in paragraph 3, the issue of a charge
19 sheet and decision on the conduct of an investigation, and the point that
20 a charge sheet is issued only after an investigation has been carried
21 out. And the rest of the terms of the letter can be seen.
22 MR. KAY: If we quickly turn to page 2, to enable the Court to
23 familiarise itself again with the document.
24 Q. Would it be right to say that this was a conflict of legal
25 cultures taking place between Croatia
2 A. That's how it could be put, indeed. It was a conflict of legal
3 cultures, but it extended only to Mr. Harston. Other members of
4 Mr. Akashi's team from his legal department assisted me in assuring
5 Mr. Harston of the substance of the Criminal Code of Croatia and the
6 Law on Criminal Procedure of Croatia
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. KAY: May we look, then, at another document, 2D15-0001.
9 Q. And it is from Mr. Penic, whom you told us about at the Ministry
10 of Justice. A letter to you dated the 11th of September, 1995. If we
11 look, first of all, at the front page and we see the message:
12 "I understood this is important. If you want to know more,
13 please call."
14 MR. KAY: Let's turn to page 2.
15 Q. He refers to a memo of the UN from the 9th of September, 1995
16 That's Exhibit D637; we've no need to look at but to link.
17 And there is an explanation there of the system to be applied
18 within the Croatian criminal justice system, as regards the investigation
19 against 35 suspects.
20 Do you recognise this document as the document being sent to you?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. And the next page, page 3, so that everyone has had a chance to
23 see that page, again, the details on there, signed by Mr. Penic.
24 And is this document, then, an explanation as to what was
25 required to be in conformity with the Croatian criminal justice system
1 and the way that the system would operate?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. KAY: Your Honour, might this be made an exhibit, please.
4 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1480.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
8 MR. KAY:
9 Q. In relation to what was happening, this was being played out at
10 the level in Zagreb
11 headquarters; is that right?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. Thank you. And in relation to Mr. Cermak's involvement, as we
14 know from other evidence, he was presenting statements and discussing the
15 matter with Mr. -- General Forand. Would it be right to say that he was
16 there acting as a channel on behalf of the Croatian government?
17 A. Yes. He was a coordinator of sorts. All the information that
18 had to be dealt with locally with UNCRO, with General Forand, that -- for
19 that information, it was General Cermak who was the point of contact.
20 Q. Eventually this matter was solved, and the procedure followed to
21 enable these suspects or people charged to go into the criminal justice
23 Were there also other representatives of the Croatian government
24 involved? Slobodan Lang, do you know him, and was he also involved in
25 this process?
1 A. Yes. Slobodan Lang was advisor to the president for humanitarian
2 issues. He was frequently present in the areas where human rights needed
3 protecting. He accompanied me on my trips very often. In the course of
4 autumn and particularly winter of 1995 on to 1996, he travelled the areas
5 in the capacity of advisor to the president on a fact-finding mission and
6 in order to report on the situation in the field with regard to the
7 protection of human rights. He launched a campaign called Let's Save
8 Lives, which was meant to protect the elderly who lived in the
9 mountainous area of the Glina and Knin regions who needed a supply of
10 firewood, foodstuffs and medication.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. KAY: Can we turn to another document now.
13 Excuse me, Your Honour, I'm just checking whether I have done my
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: In the meantime, I can inform the Court that
16 D1479 was provided to the OTP by Mr. Harston in March 2000.
17 MR. KAY: Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that information, Ms. Gustafson.
19 MR. KAY: Thank you very much.
20 Can we look now at a document 2D15-0043.
21 Q. And it's a letter dated 22nd of September, 1995, from you to
22 Mr. Pitkanen, head of political and humanitarian affairs of UNCRO Zagreb.
23 And it is a response from the Ministry of Justice regarding the UNCRO
24 request for the monitoring of legal proceedings. And do you recognise
25 this document as being one sent by you?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. KAY: May we turn to page 2.
4 Q. And we see there what was written by Mr. Penic on the 21st of
5 September and sent to you concerning the monitoring of legal proceedings
6 by UNCRO and his explanation there.
7 Would it be right to say that you were being used as a channel
8 yourself now, in dealing with the specifics of this matter as between
9 UNCRO and the Ministry of Justice.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 A. That's right.
13 MR. KAY: May this document be made an exhibit, Your Honour.
14 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1481.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
18 MR. KAY: If we can turn now to D15-0049.
19 Q. This, again, is another document from Mr. Penic to you. It's got
20 a date on the fax of 16th of October, 1995.
21 Right, I can see we've got the order of the document now. It's
22 the second page. But it's a document dated 2nd of October, and it
23 concerns the monitoring of judicial proceedings. We can see the content
24 of the letter there, and it concerns monitoring.
25 If we turn to page 2, we can see it was sent by Mr. Penic, and we
1 can see the terms of the letter about the requests and cooperation and
3 Do you recognise this document as being sent to you by Mr. Penic?
4 A. That's correct. We warmly welcomed the UNCRO initiative to
5 follow court proceedings. We thought that was a very good thing to do.
6 The trials were public, and it was a positive development that observers
7 should be following trials and court proceedings in general.
8 The whole initiative went through my office and the Ministry of
9 Justice, since none of the international representatives were able to
10 communicate directly with the Croatian judiciary. It so happened,
11 therefore, that the Ministry of Justice sent a letter to the president of
12 the Supreme Court, and to the presidents of the courts seized of these
14 Q. If we can just turn, then, to page 3 of the document in e-court
15 where we can see a note by Mr. Penic to that effect, which I turn to
16 without anything any question, but just so that the Court can see the
17 document and the context of the witness's evidence, if that meets with
18 the Court's approval.
19 MR. KEHOE: Maybe this document be made an exhibit, please,
20 Your Honour.
21 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1482.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, it is perhaps due to our own scheduling.
25 This monitoring possibility, was that -- and I think it was in
1 one of the documents we have seen but went rather quickly.
