1 Tuesday, 29 September 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
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 Mr. Kay, is the Cermak Defence ready to call its next witness?
13 MR. KAY: Yes, it is, Your Honour, and I call Mr. Borislav
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Usher, could you please escort the witness into
16 the courtroom.
17 Perhaps we could use our time in between.
18 Mr. Mikulicic, we have looked at The Blue Book, some parts on the
19 ELMO. Now, it seems that in the electronic version of The Blue Book, we
20 do not see certain portions which are there in the hard copy. Would it
21 be possible to have a look at the hard copy, just to start with, for
22 comparison reasons?
23 MR. MIKULICIC: I believe that's possible, Your Honour. But as
24 we said, we are not intent to enter The Blue Booked into the evidence.
25 That was a Prosecution intent. So I believe if there is something to be
1 clarified The Blue Book, it is up to the party that would like to
2 introduce The Blue Book into the evidence.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 Let me first, for one second, I was just filling the time
5 available. I will come back to this at a later stage.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Skegro.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, before you give evidence in this Court,
10 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require that you make a solemn
11 declaration that you will speak the truth, whole truth and nothing but
12 the truth. The text is now handed out to you. I would like to invite to
13 you make that solemn declaration.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please be seated, Mr. Skegro.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: You will be first be examined by Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay
19 is counsel for Mr. Cermak.
20 Please proceed.
21 WITNESS: BORISLAV SKEGRO
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examination by Mr. Kay:
24 Q. Mr. Skegro, you speak the English language, but as I understand
25 it, you would prefer to give your testimony in your own tongue.
1 A. Yes, that's true. The matters are serious and one wishes to be
2 as precise as possible.
3 Q. Thank you very much. I just say that so that the Court is clear.
4 Mr. Skegro, you gave a statement to the Defence, is that correct,
5 for these proceedings?
6 A. That's correct.
7 MR. KAY: Could we call up 2D00721, which will go on the screen.
8 Q. And I believe you have a hard copy in front of you, Mr. Skegro;
9 is that right?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. Do you see a witness statement on the screen on the right-hand
13 MR. KAY: And if we can go down to the bottom of the screen.
14 Q. Is that your signature beneath it?
15 A. Yes, this is my signature.
16 Q. And do you confirm that this is the statement that you gave to
17 the Defence and signed. And perhaps we could look at the end of the
18 statement to the last page, where there is a date and a final signature.
19 A. Yes, this is that document.
20 MR. KAY: Your Honour, unless requires it of me, each and every
21 page is signed in between.
22 Q. Mr. Skegro, were there three minor corrections that you needed to
23 make to that statement, one of which you told me about today, but the
24 other two, when I met you on the 8th of September to confirm the contents
25 of your statement?
1 A. Yes. We are indeed talking about three minor corrections, but
2 let's be precise and let's correct them nevertheless.
3 Q. Yes. The parties have all been given a notice about this, and I
4 will lead you through it. So if we just go to paragraph 3, line 28 to
5 31, of the English translation, and it's lines 21 to 24 in the Croatian
6 original, was there a correction that you wanted to make to the text
7 there so that it read:
8 "The office of the president was responsible for four ministries,
9 the Ministry of Defence, of the interior, foreign affairs, and of
10 finance. The ministers for three, Mr. Susak, Mr. Granic, and Mr.
11 Jarnjak, reported to the prime minister, Mr. Valentic, and to
12 President Tudjman."
13 Is that a correction that you wanted to make to your original
15 A. Yes. There were four state ministries. The Ministry of Defence,
16 of the interior, foreign affairs, and of finance. And here it -- you can
17 see that only three ministries are indicated and the ministry of finance
18 is missing. However, in practice, the president, together with the prime
19 minister, directly coordinated the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry
20 of Foreign Affairs and of Defence, and the Ministry of Finance in a
21 certain way, in that distribution of work was within the purview of the
22 government headed by Minister Valentic.
23 Q. Now, Mr. Skegro, we're in a court, where what we say is
24 translated and that requires us to speak at times at a much slower pace
25 than we are used to, and I saw you looking at me when I was stopping in
1 my sentences but that was because I was allowing others to translate in
3 A. I apologise, I'll try to slow down.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 If we turn to paragraph 11, line 24, in the English translation;
6 line 29 in the Croatian original, should it read:
7 "We returned from Drnis to Split and then by aeroplane to
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. And a further matter you told me about this morning, in the
11 English, paragraph 4, line 33. Instead of the word "army," it should be
12 "Ministry of Defence"?
13 A. That's correct. "The Ministry of Defence," full stop.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 Now, taking into account those corrections to your original
16 statement, if I was to ask you the questions again today that enabled you
17 to give the answers that are contained within your statement, would your
18 answers today be the same as when you originally made your statement?
19 A. They would be completely identical.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. KAY: In those circumstances, Your Honour, I move that the
22 witness statement be put into evidence.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, this suggests -- and I don't think you
24 asked the witness that he gave his statement to the best of his
25 recollection and in accordance with the truth, because the last question
1 and answer do not mean very much if that has not been established.
2 May I take it that you gave your statement at the time to the
3 best of your recollection and in accordance with the truth?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And also that what is put on paper reflects what you
6 said at the time.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. I think -- Mr. Hedaraly.
9 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
10 JUDGE ORIE: No objections. I do not hear of any objections from
11 the other Defence teams.
12 Mr. Registrar, the statement of Mr. Skegro.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1679.
14 JUDGE ORIE: D1679 is admitted into evidence.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. KAY:
17 Q. Mr. Skegro, I have no further questions to ask you today, but
18 others may, so please remain there.
19 MR. KAY: Your Honour, that concludes my examination-in-chief.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you wish to read the summary now or ...
21 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I will do it now with the leave of the
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, perhaps that's -- yes.
24 MR. KAY: Yeah.
25 The statement of Borislav Skegro, in a summary form, is -- is as
2 That on the 3rd of April, 1993, he was appointed deputy prime
3 minister of the Republic of Croatia
4 11th of September, 1997, he became the finance minister, and he remained
5 in both of those positions until the year 2000.
6 When he was appointed deputy prime minister, Mr. Cermak was the
7 minister of industry, shipbuilding, and energy. As Mr. Skegro was the
8 deputy prime minister for the economy, he oversaw the economic sector of
9 the government and was responsible for the ministries of finance,
10 industry, shipbuilding, energy, agriculture, tourism, and construction.
11 So whilst he was the deputy prime minister for the economy, Mr. Cermak,
12 whilst a minister, was subordinated to him.
13 Mr. Cermak had told him that he would be a minister for only a
14 few months and that he would later be replaced by someone else, and that
15 in October 1993, Mr. Cermak left the government and Mr. Skegro had no
16 further dealings with him directly but he knew that he was in the oil
17 business with his own private company.
18 On 4th August 1995
19 vacation but he had had strong indications that something would happen,
20 although he was not involved in the planning. On that day, he talked to
21 the prime minister, Mr. Valentic, around noon, and he was asked to return
22 urgently to Zagreb
23 4th of August.
24 On the 5th of August, at around 10.00, he was with the prime
25 minister in his office when he learnt that Knin had been liberated.
1 President Tudjman called Prime Minister Valentic and they congratulated
2 each other on the telephone. Around noon, he went to Tuskanac with
3 President Tudjman and other ministers, where they met. There was
4 Mr. Granic, Mr. Susak, Mr. Jarnjak, Mr. Radic, Mr. Pasalic, and others.
5 They were all the members of the government who were in Zagreb at that
6 time, and they followed the news reports about the Croatian Army entering
7 Knin several hours before. During that time, Mr. Galbraith called and
8 talked to Minister Susak and gave congratulations for the Operation
10 President Tudjman said at one stage, We must find a person and
11 send him to Knin, somebody who will integrate and resuscitate the
12 economy, with the experience of a former minister, establish
13 communication with the UN and the international community, somebody who
14 will have knowledge in military logistics who speaks a foreign language,
15 a multi-dimensional person. Some people recommend Ivan Cermak to me.
16 Ivan has experience in private business, was an assistant minister of
17 defence. He has an untypical style for a general, and he will establish
18 relations with the UN and the international community.
19 That is how Mr. Cermak was appointed the commander of the Knin
20 garrison. His job was to establish communication with the UN and bring
21 life back to normal, provide the services for the town. Therefore,
22 civilian logistics within the army.
23 "I agreed that this was a very good choice. I believe that
24 President Tudjman wanted to send a message to them that we wanted the
25 Serbs to stay and that we encourage reconstruction."
1 Mr. Skegro states that normalisation included the return of
2 persons displaced in 1991 as well as those who left their homes in 1995.
3 It was meant for all, and the mandate was to help all people, regardless
4 of ethnic affiliation. The normalisation in Knin was important for
5 normalisation in the rest of Croatia
6 of the town Knin within the state of Croatia.
7 At that time, in 1995, money was needed to normalise life. He
8 was attempting to get a loan on the international money markets to
9 prevent the collapse of the national currency. It was necessary to
10 activate companies as soon as possible; for example, the Tvik factory,
11 and other factories which used to operate in Knin. The purpose of
12 sending Mr. Cermak to Knin was to get the whole system to start
13 functioning as soon as possible for the benefit of the town and the whole
14 Croatian economy.
15 Mr. Skegro visited Knin with President Tudjman on the
16 6th of August. There was a lunch on that day, and after lunch he walked
17 around the town and visited several locations, and then he went to visit
18 Drnis. The next time he visited Knin was on the 26th of August on the
19 freedom train, from Zagreb
20 members of the government, politicians, actors, public figures,
21 academics, businessmen, and others, were also on the train.
22 On the 7th of September, 1995, he visited Knin again to attend a
23 session of the Croatian government which was held in the town. About
24 five or six such sessions had been held outside the capital, Zagreb
25 all members of the government were present at the session in Knin where
1 the agenda concerned establishment, functioning of civilian authorities
2 in liberated areas, reconstruction, information about the return and
3 other matters.
4 On his way back to Zagreb
5 houses on fire, and smoke, near Korenica. He saw some ten dead sheep by
6 the road. He and Prime Minister Valentic commented about what kind of
7 person could have done that and what could be done to prevent that from
8 happening in the future. They wondered who was starting the fires and
10 He states that there was a period when Croatia had been occupied
11 for four years and the government had not had control of its territory
12 during that period, and no government could be perfectly organised in
13 such conditions. It was the job of the government to establish law and
14 order in the area. The minister of the interior sent additional forces
15 to make sure that perpetrators of crimes were arrested and prosecuted,
16 and a formal decision had been taken by the government by which
17 Minister Jarnjak explicitly took over responsibility for the whole
18 territory as of the 6th of August, 1995.
19 He states that Mr. Cermak could not have been part of a joint
20 criminal enterprise, because there was no such joint criminal enterprise.
21 The government, in which he was the deputy prime minister, was not
22 involved in any such plan. If there had been such a plan, he believed he
23 would have been informed, considering his position at the time. He is
24 sure that a motive of personal revenge was responsible for what took
1 Your Honour, that concludes my summary of Mr. Skegro's statement
2 and as the Court knows, I have no further questions.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's clear, Mr. Kay.
4 Mr. Kehoe, do you want to cross-examine the witness?
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, very briefly.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, yes. You would like to -- yes.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Kay has read out
8 the summary which reflects what was told in everything but two minor
9 details. It may seem like hair-splitting but let me explain.
10 When there's a list of people who were present at the Tuskanac on
11 5th of August, together with President Tudjman --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, what is in evidence is your statement,
13 to the extent there may be minor imprecisions in what Mr. Kay said, that
14 it's mainly to inform the public, and Mr. Kay is rather detailed in his
15 summaries, unlike some other parties. So, therefore, as far as evidence
16 is concerned, you don't have to bother. If there's anything triggered by
17 the reading of the summary by Mr. Kay that you say, No, my statement must
18 have been misunderstood or is incorrect, then we'd like to hear from you.
19 But hair-splitting exercises just for what is to inform the public about
20 what is basically to be found in your statement, it being only your
21 statement that is in evidence and not the summary.
22 So if you want to correct anything, please proceed, but, if it is
23 just the way in which the summary was phrased, then unless it creates
24 real confusion, then I would suggest that we would proceed.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was just a minor point and I
1 will -- I withdraw it.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, you're ready to cross-examine the
4 Mr. Skegro, you will now be cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe, and
5 Mr. Kehoe is counsel for Mr. Gotovina.
6 Please proceed.
7 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Kehoe:
9 Q. Good morning, Mr. Skegro.
10 Mr. Skegro, I would like to just ask you a few questions and draw
11 on your experience and your expertise as the deputy prime minister of
12 economy, and I would like to focus, if we can, on paragraph 8 of your
13 statement, where you are discussing the economic impact of control of the
15 MR. KEHOE: If we can turn to that. Should be page 6 in the
16 English and I'm not quite sure what it is in the B/C/S. That's the page
17 in the English, thank you, yeah. Ta.
18 Q. Now, Mr. Skegro, if I may, towards the bottom of the paragraph 8,
19 where you're talking about -- I assume talking about the so-called
20 Republic of Serbian Krajina and Knin, you note that:
21 "It was possible to control all flows of goods and trade in Knin,
22 as well as passenger travel from one part of the country to another. We
23 were blockaded, and if we tried to calculate the economic loss sustained
24 by the Republic of Croatia
25 capacity in the Republic of Croatia
1 take every time you travelled to Dalmatia, the loss would be enormous."
2 Now, Mr. Skegro, the Chamber has received some evidence on the
3 economic impact that the continued existence of the so-called Republic of
4 Serb Krajina had on the Republic of Croatia
5 impacting the economic growth of the country.
