1 Monday, 12 March 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, everyone.
7 I think we are hearing French on the English channel.
8 I think it's now okay.
9 Yes, Madam Uertz-Retzlaff. Good morning to you.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good morning, Your Honours. I just want to
11 introduce a new Prosecution staff member here in court. You can see
12 Mr. Matteo Costi from now on frequently here.
13 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, Mr. Costi.
14 If the witness take the solemn declaration, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Madam Ristic. Please make yourself
19 Mr. Nicholls.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Good morning, Your Honours.
21 WITNESS: SLAVICA RISTIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examination by Mr. Nicholls:
24 Q. Good morning, Ms. Ristic.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. As I said, I hope that my questioning of you this morning will be
2 quite brief. I'm going to talk a little bit about your interview and
3 then just a few more follow-up questions. Okay?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, do you recall that you and I met in April 2009 for the first
6 time and we had a videotaped interview at that time?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Just a couple questions about that interview. Have you reviewed
9 the written transcript of that interview?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And did you tell me recently here in The Hague that there was a
12 mistake, that Tom Fleming, it says, was a founding member of the
13 Lord Byron Society, whereas in fact that's not the case.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: That's at page 13, Your Honours.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 MR. NICHOLLS:
17 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us when you reviewed the
18 transcript, was the transcript essentially accurate of what was said
19 during the interview?
20 A. Yes, for the most part it is accurate. A few things are not
21 quite accurate because of the impossibility of translating certain
22 things. Perhaps people who worked on the transcript did not hear certain
23 names properly or something like that, but basically the gist of what I
24 tried to say was caught, if I can put it that way.
25 Q. Okay. Thank you. And if you were asked questions on the same
1 topics today, would you give us the same information? Not necessarily
2 word for word, but basically the same?
3 A. Probably, taking into account the fact that three years later my
4 memory is worse than it was in 2009.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: With that, Your Honours, I tender 22374.
7 JUDGE KWON: Ms. Ristic, was the interview conducted in English
8 or --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in English.
10 JUDGE KWON: What did you mean by saying the impossibility of
11 translating certain things?
12 THE WITNESS: Can I speak in English?
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, you can.
14 THE WITNESS: I mean, can answer the way I'm asked, so I can save
15 some translation.
16 Probably that the -- whoever was doing a transcription couldn't
17 understand exactly, for instance -- they translated the abbreviation for
18 our humanitarian organisation as SRZA instead of SRCA, it stands for
19 Serbian Refugee Committee of Arizona. Also my place of birth is Ljuta
20 and it was something else. So it's possible that the way I speak it was
21 not clear enough for them to hear exactly the names or certain words.
22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Ms. Ristic.
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
24 JUDGE KWON: Do you get English from your headphone or B/C/S?
25 You are hearing in English?
1 THE WITNESS: I'm hearing the way -- I haven't heard anybody
2 speaking Serbian so I don't know what I'm hearing. I can hear either
3 way. I can hear exactly what's said in the courtroom and it's up to you
4 to --
5 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: -- tell me how you would like me to answer.
7 JUDGE KWON: Her interview will be admitted.
8 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P4556, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honours.
11 Q. Ms. Ristic, I see you holding the headphones. Are they
12 comfortable or do you need some assistance?
13 A. [In English] No, no, they're fine. It's just ...
14 Q. Okay.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, could I deal with the associated
16 exhibits now?
17 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Is there any objection? I have -- we have --
18 you have four items?
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Correct, Your Honours. And I should say that
20 14058A is now five photographs. I've removed the irrelevant ones.
21 JUDGE KWON: Three items to tender, one agenda was already
23 I take it there's no objection?
24 MR. ROBINSON: That's correct, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE KWON: We'll admit them, though -- we'll admit them all and
1 that will be -- shall we give the number right now?
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours 65 ter number 14058A will be
3 Exhibit P4557. 65 ter number 14398 will be Exhibit P4558. And
4 65 ter number 23557 will be Exhibit P4559.
5 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Excuse me, Your Honour, there's one more -- 14059
7 which I moved to add later to the -- in a final notification. That's two
8 additional photographs.
9 JUDGE KWON: I think I missed it. That will be also admitted.
10 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P4560, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE KWON: By the way, that was also dealt with in her
12 interview, forming part of this indispensable and inseparable part?
13 Otherwise I would like you to deal with it. I haven't checked whether it
14 is the case.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: You're correct, Your Honour. They were not shown
16 in the interview because we obtained those for another witness, but they
17 were discussed. And so I will be dealing with them in any case.
