1 Wednesday, 22 September, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Please be
6 Mr. Registrar, have the accused brought in,
8 [The accused entered court]
9 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar
10 would like to make a comment while the witness is
11 coming in, and I am pleased to give you the floor.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you,
14 Mr. President.
15 I was informed last night, that is, the
16 Registry was, about the problems which the interpreters
17 and stenographers had because of the speed at which
18 people were reading things out, that is, Mr. Nice and
19 the witness. I was asked, and I'm asking you, insofar
20 as possible, that the cadence be slowed down,
21 especially because of the fact that the transcripts
22 from yesterday won't be ready for another three or four
24 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] All right. If
25 that was the Presiding Judge who said that, there would
1 be no effect, but since it is the registrar, perhaps we
2 can hope that there will be some result.
3 All right. Please be careful. I know that
4 it's difficult. I myself, when I get caught up in my
5 own vehements, I make that same mistake. We'll all
6 have to be careful.
7 Last night, the interpreters were exhausted,
8 and we have got to try to preserve them. Otherwise,
9 nothing is going to work.
10 All right. Good morning to them, and good
11 morning to Prosecution and Defence counsel and to the
13 Mr. Nice, I ask that you proceed, please.
14 WITNESS: BERNARD PATRICK O'DONNELL
16 Examined by Mr. Nice:
17 Q. Mr. O'Donnell, we had looked yesterday at the
18 evidence in the form of the transcriptions of the
19 interviews and the various passages upon which you've
20 placed particular reliance. Let's now sum things up.
21 So far as the killings were concerned, did
22 the defendant explain that there were lists of people
23 to be killed?
24 A. Yes, he did.
25 Q. He having at least one list himself?
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. Did he, at various times, explain how victims
3 that he had to kill were identified by their Muslim
5 A. Yes, he did.
6 Q. Were there examples of killings, to which he
7 admitted, where he made no enquiry at all of why the
8 person was to be killed?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. Indeed, where he expressed himself ignorant,
11 even after the event, of why the person had been
12 killed, save for the fact that he was told to kill that
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. There was the one example, of course, of the
16 killing in front of the police station of the escaping
17 man, where on the defendant's own account, there was no
18 completed inquiry that could explain any decision to
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Did the defendant assert, although we haven't
22 referred to the name, did he assert that others were
23 always in charge of him?
24 A. Yes, he did.
25 Q. The evidence you understand of authority at
1 the camp may, to some degree, differ with that?
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 Q. That's what I desire to point you to by way
4 of the evidence on the killings, and very shortly I
5 would like you to return to the topic of
6 inconsistencies that we started dealing with
7 yesterday. Probably it's easier if I ask you to
8 amplify matters, insofar as you want to, and remind you
9 and the Judges that the categories that you assert
10 reveal inconsistencies are, first, whether he had no
11 option to leave but had to stay and kill. Would you
12 like to just express your position on that a little bit
14 A. Yes. Mr. Jelisic claimed that he had to
15 commit the murders, had to stay in Brcko, otherwise he
16 would have been killed, and that he tried to save as
17 many people as he could. There are a number of points
18 from the interviews that I believe are inconsistent
19 with that.
20 The first point is, to put it in context,
21 Mr. Jelisic went to Brcko of his own free will. He
22 heard of a deal that was being offered, and he
23 volunteered to go to Brcko.
24 Your Honours, the passages that I'm making
25 reference to were found yesterday. If it assists, I
1 can simply give the page number and interview date
2 where the relevant questions and answers are as I make
3 these points.
4 Q. Well, if you can just do that very briefly,
5 without taking time, because we've looked at the
6 passages, and indeed that was why we looked at the
7 passages, so that your conclusions could be well
9 A. That's correct. That's on the 4th of June,
10 page 5.
11 The second point is during the interview on
12 the 4th of June, he was asked for the first time what
13 he believed would happen if he did not kill a person he
14 was told to kill. He said that if he did not commit
15 the murder, he would have been assaulted or sent to
16 prison, sent to prison for a crime that he had already
17 been sentenced to. When questioned further, he said
18 that he did not actually receive that threat because he
19 did not protest. He believed that he would have
20 received the threat if he would have protested. That's
21 on pages 24 and 25 of the 4th of June.
22 Your Honours, this was his first formal
23 opportunity to tell us why he had committed a murder
24 and what threat he was labouring under. If he really
25 did fear that he would be killed, I believe that he
1 would have used the opportunity to tell us that, rather
2 than telling us that he believed he would have been
3 assaulted or sent back to prison. His claims that he
4 feared death came later in the interviews and, I
5 believe, may have been an afterthought.
6 The next point I would like to make is it
7 appears that he did not question being told to kill
9 Q. There's a reference for that in the same 4th
10 of June interview?
11 A. Later in the same interview, at page 53 on
12 the English transcripts.
13 The next point I would like to make is that
14 he was clearly able to get out of Brcko in the early
15 stages, that is, after the initial murders. There's
16 reference to that at page 25 on the 4th of June, when
17 he said that there were not many roadblocks and he
18 could have gotten out. He was also able to get around
19 the roadblocks and away from Brcko when he had had
20 enough, which was around the 19th or 20th of May,
21 according to Mr. Jelisic, where he said, "I left Brcko
22 because I didn't want to do any dirty jobs anymore."
23 That's on the 1st of July, pages 6, 7, and 8.
24 The next point is he was also able to drive
25 to Belgrade. He took EU -- European Union Monitors to
1 the Hotel Yugoslavia in Belgrade, mentioned the 30th of
2 June, page 8, and to Bijeljina, where he said he took a
3 Catholic priest; 4th of June, page 54 and 55; and also
4 journalists; 30th of June, page 8 of the transcript.
5 The next point I would like to make is that
6 clearly, before leaving Brcko, he disregarded his
7 instructions to kill and did not have specific
8 problems, according to him.
9 Q. That's on his account, that he disregarded
11 A. That is on his account; 4th of June, page
12 57. He said, "And again the order was to kill him, and
13 I did the same thing, I put him somewhere else."
14 Q. You needn't read the rest of the quotation,
15 but it's available to the Court.
16 A. He goes on to say, "It could have happened
17 that I could have had problems. There were no specific
18 problems, but I could have had problems. I could have
19 been killed by one of the crazy guys," and he goes on.
20 The next point is that when he returned to
21 Bijeljina after being away for some time, he was
22 apprehended at a roadblock and taken to the Bijeljina
23 SUP. He was apprehended, according to him, for being a
24 deserter, and he claims that he was assaulted. He
25 claims that this was part of a plan to kill him, yet
1 after being beaten, instead of being taken off
2 somewhere and shot, he was taken to the hospital
3 because they had hurt him. On page 27 of the 1st of
4 July, I said, "So I'm just trying to get this
5 straight. After your beating, you were taken for
6 medical treatment at the emergency services; is that
7 right?" He said, "Yes, not the specials but the
8 ordinary police, regular police." Given the threats he
9 claims were made to him, he could not explain why he
10 was given medical treatment instead of being killed.
11 His answers were, "I have no idea. You have to ask
12 them," which was on page 28 of the 1st of July. And
13 later, when it was put to him again, he said, "I don't
15 Q. Well, now that's some of the points that you
16 would wish to make on that central issue of his
17 obligation to stay and do what he was doing or his
18 freedom to move?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. We've already dealt with how there was the
21 one killing in front of the police station, where there
22 was no concluded interrogation that preceded it, and
23 the page references for that are, and correct me if I'm
24 wrong, the 4th of June at pages 34, 38, and 65, and 66,
25 73, and 80; is that right?
1 A. The first page numbers, pages 34 and 38,
2 relate to that particular killing. The --
3 Q. The other page references show, I think,
4 willingness in participation.
5 A. That is correct.
6 Q. Now, it may be of lesser importance and
7 therefore appropriate to be dealt with much more
8 summarily. You also made reference to contradictions
9 or inconsistencies about his time after getting away
10 from Brcko, whether he was hiding out in fear for his
11 life and whether he had run out of money?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. The page references are all available and can
14 always be included in any argument, but can you just,
15 first of all, in just a sentence, explain what we've
16 already seen in the evidence you say is important here?
17 A. Mr. Jelisic claims that after getting away
18 from Brcko, he was hiding out in fear for his life. In
19 the account that he gave of places that he went to
20 after leaving Brcko, he mentions a number of hotels
21 that he checked into, and he gave those details.
22 Hotels in the former Yugoslavia require details when
23 you check in, and it appears to me inconsistent that
24 you would check into a number of hotels, leaving
25 personal particulars for police to check.
1 I also mentioned the conversation yesterday
2 that he had with a member of the special police from
3 Belgrade, where he was told the nickname of the person,
4 that he was from the special police and was ordered to
5 kill him, also that he knew all of Mr. Jelisic's
6 movements. Yet when there was an arrest in Petrovac of
7 two people at the same table for what they had done in
8 Brcko, there was no apparent interest shown by the
9 authorities in him.
10 Q. Finally, on the second topic that I mentioned
11 shortly before, whether he ran out of money.
12 A. Mr. Jelisic claims that he had to come back
13 to Brcko because he ran out of money. He stated
14 earlier that he believed that he had to leave Brcko in
15 May 1992; otherwise, he would have been killed. The
16 4th of June, page 58. According to him, he had been
17 forced to commit murders and threatened with death if
18 he did not comply. Clearly, he had not complied, not
19 just once but several times, yet he was still prepared
20 to come back.
21 The second point is after coming back, he was
22 issued with a new uniform and a gun. That's the 2nd of
23 July, page 3. He was even issued with a new identity
24 in 1993 and other false identity papers later which
25 were in his possession when he was arrested. That's
1 the 23rd of July, page 17.
2 The next point is he said in the 1st of July
3 interview, at the end of page 7, that he had no money
4 and, therefore, had to stay with the parents of a
5 waiter that he met in Sabac. At the end of page 11 of
6 the same interview, he said that at the time he was in
7 Sabac, he had 6.000 or 7.000 Deutschemarks with him.
8 The next point is he claims he shot himself
9 after returning to Brcko because he knew that they
10 would want him to do more things. According to him,
11 however, he had voluntarily returned to the area, and
12 this occurred just after he had been given support from
13 a certain high-ranking military officer to leave the
14 SUP and work for that person. That's the 2nd of July,
15 pages 3 and 4. He was even given a field vehicle,
16 according to him, the one that he shot himself in. The
17 2nd of July, page 4.
18 Mr. Jelisic said that he had 6.000 or 7.000
19 Deutschemarks -- sorry, this is the next point -- when
20 he left Brcko. Even after buying a car that he said he
21 bought, he would have had approximately 3.000
22 Deutschemarks left, which he claims he spent in two or
23 three months. The average monthly income at the time,
24 he agreed, would have been something in the order of
25 100 Deutschemarks or less. That's page 26 of the 1st
1 of July. If he was really hiding out and wanting to be
2 away from Brcko, I believe he would not have been
3 spending the money on hotels, drink, and cigars, as he
4 stated. In two or three months, he spent the
5 equivalent of something like three years of salary.
6 Q. Thank you. You also made the comment at the
7 beginning of your evidence that he may have sanitised
8 his account, but of course whether he did or not
9 ultimately depends on the view the Trial Chamber takes
10 of all the evidence that may be before them, and it's
11 not necessary to go further into those matters because
12 we looked at all the passages of the evidence upon
13 which you would rely yesterday.
14 One last question, and maybe I took you by
15 surprise yesterday when I asked you about a particular
16 witness -- a particular person. In fact, the name was
17 given and is a name that's been given in evidence, so
18 it's not a name that need be blanked out. There was a
19 reference to a Dr. Ramic.
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Was he at the time -- is this the Dr. Ramic,
22 do you know, who at the time was the brother of the
23 senior political figure in the community, or is it a
24 different Dr. Ramic, or don't you know?
25 A. Yesterday, I was asked if there was any
1 corroboration to Mr. Jelisic's accounts that he saved a
2 Dr. Ramic. I said, to a certain extent, I believe, in
3 that he was still alive. I based that on the fact that
4 I was aware that a Dr. Ramic from Brcko was interviewed
5 and is, therefore, of course still alive. I did not
6 speak to that person, as I said yesterday; that has
7 been done since I moved on from the case. I,
8 therefore, cannot say if it is the same Dr. Ramic or
9 not; however, yesterday, I had a look at the statements
10 and I cannot find any reference to any dealings with
11 Mr. Jelisic.
12 Q. Thank you very much. If you wait, you'll be
13 asked further questions.
14 A. Thank you.
15 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Greaves.
16 Cross-examined by Mr. Greaves:
17 Q. Mr. O'Donnell, just a few matters that I want
18 you to deal with, please.
19 In respect of matters of cooperation, would
20 you accept this: that although he may have been
21 unprepared to speak about some matters, there are some
22 matters which would place him in a considerable amount
23 of danger if he was to speak about certain people?
24 A. I believe that is the case, Your Honours.
25 Q. Thank you. And would you agree with this:
1 that some of his diffidence about moving on to new
2 characters, as it were, may have been based on his
3 concerns about his safety and, perhaps more
4 importantly, that of his family?
5 A. That's a possibility, Your Honours. I can't
6 comment on whether that was what was on his mind or not
7 at the time.
8 Q. Next, please, the matters which he admitted
9 and to which he has pleaded guilty to before the
10 Tribunal. Would you agree with this: that having
11 entered those pleas and made those admissions, those
12 acts saved a considerable amount of other investigation
13 which might have been necessary if he'd pleaded not
15 A. I do not actually believe that that is the
16 case because of the status of the investigation when we
17 spoke to Mr. Jelisic.
18 Q. Perhaps I can approach it in a slightly
19 different way. If he had put forward, in relation to
20 these matters to which he pleaded guilty and admitted,
21 a bogus story, that would have entailed further
22 investigation in order to undermine such a bogus story
23 as he had put forward, would it not?
