1 Friday, 8 April 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, are you ready to continue your
6 cross-examination or to resume your cross-examination?
7 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Madam Usher, could you please escort the
9 witness into the courtroom.
10 I am afraid that for the first time in three years, I had
11 forgotten to ask Madam Registrar to call the case, so would you please do
12 so, Madam Registrar.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. Good afternoon, Your Honours, this is
14 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Fortunately, no procedural step has been taken
16 before calling the case so ...
17 MR. STEWART: I suppose if Your Honour had asked me if I was ready
18 to continue and I gave a different answer, then I would upset Your Honour.
19 The answer is yes I am.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 WITNESS: MILAN TRBOJEVIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, I'd like to remind you again, which
2 may not come as a surprise, that you are still bound by the is solemn
3 declaration that you have given at the beginning of your testimony, that
4 you will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
5 Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
6 I had forgotten to remind you as well, but that whenever you are
7 afraid that an answer could be -- could incriminate yourself, that you can
8 address the Court and ask not to be obliged to answer that question.
9 Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Stewart: [Continued]
11 MR. STEWART:
12 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, I wonder if you might be given, please, once again,
13 a copy of your -- the transcript of the interview which you gave -- which
14 was held in May of this year.
15 JUDGE ORIE: May last year?
16 MR. STEWART: I'm sorry, I do mean last year, of course. May this
17 year would be difficult, wouldn't it?
18 Q. In the -- it's page 3 Your Honours, of that interview in the
19 English version, and it's page 3, line 20, I think, in the B/C/S version.
20 And Mr. Margetts raises with you there a question about the first and
21 second laws of government. Just to refresh the first matter is
22 Mr. Margetts, "The first matter I'd like to discuss with you is the
23 organisation of the government in Republika Srpska in 1992 and the" --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Can you please slow down while reading,
25 Mr. Stewart. Thank you.
1 MR. STEWART: Of course.
2 Q. -- "and the relationship" I'm asked to slow down. "... and the
3 relationship between the government and the other republic organs in
4 Republika Srpska. I am handing to Mr. Trbojevic the first law on the
5 government and then the second law on the government."
6 Then at page 4 in the middle of page 4 of the English, and then
7 page 4, line 21 of the B/C/S, you -- well, in fact, just a few lines
8 before that, you're asked by Mr. Margetts, "Did the government function in
9 accordance with those laws?"
10 And then you said, "From the moment when I entered, and they were
11 trying their best to keep hold of it." "What do you mean by that?" You
12 said, "I don't have any concrete opinion. Ministries are listed, and
13 their area of work, and acts that the government was bringing and the
14 fashion in which each ministry in their own area work and government as a
15 whole, it was in some way based on these decision, these laws."
16 Mr. Trbojevic, first of all, when you say it was in some way based
17 on these laws, do you mean that there was a worse situation than the --
18 perhaps the usual imperfect way of operation of any institution or any
19 government or other large organs?
20 A. I meant the following: In the month of May when I arrived in
21 Pale, the government, first of all, did not have premises of its own. I
22 don't know whether all the members were already there at the time, but the
23 basic preconditions are placed to sit in, to have a person type up the
24 materials, print them out, all these preconditions were practically
25 non-existent. The government didn't have a single typewriter at the time
1 when I showed up there in May, 1992, not to speak of computers or any
2 other technology.
3 That is why I wanted to say that we are doing our best to do our
4 jobs in a way that would be germane to normal functioning and organisation
5 of work of such a body.
6 Q. You write forward quite a long way in this -- the same transcript
7 of this interview, and this is at page 38 of the English, and it's at --
8 is in the middle of page 38 of the English, and is at page 32, line 46 to
9 50. There is a -- Mr. Margetts asks a question, "Were you operating in
10 1992 as if only an imminent threat of war had been declared or were you
11 operating as if a state of war had been declared?"
12 Are you able to pick up that question of Mr. Margetts from the
13 text that you have in front of you?
14 A. I haven't found it yet.
15 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, it should be somewhere between page 32, line 46 and
16 page 33, line 7, if that helps you.
17 A. I have found it.
18 Q. You've got it. And then your answer begins, "We were working in
19 state" - it must be "a state" - "We were working in a state of anarchy
20 unfortunately." You see that answer, do you?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The English word that is coming back to you in your own language
23 is anarchy, are you talking about something different from the state of
24 practical disorganisation, typewriters and so on that you were referring
25 to a moment ago or are you embracing the whole situation in that word?
1 A. We were discussing the way the government operated and I explained
2 here that the regulations that we had were applicable for peacetime. The
3 conditions of work for the government were practically unbearable. I
4 explained that a lot of pressure had been coming from the military to
5 declare a state of war, and in our opinion conditions were not in place
6 for such a declaration to take place because first of all, we thought that
7 an actual war was never going to break out.
8 Secondly, if one declares a state of war, then one has to go over
9 to a completely different system of organising work and life and I
10 believe, at the time, we were -- we did not have the ability to carry it
11 through so that on the one hand, the government did not have conditions in
12 place to allow it to operate. On the other hand, there were events that
13 were passing us by. And on the third side, there were these requests
14 that -- for the declaration of a state of war and that is why I called the
15 entire situation an anarchical one because it was a situation where things
16 were not sorted out and where problems were difficult to solve.
17 Q. So are you -- are they linked together in this way, Mr. Trbojevic,
18 then, that there was anarchy in the way that you have just described it,
19 and really as part of that overall situation, there was these sort of
20 practical logistical disorganisation and shortage of resources that you
21 described in relation to the conduct of government, no typewriters, that
22 sort of thing. Is that -- is that a fair summary of your position?
23 A. It is definitely one of its aspects.
24 Q. And not dealing with specific typewriters, Mr. Trbojevic, but that
25 situation of lack of practical resources, equipment, basic organisational
1 facilities, when you arrived in Pale in May 1992, did that apply generally
2 to the different organs and different branches of the running of Republika
4 A. That was the general framework. We were all experiencing the same
6 Q. So all in that context, whether it was you or whether it was
7 Mr. Djeric or whether it was Mr. Stanisic, in his ministry, Mr. Subotic in
8 his ministry, Mr. Krajisnik at the Assembly, or Mr. Karadzic in his work,
9 everybody was experiencing some such fairly difficult, in fact, very
10 difficult problem of resources, equipment, organisation. Is that -- is
11 that a fair summary?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. At page --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Are you moving to a new subject, Mr. Stewart. I've
15 just got a -- you started with page 3.
16 Mr. Tieger, it's not without concern that I have to establish that
17 page 3, line 20, as indicated by Mr. Stewart at least is in the English
18 version partly unintelligible, whereas a lot of information seems to
19 appear in the B/C/S version but not translated. If you compare that and I
20 compare that with both versions, but it's worrying that the English
21 version is -- seems not to be -- is not a translation of the B/C/S version
22 so we are working with, I take it, one version which has been taken from
23 the B/C/S recording where sometimes matters were better understood and the
24 other one is from an English recording not being -- not corresponding
25 completely. That's -- I wonder what to do with it.
1 You understand what I mean? If you compare this first part
2 Mr. Stewart has drawn our attention to, that you see that at least two
3 lines with all kind of references are missing in the English. I'll give
4 you the time, perhaps you think it over, and Mr. Stewart, perhaps could
5 proceed meanwhile.
6 MR. STEWART: Yes, I should say, Your Honour does certainly put
7 your finger on a real practical issue here in the text so we have been a
8 bit troubled by this point.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. STEWART: But let's await some response.
11 JUDGE ORIE: What the Prosecution says.
12 MR. STEWART: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, at page 5, it is of the English version, and it's
14 also page 5 of the B/C/S at lines 10 to 11, you were asked about your own
15 contribution to the debate in the 20th Assembly, 20th Republika Srpska
16 Assembly. Do you see that passage, Mr. Trbojevic?
17 A. If you mean the one starting on page 4 at line 46 and then going
18 over to page 5, if that's the bit, then I'm with you.
19 Q. Yes, well that's -- you're trying to help me, Mr. Trbojevic.
20 Problem I have with that is that the page and line references don't help
21 me because I don't have the B/C/S to look at and can't read B/C/S. But
22 does it refer to your being handed minutes of - by Mr. Margetts - minutes
23 of the 20th session of the Assembly of Republika Srpska?
24 A. No, I wouldn't say so. Yes, yes. That's it.
25 Q. Do you recall, you -- it was suggested that a change should be
1 proposed to the law so that the government would implement rather than
2 conduct policy. This was in September 1992. Do you recall that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was it because -- well, up to then, if that change came in 1992,
5 that would imply that the government had previously, under the law, had
6 the responsibility for conducting policy; do you agree?
7 A. It was the other way around. The situation was the opposite. We
8 were discussing amendments to the law and it was envisaged that a
9 provision would be put in place to the effect that the government was
10 implementing the policy just as the case had been before. My suggestion
11 was that the government ought to conduct, pursue the policy for the
12 duration of its term of office. This, of course, meant that the political
13 frame works would be determined by the Assembly but that then the
14 government would have both the responsibility and the possibility to run
15 the policy.
16 However, this was not met with support and the government's status
17 of implementing the policies given to it prevailed. And this was what the
18 practice had been before.
19 In essence, this was more of a theoretical discussion than a
20 practical one because this matter had never even been raised as a
21 controversial one but since the discussion talked -- was about the
22 amendments to the bill, I decided to raise this issue and to provoke
23 discussion on it.
24 Q. So the position was you were -- well, you were clearly in a
25 minority on this particular issue; that's right, isn't it?
1 A. That's quite right. I was in a minority, entirely.
2 Q. Did you see your position as intending to bring about a change?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. So your position is that the government was not in any sense
5 conducting policy before this debate occurred in the Assembly.
6 A. This is explained in this interview of mine further on where I
7 stated that the government was virtually a service, the task of which was
8 to implement whatever had been put to it as its task without having the
9 possibility to decide upon matters -- to decide upon policies, that is.
10 My proposal as you see it here was more of a protest, really,
11 against the then current state of affairs because I did not really think
12 that it was going to be endorsed.
13 Q. You're referring, are you, Mr. Trbojevic, when you talk about your
14 interview, to the passage which is found on page 5 of the English, the
15 middle of the first long paragraph, and in the B/C/S at page 5, very top,
16 lines 2 to 4, I think it should be, where you say, "The government was
17 treated as the most banal executor of the political attitudes." Do you
18 see that phrase?
19 A. That's right. And further on to line 10 and 11.
20 Q. Let's just go up a couple of lines to get the context of the --
21 I'll go to the middle of this answer, but you say, "That was my personal
22 opinion because I was partly provoked by the problems of the government.
23 Because government was treated as the most banal executor of the political
24 attitudes ..." And I'll just pause there for a moment. So that's your
25 protest, as you described it. You were provoked by the situation and you
1 felt you wanted to assert this view.
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And publicly assert it, of course, in the Assembly.
4 A. In my opinion, that was the most appropriate place for doing so.
5 Q. And then you go on to say here, "Because" -- that passage then
6 about the government being the most banal executor of the political
7 attitudes continues, "The political attitudes which either like would SDS
8 have or the Assembly had, or the Presidency. So, in that way, the
9 government was supposed to be some practical service and like, the
10 government was just supposed to conduct some tasks that were given to it."
11 So the English version is not entirely a happy passage in English
12 but there are three elements, if you like, political attitudes of the SDS,
13 or the Assembly, or the Presidency. And can you confirm that the B/C/S
14 version of what you said does reflect those three possibilities being
15 contained in that proposition?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So what you're saying in a nutshell is that somebody other than
18 the government was setting policy; is that right?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. And it was the SDS or the Assembly or the Presidency?
21 A. This was practically one and the same thing. The Assembly was
22 almost 100 per cent composed of the deputies of the SDS. The Presidency
23 was -- comprised the highest, the most senior officials of Republika
24 Srpska so that the -- whatever policies were set, they were set by the
25 same authors.
1 Q. So you're describing a situation in which the Assembly, as we know
2 the Assembly, had overwhelming majority, really, overwhelming majority of
3 SDS deputies, didn't it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. The Presidency consisted of SDS members?
6 A. That's right.
7 Q. The Assembly was, as in many parliamentary democracies, the
8 Assembly was unlikely not to reflect pretty loyally and consistently SDS
9 party attitudes, wasn't it?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. Would there be any reason to suppose at that time that the
12 government as constituted would not also reflect SDS party attitudes
13 because of the composition of the government?
14 A. The government was set up at the time when one did not really pay
15 that much attention to the fact whether government members were also
16 members of the SDS. I cannot tell you now how many government members
17 were actually SDS members and how many weren't.
18 Following these discussions of outside, although they did not
19 really amount to any hostile confrontations, the SDS probably concluded
20 that the government should, in the future, comprise only SDS cadre and
21 that those who were not SDS members would not be able to become government
22 members, Mr. Velibor Ostojic informed us thereof and he practically
23 threatened to the effect that those who were not SDS members and were not
24 the party faithful would not be in the government.