18 JUDGE KWON: We'll admit them when you deal with them.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
20 I'll read the witness summary now.
21 Slavica Ristic was born in Serbia. She moved to North America in
22 1985. In the early 1990s, Ms. Ristic began working assisting refugees
23 from the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region who were arriving
24 in the United States. These people needed help. In 1994 she became
25 active in an organisation and devoted to presenting a more balanced
1 message in the media of the nature of the conflict occurring in the
2 former Yugoslavia. In July of 1995, Ms. Ristic was on vacation in Serbia
3 visiting family. On 12 July, she travelled from Belgrade to Jahorina
4 along with Srdja Trifkovic and Tomislav or Tomo or Tom Premovic. And
5 they arrived in Jahorina late at night, quite late, on the 12th of July.
6 On the following day in the afternoon, 13 July, Ms. Ristic,
7 Mr. Trifkovic and Mr. Premovic met with President Karadzic in his office
8 in Pale. During the meeting, General Ratko Mladic called and spoke on a
9 speakerphone with President Karadzic and Ms. Ristic took some photos of
10 this call. General Mladic reported on the fall of Srebrenica. The phone
11 line was scratchy, it took a long time to get the call through, and it
12 was difficult to hear, but the conclusion at the end of the call was that
13 Srebrenica was done and that it was over.
14 Late the following evening, 14 July, Ms. Ristic and Mr. Trifkovic
15 met with Mr. Karadzic or President Karadzic again in his office and they
16 watched television news reports. The following day Ms. Ristic and
17 Mr. Trifkovic returned to Serbia. That concludes the summary.
18 THE WITNESS: May I just make one correction?
19 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Your summary does not form part of your
20 evidence, but by all means, yes.
21 THE WITNESS: I was born in Bosnia in Ljuta near Konjic.
22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
23 MR. NICHOLLS:
24 Q. Thank you. I apologise for that error.
25 Just a few questions, Ms. Ristic. Could you quickly tell us your
1 educational background, the degrees you've received.
2 A. [In English] I have degree in sociology and masters in political
4 Q. And where did you receive those degrees?
5 A. [In English] University of Nis and University of Belgrade.
6 Q. And could you please tell Your Honours your current profession,
7 what you do for a living now.
8 A. [In English] I work for a on-line retail e-commerce company. I'm
9 a vice-president of operations. We deal with the consumer electronics
10 accessories located in Phoenix, Arizona, with part of the operation in
11 Serbia and United Kingdom.
12 Q. Thank you. I want to jump now straight away to the meeting when
13 you met Mr. Karadzic on the 13th of July. I won't bring it up now, but
14 do you remember we looked at the appointment diary, Ms. Ristic?
15 A. [In English] Correct.
16 Q. That reflects the meeting was from 1700, 5.00 p.m., to about
17 6.40 in the evening. Is that about right from what you recall?
18 A. [In English] Yes.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: And for Your Honours, that's on page 91 of the
21 e-court for the diary.
22 Q. Now, I want to ask you just a couple questions about the
23 telephone call. In your statement you talk about that mainly at pages 34
24 to 41, the first part of the interview, and page 47 of the second part,
25 which is actually at -- page 47 is page 50 -- excuse me, page 2 of the
1 second part, which is page 50 in e-court.
2 Now, you described how President Karadzic was waiting for this
3 call and there was difficulty in getting the call through because the
4 line went up and down. And when the call did come through, the line was
5 scratchy and it was difficult to hear. But you took a couple photos of
6 that and I want to look at those now.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 14058A, please. Which is P4557.
8 THE WITNESS: This is not it.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: No. Could we go to page 3 in the e-court, please.
10 Q. All right. Is this a photograph that you took?
11 A. [In English] Yes.
12 Q. And could you just tell us briefly what we're seeing here when
13 you took this photo.
14 A. [In English] When I said that Dr. Karadzic was wanting to get a
15 telephone line, I didn't say that he was necessarily waiting because I
16 didn't know what he was -- what kind of conversation he was waiting to
17 have. So I cannot say that he was -- that at that time I knew that he
18 was waiting for General Mladic's phone call. I just witnessed that the
19 telephone lines were not working and he was very frustrated with the fact
20 that he cannot talk to people. Who those people were, I didn't know.
21 But this photograph just showing that, finally when the line came, he was
22 listening to the conversation on the other side.
23 Q. [Microphone not activated]
24 JUDGE KWON: Microphone.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Could we go to the next page, please.
2 Q. And could you tell us what we see here and who the man in the
3 foreground is?
4 A. [In English] Dr. Trifkovic and Dr. Karadzic were listening to the
6 Q. Okay.
7 A. [In English] Or the phone call.
8 Q. And this is the call that you said in the interview was
9 General Mladic speaking on the speaker-phone --
10 A. [In English] Yes.
11 Q. -- that they were listening to?
12 A. [In English] Yes.
13 Q. Now I want to ask you just how long did that -- you took the
14 photo. How long did that call last once the line was through?
15 A. [In English] Few minutes, not more than five I would say.
16 Q. Thank you. And did you recognise the voice of General Mladic,
17 were you able to --
18 A. [In English] No, I could not hear -- I would not recognise
19 because I don't remember I ever heard General Mladic speaking. But I
20 couldn't hear -- nobody could hear where we were sitting around the
21 conference table what was said on the speaker-phone because the line was
22 scratchy and terrible in general.