24 A. It could have, yes.
25 Q. Yes. Thank you. As far as information which
1 you already knew, you did not tell him in advance what
2 information you already had, did you?
3 A. No, we did not.
4 Q. So if he provided information to you which
5 you already knew, it's not his fault that it's of
6 limited value, is it?
7 A. That is correct.
8 Q. You've dealt with him as far as the
9 information that he gave and you described it as being
10 of limited value because of inconsistencies. Would you
11 agree with this: that the limited value because of
12 inconsistencies, that damages his value as a potential
13 witness giving evidence before the Tribunal but does
14 not necessarily devalue the quality of the actual
15 information, does it?
16 A. It's possible that leads of inquiry could
17 still be generated from the information given. The
18 matter goes towards the credibility of the information,
19 I believe, as well as the potential for him to be a
21 Q. If he gave information, are you in a position
22 to say whether or not further inquiries have been made
23 about that information and, without going into detail,
24 whether that's revealed any further information of
1 A. Your Honours, I'm not in a position to talk
2 about inquiries arising from the information given to
3 us by Mr. Jelisic; however, I can say that the
4 information that has been given is of limited value to
5 us, as I explained yesterday.
6 Q. I appreciate that we haven't gone into the
7 details of any names, but has the information that he
8 gave led to further inquiries being made?
9 A. Not that I'm aware of.
10 Q. How soon after interviewing him did you cease
11 to be involved in the Jelisic case, completing the
12 interviews last year?
13 A. Prior to the arrest of Mr. Jelisic, I had
14 moved to other investigations. I returned to work
15 briefly on this investigation mainly for the purpose of
16 doing the interviews with Mr. Jelisic.
17 Q. After you'd completed the interviews of
18 Mr. Jelisic, you returned to your other duties outside
19 this case; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Is this correct, Mr. O'Donnell: During the
22 course of investigations on the ground in Brcko, the
23 drainage system at Luka facility was searched?
24 A. Part of the drainage system was searched. I
25 can explain that in greater detail if you like.
1 Q. Well, I'm not sure if that's going to be
2 necessary, but just --
3 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] If you don't
4 mind, let the interpreters finish interpreting the
5 question. Would you mind repeating it, please?
6 MR. GREAVES:
7 Q. The question was: "During the course of
8 investigations on the ground in Brcko, the drainage
9 system at Luka facility was searched." Perhaps you
10 would like to repeat your answer, please,
11 Mr. O'Donnell.
12 A. Your Honours, part of the drainage system at
13 Luka was searched. There were four --
14 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 MR. GREAVES:
16 Q. No doubt, you are particularly interested in
17 those, if I can call them, drains which witnesses had
18 spoken about or given statements about concerning
19 killings; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Was it to those drains that the attention of
22 the search was directed?
23 A. To two of the four drains. There were four
24 drains in the general area outlined by witnesses; two
25 of those drains were searched, another one of the
1 drains was covered in bitumen and we cannot access it,
2 and the fourth drain was too deep and too narrow to be
3 able to search.
4 Q. Can you confirm that of the two drains that
5 were searched, there was no evidence of human detritus
6 found in those drains?
7 A. Do you mean human biological material?
8 Q. Bones and that sort of thing.
9 A. That is correct. The only point I would make
10 is that there was one dental plate found in one of the
12 Q. Were you able to identify how long that
13 dental plate had been in the drain?
14 A. No, we were not.
15 Q. Finally this, Mr. O'Donnell: I wish to draw
16 to the attention of the Tribunal the comment that the
17 defendant made about the theft of a coffee machine.
18 Would you agree with this: that stealing a coffee
19 machine falls into a rather different category from the
20 killings of 12 or 15 people, Mr. O'Donnell?
21 A. I do agree that the theft of a coffee machine
22 falls into a different category. I still believe that
23 the answer given is relevant.
24 Q. That, of course, is your opinion, but I think
25 you've answered the question as to the relative merits
1 of stealing coffee machines and killing 15 people.
2 Thank you.
3 MR. GREAVES: I have no further questions.
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice.
5 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
6 Q. A very limited number of questions,
7 Mr. O'Donnell. In relation to anxiety or fear
8 consequent on giving information, information of the
9 type that might lead to further inquiries, would that
10 be given on terms of confidentiality to the Office of
11 the Prosecutor?
12 A. Yes, it would.
13 Q. And any such information given on those
14 terms, would it be kept confidential?
15 A. It would be kept confidential. The terms
16 would be discussed with the person giving it.
17 Q. Turning now to the value of the information
18 provided, at the time it was provided to you, was it,
19 although information you already had, surprising that
20 this information should repose in this man, or was it
21 information that was all but in the public domain, or
22 what? Try and describe it in those terms.
23 A. A lot of the information that was provided
24 was in the public domain, on television, on videos, and
25 details of people in positions in and around Brcko were
1 also common knowledge to people who had spent some time
2 in Brcko, particularly people who were there in the
3 period just before the outbreak of war, such as
4 witnesses, residents of Brcko.
5 Q. Apart from that material, did he provide you
6 with anything that was outside that general category?
7 A. No, I do not believe so.
8 Q. You were asked effectively whether the
9 information provided led to the launching by the Office
10 of the Prosecutor of any new inquiries. Not
11 withstanding your change of function within the office,
12 would you be aware of any new inquiries started as a
13 result of that information provided?
14 A. Again, as you've emphasised, my knowledge is
15 limited because I had no involvement in the case in
16 recent times; however, one inquiry which was generated
17 was checking Mr. Jelisic's version of events about a
18 certain person he claimed that he saved. That person,
19 I believe, has given evidence.
20 Q. Yes, indeed. Is that it? That's the only
21 knowledge you have of further inquiries?
22 A. There may have been some other general
24 Q. Mr. Basham may be able to help. Finally, the
25 search of the drainage system, to the extent that there
1 was such a search, was conducted in which year?
2 A. This examination was conducted in 1996.
3 Q. Four years after the events about which we're
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. Although one was covered in bitumen, had the
7 other drains been apparently open to the elements in
8 the intervening period of time?
9 A. Yes, that is correct. There were also a
10 number of other items found in the drains.
11 Q. What I'm going to do in relation to those,
12 because Mr. Greaves hasn't had notice of them, is I'll
13 ask you to tell me about them afterwards and after the
14 session, and we can deal with them, if necessary,
15 through Mr. Basham, but I don't want to take the
16 Defence by surprise.
17 MR. NICE: No other questions in
19 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Be careful
20 here. This is the re-examination and the Defence
21 cannot take the floor again. I don't want you to ask
22 questions about which the Defence cannot answer.
23 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not proposing to
24 ask any more questions of this witness. The same topic
25 can always be covered, if it's fair to do so, via
1 Mr. Basham, but I'm not going to deal with it further
2 through this witness.
3 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you. Let
4 me turn to Judge Riad.
5 Judge Riad.
6 Questioned by the Court:
7 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Thank you,
8 Mr. President.
9 Good morning, Mr. O'Donnell.
10 A. Good morning, Your Honour.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Judge Riad,
13 JUDGE RIAD: I just want some clarifications
14 or -- I want to understand more globally what you
15 called the inconsistencies in your investigations, and
16 if you can give me a clear answer, I would be very
18 It appears, from your investigations, that
19 Mr. Jelisic always affirmed that he received orders and
20 he received lists and he was executing them, he was
21 executing the orders. In your assessment, do you think
22 that he also parallelly was the decision-maker in other
23 killings and he did not give any account to anybody and
24 he was not really compelled at all to do it, or was it,
25 according to him, and he perhaps convinced you that he
1 was just executing the orders?
2 A. Yes, Your Honour. Mr. Jelisic said that he
3 only committed killings that he was told to commit. I
4 believe that that is not the case. I believe that
5 there were also killings which he himself decided to
7 We have a number of witnesses who, during the
8 course of the investigation, have given us information
9 on what appear to be random killings. One of the
10 examples that I gave of a killing which was clearly not
11 specifically ordered was the killing of Mr. Jasarevic,
12 who was being held at the police station presumably for
13 questioning and/or execution, who somehow managed to
14 escape, but didn't get far before being stopped.
15 Although he was stopped and surrounded by police and
16 soldiers, Mr. Jelisic ran up to him, shot him in the
17 head and killed him. He knew nothing about
18 Mr. Jasarevic and had not been ordered to kill him.
19 Yet rather than returning him to the police station, he
20 simply executed him.
21 There are a number of other witnesses who
22 tell of apparently random killings.
23 JUDGE RIAD: What you call random killings
24 was left to his whim completely, or was there some kind
25 of common denominator which unites all these killings?
1 A. I believe that there is a common denominator,
2 but the only common denominator that I can see is that
3 the killings were of Muslims.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Now, you've mentioned also
5 that -- I quoted you -- "Others were always in charge
6 of him." What's the meaning of "others were in charge
7 of him"?
8 A. Mr. Jelisic claimed that he was told to
9 commit the killings and was threatened with death if he
10 didn't. He said that all of the killings he committed,
11 he was ordered to, and that he did not have a position
12 of authority. So he maintained that other people were
13 in charge of his actions and other people were in
14 charge of him at Luka camp.
15 JUDGE RIAD: In fact, you mentioned that he
16 said he had no option, either to kill or to be killed.
17 Was this the impression you got from the investigation?
18 A. It's true that Mr. Jelisic presented himself
19 as a person who was faced with a decision to either
20 kill or be killed himself. I believe that the details
21 that I've mentioned in the inconsistencies show that
22 that version of events is not believable. I do not
23 believe that he only committed killings that he was
24 ordered to commit, and I do not believe that he
25 honestly thought he would be killed if he did not
1 commit those killings.
2 JUDGE RIAD: You also mentioned that he
3 returned voluntarily to the killing, although he was
4 offered to work with a high-ranking officer and avoid
5 killing. Could you just give us more light on this?
6 A. Mr. Jelisic voluntarily returned to the area;
7 not specifically to Brcko initially. He went to
8 Bijeljina, but Bijeljina is about 40 kilometres away.
9 Given that that was his hometown and that's where this
10 all started, it's reasonable, I believe, to presume
11 that he would go to Brcko or be sent to Brcko if he
12 went back to Bijeljina.
13 He did go to Bijeljina and was taken to
14 Brcko, according to him. He said that he met there
15 with a high-ranking military official. This is after
16 he had been taken back to the police station and issued
17 with a new uniform, new equipment, and another gun. He
18 said that he was desperate -- these are my words, I'm
19 sorry, I'm summarising -- he was desperate to avoid
20 getting back into that, and he met with a senior
21 military official, who greeted him, kissed him on the
22 forehead, and told him words to the effect of he should
23 not be upset and that he would try and help him out of
24 this hell, as Mr. Jelisic put it. He told him that he
25 should go to the SUP and tell them that he had to work
1 with a high-ranking military official and that he could
2 have nothing more to do with the SUP, in other words,
3 with the killing and other activities.
4 So it appears that there is finally light at
5 the end of the tunnel. He's even given a military
6 field vehicle. And yet when he finally does have a way
7 out, he claims that he shoots himself in the leg to
8 avoid having to do more killings. But again this is
9 after he has voluntarily returned to the area. Of
10 course, he's run out of money.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Just one last question.
12 Did he cooperate with you in the
13 investigations or did he give you misleading
15 A. I cannot say that Mr. Jelisic did not
16 cooperate. He voluntarily took part in nine
17 interviews, and he admitted to doing the actual
18 killings. However, he did give us, I believe, a lot of
19 incorrect information. He gave us a very sanitised
20 version of events for those killings. Whenever we had
21 a witness account saying that he did anything more than
22 march someone along the street and pull a trigger, for
23 example, someone pleading with him, begging for their
24 life, he would say that that person was lying. That,
25 combined with his basic statements that he only
1 committed these killings because he was forced to and
2 he would have been killed otherwise, and the
3 inconsistent information he gave, which I believe shows
4 those claims not to be credible, mean that he did not
5 fully cooperate. His cooperation was very limited, in
6 the true sense of the word.
7 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much,
8 Mr. O'Donnell.
9 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Judge
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you,
12 Mr. President.
13 Mr. O'Donnell, I think that most of the
14 questions have already been asked, but I have a further
16 You said that Mr. Jelisic came to Brcko
17 voluntarily. However, the way that he saw things, in
18 his own mind, in the beginning, do you believe that
19 that matched or corresponded to the assignments that
20 were asked of him, or is there any type of difference
21 in that?
22 A. I'm sorry, Your Honour. Could you repeat the
23 question for me, please?
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I wasn't
1 My question is to know the following: When
2 somebody offered him the chance to go to Brcko, did
3 those people explain to him what he was to do and, in
4 fact, what he did was what those people had asked him
5 to do, or after having arrived in Brcko, was there a
6 change or a difference between what those individuals
7 said to him at the beginning, what they offered him,
8 and what he had to do?
9 Do you understand what I mean now?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me
12 for interrupting you, because my question is the
13 assertion that he came to Brcko voluntarily, yes, but
14 in order to do what, if there is a difference between
15 what he did and what he had in his mind that he was to
17 A. It's very difficult, Your Honour, for me to
18 answer that question, because the only account that I
19 have of that is what Mr. Jelisic has told me.
20 According to him, he was given some details before they
21 went to Brcko, but initially his duties were different
22 to what he was later doing. He was initially told that
23 they would be met by certain officials and that there
24 was a plan. It's difficult to know exactly what was in
25 his mind at the time, because we have limited detail of
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
4 Judge Rodrigues.
5 Mr. O'Donnell, I only have a few questions to
6 ask you, because some of the questions I wanted to ask
7 have already been asked.
8 About how much time or how many hours did you
9 spend with Mr. Jelisic, because in the binder, the time
10 is indicated, but approximately?
11 A. Approximately 25 to 30 hours, I would
12 estimate, of interviews.
13 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Twenty-five.