25 I have to tell you the following: This did not amount to any
1 fundamental disagreement in such a situation where nothing was in order.
2 The government did not wish to be marginalised in the face of some
3 decisions being taken as to what the policies and the goals of the
4 activities are and this specific discussion was, to put it mildly, just an
5 attempt to try and draw their attention to this very fact, that it wasn't
6 expedient for the government to be a third-rate executioner of some
7 insignificant tasks but that it should rather be enabled to have a more
8 active and serious role, if any serious results were to be expected from
10 Q. Well, Mr. Trbojevic, for all its no doubt imperfections and for
11 all the difficulties of the anarchic situation, as you've described it,
12 Republika Srpska was, in essence, constitutionally, it was a parliamentary
13 democracy, wasn't it?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. And you wouldn't suggest that there was anything sinister nor
16 indeed politically unusual about a government being constituted in such a
17 way that it would very largely reflect the political attitudes of the
18 party which overwhelmingly controlled the parliament?
19 A. I didn't understand your question.
20 Q. Well, you've got a -- we're agreed you've got a parliament in this
21 or an assembly in this parliamentary democracy, haven't you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that parliament, I'll call it, is overwhelmingly controlled as
24 a matter of voting by one particular party, the SDS.
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. And in fact, constitutionally, when it -- if it came to the
2 crunch, members of the government might be appointed or removed
3 individually by the Prime Minister but the whole government was subject,
4 ultimately, to the Assembly which could remove the government; correct?
5 A. That's correct, yes.
6 Q. So in those circumstances, a government which closely reflected in
7 political attitudes the political attitudes of the Assembly and therefore
8 the political attitudes of the party that controlled the Assembly would be
9 the normal, natural political expectation, wouldn't it?
10 A. The government did not strictly reflect party affiliation.
11 Q. No, let me stop you there, please, Mr. Trbojevic, and I'm not
12 stopping you from answering my question, the exact opposite, I wish you to
13 answer my question.
14 My question referred to a government which not strictly but
15 closely reflected in political attitudes the attitudes of the Assembly and
16 the controlling party. That would be a natural political result in the
17 circumstances, wouldn't it?
18 A. That's correct, yes.
19 Q. And I think you indicated, but please tell the Trial Chamber if
20 this is wrong, I think you indicated, Mr. Trbojevic, that in fact there
21 weren't any significant policy differences or differences of political
22 attitude between the government and the Assembly and the SDS?
23 A. No, there weren't any significant differences except for the fact
24 that the government was the most poorly informed segment.
25 Q. Who was the -- you've referred to "segments," so the segments
1 you're talking about, if we list them, do you mean the Assembly, the
2 Presidency, those are two of the segments or different organs, are they,
3 that you have in mind?
4 A. Yes, yes, we understand one another.
5 Q. So the Assembly, the Presidency, the government, do you count the
6 SDS as a party, as a separate segment or is it covered by those three?
7 A. It's a matter of assessment depending on how one likes to express
8 oneself. What was defined in the Assembly and the Presidency was also
9 defined in the party and most probably vice versa.
10 Q. We'll probably get into some arid theoretical discussion if we
11 pursue that point further, Mr. Trbojevic, but you've referred to the
12 government as being "the most poorly informed of those segments," that's a
13 convenient word you use. Which of those segments was the best informed?
14 A. I think the Presidency was the best informed.
15 Q. And on what facts do you base that assessment?
16 A. On the fact that the members of the Presidency had contacts with
17 international representatives. They participated in talks with
18 international representatives. They went to Belgrade and it was always
19 they who informed everybody else.
20 Q. So there, you are talking about information, and you're saying
21 they have -- the Presidency has better information coming from
22 international representatives, and then you say Belgrade, they went to
23 Belgrade. So you're using Belgrade, are you, as a shorthand for what or
25 A. I know there were contacts with President Milosevic. Yesterday,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 we saw a document showing that the Minister of the Police was in Belgrade
2 attending a meeting. I know that there were contacts in the -- along the
3 military line, and that would be it, more or less.
4 Q. When you talk about contacts along the military line, contacts
5 between whom and whom?
6 A. Yesterday, I was describing the situation when materials were
7 being prepared for the passing of a law on the army, how the members of
8 the General Staff, how they had their contacts and what contacts they had,
9 I don't know, but I assume that the Minister of Defence had to be kept
10 abreast of all that, and through him, the Presidency.
11 Q. So first of all you assume that the Minister of Defence had to be
12 kept abreast. Kept abreast by the General Staff or by whom?
13 A. No, it's something that I'm not assuming; I know, to a large
14 extent. I know that he maintained contacts with the members of the
15 general staff, that they came to see him, that they also came to the
16 Presidency, both General Mladic and General Tolimir, and General Gvero as
17 well. I know that Colonel Subotic went to see General Mladic in Han
19 Q. So your complaint, as it seems to be a complaint, Mr. Trbojevic,
20 your complaint is not that -- not that Mr. Subotic kept himself and was
21 kept abreast of such matters, that's -- you -- that's what you would have
22 expected and supported, isn't it?
23 A. I wasn't bothered by that. I didn't see that it was a problem.
24 Q. Well --
25 A. But it was not normal for the government not to know anything
1 about it.
2 Q. Now, I'm taking this in stages, Mr. Trbojevic, so that you can
3 clearly explain to us your position. You not only couldn't have any
4 complaint about Mr. Subotic keeping himself abreast and being kept abreast
5 of such matters, but he was the Minister of Defence. As the Deputy Prime
6 Minister, you would have been entitled to complain if he hadn't kept
7 himself abreast, wouldn't you?
8 A. Well, both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister had no
9 competencies in the area of national defence; however, it -- there was a
10 state of war. Everything was on fire, so to say, all around us, and we
11 didn't know which of the ministers was working on which side. Simply it
12 seemed essential that if we were going to set up a government, we had to
13 know how people ticked and what they were going to do.
14 I allow that there were certain topics which were not such that
15 they should have been broadcast to everyone but we felt that this was a
16 problem. It's a fact that Branko Djeric, the Prime Minister, did not go
17 to Belgrade, either did the president of Serbia or the president of
18 Yugoslavia and did not attend a single meeting with either of them or have
19 any kind of talks with them or cooperate where them in any way.
20 Q. So your concern or complaint was this, was it, that having been
21 kept abreast and keeping himself informed as Minister of Defence,
22 Mr. Subotic then conveyed disproportionate amount of information to
23 Dr. Karadzic as opposed to you and his government colleagues?
24 A. I think I have said that more than once.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the witness has, I think, said this some four or
1 five times, including yesterday, Mr. Stewart.
2 I'd like to -- because on the basis of his testimony of yesterday
3 and -- Mr. Stewart asked you and you correctly answered, you had said
4 already a couple of times that your problem was that the information was
5 not shared with you as cabinet ministers and then Mr. Stewart said that
6 you -- that your complaint was that Mr. Subotic then conveyed
7 disproportionate amount of information to Dr. Karadzic as opposed to you
8 and his government colleagues.
9 Was it about Mr. Karadzic or was it that Mr. Subotic shared this
10 information with others than Karadzic as well? Was it exclusively
11 Mr. Karadzic?
12 THE WITNESS:
13 A. From conversations with Colonel Subotic, I know this. Mostly, he
14 went to see the chief, that was the expression he used, to refer to
15 Dr. Karadzic. Most often, what he would say in such situations was that
16 he had reported to the chief.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Your earlier testimony today was, and I'm reading
18 it, "I know that he maintained contacts with the members of the General
19 Staff, that he came to see him, that they also came to the Presidency,
20 both General Mladic and General Tolimir, and General Gvero as well. I
21 know that Colonel Subotic went to see General Mladic in Han Pijesak." He
22 said he went to the chief. In earlier parts of your testimony, you have
23 talked about sharing information with the Presidency, with others as well.
24 Was it -- did you gain the impression from what he said that he
25 was exclusively sharing the information from Mr. Karadzic or was it a
1 wider circle or were there more persons he would share it with?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to what he said, he often
3 said, not every time, but very often, he said he had briefed the chief or
4 the boss, meaning Karadzic. To what extent the other members of the
5 Presidency were informed, I don't know.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. In your earlier answers, you refer to the
7 Presidency in this respect as well. Were those answers not correct or ...
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you see, in everyday speech,
9 when someone said, "I'm going to the Presidency," this implied the four of
10 them. Djeric was in another building and it was Dr. Karadzic,
11 Mr. Krajisnik, Mrs. Plavsic, and Mr. Koljevic who were together in that
12 building. So when somebody said, "I've been to the Presidency, I've
13 conveyed a message," or whatever, this meant the Presidency. Whether it
14 was a meeting held at the Presidency or whether it took some other form,
15 no one ever had reason to ask as distinct from some cases when Subotic
16 would say, "I've given this to the chief or the boss," whenever he said
17 that, we knew he was referring to Karadzic.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
19 I see Judge Hanoteau ...
20 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Earlier on, Mr. Stewart talked
21 about the way the Assembly worked. If I understand what you said
22 correctly, not all members of the Assembly were also members of the SDS;
23 is that right? They were not all members of the SDS?
24 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
25 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] With regard to the democratic
1 operation of the Assembly, I have a question. I'd like to know whether
2 anyone was able to take the floor, give his or her opinion, or make
3 suggestions. Was that possible? Was it possible for anyone to share --
4 to present a view that was not in line with the view of the majority?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, they could do that.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] In your first statement, you
7 said, and maybe you could look at this statement, page 21, do you have the
8 text in front of you, the statement from March.
9 JUDGE ORIE: That's 583A.
10 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Page 21, do you have the page in
11 front of you, page 21 in English. And you stated, talking about 1992, [In
12 English] "Yes. I must tell you that this disagreements or disputes that
13 started to be noticed at the time led to reaction of SDS. SDS asked that
14 the Main Board, the SDS Main Board was also present at the Assembly
15 sessions, which meant, to a certain number of delegates a sort of
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't found it yet but I do
18 remember that I said that.
19 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] This seems to imply -- well, I
20 don't know, what is your interpretation because maybe I misunderstood that
21 passage? But the impression I got was that you meant that freedom of
22 speech was not maybe as -- what it should have been.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you see, it was certainly a
24 form of pressure. I can't say it was something very real, but when you
25 have 70 SDS deputies and as many members of the main SDS board and then
1 two or three people get up and say they don't share their opinion, and
2 everybody starts yelling at them, provoking them, and so on and so forth,
3 even threatening them, although none of this was very realistic, but it
4 was certainly not a very pleasant experience.
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So you maintain that it was
6 possible for anyone to speak freely? Because that's what was your first
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. We did speak.
9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] At page 21, you stated the
10 following when you talked about an event I'm not going to recall in
11 detail, page 22, you state, that during meetings of the SDS main board,
12 [In English] So there was no chance to even start a discussion in the
13 Assembly in the Assembly about other proposals that what Karadzic and
14 Krajisnik were persistent in pursuing.
15 [Interpretation] Forgive me because I might have misinterpreted
16 what you said but the impression I got was that when it was not at the
17 Assembly, you were discouraged to bring up at the Assembly subjects of
18 discussions that were different from what had been decided at the
19 beginning and that it went very far because if you did that, then you were
20 treated as traitors to the party or to the ideology.
21 What did you really mean here when you said that, Witness?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is something I talked about a
23 moment ago. There were cases where you would be publicly called a
24 traitor, a person who cannot -- no longer be trusted and this dissuaded
25 the people from joining the discussion if they were opposed to the
1 mainstream issue.
2 I saw Toholj's name here. Toholj picked out me and several
3 colleagues of us and called us traitors, Mr. Krajisnik, who was the
4 chairman, spoke against such qualifications; however, we felt
5 uncomfortable all the same because it's not really pleasant for someone to
6 be called a traitor, a person who cannot be trusted by a multitude of
7 people in a room and especially during a state of war.
8 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] You said -- you then say the
9 following: [In English] "Krajisnik who was presiding the meeting takes me
10 personally under his protection as a person who was good, valuable,
11 important, without any personal interests in this business, but very soon,
12 it turned out that I was expelled from the Assembly."
13 [Interpretation] Could you please explain to me what all this
14 means? What did you mean by "expelled from the Assembly"?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember saying or seeing
16 this bit here, that Krajisnik took me under his protection. One of the
17 organs of the SDS, whether the Executive Board or some other party body
18 passed a conclusion whereby I, as a deputy, was to be given a vote of
19 censure and deprived of my term of office. I showed up at one of the
20 sessions where Velibor Ostojic read this conclusion out and, of course, I
21 stood up and left.
22 The underlying explanation was that my speeches, my remarks were
23 disrupting the operation of the Assembly or something along that line.
24 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Following to what you've just
25 said in answer to my questions, can you tell me if you believe that the
1 Assembly was working democratically, according to democratic principles?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Within the framework of the Serbian
3 Democratic Party, or rather as far as the party allowed it to be
4 democratic, it was democratic.
