Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 26569

 1                           Tuesday, 12 January 2010

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The witness takes the stand]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Good morning to everyone.

 7             Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honours.  Good morning to

 9     everyone in and around the courtroom.  This is case number IT-06-90-T,

10     the Prosecutor versus Gotovina et al.  Thank you.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

12             Ms. Bagic, you would like to remind you that you're still bound

13     by the solemn declaration you have given yesterday morning at the

14     beginning of your testimony.

15             Ms. Gustafson, are you ready to proceed?

16             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Yes, thank you, Your Honour.

17                           WITNESS:  SNJEZANA BAGIC [Resumed]

18                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

19                           Cross-examination by Ms. Gustafson: [Continued]

20        Q.   Good morning, Ms. Bagic.

21        A.   Good morning.

22        Q.   Yesterday, at the conclusion of the session I was --

23        A.   Good morning.

24        Q.   I was asking you about your contacts with government ministers

25     other than Mr. Separovic in 1995 and you said you couldn't recall any

Page 26570

 1     specific contacts.  And I'd like to ask you a similar question about any

 2     contacts you may have had with President Tudjman in 1995.  Do you recall

 3     having any communication or contact with him at the time?

 4        A.   I do not recall that I had any sort of contact with

 5     President Tudjman in 1995.

 6        Q.   Did you -- did you know him then or not?

 7        A.   No, I did not know him.  Except, of course, through the media.

 8        Q.   Did you ever meet him; and, if so, when was that?

 9        A.   I met President Tudjman several times.  Two times I met him

10     personally.  I do not remember the exact years.  I believe that the first

11     time it was before I was appointed deputy minister, and that was in 1997.

12             The second meeting took place, I think, around 1999.  And I think

13     I was present at two meetings of the National Security Council, who were

14     presided by President Tudjman.  If I remember correctly, he was the

15     president of this council.  And I believe that these were meetings that

16     were held in the period of the year 1998.  It must have been in late

17     spring when there was no minister at the Ministry of Justice.  He wasn't

18     performing his duty, in fact.  The reason was that the previous minister

19     had been relieved of his duty, and the newly appointed minister, at the

20     time, Dr. Milan Ramljak was the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to

21     Austria, so some time was needed for him to take care of his obligations

22     as the Ambassador and assume his duty as the minister in the Ministry of

23     Justice.

24             So this is what I can say, to the best of my recollection.

25        Q.   Thank you.  Now, I'd like to move on to the decree on the

Page 26571

 1     temporary takeover of property that you were asked questions about

 2     yesterday.

 3             And, in particular, you were asked whether you worked on this

 4     decree, on the drafting of the decree, and you said at page 26495:

 5             "Yes."

 6             And you explained:

 7             "Because I had previously taken part in the preparations and

 8     drafting of a law that had the exact same name."

 9             And you had explained that you started working on the law in

10     June of 1995.

11             My question is: When were you informed that a decree was to be

12     enacted, and how were you informed of that?

13        A.   I don't know the exact date on which I was informed about that.

14             As for the manner in which I was informed about it, it was

15     certainly the way in which usually the minister of justice would inform

16     me about this, when, at a meeting of the government or a government

17     session, a decision of this kind would be made.  He would then call the

18     persons from the ministry who were competent or to whom he had assigned a

19     certain task and tell them to do that.

20             As the decree was adopted around the 31st of August, that was

21     when the government session took place, and the decree was published in

22     the Official Gazette, and it came into force on the 4th of September.  If

23     I'm not mistaken, then it must have been in the second half of August.

24     But I really do not remember the specific details, and I cannot elaborate

25     on the details from this point in time, as there are no written traces

Page 26572

 1     about this.  There is not written information on the basis on which one

 2     could say that with certainty.

 3        Q.   And do you recall now whether Mr. Separovic gave you any specific

 4     instructions or guide-lines regarding the decree, such as, for example,

 5     that it should have a 30-day time-limit?

 6        A.   I cannot remember that specifically.  It seems to me that the

 7     instructions that were issued, in terms of drafting the decree, were not

 8     much different from the text of the bill, which we had already drafted.

 9     The text of this bill on temporary takeover and management of property,

10     it had gone through the first reading in the parliament, and at the

11     moment of the preparation and adoption of the decree, the emphasise was

12     on the necessity to find a legal solution and adopt the regulation or a

13     law that would regulate this issue of the temporary takeover and

14     management of property as soon as possible, because at the time the

15     Croatian parliament was not sitting and therefore the final bill could

16     not be submitted to the Croatian parliament for the second reading.  So

17     this constitutional and legal possibility was to adopt a decree law and

18     there was more discussion about this possibility, what the possibility

19     was, and could anything specific be done about that.

20             I'm sorry.

21        Q.   Thank you.  I -- I appreciate that you're trying to give detailed

22     answers, but if could you try to focus specifically on the questions that

23     I ask, because my time is limited.  Thank you.

24             Now, in we could go to Exhibit D422, which is the Law on the

25     Temporary Takeover of Property.

Page 26573

 1             Now, in your statement and in your testimony you described this

 2     law as having a twofold objective.  First, to protect the property of

 3     Serbs who had left the area that had been occupied prior to

 4     Operation Storm; and, secondly, to house internally displaced persons and

 5     refugees, primarily from Bosnia.  And you stated several times that the

 6     goal was to provide temporary housing for these displaced persons and

 7     refugees.

 8             And just to clarify those, those refugees and displaced persons,

 9     those were primarily Croats, right?

10        A.   I have said this a number of times.  The law was not written so

11     that it would distinguish between citizens on the basis of their

12     ethnicity.  However, the factual situation was such that particularly

13     after the Operation Storm, quite a number of the citizens of Serbian

14     ethnicity had left the Republic of Croatia and found residence in

15     Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  On the other

16     hand, the opposite process was also ongoing.  Quite a large number of the

17     citizens of Croatian ethnicity had come from the occupied territories,

18     the territories of Republic of Croatia that were still occupied, to the

19     liberated areas of the Republic of Croatia.  And, likewise, a large

20     number of citizens of Croatian ethnicity from Bosnia-Herzegovina had come

21     to Croatia.

22             At the moment when the implementation began, most probably, there

23     are various data about this that were not under my jurisdiction, mainly

24     the citizens of Croatian ethnicity were accommodated in this property.

25             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could look at Article 2 of this law

Page 26574

 1     which is on this page in English and the next page in B/C/S.

 2        Q.   This law didn't only cover the property of Serbs who had left in

 3     connection with Operation Storm.  It also covered property located

 4     anywhere in Croatia, belonging either to people who had left Croatia

 5     after the 17th of August, 1990, or people who were citizens of the FRY

 6     who were currently not using their property.

 7             And all of these three categories of property owners set out in

 8     Article 2, they were largely ethnic Serbs, right?

 9        A.   They probably were citizens of Serb ethnicity, but the first

10     category that we talked more about yesterday were the citizens of

11     Croatia, probably of Serbian ethnicity, as after these operations, they

12     left the country.  They were leaving it any way after the

13     17th of August, 1990, but, in particular, after Operations Flash and

14     Storm.  So these were Croatian citizens, most probably of Serb ethnicity,

15     but certainly not only them who were leaving to the areas mentioned

16     herein.  And the third category which is maybe not particularly noted

17     here because there was not a problem with their return to the Republic

18     of Croatia, as Croatian citizens, were the citizens of the

19     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia who owned real estate in the

20     Republic of Croatia - that is mentioned in paragraph 3 of Article 2 - and

21     this was most often holiday homes which the citizens of the Federal

22     Republic of Croatia owned or possessed in Croatia.

23        Q.   Just in relation to the last part of your answer, you said they

24     were probably most often holiday homes owned by, and it came out in

25     translation as the citizens of the Federal Republic of Croatia, and I

Page 26575

 1     think that was supposed to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; is that

 2     right?  Thank you.

 3        A.   Yes.

 4        Q.   And --

 5        A.   Yes, I'm sorry, maybe it was a slip of the tongue.

 6        Q.   That's fine.  And yesterday you were shown an UN document

 7     containing an analysis of the decree on temporary takeover.  That was

 8     Exhibit D689.  And that analysis concluded that the decree represents an

 9     act of discrimination.  And you were asked whether you could find any

10     provisions testifying to the existence of discrimination against citizens

11     of Croatia with regard to their return to the country, and you replied at

12     page 26526:

13             "No, I cannot.  This decree and the later law did not have that

14     effect.  It referred to the property of all citizens whose property was

15     abandoned and not used personally by them."

16             And I would just like to clarify that, because the decree and the

17     law don't refer explicitly to ethnicity but the -- those who concluded

18     that this law and decree were discriminatory were basing that conclusion

19     on the fact that the groups of citizens whose property rights were

20     affected by this law were largely ethnic Serbs.

21             Is that right?

22             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

23             MR. MISETIC:  Sorry, the witness can complete her answer and then

24     I will make a comment.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Usually no comments are made but objections

Page 26576

 1     against questions.  But if you prefer the witness to answer first, she

 2     has an opportunity to do so.

 3             Could you please answer the question?

 4             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.  I will, Your Honour.

 5             The law, as such, had the purpose and goal about which I talked

 6     on several occasions yesterday.  That was primarily to protect the

 7     property, to which the law referred, and also to enable the accommodation

 8     of expelled persons, displaced persons, refugees, all those who were

 9     affected by the consequences of the war.  These were also family members

10     of Croatian defenders who were dead or had gone missing.  These were

11     persons who were now moving into these areas and who were supposed to

12     enable with their revitalization.

13             As for the implementation of the law, it was implemented

14     depending on the situation in Croatia at the time, specifically in local

15     areas, which had been occupied, and had now recently been liberated.  So

16     in the whole area of the Republic of Croatia, with the emphasise on the

17     areas that had been occupied and which were now liberated.  At the time

18     in the Republic of Croatia, and not only in the Republic of Croatia, if

19     you allow me to emphasise, but also in the neighbouring countries such as

20     the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, because of

21     the consequences of war, there were great movements and migrations of the

22     population.  And in this situation people who were Croatian citizens,

23     mostly of Serb ethnicity, were leaving Croatia and most often going to

24     the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Prior to

25     Operation Storm they were also moving into the areas of the Republic of

Page 26577

 1     Croatia that were occupied at the time.  And, on the other hand, within

 2     the Republic of Croatia, we had huge migrations of Croatian citizens of

 3     Croatian ethnicity who were moving -- I'm sorry.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 5        Q.   I'm sorry.  We've now gone on for a page and you haven't answered

 6     my question.  You might be getting to that, but in the interests of time

 7     I'm going move on to the next question because I don't have much time.

 8     But I would really like to ask you to focus on the specific question that

 9     I'm asking.  Thank you.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

11             MR. MISETIC:  Yes, Mr. President, just in terms of the

12     description of D689, just so that the record is clear, it was said that

13     it's an UN document containing an analysis.  Just so that it's clear,

14     it's a Belgrade Helsinki committee analysis, which is then forwarded

15     within the UN, just so that the record is clear.  Thank you.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  That's on the record.

17             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

18             And perhaps, Ms. Bagic, let's try, indeed, to focus on what

19     apparently is the core of the question.  The core of the question being

20     that the comments may be inspired, although it may be difficult for you

21     to say exactly what it is based on because it is comments by others, that

22     the factual effect of legislation might not always be found in the

23     wording of the legislation.  If I adopt legislation on membership of

24     sport organisations of people higher that 2 metres and 5 centimetres, no

25     one will be surprised if the basketball Federation would say it was

Page 26578

 1     directed against them, although the word "basketball" may not even be

 2     mentioned in such legislation.  That's, I think, as a matter of fact, the

 3     kind of issues we're discussing here that even if there's no clear

 4     reference to certain groups, that it is suggested by Ms. Gustafson that,

 5     nevertheless, the effect may be primarily on certain groups.  I think

 6     that's what we're talking about, and there's no need to explain, again,

 7     what, as we find it already in your statement, the purpose of the

 8     legislation is because I take it that Ms. Gustafson is trying to take you

 9     to the effect of this legislation.

10             Ms. Gustafson, is that correctly understood?

11             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Yes, Your Honour.  Thank you.

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Please proceed.

13             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we go to page 4 in the English in this

14     document and page 3 in the B/C/S to Article 11.

15        Q.   And this is the provision that provides for the 90-day dead-line.

16             And you were asked about this dead-line in your testimony

17     yesterday, and this was in relation to the dead-line in the decree at

18     page 26513, and you said:

19             "At the moment when the decree was drafted, the intention was to

20     resolve the relations as soon as possible.  So by setting up this

21     dead-line, we wanted to allow the owners to return as soon as possible

22     and seek the restitution so that people could come into possession of

23     their property as soon as possible."

24             And you said "we wanted."  By use of the word "we," in that

25     phrase, "we wanted to allow the owners to return as soon as possible,"

Page 26579

 1     who are you referring to?  Are you referring to the Working Group that

 2     you were a part of that worked on drafting this law?

 3        A.   I had in mind the Working Group, but I also had in mind the view

 4     of the government, that is to say, the view of the Croatian Parliament

 5     which adopted this law.

 6        Q.   So, in your view, the Croatian parliament took the same view as

 7     the Working Group because they passed the law, but you don't have any

 8     specific knowledge about what individual members of the parliament or the

 9     government, other than possibly Mr. Separovic, thought about this law, do

10     you?