23 Q. Okay. And you said in your interview that at the conclusion it
24 was -- what was said was that Srebrenica was done, that it was over?
25 A. [In English] Correct.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. [In English] Who said that, I don't remember. But that was --
3 that's what was said.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 65 ter 14059, which are the other
5 two photographs, Your Honour.
6 Q. I'm just going to show you a couple more pictures, Ms. Ristic.
7 Can you tell us what we see in this photograph?
8 A. [In English] Dr. Karadzic pulling the headset from the -- from
9 his desk, sitting at the conference table and Dr. Trifkovic next to him.
10 Q. Okay. Now, is this the same telephone call on the speaker-phone
11 or a different one?
12 A. [In English] No. No, that was a different one.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we go to the next page, please, which is the
14 back of this photo.
15 Q. And we see "Pale, July 13/95." Could you tell me whose
16 handwriting that is?
17 A. [In English] That was mine.
18 Q. And did you take this photograph?
19 A. [In English] Yes.
20 Q. Did you give it to somebody?
21 A. [In English] I believe I sent -- I think these are mine, but in
22 the same time I made some copies and sent either directly to Tom Premovic
23 or I sent it to Dr. Trifkovic, who then sent it to Mr. Premovic.
24 Q. All right.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: And could we go to the next page, please.
1 Q. And could you tell us -- we can see Dr. Trifkovic and
2 President Karadzic. Could you tell us who the other two men are in the
3 photo if you remember?
4 A. [In English] On the left side of Dr. Karadzic is Mr. Premovic and
5 next to him from the back is Mr. Krajisnik.
6 Q. Okay.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: And could we go to the next page, please, the back
8 of this photo.
9 Q. Same question. Is this --
10 A. [In English] Yes, my handwriting. I took the picture and at the
11 time when I gave you my pictures, I didn't have these. I think you got
12 them from Tom Premovic, who I sent the pictures to.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: I would tender those photos, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we gave the number already.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, Exhibit P4560.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Now could I go back to 14058A, last page in
18 e-court, please. And I should say the correct number now, that's 4557,
19 that's the exhibit number.
20 Q. Just to be clear, can you tell us who is in this photo, which day
21 this is, and what's going on?
22 A. [In English] This is the 14th, maybe even the 15th, early
23 morning, because it was very late so it could be either/or. Myself and
24 Dr. Karadzic.
25 Q. And this is the part - I don't think I'll get a leading
1 objection - where you were watching television with him?
2 A. [In English] Correct.
3 Q. And all these photos we've seen that you took and this one of you
4 are in his office in Pale; is that right?
5 A. [In English] Correct.
6 Q. Thank you very much. That's all I have for you at this time.
7 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
8 Ms. Ristic, your evidence in this case, in particular evidence in
9 chief, was admitted in lieu of your oral testimony in writing, as you
10 noticed. Now you will be asked by Mr. Karadzic in his cross-examination.
11 Please bear in mind that you need to put a pause between the
12 question and answer for the benefit of the interpreters.
13 THE WITNESS: Sure.
14 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Excellencies.
16 Good morning to all.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Karadzic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mrs. Ristic.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. I'd like to thank you for having met with my advisor. I hope
21 that this will assist us in carrying out this cross-examination as well
22 and as efficiently as possible.
23 A. You're welcome.
24 Q. First of all, I'd like to deal with the latest. Is it your
25 recollection that on that day, on the 13th, something was said along the
1 lines of something that had been done, and because of that I was in a
2 good mood -- actually, you observed or wrote down that what was stated
3 was that Srebrenica was done.
4 A. As I've already said, I cannot remember who uttered these words,
5 but that is my recollection, that someone said, "Okay, now Srebrenica is
6 done, that's done." My understanding was that military operations
7 related to Srebrenica were done.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A. You're welcome.
10 Q. Bearing in mind that the Serb army entered Srebrenica on the
11 11th, could that perhaps pertain to a new piece of information to the
12 effect that fighting outside Srebrenica abated or stopped all together?
13 A. That is quite possible because I did not know at that point in
14 time that Srebrenica had fallen - or whatever we define it - on the 11th.
15 Since we travelled on the 12th and the atmosphere that we came across
16 during our journey did not give us the impression that something very
17 important had been happening in military terms only 60 or 70 kilometres
18 to the south. So my understanding was that Srebrenica had fallen and
19 that that is when the military operations were over. However, viewed
20 from this angle, it is possible that it pertained to what you said just
21 now, that it was these leftover military operations that were over or the
23 Q. Thank you. I'm waiting for the interpretation. So I'm asking
24 you to wait a bit as well.
25 A. Certainly.
1 Q. Then you noticed that I said something like, "There may be a
2 problem now, which solution we should accept if we're offered several
3 different ones." Was it your understanding that peace seemed more likely
4 now and that the war could be over?