2 Was that limited to public hearings or was it also non-public
4 Perhaps the witness could tell us.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Hearings were followed regardless
6 of the fact whether the Court decided that they should be public or
7 closed for public.
8 JUDGE ORIE: So monitoring possibilities were there also for
9 non-public hearings.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. KAY: Thank you.
14 Q. And that's all I ask you about on this matter. Thank you.
15 The next matter I want to ask you questions about concern the
16 police officer, Mr. Ivkanec. And if we could just look at a document,
17 first of all. 2D15-0063.
18 MR. KAY: Your Honour will see reference to this evidence in
19 paragraph 3 of the witness's 65 ter statement, and paragraph 10, for the
20 Court's reference.
22 Q. This is a document dated the 17th of September, 1992. And it's
23 the decision by the minister of the interior, Mr. Jarnjak, to appoint
24 temporarily Mr. Ivkanec to the Bjelovar police administration in the
25 position of commander of Pakrac police station. And can you see that the
1 appointment was made effective from 18th of September at 1992.
2 And, is that right, that, at the time of Operation Flash,
3 Mr. Ivkanec was within the Ministry of Interior as a policeman and
4 commander of Pakrac police station?
5 A. This is the first time that I see this decision. It is an
6 internal document issued by the Ministry of Interior. Therefore, I can
7 only confirm that that was probably the case, since this looks like a
8 genuine decision.
9 Mr. Ivkanec, as far as I know, after Operation Flash, was in
10 charge of restoring safety and security in Eastern [as interpreted]
12 because he had good relationships with representatives of the Serbs,
13 Veljko Dzakula, in particular, at the time and also before
14 Operation Flash.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. KAY: Your Honour, may this document be made an exhibit.
17 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1483.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
21 MR. KAY: Something has been pointed on the transcript. That is
22 should be Western Slavonia or Eastern Slavonia?
23 THE WITNESS: Western Slavonia.
24 MR. KAY: Yeah. I'm grateful for that, and it was going to form
25 my next question actually because we will go to a document now,
2 As you told us, you were involved in Eastern Slavonia much
3 later --
4 THE WITNESS: Yes.
5 Q. -- than 1999.
6 Let's go to this document now, 2D15-0061. It's dated 6th of May,
8 Can you tell us, first of all, when Operation Flash started an
10 A. [Interpretation] Operation Flash started on the 1st of January
11 [as interpreted]at 5.00 a.m.
12 Q. January or May?
13 A. 1st of May.
14 Q. Thank you. And we see that this is dated the 6th of May, 1995.
15 It's a document signed by -- it says representative
16 Colonel General Cervenko, and if could you just look at the detail of the
17 document as we go through it. It is sent to the Bjelovar Military
18 District, and it says with the aim of organising and coordinating
19 activities in order to accommodate prisoners from Western Slavonia to
20 search the terrain, ensure life conditions for civilians, the
21 coordination staff is established and formed by the president of the
22 Republic of Croatia
23 Major-General Mate Lausic, for the work and duties of the military
24 police; number 2, Josko Moric, department minister of the interior for
25 the work and tasks which are carried out by the Ministry of Interior,
1 personnel and units; and Ivan Majdak, on behalf of the government, for
2 dealing with work and tasks under the jurisdiction of the government and
3 for the work, coordination of planning and carrying out tasks of the
4 Croatian Army commands and units, in cooperation with MUP units, civil
5 protection, military police in Western Slavonia, on behalf of the
6 Main Staff; Brigadier Luka Dzanko, commander of the Bjelovar Military
7 District was obligated to implement regulated and ordered measures and
8 activities regarding the cooperation and participation with other parties
9 in the area of Western Slavonia.
10 First of all, have you seen this document before?
11 A. No, I haven't. But I am aware of the content of the decision and
12 I know that these people were charged with these tasks. But, as I said,
13 I have never seen this document before.
14 Q. Thank you. Is it right that what the document was establishing
15 after Operation Flash that the responsibility for the work and duties of
16 the military police would be within the coordination staff under
17 General Lausic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And in relation to the work of the civil police, again, the
20 possibility being under Josko Moric?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And Dr. Majdak -- I said Dr. Majdak. Ivan Majdak is a doctor.
23 Dr. Majdak, isn't he?
24 A. Yes, he is.
25 Q. Dr. Majdak. If you could explain to the Court what exactly his
1 job was at that time in May 1995?
2 A. Roughly speaking, Ivan Majdak's job could be equated or reflected
3 on what was supposed to be done by Mr. Cermak. Namely, Ivan Majdak was
4 an advisor to the president of the Republic in 1990 and 1991. He was
5 then advisor for the economy. After that, he was the minister of
6 agriculture in the Government of the Republic of Croatia
7 when he assumed these duty, I think that he was also a private
8 entrepreneur and businessman at the time.
9 Q. In relation to Mr. -- or Dr. Majdak, was he, in fact, the
10 superior of Mr. Pasic, the government trustee, and the line to which
11 Mr. Pasic reported to in Knin?
12 A. He was not appointed the government's commissioner. There's a
13 substantial difference there. He was a -- the coordinator for economic
14 affairs, involving the normalisation of life. So something similar to
15 what Mr. Cermak was supposed to do in Knin.
16 Q. Thank you very much.
17 MR. KAY: Your Honour, may this document be made an exhibit.
18 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1484.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
22 MR. KAY:
23 Q. Just moving now to Knin from that snapshot there of
24 Western Slavonia
25 MR. KAY: Can we turn to P515.
1 Q. This is a document dated the 3rd of August, 1995. And it's a
2 record from the military police administration before Operation Storm on
3 a meeting between the heads of the MUP, military police administration,
4 and SIS, 3rd of August; and was on the subject of harmonising the work of
5 the MUP, military police, and SIS in the preparation and during planned
6 offensives operations by Croatian Army in the forthcoming period.
