1 Tuesday, 5 April 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.16 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
9 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I immediately offer my apologies
10 and a not very satisfactory but I'm afraid extremely simple explanation
11 which is that my watch at the moment, Your Honour, after performing
12 admirably for three years, shows the time right now as one minute to 9.00
13 and I'm afraid that, having gone by my own watch which has chosen this
14 morning to pack up on me to that extent, I simply had no idea, Your Honour
15 that I wasn't coming to court on time in the normal way. I realise that
16 that's very inconvenient to all concerned, I apologise to everybody
17 inconvenienced. There is no more I can say, Your Honour. That's what's
18 happened. I will, of course, change my watch at the earliest opportunity
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and Mr. Stewart, if it doesn't happen any more
21 than once every one and a half year, then the Court is --
22 MR. STEWART: I am grateful, Your Honour. And I shall try to
23 preserve that average, or better.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The same is granted to the Prosecution.
25 Then are you ready to continue the examination of Mr. Trbojevic?
1 MR. TIEGER: Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Trbojevic
3 into the courtroom.
4 MR. STEWART: While we're waiting, Your Honour, I wonder if I
5 could just ask somebody to give me assistance. I've had this problem in
6 this court: I'm afraid I don't know where the power point is. It's not
7 in such an obvious place in this court. Down here? Thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You're excused for an absence of a couple of --
9 MR. STEWART: While I go subterranean for a minute.
10 [The witness entered court]
11 WITNESS: MILAN TRBOJEVIC [Resumed]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. Please be seated, Mr. Trbojevic.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
14 MR. STEWART: I have no luck, Your Honour, I'm afraid. I'm sure
15 while we're proceeding if somebody just comes in and shows me where this
16 point is, then we'll have lift-off in a couple of seconds.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I take it that someone will come and assist
19 Mr. Trbojevic, I'd like to remind you that you are still bound by
20 the solemn declaration you've given at the beginning of your testimony and
21 I'd also like to remind you that if any question is put to you of which
22 you think that answering would incriminate yourself, that you may object
23 to doing so, and as I said yesterday, the Court will then decide whether
24 it will compel you to answer that question, in which case the answer could
25 not be used against you.
1 Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
2 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Examined by Mr. Tieger: [Continued]
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Trbojevic. I'd like to turn first to a meeting
5 of the Council for National Security in the government which was held on
6 April 24th, 1992 and which is found behind tab 2 in binder 1.
7 Mr. Trbojevic, while that -- while the minutes of that meeting are
8 being produced for you, I'd indicate that I'm going to draw your attention
9 to a decision that appears as the third to last before the rulings section
10 of the minutes, and that was the following: "A decision was passed
11 stating that the exchange of prisoners be handled by the Ministry of
12 Justice after the internal affairs organs finish their work."
13 Now, Mr. Trbojevic, I recognise that this preceded your entry into
14 government by approximately one month; nevertheless, I want to ask you if
15 you can tell us first what work of the internal affairs organs was
16 contemplated by that decision?
17 A. As you have said yourself, I don't know when this was passed. I
18 did not participate in formulating this document, but based on the
19 formulation itself, one can conclude that if there are some persons who
20 had been detained, that it was the police organs who were supposed to
21 interview or question them first to see whether they were of any interest
22 to the police organs before these people were exchanged.
23 Q. And thereafter, that is, upon completion of the efforts of the
24 organs of internal affairs, the Ministry of Justice would be responsible
25 for effecting the exchange; is that correct?
1 A. I wasn't involved in that and I didn't know that this fell under
2 the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. There was no information
3 regarding what was being done on that issue. I know that there existed a
4 Commission for Exchange; however, I did not consider it to be an organ of
5 the Ministry of Justice.
6 Q. Who did you consider to be responsible for the work of the
7 Commission of Exchange?
8 A. I believed that that was a commission which was attached to the
9 military organs. It was logical that there were some prisoners after
10 military operations, and the issue of whether these persons would be
11 detained or exchanged or released is something that logically ought to
12 fall under the jurisdiction of military organs.
13 Q. So the decision of the Council for National Security and the
14 government on April 24th that the Ministry of Justice would be responsible
15 or would handle the exchange of prisoners after the internal affairs
16 organs had finished their work comes as a surprise to you, Mr. Trbojevic?
17 A. Entirely. As far as I know, the Ministry of Justice did not have
18 the functional ability to deal with this. It did not have staff that
19 could have managed that. And based on my personal experience, I know
20 nothing about the activities of that commission.
21 Q. Do you recall whether or not the work of the commission was the
22 subject of attention in government sessions in which you were involved
23 after your arrival in Pale?
24 A. I must confess that I do not remember. It is possible that that
25 was mentioned, but as for the government taking position as to how that
1 was supposed to function, as to government deciding, issuing criteria as
2 to who ought to be exchanged and who oughtn't -- should not, I don't think
3 that anything was done on that score.
4 Q. Now, you mentioned during the course of an answer your conclusion
5 that it was logical that there are some prisoners after military
6 operations. Do you recall that the issue of prisoners held by Bosnian
7 Serb authorities, beginning in the period early May and extending on
8 through the rest of the year, was the subject of allegations by the
9 international community that those prisoners were the victims of forcible
10 population displacements of ethnic cleansing?
11 A. The first information I received regarding that had to do with the
12 arrival of Mr. Mazowiecki in Banja Luka. That was in the summer of 1992,
13 I'm not sure exactly when. I know that his arrival and his visit to Banja
14 Luka, Manjaca and Prijedor were given quite a lot of publicity and it was
15 then that a lot of that information same to surface. That was the first I
16 heard of that.
17 Q. Can I ask you to look next at an article contained at tab 51,
18 which I believe is the first tab in binder 2.
19 Mr. Trbojevic, tab 51 contains an article by the Reuters news
20 service from May 12th, 1992, reflecting the remarks of a special envoy for
21 the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees, who said, among others things in
22 the article: "I thought I had seen everything, but what is happening in
23 Bosnia passes all imagination. What we are seeing is something like World
24 War II with population centres being destroyed and towns and villages
25 attacked not as military objects but with the sole purpose of driving the
1 people away."
2 He said this at a news conference and he said further, "The
3 difference from other conflicts I have seen is that, in Bosnia, the
4 creation of a legion of displaced persons is not the consequence of
5 military action but the aim of it."
6 Further on in the press conference, he identifies some numbers of
7 displaced persons and so on.
8 First of all, were you familiar with allegations -- with the
9 specific allegations by UNHCR representative or with more general
10 allegations at that time by representatives of the international community
11 or international media that population centres were being attacked and
12 civilians driven off?
13 A. On the 12th of May, I was in Sarajevo. My son was arrested in the
14 street and beaten up. I had no idea about these matters that are being
15 discussed here.
16 There's a complete analysis here about the causes and effects, and
17 it would be absurd for me to give my position regarding that. At that
18 time, I was just a citizen in Sarajevo trying to stay alive.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, would you please answer the questions,
20 because you said a lot of words --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know nothing about this.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
23 MR. TIEGER:
24 Q. When you arrived in Pale, did you learn from Mr. Djeric or from
25 other members of the Bosnian Serb authorities that such allegations were
1 being made by the international community?
2 A. Nobody briefed me on the situation, if that's what you have in
4 Q. Well, I actually have something broader in mind. Irrespective of
5 whether you were formally briefed on this by any of those officials, were
6 you told in conversations or did you learn from other sources, once you
7 arrived in Pale, that such allegations were being made and were the
8 subject of concern by Bosnian Serb authorities?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Would you turn next to tab 52.
11 Mr. Trbojevic, as you can see, tab 52 contains a letter from Prime
12 Minister Branko Djeric sent to the United States Secretary of State James
13 Baker on May 24th, 1992. In that letter, Mr. Djeric assures Mr. Baker
14 that the Serbian side is holding no hostages, operating no concentration
15 camps, and is not killing unarmed civilians in Bosnia. Then he mentions
16 the reports alleging such crimes appearing in the U.S. press and elsewhere
17 are not based upon facts.
18 Do you know, sir, what reports from the United States and
19 elsewhere Mr. Djeric was referring to in this letter to Mr. Baker?
20 A. I don't know. I believe that he wrote this bona fide.
21 Q. And I'm afraid you'll have to explain that a little further,
22 precisely what you mean by "bona fide."
23 A. I think that he was fully convinced of what he stated in the
25 Q. My question actually was whether or not you can tell us what
1 reports he was referring to in the U.S. press and elsewhere.
2 A. I've already said that I don't know.
3 Q. In the first paragraph, Mr. Djeric refers to the most disturbing
4 news about decisions of the ministerial council suggesting the possible
5 use of force would flow against the Bosnian Serbs.
6 Were you aware of that most disturbing news emanating from the
7 ministerial conference?
8 A. No.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, could I put a few questions to the
11 You said, Mr. Trbojevic, that you are fully convinced that what
12 Mr. Djeric stated in his letter was correct. Why -- on the basis of what
13 did you gain that conviction?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I thought that Djeric
15 wrote this, fully convinced that it was true. We did not have at our
16 disposal -- I did not know that he had at his disposal any information to
17 the effect that the Serb forces had camps in which they created unbearable
18 conditions for the inmates, that they were conducting ethnic cleansing of
19 large territories. We had no such information at all.
20 JUDGE ORIE: On the basis of the allegations he describes, to what
21 extent was it investigated at that time whether such situations did exist?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not natural for an institution
23 such as the government to know nothing about what is going on around it.
24 It was expected that the police or the military would supply some reports
25 with information.
1 JUDGE ORIE: That was not my question, Mr. Trbojevic. My question
2 was: On the basis of the allegations made, what investigations were made
3 in order to come to the conclusion, as you said, that Mr. Djeric could
4 write this letter fully convinced of the correctness of the answer?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that a commission was
6 established, the commission was supposed to go to Krajina and to report on
7 what was going on there. However, we did not receive the report of that
8 commission. The General Staff, in its report to the Supreme Command,
9 whether the General Staff ever informed the Supreme Command of that, I
10 really don't know about that. I did not see any police reports either.
11 JUDGE ORIE: You say the commission was established. When was
12 that commission established?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sometime during the summer. The
14 information could probably be found in documents.
15 JUDGE ORIE: The letter was written on the 24th of May. You told
16 us that Mr. Djeric, while sending this letter, would be convinced of the
17 truthfulness of it. I asked you what investigations were made to find out
18 whether these allegations were true or not true, and then of course I mean
19 to say when these allegations were made, and that, in view of the letter
20 of May 24th, should have been before the 24th of May. What investigations
21 were done, not somewhere in the summer, but prior to writing this letter?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
23 JUDGE ORIE: What makes you believe that Mr. Djeric was convinced
24 that what he wrote was correct if no investigations you are aware of?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believed him that he had no
1 information regarding that.