5 A. My understanding of that was that with the fall of Srebrenica,
6 Republika Srpska showed that if UNPROFOR cannot and if the international
7 forces cannot provide security to the safe havens, and the Army of
8 Republika Srpska has to defend its people from incursions by the Muslim
9 forces attacking the neighbouring villages, showing the ability to
10 resolve these problems by military means, the international community
11 would understand that the Serb side can fight and that that will lead to
12 a situation when more serious thought would be given to peace
13 negotiations and a possible peaceful solution to the conflict.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 A. You're welcome.
16 Q. During that conversation on the 13th, is it correct that you did
17 not have any intimation of anyone being expelled from Srebrenica or that
18 someone would be evacuated or deported from Srebrenica; rather, that was
19 not discussed at all?
20 A. No, on the contrary. After crossing the border near Zvornik and
21 as we were driving towards the village of Milici, we saw buses, empty
22 buses, parked by the road which was very unusual. At that point in time
23 none of us understood the essence of that, at least I didn't understand
24 it. So when we were at your office and when the conversation continued
25 after your telephone calls, one of the topics was that civilians must be
1 taken care of. Not a single mistake should be made. No one should be
2 permitted to do something on account of which the Serb side would suffer
4 Q. Consequences?
5 A. Consequences. Thank you. On the previous day in Dr. Koljevic's
6 office, there was mention of him going to Srebrenica in order to see for
7 himself and be sure that the civilians were doing well. My understanding
8 was - also when we saw the buses - was not that these people would be
9 expelled, that they would be forced leave; rather, those who wished to
10 leave would be provided with transportation to the place where they
11 wanted to go. The situation in our part of the world was that no ethnic
12 group remained when the situation changed -- rather, when another ethnic
13 group came to power, so it was natural to expect that a considerable
14 number of the Muslim inhabitants of Srebrenica would want to move from
15 there to go elsewhere; however, forcible expulsions, no.
16 Q. Thank you. You could see that Koljevic decided to go there. Did
17 you notice he was -- that he was concerned over the possibility of
18 personal vendettas, antagonism, and hatred, given all that had taken
19 place? What was his primary concern?
20 A. I don't know what it was, but the very fact that he felt
21 compelled to go there to see for himself and to make sure that civilians
22 are not harmed indicates that he considered this possibility of people
23 taking revenge. He was afraid of incidents taking place and he believed
24 that his presence may be required in order to prevent such things from
1 Q. Line 8, page 15, I'm afraid there's a part missing. Did you say:
2 As for any forcible expulsions, you said "no." [In English] Did you mean
3 there was no talks, there was no words about that?
4 A. Absolutely. There was no mention of forcible expulsions.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 A. You're welcome.
7 Q. Did you have an impression or did you know Professor Koljevic
8 personally and do you agree that he was a warm, humane person and that he
9 was the best-placed person to take into account the needs of civilians
10 from all three ethnic communities?
11 A. I saw and met Professor Koljevic for the first time a few hours
12 before arriving in your office, hence I cannot give any thorough
13 explanations of his personality. But it was my impression that he was a
14 wonderful person, someone who cared for people and someone who didn't
15 think -- wouldn't think twice about going to a territory where there is
16 still combat in order to ascertain himself that there was nothing bad
17 happening to the Muslim people.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. You're welcome.
20 Q. On both those days and during both of those meetings, were there
21 any indications or perhaps discussions about POWs, say, whether there
22 were any or that there will be some executions?
23 A. Nothing of the sort was discussed in my presence. There were no
24 discussions about any prisoners or their status.
25 Q. Thank you. Keeping that topic in mind, what was your
1 understanding of the situation and the position of everyone you met, that
2 is to say me, Koljevic, and others? Could you see in our positions that
3 we had a hostile opinion about the treatment of prisoners and Muslims in
4 general who were unarmed and helpless? Could you sense that there was
5 something either going on at the time or that something will happen that
6 would be criminal?
7 A. As I have mentioned in my Phoenix statement, I can't recall who
8 said what and every detail. But what I recall is that I was proud and
9 quite satisfied with the topic of discussion and the manner it was
10 discussed in your office, as there was much discussion about the Serb
11 side not making any mistakes when it came to the Muslim population. From
12 this position it is illogical to me and I find it difficult to connect
13 the discussion in your office with what happened subsequently in
14 Srebrenica concerning the prisoners.
15 Q. Thank you. When and what did you hear about the events following
16 the liberation of Srebrenica and what was the scope of the things you
17 could hear?
18 A. After I left Pale via Belgrade to go to Nis -- well, let me
19 explain this first. I arrived with two children of mine who had not
20 visited the country for nine years. I left them there and went on to
21 Belgrade. They stayed with my parents. My children had difficulty
22 speaking Serbian after nine or ten years abroad, so when I returned, the
23 second part of my visit to Serbia was dedicated to my children and
24 family. The children were not quite pleased with my absence. I did not
25 watch TV and I had no other opportunity to be informed of events. That
1 is why I believe I heard initial information about Srebrenica only upon
2 my return to Arizona.