6 Can you elaborate on that just a bit and -- and dovetail it with
7 this particular paragraph on what was happening in your experience as the
8 deputy minister of economics while the so-called Republic of Serb Krajina
9 continued in its incident existence? And what was happening, I'm talking
10 about economically?
11 A. Anybody who looks at the geographical map of Croatia, where
12 they're railroads and main roads drawn in, will realise that once the
13 Knin area was blocked off, and that lasted from August 1990 onwards, and
14 basically cut off -- cut Croatia
15 the war broke out in 1991, and when the bridge connecting the island of
16 Pag with the land was seriously damaged, the entire Dalmatia, to the
17 south of the island of Pag
18 sense could be considered an island which one could reach only by a ferry
19 from Zigljen and then by driving 60 or 70 kilometres on Pag and then by
20 crossing via one, I repeat, one lane of the Pag bridge which hadn't been
21 destroyed and then travelling onwards.
22 This is to say that when Knin was not integrated in the Republic
23 of Croatia
24 of having any economic success. It also inflicted significant economic
25 damage on Croatia
1 of millions of dollars, kunas and so on, but if one were to calculate it,
2 and even if one were to forget the entire damage caused by war, then one
3 would reach really significant amounts, billions and billions of euros,
4 without mentioning how it affected tourism. There was basically no
5 tourism in Dalmatia
6 travel to a country that was either a state of war or in -- in imminent
7 state -- threat of war.
8 Q. Mr. Skegro, just if I may, just comment on your last answer where
9 you talked about the entire damage caused by the war and then one -- if
10 one would forget the entire damage caused by war and then one would reach
11 really significant amounts, billions and billions of euros, without how
12 it affected tourism.
13 Is it your assessment -- without coming to exact figures,
14 Mr. Skegro, and heaven knows, I'm not asking you that, but is your
15 assessment, as you look back at that time, as -- in your role as the --
16 the deputy prime minister for economy, was your assessment that there was
17 in fact billions and billions of euros in damage to the Republic of
19 Republic of Serbian Krajina was in existence?
20 A. Naturally, if somebody wanted a comprehensive and more precise
21 information about the damage, then the republican Croatia, sometime in
22 1997 or 1998, adopted an official document which was a report of the
23 Commission on War Damage. A separate government commission had been
24 established, and after the war this commission listed down all cases of
25 direct damage, destruction during wartime as well as indirect damage
1 caused by the lack of economic activity and then expenses related to
2 refugees, and so on, and all of these figures can be found in one
3 document. And if I remember well, the entire figure mentioned at the
4 time was 270 billion kunas, up until either 1996 or 1997.
5 Therefore, in order to give you a perspective on what
6 270 billion kunas is, that would be approximately two annual gross
7 domestic product of Croatia
8 MR. KEHOE: I'm not sure, Mr. President, if that came through
9 clearly on the translation to me.
10 Q. Can you repeat that last comment, Mr. Skegro, about the
11 270 billion kuna?
12 JUDGE ORIE: I had no difficulties. I understood that it was --
13 the national product for two years, which is a gross national product
14 which is a --
15 MR. KEHOE: I got that then.
16 JUDGE ORIE: -- standardly used expression in economics.
17 MR. KEHOE: Right.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. So what we're talking about is two years of GNP, gross national
22 One last question on this score. In your para -- the
23 paragraph in the translation, where you talked about -- in paragraph 8,
24 where you talk about Knin being a cross-roads town, about midway through
25 that paragraph you note that:
1 "The town of Knin itself, if it is cut off and not part of
3 connected to Zagreb
5 In the context of this, what are you talking about the town of
6 Knin itself being insignificant?
7 A. Well, the town did not come about outside of Croatia and it would
8 serve no purpose if were not located there, at the cross-roads of valleys
9 and so on. If -- you may know that, during medieval times, Knin was
10 founded in an area where there are natural cross-roads of valleys and
11 rivers and so on. It's the natural environment surrounding it, and this
12 is why the town was founded, and if you cut it off, then this natural
13 reason for its existence will be gone.
14 Q. Mr. Skegro, thank you very much. I have no further questions.
15 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
17 One additional question, the kuna at the time was -- compared to
18 the dollar or to the Deutschemark was approximately how much?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Believe it or not, exactly the same
20 exchange rate as today, approximately 1 German mark was 3.7 kunas at the
21 time. If we multiply that by 1.955883, which is the exchange rate
22 between euro and German mark, then you would see approximately the --
23 today's exchange rate between kuna and euro which is one -- that one --
24 that 1 euro is 7.3 kunas.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, which then means that we are talking about
1 approximately 40 million -- 40 billion euros. That is 40.000 million
2 euros. That's just for my --
3 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
4 JUDGE ORIE: -- own understanding. That's approximately the
5 number we are talking about, which means 20.000 million or 20 billion
6 euros is the gross -- the yearly gross national product of Croatia
7 Is that correctly concluded? You said two gross national
8 products a year?
9 I'm just trying to verify whether my understanding of the number
10 is correct.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yes, you understood
12 this perfectly. I understood you in English, and despite some minor
13 imprecisions in interpretation you were correct.
14 40 billion euros approximately equals 270 billion kunas, and that
15 was equal to two annual GDPs in the 1990s of the last century, in 1995
16 and 1996. To give you another comparison, this is approximately this
17 year's annual GDP
19 the meantime.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
21 Mr. Mikulicic, do you have any questions for Mr. Skegro?
22 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, I will be short, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, you will be now be cross-examined by
24 Mr. Mikulicic. Mr. Mikulicic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
25 Please proceed.
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Skegro.
3 A. Good morning, Mr. Mikulicic.
4 Q. Just a few things I needed to clarify with you, and I would
5 kindly ask you to make sure you have a small break between question and
6 answer so as to enable the interpreters to do their job properly.
7 Mr. Skegro, I will now refer to paragraph 14 of your statement
8 given to the Defence of General Cermak. And in that paragraph you speak
9 of how the Croatian government did not have control of the area of the
10 so-called republic of Krajina for four years. The area was later
11 liberated in Operation Storm, and you say that you personally - and you
12 say this in line 26, paragraph 14, of the Croatian version - so you say
13 that with police forces that Croatia
14 successfully cover such a large territory which suddenly became free."
15 Could you please elaborate on that? What did you mean by this?
16 What did you mean by this statement, by this phrase in your statement?
17 A. Very simply, before Operation Storm we had a territory of
18 100 territorial units, let's say, and you covered it with 100 policemen.
19 Several days after that, you have 130 territorial units and still just
20 100 policemen. That's what I meant by this.
21 Simply speaking, the then existing police forces by definition
22 were not sufficient to cover this additional territory, or, rather, to
23 cover it well.
24 Q. Mr. Skegro, you, as member of the government, did you ever
25 witness or did you ever feel that the Croatian authorities, and I'm now
1 referring mostly to the government and Ministry of Interior, were not
2 putting in sufficient effort to control that area by means of police
3 force, that there was some tacit or -- agreement to tolerate these crimes
4 which took place after the completion of Operation Storm?
5 A. Mr. Mikulicic, there are two questions in this question of yours
6 and I will try to deal with them one by one.
7 The first question, as I can see from the English transcript, is,
8 whether, based on my best recollection, Croatian government put in
9 sufficient effort to enable the police to control this newly liberated
10 area, and my answer to that question is yes.
11 Your second question is whether, in my opinion, there was some
12 kind of a tacit agreement to tolerate the crimes that may have happened,
13 and my explicit answer to that is no. And now that you have asked me
14 this, I feel the need to say here, in this venue, that, had I ever felt
15 that somewhere in Croatia
16 such a way of thinking or let alone such an agreement, I would not have
17 spent a single minute with those people.
18 Q. Thank you for your answers, Mr. Skegro.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, that completes my cross-examination.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
21 Mr. Russo, Mr. Hedaraly. Mr. Hedaraly apparently.
22 Mr. Skegro, you will now be cross-examined by Mr. Hedaraly.
23 Mr. Hedaraly is counsel for the Prosecution.
24 Please proceed.
25 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Can I have 65 ter 2807 on the screen, please.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Hedaraly:
3 Q. Mr. Skegro, what you will see on the screen appearing is a
4 transcript of a meeting at the presidential palace on 11 April 1995. And
5 will you see on the first page that you were one of the persons present
6 at that meeting.
7 If we now go to page 71 in the English, page 70 in the B/C/S,
8 there's a statement that you make that I want to read to you and then ask
9 you a question about it.
10 You say:
11 "And then a question arises, Mr. President, shall I go to
13 I will lie to the Pope, just as I had lied flatly in the parliament when
14 asked why the budget had taken a loan with the national bank, because we
15 knew what it was. It was for the weapons. I said, as cool as a
16 cucumber, that it was for the stabilisation programme and I don't know
17 what else."
18 Now, Mr. Skegro, in the transcript of that recording, you
19 admitted having lied to the Croatian parliament and that you would be
20 willing to lie to anyone, including the Pope. Can you tell this Chamber
21 why they should not think that you're lying today?
22 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I would kindly ask you to split this text of what
23 I purportedly said. Frankly speaking, I think that I did say this, I did
24 utter these words, although in the transcripts one never know what was
25 left out and what was added. But as I'm reading this now, I can tell you
1 that, yes, I could have phrased this in these terms as read out here.
2 We have to look at the context, Mr. Prosecutor, and I have the
3 Croatian version before me now in which I say that I'm not going to go
4 and lie to these people in Washington
5 saying, Mr. President, I'm not going to Washington to go and lie to these
6 people. That is my request to the president. And if you let me look at
7 the transcript, two pages back, perhaps I could refresh my memory as to
8 the context. But I think that I do remember, based on the date, what was
9 the main topic of this meeting.
10 And then my second sentence that you put to me, where I say, If
11 necessary, for the welfare of Croatia
12 will allow me that this is rhetorics. This is a figure of speech. I
13 don't need to explain this any further. And then I go on to say, Just as
14 I lied in Sabor in the parliament, and what the budget was for, with the
15 national bank because we knew what it was, it was weapons.
16 Mr. Prosecutor, as you know, Croatia had to arm itself in secret
17 because there was a resolution of the Security Council of the UN - I'm
18 not going to comment upon it, I'm not going to comment on why and how -
19 but this resolution forbade Croatia
20 So any weaponry that arrived Croatia
21 of the Security Council.
22 You don't really expect me to state in front of the Croatian
23 parliament that, at that time, we were violating the resolution of the
24 UN Security Council. Yes, we did. Those were the times, those were the
25 circumstances, and if I were to find myself in the same circumstances
1 again, I would have done the same thing.
2 Q. Mr. Skegro, you're not denying making that statement; correct?
3 A. No, not at all.
4 MR. HEDARALY: Can I have 65 ter 2807 into evidence, and,
5 Mr. President, we have a truncated version as well which only covers the
6 first page and this page. I don't know if the parties want to add more
7 pages for context. The quote is really the only thing that we are
8 concerned. That would be 65 ter 2807A, but I leave that in the hands of
9 the Chamber.
10 JUDGE ORIE: There are two issues, Mr. Hedaraly. The first one
11 is that the witness apparently challenges the translation, or at least
12 interprets his own words in a different way from what it looks, Shall I
13 go to Washington
14 of willingness to do so or, rather, reluctance to do so; that's the first
16 The second issue is that if we only have the quote, then we do
17 not know what the witness is either reluctant or willing to lie for. So,
18 therefore, we would need a bit more of context to better understand the
19 context of all this.
20 So, therefore, I'm -- I would like to consider with my colleagues
21 whether we can do just with the quote. I think cover page is fine, but I
22 will look for some more context.
23 Mr. Kay.
24 MR. KAY: Plainly the translation needs to be looked at, so if
25 this document is marked for identification, let the parties look at the
1 translation, look at the whole transcript for further context, that may
2 assist the Court on this issue.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I take it that there will be no need, in
4 view of the fact that the Prosecution is focussing that much on the
5 quote, that the full 120 pages should be -- they are translated already,
6 Mr. Hedaraly? Yes.
7 So there's no -- nevertheless, to have to read through 120 pages
8 if only a couple are relevant might not be a good idea.
9 So the parties are invited to -- apart from checking the
10 translation, also to further consider what would give the appropriate
11 context for the Chamber to understand the testimony of the witness.
12 Mr. Registrar, could you assign a MFI number to this document.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit P2640,
14 marked for identification.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
16 Please proceed, Mr. Hedaraly.
17 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. In your statement, Mr. Skegro, at paragraph 7, you state that you
19 were one of the witnesses of the way in which Mr. Cermak was appointed;
20 is that right?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. And that was on the 5th of August, at a meeting in Tuskanac?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. And that you were involved in that decision?
25 A. It's very difficult for me to say how much my opinion
1 influenced -- influenced Mr. President's decision. But I agreed with all
2 his arguments when he spoke about the characteristics of a person who
3 would be sent to Knin. I agreed that Ivan Cermak was a suitable person
4 for that.
5 Q. Did you know, Mr. Skegro, that the president had actually made
6 the decision to send General Cermak to Knin on the previous day, on the
7 4th of August?
8 A. No. However, if anyone among us opposed to the decision at the
9 meeting, knowing President Tudjman, I believe that he might have even
10 changed that decision.
11 Q. Do you know when Mr. Cermak was formally appointed as garrison
12 commander of the Knin garrison?
13 A. I don't, no.
14 MR. HEDARALY: If I can have 65 ter 7418, please, on the screen.
15 Q. This is another presidential transcript meeting, this time dated
16 2 July 1993
17 MR. HEDARALY: And if we go to page 36 in the B/C/S; page 29 in
18 the English.