7 And we can see who was present there: Assistant minister,
8 Mr. Moric; chief of police, Mr. Djurica.
9 Just looking at him there and his name, is it correct that he
10 became the senior coordinator, in relation to the civilian police in Knin
11 and the region after the liberation of Knin?
12 A. I think that was the case. Although I have to admit, I wasn't
13 involved any longer in the issues relating to Knin because I became
14 engaged in the issues relating to Eastern Slavonia, so I cannot tell you
15 what the situation was at that time.
16 Q. If we just look at this document, as it -- it concerns the
17 coordination between the military police and the civilian police. And if
18 we look at page 2.
19 As the text shows, the names of the people present. Court is
20 familiar with some of these names from various documents. I won't repeat
21 them. But it was -- the meeting was opened by Mr. Moric, who outlined a
22 key point:
23 "Yesterday's meeting," so on the 2nd of August, "between the
24 minister of defence and minister of the interior, basic principles
25 confirmed for the operations of the police and military police in wartime
1 conditionals, which were based on experiences in Western Slavonia."
2 And he and General Lausic were aware of negative experiences and
3 it was there joint task to eliminate those problems and ensure full
4 cooperation and performance of tasks.
5 Page 3: The MUP had undertake structural and other preparations
6 for the forthcoming tasks and raised issues with the police
7 administrations. And that they had noticed in Western Slavonia the
8 problem of the activities of irregulars, persons who had not participated
9 in combat operations appeared near the lines in HV uniforms.
10 Court can see that they were dispensing justice, in quotation
11 marks, misuse of uniforms and Mr. Moric would deploy forces in the
12 liberated territory, according to the needs of the moment.
13 MR. KAY: If we go to the next page, page 4. I'm not going to
14 read out all the content. But if you follow the information.
15 Brigade Biskic, who is the Deputy Chief of the military police
16 administration - Mr. Lausic's deputy - outlined tasks before the start of
17 combat operations, when they start, and when combat operations are
18 completed, and the tasks that would be done.
19 Page 5. General Lausic stated basic negative experiences in
20 Flash concerning the military police, lack of vigour, failure to adapt,
21 et cetera.
22 And page 6, there is the record of what was discussed concerning
23 persons entering the area. Mr. Moric dealing with preparations for entry
24 and exit points of towns and proposing that he and General Lausic should
25 meet once a day, exchange information, solve any problems. And he stated
1 he, himself, had noticed the problem of lack of vigour in the actions of
2 the police. And he comments upon assessments of the work of the military
3 police, civilian police. And we've no need to go through the rest of the
4 document, but turn to page 8 to see this record from the military police
5 administration was sent to Mr. Moric, Mr. Djurica, Mr. Nad, chief of SIS.
6 And if I can point out to the Court, to save time, that this
7 information was reflected in Exhibit D41. The Court will remember I put
8 to the Prosecution witness, Mr. Flynn, at that time, the record by the
9 civilian police of this meeting, which is identical. So I don't propose
10 to go into the two issues at the same time, because it would waste time.
11 Q. Did you understand that, Ms. Ozbolt, that there is an record here
12 in another exhibit of the same matter?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Would it be correct to say that the military police and the
15 civilian police were preparing themselves for Operation Storm and how to
16 deal with the security and control of law and order?
17 A. Yes, you can say that.
18 Q. Turning now to Exhibit P493, just to have a look at this
20 It's dated the 3rd of August and is sent to the police
21 administrations by Mr. Moric, ordering cooperation with the military
23 You can see the kind of tasks that were being ordered.
24 Again, this was an example of the military police and civil
25 police planning to coordinate and work together; isn't that right?
1 A. This is the first time I see this document, but that was the
2 intention, yes.
3 Q. And this Court is aware of other orders that have been passed.
4 In relation to Western Slavonia, where we looked at the first
5 document showing by the order of the president that Mr. Moric and
6 Mr. Lausic form a coordination committee with Dr. Majdak, they had the
7 same responsibility, in relation to Operation Storm; isn't that right?
8 That's the cooperation that we see happening here.
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. Is it right that there is no equivalent order in relation to
11 Operation Storm that we saw on the document dated the 6th of May,
12 outlining the structure of the cooperation and coordination by the
13 president or Chief of Staff?
14 A. There was no such document.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. KAY: Your Honour, in view of the constraints of time, I am
17 able to -- I take the view in relation to the answers of the witness,
18 skip a substantial amount of documentation showing the coordination
19 between Mr. Lausic and Mr. Moric from the 3rd of August onwards to the
20 meeting in Plitvice.
21 I don't know whether the Court would agree with that, or whether
22 the Court would like me to go through those documents. They are all in
23 evidence. I wouldn't be introducing anything -- no, I could read out the
24 exhibit numbers, if that would be helpful to the Court to show the issues
25 that are relevant to this matter.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, of course, this Chamber doesn't know what
2 questions you would put to the witness in relation to those documents.
3 If it is just to ask her whether she is aware of documents, and I leave
4 it to that, or whether that is in accordance with her recollection. If
5 it doesn't add much to the information, then I think it would be -- but
6 I'm just looking at my colleagues.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE ORIE: If you have any specific questions, more than just
9 drawing the attention of the witness to these documents, to see whether
10 she has any other opinions about it, then, of course, the Chamber would
11 be happy if you just say these and these are relevant documents in this
12 context and leave it to that.
13 If there's any document where have you doubt, you could just
14 mention the nature of the document and ask the witness whether she has
15 knowledge of the matter in such a way that it would add anything to what
16 is already in that document.
17 Of course, for the Chamber, it is guessing on what your questions
18 would be. Therefore, if you consider that the content of the document is
19 most important and that you do not expect the witness to add much to
20 that, then the Chamber has no difficulties in accepting your suggestion.
