1 Wednesday, 1 December 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus
7 Momcilo Krajisnik.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
9 Madam Usher, may I ask you to escort the witness into the
11 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, may I raise one effectively housekeeping
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please do so.
14 MR. TIEGER: The Prosecution and the Defence had agreed that the
15 Prosecution would prepare and tender to the Court a simple list of voice
16 identifications of intercepts covered during the course of the witness's
17 two interviews. I have that. I see it has at least one typographical
18 error I'd like to correct, and also I'd like to give Mr. Stewart and
19 Ms. Cmeric a chance to see the document, but it will then be tendered.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You first show it to the Defence and then we'll
21 hear whether there's any objection or not and give a decision.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 [Witness's counsel entered court]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Mandic.
25 Good morning, Mr. Tomic. Please be seated.
1 Mr. Mandic, I'd like to remind you that you're still bound by the
2 solemn declaration you've given at the beginning of your testimony on the
3 23rd of November. Yes. Examination-in-chief has been concluded.
4 Mr. Stewart, we discussed it already slightly yesterday. The Chamber
5 offers the Defence the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.
6 MR. STEWART: Yes. And, Your Honour, as foreshadowed yesterday,
7 the Defence's position is that we -- I think it's best to put it this way:
8 We decline, and he hope that's not understood as impolite. We decline to
9 cross-examine at the moment, Your Honour, while not in any sense intending
10 to waive cross-examination. We accept on the Defence side that an
11 application to have Mr. Mandic brought back for full cross-examination at
12 some future date is an application which will have to be made and
13 considered on its merits at the time it is made. And that is our
14 position, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand. You also understand that the
16 Chamber will then give a decision whether or not an opportunity will be
17 given to the Defence. If so, the Chamber will also then decide by what
18 mode, whether that would be calling the witness back to The Hague or do it
19 through a videolink or, well, whatever. Everything is undecided in
20 respect of such a future application.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ORIE: And you're also aware that the previous decision on
23 this issue limited the further cross-examination on those subjects that
24 were contained in recently disclosed material. Of course, this could not
25 prevent you from making a wider application, an application to fully
1 cross-examine the witness, also on matters that were contained in earlier
2 disclosed material. So that is the decision until now, and we'll wait and
3 see what your application will be.
4 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Mandic, Mr. Stewart, one clarification, or
6 perhaps I should perhaps address Mr. Krajisnik directly, although I --
7 from the earlier messages, I may have an expectation, the Chamber may have
8 an expectation on what the answer would be. But in the beginning of the
9 testimony of Mr. Mandic, Mr. Krajisnik said that he would like to be in a
10 position to put questions by himself directly to Mr. Mandic. Does it mean
11 that that request is moot now as well, Mr. Stewart?
12 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, perhaps. I -- may we, I suggest,
13 deal with it this way: I anticipate that there is no point in my making
14 any submission in relation to that matter myself this morning, as
15 Mr. Krajisnik's counsel, and if I invite Your Honour perhaps respectfully
16 to address that request to Mr. Krajisnik, I'm not in any sense endorsing
17 or welcoming or inviting that request. It just is -- it's moot in the way
18 that Your Honours suggests that I should waste any time saying anything
19 about it. But I do suggest that at least Your Honour might simply put
20 that request to Mr. Krajisnik for the record.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes, Mr. Tieger.
22 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, before the Court proceeds, if I may just
23 make the Prosecution's position clear.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
25 MR. TIEGER: And therefore all of the issues present here. I
1 don't think it comes as any surprise to the Defence or the Court that the
2 Prosecution's position is that an order was made and that the declination
3 to proceed with cross-examination at this time is in fact a waiver of
4 cross-examination, and therefore, once the Court has proceeded with its
5 questions, if it has any, this witness's testimony is concluded. Now,
6 obviously that doesn't preclude the Defence from filing whatever
7 submissions it may have in the future, but I think it needs to be made
8 clear that that's the case. Insofar as documents that may have been the
9 subject of -- that were the subject of the Court's order before are
10 concerned, there would have been a variety of ways of dealing with those,
11 including examining them individually to see what kind of impact they
12 might or might not have had on the cross-examination, and having
13 appropriate responses to whatever that situation was. So I don't think
14 there's any -- in the event that the Prosecution -- that the Defence files
15 a later motion, there's certainly no fixed position, we submit, with
16 respect to those documents, and again, if and when such submission was
17 made by the Defence, they would have to be examined on an individual
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: The position of the Prosecution is clear.
22 Mr. Krajisnik, you raised the issue of whether you could put
23 questions to this witness directly. As you've heard, Mr. Stewart invited
24 me to, since it was a personal request by yourself, to ask you whether
25 that request still stands.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] First of all, thank you,
2 Your Honours, for giving me this opportunity to address the Trial Chamber
3 once more.
4 I did ask you to put some questions to this witness here, and I
5 uphold my request. I think that would be very useful, because of what
6 I've already said, and I want to repeat it in front of the witness here.
7 The witness interprets certain things in a certain manner simply because
8 he has forgotten certain issues.
9 MR. STEWART: -- in front of the witness whatever is being said.
10 The witness should leave court straight away.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But there's another matter, Mr. Stewart.
12 Mr. Krajisnik, you may express whether you still wish to put
13 questions to this witness. You're not allowed to comment on the testimony
14 given by this witness at this moment. That's not something -- and if you
15 think that there's any specific reason to do that, then it should be done
16 in the absence of the witness. But I already tell you that usually
17 cross-examination, that is, putting questions to the witness by the
18 opposite party, serves, among other things, the purpose to test the
19 reliability and credibility of the witness, and it will become clear from
20 any questions whether that purpose is sought to be achieved. But it's not
21 appropriate to comment on the content of the testimony given by this
22 witness. So if you insist on doing it, I think I made clear that at this
23 moment the Chamber doesn't see any specific reason, because if it has to
24 be -- it's clear, I would say; it's implicit in the right to cross-examine
25 a witness that the opposite party may have different views on what the
1 witness testified about.
2 So, therefore, I don't think it's necessary for you to expand on
3 it, but if you want -- if you insist on doing it, then at least the
4 witness should leave the courtroom for a while. So, therefore, I'd like
5 to know whether you still have the wish to put questions to the witness.
6 And if further --
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] As for the first matter raised, I do
8 apologise, and I fully agree with you that I should not have said those
9 things. And there is no need for me to mention them in the presence of
10 the witness.
11 As for your question, I sat down with Mr. Stewart the day before
12 yesterday, and we discussed our examination of Mr. Mandic, and both of us
13 concluded that Mr. Stewart was not in a position to examine the witness at
15 Since it is very important for me to have this witness examined by
16 Mr. Stewart, and I possibly put some additional questions to the witness,
17 I thought it would be highly improper for me to now examine Mr. Mandic,
18 because my counsel is not in a position to do this at present. Because I
19 am satisfied with the services provided by my counsel and I do want him to
20 play his role. That's why I appeal to you, Your Honour, not to deny us
21 the right to cross-examine Mr. Mandic. I told you my reasons for it. I
22 told them to you in a closed session. And I think it would be highly
23 useful for all of us here, including Mr. Mandic, to clear up the truth at
24 this trial. That's why I stand by my request, and I appeal to you to
25 approve and grant the request that will be put to you in this respect by
1 Mr. Stewart at a later stage to cross-examine the witness, and I hope that
2 in this manner we will all be able to establish the truth. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Krajisnik. It is my duty to draw your
4 attention to the fact that if you say I'd like to add some questions to
5 the questions put in cross-examination at a later stage by Mr. Stewart,
6 that whether or not you get such an opportunity, of course, depends on
7 whether any application will be granted at a later stage to recall
8 Mr. Mandic for cross-examination. I take it that you are aware of that,
9 so that if you say now "I'd rather join counsel in a later
10 cross-examination," that if there will be no later cross-examination, that
11 then, of course, you have the possibility of putting questions to this
12 witness has then been -- has been gone. Yes.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am fully aware of that, but I have
14 to ask -- kindly ask you the following. In addition to being Judges, you
15 were also attorneys at law. It would really be highly improper of a
16 client to basically sabotage his counsel, and I do agree with Mr. Stewart
17 when he says that at this stage he's not prepared to carry out
18 cross-examination. And I have to draw your attention to the following
19 fact: That some of the material I received only yesterday. I spent the
20 entire night examining the materials, because some of the things were
21 completely new to me. That is why I thought it proper to proceed this
22 way. And in addition, we thought that if we were to proceed now and not
23 call Mr. Mandic at a later stage, this would leave the entire matter
24 incomplete. Thank you.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand your position, and you've
1 clearly expressed that you're aware of your present procedural situation.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then -- Mr. Mandic, at this moment the Defence
4 will not examine you, not cross-examine you, as you may have concluded
5 from the discussion you just witnessed. Therefore, we proceed, and
6 questions of the Bench will be put to you. First of all, Judge Canivell
7 will have some questions for you.