2 JUDGE ORIE: He received no information. I also understand that
3 on the allegations, you are not aware of any investigation being made to
4 see what was true about these allegations; is that correct?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
6 JUDGE ORIE: You just told us that you are not aware of any
7 investigations, isn't it?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've said that I knew that a group
9 was supposed to go to Krajina to -- for a fact-finding mission and then
10 report on the situation there, but I know of no other cases.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Again, the question: When was this?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It might have been in the course of
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And as I said to you earlier, I'm interested to
15 know what was done in relation to the allegations made prior to writing a
16 letter on the 24th of May.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've stated several times that I
18 don't know.
19 JUDGE ORIE: So therefore, I'm coming back to my first question
20 now. What's the basis -- you just say, "I believed Mr. Djeric had no
21 information since no investigation took place. He must have been
22 convinced that this was the truth."
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've said that I believed him when
24 he said that he didn't know anything about it and I did not know of any
25 information that would prove to the contrary. That's why I believed him
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 when he said that he knew nothing about it.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's clear.
3 Now that commission that was to be sent to Krajina, when was that
4 established? You said somewhere in June; is that a correct understanding?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know exactly but there's a
6 document that I signed containing an order to the effect that this should
7 be looked into.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And is that commission on which you just said
9 that you never received a report?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: What did you do when you did not receive any report?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This commission was supposed to be a
13 commission under the Ministry of Justice, and of course we believed that a
14 report would eventually be submitted. However, the events then took their
15 course and there was no more need for such a report.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Why was there no further need for such a report?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The information about the events at
18 Manjaca and at Omarska became, so to say, general knowledge to a higher or
19 lesser degree.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And there was no need to know further details for the
21 government because it had been in the press already; is that how I have to
22 understand your answer that there was no need for such a report?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was no need to insist on the
24 report being submitted because the events became general knowledge.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
1 MR. TIEGER:
2 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, did Mr. Djeric consider these reports from the U.S.
3 and others to be simply anti-Serb propaganda?
4 A. We did not analyse these things item-by-item but it is well known
5 that there was an anti-Serb propaganda going on at the time.
6 Q. Did Mr. Djeric consider information from the UNHCR, from the
7 United States government, from the international media -- well, let me put
8 that to you again -- governmental sources to be part of that anti-Serb
9 propaganda campaign you're alluding to?
10 A. I don't know which documents he had in mind, he had within reach
11 and which were the documents on the basis of which he formed his position.
12 Q. Did you consider these reports to be part of an anti-Serb
13 propaganda campaign?
14 A. I never saw them, really.
15 Q. I turn your attention to page 59 of the May interview that you had
16 with the Office of the Prosecutor. That would be page 48 of the B/C/S.
17 If the witness could be presented with page 48 of the B/C/S.
18 Mr. Trbojevic, at that portion of the interview, the letter from
19 Mr. Djeric is being addressed, the 24 May 1992 letter. And you stated,
20 and that can be found in your second comment on page 59 of the English
21 translation: "So the alleged report about things happening in the
22 American press are not based on the facts. I don't know when did the
23 first report show up. Now I know that the most of these reports were
24 false, and you know that better than I do. It was part of the propaganda
25 which was malicious towards the Serb nation."
1 And again, Mr. Trbojevic, is that your view of the reports coming
2 from the United States and elsewhere that were the subject of Mr. Djeric's
3 letter to Mr. Baker?
4 A. You seem to be constructing something here, concocting something.
5 I was saying that news reports were formed to be in the function of
6 something, but I'm not referring to a government. I say that I know now
7 that many of these news reports were false, and I'm referring to newspaper
8 articles, and I adhere to that view today.
9 None of the government positions or official documents issued by
10 any organisation, I never saw any of them and I did not give my opinion in
11 relation to them.
12 Q. Well, did you come to understand that the possibility, as
13 discussed at the ministerial conference in Lisbon, that force would be
14 used against the Bosnian Serbs arose in part from reports of the type we
15 looked at a bit earlier from UNHCR?
16 A. If the peace-making process that consisted of the Cutileiro Plan
17 was taking place in Lisbon, then of course I can say that I had some
18 information originating from the people involved in that process which had
19 to do with the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the
20 relations between the warring parties. I had some information about that
21 that I heard from the people forming the negotiating team. But as far as
22 the possibility of a bombing attack or anything of that sort, I did not
23 have any information about that or about any such -- about what these
24 threats consisted of in 1992.
25 Q. I'm simply asking whether you understood that the information
1 available to the members of the ministerial conference or to Mr. Baker or
2 to other governments consisted of more than newspaper articles but
3 consisted of information from various sources, including the type we
4 looked at earlier.
5 A. I did not really look into whether the information was based on
6 some sort of a document. I didn't know anything about it.
7 Q. Can we turn next to tab 109, which is found in binder 4.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, you are often referring to the March and
9 May interviews and it seems that there are two copies circulating, one
10 with a paging which is quite different from the other. So it seems that
11 you are not working from the copy that you provided to the Registry. When
12 you just referred to, I think it was page 59, it seems that that is page
13 59 of a copy which is available to the Judges but is not the copy that has
14 been provided to the Registry. So I wonder whether it would not be better
15 to give the Registry the same because there might be a moment that someone
16 would like to check what was said on the basis of the transcript and then
17 it will create huge problems.
18 MR. TIEGER: I understand. I will do so, Your Honour. I
19 apologise for that. That copy rose out of an attempt to correlate the
20 English and B/C/S transcripts so I could refer immediately to them but
21 that effort was --
22 JUDGE ORIE: You solved one problem but you created another one.
23 MR. STEWART: Can I just mention, Your Honour - I'm not quite sure
24 whether this is the same problem or linked to it - but the -- there is a
25 continuous document of both interviews, numbered 1 to 100 and whatever it
1 is, and then there are the two interviews numbered separately. Now I -
2 and I'm not scoring a point here, Your Honour - but I and some people
3 within the Prosecution team have worked from the continuous copy.
4 Mr. Tieger and I have discussed that. We came to the conclusion the
5 simple solution was that if I simply added 50 to every number when we were
6 dealing with the second interview, that would work. Unfortunately, it
7 doesn't, so if I could inform Mr. Tieger because the discrepancy is 56
8 pages and it's not consistent either.
9 So the request is only that when referring to these pages, if
10 Mr. Tieger could just give those few extra seconds while those of us
11 working from completely different numbering can locate the passage, that
12 would solve the problem.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. There should be no confusion, that's the only
14 thing the parties should take care of.
15 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I mention another problem which is
16 that the -- in some ways I was slightly comforted by the fact that the
17 extremely efficient technical staff took quite a few minutes even to
18 locate a suitable power point in this court, but having located it, I
19 notice that for some reason or other it's not working, with the result
20 that my computer ...
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, at least I see a power point, I know
22 that we are going to break our legs, but what I understand from laptops,
23 they will function for some time even without plugging them in. I see it
24 from here at least as a temporary solution, or it's too far away.
25 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, no, no, that's entirely right. I was
1 going to say, first of all, I can use this power point. It's not entirely
2 safe, I'm just making a request that at some point the technical staff
3 could enable me to --
4 JUDGE ORIE: We could do that -- if you do that during the break,
5 then we'll miss no time.
6 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, please, I do have a point, Your Honour,
7 which is this: I also need about 30 seconds because my computer has now
8 hibernated and I need to plug it in and get it up and running again, Your
9 Honour, before I can proceed, so I'm just going to need 30 seconds,
10 please, to do that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 MR. STEWART: Thank you.
13 It should be all right, Your Honour, but it's just got to restart
15 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps during the next break, Mr. Stewart, you
16 should ask yourself why you need one minute to ask for 30 seconds.
17 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I do not regard that as a fair remark
18 at all.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
20 MR. TIEGER:
21 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, tab 109 contains agreement number 2, which was
22 signed on May 23rd, 1992 in the meeting in Geneva which was held to
23 discuss the implementation of the agreement of 22 May and which included,
24 as -- among its provisions, 2A, exchange list of prisoners and take the
25 necessary steps with a view to the release of prisoners.
1 We can see toward the top of the page the representatives in
2 attendance at the meeting who participated in the agreement and who signed
3 the agreement, including Mr. D. Kalinic, representative of Mr. Radovan
4 Karadzic, president of the Serbian Democratic Party. First of all, is
5 that a reference to Dr. Dragan Kalinic?
6 A. I believe so, yes.
7 Q. And he was the minister of health of Republika Srpska?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. And Mr. -- or Dr. Kalinic was a member of government; in fact, as
10 a minister of health, a high-ranking member of the Bosnian Serb
11 government, correct?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. What necessary steps to release prisoners was contemplated by this
14 agreement, according to Dr. Kalinic?
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. Did Dr. Kalinic report back to the government or to other
17 representatives of the Bosnian Serb authorities about the agreement and
18 about the undertakings contemplated by the agreement?
19 A. I'm not sure. I believe he informed Dr. Karadzic, but I'm not
20 sure whether this applies to the whole of the government. I don't think
22 Q. Well, this applies to the circumstances of prisoners being held by
23 the Bosnian Serb forces and authorities, at least in part; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Was the issue of the circumstances of prisoners who were held by
1 Bosnian Serb forces a matter of concern of the government?
2 A. As far as I know, the accurate data about the numbers of such
3 persons and the conditions under which they were detained were not in
4 government's possession, and since one could not even assume that these
5 circumstances would be so excessive as they were, one did not really --
6 was not really concerned about it in that extent.
7 Q. Did Dr. Kalinic report concerns by the ICRC that the conditions
8 under which prisoners were held were a matter of concern?
9 A. I don't know specifically whether this was done and what way it
10 was done, but I do know that there wasn't a special government session
11 that was dedicated to this issue, and I know that no conclusions were
12 adopted with a view to remedying the situation. That's why I'm inclined
13 to believe that the government was not provided with a full report.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could I just ask one clarification. You said that's
15 why you are inclined to believe that the government was not provided with
16 a full report. "Full report" by whom?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By Dr. Kalinic.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
19 MR. TIEGER:
20 Q. Do you know to whom Dr. Kalinic met or to whom Dr. Kalinic
21 reported or with whom he met after returning from Geneva?
22 A. It says here that he went there as a representative of Dr. Radovan
23 Karadzic. He was in touch with him very frequently. Now, whether he went
24 to see him on his return from Geneva, I can't really vouch for that
25 particular period, but I do know that he was in touch with him frequently.
1 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, let me ask you to look quickly at a document
2 contained behind tab 74 in binder 2.