14 So one could assume that you have a certain
15 understanding of this person that you had in front of
16 you. My question is the following: It's not the
17 sentencing hearing, I understand that, but this is the
18 only question I have.
19 Throughout these interviews, during the 25
20 hours, did you feel any type of hatred or aversion
21 towards the Muslims in Goran Jelisic or not at all?
22 A. Your Honour, I think it's very difficult
23 again to answer that, because Mr. Jelisic presented us
24 with what he wanted us to believe. That's my opinion,
25 and I've outlined what his position was, that he was
1 forced to do the killings, et cetera. So from the
2 interviews, when he talks about killing someone, he was
3 talking about that person in terms of them being
4 helpless and so forth, but he did not present to us
5 hatred towards that person. In fact, he was trying to
6 show the reverse, I believe, that he was not wanting to
7 do that murder. So rather than saying, "I did it
8 because I hated the person," he was saying, "I did not
9 want to do that murder. I felt sorry for the person,
10 but I was in the situation where I had to do it."
11 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Perhaps I
12 didn't express myself correctly.
13 Did you have the feeling that Goran Jelisic
14 was the bearer of some kind of ideology, a political
15 one, in respect of his country, or in respect of the
16 area he came from or the war that was taking place, or
17 in the end was all of that really something that didn't
18 stay in his head and that he did what he had to do,
19 somewhat in his own way, without an overall vision? Do
20 you understand what I'm trying to get at?
21 A. Your Honour, I do understand what you are
22 trying to get at. I would say that he did not come
23 across in the interviews as someone who had a
24 particular ideology that he was enforcing, but I have
25 to clarify that by saying that I believe that he was
1 going out of his way to show something very different
2 to that. So it would be unreasonable, I believe, from
3 the interviews, to get that picture. That's a picture
4 that we could get from other places, other people who
5 had had contact with him. But given the nature of the
6 interviews, it did not come out, and I do not believe
7 it could have come out.
8 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 Mr. O'Donnell, we would like to thank you for
10 having made yourself available to the Prosecutor who
11 called you. Since you're one of the investigators, I'm
12 saying this for the public gallery. But this is all
13 helpful to the Defence and to the Judges.
14 You can now go back to your responsibilities
15 within the Tribunal. You will be escorted, although
16 you do know your way around here.
17 We have another 20 minutes before we take our
18 break, so we can move now to the next witness. Thank
19 you very much.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Give us your
24 name and given name, your date and place of birth, and
25 then your current occupation. Then take an oath, and
1 after that, you may be seated. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, my full name is
3 Paul Anthony Basham. I was born on the 2nd of
4 December, 1966 in New Zealand. I'm an investigator for
5 the Office of the Prosecutor.
6 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Please take the
8 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
11 WITNESS: PAUL ANTHONY BASHAM
12 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
13 Mr. Basham. You may now be seated. Thank you for
14 having come. You have been called by the Prosecutor as
15 part of the trial initiated by the Office of the
16 Prosecutor against Goran Jelisic, the accused, who is
17 in this courtroom. I am not going to explain the
18 proceedings to you; you are familiar with them.
19 Mr. Nice, without any further ado, will ask
20 you the questions that he wants to.
21 Mr. Nice, please proceed.
22 Examined by Mr. Nice:
23 Q. Mr. Basham, have you, over recent months or
24 it may be a year or so, been the investigator in charge
25 of this case?
1 A. Yes, I have.
2 Q. Indeed, did you attend many of the interviews
3 with the defendant, although the last witness,
4 Mr. O'Donnell, was primarily the officer dealing with
5 the interviews at that stage?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. I only want you to deal with some
8 photographs. Did photographs come into the possession
9 of the Office of the Prosecutor in two ways? First,
10 did some photographs come to the next witness,
11 Mr. Ralston, and he, of course, made them available to
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did other photographs and, indeed, a contact
15 sheet, that is, a sheet showing a whole series of
16 pictures from a film, come directly into your
18 A. Yes, they did.
19 MR. NICE: May we go into private session for
20 just a minute or so?
21 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] We will go into
22 a very short private session.
23 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in
24 private session.
25 [Private session]
13 page 2199 redacted – private session
20 [Open session]
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. Mr. Basham, the photographs that you're going
23 to produce are in a series, and is it right that
24 photographs from that series have been produced in
25 magazines and books around the world?
1 A. Yes, that's correct. The photographs first
2 appeared on the 9th of May, 1992 in a number of
3 publications around the world. Since that date, they
4 have continued to appear in magazines, newspapers, and,
5 in one case, a television documentary.
6 MR. NICE: The photographs are collectively
7 exhibited number of 67, and I would be grateful if they
8 could now be provided to the witness and placed on the
9 ELMO, and we'll deal with this in sequence.
10 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I would like to
11 point out to the public that these photographs are very
12 difficult to look at, and anybody feeling particularly
13 sensitive should leave the public gallery. You don't
14 have to, but I would simply like to inform you and to
15 advise you of that.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. If we could go to the first photograph in the
18 series, Mr. Basham, does this show the defendant on the
19 right-hand side in the blue shirt carrying the gun,
20 following two men down an alley or small road in Brcko,
21 and at the end of that alley can be seen some other
22 bodies already lying on the ground?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. We can just check, for the assistance of the
25 Tribunal, the location of this alley or lane later, but
1 eventually, in what direction does it point?
2 A. The laneway runs down towards the river, and
3 the direction in which the people in the photograph are
4 walking is the direction towards -- away from the SUP.
5 Q. That's the police station?
6 A. The police station.
7 Q. The next photograph, please. Does this
8 photograph show the defendant shooting at a man in the
9 brown pullover?
10 A. Yes, it does.
11 Q. Next photograph, please. In sequence and to
12 a similar effect?
13 A. That is correct.
14 Q. On the left-hand side, at the bottom
15 left-hand corner, can something be seen there?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The other man, already apparently shot and
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Next photograph, please. Later in the
21 sequence, the man going towards the ground with bodies
22 at the end of the small lane.
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Next photograph, please. In sequence, the
25 man now on the ground, the defendant still aiming at
1 the man.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. The following photograph, please.
5 The following photograph. A man on the
6 ground, the defendant still aiming the gun towards the
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. The following photograph. To the same
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And, indeed, the one after that in the
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. And the one after that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The next photograph turns to show a picture
18 of the first man.
19 A. Yes, it does.
20 Q. The last photograph in this sequence shows
21 both men dead on the ground.
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. The remaining photographs show a mass grave,
24 and you, as the investigating officer, know that there
25 has already been evidence relating to these photographs
1 that enables them to be linked to the exhumation of a
2 mass grave some years later.
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Can we move then, please, to the next
5 photograph? Is this a view into a mass grave with the
6 bodies and the way they've been thrown into the grave
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. The following photograph. A different angle
10 of the same.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The next photograph shows the digging
13 equipment, if we look at the top of the photograph --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. -- that was plainly used to dig out the mass
16 grave. It shows the same configuration of the bodies
17 within the grave.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And it also shows the side, at the top
20 right-hand corner, of a lorry. We'll see a little more
21 of the lorry in the next photograph, but what can you
22 help us with -- it's not very clear -- the marking on
23 the side of that lorry immediately behind the man?
24 A. The marking to which you refer appears to be
25 a flag or a sheet of some sort that has an emblem
1 similar to, if not the same as, the Red Cross.
2 Q. Over the page to the last -- not over the
3 page -- to the last photograph, a little more of that
4 lorry now to be seen, and there is evidence in the
5 case, is there not, that the lorries used were
6 refrigerated trucks from a particular local factory?
7 A. Yes, that's correct.
8 Q. That's all I ask.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I promised that I
10 would provide -- in relation to another topic, I
11 promised I would provide some information to
12 Mr. Greaves before he came to cross-examine this
13 witness. If the usher would be good enough, I can
14 provide it to him now, if that's acceptable to the
15 Court. It's the only way of communicating when we're
16 some metres away. Thank you.
17 [Defence counsel confer]
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I suggest that
20 we take a 20-minute break, and after that, we can
22 --- Recess taken at 11.21 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.45 a.m.
24 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] We will resume
25 the hearing now.
1 [The accused entered court]
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice.
3 MR. NICE: Two other questions of this
4 witness, please.
5 Q. First, Mr. Basham, in your capacity as
6 investigating officer, are you aware that in the course
7 of the drainage search at the Luka facility, there were
8 things found in one of the grates or underneath one of
9 the grates that had been identified as a grate where
10 killings took place?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And that it was cartridge casings, some six,
13 and a bullet and a fragment of a bullet? Do you
14 remember that or would you need to refer to records to
15 confirm that?
16 A. I do have a memory of that. It's been some
17 time since I turned my attention to the actual
18 document, but I think you're correct.
19 Q. The second question which I ask you in order
20 to make easier sense of the evidence coming from the
21 next witness: The Chamber has been looking regularly
22 at two lists of people, one a shorter list of 39 names,
23 which has been fully explained to them, and the other a
24 longer list of 100 names that, in the format the
25 Chamber has had, have been set out alphabetically. Was
1 that list of named individuals drawn from several
2 documents that are going to be provided by the next
3 witness, Mr. Ralston, which he had himself obtained
4 from the local Serb authorities?
5 A. Yes. I had taken the names from those
6 documents and put them into a spreadsheet for ease of
8 Q. As we're going to see, those lists in fact
9 identify a number of bodies, considerably larger than
10 100, but since many of the people could not be
11 identified by name at all, it happened to be just 100
12 that could be named?
13 A. That's correct.
14 MR. NICE: Yes. Will you wait there,
16 Cross-examined by Mr. Greaves:
17 Q. Mr. Basham, I just want to ask you, please,
18 about the items which were found in the drain. It
19 cannot be said, can it, as to when those items found
20 their way into that drain?
21 A. No, I don't believe it can.
22 Q. Nor who put them there?
23 A. Or how they got to be there.
24 MR. GREAVES: That was going to be my next
1 Thank you very much. No further questions.
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Judge -- excuse me. Mr. Nice, excuse me. It
4 was so fast that --
5 MR. NICE: Nothing --
6 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] -- I was going
7 faster than you are. Excuse me. Do you have a
9 MR. NICE: No, nothing from me.
10 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Judge Riad, you
11 had a question?
12 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Thank you,
13 Mr. President.
14 Questioned by the Court:
15 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, Mr. Basham.
16 A. Good morning, Sir.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Perhaps you can help me
18 understand something which appears very bewildering to
20 We have here at least ten pictures which I
21 wondered how they were taken. It is pictures taken of
22 an execution, step by step. How can a person who is
23 killing in this way take a photographer with him to
24 picture it? It almost sounds like a head of state
25 going to a conference and having his pictures taken.
1 We can see the man being killed in the second picture
2 standing, and then he's killed halfway, and then he's
3 killed three quarters, he's killed on the ground, and
4 then he's killed while being dead, and at a very short
5 distance. I mean I'm astonished to see how such
6 pictures could be taken while it's happening.
7 Do you have any interpretation for that?
8 MR. NICE: Forgive my interrupting. It may
9 be easier for the witness to answer this question in
10 private session. I think it probably would be.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
12 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] All right,
13 private session.
14 I would like to remind all the parties here
15 that the confidential elements regarding the
16 photographer's identity must remain confidential and
17 not be revealed to the outside, not revealed outside
18 this courtroom, for the safety of the person who took
19 the photographs.
20 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in
21 private session now.
22 [Private session]
13 page 2210 redacted – private session
13 page 2211 redacted – private session
13 page 2212 redacted – private session
13 page 2213 redacted – private session
7 [Open session]
8 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Sir.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 MR. NICE: The next and last witness is
11 available. I say "last witness" with one caveat, which
12 I will deal with after the evidence is closed today.
13 It's John Ralston.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Do you hear
17 THE WITNESS: Yes, Sir.
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Would you
19 please remain standing for a few moments. Give us your
20 name, your given names, your date and place of birth,
21 your current position and residence, and then we will
22 ask you to take an oath, and then please be seated.
23 THE WITNESS: My full name is John Hunter
24 Ralston, R-A-L-S-T-O-N. I'm the chief of
25 investigations at the International Tribunal, and my
1 address is the Tribunal address, Churchillplein 1.
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Please take the
4 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
5 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
7 WITNESS: JOHN H. RALSTON
8 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you. You
9 may be seated now. Thank you for having come to the
10 trial which has been initiated by the Office of the
11 Prosecutor, of which you are a member, the trial of the
12 accused Goran Jelisic.
13 Mr. Nice is going to ask you a few questions,
14 and I won't explain the proceedings any further to you,
15 since you are well familiar with them.
16 Mr. Nice, please proceed.
17 MR. NICE: Your Honours, in this case, for
18 this witness, there has been prepared a comprehensive
19 bundle of exhibits which I think is going to be given a
20 number, or has already been given a number.
21 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] This will be
22 Prosecution Exhibit 68 for Mr. Ralston's statements and
23 Exhibit 69 for the materials that were just passed
25 MR. NICE: There's also a map which can be
1 produced at some stage that has become Exhibit 70.
2 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] And Exhibit
3 70 will be the number for the map.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. NICE: My apologies.
6 Examined by Mr. Nice:
7 Q. Mr. Ralston, has your intended evidence been
8 reduced to a summary, and is that a summary that you
9 have read and that you adopt as accurate?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. That is, indeed, Exhibit 68. Dealing briefly
12 with relevant background, you started with the Office
13 of the Prosecutor here in June 1994, being promoted to
14 the position of chief of investigations in April of
15 1998, in that position having overall responsibility
16 for the direction and management of all investigations
17 undertaken by this office.
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. And through that work, have you developed a
20 diverse understanding of the circumstances, chronology,
21 events, individuals, and groups relevant to the armed
22 conflicts in the former Yugoslavia?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. May we look, please, at the map, Exhibit 70?