19 Q. And I will let you read where you start your intervention. And
20 then when we go to the next page, there's a portion I want to -- actually
21 why don't you read it, tell us when you -- we can go to the next page. I
22 think your full statement lasts a page and a half or two pages. Read it,
23 and then I want to focus on specific portions so you have the full
24 benefit of what you said.
25 A. Can you turn the page, please.
1 Turn the page, please.
2 I have read the Croatian version of the text, and drawing my
3 lessons from our previous discussion, I would like to see the English
4 version, because, Your Honours, the English translation in the previous
5 text was exactly contrary to what I said. In Croatian the words are "I'm
6 not going lie," and in the English version it says, "I am going to lie."
7 I had given up on some minor imprecisions but this is a crucial
8 thing. If you want me to do so I can comment upon the Croatian version
9 of what I have just read and then can you ask me questions, and then
10 depending on what your questions are going to be, I will probably go back
11 and ask for the English version to see what your questions may be based
12 on. If I decide there are ambiguities in your questions.
13 Q. This is what I propose to do: I will read a portion of that in
14 English, so you will have that benefit, and then I'll ask you a question.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And the parties are invited to the highly
16 contested line from before the break, whether he would go and lie or
17 whether he would not go and lie, that to be checked already during the
18 first break perhaps with the assistance -- it's focussing really on one
19 line, to seek the assistance of CLSS and see whether there is any -- any
20 way to resolve that -- that issue.
21 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you.
22 If we can go back -- two pages back in the English, please, and
23 one page back in the B/C/S, and at the -- one more page back, please, in
24 the English. Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
25 Q. Now at the bottom of that page, the last paragraph starts -- and
1 that's the portion I want to read from you:
2 "Aside from Mr. President read out about these terrible realities
3 of the English policy and beyond, I would only remind you by drawing a
4 parallel with what Willy Brandt said on the Berlin Wall the night when it
5 was practically torn to down. He said, Those who belong together are to
6 live together. I only say it goes the other way around too. Those who
7 do not belong together will not live together. From everything I know in
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina, or in Yugoslavia
9 whether it is civilised, whether it's like this or like that, and not
10 only because of the atrocities that have taken place, there is no core
11 existence. There is no Bosnia-Herzegovina."
12 And my question for you, Mr. Skegro, is: What you've expressed
13 about people not belonging together, not living together, did you feel
14 the same way about the Serbs in Croatia
15 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor. Since you have decided to use this quote,
16 I'd like to say that, to the best of my recollection, that quote is
17 correct. This is more or less what I indeed did say. Unfortunately, as
18 we all know today, I was right. Look at Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 you will see how it manages to exist. The point of my discussion was
20 this. With all -- all the historical encumbrances, the differences,
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina as a sovereign state without an international
22 umbrella or protectorate could not exist. And as you can see for
23 yourself today, unfortunately, and I repeat, unfortunately I was
24 absolutely right, and I was talking about Bosnia-Herzegovina, mind you.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, if you would not mind, would you please
1 answer the question that was put to you. You were not asked to comment
2 on how realistic your views were in view of the developments in Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina
4 about the Serbs in Croatia
5 that they would or should not live together. That was the question that
6 was put to you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is not what I
8 meant either at the time or now. At that -- I never implied Serbs in
10 situations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia
11 and Herzegovina
12 Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, which was not the case in Croatia, never has
13 been. So to draw such parallels may be useful where if you want it
14 discredit your witness but it really does not have any bearing on the
15 reality, and it does not stem from the reality at all.
16 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President. Can I tender
17 65 ter 7418 into evidence.
18 MR. KAY: Your Honour, it might be appropriate, again, if it is
19 marked for identification so that we could see if there 's any further
20 parts of the transcript that ought to be put in evidence.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. There seems to be no translation issue but for
22 contextualisation and for carefully selecting the relevant portions,
23 Mr. Hedaraly, may I take it that you would agree with that.
24 MR. HEDARALY: Absolutely.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, would you please assign a number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit P2641,
2 marked for identification.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
4 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. You had discussed in your statement your view that there was no
6 joint criminal enterprise, and I just want to ask you a few questions.
7 You were on the Brioni island on 31 July 1995, were you?
8 A. No, I wasn't on the Brioni island on that day. I did not belong
10 Q. So you were not at the meeting that President Tudjman had with
11 his military advisors on that day; correct?
12 A. Correct. I was not at that meeting.
13 Q. And you were also not involved -- would it be also correct to say
14 that you were not involved in the planning of the Storm military
15 operation at all?
16 A. Nowhere in the world is this part of the job of the deputy prime
17 minister in charge of economy and finances.
18 Q. I'm not aware of everywhere in the world but I --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, it seems that, for one reason or
20 another, you feel a need to criticise the one who questions you, at least
21 implicitly. I think Mr. Hedaraly was just seeking confirmation whether
22 you were involved or not and what happens in the rest of the world, I
23 think the simple answer would have been, No, I was not involved in it.
24 Isn't it? Then we keep matters as --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I was not involved.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Hedaraly.
2 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you.
3 Q. And in paragraph 14 of your statement, and Mr. Mikulicic referred
4 to a sentence there about the availability of the police forces. In the
5 English, it was at line 28 to 30. And the following line you write or
6 you stated:
7 "Operation Storm took place several months after Operation Flash
8 and we had no experience."
9 I'm just seeking clarification here. Are you saying that because
10 the two operations were so close in time together, you had no experience
11 to drawn on for Storm, that you could have had from Flash? Is that how I
12 should understand that statement?
13 A. Precisely, Mr. Prosecutor. The point of my statement was to say
14 that too little time had passed in order for us to draw any lessons from
15 the similar situations that appeared after Operation Flash.
16 So irrespective of the experience drawn from Flash, the
17 government was not prepared to face new realities, at least not in
18 operational terms.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. HEDARALY: If we can have P462, please.
21 Q. And, Mr. Skegro, I want to ask you briefly about three meetings.
22 In each of these meetings, your name is not mentioned as one of the
23 participants, and I have also done a word search for your name and do you
24 not appear in the text of the meeting as having participated in the
25 meeting. So I just want to ask if you remember being at the any of these
2 The first one is an 11 August 1995
3 president and others, where it was decided to pass the decree regarding
4 the take-over of property that the Krajina Serbs left behind. Now, I
5 understand that you probably have some knowledge of that decree and that
6 law, but my question for you is: Were you present -- do you remember
7 being present at that specific meeting where that decision was made?
8 A. On the 11th of August, 1995, which was some five days after my
9 visit to Knin, I was not in Zagreb
10 those present at the meeting.
11 Are you trying to say that my name was omitted by mistake? I am
12 afraid that I did not understand the gist of your question. Could you
13 clarify please.
14 JUDGE ORIE: The question simply was, where Mr. Hedaraly said,
15 Your name is not there. He more or less invites you to confirm that this
16 was not by mistake but that you were not there, because there is always a
17 possibility of a mistake. But you said you were not in Zagreb, so there
18 is no suggestion in it in any way of taking out anything. Mr. Hedaraly
19 is just seeking confirmation that where you do not appear that you also
20 actually did not attend.
21 Did you attend, did you not attend? I think from your answer, I
22 took it, not being in Zagreb
23 that meeting.
24 Is that correctly understood?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I was not in
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
3 Please proceed, Mr. Hedaraly.
4 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you.
5 Q. The next one is P463, and this is a meeting where it appears
6 that, from the cover page at least, that only President Tudjman and
7 Dr. Radic are present. There is a discussion in there. One of the
8 things being discussed is -- there's a statement made that not even
9 10 per cent of Serbs should return --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. -- Mr. Kehoe.
11 MR. HEDARALY: I'll stay general. I'm not trying to argue --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Could you try characterise that statement as
13 precisely as possible, because you know that avoids that Mr. Kehoe
14 remains on his feet.
15 MR. KEHOE: I'm going to sit down now, Judge.
16 MR. HEDARALY: I am simply trying to provide based on the
17 Chamber's guidance yesterday, and -- that's why I'm not going to talk
18 about any areas, any specific parts.
19 Q. But there's a -- do you remember being at the meeting where there
20 is a statement made that not even 10 per cent of Serbs should return?
21 MR. KEHOE: That is simply -- if we turn to page 9 and 10 of 463,
22 Mr. President.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. We --
24 MR. HEDARALY: Let's go to page 10 of the English, then.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, read it again, try to understand what
1 Mr. Kehoe's problems are, and rephrase your question accordingly.
2 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, I understand what his problems are.
3 I disagree with his characterisation, as I'm sure will not come as a
5 JUDGE ORIE: Let's -- page 10. Could I have page 10 on the
7 MR. HEDARALY: It actually starts at the bottom of page 9,
8 Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I will re-read it.
10 Could we go to -- well, you can -- you can read English,
11 Mr. Skegro.
12 Why not invite the witness to read that portion so that he is
13 aware what -- not to ask him to comment on it, but --
14 MR. HEDARALY: If he remembers being present when that discussion
15 took place. That's all I'm interested in, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. There is some discussion during this meeting,
17 Mr. Skegro, about the return of Serb population. I leave it apart now,
18 where exactly, what the exact number would have been, although
19 10 per cent has been mentioned.
20 Does this ring in any way a bell as to your presence during that
21 meeting; or would you say, I was not present?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was never present at
23 any such meeting, but now I'm completely confused by the exchange between
24 you, the Prosecutor, and Mr. Kehoe. I suppose that we are discussing the
25 meeting that took place on the 22nd of August, 1995, and as can you read
1 here, only two people were present, Dr. Jure Radic and President Tudjman.
2 Is this what we are discussing at the moment?
3 JUDGE ORIE: This is what we are discussing at the moment. And I
4 take it from your answer that you say you were not present.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am certain that I was not present
6 at that meeting.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer. Then we can proceed.
8 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you.
9 Q. The last -- and once again, Mr. Skegro, I'm not suggesting that
10 you were -- as the president said, I'm just seeking confirmation that you
11 in fact were not, so if you remember --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. --
13 MR. HEDARALY: -- for the next one --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, I will just explain it to you, because
15 it -- sometimes if we have transcripts of meetings, sometimes people come
16 and testify and say, Although my name is not here, I was present; or
17 although my name is here, I was present but not during the whole of the
18 meeting. Whereas it is always possible that someone is not mentioned on
19 the cover page, but, nevertheless, says that he was in the room or in the
20 room next to it, whatever varieties there are there life, that's the only
21 reason why this is asked, to see whether what we find on paper, whether
22 that is in accordance with your recollection. Nothing more, nothing
24 Please proceed.
25 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. And the last one of these I want to discuss or show you and ask
2 you if you were present is the 20 -- is a 30 August meeting. And that is
4 And once again you will see your name is not present as the
5 participants and it also does not appear in the rest of the document.
6 And my question for you is: Do you remember a discussion about
7 Serbs trying to return to Croatia
8 A. I was not at that meeting.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skegro.
10 Were you aware of a conversation that occurred between
11 General Cermak and General Tolj regarding the crimes taking place in the
12 aftermath of Operation Storm, and General Tolj telling General Cermak
13 that there was pressure from -- he had pressure from higher up to say
14 that it was civilians dressed in uniforms.
15 Were you aware of such a conversation?
16 A. I was not privy to that conversation.
17 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, I have a few more questions but I'm
18 about to change topics, so if we can -- I don't know if we want to have
19 the break now. I can start now. There's a few documents that I want to
20 go through.
21 JUDGE ORIE: It might be wiser to take the break first.
22 We will have a break, and we will resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Could I just briefly hear from the parties on the
1 famous line to be translated.
2 Let me be clear on one thing, first of all. That is, this
3 document has been marked for identification, which means that if we want
4 to -- the translation to be replaced, there's a formal procedure for that
5 which will take -- we immediate to make a formal request to CLSS, it will
6 then be checked. So, therefore, at this moment, we can't replace
7 formally such a translation.
8 At the same time, we -- it's a very practical matter that the
9 witness will be gone by that time, and that, therefore, if there would be
10 one way or another to get an indication from the parties, based on their
11 information, whether they would consider it very likely or less likely
12 that such a formal request would result in a different translation, I
13 would like to hear from the parties.
14 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 I have discussed the matter with Mr. Cayley and we have both
16 checked independently and both came -- received the same information,
17 that -- I don't know if you want to pull it up on the screen so that we
18 are clear, and it is P2640, page 71 in the English.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. While that -- you earlier said 71. In e-court
20 it appears on page 70. And the number at the bottom of that page is
21 70 out of 120.
22 So --
23 MR. HEDARALY: Well, then I'm sure it is still the same. My
24 version said 71 out of 120, but I'm sure it doesn't change the -- now.
25 And that the --
1 JUDGE ORIE: And I think it is -- it is the line --
2 MR. HEDARALY: Yes.
3 JUDGE ORIE: -- "and then a question arises here, President" --
4 MR. HEDARALY: And what the --
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- "shall I go to Washington and lie to those
7 MR. HEDARALY: Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: That's the line we're talking about.
9 MR. HEDARALY: And what the parties have come to a joint
10 conclusion is that the -- it actually says:
11 "And then a question arises here, President, shall I go now? I
12 will not [Realtime transcript read in error "now"] lie to these people in
14 Pope," and then it continues, and there's no dispute as to the remaining
15 portion of that excerpt.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So we have to understand this portion, and now
17 I'm addressing you as well, Mr. Skegro, that you said, If you send me to
19 past but here I would not lie. That's the -- now, common understanding.