3 Now, Mr. Trbojevic, this document is a list of approximately 400
4 persons who were taken from Bratunac to Pale and ultimately on to Visoko
5 and were held in Pale from May 14th through 17th. First of all, given
6 your knowledge of the geography and layout and population of Pale in May
7 of 1992, would it have been possible for a group of that size to be
8 brought in to Pale on a secret or unknown basis or would everyone have
9 known about it?
10 A. Pale is a small town and the arrival of a group of people
11 numbering -- how many people did you say there were?
12 Q. 400, sir.
13 A. Well, of course the arrival of 400 persons would not have passed
14 unnoticed. I don't know where they were put up and for how long. I don't
15 know what had been done with them.
16 Q. You arrived in Pale within days of this event; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you hear anything about it from other members of the
19 government or the Bosnian Serb authorities?
20 A. No. I did not hear anything.
21 Q. Do you know whether or not these persons were transferred from
22 Bratunac and then taken to Muslim territory was pursuant to efforts by any
23 organ of the government?
24 A. I did not know anything about this operation. I have no idea who
25 issued orders or why or what was the aim of it all.
1 Q. Can I ask you to look at page 3 of the document, I believe that's
2 both in the B/C/S and the English versions. There we see a signature by
3 Mr. S. Markovic above the writing "Member of the Government's Commission
4 on Behalf of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior for the Exchange of
5 Prisoners of War."
6 What can you tell us about Mr. Markovic and the government's
7 Commission for the Exchange of Prisoners of War?
8 A. Nothing. I don't know when the commission was appointed. I do
9 not know Markovic. It is possible that I met him somewhere, but I don't
10 know him, nor do I know his post -- position.
11 Q. Let me show you a document that was previously introduced into
12 evidence. That's P436, and that can be found in tab 73, Your Honours.
13 That's a decision dated the 8th of May, 1992 and it's headed "Decision to
14 Form a Central Commission," and signed by Professor Djeric as Prime
16 First of all, Mr. Trbojevic, do you see the name of Slobodan
17 Markovic, the representative of the Ministry of the Interior as a -- named
18 as a member of the central commission?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. First of all, does that shed any further light for you on who
21 Mr. Markovic was and what his function in the government was?
22 A. No, it is of no assistance to me. I don't know the man. I don't
23 know what he did. I can see that he was a member of the commission but
24 that doesn't trigger my memory. I don't know him.
25 Q. Item number one, it indicates that the central commission is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 hereby appointed and it's described as the "Central Commission for the
2 Exchange of Prisoners of War, Arrested Persons, and the Bodies of Those
3 Killed." What's the difference between prisoners of war and arrested
5 A. Arrested persons, as it stated here, is a term used in law to
6 denote persons detained based on a decision of an organ. Based on that
7 decision, they are deprived of their liberty. As for the prisoners of
8 war, those persons were taken prisoner in the course of military
10 As for the bodies of those killed, I believe that is quite clear.
11 Q. And which organ of the government had authority to arrest people
12 in Republika Srpska?
13 MR. STEWART: He didn't say organ of the government, he said
14 organ. Mr. Tieger's introduced that extra word.
15 MR. TIEGER: That's fair.
16 Q. Which organ or body in Republika Srpska had the authority to
18 A. A person can be deprived of their liberty by police in the course
19 of police activities. They are convicted and sentenced by courts. And in
20 addition to that, all of these actions can be carried out by the organs of
21 the military police.
22 As for the prisoners of war, I'm no expert for the laws of war;
23 however, I think that this applies to persons who were deprived of their
24 liberty in the course of war operations.
25 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Witness, could you remind me what
1 your position was at the time the central commission was established,
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time, I was not present in
4 Pale, not yet. When I arrived in Pale, I became Deputy Prime Minister.
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] On the 14th of May -- let me
6 repeat my question: On the 8th of May, the beginning of the month of May,
7 what position did you hold?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 14th of May, I was still
9 living in Sarajevo and working as an attorney. On the 17th of May, I was
10 arrested. On the 20th of May, I left Sarajevo and arrived in Pale.
11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And you were deputy minister. At
12 what date were you deputy minister?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Officially, I think on the 8th of
14 June; however, Prime Minister Djeric told me that this is how it would be
15 and I was by his side starting on the 22nd or 23rd of May, observing what
16 was going on.
17 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, the Chamber wondered whether it made much
19 sense to go through all the, I would say, normal powers whereas this case,
20 at least that's the provisional impression, is not about the exercise of
21 normal police powers necessarily. At least the scale on which people were
22 detained at least give a different impression.
23 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour, although my question -- I'm
24 sorry that it wasn't clear -- was more directed at who was the subject of
25 the reference in the document or which body was the subject of a reference
1 rather than the powers under law.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do understand that you made the distinction.
3 But then it took the course of explaining what -- who had powers to arrest
4 and further details might not be of great assistance.
5 MR. TIEGER: I agree, and I think there might have been a more
6 expeditious way of eliciting that information.
7 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, before we move on to the next document, I just want
8 to direct your attention to the first name -- first member named on the
9 commission, and are you able to make out the name of that person who was a
10 representative of the Ministry of Justice?
11 A. It says here Rajko Colovic.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could Mr. Tieger come
13 closer to the microphone, please.
14 MR. TIEGER:
15 Q. Could we turn next to tab 19, the 24th session of the government,
16 held on the 9th of June, 1992. Tab 19 in binder 1.
17 Mr. Trbojevic, tab 19 contains the minutes of the session of the
18 government held on June 9th, 1992, the day after your formal appointment
19 as deputy minister, I believe, although the minutes indicate you were not
20 present at this particular meeting. But I'm wondering if you can direct
21 your attention to agenda item 1 that refers first to the government's
22 support for the order of the Central Committee for the Exchange of
23 Prisoners, and B, correspondence from the president of the Central
24 Commission for the Exchange of Prisoners, and then a conclusion that the
25 ministers should talk to Rajko Colovic to determine what are the motives
1 for requesting the change, and if the reasons are justified, do the work
2 of the committee president until a new president can be appointed.
3 Can you tell us what was happening with the Commission for the
4 Exchange of Prisoners at that time, and in particular with Mr. Colovic's
5 request for change.
6 A. I know Mr. Rajko Colovic. I knew him even before I arrived in
7 Pale. Even nowadays, he's still a colleague of mine in the justice
8 system. I didn't even know that he was a member of the commission and
9 that he asked to be relieved of his duties. We never talked about that.
10 Therefore, I don't know what ever caused him to ask to be relieved of
11 duties. It says here the government supports the order. It says that the
12 Prime Minister will talk to the president of the commission to see why
13 he's asking to be replaced. It is stated here that we ought to apply both
14 international and domestic regulations, so based on the text, I really
15 don't know what I could comment here.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, if you do not know anything about it,
17 there's no need to read the text because that's what the Chamber can do
18 itself as well.
19 Mr. Tieger, please proceed. Yes, it's 10.30 anyhow.
20 Mr. Trbojevic, you are invited to directly answer the questions,
21 and if you are not asked whether you knew Mr. Colovic or not, then refrain
22 from telling us matters that you are not asked. If you do not know
23 anything about it, then you say, "I've got no idea why he wanted to
24 resign," and if there is any additional question, Mr. Tieger will ask it.
25 We'll adjourn until five minutes to 11.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, Mr. Tieger, perhaps a few
4 practical matters. First of all, protective measures in respect of
5 witnesses 31 and 73, I think we are still waiting for a response by the
6 Defence. It was the -- the response was due the 25th of March.
7 If you just now write it down, Mr. Stewart, and let me know if my
8 information is wrong, and otherwise provide us with the ...
9 MR. STEWART: I certainly don't have any basis for suggesting it's
10 wrong, Your Honours, so I've written down the numbers and will inquire
11 during the next break, of course. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then there is some supplementary information
13 provided by the OTP in view of protective measures of a 92 bis witness --
14 of the 92 bis witnesses in general and I think we do not know whether we
15 have to expect any further responses to that. If not, if you'd like to do
16 that, the Chamber would like to receive it by the end of this week.
17 MR. STEWART: I'll do exactly the same with that as I am with the
18 other points. I'll follow it up.
19 JUDGE ORIE: And there is another issue but I'd rather not deal
20 with it in the presence of the witness.
21 Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
22 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, before we move on, as you were being escorted to
24 the witness box by the usher, you may have overheard Mr. Stewart and I
25 mentioning your name and coming to learn that I'm mispronouncing your
1 name. I apologise for that. I don't expect it to get better but I
2 recognise that I'm not pronouncing your name properly, and my apologies
3 for that.
4 Can we next turn, then, to tab 20, please, in binder 1.
5 Now, tab 20 reflects or contains the minutes of a -- of the 25th
6 government session of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina held on
7 the 10th of June, 1992. Again, Mr. Trbojevic, I note that the minutes
8 reflect that you were absent.
9 This meeting takes place the day after the session we looked at
10 just before the recess, at which the government concluded that the
11 treatment and exchange of prisoners is a responsible and complex issue.
12 At this session on the 10th of June, if you'll look at page 3 -- well,
13 it's page 3 of the English and it's immediately under agenda item 7. The
14 government concluded that the Ministry of Justice should make a report
15 about prisoners and that this report should pay special attention on
16 treatment of civilian population, prisoners of war, accommodation, food,
17 et cetera. The report would be considered by the government after which
18 it would be submitted to the Presidency of the Republic.
19 Mr. Trbojevic, can you tell us what information was available to
20 the government that prompted the conclusion that the Ministry of Justice
21 should be tasked with preparing a report about prisoners?
22 A. I don't know exactly.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know anything about it perhaps not exactly,
24 Mr. Trbojevic, in general terms?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I have no information, no
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, did you receive the minutes of the
3 government meetings, even if you were not present?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most likely the minutes were copied,
5 but as to whether they reached my hands, I couldn't tell you. I probably
6 received some minutes but didn't receive all of them.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Did you receive any preparatory documents for those
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
11 MR. TIEGER:
12 Q. Do you recall whether a report was prepared, Mr. Trbojevic?
13 A. I don't know. I don't know whether it was discussed at a
14 government session.
15 Q. Were members of the government or other officials among the
16 Bosnian Serb authorities at that time discussing the general issue of the
17 treatment of civilian populations and prisoners?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Let me turn next then to tab 23, the government session of June
21 Now, Mr. Trbojevic, the minutes reflect that you were the chair of
22 the meeting that was held on June 15th. Let me ask you to turn, please,
23 to agenda item 10. That's found on page 4 of the English translation.