25 There's a larger-scale version for the members of the
1 Court and, indeed, for the witness but a conveniently
2 small one that will fit on the ELMO.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Using the pointer in the way that you will be
5 familiar, if you acquire it, just explain the different
6 colours and what this map shows in a couple of
8 A. The colours of the map, I think, if you look
9 at this area here [indicates] is Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 The area in red is the area which is now Republika
11 Srpska. The areas in the yellow and green are what is
12 now the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. The Posavina region is situated, I think, in
14 the northern extremity of this map. Can you just
15 indicate that in general terms?
16 A. Posavina is, in general terms, this area here
17 [indicates], the Drina going down there, the Sava along
18 there, the Bosna down here somewhere, and the Majevica
19 mountains across here [indicates], and then you have
20 this plain here which is generally the Posavina area.
21 Q. And that's a fertile, flat plain, I think?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. The corridor, as it's described, from Brcko
24 to Bosanski Samac, can you point that out to us?
25 A. I think that's this area along here
2 Q. It occupies most of or the northern part of
3 that fertile plain, and the majority of the inhabitants
4 are concentrated or were concentrated in the towns of
5 Brcko and then Orasje and Bosanski Samac?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. Historically, can you tell us something from
8 your researches or knowledge of what happened in the
9 Second World War and what is, as it were, remembered
10 from the Second World War?
11 A. Okay. In this area, there were numerous
12 atrocities carried out by the Ustasha, mainly against
13 the Serbs in the area, particularly around Brcko and
14 Doboj, and those areas. At the same time, there were
15 atrocities being committed against the Muslims --
16 Bosnian Muslims in Bosnia during World War II.
17 What this meant is that the Bosnian Muslims
18 were unlikely to join in with the resistance, the Serb
19 resistance to the Ustasha, and in fact several of them
20 were actually members of the Ustasha. I think towards
21 the latter part of the war, a German Handzar division
22 came across, I think, from various locations over in
23 Serbia, and again Bosnian Muslims were recruited into
24 the Handzar division. Following that distribution, it
25 became notorious for atrocities committed against the
1 Serb people.
2 Q. Is there, indeed, in Brcko a memorial, or is
3 that something that's outside your detailed knowledge?
4 A. I believe there is a memorial in Brcko, but I
5 don't have too much detail of it.
6 Q. Was Brcko economically a very developed
7 community and an economic and cultural centre for the
9 A. Yes, it was.
10 Q. We've seen some photographs showing railway
11 lines and we've seen a map. Was it a hub, really, for
12 both railroad and river transportation?
13 A. Yes, it was, and I think that in the larger
14 version of the map, it should be evident that those
15 forms of transport were available and --
16 Q. Sorry. With its proximity to Croatia, once
17 you crossed the bridge, you were only a comparatively
18 small distance from the main trading route, the main
19 road trading route running through that part of the
20 former Yugoslavia?
21 A. Yes. There's a highway that runs across the
22 top here to Zagreb, and you, of course, can travel from
23 there across to Belgrade or up towards Hungary.
24 Q. The river, as we have heard, was crossed by
25 two bridges; one, a general road bridge and the other a
1 rail bridge.
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. By both those means, it was possible to
4 connect with this general transportation system a
5 little further north?
6 A. That's correct. It was also connecting from
7 the areas down here [indicates] in other parts of
8 Bosnia, in what's now the Federation territory.
9 Q. Paragraph 11, you set out in your summary
10 statistics of population composition for 1991, many of
11 them, if not nearly all of them, have already been
12 given. So in summary, this: At that time, Brcko was
13 predominantly a Muslim town with a majority of some 55
14 per cent being Muslims?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. The other statistics are set out, if that's
17 of assistance.
18 How important was Brcko and this Posavina
19 corridor to all the sides in the course of this
21 A. It was one of the major areas of strategic
22 importance. If you look at your map here again, this
23 area in the red is the area that the Bosnian Serbs sort
24 of control and, in fact, the area extended down here
25 [indicates] and linked up with Croatia.
1 In these areas in Croatia, you also had an
2 autonomous Serbian republic proclaimed. So for the
3 Serbian side, it was important to control this area
4 here [indicates] so that it could link this part of the
5 Republika Srpska with this part here [indicates] and
6 also the Serbian regions around here.
7 It was equally important, I think, for the
8 Bosniak and the Croat sides who saw this area as its
9 link across to the rest of Eastern Europe, but more
10 importantly, if they could sever this link, then they
11 obviously had a strategic advantage in isolating this
12 area of the Serb-controlled lands.
13 Q. Thank you. What about Tuzla? Just locate it
14 for us, and what can you tell us about that?
15 A. Tuzla, I think, is roughly about there
16 [indicates]. That was a major industrial centre in
17 this part of the territory, with salt mines and
18 chemical factories, and the like. If this particular
19 entity were able to control the corridor, then their
20 access to this part of Europe was quite simple;
21 otherwise, they were then forced to come by a very
22 circuitous route down here, either to the city or up,
23 and then back up and around.
24 So if they were able to get control of this
25 area, it would have been of quite a lot of significance
1 for them.
2 Q. So from all points of view, Brcko was an
3 important strategic place?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. On the 30th of April, 1992, did Serb forces
6 from Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere take action
7 in respect of Brcko?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Have you characterised the steps that, from
10 your researches, were taken in Brcko, and can you just
11 list them, please?
12 A. Yes, I have. I think, leading up to the 30th
13 of April, after the cessation of hostilities in
14 Croatia, JNA forces withdrew into Bosnia to places
15 where there were JNA barracks. One of those barracks
16 was in Brcko, and various combat units and various
17 pieces of equipment were moved to the barracks in
19 Similarly, in the lead up to the 30th of
20 April, the Serb members of the local government
21 demanded the area be divided up into three areas,
22 including one area which would be an exclusive Serb
23 section. This action led to, I think, quite intense
24 negotiations between the parties.
25 Then on the 30th -- on the evening or the
1 night of the 30th of April, the bridges across the Sava
2 River were blown up, thus cutting off any ability to
3 cross the river there, and then the next day, an
4 SDS-controlled crisis staff assumed control over the
5 area within the municipality.
6 The crisis staff, they then assumed control
7 over all the key installations. They issued ultimatums
8 over the radio for Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats
9 who may have -- Croats who may have possessed arms,
10 that they were to surrender them within two days; if
11 they didn't surrender any weapons they possessed, that
12 there would be shelling of the non-Serb areas.
13 Shelling did, in fact, follow there. In some of the
14 areas which were predominantly Muslim, there was some
15 instantaneous type of resistance from those who
16 possessed arms.
17 Q. Had the Serb forces seized control of any of
18 the principal buildings as well?
19 A. Yes, they had. They seized control of the --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please slow down
21 for the translation and pause between question and
22 answer? Thank you.
23 MR. NICE: Certainly.
24 A. Certainly. Yes, they did seize control of
25 some of the main buildings, including the post office,
1 the radio and TV station, the hospital, the police
2 buildings, and other key buildings in the area.
3 Q. Carrying on at a slightly slower speed,
4 please, Mr. Ralston, picking it up, if you would be so
5 kind, from about the 2nd of May.
6 A. From about the 2nd of May, as I said, there
7 was some resistance in the predominantly Muslim areas
8 which didn't prove to be effective against the
9 organised forces that were against them. There was
10 shelling against many of the houses and buildings in
11 those neighbourhoods. Many of the civilians sought
12 refuge in basements of homes, their own homes or homes
13 of their neighbours.
14 Then on the 3rd of May, Serb forces, JNA
15 forces, the militias, the paramilitary then went
16 through the various areas, residential areas and
17 ethnically cleansed the non-Serbs from those areas.
18 The people who were moved out of these areas were then
19 taken to various collection centres. The non-Serb
20 military-aged men were separated from the other people
21 and then detained in places, such as the mosque, the
22 Laser Bus Company, the JNA barracks, the Partizan
23 Sports Hall, and the Luka facility.
24 While this was going on, men were being taken
25 to the police building where they were interrogated,
1 and in the course of those interrogations, many of the
2 non-Serb men were beaten, tortured, and many were
4 Q. Now, I'm going to interrupt you just for a
5 couple of points. First of all, when was the date, so
6 far as is known, of the establishment of the Luka
8 A. From the information that I have, it was
9 established on the 7th -- around the 7th and 8th of
10 May, 1992.
11 Q. When it comes to interrogations, and of
12 course the Judges have already heard quite a lot of
13 evidence about all this, but was there evidence of --
14 in most general terms, was there evidence of selection
15 by ethnicity?
16 A. Yes, there was. People were selected on the
17 basis that they were Muslim. This was a subject of
18 interrogations. People who were detained and taken out
19 and murdered were done so on the basis that they were
20 Bosnian Muslim. In the questioning and interrogation,
21 accusations regarding their involvement in resistance
22 and membership of the SDA were also quite often used as
23 a pretext for the executions.
24 Q. Now, you've run through that list of events
25 in Brcko, and of course in the centre of that, there
1 was -- though we haven't focused on it in this trial,
2 there was shelling of the town.
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Do you have an idea, not necessarily detailed
5 at the moment, but an idea of the date range for the
6 shelling of the town?
7 A. Yes. From around the 2nd of May until the
8 7th or 8th of May.
9 Q. To what extent does that picture of events
10 that you have painted for us in respect of Brcko fit
11 with events elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the
13 A. These events didn't happen in isolation. In
14 and around the same time period, similar events were
15 occurring at various locations up and down Eastern
16 Bosnia and across -- and shortly after that, across
17 here [indicates] in the area that's known as the
18 Bosanska Krajina.
19 Q. When you say "similar events," are you
20 restricting your observation to, for example, just
21 detention and killings, or are you saying that there
22 were similarities to the general buildup and the
23 step-by-step process that was followed here?
24 A. Yes. I'm talking about the step-by-step
25 process, the establishment of the crisis staff, the
1 issuing of ultimatums, the artillery attacks on areas
2 that the Serb forces wanted to control, the ethnic
3 cleansing of various areas where the population was a
4 non-Serb majority, the separating out and the torturing
5 and beating and killing of men, particularly
6 military-aged men, and their incarceration in centres
7 of detention, so the full range of conduct.
8 Q. Do you produce some documents that deal with
9 preparations that may have been made for, not
10 necessarily these particular events, but events of this
11 general category?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 MR. NICE: With the usher's assistance, if
14 it's desired, as I think it may be, to lay some or all
15 of these documents on the ELMO, they're all from
16 Exhibit 69, and we can deal with them conveniently by
17 reference to the numbered tabs. I think in all cases
18 there are original French and English versions, but
19 with the Chamber's leave, we'll just perhaps display
20 the English version. This is tab 1, in English, the
21 second sheet, the French being at the third sheet.
22 Q. Is this, Mr. Ralston, the English translation
23 of a document of which we have the original, dated the
24 15th of August, 1991, from the Serbian Democratic Party
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina's president, whose name is at the
1 foot of the document, Karadzic, and explain the
2 significance of one or two passages in this document,
3 remembering that others may be following it in French?
4 Will you identify the paragraph numbers if you turn to
6 A. Yes. As you ask, this is an English language
7 translation of the document which precedes it. The
8 significance, to me, of this document, if you'll note
9 the date, the 15th of August, 1991, at that stage, it's
10 a document issued from the president of the Serbian
11 Democratic Party to all SDS municipal boards, and it's
12 a document which sets out how they're organising, how
13 the party should operate in each of the
15 It sets out at point 1 that municipal boards
16 should meet once a week. Each week, they must review
17 the situation in the local board for the past week. So
18 in the municipal board of each municipality, there are
19 various villages and towns where there are local
20 boards. The local boards also should meet once a week,
21 and every member of a local board must be entrusted
22 with, at point 4, maintaining contact with 10 to 20
24 So what it means, at this stage, the SDS was
25 attempting to make sure that it could reach into
1 basically every home where Serbs were and that
2 information could be communicated backwards and
4 Q. Thank you. Shall we turn to tab 2? The
5 original document comes first; again in the English
6 version, second; in the French version, third.
7 Is this a document, dated the 19th of
8 December of 1991 from the Serbian Democratic Party's
9 main committee, expressed to be instructions for the
10 organisation and activities of the organs of the Serb
11 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a state of
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. If we turn, in the English version, to the
15 first sheet, which is broadly reflected in the French
16 version but the French is in a larger typeface and goes
17 on to one further sheet, but if we look at it in the
18 English for these purposes, can you summarise, or
19 taking in as much detail as is appropriate, paragraphs
20 1 to 4?
21 A. Okay. Paragraphs 1 to 4 basically set out
22 the conditions under which the following instructions
23 are to be implemented.
24 I think the first point is in point number 1,
25 it talks about uniformed tasks and measures and
1 activities developed which would be carried out within
2 the national community of the Serb people in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to further implement the
4 plebiscite decision whereby the Serb people in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina decided to live in a single state.
6 Q. I'm going to interrupt you only for the
7 purpose of reminding you to speak more slowly when
8 reading, even though I hope that the translation booths
9 will be have been able to find the version that they
10 may wish to read from. So leaving a break after I
11 conclude this interjection, can you pick it up, but
12 whenever reading, read a little more slowly?
13 A. Certainly.
14 Basically, the plebiscite which was conducted
15 in, I think, October of 1991 dealt with the question of
16 the Serb people wanting to remain within the Federal
17 Republic of Yugoslavia or what is now the Federal
18 Republic of Yugoslavia.
19 If we move to the second point on the
20 document, it deals with the tasks and measures to be
21 implemented basically for the readiness of the defence
22 of the interests of the Serb people.
23 The third point -- the significant part about
24 the third point in the document -- I sorry, in the
25 preface, I think, is this area here. There are two
1 different sets of instructions, one set of instructions
2 for municipalities where the Serb people are the
3 majority, and the second set of instructions for the
4 people in municipalities where the Serb people are not
5 a majority, and which is the case in Brcko.