21 MR. KAY: So what I'll do, Your Honours is -- so that it's
22 transparent, is to list the documents. I won't read them out now as
23 that's probably tedious. And with the agreement of the Court, submit it
24 to your learned clerk, and you now know the passage that was going to be
25 gone through.
1 JUDGE ORIE: If you are saying you are going to list them, that
2 means that you describe what it is without going into the content.
3 MR. KAY: Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: And, Ms. Ozbolt, there would be -- if there is any
5 document which you hear about, if you think that, first of all, you know
6 the document; and second, that the content might be misleading or might
7 not speak for itself, so you really have important matters to add to what
8 you know to be the content of that document, then you're invited to ask
9 Mr. Kay to stop for a moment.
10 Mr. Kay, please proceed.
11 MR. KAY:
12 Q. I will deal with it a very broad way, Ms. Ozbolt, rather than
13 going through documents that are already in evidence. They are already
14 exhibits in the case, and I have put them to witnesses previously on the
15 same issue.
16 Were you aware of a series of orders issued by Mr. Moric in
17 relation to safety in the area, security in the area, and the prevention
18 of crimes in the area, that he issued to the police administrations to
19 stop crime.
20 A. I didn't see written orders. However, based on the reports that
21 we received on all the steps taken by the Ministry of Interior, I knew
22 that such orders had been issued, without seeing the texts of the orders
23 themselves, since that was the internal matter of the ministry.
24 Q. Exactly. And that was the answer I would have expected if I had
25 gone through each and every one.
1 In relation to the military police and General Lausic, were you
2 aware that in relation to the military police, he, likewise, issued such
3 orders concerning safety, security, and prevention of crime to the
4 battalions of the military police on regular occasions in August and
6 A. I can give you the same answer as before. On the basis of the
7 information we received, that's something I knew. I didn't see their
8 internal orders, nor was I supposed to.
9 Q. Were you aware that the two of them, in fact, were coordinating
10 these measures together, in relation to crimes that were being committed,
11 and they wanted their forces to stop?
12 A. They probably were coordinating their activities. I must admit,
13 that I did not have any direct communications with either of them, since,
14 as I told you already, I was engaged in other discussions concerning the
15 Erdut Agreement at the time.
16 Q. Thank you very much. I want to move to the last of the documents
17 in this theme, which will be Exhibit D595.
18 This is a record of a meeting held on the 15th of September,
19 1995. This document comes from the military police administration, but
20 it's a meeting of the coordinative meeting with representatives of the
21 MUP by the military police administration, held at Plitvice on the 15th
22 of September - and a document that the Court is familiar with - and where
23 the chiefs of police administration reported at this meeting with the
24 military police administration what was happening in their area, and,
25 likewise, the military police commanders did the same thing.
1 First of all, were you aware that such a coordination meeting had
2 taken place between the military police administration and Ministry of
3 Interior, in relation to the law and order problems they were facing?
4 A. No, I wasn't. Perhaps somebody else in the office was. And I
5 mean the office of the president.
6 Q. Yes. In Western Slavonia, was that the similar coordination that
7 was taking place after Operation Flash between Mr. Moric and Mr. Lausic?
8 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I don't quite understand
9 the question. Maybe I'm the only one.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Well, what we often do is to find out whether the
11 witness understands the question.
12 Did you understand the question?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I must admit, that I don't, not
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Kay, that is sufficient reason to rephrase
17 MR. KAY: Thank you very much.
18 Q. When we looked at the 6th of May, 1995, document, Exhibit D1484,
19 and the president formed the coordination staff with Mr. --
20 Major-General Lausic, Mr. Moric, Dr. Majdak, and you described
21 Western Slavonia as a situation with which you were involved, the meeting
22 that we see took place on the 15th of September, after Storm, between the
23 MUP and the military police. Was that a similar act of coordination from
24 what you had experienced in Western Slavonia?
25 A. Let me be quite precise. I dealt with Western Slavonia until the
1 commencement of Operation Flash. Thereafter, I received information
2 about the situation on the ground. The coordination body you referred
3 to, which was set up especially for Western Slavonia, was partly copied,
4 as such, in the Knin area. The fact of the matter is that the two of
5 them did cooperate, and as is clearly seen from the conclusions, they
6 wanted to rectify their errors or any drawbacks that they observed in
7 their activities in Western Slavonia, in order for these matters not to
8 be repeated in their work in Sectors North and South.
9 Let me repeat that I'm not privy to what happened afterwards
10 because at the time, we were engage in the intensive negotiations for the
11 Erdut Agreement that came to be signed two month the later. Therefore, I
12 no longer followed the developments in the area.
13 Q. Thank you. That deals with that matter and now moving on to some
14 other smaller matters to ask you questions about.
15 You worked in the president's office, and your immediate superior
16 was who? Was it Mr. Sarinic?
17 A. It was the president.
18 Q. Right. During this period after Operation Storm, were you
19 working in the president's office regularly? Were you there on a
20 day-by-day basis?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Were you aware of telephone calls made by General Cermak to
23 president's office?
24 A. Depending on who he was calling. If he called the president, I
25 did not necessarily have to know of it.
1 Q. Do you know if he called Mr. Sarinic?
2 A. I probably did know of it.
3 Q. Did he telephone the president's office, so far as you are aware,
4 to let them know what was happening in Knin and the area from information
5 he had received?
6 A. He probably did, and he probably spoke to them. I spoke to him
7 on the issue involving the Serbs within the UN compound.
8 Q. Just putting your conversation with him aside because we can go
9 to that in a -- in a minute. In relation to the trouble and crime that
10 was happening in the area down in the liberated territory, do you know if
11 Mr. Cermak had telephoned in to let them know what was happening?
12 A. I don't have that sort of knowledge about when he called or who
13 he spoke to, but he most probably did inform them of it.