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I have one additional question in relation to this.
7 Was there any legal basis for expelling you from the Assembly?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am deeply convinced that there was
9 none. This subject matter was regulated by law but due to the state of
10 war and these circumstances, the practice went beyond the provisions of
11 the law when it came to the extension of the term of office, and a new
12 piece of legislation at the time had not yet been adopted so that under
13 these circumstances, this was a fully unlawful decision. However, one was
14 unable to challenge it at that point in time.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Did anyone oppose your expulsion from the Assembly?
16 Was there any Assembly member or any government member or any Presidency
17 member, was there any political authority or -- that opposed against your
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were four of us who were
20 expelled on that occasion in the same way and nobody opposed it.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Were all of you non-SDS members, all of the four, I
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not, but I cannot be certain
24 about the others. I don't know.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
1 MR. STEWART:
2 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, could you please make it specifically clear to the
3 Trial Chamber when it was that you were expelled from the Assembly?
4 A. Much later, not in 1992. It happened, if I'm not mistaken, in the
5 summer of 1994.
6 Q. And what -- without encouraging you to go into enormous length,
7 Mr. Trbojevic, if you were tempted, what, in summary, was the issue which
8 led to your expulsion?
9 A. The decision on the expulsion or rather on the withdrawal of my
10 term of office did not contain any specific reasons. I also must add that
11 I never received -- I never saw a decision -- the decision in writing, but
12 I saw one of the decisions relating to another colleague of mine.
13 There was nothing specific, merely that with our remarks, we
14 disrupted the unity of the Assembly, or something to that effect.
15 Q. Well, Mr. Trbojevic, I'm going to have to press you a little.
16 Four members of an Assembly of parliament are expelled by their
17 colleagues, and you were one of them. I must, please, urge you to tell
18 the Trial Chamber something of what you must know as to the reasons for
19 the four of you being expelled.
20 A. I cannot tell you because they were not put on paper. I was
21 unable to read them.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have any reason which you had in mind which
23 might not have been put on paper? Did anyone ever tell you or did you
24 have any suspicion of what was the issue that may finally have led to your
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot tell you this, really. At
2 this 22nd session, we, meaning the government, were dissolved because it
3 was maintained that the government had to have strictly party people.
4 Later on, there were discussions at the Assembly sessions where I put
5 forth some positions that were not generally accepted by the Assembly.
6 Now, the drop which might have spilled over the cup of patience of
7 the SDS, I cannot tell you which one it was.
8 JUDGE ORIE: If you have two or three drops in mind, just briefly
9 mention them so that we could -- it might help Mr. Stewart to find the
10 proper answer. Mr. Stewart just wants to know whether you have any idea
11 what was the disagreement, what was the incident, what was the issue on
12 which certain people thought that it would be better to expel you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was several such situations,
14 one of them was when a number of laws were being drafted covering
15 significant walks of life in -- especially where they wanted to put forth
16 the same provisions that would apply both to the imminent threat of war
17 and the state of war. I disagreed with such a decision and I expressed by
18 disagreement and was then asked to leave the session.
19 In my opinion, to allow different organs of the state to function
20 in a state which was not declared as a state of war, to function as if
21 they were in a state of war, I thought that this was not going to lead to
22 a very good organisation of life in the society and this was a thorn in
23 the side of the SDS.
24 There were debates surrounding the adoption of the Vance-Owen
25 Plan. I believe I was the only deputy to express the view that if the
1 condition was that the International Community was not going to put in
2 place any sanctions against us and if the condition was that Serbia did
3 not have to apply sanctions against us if the peace agreement was signed,
4 then in that case, one did not have to have any second thoughts about it.
5 The agreement had to be signed and then the negotiations were to be
6 pursued in order to settle as many issues.
7 The last drop might have been, if I remember well, at one Assembly
8 session that was held at the time more or less when I was expelled.
9 Mr. Karadzic was reporting on the state of affairs with regard to the
10 negotiations. He used, among others, the following formulation: "We have
11 been receiving signals from around the world that we should try and endure
12 for some time still and we will achieve our goals."
13 In reaction to this, I took the floor and said the
14 following: "Radovan, we cannot give support unless we have something that
15 is more substantial. You have to tell us what sort of signals you're
16 receiving and by whom. We cannot give support or endorse something or
17 somebody if we don't know what or who that is."
18 I could tell by the expression on his face that he was bothered by
19 this remark of mine. It perhaps wasn't very diplomatic and this might
20 have been the last drop, although, I repeat, it might have been. Nobody
21 said anything specific to that effect.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, we heard some potential drops. I do not
23 know whether you are going to inquire into another one, but please
25 MR. STEWART: That's most helpful, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, all these drops that accumulated in the bucket and
2 spilled over, we're talking about 1994 in relation to all this particular
3 dispute, aren't we?
4 A. No, no. The events I was relaying date back to both 1993 and
6 Q. And you were -- two things happened, did they, you, with other
7 members of the government, were removed from your government positions;
8 that happened, did it?
9 A. Branko Djeric resigned at the Assembly session in -- held in
10 November. As a result, the entire government was removed. This was in
11 November 1992. Of the deputies who were excluded from the Assembly in
12 1994, I believe it was 1994, sometime in the summer, one member of the SDS
13 was also expelled, that was Radovan Brdjanin. Several months later, it
14 was the turn of the four of us. At that time, none of us were government
15 members anymore, we were deputies.
16 Q. This is what I'm just trying to get clear, please, Mr. Trbojevic.
17 You left the government of Mr. Djeric, of course, in November 1992; that's
18 right, isn't it?
19 A. In January of 1993, because the government had to go on operating
20 until the election of a new one.
21 Q. You then remained as a deputy until your expulsion in 1994; that's
22 clear, isn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And your answer, when His Honour asked you about the legality of
25 your expulsion as a deputy, was that your view was that there wasn't a, I
1 think, legal basis was His Honour or very close to what His Honour asked
2 you, that there wasn't a legal basis. You are a lawyer, of course,
3 Mr. Trbojevic. Are you -- let's distinguish two things, please: Are you
4 saying that there was not a legal machinery for a deputy to be expelled or
5 that, in your view, that machinery was abused in your case because there
6 wasn't a proper reason for expelling you. Which of the two?
7 You understand the distinction, first, do you, Mr. Trbojevic? I'm
8 sorry, I don't wish to be patronising, just to be clear. You understand
9 the distinction I'm making, do you?
10 A. I don't see what that has got to do with this case. But anyway,
11 we were nominated and elected.
12 May I answer the question, Your Honour?
13 We were nominated and elected in accordance with the electoral law
14 that was in force in 1990, I believe. It was pursuant to this law that
15 the national Assembly was elected. Under this law, there was a procedure
16 providing for the revocation of the elected deputies. This was a rather
17 unpractical procedure which meant that the deputy could be revoked the
18 same way he had been elected, by the direct vote of the electorate which
19 was almost impossible in organisational terms.
20 Meanwhile, as I've stated, the term of office of the entire
21 Assembly of all the deputies was extended because the state of affairs at
22 the time made it impossible to hold free elections. The National Assembly
23 passed a new law on elections where the issue of party representatives was
24 regulated differently. The candidates were no longer placed on lists
25 individually with their names, nor were they actually elected
1 individually; rather, the vote was cast in relation to the entire list.
2 It was therefore provided that in proportion to the number of the
3 candidates, the number of the votes that a list got in the election that
4 some of the -- a certain number of the candidates, as they were put on the
5 list, would be given seats in the Assembly, whereas a different number of
6 seats could be elected or rather selected by the party itself. It had the
7 discretionary power to do so depending on the persons who were on the list
8 and depending on the functions that they would eventually be assigned.
9 This law, therefore, also provided for the possibility that the
10 party might exchange some of the deputies that had been given a seat by
11 that party.
12 Now, at that point when a decision was taken to take our terms of
13 office away, a certain body of the party met which did not have any
14 competencies under the party statute. There was no procedure that was
15 carried out, no decision was taken, no criteria were taken into
16 consideration by this body. Like for instance the criterion as to whether
17 I had been chosen from the list, from the top part of the list or the
18 lower part of the list because you were to be given a seat in the Assembly
19 depending on the rank that you -- on how high you were ranked on the list.
20 One could not tamper with that. So a letter was sent to the Assembly
21 informing it that this body had decided to withdraw the mandate, the term
22 of office of the following persons and there our names were mentioned. I
23 don't think I could have been more brief in explaining this.
24 MR. STEWART: Mr. Trbojevic has taken us through to the break now,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I have one small question just in verification,
2 to understand.
3 In the system, a system which you described as a democratic
4 system, it was finally the party that could replace Assembly members by
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, perhaps -- do you consider that a
8 democratic system where finally the party could do so?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It entirely depends on the concept.
10 There's no reason for it not to be democratic because the party got the
11 votes and it has the freedom to dispose of them. Because under the law,
12 one -- a certain percentage of those contained on the list would get the
13 seats automatically, whereas the other percentage was left to the
14 discretionary power of the party. Since I was rated fifth out of, I
15 believe 140, there was no way that my name could have been manipulated. I
16 was fifth, sixth, or seventh; I can't remember now.
17 JUDGE ORIE: You claimed that your place on the list entitled you
18 to a -- well, let's say, non-replaceable seat in the Assembly; is that a
19 correct understanding?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct. Besides, this law
21 could not have been applied at all to an Assembly that had been
22 constituted under the old law.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand that you consider that there
24 was a problem in transition of the laws in terms of time.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
1 JUDGE ORIE: We will adjourn until a quarter past 4.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 3.49 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, you may proceed.
5 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, shortly before the break or a little while before
7 the break, anyway, you were being asked or it was being summarised for you
8 a passage in your earlier interview, the March 2004 interview, at page 21
9 of the English, I don't have the reference to this, but it's a very short
10 passage to remind you of. You said that "the SDS" -- I must tell you, I
11 think His Honour Judge Hanoteau read this passage to you: "I must tell you
12 that disagreements or disputes that started to be noticed at that time led
13 to reaction of SDS. SDS asked that the Main Board -- the SDS Main Board
14 was also present at the Assembly sessions which meant to a certain number
15 of delegates a sort of pressure."
16 That you described as being in 1992. Could you be as specific as
17 you can about when in 1992 you say that took place?
18 A. I couldn't be more specific. It can probably be seen in the
20 Q. The -- was the position this: That you said there were about 70
21 SDS delegates in the Assembly, a number of those, of course,
22 Mr. Trbojevic, would have been members of the Main Board anyway, wouldn't
24 A. I don't think the deputies were members of the Main Board; maybe a
25 few of them were.
1 Q. You'd agree -- I'm not concerned about precise numbers here,
2 Mr. Trbojevic. Some of them were members of the Main Board, there was an
3 overlap, wasn't there? Or don't you know?
4 A. I assume that's the case, but it's a fact that when the Main Board
5 of the party attended a session, there were people sitting in the hall,
6 there were twice as many of them, that is, than when only deputies were
7 attending a session.
8 Q. And are you suggesting, Mr. Trbojevic, that -- that this was
9 intended, that the invitation or the instruction, whatever it was, to SDS
10 Main Board members to be present at the Assembly session, that this was
11 intended in some way to put pressure on delegates?
12 A. Well, the explanation that was given was so that both the deputies
13 and the Main Board of the party would be better informed and that there
14 could be a discussion among all of us which would make it easier to arrive
15 at a unified standpoint. But as I explained, it did have the character of
16 pressure, pressure was exerted on the deputies in this way.
17 Q. On SDS deputies or non-SDS deputies or both?
18 A. I think both.
19 Q. So far as the non-SDS deputies are concerned, there was a clear
20 political pressure anyway, wasn't there, in the form of the overwhelming
21 parliamentary majority of the SDS?
22 A. That's correct, yes.
23 Q. You said in your interview, and it would be in the second
24 interview, page 7 in the English, I can't give a precise reference here,
25 but it would be page 7 of the English and it would be page 6 of the -- I
1 think you've got the second interview, haven't you, Mr. Trbojevic; it
2 would be page 6 of that one. You said that the Main Board of that party,
3 and the SDS is the one you were talking about, "... was like practically
4 council of the Assembly." I'll try and get that passage for you.
5 Do you see a question by Mr. Margetts that refers to the figure 90
6 per cent? It's got 90 per cent in the middle of a four-line question; do
7 you see that? It will be on page 6 or 7, I think, that you're looking at.
8 Do you see that?
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Trbojevic, perhaps on page 7, approximately the
10 seventh or the eighth line.
11 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: You found it.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have found it.
14 What was your question, please?
15 MR. STEWART: That's my reference point, Mr. Trbojevic. If you
16 then go up ten lines up from that in the longer answer that you've just
17 given before that question, there's a sentence referring to the Main
18 Board, the English is, "But that was absolutely not true because the Main
19 Board of that party was like practically Council of the Assembly." Do you
20 see that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Could you explain what you meant there by saying it was "like
23 practically Council of the Assembly."