6 Q. Indeed, in Brcko, the Serbs were a minority,
7 because the Muslims alone were over 50 per cent and
8 there were Croats and others, as well as Serbs, in the
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. If we turn then to that which is appropriate
12 to municipalities where the Serb people are not a
13 majority, we are looking for what's described as
14 Variant B, in the English version we have to turn over
15 two sheets for that to page 270653, and in the French
16 version, we have to turn over to what is numbered
17 page 5 at the bottom or 842555 at the top.
18 Where I've taken you, Mr. Ralston, is the
19 beginning of the instructions in relation to Variant
20 B. Having located that point, is it later paragraphs,
21 and I think numbers 9 and 10, that you would like to
22 focus on?
23 A. Yes, it is. I think the first comment with
24 Variant B, it basically sets out the instructions for
25 how they would operate the municipality or in such a
1 municipality, and there are various relevant
2 instructions in there.
3 I go back to point 3 on the first page first,
4 which is, in the English, page number 4.
5 Q. I gave one incorrect -- I'm sorry to
6 interrupt you. I gave one incorrect page number for
7 the French version. It starts at page 6, and it's on
8 page 6, or alternatively page 842556, that the Chamber
9 can find that which you're referring to.
10 Paragraph 3?
11 A. Paragraph 3 sets out that the municipality
12 committee of the SDS will immediately form a crisis
13 headquarters, and then goes on to detail who, beyond
14 that headquarters, and then the functions that follow.
15 If you come down to paragraphs 9 and 10, it
16 sets out some of the preparations that should be taken
17 in these municipalities; paragraph 9 dealing with the
18 people of Serb nationality, to remain in the area, not
19 to travel abroad, and paragraph 10, if you look at the
20 subparagraphs, it deals with the role of the armed
21 forces of the JNA, and reinforcing war units, and the
22 relationship between those people and the SDS
24 Q. Of course, we didn't focus on this, but the
25 crisis community was said to be a -- crisis
1 headquarters was to be a crisis headquarters of the
2 Serb people in the municipality?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. I interrupted you. Would you like to go on
5 beyond paragraph 10 and then go to what's called the
6 second level, which can be found in the French version
7 at page 8 or 842558?
8 A. Each of the paragraphs is obviously
9 significant, but I draw your attention to paragraph 2
10 and paragraph 3 and then what follows paragraph 4.
11 Basically, this deals with getting the -- having the
12 military in a state of readiness and being mobilised,
13 and the relationship, to some extent, between the
14 military and the Territorial Defence unit and the SDS
15 crisis committee.
16 Q. And then paragraph 7, I think.
17 A. Paragraph 7 sets out that the crisis
18 headquarters is responsible for special forms of
19 defence organisation in the areas where the Serbs are
20 not a minority. It sets out that the headquarters is
21 obliged to continually monitor the situation, the
22 development of political and military and the security
23 situation in the broader sense. The crisis
24 headquarters is responsible for initiating and
25 implementing activities that are suitable for every
1 specific situation; that is to say, for an assessment
2 of the possible development of the situation.
3 Q. Now, this document was issued in December
4 1991, but are you aware that the defendant Jelisic, in
5 his interviews, makes reference to crisis staffs and
6 their responsibly and authority as of May 1992?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. The development of events in Brcko and in the
9 other areas of which you've spoken, to what extent, in
10 your judgement, did it match that which was set out as
11 a general plan of operations in this document?
12 A. My observations, from the material that we've
13 gathered, is that the development of the situation in
14 the various other areas matched that as set out in the
16 Q. May we turn next to tab 3, the original,
17 followed by English, followed by the French at 0407955,
18 this being a letter to all the presidents of
19 municipalities, dated March the 23rd of 1992, and
20 signed by the president of the Serbian Democratic
21 Party, Dr. Karadzic.
22 On the English version, turning to the second
23 paragraph, does it read as follows:
24 "Taking into consideration that one of the
25 essential conditions for the protection of Serbian
1 people in the situation that has been created requires
2 rapid and timely transfer of data and information
3 relevant to our defence and security, as well as
4 transfer of decisions, directions, and instructions
5 made by the governing bodies. We have established a
6 Republican operations centre and decided that in
7 addition to the regional centre in Banja Luka, the
8 following municipality centres take over the function
9 of regional centres"?
10 Does it then list a number of places,
11 including Bijeljina?
12 A. Yes, it does.
13 Q. Looking at the listed names, would Bijeljina
14 be the nearest to Brcko or not, or can't you be sure?
15 A. In my view, it would be, yes.
16 Q. Can you then, please, just deal with any
17 other particular significance in this document marked,
18 as we see, to be destroyed after reading, and in
19 particular with the paragraph that -- the next
20 paragraph but one?
21 A. I think the significance of this document is
22 it deals with the whole communication issue. Firstly,
23 it talks about the establishment of communication
24 centres which match the autonomous regions which were
25 established, and then in the paragraph commencing "The
1 municipalities", it talks about how the various
2 municipalities will communicate with these regional
3 centres. And thus you have not only communication
4 between the regions but between the municipalities
5 within the regions to the regional headquarters, and
6 then from there, presumably to the Republic level.
7 Q. Thank you. In summary, between March and
8 December of 1992, in the areas that you've been
9 speaking of and to which these pieces of correspondence
10 may have been directed, were there killings by Serbs?
11 A. Yes, there were.
12 Q. In towns, cities, villages?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And in what numbers?
15 A. I think the killings are best described as in
17 Q. Was that both of Muslims and of Croats?
18 A. Certainly, thousands of Muslims. I couldn't
19 put a figure on Croats, but Croats were killed as well.
20 Q. Was there the rounding up of people, on the
21 basis of ethnic or religious identities, and detention?
22 A. Yes, there was.
23 Q. Were there, to your knowledge, a number of
24 Serb-operated detention camps?
25 A. Yes, there were.
1 Q. Can you name -- and if necessary, perhaps we
2 could have the map back, please. If you could point
3 out the place. Could you name and, if possible, point
4 out some of the other camps operated by the Serbs?
5 A. Camps KP Dom in Foca, which I think is down
6 here somewhere [indicates]. If we come up to this
7 area, to Vlasenica, we have Sesici [phoen] camp
8 [indicates]. Up in this area around Zvornik
9 [indicates], you would have Celopek camp. I think
10 there were one or two other camps there as well,
11 Karakaj Secondary Technical School. If you come over
12 into this area [indicates], you have the camps of
13 Omarska, Keraterm, Trnopolje, and Manjaca, you also had
14 camps in municipalities in Kljuc, in Kotor Vares, or
15 detention facilities in those areas [indicates].
16 Q. From your reading of the material relating to
17 these other camps and including Brcko, was there any
18 particular focus of attention on any segment or
19 segments of the Bosnian Muslim population?
20 A. Yes, there was. Well, anybody who was a
21 Muslim was a target for abuse. It's more pronounced
22 against the leadership and senior and prominent
23 officials within the Bosnian Muslim population.
24 Q. Intellectuals and professionals, were they
25 dealt with just the same as everyone else, or were they
1 selected for special treatment?
2 A. They were targeted for interrogations and
3 beatings and killings.
4 Q. That pattern throughout the area, so far as
5 Brcko is concerned, did that fit with the general
6 pattern or was it in conflict with the general pattern?
7 A. It fitted with the general pattern.
8 Q. At some stage in the interview, one of his
9 interviews, the defendant spoke of the selection of
10 people by being prominent. Does that fit with the
11 general pattern?
12 A. Yes, it does.
13 Q. Were these activities widespread and
14 involving the killing of the thousands of people you've
15 spoken of?
16 A. Yes, they were.
17 Q. I turn to a different topic, documents
18 relating to the mass graves of which we have had
19 evidence in this case. Paragraph 28 of the summary.
20 On the 9th of December, Mr. Ralston, did you
21 receive certain documents?
22 A. Yes, I did.
23 Q. Tab 4 is the first of these documents?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. From whom did you receive them?
1 A. I received them from a man named Goran
3 Q. His role being --
4 A. At that stage, he was a Deputy Minister of
5 Justice for the Republika Srpska.
6 Q. To what did those documents relate?
7 A. They related to a -- what do you call it -- a
8 review by a man named Avlijas of prisons and collection
9 camps on the territory of Republika Srpska. The
10 documents indicate that Mr. Avlijas was asked to go and
11 survey the various facilities that existed, and he
12 prepared a report, and the documents include that
13 report that he prepared on the facilities.
14 Q. Did you meet the man Slobodan Avlijas a
15 couple of days later on the 11th of December?
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. Did he authenticate the documents?
18 A. Yes, he did.
19 Q. May we look at the first one, tab 4? If that
20 can go on the ELMO. Thank you. This is effectively a
21 covering document from the Republika Srpska's Ministry
22 of Justice and Administration at Pale, dated the 22nd
23 of October of 1992, with the distribution list set out,
24 but this document saying, "Please find enclosed a
25 report on the situation in prisons and collection camps
1 for prisoners of war on the territory of Republika
2 Srpska, supervised and inspected by this Ministry." It
3 says that it will take all appropriate measures
4 stipulated by law to remove shortcomings?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. May we turn, please, to document 5, the
7 English version coming second, the French version
8 starting at page 0068287. If we put the English first
9 sheet -- thank you very much -- on the ELMO, is this
10 the report of the man Avlijas, dated the 22nd of
11 October, headed "Report", and saying, in the
12 introduction, this:
13 "On the basis of a list of prisons and camps
14 for prisoners of war submitted by the International Red
15 Cross on the orders of the Government of Republika
16 Srpska and the relevant ministry, in the period from 10
17 to 17 October 1992, I conducted inspections and
18 conversations with responsible organs in the following
19 place ..."?
20 Does the document then go on to deal with
21 other locations, so that we can turn over a sheet to
22 number 3, which is Brcko?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Can you read, please, remembering the speed
25 that is appropriate, what was said in the report about
2 A. "In the town of Brcko or its environs there
3 is no prison or camp for the temporary accommodation of
4 detained enemy soldiers.
5 "I visited this town to verify a report by
6 the International Red Cross whose content was
7 alarming. It said that a large number of citizens of
8 Muslim nationality (the figure quoted was about 2,500
9 people) had been liquidated in that town.
10 "I held a meeting with the most responsible
11 people in Brcko (the president of the Municipality, the
12 president of the Executive Board and the deputy in the
13 Assembly of Republika Srpska). I checked and
14 ascertained that in the immediate vicinity of the town
15 (a suburb) there are five mass graves where a total of
16 226 people are buried, of whom 17 died of natural
17 causes. These people died during combat activities in
18 Brcko. Since there was the danger of an epidemic,
19 these people were buried with religious rites at the
20 said sites, at least according to their statements.
21 The relevant services of the Interior Ministry and
22 other services carried out the identification of the
23 dead people on several occasions.
24 "Documentation is enclosed herewith.
25 "On that occasion, I learned that in the
1 Brcko area there was a mass grave containing the bodies
2 of 36 Serbian fighters. It is assumed that there are
3 also mass graves of Muslims who buried their fighters
4 during the retreat.
5 "I suggested, and those present agreed, that
6 the said graves be put in order and marked according to
7 the regulations stipulated by the international law of
8 war; that they be fenced in, that the documentation be
9 preserved and that it be suggested to international
10 organisations, should they insist, that the exhumation
11 of corpses, their identification and the determination
12 of the causes of death be carried out in the presence
13 of an international arbitration commission and
14 representatives of both warring parties."
15 Q. Insofar as this report says at the previous
16 page in the English version, and at the foot of that
17 page, that people in the graves died during combat and
18 were buried in accordance with religious rites, how
19 does that fit with the photographs of how the bodies
20 were deposited in the grave, the evidence of the
21 findings of the bullet holes in the heads, or the rest
22 of the evidence that we have presented to this
24 A. To me, it doesn't fit with people having died
25 in combat activities. Indeed, some of the bodies
1 removed, I think we have evidence, they were actually
2 killed after being interned in the Luka camp. The
3 wounds on some of the bodies did not indicate that they
4 were a result of combat activities, and I think the
5 photograph of the bodies being dumped in the grave that
6 we attended indicate that there weren't religious rites
7 being observed at that time.
8 Q. He says in that same passage that he met the
9 most responsible people in Brcko and then sets out some
10 office holders. Just yes or no to this question: Do
11 you now know by name any of those office holders or
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. NICE: May we go into private session
15 very briefly?
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in
17 private session.
18 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 MR. NICE: Thank you.
2 Q. May we now go to tab 6, and is this the first
3 of the documents that were annexed to Avlijas' report
4 and authenticated by him?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tab 6 perhaps needs just a little
7 clarification. It is a small piece of paper, which we
8 can see in the original at the first page of tab 6,
9 which is translated simply in the English version that
10 is on the ELMO, in the French version at 00686293. It
11 is the passage to be found in the top right-hand
12 corner, and the rest of the page was a separate sheet.
13 It's simply the way the document has been dealt with.
14 This single sheet of paper read that "From 1
15 May 1992 to 10 July 1992, buried in a mass grave were
16 216 persons in total, 103 identified, 8 died of natural
17 causes," and there were "9 female bodies. As of 10
18 July 1992, the people killed were buried at a cemetery,
19 properly marked and with religious rites."
20 So that's simply a piece of paper that was
21 part of this report.
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. If we then go to tab 7, do we find the first
24 of several lists associated with the report, and it may
25 help just briefly to look at the original of this, the
1 first sheet of this, just on this occasion.
2 We see that there were lists by number.
3 Sometimes there are names given with other details;
4 sometimes, as we're going to see when we look at the
5 translations, there were no details given. But the
6 original version itself had names and some details on
7 it; is that right, Mr. Ralston?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. So if we look at then, for the convenience of
10 non-speakers of B/C/S, the English version, the French
11 version following at 00686293, do we find a document
12 dated the 5th of May, 1992, and then the first 16
13 names -- sorry, the first 16 items are names, the
14 remaining 17 to 33 are simply described as an unknown
15 person, either female or male, of a particular age?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. The Chamber may see on this document some
18 familiar surnames at any event.