11        A.   I wasn't present at the government sessions when this topic was

12     discussed.  Therefore, I have no direct knowledge.

13             The government adopted the bill unanimously.

14        Q.   And when you said that this view of the dead-line was the view of

15     the Working Group, specifically what is the source of your information

16     that causes you to conclude that that was the view of the Working Group

17     about this dead-line?

18        A.   Well, I already said that we attended meetings, that we were

19     working on the wording of the law.  We discussed the best possible

20     dead-line to be included.  So, therefore, I have this knowledge that

21     originates from the period when we were working on this law.

22        Q.   And do you remember now, when Mr. Separovic informed you that

23     this law -- that such a law was to be drafted, do you remember if he told

24     you that there was to be dead-line for the return and repossession of the

25     property?  Can you recall that now?

Page 26580

 1        A.   It is difficult to remember any details concerning specific

 2     discussions.  In addition, the drafting of a bill or an enactment is a

 3     long-lasting process.  At what particular moment within the Working Group

 4     or when it was that Mr. Separovic who was in charge of coordinating the

 5     work on drafting the law within the ministry, it was decided that some

 6     specific dead-line would be desirable, is nothing that I can remember.

 7        Q.   And yesterday you were also asked about the reason that the

 8     dead-line was changed from 30 days to 90 days, and you said -- and this

 9     is at 26533:

10             "The dead-line was expanded from 30 days, as in decree, to

11     90 days, because, at least that's how it seems to me now from this point

12     in time, because it turned out that it was not realistic that an owner

13     could return within such a short time-span of 30 days and asked a

14     restitution of his or her property.  There were objective difficulties

15     because there were great migrations of the population."

16             Now, in that answer, you said that this was how it seems to you

17     now from this point in time.  And from that answer, I take it that you

18     didn't know specifically at the time that the dead-line was changed, or

19     you can't remember specifically what the reason was for the change in

20     that dead-line, and you're just drawing a conclusion now about what you

21     think that reason might have been.

22             Is that right?

23        A.   No, that's not right.  Namely, this digression of mine had to do

24     with the fact that I'm talking about the period that happened 15 years

25     ago.  It is difficult for one to remember all the details relating to the

Page 26581

 1     drafting of a document.  However, I already said, and I will try to

 2     repeat this in brief, is the following.  In the preparation of the

 3     document, and in making the amendments to it, along with representatives

 4     of the judiciary -- there is -- representatives of other ministries and

 5     institutions took part as well, and so did the representatives of the

 6     ministry of development.

 7             So when we were discussing the possible amendments to the

 8     wording, it was definitely obvious at the time that there were some

 9     obstacles and that the 30-day dead-line was not a realistic one, that it

10     was to short.  Therefore, in view of these difficulties, we sought to

11     extend the dead-line to 90 days.

12        Q.   The draft law that you submitted to Mr. Separovic to take to the

13     government to be debated by the parliament, did that contain a 30-day

14     dead-line or a 90-day dead-line, or do you not remember?

15        A.   I think that we already had a 90-day dead-line.  But I cannot

16     confirm that with any certainty.  Because there were no amendments to

17     this law is something that makes me feel and think that already at that

18     point the time-limit was 90 days.

19        Q.   And when was -- when did you submit that law to Mr. Separovic to

20     take to the government and the parliament?

21        A.   I truly cannot tell you the exact date.  However, since the

22     decree was adopted by the government on the 31st of August, and the

23     Autumn sitting of parliament always starts after the

24     15th of September every year, we most probably prepared the final draft

25     of the bill immediately after we did the original draft and gave it to

Page 26582

 1     Mr. Separovic or, rather, sent it to his office for him to submit this

 2     final draft of the law to the parliament of the Republic of Croatia.

 3        Q.   And when would that have been?

 4        A.   That was sometime in September 1995.

 5             Allow me just to -- to clarify.  I'm referring to the final draft

 6     of the Law on the Temporary Takeover and Management of Property, since

 7     the bill had already been discussed and adopted by the parliament in

 8     July of that same year.

 9        Q.   Now, you were --

10             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could go to P475, please.

11        Q.   You were asked about the -- this further amendment to the

12     Law on Temporary Takeover in January of 1996 where the 90-day dead-line

13     was removed and the law instead stated that the issue of returning and

14     possession and use would be regulated by the agreement on normalisation

15     of relations between Croatia and the FRY.

16             And you testified about the reason for removing that 90-day

17     dead-line as follows, and this is at page 26534 and following:

18             "During the implementation of this law, it turned out that

19     whatever the dead-line was, that the dead-line was not realistic because

20     there were such objective difficulties that one could not set any

21     dead-line and then request the owner to request the restitution of his or

22     her property.  And perhaps the conclusions and impressions were wrong, so

23     it was better to remove the dead-line and allow the owner to request

24     restitution once he returns."

25             Now, when you said that there were such objective difficulties

Page 26583

 1     that one could not set any dead-line and that perhaps the conclusions and

 2     impressions were wrong, one of the conclusions that was wrong was that

 3     these properties were abandoned, wasn't it?  In fact, those properties

 4     weren't abandoned.  There were thousands of Krajina Serbs who wanted to

 5     return to Croatia and repossess those properties, wasn't there?

 6        A.   I wouldn't agree with you.  We are talking the property that, at

 7     the time, when the law was passed and being implemented, was abandoned.

 8     For that reason, we allowed for temporary possession of these properties.

 9     However, since the ownership was indisputable and this ownership was not

10     affected in any way, there was an obligation to enable those who wanted

11     to return to Croatia to establish or re-establish the ownership of these

12     properties in Croatia.

13             I think that we are talking here about two different things.

14        Q.   I think so too.

15             Were you involved in drafting this January amendment?

16             MR. MIKULICIC:  I'm sorry to interfere my learned colleague, but

17     I have a remark on the transcript, as it refers to the translation of the

18     Croatian word "posjed" which was translated as ownership.  I don't

19     believe this is a proper translation.

20             So maybe if our interpreters could check this.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Is there any reason to reconsider the declaration of

22     the word which was pronounced by Mr. Mikulicic as "posjed"?

23             Could I hear from the English and/or the French booth.

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Well, the English translation supposedly of

25     "posjed" could be either property or ownership.

Page 26584

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Mikulicic -- and let me just check with the

 2     French booth first.

 3             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, several comments were made by the booth about

 5     the translation of the word "posjed," so the Chamber is now aware that we

 6     should take specific care of that word and --

 7             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes, Your Honour, but let me suggest something in

 8     order to be on the safe side.  Could we ask the witness to define in

 9     legal terms, which is -- which is obviously very capable person to do so,

10     to define the word posjed in a legal sense of word and the word

11     "vlasnistvo," ownership, in a legal sense of word.  So in order to avoid

12     any misunderstanding on that terms.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  I would agree with you that we should invite the

14     witness to explain what she meant when she used the word posjed.  Now to

15     suggest -- to explain another word which she hasn't used is perhaps

16     something for cross-examination.

17             Mr. Misetic.

18             MR. MISETIC:  Mr. President, we've had this issue come up with

19     this word before, and I would just draw the Chamber's attention to page

20     18246 beginning at line 11 going through line 18.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, I have no clear recollection of that.  At the

22     same time, even if at that time the matter was raised, then when a word

23     may have different meanings then, of course, we should always ask the

24     witness in what way he used that or she used that expression.

25             Ms. Gustafson, I think it would save time if we do it right now

Page 26585

 1     and not wait until cross-examination because it might avoid

 2     malcommunication.

 3             So if you would invite the witness to explain what she mentioned

 4     when she -- what she meant when she used the word "posjed," that might be

 5     of assistance.

 6             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

 7        Q.   You heard the Judge, Ms. Bagic, if you could please, do that.

 8     Thank you.

 9        A.   I will and thank you for giving me an opportunity to give this

10     explanation of what I mean when I wording -- using the word "posjed."

11             The word "posjed" in our legal system means the ownership or the

12     possession and practical use of an asset.  I think that's the simplest

13     explanation of the word posjed.  It is one of the ownership powers in a

14     broad sense which implies the right to dispose of the property.  And

15     "posjed" is only one of these rights and it involves practically the use

16     of one's property or possession.

17             JUDGE ORIE:  So it is an aspect of ownership.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's one of the ownership

19     aspects.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you.

21             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

23        Q.   Ms. Bagic, were you involved in drafting this January 1996

24     amendment to the Law on the Temporary Takeover?  And if could you answer

25     with a yes or no, that would be helpful.

Page 26586

 1        A.   Yes.

 2        Q.   Now, you said -- again, when you were asked about the reasons for

 3     this amendment, you said:

 4             "It was better to remove the dead-line and allow the owner to

 5     request restitution once he returns."

 6             This amendment did not -- it removed the dead-line but it did not

 7     specifically allow the owner to request restitution once he returned.

 8             And my question is:  Why, if, as you say now it would have been

 9     better to do that, did the Croatian authorities not just simply do that,

10     just take the words "within 90 days" out of Article 11 and allow the

11     owner to request restitution once he returned?

12        A.   I think that I said yesterday that, at that time, the

13     Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were in the

14     process of mutual communication relating to refugee issues.  One of those

15     segments was the anticipated and expected agreement on normalisation of

16     relations between the Republic of Croatia and the FRY, which envisaged

17     direct cooperation between competent authorities of the two states, as

18     well as a joint commission that was supposed to exchange information and

19     work on removing the obstacles relating to the return of citizens to

20     their former places of residence.

21        Q.   We're talking here about the Croatian property rights of people

22     who were born in Croatia and had lived virtually all of their lives in

23     Croatia and may or may not have been residing in the FRY at the time.

24     And it was not necessary to condition the Croatian property rights of

25     Croatian Serbs on an agreement on normalisation with a foreign country,

Page 26587

 1     was it?

 2        A.   [No interpretation]

 3             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreters do not have the sound.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  There seems to be a technical problem as far as

 5     sounds is concerned.  I see that your microphones are switched on.  Could

 6     you speak just a few words for a test of the sound, Ms. Bagic.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Apparently these words were understood by the

 9     interpreters' booth.  Let's slowly try to catch up again.

10             MS. GUSTAFSON:

11        Q.   Ms. Bagic, if you could repeat your answer from the beginning,

12     because the translators couldn't hear you.  Thank you.

13        A.   That's right.  Namely, later it turned out, and that was

14     established by the constitutional court in its 1997 decision, that such

15     prescribing the restitution of the property of Croatian citizens cannot

16     be linked to the signing of the agreement, because those people were

17     Croatian citizens and must enjoy the same rights as all the other

18     Croatian citizens.  Therefore, this provision was quashed by the

19     constitutional court.

20             However, when this amendment was made and the restitution was

21     governed in a certain way, the intention was to enable these people, our

22     citizens who had abandoned their property but were wishing to return, to

23     do so at the time that they deemed the most appropriate with regard to

24     their wishes and that it wouldn't be advisable to impose any deadlines.

25        Q.   Were you given instructions when this amendment was drafted to

Page 26588

 1     condition the property rights of these Croatian citizens on a

 2     normalisation agreement with Yugoslavia; and, if so, who gave you these

 3     instructions?

 4        A.   No, we didn't receive any instructions that would condition the

 5     restitution on the signing of this agreement on normalisation of

 6     relations.  They were still the owners.  Therefore, the issue was to

 7     enable them to take possession of their property and to allow them to use

 8     it practically in the Republic of Croatia.  This was probably an

 9     indication that there was a certain draft of this agreement being

10     prepared, and that, for that reason, it would be advisable to change the

11     dead-line for restitution.

12             If you allow me, I would just like to add the following:  We were

13     faced with a situation when there was intensive communication between the

14     Ministry on the one side, while, at the same time, the process of finding

15     accommodation and the process of return of refugees and IDP was subject

16     of very intense communication and talks with representatives of the

17     international community.  Very often, particularly at that time, I think

18     that there was some mixup between property right and the rights to

19     restitution and practical use.  In order to avoid such erroneous

20     interpretations, we believed that it was better not to link restitution

21     to any dead-line.

22        Q.   I don't believe you've answered my question, so I'm going to try

23     to ask it more specifically.

24             Did you receive any instructions to make the issue of returning

25     and possession and use of property conditional on the signing of an

Page 26589

 1     agreement on normalisation of relations with the FRY; and, if so, who

 2     gave you those instructions?

 3             MR. MISETIC:  Your Honour, I'm going object.  I believe the first

 4     sentence of the last answer, answered that question.

 5             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I don't believe so, Your Honour.  The focus was

 6     on ownership, and I think we got sidetracked.

 7             JUDGE ORIE:  From the follow-up of the answer, it is unclear

 8     whether it is a real answer to the question.

 9             So the question simple is you get rid of the time-limit; it's

10     apparently replaced by another condition, that is, an agreement between

11     Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the normalisation of

12     the relations.

13             Now, did you receive from anyone instruction or guidance to say,

14     Well, the 90 days should be replaced by the condition of the agreement

15     between Croatia and the Federal Republic.  That's the question.

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for this clarification.

17     Since the question was relating to ownership, that's why I gave my answer

18     in the way I did.

19             As far as restitution is concerned, as people who work in -- both

20     in the ministry and on the amendment to this law probably from the

21     government and competent ministries we received information that the

22     restitution issue would be governed and resolved by the agreement and

23     that would affect particularly Article 11, paragraph 2 of the Law on

24     Takeover and Management of the property.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  So it's a long, but this reference to such an

Page 26590

 1     agreement was adopted in the draft on the instructions of the government.