24 Agenda item 10, Mr. Trbojevic, reflects the following: "The
25 government has considered the proposed report. It has been concluded that
1 the issue of prisoners exchange is extremely important, complex, and
2 delicate and that if sufficient attention is not paid to it, it can cause
3 a number of negative consequences for the whole republic. It has been
4 agreed that working group consisting of professor Branko Djeric, Milan
5 Trbojevic, Dr. Dragan Kalinic, Mico Stanisic, Bogdan Subotic and Momcilo
6 Mandic should consider all the aspects of the prisoner exchange problem
7 and that they should propose systematic and other solutions, taking into
8 account our and international regulations. It is obvious that solving
9 this problem is urgent and that the regulations and concrete measures for
10 solving of this issue should be proposed as soon as possible."
11 First of all, Mr. Trbojevic, is the proposed report which was
12 considered by the government on June 15th the report that was referred to
13 in the minutes we looked at earlier, that is, the report that the Ministry
14 of Justice was tasked to produce about prisoners on the 10th of June?
15 A. I can't say with any certainty. It is possible, but I don't know
16 for sure.
17 Q. Are you aware of any other proposed report on the issue of
18 prisoners other than the one that the government tasked justice to produce
19 and that was reflected in the June 10th minutes?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. Based on the report, the government concluded that the issue of
22 prisoners was, among other things, "... complex and delicate and can cause
23 a number of negative consequences for the whole republic."
24 What information was contained in that report that indicated the
25 complex, delicate and potentially adverse impact of the issue of prisoners
2 A. I'm not familiar with the text of that report. I don't know what
3 it said. I assume that the report can be found among other documents but
4 I couldn't quote any of its portions now or give my interpretation.
5 Q. I wouldn't ask you to actually quote from the report after this
6 length of time, but this was the first session of the government that you
7 chaired, wasn't it, Mr. Trbojevic, or at least among the first sessions
8 that you chaired?
9 A. Most likely.
10 Q. Sorry, I think you were actually the chair of the meeting at June
11 13th as well.
12 At this meeting, the government considered an issue that was
13 extremely important, by its own conclusions, and that could lead to a
14 number of negative consequences for the whole republic. So as a general
15 matter, what information was discussed at that meeting that was so
16 important and so potentially adverse?
17 A. I don't know. I couldn't tell you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber finds reason to warn you that you are
19 under a duty to tell the truth. As the solemn declaration said, the
20 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And I'm putting to you
21 the consequences that may result from a failure to do so. If you do not
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the maximum
23 penalty for false testimony under solemn declaration is a fine of 100.000
24 euros or a term of imprisonment of 7 years or both.
25 This is a formal warning under Rule 91 of the Rules of Procedure
1 and Evidence.
2 Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
3 MR. TIEGER:
4 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, I'm seeking from you any information you have about
5 the nature of the discussion that took place on June 15th at this
6 government session concerning an issue that was regarded by the government
7 and members of the government itself as extremely important and that was
8 considered to have potentially adverse consequences to the republic. What
9 can you tell me about that?
10 A. I'm fully conscious of the oath that I took. It is just that I do
11 not recall. There is no trace in my memory of the text submitted by
12 somebody and the problems that the text pointed out to. Naturally, I can
13 interpret some things, because over the years a certain amount of
14 information was collected; however, from that period of time, May/June
15 1992, I really couldn't tell you anything more about that. I saw the
16 report signed by Momcilo Mandic, Stanisic, and the report stated that
17 there were many prisoners of war, many arrested and so on, but I couldn't
18 confirm that because there's no trace of that text left in my memory.
19 Naturally, this is an issue that had to be regulated.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, you said, "I saw the report signed by
21 Momcilo Mandic and Stanisic and the report stated that there were many
22 prisoners of war, many arrested and so on ..."
23 Did the report confine itself to establishing that there were many
24 prisoners of war and arrested persons or did it say more?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I've said that I am
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 unable to state that I laid my eyes on such a report. It says here that
2 somebody submitted a report. I don't know who it was who submitted it.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, I'm not asking who submitted it. I
4 was just reading the transcript of your testimony. And if you say that
5 that's not what you said, then we'll check that on the basis of the
6 original tape in Bosnian Croatian Serbian. You said, "I saw the report
7 signed by Momcilo Mandic, Stanisic." Is that correct? If you didn't say
8 that, then we'll have that checked.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
10 JUDGE ORIE: What did you then say?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've said that I cannot say that I
12 did see the report submitted by either the president of the Commission for
13 the Exchange or by Momcilo Mandic or by Mico Stanisic.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand that you were chairing a meeting in
15 which, as a chairperson, at least you were involved in a conversation
16 saying that the government has considered the proposed report and has
17 drawn conclusions about the importance. What do you know about the
18 report? Do you know that it existed, first of all?
19 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I observe that -- while I'm fully
20 endorsing, with respect, Your Honour's proposal that the B/C/S tape should
21 be checked, might I respectfully suggest that that should be done straight
22 away before we proceed further so that -- there was -- when one looks at
23 the whole answer, it does cry out for some checking, as Your Honour
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I'm afraid that we could ask Madam Registrar to
1 -- I take it that we have to wait until the end of this -- we can't copy
2 anything from the tape unless the tape is finished. Is that correct,
3 Madam Registrar?
4 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
5 JUDGE ORIE: We'll change the tapes and have a look at what has
6 been said at what appears on my computer as 11.14 and then especially the
7 line reading "I saw the report signed by Momcilo Mandic, Stanisic," which
8 is at 11.14.19 -- no, 11.14.25, and including the next line 11.14.30, and
9 the next line 11.14.41.
10 We all have to stop speaking until we get the information that a
11 new tape is put in place.
12 Mr. Tieger, we can proceed at this moment with the examination,
13 although cueing up the tape that has been removed now will take a couple
14 of more minutes, so we'll return to that ...
15 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, could I mention that I have -- and it's
16 nothing to do with my watch, Your Honour, but I have 11.17.46 for that
17 reference whereas Your Honour apparently had 11.14.25. I have no idea why
18 there should be such a discrepancy.
19 JUDGE ORIE: What do you have as the time on your computer?
20 MR. STEWART: Where it says, "I saw the report --"
21 JUDGE ORIE: No, I'm asking you on the very bottom of the -- in
22 the right down corner, what time do you have there?
23 MR. STEWART: Oh, yes, Your Honour, I see. I have 11.28.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Your computer has a bit of a different time
25 from mine.
1 MR. STEWART: I should say Your Honour, I'm not talking about my
2 computer here, I'm talking about the court-provided computer.
3 JUDGE ORIE: The computer you are using.
4 MR. STEWART: The one I'm using, Your Honour, yes, just to clarify
5 because my computer has had its issues this morning.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 Mr. Tieger, we could ...
8 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, could that be fixed? This is obviously
9 potentially very inconvenient. Not right now, but sometimes
10 synchronisation is important here because certain -- if we get these
11 discrepancies they are --
12 JUDGE ORIE: You can always adapt the clock time of your computer
13 if you want to, Mr. Stewart. That's basics in --
14 MR. STEWART: I can with my own, Your Honour, yes, of course I
15 can. I know how to do that.
16 JUDGE ORIE: This is just the laptop. Yes, Mr. Tieger?
17 MR. TIEGER: Yes, Your Honour. I understand the court has asked
18 me to continue, although I wasn't the one who asked for --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes, I'm aware of that, but what I would say is
20 that we could not immediately at this moment take up the issue we got
21 stuck in, so if there's anything else, otherwise we have to wait for a
22 couple of minutes.
23 MR. TIEGER: I would suggest that we wait because I think it would
24 pointless to sort of move around that issue which is now --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, perhaps Judge Hanoteau has one question.
1 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I would like to take advantage of
2 this brief suspension to ask a question to the witness. When the witness
3 was appointed as a minister, what position did he take? What was his
4 role? I think that this was not clearly defined.
5 You said that you were not given a specific position, a specific
6 mandate because you were Deputy Prime Minister. What was your role, what
7 was your task? You were talking to the Prime Minister but I would like to
8 know what task you were performing.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Formally, there were several Deputy
10 Prime Ministers. I was supposed to exercise the position of the Deputy
11 Prime Minister for the Interior. There was one for the economy, another
12 one for finances, and I was supposed to deal with internal affairs, home
14 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Could you please elaborate on
15 your role. "Home affairs," what do you mean by this? What did it consist
16 of? What was your task, what was your relation with the home minister,
17 what meetings did you attend, et cetera?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm trying to make my answers as
19 concise as possible but if you're asking me to explain, then the -- this
20 is the substance of it: The Prime Minister for internal policies, to say,
21 was someone who was supposed to be the immediate superior to the minister
22 of the interior and the minister of justice, dealing with the organisation
23 of state administration and the functioning of justice administration.
24 This is something that was supposed to be dealt with by the relevant
1 I have given a detailed explanation of this in my earlier
2 statements. From the very beginning this government started to operate
3 some conflicts arose where the ministers of justice and internal affairs
4 felt that they were under an investigation launched by the Prime Minister
5 and myself over abuses. So that there was this relationship of friction
6 which was characterised by an almost absolute absence of communication
7 between, on the one hand, the minister of the interior and the minister of
8 justice, and on the other, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] What do you mean by "abuses"?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Some warehouses of certain companies
11 were being mentioned which, at the beginning of war operations, fell on
12 the Serb-controlled side and it was suspected that the goods contained in
13 these warehouses had been stolen with the assistance of some police
14 officers under the auspices of these two ministers.
15 This investigation was never carried out fully and the suspicions
16 were not confirmed but this caused them -- these two ministers to be
17 indignant over this issue.
18 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] What about the minister of the
19 interior and the minister of justice? Did you have to -- did you ask them
20 to provide you with some reports?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We set up a commission and we called
22 them for some interviews, asking them to give their statement about the
23 matter, which they naturally declined. Next, Branko Djeric tried to
24 eliminate them from the government through a reshuffling process, and
25 since this did not work out, this sort of situation prevailed until the
1 month of October, when Djeric resigned.
2 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, would you please carefully listen to
4 the part of your testimony of this morning we'll play to you at this very
5 moment. And could I invite the interpreters to pay specific attention to
6 the words spoken, and Interpreter, if there is any word unclear or if it
7 could be not well understood, I'd like to be informed.
8 Could the technical booth please play the relevant portion of the
9 B/C/S tape.
10 [Audiotape played]
11 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "This problem was raised. I cannot
12 now interpret the situation because a lot of time has elapsed since the
13 information were -- was being collected, but from the period in May and
14 June I cannot tell you that I saw the report that had been signed by
15 either the president of the commission for the exchange or by Momcilo
16 Mandic as the minister of justice or by Mico Stanisic. This -- and say
17 this report says that there are many prisoners, many people detained. I
18 cannot tell you this because I do not have this text in my mind, to be
19 frank. That it was necessary to regulate this issue that ..."