20 Then we'll have to make a formal request for the translation to
21 be verified, and we will then act from now on in this courtroom on the
22 basis of the agreement between the parties of what this line says.
23 Mr. Skegro, you see that any serious complaint about translation
24 we'll deal with that, and you have followed the observations made by the
25 parties and my observations, so that is now clear on the transcript.
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. HEDARALY: Just on a technical matter, Mr. President. It is
3 the Prosecution Exhibit so we have to make the request. Could we only
4 make the request for that one sentence or for that one paragraph, or
5 should we make -- it doesn't make sense to make a request for the
6 entire --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I think the dispute is about the -- this
8 sentence. Do we need to have the translation verified as well as to the
9 other incidents of --
10 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour --
11 JUDGE ORIE: -- possible not speaking the truth.
12 MR. CAYLEY: You did also request that we look at the context in
13 that particular paragraph falls and I think we would like, where we can
14 agree on what additional pages would be put into evidence, that we would
15 like all of those passages checked for accuracy.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. HEDARALY: That is very reasonable, Mr. President. And we
18 will agree to that.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And the -- the context, as far as going to
21 of knowing exactly what the reason was, although we find that apparently
22 on the further -- up on page 70, that we find some context.
23 If you would please communicate with Mr. Hedaraly, which portions
24 you would like to have verified exactly and then ...
25 MR. CAYLEY: Yes, I will, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And I take it that he will follow your suggestions.
2 Mr. Hedaraly, you may proceed.
3 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Can we have 65 ter 7424 on the screen, please.
5 Q. And, Mr. Skegro, what you will see on the screen is a -- is a
6 report or portions of report from the Office of the Commissioner for
7 Human Rights in Geneva
8 MR. HEDARALY: And I want to go on the second page of this
9 document in the English, and I believe it's the -- also the beginning of
10 the second page in the B/C/S. If we can go further down in the B/C/S,
11 please. Thank you. And the top of the English.
12 Q. And it says here, Mr. Skegro:
13 "On 25 January 1996
14 Ms. Edita Vlahovic and, unsatisfied with her writings (Ms. Vlahovic wrote
15 an article 'Skegro's Phenomenal Numbers,' in which she criticised new
16 state budget) Skegro started to threaten her, You should be killed.
17 After that he followed her to journalists' room and there (in front of
18 several other journalists) took the pistol from one of the security
19 guards, triggered it to her, asked, 'What do you say on this?' And after
20 that, 'I will kill you now.' After that Skegro started to laugh and said
21 it was just a joke."
22 Mr. Skegro, can you tell us what exactly you thought was funny
23 about pointing a gun at someone and telling them you would kill them?
24 A. It's not a funny matter. The only problem is that this never
25 happened. This is a shameless lie, due to which I instituted legal
1 proceedings, as did the journalist, and after three years of proceedings,
2 there was a judgement acquitting me of any responsibility, but the
3 newspapers that carried such lies were found guilty and had to publish a
4 retraction and also pay a fine.
5 Q. Did you ever threaten the journalist in any way, even without a
6 gun, and saying that she should be killed?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. HEDARALY: Could I have 65 ter 7424 into evidence, please.
10 MR. KAY: No, Your Honour, we object. The reliability of this
11 information has been challenged by the witness who said very clearly,
12 This is a shameless lie, and there have even been legal proceedings as
13 the journalist instituted as well.
14 So even the subject matter of the issue and the basis of the
15 question appears to have challenged this particular piece of information.
16 In those circumstances we submit that it does not pass the reliability
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, what if we would have copies of those
19 judgements, which give us a full view on what happened, also the
20 reasoning of what the witness said about the courts concluding there was
21 no blame for Mr. Skegro. However, that the journalists were even fined
22 for -- I don't know exactly for what, but that seems to be the
23 documentation which would support the answer of the witness and would
24 give a full insight in what is reported here.
25 MR. KAY: First of all, the Prosecution have not asked for that,
1 Your Honour, and I feel that the obligation is being put on us like a
2 burden of proof in relation to a --
3 JUDGE ORIE: No. Sometimes --
4 MR. KAY: -- a matter that, in my submission, the witness has
5 dealt with. If anyone wants to take it further and prove whatever
6 issues, let them do so. But for my part, I don't want to have to spend
7 time chasing matters that I don't think are of substance in relation to
8 the issues in this trial, and I appreciate Your Honours' suggestion but I
9 do have to draw a line in the sand on matters such as this.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber invites the parties to see before it
12 calls for this evidence itself, which is -- the Chamber is entitled to
13 do, to see whether these judgements are available, and if they are easily
14 accessible, to see whether they can be produced; and, meanwhile, we'll
16 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour, and we will obviously follow
17 the Court's --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and perhaps the witness could help us out.
19 He apparently was -- do you have copies of those judgements
20 because you said, I was totally -- well, I don't know ... you were
21 acquitted or it's not entirely clear to me what kind of proceedings these
22 were. But at least the court said that you were not to be blamed for
23 anything; however, the journalists were.
24 Do you have copies of those judgements?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Naturally. I can send them to you,
1 perhaps even today, by fax. If my wife can find them in our home
2 archives. But you can also apply to the municipal or county courts in
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you would be so kind to see whether can
5 you -- because that goes far quicker, I take it, if you have copies
6 available, to send it. And then the Chamber will consider whether it
7 will be first given to the parties or whether the Chamber would like to
8 have a look at it as well, at this moment. But, of course, it may shed
9 further light on what is now tendered into evidence on the reliability of
10 it -- of this document, and, at the same time, reliability and
11 credibility of the witness.
12 MR. KAY: Your Honour, one matter. We note that no issues have
13 been raised as to the provenance of this information, how this document
14 came about, which I would have thought would have been important on a
15 matter such as this. We've sort of gone straight to the issue, putting
16 the Defence witness in the position of dealing with it without it being
17 put on the maker of the statement, the responsibility to back up what is
18 said, where this information came from, what this document is, which is
19 why, in a way we are --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 MR. KAY: -- opposing and have taken a line on -- on this.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Kay, you earlier objected on the basis of
23 reliability, mainly focussing on the answers the witness has given.
24 Mr. Hedaraly, the document will be marked for identification. If
25 you could provide further information or seek further information -
1 perhaps the witness knows what the document is, where it comes from - and
2 there's a lot of handwriting in it as well, what's the origin of this
3 document, that would certainly assist the Chamber in later on deciding
4 whether or not this is an admissible piece of evidence.
5 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 This is a document that the Prosecution received from, as I
7 mentioned, the office -- the High Commissioner for Human Rights as part
8 of a larger, a much larger collection of documents, but hundreds of
9 pages, and this is one -- one of the documents in that -- in that
10 collection we received. As far as we know, the handwritten notes were
11 how the documents were found in those archives when they were sent to us,
12 and that is the information that we have regarding its provenance. And
13 it -- that it was -- from the face of it, we see that it discusses the
14 media situation and the freedom of the press issues and so on. That is
15 the information I have for the Chamber on that document.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Now we see already on the face of the document that
17 it's -- the typewriting is in -- apparently in sections. Is there any
18 information as to not only where it comes from, but also how they were
19 produced, created, who takes responsibility for the -- for the text in
20 it, and on what basis.
21 MR. HEDARALY: I don't have that information, and, Mr. President,
22 it does -- I do agree with Your Honour and it does seem like it has been
23 different sections collated together in one -- in one document.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We will.
25 Mr. Kay.
1 MR. KAY: I don't know if the Prosecution has done any research
2 on information they are putting and perhaps they can be asked about that,
3 because we have just been on to a web site of Helsinki Watch which deals
4 with the matter according to the -- what the witness has already said.
5 That's on Sanction now. My Case Manager got it in one minute, and we can
6 put it on for the Court to see if the Court wants to see that this
7 instant. We're having to deal with something that is put up.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps you can --
9 MR. KAY: Should we put it --
10 JUDGE ORIE: -- use it in re-examination then. Because from the
11 mere fact that I asked these questions to Mr. Hedaraly, of course, that
12 is an expression of the relevance of finding answers to those questions
13 before the Chamber finally decides whether or not to admit this MFI'd
14 document. Any further matters, I would not at this moment interrupt the
15 cross-examination by Mr. Hedaraly but --
16 MR. KAY: It is there if the Court wanted to see it.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps we would invite to you do that in
19 MR. KAY: Very well, Your Honour. There's one matter as well
20 which is of concern, the translation of the disputed sentence, transcript
21 page 35, line 2. We have on our transcript, "I will now lie to these
22 people in Washington
23 Mr. Hedaraly said, in the joint submission.
24 JUDGE ORIE: The word "now" there seems to replace the word
1 MR. KAY: "I will not now," in fact, was the agreed statement
2 between the parties.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I later summarised it in the sense --
4 MR. KAY: Yeah.
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- which I think is now in agreement between the
6 parties, and finally we'll get an official correction anyhow, because, as
7 Mr. Hedaraly said, he will ask. After having consulted with Mr. Cayley,
8 he will ask for a formal -- but you're perfectly right that on the
9 transcript we find now a confusing statement. It has been corrected now.
10 Mr. Kehoe.
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. With regard to the documents on
12 the screen, I trust that the subject of discussion is simply the
13 paragraph dealing with the witness in page 2. But the balance of the
14 document is somewhat incendiary. Not somewhat, it is very incendiary,
15 and, of course, we would object to any admission at any point regarding
16 any of those issues because A, they have no relevance to these
17 proceedings, but more importantly, we're not permitted to get to the
18 provenance of this document and who is exactly making these allegations.
19 So if we're going address this issue and it's going to be MFI'd,
20 we would ask the Prosecution to redact every portion of that document
21 expect that portion that they are trying to admit into evidence, which I
22 trust is the paragraph beginning: "On 25 May 1996."
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, I take it that you want to focus on
24 the portion you put to the witness.
25 MR. HEDARALY: Yes, and that was 25 January, just for the record.
1 MR. KEHOE: [Microphone not activated]
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 MR. KEHOE: It is January -- sorry, 25 January 1996.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. HEDARALY:
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skegro. Let me show you another article from a
8 newspaper and another allegation made against you, and I will ask you to
9 comment on that.
10 It's 65 ter 7421. It's an article from the Independent
11 Newspaper, dated 1 November 2000
12 presidential meetings. We've seen some of these transcripts here today.
13 MR. HEDARALY: And once it comes up on the screen, I will ask to
14 please go to the second page in both the English and the B/C/S.
15 Q. And I want to focus on the second paragraph in the English, which
16 is the third paragraph in the B/C/S, and the Independent writes:
17 "One set of tapes show how Tudjman and his cronies skim
18 100 million (69 million pounds) off the top of a near billion-dollar
19 selloff of Croatia
20 political slush fund.
21 "On the afternoon of 13 October last year, Tudjman met with the
22 then deputy prime minister and finance minister Borislav Skegro.
23 Mr. Skegro said: Mr. President, I've put the money aside for
24 December because I think we need it. We have to prepare for the upcoming
25 elections. He added: It's in an Irish bank ... 100 per cent safe. Only
1 you and I know about this."
2 Mr. Skegro, can you comment on this? Were you aware of that
3 allegation being made and can you comment on it?
4 A. Yes, I can, Mr. Prosecutor, but I think it would be more much
5 effective for this Honourable Chamber to get a hold of transcript of my
6 alleged conversation with Mr. Tudjman rather than this source, which is a
7 description of this conversation. If you were to get a hold of the
8 original transcript, you would see it was a perfectly legitimate
9 conversation between the president and a minister of finance of a country
10 discussing where legitimate funds were deposited and were also discussing
11 how other ministers were not aware of the existence of that money;
12 otherwise, as ministers are prone to do, they would have spent that money
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skegro. I haven't shown you the transcript.
15 Unfortunately, I don't have it. We will definitely ask for it and look
16 at it.
17 MR. HEDARALY: In the meantime, Your Honour, if we could have
18 that exhibit tendered or marked for identification as well as the
19 previous one, which was 65 ter 7424, for which we did not receive a
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, first, we'll ask for a number -- an MFI number
22 for the last document.
23 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, reminds me that the word "last" is
25 confusing me.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter 07424 becomes Exhibit P2642,
2 marked for identification; and 65 ter number 07421 becomes Exhibit P2643,
3 also marked for identification.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
5 Any objections against admission of the publication on the --
6 well, let's say the -- the amount of money in the Irish bank.
7 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour. Because it has not been adopted by
8 the witness and he asked that, If you have got information to put to me
9 about it that directly from the source, show it to me.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 Mr. Kehoe.
12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, again, we have another document that has made
13 incendiary allegations where we can't back to the provenance of those
14 allegations. That's number one.
15 Number two, what is the relevance of a conversation that is
16 taking place in 1999? I haven't heard any articulated relevance on that
17 score. Certainly it is outside the scope of this indictment. It simply
18 doesn't fit squarely within any evidence that we have. This article
19 itself is 1 November 2000
20 corrected, this is apparently relaying a conversation of 13 October 1999.
21 For all of the above-stated reasons, A, the incendiary nature of
22 it, which we can't get to the core of the -- even the writer of this;
23 two, we don't have the actual tape to see exactly what transpired; and
24 three, it's outside of the scope of the indictment and completely
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, could I invite to you especially
2 respond to the relevance also in view of the time.
3 MR. HEDARALY: Well, Mr. President, first of all, we have had
4 discussions of newspaper articles numerous times and when the person is
5 mentioned in it, it has typically gone to the weight to be accorded to
6 the document and not its admissibility.