24 A. Well, the way we broached this stop I can was by saying that
25 political parties were supposed to cease their activities until the war
1 ended and Karadzic often said that he had made a mistake in putting the
2 activities of the SDS on hold while the activities were going on in the
3 war theatre, and that the party was less active and did not operate.
4 What I'm saying here is that this was not true because the party
5 activities were not put on hold. Nobody insisting on the party ceasing
6 its activities; on the contrary, I said that they were practically a
7 Council of the Assembly. What I was trying to say was that the members of
8 the board attended meetings of the deputies and participated on an equal
9 footing in all the debates, and the tendency was for the Main Board of the
10 party to tell the deputies what they should be doing and that the deputies
11 themselves were not expected to say much about this. That's what I was
12 trying to say.
13 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, I -- just, with respect, I feel, perhaps, that
14 you're not entirely focussing on the questions I'm putting sometimes so
15 maybe I could invite you to listen very specifically to what I'm saying
16 and answer the question as put.
17 The -- I was asking you to explain what you meant by saying
18 that "the Main Board was practically the Council of the Assembly."
19 You've given some interesting, if you like, background and perhaps
20 context but specifically on that point, what Council of the Assembly,
21 what -- if it was like the Council of the Assembly, what do you mean by
22 Council of the Assembly?
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, I will read part of the answer. After
24 some introduction, he said, "I said that they were practically Council of
25 the Assembly. What I was trying to say was that the members of the board
1 attended meetings of the deputies and participated on an equal footing in
2 all the debates and the tendency was for the Main Board of the party to
3 tell the deputies what they should be doing and that the deputies,
4 themselves, were not expected to say much about this."
5 I consider it not entirely fair to the witness to say that he did
6 not listen to your question and he did not respond to your question.
7 Please proceed.
8 MR. STEWART: Yes, I think perhaps, Your Honour, with respect,
9 Your Honour is right about that. So I was conversely wrong about that,
10 Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: If you want to put another question to the witness,
12 no problem.
13 MR. STEWART: I think that's entirely fair, Your Honour.
14 Q. So you're not talking about any formal or even semi-formal organ
15 here, it's just the description you've given of -- of how this involvement
16 of Main Board worked.
17 A. I was speaking of the de facto situation. I use this expression
18 as a metaphor, as an illustration. I did not intend to refer to any
19 formal body.
20 Q. I'm going to, Mr. Trbojevic, I'm not able, but I don't think it's
21 necessary to put this particular document in front of you, I'm going to
22 read you a description of the Main Board's position and functions which
23 comes from, and I in fairness should tell you where it comes from, it
24 comes from an expert report produced by and for the Prosecution by a
25 Mr. Patrick Treanor and just see how far you can agree with what
1 Mr. Treanor said in his report. And the first one is about eight lines.
2 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, it was in paragraph 31 for the
3 reference of Mr. Treanor's report.
4 What he said was this or what he wrote, "Indeed, the Main Board's
5 activities are not very well-documented and as suggested by the lack of
6 documentation, its meetings may not have been particularly frequent or
7 regular. Despite the importance assigned to the Main Board by the party's
8 Statutes, therefore, the central party body was overshadowed in the first
9 year of the SDS's existence on the one hand, by the ad hoc decision-making
10 procedures adopted by the party leadership in practice and on the other,
11 by its much smaller executive body."
12 Q. Now that's the end of the passage. I should, in fairness to you,
13 Mr. Trbojevic, remind you that talking about the first year of the SDS's
14 existence of course we're not talking about 1992, we're talking about 1990
15 through to 1991.
16 Do you, in fact, know anything about the Main Board and its
17 activities during that first year of the SDS which puts you in a position
18 to make any helpful comment at all on that passage from Mr. Treanor's
20 A. I don't know anything about the activities of the Main Board of
21 the SDS from the time it was constituted up to the time they began to
22 appear at sessions of the Assembly.
23 Q. And then another fairly short passage which is from paragraph 41
24 of Mr. Treanor's report, but not confined to that earlier period.
25 He said, "Although the Main Board, of which Karadzic was it's ex
1 officio chairman and Krajisnik was a particularly influential member was
2 envisioned in the 1991 draft Statutes as the highest party body between
3 sessions of the Assembly, the Executive Board continued to play a much
4 more active role as a body. In practice though, neither of these formal
5 party bodies regularly and consistently exercised control over the SDS
7 That's the end of the quote. Again, Mr. Trbojevic, do you have
8 enough knowledge yourself to make a comment as to the accuracy or not of
9 that passage?
10 A. No, I don't. I was not a member of the party and I don't have any
11 knowledge about the cooperation, or lack of it, of the bodies within the
13 Q. So when you referred in that answer that led to the brief exchange
14 between His Honour Judge Orie and me, you said, "What I was trying to say
15 was that the members of the board," that's the Main Board, "attended
16 meetings of the deputies and participated on an equal footing in all
17 debates. And the tendency was for the Main Board of the party to tell the
18 deputies what they should be doing."
19 The first question arising out of that, Mr. Trbojevic, is when you
20 say, "... the members of the Main Board participated on an equal footing
21 in all debates," you're saying that's strictly accurate that once
22 non-deputy members of the Main Board were there at the Assembly, they, in
23 practice, were every bit as free and in practice used that freedom every
24 bit as much as deputies to speak in the Assembly, are you? Or don't you
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Just for my clarification, Mr. Stewart. May I just
3 ask you the following. When Mr. Stewart read to you," ... attended
4 meetings of the deputies," that's what he read to you and then in his
5 question he said, "... non-deputy members of the Main Board were there at
6 the Assembly. They, in practice, were every bit as free."
7 By "meeting of the deputies," did you mean to refer to formal
8 Assembly meetings or would meeting of deputies be a wider concept, that
9 means meeting of deputies out, apart from any formal Assembly meetings?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As a rule -- when I first mentioned
11 this, I said that the member of the party Main Board attended members of
12 the deputies' club which preceded the Assembly session. At the meeting of
13 the deputies' club, they had a preliminary debate about what would be put
14 on the agenda and what each item of the agenda would contain. It was the
15 members of the Main Board who were not deputies as well as those deputies
16 who belonged to the deputies' club who participated in the debate on an
17 equal footing.
18 I think that as for the formal official sessions of the Assembly,
19 the members of the Main Board attended those only once or twice. It was
20 not the practice for them to sit with us at the session itself, at least
21 not all the time. Perhaps they did occasionally.
22 JUDGE ORIE: And if they were present in Assembly meetings, would
23 they there also participate in the debate on an equal footing?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, their attitude was the same.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
1 MR. STEWART: Perhaps, Your Honour, for Mr. Trbojevic's benefit,
2 yes, my question had been framed.
3 Q. If I reference specifically to debates because -- Mr. Trbojevic,
4 it's quite plain, isn't it, the only debates at which you personally were
5 present and could make any observation were the Assembly sessions, weren't
6 they, as opposed to the other sort of meeting.
7 A. I also attended meetings of the deputies' club as well as sessions
8 of the Assembly when I was there. I didn't attend them all.
9 Q. So this was SDS deputies' club to which you were invited; is that
10 what you're saying?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And were the relatively small number, I think, but were the other
13 non-SDS delegates in the Assembly also invited to SDS deputies' club
15 A. Well, for a time, yes, they were because while the term that was
16 predominantly used was "Serb deputy," this was unofficial, but that was
17 what they were labelled, afterwards, they asked to set up a separate club
18 of independent deputies.
19 Q. Sorry, who asked to set up a separate club of independent
21 A. There were several deputies, as far as I can remember 7 of them,
22 and these were -- I've forgotten the names of the parties. The
23 Independent Social Democrats, I think was the name -- you can't help me
24 here. I can't remember all the names but it was the former Communists and
25 the social democrats. There were several of them.
1 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, perhaps that's not so critically important, anyway.
2 Thank you.
3 It's -- when you -- I think you said they were asked to form a
4 separate deputies' club or something like that, the -- it was that that
5 small group itself took the initiative, was it, to form itself into a
6 deputies' club of independent members?
7 A. As far as I can recall, they did form their club in agreement with
8 the president of the Assembly and the secretary.
9 JUDGE ORIE: I think that there is some confusion, Mr. Trbojevic.
10 Mr. Stewart tries to find out who took the initiative that the --
11 well, let's say the independent members, the non-SDS members would no
12 longer participate in the meetings of the deputies' club, the Serb
13 deputies' club but would form their own deputies' club. Who initiated
14 this by requesting or by taking an initiative?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The initiative came from the
16 independent deputies.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you said -- yes. So when you said "They
18 asked," is that they sought permission to create their own deputies' club?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, yes.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
21 MR. STEWART:
22 Q. And when His Honour put that phrase to you, with respect, I have
23 no objection or problem with that, but when His Honour talked about
24 permission, was the position this, that in the first place, nobody's
25 permission was needed for a group of independent deputies to meet among
1 themselves whenever they wanted. That's a starting point, isn't it?
2 A. Well, you see, there are rules of procedure in the Assembly. I
3 can't ...
4 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, perhaps I could be allowed, if you have an
5 opportunity, perhaps I could be allowed to perhaps try and steer this with
6 a series of questions and see whether we get there.
7 First of all, this group -- nobody could stop them from, for
8 example, just meeting in one of their own houses or hiring a room and they
9 could meet, couldn't they? Nobody could or would stop them from doing
10 that, would they? That's got to be a yes or no, Mr. Trbojevic, I would
11 respectfully suggest.
12 A. No, nobody would prevent them from doing that.
13 Q. If they wanted to call themselves the Deputies' Club of
14 Independent Members, no one could or would stop them from doing that
15 either; correct?
16 A. I've tried to explain to you that there is the Assembly's rules of
17 procedures which says how many deputies there have to be in order to --
18 for a club to be set up.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, if you would let the witness answer the
21 So you said in the rules of procedure, it says how many deputies
22 you would need to set up a club. Yes.
23 Any further questions on this, Mr. Stewart.
24 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour.
25 Q. What I was coming to then was, having established those two simple
1 facts, Mr. Trbojevic, but in order for that group to be recognised then by
2 the Assembly and recognised in dealings with Mr. Krajisnik, for example,
3 as president of the Assembly, then it did need, in some formal sense, to
4 be a deputies' club within the Assembly. That's what you're saying,
5 aren't you?
6 A. That's correct.
7 JUDGE ORIE: May I put first a question. Was the number required
8 under the rules, was it there or was it not?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't tell you now off the cuff
10 what the number was, but the number was definitely provided for. At the
11 beginning, there was the provision whereby all of us were to fall under
12 one club as deputies of the Serbian people because it was under that
13 heading, so to speak, that we had walked out of the Bosnian Assembly.
14 Later on, this group that called itself independent deputies
15 expressed its desire to set up its own club, to have its own materials,
16 and to have its deputies' club president raising matters at the Assembly
17 session, to have its own premises where the club would meet, and all of
18 this was carried out without the opposition from the SDS.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you said there were seven non-SDS members.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Was this a sufficient number to set up your own
22 deputies' club according to the rules?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't claim either way. I can't
24 say this now.
25 JUDGE ORIE: So we do not know whether, under the rules, it was as
1 a right that they could create their deputies' club or whether an
2 exception to the rules should be made for that purpose?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't say.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
6 MR. STEWART:
7 Q. But in any case, whichever it was, it appears clear from what
8 you're saying, Mr. Trbojevic, that there was no lack of cooperation from
9 Mr. Krajisnik or anybody else for that matter in recognition of and
10 dealings with that deputies' club.
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Just turning back to the Main Board, you described the Main Board
13 as giving instructions to the deputies; correct?
14 A. I didn't say that the Main Board issued instructions, I said that
15 the Main Board members attended the parliamentary debate with the
16 deputies, presented their views, and, in this way, influenced the
17 positions to be later on discussed or adopted by the deputies at an
18 Assembly session.
19 Q. But these SDS meetings, you -- you -- did you get yourself invited
20 to SDS deputies' club meetings from immediately after you arrived in Pale
21 in May 1992?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And was there -- of course there was eventually your expulsion
24 from parliament, but throughout 1992, were you invited to SDS deputies'
25 club meetings?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You see your answer, I was just looking for it a moment ago, your
3 answer given, and it's at page 34 on everybody's screen at line 10,
4 16:27:01, the time, you said, "The tendency was for the Main Board of the
5 party to tell the deputies what they should be doing and that the deputies
6 themselves were not expected to say much about this." So it was clear you
7 were saying there, it wasn't the Main Board. A moment ago, you seemed to
8 be saying something slightly different.
9 Perhaps we can make it clear. Are you saying from your own
10 observation that the Main Board of the SDS as an organ had the tendency to
11 tell the deputies what they should be doing?