 2             Is that how I have to understand your answer?

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  If you would try to make your answers as short and

 5     as clear as possible, that would be appreciated.

 6             Ms. Gustafson.

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 8        Q.   And, Ms. Bagic, this -- the law as amended here did not contain

 9     any mechanisms for Krajina Serbs to repossess their property that had

10     been taken over.  And we looked yesterday at the agreement on

11     normalisation, which is Exhibit D412, that came into effect some eight

12     months after this amendment, and it also didn't provide any mechanisms to

13     allow Krajina Serbs to repossess their property.  And the first time such

14     mechanisms were put in place was under the June 1998 return programme

15     that you were shown yesterday, and, in particular, the provisions under

16     point 9 of that programme.  Is that right?

17        A.   No, that's not correct, because as for the Law on the Temporary

18     Takeover and Management of Property, regardless of the amendment to

19     Article 11, paragraph 2, and the time-limit that we talked about, there

20     was still a provision that if an owner should return and request the

21     repossession of property that this would be quashed and the property

22     would be returned to the owner.

23        Q.   Where is that provision?

24        A.   That provision is linked with Article 8, I believe, and

25     Article 11 of the Law on the Temporary Takeover.

Page 26591

 1        Q.   Well, we've got the Article 11 here.  It doesn't provide any

 2     mechanisms for Krajina Serbs to repossess their property, does it?

 3             And if we could also go back to D422 and Article 8 of that law so

 4     you could see that.

 5             MS. GUSTAFSON:  That's at page 3 of the English, and page 3 of

 6     the B/C/S.

 7             MR. MIKULICIC:  Your Honour, maybe it will be easier for the

 8     witness to follow the examination by having a hard copy of the -- of the

 9     law.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  I take it that Ms. Gustafson has no objection to

11     providing the witness with a hard copy.

12             MS. GUSTAFSON:  No, not at all, if Mr. Mikulicic has a spare one.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Your assistance is appreciated, Mr. Mikulicic.

14             THE WITNESS:  Thank you.

15             [Interpretation] The provision of Article 11, paragraph 2 of the

16     law is still there, and it says --

17        Q.   [Previous translation continues] ... sorry to interrupt you.

18     Article 11, as we just saw, was replaced by the amendment in

19     January of 1996.  So the Article 11 you're looking at now no longer

20     existed as of January 1996.

21        A.   You're partly right, because in Article 11, paragraph 1, it was

22     the one that was changed.  Then it says that the issue of returning the

23     property for possession and use, but now I don't see it anymore -- or now

24     this was quashed as part of the agreement of -- on normalisation between

25     the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  But

Page 26592

 1     paragraph 2 remained there.  It hasn't been changed, and it says against

 2     it's decision by which the commission quashed the decision under

 3     Article 5 of this law, the --

 4             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreter notes that he cannot interpret

 5     this at that speed.  We don't have a hard copy.  Sorry.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you please slowly read the portion you

 7     referred to because the interpreters were not able to follow you due to

 8     the speed of speech.

 9             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour.

10             So the provision remained, which reads:

11             "Against the decision by which the commission quashed the

12     decision under Article 5 of this law, the owner of the property, the

13     person to whom this property was given for use, the ombudsman can file an

14     appeal with the Ministry of Justice or to the ombudsman."

15             MS. GUSTAFSON:

16        Q.   That's a provision that allows certain persons to dispute a

17     ruling that gives away a property for possession and use under Article 5,

18     but there was no provision allowing an owner to request repossession of

19     their property under the amended 1996 law, was there?

20        A.   That's correct.  Namely, perhaps the provision in paragraph 1 was

21     not phrased in the best possible way.

22             However, what really existed and what was implemented in

23     practice, and it has to do with the entirety of this law, was that the

24     owner could always, once he returned, request the repossession of his

25     property, because that was his basic right as the owner.

Page 26593

 1        Q.   And how would he do that without any provision in this law

 2     providing a mechanism to do so?

 3        A.   He could do it because, if he really was the owner, according to

 4     the Law on Basic Property Law, and, later on, it was another law,

 5     according to which he could request the Housing Commission to allow him

 6     to repossess the property, and it was always his right to file a

 7     complaint with the competent court.

 8        Q.   Can you tell me exactly what that law is and exactly what

 9     provision you're referring to?

10        A.   We are talking about the Law on Basic Property Relations which

11     the Republic of Croatia took over after the break-up of Yugoslavia, and

12     we are talking about the Law on Ownership and other legal affairs which

13     came into force on the 1st of January, 1997.  And I think that in the

14     provisions in Article 160 and 162 it reads that an owner may ask for

15     protection, that is to say, to ask for restitution or repossession of his

16     property.

17        Q.   Those laws didn't make any specific reference to the Law on

18     Temporary Takeover in those provisions, did they?

19        A.   No, there are no references because these are basic laws, and the

20     Law on the Temporary Takeover was a special law which regulated the

21     status of property which had been abandoned at a certain point in time.

22     Let me not repeat everything else that we have been talking about until

23     now.

24        Q.   Thank you.  And are you aware of any case where a Krajina Serb,

25     between the time of this amendment in January 1996 and the time that the

Page 26594

 1     mechanisms for repossession were instituted in 1998, are you aware of any

 2     case where a Krajina Serb was able to successfully repossess their

 3     taken-over property?

 4        A.   This wasn't really my duty.  This was part of the competence of

 5     other ministries, so I cannot give you this information.

 6             What I do know is that this process of repossession was

 7     implemented in accordance with the procedures provided by this law, and

 8     the relevant bodies were in charge of that.  And, of course, if someone

 9     filed a complaint with a court, then court proceedings were initiated.

10        Q.   So you are not aware of any case; is that right?

11        A.   I do not have such information at my disposal.

12        Q.   Now, again, going back to what you said yesterday about the

13     reason for the deadlines in the temporary takeover law --

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, could I ask a few questions to

15     clarify.

16             This law on the temporary taking over, you said, was a special

17     law.  Would this mean that as long as the property was abandoned that

18     that law would apply and not the basic law?  Was it considered the

19     lex specialis which would derogate from the application of a general law?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this law was a special

21     law in the sense that it regulated the issue of abandoned property and

22     the possession of this property and, in that sense, the issue of

23     possessing this property and the temporary use of it, it was a special

24     law.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  Which doesn't answer my question yet.  Is whether

Page 26595

 1     you could invoke if the property was abandoned, whether you could invoke

 2     the basic legislation on ownership or not, the legislation you just

 3     referred.

 4             Would that apply in a court, or would the court say, No, you

 5     should make your application under the Law of the Temporary Takeover

 6     because it's abandoned property and that is what that lex specialis is

 7     meant for?

 8             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The owner could refer to the basic

 9     law on property relations and request eviction.  However, the courts

10     could also establish the right of the owner to repossess the property.

11             However, in practice, in courts, this law was also applied in

12     court proceedings when eviction was requested on the basis of the law on

13     property, the courts would decide that -- to put it simply, the decision

14     would not be implemented as long as the temporary user was not provided

15     with appropriate accommodation.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  There seem to be two different issues.  The first

17     one is whether the eviction would be effective if no accommodation has

18     been found for the temporary user of that property, which is not the same

19     issue.  I think we see that in the decision -- the judgements of the

20     European Court on Human Rights which you referred to.

21             Is my recollection right, that the lex specialis issue played a

22     role in the proceedings in Strasbourg, that applicants were sometimes

23     confronted with inapplicability of certain laws because special laws,

24     ruling on these matters, would apply and not the laws they invoked?

25             I have to re-read it, but perhaps it's -- you have a clear

Page 26596

 1     recollection on that.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  Namely, the issue of

 3     repossession of property and the accommodation of expelled persons and

 4     refugees, after the decree and the Law on the Temporary Takeover and

 5     Management of Property, with its amendment, was later regulated by the

 6     Programme for the Return of Expelled Persons, Refugees, and Displaced

 7     Persons from 1998, which is also referred to in the Law on the

 8     Termination of Validity of the Law on Temporary Takeover and Management

 9     of Property.  And I mentioned this because the Programme for the Return

10     of Expelled Persons, Displaced Persons, and Refugees and the Law on the

11     Invalidation of the Law on Temporary Takeover included a decision to make

12     the housing commissions in charge of enabling the repossession of

13     property and, as well, the municipal courts, and that in these

14     proceedings, which would be summary proceedings, the provisions on -- the

15     provisions of the general administrative law would then be applied.

16             Later on and some decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

17     also referred to this, it was regulated by the Law on Areas of Special

18     State Care, and the commission which was competent was taken over by the

19     ministry of development and reconstruction.  And the state attorney's

20     office of the Republic of Croatia was now in charge of court proceedings.

21             I am mentioning this because during this process of repossession

22     and allocating accommodation to refugees and displaced persons, the

23     competence changed.  They were shifted from one body to another.  So with

24     the shift of the competence, some bodies were declared competent or not,

25     or they would send this to another body, most often the housing

Page 26597

 1     commission.  And in the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

 2     in some of the decisions not all of them, it is noted that this procedure

 3     of resolving the repossession lasted too long and that the length of time

 4     during which the issue was being resolved actually violated the rights of

 5     the applicant.  And the European Court of Human Rights did not question

 6     the competence and the authority of the bodies who were to decide about

 7     this, but they referred to the length of time in some of the cases which

 8     ended up before the European Court of Human Rights.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Would you agree that they do not only consider the

10     length of time but also the effective access to court proceedings in this

11     respect?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in that sense, considering the

13     duration of the proceedings, it was not a very effective manner to settle

14     this.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  No, it's not an effective manner of settling

16     matters, but the access to courts was ineffective which was resulted in

17     the Radanovic case of a violation of Article 13 of the

18     European Convention on Human Rights, isn't it?  It's not just a matter of

19     time.  It's not just an effective settlement, but it is access to courts

20     which turns out to be ineffective, perhaps for the reasons you explained,

21     that the competence changed again and again; conditions changed several

22     times.

23             The issue, apparently, is the following, Ms. Bagic.  You're

24     telling us that out of an abundance of caution you wanted to return these

25     people within 30 days and if that was unrealistic then in 90 days and

Page 26598

 1     then that a system should be there to have them all returned.

 2             What we find in these decisions is that those who are following

 3     all the court and bureaucratic rules, apart from those who got lost in

 4     some of the other cases, that, after six years, it took them six years to

 5     get their property -- the use of their property back.  That's -- that's

 6     apparently what keeps you and Ms. Gustafson apart.  She wants to draw

 7     your attention to the elements I just mentioned; whereas, you are

 8     emphasizing how -- how caring the legal system was for those who wanted

 9     to return.

10             Would you -- if I try to explain what keeps you apart, would have

11     you any comment on that?

12             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for

13     allowing me to clarify what I was just talking about.

14             The system was envisaged in such a way, and so was it written,

15     that relatively quickly repossession of property should be enabled.

16     However, what we are talking about now, and that's the application of

17     this system, it cannot be excluded that it wasn't always effective.  It

18     certainly wasn't effective in some individual cases.

19             That was one of the reasons why these laws were changed, why the

20     programme was adopted, why the programme itself was later changed.  These

21     were reactions to its imperfections and to what turned out to be

22     inapplicable in practice.  Of course, that is why cases cannot be

23     excluded in which the proceedings really lasted very long.  From the

24     point of view of the person who was asking for the repossession of

25     property, it was certainly too long; and that was why, in some cases, the

Page 26599

 1     European Court did establish that there was a violation or infringement

 2     that, in particular cases, considering the circumstances of that case,

 3     the mechanisms which the owner had at his disposal were not efficient.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you for that answer.  Now one final matter:

 5     Abolishing the 90 days and replacing it by an agreement between the

 6     Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  You

 7     emphasised several times that the matter was -- the legislation was not

 8     intended for Serbs or for whatever ethnic group.

 9             What about citizens which had no relation with the

10     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  How would this making them dependant

11     between Croatia and a state with which they had nothing to do would that

12     not even be a -- another obstacle?  Why only an agreement with the

13     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and not Bosnia-Herzegovina, not Italy,

14     not ...

15             Could you explain why such an agreement on which various owners

16     may have had no influence whatsoever, would, nevertheless, be the

17     condition for repossession of their property.

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was not the condition for

19     returning the property for repossession because the owners could always

20     come back and request to repossess their property.

21             And why only with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?  Because

22     the Republic of Croatia had been attacked.  There was an aggression

23     against the Republic of Croatia by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as

24     part of the former Yugoslavia; and it was important, at that time,

25     immediately after the war, to normalise the relations.  And the prospect

Page 26600

 1     was only that an agreement like that could be concluded with the

 2     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  This is the best explanation I can give

 3     as to whether there was only an agreement of this kind envisaged with the

 4     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Which introduces another matter.

 6             Is it true that, in order to return, that those who owned

 7     property in Croatia, they were dependant on the conclusion of such an

 8     agreement?  At least they were not free to return.  And I'm talking about

 9     Serbs living in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  Even though the agreement was

11     not concluded, at that period they could still return, if the wanted to,

12     being Croatian citizens.  And they could exercise all their rights just

13     as all the other Croatian citizens.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  This Court has heard evidence on thoughts about

15     whether a mass return could be allowed or not.

16             Could you -- do you have any views, or do you have any knowledge

17     on such views?