7 Second of all, our submission would be that such allegations
8 square -- fall squarely within Rule 90(H), and its relevance is the
9 credibility of the witness that is testifying.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe.
11 MR. KEHOE: If I may respond to that, Judge, and I would test the
12 statement by the Prosecution. When the Prosecution presents evidence
13 that was completely outside the time-frame of this indictment, ergo
14 irrelevant, as opposed to a commentary by a witness talking about events
15 that took place during the time-frame of this indictment, clearly, for
16 the plain reading of this document is we're talking about a conversation
17 where we don't have the underlying document that is in the latter part of
18 1999, years after the time-frame of this indictment and clearly
20 MR. HEDARALY: Mr. President, I mean, if -- just briefly --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. First -- before -- Mr. Kay, do you have any --
22 is there any need for you to further respond.
23 MR. KAY: No need -- [Microphone not activated].
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
25 MR. HEDARALY: If the allegations are correct, it shows
1 dishonesty. If it shows dishonesty, it affects the credibility of the
2 witness and therefore is clearly relevant. Although not the underlying
3 facts may not be relevant to this indictment, but the evidence would be
4 relevant to the witness's credibility.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, one last --
6 MR. KEHOE: And, Mr. President, it -- it -- obviously this
7 witness has been known by the Prosecution to come for some time. If this
8 is such an important issue concerning this witness's credibility, the
9 Chamber deserves what the context of this conversation is, and not have
10 some statement concerning any witness's credibility thrown out with the
11 hopes that it's somehow going to -- to smear or -- or put some type of
12 dark stain on evidence coming in.
13 But be that as it may, it's simply so far outside the scope of
14 this indictment it simply has no relevance.
15 Now, if we were to engage in a media search of every witness that
16 discussed things throughout the entire time-frame of this person's life
17 or space of time that they were in office, I'm sure we could find a lot
18 of things. That's not the purpose of what this Trial Chamber has to do,
19 which is to find out what the facts are and make decisions accordingly.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe --
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
22 JUDGE ORIE: -- if you look at the transcript, page 47, line 3,
23 it reads: "Mr. Kehoe, one last," and then I wanted to say "line," which
24 would certainly have guided you not to take 15 lines.
25 MR. KEHOE: My apologies.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, just for the record, the Markac Defence is
4 standing along the arguments of my learned colleagues of other two
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 The document will be marked for identification.
8 Mr. Registrar, we -- or have you -- you have given it a number
9 already, yes, and then I asked -- so that's -- it has been marked. Yes,
10 P2643. We'll further consider admissibility of these documents.
11 Please proceed.
12 MR. HEDARALY: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Hedaraly.
14 Mr. Kay, when I'm asking you where there's any need to re-examine
15 the witness, it's also in a bit of an expectation that you would take us
16 to the Internet and to find out what happened with the story of the
18 MR. KAY: Yes. Your Honour, I'll just explain the source of the
19 Internet we're looking at.
20 Helsinki Watch Human Rights, and if the passage can be found.
21 Put it on Sanction, please. I'm in between two experts,
22 Your Honour and I'm not quite sure who is driving the car. I suppose I'm
23 supposed to be driving the car, but --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, when you said that you could find it in one
25 minute I thought that you were praising your team members.
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. KAY: Yeah, we had it in actually less, and I think the Court
3 can see on the screen:
4 "On the 26th of July, the vice-president of the Croatian
5 government, Borislav Skegro threatened Edita Vlahovic working for
6 Novi List with a gun which he had taken from a security officer at the
7 parliament building. Legal proceedings were initiated against Skegro,
8 but he was acquitted on all counts."
9 Re-examination by Mr. Kay:
10 Q. Can you see that, Mr. Skegro? That's just a report we have
11 pulled up. And would you like to elaborate any further on the matter
12 beyond that paragraph we have been able to find there?
13 A. First of all, I would like to correct some things. It was not on
14 the 22nd -- 26th of July, but 22nd of January. But this is neither here
15 nor there. It was not the parliament building but the government
16 building. So these are technicalities. And the rest is correct, that I
17 was acquitted of all charges and not only that. At the same time I sued
18 the papers that conveyed the lies and those were the weekly, Globus, and
19 the dailies, Glas Slavonije and Novi List. And I won all the three suits
20 and was compensated for damages.
21 So it was -- the parties appealed and the cases went to a higher
22 instance court, which was a county court, where my innocence was again
23 confirmed. They appealed at the Supreme Court, and four or five years
24 later, from the beginning of the proceedings, the appeals court confirmed
25 the original sentence, and that was that the document that was
1 purportedly conveyed was nothing but a blatant lie. Now what happened
2 and why it happened, I believe that we could organise a parallel trial in
3 order to investigate and establish what actually happened and why it
5 Q. The information that you gave us there as to what took place over
6 this matter, was that reported in the Croatian media?
7 A. Yes, of course. However, if somebody is charged with crimes,
8 then the titles appear in three-inch block letters. And when that same
9 journalist has to deny the original article after the court decision,
10 then that appears on page 57 of the same newspaper, in a very, very small
11 letters, in font 3 letters. I'm talking about the size of the letters
12 when I say font 3.
13 Q. And questions I want to ask you about is, because you were put an
14 extract from some document or other, but how freely available, if someone
15 had researched this matter and looked for the public details to check
16 them, how easy that would have been today in Croatia?
17 A. Mr. Kay, I really don't know how available documents are in court
18 archives and whether you can access documents on complete cases. I would
19 assume that it shouldn't be difficult.
20 But I repeat, I had the original of the final decision at home,
21 where it says, expresses verbis expressly everything that shows that the
22 allegations against me were lies. The journalist herself, before the
23 Trial Chamber, at the express question, whether this happened, she said
24 no, did he say this and that, and she replied, No, he didn't. So,
25 sapienti sat.
1 Q. And those details you've told us about, that the journalist
2 involved in this particular matter, was that reported in the media and
3 press, if anyone had looked that up, taken the time to research the
5 A. I believe so. I believe if you Google my name, her name, and the
6 word "court decision," I'm sure you will find some results. But apart
7 from the Google, there's some official archives, which in my view are the
8 only relevant ones, and I'm sure that they would be much better to use.
9 That lady was also a victim. She was also set up just like I
10 was. She was not the one who initiated the whole matter and who actually
11 launched the allegations against me.
12 I have a question. I don't have the text, the English text of
13 the transcript of my words on the screen. I would very much like to have
14 the transcript on the screen, the transcript of my words, please.
15 Q. This the document marked for identification, which was -- yeah,
17 Is that the one you wanted to see or did you want to see the --
18 the document we put on the -- the one with words is in the extract that
19 the -- of the document the Prosecution produced.
20 MR. KAY: Is that coming up?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now have I everything that I need.
22 I have the LiveNote on the left screen, which is brilliant, and I
23 have the document, the relevant document on the right-hand side screen.
24 MR. KAY:
25 Q. Did you want to look at those words again and make a comment?
1 A. No. No, it is self-explanatory. You can see that this was a
2 copy/paste exercise, five-size font, somebody throwing words at somebody
4 But the essence of the matter was contained in my previous
5 answer. It really does not matter very much what the provenance of the
6 document is. What matters are the facts of the matter.
7 Q. Just as a general matter, is this a -- a usual or unusual
8 conflict between a public figure in Croatia, such as yourself, and -- and
9 the media?
10 A. Unfortunately, every time that was not a -- the only one or an
11 unusual case. Of course, this was the most difficult and serious
12 incident in my career, an allegation that appeared in a weekly, and then
13 it was blown out of proportion in all the dailies that are mentioned
14 here. And when the inertia took hold, I had to fight against the
15 windmills. And when it -- the matter came to the court, it was not easy
16 to prove my innocence. It was just like the indictment against Socrates
17 which was so absurd that it cannot -- it could simply not be refuted.
18 Q. You heard the statement by the Prosecution that they were asking
19 questions based on issues of credibility, and as a result, I want to ask
20 you this.
21 Is the statement that you have made in this court, in relation to
22 these proceedings, the truth?
23 A. Absolutely.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. KAY: I have no further questions.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
2 Any ...
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Kinis has one or more questions for you.
5 Questioned by the Court:
6 JUDGE KINIS: Thank you.
7 Mr. Skegro, I wanted to ask you questions -- a question regarding
8 your statement in paragraph 8.
9 You are mentioning normalisation included the return of persons
10 displaced in 1991 as well as those who left homes in 1995 for all
11 regardless of their ethnic affiliations.
12 We had and we -- it was already admitted into evidence also this
13 transcript between president and Radic, where numbers of possible return
14 of displaced Serbs was mentioned, and it was mentioned not more than
15 10 per cent.
16 My question is to you: Do have you some knowledge whether
17 government implemented such a tacit agreement in the practical way?
18 A. Your Honour, I'm stating that the government never implemented,
19 planned or intended to implement a discrimination of this kind. What we
20 can discuss here is what was relevant at any given moment, which refugees
21 were capable of returning and which were not. What I'm saying is that in
22 1991, first Croats were expelled and then continued to live in refugee
23 camps in hotels and all over the place, and they also were supposed to
24 return. So we're not talking only about the programme for the return of
25 the Serbs. We are also talking about the programme for the return of the
1 Croats as well, of everybody, to be very clear.
2 JUDGE KINIS: I understand, excuse me, Mr. Skegro but I just
3 wanted to know this in brief answer.
4 And next question is to me: If government decided or
5 governmental authorities or civil servants decided to adopt a programme,
6 for instance, was there such situations that Mr. Tudjman would effect
7 this decision and simply revoke it?
8 A. Your Honour, I would like to be absolutely sure that I understand
9 your question properly in order to be able to provide a proper answer.
10 You are asking me if the government could make a decision and
11 then President Tudjman would use his authority to overturn or change that
13 Did I understand your question correctly?
14 JUDGE KINIS: That is correct.
15 A. A thing of that kind never happened. It could not have happened.
16 It would not have been based on law. President Tudjman did not have the
17 authority to overthrow a decision by the government or the parliament.
18 He cannot just simply override a decision by any of the two bodies.
19 JUDGE KINIS: Thank you.
20 And last question from me is, in paragraph 9 you mentioned that
21 that situation, financial -- at that time financial situation was very
23 And my question is to you: Do you have some knowledge how
24 Mr. Cermak's authority and jobs what he was conducted was financed at
25 that time? Which was financing sources by -- it was paid by military
1 budgets or it was paid by civilian budget and -- or did he have some
2 separate bookkeeping system?
3 A. To be honest, Your Honour, I don't know. I should have to
4 rewind, go back in time and try to deduct conclusions from the system as
5 it functioned.
6 I suppose that some of the funds were allocated from the budget
7 of the government, some from the military budget, but I really wouldn't
8 be able to explain how this was done. I can't provide a precise answer.
9 Maybe you should ask Mr. Cermak. I'm sure that he would be able to
10 answer that much better than I -- than I could.
11 JUDGE KINIS: Thank you very much for those answers.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I have a few questions for you.
13 First of all, I would like to come back to these judgements, I
14 would really appreciate if you could find them and ...
15 Now, the -- counsel for Mr. Cermak drew attention to the matter
16 of the journalist by taking us to the International Helsinki Federation
17 for Human Rights annual report 1997, because, Mr. Kay, I checked that on
18 the Internet to see the context of what was shown to us.
19 Now, the issue there is raised in a context of criticism to the
20 way in which the Penal Code was used against journalists rather than as
21 primary serving to demonstrate that you were acquitted. That's the
22 reason why I would very much like to see that -- that judgement.
23 Now, if you say you were acquitted, or at least that's what the
24 report says and what you said, was there a trial, or was the case
25 dismissed before trial?
1 A. Your Honour, there was a trial, which, in different stages,
2 lasted for three years. There were three different judges and three
3 separate proceedings, which dealt with the same subject.
4 Why three? Well, that's Croatian judiciary for you. In one
5 proceedings, the journalist sued me for a death threat. Because, if what
6 the newspapers published was true, then it would have been logical to
7 expect she sued me for that, and I was fully acquitted on all counts.
8 She lost and, you know, it happened as I've told you.
9 In the second proceedings, I sued the second and third newspaper
10 which conveyed these uncritical texts and lies about me, referring to the
11 first newspapers. And in each of those subsequent articles, they added
12 on something, which wasn't present in the initial article.
13 So, I will forward you the copies of these judgements,
14 Your Honour, with great pleasure, but in view of the entire situation and
15 the cooperation with The Hague
16 Should I just simply put in an envelope and mail it to the ICTY in
17 The Hague
18 with the ICTY? I think it would be best if this entire matter was
19 resolved in this way, rather than searching on Internet and conveying who
20 heard wrongly this or that.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. As you may have been aware of, I was very much
22 in favour of looking at the original documents. I don't think, as a
23 matter of fact, that these are all public judgements. I take it that
24 there's no confidentiality involved in any way and therefore, I see no
25 problem in it being sent to the Tribunal directly.
1 A. That's how I will do it, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So we'll check that, once we have received it.
3 Since you are here now, I have, nevertheless, have one additional
4 question for you.
5 When you say you were acquitted after having been at trial, was
6 it established that a gun was used but it was not to be taken as a
7 threat; or that you never, ever had a gun in your hands; or is it -- I
8 mean, an acquittal can take various forms.
9 Could you tell us which form it took, as far as facts were
11 A. Your Honours, I can certainly tell you this. Number one, I
12 never, ever had a gun in my hands. Number two, yes, a security person
13 was pointing to a gun in his hands. Number three, yes, I was present in
14 that room at that particular moment, together with the journalist. And
15 this is a room adjoining the room where the government meeting was to be
16 held, and all of this was taking place just immediately prior to the
17 beginning of the meeting, and there's live broadcast for journalists to
18 follow the proceedings. And I arrived there some five minutes earlier in
19 order to have a cigarette there.