20 JUDGE ORIE: I think a sufficient part has been played.
21 Mr. Trbojevic ...
22 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I think it should be placed on record,
23 the witness was correct in what he said about that. The -- what's being
24 played back does confirm what he subsequently said, because it's
25 significantly different from what appeared on the transcript.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's clear to me. I was looking at it, I didn't
2 listen to the English translation, but I take it that finally we could
3 establish with the support of the interpreters that the witness said that
4 he cannot tell us that he saw the report that had been signed by either
5 the president of the commission for the exchange or by Momcilo Mandic as
6 the minister of justice or by Mico Stanisic.
7 Mr. Trbojevic, you are perfectly right that the transcript gave a
8 wrong impression of what you said and that was -- explains perhaps why I
9 was so insistent. And thanks to the technical facilities, we can clarify
10 these issues.
11 If you have felt uncomfortable with it, I apologise for it to
13 I would have, however, a few more questions on it, and that's the
14 following: So a report, even if you have not seen it, was there.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If this is what the document here
16 says, then there's no reason to doubt it.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Was this report, because you earlier said that a
18 report on detention facilities was asked for but it was never received, do
19 you remember that part of your testimony?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Was that report that was never received, was that
22 another report? Because this report, as I understand, seems to have been
23 received even though not read by you. I'm just seeking clarification of
24 your earlier answer where you said that a report was asked for but never
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that there was one report
2 which was submitted by Mr. Slobodan Avlijas, and I know that this report
3 never reached the government but I learned about all of this many years
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's why I cannot really be
7 precise in determining which report is the one we have before us here.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You earlier talked about a commission to be
9 sent to Krajina. Who was heading that commission?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know at this time. I
11 believe that the Prosecutor showed me a decision that I signed saying that
12 a commission was supposed to go to Krajina and I believe the names of the
13 persons are mentioned therein and you can find it out there, or perhaps it
14 said that the Ministry of Justice was to designate who was to go there.
15 JUDGE ORIE: So that was at a different occasion, was not the
16 report or committee or whatever discussed at this meeting of the 15th of
17 June; is that correct?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably so, yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, the 15th of June minutes tell us that you
20 were -- that it was agreed that you would be among the members of a
21 working group on the issue.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This working group here never met,
23 in part because of the hostility that existed between Stanisic and Mandic
24 on the one hand, and Djeric and me on the other, and in part, also,
25 because the minister of defence thought it fell under his jurisdiction to
1 deal with prisoners and orders related to them as well as about the
2 matters concerning their treatment. That's why I believe he was dealing
3 with these issues. This commission, however, did not meet at all.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Was there ever a report saying that the commission or
5 the working group could not function or could not do what it had to do?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think so.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Did you regret that this commission or this working
8 group could not do what it was tasked with?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were no -- there was no
10 information available that would indicate that the situation was terrible,
11 horrible, and that something had to be done about it.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Would you please answer to my question. My question
13 was not whether there were any reasons to investigate but whether you did
14 regret that the task given to this working group was not fulfilled by it.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm trying to explain to you that at
16 the time none of us were aware of the need for such a task to be carried
17 out let alone of the significance of it.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Now --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At a later stage, of course,
20 everyone regretted it, but when we're talking about that specific period,
21 there was no need to regret something that we were not aware of.
22 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not asking you whether you regretted what
23 happened in these detention facilities, I'm asking you whether you
24 regretted that finally the work this working group was tasked with was not
25 done; that is, to consider all the aspects of prisoner exchange problems,
1 to propose systematic and other solutions.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've said that we did not regret
3 that fact, and I've tried to explain why we felt that way about it.
4 JUDGE ORIE: What you are telling us is that the government
5 considered this to be an urgent problem that should be dealt with without
6 any further delay, and if I ask you about your feelings about this task
7 not being fulfilled, you say, "Well, as a matter of fact, there was no
8 urgent problem, there was nothing to consider at all," which is totally
9 inconsistent with the decision taken by the government.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, there were exchange
11 commissions within each core. In each region, exchanges were carried out.
12 So we believed that the system was functioning. Yes, there were problems,
13 there were many people detained. We had to provide all the necessary
14 conditions for them - the food, the sanitary needs and so on - however, we
15 believed that things were developing and that the problem would be solved
16 through exchanges. It occurred to no one that this would turn into a
18 JUDGE ORIE: You said, "We had to provide all the necessary
19 conditions for them - the food, the sanitary needs ..." Who do you mean
20 by "we"?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, listen, those who kept people
22 in detention had to feed them and provide water for them.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but was that any of your business at the
24 government level?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The government most likely had
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 contacts with the Ministry of Commerce, and the Bureau for Commodities
2 most likely provided some supplies.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Looking back, on the basis of the information you
4 have now, would you consider the condition in detention facilities in
5 terms of food and sanitary needs satisfactory?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Had we been able to have any hints
7 about the actual situation, I'm sure that the following government session
8 would have been scheduled to be held in Omarska in order to go to the site
9 and to see right there what could be done.
10 JUDGE ORIE: If the working group had done what it had been tasked
11 with, if the matter would have been further investigated, would you agree
12 with me that there would have been a fair chance that the conditions had
13 become known to the government?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree. I have said that I
15 didn't know what this information was about. As for the other report that
16 I had opportunity to see several times later, I came to the conclusion
17 that even this report did not inform about the actual situation.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Now, again the question: Having established that you
19 had -- that there would have been a fair chance had the conditions become
20 known to the government, do you regret that the committee for -- or the
21 working group did not do what it was tasked with?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do regret.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand your testimony well that if the work
24 had been done the government considered at that moment urgent and
25 important, that the chance that the conditions in the detention facilities
1 would be known in due time to the government was a fair chance?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Do you consider it a failure that finally the
4 government, at least as far as your knowledge goes, was not informed about
5 the conditions in the camps, in the detention facilities?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do consider that.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
8 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] There's a question I'd like to
9 ask. You stated that you had learned later on that a report had been
10 submitted by Slobodan Avlijas; is that right?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Who was Slobodan Avlijas?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was an inspector for penitentiary
14 institutions under the Ministry of Justice.
15 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And you read this report
16 afterwards or did you -- were you informed of -- about this report
17 afterwards? What was in that report?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a description of a camp
19 where certain people were held who had satisfactory food supplies, who had
20 medical assistance, sanitary conditions were provided for them as well,
21 and this site did not resemble a criminal institution.
22 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And you said, sir, that this
23 report, once it was drafted, was not handed over to the government; is
24 that correct?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
1 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Who was this report given to?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I learned about that much, much
3 later. And based on what I learned, it was submitted to the minister of
4 justice who, in turn, transmitted it, allegedly, to Mr. Karadzic. This is
5 the information I received from Avlijas.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And this should have been handed
7 over to the head of government, don't you think?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Naturally. Naturally.
9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And this was not the case; it was
10 handed over directly to Mr. Karadzic.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what I was told.
12 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Tieger, you have to be even more patient.
14 Judge Canivell has a question too.
15 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Witness, I would like to know
16 whether you could -- which camp was mentioned in the report which was not
17 handed over at a latter stage?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean the information mentioned
19 in the minutes of the government session or do you mean the report
20 prepared by Slobodan Avlijas?
21 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] No, neither of the two. At one
22 stage, you stated that this report was drafted by an inspector - I don't
23 remember the name of this inspector - and this referred to a camp where a
24 number of people had been well treated, well fed, well looked after.
25 Which camp is this; do you remember?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think you're referring to this bit
2 that pertained to the report of Slobodan Avlijas, and this report dealt
3 with the Omarska camp.
4 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, please proceed.
6 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 It occurs to me that in light of the Court's questions, rather
8 than ask the questions that I was immediately -- that were immediately
9 going to follow, I thought I'd distribute the tab 100, which -- in tab 100
10 of your binders, there is a cover page but the document is not contained.
11 This is the document. It's the report that's been referred to, or at
12 least we'll check with the witness that that is the case.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Tab 100 is in binder 3?
14 MR. TIEGER: Yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Whoever would miss tab 102, I've got them double, so
16 if there's anyone -- I know that we are talking about 100, but I see that
17 I've got two times 102.
18 Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
19 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour. And at the same time, Your
20 Honour, it might be best if I also directed the Court's attention to tab
21 92, which contains a report dated August 22, 1992, by Mr. Avlijas and
22 Mr. Saric.
23 Q. Now, Mr. Trbojevic, I'm directing your attention to both reports,
24 both the report of August 22, 1992 by Mr. Avlijas and Mr. Saric and the
25 report of October 22nd, 1992. And if you could look those two reports
1 over and tell us first whether or not either one of those is a report you
2 were referring to in responding to the questions of Judge Canivell and
3 Judge Hanoteau.
4 A. I think I don't have the August one.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Have you got two reports now in front of you,
6 Mr. Trbojevic?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I received the other one.
8 MR. TIEGER:
9 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, you referred earlier to a report that you read and
10 that you concluded did not contain the accurate or necessary information,
11 and that report was written by Mr. Avlijas, and I believe you recalled it
12 as directing its attention at least in part to Omarska. Were either of
13 these reports the report that you were referring to?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Have you seen these reports before, or did you see these reports
16 in 1992?
17 A. I did not.
18 Q. Did you know that representatives -- a representative of the
19 Ministry of Justice, or that Mr. Avlijas in particular, had prepared or
20 submitted reports concerning detention facilities, prisons, or collection
22 A. Not at the time.
23 Q. So are you saying that at the time, you weren't -- well, what
24 about the other Avlijas report to which you alluded, the one that you
25 thought was inadequate and that concerned Omarska; did you see that in
2 A. I said that I saw that report several years later. And based on
3 the text, I can see that it's not this report because this report says
4 under Prijedor "No camp here," whereas I remember that the other report
5 reflected that he had been to Omarska and described the appearance of
6 latrines and so on.
7 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, can the witness be presented with the
8 document contained behind tab 89, the report dated 17 August 1992 by Vojin
9 Lale and Mirko Erkic.
10 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, I will certainly give you more time to look at this
11 if you need to, but I note at page 3 of the English translation, in the
12 second section of the report, it addresses Omarska near Prijedor and,
13 among other things, it reports that prisoners are accommodated in a hall
14 with military beds and clean toilet facilities.
15 As I mentioned, feel free to look the report over if you need to,
16 but my question is whether or not this is the report that you were
17 referring to, although you recall it as being by Mr. Avlijas.