8 WITNESS: MOMCILO MANDIC [Resumed]
9 Questioned by the Court:
10 JUDGE CANIVELL: Mr. Mandic, please, you had told us that while
11 you were in your position as minister of justice, you were informed, you
12 got information about what was the situation in the locations in which
13 people were detained. I would like to be aware of what was the extent of
14 your knowledge. Do -- you have recognised that, I believe, people,
15 civilians, were put in detention in those places, but what else did you
16 know about that? Did you know about mistreatment of these persons in the
17 places in which they were retained?
18 A. When I was appointed minister of justice, the civilian one, on
19 19th of May, my first task was to organise the civilian justice
20 administration and to collect data as a minister, who was in some way in
21 charge of the commissions that were collecting information on the camps
22 held by the police and the military. However, it was very difficult to
23 obtain the information, since Bosnia and Herzegovina's communication lines
24 and roads were severed and cut off. It was very difficult. That is why,
25 at the level of the entity of Republika Srpska, an organ was established,
1 headed by Ms. Biljana Plavsic, together with the international community,
2 to encompass all the branches of government, the executive and the
4 JUDGE CANIVELL: Well, I thank you for your answer, but what I
5 wanted to know is what was the level of your knowledge of the situation in
6 those places. You say that some of them were not easily reachable, but of
7 course most of them would be, since they were in the power of the Bosnian
8 Serbs community, presidents of this community. So what did you really
9 know about what was happening there? You knew that besides being
10 detained, these people there, they were object of mistreatment, they were
11 beaten, they were tortured. What else did you know?
12 A. Your Honour, I have just mentioned the lines -- communication
13 lines and roads that were severed. For instance, we had no communication
14 whatsoever with Krajina, and I mean Banja Luka and the Krajina there and
15 the Krajina in Croatia. So we -- there were no communication lines.
16 Likewise, the situation was similar in other areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
17 where we had very little information about the camps and the treatment
18 there. Whenever we received any information, and we would most often
19 receive them from the international community and from the Muslim side,
20 that these were information that we received through MUP, we would process
21 the information and act upon them, both through the government and through
22 the ministries.
23 JUDGE CANIVELL: Are you then meaning that the international
24 information was a better one than your own information about the situation
25 in these places, in your country?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE CANIVELL: When you got this information, what did you do?
3 I mean, you have to verify that. Even I realise that you tried to make --
4 pass the situation under the normal justice system as a minister of
5 justice, you tried that. But before that - and besides, it wasn't
6 successful, if I recollect well - what did you really know about what was
7 going on in these places, after the accusations of the data that was
8 provided by the international sources?
9 A. Your Honour, I've said that a moment ago. We would act upon every
10 piece of information by establishing commissions that would go on the
11 ground, with the approval of the military, because it was usually the
12 military that held these collection centres. But this would not take
13 place at the level of the Ministry of Justice, which was a civilian
14 ministry, but at the level of the state. Because that was the only
15 possible way for us to get informed about the different camps scattered in
16 different parts of Republika Srpska.
17 JUDGE CANIVELL: Well, I would like to touch another subject. You
18 recognised yesterday that when the list of the 57 locations that were
19 provided to you and about which Mrs. Plavsic explained what she felt
20 necessary in the television, you recognised yesterday that some of these
21 places were located in Serbia. But what about the others? You knew about
22 the existence of the others? You knew about the people that were inside?
23 Relate it with what I had asked you before.
24 A. Your Honour, the list that I saw yesterday was actually the first
25 time I ever saw it. I knew that there were some such camps outside Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina, but it was Biljana Plavsic who was in charge of these
2 matters. I was aware of some of those locations that she mentioned, but
3 these were mostly within the Sarajevo area, the canton of Sarajevo,
4 whereas Ms. Plavsic got her information on the other places through the
5 military, through the MUP, or through the top leadership. And the list
6 that we saw here, yesterday or the day before yesterday, was a list that I
7 saw for the first time then.
8 JUDGE CANIVELL: Yesterday you said that some facts that you were
9 asked about were general knowledge. Did you think or had you observed
10 that that was general knowledge among a list the leadership or even down
11 than the higher leadership of the Serbian -- the Bosnian Serbs, that these
12 camps existed and what was done in these camps?
13 A. I think that a very small number of people from the very top
14 leadership of Republika Srpska would know that, and that would be more the
15 military than the civilian leadership. In Hotel Bistrica on Jahorina,
16 that's where the government seat was, and it was difficult to have
17 communication with territories outside the area of Sarajevo. We gained
18 more information through CNN and other international TV stations in
19 Sarajevo than we were able to discover through other media and local
20 television. And there was some information that we received for the first
21 time from the Muslim media. And for the most part, we did not trust them,
22 because we felt that this was a sort of propaganda war going on.
23 Yesterday I noticed that the lists that Mrs. Plavsic had before
24 her were exaggerated by both sides with respect to the number of prisons
25 and the number of prisoners.
1 JUDGE CANIVELL: I would ask you, then, another question. You got
2 personally the impression during these times that the Bosnian Serbs and
3 the Bosnian Serb leadership had lost grasp of the situation, I feel. You
4 didn't realise, you didn't know what was going on, not even in war, not
5 even what was happening in the territories that were under your
7 A. What I'm trying to say is that the territory controlled by the
8 Bosnian Serbs was already divided before the war into the SAO Krajinas and
9 these were closed and independent systems of government. They were a kind
10 of confederation with respect to the central authorities. The SAO
11 Krajinas had their own armies, police, governments, presidents, and all
12 the other institutions that constituted an overall authority. That's how
13 it was with the SAO Majevica and Semberija, that's how it was with the SAO
14 Hercegovina, and that's how it was with the SAO, I think, of Romanija or
15 Sarajevo. I can't remember precisely. So each of these had all the
16 institutions of military, civilian, and police power, and all other
18 JUDGE CANIVELL: But you haven't answered exactly what I asked
19 you. I asked you if in fact you had the impression personally that the
20 Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Serb leadership in this situation has lost
21 grasp, has lost the possibility of knowing and directing the situation to
22 a final that be acceptable for their purposes. Is that the case? You got
23 the impression that you were completely at a loss in this moment and that,
24 well, the situation was lost? I mean, what was the feelings, the feelings
25 you appreciated and other people around you?
1 A. In the first months of the war, yes.
2 JUDGE CANIVELL: And later?
3 A. Afterwards, the state was consolidated and the central government
4 began to function and take over control of all the territories controlled
5 by the Bosnian Serbs. And I think that by the end of 1992, they had taken
6 full control over all these autonomous provinces, that is, on the entire
7 territory controlled by the Bosnian Serbs.
8 JUDGE CANIVELL: And when do you think it arrived to this
9 situation, the situation was reached? You said at the beginning not, but
10 when the situation was, let's say, stabilised for the Bosnian Serbs?