20 Several days later, in an unsigned text written by a person who
21 was not present, these terrible accusations emerged. Later on, I
22 realised that it wasn't by accident, it wasn't by chance, it wasn't an
23 innocent mistake.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, most important for me is to know what we will
25 find in the judgement. We will find this information all in the
1 judgement you --
2 A. That's correct. Absolutely.
3 JUDGE ORIE: We'll ask Mr. Registrar to tell the Victims and
4 Witness Section to give you an address where you can send these
6 Your statement says that you -- when you were driving through the
7 area, that you wondered who would have put on fire houses, that you
8 discussed that, and who would have done that.
9 Were you aware of allegations that the Croatian military were
10 involved in putting houses on fire?
11 A. At that time, Your Honours, you actually go back to my statement,
12 where I describe how we travelled through Korenica, right? Is that what
13 you're referring to?
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 A. At that point in time, no. Just like it says in my statement, we
16 could see on the side sheep that had been killed. We could conclude that
17 it was done by automatic weapons, which is something that is not normal.
18 This was 20 or 30 metres from the main road, this flock of sheep. One
19 could see smoke rising in the distance; obviously something was on fire.
20 Naturally at that point in time, I didn't know.
21 Later on, information emerged, people learned of things, evidence
22 was collected, and in order to reply to your question, whether this was
23 done by members of the Croatian Army, I cannot tell you anything but,
24 yes, this has been done by people in uniforms. What capacity they acted
25 in, what were they, were they just camouflaged robbers, demilitarised
1 members of Croatian Army who went on a rampage in order to avenge
2 something, I don't know, Your Honours. We would really have to examine
3 this on a case-by-case basis. I don't know.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, at the end of paragraph 14 of your statement
5 you say:
6 "The Croatian Army and police were issuing orders to prevent
7 looting and arson."
8 Do you have any detailed knowledge of it? I mean, what's the
9 source of this part of your statement.
10 A. Your Honours, I am afraid I didn't quite understand your
12 JUDGE ORIE: Well, my question -- your statement again reads in
13 this respect, and I'll put it in context. You said:
14 "I was concerned then that with police forces which we had at our
15 disposal we could not successfully cover such a large territory which was
16 suddenly free. Operation Storm took place several months after
17 Operation Flash, and we had no experience. The RH government tried to
18 get prosecutors and courts to start working as soon as possible. The
19 police were doing their job. We were trying to remove the army from the
20 town. The Croatian Army and the police were issuing orders to prevent
21 looting and arson."
22 What I wanted to know is your familiarity with such orders,
23 apparently what was undertaken, what your knowledge was about the police
24 doing their jobs. How did you follow these events, and what -- on what
25 factual basis you stated that the Croatian Army and the police were
1 issuing orders to prevent looting and arson? Did you see those orders?
2 Who exactly issued them?
3 Could you tell us more about the details of this portion of your
5 A. I have understood your question now. Thank you, Your Honour.
6 I was a member of the government, of the cabinet, which met at
7 least twice a week during that period of time. Naturally, the first and
8 main points on our agenda were matters that had to do with normalisation,
9 report from the ground, as we called them, whether it was the Ministry of
10 Defence, Ministry of Justice, or Ministry of the Interior. Who informed
11 on this, which is to say that a member of the government under whose
12 responsible this was not directly.
13 So that was my primary source of information.
14 As for the rest, any of us can gather information, based on
15 something they heard, they read, and so on, but in this particular case I
16 based this exclusively on the reports received at government cabinet
17 meetings. And I think that in your documentation you must have documents
18 and minutes from the meetings of the Croatian cabinet which quite clearly
19 and unambiguously say who needs to do what in order for the situation to
20 improve, because the situation, as it was, was not good.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
22 One final question. When Mr. Cermak was appointed earlier on as
23 a minister, we find in your statement that it was meant to an appointment
24 only for a relatively limited period of time. When Mr. Cermak was
25 appointed in 1995 as garrison commander, it was also he served there for
1 a limited portion of time.
2 Could you tell us, do you know of any reason why these
3 appointments would be only for such a short period of time? I'm just
4 wondering ...
5 A. Mr. Cermak is present here. He would probably be better placed
6 to answer your first question.
7 I suppose that he wanted to come out of the government
8 establishment and those bodies and go into private business.
9 Your Honours, there were a lot of us in that government who were
10 in the role, I will use a German word for you, Gastarbeiter there. We
11 were not professional politicians. It's just that we were invited by
12 President Tudjman, in those early days of the creation of the state, to
13 contribute in roles which were not our true roles that we intended to
14 play for the rest of our lives. I spent eight years in the government
15 and Mr. Cermak and I both went back to our previous domain which was
16 private business. So I suppose that was his primary motivation.
17 As for the second matter, I think that we can suppose that by
18 definition this was a transitional role, when, after the army had played
19 its role, the civilian authorities need to be established in an area
20 where, I emphasise once again, the Croatian government did not have
21 control over for five years. So not a single office, not a single
22 service, not a single body where you could go and obtain some documents
23 existed within the system of the Republic of Croatia
24 since August 1990, that is to say, five years prior to Operation Storm.
25 So in that sense, by definition this role of Mr. Cermak was to be
1 transitional and short -- of short limitation, until regular authorities
2 were established and could take over their regular duties as defined by
4 JUDGE ORIE: My last question to you is the following. This
5 Chamber has heard quite some evidence about an incident that took place
6 in the village of Grubori
7 Did you learn anything about this incident, or did you not hear
8 anything about it at that time?
9 I'm not asking you for further details and what you know about
10 it, but whether you, at all, got acquainted with such a thing that had
12 A. Yes. I became aware and that place remained etched in my memory
13 as a place where a terrible crime had taken place.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us, where did you learn about this
16 A. At the cabinet.
17 JUDGE ORIE: It was discussed at a cabinet meeting or ...
18 A. Your Honours, despite all my efforts, I cannot remember any
19 details. But I know that it was discussed at the government gatherings.
20 Now, I know I discussed it with Nikica Valentic. Now whether it was at
21 preparatory meetings, official cabinet meetings, whether it was in his
22 office, I really couldn't remember right now.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And it was at the time when it happened, just to
24 have a time-frame for your knowledge?
25 A. Yes, several days after that.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you describe it as -- and let me repeat
2 your words. You describe it as a terrible crime. What, as far as you
3 know, was done about that crime? Because you told us that the police
4 were doing their job.
5 A. I suppose that relevant bodies did their job, the police, the
6 prosecutor's office, along the lines of how the justice system was
7 established in those days.
8 When I said that I heard that a terrible crime had taken place,
9 according to what I heard, there was a group of the elderly who were
10 killed practically in their homes by somebody.
11 Now, as to who did it, how they did it, Your Honours, I don't
12 know that to this day, let alone back then.
13 JUDGE ORIE: But it was discussed in terms of crime, rather than
14 as an incident.
15 Is that correctly understood?
16 A. Yes, that's correct, you understood me well.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And you did not learn about this incident as being
18 part of any combat activities.
19 Is that also correctly understood?
20 A. Yes, that's how I understood it, because this had allegedly
21 happened several days after main combat operations had been completed.
22 But it's hard for me now to speculate about the details after all these
23 years. Your Honours, it is hard for me to discern what I learned at
24 the -- at that particular moment and what I learned subsequently.
25 JUDGE ORIE: But whether you learned it subsequently or not, this
1 is what you learned, what you told us?
2 A. That's correct.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. I have no further questions.
4 Mr. Kay, have the questions by the Bench triggered --
5 MR. KAY: Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: -- any need to further examine the witness.
7 Mr. Kay may have some further questions for you.
8 Further Re-examination by Mr. Kay:
9 Q. Mr. Skegro, you referred to meetings took place by the cabinet in
10 answer to His Honour's questions about orders being given in relation to
11 crimes. At those meetings you refer to, would Mr. Jarnjak, the minister
12 for the Ministry of Interior, was he present?
13 A. At some of them. At the cabinet meetings, of course, either
14 Minister Jarnjak, or, if Minister Jarnjak was not available, then he
15 would have his deputy replacing him at those meetings.
16 Q. And the name of the deputy, if Mr. Jarnjak wasn't there?
17 A. You're putting my memory at test. I believe that his deputy was
18 Mr. Gledec. I say "deputy" but I'm not 100 per cent sure. I was
19 vice-president of the government for a long time, and during that time,
20 there was a time when Gledec was Jarnjak's deputy.
21 Q. And also, in relation to the same meetings, was the minister for
22 the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Susak, present?
23 A. Yes. Either Susak personally or, again, his deputy.
24 Q. And just for the record, the name of the deputy?
25 A. Yes, that was Mr. Kresimir Cosic.
1 Q. Thank you. We've had discussion about the media report of this
2 incident with the journalist. I'd like you to just look at another
3 report, which can deal with the matter very quickly on Sanction, from the
4 HINA news agency. And if you could just read out what you see there.
5 Remember to do it slowly so that the translators can translate.
6 First of all, the headline?
7 A. The headline: "Skegro acquitted of charges."
8 And in the heading -- I can read actually the same.
9 Is that what you wanted me to go -- start reading from?
10 Q. Yes, please do.
11 A. In the text, the body of the text.
12 Q. The text, the body of the text.
13 A. "The municipal court in Zagreb acquitted the vice-president of
14 the government, Borislav Skegro, of charges from a civil suit by the
15 journalist of Novi List, Edita Vlahovic Zuvela. According to the
16 charges, at the beginning of last year, on the 26th of January, he
17 threatened journalist Vlahovic with a gun and insulted her on account of
18 an article which was entitled: "Phenomenal figures," produced by
19 Borislav Skegro, that was published in the Novi List of Rijeka.
20 "In the statement of reasons of the acquittal, Judge Marin Mrcela
21 stated that the court did not find any proof that Skegro had committed
22 the acts that he was charged with, and the Trial Chamber also said that
23 the decision was reached based on the credibility of the statements by
24 the witness, Based on the credible statements, I believe that it was not
25 established that Borislav Skegro ever held a gun. I believe that it was
1 not established that he ever threatened journalist Vlahovic that he would
2 kill her, and I believe that it was not established that he ever called
3 her a murderer with a baby face. That was said on Wednesday by
4 Judge Mrcela, when the -- the decision was delivered. Journalist Edita
5 Vlahovic has right to appeal against the municipal court judgement to the
6 county court. HINA on 29th of September, 2009."
7 Q. That's today's date, because this has been downloaded.
8 Thank you very much for that.
9 You've been asked to forward the judicial documents to the Court.
10 For that we're grateful.
11 Can you check that you forward all relevant documents, including
12 the appeal, anything in the nature of these judgements, to the Court?
13 A. I will do that. I'm sure that I have the first-instance court
14 judgement, the second-instance court judgement. I will send you whatever
15 I have.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. KAY: Your Honour, that concludes my questions of the matters
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
20 Mr. Mikulicic.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: If I may, very briefly, Your Honour.
22 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Skegro, His Honour asked you about the
24 incident in the village of Grubori
25 that matter was discussed at the government session, and that the
1 incident was, indeed, discussed.
2 At any of the government sessions, did you ever discuss the
3 incidents, in terms of this incident being ignored or hushed down, or was
4 the contrary said, the -- and that is that the incident had to be
5 investigated by the authorised bodies.
6 Can you please answer the question?
7 A. Not only at the session of the government but also during the
8 consultations by the members of the government, there was never any
9 reference to the incident being ignored or hushed down. It was just the
10 contrary. There were requests for investigation and there were also
11 requests for the culprits to be punished.
12 Q. Can you remember, did it ever happen that at any of the sessions
13 of the government you received information that there had been attempts
14 to hush down the event or influence the investigation into the incident
15 that had taken place in the village of Grubori
16 A. No.
17 Q. Thank you very much.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
20 Mr. Kehoe.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, just briefly.
22 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Kehoe:
23 Q. Mr. Skegro, I would like to ask you whether or not you recall an
24 incident in -- in and about October or September of 1995, in some killing
25 allegations from Varivode. Do you recall that? And do you recall it
1 being discussed at cabinet meetings?
2 A. Yes, I remember that Varivode and Grubori were the two names of
3 the villages or hamlets that I had not been familiar with before that,
4 and that all of a sudden turned up, as major, major problems.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, you were on your feet.
6 MR. HEDARALY: I was -- I was just wondering how that had arisen
7 from the Bench's questions. There was something about orders, there was
8 something about Grubori. I don't remember Varivode or other crimes being
10 MR. KEHOE: I will --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, we've now heard the answer of the
12 witness, that at least Varivode was a name that -- that he became
13 familiar with at the time.
14 Mr. Kehoe, any response to what Mr. Hedaraly raised.
15 MR. KEHOE: I will gladly give the response outside the presence
16 of the witness. I don't want to --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. KEHOE: -- foretell that particular statement. But I will
19 gladly talk about that. The problem with this witness, of course, is
20 this witness speaks English as well.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 [Defence counsel confer]
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I may, my next question will
25 clearly show the relevance. I don't think we need to send the witness
1 out, but I think my next question will put it on the table at that point.
2 JUDGE ORIE: If you put your next question to the witness,
3 whether we will ask him to answer that question is then a matter possibly
4 for discussion and then in the absence of the witness.
5 Please put the question.
6 And, Mr. Skegro, you are invited not yet to answer the question
7 that Mr. Kehoe will put to you before I have invited you to do so.