19 If we turn then to tab 8, we are going to see
20 effectively a similar format, although there has been
21 some overcopying from one page to the next, but the
22 original document is a separate sheet for the 6th of
23 May and contains 14 items. The English and French
24 versions --
25 MR. NICE: I think something has gone wrong
1 with the French version, for which I apologise.
2 I'm very grateful to Ms. Reynders, who is
3 always on top of the material.
4 Q. In the French version, at page 686294, the
5 Chamber is concerned with the first 15 names only, and
6 these are names, or at least there are 13 names, dated
7 the 6th of May, and two unidentified bodies.
8 A. Yes. There are 15 items on the list, but
9 there are two number 14s on the original.
10 Q. Right. Thank you very much.
11 Number 9, tab number 9 is a longer list,
12 going up to 169. The English version starts at 4613,
13 the French version at 6294. As we can see, there are
14 sequentially lists for the 6th of May, the 9th of May,
15 a very long list, the 10th of May, the 11th of May, and
16 then shorter lists between the 12th of May and the
17 4th -- I beg your pardon, the 10th of July, eventually
18 the 30th of June and the 10th of July?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I have almost
21 concluded what I wished to ask this witness. I simply
22 note the time.
23 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] What do you
24 want to ask? I see there is one more document, number
25 10. Do you have questions to ask after that?
1 MR. NICE: Yes, I should deal with that as
3 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] But after this
4 document, are you finished or do you have other
5 questions to ask?
6 MR. NICE: No. I will be finished after this
8 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 Then we are going to finish. I think that would be
10 better. We can begin the cross-examination after the
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. Turn, please, then to tab 10 and just tell us
14 about that document, if you can. This is a document
15 dated the 12th of May of 1992, so it's in the middle of
16 or immediately after the events with which we are
17 immediately concerned.
18 A. This document comes out of the Official
19 Gazette from the Republika Srpska National Assembly. I
20 think the significant point on this document is point
21 2, which sets out that one of the strategic objectives
22 or priorities of the Serbian people in Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina is to "set up a corridor between Semberija
24 and Krajina."
25 Semberija and Krajina are the two areas
1 adjacent to the Posavina corridor on the western side
2 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the eastern side of
4 MR. NICE: That does conclude all I need to
5 ask of this witness.
6 The Chamber will recall at an earlier stage
7 that we've heard that some of the names of victims
8 known to this Court through evidence are also to be
9 found on those lists. If it would be helpful, I can
10 pinpoint them for you immediately after the
12 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] It's almost
13 five after one. I want to thank the interpreters, of
14 course, and we will resume at 2.30 for the
16 Court stands adjourned.
17 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] We will now
3 resume the hearing.
4 Please have the accused brought in, and be
6 [The accused entered court]
7 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Everybody is
8 here. Does everybody hear me?
9 All right. We can begin the
10 cross-examination of the chief of the investigating
11 department at the OTP.
12 Mr. Greaves, please proceed.
13 MR. GREAVES: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Greaves:
15 Q. Mr. Ralston, can I just go to, if I may call
16 it, your report, your witness summary, at paragraph 6,
17 please. I just want to deal with a couple of details,
18 fairly quickly, of historical matters.
19 In that paragraph, you describe Brcko. Is
20 this also right, that Brcko actually fell within the
21 state which was set up by the German occupiers, the
22 State of Croatia at that time?
23 A. That's not within my knowledge.
24 Q. As far as paragraph -- also paragraph 6, the
25 atrocities to which you refer in there were not only
1 directed by -- I'm sorry. Let me just put this again.
2 They were not only just Serb atrocities at that stage,
3 the Croatians were also involved in anti-Muslim
4 atrocities; is that right?
5 A. As I understand it, no, that it was basically
6 Serb atrocities towards -- there were Serb atrocities
7 towards Muslims, and there were Croatian atrocities
8 towards Serbs.
9 Q. And indeed there's a monument at Luka
10 facility, you may be aware of this, which deals with
11 Croatian atrocities against the Serbs?
12 A. Yes, I believe that's right.
13 Q. The Muslims at that stage didn't form part of
14 the Ustasha regime; is that right?
15 A. They didn't form part of the regime, but as I
16 understand it, there were Muslims who were part of the
18 Q. The unit which you've referred to as the
19 Handzar division, that in fact, for sake of clarity,
20 was in fact an SS division, wearing and supported by
21 the SS organisation; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And they carried out widespread and
24 significant atrocities against the Serbs in the latter
25 part of the war?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Paragraph 8, please. You have dealt with the
3 importance of Brcko, and I just want to add one or two
4 matters to that, if I may, please.
5 It's right, isn't it, that Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 lacks, on the Adriatic coast, any real port which it
7 could use?
8 A. It has access to the coast in one very small
10 Q. Yes. It's a very small, tiny port, not the
11 sort of port that you would use for large amounts of
13 A. I'm not sure whether you could or you
14 couldn't, but it is a very limited area.
15 Q. Yes. That limitation enhances, does it not,
16 the importance of Brcko as a strategic location to the
17 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
18 A. Yes, it does.
19 Q. The alternative route which you have
20 described for exports and imports, so effectively going
21 around the area occupied by the Republika Srpska, if
22 that was the only one available, it would make
23 importing and exporting to Eastern Europe an almost
24 unrealistic, uneconomic proposition, would it not?
25 A. I don't know if it would make it unrealistic
1 or uneconomic. It would certainly make it more
2 difficult and more time-consuming.
3 Q. The importance of Brcko led, did it not, to
4 the establishment of an international arbitration
5 commission to determine its future?
6 A. I don't think it's correct to say the
7 importance of Brcko led to that. It was the one area
8 that they were unable to settle in the Dayton
9 Agreements, and so -- because both parties to that
10 agreement claimed rights to Brcko, and that's what led
11 up to the arbitration.
12 Q. But both sides were anxious to have it,
13 weren't they?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In that sense, because both sides were
16 anxious to have it and weren't prepared to agree on it
17 at Dayton, it became important because of that, didn't
19 A. I don't think I would agree with you in terms
20 when you said it was important. It was, it was
21 important to both sides, and both sides wanted to have
23 Q. You set out --
24 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Excuse me. I'm
25 losing the interpretation here.
1 All right, please proceed. Yes, the French
2 booth is back in business.
3 MR. GREAVES: Sorry, Your Honour. Mine has
4 gone very faint for a moment.
5 Q. You set out, Mr. Ralston, in your summary,
6 the advantages to each side. Those, in essence, are
7 the reasons why people were not prepared to agree to
8 give it to the other side and why it was sufficiently
9 important for it to be put to an international
10 commission; would you accept that?
11 A. I think they are some of the reasons. I
12 think one of the other reasons was that some of the
13 non-Serb population were the majority in that area
14 prior to the conflict, and they wanted to resettle in
15 that area, and had the area come under Serb control,
16 they viewed at that stage it would be very difficult.
17 And on the Serb side, on the other hand, I believe that
18 they were of the view that they had to control that,
19 and if 55 per cent of the population was Muslim, they
20 wouldn't be able to control that part of it.
21 Q. The result of that commission, I think, came
22 out in the spring of this year, and it's now, I think,
23 a 20-year international control has been recommended.
24 A. That's, in essence, what's occurred.
25 Q. The process by which the commission conducted
1 its work, was it, in part, by receiving evidence from
2 the various parties?
3 A. I believe that's correct.
4 Q. Would you agree with this? And if you don't
5 know the answer, please tell us. Was it right that
6 part of the case laid before the commission by
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina sought to demonstrate, to prove,
8 that genocide had, in fact, taken place in Brcko?
9 A. I haven't read the case they put forward, so
10 that's outside my knowledge.
11 Q. All right. Can you help us, please, about
12 this? It may be just a matter of phraseology. If you
13 look, please, at paragraph 13(1), the final two lines,
14 please, in the English version you refer to the
15 "greater Serbian nations", with the words "greater"
16 and "nations" having lower case and not capitals.
17 Could you just explain that phrase, please?
18 A. I think what we're getting at there, they
19 were basically -- there was a move to have all Serb
20 territory in one body as part of Serbia, if you like,
21 but you had the autonomous region of Serbian Krajina in
22 Croatia, you had the Republika Srpska in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then you had Serbia and as part
24 of the Republic of Yugoslavia, and it's the combination
25 of those three.
1 Q. I now take you to what in the English version
2 is page 4, and it's part of paragraph 14, and you go
3 into some subparagraphs which are not numbered. Do you
4 see that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. On page 4, the second of those, and I'll just
7 read it out, if I may.
8 "In the spring of 1992, Serb members of the
9 local government demanded that Brcko be divided into
10 three areas, including an exclusive Serb section. The
11 Serbian insistence led to negotiations between the
13 Were you aware of the context in which that
14 took place which -- namely this, that about six weeks
15 before fighting broke out, there had been a meeting in
16 Lisbon of the various political leaders of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina; were you aware of that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. That was a meeting sponsored by and under the
20 auspices of the European Community?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Was a declaration signed at that meeting by
23 all the parties, and by that I mean the parties from
24 the various ethnic groups, a declaration was signed
25 which set out the principles for the future
1 constitutional arrangements for Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. I'm not sure whether it was signed by all of
3 the parties. I'd have to refresh my memory from the
4 document, if you have it.
5 Q. But you would accept that what was being
6 discussed were the principles for the future
7 constitutional arrangements?
8 A. I think the discussions were based on a
9 learning conflict, and there were some rather-pressing
10 resolutions put forward which were seen to be averted.
11 I think the critical thing is that didn't -- what was
12 resolved at the Lisbon conference ultimately didn't
14 Q. I accept that, but would you accept this,
15 that the broad proposition was for sovereign rule
16 within its current borders, there being separate
17 political entities and institutions for each national
18 ethnic unit?
19 A. No, I wouldn't accept that without reference
20 to the document. I think that there was a complex
21 proceeding, there was a complex document, so -- and
22 it's not a document I've seen in recent times, so --
23 Q. Would you accept that it was, in fact,
24 subsequently and shortly thereafterwards [sic]
25 repudiated by Alija Izetbegovic?
1 A. I'm sure it was repudiated by Alija
2 Izetbegovic or his parliament.
3 Q. The paragraph on the next page, the top
4 paragraph, please, Mr. Ralston, you refer there to
5 Bosnian Muslim men with light arms. By "light arms",
6 do you mean modern military light arms?
7 A. A range of things from shotguns and rifles.
8 Their access to modern military equipment was extremely
9 limited, from the information that I have.
10 Q. Can we then go, please, to the next paragraph
11 but one, and you use the phrase there "began to
12 ethnically cleanse non-Serbs from Brcko hamlets and
13 neighbourhoods". Could you give us your definition,
14 please, of "ethnic cleansing"?
15 A. What I mean by that statement there is that
16 the Serb forces would go from house to house and
17 basically force the non-Serb population out of their
18 homes. If they didn't go voluntarily, it wasn't
19 uncommon for people to be ill-treated or even killed.
20 Q. Can I put to you a series of stages, which
21 you may or may not agree with as being a proper
22 reflection of the generality of these incidents?
23 Firstly, forced evacuation of the civilian population
24 as stage 1; would you accept that?
25 A. Whether it's stage 1 or not, but it's
1 certainly a characteristic.
2 Q. Then followed by the collection of those
3 evacuees in various locations, often, for example, in
4 Brcko, the barracks, or whatever?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Then after that, the separating out from
7 those collective people of women, children, and men of
8 military age.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And also of people of Serb ethnicity who
11 considered themselves Serb nationals.
12 A. I don't think people of Serb ethnicity were
13 caught up in the first place.
14 Q. We've heard some evidence in the case,
15 Mr. Ralston, about people of Serb nationality having
16 been separated from these groups.
17 A. It's not that -- that's not within my
18 knowledge, from the material that I've read.
19 Q. The next stage was the evacuation of --
20 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Could you speak
21 a little more slowly, please, a little bit of delay in
22 between the questions and the answers? Thank you.
23 MR. GREAVES:
24 Q. As a next --
25 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Yes, I know
1 it's fast. Please proceed. Let the interpreter finish
2 interpreting your question. Is everybody up to where
3 we have to be?
4 MR. GREAVES:
5 Q. As a next stage, Mr. Ralston, the evacuation
6 of those women, children, and men of military age to
7 locations away from Brcko, often in areas controlled by
8 Bosnian Muslim authorities.
9 A. No, I don't agree with that.
10 Q. Again, we've heard evidence in the case about
11 people being moved to various towns, some of them
12 controlled or behind Muslim lines, but you're --
13 A. Yes, some people were. But in your question,
14 you included every category of person we were talking
15 about, and quite clearly, not every category of person
16 was evacuated to behind military -- or to
17 Muslim-controlled areas.
18 Q. Which group of those do you say were not, in
19 fact, evacuated?
20 A. Particularly, men between the ages of, say,
21 15 and 60.
22 Q. Yes. It may be that I didn't ask the
23 question right, and I see that I didn't. I apologise.
24 Let me just make it plain what I was suggesting.
25 The evacuation of women and children and men
1 of non-military age -- it's my fault entirely for a
2 sloppy question, Mr. Ralston -- would you accept that
3 as a proposition, that those groups were evacuated to
4 various places?
5 A. Some of them were.
6 Q. Some were allowed to return to their homes?
7 A. I believe so.
8 Q. Thereafter, there was a continued detention
9 of men of military age, and many of those, but not all,
10 were in fact released.
11 A. Some were released, and they were
12 subsequently recaptured, I believe.
13 Q. Of those who were not released, it's plain
14 that some were killed, but those who were not killed
15 and who remained in detention were subsequently moved
16 to a place called Batkovic; do you accept that?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. Batkovic was then, in turn, subsequently
19 closed and people were either released or exchanged.