11 A. I think this happened in late 1992.
12 JUDGE CANIVELL: Be more precise, please.
13 A. September or October, the second half of 1992.
14 JUDGE CANIVELL: Okay. Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Judge El Mahdi will have one or more questions for
17 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. I would like to ask you some
19 clarifications. Do not forget that you are the witness of the Trial
20 Chamber, now that you are in this courtroom, you are the witness of the
21 Trial Chamber, of the Tribunal, and I would like to draw your attention on
22 one fact. It might seem quite a minor fact at the beginning, but I would
23 like to ask Madam Registrar to give Mr. Mandic the document which has the
24 following exhibit number: P452.
25 Mr. Minister, I would like to draw your attention to one fact.
1 The names that you see on this document do not have the same spelling.
2 When you compare the translation and the original document, you do find
3 out that the names do not have the same spelling. So I would like you to
4 concentrate or to focus your attention on the original document, and you
5 might see that the first name, or that the second name has as a first name
6 "Amira." Is that a man or a woman? Because in the English translation,
7 we see that the name is "Amir." And I do think that Amir might be the
8 name of a man, whilst Amira is the name of a woman, I think.
9 A. Your Honour, in order -- this is Bosnian. This is a man.
10 Muharemovic Zejnila and Pandzic Amira. It could be "Mensuda" or
11 "Mensuda." It depends on where you lay the stress.
12 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. But is Mensuda the name of
13 a man or a woman? And what about Amira? Amira and Mensuda?
14 A. Amir.
15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Amir is a man's name.
16 A. In the case, it's "Amira." The nominative is "Amir." "Mensud" is
17 the nominative. "Mensuda." So -- and then the stress would be different
18 in the case of a male or a female name. "Mensuda" would be the nominative
19 of a female name. Mensuda is a male name. For example, in Serbian,
20 "Sava" and "Sava," Sava is a female name and Sava is a male name. They
21 have the same letters, but it depends on the stress whether it's a male or
22 a female name.
23 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So when you take a look at this
24 document, you realise straight away that they're talking about men or
25 women? I'm still talking about the original document, of course. I'm
1 talking about the original document in Serbian.
2 A. Your Honour, it says here in the first line male prisoner
3 "zatvorenike," which means male prisoners, not the -- if it referred to
4 female prisoners, it would have said "zatvorenice," not "zatvorenike."
5 "Zatvorenike," that usually refers to men.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. But in the English
7 translation, this is not so clear. In any case, it's not as clear as
8 you're telling us. And I quote in English: [In English] "Listed below."
9 [Interpretation] So you're telling us that this is not a problem for you,
10 but you do understand that this document is a document about men and not
11 about women. So you see what is written in the first line, and could you
12 please tell us what is the precise word that is so clear for you and that
13 means that we're talking about men --
14 A. Excuse me, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] -- zatvorenike.
16 A. Under 2, had it been a woman, it would have been "Pandzic Amiru"
17 in the accusative case, not "Amira." Under 3, it would have been
18 "Pandzic Mensudu" not "Mensuda."
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that it's a question of
20 nominative and accusative case. There are seven cases in B/C/S.
21 A. So, Your Honours, it is certainly about men.
22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much for this
24 I would like to draw your attention on another document, and I
25 would like to invite Madam Registrar to give you the said document. This
1 is Exhibit number P453. This document has been signed by someone else,
2 but you do see that your name appears on this document?
3 A. Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So in this document, the
5 detention facility of Butmir needs some 50 war prisoners, and I'm quoting
6 in English once more: Necessary to send 50 war prisoners who are in good
7 health to penal and correctional facility Butmir."
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I would like to put to you a
10 question, sir. The prisoners of war were supposed to do some kind of
11 work. Was it a compulsory type of work? In other words, were they
12 forced? Were they obliged to do this type of work? As far as you know,
13 of course. Were they paid for this type of work?
14 A. First I will tell you why this is not my signature. This is not
15 my signature because it doesn't look like my signature.
16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Well, I would like to interrupt
17 you, sir. This was not my question. I don't want to know who signed
18 instead of you, without indicating that this was not your signature. This
19 was not the main purpose of my question. My question is quite different,
20 in fact. I would like to know whether you are able to tell me whether the
21 prisoners of war, which are needed in this detention facility in order to
22 do some work, I would like to ask you whether this work was compulsory for
23 the prisoners of war, or I would like to know whether the prisoners of war
24 could refuse to do the work. Were they paid for the work that they were
25 doing? This is just a very simple question that I'm putting to you.
1 A. I don't believe they could have refused to do the job if they were
2 required to do so by the authorities, and they were not paid for their
3 work. If you will allow me, Your Honour, to expand on this.
4 The Koka farm, which before the war belonged to the penal and
5 correctional facility Butmir, was a source of food, not only for the
6 prisoners but also for the persons in Kula. And probably the people who
7 were administering the prison were looking for workers to work on the Koka
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] But as far as you're aware, was
10 it only there that this job -- that they were supposed to do this type of
11 job, or was it quite normal that prisoners of war had to do some type of
12 work, some type of jobs? And what type of jobs are we talking about? Are
13 you able to give us this type of information about the work that they were
14 asked to do?
15 A. Are you referring to the Butmir penal and correctional facility or
16 to prisons in general?
17 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] No. I'm talking about detention
18 facilities where prisoners of war were detained. I would like to know
19 whether the prisoners of war were forced to do some jobs, and if that is
20 the case, what type of work were they supposed to do?
21 A. Certainly not inside the prisons, but for the needs of the army
22 and the police, the army and the police had the right to require certain
23 numbers of prisoners to take them and have them dig trenches or do similar
24 types of work in order to defend certain features and facilities. So they
25 were able to request prisoners.
1 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And this was quite common; this
2 was a type of common information. I guess that everyone within the
3 government knew or was aware of this type of information. How did you
4 find out about this detail?
5 A. This was governed by the law on the military, on the army.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] The law on the military, on the
7 army, in other words, the army requested prisoners of war to do some type
8 of compulsory jobs, and you were talking about digging up trenches, for
9 instance. They had to do this type of work, then, and this is governed by
10 the military code? Is that right?
11 A. Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And is that also true of the
13 police? Because you've just told us that the prisoners of war could be
14 requested by the army or by the police.
15 A. In case of an imminent threat of war, in case of an imminent
16 threat of war, and that was the situation, the army was superior to the
17 police. The police were subordinate to the army and had to behave in
18 compliance with the law on defence.
19 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And was an order or a decision
20 taken in order to declare the imminent threat or the fact that the war or
21 the conflict was about to break out? Was this the case at the time? And
22 since when? From when? When was this decision taken? Would you remember
23 about the date, for instance?
24 A. Yes. That decision was made at the very beginning of the war, in
25 March or April 1992.
1 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And who took this decision?
2 A. I think it was the Assembly of Republika Srpska, at the initiative
3 of the president of the Republic.
4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] You said that in such a case, the
5 army was superior. So I would like to put a question to you. Did the
6 army depend on someone? In other words, was the army subordinated to the
7 civilian authority or was it working under the influence of the civilian
9 A. No. The supreme military commander was the president of the
10 Republic, and the chief of the General Staff was the second-ranking man,
11 issuing orders to the army. They were responsible to no one but their own
12 institutions, from the lowest to the highest. The chief of the General
13 Staff and the president of Republika Srpska.
14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And during the time that you
15 yourself was the minister of justice, and if I'm not mistaken, I think
16 that you took your office in May 1992 until the end of November of 1992.
17 Could the cabinet of ministers control the army? Did they have a say in
18 it? Or what was the role of the civilian cabinet of ministers?
19 A. At that time, there was a military justice system, and the chief
20 of the General Staff was in charge of it. He was in charge of all
21 segments of military power and authority. The civilian authorities, even
22 the government, were unable to make decisions contrary to the law on
23 defence and the positions of the army and the president of the Republic.
24 This was the case when an imminent threat of war had been declared and
25 when all institutions were subordinated to the military.
1 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So if I understand you well,
2 you're telling us that even if the army abuses its power, the civilian
3 power had no way of intervening; they just could not intervene?