8 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. Mr. Skegro, with regard to these conversations in cabinet
10 meetings and outside cabinet meetings that you were talking about, could
11 it that be you that are confusing the Varivode incident which was
12 discussed at cabinet meetings with Grubori? Could you be confusing those
13 two incidents?
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you may answer the question.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kehoe, can you be more specific
16 about the period? If you're asking whether I heard about Varivode and
17 Grubori during the month of September 1995, then I really can't tell you
18 with any degree of certainty that I heard of the both at that time.
19 If you are asking me whether that was sometime towards the end of
20 1995, then I could probably say yes. Before the end of 1995, I heard of
21 both places, but I believe that you have too high expectations of me at
22 the moment.
23 It is possible that I heard of Varivode subsequently, which means
24 maybe not one, two, or five days after the incident that had taken place
1 Q. Following up with that, Mr. Skegro, there's evidence on the
2 record that there is discussion in cabinet meetings with Minister Jarnjak
3 and other officials in October of 1995 regarding the Varivode incident.
4 Now, with that evidence that is before this Trial Chamber being
5 presented by the Office of the Prosecutor, my question to you is: Given
6 that fact, which is undisputed in the record, could you confusing the
7 discussions of killing incidents that took place in the cabinet meetings
8 and confusing the Varivode incident which was discussed with Grubori?
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
10 Before you answer that question, Mr. Hedaraly.
11 MR. HEDARALY: First of all, Mr. Kehoe asked that question
12 already and the witness answered.
13 Second of all, it's page 61 of today's transcript in answer to --
14 the question was very clear from Your Honour that it was the last few
15 days of August and the witness's answer was clear that that place
16 remained etched in his memory.
17 So I think that should also in fairness be put to the witness;
18 otherwise Mr. Kehoe is not liking the answer gave the first time and
19 asking him to --
20 MR. KEHOE: [Overlapping speakers] ... Well, I object to the
21 counsel's speeches. I object to the speech.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Well, Mr. Kehoe, when I give an opportunity to
23 Mr. Hedaraly, then let me just take one second.
24 I'd like to invite the witness to leave the courtroom for a
25 second, so that we can follow up the objections.
1 MR. KAY: It might be a moment to take the break, so to speak,
2 Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: But, at the same time it might well be that we could
4 finish within the next five or seven minutes, in which case it would be
5 not a good idea to have the witness wait for another half an hour.
6 Would you please follow the usher for a second.
7 [The witness stands down]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, let me put a few matters together.
9 I asked the witness about his knowledge of an incident which
10 appears in the indictment and whether this was how he obtained
11 acknowledge of that. I only mentioned the name of the village, nothing
13 MR. KEHOE: And the time, Judge. You put the time in there of
14 August. He didn't put the time in, Your Honour, you did.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I was about to come to that. What I meant to
16 say is that I didn't say anything about what the event was. I only
17 relate to Grubori.
18 Then I'd given him the time and I asked him for a time-frame when
19 he learned about it. He said, Just a couple of days after the event. I
20 specifically asked for that. Which situates us somewhere in either late
21 August or early September. The witness describes the incident himself,
22 spontaneously, as elderly killed more or less in their homes.
23 Now, to put to the witness all kind of evidence on when the
24 Varivode matter was discussed and say, Wouldn't you be confused, could
25 also induce confusion in certainty, which is, in view of the questions I
1 raised with the witness about an incident which he describes, whether it
2 was a clear time-frame, might not, in every respect, serve the finding of
3 the -- the facts. Before the Chamber decides on whether or not we will
4 allow you to continue your line of questioning, I thought it would be
5 fair to give you an opportunity and to give Mr. Hedaraly an opportunity
6 to comment on what I just said.
7 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if you asked this witness the
8 time-frame, he's not going to give a specific recollection of the
9 time-frame. In evidence is D214. It is a -- the minutes of a cabinet
10 meeting of --
11 JUDGE ORIE: No, Mr. -- that's not the issue. I asked him about
12 late August. And he said he learned about it a couple of days after
13 that. What happened in October, that's not -- I think is not contested.
14 MR. KEHOE: It is, Mr. President, with all due respect. It is
15 contested because the witness is conflating two issues that were
16 discussed in cabinet meetings. These Varivode incident, which, Judge,
17 does involve killing of elderly people in their homes, does -- was
18 discussed at a cabinet meeting in October of 1995. And we go do D214.
19 One of the deputy prime ministers present, the first name mentioned after
20 Valentic, is in fact Mr. Skegro. He is at that meeting when they are
21 discussing that killings at Varivode, which involve - I don't want to say
22 the same facts of Grubori - but a parallel case where there are killings
23 of elderly people.
24 Now, the issue here is the possible merger of these particular
25 incidents in a man who is asked about this some nine years -- or excuse
1 me, some 14 years after the fact.
2 Now, those are issues that are pertinent because why we talk
3 about an incident in Varivode that is discussed where in fact the
4 government did do something about it. Where we -- we have a discussion
5 about it that it is out in the open and that is the reason why we are
6 going into it.
7 Now this is cross-examination. And I do believe that in
8 cross-examination we're entitled to test this witness's recollection
9 about particular events, and that's all I'm trying to do is get some
10 clarity as to exactly what's discussed at this cabinet meeting. And if
11 in fact I put to him this -- that matter which is in the record already,
12 the discussion of Varivode in the cabinet meeting, if that calls into
13 some question his memory and recollection concerning a discussion
14 regarding Grubori that took place in a cabinet meeting as well.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
16 MR. HEDARALY: I -- I don't really have any further submissions,
17 Your Honour. He asked the question, the witness answered, and now
18 Mr. Kehoe wants to educate him and show him more documents to get the
19 conclusion that he wants.
20 But we leave it in the Chamber's hands, Your Honour.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 [Defence counsel confer]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, with some hesitation, the Chamber will
24 allow you to put further questions to the witness in this respect. At
25 the same time, whether the Rules for whether this is real
1 cross-examination, that is, examining the witness on matters that were
2 asked by the calling party, that is still a matter to be seen, because
3 the matter had not been raised in any way.
4 At the same -- therefore, the Chamber, in order to be best
5 assisted by the testimony of the witness, would expect you to -- to be
6 very cautious in inducing to the witness -- this witness is an
7 intelligent person, and it's easy to understand what confusion that may
8 have arisen. The Defence would -- would not be negative for the Defence,
9 if that confusion would arise, and that's -- might create dilemmas for
10 the witness, so, therefore, you're invited to limit the signals of what
11 is the preferred answer. I'm very cautious in saying this, and it has to
12 do with a rather uncommon situation, that it's not normal -- it's not
13 normal cross-examination, as I said before.
14 MR. KEHOE: I believe I -- I believe I understand Your Honours'
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That is, if you push too hard on what was
17 discussed at another moment, then if would you ask me, rather, receive
18 spontaneous answers from the witness, if he has any hesitations I might
19 instruct him to also express any hesitations he may have on certain
21 Could the witness be brought into the courtroom again.
22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
23 JUDGE ORIE: And I might just have two -- one or two questions to
24 start with.
25 [The witness takes the stand]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, we talked before we asked you to leave
2 the courtroom for a while, we talked about the Grubori incident, we
3 talked about the Varivode incident.
4 Could you characterise what you remember the Varivode incident
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I really can't say
7 anything, or, rather, not much more than the fact that when I heard about
8 the incident, it seemed that somebody on the Croatian side allegedly
9 committed a crime over the Serb civilians who had remained living in the
11 This is the best I can do. I can't tell you who, when. It's
12 very difficult to tell me anything about that. It was difficult at the
13 time, and it is even more difficult today. But this is, that is, clearly
14 on my mind. The Varivode and Grubori incidents -- or, rather, Varivode
15 and Grubori as places where crimes took place.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, when you earlier answered a question, one
17 of my questions about the Grubori incident, you were a bit more specific.
18 You said elderly people killed in or approximately -- in their homes.
19 Now, Varivode, could you give us a first characterisation of what
20 you remember of that to be? Was it the same, was it different? How
21 could you distinguish between the two in your recollection?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, first of all, Your Honours,
23 let's start with Grubori.
24 I can't say that at the time I did not have precise information,
25 or, rather, that at the time, which was a few days after the incidents in
1 Grubori had taken place, that I had a full picture and that I knew that
2 the persons involved were elderly people.
3 Subsequently, and I can only speculate on when it was, a year,
4 five or ten years later, I was provided with some details. It was
5 relayed by the media, maybe in relation to the -- these trials here. It
6 is very difficult for me to tell you when I heard the details of that
7 incident for the first time.
8 And as for Varivode, all that I remember is the name of the place
9 where some sort of crime took place. Who was charged with the crimes,
10 what happened, really, I can't remember.
11 Maybe I can provide a third explanation. What you remember is
12 names or some pairs of names, for example, Skabrnja, Vukovar; Srebrenica,
13 Omarska; Varivode, Grubori. As to when you heard about any of them, what
14 you learned about any of them, in my case it would take a lot of effort
15 to say something before this Court under the oath and with full
16 responsibility. I would really not go into any further details, because
17 that would be speculation.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Nevertheless, you told us about the elderly, elderly
19 people being killed approximately in their homes.
20 Now, how did -- do you remember how you know that it was about
21 elderly people being killed? Was that discussed in the meeting; did you
22 see that from the media? What was the -- how did you get to know that?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Again, with the caveat that I'm
24 trying very hard to remember. As for the people being elderly, I'm sure
25 that I heard that much, much later, much later than August or
1 September 1995, and I believe that I heard that within the context of
2 The Hague
3 about the crimes alleged in the indictments, the locations, or maybe I
4 heard it in the reports of different NGOs that were active in Croatia
5 If you are asking me when it was when I learned that people were
6 elderly for the first time, I really can't say. Today, as I sit here, I
7 believe that they were elderly and now if you're asking me for a precise
8 answer as to what happened and where and when it happened, I really can't
9 be of much assistance.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. In your last answer, you said again that, as
11 you said before, that it was a couple of days after the incident that it
12 was discussed. Is that the recollection that it was said this happened a
13 couple of days before, or did you learn about the incident and then
14 remember that a couple of days after that, that the meeting was held
15 where the matter was discussed?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I assumed that when I
17 first heard about the matter that we're discussing at the moment, it did
18 not have to necessarily be tied with reference to specific names. For
19 example, let me illustrate that by relaying a story to you when
20 Prime Minister Valentic in the presence of some other ministers, told us
21 that he was privy to information that we were not privy to at the time,
22 because he received information from other services than us in the
23 economy, and he said, We -- we know that a lot was going on in the
24 liberated areas, that crimes were happening. He did not mention any
25 names. He never mentioned the names of Grubori or Varivode, for example.
1 That's my illustration of the point that I'm trying to bring home here.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you remember that both of these incidents
3 were discussed at meetings of the cabinet or ...
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when? When were they
5 discussed? Immediately after it -- we learned of it or they learned in
6 the government about them?
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As to that, I can't be certain that
9 I was present in a meeting where it was discussed in detail, where
10 information was provided about specific locations. So it's very
11 difficult for me to pin-point time-wise when I learned of a crime in
12 general, which happened in a liberated area in the vicinity of Knin, and
13 when I learned the details concerning name of the village, kind of
14 victims, suspects, and so on.
15 It's very hard for me to discern that.
16 JUDGE ORIE: You twice answered that it was a couple of days
17 after the Grubori incident that it was discussed. You gave that answer
19 What I'm asking now is whether you also discussed the Varivode
20 incident, and whether you have any recollection as to how much time that
21 was after that event had happened?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm certain when it comes to
23 Varivode that I cannot -- that I didn't know with precision about that
24 place. What I'm trying to say, Your Honour, is the names of locations
25 where a crime had happened were not important to me. It was the crimes
1 that mattered to me.
2 Now you're going into details of something that happened 14 years
3 ago, and you're asking me to remember on which day I heard about a
4 certain village, and I think that you are overestimating my memory and my
5 abilities in that sense, especially since this was discussed and written
6 about at length in the media for the last ten years. And, now, to ask me
7 at what time I heard in detail about these incidents is something that I
8 simply cannot give you an answer to.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, any further questions? I bring to your
10 attention that the tape gives us only a couple of minutes, very few
11 minutes, so if we would have to spend more time on it, then we would have
12 to take another break.
13 MR. KEHOE: I would suggest a break, Mr. President.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE ORIE: We'll, then, take the break first.
16 We'll have a break and resume at ten minutes past 1.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.49 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 1.13 p.m.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
20 MR. KEHOE: Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Mr. Skegro, I would like to have you take a look at a document
22 that's in evidence. D214.
23 MR. KEHOE: If we can bring that up on the screen.
24 Q. Mr. Skegro, this is a -- the minutes of a closed session of the
25 government of the Republic of Croatia
1 Prime Minister Valentic. As can you see from the list of deputy prime
2 ministers, your name is first.
3 MR. KEHOE: And I would like to turn to page 8 in the English.
4 Q. And I will tell you, Mr. Skegro, based on the evidence in the
5 record. And, specifically, Mr. President, D808, the incident in
6 Varivode, took place on the 28th of September, 1995. This meeting being
7 5 October 1995
8 MR. KEHOE: And if we could just take it to the next page, I
9 believe ...
10 If we can go to the next page in the B/C/S, please. Scroll a
11 little -- that's it. Okay.
12 Q. As you can see, Mr. Skegro, this is a report that was presented
13 by Minister Jarnjak. And Minister Jarnjak, in the second paragraph, also
14 informed -- excuse me. That:
15 "Jarnjak informed the government of the killing of nine Serb
16 civilians in the village of Varivode
17 civilians were elderly than they had been killed by fire-arms.