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no direct information about

19     that, because I did not work directly on the return of expelled persons,

20     displaced persons, and refugees.  I did work on drafting these documents,

21     especially the decree and the Law on the Temporary Takeover and

22     Management of certain property.  But as for the procedures that had to do

23     with return, I only have some indirect knowledge about this, as someone

24     who did take part in certain coordinations that had to do with all the

25     issues relating to the returning of expelled persons and refugees.

Page 26601

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Tell us about your indirect knowledge.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not incorrect knowledge, it

 3     is indirect knowledge.  Because the issues relating to the return of

 4     expelled persons, displaced persons, and refugees were issues that were

 5     discussed at working meetings or coordination meetings of the government.

 6     Even after the year 2000, there was a special coordination that was

 7     founded for areas of special state care, when all the conditions and

 8     procedures relating to the return of expelled persons and refugees were

 9     discussed.  And I already said there were attempts to remove the

10     difficulties that were noted on the ground, in connection with the

11     application of the law or the -- the existing practice.  The result of

12     the all this, after the law and special after the decision of the

13     constitutional court, was also the adoption of a document which is

14     believed to be an operational document which is binding legally and that

15     was the Programme for the Return of Expelled Persons, Displaced Persons,

16     and Refugees.  And I believe that it provided in more detail various

17     situations relating to the return of expelled persons, displaced persons,

18     and refugees, so I refer to this document.  And the information I have

19     about what this document contains in connection with, on the one hand,

20     simplification and, other hand, more detailed provision of the conditions

21     under which the expellees and refugees were to return to Croatian and

22     repossess their property.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And do I understand that as long as these

24     programmes and plans were developed that there was no free return for

25     everyone who wished to return, because you so much emphasised in the

Page 26602

 1     beginning that your primary aim was to get everyone back who wished to go

 2     back but that they were dependant on finalising these programmes,

 3     projects, Working Groups, whatever they were, agreements.

 4             I'm trying to get to the core of what apparently is put to you by

 5     Ms. Gustafson and by the Prosecution and what the Chamber would like to

 6     get a better insight in.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours.  It is not the

 8     issue that persons were not allowed or were not given an opportunity to

 9     return.  The situation was such that, despite the adopted regulations and

10     the efforts to implement them, it turned out that there were still

11     objective difficulties in the process of their implementation.

12     Therefore, it was the duty of the state to react and change such

13     procedures and regulations, to endeavour to improve them, to make them as

14     transparent as possible, because if there were indications that in the

15     implementation of these regulations they do not produce the effects that

16     were desired, then procedures should be simplified and be more accessible

17     to those to whom they referred.  That was the intention of these changes

18     and this whole evolution that took place with regard to the legal

19     framework for the return of expelled persons, displaced persons, and

20     refugees.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you for those answers.

22             We will have a break.  Ms. Gustafson, apologies on intervening,

23     but sometimes it's better to hear the evidence in the context of what is

24     raised by a party at that very moment.

25             We'll resume at 11.00 after the break.

Page 26603

 1                           --- Recess taken at 10.36 a.m.

 2                           --- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, are you ready to proceed?

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Yes.  Thank you, Your Honour.

 5        Q.   Ms. Bagic, just before the break, in answer to a question from

 6     His Honour Judge Orie, you explained that you did not work directly on

 7     issues of return and you had no direct information about whether or not a

 8     mass return of Serbs would be permitted.

 9             And just to follow up on that, I'd like to ask you, more

10     specifically, in 1995, is it right that did you not have a role in

11     establishing or implementing Croatia's policies on the return of Serbs to

12     Croatia.  Is that right?

13        A.   I didn't have a role in creating the policy, in terms of adopting

14     political decisions.  I also don't think that this is not to do with

15     permitting or not permitting the return, but, rather, the manner in which

16     that would be made possible, as well as about the procedures for

17     effecting the return, of course, in compliance with the regulations of

18     the Republic of Croatia.

19             As a lawyer and an expert who carried out different duties within

20     the Ministry of Justice, I did take part in drafting the regulations.

21        Q.   In 1995, did you take part in drafting any regulations regarding

22     the return of Serbs to Croatia?

23        A.   I don't know exactly which regulations you have in mind.

24        Q.   I don't have any in mind.  As far as I'm aware, there aren't any.

25     But you said you took part in drafting different -- drafting regulations.

Page 26604

 1     I'm asking you if you worked on drafting any regulations regarding the

 2     return of Serbs to Croatia in 1995.

 3        A.   I did take part in drafting the law and the decree, that is to

 4     say, the Law on the Temporary Takeover and Management of certain

 5     properties, which, inter alia, referred to the Croatian citizens of

 6     Serbian ethnicity.

 7        Q.   We know you took part in drafting that law.  Did you take part in

 8     drafting any other regulations regarding the return of Serbs to Croatia

 9     in 1995.

10        A.   I cannot remember any such regulation.

11        Q.   Okay.  And the Chamber has heard evidence of members of the top

12     Croatian leadership, including President Tudjman, Mr. Sarinic,

13     Mr. Jarnjak, discussing these issues, in particular, the issues you were

14     referring to, the manner in which Serbs would return, procedures for

15     effecting the return, and the timing of such return, as well as whether

16     or not there would be a mass return.

17             Do you know anything about those discussions or the decisions of

18     the leadership about those matters in 1995?

19        A.   I don't know anything about that.

20        Q.   Okay.  So when you referred to objective difficulties to return

21     in the context of the deadlines in the property and the temporary

22     takeover of property law, you aren't really in a position to say, are

23     you, to what extent the decisions taken by the leadership about the

24     manner and timing of the return of Serbs affected the ability of Serbs to

25     return to Croatia, are you?

Page 26605

 1        A.   Yes.

 2        Q.   Just so I understand you, you're saying it's correct that you are

 3     not in a position to talk about those matters.

 4        A.   Yes, that's right.

 5        Q.   Okay.  And, again, going back to the -- the deadlines in the

 6     decree and the Law on the Temporary Takeover of Property, the reason you

 7     gave for the extension of the dead-line from 30 to 90 days and then its

 8     removal was that the deadlines turned out to be unrealistic.  And the

 9     Chamber has also heard evidence that the deadlines under the temporary

10     takeover decree and law were extended and then lifted under considerable

11     pressure from members of the international community, including, in

12     particular, the US and the EU.

13             Do you have any specific information about international pressure

14     being put on Croatia, in relation to these deadlines at this time, in

15     1995?

16        A.   No, I don't have any specific information about the pressure from

17     the international community, both with regard to the implementation of

18     the law itself and the deadlines.

19        Q.   And, again, you testified yesterday that the reason for the

20     deadlines in the temporary takeover law was that you wanted to allow the

21     owners to return as soon as possible and seek their restitution, and you

22     explained that was the view of the Working Group.

23             Now, in fact, whatever the view of the Working Group was, the

24     real reason for these deadlines and other limitations on the ability of

25     Serbs to repossess their properties was that the Croatian leadership

Page 26606

 1     wanted to permanently resettle Croats into Serb-owned houses and prevent

 2     the return of those Serbs to Croatia.

 3             Do you have anything to say about that?

 4        A.   I cannot comment on that, because I don't have any knowledge

 5     about that.

 6             The purpose and the aim of the regulations in the way that they

 7     were set up was to enable the owners to repossess their property wherever

 8     it was located in the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

 9        Q.   And to clarify, that was the purpose, as far as you were aware

10     and as far as the Working Group was aware; is that right?  That's your

11     testimony?

12        A.   I can only speak about what I know, and I know what the task of

13     the Working Group was.  I know what the regulations were.  And I also

14     know how they were implemented, in practice, later.

15        Q.   Okay.

16             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Could we go to D1823, please.

17        Q.   Ms. Bagic, this is the 31st of August closed session of the

18     government, the minutes that were shown to you yesterday.

19             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go to page 11 in the English and

20     page 21 in the B/C/S.

21        Q.   And this is Mr. Separovic speaking here.  And at the top of the

22     page in the B/C/S and near the bottom of the page, beginning in the

23     second paragraph of his speech, you can see he says:

24             "I absolutely support the law.  The decree is a bit legally and

25     constitutionally questionable, but since we know for sure that the law

Page 26607

 1     will be passed, then this possible unconstitutionality, constitutionality

 2     will be dismissed.  I propose that the Article 11 actually be altered

 3     considerably in agreement with the vice-president; it should not mention

 4     the ownership and how to acquire ownership, but, rather, to have one

 5     provision saying that this issue is to be resolved by a separate

 6     regulation ..."

 7             And then in the next paragraph he says:

 8             "We can have objections here that in this way we are promoting

 9     nationalisation, that there is property owned by the Republic, that we

10     are carrying out nationalisation; we could face the accusations, as our

11     constitution does not allow it.  And in this other case, if we transfer

12     the [sic] ownership right onto those persons, then we have here an

13     adverse possession, then we have a case of acquiring ownership through an

14     institute of adverse possession, and in that case we have this basic

15     time-limit of 20 years.  This is too long for us to wait.  That is why I

16     would opt for the proposal set down by the vice-president, Misetic ... to

17     shelf this matter for the time being.  This issue of regulation of the

18     ownership right; and that the dead-line for filing the request for

19     repossession ... be set on 30 days from the day the law comes into

20     effect ..."

21             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could now move to page 14 in the

22     English and page 26 in the B/C/S, starting at the bottom of the page in

23     the English and near the top of the page in the B/C/S.  If we could move

24     down in the English.

25        Q.   And this is Mr. Bosiljko Misetic speaking now.  And he says --

Page 26608

 1     it's about three lines down in the B/C/S:

 2             "This is one thing and the government should define this

 3     precisely and say if they support this idea that it is given away for

 4     use, provided that a lex specialis is to eventually regulate this issue

 5     of ownership or are we to grant them ownership right away?  My personal

 6     opinion" --

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could turn the page in English, please.

 8             "My personal opinion is that it is more prudent in a political

 9     sense of the word, if we, at this particular moment, give it away for use

10     only."

11             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could go to the bottom of this page in the

12     English and the next page in the B/C/S.

13        Q.   Here, Mr. Simunovic is speaking.  And beginning at the second

14     sentence of his speech, he says:

15             "When we look from the point of view of the foreign policy, there

16     will be certain expenses, as well as a considerable coercion.  It

17     specifically applies to Article 11; I am referring to Article 11 in

18     particular and to what Mr. Prus, Separovic, and Pavlovic say here, i.e.,

19     the principle of sanctity and inviability of the property, as when we

20     speak of the coercion, the pressure will be the hardest when it comes to

21     the use of the term property."

22             And then the next page in English:

23             "Using the property is one thing, as the western world is highly

24     rational.  They will accept the preservation of the capital, preservation

25     of the resources.  But the infringement on other people's property is

Page 26609

 1     something that contravenes the principles of the constitution of the

 2     western societies, ergo, I am entirely for the variant that tends to

 3     treat the question of an aspect of foreign policy of using rather than to

 4     infringe on the property be it only provisional in round one."

 5             And, finally, if we could go to page 19 of the English and

 6     page 33 of the B/C/S.  And this is Prime Minister Valentic speaking.  And

 7     it's at the at the top of the page in B/C/S and near the bottom of the

 8     page in English, starting at the second sentence of the last paragraph:

 9             "Secondly, I propose that the acquisition of ownership be defined

10     by a separate law.  We have neither time nor possibility now, nor is it

11     necessary that we encounter all those political hazards and minefields;

12     therefore, we have time to calmly regulate the issue of ownership in a

13     separate law.  I suggest that this be a second position.  The only

14     problem I see as disputable and a dangerous one is Article 11 which

15     explicitly says that if, within a certain dead-line, one does not

16     register, it shall then become the state ownership.  And I think that it

17     can be politically very dangerous for us.  Therefore, I suggest that,

18     once again, we consider here and in the inner cabinet tomorrow morning,

19     if necessary, together with the Ministry of Justice, how to define it,

20     that it still remains a sequestration.

21             "If we infringe the ownership, we are faced with the danger to

22     suffer an indefensible attack, not to mention to which extent the

23     ownership is sacred in the west and how much we should advocate for the

24     private ownership and, as a state, we have the possibility of management.

25     People who enter must have the security of usage, so we shall see how to

Page 26610

 1     resolve the issue of ownership.  And even if we could pass the ownership

 2     to them, we would not do that, due to the reasons mentioned by the

 3     Deputy Prime Minister Misetic.  As might be expected, there will be cases

 4     of reselling, misuse, so it will be necessary to establish the criteria."

 5             Now, you explained today that you worked on the -- drafting the

 6     property law decree that was submitted to the government and discussed at

 7     this session.  And yesterday in your evidence you said - and this is at

 8     page 26505:

 9             "When a law or a decree were being drafted, we never discussed

10     seizure of ownership or the right to property in any way whatsoever."

11             Now, is it not the case that as was discussed here and as

12     specifically mentioned by the prime minister, that the decree that was

13     presented to the government and that they discussed at this session

14     actually did provide for a transfer of ownership of property to the state

15     under Article 11 but the participants decided that that would not be

16     wise.

17             Is that right, that the original decree that was presented to

18     the -- draft decree that was presented to the government provided for an

19     outright transfer of ownership to the state.

20        A.   It is possible that one of the options was this one, in view of

21     the fact that before there were plenty of cases of swapping or sale of

22     the property.  However, eventually, the version that all the experts

23     advocated was adopted, and therefore it was decided not to infringe upon

24     the right to ownership as an inalienable right.