3 Q. Were you pleased with the way the Serb case or the Serb matter
4 was presented in the world media and did you believe what you could read
5 or hear back then and do you believe that now?
6 A. Given my experience with the Western media in how they pictured
7 and presented the Serb side, at the beginning I simply couldn't believe
8 it was true. I thought it was another black-and-white story along the
9 lines of: Well, let us put it on the Serbs. Following my visit to Pale,
10 I simply found it impossible to believe that someone at some point made a
11 decision of that sort, at least not from among the people I met at Pale.
12 Q. You have been living in a democratic society for quite a while
13 now and you are in frequent contact with our diaspora as well as with
14 some eminent people from other communities, such as Dr. Hatchett or
15 Sir Alfred Sherman of the UK, as well as Fleming, et cetera.
16 In your view, what was the perception of our side in Bosnia by
17 those eminent people?
18 A. Dr. Hatchett, Sir Alfred Sherman, Dr. Trifkovic, [In English]
19 myself and Danica Oparnica, we are the founding members of the Lord Byron
20 Foundation. [Interpretation] I apologise, I began speaking English
22 JUDGE KWON: No problem, whichever language you may choose to
23 speak in.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These people approached me and set
25 up the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies because they were quite
1 irritated, much as we were, with the way the breakup of Yugoslavia and
2 the conflict there was portrayed in Western media. The task of the Byron
3 Foundation, Dr. Hatchett, Sir Alfred Sherman and others who are -- have
4 been associated with the foundation was to put everything that had taken
5 place in a historical context, using the channels of the academia,
6 university, and the media in order to put forth a balanced view of the
7 war and the breakup of Yugoslavia.
8 Q. Thank you. I don't know if you know, but Sir Alfred Sherman,
9 following his position as Margaret Thatcher's advisor and after he met
10 me, became my advisor too?
11 A. I do know that.
12 Q. Let me ask you this: What was the impression of me and our side
13 that was held by the people you mentioned who frequently visited the
14 area? Mr. Hatchett was also ...?
15 A. Yes, I know that Mr. Hatchett was in Pale a few times. He tried
16 to help as best he could in the formulation of RS positions as well as in
17 trying to communicate that position to foreign governments and the media.
18 One of the reasons why I undertook this travel with Dr. Trifkovic was
19 that there was constant discussion between Dr. Trifkovic and I. He
20 frequently explained his frustration with the Serb side being unable to
21 articulate a clear position and to use such ideas and positions aimed at
22 protecting the Serb interests to position them in a way that they could
23 be put to the Western media. He frequently that there was something
24 wrong in the RS because to him it seemed that, so to say, the left arm
25 didn't know what the right arm was doing and that there was this seeming
1 tension between the civilian and military leadership. He also believed
2 that it was one of the reasons why this basic message could not be put
4 There was another dimension of his frustration which he
5 frequently mentioned, and it was that the RS leadership held a naive view
6 of the situation, expecting to fulfil the needs of the Serb sides by
7 engaging in peace talks and that someone would take up that issue in
8 order to deal with the situation as a whole. So when we were both in
9 Serbia at the same time, he said, "Come along. You'll meet some people
10 and you will see that there is an amount of idealism and naiveté that
11 could not be set aside." He was hoping to be able to explain the people
12 involved how Serb ideas and needs should be formulated and communicated
13 to the media in the West as well as to foreign governments.
14 Q. Thank you. Having in mind the power in the hands of
15 Margaret Thatcher, you could observe that late Sir Alfred tried to give
16 similar advice to our small and weak country. Was it your impression
17 that we did not want to fight but that we were hoping in a peaceful
18 political solution?
19 A. I really don't know what kind of advice you received from
20 Sir Alfred Sherman, but it is a fact that the Serb side did not have the
21 right approach, nor did it have a solution in order to deal with its
22 public relations properly. No matter what your true intentions were,
23 those intentions and ideas were not presented adequately to the public in
24 the West.
25 Q. Thank you. Did you gain some insight about us being able to
1 manage one and a half million people, 61 municipalities, and hundreds of
2 front lines under the regime of double sanctions? We were -- were you
3 able to observe that we were basically trying to manage it all without
4 proper premises, offices, equipment, and channels of communication?
5 A. It was one of my more shocking impressions which I acquired at
6 Pale. The entire Presidency seemed to operate in some sort of local
7 environment. Perhaps I can assist the interpreters and suggest that they
8 use the word "bubble." For example, the Presidency was in the Famos
9 factory, where everything smelled of paint and the -- even the
10 electricity sockets were not in place properly and the phone lines were
11 down. More or less nothing worked. It was all far moved from my idea of
12 how the Presidency of a country should operate, under what circumstances
13 and in what ambience. It was all quite shocking to me. It wasn't clear
14 to me at all how you managed to carry out your daily duties.