18 I. Jarnjak also informed the government of the measures that the Ministry
19 of the Interior had taken to find the perpetrators of this crime as
20 quickly as possible.
21 "After a date in which" -- several ministers, including yourself,
22 Mr. Skegro, "took part, the government entrusted the Ministry of the
23 Interior with regularly reporting to the government on all measures taken
24 and the findings of the investigating bodies."
25 Now, sir, given the fact that Varivode took place on the 28th of
1 September, this meeting is 5 October, do you recall this discussion?
2 A. Now that I see these minutes, then, yes. I remember, we talked
3 about. Now whether I had heard about Varivode before this meeting or
4 then, I don't know. But it is here, yes.
5 Q. Did you get additional information on this incident, and as --
6 Grubori, as time went on?
7 A. I suppose, yes.
8 MR. KEHOE: If I might have one moment, Mr. President.
9 [Defence counsel confer]
10 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skegro.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Any further questions to be put to the witness?
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Skegro, since there are no further questions for
15 you, this concludes your testimony in this court. I would like to thank
16 you very much for coming to The Hague
17 that were put to you by the parties and by the Bench, and I wish you a
18 safe return home again.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Usher, could you please escort Mr. Skegro out of
21 the courtroom.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not going to deal with the whole of the MFI
24 list, but there was a pending issue on orders by Mr. Mladic. There was
25 some discussion about whether they were exculpatory, yes or no.
1 Mr. Misetic announced that he would tender them from bar table, and I
2 think we're still waiting for -- I don't think that numbers have already
3 been assigned to them, Mr. Misetic. Is that correct?
4 MR. MISETIC: That is correct, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Nevertheless, there would be some consultations and
6 that the Prosecution would express its views on whether it would oppose
7 against these documents tendered in this way.
8 MR. MISETIC: I believe we've had correspondence back and forth
9 and, Mr. President, we have received the comments from the Prosecution
10 which we will incorporate into the spreadsheet that we have prepared, and
11 I think that resolves the Prosecution's review, and I believe we can then
12 tender them into evidence. But we have been privately communicating back
13 and forth about the wording of the spreadsheet.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's good that I'm not familiar with that.
15 That's then ...
16 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Unless there's any urgent procedural -- Mr. Waespi.
18 MR. WAESPI: Yes. I just wanted to inform Your Honours and
19 Defence teams that it is Mr. Russo's last day today in the court and in
20 the ICTY tomorrow, and since he was a very active participant in these
21 proceedings, I just wanted to let you know about that.
22 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that I speak of all that we'll miss him.
23 He's blushing a bit. That's not what he's usually doing, but ...
24 MR. KAY: And before he goes, Your Honour, he has one last
25 obligation to deal with, his marking for identification of
1 Mr. Kovacevic's report. If we let him go without finishing that which he
2 started, we might never see him again, for all we know.
3 To remind, Your Honour, the documents are D676, MFI, and D7677,
6 MR. MISETIC: And, Mr. President, I also don't want Mr. Russo to
7 feel left out by the Gotovina Defence, so I also have an issue to raise
8 with him.
9 JUDGE ORIE: They'll all keep you busy until the very end,
10 Mr. Russo.
11 Yes, Mr. Misetic.
12 MR. MISETIC: It relates to an issue we have with translation of
13 Exhibit D970. I believe Mr. Kehoe advised the Court that we wanted to
14 address the issue today with the Chamber, and we need to bring to the
15 Chamber's attention because we have reached a impasse with CLSS, and we
16 feel we need to bring it to your attention.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's first deal with the expert report by
18 Mr. Kovacevic.
19 Mr. Russo, I think you reserved your position until after we
20 heard the testimony of Mr. Kovacevic.
21 MR. RUSSO: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
22 The Prosecution's position is that we will not object to the
23 admission of the report but did want to make clear that this is not
24 intended to be a lack of objection to the transparency and reliability
25 issues which we believe are fairly significant with Mr. Kovacevic.
1 However, in light of the Court's decision with regard to the
2 admissibility of Professor Corn's expert report, we are taking that as
3 guidance that these matters are simply to be addressed through the weight
4 to be accorded.
5 And on that basis, we are not objecting.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Then D -- I think it is D7 -- no, it couldn't be.
7 It should be --
8 MR. KAY: 1676 and 1677, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. D1676 and D1677 are admitted into evidence.
10 Now, Mr. Russo, your last job. Translation issues in relation to
11 D --
12 MR. MISETIC: 970.
13 JUDGE ORIE: 970.
14 MR. MISETIC: If we could pull that, Mr. President. Or
15 Mr. Registrar, I should say.
16 If we could go to -- this is Mr. Rajcic's artillery order from
17 the 2nd of August. And if we can go to page 3 in both versions, please.
18 I'm interested in the last sentence of section 3. And the Court
19 will recall we have had a lot of discussion about this sentence. The
20 English has been translated as:
21 "Shell the towns of Drvar, Knin, Benkovac, Obrovac, and Gracac."
22 And in the original Croatian, it says, and obviously this is the
23 issue, but it uses the Croatian words [B/C/S spoken] and the word "udare"
24 [phoen] here is what's of interest to us. We sent it to CLSS for a
25 check and we now have a response back from CLSS which is that the
1 translation should be:
2 "Put the towns of Drvar, Knin, Benkovac, Obrovac, and Gracac
3 under artillery fire."
4 CLSS has chosen to translate the word "udare" as "fire." But we
5 believe that the proper translation should be "strikes."
6 And the issue is relevant, Mr. President, because if I can turn
7 then to the next document, which is P1272, now this is again the list of
8 targets. And if you look in the left-hand column, along the edge, it --
9 in the English it's been translated as "first strike, second strike." In
10 the original, if you look, you will see that the word "udar" is used,
11 which is the same word that's used in the Croatian, which is to put the
12 towns under, again the Croatian word, "udare." And so now we have the
13 same word being used in Croatian, "udar," which is being translated by
14 CLSS in one document as "fire," and in this document CLSS has translated
15 it as "strike."
16 For our purposes, what we are interested in is the consistent use
17 or consistent translation of the same word because the Chamber may find
18 it relevant that Mr. Rajcic, in his order, says: "Put the towns under
19 artillery strikes," and then here we have actual specification of targets
20 for first strike, second strike. Without going into details of why we
21 think that would be relevant in a context of an indiscriminate shelling
23 In any event, we have asked CLSS to provide us an explanation as
24 to why the same word is being translated two different ways and they have
25 simply stood on their position which is that they believe that the
1 essence of the translation is accurate. But we believe that for the
2 Chamber's purposes, it is misleading, because I think the Chamber should
3 have the benefit of knowing that the same word is being used in both
5 At this point, we don't know --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it seems that the Chamber will further consider
7 the matter and we'll also further consider whether we need any further
8 explanation. For example, whether if a word has several meanings that,
9 in a certain context, for example, in one moment that it is preceded by
10 the word first whether that changes the choice for possible translations
11 as a contextual. I do not know whether that would be the case or would
12 not be the case, but most important for the Chamber at this moment is to
13 consider whether we would seek further clarification on this issue, which
14 focuses on apparently the same word in a different contextual setting
15 being translated by different words and not by one word.
16 MR. MISETIC: Yes. As I said before, Mr. President, we asked for
17 a further explanation, even if it were something along those lines, and
18 we were unable to get a response beyond that they felt it was consistent
19 with the essence of the --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But also that's another way of dealing with
21 the matter -- at least that's considering the matter is that you'd say
22 it -- it doesn't make -- it's the same. The meaning of it is the same.
23 We'll all have to consider whether we need further information about that
24 or how to deal with the matter. That's the only thing I can say at this
25 moment. It's now clearly on the record that the different words used for
1 the translation of the word "udar" is of concern to the Gotovina Defence
2 and that the Gotovina Defence invites the Chamber to further consider
3 this matter.
4 That's all that can be said about it at this moment, I take it.
5 Mr. Hedaraly.
6 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Your Honour had raised, before the witness entered, the issue of
8 The Blue Book. I don't know if we should deal with it tomorrow.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Well, first of all, could I know, has The Blue Book
10 been copied because it has been put on the ELMO. To the extent it came
11 to our eyes and we can -- then, of course, it's a very cumbersome way,
12 ask for the video and then see on the video what is on ELMO. Whereas if
13 this is a copy available --
14 MR. HEDARALY: And this is why I had gotten on my feet before the
15 witness came, Mr. President.
16 We have returned the physical copy to Mr. Mikulicic and thanked
17 him for his assistance. We have scanned the physical version of the
18 book, which, I think Mr. Carrier had indicated, we may be tendering
19 portions or the entirety of the book. Obviously there's a translation
20 issue still to be resolved. But the book in a scanned version, so the
21 electronic version of what was physically in the book, is there, so a
22 comparison can now be made between that and the electronic version that
23 was put on the CD. We have not uploaded it. We have not tendered it yet
24 because we are awaiting for the translation. If the Chamber is
25 interested to have the Croatian version of the entire book that we have
1 scanned, then, of course, we can provide that to the Chamber or deal with
2 it in -- in whatever manner, way that the Chamber sees fit.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I think one of the issues that came up was the use
4 of diagrams. Now, Chamber staff, when I asked them to see if there were
5 in the diagrams in the electronic version of The Blue Book, came up with
6 a rather limited set of diagrams; whereas, it is my recollection, but I
7 would have to look at the video again to see what exactly was on the
8 ELMO, but it was one -- at least one of the more complicated -- one of
9 the more complicated diagrams and not the relatively simple ones. So the
10 Chamber, since the attention has been drawn to diagrams and who produced
11 them and who may have copied or invented or scanned, or whatever, have
12 done with that, the Chamber might be interested to have a look at the
13 diagrams from The Blue Book. And we're not seeking, at this moment, to
14 have the whole of The Blue Book to be translated but, rather, to look at
15 the diagrams.
16 So for transparency purposes, I wished to raise the matter in
17 court and not to ask in any other way. But the Chamber would have --
18 would like to have a look at the diagrams as they appear The Blue Book,
19 and gives an opportunities to the parties to comment, if the parties
20 would consider that this is not what the Chamber should do.
21 MR. HEDARALY: Would the Chamber want the translations of the
22 diagrams as well? I assume that would not take -- before handing it over
23 or ...
24 JUDGE ORIE: It depends. It could well be that if the same
25 diagrams do appear elsewhere that -- and if the text is the same, then,
1 of course, we wouldn't ask for any additional translation. But we'd
2 first just like to have a look at them and then perhaps come back to the
3 issue at a later stage.
4 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President, we will do so.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And would you please be so kind to -- whatever you
6 send to us, to send a copy to the other parties, so that the parties
7 are -- that the Defence teams are fully aware of what has been brought to
8 our attention.
9 MR. HEDARALY: Of course, and that is our common practice as
11 On the related issue, Mr. Feldi was asked about two documents
12 that he was going to provide the Chamber. One of them was the contract,
13 and the other was the order of appointment for the preparation of The
14 Blue Book. We have received one of these two documents via the Registry,
15 and I just want to put that on the record that it's in Croatian. I think
16 it looks like a contract, but the second one is still pending, and I just
17 wanted to put that on the record to see if we can make sure that we also
18 received the second document that is missing.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
20 MR. KAY: We haven't received that, so whoever is sending
21 documents to the Prosecution, if they could remember that the other
22 parties have an interest as well.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. From my previous remark it may be clear
24 already that the Chamber considers this also important that there is full
25 transparency on any material.
1 May I take it, Mr. Hedaraly, that whatever you have received,
2 that you will disclose a copy to the Defence teams, and then if you
3 receive any further documents, that you would do the same.
4 MR. HEDARALY: Of course.
5 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
6 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Kay, you have produced two Internet pages,
7 in relation to the last witness. Well, if -- do you have any -- did you
8 want to tender them? I think the best thing to do is to -- to print them
9 out from the Internet and then to file them, or to file the precise page
10 identification. The problem is that, of course, a page can be changed
11 over time. So, therefore, I think a quick printout of -- I think it was
12 one from the HINA web site and the other one from the international
13 Helsinki Committee, that would create the transparency we need, that
14 everyone, including possibly the Appeals Chamber, would know what we
15 looked at.
16 MR. KAY: Firstly, they were both read into the record, so that
17 has been dealt with, and they were seen on the screen here. So the
18 matters have been recorded.
19 We will upload them into e-court and get numbers.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's another way of dealing with the matter.
21 I do remember that you read the second one. It's just a lack of
22 recollection whether you fully read the first one. And what I do
23 remember is that we started looking at a certain page, whereas, I think,
24 it was me, myself, who later said, This is the annual report of 1997
25 coming from this and this and this, so that we have the context. But if
1 we have the Internet page uploaded then we have all the information we
2 would need.
3 Then once it has been uploaded, I take it that you -- you will
4 take the initiative to tender it. And may I already establish that there
5 is no objection. Mr. Russo, perhaps one of your last official -- no.
6 Mr. Hedaraly will whisper into your ear whether you should object
7 or not and then that would be your last ...
8 [Prosecution counsel confer]
9 MR. RUSSO: I hate to go out with a whimper, Your Honour, but we
10 don't have any objection.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then once uploaded, it's ready to be admitted
12 into evidence.
13 No other matters at this moment.
14 Then we will adjourn and we'll resume tomorrow, Wednesday, the
15 30th of September, quarter past 2.00, in Courtroom III.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.40 p.m.
17 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 30th day of
18 September, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.