14 Q. And in relation to your matter of dealing with the people wanted
15 for questioning and the criminal justice process in Croatia, was he
16 finding out from you what was happening and how matters were going to
18 A. To the best of my knowledge, I believed that I informed him of
19 the discussions we had with Akashi
20 was more frequently in touch with General Forand from the UN, who, on his
21 part, had his communication channel with Mr. Akashi and the UN
22 representatives in Zagreb
23 As for us, we communicated along this other line, with
24 General Cermak and informed him of what the intended activities were,
25 especially in relation to the issues discussed with Mr. Akashi.
1 Q. Were aware at the time that General Cermak was condemning crime
2 that was happening publicly?
3 A. Yes. He appeared on television every day and presented his
5 Q. And what were those views?
6 A. He condemned what was happening and demanded that such matters be
7 investigated into. I think that was the context in which he presented
8 his views. It's hard to recall everything.
9 Q. It been said in this court that he was part of a plan to drive
10 out Serbs from the region and cause them to leave. Did he present
11 himself to you as a man acting in that way?
12 A. No, absolutely not. First of all, there was no plan to drive out
13 anyone. General Cermak is a highly tolerant person who I don't believe
14 exhibited any sort of resentment or animosity toward anyone. I don't
15 know him to be such a person.
16 Q. In relation to a comment in your statement about him saying to
17 you, I'm here because of you, because you persuaded me to take the job,
18 is that an accurate scenario of what happened; or is that something that
19 he said to you in a -- in a different context?
20 A. I was the minister of the justice from late 2003 up until early
21 2006. As such, as a minister charged with the justice system and
22 penitentiaries, I visited Mr. Cermak and Mr. Markac in the UN detention
23 unit here, and that was his first reaction upon seeing me here.
24 I thought his reaction was an understandable one, because it
25 was -- he was taken out of his own context of business and transferred to
1 Knin, where he was supposed to exhibit all his skills, in terms of
2 organisation and logistics; and one did not expect that the events would
3 take the turn they did.
4 Q. Was he saying that you persuaded him or that the office of which
5 you were a member --
6 A. Well, the office where we worked included Sarinic and myself. In
7 hindsight, I seem to realise that he was picked out of -- and dropped
8 into something he -- where he could not expect what was to happen. We,
9 ourselves, could not anticipate the developments that would ensue.
10 [Defence counsel confer]
11 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I'm pleased to say I think I have beaten
12 the clock, and I'm able with the shortcut --
13 JUDGE ORIE: You did.
14 MR. KAY: -- to finish earlier.
15 JUDGE ORIE: You did, Mr. Kay.
16 MR. KAY: That concludes my questioning, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
18 Mr. Mikulicic, we understand that the Markac Defence has no
19 questions for the witness.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: That's correct, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: We will first have a break. And, Ms. Gustafson, you
22 can start your cross-examination after the break.
23 We will have a break, and we will resume at ten minutes to 1.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, before I give you an opportunity to
2 cross-examine the witness, I would like to clarify one thing with you,
3 Ms. Ozbolt, and I'd like to have D1481 on the screen. Second page,
5 Yes, I asked you about access to hearings, public hearings or
6 not, and I am - I have to admit - a bit confused, because what I read is
7 that you agree, in principle, I don't know what that adds in principle.
8 But at least there's agreement with the presence of the UNCRO
9 representatives at all court hearings which are in accordance with the
10 positive legal acts of the Republike Hrvatske, public hearings and then
11 the letter continues by saying:
12 "Therefore, we agree with the monitoring of pre-trial
13 investigation of persons who were processed for the severe criminal
14 offences of terrorism and war crime."
15 Now, is it public hearings? Then the "therefore" comes as a bit
16 of a surprise, because I think it is common knowledge that most pre-trial
17 proceedings are of a non-public character. I'm really confused by this
18 letter, and if you can shed some light on it, then you are invited to do
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Court hearings are public.
21 Hearings held before a chamber are public.
22 As for the proceedings held before an investigating judge, in
23 each and every instance an application had to be made for their presence
24 to be allowed at a hearing, at a questioning of someone.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So, therefore, what everyone was entitled to
1 see public hearings, UNCRO could watch that as well. If it was not
2 public, it was, there was no automatic right to monitoring.
3 Is that well understood? But that an application had to be made,
4 and then the court would decide?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We sent or, rather, the Ministry of
6 Justice sent the UNCRO request for monitoring a certain court proceeding
7 to the president of the court in question. The president would then
8 grant such a request, and the proceedings could be followed from their
9 commencement through to the end.
10 The request that I forwarded to -- or, rather, this letter I
11 forwarded it UNCRO representatives was not perhaps formulated in the
12 best -- in the happiest of formulations. However, the practice was that
13 with every request made by the international representatives to be
14 present at court proceedings, every request was granted. And there were
15 no difficulties encountered in their monitoring of these proceedings.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us approximately how many such
17 requests were made?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't tell you how many such
19 requests were made. At any rate, every request was granted. The
20 monitoring of court proceedings did take place. At the time I was
21 minister of the justice, and this is the case today, international
22 representatives had been monitoring criminal proceedings taking place in
24 I can't tell you the exact number, but it was the rule that every
25 such request was granted.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And you're now talking not about the time when you
2 were minister of justice, but you're now talking about late 1995.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for this.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Even back then.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that.
7 Then I looked at the letter sent to you by Mr. Tomislav Penic.
8 Do I understand that all those who were under investigation and who were
9 in the UNCRO facility, were they all charged with offences for which the
10 maximum penalty was ten years or higher; or were there any in that camp
11 that were investigated for crimes not of such seriousness?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that the crimes involved
13 carried a sentence of more than ten years of imprisonment. The persons
14 who were on the wanted list weren't charged with crimes incurring
15 sentences exceeding ten years of imprisonment.