15 Q. Thank you. During that meeting with Professor Koljevic,
16 Professor Koljevic sought the advice of Dr. Trifkovic in terms of how we
17 should recognise what a good political solution is. Is that right?
18 A. Yes. That was the first time that Dr. Trifkovic could tell me,
19 "I told you so." Dr. Koljevic during this relatively short and informal
20 conversation asked Dr. Trifkovic, "Srdja, our problem" -- I mean I'm
21 paraphrasing, of course. "Our problem is: How do we recognise the best
22 peace solution," of course expecting the Serb side to receive several
23 such solutions. That was really shocking because at that point in time,
24 seeing how things were developing and knowing what the atmosphere was
25 like among the governments of the big powers, it was hardly likely to
1 expect a single political solution let alone several political solutions.
2 So the dilemma was how we would recognise the best political solution was
3 a ridiculous dilemma.
4 Q. Am I right if I say that it seems that we had a lot more faith in
5 the Western governments than you people who lived in the West?
6 A. Yes. You had such faith that it bordered on the naive. In the
7 situation that you were in and had you had more information, you
8 certainly should not have had any such optimistic expectations.
9 Q. Thank you. Did you see for yourself how devastating the effect
10 of double sanctions was against Republika Srpska? Did you see for
11 yourself that at that point in time our leadership with the -- our
12 relationship with the leadership of Serbia was non-existent and we had
13 great problems in feeding the population and the military?
14 A. I'm aware of that. I could not see it for myself in any way
15 during my stay, but one of the reasons why I went there was also to find
16 a way to find out how the aid collected by our Serb communities in the
17 diaspora could be used in the best possible way and how it could be
18 delivered in the best possible way. We in Phoenix were very active, and
19 after long and pain-staking preparations of a container of medical
20 equipment that was supposed to end up in Republika Srpska, it probably
21 ended up in the black market in Serbia, which was very disappointing.
22 The diaspora tried - unfortunately in an unorganised way. Every
23 community, every Orthodox church in America tried to do something. So we
24 were fully aware of the situation that the Serb people in
25 Republika Srpska were facing.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 A. You're welcome.
3 Q. You felt that at that time -- actually, had you been warned that
4 the road was not safe? Did you get the impression that there was
5 fighting going on at that time as well between Zvornik and Vlasenica, or
6 rather, in the area that you had to go through?
7 A. Yes. Mr. Premovic had to leave earlier, and at that point in
8 time we realised that it was impossible to go back taking the same road
9 that we had taken on our way out. So he left via Visegrad. I think that
10 that situation when the Muslim troops were withdrawing through
11 Konjevic Polje kept us there longer than we had originally intended to
12 stay. Our return was quite exciting. It wasn't all that simple for us
13 to leave on our own and just go back to Serbia.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 A. You're welcome.
16 Q. During that stay in Pale, especially in my office, you gained the
17 impression that there were military operations, actions, around Zepa as
18 well; right?
19 A. Yes. One of the conclusions after the telephone conversations
20 that you had when it was stated that Srebrenica had fallen was that the
21 next step should be Zepa.
22 Q. Thank you. Did you get the impression that around Zepa civilians
23 would also be taken care of and did you get the impression that the
24 civilians of Zepa would not be leaving?
25 A. I really cannot remember. I do not recall any conversation that
1 had to do with Zepa, apart from it being stated that Zepa would be next,
2 that Zepa should be liberated. Even if there was talk about that, I
3 really do not recall whether we discussed any details related to Zepa,
4 apart from what I've said.
5 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that during this conversation -
6 somebody had said to you that it might have been Mladic - I did not ask
7 very much. For the most part I was just listening?
8 A. Yes, yes. The line was very bad, and I think that you and
9 Dr. Trifkovic were trying to hear as much as possible because the line
10 could have been interrupted at any moment.
11 Q. Thank you. Did you notice that often I went out to the
12 secretaries as they tried to establish a line so that I could talk to
13 some people? Even ordinary telephones were not really working properly.
14 A. Yes, that was another one of these shocking facts. First of all,
15 in your office you had one single telephone and also that the lines were
16 in such a state of disrepair that you could not even communicate with the
17 persons closest to you.
18 Q. Thank you. Often I have the opportunity of putting questions to
19 witnesses who are Serbs from the diaspora, so I'm going to ask you as
20 well: Our diaspora living in the democratic world, did they ever receive
21 any reliable information about anything that we had done, on account of
22 which you would have felt ashamed because of us? In this democratic
23 world, was the general belief that we were this way or that way? Could
24 you tell the Trial Chamber what the general perception was concerning us,
25 Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 A. I'm not sure I understood what you are asking me. Could you
2 please be more specific.
3 Q. Yes, I'll try.
4 Did the diaspora learn that we were doing anything bad except for
5 being naive, as you already said? Did you get any other kind of
6 information? Did you realise that we were trying to fight fair and
7 behave -- and defend ourselves and behave in a fair way?