18 A. No, it's not this one. I remember for a fact that it was
19 Avlijas's report.
20 Q. And can you tell us when you first saw this report?
21 A. Just now.
22 Q. If you turn to the first page of this report, it begins by noting
23 that according to the decision number 0620 of the government of the Serb
24 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina of August 9th, 1992, that the
25 commission for inspecting detention centres and other facilities was
2 Were you familiar with that decision?
3 A. I signed one such decision, perhaps this one.
4 Q. Can I direct your attention to tab 38 which contain the minutes of
5 the 47th session of the government.
6 Sorry, before we actually go into that, perhaps it's helpful to
7 show you the contents of tab 86 and ask you whether or not that was the
8 decision that you referred to a moment ago.
9 For the record, tab 89 [sic] contains a decision issued at the
10 session of the government held on 9 August 1992, entitled "Decision on the
11 Establishment of Commissions for the Inspection of Collection Centres and
12 Other Facilities for Prisoners in the Serbian Republic of
14 Did you sign that document for Mr. Djeric?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. If we can look at the minutes of the government session, the 47th
17 session of --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, I see that you're referring to 86 and
19 then suddenly 89 appears where --
20 MR. TIEGER: I'm sorry, Your Honour, thank you for that
22 JUDGE ORIE: So it should be 86 then.
23 MR. TIEGER: That's correct.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
25 MR. TIEGER: Sorry, Your Honour, the next document, the 47th
1 session, is contained behind tab 38. I believe that's in front of the
2 witness now. The English translation -- the translation and I believe
3 even the original indicate that that session was held on August 9th. I
4 think we've already -- if you look up and see above, these would have been
5 transcribed on the 20th, and I think we'll see another document indicating
6 the correct date of that session, which I believe to be the 19th.
7 In addition, it refers to the minutes of the 46th session, which
8 was held on the 19th.
9 Q. Now this is a session at which you were present, Mr. Trbojevic,
10 and can I ask you to look at agenda item 7. Agenda item 7, contained at
11 page 3 of the English translation, states that, "The government agreed on
12 holding a special closed government session in which to discuss a report
13 on touring of concentration centres and other detention facilities in
14 Krajina Autonomous Region."
15 Now, is that a reference to the report by -- that was ordered on
16 August 9th and that was prepared by Mr. Lale and Mr. ...
17 A. This is probably one of those reports.
18 MR. TIEGER: Excuse me, Your Honour.
19 [Prosecution counsel confer]
20 MR. TIEGER:
21 Q. Well, in fact, the report that bears the date of 17 August 1992,
22 submitted by Mr. Lale and Mr. Erkic, is dated a Report of the Commission
23 for Inspecting Detention Centres and Other Facilities for Prisoners in the
24 Autonomous Region of Krajina, so is there any reason to think this isn't
25 the report in question?
1 A. This is probably the one because I see that, among others, Vojin
2 Lale was also in attendance at this session.
3 Q. And this is clearly the report prepared in response to the order
4 you signed on August 9th because it states in its first sentence,
5 "According to the decision number 06-20." Correct?
6 A. That's what it says.
7 Q. Now, if we could turn to the closed session of this -- held at the
8 same session, the 47th session, found at tab 91.
9 Tab 91 contains the minutes of a closed session of the government
10 of the Serbian Republic held on 19 August 1992 which, according to the
11 minutes, was held upon the conclusion of a regular 47th government
12 session, the minutes for which we looked at a moment ago. That session
13 was attended by the ministers who attended the 47th government session,
14 and that would include you, correct, Mr. Trbojevic?
15 A. I presume so.
16 Q. And it states in item number 2: "The government discussed and
17 adopted the commission report on the visits for collection centres and
18 other buildings used for captives in the Autonomous Region of Krajina and
19 assessed that the report realistically described the situation in these
21 So my first question, Mr. Trbojevic, is: How is it that you told
22 us that you saw this report for the first time here in court when it was
23 discussed and adopted on the 19th of August, 1992 in your presence?
24 A. Believe me when I tell you that I don't know. I have -- I
25 evidently saw it and discussed it on two occasions but why it was not
1 impressed in my memory, I don't know, but according to the minutes, I did
2 see it.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, I would like to remind you again that
4 if there's any fear on your behalf that you would incriminate yourself by
5 giving the truthful answer to a question, just address us.
6 Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not the case, Your Honour.
8 MR. TIEGER:
9 Q. Now, enumerated item 2 states, "The government discussed and
10 adopted the report on collection centres and other buildings used for
11 captives in the Autonomous Region of Krajina."
12 What people were encompassed by the word "captives" as used in the
13 first sentence of enumerated item 2?
14 A. It probably refers to those about whom the report that we have
15 before us talks about.
16 Q. Do you still have the report in front of you, sir?
17 A. No.
18 MR. TIEGER: Sorry.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Could it be provided to the witness. Madam Usher,
20 could you assist? We're now talking about the report, Mr. Tieger.
21 MR. TIEGER: I believe it was tab 86, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, I'm sorry to
23 interrupt, I just wanted further information about something.
24 When would meetings be held in closed session? When would the
25 government hold its meeting in closed session; in other words, when would
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 this take place, Witness, please?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were no special circumstances,
3 it was an ordinary session, it was just held in the absence of the
4 technical staff that usually was there at the session, but it did not mean
5 that the public was excluded.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And when a meeting is held in
7 closed session, it's usually because some information is not leaked out,
8 perhaps some employees or the public is not informed. There's a measure
9 of precaution that is taken here. Why?
10 You were the Deputy Prime Minister -- no, you were the deputy
11 minister, Djeric was Prime Minister at the time. You must know why the
12 decision was taken to hold a closed session meeting.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assure you I don't know. There
14 was more information in the public domain than in our reports about all
15 these matters.
16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I'm sorry to belabour the point,
17 but you held quite a high position, you are a lawyer, an intelligent man;
18 decisions like these are not taken without valid reason. This formal
19 decision is taken after a decision has been taken. A decision to hold a
20 meeting in closed session is something where a number of people or the
21 public is not informed about a number of things. Could you tell me,
22 please, why this meeting was held in closed session.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot tell you because I do not
24 remember the specific reason behind it. I suppose that in view of the
25 fact that some of the reports contained accurate information that we would
1 have to discuss it; however, these reports only said what the situation
2 was like and that we should work to improve it. I don't know.
3 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So allow me, but I would like to
4 ask my question again. This report talked about true facts and these had
5 to be discussed in closed session. If this reflected what was actually
6 happening, why did this meeting have to be held in closed session? [In
7 English] "This report talked about true facts and these had to be
8 discussed in closed session." [Interpretation] I don't understand what
9 connection there can be between real facts and a closed session.
10 MR. STEWART: Your Honours, I'm not making an objection, I'm just
11 wondering whether through Judge Hanoteau, with respect, something could be
12 cleared up which might complement Judge Hanoteau's questions. The witness
13 indicated that a closed session was held in the absence of technical
14 staff, but it did not mean that the public was excluded.
15 Your Honours, I wonder whether, as a foundation and as a
16 complement to Judge Hanoteau's questions, the witness could be invited to
17 make very specifically clear what happened in a normal government session
18 that was not closed; who would be there and who wouldn't? Because the
19 public attending a government session does strike one as a rather unusual
20 position, and then what the difference was between a public -- an ordinary
21 session, I'm sorry, an ordinary session and a closed session so that we
22 can understand what was happening as the foundation for these questions.
23 I hope that's a helpful intervention, Your Honour.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Government sessions were mostly held
25 at Pale and less often elsewhere. On this occasion, I believe it was in
1 Banja Luka. It was customary for the government session to be attended by
2 the ministers, their immediate associates, or some of those who had to
3 present their working materials, like Mr. Lale here, because he was one of
4 the persons involved in the drafting of the report.
5 Closed session was quite uncustomary, we did not often resort to
6 that form of convening, and it meant that the auxiliary staff, ministers
7 excluded, was not supposed to be there. On this particular occasion,
8 there was no special need for that because the material had been copied
9 for the earlier session and was therefore there to be seen by everyone,
10 and I simply thought that the report was going to be complemented by some
11 information that it did not contain at this particular closed session.
12 But I cannot tell you why it was that we turned to closed session there.
13 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
14 JUDGE ORIE: May I put it in a different way to you,
15 Mr. Trbojevic.
16 Would you agree that a closed session, whether you exclude
17 technical staff or anyone else who would ordinarily be present, that a
18 closed session serves to keep those who are excluded away from the
19 conversations, positions, information discussed at such a closed session?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us any specific reason why it would
22 have been different in respect of this meeting?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have said that the only reason
24 that I could conceive of would lie in the fact that the report in the form
25 in which it had been presented could have been complemented in that --
1 during that session with some information that it did not previously
2 contain. However, based on what I can read here, I don't see that
3 anything of the sort was done. And I do not recall anyone giving any
4 arguments or information at this session that were previously unknown to
5 us. Because as I've said, you could find much more information in the
6 press and on the television at that time.
7 JUDGE ORIE: What information would you find in the press at that
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Photographs of people standing
10 behind barbed wire were published. They were there, emaciated. I believe
11 this was Trnopolje. A TV crew, either of the BBC or of some other
12 broadcasting house, had already been there. Mr. Owen was there at Manjaca
13 and I believe all of this happened before this session. I believe so, at
15 JUDGE ORIE: Do you agree with me that having an open session, in
16 view of what you said about the content of the report, would have been, by
17 far, to be preferred in order to take away this -- what you at that time
18 thought to be a totally wrong impression of what in these detention
19 facilities happened?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're quite right.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 Mr. Tieger, please proceed.
23 MR. TIEGER:
24 Q. Just to clarify, Mr. Trbojevic, the closed session was called to
25 discuss --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, I lost -- out of sight that we are
2 already at 20 minutes to 1.00. If it would not be -- if you have one
3 question, of course you could put it and then we have to break, but if
4 there is more to ask to the witness, then we'd like to have a break now.
5 MR. TIEGER: I think breaking now is appropriate, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we'll adjourn until five minutes past 1.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.43 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 1.07 p.m.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, please proceed.
10 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, if I can follow up just a bit on a couple of
12 questions asked by Judge Hanoteau, and I'm directing your attention to the
13 report contained at tab 89, Permission for Inspecting Detention Centres
14 and Other Facilities for Prisoners in the Autonomous Region of Krajina.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Could we perhaps, Mr. Tieger, it was one of the
16 questions: Could we check the translation in relation to concentration
17 centres because often we -- the term is used "concentration camps,"
18 sometimes "collection centres." Could we first try to see that the
19 language used here is properly translated from the original.
20 MR. TIEGER: That's an excellent suggestion, Your Honour, and I
21 would note ...