4 A. No, they could not intervene. Let me explain this. It would
5 happen for the military to imprison certain ministers and keep them in
6 prison for ten days.
7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And was that done with the
8 agreement or the approval of the president of the Republic?
9 A. No, Your Honour. It was the chief of the General Staff. If he
10 disagreed with some decisions made by certain ministers, he would keep
11 them in prison for ten days at a time. Even the minister of the military
12 was imprisoned in this way, and he was given the task of feeding cattle
13 and livestock.
14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I would like to touch upon
15 another subject, if you please. I would like to talk about the centre of
16 power within the Serb Republic of Bosnia. On a number of occasions during
17 the March 2004 interview, and here, during your testimony, you've talked
18 about what you called the leadership of the Republika Srpska. And you
19 told us the following: You told us that Dr. Karadzic controlled the
20 police and the army and that this conferred him a certain power. You told
21 us that he could build his own power, whereas Mr. Krajisnik had with him
22 the MPs, the deputies, and the president of municipalities. This is what
23 you told us.
24 A. Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Therefore, you yourself do not
1 believe that Mr. Krajisnik had any power over the military or the police?
2 A. Definitely not over the army, because in the beginning, with the
3 chief of the General Staff -- and this was in compliance with the laws,
4 this was concerning the compliance with the laws, that they came into
5 conflict, and they were basically in conflict since between mid-1992 until
6 the end of the war, and in this period, they had very few contacts and he
7 was unable to influence the situation in the war.
8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I did not
9 receive interpretation for this answer. Is there a difficulty? I am
10 addressing the interpreters now.
11 JUDGE ORIE: If I may a few words in English, Judge El Mahdi, then
12 perhaps you find out whether there's any interpretation. Yes, please
14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [In English] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. You always find a
16 solution for everything.
17 There was mention of the authority of Mr. Krajisnik with regard to
18 the army. You have stated, I quote in English: [Previous translation
19 continues] ... [In English] " -- army." [Interpretation] Can I conclude
20 from this that you drew a distinction between the army and the police,
21 which means that he did have the possibility to exert influence over the
23 A. Only partly, Your Honour, over the police, but that was only in
24 part. But not as regards the war operations and the combat operations.
25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] But did the Territorial Defence
1 come under the police or the army?
2 A. The army. That was the reserve force of the army.
3 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Fine. You have stated that the
4 police had also taken part in the military operations.
5 A. Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] By doing so, the police was in a
7 position to have prisoners of war; isn't it so?
8 A. Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] In your opinion, and based on
10 your knowledge, the events that took place within the detention facilities
11 held by the police, that is to say, the information about what was going
12 on in these detention facilities, were forwarded to which levels? Who was
13 in charge of these facilities?
14 A. President of the Republic, prime minister, and different
15 ministers, ministers of defence, minister of police, until the end of
16 1992. Later on, the minister of justice was also the one to receive
17 information on these issues.
18 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. I would like to turn
19 now to a topic that is related to what we have just been mentioning, which
20 is the relationship between the legislative and the executive branches of
21 government, that's to say between the government and the Assembly. I am
22 aware of the fact that initially the difficulties lay in the fact that you
23 were trying to establish this state, the Republic, that was in the making.
24 I would like you to tell me now what sort of a relationship existed
25 between the executive branch of government, that is, the government
1 itself, and the Assembly. That was the legislative branch of government.
2 A. At the beginning of the war, and for the most part of the first
3 half of the war, the legislative power was wielded by the president of the
4 Republic. Under the constitution Article 83, I believe it was, he was
5 entitled to pass laws himself, without the parliament, concerning all
6 spheres of life: The army, police, justice, all the areas. The
7 parliament had the duty to verify the law passed by the president of the
8 state at its next session.
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, but did the government
10 answer to the Assembly for its activity?
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] For instance, in this case, the
13 government would report to the Assembly about its actions taken and
14 activities. As far as you know -- let me just find an appropriate term
15 for this. Can you tell us: Was the government informed about the
16 goings-on on the ground? And I primarily refer to what was going on in
17 the detention facilities. In other words, the destiny of the detainees,
18 was it in some way told about it to the parliament deputies?
19 A. The MPs were very well-informed about the goings-on on the ground.
20 They came from different areas, from different municipalities. They had
21 firsthand information from the area where they resided in. As for the
22 government and the level of the information that it had about the
23 collection and detention facilities, they received information from the
24 army and the police, and they received as much information as there was.
25 But the main sources of information were the army and the police
1 respectively, from the detention facilities that they held, and these were
2 all the detention facilities that existed until the end of 1992 where
3 prisoners were held.
4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] But to your knowledge, were there
5 discussions at the sessions of the Assembly concerning the treatment of
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And what conclusions were taken?
9 A. Such acts, if any, and there were such acts, they were definitely
10 condemned for the fact this they were contrary to the Geneva Conventions
11 governing prisoners. Commissions were established, people were tasked,
12 and all efforts were taken to bring these practices within the realm of
13 legality, to dissolve, disband these detention facilities, and this was
14 done until, I believe, mid-1992. People were tasked, be it from the
15 parliament or from professional services, but from all the levels of
17 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. If I've understood
18 you correctly, you were very closely related with Mr. Krajisnik in this
20 A. I got to know Mr. Krajisnik in early 1992, and we started
21 cooperating while I had the capacity of a deputy minister for justice in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Mr. Krajisnik was president of the Assembly of
24 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Did you say in early 1991 or 1992
25 that you got to know Mr. Krajisnik? When was it?
1 A. In 1991. We lived in Sarajevo.
2 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. 1991. I wanted to verify
3 this, because the year 1992 was entered into the transcript. So you were
4 a member of the party?
5 A. I was never a member of the Serbian Democratic Party.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Nevertheless, the fact that you
7 were appointed to that post was thanks to Mr. Krajisnik, as far as I've
8 understood your testimony so far.
9 A. I don't think so.
10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] You were chosen by the prime
11 minister; however, it was Mr. Krajisnik who gave his approval for that; is
12 that not true? You said that.
13 A. And he supported.
14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] While you held this office, you
15 were on friendly terms with him; you cooperated with him?
16 A. At the time, and later on as well.
17 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. You also stated that
18 you were removed from this position because Ms. Plavsic and Professor
19 Koljevic, for certain reasons, requested that you leave the position,
20 regardless of the fact that Mr. Krajisnik had earlier given his support to
21 you, in this case, he was unable to do anything else to keep you at your
23 A. Your Honour, I only mentioned one of the reasons. In September
24 1992, as early as September 1992, at the Assembly session in Bijeljina, I
25 asked that I be assigned the position of minister without an office and to
1 be sent to Belgrade, to work there. So basically this decision coincided
2 with my wishes. And when the first government was dissolved, it was
3 solely Ms. Plavsic and Mr. Koljevic who asked that I not be included into
4 the government of Republika Srpska in any form, because we had -- we were
5 in a personal conflict, Ms. Biljana Plavsic and myself, since the
6 beginning of 1992.
7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I will rephrase the question that
8 I put to you. In your opinion, the ministers who formed part of the
9 government after the resignation of the prime minister Djeric, who
10 actually elected them into the government?
11 A. The following prime minister, the prime minister who was to
12 follow, was Mr. Lukic, and he was Mr. Koljevic's man of choice. He
13 actually proposed him, and this was accepted by the political and state
14 leadership of Republika Srpska.
15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Who elected them? Who appointed
16 them? If you know. By whom?
17 A. It was the Assembly that elected them, in consultation with the
18 political leadership of Republika Srpska. I think that this government
19 was elected in January 1993.
20 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] When you say that they were
21 elected by the Assembly, what do you mean by that? Did Mr. Krajisnik have
22 a say in this?
23 A. I think that there was unanimous support in relation to the
24 cabinet of Mr. Lukic.
25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, but you've said that the
1 choice was Mr. Koljevic's, and my question is: Is this true also for
2 members of his team? You now tell me that they were essentially elected
3 by the Assembly, the deputies in the Assembly.