16 JUDGE ORIE: All of them.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe so, yes. I think so.
18 JUDGE ORIE: You think so, you believe so. I'd like to -- it's
19 your recollection that there was no one who was charged with any offence
20 incurring a maximum penalty of --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that the general practice
22 focussed on the crimes carrying a sentence of more than ten years. There
23 would be no such insistence in respect of other less serious crimes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So for all of them there was compulsory
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And, finally, that may be a detail, I wondered
3 whether in D1480 where it reads:
4 "If the accused is mute, death or incapable to defend himself,"
5 whether that should not be deaf instead of death. I can't check the
6 original, but it surprised me.
7 Then, Ms. Gustafson, are you ready to cross-examine the witness.
8 MS. GUSTAFSON: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Gustafson:
11 Q. Good afternoon, Ms. Skare Ozbolt.
12 A. Good afternoon.
13 Q. I would like to start by asking you a couple of more specific
14 questions on the evidence you gave yesterday about your proximity to
15 President Tudjman and the frequency of the contact you had with him.
16 And today you mentioned in a -- in answer to a question from
17 Mr. Kay that if General Cermak had called President Tudjman, you wouldn't
18 necessarily know about that. My question is: Is that the case
19 generally, that, when people called the president directly, you wouldn't
20 necessarily know about those phone calls or know what was said; is that
22 A. Well, my office was located on the same floor as that of the
23 president. They were quite close one to another. But the president had
24 his assistant, his head of office, and his entire specialist staff who
25 knew who called him when. In other words, it was not my duty to know
1 about that or any of the other assistants of who his were close to him,
2 they didn't have to necessarily know of each and every instance of
3 someone calling him or talking to him.
4 Q. Thank you. And similarly President Tudjman met frequently with
5 his close advisors in one-on-one and small-group meetings, did he not,
6 people like Mr. Sarinic, Mr. Radic, Minister Susak; is that right?
7 A. That's right.
8 Q. And President Tudjman didn't make it a habit or there was no
9 systematic reporting to you of what happened in those one-on-one meetings
10 with his close advisors, was there?
11 A. Well, of course.
12 Q. When you say "of course," do you mean there was a systematic
13 reporting to you of what happened at those meetings or there was not?
14 A. Look, I would have a briefing session with the president in the
15 morning, which had to do with the general state of affairs which I
16 briefed him on; I would occasionally see him during the day, whenever he
17 sought me or I needed to inform of him of something; and then we would
18 all meet at lunch-time to exchange information and coordinate our work.
19 Q. And on that note your work was -- I think your evidence was that
20 it was principally, in the beginning, in public relations and then in
21 negotiations with the RSK and the UN. That was your sphere of work; is
22 that right?
23 MR. KEHOE: Judge, if we can get a time-frame because obviously
24 that is not a complete area of work.
25 MS. GUSTAFSON: I believe it was public relations between 1991 to
1 1994 and then it changed to working as a representative in negotiations
2 with the RSK and the UN.
3 Q. From that point throughout 1995; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So it's correct to say that you were not involved in matters
6 relating to the function or operation of the Croatian army; is that
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. And you weren't involved in the planning or implementation of
10 military operations, were you?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. And you weren't present at military meetings when the planning of
13 such operations took place, were you?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. And the Chamber has received evidence of a meeting for the
16 planning of Operation Storm in late July. You weren't present at that
17 meeting, were you?
18 A. At the meeting held where? Where exactly?
19 Q. It was a meeting on the 31st of July.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, I think the witness asked where it
21 was held. I take it you want to refer to 31st of July, Brioni island.
22 That's apparently what the witness would like to know.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I wasn't present at that
25 MS. GUSTAFSON:
1 Q. And you don't know what was discussed at that meeting or what
2 plans were made at that meeting, do you?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. Okay. Now I'd like to move on to another topic, which is the Law
5 on Temporary taking over and administration of property that you gave
6 evidence about earlier.
7 And I believe in your evidence you said that this law was a
8 temporary measure, and I think you emphasised "temporary" to deal with
9 the housing of refugees which was a big problem at the time?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, wasn't it --
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. -- the case, Ms. Skare Ozbolt, that this law was intended by the
14 Croatian leadership, including President Tudjman to permanently take Serb
15 houses and settle Croats in them, in the Krajina area?
16 A. I will give you the following answer: It wasn't the intention to
17 take these homes over. The intention was, and I believe I stated it
18 quite clearly, that the Serb who did not wish to live in Croatia and who
19 made that decision of their own accord and who wanted to sell their
20 property could sell it on the market to whomever, or, that they could
21 sell it to the Croatian government, which did buy such homes. The
22 context I'm referring to is quite different from the one you formulated
23 your question in. For that purpose, the agency for the sale of real
24 estate was set up and was attached to the Government of the Republic of
1 Q. You're not aware of any statements by the leadership stating that
2 this law was intended not as a temporary measure but to permanently
3 settle Croats in houses that had previously belonged to Serbs; is that
4 your evidence?
5 A. Can you please cite by way of example a statement which would be
6 different? Only those homes in respect of which there was the wish to
7 sell them were bought by the Republic of Croatia
8 request had to be sent, the value of the homes had to be assessed, a
9 price had to be negotiated, and, finally, the seller had to be paid his
11 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Skare Ozbolt, the question put to you by
12 Ms. Gustafson was, whether it was your evidence that you were not aware
13 of any statement on permanence character rather than anything else.
14 And you started your answer by saying, "Can you please cite by
15 way of an example a statement ..."
16 That is a counterquestion, and I would like to invite you not to
17 respond questions by putting questions to Ms. Gustafson.
18 Would you please keep that in mind.
19 Please proceed.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies, Mr. President.
21 All manner of statements were made. I don't know what it is
22 exactly what Mrs. Prosecutor is referring to in putting the question to
23 me, but I do know what the meaning of the law was.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Her question was whether it is your evidence that
25 you're not aware of any statement by the leadership.
1 So if you are, if that's your evidence, please say, Yes; if you
2 say, No, I know of some statement at any moment, please, tell
3 Ms. Gustafson.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't recall any such statement.
5 MS. GUSTAFSON:
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: Could we please have P462 brought up in e-court.