20 A. Batkovic operated for a considerable time
21 after these events. I think it may have been operated
22 up until 1994, but then from Batkovic, there were
23 prisoner exchanges, and ultimately it was closed.
24 Q. Would you accept this: There was a period in
25 May 1992 when the entire Muslim or Bosniak population
1 of Brcko was either detained by or under the control of
2 the Serbs?
3 A. I think it's difficult to say that the entire
4 population was detained or controlled by, but certainly
5 a very large percentage of it was.
6 Q. What would you say "a very large percentage"
7 is; 90, 80 per cent?
8 A. In that realm, I believe.
9 Q. If there was a plan to destroy all or a large
10 and significant part of that population, the Serbs at
11 that time were in a position to carry that out, weren't
13 A. Yes, I believe they were.
14 Q. In fact, the reality is, is it not, that the
15 large majority of the population were, in due course,
16 either released or exchanged; would you accept that?
17 A. Yes. A lot were released; a lot were
18 exchanged in return for prisoners of Serb ethnicity.
19 Q. And not killed as part of a plan to destroy,,
20 in whole or in part, the Muslim population, were they?
21 A. Obviously, those that were released weren't
22 killed, but there were many who weren't released who
23 were killed.
24 Q. If, on the other hand, there was a plan to
25 kill all males of a reproductive age, again in large
1 part, that group was either captive or under the
2 control of the Serbian authorities, wasn't it?
3 A. There was a large proportion of that
4 population that were.
5 Q. And available for destruction if there was
6 such a plan; would you accept that?
7 A. Yes, I would.
8 Q. In fact, it's right, isn't it, that a large
9 majority of those people forming that group were, after
10 their detention in Batkovic, subsequently, as you've
11 told us, released or exchanged; that's right, isn't it?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Again, would you accept this proposition: If
14 what was taking place in Brcko in May or June 1992 was
15 a plan to destroy, in whole or in part, the Muslims,
16 all those who were being released or exchanged would be
17 potential witnesses to give evidence about that plan,
18 wouldn't they?
19 A. No, I wouldn't agree with that proposition.
20 Q. Why not?
21 A. I can't put myself inside their minds or know
22 what their state of knowledge about what the Serb
23 authorities proposed to do was.
24 Q. The report that you got from -- I'll remind
25 myself of his name -- Mr. Avlijas points initially to
1 one of those parts about Brcko, to an allegation of
2 2.500 being killed?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. But, in fact, the extent of bodies in graves
5 that we can point to, would you accept, is 226?
6 A. The extent of bodies in graves that
7 Mr. Avlijas refers to is 226. I'm unable to say that
8 that is the full total or not.
9 Q. That is the maximum number of bodies
10 discovered which can be demonstrated as having
11 potentially been killed in the relevant period, isn't
12 it, Mr. Ralston?
13 A. Sorry. You said that the maximum -- could
14 you repeat your question, please?
15 Q. Two-hundred and twenty-six is the maximum
16 number of bodies that have been discovered which can be
17 demonstrated as having potentially been killed at the
18 relevant period, isn't it?
19 A. I don't know whether it is the maximum number
20 of bodies that have been discovered. There are various
21 organisations that are involved in recovering bodies.
22 That's what's recovered in that report. I believe
23 there's evidence of what we uncovered in an exhumation
24 that the OTP conducted. There are various other people
25 who are reported as missing who aren't detailed in
1 these documents. So I can't say whether that's the
2 maximum number of bodies.
3 Q. Of those 226, some are reported as having
4 died of natural causes; do you accept that?
5 A. That's what the document says.
6 Q. Let's assume for the moment that 226 is the
7 extent of the killings at the relevant period. Would
8 you accept that that would represent, of the Muslims of
9 Brcko town, about 1 per cent of its 1991 population?
10 A. There are a number of assumptions in there
11 which -- firstly, I don't agree with your first
12 assumption, so it's very difficult to follow on to the
13 assumption that you're concluding with. If you're
14 asking for a mathematical equation, is 226 1 per cent
15 of however many thousand it is, my math isn't that good
16 straightaway, but it may well be.
17 Q. Would you help us about this, please: You've
18 used a word which can cover many things in describing
19 the numbers of deaths overall in Bosnia-Herzegovina;
20 the phrase you used was "thousands."
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Would you please be more specific as to what
23 you claim you are talking about?
24 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Just a moment,
25 please. Let the interpreter interpret the question,
1 please; otherwise, it's very disturbing because I can't
2 follow any -- at least as regards the French booth.
3 MR. GREAVES: Your Honour, we aren't getting
4 the same messages that you are getting, so we don't
5 know that someone is saying to you, "Please go more
6 slowly." I'm not hearing that.
7 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I understand.
8 It was not a criticism I was making of you. I was just
9 thinking about my own comfort and, of course, the
10 comfort of the interpreters. Please proceed. Would
11 you ask your question again?
12 Let me ask the French booth to do it again,
14 MR. GREAVES:
15 Q. Can you remember the question, Mr. Ralston?
16 A. If I go back, you're asking me how I arrive
17 at the figure of thousands and can I be more specific.
18 I think it's an unfortunate feature of this
19 conflict that nobody has got a definite picture of how
20 many people perished. There are claims, in relation to
21 Muslim deaths, by Bosnian government officials of up to
22 200.000. I think there are currently in the vicinity
23 of 20.000 people still reported as missing by the
25 In the course of statements we have taken,
1 and we, by no means, have covered every municipality or
2 every village in every municipality in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina or in Republika Srpska, but from the
4 locations that we have dealt with, I think they're
5 around 3.000 people who have been recorded as
7 Q. Can I ask you this, please, would you accept
8 this as a proposition: that if you wanted to persuade
9 large numbers of people to either leave or to flee an
10 area, that disseminating wide-spread knowledge of
11 murders and beatings would act as a strong persuasive
12 reason for people to leave?
13 A. If it was disseminated in such a manner as
14 the people believed the threat was real.
15 Q. And would you agree with this: that by
16 releasing large numbers of people who had either
17 witnessed killings and so on or had heard from
18 witnesses to such incidents, that is one effective way
19 of making such knowledge wide-spread?
20 A. Yes, I would agree with that.
21 Q. Paragraph 14, page 5, fourth paragraph down
22 on that page, Mr. Ralston.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Just as a general proposition, and this is
25 not intended to suggest that killings and beatings are
1 legitimate in any way, but would you accept that
2 internment is a legitimate measure often taken by
3 states in time of war?
4 A. I think there are some very clear guidelines
5 in the international law that deal with that
7 Q. Of course, and that's why I didn't mean to
8 suggest that the killings and so on were part of the
9 legitimacy of that. Let me make that absolutely
10 plain. Just answer the question: Is internment a
11 legitimate measure often taken by states when faced
12 with war?
13 A. I can't answer that question.
14 Q. You were asked about the establishment of the
15 facility at Luka. What you have in your report, as
16 opposed to the phrase "around the 7th or 8th of May,"
17 the phrase you use in your report is "which was
18 established on the 7th or 8th of May, 1992." Do you
19 accept that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Just simply, as far as the final subparagraph
22 of that paragraph 14 is concerned, and this is simply
23 to make it clear, it is not accepted that any killings
24 were solely on the basis of ethnicity, and so we
25 disagree on that.
1 Paragraph 15, Mr. Ralston, the second part of
2 that paragraph, you refer to activities of the Serb
3 forces and a pattern being established. It's right,
4 isn't it, that similar operations were carried out in
5 Bosnia by other warring parties; would you accept that?
6 A. I don't think the pattern was exactly the
7 same, no.
8 Q. The pattern may not have been exactly the
9 same, but similar operations were conducted, for
10 example, in the Konjic area, Bradina was occupied in a
11 very similar sort of way and people expelled from it;
12 do you accept that?
13 A. I don't know the answer to that.
14 Q. Can we turn now, please, to the documents?
15 If you can go to tab number 1, and just as a general
16 comment about the -- or general observation about the
17 documents as a whole, the sort of documents that we see
18 here, planning documents, have you seen similar
19 documents that were prepared by other parties into the
20 various conflicts that took place?
21 A. No, I haven't.
22 Q. As far as tab number 1 is concerned, looking
23 at the top part of the document, it says this:
24 "Because of the danger of the party's
25 bureaucratisation and self-congratulatory isolation
1 within a circle of the party's officials separated from
2 the people, the President ... issues the following ..."
3 Would you accept that that is sound, good
4 advice for any political party wishing to remain in
5 contact with its grass-root members?
6 A. I think the wording is there for the Court to
7 make its own decision on as to what that means.
8 Q. Would you accept that that is what -- that
9 the requirement in that document is for people to be in
10 touch with those on the ground?
11 A. That's the requirement, yes.
12 Q. To stay in contact with 10 to 20 houses.
13 A. Yes. Yes, further than that but ...
14 Q. Of course, but that's one element of it,
15 isn't it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And it's expressed in that top paragraph as
18 being the objective behind the document; would you
19 accept that?
20 A. No, I'm not clear on what you're getting at
21 there. I'm sorry.
22 Q. Well, the stated purpose of the document is
23 that which I read out, in other words, recognising the
24 danger of the party becoming separated from the people,
25 the instructions are issued because of that danger,
1 and, therefore, the objective of the document as a
2 whole is to ensure that people remain in touch with the
3 grass roots. That's the effect of that, isn't it?
4 A. I think it could be interpreted in that way,
5 or it could also be interpreted as being an awareness
6 that if they don't keep in contact with the people and
7 through the local boards, they may not necessarily be
8 as attuned as to what's going on. But, to me, what
9 that means is that they want to have communications
10 with what's going on on the ground.
11 Q. Tab 2, Mr. Ralston, the document of the 19th
12 of December, 1991, would you look to page 2, please,
13 paragraph 1, subparagraph 1? Does that speak of the
14 tasks and so on set out in the instructions, "will be
15 carried out within the national community of the Serb
16 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to implement
17 the plebiscite decision whereby the Serb people in
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to live in a single
19 state both in the existing conditions and circumstances
20 and all those that may arise, bearing in mind the
21 development of the entire political and security
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Firstly, can you help me about this: About
25 two months before that, is it right that there had been
1 a move in parliament by the SDA and the HDZ to pursue
2 the issue of independence and sovereignty for
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. You don't know. I see. It's plain at this
6 stage, the Bosnian Serbs are aspiring to statehood.
7 Would you accept that that's an influence which might
8 properly be drawn from that paragraph?
9 A. That's an inference, yes.
10 Q. Would you accept that the sort of measures
11 that are set out in these documents are measures which
12 might typically be taken by an aspirant state?
13 A. It's difficult for me to say what an aspirant
14 state would do.
15 Q. At tab 3, Mr. Ralston, please, Bijeljina,
16 which is supposed to be one of the municipal centres,
17 would you accept that that is an important town in its
18 own right?
19 A. Yes, I would accept that.
20 Q. And it forms the centre of the Semberija
21 region, which is the agricultural region at that
22 northeastern corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 A. That's the area, yes.
24 Q. Can I ask you now, please, about your report,
25 paragraphs 22 and 23? Can you just remind me, how long
1 have you been the chief investigator for the OTP?
2 A. Since April 1998.
3 Q. Dealing with the killings and so on and the
4 setting up of camps, again just in the interests of a
5 degree of historical balance, the Serbs were not the
6 only people who were setting up such camps or the only
7 people who were engaging in killings, were they?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Indeed, one of the trials before this
10 Tribunal has involved a camp set up by Muslim
11 authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. Paragraphs 25 and 26, please. You discuss
14 there the targeting of Bosnian, Muslim, and Croat
15 intellectuals, professional, political, and religious
16 leaders. Have you undertaken any investigation at all
17 into the degree to which other parties, other than the
18 SDA, such as the SDP, the Reform Coalition, and the
19 MBO, firstly had Muslim members and, secondly, the
20 extent to which those Muslims were targeted, or not?
21 A. I haven't separated the people out from those
22 parties. I'm aware that some from the MBO were
24 Q. Finally dealing, please, with the mass
25 graves, you are reliant on essentially secondhand
1 information in relation to those identifications that
2 were made; is that right?
3 A. If you're referring to identifications that
4 were made as a result of investigation work that we've
5 done, I'm relying on reports that have been prepared
6 and presented to me.
7 Q. No, I'm not referring to that. I'm referring
8 to the identifications set out in the lists which are
9 attached to the documents we've got.
10 A. Yes. Umm --
11 Q. Those are at secondhand, that information.
12 Would you accept that?
13 A. Certainly secondhand when it comes to me.
14 Q. You cannot say and cannot demonstrate if the
15 identifications which are made therein -- either how
16 they came to be made or if they were accurate; would
17 you accept that?
18 A. I can't say how they arrived at the material
19 they put in there. Some of the work that our staff
20 have done subsequent have confirmed some of those
22 Q. You can't say on what date the documents,
23 which are the lists, on what date those documents were
25 A. No, I can't.
1 Q. Or for what purpose they were created?
2 A. No, I can't.
3 Q. Or by whom they were created?
4 A. I would have to check the documents again, I
5 think. My recollection in relation to these documents
6 is that they were documents --
7 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] What document
8 are you talking about, Mr. Greaves? Could you
9 clarify? What document are you referring to; the lists
10 which are in Exhibit 69, or are you referring to List
11 12 or, rather, Exhibit 12 or 13? What lists are you
12 referring to?
13 MR. GREAVES: The lists which this witness
14 has produced as part of his evidence. In other words,
15 the lists that you first mentioned. I don't think this
16 witness has given any evidence at all about Exhibit 12
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Quite. That is
19 why I wanted to be sure. Thank you very much.
20 MR. GREAVES:
21 Q. The lists which we have been talking about,
22 Mr. Ralston, is it your understanding that where the
23 date appears, for example, "6th of May", "9th of May",
24 that purports to be the date on which deaths took place
25 or something else?