4 A. I said that Mr. Koljevic suggested that Mr. Lukic be elected as
5 prime minister and that this proposal was supported by the political
6 structures of the state leadership of Republika Srpska. Naturally, the
7 MPs and the political leaders were consulted also with regard to the
8 ministers themselves. And there was unanimous support of all the
9 structures for this government of Mr. Lukic.
10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] You say "state structures." I
11 will quote what you said in English: [In English] "Leadership of Republika
12 Srpska." [Interpretation] When you say this, what do you exactly mean by
14 A. The political means, the core leadership of the Serbian Democratic
15 Party, that was the party bearing the power in Republika Srpska, and the
16 state functionaries were the ones heading the state, the parliament, and
17 certain regions.
18 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Can you be more precise and tell
19 us their names?
20 A. The personnel policy was run at the time by Dr. Karadzic, Dr.
21 Biljana Plavsic, Dr. Nikola Koljevic, Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik, Rajko Dukic,
22 and some other leaders of the regional boards of the Serbian Democratic
23 Party whose names I cannot recall at present.
24 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] But within this narrow circle of
25 people, were there any conflicts taking place or were these people always
1 unanimous and agreed on all the issues? You've mentioned here now five
2 persons, about five names, but did they ever come into conflict with each
3 other, or not?
4 A. There were different views and proposals, but they were discussed
5 with a view to being streamlined. And the state leadership at the time
6 was unanimous in its positions to a large degree.
7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] The last topic that I would like
8 to discuss here is the following one: Do you recall saying, when talking
9 about the source of power and his competence, the competence of
10 Mr. Krajisnik, you said that on the one hand he relied on the MPs, and on
11 the other, on the presidents of the municipalities, that he wielded his
12 power from these two sources. Is that right? Did the presidents of the
13 municipalities communicate with Mr. Krajisnik? In what way, if so? And
14 when need arose, did they receive instructions or commands, orders from
15 Mr. Krajisnik? If you have any knowledge of this, could you please help
16 me with this.
17 A. Mr. Krajisnik was held in high esteem by the Serbian people and by
18 the MPs, because he represented the continuity of the Assembly that used
19 to be the Joint Assembly previously in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I apologise. I have to interrupt
21 you, because this was not my question. I have to remind you of my
22 question. It was a very simple one. You've said that he wielded his
23 influence on the basis of the relationship that he had with the presidents
24 of the municipalities. I asked you whether there was a flow of
25 information, that's to say, directives, instructions, and orders, between
1 Mr. Krajisnik, on the one hand, and the presidents of the municipalities,
2 on the other. Do you have any knowledge about this?
3 A. Not as concerns the flow of information, but I know that people
4 did come to Mr. Krajisnik to consult with him, people from different parts
5 of Republika Srpska, presidents of municipalities and the MPs alike.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I'm referring to the presidents
7 of the municipalities at present. If you have no knowledge of this, you
8 may say so freely.
9 A. As far as the information is concerned, I have no knowledge of it.
10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Very well. You have mentioned paramilitary
11 groups, formations. Among others, you mentioned the ones that were based
12 at the Jewish cemetery, among others. You meant the Jewish cemetery in
13 Sarajevo; is that right? Who were these paramilitary groups subordinate
14 to? If I've understood you correctly, when talking of these
15 paramilitaries based at the Jewish cemetery, you said that these were
16 paramilitaries who came from outside.
17 A. Yes, Your Honour. These were members of the Serbian Radical
18 Party, the president of which was Mr. Vojislav Seselj. But there were
19 initially people from Sarajevo who were members of this party. The chief
20 of this paramilitary group was Aleksic Slavko who lived in Sarajevo and
21 was from Sarajevo, but he was a member of the party and he received
22 instructions from Mr. Seselj.
23 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. But weren't these
24 paramilitaries subordinate to someone, the army, the municipalities? In
25 what way were they able to be there, to exist there, without receiving
1 support from someone?
2 A. Generally, these paramilitaries were under the system of the army,
3 because General Ratko Mladic tried to place all the paramilitary groups
4 under the command of the army.
5 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Therefore, the municipalities
6 were not in a position to control or coordinate the activities of the
7 paramilitary formations active in their respective territories?
8 A. In the beginning, Your Honour, they were. These paramilitary
9 formations were present in addition to crisis staffs in certain
10 municipalities, but from time to time the army would place both the
11 paramilitary groups and the TO under their command, and they would form
12 part of the unit.
13 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Do you mean to say that in the
14 beginning they were subordinate to the crisis staffs? That's one
15 question. Second: Which period in time are you referring to?
16 A. I mean the beginning of the war, March, April 1992, and I'm
17 referring to the crisis staffs organised by the municipal governments.
18 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] If I've understood you correctly,
19 these crisis staffs controlled, in a manner of speaking, these
20 paramilitaries active in the territorial of a given municipality?
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
23 Mr. Minister.
24 Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mandic, we are close to the time where we usually
1 have a break. I would have some questions for you as well, but perhaps
2 I'll not finish in two minutes. Therefore, we'll have a break first and
3 we'll adjourn until five minutes to 11.00.
4 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 [The witness entered court]
8 [Witness's counsel entered court]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Please be seated, Mr. Mandic.
10 If you'll just allow me one second.
11 Mr. Mandic, I'd like to ask you a few questions about the relation
12 between civilian authorities and military authorities. You told us that
13 the army took over all responsibility for special MUP units. They were
14 under the command of the army, you told us. Could you explain to us why
15 they took over, who decided that they took over the command over the MUP
16 units, whether they took over command of other units as well.
17 A. According to the constitution of Republika Srpska and the law on
18 the armed forces and the Ministry of the Interior, governed this, so these
19 laws governed this matter.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, what, then, triggered -- I mean, you
21 say "governed this." Under what circumstances, then, the MUP, the special
22 MUP units were placed under the command of the army?
23 A. When there is an imminent threat of war. This was declared in
24 early 1992, and that is when the special purpose units and the active
25 police force were placed under the command of the army. As for war
1 operations and public law and order, the police acted independently when
2 maintaining public law and order.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You say this was declared early 1992. Did this
4 ever develop into a state of war?
5 A. As far as I know, Your Honours, no; at least, not as long as I was
6 in the government.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Is that because, in your view, there was no war
8 or that it was just not declared a state of war?
9 A. I couldn't say. I think the decision was made by the president of
10 the Republic that a state of war not be declared.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could you elaborate on that?
12 A. As far as I can recall, it was the position of the president of
13 the Republic of Srpska that a state of war not be declared and to prepare
14 the army and police and maintain the situation as it was. That's all I
15 know about it.
16 JUDGE ORIE: So there was a positive decision not to declare a
17 state of war, which is not the same as that there was no decision to
18 declare a state of war.
19 A. Yes, Your Honour. The former was the case, not the latter.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand.
21 Then I'd like to ask you something about the National Security
22 Council. Are you aware of the existence and the functioning of such a
24 A. In the beginning of the war, there was a form of - I don't know
25 what the name was - but in March or April -- I can't recall what the title
1 was now.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Would it assist you if we received evidence that
3 there was an organisation called the National Security Council?
4 A. The National Security Council. Maybe Mr. Tieger could assist me.
5 I don't know what the name of the body was in March or April, but it met
6 to discuss security, and I attended those meetings on occasion, several
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, you're invited to assist Mr. Mandic in
9 refreshing his memory. Well, I take it that you have discussed this,
10 then, in your interviews.
11 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour --
12 MR. STEWART: Excuse me, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. STEWART: On what basis is counsel invited to refresh a
15 witness's memory?
16 JUDGE ORIE: The witness himself --
17 MR. STEWART: It's rather unorthodox.
18 JUDGE ORIE: It seems that the witness says that he has a body in
19 his mind of which he does not know exactly the name, but from addressing
20 Mr. Tieger, the Chamber understands that this must have been the subject
21 of any conversations with Mr. Tieger, and therefore, Mr. Mandic invited
22 Mr. Tieger to refresh his memory as to the name he used at that time for
23 such a body.