12 A. I do not know whether the Main Board, as a body, had earlier on
13 adopted some conclusions that were to be later on through parliamentary
14 debates imposed upon the deputies. I don't know of any such case. I
15 don't think there was ever a situation where a person would stand up and
16 say the Main Board has decided and then read out something along the lines
17 of an order. I don't think there was ever such a case. But that a group
18 of people, some 50, 60 people would enter the conference room and advocate
19 certain views, well, I, myself, perceived that as pressure because, if
20 there's a large number of people confronting me, then that leads me to
21 that feeling that I have already talked about here.
22 Q. Help me be clear, Mr. Trbojevic, then, throughout the second half
23 of May 1992, June, July, August, September 1992, were you and the other
24 independent delegates all invited to meetings of the SDS deputies' club?
25 A. All of us were invited.
1 Q. Was there any point at which only one or some of you came to be
3 A. I am not aware of any such situation.
4 Q. Was there any point before your eventual expulsion from the
5 Assembly in 1994 at which you were no longer invited to SDS deputies' club
7 A. Of course.
8 Q. What was at that point then?
9 A. Following my expulsion.
10 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, that's clear. I'm sorry if I didn't make that
11 plain enough in my question.
12 So up to your expulsion, there wasn't any point at which you were
13 no longer invited; that's correct?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Sorry, no --
16 A. You're right.
17 Q. That's always an ambiguous way of putting a question,
18 Mr. Trbojevic. What I want to ask you now is about sessions of the
19 government, many of which you attended. And I wonder whether the witness
20 is going to need and so will everybody else, Your Honour, the witness is
21 going to need bundle 1 of the material produced by the Prosecution for the
22 purposes of his evidence?
23 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps we could give him the bundle and could you
24 identify which tab we start at.
25 MR. STEWART: Yes, indeed, Your Honour. I'm going to start with
1 tab 8.
2 Q. Now, Mr. Trbojevic, do you see that tab 8 is minutes of a meeting
3 of the government of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina held on
4 18th May 1992?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, my first question, and refresh yourself sufficiently by the
7 contents if you need to, is: Was that too soon for you to have attended
8 such a meeting?
9 A. I'm not here. I wasn't there.
10 Q. If we turn to tab 9, and I should say, do you -- if you can't say,
11 then tell Their Honours, but certainly from the -- the various minutes
12 over the period, the position appears to be that for a while until
13 sometime in June, there wasn't a record kept in the minutes of who was
14 attending but that at some point in June, that started to be done. We're
15 going to see that on the documents. Do you remember that, Mr. Trbojevic?
16 A. I don't. How would I remember that? I wasn't at the meeting on
17 he 18th because I wasn't in Pale. On the 23rd, I might have been but I
18 don't know.
19 Q. Let's just look at tab 9, the 23rd, to see whether the contents of
20 those minutes enable you to have any recollection of whether you were
21 there, taking it as quickly as you can. You see item one, the government
22 was informed about negotiations relating to lifting of blockades of
23 barracks in Sarajevo, decided heavy weaponry shouldn't be handed over to
24 the enemy.
25 Item 2 was to do with mobilisation.
1 Item 3 to do with possibilities and opportunities for declaring
2 state of war in the municipalities.
3 Item 4 to do with abolition of Crisis Staffs.
4 I won't go any further, Mr. Trbojevic, does that enable you, say
5 if it doesn't, does it jog your mind as whether you were or were likely to
6 have been at this meeting?
7 A. Looking at the date, it might be possible but judging from the
8 agenda, I would not really tell because the barracks were a matter of
9 discussion for as long as they were topical, for -- until the matter was
10 resolved, and when that was, I cannot really say.
11 Q. All right. Well, the next tab -- we'll leave that one, then,
12 Mr. Trbojevic.
13 The next tab, 10, is a minute of a meeting the following day, 24th
14 of May. But a difference here is that you are specifically mentioned. If
15 we just go to the end of that. Do you have that tab 10, Mr. Trbojevic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You've got it? If we just go quickly to the end, the very last
18 item, FM 5 under main item 3, the vice-president of the government Milan
19 Trbojevic has been instructed to, in cooperation with the ministries in
20 charge, make a list of regulations, the passing of which is priority."
21 So would you agree, Mr. Trbojevic, it's very likely indeed that
22 you were at this meeting?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And if we look at main item 2, it's the first page in the English
25 anyway, "It has been concluded that for the needs of the government, the
1 Ministry of Interior should prepare a complete and scrupulous information
2 regarding the security situation and the state of public order and peace
3 in Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Special attention should be
4 paid ..." et cetera, and that was done, wasn't it?
5 A. It is -- the following conclusion is stated here, that an
6 exhaustive report needs to be submitted on the state of public order and
7 peace. This was a matter of discussion throughout the term of office of
8 this government. I can't really tell you how many reports there were on
9 this subject but that the general situation was a very poor one. I
10 believe that this is a matter of common knowledge.
11 Q. Are you saying -- I just want to put it to you fairly,
12 Mr. Trbojevic, are you saying at the moment you can't remember whether
13 such a complete and scrupulous report, I think is a fair translation, in
14 fact, was produced?
15 A. I believe there were several such reports. If you look at the
16 different issues that were discussed here as problems, the issue of crime,
17 protection of public property, war profiteering, harassment of citizens
18 and other issues relevant to the political situation and the state of the
19 Serbian people, then it becomes quite clear to you that this is a wide
20 range of topics that had to be dealt with.
21 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask you one clarification in this respect.
22 You're saying that it included state property, but it also says "Personal
23 property of Serb people," and one line further, it says, "Instances of
24 mistreatment of the citizens of Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,"
25 and finally it says, "The evaluation of political situation and mood of
1 Serbian people."
2 Property of Serb people, would that include non-Serbs?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Based on this, one cannot conclude
4 either way, but public security cannot be discussed while at the same time
5 distinguishing between the property of one ethnicity and that of the other
6 or the security of some citizens as opposed to all.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Well, you can do that, isn't it? Whether it gives a
8 complete picture is a different matter, but you could do that.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what I'm saying. One cannot
10 talk about the personal security or safety of citizens by talking of one
11 ethnicity only. One cannot talk of the safe property of members of one
12 ethnicity without taking into account the others. That's what I was
13 saying that there were numerous problems here that had to be dealt with
14 and solutions had to be found.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Would that mean that the report you were seeking,
16 including the issue of mistreatment of the citizens of Serb Republic of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina would cover both mistreatment of Serbian and
18 non-Serbian citizens?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course the report should cover
21 JUDGE ORIE: And the mood of the Serbian people, would that
22 include the mood of the non-Serbian people?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what is meant by this,
24 believe me.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
1 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Under main item three, we see as paragraph 1, "It has been agreed
3 that Serb People Assembly Chairman Momcilo Krajisnik should set up a
4 meeting with the leadership of Republic of Serbian Krajina in Banja Luka,
5 Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina. The meeting should be organised as
6 soon as possible."
7 Are you able to tell Their Honours any more about that meeting
8 than we see set out here in the minute?
9 A. If I remember well, I know that there were two meetings with the
10 leadership of the Republika Srpska Krajina, one in Banja Luka and the
11 other, I believe, in Novi Grad.
12 Now, who had arranged these meetings and how, I don't know.
13 Q. Can you say what they were for? Well, let's stick with this Banja
14 Luka meeting. Can you say what that meeting was for?
15 A. You see, the Republic of the Serbian Krajina was an institution of
16 Serbs who were fighting for their rights in the Republic of Croatia. In
17 Republika Srpska, what was strongly advocated was that we, in Republika
18 Srpska, ought to declare a sort of a unification with the Republic of the
19 Serbian Krajina, and this was mostly advocated by those in the Republic of
20 the Serbian Krajina and by the Serbs in the Banja Luka area.
21 As far as I know, Karadzic was opposed to such a view. And I
22 believed that he even said that this was the instruction from Belgrade,
23 that this sort of unification ought not to be advocated or declared.
24 Q. So the government meeting on this occasion was aware of the issue
25 in relation to the SAO Krajina; correct?
1 A. It is evident that a meeting was being planned.
2 Q. Yes, but they were -- the government were aware of the issue, were
4 A. One can glean that from the minutes.
5 Q. Is it your recollection or are you just gleaning it now from the
7 A. I do remember, I've just said, that the pressure of the deputies
8 from the Bosnian Krajina was very prominent in that they were asking that
9 Republika Srpska and the Republic of the Serbian Krajina unite. I know
10 that the deputies of the Autonomous Region of Krajina were making some
11 arrangements along these lines with the Republic of the Serbian Krajina
12 and were proposing that they should declare their unification. I know
13 also that Krajisnik --
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter is not certain whether the
15 witness said Karadzic --
16 A. -- was opposing that.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Did you say that you also knew that Karadzic or that
18 Krajisnik was opposing that, the interpreters could not hear you well.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that Karadzic was opposed.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
21 MR. STEWART:
22 Q. Can you tell Their Honours the reason for the government agreeing
23 that -- well, let me ask you this, first, when the minute says, "It has
24 been agreed that Serb people Assembly Chairman Momcilo Krajisnik should
25 set up a meeting," that's recording a decision of this government meeting,
1 is it, as opposed to reporting some previous agreement with somebody
2 outside the government?
3 A. I can't say with any certainty; however, the government was unable
4 to take a decision to the effect that Krajisnik was going to meet, to set
5 up a meeting with someone. It might -- it could only have stated that
6 Krajisnik was doing something along those lines. This is probably just a
7 statement in the form of an information -- in the form of a piece of
8 information informing all present that this had been arranged, agreed.
9 Q. Could you just perhaps read the very first few words of that item
10 3, paragraph 1, just read them out loud, please, for us.
11 A. It is stated, "It has been agreed that the president of the
12 Assembly of the Serbian people, Momcilo Krajisnik, was to organise the
14 Q. Can you say then why, specifically, it was Mr. Krajisnik who
15 apparently was to be invited to set up that meeting?
16 A. I said that this was not a government order to Krajisnik to
17 organise the meeting.
18 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, that's understood, you made that clear, it wasn't
19 an order.
20 A. It says here that there is an agreement. It doesn't say who
21 agreed with whom but evidently, the government had information that it had
22 been agreed that the president of the Assembly, Krajisnik, with the
23 leadership of the Republic of Srpska Krajina would organise this meeting.
24 The significance of this is that the minister was asked to prepare a
25 certain platform for those talks.
1 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, it was a slightly different question. Whoever
2 agreed, and I realise Mr. Trbojevic, we've gone as far as we can on that
3 with your helpful answers, whoever had agreed that there should be such a
4 meeting, my question is: Do you know why, specifically, it was
5 Mr. Krajisnik who was to be invited or had been invited, whichever, to set
6 up the meeting?
7 A. I can't answer that question, whether Karadzic was absent or was
8 planning to go somewhere else, or whether Krajisnik had better relations
9 with some leaders in the Serbian Krajina, I really wouldn't know.
10 Q. But you were indicating, and is this right, that item -- or
11 paragraph 2, under -- it's all under this main item 3, but paragraph,
12 2, "It has been concluded that a dialogue platform should be prepared,"
13 that that's for the purpose of that meeting.
14 A. I think the purpose was to be -- to inform the session of the
15 government about that agreement. That the ministers should prepare the
16 materials to be discussed at the meeting.
17 Q. Well, a dialogue platform -- that's not a very familiar English
18 phrase, I've got to say. Can I try and get the sense from you, then, this
19 is -- it was a position paper or a policy paper that was to be prepared;
20 is that the sense of that item? Perhaps I could invite you to read it
21 first, Mr. Trbojevic. We might get something different from interpreters
22 from dialogue and platform, could you just read that paragraph please,
23 paragraph 2?
24 A. "It was concluded that a platform for talks should be prepared and
25 that the ministers should prepare contributions from their spheres of
2 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, it looks -- I keep getting this English word
3 "platform" which, with the utmost of respect with the interpreters is not
4 a word we use in this context -- but it looks as if what is happening is
5 that the individual ministers are to prepare their contributions which are
6 then to be put together in a single position paper of some sort; is that
7 what you understand from that item?
8 A. I don't think there was a single document. I remember that in
9 Banja Luka, a declaration was formulated about our common aspirations,
10 mutual support, things to that effect. That text has probably been
11 published, but a joint document on what is termed "the platform" I don't
12 think existed because I don't think that such a thing could be
14 I said just a while ago that the deputies from the Krajina
15 insisted that negotiations should be aimed at unifying the Republic of
16 Srpska Krajina and the Republika Srpska, and as I said, Karadzic opposed
17 this. As for the ministers, there were countless topics concerning
18 practical cooperation that had to be discussed ranging from military units
19 from one territory being on the other territory, police interventions.
20 Then there was such things as school text books, the provision of electric
21 power, procurement of food, and so on and so forth. And this is what the
22 ministers were expected to make contributions on.
23 Q. Did the government of which you were by this time a member have a
24 view on the -- I'll call it the "Krajina question," the point on which
25 Dr. Karadzic was opposed to this request for unification, that particular
1 point? Did the government of which you were a member have a view?