8 Q. And, Ms. Skare Ozbolt, this is a record of a meeting held on the
9 11th of August, 1995. And can you see from the cover page your name is
10 listed as being present with the president. And can you see the names of
11 the other participants of the meeting.
12 Do you recall attending this meeting on the 11th of August with
13 these participants?
14 A. If my name is there, then I probably did attend the meeting.
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: And if we could go to page 14 in the English, and
16 I believe page 24 in the B/C/S. Sorry, it should be the previous page in
17 the B/C/S. Sorry, the page before that.
18 Q. Now, I'd like to direct your attention to Mr. Radic's statement.
19 "President: Maybe something in connection with the issue you
20 have mentioned at the beginning, the issue of Serbian houses, in
21 quotation marks, we did not touch it, we just ignored it.
22 "The Law on Property is in parliamentary procedure. However it
23 has passed only the first reading and that things are not going smoothly
24 in that regard. I think that we should, I have no idea in which way, but
25 to solve that urgently."
1 Do you recall Mr. Radic raising that issue at that meeting?
2 A. I have to say that I don't. It was a long time ago. But this is
3 probably what he said. I'm not questioning this statement.
4 Q. Okay.
5 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could go to the next page -- I'm sorry, two
6 pages forward in the English, and I believe three pages forward in the
8 Q. We see Mr. Valentic. He was the prime minister; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. He says:
11 "President: In this law it is important that our people have
12 security and that they cannot be thrown out, in my opinion, that is
13 important, the wording because nobody will move in if they can be thrown
14 out in a year. Now, the question is what form is most suitable to put
15 this basic idea in?"
16 Now, Mr. Valentic here is expressing the view that this should be
17 a permanent transfer, that nobody should be thrown out in a year who's
18 put into these houses; is that right?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. And then if you look at what Mr. Radic says immediately
22 "Nothing is more important than this. Nothing is more important
23 in Croatia
24 don't know. We don't have a report on this, but I don't know if you know
25 that Vojnic used to have only 51 inhabitants. Today it is a town of
1 15.000 people. Tomorrow we can fill it up with 15.000. In addition,
2 Lapac has 14 inhabitant, 14 Croats. Donji Lapac, 14 inhabitants. (It's
3 more than the number of houses) I agree. But its strategically so
4 important, and it's in such a position that we must repair the houses,
5 Gojko, and put Croats there. Such is the position of the place."
6 Now, Donji Lapac before the war was 99 percent Serb; is that
8 A. [In English] Almost.
9 Q. And Vojnic about 90 percent?
10 A. [Interpretation] That's right.
11 Q. And those municipalities are in the part of Croatia
12 central part of Croatia
13 A. You mean the thinnest geographical speaking?
14 Q. That's right.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And when Mr. Radic says:
17 "We must put Croats there, such is the position of the place," he
18 is referring to the geography of those municipality, their geographical
19 position, is he not?
20 A. Probably.
21 Q. And if we go down to what the president says immediately after
22 Mr. Radic. This is President Tudjman:
23 "I am with the more radical. If someone has left the country and
24 does not appear there, I don't know, a month, or three month, et cetera,
25 that shall be considered, think of the wording, state property,
1 et cetera. We have come out a war, et cetera, define it like that."
2 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we go to the next page in the English, and I
3 believe also in the B/C/S, the next speaker.
4 Mr. Valentic says:
5 "Not three month, three months is too long, because we ...
6 "The president: Okay a month then.
7 "Mr. Radic: Then we must do it through a government decree, we
8 can't wait."
9 And then a little further down, Mr. Radic again:
10 "Because the three-month deadline has already expired for Okucani
11 and that's an area where we must then be able to move people in already."
12 Now, Okucani is an area that was taken back as part of
13 Operation Flash; is that right?
14 A. That's right.
15 Q. And when Mr. Radic refers to the three-month deadline already
16 expiring there, that's a reference to the fact that it's been over three
17 months since Operation Flash; is that right?
18 A. Yes. That was probably the case.
19 Q. And if we continue, Mr. Tudjman, President Tudjman says:
20 "Yes, of course, people are coming and I don't know who says
21 Rebic or somebody that they're going put them in camps. (Camps are out of
22 the question)."
23 Mr. Susak says:
24 "President, a thousand are coming from Banja Luka."
25 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could go to the next page.
1 President Tudjman says:
2 "Camps are out of the question, and, therefore, we must see about
4 Mr. Radic:
5 "We have good houses, intact houses. Who do we keep them for? "
6 A little further down the page, Vladimir Seks says:
7 "President, we did put it into the law, for the second reading,
8 but the people that move into a house have ownership security. They
9 don't want temporary use. They must invest, repair, keep it in order,
10 they want to own it."
11 President Tudjman says:
12 "Yes, well, that's clear. It's in our interests too ..."
13 Q. Ms. Skare Ozbolt, does the record of this meeting refresh your
14 recollection about the intentions of the leadership to permanently
15 resettle Croats in houses that had been abandoned by Serbs who had left
16 the areas taken over in Operations Flash and Storm?
17 A. This took place in 1995, which was the time when Croatia, as far
18 as the care for refugees and expellees was concerned, was pretty much on
19 its knees.
20 In the wake of operation, the areas that you have mentioned were
21 completely vacant. People were constantly being expelled from Banja
22 Luka, and they were arriving in Croatia
23 available anymore for those people nor was there any possibility to
24 expand the capacity. The only manner for them to provide them with
25 shelter is to put them in houses, the abandoned houses. This is probably
1 how this discussion went on and various views were expressed as well as
2 various proposals.
3 However, the final outcome was that the Law on Temporary Takeover
4 of Property was adopted, and that the agency I mentioned earlier was set
5 up for those who wished to sell their houses. In that way, the
6 government solved the problem of ownership for those individuals who were
7 inhabiting these houses on a temporary basis.