25        Q.   Well, as we can see from the discussion, that's what the

Page 26611

 1     government decided here.  But the draft of the decree that you and the

 2     Working Group presented to Mr. Separovic to discuss at the government did

 3     contain a provision for the transfer of ownership under Article 11.

 4     Isn't that right?

 5        A.   As I said, a number of experts took part in this.  The decree

 6     with contents like this usually have some alternatives.  It is possible

 7     that one of the alternatives was that with the fact that we also observed

 8     that there are many dangers implied in such a solution.

 9        Q.   Now, you saw in this discussion, in particular, the comments of

10     the prime minister and Mr. Simunovic that this provision for the outright

11     transfer of ownership would be politically dangerous and they referred to

12     the views of western nations.  Were you involved in any discussions about

13     the political considerations that might affect the wording of these --

14     this decree or the law such as those mentioned by the prime minister and

15     President Simunovic?

16        A.   No, I did not participate in any political discussions.  I only

17     participated in expert discussions.

18             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could now go to 65 ter 3D00959.

19        Q.   And, Ms. Bagic, these are the minutes of the -- an open session

20     of the government held also on the 31st of August, 1995, apparently

21     immediately after the closed session that we just looked at, and this is

22     the session where the decree is, in fact, adopted.

23             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go to page 17 in the English and

24     page 22 in the B/C/S.

25        Q.   And this is part of a speech by Mr. Cedomir Pavlovic.  And

Page 26612

 1     Mr. Pavlovic was an ethnic Serb and the only ethnic Serb member of the

 2     government at the time.  Is that right?

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you answer the question, please.  Whether it's

 4     right whether --

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, I did not know that I

 6     was expected to provide an answer.

 7             I suppose that he was.

 8             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 9        Q.   Do you know that or do you suppose it?

10        A.   I suppose.  I do not know that Mr. Pavlovic was the only

11     representative of the Serbian ethnic group in the Government of Croatia

12     at the time.

13        Q.   But you are aware that he was a -- he is an ethnic Serb?

14        A.   I did not take that in account, but I believe that it is so.

15        Q.   Okay.

16             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could --

17        Q.   If you could look at the last full paragraph in the B/C/S.  And

18     this is it the fourth paragraph down in the English, beginning with the

19     words:  "If I might ..."

20             And Mr. Pavlovic says -- and they're discussing the decree now in

21     open session:

22             "If I might be permitted to underline a small dilemma, this is to

23     do with deadlines, what the deadlines refer to.  I understand that the

24     deadlines refer to what is established, 30 or 45 days in the submission

25     of the intent by citizens of the Republic of Croatia to return to their

Page 26613

 1     property and use that property.  It says 'when they return.'  I am not

 2     sure that this will be sufficient for proper procedure in accordance with

 3     humanitarian regulations, because, from my experience, from the

 4     discussion at the last session of the government, I do not know whether

 5     we have ultimately determined the procedure of how those who wished to

 6     return are to do so."

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go to the next page in the B/C/S.

 8        Q.   He goes on:

 9             "In fact, from the information which I have from the press where

10     it is said, I cannot be 100 per cent sure of this, but there is an good

11     proportion of our citizens who have left the now liberated areas, who

12     have registered at our office in Belgrade and who would like to return to

13     our and their homeland through humanitarian organisations.  I mean, I

14     shall be brief, that one has to determine a return procedure, who they

15     are to be registered with, who will do the processing in the

16     Republic of Croatia so that they can claim their right under Article 10

17     of this decree, so that they can return, because essentially, then, the

18     return procedure, so they would be able to return, because otherwise it

19     would happen that they want to return but have not returned" --

20             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could turn the page in English.

21              "... within a period of 30 days or whatever dead-line is

22     decided.  And therefore the actual act of returning would be qualified

23     for them as it is in the decree, and so they have not come to their

24     homeland and have not been able to regain their property."

25        Q.   Now, you gave evidence that it became apparent at some stage that

Page 26614

 1     the 30-day dead-line was not realistic.  Did you know that Mr. Pavlovic

 2     actually expressed his concern to the government that the deadlines in

 3     the decree, coupled with the fact that there were no procedures for Serbs

 4     to return, would mean that Serbs who wanted to return to Croatia to

 5     repossess their property within the dead-line would not be able to do

 6     this and that this posed a dilemma?

 7             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

 8             MR. MISETIC:  Yes, Mr. President, if we could just ask for a

 9     context of Mr. Pavlovic's position given that it says that he has

10     expressed concern.  I noted that the first two paragraphs of

11     Mr. Pavlovic's position weren't presented to the witness.  This is at

12     page 17 of this document.

13             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Well, he started by saying he wanted to point to

14     a dilemma.

15             MR. MISETIC:  That's not how he started, Mr. President.

16             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Well, the passage that I read, that's how he

17     started:

18             "If I might be permitted to underline a small dilemma.  It's a

19     dilemma, concern; I don't care."

20             We can take out the word --

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic, is there any specific portion you would

22     like to suggest to Ms. Gustafson then she can decide whether or not to

23     give this context.  If not, of course, although have you not examined the

24     witness, I would grant an opportunity to provide the context you consider

25     the most relevant, if Ms. Gustafson would not follow any of your

Page 26615

 1     suggestions.

 2             MR. MISETIC:  Right at the beginning of his presentation under

 3     his name, the first full paragraph, and the sentence -- the first

 4     sentence of the second paragraph.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, if would you read them and make up

 6     your mind whether or not you provide the context or leave it, rather, to

 7     Mr. Misetic at a later stage.

 8             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I don't think it answers the context, but I'm

 9     happy to read it out just to save time.

10             In that sentence, he says:

11             "It is difficult not to agree that this decree needs to be issued

12     for the sake of the comprehensive protection of property in the state of

13     Croatia and that it must be supported in any event because of, above all,

14     it is placed beneath the supervision and protection of the state organs

15     just as is put in the decree."

16        Q.   Now, Ms. Bagic, my question was about the dilemma Mr. Pavlovic

17     raised in respect of the dead-line and the fact that the 30-day dead-line

18     coupled with the fact that there were no procedures for return of Serbs

19     at the time meant that -- that Serbs would -- who wanted to return within

20     the dead-line to repossess their property would not be able to do so.

21             Were you aware that this was pointed out to the government by a

22     government member at the time the decree was passed?

23        A.   No, I was not aware of his statement.

24             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could just stay on page 18 of the

25     English and go to page 24 in the B/C/S.

Page 26616

 1        Q.   This is the prime minister speaking now.  At the end of the

 2     second paragraph and the second half of that paragraph, he says:

 3             "I think that here for the sake of the public it is necessary to

 4     stress that if anyone received that basic draft of the decree and law

 5     that Article 11 should be struck out, where in one draft it talked about

 6     possible separate possibilities of transfer to ownership, because we have

 7     concluded that it is necessary to define and resolve that very sensitive

 8     question of ownership by a completely new law."

 9             Now, again, here he is referring to the fact that the draft of

10     the decree was first presented to the government provided for a transfer

11     of ownership, right?

12        A.   It is possible that the text of the decree in one of the first

13     versions included something like that or that it included certain

14     options.

15             It is also possible that once the text of the decree was sent

16     from the Ministry of Justice to the government of the Republic of

17     Croatia, that the working bodies of the government, the coordination

18     bodies or the members of the government itself, added something to the

19     text, because the government could add certain things at its meetings or

20     through the Working Groups.  What is clear is that the text which is

21     adopted and which we proposed as the experts who were members of the

22     Working Group did not envisage the transfer of ownership.

23        Q.   So you can't remember whether the decree that the Working Group

24     presented to Mr. Separovic to take to the government contained a

25     provision for the transfer of ownership; but you can remember that what

Page 26617

 1     the experts of the Working Group proposed was that it did not envisage a

 2     transfer of ownership.  Is that right?

 3        A.   That's right.  I said that we cannot exclude the possibility that

 4     within the Working Group this was not discussed.  Maybe somebody said

 5     that we should see if there was such a constitutional possibility and

 6     also that as lawyers we were supposed to see if there were constitutional

 7     possibilities for such transfer of ownership or not.  I said a few words

 8     about that yesterday, what the constitutional provisions are.  The

 9     constitution does envisage this possibility with compensation, depending

10     on the market value.  Also, exceptionally, ownership can be limited but

11     only --

12        Q.   Again, if I can just ask to you focus on the specific questions I

13     ask you.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, the second sentence of the answer

15     reads at this moment:

16             "I said that we cannot exclude the possibility that within the

17     Working Group this was not discussed."

18             Which -- is that the same as that you cannot exclude for the

19     possibility that it was discussed?

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.

21     Namely, we are talking about the passing of a law.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, I think yesterday your testimony that it was

23     never discussed.  But I now do understand that - and the English is a bit

24     ambiguous with a double negative - but that you cannot exclude for the

25     possibility that it was discussed.

Page 26618

 1             Please proceed.

 2             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 3        Q.   And, Ms. Bagic, you also testified earlier today that you thought

 4     it was Mr. Separovic who informed you that a decree on the temporary

 5     takeover of property was to be issued, and you thought that that would

 6     have been in the second half of August.  Now, the Chamber has received

 7     evidence that a decision to issue a government decree on the temporary

 8     transfer of property with a one-month dead-line for return and

 9     repossession was made by President Tudjman at a meeting he held on the

10     11th of August, 1995, with members of the leadership, including

11     Mr. Radic, Mr. Susak, Mr. Granic, Mr. Valentic, among others, and this is

12     Exhibit P462.

13             Do you know anything about this meeting or the fact that a

14     decision on a decree was being made at this level?

15        A.   No, I do not know anything about this meeting.

16        Q.   And the views of these various participants at this meeting about

17     the purpose of the property decree and property law were discussed at

18     that meeting.  I take it you don't know what those views were, views

19     expressed by Mr. Valentic, Mr. Radic, Mr. Granic, President Tudjman.

20             Do you know anything about that?

21        A.   I'm sorry, you're talking about the meeting that you just

22     mentioned that was held at the office of the President of the

23     Republic of Croatia?

24        Q.   Yes, on the 11th of August.

25        A.   No.  As I said, I do not know anything about that meeting, and,

Page 26619

 1     therefore, I also do not know anything about the contents of the meeting.

 2        Q.   Now I'd like to move on to a slightly different topic, which is

 3     the Law on Areas of Special State Concern that you mention in your

 4     statement.

 5             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could have 65 ter 3173.

 6             And, Your Honour, if I could also tender 65 ter 3D00959, which

 7     was the open session of the government on the 31st of August.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

 9             MR. MIKULICIC:  No objections, Your Honour.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  No objections.

11             Mr. Registrar.

12             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document becomes

13     Exhibit P2697.  Thank you.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  And is admitted into evidence.

15             Please proceed.

16             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

17        Q.   Now, in your statement at paragraph 8, you said:

18             "The Law on Areas for Special State Care and amendments to this

19     law from 2002, Articles 12 and 14, prescribe the time-frames for

20     completing the process of restoring occupancy of property which had been

21     acquired temporarily, pursuant to Law on Temporary Acquisition and

22     Management and the Law on Areas for Special State Care."

23             I take it that you're familiar with this law.  Is that right?

24        A.   Yes.  I am familiar with that law; that is correct.

25        Q.   And this law was promulgated on the 27th of May, 1996.

Page 26620

 1             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could look at page 2 of the English and

 2     page 1 of the B/C/S.

 3        Q.   And this is Article 2 of the law which states that:

 4             "The areas of special state concern shall be determined with the

 5     aim of eliminating consequences of the war, for the faster return of

 6     displaced persons and refugees, to give impetus to the demographic and

 7     economic development, and to achieve as equal development of all areas

 8     of ... Croatia as possible."

 9             And if we go down to Article 3 of the law, it divides the areas

10     of special state concern into two groups, both of which are areas that

11     were formally occupied.  The first group consisting of sparsely populated

12     border areas; and the second group, all other formally occupied

13     territories.

14             And it goes on to set out in detail the municipalities and

15     settlements that come within those areas.

16             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go to page 7 in the English and

17     page 4 in the B/C/S, to part II of this law, which is titled:

18             "Incentive measures for settlement and development of the areas

19     of special state concern."

20        Q.   And Article 7(1) says that the Republic of Croatia shall

21     stimulate the stay and settling of the population in these [sic] areas.

22             And Article 7, paragraph 2, sets out the following categories of

23     population which shall be stimulated in the areas of special state

24     concern.  And those categories are then listed, and it includes certain

25     categories of citizens of Croatia, Croatian emigres from abroad, and over

Page 26621

 1     the page in the English, Croats expelled from other areas and decide to

 2     settle in the Republic of Croatia.

 3             And then the last paragraph says that:

 4             "These persons shall be considered settlers for the purpose of

 5     the law."

 6             And if we could look at Article 8, which is there.  Article 8(1)

 7     says that the ministry of development and reconstruction will issue

 8     invitations at least twice a year for the settling of areas of special

 9     state concern.

10             Article 8(3) says that the settlers will be given the use of an

11     apartment or family house.

12             Article 8(5) says that the real estate referred to in paragraph 3

13     shall be allocated for usage pursuant to the decision of the ministry.

14             And if we go over to the next page in English:

15             "And after ten years of settler's continuous occupation of an

16     apartment or a family house in the area of special state concern, it

17     shall become the settler's property."

18             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go down the page in the English

19     and in the B/C/S to Article 10.