22 JUDGE ORIE: It was Judge Hanoteau's suggestion.
23 MR. TIEGER: I think we see that distinction in the two documents
24 as well.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. TIEGER: There are a couple of ways of doing that, Your
2 Honour. We could ask the witness to read the heading in the two
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you can invite him to do so, then of course
5 the focus, and I inform the translators, the interpreters that the focus
6 is very much on the specific term used and if later on -- let's first see
7 what the term is and then see whether there are any additional questions
8 in relation to that.
9 MR. TIEGER:
10 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, could you read, please, the title of the April 17th
11 report, and if you could read that slowly, please.
12 A. "Report of the Commission Upon Visiting Collection Centres and
13 Other Facilities for Prisoners in the Autonomous Region of Krajina."
14 Q. And are the minutes of the 47th session, that is the document
15 found at tab 38, still in front of the witness?
16 A. The document I have is from the closed session.
17 Q. And Mr. Trbojevic, do you have the minutes of the open session?
18 A. I do not have that.
19 Q. Read the entry at agenda item 7.
20 A. "A Report Upon Visiting Collection Centres and Other Facilities
21 for Prisoner --" it's a mistake, it should be "Prisoners in the Autonomous
22 Region of Krajina."
23 MR. TIEGER: Thank you.
24 JUDGE ORIE: It turns out, Mr. Tieger, that at least that
25 translation on paper is not a correct one, where I did understand that it
1 was collection centres and not concentration centres.
2 MR. TIEGER: Right, and I think the same can be said in -- of the
3 title of the report. I understood it to be -- to the extent that
4 distinction is one we need to correct, I recall it as being identified as
5 collection centres, again in the title of the report, and it's translated
6 as detention centres.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and then the third source would be the -- where
8 agenda item 7 is further elaborated upon on page 3 in the English and on
9 page 4, first item, in the B/C/S. I don't know whether the same words are
10 used there or not, but ...
11 MR. TIEGER: At this point, perhaps the most expeditious thing
12 would be to check and see whether the words in B/C/S are precisely the
13 same. If they're not, we can bring it to the Court's attention, but
14 otherwise we will change the translation to conform to the interpretation
15 in court.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. TIEGER:
18 Q. Now, Mr. Trbojevic, returning to the report and the questions that
19 Judge Hanoteau asked you about both the report and the opened and closed
20 session, I just want to clarify a couple of issues.
21 Did I understand you to indicate that you saw no reason to go into
22 closed session because the report had already been distributed, and unless
23 additional items beyond the contents of the report were discussed in
24 closed session, there wouldn't be any need for that, there didn't seem to
25 be any need for that?
1 A. That's what I said.
2 Q. Well, agenda item 7, if I recall it correctly, said, "That the
3 government agreed to hold a special closed session to discuss the report."
4 Does that indicate that the report was not discussed in the open
5 session but that the discussion about the report took place in the closed
7 A. I couldn't say that now. That was 12 or 13 years ago, after all.
8 Q. The report itself is a -- bears the heading "top classified."
9 What kind of documents were issued the designation "top classified" at
10 that time?
11 A. There were regulations, mostly in the domain of the military
12 administration, which specified what and under what circumstances can be
13 considered a confidential document or confidential action. Now, who it
14 was who decided to put this strictly confidential designation on this
15 document and why that was done, I couldn't tell you that now.
16 The contents of the minutes from that session does not justify the
17 treatment this document received as a strictly confidential one.
18 JUDGE ORIE: May I again interrupt for one second, Mr. Tieger.
19 Mr. Trbojevic, before the break, you explained to us that you
20 couldn't understand why such a session would be a closed session because
21 the report was distributed beforehand and what you heard during this
22 closed session where you expected, perhaps, to have some addition to the
23 report, that you didn't hear anything new.
24 Now after the break, you're telling us that you did not know
25 whether the report was discussed in closed session or whether it was
1 discussed in open session. Because that was the question put to you by
2 Mr. Tieger: "Does that indicate that the report was not discussed in the
3 open session but that the discussion about the report took place in the
4 closed session?" After the answers you have given before the break, is
5 your answer that you couldn't say because it was 12 or 13 years ago is a
6 correct one?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said that if the
8 minutes reflected that the report was discussed, then it is obvious that
9 we did discuss it, that we held it in our hands. As for the extent to
10 which it was discussed, I really don't know.
11 Now, whether, in the closed session, we continued this debate,
12 whether we tried to expand it, I really don't know. The definite fact is
13 that it was a topic on -- in both instances, but to what extent we
14 discussed it on the first occasion and on the second occasion, this is
15 something that I couldn't tell you with any certainty.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
17 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, I asked you earlier about an entry in the minutes
19 of the closed session that indicates the government discussed and adopted
20 the report on the visit to collection centres and other buildings used for
21 captives in the autonomous region. I asked you what was embraced by the
22 term "captives," and I believe that you said -- you believed it to be
23 those persons who were the subject of the report.
24 Can I ask you to turn then to page 6 of the English translation,
25 and it's item 5 of the conclusions of the report. It states, "There are
1 no regulations regarding the way civilian refugees are treated, and this
2 problem was especially emphasised in Trnopolje." It's actually written
3 apparently as something else but it's seen by the interpreter as possibly
5 First of all, perhaps you can clarify that for us. Does that item
6 refer to Trnopolje in particular? Is that the word used there?
7 A. If you are referring to item 5, in my version it's on page 6 --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The witness gave the ERN number.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- and it says here, "Lack of
10 appropriate regulations on how to treat civilian population who had become
11 refugees, which is particularly evident --" it says here "in Tromolje,"
12 but in most likelihood it should be Trnopolje.
13 Is that what you asked me about?
14 MR. TIEGER:
15 Q. Yes, thank you. And what did you understand to be the impact of
16 the absence of regulations on the civilians who were held in -- or who
17 were gathered in or who were contained in collection centres or other
18 buildings, as referred to in item 2 of the minutes?
19 A. This report under item 1 has a heading Trnopolje near Prijedor,
20 and in there, it says that this centre is of an open nature, meaning that
21 anybody can enter it or leave to go to the place they desire to go to,
22 that certain documentation needs to be provided and so on. Therefore, the
23 information circulated was that the collection centre was the place where
24 people sought shelter, people fleeing from war operations. It was also
25 said that allegedly people in charge of their security were protecting
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 them there.
2 This was the information received and used, and this is partially
3 what is reflected here in the report. I know that the government passed a
4 decree on ensuring proper treatment for refugees. I know that there was a
5 bill on refugees that was worked on, but I don't know what the final
6 solution was.
7 Q. Were you aware, at that time, of allegations, either in the
8 international media, by NGOs, by government representatives, that persons
9 gathered in Trnopolje camp had been forcibly driven from their homes, many
10 of which had been destroyed by Serb forces?
11 A. Some of that naturally was contained in the information we
12 received. Now, as to when those facts reached us, I couldn't really tell
13 you. And even today, it is difficult to assess the authenticity of that
14 information, or the accuracy of that information. However, it is a fact
15 that after significant military operations in certain areas, after the
16 troops had passed, in their wake, there were villages and towns that were
17 destroyed and that there were many citizens who needed to be taken care
18 of. Some of them were taken care of in Trnopolje, according to the
19 information that we received.
20 Q. And how did you determine when -- what information did you receive
21 to verify the fact that after significant military operations, villages
22 and towns were destroyed and many people were rendered homeless?
23 A. We spoke about these reports and that was the first, the initial
24 information. Afterwards, in the media, much more was reported, and then
25 later, a lot more surfaced. Now, as to the chronology of the events,
1 exactly when I heard what, I don't think that I could be able to tell you
2 that now.
3 Q. I'm not looking for specific dates, but let me ask you this: Are
4 you saying that this report represents the first occasion on which you
5 learned that military operations had resulted in the displacement of large
6 numbers of people, and specifically Muslims, from their homes?
7 A. I don't know how to answer that question, truly.
8 Q. Why is that?
9 A. I was not kept abreast of the military operations. I didn't know
10 what took place in which theatre of war.
11 Q. Did you --
12 A. Later on, it emerged that parts of villages, settlements were
13 destroyed, burned down, the same applied for roads, that the population
14 was gone. Therefore, I don't know how to answer your question.
15 Q. Did you know before receiving this report that Bosnian Serb forces
16 were -- viewed themselves as being in control of 65 to 70 per cent of the
17 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
18 A. This piece of information was used in conducting the political
19 campaign. The percentages were circulated and used. Now, as to how much
20 of that was accurate, I don't think that anybody would be able to tell you
22 Q. Well, did you hear that from the leadership of Republika Srpska?
23 That is, did you hear that from either Dr. Karadzic or Mr. Krajisnik or
25 A. I think Karadzic mentioned these percentages several times, these
1 ownership percentages before the war and then the percentages of the
2 territory controlled by the respective parties. I believed I heard it
3 from him on several occasions. But this could also be found in the press,
4 I believe.
5 Q. Did you understand that to encompass municipalities in the areas
6 in which Muslims had been a majority before the outbreak of the conflict?
7 A. Later on, during peace negotiations, it became quite clear that
8 any peace-making process entailed that some of the territories held by
9 certain sides should be given over to the control of the other side,
10 including the settlements in these areas. This was a matter of a debate
11 that was largely in the public domain.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, that was not the question. The
13 question was: Did you understand that -- and that is the territory
14 expressed in percentages controlled by Bosnian Serb forces, did you
15 understand that to encompass municipalities in the areas in which Muslims
16 had been a majority before the outbreak of the conflict?
17 So whether control also included territories where there was
18 majority Muslim population before the outbreak of the conflict. That was
19 the question, not how you negotiated later on and whether matters should
20 be changed. That's what you were asked by Mr. Tieger.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've quite understood and there's no
22 doubt about it but I did not understand it from these reports from the
23 government sessions held on the 17th of August and the 18th of August, and
24 that's what we are discussing it now.
25 MR. TIEGER:
1 Q. But you understood it, didn't you, from your discussions with
2 other officials in the Bosnian Serb authorities, from your attendance at
3 Assembly sessions, from your general contact with people at a high level
4 of politics within Republika Srpska.