2 A. As far as I know, there was no standpoint that was defined --
3 Q. Was there --
4 A. -- for the simple reason that we could not take it upon ourselves
5 to define a standpoint before it was at least outlined by the Assembly. I
6 remember that a declaration was drawn up with a text that contained only
7 nice wishes, but nothing specific.
8 Q. Was anybody preventing or dissuading the government of which you
9 were a member from reaching and expressing a view on this issue at this
11 A. As far as I know, no, there wasn't.
12 Q. Now, the next tab, Mr. Trbojevic, is obviously 11, after 10. The
13 very next tab is "minutes of government meeting of 29th of May," so it's
14 just a few days, five days afterwards. Now, it doesn't follow as night
15 follows day, Mr. Trbojevic, but you are mentioned, it's page 3 of the
16 English, I'm sorry not to be able to give you the specific point in the
17 B/C/S, but under item -- main item 3, after about ten lines or so, there's
18 a paragraph beginning "Milan Trbojevic and Velibor Ostojic are responsible
19 for the visits."
20 Do you see that paragraph?
21 A. I haven't found it yet. Just a minute, please. Here it is.
22 JUDGE ORIE: While the witness reads, I'd like to clarify one
23 issue where there seems to be a problem with "platform." It seems that
24 it's the same word as used in the B/C/S. Is that a word you would expect
25 or is a normal expression, platform there? I'm asking this to the
1 interpreters so ...
2 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: And if you would describe what a platform in these
4 terms would be, could you -- apart from saying that's a platform, how
5 would you describe it or am I asking too much?
6 THE INTERPRETER: A kind of basis for discussion, perhaps, or a
7 position paper.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We have to leave it at that.
9 MR. STEWART: That's extremely helpful, Your Honour. The
10 interpreter did -- did produce there one of the phrases which I suggested,
11 so we're ad item on that --
12 JUDGE ORIE: They're experts. Let's proceed.
13 MR. STEWART: -- so that's extremely helpful. They are, and that's
14 extremely helpful, Your Honour. Well, they've certainly -- well, I've got
15 no contribution on the B/C/S, Your Honour, as Your Honour knows. The ...
16 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, you found that paragraph now, have you?
17 A. Yes, I have.
18 Q. Now, of course it's a well-known trick to give jobs to people who
19 aren't at the meeting but I wonder whether, in this case, does that
20 trigger off any recollection or does that lead you to be able to say that
21 you were or very probably were at this meeting? You're referred to again,
22 a few lines down.
23 A. I can't say whether I was there. It's possible I was as it was
24 nearby, but I can't remember. I do think, however, that
25 Mr. Velibor Ostojic and I did not go to see Vogosca or Ilijas. We didn't
1 go there, that is.
2 Q. Let's try to come at it this way, you are seen as absent from some
3 other government meetings but when you were actually in Pale, can we take
4 it that you would attend government meetings, in other words, absent from
5 government meetings would signify that you were, in fact, out of Pale, is
6 that correct? I'm putting it to you. I just want your answer on that,
7 Mr. Trbojevic.
8 A. Yes. It would be unusual for me to be at Pale and not to attend a
9 government session.
10 Q. That's helpful, Mr. Trbojevic. And since this was the 29th of
11 May, this was within just a couple of weeks of your arriving in Pale, are
12 you able to remember how long it was after your arrival in Pale in May
13 before, on any occasion, you left Pale?
14 A. I couldn't tell you. I travelled on several occasions because of
15 family obligations so I would leave Pale for a day or two.
16 Q. So anyway, we don't -- well, we don't know for sure whether you're
17 at this meeting, Mr. Trbojevic, that's the position, isn't it? Agreed?
18 A. Yes, I agree. I can't say for sure.
19 Q. When you weren't at meetings, you did routinely receive the
20 minutes of the government meetings from which you've been absent, did you?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. You indicated that you didn't go on such a visit, as is referred
23 to here, to either the Vogosca or Ilijas, is that correct, or that you
24 don't remember for sure?
25 A. I'm sure I didn't go to Ilijas. As for Vogosca, I went there on
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 several occasions but I think I didn't go there immediately after my
2 arrival. I'm almost sure I didn't go there in May or in that early
3 period. Later on, I went to Vogosca on several occasions.
4 Q. The time scale contemplated in this minute immediately above the
5 first reference to your name indicates, "It's been concluded that in two
6 days, the municipalities of Sarajevo region should be visited."
7 Do you know whether, in fact, anybody from the government did go
8 on those contemplated visits to, in fact, it's four municipalities,
9 Vogosca, Ilijas, Stari Grad, and Centar?
10 A. I don't know.
11 Q. The next paragraph after the reference to you and Mr. Ostojic and
12 those, in fact, two other gentlemen, and then the four municipalities it
13 says that "In the course of these visits, they should talk to the Crisis
14 Staffs, take note of the situation, by all means visit the front, make
15 contact with the soldiers and prepare a report about it for the
17 Do you recall that being the government's approach towards this
18 issue at meetings at this period, the end of May 1992?
19 A. We never went to the front line, we never visited the soldiers or
20 talked to them, nor was it possible at all. As for the Crisis Staffs, I
21 don't know if we even knew where all the municipalities around Sarajevo
22 were located so that in a two-day period, that visit certainly didn't take
24 Q. I'm sorry, I'm going to have to seek clarification there,
25 Mr. Trbojevic. When you said you don't know if you even knew where all
1 the municipalities around Sarajevo were located, you mean literally, that
2 the government didn't even know where they were or is there some
3 misunderstanding there?
4 A. What I'm trying to say is that the government found itself on Pale
5 in exile from the town. At that time, there were military operations
6 going on on both sides, the demarcation line between what had been
7 declared the Serbian municipality of Stari Grad and the Serbian
8 municipality Centar in relation to the city centre, for example, was
9 something that we did not know.
10 There was a group of fighters on one side of the cemetery holding
11 a line toward the centre of the city. On the other side of the cemetery,
12 there was a group of fighters holding the line toward the mountain and
13 that could be considered some kind of demarcation line, conditionally
14 speaking. There was no way to get through from Pale to Vogosca to Ilijas.
15 You couldn't travel that way. You had to go partly through the woods and
16 then down streams, through the factory in Vogosca, pass through areas
17 which were under constant sniper fire and so on and so forth.
18 So the boundaries of the municipalities and who the
19 representatives of each municipality were, that was very moot.
20 Q. The difficulties you describe about physically getting to those
21 municipalities, you knew of those difficulties -- I'm talking about you
22 personally here, Mr. Trbojevic, you knew of those difficulties at this
23 time, did you?
24 A. A little later, not in the early period. A little later when this
25 route was made -- when it was made possible, more or less, to travel that
2 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, are you saying that as at the 29th of May, 1992,
3 those difficulties of access to those municipalities existed but you
4 didn't know about them, or that they didn't exist at that time?
5 A. What I'm saying is that at that time, I did not know about all of
6 this. In the following days, I learned about all the problems I have told
7 you about and many others which there is no point in enumerating now. You
8 had to have a bulldozer pass through a meadow so that it could be followed
9 by a car. You had to walk where there was a hill or a slope so as to be
10 shielded from fire and so on and so forth, in order to arrive in Vogosca,
11 and then from Vogosca in Ilijas.
12 Q. Whatever difficulties did emerge or existed about physical access
13 to these places, do you agree it's clear that the government view was that
14 it was its responsibility to go to these places, to talk to the Crisis
15 Staffs, and to take note of the situation?
16 A. That is not in dispute. There were people living there, trying to
17 organise life behind the front lines and of course we had to know what was
18 going on.
19 Q. And there was -- in these few lines in the minute, there's a note
20 of encouragement to visit the front and make contact with the soldiers if
21 that should be feasible; is that a fair summary of what appears in this
23 A. Yes, that's what it says.
24 Q. Then the next item, paragraph 2, not the next main item, paragraph
25 2 there, it says, "The government has been informed about the problems
1 with the distribution of the humanitarian aid through Dobrotvor" - it says
2 "benefactor," then - "it has been emphasised then that this is a very
3 serious problem and that it should be urgently solved." Do you remember
4 what that particular problem was?
5 A. I remember there was a humanitarian organisation called Dobrotvor,
6 benefactor. That is to say the Vladika of the Serb Orthodox Church
7 Nikolai would come to Pale and ask me personally to register a
8 humanitarian organisation which is called Dobrotvor which means benefactor
9 but you couldn't have two organisation with the same name and that is why
10 some doubt arose as to whether those calling themselves Dobrotvor were
11 actually abusing the name. But as far as I can remember, I don't think
12 there were any real consequences.
13 Q. Then you were designated to check how the work was legally
14 regulated and then in the following paragraph below that big paragraph, it
15 says, "The problem of refugees in the neighbouring republics ..." Do you
16 see that? It's about a dozen lines on from what we've just been looking
17 at. "The problem of refugees in the neighbouring republics has been
18 pointed out." Do you see that paragraph, Mr. Trbojevic?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. "Since the neighbouring republics has been pointed out how to keep
21 record of them and how to make it possible for them to return to the
22 republic as a great number of them has expressed a desire to do so."
23 So "neighbouring republics," that's particularly referring to
24 Croatia, is it?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. "And making it possible for them to return to the republic," that
2 republic is Republika Srpska; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I'm moving on to the next tab, perhaps
5 that would be ...
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and I would first like to ask Madam Usher to
7 escort Mr. Trbojevic out of the courtroom.
8 We'll have a break, Mr. Trbojevic, of 20 minutes.
9 [The witness stands down]
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, taking into account that we would have
11 approximately another 55 minutes after the break, would it be possible to
12 finish the cross-examination of the witness today or ...
13 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I must say, it is -- unless something
14 quite unexpected happens, it's extremely unlikely that I would finish.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I can't blame you for that, I mean you took
16 four hours.
17 MR. STEWART: I understood, Your Honour, I wasn't being blamed, of
19 JUDGE ORIE: You took four hours now, where a 60 per cent would
20 be -- would add up the questions of the Judges being deduced, and of
21 course it's a rough estimate, would bring you to 5 hours but 60 per cent
22 would bring you close to 6 hours. It's a 1-hour difference.
23 MR. STEWART: May I say straight away, it would be, I suggest, not
24 a productive debate this afternoon, but Your Honour, I -- the Defence
25 would very much reserve its position on what is the appropriate
1 application of a 60 per cent guideline but --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MR. STEWART: -- until we get to that bridge, Your Honour, perhaps
4 we shouldn't cross it.
5 JUDGE ORIE: There might be an opportunity, and I would like to
6 explore with the witness to continue Friday next week through videolink.
7 That would save --
8 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I was very much hoping that Your Honour
9 would not, with respect, bring up the question of videolink in relation to
10 this witness. We have had this before, Your Honour. I'm pleased by the
11 way that Your Honour has brought it up in the absence of the witness, may
12 I say that straight away. Your Honour, it really is, in my submission,
13 the Defence -- inappropriate that a witness -- this is -- in terms of his
14 function, this witness appears to be the highest-ranking witness that the
15 Prosecution are going to produce in the entire case unless they come up
16 with some real surprise. He has given evidence for three and a half,
17 three and a bit days in chief. I am in the middle of cross-examination.
18 The witness has not indicated, apart from obviously inconvenience for
19 Monday, he has not indicated that there is any significant problem for him
20 in coming back to The Hague on a suitable date. Goodness knows he's been
21 to the saying so many times because he was counsel in the Brdjanin case.
22 It's really not an issue for him.
23 There is simply no reason, with respect, Your Honour, for his
24 evidence to be concluded in videolink. This is, in a sense, an occasion
25 when some degree of confrontation between Mr. Krajisnik and -- in the
1 civilised way in which it occurs, should take place.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that the Defence opposes the idea
3 of -- at the same time, sometimes I ask myself why we could not get the
4 information from the witness in approximately a third of time. For
5 example, we heard you putting a lot of questions of which, finally, I
6 thought would come by -- would come down mainly to the question whether
7 the government considered it its concern to go to these municipalities and
8 speak with the people. I think -- I don't know exactly how long we spent
9 on that and whether the roads were good or bad and finally, it results in
10 an answer by the witness that this, of course, was something of concern
11 for the government which is a -- of course is a good thing to know, but
12 whether the ways that led to that answer were all necessary ...
13 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I say, with respect, I have a large
14 measure of agreement. This witness has, as many witnesses do, but this
15 witness has given me and Your Honour an inordinate amount of information
16 which I don't want and Your Honours probably don't want. But Your Honour,
17 I can't -- please, Your Honour, I could, if Your Honour is inviting me to
18 be, I could be distinctly firmer in interrupting the witness, but it's an
19 extremely difficult thing to do, especially when interpretation is being
21 If Your Honour wishes to do it in that situation, then I don't
22 have any real objection. It is sometimes apparent when this witness is
23 going into that area, but may I say this, Your Honour, this is a different
24 point. Your Honour seems to be implying that in some way, the Defence is
25 responsible for the witness's evidence not being finished so he has to
1 return to Bosnia and therefore, videolink would be a fair result.