20        Q.   Which sets out the real estate categories of real estate that

21     will be given to the settlers for usage as referred to in Article 8,

22     paragraph 3.

23             And if we go down to the third -- sorry, to sub (2) which is

24     actually mistakenly numbered 3 in the English, it says:

25             "Family houses, that is, the pertinent land in case of a farmer's

Page 26622

 1     household or apartments whose owners have abandoned and do not use them

 2     in terms of the provisions of the Law on the Temporary Takeover and

 3     Administration of Specified Property ..." and it says "... shall be

 4     allocated also to the heirs at the proposal of the Ministry and in

 5     accordance with the provisions of the said law."

 6             And if we turn the page in the English and in the B/C/S as well,

 7     it says:

 8             "If during the time of its usage the real estate referred to in

 9     paragraph 2 of this Article is returned into owner's possession and

10     usage, the ministry shall be obliged to provide the settler with some

11     other adequate apartment or family house, if possible ..."

12             And then the law goes on to describe various tax and salary

13     benefits for those who settle in these areas of special state concern.

14             Now, just to go back to what you said in your statement in

15     paragraph 8, in fact, the original law that was passed in 1996 did not

16     have any time-frames for restoring taken-over property, but it did allow

17     property that had been taken over and given to settlers for their use,

18     that after ten years of occupation, those users would be granted

19     ownership of that property.  Is that right?

20        A.   Yes, that is right.  Namely, the Law on Areas of Special State

21     Concern in 1996 in these provisions which you read out, especially the

22     provisions of Article 8, allows that the settlers be given for use the

23     property which was covered by the Law on Temporary Takeover and

24     Management of Property.  I referred to time-frames which were in the

25     amendments to the Law on Areas of Special State Concern from the

Page 26623

 1     year 2000, firstly, and then from 2002, and which linked up with the

 2     later adopted Programme for the Return of Displaced Persons and Refugees

 3     and the time frames for repossession that were included there.

 4        Q.   And you may remember from the discussion of the decree at the

 5     31st of August, 1995, closed session, various comments that the ownership

 6     of the taken-over property would be dealt with through a separate law and

 7     than the normal time-period to be -- allowing ownership to be gained

 8     through possession would be shortened.  And hereby providing a time-limit

 9     of ten years, this cut in half the normal 20-year period for adverse

10     possession under Croatian law.  Is that right?

11        A.   In this Law on Areas of Special State Care, other properties were

12     encompassed, not only the properties dealt with by the Law on

13     Temporary Takeover and Management.  This stems from paragraph 3 of

14     Article 9, which prescribes that if a -- the owner returns and

15     repossesses his property for use, which means that it was returned to

16     him, the people living there are entitled to be given other residential

17     facility by the state.  This did not refer, this possibility for

18     acquiring ownership did not refer to the property under the Law of

19     Temporary Takeover.  I think that in the later amendments to this law

20     adopted in 2002 it was not possible any longer to give this kind of

21     property to settlers.

22        Q.   Ms. Bagic, the -- we discussed already the possibilities for

23     repossession that were in place at this time for Serbs and I am not going

24     to go into that.  But the law as it was passed in 1996, the Law on the

25     Areas of Special State Concern, did, in fact, provide for Croats who had

Page 26624

 1     been given temporary use of Serb houses to be given ownership of those

 2     houses, taken over under the temporary takeover law after ten years, and

 3     that was half the normal time-period for adverse possession, right?

 4        A.   The law allows the possibility for persons, regardless of their

 5     ethnicity, and you could read for yourself which particular citizens this

 6     referred to --

 7             JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... why not answer

 8     the question?  Is the usual term for adverse possession 20 years, and do

 9     we find in this law a reduction by half of that time?  That's the

10     question.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you allow me, Your Honours, this

12     was not about acquiring ownership rights through adverse possession.

13             So if I enter somebody else's possession in good faith, I can

14     acquire ownership but proving that before the court.

15             Under the law of the areas of state care, certain individuals

16     were given a property for use.  After ten years, on that basis, they

17     could acquire ownership.  That is what this provision in the law on areas

18     of special state concern reads.

19             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And in terms of adverse possession, would then

20     the term be 20 years?

21             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  The term for adverse

22     possession under the property law were -- was not changed.

23             If I may, I would just like to add something.

24             JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... I will allow you

25     to add something.  But could you, please, in the follow-up of your

Page 26625

 1     examination, start with answering the question and only then give any

 2     additional comments you consider of such importance that the Chamber

 3     should know.

 4             Please make your comment.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

 6             I wanted to clarify something.  Precisely due to possible

 7     different interpretation of this law, the amendments to this law adopted

 8     in 2000 included a provision which envisaged that the real estate that

 9     was given for use under the provisions of this law, and I'm referring to

10     the Law on Areas of State Care, and the Law on the Takeover of Property

11     and Management, no ownership rights can be acquired through adverse

12     possession.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Could I ask a clarification of one of your previous

14     answers.

15             You said:

16             "After ten years on that basis, they could acquire ownership."

17             That is what this area reads.

18             I read the Article 8:

19             "It shall become the settler's property," as kind of an almost

20     automatic consequence.  Which seems not to be exactly the same as that

21     you could acquire but that you would acquire ownership, because it's a

22     "shall" disposition, but that's the English translation.

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  But what I wanted to

24     underline, on that basis, was that those individuals who were given these

25     properties had to have a decision issued by a competent body granting

Page 26626

 1     them the use of a certain real estate.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you.

 3             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you -- thank you, Your Honour.

 5        Q.   Ms. Bagic, you keep referring to the amendments, and I will -- we

 6     will look at the 2000 amendments, so I'd like to you put those aside for

 7     the moment and focus on this 1996 law.  And because I'm not sure I got a

 8     very clear answer to this, I'm going to ask again that the properties

 9     given to settlers for their use under this law and in which they could

10     acquire ownership after ten years of occupancy included properties taken

11     over under the temporary takeover law, right?

12        A.   In my understanding an interpretation of this law, the properties

13     encompassed by the Law on the Temporary Takeover and Management of

14     Properties could not become the property to -- of the persons to whom it

15     was allocated for use under this law.

16        Q.   And what specific provisions are you relying on when you draw

17     that conclusion?

18        A.   I rely my conclusions on the fact that this was the property

19     owned by other individuals.  When we talk about the Law on Temporary

20     Takeover, that was the property of natural persons.  Under this law, it

21     could have been given for temporary use, which was done.  However, this

22     law also provides for a possibility for giving this property for

23     temporary use to settlers in the areas covered by the Law on State Care.

24             I also base my conclusion on paragraph 3 which speaks about the

25     return of owners, and it stipulates that such returnees can claim their

Page 26627

 1     ownership or repossession.  It says that anyone can -- stripped of their

 2     ownership, that can be done only according to market value of the

 3     property.  That was in line with the constitution of the

 4     Republic of Croatia.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Bagic, what seems to be the question is that

 6     Article 8, paragraph 5, talking about acquiring ownership after an

 7     occupancy of ten years, does not make any distinction in relation to

 8     where that property comes from, whether it was privately owned

 9     previously, whether it belonged to a company.  It just says, Once you've

10     given the usage, once the property has been allocated for usage pursuant

11     to the decision of the ministry, then after ten years, the settler shall

12     obtain ownership.

13             Now, you're telling us that if the owner has, meanwhile,

14     requested repossession, then that may be different.  Then, of course,

15     there will be no uninterpreted usage of ten years at least, once it has

16     been made effective.  But where in this law do we find that the user,

17     that the settler, who has used the property for ten years will not become

18     the owner if it is property which was put under the state administration

19     as a result of the Law on the Temporary Takeover?

20             Could you tell us where we find that in this law?  Because that

21     apparently is your answer to Ms. Gustafson's question.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This, indeed, cannot be found in

23     this law, because it is not stated as such explicitly in the law.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, something else is stated explicitly, that is,

25     that after ten years of use, that you shall become the settler's

Page 26628

 1     property.  That's what the law says rather explicit.

 2             What's -- do you have any case law or is there any other source

 3     which you can invoke in order to contradict what clearly seems to be the

 4     text of this piece of legislation?

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.  I already mentioned

 6     something in that respect.

 7             First of all, the constitution of the Republic of Croatia, the

 8     Law on Property and other substantive rights, and the Law on the

 9     Temporary Takeover and management of properties followed by amendments to

10     the Law on Special areas -- of state care.

11             Why am I saying this?  Because the law on special areas of state

12     care covered much more properties in comparison to those encompassed by

13     the Law on Temporary Takeover and Management.  It included the

14     state-owned property; that is to say, that used to be socially owned --

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Now you are repeating part of your previous

16     answer, that this law covers other property as well.  But, I just pointed

17     the text of this law, which does not make any distinction in this

18     respect.

19             Now, you invoked the constitution.  Is this to say that the

20     unlimited language of Article 8 means that this language or this text

21     violates the constitution?

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  Because it included other

23     types of properties that was not owned by physical persons.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  [Previous translation continues] ...

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And besides that, I already said --

Page 26629

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  What you say is to some extent in other respects it

 2     may not be unconstitutional.  I want to focus on property allocated for

 3     use to settlers which was private property which was covered by the

 4     Law on Temporary Takeover.  I want to focus on that exclusively.  As we

 5     see, Article 8 makes no distinction and apparently does not exclude those

 6     properties from becoming the settler's property after ten years of use.

 7             Now, you say, It's the constitution which contradicts, that this

 8     is how we have to read this Article.  Does it mean that, in respect of

 9     this type of property, that Article 8, not making any distinctions, is,

10     in this respect, unconstitutional?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This, Your Honours, might be

12     perceived in that way.  However, that would be our perception of that

13     provision, because the constitutionality of this provision was not

14     disputed by the constitutional court and therefore the court did not

15     abolish it.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  So -- Mr. Misetic.

17             MR. MISETIC:  Mr. President, I don't know how to proceed because

18     I do want to draw the Chamber's attention to something in the law, but I

19     don't know if it's appropriate to do it in front of the witness, so ...

20             JUDGE ORIE:  I think it would be inappropriate to do it in the

21     presence of the witness.

22             We are close to a break.  Perhaps once we take the break that --

23             That's exactly your answer, where you invoked the constitution

24     as -- of guidance, how to read this.  And that I asked you whether there

25     is any case law and you say this is, however, constitutionality or

Page 26630

 1     unconstitutionality is not to be found in any decision of the

 2     constitutional court.

 3             Now, the other reason why we had not to read Article 8 as I did,

 4     the Law on Property and other substantive rights, you said, was another

 5     reason why we could not read that Article 8 would also give ownership.

 6     It would give the property of privately owned property to settlers who

 7     had used it for more than ten years.

 8             Could you give us any specific part of that law which would be of

 9     guidance in interpreting Article 8, paragraph 5?

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.  I'm referring to the

11     general provisions of this law, stipulating the inalienability of the

12     property law, and it provides only for compensation according to the

13     market value of the property, in case of seizure.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  You say that that's a provision which almost

15     prohibits what was said here.

16             We have looked at the Law on the Temporary Takeover and

17     Management.

18             Thank you for those answers.

19             Ms. Gustafson, I interrupted.  We're close to where we need a

20     break.  Mr. Misetic would like to draw our attention to a specific

21     portion of this law.  Would you -- nevertheless, would you want to find a

22     more appropriate moment, or would this be an appropriate moment for a

23     break?

24             MS. GUSTAFSON:  This is an appropriate moment, Your Honour.  And

25     if I could also get an exhibit number for this law before we break, that

Page 26631

 1     would be helpful.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

 3             MR. MIKULICIC:  No objections, Your Honour.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  No objection.

 5             Mr. Registrar.

 6             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document becomes

 7     Exhibit P2698.  Thank you.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  P2698 is admitted into evidence.

 9             Ms. Bagic, the break starts already for you.  We'd like to see

10     you back in a little bit over 20 minutes from now.

11                           [The witness stands down]

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic, it's new evidence, so therefore we

13     might not be that familiar yet with it.

14             MR. MISETIC:  And I might not be, myself, Mr. President.

15             But Article 10 of the law --

16             JUDGE ORIE:  Article 10, let me just have a look.

17             MR. MISETIC:  And I note right at the outset that the original of

18     Article 10 is different in its numbering from the translation.

19             JUDGE ORIE:  Let me just find it first.

20             I have Article 10 there front of me, which starts with the real

21     estate given to the settlers for their --

22             MR. MISETIC:  That's correct.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

24             MR. MISETIC:  And then you will note in the English there are

25     three -- four subparagraphs, sorry.

Page 26632

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Let me just see.

 2             Yes, although we have a bit of an odd numbering.  From the

 3     English version, Article 10 starts with a one between brackets; then we

 4     have 1, 2, 3; and then on the next page in e-court, page 10 out of 23, we

 5     have a 3 in brackets.

 6             MR. MISETIC:  Yes.  And I believe in the original, if you look,

 7     and this will be --

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  If would you give me an opportunity to look at it

 9     for a second.

10             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreters would be grateful if we could have

11     the relevant Article on the screen.  Thank you very much.

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, could we have Article 10 on the screen.

13             MR. MISETIC:  One page prior in the original and one page prior

14     in the English.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  In the original, apparently, Article 10 starts

16     with a one between brackets then two paragraphs numbered 1 and 2.  Then

17     it follows with a 2 between brackets and then there is an third between

18     brackets, paragraph on the next page.