24 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, our submission is that it's not
25 proper for that invitation to be endorsed by the Trial Chamber, that
1 counsel has, with respect, no business in becoming involved in the
2 witness's evidence. If the witness can remember things himself, he can
3 remember them; and if he can't, he can't. And it's not for counsel to
4 start intervening.
5 JUDGE ORIE: It was Mr. Mandic who asked for it.
6 MR. STEWART: It doesn't matter, Your Honour, in our submission.
7 The witness may ask, but when the witness asks for counsel to assist him
8 by giving him the facts, it remains improper wherever the invitation
9 request comes from, it remains an improper function of counsel. I'm not
10 suggesting any impropriety by Mr. Tieger. If he's invited and if the
11 invitation is endorsed by the Trial Chamber, he would naturally do it, but
12 we do say it's improper.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
14 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Is there anything in the --
16 MR. TIEGER: That's what I was rising to do. Would it be of any
17 assistance to the Court to look at P433.
18 JUDGE ORIE: P433. Let me just try to find P433. Perhaps,
19 Madam Registrar, I have to dig it up from my pile. A document shown to
20 you as P433 is a document containing the minutes of the meeting of the
21 Council for National Security and the government held on the 24th of
22 April, 1992. Is that the body you were referring to?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Then could you tell us a bit more. We took a
25 different road, Mr. Stewart, which is not an expression of the Trial
1 Chamber that it follows your suggestion that it would be inappropriate;
2 it's just undecided, and we followed a different route.
3 Could you tell us about the functioning of that Council for
4 National Security, or as it's sometimes translated, National Security
6 A. I am not privy to the functioning of that council, Your Honour,
7 but I know that it was headed in that year by the president of the
8 Republic to vice-presidents of the Republic, the chief of the General
9 Staff, the prime minister, the minister of defence, the minister of the
10 interior, and I don't know whether there was a representative of the
11 Assembly or not, but I do know that General Ratko Mladic and Dr. Biljana
12 Plavsic asked that there should not be a representative of the Assembly in
13 the council, while others wanted that to happen. But I don't know what
14 the final decision was. All this was published in the Official Gazette,
15 that is, which leaders of Republika Srpska were members of the Council for
16 National Security.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you know anything about the task of that
18 Council for National Security?
19 A. No, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: You, as minister of justice, had no idea on what the
21 task of this legal body would be?
22 A. I can draw my own conclusions, and I can say that this had to do
23 with the war and with war operations. There were rules regulating the
24 operation of this council. But I wasn't really well informed about that.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If I would tell you that we received evidence
1 that ex officio members of the National Security Council included the
2 president of the Assembly and the prime minister, does this -- you would
3 then say that you would still not know whether that's correct or ...?
4 A. If there is testimony to this effect, and if this was published in
5 the National Gazette [as interpreted], then the answer is yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you said it had -- you could think of it
7 having to do anything with the war, but no further information ever
8 reached you about tasks and functioning of this body?
9 A. Well, the top leadership was in that council, and they were the
10 ones who made decisions about all segments of authority in the Republic of
11 Srpska. The very name of the Council for National Security tells us that
12 these people dealt with the security of the country, and they had the
13 highest powers and authorities in connection with the war in the Republic
14 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 JUDGE ORIE: So they were dealing with --
16 THE INTERPRETER: The Serbian Republic.
17 JUDGE ORIE: -- military matters as well. I take it, at least,
18 that when you say in connection with the war, the highest powers, that
19 that would include military matters.
20 A. I am referring primarily to military matters, but also everything
21 else that had to do with security.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for the answer to that question.
23 You told us that you had quite some difficulties in getting
24 information because of failing links with several areas of the Republic,
25 and you told us that you would receive information from CNN and other
1 media. Let me just read to you exactly your testimony in this respect.
2 You said the following: "In Hotel Bistrica, on Jahorina, that's where the
3 government seat was, and it was difficult to have communication with
4 territories outside the area of Sarajevo. We gained more information
5 through CNN and other international TV stations in Sarajevo than we were
6 able to discover through other media and local television."
7 What other international TV stations you had in mind when you gave
8 this answer?
9 A. In the headquarters at Pale, where the president of the Republic
10 and the president of the Assembly were, and others, there were satellite
11 dishes, and we could follow quite a number of TV channels on satellite
12 television. We could also view the federal Sarajevo television station.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Although you here mention specifically Hotel
14 Bistrica on Jahorina, what's the meaning of this location in the context
15 of your answer?
16 A. This was the seat of the government.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but at least I understood your answer to be that
18 in the seat of the government you were to receive CNN, since you
19 specifically mentioned that. You now say in Pale.
20 A. I'm not quite sure whether there was a satellite dish on Hotel
21 Bistrica, but I am sure that where the president of the Republic,
22 Karadzic, was and the president of the Assembly, Mr. Krajisnik, were, that
23 they did have satellite dishes and they could view those television
24 stations. Hotel Bistrica is on the top of Mount Jahorina. It's a
25 mountain chalet. It was used by skiers before the Olympic games.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And you say we gained more information through CNN.
2 Who do you mean by "we"?
3 A. All of us in the government and those who were in the areas of
4 Pale, Bistrica, eastern Sarajevo, and so on and so forth, the people who
5 had contact with me.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Including yourself?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: May I just try to verify: In your interview, you
9 were asked about media coverage in early August 1992. The question
10 included the great international outcry about the existence of camps in
11 Serbian-held territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When asked about this,
12 part of your answer was that it was very difficult to communication with
13 other parts in Republika Srpska. And then the next part, I'll read that
14 out literally, is: "How was I supposed to watch CNN in Jahorina or read
15 the English papers? The only newspapers that we would read were the ones
16 that would arrive from Serbia."
17 Is it a correct understanding of the testimony you just gave that
18 the answer to the question you put at that time in your answer, "How was I
19 supposed to watch CNN in Jahorina?", that the answer to that question was
20 that you received CNN in Jahorina through the - how are they called? -
21 these satellite receivers. I mean, you're almost denying - although not
22 literally - that you could have received. You said, "How was I supposed
23 to watch CNN?" And now you clearly tell us that you watched the
24 international media.
25 A. On Jahorina, as I've just said, that's where Hotel Bistrica was.
1 I'm not sure there was a satellite dish there. However, at Pale and the
2 office of the president and the president of the Assembly and others,
3 there we could watch satellite TV and whatever was broadcast via satellite
4 TV. But I'm not sure about Hotel Bistrica on Jahorina. I'm not sure we
5 could watch satellite television there. I don't think we could, although
6 now I'm not so sure.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The sequence of questions in your interview was
8 whether you were aware of this international outcry on the camps. Then
9 you said: "I was not aware," because you were the minister of civilian
10 judiciary. Then the question was put to you that the interviewer was not
11 interested in whether you received any official reports, but he was
12 talking about headlines, newspapers, covers of magazines worldwide, and
13 CNN reports. And then you said: "How could I see CNN reports?" Do you
14 agree with me that that is an evasive answer?
15 A. I don't think it was an evasive answer, Your Honour. I was only
16 saying what I felt to be true at the time. In Bistrica and down there in
17 Sarajevo, I couldn't watch CNN. However, at Pale, in some offices
18 belonging to high-ranking dignitaries, I was able to watch satellite TV;
19 however, this was not on a regular basis, it was not continuous. CNN
20 journalists would even arrive in Pale and interview people there. The
21 whole of public life took place at Pale, around the president's office.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
23 My next question concerns the interview that was shown to you by
24 the interview of Mrs. Plavsic. Ms. Plavsic was giving comment on a list
25 of detention facilities, and she said that the 3.000 persons detained in
1 Omarska were there on the basis of a judicial decision. You commented on
2 this interview by saying that from both sides war propaganda was given.