2 Your Honour, that's not ...
3 JUDGE ORIE: We'll not discuss this in general. The only thing
4 I'm saying is that there are two questions. The first question is that if
5 a government, according to its minutes, decides that people should visit
6 certain municipalities, that one could even wonder whether it is not
7 self-evident that the government, at that time, then thought that -- of
8 their concern. I mean otherwise, I mean, it was not a time, it was not a
9 situation to see whether you can spend, say, your Wednesday afternoons in
10 a better way than going to a football match. I mean it's -- so a big
11 question mark could already be put to the relevance of emphasising that or
12 confirming this where it seems to be obvious from the document that they
13 thought this of their concern.
14 That's point one, and then the second point is whether it should
15 really take much time to hear this from the witness. Of course the
16 Chamber is hesitant in interfering with the answers given by the witness.
17 But if the witness goes to details which are really not of any importance
18 for the Defence, then of course he should be stopped and he should be put
19 direct questions on what the Defence would like to know.
20 So the Chamber in considering all matters at this time, that is
21 the way in which a witness is examined, also includes in its assessment
22 not having led to any conclusions at this moment, also includes in its
23 assessment the efficiency and how the witness is examined.
24 We'll adjourn until ten minutes past 6.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 5.52 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 6.12 p.m.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Before we restart, Mr. Stewart, triggered by your
3 observation on the 60 per cent rule, the Chamber has used the last break
4 to also discuss the efficiency of cross-examination. It has -- it takes
5 the position that any relevant information elicited from the witness
6 during the last hour and a half could have been elicited from him in
7 approximately a third, and if we would be very generous, half of the time,
8 therefore, the Chamber will further pay specific attention to the
9 efficiency of the cross-examination and we'll do that to start with right
10 now also in order to see whether it is true that the 60 per cent rule
11 should be reconsidered.
12 We'll --
13 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, Your Honour always referred to it as a
14 "rule," we had always understood it's a guideline.
15 JUDGE ORIE: To see whether it's true that the 60 per cent
16 guideline would need to be reconsidered.
17 Madam Usher, would you please escort the witness into the
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
21 MR. STEWART:
22 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, may I give you an advance apology. I may, from
23 time to time, interrupt you in your answer, if it appears that perhaps
24 we're getting into an area where the information is not directly useful to
25 the Trial Chamber or is not, in fact, what I am seeking by my questions.
1 So I hope you will forgive me if sometimes I might appear to be slightly
2 abrupt. I'm not meaning to be rude, I'm trying to achieve more
4 Could you take tab 12, please, Mr. Trbojevic.
5 This is a minute of government meeting of the 30th of May, 1992.
6 Item 1 over the page on the English, so it's probably on the second page
7 in the B/C/S, but it's main item 1, "it's been concluded it's necessary
8 the government be informed about everything that takes place in the
9 republic and outside it about the negotiations that are with regard to the
10 status of internal system about ministry strategy," and so on. And then a
11 number of issues are mentioned, important some of them. Finishing
12 up, "Government should creatively participate in determining the attitudes
13 about those issues and it should work on realisation that the agreed-upon
14 policy within its constitution and legal rights and authority."
15 And then there's a reference to "... overlapping of jurisdictions
16 which has a negative impact on the work of the government ministries and
17 other republic and state institutions."
18 Is this a reflection of the sort of anarchy, to use that broad
19 word that you used and disorganisation that we were considering earlier?
20 A. I think that this is more or less consistent with what I have been
21 saying so far.
22 Q. The -- then there's a reference to "Bearing this in mind, it has
23 been suggested that the meeting of the Presidency Assembly and government
24 should be sped up."
25 Do you have any recollection of such a meeting at this specific
2 A. The Assembly sessions were most often attended by the government
3 and the Presidency in those cases when all of them were available. Almost
4 every Assembly session was of that kind, meaning that they -- that it was
5 attended by both government members and Presidency members as well.
6 Q. And then it's item 16, current issues, and then about five or six
7 paragraphs down in that there is a reference to, "The ministries which
8 haven't already done that should submit the proposals, the platform for
9 dialogue with Serbian Republic of Krajina and SAO Bosanska Krajina."
10 Do you see that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, do you remember whether your ministry had already submitted a
13 proposal at that time?
14 A. I didn't have a ministry of my own.
15 Q. I beg your pardon. That's all right, I'll withdraw that.
16 Over the page, the very last item in the minute refers to "An
17 agreement about giving guarantees for safety of flight control workers at
18 Sarajevo airport should be reached at the joint meeting of the Presidency,
19 Assembly president and government."
20 Was the reason for that being suggested to be dealt with at that
21 joint meeting because it was an important issue and there was that meeting
22 coming up. Was that the reason?
23 A. I don't know anything about these flight control workers at the
24 Sarajevo airport. I know nothing of them.
25 Q. All right. Let's move on then to tab 13. Under item 1, there's a
1 list of the items in the usual way that was adopted and then item 1, it's
2 the second page of the English version, "The proposal of the law on
3 amendments on constitutional law" is the first paragraph. Then on the
4 next one, "The proposal of the decisions to form War Presidencies in
5 municipalities during the immediate threat of war or the state of war has
6 been approved provided that ..." and so on. That was a government
7 decision then, was it?
8 A. I don't have reason to doubt it; it is stated here.
9 Q. And then item 2, "The proposal of the law on national defence has
10 been determined. It has been concluded that it should be given to the
11 president of the Presidency for signing as soon as possible."
12 Was that something you were actively involved in, the drafting and
13 presentation of this proposal?
14 A. There's something missing in this text here. It says that the
15 bill was drafted and that it should be forwarded for signature to the
16 president of the Republic and then to be prepared for the publication in
17 the Official Gazette. It seems as if the law was not at all to be passed
18 FOR the adoption to the Assembly. Perhaps, in fact, this was the case. I
19 only know that I was consulted at the time of the drafting of the bill.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could I offer one clarification? You say the
21 president of the republic, it reads the president of the Presidency and am
22 I correct in understanding.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: That's also what the B/C/S version says.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
3 MR. STEWART:
4 Q. Item 15, if you can go on that far, please. "The ministry of
5 interior has informed the government about the current issues in the
6 political and security situation in the republic about the degree of
7 public order and peace and about other issues of importance for the safety
8 in the republic. Regarding this issue, it has been concluded that the
9 government is not sufficiently informed about the issues relevant to its
10 work, especially about the situation in the front. It has been concluded
11 that the government must be regularly informed about the said issues
12 through the Ministry of Defence, Main Staff, and the Ministry of the
13 Interior in order to be able to within its rights and authorities engage
14 in formulating policy."
15 Was this presented to the relevant ministers, Mr. Stanisic and
16 Mr. Subotic, as a criticism of them?
17 A. It is stated here that the Minister of the Interior had submitted
18 a report and that, in principle, the government had not been kept informed
19 to a satisfactory degree so that this is some sort of criticism, yes.
20 Q. Do you remember it as being a criticism of your ministerial
21 colleagues that they were being told by you, "You, ministers, you must
22 ensure that we are better informed." Is that the way it was discussed and
24 A. I cannot quote the different discussions and what somebody said at
25 which government session. I can hardly remember every single discussion.
1 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, if the answer is you don't remember, then the
2 answer is, please, you don't remember.
3 A. Of course I don't remember.
4 JUDGE ORIE: If you move to the next document, I don't know
5 whether you do, Mr. Stewart, I would have one very short question.
6 MR. STEWART: Indeed, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: You told us that the proposal of the law on
8 amendments -- no, the proposal of the decisions to form War Presidencies
9 in the municipality was a government proposal. Do you remember whether it
10 was also the government's initiative to propose this or was it the
11 initiative of any other body that could take such initiatives?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that there exists a
13 government decision or an instruction dating from April. That was prior
14 to my arrival there, and I don't know how this decision came about. Here,
15 what is discussed are the amendments to the law, the constitution is
16 invoked, and War Presidencies are mentioned.
17 JUDGE ORIE: "The proposal of the decisions to form War
18 Presidencies in municipalities during the immediate threat of war or the
19 state of war has been approved."
20 Whose initiative was it that led to the proposal of the decisions
21 to form War Presidencies? Do you know it.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I assure you.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
24 MR. STEWART: Can we go to tab 14, please.
25 Q. We see under item number 1, I think it is, it's -- well, yes, it
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 is, it's on the second page of the English, so it's probably somewhere on
2 the second page of the B/C/S. Do you see -- this is not the point, but
3 just to get the reference, do you see something referring to the law on
4 stamps? Law on salaries, law on stamps, do you see that place?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And then a couple of lines after that, we get, "The government
7 once again concluded that it's not informed about the current political
8 and military issues and about the situation in the republic. It has been
9 concluded that the government should be informed about those issues on
10 daily basis and that that should be the first item on the agenda. In
11 order to make that possible, a constant contact with the Main Staff should
12 be maintained through the government president and the Ministry of
13 Defence. A good system of communication between the government bodies and
14 army command should also be provided."
15 Now, did Mr. Djeric, in accordance with what was being said
16 clearly there by the government, did Mr. Djeric then, himself, make an
17 attempt to maintain that constant contact with the Main Staff?
18 A. As far as I know, he didn't.
19 Q. Do you know that he didn't or is it just that you're not aware
20 that he did?
21 A. I'm not aware that he did, but I believe that one can infer from
22 these numerous minutes that he was not in a position to convey the
23 information to the government.
24 Q. And as far as the Ministry of Defence is concerned then, it was
25 being clearly said here by you and your government colleagues
1 that, "Constant contact should be maintained through the Ministry of
2 Defence as well."
3 Do you remember, was the position that, in the view of the
4 government, there was insufficient contact between the Ministry of Defence
5 and the Main Staff?
6 A. I cannot say that an assessment to that effect was made because as
7 far as I know. The Defence Minister did not give any specific account of
8 this relationship to the government.
9 Q. Was the question then of where the -- the flaw in the
10 communication of information lay investigated any more than these minutes
12 A. I don't think so.
13 Q. Then the very last item in this minute, "It has been concluded
14 that a non-stop on-duty duty should be introduced into the government
15 president's cabinet and that the persons on duty would be determined by
16 the ministries according to the established roster."
17 Did -- it was the ministers who were to rotate in this duty; is
18 that what it's saying?
19 A. I think that a duty officer had to be there at the secretariat of
20 the government and the ministries were supposed to provide the staff to
21 rotate in these duty stints.
22 Q. So it wasn't the ministers themselves who were necessarily to
23 rotate on duty, but somebody was to be on duty; is that what you're
25 A. Well, yes, including the ministers but also others from the
2 Q. And what was the purpose of this round the clock, I suppose, what
3 was the purpose of this round-the-clock duty?
4 A. Simply to have a person, an alert person in the building all the
5 time so that in the event of a piece of information reaching the building,
6 there would be someone to receive it.
7 Q. Did it specifically have in mind military matters?
8 A. Any and all matters.
9 Q. Well, were military matters at the top of the list of concerns
10 which led to this decision?
11 A. I don't think the military matters were included there at all
12 because the military does not talk in any open way with a civilian
13 administrative officer responding on the other end of the line. I think
14 that the Defence Minister had his own contacts with the Main Staff, and
15 I'm not referring now to the government telephone lines. I believe that
16 he had lines other than those.
17 Q. Let's turn to the next tab, please, which is number 15. Item
18 8, "It has been agreed that a platform for the dialogue in Herzegovina
19 should be prepared. Proposals for the platform should be submitted by all
20 of the ministries. The proposals should emphasise what has been done on
21 the republic level, what they have done so far. Concrete problems and
22 suggestions about what should be done so that the government and economy
23 in SAO Herzegovina would function. The delegation members and the
24 deadline will be determined later on."
25 Mr. Trbojevic, was there, in practice, difficulty about getting
1 such work out of the ministries?
2 A. It was not difficult for the ministries to plan their activities.
3 What is mentioned here in this text is the need to establish connections
4 with the SAO Herzegovina because this autonomous district of Herzegovina
5 practically ceased to exist.
6 Q. Then item 12, there is a reference to the reports from the
7 official visits to -- well, that Foca, SAO Semberija, Majevica, and
8 Krajina have been accepted. Do you remember those were official visits by
9 whom, can you say?
10 A. I don't remember.
11 Q. Then the next tab, 16, 5th of June, 1992, we do see that change of
12 format where, from now on, -- I couldn't swear without exception, but we
13 can see, from now on there is a record of those attending, you will see
14 that, the 5th of June, 1992. And you're included there.
15 Item 1, "Government president has informed the government about
16 the current issues of security situation in the republic, the information
17 is based on the daily reports from the Ministry of Interior."