19             MR. MISETIC:  Yes, Mr. President.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  So therefore the -- at least, in the translation,

21     the numbering is confusing; and -- but I take it that you didn't only

22     want to take us to the numbering but also to the substance.

23             MR. MISETIC:  Yes, Mr. President.

24             Now, if we look at Article 10, it describes what real estate will

25     be given to settlers, referred to in Article 8, paragraph 3.  And then

Page 26633

 1     in -- numbered -- in the original bracketed number 2, which is, in this

 2     version of the English translation, number 3, talks about family

 3     houses --

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

 5             MR. MISETIC: -- et cetera under the Law on the Temporary

 6     Takeover.  Then if we go to the last paragraph of this Article --

 7             If we could turn the page, please, in both Croatian and English.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  I read this to be that if the property is

 9     allocated for usage to a settler, that if during the time of its usage

10     that the property is returned into the owner's possession that then the

11     minister is under an obligation to find alternative accommodation for the

12     settler.

13             MR. MISETIC:  Yes, but besides that.  Because of the -- well,

14     there's two issues I wanted to raise.  One is, I think, due to the

15     misnumbering in the English, in the original, this paragraph refers to

16     property from the temporary takeover law.  And then the second issue it

17     was unclear to me whether usage only means within a ten-year period or it

18     could mean after that.  So I don't know when the witness was referring to

19     within the provisions of the law.  It was contemplated that people would

20     be getting this property back.  This may have been something that she may

21     have wished to comment on.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  Well, the whole system of the Law on the Temporary

23     Takeover and reclaiming the possession and usage of property seems to be

24     based on a continued existence of ownership of the original owner.

25     Whereas, if, under this law, after ten years of usage, you obtain

Page 26634

 1     ownership, then I, at least, have some difficulties in understanding how

 2     that could be dealt with by just returning them into the owner's

 3     possession and usage where he apparently has lost his ownership unless

 4     you would accept a kind of dual ownership.  But it's -- first of all, I

 5     think it was for was the witness to explain that, and your possible

 6     explanation, at least on my mind, raises more questions than it resolves.

 7             MR. MISETIC:  Well, if I could just explain my position,

 8     Mr. President.

 9             First just that the witness didn't have the law in front of her

10     at the time when she was being asked to locate within the law what

11     provisions she may have been relying on in explaining that return of the

12     property was contemplated within the law.  So that's -- that's the first

13     issue.

14             The second issue in the overall context, just to address the

15     point that you were raising, is that it's not confiscation of property

16     if, A, the person retains ownership, but, B, there's also the second

17     portion which is for adequate compensation.

18             So in terms of what was put to this witness, if, after ten years

19     somebody would get ownership of the property through, it wouldn't be, in

20     my view, adverse possession but a form of eminent domain, then if that

21     original owner received compensation, then it still wouldn't be

22     confiscation of property.  But that's just to address the remark that you

23     made, Mr. President.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  I understand that that's your interpretation,

25     your view on the matter.

Page 26635

 1             Ms. Gustafson, since it was to some extent argumentative, would

 2     you like to add anything at this moment?

 3             MS. GUSTAFSON:  No, Your Honour, except to say that we will

 4     request a revision of the translation to amend the numbering of this

 5     provision.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  That at least avoids quite a bit of confusion.

 7             We will have a break, and we will resume at five minutes to 1.00.

 8                           --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.

 9                           [The witness takes the stand]

10                           --- On resuming at 12.59 p.m.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, my first question is whether you're

12     ready to proceed; second question is how much time you would still think

13     you would need.

14             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I would like to finish in this session.  I'm not

15     sure, in light of how long it has taken to get through some topics so

16     far, if I can manage.  But that is my goal.

17             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

18             Ms. Bagic, could I invite you to focus your answers on the

19     questions that are put to you as much as possible.

20             Ms. Gustafson, please proceed.

21             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.  Could we have 65 ter 689 on the

22     screen, please.

23        Q.   Ms. Bagic, the document that is about to come up on the screen

24     are the 2000 amendments to the Law on Areas of Special State Concern that

25     you have mentioned several times.

Page 26636

 1                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  I do understand that there are some technical

 3     difficulties which are expected to be fixed soon.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  There we go.

 5        Q.   Now, Ms. Bagic, can you see from the decision proclaiming this

 6     law into force that it was -- that this amendment was made after

 7     President Tudjman had died and Mr. Mesic became president.

 8             And at the bottom of the English we see Article 1 of this

 9     amendment.  And the first amendment is that Article 2 of the 1996 law is

10     changed, and the wording "displaced persons and refugees," is replaced

11     with the wording "population which inhabited those areas before the

12     homeland war."

13             So whereas the stated aims of defining the areas of special state

14     concern in 1996 was included the faster return of displaced persons and

15     refugees with this 2000 amendment, the aim was changed to the faster

16     return of population which inhabited those areas before the homeland war.

17             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go to page 5 of the English and

18     page 3 of the B/C/S, to Article 5.

19        Q.   This Article erases Articles 6 and 7 of the 1996 law, and you may

20     recall that Article 7 of that law set out the categories of populations

21     which were subject to the measures to stimulate stay and settling,

22     including Croatian emigres and Serbian and Bosnian Serb Croats.

23             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we look at Article 6 of this law, this

24     amends Article 8.

25             And if we turn the page in the English, Article 8(1).

Page 26637

 1        Q.   Which used to state that the ministry of development and

 2     reconstruction would issue invitations for settling the areas of special

 3     state concern.  Now Article 8 -- 8(1) states that Croatia will promote

 4     the return and stay of the population which lived in areas of special

 5     state concern before the homeland war as well as the settling of Croatian

 6     citizens who can contribute to economic and social development?

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we go to the next page in the English and

 8     page 4 of the B/C/S, to Article 7.

 9        Q.   This amends Article 10 of the 1996 law, which you'll recall was

10     the provisions setting out the categories of property which could be

11     allocated to settlers.  And you can see that it removes the category of

12     houses that had been taken over under the temporary takeover law.

13             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we go to page 8 in the English, the next

14     page in the English and in the B/C/S to Article 13.

15        Q.   And this provision requires the ministry to repeal decisions on

16     use of property under this law "which pertain to the property owned by

17     natural persons."

18             And that would be a reference to property that had been taken

19     over under the temporary takeover law, right?

20        A.   Yes.  Yes, but also, in accordance to this law, the Law on Areas

21     of Special State Concern.

22        Q.   And on the next page in the English, Article 14, this states that

23     properties allocated for temporary use to other persons pursuant to the

24     provisions of this law "shall be returned into the owner's possession

25     within six months ... of the submission of a request by [sic] the owner

Page 26638

 1     of the property."

 2             And then it sets out certain procedures.

 3             And if we go to the next page in the English, Article 16 states

 4     at the top of that page:

 5             "The right of acquiring ownership over another's property through

 6     possession shall not be obtained over the real estate unit owned by

 7     natural persons allocated for use under this law, the Law on Temporary

 8     Takeover and Administration of Specified Property ... and the Law on the

 9     Lease of Apartments in the liberated territory [sic]."

10             Now, this amendment in 2000, this was the first time that that

11     this law, the Law on Areas of Special State Concern, provided mechanisms

12     for return of property temporarily taken over under the temporary

13     takeover law.  I'm not talking about amendments to the temporary takeover

14     law, I'm talking about this law, the Law on Areas of Special State

15     Concern.

16        A.   If I understood properly, you're referring to the amendments to

17     the Law on Areas of Special State Concern.  It is correct that these

18     amends to the law - there was another set of amendments later in 2002 -

19     but these were the amendments that had to do with regulating the issue of

20     returning for possession the property that was allocated for use in

21     accordance with the Law on Areas of Special State Concern.

22        Q.   And when I was asking you before about settlers who had been

23     granted property that this been taken over under the temporary takeover

24     law, having -- being granted ownership of that property after ten years,

25     in accordance with the 1996 law, this 2000 amendment changed that by

Page 26639

 1     stating that those settlers could not acquire ownership of property taken

 2     over under the temporary takeover law through possession.  Is that right?

 3        A.   Yes, this had to do with adverse possession and this is the

 4     provision that we can see on the screen.  It is a provision of Article 16

 5     that the right of acquiring ownership could not exist only through

 6     adverse possession.

 7             I said earlier that adverse possession existed when someone would

 8     be using property owned by somebody else without any sort of regulation

 9     or act by which this was allocated for use, but here it's explicitly

10     provided, though that followed from the basic provisions of the basic Law

11     on Property.  That's the Law on Property and other material rights.  But

12     as for this law it here referred to the property of persons who had

13     abandoned it and that was used -- allocated for use to others, then the

14     procedure was specified here in the provisions of Article 16.

15        Q.   And these amendments to this law in particular, removing property

16     that had been temporarily taken over under the temporary takeover law

17     from the provisions of this law, and introducing the concept that the law

18     would aim at the faster return of population that inhabited those areas

19     before the homeland war, and would encourage the return and stay of the

20     population which lived in those areas before the homeland war, those

21     changes reflected a policy change of the Croatian authorities; whereas,

22     previously, the authorities had focussed on encouraging Croats to move

23     into the areas affected by Operations Storm and Flash.  As this amendment

24     reflects, at this time, they were also taking steps to promote the -- or

25     facilitate the return of Serbs who used to live in those areas.  Is that

Page 26640

 1     right?

 2        A.   Yes.  But please allow me to add something as well.

 3             One of the purposes of the Law on Areas of Special State Concern

 4     from 1996 was, inter alia, the settlement of Croats.  That is correct,

 5     and this provision does not exist in the amendment from the year 2000.

 6     However, simultaneously, while the Law on Areas of Special State Concern

 7     was in force, and as it referred to the temporary takeover and management

 8     of certain property, in the meantime the Programme for the Return of

 9     Displaced Persons, Expelled Persons, and Refugees was also adopted, and

10     it referred to the procedures for repossessing property that was covered

11     by the Law on the Temporary Takeover and Management of certain property.

12     And this programme, as is well known, was adopted in 1998.

13        Q.   Thank you.  We're actually going to look at that programme

14     briefly in a moment.

15             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If I could tendered this document, 65 ter 689,

16     please.

17             MR. MIKULICIC:  No objections.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Registrar.

19             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document becomes

20     Exhibit P2699.  Thank you.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  P2699 is admitted into evidence.

22             Please proceed.

23             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

24        Q.   Ms. Bagic, you looked at the return -- you were shown the return

25     programme yesterday, and we can bring it up if you -- if we need to.  But

Page 26641

 1     I just wanted to ask you this:

 2             That programme, which is Exhibit D428, created a commission for

 3     the implementation of the return programme, and it states that the deputy

 4     minister of justice was to be a member of that commission.  And you were,

 5     at the time, the deputy minister of justice, and so my question is: Were

 6     you a member of that commission?

 7        A.   Yes, I was the deputy minister of justice, and, on the basis of

 8     my function, I was a member of this commission.

 9             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could look at D420, please.

10        Q.   The document that is about to come up is a report from the year

11     2000 on the implementation of the Programme of Return by the commission

12     for the implementation for the return programme.

13             Do you remember being involved, as a member of that commission,

14     in drafting a report of this nature in 2000?

15        A.   I cannot remember that I directly participated in that, because

16     the burden of this issue of the refugees and expelled persons and their

17     return was with the ministry of the development and reconstruction and

18     the administration for refugees and expelled persons.  But as for what

19     was within the remit of work of the Ministry of Justice and possible

20     objections to this report, it was probably submitted to me so that I

21     could provide my opinions, suggestions, and possible objections.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Okay.  If we could go to page 20 of the English

23     and page 18 of the B/C/S.

24        Q.   And, at the top of that page, the title is:

25             "Restitution of property, housing commissions."

Page 26642

 1             And it says:

 2             "The main problem in the implementation of the Programme of

 3     Return is the restitution of property, i.e., work of the

 4     Housing Commission [sic] in charge of resolving restitution of property,

 5     whose owners are mostly refugees, currently in FRY and BiH, which is a

 6     consequence of the implementation of the Law on Temporary Sequester of

 7     Private Property in the Republic of Croatia."

 8             Do you recall this conclusion by the commission in the year 2000

 9     that even two years after the Law on the Temporary Takeover had been

10     repealed that the legacy of that law remained -- was the main problem in

11     implementing the Programme of Return?

12        A.   I cannot remember the facts behind this conclusion at this point

13     in time.  But it is a fact that the -- there were issues with the

14     restitution of property.  It was a complex issue, and that was why there

15     were various solutions in the legislation.  They were changed over time,

16     and this issue remained important after the year 2000.  One of the

17     reasons it was also to change the Law on Areas of Special State Concern

18     in 2002.  And the work of the Housing Commissions was especially

19     important because it turned out that the Housing Commissions, in spite of

20     the original purpose, should be the main stakeholders, that they should

21     be mainly in charge of implementing all this.  They had to list the

22     property and do everything else.  And for a number of reasons, they were

23     very often not able or capable to implement all that they were expected

24     to do.

25             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go to page 28 in the English and

Page 26643

 1     page 25 in the B/C/S.

 2        Q.   And in the middle of the page in the English there's a section

 3     called: Amendments to the Law on Areas of Special State Concern.  Which

 4     is around the middle of the page in the B/C/S.