8 A. First of all, it is hard to define this because then or now we do
9 not have an organisational structure that could represent the diaspora
10 and that we would have an organisational structure that would disseminate
11 information. People in the diaspora in America are patriotic, we're all
12 patriots. We all live in different countries. I consider myself to be a
13 citizen of the world, but I'm a Serb, I'm an Orthodox Serb, and that is
14 what defines me. Like all of us there, I have a hard time listening to
15 these one-sided, black-and-white portrayals of the situation, the
16 negative portrayal of the Serb side.
17 However, in order to be able to answer your question as to the
18 information that the diaspora had about you, I can say it was only
19 positive because we were all concerned about you and about our people,
20 how all of this would finally end for the Serbs in this unfortunate war.
21 Q. Thank you. You also noticed, isn't that right, that I had
22 additional activities and that I could not stay with my guests without
23 interruption. I communicated with Mr. Zametica, Ambassador Churkin,
24 Mr. Krajisnik, and others. Did you notice that I had to work on several
25 channels, if you will, and that my time was disrupted all the time?
1 A. Yes, this courtesy call on the 13th of July was very unstructured
2 because people came in, went out. You were upset because you could not
3 make a mere telephone call because the lines were down. There would be
4 two persons talking, three persons talking, so it was rather confusing.
5 The situation itself in that Presidency where I spent those few
6 days was also very interesting for me. There were a few armed men,
7 guards, but except for them I did not see any military men. Everything
8 was very, very unusual and quite shocking, far from what I had imagined
9 things to be like or quite different from what I would expect a
10 Presidency of a state to look like.
11 Q. Thank you. Do you agree that therefore it was even more
12 difficult to keep things under control with a 2.000-kilometre front line
13 and given the sanctions that were there and this overall chaos?
14 A. I assume that it was very difficult. I think that at certain
15 moments it was even impossible.
16 Q. Thank you. Somewhere you mentioned that buses had not been
17 referred to either and that from these conversations there you could not
18 conclude anything in that regard; is that right?
19 A. Yes, that's right. I do not recall any conversations while we
20 were at your office that had to do with buses. I think that at one point
21 in time - I don't know when exactly - when talking to Dr. Trifkovic, I
22 found out that these were buses that would be offered to the Muslim
23 population that wished to leave Srebrenica. Whoever wished to leave
24 Srebrenica could.
25 Q. Thank you. During that conversation, did you feel that we were
1 sincere, that we were not hiding anything, and that we were as open as an
2 open book and that you could ask any questions and get answers about
4 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, just for clarity, because in the previous
6 answer we had: "I do not recall any conversation while we were at your
7 office that had to do with buses." Then Ms. Ristic talked about her
8 conversation with Dr. Trifkovic about the buses. And then the question
9 was: During that conversation, did you feel that we were sincere, open,
10 and not hiding anything. So I'm a bit confused about which conversation
11 Mr. Karadzic is asking about, a conversation with him that had nothing do
12 with buses or the conversation with Dr. Trifkovic that did have to do
13 with buses.
14 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic, is this something that transpired
15 during your interview with this witness?
16 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. I wanted to ask you whether you travelled together with
18 Dr. Trifkovic and did you both notice the buses and speak about that in
19 my presence or in my absence?
20 A. Dr. Trifkovic, Mr. Premovic and myself travelled together and we
21 saw the buses, all of us saw the buses. When we saw the buses, we all
22 looked at each other and wondered why they were there. We didn't find an
23 answer. As for the answer to why the buses were there, I received that
24 answer from Dr. Trifkovic when you were absent.
25 Q. Thank you. Let me now ask you about the rest of the
1 conversation. Did you gain the impression with regard to the rest of the
2 conversation, not your conversation with Trifkovic but with me, in that
3 conversation did you gain the impression that we were open, that I
4 personally was open, and that it was possible to ask me about anything?
5 Did you gain the impression that we weren't trying to hide anything and
6 that we weren't trying to avoid any subjects being broached?
7 A. Yes, I can say that the conversation we had was an open one and
8 you answered all the questions put to you. I don't know whether you hid
9 something or didn't say certain things, but my impression was that the
10 conversation was fairly sincere.
11 Q. Thank you, Ms. Ristic. Thank you very much for coming to testify
12 here, and I do apologise if I asked you for a lot of details.
13 A. Not at all. Everything was fine. Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Excellency, I have no further
16 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nicholls, do you have any re-examination?
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Just a couple questions, Your Honour.
18 Re-examination by Mr. Nicholls:
19 Q. Just a couple questions, Ms. Ristic.
20 A. [In English] Sure.
21 Q. Looking at your interview, one of the topics you discussed with
22 Mr. Karadzic on the 14th was the way that the diaspora could help get the
23 balance message out; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what -- was there any -- could you describe that a bit more,
1 about how you could help, what could be done?