18 Were such daily reports in writing?
19 A. One type of these daily reports was the one that I had occasion to
20 see, and these were police reports enumerating different events. You know
21 the way the police usually put it: At such and such an hour, there was
22 this and this event. It called for intervention or it did not call for an
23 intervention. They call them dispatches. So it is possible that this
24 here is the case of one such report. I cannot say.
25 Q. But Mr. Trbojevic, are you saying this item 1 refers to that sort
1 of very specific local report, if you like, rather than a more general
2 report on the security situation in the republic as a whole?
3 A. No, no. It is possible that the information contained therein
4 originated from all the different areas.
5 Q. The item 11, second paragraph under item 11, "Once again, the
6 government pointed out the need to consider and undertake the measures to
7 secure wider area of Pale and especially the objects which housed the
8 state bodies. It has been concluded that the Ministry of Interior and the
9 security bodies of the Main Staff of the Serbian People's Army should
10 analyse the mentioned problem and undertake necessary measures."
11 So the -- the government concludes that somebody should be done by
12 the Main Staff. Was that then transmitted direct from the government to
13 the Main Staff or by the Minister of Defence to the Main Staff as a
14 government order?
15 A. The Minister of Defence had to pass it on to the Main Staff
16 because it concerned the security of the place in which the government and
17 the other organs or bodies were meeting. It had to be secured so that
18 there would be no breakthrough by enemy units from the direction of Mount
19 Jahorina and from Kalinovic, the -- in that direction, there were no
20 facilities or units of the Serb army and so on.
21 After this, I know that a platoon was established to provide
22 security for the government and the government employees, a reserve unit.
23 Q. We'll move on to item 13, please. "The government has been
24 informed," and I'm looking not at milking cows or coins, I'm looking at
25 Security Council meeting that's the third one down, about the possibility
1 that there might be another Security Council meeting, the purpose of which
2 would be shedding the light on the manipulations with the report of
3 Boutros-Gali, UN Secretary General, and consequently that there might be a
4 congress meeting in the U.S." Was the government informed about this
5 matter by Mr. Djeric or did it receive information from somebody else
6 outside the government?
7 A. I don't remember who specifically said this. It might have come
8 from the Presidency or Djeric brought it from the Presidency after talking
9 to them.
10 Q. But you don't know where it came from?
11 A. I don't.
12 Q. Tab 17, please, the 7th of June government meeting. You are
13 present again. And then item 6 is the report of the Sarajevo Crisis
14 Staff, though it actually becomes item 7 when we -- it's just a
15 misnumbering, there isn't an item 6. So 5 to 7. 7, "The government has
16 acknowledged the report of the Sarajevo Crisis Staff."
17 That was a written report, was it?
18 A. I assume so.
19 Q. And do you recall, was it a report to the government?
20 A. Most probably it was because it was discussed at the government
22 Q. Now, just commenting tab 18, we can go over, it's 8th of June and
23 you were not present and I don't want to ask you anything about that. Tab
24 19, minutes of a meeting on the 9th of June. Item 1 subitem B, "The
25 government acknowledged the letter" item A is the government supported an
1 order for the central committee of the exchange of the prisoners." B,
2 "the government acknowledged the letter of correspondence from the
3 president of central committee for the exchange of prisoners. It has been
4 concluded that the minister of [illegible] should talk to Rajko Colovic,"
5 can you see what ministry it is on the B/C/S version? We've got
6 "illegible" in the English, but presumably it's illegible in your
7 language as well, is it? Can you see?
8 A. I think it says minister of justice.
9 Q. "It has been concluded that the Minister of Justice" as you
10 suggested it is, "Should take to Rajko Colovic, the ministry president, to
11 as to determine what sort of motives for suggesting the change," and so
12 on. Are you aware of any contact between Mr. Colovic and Mr. Krajisnik?
13 A. No.
14 Q. So would it surprise you in any way if you were told that there
15 never was any contact between Mr. Krajisnik and Mr. Colovic?
16 A. No, it wouldn't.
17 Q. Then item 20 or tab 20, we can go over, it was a meeting at which
18 you were present.
19 MR. STEWART: Now, Your Honour, I'm not suggesting there's nothing
20 relevant but nothing that requires cross-examination, of course, which is
21 an entirely different question. The -- well, often a different question.
22 Q. The same applies to tab 21, Mr. Trbojevic. You were, in fact,
23 absent from that meeting but there's nothing I wish to ask you arising out
24 of that meeting.
25 Tab 22 is a meeting on the 13th of June. The current issues --
1 well, no, but item 6, first. Item 6, "The government has ratified the
2 treaty number 3 of the International Red Cross Committee." Do you see
4 A. Just a moment, please.
5 Q. Of course.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Mr. Trbojevic, without going into painful detail, is that
8 constitutes a legal position that it was for the government to ratify such
9 treaties, that's correctly reflected by this minute, is it?
10 A. The government could institutionally not ratify. It was not
11 competent to do that. It could only approve if one of the ministers
12 signed this, whether it was Mr. Kalinic, I don't know. The government
13 could agree or approve but no official formal ratification was provided
15 Q. Well, what -- if anybody, what was the appropriate organ, then, or
16 the appropriate constitutional process for ratification of a treaty?
17 A. I don't know. It was usual for international treaties to be
18 ratified by the Assembly.
19 Q. You chaired this meeting, didn't you, Mr. Trbojevic, as it's
21 A. It's possible that I chaired the meeting but I'm telling you in
22 connection with what it says here, it probably means that the government
23 agreed with the text someone had brought in and accepted the signature,
24 and this has to do with providing security for a humanitarian convoy which
25 is not in dispute. But to use the word "ratify" is a bit too much in this
2 Q. All right. Item 7, current issues, "It has been concluded that
3 the Minister of Foreign Affairs should send a already of protest to the
4 permanent members of the Security Council."
5 Was that a conclusion, a decision made by the government without
6 having to seek anybody else's approval?
7 A. For the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue a protest, no
8 approval was required here by anyone.
9 Q. And then at the foot of that page in the English, the paragraph
10 begins, it's the third paragraph down under item 7, "The question of
11 having a joint meeting of the government and the republic Presidency has
12 been brought up once more. Reason for this has been the conclusion that
13 the government is not sufficiently informed about the most important
14 issues and that therefore it cannot participate in determining the policy
15 and making of the vital decisions which is its legal right and duty."
16 Can you recall what, in your view, was the most important issue on
17 the top of the list of issues at that time?
18 A. I can't separate out only one or two issues. I can't really make
19 a list of all the issues, but this was something that was a problem
20 throughout this time.
21 Q. All right. Let's move on, then, to tab 23, another meeting
22 chaired by you. Did something similar apply in the case of Mr. Djeric
23 that if Mr. Djeric was not at a meeting, would that, in practice, indicate
24 that he was not in Pale?
25 A. Most probably, yes.
1 Q. Then tab 24, again -- Mr. Djeric is present chairing that matter.
2 We can go on to 25 which is 29th session of the government.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps Judge Hanoteau would like to put a question
4 to the witness.
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Sorry for interrupting. I'd like
6 us to come back to tab 22, page 3. The last sentence read out to you by
7 Mr. Stewart [In English]" ... of the government and republic Presidency
8 has been brought up once more. The reason for this has been the
9 conclusion that the government is not sufficiently informed."
10 [Interpretation] What does it mean? Maybe my English is not quite
11 good enough, but when I read this text, my first impression is that it is
12 suggested that it is necessary to hold a meeting, the government wants a
13 meeting with the Presidency. The government complains because it is not
14 sufficiently informed.
15 Does that mean that the Presidency itself was better informed than
16 the government? Was that the issue?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct.
18 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] In other words, the government
19 wanted to go to the Presidency to say, "We are not sufficiently informed."
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
21 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Then why was the Presidency
22 better informed than the government?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The members of the Presidency, I've
24 already spoken about this, went to Belgrade. They met with international
25 representatives. They went out on the ground. We spent a lot more time
1 at the headquarters.
2 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] How was it that the Presidency
3 was everywhere on the ground? How was it, because they had people on the
4 ground, that what you mean?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Presidency had its own people
6 and these are not people that the government could say they could not
7 cooperate with, but it's a fact that through the party and through the
8 offices they held, they were able to get much more information than we in
9 the government felt we were getting. And on several occasions, a meeting
10 of the Presidency and the government was arranged and it was postponed
11 every time because the members of the Presidency were out in the field, a
12 meeting could not be held, and this went on and on and on. It went on
13 until that final Assembly session in May.
14 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] What do you mean by the people
15 from the Presidency, who were they, according to you? You say they were
16 in the field.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am speaking of Dr. Karadzic,
18 Mrs. Plavsic, Mr. Koljevic, and Mr. Krajisnik.
19 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] That means that they went in the
20 field more than the others. They went in the field personally; is that
21 what you mean?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. Mr. Krajisnik less than
23 the others, but the other three, yes.
24 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
25 JUDGE ORIE: There's one small thing that's not clear to me yet.
1 One of your answers was that the Presidency had its own people and
2 these are not people that the government could not say they could not
3 cooperate with but it's a fact that through the party, and through the
4 offices they held, they were able to get much more information than we in
5 the government felt we were getting."
6 Are you talking about its own people, these people? Do I
7 understand your answer correctly that these were people in the party
8 spread all over the territory?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am referring primarily to the
10 infrastructure of the party.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And would that include Crisis Staffs, War
12 Presidencies, or would you exclude that from the party infrastructure?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I wouldn't exclude that.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 Mr. Stewart, I'm looking at the clock.
16 MR. STEWART: Me too, Your Honour, yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: The miracle did not happen, I take it, or if you
18 would say, well, I've got still -- of course you had a far higher speed,
19 if you would say still a couple to go, that would be finished in 10 to 15
20 minutes then I could address the interpreters. If not, I'd like to hear.
21 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour, the circumstances for your
22 addressing the interpreters will not arise.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Trbojevic, unfortunately we are not able to
24 finish your examination by today. You informed us that you have to be on
25 Monday in court which is, of course, a perfect excuse for not being here.
1 Could you tell us about the second half of next week, whether you
2 would be available, especially Thursday/Friday.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On Monday, I am sure I have to be in
4 Sarajevo. As for my other obligations in the course of the week, those
5 can be postponed.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We are specifically thinking about next Friday
7 and there are a few options. One of them being that you would return to
8 The Hague and that your cross-examination would be -- that you would
9 further be cross-examined. Another way of doing that would be through
10 videolink. Is any of them more suitable to you?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, to tell you the truth, I don't
12 know what it looks like by videolink. I do not want to cause any
13 problems. Whatever is simpler to organise, it's up to you to decide. I
14 assume it would be easier by videolink from Banja Luka or Sarajevo but ...
15 JUDGE ORIE: Well, videolink is for some people easier for others,
16 it's not, both in terms of organisation and ... We'd like to consider
17 that and we'll let you know not later than by Monday whether that would be
18 suitable to you what we'd like, but if you could try to keep your agenda
19 so flexible for the second half of next week.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then you are excused for this moment. Since
22 you are still to finish your examination -- your testimony, you are again
23 instructed not to speak with anyone about your testimony you have given
24 and you are still about to give soon.
25 Madam Usher, would you escort Mr. Trbojevic out of the courtroom.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
2 [The witness stands down]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, could you give us any indication on how
4 much time you'd still need at the pace you developed over the last hour?
5 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour, obviously as one goes through a
6 series of similar documents, inevitably the same ground crops up, so one
7 speaks up. So far as the government minutes are concerned, that won't
8 take very much longer.
9 Your Honour, I -- there's a pretty good chance that I'm going to
10 come in within the 60 per cent guidelines, I would say.
11 JUDGE ORIE: That would mean approximately not more than one
12 additional hour.
13 MR. STEWART: Probably Your Honours and I would calculate the 60
14 per cent guideline differently but not more than a couple of hours, I
15 would think.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, we do some bookkeeping.
17 MR. STEWART: Your Honour that is quite a -- potentially if it
18 should arise in the future, the question of what the 60 per cent guideline
19 means where there has been several days of examination with counsel's
20 questions and the Bench's questions all mixed in together is -- does
21 require some very careful consideration rather than some simple
22 mathematical calculation of the type that's being hinted at by the Trial
23 Chamber over the last few days.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mathematics is not a purpose in itself, it is to
25 assist us and gives only one aspect of the matter.
1 MR. STEWART: I heartily endorse that view, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I didn't hear it and I can't read it.
3 MR. STEWART: No -- we -- I said we heartily endorse that view,
4 Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And heartily and hardly is --
6 MR. STEWART: Heartily, with all my heart, Your Honour, I endorse
7 that view, since it's Friday, Your Honour, it's -- I would go that far.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, it is a very comforting last words
9 before we adjourn until next Monday, 9.00 in the morning in this same
11 We'll then also decide on how to proceed with Mr. Trbojevic. If
12 there's nothing else urgent on the agenda, I would like to thank the
13 interpreters and technicians for again another 7 stolen minutes.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.08 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Monday, the 11th day of April,
16 2005, at 9.00 a.m.