5 A. Every Assembly session was opened with the report on the political
6 situation and on the situation in the theatres of war, and this report was
7 often submitted by President Karadzic and often times by General Mladic
8 whenever he was attending the session, and then you could hear the state
9 of affairs with regard to the peace negotiating process and with regard to
10 the military situation, actions on Igman, at Gorazde, and so on and so
12 This information was something that you were unable to follow
13 closely unless you had a map in front of you to be able to follow the
14 movements of the respective units. But you are given the information and
15 you take notice of it, and that's it. You're not able to respond to that
16 in terms of saying to a general that they -- that he made a wrong decision
17 at some point. This was beyond our power. We were unable to tell
18 Karadzic, for instance, why he advocated a certain position at this and
19 this negotiating meeting.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Again, Mr. Trbojevic, the only question put to you is
21 from -- how you learned that areas under the control of the Bosnian Serb
22 forces also included areas where there was a majority Muslim population
23 before the conflict. You are telling us a lot. You're not answering the
24 question. Because the last time Mr. Tieger put it to you, you said --
25 when you said that you did not understand it from these reports, then
1 Mr. Tieger asked you, "You understood it, didn't you, from your discussion
2 with other officials, from your attendance at Assembly sessions, from your
3 general contact with people at a high level of politics within Republika
5 The only thing Mr. Tieger is asking you, how did you learn that?
6 And not whether you could comment on it, whether you could criticise it;
7 that's how did you learn that there was military control by Bosnian Serb
8 forces over areas which had a majority Muslim population before the
9 conflict broke out.
10 You told us that you were in --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have just answered that question.
12 The report on both the political situation and the war operations was
13 submitted to the Assembly session and one could hear a lot of information
14 from these reports.
15 JUDGE ORIE: So on the basis of that, you would know where there
16 was military control over a territory. Yes? In general terms.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Did you know who was the majority population through
19 these discussions or did you know that by any other means, or was it
20 common knowledge?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was more or less common
23 JUDGE ORIE: You got the military reports, you had knowledge about
24 what was the majority population, and that's the basis of your knowledge.
25 Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
1 MR. TIEGER: I'm hesitant to leave this subject but there's one
2 thing I want to cover before we break, if I may.
3 Can the report contained at tab 92 be presented to the witness,
5 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, this is a report we looked at earlier when we were
6 trying to -- when I was asking you to determine whether or not it was the
7 Avlijas report that you had referred to, and I believe you indicated it
8 was not.
9 This report deals with Trebinje, Gacko, and Bileca with SAO
10 Herzegovina, and as you note, at the bottom it is signed by Slobodan
11 Avlijas and Goran Saric. Can you tell us when you first saw this report,
12 Mr. Trbojevic.
13 A. I don't know. I really don't know.
14 MR. TIEGER: Can I ask the usher to provide the witness with the
15 governments -- the minutes of the government session of September 7th,
16 1992 contained at tab 39.
17 Q. This is another session at which you were present, Mr. Trbojevic.
18 And can I ask you to turn your attention to agenda item 15.
19 A. Very well.
20 Q. That indicates that, "A government commissioned report on a tour
21 of camps --" here it says, "concentration centres." That may well be
22 "collection centres," we'll have that checked -- "in SAO Herzegovina was
24 Is that a reference to the report of Mr. Avlijas and Mr. Saric
25 found at tab 92?
1 A. Evidently.
2 Q. And if you look at the top of the report itself, it contains in
3 handwriting DD 15, or presumed to be agenda 15. And then it says,
4 "Received August 22nd, 1992," and it bears a number.
5 A. I don't know what it means, but it does say that it was received
6 on the 22nd of August.
7 Q. Well, doesn't it mean that this is the report referred to, in
8 fact, in agenda item 15, and isn't it clear that this particular copy of
9 the report was used in that session, or intended for that session?
10 A. It is quite possible.
11 Q. Well, Mr. Trbojevic, with respect, of course I know it's possible
12 but I'm asking you if there's any reason to dispute the conclusion I've
13 just reached that this report, this copy of the report that bears the
14 designation number 15 that corresponds to agenda item 15 in the minutes of
15 the 49th session of September 7th, correspond. If so, please tell me.
16 A. There's no reason to.
17 Q. It appears that Mr. Avlijas and Mr. Saric reported back on their
18 findings in Trebinje, Gacko, and Bileca, finding that in Trebinje there is
19 no camp; that Bileca there are two detention centres, one of which had no
20 prisoners because all the prisoners had been exchanged the day before;
21 that there were 140 Muslims in another facility in Bileca; and that there
22 were no prisoners in Gacko.
23 Can you tell us about any discussion you remember at the
24 government session on September 7th about the -- about this report and
25 about its relative accuracy or thoroughness or anything else about the
1 report that you remember?
2 A. I cannot.
3 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, I can address one more report but we've
4 gone over the last time, and perhaps I ...
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, we'll continue tomorrow but in the
6 afternoon in this same courtroom, at a quarter past 2.00. I again would
7 like to instruct you not to speak with anyone about your testimony you
8 have been giving. We'd like to hear from you tomorrow morning whether
9 there was anything wrong in the transcript of the interview that was
10 presented to you, whether there's anything we should check on the basis of
11 the tapes.
12 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, if the witness received that yesterday,
13 if it's possible to check with him today, maybe we could undertake a ...
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, did you have an opportunity to review
15 the transcript pages that were given to you?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Was there anything which was not correct which we
18 have to check on the basis of the audio recording?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There's no need for that. I believe
20 it's been transcribed quite accurately. We were talking about a decision
21 that in my opinion derogated the constitution, and then when we came to
22 the decision whereby the War Presidency was expanded, then it suddenly
23 turns out as if I had said that this decision was the most important one.
24 Well, I said yes, it was, because it shows the gravest form of violation
25 of the constitution.
1 JUDGE ORIE: We heard your evidence on it. If there are any
2 further questions to be put to you in relation to that pages, they will be
3 put to you either by the Prosecution or Defence. The main reason why we
4 gave you the transcript was in order to give you an opportunity to verify
5 whether the transcript was a correct one.
6 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, has the witness had the whole
7 transcript or just selected pages? I'm unclear about that at the moment.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I think we discussed that yesterday, that Mr. Tieger
9 was hesitant to give him only a couple of pages. The Chamber then decided
10 that if any the parties --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's been quite sufficient.
12 JUDGE ORIE: -- if any of the parties would like to give him more,
13 fine, but most important for the Chamber at that moment was that an
14 opportunity would be given to the witness where he specifically commented
15 on the correctness of the transcript to at least give him the smaller
16 context. But if anyone would like to give him more, that's ...
17 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour, for reminding me about that.
18 Yes, the Defence would request -- it's 130 pages overall, but it is, after
19 all, an interview with -- was an interview with him. We'd request that he
20 has the whole thing, because for cross-examination, I can't know which
21 pages I might decide are useful for one reason or another to put to him.
22 JUDGE ORIE: This is a suggestion. If it needs any discussion at
23 this moment, I'd rather do it in the absence of the witness. And Madam
24 Usher, could you please escort Mr. Trbojevic out of the courtroom.
25 [The witness stands down]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, the suggestion by the Defence is that the
2 whole of the interviews would be given to the witness.
3 MR. TIEGER: And I disagree with that, Your Honour. This is a
4 taped interview. We've discussed it at length with the witness and in the
5 course of his testimony, with respect to one small issue a question arose
6 about the accuracy of the transcription. He had a chance to review it
7 now. He said that it was accurate. If such a circumstance arises again,
8 and based on our -- based upon the experience thus far in using a
9 transcript, I don't think that's likely to happen. We can address it at
10 that time. But I see no reason otherwise to depart from the customary
12 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, it's hard to see, in the Defence's
13 submission, why the Prosecution is so resistant to this. The -- first of
14 all, the transcript itself indicates in a number of -- at a number of
15 points that it's perhaps not 100 per cent reliable. That's apparent on
16 its face. Why the witness should not -- should not have that simple
17 opportunity of reviewing the whole of his own statement and alerting or
18 being prepared to alert the Trial Chamber quickly and efficiently as to
19 any difficulties is hard to understand.
20 What is it that the Prosecution is so concerned about in allowing
21 this witness simply to read a statement -- a transcript of his own
22 interview, which presumably he was supplied with a long time ago anyway?
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
24 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, in my submission, the witness has said
25 nothing that indicates his interest in doing so, desire to do so, or need
1 to do so. This is Mr. Stewart's submission, not the submission of the
2 witness and the witness seemed to have no difficult proceeding the way
3 we've been proceeding.
4 MR. STEWART: There's no indication the witness has refused to do
5 it. He would do it if requested, we feel quite confident.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber denies the request of the Defence. The
8 Chamber has observed -- [B/C/S on English channel] I received the B/C/S,
9 but I'm back on English again. The Chamber has observed that the witness
10 seems to be not without difficulties in knowing exactly what his
11 recollection is and it could not be excluded that apart from relying on
12 what he still remembers, that he is also selective in what he remembers.
13 Providing him with the statement he gave as a suspect might contribute to
14 the difficulties the witness may face as I just explained. Therefore, the
15 application is denied.
16 One thing I would like to raise in the absence of the witness,
17 because although it has got nothing to do with him, is as far as recalling
18 Mr. Bjelobrk as a witness for cross-examination, I do understand that no
19 final agreement has been reached in every respect by the Prosecution and
20 Defence and it's -- we are still waiting for the Defence to give its final
21 position on what subjects they would insist on recalling Mr. Bjelobrk for
22 further cross-examination.
23 MR. STEWART: Understood, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, could we know that by not later than by the end
25 of this week.
1 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, I wonder if -- Your Honour, the
2 position is, frankly, I'm overwhelmed with things to do, including
3 preparation of two witnesses this week, Your Honour. The end of this week
4 is, I'm afraid yet again, despite the fact that time has run on, the end
5 of this week is a very tall order. It's I who have to do this, Your
6 Honour, it's not something I can delegate any further, and Your Honour, we
7 are simply under enormous pressure, so may I request a little more time
8 than that?
9 JUDGE ORIE: How much more time would you need?
10 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, we have Mr. Kljuic coming up on
11 Monday and Tuesday and he's a witness that I can't avoid doing because I
12 was the one who examined him before, so Your Honour, I wonder if I might
13 ask for the end of next week.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Of course, the matter has been thoroughly discussed
15 between the parties so I have some difficulties in understanding why the
16 Defence at this moment could not identify those specific issues on which
17 it would like to cross-examine -- further cross-examine Mr. Bjelobrk, but
18 we'll consider it, but I'm not promising that --
19 MR. STEWART: Can I say, Your Honour, the matter has been
20 discussed but it was discussed a long time ago, and refreshment -- I made
21 my position plain a long time ago, but refreshment of one's mind and
22 reference to files is important, and I informed Your Honour that
23 Ms. Cmeric also needed to look at quite a lot of material that came from
24 Mr. Krajisnik, so that isn't something which I had dealt with before, and
25 that is the sort of thing that I have to revisit in order to make
1 decisions and make submissions in relation to this matter.
2 It's considerably more time consuming and onerous than perhaps
3 Your Honour might have appreciated.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 The Chamber will consider your request for more time and we'll let
6 you know not later than by tomorrow.
7 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we'll adjourn until tomorrow at 2.00.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.57 p.m.
10 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 6th day of
11 April, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.