2 A. Well, the only way that my personal involvement in that is -- was
3 through Lord Byron Foundation and working with Dr. Trifkovic,
4 Dr. Hatchett, Sir Alfred Sherman and other people. We on our side tried
5 to give as much as possible in terms of the historical background and
6 based on information that we could get from SRNA or privately information
7 that Dr. Trifkovic would get or Dr. Hatchett from Pale, would try to
8 disseminate that and get some balance in what we were forced to watch
9 daily on CNN and other channels.
10 Q. Okay.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have P04159, please.
12 Q. And so you'd discussed or President Karadzic, when you met him --
13 sorry, let me ask you this. Those two meetings on the 13th and 14th were
14 the only meetings with President Karadzic; correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And he knew that part of what you did back home was to help
17 balance the message?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have -- see if that's up yet, P04159. And
20 that's an UNMO report from 13 July 1995.
21 Q. It's got UTC Time: 1657. Now, this is from around 5.00 p.m. on
22 the 13th, the same time when we have the call about Srebrenica being
23 done. It states:
24 "All the refugees from outside the compound are transported now.
25 The transport of the refugees inside the compound is taking place now.
1 We think that this will be completed before 18.00 hours."
2 Okay, you talked about the buses too. Did you know at that time
3 when you were sitting in the office that the last transports out of
4 Potocari were taking place?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Okay.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. I'm done with that.
8 Q. Let me ask you this: Do you know what -- just trying to see. Do
9 you know what happened in 13 July 1995 in Kravica?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Okay. Do you know what happened in Orahovac on the 14th of July?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: No further questions.
15 JUDGE KWON: Well, Ms. Ristic, that concludes your evidence. On
16 behalf of this Chamber, I would like to thank you for your coming to
17 The Hague to give it.
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
19 JUDGE KWON: Now you are free to go.
20 THE WITNESS: "Gamsahamnida."
21 JUDGE KWON: Thanks very much. That's great to hear Korean at
22 the court.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I wonder if it would be all right
24 with Your Honours if we could take the break now to set up for the next
1 JUDGE KWON: Of course it's time -- now about time to take the
2 break. We are sitting until 1.45.
3 Yes, Mr. Robinson.
4 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President, before we speak with --
5 concerning the next witness, I wanted to ask the Chamber if it had
6 been -- if it was aware of any decision by the Appeals Chamber in
7 relation to our motion with respect to this next witness. We had made a
8 motion to rescind the protective measures on the 27th of February and we
9 haven't received any decision on that. We would prefer that the witness
10 testify other than in closed session and therefore we'd like to have a
11 decision on that motion. Thank you.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 JUDGE KWON: I don't think we heard anything from the Chamber, so
14 we'll continue in the meantime the pre-existing protective measures.
15 MR. ROBINSON: Very well, Mr. President. It would be our
16 position that we should suspend the testimony of this witness until that
17 decision is made, and it's our feeling that if the Chambers undertake
18 that they are to be the ones to be decide protective measures --
19 JUDGE KWON: Out of an abundance of caution, I'd like to discuss
20 it in private session.
21 MR. ROBINSON: Very well.
22 JUDGE KWON: Yes, could the Chamber move into private session
24 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE KWON: We are now in open session.
14 Before we adjourn, the Chamber acknowledges that on the
15 9th of March, 2012, in response to the Presiding Judge's letter of
16 27th of February, 2012, it received a copy of the personal notes of that
17 Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Rutten took during his time in Srebrenica in
18 1995. The Chamber has undertaken to have copies of the notes distributed
19 to the parties only and notes Mr. Rutten's desire not to have the notes
20 distributed any further than strictly required by the case.
21 And further, with respect to the accused's request for leave to
22 reply motion for subpoena to interview President Karolos Papoulias, filed
23 on 8th of March, 2012, the Chamber grants the accused's request and
24 orders the accused to file its response by 15th of March, 2012.
25 And finally, Madam Uertz-Retzlaff, with respect to the accused's
1 motion to exclude Sarajevo evidence dated 16th of January, 2012, the
2 Chamber would like to know how your negotiations with the Rule 70
3 provider are progressing and whether we would be getting a response from
4 the Prosecution any time soon?
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, the -- we have made our
6 position clear to the provider, but the provider wants to have a personal
7 conversation on these matters. And this conversation has not taken place
8 yet, but I will inquire when the date is set for that.
9 JUDGE KWON: I'm not sure I understood what you meant by a
10 "personal conversation."
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Are we in private session?
12 JUDGE KWON: No.
13 Could the Chamber move back to private session.
14 [Private session]
9 [Open session]
10 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we are now in open session.
11 We'll have a break for 25 minutes -- for 20 minutes and resume at
12 ten to 11.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
14 [Closed session]
11 Pages 26099-26146 redacted. Closed session.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 13th day of
6 March, 2012, at 2.15 p.m.