3 As far as the 3.000 Omarska prisoners are concerned, and specifically the
4 explanation by Mrs. Plavsic that they were there on the basis of a
5 judicial order, do you consider this to be war propaganda or to be the
7 A. It's impossible that the judiciary could have brought such a large
8 number of people to Omarska through its procedures. Omarska was a
9 military camp, Your Honour, and the judicial system - and I'm referring to
10 the wartime judicial system - had nothing to do with it. Omarska is known
11 as a war camp, held by the Krajina Corps, I think, headed by
12 General Talic. I think that was an error made by Mrs. Plavsic, whether
13 intentional or not.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Judge Canivell has put a question to you
15 about your awareness, and I'd like to repeat that question in simple
16 terms: Were you aware of killings taking place in detention camps or
17 facilities within the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Were you aware of ill-treatment taking place in those
21 A. No.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Did you ever see any television reports on those
23 camps by CNN?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Did it come into your mind that what you saw needed,
1 as far as the treatment of detainees showed, that it would need some
2 explanation as far as the treatment of those detainees are concerned?
3 A. Yes, Your Honour. The commission of the judiciary, headed by
4 Slobodan Avlijas, submitted its reports to the government on several
5 occasions, and this was a matter of discussion on the inhumane treatment
6 of prisoners and the poor conditions in these facilities. And the reports
7 of these commissions are held by Mr. Tieger in his file, and these were --
8 this was something that we discussed, I think it was in Belgrade in
9 October last year.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you were aware of ill-treatment in those
12 A. It was -- that was the motive why we formed the commission, in
13 order to obtain more information on these matters.
14 JUDGE ORIE: So where you answered to my question, "Were you aware
15 of ill-treatment taking place in those facilities?", your answer "no"
16 is -- how do we have to understand that?
17 A. At the beginning, nobody was aware of what was going on in certain
18 areas of Republika Srpska. When we gained information, either through the
19 media or from Ms. Plavsic or from other people who had information on
20 this, the government reacted, responded, and formed commissions, either on
21 the initiative of the MUP, as we saw yesterday or the day before
22 yesterday, that then formed mixed commissions that went on the ground,
23 directly to these facilities, to see what was going on.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Did you form any opinion -- well, let's take again
25 Omarska as an example, but if you'd rather prefer Manjaca, that's fine as
1 well. Did you form any opinion as to the status of those detained in
3 A. According to what I learnt later on, Omarska and Manjaca were
4 military prisons formed on the basis of the orders of the commanders of
5 the respective territories, and they came under the exclusive jurisdiction
6 of the army, and none of us members of the civilian government structure
7 had any information on these matters, nor have I ever in my life been
8 either at Omarska or at Manjaca. I was not privy to that.
9 JUDGE ORIE: My -- you say you had no information. Does that mean
10 that you never formed any opinion about it?
11 A. Having had no information, I had no views on that. When we
12 started receiving information through the army and the police, that is,
13 through the report of the minister of the MUP, certain commanders, and
14 Ms. Plavsic, we took certain views, and on several occasions asked for a
15 session of the Assembly to be called to discuss these issues, to find
16 solutions, to establish commissions, and it seems to me that even the
17 president of the Republic issued an order for these camps to be disbanded
18 and to be taken out of the army's jurisdiction. My personal impression
19 was that the response to the situation was a belated one.
20 JUDGE ORIE: In the work of the committee for the exchange, the
21 state committee, would that -- the work of that committee include all
22 types of prisoners?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Why were civilians exchanged rather than just
25 released, if there was no suspicion against them and they were
1 nevertheless held in camps or facilities, whatever you call it?
2 A. Your Honour, I don't think that the people who were civilians, who
3 were exchanged -- I know from firsthand knowledge that people were
4 released to the areas where they wanted to go. As far as Kula was
5 concerned, I had -- I have firsthand knowledge from there. Especially in
6 the beginning of the war, I was not aware of how these exchanges took
7 place at different, other detentions, and I don't know who the persons
8 exchanged were, whether they were civilians, combatants, or which category
9 they belonged to. I had no knowledge of that. It was only in the
10 Sarajevo area that I was aware of what was going on from the month of May
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mandic, this Chamber has received evidence to the
13 extent that persons in detention camps or in detention facilities,
14 including civilians, were never asked where they wanted to go; they were
15 just taken to places. Is that something you can imagine that, according
16 to your information, that may have happened?
17 A. That is not true, Your Honour. On the 20th of May, the second day
18 of my term as minister, I went to the Kula facility and asked the people I
19 found there who were leaving, and asked them where they were going. They
20 said that they were going to Sarajevo. And with the approval of the
21 minister of MUP, I escorted them to Sarajevo.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you. My question was about evidence we
23 received about persons in detention camps or in detention facilities, not
24 specifically Kula. So apart from Kula, is based on the information you
25 had at that time, is it possible that people were taken to places without
1 being asked whether they wanted to go there, including civilians?
2 A. Yes, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Are you -- could you tell me what information, then,
4 puts you in a position that you say that could have been the case.
5 A. The fact that later on I became a member of a commission that
6 cooperated with UNPROFOR and the other commissions from the federal
7 Sarajevo, and people talked about what had happened in some of the camps,
8 especially the ones in Krajina, and that's when I got to know how these
9 people were treated, what the paramilitary formations and other outsider
10 groups and certain individuals who held power in these regions were doing.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Did you ever hear about a convoy passing through
12 Pale, a large number of people, of Muslims?
13 A. From Sarajevo, Your Honour?
14 JUDGE ORIE: No, not from Sarajevo, but passing through Pale,
15 brought to Pale, and then transported again from Pale, a large group of
16 Muslim persons, including civilians, in buses.
17 A. I don't recall that, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then finally I have got a few questions for you on
19 the investigations. You said the SAOs were acting almost independently.
20 At the same time, I do understand that there was a tour around the camps
21 which would cover the territories of the SAOs as well, in the early August
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Do I then understand that the state authority could
25 be exercised also on the territories of the SAOs?
1 A. I believe that the central state authority gradually assumed the
2 powers of the SAOs and centralised the government. In August, I believe,
3 the SAOs were abolished at one of the Assembly sessions. I can't recall
4 when exactly that took place.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Are you aware of politicians, local politicians,
6 meeting at a central level? And when I'm talking about politicians, I'm
7 mainly referring to the prevailing party, which was the SDS. So meeting
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Do you remember when this happened? Did this
11 happen -- let me just go through the specific month of 1992. Did this
12 happen in April 1992?
13 A. I have no recollection of that, Your Honour, but I do know that
14 the leadership from Pale often went to different areas of Republika Srpska
15 and scheduled meetings with the political leaderships in these respective
16 areas. I know that they went to Bileca, Trebinje, Banja Luka, Bijeljina,
18 JUDGE ORIE: And their local SDS politician would meet with the
19 central leadership?
20 A. Yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
22 Finally, I'd like to ask you about investigation of war crimes.
23 Have there been bodies established to investigate the commission of war
25 A. Yes. However, I believe this took place in a later stage of the
1 war. I heard that these bodies were established, that there were
2 investigations, but not in 1992, while I was in the government. I think
3 that there was no such body at that time.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Were you ever appointed to any body that would
5 investigate war crimes?
6 A. I don't remember, but I don't think so.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Did you ever appoint others on bodies which were to
8 investigate war crimes?
9 A. If these were commissions attached to the government or the
10 ministry, the answer is yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you have any remembrance on when that
13 A. I cannot tell you precisely, but I think it must have been in
14 August or September 1992, but I cannot recall the precise date.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you remember whether such a commission
16 established at that time - if it's clear enough in your memory - whether
17 they had a task to investigate or examine all war crimes or only a certain
18 portion of war crimes?
19 A. I think that the intention was to investigate everything that had
20 to do with the war crimes, all the information received by the MUP and the
21 military security, and that reports were drafted to that effect which were
22 then forwarded to the government.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Did there ever exist a body by the name "State
24 Commission for Examining War Crimes Committed against Serbs"?
25 A. I don't remember. I'm not privy to that, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Were you ever confronted during your interviews with
2 a document which contains information about the existence of such a
3 committee, of such a commission? Let me read a few lines from your
4 interview, page 138, 139. When you were asked: "Is there any reason that
5 the commission is expressed to be a commission inquiring only into crimes
6 against Serbs?" And then your answer starts: "Well, the reason was
7 that --" so you explained why this was the case. Do you remember that?