1 A. That's the date on the top of the document.
2 Whether it's the date the deaths took place or whether
3 it was the date they were recorded, I'm in no position
4 to answer that.
5 Q. Finally, Mr. Ralston, paragraph 33 of your
7 MR. GREAVES: Your Honour, I wonder if we
8 might just go into private session, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are now in
10 private session.
11 [Private session]
13 page 2277 redacted – private session
13 page 2278 redacted – private session
13 page 2279 redacted – private session
15 [Open session]
16 MR. NICE: Could you please, Mr. Ralston,
17 take your bundle of documents, and I'm going to ask you
18 to put a finger in two different pages. For those
19 reading in the French, it's towards the back of the
20 bundle, about six pages, seven pages -- no, eight or
21 nine pages in, and it's page 6294 in the top right-hand
22 corner. For those following in English, and this can
23 be put on the ELMO, it would be page 584614.
24 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Will you please
25 do that, usher. Thank you, thank you. I have found
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. This is one of the pages, if you're looking
4 at 4614 in the English, and also keeping an 6294 in the
5 French, this is the translation of one of the pages of
6 names provided to you by Avlijas in his report; is that
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. If we -- and you've been asked questions
10 about its reliability or unreliability and so on. If
11 we look at, on 614, that's the English, the second name
12 down, which is number 3, on the French if we look in
13 about the middle of the page under the 9th of May, do
14 we, in each case, find Hasan Jasarevic, son of Salih,
15 born on the 10th of December, 1961, and is that a name
16 in respect of which this defendant has, in fact,
17 pleaded guilty?
18 A. I don't know the answer to that. I'm sorry.
19 Q. It's a matter of record.
20 If we go down further on the same pages to
21 the number 13 on each case, Suad Hadzic, born on the
22 30th of September, 1956, again is that a name -- and
23 again these are examples only -- in respect of which
24 this defendant has pleaded guilty?
25 A. Again, I'm aware of the fact the defendant
1 has pleaded guilty in relation to some people, but the
2 names, I don't know.
3 Q. Very well. But staying in the same place on
4 those two pages, if we go on two further names to
5 number 15, do we see a male body, aged about 45, Ahmet
6 Hodzic, also known as Papa?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So whether or not you know of what happened
9 to Papa or whether he was covered in the evidence, is
10 this an example of these lists, by whomsoever they were
11 compiled, using nicknames?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. If you've looked at the list in detail
14 recently, can you recall whether there may be other
15 examples of nicknames used in the compilation of these
17 A. Yes, there are.
18 Q. You've been asked about the reliability of
19 Avlijas' figure of 2.500, and you've been asked about
20 issues of propaganda and so on, or the dissemination of
21 information for purposes of moving populations and so
22 on. At the time that this report was provided to you,
23 can you think of any reason why Avlijas should
24 overstate the number of people in the graves at Brcko?
25 A. No, I can't.
1 Q. On that topic, mass graves, some five were
2 opened in Brcko, and of those, one had plainly been
3 robbed and one was either empty because it had been
4 emptied or because it had never been used. But do you
5 know if that was the totality of the suspected sites of
6 mass graves at Brcko or if there were other suspected
8 A. I don't believe that was the total of
9 suspected sites.
10 Q. Locating sites of mass graves in communities
11 like this, notwithstanding the presence in the towns of
12 people who must have been there at the relevant times,
13 is it an easy task, a middling task, or a difficult
15 A. It's a difficult task.
16 Q. Even to identify?
17 A. Even to identify.
18 Q. Let's turn to questions that you were asked
19 about the numbers who did not die and who survived.
20 At the time of the stopping of the killings
21 in Brcko, can you help us with what was the state of
22 international awareness of what was going on there?
23 A. Can you be more specific with the date range
24 you're talking about?
25 Q. Yes. This is towards the 14th, 15th of May,
1 17th maybe.
2 A. At that time, international awareness to the
3 state of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina was raised
4 to such an extent that various members of the UNPROFOR,
5 which had commenced to set up its establishment in
6 Sarajevo, withdrew to Bosnia, so -- withdrew to
7 Belgrade. I think it's fair to say that at that stage,
8 the International Community became far more aware about
9 what was going on in the various areas of Bosnia and
11 Q. One other topic on this very issue that's
12 been raised in evidence by a witness and upon which
13 your comment might be helpful, in light of the
14 questions that have been asked, was to the effect that
15 there may at that time have been Serb prisoners who
16 were themselves captive and were, if I can put it in
17 this way, ripe for exchange, and that there was
18 therefore a need for live prisoners to exchange. Do
19 you have any comment on that?
20 A. I'm not sure that the need and the heightened
21 awareness of having prisoners for exchange came about
22 at the start of my or sometime after my -- when the
23 situation of prisoner exchanges became, I think,
24 somewhat more regular.
25 Q. Forget, for the time being, Brcko, but focus
1 simply on the rest of your evidence which dealt with
2 the area generally. Was the stopping of killing by any
3 side, not just the Serbs, was the stopping of killing
4 ever associated with the need to have live prisoners
5 for exchange, or is that simply someone's theory that
6 we should discount?
7 A. I don't know -- I don't think it's a theory
8 you can discount. I don't think it's a proven fact,
9 either. What we are aware of anecdotally is that at
10 particular stages, it became useful to have prisoners
11 to exchange.
12 Q. Thank you. Questions were put to you about a
13 part of a group being killed. They were, in a sense,
14 perhaps, legal questions which will have to be
15 addressed by the Chamber in due course. But arising
16 from the questions that you were asked, just this:
17 Notwithstanding the numbers that may have
18 been released, of those who were killed, were there
19 common denominators amongst those killed? Were there
20 special selection criteria for those who were killed,
21 in your experience?
22 A. It appears to me that there were.
23 Q. Namely?
24 A. People in prominent positions, intellectuals,
25 community leaders, people with higher education.
1 Q. Then finally as a matter of detail, in the
2 course of his questions of you about ethnic cleansing,
3 Mr. Greaves used the word "evacuation", and you
4 responded to it without querying its use. But just so
5 that we can get our terminology right, is "evacuation"
6 an appropriate synonym for "ethnic cleansing", in your
7 judgement, or not? What word, if any, would you
8 choose, if not "evacuation"?
9 A. The words I would use would be "forcible
11 MR. NICE: That concludes my re-examination
12 of this witness.
13 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Judge Riad, do you have any questions?
15 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Thank you,
16 Mr. President.
17 [In English] Good afternoon, Mr. Ralston.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE RIAD: On the procedure, you're helping
20 me to see what lays through the thrust of your
21 testimony without going into many details.
22 You mentioned, almost at the outset, that on
23 the 3rd of May, the paramilitary and the JNA and others
24 ethnically cleansed their own Serbs from certain areas,
25 which brings us to the issue of cleansing.
1 You mentioned that killing was not an
2 uncommon procedure in cleansing. I'm rather familiar
3 with the other English statement. Would that mean that
4 killing was a normal method of cleansing?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE RIAD: It was. It was a normal method
7 of cleansing.
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Then coming to the question of
10 the Prosecutor, when he mentioned the deportation or
11 forced transfer, which of these methods were used more
13 A. Forced transfer where people were forced
14 across what became the confrontation line to the other
15 side of the territory, then in subsequent times, when
16 the International Community became more aware, people
17 were then transferred into other countries and not
18 internally into Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 JUDGE RIAD: So priority was given to
20 deportation or to killing, or was it a question of
21 time, that it changed according to the world public
23 A. It changed according to time and world public
24 opinion. In the events at the start of May, the first
25 characterisation of it was rounding up people in the
1 villages. People who were killed during that process,
2 they were incarcerated, and then it got into the
3 process of what they were going to do with the people
4 who were incarcerated. Some were beaten, some were
5 tortured, some were killed, and some were released.
6 JUDGE RIAD: Now, as far as killing is
7 concerned, you mentioned that any Muslim was targeted
8 and that thousands were subjected to killings. Was it
9 completely indiscriminate? Was it a completely
10 indiscriminate process, regardless of whether they were
11 old, young, women, children?
12 A. I don't think it was completely
13 indiscriminate. We have evidence of people being
14 called out on the basis of lists, which indicates to me
15 that there was some selectivity about it.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Which brings me to the other
17 question of the Prosecutor, because now I want to
18 reconcile the idea that you mentioned that any Muslim
19 was a target, and then there was a selection. You
20 mentioned that the selection would be the elite. So
21 was it some kind of extermination of the elite to start
23 A. I think both things happened. There were
24 people who were killed purely on the basis that they
25 were Muslim. We also have material which indicates
1 that if you are from one of the groups that I
2 mentioned, you're more likely to have been called out
3 and killed or beaten or ill-treated.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Sorry. Would you just repeat to
5 me the groups you have mentioned?
6 A. Intelligentsia, intellectuals, people with
7 higher education, prominent people, professional
8 people, community leaders.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Was there any percentage for
10 this extermination, or was it open, whether in quantity
11 or quality?
12 A. I think it was more in quality than quantity,
13 but it's difficult for me to give you a percentage
14 because the numbers are different in the different
16 JUDGE RIAD: For instance, they wouldn't say,
17 "We would like to get rid of 50 per cent of the
18 population," that sort of thing, or was it an open
20 A. I think it was an open process. I'm not
21 aware of anyone who said that they wanted to get rid of
22 "X" per cent of the population.
23 JUDGE RIAD: And the intelligentsia and the
24 elite first?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Now, just in passing, a question
2 which I didn't understand. You say some people were
3 released and then captured again.
4 A. That's correct.
5 JUDGE RIAD: What was the idea behind it?
6 A. I'm not sure why they were released, but I
7 think it's a matter of record that some of those who
8 were released were then subsequently detained again and
9 transferred -- once they were detained, taken to the
10 Batkovic camp.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Was it for reasons of exchange,
12 for instance, to prove that -- so that the others from
13 the other side, from the opposite side, could be
15 A. I don't know whether that was the reason.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Okay. Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Judge
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
20 afternoon, Mr. Ralston. I have several questions
21 regarding the lists. In order to make our dialogue
22 easier, I am following Exhibit 69/6.
23 Here, we have a translation of a document and
24 we have noticed here 616 persons in total, and then we
25 have -- 63 have been identified, 8 died of natural
1 causes, 9 were women. But if I know my arithmetic,
2 then it comes up to 120. Is there perhaps a mistake in
3 the document, or does this figure mean something else?
4 A. I think that tally does not include the
5 number of bodies that were unidentified.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Right. So
7 in one of the same documents, a distinction is made
8 before the 10th of July -- let me try to put it
9 clearer. Between the 1st of July -- no, excuse me.
10 There is a distinction between the 1st of May, 1992 and
11 the 10th of July. After the 10th of July, the document
12 says that persons -- that killed persons were buried in
13 a cemetery with a religious ceremony and that their
14 burial was indicated and that the site is known.
15 Could one conclude that before the 10th of
16 July, people were not buried with a proper religious
17 service, in a cemetery, and that their graves were not
18 indicated in any way? Is that what it means?
19 A. I think it could mean that. I think, from
20 the evidence that we have, the people that are
21 contained in the lists weren't buried in a cemetery or
22 marked with -- in marked graves or with religious
23 rites. Certainly, when we conduct an exhumation at
24 these grave sites, they are sites which were actually
25 covered in tons and tons of rubble. And none of the
1 steps report about marking the graves or that religious
2 rites had actually been carried out.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Another
4 question, Mr. Ralston. Could these dates, those
5 differences indicated by dates, could that allow us to
6 conclude that before the 10th of July, there was an
7 intent to hide the bodies?
8 A. I think that's an inference you could draw,
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Right.
11 Then I'm moving to another list, at least I'm still in
12 binder 6 and I'm referring to the list which is of the
13 5th/6th May. The first 16 persons on the list are
14 identified, or have been identified, and the rest of
15 them, that is, down to the 33rd, have not been
17 Do you believe there is a reason behind the
18 identification of the first 16 persons, and then a
19 complete lack of identification for the rest of them?
20 Do you think there is a reason behind it?
21 Excuse me. I want to ask you another
22 question. Is there a relationship between the
23 identification of persons and non-identification of
25 A. There may well be, but I don't know what the
1 relationship is or the reason why some are identified
2 and some aren't.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] My last
4 question, Mr. Ralston. There is yet another list, the
5 list with about 160 persons, and for some of them, it
6 says that they died of natural causes. The other names
7 on the list alongside those names where it is not
8 indicated that they died of natural causes, does that
9 mean that they met a violent death?
10 A. I think that's the conclusion I'd draw, if it
11 was -- if it's not of natural causes, that it would be
12 a violent death, yes. Whether it -- yes. That's
13 difficult to say.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
15 very much, Mr. Ralston.
16 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
17 Mr. Ralston. I do not have any particular questions to
18 ask you. The Tribunal wishes to thank you for placing
19 at our disposal your knowledge and your appreciation of
20 the situation.
21 Now we shall make a break, but before that --
22 don't move, Mr. Ralston -- I should like to hear from
23 Mr. Nice. What are you envisaging after Mr. Ralston's
24 testimony? Have you now completed your case or do you
25 have any more witnesses to call?
1 MR. NICE: Subject to one point I want to
2 raise about witnesses, which I should do in private
3 session, yes, we've completed our case.
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Now I have to
5 confer with my colleagues for a second.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Very well. The
8 Judges are ready to make another small effort, and I
9 hope the interpreters will not mind to hear that, but
10 first we shall have to escort Mr. Ralston, unless you
11 need Mr. Ralston's presence here.
12 MR. NICE: No, thank you. I'm happy for him
13 to leave.
14 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Lordships.
15 [The witness withdrew]
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are now
17 in private session.
18 [Private session]
13 page 2295 redacted private session
13 page 2296 redacted private session
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
17 3.54 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
18 the 8th day of November 1999 at
19 10.00 a.m.