 5             And the second half of this introductory paragraph says:

 6             "Amendments to this law are under way, primarily related to the

 7     elimination of discriminatory provisions in the part of the law referring

 8     to the allocation of property to settlers, first of all, houses,

 9     according to the Law on the Temporary Takeover and Management of

10     Specified Property, which has been invalidated."

11             Now, as the deputy minister of justice, were you involved in this

12     aspect of the report or the work of the commission; namely, eliminating

13     discriminatory provisions in the Law on Areas of Special State Concern?

14        A.   I'm sorry, from which year and from what date is this report?

15     From the year 2000, but could you please show the first page so that we

16     could see the date.

17        Q.   It says 2000, and I'm not sure there is a more specific date.

18     I'll check.

19        A.   All right.

20        Q.   There doesn't appear to be.

21        A.   [In English] Okay.

22             [Interpretation] I'm asking that because my duty as the deputy

23     justice minister was terminated in January 2000 so that until that point

24     in time, I participated in the work of this commission as the deputy

25     justice minister, and I participated, as I said, in the segments that had

Page 26644

 1     to do with the remit of work of the Ministry of Justice.

 2             After that --

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  It seems that the cover page says April 2000,

 4     Ms. Gustafson.

 5             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I apologise; it does.  My apologies.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Which might not be of great impact where the witness

 7     said that she finished her job as a deputy minister of justice in

 8     January 2000.

 9             But the report is of April 2000.

10             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  At the time, I was no longer

11     the deputy justice minister, so, therefore, I did not [as interpreted]

12     participate in the work of this commission or in the drafting of the

13     report.  Maybe I did with some earlier ones, because, at the time, I was

14     head of the legislation office of the Government of the Republic of

15     Croatia, and later on, I did participate in the work of a joint work

16     group which -- of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, which

17     comprised representatives of the government, including representatives of

18     various ministries, as well as the international community, such as the

19     UNHCR, OSCE, and the European Commission.

20             And we worked on the amendments to the Law on Areas of Special

21     State Concern which came into force in 2002.  And the purpose was to

22     terminate the procedure of restitution of property which had been

23     temporarily taken over in accordance with the Law on Temporary Takeover

24     and Management of certain property.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Mikulicic.

Page 26645

 1             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes, Your Honour, one intervention just for the

 2     sake of the clarity of the transcript.  This is page 74, line 8 when

 3     witness was referring that she was no longer the deputy justice minister

 4     so therefore she did -- one word is missing, obviously, before the verb.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Perhaps you could verify.

 6             You referred to that you may have possibly have been involved in

 7     some earlier reports, but you said:

 8             "And later on ..." you did -- did you say you "did" or you "did

 9     not" participate in the work of a joint work group which comprised

10     representatives of the government?

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did participate in its work,

12     and I was also co-chairman of this work group, which was established by

13     the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

14             MR. MIKULICIC:  I think, Your Honour, that we have some

15     misunderstanding.  I will read line 7 on page 74.

16             The witness:

17             "Yes, at that time I was no longer the deputy justice minister,

18     so, therefore, I did ... participate in the work of this commission."

19             She was no longer deputy minister.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  But, nevertheless, participated.  That's -- yes.

21             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

23        Q.   And yesterday you were asked questions about the reason behind

24     the abolition of the Law on the Temporary Takeover of Property in 1998

25     and the enactment of mechanisms for repossession in the return programme

Page 26646

 1     in 1998, and you've just explained that you were involved in amendments

 2     to the Law on Areas of Special State Concern.

 3             The Chamber has received evidence that the elimination or

 4     amendment of these laws that related to property of Serbs, Croatian Serbs

 5     and their return, that those changes were made under significant pressure

 6     by the -- by members of the international community.  Is that consistent

 7     with your recollection, or are you able to comment on that?

 8        A.   Yes, I can.  As I said, I was directly involved in that.  From

 9     the level at which I participated in the amendments to this law, I cannot

10     speak about pressure from the international community.  That was a joint

11     Working Group.  Before the group met, the ministry representatives and

12     representatives of international community would meet in order to

13     consider the implementation of various regulations.  Our objective was,

14     after difficult experiences, to finally, after several years, bring this

15     Programme of Return to an end.  The situation was complex; it was

16     difficult to obtain data; and there were extensive debates professional,

17     legal, and practical about that.  But I wouldn't characterise that as

18     pressure.

19             We discussed the practical aspect of certain issues.  I think

20     that it was in 2001, there were 4.000 empty houses from which the

21     temporary users had been removed.  However, the rightful owners were

22     inaccessible and an agreement was reached to try through the UNHCR and

23     the Serbian democratic forum to contact those owners form whom we

24     supposed were in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

25        Q.   I just want to focus back to my question which was about pressure

Page 26647

 1     from the international community.  And in your answer you said at first I

 2     cannot speak about pressure from the international community.  And then

 3     you said later on -- later on you said:

 4             "But I wouldn't characterise that as pressure."

 5             Were you involved at the political level on return issues with

 6     anyone from the international community?  Are you able to speak about the

 7     extent to which members of the international community were pressuring

 8     Croatia on return?

 9        A.   No, I did not personally take part while I was in the legislation

10     office in those political discussions.  I was in regular contact with

11     experts and representatives of international community from the

12     organisations that I mentioned, with a view to removing obstacles to the

13     return of refugees and other persons.

14        Q.   Thank you.

15             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could to 65 ter 7520, please.

16                           [Prosecution counsel confer]

17             MS. GUSTAFSON:  It should be available now.  Apologies.

18        Q.   Ms. Bagic, the document that is going to appear on your screen is

19     a report from December of 2002 by the International Crisis Group, and

20     this was at the time when you were the head of the legislative office for

21     the government.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go to page 3 of the English and

23     page 2 of the partial translation.

24             If we could go to the very bottom of the page in the English on

25     the left-hand side and to the next page in the B/C/S.

Page 26648

 1        Q.   And the sentence that begins right at the bottom of the page in

 2     the English and near the top in the B/C/S:

 3             "A 1998 government return programme failed to establish adequate

 4     conditions.  The effects of discriminatory laws and practices put in

 5     place during and after the war continued to prevent them from exercising

 6     their rights in key areas."

 7             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes, Your Honour, sorry to interrupt.

 8             Could we have some foundation what is it International Crisis

 9     Group?  I mean, whether witness is familiar with this group or -- could

10     we have some foundation on that.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Would you please take care of that in your

12     questioning, Ms. Gustafson.

13             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Yes, Your Honour.  I think when I ask the

14     question, it will -- I mean, it will be clear that there's no -- I mean,

15     I'm going to ask her about the contents of what is said; it's not

16     particularly the group.  I mean --

17             MR. MIKULICIC:  The author of the document.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  If you want to put to a witness a certain document

19     in which opinions are expressed then, of course, it is important to know

20     who expressed those opinions.  Just -- otherwise you can, of course, ask

21     questions about the matter as such.  But if you use a text, it should be

22     clear where it comes from, what the authority of it is -- that, for

23     example, if the witness would know that this group consisted of certain

24     people she knows who failed their exams at university, for example, that

25     it might be interesting to hear such comments.  Therefore, you are

Page 26649

 1     invited to pay proper attention to that aspect of the document.

 2             MS. GUSTAFSON:  In light of the time, Your Honour, I will not use

 3     this document and, in fact, have no further questions for the witness.

 4     Thank you.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Ms. Gustafson.

 6             Mr. Mikulicic, I'm looking at the clock, and I have not yet

 7     consulted with my colleagues.  Would have you further questions for the

 8     witness, and how much time would that take?

 9             MR. MIKULICIC:  Your Honour, I will only have a couple of

10     questions, and I think I could manage to go through them within next at

11     least ten -- at most ten minutes.

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  But then I have to look at the court schedule

13     for this afternoon.

14                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

15                           [Trial Chamber confers]

16             JUDGE ORIE:  Then with the indulgence of transcribers,

17     technicians, interpreters, you have ten minutes, Mr. Mikulicic.

18             MR. MIKULICIC:  I will try to be even shorter, Your Honour.

19                           Re-examination by Mr. Mikulicic

20        Q.   [Interpretation] Ms. Bagic, just a few questions.  I will not

21     keep you too long.

22             The Chamber asked you to interpret the fact due to which the

23     agreement on normalisation was concluded solely with the FRY, the

24     agreement which regulated certain issues relating to the sequester of

25     property.

Page 26650

 1             MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] For that purpose, can we please

 2     have on the screen Exhibit D1761.

 3        Q.   This is the legislative document of the Former Republic of Serbia

 4     and Krajina, which stipulates that all citizens of the Serbian Krajina

 5     were also registered as citizens of the FRY.

 6             In view of such legal status and regardless of where the citizens

 7     of the Serbian Krajina were, whether they be in Italy or in

 8     Bosnia-Herzegovina, or anywhere else, according to your legal

 9     understanding, is it usual and normal to conclude such an agreement with

10     their homeland?

11        A.   Yes, that seemed a logical move.

12        Q.   My learned friend, the Prosecutor, has just shown you document

13     D428, which is the programme of return and providing of -- for the return

14     of refugees and IDPs dating from 1998.  In order to be expeditious, I

15     would just refer you to a provision in this document which in item 4 says

16     that the government reiterates its obligation undertaken with a view to

17     implementing the right of owners for repossession and free disposal of

18     property.

19             According to your understanding, this position expressed in an

20     official document of the Croatian parliament in 1998, does it govern the

21     issue of ownership of the property that was under the Law of Temporary

22     Takeover was placed under the state sequester?

23        A.   Yes, it does because the programme explicitly refers,

24     particularly in, I think, items 9 and 14, to the property taken over

25     under the Law on the Temporary Takeover and Management of Properties.

Page 26651

 1        Q.   My last question:  In principle, when we consider a specific

 2     legal situation, especially within the context of a state that is just

 3     developing its state system, is it possible to interpret a legal

 4     situation based on a single regulation, or is your experience something

 5     completely different?

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson.

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour, that question is -- it is totally

 8     vague and, I mean, I just I don't think there's any basis for this.  It

 9     just --

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Mikulicic.

11             MR. MIKULICIC:  I will withdraw my question, Your Honour, and

12     have no further questions.  Thank you.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic, you earlier raised a matter which seems

14     not to be urgent anymore, perhaps also in view of the subsequent

15     amendments which we discussed with the witness.  So, therefore, I take it

16     that there is no need for further questions.

17             Ms. Gustafson, have the -- has the re-examination of the witness

18     triggered any need ...

19             MS. GUSTAFSON:  No, Your Honour.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Bagic, then this concludes your testimony, since

21     the Bench has no questions for you, or I should say has no further

22     questions for you.  I would like to thank you very much for coming to

23     The Hague and for having answered the questions that were put to you by

24     parties and by the Bench.  And I wish you a safe return home again.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

Page 26652

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  I just abuse for one second the circumstances that

 2     we would have one or two minutes extra.

 3                           [The witness withdrew]

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  I would like to put two things on the record.  The

 5     first is that an extension of deadlines was granted for filings during

 6     the Christmas recess.  As previously indicated to the parties in an

 7     e-mail, the Chamber extended deadlines for responses to motions filed

 8     during the period of the 21st of December, 2009, through

 9     8 of January, 2010, to three weeks.  That's put on the record, it was

10     informally communicated with the parties in an e-mail which was sent on

11     the 18th of December, 2009, at 5.41 p.m.

12             I further, for full transparency, would like to inform the

13     parties that, a bit unusual, but the Chamber received from a witness who

14     testified here, Mr. Drazen Vitez, a book under the title of "Varazdin,"

15     that Chamber considers that this book, which is of a touristic character,

16     a lot of nice pictures, and Varazdin being quite far away from the area

17     covered by the indictment, that it is intended as a gift for the

18     Tribunal.

19             We do not know whether the library has any place for such books.

20     If not -- and I understood that others were provided with a copy of this

21     as well.  But as soon as the Chamber receives anything which looks like a

22     gift, it should be put on the record.  I had a look at it.  It is a nice

23     book.  I can't read the text, so don't worry about it.

24             That having been put on the record, Mr. Mikulicic, will you have

25     your next witness ready tomorrow?

Page 26653

 1             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes, Your Honour.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  And that will be ...

 3             MR. MIKULICIC:  That will be expert witness Mr. General Repinc.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And an arrangement has been made in relation

 5     to cross-examination of this witness, from what I understand.

 6             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes, Your Honour.  My learned colleague from the

 7     OTP asks if the cross-examination could start on Monday because

 8     Ms. Prashanthi is temporarily away due to personal reasons.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And this informal request was granted until

10     now.  Did I -- was I informed that you would need four to five sessions

11     with the expert witness?

12             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes, Your Honour.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Other parties would need some time with

14     cross-examination of this witness?

15             MR. KEHOE:  Yes, Mr. President.  I informed my co-counsel that we

16     would be one to two sessions, but I think we will be approximately no

17     more than one.

18             MR. CAYLEY:  And we will be likewise one session, Your Honour.

19     Thank you.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Which means that we would have ended up most

21     likely to start the cross-examination with the OTP not any earlier than

22     on Friday, and, therefore, that the decision to allow the Prosecution to

23     start its cross-examination Monday is not of dramatic consequences.

24             We adjourn, and thanking the interpreters, transcribers,

25     technicians, security, for allowing the witness to be further excused.

Page 26654

 1             We'll adjourn and we resume on Wednesday, the 13th of January,

 2     9.00 in the morning, Courtroom III.

 3                            --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,

 4                           to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 13th day of

 5                           January, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.