8 A. No, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Would you like to see the relevant portion of your
10 interview to refresh your memory? I do not have a B/C/S version of the
11 interview. Could either party assist me in, first of all, to provide a
12 B/C/S version of the March 2004 interview and to locate where we find the
13 relevant portion, which is in the English text on page 138, spilling over
14 to 139?
15 MR. STEWART: I'm sorry. We can't, Your Honour, because we've got
16 notes all over our copies. So I apologise for that.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand.
18 MR. STEWART: We can't help with that, I'm afraid.
19 JUDGE ORIE: The Prosecution usually doesn't work from the B/C/S
20 version, I do understand. Is there any -- could you perhaps check whether
21 there are also notes on those two specific pages? There might be notes on
22 all pages.
23 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour, but ... We'll see.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can it be read out and I could
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it could be, but I'd rather -- of course, I've
2 done that more or less in English, and it has been translated to you, but
3 that doesn't seem to ring a bell.
4 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, we do have clean -- a clean copy of
5 those pages. We would still prefer it, if we may, if the Prosecution can
6 spare their version, because Ms. Cmeric clearly would prefer to have it
7 while we're working.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 MR. STEWART: So if the Prosecution copy is readily available, but
10 otherwise ours is available.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But I see two persons seeking desperately and
12 not coming up with a lot of results.
13 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, you're quite correct.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could we the perhaps only for --
15 MR. STEWART: -- said, Your Honour. Apart from that preference, of
16 course, if it's going to hold things up, here we are. I hate to see the
17 Prosecution in desperation.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, if you just give them in the following
19 order to the -- to Mr. Mandic.
20 Mr. Mandic, if you could try to find on those pages where the
21 question is put to you whether there's any reason that the commission is
22 expressed to be a commission inquiring only into crimes against Serbs.
23 A. Yes, Your Honour. I can see it now.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Does this refresh your memory as far as the
25 existence of a commission -- is concerned with a name expressing that they
1 would examine -- that they would inquire only into crimes against Serbs?
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Was there ever a commission established to inquire
4 into war crimes against non-Serbs or ...
5 A. I believe it was, and it was attached to the MUP of Republika
7 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have any further details, and could you tell
8 us about the results of such a committee, or commission?
9 A. I know that Minister Mico Stanisic and Assistant Minister Tomo
10 Kovac talked of this commission, because on the ground in the areas
11 controlled by the Serbs, there were many killings of Muslim civilians by
12 paramilitaries and other formations, and this constituted a great
13 difficulty, problem, for Republika Srpska. And I'm almost certain that it
14 was the MUP of Republika Srpska that established a commission for the war
15 crimes committed against the non-Serb population.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And the results?
17 A. I am not familiar with those, Your Honour. I don't know what they
18 had done. Because this was the jurisdiction of the military prosecutor's
19 offices, because these were acts committed by the military personnel, and
20 the military justice system that was present in the area where the crimes
21 committed [as interpreted] directly were the ones in charge. I don't know
22 anything about it at the level of the government. There were, however,
23 fully effective final decisions taken by courts for the crimes committed
24 against the non-Serbs. These were decisions, judgements rendered by the
25 military courts, and I know that for a fact.
1 I think one of the judges' name is Jamina. He tried in the cases
2 involving war crimes against the non-Serb population.
3 JUDGE ORIE: When was that?
4 A. I believe it was in late 1992 that this trial took place, and I
5 remember the discussions about it.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have one trial on your mind or more?
7 A. I'm sure there was more than one trial, Your Honour, but I know
8 that Mr. Jamina tried such cases and that he told me personally, as this
9 was a military secret and had to do with the military judiciary, that he
10 had tried members of paramilitary units who had killed civilians on the
11 territory of Republika Srpska around Sarajevo and in Sarajevo. I think
12 his name was Dragan Jamina. He was a judge of the military court of the
13 Sarajevo Corps.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Were there any regular military men, so not
15 paramilitary, but any regular military men prosecuted for war crimes?
16 A. I think there were, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us any more information about it?
18 A. Mr. Colovic, whom we have mentioned several times, he was the
19 first president of the State Commission for Exchange, in the meantime was
20 appointed judge of the supreme court, and he could tell you a lot more
21 about this, because he was in charge of the military judiciary. And now
22 he is the public prosecutor in Sarajevo.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those answers.
24 I have no further questions to you.
25 Mr. Tieger, are there any questions that arise out of the
1 examination of the witness by the Chamber?
2 MR. TIEGER: No, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Of course, I'm hesitant to ask you, Mr. Stewart,
4 but --
5 MR. STEWART: We might as well go through the motions,
6 Your Honour. Your Honour is asking me, and well my answer really is just
7 a corollary of the more general position.
8 JUDGE ORIE: At the same time, I hope that you appreciate that
9 it's my duty to ask you at this moment.
10 MR. STEWART: Of course, Your Honour. I do appreciate and
11 understand that. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Mandic, this concludes your testimony in
13 this case before the Tribunal. You have followed the discussion where the
14 Defence has indicated that it very likely would come with a motion to be
15 allowed to fully cross-examine you, cross-examination that has not taken
16 place until now. In this very specific situation where, usually, once a
17 witness is excused, he is free to discuss his testimony with anyone, under
18 these specific circumstances, I'd like to instruct you, because there is a
19 chance that you'll be called, or by in whatever way be cross-examined,
20 that you not speak about your testimony with anyone, the testimony you've
21 given until now, and whether there is -- will be any testimony still to be
22 given is uncertain at this moment.
23 As soon as it would be clear whether there will be any further
24 examination, the Chamber will take care that you're informed. If no
25 further examination will take place, the Chamber will also take care to
1 pass a message to you so that you're not bound by these instructions any
3 Mr. Mandic, these were the technicalities -- yes, Mr. Tieger.
4 MR. TIEGER: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You have perhaps a problem with other cases or?
6 MR. TIEGER: I have some concern about the order. If I may be
7 given just a moment.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand that there may be a certain
9 interest at the Prosecution side to have further discussions with
10 Mr. Mandic. Is that correct?
11 MR. TIEGER: Certainly that's part of it, and there's -- I think
12 other concerns arise as well that are worth addressing, and I'd like a
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Mandic, I first of all would like to thank
15 you for having come to The Hague and to have answered all questions put to
16 you. It might be that the instructions I just gave to you will be
17 altered, will be changed, because it creates some problems for the
18 Prosecution. You'll be properly informed about it if the instructions
19 undergo any changes. I'll take care that at least you receive the changed
20 instructions in such a way, preferably in writing, that there can be no
21 misunderstanding as to what instructions you're bound by.
22 Mr. Tomic, I'd like to ask you as well for your presence.
23 Mr. Tieger, I take it that we can deal with the matter in the
24 absence of the witness, in view of what I've just said, that he'll be
25 informed about --
1 MR. TIEGER: Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Mandic
3 and Mr. Tomic out of the courtroom.
4 [Witness's counsel withdrew]
5 [The witness withdrew]
6 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps we deal with the matter right away.
7 Mr. Tieger, do you think that it can be done in open session or would
8 there be any reason to go into private session?
9 MR. TIEGER: I think private session is probably preferable.
10 MR. STEWART: Preferable, Your Honour, but may we know the
11 reasons, which must be very specifically --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but I can imagine that sometimes reasons should
13 be given in private session to start with and then we'll decide whether we
15 MR. STEWART: Yes. With respect, Your Honour, yes, then, but as
16 soon as we go into private session --
17 JUDGE ORIE: We'll turn into private session.
18 [Private session]
11 Page 9143-9171 redacted. Private session.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.49 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 2nd day of
18 December 2004, at 9.00 a.m.