8 Q. We'll look at that law in a moment. But I'd just like to go back
9 to one part of your answer, which was about these being empty spaces and
11 This wasn't just about refugees, was it? The intention of
12 President Tudjman was to fill these empty spaces with Croats?
13 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, that was two questions. If we can just
14 have one question at a time.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
16 MS. GUSTAFSON: The question would be: The intention of
17 President Tudjman was to fill these empty spaces with Croats -- the
18 question doesn't make sense if I don't talk about the --
19 Q. I mean, the refugee problem was not the issue. The issue was
20 filling these spaces with Croats, wasn't it, for President Tudjman?
21 A. The contentious issue was where to place the Croats that were
22 arriving from Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly from the area of
23 Banja Luka. They had left their houses back there, and some of them were
24 settled in these houses. The intention was not to put them up in those
25 houses indefinitely but to provide them with a temporary shelter until
1 conditions were ripe for them to return to Banja Luka.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, just one observation. When we're
3 talking about the intention, you put to the witness a document. It's
4 about a certain discussion. It seems to me that what was the intention
5 at what time or at least what was expressed as an intention at what time
6 is repeatedly mixed up, because -- but please correct me when I'm wrong,
7 Ms. Skare Ozbolt, one thing is what transpires from that discussion and
8 another matter is what, then, happened later.
9 Could we always clearly distinguish between what we are talking
10 because it seems that Ms. Gustafson is asking questions about what --
11 what we see happening or what we read was said during this meeting;
12 whereas, part of your answers seem to be about what the overall intention
13 was whether or not expressed in that meeting, yes or no, and what the
14 final result was.
15 Let's try to keep things as clear as possible. If Ms. Gustafson
16 asks about the meeting, let's look at what the meeting tell us. If
17 Ms. Gustafson is asking about other moments or other meetings or other
18 developments, let's always clearly define what we're talking about.
19 Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.
20 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you for the guidance, Your Honour.
21 If we could go to Exhibit P463; page 3 in the English and page 6
22 in the B/C/S.
23 Sorry, if we could go to page 1 - sorry - to start, so the
24 witness can see the cover page.
25 Q. Now, Ms. Skare Ozbolt, this is a record of a meeting held on the
1 22nd of August, about ten days after the one we just looked at, between
2 Mr. Radic and President Tudjman.
3 Do you have any knowledge about this particular meeting?
4 A. No.
5 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could go now to page 3 in the English and
6 page 6 in the B/C/S.
7 And at the bottom of page 3 in the English, and I believe in the
8 middle of the page in B/C/S, if we could ...
9 If we could just move down in the English. The B/C/S is fine.
10 Q. And you see here Mr. Radic saying -- sorry, Dr. Radic.
11 "It has been ruined very much. You have been to the main region
12 only, but Drnis is the second biggest border town in Croatia. Vukovar
13 first, then Drnis, 25.000 people. There was only 1.000 Serbs there. I'm
14 talking about the town, I mean, the village as well. Everything around
15 it has been ruined."
16 MR. KEHOE: Can we just change the page, please.
17 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'm sorry, in the English.
18 Out the 25.000 maybe 5.000 could return and 20.000 can't. That's
19 the situation in Drnis.
20 The last paragraph he says:
21 "So in my opinion, one third of 120.000 shall remain
22 questionable, as for the remaining two thirds of 120."
23 And then the last sentence he says:
24 "However, our goal is to take them off the refugee status. The
25 biggest problem is bringing people over there. I sat down and analysed
1 it a bit ..."
2 And then the president says --
3 If we can move down in the B/C/S.
4 Q. "Jure, regarding these returns we, as Croatia, should go for
5 inviting people to come back and paying for their trips from Argentina
7 If we can go to the next page in B/C/S.
8 "We should organise some charter flights and ships and tell they
9 will they could choose, give them houses, give them land, even take some
10 kind of a poll on what they would be interested in. We have to offer
11 them such a possibility, but the state should pay for that."
12 Dr. Radic says:
13 "It won't cost us a thing?"
14 And the president says:
15 "That would mean a thousand people and they would enter the Serb
16 houses, et cetera."
17 And Dr. Radic says:
18 "Correct, correct. The space is empty."
19 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, I see that you now start reading the
20 next paragraph. Mr. Kay did beat the clock. It seems that you're
21 ignoring the clock a bit.
22 MS. GUSTAFSON: I was going to stop right there and ask one
23 question and then --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Then please do and we hear the answer, and then we
25 will adjourn.
1 MS. GUSTAFSON:
2 Q. Ms. Skare Ozbolt, this meeting is a reflection of
3 President Tudjman's desire to fill those empty spaces with Croats, is it
5 A. This was a reflection of the situation that required these empty
6 spaces to be filled in because, otherwise, they would pose a danger
7 strategically speaking. This is it a very narrow area, facing the
8 Republika Srpska, and if it is void of people, it was possible for the
9 property to be demolished, incursions were possible to take place, and it
10 was absolutely necessary to have people settle there.
11 Since these were empty spaces, the houses were empty, and there
12 were refugees all over the place, according to them, this was the only
13 possible solution.
14 When the president spoke about the idea of settling people from
16 referred to what subsequently happened, and that is, that people settled
17 in the houses that were bought off. However, this particular idea
18 relating to bringing people or, rather, Croats from all over the world
19 was never put no practice.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ORIE: We have to adjourn for the day, Ms. Skare Ozbolt.
22 We will resume tomorrow, Friday, the 5th of June, 9.00, in this
23 same courtroom.
24 I forgot to give you the same instructions as yesterday, that is
25 not to speak with anyone about your testimony --
1 THE WITNESS: Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: That's understood?
3 THE WITNESS: Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Then we adjourn.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.
6 to be reconvened on Friday, the 5th day
7 of June, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.